ilcuoreardendo: (please stand by)
Previous fic: Keep Calm and Carry On

And there’s a strange elation in your subtle assassination
I thought I saw a glimmer of hope,
I thought I saw a glimmer of hope

~ Lily Holbrook, “Better Left Unsaid”

Strange Elations

Gob was used to ridicule. Cruel names. Crueler stares.

After so many years, you either grew a thicker skin—there was a saying that never failed to amuse him—or you went off the deep end and took as many staring, epithet snarling Smoothskins with you as you could.

He’d like to think he’d “grown a thicker skin” over the last thirty years, able to stand whatever got his thrown his way. And then she walked into Moriarty’s.

Fresh out of the Vault she was. No doubt about it. Even if he hadn’t already seen one vault dweller today, and even if she hadn’t been wearing the jumpsuit, he’d have known it. Beneath the spatter of blood and the fresh wasteland dirt on her cheeks, she was pale and perfect, untouched by the harsh winds and the scorching sun.

Her hands, he saw as she laid them on the bar, were well cared for; fingernails smoothed and buffed, skin soft. And—just for a second, really, less than the space of his heart beat—he wondered what it’d be like to touch her.

When he finally met her eyes, the look she gave him struck something in the back of his throat and his “What do you want?” came out gruffer than he’d expected.

She blinked, opened her mouth and stuttered, “…look—looking for my father. Have you seen him?”

“Think he passed through here…,” he muttered. Of course, her father had definitely passed through; you didn’t randomly get two vaulties in one day.

“Where is he?”

Gob hauled another glass toward him, opened his mouth, closed it, and glared at a smudge on the side that looked an awful lot like Moriarty’s fist coming at him. “Look, kid. I’d like to help. Really. But Mr. Moriarty’s in charge around here. You need to talk to him. He’s in back taking care of some business.” He nodded at the tables in the front of the room. “You can wait.”

Nodding, she slid onto a bar stool. Stared at him.

“What’s the matter,” he said, setting the newly polished glass down, “ain’t you ever seen a Ghoul before?”

Of course she hasn’t, you idiot.

“A ghoul?” she frowned. “Is…that what you are? How did—“

“Radiation. Lots of it. And then time. All the time in the world for things to start falling apart.”

He dropped his rag on the bar, rested his elbows on top of it.

“Oh,” she said, biting the inside of her cheek. She was looking closely now. Following the line of exposed muscle down his face and neck, over his arm.

That, he expected.

What he did not expect was for her to reach out and lay one of those fine, soft fingers on his wrist, at the edge of torn, tattered skin and smooth muscle. And he shuddered under her touch.

“Do—does it hurt?”

Ohh. And fuck him. She sounded genuinely concerned.

He swallowed. Opened eyes he didn’t remember closing.

“Just my pride.” Shifting uncomfortably, he moved closer to the bar to keep everything from the waist down out of sight.

Among other things.
ilcuoreardendo: (Default)
Series Shaking the Bough (Vignettes from the Capital Wasteland)
Title: "Keep Calm and Carry On"
Characters/Pairing: Lone Wanderer
Rating: PG to R-ish
Notes: The first in a series of vignettes chronicling the adventures of my LW and the goings on in the D.C. area.

Look around you find the ground
Is not so far from where you are
But don´t be too wise
For down below they never grow
They're always tired and charms are hired
From out of their eyes
Never surprise.
– Nick Drake, “Things Behind the Sun”

Keep Calm and Carry On

Faith imagined this was what the end of the world must have been like.

Hot stinging air rolled over her skin and light, brighter than anything she’d ever seen in the Vault, blotted out the world. Even when she closed her eyes at the pain, the white seared through her lids.

Stumbling, she brought one hand up to shade her closed eyes and smeared something thick and wet and warm across her temple. The smell of gun oil mingled with copper and salt, invaded her nose, settled on the back of her tongue and she gagged.

She was burning from the inside out, stomach twisting. Bile scorched her throat and she fell, hard, to her knees and vomited until dry heaves left her shaking and weak.

Sinking back on her heels, she wiped her mouth with her arm. Her skin was still hot but the light was no longer pulsing against her eyes and, slowly, she opened them.

A tear slipped down her face, followed by another. She sniffed, slapped them away. They were the after effects of light blindness. That was all.

They had nothing to do with the sight of this place stretched out before her. This ripped up and jagged landscape where spires of wood and steel rose out of the ground like strange growths; where small dust devils formed up and down a broken road, spinning half heartedly before dissipating.

This place with no sound.

No movement.

No trail of breadcrumbs for her to follow.


She might very well have sat there on her heels, staring out past the remnants of the pre-war world, waiting for something to happen—for the night to fall and bring out whatever creatures hunted in the dark; for the sun to scorch the flesh from her bones and leave nothing but a bleached skeleton—but for one thing.

Since the appearance of Amata’s face over her bed this morning, Faith’s mind had been flashing little snippets from her life. A lot like an old movie reel—her 10th birthday party, playing sick from Mr. Brotch’s class, fighting with Butch—and now, it froze on the broad face of Wally Mack.

Wally Mack who, several weeks ago had pinned her to the wall down near the Reactor Core. Who’d broken the zipper on her vault suit and shoved his hands down her pants and expected her to go along with. Not to scream. Not to fight.

If she had, that would have been it. She’d have been Mrs. Wally Mack just as soon as he’d gotten word out to his daddy and the Overseer.

And, Faith thought, Mrs. Wally Mack wouldn’t have woken up in the early hours of this morning to sirens and shouts and guards trying to kill her because her dad had some kind of fucked up idea to escape the vault.

Mrs. Wally Mack wouldn’t be in this situation.


But, Mrs. Wally Mack would wake up every morning to see that smug, snub nosed visage as he rolled on top of her to do his civic duty.

It had been that thought that had given her the courage to drag her nails down Wally’s face, to thrust out with the flat of her palm—just like Officer Gomez had shown her—when he jerked away from the pain. To drive her foot into his crotch while he cradled his broken nose.

And it’s those thoughts she uses to pull herself to her feet and move towards the sign advertising a “Scenic Overlook.”

The overlook is scenic. Spread before it is a world torn apart. Grizzled. Decayed.

But there’s something about it—from the skeletal structures of what looks like a burnt out town to that hulk of twisted metal rising in the distance—that makes her tingle, from head to toe, as if nuka cola was fizzing in her veins.

That’s a feeling she so rarely got in the Vault that she can identify the first and last time she felt it: when her dad finally let her sew sutures on Stanley (with the man’s permission, of course; he was always such a good sport…).

It’s the feeling of new opportunity.

And even the acidic shuddering of her stomach as she eyed the path she would walk, and the shaking of her hands as she loaded her only other magazine into the 10mm, couldn’t stamp down that feeling. Or prevent the surge of light headed excitement at the realization that she was fully free to seek it.



ilcuoreardendo: (Default)
Fae's Fanfic

September 2015

678 9101112


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags