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Hi all! First attempt at fanfiction, inspired by a discussion about the ridiculousness of the Kanohi Faxon. It got me thinking about creative ways one could annoy people using the mask- and what might happen to Jaller if he and Hahli ever had a massive argument. Basically it takes the good old "wife makes husband sleep on couch" cliche in a new direction. A bit fluffy, a bit cracky, and definitely shippy (Jaller x Hahli or Jaller x Hahli x Takanuva, depending on your interpretation)- I thought the style was more like a short story, though it could easily qualify as a comedy, so please move if appropriate. The idea was for a silly fic that was still mostly consistent with the canon "rules". Enjoy! The Argument For the third evening in a row, Toa Jaller was regretting not being a bit more discerning when he bought the furniture for his home in New Atero. Not that there had been much to choose from at the time- Bara Magna’s furniture industry hadn’t exactly been thriving since the Shattering… But if he’d waited a few more weeks for the Matoran to get settled back into crafting, he could have got something much nicer than the battered, threadbare brown couch he was currently stretched out on. It was probably well over a thousand years old, and parts of it had clearly been scavenged for other uses at some point. Something metallic was jabbing him in the back. He rolled over and shoved the wayward spring back down where it belonged. Jaller wasn’t fussy about couches. It wasn’t as though Toa spent much time sitting down anyway, he’d reasoned. And he certainly hadn’t considered the possibility that somebody might need to sleep on it at some point. Or that the “somebody” might be him. Now, beds- beds were a different story. He’d been very particular about the bed. Toa need to sleep properly when the lives of others are in their hands. Perhaps they’d gone a bit overboard with the bed. It was large and strong enough to withstand a bellyflop from a Toa Kaita (which he knew from experience- the Agori furniture salesman had nearly fainted at the sight), and the mattress was very comfortable. It was a great bed. Too bad he wasn’t currently allowed to use it. It was still light outside. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to sleep for several hours, regardless of how much he might want to. Toa really only needed to sleep every few days- they could go for about a week without if they had to- but he’d been helping build the new Great Furnace in Ta-Atero. His muscles ached, and he knew his ability to focus had been compromised. But it wasn’t just the horrible couch or the aches and pains keeping him awake. Takanuva had disappeared off to Bota Magna as part of an expedition led by Onua Nuva over three weeks ago and hadn’t come back- Jaller and Hahli had been out on another mission when Takanuva was unexpectedly recruited, so they hadn’t even been able to say goodbye. And as often as he told himself the Toa of light would be okay, his hope was fading by the day. He was starting to plan a search party of his own, but had no idea where to start looking. And then there was the whole mess between him and Hahli, which showed no signs of being – Click. Jaller sat bolt upright . Click. Rattle. Click click. Yes, that was definitely the sound of a key in the front door. “Hello? Anyone home?” called a familiar voice. Jaller leapt to his feet and ran down the hall. He was startled to see a mottled green figure hunched under a heavy pack trudge through the door, but relaxed upon seeing the familiar shape of the Kanohi Avokhii as the figure discarded his backpack and stood up straight. “Jaller!” cried Takanuva, flinging his arms around the Toa of Fire. “How are you?” “Tired, but a bit better now.” said Jaller vaguely, “More importantly, how are you?” “Good! Yeah, really good! I was-” “Oh? Are you sure? You’re looking a bit… green.” The pun would normally be well beneath Jaller’s dignity, but he was tired, and Takanuva was back, so it didn’t really matter. “Hm? Oh, yeah, the camouflage!” He switched back to his normal white and gold colouration, revealing a thick layer of mud and grime crusting his armour. “Uh… I guess I should get Hahli to squirt me down before I get any further…” “Don’t worry about that,” said Jaller a little too quickly, then had an idea. “Hold still”. He touched one of the dirty patches on Takanuva’s shoulder armour, causing only the surface to heat up without affecting the organic tissue beneath. The muck dried up into a brittle coating that flaked away easily. “You should get Nuparu to make a machine that does that,” said Takanuva, looking impressed as Jaller worked at the rest of his armour. “Water-free bathtimes! He’d make a killing with the Le-Matoran market.” “You’ll still need a bath later,” said Jaller with a sniff. “You’ve still got that boggy smell, but at least you won’t make the whole house look like a swamp-There,” he said when he had finished, handing Takanuva a brush. “Go dust yourself off outside.” Takanuva obliged. Jaller got a cloth and started wiping