Return to Sender

Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly enough.

Warnings: Speculation, Spoilers up to the Finale

AN: For Avatar_500 over on LJ. The prompt was #8: Token.

Takes place immediately after Aang fights Ozai.

For their great victory, Sokka feels a little less than triumphant.

Sure, they're all still standing. The big bad Fire Lord is little more than a drooling guy on the ground, while the airship fleet is just burning metal and ash. The war is over. The world is saved. And everything's all sunsets and happy times.

Except he's pretty sure that his leg is broken. He has no idea how Katara and Zuko are or even if they're still alive. Suki is sporting some burns. Aang is already starting to bruise. And Toph is probably hiding spirits only know what injuries. His space sword is gone forever. Oh, and his freaking boomerang never came back.

And it always comes back. Only, apparently not this time.

Sokka can't help but pout just a little as he leans against a convenient piece of rock. This is their big victory. But they're all exhausted and still have to figure out how to: A) get back to Camp Old Folks with two extra people in tow and possibly some of the firebenders currently floundering in the ocean. And B) deal with Ozai now that he's even less threatening than a koala-lamb.

Personally, Sokka thinks they should lose him in some dark hole; Zuko would even thank them for it. Not to mention the rest of the world. But Aang's pretty staunch that they need to take him back to the Fire Nation, and as Toph pointed out, it has the advantage of heaping on extra humiliation. Still, that does involve hauling around his greatness for the foreseeable future.

Decisions, decisions.

Sokka's still contemplating pros and cons of that and half-listening to the other three debate it over when he hears an eerie sound. The sun has set, and it's already dark enough that he has problems seeing. But Sokka's ears work just fine. Well enough that he turns towards the south and cocks his head to the side.

Almost a whistling noise, but it's hard to tell with all the weird echoes from the rock pillars around them. A whistle followed by a sharp ping. As if something had just hit stone and bounced off.

Beside him, Toph stiffens. Obviously hearing it, too.

"What's that no-" she starts to ask.

Only to abruptly stagger to the side as something clips the side of her forehead and bounces off in another direction. Sokka reaches out instinctively as it flies by and then holds it up for inspection. It looks blue in the dying light and is bigger than his hand, the perfect shape for throwing. He feels his eyes widen.

"Boomerang!" Sokka nearly squeals.

They whip around to goggle at him. Suki blinks in confusion, while Toph angrily rubs the side of her head. Ozai just snorts and drools a little more. And Aang, the Avatar and the kid who just stomped up and down on the Fire Lord, looks awestruck.

"Wow," he breathes, "It really does always come back."

Ever Hopeful,