standard disclaimer applies

my first Fallout fic in any capacity. Born from my love of Benny and Frank Sinatra and, of course, New Vegas. This was inspired by a prompt on the kink meme on livejournal that got completely out of control. The story primarily follows the events once the courier reaches the Strip, with some elements changed. You'll see what I mean. Also liberties were taken with how tribes in the Fallout world work. I tried to keep them as canon as possible, especially with the massive mythology in the California area.

also, this story is rated M for a reason. There is graphic sex. If that isn't something you want to read I advise you to precede with caution. This does come from the kink meme, okay?

critique and reviews are appreciated and welcome.

deuces are wild

please don't talk about me when I'm gone,
oh, honey though our friendship ceases, from now on;
and, listen, if you can't say anything real nice,
it's better not to talk at all, is my advice.
-Frank Sinatra

i: please don't talk about me when I'm gone

Even from miles away, the New Vegas Strip was like a fucking star shining out against the dark night sky. And even from miles away, he knew what was going on there, right at this moment. Whores at Gomorrah, hoity-toity snobbery at the Ultra Lux, a swinging party at the Tops, and the Lucky 38 watching over it all—unfeeling and unmoving.

Yeah, and that's where he ought to be, Benny Gecko thought, not in this hellhole of a town just on the fringes of NCR control watching some Great Khan bindle punks dig a hole six-feet deep. How long had it been since he'd been farther than North Vegas? Too fucking long, maybe, but inhaling the crisp sent of natural air he decided not long enough.

The Platinum Chip felt heavier than it should have in the palm of his hand, but Benny knew it was just his imagination acting up again. It was flimsy little thing—poor Courier had probably thought she was running the job for some eccentric rich bitch up in New Vegas. Yeah, Benny bet she'd had no clue what she'd been handed when she'd taken her latest dispatch. Real shame, too.

It's been too easy to find her. A body could pick this broad out of a crowd, he thought. Not even from her bright red hair, falling to her neck in a blunt, straight line. Naw, didn't even need that. Her eyes. So amber they looked golden. Cat eyes, he thought the first time he'd caught sight of her. Fucking cat eyes.

Right now she slept peaceful in the dirt. She'd passed out easy enough once they'd gotten the drop on her outside of Goodsprings, making her way to Primm and then on to Vegas. She'd been carrying a hunting rifle and a combat knife tucked into her boot. Both had gotten dropped to the wayside on their way up to the cemetery.

"There's an old saying palies that I think applies right now," he said, mostly to himself. The other two weren't really paying attention. He made a sweeping motion to the woman unconscious on the ground. "Water, water everywhere and not a damn drop to drink."

"What the hell does that even mean?" snapped Jessup's muscle.

Benny shrugged. "Read it somewhere. Some crazy cat kills his good luck charm and acts all surprised when everything goes to shit."

Muscles gave him a blank look. Benny figured he probably lost him at 'read.'

"And there were zombies, I think. Or Ghouls, who can tell the fucking difference most days?" Benny laughed. "But yeah, look, it's water everyone and we can't have one fucking sip. It's a real shame, you know?" From the look on the Khan's face he still didn't get it, not that Benny is terribly surprised. Great Khans, right?

"Just finish her now," Jessup snapped as he hefted dirt over his left shoulder. "Before she wakes up."

"Don't be a bunny, friend," Benny suggested, blowing a stream of smoke in his direction. Maybe it'd be easier, offing her while she slept, but it was a matter of principals. The Chairmen had them, which meant Benny had them. If you were looking to pop someone off, ain't no skin off their noses. Things had to be done, but make sure you were looking them in the face when you did it. Anything less made you a square.

Jessup starting griping again and Benny thought—fucking Khans. He hadn't wanted to work with them in the first place. It was a tribe of wet rags—it was always Bitter Springs this and Bitter Springs that and fucking NCR over there. How'd the Khans put up with themselves, six days out of seven, with all the whining?

"She's waking up over there," Jessup said suddenly.

And oh hallelujah indeed she was. Those cat eyes were blinking rapidly, adjusting to the darkness of the night, her wrists already twisting to break free of their bonds. Dame was tough, tougher than she looked but not tough enough to beat the odds stacked up against her.

Odds like his good ol' Maria in his coat pocket.

