Third Arc: Act Fourteen
He stepped on the gas as hard as he could. There would be nothing stopping him now. He had gotten his car and entered the track. He was going to stop Kat's car, if it cost him his own car. Her pink Street Grinder was no safe, he was sure of it. He sped down the road, making swift turns and taking in Blue Eco boosts when possible. This was a short track; he would meet up with Kat in no time.
Finally a sign came to him. A large cloud of smoke let Jak know that he was coming on to Kat's trail. He applied the final amount of pressure to the gas. The car roared in reply and sped forward. Jak watched as Kat's failing car came into full view.
But there was something new here. Jak's eyes widened to the sight of flames emerging from hood of the car. No! Before Jak could make his next move, he watched as Kat's car began to spin out of control. It spun while oil and other fluids spurted from the back end of her car. The break lights on her car faded and Jak watched as the car took a flying leap forward. Did she hit the gas on accident?
A loud, ear-piercing boom shot through the track. Jak watched as the engine of Kat's car exploded. Shards of glass and metal flew through the air. The car screeched as it skidded across the blacktop. The car came to a slamming stop after hitting the cement barrier. More flames sparked from the car after it had crashed, leaving Jak breathless.
He applied the breaks. His car began to drift as it came to a sudden stop. He didn't wait for the car to come to a complete stop before jerking open the door. He jumped out of his seat and raced toward Kat's flaming vehicle. He didn't have time to think, he could only act now. What he was seeing was it even real?
After meeting up with the car, Jak peered inside of the smoke-filled window. He saw that the front window was smashed into bits. He couldn't wait any longer. He ripped open the car door in a desperate effort to find Kat. Smoke drifted out of the open doorway and he reached deep inside the car. After the smoke cleared, Jak saw that his hands had landed on Kat's fallen body. She had fallen aside, into the passenger's seat. Blood leaked from a large gash to her forehead and dripped down the side of her face. A small tear of blood trickled down the edge of her lip. She was hurt.
Jak pulled with all his might, he had to get her out as soon as possible. Her car could explode at any moment. He cradled Kat into his chest and released her from the car's grip. He began to pull her limb body away from the smoking vehicle when a small tug to his jacket caused him to stop dead in his tracks. His eyes dropped and he saw that Kat was tugging at him.
He stopped. He then dropped to one knee. And held Kat in his arms. Her eyes remained half open while the blood continued to flow from her body. No, this wasn't going to happen, not here, not like this. She was hurt but she could get better, couldn't she? Whenever she was hurt in the past, she was always able to come back. What was different this time around? He couldn't believe, he refused to believe it.
"What is it?" He whispered to her.
She looked up to him, her eyelids still hanging heavily over her eyes. She opened her mouth, forcing more blood to trickle downward. Her breathing began to become harder and deeper. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He stopped and looked up at the world around him. Fiery ash entered the air along with the smoke. This wasn't happening, he was in a different world.
"I'm sorry." She slowly shut her eyes, forcing the tears from the corner of her eyes to fall.
"No," He shook his head from side to side. "You're going to be okay, I promise."
"I didn't think things would turn…out like this…"
"They won't!" He tried his best to reassure her. "We're gonna get you help!"
She opened her eyes and looked into his eyes. He felt his heart sink lower than it ever had. Her eyes, her skin, they were so lifeless. She had grown pale. Was she bleeding internally? He could only assume. Was she in pain? Was she scared?
Jak felt the air in his lungs become stale as the ends of her lips began to turn upward. She was smiling at him. Jak clenched his jaw as he watched her smile grow. Why was she smiling?
"Jak," She began to take shallow breaths.
"Don't speak," He said to her in his softest voice. "Save your energy."
"Everything I ever wanted to do was because I knew you'd be there." She whispered. "I didn't want to live without you."
"You won't have to."
Her right hand began to shake. Jak watched as her small arm left the floor and began to life upward. Shaking all the way, she moved her hand to Jak. Then with her scratched, bruised knuckles she stroked the side of his face. He shut his eyes for a moment and held his breath. Would this be the last time she touched him? No, he couldn't think that way.
His eyes opened in slow motion. The heat from the flames made beads of sweat build on his forehead. He then watched as her arm dropped from the air. Her arm hit the ground with a soft thud.
No, she couldn't give up here and now. There was still so much for them to do. She wasn't a quitter; she had to keep on, if not for him but for her family. She couldn't leave her sister alone… He would never forgive her; he would never let this go. It couldn't be like this, not like with Damas…
What about Daxter or even Torn? What would this do to them? She couldn't leave them behind like this. It was unfair. They…he…needed her.
