"Does that make me an asshole?" John asked Nova, sitting across from him at the bar in Moriarty's. He had just finished relaying the story of what had went down at the end of the raid on Evergreen Mills. At the opposite end of the bar Charon quietly spoke with Gob, but aside from them, the bar was empty. Fawkes had left to scout the area around Vault 87. The three had already decided that the destruction of Evergreen Mills should buy them enough time to attack the super-mutants where they lived and destroy their means of reproducing. He had no intention of including the Brotherhood in the operation after the incident that occurred after he had cleared the raiders out of Evergreen Mills.
"Yeah, maybe a bit of one. It's not like it was her fault that her dad sent down more people without telling you," Nova replied in between taking drags on her cigarette. She had become John's main person to talk to when he had a question about women. With most people he wouldn't even talk about his personal life; not wanting people to see behind the façade that his Lone Wanderer personality created. He felt at home in Megaton, though. He liked the people, and too many of them had known him before his legend took off to fool them into thinking he was a machine. Here, with Nova and Lucas and the others, he could let his guard down and just be John again. It was a welcome respite from what he had to do everywhere else he went. It had occurred to him that even Sarah had never really seen him as John; almost all of her interactions with him, aside from the time at Project Purity, had been when he was the Lone Wanderer. Even Amata had been thrown off by the change, the previous December; but she knew him too well to be fooled for long. They had a saying, between the two of them; had used it to describe themselves since they were teenagers: one soul, two bodies. The other half of his soul had immediately seen past the hard exterior he had begun to put up, finding the humanity in him again…
Stop. Thinking. Of. Amata. She betrayed you.
She did what she thought was best for the Vault; no different than what you do out here.
She used you. Took your help, took control of the Vault; took your love one last time and let you think you could come home, and then she threw you back out into this hellhole.
The door of the bar opening distracted John from the argument between his two halves. Fawkes ducked through the doorway, the makeshift leather armor he had forged flecked with blood. The super-mutant had apparently found some sort of a fight.
"What'd you find, Fawkes?" John asked as Fawkes took a seat in the corner of the bar. From behind him John heard Charon walk over to join them.
"My brothers that guard the exterior entrance to Vault 87 are dead, my friend. The area is, however, heavily irradiated; as we suspected. There is no way to enter the Vault from the outside. We will have to go through Little Lamplight, I am afraid," Fawkes reported. John swore under his breath at that. MacCready was not going to be pleased when John showed up asking to come in with one of the monsters that the children feared in tow. All the same, though, it would be much easier to enter Little Lamplight with Charon and Fawkes than trying to convince MacCready to let the rest of the Lyons' Pride in. Fawkes' report strengthened John's determination to go in alone and destroy the Vault. For John, it was pure pragmatism: it'd be easier to gain entry in a small group; for the Lone Wanderer, it was pride and a determination to show the Brotherhood that they needed him more than he needed them. Lose the pride, John. Pride goeth before destruction, he reminded himself.
"Sounds good. Thank you, Fawkes. Let's prepare ourselves to go in and destroy the place in the next day," John responded.
"You still determined to cut the Brotherhood out?" Charon asked from where he stood.
"Yeah," John began. "What good would they do, anyway? MacCready won't let them in and the hallways in the Vault are too cramped for them to move through. It'd just be a bloodbath. Besides, the areas we eventually need to reach are irradiated; only you and Fawkes can get to them without a problem."
"Which areas are those, my friend?" Fawkes asked.
"The Vault's reactor core and the FEV testing area. We need to get the FEV to stop them from being able to convert people; and I want you two to cause the reactor to overload. That should generate a large enough explosion to destroy the Vault."
"Why not just let the FEV burn with the Vault?" Charon asked.
"Don't want to risk anything surviving the explosion," John began. "And I guess on some level I want to have a chance to take a look at the FEV in a clinical setting. Maybe I could figure out a way to reverse engineer the stuff, at least see how it works." Charon nodded back at him.
"You think you have the equipment for that?"
"I know a lab I can use," John responded, smirking. The lab was in orbit, but it was isolated and there was no chance of anyone trying to steal the FEV from him there.
"What about after we destroy the Vault?" Fawkes asked.
