First time dabbling in tragedy. Reviews/criticism welcome. Courtesy of a fallout kink prompt.

As always, characters, locations, etc. are property of Fallout and respective owners.

Just take the shot. She repeated the mantra over and over in her mind. At some point, there was a name appended to it. It was lost, like so many things, over the past days? Weeks? Months? She no longer knew. She had long since lost feeling of her twisted limbs. All she had left was thirst. It was the only thing that reminded her she was still alive.

The shot. She was drifting now. Beyond mere weakness. Maybe the bullet wasn't necessary. Was there supposed to be a bullet? She tried to grasp that idea, tried to figure out why she kept fixating on it. She clung to it, despite the deep blackness she felt coming to swallow her again.

As soon as he limped up to the cross, any thought of his own pain from the multiple bullet wounds in his leg fled. Fuck. How could she be so stupid? Boone clung to the anger. A familiar emotion. If he focused, it almost made the panic he was feeling bearable.

We were supposed to work in pairs. When she told him to hang back as they approached Cottonwood Cove, he never in a million years would have imagined it would end like this. They had done this countless times since he had joined her months ago. She had never failed to come back. Never failed. She's invincible.

Boone forced himself to swallow the panic again. Arcade was just a signal away. They all had come when he sent word that she had been captured. A forced march – sleep was out of the question – and they were ready for an assault on Cottonwood Cove. Up close, the moon lit up enough of her body that he knew the signal would be unnecessary.

Aside from the sound of distant gunfire and explosions from the group's diversionary tactics, the night was peaceful. From the makeshift sniper's nest they had been camping at, it would have been a beautiful sight. He had been counting on it. After they had revisited Bitter Springs, he couldn't help but see her in a new light. They had been through so much together. She knew the dark corners of his soul. Embraced them even.

Three days in the tents and two on the cross. His rage flared again. He shouldn't have waited for the others. If he had just attacked the tents as soon as he had figured out they had her... I should be up there. Not you.

Boone clambered up the rock outcrop next to get closer. He knew the second he tried to get her down, she would die. They had both seen it countless times. Grabbing a stimpak from his belt, he injected it into her neck, not knowing what he was hoping for. He held the canteen to her lips as soon as he noticed her eyes flutter.

"I was so certain we could save you." So certain. He had no choice with Carla. He couldn't take on a party of Legionnaires himself. This was supposed to be different. She's invincible. How many times did they get out of impossible situations, just barely making it out alive? She managed to open her left eye to meet his gaze. "I'm sorry I didn't take the shot."

She could barely make out his face. Her vision was swimming. The clarity of thought was refreshing, but she could feel it ebbing already. There was nothing for the stimpak to work with – her body was far too broken.

"Don't let the others see me like this." She whispered haltingly. Her throat was fire. She didn't think any water had made it past the swelling in her throat.

Boone nodded. Unable to speak – knowing the second he opened his mouth, it wouldn't be words coming out.

Already, she could feel her thoughts drifting off, slipping through her fingers as she tried to pull them together.

"Love you." Her voice was faint, but the two words were unmistakable.

There were so many things Boone wanted to tell her. So many opportunities he had passed up, waiting for the right moment. Boone leaned forward and did what he had been dreaming of doing since their talk at Bitter Springs, hoping that it would tell her all the things he could not.

She forgot pain for a moment, feeling Boone's lips brush up against hers. It was sweet, and light against her raw lips. She savored the kiss for a moment that seemed like eternity, and she did the only thing she could do - let go.