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12 March 2009 @ 10:15 pm
Vertigo Chapters 2 and 3  

Wow. Ghost town community much? Anyways, even if no one else seems to be posting, I'll keep putting up Vertigo in case anyone is reading.   Uhmmm.... hi.


A/N: I really apologize about the long wait- but I decided I was going to run with this muse, and see where I get. This chapter is for outerelf and MadHatterMCR

----

Apparently their ‘neighbor’ got a copy of the Haven Gazette delivered every Saturday morning, because when Jak woke up, it was to Daxter, struggling to get onto the beat up old counter with a pilfered newsprint in hand.

He stretched languidly while Dax tried to make his two feet of height extend to the top of their temporary kitchen table. Rolling out of bed, still fully clothed (save for his eco ring and straps), he snatched the paper out of Daxter’s distracted paws and gently wrapped one of his hands, seeming so large, around his friend’s fuzzy middle- bringing him up to sit atop the surface. Dax turned his head away pointedly, as if to imply he didn’t need the help. At least some things never change.

Memories were still fresh and tender from last night, and they both busied themselves, Daxter blissfully silent for once, getting put together. Running long fingers through his snarled hair before giving up on the lost cause and pulling it up into a messy pony tail, Jak got a drink of water and began to absently flip through the current events.

In a spectacular spit-take, the elf promptly spewed water out his mouth and nose with what might have been an obscenity. In large, official letters above a picture of Jak looming over the civilian woman from last night, read: ‘Underground Eco Freak Terrorizes Citizen’. It went on to talk about how he had ‘brutally assaulted her without provocation’, with several witness testimonies backing it up.

“What the hell, Jak?! What the hell gave you the right to do that?!”

Two feet away, Daxter stood, soaking wet and holding his dripping arms away from his body with no small measure of disgust. “Whad’id ya have to go and do that for!?!”

The section was promptly shoved in his face.

Small blue eyes widened and narrowed in the same motion. “Oh.”

Apparently someone thought he needed extra motivation to leave the city behind. Whoever they were, they were doing a damn good job. “Oh hell no! We swooped in like heroes in the last inning and she has the nerve to testify against us? Hell Jak, they’re threatening to bring you into court!” Daxter paused, and grinned at the mental image ‘pissed-off-Jak-in-court’ brought forth.

“Heh. I’d feel sorry for that judge…”

Rolling his eyes incredulously, Jak scooped up Daxter once more and set him (with just a bit more force than necessary) on his shoulder plate.

“By the way, I snagged us some extra dough for when breakfast time rolls around; you’d be amazed how many Havenites have chainless wallets. Jeez, do I ‘hafta do everything around here?”

Jak chose not to dignify that question with an answer.

--

It was three city blocks from here to the racing stadium, and Jak was loathing every step of the way. Daxter had curled himself more tightly around his neck than usual, and furry paws kneaded apprehensively at the fabric of his shirt.

“Jak; they’re staring again.” And Daxter was right. They were. A group of three men, (Teenagers, more accurately) had been ‘inconspicuously’ tracking them since the slum district, looking decidedly out of place in the well-kept part of town they had recently entered. Not that Jak had any room to talk or anything.

“It’s probably because you’re staring back, Dax. Just ignore ‘em.” Easier said than done for the both of them.

His eyes did narrow, however, when the scruffy looking band of three shared a look between themselves, stances shifting apprehensively. Daxter’s warm breath quickened on his neck, nervous. Jak’s slender fingers twitched towards the gun holster on his back, while Daxter continued to tense palpably next to him. They were packing heat, he could smell the eco from here. Purposeful strides lengthened as they passed under the bridge on which the entrance to Vin’s lab lay, and Jak’s shackles rose further when he realized no one else was walking this path, choosing instead to traverse the zoomer highway above their heads. His arms were taut as bowstrings, while Daxter’s soft fur brushed his cheek as he crouched low on the metal shoulder plate. Then they struck.

