Title: A Brief Encounter
Pairings/Characters: Slight/Hinted F!Courier/M!LW
It was like a mental reaction now that she would take out her gun and fire whenever she met eye contact with a Fiend. Even before the Fiends themselves had time to register there was a Waster in sight, she immediately fired. If it was a rifle instead of a small, 10mm she had, she might have shot the poor Fiend's head off. Still, a shot to the temple immediately killed him. With that, his companions finally noticed the Courier, and reacted violently, as Fiends always do when they see their prey.
They were going to attack her in any case, so why not merely take the opportunity and strike ahead of time? She heard Boone curse when she fired, as he quickly went behind a nearby, large rock on an upper part of the ground as his sniper's nest.
There were a lot of them
far more than she would have liked.
Bullets from their hunting rifles raced through the air mindlessly as she tried to avoid them, and shooting them in retaliation.
Although she favored her old, weathered 10mm gun, she was always closer to her enemies than Boone would have liked- he had to take in even more care that she wasn't in his shot when he fired off a Fiend's head, saving her time and time again from an unfortunate end. She was careless in fights; being closer to her enemies than she needed to be, and ignoring the pain whenever she got shot. After having a life-changing experience from being shot in the head, he'd have thought that the Courier would be a little more careful and precise when battling enemies, and even more so, choosing her fights.
Noticing a female Fiend coming up from her near the side, she turned, and thrusted her unsheathed knife into the nape of her neck. Her throat was slit quickly, and her body fell to the ground before the Courier swiftly turned around to kick another Fiend hard in the kneecaps. Before he could scream in pain, Boone shot him through the heart.
Shit! He cursed again- more of them kept coming when he began reloading his weapon. One of them smashed the butt of their rifle against the back of her neck.
The Courier fell hard against the ground, dust and dirt covering her poorly constructed armor. She landed on her head- specifically the area around her scar. Her head was pounding, her first thought immediately went to retrieving her gun- She didn't even notice three Fiends barely pulling the trigger on their rifles.
Boone tried to call her name, but the surprised cry of ten different Fiends were louder overshadowed his voice.
Suddenly, half of the Fiends turned around, and began shooting hopelessly at something behind them. Within seconds, a shot was heard and a Fiend immediately went down- and then another. The Courier looked at Boone for a brief moment to see he had the same confused expression on his face that the Fiends wore- he didn't fire those shots; they didn't come from his direction.
There was a wall of enemies separating her from whoever it was that was attacking the Fiends from behind. Neither Boone, or the Courier had any idea whether they were being attacked by wasters, Legion, NCR
Either way, she didn't take a moment to think about the sudden change in events, as she grabbed her weathered gun by her side, and shot a Fiend through the chest as he was turned away, shooting at his new enemy. Unfortunately, he was still moving, as he turned to face the Courier on the ground. He shouted, and threw down his pool cue through the air, aiming for her head- until a foreign bullet went through his head, and he fell down to the ground next to her.
The Fiend's fall was merely a hole in the wall, as she finally saw the sudden, unknown assailant against the Fiends. She barely had time to register his appearance, but it was a man, a little older than her, with blond hair, and a fierce look in his eyes. Their eyes met for a brief moment, until he saw another Fiend aiming his rifle at him. But before he pulled the trigger, he fell to the ground, dead, like the others, before anyone heard the shot of an old, combat shotgun merely feet away.
The owner of the shotgun snarled as he warned his apparent comrade; "Behind you!"
The other man turned, and swiftly removed a knife from his belt as he thrust it through the chest of an incoming Fiend. He lodged it in deeper until the drug addict stopped breathing, and by that point, the Courier had already gotten up and continued firing multiple shots at random Fiends until each of them fell to the ground.
More than half of them were dead by then, but the others refused to give it up. Even so, Boone found it difficult to kill any of them; the two men who came out of nowhere were killing Fiends faster than he had time to register them in his scope. The Courier had her fair share in kills- ruthlessly shooting them like throwaway targets, (even when she got hit in the limbs by their bullets), but she paled in comparison to the two men.
Wait, one of them
one of them was a ghoul. Why on earth would a ghoul willingly travel with a human?
Within minutes, the ground was covered with a blanket of dead bodies. The Courier considered herself lucky in that moment- she had run out of ammo, and her only other weapon on hand was a small knife. She was breathing heavily from exhaustion when she took in the full image of her "savior", who stood merely a few feet away from her; He was wearing reinforced, leather armor while his ghoul companion wore something similar, but it was obviously older due to its weathered and tattered appearance. In the ghoul's hands was an old combat shotgun, while the other man carried a 9mm gun in his hands, with a ripper at his belt, stained with old blood.
This had to be a set-up, a trick- as soon as she let her guard down, he would attack. It happened to her once on her journey from New Reno to Primm: Half way through the trip, she was attacked by Death Claws, but was saved by a man who looked like an average, fully-equipped waster
the moment she let her guard down and sheathed her weapons, the man attacked- trying to kill her and take whatever she had on her. And then there was that man near Goodsprings who claimed his "girlfriend" was surrounded by geckos. What a load of bullshit that was.
Now he was walking toward her
He lowered his gun, but still held it in hand. She looked back toward Boone, and gave him an intense look, ordering him not to shoot
not yet. If he shot, then the ghoul might pull the trigger of his shotgun and attack in retaliation. Close combat was the best choice to go
if she could kill him quickly with her knife and then go for the ghoul just as fast.
He let his guard down briefly- now was the chance.
In a split second, she tackled him with her knife in hand. The weapon didn't connect with its target as the man instantly grabbed her wrist with one hand, and her shoulder with the other, right when the knife was merely a few inches away from his skin. She jerked her head toward him with a violent glare, but his attention was toward the sniper behind the rock merely a few feet away. He looked like he was ready to tear his head off in any second if he did anything more. With a small nod to the ghoul, he raised his shotgun toward the sniper, ready to fire if he appeared to pull the trigger on his rifle.
The Courier continued to glare into his eyes, continued to struggle, not seeing the ghoul aiming his weapon at Boone. She jerked her wrist enough to set it free from his grasp as she tried to attack him again.
This time, the man avoided her and glided around her instead. Before she could turn to face him, she felt him kick her hard in the stomach. She didn't even have the time to cough up spit before he attacked her again- hitting her hard across the face with the back of his fist, causing her to fall over and hit the ground hard. Her knife flew out of her hand and landed several feet away from her, the pain in her face stinging as much as any bullet wounds she had received from any earlier fight with the Fiends.
Before she had time to get up, she found him kneeling over her, with a gun to her forehead.
There was a large lump in her throat as her mind flashed to sporadic scenes of the night Benny shot her almost a month ago. For some reason, she didn't feel as pathetic now as she did then; even now, as the man holding her life in his hands carefully snaked one of his hands to the 10mm on her waist and threw it several feet away, not knowing that there wasn't any ammo left. Either way, now there was nothing to defend herself with- she was as helpless now as she was then.
And like before, she looked into the eyes of the man with the gun to her forehead, ready to end her life.
But then he spoke.
"Tell your sniper to put down his gun, and I'll tell Charon to put down his."
The young woman looked at him curiously, and took a brief glance at the ghoul, called Charon, behind him from the corner of her eye. His shotgun was aimed at Boone, but noticed that he gave a certain amount of attention toward the two of them. She looked back at the man who held her life in his hands and glared.
"How do I know you won't pull the trigger as soon as Boone puts down his rifle?" She challenged.
The man looked at her for a moment, then to the sniper (whom he assumed was "Boone"), then to the ghoul, and then back to the Courier. Finally making up his mind, he slowly got up, off of the Courier, but kept his 9mm aimed at her forehead. When he began to back up away from her, she hurriedly got to her feet, never taking her cautious eyes off him. He looked back at the ghoul- there was no verbal contact between them. With just one glance at the intensity in his eyes, the ghoul knew what his friend was going to do.
She became instantly baffled when he tossed his gun on the ground, and threw down his ripper as well. He had allowed himself an opening for Boone to possibly shoot him, but the sniper didn't do so. He raised his arms as a sign of surrender and took a small step forward, noticing that the young woman had stopped eyeing the knife on the ground he forcefully took from her. The small glint of trust in his blue eyes as he loosened his guard, unlike his companion who never once did so.
