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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 2: Ya Got Trouble

Audio Version:

Samael leaned against the counter, his thoughts making it difficult to focus on the casual conversation between Andee and the grinning female bat that ran the electronics shop. From the first moment they entered the store, it had been one surprise after another. He immediately noticed that her grasp of common had been exceptional, as fluent and easy as Andee's.

...Which had made more sense after she revealed that she spent a lot of time monitoring radio chatter across Sirca. And beyond that, she'd also apparently talked to Samael multiple times before. He'd simply assumed she was a member of another branch of the would he have known, after all?

She'd not only been kind enough to take the radio from him to look at what she could do to repair it, but also let him use her own station to reach out to Nelson. The resistance leader was glad Samael was in one piece, even if she'd been rather annoyed with him "letting himself get shot". In return for news of his relative well-being, Samael had at least managed to pry a few answers out of her. It seemed only a few other members of their Movement faction knew of the existence of the bats, which she'd very purposefully ensured to respect their privacy and security. As grumpy as he was to be kept in the dark as long as he had been, he could also grudgingly appreciate Nelson's dedication to the massive underground community, especially since it didn't seem there was actually much collaboration between themselves. She normally didn't take risks unless the reward was overwhelming.

He'd taken the chance to propose staying with the bats for more than just a day or two; not just to heal, but to learn more about them, their culture and their vast, unique knowledge and perspective of Sirca. She hadn't been too thrilled about that, but in the end agreed it would be beneficial to allow Samael to recover fully and inundate himself with the hidden civilization. Now that he knew of their existence, it made more sense that he was able to actually be a useful asset if and when the need ever arose.

That didn't make it any easier for him to accept it all, however. After her curt but caring farewell ("don't get shot again, jackass"), Samael spoke with the female bat for a bit to learn more about what had drawn her to spending so much time communicating with the outside world. She explained to him with no small amount of amusement that life underground sometimes just got stale...the radio gave her a way of reaching out and experiencing new things. Not to mention it was considerably safer than making trips to the surface where a confident voice didn't mean as much to people as the more obvious being a bat.

"I still can't believe this whole time, Angel was a fuckin' bat," Samael muttered to himself while rubbing a hand slowly through his short head-fur.

"I dunno, I feel like her name shoulda been a hint, dumbass -- ain't no chupa-fucks runnin' around with wings, are there?"

Samael glanced up as Andee ambled toward him. Whatever he'd offered her in exchange for her time on the radio probably hadn't been enough, considering the damage. But it appeared the loud-mouthed bat precariously maintained a revolving door of favors owed and due, which made his particular brand of wheeling-and-dealing work far better than it should have.

Samael shook his head to clear the funk before snorting softly. "Hey, call-signs don't always make sense. They gave me 'Pony' back at Sidewinder."

Andee squinted, then snickered amusedly. "Wouldn't it have been easier to just call ya 'Town Bicycle', then?"

"Oh, ha, ha, you're so sharp," Samael replied with a huff, even as he smiled slightly. "Y'know, ain't much fun when you already know all my punch-lines."

"Guess you'll hafta come up with some that ain't shit, then," Andee retorted, the insults rolling off his tongue effortlessly. To his chagrin, Samael responded only by pouting again and then puffing his chest out.

"I guess I will!" He waved to Angel as they left the store to wander back into the main plaza. "But hard to do that on an empty stomach -- whatcha got to eat around here?"

"I thought I was jokin' about the whole 'puppy' thing, but now I gotta feed your useless ass, too," Andee complained with a glare up at the chupa. "But fine -- I get you lunch, and then you come with me to deliver the damn package like you were supposed to by yourself the first time. No point lettin' a good deal fall apart even if one of us completely borked up the whole thing..." Andee continued to mutter to himself as he guided Samael through the bustling market and toward a section that was marked with its tempting scents more than anything else.

Samael closed his eyes briefly to inhale slowly. Holy shit but that really did smell amazing. He tried to focus long enough to consider Andee's deal...which felt less like a deal and more like an agenda. "Heh. I'm not complainin', but you sure you wanna bring me along?" He poked at the bandaging through his oversized shirt. "Don't wanna put yer cute li'l hide in no danger."

Andee snorted loudly as he led Samael to a stall that displayed a variety of roasted meat on skewers. "Nelson said you could handle this, so either she lied her ass off to me -- probably not that hard to do, since guessin' she can't even feel her ass -- or you're more than just a fast-talking shrimp that I can trust to still get the job done." Andee eyed him before tossing a few oddly-shaped pebbles at the vendor while motioning to the skewers. "You look solid enough to me, anyway." As he handed two of the metal rods to Samael, who looked quietly pleased at the almost-praise, Andee added casually: "Plus if the shit really hits the fan, I got wings, remember?" He cracked a smile up at the rebel, who was about to take his first, curious bite. "So eat up, you'll need the energy to distract them while I get the fuck outta there."

Samael pursed his muzzle before scowling and chomping into the barbecued meat. "Yer a real nasty li'l fucker, y'know that?" he commented. Andee continued grinning nonchalantly as Samael smirked. "Yer lucky I like nasty." He paused before looking at the owner of the food stall and then carefully speaking: "Kud... no, no...uh...kxudb...yei?"

