Hey preceptormyth101 still alive here! Anyway this is the newest chapter, and it took me a long time to write. Sowwy X.X. Yet, here it is and I hope you all enjoy. I know it's been awhile but I still hope for your guys continued support. Anyway, I'll stop my blabbing and on with the show.

Chapter 04: The Tides of War

Lilith sauntered over to the table, placing herself between Bloodwing and Mordecai. "Hey, Mordy. How are you doing?" she asked, each word enunciated with a slight, breathy exhale.

Sipping his drink, Mordecai stayed silent, not wanting to give Lilith any reason to stay around. She was nothing to him. Nothing. He just had to keep telling himself that, and she would eventually leave.

Waiting a minute for an answer, Lilith with a slight smirk to her lips continued, "Mordy, you know I'm used to the silent treatment. You always did love to play around." Without a hint of hesitation, Lilith, leaning against the table, tapped Mordecai's nose softly. "You little tease." Each word was accompanied with a soft tap to his nose.

Noticing Mordecai's slight shudder coursing through his body, Athena, staring at the wall behind Mordecai, placed her drink on the table with a heavy thump. "Listen, whore, get the hell out of our faces or have my gun shoved up your loose cunt."

Smiling, Lilith turned to the speaker, meeting Athena's glares with her alluring yellow eyes. "Mordecai," she asked, her eyes still locked with Bloodwing's, "who is the little girl who thinks she should ruin our long awaited reunion?"

Seeing the sparks flying between the two, Mordecai, not wanting for them to start a gunfight that could potentially destroy all the booze in the bar, answered uncertainly, "She's Athena...She's my-" He couldn't exactly say ex-bird turned into a hot hybrid. This wasn't some sort of Sci-Fi shit.

"I'm his partner, bitch," Bloodwing completed with a small triumphant smirk at Lilith's reactive frown at the answer. "And unlike you I don't need to shove my ass up a pole every five seconds."

Stopping herself from shooting Athena from where she sat, the Siren closed her eyes for a moment to calm herself, trying to not ruin the reunion by killing a smartass brat, and then opened her eyes, saying, "I don't know what you're relationship with Mordy is, but I do know that a little groupie like you should know when to disappear when the adults are talking." Lilith slightly smiled with a glint in her eye of knowing a secret. "And besides, I'm Mordy's partner." She ended the sentence with a slight click with her tongue, a glint of the ol' mischievous nature radiating from her.

Mordecai sighed, grabbing his glass and drinking the alcohol in one chug. This wasn't going to turn out very well, and he needed to be completely drunk or he might even have to try and stop them from wringing each others' necks when he's sober.

Suddenly filled with astounding rage, Athena abruptly stood up, knocking down her chair that clattered to the floor like thunder in the silence. Unable to resist a challenge, Lilith slowly, warningly stood up in response. Yet, even at her full height, the Siren could only hope to look up at the ex-bird. It wasn't quite how Lilith imagined her position to be. No one looked down on a Siren. No one.

"I remember the shit you've did with your 'partners'. You toyed with them, screwed with their heads, and then shoot the crap out of their hearts." Bloodwing snarled in anger. "You messed up Brick, Roland, and Mordecai, Skag turd."

Her earlier bravado gone, Lilith, looking slightly ashamed of herself while guilt washed over her, glanced at Mordecai. "I didn't mean it like that. It's just..." She couldn't finished, somehow subdued by Athena's harsh words.

"It's just what, whore?" Bloodwing snarled, finding herself wishing she had her talons so she could rip the Siren in two. "Last I remember, there were four Vault Hunters in the group." Bloodwing made a sarcastic effort to look around Lilith as if looking for someone that wasn't there. "Where's Roland and Brick, Lilith? What happened to your other 'partners', huh? Whose fault do you think that ruined everything? Whose fault, you goddamned Siren?"

Replacing her shame, indignation coursed throughout Lilith's body. "Are you saying this is my fault, bitch!" Lilith, replacing her guilt with even a greater anger from before, exclaimed, suddenly losing all her usual cool.

Mordecai grabbed a bottle from a nearby table and poured himself some more alcohol. This was something stronger than the last drink, but definitely not as good. This time it was Rakk alcohol. It didn't taste half bad.

"I only see one psycho whore who messed all the shit up," Bloodwing replied vehemently, crossing her arms over her impressive chest. "One stupid whore that couldn't keep her legs shut for more than two seconds."

Lilith slightly grunted, shifting her gaze to Bloodwing's body. "And what do you call yourself in that blanket? At least I don't bring my own fucking bed sheet around to fuck in." Seeing Athena's frustration at being unable to counter her, the Siren smiled, happy that she had finally gotten the upper hand. "And last time I remember, Mordy left the group, not me."

"Mordecai didn't start all this, slut, so don't bring him in this. You and you're shitty screwing with him caused all of this. If you hadn't been titty-fucking that bastard back in New Haven and bending over for half the bandits on the planet, maybe things would actually turn out right for once. Wouldn't that be a new feeling for you?"

Receiving a moment of clarity, Lilith, noting how Athena knew exactly how things had happened between her and the group, looked to Mordecai. "How does she know all of this, Mordecai?" she asked without using his nickname, showing her complete seriousness. Why did this crazy fucker know so much about them, about her and Mordecai? Better yet, what was her real relationship with her Mordy?

Before Mordecai could answer, Athena retorted, "I'm his partner before and definitely after you were, will and ever be." With a smug grin, Athena twisted the knife by saying, "And I haven't gone and whore myself to your so-called 'partners' and the rest of Pandora."

Even with the slight buzzing vibrating his head, Mordecai's thoughts were suddenly clear the implications that Bloodwing just said. "What the hell do you mean, B-...Athena?"

While Lilith unusually squirmed uncomfortably, Athena answered, "She's been sleeping with Roland, Mordecai. Right after you guys split up, she's been sucking his fat dick like a Skag in heat, probably been sucking it for free this time though."

Giving Lilith an incredulous look, Mordecai dropped the Rakk ale in his hand. The bottle shattered against the hardwood floor, glass flying in every direction.

"Mordecai! I can explain!" Lilith whispered, seeing Mordecai's face dangerously darken.

Going around the tense Siren, Bloodwing placed a comforting hand on the hunter's shoulder. She didn't need to say anything, but her master knew exactly what she meant. All these years she had warned him of the dangers of the Siren, the destruction and the loss, right from the beginning when she had watched Lilith unendingly. Now her warnings were coming to light, and Mordecai could only blame himself for not taking heed of the advice that came from his one and only friend.

"Mordecai," Lilith softly repeated, trying to elicit some response, any response from the stoic Vault Hunter.

Placing his hand over Bloodwing's hand on his shoulder, Mordecai smirked, annoyed at himself. He should've known. It was so obvious. She rejected him when she well within her rights. She loved the Commando, not the Hunter. Maybe that was how things were suppose to be. This wasn't a fairytale, it was Pandora. Happy endings don't happen here, shit does.

"I get it," Mordecai said softly, trying to reassure Lilith but was achieving the opposite effect. "It's your life. I really don't care how you fuck or who you fuck. Hell, I don't even have a reason to go against you, seeing that I've been tapping Moxxi for the last couple of years." Mordecai patted Athena's hand, signaling to her that he was fine and wasn't about to go on a killing spree.

