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How Sammy Met Andee

A gay jaunt into the memories of how Sirca's favorite couple came to be, as transcribed by CrossroadsPony

Verse 1 | Verse 2 | Verse 3 | Verse 4 | Verse 5 | Verse 6 | Verse 7 | Verse 8 | Verse 9 | Verse 10 | Verse 11

Verse 12 | Verse 13 | Verse 14 | Verse 15 | Verse 16 | Verse 17 | Verse 18 | Verse 19 | Verse 20

Verse 12: Mr. Night

"You sure about this, Fiffy? I don't wanna fuckin' deal with bullshit from yo' momma today!" Andee muttered, circling above the rebel's head while Samael chuckled, grateful for the distraction as he tried not to think about the fact they were about a hundred-odd feet over the Vossler.

Wasn't the first time he'd climbed along the cliffside, but it still wasn't any easier. Why the fuck hadn't he spent more time scrambling up trees or something when he was growing up? Oh right, because he pissed himself the one time he had, and his packmates had never let him hear the goddamn end of it. He grinned through the childhood memories, though, his eyes shifting up to his companion. "Aww, ain't gonna be nothin' awful. Look, at least some of the damn base knows 'bout you li'l wingy-fucks by now, ain't no point keepin' yer cute li'l ass a secret from the rest'a them! I want you to be able to hang out here without havin' to hide 'n shit!"

Andee scowled and kicked idly at Samael's rump while flying in a tight loop around him, making the chupa wince and cling to the rock face for a second or two. "Eh, why the fuck can't we just hang out in fuckin' Xulod?? Everyone there already knows your dumb face, they wouldn't even be that fuckin' shocked if you went 'round buck-ass naked, they'd just fuckin' shrug, say 'oh, there goes that stupid fuckin' puppy, he must be visiting Andee again!', easy as shit to deal with!"

Samael laughed as he continued to pull himself upward and toward one of the many natural openings in the side of the cliffs. "Ayyy, to be fair, I kinda do that shit here already! Ain't no one really cares!"

"They probably do fuckin' care, but just afraid if they say somethin' to you, you'll get a fuckin' blueberry boner 'n make the shit that much more awkward," Andee muttered before shivering as he dropped down to the rock so he could fold his wings around himself. "Fuckin' hell, Pan must hate deliverin' to this shithole, cold as fuck, run by a fuckin' nasty ice-bitch, full'a stupid naked-ass puppies runnin' around...probably easier bringin' mail into the heart of the fuckin' Citadel!"

The smile on Samael's muzzle was genuine, helping him push the nervousness away as he focused on shuffling toward the crevasse. "Awww, don' worry, sweetie -- I'll get the folks back home to knit you a li'l scarf, get you a li'l summin' fer them sexy legs, too!" Samael announced before ducking as Andee swung a wing out to try and smack him with. "It'd be cute as shit! Plus you'd be all cozy!"

Andee grumbled and then shifted around to hover on Samael's opposite side, using his muscular frame as a buffer from the winds whipping across the cliffside. "That's what you're supposed t'be for, ya fuzzy chump," he complained.

Samael kept his tender smile as he scooted along with the bat half-pressed against him, enjoying the contact regardless of how incidental it was. He kept quiet so he could focus on keeping his footing steady on the way to the gap in the rocks. "Don't you worry, bat-cheeks, I promise ya lots'a make-up cuddles once we're inside!"

"Fuck thaaaat, just get some'a that fuckin' Sampi 'shine ya keep promisin' me," the bat retorted as the two of them wedged into the opening and shuffled forward together side-by-side. "Your gay shit ain't gonna keep me warm, but --holy fuckin' shit on a platter!"

He and Samael both froze as they stared stupidly down the barrel of an oversized shotgun, their hands automatically raised over their heads. It took Samael a second or two to breathe when he realized it was Nelson glaring up at them from behind the massive weapon, one hand clutching the stock with a finger resting on the trigger while the other hand gripped tightly into a wheel of her chair. "You two chucklefucks want to explain what the fuck you're doing carrying on like a pair of yowling cats outside my fucking office?"

"Goddamn, ya nasty bitch, put down the piece first!" Andee insisted before widening his eyes as she shifted the tip of the shotgun toward him so it nudged against his chin. He leaned back slightly and glanced over at Samael with a hint of actual panic and the rebel cleared his throat while waving two fingers at the furious woman.

"Uh...h-hey, Mama, we was jus'--"

"Don't fuckin' bullshit me, Wurlitz, I don't need your goddamn redneck prologue, cut to the fuckin' chase," she spat out. The shotgun lowered, however, though Andee didn't look much happier with it hovering around his waist. "Only reason you two idiots aren't choking on buckshot right now is because neither of you has a fucking concept of keeping your voices down. You'd wake the fucking dead, and then I'm sure you'd both get to fuckin' the corpses between Sampi's backwoods ways and Xulod's goddamn witch doctors."

"That's double racist," Andee muttered before flinching when she growled and shifted the shotgun toward one of his legs.

"Keep yapping, bat, I'd be thrilled to start takin' parts off after all the shit you're throwing on my people," she threatened as a heated snort rushed through her nostrils.

Andee blinked and then threw his wings wide in confusion. "What shit you talkin' about?! I ain't done shit to you or your stupid people, woman, last job I ran for your broken ass went clean as a fuckin' whistle!"

Her eyes narrowed and flicked briefly toward Samael. "Don't play fuckin' coy, Andee -- this bullshit you're pulling with Wurlitz has been nothin' but a fuckin' burr in my ass. He hasn't been able to fuckin' focus since he got back from your goddamn caves; I know he's a helpless, emotional fuck with an infinite capacity for mushy feelings and stiff dicks, but I sure as fuck didn't expect you of all people to exacerbate that fuckin' gem of a character flaw."

Samael flushed despite himself, rubbing the back of his head. "H-hey, Nelson, I'm...I'm right here…"

She whipped her head around and thrust a finger up to him. "Can it, redneck -- I know you've got a fuckin' weak spot for anything sporting a pair of balls, I don't expect much from you in that regard." She shifted her gesture back to Andee, who leaned away again even while looking relieved when she at last holstered the shotgun on the back of the wheelchair. "But I just assumed the two of you would only share a few fuckin' jizz-laden rolls in the fuckin' hay, not get involved in some goddamn gay soap opera bullshit!"

Samael continued to look cowed while Andee snorted derisively and finally regained some of his composure as he adjusted his cap and then glowered down at Nelson from their perch on the rock shelf. "Ey, don't fuckin' lump me in with the puppy on that nonsense! I ain't part of no faggy drama, that ain't my fuckin' scene!"

Samael couldn't help wilting a bit -- he didn't give a damn about the choice of words, but the implication bothered him more than he figured it should, since it was just Andee being Andee. Or so he assumed. Nelson squinted at the bat before looking sharply at the rebel to study his features as he tried to make them as neutral as possible. "That the fuckin' case, Wurlitz? You just fuckin' chasing your goddamn tail, the goddamn way I said you were?"

Samael shifted his weight and glanced away as he rubbed at an arm. "I...c'mon, Nelson, don' we gotta talk--"

"Back the fuck off, bitch," Andee interrupted, swinging an arm out and slapping a wing against Samael. Nelson instantly snarled up at him and the bat winced away even as he grumbled and set his jaw stubbornly. "Just because I ain't no fruitcake doesn't mean this fuckin' fiffy ain't mine. Leave his stupid ass alone, it ain't your business if he wants to fuckin' chase me around, he seems fuckin' happy with it."

