A gay jaunt into the memories of how Sirca's favorite couple came to be, as transcribed by CrossroadsPony
Verse 6: All the Things You Are
"So, you guys were stealing something, I take it," York probed as he leaned against the column while watching the other two with an amused smile. They were still without clothes since apparently neither cared, and York wasn't one to complain. Andee was settled in Samael's lap, resting back against him as the stocky rebel quietly rubbed a hand along his chest.
Seeing York was always nice -- Samael enjoyed spending time with the guy, dirty Freelancer or otherwise. They strummed a lot of the same chords, and from the moment they'd first met, it hadn't taken long for the two to become fast friends. But he could still sense some of the big bastard's old habits trickling in, whether or not he meant it. Samael couldn't help smiling when Andee apparently picked up on it, too.
"What the fuck is this, eh? You runnin' a one-chump inquisition or somethin'?"
"Aw, c'mon, Andee, gimme a break!" York complained, crossing his arms over his broad chest. "Besides, if you're involved, there's like. A ninety-percent chance property theft is also involved."
"That's racist," Andee observed while thrusting a claw toward York. "Look, if we did steal somethin', it ain't none of your business! This one was all me 'n the puppy, no fuckin' sloppy seconds for you, bigfoot!"
Samael couldn't help his grin as he dropped his muzzle atop Andee's head, wrapping both arms around the bat and savoring the fact they could at least enjoy this. York attempted a pout at him, and Samael's grin only expanded. "Hey, man, li'l fucker's in charge'a this one! I ain't nothin' but his li'l obedient helper, I ain't sayin' shit!"
"Damn right you are!" Andee declared, even as he smiled and ran his claws quietly along Samael's thigh. "My dumbass puppy here jumped out of a third-story window tonight, so you know he's mine, now."
York blinked and tilted his head slightly. "I mean. That's not that crazy, we used to jump out of --"
Andee laughed, interrupting easily as he peered up at Samael. "Holy shit, you weren't kiddin', shortstack. You really ain't told no one else about your wussy-ass fear of heights?"
"Well, I hadn't until now!" Samael whined with a huff as York instantly grinned down at them. "Oh goddammit, I know that face, you fuckin' drop whatever the fuck you got in mind, 'cause I'm gettin' over that fear an' it ain't gonna be shit to me soon enough!"
"Heh, yeah, we'll see how 'over it' you are when I'm dangling your ass out over the cliffs at Sidewinder," York taunted.
But Andee smirked before Samael could try to mumble more defense of himself. "Ay, the puppy did good today." He glanced upside-down at Samael again before pushing his nose briefly into the bottom of his companion's muzzle. "Only I get to talk shit 'bout him, you find someone else to extort, ya big lunk."
York snorted as his eyes roved over the two again. It probably would have been weird with anyone else, but York took it in stride as easily as watching someone walk down the street. Samael appreciated it, since he really didn't want to end this moment. Cock-blocked or otherwise. "Seriously, if you guys want to, uh. Go do your thing, I can chill out here and wait. It's fine." He grinned slightly, eyes flicking mischievously between them. "I'm cool with watching, too."
Samael snickered as Andee rolled his eyes. "Or you could just piss off, ya fuckin' brick-house, head right on back down the tunnel and leave us be," the bat suggested dryly.
York's grin changed back to a smile. "Sorry, fellas. We had a hunch at least one of you two were behind this when I heard the first description over the airwaves. Wash wants me to bring ya both back. Plus it looks like you don't have a ride, so. Easier for everyone!"
"Heh." Samael smirked and squinted up at him. "I bet me 'n Andee could take you."
York blinked before laughing aloud. "Boy, I know you two are high on dick-thoughts right now, but you must be insane."
Andee gave his own grin, crossing his arms atop Samael's embrace. "We've been fuckin' up people all night, ya tan meat-box, puppy might have a point."
"Yeah, and Andee might not look it, but the li'l fucker's scrappy!" Samael added with a wink. "He'll at least take out an eye or somethin'."
York snickered quietly and shook his head slowly. "You two are a real riot, eh? C'mon, don't make me the bad guy -- I'm sure Wash just wants to find out what the hell you two were doing so we know what to expect if anything comes up to do out this way in the near future." He paused to raise a hand. "And actually I kind of want to know what you two are doing, like. Since when is this a thing?"
"Uh huh, soundin' a lot like a fuckin' interrogation," Andee grumbled before he glanced back up at Samael. "We can still kick his ass if ya want, puppy."
Samael tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Temptin', but...naaaaah." He half-smiled back up at York. "He'll feel bad enough just knowin' how shitty his timin' was. He knows how important a good dickin' is."
Samael apparently understood York well, considering the way the ex-Freelancer looked legitimately awkward for a few seconds while rubbing the back of his head in actual embarrassment. "Look, guys, I wasn't kidding, you uh. You go back in there and. You know." He grinned again despite his visible sheepishness. "Go do your dance of dongs."
Samael sighed before he looked down, sharing a long gaze with Andee as he mumbled and squeezed the bat silently back to his chest. "It's fine..."
"Yeah, ya kinda ruined the moment, ya giant clown-car..."
York gave a small but honest smile. "Heh. My bad, fellas."
Andee grumbled under his breath and then let his eyes settle on York musingly while stroking idly over Samael's forearm. "So...you two jerk-offs have boned by now...right?"
The lack of shock from either of them wasn't all that surprising, as both York and Samael broke into broad grins. York tried and failed to hide his as he scratched at his muzzle, but Samael's shamelessness was on full display. "Obviously."
York guffawed, his eyes flicking amusedly between them both. "Yeah, have you met this guy?" He smiled again and then cleared his throat while moving his claws to scrape lightly along his collarbone. "Oh, uh. Wait. That's not gonna...make things awkward, is it?"
Andee smirked, looking about as content as could be while offering a cool look up to York. "You see him grindin' on you?"
