Jak And Daxter Fan Fiction ❯ Strange Existence ❯ Two: First Of, Last Of ( Chapter 2 )
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Jak5: Strange Existence
Two: First Of, Last Of
Torn was the last one to show up the following morning, but he was still early of the time they’d decided upon. Even Pecker had been informed and now was openly staring at the girl. Keira was holding her, just as she’d been yesterday. The girl certainly had wide, curious eyes; she was looking around at everything just as interested as everyone was looking at her. Even so, she remained still, as though it helped hide her.
Almost everyone were engaged in conversation with someone else, except that Jak was staying out of it. He listened well enough, but he couldn’t keep his eyes off the sight of Keira and the child. She just looked so natural like that, with a girl in her arms, as though she herself were the mother. Of course that would be impossible, and he knew it; the girl didn’t look young enough to be a child of Keira’s.
Still, they both looked comfortable. He figured if they weren’t playing mother and daughter, then they were playing sisters; either way, it made him smile. If Keira was really that alright with a little one in her arms, then maybe he wouldn’t have to stress himself so much anymore in avoiding. . .certain things.
Now he had to steer his thoughts away from the path they were going to take, before he ended up with a problem that was hard to mask in tight pants. He supposed he could blame Keira for that, given she turned him down last night, but at the same time, he didn’t really want to.
“Alright,” Samos started, once again stamping his staff on the floor for attention. “We’re leaving now. Keira, my dear, I don’t want anyone noticing her tail, so --”
“Got it covered, Daddy,” Keira interrupted. Pulling the girl away from her, she grabbed a small blanket and wrapped the girl’s lower half in it. Like this, it almost looked like a skirt, which Jak admitted was a bit cute.
Once again in Keira’s arms, everyone was officially ready to go. Rather than walking, they piled into two aircraft vehicles, Jak and Torn driving the two.
Kras city, he noted, was definitely recovering. Rubble could still be seen most everywhere, despite having two years to straighten up. But people were more interested in fixing their lives than fixing the city itself, which he could understand well. He was rebuilding a life for himself, too, pulled between Haven and Spargus.
Most people these days at least knew who he was, between fighting the city, saving it, and publicity from Combat Racing last year. Racing he’d been forced to participate in, but still, it’d been fun. He couldn’t really deny that part.
When they reached the lab as Samos suggested, they all took up places that were out of the way. Keira, on the other hand, opting to keep holding the girl considering she wouldn’t let go. With Keira, Ashelin and Tess nearby, she seemed calm enough, so the three women kept up posts around her.
And when she wouldn’t let anyone else touch her, Ashelin had to. She took a blood sample from the girl, putting it in a machine meant to analyze it. While the machine ran, they weighed the girl, measured her height, and realized just how unhealthy she seemed to be. At that knowledge, Ashelin gave Torn an “I told you so” kind of look.
She was far too light and had discoloration around her eyes. For being someone who stayed in the desert, she was also curiously devoid of a tan, though her skin was a bit red in some places, Keira informed them. Between the tests and discussing more about her, the machine analyzing her blood finally ended. Ashelin went to look at the results, which promptly became just another mystery they couldn’t solve yet.
“It says,” Ashelin started, “that she is a mix of human and ottsel. There’s no doubt about it. She seems to be eleven years old, too.” Looking her over, Ashelin added, “Pretty small for eleven.”
“You’re just tall,” Keira shot back. But it was true; the girl was almost tiny for being half-grown.
Samos gave a sigh. “I suppose I’ll have to ask the desert if it remembers anything about her.”
“What do we do in the meantime?” Jak asked. “Let her stay in the garage?”
“She’s pretty comfortable with it,” Tess offered. “She didn’t have any trouble falling asleep.”
“I’m not sure if that’s good or bad,” Keira replied, looking down at the girl.
“And we can’t keep calling her ‘her,’” Ashelin threw in.
“Oh, no,” Daxter spoke up, shaking his head. “If we name her, then we’re saying she’s one of us.”
“Like what happens when you name a stray animal,” Torn added.
He got a room full of glares for that. And Ashelin shot back, “Haven’t we argued about this before? She’s not an animal.”
“We’ve established she’s half ottsel,” he pointed out.
“A-hem!” Daxter interrupted, trying to stand up taller. “Tess and I take offense to that. We’re not animals, either.”
“Mammals,” Torn replied sarcastically.
“That’s it!” Daxter snapped, moving to rush at Torn. Jak caught him and pointedly kept Daxter where he was.
“This is no time for arguing,” Keira told them all. “Look, I’ll think of a name for her. And I’m not saying I’m going to adopt her, but until we figure out what to do with her, we have to at least take care of her.”
