Sorry this took so long, readers. I was in a bit of a slump. I sorta like this girl… A lot… We've been in the same exact classes for two years, and then I don't get ANY with her. So yeah. Too sad to write.

Then, about a week ago, I said hi to her when I was running. I feel like a million dollars. I feel amazing just thinking about it. If I start to sing, slap me.

Also, that's got my muse going! So, after writing the beginnings of a Half Life fic in only two hours, I decided to start writing this again! So, thank her, I guess, for randomly coming out of a door just as I was running past it, I guess.

First is first, so, disclaimer!


Thomas found himself walking on a road. It was night. He didn't know why he was walking. Suddenly, a solitary figure in the distance caught his eye. He called out to the figure, his only reply being the echo of his own voice. He walked faster. Who was this person? Why were they walking towards him? How—

Thomas awoke from his dream. Greeting him was the night sky, an asleep Billy Creel sitting across a dead campfire, and a tremendous pain in his left shoulder. He grunted as he sat up, wondering what his father would do. A figurative lightbulb went off over his head. He got up, trying to ignore the sharp protest from his shoulder, and looked around the camp. He found what he was looking for and sat down. A stimpack. He remembered reading something about how stimpacks, while containing a weaker version of morphine, also had a mix of medicines that accelerated the body's rate of healing dramaticly. The "super" stimpacks also use some fancy nanobot technology, although there were wounds that even the super stimpacks couldn't heal. Pushing aside the nerd thoughts, Thomas jabbed the needle into his arm, instantly replacing the sharp pain with a dull one.

Wait, wouldn't it take a while for the meds to kick in? Must be a form of the placebo effect. Maybe he could trick his brain into thinking he was Superman! Wait, no, Batman! Superman is a cheater. Like Butch. Or was his name Bush? I forget...

Ah, the morphine was kicking in. Suddenly feeling very sleepy, Thomas laid down on the hard ground and fell asleep almost instantly, the medicine practically repairing his body while he dreamed of long roads and deathclaw/mole rats.

In what seemed to only be a few seconds, Thomas found himself awake again. After trying to go back to sleep, he got up and looked at his Pip Boy.

"6:47." He said aloud. He flipped through the different screens in the Pip Boy, a habit developed from long days in the Vault, when the class was being rowdy and Stanley had to take over for Mr. Brotch, who got sick more often than one would think in a Vault. Ah, good times. Or was that the nostalgia talking? Yeah, probably nostalgia. He looked at his shoulder. The wound looked… Better. Only a dull ache remained. After taking a moment to thank both 200 year old medicine and God, he got up.

His dad had left the Vault, what, 5-6 days ago? Well, he hadn't gotten his head blown off (yet). His Father could probably say the same. Not wanting to wait until Dad proved him wrong, Thomas walked over to Billy's sleeping form, and woke him up. After a bit of last minute scavenging that produced a few stimpacks, they were off.

After a few hours walk, the two had reached what was formally the Pentagon, now named the "Citadel". Considering that it wasn't miles tall and the Headquarters of some oppressive alien régime, Thomas was a bit relieved when Billy pointed it out. To the right, Thomas could make out the Jefferson Memorial.

"So, this is where the 'Brothers of Metal' are?"

Billy shot him a look. "Brotherhood of Steel. Apparently, they helped your Dad with getting to that Vault 20 years ago, so be thankful."

"What do they look like?"

"They wear Power Armor and use energy weapons like laser rifles. They have an abundance of pre war tech. To top it all off, they originated from the remains of the army or something. Skilled as hell. Four words: Don't. Fuck. With. Them."

"Huh. I just assumed they were just another Church of the Atom that worshiped metal."

Billy stopped and looked over in the direction of the memorial. "Look, kid, can you just take the metro all the way to Chevy Chase for me?"


Billy nodded. "I've got to make arrangements for our stay in Rivet City, unless you want to sleep on the ground again after getting back from GNR."

