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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 18: Elevation

"I toldja to fuckin' call ahead, goddammit!"

Samael's lopsided smile wasn't any less genuine despite the fact Andee refused to open his door all the way, despite the fact Samael's arm was still bleeding a little bit, despite the fact he was risking god knew what kind of scathing reprisal from Nelson to make this little side trip. Even the mere sight of Andee's face poking out from his apartment was enough to send a thrill of warmth through the chupa, every last one of his nerves alight with an ethereal joy.

He had it bad for this fiery little asshole.

"Awww, c'mooon, hon, I don't mind a li'l mess!" Samael pleaded as he prepared his finest puppy eyes. "You know my room ain't hardly never clean, neither!"

"Yeah, that's why we ain't had no fuckin' sex in that goddamn wreck of a redneck fuck-nest you got back at Sidewinder!" Andee barked at him, doing a surprisingly good job ignoring the devastating rays of persuasion oozing from Samael's wide-eyed gaze. "I ain't gonna be sure if I's fuckin' you or a pile'a ya fuckin' grungy-ass booty-shorts!"

"Awww, but we ain't had almost no sex at all, let alone jus' at my place!" Samael whined before dancing on the tips of his toes and clasping his hands together under his muzzle. "Both our dicks is all healed up, my arm ain't in no cast...what more could we want?!"

Andee squinted at him before sniffing at the air and then scowling. "Maybe we ain't had no sex...but it sure fuckin' smells like you been chokin' on some dicks lately!"

Samael wasn't surprised Andee could detect Vincent, though he knew there was no way he could pick up York's scent. It'd been nearly a full day since their little double-header in the Vossler; Samael's best friend had to have been scrubbed out thoroughly by now. It was hard to determine if Andee could tell or not, either way, with the way those gleaming eyes drove sharply into Samael through the cracked door. But Samael saw a glimmer of something other than a dour accusation behind the glare, a hint of reluctance, perhaps, a suggestion that Samael wasn't the only one to regret how much they'd shuffled around and skirted the intimacy they both so desperately ached for.

It was that perfect moment of serenity between the dark thunderheads, when Samael was granted an opportunity to gaze past the spiked carapace, beyond the obvious jealousy of York and into the bat's honest emotions. Every tiny glimpse, every minute reveal of Andee's fiercely-guarded core reminded Samael that no amount of tears or shouting or cruel insults could stop him from giving his whole being to this furious little conundrum.

Maybe York was his perfect complement, the ideal coupling that fit snugly around him because he existed on the same wavelength; he smiled the same genuine smiles that hid unspoken trauma; he loved unconditionally and wasn't afraid to admit his emotions, wasn't ashamed of how they'd make him appear. He knew Samael better than anyone else on the ring -- not even Tracer's embrace held the small chupa so securely, gave him such a flawless foundation while elevating him to heights he could only imagine reaching on his own.

But Andee was that jagged puzzle piece, the one that didn't quite line up properly, but the one that made the picture unique when someone figured out how to make it fit. The piece others rejected and turned away, the piece that had come to hate the world because the world had never found it worthy of joining its rigid, flawless ranks. He was far from perfect...yet then again, so was Samael.

They were imperfect creatures together, and every raw instinct from Samael's upbringing demanded that he stand up and fight for a packmate, urged him to hold his fellow outcast close and curl around him, to become the defensive shell Andee had spent so long bricking over himself. And by giving himself that purpose, he no longer needed to be held. He no longer needed a matching soul to feel complete because he had a flawed one to clutch close instead, one he could tend to and care for and polish into something radiant.

He knew York felt the same way. He'd once wondered if his huge counterpart ever thought about the what if, what would have happened if he and Samael had taken things further. But Samael had since then witnessed the look in York's eyes when he spoke about Wash and the feelings he harbored for his partner. Wash was his murky grain of sand that he encircled protectively, for which he would go through hell and high water to help nurture into a beautiful pearl.

Perhaps, once upon a time, York and Samael could have been more than best friends, perhaps a twist of fate would have left them as the brightest pair of stars on Sirca. But now they had the chance to double that, to give the ring four gleaming points of brilliant illumination. All they had to do was wrap themselves around their partners and ensure nothing...nothing penetrated through and threatened the flickering flames they defended.

Sirca could always use more light.

Andee's eyes locked with his and Samael's pulse quickened. Those dangerous yellow pools could engulf him eternally, and he'd thirst for nothing more until his dying gasp.

A sheepish smile doused the chupa's expression and he gave an innocent roll of his eyes. "Well, sure, I had to convince Vinny to drop me off somehow, ain't I?" Andee's eyes narrowed and Samael was swift to add: "An' I found out a li'l more info from his mama, too!"

Andee stared him down for another second or two, then finally smirked and flicked an ear. "Good. Ya finally startin' to remember Nelson ain't the only one who can put ya whore ass to work doin' what you fuckin' do best." His eyes shifted to Samael's arm. "Tch. See that ya still can't fuckin' do a fuckin' job without gettin' shot, though."

Samael glanced at the wound and offered a more contrite smile while bowing his head somewhat. "Jus' a li'l through-an'-through, nothin' rough." He perked up. "Told Vinny to let Nelson know I was stoppin' by to get it patched up, gimme a good reason to come on by!"

The bat snorted. "Yo' bitch-ass momma better start recognizin' that I'm a good reason for ya ass to come by, whenever the fuck I say so!" He sniffed disdainfully, though Samael caught the wary shift of weight. Not even Andee could mutter a harsh word about the woman without a nervous shiver. "Hmph. But alright, then -- good job, Fiffy."

Samael brightened and swung his tail from side to side, the joyful motion only bolstered by Andee's unavoidable smile. "Goddammit, ya stumpy faggot," the bat chided. Samael took a step closer to the door, but Andee wrinkled his muzzle and thrust a slender arm through the gap to jab a claw into his chest. "Ay! Still don't mean I'm ready for ya, asshole! Go get ya fuckin' arm cleaned up, then we'll see how things is lookin' in a few hours."

"A few hours?" Samael pouted, squirming in place and shuffling from paw to paw. He did his best to maintain the comical overacting, but his heart was slipping lower and lower into his gut. " everythin' okay?" Another attempt at a cheesy smile. "You got Pan in there waitin' to go back down on ya? Ya know I don't mind!"

"Of course you don't, ya fuckin' whore," Andee muttered, though he gave another slight smile while lifting his muzzle haughtily. "Me and Pan fucked around last period, anyway." His eyes again met Samael's, then at last softened as he sighed with what was no doubt an attempt to sound as annoyed as possible. "Alright, look. After -- after -- ya get that fuckin' arm patched get ya ass over to the Puppy Shack." Samael blinked and tilted his head curiously. "The craftworkers want it back for storage, so you gotta get all ya shit outta there!"

Samael rubbed at the back of his head. It hurt him more than he thought it would. Part of him had expected it would be his spot forever, even if they'd told him it was just temporary, just a place for him to sleep and store his things whenever he came back to visit.

At first, the little shed had just felt like a hovel for him, a doghouse for the outsider who had no place in Xulod. But he'd soon realized it was still a part of the underground city. His place in Xulod, granted to him by the civilization that had chosen to embrace him as one of their own. So having to empty it out now...

"Quit lookin' like ya 'bout to cry," Andee grumbled as he tugged at his collar and then sighed loudly again. "Bring. Bring all that shit back here. I guess I can make some fuckin' room for my stupid fuckin' Fiffy..."

Samael's eyes widened, tears of joy already forming as he rushed forward. "Awww, Andee!"

But the bat snorted and quickly slammed the door shut so the chupa smacked into it with a dull thump. "Get ya ass to the healers, jackass!" he called out in a muffled voice. "I'll see ya after the hut's been cleaned out and all ya shit's ready to bring in here!" Samael smiled and placed a hand against the door as the bat added in a huff: "Then I'll see if I'm ready to let ya dumb ass inside..."

