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Title: Incoming (2/2)
Author: MustInvestigate
Disclaimer: I only own action figures
Rating: NC-17 for sax and violins
Pairing: Fallout New Vegas, F!Courier/Benny
Summary: Post-apocalyptia really needs to rediscover latex.
Note: This is the kinkmeme’s fault. And it’s really, really awful. I’ve re-written the worst parts and added a proper ending, but it’s still pretty bad (and consider the other crap I’ve proudly posted before you click on the cut!). Still, I wanted to do right by it, because it broke me out of a dry spell just by being stream-of-consciousness fun. So…*shrug*

Raul had told her about Caesar’s personal guards, a brace of hulking veterans with the depthless doll’s eyes of true fanatics. She couldn’t blame Patsy for telling Caesar she’d think about his request and hightailing out of there, abandoning her nemesis-slash-paramour to their tender care. She’d hoped some of them would charge out of Caesar’s tent to join the skirmish, but they were damnably loyal to their master.

Instead, the final fray began with their battered band, nine guards, and Caesar himself all jammed into the reception area of his tent. Veronica had to admire the monster a little, for leading the charge himself…even he did plow straight into Boone’s chainsaw.

The guards howled and turned on Boone before Caesar’s severed head even hit the ground. Boone went down under two simultaneous punches to the head – and what the hell did those guards have decorating their fists, that let out a shower of sparks with each blow? Deadly and pretty; Veronica was in love.

She waded in with Lily before the frenzied guards could literally tear Boone limb from limb, confident her armour would block their blows.

Instead, it dented. Veronica realised too late that those lovely tricked-out power fists could crumple her like a soda can, given enough time…

Arcade squeezed in behind Lily’s legs where she stood astride Boone’s prone figure and took a glancing smack from the flat of her sword. Through the ringing in his ears, he heard her apology. “Careful, Jimmy, this is no place for a little boy!”

His hands automatically went through the motions, checking first for a pulse (there, thank god, and reassuringly strong), then finding the cracks in his cranium and jaw. Simple fractures, at least, ones he could set now while the man was unconscious.

“Good thing you’ve such a hard head,” Arcade muttered, stabbing stimpacks in three places.

Raul reached in and pulled on his arm. “Stay low, with me. We’ve got to get to Cass before she’s crushed. And be careful – Rex is going for cojones.”

“For what?”

A bodyguard screamed and pounded on the dog’s head lodged in his groin.


Rex and ED-E were carrying out their orders admirably. Raul yanked Arcade out of Rex’s path as he leapt for another bodyguard, tangling in both his and Veronica’s legs. Veronica kept her footing, but the guard didn’t. She lifted one metal boot and stomped on his face. ED-E hovered at eye level, blasting both laser and battle jingle. In the confusion, the bodyguards were striking each other nearly as often as the interlopers, but it wasn’t enough.

Raul threw himself between Arcade and a bodyguard’s fist. Arcade winced as the old ghoul’s collarbone crumpled.

“Move, doc!”

Arcade scrambled through the guard’s (rather nice) bare legs, getting clear just as Raul’s .44 shot through one of the knees.

Patsy broke loose from the scrum and bolted further into the tent. “That was the great Caesar? Hah! No one ever told me he’d go down like the Gomorrah 3-cap special!”

“Baby doll!? You’re…oh god, this is all you?”

Arcade felt a sharp spike of pride at Benny’s astonishment. Yes, all us. Not the NCR, not the Rangers, not the thrice-damned Brotherhood, but us.

He rolled out of the way of three guards who broke off to go after Patsy, screaming what they probably thought were manly Latin curses. Caesar should have focused his energies less on conquering and more on conjugation.

Cass was curled against the tent’s corner pole, her arm bending in at least three more places than her elbow. She braced her hunting rifle on her knee and pulled the trigger, only shooting a hole in the canvas above. The guard looming over her kicked it out of her hand.

Cass closed her eyes. “Well…fuck. I got three and a half of you bastards, anyway.”

He raised his fist again, aiming for her head.

