?

Log in

 
 
01 March 2009 @ 12:38 am
Vertigo- Everybody Knows  
Title: Vertigo
Chapter: 1- Everybody Knows
Pairing: JakxDaxter
Genres: Hurt/Comfort, Adventure
Chapt. Length: 2,433 words
Summary: Because Kiera didn't spend two years searching for him, and Samos wasn't willing to follow Jak into the desert when he was needed the most. Jak's body is too tainted to accept any light eco abilities; and the only being who has a chance of channeling the Dark Eco out of him in time was the one person who Jak had never wanted to burden again. JakDax


It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Never this. Didn’t they know it wasn’t— how didn’t they know it wasn’t him? Precursors, he had never meant for any of this, not-

“Veger’s demanding your exile. If we willingly give you up, we won’t have to use those last yellow eco barrels staving their advances off- Jak, we need this. The underground needs this.”

No, they didn’t need this. They wanted this. They wanted him gone. Gone, because- He had killed innocents. Because of someone else’s careless mistake. One of the Freedom Guard trainees saw fit to stash barrels of Dark eco, just like any other type of eco, in the back room of the underground’s headquarters. Where Jak lived and slept and thrived- he had killed. Killed innocents, the eco seeping through the barrels in ways no one else would notice, mutating him until there was nothing of the Mar heir left. And Jak hadn’t been able to stop himself.

Vin later told him it was the concentrated doses of Eco in steady amounts, so close to him for an extended period of time that caused the snap. The wholesale destruction he had wreaked that day was soon all over the news.

The key human elements of the underground all stood around the bar of the Naughty Ottsel, feet shifting nervously on scuffed up floors. They were agreeing with Veger. Torn stood resolute in front of the bar, eyes hard but sympathetic, while Tess twiddled her thumbs and looked on the verge of tears, biting her lip and trying not to say anything in the face of this horrible onslaught on someone who was supposed to be their friend.

“We can’t do this anymore Jak. The people think you’re dangerous; hell, you are dangerous. If you can’t keep that violate beast in check than maybe this really is for the best. We can’t keep trying to cover your tracks, sweeping your record under the rug as every time you get angry people die!”

Nobody had minded back when the war was futile. Nobody had ever gotten killed but Krimzon Guards and lurkers before, and people thought his mutation was a blessing, not a curse- until now. Everything was changing. Jak knew he didn’t like it.

“We’re giving you up, Jak.” Ashelin’s words were harsh and unequivocal. They were punctuated by the scraping of a barstool being thrown backwards, as Sig stood quickly to contest Ashelin’s assessment- but he was promptly cut off, the female underground member’s words gaining conviction with each breath she took.

“We’re being attacked from all fronts, our men are losing morale as well as any semblance of self respect, and we fight with a monster in our midst! Our casualties are off the charts while the other half of Haven sits loftily on their high perches, continuing to fund the war and content in the knowledge that our word means nothing when spoken through a pathological eco experiment! Our credibility is gone, and the men don’t want to fight for a side that a dark eco saturate supports- you can’t ruin the fight for this city, Jak. Not after all this. We didn’t come this far to be toppled by a murderous Achilles heel. You get angry and you- you change. You go berserk, then change back, like deeds that constitute horror stories can be forgiven under the guise of blind rage- precursors, the citizens are revolting against you! I know you don’t think it’s you and I know you didn’t ask for any of this, Jak-“

“Whadda ya mean, he doesn’t think it’s him, cherry! He knows it’s not him. My boy Jak would never do that. I ‘aint even known him that long- tell ‘em, Daxter!” Sig’s angry, choked words prompted a response from the shell shocked ottsel, shaking him out of his reverie on a horrified Jak’s shoulder.

“Ye- yeah! You guys’re actually going along with this?! This is Veger’s idea! Bat shit insane Veger! We’ve saved this city’s asses more times than they can count on both their hands!” His voice was quaking, trying to keep up his protective shield of haughtiness and false bravado as the walls came crashing down.

“What about the shadow, eh? Your precious shadow! He wouldn’t stand for this either, yanno, just wait until Samos gets word of this, and that damn council ‘ll have their heads spinning faster than-“ “He’s already voted yes on the banishment bill, Daxter.”

