Greetings to you all (in whatever language you so choose)
I come bearing my first attempt at an Avatar fanfic, which I hope at least one of you shall enjoy. It's nothing much, just a short(ish) piece of drabble that's been bugging me since I saw this movie for the fourth time last week. I would have seen it for a fifth and sixth time but my wallet is a little light for a 3D ticket….now that was true drabble!
Title: The Things I Did
Summary: A conversation about choices. (hey it's a one-off I can be short!)
Disclaimer: I own nothing! All belong to that fantabulously amazing storyteller, James Cameron.
It was night time. It was the first time he had woken and opened his eyes to see the world alight around him, glowing a multitude of colours in the blue-black darkness. It was magical, enlightening. He would never forget the time he saw these colours ablaze for the first time, Neytiri meters away, performing what he now knew to be a prayer to the dead creatures she had been forced to send to Eywa.
He sat up and stared around at his surroundings, still unable to believe that he was truly here. Twenty four hours ago he had been staring at the bunk above him, unable to sleep, unable to comprehend the idea that he could permanently be in his Avatar – his Na'vi body. It had all been too surreal.
He felt a body stir beside him; knew he had disturbed her.
"Jake?" Her voice was quiet, sleep filled.
Even though her voice was heavy and fatigued, hearing her say his name still sent tingles up and down his spine. Her pronunciation, the way it flowed from her lips always made him warm. It seemed different, it wasn't harsh or cold. It was liquid and silk, so different to how he was accustomed to hearing it.
He felt one of her hands reach for him, touch his face gently.
"Shh, go back to sleep." He whispered, attempting to slide away.
"I cannot sleep without you." She whispered in her native tongue, more awake, shifting against him, pulling herself close.
He looked down to see her eyes, sleepily looking up at him.
"I'll be back in a moment." He spoke quietly. "I need to take a walk." He moved attempting to stand, but she held him back.
Once satisfied, she herself shifted so she was also sitting, looking at him. He stared at her, at her hair, hanging loose, unbeaded, flowing, angelic, held off her face with a single flower woven through at the back. The effect made her look more perfect and beautiful than he could ever dream her being. He watched her eyes, still filled with sleep, yet bright even in the darkness. Her nose, her lips, the bones of her cheeks; she was so simple, so radiant, he found it difficult to believe that he had ever looked at her and not felt love.
"Are you alright?" She asked, touching his face.
He nodded after a beat. "I haven't been able to properly enjoy this place by night." He spoke simply, looking around and at her. "It needs to be enjoyed; savoured."
She watched him, her sleep filled mind finding it difficult to translate his words. After a few moments she nodded, allowing him to stand. He didn't move very far, just a few steps. She watched him, every step. She could see his stance, the tightness in his muscles, he turned slightly and she could see his face bearing a similar look.
"Are you sure you are alright?" She asked him, standing and moving beside him.
He didn't look at her, but continued to look around, above at the canopy overhead, at the colour of the ground, the glow of the grass.
"Jake?" She questioned, touching his chest.
"This place." He whispered; Neytiri noted awe in his voice.
"What is it?" She asked, stepping around to face him.
"I need to tell you something." He whispered, leading her away from the small clearing which also featured her mother, still fast asleep.
He led her off a few paces, both quieter than the breeze – God how he enjoyed moving silently.
"Jake, what is wrong?" Neytiri asked him when they came to a stop, Jake moving a few paces away from her. "What do you need to tell me?"
Jake looked at her, a sadness in his eyes that she couldn't recall ever seeing.
"I was happy to allow them to destroy all this. I was happy to help them destroy all this." He spoke, waving his arms.
Neytiri inwardly groaned, her eyes slipping shut. "Jake, I have told you. We have forgiven you for what happened to Hometree. You do not need to apologise." She stepped towards him, but he backed away.
"I know, and I am grateful. But I need to tell you this. I need to make myself feel better. I need you to understand." He spoke.
Neytiri nodded, in the short period of time she had known him, she had come to understand that he would always be different to other Na'vi people; how he expressed emotions would always be different. It was a part of him that both annoyed her the most, and made her love him the most.
"I came here because my brother was killed. My brother, from my mother," he reiterated, knowing the Na'vi view of brothers and sisters; "was a scientist, like Grace, and Norm. He wanted to come here and explore your world, learn all there was to know about the Na'vi people and their environment. He wanted to be here; I didn't."
Neytiri stood and listened as he began to walk around amongst the trees and plants. In the distance, both could see a mass of darkness and knew that it was not because there was nothing there, but because it was a sign of how close the Sky People had come to destroying their world. The longer Jake spoke, the more Neytiri's attention was focused on it, listening to his words and feeling the pain from whence they came, and the pain inside her heart.
"I wanted to fight the wars on my own planet; I wanted to save my own people. But I couldn't do that. I was injured, permanently, unable to be helped. I came here because I was being offered the chance to do something." He went on, unable to ever stop moving.
Sometimes he would look at her and see her watching him, sometimes she would be looking at the ground or away, or off into the distance.
"I came here not knowing what to expect, and to be honest, not caring. All I wanted was the chance, the opportunity to do something, anything. But instead, I got here and Grace looked at me as though I were a bug, an insect, a useless being not worthy of her time. I used to not care what people like her thought of me, but here I was, in this world I didn't care about, with an opportunity to do something, and here was another person telling me what I could and couldn't do. I was still on Earth, still being treated as a useless, broken nobody. All I wanted was to be out here with a gun in my hand, doing the job I was used to doing, fighting those who resisted my people. I was given an opportunity and I took it, not even questioning what it was."
He paused and looked at her. She was looking at him with pain in her eyes similar, but not as strong, as the pain she had felt when he revealed he had known the Sky People's plan to destroy Hometree. It made every fibre in his being ache.
"But then I came out here, the first time, and I saw these amazing plants that shrank before I could touch them and creatures that could kill me easier than I squash a bug; and then I was alone in the darkness. In the space of one day I saw things that both filled me with amazement and with fear, but it was the latter which I remembered. I was lost in this world I failed and refused to look at properly. The hope and amazement was drowned by fear; there was just fear. I could hear strange noises; saw strange predators, creatures, animals that I knew wanted to kill me, and then you."
She was staring at the ground but looked up sharply, to stare at him. He knew she was grasping at what he was saying, trying to understand, but there was something in her eye that told him she could understand every word.
"You saved my life and you made it look easy, effortless. I was in awe." They shared a smile for a moment, before he looked away.
"But, then I remembered my mission. Quaritch wanted me amongst you, the Omaticaya. He wanted you to trust me. He wanted me to know you all so that he could find a way to remove you from Hometree. It's why I followed you when you walked away, why I was so keen for you to take me with you."
She smiled a small smile; he saw a glint in her eye, knew she was remembering with amusement.
"I hadn't expected Eywa to become involved." He remarked. "I hadn't expected to find it so easy to be amongst you. And then you, you," she looked up at him again briefly; "began to teach me about your people. You taught me the language – which I admit I'm still learning." He saw her smile again. "You taught me how to hunt, how to track. You taught me your legends, you showed me this world that was full of so much more than anything I had ever believed. You showed me life. The amazing things began to drown out those that made me afraid."
At this he stopped, looked at her, stepped toward her. "You made me fall in love with this world." She may have had her back to him, but that didn't stop him from reaching out and touching her.
"You made me fall in love with you." He whispered, stepping around so that he was facing her.
She stared up at him. "I did not encourage it." She too whispered.
Jake shrugged, stepping away. "You didn't need too. Everything you taught me was filled with love and passion, and I could not not come to stare at it and wish you would look at me and talk to me and feel that same love and passion."
She smiled warmly at him again, and he got the distinct feeling that she was blushing.
"But I still had my orders." It made her smile fade. "I still had to report to Quaritch anything and everything that I saw and learnt. Every day I reported what I saw, and every day I felt the realisation that there was nothing that could be done. It didn't matter what I learnt or what I saw, it wasn't going to help their plans."
She looked at him curiously.
"They wanted a trade." He said simply. "There was something they felt you needed, medicine, roads, houses, weapons, but all I could find and see was that there was nothing you needed. You had everything you ever wanted; my job was useless." He sighed, remembering how Quaritch had used his video log against him, used his discovery to further his and RDA's agenda.
"But of course it was too late. I had fallen in too much with the Omaticaya; all I wanted was to become one of you. I'd never really belonged anywhere myself. My brother was smarter, and I didn't care much about anything, just the fight. I threw myself into my role as a warrior, as a marine so much that I didn't care if I lived or died in battle, only that the enemy was stopped. I saw so much pain and destruction; I became numb to it all, unfeeling.
"When I got injured," he paused, thinking; "I look back and I'm certain I threw myself into that place hoping to die." She looked at him sharply. "Despite my numbness, I'd been doing it for so long, seeing the same things, I needed to escape it. But it didn't work. I woke up four months later in a hospital with half my body useless. After that, I couldn't do anything.
"And yet here I was, here," he pointed to the ground, "fighting an Ikran, flying an Ikran, and knowing, I was about to become someone. I had a place." She saw a simple smile cross his features; admired how it lit up his face.
"They offered me the chance to fix my body, to heal it. Once I would have jumped at it, taken it and forgotten everything else." He was behind her again, close. "I turned it down in the anticipation that I was about to become one of you. I turned it down because I was afraid if I was healed, I would either never return, and never see you again, or return as someone else, the person I had been before, and then I would be asked to kill you."
She turned to look at him, fear in her eyes.
"I couldn't do that. I didn't know how you felt about me, but I still wanted to be near you, see you." He smiled simply, again, and again, she noted how it changed the entire look of his face.
"Foolish boy." She teased, although the smile and lightness in her voice did not reach her eye.
"But then after the ceremony," he went on, "you lead me away, washed the paint from me, lead me further, to the Tree of Voices. You told me what I could now do, things I hadn't thought about, and something I wanted to hear."
He stepped close to her, watched her smile – saw it in her eyes – and look away, saw her blush. He lifted her chin and placed a quick kiss on her lips. "I became yours, forever." He whispered the final word in Na'vi, resting his forehead against hers.
"I became yours." She echoed him.
They remained, foreheads against each other, enjoying the contact, the silence.
"I fell asleep and returned to my normal body," he went on, "stunned by my actions, shocked as to what they meant. But I didn't regret them." He added hastily, seeing a moment of hurt cross her features.
"The next morning I was eager to return, I'm not sure if it was the bond, or something else, but I couldn't be separated from you, and then I opened my eyes and you were panicking and trees, were falling."
Neytiri looked away, stepped away, remembering that morning when the Tree of Voices was destroyed.
"I hoped that if I destroyed their ability to see where they were going, the tree could be saved, but also because I knew how close they had come to killing me. No matter what I did, if they had destroyed that, this body," he corrected, "they would have lost what they still saw as a valuable asset; and the financial ramifications…" He added as an afterthought, but trailed off, a grimace coming to his face as he shook his head.
"They didn't see it that way." He went on. "They saw it as treason, as proof that I no longer supported them. It didn't matter what I said, their mind was made up.
"They gave me one chance, after I pleaded for it, to return here and save you, tell you to leave Hometree. It crushed me when you turned on me, when you told me I would never be one of you."
Neytiri moved to speak but Jake stopped her with a wave of his hand. He needed to get this out without an interruption.
"When I watched Hometree fall, heard your mother and people all around me collapse, paralysed with the sight of their home a burning mess, I knew how those who had caused it felt, because I used to be one of them. I know what it feels like to succeed in crushing people; destroying people. I know because it used to be my job. It made me sick; it made me mad, that knowledge, those memories. All I could see was human error, the path that had been taken and that was being followed.
"Earth, it isn't like this." He felt a sudden rant coming on. "It's a rock. There are no trees, no plants; the sky and air are not clear or clean. As I stared at Hometree, burning and lying on its side, all I could see was Earth. I knew then, that as long as the Sky People remained here in the way that they were, Pandora, this planet of wonder, the Na'vi, you, would all be destroyed."
Neytiri turned away from him at this. The memories of her home's destruction still fresh in her mind. Whilst she had forgiven him, she would always remember the scorching anger and pain she had felt when she realised he had known all along what would happen.
"I searched for you, afraid you had been killed. You were mourning your father."
Hearing him say those words brought tears to her eyes. She knew he was circling her, and as such, she moved to prevent him seeing her pain. She didn't want him to see that she still felt the pain over his deceit.
"You told me to leave, to never come back; you never wanted to see me again."
She heard his voice catch, knew that he too felt pain over his actions. It made her stop turning and face him, allowing him to see the pain etched in her features.
"Please know, I never intended for you to feel pain, I never wanted to hurt you. I just had no idea how to tell you sooner of the Sky People's plans." He reached out to her, taking hold of her shoulders, eyes pleading.
She wiped her eyes and smiled a small smile. "We always seek to protect the ones we love, but that protection still leads to our loved ones pain." She whispered, touching his chest, staring at his markings.
Jake smiled, lifting her chin. "I couldn't have put it better." He whispered, touching his forehead to hers; she was going to make a great Tsahik.
She smiled at the contact, revelled at how it filled her with warmth after the coldness of her memories' pain. They remained like that for a few moments, allowing their pain to ease slightly before Jake continued.
"They locked me up. I was against them. They locked Grace and Norm up as well. We were enemies to them. We were the ones who fought the strongest against them. We escaped, but Grace was injured in the process. Max, the short guy with black curly hair," he explained seeing her look of confusion; "stayed behind to be our inside man. I knew Grace needed your help, Eywa's help, but also that you would ignore me, tie me up again, and possibly kill me. I had to make the big gesture.
"Taming Toruk, it was hard, very hard. But I knew, when it was done, you would be forced to acknowledge me. You don't realise how afraid I was that it wouldn't work, how my heart was thumping when I landed, when I walked through the crowd towards you. You don't realise how relieved I was when you accepted me back."
"To be Toruk Makto requires a high level of skill, and as it is so rare, when it happens it must be acknowledged." Neytiri spoke, finding it necessary to interrupt him. "We had no hope prior to your return. A tame Toruk does much for our faith. It made us all believe what we had thought to be impossible." Now it was her turn to walk towards him, hold his face in her hands.
"You, Jake'Suly, inspired us to believe we could fight the Sky People and win. You showed us why Eywa had chosen you, to help us, unite us, and save us."
Jake may have loved it when she said his name, how exotic it became, but when she said his full name it sounded strange. But hearing the glow in her voice as she spoke made his heart burn.
"I may have inspired you, but without Eywa we would not be standing here right now." He whispered sadly, mimicking her touch on him on her.
"True." She acknowledged nodding. "But we would not have fought if we had not believed."
He reached up and touched her hands with his. "Quaritch told me that I was betraying my own race." He said quietly, not looking at her.
She nodded, remembering.
"I never got a chance to tell him that I wasn't." He looked up at her.
She looked at him curiously.
"I may have still been a human in this body, but I wasn't betraying them, or the Sky People." She pulled her hands away and stepped away from him. "No, I was preventing the Sky People from destroying another world, like they had to their own." He explained.
"This world, it isn't like anything I know, anything Humanity knows. We used to know it, centuries ago, but we have forgotten it. I once thought that I followed orders easily because I didn't care about what I was fighting or who I was fighting. When I came here, I discovered why we fight. It's not just to win, to be the dominant species, although at face value that is what it's all about. It's about defending our way of life. The only problem with that, however, is that Sky People, here and on Earth, allow fear to fill their insides so much that it changes them. They forget everything they know and focus so hard on that fear inside them that it becomes a part of the battle; it becomes the reason for the battle.
"Here, that fear doesn't exist. Your people know your way of life and understood what was being taken. That's why I fought with you; that's why I fought against them. It wasn't to send them back to their own world; it was to show them that we had something worth fighting for."
He finished and as he did, Neytiri's heart swelled with pride and understanding. When that seed from Eywa's branches first floated onto her arrow head, she had known instantly that there was something special inside him. She had followed him through the forest and seen his heart, seen his strength. Then Eywa sent her full message, covering him with her wind-based soldiers that forced her to ignore her initial plan which was to simply leave him, and instead take him with her. She had thought she had seen the reason for Eywa's message, but she realised now, that it wasn't about his skill as a leader, or a fighter, it was the original reason she had saved him; his heart.
Smiling, a smile he recognised as being the one she had proudly worn when he was initiated into the clan, and when he first heard his Omaticayan and Na'vi ancestors at the Tree of Voices, he watched as she reached for him, tentatively brushing his chest above his heart.
"I understand now." She said, her fingertips remaining planted to his skin. "Eywa did not choose you to lead us; she did not choose you to save us; she chose you for this." She indicated her fingers, covering his heart. "A hunter's strength is not always in his skill. A warrior's strength is not always in his weapon. A leader's strength is not always in his mind."
Jake looked down to where her hand was pressed against his chest.
"It is in his heart." She whispered, smiling up at him.
Jake placed a hand over hers, smiling that she understood why he had told her what he just had, and at the same time, hugely relieved that he had finally said it, and that she had listened, as much as it had pained her. She had listened and understood, and given him an insight he could do nothing but revel at. She was truly the wisest person he had ever met – second only to Mo'at – and the greatest thing in his life.
He lifted his hand and caressed her face, brushing some hair back behind her ear. Once again he found himself staring at her, admiring every single millimetre of her being and wondering how on earth he had been able to catch her.
"What?" She asked him, amusement in her voice.
He knew he was caught but he didn't look away. "Sorry, I can't help it." He smiled. "I'm just being reminded of why I fell in love with you." He remarked quietly.
Neytiri smiled and pressed her forehead to his. "I love you too." She whispered.
Remember to Review!