Behind him, Arcade heard the screams of guards facing a Lily who finally had room to really swing her blade, Raul’s .44 making gecko loaf out of another guard’s legs, and a sharp blast of machine-gun fire and tearing canvas from Caesar’s throne room. Sparks flew over his head – Veronica still tied up with her dancing partner, then. There was no time…

But there was a scalpel in his pocket.

He thumbed the safety hood off the blade and slashed through the ligaments in the back of the man’s knee. The guard fell on his side with an anguished grunt, and Arcade buried the blade in his neck.

Cass stared, open-mouthed, at the dying Legionnaire, then at Arcade.

“I’m just as shocked as you,” Arcade whispered. He couldn’t seem to get enough air into his lungs. He made another mental note for the Followers: significant respiratory suppression; definitely do not prescribe Psycho to asthma sufferers. “Stay down. I think Lily is getting her second wind.”

The remaining bodyguards were outnumbered now. ED-E set one of them on fire as Arcade watched. But from Caesar’s throne room, silence.

“Where is she?” Arcade demanded, finding the room empty of anyone but a speechless Benny. He pointed silently to a ragged hole opposite him, one that looked as if someone had frantically weakened the canvas with bullets before running straight through it.

Arcade followed, catching his foot on the edge and nearly sprawling in the sand. He could just make out running figures far below Caesar’s overlook, four of them. Squinting, he saw that the smallest was running backwards, a 10mm machine gun in each hand. One fell – yes! – but so did one gun.

Down to her last clip of ammo, he thought. If he only had a sniper rifle, he could help… Probably by shooting her in the head by accident. Blast it!

He ran back in the tent, finding a handful of delicate Jet ampules by touch. Lily had the last guard down to his knees, and Rex was going for his throat. That was good. Veronica lay across the tent, staticky sobbing coming from her helmet. That was not good, but Raul was going to her, and there was simply no time.

Arcade fell on his knees next to Boone and broke the ampule open underneath his nose. “C’mon, soldier!”

No response. He snapped another dose open and practically stuffed the powder up Boone’s nostrils.


“Up and at them!” Arcade hauled him out of the tent and flung him on the sandbags lining the overlook. “Look! Bad guys, down there – shoot them!”

Boone automatically tried to aim, but the rifle slipped from his hands. “’m not drunk, Sarge.”

At the bottom of the hill, Patsy dropped her second gun and pelted toward them, the two guards breathing down her neck.

“You’re about to be high as a kite, but before that, you need to kill those Legionnaires, just like you killed Caesar. Remember killing Caesar, soldier?”

Boone shook his head. “Le’gin’rs? Hold m’up.”

Oh, any other day…

Arcade wedged Boone in place against the sandbags, firmly told his Psycho-addled hormones that now is not the time, and reached around his shoulders to steady the rifle. “Point and shoot!”

“’ere’s six of ‘em.”

One guard snatched a spear off one of his fallen comrades and flung it, glancing Patsy on the side. She stumbled.

“Shoot any red ones!”

Boone grimaced. “Patsy’s a better spotter ‘n you.”

He pulled the trigger six times, hitting sand, an empty crucifix, the farther soldier’s shin and head, more sand, and finally splattered the last guard’s brains across Patsy’s best set of combat armor.

Arcade slid to the ground, letting Boone sag into his lap. Aside from the barrel of the sniper rifle pressed against his temple, and Boone’s trigger finger beginning the twitchy Jet dance, it was a perfect moment.

Patsy limped over the ridge and leaned against the sandbags. She let her hand rest on Arcade’s shoulder for a minute while they both caught their breath, and squeezed before standing up.

“Stop touching Boone. Your aim is rubbing off on him.”

“Come here.”

She obligingly leaned over so he could examine the wound on her side and stim it closed.

“Your pupils aren’t dilating evenly. That’s a concussion for sure. Any, er, cramping or bleeding…”

“Only where I’ve been punched and stabbed.”


She forced her bruised body into military posture. “My mother gave birth on a ‘lurk hunt, during a 5-minute pee break. And she took down the king afterward with me strapped to her back.”

“All hail the superior tribal stock,” Arcade replied sourly, bowing as best he could over Boone’s head.

“Stop squishing me,” Boone muttered.

The Psycho had left a taste like cazador musk in his throat, and the camp stank like the crude abattoir they’d made of it.

“I never want to do this again,” Arcade declared softly.

