*Fandom: Jak and Daxter
*Pairing: Jak/Torn, Jak/Daxter (friendship)
*WARNING: PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO MALE/MALE RELATIONSHIPS, AND/OR IF YOU'RE ALLERGIC TO THE FEATURED COUPLE. THANK YOU.
*This adventure follows Jak III. This is my VERY first time working with these characters/this fandom, so please be nice in offering feedback. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I don't own a sliver of this, save for the summary and my laptop. THE FEATURED IMAGE DOES NOT BELONG TO ME, I DID NOT CREATE IT, AND IT IS ONLY USED TO ENHANCE THE FEATURE PRESENTATION.
The night was anything but quiet.
Chaos had clocked out, which was a relief-but in its wake were a thousand and one things to think about. The night had transformed Haven City into an empire of silent reflection, which provided its people much-needed air. Unfortunately, the same 'relief' gave them ample room to dissect the near, vague future. Proper sleep wasn't anywhere on the menu-certainly not for a select few.
The Absinthe had gone under their covers for the night, sparing the world from additional devastation. Their specialty was mass destruction, and they served it well, battering cities into submission. Haven wasn't exempt from the Absinthe's brand of destruction, but a rebellious wave battled the Absinthe with increasing ferocity. The war against a revived ancient race had elevating difficulty, but Haven City's tidal wave confronted all challenges with a lion's courage.
The Absinthe had them in the center of raging volcanoes, so courage was an invaluable asset.
So many others had gone to sleep, but Haven City's lions were up and about. While small battles against the surreal had been won, there were plenty more battles on the agenda-including the finale. Mapping out strategies for the nearby, explosive future, Jak and his comrades witnessed the night's passing in the Naughty Ottsel. Daxter's hip nightclub had been transformed into a priceless homebase. much to his chagrin, but it was the perfect sanctuary for budding bullet points.
In their universe, the fun would never end. Dark Eco, Baron Praxis, Erol and a slew of other colorful characters had drawn the Dynamic Duo into a parade of adventures-but, as evidenced by the Absinthe War, the fun had just begun. The reborn race of ancients only wanted to order one thing off the menu, and that was the end of the world. Terms like 'purging' and 'cleansing' painted all of their sentences, but in the end, they wanted to erase the known world. And-
Torn was at the forefront of the Absinthe parade.
Ashelin's closest friend dove into the beginning of Haven City's party, and promptly vanished. In a dire, frantic attempt to recover the one she loved as brother, Ashelin recruited a certain pair-and Jak quickly accepted the newly delivered challenge. Investigate the new slew of bastards, find Torn-yet another set of bullet points that created a wickedly awesome adventure. And for a short while, the adventure was perfectly vibrant. So vibrant and exciting, Jak and his partner were able to approach it with laidback demeanors. But reality eventually slapped them in the face.
The Absinthe were growing in power, and Torn was their emperor.
Jak forfeited his right to sleep.
When it came to his routines as an adventurer, a full night's sleep was missing from the list. The young, blonde gunner never sought anything more than four hours, sometimes leaving Dax to wander through the night's remnants. Nine times out of ten, though, the Mar's shoulder attachment forfeited his right to sleep-just so he could be near his friend. And sitting inside of the Naughty Ottsel, the Dynamic Duo faced a long line of problems. One of them being:
"How could we possibly run outta juice?! I'm dyin' here! There I was, ready for a good cuppa somethin', and we're out?! Fer cryin' out loud!"
"Pardon me," Ashelin confronted Daxter with exaggerated flourish, even taking a bow. She spoke to her friends from behind the counter, volunteering to serve them breakfast. Much to Daxter's horror, the ingredients for breakfast smoothies were in painfully short supply.
"But we've apparently got much bigger things to worry about. In the midst of everything that's happening, grocery shopping isn't on the top of anyone's agenda."
"Sheesh," Jak's partner-in-crime groaned, perched on the elf's shoulder. And as always, the gunner remained silent while Dax unleashed fury. "We've got crazy jerks on th' loose, ol' Dreadlocks is on a rampage, and now we're outta th' best drink in th' city. Color me wrong, but I don't think things can get any worse!"
"Wrong, my dear fellow. For your listening pleasure, I'm about to make things much worse."
"What's up?" the blonde elf asked the Praxis, leaning on the counter. "Our friends throw a party while we were asleep?"
"Gotta install a security system, Jak. That way, whenever peeps wanna start somethin', we're always in th' know."
"The Absinthe are pillaging every city on the map," Ashelin said, after exchanging a small smile with Jak. "While the two of you were on break, they paid a visit to Skybird, Pendragon and Aerotop. The Pendragon Ambassador wants an audience with a certain pair of morons, so a way to protect the remaining citizens can be shoved into the oven."
Daxter echoed the words in Jak's eyes. "These guys and their 'Purging' parties are really getting under my fur. They're gonna steamroll the whole universe, just so they can roast marshmallows over open flames!"
"Absinthe-exclusive bon fire parties are the last things this world needs to see. Let alone any other world."
"Was he at the head of the invasions?"
Ashelin buried her forehead into the palm of her hand. Jak's mention of Torn plunged a dagger into her heart-her reaction to his inquiry made that obvious."No, thank goodness. Either he's not up to snuff yet, or they're having more fun with him. In any case, their precious 'Emperor' wasn't anywhere near last night's parade."
A particular Ottsel peered into Jak's face, then directed his wide eyes at Ashelin. He knew the topic he wanted to stab at disturbed both Ashelin and his counterpart, so he presented his question delicately.
"Speaking of our darling Damsel in Distress, what exactly are we supposed t' do about him again?"
"Aaaah! You're supposed t' unearth the sacred bond between heart and soul-or something like that! Have you not been paying attention, you scrawny little beast?!"
"Sounds like I'm not the only one that needs to brush up on their attention skills," Jak's counterpart scolded, shaking a fist at the approaching Pecker. And with him came the one, the only Onin. Daxter rarely launched himself off of Jak's shoulder, but Pecker and Onin need a special greeting commitee.
"Excuuuuse me, birdbrain, but Torn's givin' us a lotta trouble-while all of this Absinthe stuff is raging outta control! A little refresher course would be nice!"
The moncaw and his master exchanged a parade of whispers-much to the dismay of a certain trio. During that exclusive, enigmatic conversation, Jak exchanged an aggravated, inquisitive glance with Ashelin, and Daxter occupied himself with banging his head against a nearby wall. Before he could bang himself into a coma, Pecker flew off of Onin's shoulder with a slew of words. "Ladies and gentleman," he began, echoing Onin's unspoken words.
"It is time for you to pay close attention, as my master is not fond of repeating herself! Now. As you all know, the Absinthe thrived in times of old. They are an ancient race, a race fond of calamity, and share an equally strong fondness for screams of terror. But I digress. The last ruler of the Absinthe Empire was extinguished by the last Chosen One, as he was apparently too weak to handle the raging, turbulent power that came with his job description."
"And a certain someone is?"
"Well," Pecker went on, visibly troubled by Jak's question. Not only was the blonde elf notorious for remaining silent during conversation, but he was equally skilled at killing someone with his gaze. If looks could kill, Jak would be even deadlier than every Absinthe, Baron and every other villain combined.
"That seems to be the case. You see, the Absinthe Emperors are...shall we say...fueled by darkness. Destruction. The whole shebang. Now, as you have heard before, the key to your friend's return is your new power. The power of the Anima!"
"We've gotten that far," Daxter groaned, folding his arms. Echoing his friend's sentiment, and his own, Jak sighed while landing a hand on his forehead.
"But here's th' thing. What's up with all of this 'light' and 'soul bond' stuff? So far, all we've been able t' do is kick Torn's ass!"
Ashelin put her thoughts on the table, landing a hand on her hip. "Let me see if two and two make four. The last Absinthe Emperor wasn't able to wield the power, right? Was he not 'fun' enough for the empire?"
"You're on the right track, my good lady. Onin says she is very proud of your radiant intellect! You are nothing like these two rocks."
"So he is good enough for the crown."
Pecker gave the blue-eyed elf a thumbs-up. "Absolutely right, my dear Jak. Onin says she is proud of your fragile intellect. If only you used it more often! Now, the job description for Absinthe Emperor is as follows: must be a wielder of great, immense and troubling darkness. Then, and only then, will the applicant be worthy of the new world's crown. Our missing friend wields a vast deal of darkness-but as we've mentioned before, darkness doesn't necessarily have to stem from evil. It can also stem from-"
Jak and Ashelin turned to each other, then spoke a single word. "Sadness."
"But here's where it gets cloudy," Dax growled, eyes flashing. "Jak's supposed t' diffuse Torn's system with Anima, right? But all we've heard is 'using the power of the soulbond', and Onin's other mystical crap!"
And, much to the same trio's dismay, Pecker and his mistress engaged in another private conversation. They nodded, they chuckled, they nodded some more, and then on went the show. "The two of you are going about it the wrong way," the moncaw explained in the usual extravagant fashion.
"When Onin instructed you to use the power of Anima, in this case, she did not mean for you to use it as a weapon. When you battle against the one you seek to save, you do nothing but deepen his darkness. At this rate, you might as well take his life and be done with it."
Ashelin landed a pair of hands on the Mar's shoulders. "You're supposed to heal him, Jak," she urged softly, squeezing her friend's shoulders.
"If I'm untangling this mumbo jumbo correctly, Anima is supposed to erase the Emperor's darkness-but not in the midst of battle."
"So what? I'm supposed to talk him down? Invite him to drinks? Take him out for a night on the town?"
"Sounds about right."
"Great magic lies within you, Jak," Pecker pressed on, once again mimicking his owner's slow gestures. His tone complemented her steady paintings of the mystical unknown.
"You, and only you, can undo the darkness that has been inflicted upon a weakened soul. By unlocking your special power, and healing the victim of the Absinthe, you will unleash a magic so great, it will cleanse all of civilization! If you do not free your friend from the depths of darkness, however, all will be lost!"
"You've got to be kidding me."
Daxter returned to his other half's shoulder. "Sounds like we've got our hands full, blondie."
"Yeah, but where in th' Hell am I supposed to go with this?" Jak demanded, eyes darting from Daxter, to Pecker, Onin and Ashelin. "What am I supposed t' do-fall in love with him? Use the power of our newborn, true and everlasting love to free him?"
"Look. Guy, girl-it doesn't matter to me. I don't shut anyone down."
Dax slapped his friend's back as hard as he could. "That's my Jak! Never one to break anyone's heart, based on physical bullcrap!"
"Well, I'd have a problem if somebody like Krew came onto me-"
And that promptly knocked Dax off Jak's shoulder, into a nauseated fit of fury.
"-but Torn? I'd rather marry Samos!"
While Daxter continued to hack his lungs out, the female redhead spoke to the blonde elf in a comforting, tender manner. "There's got to be something that binds you two together," she pressed. "Isn't there anything? Anything at all?"
Silence followed. Jak, with a face as blank as paper, looked to Daxter. Notorious for his fiery facial expressions, the blank look was not only rare but disorienting. And the Ottsel didn't help matters, offering a shrug in response.
"Sorry, Princess, but I don't think Jak can connect the power of love to...well, lots of name-calling, ass whoopin's, gettin' th' short end o' th' stick-"
"Oh ho boys. Boys, boys, boys. There's...so much you don't know."
With that, the female elf turned her back on the small team. "Get some rest, you moronic lot. We've got a lot on our plate for tomorrow. Our next stop is Pendragon-and I believe I've got some teaching to do."
The remaining companions were left to themselves, left to wander through an early morning silence with a thousand burdens on their minds. The weight of two worlds rested on all shoulders, tormenting them until Pecker broke the staggering silence with a revelation.
"Well. I do believe we are having th' time of our lives, yes?"
"So are the Absinthe," Jak replied, rubbing his chin. "And apparently, they're seeing a lot of things we're unable to see."
There's a lot I'm unable to see.