"You and Moxxi?" Lilith asked, stupefied by the revelation. The toothpick with the MLF, Moxxi!?

"You and Roland?" Mordecai countered, somehow feeling a certain childish pleasure of a small revenge.

Lilith shook her head, trying to regain some measure of her confidence. This wasn't how she had imagined their reunion: two people meeting in a desert, going on a giant murder spree, talking about good times, him shyly making a move to grab her ass, her smacking him away and then pushing him to the floor, and then they would wake up fresh and ready for the day as good ol' partners. All this planning, all this waiting wasted, only to find out that Mordecai silently loathed her. Well she might've been more hurt was if she hadn't have more pressing matters.

Wait, why should she feel guilty? She had every right to deny a toothpick a tap on her well-sculpted ass. This was that stupid Athena's fault. She ruined everything for Lilith. She caused this entire argument and even isolated Mordecai from the Siren even more. This was all her fault. Her damn fault!

Feeling the warm radiation of the Eridium in her pocket, Lilith, her eyes suddenly glowing, glared at Athena. She felt so alive, reborn even. "Who the hell do you think you are?" Lilith, projecting her anger at Mordecai's 'partner', asked accusingly, her voice losing its playful nature. "You've ruined everything, fucker."

"Excuse me?" Bloodwing shot back, "I'm not the wh-"

Suddenly, Lilith with seemingly inhuman strength grabbed Athena, lifting the ex-bird off her feet, by the throat and somehow teleported to the end of the bar, her hand pinning Bloodwing whose feet dangled in midair even with her overwhelming height.

All the already frightened occupants in the bar bolted in fear, leaving the Vault Hunters and Athena in the bar. Even Mordecai was surprised by Lilith's new power, suddenly aware that he had not seen all the powers the Sirens had to offer.

"I dare you to say that again," Lilith growled, tightening her grip on Bloodwing's neck. "I-dare-you." Each word was punctuated with Lilith's grip getting slowly tighter as the veins within Lilith's seemingly delicate hands started to pop out.

Athena gurgled out something intelligible.

Lilith smiled, tilting her head to the side sweetly. "What was that? You need to speak up, hun."

Seemingly unaffected by the hand at her throat, Bloodwing glared at her and spoke with surprising clarity, "I have my gun aimed at your 'squawk'ing heart, bitch." She took off the safety of the gun, causing it to make a small click.

Although knowing that what the badmouth woman was saying was true, Lilith refused to back down, her gaze fiercely locked with Athena's. Both women were having a small hypothetical war between them through the use of their eyes. Neither army refused to back down.

Knowing that any second now the two could suddenly start World War 11 right here in the bar, Mordecai, feeling much too sober, decided to end this stupid fight.

Getting out from his chair, Mordecai came behind Lilith who still was lightly strangling Bloodwing. "That's enough," Mordecai told her, grabbing her shoulder. The two of them weren't stupid enough to start a fight now and in a bar. Then again...

Abruptly, Lilith's other hand instinctively shot up and grabbed Mordecai's face.

The Hunter did not offer resistance, thinking it to be another one of Lilith's little games. "Let her go," Mordecai said, feeling a slight warmth pulsing from Lilith's hand.

"And get on your knees, whore," Athena added venomously, spitting at Lilith's face. The saliva fell on the Siren's right cheek, trailing down the side of her face.

"Don't touch me, skag-turd!" Lilith angrily yelled, her hair rising and her eyes glowing. Lilith could feel the Eridium in her yearning to be released, wanting to show the brainless Athena who was really in charge, who really was Mordecai's partner.

In a sudden burst of energy due to the Eridium, Lilith threw Athena across the room. The ex-bird smashed into the middle of the room, knocking over tables, chairs, and precious booze in a giant clamor.

Lilith grinned, pleased by herself and her power. Her entire being felt alive. It seemed like every fiber, every molecule in her body was electrified by the purple gem that coursed through her veins. It was better than alcohol, better than sex. It was like all of Pandora, no all of the universe, was at her very fingertips. She felt like if she just snapped her fingers mountains and oceans would move for her. Nothing could stop her. No one could stop her. She was a real Siren! A goddess among humans! She was invincible!

Yet, Lilith, reveling in her power, did not feel her body growing warmer. Too warm. Her arms', her legs', her entire body's temperature was rising. They were becoming like fire, no, hotter than a fire, like a phoenix, like the fire hawk. And so too were her hands.

Unable to escape her strong grasp, Mordecai, struggling in her hand, howled in agony as his mask began to burn, liquefying from the intense heat. While Lilith felt the fires warm her body on the inside, Mordecai felt the fires burning his mask, trying to destroy him.

Hearing his pain, Lilith, surprised at herself for losing control, quickly let go of Mordecai, but the damage was done.

Hurriedly ripping off his melting mask, Mordecai, muffling his screams of searing pain and agony with simple grunts of torture, ran toward the washroom, trying to find some water to help relieve the fires on his face.

Lilith, her hand raised after him, could only watch in shock and horror at what she had done. She had burned him. Worse, she could have killed him. How could this happen? How could she have lost control so easily?

The fires that had warmed her body were suddenly washed away with the plummeting, freezing feeling of dread. She had almost killed him. She had almost killed Mordecai!

Her body was like lead, heavy and burdensome. She wanted to run over and apologize, to do something at least. She wanted to help him, to care for him; but her body wouldn't respond. What right did she have to help him? She had caused this. All of this. She had hurt him once, now she had done it again. If she went over now, what other damages could she do?

"Bitch, you stupid 'squawk'ing, bitch!" Athena, back on her feet, yelled angrily as she followed after Mordecai.

Lilith stood there, silent. Great job, Lilith, great fucking job.

-Smooth Transition-

After what seemed like an eternity, Lilith, summoning every ounce of courage, with a red cloth hanging at her belt finally decided to face Mordecai. Walking to the washroom, the Siren wasn't surprised to hear Athena speaking with Mordecai inside. She could hear the woman worriedly whisper about his condition, asking whether or not he was fine. Lilith could also hear Mordecai responding in his gruff, slightly scratchy soft voice. She could even hear him chuckle for a second, somehow amused by Athena's nervousness. A chuckle from Mordecai? Has hell broke loose already? Wait...she was right on it.

Waiting for Athena to get out, Lilith tried to form an apology in her head. The simple 'I'm sorry for accidently (emphasis on accidently) trying to burn your face off' didn't seem appropriate. Neither did 'Sorry for the whole burning thing, but you had it coming'. God, no wonder Roland had a hard time apologizing to her. This was harder than it sounded.

After two minutes of hushed conversation with Mordecai, Athena finally came out of the bathroom. Noticing Lilith, Athena, crossing her arms over her chest, growled at Lilith.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Taking a deep breath, Lilith replied, "I want to apologize to Mordy." God, could she have sounded any less pathetic.

Her body tensed with rage, Athena, obviously trying to control herself from ripping apart the Siren with her bare hands, spat at Lilith's feet. "And then what? Roast his ass as well?" She sardonically shook her head. "No, you'd have to get past me to get to him, and I'll 'squawk'ing rip you to pieces before you even get a chance to try and strangle me again."

Lilith tried retorting, but her mouth refused to throw out any witticisms to the bimbo in front of her.

"It's alright, Athena. Let her in," said Mordecai from inside the washroom.


