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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 21

Verse 8: For Crying Out Loud

Audio Version:

The bag was too light.

He scowled horribly, barely missing a tree trunk with the tip of his wing as he shoved the anger back down. That fucking asshole, he had the money. And it was his fucking fault that Andee forgot about it. Too busy being a selfish shit and throwing himself in front of fucking bullets, like Andee was gonna be thinking straight after seeing that shit unfold before his own goddamn eyes.

What a fucking stupid bastard.

He nearly blew past the entrance to the caves, snarling to himself and flicking his wings to whip himself in a tight circle before dropping down just in front of the moss-covered rocks. He hit the ground and stumbled a few steps, telling himself it was just from the adrenaline. He hadn't stopped the entire way back, making a beeline for Xulod from the moment he left that shitty chupa fuck in his rear-view.

He'd said he didn't want to jump into the fire anymore. He made it sound like he'd learned from Tracer, that shitty old fucking suicidal bastard...but it was clear, now. Tracer didn't just save Samael's life, he shaped it. He'd made Sammy into a god-fucking-damn mirror copy of himself.

Andee clenched his teeth as he stormed into the darkness and then adjusted his cap when he saw the shadowy figures of the guards milling about ahead. The shitty redneck wasn't worth all this anger -- if he ended up giving Andee indigestion on top of losing all that cash, he was gonna be even more pissed off.

One of the guards tilted his head and then tipped his pointed cap backward slightly to peer at Andee. "Hey, Andee!"

Andee grunted before grimacing as another guard chuckled. "We heard some crazy shit from Rihhen...what the hell did you two do?"

"Hey, yeah...where's the puppy??"

Andee's ears flattened and he bared his teeth at the trio, making them shrink back slightly in surprise. "All'a ya fuck off! Who gives a fuck about him?" he spat out in common. He shoved past them and set his jaw squarely while adjusting the pack over his shoulder, muttering in his native tongue. "Thought we hated surface-dwellers, you soft-shelled fucks..."

The three guards shared confused looks before one of them called awkwardly after Andee: "Sage wanted to talk to you both when you returned!"

"Guess he's shit outta luck, then!" Andee growled back at them before continuing down the tunnel. He just wanted to put this shit behind him and get the fuck on with his life. He'd wasted enough time trying to do even a single goddamn thing for those big-footed fucks -- he needed to get back to what he did best: just taking what he wanted and moving the fuck on.

As soon as he was out of the tunnel, he took flight again, wanting to avoid more stupid questions. He hated stupid questions even when he wasn't boiling over with frustration. And something that really sucked about his people was the fact they fucking thrived on gossip. Wasn't quite as fun when he was the goddamn subject.

He headed straight for his residential building, automatically moving toward the stairs before he snorted and cursed Samael again. He'd gotten used to the fucking handicap of the chupa's lack of wings, making yet another reason to curse his goddamn existence. The bat exhaled sharply before twitching his wings to send himself instead up toward the side of the building. Most of the windows were open -- they were practically doors when you could fly, after all. He normally kept his closed out of paranoia and privacy, but...he'd left it ajar recently. He could just see the communal hammocks where Samael had been sleeping if he stood at the right angle, and he'd gotten used to...

Andee snarled to himself and shook the thoughts out of his mind as he streaked toward his window and tucked his wings at the last moment to dive smoothly through the opening. He threw his arms out and brought himself to a much neater stop than he'd experienced outside, then immediately spun around and slammed the wooden shutters closed. There was no reason to look out over the colorful facade of his shitty subterranean town any more.

He sighed and finally let his body relax, shrugging the pack off over a wing and tossing it onto one of the plush armchairs. He looked around the apartment and let himself bask in the familiarity of his little private corner of Xulod. It felt like it'd been ages since he spent any real time here, and something about all the things that were his, that he'd acquired for himself...they reassured him. Reminded him that he wasn't a goddamn chump, not just someone who was getting rolled by Sirca, that useless bitch.

He'd been running his racket for years and he'd done just fine long before he'd gotten involved with the fucking Freelancers. And he'd done even better before meeting Samael. That goddamn redneck hadn't even ever stepped foot inside his place. Two weeks and Andee had never let him come through the door. He was so stupidly short, he probably would have fit fine. For a smelly chupa bastard, he fit most places around Xulod where others couldn't.

Andee urged his anger back as he snorted and stomped past the door, trying not to remember how often the broad-shouldered asshole would be grinning like an idiot on the other side, ready for the day's work before Andee could go and get him from the hammocks. Well, he didn't always get himself ready like a fully-functional and capable adult -- how about the night of the job they'd just done in Episemon? Andee had been forced to go fetch his ass for that...just like a real fucking puppy, no real sense of responsibility. Just glimpses of it now and then, a facade meant to trick his masters into believing he could be trusted.

"Fucker never deserved to be in here, anyway," Andee muttered to himself as he went about preparing a batch of coffee. He shook his head while grinding the beans, his eyes boring into the pack resting on the velvet armchair. It was big enough that Samael would have been able to sit on it. He'd imagined it once or twice, not that he would have ever admitted it. Good thing he hadn't been stupid enough to let that pass -- no doubt the smooth crimson upholstery would have been fucking covered in grey hairs. Backwoods fucker was always shedding.

His muzzle wrinkled in distaste as he worked on auto-pilot and shoved the grinds into the brewer. His wasn't some fucking cheap model; a few favors owed by the craftworkers had earned him a goddamn bat-made artisan brewing station that made some of the best coffee this side of the jungle. They'd even provided him with a full-sized carafe so he could make extra if...

His eyes widened slightly as he realized he'd started a cycle for an entire pot. More than he'd ever need on his own, but the perfect amount for when...

"God-fucking-dammit!" he exclaimed, saved from swiping angrily at the carafe only because of the reminder that the shit would have been a bitch to replace. Great. Now he was wasting coffee, too. Everything about the last two weeks had been a complete fucking waste of his time and energy, and apparently now he was going to have the gift of dealing with the material repercussions, too.

He never should have let that bastard in.

Andee closed his eyes and then reached up to pluck the hat off his head and set it on a countertop, rubbing his claws silently through his headfur. He could still feel some grit tumbling out past his claws to bounce along his muzzle and skitter across his kitchen counter. Well, that had been a really fucking shitty shower, not to mention they'd been interrupted before they could...

His eyes opened again and he bit the inside of his muzzle before lowering his arm and rolling his shoulders. That had been a stupid mistake, regardless. Someone could have come by and lifted the pack while he'd let himself be distracted. One more lesson to add to his "don't fuck this up again" list. Samael's name sure was repeating itself a lot on that list -- what a shock. He snorted disdainfully and then drew in the aroma of the coffee as it drifted through the apartment. That delightful scent of caffeine served as a reminder that he had plenty of better things to focus on besides regretting the last several hours...the last several days.

