No matter what I did I was a traitor. I was human, yet I was Na'vi. I was a crippled marine, yet I was Toruk Makto. I was torn between two worlds and eventually I had to choose.
To be honest, it wasn't that hard of a choice.
I was sick with grief and depression. I had lost my all feeling in my legs after a blast in the Venezuela War. I could no longer run, walk, or even stand. I had to rely on family and a wheelchair to get around. And it was hell. I could never stand feeling so helpless, so needy. I started to refuse help, especially after my parents' deaths and my brother's departure for Avatar training. I was going to help myself despite my damn legs. I didn't need anyone. I was always going to be a marine, strength and attitude. I could still find something to fight for. I wouldn't let this define me.
Then my dear twin brother Tom thought he'd be cute and get bumper stickers for my wheelchair. And I got pissed. Shut the door on him, told him to go back to his scientist friends and have all the fun on Pandora he could have. Didn't speak until he was ready for departure. Setting a time to meet up again, Tom and I were going to make up as only brothers could do. The stickers were such a shitty thing to get mad over anyway.
It never happened. Someone shot him dead, murdered for only a few bucks. And I sunk deeper into my illness, into my grief. I didn't want to look into his calm, still face. He didn't look dead. He looked like he was sleeping. I didn't want to look at him, but I couldn't help it. And I looked into his peaceful face and I saw me. My twin was gone. Dead. Part of me was dead. I couldn't even look into the mirror without thinking: that's Tom. Tom was everywhere I was and I couldn't escape it. He was everything I had, everything I knew. He was my brother and best friend. No one could know me better then Tom had. At least I had thought.
That was why I took the advantage of the Avatar program. It was Tom's work, and it couldn't go to waste. Perhaps I could truly see what had so captivated Tom in science and in the Na'vi.
The money was an extra bonus, perhaps I could fix my legs. I will admit I wasn't all selfless about the trip.
Pandora changed everything. I was healed. Slowly but irrevocably changed for the better. Part of the grief and depression went away as I stood, walked and then ran out the door in my avatar body. That was great, that was heaven! My avatar became my escape and I realized that I wasn't imprisoned by my useless human body anymore. I was free.
And then I met Neytiri. And I realized just how blind, just what a skxawng I was. After saving me and taking me to her father, she began her quest to teach me the Na'vi way. She began to teach me how to See. At first, I was just following Colonel's orders to gain their trust and learn their ways. But it all changed.
I fell in love. I fell in love with the land, the creatures. Each bond I made, I could feel Pandora breathe. I could feel the Pa'li's long, powerful stride carry me over the green forest and through the tall living trees. I could feel the creature's breath and heartbeat match my own as we merged into one. That was nothing like the ikrans though. I wasn't much of a horseman, but damn, once I am the air, I feel unstoppable. I felt as if I was born to fly.
I fell in love with the People, how despite my dream walking, they had gathered around me and accepted me into the clan as one of them. Never in my life had a felt such a sensation of belonging as I did as the People circled around me, claiming me as their own. And I could sense a greater power moving through the People, therefore through me. The power claimed me as her own. Eywa… it had to be. I'd never been religious before, but this feeling… it was something more.
But most of all I fell in love with Neytiri. Brave and passionate, she had mentored me, befriended me. And that night, underneath the tree of our ancestors, the bond between us grew in such a way I had never thought possible. Even after I returned to my human body, I could still feel her heart beat in time with my own, her rough skin gently rubbing against my own, and her warm, soft breath against my own skin. I could still hear her words, echoing in my mind, whispering, "We are mated for life."
The irony of it all. If Tom hadn't died, I wouldn't have come to Pandora. But Pandora healed and changed me in ways I could have never imagined. The hole from my loss legs and Tom's death didn't get patched up. It disappeared, as if it had never been there in the first place. Though I could never forget my brother and my life with my human legs, I'd found a peace and a sense of family among the Na'vi. I felt like a belonged for the first time in years. I had thought that Tom would be the only one who understood me, to See me, but I was wrong. Neyriti Saw me. Through my loss I had found mygain.
And then I screwed up. Hometree was attacked. I had been so absorbed in my learning and my newly found life that I had completely forgotten to even bring up negotiations between the humans and the Na'vi. And the hole inside me appeared once more. I will never forget the sound of the roaring fire gulfing up the roots. I will never forget the sound of crunching and churning wood as the majestic tree fell slowly on the chaos below. I will never forget the screams that tore through the air like a knife against sensitive skin. I will never forget Neytiri's anguished and betrayed cry, "I trusted you!... GO AWAY!"
I was left to wallow in guilt behind a glass door with Grace and Norman once the Colonel forced us to become human once more. None of us spoke; we despaired for the People we had come to love. I had screwed up, and I couldn't fix it. When Trudy took control however and got us to a helicopter, I dared to hope.
Until we realized that Grace was shot.
Once again, I had screwed up. Because of my damn legs I had held up Trudy and gave the Colonel a chance to fire on us. And Grace, my mentor and mother figure, was shot and dying. I had to get to the People. So I did. It was crazy, insane even. But I returned. I returned as Toruk Makto and reached out to them for help. I offered my life to the clan to help them, and I could see in Neytiri's amber eyes that I was forgiven. She Saw me once more. She knew that if I pulled a crazy, deadly move as attempting toruk makto for the People then I was truly part of the People – part of her.
When we failed to save Grace, I was surprised to find myself calm. Plan in mind. Grief could wait. The Colonel had to pay first. He had to realize that this was our land. And that we the People would fight to preserve it.
It was then that I knew, what I should have known all along. I knew for what I would fight for, die for.
I knew what I would live for.
So, no matter what I did I was a traitor. I was human, yet I was Na'vi. I was a crippled marine, yet I was Toruk Makto. I was torn between two worlds and eventually I had to choose.
It wasn't that hard of a choice.