This is one of several stories based on my first playthrough of Fallout 4, a supplement to the main story with my own role-playing & headcanon.
“Happy Birthday, Fiona” is my take on Hancock’s unrequited lust – and deepening love – for the Sole Survivor. It takes place after Fiona becomes general of the Minutemen and kills Kellogg, but before she enters the Institute.
If you’d like to see a tour of my actual Abernathy Farm settlement in the game, check out my video on Youtube.
Strong language, alcohol and sexual references.
Happy Birthday, Fiona
Hancock joined MacCready in a dark corner of the Abernathy’s rooftop bar. The place was packed with people celebrating Fiona’s birthday. Minutemen, settlers, caravaneers, Trudy Drumlin and her kid Patrick, Deacon, Piper… Damn. He could’ve made a ton of caps, if they’d held the party at the Third Rail. But, then again, if the party was in Goodneighbor, most of these fine folks wouldn’t’ve shown up.
Music played on several strategically placed radios tuned to the Diamond City station. Preston Garvey guided his general around the dance floor to the song “What a Wonderful World.”
Hancock nudged MacCready’s shoulder. “She gonna dance with other guys all night?”
MacCready shrugged. “Dancing’s stupid.”
“She doesn’t think so.”
“I don’t know how, okay? I don’t want to look like an idiot.”
“You trying to piss me off?”
“Just trying to help.”
Piper dropped beside MacCready, jostling the bench and making him spill bourbon on his coat.
“Jeez, Piper, c’mon. This stuff isn’t cheap.”
“Are you for real, MacCready? All the drinks are free. It’s a party.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to go around wasting them.”
“OK, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but…” She grimaced in disgust. “We need to have a one-on-one.”
“Really? That’s all you’ve got to say?” She imitated his voice, adding more than a hint of dumbass. “‘Why?’ I suggest a one-on-one and you’re not going to say something that you think is a smooth come-on but is actually really weird and pervy? You’ve changed. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.”
MacCready scoffed. “You never knew me to begin with.”
“A little radioactive birdie told me that you’ve been trying to find a way into the Institute.”
“Talk to Fi.”
“I don’t pay for information.”
“Fi, as in Fiona. My girlfriend?”
Piper busted into mocking laughter. “Oh, MacCready, you’re a riot. Stop the presses! ‘Delusional mercenary slash former Gunner has imaginary relationship with Minuteman general.’”
“I’m not delusional.”
“If she’s with you, then why’s she slow dancing with her second in command?”
Hancock split before MacCready could appeal to him to verify the relationship or Piper could grill him for information. He wove his way around the dancers and sidled up to Fiona and Garvey just as the music ended.
“Thanks so much for inviting us all out here,” said the Minuteman, doing his best impression of a knight in shining armor. “I can’t remember the last time there was anything worth celebrating, but you’ve changed all that, and I hope you know how much I appreciate it. How much we all appreciate it.”
Fiona smiled that healthy, white-toothed smile, like rows of perfect Mentats.
“I didn’t do it alone, Preston.”
“But you brought us all together and gave us a purpose. I hope you see that. We couldn’t have done it without your leadership. The past year’s been rough, for all of us, and I know we still have a long way to go, but it’s nice to be reminded of what’s good in the Commonwealth. If anyone deserves a happy birthday, it’s you. We owe you so much, General.”
“I wish you would call me Fiona.”
Garvey glanced in MacCready’s direction and noticed Hancock for the first time.
“Oh, um, yeah, well, I think it’s better if we keep things proper. Ma’am. Happy birthday.” Preston touched the brim of his hat and nodded to Fiona, then to Hancock. “Mayor.” Then beat a hasty retreat.
Preston was all sorts of well-fed, clean and respectable. Meanwhile, MacCready was a skeevy little bastard. Great in a fight, sure, and Hancock had nothing against skeevy bastards. But it didn’t seem like her type. Which was in Hancock’s favor. He needed to know more.
“Remind me again why you’re not shacking up with that one?” He nodded in Garvey’s direction.
“Hey, Hancock, glad you could make it.” She looped her arm through his and guided him to the edge of the roof, in the opposite corner from her old man and away from the crowd. “How’s the alley?”
She meant Hangman’s Alley, the downtown settlement she’d asked him to look after. “Doing good. The medical center needs supplies. We get a lotta messed up folks passing through.”
“I figured, given the location. I’ll take care of it. Think you could head over to Egret Marina, help them get their shit together?”
Fiona leaned against the railing and crossed her arms. He leaned beside her. She lowered her voice. “To answer your question, Preston has issues.”
He shrugged. “Don’t we all?”
“He freezes up when he should have my back. In the Old World, we would have called it post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Hancock nodded, removing a cigarette pack and a lighter from his coat. “Yeah, and…?” There had to be more to it than that.
“And he cares more about the Minutemen than anything else.”
He flicked his lighter, lit a cigarette, took a drag, exhaled. “You don’t?”
“I want someone who cares about me for me, not just how much I can contribute to their pet project. The Minutemen are great but…”
“They’re great now. They weren’t so hot before you came along.”
“They’re great as a vehicle for helping people, and for making the Commonwealth a better and more secure place to live, for everyone. Which will make it a better place for Shaun. But, ultimately, Shaun is my priority. I want someone who understands that.”
“Like, MacCready. That was a real sweet thing you did, helping his kid.”
“And now he’s helping me find Shaun, not expecting me to plant tatos at Tenpines or fix the water purifier at Covenant.”
“Yeah, first and foremost, you’re a mama deathclaw. I get it.”
“I got nothing against Preston, y’know? He cares, he really fucking cares about everyone, everybody loves him, everywhere we go. He should be the general, not me, but he can’t handle it.”
“And you can?”
The silver moonlight made her look like one of those marble statues downtown, the ones that were still standing, even after going through hell.
“I don’t let people down.” She spoke with the kind of certainty he wasn’t used to hearing from anyone but himself, and he couldn’t argue with her results. “And if I do, at least I know I did my best. If my best wasn’t good enough, well, there’s no one else trying to do it. I like to think that an attempt, any attempt, is better than doing nothing at all.”
Before he could agree with her, he heard someone say, “Hey, Sturges!” and turned to see a hulking guy in overalls heading their way with a bundle under one arm.
“What’s funny?” She looked in the same direction.
“Another contender enters the ring.”
Sturges fussed with his dark coiffe of hair and flashed a big grin. “’Scuse me, Fiona? Am I interrupting?”
“No, Sturges, not at all.” She got a kind of flustered, hot-and-bothered look. Hancock would’ve given the Third Rail to get that kinda reaction out of her.
“Happy birthday. I brought you a present.” Sturges held out the bundle, something long, wrapped in cloth and twine. Hancock guessed rifle. He was wrong.
Fiona carefully unwrapped the gift. “A guitar! Where did you find one?”
“I made it.”
Her eyes grew red with tears. “You… made it? For me?”
Damn, he was good. Hancock dropped his cigarette butt and stomped it out.
“You’d mentioned it to me, awhile back, how you used to play. Figured it’s the least I could do, while you’re out saving the world.”
“Thank you!” She flung her tits against Sturges’ beefy chest and kissed his sideburned cheek like she’d done it before. “Thank you so much.”
So, that’s how it was, huh? She must have a wet spot for him, didn’t want to admit it. Which probably had more to do with her self-respect and those Old World morals she dragged around like an anchor, than her actual love for MacCready. Would also explain, in fewer words, exactly why she wasn’t hung up on Preston.
“Took a lot of trial and error, and research,” Sturges explained. ”I had Carla find some holotapes with old diagrams and photos. I thought about fixing it with a laser. You could shoot ghouls and sing about it at the same time. Uh, no offense, Hancock.”
“I don’t suppose you’ll play something for us? I wanna make sure it works.”
“I don’t know if my fingers still remember how to play, after being in cryo freeze. Let me practice a little first.” She gazed at the instrument like a lover and Hancock wished he had six strings. “Sturges, I’m… I’m at a loss for words. This is… amazing. You’re amazing.”
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
“It’s not nothing,” she gushed.
“I just want you to be happy. Are you happy, Fiona?”
Whoa, that had subtext. Hancock couldn’t wait to hear her answer.
“I’m… I’m as good as I’m going to be, until I find Shaun. We’re getting really close. We tracked down the guy who took him and killed Nate. He’s a blood stain on the floor of Fort Hagen, now.”
She said that with such relish, it made Hancock semi-hard. “Anybody ever deserved it, it was that piece of garbage.”
Fiona took Hancock’s words as encouragement to launch into a war story, which she mimed with vicious enthusiam.