“She’s a kid, after all,” Tess agreed. “I’ll help you think of something.”
And just like that, it was meeting adjourned. Everyone seemed to split into pairs; Ashelin with Torn, Tess with Keira, Daxter with Jak and Pecker with Samos. Rather than stay, Jak felt far too restless with the new knowledge he’d gained. Decided anything was better than sitting around, he hopped a transport to Spargus.
A part of him wanted to talk to Kleiver, but he knew it would be pointless. By now he knew more than Kleiver did about that girl. He considered finding Sig, as well. But knowing him, Sig was out hunting in the wasteland by now, either looking for artifacts or remaining metalheads. Jak knew from experience that metalheads were few and far between these days, though it didn’t make the wasteland any less dangerous.
Or any less vast. Two people could go into the desert, separate, and not spot each other again until they both returned, regardless of if they were searching for one another. This had happened more than once in Jak’s own life, and so he decided not to bother searching for Sig.
“So what are we doin’, bud?” Daxter asked from his shoulder.
“I dunno,” Jak answered. “Do you have any ideas?”
“Well, it’s been a while since we last took a spin on the hoverpad,” Daxter suggested.
Jak chuckled. That was true enough. But then, it had been a long time since he’d had to use the hoverpad, so it was no wonder he was out of practice. “Alright,” he agreed.
“To the wasteland?”
“To the wasteland.”
- - - - -
Going to wasteland had ended up in about an hour of fun on the hoverpad, which somehow became a trip to the Precursor Temple. It was another of Daxter’s ideas, to see if anyone was at the temple anymore. This meant they had to go back to get a vehicle, considering the string of islands they had to jump to reach said temple. Still, it was a good idea, given the Precursors tended to have answers.
If they were there anymore.
Although it’d been more than two years since his last trip here, standing in front of that statue still made him feel little. He wasn’t too happy with that, but nonetheless, it wasn’t really worth complaining over.
Daxter started talking first, yelling loudly if anybody was home, then demanding an answer. And to their surprise, those slit eyes of the statue began glowing.
As ominous as ever, it started speaking. “You return to us?”
“Yeah,” Jak laughed. “Something. . .fairly interesting happened.”
“So tell us,” Daxter said bluntly, “can ottsels and humans get it on?”
“What?” was the statue’s answer.
“What he means is,” Jak started, glaring at Daxter, “is it possible for an ottsel and human to have a child together?”
“Possibilities abound,” it replied indirectly.
“Don’t give us that shtick,” Daxter snapped. “Answer the question, okay?!”
For a long moment there was no answer, then a rush of voices. Jak had to roll his eyes, thinking that the same three ‘precursors’ he met before were now debating.
“Okay,” he shouted, trying to get attention, “let’s rephrase the question. Has it ever happened before?”
“No,” the statue answered quickly. “Have you found such a child?”
“Firstly, yes,” Daxter told it, “and secondly, you really don’t have to keep up with that ‘holier than thou’ bullshit.”
Jak had to agree to that. “You can just come down, you know.”
“We can’t,” the statue shot back. “We’re not on your planet any longer. This is a communications line.”
“Oh great, long distance charges,” Daxter sighed.
“What can you tell us about this child?”
Jak and Daxter shared a glance before starting. Between the two of them, they had all the details mentioned quickly, though granted it must have sounded terribly give-and-take with how Jak tried retelling the events at the same time Daxter tried to spew out pointed details as he recalled them.
And then, apparently having had enough, the statue’s voice boomed out, “Okay, okay! We get it!”
Jak fell silent, not because the statue called for it, but because he had nothing else to say anyway. Daxter, on the other hand, immediately got into an argument with the statue for trying to order them into silence.
After a minute of that, Jak’s amusement faded and he clamped a hand over Daxter’s mouth. “We said what we came to say,” he told the ottsel.
Daxter pouted, obviously not finished with his insults towards a statue’s head and how ridiculous it looked.
“We will look into this,” the statue said now. “But we can’t promise we’ll find anything. Visit us again soon.”
That was a clear dismissal. Despite wanting to berate the Precursors for thinking they could still order him around, he didn’t feel a real need to. If he thought about it a different way, they then would be waiting at some machine, he imagined, until he came back.
And he could keep them waiting for as long as he liked.
- - - - -
Jak gave Keira a doubtful look. “Sunni,” he repeated.
“Right,” she grinned, clearly proud of herself.
“We think it fits perfectly,” Tess agreed.
Daxter was looking between Tess and ‘Sunni,’ the girl. “You picked ‘Sunni’ to be her name?”
“What’s so hard to believe about that?” Keira asked, offended.
“It sounds weird,” Daxter answered.
“Don’t be stupid,” Tess snapped. “It’s pretty.”