"Yeah, that's the word I'd use," Nelson replied mildly. "Like I didn't see the dried tears or all the fucking bullet holes last few times he's come back from wasting time with your two-faced hide." She leaned forward with a growl. "And like hell it ain't my business, by the way, it sure as fuck is when you're shoving one of my best fuckin' assets into these shitty emotional tailspins, not to mention stealing Movement property so he can go get himself fuckin' killed over some fuckin' mistake you made." Samael shifted again as he looked awkwardly between the two before Nelson shoved a finger into Andee's chest. "So what, you two patched shit up, everything's all happy and homosexual again?"

The bat only glared back for a few seconds before he grumbled and let his wing brush gently along Samael's hip, then folding his arms defiantly. "Why would I fuckin' let this midget drag me into this frozen shitscape if we wasn't gettin' along?" Andee intoned coolly.

"Why would you be in this frozen shitscape, period?" Nelson retorted while leaning back in her chair with a scowl up to them both. "Unless you and Paneko traded spots, you don't have a goddamn reason to come out here, since I'm not aware of any job we had on the table. You know how fucking hard it is to protect your people with someone like Wurlitz running around, getting himself involved in the affairs of the goddamn bats?"

Samael took a step forward to the edge of the rock shelf while his tail half-curled around Andee's back. "I mean, to be fair, you did kinda send me out there to get to know 'em an' shit," he noted with a smile. His apprehension was steadily replaced with the more familiar confidence as Andee took a small but not unnoticed step closer to his side. "So, y'know. You kinda set me up fer gettin' involved..."

"I expected you to become an emissary, not a fucking errand boy," Nelson responded soberly before narrowing her eyes again when Samael chuckled and then reached down to rest his arm on Andee's shoulder.

"Heh, don't worry, Mama -- me'n Andee, we agreed to uh...y'know. Keep shit separate. I ain't gonna suddenly stop doin' my thing here, and--"

"Damn right you ain't," Nelson interjected icily. She sighed and rubbed slowly at her temples with both hands. "The point still remains, I've gone outta my fuckin' way to keep Juwo's people a secret, even from most of the assholes here, so please tell me what the fuck you two plan on doing, since you sure as hell aren't using my office as a goddamn fuck-chamber."

Andee made a face. "I wouldn't fuckin' wanna, it smells like fuckin' scary-monster-bitch and lesbians in here."

Nelson fired a dark glower at Samael, who grinned sheepishly and raised his other hand innocently. "What?" When she only started to reach for the shotgun again, he waved his arm a bit. "C'mon, two weeks was a long time!" he blurted before rubbing at his bare chest with an apologetic expression. "It was kinda hard not to talk about all'a y'all 'n stuff, y'all pretty much my family."

"Great, that explains why you're so eager to go balls-deep in everyone here, all the incest reminds you of home," she deadpanned.

Andee snickered, his own tight expression beginning to fade into a more comfortable smirk. Samael smiled a bit at this before gazing down at Nelson and then finally dropping down from the ledge and letting his arm wrap around Andee's shoulders. The bat didn't attempt to shrug it off and Samael's smile widened. "Look, Mama..."

"Would you quit with that home-fried bullshit, and address me with some fuckin' respect?" she snapped.

But Samael only kept his soft smile. "Aw, y'know by now that is me showin' respect." She snorted but Samael didn't miss the way she shifted her shoulders slightly. "Anyway, I was jus' thinkin'. Them bats, they's our allies, yeah?" He glanced toward Andee, who rolled his eyes but otherwise stayed comfortably pressed against Samael's arm. "I think more'a our people should know 'bout 'em. And it ain't like you gotta buncha crazy assholes in these cliffs who's gonna go blab 'bout 'em to the ring -- you know you run a tight fuckin' ship 'round here."

"Yeah, because everyone better fuckin' know that I catch one loose word and I'll fuckin' break their jaw myself," she muttered even as she watched Samael thoughtfully for a few seconds. "O'Neill's got half the base with him in the wet dock for some maintenance instruction. So at least there won't be a fucking riot because everyone suddenly sees a fucking talking rat with wings bouncing on the goddamn cave demon's blue fuck-stick."

"Christ, woman, how the fuck do you know what it...also, that's even more fuckin' racist!" Andee blurted. Samael couldn't help his amused grin -- the rare occasion Andee was left flabbergasted was always a pleasant one.

Nelson only looked flatly at Andee. "Are you fucking kidding me? How tight a fuckin' leash did you have on the redneck for two-thirds of Xulod to not see Wurlitz's pride and joy? Somehow the new recruits still buy his bullshit about sleepwalking as the reason he ends up in the mess in the middle of the fucking night, dick in one hand and sandwich in the other."

Andee stared blankly before finally mustering his bemused smirk again as he crossed his arms once more. "Heh. Well, looks like I am the fuckin' fiffy-whisperer because he kept that shit in his pants around my people."

"I'll be sure to thank Juwo for the bondage lessons he's passing onto the next generation," Nelson grumbled before rolling backward and thrusting an arm toward the door in annoyance. "Get the fuck outta my sight. And at the first -- I mean the very fuckin' first -- goddamn panicked scream I hear, your little winged fuck-toy better be flying through a fuckin' window before I get to him, or I'll tie you both to a fuckin' anchor and drag the Vossler with you 'til you're fuckin' lobster-chow."

Samael widened his eyes slightly despite himself as he and Andee shared a quick glance. "Christ, Nelson, how much time do you spend every day thinkin' up this shit? Gawddamn!"

"More than you want to know," she replied dryly before waving to them dismissively. "Fuck off and don't make a fuckin' scene." She paused long enough for Samael to tilt his head slightly while Andee hopped down to join the rebel at his side. "Glad you found your spine again, Wurlitz." He smiled faintly before looking to the bat when her eyes locked with Andee's. "Try to keep it free of any fuckin' knives."

Andee squinted up at her and then snorted quietly while shoving on Samael's thigh to push him toward the door. "Hey, I ain't no fuckin' back-stabber." Samael smiled before scowling when Andee thrust his finger in the air as they moved to leave the office. "I'll do it right in ya fuckin' face!"

"Real reassurin', hon," Samael mumbled, glancing back and giving Nelson a sheepish but grateful smile before opening the door and poking his head into the quiet hallway. "C'mon, though. I'll show ya my room 'n...we c'n see if we run into anyone on the way."

"You wanna show 'em my dick, they gotta pay cash," Andee announced blithely as he put his hands on his hips and glared in both directions. Samael smiled despite himself and moved toward his chambers, the bat trundling along afterward. This might work out okay, after all.

Samael smiled nervously as Andee sniffed and glared around his room. "What the fuck, Sammy?! I thought Nelson said you was one'a her best??"

Samael blinked and then rubbed the back of his head. "I...I mean, I ain't here to toot my own horn or nothin', but --"

"Yeah, you better not be, I don't need my puppy all outta juice before I get a chance to use him again," the bat boasted as he puffed his chest out. Samael grinned, his embarrassment shifting to delight. Their little moment in the hills outside of Honkal had apparently stuck with them both in the days since the experience. Andee had been far more teasing than usual, at least in conversation, and Samael himself no longer felt like they were doomed to forever dance around the subject. This relationship was finally starting to feel genuine.