"Don't worry, leave this to me." Lilith felt a pang of jealousy in her heart. Mordecai had spoken with concern in his voice. Concern! It was something she had once thought he had used only for her like she had been his only treasure. Now...now it was for Athena. Yet, there was more than that. There was a tenderness and familiarity in his voice that she had never once heard from him. All this for some random bitch he found on the street? Who was Athena? And what the hell was up with her and those random squawks. What had she done to her Mordy?

With evident reluctance, Athena moved to the side, sending bullets with her eyes at Lilith.

Taking another breath, Lilith opened the door and walked into the grimy, rat-infested bathroom. It stank the usual scents of piss and shit but that was no different. Yet, there a new scent, the burning smell of leather.

Staring in front of the only sink, Mordecai, leaning against the rusted, brown sink, stared at the mirror and then looked to Lilith.

It was the first time she had ever seen his face.. He had unusual grey eyes. His face was also tan, probably because it was his natural skin color. He was handsome. A little bony around the cheeks but handsome, except for the giant X scar in the middle of his face. It was old but the outline and darkness from the wound was still very livid only from the top though. The bottom portion of the scar was almost completely faded, making it seem the scar ended slightly above where the bottom of his goggles should be. Luckily for him, there was no sign of burns on his face. More like, lucky for her. She wouldn't know how to feel if she had actually hurt Mordecai.

Noting Lilith's undisguised staring, Mordecai, oddly open, pointed to the line next to his left eye as he stood up. "I got this one from the only woman who had ever unconditionally loved me, my mother. She tried to kill me with a butcher knife when I was only six, trying to sell my organs for paying her debts." He then pointed to the other line near his right eye. "I got this from the first woman I have ever loved. She was the first assassin to ever try to kill me. She had tried to kill me with her knife after we had sex, but I shot her dead before she could finish the job." Mordecai smirked sadly. Why the hell was he suddenly opening up to her? "Both women I have loved and been loved have tried to kill me. I guess that makes three now." Oh, that's why. Ouch...

Uncomfortable with the implications, Lilith, shifting her gaze away, grabbed her left elbow with her right hand. "Mordy, I didn't mean to-...I mean...I'm-"

Mordecai brushed aside her attempt at an apology. "I know. If you'd wanted to kill me you would have shot me instead." He didn't know why he was being so open. Maybe the smell of burning debris reminded him of the good times the four Vault Hunters once had. Once, but that was a long time ago.

Becoming even more uncomfortable with that fact, Lilith, fighting off the awkwardness, replied, "Uh, I got you this." Lilith pulled out the long red cloth from her belt. "I thought you might need something to protect you from the sand. Since I burned your face and all." Lilith winced at the last sentence. Why the hell did she go on like that?

Carefully eyeing the cloth, Mordecai hesitantly took it, feeling for any sort of hidden traps which caused Lilith to slight grimace at his lack of trust for her. "Thanks," he stoically said, wrapping around his the top of his head, making it seem like he was some sort of nomad.

Letting the silence consume them, she tried to say something but where to start? 'Oh hey, Mordy how are you doing this last couple of years after I broke your heart?' or even 'How you been after ditching the group and fucking everything up?'. Suave, Lilith, very suave.

Looking around to find some sort of topic, the Siren noticed something very odd. "Hey, Mordy, where's that bird of yours?" Nice job, Lilith. You finally found something to talk about even if it was that damn bird that had woke her up every 2 hours in camp. And you remembered not to insult it this time, kudos for you.

"Bloodwing?" Mordecai thought for a moment before replying with a slightly amused tone, "It's...too fucking complicated."

Leaning against the only clean spot on the wall that wasn't sprayed with profanity or other substances, Lilith crossed her arms under her chest. "So...you and Athena?"

Mordecai, amused at the thought, smirked and then replied, "You and Roland?"

Tilting her head back, Lilith sighed, leaning against the bathroom wall. "Now's that's fucking complicated."

"So is you being here," Mordecai countered, feeling old memories trying to consume his thoughts. "How'd you find me?"

"The Hunter does not expect to be hunted," Lilith answered, smiling at the irony of it all. "You really didn't try to hide the tracks of your car."

Mordecai, berating himself for letting himself make such a foolish mistake, glared at her. Things weren't going as planned. He had finally found a real partner, a true partner. Now here was the Siren, messing everything up. His emotions, his feelings, were out of control. Everything was going...wrong. "So you found me. What do you want?"

Jeez, Mordy, you didn't have to be so mean about it. Putting on her more serious face, Lilith told him, "Roland needs you."

Mordecai stared at her, trying to discern her intentions. He then began suspiciously, "Roland needs me? Me? Now that's a shitty lie, especially coming from you. The man is a fucking Lancer with a turret that shoots bullets the size of boulders" Somehow, Mordecai had a bottle of Rakk ale from which he took a swig from. "He doesn't need me."

Lilith clenched her hands, trying with all her might not to slap Mordecai for his lack of concern. Remembering the breathing exercises Roland taught her, Lilith took three deep breaths before saying, "He really does need you."

"Fuck that."

Screw the breathing exercises! Eyes yellow, Lilith, rage pouring out from her, stomped to Mordecai and grabbed his bottle, melting it in her hands. "Listen to me, Mordecai. Roland needs us, now!"

Perfectly at ease, Mordecai shook his head, amused at Lilith's attempts to trick him. "You didn't care for any of us before. You didn't care for Brick, Roland, or...me. All you wanted was the Vault and your past. I still haven't seen anything to change my mind of that so stop wasting my time and go back to your lover." Grabbing his sniper rifle, Mordecai, heading to the door, walked around Lilith. Ironic how karma works. Looks like he was the one walking out on her.

"I didn't know you were this petty, Mordecai." Mordecai's foot hung in midair. "I thought you were better than this." His foot landed on the floor.

Watching his departing back, Lilith could not help but find it ironic that their roles were now reversed.

-Smooth Transition-

An expensive bottle of alcohol next to her, Bloodwing, sitting on the one of the stools in the bar, simmered, staring into her shot glass. What the *squawk* was taking Mordecai so long? The conversation between them should be simple: 'Hi.' Backhand slap to the face. 'Bye.' Done.

"*Squawk*!" Bloodwing shouted, indifferent to whether or not people on the outside could hear her. She didn't care. She just wanted to be as far away from the damn Siren as she could.

"Shouting like a bird will not help you get another drink, sugar." Bloodwing looked up from her cup. Oh, *squawk*.

"Clownface?" Athena unsure of what else to call the woman sitting opposite of her asked. Well it was a better name that what she usually thought of her.

"Oh, that's original." Yet if the name bothered Moxxi, she didn't show it. Moxxi lead forward, her cleavage suggestively open. "But it's your name I'd like to know, sugar," Moxxi whispered, a flirtatious smile gracing her lips.

Bloodwing gagged loudly, spitting out the contents of her drink right in Moxxi's face. Luckily, Moxxi already closed her eyes, but her entire face and the top of her bosom were dripping with alcohol and spit.

"Well," Moxxi grumbled, wiping off some of the juices on her face and her breasts, "that wasn't exactly what I was looking for."

"Bl-Athena, we're leaving," Mordecai, walking to the front of the bar, called out, his sniper rifle shouldered on his back. Slightly shifting his gun, Mordecai, who must've known earlier Clownface would be waiting for them, looked to Moxxi. "And I expect to get paid for the job."

