A/N: Just a short little thought I got while I was in class. I don't know if I'm really going to go anywhere with it, I'm trying not to put too much on my plate right now seeing how my last chaptered story was delayed so horribly.

How long had it last been since she was here?

Months maybe? A year? Time had become such an irrelevant subject to her that she had ignored it overall to prevent it from obstructing her focus. It had worked though. Many of the Geist beasts were wiped out now; the remaining Omegas had been obliterated from the face of the Earth; she had slaughtered the last of the Gigas this morning; there was a good chance of a few remaining Walnut Heats but with their short numbers and lack of soldier support… they were almost harmless now.

Human civilization was finally getting the chance to get back on its feet. To reclaim the world that had been brutally pulled out from underneath them. She had passed through a few recovering towns who had forced themselves back to their feet and began rebuilding once more; there were water towers, basic communication now and some electricity. While Darkness had condoned her charity acts… she had taken some time to help where she could; powering up generators through carefully placed lightning strikes; moving aside massive pieces of debris with Willpower; creating temporary shelters with Ancient Wall.

He said she was using her powers disgracefully.

But… she felt oddly relaxed with the acts.

This whole mess had been started because of her.

And now it was ending because of her.

Soon enough, her abilities would become abstract and useless to the world, but she had a feeling that would only happen far past her own expiration date. Maybe now... she could focus on her own morality. Focus on what little could be salvaged for a normal life, it sounded ridiculous and Darkness reminded her of it every time it came up but... a small piece of her still longed for something like that.

Until then though, she was content with the way things were now.

Home, sweet home. Correct?

Dark eyes looked up as she took note of the military base that looked far more intact than it had from a distance.

"He's done some work on the place."

Yes well, he's not too smart to do anything else, now is he?

Shaking her head, she continued her way towards the revived base. She took note of the rebuilt and re-polished buildings that served as numerous things like an: office, hospital, headquarters, anything that was needed at the time, there was a building that could be converted for it. The rather large area had been cleared of debris and some of the missing pieces of the roads and sidewalks had been replaced; it had to have taken weeks just to clean up the place, let alone get it back into working order. It was nice to see that he kept himself busy without her; then again, he was all about helping people, wasn't he?

She watched as a few civilians moved back and forth between the buildings; their was a laughter in their voices as they helped transport boxes from one place to another. Several children ran about in the streets and busied themselves with a ball they seemingly managed to recover from the debris. Things weren't perfect but... they were getting there. Soon enough.

Entering through the open gate in the front of the camp, she carefully walked her way down the middle of the street; looking at the activities that seemed to flourish on both sides of her. There were small potted plants laid out to gather a few hours of sun; green leaves and stems twisted about in the warmth as they collected as much of the thermal energy as they could for their own growth. A box of books had been placed outside of a small, makeshift library; it's once flourishing sign had rusted but it appeared as though someone attempted to clean it up as best they could- making the most out of it. One building was still undergoing renovations as several workers inside were doing their best to make sense of their homemade electrical wiring that ran through the ceilings; judging from the amount of cursing, she didn't think it was going over so well. A small break between the buildings revealed a playground that had been moved closer into the base's limits; there was already a small group of children spending their time on the swings and pushing one another down the slides.

Civilization was making a comeback.

"Aw shit, is that who I think it is?"

Oh great, another idiot...

She looked around for the voice before she noticed a familiar soldier push himself from the makeshift hospital; a small bandage tied around his head. "Butch." she acknowledged with a soft nod. "I see things have really picked up around here."

"Yeah, we've pretty much tripled our previous productivity." he nodded. "I'm guessing it's because you weren't here to distract Maxwell."

It's the greatest of the idiots.

"Butch, I swear to God-" Marilyn started as she stepped out of the hospital just the same; an icepack pressed into one temple. She stopped in mid-step though before her foul mood seemed to melt away instantly into that generous smile once again. "Alicia, it's so good to see you back. How's it been?"

"Hectic." she answered. "I think I've finally managed to wipe out the Geist that I could here; the Gigas are annihilated and there shouldn't be another threat of an Omega."

"Damn, girl's been busy." Butch whistled. "The only thing we've done is clean and have small pieces of sheetrock topple down ontop of us."

"I can tell."

Marilyn chuckled lightly and set her hands on her hips when she spoke. "Maxwell will be more than excited to see you; I can go ahead and get you a room set up in the bunks."

"I just assumed she was going to share one with Maxwell-" Butch started before a punch to the arm stopped him from finishing his phrase. "I mean, he's over in the central HQ if you want to see him."

"I think I will; he'll probably want to be updated about the status of the Geist." Alicia nodded before she started towards the building Butch had pointed her to.

"Or the status of-"

"Butch, go replace those support beams like I told you to."

I see nothing has changed.