The girl pushed herself into a half-kneeling position, angry red hair flopping over her sweaty brow. There was panic in her eyes, in the way her lips pressed tightly together, but anger was there too and calm determination. Had to admire a girl who could keep her shit together, especially when her shit was this.

Real shame about having to cap such a pretty face, but well—New Vegas was calling. He was going to do her a favor, though, since she wasn't more than a pawn between him and House. One quick, clean bullet to the forehead. Wouldn't mess up her face too much. She could still die pretty.

"From where you're kneeling, this must seem like an 18 karat run of bad luck," he murmured to her, Maria already in his hands, a familiar weight of tenderly crafted steel and gold. Maria—the only broad who'd never let him down. "The truth is—the game was rigged from the start."

And luck, Benny thought just before pulling the trigger, is definitely not a lady tonight.

War. War never changes.

Her mama always said one day she was going to get in over her head, but her mama had tended to say those things so jacked on drugs that she didn't know what time of day it was or her own name and so she'd never put much substance into the words.

But damn if the woman hadn't turned out right after all.

But mama, she thought, I'm about to surface. There was just one more thing she had to do, and it was standing across the casino in a black and white checkered suit winking as one of his patrons sashayed by.

Sigrun breathed through her nose, a calming exercise she'd learned from her earliest days with her tribe. Kendo had always told her a panicked hunter was a dead hunter and little girl, you don't want to be dead. So in with the air through her nose.

'Course, all the breathing through the nose in the world hadn't helped that night in Goodsprings Cemetery. But nothing would have helped that night, except her not being there.

Unconsciously, her hand moved to the edge of her forehead, hidden by the sweep of her hair. Doc Mitchell had done some damn fine work, but she could still feel the dip of her bone from where the bullet had hit. Clean through and through, the Doc had said, a damn miracle. It didn't feel like a damn miracle. Not when there were pieces of her own face she didn't recognize. The Doc had kept her mostly the same, pieced her back into something people who'd known her would recognize, but there was enough of someone new to frighten her. The only thing that had kept her going was her wild goose chase after a man whose name she hadn't known for nearly a month after he'd left her for dead.

She'd gotten his name in Novac. Benny Gecko, Mr. Head of the Tops himself. She'd known before he must've been from the Strip. He was too fancy for the trail dust and road dirt that had been Goodsprings. He'd had the Strip all over him—glitz and glamour hiding a very real, very deadly lethality. But everyone knew that was just how Vegas was. The raider families turned gold by the silent benefactor Mr. House.

Mr. House, who wanted to meet with her, according to Victor. But first things first. And, hell, did she even want to get messed up in this? Did she even want that damn poker chip back? No, not really. But she did want answers. Sigrun didn't like not knowing things, and she definitely didn't like not knowing why she had wound up six-feet deep with a hole in her previously hole-less head. And more than that, she wanted justice.

Justice. It'd gotten her into trouble more than once. It had gotten her her name and, according to Kendo when he'd given it to her, it would get her killed.

Almost, she thought with a quirk of her lips, but not quite. Or not yet.

She had a knife hidden behind the heavy belts around her waist. It wouldn't do shit against the Chairmen who were dressed up like they were going to war, but she wasn't looking to do shit. She just wanted answers and to be on her way. It was a hell of a thing, traipsing across the freaking Mojave for a contrived notion of justice, but she'd been doing it since she was fourteen.

She'd left Boone outside with ED-E, which according to Boone was just about the dumbest fuck idea she'd ever had. No, Sigrun had argued, picking up a harmless poker chip on its merry way to the Strip had been the dumbest fuck idea she'd ever had. But maybe leaving Boone behind had been a close second.

Parked at the nearest empty poker table, whisky bottle dangling from two fingers, she watched him. With a gun in her face and the end of her life on the horizon, she hadn't really paid attention to him. He was tallish, though not like Boone tall. Just enough so you noticed him, but not enough so you couldn't stop noticing him. And, unlike Boone, he was all lean, hard angles—even his face was a bunch of contrasting slopes. An attractive package you bet, but one couldn't really miss all his sharp edges, no matter how much effort he'd seemed to put into covering them. For all his spit and shine, he looked so tribal. Dark eyes and dark hair and a sharp face, serious mouth that smiled like something sharp and pointy. Sigrun knew tribal when she saw it.