"Then the super-mutants' time should be limited. With no way to repopulate, we can hunt them down and destroy them. That's actually something the Brotherhood would be useful doing," John admitted. Fawkes had been right, back at the Citadel before they went into Evergreen Mills. It wasn't entirely wise to disregard the Brotherhood. In a stand up fight where they could maneuver more easily, the Brotherhood would be very effective in combating the super-mutants. Fawkes and Charon nodded in agreement, accepting his plan, as Three-Dog's voice came over the radio at the bar. It had been four days since the raid on Evergreen Mills, and no announcement had yet been made. That had surprised John and his companions. Normally Three-Dog was quick to report the major happenings across the Wasteland.
Hello, Children! It's me, Three-Dog, your master of ceremonies. Seems we've got…a bit of news! Remember how I warned you all about there being a raider camp out by Evergreen Mills? Well, children, Three-Dog can exclusively report that it is no more! That's right, it's gone! How? It seems that our boys from the Brotherhood launched a daring nighttime raid on the facility; led by none other than Sentinel Sarah Lyons herself. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? But wait, kiddies…it gets better. Because one of our favorite people was part of the squad that took the place down! That's right, the Wasteland's own Messiah, that kid from Vault 101, joined up with the Brotherhood to fight the Good Fight! Great job, Lyons. And good decision on joining up, kid. You're an example to everyone else out there. Now, some music.
There was silence as the group in the bar stared at the radio. Nova's face betrayed some surprise, given that she had heard the story firsthand from John; who, for his part, had his jaw locked in anger.
"What. The. Fuck." He said, attempting to control his temper.
"That was…not entirely accurate," Fawkes admitted from where he sat.
"Not accurate?!" John exploded. "They didn't even go in! They babysat the Vertibird!" The realization of what had happened occurred to him as he ranted. "Lyons. That motherfucker. I bet you anything he had that story spoon-fed to Three-Dog."
"Great. Just what we need. You and the Elder in a pissing match," Charon said in his raspy voice. John rounded on Charon, looking up into the ghoul's face.
"This isn't a pissing match. We did the fucking work and that washed up has-been is stealing our fucking glory!"
"There was no glory in Evergreen Mills, my friend. Only a necessary evil," Fawkes responded; ever the voice of reason. John sighed. In reality, what he had done in Evergreen Mills, when he was the Lone Wanderer, was eating at him deeply. Those raiders had surrendered, and he had mercilessly had them executed. It shook him to his core that he could be so callous about human life, regardless of how it had been lived. And who are you to pass judgment? Remember Matthew's words? "Judge not, that you not be judged."
"I know, Fawkes. But it had to be done. Hopefully what we did there will help peace come to the Wasteland." Charon, for his part, opted to not partake in the philosophical debate.
"It's done. Doesn't matter now. Now what about destroying Vault 87?" he asked. John looked at the time on his Pip-Boy. It was early afternoon. He wasn't so intoxicated that he couldn't operate; and they had been resting for several days. It made sense to move on 87 as soon as possible.
"Fawkes, do you have the energy to go back in tonight?" John asked. Fawkes nodded confirmation.
"Of course, my friend. I will do as you command." John sighed at Fawkes' response.
"Fawkes, I'm not your master. I'm your friend. Did your recon of the Vault tire you out too much to go back tonight?" he repeated.
"I have enough energy to see it done, John. And perhaps I will find some peace in the destruction of that place," Fawkes responded. John nodded back at him.
"Ok, then. Tonight. Let's get our stuff together and head to Little Lamplight," he replied, turning back to Gob and Nova. "You two have a good day. See you tomorrow," he said, smiling at them. Nova rolled her eyes at him.
"Right. Just don't go getting killed, the three of you," she responded, putting her cigarette out in the ashtray as she did. John placed a handful of caps on the counter; more than enough to cover his drinks and leave Gob with some spare ones to tuck away. John had found out that Moriarty was hoarding Nova and Gob's pay, and had start discretely sliding them money so they could save up and eventually have enough to survive if they made a break for it. With a last nod at his friends, he made for the door. Stepping out of the bar and into the heat of the day, John Thompson went away. In his place the Lone Wanderer came out.
