AN: Somthing weird is going on with the page-breaks. From now on I'll use a series of "ooo"s to show the shift in scene/perspective. Sorry.
The drawbridge lowered with a metallic groan, mist pouring from the Stronghold.
Grace piped up from BadMaws shoulder,"Where're we goin'?
Trudging past the vending machines, their incessant whirring mimicked Maws thoughts.
"Vault hunters. Dammit. Dammit dammit dammit. Here for the raider I'll bet. Flanksteaks gonna-
"Eh?" Maw stumbled, abruptly yanked from his thoughts by tiny mitts on his face.
Grace pouted and squished his cheeks together, "Where're we goin' Maw? We got work to do!"
"Heh, cool it squirt," Slipping Grace from his shoulder, they walked hand in hand through the stronghold, "We're just... takin' a break is all."
"But we just got out there!" She put her hands on her hips and pointed to the pup skag weaving
between Maws legs, "You said me and Bubba could play."
"Yeah well, Bubba can wait," Maw grunted, dropping down towards the rat dens, "C'mon now."
"Hmmph!" Grace stomped a sassy foot before jumping down into Maws arms. Bubba looked down at the gap between him and the floor. "C'mon Bub! Jump, I'll getcha." The skag wiggled and and jumped down, landing roughly in Graces chubby arms. "Good job Bub!" The skag licked her cheek, and Maw set them down on the ground, taking Graces hand once more.
"Are we goin' to see Flinch?" Maw almost cringed at the mention of the rat, greasy fuck always gave him the creeps. Why Grace liked him was a mystery.
"Uhh, nah. Nah not today. Maybe tomorrow." "Maybe never was more like it."
A shadow approached, slinking towards them from the shadows, weaving behind them menacingly. Grace giggled, but Maw just huffed and rolled his eyes. "Aw geez"
"Boo!" Flinch grabbed Grace from behind, pulling her into a hug as he squatted on the ground.
"Flinch!" The kid giggled and squirmed in the rats embrace, and Maw couldn't help but wonder how Flinch wasn't scratching her with those claws of his.
"How goessssssss it, Gracccce? Allssssssssss well in the Bloodshot kingdom?" This was their game. Playing princess royalty with a psychotic cannibal and a dam full of murderers. Completely healthy. Totally.
"Sorry to interupt," Maw crouched, putting a hand on Flinches shoulder and roughly pushing him back into the wall, "But the "princess" has places to be."
Grace gave Flinch a little wave and hurried after the gatekeeper, "Maw!" Little hands clutched his coattails.
"Gosh-Durnit, what ?" Maw ran a worried hand through his hair, "The hell is it now?" Stomping, he turned back to the wee bloodshot, slightly taken back seeing the tears budding in her eyes.
"Tha-that was v-very mean! You're being mean!" She wiped tears in her pudgy hands, "You're always mean!"
"Look kid..." Maw crouched down beside her as she tried to push him away, "Hey!" He gripped her face in his hand, "I'm sorry I'm bein' rough today. But I got a bad feelin' in me, and I'm worried. I need to make sure yer safe. We gotta get to the base. Got that?" Grace rubbed her nose on her sleeve and nodded, "Good. C'mon now, gotta have the freaks buzz us in." The girl hugged him on her tippy-toes, giggling when he lifted her up and set her on his shoulders.
Bad Maw walked up to the intercom and pushed the red button.
"Whoo issssssssssss it?" A rats voice hissed through the speaker.
Maw sighed in exasperation, "Lemme in Donny."
"Whatsssssss the passsssword?"
Grace bounced on his shoulder, "It's pizza! Say pizza!"
Maw pulled the intercom out of the wall, using it to bang on the tunnel entrance, "Lemme in, SKAG-SACKS!"
The rats screeched with laughter from below, "If you sssssssay sssso!"
The tunnel opened below them, making Grace shriek merrily before they hit the bottom with a "thud".
Maw could hear them cackling from their rat holes,"Yeah, laugh now freaks, when this is over immo put you on a spit." He trudged on with a huff, going down the walkway towards the base tunnel. With a sick smirk, he knocked over the rats card table, sending pizza boxes and leftovers flying.
"NO! Not the pizzzzzzzzzzzzzza!" The rats scrambled out of their holes, tripping over one another as they rushed to recover their precious molding pizza.
Grace kicked her feet and pulled on Maws ears, "Mean!"But that only made him laugh harder.
Ducking into the tunnel, he pushed the door back into place and flipped on the lights.
Grace slipped off his shoulders as Maw set her down on the concrete floor,"See if you can find my armor, the good set." She nodded curtly and padded away into the makeshift apartment.
"Alrighty then," Maw grinned sickly, removing the tarp from his midget pen, "Which of ya wanna have a little...fun? Kukukuku..."
"Maw I found it!" Grace wobbled into the room, hidden by the heavy black armor piled in her arms.
"Thats good kiddo," Bad Maw struggled with the midgets, whacking them on the head as he hastiliy tied them onto his shield. Tying the final knot, he wiped his brow and motioned over to Grace, "Give it here."
Grace plopped on the couch, sipping a juice pouch and giggling as Maw shimmied into his armor. "Why do ya need to wear that if we're stayin' inside?" Maw gave her a brief look as he adjusted his head piece, "Are ya' gonna go whoop Donny? He didn't mean it Maw. He was just bein'-"
"I ain't stayin' inside kiddo." Grace slid off the couch, eyes lit up with surprise.
"Then, then I'm goin' back out with ya," She shuffled over and stood next to Maw in the mirror, gripping his coattails and looking up at him, "Right?"
Maw stared into the mirror, sighing as he glanced down into those big brown eyes. He shook his head.
"Then you're not goin' out!" She stomped a tiny foot and held out her arms, "Ya ain't goin'. Yer actin' weird, an' i'm not lettin' ya go!" Maw sighed and picked up his shield, Bubba nudging him as he did.
"Kid..." "Now what idiot? Tell the runt yer gonna go pick a fight with vault hunters? Tell her to wait for you at the New-U?" "I ain't gonna be gone for long. I'll be right back. Just gotta do..." Graces eyes pleaded with him, her little scrunched up fists almost tearing his coat. He got down on one knee and took her face in his gloved palm. "I gotta do what I gotta do." He kissed her on the forehead and rose, shuffling towards the tunnel once again.
"B-but wait!" Grace dug her heels into the concrete and held him back. Maw looked over his shoulder with a dreary look, "Wha-what do I gotta do? Tell me what to do Maw!"
Bad Maw smiled, turning back towards the door. Opening the mini-fridge beside it, Maw tossed a cold Rakk-Ale to the child. Grace caught it and gave him a puzzled look.
"Its the last one I got. Now you go over and sit on the couch, and make sure Mike don't come down and take it, and don't go drinkin' it yerself," "Pshht, yeah, she'd probably die."
At the tunnel entrance, he looked back to Grace. She shook, looking tiny in the open room, with a skag whining at her ankles. "Maybe... maybe they don't need m-"
"Maw! MAW!" Flanksteaks voice sounded through the echo, "We need ya out there! Some jack-holes got through the gate! They're raisin' hell, now get yer ass out there and do yer damn job!"
Maw forced a smile, "I'll be right back."
There's a strange comfort in Bandit technicals. Enough firepower to level a camp, steel plate armor, a fuckin' barrel catapult. Heh, what's not to love?
Speeding into the Valley, I notice the commando taking particular caution. The siren shot him a look, nodding her head slowly.
Careful not to fuck up again buddy. That phaselock ain't all that cozy.
And I would know. Got it myself, not a day after I met her.
Can't remember much bout it, just overwhelming pressure and a burning in my veins. He wasn't all that bothered. Might of even got off on it, but that's what you'd expect of a raving lunatic.
Hell, it might have been an accident on her part, who knows.
The memory leaks into my thoughts and I can almost recall. In the train. That stale scent of fake leather, intermingling with cigar smoke as the gunzerker lit up. Cold metal all around me, the icy glare of mass produced hell clouding my senses.
Suddenly, the clang of metal as loaders stormed into the train car. Sweet release, losing my mind in the euphoria of combat and oil congealing on my skin. A sweet blur, brought to a stunning halt as the ground fell away at my feet. But it didn't. I was lifted, suspended in a cocoon of blue energy and searing fire. Well damn, they finally turned on me... My memory echoed.
But they didn't. I looked to her, as she held her arm up to shield her face. The blast came next. The blast that woulda, should have killed me...if not for her phaselock.
I felt my lips twinge into a smile, one good memory not lost. Maybe the first of many now that-
The blaring horn pulls me from my thoughts, and I realize we've arrived at the Stronghold.
"Ya know," The siren spoke up as the gate began to fall, " Before a great battle, the monks would say prayer."
My hands clap together, a mock gesture of praying, "Holy BACON, mother of gore, PREY on us sinnerss, NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. AMEN!"
The gasps of marauders and clicking of rifles as we're exposed to the camp. Cackling, I hop off the technical to seek out the first victim. Slashing the more ballsy pyschos, I hear a rush of wind and turn to see a cluster of marauders suspended midair.
"Huh. Well that's a new trick. This is gonna be good."
Not much Krieg in this chapter. I just really wanted to paint a good image of Grace and her buddy Bad-Maw. Can't wait to get the next chapter out. Comments welcome, tell me whatcha think.