Rating: K+
Pairing: None
Warnings: Character death, spoilers for the Precursor Trilogy, unbeta'd.
Word Count: 643
For: Inspired by the illustration titled "Don't Leave Me" by Nehta on devART .

Absolute Zero

Jak had often mused on the tales that documented Mar's—his—death, wondered why none of them seemed to explain how or where or even when he died. He was there one story, and the next he wasn't. His cannon, which he now knew to be designed by Tess and built by the new Sages, was left to collect dust just outside the Nest. The Precursor Stone, which he now knew to be a transmitter and a generator rather than the egg Kor assumed it to be, was sealed away in his tomb.

And he, Mar, was dead.

But he wasn't. It was over, the Hora Quan pushed back to their hive and sealed away, at least for now, the shield walls of the original Haven fully operational, the people were safe. The planet was safe, at least for now. And Jak was still alive. More than alive—Jak was still full of Light, all wings and glowing skin and clusters of soothing energy, light refracting through raindrops to cast miniscule rainbows for the slightest slivers of a heartbeat as they fell all around him.

If he had survived the final assault, what was it that had kept Mar from using the cannon?

"Come on, don't leave me, deep breath…" The voice was a ragged sob, a hiss and a choke from deep in his throat that he couldn't even pretend was strong. Water dripped down his face, plastered glowing-blue hair to his head, tapped against the coppery metal of his armor.

Jak had suffered through many kinds of death already—Praxis and Kor and Erol saw to that—and as he sat there, crouched down in the rain, wings curled slightly inward and Light pushing out through his fingers to siphon through the fragile orange figure in his arms, he understood what the legends had meant when they said Mar had died before he could completely eradicate the Hora Quan.

"C'mon Dax, please…"

One dark blue eye opened ever so slightly, a slit of sapphire amidst a mask of orange and yellow and blood and pain, and his partner's mouth struggled to form a grin. "M'okay, Jak," he coughed. "Jussabit…sleepy."

Jak shook him lightly. "Don't fall asleep, Dax, please just hold on a little longer. Please…" He clenched his eyes shut and pushed against the light whirling within him, struggled to turn the healing energy that had saved him so many times outward on his friend.

Daxter shifted slightly in his hold, small hand coming up to grip two of Jak's fingers and give a reassuring squeeze. "S'okay, Jak…m'all right…"

Gunfire reached the hero's ears even through the steady pounding of the rain, high-pitched reminder that while Kor had been pushed back, there were still the lesser creatures to be dealt with. Soldiers, warriors trained under the Red Sage, garbed in crimson and metal, raced back and forth all around the two rain-soaked, blood-soaked, young men.

"They…n-need ya…Jak." The little Precursor stifled a cough. "Go help."

"I'm not leaving you," he replied hoarsely. The vibration of footsteps raced past just behind him, but he didn't move.

"Nah," Daxter choked, grinning again but not the way he should have, the way he always had, "g-guess…not. Tha's still…my job…'parrently." A moment passed, his breath turning to a ragged wheeze. "D-Dammit, an' I wanted t'see yer kids, too..."

The rain was cold, but not as cold as the orange fur that brushed Jak's face as he bowed over his best friend, not as cold as the scarlet fluid that clung to his hands even through the downpour, not as cold as the last whisper of breath through his dripping hair as the figure in his arms went limp, suddenly nothing more than a weight in his hands.

There were degrees of cold and degrees of death, and Jak had just hit absolute zero for both.