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FangRX
 Posted: May 17 2017, 01:40 PM
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Goldar
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So I thought I'd just make one thread with everything I've written that's just a one-shot or just a couple of quick chapters instead of cluttering up the section with smaller fics. Anything I write and post on my ff.net profile I'll post here. So sporadic updates throughout the year.

Batman: Arkham Knight--It Was Over:

It was over. The entire world knew that Bruce Wayne and Batman were the same man now. Thanks to Scarecrow making Jim Gordon unmask him on television, Bruce knew everything was over. Flying down to Panessa Studios and taking the elevator down to the base within it, Bruce let his cowl hit the ground as he took it off, sitting in a chair and sighing to himself, feeling worn out and rundown after the long night dealing with the Arkham Knight and Scarecrow.

He put his head in his hands at the computer, looking at his reflection. "It's for the best," he muttered. "Barbara, Tim, Dick....they can do this without me."

"Talkin' to yourself again, Bats?" the shrill voice of Harley Quinn asked, Bruce turning and staring at her. "Geeze, you look like crap."

"Thank you for the observation," Bruce said. He walked over and unlocked the cell, stepping back as the door opened. "Please get out."

Harley slid off of the cot she was on, narrowing her eyes as she looked at Bruce, walking out slowly. "You ain't pullin' a trick are you, Bats?" she asked. "You ain't gonna Batarang me as I walk out?"

"No," Bruce said, sitting down again and sighing. "I'm done, Harley...."

"What'd you mean, done? You lose your mind?" Harley asked, grabbing a second chair. "I ain't leavin' until we got this sorted, Bats. What happened out there tonight?"

Bruce knew there was no use, and he described everything that happened since locking Harley in the cell, his hands clenched the entire time. "Now I've got nothing left. Everyone knows that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same man, and the people I care for outside of this are going to be targetted now."

Harley nodded, her arms folded across her chest. "Tell me somethin'. How'd you convince Red to help you?" she asked. "Thought she didn't like us meatbags?"

"Not all of us," Bruce said. "Her plants were going to die as well. We found two ancient roots under GOtham City, and she brought them to the surface to stop the Cloudburst. The second one....the strain ws too much on her. I went to check on her, catching her as she fell out. The...the last thing she whispered was "Nature always wins." before she faded away..."

"Red.....she's dead?" Harley asked, her hands clenching as she stood up and swung the chair she was on at Bruce, hitting him across the chest and knocking him out of the chair, her hands shaking. "You killed her?!"

Bruce looked down as he slowly stood up. "If that's what you want to think of it as," he whispered. "I didn't mean it to happen, Harley. I asked her for help and she gave her help. Her last act was saving Gotham City."

"You son of a bitch!" Harley screamed, lunging at Bruce and tackling him to the ground, slamming punch after punch into him, grabbing whatever she could to beat him with. After ten minutes she finally stopped, falling to the ground and crying as she covered her face. "You took them both away from me...."

Bruce stood up slowly, looking down at Harley. "I'm sorry, Harley. I'm truly sorry for everything. I'm sorry Joker manipulated you back in Blackgate, making you into this. I'm so sorry for everything that's happened to you," he whispered. "And I'm so sorry for taking them both away from you..."

Harley stood up, punching Bruce in the mouth one last time. "No, not yet you're not. You won't ever truly know how sorry you are for everything! You took my Mr. J away from me! You took Pammy away from me! I should kill you where you stand, Bruce!"

"Then why don't you?" Bruce asked, looking at Harley as he wiped a bit of blood from his lip. "I'm standing right here, Harley. Do it if you think you can." He took his utility belt off and threw it on the floor in front of Harley, standing in the middle of the room. "Explosive gel, Batarangs, Remote Electrical Gun, Smoke pellets so I won't see you coming, Batclaw to rip my throat out, line launcher to run me through and string me up on the wall. Pick something and do it then if you've got the guts."

Harley picked the belt up, her hands shaking as she looked at it. After a long few minutes, she dropped it back on the ground. "Take me there," she whispered. "Please, Bruce....lemme say goodbye to her....just this one thing..."

Bruce nodded, clipping his belt back on and walking with Harley out of the room to the elevator, leading her outside. He summoned the Batmobile with the remote function, the canopy opening as it stopped. "Get in," he said, his cowl securing back around his head before he got in after her. He drove in silence to the Miagani Botanical Gardens, stopping under the giant plant. "We're here." He got out and helped Harley out, the Clown Queen of Crime looking up at the plant.