"You got it, hon!" Samael cried out happily, patting the door and then spinning once on a paw with a squeal before prancing toward the staircase. "See ya soon!"

* * *

He'd told the stupid bastard to give him a buzz when he was planning to visit. He'd told him time and time again.

It wasn't even because he hated surprises. Even if he did hate surprises. No, Andee just wasn't a fucking slob and he didn't want his place looking like shit when this dopey redneck came calling.

And it wasn't like he'd had plans of his own today, wasn't like he was busy getting something organized right when the idiotic puppy showed up, of course not. Andee was here for Samael, at his goddamn beck and call, he didn't have no fuckin' independent life of his own or anything. Sure he had time to just drop everything and spend three goddamn hours cleaning the counters, washing his sheets, mopping the floors, no big fucking deal.

"Ah...phew...Ah think this's the last one!"

Andee glanced absently at the chupa with a scowl to see him stumble through the door with a huge crate held to his chest. This was the fourth fucking box -- how the fuck did a cave-dwelling asshole who showed practically zero interest in physical possessions have so much shit? He made a face as Samael wheezed behind him, taking a step to the side while glaring into a box full of food supplies and jars of various size and color.

He heard Samael's cautious footsteps and rolled his eyes while pawing through the different spices. Always pussy-footing around, it got so fucking annoying when--

His eyes bulged at a sudden sharp pain as Samael's large paw fell upon his toes, a piercing squawk flying from his muzzle and his wings spreading in shock. "Goddammit, Fiffy," he snarled while Samael quickly backpedaled with a whimper. "Watch where ya stomping those big ugly feet!"

He whipped a wing into the chupa's calf and Samael yelped, his eyes bulging as he dropped to a knee. The bat's eyes widened as well when Samael gasped and lost his grip on the heavy box so that it began to tip forward. He tried to wrap his massive arms around it again but it outraced his reaction speed and toppled out of his embrace to slam into the floor. Andee's ears pinned back and a furious hiss whistled through his teeth when a variety of tools and ammunition spilled out of the container to skitter over the polished wooden planks.

Samael shrunk back before crying out: "Oh shit, shit, I'm sorry!" He stared over at the twitching bat and Andee wondered for the seventy-fifth time why the fuck it was Samael, why was it this stupid, suicidal, shitty redneck he'd let into his life.

His muzzle wrinkled with his rage and he threw his arms wide. "God-fuckin'-dammit, ya fuckin' dumbass!" he bellowed before shoving a finger toward the scattered items. "Come on, I just fuckin' cleaned this shit!"

The chupa nearly collapsed into himself before crawling forward on all fours. "I-I s-said I was sorry, hon," he whispered, his eyes wrenching away shamefully as he began to frantically collect the strewn bits. "I...I got it, I'mma...I-I'mma get it picked up, please don't be cross..."

Andee glowered down at the shivering chupa. The amount of fear radiating from his muscular body was nearly comical were it not so pitiful. It was hard not to remember the car in Lamtha, or the square right here in Xulod. He could see tears already forming in Samael's eyes and he slowly lowered his wings. It was harder still to not remember the night in Andee's apartment after Himroc, or the way those same eyes had sworn such unwavering loyalty in the boat at Highguard...or the very real promise he'd murmured in Andee's bed the last time he'd been here.

Samael was an idiot, and a fucking confusing mess on top of it. He knew so many hardships of the ring already and yet was still such a naive child sometimes. Andee knew Samael could survive, hell, thrive in more dangerous and harrowing scenarios than even the most hardened soldiers...but then the bat would be reminded that the same short, stupid motherfucker didn't know the first thing about living on Sirca. Truly living on the ring, not as a rebel, not as a martyr, but as a real person who hadn't been raised in a fucking remote cave and then been fucked senseless and molded into the perfect little devotee by Sirca's most charming cult leader.

As Samael quivered and began to place the loose contents back into the box, Andee bit the inside of his cheek and then reached out to close a finger around Samael's broad shoulder. The chupa froze beneath his touch and pulled his head between his shoulders as his eyes squeezed shut tightly enough to force out the unshed tears.

"Hey, asshole." He saw Samael's muzzle creak open, no doubt to release another blubbering apology. Andee cut it off softly. "Quit fuckin' shrinkin' back like you's afraid I'mma beat you or some shit."

Despite his generous demand, the chupa still pushed his shoulders together like he thought Andee was going to club him. The bat set his jaw but shoved the anger aside to instead break the uncomfortable silence with a frustrated sigh. "Goddammit, Sammy..." He felt his companion tense up when he moved closer, but then those cruelly beautiful blue eyes opened in surprise as Andee dropped to his knees next to him to help pick up the remaining mess. "Look, there's. There's a fuckin' difference between listenin' to me and bein' fuckin'...scared, like some abused kid." He plucked a clip of bullets off the floor and studied it before muttering: "Don't treat me like some fuckin' monster."

Andee wasn't blind to the irony even as he shoved the magazine into Samael's chest and looked up into his eyes. "I just want you to fuckin' take a few extra seconds to try and be careful. I broke my fuckin' back tryin' to clean all this shit up for you since ya just fuckin' showed up as you love to fuckin' do." Samael looked away sheepishly and Andee rolled his tongue behind his teeth before adding in a low voice: "It's fuckin' fine. But the point is that this...this is my home." He gestured around them both. "You ain't back in ya fuckin' shitty ice-caves where nothin's gonna happen and no one's gonna care if ya drop a goddamn wreckin' ball in the middle'a the fuckin' floor..."

Samael swallowed but nodded and gingerly accepted the clip before tucking it back into the crate. "S-sorry, sweetie. I...I ain't scared of you." Andee narrowed his eyes, unsure whether or not he wanted it to be true. The chupa shifted on his knees and then offered a wavering smile. "I just. I don't wantcha to be mad, is all. I been real excited to see you."

"I don't wanna be mad, either," Andee shot back before pulling the bite back from his tone with a grimace. "And if ya so excited to see me, then why ya tryna step on my ass, stompin' around like a blind elephant cow?" he complained, poking a claw firmly into the end of Samael's snout. The chupa flinched but didn't shrink away this time, only gazing owlishly back down at him. "Why can't ya just get a fuckin' boner like ya normally do??"

Samael choked out a laugh, quickly wiping the remaining tears from his cheeks. "It ain't like that, n-naw," he stammered before clearing his throat and straightening his spine. It gave Andee a silent burst of reassurance. "I'm jus' a li'l sore," he explained as he glanced down at his arm, Andee's eyes following of their own accord. "They gave me some'a that numbin' tea 'fore they stitched me up, an'. An' I guess I also had more stuff in the shack than I thought. Got a li'l winded bringin' it up all them steps, an' I'm sor--"

"God, again, you gotta fuckin' quit with the apologizin'," Andee interrupted as he sat back on his knees for a moment. "Now I really am startin' to wonder if Tracer had it this bad with you as a fuckin' twelve-year-old or if I'm the only one havin' to deal with all this gay-ass shit now that ya all growed up." He shook his head and then grumbled while reaching out to shove a finger into Samael's chest. "How many times I gotta tell you? Just 'cause you's my fuckin' Fiffy don't mean I want you fuckin' soft. You better listen to my ass, yeah, but I ain't gettin' hard off you sobbin' at my feet like some broke-ass housewife."

Samael looked like he wanted to say something but Andee had other plans as he shuffled closer and grabbed the chupa's chin, pulling his head down to push their muzzles together. Samael's eyes widened somewhat but he was blissfully and obediently silent when the bat spoke. "I want my midget to be the same fuckin' man who didn't piss himself playin' five-string in front'a all of Xulod. Who spent two weeks with my ass and still ain't got the message to stay the fuck away from me." He frowned but didn't tear his gaze away from Samael's as he stroked a thumb slowly along the bottom of his jaw. "You's a stupid redneck. Ya stubborn as shit. Ya break all the fuckin' rules, and you somehow think my ugly ass is worth all these fuckin' emotions."

He regretted the words and felt the flicker of apprehension break through his stony features, knowing immediately that Samael wouldn't miss it. That rare twist of self-doubt tasted sour and he hated every tiny implication of its existence. But his eyes hardened after a moment as he shoved his nose into Samael's snout again. "I already get enough fuckin' heartburn dealin' with ya stupid need to sacrifice yaself for the whole fuckin' ring. Least you can do is fuckin' make me proud to call you my fuckin' puppy, and not just some crybaby I'm draggin' along on a fuckin' leash."

He tried not to waver as Samael's eyes searched him, plumbed the depths of his soul in the way Andee still loved and hated in equal measure. It took him a moment to inhale deeply and give the bat several nods -- maybe he was stupid enough to not recognize that the average person didn't want to be known as someone's bitch. But Andee had no doubt Samael also wasn't as clueless as everyone assumed. He knew Andee was stretching, reaching out so far that the strain ached every fiber of his defensive nature. As much as Andee liked to tell himself that Samael was an idiot, there were some things he knew the chupa understood better than any other soul on Sirca.

Still, that joy dancing in the redneck's eyes as Andee all but claimed him as his branded property was undeniable. They both had their problems, yeah. But there was too much elation for it to be anything wrong.

"A'right, hon," Samael replied softly while lifting a hand. Andee refused to budge even as his shoulders tightened, all but daring the chupa to continue. And continue he did, gently rubbing his thumb across the rim of Andee's ear as the bat's eyes slid shut. He didn't need to see the look of raw adoration on his partner's features and he pushed the embarrassment desperately away even as he felt his cheek burning against Samael's knuckles. "I appreciate you lettin' me into yer place," Samael murmured as his claw stroked over the rim of Andee's ear once again.

"This ain't ya first time in here, asshole," Andee muttered, even as he pushed his head against his companion's fingers. "Quit bein' such a sentimental fruitcake."

Samael laughed a bit, drawing his claws tenderly through the bat's cheek fur. "Y'know what I mean."

"Unfortunately I do," Andee mumbled, sighing and then reluctantly shifting to move his feet beneath himself so he could stand. He brushed off his legs while Samael continued to gaze at him with the same ceaseless affection. The dumb bastard. Andee could scowl and curse and tell him to quit until he was gasping for air. The stumpy asshole still wouldn't know how to stop.

He wrinkled his muzzle, then groaned dramatically while gripping into the edge of the box and thumbing toward a corner of the main room. "Go on, then, put this shit over there. We'll find a place for all ya cheap, dirty shit, figure out where to put it so it don't make my joint look like a fuckin' waystop for nasty stray pups..."

Samael smiled, his burgeoning positivity as undeterred as always. All the things Andee could hold against him, the flaws and faults that ran as deep as the fate Tracer had carved into this dumb motherfucker's soul, his sheer tenacity and refusal to stay down never failed to shine through. Made him sorta like the inverted version of the shitty kinda bipolar Andee was.

And maybe he just knew what a big deal it was that Andee was allowing even a stupid pair of shorts to call this apartment home. Maybe he recognized how much it pained every inch of the bat's lead-lined core to invite this...this invasion of his privacy. This compromise of the independence he clung to more fiercely than any amount of shiny trinkets or raw influence.

Who was he kidding; of course Samael was aware. The doe-eyed puppy didn't miss a goddamn thing.

Andee watched as Samael hefted the crate to his chest and meandered cautiously toward the indicated corner of the room. He knew it was unfair to pretend Samael was only just now being prudent -- the chupa had been walking on broken glass since he'd hauled the very first box into the apartment. But unfair was how Sirca ran and Andee wasn't about to try and change the goddamn natural order of things.

"Don't worry, hon, it ain't gonna muss up the place!" Samael called over his shoulder. "It'll just make ya look more, uh...worldly! Well-traveled!" His tail flicked upward with a cheerful jangle. "A content-lentil bat-about-town!"

"It's continental, ya slack-jawed hick," Andee retorted before thrusting a wing toward his partner. "And those is all just fancy fuckin' words for bein' a whore! And like I toldja before, I ain't no whore, I'm just a good fuckin' lay!"

"The very best!" Samael chirped as he carefully set down the box of odds and ends and then spun around with a smile. "Plus -- lemme guess -- I'm the only whore 'round here?" he supplied teasingly.

"Ya got that right!" Andee answered brusquely before his eyes fell upon a small wooden carving at the top of another crate full of dumb puppy things. "And don't ya fuckin' forget it, neither," he added while snatching it and proceeding to clamber onto his countertop with a soft mumble.

He remembered making fun of this weird little chunk of wood when Samael had first shown it to him after bringing it by from Sidewinder. He remembered because Samael promptly made him feel like a piece of shit when he'd awkwardly admitted it wasn't just some silly trinket, but instead something he'd carved in the days following Tracer's demise to try and cope with the overwhelming changes and emotions. Something a little less harsh than whatever Nelson had used to distract him, and something Andee was sure still carried a weighty meaning to the squishy redneck.

The ugly thing had probably guarded the midget's nightstand for a couple of years in Sidewinder before it had been brought out to add a certain touch to his shack in Xulod. And here it was. Clutched in Andee's claws as he stood on the tips of his toes to stretch up and gently place the carving on a shelf above the dining area, in a spot where it'd catch the light through the window just right.

The stupid piece of junk didn't deserve such a coveted spot in his home, he told himself, as he brushed a bit of dust from the worn wood. Any more than the smile he felt radiating against his back, the air thick enough with adulation that he could taste it. He made a face and twitched at the sensation before slowly glaring over his shoulder to find Samael gazing affectionately up at him from across the apartment. "The fuck you gawkin' at, shorstack!?"

"Jus' the best li'l bat-friend a dumb ol' Sampi boy coulda ever dreamed of havin'," he replied earnestly, a hand pressed to his chest in what was no doubt an attempt to hide the swooning thump of his giant gay heart.

Andee hated that he couldn't completely hide the slight smile, squinting through the warmth that tickled along his spine while bending down to swipe one of Samael's spare belts off the counter. "Quit tryna distract me with all that fruity bullshit! We got work to do!" he declared as he flung the belt at the rebel.

Samael deftly caught it with one hand and laughed, shifting forward to offer a mocking bow. "I know yer the master'a yer li'l kingdom here, hon -- you tell me where you wanna put stuff, I'll happily obey!"

"Ya damn right ya will!"Andee announced before gesturing impatiently to another box full of loose tools. "You can put all ya fuckin' belts in the top left drawer, but first gimme that shit! I guess I'll make room in the fuckin' kitchen for all ya greasy redneck toys..."

Samael chuckled but dutifully hung the belt over his arm so he could prance over and grab the crate to haul it toward Andee. "You got it, hon!!"

Andee snorted as he hopped down from the counter and grunted a thanks to the chupa, who spun around to attend to the rest of the belts while the bat began to remove the tools. He laid them out across the kitchen floor one-by-one so he could sort them, scowling as he did so. For someone as mechanically inclined as Samael was, the stupid redneck sure as fuck had an aversion to keeping the shit all nice and organized. Mutt was an asshole who liked to call Andee 'obsessive' for this kinda shit, but that big fuck didn't know what he was on about. Probably just jealous Andee didn't come over more often to straighten out his shit.