The older bat blinked and then beamed enormously. "You are the very welcome!"

Andee squinted up at Samael while tearing another bite of meat from his own skewer. "Got ourselves a regular idiot savant, great. Emphasis on idiot," he grumbled through his loud chewing.

It was Samael's turn to grin toothily. "What c'n I say? I'm a quick study!"

Perhaps simply to reassure himself that the chupa had not, in fact, suddenly started to understand their language, Andee peppered Samael with vocabulary tests while guiding him through the plaza and toward what looked to be a long tunnel leading upward. For what it was worth, Samael failed most of the questions, although he did figure out how to say "dammit" and "puppy" thanks to Andee's repetitive vernacular.

"Ugh, I should just drop your sorry ass off at the primary got about the same mentality as a three-year-old," Andee grunted. "But I'm sure the old man would say I should teach ya, as some gesture of fuckin' mutual respect." Andee rolled his eyes and waved an arm dismissively. "Who needs respect when ya got stuff someone else wants? Ya either trade for it, or ya blow their asses up and just take it, anyway. No respect required!"

"I dunno, I don't think respect's so bad," Samael countered, his eyes tracing over the mural that had been painted onto the rock wall leading into the sloping tunnel. It was a gorgeous panoramic depiction of a grassy field, dotted with flowers -- he wondered if it was inspired by a longing for the subject matter, or in appreciation of having experienced it at some point. "Goes a long way to make a bond strong...yer more likely to trust someone if ya respect 'em, an' they're more likely to cover yer back, too."

"Bah, there ain't no one you can count on to always watch your back, every guy for himself," the bat replied churlishly. "I'll take five douchebags who owe me over one dumbass that respects me any day."

"Nothin' wrong with havin' both, is there?" Samael inquired with a slight smile.

Andee glanced up at him with a huff. "Let me guess, you respect me, eh? 'Cause you sure as shit already owe me, and big!"

Samael's smile grew wider. "An' don't that feel nice??"

"Only thing about all this that's gonna feel nice is gettin' paid for doing the job you were supposed t' do in the first place!" Andee's retort was coupled with a few jabs of his claws into Samael...thankfully targeting his hip and not the still-very-tender wound above it.

"Y'know, I think I'm seein' now why Nelson's willin' to make deals with ya," Samael mused after Andee muttered a brief explanation to the two sentries lounging about halfway through the dark, winding tunnel. "Yer 'bout as much a slick talker as' y'sure know how to focus when you want somethin'. You ain't shut up yet 'bout this job, despite all the cool shit we could be talkin' about instead!"

Andee rolled his eyes while waving off the guards after they tried to goad him into further explanation. "Wok evv ak, xo'j nakx mo," he muttered, jerking his head toward Samael and then addressing the chupa mildly: "I don't even wanna know what passes for 'cool shit' where you come from, snowjob. I'm not too eager to talk about the thickness of tree sap, or how good last year's icicle crop was."

Samael laughed despite himself and then gave his usual friendly nod to the sentries when they finally seemed too annoyed to argue with Andee further, allowing the two to continue forward. "Hey, tree sap ain't no joke -- it can be the difference between a kick-ass syrup an' a downright mediocre one!" When Andee glared up at him with a hint of actual horror for the potential conversation, the chupa snickered and looked pleased with himself. "Best part is you ain't sure if I'm bein' serious or not. But nah..." He glanced down at the bat with a curious smile, reaching down to poke a claw gently into Andee's wing. The tunnel was growing darker as they left the warm atmosphere of the main settlement, but there was still just enough light to make out the almost-cartoon-like tattoo of a bomb that was stenciled into the webbing of his appendage. "I c'n guess what yer other tattoo's for...but what 'bout this one? There's one I ain't never seen..."

Andee smirked. "That's 'cause you furbags are boring as shit! Anyway, it ain't a huge mystery." He grinned as he reached under his garment and plucked out something that was hard to make out in the low light. "We all got our guilty pleasures..." Samael glanced down curiously as he heard metallic flicking, then sparks appearing from what he guessed was a lighter. A moment later, there was a small flame, which Andee touched to the tip of whatever he was holding to create a flickering torch. "Here, catch!" he announced as he tossed the cylinder to Samael, who caught it on pure instinct.

He blinked in confusion, holding it at an arm's length while squinting at the object and the rather distinctive glimmer of a...thick string?...that was growing the cheerful sparks of flame came closer and closer to the cylinder itself...

And Samael's eyes suddenly bulged as he squawked and hurriedly yanked the fuse out of the object to leave them in near-complete darkness. "What the goddamn fuck, this is a fuckin' stick'a dynamite, ain't it?!?"

"You are a quick study," Andee cackled, having little problem seeing in the dark as he reached up and snatched the explosive back from Samael. "Ya didn't hafta fuckin' pull the fuse, ya jerk! Now I gotta put in a new one..." He huffed and shoved it back under his half-poncho before adding: "Anyway, it wasn't even that big'a one, don't be a pussy."

