A gay jaunt into the memories of how Sirca's favorite couple came to be, as transcribed by CrossroadsPony
Verse 3: When I Look at You
"So...you were actually there? When that shit went down?"
Andee was practically flopped against Samael and Samael hardly felt the hot blades against his back anymore, lost as he'd become in sharing the story with Andee. The rebel gave a crooked smile, not quite sober but not quite drunk anymore. "Yeah...yeah, I was. It...Tracer..."
Before he could continue, a guard poked his head into the workshop and then blinked in surprise at the sight. "Ex xoho yei kne uho..." Andee scowled and pushed away from the chupa, but Samael stubbornly refused to release his hand.
"Hey, he's not done cuttin' yet!"
"I am almost done with cutting," Mutt added mildly from his perch on Samael's hindquarters. "Stop your move."
Andee rolled his eyes and cursed under his breath as Samael grinned into his muscular arms. They both peered at the guard, who looked back awkwardly. "Whaddya want? We're already losin' our buzz as it is."
"Juwo nudkj ke joo yei," the guard replied crisply as he straightened and then scowled at Andee expectantly while he continued to grumble.
"Ugh...yei weddu nuksx kxo fiffy?" Andee muttered while gesturing to Samael's hand, still clutched into his own.
"Xo nudkj ke joo yei rekx," the guard replied, his eyes moving to Samael again with a bit more curiosity.
Andee rolled his head back and groaned. "Nocc, jxak."
Samael lifted his head with a silly giggle. "Hey, that means 'shit'!"
Mutt cackled from his back while making the last few detailed incisions. "Your bat-speak is improve."
"I know, right?" Samael replied happily before glancing over his shoulder as Mutt tossed the blackened tools into a glass of water with a hiss and small puff of steam."Whoa, ya all done back there??"
"Yes! I did very nice job even with shit drawing," Mutt teased, hopping off the chupa's rump and waving the stained napkin in Samael's face. "You did very good sitting, no matter what Andee say."
The chupa grinned proudly, finally releasing Andee's claws and letting himself slide down off the table before twisting around to try and look at his own back. He heard several sounds at once and blinked, turning back around in confusion to see the guard staring very pointedly away, Mutt smirking at him and Andee slowly dragging a hand down over his face. It was then Samael remembered dropping his pants, looking down at himself stupidly, then immediately grinning again as he put his hands on his hips. "Pretty great, right??"
Andee groaned and gestured irritably at the chupa. "For fuck's sake, cover up, ya shameless fuck!"
Samael snickered and bent down to yank his pants back up, fastening them with an amused look. "Hey, I was just tryin' to fit in with y'all!" He strode forward and Andee promptly hopped up and swung a wing directly into his brand-new tattoo. Samael's eyes bulged and he yelped loudly, leaping away as the impact against his raw flesh sent a sharp agony across his entire back.
Andee grinned and looked satisfied. "That's for makin' us look at yer fuckin' junk."
Samael pouted as he reached back with one finger to poke at the still-warm lines along his back. "How else am I gonna find out if ya wanna see it??"
"I'll be sure to let ya know," Andee snorted with a shake of his head before he punched Samael lightly in the thigh. "C'mon, dumbass. Old man wants to see us...we should at least try to look sober."
"Xo'j weddu bden," Mutt interjected, grinning slightly. He then shifted it to a smile when Samael glanced at him curiously. "Have Andee take you to market. Get some juice for you back."
"Shoum, 'cream', not 'juice'," Andee muttered, gesturing for Samael to move toward the guard. The armed bat tried to look anywhere but up at the chupa, clearing his throat and quickly turning around to lead the way. Andee hid his amused smile and paused in front of Mutt. "We're square now, eh?"
"I would have done for free," Mutt replied dismissively as he and Andee both glanced up at Samael's back. The massive tattoo depicted a broadsword crossed with a magnum handgun; the burned-in design took up nearly the entirety of the chupa's lower back. "Kxaj edo'j tavvohodk."