He heard Samael scooting toward his dresser and let his thoughts shift back to the dumb chupa. It felt like it'd been longer than it actually had since he was last here in Xulod. Not that Andee cared or nothin'. They both had their own lives to live and all that, after all.

"Ay, so what the fuck ya been up to?" he shouted from behind the counter. "I ain't seen ya faggot ass since we picked up the moonshine from Sidewinder -- that deal went fuckin' sweet, by the way!" He thrust a wing into the air while using his other hand to open one of the cabinets. "But don't be gettin' no big fuckin' head! It was all me, your fuckin' inbred jet fuel just helped 'em agree a little faster!"

Samael's easy laugh was familiar, though Andee's ears pricked at the subtle note of hesitation. That wasn't like Samael, not unless he was hiding something. Eh, then again, the jackass probably just had more news about more shitty rebel missions where he was gettin' his ass shot at or some shit. Andee made a face but was patient as Samael replied, "Aw shit, y'know how it goes! That job Vinny 'n me just finished up was only 'bout the second gig I ran since gettin' the cast off. And before tha--"

Andee huffed and slapped a wrench against the half-wall of the kitchen. "Ay, ay, hold up, I got questions, asshole!" he interjected. "You gonna tell me how the fuck you got shot?"

"Oh! Uh..." Samael cleared his throat and the sound made Andee's features crinkle up.

Here it came.

"Well, I was jus' doin' a li'l tusslin' with a coupla guards. And things just got a li'l outta hand, that's all."

Andee pursed his lips and then poked his head over the countertop to glare at the chupa. "Oh yeah? And what was the Sov bastard doin', eh? Too busy suckin' on ya blueberry popsicle to stop you from gettin' ya ass kicked?!?"

Samael ducked his head while folding a small stack of shorts to tuck into the same drawer as the belts. At least the bastard was still capable of some critical thinking. "Aw, uh. Naw, naw -- he weren't there, he--"

"Whaddya mean, 'he weren't there'?!" Andee demanded as he jabbed a screwdriver in Samael's direction. "Ain't the whole point of you draggin' his skinny ass along so that he learns to do this shit on his own??"

Samael looked cowed and peered back at Andee before holding up a finger. "Hey, it ain't like he was just sittin' around with a thumb up his ass," he began.

"Yeah, 'cause he had it up yours," Andee interrupted drolly while putting the screwdriver into a cabinet and then glowering over the counter again, only to soften somewhat at the sight of Samael gazing down at a framed photograph. He dialed back the moodiness as pleasant memories filtered through instead. "That the pic of you doin' ya first gleam-shrooms?"

Samael's shameless grin confirmed it. Andee remembered the day well despite the extreme inebriation. The picture showed Samael surrounded by Andee, Mutt and Paneko, his eyes wider than the Vossler and his expression goofier than usual. They'd introduced Samael to plenty during his time at Xulod, and he was pretty damn familiar with most of the bats' illicit substances by now, but that afternoon had certainly been one for the record books. "Heh, yeah," Samael replied with a soft chuckle. "I'm still surprised poor Mutt didn't lose his goddamn arm tryna stop me from fightin' that bull!"

Yeah, that was Mutt, alright. Also prone to being a dumb selfless shield for his friends. "He's almost as bad as you when it comes to throwin' himself on the fire," Andee grumbled, though he smiled and met Samael's eyes briefly before dropping back down to continue putting the tools away. "Don't put that on the dresser, asshole. Find a fuckin' nail 'n hang it up under that naked guitar pic, ya stupid bastard." He muttered for a moment or two, then spoke up again from behind the counter. "So where was Vinny, then?"

"He was bringin' the truck 'round," Samael responded. Andee heard him shuffling over to dig up a nail and tap it into the wall. He trusted the brainless chupa enough to hang it up in the aforementioned spot. "He weren't tryin' to avoid the fight or nothin'..."

Andee frowned at the pliers in his grip. Samael was an open book, yet whether he intended or not, the pages were often scrawled in a language that had no easy translation. Same as the masks he wore -- sometimes they were seamless and not even a microscope would reveal the illusion. But sometimes his masks had cracks. Sometimes Andee could decipher those pages.

He clutched slowly into the tool as a low growl rose from his throat. "I ain't no fuckin' dumbass, Sammy." He could feel the way the chupa froze. "You made sure he wasn't there, didn't you?"

It didn't matter that he couldn't see the rebel's face. The hesitation was thick in the air as all the usual panache of Samael's flawless storytelling stumbled over the tiny but momentous gap in confidence, leaving him briefly vulnerable.

Andee pounced.

"Aw, fuckin' hell, Fiffy, you dumb motherfucker!"

He shoved the pliers roughly into a fitting spot as Samael stepped nervously away from the wall and scooped something else out of a box. He wasn't sobbing yet, at least, so Andee supposed he could take solace in that. But it was still beyond frustrating to come back to this all over again, to be reminded of Samael's need to be Sirca's defender. Something that no doubt left many of those he defended warm and appreciative, but only conjured up a frigid draft for Andee that made him curl around himself tighter.

" ain't like you think, hon."

Andee flattened his brow and opened the next cabinet. He was fairly certain it was exactly like he thought.

"I wasn't lookin' to get myself shot up, I was tryin' to make sure there wasn't no extra--"

"Can it, dumbass," Andee muttered over the rattle of rearranging the innards of the cupboard. "Whatever you was tryin' to do, it had the same fuckin' result." He snatched up a wrench and squeezed it until his palm ached. "You actin' like you's made outta body-armor. Like you fuckin' get off to bein' a bullet-shield." He slammed it angrily into place, hearing the simultaneous jump from Samael across the room. "When are you gonna stop tryna protect the whole fuckin' ring?!?"

The silence was daunting. Andee's ears swiveled toward the hesitant shift of paws against the hardwood and he closed his eyes at the sound of the chupa's arms tightening around something. "Andee..."

Andee hadn't forgotten the conversations, though. The long, painful discussions that he'd never wanted, wished they'd never had to have. They were reminders of the real world, the bloody, cruel, unforgiving world that persisted outside these little moments when all else was drowned out.

He gave an exasperated sigh and swung the cabinet shut before standing up to level a pointed expression at the rebel. Samael was looking back at him nervously, a thick blanket clutched to his chest. Andee kept his gaze steady, leaning on the counter and pointing a wing at him. "You hear me going on like last time?" he intoned, even as his eyes narrowed somewhat. "Told ya I ain't fuckin' stupid. I remember what we talked about, and about the way that...what'd ya say? 'This is who ya are'. Feh." He sucked on his front teeth and lowered his arm to tap a claw on the scratched countertop. "So I fuckin' get it, I do. Don't make me any less fuckin' pissed, though."

His eyes flicked to the blanket again. It was one they'd dragged around to their favorite spots throughout the underground city, sitting on it and trading affections and gossip like they were dumb kids all over again. Xulod was rarely ever chilly, and Samael had that big stupid thick-ass hide that was so fuckin' comfortable for Andee to press into...but the blanket had still added just the right amount of warmth to those blessed slivers of time. Andee had to scowl to mask the fond expression that threatened to break through. "Anyway, so ya kept Vinny from gettin' in a fight...then what? You was so upset with denyin' him the rebel experience that ya sucked his dick right off on the drive, that it?" The half-grin that raced across Samael's features lightened the mood so effortlessly that even Andee couldn't help his dour expression molting into a bemused smile. "Yeah, yeah..." He shook his head with a snort. "You can tell me about whatever his momma said later. Go ahead 'n put that blanket on the bed for now."

"I c'n put it in the closet," Samael offered, taking a step toward the other end of the room. Andee's eyes widened and he slammed a palm into the counter, causing the chupa to squeak and half-spin toward him in shock.

"Ay, bed, jackass! I gotta system!" Andee barked as he thrust an arm toward the mattress.

Samael stared awkwardly for a few seconds but obediently moved to place the blanket at the foot of the bed. "Lawd, hon, you missed yer callin' as a ringmaster..."

Andee smirked and let the tension wash back out before sauntering over to the first box. "Oh, you ain't ready to deal with me usin' no whip yet," he retorted, dropping down to pick through what was still left to be unpacked. "Alright, fine -- what was the other job ya did, then? Fuckin' Nelson...she send you out the same fuckin' period you get that cast off or what??"

He glanced over to see Samael chortle and scratch at the tip of his muzzle. "Uhhh, well, actually..."

"Goddamn, the fuckin' legless cunt!"

Samael laughed and hip-checked his companion lightly as Andee pulled out a handwoven tablecloth. The chupa automatically moved to help him shake it out as he playfully chided, "Don't be talkin' bad 'bout Mama like that!" Andee rolled his eyes but smiled all the same. They moved as one to fold the cloth neatly between them, though the bat kept his gaze expectantly locked with Samael's, who winked down at him after a moment. "The job was pretty fuckin' fun, actually! Nelson wanted me to get another boat fer the wet-dock, said since we was startin' to run more 'n more missions across the Vossler, we needed more options."

"Finally gettin' you back to ya redneck roots," Andee replied dryly. "Givin' you more tailpipes to shove that dick into."

Samael snickered as Andee snatched away the folded tablecloth, leaving the chupa to bend down and grab the last few ornaments from the crate. "You'd be jealous, you seen what I stole!" Samael crowed. "This real lovely speedboat, hoo lawd, she's a dream! Already got'r repainted a nice shade'a pink 'n everythang!"

Andee snorted and glanced back at Samael, a smile escaping despite his attempts to withhold it. "You would, ya fuckin' faggot," he replied before nodding toward the rebel's hands. "Y'know, s'been a while since you painted your claws, we gotta do that shit before ya head back to Sidewinder. Don't need everyone yappin' about how my Fiffy ain't givin' no shits about the way he looks, feh! My property needs to stand out good 'n bright!"

Samael giggled and Andee couldn't help but wonder for just a moment if he was just experiencing a quarter-long drug trip. Who actually enjoyed being referred to this way? Who was actually this devoted, this enamored, this...this overjoyed about being stuck with someone like him?

But he tucked away the discomfort to contemplate later, choosing to savor the moment. As he strolled back from putting away the tablecloth, he pressed a claw lightly into Samael's toned stomach. "Speakin' of big stupid queers, how's ya boyfriend and his shitty boyfriend gettin' along? They fuckin' break up yet or they still dancin' around the fact Wash can't get enough of Tex's hot nasty dick?!"

Samael laughed but rubbed the back of his head and shifted his eyes away for a beat. Andee frowned. It wasn't like he was trying to test the redneck...but then again, maybe he was, just a little. Samael had been bringing up York and Wash more often, despite how much it annoyed Andee. Like they had something in common, like they had any reason to be in the same goddamn room.

Did this idiotic midget see some commonality, was he empathizing with those two stupid fuckers like there was anything relatable here? Sure, maybe York and Samael shared some traits, but Wash was nothing like Andee. It was clear he didn't have a fucking clue about how to leash his giant were-mutt...not to mention his questionable tastes considering that whole thing with Tex. No, Wash was a goddamn stick in the mud that wouldn't know the first goddamn thing about all the fucking intricacies and goddamn hardship of trying to make something work with someone like Samael. York wasn't a fucking broken, damaged fuck like Samael -- no matter how stupid Wash was being with Tex, he was fucking blessed to have a bastard like York chasing him. Huge suicidal puppy or not, at least the guy knew a fucking thing or two about the real world.

"C'mon, now," Samael finally replied, drawing Andee's attention back to the present as the chupa moved the empty box to the front door. "They's doin' their best." Andee made at face at his companion's back and crossed his arms. "In fact, uh." Samael set the crate down and turned around with a goofy grin that made the bat squint suspiciously. "York came over 'n paid me a li'l visit a period or so after I gave y'all that moonshine."

Andee immediately glowered up at him. "You was still in ya fuckin' cast when me 'n the boys came by -- that dumb Freefucker didn't fuckin' plow ya ass in a fuckin' closet and fuck ya all up again or some shit, did he!?"

Samael laughed again and it seemed more genuine as he regarded Andee with an entertained smile. "Gawd, y'know Nelson warned him 'bout the same thing."


The chupa chortled and held his arms out in protest. "Aww, c'mon, why's everyone think me 'n York can't get together without stickin' our dicks in other?" Andee only gave him a droll look and he smiled again, raising a hand in surrender. "A'right, a'right, fair 'nuff. Anyway, York mostly just wanted to talk, honest."

"Yeah, I'm sure ya fuckin' had a real nice chat with his dick," Andee grumbled even as the suggestion of gossip made his ears prick. This inbred midget knew exactly what he was doing. He huffed and kept his arms crossed, but fired an expectant look up to his partner.

To his shock, Samael didn't tease for once. He instead smiled and moved to the next box of assorted items. "Him 'n Wash, they really are tryna figure out what things mean 'twixt the two'a them. It ain't like that trip out to Sampi was just some fling 'cuz of Wash's ruff, I don't think..."

Andee set his jaw and maintained the grumpy expression, tearing his eyes away only so he could snatch up a loose scarf from the scant collection of Samael's clothes yet to find a home. "Mutt's always talkin' about that ruff shit, he acts like it's a big fuckin' deal, feh," Andee muttered, gesturing wildly with the scarf. "So what, it just makes you mud-jumpers more dick-oriented for five, six periods, maybe a day? With that logic, it sounds like you's in the ruff every goddamn day!" Samael gave a half-smile and opened his maw to respond, though Andee continued with a huff. "In fact, how do I know that just ain't what happened to us, huh? Maybe you was in the ruff when you first came to Xulod, got ya emotions all fuckin' tied up 'round ya big ugly nuts and you decided you was crazy for bats since we was the only things around to fuck!"

Samael's crooked smile spilled down over him, accompanied by a melodic laugh. The tune carried a minor key, though. "Heh, you, uh. You ain't seent my ruff, hon, sorry. No easy out there." Andee rolled his eyes and the chupa rubbed at the light patch on his chest before murmuring: "All I'm sayin' is that it'd be easy to blame what happened to them on biology, but. But York don't feel that way."

"York's a fuckin' idiot, almost as much a dumbass puppy as you," Andee retorted mildly as he absently wound the scarf up and placed it on a shelf near the front door. "Maybe he's the only one confused, and Wash just wants to go back to his starrin' role on Sirca's Deadliest Snatches, ya ever think about that? Maybe you two puppy jackasses is just drawin' out the inevitable!"

Samael shifted his weight and then glanced down, his fingers pausing in their gentle roam over his broad chest. Andee had spent enough time against it that he knew the scars well, a mix of old and new. It didn't help ease the ponderous tone of Samael's murmur. "Or maybe we're just afraid of losin' out on what could be."

Not even Andee's most aloof stance could twist around the impact of his words. The bat stared him down for a few seconds, eventually grinding his molars and forcing the tension out of his shoulders. "You pups is fuckin' idiots," he replied quietly. He shook his head before wandering back toward Samael as the chupa picked through an assortment of half-empty moonshine jars. Andee's eyes locked onto them, perhaps desperate for a distraction from the thick, shapeless emotion he was straining to swallow. "Put those on the counter," he ordered before rubbing at his throat and grimacing at the pins and needles. "Mutt and Pan love that shit, won't take us long to finish it."

Samael nodded and his eyes flicked back to Andee, who studied him a moment longer, then grunted. "So what kinda 'advice' you give the were-mutt, then?"