Samael mumbled to himself and crossed his arms. "Aw sure, what's an arm or two 'tween friends, huh?" He sniffed, then tilted his head a bit in thought. "I saw some piercin's among your people, but ain't seen a lotta tattoos -- you hadda go to the surface for those? Or do ya 'know a guy' for that, too?"

"Sure as shit do!" Andee boasted. "He does good shit, but none of that wimpy dye-injection...old school hot-blades only. Better believe that one hurt on my wing! Like a twenty-five-minute-long paper cut, except the paper was also on fire!"

"Hey, best recognize mine were done legit, we both know what burnt fur smells like," Samael snickered quietly before grunting as his arm bumped against the wall of the cave. "Shit, it's dark as eyes ain't adjusted yet."

"Cave-raised, my ass," Andee taunted. But he nonetheless grumbled and shifted closer to Samael to lightly shoulder into his hip. "Stay close, jock-strap. And add one more favor to the fuckin' list."

Samael smiled slightly at the touch, slowing his pace so he could remain in contact with the bat as Andee guided him through the winding tunnel. "How 'bout if we go visit yer guy after this job? Assumin' it don't go downhill an' you fly off to leave me gettin' shot to shit, 'course. Gotta design I been wantin' to do on my back for a while now..."

"You know how much that shit's gonna hurt, cupcake?" Andee retorted, jabbing a claw into Samael's thigh while rounding a sharp corner with his wing idly stretched out behind the rebel to lead him safely around. "And besides, what good does that do me? I ain't the one gettin' any business."

"Like you wouldn't enjoy sittin' there, watchin' me try not to cry while some fucker cheerfully rotisserizes my back," Samael offered while blindly swinging his tail across to nudge into Andee's back.

Andee scowled in the dark even as he looked contemplative. "...Yeah, alright, that'd be a pretty good show, worth at least a buck or two."

"Then it's a date!" Samael trilled. "Technically a second date, since ya did take me out to lunch!" he added cheerfully before squawking as Andee shoulder-checked him into the side of the cave. "Ow, shit, c'mon! Wounded and handicapped, here!"

"You got that right, I'm gonna see if Wulok's got a special-kid helmet on a back shelf somewhere," Andee replied drolly. "Anyway, you can stop pullin' the dumb-blind-puppy card, there's some light ahead."

Samael glanced through the darkness; sure enough, the soft haze of sunlight could be seen trickling into the winding tunnel, signaling the hidden entrance somewhere ahead. He kept quiet, however, enjoying the last few moments of having his guide's wing brush against his thighs while keeping him from stumbling into any more outcroppings. The silence was almost strange for the two, since it hadn't taken Samael long to figure out that Andee was about as bad as him about keeping his muzzle shut.

...It was still nice, though.

When they emerged from the narrow divide in the cluster of boulders, Samael glanced around with a soft whistle. "Shit, y'all really do know how to keep yer shit hidden in plain sight."

"How else would we keep nosy fucks like you from bleeding out all over our front door?" Andee quipped before grunting and gesturing with a wing. "Crate's over there. Along with what you were supposed to use to make the drop in the first place...can't believe I set all this shit up, just to have you get shot and ruin my whole upcoming quarter. You don't wanna know how many potential deals I'm gonna need to reschedule..."

"Heh, I could always just help ya out with 'em," Samael offered with a grin. "I'm sure yer real intimidatin' 'n such with yer take-no-shit bluster 'n yer badass li'l hat, but might do ya some good to have a li'l muscle along!" He struck a pose and promptly caught a pebble to the face. "Ow, sonuvabitch!"

"Uh huh, not like I'm gonna get my ass laughed out of the alley bringing along my stacked midget." Andee shook his head a bit before gesturing impatiently to the chupa. "Over here, dickweasel."

"Listen, you gotta be careful with my face, it's a valuable asset for my super-awesome-deep-cover assignments," Samael mumbled while rubbing at the small bruise forming on the end of his muzzle. He approached the cluster of trees and underbrush where Andee was pulling away branches to reveal a wooden crate. "So what're we tryna trade that's so important? Guns? Grenades? Top-secret House technology?"

Andee flicked a wing toward him dismissively. "I doubt it's your good looks or your talkin' that they like your face for, lockjaw..." The bat then grasped the top of the crate and cracked it with a grin. "Somethin' way more important than all'a that spy-novel shit." As Samael leaned in curiously, Andee tapped one of the packages inside. "Noodles."

Samael blinked. "N...noodles?"

...Sure enough, the crate was packed to to the brim with countless containers of various types of noodles, leaving Samael dumbfounded as he opened and shut his muzzle a few times. "Noodles?!?" he finally exclaimed again.

"If you wanna practice your bat-words, it's 'deetcoj'," Andee offered with a simpering smile

"I still wanna know who the fuck is gonna make some big fuckin' super-important trade fer noodles!" Samael exclaimed as he lifted up one of the cellophane bags and stared at it in disbelief. "Didn't the job description mention a deal with a fuckin' hoop? What, there a fuckin' gang of outta-work chefs offerin' some tasty fuckin' crudites in exchange for a buncha goddamn noodles?!?"

