The Sky People's technology is enough to save Tsu'tey, but he isn't quite sure what to think of the broken Sky Person in the wheeled chair that keeps coming to visit him while he's recovering. Friendship fic, AU in that Tsu'tey lives.

No connection to my other Avatar story…there were a couple different scenarios that popped into my head after I saw the movie, and this is another one. AU in that Tsu'tey lives (obviously) because I still think killing him was a waste of a good character. And in case anyone was wondering, I don't own Avatar or any recognizable characters.

Tsu'tey snarled as the broken Sky Person entered the room he was being kept in and then hid a wince as the action pulled at his throat. This man had been coming to visit him for at least a short time each day since he'd awoken in this Sky Person building…at first Tsu'tey hadn't understood why he was always moving about in a wheeled contraption and never seemed to come to his feet, but a few days ago he'd come to the startling conclusion that the man's legs simply didn't work. And although the bandage around the man's head and some kind of pack strapped to his arm seemed to indicate recent injuries, the fact that he didn't even attempt to use his legs made Tsu'tey think that they'd been worthless for some time.

He gave a minute shake of his head. The god of the Sky People was nothing like Eywa, to force someone to live in such a damaged state. In the forest, one had to prove himself every day to live. A person with a flaw of that magnitude would never—could never—survive there. And so Eywa would never allow a child to be born with such a deformity, and an adult who'd been dealt that kind of injury and could not be healed would have the honor to go quietly. He could remember being told a few stories when he was young of those who lost a single limb that had still gone on to achieve feats of valor, but full crippling of half one's body? No. The consequence would be death.

Unfortunately, it seemed that the Sky People weren't aware of that fact, and so the broken Sky Person existed here. And continued to inflict his company on Tsu'tey daily. It was beginning to get irritating. Well, actually the visits had been irritating since Tsu'tey had become conscious enough to notice his presence—he didn't like Sky People much and didn't want to spend any more time around them than he had to—but now that they'd finally taken that tube out of his throat, he was in a much better position to express his displeasure.

He'd survived the fall from the Sky Person ship, but between the Sky People weapons that had struck him and the sheer height he'd fallen from, he'd been injured almost to the point of death. 'Internal injuries,' he'd heard one of the Sky People healers say, that and 'heavily compounded fracture.' The Na'vi healers hadn't said anything, they'd just shaken their heads and whispered prayers to Eywa. In truth, he didn't remember anything between plummeting from the gunship and waking up on this cot, but from what he'd come to understand, a Sky Person had found him with 'instruments' before any of his own people. Apparently too stupid to do anything else, the Sky Person had brought him back to the Sky Person compound where they'd hooked him up to their machines upon his arrival.

If he'd had a choice, he would have allowed only Eywa's healing, even if that had meant his death. And it might have, he was honest enough to admit…he had only a limited understanding of 'internal injuries', but he'd seen images of his leg that showed it as a twisted mass of broken bone and blood held together only by a few bits of skin. Unfortunately, by the time the Na'vi healers had been brought in to see him after the battle, the Sky People's technology had taken hold, and the Na'vi healers had eventually agreed that the Sky People's healing technology was doing as much for him as anything could. And that it would be best if he remained where he was. He could understand their reasoning since at that point the trip to the new Hometree would have been life threatening in and of itself, but if he hadn't been unconscious, he'd have told them to try anyway.

Even after he had passed the danger point, the continuing healing of his abdomen and reconstruction of his leg required continuing use of the Sky People technology, and while he'd tried to argue the point with his Na'vi healers, one of them had told him bluntly that Eywa had enough to do after the battle. Since he could be healed here, it would be best to remain. In fact, he'd heard that a few others, mostly burned children, had been brought in as well. He hadn't seen any of them personally, but one of the healers had said something about the Sky People technology being able to take away pain…even he admitted that, in regards to children, the desire to use that technology was understandable. It was just regrettable that continuing to use the technology for his healing necessitated him remaining here. And even more regrettable, at least from his point of view, it also necessitated him enduring their presence around him.

"Nice to see you too," the broken Sky Person said, apparently not at all put off by Tsu'tey's less-than-pleasant greeting. "Finally got the feeding tube out, I see."