The cards, for one. He'd planned on making a trip to a contact in Timae with Samael -- guy worked for Hexagon and had a lot of insight into security tech. But...fuck that. Samael likely would have fucked things up, anyway. He could start with his local contacts, instead, and just work out a broker -- he didn't need anything fancy, these cards would be hot even without any modifications or additional programming. After all, it seemed like everyone had their own goddamn hacker these days, anyway. Wouldn't be hard to find some buyers.

He glanced over at the brewer, now about half-full. He rolled his eyes and muttered a few choice words before grabbing a mug and swapping it for the carafe as he poured a healthy amount into a second mug. Good. Another waste. He grumbled and took another minute to switch the pot and extra mug, giving a less-than-healthy glare at the overflow before tipping it into the sink and leaving it to clean later. Maybe he'd forget why there were two mugs by then.

Coffee in hand, he made his way back across the apartment so he could flop into the armchair with a grunt. He took a sip and relished the way it nearly burned on the way down. He hadn't been able to drink this shit hot lately, what with always having to pour it into the travel containers so he could share it with the idiotic rebel. There was a simple pleasure in having it hurt. Woke you up inside and out, made you think a little clearer, act a little sharper. Harder to have regrets when you had something so much more tangible affecting you. Physical pain was much easier to process than the alternatives.

He shoved a hand into the pack as he downed another gulp of the steaming beverage, pulling out one of the blank cards to study it for a few seconds. The intel couldn't have been better...for once. He was no expert, but he could tell this wasn't just a basic identification badge -- as he flipped it nimbly between his claws, he could see circuitry running through the thick, translucent plastic, along with a narrow electronic chip embedded into one end. A thoughtful frown creased his features while he rubbed his thumb slowly over the surface before he slid it neatly into his half-poncho and leaned over to peer into the bag. They'd snagged at least thirty or forty of the smart-cards and he grunted in satisfaction, lifting the mug to his muzzle again while running his hand through the mass of keys before pausing as he felt something soft brush against his claws.

His brow furrowed and he tilted his head while plucking out what looked like...a napkin? Confusion marred his features before he turned it over and then immediately widened his eyes at the sloppy sketch of a sword crossing a handgun. Two styles of messy, drunken lines, forming one design. It was stained with alcohol and bits of it had been torn away but it was still intact. He could still smell him on it.

Why the fuck had he kept it?

Andee trembled as he saw a glimpse of the cheerful face, the intense blue eyes and the alluring crimson studs, those gleaming teeth always ready in an easy grin. The mug twitched in his claws and he set it on the nearby end table before the coffee could spill...then snarled furiously as he grasped the napkin in both hands and rapidly tore it to shreds, flinging the bits of greasy cloth to the floor. His arms found their way across his torso and he enveloped himself with his wings as he stared coldly across the room, his breathing harsh and his eyes locked onto a dreamcatcher that hung on the opposite wall.

A sheen threatened his vision and he inhaled sharply while digging his claws into his sides to force his emotions to back the fuck off, giving himself more real pain to focus on instead. He'd never gotten around to telling Samael about the dreamcatcher, even though the chupa had seen it through the open doorway and mentioned it multiple times. Andee hadn't told him where it had come from. Who had made it. They were a common ornament among his people, a part of their culture...but this one hadn't been crafted in the hands of a bat. An outsider strung this one together -- it was why the pattern was wider, less tightly-woven, why it lacked the more precise, neat details of one made by smaller, nimbler claws.

Andee had already given up his journal to the shrine. This trinket had been his to keep, his selfish memory to hold onto for himself. Part of him was glad it wasn't within reach, because his fury wouldn't have stopped at the napkin. It was his fault Samael had gotten so close, after all. Andee forced himself to shift his gaze away as he took a deep breath and then unfolded one arm so he could grip into the mug and take a long guzzle of the coffee.

Some of it spilled out of his jaws and he twitched when the hot liquid rolled over his chest. But the discomfort was a good thing. The sting was a push away from his thoughts, and toward his plans. That was what he was known for, after all...wasn't it? The guy who always had a plan. He grimaced into the mug, his distorted reflection scowling back at him in the rippling surface. He'd need something stronger than this later. But for now...he needed to be honed. He cinched the bag up once more and hopped down from the armchair, mug in one hand and the bag looped over the other arm. No point wasting any more time -- these cards were a bridge to greener pastures, and the faster he got things in motion, the faster he could get where he wanted to be...and leave all these memories in the dust.

Andee knew he had little to be suspicious of from his own people...but it didn't stop him from tossing the bag into the safe he'd acquired from Wulok -- and that itself served as a decent reminder, anyway. Wulok would be a great place to start. Aside from Andee himself, the old shopkeeper kept one of the largest lists of connections with various top-siders. He was a crafty old bastard, but he usually made good on his deals with Andee...and Andee usually didn't screw him over, either. It was the kind of business relationship Andee excelled at.

He stood on the ledge of his window for a few seconds, the shutters pulled tight again behind him, before he glowered and dropped into a dive. He spread his wings before reaching the ground, keeping himself airborne to avoid more of his nosy fucking people as he flit past the bustling crowd and toward the shopping district. If he had been smarter, he would have waited for the early morning rush to die down. All these dumb fuckers found some stupid thrill gathering in the public areas when the angled shafts of sunlight streamed down from the few natural gaps in the rocky ceiling far above.

Andee preferred the darkness, made it easier to hide your hand.

He dropped down outside of Wulok's shop, grumbling away and heading straight for the door...only to blink as a small group of children toddled up to him excitedly. "Andee, Andee! Where's the puppy!?"

"Yeah, we wanna see his tail!"

"Did you two bring anything back again??"

Andee's muzzle creased and he glared between them before pushing past them. Feh. They weren't worth the time it took to -- no wait.

Sure they were.

He whirled around with a snarl as the small group of young bats flinched back as one. "No, the puppy isn't here! Because he's a goddamn surface-dweller, and we don't fuckin' trust surface-dwellers, got it?!"

They stared at him, wide-eyed and fearful. One of them started quibbling, breaking into an outright bawl after a few seconds. Andee snorted and then waved his wing at them dismissively. "Get the hell out of here, ya little bastards..." he muttered, turning around and shoving into Wulok's store as he ignored the sound of the distressed sobbing spreading through the gang of children. Little shits'll thank me later...