Thomas thought for a moment. He had GNR marked on his map. He had to head North, and he would be there. "Wait, where is Rivet City?" Thomas asked, putting down two markers on his map for the Citadel and Jefferson Memorial.

Billy pointed out a spot to him on his map, which Thomas labeled "Rivet City".

They then said goodbye and headed in opposite directions.

An hour later, at noon, Billy arrived at Rivet City. The first place he headed was the hotel. Within minutes he had gotten a room. Figuring he had time to spare, he went down to the Muddy Rudder to get a nuka cola and chat it up with any caravaners that happened to be passing through. When he walked in, he was greeted with the smell of alcohol and a small grunt that might have been "Hi" from the bouncer. Not many people were in the bar at this time of day, and it was almost erriely quiet. He sat down and ordered a nuka cola, hoping that it would stay that quiet.

Meanwhile, Thomas was at the gate of the Citadel, talking to the guard and the robot next to him.

"So, why is that robot there?"

"Why do you think?"

"I dunno. That's why I'm asking you."

"*sigh* The Sentry Bot is there to blast anyone who thinks he could take us on."

"Then why do you have those guys over there with the rocket launchers?"


"Or those snipers on the roof?"


"Or that big lazer hose strapped to your back?"

The guard was getting annoyed. "Have you ever seen a Super Mutant before, kid?"

"No. Sounds scary. Are there a lot of them?"

Just then, the gate opened, and another Power Armor clad person came out. "Shift's over. Back inside Glade."

Glade nodded, said a quick thanks and walked into the gate, which closed behind him.

Thomas asked the new guard what a Super Mutant was.

Even through the mask, Thomas could hear the man's disbelief. "You haven't killed a Frankenstein yet?"

"No. I did kill a Deathclaw though. Are Super Mutants like Deathclaws?"

The man was silent for a moment. "…Let me get this straight: You have killed a Deathclaw, something that could kill 30 of our men easy, and yet you haven't even seen any Super Mutants, which this city is literally infested with. Is that correct?" A nod.

"How'd you kill it?"

"Blew up a car, caused a domino like explosion."

The guard's tone changed ever so slightly. Admiration, maybe? "Wow. For someone who has never even seen a Super Mutant… Even I'm impressed. You wanna know how to kill mutants? Keep thinking like that. A word of advice: A weapon is not a weapon. It is a tool. The mind is the thing that turns it into a weapon. The mind is a weapon, and the most powerful one out there. The mind can turn anything into a weapon. Anyone who says otherwise will die quickly. Understand?"

Thomas nodded.

"Good. Go defuse another bomb or something."

Thomas turned around and started to walk when something hit him. "How—

"Ever listen to the radio? Defusing a nuke isn't the most discreet of things. Now get going. Wasting time can be deadly. Wasting mine can be worse."

Thomas nodded and set off, thinking about the guard's words. It only occurred to him half an hour later that he never got the guard's name. He shrugged and moved on.

Billy, 5 hours later was still at the bar. 5 hours worth of empty cola bottles were next to him. The bar was beginning to become crowded, and it wasn't even sundown. He reckoned that if he had not had so much caffeine, he would have had a splitting headache by now. In the dim light, he made out a figure entering and sitting next to him, a middle aged man, wearing a RobCo jumpsuit.

"Hey, man," Billy greeted. "You new around these parts? I've never seen you before."

The man shrugged. "You could say that. I haven't set foot on this ship for years…"

"Then why are you back here?"

The man seemed to ponder something for a moment. "Have you ever heard of a Dr. Li, Mr…"

"Creel, Billy Creel." Billy and the man shook hands. "And, last I heard, there was a Doctor Li around here. Maybe around the front of the ship?"

"Thanks," said the man, who started to rise. Billy stopped him. "Whoa, why are you leaving so soon?"

"I have some business I need to take care of. I've waited too long."

Billy raised an eyebrow. "Business? I hope you don't mean to hurt anybody."