York blinked before letting his grin dance back across his features while Samael snickered quietly into the top of Andee's head. "Haw! Point taken, alright." He studied them for another moment, then shifted his weight curiously. "Okay, so Sammy -- he was obvious, might as well have been screaming what he liked the way he was in that broom closet first time we got to know each other. But. Gotta say, Andee -- had no idea!! You shoulda said somethin', man!"
The bat snorted laughter. "Say what? 'I love gobbling dicks'? Do I look like this flaming asshole behind me?" Samael only grinned wider, the furthest thing from offended as he drew gentle circles in Andee's thick chest fur. "And anyway, why would I say shit? You ain't my fuckin' type! None of you smelly surface fuckers are."
York gasped dramatically and put a hand against his chest. "Hey! I'm everyone's type!" He peered at Samael intently. "Right??"
Samael did his best to keep his smile controlled. "I mean, you're great in the sack, hon, but uh. Don't mean yer long-term material."
The mocking pout was, Samael assumed, only partially mocking. "That's harsh, Sammy! And hey, wait!" He dropped his hands to his hips and squinted at Andee. "Isn't Sammy a smelly surface fucker, too?"
Andee's grin returned in full force as he rolled a casual shrug over his shoulders before relaxing back against Samael comfortably. "Nah. This puppy's practically half-bat by now. He gets a pass."
"Man, now who's being racist," York huffed, even as he smiled down at them again. He was silent for several seconds. Samael was used to the bouts of thoughtfulness from the big guy -- he'd spent enough time with York that he knew he wasn't all bravado, suave charm and dumb grins.
...Andee seemed a bit more suspicious, though. "What're ya starin' at now, eh? Still hopin' for a free show, ya giant pervert?"
York continued his easy smile. "Heh, maybe. But naw, just a funny thing, you two. Can safely say I never woulda seen it coming. You'd think at least one of you would run outta air to breathe after ten minutes in the same room!"
Samael chuckled as Andee offered a rude gesture. "Yer one to talk, big man, yer yap's 'bout as prolific as mine."
Andee was quick to add coyly: "And besides, you think I didn't sniff out a good deal a mile away?? I got me my own personal heavy-thing-lifter, now!" He paused, his smirk softer than he might have intended as he glanced back and up at Samael again. "The stupid asshole even blocks bullets, he's a dumbass for every occasion."
Samael smiled back down at him and bumped their muzzles briefly together before whispering loudly to York: "Long-term material."
York huffed loudly, unable to stop himself from taking a step forward in protest. "Hey! You realize that me 'n Sammy have a damn score book going between us, right??"
Andee paused long enough to toss a contemplative look between Samael and York before he grinned easily. "Heh, you think I just waltzed into the puppy's lap? I ain't one of his afternoon delights, Sammy had to work for this." He then crossed his arms confidently again, and Samael would have been content with dying right then and there with the delighted thrill he felt. "You two dumbasses can go right ahead with your ass-blastin' competition, I ain't worried. Puppy ain't even had the full experience but I saw his perfect ten rating already."
York couldn't avoid his entertained laugh and Samael gave his own gleeful giggle as he squeezed Andee tight again. Andee rolled his eyes with a slight smile before tapping one of Samael's wrists. "But alright, whatever. Let's get this stupid bullshit done with, been a long night and I'm gettin' fuckin' tired. And you need to put some clothes on 'cause I can still feel it back there, ya horny fuck."
"Completely your fault," Samael replied wistfully before sighing and releasing the bat from his snug embrace so they could both stand up and stretch with matching grimaces. He supposed the bit of welcome affection would have to do for the time being. Andee slapped lightly at his legs before waddling off back toward the bathroom and Samael tipped York a wink before following along.
York blinked and stared for a moment as his eyes fell onto Samael's back tattoo. "Ho-ho-holy shit, Sammy, when did ya get that?"
Samael paused to glance back with a slight grin. "Ya like it? Heh. Andee's dude Mutt hooked me up. Pretty fuckin' sweet, right??
"Geezus, looks like it hurt like hell," York muttered before he paused to glance at the marking on his own hip.
Samael winked at him as the two shared a brief nod. "You know I'm still down if you ever wanna get a new one with me, York. Might be nice to sport one that ain't tied to bad shit from yer past, buddy." York offered a tiny but grateful smile. Samael tapped a fist against his chest as Andee poked his head back out and then grumbled while trotting over to smack his legs a few times with a wing.
"C'mon, puppy, quit yappin', don't wanna draw this bullshit out any longer."
York smiled in bemusement, calling after them: "Hey, just like...yell if you start boning or something, just so I know how much time I gotta wait!" Samael raised a lazy middle finger over his shoulder, eliciting a chuckle from his friend before he and Andee disappeared back into the decrepit changing area to make themselves somewhat presentable again.
"I'm just sayin', if you get to go pants-free, how come I still gotta wear 'em?" Samael complained as he shouldered the backpack again.
"I told ya, shortstack, you ain't got the right fluff," Andee retorted while shoving a claw into the chupa's thigh as they strolled back out from the shower rooms. Samael peered down at him with his muzzle already open for a response, and Andee glared back up. "An' if you grab down there one more time to make your point, I'mma chop somethin' off that don't grow back!"
Samael grinned before glancing up to see York still leaning against the column. "Damn, the enforcer ain't gotten bored 'n left us be."
"Feh, no shock. Looks like we're gonna be babysittin' for a while, puppy. And you know the rules. No fuckin' in front of the kids."
"How am I the kid?" York protested as his eyes glanced over the backpack on Samael's shoulders. "Bet I'm older than both you midgets."
Samael smirked. "Quit tryna peek at the goods, York. And shit, you ain't more'n a year or two at most -- just 'cause you had crazy shit done to you at Freelancer don't make ya old'n wise'n shit."
"Yeah, and me 'n the puppy get enough of that shit from Juwo," Andee grumbled as the trio made their way toward the ATV.
York settled at the front before glancing back over his shoulder. "So uh. How is this gonna work?"
Andee scowled horribly as Samael tried not to snicker. "You didn't have no fuckin' plan in mind before you decided you're takin' us back to your pint-sized sheriff on a mongoose?"