"Atoucajkj uad'k nehkx kxo tahk kxoy wok rihaot ad," Andee shot back, rolling his eyes when Mutt fixed him with a mild look. "Feh, go clean off the dumb puppy's blood so he don't infect none of us with his stupid next time ya cuttin' someone up."
Mutt smirked in entertainment as Andee trundled after Samael and the guard. Well, if nothing else, Andee would have some good stories for him the next time he came by.
The elderly bat slowly looked between Andee and Samael as they stood before him. He was seated on a throne crafted from what appeared to be the rib bones of some enormous creature that Samael would have rather not tried to imagine still alive. The chief's grey fur was marked with dark brown in a few places, and he wore a few gold bands around his ears and legs; otherwise he was not some gilded figure towering pompously over them. But his grip on the thick bone cane he leaned on was firm, and his eyes looked as sharp as any others, if not perhaps even more so.
It was not difficult to see that both Andee and Samael were having a bit of trouble keeping still as they swayed a bit on the spot and kept bumping against one another. Juwo sighed and then gestured quietly with his cane. "Perhaps you would be more comfortable if you sat?"
Andee didn't need a second invitation, promptly dropping on his haunches with a grunt. Samael looked a bit hesitant, however, shifting his weight from paw to paw before Andee grumbled and jabbed a claw into the back of his calf, making him squawk and half-fall back on his rump, wheezing and rubbing the back of his neck embarrassedly. "Ow."
Juwo sighed again but then offered a small smile. "May I extend a formal welcome to our home. We normally do not allow many outsiders."
Samael blinked and then blurted: "Hey, your common is really fuckin' good!"
Andee scowled and slapped a wing into Samael's tattoo again, and the chupa squealed and arched his back. "This is the fuckin' chief, shit-for-brains, show some fuckin' respect!"
Samael pouted through the tears stinging his eyes. "But you just fuckin' cursed!"
"Yeah, well...I ain't the fuckin' outsider, ya douche-canoe!" Andee retorted, poking Samael's bicep several times until Juwo finally cleared his throat and tapped the cane gently but insistently on the ground.
"Andee, it is quite alright. I'll choose to take it as a compliment." The chieftain smiled again as he watched the way Samael mumbled and poked Andee back. "I see you have already experienced some of the culture of Xulod. Food, drink and..." Juwo paused before nodding toward the chupa. "The arts."
"This thing must look so cool but I can't even see it, myself," Samael mumbled.
Juwo smiled a bit more broadly. "We must learn to take comfort in the reactions of others when our own do not suffice." Samael stared up at him blankly and Juwo chuckled quietly. "So I have heard from Nelson that you will be staying with us for some time?"
Andee was the one to look slightly surprised this time, scratching at his nose with a grumble. "Great, now I am gonna be stuck babysittin'..."
"You are an ideal choice, Andee," Juwo commented before turning back to Samael before he could form his question. "Word travels quickly in the underground." He leaned forward with an amused expression. "Do you have any knowledge of our language?"
"I can say jxak!" Samael replied proudly, which made the chief sigh in resignation.
"Well, Andee is nothing if not an effective teacher," Juwo allowed graciously. He then fixed his gaze squarely on Samael again. "I do not often broker arrangements with your kind, Samael. Nelson has, however, gone above and beyond to protect our existence." He smiled slightly. "Even from her best and brightest, as I now understand."
Samael puffed his chest out a bit and Andee groaned, slapping a hand against his own face. "Now I ain't ever hearing the end of that..."
"So ya know Nelson?" Samael inquired while idly smacking his tail into Andee's back. "Y'all got wheelchair ramps up in here?"
Juwo arched an eyebrow and then seemed to comprehend. "We were introduced before the accident. Our discussions were very sharp at first, but we came to a mutual agreement. Her goals were similar to our own and -- much the same as you -- she had the full-throated support of someone I respected dearly."
Before Samael could again feel a burst of pride for Nelson's apparent boosting of him, his inebriated mind did the math and left him feeling a bit hollow again. "Tracer..."
Andee frowned up at Samael again. Samael had told him most of the tale, but it still grabbed his attention to see the normally-cheerful rebel instantly droop.
