Copper has been yelling at me to tell her story. Please review, but no flames.

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Red Martian sand swirled around the mice taking in the rare outdoor market, covering everyone in a fine layer of dust. Coming out of a disused alleyway and ignored by most of the citizens, Modo of the Biker Mice peered down the street, checked his map again, and began walking, his map held in front of him. With his tall build a few curious eyes settled on him, only to glance away when they saw his metal arm. Modo was used to the treatment, having received the same look everywhere he had gone since returning to Mars almost a year ago.

After defeating Limburger and sending him back to Plutark, Modo and his comrades Vinnie and Throttle had returned to their home planet after being away for four years. A year of being coddled by his Mama and recuperating with his bros was fun and all, but Modo had started to get itchy feet and an itchy mind. So after saying goodbye to his family and his bros, he had taken Li'l Hoss on a ride across Mars, stopping at the smaller settlements and asking for a female that may have passed through a few years ago. A few had heard of a female with a missing ear and a bike the color of ash but most of the country folk had hurried Modo away as fast as possible, slightly wary of an ex-Freedom fighter with a Plutarkian robot arm.

Then Modo had started on the few cities left on Mars. After having no luck in Fender City or in Brimstone, Modo had come to the city of Redrock. Hiding Li'l Hoss in an abandoned warehouse, Modo had taken to the streets. Trying to ride around Redrock was even more difficult than going around an Earth city; after being torn down and rebuilt a few times during the invasion, Redrock was a hodgepodge of building styles with some narrow streets that a motorcycle couldn't pass through.

A helpful citizen had given Modo the map and told him about a one-eared female who ran a biker bar near the city's edge. Having already managed to get turned around twice, Modo was a little cranky when he finally found the bar at the very edge of town surrounded by half-dilapidated buildings. A neon sign flicked over the building, spelling out The Silver Star in green and blue letters and a child played with a set of dolls in the dust in the shade in front of the bar. Since it was mid-afternoon, the bar was empty with only one bike parked in the very front. Modo felt his heart skip a beat when he saw the bike; it was pale grey, like ash, and built low to the ground for speed. He would recognize that bike anywhere in the universe and knew he had found what he was looking for.

Taking a deep breath, Modo walked up to the swinging door of the bar, opening it with a slight push. The interior of the bar was less shabby than the outside and bore the marks of several bar fights. Earth rock played softly from speakers set into the ceiling as a lone female pushed a broom around the floor, humming softly along with the song. Modo's heart stopped as he looked at her, his eyes drinking in the form he hadn't seen in five years.

Copper's burgundy hair had grown, the braid she still wore it in now down to her hips instead of her waist. Her red fur gleamed in the light coming in from the small windows, her single ear twitching along in time to the beat of the music. She wore a plain white shirt with the sleeves torn off, faded denim pants and black leather shitkickers that added two inches to her height. She had put on some curves since Modo had last seen her, her breasts fuller and her waist a little wider than he remembered. He didn't mind at all since the curves made her even more attractive.

He must have made a noise because she stiffened and turned around, her broom held out like she was ready to use it to defend herself. Copper inhaled sharply when she saw Modo, her dark brown eyes widening in shock. Her jaw dropped and she put down the broom before walking over to him. Modo stopped breathing when she came within a foot of him, looking up at him with those big brown eyes. Her face was exactly as he remembered it: her slightly upturned nose, her left ear short and ragged, her right ear with two gold hoops set into it, her soft round cheeks and her upper teeth that shone white against the soft fur of her muzzle. With her lips parted in surprise like that and her head tilted up he could almost-

WHAM!

A punch landed right on Modo's nose, snapping him out of his reverie. He was thrown back a few feet and knocked over a chair, landing himself right on his sorry tail. Completely shocked, Modo looked up at the pissed off female in front of him. "Copper, what the hell-?"

"Owwwww…Oh fuck me," she cursed, shaking out the hand she had punched him with. "You're actually here!"

Modo blinked in surprise then chuckled. She still had that bad mouth on her. "Well yeah, of course I am. Why wouldn't I actually be-"

WHAM!!

A second punch landed on his jaw, making Modo see stars. Now flat on his back, he stared up at the ceiling to wait for his head to clear. Copper came into his field of vision, hovering over him and still looking beyond pissed.

"You BASTARD," she hissed between clenched teeth. She started rubbing her hand again, ignoring the small busts of pain that were currently shooting through her bones. "The HELL do you think you're doing in my place?!"

"Thought I'd stop by and see how you're doing," he mumbled, absently rubbing his sore jaw. "Oh, mama…Nice to see you haven't lost your touch."

"Bite me, asshole," she snapped. "You've been gone five years and you thought, what, you could just waltz in here and everything would be sunshine and flowers? Well fuck you, you giant bloody RAT."

Modo's eye flashed red and he sat up with a start, almost knocking heads with Copper. "Rat?!"

"Yes, rat!" she spat. "You left, Modo. You said you loved me and you still left. What else would you be?"

"I didn't have a choice," he growled. "You know I didn't." Even though he was growling, his ears back and his eye flashing red, Copper didn't budge. All other females (except for his mother and sister) and most males would have been cowering in a corner at making Modo angry, but Copper had never backed down from him in a temper. It was one of the things about her that had made her attractive to Modo in the first place. Even her own temper had been attractive to Modo. But Copper had never shown her temper unless she had a good reason; it just wasn't like her to up and deck a male just for showing up at her door, even if he had left her. Modo's eye stopped flashing as he calmed down, slowly standing up and moving towards Copper. She growled at him but didn't move, refusing to back away. "I didn't have a choice and you knew that," he repeated. "Why are you so angry with me for doing my duty? Did something happen to you, Copper?"