If either she or Boone went in for the kill, he would fire.
"There. I got rid of my gun. I'm helpless. Defenseless." He compassionately revealed. "I won't attack you, I swear."
There was honesty in this man- something that was exceedingly rare in the Wastes. He
he actually really didn't want to kill her, did he? Not if he had to. There's barely been a single person in the Mojave who hasn't tried to kill her, rob her, mess with her- it was almost
refreshing. Of course, it was too soon to say for sure, but still-
"Boone, put down your gun," She commanded gently.
The sniper looked at her with surprise. If it were him, he probably would have killed the two of them when he had the chance, but now that he looked at him more closely, it was obvious that neither of the two men had seriously wanted to kill them. It still surprisingly left a bad taste in his mouth- they rarely ever let people go who tried to attack them, even if it was on mistake, or misjudgment, so why should these two be so different?
But Boone still complied, and sheathed his gun. A few seconds after, the man nodded his head toward the ghoul, and he also sheathed his gun. When it was clear that neither the sniper nor the woman would attack him, the man went for his 9mm, and placed it back in its holster and went for her knife.
"Thanks," He smiled. "No hard feelings?" He gave a small, playful chuckle as he handed her back her knife. She picked it up from his hand as though it were a small, dainty object as the more jaded part of her was still suspicious of his actions.
"What, you still don't trust me?" He didn't seem offended. It was like he was just stating a fact. She was still taken aback by this, but still looked him straight in the eye. There was now a playful warmth in his eyes that almost seemed to be boring right into her. But why? In his eyes, she must have attacked him for no apparent reason. Why did he have that... that charming sincerity in his voice?
"What? No, I- " She stuttered, and he gave an infectious smile which caused her to slightly blush and back away from him. Boone had since caught up to her, and returned to being her protective shield.
"If it'll make you feel better, just point me to the best way to get to New Vegas, and I'll be on my way,"
Her head immediately perked up, and the air of suspicion came back at the mere mention of the oasis- nearly being killed by the three Families of the city in less than a week didn't exactly give her a fond memory of Vegas.
The people who usually wanted to go to Vegas were either gamblers, or they were dirt poor, looking to make it big. Considering the impeccable condition of his gun and his armor (As well as the anti-material rifle she saw the ghoul carrying along with his shotgun), the two companions she saw in front of her certainly didn't seem poor. And from the man's attitude, he definitely didn't seem like a gambler.
Why on earth would he want to New Vegas?
"What's in Vegas you're so interested in, besides gambling and prostitutes. Look hard enough, and I can assure you can find both in the Mojave just fine." She spat cynically.
Again, he gave a small chuckle. "I can assure you, I didn't travel all the way here to gamble and get laid," He said calmly. "I'm looking for a certain group of individuals
and I'm pretty sure someone at one of the NCR buildings there can give me an idea of where to find them."
"Certain group of individuals"? Did he mean Caesar's Legion? Hell, Cottonwood Cove was where she was heading right now. "What kind of 'certain individuals'?" She crossed her arms, never letting go of her watchful gaze from his pretty, blue eyes.
"No one that concerns you, I'm sure," He said calmly. "Hell, I'm not even sure, if they're in the Mojave."
She looked at him curiously again, "Are you talking about Legion?" It was a well-known fact that the Legion had inhabited the Mojave for a while now, but if he asked how to get to New Vegas, and didn't know where he was going, then he must've not have been from the Mojave
then again, neither was she. She lived in New Reno for the first sixteen years of her life until she got tired of the gangs, the violence, and the strict laws of Mr. Bishop. For the next few years, she wandered throughout the Wastes doing odd jobs, until she finally decided to become a courier for the Mojave Express a year ago. Her last job made her return to New Reno, but then she made the long trip back to the Mojave, just to get out of the city after discovering the "war" between the Van Graffs and the Wrights
She expected to deliver a package to Vegas with the same minor hardships, and dealing with the creatures of the Wastes. She never expected to get stalked by the Great Khans and shot by one of the heads of New Vegas.