Pivoting on the front of his feet, Jak swung drastically around and ducked. It was done soon enough that any shots directed at him would’ve been evaded, non-consequential as the backfire from their blasters gave him enough time to think up a plan of action-

But the bullets weren’t aimed at him. The shockingly well-aimed shots embedded themselves soundly into the wall not two inches from where Daxter’s head had been seconds ago. They were targeting the ottsel. A blind, thoughtless panic welled up inside of Jak, lodging in his chest and constricting his throat.

They were trying to take Daxter away, too. The small mammal in question was now shaking violently, fur erect and brushing the underside of his chin.

“Wh- what the hell was that?!? Ya give ‘em an inch and they take a headshot at the ottsel!Not cool!”

Blunt claws carved accidental marks into the skin of his shoulder as the traumatized mammal raged.

“Crouch lower! Hold on tight, Daxter!” His words were clipped and demanding, leaving no room for argument- Not that Daxter had any, for once.

The three amateur assassins, realizing they had missed their shot (and by extension, their chance) shuffled quickly backwards, fumbling once again with their guns. Jak would have none of it.

Two more random, yellow eco infused bullets came rushing out of the bolder one’s barrel (non-ricocheting, easily dodgeable). He glanced them off his gauntlets before lunging foreword, an odd sense of satisfaction curdling in his chest as they panicked, dropping their weapons and holding their arms over their heads.

Bringing up his left leg, he sent it barreling into the chest of the nearest goonie, winding and knocking the man unconscious. The other one on his left bolted, fight-or-flight instincts kicking in while the last one just stood there dumbly, petrified.

Easy target. Lunging foreword once more, he snatched the opposing man’s collar and brought him up to eye level. The younger teenager screamed like a girl. Still pressed low to Jak’s shoulder, trembling in fear, he heard Daxter voice a shaky chuckle at the shriek. Something dark and uncomfortably familiar laughed with Daxter inside Jak’s head, but he quickly clamped down on that urge. Now was not the time for that.

“Who sent you?”

Fear was tangible in the air, and it stained everything near with the thick scent. “N-nobody man, I-I swear!” Jak’s hand moved up from the man’s collar, pressing uncomfortably close to his bobbing Adams apple and windpipe. “I-I aint no hired gun!” he wheezed, trying once again to reason.

“Y’know, If we were working with double negatives here, you just offered a confession.” Daxter remarked snidely, pride smarting at having to accept protection from idiots like this guy. The captive man seemed not to care about his misplaced grammar, continuing to tremble and stare anywhere but at the darkening eyes of the blonde accosting him. Jak brushed off Daxter’s flat, trite remark as well, continuing the interrogation.

“If nobody sent you, then why the hell are you here?”

Sounding more like a threat than a question even to Jak’s own ears, it was punctuated by a rough jerk of the stooge’s collar.

“The bounty! We wanted the b-bounty on the little bastard’s head.” His eyes jerked to Daxter. Jak’s grip slackened as his eyes widened. Daxter’s… bounty? Taking advantage of the lapse in hostility, the goon shook out of Jak’s grip and bolted, knees knocking with anxiety. Easy prey, but no longer worth the trouble. Just another Haven street rat trying to make a living in any unsavory way he could. Jak’s taut ears slackened, drooping as he realized what must’ve happened. An acute feeling of abject horror began gnawing at the pit of his stomach. Bounty.

“Well, I must be doing something right if they want me dead badly enough to put cash on my corpse, huh?”

Daxter actually seemed pleased with himself. Jak narrowly resisted the urge to faceplam.

“You’re an idiot, you know that?”

“Hell yeah. And you choose to hang out with me! Loser.”

They laughed together, and just for a second, everything was alright again.

---

“Civilians aren’t allowed past this point until an hour before the race.”

The distracted officer patrolling the entrance of the Haven city stadium tried to brush them off, not looking up from his pager.

“It’s a damn good thing he aint’ a civilian then, huh?”

Daxter’s tail swung irritably through the air behind him, the fur on his nape bristling in discomfort as he provoked the man. Although the tension was hardly a fraction of it’s previous intensity, it was obvious the small mammal was still shaken. Small blue eyes darted suspiciously about the open square, almost agoraphobicly. The vapid security enforcer finally peered curiously upward, uncaring. Right up until he caught sight of who was addressing him.

