It's Time For … Boomerangman!
Avatar Crack!fic by: A J
For Machete227's Crack!fic Challenge
Standard Disclaimer Applies
Author's note: I hope I'm up to this; Seven crack!fic one-shots in as many days. For full details, please see Machete227's author page. To anyone else trying this as well, Lots of luck! Catch ya on the flipside, A J. On with the story …
Warning: MAJOR OOC-ness ahead!
The first full moon after Yue's death found them dealing with the insanity in Omashu after Bumi's surrender. Sokka was under more stress than he could deal with under the circumstances anyway, and when his crazy idea for the plague actually worked, something inside him snapped. Katara and Aang both missed it that night, but it wasn't long before his new troubles became obvious. Sokka started to purchase more sinister things from the shadier dealers in the towns they went through, secretly at first, then openly when Aang made a snap decision to find out about a possible new Earthbending teacher in an underground Bender's fighting arena. Katara thought it was strange when Sokka went back to buy an Earth Kingdom bag he'd been admiring at a vendor, but returned instead with a strange belt that had many tiny pockets built into it. Aang did his best to reign in his curiosity when Sokka bought a fifth boomerang at the weaponsmith to complement his original from their southern home and the three new ones he'd carved since they'd left the North Pole. Both finally realized something serious was up when they and Toph were rudely awakened during the next full moon, by a surprise attack from Azula and her two femme fatale friends on rhinolizards.
The trio had already been chasing them all day in a strange armored three-part cart, and now seemed bent on making the Gaang (a name Toph had coined within minutes of joining them for the duration,) lose any chance at a decent night's sleep.
The morose girl with the uncanny aim was herding Toph with a barrage of thrown darts, Aang was fighting Azula and losing, despite working two elements to her one, and Katara was doing her best to fend off the odd but dangerously graceful Ty Lee, when Sokka made his entrance into the combat zone.
"Dun dun DUN!" he cried dramatically, posing on Appa's head when they all whirled his way. "This looks like a job for … Boomerangman!" He leaped off in a somersault, making Aang and Katara gape, and Ty Lee whoop and clap. He landed right in front of her, swished back his dark blue cape (emblazoned with the symbol of the Water Tribe in bright gold thread,) and said in a too-hearty voice, "Pardon me, miss, it's not in my nature to strike a lady, but I'm going to be forced to make an exception if you don't stop that right now." Ty Lee and Katara, both stunned, just stood there, staring at him. "Very good then," he said, bowing to them both, "Then I must see now to the next victim in distress. Good night, ladies!"
They watched as he did a barrel roll over to where Toph was standing behind a wall of rock she'd conjured to ward off Mai's deadly little projectiles. "Fear not, little lady, I'll save you," he said to her softly. With just a glance around her wall at Mai, he reached under his cape and brought out what looked like a rolled up bundle of string and sticks. Then he leaped up and over Toph's defensive partition and hurled the bundle in Mai's direction.
Mai, thinking nothing of the bizarre boy's behavior until then, merely weaved to the left while returning fire with one of her medium-weight daggers, hilt-first. This was supposed to be a capture, not kill, task, after all. So she was even more surprised than the rest of them when she not only missed, because he tucked himself low to the ground even as she had committed to the higher-aimed throw, but his awkward bundle also unraveled into a trio of small boomerangs tied together as a triple bola that rapidly wound around her limbs, effectively tying her up.
"Go, Sokka," Aang uttered in amazement, seeing his friend neutralize the most dangerous of the three girls (as he saw it, anyway,) without any effort.
"Going, going, gone," Azula blurted, sending a bolt of fire at the obnoxious busybody interrupting her moment of triumph. She had already turned back to face off with the Avatar without looking at how her strike had dealt with the Water-idiot, when a forceful hand landed on her shoulder and spun her back around. She couldn't help the way her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. "How … how?" was all she could manage. He wasn't smoldering. He wasn't even singed, for Agni's sake. He was merely looking at her sadly, his masked eyes staring into hers.
"You … are a very naughty girl." Before the Fire Princess could even come up with an appropriately scathing retort, he spun her back around, she heard a strange 'Click!', and her hands were shackled tightly behind her back. "I'll be lenient with you this time, and leave you to your friend's care, but I give you fair warning, miss. Do not interfere with the Avatar's business again, for he travels under the protection of … BOOMERANGMAN!" He fairly bellowed the last part right by her ear, wreaking havoc with her hearing for weeks to come on that side, as he effortlessly hoisted her up by the back of her dress and plopped her facedown on Toph's wall.
