Disclaimer If I owned it there would have been a lot more missions on the Legion side of things...
Author's Note Okay, so I'm trying to sleep last night when BLAM I suddenly get the idea for this little fic and I can't help but start writing it which shocked the hell out of me because its going to center around Caesar of all people. I don't even like him... like that. Jeez, but the storyline for this is too damned interesting for me to pass up. Its going to end up being both a Courier/Caesar and a Courier/Boone story. I don't know how to describe other than that, because if I did it might ruin it. However the Boone in this will only be at the beginning and end. I'm already halfway through the next chapter as well, considering this one was fairly short because its a prologue, but I'm going ahead and posting it while I finish up the other. "Son of Mars" is more of a working title right now which I may keep or not. Oh and for anyone reading Imperium et Libertas, I am 8 pages into the next chapter, I just need a little break to clear my head before I finish it up and polish it. No worries, for I will be updating that soon! R&R.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
The Price of Freedom
The coppery smell of blood hung heavy in the air. It was the first thing she noticed as she began to come to. The slick wet feeling on the back of her head coupled with the throbbing that seemed to radiate from her skull in the same central location told her that this might be one explanation for the blood smell. At least it was her own; she at least hoped she was the only one bleeding. She groaned and opened her eyes to see that the ground was moving. On second inspection she realized that it was not the ground but her that was moving, aided by two men who were dragging her, one on each side. Their hands were firm and unforgiving, fingers pressing into her soft flesh. And she knew that they had every reason to deny forgiveness from her because she had just killed quite a few of their brethren. Well, not just her, she had had help, but she had been the ring leader, which made her feel even worse that she had gotten her companion into this mess.
She struggled in her captors' arms, trying to twist around to get a look at who was being brought with her. The man to her left jerked the elbow in his hand as his fingers bit even deeper into her skin. "Settle down, profligate." She recognized the usually placid voice of the Legion officer Vulpes Inculta, and knew that it was strained with fury. He hadn't been the one to strike her in the back of the head. This she was sure of because he had been the last thing she'd seen before passing out. However, he had taken it upon himself to be one of the ones that escorted her unconscious body back to Caesar. From the pain he was inflicting she could tell he wished he had been the one to knock her out.
"Boone." She murmured.
"Here." Came the grim voice of the recon sniper. Thank God, at least he was alive!
The Courier couldn't promise though that either one of them would remain alive for long after this though. She supposed that that Benny would be the end of her after all. His bullets couldn't kill her, but that goddamned charisma had. For some reason, against everything that logic was telling her she had actually tried to save the man that tried to kill her. It had started on the Strip when she had met him in the Tops. They'd talked and then they'd… more than talked and somehow she had gotten a small inkling of feeling for him. She hadn't fallen for him, but she had begun to see him as a person in a precarious position. He became a human being as opposed to the many wandering fantasies she'd had of him being a coldhearted attempted murdering monster.
In hindsight she should have killed him in his sleep and walked away. She would have pocketed the chip she had sought so desperately for months and when she and Boone had went to the Fort to get into that Bunker they would have walked out with not a scratch. Sure it had been hard to convince Boone to not fire on the Legionaries as they came up on Cottonwood Cove, and it had been damned hard to get him to take off that damned beret of his and pretend for at least a little while that he didn't have a hard-on for revenge. Her plan was bigger, she explained, greater than just killing them one by one, and to get what they both wanted he would have to be patient. Boone was a smart man and saw her logic, and even though he hated it he followed her plans; he shouldn't have.
Everything was going fine, or at least she thought, until Caesar had revealed to her the presence of Benny. In the back of her mind she had known something had happened to him when Caesar handed her the chip to take down to the bunker. Her mind had been too busy with other matters at the time and she and Boone had done what they had gone there to do. Luckily the Emperor of the Legion had mistaken what they had done for what he had asked them to do and they were about to leave when he offered her a gift. Her suspicions should have been aroused right then because she had slaughtered many of his men and one little favor could not have earned her his forgiveness so easily.
She was right; it was a trap.
Caesar had studied her well over her time in the Mojave, gone over every exploit until he knew her mind. Neither of them had known that in that one act he had set their fates in stone. Later she would wonder if he had known the chain of events would he have changed it all. But in that moment he did not know the future and neither did she. All the Courier saw was the stupidest man on the planet tied up on a mat, looking up at her with begging eyes. Goddamnit, Benny, you fool!
"You want me to kill him?" She pointed at the man in the checkered suit and the tone in her voice was one of incredulity, though it shouldn't have been because the Legion was not a place where they joked around.
"If you don't we'll do something about him, although it will most likely end in crucifixion. I would think you would like your revenge?" Caesar smiled at her and behind that smile she saw just how screwed they really were. What he really meant by asking her if she wanted her revenge was "Go ahead and kill him because it's the last thing you're going to do." He hadn't been a fool after all. Even if she didn't kill Benny he was going to kill them and there was nothing they could do about. The only weapons she and Boone had on them were a couple silenced pistols they'd managed to sneak past the guards and a couple machetes they'd found lying on a table on the way back from the bunker.
Well, if they were going to die they were going to die fighting. The Courier kept up the façade until she'd untied Benny and then all Hell broke loose, or in the Legion's case maybe Hades or whatever the fuck they called Hell...
The worst part was that despite that they'd somehow managed to break through the group of Praetorian guards they only made it a little past the arena when they were finally overtaken. Boone had been vicious while trying to keep the legionaries off them, but in the end he'd been slammed back against the metal wall outside the arena. She had been trying to get to him when she felt the sharp pain in her head and saw Vulpes Inculta's smug expression as her vision faded to blackness and she collapsed in the dirt.
Now the Frumentarius had her hair bunched in his hand so tightly she thought he might be trying to pull it out at the roots. She reached up and tried to dig her nails into his hand to get him to let go; she was more than able to sit up on her knees without his help, thank you. Instead he just pulled tighter, not even showing one ounce of pain at her attempted attack. "Let go of me!"
"Shut up!" He let her go so he could backhand her, knocking her flat against the ground.
Boone almost broke free from the men at his side, snarling in anger. "Don't you touch her!"
"As much as I would like to enjoy watching you get put in your place, Courier," Caesar leaned back in his throne, smirking at her, "I've had enough of you for one day." He snapped his fingers at his men, prompting Vulpes to pull her back up to her feet; to her right the other men were doing the same to Boone. "Take them both to await execution. Tomorrow when the sun rises I want you to crucify this NCR dog," he pointed at Boone.
"No!" The Courier shrieked. Every bit of her heart shattered at the thought of him strung up like that. Adrenaline peeked in her veins and she managed to rip from Vulpes' grasp. A moment later she threw herself before Caesar on her knees, tears running down her face, "I'll do anything you want, anything, just don't kill him! Don't hurt him!"
"Anything, you say?" Caesar tapped his chin in thought.
"Don't you do it, Anna!" Boone shouted.
"For the love of God, I'm sorry! I'll take his place, I'll be your slave just… just let him go!"
And that was how her captivity began, an exchange of her freedom for Boone's life. It was the least she could give for the man she had come to love and respect.