"Look, man, I didn't know what to expect until I was already out here!" He scratched at the back of his head. "I guess, uh. Sammy can ride behind me and, Andee, you can --"
"You even think about suggestin' I get in the backpack and I'll shove a fuckin' grenade so far up your ass, you'll choke on the pin," Andee threatened with a glower that did not at all match his compact size. He grumbled before shoving at Samael gently. "Get on there, jackass. I'll just keep sitting in your fuckin' lap, I guess, ain't like it's the most undignified shit in the world or anything," he muttered.
Samael smiled despite himself and slid onto the seat behind York, leaning back to make room for the bat. Andee glared at him and then grumbled and hopped up to scramble over him and settle between his legs. "Ya smell like gasoline and cheap lube," he noted mildly as he gripped into York's side with one wing.
"...So wait, is that flirting?" York peered over a shoulder at Samael, who tried to not grin as he leaned forward slightly with an arm around Andee. "Is that how he flirts? Am I being flirted with?"
Andee made a horrible face and then promptly used his other hand to grab a clump of York's fur and yank on it hard, making the massive chupa yelp in an extremely unbecoming tone. "I dunno, you tell me."
Samael laughed as York stared down at the bat in horror, then warily started the ATV. "Told ya, York -- scrappy."
"Geezus, okay, I get it, only you got the magic touch this time," York mumbled before shifting into gear and taking off down the tunnel with his two sort-of-prisoners clinging to his back. "Still wanna damn explanation of how this all happened at some point..."
"Heh. We'll see," Samael murmured, content to hold onto Andee and gently press him safely between his chest and York's back as the bat muttered under his breath but otherwise stayed quiet while they roared through the underground.
They rode in silence for about an hour...surprising, considering the trio. But then again, Samael had sensed Andee starting to drift off against his chest...and he himself was feeling the exhaustion sink in, too. The hum of the engine in the long tunnel wasn't helping. It wasn't the most comfortable position, but Andee was warm...York was warm. There were worse places to fall asleep. His head eventually drooped and then thumped quietly against York's spine, who glanced back with a small, amused smile before continuing down the tunnel.
Everything was fine until the ATV hit a rough area of the tunnel, where at some point in the past, the area had been left under construction. The ground was uneven, covered in ruts and divots. One particularly nasty bump nearly threw Samael off the back, his eyes flying open as he gasped and flailed at the air while tipping backward -- it was only thanks to Andee being jolted awake that the bat instinctively flung his arm out and barely caught the chupa by his belt.
Samael's eyes bulged in shock and he stared at Andee, their eyes meeting for a moment as the bat struggled to hold him, his slender arm trembling as his wing fluttered in the wind. "Get back here, Sammy," he mumbled, smiling despite himself as he yanked Samael back onto the seat. The rebel couldn't help his happy smile, feeling a delighted tickle race along his spine as he scooted once more up to the bat's back.
...Samael wasn't sure if he was amused or annoyed that it was followed by "Can't lose the fuckin' goods, ya damn puppy!" Ugh. Ah well, at least he knew Andee was predictable. Even if it stung him a little more than he expected it to.
The thought burrowed into Samael's consciousness even as York noted they were close to a stash location where they could trade the ATV for something a little more comfortable. He was only vaguely paying attention as they drove into the bunker -- an old maintenance station for the underground that some faction of the Movement had repurposed years ago -- and clambered into a rusty sedan that, thankfully, had tinted windows for Andee's sake. Even when Andee willingly climbed into Samael's lap again, even when Samael's heart thumped happily as he wrapped his arms around his companion and held him securely as they drifted into a peaceful doze together...the thought remained, a quiet but insistent hum.
He just needed some sleep. Then it would pass.
The wind in your mane
Samael stirred, his muzzle twitching a bit.
The sun in your eyes
There was a warm weight on his lap. Andee.
Might be a beautiful day
He smiled, faintly. The thought lingered.
Might be a beautiful disguise
He hated that it lingered. His arms squeezed silently around the bat, telling himself it was just a joke.
If you've got a heart to break, we'll take it
Just Andee being Andee. They'd spent over two weeks together, side-by-side almost night and day.
If you've got a wish to make, we'll fake it
He knew the little asshole's personality by now.
But it all comes down to the final stand
He might not have known everything about Andee, but they'd learned plenty about each other already.
Will you run solo?
He was just being silly.
Or will you join the band?
He sighed a bit, his claws drifting slowly through Andee's fur while finally opening his eyes. Right. They were in a car.. That explained the crooning coming from the dingy speakers, along with the world rushing past them.
Samael felt really stupid with the way he couldn't shake the thought. They'd come through the crazy mission in one piece, hadn't they? Even if Andee's hunger for the prize had maybe been a little overbearing, even if the whole job was purely for his own benefit...they'd done it together. They'd run into some insane shit, and they'd pulled out together. That had to count for something.
He glanced at York, behind the wheel with his arm propping his head up against the door frame. York noticed the movement and he shifted his eyes over to the smaller chupa. They shared a brief look and then Samael gazed down at Andee before idly straightening the black cap on his companion's head. He didn't want to ruin the moment. Samael took that intrusive thought and tucked it away.
There'd be time to talk about it later.
"You get your beauty rest in, kiddies?" York sang out as Andee squirmed and then yawned.
"Eh, fuck off, ya giant fuzzbucket," Andee mumbled, looking down at the muscular arms around his chest. "Goddamn, Sammy, you clingy bitch, I know you got blue balls, but damn."
Samael snorted softly and reluctantly loosened his arms so Andee could stretch and then shift to sit on one thigh while resting back against the passenger door. It was still enough contact to make Samael smile to himself. He quietly rubbed along one of Andee's calves while studying the road for a moment. He figured they must either be in Lamtha or damn close with all the farms they were passing. "Man, this rust-bucket gonna even make it through Lactan?"
"Hey, it looks old and crappy and like it's about to fall apart, but.." York paused and then shrugged amicably. "Yeah maybe not. Look, not everything I steal is gonna be top of the line, gimme a break."
Samael snickered. "Fair."
