Jak And Daxter Fan Fiction ❯ Strange Existence ❯ Training ( Chapter 10 )
Disclaimer: Jak is owned by Naughty Dog. I am not profiting from this fanfiction.
Jak5: Strange Existence
When she returned back home, she was already yelling for Jak and Keira. Granted she still officially lived in the garage, while they preferred Jak’s place, but she was expecting to find them here since it wasn’t even past eight yet.
She wasn’t expecting to walk into the living room-esque area and get an eyeful of them. . .naked. . .And all over each other.
“Oh geez!” she snapped, zipping from the room.
She could hear surprised profanities and a few (likely painful) thuds, but she wasn’t about to go back in there, locking herself in her room. Her jaw fell open as soon as the door was shut and she shuddered.
“S-Sunni?” she heard Keira call from the other room.
She bit her lip. “I’m in my room!” she yelled back.
“Oh god,” Jak moaned, only barely audible through the door.
My sentiments exactly, she thought, leaning against her door. She slid down it, shaking her head. She hoped she’d never see that again.
“We’re getting dressed,” Keira called.
“Don’t ever say that again!” Sunni snapped back.
“This didn’t happen,” Jak was saying to himself. A little louder, he said, “We weren’t expecting you back for a long time.”
“No, no, shut up,” she retorted. “I don’t wanna hear any more!”
“Agreed,” Keira sighed.
A good ten minutes later and she finally braved stepping out of her room. She found her surrogate parents sitting on opposite ends of the couch, not even looking at each other at the moment. When she was within sight of them, she became the point of interest.
Judging by the Keira’s pink cheeks and the way Jak was pointedly perturbed, neither one would be getting over this anytime soon. . .let alone their “daughter.”
Letting out a harsh breath, she decided to jump right in with what she’d been planning on saying.
Which, as it turned out, was nothing like she’d planned.
“I went out in the Wasteland.”
She received shocked expressions even as Jak retorted sharply, “Unsupervised?”
She rolled her eyes.
“No, you don’t,” he snapped, standing. “Don’t roll your eyes at us! That was dangerous, and you know it!”
“It can also be very beneficial,” she shot back.
He scoffed. “Is that worth the possibility of death?”
“Sometimes,” she all but snarled.
Keira cut in then, before a battle could begin. “What do you mean, beneficial?” she asked, coming between them to act as a barrier.
“I found a cave,” she answered, still ready to bare her fangs if Jak did too.
But instead, a surprised kind of recognition took over his features. “A cave?” he echoed, as though making sure he heard her right.
She nodded, relaxing a little. “I’m positive it’s the cave I used to live in.”
There was a long moment of silence then, during which her parents looked at each other hard.
“. . .And?” Jak prodded at last.
She bit her lip. “I’m Eco-sensitive. I mean, they all reacted differently, but --”
“You didn’t go anywhere near the Dark Eco, did you?” he interrupted.
She shook her head. “No closer than. . .five feet or so,” she answered, having to think it over.
He seemed to relax then, blowing out a heavy breath.
“Why are you telling us this?” Keira asked then, laying a hand on Sunni’s.
Sunni grinned in response. “I absorbed a lot of the Light Eco. That’s why.”
The silence, this time, was heavy and sharp. It was almost like time froze for a few moments, while her parents thought hard about this new information. She understood that well enough – Eco Sensitives well relatively common, so it wasn’t totally necessary to tell them she was. But Light and Dark Eco were different, much more particular types. A person who could absorb and use either one was definitely out of the ordinary.
Which is what made Jak so spectacular, in her opinion.
“So,” Jak started in an almost grave tone, “you can use Light Eco.”
“Well, I haven’t been able to ‘use’ it yet,” she disagreed. “But it’s there. I can feel it all the same.”
“And you want me to teach you how,” he finished for her.
She tilted her head in question. “How did you know I’d ask you that?”