“We’re just here to see a friend.” Jak had to try to clear this whole thing up with Kiera, at the very least. She could reason with her father, make things better; more bearable for Daxter after he left. Dax, who was convinced he was following Jak into the hellish exile. Fat chance he’d let that happen. Daxter meant far too much to him for that; not that the boy-turned-ottsel would ever willingly agree to being left behind.

The guard gave a shocked, strangled yelp somewhere outside of Jak’s internal musings, and he took that as a queue to brush past the man. He strode with purpose nearer to the garage Kiera was assigned to. Familiarity and relief swept through him as he caught sight of a well-known silhouette behind a thin curtain. It was Daxter, however , who spoke out first.

“The dynamic duo is up and kicking! Didn’t think a minor setback would put us behind schedule, didja sweetheart? Don’t worry, your prince has arrived! Oh, and I brought along Jak for the ride.” The words seemed to come easily for Daxter, and Kiera jerked behind the curtain at the boisterous voice. Jak sincerely hoped it was due to a happy emotion.

Unfortunately, he was wrong. The stool she had occupied screeched shrilly backwards, and there was a soprano note of panic in her voice when she spoke next. “The underground already told you we can’t be seen around you.” Although it was Daxter who had spoken, it was obviously Jak whom she was addressing.

“You’re not officially in the Underground, Kiera.”

“The same principle applies, Jak.” She sounded exhausted, and… frightened? The shadow behind the veil took a few hesitant steps back. Frightened.

Unease grabbed Jak, and he shifted nervously from foot to foot while Daxter sputtered in outrage next to him. ‘She doesn’t believe me.’ The thought clicked easily in his head, a possibility he hadn’t accounted for. ‘She honestly believes everything that Veger’s been feeding the public.’ He was seized by a sudden, blinding urge to make her understand—he had thought that Keira of all people would be able to make sense of those lies!

“You can’t honestly believe all of tha— Keira, I made a mistake. I underestimated my sensitivity to dark eco, yes, but the rest of this-“ He made aimless, animated gestures with his hands in the air, as if trying to entail what ‘the rest of this’ encompassed, “-is just lies! Yellow journalism! ‘Cmon, Kiera, you work in the racing business. You know how unreliable people are-“

“I saw the pictures, Jak! This morning’s news—or have you forgotten already?” Pictures? Was she talking about the woman he helped last night? She had actually believed that press bull?

“The girl was being chased by a metalhead, Kiera! What was I supposed to do, stand by and watch? And now I’m being portrayed as the monster-“

“Maybe that’s not far from the truth! Why would anyone lie about something like being attacked, Jak? You didn’t exactly look like a guardian angel lording over her with metal-gut stains all over!”

“I was making sure she wasn’t hurt. Damnit Kiera! You’ve known me as long as anybody! You really think I’m capable of that?” Daxter cringed on his shoulder, but kept his mouth shut. He knew what Jack was trying to convey. He just wasn’t sure they had to be so loud about it.

“Maybe I don’t know you, Jak! The Jak I know would never work for Krew! He’d never go on suicide missions, blowing up everything in sight and he’d certainly never storm in here expecting forgiveness after killing innocent people!” A new, shaky tenor had entered her voice.

Jak began bellowing now, giving ripping down that veil serious thought. “Oh, so it was alright when I was killing lurkers for ‘the sake of the village’, but now I mess up because of something I can’t control—You think I asked to be experimented on?—I’m yesterday’s scum?! The Kiera I knew wouldn’t consider a relationship with someone like Erol! You think you’re qualified to talk about lapses in judgment? By the way, how’d that turn out?” Now Jak was just angry and hurt, lashing out in a petty attempt to wound her pride.

The curtains were ripped open a split second later, and Kiera stormed out red-faced with rage. Satisfaction curled itself around Jak’s mindset.

“He was ten times better than you’ll ever be, Krimzon Guard or not!”

“He was a psychopathic, sadistic murderer.”