"Jeeze, Red," she whispered. "How do we get up there?"

"This way," Bruce said, picking Harley up and grappling up to the roof, landing beside the 'door' that Ivy'd made inside of the plant to use her. He let Harley go, watching her run over to the plant growing out of what remained of Ivy's old Arkham Asylum shirt.

Harley knelt down, closing her eyes and touching the plant lightly. "Hi, Red," she whispered. "Hope you're ok wherever you are. I'm so sorry this happened to you, sweetie...." She started crying again, her tears hitting the petals on the plant as they fell.

Bruce sighed softly, walking over and putting his hand on Harley's shoulder. He knelt beside her, looking at the plant. "If you hadn't been in the City and if her plants hadn't been threatened by Scarecrow and Jason...I don't think she would have helped us, Harley. She did more for this City tonight then I did, and I can't thank her for helping me," he whispered. "She's the real hero tonight, not me."

"She was always the hero to me," Harley whispered, touching the plant lightly. "Can I stay here? PLease?"

Bruce nodded softly. "I'll send one of the others to find you later," he whispered, giving Harley's hand a squeeze before he walked over and dropped off of the roof, landing beside the Batmobile again. "Alfred."

"Yes, Master Bruce?

"Send the Batwing to GCPD. I'm ending this now," Bruce said. "Knightfall Protocol."

"Yes, sir," Alfred said, looking at the computer and knowing better then to question Bruce. "Authorization required, Sir."

"Martha," Bruce whispered.

"Knightfall activated, Master Bruce," Alfred said. "I will await your return."

Bruce returned to GCPD, the Batwing landing on the street. The oficers poured outside, Cash carrying Barbara since her wheelchair was gone. He got out of the Batmobile and walked over, taking Barbara's hand softly. "Thank you for everything, Barbara," he whispered, hugging her softly.

"You're welcome, Bruce," Barbara whispered, leaning up and kissing his cheek softly, tears in her eyes. "We'll keep Gotham safe."

"I know," Bruce whispered. "After tonight, there'll be something in the mail for you and Tim for the wedding. My last gift to you two. One's on it's way to Dick in Bludhaven, and...Jason's is under his headstone on Wayne Manor property."

Barbara nodded. "I'll find him and tell him," she whispered. "Goodbye, Bruce."

"Goodbye, Barbara," Bruce said, looking at the officers. "Aaron--"

"Save it, Batman," Cash said, smiling softly. "You did what you did for the City, and we can't forget that. I'd salute you, but I've got my hands full."

"Everyone says that about me," Barbara said with a grin, making Bruce chuckle softly.

"You don't have to," Bruce said, walking back to the Batmobile and driving it into the carrier under the Batwing, moving up to the cockpit and taking off for Wayne Manor and the final goodbyes.

After arriving at the Manor, Bruce dropped out of the Batwing inside of the gates, hearing the reporters and chatter from behind himself. He undid the cowl for the last time, letting it fall to the ground before he walked into the Manor, seeing Alfred standing inside of the door like always.

"Welcome home, Master Bruce," the old butler said.

"Goodbye, Alfred," Bruce said, hugging his oldest friend for the first time since his parents deaths so many years before. "Knightfall Protocol. Final activation. Bruce Wayne 51939#27."

Outside, the reporters watched as the Manor exploded, taking Bruce and Alfred with it, screaming filling the air as they scrambled to avoid the debris from the blast, Vicki Vale the only one not running away as she stood her ground, staring at the smoldering remains of the Manor.

"Goodbye, Bruce," she whispered.

As the clouds settled over the rising Gotham City sun after the long Halloween night, the remains of the Manor were finally seen in a horrific state, the realization that Batman and Bruce Wayne were dead settling into the chilly morning. It was over.
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FangRX
 Posted: May 17 2017, 01:41 PM
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Goldar
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This is based around my second playthrough of Mass Effect 3 with my imported Shepard from ME1 and 2.

Mass Effect: After The End

The war was over. THe Reapers had been destroyed. Most of the Mass Relays were beyond repair, and even if they did start working again, who knew how long it'd be before the next conflict broke out. The crew of the Normandy, led at the moment by Dr. Liara T'soni, stood in front of the rememberance wall in the crew deck, the Asari doctor holding Commander Shepard's plaque in her hands.