"That is correct," Juwo replied as he pushed himself up from the oversized chair and took a few steps down to approach the duo. "You both spent time with Raymond Tracer. It is certainly a strange coincidence for circumstances to bring you two together, now."
Andee made a face and reached up without looking to push away Samael when the chupa leaned down to grin at him. "Together my ass -- I'm stuck with this clown, and it's only 'cause I speak common and know a few other stupid rebels!"
Juwo only smiled wryly. "Rationalize it as you will. But, young ones..." The chieftain leaned heavily on his cane so he could gaze at them both from the bottom of the steps. "Make the most of this time. You are both fiery and impulsive, but if working in tandem and focusing your efforts, I have no doubt you will find yourselves leaving quite the impact on this world."
"As long as it's a fuckin' blast crater, I'm down," Andee grumbled, swaying slightly as he crossed his arms stubbornly.
Samael snickered quietly, then smiled wanly up at the elder. "Hey, I'm all 'bout makin' a difference...but...meetin' y'all, findin' this place, learnin' just how much bigger Sirca suddenly is...an' this whole Holy War, an' the House, it's...all so fuckin'...big. Don't feel like we're gonna be able to do much."
Juwo smiled kindly. "Even a small pebble tossed into a pond may create ripples that are felt on every shore." Andee rolled his eyes but Samael beamed quietly at the response, nodding several times. Juwo nodded once and then gestured with his cane. "You are both free to go. Might I offer a small bit of advice, however?" Andee and Samael both stared up at him curiously. "Spring water with dry grain-loaf. Your skulls will thank you."
Andee groaned and looked slightly embarrassed as he climbed up to his feet and then yanked on Samael's arm to forcefully help him up as well. "Aww, c'mon, old man -- I know how to handle my own goddamn hangovers," he muttered. "Lessgo, puppy. Gonna blow this popsicle stand."
"Oh my god I would kill for a popsicle right now," Samael mumbled as he nearly tripped over his paws, then paused to turn back to Juwo and politely -- if also unsteadily -- bow to him. "Thank you, sir Chief...guy, sir," he added before huffing as Andee yanked on his arm again. "Okay, okay, I'm comin'!!"
Juwo watched the two wobble back out of the massive hall with a bemused expression. He didn't have an inkling as to what the two might find themselves doing one day, but he was sure it'd be loud, and he was sure it'd be memorable.
Samael stared up at the thousands of sparkling dots that shimmered and gleamed in a brilliant array of hues, a stupid smile on his face. "Holy goddamn, 's so pretty," he mumbled as he chewed slowly on a sprig of snatchgrass. "How...how the fuck 'zat work down here? It's all dark 'n shit..."
The chupa was sprawled out on his back next to Andee as the two gazed up at the ceiling of the glittering cavern. The smooth rocks below were cool to the touch -- a welcome sensation on Samael's sensitive back -- but the crystal-clear pond next to them kept the air warn and comfortable.
Andee grunted and gestured vaguely upward with a wing, flopped out next to the rebel with his own bundle of the pungent plant hanging from his muzzle. "It's...y'know. Biolumbalicious 'n shit."
"Bio-light-shit, or whatever," Andee concluded before letting his limb drop back down. It splayed across Samael's chest and the two peered at each other before Samael giggled stupidly.
"Yer buzzed, man."
"Shaddup," Andee replied in a grumble, slapping lazily at the chupa with his wing but leaving it where it laid if only out of comfort. He studied the flickers of light from the glowing pool for a few seconds, then huffed softly. "Ey, puppy."
"You b'lieve in all'a that...fate shit? What the old man was on about, changin' the world or whatever?" Andee frowned as he spoke, stealing a quick glance at the chupa.
Samael was still gazing at the crystals that lined the cavern, seeming almost lost in their gentle displays of reflected light. But he eventually replied, his tone soft and thoughtful. "Yeah. I mean...I wanna, at least..."
Andee made a face while nursing his snatchgrass for a moment. "Eh. I dunno, it seems kinda stupid. I mean, who the fuck wants t'be trapped by some destiny-type bullshit...ain't that the whole point of our dumb asses goin' against the war?"