“EXACTLY!” The conviction that word carried stilled Jak. Some obscure part of him fractured, emotional shrapnel cutting painfully into his heart. Exactly. Without a word, he turned and walked away, heavy boots on cobblestone echoing through the hallway. It took Jak a couple seconds more to realize Daxter was no longer perched on his shoulder. His mind dully registered the ottsel sliding onto the ground sometime during the shouting match, covering his sensitive ears. Not a huge problem in itself, since he was most likely waiting for Jak outside, but—

Outside. Daxter had a bounty on his furry head, and he was waiting outside. In Haven city.

Jak broke into a sprint.

---

Hot damn! For all his bud was the king of brooding, he could scream pretty good when prompted. Daxter stood on the sidewalk, trying to shake the ringing out of his ears and tapping his padded foot impatiently. Don’t childhood-friendship crushing arguments just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? As soon as all this Haven crap was cleared up, the mammal swore he was never, EVER dealing with this precursor induced angst stuff again.

‘Freakin magical strobe lights, all of ‘em. Not good for anything but jumpstarting civilizations, Daxter swore.

His tail thumped angrily, almost painfully against the sidewalk, seeming to follow his train of thought. ‘The one appendage I’d miss if I ever got to be human again.’ Call him a pessimist, but that possibility wasn’t looking too likely. ‘Ol Jakkie boy had enough to deal with these days anyway. If there’s anything Daxter would never want to be, it was a burden. Sure, he’d occasionally whine or complain a bit, with good reason mind you, but actually leaving had never even crossed his-

That thought was cut off abruptly by an echoing gunshot, and wetness began to accumulate on the left side of his abdomen. Why was his fur all wet? He could feel it down his side, warm but oddly unpleasant. Looking down, it occurred to Daxter what had just happened, still abstract in his head- he had been shot, nicked in the side by a yellow eco bullet.

Before the pain could even register, he fainted at the sight.

---

Jak was running as fast as he could. Jak wasn’t running fast enough. He heard the gunshot just as he drifted around the corner, the metal soles of his shoes screeching irritably at him while he turned in time to see Daxter collapse.

Running towards Dax, those were some of the longest moments of his life. Propelling himself finally to where his best friend lay, Jak stomped to a violent halt next to the bleeding teen. What looked like too much blood for someone so small pooled around him, but it didn’t look like anything vital had been injured- just a superficial wound.

Too late, Jak picked up on footsteps fleeing across the square, away from the scene- another stranger with assassination in mind. He considered giving chase, tracking the rube down and shooting him until he bled like a stuck hiphog, when something bounced off his forehead with a metallic ‘clang’ and diverted his attention.

It was a soda can. Somebody had decided to throw a soda can at him. Looking irritably up, he saw a woman in her early twenties giving him the evil eye, distain scrawled across her dainty features. The hair on the back of Jak’s neck prickled uncomfortably as he realized everyone was staring, disgust visible in even the softest of faces. Like he was some vile carcinogen they wanted nothing to do with, a poison they wanted their city purged of. Before Jak knew it, others were throwing things as well. Bottles, trash, spare change, goading him while completely disregarding the peril Daxter was in-

And he couldn’t fight back. Because that was exactly what Veger wanted him to do. So, pride aching, Jak gathered Daxter to his chest and turned to his only other alternative: he ran. Onlookers were ‘boo’ing and hissing now, throwing them both venomous glances as they fled down the street-turned-gauntlet. He didn’t look back, knowing the only person really behind him was bleeding in his grip, and having to remember that no one else was watching his back anymore was a pain he’d like to spare himself.

With a pounding heart that had little to do with exertion, he sprinted all the way to the gate leading out of the agricultural section, not stopping until he had cleared the city and could see the warp gate leading up to the precursor temple.

First, Jak needed to stem Daxter’s blood flow. Then, he needed a word with their illustrious makers.

----

A/N: I’m not really fond of Kiera myself, but I tried to have her on a standpoint where, even if you don’t approve of her actions, you can at least see where she’s coming from. I tried really hard not to Kiera-bash, but keep the plot moving at the same time, so sorry If I was a bit choppy.

Daxter PoV is helluv fun to do, and I don’t get to write it often enough.

Thanks for reading!

