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Isaac jolted awake, looking up at the sun. It was pretty high in the sky, and a little more west than he would've liked. "Shit, what time is it?" he asked himself as he twisted his wristwatch back the correct way around and read it. "Shit."

He'd meant to nap for an hour or two of the morning, just to get his head right. It had been a long and tiring night. Unfortunately the alarm clock on his watch hadn't been loud enough, and somehow his instincts had told him that he'd been asleep too long.

His instincts were right. It was 3pm.

He climbed down the tower of the broken bridge, where he'd decided to take his nap, jumping down the last 12 feet and landing cleanly. He stretched, feeling a little refreshed and started heading in the direction of Grasscroft.

***

Outside the town, there were a few bodies - a merchant and his bodyguards, a town shopkeeper and the gate guards. Isaac asked the guards about Zara, but they told him that they hadn't seen anyone come in as they'd just got on their shift. He'd have to inquire at the barracks if he needed more information. Inside the town, he headed to the barracks, but ended up passing by the gun store to grab some ammunition.

"50 caliber rounds ain't cheap, young fella," the shopkeep said, eyeing Isaac suspiciously. "You got the caps?"

Isaac was scanning the shelves behind the man, looking at the guns on display. He didn't look at the old man, but he smiled. "Probably not," was his reply. "How much for two cartons...? and that .38 snub nose, right there?"

The old man turned around to spy his product, then turned back to look at Isaac, a little confused. "Well, if you ain't got the caps, what's the point of all this? I ain't taking scrap or goods for trade, right now. Caps only."

Isaac pulled out a fat roll of pre-war money, held it up next to his smiling face. The shopkeeper's eyes lit up, which made Isaac smile turn into a full, teethy grin. "Two cartons of 50 cal. And the 38."

Isaac left the store with replenished ammo for his gun, aswell as his new .38 pistol complete with its own ammo and holster. He;d put it all in his rucksack, for now. If he found Zara, then it would be better if she had a gun on her, but even if he couldn't find her, having a backup weapon was always nice. Against Tasha and her crew, he ended the chase low on ammo. If things had gone another way and he'd ran empty, things could've got very ugly.

At the barracks, a man not much older than Isaac himself, named Paul, told him that a girl had come through just this morning. Apparently she'd gotten some work at a local tavern. When Isaac asked for a description and got 'skinny, brown hair, green eyes,' Isaac was overjoyed, thanked Paul for his time and headed to The Three Legged Dog.

Pushing through the batwing doors, Isaac strolled into the tavern...
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Pinocchio eyed the skinny gal over when she extended her hand and took his own with a great grin on his face. "Well this place ain't much but it will set you through your paces. Things running kinda slow at the moment so I may just as well set you to tidying duties. No one touches the bar or the cooking pot here 'cept I. You do a good job keeping things tidy, I may toss you behind the bar once it gets busy. Wash cloth and bucket by the side door there and water in the back. Best wear gloves if you don't want to get radiation poisoning on your first day." He told her with a grin.

---

Things were picking up pace and the tavern was quite busy with travellers coming and going. Even residents coming for meals or drinks. Zara had been bumped from not only bus-woman, but also to tender. She had to balance both tasks of clearing tables and filling drinks. Her neck scarf was tied around her head to keep her hair from falling in her face. Jacket was off and stuffed in some cubby that didn't seem to have anything in it. Her dingy grey tank top underneath kept her covered for the most part, though it was low cut enough that the men weren't afraid to catch sneak peaks. Caps and drinks were flowing pretty nicely too because of it.

As he walked into the doors, Zara was currently leaning over to clean some spilled liquid off a table. Her ass was facing the door so she had no clue that he just walked in. The guy who had 'accidentally' spilled his drink smacked her ass as she was bent over. He made a lewd comment about taking her home and filling her pockets with cap if she just did a little dance for him. He laughed so hard his face was going red until Zara spun around and grabbed him by the throat. Getting right into his face, she squeezed tight enough that his face was going purple from lack of oxygen.

"If you ever so much as touch another woman like that again... So help me sanity.. I will make sure you never, ever enjoy the feeling of a woman riding it again." She snapped at him before tossing him back into his chair. She figured she wouldn't be hired on with that behaviour but she needed to set her own boundaries now.
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Isaac stopped a couple of steps inside of the tavern, a habitual smirk on his face as scanned the taproom. Evening business had just begun and place was filling up. Tables were smattered with chattering patrons, a piano player was going at it in the corner, setting the ambience. It was pretty nice. Isaac leaned aside as another patron entered the establishment and passed him. At first he didn't see Zara at the table in front of him, with all the distractions around, but then he remembered what she was wearing when they were together. And so, his blue eyes were drawn back to the cute ass at one of the central tables in the room, and his gaze followed her body up to her brown hair.