There was something final, and almost smug in the way Ashelin said those words, like a match of one-upmanship had just been won. “You’re dangerous and violate and wholly nonnegotiable. You know, better than all of us, the side effects of your ‘treatments’. They’ve been showing up steadily for the last three months even without transforming. It’s corroding your humanity, Jak.”

And, outwardly, it seemed to be true. Once healthily tan skin shone a milky pale in the artificial light, and longer, sturdier (though still clear keratin) nails were quickly shoved into pockets. It was… changing him. In ways not one of the Baron’s scientists could’ve foreseen- but not on the inside! Couldn’t they see, know, it was still Jak in there? His frame of mind was still his, his consciousness alive and well. It wasn’t enough. They still feared that side of him; and Jak was afraid too. How long, until it was him inside the monsters body? Trying to speak with no words coming out, and people fleeing from his demonic appearance; Jak’s darkest nightmare, the one where not even Daxter could withstand him anymore.

Ironically enough, it was Daxter who spoke up next in his defense.
“That great green COWARD! How could he?! Where did he get the goddamn nerve! If Jak was ‘feelin particularly homicidal these days, which he isn’t, he wouldn’t hesitate to let us know! You can’t do this!” A desperate whine built up in the steady tenor of Daxter’s voice, furry eyebrows losing the angry tilt and adopting a hopeless slant.

“They can, Daxter. They did. I’m sorry, Jak, you can no longer be seen as one of us. You will be given three days until the deportation. That’s the longest we were able to stall.” A sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach said the only ones still interested in stalling his departure were Sig and Tess- Dax hadn’t know about this any sooner than he had.

Ashelin didn’t look apologetic. Resigned, maybe, but not apologetic.

“Three days.”

It has a nice, ‘World falling down around your ears’ feeling, doesn’t it?

--

Jak couldn’t sleep in the underground HQ anymore. He wasn’t welcome anywhere, really. Which made it all the more heartwarming and confusing to him that Daxter stayed, resolute, on his shoulder, even with the chances being they’d be sleeping in a pilfered zoomer tonight. They’d been jettisoned from their home- again. It was a painful thing to realize. Streetlights buzzed smugly as ha strolled with lead feet down the cobblestone road of the bazaar, collecting dirty glances as they went. Jak stayed impassive while Daxter made funny faces right back at them, startling most of them back into minding their own business. He was protecting Jak, and his buddy was grateful. Jak had never wanted attention, and that never changed. He just wanted excitement, and someone to enjoy it with. Glances like throwing knives were deflected by Daxter’s clever defense, as the poison of today’s conversation sunk in for the Havenite.

He couldn’t think about that now. To painful, too soon. At some point, just… not now. Not here, in the middle of the street, being hated by everyone except the one person he wronged.

Jak spoke first.

“Want something for dinner, Dax? I think we still have plenty to spend.” ‘Because paper money means nothing in the wastelands.’

“Uhhhh… fruit? Berries? You got anything in mind, big guy?” ‘I’m not eating without you, knucklehead.’

“Not really hungry, Dax. Not after… that. I don’t really eat much anyway, ‘member?” ‘I was starved in prison. I can go a few measly days without food. You will eat. I won’t be here to pay for your food much longer.’

He could feel Daxter shift against the tender skin exposed on his neck, tail swaying. “Oh, just get something, my crowning king of apathy. We’ll share.” ‘I’m coming with you, wherever the hell you’re cast off too.’

Nobody around them realized why such a simple statement put a smile of the blonde warrior’s face. They walked about a half a mile more in the dust with a companionable silence between them, before reaching a stall with the smell of beef kebabs wafting from it, bananas hanging in ripe clusters from hooks near the counter. Three kebabs and two bananas they ordered, not without palpable reluctance from the teen manning the cash register. He seemed disinclined to want to willingly offer them any form of sustenance, but didn’t want to pass up the revenue in these times of need.

Jak thanked him, and the boy flinched. Daxter snickered.

He remembered an old abandoned apartment near the swamp section that’d been abandoned, but still had running (dripping) water as well as light. In half a daze he began walking in that direction, eyes far off and aimless. A shrieking wail broke the silence.

