Author's Note: My first Fallout fanfic! I've always had a thing for the ghouls, half the time they make up some of the most intriguing characters in the game. I was somewhat surprised and sad to see that Raul had such little attention, as he is one of my favourite characters and companions...Anyways I hope everyone enjoys, feel free to review and favourite. I have no idea how fast chapters will be posted, got all the ideas in place, it's just down to getting the writing on paper. :3 Enjoy!

PS. some things will be a little different then the actual game, such as Benny and The Courier having a history together prior to the whole bullet to the head event.

Vivian thumbed the starred bottle caps strung at her throat; it was the man's own fault, pure and simple...Well maybe she had instigated it; but, she had asked so nicely for him to hand the caps over and he was the one who resorted to violence.

Besides who comes running up to some random person on the street and declares that they are in possession of those rare Sunset Sarsaparilla bottle caps? No one in their right mind.

Well his loss was her gain, and she wasn't about to lose her newly acquired treasure to a petty pickpocket or a handsy raider. No they would have to tear them from her her cold dead body. Rising to her feet and holstering her gun she stepped around the body of Tomas and made her way to the edge of town.

She groaned as she gazed out across the dried up lake; it was a long hike back to the NCR Mojave outpost, and she was sure as hell not looking forward to the trek. First of all it was dark and the Mojave got so goddamn cold at night it made traveling bitter and uncomfortable. Second, nighttime was critter time; and she sure wasn't in the mood to run into any coyote's or nightstalkers out scavenging for dinner.

She glared back at the town;...of all the places she had to spend the night; not that she was one to turn down a bed (even a crappy lumpy one.) But this town was what everyone called it: a shithole.

But to say that was the reason she was hesitant to spend the night would have been a blatant lie. Hell she had camped out in worse places over the past few weeks. No the fact was, it just never sat quite right with her, spending that night in a place full of corpses...It felt as though she was intruding; she was never one for ghost stories but, when you had to spend a night in a place like this, it made you wonder.

With an exasperated huff she had made up her mind, and stomped back into town; busting into one of the less crummy houses on the street.

She scrounged through the kitchen briefly, gathering up only what she would most likely need...not that she need any more stuff to haul with her through the wastes... Shoving her meager findings into her duffle bag to join her ever growing pile of supplies and junk. Finally she flopped down onto the musty, creak mattress in the makeshift bedroom with a beleaguered sigh.

She left first thing the next morning, the sun at her back, the barren land still cool from the night before.

The trek was relatively uneventful; a few nightstalkers to note of her passing as they sunned themselves on the rocks, but quickly lost interest.

Vivian let them be, after all, live and let least in some instances.

She arrived at the Mojave Outpost before lunch, pleased that even with the amount of items she was caring she could still make decent time. And who said women couldn't lead this kind of life? she thought with a proud smirk.

Gazing up to Ghost's makeshift crows nest she decided the news about Nipton could wait for just a moment longer; right now she needed a drink and a smoke...

Adjusting the overweight duffle bag over her shoulder, she made a brisk beeline to the bar.

"Well look who's back." Cass said with a smirk from her usual seat at the counter.

"Don't you ever leave this place?" the courier replied with a chuckle, sitting down along side the other woman.

"Pfft...why bother V? this place has everything a girl could ever want."

Vivian could just hear the sarcasm dripping form her voice.

"That's a load of bullshit and you know it." she smirked; Cass laughed and shook her head before offering her a cigarette.

She quickly lit up the tobacco and took a deep drag from it; with a pleased sigh she blew out little smoke rings and released another chuckle.

"God, I needed that; had to drop my last pack in the desert, couldn't carry all my junk." she replied with a quirk of her lips.

"Knowing you...I would have thought you'd drop the junk first." laughed the other woman as she took a drag from her own cigarette.

"You're right, I don't know what I was thinking."

The two women continued to laugh and nurse their drinks; Vivian told the once caravaner what had happened in Nipton; about the massacre and about Caesar's Legion. She watched as the other woman's face fell and the turned red with anger before grabbing her glass of whiskey and downing it quickly.

"Those fuckin' bastards..." Cass spat angrily, wiping the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand. "And you just let them walk away?"