Samael looked thoughtful. "Hmm. See, I think we are fightin' fate, though...we ain't just layin' down t'let this shit roll over us, we're choosin' our own fate, y'know?" His hands wandered over his own body and bumped into Andee's arm. The bat twitched, but didn't pull away as Samael's fingers idly traced along his arm before moving curiously along the smooth membrane of his wing. "'S like...maybe it is our fate to do it, but we still gotta choose it. We gotta say 'hey, fuck Omega 'n all his bullshit, I want somethin' better!' Kinda...kinda like 'at, y'know?"
Andee grunted noncommittally as the silence spun out for a couple seconds. He lifted his other arm to pull the snatchgrass from his maw, jabbing at the air with it for emphasis as he spoke. "Yeah, a'right, guess that ain't s'bad. But fuck puttin' our asses on the line, eh? Le's just blow some shit up 'n fuck over as many'a you dumb surface fucks as we can!"
Samael snickered quietly, his claws kneading gently into Andee's wing and making the bat squirm slightly at his side. "Heeey, I'm one'a them dumb surface fucks!"
"Yeah, well..." Andee snorted and reached over to lightly slap the half-chewed snatch against the rebel's face. "Yer also a diff'rent kinda dumb. And I guess ya don't smell as bad now that you been hangin' out down here with us." He smirked as he shoved the plant back into his muzzle. "Plus ya at least ain't stupid 'nuff to go'n get yer ass killed for those dumb bitches fightin' the war in the first place..."
The rebel laughed softly again while giving a slow shrug. "Aww, I mean...I dunno, Andee. This war...man, it sucks. It's fuckin' up so many people's lives...every goddamn day." He rubbed one thumb gently against one of the slender digits that ran through Andee's wing. "I joined th' Movement to make a difference, y'know? I wanna see somethin' change...I wanna help it change. It ain't so bad puttin' yerself in a nasty spot if there's a chance you c'n change somethin'...that's why we doin' this whole rebel thing, ain't it?"
Andee's brow furrowed under his cap as his features creased. "Naaah -- that's pointless, ya dumb puppy. Ain't a damn reason t' stick yer neck out. We're just here to make some big fuckin' booms an' then stand back an' laugh as the fuckers run 'round like jackasses tryin' to figure out what happened. Endin' the war...that's a fuckin' li'l kid's dream, this is the real world, buddy."
"Haw, y'sure weren't complainin' when I risked my extra-fine butt fer you at the deal earlier t'day," Samael retorted with a grin as he glanced over at Andee. The snatchgrass was making everything a little...fuzzy, and Andee's face looked strangely clouded. "Yer jus' tryin' to be Mr. Tough 'n Distant Guy...actin' like ya don't care so no one thinks ya got no soft spots."
The bat sat up and yanked his wing away from Samael's gentle ministrations. "Oi! I din' ask ya to be no damn hero today, jackass!" he retorted while jabbing a claw into Samael's shoulder. The rebel blinked before wincing at the intensity as he half-pushed himself up to his elbows to frown confusedly.
"Ow, hey...the hell, Andee? C'mon, man, the hell was I s'posed to do, let ya get shot?"
"I had my shit under control!" Andee fired back as he spat out his snatchgrass and glowered at the chupa. "Ya chose all by yerself to put yerself in front'a those bullets." He muttered darkly and stood up as he brushed himself off. "Shoulda figured, yer the same kinda dumb fucker as the rest'a them after all! Ain't a damn bit of sense in your thick skull...y'know what?" He jammed a claw into Samael's muzzle, making the rebel wince backward and blink up at him. "You wanna go 'n get yerself shot t'shit or hung up in front of a crowd'a those empty-headed fuckwits, that's yer own fuckin' call! But ya ain't gonna bring me into that shit!" Andee seethed. He glared down at the rebel, then spun around and stalked out of the cavern to leave Samael staring after him with his muzzle half-open in shock.
