I felt the need to write this for two reasons. 1) There are absolutely NONE of these on this website, or pretty much ANY OTHER website. 2) I just watched the cutscenes from Jak X, and I was reminded of how awesome this guy is. =] I think those are two totally legit reasons. So, here goes. It's set in Jak II time, by the way.
I turn, looking for who might've called me. My eyes light up when I see her. "Hey, Ari!"
The 8-year-old blonde girl comes running up to me, hugging me around the waist, as it's about as high as she can reach. "Where've you been?
It's been so long since you came to see us last time!" she exclaims, looking up at me with round, questioning green eyes.
I sigh, smiling apologetically as I kneel down. "I know, sweetie. I'm sorry; I've been pulling overtime helping my friends stay out of trouble," I wink as I say the last part.
She giggles, knowing what I mean. "Did'ja get those mean guards good?"
I laugh at that, "Yeah, I did. Don't you worry, I've got them all taken care of. How's Darrel?"
She grins, "Lots better! That medicine you gave him made his cold go away like magic!"
I have to fight back a laugh, 'Herbal remedies are anything but magic...' "I'm glad to hear that he's all better. Where is he?"
"Back in our alley. You should come see him! I know he'd be really happy to see you, Cammy!"
I sigh mentally, "You know I would, sweetheart, but there are still people after me. I've gotta deal with them first, or I might get you two in trouble." When she droops visibly, I make an attempt to lighten her mood, "But, I'll come visit as soon as it's safe, okay? I promise."
Ari brightens and nods, "Okay!"
I stand up from my kneeling position and smile again, "I better get going. Say 'hi' to your brother for me, okay? But don't tell him I'm gonna come; we'll surprise him."
She laughs her adorable laugh, "I will! Be careful, Cammy!" With that, she runs off, a beautiful smile on her face.
I shake my head and sigh, "At least they're doing alright..." I turn and start back to HQ, avoiding any guards that look my way. As I go, I think back to Ari and Darrel.
'I hope they don't have to live like this much longer. Darrel gets sick so often, and Ari can't take care of him by herself.' I sigh again, 'I can't be around as often as I'd like, either. Between missions and evading the Krimson Guards, I don't know how close I can get to them without putting them in danger...'
Before I know it, I've arrived outside the hideout. I take a deep breath, 'I guess it'll have to wait for now...'
I look carefully over my shoulder, double checking for anyone who might be following, then walk through the sliding door and proceed down the steps. The inner door opens as I step up to it, revealing the familiar room that is the Underground HQ. I smirk and shake my head when I see Torn, still pouring over his maps. 'He's gotta have the whole city and it's outskirts memorized by now.'
I move further into the room, successfully getting the commander's attention.
"Hey. How'd things go over?" he asks, looking up from the maps.
I shrug, " 'Bout as well as they could've. You were wrong, though; the interference with our communications wasn't coming from out there."
His expression changes to one of confusion, "You sure?"
I nod, "Yep. Figured that out about five minutes along the way; as soon as metal heads started jumping out at me, I knew the transmission wasn't coming from there. I used this gizmo," I take out the wavelength analyzer Vin had given me from my satchel, "to check for anything weird, anyway."
"And you found...?"
"Zip. Nada. Zilch. Niente. Metalheads aren't smart enough to crash a comm. system with a radio, or whatever the hell the ones who are doing this are using."
Torn sighs, "At least we eliminated a possibility. Any other good news to report?"
I look up in thought, "Umm... I made it back in one piece?"
He chuckles, "Oh yeah, that's a plus."
"Are you implying something, Torn?"
"Not at all." He seems to realize something, "Wait, you said you knew that place was clear after five minutes."
I tilt my head, not understanding what he's getting at. "Yeah?"
"Shouldn't you have gotten back here sooner?"
"...Oh. Well, yeah, I guess."
"What took you? KGs give you a hard time?"
"No, nothing like that. I was, uh... talking to someone. I got sidetracked for a few minutes," I explain, looking at the floor.
I hear him sigh, "Was it those kids?"
I nod, "One of them; the girl, Ari. She saw me walking and came up to me, so I stopped to talk to her for a sec. No biggie."
Through my peripheral vision, I see him look to the side, "How are they?"
I look up, a little surprised to hear him sound concerned. "They're fine, I guess. I gave Darrel some medicine a while ago 'cause he'd gotten sick again. Ari says he's better now. She was really just saying 'hi' and that they miss me."
He turns back to me, "You're really worried about them, aren't you?"
"Damn straight I am. I'm the only protection they have left. When I'm not around, they have to stay hidden; God only knows what the KG would do if they saw the two of them wandering around," I say, rolling my eyes at the last part.
Torn leans on the small table, "Look, Cam, I don't care that you go see them. Hell, I think it's a good thing. Just don't let it distract you, got it? You can't be worrying about other things while you're out in the field."
I smirk, "Yeah, I got it. And don't worry, I haven't screwed up yet."
He chuckles again, "Yeah, yet. We'll see what happens."
"Bet you'll screw something up before I do."
"I never screw up."
He shakes his head, smirking. "I want you to go find Jak. I tried to get him on the comm. link about twenty minutes ago, but the interference jammed the signal. He should still be over at the gun course. Tell him to get his ass back here."
I smile a little, "Sure thing. Oh, before I go," I reach into my satchel again, "This is for you. Finished it a while ago, and you're the only one I know who actually uses a blade." I pull out a knife, sheathed in a holster, with a bronze hilt. "I don't really need it, so I figured you might get some use out of it." I toss it at him, not really surprised when he catches it easily.
