Why I fight
The ground rumbled with the thunder of the hooves that pounded the dirt and the sky echoed with ear piercing screeches and accompanying them both was the beat of war drums surging through the land.
Within a night, Jake's group of fliers was able to reach the clans of the plans and of the seaboard to have their warriors come and help with the war effort. When they returned, Jake saw the other fliers return with more of the clans from across the land.
Jake leaned against a tree trunk outside the battle camp. They would all be heading to war soon and Jake knew this. He needed a little time alone to keep his mind focused. He felt someone approach from behind him after a few minutes. He looked behind him through the corner of his eye. It was Neytiri. He took a deep breath and turned to her. They haven't had any time to talk alone. After everything that happened, they needed to talk.
"Oel Ngati Kameie," Jake said to her.
"I see you," Neytiri said surprisingly in his language. Jake could sense hesitation and emotional conflict in her voice. Neytiri broke eye contact.
"Jake…" She muttered "I…"
"Don't," Jake cut in softly. "Look, you don't have to forgive me."
Neytiri looked up at him. Her eyes did show some surprise from his response.
"Why have you returned?" She said after a second.
Jake was silent at first. He turned around and leaned against the tree again to think of how he would respond to the question.
"I came back… because of something that the sky people taught me."
Neytiri walked up to his side and looked into his eye. Jake looked back and could see she wanted to know about this. He didn't tell her much about himself or his life before he came to her. This was probably the chance to tell her. He moved from the tree and sat down on a nearby log. Neytiri followed and sat beside him.
"Before I came here, I choose to be a warrior because I thought it would be good to prove that I could be someone special; to pass any test a man could pass." His tone was cold and flat. "On my way to being a warrior, I learned what it meant to be one. For hundreds of years, there were many wars between many Sky people and so many innocent people died because of stupid and selfish reasons. In the army I was in, many of us believed we could fight to make a difference; to save lives and to have them live their lives in freedom."
Neytiri looked away for a moment to think about what he said. Sky people fighting other Sky people for their own gain; that made sense to her from what she saw them do already. But from everything else she heard from him made her think about the Sky people more.
"When I finally got through training, I was eager to fight. But I was sent to fight in a minor conflict that was just stupid to have been started in the first place. During a battle, I was hit. After I recovered, I couldn't feel my legs and I couldn't walk again. I was basically finished before I could get started."
Neytiri tilted her head back in confusion.
"You were hurt and you could not walk again? But how do you walk as one of us?"
"Because this body doesn't have that wound. The machines that I and other dreamwalkers go into place our sprits into these bodies. But that doesn't matter right now."
He took a deep breath before he continued, "I'm guessing you want me to tell you how I got into this mess in the first place, huh?"
Slowly, she nodded.
"It started with me finding out my brother was dead." Neytiri shook with empathy when the words left his lips."Hell... him being dead is the whole reason I'm here'" Jake realized.
He turned his head to look at her. Slowly, he reached over took her hand into his.
"He was the one who was supposed to come here. He was a scientist like Norm and Grace," He then placed her hand onto his chest. "He was the one who was supposed to have this body, not me," He then released her hand. "Because he was dead, the sky people came looking for me to take his place just so they can save their money. I was basically an accident."
Jake took a pause to collect his thoughts and to let Neytiri collect hers.
"When I got here, nobody really liked me, not even Grace. She thought I was just another one of the careless bastards who just get paid to shoot anything they saw. But those bastards found an opportunity with me. Because I was able to dreamwalk, they ordered me to come to you an'..." Jake paused, "Well… Y'know. At first I didn't know what to think because they offered to fix my legs when I was done here."
He looked over and saw a battle of emotions in her eyes. She didn't know what to think. She didn't know whether she should feel angry or feel sorry.
"Halfway through it, I didn't know what to do; after everything I've seen, everything I've done… and after everything I felt. But when it all went wrong, when they saw me trying to stop the dozer, they thought I was a traitor. Everything I worked for was lost; I wouldn't get to walk when I got home. And because I was not an effective way of talking things out anymore, they lost their patience and brought the rain to Hometree. I..." He couldn't finish his thought with Neytiri by his side.
He looked over at Neytiri again but her head was turned away. Jake felt he explained enough and just placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Look… I just want to let you know that… I'm sorry." Neytiri slowly turned her head to meet his eyes. "I'm sorry that I lied. I'm sorry that I hurt you. And I'm sorry that I couldn't stop them from attacking Hometree. I don't care if this thing is enough to make up for all of that." He made a gesture to the soaring Ikrans and the warriors riding them.
"I just don't want any more of this world to suffer. It's been through enough. That's why I fight."
Jake lifted his hand off of Neytiri's shoulder. He lifted himself up and began to walk.
"Oh, one more thing," He turned around one last time. "Your mother said to me that if I was one of you, I should help you. Well, even if I wasn't, I'd still do it."
Jake turned around and disappeared into the forest. Neytiri remained on the log and looked out across the brush and thought to herself.
Look, they sent me here… to learn your ways. So I can bring you this message and you would believe it.