"Life happened," she said. "I'm not the female you used to know, Modo. A lot's changed me."

"I doubt that. You're still one of the few who will stand their ground against me." Modo reached out his hand, brushing his metal fingers against her cheek. "What happened to you, babe?"

"Life happened," she repeated, tilting her face into his touch. "Modo-"

"Mama!" The door banged open and a small grey blur rushed past Modo, attaching itself to Copper's leg. A small female, no more than four or five years old, tugged on Copper's pants, giggling and talking too quickly for Modo to understand. He recognized her as the kid who had been playing out front when he arrived. Copper smiled and nodded at the right points in the girls' speech, brushing burgundy bangs back from the little one's face.

"Silver sweetie, slow down. Is Uncle Alloy here?"

"Nope," the little one giggled, affectionately rubbing her face against Copper's thigh. "Come out and play with me, Mama! Li'l Sidewinder is about to kick the tail of the Plutarkian commander and she needs reinforcements!"

"Mama has to get ready for work, Silver sweetie." Copper smiled and gently stroked Silver's ears. "But we'll play tomorrow when I get home, ok?"

"Ok," the little one chirped. giggling again as Copper rubbed her ears. One of the small grey appendages twitched back and she turned her head, finally noticing Modo. Her round baby face broke into a friendly smile at Modo and she asked, "Who's that, Mama?" Modo was absolutely shocked when he saw her eyes: unlike Copper's deep brown, they were bright garnet red. Her eyes were the exact same shade of red as his, as was the deep grey of the girl's fur.

Copper swallowed and picked up her daughter, perching the little girl on her hip. She looked straight at Modo who just stood there with his shocked expression. Normally she would have found the expression amusing, but she knew exactly how he felt. "Silver sweetie, this is Modo Maverick. He's an old friend of Mama's." She quirked an odd smile at Modo, absently petting the soft fur of her daughter's arm. "Like I said: life happened."

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He had a daughter. He, Modo Maverick, had a little girl. The thought, never mind the reality of it, was enough to send Modo into stunned silence. While he loved kids (hell, his mama had been pestering him for more grandchildren for years) and had planned on them in his future, he hadn't anticipated having them so soon. Or so unexpectedly.

After sending Silver to the room upstairs to play until her uncle got back, Copper led a still shocked Modo to the bar. Sitting him down then pouring both of them a drink, she settled herself on the stool next to him, taking hers down in small sips. Modo was not so kind and pounded the shot back, gasping as the liquor burned down his throat. "What the hell is this stuff?!"

"Jupiter azh grog. I've heard it tastes like stronger Earth vodka."

"That sounds about right," Modo gasped. He could already feel the stuff burning a hole in his stomach. Dry-swallowing a few times to try and rid his mouth of the taste, he turned in his seat to look at Copper. "How old is Silver?"

"Like you have to ask," Copper drawled, still sipping on her drink between sentences and refusing to look at him. "How are Vinnie and Throttle?"

"We're not talking about them right now," he growled, exasperated at her attempt to evade the question. "Is she really mine?"

"Not like I was fucking anyone else at the time," she said, finishing off her drink. "But you've already been back a year, why do you care now?"

Modo started back from her in surprise. "How did you know-?"

"Carbine. She's at least nice enough to keep me updated on where you are, how you are, if you're dead yet. You know, basic things you would normally tell people you care about."

Modo cringed, his ears flattening against her stinging words. "Copper…"

"Why did you come looking for me?" she asked, pouring herself another shot. "Why now, anyway? It's been five years and I haven't heard anything from you since that last night."

"I couldn't contact anyone," he protested. "We were stuck on Earth with no way to get back for four years."

"Yet here you are now after being back on the planet for a whole fucking year." She finished off her second shot, muttering some choice curses under her breath about males who didn't give a damn about anything.

"I hope you don't swear that way in front of our kid," he muttered, taking the bottle from her and taking a swig. Even though he usually didn't drink, at this point Modo thought it wouldn't hurt the situation. Even if the stuff burned like a blaster shot to the gut.

"MY kid," she growled. "You haven't been around, you have no claim on Silver."

Modo growled at her, glaring out of the corner of his eye. "If she's my kid-"

"IF? Seriously, you really need confirmation when she looks almost exactly like you?" Copper chuckled despite herself. "Goddess, Modo, you really can't be that dense."

He growled at her again, starting to get annoyed at her attitude. His normally even temper was fraying under her constant belittlement. "OUR kid," he reemphasized. "Nothing could have kept me from you both is I had known. Damnation, Copper, why didn't you tell me?"

Copper finally turned and met his eyes. Modo felt this was definitely a day for surprises: Copper had tears in her eyes. He could count on one hand the number of times he had seen Copper cry, and all of those times had been rather emotional for both of them.

"Mars needed you to fight for her," she said, her voice even despite the tears in her eyes. "We're both soldiers, Modo. I thought we both knew that the wants of the individual came after the needs of the whole." She swallowed back a sob and looked away from Modo, her voice dropping nearly to a whisper but not breaking. "I was wrong, and I've accepted that. I've moved on, made a life for myself and Silver." Standing up and taking Modo's glass and the bottle, Copper put them both behind the bar and walked towards the back. Pausing a moment, she turned toward him again, her arms crossed over her chest. She looked vulnerable and sad in that one moment and all her wanted was to hold her in his arms and comfort her.

"I'm sorry I hit you, Modo," she said. "And I'm sorry I yelled. It's been a hard couple of years for all of us and I shouldn't have taken it out on you. I don't expect anything from you, for me or our daughter. I made my decision to let you go and I'm prepared to live with that. We can talk more later but now I need to get ready for work." Opening the door that hid the stairs from view, she headed up, closing and locking the door behind her, leaving Modo in the empty bar.