Andee cackled heartily and snatched the package from Samael's hands before tossing it back into the crate and securing the lid. "I like how this is what's got your panties in a knot. Look, everything is a commodity if someone wants it. Guess what -- people want noodles. I know you high 'n mighty rebels ain't spending much time with the common folks, but food these days gets scarce, especially in the cities! The big-wigs get to eat just fine, but normal folks...not so much." He patted the top of the crate. "Someone lifted this from a Cleric's delivery, it found its way to me and now I'm about t' trade it off for some sweet, sweet coin! Part of which was gonna go to you bozos, except now I'm gonna dock your cut due to puppysittin' fees."

Samael scowled but nodded a few times all the same. "Yeah, a'right, I get it. Still weird but I s'pose folks wanna eat somethin' other than the same borin', tasteless shit day-in, day-out." He leaned down to briefly test lifting the crate, blinking at its mass as he wheezed quietly. "Holy shit, that ain't no the hell we gonna get this to the meetin' spot? Hell, how was I gonna get it there, by myself?"

"I toldja I prepped for that too, ya spaz," Andee replied. He leaned over and yanked down a few more branches to reveal a small four-wheeled vehicle. "Eh?"

"Where the fuck didja get a 'goose?" Samael gawked and pushed away several more fronds so he could admire the ATV. "Man, I haven't seen one in forever." He paused and then smiled slightly down at Andee. "Wait, can you even drive this fucker?"

The bat scowled but shrugged easily enough. "In a pinch, but it ain't pretty. That's what you're here for, dumbass."

"While you fly safely above?" Samael asked wryly.

Andee scoffed. "What, right in the middle'a the fuckin' day? That sounds real smart."

"Oh, well...okay, fair point, but..." Samael frowned a bit while running his hand over the handlebars. "So wait, you guys don't get to fly around outside when the sun's out?"

Andee's face betrayed a moment of wistfulness and the bat shifted his weight briefly before he grumbled in annoyance. "You already know we see just goddamn fine in the dark, no reason to get our asses spotted just to 'feel the sun on our wings' or whatever gay shit you were 'bout to spout."

Samael only smiled faintly as he cleared the brush from around the ATV. "Tell ya what, the day we stop this goddamn war, I wanna be there to see you guys flyin' over on a day like this."

Andee snorted derisively and dragged the crate closer to the mongoose. "Like that'll happen in our goddamn lifetime. Anyway, how do ya know we won't still wanna hide from all you dumb fuckers up here? Can't imagine the Holy War ending is suddenly gonna make any of you less mush-brained."

Samael offered a slightly broader smile. "Guess ya gotta point. I still wanna be there, though!"

"You just wanna stare up at all the pantsless guys flyin' past, all you want is a free peep-show," Andee remarked while peering up at the chupa. "I will say, I am impressed you ain't brought up the whole no-pants-on-bats thing yet."

"Oh my fuckin' god, you got no idea how hard it's been not to!" Samael crowed, moving to the other end of the crate so he and Andee could heft it onto the back of the ATV. "Like fuckin' seriously, I get y'all got all that fuzz to keep things modest, but goddamn if it ain't still an all-you-c'n-eat buffet for the eyes! Gonna tell Nelson I know exactly what cultural exchange I wanna bring back." He leaned on the crate for a moment, his eyes glassing over dreamily. "No more pants. And all across Sirca, a celebration was had."

Andee rolled his eyes and grabbed the strap on his side to cinch the crate down securely. "Ya realize you gotta see all the girls too, then." He paused, then grinned. "Ya realize ya gotta see Nelson, too."

Samael froze for a moment, halfway through tightening the strap on the other end. But then he gave a goofy grin in return. "Still worth it."

"You got problems, man," the bat commented dryly before gesturing impatiently. "C'mon, get your head outta the dick-trough, we're supposed to meet my contacts in an hour or so, they're already gonna be pissy that ya fucked up the first exchange. We're headin' west, toward the rim, since guessin' your squishy brain already forgot the directions. There's an abandoned supply warehouse where we're meeting."

Samael chuckled quietly and hopped onto the ATV, glancing it over as he ran through his memories of the last time he'd driven one. It had been a bit of a steep learning curve -- he and the other rebels with Nelson were fleeing the razed Qoppa base. There hadn't been much time to practice. He'd picked it up quickly, at least. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I remember this..."

"Pretty sure?!" Andee spluttered as he hopped onto the back of the seat behind Samael. "Don't tell me you suck at drivin' as much as you do at not gettin' shot in the fuckin' gut!"

"Well not as much," Samael replied coyly as he coaxed the engine to life, then suddenly gunned the throttle to send them shooting off toward a break in the trees with a whoop that would make the wildest redneck proud.

Andee squawked in surprise, immediately clinging to Samael's sides as he pressed to his back. "Goddammit! Ya immature fuck!"

Samael winced as Andee's claws dug into the bandaging through his too-large shirt, but he smiled all the same at the contact. "Hey, you insist on callin' me a puppy, I'm gonna go full dumb horny teenager on yer ass," he called over his shoulder, grinning at the adrenaline rush as he turned his attention ahead to start weaving through the trees.

"Because you ain't been already," Andee muttered back, keeping a secure hold of the chupa while peering past his torso to check their bearings. "Just don't fuckin' crash or I'm gonna offer you up as compensation to these bastards when we show up late..."