Wulok glanced over from where he was placing a few new items onto a shelf -- looked like he'd gotten in some more chupa-made instruments. Andee frowned. He knew someone who would have been gushing. He pressed his hand against that happy face and shoved it viciously away. "Ay, Wulok. Got a real sweet business opportunity, just need some buyers. Ten percent cut in it for ya."

Wulok arched an eyebrow with a half-grin even as he glanced past Andee with a slight tilt of his head. "You letting Puppy sleep in today?"

Andee swallowed the venom. He knew to expect this shit. Wasn't gonna do him any good to keep being pissed off, he just had to tell these dumb fuckers a simple truth. "That stupid bastard left. Got what he needed from us, went back to his own bullshit. Don't gotta worry about his short ass no more. I got somethin' hot to move, though..." He moved to produce the card, but Wulok arched an eyebrow as he waddled toward him.

"He left without coming by? That doesn't seem like him at all -- he told me he wanted to--"

He couldn't avoid the slight snarl. "Don't know what to tell ya, Wulok! He fucked off, left me high 'n dry...some stupid rebel shit, I guess!" He reached into his poncho and dug around for a moment before yanking out the high-tech card and waving it around. "So stow that soft bullshit, we got business to do!"

The older bat eyed the card with visible interest for a few seconds, then jerked his head toward the counter. Andee sighed in relief before scowling when the shopkeeper turned on his heel and looked pointedly at him. "You might be able to lie to your targets, but don't try to hustle me, Andee. That midget loved this place. I don't buy that nonsense for a minute."

Andee trembled with fury but he put every ounce of his willpower into burying it. He wasn't worth it. He wasn't worth it. "Why the fuck do ya even care, huh? He ain't here, I am, and I got good shit to sell. Who gives a fuck why he left?"

Wulok reached for the card but Andee grunted and pulled it away. Wulok gave him a look. "You aren't going to tell me what you did to make him leave, and you aren't going to let me look at the merchandise. What do you want me to do, Andee?"

"I want ya to quit nosin' into my personal business and fuckin' get back to the way things should be!" Andee growled, adding under his breath: "Motherfuckin' asshole, shouldn'ta let him make friends with every last one'a you fuckin' saps..."

"We might be 'sap', but everybody like you better because of Fiffy," Wulok shot back in his own broken common. "And he deal your shit every day, not a peep!"

Andee's eyes narrowed and he leaned forward with a snarl. "You didn't hafta suffer his bullshit, Wulok, don't fuckin' judge me just because ya spent a few hours with the bastard -- he was a pain in my ass and wasn't worth all the fuckin' courtesy all you blind fuckers showed him." He slammed the card down on the counter and then crossed his arms with a dark expression. "Now do you wanna help me make a shitload of money or do you wanna keep bein' a fuckin' weak-kneed old bitch who'd rather cry over dumb fuckin' mud-jumpers??"

Wulok regarded him for a moment, then placed a single claw on the card. Andee smirked before making a horrible face when Wulok pushed the security key back across the counter, his features brimming with stony disapproval. "I've been doing this a lot longer than you, whelp. And I have no shame over still having a heart."

Andee snatched the card back up with a frustrated bark of laughter. "You can go fuck yourself, Wulok -- you do fuckin' business with murderers and slavers and shit every day, don't fuckin' come at me with your holier-than-me shit."

Wulok only gave him a neutral look. "Even they don't insult me for who I am. What you do with your personal relations isn't my concern, but I will not stand here and let some cocky little punk tell me how I should feel about the mistakes he makes." Andee bared his teeth but Wulok didn't budge, instead only shrugging calmly. "Regardless of what happened, I consider the surface-dweller a friend. He helped us both without expectation of payment or --"

"Without expectation?!" Andee exploded, throwing his wings wide and finally causing the older bat to wince in surprise. "Fuck you! That fuckin' asshole spent every goddamn minute tryin' to get me in the fuckin' sack, all he wanted was to get a fuckin' piece of me, like I was some fuckin' exotic trophy for him to shove his dick in!"

...Whether or not Andee believed that didn't really matter. He was fuming, embarrassment and raw vitriol running rampant through his veins. He wasn't even wrong, was he? Samael was always touching him, always trying to pull him close, press their bodies together. Never giving Andee his space, always running his fingers over some part of him, always staring at him with hungry, needy eyes. Didn't mean shit how it made him feel, he hadn't asked for it. He'd never asked for it, never wanted that fucking redneck to lay his hands on him.

His eyes flicked to Wulok when the shopkeeper's low voice interrupted his thoughts. "It doesn't matter whether or not I believe you. If he had truly wanted that, he would have simply taken it. What would you have been able to do, Andee? What could you have possibly done to stop him?"

Andee's eyes widened slightly and a tremble ran through him. He took a step back, shaking his head slowly. "You fuckin' fuckin' dare you..."

Wulok was unmoved, his usual cheery disposition replaced with an unsettling and cold countenance. "As I said -- you don't fool me, Andee. I've done this for too long. I saw you tease him, the way you drew him along, just like the puppy on a leash you always wanted." He leaned forward slightly and Andee felt a tremor he couldn't deny at the tone. "If anything, I respect him more for restraining himself. He would have had the right."

The chill ran all the way to the base of his spine as he faced the harsh reminder that the old ways weren't as far in the past as some liked to tell themselves. He tried to formulate some retort, some weak insult, but Wulok only sighed as the rocky expression faded into the weary eyes of an old bat who had seen too much. Wulok raised his arm silently, gesturing to the door with a claw. "Good luck, Andee. See me tomorrow if you decide to climb down from your guiltless canopy. We can try to talk again then."

But Andee was already stumbling toward the door as he desperately pretended he didn't feel the jagged terror clawing at his chest. What the fuck did Wulok know. The backwards bastard was from another time, a shitty time. What he'd hinted at didn't happen, not to someone like Andee. Andee was in control, he always had been. He'd had Samael under his thumb from the first moment...physical size didn't mean shit, not when you ran things, not when you were in charge.

He didn't register the curious and friendly greeting from the cluster of bats lounging near the entrance to the shop, his eyes staring blankly ahead as he threw himself into a messy take-off.

He'd always been the one holding the leash. And it didn't matter, anyway. Samael wasn't the type to...

His eyes shut tightly as he snarled to himself and beat his wings harder. It didn't matter. He refused to harbor even a single kind thought about that grey-furred fucker, no matter the implications.

He wasn't worth it.

He sure as fuck wasn't feeling like climbing down from his guiltless canopy the next day, either.

