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Fanfic: The Stalking Zuko Series
"I have decided to record everything I know about Subject. To know your enemy is to have a great advantage on the battle field. I have decided not to name Subject for confidentiality's sake as well as because calling things by their name eventually endears them to you. Subject will not endear himself to me again!"
— Katara, regarding Zuko.

Stalking Zuko is an Adaptation Expansion fic that acts as a between/behind the episodes look at Avatar: The Last Airbender. It starts off when Zuko is accepted in the Gaang - Katara doesn't trust him and fears that he will backstab them again. Her solution is to stalk Zuko and write down his every action so she would know his weaknesses. The story follows the Gaang's adventures throughout the second half of season three, retold through Katara's perspective.

Has a pair of sequels in Not Stalking Zuko and Not Stalking Firelord Zuko and a prequel in Jet's Troubling Obsession.

Other fics set in the same continuity are the commonsense stick collection, A spoonful of sugar, princess of mine, the collected lists of Zuko, notes on a daughter, New Years and Somewhere out there.

Page in Construction, NEEDS WIKI MAGIC! Please add tropes when you spot them.


This fanfic provides examples of:

  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The events of "The Southern Raiders" happened around Katara's birthday, and since it was shortly after the anniversary of her mother's death, her mother's death also fell close to that birthday. To make matters worse, she's also separated from her father as a result of Azula's attack.
  • Accusation Fic: The fic calls out Aang for sparing Ozai after sinking countless Fire Nation naval ships and causing a disastrous political situation for Zuko.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Mai's parents, especially their father. In the "Rebound" comic, Mai's father is completely loyal to Ozai and is trying to get his children to join him in the New Ozai Society, angry at having lost his job. In here, it's indicated that his job is the reason why he couldn't be as close to Mai as he'd hoped.
  • Agree to Disagree: The author suggests this with her readers when she puts forward potentially controversial theories about the setting in her authors' notes.
  • Ain't No Rule: In the blindfolded race, Zuko and Suki maintain that there's no rule against carrying people.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Played with. Katara and Zuko do have feelings for each other, but are afraid to admit it. Played straight with Mai and Jet, who have feelings for Zuko, and Aang, who has feelings for Katara.
  • All There in the Manual: Some details that Katara misses are pointed out by the author. For example, it's revealed that Zuko was considering quitting fire flakes for Katara's sake, until she surprised him with a gift.
  • Abandoned Area: There are a lot of abandoned soldier homes all over the Fire Nation. After "The Southern Raiders", the Gaang hides at one before going to Ember Island.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The fanfic expands on what happens between episodes, in part to allow for more interaction between Zuko and Katara.
  • Almost Kiss: Multiple times between Katara and Zuko.
  • Artistic License - Medicine: The author admits that the treatment of Katara's scorpidillo bite, specifically Zuko's decision to Suck Out the Poison, falls into this trope.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: The Joo Dees were kidnapped refugee women and were sexually abused by the Dai Li
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Aang and Zuko get one apiece.
  • Be Yourself: A recurring theme for Zuko in this story. It's pointed out that Zuko considers his mastery of stealth and Dao swords an important part of his identity, since they're things that he mastered on his own. Lu Ten's final letter also tells Zuko that he shouldn't conform to others' expectations of him, although he, having internalized others' opinions of him, believes it means he can't change and begins to despair. The author believes that Mai's relationship with Zuko will not work out because of their mutual desire for the other to change.
  • Bedlam House: Averted. When Azula is institutionalized, they treat her very gently and hope for her recovery.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Water Tribes apparently seem to be this to Fire Nation girls. Mai jokes that the Water Tribes banish the ugly children at birth. A strange example, as the Water Tribes are stereotypically barbaric in comparison to the Fire Nation.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Fornicating with koala-sheep will get one removed from the Fire Lord succession.
  • Better Than Sex: Suki declares the dragonberries to be this, which greatly worries Sokka.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Mai is the Betty and Katara is the Veronica with their traits switched around. Mai is Zuko's childhood friend, the "safe" choice, and a lady of the court, but with Veronica traits like being different from what he's used to (after his banishment and traveling), is very wealthy, used to commanding servants, and is an Ice Queen. Katara is the Veronica in that she's exotic, seemingly unattainable due to their past history and possible futures, is outside of his world (the Fire Nation), and seemingly unaware of Zuko's affections. However, Katara has Betty traits such as being emotionally reliable, Zuko's best friend, and part of Zuko's past lifestyle of banishment, chasing the Avatar, traveling, and re-banishment.