Sokka turned back to Ty Lee, still motionless next to his sister and just watching the whole thing with a huge smile, like she was back with the circus, and he was the newest star attraction. He stepped toward her, one hand extended. "I trust you can handle your friends with their bonds come sunup, correct?" She nodded, confused, as she took his hand, to find that he was handing her the key to Azula's manacles.
"What makes you so sure I won't just release them as soon as you're gone, to keep chasing you and your friends?" she asked, honest as she was.
"Just this," he replied, pulling her in for a kiss, and knocking her out with the sleep powder he blew into her mouth from the tube he'd kept under his tongue. He gently laid her down next to the glaring, struggling Mai, and smiled at the dark-clad girl. "I wouldn't struggle too much, if I were you. Those ropes are strengthened with some of the best wire the Fire Nation can craft. I'd hate to see such a lovely lady do herself irreparable harm." She was still staring at him incredulously when he gave her a dose of the sleeping powder as well. Retrieving his boomer-bola, he tied her up with some regular rope, and walked back to where his friends were gathered by Appa, gassing Azula as well on the way. She sure was lippy for such a properly-raised young lady!
'Wow, Sokka … I … never knew you had it in you …" Katara managed, as they all climbed back on the tired skybison and set aloft once again for a new campsite.
"Think nothing of it," he boomed proudly. "And please, call me Boomerangman." He stepped forward, planting one foot on the front of Appa's saddle, and stayed there until they had landed and the others had climbed down again. A moment later, Sokka got off from Appa, and all his strange gear and his outlandish outfit were nowhere to be seen.
"Uh, Sokka?" What happened to Boomerangman?" Aang asked, as the Gaang settled down (again) to try to get a good night's sleep.
"Who?" Sokka asked.
"You know …" his sister added, just as confused. "The guy who just rescued us from the terror trio? Kinda your height, dressed all in blue, lots of boomerangs …"
"Really good fighter," Toph supplied, wondering where he'd been hiding all those mad skills when she'd spied on him working out previously.
"Just handed Azula the quickest defeat we've ever dealt someone from the Firenation," Aang finished. "Any of this sound familiar?"
"I have no idea who you're talking about," Sokka replied, yawning. "Now c'mon, let's get some rest before that stupid giant caterpillar comes rumbling after us again." The other three could only gape as he rolled over and promptly began to snore.
It wasn't until a couple days later that Katara the waterbender realized he'd crashed at the same time the full moon had gone down that night.
The next time they saw Boomerangman, he was running through the streets of Ba Sing Se, tackling a robber, and handing a distraught young woman from the nearby poetry house back her purse, and telling her "Never fear, Boomerangman is here!" He tied up the robber, and left him with a crude note tucked into his belt on the doorstep of the local constabulary. Before Toph and Katara could give chase, he had taken off over some rooftops, yelling "I hear your cry of dismay. Help is on the way!"
"Do you think he stays up nights, thinking this stuff up?" Toph asked, shaking her head.
"I don't think it," Katara replied in a sad voice. "I fear it." She looked up just in time to see a full moon come out from behind some clouds.
Neither of them were there to see Boomerangman's most telling moment, when he stopped short of thwarting what he thought was his old nemesis, Broody Fireprince, from torching the town. Boomerangman realized Fireprince was merely lighting lanterns (with style, no less!) to impress a lovely young lady. Boomerangman took himself elsewhere; his help was not needed in that particular plaza that night.
As they flew away from Ba Sing Se, a wounded Avatar in her lap, Katara found herself fervently wishing that Azula had waited just a few hours longer to spring her trap on the Gaang. Maybe Boomerangman could have helped turn the tide in that disastrous battle. She looked back at her brother, moodily watching the full moon, and saying nothing whatsoever. That, in itself, told her something was wrong with Sokka. Normally, he'd have already been busily planning how they could come back from this latest disaster that their lives had become. "Come on, Aang … hang in there," she murmured against her charge's brow. "Boomerangman needs his faithful sidekick," she teased. It was a running joke with the other three teens when Sokka wasn't within earshot. Who would step up and help out the great hero? Little did she know that the answer was waiting only one more month …
The water-tribe ships floated silently in the fogbank Katara had conjured up, waiting for the Firenation cruiser to sail on by them as the night deepened. Suddenly, a shaft of pale moonlight fell upon their ship's cabin, and Katara cringed. She knew what was coming, but hadn't had time or reason to tell her father yet.
