Short chapter is short. Sorry to everybody who keeps up with my little story, I constantly struggle with length. Hopefully as I get further into the plot I'll be able to elaborate more. I just had the brilliant (and belated) idea to start playing the game as I write each chapter, so once I catch up to where I'm at in this fic, I can write more detail and expand my chapters. Thanks to Lucidique and Shadow-Ocelot for making me realize what a good idea that is. xD

Also, Lucidique was my awesome beta-fish and if you like Fallout fanfiction then READ her stories, holy crow, they're awesome sauce.

Lakritzwolf: Oh no! My fanfictions are a health hazard! I ought to put a warning on them, then.

Lucidique and Shadow-Ocelot: Meh, you guys are the shizznit. Enough said.

To everybody who's alerted to this story, I hope you like it so far. Feel free to send me ideas or critique. I'll have the next chapter up relatively soon.


Out of its own volition, my finger pulled back and squeezed the trigger.

There was a click, and a muffled shicking noise. The gun needed to be reloaded.

I'm not sure if I realized over the next few days that I could have killed him – would have, if it weren't for the empty bullet chamber of his 9mm. I'm not sure if he realized, either. We descended into the Farragut Metro Station, en route to the GNR headquarters, in our quietly efficient way; he handled combat, I patched him up, he helped me avoid booby traps. Occasionally he carried me where the terrain was filled with debris and rubble, too hard for me to navigate safely. Jericho was nothing short of a gentleman, - as gentlemanly as an ex-raider can be - but his chivalrous behavior put me on high alert rather than calming my suspicions. He might have left me in the tunnels and I'm sure I would've given up and crawled back to the surface – if a ghoul didn't find me first – and that would've been it. The end. But he stuck by my side, and I proved myself useful on several occasions.

The tunnels are like tombs. I didn't think anything could be worse than the endless expanse of desolation above the Vault, but the maze of metro passages sneak up on you. Every creak, every groan, every hitched breath is magnified in your head through an invisible, terrifying loudspeaker. The smell is dark, damp and putrid; it fills your lungs with rotting flesh and decay. The wasteland is blanketed in sky and dust – underground, it is encompassed in flickering lights and crumbled walls. I used my PipBoy to illuminate our path, plugging coordinates into its advanced GPS system so that we would not get lost. I encountered my first feral ghoul in the Farragut station. I knelt down to give me balance and a steady aim, while Jericho coached me on how to handle my laser weapon in a fight. After felling three of the monstrosities I felt a swell of pride and relief. I wasn't completely worthless. Since I am expertly familiar with the human anatomy and a quick study on technology and mechanisms, pairing me with a laser pistol was the smartest choice Jericho could have made for me.

I tested his patience often by investigating my kills to analyze the miracle of a decomposed yet functional homo sapiens. I've never been particularly squeamish; I got accustomed to the gore that inevitably finds you no matter where you are. These ghouls truly were feral, and my qualms with shooting something once human quickly disappeared. I had a handful of scratch and bite marks to show for my initial hesitation – I wasn't keen on acquiring any more.

I enjoyed discovering Pre-War junk and began to horde it. But when it became too much for me to carry, and Jericho refused to act as a pack mule, I reluctantly released my treasures and continued to silently follow my guide along the cramped corridors of the metro until we came to a chained gate that separated us from a group of ghouls that were very eager to get to the other side.

"Shit, that's a lot of shufflers. I ran out of frags – you got any bobby pins? We need to get through this gate."

Jericho paced back and forth, aiming his gun at the ghouls but refraining from firing – he didn't have a clear shot through the fence and ammo was precious. I watched him for a little bit before wandering into the back room, and straight towards the desk. There were not a whole lot of talents I had to offer, at least not then, but when it came to computers I definitely knew what I was doing. I liked to tinker with the Protectrons we found, bringing them to life and reprogramming them. We fed them tickets to escort us through the tunnels. It didn't take long for me to hack the mainframe and access the codes to the generators on the other side. An idea sprouted in my mind almost immediately – we didn't have any explosives, but if I overloaded the generators...

"Jericho," I called from the room. "Take three big steps back, and fire at one of those big metal boxes."

The ex-raider glanced over his shoulder at me with a skeptical look, then took a potshot. Moments later he was whooping and screaming and running back towards me as the entire area erupted into a fiery storm, blasting open the gate and flambeing the ghouls inside. I shielded my eyes from the white hot heat, but dutifully helped my companion bat out the small flames that caught on his clothing.

"That was fucking sick!" Jericho guffawed. I smiled. We waited till the coast was clear and hauled ourselves further into the station.

xXx

I am just shy of five feet and two inches – in other words, incredibly short. But I have never felt smaller standing next to the fallen corpse of what the wasteland calls a "Super Mutant."

Or relieved.

I saw him before Jericho did. We were maneuvering around a huge pile of debris from the ceiling when I noticed a green, mountainous figure standing overhead, and I froze in my tracks. Jericho halted behind me and swore under his breath.

"It's a fuckin' Mutie," he hissed. "Kid, you better step back. Get down and use your little space gun like I told you to."

He pulled the assault rifle off his back and planted himself along the wall, training the gun at the Super Mutant's back. I was bursting with curiosity and fear but let Jericho work his magic; he opened fire and the green giant staggered forward, whirling around sluggishly and roaring garbled English at us. It took the entirety of five minutes to fell the mutant and the ghouls that had come running at the sound of gunshots. It seemed like an eternity before I could set my pistol down and examine the genetic oddity without fear of being mauled. I'd never seen a Super Mutant before – the scientist in me was fascinated by the complex manipulation of DNA that made this creature's existence possible. It wouldn't be later before my thoughts on Super Mutants changed; I pitied them, thought little of them, and I'm ashamed to say it was my opinion that the only good Super Mutant was a dead one.

But that was before I met you, Fawkes.