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Mad Moxxi's Manageable Merit

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It was FL4K's first time working with Amara, but they had to admit that she was a formidable opponent. With muscles that looked like they could crush someone's skull and the ever present need to punch shit, Amara was great to fight with as she was quick.

Not efficient, as FL4K had seen her rush into battle with four weapons at once, not realizing she was out of ammo before resortig to punch any bandits or Maliwan henchmen in the dick, but still.

Not efficient, but quick. They watched as Amara managed to somehow punch one of Katagawa's flunkies to death, sitting idly on the sidelines as Amara yelled and cackled at the top of her lungs, sending goons and evil robota flying with her fists. 

"Stay down!" Amara shrieked gleefully as she sent the last of them flying, FL4K cringeing as the goon made a loud crunching noise against a nearby wall. Blood smeared down the wall as the body did, leaving a gory cracked trail as it plopped onto the ground, bones snapped and riddled with bullet holes. 

"Nice work, comrade," FL4K offered as Amara wiped her hands on her pants, walking over to where they sat with their pet Jabber. The creature was sniffing itself, long tail flicking absentmindedly as Amara bent down to rub a hand across its head. 

"We should probably get this coffee back to Lorelei," Amara tossed them a surprisingly hot mug, brown steaming liquid sloshing over the lip to splatter against FL4K's metal fingers.

"Indeed," FL4K said, "the commander is quite.... adamant when it comes to this drink."

If "adamant" meant "scarier than Handsome Jack somehow infiltrating your body and making you strangle yourself with your own hand" then yeah, Lorelei was pretty adamant about getting her coffee fix no matter what was going on. Apparently that other thing also happened to Rhys, her boss, but FL4K didn't want to ask as it seemed rude to talk about such personal things with someone they just met. Amara chuckled, slapping FL4K's arm playfully as she vaulted over a nearby pile of bodies, exclaiming loudly as she slid across the cracked street blacktop, "Last to the circular car motorbike thing is a rotten egg!"

FL4K groaned; they had already suffered Amara's horrible driving on Pandora- she seemed unable to learn the difference between right and left, constantly jerking the buggy to a stop as she tried to make turns and at one point ahe rammed the vehicle straight into an enemy's gunfire, blowing the car up and forcing them to walk to Sanctuary.

It had been a long, tedious walk and FL4K was hoping that no one would provide Amara with any more cars, but Lorelei obviously didn't know how atrocious Amara was behind the wheel because she was entrusted with a ring shaped motorbike, which Amara insisted on painting all sorts of ghastly shades of pink. 

"Amara!" FL4K called as they ran after her, "We must make haste-"

"Yeah, yeah!" Amara blew a raspberry, "I know we need to contact Rhys as soon as possible, but we deserve a break now and then, yes?"

FL4K sighed, shoulders drooping as they couldn't argue, really. Between fighting paychos on Pandora and a run-in with the Calypso twins now and again, they hadn't really had a chance to stop and rest, or eat, in Amara's case. FL4K wasn't entirely sure they were able to eat, if they were being honest, but they liked smelling the food, and sometimes they managed to sneak their pet Jabber a few scraps if they were able to be discreet- they never were, with the Jabber practically spewing radioactive slobber everywhere, but it was fine. 

"I suppose," FL4K relented, breaking into a jog as Amara started sliding her way towards the vehicle- they saw it parked near the entrance of the coffeehouse, although that was putting it nicely. Blood was smeared across the large outer wheel from where Amara had most likely run over some people, and smoke was billowing from the engine from where she'd driven too fast to be even remotely safe. The gun attatched to the side looked ready to break off if someone so much as looked at it and even the newly applied paint had started to peel, ugly pink tones falling away to reveal the vehicle's skeleton underneath. 

"I call driver's seat!" Amara cheered, hopping into the seat and gripping the steering wheel tightly, "You want to take the gunner's seat?"

If FL4K could blush, they would probably do so now as they raised their hands in defense, "I do not wish to damage the vehicle further- where is it you wanted to drive to for our break?"

Amara looked as if she was considering ideas, arms crossed as she opened up her echo, swiping through the various flickering blue screens until she pulled up the map, narrowing her eyes as she marked a few locations. 

"Eh, Let's go back to Sanctuary," Amara said finally, pinpointing the location before setting up her GPS and closing the ECHO program.