"AHOY, FIRE NAVY VESSEL!" a proud voice yelled out from the bow of their ship. Turning, Katara sighed. Yup, he was back … the new bane of her existence … "HEAVE TO AND PREPARED TO BE BOARDED!" Hakoda and Bato came haring up from the lower deck, thinking they had been spotted. Instead, they froze at the top of the steps, flabbergasted by the sight of Sokka, wearing a cape, a hooded mask, and a beltful of odd tools and assorted weapons, standing in the bow of the ship and calling out the enemy.
A full minute flowed tensely by, and the three Watertribe members thought they may have actually passed the enemy vessel unnoticed after all, when from out of the fog came an answering yell. "WHO DARES TO COMMAND THE FIRE NAVY AS IF THEY WERE A COMMON BRIGAND?" Katara cringed; here it came …
"I AM BOOMERANGMAN, AND I HEREBY COMMANDEER YOUR VESSEL IN THE NAME OF THE FREE NATIONS OF THE WORLD."
Almost another full minute passed by, and then … laughter.
"Time to upgrade our accommodations, gentlebeings," Boomerangman said with a small smile to his gathered tribemates. Then with a rousing cry, he held up Aang's glider, tapped it open, and sailed off into the mist towards the Firenation ship.
"Tui, La, and Yue," Katara swore, bending the water under their ship to close with the cruiser, even as they became aware of the fact that the laughter had quickly been changing to terrified screams and angry bellows ahead of them.
'HEY KATARA!" a voice bellowed off to her left. "IS WHAT I THINK HAPPENING HAPPENING?" The Southern Waterbender sighed again.
"YEAH, TOPH," she yelled back.
"ALRIGHT! FINALLY! SOME ACTION! YIP-YIP!" Katara realized with a horrified indrawn breath that Appa and Toph were on the same ship.
"Tides help us …" she sputtered, bending more and faster than she ever had before. Somebody had to get on that cruiser and save her insane friend and brother, and Aang was still out of commission belowdeck.
They were alongside the Fire Navy cruiser in mere minutes, but by then it was all over. Katara boosted herself on deck with a surge of water, to find the majority of the enemy troops bashed unconscious, tied up with Sokka's new boomerbolas, or held fast to the deck by … the deck itself, proof that Toph had had a helping hand in this madness. The worst of it was when her brother stepped forward, beaming proudly, Air staff in one hand, and the other supporting Momo on his shoulder. Momo was dressed to match Sokka's outrageous getup, with a small blue mask around his eyes, and a Watertribe cape tied snugly across his back. He chittered in a self-satisfied way to Sokka, and the bold boy smiled.
"Welcome, dear lady, to the good ship Sea-arang. I am Captain Boomerangman, and this is my first mate, Lemurbatboy." He turned to wave over an exhausted Toph, who was just taking a large ring of keys from the Fire Nation captain of the ship. "I believe you know our diminutive yet determined compatriot, the Blind Battler?" Katara looked from one to the other and back, dumbstruck. The insanity was spreading …
They were enjoying their second night under Hama's roof, talking together of all the things they missed from their frozen southern home, when Katara glanced out the window. 'Oh, no … only a hand of days before the full moon again … I have to get us out of here before Hama gets sucked in by … Him … as well.' She feigned a yawn, and said that they all should be going to bed. They wanted to get an early start tomorrow.
"Oh, just one more day, dear. I've still got another trick or two I'd like to teach you," Hama said warmly. She even winked! Sokka nodded enthusiastically, (he'd really enjoyed Hama's home cooking) Toph sighed, bored by everything not relating to Earthbending or her new status as a full partner to Boomerangman, and Aang … Aang actually looked excited, for Katara's sake.
"Just think of all the great southern waterbending techniques she's probably been saving up for years, just waiting for the right pupil," he said as they all went to bed shortly afterwards, confirming it.
"Yeah, well unless she's got one up her sleeve to cure insanity, I'd just as soon we were on our way," Katara sighed. "We still have a long way to go before the Day of Black Sun."
"I know, I know, but … just … look at it this way. You owe it to your tribe, and the memory of all those lost benders, to take back whatever you can of their heritage to teach to the next last Southern waterbender," he said, giving her his 'wise eyes', which always made her giggle and agree, even when he was just spouting nonsense like any normal twelve-year-old.
"Okay … one more day," she said, swearing they were out of here after that, new techniques be damned, the following morning. She did NOT want to contemplate what her new Sifu would make of her deranged brother or his extra self, should they meet come the full moon.
The next day and night saw the fall of Hama back into her own madness, and Katara learning the most terrifying technique of all, bloodbending. The Gaang quietly left the inn before the night was over.
Three days later, they were in a small fishing village in the middle of a polluted river, trying to get food, when they heard the story of the Painted Lady, and Katara couldn't walk away from the suffering she saw around her.
That night, disguised, she brought food back to the village from the troops at the foundry who'd commandeered it previously.
The next night, she returned medicines as well as several villagers who had been conscripted to work in the smelting pits in the bowels of the plant.
On the third night, with her cover blown as far as the rest of the Gaang went, she had them all follow her to destroy the foundry for good, then deal with the backlash from the troops who followed them back to the town. In all her planning, she'd forgotten what that night was …
"That's no Painted Lady; it's just some dolled-up little girl playing hero," the company commander shouted, drawing his sword. At least a few of his men followed suite. "Arrest her, for destruction of Fire Nation property."
"I think not, my good man," a booming voice echoed from off the edge of the docks. Toph gave a whooping war-cry, Aang popped up from under the docks next to Katara, and Momo came swooping down, cape flapping, to land on Boomerangman's shoulder. "Yes, my furry friend, it is indeed time once again to teach these naughty soldiers a harsh lesson," Sokka said to the chirring Lemurbatboy. He handed Momo a boomerang with a trailing length of twine, and said, "You get the dozen on the left; I'll handle the dozen on the right. Do you think you can take care of the rest, Blind Battler, Mister Twister, Water Witch?" He turned to each of them as he said their new names. Toph smacked one fist into her other hand, grinning evilly. Aang summoned up a small whirlwind on the pier between him and the closest soldiers, his eyes alight with sheer fun. Forget being the Avatar; being a superhero was so much better! Katara just gaped at her brother, then shook her head, resignedly bending a pair of waterwhips from the polluted river below. She'd brain him later … after they'd saved the day.
The Day of Black Sun found them running pell-mell through dark tunnels, searching in vain for the Firelord's secret bunker. When they got there, all they found was a sneering, superior Azula. Just as she was wining the duel, and her dai Li agents seemed to have a handle on things, the Eclipse started, and her Fire fizzled out. While running before the suddenly much-stronger Avatar, she was vaguely aware of her help getting terminally beaten by a twelve-year old blind girl. She was just turning into a tunnel to take a breather, having given Aang the slip temporarily, when she came face to face with a blue-eyed masked devil from her nightmares.
"You're being naughty again, Azula. What is the fitting punishment for this, your third transgression, hmm?" he demanded quietly, leaning close. She was milliseconds from screaming and scratching his damnable eyes out in panic when her wrists were seized again from behind, and she was pinned to the wall by the pint-sized earthbender.
"What should we do with her, Captain Boomerangman?" asked the normally mild monk in a manic manner. He spun his new staff rapidly in front of Azula, stopping with it pointed right between her eyes.
"Her own karma will catch up with her," Sokka intoned righteously, turning away. "We have more important fish to fry today." Azula fumed, screaming foully after them as they marched off to face her father without a backward glance. They were still searching for the right room in the warren of tunnels unfortunately when the Eclipse ended, and the trio had to beat a hasty retreat from a hidden brigade of firebenders who had been quietly waiting it out.
The sun was setting on one side, and the full moon was rising on the other, as Toph, Sokka, and Suki took the great leap to get on board the Firenation Warzeppelin. They headed straight for the bridge, and while Suki dealt with an unexpected guard, and Toph crashed through the metal door, Sokka pulled on his mask one more time, and unfurled his cape from under his shirtcollar. The new silk one was much more compact, allowing him to keep it on at all times, should the need arise for the people's champion.
Toph took the bridge without breaking a sweat, and turned to feel Suki and Sokka entering behind her. "What do we do about the rest of the crew … Sokka, what are you wearing?" she heard Suki ask. Toph, never great with numbers, did some math slowly in her head. Had it been a month already? Oh, this was gonna be good … She reached up and pulled her spare headband over her eyes, so Sokka knew he had the backup he would need.
The great man stepped over to the communications tube and rumbled into it. "This is Captain Boomerangman speaking, issuing a challenge to any crewman brave enough to come face me in honorable combat in the lower bay." The trio waited, and shortly they could hear the mighty roar of feet as the entire crew went tearing off to the lowermost level of the ship, screaming for his head. Sokka pulled the bomb bay door lever, and the ship's complement went for an unexpected swim.