"Well, that's a fine way to say hello, Mordecai," Although surprised at how Mordecai had such a fine specimen following him around, Moxxi, seeing no real competition between the two of the bombshells, simply grumbled, crossing her arms over her chest. She hadn't seen him in over two days, and he didn't even bother with a simple hello. You just can't find a good fuckbuddy these days.

Mordecai opened his mouth but suddenly something came into sight. Someone was trying to communicate with him via his Echo device.

"Hello, Mordecai." It was the Guardian Angel, the same fucked up system, person, thing who had told them that the Vault was full of loot instead of that tentacle porno.

"Angel," Mordecai said out loud, feeling the stirrings of anger rise within him. All of this was because of her. His plan gone, his time wasted, and his love...shut up, Mordecai. Lilith is nothing to you. Nothing.

"Well now that's more like it, sugar," Finally dried of Bloodwing's drink, Moxxi, leaning forward, complimented, giving him a very good look at her more than endowed breasts.

"Just listen, Mordecai. I know that what I said before was a lie, but I want to help you." Mordecai opened his mouth to retort coldly, but Angel continued, cutting him off, "Something bad is going to happen, Mordecai, and I need you to trust me. Someone is going to die, and I don't know who or when but someone will. Someone close to you."

"Is that a threat?" Mordecai, clenching his teeth, asked, his hand instinctively reaching for his well-worn revolver.

Moxxi and Bloodwing both shared a look of utter confusion but neither commentated as they watched Mordecai seemingly daydreaming in the middle of the bar.

Angel's image made pained look at his accusation. "Mordecai, I know I don't deserve your trust after betraying it. But, I can still help. I want to help. So please, just listen to what I have to say," she pleaded.



Mordecai's voice became dangerously low, a hint of steel filling his words, as he slowly stated as if he were talking to a child, "I said no."

"Sugar, are you all right?" Moxxi called, still leaning against the bar with a confused expression across her face. Bloodwing just found another bottle and took a swig from it. Its Pandora, shit doesn't stop happening or at least that was her reasoning for another drink to explain Mordecai's sudden insanity.

Mordecai ignored the sexy clown and kept his attention fixed upon the Guardian Angel. "Last time I listened to you, I wasted over a year and thousands of bullets so I could find myself in the middle of a fetish porn gone wrong. I'm not going to make the same mistake twice," Mordecai told Angel, his tone broaching no argument.

"Mordecai, sugar, what's wrong with you?" Moxxi asked, trying to soothe the Hunter.

Mordecai's head turned sharply at her, his eyes boring into her. "Shut up, Moxxi."

Moxxi crossed her arms over her impressive bosom, her temper radiating from her. Hold, Moxxi, hold it. Just because Mordecai never treated her anywhere near the way he treated his stupid feather-ball, she wasn't going to be mad. No, she had more control than that. Barely.

Seeing Bloodwing from the corner of his eye smiling widely at Moxxi's frustration, Mordecai turned his head back forward, letting his pent up rage explode out of him, "I don't want anything to do with you. I don't want to see you. I don't want to hear from you. I don't even know why you even exist!"

Angel, looking down, bit her lip, a single tear rolling down her cheek. "I don't know why either." She looked at him, her powdery white face trying to fight back the flood of tears. "But I want to help."

Seeing Angel's grief, Mordecai, scratching the back of his head, sighed, frustrated. He didn't know how to apologize. Hell, apology wasn't even in the dictionary for the Hunter. "Look, just say what you want to say. I guess there's no harm."

Sniffing, Angel wiped her tears away, a slight smile crossing her lips. "I always knew you had a soft spot, Mordecai." Before Mordecai could retort about 'crocodile tears', Angel told him, "Listen to Lilith." A mischievous smile still on her lips, Angel waved playfully at him. "Okay, buh-bye, Mr. Softy."

"H-Hey!" Moredcai stopped himself, seeing the transmission between the two of them ending. "Ah, fuck it."

Seeing that Mordecai was out from his episode of insanity, Bloodwing, finally getting the walking thing down, walked up next to him, sipping a bottle of whiskey. "What the *squawk* was that *squawk*ing 'bout?"

Stealing the bottle from a complaining Bloodwing, Mordecai took a large swig before handing it back to the disgusted owner. God, this was not turning out to be a good day. Especially with this damn scarf! Mordecai loosened the scarf slightly, trying to fight the urge to itch his face. The smell was intoxicating and, worse, it was hers.

"What's this?" Bloodwing toyed with a piece of Mordecai's new mask, feeling the softness of the cloth. "I don't *squawk*ing remember you liking red." She dropped the edge of the cloth, trying to remember why the cloth looked so familiar. She didn't know where, but it was so familiar for some strange reason.

"Forget it." Mordecai turned to Moxxi, who was still pouting. "Where's the pay?"

Moxxi rolled her eyes, putting a hand down her breasts. With a small mumble, Moxxi magically produced a couple of thousand of dollars, all folded and packed neatly together. "You could be a little nicer about it, hun. I have feelings too, you know."

Mordecai didn't comment, grabbing the money out of Moxxi's hand. "Let's get out of here," he growled, annoyed at all the sudden intrusions of his past. Lilith then the Guardian Angel, what's next? Commander Steele?

All he wanted was peace: a bottle of whiskey in his hand, a sniper in the other, and Lilith sitting on his lap-NO! Mordecai shook his head, trying to rid of the damn Siren's image. She was nothing to him. Nothing but the ground beneath his boots as he pounded it into dust.

Yet, the words of Angel tugged at him as he stepped out of Moxxi's bar: 'Listen to Lilith'. Why her? Why, in this hell hole's name, did that damn Siren keep appearing in his life?

Finally away from the damn Siren, Bloodwing, bathing in the sunlight, stretched her body upwards, her curves and nipples' shape clearly showing through the cloth, "So, Mordecai, now what?"

The Hunter smiled and then chuckled at his inescapable fate, at a fate that haunted him even worse than death itself. God, he was a fool. Damn it, Lilith, you win.

-Smooth Transition-

Maya, sitting next to the ever silent Zer0 in the armed vehicle who displayed the BOR3D holograph form his faceplate, asked, "Heeey, why are we still here? What happened to the work you said you had?"

Her arms crossed under her chest, Lilith, hiding her earlier disappointment, mischievously smiled. "I lied. Figured you'd look for me since you thought I would have some."

"Fuck you," Maya told her, slouching in her seat. "God, Zer0, why'd you talk me into this?" Her head snapped to the assassin next to her.

"I did not want this. /You told me of this new job. /I followed your wish," Zer0 told her, his voice sounding like a machine had been talking.

Lilith blinked in surprise, hearing Zer0 finally talk. "Huh, so you can speak." Thinking to try and test her theory, Lilith tapped her finger against her chin. "So, what's the color of my sis' panties?"

"What panties?"

"Hey!" Maya, blushing a furious red as she suddenly felt naked, cried out, slapping Zer0 across the back of the head.

Zer0's hologram displayed an amused _. Lilith, slightly smiling, could see Zer0 chuckling as his barely body shook in the effort of hiding his mirth. Yet, it lasted for barely a second as suddenly Zer0's head whipped to the side, his early amusement almost seeming nonexistent. "We are not alone./A car approaches quite fast./It is very close."

Lilith followed Zer0's gaze. It was a car. One of Scooter's by the looks of it. She even recognized it as one of the older models the four Vault Haunter used to ride in when they had all be together.

