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A New Routine

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It was pure routine that woke Zer0 up from a slumber he didn’t realize he had fallen into. 

No memory came to mind of unlocking the front door, deactivating the security alarms in the house, making his way to the bedroom, reactivating said security alarms, and falling asleep in the comforts of his and Athena’s shared bed. However, as he became more aware of his surroundings, he felt the hard pillow against the side of his face, the bullymong fur bed sheets pulled up to his shoulders, and a scent he had become all too familiar with - gunpowder and citrus - invade his nostrils. Inhaling deeply, he cracked open an eye.

Athena ran her nails across his scalp and her lips curled upwards in a small smile, one which he reciprocated. Despite the dim light, his eyes settled on the right side of her face, where a long, jagged scar now rested on her jawline. She seemed to notice this because she tugged his hair slightly, encouraging him to lift his gaze back to her eyes. 

“That’s the past,” she reassured.

Zer0 blinked and exhaled, frowning, but nodding nonetheless. “I know it’s the past/ I still don’t like seeing it/ I think of “What ifs…?”.”

Athena leaned down and pecked the corner of his mouth. “What do you think of?”

“What if I was there ?/ What if I had been quicker ?/ What if I stopped her?”

“You can’t change the past, Zer0,” she buried her head between his shoulder and neck, “only the future.”

Zer0 mulled over her words for a few seconds before nodding. His wife was right - she usually was about these kinds of things. “Fine.”

“Come on, get up.” Athena rolled off him and sat at the edge of the bed, turning to look at him. “You need to shower and shave.”

He held back a laugh and stretched his legs under the bed sheets, groaning in satisfaction as the bones in his lower back and tailbone popped. Throwing the sheets off his body, he swung his legs over the side of the bed, and ran a hand over his cheek, feeling the obvious stubble that had grown there from not shaving the past couple days. Rhys had asked him to pull too many shifts too quickly, and he didn’t have the chance to take care of basic hygiene. Raising his arms above his head, he rolled his neck in time with the sound of more bones popping and muscles stretching.

A screech caught his attention, and he turned his head towards the direction of the sound. Thanatos stood on his hind legs in the doorway of the bedroom, snapping his mouth open and shut towards Athena. His tail smacked the chrome floor, and Zer0 couldn’t help but notice half of his broadleaf tailfin was slice off, leaving it disproportionate. 

“Good morning, Than,” Athena greeted, reaching down to pick up the small stalker with one arm. “Hungry?”

Thanatos rubbed his nose against her face and purred. She simply chuckled and hefted him further up her body, walking out the room.

Zer0 smiled at his dysfunctional family, forced out of their previous home by the Children of the Vault. It left them with scars. 

It left them to accept Rhys’ offer to work for the Atlas Corporation on Promethea. 

It left them closer than ever before.