  • Big Fancy House: Zuko's vacation home on Ember Island. In fact, he used this trope to convince the Gaang to hide there. The royal villas are also this, seeing how they used to house the royal family.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Fireflakes are very spicy to non-Fire Nation people. Averted with Fire Nation colony cuisine, which has evolved to use less spices due to the difficulties bringing them from the homeland and absorbed elements of Earth Kingdom cuisine.
  • Book Burning: Firelord Sozin kept many original documents and scrolls that he raided from invaded areas and burned everyone else's copies. Also, Zhao's burning of the Fire Nation section of the Wa Shi Tong's library, while practical, is seen as very unusual.
  • Boring, but Practical: In a Continuity Nod and Call Back, Zuko's firebending lessons to Aang. Aang finds Zuko's lesson extremely boring and dull, but Zuko points out how dangerous fire is, so it's more important to know how to block before learning how to attack.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Ember Island kids, Chit Sang, Jee, and Mai all come back.
  • Call Forward: Sokka and Smellerbee's Wang Fire beard turns out to be based on a Ba Sing Se therapist named Dr. Wang.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Katara calls Sokka and Zuko two-pot screamers. Katara is no better herself.
    • Mai is one herself. Justified because she drank a whole wine bottle in one sitting.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Katara and Zuko both tried to avert this trope, but they still can't.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Zuko and Suki.
  • Catchphrase: The author has one in her author's notes: Bless his/her cotton socks!
    • Also, Katara likes to note that X wins/win at X (forever)
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Zuko get sick from cooler fever, as warming himself in a freezer caused a temperature shift that weakened his immune system.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The Gaang's complaining about how "Boy in the Iceberg" was a bad play is rewritten as trying to take their minds off the ending, in which their counterparts are killed and the Fire Nation conquers the world.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Naked Iroh Time in Jet's Troubling Obsession
  • Chekhov's Gun: Zuko's protectiveness of his uncle in Jet's Troubling Obsession and how Iroh is able to make so much tea. Jet decides that Zuko's not a firebender, but Iroh is. Zuko's attack on Jet when he deduced this proved his point.
  • Conscription: The Fire Nation has this, with the rich draft-dodging and most of the recruits being from the lower classes.
  • Cry into Chest: Zuko ends up comforting Katara this way after the Southern Raiders, although he was very awkward about it at first.
  • Cucumber Facial: The spa day that Toph gave to Katara for her birthday had this.
  • Cultured Badass: Suki, Toph, and Zuko can play musical instruments due to their backgrounds.
  • Cutting the Knot: Suki and Zuko, faced with a puzzle box as part of a challenge, stomp on the box, breaking it open and getting their marble. They also glue together the pieces of another puzzle rather than try to balance the pieces.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: The best thing Teo can say about sea prunes are that they aren't the worst thing he's eaten. Considering that he's eaten grass as a refugee, that isn't saying much.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Bloodbending helped Katara save Zuko's life after he was hit in the chest with lightning.
    • The author points out that while firebending is often viewed somewhat negatively, as Aang did at first, Zuko's "date" with Jin helped him see that it could be used for good things
  • Deconstruction Fic: The series deconstructs the gender dynamics, politics, relationships and consequences of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • Defictionalization: In-Universe, after Sokka read about Katara wanting a commonsense stick in her stalker log, he gave her a real commonsense stick.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Water Tribe patriarchy astounds Zuko and Katara (thanks to her basically growing up with no men around to enforce it), and the Fire Nation judges mental illness with Victorian-esque values which matters when Azula gets institutionalized after her Villainous Breakdown.
    • The author points out that the Water Tribe has virtually no concept of privacy. Sokka found Katara's diary while looking for seal jerky, and only (reluctantly) kept quiet out of love and respect for Katara and Suki, as well as fear of what they'd do to him if they found out.
    • For Aang, romantic love and sex are unrelated things because in Air Nomad culture one didn't need to have love for sex or sex for love.
  • Dirty Old Man: Iroh, with a better success rate than most.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Katara gets distracted a lot by Zuko's shirtlessness.
  • Doctor's Orders: Dr. Yang orders bed rest and medication for Zuko after recovery from his lighting wound.
  • Dope Slap: Katara prone to tapping people with her commonsense stick when they do particularly stupid things. Zuko lampshades his always being on the receiving end.
  • Double Entendre: In "Boy in the Iceberg," Sokka gets quite a few after obtaining the "space sword."