Sarah sat across from her father in his private quarters, a hint of tension palpable in the air. It had been four days since Evergreen Mills, four days since her father had sent in a squad of Brotherhood troops without telling her or the Wanderer about it; further damaging the fragile relationship they had with the young man from Vault 101. Sarah's position in the matter only complicated things. By now most of the Brotherhood, her father included, had heard about the Wanderer kissing her in Project Purity. She had become, by default if nothing else, the Brotherhood's strongest link; their greatest asset in keeping the Wanderer on their side. That was what had brought her to her father's office, she knew; to discuss how to assuage the young man's anger about being caught off guard in Evergreen Mills. Her father, Scribe Rothchild; all the Brotherhood had reacted with shock when they heard of the brutality with which the Wanderer had disposed of the raiders that night. Gallows had gone back in, the day after the raid, to do an independent analysis of the battlefield. He had found indications that there had been a massive cave complex underneath the foundry; it's collapsed remains forming a sinkhole in the complex. The way that the entire complex had been brought down with the high explosives indicated that the Wanderer had an almost absurd grasp of engineering and demolitions.
"So what do you want me to do, dad?" she asked. They had discussed her thoughts on the raid; what the meaning of the Wanderer wearing Enclave armor was, his reaction the extra men the Elder had sent in. Sarah and the Elder had had a very in-depth discussion about that little surprise. The Elder's explanation had surprised her greatly. He talked at great length, with something that resembled passion, about how he had seen a man like the Wanderer before. That one had been back in California, before Sarah had been born; the similarities between the man they had called the Chosen One and the Wanderer were almost eerie. Elder Lyons had gone on to explain that the Chosen One, a man whose birth name was Yudhajit, had become the Elder of his village after he had destroyed the Enclave's oil rig and stopped them from releasing their airborne strain of the FEV into the atmosphere. Things had started off well; he and his wife, Miria, leading his former tribesmen and their cousins from Vault 13 in rebuilding Arroyo with the assistance of the G.E.C.K. But as the years passed, he grew bored with peace, restlessness taking his focus away until finally, and quite suddenly, he laid down the mantle of power and disappeared into the Wastes with his wife and their child; not to be heard from again. The Elder had explained to Sarah that his intent wasn't to crush the Wanderer, or to take away who he was at his core; it was to provide the young man focus so that the entire Wasteland could benefit from his abilities, in the way Arroyo had not had a chance to benefit from the Chosen One's for very long. The explanation had taken Sarah aback, and had led to her viewing the situation in a new light. It had cooled some of the anger she had felt at her father in the days since the raid.
"Go to Megaton and speak to the young man. He'll listen to you more than any of the rest of us. See if you can't get him to come back in and sit down with Reginald and myself so that we can put the business of Evergreen Mills behind us and move on with what is necessary for the Wasteland." Sarah nodded at her father, a slight smile crossing her face.
"Mind if I take Colvin with me? He and John like each other, they're both Christians." A kindly smile formed on the Elder's face as he looked with pride at his daughter.
"Whatever you think is necessary, Sarah. I leave the decision to you," he replied. The two sat quietly together, talking about the future of the Wasteland, until they were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Enter," the Elder softly commanded. The door opened and Scribe Rothchild entered the room, smiling at Sarah before pulling up a free chair and sitting alongside her.
"Excuse the interruption Elder, Sentinel," he began, making his apologies. "I just received a report from our people at Project Purity that I thought you should know about." A look of interest crossed the Elder's face.
"And what is that, Reginald?"
"Some of the Scribes were doing work in the sub-basements of the building and came across a room we hadn't gone through before. They found two body bags with human remains in them," he began; a look of horrible realization forming on Sarah's face. She knew where this one was going.
"It's his dad, isn't it?" she asked. Rothchild looked at her before nodding.
"The bodies are badly decomposed at this point; but yes, the remains would appear to be those of James and the woman that died there, Janice Kaplinski. We'd have to get a sample of DNA from the Wanderer to confirm that it is indeed James, but the anatomical analysis of the skeleton appears to indicate it is James." The Elder nodded solemnly before looking at Sarah, who met his gaze.
