A/N: Thank you to apegasaurus for leaving such a kind review.
Sorry I fell off the face of the earth a little bit. I inevitably finished my third rewatch of the show and while the idea of including Connor in this story felt like a great surprise, it's a bit difficult figuring him out because we just didn't get enough time with him. Anyways, thank you for the support and while I might be a bit slow getting to it we will see the end of the story.
I tried to do a long one to make up for disappearing. Hope you enjoy !
- RACHEL -
As she saw Bass and Connor round the corner, Rachel held her breath. They looked like they were seconds away from tearing each other to pieces. Carefully eyeing Charlie and Miles, she gathered that he was equally concerned under his usual frown. Charlie was unreadable as always and Rachel wished once again that she could have a breakthrough with her daughter, to finally understand what went on inside her head. But instead she was sentenced to observe and react to whatever crumbs Charlie would throw her.
When the two of them reached the rest of the group Bass addressed Rachel first.
"Do you think you can take a look at his leg?"
Rachel wanted to remind him that she wasn't a doctor, not in the traditional sense of the word at least, but she was caught by surprise at the sincere concern in his eyes. Loving their kids, and putting them above everything else was probably about the only thing they had in common. Well, that and Miles.
"I can't do it out here. He'll need to take his pants off." She said simply and Connor opened his mouth to protest before Bass cut him off.
"Our new trailer will do then."
"Our… what?" Charlie asked, pulling a classic Matheson raised eyebrow.
He flashed her a grin in response. "What? I'm talent now."
"You're a douche." Miles deadpanned.
"Shut up, dickhead and show a little gratitude. I got a separate trailer for you and the missus." Bass retorted as he threw Miles a key that he caught in mid-air.
Miles shrugged and pocketed it.
"Can we at least go to my caravan if you're gonna take my clothes off?" Connor asked in a low voice. Rachel noted that the fact that he wasn't protesting meant he was probably in enough pain to be willing to let them intervene.
"A'ight, kid. Lead the way." Bass said.
So he followed Connor's instructions, navigating through the crowded place until they finally reached the place he'd been calling home.
- CHARLIE -
As they reached the front door, Bass froze. It took Charlie a moment, but she quickly figured why. She remembered this was the very same trailer Monroe was using back when he'd stayed in this place. The image of him going out into the night walking into the trap she'd set for him, only to be caught by the bounty hunters came rushing back.
She still hadn't had a moment to check in with him and she knew how memories had an effect on him, so she silently closed the distance between them and gently squeezed his arm only to pull away in haste when she saw the look of betrayal in Connor's eyes. It's not like she'd ever seen things between them as serious, but she knew both Monroe men were quite possessive, she'd seen Connor get this way with Jason too. She just stepped back and looked away, she didn't want to be anywhere near Connor when he took his pants off. Not because it would mean anything to her, but because she knew it would make Bass lose it and Connor feel even less of a man.
She let out a sigh of relief when she heard Miles say, "This place is a dump. Y'all go on in. I'll stay out here with Charlie."
As soon as they disappeared inside, he turned to her.
"Well, you're in a pickle." He said with an amused smirk like he was watching the most interesting movie in the world.
She put her hands on her hips. "You're one to talk." She said, leaving out the whole you slept with your brother's wife part.
- BASS -
As he stood beside Connor's bed leaning against the wall and trying to look as indifferent as possible, Bass tried to ignore his irritation at this new habit of having to worry about loved ones and their wellbeing. One could argue it was personal growth that he let his guard down enough to care, but to him it was difficult to shake off that their connection to him made them targets and it made him vulnerable. But now, having already put his plan in place he knew he had to man up and play ball. No one made him march to New Vegas and give his real name. He hardly ever got his way with Miles and this was his play and he had to see it through.
Connor shifted uncomfortably as he slowly fumbled with his fly and dropped his pants to the floor. Bass noticed that the kid couldn't quite meet Rachel's eyes as he lay down. Rachel in turn was quite apathetic as she got right to work probing the leg and bending it in different angles, noting Connor's reaction. She then sat him up and checked his vision, having him track her finger with his eyes. She felt his head for bumps and turned to Bass.
"His leg is fine. It's a pulled muscle. His concussion though…"
"He's concussed?" He turns to Connor. "You're concussed? Why didn't you say anything?"
"Last I checked you were there when I got socked in the face." Connor bit back.
