The Lone Wanderer, hero of the capitol wasteland, was no longer at home in said place. It had started soon after his unexpected trip up to Mothership Zeta, the alien spaceship that had suddenly come into orbit, kidnapped him, and he had later cleared of non-human life. After and adventure like that, little seemed interesting to the Wanderer, not even the Brotherhood trying to recruit him and failing horribly was enough to keep him entertained, and the few embers of the enclave were still lit were slowly dying off thanks to both him and the Brotherhood.
It was his nature, he supposed, and Three Dog was inclined to agree, to always be on the move, from the moment he had been born; escaping the pens, the cots, exploring the vault, then later on leaving it and finding every single location of interest in the waste, from the car tunnel to the Republic of Dave, from Raven Rock to Riley's Rangers Compound, with Dogmeat as the only true companion, the only one that never judged them, the one that wouldn't abandon him. Well, by now it was Dogmeat the second, age and all that.
It had been nine years since the Lone Wanderer had left Vault 101, and the Brotherhood was now expanding. Perhaps it was time the Wanderer did the same, start with contacting people outside the capitol, and honor their title. Yeah, he would do that, do some arrangements and leave. The Commonwealth would be a good place to go to next, since it was relatively near to the Capitol. It would still take a few weeks to get there though, even if he took the power armor with them, counting sleeping breaks, meals, random attacks, and so on.
Dogmeat would be up for the task, no doubt, as was he.
After the death of the Lyons, with the only remnant being the power armor the Wander now wore as often as he did his vault suit, nothing was left to tie him to the Brotherhood, and he had not set foot on the citadel since their passing, only ever making contact when he went into Project Purity. His first order of business was to stop by the Jefferson Memorial, let the scientists that he would not be passing by ever again, and that he better not hear any story of them withdrawing the water from the wasteland. They feared him enough to listen to him.
Next he had gone to Galaxy news, ignoring Three Dog's protege and speaking to the voice of the Wasteland himself, telling him that he was going to spread the good fight a bit further. Naturally the man had taken the news gracefully if not joyfully because of him spreading the good fight, saying a farewell piece on the radio the day after, and wishing him luck and prosperity in their next journey.
Megaton was the next target, with three people wishing him a safe travel and prosper future. The Sheriff had once again thanked him for the help with the bomb, the pipe repairs and the supplies, and been grateful enough to gift them his hat, a battered leather thing that nonetheless the Wanderer had taken. It would be great for when the sun got too much, and if nothing else, it would be amusing to see a T-60f with a leather hat on.
Lucy west had, uselessly if not thoughtfully, given out a rifle as a thanks for finding her brother, complete with a number of clips, which he would put to good use in one of their modified rifles. Moira was the one they visited last, their first friend in the wasteland was the one they would be saddest to let go, but in a way they would be helping the quirky woman.
"Moira, think you can repair my stuff one last time?" Said the Wanderer after he embraced the owner of Craterside Supply, his friend, and occasional lover when things got too boring in Megaton, happily getting to work on the armory given to her. At least until she properly processed what the Wanderer said.
"What do you mean the last time? Did they let you back in to the Vault?" Moira asked, because as far as she knew the only reason she wouldn't be seeing the former vault dweller was because he had once again been accepted into the vault, that or they were taking the Mothership for a ride, and Moira was sure she would be brought along if that was the case.
"No, I'll actually be leaving Amata a message, so she doesn't miss me," answered the 101 reject, helping the quirky woman disassemble the sturdy plasma weapons, (Moira was better with cartridge weapons, but nonetheless one of the best repairers in the wasteland) "I'm going to the commonwealth, see what it has to offer, honor the title Three Dog gave me, you know? And this is a chance to expand the reach of your survival guide, I could take a hundred copies with me, help it become a coastal thing rather than just the capitol."
The two stayed up that night, doing little else than chatting with one another about the past, ignoring the future until the sun came up, at which point the Wanderer bid goodbye to their friend, giving her a last kiss and grabbing an empty holotape to leave on the panel of vault 101.
"Amata, if you are hearing this then I was right and your guards brought you my last words to you. I am leaving the wasteland, leaving you and the vault as nothing but memories, I'm going North, I think you Vault People call it Massachusetts, we wastelanders prefer the term Commonwealth. It's a long treck, but it will be worth it, a last journey as the Capitol Wasteland's Lone Wanderer. I hope that you are doing as well as I am, but I can't really say I'm wishing a friend well, can I? If you had left with me that first time, or kept the door open to me as a trader, then I could claim otherwise, but hey, we still have eighteen years of friendship behind us, huh? I told the sheriff of megaton to keep my house open to you and your men, if you ever need or want to set up shop outside the Vault. This is the Lone Wanderer, signing off."
And that would be the last words of the Lone Wanderer in the Capitol Wasteland, as he left Washington D.C. behind him, walking towards a new adventure.
Nate was dead. Shaun was gone.
Codsworth didn't help, delusional as he was about the two of them relaxing in the vault. In a way that was true, Nate would not be leaving it, and Shaun would feel as if no time had passed from when he went to sleep. She had dragged the still intact couch and sat in front of Shaun's crib, staring at for as long as it took Cods to cook something to eat, then she would fall asleep, and repeat it all in the morning.
