Janey tramps into the room like she has just won a million bucks. To her, she might as well have—because in her arms cradled against her chest is a woman that most men would faint at the very sight of: Athena. Her dark hair is perfectly coiffed (if not a little windswept), face blemish free, and her white dress has somehow remained devoid of any stains. She was perfect, and so, so beautiful.
She was also already fumbling with the tie around Janey's neck, a broad and promising half-smirk half-smile adorning her lips.
The junker, as cheeky as ever, pretends to remain oblivious to the other woman's intentions, instead surveying the room that they had secured months and months before the wedding. Instead of the usual ramshackle arrangements Pandoran and Elpis natives were so accustomed to, it really resembled a movie set—new, crisp furniture, ambient lighting, even a cute little screen displaying a virtual fireplace.
"Really love what Moxxi's done with the place," she began brightly, carrying Athena further into the premises and closing the door with her foot. A pair of warm lips on Janey's neck was her only response, punctuating the gesture with a sharp tug on the half-undone tie. The blonde briefly sees her life flash before her eyes as the vault hunter essentially uses her as a set of monkey bars—all limbs and appendages twisting about before strong legs have hooked tightly around Janey's waist.
Athena stares at her dead in the eyes before leaning back a little to survey their surroundings, a small, curt nod signifying her resounding approval.
"I like it," she says, then turns back and rests her forehead against Janey's. "But I love you."
That's how it should have been, at least.
Janey's carrying the familiar weight of Athena in a bridal style, but not in the circumstances she would have preferred, instead executing leaps and bounds across the rough and haggard surface of Elpis. No Oz meant no oxygen which meant a very cold and suffocating vault hunter, thus leaving it to the greatest junker in the world to kick names and take ass—or however it went.
Bizarrely, this hadn't happened the last time she had crashed on Elpis. Small deviations were normal between each loop, but Janey had no idea what would happen if the vault hunter—if Athena—died before even taking Concordia for Jack. Last time, Athena hadn't even encountered Zarpedon before she had successfully destroyed Elpis.
It was terrifying seeing the world end like that.
Maybe this time will be different, she told herself. Janey reached back and unhooked the Oz kit, immediately feeling the vacuum effect as she attached it to Athena's suit instead. Teeth chattering and breath rapidly depleting, she pushed off a rock cliff towards the nearest oxygen-rich fissure. She took a breath as soon as she landed, taking the opportunity to sort out her options.
Athena won't know you when she wakes up, she reminds herself.
No. She would be stony and guarded and would only speak if spoken to—maybe not even then. Athena would be analyzing her and her home and everything in her vicinity like she should be. Janey—Elpis, Pandora, everyone—needed her to be Athena the gladiator this time—not Athena Springs, as she had been in another life.
She knew she needed Athena to win this—whatever this was.
When Athena wakes up a few days later, Janey is already prepared. She gives a small wave as the vault hunter stands in the doorway (so typical of her during their first meetings).
"Glad to see you're up, vault hunter. I've got your armour all fixed up over here," she says, motioning to the table where it's all laid out. She has done this a million times. Every groove, crevice, crack and scrape on the armour was practically moulded to her hands. Athena nods, already on edge.
"I'm Janey Springs," the junker continues, stepping forward and holding out a hand. She wiggles her fingers a little and grins.
The vault hunter doesn't move a muscle, only regards her hand like a vaguely interesting speck of dust.
"Athena," she states, and says nothing more.
I know, Janey thinks, I know everything about you.