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The drink flowed smoothly and quickly and the din was deafening. It wasn’t like Gaige to escape the celebration of a successful wedding and an afterparty, to not see all of the hard work she’d put into things. But something about the whole “new lives together” thing didn’t feel right.

Probably because of the lives they’d lost along the way to get to this point.

She could still remember the first time she’d met Maya on that icy tundra. The redhead hadn’t given her much thought then; her clothing hadn’t afforded her much thought other than wanting to find somewhere warm to be. Funny to think that it was Hammerlock who’d given them that place, providing them with hot tea, warm liquor, hot chocolate (with marshmallows!) to warm them up after their spill in the snow. It had been then that Gaige had finally taken the Siren in, inquisitive eyes danced from tattoos to her blue hair.

“What can you do with those?” she’d nodded at Maya’s bare arm. The Siren had quirked an eyebrow at her, then a smirk.

“I call it phaselock.” Maya had flexed her fist and captured Hammerlock’s hat from atop his head, gently folding the stiff fabric until the monocled man had aired a gasp of worry. It had been a long time since Gaige had laughed that hard since leaving home, and the first since she’d come to Pandora.

Gaige slid her empty margarita glass back to bartender and asked for another. This drink wasn’t as good as what The Lodge had, but it was still something. If she played her cards right, maybe she could get that Ava girl to hook Sanctuary III up with some better booze.

She smelled him before she saw him, that warm sandy, earthy grit that always wafted in when he entered a room. The giant buzzaxe rounded the corner first, and then the cyclopian mask, that lazy brown eye staring right at her. It was like looking back into time, spying Krieg standing there, and something within Gaige’s chest skipped a beat. Here was something she could still count on, a piece of her past that refused to die, even when the odds were against him.

“H-hey, big guy.” Gaige wasn’t sure why she felt so flushed all of a sudden, but she blamed it on the alcohol.

Krieg gave a wave, looked around and, when he found nothing of interest, wandered over. It had been too long since he’d met the mechromancer, much older and much more put together than he remembered. But her spark was still there, that little note of fiery excitement that always encouraged his boiling blood to go against the grain. It was what had made them click so well together all those years ago. But while her edges had smoothed out somewhat, his had remained as sharp as ever. He wasn’t sure they would be able to fit as well as they used to.

“Fireball whiskey smothers the flame, and inferno rages,” he growled, gesturing at the drink in her hand. Gaige glanced down and grinned. It had taken some time for her to make sense of the psycho’s words when they’d first met, but it had gotten easier the more they “talked.”

“Yeah, well, what else can you do?” Gaige threw back the whole thing, knowing it was a mistake, but she needed the alcohol to numb her a bit further from all these feelings that were starting to flood her.

“Duct tape.” Krieg slapped the handle of his buzzaxe, the poor thing afflicted with so much duct tape, it seemed more adhesive than wood and metal.

“Not everything’s that easy to fix, ya know?” Gaige left the glass on a random table and wandered down to Ellie’s garage, expecting him to follow. It was the quietest place she knew, other than the bridge, but that still seemed too open for her.

Krieg growled and shook his head. It wasn’t like Gaige to be so morose, so it was confusing why she was like this instead of her usual chipper self.

Thankfully, there was a nice couch in the garage that Gaige could flop herself onto, an arm draped across her eyes to block out the flashing neon lights on the walls. A lump was slowly starting to form in her throat, one that she hadn’t noticed until Krieg had popped his head around the corner earlier.

“... she should be here…” Her voice wavered, despite her attempts to keep it even. She wasn’t usually the kind to get emotional but the alcohol had taken a toll on the defensive wall she kept around herself.

Krieg hmphed and took a seat by her feet. The whole couch shook as he sat, almost flipping to the left under his weight. It took Gaige by surprise and she grabbed onto the arm rest to keep herself from being thrown off.

“Roses can’t always be roses.”

“I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.”

Krieg grumbled again and dug dull nails against his bald scalp, scratching at the itch of his brain. Getting the proper words out was always like wading through a thick swamp in the middle of a fog: it was impossible to find the right way to dry land. He had to stumble into it on its own, and even then, he couldn’t stand on dry land for very long.

“The thorns cut tongues to keep the petals tipped towards the sun. Wither and die, the thorns live on. Still a rose.”

Gaige stared at him with drunken confusion, but decided that it was the alcohol making things difficult, not Krieg’s choice of words.