"Why? There is a coffee shop right here."

"I don't trust the place," Amara said matter of factly, "more Maliwan assholes might show up and blow us to bits before we can get the job done."

FL4K couldn't fault her for that. While Zer0 had helped them crom time to time, dealing with Katagawa and his troops on their own was starting to get cumbersome. Their pet Jabber whined, pawing expectantly at the footrest on the vehicle. 

"Where did you have in mind, then?" FL4K asked.

Amara grinned, "Mad Moxxi's bar. We can grab a bite safely and stock up on any weapons or eridium we need before meeting up with Rhys."

FL4k nodded, "I shall follow on foot, then."

Amara pouted, "It'll be much faster in the car. You could hold onto Jabber, let it hang it's face out the side like a real dog or something."

Laughing, FL4K shook their head, "I have no mouth and the simple thought of your driving makes me want to vomit. I will meet you at the station."

"Alright, you oversized dumpster, I get it," Amara teased, "see you at the Fast Travel station!"

FL4K waved goodbye, pulling their Jabber back before Amara revved the engine; the gun creaked as she immediately rammed the motorcycle into a guard rail, snapping and falling off as managed to turn the car ever so slowly before hitting the wall of the tunnel. 

"I have a feeling," FL4K turned to their pet, "that Amara doesn't want to go to Moxxi's bar to get lunch."

The Jabber barked happily at them before turning and runninf down the tunnel after Amara. They could still hear her crashing into things as they went and after running a mile or so, they caught sight of the vehicle crashed completely in the window of an abandoned shop, flames licking the wheel and the smell of burnt skag permeating the air. 

                                   -------

FL4K managed to beat Amara to the Fast Travel station, although they had to wait for Amara to arrive, considering she was the one with access to make the thing actually work. Once they were on board, they debriefed with Lilith, and FL4K found themselves apologizing to a very annoyed hologram of none other than Rhys as Amara gave Lilith a fist bump and high-tailed it out if the cockpit. 

"We'll discuss plans when you two get back then, but honestly I can't go to war with a single digit army!" was Rhys's exasperated warning before logging off, allowing FL4K to run after Amara. 

They made time to say hi to Ellie, their mechanisms racing as she smiled and said with that cute twang of hers how nice it was to see them. 

They weren't entirely sure why they felt that way around Ellie, but FL4K supposed they could ask Amara. Maybe they'd get Ellie a nice gun to dismantle and fiddle with at one of the slot machines, they knew she liked making them. After bidding Ellie farewell, FL4K ran into Marcus in the hall, the man laughing as they asked where Amara was.

"No doubt drinking in Moxxi like it was going out of style!" Marcus laughed before jabbing a thumb in the direction of Moxxi's bar, "Y' should go get her before she makes an idiot o' herself."

"By punching another patron?" FL4K guessed.

Marcus only laughed some more and walked off, wishing FL4K luck with understanding human emotions one day. 

So FL4K found themselves waltzing into Moxxi's bar, eyeing the buzzing pink neon signs and saying hello to fellow patrons as they approached the bar. They could see why Amara wanted to come here; the bar was awash in all sorts of pinks, bright lights and poppy electronic music. It was just the type of place Amara would want to spend her time and honestly, it was nicer to look at than the endless stretches of rock and sand on Pandora. 

"-nd then I just BAM! sent him flying!" Amara was in the middle of regaling Miss Moxxi with their most recent fight as FL4K took the stool next to her, petting their Jabber on the head before letting the creature run off. It was probably going to just sniff and beg other patrons for food, which was fine. 

Moxxi laughed, red lips wide and showing off perfectly white teeth as Amara took a swig of her drink. It made FL4K wonder how Moxxi was able to take such good care of her teeth, considering how nasty humans could get with each other over short supplies these days. 

"Oh, pretty and funny," Moxxi's laughter petered out as she grabbed Amara's now empty glass, "I can't believe Lilith would hide a cutie like you from me for so long."

Amara beamed, shooting finger guns at Moxxi as the woman refilled her glass. She slid the cup across the counter before turning to FL4K, "Would you like to try something, honey?"

FL4K shook their head, immediately remindes of Ellie's accent when Moxxi called them "honey," shoulder joints whirring as they moved to lean on the counter.