Andee had spent the rest of the previous day keeping himself busy with small tasks as he planned out his next moves. His apartment needed plenty of restocking, he needed to take inventory of his equipment, and more than anything...he'd needed that long goddamn shower. Nearly an hour of standing under the water and scrubbing himself and he was only just now starting to get that disgusting stench of that fucker out from his sensitive nose.

And then the questions had started. Every single fucking bat he passed wanted to know where their precious rebel was, where the fucking sunny, cheerful, friendly puppy had gotten off to. It didn't matter what he said, whether he ignored them, told them he left, insisted he wasn't as nice as they thought, cursed his very goddamn existence as a blight on their little underground was always the same. Hurt expressions, confused frowns and endless fucking silent accusations. They must have all thought Andee was such a fucking cruel bastard, such an unfair tyrant -- well, fuck them all. If they weren't going to see his side of things, then they could all fucking sit and spin as far as he was concerned.

The new morning dawned and he was back to business. He'd wasted enough time dealing with the mundane, dealing with the shitty people that wanted nothing more than to make him feel like some kind of fucking monster. He didn't care -- he'd been fine running solo before, and it wasn't going to be a fucking problem to return to that.

Andee barged into the electronics shop, his jaw firmly squared. He was getting sick of this shit, he wanted to go back to work. He needed to focus on the present, on the future, because everyone and their fucking mother seemed hellbent on trying to make him live in the goddamn past.

Angel glanced up from the circuit board she was soldering, a grin spreading over her youthful features. "Andee! Yo, where's Sammy? The feeds've been lit uuuup with that crazy shit in Episemon!! You two are fuckin' heroes of the underground!"

Andee hated how automatically he replied in common. "Fuckin' hell, everyone wants to know where the fuck he is...I don't fuckin' know! We split up, fuckin' shit was too hot. Ain't like he was gonna stay around fuckin' forever..." He ground his teeth together and ignored her concerned head tilt as he switched back to their native tongue. "God, I'm fuckin' sick of common, all I've spoken the last fuckin' two weeks, shitty fuckin' outsider..."

She cocked an eyebrow before giving a bemused chortle. "The hell happened, Andee? You two get into a fight? Anyway, last I saw, Sammy had a pretty damn good grasp of our language, he seemed like a quick study!"

Andee glowered at her. "You love the bastard so much, grow a fuckin' dick and give 'im a call, he'll be all too happy to come by and choke on it." She gave him a bewildered look that sank into a slow frown, and he turned away with a grumble. "I'm done talkin' about that motherfucker. Need to make a couple calls. Private shit." He didn't wait for her approval, shoving through the back door and into her communications space. She'd deal with it.

He dropped into the chair and reached over to twist the knob of the radio. The good news was that even without Wulok's contacts, Andee still had plenty of people to reach out to. Fuck that old bastard, anyway -- just because he'd been around almost as long as Juwo didn't mean shit, other than the fact he was just some obtuse asshole stuck in his shitty glory days. In fact, he think he knew exactly who he'd start with. He was sure they'd be all too happy to agree to a deal.

Once the frequency was set, he leaned forward and spoke into the receiver. "Anyone from The Garden out there listening? If so, get your fuckin' boss on the line 'cause his good buddy Andee's gotta helluva scoop for him."

After a second or two, a voice came across: "Yeah, we're listenin'. Gimme a sec to get Delacroix...heh. He'll be thrilled to hear who the fuck is callin'..."

Andee grumbled as he slumped forward and propped his muzzle up in a palm. "Yeah, yeah...he better fuckin' be..."

He heard shuffling outside the radio room and he glowered over his shoulder, but the door remained shut. Angel apparently wasn't willing to test his attitude -- fine by him. She owed him, anyway. He was perfectly okay spending some of those counters on not giving a fuck about being polite if it afforded him the extra privacy. And a few blissfully undisturbed minutes later, Delacroix's distinctive rural-Stigma accent came through the speaker. "Andee, as I fuckin' live and breet' -- what're ya callin' me for, I t'ought you was only pooshin' for that bastahd Baskeens?"

Andee snorted. Shame the redneck didn't do his fucking job and kill that prick when he had the chance. One more reason to be done with that limp-wristed pussy. "Hey, I ain't dedicated to no fucker over the next -- I figured you wouldn't mind gettin' a little somethin' over that motherfucker's head, but if you don't wanna do no business, I gotta whole fuckin' list of assholes I c'n call. I got some real fuckin' top-level shit, if you're interested in some blank smart-cards. You bastards could use this shit to get into three-quarters'a the House facilities the ring over with this shit."

A few moments of silence before the entertained chortle came through. "Oye, I t'ink we might just be in the market for what you got, little man. How can we find out if the shit is good? No offense, but we ain't in the business o' trustin' Sirca's most notorious greeftah, feel me?"

Andee rolled his eyes, but hardly felt any surprise. "You gotta hacker on your fuckin' crew? Bring the motherfucker, I'll give ya a sample of the merchandise. Whole batch is yours if ya satisfied. Trust me, this shit's gonna move whether you want it or not."

There was another several seconds of contemplation. "A'right, then -- ya meet us out by the Bone Dragon, a day from now, t'ree, four hours before sun-down." Andee grunted before making a face when he continued: "Don't ya go and promise this shit to nobody else, now -- that would be a bad business decision, you feel me?"

"Yeah, I fuckin' feel ya," Andee muttered before leaning closer to the microphone. "Don't pull no shit, neither -- I ain't in the fuckin' mood for none'a ya swamp-dwellin' bullshit, we make this deal quick 'n clean, no fuckin' surprises." The dry chuckle was enough of a confirmation as he made a face. "I'll see you fuckers then." He reached over and spun the frequency knob to drop the radio onto a random station before tossing the microphone down and shoving himself away from the table. He'd been half-tempted to make a few other calls, but he still felt pissy and knew it was only going to make each additional conversation worse. He was absolutely going to fuck over Delacroix, but he needed to be in the right state of mind. Being sober was a pretty shitty start.

He stormed out of the radio room and Angel held something out in front of him before he could brush past. "Hey, uh...someone brought this by. Said it was up by the east market hammocks..."

Andee looked down blankly at the radio, at the distinct scratches and the now-repaired indentation that once clutched a bullet. A bullet that would probably have been better served if it'd hit its intended target more squarely. He wrinkled his muzzle and then shoved the radio away. "The fuck you want me to do with it? Strip the fucker down for parts, sell it, I don't give a fuck. It ain't mine." Something tickled the back of his throat and he snarled to force it down. "That fuckin' stupid asshole left it behind, then it's fuckin' up for grabs as far as I'm concerned."