Leaving a storm of dust behind it, the car swerved, using the sides of its wheels as brakes.

"*SQUUUAAAAWWKKK*!" an angry voice yelled out as the car came to a screeching stop, kicking up a storm of dust and sand. "*Squawk* you, Mordecai! Where the *squawk* did you learn how to *squawk*ing drive?!"

Lilith could not help but feel a faint sense of hope rising within her chest. If that damn weirdo was here then...Mordecai? Mordecai was here?

As if by cue of her thoughts, Mordecai, wearing the scarf around his face, jumped off the car, Athena following him as she exited out from the turret. Yet, her majestic leap turned into a mortifying fall, as she tripped on the side of the car and landed face first in the sand, her goggles slightly skewed.

"*SQUAWK* these stupid legs!" Athena screamed as she tried to lift herself up from the dirt floor, but she was still working out the kinks in her footwork.

Lilith and Maya both tried to hide their mirth at the woman's odd outburst, but the temptation was too much. Together, the two, grasping their sides, let out a laughing fit, their pure giggles and amusement rang through the hell hole of a planet.

Yet, Lilith's laughs abruptly cut off as, she saw Mordecai gentlemanly reach down and clasped his hand with Athens as he helped her up. Fuck. He never did that for Lilith. The Siren did her best to hide her disapproving frown. How was this random bimbo so close to Mordecai when Lilith, the Lilith, seemed to be total strangers with the Hunter?

After checking that Athena was comfortable on her feet and fixing her goggles, Mordecai shifted his attention back Lilith and her two companions. "What does Roland need?" Mordecai, dismissing any form of formalities, asked gruffly, his goggles flashing a dangerous glint.

Lilith bit her lip, trying her best not to smile. Looks like he was the Mordecai Lilith had known. "Handsome Jack-you know who Handsome Jack is, right?"

Mordecai shrugged, nonchalantly. "Sounds like another arrogant brat, with too much money from his parents to spend, came to Pandora to find the power of the legendary Vault and rule the world. What's new?" He didn't see why it was such a big deal. One of these stupid kids came around every two months or so acting like they own the place even though the Vault had been already opened. After five minutes though they were all over the place, namely in bloody pieces, thanks to Pandora's hospitable citizens. "I don't see why Roland shouldn't be able to easily deal with another one of these dumbasses."

After exchanging a look with her sister Siren who was leaning against the side of the bandit car, Lilith, her mouth quirking to the side, shook her head. "No, this guy is different from the others. Unlike the other stupid, rich punks, he has the whole of Hyperion backing him."

Mordecai's surprised barely pierced skin level. "Hyperion? What are they doing here? Thought that didn't care for Pandora." Big deal, it was a company head this time instead of some random, rich no-name. It still didn't set off any warning bells for the Hunter. This just sounded like another waste of time, another adventure that he shouldn't be taking.

Lilith casted a sidelong glance to Maya who shrugged. "They could be here for Maya." The younger Siren opened her mouth in protest. "But I doubt it." The mouth closed as Lilith scratched the back of her head in heated thought. "So they have to be here for something else...Ah fuck it, let's just kill them and worry about what they want later." A familiar mischievous glint gleamed in Lilith's eye. "Just like old times. Right, Mordecai?"

To Lilith's disappointment, Mordecai coldly ignored her and shifted his attention to the other, just as pleasing to look at, Siren. "You're that girl," Mordecai stated softly and then looked around her to see Zer0 standing completely still. "And he's Zer0?" He sorta' remembered Zer0 from a poster, but, back then it had only been around half a million, now Zer0 was more accomplished then before.

Crossing her arms over her chest, Maya rolled her eyes. "Yeah, howdy to you to, Mordecai." Motioning with her head toward Zer0, Maya told Mordecai, "Yeah that's my partner. You know, the one who has a giant crush on you."

While Zer0's face lit up with a WTF?!, Maya chuckled at her partner's embarrassment. Hell hath no fury as a woman's scorn.

If Mordecai had been fazed by the sudden confession, he didn't show it. Looking past the three ahead of him as Athena had finally stopped her loud tirade, Mordecai noted, "There's three cars. Athena and I will-"

Breaking off her chuckle and butting in before Lilith could say anything, Maya held her hand out in front of her, signifying for Mordecai to stop speaking. "Me and you are going in your car. Zero and your...whatever, whore-in-a-blanket, will take his, and Lilith, sis, you got to ride alone for now, 'kay?"

"'Kay," Lilith replied, slightly hesitant. What was her sister up to? Didn't she see that Lilith wanted to be alone with Mordecai? Damn it. Maya and her scheming again.

"N-" Athena tried to protest but was immediately cut off as Mordecai grabbed her hand. Looking at him, Athena eyes' narrowed, discerning Mordecai's intent. He wanted to know what Maya wanted. Fine, Mordecai, you win. *Squawk* you, though. "What *squawk*ing ever."

Maya eyebrow rose in surprise at the ease of the agreement, but she was not going to complain. Besides, this made things interesting, however one question still bugged her. Her vision centered around Athena, Maya asked, "Cause I'm curious, what's with the, um, 'squawks'?"

"*Squawk* you."

-Smooth Transition-

"So I told the guy, 'Fuck you and get your hand off my ass before I blow you're shit-filled head off.' And he was like-" Mordecai ignored the rest of the superfluous words, keeping his eyes on the road. God, did she ever stop talking? She was almost as bad as...ugh, stupid Sirens.

"Mordecai...Hey MORDECAI!"

Ignoring the ringing in his ears, the Hunter turned toward his passenger who had finally stopped her blabbering. "What?"

"You know Lilith still likes you right?" the blue-haired Siren told him abruptly, her face not betraying a hint of emotion.

What-Where the hell did that come from?! Snorting in disbelief, Mordecai, pretending that her words hadn't fazed him, shook his head as he swerved to the side of the rode to run over a stupid Skag, crushing it with a satisfying crunch and splatter of blood. "What the hell are you saying? Last time I checked, she and Roland were the ones together." Mordecai hesitated for a moment. "'Sides, why should I care? She got nothing to do with me."

Maya leaned back in her seat, glancing at the car to the right of them were her boy toy-friend was being yelled or *squawk*ed at by Mordecai's companion. "She has everything to do with you, Saint Mordecai."

Holding back a growl, Mordecai, gripping the wheel of the car a little tighter, stated, "I hate that nickname."

Tossing her hair back, Maya shrugged uncaringly. "And I love it." Turning her gaze to Lilith who was driving in front of them, Maya continued, "When you left, she became depressed, but she was still the same ol' Lilith. Yet when she started to use Eiridium to increase her powers, she changed for the worse. It wasn't Lilith anymore. She became addicted to that stuff and started going crazy, killing people for any reason."

Reminding himself in his head of the weird purple stuff that supposedly did some crazy shit to people, Mordecai stayed silent, unwilling to make a conversation out of Maya's story. It wasn't his fault. Yet, it wasn't her fault. It was in the past, that was all that matters. It was all in the past, not here in the present. "I don't see why I should care. She can take care of herself."

Maya suddenly glared at him, her eyes boring into his skinny face. "Do you know why she did it, why she turned to Eiridium?" Maya, a force of annoyance mounting slowly insider her body, quizzed, angrily. "She wanted you back. She wanted the things they way they were. She had been hoping if she gained enough power you would rejoin the group and then everything would be right again."