"Yeah, and you're one to talk anyway, puppy -- you ain't gonna mention the hunk'a junk you got us in town back there?" Andee taunted.
York immediately grinned curiously. "The calls going out mentioned a high-speed chase -- you been practicing your car-jackin', Sammy?"
"You ain't the only one with magic fingers," Samael replied with a grin. "Anyway, at least we got some jams in this thing. We was a bit too on edge to listen to no music while we were sneakin' past checkpoints 'n shit."
Andee grunted and peered up at his companion before prodding his chest a few times. "You didn't mention about being into music, shortstack."
"Guess it ain't come up yet, eh?" Samael chuckled while rubbing at his muzzle with his free hand. "It's been a long while now, but. I used to play a li'l six-string. Our tribe was pretty big into them traditional Sampi jams, encouraged all'a us young'ns to pick up some kinda instrument if we had any sorta inklin' to do so." He shrugged a bit. "But...ain't really had time or the opportunity to get me one with how crazy things've been at Sidewinder, so..."
Andee wrinkled his muzzle but didn't reply, only looking thoughtful as he relaxed against the door with his wing still idly resting against Samael's chest. York glanced over again, his fingers tapping along the steering wheel to the static-riddled mash song. "Hell, knew you liked a good tune, but didn't know you played! You'll have to show us sometime. Wash might be less grumpy about hanging out while you're around if you're providing entertainment!" He paused and then grinned slyly. "Other than that kind, at least."
Samael grinned back despite himself. "I ain't shy -- sure, if the opportunity comes up. But in the mean time...I gotta ask, does Wash at least hate Andee as much as he hates me?" He winked down at the bat, who only squinted back before shrugging easily at the inquiry and shifting his eyes to York curiously.
"Well, I mean...he doesn't hate either of you," York replied awkwardly.
"Bullshit!" Andee retorted as Samael stifled his laughter. "Last time I was over there tryin' to make you boobs a sweet offer, he told me to shove it right back up my ass!"
York blinked before smiling bemusedly at Andee. "Okay, first of all -- not true, that's what you said to him when he told ya he wasn't interested. And second, I think all he threatened to do was break your wings if you didn't stop trying to get a free box of explosives as compensation for your 'savvy'."
"Hey, that's still a hate crime!" Andee insisted. He huffed and crossed his arms before glancing up at Samael. "You think that's worth chargin' extra for, right?"
"Oh, absolutely," Samael chirped, rolling his eyes back to York with a laugh. "Your fearless leader's a real stick in the mud, yo!"
"Aw, c'mon, leave Wash alone, he's workin' his tail off," York huffed. He glanced at them both again before clearing his throat. "On that note, though, uh. So. I've been wantin' to get something for Wash, actually. Something I hope you guys could, uh. Maybe help with a little?"
Samael grinned again and batted his eyes. "Awww, gay."
York snorted softly, giving him a flat look. "Heh, not like that, ya dick. Wash has been so stressed lately. And he spends so much goddamn time with his goddamn paperwork." He grumbled for a moment. "He's really obsessed with sending official letters and whatnot, to the, uh. To the families and stuff, you know, but. The problem is we obviously can't let people know who we are, so..."
"...Obviously," Samael replied, attempting a smile but finding it a bit harder this time. He knew what York likely meant. The letters for fallen fighters.
Andee scoffed. "Yeah, even you fuckers can't be THAT stupid."
York rolled his eyes but smiled all the same as he pushed forward slowly. "So...I was thinking. Back in Freelancer, I remembered something. All official letters from the House have an official stamp on them, too. Aaaand. Clerics are usually the ones who process those letters..."
Suspicion creased Andee's features as he peered directly at York. "Okay, what's with the civics lesson, ya giant fuck?"
York whistled innocently, his fingers continuing to patter along the steering wheel. Now Samael could start to understand why Nelson always accused them of being distant relatives. This was a kind of wheedling he knew well. "Soooo there's a Cleric's place on the way back to Lactan...where there's gonna be one of those stamps..."
Samael couldn't avoid the slow grin that parted his muzzle. "Aaaaaand?"
The grin that spread across York's face was nearly identical. "I need a hand with this one. And since it's on the way and since you're both heeeere..."
"Hell fuckin' no!" Andee all-but-exploded as he threw both wings up with a glare toward York.
"Awww, hell fuckin' yeah!" Samael argued while grinning at Andee. "C'mon! It'll be a blast!" That little thought poked its head up again. This would be a good chance to tamp it down, let them do something that wasn't just for Andee's sake. Prove it to himself, calm his fuckin' stupid brain.
Andee's face didn't exactly express the eagerness he hoped for. The wrinkles etched into Andee's muzzle were anything but pleased. Samael's heart stumbled a bit. "Listen up, puppy, there ain't nothin' in this for me, or even us!"
York peered over awkwardly. "Aw, hey, we're friends ain't --"
"You keep outta this, fat-foot!" Andee interrupted with a finger shoved toward the massive chupa. York leaned back slightly with a surprised lift of his brow. The bat squinted up at Samael again, who was still giving a faint smile. "What?!? Aw, puppy, don't give me that fuckin' face -- we've had a long fuckin' night, I ain't even had time to look over our haul yet, this is just askin' for stupid-kinda trouble!"
"Andee, c'moooon," Samael pleaded, enlarging his eyes while rubbing gently over one of the bat's legs. "You'd get to blow up two House...houses. In one day!"
Andee glared up at him, although seemed to take an actual moment to consider this even as his scowl persisted. And Samael was quick to continue in a soft coo: "An' jus' think 'bout it! We'll have one over them fancy Freelancer boys!! They'll owe us!"
York huffed and peered over from behind the wheel again. "Uh, whoa, Sammy! I thought we were pals?!?"
Samael caught a deep frown from Andee, but glanced back at York with a grin. "Yeah, we sure are, buddy! Yer dick's real great an' all, but it's only the one! I ain't got no other good lovin' from no one else over there, so...sorry, dude!"
"That's real harsh, Sammy, real harsh," York pouted even as he smiled slightly himself. He looked between the other two again. "That mean you're in?!"
