How would mama Neytrir or papa Jake react if the RDA brainwashed Spider and made him more ‘human’, eg his hair is short and refuses to Speak navi(despite the fact it’s literally his language), and now wears human clothes as well. Spider also doesn’t remember anything about his old life, he doesn’t remember his mama, dad, siblings, friends, interests or even hair braiding. Just imagine mama Neytrir's reaction to this……💔￼
this had to be a mother's worst nightmare, for her own child to no longer recognize her, to look at her with fear and disgust, cowering from her touch. those demons shaved him, stripped him of his jewelry, and his songchord, forcing ill-fitting and bland RDA clothes on what remained of his tiny, underweight little body. every bit of skin covered in dark bruises, yellow patches painted the in-between, both eyes ringed with deep blacks and reds, his gaze absent, dead. he looked ill, his skin pale as if he had been kept from the sun, lips shriveled with dehydration and the biting spider seemed intent on doing. spider had refused any food or water, a change of clothes, even if only nicer human clothes, but he just shook his head or shut down.
he wouldn't talk to anyone, not unless he was screaming that his name was no longer 'spider', that the terms of endearment neytiri whispered to him in na'vi were nonsense, that they were all nothing but filthy savages.
neytiri knew that wasn't her son, not truly, and from what she had learned about the humans, what she saw on her son's body, she knew they had tortured him, beat him until he did what they wanted. hearing jake explain to her what they did made her feel sick with rage, made her desperate to hold onto him, to make him know he didn't have to fear them anymore, that he didn't have to pretend anymore.
but as days turned to weeks, it just got worse. spider made it very clear that this was no act, he didn't remember, his family were now strangers, he didn't remember his home, his people.
every day he grew wearier, every time he seemed to come close to remembering something no matter how small he became more and more vile, spitting acid at his family with that empty look in his eye.
neytiri was heartbroken, she would sit there all day, letting her baby throw insults at her, at her people, never once getting angry. she knew, the way a mother knew, that her baby was in there somewhere and she wasn't gonna scare him away. she would wait there every day for the next 100 years if she had to, she was going to get her baby back.
she would crawl closer at night, brush her fingers through the fluffy new growth of his curly golden locks, ever so gentle as to not wake him from the little sleep he managed. he thrashed in his sleep, whining pitifully, shredding her already mangled heart; spider had few nightmares as a child, but when he did, like any child would, he clung close to his mother and father, not letting go till it was long gone. but now she could only watch, praying to the great mother that she show the boy mercy.
when jake forced her to leave the little 'cell' spider confined himself in, she walked the familiar paths of spider's childhood, the routes she shared only with him, in hopes of gaining back some of the joy she once felt with him. the room itself was an old infirmary transitioned to best suit what they thought was a scared and traumatized little boy who was lost in his own torture, but now it was more than that, and spider refused to leave. he spent most of his days curled up in the dark corner next to the cot, so he could only be seen from one direction, head-on.
jake sat with him a few hours everyday, not as long as neytiri, as spider seemed a lot more frightened by him, no doubt the intentions of his captors when they broke his little mind. spider looked through him and it made him feel cold, like he was submerged in ice water. it broke him to see his son, his baby boy, like that. he remembered when spider was so tiny, curled up asleep in his lap, gnawing on his cummerbund like it was a chew toy. he remembered carving the boys first knife, helping him shoot his first arrow, watching him make his first clean kill. he wanted to know where that little boy went, he wanted to bring him back, to hold him and make sure nothing ever hurt him again.
in the short time they weren't allowed in the room, when spider needed to be manhandled and sedated so he could be tube fed and checked up on by norm and max, jake and neytiri clung to each other, trying not to mourn the loss of their son, because he wasn't gone, they would never accept that, but they cried, they screamed and begged and howled like wounded animals; what had spider ever done to deserve this?
spider was a good boy, he did whatever he could to help The People, the village, the elders. he was well-mannered and respectful, always had a smile on his face and a laugh on his tongue. he was the sweetest, most helpful, and loving little boy, what did he do to deserve this?
they had to watch as he fought to wake up from the sedation, tears flowing from his eyes, a pitiful little whine crawling its way out of his chest. most days neytiri could stay behind the window, but watching spider thrash with something raw this time round, choking on his own spit, and for a split second she swore she heard the word mama in-between his horrible sobs.
she rushed to his side, even as max and norm tried to pull her away, as jake stood numb in the doorway. she took his little scarred hands into her own, scared that if she just scooped him up it would scare him away.
"I'm here, sweet boy, I'm here, your mama's here... please baby, I'm right here," she was desperate, for spider's eyes to fall on her and fill with ease, to recognize her, to come back to her.
and for a second he did, he looked like he wanted to melt, for a single second he was there... and then he was gone, screaming and thrashing about, even spitting at her. then neytiri was the one crying, not letting go of his hands until someone dragged her away, begging for him to come back, to stay with her.
jake held her as spider crawled off the cot and back into his corner, dragging the blanket down with him, curling up so you could only see the gold of his hair.
part of neytiri died that day, the hope she held for just a second being crushed just as fast as it had gathered, and it took some of her spirit with her. she went to commune with Eywa that day, desperate for some sort of answer, guidance as to how she was supposed to help her little gift, her miracle, her fkew'hi'i'atan. she wanted so badly to free him from the prison the demons locked him in. but her strength was waning, she couldn't put up with much more, she knew it wasn't him saying it, that it was forced into him, this whole new persona was built and tortured into him, but hearing her baby's voice, no matter how broken, saying such awful things, it was breaking her.
