A/N: And here it is: the final chapter of an amazing story that surprised me by the sheer amount of dedication and reviews that came in. I hope you enjoy it as much as you have the other chapters. Thank you to all who have reviewed!
Disclaimer: James Cameron's Avatar is definitely not mine. This is for entertainment use only.
I SEE YOU
My eyes are so heavy.
It's gotta be in the middle of the night. I can hear a newly settled family four stories below us, speaking quietly; I can hear the footfalls of a small squirrel-like creature in the tree's trunk; the smell of a ripe fruit being eaten by a creature in the brush wafts up through the air. The nighttime usually soothes my buzzing brain, especially after hours of studying our new home with the warriors and teaching the women the new surroundings. I am exhausted enough that I only crawl into the soft nest. Two hours later, I am counting Neytiri's breaths.
This is not a new phenomenon. There has been little sleep for weeks. It's like I'm connected to Eywa at all hours and I feel like I must be awake to respond. It seems to be an affect of having a Na'Vi child.
Speaking of which...
"Fuuuuuzzzzzy," Tom purrs. He rubs his tiny blue head against a soft blanket -stolen from the RDA dorm rooms, courtesy of Norm- clenching a section of it in his five-fingered hands. The blanket overwhelms the tiny body writhing around in it. My son's tail is curled around his leg like a vine. The tree sways, the wind singing through the leaves. His tiny ears lift in curiosity.
I smile, reaching out to pull the blanket closer. Thomas squeals under his breath when it moves his body toward me. I murmur, "Hey, bud..." Deftly, I manage to pull my son and his newfound object of love onto my stomach. He doesn't have much weight, even now; while I was worried about his speech, Neytiri was worried about his strength. He came earlier than usual -at about eleven months- and she was frightened. I told her I was worried because on Earth, babies came closer to eight and a half months. She was astonished.
His eyes shine at me like glowing lanterns. Patting my ribcage, he says, "Papa. Sempu."
"Yes, I'm your daddy. Who's that?" I ask in a whisper, pointing to my mate. Near the trunk, Neytiri is curled up in a bed of moss, exhausted. Her pretty face is relaxed, her stomach toned back up. It's been nearly a year and a half since she's given birth.
Tom hesitates, lips slightly falling into a frown. His hands clench the blanket tighter, clearly unsure of the word in English, although he's trying to sound it out.
There is no reason to worry, because growing up with two languages is hard. I was surprised he even started speaking this early; my neighbor's kid on Earth didn't speak for three years. Maybe it's a Na'Vi brain in a human body thing. I gently tickle his ribs; he squeals in happiness, trying to bite my hands. "Sa'nu! Sa'nu!"
One of Neytiri's eyes open to a slit. Seeing my grinning face, she lays her ears back in irritation. I can see her teeth shining like razors. Tom disrupts her death glare by clapping his hands together, then reaching for her with a huge smile. The way he's balanced, it's a wonder he hasn't fallen off my chest yet. I glance to Neytiri. The way her face melts is endearing.
She stretches, crawling over to where we are lying. "Thomas," she greets, nuzzling his forehead. His arms clamp around her neck, and he looks up at her adoringly through the folds of the peach-colored blanket.
"Sa'nu..." he whines. I can hear him clicking his tongue, a clear indicator that he's thirsty.
With a sour look, Neytiri stares him down, pointing toward the jug of water we keep in the nook of the tree. "Water," she emphasizes. Her eyes flicker to mine in exasperation. I shrug. We've started weaning Tom, and he's having a rough go of it. Usually, we let him cry until he will drink water we've collected that day. My mate is tired of him trying to bite her.
The baby stares at her breasts, then begins thumping his head against her chest in frustration. I think I see a tear.
Gently, I unwind his arms, crouching over him. "Thomas," I say sternly, "Let your mother sleep. Water." With my knuckles, I nudge him toward the small jug. He sits flat on his butt for one moment, with his arms tight against his chest. Neytiri and I pretend to ignore him, smiling slightly, eyes meeting in amusement. After a few minutes of sitting alone, he finally crawls towards it, grumpily intent on drinking to his satisfaction.
A rush of breath comes out of Neytiri's lips. She groans, falling from her kneel into my lap. "My Jake," she growls, "I want to sleep. Little Tom makes me worried when he calls my name." Her eye pierces mine. "You let him wake me up."
I feel a twinge of guilt. Mo'at's health has been declining, and as such, my mate is beginning to take on the role of Tsa'hik. If anything, she works harder than I do. I secure and maintain the new boundaries of our home, but that just entails running off any predators and establishing that the Omaticaya have claimed this place by allowing the ikrans to mark the trees with their claws. Neytiri cares for Mo'at all day while learning many deep secrets. Tom is given to Ney'nat -who is deciding whether she wants kids of her own- while we are away.
"Be glad you don't have twins," I tease, kissing her jaw line. Subconsciously, my fingers dig into her back, massaging out her aches and tight muscles. "Tom and I gave my mom heart attacks when we'd disappear-"
Tom is struggling to right the huge jug, his lips wet from the water splashing out. His face is twisted in frustration. I sigh as Neytiri retreats back to her moss bed, tail twitching in amusement. In a second, my hand reaches out and helps the kid set it back into the tree. "Good job, buddy," I say, my eyes sagging with sleep. He almost scurries away with the intent to play and scream energetically; I catch his belt with two fingers and drag him back. "Sleep. Now."
I grab the dirty peach cloth to keep it from falling off the tree limb, stuffing it into his face. He giggles, and says very clearly, "Blanket." I toss him into his own moss circle, laughing under my breath as he moves the skin of his face back and forth against his blankie, closing his eyes. A sigh escapes from his lips. He's under within milliseconds.