Samael looked at Andee again and winced at the muted expression meeting his. They watched each other for a moment before Andee grumbled and looked off through the windshield while crossing his arms over his chest. "Ehhh, alright, alright, fine, ya fuckin' dickbags. But if there's any good shit while we're inside, I'm fuckin' swipin' it!" he added with a glower to them both. York and Samael shared a look before giving matching shrugs in agreement. "Ugh. Can't believe I'm lettin' myself get talked into this bullshit."
Samael continued to look at Andee for a few moments before gazing through the windshield as well as he tried his best to relax. Andee wasn't wrong about it being a long night and day. They were just on edge. But hopefully a quick little mission with the one ex-Freelancer Samael trusted to have their back would give them a reason to realize they were actually pretty damn good at this whole thing.
"Sorry, dude, sorry! Also shhhh!"
"Well don'th thep on my friggin' fayth!"
"Sorry!" Samael whispered again as he struggled to maintain his balance on York's shoulders while peering in through the second-story window. Looked clear. But he couldn't quite reach it -- hmm. "Andee! Climb up here, see if you c'n get in!"
"I can fly, ya dumbasses!" Andee hissed from right next to Samael's head, making the rebel squeak and nearly topple over. "Told ya this was a stupid fuckin' idea, the sun's out, any jackass strollin' by the fields is gonna see us!"
"Well then we should probably hurry!" York's voice snaked up from below as he grunted and shifted his weight a bit, making Samael wobble above him. "C'mon, his office should be on that floor, just get inside and grab the stamp!"
Samael huffed and glanced down -- luckily it wasn't quite tall enough for him to feel sick, but the swaying wasn't helping much. "Okay, okay!" He peered over at Andee, who had already grumbled and flit over to a window that was partially open to start prying it upward. "Hurry up, hon!"
"I'm gonna break that fuckin' dick'a yours off 'n give you a bright-blue suppository if ya don't shut up!" Andee threatened in a loud whisper before blinking as they heard a voice from around the side of the sizable country home. "Aw fuck!" He forced the window up enough for him to be able to squeeze through before disappearing inside.
"Your dick really is kinda blue, though," York noted casually even as he frowned toward the corner of the house. "Is that like...a Sampi thing?"
"I dunno!?" Samael whispered back loudly, flailing with one arm. "My cousin's wasn't blue!"
"What??! How the hell else ya think I was gonna figure it out??"
"...I mean I didn't say that wasn't hot, it's just normally more the step-mom thing that--"
"Would you fuckers shut up 'n get Sammy's ass up here?!?" Andee seethed from the window above Samael's head, reaching down with both arms.
Samael peered down to meet York's awkward face before they shared stupid grins. "Comin' right up!" York whispered as Samael lifted one paw automatically so York could grip into it with his hand. Apparently they'd done this before. Samael's leg shuddered slightly in York's palm but he carefully lifted the other leg all the same to allow York's opposite hand to take a hold of the bottom of that paw as well. He stood balanced in both of York's hands, both their limbs quivering a bit before York called out softly: "Alley-OOP!"
He shoved up with both arms, grunting with the exertion of launching his friend straight up. Samael's eyes widened a bit, even prepared as he was. His stocky body was sent hurtling upward a few feet, and he felt himself hanging in the air for a moment before he and Andee gripped firmly into one another's arms. "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit," Samael mumbled, closing his eyes and ignoring the screaming terror of having his legs kick at nothing.
"I gotcha, I gotcha, ya fuckin' dick-for-brains," Andee grumbled, even as his slender shoulders trembled with the effort of holding Samael long enough for the chupa to grab into the windowsill and pull himself up. Andee grabbed the back of his pants to finish yanking him in before they both quickly shoved against the wall and peered warily down through the window at the guard that wandered around the corner. Samael caught a flash of brown in the hedges before a tan arm shot out when the patrolling militia member came close enough, yanking the shocked chupa off his feet and into a gentle headlock that soon left him a dozing, drooling heap.
"Well at least this guy doesn't have a whole platoon guardin' his place!" Samael whispered with an upbeat smile, while Andee simply gave him a droll look. "Just sayin'!"
"Ah, shaddup and let's find the stupid stamp for your stupid boyfriend," Andee muttered as he stormed down the hallway.
"Aww, Andee, are ya jeal--"
"Ain't the time, puppy," he growled, which was enough to make Samael shrink a bit and follow in awkward silence.
The Cleric they were robbing at least seemed far less important than the last guy -- his house was large, but nothing compared to the one in Episemon. It only took poking their heads into two rooms before they found the office, and even then, it was as simple as grabbing the very obvious stamp from on top of the desk. Andee examined it for a minute before making a face and tossing it to Samael. "Feh, not even fuckin' inlaid."
Samael caught it deftly and then smiled a bit as he turned it over in his hands. He could see why Wash would be able to make use of it -- anything he inked it with would appear to have come through official House correspondence. "Sweet." He pocketed it and gazed at Andee. "Appreciate you agreein' to this, Andee. I know you didn't really wanna do this."
"No, I really didn't," Andee muttered as he grumpily threw open a few drawers and cabinets, poking his head into each and tossing out a few random items. "I get it, Sammy, you wanted to help out York. But there's nothin' in this for me, or even for you." He glowered across the room when Samael opened his muzzle. "Yeah, yeah, 'favors owed' and all that shit."
Samael sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. "I just...does everything we do have to be only for our benefit?"
Andee fixed him with a long, hard stare. "Sammy, I wasn't fuckin' around when I told you how I was gonna do things. I'm here to run business. And if some shit lines up that helps you out, then I'd consider it. I never said I was gonna help you out with every little goddamn charity case you decided to pick up."
The rebel glanced down as his tail slowly drooped. "You said you had my back..."
Andee flinched and then retorted in a low growl: "You said you had mine, Sammy, but this whole thing here is just for that big oaf York!"