Boone patted his knee. “You’ll change your mind. All soldiers do.”

* * *

Lily unsteadily hauled bodies out of the tent. Left punch-drunk by those mammoth guards, Boone realised, and felt a little better at being taken down so easily himself.

“Dearie, you left your toys lying underfoot again,” she grumbled, handing him Caesar’s head.

Boone looked into the glazed eyes. Fixed your headaches, old man.

He stabbed the head on a spear and jammed it in the ground in front of Caesar’s tent, stepping back to admire the effect. A dopey grin tried to sprout, but he caught it in time and forced a scowl.

Damn Arcade anyway. Boone had only ever taken Jet once before, on his first leave in the Strip and at Manny’s insistence. He’d spent an hour giggling at a row of sparkly slot machines, then been utterly, humiliatingly, unable to perform for the showgirl with a uniform fetish who’d scooped him up.

Not that that mattered, now. That part of his life died with Carla.

But he’d be damned before he’d giggle, even at the outright scundered expression on Caesar’s decapitated head.

He ducked into the tent to find Patsy hovering over Arcade as he attended to the wounded, carefully not looking in Benny’s direction.

“Pussycat?” the man called, cautiously. When he got no answer, he tried in vain to catch Boone’s eye. “What, am I invisible?”

Arcade was wrapping Cass’s injured arm tight to her side. “There’s too many bone fragments to stim-heal now, not until I can get them all back in place. Are you sure you don’t need some med-x?”

“Save it,” Cass said, “I’ve got almost a full bottle of the good stuff left in my pack.”

“Leave mine, doc. A swim in the river sludge will heal this scratch. But the scribe’s in a bad way.”

Veronica’s power armour had a deep divot in the chest, and the helmet was half smashed and sparking. “Please get me out of this,” she sobbed. The helmet’s speakers fizzed and popped.

Boone leaned over to Patsy as Arcade examined the wreckage. “Change in plans?” he asked, tilting his head toward Benny.

She shook her head. “No. Maybe.”


“Seems I just can’t stick to a plan when I see that face.” Patsy scratched the stubble on the top of her skull and fluffed out her devil-horns of hair. “Think he’ll shoot me again as soon as I turn my back?”

Boone shrugged, distracted by his fingers. They seemed to have several extra joints each. “Based on the note he left, I’d give it 50/50. Seen relationships with worse odds.”

“…you read that note?”

“Arcade found it under your pillow.”

Arcade sat back on his heels with a frustrated grunt. “Sorry, Veronica…I can’t. I know it hurts like hell, but the armor is all that’s keeping pressure on those arteries.”

“At least the helmet?” Veronica begged. “I can hardly see.”

“It’s fused to the suit. What did they hit you with, a welding torch? Never mind. There’s a Follower outpost an hour from here, and they’ve got a Mr Handy. Can you walk?”

They helped her to her feet and half-carried her out of the tent. She collapsed as soon as they let go.

“No,” she whimpered.

“Lily,” Patsy began, “Can you – ”

“Grandma’s got to lie down for a little while, pumpkin.”

“I can do it,” Arcade insisted, and dug through his medkit for a bottle of Buffout. He hesitated, then chased the pills with another shot of Psycho before picking Veronica up, armor and all.

“Uh, doc?”

“I need Psycho to calm my nerves after the Buffout, okay?” Arcade snapped.

“Sure,” Raul shrugged. “Vaya con dios.”

He whispered to Patsy, “We should strip all these bodies for scav. We’re gonna need every cap to pay off their room service and rehab bills.”

She nodded. “I’m sending ED-E and Rex with you. We’ve cleared out the troops, but you’ll want protection from the wildlife.”

Arcade set off without a word with the dog and robot barely keeping pace, jogging as if 300 pounds of scribe and power armour weighed less than his medkit.

Boone was admiring the iridescent wings of the flies consuming Caesar’s eyes when Patsy nudged him.

“I need back-up,” she muttered, crossing her arms defensively. She made a face at the gore liming her armor. “And a bath. But back-up first.”

Boone unholstered his rifle, on the second try. “Kiss him or kill him, I’m behind you.”

“Killing Benny?” Cass exclaimed. “I’m in.”

