|A Matter of Time
Author: Burenda PM
When Jak first landed in Haven City, Erol wasn't the one to find him. Now he must face a future he is ill prepared for, and even with help from Sig and Damas, there's no guarantee that he'll survive. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Family - Jak M. & Damas M. - Chapters: 22 - Words: 78,707 - Reviews: 186 - Favs: 165 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 12-22-09 - Published: 11-09-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5500614
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I'm just playing in Naughty Dog's sand box.
Jak was sleeping again when Sig came back into the infirmary, but this time he wasn't alone. Damas sat in the chair next to his bed, turned so that he could watch the boy sleep. Sig paused in the doorway, considering the man for a moment. He wasn't certain he'd ever seen that expression on his face. Somehow it was both troubled and at peace.
"Sig," Damas said, lifting his head to acknowledge the other's presence. Their eyes met and Sig knew that Damas wanted to talk. He nodded.
"What is it?" he asked as he came more fully into the room. There wasn't really any place for him to sit, as the only chair was currently occupied. That was all right. He was fine with standing. He stopped when he was a few feet away, though close enough to Jak's bed that he was able to get a good look at the boy's color. He seemed to be doing much better.
"When you were on your mission," Damas said, "what was your impression of him?" He didn't need to specify who he was talking about. His attention was already back on the teen.
Sig had already told him the details of the mission and everything that Jak had done, including the moment he'd taken on the Metal Heads on his own to give Sig a chance to heal. And Damas had seen for himself how the kid didn't back down or give in to torture. If he was looking to see if Jak had the qualities he was looking for when he'd sent him on the mission in the first place, Jak should have already proven himself twice over. So what was he really asking?
He decided to take the question at face value. "Let me put it this way," he said bluntly. "You ever send me on a mission where I need a partner, I'll take him, hands down. Kid's a little green, but he makes up for it where it counts."
"Hnn." Damas seemed unsurprised by Sig's response. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "I am considering awarding him the second part of his battle amulet. This mission may not have taken place in or near our city, but I am beginning to suspect that that Metal Head's plans were a direct threat to Spargus." He looked up to meet Sig's eyes again. "A direct and very immediate threat."
Damas had his attention. "How so?" he asked. To warrant a piece of an amulet without fighting in the arena, a person practically had to save the city, and while he would be the first to admit that the Metal Head in Mar's tomb had been a nasty son of a bitch, Spargus had deflected attacks from worse. How had the city been in danger?
The man pursed his lips, steepling his fingers underneath his chin. His expression was serious, as were his next words. "The two biggest thorns in the Metal Heads' side are Haven and Spargus. If a Metal Head could go back in time, far enough that neither city had been formed, what do you think it would do?"
It didn't take much imagination to picture what would happen. "Shit." Forget being just a threat - the city would have been wiped out before it ever existed.
Sig looked at Damas sharply. Him asking that question implied a whole hell of a lot of things, more so because he didn't seem to be treating it as hypothetical. "You think it was tellin' the truth?"
Damas hesitated, his eyes going back to the boy on the bed. Emotions flickered across his face, there and gone before Sig could read them. Finally, he said, "He remembers me. He remembers a trip we took to the desert, as well as what I said to him. How would that be possible, Sig, if he wasn't my son?"
With a slow breath, Sig leaned back against the edge of Jak's bed, watching as the pieces all fell together. Because if Jak had some memory of being Damas' son, it meant he had to have traveled through time. Twice. And that right there was enough evidence to support the Metal Head's claim.
Suddenly, he laughed out loud. When Damas shot him a curious look, he grinned wryly. "I was just thinkin'," he said. "Good luck tryin' to explain all this to anyone else." Hell, the only reason he believed was because he'd been there to see most of it himself.
The comment earned him a chuckle. "Yes," Damas agreed. "Although I think it would be best if we didn't. The fewer people who know about the Precursor stone, the better, and I do not think it would be a good idea to speak of time travel, either. It would not do for someone else to get the idea that they can change history."