"I'm going to leave for Megaton now, then," she began, rising from her seat. "He deserves to know." The Elder nodded at her.
"Very well, Sarah. Steel be with you."
"And with you, father," she replied, before leaving the room. She made her way to the Den quickly, feeling an added sense of urgency after the news Rothchild had delivered. She found Colvin there and, explaining the situation to him, quickly armed and armored themselves before setting off for Megaton, ready to be the bearers of bad news.
"Why the fuck should I let your friends in, mungo?" MacCready called down from his post at the top of the gate the entered into Little Lamplight. The Wanderer sighed in frustration. He had expected MacCready to be a pain in the ass.
"God dammit, MacCready, I told you. We need to get into the Vault so we can destroy it for good. If we take it out, you won't have any more problems with the monsters again," he explained through gritted teeth. The Wanderer was arrayed in his Hellfire armor, the helmet carried under his arm as he argued with the mayor of Little Lamplight.
"I guess. But if either of them tries a fuckin' thing, we'll shoot both their freak asses," the foul-mouthed 12 year old called down. The gate swung open as MacCready came down to meet them.
"God, I can't wait till you turn 16, MacCready. I cannot fucking wait for you to have to go to Big Town. The Wasteland is going to tear your smart little ass up. And if the Wasteland doesn't, Red will," the Wanderer replied as he and his companions entered Little Lamplight; placing the helmet of his power armor on before MacCready could respond. Ignoring the boy completely, the three men made their way to the secondary entrance to Vault 87 that the Wanderer had managed to hack open during his first visit, several months earlier when he was searching for a G.E.C.K. The Wanderer looked to his two companions before reiterating the plan.
"Fawkes, you still willing to take the lead?"
"Of course. My memory of the lay out is still adequate."
"Do you remember the irradiated areas?"
"Yes, my friend. I will warn you when we approach them."
"Good. I didn't take any Rad-X and I'm not in the mood to turn into a ghoul today. No offense, Charon," he added on as an afterthought.
"None taken," Charon replied, snickering. Without another word the three men entered the Vault, Fawkes sweeping the area with his Gatling laser, ready to lay low any of his kin that awaited them. They moved silently through the Vault, the sound of voices in the distance causing them to pause. They listened for a moment, the sound of two super-mutants conversing reaching their ears. The Hellfire armor enhanced the Wanderer's hearing; he could make out the two discussing the diminishing supply of the FEV that was in the Vault and their attempts to find more.
"Big round building has more of the green stuff. Just have to find it!" The mutant said to his comrade. Big round building…the Capitol. Shit. Is that why the mutants and Talon Company are fighting a war over the place? Looking back at Charon, the Wanderer nodded. It was easier for the two of them to sneak up on a foe than it was for Fawkes, and if they could kill the mutants without receiving any return fire, so much the better. The two made their way in a crouch to the point that they had a clear shot on the two mutants, staying hidden in the shadows the entire time. Wordlessly, the two men each trained their weapons on a mutant; the Wanderer his plasma rifle, Charon, the Terrible combat shotgun he had gotten at Evergreen Mills. Simultaneously, the two fired. The Wanderer jumped as he did; the report of Charon's shotgun much louder than a regular combat shotgun. Both mutants were killed outright; the plasma from the Wanderer's rifle burrowing a hole in the chest of his target. The head of the mutant that Charon targeted was not so much ruined as it was obliterated, splattering the far wall with skull fragments, blood, and brain matter. Charon jumped in shock at the power of his weapon, the two men looking at each other as Fawkes approached them.
"What the fuck was that, Charon?" the Wanderer whispered urgently. The ghoul shrugged.
"I don't know! I wasn't expecting it to do that!" he whispered back.
"Did you not test it before we came?!"
"Not on anything that was alive!" Charon fired back. Fawkes interrupted their conversation before it could go further.
"My friends. Perhaps we should focus on the task at hand. Let us move to the laboratory first. From there, I can recover the FEV and give it to you, John." The Wanderer and Charon nodded their agreement, rising to their feet and making their way through the Vault to the labs, following Fawkes' lead. They met surprisingly little resistance; the Wanderer realizing that it must mean that a greater than normal number of the mutants were out, taking prisoners or fighting over the Capitol building. That would at least partially disrupt the Wanderer's plan. He had been hoping to catch as many mutants as possible in the Vault when it was destroyed, taking them down with their home.