Mordecai stopped himself from rolling his eyes. Besides the obvious holes in the logic, that wasn't the Lilith he knew. The Lilith he knew was cunning, seductive, independent, and, most of all, callous. "She was stupid to think that." Then again so was he for falling for her in the beginning. Huh, so stupidity was contagious.

It took all of Maya's restraint not to punch the stupid Vault Hunter right then and there even if they were going over 80 mph. Stupid, stupid twig of a man didn't understand at all. "She was stupid to hope, to hope that you could ever even accept her if she had more power."

His temper snapping, Mordecai barely managed to stop himself from slamming on the brakes. "'Accept her'?! Everything she said, did, or teased to me was a lie! She was a conniving slut who led me on and fucking shot me down! Why should I accept her when she didn't even accept me?" Mordecai angrily shot back, disgusted at the thought that Maya was even trying to put the blame on him. "She deserves everything she has coming!"

"Then why are you helping her?" Maya, ignoring the urge to lash out at the man for insulting her fellow Siren, asked, suddenly calm and collected. It was these moments that she had to thank her 'brothers' for teaching her patience. That was of course before she had learn they had been using her and of course before she completely demolished their order.

Mordecai stared ahead. "I'm not helping her. I'm helping Roland." The words from his mouth never rang so hollow before.

Maya rolled her eyes, wondering how dumb the ultimate Hunter could be. "You think Roland doesn't know about you two? You really think he's that dull and deaf not to notice you two prancing around one another, seeing who makes the first move?"

Mordecai didn't comment, knowing full well that Roland was no one's fool. Roland has always been...observant to say the least. He always knew what was going to happen even when there was no hint of it.

"He sent her cause he knew she needed you. To her, Roland was just a substitute, treating him more like a brother she leaned on than a lover she needed. He's trying to get the things to the way they were so that everything can go back to normal." Maya shook her head. "So that the Vault Hunters could once again fight together against a bigger threat. He can't fight this war alone." Or that was at least the thing Mordecai needed to hear, whether it was true or not Maya didn't really know. But as long as she could help her sister, Maya would say anything to make things better or just less fucked up.

Mordecai paused for a moment before asking, "So Li-Lilith and Roland aren't together." Something surged inside him. Something that was so unfamiliar to him. Something bizarre, hope.

Maya shrugged indifferently. "Hell if I know. Lilith has been trying to make it work but Roland knows what's going on. Least he has a half brain unlike you." The blue-haired Siren suddenly smirked. "So you're interested in her now?"

The Hunter decided not to answer, fearing potential stir up of old emotions. He had a good thing going. He had his guns, his freedom, and a hot chick named Bloodwing, literally. Why should he ruin it all for the sake of one bitch, one woman, one Siren? Why?

The Siren looked back to the passing scenery, watching the rolling hills and barren deserts. "I'll take that as a yes."

-Smooth Transition-

The cars came to a screeching or a *squawk*ing stop for Zer0 in the latter case. They were here. Well as close to here as they could be since Mordecai hadn't been told the destination but just to follow Lilith.

By the looks of it, they were in some random, Skag-populated, bandit-infested part of Pandora again. Yet, this place felt familiar. He didn't know why, but he felt like he should know where they were. It was an urban center with a couple of buildings, Scooter's station and...oh, now he remembered. This was where everything started to fall apart. This was New Haven.

Yet, this New Haven looked like it was about to go to war. Mounted turrets and armed soldiers, Roland's men no doubt by their military discipline, were entrenched all over the town, some hiding behind barricades, made up from the scraps of metal from broken down vehicles, while others were placed on top of roofs. There were patrolling squads all across the city and Scooter's vehicles zooming in and out of the town with supplies, guns or new personnel.

"Welcome to New Haven," Lilith, gesturing toward the town, stated grandly, getting out of the car. "Or New New Haven since we've renovated it."

As the rest of the group finally got out of the car, Mordecai, after gently assisting Bloodwing out of the car, asked with a raised eyebrow, "'We'?"

"MORDECAI!" Oh god.

A giant...a giant...well just a giant giant, throwing and tossing soldiers out of the way with large, meaty hands, stampeded his way past several of the Roland's men toward the group, causing the ground to quiver as if the whole planet was shivering due to the upcoming behemoth. Before any of the new arrivals could react, the giant snatched Mordecai up with lightning speed and wrapped him in a giant bear hug, squishing the life out of the skinny man. Oh, the oh so familiar...pain.

"Mordecai! It's so great to see you again! Why haven't you answered my calls? Never mind it's just so great you're here!" Brick sputtered out happily, tossing and shaking Mordecai left and right with so much vigor that it was amazing that the Hunter didn't snap in half.

The Hunter legs and arms flopped back and forth as Brick refuse to stop even for a second in his revelry.

"Ah, would you look at that. Brick missed you," Lilith cooed, clapping her hands together. Seeing the two of them together felt...good. It's been awhile since she have seen Brick so happy. It was nostalgic.

The Hunter tried to say something but Brick's grip only tightened, constricting Mordecai into silence.

A deep familiar voice laughed behind Mordecai. "Hey, Brick, I think Mordecai needs some air or you'll turn him into road kill."

After hearing the voice, Mordecai was dropped to the ground by Brick who wore a large scarred smile on his face. With predator-like reflexes, Mordecai, unconsciously, landed on his feet, his hand immediately reaching for a gun. But, he stopped, seeing who the new person was.

Roland and a dusty-haired commando stood there both grinning, the former grinning at Mordecai while the other at Maya and Athena. "Well, look who finally decided to show up after all these years." Roland looked different now, more like a general than a regular Commando. Fitting, really, since he was now the iconic hero of Pandora.

Mordecai, sweeping his gaze across the array of soldiers and war preparations before him, smirked, letting his hand drop. "Didn't look like you needed me, seeing you got a small army at the tip of your fingers."

Shameless about him missing Mordecai, Roland laughed and held his hand out to Mordecai, a smile displayed.

Mordecai eyed the hand for the second. This was the same hand that touched Lilith, the hand that groped, fondled, and teased the Siren in every way and sense. This was that very same hand that he had touched when they had once started to hunt for the Vault. This was, perhaps, a friend. This was not the hand that ripped his heart out nor the one that gave blowjobs to bandits. No...this was Roland and Mordecai only had a problem with the Siren.

Mordecai clasped the hand firmly, a rush of feelings coming over him. Happiness, comfort, and, most of all, nostalgia. It felt like he had return to his home after so long, to friends who got his back and his front. If only he had never loved that Siren then he could've felt like this all the time. Yet, none of it could replace the feelings of absolute safety with Bloodwing, nothing could replace the crazy furball.

"Here, I need to show you guys something," Roland said, motioning to a large building that was heavily fortified with more men and turrets. "Axton, show their friends around for a bit and report back when you're done."

"Yes, sir!" Axton saluted, raising his hand to his forehead. Seeing the four original Vault Hunters walk away followed by Athena who had been immediately invited by Mordecai, Axton, ignoring Zero, turned and suavely said to the Maya, "So what's your name little lady?"

All of the sudden, the ominous letters R.I.P. appeared as an emote on Zer0's mask.

This wasn't going to end well.

-Smooth Transition-

The five of them filed into the room, maps and charters splayed across the walls and only table within the room. It was only lit by the two windows and doorway that led to the outside which was being guarded by two soldiers from the outside.