Samael chuckled but nodded his understanding as they roared through the jungle. This woulda been so much more borin' by myself...guess it was a good thing I got shot, after all!!

They only clipped one or two trees on the harrowing sprint through the jungle; Samael was probably going much faster than necessary, but Andee wasn't about to chide him and come across as the resident wuss. They arrived in one piece, which was the ultimate goal, although it was hard for Samael to deny taking just a bit of entertained pleasure at seeing Andee hop down from the ATV stiffly with his fur standing on end and black hat clutched tightly against his chest.

"You wanna ride on my shoulders 'til ya get yer land-legs back?" Samael offered sweetly, laughing and quickly dodging backward from the annoyed haymaker aimed at his side.

"Real cute -- make yourself useful and grab the crate, dicklick. We're a little early, might as well set the shit up for a quick exchange." Andee wandered forward into the warehouse to scout the interior while Samael busied himself with unstrapping the crate and hefting it up by himself with some effort.

As he strode past the bat with the crate clutched to his chest, his biceps bulging even through the loose t-shirt, Samael raised his brow a few times. "Eh? Ehhh? C'mon, yer a li'l impressed."

"Ah, shaddup and get to practicin' your role for the deal, now that I'm takin' over," Andee grumbled, waving a wing toward him and then hopping up onto the table where Samael had set down the crate.

Samael perked as he dropped a hand to one hip and grinned eagerly. "Ooh, what role is that!? Dashing bodyguard? Silver-tongued negotiator? Shrewd businessman?!?"

"Nah. We didn't have no time to find an actual cute girl, so. You're the silent eye-candy." Andee smirked over a shoulder as Samael huffed and crossed his arms. "Emphasis on silent."

It wasn't long before the sound of two engines rumbled up to the outside of the warehouse. Andee had positioned himself on the table behind the crate, looking bored as he half-rested on it. Samael stood behind him, leaning against the wall to fulfill his role of 'pretty distraction'.

They both glanced up when five chupas entered the warehouse, two holding automatic rifles loosely at their sides. Most of them wore civilian clothes, although the one Samael assumed was the leader had on generic fatigues and a flak jacket. Another carried two small attache cases while the last fiddled with some kind of electronic gadget that looked like a cross between a camera and a portable computer. As they approached, the device gave a loud, electronic squeal and Fatigues scowled before glowering at the glasses-wearing chupa that clutched it. "Would you put that shit away!? It clearly doesn't fuckin' work!"

Andee stood up straight with a quiet snicker. "I see Cooper's still a nerd, eh, Baskins?"

Fatigues -- apparently Baskins -- shifted to glare at Andee as his entourage approached the table and formed a loose half-circle around him. "What the fuck, Andee, I don't know this guy, but sure, go ahead and share all our names...for all I know this fucker's on the House payroll. Real convenient that he's supposed to make the trade but then gets 'hurt' and we gotta push it back." Baskins fixed a dark look onto Samael, who blinked a few times.

"I'd expect you dumbasses to not recognize a fuckin' spy, but you must be stupider than you look if you think we wouldn't be able to tell," Andee retorted. "You know me, Baskins -- would I be here myself if I had even a tiny doubt about this asshole?" He gestured toward Samael with one wing, making the chupa huff quietly again. "Anyway, show 'em the bullet hole, puppy. Maybe it'll shut 'em up."

Samael shrugged and reached for the bottom of the long t-shirt, only to pause as Rifle 1 and Rifle 2 both immediately leveled their weapons at him. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Gawddamn, y'all on, fingertips only..." He delicately took the hem between his thumbs and index fingers and daintily lifted it up to reveal his chiseled stomach...and the heavy bandaging covering most of it up.

As the five hoopsters all frowned and leaned forward slightly to examine the wound -- and likely still check for a weapon -- Samael grinned and cocked his hips to one side. "Heh, y'all boys take yer time, plenty'a Sammy to go around."

"Silent eye-candy," Andee muttered back to the rebel before tapping the top of the crate a few times. "You chodes satisfied?"

"I'd prefer if this stupid thing were working so I could check his picture against the House database," Cooper mumbled, adjusting his glasses and poking at the device a few more times.

"Well, it isn't working, so shut up and go watch the door," Baskins growled before grunting and nodding toward the crate. "You know the drill."

"Yeah, 'cause I'm gonna try and pass somethin' else off for a fuck-load of noodles," Andee replied mildly while prying the top of the crate loose to display the packages within. "There ya go, as promised. Where's my five bands?"

Baskins leaned forward to glance into the crate before offering a simpering smile. "Deal was five for two crates, Andee." He jerked his head to Suitcase Guy and one of the two attache cases was tossed onto the table.

"Hey, fuck off with that shit!" Andee retorted, slamming the lid back onto the crate. "There was only one case from the start, don't try'n pull that shit on me." He whistled at Samael. "Go load that shit back onto the 'goose, puppy."

"Don't be a fuckin' moron," Baskins warned before jabbing a finger at Samael as he took a step forward. "And you stay where you are, asswipe. Don't touch a damn thing."