He removes the sheathe, looking over the blade itself. "Steel, sharper than the one I've got. Nice length, too." He looks up at me, "Very nice. You sure I can keep it? Seems like you worked hard on it."
I shrug, "I've already got my daggers, and yours is getting dull. If you ever decide to haul your ass outta this room, it'll help you in a fight; way more than yours will, anyway." With that, I turn and start towards the stairs. "Enjoy."
"Thanks, Cam. I owe you one."
I smile and wave over my shoulder, "Don't worry about it."
So, by D-blocking a zoomer in the middle of nowhere, I manage to get to the course in record time, purposely driving fast enough to break my neck. Driving always puts me in a good mood, or a better one, at least.
I park and head inside to find Jak and Daxter walking out of the course. "Hey, boys."
Daxter brightens noticeably, "Hey, Cammy. Come back for that date? About time."
I sigh and shake my head, "I'll say this one more time, Dax. My taste in men does not include little orange furballs."
Jak instantly smirks, "Maybe not, but it does include a certain someone with facial tattoos and a need for anger management."
I can feel my face turning red, "Shut up, Jak."
Ha laughs, at my expense, of course, and continues, his smirk never fading. "What're you doing here?"
"Torn told me to come get you. He tried to get you on the comm. link, but the signals are still being cut off. He wants you back at HQ."
Jak nods, "Got it. Thanks, Cam."
"Mhmm." I walk out with them and head over to my zoomer when Jak stops me, his smirk no longer visible.
"You really should tell him, you know."
I sigh, "Why? He just got done telling me not to get sidetracked, to focus when I'm in the field. ...It would just be another distraction." That being said, I climb onto the zoomer and start it up. I turn to him and smile as best as I can, "Get going; Torn's waiting for you guys." Before he can say anything else, I speed off towards the bazaar; nothing like a nice, reckless drive to clear my head and piss of a few KGs.
Of course, I only get to drive for about a half hour before my cell rings. I slow to a stop in a nearly invisible alley, avoiding KG sight, and pull it out of my pocket. I smirk when I see Torn's name on the ID.
Flipping it open, I answer with sarcasm, "Ya know, I distinctly remember you saying that a cell phone is unreliable and pointless."
"That was when we had functioning communication systems."
"Still. You own one, apparently. So that makes you a hypocrite," I say smartly.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures."
He sighs on the other end of the line, and I can just see him shaking his head, maybe rolling his eyes or something, too. "How far away from HQ are you?"
I peek out into the street, trying to estimate how far I'd gone. "Umm, roughly 8 minutes away."
"Think you can get back here?"
"Without much trouble. Why?"
"New information. Nothing too serious, but I want you here A-SAP."
"Sure, sure. Be there in a bit."
Knowing that's my cue to hang up, I do so and hop back on the zoomer, then make a B-line for HQ. Well, I guess I did take a few "detours" along the way. Hey, you'd be surprised how tempting it is to drive full speed into a squad of KGs. 'Specially when they're about to gang up on some poor guy off the street.
Anyway, I park my zoomer once again and head into the hideout, walking down the ever-so-familiar stairs. Upon entering the room, I'm kind of surprised to find Torn staring at the wall instead of his maps. 'So he actually looks at other things in here... Huh, never would of guessed.'
"Hey, Cam. Nice timing."
I smile, "Thanks." I step up in front of the table. "So what's going on?"
He seems to hesitate, almost reluctant to look back at me. When he does, I can't really read his expression.
"Torn? You okay?"
He sighs, "Yeah, fine. Listen, when Jak came in, after I gave him his directions for the next mission, he said something that got me... interested."
I tilt my head, not really knowing what to think. "Something... like what?"
His gaze goes to the floor only for a second, then goes back to me. "Something involving you, actually. It's pretty clear you didn't really want it to get out, though."
It's now that I realize exactly what he's talking about. 'Jak, I swear, if the KGs and metalheads don't kill you, I will.' With a sigh, I move near the left wall, my eyes down. "Well, Jak should learn what's his business and what's not."
I can feel his eyes follow me as I move, but I don't dare look back at him. 'If Jak really did tell him, this could end badly...'
"By your reaction, I'm guessing you already know what this is about."
"I have a pretty good idea."
"...So I guess if Jak shows up with a few bruises next time I see him, it'd be a pretty safe bet to say it was you, huh?" he remarks, a hint of a smirk in his tone.
I form a smirk of my own, and finally turn around, leaning against the wall. "It wouldn't exactly be a stab in the dark."
He actually chuckles a little, but his small smirk fades after a minute. "Why didn't you say something, Cam?"
I sigh again, "Because with everything that's going on, I didn't think it was really all that important. And besides, you just got through telling me not to get sidetracked. I'm pretty sure it would be a decent distraction." I look to the side, "I thought it would be a good idea to just try and forget about it..."
Again, I can feel his gaze on me as he moves closer, stopping in front of me. "The only reason I told you you needed to focus was because of those two kids you're helping. I always see you with a worried look on your face; I figured you were thinking about them, wondering whether they're okay. I didn't know there were other things on your mind, Cam." He rests his hand on my shoulder, and I look up. "This isn't the kind of thing you let go. It'll get to you."
I don't know what comes over me, but after gathering all the courage I've got, I lean up and press my lips to his, probably catching him completely off-guard. I quickly move back, only glancing at him for a second, before looking at the floor again. "Like you said, Torn, the fight for the city comes first."
Without a second thought, I step around him towards the door, but don't get very far before his hand latches onto my wrist. He turns me around, making me face him, and keeps me in place. "There are always exceptions." With that, he pulls me into him, leaving me totally surprised when our lips meet again. Only this time, he doesn't let me pull away.