The Lone Hawke
"Dad? Have you seen my comic book collection?" A feminine voice called from her bedroom. The girl, seventeen, was called Elizabeth. Her hands were currently shifting through box after box, searching for one comic book. A tall, handsome man walked into the bedroom and leaned against the metal door frame.
"Comic book collection? You haven't looked at that since you were thirteen." The man said, a familiar chuckle in his voice. The girl looked up with a slight scowl. Her dark blonde hair fell messily over her shoulders, her green eyes hiding her anger. The man frowned at her appearance. "What's the matter?"
"It was stolen. I know it." Liz grumbled, crossing her arms over her chest in a huff.
Her father just stared at her. "Like I said, you don't even like that collection anymore. Why are you so worked up?"
"Because, Dad! It's the principle of the matter." She stood to her full height which wasn't very impressive and began to pace. "I mean, there are very few things in the vault that I can call mine. That comic book was one of them, plus it was a gift from Amata."
Her father's gaze turned sympathetic, he walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Well, what do you want to do? We could tell Officer Gomez?"
"No, no." Elizabeth chewed at her finger nails. "No, I think I can handle this on my own."
He nodded. "I believe you. Let me know if you need help."
It had to have been Butch. Or one of his little Tunnel Snake cronies on his orders because God forbid they ever do anything without Butch's approval. No one else in the Vault would bother to steal something as trivial as a comic book. Confronting him wouldn't be an easy thing, it would take a gentle tongue to avoid any violence.
Deciding not to waste any time, Liz started a sweep of the vault to find Butch. Her best guess was his apartment. He spent most of his time there in his little 'barber shop'. It was mostly just an armchair that Jonas helped rig to resemble the functions of an actual barber chair. Not that Elizabeth would evergo there for a haircut. Butch would probably take the opportunity to shave her bald or, depending on if they fought that week or not, stab her in the neck with his scissors.
Liz didn't even make it to the apartment before spotting him. She was just walking past the diner when that familiar greasy haired fool swaggered out with Wally Mack beside him. They were laughing about something but everyone froze when eye contact was made. There was silence for a moment before Butch snickered and leaned up against a nearby wall.
"Ya got something to say, Hawke? Or are ya just gonna stare at me all creepy like?" Butch enquired with a raised eyebrow. Liz narrowed her eyes at his use of that nickname. When she was young Butch and the other Tunnel Snakes would make fun of her nose. It was for good reason, before she grew into its size it really did look like a beak. Thankfully, by fourteen or so, it was finally proportionate with the rest of her face. The nickname stuck, however, a humiliating reminder of her childhood awkwardness.
"Either of you seen my comic book collection?" Elizabeth asked, attempting to keep the accusatory tone out of her voice.
Butch exchanged a mocked innocent glance with Wally who was wearing a devious little grin over his crooked teeth. "Hmm, nope. Can't say I've seen your comic book collection."
"What the hell is that suppose to mean?" She snapped, failing to contain her irritation. There was just something about this boy that rubbed her the wrong way.
"It means that I haven't seen your damn comic books. The only comic books I've seen are the ones that I got." Butch elaborated with a smug air. Wally continued to grin down at his shoes, avoiding Liz's eyes.
"You don't own any comic books." Elizabeth stated slowly and crossed her arms tightly over her chest.
Butch tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Really? I wonder how I could possibly have some then..."
"We got a real mystery here, Butch." Wally added, finally glancing up at Liz. Her gaze was so icy however, that he quickly turned his eyes back to his leader.
"Better hire the fucking Hardy Boys to solve it." Butch chuckled at his own stupid joke and then waved his hand dismissively at Liz. "Scram, Nosebleed. We got nothin' else to talk about."
Nosebleed. Yet another nickname from their childhood. Not only was her nose oddly large at that age, it also happened to be weirdly sensitive to the smallest contact. Amata accidentally hit her while opening a cupboard door in the diner during lunch causing it to spurt blood. All the kids were there and everyone laughed, except Amata who was apologizing profusely. Liz almost fainted before Amata managed to drag her to her father's clinic.