“It’s not our style, getting up close and personal, right? Mac and I like to hang back, let our guns do the talking. But we found Kellogg — that’s the asshole who took Shaun — and he had a Stealth Boy, which means my Pipboy targeting system doesn’t work. But Mac just ran right up, flipped his rifle around, started pounding and pounding. I didn’t even need to fire a shot.”
Bingo. Killing her husband’s murderer trumped Minuteman and handyman. MacCready would get a lot of mileage outta that. The little shit.
Warm and fuzzy Sturges got cold and prickly all of a sudden. “Well, that’s … great. I’m just glad you’re alright and you, uh, got some justice.”
“But we’ve still got to find Shaun. I’m working on some lead-lined power armor so we can enter the Glowing Sea.”
She said it as casually as Hancock might say, I’m working on a way to make Joey Slickfingers cough up those caps he owes us. Just another day.
“Jesus H. Christ, why do you need to go out there?” Sturges seemed get more uncomfortable by the moment.
“To find the information I need. To find Shaun.”
“Well, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. Right now, I think I’ll go grab a beer. See you later?”
Sturges went off to the bar without waiting for an answer.
Hancock pushed up the brim of his tricorn hat. “You’re scaring people away, all that talk of murder and mayhem.”
“You’re still here.”
“I happen to enjoy murder and mayhem. It’s better than jet. So, what’s with you and your friendly neighborhood guitar maker?”
Fiona looked all forlorn and wistful. “He’d rather I stayed in Sanctuary Hills, but I’ve got shit to do.”
“Yeah, you do.”
“I… I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I miss him sometimes.”
She’d never tell MacCready something like that, he was certain. That sort of honesty was a gift, and he appreciated it, more than she knew.
Hancock adjusted the cuffs of his red coat. “Look, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but I… I think you should know something.”
Especially when I’m curious how you’ll react.
“What’s up?” She moved real close, like, smell the wasteland in her hair and the sweetness of her breath close.
“You smell like gumdrops.” He said it a bit too warm and sultry, he couldn’t help it.
“They were a gift from Piper.”
“You got any left? Don’t hold out on me.”
She fished a small box from her shirt pocket and offered it to him. “They’re hard as rocks.”
“I know the feeling.”
She laughed. He wasn’t fucking kidding, but to her he was a joke. She didn’t look at him and see someone with feelings and needs, the way she looked at MacCready or Sturges. She saw a melted wax clown.
“Um… Is that it? You wanted to tell me I smelled like gumdrops?”
“No, I, uh, had something else.”
He paused, wagged his finger so she’d lean closer, whispered in her ear. Strands of her auburn hair brushed his scarred lips.
“Sturges is a synth.”
She reached for the 10mm at her hip and Hancock stayed her hand.
“Whoa. Not the Institute spy kind of synth. The rescued and rehabilitated kind.”
She fixed him with a look that could melt steel. Her eye twitched. All that sugary laughter from a minute ago, gone.
“How do you know?”
“Who d’ya think lets the Railroad operate in Goodneighbor? Shit doesn’t happen in my town without my approval.”
“Does he know?”
“Synths don’t usually know they’re synths. Once they get out of the Institute, get their minds wiped, they’re like anybody else, just trying to survive. I shouldn’t know, either, but I happened to be in the Memory Den when he passed through. Kinda hard to forget biceps like that, but I don’t have to tell you.”
She stared across the rooftop. “Everything seemed so real. I mean, it all felt just like… Damn.”
“Because he is real. Synth, ghoul, mutant, we’re not human, but we’re still people.” He needed her to believe that.
“I slept with him, back when I first left the vault.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured that out.”
“Not right at first, of course. At the time, everything felt like it just happened yesterday. But, after a few months, when we were fixing up the settlement… I was so lonely.”
“I ain’t judging you. Don’t judge him, either.”
And don’t judge me, that’s what he really wanted to say, wasn’t it?
“Thanks for telling me. I… I should go. See how Mac’s doing.”
Her port in a shitstorm. Well, we all needed one. Hancock’s was chems and liquor. But he wanted hers to be him. He wanted it bad, and he wasn’t used to that sort of feeling.
“Dream a Little Dream of Me” started playing on the radio. He pulled her toward the dance floor, sliding his arm around her waist.
“MacCready’s fine. Let’s dance.”
* * *
~ J.L. Hilton
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