“Give that here, boss. Bloody armor’s not the best look for a reunion. It can soak with me in the river. But take my advice on your fella in there – never, ever untie him.”

Patsy snorted and stripped to her underwear and tank, stretching as the midmorning sun hit her bruised flesh. “You know, Boone, this is turning into quite a nice day.”

“The very best,” he agreed, soaking in the devastated camp. Sunlight twinkled on twisted armor and trampled machetes.

Boone held the tent flap open for Patsy.

“Hel-lo, you,” Benny greeted the scantily clad sight. His face fell as Cass and Boone followed her in, Boone levelling the rifle at his head. “Oh.”

Boone watched him recalculate his odds of survival and turn the charm up to eleven. “You’re quite the scrapper, baby. Those guys never had a chance. C’mere and lemme thank you properly.”

Patsy opened her mouth, closed it, and looked at Boone. He waved for her to go on, managing not to get fascinated again with his very, very strange fingers.

She tried again. “Where’s the chip?”

Benny jerked his chin toward Caesar’s private room. “Leather bag, in the safe. It’s yours, it and anything else your crazy little heart desires. You want the moon and stars? I got a biiiiiig rocket.”

“Oh…puke,” Cass protested.

He turned his platinum grin on her. “Two beautiful women murdering dozens of men just to make time with little ol’ me? What did I ever do to deserve the honor?”

“I’m just here for the show,” Cass smirked.

“Hang around, you’ll get an eyeful. Maybe learn a trick or two.”

“What, like that thing with the heels of her feet? I tried, but I’m just not bendy enough to pull it off.”

Benny’s smile slipped a notch. He tried it on Boone instead. “Had a ghoul with her when she came through here last – she trade up to you and the blonde twinkle?”

Boone let the rifle drop to crotch level.

“You found that chip yet, baby doll?” Benny called, voice cracking. “We’re forging lifetime bosom friendships out here, but it’s time you got what you came for.”

“I did,” Patsy said, taking a long look at the chip and dropping it back in Benny’s bag, which she slung over her shoulder. “G’bye, Benny.”

“Aw, you’re not gonna shoot him?” Cass whined.

“The hard-to-get act’s not playing to this audience, toots, save it for the rubes.” He turned on the bedroom eyes. “You came here for me, you wonderful clingy broad.”

“Maybe,” Patsy averred, and pulled his 9mm pistol out of the sack. She turned it in her hand, admiring the Virgin etched in the handle. “Quick and clean, you asked, last time I saw you.”

Cass squeaked happily and nudged Boone.

“We should have brought a camera,” she said, echoing his earlier thoughts.

He didn’t answer, focusing on the shift in Benny’s expression. The practiced flash evaporated, leaving a sun-baked stoicism. He thought of Khans, and of Carla sharing his first night watch over Novac, without a reflexive stab of pain. She glowed too coolly in his mind to hurt.

“Last time you saw me, I was a dead man.” Benny shrugged, “Maybe I still am. The scales between us are tipped hard, and nothing’s gonna go my way until they’re evened up.”

“Evened up? You left me for dead.”

“And I didn’t have a good night’s sleep for two months, haunted by that nobody sap I gunned down for what turned out to be a very expensive conversation piece. Until you came outta my nightmares and between my sheets, and made me sleep like a very drunk baby. Oh, the knock-out time I was gonna show you when I strolled back into town with a metal army on my heels, but now…baby, you name it, the Ben-man will make it happen. That’s an honest-to-god promise.”

Patsy checked the clip and aimed at his mouth, one finger slowly curling around the trigger. “I still owe you a bullet.”

“Now we’re talking, kitten,” Benny said, rolling the words in a husky growl. He lifted his chin toward her like a lover expecting a kiss.

“What?” Cass protested. “No. Stop that. Stop that now!”

Boone nudged her into silence. He knew that there was a reason for the gun in his hand, that something was at stake, but the soft gloom of the tent was wrapped snug around his brain now. All four of them hung peacefully in starless space.

“You can put it anywhere you want.” Benny leaned closer, until the muzzle of his gun dug into his forehead. “Here, to match yours? I got better ways to pay you back, but it’s your call, baby. Quick and clean?”