Samael's smile squirmed hesitantly back into place while he lined up the colored jars neatly along the bar top. "Heh, I uh. I said...y'know. If he wanted to see if there was more to it than just the ruff, he should. Y'know. Try'n do more things with Wash. Without bein' drunk or spiky."

Andee raised an eyebrow as he dropped his hands onto his hips, shamelessly airing his lofty doubts. "Uh huh. And how'd that fuckin' play out?"

"Weeeeell..." Samael rolled his eyes slowly, trying not to smile. "York ended up givin' 'im a blowjob." Andee snorted and Samael added with a cough: "A purdy bad blowjob."

"HA!" Andee cackled and strutted in a small circle, pride and memories alike burgeoning through him as he jammed a finger into the chupa's thigh. "He fuckin' sucks! The first one you gave me was fuckin' epic!!"

Samael grinned and batted his companion gently with his tail. "'S the only one I ever gave ya, hon!"

"Only one so far!" Andee proclaimed as he fanned his wings pompously. "Just 'cause I ain't all dick-hungry like you don't mean you ain't gonna be slobberin' on this fine bat-bone again sometime real soon!"

Samael giggled and Andee took unabashed delight in the rush of excitement crashing through his veins. He'd almost forgotten what this dance between them felt like, their teasing waltz around impending passion. Andee certainly wasn't unfamiliar with the experience, but Samael had a doctorate in the craft, a goddamn maestro with this particular rhythm. It felt good to roll it over his tongue once more. "I sure hope so!" Samael sang out before he chuckled and rested an elbow on the counter. "Anyway, give the big ol' lap-dog a break, huh? That was the first one he ever done gave."

"I can't decide if I'm more upset at York for bein' such a pussy, or you for fuckin' the guy nine-hundred and twenty-three times and never once demandin' he wrap his flappin' lips around that bright blue snowcone!" Andee sneered, waving a wing dismissively and then leaning into the crate to root around the bottom and pluck out the remaining containers of random spices and herbs. "Feh, for someone who rocked my rump so fine, you sure do become a real bottom-ass bitch around all those big motherfuckers, don'tcha??" He grunted and took a step back, his slender arms full of several small jars. "These is stayin' in my fuckin' kitchen now, by the way!" he declared before tossing them one at a time to Samael, who caught each one against his chest with a small smile. Stupid redneck probably recognized it was a hidden compliment.

"You got it, sugar-flaps." Andee scowled but masked his smile as Samael moved behind the counter to pull open the spice rack. " yeah, after how that went down, York, uh. York said he wanted some...advice." Andee immediately squinted over at him and the chupa must have felt it, considering his slight wince. "So, y'know. I gave 'im some."

"Uh huh." Andee hardly looked convinced as he lifted the brim of his cap to peer more squarely past the counter at the rebel. "Just advice, eh?"

"Erm..." Samael shuffled his paws and carefully pushed the rack shut as the last jar was put into place.

"Uh huh."

Samael walked back into the main room with a lame smile. "He honestly did wanna talk a good bit!" he explained earnestly. "What he's got with Wash, it's kinda special, 'cause. Y'know, they been friends fer a long time. They known each other way before they hooked up. So...he's scared that if shit don't work out, he's not just gonna lose a cute li'l bed-buddy. He's gonna lose his best friend."

"So?" Andee scoffed and crossed his arms with a moody expression. "Wash is a pissy bitch, that ain't no big loss." When Samael only gave him a weak smile, the bat rolled his eyes but allowed a sigh to slip past his jaws. "Yeah, whatever, I fuckin' get it. I known those bastards for a while, myself, they's always been pals." He tapped the back of his teeth with his tongue and added in a mutter: "Never did expect they'd start fuckin'...fuckin', though." He pursed his muzzle and then glared up at Samael again. "But what I don't get is why the big were-bastard thinks you're someone to talk to 'bout 'relationship issues'!"

Samael began an awkward laugh, though Andee waved a wing to cut him off. "I'm fuckin' serious! You tell me right now every fuckin' relationship ya been in. And I don't just mean anyone whose dick you've rubbed on!" He shoved a finger into Samael's chest as the chupa shrunk backward somewhat. "Ya got raised by a buncha inbred rednecks where a goddamn cousin makes for a valid fuckin' prom date...and then ya spent a quarter gettin' fucked by a smooth-talkin' pedophile, gettin' convinced you was in love until the motherfucker goes and dies right the fuck in front'a you!"

His words came out icily but that same lump of complex emotions was stuck in his throat, made it hard to keep up the frozen expression. He wasn't all that shocked to see the single tear that rolled down Samael's cheek. The dumb redneck was terrible about hiding his true feelings. He glanced aside and gripped into his shoulder as Andee glowered up at him before the bat eventually grumbled and continued in a low voice. "I know. I know it weren't made up. You loved him, Fiffy, and...and Tracer was a good fuckin' man despite what he done to you."

"He made me. 'N he saved me," Samael murmured as he clutched into his thick arm.

Andee took a step closer and the chupa shifted his gaze back to him. "You wasn't no helpless pup," Andee replied, though he softened his voice with only a bit of effort. "Give yaself a li'l credit, asshole." Samael's eyes remained on him as he gnashed his teeth quietly and then proceeded briskly: "Anyway, what the fuck you ever had after that, huh? You and York couldn't make no fuckin' relationship work, clearly, despite the fact yous two is fuckin' best-fuck-friends, bee-eff-effs for life," he all but spat out.

He kept his eyes locked on Samael, unsure if he craved or hated the way he could see his partner's heart quivering right through that big-ass chest. He wondered how often Samael thought of it, especially recently. Did he regret the words he said to Andee, the declarations of...of love? Did he dream of York holding him close, York, who would never utter a harsh word, who would never call him his property? York, who was just about fucking perfect for...

" weren't like we tried for that, though," Samael explained softly, his hesitant words breaking through Andee's invasive thoughts. "York wasn't lookin' for no partner. What we did, what I helped him realize..."

"I know you, Samael," Andee interjected as he stepped closer. "And I seen the way you two look at each other." Another step forward while Samael leaned back with a nervous expression. But there was affection in the bastard's features, too, like he'd keep on loving Andee no matter what came flying from his maw next. The bat chewed his words thoughtfully. "Anyone else who watches you two bastards together would be fuckin' shocked to learn you ain't fuckin' goin' steady. Yeah, yeah, I think I get it, ya best friends, ya both got easy ideas 'bout fuckin' around." He took one more step, his small body nearly brushing against Samael's bulky form. "You don't think every single fling with some lucky, random asshole means anythin' more than ya want it to."

He pushed a finger into Samael's stomach and the chupa wet the end of his maw apprehensively. The rebel was no doubt reading his mind, but Andee didn't care this time. He left his pages wide open and allowed the implications to fall where they landed as Samael took a single step back in response to Andee's march forward. "So what's that leave, Sammy? Where's all ya fuckin' expertise comin' from, eh? This thing with me?!" Samael's eyes widened in fear and Andee trembled for a moment, remembering the ugly sobbing in the car, the oh-too-real despair and panic when the chupa was absolutely convinced things between them were done for.

A little fear went a long way, though.

"Yeah, yeah, we got somethin'," Andee growled while narrowing his eyes and poking into the chupa's torso again. "But how do I know it ain't the same as what you and York got, huh? How do I know we ain't just fuckin' friends with benefits?" He threw his other wing up and Samael flinched. "What makes you fuckin' think there's anything real about about this goddamn relationship?!"

"Because I ain't never felt this way about no one before, Andee. I ain't just ready to die for you, I'm ready to live for you..."

The words came out faster than the bat expected.

Andee stared up at eyes not filled with tears, but instead a raw determination. Samael's fists were clenched, though not in anger. He stood resolutely despite the hesitant bite of his lip, and he met Andee's gaze despite the palpable terror that must have been coursing through his veins.