The words stung Samael harder than he thought they would. He blinked and took a step back. "Andee...I do. I do have your back, just 'cause I wanna help someone else don't mean that--"
Andee suddenly hissed and threw a finger across his muzzle. They heard a thump from an adjoining room and the two glanced at each other before shuffling quickly back to the hallway. "Go, go, go," Andee muttered, shoving at Samael's thighs. "You can cry at me later, dumbass."
Samael huffed a bit, wanting to feel better. His emotions sagged as much as the rest of him but he forced himself to move toward the window at the end of the hall. But before they could reach it, a door suddenly slammed open behind them. They stared back in unison to see a chupa still fumbling into a brown cloak.
His eyes widened at the sight of the intruders...but unlike the guy in Episemon, he disappeared from the doorway while shouting for the guards...before Samael caught the very distinct sound of a shotgun racking a fresh shell. "Window, window, NOW!" Samael yelped. "Gimme somethin' smoky!!"
Andee glared back at the doorway before scowling and digging through his poncho for a small, round object. "I'll tell the giant fucker downstairs to catch!" he growled before tossing the device to Samael and quickly beating his wings to leap past the chupa and toward the window. His body slid neatly through the open frame and he burst into the sunlight before calling down to York: "Ay, tan boy! Sammy's on the way!"
York blinked a few times and stared up at the window. "Sammy's...what?"
...A moment later a dull flump sounded from upstairs before a wild shotgun blast rang out, followed shortly by Samael crashing through the window with a curse, glass exploding out around him while he flailed wildly at the air. "Oooh shit oh-shit-oh-shiiiit!"
York winced and leaped forward with his arms out to swiftly catch the stocky rebel. "Holy shit, gotcha, Sammy!"
They shared a quick look before both staring back up at the plume of smoke billowing from the upper floor as angry shouting filtered out through the window. Samael grinned despite himself, patting York's chest firmly. "Heh, ya still got it."
"Always!" York grinned back as he set Samael down before quickly checking him for any cuts. "You good?"
"Yeah, I'm --"
"Fiffy, wok tend!" Andee shouted from above.
Samael's head whipped to the side as a second armed chupa rounded the corner of the house, pistol already drawn and leveled. Samael's eyes widened and he instinctively shoved York aside before arching his back with a wince as the militia member fired. The shot echoed through the rolling hills that surrounded them and Samael felt a searing bolt against his stomach. He acted on instinct, his hand grasping into the only object within reach...which happened to be York's belt buckle.
He tore it off and then twisted his body around to whip the bronze buckle through the air at the guard, nailing him directly between the eyes and causing him to stumble backward with a shout of pain as he dropped the pistol. York stared blankly, looking torn between being impressed and stunned, before he grabbed Samael's arm and bolted back toward their car as Andee snarled in frustration above them and took chase.
Several wild shots rang out after them, a couple of the luckier bullets slamming into the poorly-stashed sedan. York all but flung Samael toward the passenger-side door while launching himself across the hood to the other side, where he swiftly yanked open the door and cranked the engine.
Samael flung his own door wide, glancing up just as Andee came streaking down in a brown blur to dive into the car. He spun around on the seat, eyes blazing as he grabbed Samael's wrist. "Get the fuck in the car!"
The rebel didn't need to be told twice as he hopped in. York shoved the gas pedal down before the door could be closed and all three of them winced and shrunk down as another stray round shattered the back window. "Fuckin' fuck, get gone, York!" Samael squawked. "Head fer the fuckin' woods, shit's too open out here if they chase us!"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm on it," York called back as he and Andee both cast brief glances toward Samael's bare stomach, covered in crimson flecks. "How bad is it?"
"Aw, ain't nothin' but a graze," Samael replied airily even as he grimaced and prodded at it. It was nearly a cut, the long, almost-deep scrape carving a line several inches long over his abdomen. "Heh, at least it'll balance out the scars from the holes on the other side," he added with a wink.
York still frowned, while Andee was strangely silent. The ex-Freelancer glanced in the rear-view but no one was pursuing them in a vehicle yet. "Gonna get us off the road, then we'll take a look. Get it cleaned out, bandaged up."
"Works for me," Samael grunted as he poked at the wound again before looking up at Andee, who was perched on the center console. But the bat remained without words, only glowering down at him with a strained expression painted across his narrow muzzle. A nervous tremble ran down Samael's spine, but he wasn't able to ponder it too heavily before York twisted the wheel to roar off the road and onto a worn game trail that was much less comfortable...but was also quickly lost in the densely-wooded area.
York kept the sedan rumbling along the rough path for another five or ten minutes before he finally seemed satisfied they hadn't been followed. As the car came to a halt, he leaned over to try and examine the wound, but Andee flapped his wings threateningly and growled at him: "Ay, go find some fuckin' water, ya jackass, I got this."
York huffed but grudgingly nodded, even as he gave Samael one more concerned look. He reached into the back seat and snagged an empty container that had been shoved into a seat pocket, and then grumbling and sliding out of the driver's seat. "Okay, okay, but don't try and drive off without me, fellas!" he warned while peering between them, then closing the door and glancing around the vehicle before jogging off.
Samael watched him through the windshield for a moment. Regardless if Nelson had helped to instill into him a deep distrust of the Freelancers -- even those who had completely left the organization -- it was hard to deny that York had become a close friend to him...his best friend, if he was being honest. They'd formed a solid bond over the last year or two and Samael was willing to put faith in York in ways he normally wouldn't. He trusted York to have his back...the same way he thought Andee would have his.
But the remorseful twinge in his stomach quadrupled when he slowly shifted his eyes back to the bat. Andee was studying him silently, his jaw set while his eyes remained narrowed. A few uncomfortable seconds ticked by before Samael finally moved his eyes away as his shoulders squeezed nervously together. "Andee...?"
He could hear the quiet grind of the bat's teeth. Another painful moment of silence, then Andee finally spoke. "Fuck you, Samael."
The rebel's heart nearly stopped and he stared up at Andee with pure fear in his eyes. "Andee..."