“Because I’m your father, I know,” he told her, smiling the barest of smiles. That amusement died quickly, however. He continued, “And you want to find a way back to your time.”
She could hardly believe he’d said it. How well did he know her, she wondered, to know precisely what she was planning? As though scolded by that simple sentence, she bit her lip. “I think it’s what I was meant for.”
Keira shook her head, pulling Sunni into an embrace. “No, you don’t have to think that way,” she denied, as Sunni returned the hug. “That future time is far, far away from you. You don’t have to worry about it, you don’t even have to think about it. You can let someone else --”
As the words sunk in, Sunni had to push away. “No!” she snapped. “How can you think that way, mother? What if. . .what if father thought that way?” she asked, gesturing Jak sharply. “Where would the city be now? Where would you be now?!”
“Sunni. . .” Keira started, trailing off.
Strangely under control, Jak pulled Keira to him, and she clung to him in return. To Sunni, he said, “I’m not arguing with you.”
In shock, Keira looked up, blurting, “Wait, you’re not. . ? Then. . . But if she goes, she. . .”
Watching, Sunni couldn’t help but marvel at the situation. At Keira’s protests, he simply looked at her, and whatever was in his gaze must’ve told Keira something she didn’t want to admit before, because she quit fighting. Instead, she pressed her face into his chest silently.
And Jak continued, “The problem, Sunni, would be in sending you back where you came from. We don’t have that kind of technology.”
“You did once before,” Sunni pointed out. “Mother made a vehicle --”
“Years ago,” Keira cut in. “I can’t remember it anymore.”
Shaking her head, Sunni tried to wrap her head around this. “No,” she argued, “you said you weren’t going to fight me on this.” There was accusation in her eyes when she looked at Jak now. “But you’re still telling me ‘no’!”
“I’m telling you,” he disagreed quietly, “that we can’t send you back.”
A bit of her rage died. “Then, if you can’t. . ?”
“The Precursors,” he answered. “They’ve been wanting to meet you anyway. Listen. . .”
He told her then – told both women – about venturing out with Daxter to see the Precursors, to contact them. He told them about the second visit, learning that Sunni shouldn’t exist though she does, and their interest in her. And finally, he told them about his and Daxter’s mutual agreement to never take her to the temple.
“. . .But now,” he went on, “I don’t think we have a choice. If you’re set on this – going back to your time, setting things right – then we’ll need their help.” He glanced down at Keira for a moment, a silent apology in his eyes, before continuing. “You have to be determined to see this through,” he advised Sunni. “If you go back, I can’t go with you – I couldn’t help you. No one could.”
She understood that, had since she made her decision; but only now did the reality of it sink in. If she left. . .she’d be leaving forever. She’d have to say goodbye to her parents, Ashelin and Torn and Davril, whom she regarded as her aunt, uncle and cousin. Daxter and Tess, more like elder siblings than anything else. All of her acquaintances, kids her age she considered friends – Samos, too, who’d been very grandfatherly towards her.
It made her want to back out, before anything had been set in stone. On the other hand. . .
Deise entered her mind. No, somebody had to stop him – somebody who had the power to. And she couldn’t leave it up to fate, to a toss of the dice; there was too much to lose if she really was the only one who could defeat him.
“And if you decide to go back,” he was saying now, “we have to make sure you’re prepared for anything. We’ll need to train you.”
“With what? Guns?” she asked, processing the information a little bit slowly.
He gave a nod. “If you’re any good with them. But specifically with whatever you’re best at.”
The jetboard came to mind, and she said as much.
“Among other things,” he told her firmly. “You can’t rely on just a tool.”
She frowned, narrowing her eyes. “I’m aware of that. Don’t insult me.”
She could see a retort forming, could practically hear the words already – which is why she was so happy when Keira cut in before anything could blow up.
“Don’t think we’re trying to insult you,” she corrected. “We just want to make sure you’re prepared.” Her voice, right at the end, cracked, and she turned to hide her face in Jak’s chest against. He put his arms around her tightly, turning a solemn, forlorn look on Sunni.