  • Double Standard: Called out by Katara to the Southern Water Tribe
  • Draft Dodging: The only way for Fire Nation women to dodge conscription is to be mother of five or more children or be a prison guard
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Parodied with Katara's birthday dictatorship. (A benign dictatorship!) And her Bell of Power in her Sick Episode.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Katara did not like Zuko joking that he'd rather get hit by lightning than do something else, once he was on the mends
  • Dueling Scar: Zuko's scar from the Agni Kai is emphasized as one.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Katara to Zuko
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Katara is fond of doing this a lot to Zuko.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Katara thinks the rain was in sync with her crying, it stops raining and a rainbow comes out after she lets it all out.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: the Gaang try to leave Aang ignorant of the consequences of the Siege of the North. Shot down when Arnook gleefully tells Aang of all he had killed by drowning.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Discussed to why this happened to the Fire Nation: due the extensive war effort more women entered the workforce. Women started to be paid and treated equally after they striked for equal pay, bringing the economy to halt until the people in charge gave into their demands.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Lampshaded by Katara when she realizes that she's starting to call Iroh "Uncle".
  • Everyone Can See It: Except Aang, although the author points out that he does eventually not only notice, but approve once he takes off his "crush blinders."
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The Fire Nation mainland is seen as a tropical Australia with many poisonous animals and plants
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Downplayed. In Not Stalking Zuko, Katara happens on Zuko and Aang just as they start talking about Aang's desire to help Katara accept Air Nomad culture, but midway through, Zuko vaguely references something he said while Katara wasn't listening in on them.
  • Excalibur in the Stone: Sokka is said to have gotten his "space sword" this way, as well as becoming king of a Fire Nation town.
  • Exiled to the Couch: In the first part of Not Stalking Zuko, Zuko is often sexiled to the couch by Sokka and Suki.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Invoked by Jin and Zuko for Jet to leave them alone.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: Moon peaches, dragon berries, Fire Nation purple passion fruit, Earth Kingdom yellow passion fruit.
    • Although passion fruit in both purple and yellow hues are real-world fruits, and moon peaches, at the least, appear in-series.
  • Fantasy Contraception: Suki and Katara discuss birth control options they have which includes Katara's healing bending and the Kyoshi Island pill.
  • First-Person Smartass:
    • Katara's narration is extremely snarky.
    • Jet also counts for the parts from his perspective.
  • Fix Fic: The fic mostly follows canon events, but occasionally adds, changes or reinterprets things with the end result of getting Zuko and Katara together. Explicitly admitted by the author in Chapter 23 of Not Stalking Zuko's author's note.
    "I think both Katara and Aang deserve better than each other. So I am making my own fic to make the ending more palatable to myself and hopefully you guys too!"
  • Foregone Conclusion: One for each story.
    • Stalking Zuko: Katara will forgive Zuko and Zuko will gain Katara's trust.
    • Not Stalking Zuko: The Gaang will win the war.
    • Not Stalking Firelord Zuko: Zuko will be crowned Fire Lord and the Gaang will go back to Ba Sing Se.
    • Jet's Troubling Obsession: Jet will captured by the Dai Li and brainwashed.
  • Foreign Queasine: Stewed sea prunes disgust Zuko, Haru, Teo and Aang (the characters at the Southern Air Temple who aren't from the Water Tribe). Zuko finds it incredibly salty and thinks it moves.
    • Katara describes eating fireflakes like licking the sun. Fire Nation colonial OCs feel the same way with the large amounts of fireflakes in Fire Nation mainland food, as they use far less of it.
  • The Four Loves: This comes up from time to time, in the author's notes and the text of the fic.
    • Storge: The author believes that Katara's feelings for Aang are this.
    • Philia: This exists between the Gaang, as it's emphasized that they're True Companions.
    • Eros: Sokka and Suki, Katara and Zuko.
    • Agape: Aang says that this is the kind of love that the monks taught him most about.
  • Freudian Slip: Zuko introduces Katara to Fat as my Katara. Katara also has her moments.
  • Friend to All Children: Zuko and The Duke adore each other, Zuko even teaches him how to use a sword.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: The older members of the Gaang find it funny/mortifying when Toph sings stage!Katara's song, "I Love Willies."
  • The Ghost: Mai is not in the first two stories, but her presence still makes a major impact.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: The spa day
  • Gone Horribly Right: Katara briefly has this reaction when, after getting Zuko and Suki to get along, they start talking with each other more often, and Zuko starts confiding things in Suki, making her insecure about her own relationship with Zuko.
  • The Good Chancellor: Iroh decides to become this to help Zuko rule the Fire Nation
  • Good News, Bad News: Azula breaks it Zuko Mai was spying on him throughout their relationship. She tells Katara the good news of evidence against Ozai
  • Groupie Brigade: Zuko has one and is disturbed by it.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Zuko's cooler fever was initially mistaken for this. Katara gets this after drinking too much with Suki.