"Andee! Andee, w-wait!" Samael called out, struggling to get up as well but only managing to tangle his legs up as he cursed and tried to shake the buzz out of his head. "C'mon, Andee, don' go!" he pleaded as he finally got onto his paws and stumbled toward the entrance of the quiet cavern.
But he only caught a glimpse of the bat flitting away, his wings carving a sharp turn and disappearing around a corner to abandon Samael to the lonely darkness.
Samael managed to follow the dimly-lit corridors back to the heart of the lively underground city, although not without taking a few wrong turns and finding himself mumbling apologies to the confused bats he ran into down the side passages. One of them had been kind enough to guide Samael back to the main tunnel and from there he'd moved toward the sounds and colorful lights until he was once more at the edge of the square.
It wasn't quite as bustling now -- Samael was still a bit confused how the bats maintained their times of activity against their times of rest. Whatever the case was, things were quiet at the moment. Many of the stalls were empty and only a handful of the city's denizens wandered around in small groups. Most of them gave Samael a wary look and gave him a wide berth when they passed.
...It didn't do much for his mood.
He stared down as he dragged his paws along through the square, not really sure where he was going but hoping he might at least run into someone he recognized. His thoughts were a jumble, which wasn't making him feel any better, either. The rather pleasant affects of their combined inebriation-and-high were all but faded, and it left him free to contemplate all the things he'd apparently said wrong. And what bothered him most was that he didn't even feel they had been a mistake; he truly believed what he'd said to Andee, but if it meant he was going to be at such odds with the bat...well, what would Tracer say? The mission first. Always the mission first -- you can always make more friends, find new lovers, but you have only one life to fight the war.
He trembled and hugged himself silently. Tracer had taught him a lot, but the one lesson Samael had resisted was putting the mission before everything else. The young, stupid chupa had actually believed he could find a way to balance things, to find room for fulfilling his soul with the attention and affection it craved while still carrying out his role in the rebellion.
Buried in his thoughts, he didn't notice a bat approaching from his side and the rebel barely twisted himself to one side to avoid trampling the smaller creature. "Shit, sorry," he mumbled with a wince before automatically attempting a lame "J...jehhy?" while continuing forward.
"I see you are capable of learning words with more than four letters."
Samael blinked and then stopped, turning around to find Juwo standing behind him while leaning forward calmly on his cane of bone. Samael gasped and quickly bowed before dropping to one knee, unsure of how to address the elderly bat. "U-uh, sir! Mr. Chief, sir, I'm sorry, I...I didn't see ya, that was my bad..."
Juwo smiled bemusedly and he reached out to lightly tap Samael's snout with the cane. "Stand up, young one. I am no king, only a humble servant of my people."
Samael shifted his weight uncomfortably but then nodded and carefully stood up. "Um. O-okay. Sorry, still."
Juwo studied him silently, then waved his cane toward Samael as he started to walk down a path that led out of the square. "Please, walk with an old bat, would you?"
"Uh...sure," Samael mumbled sheepishly, trying to ignore the bewildered stares of a few bats nearby who offered Juwo a respectful bow while fixing the chupa with less-than-approving expressions. He jogged up to Juwo's side as they moved toward a quiet district near the edge of the busy marketplace. "S-sorry, I'm not...lost or anything, I just think Andee, um...had to go run an errand."
"You are a terrible liar," the chief noted politely, giving the embarrassed chupa a crooked smile. "Which is amusing, since my conversations with Nelson would suggest otherwise." Samael rubbed at his shoulder while glancing away lamely, and Juwo chuckled softly. "It is not a bad thing to lose the skills of deception when speaking to those you care for."
Samael looked down at Juwo awkwardly. "I um...w-well, I mean, you've been very kind, but...I don't know if I'd say that I c--"
The chieftain eyed Samael with an entertained twinkle in his eye. "Allow me to rephrase -- when speaking about those you care for."
Samael mumbled quietly. "I don't...well, it don't matter. Wouldn'ta worked out no how. I'm jus' here to learn yer culture 'n get better at my job..."
"And I am sure you will do just that," Juwo reassured. "I have no doubt of your dedication." He glanced up at Samael as the chupa sighed quietly with the look of a recently-abandoned pet. "Young one, I have been around for a very long time, and I have seen many strange things. Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility if you are willing to find acceptance and understanding for those whom you pursue."
