I

She shouted every curse she knew, but she could have been singing show tunes for all the notice the robots gave her. And it didn't make her feel any better either, but she didn't stop yelling, switching to English when she ran out of things to say in Spanish. As long as she screams obscenities, she can't scream in terror and she refused to give the robots the satisfaction. And then he came, cutting down the robots on by one, like some kind of avenging angel, slowly making his way toward her.

(She doesn't even notice when she stops screaming.)

II

Taz learned early on that being small and liking books made her a target for the bullies in her Mexican hometown. When she got to the Academy she found out some things never change. The fact that soon she could beat up any one of them didn't stop them either. They were just careful to only pick on her when she couldn't fight back. Then one day two of them cornered her and all of a sudden she's on Up's back and they chased those bullies out to the dumpsters.

(They stop after that and she breathes a little easier.)

III

On her first mission as a Ranger Taz found herself surrounded by a group of robots, all the same model as the ones that haunted the fringes of her dreams at night. She wasn't scared, and if she got a bit dizzy and felt for a minute like she was dangling upside down, then she was probably just dehydrated. That night Up knocked on the door of her quarters carrying about twenty movies. She fell asleep in the middle of one of them, her head pillowed on his shoulder.

(For the first time in years she doesn't have any nightmares.)

IV

One time when she went to Up's quarters for movie night Taz was unpleasantly surprised to find Up had gotten a pet snake. She didn't trust snakes or the fact their fangs are way too freakishly large for their mouths. She didn't say anything though, and spent most of the evening careful not to look at the thing too much or too little. Next movie night the snake was gone. When she asked Up, he just shrugged and said something about how he's not really a snake person after all.

(She never tells him she always knows when he's lying.)

V

Despite the fact that Taz was about to die, she found peace in knowing the Phazon was destroyed and the war was basically over. Then she saw Up let down his guard in an attempt to rescue her. Taz watched him get cut in half like it's in slow-motion and then she's the avenging angel cutting down the robots one by one. There were too many of them, but she'll be dead goddamned if she let his sacrifice go to waste.

(When she finds out he's still alive it takes a while before her lungs and heart work properly again.)

VI

She didn't see Up at all for the two years he's in rehab, so she's shocked by just how soft he'd become. She hated him for it, because if Up, the toughest son of a bitch she ever met, almost died, what chance did he stand now? So she screamed at him and pushed him away because she couldn't deal with that, not again. And the whole time she was just waiting for him to call her out on it, to tell her to stop being such a coward, but he never did.

(She never quite forgives him for that.)