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Title: It's All Over But The Crying
Fandom: Fallout 4
Characters & Relationships: Female Sole Survivor
Rating: G
Warnings: Spoilers for the end of Fallout 4 based on a Minutemen ending (including mentions of the Far Harbour DLC). Lots of rambling!

Summary: Nora has done everything she had set out to do when she woke in Vault 111 and now she has to learn to live with the consequences.

Nora looked out over the smouldering remains of the CIT ruins, now a massive crater that was rapidly filling with river water, and she couldn’t help but wonder. Had all the scientists gotten out? What about the Synths? And how many people had been in the area above ground at the time? She hadn’t warned the Brotherhood or the Railroad about what she was going to do. Has they had any people in the area at the time? And what about the civilians and the traders? Not to mention the Triggermen and Gunners and Raiders and Super Mutants … how many bystanders had she taken out with that explosion?

And even if there had been none, even if all of the scientists had gotten out … what then? These people had only known a world of control and comfort and isolation. How many of these people would die in their first year? In their first six months? In their first week on the surface? They were all going to have to be found and relocated to settlements. They’d have to be taught to defend themselves without synth guards and coursers. They’d have to learn to plant and cook and hunt for themselves and they’d have to learn what water and plants were safe in this new world they found themselves in. And they’d have to learn to raise their children ….

Nora’s thoughts trailed off as she thought of children. She hadn’t seen a nursery in the Institute, but there had to be one, surely? The people down there couldn’t have been conceived in and born out of vats. So how many children did she doom to death down there when she gave them all such little time to escape?

And how much knowledge had been lost? How much technology and medicine and horticulture was being studied down there? How much of that science could have been used to help the Commonwealth? There was a very good chance that she had just doomed the Commonwealth and her people just as surely as if she had left the Institute to their own devices.

Nora didn’t realize that she was hyperventilating until a hand came down on her shoulder and a voice murmured something in her ear. She couldn’t make out the words but the concern and the urgency was there. She tried to stop the spiralling darkness of her thoughts but she could only see all of the possibilities - all of the possible deaths she had caused and all the chaos that was going to come out of all this.

She vaguely became aware of the bridge and the Riptide … or where the Riptide should have been. Instead of a usable bridge there was now a gap that no brahmin could be expected to jump, and that meant that the caravans that ran from Diamond city to Bunker Hill and back would have to take a far longer route and risk more attacks. That is assuming that the main caravans would even continue now that the Institute was gone. And how was she even supposed to deal with the knowledge that most, if not all of them had been spies for the Institute and that Roger Warwick was an unknowing synth?

Nora vaguely became aware of being moved, of a blanket being placed over her shoulders and of something strong and sharp and pungent being pressed past her lips. Of course none of that mattered. She had too many pieces to pick up. She had to explain to Desdemona and Maxson why she hadn’t involved them. She had to figure out what, if anything, to do with the mayor of Diamond City and with the Warwick farm. And, of god! Liberty Prime was still in play! And she had handed the Brotherhood the nukes they needed to power it! And that would just draw the attention of the Children of the Atom! How long until they were in play again? How long until they decided to come out of the Glowing Sea and out of Far Harbour? And-

“Mom? Mommy?” a small voice asked as an even smaller hand slipped into her own. “Mom, are you okay?”

Nora came out of her fugue and looked at her son. Yes, he was a synth but he thought he was her son and she wasn’t about to take that from him. He deserved the childhood she’s been unable to give to the real Shaun. He was a true innocent in all of this and she needed to be there for him. Just like she’d promised Nate.

She took a long, shuddering breath and pulled her son against her in a strong, protective hug.

“Yeah, baby, I’m here. I’m okay now. I just needed to think some things through,” she finally replied.

“What were you thinking about? Anything I can help with?” Shaun asked, finally pulling away. He was ten, after all and far too old to be seen hugging his mother.

“I’m not sure, kiddo. But we’ll see. Right now we need to get back to the Castle and I have to get in touch with the Brotherhood of Steel and the Railroad. It’s more than past time for use to all have a sit down.”

“You got it, General,” Preston replied with a firm nod. “I’ll get Danse and Deacon to send along the request.”

“No,” Nora said. “Not Danse. Maxson will shoot him on site. Send someone to the Cambridge Police Station and ask for Scribe Haylen. We can trust her to send on a message. If she refuses, ask MacCreedy if he’s up to it.”

“You got it, General.”

Small steps. Nora could do this. She’d take it day by day but she could do this. The people needed a leader and until a proper Commonwealth Government could be set up, she’d have to keep her head on straight and put off the meltdown. She could do this. Shaun deserved a bright future and that had to start today.


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