She cocked her head to the side and waited. Sigrun, nine times out of ten, tended to go the hard way rather than the easy way but this time she would wait. His guards had big guns and Benny would probably shoot on sight.

Some jazzy guy was singing about a blue moon lowly over the speakers. Her eyes drifted closed as she listened, swaying slightly. Probably shouldn't have had that third gulp of whisky, she thought and took another.

If mama could see her now, Sigrun thought. Then frowned. God, she didn't like thinking about her mother. At all. She'd shut Doc Mitchell down right quick when the questions had gone in that direction. Next of kin? Not hardly, though the old man in New Reno might be convinced to come pick her up if she was really, really, really dead. Yeah, justice tended to get her in a lot of trouble. Like that early morning when she'd stormed into Alpha's house with nothing but a sharp knife and her rage.

She'd taken off one finger and taken out one eye before Alpha had started throwing his weight around. That had been justice. Damn, idiotic justice and because of it she'd never be able to go back to the only home she'd ever known.

Alcohol makes you whiny, she told herself and pushed the bottle away. It's why you don't drink, smart girl. Well, that and her mama had always been drinking. Drugs and liquor and her baby girl, her most precious things.

Ah hell mama, Sigrun thought. For no good reason.

It was time to put a halt on those rather depressing memories and lo and behold, the instrument of her distraction had arrived. She lifted her head, swept angry, red hair out of her eyes and meet Benny's from across the room.

She lifted her whisky bottle toward him with a half-smile. What was it they were always saying in this place? Oh yeah. Ring-a-ding.

Holy Chee-rist.

Red Hair.

Gold Eyes.

And definitely not dead.

How the fuck does that even happen, Benny wondered. Because really. How the fuck. The broad should have been resting in the ground down in Goodsprings, right where he'd left her pretty ass. She should not be in his joint sitting as fancy as you please at one of his poker tables.

She lifted a whisky bottle and tipped it toward him in a toast. Her legs swung back and forth on the stool. She was a hell of a lot smaller than she had first appeared. Tiny; she was fucking tiny and fucking alive—had he already mentioned that?

His brain was fried. Absolutely fried. How the hell was this his life?

He stared at her, mouth hanging open like a fish. She made a come hither motion. Oh yeah, right. Benny was just jonesing for the revenge she was bound to lay all over his face. But then, what could she do, really? The Tops was his pad, his joint, and she couldn't walk in here and take him out with whatever little bean-shooter she'd managed to smuggle in.

But if she let it slip to Swank that he might be looking to double-cross that square House? That would be a mighty big problem. Best to deal with the broad now.

He motioned for his guards to cool it and approached her slowly, cautiously. She didn't look to be in a hurry to castrate him, and he relaxed an inch. And the closer he got, the less threatening she seemed. She was tiny. Teeny tiny, or at the least small. Like five-foot nothing small. How the hell had this dame survived the Mojave? Girls like her, they shacked up with the first strongman they could find or they found work at places like the Atomic Wrangler or goddamn Gomorrah because if they didn't the Mojave just opened its mouth and ate them up.

When he reached her, she twisted round in her seat to watch him, just as weary. The look she sent him was pure malice, straight up I hate your guts and he couldn't blame her. If he'd come face to face with the man who'd put a bullet in the side of his head, Benny'd be doing a hell of lot more than beckoning the fink with a slender finger.

How in the hell—

"Baby, you're looking mighty fine for a dead woman," he told her.

She smiled, all teeth. "Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." She took another healthy gulp of the whisky bottle in her hand. It wasn't loosening her up any, if anything it was winding her tighter and tighter.

"We gonna keep this cool, right?" Benny asked, sliding into a seat beside her. She stiffened, but made no moves that set off his alarms. Girl wasn't a dumb bunny obviously, except for the part where she had walked into a casino armed with his boys just itching to follow his orders. "Smooth moves?"

She snorted. "I'm not an idiot. I didn't come here to kill you, Benny."

"I don't remember us ever exchanging names, baby doll, so where'd you pick up mine?" One of the Chairmen caught his eye over her shoulder. He motioned him away. Didn't want any more trouble than what he was getting with her butt parked at one of his tables. He needed things chill.

