Disclaimer: I don't own the Jak series. If I did, would it have ended like that?

As We Were

Jak—Mar to the few who knew—had been back in Haven City for three days. Back as in recognizably back, back were the people didn't scream and run away in terror when they saw his blonde hair, green eyebrows, blue eyes, and trademark scowl.

Three days…

Seventy-two hours…

Four thousand three hundred twenty minutes…

That was exactly how long he had been Haven City. How long it was since the people cheered to have their hero home, three days since Jak had convinced himself he wasn't going to kill them all the next time he got the chance.

His three days were filled with parties and congratulations. Torn wanted him to train members of the Freedom Force, introduce some of the new recruits to terror. And every other moment was spent making sure every Metal Head that had ever darkened its head in Haven City's streets was either running for the hills or completely, and utterly, dead. Nothing more than a bleed carcass for the cleaners to get to.

The people seemed to accept him again. They worshipped where he walked. Over and over again they whispered: That's Jak, he got rid of the Baron and saved us from the Dark Makers. Aren't we lucky? To say the least, Jak was feeling pretty good about himself, even if his scowl never gave it away.

So why the hell was Keira avoiding him like he had the plague?

Oh, her excuses were realistic enough. I have to rebuild the Garage. The Racing Stadium needs cleaning out. But that was what she told her father. She never looked at Jak. Whenever he happened to be in her vicinity her head would go down, the aquamarine locks covering her pale face, and she simply seemed to try to fade into the background.

That was until he picked up on her meekness. He purposely tested her on it whenever he happened upon her—which, in reality, meant that Jak went out of his way to find subtle ways to bump into the girl.

All Jak got for his troubles were her narrowed eyes and the same answer time and time again, "I'm sure you have something better to do than talk with me, right Jak?"

For a while, Jak's own anger had kept him from doing anything about Keira's attitude.

But now, fortunately, he was finally free. After three days of nonstop work Jak could do what he wanted. And right now, he was heading to the Race Stadium. It was slowly being rebuilt, the mess left by the Metal Heads slowly disappearing under the toiling hands of the citizens who lived there.

He walked into Keira's Garage, her pride and joy, her baby. The rubble had been cleared out and the stone floor was being removed of dust—the dirt and rock kind, not the regular working kind. Even some of Keira's racing bikes had been returned to their former residence and her trophies from years back glittered gold on the floor.

Daxter was currently teaching Tess the ways of the Ottsel—as he called it. Jak wasn't sure what that was since he wasn't an Ottsel and he wasn't sure he did want to know. Especially if it had anything to do with mating, as he suspected it did.

Keira was behind her blue screen again, her silhouette the only thing greeting Jak as he entered, ducking his head low to miss a swinging pipeline that had been torn loose during the Metal Head occupation.

Jak was silent as he crossed his arms over his chest and decided what Keira didn't know wasn't going to hurt him. He enjoyed watching the way her hips moved as she worked with a rather stubborn engine. Her breasts were heaving and Jak found his own chest moving to keep in time with them.

"Come on, darling, come on. Purr for mommy," Keira was saying behind the curtain as she arched her back to struggle more efficiently with the engine. The way her curves twisted and arched had Jak almost panting.

The engines were Keira's children even if they belonged to someone else. She labored with them, kept them breathing, had them moving beneath her skilled, callous fingers. Her breath hitched as she made them work, perpetration and excitement lighting her face more than the lights hanging overhead ever could.

When Keira had had nothing she had come here and made something. She had shaped this place from her mind, forming it through sheer will and inner strength. She had been alone, without a father or a friend or a lover, and had gathered the pieces of herself that had been shattered in her fall into the future and shaped her tomorrow.

The Garage was Keira's child.

Only it was different from nature's way. It was the mother surrounded by the child, working within her baby's body to bring her to life. The mother was wrapped in her child's warmth, not vice versa.

The aqua haired mechanic threw back the curtain and stepped into the main room of the Garage. She paused when she saw him, eyes going wide for a split second before they narrowed in anger. She wiped causally at her pants, leaving a black stain on the maroon caprice.

"Hello, Jak," she said coolly and brushed pass him. Jak resist the urge to wrap his hand around her shoulder and drag her back to demand to know what her problem was.

"Keira… we… I… you…" he cursed slightly, under his breath. Give him a Metal Head to kill any day. Don't ask Jak to talk to his girlfriend. "We need to talk."