Bingo, he thought to himself, opening his mouth to speak. "Z-"

When the man a the table smacked her on the ass, Isaac paused, his eyebrow shooting up. Fortune favours the bold, they say. Isaac shifted his weight onto his back foot and folded his arms. This could go one of three ways: Either she could A) shrug it off, finish her cleaning duty and move along. Most female tavern staff would probably take this option, in his experience. Or she could B) Take the dirty sonova-bitch up on his offer. Make them sweet caps. No shame in that.

And then there was C).....

Isaac's eyebrows were once again raised as he watched Zara spin around and grab the man by the throat. The sound of chairs scraping as people reacted in shock, filled the room. Even the piano player stopped his tune. Isaac hadn't been in here 2 minutes and he was already having a blast.

"If you ever so much as touch another woman like that again... So help me sanity.. I will make sure you never, ever enjoy the feeling of a woman riding it again."

After she shoved him back in his chair, he gasped to catch his breath, then struggled to his feet. "You crazy bitch, a man pays you compliment and you have the nerve to put your filthy paws on him!?" he was not happy, and drew his gun.

He didn't point the gun at Zara, but all the same; Isaac decided he'd played spectator for long enough and walked forward to intervene, drawing his gun and holding it beside his head as he moved between them. "You might wanna put that pea-shooter away sir. I promise you, you do not want this." The man looked at the massive pistol of Isaac, who grinned. "Yup. Mine's bigger."

The loud click-clack of a shotgun loading got everyone's attention.

Isaac looked and it was the bar owner, behind the counter, pointing his shotgun their way. "And mine's the biggest. Now put your guns away before I fucking blow you all to hell." Isaac and the red faced customer complied, the the barman looked at Zara. "You. In the back. Now."

"Ummm, I'm with her," Isaac told him, then gave a helpless shrug.

The barman narrowed his eyes, thought for a second, then flicked his head pointedly at the backroom door. Isaac grinned and followed Zara into the back.

"So, you found your way to Grasscroft," Isaac greeted her as they got into the back. He leaned against the wall and folded his arms. "New job too? Damn girl, you don't laze around."
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Zara was ready to defend herself, even from the gun the guy had pulled out. She looked at him as she took a step back just in time for Isaac to move between them. She wasn't expect him to appear, but this was a very welcome moment of his arrival. One hand went to his shoulder as the boys started to flaunt their toys. Her mouth opened to speak when the Pinocchio stepped in and interfered.

A ball of saliva in her throat painfully gulped down and hit her stomach like a rock. Her eyes focused on Pinocchio for a moment, nodding her head. Her hand went to Isaac's shoulder as if she was indicating she wasn't going anywhere without him. When it was decided that he could join them, she gave a soft smile, staying really close to him.

She put her hands on her hips and looked up at him once they were secured in the back room. "Yea I did, and I needed something to do while you decided to stop gallivanting across the wasteland. Needed to eat and pay for a place to sleep." She told him softly, shaking her head. "You took your sweet ass time getting here. Any problems for you with our friends?"

Pinocchio shook his head "Silence, this is not time for chitchat. Miss, I don't know how you used to do it back home but we do not threaten our patrons or start a bar fight, especially on day one. It does not make a good impression if you intend to stay employed." He warned her as he unloaded his shotgun and set it aside.

Zara moved her hand to her stomach, her smart ass demeanour fading. "No no sir. I didn't mean to start anything. I just don't appreciate having my ass grabbed. In fact, I don't like being touched period. They keep their hands off me, I'll keep my threats to myself." She didn't know if they'd be sticking around and she'd need to keep the position.
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"Yea I did, and I needed something to do while you decided to stop gallivanting across the wasteland..." Isaac waved away the comment, his cocky smile remaining. "...Needed to eat and pay for a place to sleep." She told him softly, shaking her head. "You took your sweet ass time getting here. Any problems for you with our friends?"