"Hey now, I'm a good shot, but not that good." she replied tapping the ash from her cigarette into the tray beside her. "...I suppose I could have used dynamite...but, they let me be so, hey why not return the favour; I've got no quarrel with them." she said cooly, taking another drag from her tobacco before adding. "Besides didn't you say that shithole deserved what it got?"

"Yeah, but not from those fuckers..." the caravaner replied through gritted teeth.


The women finished their drinks and cigarettes in relative silence from that point, before Vivian lazily got to her feet.

"Well, time to deliver Ghost the shitty news." she said with a sigh and rolled her shoulders.

"Yeah, guess so." replied Cass, somewhat quieter than normal.

"Listen I'll see you around, maybe in a week or so...don't drown yourself in moonshine." at this the other woman snorted and gave the courier a steely yet playful glare.

"Aw worried about little old me?" she questioned with a chuckle.

"Well, I get free cigarettes and booze from you..." Vivian began with a sly smirk.

"Get outta here vulture." Cass said with a bark of laughter and Vivian smiled, placing her bag on her shoulder once more.

"Whatever you say." she said with a chuckle and began to exit the bar. "See ya later caravaner." she called back over her shoulder.

"Yeah, see ya V."

The visit with Ghost was short and all business and Vivian made short work of the the rest of her stay at the outpost. Though parting with some of her extra equipment was always hard, she needed the room, and relief her tired and tense shoulders felt was heavenly.

Exciting the supply shack the courier adjusted the thankful much lighter duffle bag on her shoulder and released a a less than ladylike grunt. Though she knew her bag would be overflowing once again in no time; giving a wry smile at the thought.

Gazing down at her Pip-boy she plotted the best way to get to Novac...

She hissed as she haphazardly tumbled down a a small sand dune; becoming covered in thin blanket of dirt and dust. Her sheriffs hat coming off in the process; snatching the hat up quickly she regained her balance with a grunt and bolted forward, kicking up dust as she went.

"Goddammit!" she muttered looking over her shoulder at the coyote pack chasing after her; was there more now? "Should of bought more bullets back at the outpost..." she groaned as she hurriedly thumbed a new set of rounds into her revolver before slapping the barrel shut.

Turning around she began a brisk backwards walk; steading her newly reload gun in her hands she began to pick off the approaching pack one by one in quick precise shots.

"Thought you bastards were night prowlers..." she said through gritted teeth as another coyote fell; a bullet between the eyes.


The final coyote fell at her feet, tongue lagging out; dead.

Vivian released a low sigh and casually reloaded her revolver once more.

"Can't go anywhere without someone or something tryin' to bite my head off..." she said, gun giving a satisfying click as the barrel rolled into place.

The moment of satisfaction didn't last as long as she hoped; as she gazed down at the magnum she held in her hand, she just about seethed at the sight of it. The weapon looked horrible!

"Goddammit, fuck..." she cussed as she dumped her gear and began to fish through her belongings for repair equipment.

After a few moments she grumbled and sat back on her heels, and glared down at the bulging duffle bag at her feet. Out of all the things she had in her bag...of course the things she actually needed were unavailable.

"I've got way to much shit and not enough useful junk..." she gripped, before reaching into her bag once more she fished out a pack of cigarettes and her matchbook.

As she lit up the tobacco she took a long puff, not even bothering to remove the cigarette from her mouth she exhaled through her nostrils with a sigh.

"I really need to get my priorities straight..." she groused as she stared cross-eyed down at the burning tobacco between her lips.

Leaning back against her bag she thought about what had happened over the past few weeks, getting shot in the head, being buried alive, Surprisingly becoming a hero in a small backwater town; and not so surprisingly becoming hated by a bunch of trigger happy, no good bastards. But mostly her thoughts went back to the man in the checkered suit; Benny that bastard...She was still surprised that when she had woken up she couldn't remember anything about the man other than his clothes...Benny and his tacky, goody goody, richy rich clothes. She still felt sore about it, hell she felt down right raw about it! She had trusted that no good bastard, and look where it got her; in a shallow grave with a bullet in her head.

She scoffed at that, at least Benny had always been a shitty shot, couldn't even shoot her in the head right when he was just a stones throw away and she was tied tighter than a slave girl off to market.

When she found that slimy son-of-a-bitch he was going to get what coming to him, and she was going to show him how to put a proper hole in someone's head.