A few seconds later a woman burst around the corner they were approaching, nearly falling sideways against the wall of an abandoned shop before continuing to flee, tears in her eyes. Roughly two seconds behind chased a small metal head, snarling and drooling messily all over. Nothing spectacular, small game for anyone with any form of weapons training, but enough to cause a panic in a civilian. In inch high heels, the young woman slipped dangerously forward, and the metal head dove after her. Without missing a beat, Jak swung viciously at it with his left arm, smacking it violently into a cobblestone wall as, with a sickening ‘crack’, it’s gem having been popped out. The creatures body still convulsing, Jak Turned to the elf as she grabbed her belongings that’d been splayed across the ground due to her fall.

“You Ok?” He kneeled, genuinely worried.

“Huh? Oh, yes, now at least. Thank you so~” Eyes having been previously locked on the ground, she glanced upwards. A look of terror and fear, more intense even than a few minutes ago with the Metal Head, dawned on her face. She dropped her purse again, scrambling backwards on all fours and trying to get her bearings.

“Y-y-you! Its you!” The tenor of her voice was steadily escalating as she continued to stare in shocked silence for a few more seconds, before-

‘WHAP!’

She struck out blindly, slapping him in the face messily before screaming in horror once more. Reeling to the side with the force of the wholly unexpected blow, Jak tasted copper in his mouth as he stood again to face the now sobbing citizen. Daxter was yelling somewhere ever the commotion, but the words were lost on Jak as she continued to scoot as far away from him as she could. The surrounding people quickly rushed to her side, shooting Jak glances so venomous they left him lost for words.

“M-m-m-monster!”

It hurt. More than he thought it would, and more than it should’ve. It became a psychical pain, more intense than anything he had ever experienced. Monster.

He hadn’t even realized Daxter had jumped off his shoulder until he climbed back up onto it. The small mammal was shaking, too.

“C’mon, Jak. We don’t need to see this.”

The man and marsupial turned away, heading for a makeshift home.

The fell metal bug gave one, last, defiant twitch before ceasing to exist. It’s Gem had shattered on impact.

--

Daxter, having been transformed from one species of mammal to another (and having to live with it), had a much odder outlook on life that most- seeing as not many could relate to the sensation. He knew, from unfortunate experience, that there were so many categories of pain it could make ‘yer brain hurt just thinking of all of ‘em- and he knew Jak was suffering from the worst. That woman- She’d gotten to him. Struck him right down to the core with that backhand of hers, tearing down a broken man on a bad day. Small, furry feet worked their way through the decrepit carpet, shuffling over to the busted mattress on which his best friend lay. Not a word had been said since the run in with the girl, and Daxter was almost afraid to break the silence for once- afraid it would shatter the moment, and everything would come crashing down again; except this time he wouldn’t be able to fix it, wouldn’t be able to bring his buddy back. And that was something Daxter wasn’t sure he was prepared to live with again.

It was cold, in those two years Jak was gone. (Gone being a relative term. Gone being the word he used so he didn’t have to think of kidnapping, think of torture, his best friend in pain with no one there to give a kangarat’s ass. So Daxter didn’t have to think of that.) Freezing, every night, as he curled up upon himself and tried to bask in the heat his square foot of self produced. It was never enough. Ottsels were communal creatures by nature. They were pack animals, friend animals, co-dependant right down to the very core- and it wasn’t ok without Jak around. Nothing was ever alright, not without his friend there to fight away the bad things.

No matter how broken, bruised, or emotionally scarred his boy got, Jak was always warm enough for the two of them. Climbing up onto the springs and shoving Jak’s arm from its curled position on his chest, he heard the small grunt of surprise with some amount of remorse.

“Whadid ya think, I’d just leave you here to bask in ‘yer own warmth? Make way fer an ottsel, bud, ‘cause this one’s here to stay-“

Dax squealed with mock indignance when he was dragged from his resting place and wrapped protectively in sinewy arms, held against a chest with just a couple too many scars for anyone normal.

Their mattress sucked, the apartment was caving in, and they had been jettisoned from their home. The Underground saw them as a threat, and Jak’s people were convinced he was a demon. But they were both here now, for the moment, and everything would be alright as long as they never had to wake up alone.

 
---

Hey again! I'm back, with the first chapter of my ongoing story 'Vertigo'.
X-posted to my FF.N account.
Thanks for checkin' it out!
 
 
Current Location: The Naughty Ottsel
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: Robyn- Dream On