"It wasn't easy but I managed to track down this aunt of yours."
The Lone Wanderer whispered through her cracked voice, coughing towards the end of her sentence. Shaking her head slightly, a wave of dust flew from her dark brown hair. Dirt and grime stuck to her face and clothes giving off the suggestion that she had been traveling non stop for nearly a week.
Bryan leaned against the wall of his house, looking up at the sunlight peering through the cracks in the ceiling. Hearing a gust of wind blow by, the cracks whistled a high pitched ring and blew fragments of dust into the house.
The sound of heavy panting caught his ears as he turned his head down. Sitting down with front paws firmly in front of him, shoulders hunched, and tongue stick out, the curious stare of the dog caught his own. Tilting his head to the side, the dog whined softly and wagged his tail cautiously a few times.
Smirking softly, Bryan reached his hand out and rubbed the top of his head to the back of his ears. However the smile faded quickly as he turned his gaze to the low growl of the tall ghoul leaning against the wall no more than three feet from him.
"You seriously managed to find her? Where is she?"
Opening her green eyes, the Lone Wanderer began to reply before coughing harshly. Grunting, she turned to the tall and stoic man in the corner.
"Charon, water please."
Without taking his gaze off of the Bryan, Charon reached one hand into the nearby hanging bag. Rummaging around quickly, the silent ghoul narrowed his blue eyes at the suspicious look Bryan cast his way. Gripping the small bottle, Charon chucked the bottle towards the girl.
"Kid's going to be a fucking pain in the ass. I can already see it."
Paying no heed to the growing tension in the room, Dogmeat turned his head towards his Master. Walking towards her, he turned in circles a few times before laying himself at her feet. Staring upward, his eyebrows perked left and right as he watched Bryan and Charon from a distance.
Catching the bottle easily, the Lone Wanderer unscrewed the cap and began gulping the water down. Groaning out loud at the taste of the purified water, she lazily put the cap back on while continuing her story.
"Rivet City. Your aunt's name is Vera, Vera Weatherly. She owns the only hotel in the city. When she heard of your situation and what had happened, she agreed to take you in."
It was then that Bryan noticed how bright her green eyes were. Looking intently at them, Bryan couldn't remember when he had seen eyes like that before.
"The best part is that you will be with family, growing up with other children, and more importantly, you'll be safe Bryan."
Shuffling on his feet uncomfortably, Bryan shoved his hands into his pockets moving his gaze from her face to the floor.
"Look lady, I don't know why you did this…"
Lifting her head curiously, the Lone Wanderer remained silent though slightly shocked to Bryan's words.
Wincing visibly at the audible growl of the ghoul to his side, Bryan turned his gaze to see Charon's icy cold glare and angry scowl. Hands firmly tightened around his arms, Bryan couldn't help but eye the large combat shotgun on his back wearily.
"Wait that came out wrong. Fucking hell!"
Running his hand through his dust matted hair, Bryan suddenly began shifting back and forth on his feet nervously as if cornered between a rock and a hard place.
"What I mean is that I don't know why. Why did you go through all this trouble, certain danger, and distance? You walked probably hundred of miles, used up resources you could have saved, bullets, and more! Why?"
Rambling on, Bryan looked back to the Lone Wanderer's eyes. Stopping mid-sentence, he couldn't tell if what he was seeing on her face was pity or silent revulsion.
"Why didn't you turn me away two weeks ago? Everyone else did. Why didn't you?"
Caught slightly off guard by the question, the Lone Wanderer shifted her gaze around as if trying to find the answer.
"I guess Bryan because I know what it is like to be as scared and alone as you were in that moment."
Caught completely off guard by her answer, Bryan couldn't hide his disbelief in the honesty and genuine kindness in her words. Perhaps Three Dog was right about her from the GNR reports.
Standing from the small chair, the Lone Wanderer picked up the half empty bottle of water. Slinging her bag over her shoulder, she walked to the door.
"Pack your things and saw goodbye to whomever you need to Bryan. We leave before dawn tomorrow."
Looking over her shoulder, she whistled a soft tune as Dogmeat's ears perked up. Quickly getting up, the faithful canine jogged to his master and proceeded out the open door.
The Lone Wanderer motioned towards Charon.
"That's Charon and don't mind him. He's the armed escort and my bodyguard. You met Dogmeat. I'm Diane by the way. We never really got time to properly introduce ourselves last time."
Walking out the door, Diane quickly shut it behind her to keep the blowing dust from entering into the house. Sighing heavily with them out of sight, she closed her eyes and looked down to Dogmeat. One hand on her pistol and the other holding the water bottle, she suddenly smiled down at her dog.
