Neon signs could lead even a blind man to goodneighbour. Goodneighbour was like a beacon for those who were lost lambs of society. Everyone was welcome, as long as they remembered who was in charge. But still, despite being the perfect counterfeit of the Commonwealth some things might never change around here.
"Yeah yeah..." Hancock sighed out as he leaned against his desk, his eyes following the drifter who was nervously standing by the door.
"H-He makes me worried, and...and He keeps talking about insurance with the newcomers..." the drifter said nervously. No one wanted to get on Hancock's bad side. and Hancock being the man he was, he did tend to hold grudges. So everyone was careful around him.
"I got it" Hancock growled as he ran his hand over his face. The drifter quickly nodded and left. Hancock's eyes followed the drifter out for just a moment before turning around and picking up some mentats. He dosed himself up to calm his nerves. He had been relying on drugs a lot more often lately than he normally would have.
Personally, he had never thought of himself as scary and never did see anyone being scared of him. But the truth was, he was starting to get bored of Goodneighbour. The only one to talk to was Fahrenheit. But even she was no good for a conversation. That stern look on her face was no good for friendly faces or conversations. Not to mention, she was his bodyguard, not his babysitter. Goodneighbour would always be his home, but for a while now, being the mayor had felt like such a chore. He needed some fun, but he refused to let goodneighbour fall for the sake of a little entertainment. He wasn't Vic. Fahrenheit looked over at him, with a normal stern cold face.
"What's on your mind?" Hancock asked.
"Nothing," She said before looking away.
"Oh come on. You never look at me unless you got something to say" He chuckled
"I've been wanting to put a bullet through Finn myself for a while" She sighed.
"Now why would you do that?" He smirked. He liked her because she said things the way they were.
"He's annoying. They aren't wrong. Him and his insurance crap."
"We'll go check up on him..." Hancock sighed and pushed himself away from the desk he had been leaning against. Fahrenheit didn't say another word after that. Hancock did not need her to. He knew she was right. The whole reason he became the mayor was to help out the lost drifters. He wanted to help them no matter who he had to deal with. It seemed more like he was starting to lose his way. The little tricorn hat of his had become heavier lately.
Erin had always been a happy-go-lucky joker. Sarcasm was her logic answer to most things. She was helpful and fun to be around. At least none of her companions every complained. Nick had become a really good friend. Like a shelter from the rain. A home away from home. Nick was everything. A friend. A family. A home. Erin never could tell if Nick felt the same, however, he never complained. So she never questioned it. Nick followed her around, smiling gently at her every time she looked at him. He had her back. She pushed open the door with the neon Goodneighbour sign above it. Not the area she wanted to be in, with all the trouble surrounding it. She just hoped it would have been worth the trouble.
"Well, Well, It's the detective. Tracking down another wayward husband to his mistress?" a voice hollered as soon as Erin and Nick stepped through the gate of goodneighbour. Nick sighed low.
"Why, someone stand you up?" Nick answered. Erin loved Nick's Sarcastic side. For a retired synth, he was a pretty cool dude. Erin smirked as she looked over at Nick.
"You trying that, what do you call it? Evasive language, on me?" The guy said, now angrier. "And who are you, huh? Valentine's new Dick-In-Traning?" he continued. His attention was now on Erin. Not that Attention was anything new to her.
"We're hiring, but I don't think you'd... measure up" Erin answered back sarcastically. Nick liked that, and Erin knew it.
"Now don't be like that. You just look like someone who's in the market for a little insurance" The guy said. Erin couldn't take this guy seriously. Not every day she got catcalled about life insurance. Seems like insurance nerds never die, even after a bomb. Next thing she knew, he might start calling her with a new pipboy premium. That thought alone gave her smile to her life.
"Unless it's "Keep-dumb-assholes-away-from-me" insurance, I'm not interested" Erin responded. She was fluent in Sarcasm by now, thanks to most of her companions who liked that sort of thing. But with this Insurence loving guy, she would have been sarcastic no matter what.
"Now don't be like that... I think you're going to like what I have on offer..." The guy started to smirk. One of those disgusting smirks one could easily have nightmares about. Erin knew she was gonna have lots of nightmares from the mere sight of this guy.
"You hand over everything you got in your pockets, or 'Accidents' starts happenin' to ya. Big. Bloody. 'Accidents'," The guy continued. His voice was now more threatening than anything. Dogmeat who Erin had been travelling with for a while now started to growl a little bit. However, the guy was unphased by it. Erin didn't have to deal with threats very often, but she certainly didn't take too kindly to them. She opened her mouth as to shoot out a counterattack, but someone beat her to it.