She reached into the pocket of her pants, or whatever they were—yeah what where they, Benny wondered, they looked like the bottoms to metal Fiend armor; how fucking weird was that?

The broad waved a familiar lighter underneath his nose. "Jessup says hi, by the way."

"And to I think I used to call that piece of tin my lucky charm." He went to snatch it from her, but she held it back. "Well, baby, if you didn't come to here to cash out what're you after?"

With all sullenness and seriousness she said, "Answers."

"Answers?" he repeated, just to make sure he heard right. When she nodded, he barked, "You dragged that pretty ass all the way over from Goodsprings for answers?"

"Someone goes to the trouble of setting me up, shooting me in the head, and then burying me in a shallow grave—I wanna know why."

"Girlie, if I'd been you I would've laid low—counted my blessings." He leaned closer and his knees bumped against hers. Yup, definitely metal. "This is the big times, kid. Things you don't want to mess with."

"I want to know about the Platinum Chip," she said boldly. "What's so damn important about it? It has to do with Mr. House, right?"

"Not here, baby," he said slowly, eyes darting toward the nearest Chairmen. The cat looked unaware.

"I'm not leaving until I know everything," she snapped. "I got a right."

"You got nothing," he told her and in her face he saw that she knew it; he also saw that she didn't give a flying fuck. "But alright, baby, we'll play it your way. We're gonna play this cool, dig? I don't need your curiosity killing this cat. Upstairs in an hour. You go first, and then I'll play it smooth out here for a bit and follow."

She frowned. "No deal. You go with me now or I start shouting everything I know about the Platinum Chip and how you're trying to out House. From what I gather, not many of the other Families would take too kindly to it."

"You play 'em hard, baby. Would've never pegged you. Alright we scram together but play it smooth. I do all the chatting." He stood and offered her his hand. She stared. "What's a matter, doll, don't trust me?"

"About as far as I can throw you," she said but accepted his hand at last and slid off her stool with a little hop.

He guided her to the elevator. It was closing in on midnight and The Tops was in full swing. Benny loved it—the laughter in the air, the dames and cats jazzed up on a little too much cheap booze. The Tops, he thought, was the joint and he didn't care what all those other squares said.

They passed one of his Chairmen and he brought her close to his hip. The broad gave an indignant huff and shoved. He bent close and hissed into her ear, "Smooth, honey baby, you remember?"

When she relented he said overtly to one of the floor managers, "The Ben-man's gonna bow out for a few hours, dig? You keep the place cooking for me, will ya?"

The clyde looked at the woman and then at Benny and winked. "Sure thing, boss. Everything down here'll be safe as kitten 'till you get back."

"That's what I want to here, palie."

He let go of her when they turned the corner. The broad didn't say anything, just fell in place behind him. Benny wasn't too sure he wanted this dame behind him, but he sauntered across the floor like nothing was a matter.

"You know, baby," he said when the elevator had closed behind them, "never did catch your name."

"Sigrun," she said with obvious reluctance.

"Sigrun? Now there's a name."

"Where are we going?" she demanded. She twisted her head away from him, that hair of her sliding off her neck. Benny leaned in closer when he caught sight of some ink on her neck. It was definitely a tattoo but it was messy, hesitantly done. Little symbols that curved into one another with uneven, splattered lines.

He touched it with two fingers and she jerked away, glaring at him.

"Just looking, honey baby," he told her. "That's some shitty ink if I ever saw it."

Her hand went to her neck, covering it. "It's none of your business."

Maybe not. No, definitely not but hell if he wasn't curious. That was a nasty tattoo. She had another one too, on her back. She swore a white tank that stopped above her naval, but he could only make out the end of it. Two pointed tips on either side of her back, and where her tank crossed over her shoulder blades there was a bit more, but not enough to get the whole picture. That, though, looked a hell of lot neater than what'd been stapled on her neck.

The elevator grinded to angry, screeching halt at the thirteenth floor. "The casaba awaits," he told her, stepping out. She fell into place behind him with an exasperated groan.

When Sigrun stepped into Benny's suite she expected, well… more, she guessed. Not a standard living room with regular old sofas and a radio. She thought she'd see colors, bright colors, feet tall posters of singers from before the Great War. But this? This was just like any other room she'd ever crashed in, sans rubble and decay.

Go figure.

