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Chapter 6: Devil in Disguise



It was hot, very hot. Without a single cloud in the sky, the sun was able to shine brightly as a giant red orb in a sea of blue. Worse, it reflected off the sand of the desert and turned the entire area into what was basically one giant oven. The rolling dunes and rocky outcrops all seemed as though they were under water, moving gently with the plumes of heat coming up from the ground. It was a desperate landscape that was just as deadly as it looked, if there really was a hell, this would be it. Unfortunately for those traveling out here, it wasn't the landscape that they should have feared, it was the presence of certain individuals that they should have feared.

In the middle of the dunes a small family, a man, woman, and small girl, were trying to quickly get through to the large city in the distance. It became very apparent though that something was wrong, their faces were gaunt, their lips were chapped, their faces were almost as red as the blood underneath them and they were staggering as they walked. From the looks of it, they probably had been out here for many hours withour water, if not longer. They probably had maybe a few hours left to live, if that.

Suddenly, from over the dune in front of them, a dark haired and very well dressed man began walking very quickly towards them. Though it was obvious he was in somewhat of a rush, he was still moving very calmly, almost too calmly. It was almost as if, from his demeanor, he was taking a brisk walk across the desert. The family paused and stared at him, and he did the same, before quickly approaching them. He held out a canteen full of water as an offering to help them.

Suddenly, over the dune behind the man, four men suddenly appeared. Each was sitting atop a strange looking animal, it had four long then legs, a scraggley mane and tail, it was reminiscent of horses, but they looked as if they had been... ghoulified, but could animals be turned into ghouls? It was hard to say, but one thing was certain, the creatures mere appearance could chill the blood of even the most hardened soul. The four men riding the Deinos, as they were called, circled around the dark haired man with the fancy moustache, and the small family. There was a few tense moments as they all stared at each other, and the dark haired man stepped forward.

In a soft and smooth voice, he spoke, though the words seemed to be muffled. In fact, it was almost impossible to make out what he was saying, then suddenly one of the family members passed out onto the ground. It was obvious that he had died from heat exhaustion, and soon the other two members of the family passed out as well, the four men on the horses were momentarily distracted and it gave the dark haired man enough time to ring out four rapid shots from a pistol. The Deinos scattered, and the four men fell limp off the creatures. Quickly, the dark hair man turned to tend to the family, but it was too late, because of the horsemen... they were dead.

That's not how it happened, is it Johnny? A cold voice echoed through the desert, as suddenly the entire scene seemed to start over.


* * *


It was hot, very hot. Without a single cloud in the sky, the sun was able to shine brightly as a giant red orb in a sea of blue. Worse, it reflected off the sand of the desert and turned the entire area into what was basically one giant oven. The rolling dunes and rocky outcrops all seemed as though they were under water, moving gently with the plumes of heat coming up from the ground. It was a desperate landscape that was just as deadly as it looked, if there really was a hell, this would be it. Unfortunately for those traveling out here, it wasn't the landscape that they should have feared, it was the presence of certain individuals that they should have feared.

Johnny was moving quickly through the dunes, breathing heavily, it was so hot that he felt as though his lungs were having to work overtime to keep him cool. He could practically feel the sand going into his lungs with every breath, but he had to push on. With a sudden shudder through his body as he glanced over his shoulder, he saw the Deinos and the rangers coming behind him. Rangers... They would kill him without hesitation if they caught up to him, and worse, they would probably feed him to those freak creatures the Deinos if he died.

Stumbling slightly, he came to the crest of the dune. A short distance in front of him he could make out what looked like a small family. Even from where he stood he could see that they were all on their last leg, glancing behind him, he saw the Deinos coming quickly. He had to think of something fast, either way he had to keep going forward. As he got closer to the family, there was no doubt that they were suffering from the heat and were probably in desperate need of water.

As he approached, he paused for a moment, as they did, and they shouted to him, "We seek no trouble stranger... But do you have any water or any liquid to spare?"

Johnny thought for a moment, before a wry smile spread across his face, "I seek no trouble either, friend. And I have water to spare, for a price."

The family suddenly seemed a bit more excited, "Well, we don't have much, but I'd give all I have if you'd be kind enough to share."

"Well, I can't refuse the opportunity to be in service of my fellow man, and make some caps as well." Johnny said, taking a canteen out from his vest and unscrewing the cap. Out of view of the family, he pulled a small vial of a green fluid out of his vest as well, and poured it into the canteen.

As he got closer to the family, the father held a small bag full of caps out, which Johnny took and exchanged for the canteen of water. The thirst controlled family quickly drank the entire canteen, splitting it between the three of them. Just as they finished, the four rangers burst over the crest of the dune and quickly encircled Johnny and the family.

"Well, well, well... Johnny Cadillac. Why don't you leave these people and come with us, we've been following you for miles just to tell you a little secret." The leader of the rangers said, a red haired man.

"If the secret involves anything with lead or lasers... I'd prefer to stay here." Johnny said, with a a sheepish grin. "In fact... I am going to stay here, and if you don't leave now, I will kill this family, and all of you."

The family suddenly looked up, slightly in shock at his words, "Move even a muscle, no, even think about moving a muscle toward your holster, and we I put a bullet right through that smug face of yours Cadillac."

"Bullets, who needs bullets?... I have... powers." Johnny said, slowly, lifted his hand and formed his fingers into the shape of a gun. All of the rangers drew their guns at his movements, but then burst into laughter as he pointed his "gun" at all of them.