    • Aang also gets this after celebrating the end of the war with the Southern Water Tribe men.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Discussed in one of the author's notes. The author says that if Aang, after a few months, achieved the same mastery as Katara, Toph and Zuko did in their respective elements after years of study, they would be quite upset, which is why the author believes he is not a master yet as of Sozin's Comet.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Ozai oppressed everyone equally even if they were his followers.
  • He Is All Grown Up: A platonic version between Fat and Zuko, who last saw each other when Zuko was a child.
  • Henpecked Boyfriend: Sokka is seen for Suki as this by the Southern Water Tribe warriors, which actually makes Sokka feel uncomfortable as he feels that they are disrespecting both himself and Suki.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Lampshaded by Katara, when Sokka and Zuko teach The Duke swordsmanship with tree branches.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Aang has this with the Fire Nation. It's a Justified Trope; many Fire Nation citizens had relatives that were killed in the Siege of the North when Aang was in the Avatar State.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone gets this but props has to go to one-scene characters Ming and Sorrak
  • Hotter and Sexier: A Boy In The Iceberg's late night show happens to very racy and sexy, both compared to the normal version and what we see of it in the show. As such, the older Gaang members debate whether it's appropriate for Aang and Toph, and Suki has to make herself look older to even buy the tickets.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Katara tries to warn Zuko of him possibly getting stalkers after seeing his Groupie Brigade. Zuko rightly laughs at the irony of Katara warning him.
  • I Have This Friend:
    • Katara meant this literally with Suki, when trying to explain worrying that a friend is not being careful with her lover. Suki answers her until Katara reveals she thinks her friend might be pregnant. Suki is at first disappointed when she thinks Katara was careless and understandably freaks thinking Katara got herself pregnant.
    • Hakoda tried to invoke this trope on Zuko to tell him the possible consequences of hooking up with Katara. It doesn't work because Zuko takes him literally.
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Zuko hates the medicinal concoction that he has to take for his lighting wound.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Toph and Zuko often talk how bad his earthbending or firebending or complain how a student Aang is in front of Aang.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Jet (although he fiercely denies it) to Zuko.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Suki is quite fond of pulling these.
  • In Vino Veritas: Zuko is affectionate and reckless drunk. Sokka is philosophical drunk. Katara gets extremely playful and flirty when Zuko tries to put her to bed. Mai is a shameless drunk.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sokka says that since Katara spent three days alone with Zuko looking for the Southern Raiders, she must have had sex with Zuko. Katara turns it on him, however. She says by that logic she should assume Sokka had kinky prison sex with Zuko since he was alone with Zuko for five days.
  • Insistent Terminology: Katara does not "run away," she "storms off." She also suggests that Zuko not call his training Aang "relentless training," but "enthusiastic practice," to make it slightly more appealing to him.
  • Insulted Awake: Katara tries to invoke this trope with Zuko when Zuko is electrocuted by Azula, it doesn't work.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: In the play, Zuko is flanderized, made into one of the play's bicycles and his stage!Uncle eats cake. That Stage!Iroh eats cake, when Iroh doesn't like cake in real life, is what bothers Zuko.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: The Dowager states this would be the reason secret relationships will ultimately fail in the end.
  • Lethal Chef: Suki's food taste like congealed sadness.
  • Like Brother and Sister: In an Inverse from their the The Friends Who Never Hang in canon, Toph and Zuko are the closest to each other in the Gaang due to the many things they have in common: both were new additions to the Gaang and had to deal with the refitting of the group dynamic. Both came from lives of prestige and restriction and the fact they had to fight to get what they want.
    • In epilogue, Toph ends up living with Zuko and Iroh after the war
  • Logical Weakness: Why did no other firebender prisoner besides Zuko bend heat to keep themselves warm in the cooler? The answer: get cooler fever and now you can't defend yourselves from the guards or other prisoners.
  • Love Hurts: Zuko confesses as much to Aang in Not Stalking Zuko.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Played with and mocked. When Zuko revealed that Avatar Roku was his maternal great-grandfather, Aang realized that would make him Zuko's great-grandfather. Then Aang proceeds in asking his "grandson" for hugs.
  • Maid: The OCs found in the Fire Nation palace dungeon after the Agni Kai.
  • Make-Out Kids: Suki and Sokka are often canoodling in story.
  • The Medic: As canon Katara but also the OC, Dr. Yang.
  • Men Can't Keep House: When the Gaang goes out to buy cleaning supplies for the vacation house they're squatting in on Ember Island, Zuko says they don't need to do so, prompting Katara to remark "Boys" in her narration.