And even if Samael had a history of bedding someone within an hour or two of meeting them for the first time, nothing about his time with Andee had followed the typical pattern. He'd recognized that long before his feelings for the bat had fully developed...and after saying the forbidden words to him, that painfully slow build of intimacy between them had only become more pronounced. Samael didn't mind, though. As much as he wanted to share with Andee, having him not be pissed off...hell, maybe even having him want to just spend time with him was enough. He'd take whatever Andee could offer because christ, they'd worked hard and hurt even harder to get here.

"Weeeell...I only had me like...five or six quickies since our li'l grassy conversation," Samael teased, flicking at Andee with his tail as the bat squinted up at him. "What? 'S been a few days!"

"Yeah, yeah, I know ya fuckin' shrivel up 'n turn into a pillar of salt if you don't get a dick inside you every thirty hours or so," Andee grumbled, even if he smiled in entertainment. "Anyway, you got some shit in here that's fittin' for your inbred ass..." He gestured to the still, then to the mess of clothes strewn about the dresser. "That famous fuckin' moonshine ya never shut up about, and the clothes you never fuckin' wear..." He then thrust a wing toward the workbench. "Ya got your gun-o-sexual corner, where I know you're jammin' that icy-blue dick into some poor sawn-off..." Samael choked on his spit, his eyes bulging while Andee only grinned and then slapped at his legs. "But your walls are all fuckin' empty, Fiffy! I know ya grew up in some shitty caves in shitty Sampi...but my god! Where's the nature shit ya always tellin' me how much ya love, where's some fuckin' ornaments from Xulod, where's a fuckin' picture'a me?!"

Samael would have been worried if his heart wasn't thudding so happily at the fact Andee didn't sound upset as much as he did incredulous. Like he actually meant it all. "Ayyy, I'd love to put up a picture'a you, hon!! You get me one, I'll put it right here!" He slapped the bare wall across from the pile of pillows and blankets. "That way I'll see ya every time I close my eyes 'n every time I wake up!"

Andee smirked and strutted past the chupa before casually reaching up and grasping firmly into the crotch of his shorts to make Samael's eyes bulge in shock. "Heh, don't forget the fact that every motherfucker you bring in here to grind cock gets a reminder who's your goddamn number one..."

Samael gave a wheezing giggle, a rush of excitement racing through him as he licked his muzzle eagerly. But Andee released him a moment later with a half-smile, gesturing at the wall with his wing. "Don't worry, pup. I'll hook ya up -- I gotta guy who does real nice paintin's." He winked. "Bet he'd even give you a fuckin' discount since he's already put some of his art on you."

The rebel blinked in confusion before suddenly widening his eyes again and peering awkwardly over a shoulder at the sprawling tattoo on his back. "Wait...Mutt?? He...he paints?!"

Andee grinned while rummaging through the assorted gear and supplies covering the shelves in the corner of the cavern. "He's a fuckin' ar-teest, Fiffy, you got no fuckin' clue! I'll get you some'a his pieces -- then you c'n also advertise his shit to all the dopes ya drag back here for the ol' suck-'n-fuck! I'll take twenty percent as the fuckin' broker, naturally. Heh, yeah, we can make some coin without even havin' to figure out a full menu for when we put your fluffy whore ass up for rent..."

Samael cackled and batted at Andee again with his tail. "Oh lawd, don't even joke 'bout that, last thing either of us need's you tryna run my ass fer money! Like we ain't got enough goin' on to keep track of!"

Andee only chuckled and rubbed his hands together while prowling toward the nest-like bed. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, sure -- all's I'm sayin' is that the day I get around to pimpin' you out'll be the day we make it big!" The bat grunted satisfactorily before kicking at one of the plush pillows and giving the redneck a long look. "So you gonna tell me 'bout this weird fuckin' mess here?"

Samael grinned and put his hands on his hips. "Oh yer one to talk, you crazy fuckers sleep in fishnets like a million damn feet offa the ground! Wings or not, that's weird as shit!"

"Better'n this fuckin'...nest ya got here," Andee retorted, though Samael saw the way he smiled thoughtfully at the cluster of soft fabric and cushion. "Yo' momma won't even buy you a real fuckin' bed, eh?"

"Actually she tried to force one on me, said it'd be more tactically advantageous than my li'l love-nest here!" Samael stated with a half-grin. "But...I dunno. I grew up sleepin' this way...whether it were piles'a hides, or piles'a my packmates, it's just kinda what I know."

Andee snorted but his eyes were oddly tender as he studied the chupa for a moment. "Big fuckin' gay redneck you are," he murmured before eyeing the makeshift bed again. "And no one else has any complaints about tryin' to plow your ass on this shit??"

Samael's grin spread fully as he spun around and then threw his arms out to flop back into the nest with a grunt. "Heh, not a peep! Jus' the sounds'a plenty satisfied friends!" He laughed and squirmed a bit to sink into the pillows while patting the spot next to himself. "C'mon, try it out, it's comfy!"

Andee rolled his eyes even as he smiled slightly and flung himself into the soft pile as well. "Who said I ain't familiar with bednests, ya fuckin' puppy?! Maybe I just gotta bed so I don't gotta feel like a damn savage, you ever think'a that?"

The chupa's heart bounced a bit while he smiled affectionately over at his companion, reaching over to tickle one of his sprawled wings. God, this was nice. "I guess I didn't think 'bout that -- look at me judgin', who's the savage now, huh?" he replied playfully as his claws traced across Andee's leathery appendage.

"That always was you, Fiffy," Andee fired back while letting his eyes drift across Samael's broad chest. He shifted on the impromptu bed, self-consciously adjusting his half-poncho while shuffling closer to the rebel. "I ain't seen you in a shirt ever since that one you wore to Xulod got fucked up -- is this just a thing now?" he taunted while reaching out to thump his finger against Samael's breast

Samael smiled down at him as his fingers trailed up along Andee's slender arm, his claws drifting beneath the hem of his poncho. "Hey, y'all were lucky I wore a shirt at all when I showed up -- I was doin' it jus' to be polite! Been a helluva long time since I wore one regularly..." He twitched when Andee let his claw push through his thick fur and along the taut musculature below. "But I mean...if ya don't like it, I'll cover up for ya, hon..."

Andee's smirk carried both amusement and annoyance as he leaned up so their muzzles were only a few inches apart. "Who said I wanted you to cover up? I ain't rubbin' chodes with you because of your fashion choices, ya stupid puppy." He ran his tongue slowly along his teeth, his eyes seeming to glow as Samael felt the most delightful shiver run up his spine. "Now quit bein' such a motherfuckin' pussy -- you're my puppy, but does it look like I want you fuckin' neutered?" Samael's eyes widened a bit, his smile creeping once more toward a grin while Andee's claws slid down his chest and toward his belt. "I've seen your big ugly chupa-balls, so fuckin' act like ya still got a pair..."

Samael let out an excited rush of breath, pressing his muzzle forward to nuzzle into Andee's neck as the bat gave a low chortle. His fingers moved to start lifting Andee's poncho, only for his companion to grunt and then grip firmly into his side. "Ey, wait, wait -- I see that shit leanin' against the wall, Sammy..."

The chupa blinked as Andee peered over his shoulder, craning his neck awkwardly around to see the bat glowering at the guitar propped up next to his bed. "Um...yeah?"

Andee shifted his hand back up to push firmly on the chupa's chest with an amused smile. "I'm puttin' my damn pride on the line bringing you to the Himroc! So quit tryin' to get on this dick and show me I didn't make no goddamn mistake buyin' you that shiny, red eye-sore!"

Samael snickered, allowing himself a taste of regret while pulling away from Andee. It was okay -- they had time. "A'right, a'right -- but hey, you was the one comin' onto me!"