He was about to let her know that the raiders had been taken care of, but was interrupted when the barman walked in and took control of the conversation. Zara looked apologetic while Isaac merely observed, sharing his gaze between the two, as the man gave her a telling off and she explained her actions. By the end of their exchange, the wasteland hero was getting bored and began to inspect his fingernails.

After hearing her reply, the barman had more to say. "Well, if you can't take simple banter then I'm afraid you won't last long here. The Three Legged Dog isn't exactly 'up-market.' And neither are it's patrons." He looked at Isaac, who nodded in agreement, then turned back to Zara. "I'll give you a moment to decide whether you'll be continuing with your duties. Or I can pay you for your hours given and we can leave it at that. I have customers."

And with that, he went back out front. Isaac watched him go, then turned his attention back to Zara.

"It's not like you need this job, anyway," he offered. "I mean; you'll probably be wanting to move on soon right... get further away from The Diamond Backs? We can leave tomorrow and head deeper into New York. There's a place called Liberty Point. It's about as safe as this place, and further to the west. I know a few people, over that way. Could get you a real job and a place of your own... I think."

It was a bit presumptuous of him, to assume that his Big Sis, Katie Wensdale who just vouch for a random wastelander on Isaac's behalf. But even if she turned him down - which was unlikely - the time spent travelling and the temporary place to stay would be enough time to teach this girl how to manage herself out here.

He looked her up and down as he thought about it.

She was already feisty enough - and fierce when protecting herself - that much had been proven. She wouldn't need much more than a good opportunity to be all set in the unforgiving wasteland of New York.

"Took me a few hours, but I lost the raiders up north," he suddenly said, remembering her question. "Then I went for a quick nap and kinda sorta fell asleep for real, ha." He stood up straight and ran a hand through his messy. blonde hair. "I thought I'd be here by noon, but them's the breaks."
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Zara watched as the man walked back out front after giving her an ultimatum. Be physically touched by strange men who seemed to have it in their heads that they owned her body, or be unemployed? It wasn't some mere exchange of words, some idiotic banter that the man had stated. It was a full on physical touching of her body. He had smacked her ass. She was opening her mouth to say something when her partner spoke up to distract her thoughts and put a positive spin on it.

Shaking her head in response "no, I do not need this job. I do not need some perverted old men touching my ass and making their intentions clear." She folded her arms across her chest as she stared at the doorway that Pinocchio had walked through. She had enough guys take from her what they felt they deserved and she was putting her foot down now. No more was she going to be at the beck and call of some drunken horny man who couldn't find a valid lover to save their life.

Finally her green eyes moved from the doorway towards Issac as a small smile spread across her face. He was still willing to take her to a more secure location. "Liberty Point does sound like a better option. Diamond backs shouldn't be there, and if they are, they may not be members that know my face." She told him softly, putting the rags down beside the sink before washing her hands off.

"Simply nodded off while being chased down? Now that sounds like someone who is keen to end up below the dirt. Though I must admit, I got a decent sleep last night as well. Knowing I wasn't going to be grabbed, yelled at or killed in my sleep made it more comforting. I'm glad you were able to sleep. After noon would have been nice, prevented this whole thing and maybe even got to head out today. But alas, as you said, them's the breaks. I slept in the barracks last night, but I won't be given such niceties tonight. Where do you tend to kick up your heels when you're here?" She inquired curiously, drying her hands off. She'd tell Pinocchio that she'd take her earned wages and be off. This wasn't the job for her after all. The work was tedious and soul crushing, but to have to deal with the pervy men on top of it was enough to make her ill.

Heading out from the back room, she waved to Pinocchio to indicate she had made up her mind. "Pay me and I'll be off. Thank you for the opportunity and the hours, I just can not see myself being okay with hands touching me. Words and banter are one thing, physical touch is another." She explained to him, extending her hand for her caps.
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When she reprimanded him for nodding off while being chased down, Isaac made a show of shrugging. "Not dead yet," was his response.

He was glad to hear she'd gotten a good rest while here, and it reminded him of where she'd come from. On his face was his usual confident smirk, but in his head he thought, Jeez Lu-weez. No wonder she snapped at that dirty old man. She's soo done with having to deal with anything like that, I'll bet.

Where do you tend to kick up your heels when you're here?" She inquired curiously, drying her hands off.

"Pretty sure there's another alehouse with rooms to rent, at the other end of town," he told her, a point of his thumb over his shoulder. "Let's blow this joint."