Please, please review. It’s what keeps me going.

 


A/N: I’m assuming most of you know the basic plot of Jak3, so the whole precursor excerpt here will mostly make sense. Speaking of that: I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA HOW TO WRITE PREVURSOR PoV. Sorry. Yeah, so, the plot (It is now, with startling clarity, that you realize I actually have one.) finally begins to shape up in this chapter, and Jak gets carted off to the wastelands, one ottsel short. (Or so he thinks.)

I thought it was funny how surprised Jak was that Dax ended up following him into the wastelands in Jak 3- so I’m playing up my AU ‘why’ that was.

For PhychoJensa, who totally touched me with her concern for my muse in her PM. Sorry about the wait- life was kicking me in the ass.

----

The gorge between the cliff where the ancient ruins lay and the entrance to the city was as dark and daunting as ever. The entire earth seemed to fall away into the blackness, a moat without water or a foreseeable bottom. Taking a moment to catch his breath, Jak repositioned the unresponsive Daxter in his arms. Should’ve shot the bastard who did this when he had the chance.

Daxter’s injury was more superficial than dangerous, but the fact that he still hadn’t regained conciseness worried Jak. Suddenly, as if in retaliation to the spiraling train of thought, the ottsel’s tail swished across the air to ‘thump’ soundly against Jak’s chest, as if to chastise the man for worrying so much. Then the furry animal snored obnoxiously. He had fallen asleep.

Jak snorted with humor, feeling absurd for expecting anything less from the vapid teen. “Love you too, Dax.”

Most of his panic having been eased, Jak unwound the crimson scarf from his neck and wrapped it around Daxter’s torso, carefully handling his friend (Who was flopping around like a limp sock puppet at the treatment, staying soundly asleep.) in an attempt to avoid further damage. He wasn’t a medic, but this would have to do for the time being. He’d lived through worse, and ottsels seemed to be pretty resilient little creatures. Jak suddenly felt a pang of guilt over his near total ignorance regarding the species his best friend had been condemned to. Hard to provide adequate medical care for something you could hardly know less about.

At the moment though, the best course of action was to handle the cargo with care and hope ottsels had a high white blood cell count. Resting Daxter in the crook of his left arm, Jak took slow, mindful strides towards the public warp gate leading up to the abandoned temple. Jak had never thought of himself as a particularly religious man, even with all the precursor tech he frequently found himself making use of—but this was a last ditch effort to gain clarification on exactly where on the divine agenda he stood. They’d probably just forsaken him, a vindictive thought sang at the front of his mind, he’d served his purpose and now he was chop suey to them. The fates seemed to love kicking him in the teeth like that.

Jak really didn’t understand where all the self-loathing came from.

Jumping without hesitation into the warp gate, the odd sensation of being tugged gently in every direction gave way to fresh air as he came out on the other end, looming over the city with the mountain temple at his back. The metal columns of the industrial section left inky silhouettes on the skyline, clouds of semitransparent fumes bellowing acridly from them. He found great irony in the fact that it was mass pollution responsible for Haven’s beautiful sunrises and sunsets; the start of the day may not have heralded such fantastic colors in Sandover, but at least they could see the stars back home.

Even though he had chosen this timeline, something young and still innocent in Jak would never stop thinking of Sandover as home. Of Daxter as his best friend and eternal confidant, and of happy endings as logical outcomes. Turning and walking with an oddly graceful, loping gait he had inherited from long hours as a dark being, he navigated down the slope leading to their entrance with little difficulty. Deftly he slipped across the gap leading to the precursor lift that would take the two of them down into the main hall, butterflies dancing in his stomach. The matte bronze walls of the monolithic place were warm and welcoming, while to emptiness eased some of Jak’s residual tension and gave him time to think.

He’d done this before- called upon the precursors. Jak wasn’t pompous enough to believe they kept constant tabs on him, but if meager luck held they’d respond to his summons. They seemed to flock to places like this: old artifact statues that could outlet their voice, and otherwise anywhere they had once been worshipped.

If only one thing was going to go right for him this week, Jak prayed it would be this. Stepping out into the middle of the open walled, circular floor and feeling half a fool for thinking this might work; he opened his mouth and pleaded his case to the empty corridors of the abandoned building.

