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Fanfic / Trouble

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If anyone asked him if there was any trouble in Rivet City, he'd answer 'Sure. You can find the barber in the Muddy Rudder. Down the stairwell to your left.' Because, he had never met anyone as troublesome as Butch DeLoria.

Trouble is a Fallout 3 fan fiction by Rustypaperclip, detailing the life of Harkness, the chief of police in Rivet City after the Lone Wanderer helped him out, and his unexpected interest in the boat's new barber, Butch, who has been a constant nuisance the minute he walked across the bridge in his leather jacket and stolen shoes.


Due to the nature of the premise, various spoilers in the game are inevitable, and thus should be read with caution to those still new to parts of the game.

The story is now completed at 47 chapters. It can be read here.

Trouble provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Butch and Harkness had been tip toeing and snarking around just what their feelings for each other were. But in chapter 38, Butch cries over Harkness' seemingly lifeless body, "Babe, wake up. Please." It may not sound like much, but within the context of Butch's personality, it's huge.
  • Affectionate Nickname: While Butch at first seems to call Harkness "Chief" out of disrespect, when other people start calling him chief too, he comments that he doesn't like no longer being the only one who calls him that.
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  • The Atoner: Sister, who honestly, genuinely, sincerely wants nothing to do with slaving or android hunting any more, and wants to be a better person.
  • Bar Brawl: Butch seems to start one in the Muddy Rudder every night, which is fairly unwise considering the other regular patrons are an ex-raider and two former slavers.
  • Berserk Button: Any time Butch thinks Harkness may be in danger, he will become suicidally protective.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In chapter 40, Harkness no longer sees data and and information as a computer would, and no longer has exact precise movements, and now feels the need to sleep. He seems to be by all accounts normal now, but has to grapple with essentially relearning how to do everything.
  • Character Tic: Harkness always cuts himself while shaving. Every time. In the exact same spot.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After spending virtually the entire series thus far obsessed with killing Zimmer after all the inhumane horrors he's done, he is unceremoniously shot fatally in the head and dies instantly mid sentence.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Butch gets jealous of Harkness' nonexistent sweet, blonde, brown eyed ex wife from his artificial memories.
    "I ain't Blonde. And gentle. ... and I ain't got brown eyes."
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Zimmer's cybernetically modified humans lose all ability to control themselves, and become mindless tortured machines.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Harkness refers to Butch almost exclusively as Barber. And Butch is the only one in Rivet City who calls Harkness Chief. You can always tell when a situation is incredibly serious when they actually refer to them by their real names.
  • Fake Memories: Before Harkness had his android memories reawakened, he had artificial memories made of his life. After remembering his robot past, he no longer acknowledges any of his fake memories, only using them as his cover when people ask him about his past.
  • Frozen Face: Johnny Saint's face is always stuck on a Cheshire Cat Grin, even when it's evident that smiling is the last thing he feels like doing.
  • Heroic BSoD: After he thought Butch had been killed, Harkness spent the next several months feeling distant and empty, constantly seeing hallucinations of him. Even long after Butch returns.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Harkness detonates an entire bag full of pulse mines at his feet to protect Butch from two androids that would almost certainly kill them. He gets better at least.
  • Hero of Another Story: Johnny Saint, who is the protagonist of Fallout 3, and while offscreen seems to continue performing quests in-game as Harkness' story goes on.
  • Here We Go Again!
  • Ho Yay: The relationship between Flak and Shrapnel is implied and gossiped about among people in Rivet City.
  • Hybrid Monster: Zimmer's newest project.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Every single action Harkness does in Rivet City is backed by his desire to be more like a man. And he is in constant fear of being thought of as anything besides normal.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Butch and Johnny are some pretty snarky ass holes, and have first hand experience with some of the worst examples of humanity in the wastelands. They still are fighting to make it a better place.
  • No Holds Barred Beat Down: Between Butch and Harkness early on. And when he finds out why Sister is in Rivet City, Butch flat out tries to murder him in the middle of the bar.
  • No One Could Survive That!: In chapter 40, Johnny reveals that Harkness managed to survive being completely obliterated by the pile of pulse grenades thanks to the fact that his system could only ever heal to 99% health, and all of his memories and information managed to get hidden away into the one broken tiny percent.
  • Not Quite Dead: Butch. Which causes no small amount of confusion to Harkness' mind.
    • Zimmer is alive and well and still on the hunt for Harkness.
  • The Power of Love: Seemingly the only way Harkness managed to survive being detonated by a pulse grenade at point blank range. Twice.
  • Tsundere: Butch is a jackass, but he does genuinely have a good heart and likes Harkness, even if he can be completely unpredictable half the time.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: What sparks Butch's interest in Harkness is just how human he seems to be. He breaths, he bleeds, he eats, and shaves. Though he doesn't need to sleep, though he can.
  • Robotic Reveal: Throughout the story some people end up finding out about Harkness' android nature, which seems to almost sound like a sort of Coming-Out Story for him.
  • Robosexual: Well, yeah.
  • Shipper on Deck: Johnny Saint, the vault dweller seems to notice the chemistry going on between Butch and Harkness, and casually offers Harkness advice.
  • Title Drop: Early on especially, Harkness refers to Butch in his mind as "trouble", to the point where it is impossible to tell when he is talking about actual trouble or Butch at times.
  • Verbal Tic: Bullshit.
  • Vigilante Man: When Johnny Saint finds out that Zimmer intends to enslave Harkness when he visits Rivet City, he decides to march right down to the old man and shoot him dead on the spot. Harkness decides to happily turn a blind eye on it. Well, he thought it was Zimmer he killed, anyways.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Johnny and Butch, who frequently beat the crap out of each other while smiling. Butch seems to have this effect on men, as most of the male populous in Rivet City enjoy their frequent beat downs with Butch.
  • Wham Episode: chapter 20, Butch had up and left Rivet City and has been gone for nearly two months. Paradise Falls is destroyed, and it appeared Butch may have died in a fire there. From that point on, Harkness' mentality is never quite the same.
    • Chapter 38: Harkness had just blown himself up via a pile of pulse grenades, when already standing on his last legs. The entire chapter is written in binary.
  • Xanatos Gambit: It seems all of the ladies of Rivet City have the hots for Butch, and it would appear he's having a sexual fling with Lana Danvers. In actuality, he was only pretending to have relations with her, so that she would get another guard who she likes jealous so that the guy would ask her out first. Both outcomes work well for her, though she would prefer the hidden outcome as per the trope.


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