After waiting a moment for everyone to become comfortable, Roland, exchanging a glance with
Lilith at Athena's intrusion, started, leaning against the table, "I bet you're all wondering why you are here. Especially after our disbandment." Seeing Mordecai surprised look, Roland sighed. "Yeah, Mordecai, after you left, we all went our separate ways though me and Lilith got back together a couple of years ago. I found and got Brick here just about a year ago, and now I finally found you."

Mordecai, standing next to Athena and Brick, glanced at the maps, seeing red notes and notations all over the papers. Numbers and encampments spattered the charts while a large border of black, annotated Handsome Jack, occupied the majority of the map. "You have a whole army, Roland. I don't see why you called me for my help when there's over a hundred guns just in this camp." Even if he was here for Roland, Mordecai didn't know how long he could stand being so close to Lilith, her hot breath and curvy body tempting his gaze. He could feel the original allure of Lilith, the mysterious, seductive Siren. No, he was not going to fall for her impish lure again.

Roland grimly smiled. "Their hearts are in the right place but most of these guys are militia, regular people. They aren't trained like the Lancers, and I can't prepare them for everything that will come." The Commando, losing his previous expression, gave Mordecai a long look. "I need fighters, killers, like us, people to stop this damn Jack from taking over Pandora."

"Jack, Jack, Jack! That's all I hear these days!" Brick suddenly interrupted, slamming his hand against a wall causing a small cracks to appear on the walls. "Who the hell is this guy? I've never even heard of the guy when we were off world."

"Well then you better get your giant-ass head out of the toilet, big guy." A hologram suddenly appeared in front of them, produced by the table underneath the maps. "'Cause the villains of the story always have to know hero so you know who is beating your ass down."

Mordecai blinked, unable to tear his gaze away from the man. This was it? This was who Roland was worried about? This was the man who made him come back to see the Siren? He was pathetic. There was no harshness, nor toughness, nor anger that was within most of the enemies Mordecai had faced. It was only arrogance. Mordecai was the Hunter and this man was not worth bullet. He looked so weak, so scrawny, just another high-class idiot who never had to work a day in his or her life. This was no worthy prey for him to hunt. This was a man who had probably pad others to do the work and claim the credit like a weakling. He sickened Mordecai.

"This is a *squawk*ing joke, right?" Athena, sharing the thoughts of the Hunter, inputted harshly, not even bothering to hide her disbelief. She had seen rocks look more intimidating than him.

Jack's hologram ignored the woman, likely only paying attention to the original, four, more important, Vault Hunters. "I hope you morons stick around. I love to see try hard fools make a last stand. It's just so touching that it makes me actually feel like crying." Jack made a motion to wipe his tears but grinned widely and yelled, "Ha! Fuck that. Just go die in a ditch already with the rest of your bandit friends, saves both of us time. But if you're going to stay, at least make it entertaining at my soldiers shred your corpses with bullets. Bye, losers. I'll make sure to send some flowers for your graves. Not."

The hologram disappeared, leaving behind the empty space between the Vault Hunters and Athena.

Brick's veins looked like they were about to pop from his skin, his arms and torso growing twice their normal size. "I'm...gonna...tear...him...up...very...very...slo wly," Brick huffed out, his face flushed with anger and rage. He needed to kill someone or something very soon, or he just might lose control.

"Easy, big guy," Roland appeased, trying to soothe an overly muscled Brick. "We'll get him very soon, but we have bigger problems to deal with." The Commando grabbed one of the maps on the wall and placed it on the table. He directed their attention to multiple red circles. "These are the reasons why I need help. These are the bandit groups Handsome Jack has been hiring and concentrating them all around us. Right now there must be over a thousand of them marching here. A couple of days and the numbers will most likely triple."

Mordecai studied the map for a second. This wasn't the Hunter's fight. This was the rule of Pandora at play, the strong survive and the weak get their asses shot. So why was Roland going to risk everything, everything he had, his life, his troops, his freedom, just to save a couple of prey?

Because that was him, the knight in shining armor. Roland was a commando, a fighter, a Leader. He was a hero, the man who runs into the blaze first and wonders why there was a fire later. Even when all hope was lost, he was the guy who stayed and fought the good fight. He was a man that led armies to conquest and nations to glory. And he was Mordecai's friend, and Roland's fight was Mordecai's fight. This was not about the damn Siren, this was for their friendship.

Mordecai studied the map for a moment, trying to see where the best spots were to snipe. "So when are they coming?"

Roland blinked, surprised at how easily Mordecai would join the fight, and smiled. "I don't know but some of my scouts should be telling me in a couple of minutes."

As if summoned, a soldier burst in, barley keeping his head for Athena's gun was next to his temple cocked back and ready to fire. Taking a large gulp, the soldier spouted out, "Sir! Jack's forces are coming!"

"YEAH!" Brick, excited at the prospect of some good ol' fashion revenge, yelled, his veins popping out of his skin. "Let's kick some ass!"

Sharing a sidelong glance with Lilith and Mordecai at Brick's enthusiasm, Roland told the shivering soldiers who nervously shook with Bloodwing's gun still pressed against his head, "Tell the men to be prepared. We're going to defend New Haven with our lives."

"Yes, commander!" the young soldier saluted and ran back out, letting out a quiet sigh relief as Bloodwing tipped her gun back.

Watching the boy run back, Mordecai shook his head. "They get younger every year. I'm beginning to feel old."

Lilith told him playfully, "Maybe if you shaved off that damn beard, you wouldn't feel so old, grandpa." A playful small crossed the Siren's face, a testament to the old times they had once shared.

Although every fiber in his body told him not to and Bloodwing sent looks warning him, Mordecai could not help but let out a camaraderie smirk. "Yeah, yeah. If you guys need me, I'm going to set up a spot on a roof."

Mordecai, making sure to wrap his arm around Bloodwing's waist before the ex-bird could do anything rash, since her shoulders were to his eyes, walked out with Athena who gave Lilith one last baleful look before turning her attention back to Mordecai.

Feeling the joy of the group being reunited, Lilith and Brick were about to leave but Roland, staring at the map on the table, called out, "Lilith, I need you for a sec."

Patting comfortingly Brick's back, Lilith smiled and walked back into the room, sharing a pleased look with Brick due to the Vault Hunters' reunion. "What's up, Roland? Did you miss me warming your bed already?" the red-haired Siren tempted, a small giggle accompanying her words. Faint yelling of Brick about grabbing the 'Mechanic' could barely be heard as well as the sounds of men and women setting up for war.

Roland glared at her, his hands resting against the table as if he had been contemplating something. "Stop this, Lil'. Mordecai isn't here anymore."

Lilith tilted her head, unsure of what her lover meant. Pausing for a moment, the Siren told Roland with complete solemnity, "I don't know what you mean. Mordecai being here or not doesn't matter. Nothing has changed."

The ex-Crimson Lancer resignedly shook his head, seeing that Lilith was still trying to trick herself. "Lilith, you can stop putting up this, this...facade. We both know what's going on."

Still denying Roland, the Vault Hunter, in the dark of Roland's true meaning, replied, "Roland, you're not making any sense. What facade? What is going on?"

"Say that you love me," Roland, stoic, told her, seeing as the only way to make her understand was through an example.

Without a single pause of hesitation, Lilith replied casually, "I love you."

