Escaping isn't the only thing on my mind. If I run from here, find a way out or something…what about Charon? I can go on forever and ever with nothing, with bare minimal…except not without Charon. I am his friend, but…given the chance I would be his lover, too. How could I leave without him? What would that show? If I turned my back, and just walked out, leaving him with these people…I couldn't. I know that if I ever find means of escape, that it has to include him. Without him, I would rather die. I can't continue my adventures without him now.
"I am Alpha and Omega…"
The sound of my own voice made me jump. I'm afraid that you've found yourself stuck. What do you have to say in defense of that ghoul now? No. No I am not stuck. There has to be a way out of here…with Charon. I am not leaving if he has to stay behind. I refuse to.
Noises from the door made me jump. I curled myself in a ball. How long has it been, anyways? I've been lost in my mind, forcing myself to space out, that I'm not quite sure. How would I tell time in here, anyways? The room was flooded with a bright light, and someone stepped in. I shielded my eyes, trying to merge with the corner.
"Take her to my office, now."
I heard Jabsco's voice, and his hurried feet up the hall. Someone walked over to me, and I cringed.
"Can you walk?"
Charon. How long has it been since you locked me in here? Since you left me to my own fate alone, with no one?
I whispered. It is a bold-faced lie, but I need to try to work him again. I felt his strong arms under me, and noticed his neck had a square piece of gauze on it. I felt enraged, and as he stood with me cradled in his arms, I touched it.
"It is nothing, Dez."
He turned around and walked me out of the room. The bright light hurt my eyes, I had to close them. I held my hand over them as they adjusted, as Charon carried me.
"I am taking you to his office."
I wanted to punch him, but I wanted to kill whatever hurt him more.
"He keeps a gun in his desk."
I looked up at Charon, shocked.
"I cannot help you. You can only help yourself, but I promised I would not harm you. My employer wishes to interrogate you, he has a plan. There will be other men there. I have not told him physical violence invalidates the contract. You may have to make a choice."
He didn't respond. I smiled to myself, my naked self. Charon's strong arms, for the time being, offered the comfort and protection I needed. I tried to figure out what he meant by 'choice' but I knew I'd figure that out when the time came. For now, I wanted to bask in this. In his arms wrapped around me like they should always be, keeping me out of harms way, safe.
He took me into the office, and set me down. I stood in front of Jabsco and another men. Charon walked over and stood behind Jabsco. I could see he was bleeding under that piece of gauze.
Jabsco motioned towards a chair in front of his desk. I sat down, playing the obedience card.
"If you do not comply, there will be consequences. Now, who is in charge of the Brotherhood of Steel?"
"None of your business."
"Are you going to answer me?"
Jabsco leaned back in his chair, smiling.
"Charon, tell me what you told me earlier."
"About what, Master?"
"About Dezbe here. What was it you confessed?"
I looked at Charon, searching his eyes for an answer. He stared at the wall behind me.
"I informed you that Miss Dezbe and I were friends. However, when I asked her if we really were, she said no."
"That isn't what I asked. Charon, tell me about the incident at Rivet City. The one that happened at Vera Weatherly's."
"I was sleeping, and Miss Dezbe woke me by kissing me."
"Did you kiss her back?"
"Did you enjoy it?"
"So you admit you have feelings for this girl?"
"She was my former employer. I serve you now."
"That isn't what I asked."
"…Yes. I had feelings for her."
"That isn't part of your training, is it?"
"In fact, it completely stands against everything you've been trained for. That isn't good, Charon. Do you know how she feels towards you?"
"Then you know she could not care. She was only using you."
"Yes, that is a possibility."
Jabsco stood up. He walked behind me, and put his hands on my shoulders.
"Stop me when something angers you Charon. That is an order."
I felt his hand creep down to the wound on my shoulder. He pressed down on it, and I screamed.
"Let me go!"
I struggled, but he slammed me back in the chair. Charon didn't move. I felt him put more pressure, and the pain almost crippled me.
"Stop it! Let me go!"
My words were useless. No one moved. Jabsco stopped messing with my bruise and wound, and wrapped one hand around my neck. He slid the other under my white tank top, and I felt my entire body stiffen. The grip he had on my neck tightened, and I closed my eyes, trying to block it out.
Charon's voice echoed in my brain. Jabsco laughed, letting me go.
