She couldn't remember what happened. No matter how long she thought about it, she just couldn't seem to piece it together. She remembered fighting against the Visorak, being surrounded... a blinding pain... and then... she felt nothing.
What was even more peculair was that she was in her old body. Her body of a Toa. At first, she was estatic. But then, as she thought about it, she became confused. How did this happen?
Her musings were interrupted when she heard someone call her name. She turned around to face them, and saw Matau running towards her, his eyes wide with fear. What is wrong with him? she wondered.
She was about to call out to him, when he ran passed her- no, rather, he ran through her. As if she wasn't even there.
Nokama's eyes widened. No... it... it can't be...
But it was.
She turned around, and to her horror, found herself staring down at a lifeless body of a Hordika... herself.
Nokama gasped. "No, no, no, no... it... this can't be!" she cried. Her legs felt weak and collapsed, unable to hold her weight. "Mata Nui, it can't be..." she continued, touching her mask. "I can't be dead... I just... can't!"
But it was impossible to deny. She could only watch in sorrow as the Hordika gathered around her corpse, weeping for her loss.
The rest of the day had been torture for her. She was absolutely helpless. She had tried several times to talk to her fellow Toa, to touch them, but nothing worked. She could not be seen, felt, or heard by any of them. She had even tried to touch her own body, hoping that by some miracle she would be able to melt back into that horrible, twisted, bloodied body and come back to life, but to no avail.
Now, she could only watch through tear-strained eyes, her own funeral.
Five Toa Hordika and six Rahaga stood in a small circle around a small grave. Her body had been buried in a small hole, and a grave stone made out of wood had been mounted. Carved on it was her name. It was a small and crudely made tombstone, but under the conditions that they were in, it looked like a marvelous carving.
Whenua spoke first. "Nokama... was a magnificent teacher, and a magnificent Toa." he said. "She was kind and caring to everyone, even to her enemies sometimes. I don't think I've ever met anyone in my entire life with as kind a heart as Nokama. May she rest in peace."
Oh, Whenua... how I would... Nokama frowned, feeling her eyes grow wet once again.
Nuju stepped forward to speak next, and Nokama was surprised to find hints of tears coming from his mask. "There are very few people who ever gain my trust." he began. "I do not open myself to anyone, and rarely do I trust anyone else but myself. However... Nokama was different. Out of everyone, I think I trusted her the most. No, I didn't just trust... I respected her. I held her in high accordance. And... it pains me greatly to see her gone. But I do not regret ever trusting her." he hung his head. "May she rest in peace."
Nokama's eyes widened. Nuju had always been the quiet one, rarely ever taking part in any conversation. He began speaking even less when he was mutated. It was a shock to hear him say so many words, but it was even more of a shock to realize that he had actually cared quite deeply for her. She was at a loss for words, which while it didn't mean much, she still felt obligated to say something. Nuju... I had no idea... thank you...
Onewa was next in line. His eyes burned with determination. "You always looked out for us." he said, placing a hand on the tombstone. "Now... I swear, I will take down the Visorak and save the Matoran for you!" he clenched his fist and gritted his teeth, before retreating back into the shadows of the tree.
Nokama instinctively went to place a hand on his shoulder for comfort, but caught herself, knowing that there was no point. Onewa... please don't do anything you would regret... she prayed.
She frowned as she watched Vakama approach the grave, his mask still wet from tears. His testimony was one she feared, for she had a small inkling of what he had to say.
"Nokama... f-forgive me... I... failed you..." he breathed, his hands trembling as he placed them on the tombstone. "T-this whole thing... i-it's my fault... First Toa Lhikan... then the Matoran... now you... I'm... a failure..." with that, he walked off away from the group.
Nokama watched him, tears running down her cheeks. No... Vakama, no! Please don't blame yourself! I don't blame- I never blamed you! This isn't your fault! she cried, but all she could do was watch.
Norik followed after him, most likely to try to comfort him.
Nokama held her mask in her hands, her mind was dizzy with sorrow. Why am I still here...? she wondered. Why am I not... somewhere else? Is this the afterlife? Is this punishment? she thought. She whirled around. Mata Nui! Can't you just take me away!?
The only ones remaining was herself... and Matau.
Her eyes widened. The Toa of Air had yet to make a speech, and appearently everyone else had gone off somewhere. She didn't know why, was it to give Matau privacy? No, that couldn't be it... what would he need to be alone for?
She watched with interest as the ex-Toa Metru walked slowly up to her grave.
"Nokama... I was... am a fool-coward." he said. "I watched you die before my very eyes... and I couldn't do-attempt a thing. All I could do was just stand-wait there, helpless... until it was too late. There had only been one other time I had been that powerless before... and that was when you were poisoned by the Rahi Nui." his fingers began to tremble. "That was the first time... I think I really felt true fear-horror. Just to see you lying there, on the floor-ground, not moving, your heart light flashing, barely hanging on by a thread... it tore me up inside. I couldn't bear to see you in pain, to see you dying..." he gulped. "I... heart-promised myself, I heart-promised you, that I would never let anything harm-hurt you. But... I couldn't keep-hold that promise."
