Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Character: Sokka, Hakoda (Sokka and Katara's dad)
Summary: An aerodynamic birthday present...
Notes: For safety and to get rid of unnecessary angst, I placed this a little bit before Sokka and Katara's mom was killed. You wouldn't believe the amount of Wikipedia and Google this short piece needed. First, to make sure I was writing Hakoda's name right, or if I was making wrong assumptions about him. Second, to know the kind of weapons the Southern Water Tribe prefers. Third, some obligatory reading about real-life boomerangs. Fourth, some episode summary reading to pick the best boomerang-centric scenes, since I needed to rewatch some Avatar to remember a) what kind of boomerang it was, b) how it looked like, and c) if it indeed comes back (Answer to the latter: AND HOW!)
On Sokka's ninth birthday, Hakoda leaded the boy outside the village, telling him he had a surprise for him. They stopped at the training area, which happened to be empty that day.
"Here, son," said Hakoda, leaning to the kid's level, "is your birthday present. It was made by me, and I hope you can give it a good use."
And so, he handed him a metallic artifact. Little Sokka examined it from all sides, curious and careful.
"What's this? Is it a toy or one of your new inventions?"
"Neither," the man laughed. "It's a traditional weapon."
"A weapon? But it doesn't look at all like a lance or a scimitar or a club. It's... I mean, it's heavy and all, but I'm not sure where to hold it."
"That's because you don't hold it, Sokka."
"Oh... Oh! Then you take some ropes and tie something to the little holes in it?"
"It's simpler than that, really. Let me borrow it for a minute."
Hakoda grabbed the boomerang, and twisted his arm around in position.
"Let's suppose your enemies are far away, and they're bringing fire arrows or cannons. You can't get close to stab them. You have no bow with you, and there are no Waterbenders near you to save the day. What do you do?"
Sokka thought for some minutes. What he liked about training with his father and not with Bato was how he also challenged his mind sometimes. Action and kicking asses was indeed great stuff, but Hakoda also brought strategies and crazy machines.
"I'd aim to their heads and throw a rock or something at them, I guess."
"Yes, the solution is in something projectile. But let's face it: rocks and heavy objects aren't exactly aerodynamic."
"What does that mean?"
"They don't fly well, and fall to the ground quickly. You have to put much strength to the throw if the target is far away. You can easily fail if you don't calculate it well. So here's where the boomerang is used. Check this out."
The man turned his arm further, waited some seconds, and then released it. The boomerang hovered through the cold air, twirling in circles and whistling.
"Awesome!" Sokka exclaimed, his jaw wide open.
"Isn't it? And wait, here's the best part."
Some seconds later, the boomerang's path turned in a curve, and flew back to them. Sokka ran to his left, but an unfazed Hakoda extended his arm and caught it in mid-air.
"It came back to you, dad."
"Because it's a boomerang. They're made in such a way they'll always come back at you." He gave it back to an excited Sokka. "That way, you don't have to waste arrows and arrows, and you can cut things from a distance because I added a blade edge when I improved it. Our ancestors normally built them with wood or bone, but such a material is useless against the Fire Nation."
"It flies like that because of the shape, right? It's all twisted and has this angle here in the middle. It kinda looks like an elbow and looks all silly, but that's the reason it has that shape."
"That's it, son!"
"And how about these holes? Do they help the boomerang to be more, uh, aerodymaniac?"
Now it was the adult's turn to be impressed.
"Aerodynamic. Yes, I made the holes to see if it could hover for a longer time, actually. You have a great eye for these things, Sokka."
"Uncle Bato said I got your weirdness, dad."
"Oh, did he?" Hakoda raised an eyebrow, amused. "Well, we should go back home now. Your mother and Katara must've finished your birthday feast by now."
"Awww, can't I try it now?"
"Sorry, little fella. If we're late the women will be mad at us. Let's practice tomorrow, all day long."
"Okay! Thanks, dad!" The boy hugged his father, grinning. "It's a great present!"
They started walking to the village, Hakoda's arm around Sokka's shoulders.
"Do you think there's gonna be steak?"
"And roasted penguin, too! I saw mom preparing the meat last night."
"You know, Sokka. They say the boomerangs were inspired in an air nomad weapon, and they emulate the way Airbenders could soar through the winds."
"Were they? Because they had to suck in battle if they were killed off."
"Hey now. It's not a matter of being good at war or not. You can't compare pacifists who aren't used to fight with the Fire Nation army. So don't talk bad about other countries."
"But we're going to win, aren't we?"
Hakoda chuckled, hoping he wouldn't sound so unsure.
"Let's hope so... but today, just focus in your meal."