An NPC!AU of Fallout 4, featuring my SS, Renee Jones, and my pal vkm11's SS, Gene Dandridge. Props to her for letting me borrow Gene and helping in the creation of the Sunglass GFs.

Sometimes it seemed the Brahmin was the only person Renee could really connect with. She walked near the beast's heads, occasionally reaching over to give it a loving pat. "Holding up, girl?" She murmured.

The Brahmin groaned in response and shook itself. The goods piled high on its back rattled at the movement.

"Hey, hey! That's delicate stuff!" Cricket turned with a glare. "Don't be messin' with the Brahmin!"

Renee placed her hand on her rifle. She felt grateful her blue eyes were obscured behind a pair of sunglasses so no one could see her rolling them. "It's fine, Cricket. Everything's tied down."

"You ever seen a mini nuke go off? I don't wanna today!" The caravan leader huffed. "'Specially not this close to Diamond City…"

A ripple of agreement spread through the three guards. Renee glanced behind her. "See anything, Dale?"

Dale shook his head. "Nothing."

"Same over here." Jace kept a finger on the laser musket's trigger in his hands. "Looks like we'll get into the city just fine."

If she was being honest, the thought relieved Renee. She sighed softly. As much as she enjoyed the work, there was a high element of danger involved in being a caravan guard. Fortunately Cricket had a small route, hitting Bunker Hill, Diamond City, and Goodneighbor; unfortunately, she specialized in weapons, which Raiders and Gunners and other unscrupulous characters loved.

Their small party stopped just outside Diamond City, the great "green jewel" of the Commonwealth. Someone told her once that it was a baseball stadium before the war; but honestly, she didn't really care. Renee slung the rifle across her shoulders, one hand on the strap while the other slid into her jean pocket.

"Want one?" Dale held out a cigarette for her. While Cricket was talking to D.C. security, the three guards took advantage of the downtime.

"Oh. Uh, no, no I'm fine." Renee made a point to smoke very little.

Dale shrugged and handed it off to Jace instead. "Damn, my feet hurt," he grumbled, blowing smoke into the air.

"Mine too." Jace raised an eyebrow at Renee. "You're real quiet, shrimp."

"For the last time, my name is Renee. Renee Jones." She crossed her arms. "And I'm sore too. But complaining doesn't do anything about it."

The two men shared a glance and turned away from her. Renee only joined the caravan a few weeks prior, and while she wasn't mistreated by anyone, it was obvious her presence rubbed everyone the wrong way. She was hired on to replace their fallen comrade, after all.

Cricket whistled loudly for attention. "Let's go!" She motioned for them to follow.

Renee kept her gaze to the ground as they walked inside the Wall. Almost immediately Dale and Jace rushed off to find themselves a drink. She sighed. "Guess I'm sticking with you, huh?" She chuckled awkwardly.

Cricket huffed. "Yeah. Don't make me lose money. Watch the Brahmin."

They made their way into the marketplace where Cricket went straight for Commonwealth Weaponry. She wasted no time in starting to haggle with poor Arturo, who looked frazzled and annoyed by her. Renee leaned against the side of the building while the Brahmin made itself comfortable on the sidewalk.

Renee tried to keep herself entertained by looking around, but it did little to help. She flicked her sunglasses up on her forehead as she spotted a sign she didn't recognize. Wicked Aesthetics, huh? The hell is that… She straightened up. "I'll be back."

"Uh-huh, yeah." Cricket waved her hand.

The caravan guard strode toward the building and didn't hesitate to go inside. A little bell above the door jingled and she suddenly found herself toe-to-toe with an Assaultron. "Back off!" She shouted, swinging her rifle into position.

"Hey! No guns in the shop! Put that damn thing away!"

The Assaultron backed away with a confused beep. Renee glanced beyond it to see a woman standing in front of the counter. "Sorry about that. It's, uh, habit." She slid the gun back into position.

The woman sighed, crossing her arms. "It's fine…" She walked back around the other side of the counter and leaned on it. "So, you new to Diamond City? Nevah seen you around before."

Renee blinked at the woman's accent. "Um… I mean, I'm with a caravan. I just don't usually get to explore."

"Gotcha. Well, lucky for you, you've found yahself in the best clothing store this side a' town. Way bettah than the junk ovah in Fallon's." The shopkeeper grinned. "I'm Gene."

"I'll take your word for it." Renee busied herself in looking at the different jackets and accessories for sale.

As she felt over the material of a scarf—the one she wore was getting a bit ragged—the door opened again. She glanced up to see someone in a red coat dash in. "Hm?"

"Hey Gene!" The newcomer tossed a newspaper on the counter. "I was in the market, so I figured I'd stop by with a new issue to save you the trouble."

Gene laughed. "Thanks. I appreciate it."

"Well, I should get back to the office. I'll see you around!"

Renee watched the woman turn. A press cap sat on her head, while her freckled face was framed by shoulder-length black hair. Her hazel eyes locked with Renee's for only a moment before she left the store.

Renee gripped the scarf tighter and felt heat rise into her cheeks. "Wh-who was…"

"That was Pipah Wright. She owns the newspapah here in town." Gene smirked. "Hope you're not getting any ideas."

"She's dating someone else, then." Renee put the scarf back on the display. "I should have figured as much."

"Well, not…exactly, I guess." The smile disappeared from Gene's face.

"Then there's nothing wrong with me going to buy her a drink!" Renee made her way to the door. She managed to stop herself in time to avoid running into Gene as the shopkeeper blocked it off. "But you just said…"

Gene pulled her own pair of sunglasses from the top of her head and slid them on her face. "I know what I said. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna let you get to 'er first!"