"Not even Tracer made me hurt the way you do..."

It should have been an insult...but it was the opposite. It was unbridled praise to the bat, a surge of cruel but tender pride crashing through his soul. Samael dropped to a knee and gripped into Andee's shoulders, his eyes losing the last vestiges of apprehension to instead flood his companion with devotion, with a veneration that Andee simultaneously desired and feared. This was dangerous, this was letting someone too close, allowing them to pierce the veil of his protective carapace.

But it was what the wailing voice in the dark corner of his heart wanted more than anything else. This was his man, his stupid, valorous, relentless idiot of a man, facing him with an impossible mix of deference and defiance, refusing to simply back down and sob in defeat, no matter how viciously the blade bit into his heart. This was a man who might have been swallowed by the shadows of the ring's monsters but who would never stop being an indomitable light no matter how tightly the darkness closed around him. It was a man he didn't deserve.

And yet as he slowly stretched his wing out and cupped Samael's jaw, the way his partner melted instantly into his touch nearly broke his heart.

This was a man who was still his puppy.

Andee brushed his thumb along Samael's muzzle and let the chupa's words caress his doubts into submission. Samael really had gone out of his way to make this little detour, and there was no mistaking the fact Nelson would have his ass when he got back to Honkal. Andee could front all he wanted, but he wasn't blind to the things Samael was willing to do for him. Wounded arm or not, mouthful of Vinny's dick or not, unannounced visit or not, Andee hadn't busted his ass to clean this place and hasten the preparation of his little surprise for nothing. Samael was a fucking moron...but he was Andee's moron.

Andee's frustratingly attractive moron.

"You double-wide dumbass," Andee murmured, pushing his nose against Samael's muzzle. "York's even stupider than you if he's listening to advice from an asshole in some shitty relationship that's runnin' on drugs, violence 'n hardcore gay sex..."

It was only then Andee's eyes finally drifted down to notice the fact Samael was wearing...pants. Not long shorts, not cut-offs. Actual pants. "Goddamn, Fiffy, you think maybe the reason you's all worn out 'n thinkin' stupid 'n shit is 'cause you's wanderin' around the jungle in some fuckin' pants like some goddamn outta-towner who ain't a shaggy midget covered in a fuckin' sheepskin rug??"

It might have broken the mood, but the step into the light was welcome.

Samael blinked and looked down at himself before his confident features broke into a helpless guffaw. "Aw shit, I almost forgot! Me 'n Vinny, we wasn't s'posed to stand out at all on the job. Put these on to blend in..."

He began to unfasten the buckle and Andee was torn between lust and incredulity. He decided to go with the latter, however, crossing his arms with a scowl.

Had to keep up appearances as Xulod's most prominent contrarian.

"No one said a goddamn thing about takin' out ya fuckin' hot pocket!" Andee declared with a loud huff. "Don't go whippin' that shit out!"

"Geeeez, hon, I got shorts on underneath!" Samael explained with a pout, tugging the khaki pants down to reveal the light-blue garment beneath. "See??"

Andee rounded his muzzle but grunted in satisfaction as Samael stepped out of the pants and folded them. "Yeah, yeah, alright," he began before blinking as he did a double-take and realized just how high the cut of the shorts rode. "Wait a fuckin' sec -- those ain't fuckin' shorts, they's a goddamn war crime!"

"I...I wear short-shorts all the time!" Samael protested, glancing down at his backside and then leaning forward to tuck the pants into Andee's dresser. "They ain't that bad!"

"They 'ain't that bad'?" Andee shot back, even as he fought the urge to gawk hungrily at the gorgeous sight of Samael's rump just about bursting from beneath the frayed hem of the garment stretched so tight that an interview with an Inquisitor would have had less tension. "Ya whole fuckin' ass is hangin' out!!" he sputtered while gesturing wildly with both wings. "Geezus, did you hafta sew that shit on right around ya big giant redneck butt?! Where the fuck didja even get shorts that fuckin' short?!"

Samael blinked as he turned to face him, a goofy expression plastered on his face. "I, uh. I'm just tryna fit in more with y'all!" he proclaimed even as he scratched at one of the piercings in his jaw while his tail gave a brief jangle. "Don'tcha like 'em??"

Andee was pretty sure it was a suspicious jangle. He squinted and stomped closer while thrusting an arm out. "Oh, I fuckin' like 'em, ya fuckin' well-rounded whore, but the whole fuckin' city's gonna love 'em, too, they gonna be able to toss ya salad without even takin' ya goddamn belt off!"

Samael grinned toothily and took a step closer to the bat as well. "Sheeeeit, that don't sound like nothin' too bad," he purred, cocking his hips to one side and causing the fabric to whimper in protest against his ample posterior. "They's all gonna be jealous as hell of you, hon, holdin' my leash the way you is..."

Andee bit his lip.


Fucking hell, but his puppy was an enticing bastard. That little tickle of doubt, though, still had the bat wrapped around his obsessive need to dig out every particle of truth. Or at least as close to the truth as Samael's smooth-talking would allow. He ignored the stirring he felt below his waist as he focused his imploring gaze on the chupa. "You ain't never worn nothin' that short before -- didn't think Nelson would put up with you wearin' nothin' that's 'bout two seconds from lettin' those ugly nuts slip out..."

"I mean...they are new," Samael allowed with a sheepish half-grin, though he took another step forward while his adoring gaze wrapped up Andee securely. "That, uh...that second li'l picnic I mentioned with York--"

"I fuckin' knew it!" Andee crowed. He surprised himself, however, with how little accusation was woven into his tone. "Advice, my ass! How long it take that were-bastard to see you in that shit 'n get to humpin' ya fuckin' leg?!" Samael looked unsure of his response, even as he attempted to keep up the brazen grin. Part of Andee appreciated it. He hid his smile and threw the appreciation into a tumbler before pouring his jealousy over it and giving it a quick stir.

The taste was oddly intoxicating.

"You wear some shit like this first time you and him got together all them years ago?" Andee continued while licking his lips and staring up at Samael. The chupa wasn't shrinking back, but also didn't seem sure of whether or not it was safe to respond. Just the way Andee liked it. "I bet ya fuckin' did. You probably always dress up like this around that giant fuckin' jock, get him all riled up. Ever since your cute midget ass got him all into that gay shit, all you gotta do now is show a little cheek and he's on that like snatch on mud!"

Andee strode right up to him and hooked a finger into the waistband of the tiny shorts, which were already threatening to burst right off the chupa's broad hips. "So don't you fuckin' try'n tell me you just gave that fucker 'advice' two fucked real good, ain't ya? Celebrate gettin' that cast off, celebrate York givin' his first fuckin' blowjob?" The envy was sharp but Andee relished the bitter essence as he watched Samael's nervous smile. Something about it only made him want Samael more.

"I, uh...I mean, me 'n York...y'know. We do got that sorta...casual-sex thing down purdy good," Samael ventured.

Andee was quick to snort and yank the rebel closer by his shorts. "Casual, my ass," Andee rumbled, pushing his cap back to meet Samael with the full weight of his piercing glare. "I bet every time you two fuck, it's a goddamn five-star blockbuster..." Samael shifted a bit and his tail began to droop, but the bat was quick to give a low chuckle and rest his other hand on his companion's hip as their eyes locked.

The jealousy was morphing into something else, something powerful. Andee let it run its course, his eyes narrowing somewhat while a grin slowly formed. "Heh...don't fuckin' puss out now," Andee ordered softly while tightening his grip around the chupa's waistband. "Tell me it ain't true. Tell me you don't love it when he's got those big fuckin' arms wrapped around you, holdin' you tight while he fucks you 'til ya legs shake."

