lithic_rune: (Optional pants)
[personal profile] lithic_rune
Title: Reset
Fandom: Jak and Daxter
Rating: PG13
Summary: Sometimes all it takes is an off-course machine to change the course of time. Jak never made it to the future of his birth. Instead Damas came to the past.
Spoilers: Jak 1, Jak 2, and Jak 3

Chapter One
Previous chapter

-Chapter Four-


Silence. Silence was never a good thing, even in the desert. The complete and utter stillness of all insect and animal life could only ever mean that something very dangerous was looming in the air. In the desert it would have meant either Metal Heads or a storm. Here in this fetid swamp, however...

Damas stopped, turning his head slowly as he listened for the slightest hint of sound. Water lapped around his boots, stirred by the fresh air he could feel coming in from the pass ahead. Leaves whispered as they brushed against each other, and on occasion the wind was strong enough to lift the flaps of his leather skirt, but other than that... nothing. It was a sharp and ominous contrast to the previous cacophony of the swamp.

Something is wrong. He took a cautious step forward, prepared in case the movement triggered an attack. When nothing happened, he took another step.

In the distance, someone screamed.

Every muscle in Damas's body tensed, and in less than a heartbeat, he was moving again. Years of experience had taught him how to stalk through water without splashing. He could not run, but he could still move fast. Soon enough, his feet hit firmer grounded, just in time to hear more shouts from up ahead. He picked up his pace, threading his way through the pass.

Once he reached the end of the pass, though, he slowed down. Throwing caution to the wind would serve no one, least of all him. He could not afford to draw attention to himself before he knew what lay up ahead. Crouching down beside a boulder, he scanned the area.

The grassy slope he was on quickly ended in clear, blue water that was dotted with floating platforms in very distinct paths. There was a house across the water directly ahead, and to the right, where the paths seemed to lead, was a massive rock structure with multiple roofs and windows. Somewhere nearby he could hear the rush of a waterfall, and beyond it-

"Get down!"

Damas's attention snapped to structure beneath the rock, a platform that was partially obscured from sight. Metal Jackets dove through the air, darting to the left and right to launch attacks through the rocky pillars. People scrambled to escape from the dock, most simply running, though it looked like one or two had stopped to throw anything that came to hand to ward off the Metal Heads.

Something was off about the fight. Something was missing. But before he could figure out what it was, a flash of movement and a streak of green-blond hair jolted him out of his thoughts. Jak!

The young man darted out of the path of an oncoming eco blast, then leaped onto a barrel and launched himself at one of the Metal Heads. The thing tried to dodge, but a powerful roundhouse kick from Jak still managed to clip its wings, and it went down in the water with a resounding splash. The youth landed and immediately turned to look for another target.

He would find no shortage of them. Even from this distance, Damas could tell that the people were badly outnumbered, more so because so few of them were standing and fighting back. Another blast of eco sizzled past Jak's head, missing only because the teen was already on the move.

But he couldn't see the Metal Head that had recovered from its watery fall.

"Jak! Behind you!"

It was no use. There was no way that Jak could hear him - not from this distance and not over the roar of the waterfall. With a curse, the old king straightened up and leaped down to the first plontoon. Barely pausing to adjust to the slightly unstable surface, he threw himself into a pounding run before jumping to the next plontoon.

As he raced across the water, one of the Metal Heads must have spotted him, because a bolt of dark eco lobbed into the water beside him. Damas ignored it. So long as he kept moving, he would not be an easy target. Across the way, he could still see the occasional flash of green-blond hair. How Jak had dealt with the two Metal Heads before, Damas didn't know, but he was still alive.

For now.

"-get to the shelters!"

"Watch out for that-!"

The closer he got to the main platform, the clearer the shouts became, and the chaos on the platform was easier to pick out. Men and women fled in panic, some running across another bridge, while others tried to scurry up ladders to the village above their heads. One man fell even as Damas watched.

"What-!"

"Look out!"

"Aiiee!"

When his foot hit the center platform, he immediately threw himself to the side - just in time, too, because a blast of dark eco scored the planks where he'd landed. What I would not give, he growled to himself, to have a gun in my hand right now. He spared a glance for where the blast had come from, noted the position of three Metal Heads, and almost without thinking he grabbed the wrist of a woman and pulled her out of the path of another incoming attack.

"Go!" he snapped. "Find someplace to hide. Metal Jackets do not have a strong sense of smell. If it cannot see you, it will lose interest in you soon enough." He did not wait to see if the woman did as he bade. As soon as he released her, his attention was already back on the Metal Head threat.

One Metal Jacket hovered a little higher, its tail coiling tightly beneath it. Damas knew the signs of a charging attack, and he quickly snatched up a fire poker leaning next to one of the blazing braziers that circled the edge of the commons. He waited only long enough for it to commit itself to the attack before hurling the poker through the air. The tip speared the Metal Head with deadly precision, and the creature screeched in pain as it fell, sending the other Metal Heads scattering. When its body hit the ground, it was with enough force to knock the gem right out of its head.

In the brief reprieve that followed, the Damas strode swiftly to his fallen enemy to retrieve the poker from its side. It was not the ideal weapon for a situation such as this, but it was better than being unarmed. One grim glance confirmed that the other two Metal Jackets had backed off and were warily sizing him up. They no longer focused on the last of the villagers that were frantically scrambling away.

Damas allowed himself a humorless smirk as he shifted into a battle-ready stance. "That's right," he said, lifting the poker. "I am the bigger threat."

The words were met with an angry buzz, two from in front and - behind! Whirling, Damas leaped to the side, and his stomach gave a sickening jolt as dark eco nearly slammed into it. That had been far too close! But there was no time to retaliate - the first two Metal Heads were already launching their own attacks. Jumping backwards out of their path, the king lashed out with the poker at one of the braziers. Sparks flew up and coals scattered through the air, and while the Metal Heads themselves had natural armor, their wings had no such protection. Screeching in rage, they quickly recoiled.

It was a temporary distraction at best, but it gave Damas an opening to concentrate on the one that had just flown in. Launching himself at the tiered seating that circled the platform, he took the rows two at a time, then jumped off and swung the poker at the third Metal Head before it could realize what he was doing. The poker slammed into its side with the sickening crunch of broken exoskeleton, and it was dead before it even fell.

But not before it let loose a final dark eco blast.

At this range and in midair, there was no way to dodge. Damas cried out in pain as it bit through his armor and burned like the strongest of acids. He almost didn't feel when he hit the ground. Gasping, he struggled to push himself back up. He couldn't afford to lie down!

He didn't quite make it to his feet before the next attack came, and he had to force his muscles to obey just to throw himself to the side. Snarling at his weakness, he gripped the rod in his hand. He did not want to throw it again, but he needed to buy more time! This was hardly his first exposure to dark eco. If he had another minute for his body to recover-

Wham!

Something small and wooden smashed into one of the Metal Jackets, staggering it and sending the other screeching back with alarm. Damas wasted no time in taking advantage of the distraction, using the poker to shove himself back to his feet before lunging forward to strike at the creature that had fallen too close to the ground. Even with his muscles still trembling with the aftereffects of dark eco, the blow had enough strength behind it to knock loose the Metal Head's gem.

The person who had come to his assistance darted past him, another stool in hand, which he flung with determination at the other Metal Head. Damas barely had time to register the green-blond hair before the young man turned around to grab his arm. Blue eyes met his and Damas stiffened. It was Jak.

But it wasn't. It was as though someone had taken Jak and erased lines, years from his face. Damas opened his mouth.

But the boy didn't give him a chance to speak. Pulling insistently, he turned and started to run, the buzz of more Metal Jackets coming in from the dock giving more than enough reason why. With a curse, Damas shoved his questions aside and concentrated on keeping up. Questions could come later. Right now they had to survive!

Unfortunately, before they had even made it ten steps, two more Metal Jackets flew over the bridge they were headed toward, their tails already charging attacks. The boy next to him skidded to a halt, a flicker of indecision on his face. He glanced at Damas, then behind them towards the cluster of Metal Heads that were closing in fast.

Damas's stomach sank in a way that had nothing to do with the dark eco that had hit him. "There are too many of them for us to fight," he said, even as he readied the poker. "Unless you have a gun or a similar weapon-"

The boy's eyes snapped to him. Damas narrowed his eyes at the expression on his face.

"You have an idea?"

In response, the blond's hand tightened around his arm, and he tugged Damas once - toward the dock - before letting go and dashing ahead. Damas frowned at the lack of any verbal explanation, but again there was no time to do anything but act. Following in the boy's footsteps, he leaped down the short steps that led to the wooden dock that had been built off to the side. Behind him, he could hear the crackle of dark eco hitting stone. Another blast tore through a stack of sandbags, spraying sand and dark eco through the air. Damas hissed as the stuff pelted his skin. Apparently they'd moved none too soon.

The boy didn't stop running until he reached the edge of the dock. For a moment, Damas thought he was going to jump into the boat that was tied there - a foolhardy plan that the Wastelander would have quickly shot down - but instead he pulled a fist back and smashed through one of the barrels stacked in front of it. Yellow light flared as eco, of all things, spilled out from between the slats.

Then the boy thrust his hands into the eco - but instead of burning him, it swirled and sank into his skin. Damas sucked in a sharp breath in shock.

He was channeling, a skill Damas had only ever seen displayed by his line. And he was doing it with apparent ease as he threw a bolt of pure eco straight at the Metal Heads that were darting between the platform columns. The first bolt had barely left his hand before he threw another, then another, aiming with deadly skill. One Metal Head dodged, but two others were not so lucky. Their death shrieks had not even finished echoing before their corpses hit the ground. It was difficult for Damas not to stare at the boy.

Who in the name of Mar was he?

But they were far from safe just yet, and an angry rasp from the Metal Heads pulled his attention more thoroughly than even the shock of finding someone who could channel. Tensing, his eyes snapped to the nearest enemy even as he noted that there were more coming in from the water. The one that had escaped the boy's initial attack hovered and buzzed again, a telltale glow of dark energy building around its stinger. The boy threw another blast at it, but it darted behind a pillar. The yellow eco exploded harmlessly, and then the Metal Jacket flew back.

This one was smart.

"I will deal with the ones on the dock," Damas said grimly. "Focus your attention on the reinforcements." With only a limited supply of eco that would soon fade from his body, the boy's efforts would be better spent on targets Damas could not reach.

The youth nodded once, his expression just as grim, and he shifted his body so his back was to Damas, yellow eco still flaring as he lifted a hand. Damas never took his eyes off the pillars. Any minute now...

The last thing he expected was a bright blue beam that ripped across the sky. The beam lanced right between the dock and the Metal Heads before bursting into a fountain that enveloped the whole bay. Startled by this development, the Metal Heads flying in from the water frantically veered away, but some were too close to avoid coming in contact with the shimmering wall. Even from this distance, Damas could hear their shrieks and the violent crackle of energy, and there was no mistaking the Metal Head gems that fell into the water.

A very deadly wall.

From the corner of his eye, Damas saw his companion tense. Then abruptly a look of relief crossed his face and he ducked out from behind the Wasteland king to hurl a blast of yellow eco at the Metal Jacket that still hovered on the dock. His aim was just as true as before. Within moments the Metal Head's screech had faded and the only sound to be heard was the tinkle of its gem as tumbled across wooden planks. Then that too stopped, and there was silence - silence except for the distant hum of the force field's energy.

Still gripping his poker, though, Damas refused to allow himself to relax. He scanned the area, looking for any other Metal Heads they might have missed. Beside him, the boy did the same. Finally, he glanced in the direction of the energy beam's source.

No Metal Heads, but there was a man hopping across the plontoons, heading away from a machine on the far side of the bay that was producing the energy beam. The boy who was not Jak seemed to take this as a signal to drop his defensive stance and dart back across the dock toward the steps that led to the main platform. The yellow eco around him started flickering, then winked out.

Damas frowned and followed behind him.

It was fairly obvious the youth was intent on meeting the man, but his steps faltered before he'd made it halfway across the commons. Damas could see the blood drain from his face when his eyes landed on the body of one of the villagers who had fallen in the attack. Wide-eyed, the boy dropped to his knees beside the ravaged body, his hand flying to the small man's neck to try to feel for a pulse. Damas just folded his arms and stood silently to the side. He already knew what the boy would find.

"Jak!"

Damas jerked his attention from the boy to the rail-thin man who was hurrying up the last bridge. Then instinctively he swept the area for the young man in question - but there was no sign of him. What?

Oblivious to the king's confusion, the newcomer headed straight for the blond teenager, the staff in his hand clacking as it tapped the ground. "Jak!" he said again. "Oh, thank the Precursors! I was emphatically concerned that those dastardly creatures might have done you bodily harm before I could activate the shield!"

The boy looked up and shook his head, distressed, then gestured to the man on the ground. The blue-skinned man caught the motion and looked down. All traces of relief quickly vanished from his face. "Oh dear," he murmured. Anxious energy subdued, he lowered himself while using his staff for support. Sadly, he touched the man's jaw, then eyes, closing them. "His last bet..."

The words seemed to set something off inside the boy, because he lurched to his feet, hands clenched into fists. With sharp, angry movements, he pointed at a Metal Head carcass, eyes demanding something from the old man before him.

The man just shook his head and straightened back up. "I am as ignorant as you are, Jak," he said. "I've never seen anything like them."

The frown on Damas's face deepened even more. "Jak?" he echoed suspiciously. It couldn't be.

But the boy blinked and turned to regard him in response.

What was going on?

-End Chapter Four-

Date: 2011-04-06 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ratzels.livejournal.com
I've here via TV Tropes, as this was a recommended J&D story. I've enjoyed (and am intrigued by) what I've read; are you likely to continue this?

Date: 2011-04-06 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lithic-rune.livejournal.com
What? No, wait, what? This was recommended somewhere? I'm just completely mind-boggled by this! How did it end up getting recommended anywhere, let alone on TV Tropes? I haven't done any advertising for Reset or posted it anywhere except my journal. It's barely even started, not something I'd expect to get attention. [/stares] You're serious?

To answer your question, I don't know. Real life kind of crashed down on me and tossed me out of the frame of mind to write this. Sometimes I can get that frame of mind back, but other times not. That's why I've stopped posting things outside of my journal until after they are finished.

The best answer I can give you is that I haven't given up on it yet, but I don't know when I will update again. Still, I'm very glad you like it! Thanks for dropping me a note!

Date: 2011-04-06 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ratzels.livejournal.com
S'truth! (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanficRecs/JakAndDaxter) (I had previously read—and liked—A Matter of Time.) If you recognize the troper, feel free to chastize or thank them at your leisure.

I hope life comes together for you; best of luck! :)

Date: 2011-04-06 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lithic-rune.livejournal.com
Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm incredibly flattered. It just took me by surprise.

Thank you again for your comments and support. I really appreciate both. <3

Date: 2012-03-16 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sekiharatae.livejournal.com
I also found my way here from tvtropes. I'm sorry to see this hasn't had any movement in almost a year, as it's exactly what the fandom needs: it's well-written; a new, unexplored plotline; and an idea that players do (I think) wonder about. I mean, I wondered what happened to everyone in the past when the gate opened. I didn't consider Damas going back, but I did wonder about the other sages and such.

I hope you get to return to this in the future!

Date: 2012-06-14 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] countvampire.livejournal.com
Absolutely amazing; I sincerely hope there is plans to continue this.

Date: 2012-10-11 09:48 am (UTC)
ext_48803: ([epitaph] DIAMONDS)
From: [identity profile] alanahikarichan.livejournal.com
Another TV Troper who followed the J&D recs page over here! <3

I know very well what it's like to run out of steam or time for a story, but it was still a pleasure to read what there was of this one, and to blaze through A Matter Of Time beforehand. You have a great sense of voice-- you know you're doing it right when the readers can hear the voiceactors reading the lines in their heads, hee-- and you have some super-fascinating ideas. I would read EVERYTHING you wrote about Damas and Jak and time travel for forever. C: In fact, I think I'm gonna go poke around your fanfic tag a little more now...

Date: 2012-11-05 09:41 pm (UTC)
smashqueen: (Dream-Mist)
From: [personal profile] smashqueen
Ah, darn. End of the line. I like the ideas here of Damas going back in time, how the eco grid was first set up, and how Jak would fight off Metal Heads without a gun. You captured the characters perfectly and I love your version of Jak. Ever since "A Matter of Time" I've been wanting to see more of him and then I find out you typed this. It was quite a treat! I'd love to see more, but I know what it is like when you've been jolted out of a specific frame of mind. I hope things are going well for you now.

Thanks for the peek into an alternate timeline. It was fun while it lasted. :)

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