Since the day he was born, Malcolm Graves was a toy, a plaything for others' amusement.
When he was a child, he was a toy for whoever it was in charge up there. They got a real kick over his child hood, which mostly consisted of just fighting to see another day. He must have been real entertaining, considering they saw fit to extend the joke after he got out of Bilgewater.
He was a toy for Fate. He thought there was a comandrie, a sort of respect between the two for them. It was that day he learned that was a lie. He might as well been something to hold Fate over until he got a better deal.
Then Priggs got a hold of him. For three years, he held the dubious honor of being Priggs' punching bag He could always count on the Zaunian businessman to watch him be tortured for s***s and giggles. It was funny, he did a lot more s***ting and a lot less giggling when he repaid some of that "hospitality."
Then Fate joined the Institute of War, and the Outlaw was not far behind. He was then passed around like a party favor among the many summoners of the league. He could walk through the halls and hear the summoners whispering among themselves.
"Dude, you have got to try Graves out! "
"That buckshot of his causes so much damage!"
"I wonder if he's compensating with that shotgun of his?"
Of all the places that Twisted Fate could have gone to test his powers, why did he chose here?
It was beginning to get tolerable, and then he was claimed once more.
Graves poured himself a glass of whiskey and drained it in one shot, the alcohol burning his throat. Setting the glass down, he sighed as he rubbed his face.
He could barely go to sleep. He was utterly restless. Usually, he would have passed the time by playing cards, playing the harmonica he had stashed in his belt, or even giving Destiny a bit of a tune up. But no, all those activities, in one way or another, needed light and that wasn't an option tonight.
Rising from the bed, he walked over to the couch and sat down. Sighing, he laid his head backwards, racking his brain for something to pass the time. His ears picked up a noise. Soft dainty feet slowly sauntered towards him as their owner planted her next to him. He could feel her big old golden eyes staring at him.
"Are you okay, Malcolm?"
Graves rolled his head to look at her.
"Peachy, Ahri. Just peachy."
Ahri picked up the nearby bottle and shook it around.
"A nearly empty bottle says otherwise, Malcolm."
"Just give me a few moments, and I'll be fine."
The fox sniffed, before grimacing and placing the bottle back on the table.
"How do you even stomach this stuff? It's disgusting."
Graves only shrugged.
"To each their own."
Silence settled between the two, before Graves broke it.
"So what are you doing up so late?"
Ahri leaned her head on his shoulders, before looking up at him.
"I can ask you the same thing."
Graves thought for a while.
"Just can't sleep. Been trying to."
Ahri raised one of her eyebrows.
"My version of warm milk."
"That can't be healthy."
"Well, got any bright ideas?"
Ahri got off and took Graves' hand.
"That depends. Do you trust me?"
Graves said nothing, but silently let the fox lead him to the bed.
"Alright, what's next?"
Ahri's smile turned into a smirk, as she pushed Graves back into the bed. The bed groaned as it struggled to support the sudden weight increase. Graves then felt a weight on his chest as Ahri laid on him. Graves frowned.
"Okay, how is this supposed to help me?"
Ahri looked up at him.
"I don't know, it'll help me though."
"Ahri…" The fox woman looked up at the outlaw.
"Graves… please? It feels … weird."
If it was anyone else, he would have rejected in a heartbeat. However, Ahri wasn't exactly anyone else.
To Fate, he was a tradable.
To Priggs, he was a punching bag.
To the summoners, he was a doll.
To Ahri… he was many things.
He was her stress relief. Her strong shoulder. Her reassurance.
And so many more.
Malcolm Graves reached over and lightly scratched Ahri's ear, making her slightly purr.
"Take as long as you need."
If one could look closely, they would have been able to see his lips twitch slightly upward.
He had accepted his lot long ago. It was the first time he didn't begrudge it.