holy shit, that sole being tortured one ruined me. good job! could we possibly get a follow up with the aftermath of the torture? I'm all for angst but please don't make it too angsty, I don't think my heart could take it.
(Lol it was torture to write badum tss. But thanks. Hopefully this isn’t too angsty? I can’t tell anymore, it gets away from me sometimes)
Hancock- He plies them with all the liquor and chems they need to make the pain ebb, but he’s mindful of just how much they take. Wouldn’t help anyone if they got out of that den and overdosed a few days later. Goodneighbor is closest, so he lets them sleep in his room until they can get up and around on their own. “Wasn’t your fault,” he tells them quietly a few days later as they laid curled up under his sheets (in a position he’s had dreams of a couple of nights, under happier circumstances). “Ain’t nothing you could have done to keep it from happening. You know that, right?” They hesitate, leaving it to hang a long moment without an answer. He squeezes their arm tenderly. “I want you to remember that.” He leans forward, presses a firm kiss to their forehead and stands. He checks with Fahrenheit to make damn sure not a single rat escaped that nest of sadistic fucks. He hopes Sole sleeps a little easier with them gone.
Nick- He stays close enough to catch them when they stumble. “Take it easy.” They fight him, say they need to get to Sanctuary as soon as possible, that they have work to do, but Nick coaxes them into sitting and taking a breath. “Don’t push yourself. After everything…” He sighs, a hand resting against the back of their neck, cradling their head. “No one expects you to be a superhero all the time. If you need time, you take it. The world won’t fall apart without you for a little while.” They stare at him with slowly crumbling defiance, until they can no longer hold it together under the weight of his gaze. They sink forward against his chest, and he strokes their head in loose circles until the tears come.
MacCready- He hates himself. As much as he wants to be there for Sole, he can’t look at them. He makes sure they’re taken care of, well fed and healing properly, but beyond that, he stays at arm’s length. He can’t see anything but his failings in the bruises and barely healed cuts on their cheeks. He’s just reminded of everyone he’s let down in his life, Sole being the newest addition to that list. He speaks in clipped sentences and sits far on the other side of the campfire from them, hugging his rifle in his lap. Sole tries to coerce a conversation out of him, but like the nights before, he keeps his answers short. “Robert.” He twitches slightly. He knows what they’ll say even before they say it; “What’s going on with you?” MacCready huffs, “Of course you’d ask me that. You get butchered and you ask me what’s wrong.” They blanch at his response, but it’s started now and he can’t stop. “I should have… I don’t know what I should have done. I should have kept them off you.” He wipes stubbornly at the fat blobs of salt water welling in the corners of his eyes. “God, and I’m so damn selfish, I haven’t even thought about how you much worse you must feel…” Why did Sole put up with him? Why did Lucy, or 101, or anyone ever put up with him? They wrap around him from behind and his eyes grow wide. “I’m sorry,” he says quietly, clinging to their arms, “I’m so sorry, Sole…”
X6-88- He doesn’t even ask; Once they’re both free and clear, he relays them both to the Institute. He doesn’t trust any waster with their care. Sole is taken to the medical wing and X6 is taken for repairs of his own. His injuries heal a lot easier than theirs. “Sir/ma'am,” he begins as they both sit on a bench in the lobby, near the shade of artificial trees, “Are you feeling well?” They are still covered in gauze, but X6 is assured the recovery process has been expedited considerably. “I’ll live. You?” “I saw it again. When I was sleeping.” His fingers curl against his lap. “I believe there is an anomaly in my programming. I have been considering turning myself in for assessment before it gets any worse. It could be a threat to the safety of you and the Institute if I am unable to perform my duties at an optimal level. Not only that… but in allowing you to come to harm, I failed my highest priority mission. You would be better off in the care of someone else.” They lay their hand over his. “If I ordered you not to get reprogrammed, would you have to do what I do say?” His brows knit at the question. “If I believe I am becoming a danger, then it would be irresponsible of you to give me such an order. But… if it was given…. I would be obligated to follow it.” “Then it’s given.” He stares at them from behind his sunglasses, observing the purple bruises flaring down their temple, and the way they frown at him. In this instance, he could easily circumvent their wishes. It would be the wiser decision in the long run. But he turns forward, staring at the reflections in the glass floor. He doesn’t want to forget them as much as they don’t want him to forget. “Very well,” he complies. For better or worse, he would hold onto the experience he’d like nothing more than to forget.
Danse- It’s difficult to move on from something like this, but Sole keeps moving. He admires them even more than before, and not just as a soldier. He insists on carrying most of the junk they (for some reason) always want to lug around and keeps them both on the routes which pose the less danger. If they find a fight, he takes point. If they look weak, he insists on a Stimpak. If the sun goes down, he stops them and sets up camp. They express with some annoyance that they liked it much better being the leader than the follower. “It’s only temporary. Just until you’re back in fighting shape.” He gives them a portion of his rations, and takes the first watch while they sleep, as he has for the last five nights. His caution near borders on paranoia, but there’s no way in hell he’s letting it happen again. He’d sooner die than see them in that position again.