After she'd gotten her pay from the barkeep, and gave him her reasoning for the little scuffle before, Isaac gave a half-hearted salute as they walked off. When they passed the table where 'Mr Touchy Feely' was sat, Isaac winked at the guy and chuckled. The bat-wing doors swung back and forth after they'd left.

Back on the street again, Isaac looked both ways to reorient himself, then headed in the direction towards the next tavern, falling into step beside Zara. After a little walking he said, "Oh, by the way..." he swung his backpack around to his front and took out the gunbelt with the .38 Snubnose pistol in the holster. "Here," he handed it to her, along with a small carton of ammo, as they walked. "You're gonna need a weapon for when we head out tomorrow. I trust you've shot a gun before?"
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Zara walked next to him as he handed over the belt and some ammo, staring at it almost confused. Shot a gun? No, of course not. She had been a slave since she could brush her own hair. Why would they have given her, or even trained her how to fire a gun? That would be giving her a way to defend herself, end their grubby hands touching her and give her a sense of empowerment. Could she let him know that though? Could she admit to him that she didn't know how to fire a gun? It couldn't be that hard right? Just point it at the thing you wanted to kill and pull the trigger. It seemed easily enough that she figured she could fake it.

After an unnaturally long time, Zara finally answered him. "Uh, a few times." Her voice not nearly as confident as she had tried to portray. Maybe he wouldn't pick up on that, maybe he'd trust her at her words. A knife was easier. Close combat was less likely to miss what she was aiming for.

Pausing in her steps to strap the gunbelt on, she cinched it tightly on her hips. Would she be more successful shooting with her left, or her right hand? Where would the holster be easier to grab from? She turned it to her left side and placed her left hand on the butt of the gun. Nope, didn't feel right. Trying to reach it from her right hand across her body just felt awkward and like a guarantee to shoot herself in the foot. Next she moved the holster in front of her, right under her belly button. Less uncomfortable to grab from, but made her nervous to walk. She did want kids one day and this was awfully close to her nether region for her tastes.

Finally settling on having it resting on her right hip for her right hand to get the quick draw, she nodded to herself before looking up to see his reaction to her fiddling with it. Did he notice? Maybe he would figure she was just trying to adjust to having something new on her body.
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Isaac walked, turning his head face-front, expecting that she'd just answer casually and quickly. But then an awkwardly long silence fell on them. He peeked a glance at her in the corner of his eye, then did a double-take when he realised her reaction to the gun in her hands. She looked like she was holding an alien object.

"Uh, a few times."

"Huh," was his subdued comment as they stopped so she could don the new gear.

He watched, somewhat in amazement, as she tried the gun belt on in different ways. It wasn't exactly something to be ashamed of; not knowing how to use a gun. It was just... not a common thing, in Isaac's circles. The young man ran a hand through his hair, finally deciding to help her out after a while.

"Put it near the hand you write best with," he said, then turned his attention to passers-by, giving a nod to a few of them who met his eyes. "Hi," he said to one of them.

He turned back to her and she was done. "You good?" he asked, giving her an encouraging smile as looked into those big green eyes. Interesting eyes. For now, he left the matter, as they wouldn't need to be shooting anyone whilst they were in the city of Grasscroft. "You sure?" he added as a joke.

...

When they arrived at the next tavern, Isaac stepped inside and held the door for Zara as he took a look around. "Hey, this is nice. Cleaner than the last place." It was indeed. The floors were clean, the tables and chairs were in better condition. Even the streets outside were neater. This was clearly the more up-market establishment, for the richer folks of Grasscroft. "Probably more expensive too."

Isaac ordered two glasses of flavoured, purified water. Then asked about the rooms for rent. "We have one room available. Upstairs, window. Expensive," the barman said. Then quirked a brow as he looked over the two of them. "We generally don't like wastelanders just rolling in when they feel like it, so we charge a high price to discourage it."

"One room," Isaac echoed as he looked at Zara. Then back at the barman, "Is there at least a chair in there or something?"

"There's a chair."

"Guess I'll take the chair? You have the bed?" he asked Zara. It wouldn't normally be so awkward but it was clear that she had some issues after spending thirteen years with raiders. And he wasn't sure that sharing a room with a stranger was something she wanted to do. Funny that just the other night, they shared a room, but after the scuffle with the old man who smacked her ass, and the realisation that she'd probably been sexually harassed constantly as a raider slave (and worse,) it had suddenly made Isaac extremely aware and careful regarding her security.