Nokama suddenly a pang of guilt strike her. She thought back to that horrible day, the day she almost died (how ironic)... it had all been a blur to her at the time, but she did remember vague glimpses... something warm against her cold body, that cuddled and protected it against anything that touched it... and she remembered how Matau had reacted when she finally came to. To her, very little time had passed, although she did remember feeling weak and somewhat nauseous at first. She was surprised and alarmed when Matau had suddenly decided to hug her, and instead of being kind, she simply shoved him away.
You were just trying to show me you cared... she realized, feeling her tears return. But he didn't stop there.
"You're... gone now. And now... I've realized how stupid-foolish I've been all this time." Matau choked. "You only saw me as a pathetic, obnoxious Toa who flirt-played with girls for fun-enjoyment. And I admit-say it... I thought that at the beginning. But... as time went on... I changed... you changed... I realized that those playful jokes-funnies, were not just playful joke-funnies..."
Nokama's eyes widened. Matau...?
"I only pretended like that because I was afraid-scared... but I was stupid... Nokama... I... love you..." the Toa of air confessed, closing his eyes as he tried to fight back the tears.
Nokama gasped. Matau... I never knew... how could I...? she suddenly felt guilty for every bad thing she had said to him, and for thinking he was an inferior Toa. I had no right to believe that, she thought to herself. He was just as good with his powers as any of us were, maybe even better in some ways... and yet I looked down on him, simply because he was happy to be a Toa... she sobbed.
Her musings were cut short when she heard a frustrated growl as she watched Matau grip his mask. "But... I was too cowardly to admit it!" he shouted. "Instead, I just hid my feelings, I pretended to just be a flirt! But at the same time... I... I meant it..." his voice became soft, close to a whisper. "I meant it." he swallowed. "I-I know... you really didn't like me... so I tried... to impress you... to play with you... to protect you... but I couldn't."
He clenched his fist. "I... I saw you. I saw you look-scoff at me, shake your head, and look down at me. You saw me as an immature Toa-hero, one who only cared about the glory-fame than duty... and... you hated me..."
Nokama felt her eyes tear up again. No... I never did! she exclaimed, but her voice fell on deaf ears.
"You... thought I was a joker... a child... and... you always paid attention to everyone else..." Matau continued. "And... it deep-hurt. It deep-hurt to see that. But at the same time... I never stopped loving you... or caring about you. All I wanted... was for you to be happy..." he held his head, as if trying to recollect his thoughts. "I... I've lost so many things..." he said. "My home-metru, and Toa-powers, and my love... and I never got a chance to tell you the deep-truth."
He fell to his knees, and placed his hand on her grave. "Nokama, if you can hear me... I want you to know... that despite what you may have thought, what you saw, or what you're thinking now... I love you, and I always will." With that, he laid his head down... and cried.
Nokama watched, feeling her own tears stain her mask. Matau! No! I don't hate you! I never did! she wanted to scream out. But Matau couldn't hear her. However, she still cried, not caring. If... I had known you felt this way... I would've treated you differently! I would've been nicer! I would've... I would've... she fell to the ground, sobbing. Oh Matau... I've... caused you all so much pain...
She felt a hand touch her shoulder. She tensed up jerked her head up, and was surprised to meet with a golden Hau. "Toa... Lhikan?" she gasped.
The elder Toa of Fire smiled warmly at her. "Nokama... I've come to take you home." he said.
Nokama wiped away a tear. "Home...? Now? But... but why?" she asked, taking his outstretched hand and using it to hoist herself onto her feet. "Why didn't I leave with you immediately after I... died?" she still felt uncomfortable saying it.
"When a Toa is killed, his or her spirit is allowed to remain on this plane for 24 hours, to watch over their fellow Toa." Lhikan explained.
"B... but why?" Nokama sobbed. "Why? All I encountered was pain... and sorrow..."
"But you also learned something very important." Lhikan replied. "You may not have been able to do anything now, but you can watch over them... and protect them... in the afterlife."
Nokama's eyes widened. "I... I can?"
The Toa of Fire nodded. "Come, let's go..."
"Wait." she stopped. "Can't I just do one more thing before I leave?" she pleaded.
Lhikan stared at her for a moment, before nodding his head. "Alright. One thing."
Nokama smiled and then turned to Matau sleeping form. She knelt down and touched him. Although he could not feel her presence, she didn't care. "Matau, I just want you to know... I love you." she said. With that, she turned around and followed Lhikan...
But she never saw Matau raise his head up in surprise at the sound of somebody whispering into his ear. "Nokama?"