"Talk, Jak?" Keira repeated slowly and lifted herself onto the hood of a large hovercar that she had taken into the Garage when the wreckage of the Race Stadium had been cleared out. She crossed her legs and sent him a withering look. "Don't you have something better to do than talk with me?"

There she went again. Talking in that tone. Like she had a year earlier. Like she had looked into his eyes and found him wanting. And you think you're a good judge of character? Her voice, mocking, came into his head and drilled painful holes in his thick skull.

But he thought they'd gotten passed all that. Passed all the doubt that had marred their relationship during their first reunion. Erol had died and Keira had learned to accept what he had become and why he did what he did. He thought they had had something.

So why had Keira suddenly reverted their relationship back to square one?

"What the hell crawled up your ass and died?" he demanded, almost flinching at his harsh tone. He had never used this kind of language on her before but, then again, she had not outright ignored him before either.

"Bug off, Jak," she snapped and swung her leg dangerously, as if she was imaging slamming them into his face. "Why don't you go kiss Ashlin or something?"

Jak winced.

Oh… that

News traveled fast, didn't it? It had only been three days since he had shared that brief and passionate kiss with Haven City's governor. Truthfully, other than those two seconds when his mind had been overrun with hormones, he hadn't given it too much thought. It had happened and that was that.

Apparently the same could not be said with Keira.

"Listen… about that," he grabbed her arm because he couldn't stand the way she was looking at him. Disgusted. Enraged. Remote. Disappointed. All these contrasting emotions making her eyes dark and jade.

"The least you could have done was tell me about the way our relationship was going," Keira went on, as if he hadn't spoken, pulling her arm free. "I mean, here I was thinking we had something again, that we had put our past behind us, and then I hear you're locking lips with Haven's governor."

"That's the whole reason you're ignoring me?" Jak demanded and knew disgust was lining his voice… and didn't really care. "That's it? Because I kissed the woman closest to me right after I saved the damn world?"

"That's more than enough, damnit!" Keira proclaimed and without warning pulled a wrench from her waist belt. She sent it flying across the room, hitting the wall with a loud crash. "Do you know what that feels like? To hear them talk about you and Ashlin together as if I'm nothing?"

"Keira…"

"You could at least have told me you were moving on instead of saying nothing and letting me cry over you when you were booted out," Keira said in a dangerously low tone of voice. Yelling Keira Jak could understand. This was no yelling Keira and he was being backed into a corner. "And then saying nothing about it when you did come back?"

"Look, it wasn't—"

"I WILL HAVE MY SAY!" Keira shouted at the top of her lungs, and Jak shut up. He could almost feel the ground tremor beneath his feet. "Damnit, Jak! Do you know what they're saying? What find children you and Ashlin will have. Just think about. Haven's hero and the governor of the city. Two warriors. A perfect match! A perfect freaking match made in goddamn heaven!" Keira looked ready to throw something again.

Jak reached out and gripped her flailing fists, pulling her off the hood. "You've had your say and now I'll have mine. Got that, damnit?"

Keira lowered her head and Jak almost brought her into a hug. He had seen many things in Keira's dazzling green eyes before. Anger, hurt, rejection, fear, love, but never defeat. And now that he saw what it looked like reflecting in her pools of jade, he never wanted to see it again. He would do anything in his power to keep it out of there.

"Just go away Jak. Go to Ashlin… and leave me alone." She looked away, toward the archway of the Garage, as if looking for a way to escape. "Don't worry about me. Heroes aren't really my style. I'll find a nice racer to settle down with. One who won't go running around, leave me in this godforsaken city, and kiss some redhead."

Jak's eyes all but went black at the thought of Keira with some 'nice racer'. He imagined he was some moderately good looking fellow who liked a fast race, a strong drink and a steady woman.

Then he imagined this fellow putting his hands over Keira's curves, tasting her lips, holding her and having every damn right to. He imagined the racer smiling every time he raced, win or lose, because he knew there was a woman waiting for him afterward with a wide smile, bright eyes, and opened arms.

If that ever happened, Jak would see the man dead.

"Like hell I'll watch you be with another man." He dragged her to him and ignored her protesting arms and legs. Jak settled Keira back on the hood and pressed his thighs against her legs, holding her still.

"So I'm supposed to be lonely as you and Ashlin make wonderful little dark children?" she demanded, ignoring the little ball of lust at having Jak so intimately close.

"No, we're supposed to be together," Jak shouted and had Keira sealing her mouth quite quickly. "Listen, that thing with Ashlin… it didn't mean anything, Keira. It happened right after the Dark Markers were dead. I had so much pent up energy, so much adrenaline, and Ashlin was right there and she was ecstatic at being not dead. It didn't mean anything."