Samael flushed under his grey fur, rubbing the back of his neck and then dropping his arm with a mumble. "That's the problem, Mr. Chief, sir. I don' think I'm the one who's gotta learn no understandin'...yer givin' the advice to the wrong guy..."
"Is that so?" Juwo inquired mildly, tilting his head ever so slightly. "Ah, then I apologize for misreading. I must have been mistaken."
They wandered in what felt like an aimless direction, until the bat eventually came to a stop in front of a shrine of some kind. It was a strange amalgamation of carved wood, charred metal that had been bent into various shapes and several trinkets that were hung along the small structure. There was a bench near it, and Juwo grunted softly as he hopped onto it and then motioned to the spot next to him.
Samael sighed but nodded and dropped down next to the chieftain. He looked down at Juwo, though the elder was leaning on his cane while silently gazing at the shrine. The chupa shifted a bit before letting his eyes drift back to the shrine as well to look at it more carefully. After some studying, he noticed that one of the bits of smoothed, polished wood had a symbol carved into it: the same symbol that marked his wrist, and Andee's thigh. Samael glanced down at his tattoo of the crossed-out omega with a slight frown before slowly standing up again and taking a few steps closer to the shrine.
He leaned in and then tilted his head -- one of the trinkets tucked away in the hand-crafted shrine was a small journal that looked weathered and worn from both travel as well as heavy use. But what caught his eye was the scrawling script that was inked across the cover.
Andee -- put that loud mouth to some good use and practice this every day, you little asshole! Remember, the more common you know, the more you can learn about making things go 'BOOM'. See you in a couple years, kid -- Tracer
Samael stared silently for a few seconds. He couldn't bring himself to pick it up, instead slowly running his claw over the battered cover and following the sweeping strokes of the letters. His eyes began to fill with tears and he glanced back over his shoulder at Juwo to see the chieftain smiling gently up at him.
"When news reached us of his demise, those who spent time with him came together to construct this memorial. It is our tradition to leave something behind that was once given to us by the deceased," the bat explained softly. "To part with something of theirs that you hold dear is to show your appreciation for their life rather than cling to the memory of their fate."
Samael turned his eyes back to the shrine, letting the tears fall freely as his fingers moved quietly along the other objects placed upon the memorial. "I...he mentioned that Tracer taught him our language, I...I just din' think..."
He heard the elder climb off the bench with a grunt before approaching him to pat the back of his leg gently. "Not everyone wears their emotions so plainly, young Samael. Nor do we all respond identically to the loss of a companion. Some of us act in ways that may require..."
"Understanding," Samael finished in a whisper.
Juwo offered a smile and polite nod, turning and quietly ambling away to leave Samael in peace with his thoughts.
Samael wasn't sure how long he stood there in front of the shrine. He wanted to take in every detail, memorize every memento, and think about all the lives Tracer had touched, even down here in a secret society that most chupas would never even know existed. His goal over the last couple of years had been to emulate Tracer, to live up to all the things his mentor, his lover, had built up for him in his mind. To take Tracer's place and make something worthy of himself after everything the grizzled rebel did for him. After giving literally everything for him.
He heard the brief flutter of wings behind him and it shook him from his reverie as he exhaled quietly and took a step back from the shrine. "Sorry, I was..." When he glanced over a shoulder to find Andee dropping onto the bench, the chupa faltered. "Oh...A-Andee..."
The bat gave him a sour look, then sighed as Samael turned to shuffle away. "Don't be a pussy, dumbass. Didn't come by to yell at you more." He paused and grunted quietly. "Maybe a little more."
Samael smiled faintly and nodded, turning slowly back to gaze at the shrine again. "I...didn't realize how much he..."
"That's because ya didn't ask, fuckball," Andee murmured as he leaned against the back of the bench and crossed his arms, his wings enveloping his small frame. "You were too busy talkin' all about your time with the fucker." Samael's shoulders slumped and the bat snorted before grumbling quietly: "It's okay. Didn't mind listening."