Andee scowled but kept a defiant claw atop the crate. "Three-point-five, then. We've done some good business, Bask, don't muck it up 'cause you're tryin' to be a cheap-ass."

"They're noodles, Andee, two and a half is plenty fair," Baskins replied through grit teeth. "Take it now or you'll get shit."

"Three, then! Or bet your ass you're gonna go to the bottom of my list whenever I get good shit in!" Andee warned, glaring at Baskins without hesitation despite the odds.

Baskins shrugged and reached for the attache case. "Your loss. Boys, get the crate, we're done here."

"Like hell we are!" Andee snapped as he scrambled for the briefcase as well, grabbing it just before Baskins could. "Fine, two-five!"

"Too late, asshole...shoot 'em!" Baskins yelled as he took a step back. Andee's eyes widened as Rifle 1 stepped toward him and began to lift the automatic weapon again.

"Aw fuck, time to go!" Andee yelped as he instinctively chucked the briefcase at the hoopster before he could shoot, causing the burst of gunfire to go into the ceiling.

Samael was already racing forward toward Rifle 2, grabbing the barrel of the gun and shoving it away from Andee as the snarling gangster pulled the trigger. Samael winced as the barrel rattled in his grip before hissing and yanking his hand away from the blast of heat. "Motherfucker!" he yowled, quickly kicking into the other chupa's gut to send him stumbling backward onto his ass. He saw Baskins reaching for a pistol in his waistband and rushed him out of instinct.

Andee leaped back as the hoopster he'd distracted fired wildly again, the bullets driving into the warehouse floor between them as the bat winced and then quickly threw himself upward with a rapid beat of his wings. He watched as Samael tackled Baskins to send the leader's handgun sliding away, looking almost too late as the other rifle-bearing chupa took aim at him. Andee squawked and hurriedly shifted direction to avoid another barrage, his wings barely twisting him out of harm's way.

Samael ignored Baskins's furious cursing as he heard the automatic weapon fire, shoving himself off the leader and instead turning toward the bag-man, who had ducked down with the remaining attache case held in front of his face. Samael snorted and snatched it away from him before lunging toward Rifle 1 and bashing him in the side of the head with the case. He stumbled dazedly to the side and before he could shift his weapon toward Samael, a second swing of the briefcase knocked him flat onto his back.

"Stop moving, ya little fuckin' rat!" Rifle 2 yelled up at Andee, continuing to fire wildly at the bat that frantically flitted from side to side. Samael growled and ran up to the gangster, holding the case in both hands as he jumped up and then brought it down squarely atop his skull. The automatic fire stopped as the shooter stared stupidly down at Samael, then slowly slumped to the floor.

By the exit, Cooper was fumbling with a pistol as well as he tried to keep the electronic device held tightly with his other arm. Andee made a beeline for him, giving a loud shout as he dive-bombed the poor chupa and tackled him against the wall. "Let's go, let's go, let's go!" he yelled over his shoulder as Samael sprinted toward him with the case still in his hands.

"Andee, you goddamn motherfucker!" Baskins howled from behind. Samael turned around just in time to see the leader clutching his pistol and aiming at the bat still entangled with Cooper. The rebel cursed and quickly jumped into the way, crouching with a wince as he held up the case defensively. The pistol cracked two, three times, and Samael's arms shook painfully as two of the rounds slammed into the case and -- thankfully -- did not penetrate through.

Andee whipped his head around in shock before grabbing the back of Samael's shirt with one claw while lunging for the door. "C'mon, Sammy!"

Samael felt himself dragged slightly and he winced as one more bullet was fired into the case before he spun around to follow Andee out. "Fuckin' hell, Andee, if this is how yer business deals normally go, then you gotta find a new line of work!" he shouted as he threw the case toward the bat, who caught it smoothly while Samael straddled the ATV and cranked the ignition.

"That dirty fuck tried to cheat us! Ain't my fault!" Andee protested as he jumped up behind Samael and wrapped his other arm around the rebel's waist. "Get us the fuck outta here!"

Samael didn't need to be told twice as he slammed it into first gear and twisted the handlebars to spin the ATV around and then roar into the jungle. He ducked his head automatically as he heard shouting and gunfire from behind. A few stray bullets whistled past into the surrounding trees and he cackled with the sheer rush while maneuvering deftly into thicker cover as Baskins's furious hollering faded away behind them.

After a few minutes of breakneck pace, Samael finally eased back on the throttle and allowed himself to exhale normally. He grinned a bit, then glanced over his shoulder at the bat clinging stubbornly to both his waist as well as the attache case. "All good back there? No new holes or anythin', right?"

"Nothing some hard liquor can't fix," Andee grunted in response, although he smiled despite himself while looking back up at Samael. "Get us back to the cave in one piece, dumbass, and drinks are on me."

Even with the way things had unfolded, there was a definite bounce in Andee's step as they sauntered back into the hidden entrance after stashing the ATV. "Other than the fuckin' bills you got perforated, we actually made out pretty good!" he cackled as he peered into the briefcase. "Good thinkin' grabbing one -- ya shoulda gotten 'em both, though!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I was a bit busy fightin' the entire goddamn gang while you flew around like a gat-damn drunk seagull," Samael retorted with a playful jab into Andee's shoulder. "Technically speakin', you had yer claws on the first one! Not my fault ya hucked it at the dude with the gun."