She looked at the wall and sighed, closing her eyes and remembering the last conversation she'd had with Shepard. "I love you, Shepard." she'd whispered, standing close to the people she'd formed such a deep bond with over the years. She tightened her hand on the plaque and looked at the wall.

"She isn't dead," she whispered. "I'd know it. Joker, how quickly can you have the Normandy running again?"

"Couple days with everyone's help," Joker said, looking at Liara. "Why?"

"We're going back to Earth," Liara said. "To the site of the Crucible wreckage."

After helping get the ship in working order, the Normandy took off from the lush jungle world they'd landed on after the Relay's exploded, beginning the long journey back to Earth. Several weeks later, the Normandy docked in a slowly rebuilding London, Liara and Garrus leading the way off of the ship. Liara made her way through the docking bay, heading for the head of security.

"Excuse me!" she hollered, catching the head before he walked off. "I'm sorry, I'm looking for some information. What happened to the rubble that was cleared from the Cruicible and Citadel, and where there any survivors?"

"The rubble was cleared off and taken around the world for disposal," the security head said, looking at his omnitool and scrolling through a list of people. "THere was one survivor. Shepard, J. Commander of the Normandy SR-2. She was taken to Westworld Memorial, other side of the city."

"Thank you," Liara said, looking at Garrus. "I knew she was alive, Garrus."

"Then go," the Turian said with a smile. "Move it, Doctor."

Liara nodded, running out and hailing a cab, heading for the hospital. Upon arriving, she demanded to know where SHepard's room was, but was turned away. Getting angry, Liara slammed her hand down on the desk hard enough that it made the hallway fall silent.

"LIsten to me, you little bitch," the Asari doctor snarled, grabbing the nurse by the scrubs and getting in her face. "You tell me where Jane Shepard, Commander of the Normandy SR-2, and the WOMAN THAT SAVED THE DAMNED UNIVERSE is or I will rip you apart one molecule at a time until I'm told!"

"Floor eighteen! Room thirty-seven!" the nurse finally admitted, getting dropped down into her chair again.

"Thank you," Liara said, running down to catch the elevator. She hit the button for the eighteenth floor, tapping her fist nervously against the wall as she waited for the elevator to reach the room. After what felt like an eternity--not an easy feat for an Asari--the elevator finally dinged and Liara stepped out, jogging down the hall. "Commander Shepard's room, please." She got directed to the room, walking down the hall and rubbing her arms before she knocked on the door, seeing Shepard sleeping. She walked over and sat beside the bed, reaching out and taking her hand. "You asshole...don't ever do that again..."


Shepard opened her eyes softly, having felt Liara's hand in hers. "Love you too, Liara," she whispered, blinking away the blurry vision and smiling softly. She sat up softly, adjusting the pillow to be behind her back. "They took the breathing tube out a week ago. Still won't let me leave. Say I'm not ready yet. Bullshit. I feel fine."

"Shepard, you had the Crucible fall on top of you. There was a dead Reaper on top of it," Liara said. She sighed softly, looking at Shepard. "What happened? After you sent Javik and me onto the ship. When the explosion happened."

Shepard sighed, looking out of the window. "When the explosion happened, I got knocked back pretty hard. Everything hurt. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to just limp my ass forward. I could barely lift my gun. I made it to the beam...wound up on the Citadel. Anderson was there in a different part and we met up near the console. I tried to activate it but at the time it wasn't working. The Illusive Man came in, started rambling about how the Reapers were going to save everything, how he was going to control them. But....he was different. Remember how when we were caught in the archive vault Brooks said he was Indoctrinated? I didn't want to believe it at the time but she was right. He was starting to look like a Husk," she said. She looked back at Liara and leaned her head back. "To prove a point, i guess, he ended up shooting Anderson in the stomach. I managed to convince him to focus on what he was doing, and when he saw what was going on, he shot himself in the head. I wanted to do that." She stopped talking, her hands clenched.

"Shepard," Liara whispered, putting her hand on Shepard's. "What happened next?"

Shepard sighed and looked at Liara. "Anderson died. I was talking to him and next thing I know he's not answering me anymore. I checked for a pulse and he wasn't there anymore. I forced myself up, trying to find a way to activate the Crucible but it didn't start. Next thing I knew I was in a room with three options for how to end the war with this little shit of a hologram that took the look of a kid I couldn't save when the first Reaper hit Earth. He said I had to choose. Destroy the Reapers and synthetics, Control them, or Sythesize organics and synthetics," she said. She bit her lip and sighed softly, staring down again. "I limped my ass to the far side where I could destroy them. I knew that...by choosing that option I was also killing EDI, and God did that thought hurt. I thought about turning around so many times and going to one of the other platforms. But then I thought of everyone that's been killed by those things and everything else in the last years. The Protheans, Thessia, Zaeed, Jack, the Geth, Legion, the Rachni, Mordin...I started shooting the console, knowing it was the only way to stop everything. When it exploded, the blast sent me flying. I don't remember anything that happened after that until I woke up under the rubble."

Liara nodded softly. "When the Crucible was destroyed by the blast, Joker pushed the Normandy as hard as he could to outrun the blast that was destroying all of the Relays. We ended up on a jungle planet. Shepard, it was beautiful. We didn't know about EDI until after going back inside and starting to clean up. Tali found her under some broken beams and part of the Galaxy Map console in the CIC," she said.

"He'll probably hate me after I explain this," Shepard said.

"I don't think he will," Liara said. "He's been with you the longest, hasn't he? If you explain what happened, he'll understand, Shepard."

A week later, Shepard was released from the hospital and went right back to the Normandy where she got swarmed by nearly everyone in one shot, Tali and Garrus being the foremost of the crowd. After recounting the story for everyone in one shot around the table in the mess hall, Shepard watched Joker walk out, feeling her heart sink into her stomach. She got up and walked after him, catching him in the observation deck.

"Joker?" she asked.

"Did you even think about how doing that would effect us around here, Shepard? How it'd feel to lose EDI? Christ, she was our friend. She might have been Cerberus, but she was still part of the Normandy and part of the crew," Joker said, looking at Shepard over his shoulder. "If it had have been me, I wouldn't have caused you to lose the person you'd loved, Shepard."

"Joker--"

"Save it. Just leave me alone," Joker said, staring out at the city.

Shepard nodded softly, walking out and heading to hte elevator, going up to the Captain's Cabin and shutting the door, sitting on her bed. She looked over at a picture on the table beside the bed, picking it up and sighing softly. "The last time we were all together," she muttered. "After the bullshit with my clone...Goddamn it!" She flung the picture and started throwing whatever she could, shattering the glass on her desk and overturning the bed before she finally sank to the floor, her hands shaking.

Liara sighed as she walked into Shepard's room, seeing the mess around the room, Shepard sitting against the empty fish tank with cut and bloody hands and looking depressed and angry all at once. "Come on," she said, walking over and taking Shepard's hands, standing her up. She led Shepard out of the room and back downstairs, heading for her room near the main battery. "Tomorrow, we're leaving. You need to get away, and you can't distance yourself from this by sitting on the Normandy." She pushed Shepard down onto her bed lightly, grabbing a medigel and applying it to Shepard's hands, sitting beside her girlfriend. "Just give it time. PLease?"

Shepard nodded, sighing as she leaned against Liara. "I'm sorry," she whispered.

"You don't have to apologize for anything," Liara whispered, wrapping her arms around Shepard and kissing her cheek softly. "You did what you thought was right, Shepard. Please don't apologize."
_________________________

As time went on, Shepard slowly started forgetting about the Reapers and the war as most people on the streets stopped coming up to her and wanting details and information all the time. As everyone moved on with their now war-less lives, Shepard and Liara settled down on Thessia to try and live semi-normal lives.

She walked out of the house and leaned against the wall, watching the sun rising over the city. Shepard sighed to herself as she folded her arms, smiling a bit. "It's peaceful. I like that," she said. "Now if only I didn't have to go in and work today."

"You could always say you're sick and stay home," Liara said as she walked up behind Shepard, wrapping her arms around her wife's waist, resting her chin on her shoulder. "Besides, I thought I tired you out last night?"

Shepard laughed softly, putting her hand on Liara's. "You did. But as much as I'd rather stay home today, I can't. I've got that class on weapon handling at the Academy, remember? And you've got to go in and finish working on the updates for Glyph to get that line ready for shipping, remember?"

"You take the fun out of life," Liara said with a smile, kissing Shepard softly. "But I love you anyway. Don't forget that we're going to the cliffs tonight for the meteor shower."

"I didn't forget," Shepard said with a smile. "And next week we're going to Rannoch for Tali and Garrus' wedding."

"I'm looking forward to it," Liara said. "Come on, Shepard. Let's start our day right."

"What, one more romp before we have to go to work?" Shepard asked with a smirk.

"Perhaps," Liara said, pulling away from Shepard and walking back into the house with a grin on her face.

"You'll be the death of me," Shepard laughed, walking back in and shutting the door.

Shepard knew that the nightmares would stop and the war would be forgotten. She just had to keep looking on the brightside of things and hope for the best as time went on, and with Liara at her side, she knew it'd be easier to do.
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FangRX
 Posted: May 17 2017, 01:44 PM
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Goldar
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This one's based around my intial playthrough of ME3. You'll see why as you read.

Mass Effect: White Picket Fences

Shepard could not help the smile on her face as she watched Samantha outside in the garden. Lifting up their youngest daughter, she walked outside as Samantha stood up and turned around.

"Jane," she said, smiling. "I didn't hear you come out." She kissed her wife and smiled, tapping her daughter's nose.

"Because I'm a ninja," Shepard teased with a smile.

"Bullshit," Samantha laughed, making her daughter giggle. "I have never seen you be stealthy in six years. Not a single time during the Reapers were you ever a ninja."

"Good point," Shepard laughed. She looked behind Samantha and smiled. "You got the flowers in?"

Samantha nodded and smiled, intertwining her hand and Shepard's as she turned around and looked at the half-finished garden. "Mmmhm. Liara sent us a bundle from Thessia as well as the soil to grow them, and Garrus sent us some from Palaven. Grunt sent a box of dirt with a note saying "Flowers are ridiculous. Have some dirt anyway!" We still haven't gotten the ones from Tali yet, but they should be here in a few days," Samantha said with a smile, wrapping her arm around Shepard's waist and leaning her head against her wife's shoulder. "Oh. I also got a message from Ashley and Oriana. Ashley's going to bring her sister's favorite flowers, and Oriana's bringing a genetically modified species for us that can grow in any soil, so we can put the box of dirt from Tuchunka to use instead of it just sitting on the shelf."

Shepard smiled softly. "Alright. It'll be good to see them again," she said. She bounced her daughter lightly and gave Samantha's hand a squeeze. She looked around the small plot of land, and she furrowed her eyebrows. "Hmm..."

"Oh, God. You've got that crinkled nose happening," Samantha said. "Jane? What are you thinking?"

"The fence," Shepard said. "You told me once that you wanted a white picket fence to keep your garden and your family in. Remember?"


"Oh my God. You remembered that?" Samantha asked, laughing softly. "I thought you'd have forgotten."

"Like hell I'd forget that," Shepard said with a smile. "That was something that you told me you wanted a long time ago. I just haven't been able to get to it with being the Alliance's lapdog when it comes to still cleaning up after the Reaper invasion seven years ago. I'll go and get the stuff so I can work on the fence first thing in the morning, and I'll start working on it when I get home."

"Jane, you don't have to," Samantha said with a small smile. "It doesn't have to be done right away."

"Bullshit," Shepard said. "Samantha, I told you a long time ago that I'd make sure you had your house on a hill with a white picket fence and your garden. You've got the house on the hill with your family and your very beautiful garden. All that's missing is the fence."

Samantha smiled, leaning up and kissing Shepard softly. "Thank you," she whispered. She reached over and took their daughter, kissing her cheek. "Come on, Kelly. It's time for lunch." She walked into the house, Shepard close behind. Setting Kelly in her high chair, she set off to work in the kitchen, feeling Shepard's eyes on her the entire time. "You're staring."

"Of course I am," Shepard said with a smirk. "Why shouldn't I stare at one of the most beautiful women in the Galaxy as she bends over getting in the low cabinet?"

"Dear God," Samantha giggled, shaking her head. "You could have had anyone you wanted both on the Normandy and on Earth or any of the planets we visited. Why me?"

Shepard folded her arms and looked at Samantha as she went back to work, thinking about her answer. "Because...out of everyone I've met and had a relationship with over my years in the Alliance and before, you were the one that brought out the most humanity in me, Samantha. Yes, I loved Liara and Garrus during our brief times, but Liara was there helping me with Sovereign and Saren, and Garrus was the one that I trusted most during the Collectors. You...you helped me even after the two of them found me in the wreckage of the Crucible in London. You helped me push the nightmares away, you kept me going when I wanted to give up. You brought out something in me that I thought I'd lost a long time ago after Cerberus brought me back to life. You gave me my humanity back, Sam."

Samantha smiled softly, setting a skillet on the stove before she walked around the counter and wrapped her arms around Shepard's neck, looking up at her wife before she kissed her again. "Well, I'm glad that in the grand love life of Commander Shepard, I'm the one that won her heart," she said, pulling herself closer to Shepard. "You gave me something, too, Jane."

"I did?" Shepard asked, her arms sliding around Samantha and holding her tightly. "What?"

"My dream," Samantha whispered, closing her eyes. "Two beautiful girls, a beautiful house, a beautiful view. Everything I have right now is perfect. Being with you is what makes it all perfect. Because I know that no matter what happens, you're going to be the one that makes me smile when something's wrong."

Shepard just closed her eyes and nodded, rubbing Samantha's back and feeling her shiver. She smiled and kissed Samantha's shoulder, squeezing her wife softly. "I'm glad you've got everything you want, Sam. I really am," she whispered. "I want you to keep this dream as long as you can, and I'll do everything I can to keep it perfect."

"Then don't do anything else," Samantha said, looking up at Shepard and putting her hand on her wife's cheek. "It's already perfect as it is. Don't change anything."

"I'm still making the fence how you want it," Shepard said with a smile.

"Dear God, give up the fence," Samantha laughed. "I swear, you're never going to let that go until you've got it right, are you?"

"Hell no. You wanted it a specific way, you're gonna get it the way you want," Shepard smirked. "And the only way you'll get me to leave it alone is to tie my hands where I can't pick up a hammer."

Samantha just smirked, a devilish glimmer in her eye that told Shepard she was in trouble. "Tying you up so that you can't use your hands? Well, I'll have to put my knot tying to work tonight then," she said, slinking back into the kitchen and shaking her hips just a bit more then she usually would. She grinned as she heard Shepard groan, realizing the trap she'd fallen into.

"Sounds like fun," Shepard said with a smile, sitting down at the counter and watching Samantha. "You're still getting the fence."

"Oh my God!" Samantha laughed, making Shepard laugh as well. "You're terrible."

"You love me anyway," Shepard said, crossing her arms on the counter. "You love me anyway, Samantha."
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FangRX
 Posted: May 17 2017, 01:53 PM
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Goldar
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THis one's based around my second Saints Row 3 run where you go after Killbane instead of saving your friends on Magarac Island. This one's rated a bit closer to "R" with the language later on.

Saints Row: How To Heal

Sitting alone in the penthouse kitchen of the Safeword Club, the Boss of the Third Street Saints threw her empty beer bottle across the room and caused it to shatter, cracking open another as she stared at the picture of herself, Shaundi, and Johnny Gat just a few months before that hung on the fridge, all three laughing with drinks in hand. It had been a month since she'd declared Steelport foreign soil to Monica Hughes and the rest of the world on television after killing Cyrus Temple, and there were wounds she still couldn't get to heal.

"Fuck this," the Boss sighed, getting up and walking out of the kitchen before she sank onto the couch, growling as she felt something jabbing her in the back. She moved and reached into the couch, snickering to herself. "Kinzie, you left your dildo bat." SHe set it on the coffee table and shook her head, sending a text to Kinzie to come by and pick up her weapon-slash-sex toy before she got up and headed to the bedroom, throwing her phone on the bed before she stripped down and headed to the bathroom.

Inside the shower, she looked down at the star tattoo on her hand, having gotten in the day of Shaundi's funeral as they laid her, Viola, and Burt to rest. The hot water cascaded down her back, and instead of feeling better, the Boss just felt worse. SInking down to the floor, she pressed her back against the cold wall, drawing her knees up as she remembered the phone call from Pierce that damned day.

"Did you kill the son of a bitch?" Pierce asked, talking about Eddie "Killbane" Pryor who's plane she'd blown to hell before beating the Luchadore with her bare hands before she snapped his neck.

"Yeah..." she had said, looking around at the wreckage of the plane and several cars with charring corpses in them.

"Was it worth it?" Pierce's voice asked, his tone upset and hurting. He'd watched Magarac Island blow up, and he had known which path the Boss had taken.

She couldn't answer him. Her arm lowered, the phone just falling out of her hand. She picked it up before she took off walking away from the wreckage, heading to the one place she could think of, and that was Kinzie's warehouse, just a few miles away.

"No, Pierce, it wasn't worth it," the Boss whispered, the slew of emotions she'd held in since Johnny's death at Phillipe Loren's hand on that damned plane breaking free. "It wasn't worth it...I fucked up. I should have let Killbane go and gone after Shaundi..." She shut off the shower and wrapped the towel around herself, heading back into the bedroom as her phone rang. She answered it and set it on the nightstand. "Pierce?"

"What're you doin', Boss?" Pierce asked, his words slurred a bit. "We're missin' you down here at the Broken Shillelagh. Oleg, Birk, Kinzie, everyone's down here but you. Where you at?"

"I'm staying in tonight, Pierce. And it sounds like you've been drinking a while," the Boss said, cracking a small smile as she got dressed. "I don't much feel like being out in public tonight. I've just been thinking--"

"Yeah, that's dangerous as fuck for you to be doin'," Pierce said, and the Boss could swear he was rolling his eyes again.

"Fuck you, Pierce," she growled, shaking her head. "I've been thinking about Shaundi and everyone we've lost, that's all. I still...I still can't justify what I did by going after Killbane instead of Kia on Magarac Island. I know you're still pretty pissed off at me for that."

"You're damned right I am, Boss. Shaundi's been your best girl and your best friend since we left Stilwater. You fuckin' let her die and for what? Some washed out Luchadore you'd only known a few weeks? What the fuck were you thinking?" Pierce asked, setting his beer down. "You can't answer that, can you?"

"No, Pierce! I can't!" the Boss yelled, kicking the door and breaking it off of the hinges. "I can't fucking answer that! If I could, I wouldn't be thinking about eating my fucking gun so I could see her and Gat again! But no, all you see is your next fucking Saints Flow shoot and the next target and waiting for my next orders. I'm sitting in Safeword and thinking about putting my fucking gun in my mouth, Pierce! But you're too busy drinking your fucking problems away and probably getting sucked off under the table to really fucking care! Go to Hell, Pierce!" She hung up on him and threw the phone across the room, watching it sail through the air and shatter on the wall in the hallway.
_________________________________

Across town at the Broken Shillelagh, Pierce blinked as he heard the line go dead. In all of his years working with the Boss, he'd never heard her snap or lose her temper like that at any of them in the gang. He set his beer down and picked up his phone again, starting to dial the Boss once more before he saw Oleg and Kinzie grabbing their things.

"Where the hell ya'll goin'?" Pierce asked. "We're next on the kareoke machine! I already put our song in!"

"We need to be there for the Boss," Kinzie said as she turned around and glared at Pierce, her eyes hard. "After she killed Killbane that day, Pierce, do you know where she fucking went? She came to my warehouse. I've never see her like she was. She looked haunted, and I took her guns away from her because I was scared for her. YOu've never seen her vulnerable, have you? Heartbroken at the fact that someone else she loved, a new friend to the Gang, and a man she idolized had been killed because she helped Angel instead of saving Shaundi? She's been beating herself up for a month about this, Pierce! But you don't fucking care."

"Kinzie is right, my friend," Oleg said. "We have neglected the Boss on this as we have been rebuilding our own lives after our war with the Syndicate. We are going to do the right thing for once."

"Man, whatever. The Boss's been through worse then this. She'll get over it," Pierce said, turning back to the dartboard and picking up his darts again. That was the last thing he did before he felt Kinzie's fist in his face, knocking him to the floor. "The hell!?" He looked up and saw Kinzie in all of her five feet six inches of anger looming over him, and he tried to scramble away before he felt her drag him to his feet and slam him into the bar. "Oleg! Get this crazy redhead off of me!"

"You brought this upon yourself, my friend," Oleg said, barely hiding a smirk as he watched Kinzie manhandle Pierce. "Kinzie, do not kill him just yet."

"I don't plan on killing him right now," Kinzie growled, slugging Pierce again. "You selfish bastard! The Boss has always been there for you! Always done everything you've needed, gone along with all of your fucking crazy ass plans and schemes, and she's always been there when you needed a friend! And the one time she shows a goddamned weakness and you won't get your balls out of your hand and be there for her!? You're not any better then Killbane to me, Pierce. You aren't even worth the name Saint." She threw him back into the table he was at, knocking the beer bottles over and into the ground. "Go fuck yourself, Pierce." She turned and walked out, climbing into her car and clenching the steering wheel tightly.

Oleg walked out behind her, kneeling down so he could see Kinzie in the car. "Are you alright?"

"No," Kinzie sighed. "He's such a selfish bitch, Oleg. The Boss has always been there, but now Pierce is more willing to drink his problems away. Fuck him. Let's go." She watched Oleg get in the bed of her car, taking off for the other side of Steelport to Safeword.
______________________________

Having picked up the peices of her broken phone, the Boss sank down onto the couch and drew her knees up again, her hands shaking as she felt tears falling down her cheeks. "I got Johnny killed, I let everyone down, I let Shaundi die...what kind of Boss am I?" she mumbled, looking at the tattoo on her hand. "SHaundi, I'm so sorry..."

Kinzie sighed as the elevator dinged, the doors opening to the penthouse of Safeword. "Boss?" she asked, looking around. She heard the sounds of sniffling, and she followed the sound. "Boss?"

Looking up, the Boss sighed. "Kinzie...you should have stayed at the bar with Pierce."

"Fuck him," Kinzie said, running over and sitting beside th Boss on the couch, Oleg standing behind them. "You've been there when he's needed you, and now he won't put his beer down long enough to help you. He's useless." She put her hand on the Boss's arm, looking at her. "Boss? Talk to me."

The Boss just sighed, wiping her eyes softly. "It's been a month since Shaundi and the others died because I went after Killbane. I go to that goddamn grave every two days, Kinzie, and I sit and talk to her, try and make an excuse for what I did and try and justify it but I fucking can't! I can't justify a damned thing and that pisses me off. I let my best friend die because I wanted Killbane's head. I watched from the airport as Magarac Island blew up, taking my best friend in the blast as that goddamned statue crashed down on top of her. How do you live with something like that? Johnny, Shaundi, Viola. How many more of my friends have to get killed before I figure out enough's enough?"

Kinzie put her hand on the Boss's cheek. "You told me that living after your friends died is by putting one foot in front of the other, and living like they'd want you to live, Boss. Shaundi may be dead, but she isn't gone," she said. "SHe's still right here." She pointed to the Boss's heart. "And here." She tapped the tattoo on her hand. "Shaundi's always with you, Boss. Even if you can't see her. Just like Johnny."

The Boss smiled a little, wiping her eyes. "When'd you get so smart?" she asked, making Kinzie laugh.

"I'm always going to be smart, Boss. I just know what it means to have your heart broken," Kinzie said, smiling.

"Laura," the Boss said.

"What?" Oleg and Kinzie asked.

"My name," the Boss said. "Laura. You can't call me Boss all the time. Either of you tell Pierce, I'll kill both of you in your sleep. Which won't be hard to do seeing as Oleg's been spending most of his nights at your warehouse."

Kinzie's face just got red, and she rolled her eyes. "YOu can't prove that."

"The night I stayed there after Shaundi died. Oleg was making you scream in four languages and you were limping the next morning when you made coffee," the Boss smirked. "Besides, when we saved him from Loren's building, all three of us saw what the big man's packing." She grinned as Kinzie's face got redder, and Oleg just started to laugh.

"You're not helping!" Kinzie said, turning and glaring at Oleg. "Why didn't you tell me!?"


"You never asked," Oleg said, putting his hand on Kinzie's shoulder. "Calm yourself, Kinzie."

Kinzie just fumed, folding her arms over her chest. "Jerks. Both of you."

"You love us and you know it," the Boss said with a smile, hugging Kinzie. "Tell you what. Let's order a pizza and watch something stupid on a sixty inch television."

"Sounds good to me," Kinzie said with a small smile, Oleg nodding in agreement.

The wounds from Shaundi's death would stay with the Boss for a long time, but she also knew that in that time, she'd heal as long as she kept her friends close and remembered Shaundi as she was.
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