up the muddy footprints. He wondered how he was going to explain about Hahli… A few minutes later, Takanuva had flopped down on the couch, and Jaller was hearing tales of laser-powered lizards, plant people, and awkward rescues. “So you found him?” “Lewa? Yeah! He was sort of being held prisoner by a tribe of Agori, but he’d sort of made friends with them, so he was sort of happy that we rescued him, but… well, it’s complicated, apparently. Anyway, he made sure Onua didn’t beat anyone up too badly, so I think it went well. He promised them he’d come back to visit now and then.” “And what if they kidnap him again?” “Then at least we’ll know where to find him. Besides, I think they’re all too scared of Onua to try that.” Takanuva chuckled. “So, is Hahli not home?” “Not sure, might have to check,” lied Jaller. “Want some tea?” “Oh, yeah, that’d be great- I can make it if you like-” He moved to rise. Jaller dismissed his offer with a wave. “Faster if I do it.” he said, and then left for the kitchen. Jalle waved his hand over the dry wood in the stove, causing flames to instantly spring up. He filled a pot and hung it over the fire to boil. He could have snapped his fingers and boiled it immediately, but it never seemed to taste quite the same when he did that. Besides, he needed to do a quick detour before getting back to Takanuva. Jaller trudged down the hall, arrived at the bedroom door and thumped loudly on it three times with his fist. “Takanuva’s back, if you felt like being sociable,” he called gruffly to the room’s occupant. There was no response. Well, he supposed that was to be expected given how the last few days had been. He returned to the living room with two mugs of tea, setting them down on the table in front of Takanuva. The Toa of Light looked uncharacteristically serious. “Did… something happen between you and Hahli?” asked Takanuva. Jaller froze. His silence was as good as a “yes” as far as Takanuva was concerned. “How do you mean?” said Jaller warily. Takanuva gestured to the blanket and pillow crumpled in a pile on the couch next to him. “You’ve been sleeping in here,” he observed. “Long story,” muttered Jaller. “Short version?” Jaller sighed. “I’m sleeping in the living room because my bed has been hijacked by a giant blue Muaka.” he said finally. “You don’t need to be sarcastic.” “I’m not.” There was a pause. Takanuva’s eyes widened as he processed this information. “You mean there really is a Muaka?” “Yes.” “On the bed.” “Yes.” “A real Muaka?” “No.” A look of confusion crossed the Toa of Light’s face, but Jaller offered no further explanation. “Can I see it?” asked Takanuva after a few seconds’ silence. “Go ahead. Maybe you can talk some sense into her. Wouldn’t advise getting too close, though.” While Takanuva somewhat doubted his ability to “talk some sense” into large, carnivorous wild animals, his curiosity once again triumphed over his self preservation instincts. Forgetting about the tea, he jumped to his feet and made his way down the hall. Cautiously, he opened the bedroom door and peered inside. Yes, there was indeed a large, feline Rahi curled up on the bed, eyes closed, its massive head resting lazily upon its forelimbs. And yes, it did look like a Muaka, more or less… but there were a few odd features that stood out. Like the presence of two powerful, clawed hind legs in place of treads. And the colouring was all wrong. Muaka were yellow and black- this one was mostly deep blue, with occasional patches of lime green. But most peculiar of all was the pair of little silver fins- tiny and delicate in comparison to the rest of the beast- protruding ridiculously from the creature’s broad, muscular back. Takanuva wondered at first how it could have possibly got in there- it was too big to fit through the Toa-sized doorway, or any of the windows for that matter. His attention was suddenly drawn back to the strange creature’s fins- bizarre and out of place, and yet oddly familiar. His eyes widened in horror as he suddenly recognised the silver appendages- and the creature they belonged to. “H-Hahli?” he choked. The feline Toa of Water opened one amber eye and gave a soft grunt of acknowledgement before getting back to her nap. “What happened-?” Takanuva started, cautiously moving towards her. “Somebody figured out she could borrow the Krahka’s shapeshifting power using the Faxon, and decided to exploit it for the purpose of throwing a tantrum, that’s what happened,” said Jaller bluntly. Takanuva’s horrified expression instantly dissolved into a massive grin. Partly out of relief that Hahli hadn’t had an overdose of Hordika venom or lost a fight with Roodaka in his absence, and partly at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. Any delusions he’d had about Toa being unfailingly wise, majestic beings untroubled by petty concerns had been dispelled long ago (well, within a few days of first meeting Tahu, actually). He’d seen a variety of Toa sulks, tantrums and hissy-fits over the years- but this… this took sulking to a new level. He had to give points for Hahli’s ingenuity. Although, he