Rachel looked just about done with their alpha crap, so she turned to Connor.
"Just stay in bed for another day or so and drink plenty of water. Not much more you can do now. It's not like I can send you off to get an MRI."
And with that she left them to it, joining Miles and Charlie outside.
Bass watched her close the door behind her, and tried to think of what he could say to Connor. But his kid didn't even look at him.
"Connor, I – "
"Save it, okay. Just go right on out to play house with your chick and her family."
The bitterness in his voice felt like a knife through Bass' heart, a pain worse than any bullet wound and he dropped his head and clenched his jaw, fighting the stinging in his eyes. Charlie had once thought he was putting it on when he almost cried talking to her about getting a second chance with Miles. In reality it wasn't that he could cry on cue, it's that he couldn't help himself. He was thankful that Connor didn't even want to look at him; he'd hate to show weakness in front of him so he just bit his tongue and did as he was asked.
- CHARLIE -
When he emerged, the sight of him made Charlie bite her lip, it worried her how he looked both distant and overcome with emotion at the same time. He walked right past them and as if he sensed their hesitation and quiet judgement he spoke as he kept walking.
"Are you coming or what?" he barked at her.
Charlie had spent enough time with him to know better than to try and get all warm and fuzzy with him. If he had to work through his shit in silence she'd just be there, maybe pretending to mind her own business but really just keeping an eye on him, making sure he didn't fall of the rails again. It was a full time job and someone had to do it.
She sped up and caught up with him and they walked like that, in silence, side by side through the crowd of inebriated strangers stumbling their way through the dimly lit tents. She let him guide her through the crowd and he stopped in front of an old trailer. Connor's looked like a palace in comparison but she knew they wouldn't be staying for long, and a bed's a bed so she didn't complain.
Bass pushed open the door to the decrepit trailer and held it open for Charlie. What, now he remembers I exist? She kept her mouth shut though because she knew that as short as her fuse is, his is shorter. She plopped herself down on the bed and refused to look at him. He in turn refused to speak so they were frozen in their place, each lost in thought. Kicking her boots off, Charlie got under the covers and before she dozed off she felt his arm around her waist and she just felt lighter as she surrendered herself over to slumber.
Her uninterrupted sleep lasted all the way until morning when she slowly came to, her eyes adjusting to the daylight hitting the new, unfamiliar space. Her eyes flicked about, taking in her surroundings as she contemplated how to extract herself from the bed without waking him. She was getting pretty good at it, she just had to move slowly and find something to tuck under his arm so he'd stay comfortable, usually her bunched up jacket but this time she grabbed a pillow. She pulled her jeans on and she tiptoed outside.
She didn't have a plan, she wasn't particularly trying to scope out the place, the landscape was unpredictable so she didn't really see a point. So she just roamed around, watching people going about their lives. In the light of day the debauchery and grimy decadence just didn't seem as glamorous and she could really see the place for what it was – a sort of limbo between this world and the past one, where excess was not a luxury to be afforded by the few. This place kept a spark of the pre-Blackout world alive. As she wondered through the tents, she thought about Bass' plan that had him be the center of attention. She'd never been in his orbit when he was that person before, not when he was Jimmy King, and certainly not when he was The General. He always had the kind of big personality that drew people to him, she could see that. Now she'd haveto sit there and watch the thirst in people's eyes as they watched his blood spill, she also remembered the unabashed lust in some of the women's, as they ogled his glistening fighter's body.
What she feared most though, and she didn't dare express it to either Bass or Miles, although she wondered if they hadn't both already thought of it, was the possibility of some rogue man (or woman) coming for Monroe's head. Just take him out and be done with it. It's what she would have done, what she tried to do. To the rest of the continent he'd been the lunatic who dropped the bombs, but even if that didn't seal his fate, the fact that he was a shit ruler for about ten years would. They'd have to sleep with one eye open for the rest of their stay and they had no allies in this place – Connor would only tolerate Bass at best and Duncan was dead. And with the realization that she'd left him alone to potentially be taken out, she made her way back to their lodgings.
As she pushed the door open she heard a gun cock and her heart sunk as she realized the worst of her fears were probably coming true. She imagined someone creeping through the trailer when she left and taking him out while he slept. She run through plays in her head, go for the gun, if it goes off so what is the one she settled for because she had nothing to lose and so she pushed the door open quickly and lunged herself at the direction she'd heard the click from.