Jak And Daxter Fan Fiction ❯ Strange Existence ❯ Discoveries ( Chapter 9 )
Disclaimer: Jak is owned by Naughty Dog. I am not profiting from this fanfiction.
Jak5: Strange Existence
It was like leading a double-life.
During most of the daylight hours, she had fun spending her time as she had been – helping Keira with vehicles, gizmos and gadgets, or hanging around with Ashelin and baby Davril. She tested herself based on books and computer learning software, sometimes spending hours on the jetboard, pulling ever more complicated acrobatic moves. She even visited Samos more these days, wanting to know more about Eco, and anything else he could teach her.
But the nights were usually spent with Jak and Daxter, trying to determine some means of changing the future. Because of the theories of cause and effect, it was incredibly time-consuming. Jak likened it to cracking a diamond – if done incorrectly, the diamond could shatter; or alternatively, nothing at all could happen. Precision was the key.
Keira, she found, was very surprised to hear the words “mother” and “father” coming from Sunni’s mouth. The first time she’d said “mother” to Keira, the older had positively melted, squealed, and finally hugged Sunni breathless.
At first, as the days became weeks, she wasn’t at all worried. There was no sleep being lost over this lifestyle, as everyone parted more often before bedtime than after. Her studies, alternating supervision by both Keira and Jak, were continuing without flaw (in her opinion). She also took the time to help teach Davril when she was with him.
But this full set of distractions prevented her from noticing the changes going on around her. This became painfully clear when she happened upon Keira and Ashelin talking in the garage. Since Sunni hadn’t been expecting to return so early in the evening, she was prepared for surprising the other women – most pointedly Keira, as Ashelin’s presence in the garage was another unanticipated aspect of the day.
Her first thought, as she approached the women from far behind the couch where they sat, was that they were laughing. Her second thought, following the first, was that only one of them was laughing.
But that wasn’t laughter; it was sobs. And given only Keira had her head bowed too far for Sunni to see clearly, it was easy to guess who was crying.
Ashelin was speaking. “You can’t just assume he’s cheating,” she said soothingly.
Sunni ducked behind the wall instinctively.
“What else am I supposed to think?” Keira asked, her voice cracking.
“I’m sorry, Keira,” Ashelin murmured, “but I can’t see it happening. Especially not with Sunni.”
Sunni’s eyes bugged out. Keira thought Jak was cheating on her. . .with herself? Her head reeled as the conversation continued.
Keira let loose another harsh sob before going on. “What else could it be, Ashe? Tell me that! He’s been spending so much time with her, and he never tells me why! All he ever says is that it’s not a big deal! Now what does that sound like to you?” she queried harshly, breaking down into more tears.
“Like. . .like he’s keeping secrets,” Ashelin finally sighed. “But there has to be some other reason. I can’t see Jak cheating on you, most especially not with Sunni. . . Listen, Keira, if you can’t get answers from him, then get them from her.”
Sunni leaned against the wall weakly, hearing all this. And, sadly, it made perfect sense. Of course Keira would suspect something; she was, essentially, staying alone with Jak secretly almost every night. And because she’d asked him not to tell her story, he was limited on the answers he could give. With a frown, she pushed herself away from the wall.
She could only see two options in her mind: first, go to Jak, try to find a solution to this problem with his aid. Second, talk to Keira herself, and tell her. . .everything.
The former was a bad idea, and she recognized it as so. Solve this problem with Jak by spending more time with him, letting the fears Keira was feeling deepen? It was downright stupid. But she also reluctant to do the latter, partially because she hated telling the story once, and she didn’t want to do it again.
On the other hand, it was easy to see which choice would be the least destructive.
- - - - -
“You’re late,” Jak commented as Sunni entered the Command Center. It was, after all, where they’d been trying to formulate plans.
Sunni sighed heavily. “I told mother.”
“Told her?” Jak asked. “Wait – told her. . .told her everything?” he blurted as the dots connected.
She nodded sharply.
He stared for a moment. “Why did you. . ? I thought you didn’t want anyone else knowing.”
“She was crying,” she informed him. “Mother thought you were cheating on her – with me. So I didn’t have a choice, I had to tell her.”
“Wait,” he started with a laugh. “She thought I was cheating on her with you?”
She nodded again, narrowing her eyes. “This isn’t funny, father. She was really scared.”
“No, I understand that,” he said, waving his hands innocently. “It just surprised me.”
“It surprised everybody,” she retorted.
“But you still told her?”
“Ashelin was there, too.” She shook her head. “No one else.”
“So Ashelin knows?”
He paused, thinking. “We could use their help.”
“No!” she snapped, panic zipping up her spine. “We can’t!”
He looked surprised. “I don’t see why not.”
She bit her lips, trying to form some kind of an argument. “Because. . .because we can’t,” she started, uselessly.
“Still waiting on that reason,” he shot back.
She found herself tapping her foot as though it could help. “Because it’s. . . It’s something I have to do myself.”
“With my help,” he pointed out.
“It’s still my burden,” she snapped. “I think I get to choose who helps and who doesn’t.”
“Right. And what happens if, say, Keira offers to help? Then what?”
“I tell her she can’t; I won’t allow it.” She stared hard at him, trying to make her point.
But he was looking down at her as though humoring a child. “So you’re going to reject anybody else’s help on the principle that you can pick and choose?”
“Yes.” She was still trying to stare him down, but so far it seemed to fail.
He frowned. “It sounds more like you’re either on a power trip, or you’ve grown arrogant. Sunni, I’ve been in several battles where I wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t accepted the help of those around me. The same rule applies here. Everyone counts.”
She knew he was trying to be protective, wise, and fatherly; that knowledge did nothing to make her relent. “I won’t accept that. I was sent here to do this on my own, and I will.”
The way he straightened up gave her a bad feeling. Then, with a shrug, he said, “Then I guess you don’t need me, either.” As he rounded the table, clearly bent on the entrance, her jaw worked, trying to form protests. “When you’ve come to your senses,” he threw over his shoulder, “I’ll be waiting. With Keira.”
She still hadn’t managed to make a single sound until he’d shut the door behind him, and then she was standing, alone, in the center of the room. As her stun faded, she managed an indignant kind of yell that made her think of an angry yowl. Stubborn man, she thought, seething in her frustration. Why can’t he see that I need to do this my way?
She knew enough about the plans so far to know that she couldn’t do it on her own – she wasn’t smart enough, much as that thought burned her up inside. But what else could she do? Now she was irritated, resentful, and brimming with the energy derived from both. She needed some kind of release –
When it came to energy, she had the perfect tool to vent it. She even carried it with her just about everywhere she went, and it hung on her hip even now (since Keira had designed a “stylish” kind of hip-holster for her). The jetboard.
Her tail, she learned, had always been an excellent balancing tool when it came to the jetboard. She could do things on it Jak couldn’t entirely because of it. As she rode it now – air vent hop to coated power line – she was thinking about where she would go. She’d already been around this city enough times to know it inside and out. Same for Spargus City – it would be nothing new, everything practiced and expected. The only other place she could possibly go was. . .
Was. . .
She’d been warned about the Wasteland; that was true. But she’d also been jetboarding in it for the past year, if always alongside Jak. Of course, getting into the Wasteland at night was tough; however, a girl who was excellent at climbing would have little difficulty. It was all too easy to reach the gates leading to the Wasteland, and hardly taxing to climb right over it.
She would worry her mother and father, choosing to do something like this, but she didn’t see many other options. If anything, when she came back unscathed, Jak would finally have to admit that she was an adult capable of taking care of herself. That’d show him.
The dangers out here were severe, she knew; yet they also had certain counters she knew of quite well. Not to mention that during night, most of them simply went away.
She found herself standing before a very particular rocky hill. Jak had pointed it out to her but once, naming it as the one she’d been living in – or so they assumed, having found her clothes in there. She had shrugged it off then, having no interest in her past. But now she wanted to know a bit more.
She climbed up the hill, found the crevice from memory, and slipped inside easily. Ah, how helpful being tiny could be.
All sides of the cave glowed. In her memories of this place, she remembered the Eco lulling her to sleep every night, keeping her warm. It was, perhaps, the influence of the Eco that put her mind at ease, once upon a time. Her first few days in this Wasteland, as she recalled, had been horribly terrifying. Finding this cave had been a godsend, in point of fact. The green Eco had worked as nourishment for her, keeping her healthy as she adapted to fending for herself in this place.
Her back twinged slightly in remembrance of her near-death experience. If she could remember correctly – if she hadn’t been imagining it – then the Eco had become brighter during those few days after, as she recovered.
Now, as she stood, she could feel the warmth in this place once more. Oh yes, it was thanks to this cave that she lived now; she knew it. The soft, glowing light of the Eco was an unconscious lure to her, making her smile. As though pulled by invisible hands, she crossed over to where the light Eco illuminated the cave.
And those white globs of Eco pulled right back, zipping from where they lay to her. Though she jumped in surprise, they disappeared, merging with her stomach and chest without pain or discomfort. Stunned at its reaction, she reached out slowly, and again, a few of the light Eco globs shot towards her, merging with her on contact.
She stared at her hands, wondering if she was imagining the way they glowed, or if the Eco around was simply casting light that made them appear so. The fact that the light Eco had reacted to her was a little piece of knowledge that she wouldn’t have traded for the world.
Because she could use Eco. Light Eco, to be precise – the opposite of Deise’s Dark Eco. She wondered, then, if fate chose to work in the most confusing, roundabout ways, or if it was required to eventually make sense of it all.
And she smiled.
Wondering at the extent of this ability of hers, she spent the next hour or so touching this Eco or that Eco, finding that nothing seemed to really work in the same way the light Eco had done. She found she could hold and throw the yellow Eco, which made small bursts when it connected with the cave face. Red Eco tended to vibrate when her hand came close to it, so she didn’t touch it outright. She got little zings of electricity whenever she touched the blue Eco, though her fingers mostly moved through it, like hot dough. Green Eco was the fun one, as it acted like water when she touched it, leaving a brief green glow on her hand once she retrieved it.
She only avoided the black, gooey dark Eco. When she came near, it reverted from a tar-like pool to round, more violet-ish blobs. That was enough of a reaction to tell her that she might be able to use it the way Deise did, but the knowledge of exactly what it had done to the man and what he now used it for kept her from wanting to find out.
Curiosity made her return, once more, to the side with the light Eco. Only a little trepidation went through her as the Eco kept on coming towards her, merging with her. She remained extra close to it, holding her breath, until they stopped coming and instead remained right where they were. She understood it as being tapped out, holding the max amount of Eco possible in her very body. It made her excited.
She wondered if Jak felt this way, too, when he thought of it.
She climbed out of the cave, shaking a little with anticipation. As soon as she was on her feet, she tried to use the Eco, tried to discover what it would do.
It was harder than she thought it would be. Unsure what she was doing, exactly, she tried to, in a sense, locate where the Eco was, and then tried to let it loose. After over half an hour of standing there, trying to figure it out, she nearly gave up. Exasperated, she huffed, folding her arms.
Maybe if she calmed herself. . .
She shut her eyes, breathing slowly on purpose. Somewhat like a spring, it was as if all her tension unwound, letting her shoulders relax. Now that she’d calmed down, she could hear the wind going over the rocks around her. It was an interesting sound, one not quite like anything else, if she thought about it.
But of course, her past couldn’t let her be. Deise and his reign entered her mind again, reminding her what was in her future once more. She opened her eyes with a frown, thinking about it.
She wanted to kill him. As the man who slaughtered her people, she wanted him dead at her own hands. Even if she knew there was no way – she neither had the capability nor the circumstances available – even if she couldn’t ever find a way, she still wanted to kill him herself. It was, after all, the course in life she’d been charged with, indirectly though it was.
Perhaps she was going about this the wrong way, trying to do it all alone. After all, wasn’t Jak already experienced in everything she wanted to be, too? She knew his affinity towards Eco – knew he would be able to help her learn to use it, to control it. And she knew he’d more than likely be thrilled to know she could.