Author's note: Very simple character study on a few of the guys, post Jak 3. Getting their basics down, basically.
Half full or half empty?
It was the darnest thing.
The three men looked up as they heard the sound, and eyebrows went up at the sight that greeted them. None of the good fellows said a word, merely studied this new situation. They did not have to speak, for no words were needed for them to reach a conclusion of it.
It was the darnest thing.
The newly redecorated Naughty Ottsel was silent, eerily much so now that the party was over. Five o'clock in the morning four men were the only ones left, probably more due to really messed up day rhythms than wishes to party. Well, at least for most of them. Jinx was an uncertain case. But, at least they could all agree that drinking was something that they had earned, and earned well. The broken glass, the torn, stained seats, the mysterious marks on the floor and other interesting details weren't their problem, and they didn't care. Besides, it was so darn petty anyway in compare to what they had gone through just the other day.
It seemed that the alcohol had gotten to the head of one, however, now offering a very rare sight indeed. None of them could recall ever seeing Jak pass out from drinking.
But there he was, the wastelander rookie, heir to both Haven and Spargus, three times hero, outcast and best friend of Daxter. With his nose crushed against the bar, a half filled glass set beside his head. After a moment a fuzzy head poked up above the blonde needles of hair, then circled the bigger head together with the rest of Daxter's body. The ottsel gave his friend a serious study, then threw up his arms in disbelief. He padded around Jak again, and returned with his own much smaller glass in hand. With a grunt he flopped down into sitting, giving the other three men a curious look.
"What?" he finally said.
Even he had been silent for a while, either because his voice had worn out – he did sound really hoarse – or because he was as tired as everyone else. The only reason they were still up at this unholy hour was because of the drinks.
There was no reply at first.
Eventually Sig reached out and poked at Jak's head, rolling it to the side so that he wouldn't get troubles breathing. Torn merely shrugged and returned to his whiskey when Daxter looked at him.
After a short while, Jak snored slightly.
"Should'a brought a camera," Jinx said, idly rueful.
He lit a cigarette and with a deep exhalation added to the gray cloud of tobacco smoke already hanging above their heads.
Sig muttered something that might have been an agreement. Hopefully nobody had expected any word from Torn, otherwise they would have been severely disappointed. He sipped his drink in complete silence.
The conversation seemed to have stagnated again. They were too tired, even Jinx.
Maybe it was time for bed… Jak did set a good example. Sorta.
"Half full. Yep."
In a heartwarming act of harmony the three men turned to the ottsel, slowly blinking. Holding up his glass and shaking it a little, Daxter gave them all a tired grin. He was probably as drunk as they were; swaying on the grip of logic and reality but still marginally holding on.
"Whaddayathink?" he said, slurring a little this time.
Trying to focus properly he narrowed his eyes at Jinx.
"And don't shay 'I schay toast', 'cause that's waaay too old," Daxter added.
Jinx looked just the slightest bit annoyed at being accused of pondering the use of such an old joke. However, finding himself in the attention of his other fellows he plucked the cigarette from his lips and tapped a dirty fingertip at his glass.
"Half full all the way," he said, smirk tugging at his lips. "Ain't no shit I can't blow up if I need ta. Dontcha think so, eh Siggy?"
He leant forwards a little, leering at the wastelander past Torn's blank face. Armor clanged as Sig shrugged, shaking his head.
A huge dark hand lifted an equally sized glass and tipped it back and forth, swirling the dark golden liquid and the fat bubbles around.
"Sometimes I kinda think it's half full," Sig eventually murmured. He set the glass down, ramming his cheek into his other hand. "An' sometimes… jus' wanna smash it and what's left…"
"Really?" Jinx said, one eyebrow raised, "always thought ya were the opturn- opitu… oport- ah, screw it."
He took another gulp of his drink, as if that would make the sudden proof of drunkness any better.
"He's just pissed 'cause he didn't find mini-Jak," Daxter said.
In any other state, Sig would have punched the ottsel. But, since he hardly could focus on the little pest-
A small hand reached out and patted the big hand. The wastelander looked down, managing to note that the blue eyes seemed a lot bigger and sadder than usual.
Okay, the mental note to skin Daxter was off. Sig even managed to move the corners of his lips.
That settled, the quest for opinions continued.
It took a moment of watching before they managed to drag Torn out of his own thoughts. He came to with a start, blinking as if suddenly awakened.
"Well?" Daxter said.
A small, fuzzy hand impatiently rapped against the bar.
Torn gave him a completely blank look, and said with utter and complete seriousness:
"The glass is never at a perfect 50 status. It's neigh impossible, rat. It's either something like 48,23 or 51,76 or around."
Sig, Jinx and Daxter looked at Torn. Then at each other.
"Half empty," Daxter said, motioning at the commander.
Jinx and Sig nodded approval, while Torn growled something inaudible.
Daxter's ears suddenly perked up, and he grinned again. This summoned another little bit of dull interest from the others.
"Well?" the ottsel said. He pointed at the snoring hero at the border of their assembly. "Whaddaya think Jak thinks?"
This silence was thoughtful.
"Half full," Torn finally said. It sounded, however, like he said it with some reluctance. "He never thinks he can lose. Moron…"
"'Cause golden boy can't lose," Sig said, frowning at the commander. "Yeah, it's half full alright."
"I dunno 'bout that," Jinx said.
This earned him a few odd looks. He did not seem to notice however, leaning his chin in the palm of the hand holding his cigarette, staring upwards at the grey mist. Before he continued to speak he took another drag, blowing out the smoke in a thin, slow stream.
"Nothin' gets pretty boy down, but after all the shit he's been served, ya really think he thinks it's half full?"
Scratching his stubble, he turned to look at the sleeping Jak. Torn and Sig did the same, pondering this wisdom.
The silence stretched, until the gazes slid to Daxter for the answer. He gave a sharp chuckle and stretched his arms triumphantly.
"Bzzt! You lose!" he said, tilting his head to the side. "Seriously people, doncha know?"
"Know what?" Torn said, irritated.
Daxter put his glass down and dragged himself closer to the sleeper. Grabbing onto a long ear he bent forwards and spoke straight into his friend's head.
"Yo, Jak! Your drink."
An eye cracked open, bloodshot and misty. The eyelid hovered dangerously for a few moments, but then Daxter's waving at the glass in question seemed to spark some understanding within the worn mind.
Jak lifted a hand and blindly groped around on the opposite side of his allies. Something went softly clonk and a bottle moved closer, lifted above Jak's head and over the glass.
Daxter scooted away as most of the remaining contents of the bottle spilled across the bar and into Jak's hair, but some of it managed to land in the designated container. When nothing more would pour out of the bottle Jak set it back, and promptly fell asleep again.
This was all watched intently by the other three men. And now, Daxter turned to them with great confidence.
"See?" he said. "Jak's a guy who makes his glass more than half full if it's getting empty."
And lo, the three so different men listened to the wisdom of the rat, and they were humbled.
But chances were, they might not remember this lesson in the morning.