Andee grinned shamelessly. "You better keep a towel around, then, best believe I'll come onto you whenever the hell I please, ya fuzzy fuckbait!" He waved a wing a few times while settling back against a pillow comfortably. "Now get to strummin'."

The chupa laughed warmly as he twisted around to grab the neck of the instrument, then pulled it into his lap. "Yessir, yessir, anythin' fer you, hon," he replied with a mock bow as Andee snorted but looked pleased all the same. Samael leaned back against his own small stack of pillows and then glanced down at the guitar while his fingers slid into position. He'd been practicing on and off since he'd returned from Xulod with Andee's gift -- some of Sidewinder's inhabitants hadn't been too thrilled at first; it'd been a few years since he'd last played. To say he was rusty would have been a kindness.

But it had come back to him steadily, and now his fingers moved easily to produce a lilting melody he often warmed up with. The claws of his strumming hand plucked along the strings while the other hand began to slide over the frets as a cheerful tune filled the cozy cavern, bouncing off the walls and wrapping the duo up in a comfortable atmosphere.

Andee tried not to look surprised, propping his head up with a tiny smile that he kept poorly hidden. "Baby's first primer, eh? I suppose that ain't too terrible," he allowed as his body sprawled out comfortably, his eyes half-closing while watching the chupa's motions.

Samael smiled affectionately at him, glancing down momentarily to check his fingers before letting his head rest back while his hands continued to move on their own. "Ain't you a bag'a confidence fer li'l ol' me, eh? But yeah, I been practicin', I ain't no liar." Andee made a vague noise of doubt but was otherwise content to relax and absorb the chupa's quiet playing.

The jaunty piece shifted to a slower, more thoughtful number that washed over them both and filled the stone chamber with a soft ambiance neither of them were eager to interrupt. Samael's eyes remained on Andee as the two shared a smile, even if the bat made a show of rolling his eyes at all the tender gazes. But Samael was gentle in his persistence, never tearing his attention away as he began to murmur an old verse from a Sampi standard atop the guitar melody.

The way Andee seemed to lose himself in the performance made Samael's heart thrum with delight and the chupa let his voice waver on the last note before beaming happily and moving smoothly into another upbeat piece. " ain't told me too much 'bout Himroc...what's it all 'bout?"

Andee took a moment to respond, having to shake himself out of the small reverie as he scowled and then reached up to resettle his hat between his ears. "Oh right, forgot you's a damn ignorant pup! The Himroc is one of Xulod's older festivals...though we been keepin' it fresh by addin' some of the jams from the newer generations." When Samael only tilted his head curiously for him to go on, the bat huffed but seemed happy to keep explaining in spite of the face he made. "So we calls it that because it's a celebration of music 'n dance -- idea is that we get together this time'a year and make the whole cave shake." Samael grinned toothily and Andee snorted again, even if he curled his own muzzle into a playful smile. "Not like that, ya fuckin' prostislut! It started as a way for our ancestors to confirm the strength and stability of the cave -- y'know, it's our home, but also our fortress 'n shit. What stands between us and all you dumb fuckers upstairs! And back then, they figured if they could stomp and carry on all night and nothin' collapsed and killed 'em all...then the caves were still holding up strong!"

Samael laughed warmly, pausing in his strumming only long enough to stretch a leg out and poke Andee with his paw. "An' you call us rednecks crazy bitches."

"You are, at least our berry liquor don't strip the chrome off a tailpipe faster'n your whore mouth does!" Andee retorted with a playful grin, kicking back at Samael's toes. "Anyway, yeah -- it's probably our biggest event, at least at Xulod. There's other festivals where all the different clans come together, but you ain't ready for that shit yet, Fif." Samael huffed and Andee only cackled while nudging his paw again with his talons. "All those bats in one place, that dumb blue dick would get all dry 'n chafed from hangin' out all goddamn night!!"

"Well, you might got a fair point there," Samael replied with a wink, letting his tongue stick out between his teeth before tilting his head thoughtfully. "So...could we invite some'a the other rebel-folks?"

Andee immediately screwed up his muzzle. "Ugh, no, why'd ya wanna ruin a good time with more of you surface-fuckers??"

Samael laughed again, gentle and barely audible over the guitar. "Aww, c'mon -- I'm just talkin' the folks who already know 'bout you guys! It'd be nice...get the different factions together in a neutral place..." Andee only continued to look wary. "They ain't gonna be as willin' to start no shit, 'cause they'd be the guests! So maybe they could all get along fer a li'l bit. Lawd knows Mama Nelson needs to learn to hate on them Freelancers a li'l bit less...'n poor Kiden's already out the damn loop so often, his people end up gettin' fucked up doin' things the rest'a us already know is a lost cause!"

Andee made a face that was even less pleased, though Samael saw the way he flicked an ear musingly. "I don't fuckin' know, Sammy...there's a reason even you still get funny looks from some'a my people. We ain't exactly fans of you big-footed assholes. Just 'cause we deliver some packages for you, do a couple trades here and there, that don't mean my people trust ya for a damn!"

"I know, but..." Samael bit his lip for a moment as he paused his playing. "We. We shouldn't all be fighting each other on top'a the damn war." He mumbled and glanced down at the guitar. "There's enough terrible shit goin' on out there, just seems dumb that we're all makin' it harder on ourselves."

Andee grumbled even as he studied the chupa for several long seconds. "So? I'm inviting you, Sammy, because...I want you there, but I don't know about all those other assholes. Let's not forget your stupid top-sider bullshit don't affect us, and we like keepin' it that way."

"But...think if we could ease tensions a little," Samael wheedled, meeting Andee's eyes hopefully. "Think if more of your folks got familiar with us. We could help each other more, an' there'd be less to worry 'bout hidin'." Andee started to argue, but Samael gently nudged in again. "I love everythin' about Xulod, an' I think there's still so much all of us could learn from each other. I can't tell ya how often I wish I could tell more people 'bout how y'all do things, the way life is down there. An'' it'd be good for everyone to unwind a li'l bit." When Andee still only scowled back at him, Samael tried a lame smile. "Think of all the gossip we'd get, too, not to mention some hot leads on new business, eh??"

The wrinkles in the bat's muzzle at last smoothed somewhat as Andee squinted over at him and then eventually offered him a smirk. "Gee, it's like ya know the quickest way to my heart or somethin'. Why didn't ya lead with that shit, ya stupid mook?" he mocked even while he lifted a wing and beckoned at the chupa with a finger. "God, it's fuckin' frustrating when you get so...determined. Like you're gonna go out there, fix all the world's problems by yourself." His tone was flat, but Samael didn't miss the way his eyes danced, seeming to drink in the chupa while he motioned more insistently across the bed as Samael's tail twitched and jingled softly. "Tell ya what." Samael set aside the guitar and began to crawl toward him eagerly as the bat half-lidded his eyes. "You come back with me an' I'll letcha talk to Sage. He's the one ya gonna hafta convince."

"Oh, so I already have yer blessin'?" Samael replied with a giggle as he rubbed his muzzle slowly against Andee's, shivering when he felt a wing wrap around the back of his head.

"Only thing you got from me for now is a blessing to handle this dick," Andee offered smugly before they both paused at the sound of someone awkwardly clearing their throat.

Andee glared past Samael while the chupa twisted his head around curiously to find Vincent standing sheepishly in the doorway, his hoodie already pulled tight around his features. "Uh...oh, oh dear, I'm not, um. I'm not interrupting, am I?"

"Ya kinda are!" Andee complained before huffing and placing his hand against Samael's face to push him away while scowling at the tall chupa. "Who the fuck are you?!"

Vincent's eyes widened when Samael was moved aside to reveal the bat behind him. "Whoa! You''re a real..."

"A real blue-balled bastard now, thanks," Andee interjected dryly while folding his arms together.

Samael was quick to shift to Andee's side, throwing a friendly arm around his shoulders while beaming disarmingly at Vincent. "Vinny! Aw shit, hon, uh...yeah, this is...this is Andee! He's uh. Yeah, he's a bat! They're, uh. Real."

"Oh, I...I kind of figured they were, Mom taught me about them," Vincent mumbled as he shuffled his paws sheepishly. "I've just, um. I've never seen one, myself."

"Fuckin' hell, you're the Sov kid?" Andee asked incredulously before sneering. "So whatcha think about my puppy, eh?" When Vincent only blinked in confusion, the bat grinned calmly. "That blowjob musta been somethin' else, leave ya so speechless even a few days later."

Vincent's eyes bulged and he yanked on the drawstrings of his sweatshirt to tighten the hood desperately around his head. "O-oh, g-gosh!" he stammered while Samael tried not to laugh.

"Awww, be nice, Andee! Vinny's a sweetheart, an' he didn't scream none when he saw you, so...that's two bonus points!"

Andee only continued to squint at Vincent. "Yeah, but he looks like a sap. I thought a hoop kid would be a lot tougher!"

Vincent shifted his weight again but Samael squeezed Andee's shoulders with a smile. "Heh, hey, you should see the kid shoot! He's a natural, I wouldn't go callin' him no wuss!"

"Psh, bet the only thing this kid is shooting is his load down your damn throat," Andee muttered while he fixed Vincent with a stony glare. "Now if yo' momma wants to ride Sammy's dick to sweeten our deal, that's different -- you better remember who this puppy belongs to, kid!"

Vincent stared between them for a moment before asking hesitantly: "Doesn't...doesn't he belong to Nelson, though?"

Andee blinked stupidly while Samael threw his head back with a cheerful guffaw, hugging Andee tightly to his side again. "Oh shit, Andee, Vinny makes a purdy good point!" As the bat attempted to recover with a scowl, Samael grinned between the other two before picking his guitar back up. Ah well, another lost intimate moment -- nothing to cry over. "Now c'mon, you two play nice. I'mma play a couple more tunes, then we're gonna figure out how we make this bat-chupa party happen!" He tipped his head toward the other end of his bednest, and Vincent approached warily.

Andee made a horrible face but very purposefully pressed against Samael's side while crossing his arms. Samael kept his smile restrained, leaning down to nose one of his companion's ears before winking reassuringly at Vincent as the lanky chupa plopped down at the end of the mass of blankets and pillows. "Nice 'n cozy! Now, then...y'all tell me how this li'l ditty sounds, I been workin' on it jus' fer the celebration!"

"He ain't gonna go for it, Fiffy! You ain't the old man, no matter how ya pretend to be!" Andee exclaimed as he flew in loose orbit around Samael's head. "Even if you're slappin' meat with kids!"

"Geezus, Andee!" Samael wheezed, reaching up to flail wildly at the bat's legs. "Vinny's like seventeen, he ain't no kid, uh..."

The bat snorted but his voice softened as they approached Juwo's tent -- a far less imposing affair than the more public chieftain's seat. "Ah, don't cry, ya damn squishy baby," he grumbled as he let a wingtip brush against Samael's muzzle. "You ain't gonna turn out the same way." Andee spotted the grateful look in his companion's eye, but he pretended not to notice. "First and foremost 'cause I ain't gonna let your ass be stupid enough to get mowed down by no fuckers in the middle of a snowfield!"

Samael's smile was faint but honest, and Andee took a silent pleasure in that. His redneck was an idiot, but even he could be fixed. And since Andee had apparently decided he was going to be the one stuck at the edge of that chasm, he might as well goddamn try. Besides, who would if he didn't -- Nelson? She probably liked Samael being a broken, suicidal whore, the ideal kinda rebel for her crazy ass. And York? Feh, there was no point in having one stupid, misguided puppy trying to lead another -- they'd both end up at the goddamn pet food factory. Nah, this shit was stuck in Andee's lap now, he supposed.

"You gotta speech all prepared, ya incesty prick?" Samael glanced up at him, still looking somewhat sheepish. "I wouldn't start it off bein' all sad. Ol' Juwo might seem like a softie, but you ain't seen him tearing up the newbies when they fuck up their history lessons!"

The chupa laughed softly and rubbed the back of his head while gazing at the tan hide that stretched over the frame of the hut. "Uh...I didn't prepare nothin', naw, but. Y'know me."

Andee smirked. He supposed he did know him by now. "One day, Fiffy, your shitty lack of plannin' is gonna get your ass kicked. More than it usually is, anyway. But eh, no skin off my wings!" He dropped down to the ground and strutted up to the entrance. "I get a free show, either way!"

Andee had made it sound to Samael like he'd gone out of his way to arrange the meeting with Juwo -- couldn't let Samael think he had any goddamn special rights or anything. But the truth was that the old bat had been immediately curious about the inquiry Samael had in mind, even with how intentionally shitty Andee had been in his relaying of it. Andee scowled to himself as he thought back to the way Juwo's aged but oh-so-sharp eyes had lit up not only at the fact that Andee had invited Samael to the celebration, but that Samael had something to ask about regarding the festival. Goddamn, it was like the old bastard had nothing better to do with his free time than involve himself in the lives of other people. At least when Andee hoarded gossip, it was to get something useful out of it.

Lutane was positioned at the opening, having given Samael a dark glower from the moment they'd been visible at the edge of town. The glare hadn't softened much during their approach...and while normally Andee would have taken a particular delight in seeing any chupa cower before a bat and his trusty pike, something about it annoyed him this time around. He grumbled and slapped a wing against the head guard's pauldron, earning a nasty growl from the larger bat. "Ey, what gives, Lutane?? Ya know Fiffy ain't no goddamn threat! He's a big fuckin' fluff-bitch!"

"He is an outsider and that subjects him to the same suspicion as the other surface-dwellers," Lutane responded crisply as he tightened his grip around the weapon and narrowed his eyes at the chupa.

Andee snorted but shifted a wary look at Samael. Regardless of how Juwo felt about Samael, Lutane still carried a lot of weight across the underground city. His opinion had a cascading effect upon the rest of the guards, which in turn affected a good deal of the population -- traditions were important to Xulod, after all. And the last thing Andee needed after all this fucking hard work making Samael look good was a slide back into earning dirty stares again. He was still tired of that shit from what he'd gone through after he and the puppy had their last little fallout. Try to adopt a stupid top-sider, horrible looks. Try to kick him out, different horrible looks. Fuckin' goddamn but his people were some fickle bastards sometimes.

"Aw, get off your damn high spittin' horse, Lutane. Fiffy brought some of your guys some nice shiny shit last time we ran a job," Andee muttered as he gestured to Samael to approach. "He's with me, anyway, and ya know we're cool, eh??"

Lutane only looked down at him dourly before brandishing the pike when Samael awkwardly shuffled closer. "Your words are coated with more grease than this filthy midget," the guard observed mildly.

Andee narrowed his eyes a bit. "Ey, that's my fuckin' midget you're slingin' shit at," he replied before whipping his head toward Samael when the chupa cleared his throat awkwardly and spoke up in his careful rendition of their language.