"Play the guitar, play it again, my Johnny," the radio sung.

"Depressing shit," Benny said before flicking it off. Sigrun turned antsy in the silence. She glanced down at her PipBoy and, wouldn't you know, her heart rate was bouncing from bad to really fucking bad. She needed to calm down.

Going with Benny to his room—going with him anywhere—had been a bad idea. It would've been a bad idea even if she had taken Boone. She didn't even know what you'd call this idea. It had moved into the stratosphere above bad.

She sat down on the old, red sofa and Benny reclined against the wall. Good. Distance was good.

"Well, you've got me, baby. Ask and you shall receive."

"Why?" Best place to start, she decided. The general why. Why did you shoot me, why did you need the chip, why are you bugging Mr. House, etc. etc. Just a whole bunch of whys piled up one after the other and the whole reason she'd raced from Goodsprings to New Vegas.

"That's a loaded question, honey baby, but okay here's the grit—Mr. House? That cat hid Vegas under his skirts when the bombs fell and now he thinks he owns it," Benny explained, his face tightening with each word. "Not to knock him down—the clyde did good forcing the Families into shape and giving Vegas law—but House ain't nothing more than a square and now all's he's doing is stunting the Strip. Vegas has gotta swing, dig? Gotta let it be and all House wants to do is dictate and play King of the Hill. He just doesn't get Vegas, baby."

"And you do?"

"Better than him," Benny said.

"So I nearly got killed because you want to have a pissing match with Mr. House."

Well, that just figured didn't it? Her luck was a lot worse than she thought. It should have been such an easy job. An eccentric gambler in Vegas wanted a fancy poker chip delivered no-muss no-fuss to the Strip. It hadn't sounded nearly as bad as the job she'd ran from New Canaan to Redding, right in the middle of some shootout the miners there were having with Raiders. That had been hell and she had thought—the Strip? No problem.

And everyone knew about Mr. House. She'd been living in New Reno and everyone knew who Mr. House was. Big man in Vegas. He owned the place, she'd been told. Kept it on the straight and narrow, and dealt harshly with anyone who stepped out of line. Never came out of that Lucky 38 casino of his, but never needed to. Mr. House was like a god, couldn't see him but he was there and if you pissed him off he would fuck your shit up.

And Benny wanted to kill him. Benny wanted to kill a god and she'd wound up in the middle of it somehow.

Benny, who was now seated on the couch, looking annoyed. "Baby, it's a bit more complicated than that."

She resisted the urge to hit him, since that'd get him to sound the alarm and get herself all shot up again—a sensation she was looking to never repeat. "Not it's not. It really is just you playing a game of my-dick's-bigger with House and you dragged me into it."

He looked offended. Go figure. "Shooting you wasn't personal, girlie. It was just business."

Real shame you got twisted up in this kid, he'd told her in Goodsprings. And it was a shame. A real shame. She hadn't asked for this, had she? She didn't give a damn about power games and politics and the fucking Dam and the NCR. She'd been a hunter her whole life and she'd been taught keep your head down and your eyes on the prize.

"Well, now that you got what you came for," Benny said, going to stand. "Why don't you do us both a favor and jet?"

She really should, Sigrun thought. She had her answers—they sucked, but she had them. Kendo was right. Her notion of justice was as contrived and naïve as he claimed. Sigrun hadn't ever been young or naïve, not really, but maybe she was a bit more than she had thought if she had thought coming here would reveal some major, life-altering plot instead of just another asshole who didn't like being told what to do.

It would have been nice knowing she had murdered for something. But out here, in the Waste, in this world, did anyone really do anything for something anymore?

But still. Benny went to stand and she grabbed the cuff of his sleeve. What the hell, she thought, am I doing? She couldn't think of an answer and Benny tensed and his hand disappeared into his coat. She remembered his gun, the one he had shot her with in Goodsprings. But she kept on tugging until he sat back down.

Sigrun had made a lot of dumb decisions in her life, but this had to top them all. Benny hit the sofa and she just sort of climbed into his lap and kissed him. And her reasons for it? None at all. Just she had been shot for no good reason and he was right there. At that moment she probably would have kissed just about anyone. Kissing was something she knew, teeth and tongue and wet, wet lips, and it was something that could ground her, center her a little and she needed that.