Patsy’s finger trembled on the trigger.

His voice dropped to a whispery rumble. “When have you and me ever wanted it quick and clean?”

Boone counted heartbeats. One…two…three…four. Cass’s good hand was clenched so tightly he thought he heard bones creak.

The corner of Patsy’s mouth twitched.

She threw the gun to Boone.

“Convince me.”

Benny reached up with his shackled hands and ran a nicotine-stained finger along her neck. “Just get these cuffs off me, and I’ll convince you there’s a god. A sex god. And he’s me.”

Cass gagged and pulled Boone toward the exit. “I need to drown in a lake of whiskey…more than usual.”

Boone lingered at the tent flap, though, his Jet-muffled synapses trying to parse out his duty. His partner requested back-up, and hadn’t sent him away. In fact, she’d just given him another weapon, one more suited to a tight space than his bulky sniper rifle.

“The cuffs stay,” Patsy insisted and hauled him to his feet. She pushed Benny onto Caesar’s throne and hooked his bound hands over one of the decorative spearheads at the top.

She still didn’t trust Benny, then. Boone nodded to himself, the matter settled. She needed him there to cover her, just like any other mission. That much was obvious.

He moved to a better vantage point.

“Mmmm, kinky. I like your style, kitten, but we don’t have to wear gecko skins and fuck on the bones of our vanquished any more. Caesar left a perfectly good bed right over – ”

Patsy unbuckled the belt on his pleated trousers, effectively silencing him. Benny whimpered as she pushed them down his thighs, releasing his straining member. It was already flushed deep red and leaking, and Boone idly wondered if he’d been hard since he caught sight of Patsy, or only since she’d put a gun to his head.

He’d have to run it past Arcade later, but Boone thought this twisted relationship was almost starting to make sense.

She took him in hand, stroking from root to tip.

Benny arched into her touch, rocking to the slow rhythm she set. After a long minute, he stilled suddenly. “Ah, baby? I been on the bench a long time here. You keep this up, I might strike out without a run around the bases, you dig?”

“No,” she warned. “You won’t.”

“Okay,” Benny gulped and breathed deeply, nostrils flaring.

Breaking down a minigun, Boone thought helpfully. Strip it, clean and oil every part, and put it back together again. That had always worked for him. He nearly broke in to suggest it, but realised Benny was unlikely to be familiar with anything larger than an SMG.

Whatever mental cool-down Benny clung to, it was enough. Patsy’s patience broke before he did. She released him and stripped off the rest of her clothes.

Boone wondered where the long burn scar on her back had come from. Fire gecko, or flamethrower?

“Hel-lo, you,” Benny breathed, then squinted. “Is it just my imagination, or have those gorgeous charlies actually gotten lusher?”

Patsy hmm’ed noncommittally.

“Bring ‘em over here so I can get reacquainted with my two favourite pals.”

She straddled the throne and leaned over, just out of Benny’s reach. He strained until the spear he hung from creaked, then flopped back with a frustrated groan. “Torturer,” he accused.

Patsy knelt over him, grinding slowly into his lap. “You’d be a better man with someone to torture you every day of your life.”

He swallowed a moan. “Lemme know, what are my chances just now of surviving so we can test out that theory?”

“Not good, kitten,” she purred. “Not good at all.”

She shifted and pounced, taking him in deep in one thrust. Her veneer cracked, just enough to let a tiny moan slip out. She pushed Benny back against the throne as he redoubled his efforts to break free of his restraints.

“Gimme something work with, baby doll,” he pleaded, and slid as far down their throne as the shackles would let him stretch. He planted his feet and thrust upward, trying to jostle her closer to his saliva-wet lips.

Patsy leaned back instead, a strategy that backfired as they groaned in unison at the better angle. She grabbed hold of the armrests for balance, chest heaving as he pounded into her in earnest now, a steam of incoherent gabble falling from his parted lips.

The 9mm fell from Boone’s hand. He realised that his heart was pounding, his body flinging regiment after regiment of hormones against the Jet in his bloodstream in a desperate battle to get aroused. Worse, it was winning. He could barely see the healing spear-wound in her side, gaze fixed on her bouncing breasts, and not only because the droplets of sweat on her nipples were nearly as pretty as the blood that had oozed from Caesar’s neck.