  • Mistaken For Bi: Jet's stalking is mistaken constantly as having an unhealthy crush on Zuko. Jet's friends and therapist tell him that they're okay with his sexuality, just let go of Lee's "rejection" and move on to keep it from taking over his life.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Zuko and Katara feared Suki was this after Sokka told them of dreaming that they were penguins and a Penguin!Suki giving him a bag to lay on. Zuko feared this was a prophetic dream since they have been having sex a lot and Zuko didn't know whether they used protection.
  • Moment Killer: Frequently Sokka, but all of the Gaang get a chance to kill a moment.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens in "The Boy In The Iceberg", with the climax suddenly becoming much darker than the very silly play, and with Ozai and Azula killing all the Gaang.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Zuko, lampshaded by Katara on many occasions.
  • Mundane Utility: Firebending is great for warming up water and drying dishes, as Katara discovers.
  • Ms. Exposition: Stage!Katara
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Katara nearly had a Heroic BSOD when she realized she bloodbended an uninvolved Fire Nation captain in her hunt for Yon Rha.
    • On a more minor note, Katara also realizes that claiming that Sokka's reluctance to seek out their mother's killer is proof that he didn't love her as much was a cruel and unfair thing to say.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Naked Iroh Time! This scars Zuko, Jet and their Ba Sing Se neighbors. Although Jet later questions how Iroh is able to go around naked when it's early spring and their apartment is poorly insulated.
  • Never Say That Again: During and after the Southern Raiders, Katara bans Aang from saying the "f-word." It's forgiveness, since while she doesn't have it in herself to kill Yon Rha, she can't forgive him, either.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Aang doesn't kill Ozai and fulfills his Air Nomad beliefs...Now he completely destabilizes Zuko's legitimacy as Fire Lord and causes a Succession Crisis that nearly tears apart the Fire Nation. Since he establishes that he cares more about his own beliefs than the fate of the world as a result no one trusts him to actually take responsibility and fulfill his duty as Avatar.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Katara has a knack for thinking of these. "Subject" for Zuko. "Dippy-Flippy" for "Ty Lee." "Gloomy Hairbuns" for Mai.
    • Chit Sang is also this, and tends to refer to people by certain designations, such as "Little Blue".
    • Azula, too.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jet's Troubling Obsession's Dr.Wang is Avatar's fantasy equivalent of Sigmund Freud.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Katara clarifies that Zuko's "guilty dance" is not an actual dance, but "a set of predictable actions" that he does when he's ashamed..
  • Noodle Incident: Sozin's third Agni Kai rule.
  • The Not Secret: More people are aware of Katara stalking Zuko than she initially realizes. Zuko himself has known since very early on, much to Katara's dismay.
  • Not So Different:
    • Suki and Zuko after their stealth-off realize that they are both really great at being "stealthy badasses" and both felt like outsiders to the group (while Zuko had difficulty getting the Gaang to trust him, Suki had difficulty finding her role in it).
    • Zuko also shares the latter with Toph, as well as their being from privileged backgrounds and having a bad relationship with their parents.
    • Toph and Aang both have unrequited crushes on someone else (Katara and Sokka).
  • Offered the Crown: Zuko didn't believe that Iroh would actually make him Fire Lord, so he's genuinely shocked that Iroh wants him to take the crown.
  • That Old Time Prescription: Zuko teaches Katara that sun poppy tea makes a great painkiller.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Suki feels like this because she's not a leader like Sokka nor is she a bender like everyone else.
  • Padding: In-Universe, the writers of The Boy in the Iceberg don't know what the Gaang nor Azula, Zuko and their friends were doing after Ba Sing Se and the Day of Black Sun so they fill it up with wacky side plots and musical numbers.
  • Parents as People: Toph's parents wants what's best for her, but clearly don't understand their daughter and hurt her because of it.
    • The reason Mai's dad quits his job as ambassador of Omashu because he realizes that he missed the entirety of Mai's childhood and neglected her because of it. Mai's mother is a social climber and forced Mai to be prim and proper due to growing up in the Deadly Decadent Court of Fire Lord Azulon and is trying to ensure their survival under Ozai.
  • Peace Conference: Leading up to one in Ba Sing Se
  • Precocious Crush: Aang has one on Katara, and Katara had one on Bato when she was Aang's age. The fact that Katara got over hers is why she hopes he'll get over his crush on her.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Ozai is officially this to the Fire Nation generals.
  • Quickly Demoted Woman: In-Universe, the Southern Water Tribe Warriors praise Sokka and Aang's accomplishments, but never acknowledge Katara, Suki or Toph's accomplishments. Then they expect Katara to do the sewing and cooking even though the villa has servants. This is used to show how sexist the Water Tribe men are.
  • Race Fetish: Ty Lee and other Fire Nation women have ones for Water Tribe men.