He refused to look, but he could hear Angel's worried frown. "Andee...c'mon, you two were so--"

Andee rounded on her, his eyes wild as he snatched the radio from her grip. "We were so what?!" he spat out furiously. "So fuckin' close? Fuck off with that sentimental bullshit, Angel!" he shouted before flinging the radio across the shop. She cursed in surprise when it smashed against the opposite wall, shattering into several pieces as he threw his other arm wide. "I don't give a fuck! I'm sick 'n tired of everyone fuckin' tellin' me what a great guy he was! He was a selfish, suicidal, stupid sonuvabitch an' he wasn't worth the fuckin' metal he got shoved in his fuckin' worthless hide! Why the fuck does everyone think these assholes are so fuckin' incredible because they'd rather catch a knife in the gut instead'a just movin' outta the fuckin' way!?"

She stared at him speechlessly before looking at the radio again, seeming torn between furious and horrified. "Fucking hell, Andee..."

But he was already moving to the door, muttering darkly back to her: "Saved you the fuckin' decision, Angel -- enjoy the free fuckin' parts." And before she could say anything else, he shouldered through the exit and immediately took to the air, refusing to let a single tickle form behind his eyes. He wasn't one to care about material things, not if they weren't fucking his to begin with.

At least now he was ready to get fucking wasted.

Andee swayed slightly, staring into the dark whiskey. Wasn't typical for their people, but that was why he was the fucking man. He got a hold of the shit no one else could. The bartender was apparently fine leaving the bottle with them, which was goddamn fair as far as he was concerned -- he'd brought the shit in, after all. "I'm kinda surprised. Everyone else I've talked to wouldn't shut the fuck up about the chunky bastard," he seethed before knocking back the glass and moving to refill it.

Mutt snorted quietly at his side. "Fuck you for lumping me in with 'everyone else', Andee," he rumbled, grabbing the bottle before Andee could set it down to top his own glass off. "You known me too long to expect that, asshole."

Andee scoffed but shrugged easily. "Hope you ain't expectin' an apology." He narrowed his eyes and hunched his shoulders as he glowered at the handful of bats lounging near them in the bar. "Wouldn't believe how many'a these assholes can't tell me shit other'n 'you should think about it' or some shit like 'he's such a good guy, what happened?' Feh...buncha shitty bleedin' hearts," he spat out in common.

"Who is caring what they think? You are own bat. If you done, you done," Mutt replied succinctly before making a face and downing half of his tumbler. "Their language isn't any easier when you're drunk."

"Their language is shitty no matter what you do," Andee concurred before he slumped forward and glared through his glass and into the surface of the bar. Mutt remained silent but Andee could feel his friend's gaze. "Everyone thinks I'm the fuckin' bad guy, but I treated that stupid redneck good. Better than he deserved considerin' he came in here, thinkin' he could in, like we ain't gonna mind some outsider elbowin' in..."

Mutt gave a noncommittal shrug. "Why're you so stressed about it then, man? Fuck 'im if he's not worth the effort. You knew you were askin' for trouble first time you decided to give the fuzzy bastard the time of day. I know you could tell the kinda clingy fucker he was gonna be, you see people better than most. If that wasn't your shit, why'd you even get involved?"

Andee worked his jaw a few times before adjusting his cap and lifting his glass again, speaking around it with a grimace. "Guess so. I dunno. Maybe I thought we coulda worked together. Fucker's dumb, crazy, likes to make a big scene, hates the status quo, all that shit."

"Yeah, you two looked like old pals when he came in for that big-ass burn," Mutt remarked while swirling his whiskey thoughtfully. Andee glared up at him but the other bat only glanced back mildly. "You were also both drunk as shit and you were high from all that cash ya stole, so...if you're worried I'm 'bout to tell you how 'cute' you two looked, you can get right back to fuckin' off."

Andee snorted and nodded in satisfaction even as something annoying twinged at the side of his gut. "Yeah...that's all it was," he muttered, furrowing his brow. "Big fuckin' idiot just had me all excited because I thought we coulda made a pretty fuckin' good team. But all he gives a shit about is savin' the world -- fuckin' jackass thinks there's a point."

Mutt propped himself up with an elbow and eyed Andee for a few seconds. "You two fuck?"

Another twitch even as Andee made a noise of disgust. "Fuuuuck no. Never got that fuckin' wasted, not that the fucker didn't try. Fuckin' inbred bastard had a screw loose, guess he saw us bat-folk as some hot fuckin' alien tail, like some exotic fuck-toys."

It didn't feel any more real than what he'd said to Wulok, but Mutt didn't have nearly the same disagreement as he only chuckled. "You got that fuckin' right -- your buddy had a boner half the time I was standin' on his ass. Real fuckin' don't usually go for the dumb jock sluts, Andee." Andee swallowed but forgot the whiskey, glancing down and then filling his maw with the last of his glass so he could quickly refill it. "If you weren't into it, then fuck it. Probably dodged a bullet if he's that much a mindless whore, the fuck you gonna do with that? That ain't your scene as far as I've known ya."

"Heh. Yeah, exactly," Andee replied, shoving away the hesitant pause that nearly interrupted. "Anyway, if he can't deal with me, I sure as fuckin' hell ain't gonna change who I am. Really fuckin' wish everyone'd stop tellin' me otherwise."

Mutt grunted his approval. Andee glanced at the anti-Omega symbol on his friend's arm, then down to his own tattoo. The three of them had gone to the bar together more than once. Andee couldn't help but remember Mutt had been plenty friendly toward Samael then. But then again, so had Andee. He shook his head. That had been when they thought that piece of shit was one of them. A real rebel, not some mindless fanatic. "Still pissed off we even wasted time talkin' to him about the shit we do to fuck with the bullshit upstairs. Guess I figured the fact he came from some other shitty caves meant he'd understand how we fight." He grumbled and shifted his weight on the stool.

"Eh. Everyone fights different," Mutt reasoned with a careless flick of his other hand. "Who gives a shit? You two maybe just weren't ever meant to fight together. His fuckin' loss." Mutt gave Andee a toothy grin, steeped in their shared inebriation. "For a dumb whore, he sure fuckin' missed out with you, though, you're a crazy motherfucker between the sheets." Andee attempted to grin back but he only managed a smirk and a casual shrug. "Blows my fuckin' mind, you two went two weeks and not a damn stroke, huh? Shit, fuck whatever you two fought about, all I'm hearin' is that he didn't get you hot or bothered, so no fuckin' hard feelings, far as I c'n see."

Andee spat out a forced laugh. "Guess I wasn't in the fuckin' mood for some smelly, shaggy puppy, even if he woulda put out in a fuckin' heartbeat."

