The Holidays hit hard at work, and then I was honestly lazy for a few (weeks...) but here it is! This is un-beta'd and I apologize for any errors. I am looking for a beta if anyone is interested.

A very warm thank you to DarkEcoFreak3, Oblique Strategies and E for reviewing! I hope you all enjoy!

Upon arriving back at his tiny hut Daxter wearily made his way to the little closet. Sinking to his knees he pawed through the various Precursor junk that had piled up over the years until he held the...temperature regulators? Yeah, that would work. It was the closest thing to simple elven he could decipher through all the Precursor babble in his head. Plopping the powercells in place, the red head fastened the bracer like devices around his wrists. There was a brief ripple of energy around his body and Daxter instantly felt warmer. He hadn't even noticed he was cold in the first place.

Task finished the young elf simply sat among the orange metal scattered around him and thought. He needed to get to the mountains, but he couldn't just hop through the teleporter ring. He was sure the instant he turned it back on he'd be swarmed with Freedom Leaguers. Who would just drag him back to being poked and prodded and talked over. Yeah, definitely not an option. That meant he was walking. Through the Jungle would be his best bet to get back to rock village, as he knew from years of trying that the cliffs in Sentinel Beach were impassible.

That route would most certainly take days, if not weeks. Daxter hoped that this little quest wasn't time intensive. He'd hate to finally show up and find out hat the Precursors had gotten tired of waiting for him and left or something. It would also mean that he would be on his own, in the wild, for a long time. He and Jak had toughed it out on Sentinel Beach (and, if they were feeling brave, the Forbidden Jungle) now and then. Camping out for a night or two, catching fish and the occasional Crocadog. Someone would always be along though to herd them back to the village and their chores though. This...this would be different.

After he left there would be no one to come back to. Hell, there was no one to come back to now with everyone...


Daxter took a deep breath to steady himself. Thinking about it now wouldn't help them or him. Certainly not him. Focus Dax, he thought to himself. It's going to be tough going out there so what are we going to to need to...he stopped himself with a grim smile. What am I going to need, he corrected himself. Looking at the things piled around him he battle that sinking feeling as he realized that none of the junk he'd collected over the years was really worth anything. Or it might have been if he knew how to use it, or what any of it even did. The only reason he knew about his bracers was because the Precursors (the Precursors! Talking to him! He must be nuts.) had seen fit to tell him. No all that the pile of orange metal was was dead weight. Looking out the hole in the wall that served as a window Daxter contemplated.

It wasn't like the Villagers would be needing any of their stuff anymore...

It was hard to skirt around the bloody mess of corpses without actually looking at them, but Daxter managed. Jak's was the first place he hit. His uncle traveled a lot and was the most likely to have what Daxter needed. That house was painful for many reasons. So many memories to shut out. Daxter finished there as soon as he could, grabbing a traveling pack that was curiously already packed (hadn't Jak's Uncle said something about taking another trip soon? Guess he didn't leave soon enough) and a pair of boots that were a little big, but fit well enough anyway. If he was going to be doing some hard walking his feet would need protection. Swiping a map as an after thought on the way out Daxter went to the fisherman's place next.

The fresh fish were tempting, but Daxter knew they would never last. He ended up with a hook, some line and a skinning knife from there. Small things but would undoubtedly turn out to be the most valuable. From there the red head wandered aimlessly from house to house looking for anything that might be of use. The Villagers didn't really have a lot so it didn't take long. Mostly just a quick glance inside was enough to convince him to move on.

Suddenly a scream pierced through the village, raising the hair on the back of Daxter's neck. Was that...was there someone else?! He thought in half fear, half excitement and he pelted towards the noise. Leaping over debris and dancing around the glowing gems that lay where the remains of metal heads should be, the red head skidded around a corner and felt a sharp drop of disappointment. The screams had come from the Flut-Flut bird that the crazy old bird lady had been raising. It was tethered in it's pen and furiously squawking and slashing at two prowling Metal heads.