“Baby…” Benny whined.

“Don’t you dare,” she gasped.

“The spirit’s willing…but the flesh…it’s really willing.”

Patsy slid two fingers where their bodies joined and threw her head back. Benny’s jaw dropped, glazing eyes fixed on the sight.

“Why’d I turn the light off before? What was I thinking? Sweet zombie Jesus, I’m ripping out all the switches in Vegas,” he babbled.

Patsy gasped and trembled, gouging her knees into his hips.

Boone clenched his fists and thought about miniguns. Rows and rows of dirty, shattered miniguns.

“Okay,” she puffed. “Go.”

Benny quivered on cue, heels digging little graves in the dirt as he shuddered through his release.

Patsy propped herself on the armrests, dragging in gulps of air. Benny looked like a wrung-out rag, but still managed to smirk up at her.

“I get to live.”

She smirked back, almost tenderly. “I just can’t seem to kill you.”


Benny yanked hard on his shackles, and the abused spike finally snapped. He flipped the chain over Patsy’s neck.

Shit! Boone fell to his knees and fumbled for the dropped 9mm, fingers thick as sausages and half as useful.

Benny only tugged Patsy down to his chest and held her there.

“Why’d you stay away so long, pussycat?” he murmured in her ear. “I missed you.”

* * *

The jet was all but out of Boone’s bloodstream by the time Benny finally squirmed, complaining, “Not that you aren’t light as a feather, kitten, but my legs have slipped into a coma.”

He’d stand by his tactically sound decision to remain by the boss’s side to the bitter end, but Boone wished for the first time in his life that he was less dedicated to duty. He would trade his favourite sniper rifle for the assurance that Benny’s ecstatically squinty expression would never come to mind at…a personal and very inopportune time.

“You’re a lousy mattress, anyway.” Patsy sniffed self-consciously. “Now I really need a bath.”

“You’re a breath of fresh air compared to these guys,” Benny winked. “You don’t even want to know how much garlic they ate.”

He caught sight of Boone as they put their clothes to rights. Benny pulled a double-take, bound hands automatically going to the empty pocket that usually held his gun, then took his time tucking his cock behind a zipper.

Boone examined the fancy 9mm, tracing the inlaid design on the handle and staring down the sight, grunting dismissively. The other man’s lips thinned.

“So baby, how’re we gonna play this?” he asked, still glaring at Boone. “Do I catch the nearest sunset, or…?”

“I need you.”

Benny’s grin broke the smug-o-meter. “Of course you do.”

“And the Chairmen.”

That smile dropped like a lead balloon.

“Let’s get one thing straight, toots – the Chairman are mine. Nobody orders them around but me.”

Patsy shrugged and casually perused the contents of Caesar’s war room, picking up a slave ledger and tucking something between the pages. “Fine by me.”

Benny relaxed by a fraction. “You got me, and I got the Chairmen. We’ll have all the muscle you need to take the Strip once we settle up with old man House, one way or another.”

“So far, I’ve got the NCR and the Kings. Maybe some super mutants.”

Benny’s face scrunched in amused disbelief. “Really? The whole NCR?”

“No, just a few commanders who owe me one.”

“Oh, good. Should I ask for what? No, probably not. And, the Kings, well…I bet even the King couldn’t resist your charms, baby.” Benny blinked and cleared his throat. “Ah, that’s good. Real good. Yeah. You’re pulling my leg about the super mutants, though, right? I’ve seen your crazy pet purple people eater out there, but…”

“No, you’re right. I doubt Marcus will send anyone from Jacobstown. A battalion of mutants laying waste to humans won’t really help his efforts to be seen as peaceful traders. Damn it, anyway.” She sighed at the misplaced priorities of others, absently tucking the slave ledger in her undershirt. “Should have the Brotherhood and Khans on board soon. And the Boomers think I’m the second coming, so I can probably get some air support there.”

“The Boomers,” Benny echoed weakly. “Those freaks who blow up everyone who farts within a mile of them?”

“So, if you’ve got any strategies coming to mind, that’d be helpful. All I’ve got planned is to throw double handfuls of them at our enemies and hope for the best.”