It almost broke her heart. Coming closer, she tried to squeeze between them, saying, “I’m not gone yet.” She was still small enough that she could snuggle into Keira the way Keira did to Jak, and she did so. “I’m not gone yet,” she repeated, though this time it was much quieter.
- - - - -
Training, she discovered quickly, was much more difficult than she first assumed. But not quite as difficult as convincing their entire friend-family unit that she was set on going back. Some, she knew, had a harder time than others, because some of them were hit with the fact that she was from the future moments before learning she wanted to go back.
And although the person who’d been most distant with her was Torn, he was also the person who fought the strongest. He was describing it as though it were a suicide mission and refused to let her go – and he and Jak clashed like water and fire on the issue. Finally, however, he subsided, claiming that if she were indeed to go, he was going to “make damn sure you can get out of any situation.”
On the one hand, it warmed her heart to think he cared so much, when he never truly seemed to. On the other, however, she had the thought that he was going to try to dissuade her through harsh training so she wouldn’t want to leave.
Every one of them – Jak, Keira, Ashelin, Torn, Daxter, Tess and Samos – had advice to give, knowledge to bestow, strategies to employ. It reached the point where, after some time, she told them all off and took a day to relax by herself, “surfing” the jetboard on the ocean and napping under the sun.
She learned things about herself as time went on, things she labeled as “important” or “passive” or “useful” as necessary. Her agility and lightweight size made her a competent climber, which she’d always known, but now she worked with it harder until she could sneak absolutely anywhere. Akin to a hunter, and working with Keira, she developed a large amount of patience, in between lessons of how to assemble or sabotage various mechanical objects.
Ashelin was determined to make Sunni as strong as she could be, teaching her different hand-to-hand fighting styles. And at Sunni’s request, the older woman also bestowed several tattoos on her, which were slightly a mix of Ashe and Torn’s different types. The tattoos consisted of circles and angular lines, on her face, neck, shoulders, one on each hip, a few on her chest, left ear and near the tip of her tail.
As predicted, Torn was the toughest with her, to the point where she had to remind herself he wasn’t trying to torture her every time she had to train under him. He gave her a lot of quizzes mid-practice to keep her mind sharp, which she was elated to realize actually worked. Beyond that, he taught her to judge things well, from reactions to physics to distance to emotion. However, he also had her run obstacle courses. She hated him at the end of every lesson, because at the end of every lesson, she had bruises and cuts to nurse.
With Daxter and Tess (who loved working as a team), her job was simply to keep up. The nimbler duo were hard to keep in sight a good majority of the time, let alone follow. And the downside to all this training was simple: while it did its job teaching her, it was also keeping all of her teachers in top form.
The worst moment she had, in all of this work, was when she awoke to find she couldn’t move well. With an amused laugh, Torn diagnosed her as having muscle failure. For three days she needed to be babied, because she couldn’t do anything by herself. In one way, it was horribly degrading, but on the other, a reprieve.
Alternatively, the best moment was when she finally unleashed the Light Eco she’d absorbed. It was all thanks to Jak, though – when she expressed frustration at not being able to use it, he solved the problem by “showing her how it’s done.” He changed first, then reached out and put his hand on her shoulder.
The contact was all she needed, as it turned out.
And she found it impossible to describe what it felt like. It was as though everything in her quieted, becoming peaceful. There was a sense of control that was almost overwhelming in its subtlety. For about a minute, everything was within reach and there were no limitations.
When, at last, it ended, she found herself missing that serenity. The next several hours were spent talking about it to anyone who would listen, completely fascinated with the change within herself. In fact, it had the lasting effect of strengthening her dwindling confidence in the future. If she could use this power regularly, after all, she couldn’t see Deise defeating her in battle. . .
But that hinged on her being able to use it whenever she needed to. She wasn’t so sure about that.