"So, that's what bothers you. I understand now."
He walked away from me, back behind his desk. There was a gun in there. I looked up at Charon again, but he didn't return the gesture. Jabsco sat down, fiddling with his fingers.
"I'm still not talking."
Jabsco nodded, puckering his lips. I gripped the sides of the chair, my nails digging it in. Become that monster, Dezbe. You have already sealed your fate with the one behind Jabsco, why not make it official? You can kill again, you have killed before, and they're not innocent. Go on, you know you want to. I loved it when the voice spoke in dire situations. It encouraged me, and fed that wolf-faced demon inside me. It gave me the courage I didn't have alone.
"Charon, stand near Dezbe."
Charon nodded and stood beside me. I wanted to rest my head on him, and have him stroke it like he had in Rivet City, but I knew better.
"Charon, do you have your knife on you?"
"Take it out."
Charon took the knife from his side, and held it in his hand.
"Since you won't talk, we're just going to have to make you."
"Yeah, how you gonna pull that off Jabby?"
I saw his eyes flicker when I called him 'Jabby'. Anything to piss him off, I didn't care. Whatever he could do to me couldn't be worse than what I've already endured.
"Charon, cut your arm."
Charon lifted the knife to his skin, and pressed down. I saw the pain registering on his face as he pressed harder. I grabbed his hand, pulling it.
I tried to fight him for the knife, but he wouldn't hand it over. In the midst of the struggle, I felt the blade sink into my arm. I recoiled, shocked. Blood dropped out of my arm, it wasn't serious though. I looked at Jabsco, furious.
"How could you do that? What is wrong with you?"
He smiled at me, that fuck.
"So will you speak? Each time you refuse, I will make Charon harm himself. You wouldn't want that now, would you?"
I glared at him, breathing heavy.
"Charon, you may replace your knife."
Charon put his knife away and straightened his back.
"Take her back to solitary. Next time, I hope she is more cooperative."
Charon grabbed my left arm, and took me out of the room. The door slammed behind us, and he didn't even flinch. Our footsteps echoed in the halls, and for once, I couldn't find a rhythm to it. Charon opened the door that led us down to the hall that led to the solitary room. By now, my cheeks were stained with tears. I don't know why I'm crying, but I can't stop it. I felt his grip loosen on my left arm, but I didn't care. I didn't even want to look at him at this point. How could he do this? Disobeying an order wasn't nearly as bad as the broken promises he offered. You should run. Run now, while you're with him. Come back later, or not at all. After all he isn't serving you any good, he isn't saving you. Go on, run. For once, the voice in my head made sense. I pulled my arm from Charon, and held it close to my shoulders.
The pain from the cut didn't block out the pain from my wound. The nasty purple and blue bruise throbbed, angry at me for overusing my arms. I shook my head. I had to concentrate, there wasn't much longer I had. If I was going to do anything, I had to do it now. I stopped walking, sniffing my nose to show Charon I was crying.
"Please, follow me."
He said, but he didn't look at me. There had to be some shame in his head, shame for what he was helping them do to me.
"You know what, Charon?"
"No, Dez. I don't. Please, before they come looking for me."
He still didn't look at me, and I sadly smiled at him.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever I did to you to make you have to do this to me. I'm sorry that you're fucking bound to a piece of paper because you aren't strong enough to realize the lies and deception it holds. I'm sorry that you have to endure this alone."
"What are you talking about?"
I looked up at him. He was standing in the dark part of the hall, his head down, staring at the floor. I'd never seen his posture so…so down before. Maybe that's not the right terminology, but still. I felt pain in my heart as I thought over what I was about to do, about how this was really going to fuck me up inside. About how the Capitol Wasteland was about to take the last strand of hope, love and sanity I had worked for.
"Come here, Charon."
I opened my arms wide and moved towards him. He finally turned towards me, and opened his arms. I pulled him into my embrace, stifling tears. If I gave away too much, he might catch on. I savored the smell and feel of his leather armor against my face. I moved my arms gently up and down his back, as if I was giving him some form of comfort. But I wasn't. I had to choke back a sob as I stood on my tip-toes to kiss his cheek. I felt the warmth of his skin against my cold lips, and it was even harder for me to keep my grip on reality.
"I'm sorry, Charon."