Mutt gave his own smirk. "Fuck you for leashing that inbred asshole, in that case -- I woulda bent him over a fuckin' bench in a minute if you weren't throwin' them 'don't touch my bitch' vibes, ain't been in a fuckin' top-sider in a long-ass time." When Andee only rolled his eyes, Mutt snickered and snagged the bottle so he could throw more booze in both their glasses. "Heh, don't worry, woulda let you watch."

"Fuuuuck that, I'm sure the fuckin' bastard screams like a bitch, anyway, don't need that shit ringin' in my ears," Andee replied with a dismissive flick of his wing before he snatched up his tumbler and drank the whole shot in one gulp. Get drunk enough, even the roughest edges would become hazy. Easier to swallow the lies if they were smoothed. "He ever shows his face 'round here again, feel free to fuck it, I don't give a shit."

Mutt chortled and then scratched idly at his broad chest while jerking his head toward his companion. "You wanna go back to my place? Two weeks is a fuckin' spell, you've fuckin' suffered. I'm feelin' generous, buddy -- I'll suck yer dick either 'til I pass out or 'til you come, whatever happens first."

The pang was nearly physical and Andee urged another plastic smile before he waved his arm and let himself half-fall from the bar stool. "Heh, naaaah. Rain-check, though." He focused on Mutt's face to let the grinning features of the leering bat replace the puppy's playful wink. Yeah, that was better. Mutt was a pretty fuckin' good lay, anyway. No point clouding that with fuckin' unknowns. "I think I'm just gonna go catch some more fuckin' sleep...schedule's been all fucked since the fuckin' shitshow out in Epi."

Mutt gave him a bemused look and picked up the bottle of whiskey, which only had a swallow or two left. "Fuckin' sure ya don't wanna crash somewhere closer?" He flashed his teeth teasingly. "We c'n just cuddle if you want, ya fuckin' angry cocksucker."

Had it been anyone else, Andee probably woulda been fuckin' pissed -- what kinda motherfucker mocks you when you're already so fuckin' upset? But he knew Mutt better than that. That buff asshole was a pretty goddamn good cuddler...just don't expect to not have his dick shoved in somewhere at some point. Any other day...

...Yeah, now he was getting to the right kind of drunk. It wasn't time yet to drown himself in sex, still had some other bullshit to work out, first. He smirked again and then flicked a claw along the bottom of his muzzle. "Fuck you too, Mutt. Some other time -- say hi to your fuckin' hand for me, though, heh."

"Oh, please, I'll get some other toasted asshole in here to ride this dick out," Mutt retorted as he jerked his thumb over his shoulder and then took a moment to fix Andee with a semi-serious look. "Don't do nothin' stupid, man. If he ain't worth it, then he ain't worth it."

Andee snorted as he puffed his chest out, straightening his half-poncho...just for it to fall over one slight shoulder again. "Don't gotta tell me fuckin' twice," he fired back before offering a lazy wave as he stumbled toward the door and into the darkened plaza outside. Who the fuck knew what time it actually was thanks to the way the city's artificial lights kept their own schedule. He just knew most of Xulod was asleep now, which was the perfect time to go be a fuckin' asshole. He grumbled a few curses as he shook his arms out, then lunged forward to flit shakily into the air. His feet scraped the ground a few times but he eventually managed to straighten himself out so he could narrow his eyes and head for the edge of town. Yeah, he knew exactly where he needed to go.

The landing was one of his sloppiest yet, his claws driving into the dirt path hard enough that they nearly got stuck and almost caused him to topple onto his chest. Andee grunted as one knee slammed down into the ground, barely catching himself on his hands and then immediately lifting his head with a snarl at the shrine before him. "Hey there, ya old fucker. What the fuck's goin' on?" he spat out coldly.

The shrine did not speak back, regardless of how directly he addressed it. That was fine, though. Meant he wouldn't be interrupted. "Ya did a real fuckin' good job with yer protege." Andee muttered, brushing at one of his arms before focusing his glare on the symbol adorning the memorial. "Fuckin' rebellion...what a crock'a shit..." He stared down at the crossed-out omega burned into his own leg for a few seconds. "You came down here...talkin' some real hot shit 'bout how ya wanted to see a new world. Not jus' for your people, but mine, too. All'a Sirca..."

The bat scowled as he swayed on the spot and crossed his arms moodily. "So how's that workin' out for ya so far, ya sweet-talkin' bastard? 'Cause from here, kinda seems like your new world tastes a lot like fuckin' blood 'n lead...and trust me, that tastes like shit." He snorted and took a step closer before reaching up to snatch the journal from the shrine, ignoring the other items he caused to tumble down to the dirt below. "This shit right here...this shit right here," he grumbled while shaking it and then boring his eyes into the cover, into the handwriting that was still familiar to him. The words he'd read over and over, practiced dutifully, repeated a thousand times until they became his. "Can't believe I thought this shit was worth all that time...the fuck has it brought me so far? Nothin' but a buncha scars 'n 'bout a hundred assholes who want me dead. I'm still stuck in this shitty cave, still fuckin' tradin' stupid chupa-shit for other stupid chupa-shit, ain't a goddamn thing to show for it!"

He opened the journal and grit his teeth as he stared through the pages. He hadn't recalled them being so difficult to read before. Tracer's script was very neat -- he didn't remember it looking so blurred. And when the first drop landed on the worn paper and marred the faded ink beneath, Andee felt his breath quicken as his body trembled. "What fuckin' right did you have, old man...these weren't your people, these weren't your fuckin' people..." His voice cracked as he slammed the journal shut and shook it at the shrine, taking a threatening step closer. "We didn't want none'a your fuckin' stupid ideas! We done shit the same way for a long-ass fuckin' time, ain't never had no problems!"

Andee gave a choked laugh as his claws dug into the leatherbound cover. "Omega...the fuckin' War...none'a this shit affected us. We didn't give a fuck!" He looked at the notebook again before throwing a furious glare back at the shrine. "But you fuckin' convinced us we should care. That it was worth fightin', worth holdin' a grudge. Worth bein' mad 'bout how things were. You made us fuckin' care about makin' a fuckin' difference." He tightened his jaws before crying out as he flung the journal at the shrine, scattering a few other mementos. "That wasn't your fuckin' place, ya miserable fuck!" he shouted, no longer caring what a one-sided conversation this was. "This whole fuckin' city loved you and for what?! Just 'cause you pretended to care 'bout us, 'cause you fuckin' preached to us about a better future, a world where all us fucks could live together, happy as shit?? Yeah, real fuckin' good job! I don't see how the fuck that's gonna happen when your ass is fuckin' six feet deep out in the middle of some fuckin' shitty snowfield, ya fuckin' piece'a shit!"

