I haven't been back home in so damn long. It's scary, how fast time passes. Hell you don't even realize how fast it goes, until it's already over. Then you're stuck wondering what the hell happened and where it all went. I know where my time went, I started keeping careful timelines of my life, writing down all the important events. Where those notebooks go, I have no idea. I forget them in random places, but that's okay, because at least I wrote it all down. At least I have something to be remembered by. Yeah, like a few old pieces of paper will be what people think when they remember me. I doubt that.
I'm worth remembering. How do I know that? Because people still talk about me. I still hear them, even way out in New Vegas, talking of what I've done, who I am. I came out here about five years ago, looking for something. I'm still not sure what it was I was looking for, exactly. But I know whatever it was, it's not here. Well, I'm not there anymore, really. I'm in the back of an old truck,
Doing eighty to ninety over the desert, waiting patiently. There's other passengers, and they're talking about me, without knowing it's me.
I got sick of New Vegas. It's nothing like the Capital Wasteland. Nothing at all. It's overrun with people, with robots, business and bright lights. I fit right in some of the scenes they offer over there, but it made me uncomfortable. There's no Super Mutants, no Radscorpions, no ghouls. It's just humans, and some strange beings I didn't bother to learn. I just stuck with humans, getting to know some, hating some, killing some. New Vegas has a law, though, and I broke that law. It's not as free and fun as the Capital Wasteland was. That's why I'm going back. I got sick of running, of hiding, of always being on my toes. Law…law doesn't fit out here. I don't like it. I want my freedom back, my life, everything.
I'm not going back with the idea or thought everything is going to be the same, because I know it won't be. How different it'll be is what I don't know. At least I'm not stupid and assuming things to be as I left them. I've done a lot of growing up over the years. Spent a lot of time alone, walking clear across the country. It sucked, that's why I'm driving back. Hailing a ride with some strange man for a few caps of gas. But still…I've done a lot of self-discovery shit. Haven't found out much, but I've matured. Realized the world doesn't revolve around me and I have more life-experience than most old men out here. Figure that's got to be worth something, right?
A lot of people out in New Vegas asked where I got my scars from. Now most of them are healed, just pale white under my newly-tanned skin. The sun out there is worse than the Capital Wasteland. Anyways, at first I'd tell them. Just a short snippet or summary of my adventures, nothing too much. But when I said things like 'Super Mutant' and 'Raider', they looked at me like I had seven heads. There's no Raiders out in New Vegas. It's too lawful for that, too held-back. Society is on a downturn over there, I tell you that. People don't want to rebuild again, hell if they did they'd have done it by now. It's been over two-hundred years. People like living this way. It's survival of the fittest, we live on instinct, people won't admit it, though. I will. I can't imagine ever going back into a vault and living like that. Out here…I'm free.
I'm excited to go home and see how it's changed, see how people have changed. If I stood in the right spot in New Vegas, I could get Three Dog's signal from clear across the desert. It made me feel at home, so on lonely nights I'd stand with my arm in the air, trying to hear him, hearing his howl, his music. It reminded me of the good old days. Of course, back then I hated it, I was so stupid. I'd fix a lot of the things I used to do, live differently, but then I guess I wouldn't be who I am now.
I don't have the messy orange and brown hair anymore. I mean, I do, but it's kept. I keep it in a ponytail, realizing there ways to keep it out of your face. I don't wear my Raider Badlands armor anymore. Now, I wear Merc Cruiser outfit. Keeps the brutal sun off my skin, prevents burning, circulates air pretty good. Plus I got sick of running around with my ass hanging out like a two-bit New Vegas hooker. Oh yes, New Vegas has hookers, I've met them. It doesn't matter though, live your life the way you want, just don't point a gun at me. Still have my trusty sawed-off shotgun, too. Don't carry much else. Just my gun, and a few caps and shells. I figure there's no point in Stimpacks or healing stuff, since all I have to do is take a dip in some radiation.
New Vegas doesn't have a lot of that, so when I got injured in a bar-fight or something, it was a real pain in the ass to find a place to heal without shelling out an arm and a leg for a doctor. I'm excited to finally be returning home, where the air is thick, the sun is warm, and the radiation is in full swing. At first I thought I'd never go back home, that I left there with a bittersweet taste in my mouth, and angry feelings towards everyone. Now, now that I've matured a bit, I realize you only ever get one home, and mine's the Capital Wasteland. I'll never find a place like that, no matter how hard I look. I made the choice, that it was time to come home.
Resting my head on the back of the flatbed's roof, I listen in on the few men talking. The roof of the truck is makeshift, blocking out the sun but keeping in the heat. We've been driving for ages it feels like, and I'm beginning to sense we're close to home. Home, where my heart is.