“Please. Even if I get kicked out- don’t let anything happen to Daxter. Any of the Underground, actually- the fight for the city isn’t over yet. Whatever plans you have for me that seem to involve social ostracization, leave Dax out of it for once. He’s put up with enough as it is.”

----

Precursors

----

Our hero is standing there, resolute and determined, shouting up at open air in the hopes that we have enough invested in him to listen. And listen we do, because so many of our hopes and plans pivot around this boy; a boy forced to grow up too soon, too fast. He’s standing center stage on our sacred ground, pleading for the welfare of the one his happiness pivots on. A small, seemingly insignificant mammal that he shares more memories with than anyone else on this earth.

Mar’s eyebrows are set at an angry determined tilt, speaking at the ceiling with growing conviction. ‘Leave him out of it.’, he argues, ‘I’m the only one this journey should continue to hurt.’ As gods we ignore the jibe, but as sentient being guilt coils within us, wishing we could heed his request. But we can not.

The small one has a lot more to do with any of this than he has any inkling. More to do with the fate of our precious world than we ever anticipated or intended. To give up Daxter would be to loose the Mar heir to darkness, to rage and grief and frustration until the man became the beast he so hated. He would not survive it, and neither would civilization.

Omnipotent, dark eco swirled invisibly around the boy, corrupting all benevolent eco it came into contact with. Therein lays the problem. He was never supposed to be so saturated, so consumed by the dark experimentation that all other eco was violently rejected. Every attempt at purging him of this consuming monstrosity failed fantastically, and in the absence of competition it thrived, creating a creature of despair, of hate and negativity within him. It sought jealously to corrode everything around it as well—

Everything except the creature now cradled in the Mar heir’s arms. It carefully skirted around him, gentle and hesitant and not-quite affectionate, but fiercely protective, and bitter towards all others who held Daxter’s attention. They supposed that was what love meant to a creature such as ‘Dark Jak’. With every new sunrise the emotions grew- the hatred faded in favor of protectiveness, and the steely repugnance for what it was convinced was a repulsive world dulled. The creature could never be truly ‘good’, since nothing of the notion was in its nature. But it could learn to love almost conventionally, and it could care in the traditional sense for Daxter; if given a chance.

Daxter, the youngest precursor ever to inhabit this earth, with powers undiscovered and jumbled. An unexpected mistake that could very well be the saving grace of everyone around him.

They alone couldn’t purge Jak of enough dark eco for his body to accept the light abilities that needed to be bestowed upon him. If given now, his body would violently reject them, building up an immunity to the gentle light eco. That wasn’t the only setback, though. The Dark Makers approach nullified their reign, each ounce of power they collectively possessed divested in delaying the arrival of the potential Armageddon- and without the light needed to balance out the darkness, no hope remained for this world. Because the beast that lurked beneath the man would not accept their help, they could not give it.

The ancient precursors were not capable of completing this necessary task—

But Daxter was. And so they turned a blind eye to the desperate blonde, and hoped he would eventually find it in him to forgive them.

----

Precursors/

----

Nothing. Three hours spent shouting desperately up at the higher powers, who didn’t even have the decency to respond. Jak tried to resist the urge to kick something, and failed miserably, sending several nearby pieces of pottery to their messy deaths. Assorted ammunition and eco flew out, scattering haphazardly across the floor. Jak didn’t bother with collecting any of it, but the clusters of dark eco flew towards him of their own accord, sinking into his skin with a pins-and-needles sensation he had become accustomed to.

This shouldn’t be happening. Small fuzzy omnivores did not thrive in barren desert wastelands. (‘Just like country boys couldn’t possibly live in a city like this?’ His conciseness goaded.) Jak breathed harshly through his nose, fists clenching and unclenching in angry, spastic jerks. As if in response to the taut sinews of his frustrated buddy, Daxter emitted a sleepy grumble of discontent. The fuming elf forced himself to relax. No sense in upsetting anyone further- they were in enough shit as it was. His entire being deflated with a single sigh, ears drooping morosely. Jak didn’t get it. It was supposed to be him protecting Daxter, but things never seemed to go that direction (contrary to popular belief). Jak flopped tiredly onto the ledge overlooking the water overspill and more picturesque ruins.