"Thank you so much…Mar…for finding me…"
Her chest lifted and fell in the form of very shallow breaths. Her eyes closed in a very slow movement. She parted her lips and took in a final breath of air. She held it for a few moments then gently released it. Jak placed his hand on her face and wiped away the stray tears that fell from her eyes. And just like that, her life left her body. The air was cold, colder than it had ever been before. His ears refused to hear anything. It was just silence. No more shared breathing, no more awkward conversations…no more stuttering.
He was left alone.
He stepped out of the smoke with her in his arms. He knew they were waiting for him. There was nothing for them to see now. Everything they knew and cared for, it was gone within seconds. What was he going to tell them, what could he tell them? Kal's daughter and Jam's sister…she was gone forever.
The smoke cleared and the imagery of the two teams came into clear view. He held tight to her limb body. He kept her face tilted to his chest but allowed her arms to dangle in the cool wind. He heard their small gasps as he came closer. He knew what he was going to do; he was going to give Kal his daughter. Without a word, he stepped to Kal.
Kal looked at Jak with wide eyes. He extended his arms out to Jak and took his daughter. Jak handed Kat over without delay. The throbbing of the weight on his muscles was bittersweet. He never wanted to let her go…even if she was already gone. Jak watched as Kal brought his daughter into his chest and cradled her as if she was an infant.
Daxter jumped from the floor up to Jak's shoulder. They all then turned to Jak.
Jak shut his eyes. He could watch their reactions. He slowly turned his back to the two teams and tilted his head to the left. He could hear the sudden screams and shouts from her family members. He clenched his jaw as the sound of Jam's screaming cries entered his ears. It was something he thought he'd never hear.
So this was the way it was going to be? Jak wasn't sure if he could ever get used to death.
"Today we've come to honor a fallen soldier."
Jak let his head hang. He had his moment of silence. He didn't need to hear Sydni speak, over the group of foreign Saga citizens, about their loss. He was there; he didn't need to hear about it all over again. He didn't want to hear about her life, or how others were affected by it. He had been there too. He had spent the past four years with her; he knew all there was to learn about Kat. She was a shy girl, a shy Princess, who was never sure of herself or what she was doing.
Sydni now had that title. She had won it, fair and square. And now she was presiding over the large funeral for the fallen former Princess. Did she even ever exist? Would Saga soon forget about their former shy-natured Princess after Sydni came into power? He couldn't be sure. All he knew was that she was gone.
Team Mar had attended the small funeral but Jak didn't see the point. It wasn't going to bring her back. All it would do was force more raw emotion from her loved ones. In any event, the Kras City Grand Prix was still up for grabs.
His stiff and cold attitude, perhaps he was bitter about the whole thing? He couldn't be sure. He still had a race to win. No one else would die on his watch. No one.
The after party was always the best part of any event. Finally, after all that had happened, he could relax. He had won the Kras City Grand Prix. He had defeated Mizo himself and won the antidote for all of his friends to drink down. He had saved those closest to him…almost everyone.
With the victory under Jak's belt, he could rest easily at night. Now he could finally think about 'settling down'. He had great friends and a great new home; things should come easy after all of this. Now it was time to relax at the Bloody Hook and remember all those who had fallen in action.
"Great show, Jak." Kal said as he approached Jak.
Jak stuck out his hand to Kal. "I hope we can learn to see eye to eye someday."
Kal took Jak by the hand. The two men then began to shake. "Thank you for all you have done, Jak."
"Are you going home now?" Keira asked as she stood beside Jak.
Kal looked to Keira and nodded his head a single time. "Yes, I will be taking Sydni back to Saga so she can begin her term as Princess of Saga."
Daxter looked over to Sydni and hopped onto her slender shoulder. "Things turned out good for you, huh?"
Sydni shut her eyes and replied, "I'll do my best to support Saga."
"You better!" Daxter reached down and began to pull on her furry ear. "We saved it after all!"
Sydni flicked her wrist a single time into the air and whacked Daxter off her shoulder. Jak watched as the small Ottsel scrambled to his feet and crawled back up onto the bar.
"What about Nana?" Jak looked to Kal.
"That's up to Sydni." Kal shut his eyes as he answered. "She's the ruler of Saga now."
"She'll stay with me." Sydni explained. "I will take care of her until the time comes."
"Sheesh," Daxter whispered into Jak's ear. "She's got it MADE!"
Jak smiled. At least someone had it off well. Jak looked to the large group of people. At one time they were all friends then enemies. What were they now? Things were never going to be the same, not after what happened. So where did it leave them all? Jak couldn't be sure just yet; all he knew was that he was still grieving, for his Father and for her.
