This is the second of my Strider one-shots. I will probably write more and they will most certainly not be in chronological order.

Disclaimer: I own no rights to anything Fallout related.

Death Is an Old Friend of Mine

Strider stood in the airlock as Sarah cycled it. His Pip-Boy's Geiger counter blared as the door in front of him opened, but Strider didn't care. Next to the control panel stood a figure that Strider had never met, but he knew it all the same. The figure beckoned to him. Strider smiled and began reciting his mother's favorite passage as he walked to the control panel and input the code to activate the purifier.

As the purifier came to life, the radiation surged and Strider collapsed. Just before he slipped into the darkness, he felt Death's hand on his shoulder. "What took you so long?" Strider muttered, allowing himself to drift away.

Strider ran through the door and surveyed the area. There was a helipad, but it was empty. He could see no other escape routes. "Nowhere to run," he whispered, looking to the sky, where the Enclave's missiles would soon come into view as they descended upon him.

"Nowhere to run," agreed Death, standing beside him. Strider looked into the face of Death and smiled. He was ready.

The sound of propellers reached Strider's ears and he turned, preparing to blow the vertibird out of the sky. But as he moved to bring his tesla cannon to bear, he noticed the Brotherhood of Steel mark on the side. He turned to face Death, but saw that it had left him behind once again. Strider's heart sank until he heard the voice of an angel telling him to get his ass on the vertibird. Strider smiled. Maybe I do still have something worth living for.

"You wanted to see us, Elder?" Scribe Rothchild asked as he and Sentinel Lyons entered Elder's office.

"Yes," Elder replied, getting up slowly from his chair. His daughter moved to help him but he waved her off. "I'm not so helpless I need help standing up, Catherine."

"I'm sorry, father."

Elder chuckled. "Forget it. I'm just being crotchety. That's all I am now, a crotchety, old man."

"That's not all you are, Elder," Rothchild cut in. "You're a hero, not to mention our leader."

"I haven't been a hero in over 50 years, and as of this moment, you can stop calling me Elder."

"What do you mean?" asked Catherine.

"I mean that effective immediately, you are now Elder Catherine Lyons."

Catherine's eyes went wide. "I can't be elder," she protested. "I'm not ready."

"You're more ready than I was when your grandfather passed the position to me." Strider walked up to his daughter and placed a hand on her shoulder. "You will make a far better elder than I ever did."

After a moment of staring at her father, Catherine sighed. "Very well, father. I will be elder." Strider smiled warmly. "You'll help me though, won't you?" At this, his smile faded.

"I'm afraid not, Catherine. You see, I have one last adventure to go on. Rothchild will help you if you need it." Catherine nodded. "Now go." Strider gestured toward the door. The new Elder Lyons left, but Rothchild remained.

"What is this adventure you spoke of, Elder?"

"It's not Elder anymore," Strider responded, turning to his bed. "It's Strider. And to answer your question, I'm going to see an old friend." He looked over his shoulder at Rothchild. "You will help her, won't you?"

Rothchild nodded. "As my father helped you, I will help her."

"Thank you." Strider turned back to his bed as Rothchild left. When he heard the door close, Strider walked slowly to his bed. He pulled the sheets back and carefully laid himself down, letting out a groan as he did so. "Damn, it feels like ages since I just lied down."

"I'd say you've earned a rest," Death said, sitting next to the bed.

Strider smiled up at Death. "Hello, old friend."

"Are you ready?" Death asked. Strider nodded. "Then come. They're waiting for you." Death placed its hand on Strider's shoulder and he felt himself being lifted up off the bed and into light. He was surrounded by light. Ahead of him, he saw Sarah smiling at him. Then she was joined by his parents. Then Amata was standing with them, as well. One by one, people came into view, all of them smiling, glad to welcome him. Cross, Fawkes, Three Dog, Dogmeat, the original Elder Lyons and Rothchild, the Lyons Pride, Butch, Jonas, Moira Brown and Lucas Simms, and hundreds of others gathered before him. Strider looked back only once and wished his daughter good fortune before walking into the arms of his angel.

"Welcome home, Malcolm."