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Present Tense

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#1 Offline Saya Moonshadow

Saya Moonshadow
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Posted Nov 20 2011 - 10:54 PM

An old-ish request I did for someone on another site. I don't think I ever posted this here, and since the old forums don't want to load for me right now for some reason, here it is!


Disclaimer: I own pretty much nothing. Everything canon belongs to LEGO. The idea for this story and the prompt both belong to Gatoconbotas964.


Summary: Dume is very good at breaking up arguments.


Note: This isn't quite canon-compliant, as it deals with Dume and the Toa Metru having real interactions and implying that they interact frequently, which...was obviously not the case in canon. Um. Let's just say this is in an alternate universe where they do, k?


Present Tense

By: Saya Moonshadow


Of all things, Nuju finds he hates reflecting on the past.


So many mistakes have been made, so many...why should he want to look back on every little thing he had done wrong in his life? Why should he kill himself with every little "what if" that goes through his head on a daily basis?


What if he had hung on tighter before being sucked into that vortex in the Colosseum, what if he had realized what the "heart of Metru Nui" was, what if he had kept Vakama from betraying them, what if--


What if he had never accepted the Toa stone in the first place?


He hates his past mistakes, which is why he looks to the future, he thinks dismally. One more mistake has been made, one more mistake he has to bury and put behind him--


"I'm sorry," he tells the crying Matoran in front of him. Just one more mistake to forget...


The best friend of the Matoran he wishes he could comfort is crushed under the weight of the Knowledge Tower - the very one he spends the most time in. Surely he should have noticed something was wrong with it, should have noticed that it was unstable, should have done something about it...


But he is no engineer nor architect. He is merely a stargazer and a Toa, and this is just one more time that he is not able to save somebody.


X x X


In contrast, Whenua hates the thought of the future.


The future scares him. As with Nuju, there are many "what if's", but they are different.


What if he messes up again, what if he cannot protect his friends from a repeat of the incident with the Krahka, what if defeating Roodaka is not enough, what if something happens to him and their people are left defenseless--


What if his next mistake is the one that brings everything down around him?


It is a fear by now, a phobia that haunts him, the thought of what tomorrow will bring. No one can know what the future holds, and it is that very uncertainty that claws at him day in and day out. He prefers a schedule, one that will always fulfill itself the way it is supposed to. No surprises.


Perfection becomes a ritual for him. Everything has to go as planned. He lives predominantly in his favorite memories, never thinking forward if he can help it. Thinking forward is too painful. Too frightening.


It is better to look to the past and learn from one's mistakes. Those who do not learn from the past


(For a split second, he is back in that cold cell beneath the Colosseum, wishing he knew a way out and fearing what the false Turaga Dume and the Vahki are going to do to him and Nuju and Onewa, and the fear clogs his throat.)


are doomed to repeat it.


X x X


"It is better to look to the future. The future is bright. There is always hope."


"No there isn't. It's better to look back, to learn from your mistakes. That way, you can prevent accidents."


Nuju frowns. "You can't control everything, Whenua. There are just some things that we cannot help."


Turaga Dume looks back and forth between the two, knowing another argument is about to commence. He sighs. Will they ever learn? He has no time for this right now, they have to get this done today. What part of "today" did they not understand? Did they think he had asked them to his office merely to bicker?


His gaze lingers on the walls of his office, on the masks that were made to represent each of his fallen friends. So many of them, so, so many...so many fallen heroes. It pains him to know that they are all dead and gone, and that his own weakness was a catalyst in the death of Lhikan Mangai.


The past is painful to look at, too many mistakes have been made. Perhaps if he had recognized the corruption in Makuta Teridax and gotten word to Helryx in time, things would have turned out differently. Perhaps if he hadn't fallen prey to the Makuta's stasis spell...


But then again...a smile crosses his face every time he remembers Lhikan and the Toa Mangai, brave, proud, happy heroes that honestly made him swell with pride to be the one that they looked up to. He has so many good memories with them, and with his own team, now all dead...


What would have happened if they had not died?


The future is indeed frightening, he thinks. Who knew, perhaps one of the other towers in the district would fall and crush everyone beneath it. Or perhaps there would be a tidal wave that even Nokama cannot stop. Perhaps yet another one of those who he holds dear will succumb to death and leave him all alone again.


But there is always hope in the future. Perhaps tomorrow will bring sunlight back to their cloudy skies.


A perfect mixture, then - learning from the past, but also accepting that what will happen is impossible to know.


And so he speaks, interrupting the argument with a slight smile on his face.


"You know..." he says, "yesterday is history."


Nuju smirks, but before the Ice Toa can speak, Dume has continued. "And tomorrow is a mystery."


This time, it is Whenua who is smug, but the Earth Toa is also interrupted. "But today is a gift."


They both blink at him, uncomprehending. The Turaga smiles at them. If they don't get it now, then they will someday. "That's why it's called 'the present'," he finishes, and then hands both of them a stack of paperwork to get started on.


Ah, blessed, reflective silence.


X x X


"You know, Turaga..." Vakama says to him three weeks later, and he looks up at the Toa of Fire.


"Yes, Vakama?"


Vakama frowns contemplatively. "Something's wrong with Nuju and Whenua - they haven't been arguing about the past and the future for weeks now. Are they sick or something?"


Dume chuckles a little, patting his friend on the shoulder. Vakama is becoming more like Lhikan every day, and he is proud to be witness to it. That concern for his friends is no less than what Lhikan would have had.


"Perhaps they have come to an understanding."


"Unlikely," Vakama murmurs, but says nothing more on the subject.


X x X



Edited by Saya Moonshadow, Mar 23 2014 - 03:39 AM.

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#2 Offline Phovos

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Posted Nov 22 2011 - 09:11 AM

You know what? That was very heart-warming, but I felt the ending with Vakama spoiled it. It may be that my hatred of Vakama got in the way there, but you had a very nice little line there, "That's why it's called the present", and then you carried it on. Had you stopped there, in my opinion, it would have been the perfect ending.But I still enjoyed it.Well done.
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