Keira had gone very still, very, very still. But that didn't mean she was giving up without a fight. "That's not what Haven thinks."

"Does it look like I give a damn what Haven thinks?" Jak asked and lowered his head to Keira's. "Ashlin doesn't expect anything from it and I don't either. If Tess or any other woman had been there I would have kissed them too. I wouldn't have been upset it had been you…"

Jak trailed off when Keira's eyebrow went up, way up.

Okay, so he was lying. He'd be pissed off. He'd track done the little asshole who dared put his hands on his Keira and rip off his arms and than shove them down his throat to make sure he never attempted it again.

But that was just Jak.

"So you think I'll just be like 'okay, honey' now that I realize you were just kissing Ashlin because she was there?" Keira asked, but her voice had calmed a little. A good sign. They were finally getting somewhere.

"No. Of course not," Jak answered and laughed a little. "But you're the only one I want to be with. Not Ashlin. She's hot, but you're hotter."

"That's what I wanted to hear," Keira purred as her eyes softened and she leaned into him. She pressed her pretty pink tongue to her red, red lips and smiled when Jak gave a gritted on groan.

"At least now I know why Torn looked ready to tear me apart." Jak almost laughed, remembering the way Torn's dark eyes made a Blaster target on his forehead. Now it suddenly made sense. Why Torn looked ready to shot him every time Jak so much as said hi. "But that's Ashlin's problem. Not mine." He couldn't imagine why Ashlin Praxis seemed to have her eyes set on winning Torn over.

All he had to say was good luck.

Keira's fingers twined into his hair and her lips hovered a hair's inch above his, hot and fanning. "Oh… and one more thing, Jak."

"What?" Jak asked as his brain fogged. He thought he'd promise her the world if she leaned in just a bit closer.

"Don't you ever kiss anyone other than me again!" she snapped and yanked his hair with all ten of her fingers. Hard. The spell was broken, shattering into a million pieces on the floor. A red haze covered Jak's vision as the little jolt of pain jarred him from his hormone-induced trance.

"OW! Goddamnit."

"I gave up a lot of things for you, Jak," Keira said and continued to pull, though the kiss she pressed to his jaw made him feel a bit better. "And I don't regret it, but if we're in this we're in this for good."

He managed to free his hair and hit her chin lightly. "Lay off the hair," he warned and grinned. "And deal."

"Good," she answered and put her arms around his neck and locked her legs around his waist. Jak's hand slid up those lean legs to cup her rump as he pulled her off the hood. "Oh… very… very… good."

Jak kissed her, his mouth sliding easily over her moist, waiting lips. Keira mumbled something against his mouth and parted her lips for his tongue's access. Jak took advantage of that and set out to have her weeping and panting.

And he got both.

"Too long," Keira rasped when they managed to drag their mouths away after the long, cool drink. "Damn too long."

Since his head was spinning he simply mumbled his reply.

"So," Keira said absently, kissing his neck as Jak lowered them to the floor. "We're going back to as we were?" She tangled their limbs together and curled against his side, a perfect fit.

"Nope," Jak answered and was pleased with the confused look in her eyes. He rolled on top, pinning her beneath him. Staring down at her, his heart began to pound. Lust, love, joy. All together, mixing. "It's gonna be better. I love you, Keira."

She sighed deeply, as if she had been waiting for those words since before she herself could remember. As his mouth lowered to hers she found herself whispering in answer, "I love you, too, Jak. Always you."

"And it's always gonna be me," he replied and then completed the move and had her lips back on his. She withered beneath him, the squirming of her legs making his eyes all but cross.

Jak made sure Keira never forget who it was he wanted to kiss.


Word Count: 2462

Time: hour

Beta: that's funny

Author: Lizzy Rebel

Couples: Jak/Keira, Ashlin/Jak, implied Ashlin/Torn and Daxter/Tess

Characters/style: Keira/Jak fluff

Author's Notes: Since Jak IV: Penalties of War is completely ignoring Jak 3's timeline I thought I'd write a little one-shot about Jak 3 and how the Ashlin/Jak pairing at the end pissed me the hell off. I'd like to think the reason Naughty Dog did that (I shoulder in terror at the thought, Ashlin belongs with Torn and Jak goes with Keira! Duh!) was because of Keira's voice actress problem. At least, that's my excuse for that whole mess and my using my artistic license to fix it! Tada!