He swallowed as he spun in a tight circle and clenched his claws into his palms hard enough to draw blood, his voice growing hoarse. "But that wasn't all ya did, took that shitty way'a thinkin' and you fuckin' planted it. You went 'round an' fuckin' spread that shit to any dumb fucker who'd listen." His eyes burned into the shrine coldly as the soulful azure gaze appeared in his thoughts again, too effervescent to shove away this time. "An' you fuckin' hit the fuckin' motherlode with that one," Andee whispered as his arms hung low, his whole body deflating for a few seconds. "Ya found the perfect fuckin' sucker. Some shitty kid from the middle'a nowhere. You dug deep in that one, didn't ya? Ya fucked him from the inside-out, made 'im think ya really cared. He fuckin' loves you, you know that? He can't see that shit was all a lie, jus' to build another fuckin' version of you. He's too fuckin' stupid to see all you wanted was another fuckin' wide-eyed, self-sacrificin' bitch ready to fuckin' throw his life away for your goddamn useless fuckin' cause!"

Andee's breath hitched and furious tears rolled down his cheeks as he thrust an arm toward the shrine. "Well good fuckin' job!" he ranted. "You fuckin' aced it, got a perfect fuckin' clone! Hope you're fuckin' thrilled wherever the fuck ya are in hell, because Sammy's gonna be joinin' you there fuckin' sooner than you know it, just the fuckin' way you wanted! An' guess what?" His teeth grit as his whole body quavered before he shouted: "It ain't gonna mean shit! We're still gonna be in the same fuckin' place tomorrow an' the day after an' the fuckin' day after that! So fuckin' thanks for that, ya fuckin' bastard! Thanks for nothin'!"

The last of the anger finally trickled out of him as his shoulders slumped, wings dragging against the dirt below as he shook his head mutely. "Fuck you for what you did to him, to me. For makin' me fuckin' believe there's actually a fuckin' better world out there..."

He sighed raggedly before scooping up a bunch of pebbles and then turning around to trudge over to the bench and sit upon it. This stupid fucker. He deserved what he got...


And when Samael inevitably ended up the same way...


Dead, shot full of holes with some stupid, worthless fucker in his arms cowering and then running away to start it all over again...


He'd deserve it, too.

Andee's soul ached with the thought, no matter how much he didn't want it to. Fuck Tracer for that, too, for these sensations he hated. He flung another pebble at the shrine, watching with dull satisfaction as it bounced off the wood.

"This is considered very disrespectful, my child."

Andee closed his eyes tightly. Just what he fuckin' needed. This old fucker, ruining his buzz again. He shrugged and responded by throwing another small rock and opening his eyes to watch it clink against the crafted memorial. "Feh. Disrespectful to our people havin' this shitty outsider fuckin' memorialized here."

He heard Juwo's cane thud ominously as it drew closer, but he only tossed another pebble with a flat expression, ignoring the fact his cheeks were still stained with his fetid emotions. The old bat glanced up at him, then grunted and hopped onto the bench next to him. "I know you don't wish to talk about it, as you never do."

"Then do us both a favor an' fuckin' move on, Sage..."

"It would be more disrespectful if I did not clean up the shrine before leaving. And I do not wish to be hit by your indignant little rocks."

Andee's eyes narrowed even as he threw one more pebble to watch it glance off the symbol of the rebellion with a satisfying tonk. "That was my last fuckin' one. Go ahead 'n tidy up the fucker's bullshit if you want...waste'a fuckin' time, though." He glowered over at Juwo, who only gave him a small frown in return. "The fuck you even doin' here? Goddamn, every time I wanna just fuckin' get drunk 'n pissed off in peace, you somehow always find me. Real fuckin' annoying..."

Juwo's expression hardened but he then turned his gaze back to the shrine and gestured with a wing. "Your self-centered view does you no favors, young one. I come out here every day to see my old friend and share a bit of conversation."

Andee's muzzle wrinkled and he looked away. "Yeah, I'm sure you two fuckers got plenty to chat 'bout. All kindsa fuckin' bullshit 'bout the tiniest ripple can be felt an' shit like it is not what you do to the world but what you leave behind..." He snorted and crossed his arms, slumping back against the bench. "Some fuckin' good that did him. All he left behind was a fuckin' ugly-ass corpse an' a fuckin' blind, suicidal bastard who really thinks he's gonna make a difference, too..."

The chieftain studied Andee for a few seconds and then leaned forward on his cane as his eyes drifted back to the memorial. "You are angry, Andee. And perhaps you have a right to be. There is much to be angry about in this world." Andee rolled his eyes. "But there is much to be cherished, too."

"Don't fuckin' start with me. I don't need another fuckin' person tellin' me what a stupid fuckin' bastard I am." He ground his teeth together, then glared at the elder bat. "Why the fuck did you even let him stay? You don't fuckin' owe Nelson shit, you two are fuckin' square, she honors her fuckin' deals." Andee snorted disdainfully and shook his head while shifting his weight on the bench. "I never wanted to do no fuckin' time with that short motherfucker to begin with, but then you fuckin' acted like he was some goddamn blessing to Xulod, like he was worth all our motherfuckin' time 'n effort. What's another dead surface-dweller gonna do for us, old man?"

Juwo sighed softly but didn't argue, only setting his eyes upon the shrine again. "The two of you brought many smiles to our people, even in the brief time young Samael was here. It gives our people hope to see such bonds being formed, to see not all of those who live on the surface are ignorant and cruel."

"Yeah, good fuckin' joke," Andee muttered as he glanced down at the trickles of blood running from his palms, grimacing and wiping it onto his legs. "You tell me it ain't cruel to fuckin' pull the shit he did. I almost fuckin' cared about the piece'a shit an' he goes 'n tries to catch a bullet in his fuckin' gut for some other fuck-buddy of his. The fuck am I gonna do with a fuckin' dead redneck, huh? You wanna build another fuckin' shrine here so you'n me can come talk to our fuckin' dead fanatics together? You tell me what ain't cruel 'bout that."

"What he believes and how he sees his place in the world do not change what he feels, young one. You continue to compare him to his mentor, but I knew that man well. And while he was a good man, who strove to seek change for a world that wanted him dead, he did not house the same kind of compassion as your friend."

Andee's hackles raised as he bared his teeth. "Don't fuckin' go there, he ain't my goddamn friend..."