With a grunt she realized that she had rested less than she wanted but more than she knew she should have. On that less than satisfying note she stomped out the cigarette butt on the ground.

Casting a glance down at her Pip-boy she chewed on her lower lip and then looked up to the surrounding landscape. At least she was almost to Novac, which was good as the sun was beginning to hang low in the sky...yep defiantly too much time loafing a 'bout...

Vivian entered the large rocky gully just as the sun was just disappearing behind the horizon; if only her damn legs would move faster.

A sudden loud BANG off in the distance caused her to jump in surprise; and she quickly chalked it up to some old prospector fending off hungry coyotes or other nighttime scavenger.

Moving deeper into the chasm she was almost positive; as the sound of more and more gunshots echoed off the canyon-side as well as a few yips and growls from some kind of critter.

It sounded like a pretty big scuffle and she decided she'd like an eagles eye view of the situation around the next bend. There was no way she was dealing with anymore of those vulture dogs. Even if she did, her weapon wasn't exactly at the top of pack at the moment; though she wasn't above resorting to rock throwing or bare-fisted brawls, she rather not resort to that...

Scrambling up a narrow path on the canyon side with less grace than she cared to admit, she sunk to her belly and began to crawl towards the ledge up ahead.

Well...she was somewhat right; there was quite a skirmish going on below and there where animals of the canine sort involved. However these men certainly weren't prospectors and those certainly weren't coyotes...Even in the waning light of the quickly approaching night, Vivian could see the warring figures plain as day. Though she guessed that anyone could, as it was hard to miss these kind of men.

Below her, a group of Legionaries and their mangey mutts were taking on a group of NCR soldiers; and it was fairly obvious that Legion was winning.

The Courier watched as the soldiers were quickly picked off; she had to hand it to Caesar, his men were rough...She liked rough men; the only problem was those rough Legion men were a bunch of assholes.

Assholes or not she certainly wasn't going to scuffle with them; after all that man back in Nipton had been oh so nice to spare her from his lovely little killing party. Besides as much as she hated to admit it Legion left some nice pocket change around when they were done killing off NCRs. They never looted anything from their kills; their loss was her gain.

She managed to make her haphazard descent down the rock slope look somewhat more civilized than she had on her way up...still the Legion recruits eyed her suspiciously as she approached them.

"Woah there tiger, I've got no quarrel with you." she said smoothly, as she eyed one of the recruits; his hand tensing on his throwing spear. "Just scavenging...these poor SOB's usually have equipment that is worth salvaging." she added nudging one of the dead bodies at her feet with her boot.

The men looked at one another, murmuring in hushed voices as she crouched down and began gingerly searching the dead NCRs.

"Yeah, yeah, I know profligate and all that jazz; your lovely boss-man already gave me that pep-talk." she said over her shoulder, though she could hardly see why she'd be one...she was resourceful enough living off the land when she had too and all that fun stuff...maybe it was her tongue that got her into trouble; most likely...

She knew they were all giving her hard looks behind her back as she continued her dirty work.

Finally after a few moments which seemed to last an eternity, she heard the men beginning to walk away. Releasing a relieved breath, she was glad that they were finally wandering off...those men had a way about them that made her feel so goddamn uncomfortable sometimes.

Quickly finishing up her item grabbing she stuffed her newly acquired goods in her bag and began to move with more vigor towards the little nowhere town she could see just around the bend.

Twenty minutes later or so she guessed, she had reached Novac; the town of course for the most part was empty, hell it was dark out. She passed a poorly constructed Brahmin pen with a rotting Brahmin corpse stinking to high heaven; she wrinkled her nose and walked a little bit faster.

A flashing neon sign had caught her attention and when she was finally able make out the words it made her chuckle as she approached. Novac-no vacancy...

They better have vacancy...was all she could think.

She was pleased to find that they did as the old woman behind the check-in counter smiled at her sweetly and handed her a room key. Though the caps were a little more than she would have liked to spend, she was pleased none the less to have a safe place to stay for the night.

Giving the old lady and nod and salute, she sauntered off in search of her room.

She had little doubt as she climbed the rickety old stairs to the second floor the rundown old motel complex that she would be out like a light as soon as she hit that mattress.