Eywa provided her little answers, little peace, even though she begged and pleaded. she went to her mother who could only hold onto her and attempt to console her as she sobbed. jake held her that night, promised her that he would make the demons pay for what they did to their baby, that no matter what happened, spider would not suffer for nothing. she felt him losing hope, she couldn't blame him, he could barely even be in the room without spider screaming at him.
it had been almost a year before there was any change, spider stopped fighting, just went catatonic, stared off into space for hours and hours. they'd tried taking him outside, jake holding him in strong arms, laying him in the grass, racking finger's through his hair as the wind blew past him. they'd never managed to get spider outside before then, they had tried, so hard. they hated keeping spider in that sterile white room, even if they hadn't kept him by choice. neytiri insists that something was there, that his eyes shifted a little, that his breath came easier. jake couldn't decided if she was right or if it was just wishful thinking, he doesn't know which one hurts more.
neytiri could hold him now, and she did, every day. she sat there and sang to him, kissing his forehead, talking to him as if it was any other day, and her baby was right there like it had been before.
spider had to be carried everywhere, months spending balled up in corners or sedated to keep him from destroying himself atrophied all his muscles, even if he wanted to, he would never walk on his own, not without a lot of help and a lot of physical therapy. they were unsure if he'd be able to speak if he wanted to either, as he only used his voice to scream and cry. it felt almost unethical to keep spider, he had no quality of life, he was nothing but a shell and it was devastating. they were faced with a horrible question; what do you do when a persons mind has all but died, leaving them to suffer in a broken body? what do you do when death would be a mercy but simply won't come? what do you do when your child is in that position, do you watch them wither away, knowing every single day is nothing but pain and fear and all you can do is watch?
one day spider's songchord showed up, neytiri knew who put it there, and as much as she detested that man, as much as she blamed what happened to her boy on that man, she knew he had some amount of heart. he let spider go, he brought spider back to them, and now he'd managed to find his songchord. it had been left on the edge of omatikaya territory, the songchord was wrapped in his loincloth, a small string of beads next to it, spider's hair beads. she was grateful, in a strange way, she understood what he had done, why he had done it; he never meant for this to happen, and he took full blame for it, this was his way of saying sorry.
neytiri took spider to Eywa that day, placed him under the tree of souls, singing his songchord, watching eywa hold her baby in her arms. spider wasn't asleep, but he wasn't awake, he wasn't there. she connecter to the tree, hoping to find spider within the connection... when she did she almost regretted it, just for a second.
she found spider, her spider, curled up in a ball, sobbing. when she reached out to him, desperately, his eyes met hers. he stared for a second before throwing himself at her. for the first time in forever she heard na'vi on his tongue, heard him call her mama, heard his voice.
she held him as tight as she could, holding onto him as if he was going to disappear. her baby was locked in his own mind, unable to scream out, to beg for help, his minds only goal now was to survive, even if it meant killing him off. but here, where only their souls mattered, she could finally reach her boy.
"mama," his voice was broken, though this time it was overrun with pain and emotion, as he clung to her.
"oh my son, my son I'm here, I never left you."
"mama," he repeated, as if thats the only thing he could think about.
"I never gave on you fkew'hi'i'atan, I know you were in there, and I know your fighting. I know your tired, I see it, I see it, my sweet child. I know you want to give up, that your heart is tired. but I am here, I am waiting for you, your father is waiting, your siblings are waiting, baby we're waiting for you, come back to us." she begged her son, begged him with every last bit of energy she had.
"I don't know how mama, I'm trying, I'm trying really hard, I wanna come home," he cried, cowering into her chest, a subconscious fear kicking in.
she brushed back his hair, kissing the top of his head, trying to reassure him that he was safe here with her. "It's ok, little one, it's oke I will come here everyday with you if that's what it means, I will give myself to Eywa herself, to get you back. I promise you spider, I will never give up on you my son. I know its hard and its scary, but I will be here," she meant every word, she would do whatever it took to get her boy back.
"I'm sorry," he sniffled, "I was so mean, I said... I said such horrible things, I made dad go away, so I hid, I hid as far away as I could and now I can't get back."
neytiri felt her world collapse around her. spider did this for her, for jake, he gave up his own mind, what little bit he had left, for them.
she didn't know what to say, but she didn't need to saying anything, cause Eywa knew, spider knew, she knew. there were some things that couldn't be said, feelings that could never be expressed in words. so she held her baby boy as close as she could, kissing his temple, tucking her head over his.
"I will take you home spider, I will find a way, I promise you that. tomorrow I will come with your father and we will find a way to fix this. rest for now, my little one, you don't have to be strong anymore, its our turn now. you've been so strong and so brave, let it be my turn, can you do that for me?"
he nodded against her, "five more minutes?" his little voice asked her, as if he was a baby all over again - she hadn't let herself remember he wasn't a baby anymore, he was 18 now, in so long, the thought hurt - as he curled into her chest.
"of course hi'i'tìyawn, I'll stay as long as you need."
there was something so simple, painful and bittersweet, as a mother holding her child. as she rocked him she imagined them back in their home, the home spider should have know. the home they could have had back in hometree. she let spider see what she used to see, both of them being lulled into the lullaby of The Great Mother, until the bond was broken by Eywa herself. jake had to carry them both home that night, but that was ok, because he found them in each other's arms, covered in ato'kirina, and something told him it would all be ok.