Fandom: Avatar (James Cameron)
Word Count: 706
Spoilers: movie only
Disclaimer: These are James Cameron’s toys, not mine.
Notes: Written for hitlikehammers’s Five Acts Meme for the acts: “body painting.”
Summary: Neytiri and Jake paint each other to be beautiful before the People.
“That kinda tickles!”
Neytiri laughed softly as the brush slid over Jake’s chest. Compared to the tests of fortitude, endurance, courage, agility, and strength he’d gone through to become one of the Omaticaya, this was small potatoes. Really, really small, like tiny. Bite-size, even.
But it still tickled. Badly.
“Do not laugh,” she said mock-sternly. “I must not make a mistake, or I will have to do it all over again. We must be beautiful before Eywa for the ceremony.”
“I thought you said she doesn’t need to see us,” Jake asked mischievously. Neytiri deliberately dragged the brush slowly across the hollow of Jake’s hip, and he almost twitched and made her smudge. “Ok, ok!”
“She sees us how we see each other. So we must be beautiful,” Neytiri clarified, eyes narrowing in concentration as she put a complicated spiral on his hip.
“You don’t need to be anything but yourself for that.” Maybe that was a cliché, but Jake knew it was completely true of his mate. No one could compare to Neytiri, whether she was astride her ikran and soaring through the skies, or at Mo’at’s side, helping the People in their new home. Or even just sleeping, the morning sun touching her face. She didn’t need a thing, especially from Jake’s clumsy hands. He could fire a bow well enough, but how could he possibly paint Neytiri the way she deserved?
Neytiri looked up from her painting and smiled. “I paint to tell everyone how beautiful I find you. That you are brave, strong, and mine. Will you not do the same?” She connected her last few strokes and stood, pressing the brush into his hands.
Well, when she put it that way…
Jake swallowed as he dipped the brush in the paint and brought it up to Neytiri’s beautiful face. He didn’t know more than a quarter of the symbols Neytiri had put on him, but she said that didn’t matter. Most of the symbols were personal, and he could paint what he liked, as long as they understood what it meant together.
So, make it mean something. Jake circled the brush around her eyes, the first things he saw when she would wake him up, eyes that could be full of mischief or warning or love. Naturally the brush slid down her neck, smooth skin he loved to kiss when he’d shown her a thing or two of how humans courted that carried over into his Na’vi life. He spiraled down her arms, tough enough to outshoot him at least half the time, graceful enough to make his heart ache when she danced. Through her fingers, only four, not five, and so clever at weaving that Jake just kept himself far away from the central loom, lest he inadvertently tangle it with his presence.
Back up her arms and across her shoulders, dipping down to circle her breasts, and yeah, Jake could be shallow enough to admit he appreciated them in a sacred ceremony. Besides, the People were a lot less uptight about that kind of thing. Down lower, and he circled her navel, with a wish that maybe one day, if they tried hard enough, asked Eywa, Neytiri might have their child. A little Sully, running across the trees of Pandora… Neytiri wanted that as much as him.
Jake trailed the brush down her legs, so fast and confident amongst the branches, and back up her thighs, tight to hold to her ikran, tighter to hold onto Jake when they joined in Pandora’s glowing dusk. Up her back, down her tail, and right up along her spine to join the paint to her neck, and Jake couldn’t resist giving her braid a little kiss, a hint of foreplay that was uniquely theirs.
Neytiri sighed as Jake put the brush down, and looked down at herself with a wide smile.
“Beautiful, strong, and mine,” Jake said, touching her hair lightly. “Right?”
She leaned forward to kiss him, and ran her thumb down his braid in another kind of kiss.
“My Jake,” she murmured, and pulled away. “I want to show them all.”
Jake smiled again as he walked with her into the clearing, ready to show their bond-display to the People.