"You said you ain't got a death-wish no more," Andee growled as he leaned forward, his yellow glare burning into the slumped chupa and sending a terrified shiver down his spine. "You told me you weren't on some fuckin' suicidal bend, but now look!" He thrust an arm toward Samael's stomach, making the chupa flinch and stare away guiltily. He tried to swallow but his mouth was dry. "Two inches to the fuckin' left and your guts are fuckin' punched through, and there ain't no goddamn team of healers within ten fuckin' hours!"
Andee grabbed his muzzle and forced him to meet his eyes and the puddle of dread in his gut threatened to overtake him. "I thought you understood I don't fuckin' want anyone throwin' their shit in front of anything for me. I thought you got why that shit pisses me off. But you know what? I let it slide. I let it slide 'cause I fuckin' decided to let you in, Sammy, let you close 'cause you weren't just lookin' for something to exploit, weren't after any favors."
Andee's eyes glowed furiously and Samael tried to look away, but the bat's grip was firm. "No, you listen to me," Andee snarled as his small body trembled. "You're just as bad as you were two fuckin' weeks ago. And the worst part? The worst fuckin' part, Sammy, is that it wasn't even for me. You didn't even hesitate, you put yourself in front of a fuckin' bullet for the one fucker around here who could take ten bullets and still be fine."
Samael whimpered as tears began to well up in his eyes, hating every single emotion that started to pour into his heart. "A-Andee...I, I knew what I was doin', I wasn't--"
"He's a goddamn werewolf, Sammy!" Andee raged, releasing his jaw so he could gesture angrily with both arms. "He's twice your fuckin' size, that fuckin' bullet wouldn't have done shit to him! Guess what, asshole, you ain't got no fuckin' magic powers, you're just a dumb fuckin' martyr, out to prove I-don't-fuckin'-know to the world." The bat lowered his wings, shaking his head slowly as he watched Samael quiver while the unavoidable tears rolled over the chupa's cheeks. "I let you in, Sammy," he repeated quietly. "And that was a fuckin' mistake, because you ain't got a goddamn basic sense of self-preservation, and the last thing I want is another dead fuckin' hero on my hands."
Samael felt his heart collapsing, each word cutting him deeper as he desperately attempted to clutch into something, anything. "Andee, please," he whispered, staring at the bat pleadingly and choking down a tearful gasp. "Don't say that. We...we've worked so hard together, you know I care about you, I ain't tryin' to do nothin' to hurt you..." He reached out for Andee, and the bat looked at him coldly before silently pushing his wrist away.
"That's the problem, Samael," he replied softly, some of the bite at last fading. He couldn't help the way he wilted slightly even as he kept his eyes locked on the pitiful wreck of a chupa. "You do care. You care about me, but how the fuck does that work out when you care about every-fuckin'-one-else, too? You got the whole goddamn world wrapped up in your heart..." Andee finally looked away and shook his head again. "There ain't room in there for me. And if that makes me an asshole, fine -- I ain't ever danced around that. But I don't wanna be just another name on the list of assholes on your last fuckin' will and testament."
He turned to climb into the back seat and the dam crumbled. Samael broke into an ugly sob, reaching out for him again and then twisting around despite the sharp pain to lean against the seat. "Andee, n-no, please," he whimpered, his claws managing to scrape through the bat's fur.
Andee snarled over a shoulder at him, then immediately glanced away again as the wrinkles in his muzzle smoothed. "Don't fuckin' make that bleed any worse." He opened the pack and grabbed the bag of ID tags before giving the rebel one more long look. "And don't be a fuckin' idiot. Let York take care of you, 'cause you know what?" He exhaled slowly as his little body shuddered with a mix of anger and dejection. "I'm still gonna fuckin' lose it if somethin' happens to you. And you're a fuckin' piece of shit for makin' me care. So don't make it worse."
Samael trembled violently, his vision a blur of tears as he blubbered a meek protest. But Andee turned away with the bag strapped to his chest before he opened the back door and hopped out of the car to flit away into the woods. Samael spun around as terror gripped what was left of his heart, throwing open his door as well and scrubbing violently at his eyes so he could at least try and see, but all he caught was a flash of Andee flying off before his compact frame was swallowed up by the thick foliage.
Samael started to step out of the car, but Andee's words slung into him again and he hesitated. His body heaved with his sobs and then slowly slumped back into the passenger seat as he dropped his head into his hands and felt the last weak strains of protest fade into resigned silence, leaving him only with the fiery accusations of his pounding heart.
When York returned with the container full of water, he found Samael alone in the car, still sunk into the seat, bloodshot eyes staring through the windshield. The enormous chupa glanced around before studying his friend's expression for a moment and then dropping to a knee next to the open passenger door. "Did...did Andee..."
"Yeah," Samael whispered before he closed his eyes and turned slightly toward York so the gash was easier to reach. "Let's just get this done with."
York shifted with a quiet frown before he reached out and dropped a hand on Samael's shoulder. "Sorry, Sammy." The other rebel flinched at his touch before sighing and slumping further.
"Please, York, I jus'...wanna be done with this. We all got shit to do."
York sighed and it made Samael feel even worse. This was the one time he wished he wasn't with his weird pal. York understood him better than most...and he knew York was going to feel bad for him. Not pity him, no. But actually feel bad for his sake. And he hated the thought of making two of his best friends feel like shit in one day. "Okay. Let's get this cleaned up and...then we'll head to L-Base. I can probably convince Wash not to --"
"It's fine," Samael murmured, opening his eyes to glance at York and then shifting his gaze away when York's genuine compassion jammed Andee's knife a bit deeper. He felt a trickle of water splash over the wound and he grimaced but remained still. "I'd like to call Nelson when we get there. See if she c'n get me a ride back, otherwise I gotta ask if I c'n borrow some supplies to hoof it back to the cliffs..."
"Sure thing, bud," York murmured, leaning in long enough to glance at the scrape and then nodding. "Should be a first-aid kit in the trunk. Gimme a sec, and then we can be on the way."
Samael nodded mutely and continued to stare ahead. "Thanks, man." York didn't replace the hollowness in his heart, but at least he was a kind distraction from the dull noise of Samael's growing despondence. And right now, Samael would take whatever goddamn distractions he could find.