"Woah, Woah. Timeout." a voice sounded out. Seemed to have caught the Insurence guy by surprise. A man with a red coat and a tricorn hat started walking slowly towards them. The man had a well-armoured lady by his side and a face that clearly had seen better days. Not that Erin would ever say that out loud. He was probably a nice guy regardless of what he had been through. RIght?
"Nick Valentine makes a rare visit to town, and you're hassling his friend with that extortion crap." The guy continued. He shot Nick a quick glance, "Good to see you again Nick" he smiled.
"Hancock" Nick answered. Nick did not seem too thrilled about the meeting. At least not as thrilled as Hancock.
What kind of name was that? A little overcompensating? It didn't matter. Hancock didn't look like someone she wanted to mess with. Erin really had no business in goodneighbour, and she slowly felt like she shouldn't have stepped through that gate at all. She looked quickly at Nick, who just looked back with his usually calm face. Not that anything else was really an option.
"What do you care? She ain't one of us." The insurance guy responded. His threatening tone had not changed at all.
"No love for your mayor, Finn? I said, let them go." The guy responded with the same amount of threat.
"You're soft, Hancock. You keep letting outsiders walk all over us, one day there'll be a new mayor."
Finn? Up till now, Erin had referred to him as 'The Insurence guy'. The was more fitting anyway. This guy did not look like a Finn at all. Erin would know because there used to live a man named Finn in Sanctuary back before the bombs fell. But that wasn't even the best of it.
"Come on, man. This is me we're talking about. Let me tell you something." Hancock said as he stepped closer to Finn. Would the mayor resort to talking? In a world like that? Erin didn't buy it for one second. There was a catch. She could feel it. And she wasn't wrong. Not a single more word was exchanged. Hancock pulled out a knife from his belt and brutally stabbed Finn twice in the stomach. Erin's eyes went wide. She had by now seen her fair share of murder and blood. However, it wasn't every day she experienced someone get stabbed in the stomach for selling life insurance. Although he did sell it in a threatening way.
"Now why'd you have to go and say that, huh? Breaking my heart all over here" Hancock said. Little less threatening, little more sarcastic. That was Erin's kind of people.
Dogmeat whimpered low and looked up at Erin. Erin quickly looked back before stepping closer to the scene. She could see his face better now. What had happened to his face? He had no nose. His skin was peeled away in different spots. And don't even get started o the eyes. They were black. Erin was so focused on this 'Mayor Hancock' by now. He must have noticed.
"You alright, sister?" Hancock asked her, finally turning his full attention to her.
"Your... face. Something happen?" She asked. Why did she ask? She never did learn to keep her brain and mouth separated. Maybe she should start selling insurance.
"Like it? I think it gives me a sexy, king of the zombies kinda look. Big hit with the ladies" Hancock smirked.
Erin tried her best to keep in the laughter he had worked up within her all this time. Not because his face was funny, but she did start liking him and his sarcasm more and more. This mayor was definitely her type of person. Sarcastic and don't take any shit. Nothing like the mayor in Diamond City. That guy was a scum. Didn't even feel like helping her out in any sort of way. Even Piper had enough of him, and she lived there. Thank god for Nick, otherwise, she would still have been a lost lamb.
"I'm a Ghoul, you see? A lot of walking rad freaks like me around here, so you might want to keep those kinds of questions on the low burner next time. Goodneighbour is of the people, for the people, you feel me? Everyone's welcome." Hancock continued.
"Of the people, for the people? Oh, brother..." Erin said. Her sarcasm had not laid down yet. It would take a while. Luckily for her, Hancock didn't take offence. He started to chuckle, which made Erin smile. She felt... welcome.
"I can tell I'm gonna like you already. Just consider this town your home away from home..." His voice then grew stern again, "As long as you remember who's in charge" and with that, he turned around and walked back to his ladyfriend. or bodyguard. or whatever she was. The woman shot Erin a quick glance before following Hancock into a big house.
Erin sighed low and started to relax now that the Ghoul mayor was out of sight. He was right though. Erin would need to choose her words more carefully if she wanted to survive in this freaky hell of a commonwealth. Such a big friendly world who wanna shoot her at literally any turn she takes. Literally. It was a hell finding a way into Goodneighbour. The whole area was surrounded by super mutants and raiders. But it seemed nice. It seemed like a well functional settlement. Nick looked back at her, waiting for her to move out of her spot. Erin did what the only normal thing was. She grabbed a stick lying on the ground. There was a lot of them. Then she walked over to Finn's body and poked it with the stick.
