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Fan Fic / Enslaved

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Enslaved is an Alternate Universe Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic by Sharkflip. Sharkflip takes the somewhat common trope within the fandom of Katara being kidnapped and enslaved in the Fire Nation and inverts it, with Zuko being captured and enslaved to Katara. A poignant character drama, the fic eschews much of the fanon characterization of the Zuko/Katara ship to play with the power dynamics, and emerges with a complex and understated romance.


Enslaved takes place in a world that is similar to but not quite like canon. The different nations have different languages, there are multiple Earth Kings and Queens, the Water Tribes are much more like Pacific Northwest First Nations people than they are in canon, and the Air monks are still around. Sharkflip keeps the worldbuilding consistent, believable, and disconcertingly close to canon. The anthropological research and the difficulties that arise from Zuko's poor grasp of the Water Tribe languages are one of the things that makes the fics so enjoyable to its fans, many of whom are not otherwise Zutara fans.

It can be found here on or here on sharkflip's LiveJounal account.


This Fic provides examples of:

  • Accidental Marriage: Only on Zuko's part, poor kid.
  • Alternate Universe: Very much so. The two biggest indicators of this is that Aang is neither the Avatar, nor the last airbender.
  • And Then What?: Zuko asks himself this. If he could escape the Water Tribe camp, and a that's huge if considering they're packing bloodbenders, waterbenders and normal warriors, then what would he do on his own in the wilderness?
  • Arranged Marriage: Katara's marriage to Hahn. Not only was it arranged, it was forced on her and her family. She was not pleased.
  • Cheerful Child: Tahnra and Akiak
  • Chick Magnet: The ladies of the Water Tribe may not want to date Zuko, but they like to stare lasciviously at him.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Given the canon, this is unsurprising, but given that the Water Tribes also associate bright blue with free people, it becomes a little more significant.
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  • Color-Coded Patrician: Slaves wear drab, brownish blue, free people wear brighter blue and sometimes get jewelry and decorations.
  • Comforting the Widow: Sokka tries to deliberately invokes this. Since Zuko has killed Katara's husband Hahn, doing her family a massive favor in the process, obviously, thinks Sokka, the two should get together now.
  • Culture Clash: While the whole fic is this, a particularly telling example is Zuko's definition of slavery (which involves Fire Nation plantation style slavery, in which slaves are extraordinarily lucky to make it to the two year mark) and the massive contrast it has to the Water Tribe's slavery by honor debt.
    • Katara also experiences this when she's introduced to parts of the Earth Kingdom culture. Though it's rather toned down from Zuko's example, more of an 'I can't believe you guys actually wear/eat this' tone.
  • Curious as a Monkey: Inverted, in that it is Tahnra that drags Zuko around, teaching her hapless nanny words for everything she can point to.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Mild, though part and parcel of the anthropological geekery inherent. The Water Tribe has gender divided labor and status, and also keeps slaves.
  • Disability Superpower: Aside from Toph, Yue became a tribal shaman after developing "falling sickness", either epilepsy or narcolepsy (or both. They do sometimes occur in the same individual).
  • Disabled Love Interest: It's Yue.
  • Domestic Abuse: Hahn tried to hit Katara. It didn't go well for him.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Played with. The translations are from Zuko's point of view. As he slowly learns to speak the Water Tribe language, the translations are less broken, and the Water Tribe members' words are translated much closer to their speakers' intents, which becomes hilarious as Zuko gets good enough at the language to realize that Sokka is calling people things like "his ancient spookiness" and calling shamanic rites "woo woo stuff". In universe, Zuko was this.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Since Katara doesn't bother to give Zuko her name, he spends the first part of the story calling her 'the woman'. Him dropping this heralds a major Relationship Upgrade.
  • Fainting Seer: Although Yue doesn't faint when she communicates with the spirits, her "falling sickness" is what marked her out for service to the spirits in the first place.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: An Avatar staple; sharkflip has taken the opportunity of an AU to make everything more realistic (ie language barrier etc.) and change some of the concordances. Most visibly, the Water Tribe used to be Inuit, but in the service of actually being able to have lots of outside scenes and a slightly less subsistence-level culture, appears to have gone Inuit~>Aleutian~>Pacific Northwest native. The addition of a whole lot of women's lib and waterbending is the main difference between the raincoast people and Enslaved's Water Tribe. Particularly visible during the salmon run arc.
