I do not own Bioshock, any of the characters, locations, affiliates, yada yada yada.

"Mr. Bubbles?"

They call it a voice.

What kind of a voice, it is inconsequential. Suffice to say, they call it a voice.

The voice of a little girl.

And yet so much more, and so much less.

They say that their voices are hollow and empty, broken and soulless. The merciless, relentless dirge of the mindless and the autonomous. Pitiful, melancholic remnants of the childish innocence that once was, the cruelest reminders of the life-filled, idyllic joy that once embodied a young, naïve child.

It fills them with a sadness that he cannot comprehend, a remorse and horror that he cannot contemplate, whenever they see the little girls crawling on filthy, bloodstained hands and knees, plunging cruelly pointed needles into the corpses that lie on the street, harvesting the ADAM from their bodies.

But him, he does not react. He simply stands where

he's supposed to, a silent, intimidating guardian, a wordless and terrifying sentinel sentenced to perpetually watch over his broken little wards.

But he hears.

And, contrary to what they believe, parts of him that have long lain dormant hear, and understand the words that creep forth from the hushed, whispering mouths of the onlookers, and he doesn't like them.

He hates them.

How little they truly comprehend, they who scuttle around the corridors and hallways of Rapture, going about their business like the docile, pampered vermin that they are. But the fury, the disgust, lingers for what seems like a whispers of a second before fading away, unfamiliar emotions submerged beneath a tide of pheromones and a single sense of undeniable duty.

And he is content, deep within the rusted steel walls that are his skin, deep within the corrugated, convoluted metal corpse that is his body, for he knows that, unlike these corrupted, tainted husks of flesh, he has purpose.

And as he ambles down the winding corridors of Rapture, he ever so slightly tilts his massive head towards his idyllic little ward, dancing along on grime-caked feet in childish games that only she can understand, and watches her for a moment in utter satisfaction.

She is his everything.

And in the dark shadows of the night-or as close to night as one can get in a world underwater- in the rusted, stinking underlevels of the city coagulated with filth, Splicers, and vermin, he remains vigilant, a lumbering, imposing figure standing guard over the Little Sister as she retrieves precious reserves of ADAM.

They want her, and he knows. They want to possess her with their blood-spattered hands, to claw at her with filth-encrusted, chapped nails, to defile her body with their foul stench and touch, to desecrate her pitiful corpse with frenzied, manic claws just so they can hoard all the ADAM to their selfish, despicable selves.

And he, her knight in rusted, broken armor, is all that stands between her and them.

With weapons of corroded steel, he crashes headlong into the waves of vermin that lunge for her, the mournful, reverberating wail that in another life would have been a battle cry fill the corridors with the echoes of his fury, and he lays out with merciless and brutal abandon left and right, shearing through flesh and bone with punctuations of shrilling agony and geysers of sweet, crimson blood.

And as he kills, as he mutilates, a part of him that hasn't quite faded yet, a side of him that has long lain dormant, hisses and screams in horror at the bloodshed that he wreaks, that pleads and begs with him to stop.

Rather ostentatiously too, he muses thoughtfully as he crushes a Splicer's skull into a liquid, pulsating mass that drips with dark crimson within his massive fist.

Sometimes, fragments of his memories sift through the pheromones, the rage, and the bloodlust, and for a moment his mind is filled with alien, bizarre images that spoke of the utterly foreign concept of a life before this. Memories of cookies, and kitchen smells, flowers, and prim and proper ladies that flashed shy smiles his way as he passed.

It is fragments such as these that he glimpses, and, in those rare moments that are so few and far between, he is bewildered as that part of him struggles so desperately to remember.

He had a mother once. Of that, he is sure. And a brother? Or a sister? Sitting with his legs dangling over the sides of the farm fence, munching happily on a rind of corn? Feelings and emotions that he had long since forgotten; the sharp, sudden pain of a bruised knee after falling off a bicycle, the back-bowing shame of being scolded, the sweetness and exhilaration of a first kiss…

And then the moment is gone, and the hormones and pheromones set in again, and he discards these confusing, distressing images and reacts to the latest threat. But always the hint of them remains, and sometimes he thinks about them.

Sometimes, he can't help but try to remember his life before they cut out his organs and welded them to the inside of a metal shell.

And afterwards, when the halls are strewn with corpses and the walls slaked with a fresh layer of crimson, he shuffles towards his gaunt, pallid little leader, who gazes upon him with that peculiar expression that always takes him a few moments to define.

It is an expression that he is not used to, an expression that he has almost never seen in his existence-perhaps in a previous life, he muses-but the sad, pitiful remnants of his memories that he hoards so meticulously into that solitary, precious part of his mind somehow knows what it is.

A smile. Gratitude. Affection. Adoration.

He offers a gargantuan, blood-slaked hand which she takes without a moment of hesitation, and he is careful, ever so careful, not to squeeze, not to crush, because that would make her upset and she'd cry, and he doesn't want that, not at all.

And as she walk-skips daintily down the shadowy corridors on broken, bloodstained feet, he cants his bulky head sideways and bathes her in the doting emerald lights of his mask visor in the only display of fondness that he knows.

They fear him. They revile him. The whispers, hissed sharp and accusing like a thousand knives so sleek and piercing with their poisonous insinuations, surround him day after day. His existence is one that is the target of melancholy, remorse, misery, death.

None of them like him at all. He wouldn't like him.

But, for some unfathomable reason that he will never comprehend in the long, lonely hours of his sentinel, she does.

And as her sunken, empty eyes swivel up to meet his gaze with a look of harmless, concerned curiosity, a part of him, that small, insignificant island amidst a senseless storm of impulses, instinct, and rage that yearns for approval and affection, swells with warmth.

They say that he protects her out of instinct, out of impulse, a mandatory directive dictated by the senseless, emotionless demand of a sadistically orientated pheromone that he had no choice of accepting into his body.

They say that he is mindless. Perhaps he is. Perhaps he will always be.

Perhaps his thoughts are just the hollow whispers of a would-be ghost that was never allowed to die.

But as he gazes into her haunting, hollow pupils, he knows that, pheromones and impulses aside, there is a part, a side, a piece-

-something

-deep inside him wants to protect her.

And as her dead lips part and her dead voice forms those words that he-wants? Needs? Loves?

He knows-

"Mr. Bubbles?"

They call her an aberration, a monstrosity. A twisted, malformed husk of what was once a child.

A little girl.

And yet so much more, and so much less.

-she is his everything.

Just a little drabble I came up with whilst contemplating the... pitiful situations that the Big Daddies find themselves in... I hate killing them :(

Please, review. You'll make me a happy trooper ^_^