I whispered into his non-existent ear. Wrapping my hands around the handle of his combat knife, I pulled it out of his belt. He didn't have time to react, I felt his hands move from my back, but for once I was faster. I plunged the blade as deep as I could into his back, and pulled it out.
He choked out, falling against the wall. I sobbed, tears overflowing on my face.
"I'm sorry, Charon…I'm so sorry."
He slid down the wall, staring at me with those milky eyes. They pierced right through me, and my legs felt heavier than a Mini Gun. Somehow, I got them to move. I ran up those stairs, and through those doors. I didn't look back, the pain inside was too great. Yes…now you have something…you have something to drive you. Take your vengeance on these sorry bastards. Get them, Dezbe, make them pay. I will listen, mysterious voice. I will obey you this one time, obey and hear what you have to say.
Pushing my way past Talon Company men, I finally found the bunker where my things were being stored. I am being fueled by hate, rage, by the pain I felt for hurting Charon. I felt like I was going to puke. As I slid on my leather armor, zipping and strapping it in all the right places, I realized I felt the same way I had when I killed for the first time. I wanted to haunch over and puke out everything I held inside. But I didn't. I held it all down as I cracked open my Double-Barrel Shotgun and loaded it with ammo. They won't know what hit them…
I just had to make it out. Once I got out, then I could run home. I could run home, pack, and never look back. I am not coming back for Charon. I can't. If I even step foot anywhere near this place, I promise you they will kill me on sight. After this, I am a threat, not a necessity. They won't take mercy, and I hope God doesn't either.
Checking my Pip-Boy, I made sure I had everything. I could hear a commotion building outside of the room I had locked myself in, and I smiled.
"Let's go, shit bags."
I pulled out a frag grenade. Hiding against the wall, I opened the door. Pulling the pin, I tossed it into the hall and held my ears. A few short seconds later, I heard the bang, and the screams of pain from the nearby Talons. My Pip-Boy listed three different Talons had crippled legs, and two more had crippled torsos. God, I love technology sometimes.
Cocking my shotgun, I left. I shot the men, bringing them a quicker death than they deserved. I kept one alive, and crouched down beside him.
"Tell me how to get out, and I might let you live."
"Ah fuck! Go…go down this hall, take a left…you'll see a ladder…climb…climb it and…and run."
"How do I know you're not lying?"
I shoved my shotgun into this throat, and he started coughing. I shouldn't be so damned sadistic, but they fucking deserve it.
"Have it your way, then."
I told the Talon, and squeezed the trigger. I didn't flinch at the loud noise of my shotgun, or at the blood that spattered on my face. Honestly I don't think there's anything that can make me squeamish anymore. I just can't feel anything. There's a numbness deep down inside now, so that nothing can faze me. It felt like a virtue and a vice. You have to move quickly, they're going to find you again.
As I navigated the twists and turns of this underground hell, I had to submerge thoughts of Charon. I had to hold back going to find him, saving him, doing something. He was my last wisp of humanity, of hope, of anything I could find comfort in. I had to leave him, though. I couldn't risk my life for him, after he proved to me that his contract was held in higher regard than my own life. I guess that old saying is true, an eye for an eye. But after a while, the world will go blind.
As I approached the ladder, I found it odd that I hadn't encountered anyone else. The silence was scary. Maybe they were busy figuring out where I went, what I was doing. How stupid can they be? Where would an escaped person go? Out, maybe. Away from here. No shit. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. I swear, these Talons were dumber than dumb. You have nothing now, so what are you going to do when you're free? I am going home. From there, I have no idea.
Pushing aside the manhole, I climbed out into the sunlight. My left arm was killing me, but what else is new? I quickly replaced it, and checked my Pip-Boy. Red ticks were everywhere, but no one seemed to have spotted me just yet.
"I've got to have something in here…"
I rummaged quietly through my pack, trying to find something to aid me in my escape.
I pulled out an old Stealth Boy. God knows how long it's been in there, or how it got in there, but fuck am I happy to have it. I put it on my head, and turned it on. Instantly, my entire body tingled. I saw my hands and legs vanish, and I smiled to myself. Stepping out of the tent, I stood, and no one saw me. I knew that too much noise would make them see me, and that I had roughly an hour to get the fuck out of there. Scanning over the area, I saw a chain link fence, and a gate to my left. It was the closest exit I'd seen, and began climbing. Strategic awesome planning caused these Talons to put this particular tent at the bottom of a hill. Lovely.