  • The Rant: The author's notes offers insight to the writing process, why characters act within fic, why certain cultural influences pop up and show the author's various questions regarding canon.
  • Red Baron: The Fire Nation's nickname for Hakoda is "the Blue Wolf".
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: Sokka gets dreams of being a penguin and laying on a bag of fireflakes given to him by penguin Suki. Katara gets dreams of Master Pakku in Ba Sing Se showgirl outfit.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Subverted, for the author, being feminine doesn't mean anti-feminist. What's bad is when someone is shoe-horned into a role just because of their gender.
    • Deconstructed, in that Katara was willing to learn healing but didn't want to because she was not allowed to be anything beyond healer. She learns healing of her own accord and because she needs to, and then decides to train to become a doctor now that her warrior-bender skills won't be needed any more (she hopes).
  • Really Gets Around: Iroh turns out to have done this, before he met his wife, and it's implied he went back to his old ways after the deaths of both his wife and son.
    • In the Ember Island play, Stage Katara and Stage Zuko
    • Ty Lee is a somewhat more PG-rated version; the author's notes even say that one possible way that Aang might get her to accept that she's an Air Nomad by blood and is likely an unrealised airbender is by getting her to think that following Air Nomad philosophy — in particular the part about "Free Love" — will allow her the perfect excuse to sleep with every guy she wants without ever committing to any one boy in particular.
  • Reality Ensues: When Zuko is hit by lighting, he had to see a real doctor and was comatose for a few days and bedridden for a week afterwards. The whole fic has reality ensuing.
    • Twice more in Jet's Troubling Obsession, when Zuko tries to show Jin the view of Ba Sing Se, she lacks the fitness and strength that most of the Avatar cast has and had to be assisted by Zuko to get on the roof. This was supposed to compare the cast to normal people.
    • Jet's therapy proves counterproductive because he doesn't believe he has a problem.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The author points out that the decision to Suck Out the Poison is no longer the best method for dealing with poisonous bites, but she had to do it, since the Avatar-verse is not up to the same level as the modern universe, and there weren't any medical facilities on Ember Island.
  • Reign of Terror: Ozai had one, which is why most of the Fire Nation accept Zuko. Everybody with their head screwed on right figures he simply cannot be as bad as his father was. The only ones to actively seek to enthrone one of the others are either direct profiteers from Ozai's reign or convinced they can "work around" Azula's psychosis.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Zuko
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The Running Gag of Jet's Troubling Obsession, which ends up being Played for Drama in the final chapter when Jet realizes that while he never found proof for Zuko being a firebender, he saw many instances where Iroh was firebending. He realizes that Iroh was able to stay warm in their poor insulated apartment naked in early spring and is making large quantities of tea without firewood.
    • In a Played for Laughs version, Smellerbee. She thinks that Jet's obsession with Zuko is an unhealthy crush and Jet is afraid of coming out of the closet. So she and Longshot try to show their support of him, showing that they won't reject him for being bisexual and try to find Jet some help.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Fire Nation has a long history of them, besides Ozai and Azula, there was a Fire Lady who only spoke to pineapples and required all of her courtiers to carry a pineapple so she could address the pineapple when she wanted to speak to the courtier.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Zuko's Fire Lord robes are too heavy and uncomfortable and Azula's pink hospital gown makes her look like a child
  • Satellite Love Interest: Suki fears that the Gaang only see her as Sokka's girlfriend, and takes many steps to establish her own role in the Gaang.
  • Second-Hand Storytelling: Since the fic entirely consists of Katara writing about events after they happen, anything that she doesn't see herself gets told to her by other characters.
  • Secret Diary: Katara's stalker log. Naturally Sokka ends up reading it.
  • Secret Police: Besides the Dai Li, Ozai had one as well, which was responsible for causing many dissenters and noblemen to disappear.
  • Sex Equals Love: Discussed by Suki in Not Stalking Zuko. She says that because sex is something people who are in relationships often do, they "were all bound up together and sometimes confused with each other".
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Lampshaded by Katara after her birthday spa date
  • Shipper on Deck: Iroh, Toph, Sokka and Suki ship Katara/Zuko
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The author believes that Katara's feelings for Aang are maternal. Various incidents, such as Katara (and the author) believing that Aang does not understand her desire for revenge, and Katara's reaction to Aang sparing Ozai, help sink the ship.
    • Maiko is sunk by Azula revealing that Mai was her spy
  • The Shrink: Dr. Wang is type 3, but ends up being type 2 to Jet. Dr. Wang is able to pinpoint what Jet's problem is but Jet doesn't want to believe it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Naked Iroh Time
    • In "The Boy in the Iceberg," Combustion Man makes a speechnote  referencing "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."
