Disclaimer: I don't own Tak :(!
AN: Not nearly enough Tak fanfiction out there. I think Tak x Jeera is an adorable pairing! Hope you enjoy :) Reviews are much appreciated!
There is something powerful about being awake in the middle of the night.
It can be exhilarating, like when you and your friends stay up together and feel like rebels running around reeking chaos while the rest of the world sleeps. It can be calming, like when you stay up all night talking with someone till it's as if you're the only two people in the world.
And it can be terrifying, like when you've been tossing and turning in bed for hours and can't sleep and keep thinking you can't sleep and everyone else is sleeping and you'll never fall asleep and you're terrified and lonely and depressed and desperate…exactly like how it had been for Jeera for the past week.
It all started when Zaria fell for some jerky chief from one of the surrounding tribes, which was all well and good until she decided to run off and get married to said jerk, leaving Jeera the next in line to be chief. And that might have been fine too…that is if her father hadn't told her a week ago that he was planning to retire within the month, making Jeera the new tribe leader.
She should have seen it coming. She should have started preparing herself for it as soon as Zaria had left. But she hadn't; she had wanted to enjoy her last carefree days of youth and because of that she was tangled and sweating in her sheets, unable to drift off into any kind of peaceful state.
She just couldn't stop thinking. Every time she closed her eyes, a thousand and ten worries about all she could mess up rushed around inside her head. She tried distracting herself and counting sheep and reciting rhymes she'd memorized over and over again in her mind…but all of it was useless. The more determined she was to fall asleep, the more she stayed awake.
There's only so much you can do, and there's only so much you can take. So she twisted around a few more times in her bed, stood up, and then finally proclaimed, "Alright, that is it."
A few moments later, Tak was awoken by a banging on his door. He opened his eyes groggily and closed them again, hoping whoever was there would just go away.
"Tak," yelled the visitor still banging on his door. Tak grumbled lowly and forced himself out of bed, muttering to himself something about "…a shaman's duty…" He was still rubbing his eyes when he opened the door.
"Jeera?" he questioned, squinting to make out the figure in the darkness.
Seeing her half-asleep friend leaning exhaustedly against his dorm frame seemed to suddenly remind Jeera that it was, in fact, the middle of the night and other people actually were sleeping. She blushed a little at this realization, feeling slightly guilty for waking Tak up.
"I'm sorry," she fumbled. "I was just--sorry, you were sleeping. I'll just--"
"Well, I'm awake now," Tak pointed out, adding a large yawn as he stretched his arms out over his head. "So, what's up?"
Jeera exhaled heavily, closed the door, and sat down on the closest chair. "I can't sleep."
Tak sat down on the ground in front of her (mostly because he was afraid if he sat down anywhere else, it was likely he'd fall right back asleep). "Well, have you tried--" he started.
"I've tried everything," she interrupted impatiently. "Do you know some kind of spell or something…maybe a potion?"
Tak noted the desperation in his friends eyes and the dark circles under her eyes. "How long has it been since you got a decent night's sleep?" he asked.
Jeera sighed and put her face in her hands. "A week."
Tak frowned with concern. "Is something bothering you?"
"I…there…I- don't know--a lot of things!" she snapped. Her father had asked her to keep his retirement on the down-low to prevent any kind of panic. In any other case, she would probably just have disobeyed him, but for some reason, she didn't want Tak to know she was panicking because she couldn't handle being chief.
The shaman stared at her with wide, hurt eyes. "Look, I'm sorry," she mumbled, closing her eyes and rubbing her temples. "I'm just really, really tired. So can you help me or what?"
"Jeera…you know I'm not always the best with my spells, and if I messed up a spell to put you to sleep…well….it could be dangerous. Maybe we can ask Jaboba?"
"No!" she snapped again. Her father had told Jaboba about his retirement. If they asked him for help, he would put two and two together and realize that she was nothing but a scared little girl, unfit for a duty that belonged to her by birth. "I…don't want to bother anyone else. I just--never mind, it was stupid anyway." She immediately got up and headed to the door.
Tak, in the most alertness he had shown since she'd arrived, dashed in front of her and blocked the way. "It's not stupid. We could try non-magic things. Maybe I could read some of Jaboba's notes to you. Those always put me to sleep."
Jeera felt guilty for keeping Tak up with her, but her desperation to finally get some sleep loomed larger. "Alright," she sighed, knowing they were both in for a long night.
Hours later, the sun rose over the two semi-conscious friends sitting admist a pile of sheep, tea bags, pillows, and other failed plans.
Jeera winced as the first rays of sun touched her eyes. "I hate this part," she murmured.
Tak could only respond with a low grumble at first, but as the morning grew brighter, he was forced to wake up. "I'm sorry I wasn't any help."
Jeera shrugged as she attempted to extract herself from the pile of junk around her. "Well, it was much better than being up all alone." She grinned at him. "You know what they say about misery loving company."
"I'm sure you'll eventually have to just pass out," he said, trying to reassure her.
"Yeah," she smiled, having no intentions of forcing Tak to suffer with her again even if her insomnia persisted.
"See ya," she noted from the door, but Tak, having just passed out, responded only with a snore.
It came as no surprise to Jeera that the next night, she still could not sleep. This time though, she refused to ask for any help and instead, went back to her lonely routine of tossing and turning until the sun came up.
That day, her lack of sleep was more obvious than ever. She zoned off several times while listening to tribe members and started talking to the sheep on multiple occasions.
"Jeera?" Tak questioned, as she starred into the distance and began to drool onto the mango she had been cutting up. "Jeera!" he tried again but louder.
Jeera snapped to consciousness, the blade slicing straight threw the mango.
"Maybe I should do that," Tak suggested, moving her gently to the side.
"Uh, thanks," she responded, shaking her head to try to wake up a little more.
Tak watched her carefully. "Still no sleep?"
"I slept!" she defended at once. "I just--I'm just distracted. You know--busy day and all."
Her lie was anything but convincing, but Tak could tell from her tone she wasn't going to change her story. He knew Jeera didn't like to look vulnerable at all, or like needed any kind of help, but he still wished she trusted him enough to at least tell him the truth. He put the matter to the back of his mind for the time and focused on keeping all the pointy objects away from his friend. If she wasn't ready to open up to him yet, he would just make sure he'd be there when she was.