"Were you expecting something new?" Alicia questioned as she continued on towards the rather beaten and battered building; the windows were cracked from gunshots and chunks were missing from the brick layer but... it was still intact and was still technically a building. It was better than nothing after all. She carefully pushed aside the slightly cracked door and peeked inside; surprisingly enough the room was much cooler than it was outside and felt refreshing against her sweat-damaged skin. The floor boards creaked quietly with her weight as she manuvered herself inside and searched the dust-covered desks and old equipment for him. Stepping into one of the many side rooms, she took note of the blonde-haired Commander seated in front of a table; staring rather intently at a map in front of him. Minding her footsteps, she welcomed herself into the room and slowly approached him from behind; taking her time to study what exactly he was looking at. The map looked like it had seen better times as numerous ink marks and pencil scribbles ruined the detailed surface and yet pointed out specific coordinates and locations. She watched as he leaned forward and rested his chin in one hand as the other one seemed to be tracing some kind of invisible line on the map; the paper crinkled beneath the light touch. It took a moment before he tapped a location and went to scribble down the coordinate in the notebook that was pinned beneath his elbow. Peering over his shoulder, she took note of the list of coordinates he had written down with some kind of shorthand description in the margins of the page.

Maybe he finally smartened up.

She leaned in carefully and placed her fingertip against one location; watching as he looked up at the movement before nearly knocking himself out of his chair in his hurry to get to his feet.

"Jesus- don't scare me like that!" Maxwell laughed; listening to the echo of his heart practically pounding in his ears. "Oooh, okay well then, now that that's over... when did you get back? How long have you been here?"

"Just a few minutes ago." Alicia answered. "I was talking to Butch and Marilyn outside; they told me you'd be here."

"Ah yeah, well you know, when you're not traveling around and killing stuff, you gotta sit down and take responsibility." he chuckled. "I've been trying to get some things under control but enough about boring me, how have you been? How did that... expedition go?"

"The Omegas have been eliminated, as well as the Giants; Walnut Heads and Geist soldiers are still present but they'll be few and far between- I don't think you'll have to worry about any heavy artillery from them though." she replied. "As far as I know, we'll be completely clear in a few months time but it seems like everyone's already working towards recovery."

"We're an inpatient species." Maxwell teased as he leaned back against the table behind him. "But uh, that's good news. At least the United States will be clean soon enough. We were able to recover a radio from another military base not too far from here- it was too damaged to be renovated though, but we were able to reconnect communication across the waters. It took a while but we've been able to piece together translations with a few of those Foreign Languages for Dummies lessons. From what we can tell, China, Germany and Spain have been able to keep themselves from being completely overrun; they're helping out their neighbors as best they can but... they're still in need of help. If we can get the States back under control then maybe... we can offer some assistance."

"Asking for my help then?"

"Ah well uh... I wasn't going to ask you so soon; I wanted to give you some time to relax and stuff." he started.

"One condition." she offered.

"I'm listening."

"We don't go by air."

A short chuckle left him as he ran one hand through his hair. "Deal. As soon as we find another means of transportation, we'll go; not too sure about going across the waters just yet, who knows what are in them. There was that giant whale in the sky, there could be like a dinosaur in there or something."

No, absolutely nothing has changed; he's still stupid.

"Anything happen since I've been gone? Aside from the obvious?" Alicia questioned.

"Let me tell you about it." Maxwell sighed. "We made a makeshift hospital so Jackson's been able to settle down and work on the wounded at a more secured location; he's been studying medical books a lot so our range of medicines have been extended- I wouldn't really risk testing out how much of an extension that is though. Don't even get me started on Butch and Marilyn... apparently somehow between finally making a decent headquarters and renovating, they've uh... well... have found some personal time for themselves. We weren't really focused on bringing back the human population just yet since we wanted to bring back a sense of civilization but... they went ahead and skipped a step."

"That's interesting."

"Tell me about it, it caught us all off-guard." Maxwell chuckled. "I told Jackson he's going to have some fun dealing with that; he just told me to go to hell though."

She lightly shook her head before she looked back to the notebook on the desk. "What are these coordinates for?"

"Oh uh, just you know, points of interest." he answered as he picked the book and flipped through it. "I figured it wouldn't hurt to look into expanding a bit; you know, travel around and set up camps everywhere so there's at least some sort of safe haven wherever people need it. It wouldn't hurt to go ahead and looking into it, I mean we're busy enough here as of now but... the future could always be brighter." he closed the notebook and tossed it aside for a moment. "I've been going over maps and doing a few surveillances myself when I can. It's just a future project, that's all."

"Well at least not everyone is living one day at a time." Alicia remarked.

"Nah, the days are far too busy to do that." he replied. "But what was that area you were pointing to before? Some place you know of?"

She turned back to the map and tapped at the location once more. "I thought you were listing down important locations; this is the place where we first met."