"It is down this hallway," Fawkes said as they reached the testing area. "I would recommend allowing me to go alone down it. I have not been down here in some time, and I cannot remember if it is irradiated." The Wanderer nodded his consent, Charon staying with him to cover each other as Fawkes made his way down the darkened hallway. As they waited they could hear the sounds of fighting. Flashes of light, the hum of Fawkes' Gatling laser; the screams of dying mutants and centaurs all confirmed that Fawkes was encountering resistance. Just as the Wanderer was about to order Charon to lend his shotgun to Fawkes' efforts, their friend reemerged from the shadows, carrying a small container.
"This is it, my friend," he replied, handing the shatterproof container to the Wanderer. He turned it over in his hand, looking at the vibrant green of the virus inside the container. Without a word he placed it in one of the storage compartments of his armor and nodded to his companions.
"The reactor next, then. That area I remember," he said. Fawkes once again took the lead, violently cutting down the mutants that they came about with his weapon. The Wanderer recognized the path they were following, remembering the room he had waited in while Fawkes had retrieved the G.E.C.K. Charon and Fawkes looked to the Wanderer, waiting for his instructions. He took a knee, his companions following him to the ground; and drew out a small charge with a timer on it, handing it to Fawkes. Separately, he handed a renovated pre-war timer to Charon.
"This is the charge, Fawkes. I've set it with a two hour timer to allow us time to reach a safe distance. It contains a small amount of the fissile material that I took from the bomb in Megaton when I disarmed it. When this timer goes off, the charge will explode and drive the materials in it into the reactor of the Vault with enough force to cause a runaway reaction. The result will be a low-yield nuclear explosion that will destroy the Vault and most everything in it." Fawkes nodded, understanding the principle, if not the details behind it. "This is how you arm it," he continued, showing Fawkes where to press to begin the timer. "Charon, when Fawkes presses that button, I want you to start the countdown with your timer. We need to be clear of the Vault before it goes off."
"What about those little shits in Little Lamplight?" Charon asked.
"The blast shouldn't be large enough to destroy the caverns, if I did my math right," the Wanderer replied. "Should be enough to scare the hell out of them, though," he continued, his laughter coming through the voice box of his armor. Charon seemed to approve of that as well. "Any questions about what to do?"
"Place the charge, start the timer, and run like hell," Charon reiterated, drawing laughter from the group.
"Ok, guys. Go do it and let's go home." Fawkes and Charon nodded at him before setting off into the darkened corridor that led to Vault 87's reactor.
Sarah opened the door to Moriarty's and stepped into the shade of the bar, the evening sun outlining her in the doorway. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting. Colvin followed her in, the door gently closing behind him. Besides some very dim lights run by a generator, the only light was a ray of sunshine that shown through where a fan had been built in above the door. An older man with a rifle slung across his back sat at the bar, a ghoul standing across from him; refilling his glass with what appeared to be whiskey. To the side of the bar a young, redheaded woman sat, talking with a petite blonde that Sarah estimated was several years younger than she. All eyes turned to the newcomers as they walked in; appraising them with various levels of disregard.
"Welcome to Moriarty's," Gob said, finally breaking the silence. "What can I do for ya'?" Sarah nodded in greeting as she stepped to the bar.
"I'm Sentinel Sarah Lyons, Brotherhood of Steel. This," she said, gesturing to Colvin, "is Knight-Captain Colvin. We're looking for John Thompson. Anyone know where he is?" Gob and Nova shared an uncomfortable glance at that.
"What'd you need with John?" Nova asked, not ready to betray her friend's secrets.
"It's personal," Sarah replied. "We have some news that he deserves to know." Nova glanced around, uncomfortably.
"Well, he left. Him and his friends, earlier today. I don't know when they're coming back," she replied.
"Did he say where to?" Sarah pressed, her curiosity combining with her need to know intelligence that could be important to the Brotherhood. The redhead shifted uncomfortably again, looking back to Gob, who spoke.