Looking at her, he scoffed playfully, "I've already had enough of them coming here east of the Colorado River. No way in hell I'd deal with them again,"
East of the Colorado? Half of the people she met that weren't born and raised in the Mojave were usually NCR soldiers from the west, and even if they weren't soldiers, they still came from NCR land, claiming it's too "calm" compared to what it use to be many decades ago. She's actually never met anyone east of the Colorado before
people from Montana, yes. What was left of Texas, yes, but not too many. But never from the east
"You know, I'm a bit surprised you haven't tried to attack me again by now,"
Her face reddened.
"Is that how you always greet someone who just saved your life?"
Now she found it difficult to look at him straight in the eye. For the first time in years, she felt embarrassed by her rash behavior and violent impulses. Strange.
"The last time someone helped me out in a firefight, he just took the opportunity after I lowered my guard to try to kill me, so
so I thought
" Her voice began to trail off.
"You thought I'd kill you right after all those Fiends were taken down 'cause I thought you were weakened
am I right?" He crossed his arms, but his lips still curled into a smile. His eyes flashed with the notion that he understood her actions and didn't press forward.
"How about this? As a way to make it up to me, how about showing me the road to New Vegas?" He said.
She looked at him with a faint of curiosity and pointed her finger in the direction she and Boone just came from.
"You're about half-way there. Keep going straight down this road, and you'll reach Freeside. Through Freeside, you can get to the Strip."
He flashed a smile; one that would even make Arcade swoon.
"Thanks a lot," He said. "I've been trying to get there for ages- "
He was interrupted when Charon nudged him assertively. He turned toward him almost immediately, and looked at him straight in the eye. It wasn't common when his friend spoke, but when he did, it was usually something important. However this time, the man knew what he was about to say-
"We need to keep moving," The ghoul's voice was low and emotionless. There was a hint of distrust when he spoke, obviously still wary of the Courier and Boone. Likewise, Boone's body was still tense, with a suspicious gleam behind his sunglasses. The Courier noticed this, but the man seemed to be ignoring the ugly looks the two companions kept shooting each other.
In any case, he was right: the two needed to keep moving.
"Right," The man nodded. "Sorry, but he's right- we've been moving pretty slowly the past couple days, and we should be getting to Vegas in the next day of so,"
He walked past her a little, before waving a small goodbye, "Sorry about that kick to the stomach earlier- and the gun to the head,"
Being taken aback by his words, she was near speechless. What was she suppose to say to that?
"Well, see ya!" The two looked at each other for a moment before the two men walked down the road she and Boone were just on. By the time they were more then ten or fifteen feet away, she was still trying to register in her mind what had just happened. She shook her head a little, trying not to think too much on the matter. She only took a few steps when
"Hey, wait a minute!"
The Courier turned her head, her face painted with surprise.
"I never got your name!" He called again.
A small smile managed to curl slightly as her eyes gave him a warm look. It had just occurred to her that no one had asked for her name since she got shot in the head
other than Doc Mitchell, anyway. No one else cared
"Elizabeth," She answered warmly.
"I'm Abel!" He called back. "And this is Charon!" He pointed to the grumpy ghoul, who rolled his eyes in annoyance. " Hey, next time we meet, I'll buy you a drink, how about it? As long as it's not on the battlefield,"
She smiled again, "I would like that."
Abel returned the smile and slightly waved his hand as though it were a salute. It was an awkward way to say goodbye, but from the look on his face, he obviously didn't think so.
"See ya soon, Elizabeth!" With that, he turned, and walked down the remains of the road with his companion. Never looking back.
Boone, himself, was about to turn, walking in the opposite direction from Abel and Charon, heading for the Legion base. He took a few steps until he realized that Elizabeth had never once moved. She stayed still, looking at the back of the man, with a small hint of sadness in her eyes.
Boone looked at her curiously before he spoke, "What's wrong?"
She didn't look back at him as she answered, "Nothing."
"We need to get going," Boone insisted. "And didn't you tell Cass that you'd pick her from the Outpost?"
Elizabeth continued to look out for a few moments, then finally looking back at Boone, attempting to cover whatever emotion she had on her face.
let's get going,"
Finally, Elizabeth walked down the tattered ground, opposite of Abel
And as the two continued their journey, neither of them had any idea that two similar roads had finally intertwined from a mere, brief encounter.