“And Khans, did you say…they helped me to ambush…” Benny struggled to start a coherent sentence, finally spitting out, “You – you realise these tribes all hate each other?”

Patsy shrugged. “And?”

Boone almost felt a laugh coming on. There was something about Patsy’s helpful insanity that made ancient tribal enemies look like natural allies in comparison. She made it look easier than forcing her immediate comrades to get along – which Boone suspected it was.

Benny gave in, like so many before him. “I’ll think on it. You and me, we’re gonna lead one hell of an army. Maybe call it a zoo and charge admission.”

“You, me, and Spartan.”

Patsy shot Boone a sideways glace. He tried to psychically warn that this was a bad strategy, trying to bowl over one who lived for scheming his way to top dog, but her battlefield acumen seemed to have deserted her.

Benny followed her gaze and nodded tightly. “Nice to meetcha, Spartan. If you’re not a peeping tom, you’re the most dedicated bodyguard I’ve ever seen. Just remember, pal: the Ben-man swings, but only for the ladies. Got that?”

Boone couldn’t suppress a pained noise at the mental image that brought back.

“That’s Boone. Careful, he doesn’t play well with others.” Patsy cut to the chase, touching her abdomen. “We’ve got about six months to go before we meet Spartan.”

On Benny’s face, self-preservation warred with comprehension, and lost. “But it was just that one time! Sheesh, talk about loaded dice.”

“You’d have fewer problems if your aim was always so precise.” Boone piped up. He wondered if Patsy would make a fuss if he got started on the man’s legs before they got back to the Strip. But then someone would have to carry the ungrateful bastard the whole way home, and that onus would probably fall on Boone himself. He decided to wait.

“And Spartan’s not a name, it’s an adjective – and not even a snappy one!”

Patsy shrugged, still pretending to be absorbed in Caesar’s surprisingly scanty possessions. “I like it.”

“Good soldier’s name,” Boone added.

“Soldier?” Benny snapped. “Listen, pal, soon’s I get my metal army rolling, you and the rest of the NCR cowboys and indians will be as useful as a pair of knock-out tits on a deathclaw – which is only slightly less than you are now.”

“Yeah…and the Mojave would fall apart without every gambler in an ugly suit.”

“Boys,” Patsy interrupted. “While it’s vitally important we know whose dick measures up best, I’d like this tent to be on fire five minutes ago. Get a move on, kitten, or we’ll leave you the way we found you. Fair?”

Benny held up his shackled hands. “I’d get to be an easy meal or strung up on a cross by the first Legion patrol to find their HQ in ashes? Tempting as that is, pussycat…forget the hard sell. The alternative could be Venus on a half shell and her seven nympho sisters, and I’d still leave this shindig with you – in a heartbeart, babe, a heartbeart.”

A greasy bead of sweat rolled down his forehead.

Patsy frowned. “You planning on killing me again?”

Benny laughed, too quickly and too loudly. “You’re not hearing me, doll! The only thing you got to worry about is me lovin’ you to death, got that? I offer the moon and the stars, and all you want is to play happy family, well…you me and Benny Jr it is.”


“That’s still not – fine. Spartan, uh, it is.”

Patsy hesitated a long moment before handing him a bobby pin. He was out of the shackles in a flash, tugging the sleeves of his jacket down to cover his abraded wrists.

“Well?” he asked, when Patsy and Boone only stared at him, waiting. He held his arms out to Patsy.

“C’mon, girlie. Let’s go see what this chip can do, then shake the dust of this godforsaken boy scout camp off our heels. We got a whole life waiting back home, and it’s getting’ antsy.”

Boone nodded to himself as Patsy grinned and accepted a one-armed hug. He wasn’t looking forward to sharing a suite with the oily fink, but he was used to sleeping with one eye open. Plus, Cass would undoubtedly be keeping a bead on him at all times, and the man would have to be pretty docile while his legs healed up from what Boone had planned. The team would make it work.

“My gun?” Benny demanded. “I’m not facing whatever’s down there without my piece.”

Boone handed it to him barrel-first. Benny caressed the design on the handle, muttering, “Madonna, mi perdoni…”

He snatched his travel bag from Patsy’s shoulder and legged it out the tent flap.