He didn't even attempt to speak Na'vi, apparently assuming that Tsu'tey understood the Sky Person language despite the fact that Tsu'tey had yet to admit that he did at any point during the man's visits, and Tsu'tey spit an insult at his arrogance. And then pretended that that hadn't hurt his throat either.

"I think I'm going to assume that was 'go away.'" The broken Sky Person shrugged. "Which I can, if you'd rather be alone, but I figured you'd want to hear the latest updates from the village."

Tsu'tey's lips creased in a snarl again, although he didn't actually make a sound. He had no idea how this stupid broken creature was as familiar as the doings at the new Hometree as he was—and when Tsu'tey found out which Na'vi was giving the man information, the two of them were going to have harsh words at the very least—but aside from the Na'vi healers, he had had almost no Na'vi visitors. And the healers generally insisted on pestering him about his health and telling him to rest and refusing to answer all but the most mundane questions. He had no choice but to pay this…person…at least some attention.

He wasn't totally devoid of contact with other Na'vi, of course; Neytiri had been here half a dozen times, Mo'at twice, his mother several times—of course, she was a healer—but they all had other work to do helping the injured and beginning to build at the new Hometree site and couldn't make overly regular visits to the Sky Person enclave just to bring him news. His warriors as a whole avoided this place, for which he couldn't blame them. But a part of him did wish that Jakesully had come. At least once. They had become…well, they were still not friends, he would say, but allies, at least, and Tsu'tey would not have minded his company. But Jakesully was no doubt as busy as the rest of them working on the new Hometree, and Tsu'tey could not fault his priorities. The safety and security of the people came first.

It seemed that the broken Sky Person had taken his half-snarl as assent, further indication that he wasn't particularly intelligent, and began detailing the most recent Na'vi happenings. Most of the clans were returning to their homes, save for those who were too injured to move as yet, Mo'at and Neytiri were organizing things at the site of a potential new Hometree as efficiently as Tsu'tey had expected—most recently selecting a site for the weavers to collaborate—and so forth.

The news was delivered in the same manner that it had been every other time the man had visited, as a stream of words and no apparent concern for the lack of any response, or even any indication of interest, from Tsu'tey.

Tsu'tey did listen, at least with half his attention, since this was the only real conduit he had to the goings on with his people, but he did his best not to show it. He would rather a Na'vi came to tell him such things. Any Na'vi. Perhaps a youngster, one who'd just bonded with an ikran on the path to adulthood, would be willing to act as a runner.

He frowned slightly. Although…well, the information the man brought wasn't just about the current activities of his people. Among other things, the broken Sky Person had given a surprisingly adept analysis of the battle and its aftermath and occasionally mentioned what was happening with the captured Sky Person soldiers who hadn't yet been sent back to their star. Those conversations often referenced things that Tsu'tey didn't understand—anti-tank munitions, cluster mines, persona locks, and such—but the basic analysis was usually sound. And while Tsu'tey hadn't truly wanted to hear the numbers of those lost in battle, as a leader it had been necessary for him to hear it, and the broken Sky Person hadn't flinched from that when he'd concluded his analysis of the fighting. A youngster would not necessarily bring him such information.

For a few short minutes after the discussion, or at least the one-sided information stream delivered by the broken Sky Person, about the battle, Tsu'tey had entertained the notion that the man might be a warrior of some form. Perhaps what Jakesully called a pilot, since they worked seated and might be able to be useful even without functional legs, as ridiculous as that idea still sounded to him. But only one pilot had fought on the side of the Na'vi, and she had been numbered among the casualties, so Tsu'tey had discarded the idea almost immediately. No, the broken Sky Person was a scientist at best—and Tsu'tey disliked scientists as much as he did any other Sky People—and given that he didn't even show the same proficiency with the 'computers' that the Sky Person healers who visited him used, talking was probably his most useful function. A waste of a life.

He hissed quietly at the still-speaking figure. The man paused and gave him a quick glance, apparently to see if Tsu'tey actually planned to say anything, but when Tsu'tey remained silent, he started talking again. Tsu'tey sighed to himself. Perhaps if one of the healers would consent to taking a message back, he would attempt to implement the idea of a runner. If nothing else, having a connection to his people of his own might at least reduce the number of visits the broken Sky Person made. But then again, the healers—both Sky Person and Na'vi—were so intent forcing 'rest' on him that it was entirely possible that they would refuse. Well, if no one else, Neytiri would listen, the next time she was here.