"Now say it with conviction."

Seeing as Roland wouldn't give up until she did what he wanted, the Siren replied forcefully, "I love you."

"Now say it as a lover."

Lilith's mouth open, but no words came out. How could they when she had no idea how to say them to someone she didn't love in such a manner? After a minute of pause as Lilith recollected her thoughts, she finally told him uncertainly, "I...love you?"

The Commando let out a sigh of relief, happy to finally get the question of love out of the way. Now she knew the truth. Roland wasn't her love. He was a substitute, a substitute for a man that she had once teased, tested, and rejected. Yet, he saw Lilith's face painted with shock at the realization of her true feelings. Those feelings may have once been hinted at, but for a Siren to truly love someone, to truly care and desire them was a feeling and emotion far beyond the Siren's experience.

Swiftly covering the ground between them, Roland hugged a still stunned Lilith tightly, enwrapping her in a embrace of comfort and brotherly love.

-Smooth Transition-

"How many?"

"About a fifty...forty-nine in the vanguard, running toward us. Another hundred is coming up from behind them," Bloodwing sighted for Mordecai who emptied out the smoking case of the bullet from his Jackobs sniper rifle. "Looks like they're just testing our defenses for the main force while the rest of them wait about 2 miles away."

Mordecai, adjusting his body to fit more comfortably on the roof as he laid on the ground with his sniper rifle resting on the edge of the roof, smirked, peeking through his scope at the giant army in the distance and then lining up the shot with another bandit's head. "When'd you become so smart, furball?"

"One of us has to be," 'Furball' retorted with a slight bite to her voice. Still, she could not help but smile, something odd for an ex-bird. This was like old times. Her and Mordecai against the world with nothing but each other to count on. The times when that damn Siren didn't mess everything up for them.

Mordecai uncharacteristically laughed, a sound that he didn't even know how to make these days. It was natural and strong. It was a laugh that didn't give a fuck about the world, for the world didn't give one about them. Right now, this was paradise. Easy bandits to pick off, alcohol off to the side of him, and Bloodwing to share it with. Life was actually pretty good this time around.

Especially with another kill as Mordecai eased his finger on the triggered. With a small smooth jerk, Mordecai fired, the bullet silently streaming toward its intended target's eye.

In a flash of blood, the psycho's head exploded in a shower of crimson and brain matter. The other psycho's didn't care as their comrade's body slumped to the ground, some of them stepping over it. They only got more riled up, running even faster with their archaic weapons above their heads. The vanguard screamed and howled like they were wild animals as they charged ahead towards the town.

Axton, on top of the roof in the front lines, looked to Roland who was stationed in a watchtower above the battlefield with Lilith.

Seeing the bandits approach to the middle of the town through a street that was flanked with Crimson Raider stationed buildings with his binoculars, Roland nodded to Axton, giving him the signal to let hell loose.

With a grim smile at his lips, Axton raised his hand above his head. "Raiders, pick your targets!"

Hundreds of guns had their safeties switched off and turrets began to hum to life. For a moment, all was silent. Roland's Raiders stood there, watching the bandits as they approached. This was their enemy, an enemy that was out to kill them and their friends and their families. This was Handsome Jack's forces that was going to try and burn and pillage their homes. Yet, now was the time for the Raiders' revenge.

"Open fire!" Axton's hand cleaved down like Death's Scythe.

Guns and turrets burst to life as bullets poured out from the barrels. Shards of metal flew through the air into the vanguard. Bullets slashed into the bandits' skin and shredded through their bodies, leaving behind holes and trails of warm blood.

"AAGGGGH!" "FUCK!" ""GAAAAH!" The psychos screamed in pain and horror as their bodies became riddled with bullets of vengeance. The psychos' screams were so loud that even the swarm of bullets could not cover their wails. Blood flew in every direction, splattering the sandy earth. Some of them were only standing because of the barrage of ammo kept them up as they were riddled with bloodly holes. Most, however, were laying dead on the ground, a red mist covering their bodies.

The hailstorm of bullets didn't stop until the magazines had been completely emptied. Roland hadn't even bother to try and stop his soldiers. They needed to learn how to fight. They needed to learn how to kill without mercy, without hesitance.

The only sound left was the heavy breathing of Roland's Raiders and the whirring of the barrels of the turrets that slowed to a still. All there was left was a trance of silence.

And all there was left of the vanguard was a hill of corpses, leaving behind a pool of crimson blood. Already raks were starting to circle around the kill zone, smelling blood in the air. Flies and other insects invaded the remains of the fallen, chewing and gnawing away at the dead flesh.

No soldier cheered or bandit yelled. All eyes were on the hill of flesh that had just been a band of psychos twenty seconds ago. Years of people's lives gone in just a couple of seconds, in a couple of bullets, at the hands of regular people. Emotions, minds, souls erased from all existence by the citizens of Pandora. Relationships and futures shattered without any sense of remorse. This was death. This was murder. This was Pandora.

"Reload," came the order from Roland.

As if his voice was some sort of signal, the Raiders immediately began to robotically reload their weapons, months of training finally kicking in. Empty magazines were dropped to the floor, and new ones replaced the old. Levers were pulled back, and guns were checked as the soldiers waited for their next order.

Mordecai couldn't be more impressed at Roland's handiwork. The Commando had created a disciplined army within just a couple of months from the weakest portion of Pandora. He had probably the worse conditions known to man to train a militia this strong, but, like always, Roland pulled through...like always.

While Mordecai may have seen it, the rest of the incoming bandits did not. Although seeing the pile of corpses did give them pause, the rest of the bandits refused to back down.

These weren't psychos though. These were gun-wielding bandits, marauders, and bruisers that crawled out from the shitholes of Pandora. These were some of the fiercest and most feared fighters in all of Pandora.

"Open fire."

They died just the same.

Bullets flying from all directions into the pack of bandits. The barrage was so thick that none of the bandits could get a clear shot without being mowed down like wheat with Death's scythe. Guns were barely raised before their owners were cut down.

Roland's planning of his defense was impeccable. Mordecai didn't even need to waste another shot on the bandits. Nothing could get passed that hailstorm of metal. No man, no gun, no body could. It was like an invisible line had been drawn where nothing could pass it, and all those who tried fell face first into the dirt with dark red blood pooling around their corpse.

After the dust finally settled, there was nothing left of the first wave. Nothing moved from within the hill of bodies. Nothing breathed from the scene of death.

Time seemed to slow as the Crimson Raiders took in their victory. Some would have lost their stomach right away, but the adrenaline of victory overwhelmed any other emotion or disgust.

Flush with victory, someone cheered from the roofs. By itself it sounded weak, but the voice was soon met by another and then another and another. Soon, all around Mordecai, soldiers were raising their voices in triumph. Years of fear, years of anger, finally avenged by today's carnage. Today, the citizens of Pandora were no longer weak. Today, the Crimson Raiders stopped the seemingly invincible bandits. Today was a good day.

Yet, the Vault Hunters knew better than that. This was only the beginning of the fight. This was only the start of a war. This was a battle for the Borderlands.


So that's the end...for now. Anyway I hoped you enjoy this chapter and in the future I'll try to make chapters faster but no promises. Sorry, I've been busy but now summer is here I can relax. So I'll try to write more often and update. Anywho thanks for the support guys, I love it. Anyway this is preceptormyth101 signing out! R&R!