“But she’s not here ,” she growled. To that Krieg harumphed; he couldn’t go back and change things, bring back the dead. He knew what had become of Maya and he could do nothing but accept it. It was what she would have wanted for him, not…

“I just miss her, okay? I wanted to see Athenas, see all the great work she did. And I wanted her to be here at this wedding too. She was, like, one of my best friends.” Gaige dragged a fist across her nose, trying her best not to cry. Krieg nudged at her wet cheek a little forcefully, but Gaige drew away. She didn’t know why she was pulling away from his comfort, but one glance told her that it was the wrong choice.

Krieg’s eye rolled away from her in confusion. He thought he was helping, making things better. But he was only making her more upset. Maybe coming here was a bad idea after all. Maybe trying to put together more pieces of his past was just an exercise in futility.

Gaige cursed silently at herself and touched his arm, pulled herself a little closer to him on the couch.

“Look, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have… I’m…” She worried at her lip and looked away, fixed herself so that she sat at his side. “I’m not good with words, okay? The whole emotion thing… I guess that’s something we got in common.”

Another tear slipped and she allowed him to wipe it away this time. Being this close to him gave her something solid to lean on, and his smell reminded her of all the good memories she and the other Vault Hunters used to have together. Then guilt slipped in through the back door, and she clutched Krieg’s hand in her own.

“I’m sorry I left you here, on Pandora,” she sniffed, unable to keep the sudden swell of emotion at bay. “I mean, I didn’t know where I could’ve taken you, but I at least should’ve said bye. Or… something .”

Krieg continued to stare with a single brown eye, looking from her face to their hands intertwined. Gaige’s was small and not soft; her roughness came from tools and constructing wonderful things that made his mind explode; his roughness came from murder and tearing things apart. Maybe the pieces hadn’t changed so much after all.

“I should’ve… done something . Anything…” She brought Krieg’s hand up to her lips and kissed the scarred knuckles, surprised at her own choice of action. Perhaps it was just nostalgia combined with alcohol that was making her head fuzzy, but she wasn’t sure if she could back away from this. Or how. Or if she wanted to.

Gaige continued to push forward, despite Krieg’s size, and looped her arms around his neck, green eyes meeting brown. She’d never seen the face under that mask, knew how important it was to him, and so chose not to force the issue. Being here, with him, brought back that sensation of doing whatever she wanted without any repercussions. No responsibilities, no rules to follow… It was why she was so drawn to him, because they were both vessels of chaos in a universe that sought to tame it.

Gaige moved his arm over her shoulder and shifted herself closer, slipping one leg over his lap to straddle his legs.

“For once… I just want to stop caring… stop thinking…” Gaige chose to close her eyes then and pretend that this was someone else entirely so that she could distance herself from the moment. She needed and escape before this swell of emotions threatened to drown her entirely.

She watched Krieg’s adam’s apple bob in his throat as she shifted his hands to her waist, as she fumbled with the belt buckle as it clanked together in the small space between them. Nevermind the fact that they weren’t exactly somewhere private, but Gaige was sure that they could be done before anyone from upstairs began to miss them.

Krieg watched silently as Gaige extracted his member from his pants and worked her hands along its length. The roughness of one palm sent stinging pleasure up his spine while the chill of her metal prosthetic stiffened his abdominals and roused the tension in his balls. A bead of precum sprung in delight at this new sensation, and Gaige toyed with it with the tip of her finger, slicking it down the sides of his shaft, tracing every raise vein along its surface.

“Fuck…” Metal fingers disappeared beneath her skirt and Krieg heard the telltale sound of slicked digits. A small hum accompanied the sound and he could vaguely see the vibrations rippling through her thighs.

Krieg continued to grow in length now that his dick with slick with more precum, the mechromancer’s hand working him over to fully lubricate him. Not once did his eye leave hers, as he took in the twisting of her expression. Bitten pink lip, the dilation of her pupils, how she seemed to squirm at her own fingering. One large hand grabbed at her breast, squeezed, and the delighted moan that escaped her sent him reeling over the edge.

He grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her closer, his girth sliding quickly inside her wet folds. Krieg’s head reeled back at the sudden pleasure, the encompassing warmth that surrounded his dick. Gaige gasped and bit back an aroused moan, not wanting to alert anyone who might be close enough to hear. Then they sat like that for a while, getting used to the feel of each other. He shifted his hips once or twice to get more comfortable, and Gaige keened in kind.

Maybe they fit together better than they thought.

Krieg growled as he slowly shifted his hips against hers, feeling himself sink that much deeper into her. If this was what she needed to heal, to get over what it was she was going through, then he had no qualms about being this for her.