Boone’s head had cleared enough to dash after him immediately, catching Cass’ startled curse, but not enough to avoid stumbling over Lily’s outstretched legs. The instinctual shot that should have taken Benny’s head off went harmlessly into the sky.

Patsy followed, grimacing and rubbing her eyes rather than even looking at Benny’s quickly retreating back.

“Shall I take the shot?” Boone belatedly sought permission.

“You should let him, sweetheart.” Lily scrambled to her feet, immediately lifting Patsy off the ground with a smothering cuddle. “I’m sorry, but Leo refuses to give his blessing. ‘Better raise a bastard than marry one,’ he says. Don’t take it personally – that’s just his way. He’ll be the best grandpa a youngster ever had.”

“You can wear his jacket back into the Tops,” Cass piped up. “It must have hypnotic powers – it’s certainly not his leadership skills that keep him in charge. The Chairmen will fall right in line behind you.”

Patsy struggled out of Lily’s arms, landing on her ass in the dirt. “Ow! No. Boone, leave him alive.”

She allowed Lily to haul her upright by the armpits like a toddler and pat the dirt away with her massive hands, nearly knocking her to the ground again. “Leo suggests Boone have a friendly chat with him instead.”

Boone grunted, irritated, and lined Benny up in his sights again. “Why is everyone determined to make me clean up Benny’s mess? No offence, partner.”

“None taken,” Patsy snorted, a tentative smirk growing on her lips. “Lily, leave off! You’re gonna bash the uterus right out of me.”

The memory of her breasts heaving, her head thrown back, was mercifully driven out by Cass’s hard elbow to his ribs.

“She said alive,” the cowgirl hissed, “but nothing about his knees.”

Boone nodded and took the shot just as Benny reached the gate. The man jerked, mouth an O of shocked pain, and fell against the wood. He hauled himself through, leaving a bright smear of blood behind, but not before throwing a furious look straight through Boone’s scope.

“Nineteen to go,” Boone muttered, sharing a satisfied glance with Cass. She tucked a nearly full bottle into his hip pocket and gave it a pat.

Patsy sighed, watching them. “You guys… No, forget Benny. Hell with the Chairmen. I’ve got my tribe right here. It’s little, and it’s weird…very weird…but it’s mine.”

Lily burst into tears and swept Patsy back into her arms, more gently this time. “I love you too, honey.”

“Aw, we’re honorary tribals!” Cass told Boone. “My mother would be so proud.”

Boone was pretty sure his parents wouldn’t have been, but he couldn’t deny the spark of warmth the idea provoked. It was like being part of the 1st Recon, again, watching each others’ backs and raining righteous bullets into those who destroyed what little order had taken hold in the wastes.

The new recruit would just be a little younger than he was used to.

“You’re breaking it to Veronica,” he said. “And Arcade, though I suspect he might more happily take to running around in skimpy leather armor with a bighorn’s skull on his head.”

Cass pursed her lips. “He does seem the type, actually.”

“Speaking of,” Patsy broke in. “You should all catch up to them. Send Raul up with my armour and a wrench on your way.”

“Why?” Cass asked.

She took the slave ledger out of her undershirt, and flipped it open to reveal the platinum chip hidden in its pages. “I’m going underground to jam this gods damned betrayal-magnet in every slot I find, and need Raul to make sense of whatever doom that results. I hope it’ll involve a big enough explosion to save us the bother of salting the ground when we go.”

Boone turned away before anyone could see him smile. It wasn’t the end of their quixotic missions after all…just a change in scale. So, they had six months to wipe out every trace of the Legion from the world their kid was coming into.

They’d do it with time to spare.

* * *

Easter egg for any poor soul who’s made it this far!

Since the latest game patch frakked my current game (and I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with all the mods installed!), I decided to see how close I could come to designing Patsy as described for a new start. The short curly hair had to go, since the game’s ‘fro option is…not good…but I think the devil horns are more in-character anyway.

She’s a sneaky talker, with a love of guns but zilch melee and unarmed skills. And she’s just helped the Powder Gangers take over Goodsprings, since I am finally going to grit my teeth and get through an evil!Courier run. Aw, Doc Mitchell…*sniffle*

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