After that, they sat down at a table to let off some steam. Isaac stretched his neck around until it cracked. "Phew, what a day, huh. Glad to sit down and just chill for a second." He put a hand on his forehead, as if checking his own temperature, eyes closed as his mind calmed down. When he opened his eyes, they were on Zara. "So... How does freedom feel, Zara Singh? Has it hit ya yet?"
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Zara couldn't help the bright red that had encircled her neck and ears out of embarrassment as he assisted her with something one should know, being of wandering age for the wasteland. She had given a singular nod to his first 'You good?' but when he double checked with her, the nod became softer and a few more bobs to show she was indeed okay.

The walk to the tavern was a silent one, which she was thankful for. She didn't want to answer a bunch of questions just yet about her defensive abilities. She just stayed close behind his step, to the point she tripped over his shoe one or twice. She kept her hands behind her back as she walked, looking around and taking it all in. This part of town didn't look as rough, that was for sure.

Once inside, the room was inquired and she parted her lips. "I'm good with the chair. You should have the bed, you haven't had a decent sleep like I did and you're going to need to have your wits about you if the Diamond Backs pick up our trail again." She offered him her opinion on the matter, turning to rest against the bar counter. Her eyes scanned over patrons and decorations. The place was actually quite quaint. Maybe she could work in a place like this. He didn't seem to appreciate lewd acts like his competing tavern owner was.

Pushing from the bar counter, she followed him to the table and sat down. Her head on a swivel still as if she expected trouble to come from any shadow that moved or a sound in the distance. "Hmmm? Oh freedom. Yea." She blushed a bit, returning her attention back to him. He looked so relaxed, so at ease. In this light, she could truly see him. The strength in his jawline, the small peaks of his lips . Those lips that beckoned to be touched.

'Those lips said something, they asked you a question' her subconscious reminded her. Blinking rather fast, she shook her had and looked away. "Well, seeing as I haven't had to polish some guy's pole, I was able to actually wash up, and I have some caps in my pocket. I would have to say I am quite enjoying this to be honest. I haven't had to watch my mouth or lie through my teeth to impress someone. Hell, I've even eaten better since I got free."
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The way she kept her eye out for trouble, even in this tavern, reminded Isaac of what she'd told him last night: She'd been a raider slave for thirteen years. Thirteen years! What a life, Isaac thought as he watched her. Can that even be called life? The young man wasn't sure. He only knew that his first mission, back in the sweet city of New York, was to take them all out, once and for all. Raider gangs often weren't so big, or lasted so long, but when they did, they were usually fearsome. And racked up a long list of heinous crimes and terror in their tenure. The Diamond Backs needed stopping. New York needed it.

And she'd mentioned that she knew some kind of weakness of the gang, or the gang's leader. A secret entrance to the town, perhaps? Or maybe a store of explosives that could blow the place sky high? Whatever that was, Isaac needed to know. A good plan could beat the worst of odds - that's what his mentor had taught him. Cairo Storm aka The Courier; The baddest man Isaac had ever known. Cairo had walked from one side of America to the other, delivering more than just packages. He was a one-man army, handing out justice and ass-whoopings, and it just so happened that he'd taught Isaac everything he knew.

I've taught you everything you know. Not everything I know, the old man would say. He was funny like that.

"...Hell, I've even eaten better since I got free."

"Glad to hear it. You earned it," Isaac replied. She had indeed. Getting herself out of that situation was no mean feat. It took balls to break away from that mess. Most slaves, after being slaves for such a long part of their life, were conditioned and broken enough that they wouldn't even consider escape. Zara had a strong spirit, that was for sure. And, if Isaac couldn't tell just by looking at her, she'd made it clear with the scuffle back in the other tavern. She was down for action - a fire in her eyes and her belly - and Isaac liked it. "And one of these days, you might just get used to it; not having to look over your shoulder all the time." He gulped down half of his drink, smacked his lips and wiped his mouth. "Grasscroft is a nice place, but there's nothing like Liberty Point. People there really look out for eachother. Everyone knows the guards and the high walls means you don't even have to worry about attacks. Raiders don't even bother trying to attack, they know they'll be dog food if they try attacking. And 'Big Sis' is awesome," he added with a teethy grin. He always called Katie by that name, but realised that he should clarify to Zara.

