Story: Dancing in the Dark
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender/Avatar: The Legend of Aang
Stats: 7 Chapters, 64,000+ words, Published in 2006, Pairing Zutara/Blutara (Zuko/Katara Blue Spirit)
Summary: Before the rumours begin that I selected this one because I am a closeted Zutaraian, I would like to quosh this rumour here and now. I am in fact an out and proud Zutaraian, I just arrived to the fandom a little late... that's all. Actually it was one day late, the day I discovered it was the after the last episode had aired, so I missed the shipping wars. One of my favourite clichés for this pairing is the use of Katara's Painted Lady meeting Zuko's Blue Spirit, but it's not seen often and rarely seen done well, so if someone sees one of these, point it my way.
Alright let's get this out of the way with while we're at number 4 instead of number 74, when it comes to fandom, I become a right girl's blouse. That's not an insult to the lovely ladies who may be reading this blog, if you're unfamiliar with the term. What I mean is that I always, and not intentionally mind, end up shipping the doomed ships, but get caught up in all the fever and romance of it all, trust me this is not an easy thing for a guy to admit. I have known of more than one young man who has created for himself a fanfiction.net account with a female sounding name so they can get away with reading the more smooshy, romantic, fluff. Over the years I ship and have shipped, Draco/Hermione, Zuko/Katara, Eric/Sookie, Buffy/Spike and yes, I know that last one happened in canon, but they cocked it all up in the comics, so much so that I doubt I will read anymore Buffy comics again.... Xander/Dawn in season 8 comics.... not even kidding about that... *shudders*
But you didn't come hear to read the ramblings of my shipping history, you want to hear what this story's about! Probably.
Fun fact! The author of this story is called DamageCtrl, I once had a friend in real life, whose name was Damage Control, no joke, that was his name, he's no longer with us, but he was crazy and awesome.
So the basic story of this one is that it's set at the point where the gAang are in Ba Sing Sei and the girls happen to discover the tea shop where Iroh and Zuko are working while they are posing as refugees. Katara meets Zuko while he's in disguise as the Blue Spirit and of course, doesn't know who he is and they end up falling for each other through the medium of dance.
It doesn't really get going until Chapter 2, but it maintains a nice speed once the two characters are actually thrust together and the scenario that's set up does feel like one that actually could happen to these characters within this context.
The characters, aren't all that in character, they do more or less act in character for most point, but seeing that this is one of the author's earliest fics, I'm guessing they just hadn't got the hAang (<- see what I did there?) of the characters yet, and at times while they do seem like their show counterparts, others they do not. Katara is probably the least in character, she doesn't do anything that Katara would never do in a million years, she's just not very Katara-like at points. I think the problem is that the show is very comedic and relies on visual humour, being anime style, and this fic, while having some jokes and some very funny ones at that, is a more serious story so it's missing some of the more defining character moments that you would maybe see in a typical episode.
There are some problems with the writing that I think could have been helped by an experienced beta reader, some mistakes which are common enough, even in published novels, but still end up jumping out at you. For example:
""No, I don't," she hissed. "Now do you mind? You're being quite rude." Katara narrowed her eyes. "
This line isn't actually said by Katara, it's a woman Katara is speaking to. It's just a few little awkward mistakes like that, but these really aren't huge glowing errors.
It's your standard, fluffy romance fic, there's a rather amusing subplot involving Iroh and some of the old guys who visit the tea shop betting on who Zuko will end up going out with and there's some nice Toph moments, though a few feel a little forced. I enjoyed it quite a lot and I think most Zutara shippers would probably enjoy it, but it's definitely one that Kataang fans should avoid.
Rating: 7 out of 10