"I would not want to ruin mt circuitry," FL4K said, "and Mr. Strongfork requests Amara's and my presence before our next mission."

Amara groaned, her head falling on the counter with a loud thunk as Moxxi giggled. 

"It's alright, dear," Moxxi reached out and took her hand, squeezing it once, "I won't disappear the second you turn around."

She seemed to let her hand linger before pulling away, reaching under the bar for a cleaning rag and getting to work wiping down whatever dirty cups other patrons had left on the bar for her. 

"Is this flirting?"

Amara made a strange noise, FL4K surprised at her strength as she grabbed them by the arm and yanked them off the barstools, stomping over to the slot machines resting against the wall near the entrance.

"I seem to have upset you," FL4K pointed out as Amara hurriedly stuffed some bills into the machine and yanking the lever harder than necessary. Her blue tattoos seemed to flare, pulsing in time with her hearbeat most likely.

FL4K didn't ask, as they weren't sure now was a good time. 

"Whatever!" Amara managed. On the machine, FL4K saw she had rolled three thumbs up and grabbed the cash that fell into the bucket at the bottom. "Just..."

"You were flirting," FL4K reiterated, "did I ruin it?"

Amara bit her lip, shoving the money in her back pocket before shrugging, "Not really, no."

FL4K knew they probably should be smiling here if they were able to. They learned it was something humans did to calm other humans down.

"Would you like a hug?" FL4K offered, "I heard it works with humans."

"I'll take you up on that offer another time," Amara grinned, chuckling lowly, "but thanks for understanding."

"Maybe you need to flirt better," FL4K said.

Amara balked, punching their arm playfully, "Don't say it out loud! I'm supposed to be all tough and punch-y!"

FL4K looked around, catching their pet Jabber weaving between people's legs and snapping at their heels. A trail of green acid spit dotted the bar floor and FL4K sighed- the damage was most likely coming out of their next paycheck.

"Do you think Moze and Zane know?" FL4K asked.

Amara shrugged, "Moze is too into her mecha and Zane is way too into himself. Besides, it's not like Moxxi will actually like me back or anything..."

FL4K wanted to frown at that if they could. From the first time they stepped on board the Sanctuary, Amara had been constantly visiting the bar to relax and according to Ellie, Moxxi always took notice of her regulars. FL4K could even remember Ellie's bewilderment as Moxxi said something that must have been considered racy to Amara, if Ellie's sputtering reprimand of her mother was anything to go by. 

FL4K met Moxxi's gaze from across the bar and they saw how she quickly looked away, although they couldn't make out what she was saying to herself while cleaning out glasses. 

"You humans seem to not give each other enough credit," FL4K turned back to Amara, "It is common for the human species to attract mates in places like this, anyway."

Amara was blushing now, crossing her arms as she leaned against the slot machine, "When you put it that way, it sounds so clinical."

FL4K shrugged, "As a Beastmaster, I wasn't really programmed to have an understanding of humans. But I am learning to understand your emotions better."

"Yeah?" Amara raised an eyebrow, "Then have you realized whenever we go on recons for Ellie she talks to you and only you?"

FL4K cocked their head, "Indeed. I believe it to be so she can include me more, however. It is nice to talk to her, though."

A moment of silence hung between them. Amara reached i to her pocket and pulled out her winnings, ticking through the stacks of bills and counting under her breath. FL4K's Jabber had grown tired of bothering the other guests at the bar, trotting happily over to rub themselves against their legs. 

"Well, if you want, we can be each other's wingmen," Amara said finally, "Sound good?"

FL4K reached down to pet the Jabber, "Ah. That is when we 'hype each other up' to our respective interests, yes?"

Amara laughed, "Yeah, it is, but I think you need to stop talking to Zer0 so much. They're rubbing off on you."

FL4K snapped their fingers, beckoning for the Jabber to follow them. Jutting their chin at the bar, FL4K said, "I believe Miss Moxxi would like to say good-bye to you before we go."

"Really?" Amara's face lit up like it was Christmas, although FL4K wasn't sure why people used that expression, as you weren't supposed to wear Christmas lights on your face. FL4K wasn't even sure humans celebrated Christmas anymore with the impending Maliwan-Atlas Merger War looming over the galaxy. They watched as Amara undid her hair, running her fingers through it before tying it back up. She cracked her neck, rolling her shoulders before turning to FL4K. "Do I look good? Wait, nevermind, I always do."