supposed, her approach was much safer that angrily throwing fireballs around, at least. “I can’t leave you two alone for a minute, can I?” said Takanuva, shaking his head. “You’re one to talk,” Jaller snapped. Takanuva whirled around, surprised at his tone. Jaller composed himself and elaborated. “We were out for less than a day, and came back to find you’d trotted off to Bota Magna to go frolicking through the forest with the laser lizards for Mata-Nui-know-how-long, and we didn’t see you again for three weeks! What do you call that?” “Is that your way of saying that you missed me?” said Takanuva innocently. Jaller still looked stern. “Besides, that wasn’t my idea… for once… and Lewa sort of needed rescuing. Y’know how you’re always going on about that duty thing I’m supposed to do?” “Mmhm… fair enough…” Jaller murmured vaguely. “Just… just don’t take off like that again anytime soon ‘kay?” It was then that Takanuva realised how Jaller must have worried about him, and how much it had drained the Toa of Fire, though he’d never admit it outright. He put a reassuring arm around Jaller’s shoulder, and the two gazed at the Muaka-shaped Toa occupying the bed. Takanuva noticed that the Kanohi Faxon was now attached to Hahli’s cheek, like he had seen on some of Makuta’s infected creatures. “So,” he said to Jaller, “If you pulled her mask off right now, do you think she’d change back? Or would she be stuck like that?” “I’d be in even more trouble either way, so I can’t say I really care to find out,” said Jaller flatly, looking at the wicked talons on Hahli’s forepaws. “You can try… if you don’t particularly value your life.” Takanuva chuckled, and released Jaller. “Oh, no, I’m not taking sides in this one- ‘specially since you haven’t even told me what you two are fighting about.” A grunt from Jaller indicated that this was not about to change. “But I do want you to get some sleep, and… I want you two to get this sorted out… I don’t like to see you and Hahli fight,” he paused briefly as Hahli yawned and stretched out her forelegs. Her fins gave a comical little flap, and her head swayed from side to side, before she once again settled down, paws crossed, watching her fellow Toa intently. The Toa of light grinned again. “Even if it is ever-so-slightly hilarious.” “Oh, yes. Hysterical.” said Jaller curtly. He glared at the blue creature. “Well, Hahli, I’m glad you’ve found someone who thinks you’re funny. A rare and precious treasure indeed.” “Cheer up,” said Takanuva, nudging him. “I mean, it could be much worse, couldn’t it?” Jaller glowered at him. “She can use all the Kanoka powers of the Rahi Nui, remember?” The Toa of light continued. “Freezing… teleportation… shrinking… I mean, having to sleep on the couch might not be fun, but at least you’re not sleeping on the other side of the planet… Or in a matchbox.” Takanuva managed to keep a straight face for about half a second before the mental image caught up with him, and he burst out giggling. The blue Muaka gave a low, rumbling sound that might almost have been a chortle. A faint smile even tugged at Jaller’s lips, though there was a slight look of worry in his eyes. “Don’t give her ideas,” he told Takanuva, as if possibly ending up one inch tall and being used to light candles was a serious concern of his. Takanuva reasoned that regardless of her current appearance, if Hahli was in a good enough mood to laugh at his jokes, he was probably safe around her, so he plucked up the courage to get closer. “Hello Hahli,” he murmured, crouching down in front of the Muaka’s massive head. The Rahi-shaped Toa extended her neck forward, brushing her snout against Takanuva’s shoulder. “Yeah, I missed you too,” Takanuva told her, and then, resisting all of his body’s natural survival instincts, put his arm around the great feline’s neck. A growl of disgust from Jaller made Takanuva turn around. “I told you, Jaller, I’m not taking sides,” said the Toa of Light calmly. “Look, I don’t know exactly what happened between you two, and I realise it can’t have been good, but I still care about both of you, and that’s not going to change just because one of you has turned into a big, growling, surly sulk-monster and the other one has turned into a Muak- Aaaaah!” For while his back was turned, the beast of the bedroom had struck. A powerful foreleg had whipped around, seized the Toa of light by the waist, and in a split second he found himself sitting upright on the bed, held tight against the Muaka’s torso, like a plush doll being cuddled by a small Agori child. Hahli’s claws had never touched him- he was pinned down by the strength of the huge limb resting across his legs- powerful, but surprisingly light. The feline gave a low yowl at the Toa of Fire. Jaller thought it sounded suspiciously like the word “Mine.” He shook his head. “Great, now she’s started taking hostages.” “Little help here?” gasped Takanuva. Jaller just shrugged. “I did warn you not to get too close” he said, still having not quite forgiven Takanuva for the “sulk-monster” remark. He gave an exaggerated yawn. “Besides, as you know, I’m