Jak flinched that voice. Jak walked forward, passed his teammates and Kal to see Vin in the doorway of the Bloody Hook. He stood hunched over his leg, panting. Had he been running? Jak rushed to Vin's side and placed his hand on Vin's back. He held the older man stand up straight.
"What is it?"
"Hey!" Daxter soon followed, "Don't have a heart attack, old man!"
"I…" Vin inhaled and exhaled rapidly. "I…I've figured it out!"
"Figured what out?" Jam stepped toward Vin with her hand placed on her hip.
Jak watched as Vin dug deep into his pocket. He searched around for a second before pulling out a single magenta-colored device. He lifted the item into the air and began to wave it back and forth. Still struggling from his sprint to the bar, he remained silent. Jam jumped forward at the sight of the small device and ripped it from Vin's hands.
"Where did you get this?" Jam yelled.
"Its…its…" Vin struggled to catch his breath.
"What is it?" Jak and Daxter asked.
"Its my time rift opener," Jam said as she held the small device close to her chest. "It's what Kat and I used to-"
"To travel back to Haven City with!" Jam and Vin finished speaking at once.
"What?" Jak's jaw dropped.
"We used this to travel back and forth through time," Jam explained as she ran her fingers over the black screen. "It contains a small Precursor artifact inside that allows time rifts to open."
"After an extensive charge, that is." Vin corrected with one finger lifted.
"What the hell is it doing here?" Ashelin stepped toward the group with one brow lifted.
"We found this AGES ago!" Daxter peeped. "In Dead Town!"
"Makes sense," Torn added. "That's where she had it last." He looked to Jak with a small smile. "She must have dropped it."
"That's amazing!" Keira approached with her mouth open.
"From my estimates," Vin spoke. "It can only withstand one more trip back in time." Vin looked back to Jak. "Do you want to use it?"
Jak walked over to Jam. He extended his open palm to her and waited for her to reply. She placed the small device in his hand. He wrapped his fingers around the device and pulled it toward his chest. He could use it? One more time? Jak felt his heart grow warm and a smile spread across his face. This could change everything.
"We could get Kat back!" Daxter said with glee. "Come on Jak, let's use it!"
"No, we can't!" Star barked back. "If you use it to bring Kat back, what if something else bad happens?"
"You don't WANT her highness back?" Lov turned to his cousin with angry eyes.
"I do!" Star hissed. "But…"
"That's enough," Torn shook his head. "Star's right. Something serious could change in this timeline."
"But whatever it was," Jam looked to Torn with a set of wide eyes. "We could over come it! We need Kat back! Please!"
Jak shut his eyes as the group around him continued to argue. After all that had happened, he would have a second chance. It was just too good to be true. What would Kat want? What decision would Kat had made if she were here? What was the right thing to do?
"Everything happens for a reason."
"Thank you so much…Mar…for finding me…"
That was it. He knew what he had to do.
"I'm going to use it."
The group came to a sudden hush. They all turned to Jak and stared at him. Jak stepped toward Vin and placed the rift device in his hands. He gave Vin a wide smile before speaking.
"Vin, I want you to set the time for me."
"S-sure." Vin mumbled. "Just as long as it doesn't mess up our timeline!"
"Thanks." Jak turned to Jam.
He could see Jam, on the verge of tears. She held her hands to her chest while her cheeks began to burn red. Jak stepped toward Jam and placed his hand on her shoulder. He gave her shoulder a small squeeze.
"You're coming with."
"What?" She said in a near breathless tone.
"Dax," Jak looked over his shoulder. "You up for it?"
"If I MUST."
Jak nodded. "Vin, we're ready."
The sweet salty air hit his nose like a familiar melody. He knew this place well, too well. It was just the place he wanted to be. He knew exactly what he was going to do. He wasn't going to change the future; he wasn't going to bring her back. He was going to say good-bye. The sun hung very low in the sky, it was sun set on the island of Sandover.
Jak, Daxter, Jam and Vin sat behind a large rock. Jak held his finger to his lips to hush the small group. He then nudged his head, encouraging the group to take a single peek over the boulder. Jak followed after they others followed his command.
"There she is." He whispered.
Jak looked many feet away to see a very small figure standing in the distance. She stood at the beach's edge with a small device in her hands. She was beating on the small communicator, trying to make it work. Small moans and grunts came from her as she slammed her fingers against the many buttons. The wind carried her voice over toward the group. It was Kat.
"Its Kat!" Jam's eyes welted with tears.