Samael took a long, deep breath and then slowly turned to face Andee. "I'm sorry. I din' mean to start a fight."
Andee's face screwed up into a scowl. "Look, Sammy. It ain't that I don't get where you're comin' from. I spent time with the guy, too. But...what the fuck is the point of giving your life for any of this shit?" He unfolded his arms so he could gesture angrily with both wings. "You wanna fight the world? That's fuckin' great -- lookit us, Sammy, we've spent, what...two, three years doin' this? We're still fuckin' babies compared to Tracer. The guy was a legend, practically a myth and what happened?" The bat snorted and looked to the side as his arms lowered silently. "Gets mowed down by a fuckin' bunch of kill-squad recruits, didn't even have their stripes yet."
Samael swallowed thickly but remained silent as he rubbed the tattoo on his bicep in slow, muted contemplation. Andee glanced at him again before adding icily: "The world ain't done a thing for us, for you. You don't owe it shit."
The chupa was stung by Andee's words, even if he knew where they came from. Even if he felt where they came from. He took a hesitant step toward the bat, then stared at the empty spot on the bench. Andee frowned and then sighed while waving a wing in wordless invitation.
Samael nodded back and moved to sit down, his hands folded quietly in his lap. "Andee, I get it. I miss him, too." The bat glowered up at him but remained silent, allowing him to continue uninterrupted. "I'm not sayin' I get how life is down here. Y'all are...forced to stay hidden, for your safety, for your own protection. You're stuck underground -- at least my tribe, at least we could run 'round outside all we wanted, no one really bothered us out in our part of Sampi." He picked at an invisible spot on his pants. "But I've seen more of the world up there, now. I used t'think life with the tribe was so boring, but...we were mostly free in our little bubble. The rest of Sirca...Andee, they aren't. They're trapped in this nightmare, this recurrin' shitstorm of a Holy War that might take a whole family 'n leave 'em gone...all while the rest're livin' with the House hoverin' over their every choice, makin' it so every decision is one they gotta ask 'is this the one that gets me dragged off in a black hood today?'."
The rebel hunched his shoulders, leaning forward a bit as he stared at his paws while his tail silently drooped at his side. "Even...y'all, here in the caves...you gotta hide but yer still...free. You got such an awesome, open society, you c'n do what you want, be with who ya want...say whatcha want..."
Andee shifted a bit. "We ain't that free, but...yeah, alright. Get what you mean." He looked over at Samael with an honest expression of confusion. "But it still don't feel like it's worth it. What the fuck can we do that he already couldn't?"
Samael rubbed his hands slowly together, his eyes still locked onto the stone below. "Shit, I don't honestly know, hon. I'm here 'cause Tracer...he..."
The last time he'd talked about this had been to Nelson, as he was trying to help her stop bleeding out in the back of a pick-up truck...
He dropped his elbows onto his thighs, exhaling as he bowed forward. "I'm here 'cause he gave his life for me, Andee. Not just like he drew 'em away or somethin'...we were the last two left. And instead of escapin' like I know he coulda, to keep doin' what he did for the entire world, he..." A shudder wracked the rebel's body and he almost didn't feel the gentle claws pressing lightly into his shoulder. "He carried me after I got shot, an' then he put himself between me 'n about five automatic rifles. I'm here 'cause he owned that choice. So trust me, I know what it's like to feel like the wrong choice got made."
He glanced over as Andee squeezed his shoulder briefly, then lowered his wing again. "Sorry. Shit's rough, Sammy." The bat gave a slow shrug. "For what it's worth, think Tracer made an okay choice." Samael smiled faintly as Andee continued firmly. "But...then why you so hell-bent on throwing yourself into the fuckin' fire?"
Samael slowly leaned back again, wincing as his back pressed against the bench but then relaxing again. "I don't wanna just throw my life away. I...mighta before, but. I understand better now. Look, maybe we don't owe the world shit. But we c'n still make a difference, try'n do somethin' for the people who can't do it themselves -- we might be fuckin' green, but..." He gave another small smile over to Andee. "We're both capable of doin' stuff plenty of folks can't. Ain't that enough?" Andee studied him for a few seconds before the chupa added with a wink: "Who says we still can't blow lotsa shit up along the way?"