“Pretty weird,” Jak mumbled to himself.
Everyone heard, and now he had two angry women glaring at him. He offered a sheepish grin, hoping they wouldn’t gang up on him. He hated it when they did that. Really, women band together so efficiently when it comes to attacking men.
“It’s perfect,” Keira said firmly. “She certainly likes it.”
Which appeared to be true, he admitted. Sunni was all smiles, grinning up at Keira. If anything, it looked like Sunni was already attached to Keira. . .and Keira had the same cute expression. The two of them had definitely bonded, despite having been together for just a day.
“I’m not arguing,” Jak relented, holding up his hands in surrender. “She likes it; you like it. Just don’t hurt me.”
Keira’s glare faded and she giggled.
Daxter, however, now bore that glare. He gave Jak a hard look before saying, “Whipped.”
Jak couldn’t help but sneer back, “You too.”
“We’re thinking of putting together a room for Sunni,” Tess was saying now.
“That’s great -- what?!” Daxter snapped, at first too busy making faces at Jak to pay attention. Now he hopped off Jak’s shoulder to be beside Tess, the better to be heard. “Here, in the garage? You’re actually making a room?”
“We have rooms,” Keira pointed out. “We have three of them that are useless storage areas.”
“And completely taken up,” Daxter shot back. “That’s why Tess and I aren’t living here, if you recall.”
“No, Tess and I aren’t living here,” Tess started, “because Tess likes living above the gun range. And you like living with Tess.”
Daxter blew out a sigh, unable to fight back at that. “But still, that means we’d have to clear out one of the rooms.”
“Or,” Keira suggested with a teasing look at Jak, “we could just have Jak go Dark and bomb the room.”
“Ha ha,” Jak replied humorlessly. “Don’t even joke like that, it’s not funny.”
“I’ll joke however I like,” she challenged.
“Not about me you won’t.”
“This isn’t gonna turn into a fight, is it?” Daxter cut in. “Because really, all that means is that the two of you are going to be glaring at each other for a week.”
And then make-up sex, Jak thought but refrained from saying. He was already in trouble with Keira, he could see it in how she was looking at him. And he’d been denied any “fun” yesterday as it was; he didn’t want to end up in the dog house. Especially so because Keira had a habit of purposely looking that much sexier whenever he screwed up badly.
Punishment, teasing, or promises for later; he could never figure out what her intentions were. Most of the time he just assumed she was being cruel and did his best to put up with it.
“We were talking about clearing out a room?” Jak suggested, hoping it would calm her down.
She smiled. “I’m glad you’re okay with the idea, given you’re going to be doing the most work.”
“Oh, come on!” he whined. “You’re not really going to make me do all the heavy lifting, are you?”
“You expect us to do it?” Keira shot back, raising her brows.
She had a point there, much as he hated to admit it. Two ottsels, a girl, a grown woman and himself were present -- it was an easy choice who’d be doing most of the work. Though he wanted to argue that Keira was plenty strong for a woman, he knew better than to bring it up.
“Besides which, you’re not,” she said now. “I already called Ashelin about it. She said she was going to convince Torn to help out, too.”
“Seriously?” Daxter asked, genuinely surprised. “He practically hates the girl!”
“Sunni,” Tess snapped.
“Sunni,” Daxter repeated, rolling his eyes.
“And just how is Ashelin convincing Torn to help?” Jak said.
Keira gave him a sly smile. “Feminine wiles, I imagine.”
Okay, he could see that happening. From what he knew of Ashelin and Torn’s relationship, they were definitely hot for each other. Probably more so on Torn’s side, given what few conversations he’d had with Torn about it. Though Torn was the type to keep things to himself, Jak had still gotten the other man to (somewhat longingly) go into description of his thoughts about Ashelin. There had been more than a handful of comments on the redhead’s side pointedly about Ashelin’s shapeliness.
“So when’s he showing up?” Jak asked now, trying to straighten out his thoughts.
“Soon,” Ashelin answered, practically strutting into the garage. She wore a triumphant look he’d seen more than once. And behind her, jaw set and glare in place, was Torn.
Jak had to give the other man a sympathetic kind of smile. They were both stuck at this point, “whipped” as Daxter had put it. It was so odd to him, how the strongest fighters could so easily be swayed, demoted, defeated, and so completely owned by the woman he loved.
The next few hours were filled with grunts of manual labor, and colored every so often with a spiteful comment towards either Ashelin or Keira, who watched not far away. On the one hand, Jak himself could tell with the way Keira was looking at him that she was planning on making up for having him do this, but on the other, he wasn’t sure how much energy he’d have left by the time they finished.
And from the way Torn kept growling and glancing back at Ashelin, he was thinking the same thing.