Title: Passing Strange
Summary: A series of stand alone one-shots and missing moments featuring a variety of characters in no particular order or time. Expect a buffet of pairings for kicks and giggles.
Rating: T (might change in future chapters)
Disclaimer: I don't own squat.
Warning(s): Use of alcohol, cursing, and (a large amount of) suggestive themes.
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Maya/Axton all in Maya's point of view and enough crack pairings mentioned to maybe hate me a little.
Setting: BL2 with some spoilers. Takes place after Bloodwing's death, but before reaching the Bunker.
Notes: After a helluva long hiatus, I'm back people! I've been offline for MONTHS since my laptop blew up on me and I've finally gotten a new one. Anyway, I'll get back to my other unfinished stuff as soon as I can recover it all, but for now... here's this. I've fallen in love with this game all over again while I've been offline with nothing better to do and decided to cave in and write random shit about it. As always … love it, flame it, I don't mind. Enjoy.

The tables were nearly empty and the ice in Maya's glass has all but melted by the time Axton slides into the seat across from her with two fresh drinks.

"You took your time," she says by way of greeting and doesn't spare him a second glance, afraid that he might see the way her doubts melted away at the sight of him. For the past hour she was sure he was going to skip their nightly drink together.

She's not sure how it started at first. Their first few hectic days since the train crash were fuzzy at best. Little talking amongst themselves other than the unanimous agreement to carve Handsome Jack a new face for what he's done to them. Surviving wave after wave of the worst Pandora has to offer them. Following a stranger's voice that promised them answers and retribution. Treasure and fame. The fact that they're liberating the oppressed people of Sanctuary and many others along the way was just an added bonus. They all had their own reasons for being here after all.

Walking into Sanctuary offered them a sense of normalcy, however small, from the hell they endured so far. Time to heal, time to get a some answers, gather themselves and plan. And... relax in the few moments in between. Maya had sat in this very booth the first night with this very same drink and for the first time, she missed the soft and warm wines of the Abbey. Berry sweet on the tongue and a fragrance so strong, it'd last for hours like a song that you just can't get out of your head for days. If the Brothers did anything right, it was wine. Rakk ale was bitter and harsh like everything on Pandora and it does the job but it was hard to get used to the taste. As she choked down her ale, Axton had joined her that night and like some unspoken agreement between them, every night since then.

Their meetings weren't dates. They weren't Roland's planning sessions. They didn't even talk much about themselves. They just talked about whatever random thing came to mind. How awful so and so's aim was at the dart board. Whether or not Hammerlock came out of the womb with such a fine moustache or if it was even real at all. How much they've lost gambling and if Moxxi would notice if one of them blew the slot machine sky high. They just... existed. Existed in a world where they had no right to exist. Each keeping their own secrets and reasons to themselves. And if Maya blushes sometimes when he calls her 'sweetheart' and if she's grown more used to his company than she should because nothing was certain in this world, that's alright too.

"Couldn't get away from Sal fast enough," he says and stretches out fully on his side of the booth. Axton doesn't just casually sit; he owns the booth. One dusty boot on the stained cushion; arm thrown over the back of his seat. She's surprised he hasn't kicked his shoes off yet. "Sal's got himself a new toy and we just had to go test it out at the shooting range. Guy stuff, y'know," he finishes with a wink.

"Who am I to get in the way of a budding romance?" Maya teases into the brim of her fresh glass and tries not to inhale the strong spirits. "By all means, go do guy stuff and shoot things."

"C'mon," he rolls his eyes at her with his trademark boyish grin and she should think it's childish but this was Axton and Axton could roll his eyes at the world, and the world would fall to its knees and apologize for presuming him to be an idiot. "My nights are all for you darlin', we both know that."

Maya tries not to smile and maybe it worked because Axton doesn't comment about how obviously this pleased her. "So... I think it's your turn tonight?"

"Oh, we're still playing that?" He chuckles softly. "Didn't think the nun in you would really get into it."

"I wasn't a nun," Maya insists at his long standing joke ever since she accidentally mentioned living in the Abbey.

"You were a little bit of a nun," he teases as he fishes into his glass for an ice cube to suck, a habit of his she's noticed over their many nights drinking together and she wrinkles her nose, slightly annoyed at the jibe.

Utilizing a small surge of her power, Maya phaselocks the ice cube and chucks it into the far corner of the room. "I was a goddess, and yes, I'd like to play again."

"Whatever you say. Let's play."

And by play, it's not the usual game of "I've Never" or any other kind of drinking game like that. Not Truth or Dare because they aren't children and like Maya had mentioned once, she had no intention on doing gross things on a dare. Moxxi's bar wasn't exactly hygienic. Instead, they made their own game almost by accident.

It had started with some innocent passing comment about Mordecai's brief fling with Moxxi they had learned while listening to them both argue over their ECHO's the other day. The whole thing about plucking feathers and Moxxi's own tidbit about ending up with Handsome Jack himself and how life has a funny way of throwing curve-balls like that. At length, the conversation had turned into nothing but gossip. Lilith and Roland. Scooter's passing strange love interests. What exactly Crazy Earl gets up to in that hostel and why no one's ever seen entering or leaving. And after a few more drinks each... things turned even stranger still. And so, they made a game of it. Each takes a turn to think up the strangest pairing and the other has to come up with how it would happen. Sure, it was immature and outrageous most of the time, but it kills time and Maya got a kick out of it. It's not like they've got any other form of entertainment going on in Sanctuary.

