This is a story about what happens after the war.
This is a story about finding happiness.
This is a story about love.
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the creators of the Halo universe, nor do I own anything, I just wrote this for fun and, hopefully, for your enjoyment. I make no profit.
Warnings: PTSD, violence, gore, triggered flashbacks, panic attacks, swearing, off-screen animal death, non-consensual drug use, sexual slurs, and my probably inaccurate science-y talk and Halo lore. Chapters are individually tagged with warnings if they are needed.
Please note, the majority of this story was written before Halo 4 was even announced. As such, I ignore 343's expansions, as well as most of the books. This is officially AU.
This has been edited as of 2017. If you read the original version of MNiaS, you will notice a great deal has been removed, added, and polished. This is for cohesion, and betters the story and characters. Despite this, MNiaS still has flaws; I was a very young and inexperienced writer, and I can only edit so much before it becomes a completely different story. Chapter word length has also been drastically reduced due to these edits, but I didn't want to combine any chapters and risk confusing already existent readers.
I have also removed all AN's, bar necessary ones containing Warnings if they are warranted.
Much love, and please feel free to comment.
My Neighbour is a Spartan
On Earth, in a valley, there was a town.
It sat in a bowl made by mountains, their peaks tipped with snow, and was an utterly peaceful scene in the morning light.
From atop an overlook, a man watched as the town slowly awoke alongside the sun. People milled down the streets, slowly swelling into crowds dotted with children in school uniforms, and this showed that there were still some places in the universe that appeared normal after the war. He was too far away to hear more than a low buzz from the traffic, but this place appeared alive. Happy.
One would not think that only a matter of months ago this place, these people, were in jeopardy. That their lives could have been ended by plasma, lead, or bones wrapped in rotten flesh.
The man watched the town with sharp eyes, arms folded over his chest, and paid no mind to how long his shadow had grown since he arrived.
Passively, he mapped out the towns layout, easily finding weak points against incursion. It was not needed any longer, such actions, but this was a part of him that could not be ignored.
After one last sweep, he turned and slid back into his truck. It was a decommissioned Warthog, no less intimidating for the lack of gun, and growled into life. A familiar and comforting sound to one that had spent their life submersed in war and blood.
His destination was further away from the town, around a bend and up a small mountain, and he peeled onto the dirt road without a backwards glance.
On Earth, in a valley, there was a town called Tamworth, and it was his new home.
When he shut off the Warthog the silence was not silence, but absence, broken by rustling leaves and chattering birds. He sat in the truck for a beat, feeling that the ticking of the engine as it cooled mimicked his erratic heartbeat all too well. He stared at the house before him. It seemed serene, the yard and the house and the birds singing.
He wasn't sure what to do with serenity.
It wasn't a particularly large house, nor was it a particularly small one. It needed a paintjob, maybe. He wasn't really sure about that either. The paint was faded in places, peeling in others, but the house had solid walls, unbroken windows, and was far enough from both the town and the road to afford him privacy. The abundance of trees and shrubs ringing the yard offered further solitude, and semi-decent cover if needed.
He stepped out of the truck, and stopped.
He heard feet sprinting over gravel, heavy panting, and a feminine voice shouting.
He spun, legs apart, arms up.
It was a dog that skidded to a stop before him. Not a beast, not a wailing Grunt or a slobbering Brute, but a dog. Tongue lolling and tail wagging, it made a wuffing sound and peered up at him with eyes that held no aggression or threat. Rather, curiosity.
He blinked, slightly bewildered, and let his arms fall back to his sides.
"Get back here, Boomer!" The second half of the interruption shouted, and she sounded more exasperated than angry, so he wiped the displeasure from his face and waited. She was running, with noisy steps, and perhaps knew not that he was here. Her reaction would be genuine in that case, and he could get a read on her.
Boomer, he supposed, wuffed louder and sat. Waiting. He had seen dogs when he was young and vaguely recalled being told that they liked to smell you before being petted, so he held out his hand and felt like a fool until Boomer nuzzled his palm. Boomer's nose was wet and cool, but his fur soft and warm.
The women stomped from up the driveway and bent over, wheezing noisily and face red. She swore roughly, pulling off her broad-brimmed hat and running a hand through her hair.
John waited as she straightened.
She saw him. She cursed again, softly, and her face somehow went redder.
She cleared her throat, shoved her hat back on, and offered a smile. It suited her face, pulling lines around her mouth and eyes.
"Sorry for crashing in like this." She said, meeting his gaze unflinchingly. "Boomer just took off; must have heard you pull in and wanted to say g'day."
John found no deception in the hazel of her eyes, and inclined his head. "It's fine."
He hesitated in petting the dog then. Boomer was not his dog, and though the beast had given permission, the owner had not.
She grinned, with teeth, and flicked her fingers at Boomer. "Go on and pet him. He's friendly."
Boomer pushed into his still hand, and he mapped the dog's skull with careful fingers. Boomer was a big dog, huge, with long legs and a heavy frame under all that soft, grey fur. He leaned against his leg and groaned in pleasure at the petting.
It almost made him want to smile.
"I think you've found yourself a new best friend for life, whether you wanted one or not, mate," the woman said, huffing a laugh. "I take it that you're our new neighbour?"
"Yes," he said, not offering more and not inclined to make nice quite yet. She was still an unknown, no matter how genuine the smile of friendly her pet.
"Well, it's nice to meet you then," she strode closer, but not too close, and offered her hand. "Welcome to our little mountain. Name's Gabby, and this is Boomer."
Gabby did not ask outright, but nor did she seem disinterested in learning his name. There were other things she did not do too, like gawp at his scars or cow at his stature, like staring but then pretending not to when noticed, so he found himself answering the unspoken and taking her hand. Her grip was firm.
On Earth, in a valley, there was a town called Tamworth; it was his new home, and when he introduced himself to his neighbour he gave not his number, not his rank, but his name.
"John." He said, and it felt good. "My name is John."