Disclaimer: I am not responsible for making the Jak games. Naughty Dog is.

There are nights when the air in the desert is so calm and still that it's stifling to stay in one place. Those are the times when Spargus never sleeps, its people filling the streets in groups, the nights festive without cause and the markets open late. Marauders speed over dunes with only the intent of making as much noise as possible, drinking in freedom from law and chain with raucous laughter. The monks at the temple open the windows, each with a candle in hand, streams of light slowly filing down stairs to gather in the sanctuaries for quiet talk or prayers.

It is also during these times that Seem runs away.

Monks are taught to be steadfast and constant beings. They want for nothing, and need little. They devote their lives to the study of the Precursors and their wisdom, examining any artifacts that they find. Impetuous tendency and reckless behavior are usually gotten rid of within a few years of training, making way for sensible thinking and compassion for others. But Seem has never been able to get rid of such little impediments when it comes to her love for the desert.

A traveler may pause to rest or give up the practice entirely in favor of cities, but he is still a traveler at heart. Nomad to the last, she and her group had spent most of their lives moving from oasis to oasis, bearing the sun all day long and wondering at the mysteries the darkness brought once the moons rose. A difficult life to grow into, but the desert had been her ocean, her earth, her treasure chest, a fierce protector and fighter to her people, generous if respected and merciless if approached by the foolhardy. In this land she had played under the hot sun and in the wind, learned how to forage and how to draw enough water to live on, and learned of how to hide in and from the sandstorms.

Precursor artifacts that turned up after these were the gifts the desert yielded to those strong enough to live in it. She can still remember her first one: a bronze globe studded with strange writing, gleaming like a jewel in the reemerging sun's light. Such artifacts were always brought to the temple, carried by herself and her mother, who was an elected messenger; an honor deferred only to those most honest. It's how the monks came to know their faces so well, always ready with a smile and thanks for the antiquities they were so generously given. And it was how they had recognized her when she'd run from the Marauders attacking her camp nearby, face covered in cuts and sand and tears.

For some time after that she had preferred to stay indoors, afraid that setting one foot out would bring chaos upon her head. The desert had, in a word, betrayed her. The monks who took her in saw this, and slowly taught her not to be afraid, and to remember all the goodness that had occurred in the place she now abhorred. The monks themselves respected the desert just the same as she once had, never cocky about entering it, never too afraid to leave the temple and venture forth. Thanks to them, she fell in love with the desert over again.

Which is why she feels guilty for running away, as if she is escaping confinement or a prison. But she cannot resist the way the desert calls to her when sleep is out of her reach. She will carefully climb through abandoned passages and lets the desert beckon her out to the wide open spaces it has to offer, taking her by the hand to guide her to places she used to visit as a child. She will walk in the shadows, heart beating fast for the first touch of moonlight. And as soon as she is on the side of the temple with the least windows she bursts into a wild run, still running even when her lungs burn, the sensation of cool sand under her feet sending shivers of happiness up her spine. With no map and only stars to guide she will find an oasis with beautiful trees and recline there, washing the point off her face and barring her head in reverence for the creations around her. She will sing songs that are not hymns, and she will smile up at the moon without thinking about what the next day will bring. In the temple she is Seem the monk, but out in the wilderness she is Seem the wanderer, Seem the desert child who is free. Here the weary head and heart rest, baskiong in the delicious silence and solitude of the night, happy to be part of such a large mystery.

Even when she stays out all night and the sunrise attempts to chase her back inside, she resists a little while longer, whispering her secrets to the glittering sands and relishing how wind-beaten rocks feel underneath her fingers. It is only when the sun begins to touch dunes near the oasis that she leaves, sashes and clothing streaming behind her like the tail of a comet as she tears madly across the sand before being claimed by sunlight. And with the day, Seem dons her monk's habit and make-up once more, erasing her smile and the light in her eyes to be what she has been brought up to be.

Only those who know her well don't miss the way she gazes out the window at the desert when she thinks no one is looking, the longing and the happiness visible for just a brief moment before being eclipsed by duty.

Author's Notes: I have encountered that beautiful time in fanfiction writing where, when enough years have gone by, I look at my collection of writing and go "what on this good, green EARTH was I thinking". Heavy editing and a few touch-ups thus followed (and will probably continue)!

Not much is ever said about Seem in Jak III, who intrigued me on first appearance and left me wanting more after the game's end. Lives of side-characters away from the screen have always made me curious, so I've taken Seem and run with her through all sorts of hastily-written and mostly unreleased pieces. I'm on a nostalgia wave for the Jak series so who knows, maybe I'll find something worth salvaging and posting?

Thank you for reading!