Nokama turned around to see the ever-energetic Toa of Air approach her, waving his arms excitedly. Her eyes lit up recognition.
"Matau, there you are!" Nokama called. "I was wondering where you disappeared to."
Matau shot her a sly grin. "Ah. Were you worried-scared for me?" he asked in a joking tone.
Nokama glared at him. "No, not at all." she replied, ignoring his crest-fallen face. "I was just wondering where you were."
"Right..." Matau sighed. "Well, um, you see... I was gone because... well..." his eyes darted around the scenery, moving to every corner of his sockets but refusing to meet her own as he tried to think up something to say. He rubbed his hands together nervously, before finally mustering up the courage to look her straight in her eyes. "There's something I wanted to get you."
Nokama blinked in surprise as he held out his hands. Cupped in his palm was a small, oddly shaped stone that was crudely tied to a string, a necklace. She let out a gasp as she took the object in her own hands and studied it, the bright, emerald green stone glimmering in the sun.
"Matau! This is... this is..." she searched for the words. "Beautiful." Simple, yet truthful.
Matau's face visibly brightened as he inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. She liked it!
"But what is it?" Nokama then questioned.
Matau nodded, a smile creeping across his face. "Glad you asked." he said. "It's a special charm-trinket that's supposed to bring fertility and prosperity to your home-village." he explained. "And more importantly, it's supposed to help protect you while sailing through water!"
Nokama blinked. She seemed to recall hearing of a charm as he had described before, she just couldn't remember where... "What is it called?" she asked.
"It is called...!" Matau paused suddenly, which Nokama could only assume was for dramatic tension. His grin widened as he spoke, "a hei matau!"
A long moment of silence passed between the two. Nokama found herself frowning.
"A hei matau?" she repeated.
"Yep!" Matau nodded, his oblivious expression betraying the embarrasment he was feeling inside. "I thought since, you know, you're the Toa of Water, it couldn't help to have something that will help protect-serve you while sailing. Not that you can't protect yourself, of course! It's just always nice-comforting to have just in case, you know?" he chuckled nervously. "Besides, anything named after me can't be all that bad!"
Nokama wasn't sure if she should burst out laughing at his silly comment or rebuke him for his arrogant remark. She found herself simply nodding her head and weakly saying, "um, thank you very much, Matau..."
She glanced behind herself. "But, ah, I have to go now." she said. "I think... I think Nuju needs my help down by the docks."
She didn't even wait for his reply before rushing off into the distance. She didn't look back, which was probably a good thing. Because of that, she was spared the sight of Matau's utterly heart-broken face.
Nokama stared over the hull of the Lhikan II. The ship was just about ready for sailing, but Vakama wanted to collect more provisions before embarking on their voyage back to Metru Nui. She had decided to pay the ship a short visit before running off to help Nuju with the preparitions, her mind still on Matau's odd gift.
She held the small necklace in her hand was toying with it. As she thought back to her actions, she realized that she acted very ungrateful to Matau's generous gift. And why? Just because she had been put off by it's name.
The thought that he had only given it to her because it had his own name crossed her mind and disappointed her. She didn't know why, exactly, but it did. It was silly, really. It was just a name, and regardless of his reasons for giving it to her, the fact that he had gone out of his way to give something to her, even something as simple as a necklace, was a very generous offer.
"What are you doing here?"
Nuju's voice interrupted her thoughts. The blue-armored female looked up at him. "Oh, Nuju..." she replied. "Didn't see you come up."
"Obviously." the Toa of Ice replied cooly, as he walked towards her. He leaned against the hull of the ship and eyed her carefully. Nokama shifted her weight to her other leg, feeling a little uncomfortable under his gaze.
A moment passed in silence.
"Who gave you that?"
"What?" Nokama held up her necklace. "You mean this?" she asked. "It was Matau. He called it a 'hei matau'."
"I'm aware of that." Nuju said. He took the piece of jewelry from her hands and studied it with his mask's telescope. "Hm, interesting..."
"What is?" Nokama asked.
"This stone." he showed it to her. "It looks like it's made of ahora crystal. It looks like you can only find this stuff on Metru Nui, and even then they're difficult to get a hold of... I wonder how he got some?"
Nokama felt herself freeze up, and it didn't have to do with Nuju's powers. "Ahora crystal?" she repeated softly.
Nuju nodded and handed the necklace back to her. "Yes. I'm sure of it. Very interesting..."
His words sounded like distant noises to her. She was completely transfixed by the hei matau, or rather, the ahora it was made out of.
Ahora crystal... it's said that when a Matoran loves someone, he will give her a trinket made of ahora as a token of his affections, usually as an engagement gift or a confessoin... she realized. But... but does this mean that he... that Matau...? she felt her cheeks grow warm as a wave of guilt washed over her. Oh no...
Nuju had already began to walk away, when all of a sudden he paused. "Of course. Today is unity day, isn't it?"
Nokama stared at him. "Unity Day?"
"Yes. You know. The day when Matoran celebrate their friendships or relationships. I had almost forgotten..." he turned to her. "It seems that Matau, of all people, remembered. Imagine that..."
Before she could ask him anymore questions, he disappeared from sight.
Nokama stood there quietly, the only noise coming from the rocking of the boat against the gentle waves of the ocean, clutching the necklace close to her chest.
Matau... she thought. I... I'm so sorry.
Matau kicked dirt ground of Le-Koro angrily, suddenly filled with a much greater hate of the place. "Stupid, so stupid-dumb...!" he growled, as he swatted away an annoying bug from his face.
Did I come on too strong? Obviously, I did. She didn't like it my gift, I knew she wouldn't... the Toa of Air sighed. It was stupid. I should've known. She probably likes the other Toa more than myself. Like Vakama, or Nuju...
He froze in his tracks as he heard his name. "Nokama?" he asked, as he watched the female Toa rush towards him.
Nokama greeted him with a nod of her head. "Matau, about your gift..." she bit her lip.
Matau braced himself. "Is there something wrong with it...?" he asked.
"No, no. It's just fine, but, ah..." she gulped. "Matau, I just... I just can't accept it."
Matau felt his heart shatter at those words. It took every ounce of will-power he had to keep from crying. "Wh... what?" he asked, weakly.
Nokama placed something in his hands. "I'm sorry, but I can't accept your gift..." her lips curved into a smile. "Without giving something back."
He glanced down at the object in his hands and blinked. "What?"
He was now holding an odd little trinket, carved from a seashell into the shape of a tear-drop.
Is this... he thought for a moment. Could it be...? A hei matau?
Matau stared at Nokama, wide-eyed. "You didn't..."
"It's not made of ahora, like yours was." Nokama explained. "But... I did make it with my heart. I hope you like it, Matau."
The Toa of Air held back a gasp. "Does... does this mean...!?"
He didn't have time to finish as Nokama leaned in and kissed him.
"Happy Unity Day, Matau." she smiled.
Nuju watched the two Toa from afar, a smirk on his face.
"So that's what Matau wanted to talk to me about." he chuckled. "Should've known."
With growing interest, he watched the two lovers exchange words and embrace.