No, it wouldn't. The gate in Mar's tomb might have been damaged beyond repair, but that did not mean that there wasn't another one out there. The last Rift Gate, Jak had told them the Metal Head said. That implied that there were others. How many and whether or not any of them were functional was another question, but it was still better to err on the side of caution.
"So, what're you gonna say about your relationship to Jak?" Sig lifted an eyebrow. "Or is that gonna be a secret, too?"
Damas shook his head, standing up as he did so. "No," he said firmly. "He is my son and I will openly acknowledge him as such. I do not need to say anything beyond that." He let his hand touch Jak's head briefly, pushing back a few locks of blond-green hair. "I am more than old enough to have a child his age. Let people assume that I slept with another woman before I met his mother." He pulled his hand back and turned toward the door.
Sig didn't hesitate before he followed. Jak would still be there when he came back, but this conversation was not over. He still had something to say.
"You know what this means, don't you?" he said casually as he came up to other man's side. When Damas looked at him curiously, he bared his teeth in a wide, fierce grin. "I found your son, damn it. Mission fuckin' accomplished!"
And Damas laughed for the first time in what seemed like years.
Fur and whiskers filled his vision the next time Jak woke up, and an ottsel's angry blue eyes glared down at him as he blinked back up. Daxter didn't even give him a chance to speak before poking him sharply in the nose.
"You are in a world of trouble, buddy," he growled. "And no amount of beautiful babes pettin' my fur is gonna get you out of it." He paused. "Although, that was a nice perk. Still-" And the glower was back in full force. "Next time you go and get us nearly killed, you had better not ever let me wake up to this!" Paper cracked like a whip as the ottsel grabbed something off the bed and shoved it right in his friend's face. Jak nearly went cross-eyed trying to see what it was.
When he did, though, he had to stifle a laugh. It was the drawing he'd made of Daxter that he'd given to Tess in the bar. Still, he couldn't resist the impulse to push the paper aside and ruffle Daxter's fur, spiking it up in odd places. Aw, but it looks just like you.
Daxter swatted his hand aside. "Cut that out! I mean it, Jak. You are forbidden from ever drawing my face again, ya hear?"
Jak just grinned, refusing to make promises. What were friends for if they couldn't embarrass each other? You're just mad because I gave it to Tess. They knew few enough girls that the vague cupping motion he made at his chest was readily identifiable in the current context.
Daxter scowled. "And especially don't ever give your crappy drawings to beautiful girls. I swear, you want me to stay single, don't you."
Jak dropped his hand to the bed and used it to help push himself up right. Then, before Daxter could protest, he wrapped his arm around the ottsel and pulled him into a hug. I'm glad you're all right, too. I was so worried...
The ottsel huffed and pretended to put up with it, but Jak could feel as he leaned into the hug. "Don't you scare me like that again," he mumbled into Jak's chest. "When that Metal Head grabbed you..." He didn't finish the sentence. He didn't need to. Jak understood what he meant, because he'd felt it too, the moment he'd heard Daxter's scream cut off.
Yeah. After another moment, he let go, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. His left leg in particular protested the movement, but he was feeling too restless to lie still any longer. He wanted to move and go outside. He wanted to feel the sun. Come on. He gestured toward his shoulder, then held his hand out to help Daxter up. Daxter still had bandages wrapped around his middle and probably shouldn't be straining anything by climbing around.
Kind of like how Jak probably shouldn't be moving around, either, but he'd already determined that it would be worth it. Once Daxter was settled on his shoulder, he slid out of the bed and carefully put his weight on his feet. With the pain that immediately throbbed in his leg, he turned his head to look at his friend.
He opened his mouth.
"I have... so much... to tell you."
Daxter's jaw dropped.
Yes. Definitely, definitely worth it.
Green. Everything was so green. Trees with huge canopies towered over him and thick green vines wove their way between the branches while strange, leafy plants surrounded him on every side. Even the man on the ground was green, but he knew that wasn't connected. Samos had been green even before they'd gone through that giant ring. Mar bit his lip and patted the man on the chest.
Please wake up.
