A/N: Just something I thought up one day, and I've been meaning to write it ever since. So, here goes, I suppose. Admittedly, this is not my best piece of work, but I hope you enjoy this little bit of insight regardless.

Disclaimer: I do not own the title "Jak and Daxter". Naughty Dog does! So give them a pat on the back for creating such a great series! Expect for the last one, The Lost Frontier… I mean, almost none of the Haven Characters were included, no roll-jump, and most importantly, NO DARK JAK! Really?

A few twists of the wrench, a drip of oil here and there, a tweak of the odd spring, the exchange of old and worn hydraulic pipes, and a final polish for good measure. Kleiver stepped back and admired his work, grinning smugly to himself. After a long moment, he raised his eyes and grazed the remaining vehicles in Spargus's garage.

Beautiful. Every single one of them.

And all his.

Well, technically they weren't exclusively his possessions, but they might as well have been. Spargus citizens used the desert cars as they wished, and Kleiver's babies were returned to him each time in a notably worse state than they had been in on their way out.

Ungrateful. The lot of them. Who maintained each and every vehicle in this whole carport? Who inspected the rides every morning? Who tested them out every day, and returned them in their proper condition?

Well, it certainly wasn't Veger.

His unforgiving eyes scanned the vehicles once again, until they landed on his personal favourite, the Sand Shark. He hopped in lit the ignition, and floored the gas pedal. Kleiver would never get bored of the sensation of cutting through the desert on a hot day. It felt like being King of the Wasteland. King of the World.

After the initial excitement had died down, Kleiver registered the minor lack of weight on his shoulder. He looked over his hefty body only to find a scruffy ottsel holding on to the rear of the roll cage for dear life.

Kleiver smirked and returned his focus to the never-ending desert. "Enjoying the view?"

"Could you please not drive in such a violent manner?" the ottsel, Veger, requested politely. Kleiver shook his head.

"Not a chance, mate. Those poppies in the Kras City Grand Championship are gonna drive rough, so I gotta drive rougher to beat 'em."

"Yes…" Veger trailed. "Why are you going to compete in that, anyway?"

Kleiver shot his annoying "sidekick" an evil glare as the ottsel clambered back onto his shoulder. He resisted the automatic impulse to shake him off. "Because I know I can beat every one of those scum."

"But you won't gain anything. Even if you win, which you won't," Veger added, to which Kleiver glared menacingly, "the only thing to receive is a trophy. No money, no benefits, nothing. It's a waste of time."

Kleiver thought hard. He didn't need the money. Plain old money was of no value in Spargus. He didn't need the benefits, either, since he would simply return to his life in the Wasteland after it was done. He didn't even need the trophy. Material possessions had no value to a tough Wastelander such as him.

No, the reason he wanted to compete was because of his sense of pride. His overwhelming desire to prove that he was better than anyone else in every way was what drove him to contend in races, obstacle courses, record challenges, gun courses, and of course, championships.

That was why he hated that blond kid, Jak. The fact that he had the nerve, much less the skill to beat Kleiver at his own game was enough to make his blood boil. As much as he was a more than worthy opponent, Kleiver relished the thought of competing against the short Wastelander. Because he knew that one day, Kleiver would simply be no match for Jak. He awaited that day impatiently.

"I'm going, and that's the final word," Kleiver finalized.

"Yes, but there is no point! It's futile, and you will merely end up humiliating yourself. Your pride will be your downfall!" the ottsel retorted. Kleiver's jaw set; that was the last straw.

"Shut up, you lazy bum!" he shouted sharply. The big man grabbed Veger by his scruffy little collar and promptly tossed the ungrateful sap into the sand. He didn't look back, simply kept driving at record-setting speed. He knew the ottsel wouldn't survive long in the merciless jaws of the Wasteland.

He didn't care.

"After you," Jak said, getting up in the much larger Wastelander's face in a feeble attempt to look more menacing.

"You'll always be after me," Kleiver snapped, and turned away. They would see how well the shortie's attitude contended on the track.

But Jak had to have the final word. "Who's paying you Kleiver? You don't do anything for free."

If only he knew how wrong he was…. It was never about the money, never had been about the money.

It was a sense of pride. It was what set him apart from the other racers. It was the one thing he had over them.

It was the one thing that would win him the championship.

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