Pre-story A/N: If I owned Fallout...I don't know. Shit would probably be different. The point is I don't. The title comes from a 36 Crazyfists song. Credit where credit is due, right? Oh, and I hate the summary I have stuck on this thing. Literally took me half an hour to come up with. It's pathetic. I don't rightly know what I'm going to do differently from any other Fallout 3 novelization (I hate that term). Maybe good grammar and realism. Those are pretty rare in any fanfic. One thing I do know is that, like all my stories, it will do its best to earn its M rating. So, you know, be prepared for that. On with the show!

"You could come with me," it was more than just an offer. It was more than just a request. It was an attempt to hold onto one familiar thing when I went into the world outside the Vault. It was probably horribly obvious that I was terrified to go. I don't think I could rightly be blamed; neither of us knew what lay beyond that door.

For the entirety of our lives, Amata and I had been best friends. She was the one who helped organize and set up my tenth birthday party and I was the one who stuck up for her when Butch and his friends decided to pick on her, though that hadn't happened as much since it had actually come to blows before our GOAT exam. It was the hardest fight of my life, but despite it being three against one they were still the ones who ended up in my father's clinic a few hours later after pain had overridden pride.

That night was also the first time Amata and I had ever had sex. We managed to find some assorted liquors and get ourselves drunk to celebrate the fact that we had both evaded the bullet of being a garbage burner. Most of the night ended up being a blur, but neither of us forgot how we ended up naked and tangled in my bed. I also never figured out exactly where my father was or what he was doing that night since he never answered that question with anything but a knowing smile.

Amata was the one to warn me about her father's men coming to find me after my father left the Vault. I appreciated the thought, especially knowing what might happen to her if her father found out. There was something cold about the Overseer; something that told me he would put what he considered to be his duty before his only family. My fears were confirmed when I found her being interrogated by him and one of his favourite security guards, Steve Mack.

When I saw Mack throw that first punch across Amata's face, something inside of me snapped. There was no warning besides the sound of the door sliding open before a ten millimetre round slammed into the back of his skull. His blood exploded on the wall in a bright red spatter that looked vaguely like a spider. I didn't realize how much of the moment I noticed until later when the sinking feeling of realization that I had just murdered another human being sunk in. Up until that point I had avoided the security guards or, at the worst, knocked them out with a stolen baton. My first kill left a bad taste in my mouth and an empty, sick feeling in my stomach.

Amata ran out of the room behind me, leaving me with my gun trained on the Overseer for a few moments before I ran, too. His lips moved, but whatever he had to say was drowned out by the blood hammering in my ears. I caught up with my childhood friend, made sure she was okay, and then just as quickly bolted for the Overseer's office. I couldn't bear to look her in the eye once I'd realized what I had just done.

For a brief moment Amata actually looked like she was going to say yes. For a brief moment it looked like there might be something good to come out of all of this after all. "I can't," she sounded regretful when she finally spoke. "I want to – I honestly do – but my place is here. If anyone can talk some sense into my father and get him to calm down, it's probably me."

Despite the burning feeling of bile rising in my throat, I nodded. "Yeah, you're right," I conceded. "Someone needs to stay here and make sure things don't get any worse." I tried in vain to swallow the taste of disappointment back down.

I heard muffled voices on the other side of the locked door next to us and knew that several of the Vault's security guards were about make an appearance. I chanced the extra moment it took to wrap my arms around Amata in a hug, something she returned twice as tightly. "Good luck," she wished with a quick kiss on my cheek.

"You, too," I replied hastily before turning and running for the exit. I had just passed through the giant circular hole of the Vault entrance when I heard the door behind me open up. A pair of shots rang out in the air, though judging by the way they harmlessly impacted on the rock around me I assumed they were simply a warning.

I turned around in time so see Amata staring after me with a look of sadness and regret before the Vault door slid back into place with a near-deafening screech of metal on metal. I actually flinched at the heat of the handle on the old, worn door at the far end of the cave. After a deep breath in a fruitless attempt to calm my screaming nerves, I turned the handle and stepped into the light of the unknown.

A/N: So this is something I've had kicking around on my computer for a while and I just never got around to continuing or posting. What can I say? Working on The Line Begins to Blur has gotten my flair for writing back on track. This is probably the shortest thing I've ever written, but I just found it needlessly tedious to try and get into a real first chapter of growing up in the Vault and fighting through bugs to the door. I tried it and it was stupidly boring, so I came up with this brief prologue instead. I have a very vague idea of where I want this to go (emphasis on vague). As we get along, if you'd like to contribute ideas, I'm open to them. Otherwise, reviews are always appreciated. Does that sound like begging? I don't like to beg. It isn't begging.