Liz took a threatening step forward. All hope of solving this diplomatically was tossed out the window as Liz subjected herself to those embarrassing memories. "Return my comic books. Or else."
Butch didn't even flinch and why would he? In every physical fight they ever had, Butch always won. He was taller, stronger, and Liz was very aware of the knife hidden in his jumpsuit. Not that he ever pulled it on her, but there was always the possibility for it.
"Make. Me." Butch pronounced the words slowly and coldly.
Without any hesitation, Liz jumped forward and grabbed him by the collar of his jumpsuit. To her rage, Butch was smiling condescendingly. His poisonous blue eyes stabbed into her turtle green ones, like a striking snake. He grabbed her wrists and dug his fingers into her skin, surely leaving bruises. With ease he pried her hands off him and threw her back.
As she stumbled backwards, Butch and Wally laughed. "Just stop, Hawke. Don't make me give ya a booboo that Daddy can't just slap a band-aid on."
Liz hurried to her feet and attempted another lunge at Butch but Wally caught her by the waist. He threw her petite body with surprising strength and she sprawled onto the floor. She looked up at them with burning cheeks. Embarrassed by her lack of power. The boys gave her one last look before turning and walking away. She let them go. If she kept pushing the matter, blood would spill and most of it would belong to her.
"I'm sorry, I wish I had been there..." Amata said sincerely as Elizabeth retold the story later that evening. The girls were sitting on one of the examination cots in the clinic, a tub of ice cream sitting between them. One of the perks of being the Overseer's daughter was the access to food not normally distributed.
"It's fine, I doubt your presence would have changed anything." Liz responded, though with a tiny note of bitterness. She scooped a spoonful of ice cream and relished in the chocolatey taste. It was so much sweeter than the usual available food. "Besides, it's not over."
"What do you mean?" Amata asked with a concerned tone. She placed the lid back on the ice cream container for rationing purposes to Liz's disappointed.
"I'm stealing my comic books back."
"Hawke, I really think you should just let Officer Gomez deal with it." Amata said with a hint of exasperation lacing her worry.
Liz gave her a sharp look at the use of that name. "Really, Amata? You're calling me that too?"
"I'm sorry!" Amata shrugged, "Everyone else calls you Hawke."
"Everyone else is making fun of me!" Liz snapped, a little hurt to hear her best friend sound so insensitive to her feelings.
"No, no!" Amata quickly amended. "That's not the reason I call you Hawke! Do you remember when you got that nickname?"
"I don't know..." Elizabeth sifted through her hazy memories. "I was like nine or ten."
"You were ten. It was the day after your birthday." Amata said with a small smile. "I remember because Butch, Wally, and Paul were confronting Jonas about the present you got. Your BB Gun, remember? I happened to pass by when they were complaining and I stopped to listen. Jonas was telling them to be careful around you from now on because you were a hell of a shot with eyes like a hawk... Then Butch ruined it by saying 'Yah, and a nose like one too.'"
"You see! It started because of my freakish nose." Liz whined, crossing her arms over her chest in a huff.
Amata rolled her eyes. "Don't be so negative. The point of the story is that some of us call you Hawke for other reasons. Besides you're really pretty now. So you don't have to get so stressed about it anymore."
"Easy for you to say." Elizabeth muttered, avoiding eye contact. Amata had always been a cutie, she never had to worry too much.
Amata seemed to sense the change in mood as she quickly diverted the topic. "Now what were you saying about stealing back your comic books?"
"Oh, right, right!" Liz's mood effectively shifted to mischievous. She hopped to her feet and headed for her father's nearby desk. On the surface was a pink envelope that Liz grabbed and handed to Amata.
Amata stared at the envelope and read the name silently. "This looks like a love letter... To Butch. Have you gone mad? Are you thinking of seducing him? 'Cause that won't work."
"No!" Liz quickly corrected but then frowned. "What you mean it wouldn't work? Never mind... I don't want to know. It's a fake love letter from Susie to Butch. It's just a ploy to lure him out of the apartment tomorrow night so I can go in and steal my property back."
"That's actually pretty smart. Butch has been aching to get into Susie's jumpsuit." Amata said with an uncharacteristically vexatious smile. "Wait, what about his mom?"
