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In Sickness and In Health

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“Goddamn meathunks!” Janey cursed after dropping a wrench. Her work day was almost at at end, but she had been rushing to complete one last job before finishing up, and she’d been dropping tools and making mistakes in her haste.

There was another reason for her stress though; It had been days since she had last seen Athena. The former vault hunter was working on some kind of mission, one she had told Janey shouldn’t take more than a few days. She had kept her promise of ECHOing daily, but that didn’t mean that Janey wasn’t worried.

Scooter had told her to take it easy. Then struggled to clarify that “not that I think y’ur easy.” Janey appreciated the sentiment, but elected to keep working after Scooter went home.

“Bloody…” Janey started, then noticed the sound of footsteps behind her. Before she could tell the late night visitor that the Garage was closed for the night, she saw the telltale armour of…

“‘Thena!” Janey exclaimed, running to greet her fiancee in a hug. It was immediately apparent all was not well: Athena barely reciprocated the hug, holding her hands stock still at her side.

“Athena? What’s wrong?”

Athena didn’t reply, eyes trained on Janey but her mind was miles away. Janey looked over the shorter woman properly: covered in blood, but that was hardly unusual; stoney-face that betrayed little emotion, but Janey knew that Athena always held her emotions in her eyes. And they told the junker that the gladiator was in pain.

“What happened?”

Nothing. Bad then.

“Let’s get you taken care of, hun.”


 

“This way, a little more, you’re almost there.”

Leading Athena by the hand, Janey brought the still-shell-shocked woman into their home, and escorted her into their bathroom.

She took care as she began pulling pieces of armour off of Athena. Janey attentively guided Athena’s body to be able to access the straps that hold her armour on; not pulling her arms, but allowing Athena to move on her own.

Janey folded Athena’s shirt after pulling it over her head. Without the shirt, Janey gets a good look at the cuts on her body. A couple small cuts and burns to add to Athena’s collection of scars. Scars that Janey adored. In the back of her mind, Janey wanted to worship those scars, kiss each and every signature of hardship on Athena’s body. But that was for another time. For now, Janey needed to ensure that Athena felt safe.

“I’m going to take these to be cleaned, alright?” Janey said, after easing Athena into the tub of warm water, hands full of Athena’s clothes, armour, sword and shield.

Athena nodded, but as Janey moved to walk away, she felt a calloused hand on her own. “Leave it.”

Janey looked at what she held: the sword. Xiphos. “You want me to leave this?” she said, gesturing at the item in question.

Athena nodded. “Please.”

Janey nodded back, setting the sword so that Athena could reach it if she needed to. “Anything else.”

Athena shook her head.

“Okay, I’ll be in the next room if you need anything.”


 

Dinner was quiet. Janet figured it was time for something a little more fancy, so she cooked some Skag steaks. Athena was never picky about these sorts of things, having to endure endless days of tasteless rations while working for Atlas. But Janey noticed a definite improvement in Athena’s posture as she put back two whole steaks.

“So, I heard Nurse Nina is going to be coming down from Elpis. Hopefully she won’t be too far from Hollow Point.”

“Mhm,” was Athena’s brief reply.

“Oh, and Scooter had me working on modifying some of the Moon Buggy designs to work on Pandora.”

“...how did that go?” Athena said quietly.

Janey smiled as she answered. It was something.


 

As the two laid in bed together, Janey rubbing circles into Athena’s back, the gladiator finally let out some real information about what happened.

“Her eyes.”

Janey stops her circles for just a moment, before resuming her soothing ministrations. Acknowledging but not pressing.

“They looked just like…” Athena freezes up, unable to say the last word.

“Mine?”

A shake.

“Your sister’s?”

A nod.

“It’s alright hun. I’m with you now. You are safe.”

The next day, after a nights rest, Janey gets the full story. Things got real violent fast.

“As I’m blocking bullets and slaying bandits, I look down, and there’s this kid lying dead on the ground. Must’ve just been scrounging for scrap and gotten caught in the firefight. I couldn’t look away.”

Janey kissed her forehead and gently ran her hand through Athena's hair.

"You did your best, and I am so flippin’ proud of you" Janey whispered fiercely and she pulled Athena closer, trying to smother away her pain.


 

“Mornin’ Scooter!”

“Heeey girl! Athena was wondering if you was here earlier.”

Janey was confused. Athena left before Janey had even gotten up that morning, why would she asking where Janey was? “Oh?”

“Yeeeeah. Thought it was strange, what with you being girlfriends and stuff. And stuff.”

“Huh,” Janey simply added, before going to open the door of her ‘office’. It wasn’t really much better than a broom closet, but she appreciated Scooter giving her the space anyway, to do her thinking. She didn’t get much chance to think today however, as Janey was swamped with hundreds of flowers that poured out of the office as soon as the door was open.

Janey was lovestruck.