"Katie Wensdale's her real name. She's the town scientist and one of the most prestigious leading minds of wasteland technology and research. You'll love her. She's whacky as fuck." He laughed quietly as he thought of her. Katie had taken him in after he lost his mother to the wasteland. Her heart was as big as her brain. "But yeah, freedom is fun, but you'll still need to learn how to defend yourself. Well..." he paused and gestured to her. "You clearly know how to choke a guy. But shooting a gun can be useful too. We can get some practice on our travels. Shoot a few cans or something. Maybe blast some critters."

"Where'd you live before you were captured?" It might have been a stupid question. Would she even remember? She seemed to be around his age, which would've made her like, ten years old or something. Still, it was worth asking. Perhaps she'd want to pay somewhere or someone a visit? "Not tryna bring back painful memories or anything? Just wondering."
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Zara listened to him speak about his sister, hoping that she was indeed as accepting as he claimed she was. Not many people would think twice about aiding someone running from a powerful gang like the Diamond Backs. It usually got them killed, so it wasn't a chosen position to be in. Her mind was starting to wander a bit when he asked her a question. What was the question? Crap, why did she have to be daydreaming then? The look of shock written all over her face as she tried to figure out what he had asked her.

"Oh uh.. Georgetown. They were setting up a decent settlement there from what I can remember. Though I'm not sure what happened to it after the Diamond Backs tore through it. I suppose not very much is left standing." She commented a bit after her mind caught up to what he had asked. That was the right question right? He had asked her where she had been before her capture. Of course it was, it had to be right? She sipped at her drink while looking over to Issac, her heart racing in her ears.

"We don't have to go back there though, I doubt my parents are still there. I'd rather not go and find out they had been slaughtered or something. So carrying on to see your sister would be a good start. Put as much ground between us and them." A soft nod of her head indicated she made up her mind about where to go.
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Isaac nodded his understanding at her words. It was a fair decision. He himself had never wanted to visit Vault 118, since he and his mother had left. Circumstances may be different between the two young adults at the table, but the sentiment was the same: There was only bad news, if any, waiting for them at the place they once called home.

Isaac fell into a comfortable silence as he occasionally sipped his drink, throwing an arm over the back of the chair and leisurely gazing around the room. It seemed that Zara was in her own world and everytime he spoke, he was dragging her out of it. At first, it had seemed like a good idea to keep her in conversation and her mind off what was probably awful thoughts about her pursuers, but he changed tack and decided to let have some time to think. Maybe sorting her thoughts out, whilst in this safe environment, was a good thing. If she could clear her head a bit now, maybe she'd be sharper when they got back out on the road.

After a while, he got up and went to the bar for more drinks. He double-checked with the owner that their room would be ready when they were, then returned.

He eventually tried to start up some more conversation between he and Zara, talking about the latest news he heard around New York, (which wasn't much, considering he'd only just got back) and of course, the expedition and what was going on in Boston; The Minute Men defeating the Brotherhood of Steel and the evil Institute to finally free the Commonwealth of its oppressors. The two ordered some food and more drinks, before Isaac was ready to retire to their room. It was fairly early, but he was in need a good sleep tonight.

Before Zara could protest, he occupied the chair in the corner of the room, used his jacket as a blanket and his rucksack as a foot rest. In the safety of Grasscroft, it wasn't long before Isaac drifted into slumberland.
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Zara added what she could to the updates, raiders tended to do more talking and gossiping then old women at salons did. Of course her additions registered more along the lines of who was good to steal from, who had already been robbed, where to find the best loot. Though she did have some additions for the best pastures and crops for food. She asked aloud to him if they'd swing by and offer some assistance to get some supplies. She didn't want to steal from anyone but she knew she didn't have much caps. A helping hand or two was usually more available for trade. Muck some animal pens, get a small bag of food. It was fair enough trade.

When the night was closing in, she stood up and followed him, finishing the last of her drink. She set it on the bar counter, giving a nod to the tender before catching up to Issac. As he expected, she was about to offer him the bed but gave a soft chuckle as he moved without comment to steal the chair. She'd need to talk to him about that. Was he providing the bed for her simply because she was a woman? Or did he truly find the chair to be more comfortable?

Silently, she moved around the room, having practised not being heard by slumbering men. She brushed out her hair and put a little braid off to one side. She washed off her face and stripped down to the bare minimum clothing. She wanted to be comfortable and this place was supposed to be safe. Nothing private was showing, though if she moved in her sleep, that would change. The grungy white tank top wasn't as form fitting as one would expect. It did have plenty of movement. Clad in only the shirt and a pair of underwear, she slipped between the blankets and settled in for a good deep sleep. The area around them was fairly quiet so she was able to drift off easily.

Her dreams were less peaceful though. Nightmares plagued her, sleep fighting her blankets and small whimpers in her sleep. When morning would arrive, she wouldn't feel as rested as she should.
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Isaac awoke to the sound of chatter on the streets. He opened his eyes slightly to see the sun beaming in through the window, stirred in the chair, stretching an arm up in the air as he yawned. Sitting up, he looked to his right and saw Zara sprawled out in the bed, then his eyes widened as he realised that her flimsy tank top had moved and twisted in the night, revealing far more than it ever should about Zara's body. He turned his sight away and shook his head with a smile.

"Jeez," he muttered as he walked around the bed, grabbed the quilt that was supposed to be covering her, and gently threw it over his companion. He left the room quickly after that, not before grabbing his toothbrush and going to the bathroom to wash up.

When he went downstairs and straight outside, looking both ways before heading over the town square to grab some breakfast from the outdoor diner. Exchanging some smalltalk as he ate his squirrel-on-stick, he paid up.

"Damn," he said to himself after the store owner took the bill to and turned around to get change. "I've burned through this cash faster than I thought."

He had. Payment for the convoy to Boston was perhaps his biggest score to date, but he'd spent more than half of it while relaxing in Diamond City, not to mention the travel back to New York.

"Yup," the store owner agreed as he gave Isaac his change in the form of caps. "That's what cash does... burns faster than we thought."

Isaac shot the man a wry grin and finished his breakfast. He and Zara would need to start taking some jobs on the way to Liberty Point. Best to start now before all his funds were gone entirely.

He went to the the notice board in the town square to if there was something he could do this morning, maybe a quick job he could wrap up before lunchtime. His eyes darted around at the various messages. One of the notes was the warning of an angry man who was threatening to find and kill the man who'd slept with his wife. That got a laugh. Most all of the jobs would take days and some would take he and Zara in the opposite direction to the way they were going. But there was one. Isaac snatched the note off the board and read it more closely.

"The town of Brixton is in need of a gunman for pest control," he read aloud. "Bingo."

With that, he headed back to the tavern to see Zara.
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By the time he arrived back at the room, Zara had aroused and washed up. She was currently brushing her hair out with her fingers as she stared out the window. She had been lost in thought, her eyes blurred and not actually taking in what she was seeing. She was thinking about her life and what had become of it now. She was a free woman, able to wake up when she chose, sleep when she needed or wanted to. She only needed to care for herself. Yet she felt oddly driven to care for Isaac as well. She cared to ensure he ate, washed and was looked after.

Giving a startled slight jump when he entered the room, she looked over to him as her eyes refocused. "Good morning. I figured you had wandered off early. Got yourself something to eat? Slept well I hope." She asked him curiously as she attempted to style her hair. She contemplated growing it out so she could put it in a bun or style it. She did notice the paper in his hand, wondering what it was for.
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It seemed he'd caught her lost in thought. Or maybe she was just a little jumpy. As she turned about and washed that green gaze over him, he gave her a nod. "Mornin."

"Good morning. I figured you had wandered off early."

"Yup. Couldn't help myself," he bounced back, walking over to her as she styled her hair. He passed her and looked out the window, habitually checking the surround. Wasteland philosophy. Next to him, it was easy to see that the fire-cracker of a girl was only little. Couldn't have been more than 5' 4". Skinny too.

"Got yourself something to eat? Slept well I hope."

"Yeah not bad. A cushioned chair isn't bad when you've spent the last few nights on the floor with nothing but a bedroll for a mattress," he said. "I had breakfast down at the square. You should get something in you too. We've a long morning's travel ahead of ourselves, and err... you could use a decent meal or two..." he grinned mischieviously. "...or five."

He hoped she didn't take offense. He just couldn't help himself.

Raising his hand with the paper in it. "Got a job for us," he told her. "Pest control. Probably just some mole rat infestation. Good caps. We could use em. And it's on the way, so happy days."
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"Hey now, the slender body allows me to be stealthy." She giggled a bit, running her hand over her stomach and hip. Of course she was too slender, but she'd work on that. Food did sound good, though she wasn't sure what she would want. Maybe she'd let the chef decide something good for her. The freedom to be able to decide what to eat was a little overwhelming.