Juwo gave him a mild look but continued quietly. "Raymond loved this world. And young Samael does as well. But Raymond did not have the same unique emotional capacity as his student. You have seen this with your own eyes." Andee tried not to quiver and forced himself to look away as he hugged himself silently. "Samael does not just care for the world -- he cares for you. Far more deeply than any other. This is plain to see, to me, to anyone who has observed the two of you."

"I don't give a fuck, old man," Andee whispered before reaching up to pull the brim of his cap lower. "What the fuck does that even matter if he's just gonna get himself killed for the sake of this fuckin' shitty world?"

"Demut did not think this world was 'shitty', regardless of how it treated him," Juwo murmured as he studied the shrine.

"Fuck him, too!" Andee spat out, unfurling one wing so he could thrust an arm irately toward the memorial. "We acted like he was some fuckin' part of our society, but he never was! We gave 'im a cute fuckin' nickname, acted like he was one of us, but yer fuckin' Demut was no better'n the rest of 'em! He was a fuckin' lunatic from the outside world who died the fuckin' way he lived -- for nothin'!"

Juwo stiffened slightly but only gripped tighter into his staff and kept his eyes on the shrine. "He is the reason Samael is with us today. I would not call that 'nothing', my child."

Andee snorted and glared at the memorial as well. "Yeah, well, fuck him for that, too. Shoulda fuckin' let him go down with 'im, save us all a buncha bullshit..."

"You do not mean that," Juwo replied sternly as his eyes shifted over to Andee with concern.

Andee didn't care if the old bat saw his tears, his ears flat as he stared venomously at the memorial. "The fuck I don't. I never asked for these fuckin' feelings, I've been doing just fuckin' fine without 'em for fuckin' years, and then that fuckin' bastard gets shot outside our caves and instead of us just gankin' the bitch like we shoulda, we let him in. I don't give a fuck what Nelson wanted, that bitch shoulda sent someone else to be her fuckin' diplomat, anyone but him, anyone who ain't gonna fuckin' act like he belongs, like he has any goddamn right to be a part of our fuckin' lives."

Andee trembled again and let his arm drop to his side as he fell back against the back of the bench and continued in a mutter. "I never shoulda fuckin' stepped foot into that cell. I get enough bullshit workin' with those Freelancer motherfuckers, and that shit's just about as fuckin' pointless. Never shoulda reached out, I never fuckin' shoulda done a goddamn thing more'n just play these assholes for fuckin' chumps and otherwise keep my fuckin' distance...there's no fuckin' point with these bastards."

Juwo looked at his cane for a few seconds, then shifted to gaze at Andee again. "You are one of our most outgoing people, my child. I understand much of what you have done with the surface-dwellers has been for your own personal gain, but even with this in mind, you make more of an effort than most of us. Were it not for your natural ability to broker relationships with these people, form these bonds, we would be even more secluded and cut off from the rest of Sirca." Andee was quivering, but he pressed on slowly. "It is not a curse to want to make connections, to want to reach out..."

"Yeah...yeah, fuck all that," Andee snarled before jabbing a claw toward the chieftain as Juwo regarded him with surprise. "That's some fuckin' hypocrisy comin' from YOU, who doesn't want us to have any goddamn contact with 'em at all! You an' every other fuckin' chief, you fuckers been preachin' how important it is to stay hidden, to stay dis-fuckin'-connected with the rest of the ring, poundin' that shit into our heads for centuries! So fuck that!"

Juwo frowned and shifted his gaze away for a moment before looking at the younger bat again. "That is not fair, Andee. Our people, our way of is protected by our secrecy, but I still believe in--"

"Fuck you, old man," Andee growled, shoving himself off the bench as he shook his head numbly. The booze was starting to fade and he was starting to feel again. "The rest of the world ain't worth it..." he spat out before leaping into the air to make a jagged flight back to his apartment.

Everyone in this fuckin' city was an idiot. The only advice worth listening to had been Mutt's, and that was to forget about the whole goddamn thing. Andee was pretty sure he could fuckin' manage that. He just had to kill another half a day or so and then he could get back to doing what he did best -- not giving a shit about anyone but himself.

Over the next several hours, he only left his apartment to go to the bar or place a few other calls on Angel's radio -- she'd simply regarded him with a muted glare when he came in, which he wasn't going to complain about. He hadn't exactly been in a chatty mood lately. Otherwise, he avoided everyone else. He was tired of their judgment, their assumptions. It was far easier to occasionally go drinking with Mutt or Paneko -- the latter was a different useful person to talk to, anyway, since he had information on things he'd seen all around the ring. The faster Andee could find out about new business opportunities, the faster he could get lost in them.

He felt somewhat less clouded the evening of his meeting with The Garden. He and Paneko had spent a couple hours planning the delivery of the cards...or at least some of them. He had promised to screw over Delacroix, after all. And that sort of scheming was fantastic to help clear the head, get him back in the game. He felt almost good when he strode out of the secret entrance, stretching his arms slowly above himself as he rolled his neck between his shoulders. Couple of hours to get to the Bone Dragon and -- assuming Delacroix wasn't gonna be a bitch -- a quick call to Paneko on the shortwave and he was on the way with the rest of the delivery.

Not a goddamn thought of any stupid grey-furred fucks, at least. And he wanted to goddamn keep it that way, too. He grunted to himself and then adjusted his hat before checking his poncho -- yep, he'd finally gotten himself resupplied after all the dumb shit in Episemon. He was ready to deal with whatever the fuck came up, and there wasn't a goddamn thing to slow him down this time. No need to wait for someone to run beneath him, or to find a vehicle they could share. He was back to doing things his way.

He flitted into the air with grumble and turned a tight arc to point himself in the direction of the familiar spot in the jungle. The Bone Dragon was a cluster of trees that had grown around an abandoned structure, forming what almost looked like a giant skeletal torso to some mythical creature. Good for illicit meetings, plenty of hiding places should anyone decide to intrude on the proceedings. Delacroix must have been as wary as he was. Maybe he'd heard about the stocky chupa he'd been working with before.

Andee made a face and glared into the wind as he flew. Didn't matter. Didn't fucking matter, that shit was in the past. But as his eyes caught a shimmer and he found himself glancing toward Lake Krainen, just visible past the treeline...the memories refused to stay behind him. He took in a sharp breath and cursed the sight of that goddamn face, right in front of him, pushing against his own. Grinding into his neck and whispering against his fur as the strong arms held him close without ever hurting him, without ever even taking control, as hesitant as they were affectionate.

He blamed the sharp breeze for the wetness on his cheeks as he narrowed his eyes and beat his wings faster. He really hoped that fucking bastard was hurting. It was the least he deserved for the way he was still fucking up Andee's life.

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

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