"I think I know who deserves a cool drink of water, especially after today's trek."
Suddenly launching himself foreword and spinning a few times in front of her, Dogmeat barked ecstatically with his tail wagging promptly behind him.
Later that night Diane sat on the edge of the sidewalk outside Bryan's house. Turning on the light green hue of her Pip-Boy light, she turned her attention back to her pistol. Laying the bullets on the small cloth beside her, Diane began cleaning the weapon.
Tilting his head to the side, Dogmeat whined slightly before wagging his tail a few times.
Lifting an eyebrow to him, Diane smirked.
"You miss listening to Three Dog that much? Even though all he does is overly exaggerates every single thing I do?"
Barking once, Dogmeat lifted his head and began panting happily.
"Alright, alright you win."
Pressing on the icon for the radio, the silence around her was soon disrupted by the singing of a young woman. Watching Dogmeat lower his head back to the ground, Diane chuckled as she lifted her attention to the sound of the door closing behind her.
The sound of heavy boots and shuffling ammo informed her as to who was coming. Putting down her pistol, Diane watched Charon stand a few feet away. In the dim neon green light of her Pip-Boy, Diane saw the icy blue reflections of his eyes bearing down into her green ones.
"Something on your mind Charon?"
"That depends. Am I going to regret it?"
Frowning slightly, Diane leaned back against the broken cement. Bracing herself up with her hands, the Lone Wanderer sighed.
"Didn't I tell you from the minute we became a team that I want you to speak your opinion?"
Grunting heavily, Diane couldn't tell if Charon had laughed or growled. Turning towards her, Charon took a few steps foreword. She noticed what was left of his hair swaying slightly in the wind. His muscles were tight and stressed, letting her know that his body language was tense.
"Mind telling me what the fuck we're doing with this little shit?"
Widening her eyes, Diane stood up. Dusting off her clothes slightly, Diane folded her arms in front of her chest.
"Why are we walking back and forth across the Wasteland for a kid? What's so special about this one?"
"You know I try and help whomever I can Charon." Diane bit her tongue, trying to keep her temper in check. The probing was getting annoying very quickly.
"This is a whole new god damn ball game. Sure, you hand out a bottle of water here and there. Drop caps to those who supposedly need it."
Diane's tone suddenly became dangerously cold.
"Get to the point Charon."
"You have never gone through this much trouble for anyone else. Don't you lie about it either."
Remaining silent, Diane didn't say anything but looked away briefly. He was right and she didn't like it.
"Why does it matter if I help this boy? It's not like I'm keeping you from something Charon unless you suddenly acquired other uses of your time that I am not aware of."
"The point I am trying to make, Diane, is that there are going to be other kids. This ain't no fucking paradise. People die every day. Kids die."
Charon walked edged one step closer, his deep toned voice conveying a cold reality she only needed more reminding of. The harsh realization of this world became all to clear for her the day her father disappeared, was forced to kill her first man, and leave the only imperfect home she had ever known.
The feelings of isolation came rushing back making her feel on edge and suddenly very cornered.
"We're doing this Charon. We're escorting Bryan to Rivet City and that's it."
Pushing past him, Diane leaned down to pick up her pistol.
"It's your choice Wanderer, It always has been. You own my contract. But it doesn't mean that I have to fucking like it."
Turning back towards the house, Charon looked over his shoulder one last time, looking over her form.
"If I were you Wanderer, I wouldn't become too attached to the boy. Chances are, he won't survive the walk. You got Enclave, Raiders, scorpions, and that is just before D.C. I don't need to tell what sort of shit is in there."
Shutting the door to the house, Diane once again sat in the darkness with only the illumination of her Pip-Boy with the soft notes of the Ink Spots echoing into the darkness.
Looking up towards the skies, the Lone Wanderer sighed softly.
"Dad, what have I gotten myself into?"
My apologies for the delay in the update. I got wrapped up in work (wicked overtime), celebrated Christmas with the family, and in what little free time I had, "researched" Charon's character by playing Fallout 3. I had a lot of trouble trying to stay true to his characterization. I edited this draft at least five times and partially a sixth.
What do you guys think? Is Charon seeming to be in character with how Bethesda presented him?
Happy Holidays to you all, thank you for taking the time to read this, and may you all have a prosperous New Year.
P.S. I wrote this chapter to the song "Humility and Love" by Christopher Young. From the musical score of the movie "Creation." The song reminds me of the relationship between Lone Wanderer and James. Give a listen and tell me what you all think!
Fallout 3 is copyrighted by Bethesda Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks, and ZeniMax Media. I own nothing.