They kept driving through the woods for an hour or two before finding a path back out onto a gravel road -- luckily the lack of a damn dropship this time around meant if anyone had been chasing them, the two didn't have much trouble escaping notice. Other than the few bullet holes and a broken window, they were just another tired jalopy humming through the countryside.
They traveled in silence for a long while, Samael's head propped against the window as he listlessly gazed at the passing farmland. But York eventually cleared his throat quietly and reached over to squeeze his arm lightly. "How you doin', Sammy?"
He sighed and shifted his weight. Most of him wanted to ignore his friend and continue wallowing in his misery. But he'd always hated wallowing. It never did much to help, and his own stupid fucking personality made it hard to stay depressed. Except this time felt different.
"I'm...I'm not great," he admitted while finally adjusting his position and sitting up. He looked down at the bandaging on his stomach, lightly stained from a bit of blood that had seeped through. "I dunno what I was thinkin', York. Ain't like I ever wanted no one permanent before, not since..." He trailed off before he could complete the thought. Wasn't the time to talk history, even to a good pal. "Just ain't ever felt right, in our line'a work..." He glanced over at York, his eyes lighting onto the necklace resting on York's broad chest.
York caught his gaze and smiled faintly. The two had shared conversations before -- when they hadn't been shoving things into each other, at least. More than a few boozy talks to discuss bits of their past...but never in specifics. Samael always talked around his time with Tracer, choosing to focus instead on his childhood in Sampi, or those early quarters with Nelson when Sidewinder was first coming together. And he was well aware York harbored some of his own demons; the big guy had spoken at length about his time in Freelancer, and all the crazy shit he and Wash had done together. Samael knew the key around his neck had something to do with those days, to do with someone. It didn't bother him to not know the minutia. Feelings of regret and loss were universal, and the two odd chupas hit enough similar notes together that they could commiserate without losing themselves in details.
York's voice gently whisked through the fog. "I'd never seen you so hung up on anyone, Sammy." Samael fidgeted but didn't complain -- his friend spoke honestly because he knew he appreciated cutting past the bullshit. "You guys really only met a couple weeks ago?"
"Yeah." He rubbed at his chest slowly, tasting melancholy and choosing to savor it. "Nelson apparently thought I was ready to know about his people." He smiled a bit and glanced down again. "That little fucker was jus' the second bat I ever met an'...gawddamn, York. Somethin' just..." He gestured silently with a hand before tapping a fist to his chest. "I was fuckin' done moment he started talkin' to me." His smile widened by a sliver. "Sure you can imagine, knowin' Andee. Insults flyin' right off the get-go, but. I wanted him. Bad."
York chuckled quietly. "Still kind of a hoot to me. But I see it, now." He tipped a gentle wink at Samael, reaching over to nudge his arm. "You're both short, yappy assholes."
Samael was able to give a small laugh even as his heart nipped at him. "Yeah. God, he...he was an ass the entire time, and I've never had to work so hard to get close to anyone. An', York...I worked, I fuckin'...I chased that li'l fucker down for days, an' I know he was just playin' along, makin' me run for it." He shifted again and his smile grew faint. "We had a pretty big fight right when things were startin' to get nice. Over...over the same shit as today, but...before we knew each other as well. But after that, man. Just a long run into somethin' that felt right. More right than anythin' else I ever done." He looked over to his friend and their eyes met for a moment, trading emotions both soft and bittersweet. "I know he don't ever let folks in, goddammit, I know it was a stretch for him, but I felt him there, we...we got so close an' I finally thought I'd found somethin' not just worth fightin' for, but livin' for, survivin' for, someone who don't mind some risks, who knows how this life is an' ain't afraid of it."
It was harder to keep the smile now. "But I...I shoulda known better, he ain't like most people doin' what we do, York, he...he ain't like us. He lives this life, but not the way we do, not fer other people like we do. What I did back there, hell, even just...pushin' him to agree to help you out, I knew better, and..."
A guilty look spilled across York's normally-chipper features. "Aw, hell, Sammy...I feel like shit for dragging you into this stupid thing, I just sorta figured you guys would be into it, you and Andee both seem to enjoy screwin' with those assholes. If I'd known, I'd--"
"It's a'right, York," Samael murmured, reaching back across the console to rest a hand on his companion's shoulder. He managed to squirrel a mostly-honest smile back onto his features as he patted his hip pouch where the stamp was resting. "At least your angry girlfriend's gonna be happy with the engagement ribbon, eh?"
York snorted amusedly, eyeing Samael for a moment before allowing himself a smile as well. "And you wonder why Wash can't stand your redneck ass. Also, I can't believe you broke my belt to knock a guy out. You owe me a new buckle, I liked that one."
"Hey, yer welcome fer gettin' saved from a gat-damn bullet," the stocky chupa retorted. "What, you tellin' me you'n him ain't ever traded a li'l tongue?" Samael teased, doing his goddamn best to push away the sinking feeling. "He should be right up yer alley, cute li'l body like that."
"Pleeeease, you gotta be kiddin' me," York scoffed as he waved a hand dismissively. "Not only is he a church-mouse, but he's not a teasing whore like you, and he's not rockin' any kinda sweet rack, either. Nothing up my alley there, buddy."
Samael enjoyed a small but genuine chuckle. "Yeah, but he's gotta nice ass, eh?"
"Haw, how would I know, I'm not in the habit of checking out my friends' asses," York retorted, which only helped Samael's smile recover a little further.
"Heh. Yeah, guess yer usually too busy poundin' mine to pay it no mind," Samael replied with a gentle elbow before he settled back into the seat and let his eyes drift across the landscape again. "Thanks for listenin', York." It was both an honest note of appreciation as well as a quiet request to end the conversation. York was perceptive enough to understand as he nodded and returned his attention to the drive, and Samael reminded himself that even if he lost the one he clutched closest, he still had someone at his back.
Red vs Blue © Rooster Teeth. Halo © 343 Industries. Concept by Myshu, assisted by The Department of Chupapology.
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