  • Fish out of Water: Zuko. Katara briefly experiences this when she's imprisoned on Jet's ship.
  • First-Name Basis: Katara and Zuko learning each others names both involve a major Relationship Upgrade. To wit, Katara gives Zuko her name after he saves her life and swears to protect her, and Zuko reveals his actual name to her after they get married and have Their First Time.
  • Funny Foreigner: The Water Tribes sometimes view Zuko as this.
  • Hey, You!: Since he refuses to supply her with a name, Katara addresses Zuko as 'you' for the first part of the story. She drops this once their relationship improves.
  • Honor Before Reason: Interestingly, this characterizes Zuko less than it does Katara. She only marries Hahn to fulfill an honor debt, and gets Yue to marry her and Zuko so their coupling won't bring the down the disapproval of the Spirits.
  • Humiliation Conga: Zuko suffers from this when he first arrives at the Water Tribe.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Jet to Song.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The name of each chapter is a past tense verb ending in "ed". (Actually, it's a gerund.)
  • Important Haircut: After Zuko is freed, Katara cuts Zuko's hair.
  • Made a Slave: The whole plot starts off after the Water Tribe do this to Zuko.
    • After he kidnaps them both, Jet threatens to make Katara one in the Earth Kingdom. However, since it's later revealed that he urged her to abandon Zuko and go back to the Water Tribe, he probably said this just to wind Zuko up.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Averted. One of the differences between this and the canon Avatar: The Last Airbender universe.
  • Mundane Utility: Zuko's firebending is most often used to smoke fish and heat-shape wood. Katara's waterbending makes her an expert dyer.
    • Mundane Made Awesome: Toph points out fairly early on that Zuko is this to the Water Tribes, as the power to create fire at will is absurdly useful in potentially more aspects of their lives than even waterbending.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. The women retreat to a separate camp during their "moon time".
  • Parental Marriage Veto: More like a tribal marriage veto, in that the Tribe's shaman is very against Katara and Zuko's union. The fact that they're already technically married doesn't sway him in the slightest.
  • Parental Substitute: While Zuko was originally supposed to be a nanny to Tahnra and Akiak, it quickly becomes apparent that they see him as a dad, and in turn he views them as his kids.
  • People Puppets: When Zuko tries to escape, he gets to experience this aspect of bloodbending firsthand.
  • Pirate: Jet
  • Privateer: Toph and Jun.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Sokka deliberately sets up Zuko to be Tahnra and Akiak's replacement dad. Katara, their mom, is not happy about this.
  • Sex Slave: While Zuko was supposed to be this for Katara, she instead decides to use him as a nanny.
  • Ship Sinking: Katara/Aang, and Zuko/Mai. So far done in ways that aren't out of character, or demonizing to anyone involved. Or deadly.
  • Shipper on Deck: Oh Sokka...
  • Sick Episode: The first chapter, which lasts until Katara heals Zuko's infected arm.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In a mild, very complicated form. Zuko notes that the women typically sit behind the men (with Kanna as the exception) and slaves sit behind them. The fact that he notices these things, and doesn't expect Toph, when she arrives, to act this way implies the Fire Nation is different.
    • Male waterbenders in Katara's village are given enough guidance in their abilities to be able stabilize a canoe, but aren't tutored in formal bending forms. Instead, they're encouraged to become traditional weapon warriors.
  • The Unpronounceable: Since Zuko refuses to give them his name, the Water Tribe calls him Xtl'ikgut'Tlak, which means "dragon."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jet pushes this. His actions seem more selfish, and then he rationalizes them as targeting Fire Nation people and collaborators. His definition of collaborator is...loose.
  • Women's Mysteries: Zuko runs headfirst into this when he tries to figure out the details behind 'moon time'.
  • Widow Woman: Katara is newly widowed at the start of the story, since Zuko killed her husband shortly before his capture.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Zuko's still exiled (this time possibly on a fool's errand, as there doesn't seem to be any Avatar which he can hunt down) which saps his will to escape.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Katara's family sees the job of being her husband this way, which might have something to do with the fact that they all hated her husband, and Zuko's killing him fills them with all kinds of warm feelings for him. Katara disagrees.
  • You No Take Candle: Heavily implied Zuko sounded like this to the Water Tribe before receiving language lessons from Aang.

Example of: