Children of Helios are a strange bunch. Throughout the
years after the ever-seeing eye passing as a satellite crashed on Pandora, the
company people slowly learned to adjust to the wilderness that the planet wore
like an expensive coat. With every peril she threw at them, they shed their
fancy clothes along with their corporate masks, adopting attires more fitting
to the heartlessly harsh climate.
Despite the unexpected reconstruction, Children of
Helios kept that condescending side within themselves, strutting on the
campsite and through the various regions like they owned the damn planet
Well, you could say that at some point they did own the planet; but the gloriously
colonial days of Hyperion are long gone, crumbled down to dust and memories
along with Helios. Nevertheless, they remain faithfully haughty- even when they
Timothy does not like to walk among them, the people
who were practically his colleagues back when they all were slaves of the same
company. They bring out too many ugly memories, a luxury he can’t be arsed to
care about. He hides his features behind layers of clothing and masks, long
past the point of cursing his body; but they always know.
Children of Helios are unstable at points, so it is no
surprise that when they look at Timothy, their collective gaze is tainted with
awe, disgust and fear alike. They hate Jack, hating how they were so fascinated
by and terrified of the man. But now he is but a fallen titan beaten by their
progeny, so they project their emotions on the unfortunate knock-off.
Vaughn is different, though. The short, nerdy man who
became the leader of the small bunch with wits and muscles alike, the man who
could silence the Children with just a descent of his brow, the man who has
formed steady relationships with the locals Jack deemed mindless bandits, the
man who loves playing Bunkers & Badasses whenever Rhys drops by in his
fancy CEO clothes and important higher ups trailing behind him.
From the moment they met, Vaughn never insulted him or
outright tried to kill him, which Timothy counts as success on its own. It’s a
blessing for someone like the ex-doppelgänger who worked for someone as
trigger-happy and abusive as Jack; who later on ran from the same man and hid
in fear for his life, only to be thrown into the pit called Pandora which was
full of murderous people after his head.
Vaughn was like a touch of fresh breeze after a
particularly hot day, a drop of clear water on perched lips. With his silly
laugh and easily excitable nature, with his chestnut locks and thick beard…
gosh, Timothy wanted to adorn it with colorful flowers the moment they met.
“What are you thinking about?” The gentle
and curious voice brings Timothy back to the present day, where he rides
shotgun in a bandit technical, watching the dull desert scenery flow past.
“Is it something bothersome? Cause I can see that crease between your
brows and that’s never a good sign.” Timothy simply sighs in return, not
bothering to turn to the driver and enjoying the sun that’s slowly rising from
the east instead. “Come oooooonnnn Tiiimmmmm.” Vaughn practically
whines, making puppy eyes at his partner.
“You.” Timothy resigns with a blush barely
visible on his cheeks in the dark violet light of the awakening day. “Eyes
on the road, gorgeous.” he adds before Vaughn can give him a reply, but he
doesn’t miss the way the shorter man’s eyes sparkle like bright stars.
Vaughn lets out a shaky breath, gripping the steering
wheel and smiling like a giddy child. Timothy isn’t exactly an amiable man, and
definitely not someone who’d throw affectionate words around. He can feel his
face burn, and it’s not because of the heat the dawn brings along with her rosy
fingers. “Okay, mind telling me how long we have until the next gas station
Timothy chuckles at the affectionate comeback and
takes out his ECHO, checking the map. Vaughn sneaks a brief glance, admiring
how the blue light accentuates Timothy’s features in the dimness before
returning his eyes to the narrow asphalt road that seemingly goes on and on for
miles. It’s so weird, how Timothy is so like, yet unlike Jack.
He has scars, and stories to go with each and every
one of them. He has freckles dusting his cheeks and shoulders, becoming
prominent whenever he stays in the sun for too long. His hair has become more
and more ginger in the passing years, peppered with gray streaks here and
there; he wears it long, usually in a ponytail or a braid, jokingly comparing
the length to Vaughn’s every once in a while. He doesn’t swagger and prowl like
Jack, like a dangerous animal; he carries himself like a strong survivor, still
elegant even when he runs and fights.
And his smile, gosh… Vaughn can’t help the dumb
smile visiting his own lips, Timothy has such a beautiful, unique smile that
has nothing to do with the terrifying smirks Jack throws around in every remaining
camera feed and poster. In all honesty, Vaughn doesn’t understand how people
can’t see Timothy for who he is.
“We’re close.” the man of his life graces
him with a reply, “I’d say ten minutes, the most.”
“Good.” Vaughn says happily, “Cause I
really need to pee.”
Timothy should be annoyed, disgusted even, at the
comment that changes the romantic mood going on; but they’re at that point in
their relationship where it’s not just about batting eyelashes or giving each
other quick handjobs. Timothy laughs, not at all bothered.
It always comes as a surprise when they come across a fully working gas
station in these parts, so Vaughn runs off happily to relieve his bladder as
Timothy gets on with filling the bandit technical’s almost-empty tank. The
ex-doppelgänger whistles a happy tune as he speculates what gasoline is made of
on Pandora- skag fossils? Rakks? He can’t help the amused chuckle escaping his
chapped lips when he thinks of what wild skags’ ancestors must have looked
Then something grabs him from behind.
Timothy Lawrence is a brave man hardened by the wilderness that
constitutes this planet, so he’ll deny the squeak he just let out; he must be
very tired, because whoever his attacker is would have bitten the dust by now
if he were in top shape.
Thankfully, it’s just Vaughn.
Timothy grumbles as Vaughn buries his face between his clavicles and
laughs, “Don’t scare a man like that, hon, god damn…”
“Yeah, right. Now move, I gotta put the pump back and pay.”
“Always so noble.” The Bandit King doesn’t even budge and sighs instead,
“God, can’t we just stay? Like… like if
time stopped just now?”
“You mean in the middle of the desert at a dingy gas station with rakks
and skags around? Yeah, Vaughn, sure! That sounds totally awesome.” Vaughn
pinches Timothy’s sides, making the man flinch with an involuntary giggle, “Stop
making fun of my romantic intentions or I’ll tickle you to death, you meanie.”
The inside of the small, one-story building housing the store is
blissfully cool- a miracle to be found in such a deserted area. Vaughn looks
around in search for something to sate their hunger and thirst while Timothy
counts their money; the person in charge of the cash register eyes them a
little too carefully. Watching the person make a move for something behind the
counter behind his aviators, Timothy slowly paces towards the back of the store
where Vaughn is currently trying to pick some chips; he nudges the shorter man,
using the protection of the high selves to their advantage.
asks silently. Timothy nods towards the person and points at his own gun, or ECHO, he mouths calmly. Vaughn gives
him a thumbs up and reaches for his gun, his stash of food and drinks long
Ten minutes later the heat of the rising sun finds them on the road,
speeding away from a grand explosion blooming on the spot where the gas station
used to be; they don’t even look back, being the badasses they are.
Vaughn stretches a leg over the door where he rides shotgun, munching on
stolen chips, “They probably ECHOed people.” He offers his food to Timothy, “Our
heads are still too valuable around some parts of Pandora, I guess.” The taller
man grins at him through a mouth full of nacho flavored chips, “It’s not like
we haven’t dealt with bounty hunters before, hon.” He changes gears and speeds
the technical up, “Plus, we’re close to the nearest Atlas facility, we can hold
them off until we arrive… unless you have to pee, again.”
Vaughn throws a chip at him and misses his face, so he leans in and
grabs the man’s scarred cheeks with both hands and places a wet, harsh kiss on
Timothy’s lips, taking his breath away. He settles back in his seat, throwing a
sideway glance at his partner, clearly amused, “Eyes on the road,
I finished the sketch for my Crossroads Demon Rhys. I do plan on coloring him at some point but imagine a Black and Gold color scheme. I’m really happy with how he looks. Took me forever to finish him. I’m not a fast artist.