very tired right now, so if you two are all set up for the night, I think I should go have my nap. Good night.” “I don’t know why I bothered coming back to you jerks!” Takanuva called out as Jaller walked out the door. “I should have just stayed in Bota Magna with the laser-saurs!” And then, as an afterthought, “I didn’t even get to have my tea!” Resigning himself to his fate, Takanuva reached out and grabbed a pillow from the bedhead, stuffed it behind his shoulders, and tried to get comfortable against the wall of armour and muscle that Toa Hahli’s torso currently resembled. Hahli’s enormous head snaked around and nuzzled against his chest. “No, don’t start that, you horrible creature,” he muttered. But in spite of himself, he soon found his knuckles brushing gently against the Muaka’s forehead as he drifted off to sleep. --- Later in the night, Jaller, in spite of his intent on napping, was still wide awake. It hadn’t been fair on Takanuva for him to come back to this mess. Takanuva generally didn’t hang around awkward situations or difficult people very long. If they carried on like this, he’d be gone again before they knew it. And the fact that he was unable to tell Takanuva- of all people- what had happened- that was very telling. It sounded bad because it was. He knew it was his fault. And he had to fix it. He hauled himself off the couch and made his way towards the bedroom. “Hahli, ” he whispered. No response. Takanuva was in the same spot he’d been left in, curled up, fast asleep, but the feline was now stretched out on her back, all four limbs in the air. Jaller wondered how she’d got like that without waking Takanuva. “Hahli!” There was a high-pitched trilling noise, like Pewku used to make when woken, and the amber eyes cracked open. They regarded Jaller with a mixture of curiosity and annoyance. “I wanted to tell you I’m sorry,” he said. No response. “I am. And it’s okay if you can’t forgive me right away… but, I just wanted you to know that.” He pointed at Takanuva. “Just… don’t take it out on him, okay? We’re both being unreasonable idiots towards each other, and we’re gonna end up hurting him as well if we keep this up. But I know I started it all, so… just… don’t become a horrible person because of me, okay?” The Muaka sighed, and gave an upside-down nod. “Okay,” said Toa Hahli. Her voice was slightly growly, but still recognisable. Jaller was caught off guard by the talking Muaka- so much so that he didn’t see its head whip round to knock him to the side. “Oof!” This was followed up by a swipe of the paw, scooping him up onto her chest and pinning him there. “Still gonna be a horrible Rahi for a bit, though,” said the horrible Rahi, sighing with satisfaction at her most recent “prey”. Jaller sighed. At least they were on speaking terms now. The underbelly of the Muaka was mostly soft organic tissue, Jaller found, running a hand around it. Certainly softer than the couch, anyway. He might almost get a decent half a night’s sleep here... provided Hahli didn’t roll on him. The surface beneath his body began to buzz with a low growly sound. It caught him off guard at first, before he realised what it was. “Pretty sure Muaka don’t purr, Hahli,” he muttered sleepily. Within a few minutes, the purr was intermingled with his snores.
I've got reservations/about so many things/but not about you-Wilco, Reservations ~Author's Note~ I seriously don't know what this is. I planned it as a fluffy break to my depressing Those Who Burn series. Then it happened, and ended up forcing me to stay up till two in the morning to finish it. It couldn't decide which tense it was in either, and generally caused a lot of stress that it was supposed to mediate. And it isn't even fluff. It's like fluffy angst. Angty fluff? Flangst? I have no idea, you tell me. As always, comments, criticism, and stuffed animals are appreciated. Too Early by Yukiko Takanuva paused and conjured a small ball of light, illuminating the stone stairs above him. He tread softly, even though he knew there was no reason to be quiet. Or perhaps there was. He tried not to think about it. Jaller sat on a stone stool, which along with the table he was leaning on, appeared to be carved from the same huge stone as the round room Takanuva now stood in. A small lightstone hanging from the ceiling provided the only other light in the room. There was hardly enough to see by, let alone read whatever maps Jaller was currently perusing. Takanuva was about to clear his throat when the toa of fire turned to look directly at him. Jaller flinched momentarily at the sudden light, then met Takanuva's gaze. "Takanuva...could you put that out? Its dangerous; we don't want to attract attention." "It's dark, you know I can't see as well as you." "Well, try going outside.""Isn't that dangerous too?" "Not...look. Takanuva, I don't have time for this. Why do you need to consult me?" Consult...Takanuva sighed and put out the light, casting his gaze towards the far side of the room. The light behind him went out, and for a moment he was sure that he was going to trip. Then he felt Jaller's