It's been months since the day. Since rebirth. Still, it only feels like I walked out of my human skin yesterday, shedding the paraplegic marine and becoming the Toruk Makto, Rider of Last Shadow. But since Toruk left, my name is some sort of varying degree of Jake Sully courtesy of a fresh start.
I am Olo'eytkan to my people.
I am skxawng and Jake to Neytiri. And I'm starting to suspect I will soon be sempul to someone I've only ever met in my dreams.
I can't be certain. But I pride myself upon the fact that I know my mate's moods as surely as I know the sun will rise tomorrow and tonight the stars will shine. Her tempers are as open and painstakingly easy to read as a book. She is restless lately, almost careful in her movements. Every step is a calculation, not the same swift, effortless grace I've become so used to in the passing months. Her instinct to 'jump first, think later' is completely dormant, like she's turned it off.
Like she knows.
To be honest, it's unnerving. Unnerving because I've never known a patient, uncertain Neytiri. This new creature seems to glow in her newfound tolerance and I can only think to bask in it, to lie next to her at night and sift thoughtfully through each new layer of transformation I find in her face, dancing on her skin, just to know her. Just to feel her own revival.
I don't know so much about the ways of reproduction amongst my new people; I guess Neytiri skipped that lesson, figuring it was none of my business and I was probably too much of a numbskull to understand such a profound and meaningful topic anyway. I suppose, if my suspicions turn out to be all too true, it would be my business then.
It would be the first time I could prove Neytiri wrong. On the surface, I'm simple. I'm the face of many, just another marine with a stout heart and an attitude to match. But I've been waiting my whole life to find something meaningful, something more to believe in than just the cold, hard facts of death and disappointment. Maybe it's the reason I accepted the Na'vi way of life so easily, slipped into it the way you would slide into a warm embrace. My mind was a barren land, waiting to be filled, and deep down, my heart was just as sterile.
Neytiri was a breath of life. And I would do anything….anything for her if I knew it would make her happy.
And I know, as I lie beside her, watching that glow surround her like a soft, white cocoon, that anything would be worth seeing her like this.
I wake to find myself alone in our sleeping shell. If I were on Earth, I'd have expected a note. A phone message. A line of bread crumbs. Some sort of tangible promise of return. But I'm not now, nor will I ever be again, and it's a strange reality, not cold and withered on the scattered plains of my previous life. It is a comforting thought, and I find myself brimming with relief as the epiphany settles into some cognitive reality. It spills over in a sigh, and my entire body, all ten feet of it, sort of gathers itself back into repose.
When I come around again, the day is noticeably changed. Gold catches green and my vision staggers in the new light a moment before I find a blue face, filled with wide, gorgeous green eyes. She's looking at me with a smile, the one I've come to mark as my little blue haven and have been thankful to see more often. My instinct tells me to smile back, so I obey, happy to follow orders.
"Jake," she says, and her voice slithers into a soft whisper as she tugs on my hand, beckoning me to follow. "We must speak. I have something of great importance that you must know."
"What's wrong with talking here?" I ask, but with one scathing look my plans for relaxation are thwarted. She tugs on me again and I nearly lose my footing in the wake of her impatience, but I can't bring myself to indulge the adrenaline racing through my veins. I'm too caught up in that small instance where old Neytiri flares up again, the shock of recognition.
But soon, the old competitive marine in me is dredged up from some deep, dark cavern where I had tried to bury him for good. I race forward and clear a few rocks in my hurry to reach the top before she does, trying to initiate a chase. Again, my plans are thwarted when I look back to see Neytiri carefully determining every step, her entire expression caught in some sort of trance, roots of resolve threading through her enormous green eyes.
"C'mon slow poke. It'll be dark before you reach the top at that snail pace."
I laugh as she hisses at me, her teeth bared and her ears flattened to her head as she warns me to shut my big mouth. In an attempt to initiate a ceasefire, I offer my hand to help her over a particularly jagged rock and she accepts it. Any other time she'd have swatted it away like a bothersome fly; it would have been considered an insult to her independence and I'd never dare.
But these new times call for alternative measures.
At last, we reach the top and she exhales. The sound is a frail symphony, the breathy notes falling over me in one long stroke. I slow down to let her pass me and lead the way.
Our walk falls into comfortable silence. The noises I can hear are the padded footfalls of our steps and the background whir of the forest to accompany it. Neytiri seems perfectly content in having me quiet for such a long stretch of time; but as usual, my curiosity does not agree.
My voice hacks through the quiet. "Where were you this morning?"
"You will soon know." She replies softly.
"Can't you just tell me now?"
"Have you no patience?" She snaps.
"No." I retort.
Neytiri opts for the high road, which means I get the silent treatment until she feels I have learned my lesson. This never sits well with me; I've never been known for letting the chips fall where they may and let time work her magic, especially in a time like this. She's keeping something from me and I know it, the suspicions sitting in my gut like lead.
I receive no answer, just a whack in the face from the fern bough that Neytiri had been mindful enough to notice. However, I'd been too busy lost in my own thoughts to realize where the hell I was even walking; I hear a raspy laugh as I irritably rub my throbbing forehead.
"Yeah, ha ha." I grumble. "Go on, laugh it up."
She looks back at me, her eyes all alight with laughter, like they've caught fire. "You are like a baby."
Baby. The word resonates in me, clear as a ringing bell.
She seems to fold as she sits down, her long legs crossing over the other and her hands outstretched to me, inviting me to sit beside her. I obey, flopping down onto the soft, open spot underneath a thick tree, the mottled shade falling over Neytiri like a speckled veil.
I look around, unfazed by her lack of compliance. "Why'd you bring me here?"
She closes her eyes and sighs again, the hint of a smile suspended on the corners of her mouth. "My Jake, always so quick. Never patient."
I smile back at her, though she doesn't see it. "You're not exactly known for your patience either, you know."
"I sought my mother's counsel this morning. You were caught in a dream and I could not bring myself to wake you, so I went alone." She says, her voice calm and collected.
"Why?" I ask, swallowing back a crippling surge of fear. "Are you….sick or something?"
"No, Jake," she says, and breathes deeply. Her entire body shifts, softens as she relaxes. "It is a gift from Eywa that I have been given. The gift of life."
I am flooded with a new feeling, something warm and strange. "Life….you're pregnant?"
Her large eyes blink slowly as her head cocks to the side. "What is pregnant?" She asks.
I put my hand on her long, lean stomach. There is nothing there yet, just a ghost of a promise. But I smile anyway…just the idea of it makes me sick and euphoric all at the same time; the rush knocks the wind out of me, but I hold on to Neytiri. My anchor. My life.
I smile. "You'll see."
AN: Something I wrote for fun. Avatar was amazing, by the way. You must go see it if you haven't yet! :D
Disclaimer - I don't own Jake or Neytiri.