Jak And Daxter Fan Fiction ❯ Strange Existence ❯ Three: Growing Attached ( Chapter 3 )
Disclaimer: Jak is owned by Naughty Dog. Please oh please don’t think I’m lying.
Jak5: Strange Existence
Three: Growing Attached
Annoyed and charmed at the same time, Jak could only grit his teeth and try not to look down. Cute as she was, Sunni really fit her name these days. It’d been three months since she came into their lives, and it had only taken her about a week to begin clinging. It was difficult to do work, too, when there was a girl wrapped around your torso. Frustratingly, he found it adorable enough that he couldn’t make her let go.
Especially when she grinned up at him like that, giggling.
“Look,” he bit out, “you need to let go. Do you understand that? Let go.”
Her grin widened. He heaved a sigh, giving in. There was either a problem with her ears, or she just didn’t understand language yet. He considered she just might be more of an animal than everyone assumed, but dashed the theory; they’d already proved it wrong.
Sunni was definitely not an unintelligent being. While she didn’t understand words themselves well yet, she was catching on little by little. She was very quick, healthy, and clever, as well. They discovered a while back that she has an excellent sense of direction, as she started playing games with Tess and Daxter -- just to keep the three of them out of the way -- and she’d gone all over the garage and even outside, coming back easily when Keira called for her.
Samos’ attempt at asking the desert resulted in nothing more than that she’d been living there for roughly three years. The desert’s answers, apparently, all linked back to her very existence being sudden, as though she’d simply appeared from nowhere. That got Samos pointedly wondering how she’d come to the desert, if she hadn’t been born there.
Sunni herself still couldn’t give any verbal answers, and questions about her time in the desert always met with a confused look. Given her expression when bemused, nobody could really keep asking anything, especially when Keira was around. Once Sunni started with that look, Keira hugged her close, charmed completely by how cute she was.
She played tricks from time to time, always sugar-coating any angry reactions with how sweet she was. One time she yanked the chair out from under Torn when he was going to sit down, then dashed out of the room, successfully avoiding his wrath. Later on, she’d come back and gave him the cutest look.
It had taken a long time, but eventually she won him over. She did, however, learn that Torn was not the one to play tricks on after that. They also discovered she was a great climber, which wasn’t much of a surprise given Daxter and Tess were, as well. All she needed was a pole, a strong wire, a few objects, or a rough wall. She was nearly as quick at climbing as she was at sprinting.
And getting damn useful at both, now that she was starting to understand simpler commands. It was easy for Keira to tell Sunni that it was time for a bath, and given how Sunni enjoyed baths, she would be there instantly and already running the water by the time Keira got there. Usually, she was also finished undressing, too.
This also worked in helping Keira work on things, Jak learned. Normally if someone else was there, Keira would ask for this tool or that piece from time to time. Given it was just her, Jak and Sunni one time, he was fully prepared for her to ask him to get things. But she never did, and after a little while, he found out why.
Along with words, Keira made shapes with her hands to communicate to Sunni which item she wanted, and Sunni was quick to get it. Jak watched, surprised at how Sunni rarely picked the wrong thing. When she did, Keira would simply reiterate what she wanted, and Sunni never failed to get it right the second time. More than this, he was stunned to see that every time Sunni returned with the requested item, Keira always gave her a kiss on the cheek.
Jak himself had felt more useless than usual, seeing Sunni and Keira like that, but he’d also thought it was incredibly sweet. Which was odd in itself, given Jak had never been all that partial to cute things as a whole.
He was starting to think that maybe he could be more keen on “cute” as long as it involved Sunni. It was so annoying to have a clinging girl refusing to let go of your chest, frustrating that every attempt to remove her failed miserably from her grinning, and far too adorable to keep him angry for long. Even so, since Keira had stepped out, that left him alone with only Ashelin.
“Hey, Ashe,” he started, and when she looked, he gestured Sunni, hoping she’d get the idea.
With a chuckle, she came over and pulled Sunni off him. Sunni, bright as she was, simply spun around and clung to Ashelin instead. Now he could finally do the work he’d been assigned efficiently.
- - - - -
“Keira. Keira. Keira.”
“I don’t think she gets it,” Jak offered.
Keira frowned, trying to get Sunni to speak her name. Pointing at herself, she said it again.
Sunni had her attention totally focused on Keira, obviously trying to understand. She knew who Keira was, knew who Jak was, knew everyone’s name, herself included. But she apparently was having trouble getting why Keira kept gesturing herself and repeating her name like that.
Keira gave a sigh, then pointed at Sunni. “Sunni.” She pointed at herself. “Keira.” She pointed at Jak. “Jak.”
Sunni gave her a puzzled look. “Sunni,” she repeated, pointing at herself.