"Um...h-hi, Lutane. I am promising I am not that dirty. I took a shower before my arriving."

Lutane leaned back slightly, his muzzle giving the tiniest wrinkle of shock before he snorted loudly. "The puppy talks like a whelp."

Andee, however, held his chest out a bit with a mote of pride gleaming in his eyes. "Heh, hey, at least he's makin' the fuckin' effort! Now let 'im past 'fore I let him kick your ass!"

Lutane glared at Andee again before releasing a puff of air through his nose toward Samael. "I'd like to see him try. This damn savage wouldn't even know where to start!"

Andee squinted and prepared a retaliation, but Samael was there to smile and bow deeply. "Lutane, sir! I would begin at your ass and then moving up!"

Andee blinked and then failed to stifle his snort as he glanced back at Lutane, who opened his muzzle slightly and then scowled horribly. It seemed to take him by surprise, however, as he couldn't formulate a response quick enough, instead only taking a step forward as he started to tip the dangerous end of his pike toward the chupa.

"Lutane, if you have finished with your greeting, I'll take our guests inside, please."

The head of the guard stiffened up before his shoulders slumped a bit as he sighed loudly. "Yes, Sage." He gnashed his teeth at Andee, who grinned cheerfully back and then hip-checked the larger bat while sweeping an arm out dramatically to Samael.

"After you, Fiffy."

Samael grinned stupidly, himself, giving Lutane a helpless shrug as he pranced past. The guard groaned and rolled his eyes before using the butt of his polearm to push Andee toward the tent after the chupa. "May one of you trip and fall upon my pike on the pretense of an attack," he grumbled as he rolled his shoulders and then glowered back out toward the rest of the city as Andee cackled and turned to trot after Samael and into the hut.

The tent was sparsely decorated, the furnishings all made from wicker and bamboo while covered with soft, plush blankets. Most of the fabric was drenched in hues of violet and blue, lending the entire space a comfortable and eased air despite being the chieftain's quarters. And although electricity flowed through most of the underground city, Juwo's hut appeared to be lit by torches and candles alone, calming flames of yellow and orange casting gentle shadows from the corners and roof of the cozy space.

"Heh, ey, I'm proud'a you, shortstack!" Andee crowed before pausing and sniffing at the air. Ahead of them, Juwo was waving a wing through a cloud of smoke to clear it while calmly pushing aside a bronze device that Andee recognized all too well. The younger bat masked his grin while nudging the confused chupa in the side. "You really did keep your balls intact, gave Lutane a li'l bit of his own fuckin' medicine."

Samael tore his eyes away from Juwo and the strange-smelling smoke to give a dumb smile to Andee. "Haw, I think he might still tear me up in a real tussle, though!" He leaned down closer and whispered into one of the bat's ears: "What's that thing ol' Juwo was messin' with? It smells kinda funny!"

Andee smirked and gently pushed Samael's muzzle away with a wing. "I'll show ya one day, Fiffy." He raised his voice while approaching the chieftain. "Yo, old man! Can't believe you's just gonna flaunt that in front'a me without sharin'!"

Juwo only smiled coyly at the duo before gesturing to a small stove behind Samael. "You told me you would be bringing Cakkco Fif later today. I was not expecting the two of you yet. I do, however, have some tea that should be just about ready."

Samael beamed and spun around to carefully grab the kettle while Andee rolled his eyes and flopped down at the edge of the multi-colored rug Juwo sat upon. "Ey, watch it, old man, that's my puppy you're puttin' to work!"

Juwo gave the younger bat an amused look. "We all share within these rock walls, Andee, you know this well." Andee huffed, ignoring the way Juwo fired a playful smile at Samael's back. "You mustn't hoard such treasures to yourself."

"Feh, get those old man eyes off my puppy's ass -- you don't get no special access just for bein' the chieftain!" Andee warned before glancing up as Samael shuffled over, holding the kettle in one hand and balancing a tray with three mugs on the other. "Dammit, Fiffy, quit showin' off!"

Samael chuckled as he gently set down the kettle before lowering the tray next to it. "Don't blame me fer havin' more'n two fingers...or such a fine ass!" Andee favored him with a rude gesture under his muzzle while Juwo only laughed quietly and watched as Samael started to pour a measure of tea into each mug.

"I'm not familiar with you ever being rude, young surface-dweller, but you seem to be going out of your way to be excessively courteous," Juwo observed. His eyes shifted to Andee curiously, and the other bat grumbled while rubbing at the studs in his upper jaw. "Now I'm quite fascinated to hear the purpose of this gathering."

Andee kept his maw shut, figuring he'd let the dumb puppy make his pitch. That way he could laugh at the denial freely, so long as he took no part of the request. He only gave Samael a pointed look as the chupa did a frustratingly good job of looking at ease while offering the first mug to Juwo.

"Here ya go, Sage!" Samael announced with a bright smile while Juwo quirked an entertained look between the two, then accepted the mug with a slight nod of his head.

"I take it you two have been afforded the opportunity to discuss your varied opinions, rather than shouting about them in the middle of town?" the chieftain inquired.

Andee pursed his lips before making a face when Samael held out the next mug to him. "I ain't in the -- oh goddammit, don't gimme that look." Samael was pouting down at him, his finest puppy eyes on display, and the bat groaned loudly before snatching the mug away as a bit of tea spilled over his wing. He leaned forward to lick it up while Juwo squinted at him, though it was worth seeing Samael's eyes widen with delight. "Quit tryna find out about our fuckin' sex life, ya old pervert," Andee muttered while gesturing impatiently to Samael. "Hurry up 'n cut to the chase, Fiffy!"

Juwo was clearly too used to Andee's trademark disrespect, only flicking a wing irritably toward the younger bat before giving Samael a more genuine smile. "It brings me joy to see such rifts being mended. Even the most fiery of souls may find peace when they entwine with one who can withstand the flames."

"I need a fuckin' fire-retardant suit to deal with this bastard's flamin' ways, emphasis on retarded," Andee retorted before grumbling and flattening his ears when Samael sat down next to him and promptly squirmed up against his side.

"Thanks fer seein' us today, Sage!" Samael chirped, ignoring the way Andee jabbed a claw firmly into his ribs when he wrapped his thick arm around the bat's shoulders as he gingerly clutched the mug in the other hand. "I um. So...I guess you already know Andee invited me to, uh. To Himroc, yeah?"

Juwo fixed the chupa with a small smile as he lifted his tea and then sipped from it while continuing to study the two past the tendrils of steam that drifted across his grey features. "Yes, your partner has informed me of his kindness." His calm eyes swung toward Andee, who couldn't help shifting his weight a bit. No matter how much shit he slung at the old bat, Juwo always had a goddamn way of getting to even the most flippant of assholes. Like himself. "A decision he made without any input from his elders. Bold, considering we traditionally do not allow outsiders to partake in our celebrations."

Andee grumbled and reminded himself he didn't care what anyone thought -- Samael was his goddamn redneck, and he could bring him to this stupid festival if he wanted. But perhaps this would mean Samael's plea was in vain, anyway. He gave a confident smile, then slurped loudly from his own tea. "Heh. Oh, then you are just gonna love what Fiffy is gonna ask next, old man..."

Juwo tilted his head but kept smiling kindly as he gazed inquisitively at Samael. "Well? Don't keep me waiting, young one, even I will eventually fade and return to the skies above, which I would prefer not to happen as I wait on a hesitant child's question."

