A/N: Hey guys, thanks to those of you who reviewed, you're awesome. Here's the next chapter, it was pretty hairy to write, and I'm not entirely certain about it so I could really use some feedback. Thanks for reading! love xx Shezzi
“BUFFY!” shrieked Dawn, backpedaling away from the blue demons surrounding her. “Buffy, HELP!”
“Mawey, Aw’tsa, mawey,” said the nearest demon in a soft tone, reaching out one hand in an easily recognizable gesture of peace.
“Stay away from me!” shrieked Dawn, holding up her own hand to ward them off. She shrieked again as she took it in, in all of its blue, four fingered glory. She was on her feet a moment later, staring down at her body. “What the hell did you do to me?” she demanded, terrified. A flicker of movement caught the corner of her eye, and her head snapped around. She stared in horror at the tail that was definitely attached to her own body before her eyes rolled up in her head and she collapsed. Tsu’tey caught her and laid her carefully on the ground once more, although he watched her with much greater trepidation now..”She was speaking the Sky People language,”
mumbled Eytukan, staring at his daughter. “Why was she speaking the Sky People language?””We need Grace,”
declared Mo’at. When the others just looked at her, she rolled her eyes at them. We need someone who can talk to her, explain to her. She didn’t seem to understand us.””I will go to their landing place, bring her as fast as possible,”
Neytiri declared, standing. ”They will be arriving soon. I will bring her straight here.””Bring me a blanket,”
Mo’at ordered, and one of the children in the crowd rushed to obey. She quickly spread it over her child’s body, tucking it loosely around her so that she would not feel trapped in it, but so that it would gently warm her body, which was oddly cold to the touch.
She wasn’t showing any signs of coming around soon, so Mo’at gathered her in her arms and carried her to one of the sleeping hollows low in the trunk of the tree, the holes used by families with young children, and laid her in it. Eytukan followed behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning his head against hers as they stared down at the child who they had mourned without being able to lay to rest. Tears were running down Mo’at’s face as she thought of the terror and anger on the face of her child as she stared at her as though she was a stranger. ”What did they do to her?”
she asked softly, turning her face into her mate’s neck. ”What did they do to my baby?”
Her mate just growled his anger and held her tighter, swaying slightly from side to side.
Neytiri ran to a pa’li, jumping on its back and making Tse’heylu at the same time, urging it into the jungle almost before she was settled on its bare back. She told herself that the tears were from the wind stinging her eyes, not from the pain and fear she had witnessed in her sisters face as she stared at their mother as though she did not know her.
She could hear the dead thing that the Dreamwalkers used to fly coming as she approached the clearing where they normally landed, and felt her usual disgust. Ikran were so much more useful than their disgusting machine with its foul gases and loud noise. She slipped off the pa’li a short distance from the clearing, knowing it would not like the smell, and ran forward on foot, bow slung across her back.
“Grace!” she shouted as she entered the clearing. “Help!” It was one of the first English words she had learnt, mostly because it was what Grace had been yelling when they met, with her trying to lift a tree trunk off one of her teammates. “Neytiri, be calm,”
Grace spoke slowly, holding up her odd, five fingered hand. “What is wrong?” she asked, switching to English.
“Come,” Neytiri said, gesturing. “Come.” She grabbed Grace’s hand and dragged her from the clearing to the pa’li. She launched herself onto the animal’s back, making Tse’heylu even as she pulled Grace up behind her and urged the pa’li into a gallop. The older woman seemed to have finally caught her sense of urgency as she wrapped an arm around Neytiri’s waist…either that or she was just trying to keep from falling off.
She didn’t stop the pa’li until they were at the outer rim of Hometree, sliding back off the creature with a grateful pat and keeping the Dreamwaker from falling to the ground out of sheer force of will. She grabbed her hand and led her at a run through the Tree. Father, Mother, I brought her,”
she called as she approached her parents, who were standing by one of the sleeping holes. ”Where is Aw’tsa?””Sleeping,”
her mother replied, gesturing into the hollow. Eytukan had sent the rest of the tribe on their way to their rest for now, for the new day with its business could not start until all had had some rest, even though this rest ate into their daylight hours, it was the way things were after the two Great Gatherings. “Grace, I see you
,” she greeted the scientist. ”I see you, Mo’at,”
replied Grace. ”What…wrong?”
“This,” Neytiri began in the broken English, gesturing into the hollow, “Aw’tsa.” She paused, realizing she didn’t know the words she needed, then gestured to herself, then her parents.
“Family,” offered Grace. “Father, mother, daughter,” she pointed at each of them in turn.
“Daughter,” Neytiri repeated when Grace used that word to describe her. “Daughter.” She gestured between her parents and the hollow. She also translated everything that was said for her parents, who were listening without understanding as they had yet to learn any of the Sky People language.
Grace moved so that she could see inside, and she took in the unconscious form of an adolescent female Na’vi. “Your daughter?” she asked, pointing to Mo’at and Eytukan then back to the somnolent form.
“Yes,” replied Neytiri. “Lost, long time.”
“How long? Days, weeks?” asked Grace, using the human ways of measuring time that counted light and darkness in groups of seven.