Honestly, it had been something she'd needed since she'd woken up in Doc Mitchell's house with too much of her face new and an ugly scar at the side of her head and the taste of dirt still in her mouth. Maybe if Boone hadn't been so Carla this and fucking Legion that she would've pushed, but she hadn't. She'd been so focused; so damned focus on getting her answers, and now she had them and it made her all empty inside because apparently she'd been looking for something noble out of that night in Goodsprings.

Which was why, right now, she had her tongue half down Benny's throat, why her hips were straddling his, why her fingers were ruining his oh-so perfectly kept hair. She couldn't even think passed the way her mouth was angling over his; she was stuck. On loop, again and again—why did I even come here?

Benny yanked himself away. "Holy shit, baby, did that bullet scramble your brains?"

If it hadn't, Doc Mitchell's scalpel certainly had but before she could tell him that Benny pressed his mouth back up and kissed her. She jolted in his arms. His active participation in what she had started was enough to jerk her out of her surreal plain of existence. She remembered—specifically, she remembered he'd been holding the gun that night in Goodsprings, that he was the reason there was a scar at her temple.

Sigrun tried to jerk out of his arms. Benny had pressed his hands against the small of her back, holding her to him, and didn't let her go. She planted her hands against his chest and pushed. His response was to lay her flat on her back, mouth still on hers. His teeth sank into her lower lip, she nearly jumped out of her skin.

"No, no," she gasped, arching away from him. Benny sucked on her neck. Her body trembled, withered, came really close to giving up. "No, wait—no, stop."

He did, but only so he could level himself over her, hot breath on her mouth and his dark eyes glinting down at her. Crap, and double crap. She was in deep trouble here.

"Honey baby, you started it." His hand was on the curve of her hip suddenly, big and warm, bringing her flush against his body and his very obvious arousal. Oh crap. "But the Ben-man is going to finish it."

She didn't know what it was. Maybe it was nothing more than his warm body on top of her. Maybe it was some weird connection that had formed between them that night in Goodsprings, with her kneeling in that dirt and he looked down at her from above his gun. Whatever the reason, she reared up and kissed him again, deep and long, her tongue in his mouth, stroking his teeth and sinking even deeper as she hitched her hips against his and rubbed.

This is not happening, she thought, falling back into that surreal reality, this is not happening. Benny's hands slid up her stomach, under her shirt, and cupped her breasts. Her hand disappeared into his pants. Okay. This was happening.

Benny shuddered when she closed a hand around his cock, stroking. He pinched a nipple in retaliation and she gave a startled gasp.

"Okay, baby, let's move this party into the bedroom, dig?"

If she dug it or not, she didn't really have a chose. He just one armed scooped her up and carried her across the room. Her hand had to come out of his pants for that, and that seemed rather detrimental to what she wanted to happen here, but she made up for it by working at that the buttons of his coat, sucking hard on each patch of skin she revealed. He tasted like Vegas—glitter and glitz and a little lead.

She bounced hard when she was dropped onto the bed. Benny tugged at her pants, cursing when they held tight.

"Damn, how the fuck do you get these off?" he demanded of her. "It is fucking Fiend armor."

It was. She'd had it specially made—meaning she scavenged around and all she'd been able to find were the bottoms, and beside she couldn't go around in Fiend armor; people would've been inclined to take shots at her.

"Here," she managed, panting. Her breasts were still tingling from where he'd been touching. "There's a latch." She pushed herself upward, Benny between her legs, and worked at the latches just on the inside of her pants. The tight belt popped free.

"Impressive," Benny said, and promptly yanked them off, boots and all. "I hope your built sturdy, you crazy board."

She was. But Sigrun didn't think that was going to save her. The only thing that was going to save her, right now, was kneeing Benny in the balls and making a break for it. That was the only way this could turn out well.

But what she did was help him slide off his coat, then slide her hands down the lean, jumping muscles of his stomach and teased the waistline of his pants before slipping one hand in. Basically, she did the opposite of everything she should have down.

Her mama had been right, after all.

So that's the end of chapter one. I imagine there's going to be around six/seven chapters, each about this long. The Mojave is such an amazing place, and I'm trying to expand it while keeping within the limits set by the mythos of the game. Let me know how that goes. As always, I would love critique and reviews. See you guys next time.