"Yeah I hear she used to live there."
"Everyone hears that. But no one's seen her in years, dude."
"She took down the Brotherhood! Single-handedly! I swear she's got to be something."
"Yeah, something crazy."
"Naw man, I hear she's actually kind of nice."
"I hear the opposite. Why are people still talking about her, anyways?"
"Because she gave everyone clean water, took out the Brotherhood, and looked good doing it. Hell no one has balls like that, not even a man."
"Maybe she used to be a man."
"Aw shit don't say that."
It's been pretty easy to keep a low cover. I mean, people out here don't know what I look like, they have no idea who I am. Three Dog never reports me by name, so it's not like I needed to create a new identity. I'm actually thankful I didn't have to make a new name for myself. 'Dezbe' suits me just fine. It sounds crazy, and it is, but it's special and unique, too.
The men continue on their conversation, I enjoy it. I enjoy hearing that people from New Vegas see me differently than the people in the Capital Wasteland did. Go figure, the people who are safe and secure see me as a hero for all my deeds, but the people who actually benefitted from my actions see me as a ruthless villain. It doesn't matter to me, though. I'm not coming back home for them. I'm coming back home because it's where I belong, it's where I'm best suited, and where any friend I've ever made is.
The truck starts to slow to a stop, and we all shift forward at the pressure and force of the breaks. It must be home. After days of travelling, of driving, of stinking in the back of this sun-oven, we're here.
"Alright everyone out!"
The driver yells and I hear him open his door. He wasn't too keen on giving four people rides all the way out here, but with the caps we offered, he wasn't just going to say no. We all watch, hearing his steps, as he walks over to the back of the truck to let us out. When he opens it, I see it's dusk, and I smile. The cool night of the Capital Wasteland…how I've missed it so much.
"Out, out, out!"
We shuffle out of the truck, and without another word, our driver takes off. Everyone in the group has a pack, has supplies for surviving out here, which tells me they aren't originally from here. I never carried anything of great importance with me, nothing I couldn't live without. I have my cigarettes and lighter in my pocket, ammunition in a pouch around my waist, and gun in my hand. That's all I need. Oh, and my caps, but they're mixed in with the ammo. I take in the sunset, it doesn't look like this out in New Vegas. There's too many lights to see it from the city. You have to travel a good mile out to see a few stars, to see the moon rising like the sun. I smile to myself, seeing the Washington Memorial not too far away. I'm home.
"Hey, uh, you ever been here before?"
One of the men from the truck asks me. Jamming my hands in my pockets, I look at him, nodding.
"Yeah. Long time ago, though."
"Do you know where we can uh, get some food or something?"
I open my arms and display the desert.
"Eat what you kill."
They looked at me like I was insane. I watched them gawk at me, gawk at one another, and shake their heads in disbelief.
"No, no way. There's got to be like, a restaurant around here or something…?"
I shook my head at them, looking down the hill at Super Duper Mart. I smiled at it, remembering. The truck dropped us off right in front of the bridge into the city, the one I never really felt the need to cross.
"Nope. And don't try the mart down there. I'm not sure how things have changed, but from what I remember, that place is ridden with Raiders."
"Bad people with guns and better aim than you."
I tell them, and start walking. I leave them standing in bewilderment, lost in the Capital Wasteland. One thing that hasn't changed about me is my selfishness. If it doesn't have anything to do with me, I don't care. I'm not going to go out of my way to help them, and I sure as hell isn't playing babysitter to three grown men. Right now, I don't want any responsibilities. I want to look around, see the sights, see how much its all changed.
The monument is still there. Someone took the time to put a light under it, so that now it glows, as if to say 'Hey, you're home, welcome, welcome…'. I'm sure no one missed me, but it's nice to think they have. It's nice, to be back home, in my own element. There's no big city lights, no noise, no disgusting people asking me for caps or anything like that. Here, it's just the cool wind, the big moon, and the lit-up Washington Monument. I never really figured I missed being home this much. I thought it wouldn't be like this when I got here, this warm feeling of being somewhere I fit. It is, though. I've missed it more than I thought.
The men I left behind don't bother to try and follow me. Although, it would have been in their best interest to. I would have left them some scraps, some little knickknacks here and there. So long as they didn't try to talk to me or anything. But they didn't. They went the opposite way I did, which is pretty smart, but still dangerous. They'd be safer underground, in the tunnels. No worries there, really. I think so, anyways. Not sure what's changed out here. I mean it all looks the same, figure it is still the same. I'm probably wrong though, and I'm probably going to have my ass served to me on a silver platter. I've been out of this game for far too long.