Charon shifted uncomfortably and grumbled to himself. His new master had a tendency of taking him places or doing things that made him downright uncomfortable. If she weren't schlepping him all over the god-forsaken wastes she was forcing him to prop his feet up in this shit-bucket of a town. He hated Megaton. He hated being surrounded by these smoothskins. He hated how the settlers eyed him apprehensively as he passed with the pretty young thing that now carried his contract. He hated how happy everyone was to see her. Worst of all, he hated the stupid puppy look that Gob, the fucker, got on his face every damn time they walked into Moriority's. Charon didn't know why he hated it, but he did.

He stood in her living room, arms crossed, and stared at the dog who sat panting by his feet. Dogmeat, oblivious and happy as always was staring into nothingness. The animal already seemed accustomed to his new life (of retirement, she would say) and seemed to enjoy lounging around the Megaton house day in and day out as Charon and his master would venture to and from the wastes. Good riddance, thought Charon. The only thing the dog seemed to be good at was blowing your cover and jumping right in front of your goddamn bullets. More than once his master and he had spent valuable time looking around the wastes for the dumb animal who would run off yet again for no good reason. Things had gone smoother now that Dogmeat was "in retirement."

Charon grumbled again and scuffed his feet on the warn metal floors. Even with the pre-war theme this house felt like little more than a gussied up tin can. It didn't help that the floating metallic monstrosity (Wadsworth? Bently? Charon could never remember…) was forever in his way in these narrow quarters. As if on cue, the robotic butler's voice stirred upstairs. "Good morning madam!" it piped happily. "What can I do for you today?"

"Nothing today Wadsworth, thanks though," came the cheery voice from upstairs. Noel, Charon's new master, was polite to everyone. Even to the goddamn robot. Everything about her outright glowed. That girl, with her strawberry blond hair and too clean face, made Charon more nervous than anything else. He couldn't understand why she unnerved him as much as she did. She was fragile, innocent and almost helpless without him. She was naive and trusting and downright gullible sometimes. Surviving in the wastes as she had, well, it was downright dangerous.

Noel bounded lightly down the stairs and cracked Charon a smile, fresh and white. She pat Dogmeat lightly on the head and opened her favorite locker right near the door. She began loading and unloading equipment, occasionally holding out something useful for Charon to keep; stimpacks, purified water, or ammunition rounds. She smiled as she held out some shotgun shells. "You don't mind leaving so soon do you?" She asked, blue eyes twinkling.

Charon reached for the shells, mindful of how his thick red flesh looked next to her pale smooth skin. He pocketed the shells quickly and answered in his gravelly voice, "I do what you want me to do."

Noel gave a little chuckle and shut the locker door. "You're too good to me, you know that?" She brushed past him and knelt to be eye level with the dog. "Look after this place, Dogmeat. Charon and I don't want to see a mess when we come home." She stroked the dog's fur, gave the animal a tight hug around his neck, and planted a kiss on the top of his head before standing up and brushing herself off.

Home, Charon thought ruefully. Yes. He supposed that if he were ever to have a home, this would be it.

Noel stood and eyed him suspiciously. "You sure you're ready to go? You look like you're thinking of something," she said, a hint of teasing in her voice.

Charon grunted and opened the door out to Megaton. He had never been especially close with any of his former masters, and it had suited both parties just fine. Noel, on the other hand, always seemed to be looking for a crack in his defenses that would reveal more about who he was. Initially, she was downright annoying with her questions and her prodding. After realizing that she wouldn't get more than one word answers, she had relented. She seemed accustomed to the fact that Charon didn't want to share his past with her, but that didn't stop her from the occasional try.

Charon didn't understand why she would even care. Most humans wouldn't give a ghoul a second glance, unless they were on the hunt that is, let alone try to get to know one. But there she was, looking at him as though he weren't a sack of rotting flesh; staring into his eyes as though she could see through the milky film that covered his once-blue irises. Even when they first met, when he had worked for Ahzrukhal, she was quick to probe him with questions, and even quicker to take on his contract. Thinking back to their first night together, Noel had confessed that she needed Charon's help in order to survive the wastes and to find her father. Guiltily, she had apologized for removing him from Underworld (his home, she had said) for her own selfish reasons, and promised that upon reuniting with her dad, she would set him free.

Free? Charon had thought. He never remembered being free. The concept was so new and foreign to him that it barely registered. He had always had a master. Even if it were that bastard, Ahzrukhal. He had merely brushed off the girl's confession, propped himself on a rock, and began his first of many nightly lookouts. She had attempted to broach the subject a few times since then, but was always met with his cold shoulder. For the time being, she had let it go.

Staring at her now, Charon wondered if he wanted to be free. Yes, Noel was too naïve for her own good, and yes, she was outright irritating at times, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he enjoyed being with her. It rattled him to the core, to find himself drawn to this new owner, but he couldn't help it. Her sunny attitude, her warmth with others, and the kindness that she showed him, it made him want to stay by her side. She never treated him like a fucking monster and he loved it. Being granted freedom now, after years of doing that asshole Ahzrukhal's dirty work, seemed a twisted punishment.

Suddenly Charon became aware of the fact that he stood in the doorway of their Megaton house, lost in thought as he watched his new master's alabaster face. He grumbled and cleared his throat, noting the sly smile on Noel's lips and the way her tongue touched her teeth as she teased him. "Lost in thought but not gonna tell me, huh? I see how it is." As she brushed past, Charon drew in a deep breath, trying to hold the scent of her in him. He let it out slowly, embarrassed at his own behavior, and followed after her. "Bye Dogmeat! Bye Wadsworth! Be good, I love you!" she called as she turned around to wave her farewells. As she stepped into the light of the early morning, the daybreak glinting off her cheeks, Charon couldn't help but feel himself further pulled by his master's beauty. Suddenly he knew why she unnerved him as she did. The thought made him sick to his stomach.