"They said something about Vault 87. It sounded like they were going to try to destroy it," the ghoul replied, his voice practically a sigh. Sarah and Colvin shared a shocked look at that.
"Destroy Vault 87? Alone?" She replied, still stunned.
"Well, not entirely alone. Charon and Fawkes were with him," Gob replied. That was the breaking point of Sarah's temper. She stormed out of the bar without another word, waiting for Colvin to join her on the balcony before she began ranting.
"What the fuck is wrong with him?! He didn't even bother to tell us he was going in!" she began, her anger building to a crescendo.
"He said before Evergreen Mills that he thought Vault 87 would be best handled by him alone," Colvin replied, his voice the model of calmness. "He is doing what he feels is his job, so we can do ours. You shouldn't let your anger conquer you like that, Sarah," he gently reminded. Her teeth began to grind in her frustration before she finally relented.
"Fine. Whatever you say. I guess we just get to sit here with our thumbs up our asses while we wait for him to show up," she replied.
Fawkes and Charon emerged from the darkness of the passageway and back into the room the Wanderer waited in, their urgency obvious in their steps.
"We should go, now," Charon rasped out, not waiting for a response from the Wanderer before setting a course for the exit to Little Lamplight. The Wanderer fell in behind him, struggling to keep pace with the much taller ghoul's pace.
"What's wrong, Charon?"
"You ever been near a nuclear explosion?" he asked, the Wanderer shaking his head in response. "Didn't think so. I have. Bad memories. Let's just get away from here," he continued. The Wanderer couldn't argue with that, and they made their way quickly to the exit, Charon's shotgun cutting down another four super-mutants without any hesitation. The group exited into Little Lamplight, and without hesitation immediately began jogging toward the exit to the outside world. MacCready stood near the gate, beginning to speak before Charon cut him off.
"Shut up and move, kid," he rasped, running passed MacCready and out the wooden door as the mayor of Little Lamplight looked on in shock.
"Long story," the Wanderer said as he ran passed, not bothering to warn MacCready about the impending nuclear blast that would be coming from the Vault. Only once they were back outside, and at least half a mile from the entrance to Little Lamplight, did Charon slow back to a brisk walk; his course set for Megaton. They travelled silently until the timer Charon was carrying began ringing. The group paused, feeling as the ground rumbled slightly below their feet.
"It worked, then," the Wanderer said, pleased that his design for a makeshift uranium-gun worked.
"It did," Fawkes replied. "Let us hope that you did not miscalculate the yield, my friend." The Wanderer had to concede that point to Fawkes. As much as MacCready annoyed him, he didn't think he would be able to live with himself if he had made a mistake and destroyed Little Lamplight.
"Only time will tell, Fawkes. Come on, let's get back to Megaton."
The light of the Moon was bright enough that Sarah could make out three figures approaching; all larger than any normal person would be. The realization that one was a super-mutant was almost enough for her to raise her weapon and begin firing, her well-honed instincts almost overcoming her logical side. She stayed her hand as the figures became clear; the red cross on the Wanderer's chest coming into the light. His helmet was off and, as he spotted Sarah and Colvin, a wide smile crossed his face. The smile faded as he got closer and saw the look of unadulterated anger on Sarah's face.
"Have a fun little adventure?" she yelled as they approached. The Wanderer couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes, drawing more of her ire. "Oh, I'm sorry, is this inconvenient for you? Should I just shut up, stand aside, and worship you like everyone else?" she continued, her voice rising noticeably. Before he could reply, Charon spoke up.
"We'll be at Moriarty's, John. You have fun here," he said, before making for the gate with Fawkes at his side; abandoning John to his fate. John watched his friends disappear into town; faintly angry that they had left him alone with this patently unhinged woman.
"I'm sorry, Sarah. After what happened at Evergreen Mills I wasn't risking another incident like that. It's done. Vault 87 is destroyed," he reported, catching her and Colvin off guard. A look of surprise crossed the faces of both the Brotherhood members.
"How?" she asked; not understanding how three people could destroy an entire Vault.
"I have my ways," he replied cryptically, starting passed her and to the gate. "You going to come into town, or just stand out here?" he asked, walking backwards as he spoke to her. With a frustrated nod, she and Colvin began following him into town, making their way to his house.