"What was so honorable about that?" Suki asked, totally confused.
"I didn't have to hurt a single one, yet defeated them all," Captain Boomerangman said, laughing heartily. "To the wheel, my good woman! We have an armada to waylay." He marched to the broken window of the ship, staring fiercely out into the deepening night.
"And just how are we gonna do that?" Toph asked. "Infiltrating one ship was easy, but I don't think we could pull this off on ALL of them, Captain."
"Why, my good Blind Battler, we are going to use the biggest boomerang we have! This ship, the Aerorang One! Bring us aside the nearest enemy vessel, and set course for the far side of the flotilla."
Suki stared at her boyfriend, while Toph gave a great cheer. "Uh, I hate to break it to you … Captain Boomerang," she started.
"Boomerangman, please, if you would, good lady Suki," he corrected gently, smiling. "The course?" He nodded at the wheel.
"BoomerangMAN," she sighed, bemused, "this ship probably won't survive that kind of collision course …"
"Quite, which is why we'll be riding it out up top. Now don't dawdle, we have an invasion to foil, good woman." He smiled that smile again, and Suki found herself following the order without another thought. It was suicide, it was madness, it was inspired genius at its most improbable … as soon as she had the ship turned and the wheel tied down to hold it steady while it ripped through its fellows, she and her crazy companions ran for it.
The destruction that followed was spectacular when viewed from any sort of distance, but up close and personal, the three were never more terrified in their lives. Leaping from one breaking ship onto another, Captain Boomerangman was distressed to find they'd lost one of their companions, though the Blind Battler was still loyally at his side. "LADY SUKI?" he cried, concerned. She was one of those he'd sworn to protect, after all. Perhaps even the most important one …
"I'M OKAY!" she cried from far off, and he spied her waving faintly from atop another airship nearby. "FINISH THE MISSION!" He took his hood off, and waved it back.
"IN YOUR NAME, GOOD LADY SUKI!" he called back, then donned his mask again and set forth with the Blind Battler to commandeer this new prize. They didn't waste time taking the bridge and dropping the crew this time. One, that would have taken too long, and two they were much too high up for those tactics to be humanely utilized again. Instead, he led the Battler to the rear sailrudder, and bade her bend it to the course of their choosing, continuing the destruction they'd started. With the sail bent, it wasn't long before soldiers came up to fix things and face those responsible.
He and the Blind Battler acquitted themselves spectacularly considering the odds. More than a dozen enemy soldiers were dispatched before he and his companion were dislodged from their holdout near the tail of the Warzeppelin. They fell onto the lower scaffolding where the firebenders had been posted to wreack their havoc on the unsuspecting Earthkingdom below. Now those same benders surrounded them, and Captain Boomerang discovered the impossible; he'd broken a leg in the fall, and could not stand to fight. The fight certainly wasn't out of him yet, though, as he proved to the next two warriors who challenged them. Suddenly, they were surrounded, and he was out of ammunition, having sent a worthy foe plummeting with his final boomerang.
Toph was preparing to bend the support they lay on, sending them all to their doom in a final act of defiance, when their enemies suddenly turned tail and fled. "What happened?" she cried. "Did boomerang come back?" Their landing shuddered, as a new airship rocketed close by on a collision course with their last unhindered adversary. In control of the second ship's rudder, waving a boomerang he'd thrown earlier at another foe, was none other than the lady Suki!
"No," he shouted back with glad relief. "Better! We are delivered by the hands of Boomeranglass!" And all was right with the world. He'd even give her his own hood. He would do without anonymity. Maybe a hat …
Far above, Yue smiled down on her mad love. She couldn't have been prouder of her champion. Now if she could just do something with his stubborn sister … she really was protesting too much. But as they would all someday learn, the will of the Moon was inescapable. There was a reason insanity was also called lunacy. It was her way of helping to keep the balance. Just as one dark madman had dictated the timing of her own fate, so too now she had seen to it that another, full of light, life, and love, would ensure the world was made a better place.
Author's note two: Argle-bargle nutpuckers! I know this is supposed to be crack!ships as well as crack!fics, but the way this ended up, I am presenting it as a crack!take on a normal ship: Yue and Sokka, keeping to the theme of Watertribe for Day Three of the challenge. Flame me all you want for this one, folks. Good Captain Boomerangman will just present them to his saintly sister for proper disposal. ;D Feel the crack, love the crack, BE the crack! Catch ya on the flipside, so don't get caught on the dark side, A J.