I worked the lock best I could, but with invisible hands that shit is hard. I finally heard the lock click, and the gates swung open. I didn't wait around to see if any of the Talons had seen this, I just ran. I ran through the dead plants, the sand and dirt, over rocks and through puddles that made my Pip-Boy tick like crazy. I ran as fast as I could with my pack on my back, and gun in my hand. I didn't look back, I didn't want to look back.
When I finally did stop, I fell to the ground, gasping for air. I wanted to cry, I wanted to pound at the ground with my fists, but I didn't. I just let myself get all the air I needed, and pushed myself off the ground. I say Jury Street Metro Station behind me, and I was glad I ran in the right direction. Home was pretty close, and I couldn't wait to get there. I forced my feet to walk, the sun beating down on my leather armor.
Charon…He's either dead, or in severe pain. That stab wound wasn't nice, I didn't know if I had hit anything. I felt a pain rise up, he had promised not to die before me. He promised he'd outlive me. Damn. I let the tears drip on the dirt, and absorb into the earth. I never realized I would feel this bad. He is gone now, forever I guess. I shook my head, not wanting to face the realization of this. I am truly and utterly alone in the desert, in the Capitol Wasteland. I felt empty, lost and numb. I felt like a hole was gaping in my torso, and that there was nothing in the world that could fill it.
The sun was setting over the horizon. I could see Megaton in the near distance. The sun was reflecting off of it, making it look prettier than it is. The wind blew my hair in my face, and I had to brush it away. Every now and again, I'd catch myself looking back, expecting to see Charon running behind me, waving his shotgun in the air. But each time I did, there was nothing. Nothing but the barren Wasteland with it's random bombs going off, showing the silhouettes of old and abandoned civilizations. I know I shouldn't look back, but I can't help myself. It's this urge I'm so use to having, and I'm so use to seeing Charon. I'm going to have to adapt to the fact that he isn't with me, and probably won't ever be again.
Looking down at my hands, I saw they were dry and cracked. I held my tongue back from yelling. Yelling at what, I don't know. I can't cry anymore, though. I have to make that commitment to myself. I can't cry anymore because now I'll have no one to comfort me. Maybe one day I'll be able to find that comfort and safety I found in Charon in someone else. I doubt it, but you never know. I know that I'm going to be sad now, and I know this numbness won't protect me forever. Eventually it's going to get to me, and it'll only be a matter of time before I finally snapped.
But as I came to the gates of Megaton, and rested my hot head against the cool steel, none of that mattered. I am home now, and for tonight I can rest. I can sleep in my own bed, with Wadsworth keeping everything safe. Pushing open the gates, I slipped in unnoticed and jogged up to my house. My home, I've never been happier to see it than I am right now.
I walked inside and dumped the contents of my pack on the floor. A piece of paper was the last to come out, and it floated in the air, landing gently on the pile of junk I carried with me. Crouching down, I picked it up. It was the music Charon had written for me. I sat on my floor, clutching it between my fingers like it was going to rip at any slight tug. The notes danced, Charon's handwriting made me hear his voice when I read it over. I felt the pain trying to resurface, but I submerged it, blocking it out by hearing the music in my head. There was a time you let me know what's real and going on below, but now you never show it to me, do you? Remember when I moved in you? Yes, Charon. I remember. I remember when you moved me, made me rethink everything I'd ever thought before. I remember when you changed me, when you told me everything would be alright.
Yet here I sit, alone, broken, and cold inside. I sit here alone because I could not have saved my life, and his. I could not have possibly won over tons of Talons, and came out the victor. I miss him, I know I do, but I can't let myself. I can't let myself feel anything anymore. From here on in, I have to be who I was when I first left the vault. I cannot rely on anyone else. I cannot depend on anyone but me, for anything.
Tucking the paper in my locker, I closed it. I will never play the piano again, or feel Charon's voice inside my head, calming me and making me laugh. This is life in the Capitol Wasteland. You choose to live out here, then you are doomed and destined to a life of fighting, and a life of loneliness. I did not pick this life, it was given to me by force. But I have to make the best of it, no matter how much it kills me inside. Somehow, I have to survive.