hand on his elbow, guiding him. He didn't look up to meet his friend's eyes. This helpless feeling made him uneasy, more so because he knew that a few days ago he wouldn't have been helpless. A few days ago he would have been able to feel every shadow like it was an extension of his own body. Something, moss maybe, brushed past his face and then he was outside, under a cold sky filled with stars. Ga-metru lay spread out before him, its still pools of water reflecting the sky. "So what is it?"Jaller leaned on the edge of the small stone balcony, looking out over the city. Takanuva studied his friend's face. With the golden hau he wore now, he looked much the same as he had when Takanuva had last truly spoken to him. He remembered the look on Jaller's face as they pressed their hands together, not quite touching because of the invisible barrier. The way his eyes screamed Go, and something else, something that Takanuva regrets not saying as well. There were different barriers between them now, and Takanuva's old regrets had turned into something sharper, more urgent. He had no idea where to begin. Jaller's eyes glowed brightly, too bright for any normal toa. They were the only thing obviously different in his face. Takanuva wondered if he could absorb that light. He wanted to take in all of Jaller's pain and memorize the toa of fire in front of him, so familiar and yet so changed. But there was not enough time for that. Jaller turned to face him. His earlier annoyance seemed to have faded, replaced with something softer. He looked almost–Sorry."I heard about what happened to you in Karda Nui. "Exactly."Who told you—wait no let me guess: Gali?" Jaller winced. "Nokama actually, but you're half-right. Gali told her. She was worried." "About me? Why did she come to you? Isn't Tahu my leader?" Takanuva regretted the words as soon as they came out of his mouth, but instead of snapping at him the toa of fire just sighed and scratched his head."Well, I have this strange feeling I've known you before..." Takanuva punched him in the arm. It hurt more than he expected and he found himself shaking his hand out and wincing at the pain. Jaller tried and failed to keep a straight face. "Besides," he said, his smirk vanishing, "you are here, so she must have been partly right. This is about that, isn't it?" "Sort of." Takanuva stole a glance at the city below them. He couldn't see much, but he could swear that there was something moving in the streets below. "Don't think about it," Jaller said. "That's how he gets to you. You shouldn't let your imagination run away with you." "But the Makuta controls—" "Sight isn't the only sense. Close your eyes for a moment." "What?" Takanuva asked, confused. "Just do it. Close your eyes and listen." Takanuva obeyed. The first thing he noticed was his own breathing. Then he picked up Jaller's, slower and more measured. Beyond that there was—Nothing. No sound of some creature of the night, but also nothing else. No chirping of small insect rahi, no humming of machinery. Ga-metru had always been a quiet place, a place of reflection, but there was something oppressive and hard about this silence. He thought he could pick up the sound of water running somewhere, but even it seemed muffled, as if it was trying to avoid making too much noise. "It's too quiet," he said, opening his eyes and looking into Jaller's. The toa of fire nodded. "Rahkshi are loud...really loud. We'd hear one if it was coming. But when they don't...I miss the noise sometimes. I never really noticed all the little sounds before, and in that way—I wouldn't say I'm grateful for the darkness, but I understand it more now. It isn't all evil, you know, the night. Sometimes it helps you notice things you never did before." A few years ago, Takanuva would have immediately opened his mouth and teased Jaller about sounding like a turaga. Jaller would always have these sorts of lessons directed at him, though before they had been of the "don't pick up anything you see on the ground" variety. Now he could only stare back at his old friend. He could only feel helplessly grateful. He supposed that was why he kissed Jaller. The next few seconds, he didn't really register anything beside Jaller's hands around his waist and the feeling of his lips and that he was kissing back. Then, Takanuva returned to reality and the other toa's hands were pushing him gently but firmly away. "Takua...I don't—"Jaller looked into his eyes, searching for something. "What was that exactly?" "A question? I don't know, I—"He didn't know. The way Jaller had looked at him had been different and he had just acted, because he knew there was was a chance that he would never—Oh right."I'm leaving," he said. "Tomorrow. Somewhere the South, I can't...""Tell me? So you just thought you would come up here and kiss me goodbye and—"The toa of fire hid his face in his hands, rubbing his tired eyes."Its been a long time, Takanuva. We[/font]'ve both changed.""Takua.""What?""You can call me Takua. It's not like we've changed that much. You still worry like a mother ash-bear." "And you still