"Yeah, yeah, better than gettin' shot," Andee huffed, though the grin couldn't be wiped from his features. "You did alright! Guess Nelson wasn't completely wrong about you." He paused before poking a claw through one of the bullet holes in the case. "Your dumb ass really jumped in front of some lead for me, huh?"

Samael smiled slightly as they passed the sentries and entered the inner caverns. "Toldja I had your back. Also don't think I didn't catch ya callin' me 'Sammy' back there, too. Admit it, we made a good team!!"

Andee grunted dismissively as he led Samael around the main plaza and instead into one of the taller buildings. Samael realized after going up a few flights of stairs that it was almost like an apartment complex, except the windows were all exceptionally wide and left open -- he realized the average bat wouldn't need to use the stairs, after all. He followed Andee up to a door that the bat opened, expecting to be invited in...only to blink as Andee squinted up at him and blocked the entrance. "You wait here a sec, Sammy. Just 'cause you decided to play hero don't mean I trust ya with all my stuff!" He grumbled and pushed the door shut, leaving Samael to lean against the outside wall and wait with an amused look on his face.

Andee popped back out a few minutes later, peering up at the chupa for a few seconds and then jerking his head back to the stairwell. "C'mon. I owe ya a drink, at least."

"Hey, I'm still down for that tattoo, too!" Samael chimed in as he trotted after the bat. "We did the job, we came out alive -- let's celebrate!"

"Only you'd consider hot knives on your back a celebration," Andee answered. But he shrugged and let an easy grin slide across his features. "But if ya insist..."

Samael stood in front of the tattoo artist with a dumb grin as he swayed a bit on the spot. "I wanna...get it on my back. Bu' like...real big. Like. Biiiig." He held out his arms for emphasis as Andee snickered at his side.

"Ten bucks says he wusses out a quarter'a da way through," Andee offered with an inebriated laugh of his own. "I tried to tell 'im, Mutt, but he thinks he's a big boy..."

Mutt squinted between Andee and Samael, seeming to appraise them both. He had a few tattoos of his own, and several piercings that dotted his large ears and compact muzzle. "You both kinda drunk. No taking backs, yes?"

"None taking backs at all," Samael replied solemnly, raising one hand. "I'm ready."

"Ready t' cry like a li'l bitch," Andee cackled as he half-waddled, half-fluttered over to a bench near the cushioned slab, perching on it to watch.

"Nuh uh," Samael argued while flapping an arm a few times. He then pulled his shirt off in a smooth motion -- he was apparently so good at this particular act that it didn't matter how tipsy he was. He tossed it to the side and posed for Mutt proudly, grinning toothily before glancing down and poking at the bandaging again. "Man, this needs to hurry up 'n heal..."

Mutt whistled softly despite himself, his eyes tracing over the chupa's muscular form before he shot a grin over to Andee. "Daso suksx."

Andee made a face, drawling back: "Visb evv, zij' boofad' ud oyo ed 'am, xocfad' xam couhd jemo jkivv ureik ij nxaco xaj jkifat vuso xoucj..."

Mutt chuckled while motioning for Samael to follow him to the low table. "Yes, I'm bet..." He patted the cushion and then tapped Samael's leg. "You lay. Where on the back?"

Samael obliged, half-flopping onto the slab with a grunt, then reaching back blindly to pat at the small of his back. "Down here be good.' whoooole lower half."

"It hurts much!" Mutt warned even as he glanced at the sloppy doodle Samael had presented to him earlier on a cloth they'd stolen from the bar.

"Pain don't bother me none," Samael mumbled into the cushion before he turned his head to one side to gaze up at Andee. "Hey are you gonna like me more after I get this? It's gonna be pretty fuckin' cool, y'know..."

Andee smirked, swaying slightly himself. "Nope. But I am gonna enjoy slappin' the shit outta it 'til it heals!"

"Aw fuck," Samael grumbled before twitching as he felt Mutt prod his side gently. "Whassup, li'l dude? I mean yer all li'l dudes, but. You s'pifically."

For his part, Mutt seemed fairly used to this kind of rambling as he smiled amusedly and then pulled a rolling stand close. Atop it was a small but intense flame that licked at the blades of several scalpel-like tools resting in a tall container. He hopped onto the table with Samael, straddling him thoughtfully and then lightly nudging the hem of his pants with a talon. "Bring down a little so no burn."

"Oh shit, ain't gotta ask me twice!" Samael giggled as he reached down, unfastened his belt with shocking ease, then simply shoved his pants down entirely. The table was already too small for him, and so they slid off his legs to puddle unceremoniously behind him. "There ya go, cutie pie!" he chirped.

Mutt blinked before glancing down at the chupa's exposed rump. He paused, then shrugged easily as he simply hopped onto it, grasping lightly into his firm buttocks with both feet. Samael gave a surprised squawk, arching his back slightly...and then relaxing with a breathy titter as his head dropped back into his folded arms. "Mmmm das niiiiice," he mumbled.

Mutt snickered and peered down at Samael before smirking over at Andee again. "Xo'j wek u houccy daso ujj...a moud, tumd!"