Keira’s eyes lit up, even as Sunni went on, pointing at Keira and Jak respectively and giving their names. “You did it!” Keira crowed, lifting Sunni into her arms. “You did it, Sunni!” she chanted.
Jak rolled his eyes. “It was bound to happen sometime,” he mumbled, wishing Keira weren’t going crazy.
“I know,” Keira agreed, but even his smart comment didn’t dull her mood. She kissed him on the cheek as she danced by, still singing praises to a bemused but happy Sunni.
Now he was feeling pretty good about himself, too. Keira was just too good at manipulating his emotions. Even so, he thought she looked so happy now, dancing around the room with a laughing Sunni.
“Now,” she started, setting Sunni back on the table like she’d been before. “Let’s get to work for real. I want you to repeat me, okay?”
Sunni’s response was to blink.
“Say ‘yes,’” Jak prodded.
“Yes,” Sunni agreed.
Keira threw Jak a grin as thanks, then started trying to get Sunni to speak whole sentences.
Sometime later, with Jak and Keira working together, it seemed to be progressing well. Then, when Daxter and Tess both returned from wherever they’d been, he wasn’t sure anymore if Sunni was improving or not. Once it became obvious that Sunni was learning words, Daxter jumped in. Tess did, too, but much more calmly.
And then Sunni was wide-eyed, attention stretched between all four of them. While Jak and Keira were working as a team, Tess and Daxter weren’t. Or at least, Tess was trying to become a part of the team, while Daxter just kept plowing through what everyone else was doing. Whether or not Sunni was actually learning anything became a mystery fairly fast. She stopped trying to repeat them altogether, instead gaining and losing comprehension with every word said.
Until Keira sent Jak a pleading look, which he responded to by clamping a hand over Daxter’s mouth. Deciding to leave things to the capable hands of women, he took Daxter away from the room. When at last he let go, Daxter started yelling at him -- which he’d been expecting. Rather than argue a point that would become clear soon enough, he waited for the moment when Daxter would run out of things to say and seethe instead.
“Finished?” he asked, when at last Daxter was breathless.
Daxter just glared at him.
“Good. Then come with me, Dax,” he started, heading for a transit to Spargus.
“Where’re we going?” Daxter asked, trailing behind him.
“The Temple,” Jak answered, knowing he wouldn’t have to go into further detail.
“Ohh, think the Precursors finally have answers?” Daxter replied, jumping into the aircraft with Jak.
“They’d better, it’s been three months,” Jak told him. “Otherwise I’m going to start to seriously doubt their ability to ‘know’ things.”
Daxter gave a kind of mischievous giggle. “So if they don’t, you’re gonna, what? Wreck the temple?”
Jak had to wonder at that. “Has Tess been cold to you lately? You’re sounding a lot more. . .evil.”
“Evil?” Daxter repeated, looking offended. “It’s just been a long time since we’ve done anything as buds.”
“Anything destructive, you mean.”
“Oh come on, it was fun blowing stuff up. Right, wasn’t it?”
“Ignoring the murderous opponents and hundreds of deathly dangerous things we had to accomplish?”
Daxter frowned. “When you put it like that,” he answered.
Jak chuckled. “Well, it was definitely more thrilling. But come on, you can’t say you miss the constant fear that we were gonna fall short of a jump, miss a target, or avoid being slaughtered.”
“Don’t say it like that, we were heroes!” Daxter shot back, jumping in the air.
Jak sat back, thinking about that. Daxter obviously thought it’d been the best time of their lives, and really, Jak couldn’t blame him. But then, Daxter didn’t know the darker side of what he’d had to go through, did he? He gave a sigh, thinking that besides the two years he’d spent in prison, experimented on and tortured, the whole series of events had been -- in the right light -- fun.
Now that everything was infinitely more calm, he supposed he wouldn’t have nearly as many adventures. And to think, he’d gone through all these events before he was twenty. It was insane to comprehend now, but at the time, there hadn’t been time to sit and think things over.
He was laughing now, though he didn’t notice until Daxter pointed it out. Then he stopped, waiting for the transit to land.
“So, bud,” Daxter started as they headed for a vehicle. “What was all that crazy laughter back there?”
“Crazy?” Jak echoed, climbing in the driver’s seat.
“Yeah, crazy,” Daxter agreed. “You sounded kind of. . .insane.”
“I was just thinking,” Jak told him, driving out into the desert.
“About. . .everything,” he answered with a shrug.
“You can’t think about ‘everything’ in five minutes. So what was the topic of interest?”
He smirked. “You got me thinking of the past, of our adventures.”
“Really?” Suddenly Daxter looked proud of himself.
“So why were you laughing?”
“Because, think about it. How old were we when we fought Gol and Maia?”
Daxter gave a shudder at the memory, but answered. “Fifteen.”