FL4K nodded, "I will restock our supplies while you talk."

Amara nodded, practically leaping across the bar to slide onto a stool and FL4K slid to the left to inspect the other slot machines. One was full of guns, and they made sure to grab an orange DAHL model; Ellie would surely enjoy taking it apart and it was not easy to find a gun so rare. After slipping it into a holster on their back, FL4K moved on to the next one.

They could hear Amara's voice floating from the bar as she talked with Moxxi and FL4K offered her an encouraging thumbs up before slipping some money into the machine. The pictures were a blur as the roulette wheel spun, and as the first picture was chosen, Amara was rushing back hurriedly, almost slamming into them with excitement. 

"We're good to go on my end," she said, then pointing to the slot machine, "How much was this?"

FL4K shrugged as the second picture was chosen on the wheel, "About three hundred dollars."

Amara nodded, biting her lip, "Okay, not bad. I hope you don't mind that I tipped Moxxi."

"Why? Is that part of the job?" FL4K asked.

"Amara scratched her cheek nervously, "Well, yeah, but I think I may have given her too much?"

Oh. Honestly, since FL4K didn't drink, they didn't have to deal with things like tipping and budgeting- when it came to all food and drink, really. They heard that the average tip for a human server used to be at least fifteen percent, but Amara's drinks couldn't have been that expensive if they were doing the calculations right.

"Fifteen percent, right? That would be maybe a fifty dollar tip?" FL4K ran the numbers. 

Amara made a face, "About that..."

The machine dinged as the final picture on the wheel was chosen and FL4K turned to look at it. Three grenades, all lined up perfectly, the pictures illuminated with a bright yellow backlight. Their first thought was that it was cool- they ran out of grenades a while back when they had gone into the VR system to help save Vic.

Their second thought that the machine was being particularly slow as they heard the dispenser inside releasing the grenade into the bucket on the bottom, although they weren't sure about the odd beeping noise. 

".... I gave her one-thousand dollars," Amara finished in a tight voice. 

The grenade landed with a clunk at their feet and FL4K was about to ask why Amara would do that when the thing exploded, sending them and Amara flying backwards. They landed roughly against the bar, Amara crashing onto the counter- they could hear Moxxi let out a shriek of surprise before she ducked underneath, holding onto her hat as debris flew everywhere. 

Groaning, FL4K pushed themselves up, picking bits of wood and glass out if their armor, turning to see Amara sitting up on the counter, wiping food pieces off her clothes and arms. Moxxi had gotten up from her hiding spot to pick small bits of glass out of Amara's hair. 

"Honestly, I should have warned y'all about that machine," Moxxi laughed as she fluffed Amara's ponytail out, "I forgot Ellie and Scooter had rigged it to dispense live grenades when they were kids."

Amara snorted, "Cute- you never got it fixed?"

Moxxi pursed her lips, shaking her head as she leaned forward on the counter, resting her chin in her hands, "I thought it was funny when Athena- another Vault Hunter I know- would get one by accident. The look on her face was hilarious but she learned to approach with her shield after a while so the novelty wore off." She paused, smacking her lips, "Well, until Timothy Lawrence got one and accidentally blasted himself out the window, poor thing."

FL4K offered a single laugh as they pulled themselves up to stand, helping Amara hop off the counter. 

"Amara, I am never trusting you with our funds again," FL4K said matter of factly.

Amara waved goodbye to Moxxi before sauntering out of the bar, pointedly not looking at the now blown up slot machines near the entrance. 

"As long as you let me handle the weaponry," Amara retorted.

Honestly, FL4K could live with that, whistling for their Jabber to follow them as they made their way back to the cockpit.

Hopefully, Lilith wouldn't ask too many questions when the arrived for their next briefing and hopefully Ellie wouldn't mention anything about hearing an explosion or something the next time FL4K went to talk to her. Amara would most likely be too nervous to see Moxxi again, but FL4K was sure she'd go right back to bar anyway and Moxxi would go right back to flirting with her. 

"So much for being a wing-man," FL4K joked as they walked into the cockpit where Lilith stood discussing something with a hologram Rhys, their pet Jabber purring as Amara laughed.