"Shh." Jak patted Jam on the back. "I'll be right back."
"What?" The trio asked at once.
"I'll be back." Jak repeated. "Don't move."
Jak pushed his body away from the rock and stepped forward. He stepped toward the small girl. He watched as she grew frustrated with her communicator and tossed it away. The small device hit the waves and began to float on the water's surface. The tide then began to sweep the item out to sea.
"Oh no!" She squealed. "No!"
Jak watched as she attempted to chase after the communicator. Just inches away from the water, the small Kat jerked away. She tried again and again to force herself into the water with little luck. She finally gave in and was over come with tears. She began to sob.
Jak stepped into the water. He leaned over and plucked the communicator from the splashing waves. He then straightened out his back and began to make his way back to the shore. This was it. This would be the last time he ever saw her. He had to make this right…for the future.
"You don't like the water much, do you?"
Jak watched as Kat's head popped upward. She looked back at Jak with her wide eyes. Oh how he was going to miss those eyes. He stood silent for a moment and waited for her reply. He would listen carefully, it would be the final time her voice entered his ears.
"N-no! I'm terrified of it!"
He couldn't help but release a chuckle, "Good thing I was here then…wasn't it?"
His heart was hurting more than it ever had before. Just one last touch and he would have closure. Jak extended his arm out to Kat's head. His hand landed on her head and he laced his fingers through her brown hair. He gave her a few slow strokes to the head before pulled back his arm. He watched as that familiar red glow appeared on her cheeks.
"I-if I may ask…" Kat began her voice tiny and shy, "What is…is your name, sir?"
He stood up straight. His name? He knew exactly what he was going to say. It was the name he wanted to be called from here on out. The name his Father had given him. It was a name that he was so proud of. He laughed to himself before speaking in a soft voice.
"Mar…" He answered, "You can call me Mar."
Kat's eyes glistened with wonder, "Lord Mar?"
"Before I go," Mar replied just before he turned away from the girl. "I have a request."
"A-anything!" Kat clapped both of her tiny hands together. "I'll do anything for you, Lord!"
"Just be nice to the Ottsel."
"Huh?" Kat curled her lip. "You mean Daxter?"
"That's the one." He then turned his back completely to the female and with one wave of his hand, he spoke once more. "See you later, okay…"
He couldn't stop to look back at her. He had to keep moving. His mission was complete. He knew that someday, somewhere she would remember this moment and treasure it. So he was Mar after all? It made his heart smile. All those times before, she had been referring to him? It was almost scary. But he could accept it. This was the kind of ending he could accept.
"That was CRAZY!"
Jak had to laugh. It was a bit unusual, wasn't it?
"All that time," Daxter stood on the bar and pointed his finger into Jak's chest. "Mar was YOU! Talk about nuts!"
"Things happen for a reason." Ashelin said with a sweet smile.
"Just think," Torn crossed his arms over his chest. "It'll happen all over again."
"You had the chance to go back in time, and you DIDN'T save me from becoming an Ottsel?" Daxter's jaw dropped. "I just realized that!"
"Nah," Star approached Daxter. "We like you as an Ottsel."
"I hope YOU do," Daxter slid across the bar counter until he met up with Kimi.
"You're too short and too furry." She snorted.
Jak smiled. So this was life from now on. Things were going to be good. After everything they had been through, this was the way he wanted it to end. Everyone, together, at the Bloody Hook, waiting for someone to sing drunken karaoke. He didn't even mind if Star, Lov and Kimi came to stay.
"Thanks, Jak." Jam turned to Jak with a warm smile. "I wouldn't have been able to see her one last time without you."
"No problem." He was quick to give Jam a thumbs up.
"I'm SO glad that's over!" Daxter threw his paws into the air. "I can't TAKE another adventure!"
Jak opened his mouth to speak, only to have the crashing sound of the bar door interrupt him. The whole group of adults turned to face the front of the bar. A small woman with beautiful blue, shoulder length hair stood in the doorway. She stomped through the bar and made her way over to Daxter.
"Oh NO!" Daxter screeched. "Not YOU!"
"Who?" Jak cocked an eyebrow.
"Tak! No!" Daxter made an attempt to jump off the bar.
"Yes its me!" The woman shouted, "You have some explaining to do!" The woman took Daxter by the scruff of his neck and began to shake him.
"Wait," Ashelin stepped up. "What's this about?"
"This?" Daxter turned to Jak and his group of friends. "This is a whole OTHER story."
"We were both young when I first saw you. I close my eyes and the flashback starts."- Love story, Taylor Swift.