Samael's eyes were wide as he mouthed wordlessly, then attempted to stammer out some reply. Andee didn't really care what the response was, though, as he stepped closer and pushed his other finger firmly against Samael's chiseled stomach. "I think I got you figured out, Fiffy, I think I finally fuckin' understand. You's always tryna protect the whole world, sacrifice yourself like some big fuckin' hero. You gotta try and defend every motherfucker you come across, always goin' outta ya way to stand tall, be the big, brave puppy."

The chupa was quiet now, his paws shifting closer together as his eyes studied Andee with a strange mix of curiosity and fondness. He wasn't the same petrified, nervous wreck he was the last time Andee tore into him. Yeah, he looked a little wary -- as he well fuckin' shoulda -- but he wasn't denying Andee's words, or on the verge of messy tears. He was owning this shit at long last. "It''s what I said before, hon," Samael murmured. "That's who I am."

"I know it is, I ain't finished," Andee shot back. "You spend all ya goddamn time tryna be the big man. You play this loud fuckin' game about it, day after day. But that's why you like havin' someone else tower over ya midget ass. Sometimes you want a fuckin' break from bein' the one standin' tall, from bein' everyone's goddamn rock, you wanna be safe for once." Samael's eyes prowled the depths of his soul but Andee set aside the discomfort, allowing the chupa to see that he meant every goddamn word. "And that's why ya like gettin' fucked by big motherfuckers, don't you?" The rebel's expression shifted just enough to confirm it, and Andee accepted the second shot of jealousy.

It would be worth it, though.

He let it guide him along as he released Samael's shorts and took a step back, his eyes remaining joined with his partner's. "You get to put down that heavy-ass shield when a giant bastard like York bends you over a table, or fucks you right up the goddamn wall. For once, you's the one gettin' protected, that's it, ain't it?" The envy bubbled, but Andee didn't spit it out, instead letting it roll slowly over his tongue. "Same way Tracer used to do, too, right?" Samael at last glanced away but Andee wasn't about to let him crumple, not this time. "It's all good, Fiffy, it's all fuckin' good," he insisted as he strode up to his closet and gave the chupa a sly look over his shoulder. "I got ya fuckin' ass covered. That's what you fuckin' like? Then that's what you're gonna fuckin' get..."

He threw the door open to reveal a stepladder, nearly identical to the one they'd almost had a chance to make use of in that shitty subway bathroom. Fuckin' York ruined that moment, too...

But it was okay. York wasn't gonna have shit on this.

Andee just about shot his load at the sheer look of bewilderment on Samael's face, a massive grin spreading across the bat's muzzle in response. "Yeah, Fiffy, I ain't forgot about that day. And I'm gonna fuckin' show you those huge bastards ain't the only one who can treat you to ya fuckin' fantasies..."

~ * ~ * NSFW * ~ * ~

Samael gasped but immediately cooed happily and clutched into Andee's wing, pushing back against his smaller body. "I don't ever wanna be nothin' but myself fer you, hon..."

"Good," Andee murmured, gathering up every ounce of the confidence coursing through him and clutching it close. He had nothing more to prove. Not today, at least. He knew in this moment, he was Samael's home.

A few silent but comfortable minutes ticked past as they laid together on the floor, Andee's claws drifting through the chupa's thick, damp hide while they basked in Xulod's pale pastels. Andee shifted a leg to curl it around one of Samael's, his talons closing gently into his companion's thigh. "Ay, Sammy." He felt Samael already reading him as the chupa squeezed softly into his forearm but was otherwise silent, encouraging him to continue. "I know we...I know we had some rough spots lately," he began while driving his claws into the rebel's fluffy chest. "And..." He chewed his tongue briefly. "And they ain't all been your fault."

The bat took a slow breath before taking a moment to appreciate everything before him, everything around him. The aftermath of their passion, sure, but beyond that, too. Samael, here in his apartment, in his arms. Pictures of him on the walls, his things slipped in among Andee's. Bits and pieces of his chaotic personality glowing through the neat order of Andee's life. He hadn't just fucked Samael's brains out -- this had been the culmination of days, weeks of volatile encounters, successful missions, harrowing failures, passion and fury and every confusing emotion in between. He knew his jealousy and envy hadn't faded, just as he knew Samael's suicidal nature and stretched devotions still lurked beneath the hum of their pleasure.

He'd have time to navigate out of the maelstrom some other day, though. Today, he wasn't just standing upon the rock, grounded and self-assured and able to see the horizon past the tempest.

Today, he was the rock.

"You been doin' been doin' okay with me," he at last concluded, stretching his muzzle up to place a kiss between Samael's shoulderblades. "I know I ain't easy territory, not even for a four-wheelin' slut like you, Fiffy." He felt another smile and impulsively tightened his claws into his companion's scruff. "In fact, fuck it, things is...things is good. I seen you perform, on and off the job. Shit with Miss Sov is goin' good, shit with ya tight-assed momma is, too. We've kicked ass, and we've plowed it, too." He nipped at his partner's neck and Samael squirmed while laughing and arching his back tenderly into the bat once more. " you know what? You think you can help out...fuckin' York and his stupid fuckin' squirrel boyfriend, you go right the fuck ahead."

He scoffed and released Samael's fur long enough to wave his hand dismissively. "I still say it's a waste'a goddamn time, but. Whatever. They can be miserable like we was, too."

Samael chuckled softly and patted Andee's arm. "I 'ppreciate that, hon. I, uh. I was actually hopin' to ask you a li'l summin' regardin' them two...see, me 'n York was thinkin'--"

"Ah-ah-ah, I ain't done talkin'!" Andee interrupted with a huff, chomping less-charitably into Samael's shoulder to make him wince. "Speakin' of York, since I know it ain't just 'relationship advice' you lookin' to swap, you go right ahead 'n fuck him all ya like."

He couldn't help grinning as Samael sputtered speechlessly for a few seconds. It was absolutely worth the envy that crackled through him, soothed by his confident smirk. "See, he might be a big motherfucker," Andee rumbled, leaning up so his jaws moved against the nape of Samael's neck. "But now you fuckin' know who's gonna give it to ya best. So I ain't fuckin' worried."

It was a lie, but a blissful one, and one he tucked away with ease. Samael cleared his throat but eventually glanced over his shoulder at the bat with a sheepish smile. "You, uh. You really mean that, hon?"

"I sure fuckin' do -- that were-bitch ain't got shit on me," Andee boasted before winking and lifting his arm to flick one of Samael's jaw piercings. "You tell me the last time he ever made ya come all up inside a window front'a the whole town..."

Samael wheezed but smiled brightly as he nodded and hugged Andee's arm tightly to his chest with both massive arms. The bat smiled and let the bitter thoughts remain covered. Felt far better to allow the genuine rush of warmth and tenderness envelop him...something he was grudgingly coming to accept as commonplace around this goddamn midget.

"Now...we's gonna go take a fuckin' shower," Andee instructed as he headbutted Samael's spine. "Then we's gonna go to my fuckin' bed, I'mma straddle that big fuckin' chest of yours, and you's gonna pick up that blowjob you ain't finished." He couldn't help another cheeky grin as he squeezed his claws into Samael's chest. "On account'a me finishin' it in ya fluffy whore ass. And then, maybe, you can ask ya stupid gay question 'bout ya stupid gay boyfriends, a'right?"

Samael beamed over his shoulder and nodded again. "Hell yeah, hon. Like you said -- I ain't goin' back to Sidewinder 'til you say so. I ain't goin' nowhere 'til you say so..."

Andee smiled at him until the chupa turned back around so they could consider trying to stand and wobble their way to the bathroom. Those words ran deep, far deeper than Samael might have known. Andee's features steeled for a moment and he pressed tightly to Samael's back.

"That's right, Fiffy. That's right."

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

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