Salvage (ATLA story)
|Date(s):||Published: 21 Oct 2019 |
Completed: 27 May 2021
|Length:||127 169 words (20 chapters)|
|Genre:||Canon Divergence, Family, Angst|
|External Links:||AO3, Archive|
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Salvage is an Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic by MuffinLance. As of September 2021, it is the most popular ATLA fic on AO3, with over 800k hits and 36k Kudos. 
Mid-Season-One Zuko is held ransom by Chief Hakoda. Ozai's replies to the Water Tribe's demands are A+ Parenting. Hakoda is… deeply concerned, for this son that isn't his, and who might be safer among enemies than with his own father.
Development, Narrative Choices and Inspiration
A reader of Towards the Sun asked Muffinlance about the possibility of Hakoda comforting Zuko during the Boiling Rock arc of that fic ("Hakuddles").  Muffinlance loved the idea but, unable to find a way to work it into her outline for TtS, spun off an entirely new AU about Zuko being held captive on Hakoda's ship during Book 1. 
The story developed a lot of original culture and lore for the Water Tribe and the Earth Kingdom, beyond what was shown in the show.
Muffinlance developed a number of OCs for the fic, some of which gained widespread popularity in the fandom and became the subject of recursive fanworks. Most were crewmen in Hakoda's fleet, but there were also civilians in the ports they visited, and representatives of the Earth Kingdom armies who interfaced with Hakoda. Notable characters include:
- Panuk and Toklo -- the youngest members of Hakoda's crew, who befriend Zuko
- Kustaa -- the healer aboard Hakoda's ship, takes on Zuko as an apprentice
- Aake -- a member of Hakoda's crew who is initially one of the most hostile to Zuko (earning the nickname "Leg Breaker" from Zuko due to his threats)
- Scuttles/Sokka/Seal Jerky -- the ship's dog (giant isopod puppy)
- for more, see Literally a List of Characters, Muffinlance's OC appendix
Fan Responses and Reviews
Thoughts: this is one of those fics that’s not only a good fanfic, but just like a good story in general. The writing is really good and there’s a nice mix of fluff and angst. All the characters are well done. I’ve read this one twice and I adore it. The atmosphere is also incredible this story feels soft and warm. 
If you haven't read any Avatar the Last Airbender fiction, this is one you've missed out on. Fantastic.
Salvage by MuffinLance!!! Iconic work honestly, in the top 20 most-kudos'd works and it was only completed in 2021. Its about Zuko being found by [Hakoda] in the Arctic. Great work great work great work
And of course, Salvage by MuffinLance: its at the top of the “sort by bookmarks” list in the ATLA fandom tag for a reason!
possibly the best atla work ever written in the history of the world
it's all about the relationship between Hakoda and Zuko if they were to meet under circumstances [which] gave Hakoda the advantage and Zuko in need of help. It's a beautiful story about Zuko getting learning that not the whole world is against him. It's also about the water tribe learning that not everyone is fire nation is evil. It's a wonderful story with hilarious humor mixed in.
- Podfic: chapters 1-11, Archived version by ariaelwen, continuation, Archived version by Tuktuk
- Speeding like a Dead Comet, Archived version by queenbaskerville, a recursive fanfic that is a crossover between Towards the Sun and Salvage
- What do you mean, it doesn't crash-land?, Archived version by DaedricDovah, about messenger birds and cultural divides on Hakoda's ship.
- MANY more
- ^ AO3 ATLA tag works sorted by kudos. The Inter Archive. Snapshot taken 24 August 2021. Accessed 13 September 2021.
- ^ TtS theory/prediction/request? Zuko, who is in possession of neither firebending not body fat,.... Muffinlance's tumblr. 16 October 2019. Accessed 16 September 2021. archived link
- ^ Oh... Just realized, tts!Hakoda is going to be so pissed.... Muffinlance's tumblr. 7 May 2021. Accessed 16 September 2021. Archive URL
- ^ Fanfic Rec Salvage, by fantasywillowtree on Tumblr.
- ^ Comment by ZephyrChameleontail on International Fanworks Day Feedback Fest 2022
- ^ Comment by Bronze_Tomatoes on International Fanworks Day Feedback Fest 2022
- ^ Comment by SharaFinan on International Fanworks Day Feedback Fest 2022
- ^ Comment by Seththebook on International Fanworks Day Feedback Fest 2022
- ^ Comment by Aska_the_Weirdo on International Fanworks Day Feedback Fest 2022