have the caution of fledgling gukko."They lock eyes for a moment, and then they were laughing, breaking the silence of the night, and it didn't matter that they were probably attracting far too much attention. He had missed this. Missed Jaller; missed the days when he was still Takua and danger was an adventure.When the stitch in his side loosened, and he looked at Jaller again, his friend was smiling, truly smiling, not the sad little upturns of the mouth that Takanuva had seen until now. Takanuva wanted desperately to kiss him again.Then the smile vanished, replaced with what Takanuva knew his own face must have looked liked before."I'm leaving too, you know."Takanuva felt the barrier between them click back into place."And you can't tell me?""I suppose it's safer that way. I mean if—"Takanuva clutched the raining. "You always, come back. Remember? You're invincible."He turned to his friend. The last words had only been half a joke."You must think very highly of me."Takanuva forced himself to keep Jallers eyes. He reminded himself that it might be all he had now. Then Jaller's hand was on top of his, and he had to force himself not to jump away in shock."But you're not. And like you said, I worry like a mother ash bear."His voice sounded unsteady, and the fact that he might never see Jaller again hit Takanuva with full force. Jaller intertwined his fingers with his, and Takanuva closed his eyes. He really wanted to scream, but the paranoia had returned. His throat ached and his eyes stung. He was almost grateful that the Order forbade him to tell anyone else about his mission, because he didn't know how he would be able to go through this again. Yet at the same time, the idea of not seeing Macku or Kopeke or any of the others made him go cold all over. They could die too, and he wouldn't even have this goodbye to give them. It was just all so unfair and Takanuva hated how much it upset him.Jaller pulled him close, and he surrendered to the pain in his eyes and throat. The tears felt hot poring down his face, and he knew that he must be shaking and babbling incoherently, but he didn't care. He could feel Jaller's hand rubbing circles on his back.Takanuva didn't know anything about love. He couldn't name the point where their friendship ended and this, whatever it was, began. Perhaps it was that moment that he left Jaller and his other friends stranded on the other side of that gate, when he turned and began to feel that persistent ache of Jaller's absence in his chest. But it didn't have a name then, and Takanuva had groped for that name ever since, as the ache continued to grow. Perhaps then, when the Order told Takanuva that he could only tell one person of his mission, he came because he needed too, because the pain had stopped being bearable.But he was done thinking. He felt drained and his wet face felt hot against the crook of Jaller's neck. He removed himself from the other toa's arms and managed a smile."So you can't tell me anything? Even where you're going."He had at least known that before.Jallers mouth twitched. "It's going to involve swimming, I know that.""What's breathing under water like?" Takanuva asked. He used to ask these sorts of questions all the time. He took Jaller's hand, but this time it didn't feel awkward or desperate. It felt natural, this connection between them."Its a bit different from having a Kaukau. It's like I have to breath the water, but I don't really think about it any more. Of course I was too busy dodging things getting thrown at me to notice it at first.""That's kind of weird.""Well, guess you don't get to be the different one all the time."Karzahni. He was done crying and this was not the time to go back there. But he did anyway."Do you know how I managed?""What?""When you died. I didn't think about it, I didn't think about being a toa. I just expected you to come back. And it worked—You came back. So I'm going to expect you all to be waiting for me and everything to be the same, even if it isn't. And you have to do the same thing for me."For a few seconds, Jaller only stared back. Then the toa of fire's face broke into a smile, and Takanuva blinked. In the old days, Jaller would never have smiled after hearing a speech like that. The toa of fire squeezed his hand."Promise. We'll be wise old Turaga together."Takanuva snorted. "You know, Vakama and Dume aren't actually older than us. They just use it as an excuse to boss us around.""Yes, but..." Jaller's smile faded. "They remember more. Besides, being a toa ages you. Look at us.""That's true, you're acting crusty already."Jaller rolled his eyes.Takanuva felt an irrational smile on his face. He should not be smiling like this, because he knew that he needed to leave now."I should go."If Jaller was surprised by the sudden change of subject, he didn't show it. He just raised his left hand, the one that wasn't holding Takanuva's into a fist. Takanuva raised his own fist and they clanked them together.Then Jaller was grasping both his hands and kissing him, and Takanuva held tight, because he knew this wasn't a question.It was a goodbye.