He really didn’t want the nightmares to come back. They always seemed to, when Daxter wasn’t right there next to him to snore them away. With that in mind, some selfish, petty part of him hoped that Daxter would end up cast into the wastelands with him tomorrow morning. Hoped that Dax would never leave his side. In his defense, that was also the part that ripped apart Krimzon Guards and strew their guts and armor around like macabre chips in elfin dip, so Jak tried to console himself in the fact that he wasn’t really sure how much of that was actually him.

There was an uncommonly warm, pleasant breeze through the valley that day, and it whipped happily against his face. Just like Sandover. Just like home. If Jak tried hard enough, he could trick himself into thinking the weight of Daxter’s stunted body on his shoulder was a long fingered, gangly hand, and this was just the end of another day in paradise.

----

Kiera didn’t like the ‘conversation’ she’d just had with Jak. She didn’t like anything about it. Things really weren’t supposed to happen like this. She was afraid of Jak, and she hated herself for it. None of them were ever supposed to’ve been forced to grow up like this. Every hopeful inch of her wanted to believe Jak was innocent, and that every bad word said and written was just jealous lies; to think that those photographs weren’t real, and Jak was still just a country-boy hero.

But heroes didn’t kill people, even Krimzon Guards. She felt like a liar, a betrayer and a cheat, but her basic survival instincts went haywire when Jak’s personal demon was around- and as painful as it was, she really wasn’t sure how much of what was left was still Jak. Her heart kept telling her to fight, and prove the innocence of her childhood flame, but her head seemed convinced things would be better this way. He was dangerous now. Somewhere inside of her, she knew he had always been dangerous. She’d just never wanted to face it before.

‘Is love really so serious? The more I think, the less I seem to know… About him and me.’

When they were children, he had stayed silent, listening placidly to Daxter’s hyperboles and overworked chronicles of their adventures. You could never be sure what he was thinking (Unless you were Daxter, it seemed.) And in Kiera’s head, she had filled in the gaps between actions and silences, piecing together someone she could love. Someone that her daddy said may never have really been there in the first place. Then Jak was simply whisked away for two years in this strange, foreign land, and no matter how she tried Kiera couldn’t find a single clue on where he was being held.

Fittingly enough, it was Daxter who eventually succeeded at finding their wayward friend. Daxter, who had never really succeeded at anything on his own before. And because of that stroke of determination fueled luck, Kiera suddenly found herself playing constant second fiddle to the small orange ottsel for Jak’s attention. But that was ok, at first, because finally she had Jak back to have and to hold. Then Jak opened his mouth and spoke, for the first time, and the foundation she had built their relationship on cracked.

Heroes weren’t supposed to harbor such hatred, or thirst for vengeance quite as acutely as that. Somewhere in the back of her mind Kiera knew it was unjust, but she felt blindsided regardless.

So often it was that people changed and forgot to tell each other.

When she saw him today, though, she knew she couldn’t just keep pretending. He was nearly as pale as his alter ego, with eyes just as dark in a different way. Tired, ragged and desperate, he had come to her for the last word and she had spurned him.

Her father would later tell her she had done the right thing, and Kiera would attempt to console herself with it. It wouldn’t work, but at least it was something. At least Jak wouldn’t be alone in exile, though. Daxter would follow him anywhere. The odd, un-called for resentment that accompanied that thought was not lost on her, but she tried to let purpose overwhelm her guilt as she turned back to her newest vehicle.