Andee sighed softly but offered a slight smile in return. "Fuck me, but you're annoying. A'right, shortstack. I ain't sayin' I'm on-board with your bullshit, I got business to run." He paused to enjoy Samael's crestfallen expression, reaching out to jab a claw gently into his arm. "But guess if we find some shit along the way that helps the dumb fuckers up top, you..." He hesitated and chewed on his words for a moment as Samael gazed down at him. "I got yer back. Yer big, stupid, ugly, burned-ass back."
A broad smile broke out across Samael's face as he turned toward the bat and scooped him into a tight hug before Andee could protest. Andee squawked and wheezed as his hat was knocked aside, struggling uselessly for a few seconds before groaning and then briefly returning the embrace. "Now get off me, ya smelly furball," he muttered against Samael's chest.
The rebel laughed quietly and released Andee so that the bat could scowl and then scoop his cap up to dust off and place firmly back between his ears. "You done bein' a cryin' bitch-boy?" he half-asked, half-threatened while pointing a claw up to the chupa.
"For now," Samael replied playfully, pushing himself off the bench as Andee hopped down to the ground next to him. "So now what?"
"Y'look like shit," Andee commented bluntly, slapping the back of the chupa's legs with his wing before jerking his head toward another small path. "C'mon. You need your sleep like the shitty puppy you are, and I'm too fuckin' tired to get back to my inventory, so follow me. We'll find ya a place to sleep."
Samael grinned as he dropped his hands into his back pockets and followed the grumbling bat away from the shrine. "Absolutely," he replied cheerfully even as he stole one more look back at the memorial with a sad smile. You're a fuckin' bastard for what you did. But I love you for it, too. Thank you.
Samael stared down blankly. "It's...it's made of...ropes. This some kinda weird kinky bondage shit? We barely had our first date!"
"It wasn't a date!" Andee snapped back before throwing an arm out. "It's called a 'hammock', ya dumbass, an' it's where most of us sleep!" Sure enough, hammocks were suspended from the rafters all around them, more than a few yellow and green eyes glowering at the two rather-loud individuals in their midst. "We all just share 'em -- they're good for sleepin' whenever, and it probably won't hurt your ouchie-wowchie back. Probably."
The chupa huffed but warily lowered himself into the netting. He almost immediately panicked when his weight dropped and left him feeling suspended in midair, clutching to the sides of the hammock with a squeal. "Oh-hoho shit!" Andee snickered amusedly, perched on the nearby rafter as he watched the rebel warily try to center himself in the woven furniture. "Goddamn, y'all some crazy fuckers," the rebel added, finding a somewhat comfortable spot as he grunted and carefully stretched out. "Okay...think I got this..." He bit his tongue lightly and then attempt to splay out in what he likely intended to be an inviting pose. "Awright, important question: how do y'all fuck in these??"
Andee rolled his eyes and leaned down slightly. "We don't. And since you ain't fuckin' anyone tonight, you'll be fine in a hammock."
"Ah yes, the legendary bat-fuckin' chambers where you keep yer special bat-beds for special bat-bonin', yeah, I heard about those," Samael replied with a wise nod before snickering as Andee lightly kicked at one of his paws. "Ow."
"Shaddup 'n get some rest before I cut this thing loose and see how big the splat is," Andee retorted. When Samael's grin became a gentler smile, the bat shook his head and then nudged the hammock. "See you in a few hours, asshole. Try to be done bleeding by then so we c'n get to work, eh? I'll even get you some...juice for your back." He snickered quietly.
"Deal." Samael settled down into the netting and smiled up at the bat again. The glowering eyes from everyone they'd disturbed finally began to close again as the two at last grew quiet. "'Night, Andee."
Andee grumbled but gave a small smile in return. "'Night, Samael."
Red vs Blue © Rooster Teeth. Halo © 343 Industries. Concept by Myshu, assisted by The Department of Chupapology.
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