Gaige pulled her hands out of his grip and grabbed the leather straps across his shoulders, pulling herself even further onto him. Her body quivered for a second as she took it all in, backed up, and then slammed herself against him once more, her stocking-covered thighs chafing against orange fabric. Krieg clawed fingers into her side, working together with her chosen rhythm so that they could get the most out of the shared experience. The other continued to toy at her breast, playfully pinching her nipple every now and again to raise another hushed cry out of her.

Her legs soon wrapped around his waist, pulling the last of his length deep within her. No room left between them, their hot breaths gathered and bathed each other’s skin, prickling it with more lusty sweat. She ran her hands over his head, wanting to bathe his mouth in kisses and knowing she couldn’t. Knowing that if she could , his mouth would ravage hers in pain and heat, that her mind would have an ache of a different kind.

She wanted to drown herself in this moment, to forget, but she didn’t want to lose herself to him . To anyone. That would mean making connections that would ultimately break.

Gaige gasped when Krieg suddenly stood, his hands under her ass to keep her suspended on him. His chest heaved against hers and beads of sweat ran down his chest, soaking into the fabric of her shirt and skirt. She didn’t dare to ask where they were going; she didn’t have the air to, anyway, but smiled a little when he moved them behind a pair of the large tyres propped up in one corner. At least if someone else walked in, the pair could quietly hide there until they left.

Pressing her up against the wall gave Krieg all the leverage he needed to really work himself into her. Their bodies slapped together in heat and moisture from their shared fluids, his wet pink lips parting for him with each thrust of his hips. Idle hands gripped and squeezed at the flesh of her ass, pulled them apart so that he could feel how eager she was for him.

“I like it there too,” she whispered, her cheeks flushed hot and burning, her hands shifting more of the skirt out of the way.

In went one middle finger, up to the first digit, and it burned hot and needing. It took all Gaige had not to cry out in ecstasy to not squirm and come right then and there. She bit down on her shirt to keep herself quiet as she twitched and flexed her muscles around that probing knuckle.

Krieg worked his hips in tandem with his fingering, alternating their exits and entries so that he could further his partner’s pleasure. His own eyes shut tight against the sensations that were stirring behind his navel, the tightness of his loins. A voice in the back of his head chastised him for enjoying this when he should be mourning, or at least anywhere else but here. And yet, he couldn’t pull himself away. She needed this, he told that voice, and he was satisfied to provide it for her.

Moist red hair stuck to the wall, almost like the crude smattering of blood, as he continued to work her over, watching her face contort with pleasure and her eyelids fluttered close. He could tell from her breathing and the pitch of her keening that she was close, that this would all come spilling down to a tumultuous end where they would both be ruined because of it. Never to speak of it again.

And he was fine with that. Her? He couldn’t be sure how she would handle this.

Gaige finally tipped over the edge in a silent, gasping exhale that made her go rigid against him, all of her muscles taut against the explosion going on in her brain. Still, he continued to fuck her, each thrust bring new heights to each orgasmic wave that she rode, until she could ride no longer. Pressed against him, her head on his shoulder, she listened to the continued wet slap of his dick in her dripping fluids, listened to and felt each heaving breath of his against her own chest.

She could handle this. She could handle anything. She was Gaige the Fucking Mechromancer, goddamit.

His thrusts soon grew in intensity, though not in speed, and she could tell it would soon be his turn. Heat escaped from beneath his mask as his breathing grew more laboured too. Abs tense, his grip on her ass tightened, the slick finger slipping out to better his grip, until he pressed himself deep within her. Krieg braced against her and the wall, sandwiching her in between, as he emptied himself inside her, filling her up until he began to drip out of her. It ran down his pants, dripped onto his boots, formed a congealed, cooling puddle on the floor. Extracting himself brought collective sighs from both parties, and even more ribbons of cum began to leak from her swollen vagina.

“Ha… I guess you got a lot in ya…” He gently lowered Gaige to her feet, but she maintained a grip on him to stop herself from falling over. She was still riding that high, and couldn’t help but slip her hand around his waist, watching as even more beads of seminal fluid continued to run down his shaft.

“I should… uh… probably get a towel to clean up or something. Or at least something to wipe off your pants with.”

Krieg had no words to say; his ears were ringing from the pleasure still consuming him. When was the last time he’d done this with another human being?

“Or… you know… I could do it myself…”

A fresh wave of euphoria grabbed Krieg by the ears when he suddenly felt her tongue bathing the head of his dick, cleaning up the mess he’d made on himself. His knees almost gave out, and he had to steady himself against the wall as she parted her lips and took the rest of him down her throat.

Maybe she could lose herself for a little longer. Just until she was done taking care of this mess. Might as well make the most of it, right?