The man shook his head. "No. Actually, on the contrary. I'm working on something that could help everybody. I cannot do it alone, however. Dr. Li was an old collogue of mine."

"Are you a scientist, Mr.…?"

"James. Call me James. And yes, I am."

"You don't get too many of those folk around here. Did you hear how Megaton's nuke was difused?"

That piqued James' interest. "No. Who did it?"

"Someone from the Vault nearby. 101 I think." James' eyes widened.

"That's… That is impossible…" James looked as if someone had just told him that he was actually Jesus, or something like that. "What was this Vault Dweller like?"

"Blonde hair, hazel eyes, a bit naive at times, but a good kid. I think he is 18 or so. Smart, willing to help. Was looking for his dad."

"What was his name?"

"Thomas, I think." At that, James uttered a curse, barely heard over the loud, drunken voices of other patrons.

"I thought I told him to stay… To not follow me."

"You're his father, I take it." Billy looked back that the man's jumpsuit, realizing that, no, it wasn't a Robco. It was a Vault Jumpsuit.

"Yes. Mr. Creel, do you know where he is now?"

"Why yes. He's heading towards GNR, looking for you." James frowned at the prospect of his son going deeper into the city. "Hey, I've seen the kid fight. He can take care of himself."

"Ever seen him kill a Super Mutant?" James muttered.

"No. I don't even think he even has a clue of what they are." James' frown deepened. "However, he did take on a group of mercs like they were nothing." Sure, Billy was sugar coating it a bit, to assure James that his son would be ok. Then he remembered something.

"Oh yeah! He also killed a Deathclaw."

The entire bar became silent.

"Who killed a Deathclaw?" a patron asked.

James stared down in disbelief. "My son, who hasn't been out of the Vault for a week, has killed a Deathclaw."

"Yep. Saw it myself. Don't worry, your son will be fine."

"I'll say!" someone yelled. "He killed a Deathclaw! I'll bet he's the same one who saved Megaton!" The rest of the bar murmured their agreements.

Everyone suddenly wanted to buy "that Deathclaw killing, bomb defusing" kid's father a drink, to which he politely declined, instead asking where Li was. After finding out, he got up and shook Billy's hand. "It's been nice talking to you Mr. Creel. I hope to see you again."

"Same here, doc."

"Can you do one thing for me though? When you see my son again, please tell him to go to Megaton and stay there. Can you do that for me?"


"Thank you."

Thomas looked back at his Pip Boy. He was almost at Farragut Metro Station, according to some signs. It was there he would get into the tunnels and take them all the way to Chevy Chase, which was very near GNR.

He found it after a couple more minutes of walking and marked it on his map. Staring closer at his map, he realized something. He only had to swim across the Potomac and head East from Megaton, and he would have been here! Deciding that Billy must have had a good reason for not doing so, Thomas walked into the Metro, feeling apprehensive about finding his Father, and finding out why he had left. Oh, and the telling him that he killed a Deathclaw.

And it's finished! Wow, this is my first chapter over 2000 words! I was just going to write 1000 and be done with it, but once I started writing, I couldn't stop. Only took me a few hours to write this. I'm getting better!

Once again, sorry for the delay. I will not let that happen again! I'm going to have to make myself write a chapter every 2 weeks or something. Some regularity would be nice, you know?

Why did I put that I don't own Half Life in the disclaimer? Well, you've clearly never played the second one, then.

Oh, and sorry if there's a few errors. My beta was unable to betaread this chapter. She's still done more than enough for this story already though. Many thanks to her.

Also, thank you to everyone who takes the 5 seconds to review. You have no idea how much that helps. So, thank you Sonatore, CommandoCucumber, AKDyadyaVasya, .here, and thomasquwack! Whether it was pointing out my shortcomings or laughing at Butch being, well, Butch, you have all helped. Thank you all.

(Wow, aren't A/N's supposed to be short?)