---TheMorningOfDeportation---

Jak was already awake by the time the sun greeted him with it’s first, tentative rays, staring aimlessly ahead of himself with blank blue eyes and a small, breathing mass of fur cuddled up to his chest. He wanted to stay. He had to go. Regretfully, remorse dragging out his actions, Jak mindfully began to stand, wrapping careful hands around Daxter in an attempt not to shift the redhead’s position. It felt underhanded and dirty, trying to sneak away from Daxter before the ottsel realized he was missing- but it had to be done, if Daxter was going to be alright. He could sleep in a little longer, and stay safe within the nooks and crannies of the city walls- and when Jak came back for him (the only motivation he now had for ever returning from wherever in the unforgiving wastelands he was cast), he mentally promised Dax he would never be left behind again. Daxter was going to hate him for leaving without a word. Jak knew it like he knew the sun rose in the east. The unpleasant fact was like liquid emotion, bubbling acidicly around in his lungs until it threatened to burst through his chest. Daxter hated to be left behind, because he saw it assomeone mistaking him for a liability. (‘Which he is,’ Jak mused, ‘best friends always are- but the best kind of liability possible.’) He could only pray the ottsel would eventually find it in him to forgive this one trespass, because Jak wasn’t sure what to do if Dax didn’t.

Taking off his crimson scarf, he wrapped the small teenager in it gently with a few, tender strokes to the soft fur on his best friend’s neck. Then he turned abruptly and glided out, boots clicking morosely against the ancient tile, and headed for the criminal transport zoomer waiting for him just outside the slum district.

----

Jak had never heard the wind blow like that before. Squalls of sand and debris flew in heavy waves at the armored vehicle he was being transported in, hands shackled behind his back in more a symbolic gesture than anything else. They had taken away his freedom. They had won.

Hair tied back in a messy horsetail, the few stray strands falling carelessly into his eyes did nothing to hide the furrowed brows and look of utter resentment and disgust in Jak’s dark iriss’ as he stared across the seating arrangement at his escort. Veger, initially smug and triumphant at Jak’s prompt arrival at the deportation point and minimal resistance, was now sweating nervously in his seat and shifting hopelessly in an attempt to divert the murderous eco saturate’s attention. ‘Good.’ Jak thought, with minimal satisfaction, ‘Let him squirm.’ A sound, something low and keening and inhuman festered in his chest, threatening to burst out at any moment through sharpened canines at the opposing man. He had set him up for exile. He had turned his friends against him, and funded the projects that turned him from man to monster.

Jak tried his damndest to telepathically bore a hole into the older elf’s head, right through that deranged mush of a brain and through the cerebral cortex. The sick fuck had but a bounty on his ottsel’s head, turning his capture into some form of sick game for the unstable members of the Freedom Guard. Fingers twitched and jumped in their shackles, itching for something to throttle. Something with a name that started in ‘V’. These were the types of feelings Daxter’s presence helped repress, and now that that security measure had been forcefully ripped from him Jak had no problem demonstrating for Veger exactly what it was his best friend helped keep in check. Ashelin, he knew, had also volunteered to accompany him into exile, probably out of some misplaced code of honor, but she had a comfortable shotgun seat up front, and anything potentially… unsavory done to the disgusting count back in the cargo hold would be out of her jurisdiction.

Teeth still inhumanly elongated, Jak quickly chomped his maw twice in a sinister biting gesture at the man across from him, the loud ‘clack’s almost as satisfying as Veger’s short squeal. Idiot. What the hell did he think Jak was gonna do, eat him? It’d take more dark eco than even he had in him to push that envelope.

It was a long, stuffy and grueling ride, but after what seemed like days they arrived just south of nowhere, the breath of fresh desert air seeming to do wonders for Veger’s confidence as he puffed out his chest and began to speak.

“By order of the grand council of Haven city…”

And if Jak hadn’t been preoccupied with resenting Veger, he might’ve noticed a flash of orange dart out of the zoomer behind the ranting aristocrat.

----

A/N: Even Veger’s manipulation and Jak’s good intentions can’t keep a good ottsel down! I’ll try to have chapter four up within the next week, so keep ‘yer pants on guys. xP

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Current Location: Stolen Zoomer
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Kate Nash- Foundations
 
 
 
Vivdemonomen on April 16th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
D: Jeeze.. these two make my heart sad. Fuck you haven! Fuck you! Jeeze.. I wanna read more!

More pulling at heart strings y/y?
I'm sure we agree this fic is awesome! :3

More?

[PS, is your name a tribute or line from Imogen Heap?]