Salvage (ATLA story)

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Title: Salvage
Author(s): MuffinLance
Date(s): Published: 21 Oct 2019
Completed: 27 May 2021
Length: 127 169 words (20 chapters)
Genre: Canon Divergence, Family, Angst
Fandom: ATLA
External Links: AO3, Archive
fanart by zobbtarre (2021)

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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. [1]


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"). [2] 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. [3]

World Building

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.

Original Characters

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
  • "Aklhut" for the name of Hakoda's ship, "which is a wolf-orca from Inuit folklore". Muffinlance credits exactlyexactlygrandcrown for coming up with the name,[4] and the usage in this fic has spread it to the fandom more generally.[5]

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. [6]

If you haven't read any Avatar the Last Airbender fiction, this is one you've missed out on. Fantastic.[7]

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[8]

And of course, Salvage by MuffinLance: its at the top of the “sort by bookmarks” list in the ATLA fandom tag for a reason![9]

possibly the best atla work ever written in the history of the world[10]

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.[11]

Awww Hakoda rly said gotta catch em all [12][13]

hakoda: i have 2 children


hakoda: i have three children :)


hakoda: i have f-

zuko: is now a good time to tell you about her 2 b-

azula: minions. they are my minions.

hakoda: ……six children :D [12][14]


Recursive Fanfiction


SOOO much fanart -- most posted to fanlore has been reblogged by the author, Archived version but there may be more on AO3 and other fanart sites.


See also