Andee rolled his eyes, shifting a bit on the bench while watching the way Samael lolled his tongue out happily at the sensation. "Ah, jxik kxo visb if udt mubo kxaj fiffy jshoum roveho a cejo my riqq..."

Mutt gave a cheerful laugh while grabbing two of the searing-hot knives and offering Andee a coy look. "Rok xo't celo veh yei ke mubo xam jshoum..."

Samael peered over at Andee curiously. "What're y'all jabberin' about back there, eh? I heard 'puppy' again, y'all talkin' about li'l ol' me?"

"Shaddup 'n cry, shortstack," Andee replied with a half-grin as he watched Mutt lean down with the first blade gripped carefully.

Samael looked confused before his eyes widened as the white-hot metal bit into his hide and sizzled the flesh beneath He grabbed the bottom of the table with both arms and gave a very unbecoming squeal as his tail writhed behind Mutt.

The tattoo artist was calm, probably as used to this as he was to his clients being wasted. He waited a moment for Samael to start relaxing again before leaning down once more while muttering: "Andee...fcoujo semo xect kxaj feeh wiy'j xudt je a ted'k visb kxaj if."

Andee blinked before groaning and rolling his head back in annoyance. "Ughhh...seriously?" He scowled but grudgingly hopped down from the bench and stumbled over to the front of the table. Samael had his head buried in his arms while taking slow, deep breaths, but he glanced up when the grumpy-looking bat approached.

"I ain't cryin'!" he blurted out, despite the very obvious tears that stained his cheeks as he cleared his throat loudly and then called hoarsely back to the tattoo artist balanced on his rump: "You c'n keep goin', Mutt! I'm aaaaall gravy."

"Okay dokay, crazy cowboy," Mutt replied cheerfully before glaring very pointedly at Andee, who responded by running a claw along the bottom of his muzzle before flicking it toward Mutt in some kind of rude gesture.

When Samael looked at him again, Andee grumbled a bit and then held out a hand. "Alright, ya big pussy. Here." He seemed surprised despite himself when the chupa immediately grasped into his hand, and the bat sighed as he leaned on the table with his other arm to stop from losing his balance. "Ah yeah, yer such a real tough fucker...wha'd ya hafta do, get knocked the fuck out for yer other tats?" he taunted before cursing as Samael's fingers suddenly tightened painfully around his when Mutt continued his gentle but quick carving. "Mothergoddamnfuck!"

"Sorry sorry sorry, ah gawd, it's all good, it's all good, it's all goooood," Samael wheezed as he closed his eyes fiercely, a few more tears squeezing out as he clung to Andee's hand. But his back muscles finally began to relax and Mutt was able to continue steadily with a grunt of approval. "Hooo fuck, that stings," he mumbled before meeting Andee's eyes again with a stupid grin. "Toldja I got this."

"Uh huh, all by yerself," Andee replied dryly while shifting his free arm to rest on the chupa's bicep. "Yer ass'd be passed out as fuck by now if we weren't drunk, ya pussbaby."

"Maybe," Samael admitted with a chuckle, wincing briefly as one of the sizzling knives passed within a few inches of his bullet wound. "Hey...I been meanin' t' ask..." When Andee rolled his eyes toward him curiously, the rebel smiled. "So'd y'get into all this? Learnin' common 'n dealin' with outsiders 'n shit..."

Andee laughed quietly, watching Mutt's movements for a few silent moments. "Eh. Was actually one'a you fuckers. Another dumbass rebel. Showed up one day, tryin' to hide from HADES. Ol' man Juwo agreed he could stay. Those two hit it off pretty good, an' we decided maybe we could help each other out a li'l. Anyway, I volunteered 'cause I was a bored, dumb as shit kid...he taught me basic common, introduced me to some of the assholes he did deals with...shit like that..." Andee nodded a few times as Samael rested his cheek on his forearm while gazing at the bat thoughtfully. "Shit, I think he was the one who recruited that salty bitch Nelson..."

Samael's eyes slowly widened as the sharp pain of the hot knives suddenly felt dull. Andee scratched at his muzzle briefly, looking almost wistful for a moment. "He was a'right, despite bein' a real stubborn fucker -- kinda like you, honestly. Heard he finally got got, though...somewhere out in the middle'a nowhere, word was he 'n his whole band of recruits got mowed down. So maybe ya heard of 'im, his name was --"

"Raymond Tracer," Samael whispered, staring at Andee as tears rolled down his cheeks again. Andee glanced back at him, confused by the expression -- it was pain, but it no longer looked physical. Samael swallowed and then smiled quietly as he squeezed Andee's hand tightly and dropped his head onto his arm again. "Goddamn...small-ass world after all..."

Andee wrinkled his muzzle a bit, but his usual biting tone felt gentler. "You knew the guy, eh? Woulda figured he'd be before yer time."

Samael continued to smile as he gazed at Andee and let the mixture of emotions roll slowly through him to entwine with the steady heat and pain from Mutt's carving along his back. "Yeah. I knew 'im. Lemme tell you a li'l story 'bout a kid out in Sampi who was tryin' to finish his trial of adolescence..."

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

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