Daxter narrowed his eyes in thought as he watched. It had been a few weeks, maybe more than a month, since the Bird lady had sent him and Jak to drag the feathery thing back from Sentinel Beach. Since then hadn't Keira mentioned that she was helping the elderly woman to train it to be ridden? More like complained. The sage's daughter had little love for anything that wasn't a machine. Undoubtedly the task would have fallen to Jak and Daxter, but they were too busy with their usual chores to devote that much time. The blue and yellow bird was probably why it had taken so long for Keira to finish the upgrades on the zoomer too. The zoomer that was the fastest way from where those interlopers from the furture were to where he was.

To drag him back.

A cold sweat ran down the back of Daxer's neck when he realized the only reason they weren't here already was that without him, Keira was the only one who knew how to drive the thing. The red head almost felt sorry for the girl when he thought about how much arguing and screaming she was between right now. On one hand these freedom buggers seemed willing to do anything to get what they wanted. On the other, there was no WAY Samos would let Keira put herself at risk like that. Not that she would be, all that much. The girl could undoubtedly fly the thing much better that Daxter could, and HE made it to the other side ok.

Glancing back at the distressed Flut-Flut, the young elf made a decision. He would need to go fast and stay as rested as possible so he could fight if he got ambushed by Lurkers or Metal heads. Drawing the EES, he eyed the two creatures that hadn't noticed him yet as they were too busy tormenting the bird. There were only two and, after all, how many had he cut through already?

Keira hugged her knees tighter and sighed. Maybe she should have taken off with Daxter. Not that she knew any sooner than the rest of them that he had left, but anywhere had to be better than here right now. Ever since Jak...hadn't come back...everything had been happening too fast. One day she had been working in her lab, the next attending a funeral, and then finding all these people from the future. Oh, and her father (adoptive father, it become clearer everyday even though she had never consciously thought about it before now) had been lying to everyone for years and trying to set Jak up for a terrible, pain ridden future because apparently a city full of people with advanced technology and a population that made her head hurt to think about couldn't save themselves.

Technology that she was one hundred percent not allowed to touch, because she was a "child". She was fourteen for Precursors sake! She may not be a fully grown woman yet, but she certainly wasn't a child. Heck, if her father wasn't so over protective she would probably have children of her own by now, or at least a husband. Heather (better know as "The Bird Lady") was always telling her about how when she had been that age prospective suitors had petitioned her father left and right for her hand. Of course when Heather had been a young girl there had been more than two eligible young men in the village. If you could call Daxter "eligible". Ugh.

She, and everyone else, had always assumed that she and Jak would get married when they grew up. Which even as a little girl had seemed strange to her. She knew the village expected them to get together and have children but, and don't get her wrong Jak was certainly handsome, honestly the green-blond had always felt like more of a brother to her. Heather said she would change her mind when she was older. She was older now, and Jak was...gone. Just thinking about it hurt. She missed him. She missed her friend. Both of them.

Looking up from her knees she watched as Tess tinkered with one of her "guns". She didn't seem to really be building anything, just trying to keep busy and tune out the loud argument Torn, Samos and Asheline were having. About Daxter and his eco immunity. About how he had "escaped" like, like he was some sort of animal.

Or prisoner.

Since Daxter had jumped through the teleporter ring this morning guards had been posted to watch the portal. Armed guards. In case he came back. Keira shivered and hugged herself. She hated this. Hated how this world had become. Everything was moving around her so fast and it seemed like she was standing still. She was the only unchanging thing in the world. Just like when the boys would go off on their adventures, she was getting left behind. Again. Maybe it was time for a change of her own.

Getting up from her position on the floor Keira walked up to Tess' work bench. The older woman looked tired, and sad. Pretty much how Keira felt. The blonde didn't look up until the younger elf gently picked up the small pistol Tess kept nearby "just in case". Keira cut her off before she could say anything.

"Will you teach me how to use this?"