Sometimes, during the past week, she would look down to her lap, where one hand gripped the pistol she had found. She had thought about it, more often than she was willing to admit. But Nate wouldn't want that, not after he had kicked his own PTSD and survivor's guilt out and kept being the wonderful man she had married and fallen in love with. As it was, the only weapon she used was the baton she had taken off a corpse, and even that was to whack the roaches as they came close.
She needed help.
Preston Garvey had taken the form of her savior, with a radio transmission asking for help against raiders trapping them in the Museum of Freedom. She had helped them, helping herself in turn as she defeated the raiders, climbed into the power armor and killed the deathclaw that came out of the sewers.
Then she had offered Sanctuary for them to settle into, and helped turn it back into a home again, receiving more and more settlers as the days passed. She was named the General of the Minutemen, something she had no doubt Nate would envy, were he standing by her side, as he had wanted to be an officer back when he was still posted in the frontlines.
One day, she would start searching for Shaun, but while she knew that he was with competent people that could at least protect him, these people needed her more than Shaun did, as much as it hurt her to admit it.
It was still so hard to believe that she was the oldest human on Earth, and ghouls didn't really count as human any more, they were a subspecies. Over two hundred years ago she had signed her family into the Vault-tec Shelter, not knowing that it had the representative's timing that would save her and her family. She had seen the bombs fall, no doubt being thrown by Commie bastards in retaliation for some imaginary slight on the America's part. The light and the shockwave had been horrible, even standing as far away as she was from the epicenter. The poor people that had worked and lived near the crater had probably died instantly. Lucky them.
One day, she would be ready to face her son.
One day the sight of her house, intact even after two hundred years, would no longer drive a painful stake through her.
Gunshots started around Sanctuary. Shit.
She ran out of her house, grabbing her combat rifle and running to the other side of the suburbs, "Fuck, Preston, who is it this time?" It wasn't often that Sanctuary was attacked, but and Preston had managed to hold it back, though sadly it was only the two of them as the defensive force against threats, what with most settlers not being armed with anything better than a pipe gun.
"Gunners, General, a whole platoon of them, I don't think we can stop them without losing people," The last surviving Minuteman, she wasn't one, she hadn't earned it yet, answered her, shooting his musket at the invading force, then ducking under a plasma bolt.
"We really need to get more turrets," She said, leaning out of cover and shooting a gunner, hitting him in the head. The bastard dropped like a sack. Some good guns would be joining her armory today. Sanctuary's armory.
A sniper shot ripped through the air, not from any of her people, nor from the gunners, and struck the captain of the invading force clean through the leg, two more shots shattering his shoulder and his head, somehow avoiding all the armor he had been wearing, "Anyone we know?" She asked Preston, not willing to let up on the defense of her home.
The sniper shots continued, she had identified the source as Vault 111, but thanks to whoever was helping them, the worst injury on their side was a burn on a settler's leg, nothing that burn salve wouldn't heal.
She ordered Preston and Sturges to take care of everything that had taken damage during the attack and walked to the path up the Vault Hill, to wait for whoever their sniping savior was, Dogmeat near her, dutifully waiting by her feet, at least until a dog, the same breed as Dogmeat, ran down the hill and tackled her dog, starting a game that she doubted the sweet mutt had ever played.
The dog was followed by an imposing figure in power armor...Wearing a leather hat.
"Greetings," Came the voice from the armor, "I don't suppose you have food for a weary traveler?"
"We have a bed and roof as well if you stay," Answered the Sole Survivor.
"What's the Brotherhood of Steel doing in the Commonwealth?" Preston asked the power armored individual.
"I'm not with the Brotherhood," The helmet of the power armor came off, revealing a face scarred not only by the beasts of the wastelands, but by the loss of family, something she knew all too well, "A friend of mine left me her armor when she died, I'm the last survivor of the Pride, and the only person from DC that wore one of these and cared for the people."
"In that house over there is a station with my 45 parked, get out of the suit and join us for the night."
And that was how the Lone Wanderer of Vault 101 and the Sole Survivor of Vault 111 became friends.
Three years later, with the Brotherhood driven out of the Commonwealth, the Institute destroyed and Shaun dead, Nora could not be happier. Nor could James.
"Curie, could you pass the salt?" Curie, Piper, Hancock, Danse, Cait, Deacon, Preston, Strong, Codsworth, MacReedy, X6, James and Nora sat in the kitchen of what once was Nora's home. The sting of Shaun's dead was not as harsh as it had been a year before, and the help of Nora's friends reduced it even further. James prevented the Synth from doing so, standing up and tapping his beer bottle with his fork
"Everyone, everyone, listen up, today we are celebrating the birthday of our dear friend Nora, who turns two hundred and twenty years even if she doesn't look a day over thirty," Here some laughs broke through the kitchen, Nora shaking her head but looking at the hill that hid Vault 111, her husband's resting place, "And I think everyone with me agrees that when I say that a better friend would be very hard to come by, so Nora, we tip this Gwinetts today in your honor, and hope that you live many more years, so cheers to Nora, the Best friend this side of the Glowing Sea," And everyone that could drank to that, even the imposing Strong.
James had lost the weight of his father's death and exile over the years, his face now set in a rested smile and his shoulders relaxed. For once in his life, the Lone Wanderer of the Capitol Wasteland felt like he belonged.
For him that was all that mattered.