He was scared. He had no idea where they were or if that monster was going to come after them or what had happened to that other boy. The other boy was already hurt. He was hurt so bad that he'd been bleeding. Young as he was, Mar knew that blood was serious. And there'd been so much of it. Why hadn't the other boy been crying? Mar had wanted to cry just looking at him.
Please be all right.
He looked at the ring, hoping to see the boy come through, but it had stopped glowing almost as soon as Mar had come out. He wasn't certain, but he thought that meant that it wasn't working. But... but maybe the boy could fix it. Maybe he'd beat the monster and use that stone to open the ring back up. Then he could help wake Samos up and everything would be all right.
But nothing happened and nothing happened and Mar's hopes began to die. With a soft sob that didn't really contain any sound, he buried his face in Samos' shirt. He didn't know what to do. What did warriors do when they were scared and all alone? He tried to remember the stories his father told him, but nothing would come. Not even the ones about Mar.
Another sob came, then another, and his stomach growled. He wanted food. He wanted water. He wanted to go home. He wanted his father. His hand went to his chest, clutching for the seal his father had given him.
But it wasn't there.
Mar's eyes flew open and stared at his chest, then frantically searched the ground and the bushes all around the ring. That seal was very important, his father had said. It was his family's seal, and he was supposed to hold onto it forever. How could he have lost it? How could he have lost the seal of Mar?
No matter where he looked, though, he couldn't find it, which meant it had to be back in that room with the monster. Tears slid down his face and he dropped to the ground, hugging his knees to his chest. He'd lost it. The one thing his father had given him to guard and he'd lost it. Mar's body shook with shuddering breaths that were the closest he'd ever come to crying out loud. Everything suddenly felt so much worse.
A low groan came from the man on the ground, just loud enough to catch his attention. Mar lifted his head in time to see Samos sit up, rubbing his stomach gingerly. "Great yakkow, what in the world happened?"
Mar had never been so glad to see someone wake up in his life. Samos! With a wordless cry, he jumped up and all but threw himself at the man, clutching so desperately he didn't even notice Samos wince. He was all right. He was all right. He'd know what to do and Mar wasn't on his own after all.
Samos stared down at him in surprise, then a frown crossed his face as he looked all around. He patted Mar's back somewhat awkwardly, then used both hands to pry the boy away. "Come on, kid," he said gruffly. "I need to take a look around."
Mar didn't want to let go of him, though, and he latched onto his hand almost as soon as he stood up. Samos sighed and shook his head, but he didn't shake the boy off. Instead, he took a moment to examine the ring.
"Hmm. It looks like the ring has been turned off. Wherever we are, we're stuck here for the time being." Resting his other hand on the ring briefly, he looked up at the sky. "And it's going to be dark in a few hours. We should find shelter and something to eat."
A wave of relief washed over Mar then. He knew it. He knew Samos would have a plan. The man had always sounded very wise whenever he spoke to those other people, the ones he'd been staying with. Granted, most of the plans he gave to them confused Mar and didn't hold much meaning, but this plan sounded like a good one. He nodded and squeezed Samos' hand, giving the plan his approval.
Samos interpreted the gesture for what it was and started away from the ring. "You know," he said as he picked his way through the thick green growth, "I think I'm going to have to give you a name. I can't keep calling you 'kid,' kid."
Mar frowned. He had a name. But how could he tell Samos what it was? He pressed his lips together, then opened his mouth, just like his father did whenever he said the word. Mar. His name was Mar. It didn't work, though, because no sound came out. How did people do that?
"Jak." When Mar looked up at him, startled, Samos smiled and squeezed his hand back. "Jak's a good name. We'll go with that for now, until you learn how to speak."
It wasn't his name. Mar stared at the man unhappily, then looked down at the ground. There wasn't anything he could do. He couldn't speak and no one was there who knew his real name. He'd just have to be "Jak" until they found his father. Hopefully, that would be really soon.
As the two unwittingly made their way toward Sandover, somewhere in the future a Metal Head plotted at the bottom of a tomb. Its plans had been thwarted yet again, but it would not give up. It would travel to the past and find that boy...
And history began again.
Well, it's been a blast, but yes, this is the end.
Thanks for reading! And I'd love to hear any thoughts that any of you might have.