"—nd your ikran is just being irritating."

That statement caught Tsu'tey's full attention, and his eyes flashed to the broken Sky Person's face as he gave up his pretense of not understanding the Sky Person language. "She survived?" He had been worried, but thus far his healers hadn't thought to tell him, and up until this morning the tube in his throat had prevented him from asking.

"I didn't tell you that already?" The Sky Person shook his head, showing no more surprise that Tsu'tey was talking to him than he had when Tsu'tey wasn't. "Sorry, I thought I had. She's fine. One wing got a little cut up, but it looks like it's healing pretty well." He shrugged. "The primary gunship targets were ikrans with riders, so once you were off her back she was much less interesting to them. But now she's taken over a corner of the hanger and is shrieking at everyone who comes in, which is making getting things done in there a little tricky. We've tried locking her out when she goes out hunting, but she keeps breaking back in and bringing dinner with her."

Tsu'tey couldn't hold back a quick smile at that. She had been a difficult one to bond with, even as skilled as he was, but she was as loyal as anyone could wish.

"Since you are awake, do you want anything? Food, or…well, I'll get yelled at if I bring you anything the healers haven't officially okayed, but I think the scary dragonlady healer finally went back to the new Hometree for the night so I can probably manage most reasonable requests." He seemed to find something about that amusing, and Tsu'tey's smile twisted into a disgusted grimace.

"I wish to be left alone." He disliked dealing with Sky People badly enough as it was; he didn't need to be…entertainment…for a broken one.

The broken Sky Person shrugged. "All right, suit yourself. See you tomorrow."

Tsu'tey held still while the Na'vi healers probed at his abdomen and the Sky People healers waved their 'scanners' over him. It had been several days since the tube had come out of his throat, and despite the damage done by the Sky People's weapons, the wounds inflicted by the man on the gunship were nearly healed now. He was a bit…sore…when he moved about, but it was nothing that he couldn't ignore. And certainly nothing that he needed to admit to the healers.

His leg on the other hand, was still encased in an odd jelly-like substance held on by a clear wrap and an odd metal brace, and he'd been told quite firmly that neither would be coming off for several more weeks. Nor would he be permitted to put any great amount of weight on it for some time after that. But if his abdomen was healed, he would at least be able to get about by means of a crutch, and getting around meant being able to go outside. Even if he wasn't permitted to go to the new Hometree yet, it would at least get him out where the air smelled normal.

Unfortunately, the healers left without giving him any definitive verdict, and he found himself glaring up at the ceiling. Apparently 'more rest' was a standard prescription in all healer cultures no matter where they were from.

"Left you with 'hmm, we'll have to wait and see'?" the broken Sky Person asked, wheeling himself in. "Docs—healers—like doing that."

"Who are you?" Tsu'tey demanded with a snarl, shoving himself into a sitting position to face the man and biting back a wince at the unpleasant tug in the vicinity of his stomach. Ignoring this idiot didn't work, he seemed to find being insulted—and Tsu'tey had done a great deal of that since the tube had come out—amusing…the one thing Tsu'tey hadn't done yet was strike him. And he wasn't such a coward that he could justify striking a broken person without some form of immediate provocation, no matter how irritating his presence was. But short of an attempt at physical violence, no matter what Tsu'tey did, he just kept coming. "Don't you have anything better to do than annoy me?"

The broken Sky Person stared at him for a long moment and then, unexpectedly, broke into laughter. Tsu'tey's hands clenched, and he gauged the distance to the Sky Person carefully. This was provocation, and being injured didn't mean that he was going to put up with being ridicu—

"Sorry." The broken Sky Person held up his hands after a minute, obviously biting back further laughter. "Sorry. I'm laughing at me, not you, I swear. I just—it didn't even occur to me to introduce myself." He ignored Tsu'tey's obvious anger and rolled himself over to the edge of the bed, offering a hand in the Sky People's method of greeting. "Jake Sully. Nice to meet you."