Renee narrowed her eyes. She glanced from the doorknob to Gene's eyes and back again. Her lips twitched into a smile. "Catch me if you can." Before Gene could react, she slipped out the door and into the marketplace.

It didn't take long for Gene to catch up with her. "I thought you had a store to run," Renee quipped, glaring up at her. Gene easily stood four inches above her, making her stride that much longer than Renee's.

"I do. But this is more important." Gene pushed ahead.

"If you're too much of a coward to take her out on a date then let me!" Renee broke into a run, nearly knocking into a passerby. Suddenly she felt Gene yank on the back of her scarf and stumbled back with a grunt.

Gene ran ahead. "Bettah luck next time, short stack!" She gave Renee a salute and continued on.

Renee managed to catch her breath. "Shit…" She grit her teeth and tried to pass by the taller woman, but unfortunately Gene was too far ahead. Coupled with the bustling marketplace, there was no way she would be able to get to Piper first.

She burst from the crowd just as Gene stopped before a young girl selling newspapers. "Not so fast!" She shouted, tackling the ebony-haired shopkeeper to the ground.

Both women tumbled over each other on the ground, sunglasses flying different directions. The girl simply watched the spectacle happen, grinning at the ridiculousness of it all. "We've got enough copies for everyone, you know."

Gene pushed herself up on her elbows. "That's not really what I'm heah for. And would you get the hell off me?" She glared at Renee.

"I'm here for the gal who writes the paper, personally. Ouch…" Renee laid out a little behind Gene, her legs sprawled over the woman's back. She rubbed the side of her head where it hit the boardwalk.

The door to the newspaper office opened, revealing Piper. She walked out, surprised to see Gene and Renee. "I thought I heard something. What the heck happened?"

"Oh, uh, ya know…" Gene scrambled to her feet, dusting herself off. One of the knees in her jeans was blown out but she still tried to look presentable.

Renee followed suit, smoothing back her auburn hair. "I wanted to know if you would like to—" She grunted as Gene elbowed her in the gut; or rather tried to, but instead hit her square in the chest. "…get a drink w-with me…" She wheezed.

"Gee, that's really nice of you to offer, but I'm busy." Piper turned as a man wearing a blue Vaultsuit came out the door next. "Ready to go, Blue?"

"Blue? Who's this guy?" Gene scoffed and crossed her arms.

"Well, I told Blue I'd help him out in exchange for an interview. So, we are gonna find his son since Diamond City security won't do anything!" She directed the last bit of her statement toward a nearby guard.

"What was that, Piper?" The guard began stomping toward her.

"Gotta run!" Piper tipped her hat to her bewildered guests and gripped the man's hand before tugging him away. They soon disappeared out the front gates.

Gene and Renee stood still for a moment. The caravan guard knelt to retrieve a pair of sunglasses she recognized as Gene's. "Here." She handed them off.

"Thanks, I think." Gene slid them on. "So…"

"Wanna get that drink?" Renee sighed, turning toward Gene with a weak smile.

Gene shrugged. "Don't see why not." She suddenly bent and retrieved Renee's sunglasses. "Heah."

"Aw man…" Renee grimaced. The thin frames were bent out of shape and one of the lenses was cracked. She sighed and tucked them her pocket. "Those were my only pair…"

"Lucky for you I sell shades back at the shop." Gene grinned.

"After what you just put me through, they better be free."

"Free?" Gene's smile fell. "Whaddaya mean, free? Do you see these?" She gestured to her jeans. "These are completely ruined!"

Renee rolled her eyes. "That's not my fault! If you had just let me do what I wanted to do then we wouldn't be in this mess!" She crossed her arms. "Tell you what. If you're up for a bit of a contest, I think I know a way to fix this."

"Keep talking."

"We go for drinks. First one hammered has to pay for the other's ruined stuff." She smirked. "And just for the record, I may look like a lightweight, but I'm most certainly not."

Gene was quiet for a moment. She rubbed the back of her neck and sighed. "Thing is, I don't really like alcohol… So, uh, I'll pass."

"Of course you don't." Renee reached up to rub her eyes. "Well, fine. I'll just buy the damn sunglasses. But then I'm taking you straight to the bar." She began walking back to Wicked Aesthetics. "You coming?"

"Why're you wanting to take me to the bah?" Gene soon fell in step next to her.

"Because you've obviously never had a good drink or been drinking with the right people. I don't have a ton of time before Cricket needs me back on the road so hurry up."

Just before they reached the shop, they were stopped by Dale and Jace. "Hey, there you are, shrimp!" Dale grinned at Renee's annoyed expression. "I see you made a new friend."

"She's not…" Renee sighed. "Never mind. I assume Cricket's ready to go?"

"Yeah. We've been trying to find you." Jace's gaze flicked over Gene but he didn't press the issue. "Let's just go. You know how she gets."

Renee looked up at Gene. "Duty calls. But don't think you've seen the last of me. I'll be back for those drinks." She offered the shopkeeper a small wave as she walked off with the other two guards. "And if you find some sunglasses like these, save 'em for me." She dug the broken pair from her pocket and tossed them to Gene.

Gene managed to catch them before they hit the ground. "You got it!"

Renee gripped her rifle and flicked the safety off as she neared the entrance to Diamond City. Suddenly, she didn't mind the route anymore. As long as she could come back.

Reviews are appreciated.