Elizabeth winked and reached under the cot. She pulled up a half empty bottle of vodka and gave it playful shake. "I doubt the resident alcoholic can resist this. I'll leave it with the letter outside their door. She's so selfish that she'll keep the vodka for herself and give Butch the note."
"Who knew you were so manipulative?" Amata commented, her smile suddenly seemed a little forced but Liz just ignored it. It always seemed like Amata was testing Liz in some way, but Elizabeth was very tolerant of this because well... There weren't many choices for companionship in the vault. Susie and Christine have always hated Liz for unknown reasons and besides Freddie Gomez, all the boys were Tunnel Snakes. Besides Amata had access to ice cream.
The next night, Liz pulled off her plan without a hitch. She left the vodka and letter outside the Deloria apartment and sure enough, at midnight, Butch left for his 'date' with Susie Mack. Liz was sure to bring a few bobby pins in case she'd have to pick the lock but it wasn't necessary. In Butch's haste to get his knob polished, he left the door unlocked. Ellen Deloria was, predictably, passed out on the couch, the Vodka bottle empty and discarded on the floor. It took a bit of time to locate the comic books, but eventually she found them in a box under Butch's computer desk. She was tempted to continue snooping for her own selfish curiosity. It's not often that she has the chance to gain blackmail on Butch. However, she just couldn't bring herself to invade his privacy like that... Though, he probably wasn't so kind when stealing from her.
Elizabeth thought for sure the drama was over and was glad to have her property back. It wasn't until she was walking to work later that week that she realized that she still had Butch to answer to. She turned the corner, and was pushed back by an unknown force. It knocked her into the wall and her head cracked back painfully causing tears to prickle at the corner of her eyes.
"You broke into my house, bitch." Butch's voice alerted her to her attacker. His blue eyes were cold and piercing as he glared at her. She noticed with a sigh of relief that he was alone, his cronies no where in site.
"You broke into mine first." Liz growled back, her hand reaching up to rub her bruised skull. "I was just recovering what you took. Besides it's not breaking in when you leave the damn door unlocked."
Butch grabbed the front of her jumpsuit and pulled her close. She could smell his aftershave from this distance. "Ya better watch yourself, Hawke. I'm not someone you should mess with."
Despite the small shiver of fear she felt, she refused to show him any kind of passiveness. Her hands gripped his wrist which was considerably larger than her own. "Do you think I'm afraid of you, Butch? I can take a punch, as you're well aware."
Something weird flickered across Butch's face but he quickly hid it and pushed her roughly against the wall again. The contact aggravated the wound on Liz's head. "What are ya talkin' about? I might push ya around, but I haven't punched ya since we were ten years old. Don't act so tough, idiot."
Elizabeth opened her mouth to argue but stopped suddenly. She quickly scanned her memories but couldn't think of a time that Butch had actual hit her. He definitely threatened her a lot, and he pushed her and gripped her violently a lot but had he actually physically hit her since they were kids? She remembered Wally punching her lots, and even Paul occasionally but never Butch. "Whatever, what does it matter? Your goons have hit me plenty of times."
Butch suddenly let go of her, as if disgusted by their contact. "It matters because those guys ain't got nothin' on me."
Suddenly he revealed his famous Toothpick pocketknife and Liz automatically flattened herself against the wall. He didn't click it open but he held it in front of him threatening. When he spoke, his tone was less hostile than before but still laced with anger. "If ya ever go back into my room for any reasons other than sex, I'll cut ya."
Liz crinkled her nose in disgust but couldn't help feel slightly warm from the suggestion. "Don't worry, I will never step foot in your apartment again. It reeks of alcohol and your tacky aftershave."
Butch flipped her off and turned his back to her. "Whatever, Hawke. Just stay the hell away from me."
Author's Note :: Hello everyone! I hope you enjoyed the start to this story! Not a lot of action yet, or even much romance, but trust me there will be lots! There will be two more Vault 101 chapters before we head off into the Capital Wasteland! And if you're wondering, there will be a sequel to this story about the Mojave Wasteland if enough people enjoyed this one! So please let me know by review if you liked it 3