Samael spat out a lame laugh before taking a deep breath. Andee couldn't help but glance up at him, finding the familiar look of determination settled into place on his companion's features. It wasn't an expression he hated, as often as it goddamn seemed to get them both in trouble. "Well, Juwo. Sage." Samael fiddled with his mug for a moment. "I. I was wonderin' if we, uh. If we could invite some'a...the other chupa-folk out to the celebration, too." Juwo's eyes narrowed, though Andee was surprised at the lack of immediate dismissal that he'd expected.

It was still enough to make Samael stutter, and Andee was ready to mockingly tell Samael it had been a nice try, but to drop it...except the chupa inhaled again and then pushed forward despite his obvious hesitation. "I know it ain't exactly somethin' you allow, or ever done before. Hell, I...I know my own people back home in Sampi'd be a li'l funky 'bout me bringin' an outsider to one'a our rituals or anythin'...I uh. I jus' also know that..." He fidgeted on the spot as the arm around Andee tightened a bit. The small bat pulled a face but didn't complain, only taking another nip of his tea while eyeing Samael silently. "I jus' also know that y'all invitin' me in, givin' me all that hospitality an' treatin' me so good, lettin' me be a li'l part'a yer society, it. It's meant the world to me, ain't nothin' gave me such a good feelin' like that did. I know I learned a lot already an' this's...this's like another home to me, now." His tail curled quietly around Andee's waist. "I wanna invite other folks to see it, too, see Xulod the way I do."

Juwo took several seconds to nurse his tea as he moved his eyes back to Samael. It was with a low chuckle when he finally spoke. "First of all, Samael, you have once more placed too little credit upon yourself. It was not Xulod's decision alone to embrace you and accept you among our kind -- you worked hard for this, and you made an effort unlike most ever will. You accepted us as much as we you." Samael gave a nervous smile as Andee glanced up at him again before looking back to Juwo. He knew it wouldn't be that easy.


Andee looked away with a grimace. Fuckin' hell, he didn't care but he still didn't want to see the look of disappointment on the dumb puppy's face.

"Our traditions run deep, young one. They are not so easily altered." Andee could feel the way Samael's shoulders sunk. "And the effort you have made to participate in our world will not be found in every other surface-dweller's heart. Yours is a unique and cherished understanding, an openness to others not easily located in the masses." Juwo spread a wing quietly, gesturing past them and toward the front of his tent, where Lutane still stood vigil. "This is true even among the children of Xulod."

Well, that was that. Andee licked his lips quietly, starting to open his muzzle as the elder bat leaned forward somewhat. And then to his surprise, Samael did the same. Andee blinked and looked up to see the chupa's blue eyes gleaming as he met the chieftain's intense gaze evenly. "I know yer right, Sage," Samael murmured, tracing his thumb slowly around the rim of his mug. "I ain't tryna say my people are all like me...gawd knows that'd be a nightmare, anyhow, ain't no one need that many dumb rednecks runnin' around. But...but a lotta them are still good folks. An' I would never, ever wanna tangle up yer folks with our dealin's -- I know you don't want no part'a our war, our rebellion..."

Andee's eyes drifted to Samael's wrist resting across his shoulder. The tattoo boldly burned into his grey fur...a match to the one Andee sported proudly on his leg. Their shared symbol of resistance, of saying 'fuck you' to the system, to everything that stood between them and a freer, better world. Samael wasn't wrong -- Xulod didn't want any part of Sirca's troubles, but it didn't mean there weren't still countless bats who understood that drive to push back against expectations, who wanted more than to hide forever and continue simply accepting the way things were.

Samael's drawl pulled him back from his thoughts as his eyes flicked back up to his companion. "...But I don't think y'all are blind to it, not one bit. Y'all see what's happenin', an' y'all know how bad it is. An'...everyone involved, from Mama Nelson to them Freelancers who turned on their ol' masters, they're all worn down. Runnin' ragged these days. 'S hard enough tryna get everyone to see eye-to-eye, let alone take a minute 'n breathe." Samael exhaled but kept his eyes locked with Juwo's while tilting his head forward respectfully. "But y'all down here, y'all know how to take a step back 'n...just have a moment. Celebrate what's important, the good stuff you got all 'round you, no matter what the future brings. An'' I think that'd go a real long way fer my people, too. To have a night they ain't gotta worry 'bout tomorrow, a night they c'n actually relax 'n enjoy, together but also surrounded by folks who ain't gonna judge 'em, ain't gonna make 'em feel like they gotta be on edge. Folks who know how important it is to cherish the things you do got..."

Juwo's features remained unreadable for a moment or two as the flickering fire danced in the simple gold bands around the bat's ears, sending gently fractured light across Samael's hopeful expression. The chieftain eventually set aside his mug, leaving his arms free to reach out and grasp into both Samael's and Andee's knees. "I am sure this request comes from young Samael's heart...but you are a fool if you don't think I can see the anticipation in your own eyes, Andee." Andee rolled his eyes and looked away before he could suffer the soft adoration flowing out of Samael's surprised countenance. "And Samael -- these people here are not quite as lacking in their capricious ways as you so fondly describe. I still remember the long looks and grumbling questions when you began your extended sojourn within these walls."

Andee hated that he ached when Samael slumped at his side. He frowned and looked back up at the chupa, but his features were still dressed with that goddamn optimism, like he still believed he could change reality if he tried hard enough. "Your aspirations are lofty, made buoyant by a determination I once knew in an old friend." Both Andee and Samael lifted their eyes to meet Juwo's gaze again. "I am not normally inclined to agree to flights of fancy...however, I recently had a conversation with someone, and though it was steeped in emotion and more than a bit of inebriation, the accusations of hypocrisy were not without merit."

Andee blinked as he frowned at Juwo before looking down at his tea. He wasn't sure he wanted to remember that whole ordeal, where he'd lost his goddamn cool like he was some kind of dumb surface-dweller. And he definitely didn't want to be the goddamn reason the old bastard reconsidered his dumb, traditional-ass ways. God, that was just the bullshit he needed saddled over his shoulders.

Juwo must have understood, considering the crafty smile he fired at Andee. "It would be disingenuous of me to not at least entertain the notion after such an impassioned plea." Samael suddenly sat up at his side, his eyes widening as Juwo looked between them. "We have spent many generations keeping ourselves cloistered safely away from the rest of Sirca, but we cannot hide forever. Even the most stoic of our people know in their hearts that eventually the machinations of the surface will find their way to us, as they do." His eyes settled on Samael. "This will be an opportunity for us all. I am not going to allow this purely for the benefit of the surface-dwellers, but as a chance for our people to form a bridge to the surface. Perhaps it will offer a glimpse to a future that finally attempts to deviate from the past."

Samael trembled with joy and Andee groaned as he tried not to give a shit. "Ugh, fuckin' christ, Sage, couldn't you just'a said 'yes' and gotten done with it like ten minutes ago?" he complained.

Juwo chuckled before glancing to Samael when the chupa laughed gleefully and set aside his mug. "Thank you, Juwo!! Hell yeah, you ain't gonna regret this!" The chieftain only smiled politely before widening his eyes as Samael suddenly swept forward to embrace the old bat securely. "I appreciate it, sir!!"

Andee groaned and dropped his face into his hand as Juwo gave an awkward laugh. "Oh my fuckin' god, I hope Lutane sees this shit and stabs you right in your ass," he mumbled while Samael pulled back, his eyes overbright with excitement. "You need a fuckin' wet wipe, Fiffy, or didja manage to avoid jizzin' all over the goddamn old man??"

Juwo straightened his adornments before casting a playful smile back to Andee. "I see why you picked this one. He is very good at, ah. Hugging."