“Three…” she held up three fingers to emphasis her point, then mimed rubbing her arms as though cold, and rain falling from the sky.
“Three rains? Three years?” Grace’s eyes widened in shock as she understood what Neytiri was telling her.
“Yes,” Neytiri replied, remembering this word now. “Three years lost.”
“How did you get her back?” the words spilt out of Grace, and when the Na’vi stared at her uncomprehendingly, she looked embarrassed, her ears flicking back and tail slung low. “Not lost now.”
“No,” agreed Neytiri. “Need you…talk. She no…understand.”
Grace shook her head, not understanding what they wanted, but she was saved from playing more charades by the girl in the hollow, who groaned suddenly, twitching, before opening her eyes. She saw them and scrambled away, pressing herself against the trunk of the tree.
“Stay away from me!” she yelled at them, her voice shaking but angry at the same time.
“English?” exclaimed Grace, moving forward slightly, realizing in that instant why they needed her, even if she didn’t understand what had actually happened. “It’s alright, child,” she spoke soothingly. “No one here is going to hurt you.” She raised her hand in a peaceful gesture.
“Five fingers!” Dawn gasped, moving forwards slightly. “And you speak English. How? Where am I? What the hell did you things do to me?”
“First things first. What’s your name?”
“Dawn,” replied the girl, shifting slightly closer. “Dawn Summers.”
“Dawn, I’m Grace, Doctor Grace Augustine.”
“NO,” exclaimed Neytiri. “Her…name…Aw’tsa. Awve’tsawke.”
“But that’s Dawn,” Grace said. Seeing that they hadn’t understood, she explained. “Awve’tsawke – first sun, sun rise,” she accompanied this with hand gestures, and they nodded. “Dawn,” she said, repeating the hand gesture.
“So…the name they have for me means dawn?” asked the confused, scared teen still hiding in the hole in the tree.
“Yes,” replied Grace. “No one is going to hurt you, Dawn. Will you come out? Your family would like to see you, they’ve missed you.”
“Lady, my family is goodness knows where going crazy over me being kidnapped by demons! And these demons made me look like them! Where are we, anyway?”
“We’re on Pandora.”
“Where? Where on Earth is Pandora? Wait, you said ON Pandora…this is another planet, another reality perhaps? My sister is so going to kick your asses when she finds me.”
“Okay, we just need to stop and talk. You think you’re human? You’re one of the Na’vi. You were apparently lost three or more years ago, and returned to them last night.”
“Eywa…return,” managed Mo’at, stumbling slightly over the word.
“Eywa…I know that word…” Dawn said slowly. “The demons that had me, they were chanting something about…about Eywa, and returning what was taken to whence it came, restoring a balance.” She frowned as the import of what she was saying started to sink in. “They meant me. They meant…sending the soul that was stolen to make…Earth me back to its home?” She emerged from the hole, the blanket that was covering her falling away from her body. Glancing down, she squeaked, and grabbed it back off the ground, wrapping it around herself. “And I’m naked. That’s just great.”
“Here,” Grace said, pulling off her tee shirt and handing it to the teen, leaving herself in a sports bra and shorts.
“Thanks,” Dawn told her, pulling the shirt on quickly, tugging it down to hang around her thighs. “Wait, this is a Stanford University shirt. That’s in California. And you speak English. Why?”
“I’m not really a Na’vi,” explained Grace. “I’m human, I control this body remotely using technology. It’s made from human and Na’vi DNA combined, that’s why the five fingers and toes, unlike you. You’re true Na’vi.”
“No. I’m human, from the year 2001, and my sister is going to be looking for me,” Dawn insisted, but she was frowning slightly.
“You’re thinking of something. What is it?”
“The ritual…they were returning what had been taken. What if the reason they sent me here is because this is where my soul was taken from?”
“Your soul? Why would you think your soul had been taken from anywhere?” asked Grace.
Dawn realized her slip as soon as she made it, and quickly backpedaled. “I mean, what if I really was…stolen from here somehow?”
“They certainly think so. I can’t say for certain, but you’re here now, and you’re one of them. Even if I could take you out of here, even if that was safe, they wouldn’t let me.”
Grace was trying to figure out what was going on. The only thing she could think was that the company had kidnapped and brainwashed this poor child to believe that she was really a human being from the distant past. Why they would do such a thing, she didn’t know, but she intended to find out just as soon as she got back to base. For now, she would work to break the hold the conditioning had on the child’s mind, even if that meant playing along with it for now.
“I think what they are saying is probably true,” she told the child as gently as she possibly could. “I think, for now, your best bet is to learn from them. Let them show you who you really are. Who knows, maybe you’ll get your memory back, if what they are saying is true.” She hoped that the Na’vi would be able to get through to the child and free her mind from whatever had been done to her. It was clear to Grace that they loved her deeply.
“Grace,” said Neytiri, calling the scientist from her thoughts. “Answer…yes. Can teach.”
"Thank you,” breathed Grace softly, bowing to Eytukan and Mo’at. “Thank you so much. I must go, to take this news back to my clan leaders. We will return tomorrow to start.” She accompanied her words with actions, and Neytiri nodded. “I will see you tomorrow, Dawn. Learn from them.”
mawey - be calm