What a day. This guy runs me everywhere; in the early morning, I take him flying, to the sheer disapproval of those who see me sneak off with the squealing baby. For lunch -even if I do not eat- I make sure I find him and sit down to chat in English. Neytiri usually finds us. The sun shines, and I make him speak words, either in Na'Vi or English. As a family, we sit in the sun-lit middle of the eating floor, which is no more than a tree trunk's flat ledge with a enormous circumference of a quarter of a mile.
The People now live deep in the mountains, in a group of seventy year old trees hidden behind a rocky crest of earth. There are five trees, so deeply rooted that in the center, there is a dark grove for praying and meditating. We have planted a seed collected from the Tree of Souls, hoping it will grow into a new spiritual tree. It is a serene place.
Three months after I had become a Na'Vi, I chose this place because it is easy to hear helicopters, the ikrans can perch in caves dug into the cliffs above, and there are fields of a thousand kinds of fruit in a high pasture, within easy walking distance. The important part is that the People can spread out over the mountains to take cover from invasion; our home cannot kill us this time. Neytiri loved it, mostly since it's about twenty miles from the Tree of Voices.
A snore brings my attention back to the present. I grin, peeking at my son. Like his namesake, Tom could wake the dead while sleeping. Quietly, I check on my mate.
In the darkness, Neytiri seems like a jaguar from back home, lithe and powerful. As a kid, I remember seeing one in a zoo picture, wondering at the ridges of muscle. Neytiri is no different. For the thousandth time, I thank the stars that I ended up with her. The object of my sudden thoughts sighs, eyes winking open, like she can hear me. Her head rolls to the side and her hand flaps gently.
I know the hint when I see it.
Careful not to wake our baby, I slip over to her. I touch her hand with a smile, managing to squeeze onto the moss with her. I feel the muscles relax and her breathing evens out. "Mmmmmmm..." she purrs, sinking into my body.
At least I know where Thomas gets his love of cuddling things from.
With a tender kiss to her neck, I breath in once, and release. Then twice, and release...
The last thing I remember is the smell of Neytiri soothing me into sleep.
Some things to think about (if you ever want to read this story again and pick out my symbolism):
THEMES OF I See You
Chapter one talked about insecurity (even when you know you are the best at what you do), true love (with all the arguments in between), and dependence (leaning on friends/family/love and the bitterness of mobility, as demonstrated by Jake's paralyzed legs).
Chapter two is about loss (Trudy; Earth's future destruction, faith in humanity), communication (divulging all of your secrets and fears), and hope for the future.
Chapter three is the essential term of peace of mind, acceptance, and rebirth. It is the coming together of all parts of Jake and Neytiri's soul -good or bad together.
Paralyzation: Those who are paralyzed are not disabled and I am certainly glad in the movie that Jake was a paraplegic, mostly to draw attention to the intense mental focus these individuals have. I have several relatives who can ride horses, drive cars, and still kick my ass while in a wheel chair.
Jake: In this story, I wrote it to make it real. Insecurity about a physical body (even without being paralyzed) is a time-old classic, and something everybody faces when they meet "the One". In Avatar, Jake slips past this by using a faux body, so when Neytiri truly sees him as a human, it's a huge blow to his confidence. He still knows he's the best, and can "pass any test a man can pass." I based this story's portrayal on Graham, my paraplegic, army veteran, 29 year old cousin. He came back with a new love for life.
Neytiri: After hearing a short clip from Zoe Saldana -who said the princess was childlike- I tried to bring that aspect of getting upset over little things, and physically violent into the story. Her actual view of language (English) also changed after the bond; this was mostly because if I were connected to an alien mind, I would probably be spouting off in gibberish. She is still a very strong individual and knows what she wants...which means loving Jake no matter what. I like to think when faced with a freaking out Jake, she would be the one to smack him and tell him to suck it up.
The Bond: This was the hardest to convey to readers. It subtly affected both Jake and Neytiri by changing the language they spoke in, how they thought, and the way they thought. The angry at little things, the insecurity of Jake, etc...was caused by a full connection between two minds that probably shouldn't be connected. In the third chapter, when Neytiri tells him they must remain calm, it is a hard fact to know you have to change your habits before they consume you. If Jake didn't know that it was caused by the bond, he might become angry for different reasons than Neytiri. It would drive a wedge between them.
Earth and Pandora: These two planets are very similar. Both had indigenous populations that were wiped out (or almost) simply because the opposing faction had more firepower. James Cameron is making a point about our mental processes as well, by saying humans as a race are greedy and in it for the fulfillment of individual worth. I think half of this is not our fault, because unlike the Na'Vi, we are not connected to Earth. We all have doubts whether there is truly a spirit connecting the world or if it's just a lump of rocks. The Na'Vi know the difference. I think this affects death and how we interpret it because we cannot talk to our relatives once they are dead; the Na'Vi can hear them, and know Eywa is taking care of them.
-I want to point out that "Tze'ze" is a type of flesh eating fly, and also the name of Neytiri's ikran in the movie. I named her new one "Fusca", after a forest variation of the Tsetse fly.
-I took "Dileep" (the supposed Na'Vi in the second chapter) from the actor Dileep Rao. He plays Dr. Max Patel.
-Someone mentioned that Norm probably wouldn't have seen Dances with Wolves. I didn't do this to keep the story in context, but I did it as a prod to those people -my dad included- who thinks Avatar is simply Dances with Wolves in space and that James Cameron is copying hundreds of works of literature, television, and history. I say we need to remember these stories.
Review if you like, and if you liked this story, go watch Avatar again to please yourselves. I will. For the ? time. :D Thank you for reading!