"Don't fuckin' remind me," Andee grumbled while Samael jumped up to start bouncing eagerly from paw to paw. "Guess we better find Pan, work on those fuckin' invitations..."

Juwo held up a wing with a smaller smile. "Bear this in mind, young ones -- I will do my part and prepare the people of Xulod for our guests, but this will be the responsibility of yourselves and your visitors that no major incidents occur." He pointedly met Samael's gaze long enough for the chupa to settle slightly. "I would prefer not to regret this decision."

Samael nodded several times. "Yessir, Juwo! I'll be sure to keep 'em all in line!" He beamed cheerfully before spinning toward Andee as his tail piercing jingled energetically. "C'mon, Andee! Le's go find Pan!"

"Yeah, yeah," Andee muttered, climbing to his feet and starting to turn, only to pause as Juwo's gnarled finger dropped lightly onto his shoulder. He glanced back with a frown and the old bat smiled.

"I need a word with Andee, Cakkco Fif. Will you excuse us a moment?"

Samael paused and tilted his head with concern, but Andee only sighed loudly and then waved a wing at him. "Go on, shortstack. Just dumb bat stuff. Go find Pan 'n I'll catch up in a little bit."

Samael bit his lip but then nodded as he smiled at both Andee and the chieftain. "Okay. Thanks again, Sage! See ya soon, Andee!" He tossed a small wave before prancing out of the tent with a happy expression, earning a horrible scowl from Lutane as he passed.

Andee waited for the chupa to be out of earshot before shrugging off Juwo's finger and rubbing sheepishly at his shoulder. "I don't wanna fuckin' 'I told ya so', old man."

"I would not dream of stooping to such a level," Juwo admonished in their native tongue. Andee huffed but turned slowly around to face the chieftain, who now stood before him with his hands clasped securely around his bone staff. "I merely wanted to see how you were doing. You are a child of Xulod, no matter how crass or crude you behave toward our ways, and so it is my duty to cradle you as I do them all."

"I don't need you cradlin' shit, we got enough kiddie-humpers memorialized out here," Andee replied as he dropped his hands onto his hips churlishly.

Juwo only smiled bemusedly even as he bowed his head somewhat. "I cannot apologize for the mistakes made by my friend. Nomad had his faults, as we all do." He gazed at Andee, who pulled the brim of his cap down while rubbing at his arm silently.

Andee had been maybe nine or ten when Tracer first visited the caves. He'd been just as enthralled with the stranger as the other bats who wanted to see the rest of the world, who wondered about things outside of the cave walls. And in the years that followed, Tracer spent plenty of time with him whenever he visited Xulod, teaching him common, filling his head and journal alike with lessons and ideas and seeds of future ventures.

He'd also talked about things that Andee, perhaps, was more suited to understand than others his age. Andee, Mutt and Paneko had taught themselves a great deal about the ins and outs of being a living, breathing creature with particular needs. In other words, the three of them figured out how the hell their dicks worked earlier than most. And while Tracer never made any kind of move on him, Andee had still understood even back then that the rebel leader had particular tastes. It wasn't hard to pick up on...and frankly, wasn't something considered excessively strange in the subterranean world.

Traditions ran deep.

Andee knew Samael feared having some part of the old man passed onto him, he knew the chupa wasn't stupid enough to not understand the complexities of that early relationship he clung so tightly to. But Andee had spent nearly three weeks at his side, now. And he felt like Samael's fears were unfounded. Yeah, he was broken, and he certainly had some fucked up flaws. He definitely liked dicks more than most, too. But besides that? Honestly?

He couldn't imagine ever saying it to Samael, but now that he knew where Samael had come from, how he'd been brought into maturity and his very quick education from was hard not to be a little fuckin' proud of the redneck bastard. He was a mess but, christ, he was a semi-functional adult, at least, who could take care of himself more than most.

"He is not the same."

Andee stared down at the rug, reaching up and rubbing silently at one of his ears. He didn't need Juwo's reassurance, he already knew that. But just because Samael wasn't gonna chase young teenagers around the ring didn't mean he hadn't still picked up some of Tracer's other qualities. Andee's issues had always been with Samael's dedication to the Movement, that goddamn near-suicidal streak he seemed to display, the way he threw himself in front of every goddamn person in harm's way, the way he didn't hesitate to risk his life for anyone he called a friend. They'd never fought about Samael's sexual tastes -- well. Okay, that wasn't true. And christ, even that...motherfucker, Tracer had been a giant man-whore too, hadn't he? Part of Andee wondered if Tracer and Juwo had ever...ugh, god, that also wasn't what he wanted to think about.

"I know he ain't, Sage. But he ain't all that different, either..."

"Then be there for him." Andee frowned and lifted his head to see Juwo looking at him intently. "Be there for him in the ways I could not for my friend. You are both young, and you are both passionate. The hearts of rebels beat in both your chests. Neither of you ever wishes to taste the bit or struggle against the yoke." Juwo's smile was gentle, albeit tinged with more than a hint of amusement. "But it is quite clear to me Little Pup respects you, and does not mind the collar you place around his neck." Andee snorted, feeling his cheeks flush slightly even as he gave a careless shrug and crossed his arms stubbornly.

"Ain't my fault Puppy likes that shit. Who am I to deny him his fetish?"

"Amusing to hear this from the one wearing the actual collar."

Andee huffed even as he self-consciously tugged at the thick leather adornment hanging from his neck while he glanced away. "What's your point, old man?"

Juwo took a step closer, leaning toward the younger bat until Andee was helpless to bring his eyes back to his elder. "You are shameless in your selfishness. And you have a history of using whatever -- and whoever -- you need to achieve your goals. Yet a blind man could see you care more about Little Pup than you do most others. If you wish to stay his hand from gripping into the same steel Nomad used to carve his fate, you will have the power you so desire to do so." Andee swallowed despite himself as Juwo's calm expression morphed back into his kind smile, the old bat reaching up to idly smooth Andee's half-poncho with a grunt. "It will be your choice to use that power to help him, or to help yourself."

"Gee, no pressure," Andee mumbled in common as he rubbed the back of his neck with a sigh. A silent corner of his soul hurt to realize this was how the wisest goddamn bat of the colony saw him, how probably most of Xulod saw him. The user, the manipulator, the grifter. be fair. He kind of was, kind of proud of it, too. He just didn't like how everyone goddamn assumed it. "Thanks for nothin', old man..."

Juwo chortled and then took a step back. "Pressure is only an illusion we create for ourselves, young one. The world is made of forces pushing and pulling on us all -- it is up to us whether we shove back or let them move us." He nodded once as Andee pursed his lips. Goddamn old cryptic motherfucker. Juwo smiled slightly, no doubt at least partially reading his mind, before he gestured politely toward the front of his hut. "You'd best go and find Samael before he causes a scene without you around to make it more dramatic than necessary." Andee gave him a sour look, which only made the chieftain grin somewhat. "And let Lutane know to come inside as you leave -- maybe some of this gleam-reed will help ease his stiff neck."

"Oh, yeah, sure, share that good shit with the goodie-two-shoes, not the two fuckers who'd actually know how to party hearty with it," Andee complained, even as he smirked and then tossed a brief wave while wandering back out of the tent. "Sure thing, Juwo. Thanks for the speech, ya old bastard...let's try'n go a whole goddamn quarter before the next one, though!"

Red vs Blue © Rooster Teeth. Halo © 343 Industries. Concept by Myshu, assisted by The Department of Chupapology.

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