"Well, we have something serious to talk to you about," she replied as he began to remove his power armor. He shot a sideways glance at Sarah and Colvin.
"You two mind give me a minute to get changed, first?" he asked, a hint of sarcasm in his tone. It was Sarah's turn to roll her eyes in frustration before acquiescing.
"Fine. We'll be waiting outside," she replied, leading Colvin out the door. Once he was certain he was alone, the Wanderer removed the container of FEV from his armor and crossed the room to an addition he had built onto his house; a locked storage room where he kept his supplies. He entered, resting the FEV on a shelf before returning the Hellfire armor to where he kept it laid out. On the shelf above it rested a picture of him and Amata, taken when they were 17. He had his face buried in her hair, arms wrapped around her waist. The picture had been taken by his father before the Vault prom; and he had timed it extremely well, catching Amata in mid-laugh. The picture conveyed all the feelings the two had held for each other; the happiness on Amata's face only adding to her beauty. He had crossed the Wasteland end to end, and he was still to meet a woman he thought was more beautiful than the woman he had grown up loving. John began to claw his way to dominance, forcing the Lone Wanderer personality to go to rest. He closed his eyes; reminding himself where he was: in his house, in Megaton; where the Lone Wanderer was not needed. He trusted Sarah and Colvin enough to let them see John instead of the Wanderer. He gave the picture in his hand one last look; a sad smile crossing his face before he kissed it and put it back on the shelf. He quickly dressed himself in a pair of Pre-War pants he had cut off at the knee and a t-shirt; his standard clothing when he was in his house. Making his way back out into the main room of his house, he locked the storage room behind him before calling out to Sarah.
"You can come in now," he yelled, the door opening and a look of amusement crossing Colvin's face as he saw what John was wearing. Sarah remained grim looking, however; causing an uneasy feeling in John's stomach.
"John…our scribes found something. Down at Project Purity. It's…we think it's your dad and Janice's bodies," she said, laying everything on the table. John rocked back, eyes widened in surprise before he spoke.
"They were still there? The Enclave didn't dispose of them?"
"Apparently not. We'd need to get a genetic sample from you to confirm the match, but it seems like it's probably them," she replied, before continuing. "I'm so sorry, John," she stepped forward, slowly; putting her arm on John's shoulder. He nodded at her, reaching up to grab her hand before leaning forward, resting his head on her shoulder and closing his eyes as she embraced him. "It's ok. You're allowed to be a human, too" she whispered as she hugged him. Colvin had stepped forward and rested his hand on John's back, speaking as he did.
"If you need anyone to pray with you, I am here, brother," he said; the kindness of his offer taking John by surprise. Maybe I have been wrong to mistrust the Brotherhood. Perhaps Fawkes was right; I should open up to them more.
"Where are they?" he asked, stepping back from Sarah and looking her in the eyes.
"I'd assume they're being brought back to the Citadel's mortuary to be prepared for burial," she replied. "As soon as you're ready we can head down there. It doesn't have to be tonight, though," she continued. John nodded at her.
"I'd prefer to spend the night here and go down tomorrow. Will you two stay in town?" They both nodded.
"We will. I'll stay in the common room," Colvin said; leaving it unspoken that he was going to allow Sarah and John some privacy. With a smile and a nod, he departed, leaving them alone. John grasped her hand before looking at her.
"Are you comfortable staying with me?" he whispered; the cockiness of the Lone Wanderer gone and a deeply hurt 19 year old standing in front of her. Sarah's heart broke slightly, seeing how strong the emotions he suppressed as the Wanderer were.
"Of course I am, John. I'll always be here for you," she replied. He smiled faintly. You're not the first one to say that. And all the others have left me. But I'll give you a chance, Sarah Lyons. I'll give you a chance.
Ok, I feel like I'm on a role now. A wise man suggest I get onto a schedule of updating so that I have something set for myself; and with my school year done now I have a bunch of time. So here we go. I'll be updating An Ember in the Dark next (stay tuned, because I think that chapter should be a bit of a doozy). Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this one; I've got some fun ideas I've been playing with on where to go next. But thoughts, feedback, let me hear it. Thanks for reading!