I trusted you!
YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF THE PEOPLE!
They're coming! Run to the forest! GOD DAMN IT RUN!
Get away! GET AWAY! GET AWAY FROM HERE! NEVER COME BACK!
That is Tsahaylu… the bond. Feel her. Feel her heart beat.
Yea, check it out! Awe Crap!
How will I know if he chooses me?
He will try to kill you.
First fight seals the bond. You must not wait! Think: "FLY!"
I came like this- this you. I turned- I feel your wind-
Yeah – see I turned so hard-
You are Omaticaya now. You may make your own bow from the wood of Hometree. And you may choose a woman. We have many fine women.
I've already chosen…but this woman must also choose me.
She already has.
I am with you now Jake. We are mated for life.
She came to her feet… and ran.
Jake looked around as he strolled through the thick brush. It was still late afternoon and daylight was still hours from setting but Jake remembered the first time when he saw the woods at night; how all the colors from ever plant swirled in what could be seen as a harmonious dance before his eyes.
I guess this might be another reason to fight.
He heard a voice shout out his name from behind him suddenly. Jake turned around just in time to see Neytiri leap forward and clasp herself to him. Jake was completely off guard and nearly lost his balance.
"I forgive you." She muttered with her check pressed hard against the side of his neck. He could feel tears drop onto his skin when she sobbed, "Now… I m-must ask for your f-forgiveness."
Jake hesitated in his response, "Wha…? Y-You don't have to apal-"
"Kehe!" Neytiri pulled back abruptly away from him, her face now soaked with dripping tears. "You are only saying these things because you feel the truth will hurt me!"
"Wha? Uh… no … it's just…"
"STOP!" And he did.
"You came to us and we taught you so much. We thought you could not learn. I thought you could not learn. But you did. I thought you to be like the rest of the Sky people. But if what you said about yourself is true, then you were a true warrior. You could have seen before. You only needed to open your eyes."
Jake took a moment to think about what she said about him. "Well, how do you know that? Isn't fighting for something bigger than yourself just what a regular warrior would do? And why is that something to get upset about?"
"I know because I saw it in your eyes when you were my student." She continued. "You never gave up. You were braver than any of the sky people. You were even braver than some of the people. And you came back to us all. That is the bravest thing that I have seen."
"Then why the hell are you crying your eyes out?" Jake firmly said to her.
"Because…" She choked up again. "I… left you."
Jake stood in silence for a moment. "I don't care about that. You had a right to be angry at me, right?"
"You wanted the people to leave Hometree so they would not be hurt," Neytiri started. "You cared about the people. You wanted to help… and we only saw you as one of them. We did not listen. You could have died."
"Hey, hey," Jake insisted, "If you're upset because you didn't know that I would be-"
"THAT DOES NOT MATTER!" she shouted before he could finish. "We were mated, Jake! Mates do not leave each other to die!"
Jake stood silent as she bent her head down when she couldn't hold back the sobbing.
"I chose you, Jake, and you chose me." She muttered when she got her breath back. "From our Tsahaylu, I knew you were the man I thought you were. Even when I told you to leave, deep down, I still loved you. You could have died and I would have been alone. I would have been… b-blind… with anger and… h-hate f-for-"
"Shhhh," Jake gently placed his hands on her shoulders.
"It's okay." He said trying to comfort her. She looked into his eyes as he spoke, "If you think you screwed up… well, then I've already forgiven you."
Her body gave way to relief as she expelled her next tear. After a moment, she broke the silence.
"Do… do you still… w-want me?"
Jake took in a breath, "I've seen a few women come and go in my sorry-ass life before. But none of them come even close to you. Being with you makes me feel like I'm actually someone; someone who has a life worth living. But I would only be happy if you would be happy to live the rest of your life with me. It's your choice."
Neytiri lifted up her hand and gently placed it on his cheek. "I chose you before, Jake, and I choose you now."
After a second, Jake calmly gave his answer, "Then, yes."
Both of them stood silent for awhile until Jake leaned forward and gave her a gentle kiss. Jake saw another tear escape her eye when they met each other's gaze again. Jake could tell the tear fell because she was relieved to be with him again. After another pause, she came closer and embraced him.
Neytiri closed her eyes and took in deep breaths as she rested her head on his shoulder. Jake held her and gently rubbed her back with his hand. He too closed his eyes and gently caressed his cheek against her hair. Both of them swayed back and forth in the middle of the forest; together in each other's arms again.
Jake came back to fight for something he believed was worth fighting for. He didn't want anything out of it only to see the sun rise for the people who had a shadow thrust upon them. But now, he had another reason to fight; and that reason was a reason to live.
Author's note: My first fan-fic posted. I started with a first draft and then improved it to what it is now. I am in the process of a seires called "A Better Tomarrow" which will include this as one of the chapters. Hope you enjoy this and a review would be great if you can give me one. Thank you.
P.S. My thanks to Sothis and her fic: "You came back" for giving me the Idea for this story.
Edit again 2: I've gone back and did a whole bunch of revisions on this story.