“How old were we when you sprang me out of prison?”
“And then when we were exiled?”
Daxter paused before saying, “Eighteen.”
“Do you see anything odd about this?” he asked sharply, hopping over the last gap in islands.
“Okay, so we were really young,” Daxter agreed with a nod.
“Right,” Jak said, pointing at him. “How many people do you think go through what we did, at the same ages?”
Daxter gave a shrug, then they were both climbing out of the Grasshopper. “A few?”
“C’mon, what’re the odds of that?” Jak shot back as Daxter hopped on his shoulder.
“Does it matter anymore?” Daxter returned smoothly.
“Maybe not,” Jak relented. “But really, isn’t it enough to think it’d be okay to go a little crazy?”
“Or a lot.”
“So, do you think we’re getting any answers from my brothers?” Daxter asked sharply.
Jak raised a brow. “I don’t know when you started calling them brothers, but yeah, they probably have something worthwhile to say. Or maybe I just might wreck the temple,” he added with a glance at Daxter.
Daxter grinned in return. “Ohhh yeah. I’m hoping they haven’t learned squat.”
A few minutes later, and they were standing in front of the statue -- which was giving no signs of life, despite all the yelling Daxter was doing. He’d even picked up a piece of rubble and thrown it, hitting the statue’s left “eye” and still received no response.
“What are they, out to lunch?” Daxter snapped, gesturing the statue but looking at Jak.
Jak shrugged. “How would I know? But in their defense, it is lunchtime.”
Daxter inclined his head in an agreement, then blurted, “Oh come on, they should at least have some kind of --”
“That?” Jak finished, laughing as the voice had made Daxter jump.
Eyes glowing, the statue was officially “alive” now.
“Yeah, we’ve returned, you stone-faced mutant!” Daxter shouted back. “We’ve only been here for half an hour!”
Jak raised his brow doubtfully.
“Our readings show you’ve been here for five minutes,” the statue returned smoothly.
“Your damn readings are wrong!” Daxter snapped.
“That’s not the point,” Jak interrupted before this could turn into another fight. “Did you find anything?”
The statue’s eyes flickered, turned off, returned, flicked off again, then did a kind of strobe-like on-off thing. All the while, whenever the eyes were lit, they could hear bits of conversations -- yelling between three voices. Finally, after a short while of that, the eyes successfully lit up again.
“And that was. . ?” Daxter prodded.
“That,” the statue replied angrily, “was Surfer changing the channel.” Then, to someone else, “Is he locked out now? . . Okay, good.”
“The point?” Jak tried.
“Oh yes, the girl.”
“Sunni,” Jak and Daxter said in unison.
“You’ve named her?”
“Keira and Tess did,” Jak coughed.
“Err. . .” The statue murmured to someone else, then came back. “We have looked into it. We’ve discovered that it is impossible for your kind and ours to breed. Proportionately and genetically, we don’t match anywhere near enough to procreate together. If this girl truly is a mix of us, then it had to have been done either from mutation, genetic altering, or thousands of years of evolution.”
“Evolution can’t be possible,” Daxter disagreed. “You all should know it.”
“That we do,” the statue told him.
“And we can’t do genetic altering,” Jak added. “The most we can do is Eco experiments.” Which he knew from personal experience.
“So it’s mutation?” Daxter asked, sounding genuinely surprised.
“We also have our doubts about that,” the statue denied. “But without having the girl with us to test, we can’t be sure any way.”
“Meaning. . ?” Jak prodded.
“Bring her here, and we will take her. It may take days, months or years, but we will discover how she came to be.”
Jak tensed his jaw. Daxter, too, wore a glare.
“You mean to give her to you,” Daxter said, “so you could hold onto her, run tests on her, and generally scare her for who-knows-how-long?”
“Don’t make us sound like monsters,” the statue snapped back. “This is in pursuit of knowledge.”
Jak and Daxter shared a look that was in perfect agreement: they weren’t going to take Sunni anywhere. Rather than telling the Precursors this, Jak replied, “We’ll think about it.”
“Briefly,” Daxter added almost silently.
“Good.” The statue actually sounded pleased. “Whenever you believe she’s ready, bring her here to the temple. We will do the rest. And,” it added as they turned to leave, “be prepared to part indefinitely.”
Both of them left without a single word to add, Daxter on the verge of seething and Jak considering destroying the entire temple. He knew what feeling like this meant, too; he’d grown attached to Sunni. And even if he hadn’t, he couldn’t just hand a little girl over to have much the same fate he’d gone through himself. Though he imagined the Precursors meant well enough, it would still end up scaring Sunni needlessly to be sent somewhere else all over again.
So, he decided, he wasn’t going to bring her to the temple. If he had to build walls or sink the entire island, she was staying far from the Precursors and whatever they had planned.