"The same rules apply," she barely manages to say while she worked her throat against the slow burn of the liquor sliding its way down as she took her first sip. "I've worked up a good one sitting around and waiting for you to show up."

Axton downs half his drink in one go, like a man steeling himself for death, and smirks. "Hit me with your worst."

"Scooter..." Maya pauses here for dramatic effect and lets it sink in. "... and Claptrap."

"Shit," Axton says after a moment of stunned silence. "That ain't fair! Claptrap ain't human."

Prepared for this argument, Maya shakes her finger at this and laughs. "Nope! They're your rules. Anyone's fair game. That includes Claptrap."

Axton frowns at her satisfied smile and sucks his teeth in defeat. "Alright, alright..." He sits up straighter in his seat and swirls his drink around to buy time. After a few moments, he leans across the table with a wicked lopsided grin and Maya worried briefly, if she really wanted to hear this or not.

"This is how it'll go," he begins, voice dropping an octave lower. "Claptrap, being the bullet magnet he is, suddenly springs a leak so he rolls his sorry self down to Scooter's garage to get repaired. And Scooter, being the lonely creeper that he'll always be, thinks it's such a waste to get rid of such good oil," Axton chuckles here and she can only imagine what he's thinking next. "And how nice Claptrap looks from the inside, a mechanic's wet dream. So, he decides to work his game on the noisy little thing. Maybe strike a few poses. Shirtless and covered in oil 'cause chicks dig that stuff, right? And Claptrap, he –"

"Stop! No more!" Maya's voice breaks, trying to keep from laughing and gagging a little at the same time. "You won that round when I pictured Scooter shirtless. Guh!"

"Alright, don't say I ain't merciful," he chuckles, smug as you please and Maya thinks she likes him best like this. Confident and charming... or maybe she's drunk too much too quickly and it's just the rakk ale hitting her harder than expected. "Best get ready for mine 'cause I'm paying you back now."

Maya gives him her best game face and tries to ignore her random thoughts. "I'm ready."

"Brick and Salvador," Axton says without hesitation, and she smiles. Maya's thought ahead for this one too.

"This is how it would go," she begins. "It starts off as a bromance at first. Like attracting like. Both reveling in bloodshed and action. Both oh so obviously appreciative of the sculpted body... And so, they have a friendly competition to show off their various muscular... assets," and here the table gives a small thump as Axton put his head down onto the table, shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter. Or maybe he could be nauseous. "Are you paying attention?" Maya flicks his ear.

"I don't want to," he says with a short bark of laughter.

"Shush you, I'm not at the good part yet," she says and manages to chug down some of her drink with a grimace. "But as soon as their lips meet for the first time – Sal standing on a very high chair with several ECHO directory books of course – they create a paradox. The unstoppable force coming together with the immoveable object and all of Pandora implodes with the force of their combined badassery."

"Wow... just... wow," Axton says in awe and she laughs. "Strangely, that makes a lotta sense."

"Of course," she grins, now her turn to be smug. "I think I topped you with the whole apocalypse theory."

"Y'think?" He shakes his head with a soft chuckle. "This is gonna make for a whole lot of awkward eye contact with them in the morning, y'know."

"Good," Maya smirks. "That'll teach you to keep me waiting tomorrow night."

"Yes ma'am," Axton shifts back in his seat with a grin, eyes focused on hers and starts idly tracing circles onto the tabletop where the condensation gathered from his glass. "Hey, tell me something..."


"Where in the rules does it say we're not in the game?"

Maya drops his gaze and instead follows the movements of his fingers and tries not to meet his eyes again; afraid of what she might find there. "What do you mean?"

"Me and you," he says, and she loves the things his voice does to her with those three simple words. He's as serious as she's ever heard him and his voice is smooth and smokey like the whisper of that far off wine she'll never forget.

Maya bites her lip, suddenly not sure if she wants to go there with him and yet just as curious to see where this might lead. "It's not your turn," she says at last.

"I made the rules so I can change 'em," he says finally. "This is how it might go. We could sit here for a spell and wonder how the hell they're so many midgets on this planet... or I can get the bill, meet ya outside and we can take the long way back to HQ and maybe get lost for a bit."

Maya's stomach is churning like snakes and a rolling heat settled there she's not altogether sure she can blame the liquor for. "Go on," she hears herself say, surprised she could manage to say anything at all with the nervous heat slowly creeping its way up into her cheeks. "We'll get lost... and then what?"

"Then I'll tell ya all the things I've wanted to do to ya," he continues, voice low and husky with a small smile playing around his lips. "How I've wanted to lay you down on this table and worship the goddess you still are inch by inch and find out how far down those markings go. And maybe, if you haven't slapped the hell outta me by then, I'll do just that and we'll stay lost somewhere till mornin'."

A long moment of silence stretched between them then and the whole room which had been quiet up until that point, seemed noisy in comparison. The soft chink of glasses behind the counter as Moxxi polished them. The low murmur of the few regulars still hanging around at the bar. The enticing little musical number the slot machine gives out every so often, and Maya can't breathe. Her mind is running through a million different scenarios and she's not sure how sincere he is. And she doesn't expect him to be. She's not a child anymore to buy into sweet talk and flattery. But who knows... this could be a good thing. Maybe all he'll ever be is an occasional lover and maybe she'll start to get used to that too. Living in Pandora where nothing is certain, maybe that'll be enough for her.

"I'll meet you outside," she says.

Notes: Thanks for reading! Might update this with another one-shot by next Tuesday. Maybe.