She glanced over to him when he mentioned the job. "Seems decent enough work and easy to do. Wanna head out there once I've eaten and gotten some rations for the road? Or are we staying here another night?" She asked him curiously, picking up the gun holster he had given her and strapped it to herself. It still felt weird to be carrying it, but she'd get use to it soon enough.

One last look in the mirror, she seemed to be pleased with her appearance and headed for the door. She was eager for their day to begin. She could work on her target practice dealing with these pests. She wondered if she should get a bladed weapon too, for the melee battles she was sure to get into.
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"We're getting on the road just as soon as you're ready," he replied. When she was done in the mirror, he smiled at her, then made for the door.

They went around Grasscroft, Zara got some breakfast and a few extra rations. When Isaac found out that Zara had left his knife back in the apartment block they'd stayed in the night before, he shrugged it off and they went to the weapons shop to get a replacement for him and one for her. Isaac secured his new knife onto his belt. It wasn't nearly as quality as his last one, but it would do for the time being. He'd wait to get a really good one from Katie Wensdale at Liberty Point. No doubt she'd have a few lying around at the General Store.

After that, they hit the road.

The sun beamed down on the dusty road, the wasteland vista of wreckage and dirt going on for miles. Isaac remained vigilant on the surround, his eyes constantly scanning left and right as he walked.

"Brixton's a quaint little town, if I remember right," he told Zara. "Not so far off the main trade route that they're unwelcoming of visitors. But it's not a big place, and it'll likely go by the Sheriff's law and wasteland justice, so we should be careful - stay out of trouble, ye know." He gave her a glance, then looked back on the road. "We go in, get some details on the job, get it done, get paid. Light work and we're out before sundown."

Wasteland justice meant no jails for criminals, just exile or death... usually death. People didn't usually waste time with arguments and fist fights. And town folk didn't often side with visitors or their own. It was worth explaining in advance.

They walked for an hour on the big roads before turning off the main trade routes and heading toward Brixton. They arrived in good time and went to the Sheriff's office.

"Hey," Isaac greeted as he walked in. There was an old man who was sat with his feet up on the desk. Two more younger men lounged about on chairs in the room. It was obvious which was the sheriff and which two were deputies. "We're here about the pest problem."

"Uh, good. Had my deputy post that job just yesterday. Grasscroft always sends them in good time." The Sheriff took his feet off the desk and explained the siutation. "Mole rats breeding like mutants down in god knows which sewer. Rodents keep coming up and chewing up the wires at the town generator. We ain't got the resources to keep fixing the damn thing and none of our guys can pin down the exact location of the nest to nip the problem in the bud."

"Uh huh," Isaac nodded. Seemed simple enough. He negotiated the pay without any hassle too. "Alright gentlemen, we'll get to it. Should be done by evening."

"Oh yeah," one of the deputies said, looking Isaac and Zara up and down. "You that good huh?"

Isaac smiled at the deputy, let the question hang in the air for a few moments, then looked back to the Sheriff. "By evening, Sheriff."

And with that, they left and headed for the town entrance. This would be a good lesson in tracking and shooting for Zara. "That went smoothly enough," he said to her. "How are you holding up? Y'okay?"
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Zara walked with him to the town, enjoying the sights that were around them. The world was coming back, slowly recovering from the atomic bomb issues. It wasn't as beautiful and luscious as it was once told, but she was enjoying the views anyway. They just needed to find a way to eradicate all the ruins and broken buildings. She hummed to herself softly until they entered office. Opting to stay back and listen rather than intervene, she checked out the two deputies. Neither seemed relatively capable of doing their jobs either so why was one sneering at them?

His question irritated her. She wouldn't be that good but she had seen Isaac in action. That was a man of talent and of skill. She was sure he'd get it done before supper if he wasn't training her how to actually fight and defend herself. Keeping her opinion to herself, and her gaze hard on him, she balled her hands into fists. She flashed him the middle finger before turning to leave the office with Isaac. Maybe being around a bunch of men who always underestimated her and other women had an effect on her and now she was free to express her disdain. Or maybe she just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but she wanted to fight him.

Her eyes went to Isaac as he spoke to her. "I'm fine. I'm doing okay. Wanted to make that man taste his own balls but that's pretty average for me. Mole rats seem to be my target practice today? Good, a moving object would be a great place to start. How are you holding up? Having to cart around a novice such as myself."
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