Curie- She whispers curses and has to flick away the dewdrops on her lashes as she’s tending to Sole’s wounds. “I do not understand humanity at times. People should not hurt others like this. For any reason!” She’s confused, a little afraid, and every time she looks at the crosshatch of stitches, she finds her eyes watering again. She feels compelled to lay a kiss just above one of the cuts on their back and sigh against their skin. “I am so sorry this happened to you.” She’s gentle in her care for their injuries, but firm when she tells them they absolutely must stay on bedrest for awhile, and even if she needs to hold them down to keep them put.
Piper- She delivers on that promise of an ice cold Nuka Cola once they’re back in Diamond City. She makes sure the doc patches them up and curls up with them on the couch once they’ve got the greenlight to head home. Nat knows something very bad happened, so she keeps her distance and stays quiet, excusing herself to go upstairs and finish her homework. Piper pets Sole’s head as they lay in her lap. The glowing bottle of soda is left on the table, untouched. “We can talk whenever you’re ready. Talk helps.” At least, it usually did. She leans her head back, lightly runs her nails up and down their scalp until they both fall asleep. Nat makes them breakfast in the morning. It almost feels normal.
Deacon- “I think you look at least ten percent hotter. Scars are total sex magnets.” He runs his thumb around the burn wound, skirting the edges just enough that he doesn’t cause them pain. “You know what… it looks a little like a bunny.” Sole laughs, then immediately asks that he not make them laugh as they replace the bandages around their waist. What other choice does he have? If he doesn’t hear it, he’ll have nothing to focus on but the pain of his own wounds and their limping gait, both things he’d really like to forget for awhile. “You’re a real badass now. Nobody can call themselves a secret agent until they’ve been roughed up a little by bald guys with the ‘sinister big bad’ starter pack.” He slings an arm around their shoulders on the trip back to HQ. Both because he needs to remind himself that they’re here, they’re still alive, and so they can lean their weight against him to alleviate the hobble in their step. He prods them over the course of the next few weeks whenever they need to apply a Stimpak, a dose of Med-X, or a change of bandages.
Codsworth- He insists Sole lay down the moment they reach Sanctuary, and doesn’t let them get up for anything. Even trips to the bathroom are a battle, with Codsworth not wanting them to move an inch and Sole not wanting to piss in a bottle. He brings them breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed, and on the sparing few occasions they absolutely need to get up, he’s there to be their crutch. “I was terribly worried about you,” he tells them as he’s folding and putting away clothes in a rickety handmade dresser. “I thought you… I thought I was going to…” Sole calls him over from his task to run their hand along his chassis. “I’m not going anywhere, Codsworth.”
“Please don’t. It was terribly lonely without you all that time… I would be quite… lost without you, sir/mum.”
Cait- She breaks three of her knuckles and fractures her orbital socket in the frenzied attack, but she insists it’s nothing compared to what Sole went through. After receiving treatment from a nearby settlement, Sole wakes up to Cait with an armful of liquor. She dumps them onto the bed and shoves a glass into their arms. “No better pain killer in the wasteland!” She fetches one for for herself and clinks it off Sole’s. “We’re gonna drink until we’re smashed, and then we’re gonna drink some more.” She opens up a bottle of bourbon and splashed a shot into both their glasses, and downs hers while Sole is staring at her. “Yeah, sounds like a great coping mechanism,” they chuckle dryly. “S'the only one that works worth a damn,” she rebuts, tipping the bottom of their cup up towards their lips.
Preston- He takes over many of the General’s responsibilities, and unless it’s of the utmost importance, he doesn’t bother them with it. He checks in every morning with the Castle’s doc to get a report on Sole’s condition, even after they’re well enough to get around by themselves, and ensures they have all the supplies to make Stimpaks and other meds. He wants to talk to them about it, make sure their mental condition isn’t as damaged as their physical, but his throat becomes unbearably dry whenever he tries. He finds them one day, standing on the Castle walls, as the sun was setting across the ocean and painting the waters with blazing color. He stands with them awhile, glancing between the visible scars and the majesty of the sunset. “I won’t let my guard down again, General. I promise.” His fingers wind around theirs and squeeze ever so slightly.
Dogmeat- He lays across Sole’s lap, and growls at anyone that comes close. Even settlers and friends in Sanctuary are warned to keep their distance. It serves Sole’s reclusive nature just fine after what they went through, and they’re glad to have company in solitude.
Strong- Human moves slow, tells him they “just need a minute”. He gets sick of it quickly, so he picks them up and places them on his shoulders, carrying them most of the way through the city until they reach the city with lights. “Other humans weak,” he tells them when they’re being treated, “If they were strong, woulda eaten you, like brothers do. But you alive.” He pats them on the back and pops at least a dozen stitches.