"Yep... He's dead alright" she smirked.
"Hancock leaves no trace of life behind" Nick chuckled slightly.
"It seems so... So you know him?" She asked as he took the ammo and few caps Finn had and turned her attention to Nick.
"You can say that. He used to live in Diamond city. Until the mayor decided to throw out all the ghouls. Hancock left with them I suppose"
"That's rough man..." Erin mumbled. She had never been a fan of the Diamond City mayor. Something about him just gave her chills. Like he was a synth or something.
"Why are we here anyway, Erin?" Nick snapped her back from her thoughts.'
"Work... If we wanna make this world better, we should start by helping as many as possible. There's bound to be someone who needs help around, right?"
"In goodneighbour? All the time" Nick chuckled and started walking down the alleyway towards the middle of the settlement. Erin following behind.
Nick and Erin had looked around for a while until Nick got tired. He was getting old after all. Erin, however, still had lots of energy. She jumped up on the bench Nick had just sat down on. They had been in the hotel and picked up a few quests. She even met the annoying vault-tech guy who had sold her a spot in vault-hell 111. She almost did not want to forgive him. He was the reason she had lost everything. But she ended up forgiving him anyway. He was a ghoul now. No revenge she could get would be worse than living over 210 years in a broken body. Besides, He apparently had no idea what Vault-tech had been up to. She had been just as fooled as him.
"Come on Nick! We still have one last person we need to talk to?"
"Oh yeah? Who?" Nick mumbled as he looked up at Erin.
"The mayor. A mayor of this place is bound to need some help, ay?" she chuckled. Erin wasn't yelling, but she had not yet noticed the ghoul on the balcony, who now focused his attention on her.
Hancock looked down at her as she jumped around on the bench, begging good old Nick to get up and continue. A slight smile crawled onto his lips as he watched her. Her energy and positivity amazed him. It made him wish he was out there again. of course he would never ask that of her. She already had a partner. Nick wasn't a bad partner. He was lucky to have her. Hancock sighed low as he looked up at the sky. It was getting darker now. The nights were growing colder, longer and lonelier.
"Hey, Mayor Hancock!!" Erin shouted. It brought Hancock back from the lonesome thoughts. He looked down at the girl. Her brown semi-long hair, perfectly average eyebrows above beautiful blue eyes. She wasn't dressed to impress but dressed to protect. Hancock could respect that. He smiled gently down at her.
"I..." Erin stopped before looking over at Nick. "I'll be right back," she said to Nick before walking around to the door. Nick nodded. She stepped into the big house. Most rooms seemed empty, but there were guards everywhere. She went up the stairs to the first floor and found Hancock already waiting for her.
"It's a shame about Finn. Gonna miss him by the next super mutant attack." Hancock started as she came up.
"I checked. He is in fact dead." Erin nodded, "Rest in peace life insurance guy. He could have used the insurance himself" she placed her hand on her chest and closed her eyes. Hancock chuckled slightly.
"What can I do for you, sister?" He smiled.
"Well, I'm looking for work, if you got any?" Erin answered and let her arms drop again.
"Work? Hmm... As a matter of fact, I do. Ever heard of the Pickman Gallery?" He leaned against the stair railing.
"Can't say I have." She frowned.
"It's raider territory"
"Of course it is." Erin sighed.
"They have been quiet lately. Like, uncomfortable post-coitus quiet? Snoop-it out, and give me the word" He nodded.
"Scout out Pickman Gallery. On it" She smiled happily.
"Cool. Be thorough, okay? I'm not paying for a look-see. Find out what's really going on there." He smirked. His smirk was... Kind of cute?
"You're paying me?" Erin chuckled.
"Isn't that normal? You do those things for free?" his face turned surprised.
"Well... Yeah? Being safe shouldn't be paid for. It's a given right" Erin nodded before heading back down the stairs and heading out the door. Hancock was left watching her leave. There was indeed something interesting about this girl.
"Yeah... A given right" Hancock mumbled to himself.
Hancock walked back to his room after that. He sat down on the couch and looked over at Fahrenheit. She had been watching the whole scene from the doorway. She looked back at him before she smirked.
"A new player?" She suddenly asked.
"yeah... I think she can be useful" Hancock nodded before looking up at the ceiling. Erin's smiling face was stuck in his head by now. A given right? She wasn't wrong. Hancock had always wanted to help the weak, and make the assholes pay. It was the whole reason he became the mayor in the first place. But it seemed like he had lost the way slightly.
"I agree" Fahrenheit smirked.