  • Shown Their Work/Word of God: Every chapter ends with a long, rambly author's note explaining her thoughts on the subjects covered in the chapter and her interpretation of the related canon information.
  • Show Within a Show: Love Amongst The Dragons and The Boy in the Iceberg.
  • Show Some Leg: Suki used this to get tickets to The Boy in the Iceberg.
  • Sick Episode: Zuko gets sick with cooler fever a day after the prison break. Katara gets one after she gets stung by a scorpidillo.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The core of Katara and Zuko's attraction to each other.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Mainly on the characters side. The plot is largely driven by Katara and Zuko's relationship, and a good portion of what plot there is comes from the canon series.
  • Slut Shaming: Jet does this extensively to Jin, he constantly calls Jin a shameless hussy for daring to flirt with Zuko. Although this is emphasize Jet's irrationality and jealousy of her
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Inverted, Katara is bewildered at first that she is the only one who hates Zuko. She grows out of it.
  • Spot of Tea: Along with Iroh, Zuko always makes tea for the Gaang.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Zuko sucked the poison out of Katara's ankle after she got stung by a scorpiodillo.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jet is this for Zuko, but believes he is the trope below.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: Katara was initially this to Zuko, to keep a lookout for his betrayal. Jet claims he's this to Zuko, and gives every sign of consciously believing his own hype (subconsciously, though, is another matter).
  • The Stations of the Canon: The fic follows most of the canon evens, frequently using scenes to justify or explain characters' actions in certain scenes. The author hopes that this can show that Zutara and canon can "be friends."
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Katara gets hit with this trope hard after Sozin's Comet when she reunites with the Southern Water Tribe Warriors. They don't even acknowledge her successes and immediately try to make her do the sewing and washing because she's there.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Katara and Sokka are not even home yet, but already feel like outsiders to their tribe.
  • Stupid Evil: The author calls Ozai this, saying his plan to incinerate the Earth Kingdom would have destroyed the land he hoped to conquer. She also suspects that he's not an intellectual type, and is good at manipulating people, but not running a country.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Jet has this whenever he sees Zuko do something badass.
  • Sweetie Graffiti: Katara finds some on her bed in an abandoned house in the first chapters of Not Stalking Zuko.
  • Swiss Army Tears: Stage!Katara's tears do quite a bit, such as healing Aang after "Crossroads of Destiny", or cleaning up the river in "The Painted Lady".
  • Take Our Word for It: The filthiness of the Hedgehog Song.
  • Take That:
    • The author makes several derisive references to the lion turtle as a Deus ex Machina in her authors' notes.
    • The author also complains about being on the receiving end of this in Bryke's remark about Zutara shippers.
  • Talk About That Thing: After Katara gets bitten by a scorpidillo because Aang tries to airbend it rather than firebend, Zuko takes him aside and tells him that because he made the wrong choice of bending, Katara could have been killed.
  • Team Chef: Lampshaded by Katara, she is only one in their group that can cook.
  • Therapy Backfire: Zuko and Smellerbee try to get Jet into therapy to for his obsession. Doctor Wang pushes Jet into a revelation, but not one they want.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted twice with Azula who gets medical help and psychiatric from Dr. Yang, and Jet who is forced by Smellerbee into therapy with Dr. Wang.
    • There are no true therapists in the Fire Nation, in the Earth Kingdom however...
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Deconstructed in that Aang's decision to spare Ozai's life and take away his bending goes against everyone's (including the past Avatar's) advice, infuriates everyone, and causes dire problems for Zuko's legitimacy as Fire Lord, which is seriously destabilizing the Fire Nation.
  • Through His Stomach: Hakoda and Sokka believe in this trope when Katara gives Zuko food, and Katara insists they're reading too much into it ("They are just fireflakes not a proposal of marriage"). Suki tries this with Sokka but turns out to be a Lethal Chef due to lack of experience.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Iroh giving Katara the respect she deserves by calling her Master Katara and acknowledging what she has done for the war after getting belittled by her own tribe. Also, Iroh stealing Piando's gift to Sokka to not shaft Sokka for not being a bender.
  • Torture Cellar: Ozai has one, and it is used as proof as why he shouldn't be Fire Lord — as much for the illegality of it as for the obvious signs of psychosis.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zuko loves his fireflakes and Katara loves her sea prunes.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Lampshaded in-universe and in the Author's notes. To get the Fire Nation from the Earth Kingdom, Zuko and Katara had to take a shortcut through an ocean instead of their regular route which would take days.
  • Trilogy Creep: The series has expanded greatly over time, not just having the three main entries, but also having many side stories about other characters.
  • Tsundere: Katara is Type A, as Zuko was formerly their enemy and Katara doesn't trust him to not betray them, combined with Zuko constantly getting on her nerves for one reason or another. Katara is initially very hostile to Zuko until they become friends and Katara realizes her feelings for him. Then she is no longer this trope when she is crushing on him. Slightly deconstructed when Zuko gets worn out by her hostility and believes them not to be friends
    • Deconstructed with Jet; he is in denial about his feelings for Zuko, as he refuses to accept he's bisexual, and justifies his stalking as trying to out him as a firebender as opposed to rather creepy lust spawned by Zuko's rejection of him. Zuko, Smellerbee and Longshot believe him to have serious problems, it prevents Jet from moving on or helping his friends, and ultimately ends with the canonical events that lead to Jet getting arrested and brainwashed by the Dai Li.
  • Twice Shy: Katara and Zuko.
  • Unfortunate Name: Piando's butler and partner, Fat.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Zuko and Katara develop in the latter of Not Stalking Zuko.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: The Joo Dees, taken Up to Eleven.
  • Unusual Euphemism: There are quite a few for alcohol and sex-related matters. For example, "cheeky" is an attitude referring to raunchy bits, while "do the squelchy" is a term for having sex.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Zuko has one due to the Boy in the Iceberg making him seem like a sexual deviant.
  • Useful Book: A nine-year-old Zuko used a thick book about the Fire Nation's history as a footstool while trying to learn how to play the tsungi horn.
  • Vacation Episode: The Ember Island Arc.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Katara become one to Zuko after he got shot by lightning, although by that point in the story she wasn't his girlfriend. Justified that Zuko was defenseless at the time and she was worried about assassins taking advantage of that.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Subverted with Ozai; Fire Nation colonials don't trust him, and Fire Nation old guard and the elite generally think Ozai's completely nuts. The only ones who still want him on the throne are those who directly profited from Ozai's being there, or just consider him a "better quantity" than either the now-psychotic Azula or the unknown element Zuko.
  • We Were Rehearsing A Play: Jet and Zuko say they were acting out the fight scene in the Tragedy of Oma and Shu, not getting into a street fight, in an effort to avoid jail time.
  • Wham Episode: Aang disappearing before the comet, the Gaang were freaking and thinking that Aang might have abandoned them.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Katara drinks too much sake with Suki and doesn't remember until she stayed awake for few hours.
  • What Does He See in Her?: Katara wonders constantly what draws Zuko to Gloomy Hairbuns (Mai).
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: In-Universe, the late night screening of Boy in the Iceberg
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: In-Universe, the Siege of the North killed off many Fire Nation naval soldiers, a lot of them from Ember Islands. The Gaang, excluding Zuko, didn't realize the human cost until seeing a memorial service on Ember Island for the naval soldiers lost in the Siege. Zuko saw the dead bodies while floating on a raft at sea. Aang is left unaware of what he done until the worst possible time.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Word of God wondered where Appa went during the Agni Kai, but justified that Katara and Zuko must have put him somewhere far away from the site since he's afraid of fire.
    • Averted with Hawky. Per canon, Hawky, the messenger hawk Sokka bought did not show up after 'The Runaway'. In Not Stalking Zuko it is revealed taht he returned during the Gaang's stay at Ember Island with a reply and was sent back with a reply to THAT soon after.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Katara does not accept Aang's lion turtle excuse, she calls him out for abandoning them in their most critical hour, and everyone calls out Aang for sparing Ozai and destabilizing the Fire Nation power structure.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: The Gaang all wonder who wrote The Boy In The Iceberg
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Firebending for Appa.
  • World of Snark: Everyone snarks at some point.
  • Worthy Opponent: The retired Fire Nation general admires Hakoda's bravery.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The author wonders if this is at play in Ursa being Roku's granddaughter, but also concedes that she also this herself.
  • X Meets Y: "Love Among The Dragons" is described by the author as "[1] meets Jane Austen", if both of them were drunk, on a sugar high, and had watched a lot of trashy soap operas.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Zuko tells this to Katara, when she's having doubts about taking revenge on Yon Rha. Katara returns the favor in Not Stalking Zuko.
  • You Are Not Alone: It's implied this was what finally convinced Zuko to become Fire Lord, that Iroh would be helping him rule.
  • You Did the Right Thing: Zuko to Katara regarding her actions in "The Painted Lady," saying she helped the villagers back then.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Arnook congratulates Aang for both his sparing Ozai — explicitly because of this causing major political instability amongst the Fire Nation — and for his slaughter of the Fire Nation navy fleet. Aang, who believed that he never killed people, is not pleased and horrified.

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