As they laughed, he turned around to the family, pointed at the father, and spoke a single word, "Bang." The rangers laughed even harder, as he pointed it at the mother, and spoke again, "Bang." Slowly he turned his hand toward the small girl, the child looked into Johnny's eyes for a moment and he into hers. As he stared into her soft, kind, green eyes he saw... himself, at her age. Scared and frightened, an innocent creature growing up in a corrupted world. John shook his head a moment, then spoke again, "Bang."

The rangers were practically falling off of their Deinos with laughter, "Good grief Johnny, I didn't know you were a comedian to-" All of them stopped laughing as the father gripped his chest. Foam started coming from his mouth and his whole body began shaking violently. He fell onto his back, writhing in the sand, suddenly, the mother fell beside him, shaking violently as well. The rangers watched in horror as the soon, the little girl with the pretty green eyes fell onto her back as well, the green turning to red in her bloodshot eyes.

Not one to pass up an opportunity to gain an advantage, Johnny quickly drew his gun and fired four times before the Rangers were even able to look away from the scene before them. Each ranger slowly slumped off of his Deinos, as they creatures themselves scattered.

Johnny stood there for a moment, breathing heavily, before turning and looking at the dead family behind him. He holstered his gun, and lifted up the bag of caps, shaking them slightly, feeling that there was quite a few judging by it's weight. Then, without another moment he began walking away, back toward New Vegas.

That's more like it. The cold voice rang out, and suddenly, in the hazy desert, a tall man appeared in front of Johnny. His voice was cold, and harsh, his hair was white and most of it had fallen out. Age filled his face, and eyes, which seemed to stare into the very soul of Johnny himself. It was Ringo, the very man who made Johnny into who he is today. He slowly began to walk around Johnny, Johnny himself seemed unable to move. In fact, he was frozen in place, the entire desert seemed to slowly melt away around him. You turned into a colder bastard than I had ever predicted. Killing four rangers, poisoning a family, all for a few caps... The old man leaned forward and whispered into Johnny's ear, That's my boy. You are becoming just like me... a heartless bastard, but you'll be a rich heartless bastard. The man laughed at his own joke, his laugh like the cawing of a crow.

"No, it didn't happen like that... They were going to die anyways... I was merely ush-" Johnny began, but was cut off by the old man, What? merely what? Sacraficing the poor for yourself? What better way to survive? Face it my boy... Everyone you touch dies, and you make a profit on it, just look at your mother.

"Not true... That's not true." Johnny, the epitome of smooth and calm, dropped his gun and caps and covered his ears. This man had controlled him and tried to kill him, and he was doing it again. Even with his eyes closed, he could feel the very will sucking presence of the man in his head. Everything was growing dark, and he could hear the Deinos coming back for him... and see the face of the child, her bloodshot green eyes only inches from his face.

Suddenly, Johnny woke up in a cold sweat, shaking. The entire room was a blur, and he tried to roll over but felt the sudden sensation of falling. Hard concrete hit him and his vision began to come into focus, he was laying on... a bed? Well, was, now he was laying on the floor. Slowly he stood up and quickly realized that the only clothing he had on were some briefs to cover his lower body.

Bandages wrapped his shoulder, and leg, where healing bullet wounds were. Besides those, numerous scars littered his body, most of them old. Some from bullets, others were knife cuts, and even a few burn marks here and there. It was obvious he was a man who had spent a lot of time in the Wasteland... and he had the marks to prove it.

He looked around the room, his vision spinning slightly, but quickly coming into focus. It was a posh room, well, by Wasteland standards. It had a large king size bed, nice furnishings... was he back in New Vegas? The door to the room opened, and a small girl entered. She jumped slightly at the sight of Johnny standing, "Oh, I'm sorry sir... I just, um, have your clothes here." Obviously a maid, she held out all of the clothes Johnny recognized as his, though shyly looked away from him.

He stepped forward and took them; all the Radscorpion blood had been washed off, the holes in them had been patched and his white shirt was... White. Oh, this was turning into a better day already. He staggered over to the bed and dropped the clothes on them.

"Your wife should be along shortly..." The maid said, blushing now as she glanced at Johnny. Though Johnny himself froze as he began to unfold his shirt. His heart was pounding, wife? What the hell did that mean? Just how long had he been out?... Just how drunk had he been. Holding the shirt in his hands, he sat down on the bed in shock. What had happened? He couldn't be married... Maybe he had misunderstood her. Maybe she said your... knife will be along shortly, yeah. They were probably going to bring him his switchblade or something.

Standing up, he started to get dressed happily again, knowing it was all just a big misunderstanding. At the back of his mind however, he couldn't help but repeat what the maid had said over and over, "Your wife will be along shortly." The woman might as well have said, "Hi I'm the devil, and you are in hell." It would have had the same effect on him either way.  





The first twenty four hours that Relic spent in Tenpenny Tower was spent in one of their hospital beds. She was exhausted, dehydrated, and had a concussion. For two or three hours she had to stay awake as the medics pumped her with fluids, stitched up her various gashes, and picked glass and grit from her wounds. The entire time she was conscious she couldn't help looking at the bed next to her where the Tenpenny doctors were trying desperately to keep Johnny alive. Apparently he had a severe head injury, along with some other internal problems that Relic didn't understand even when they tried to explain it to her. As they slathered her with salves and tried to get the swelling down in her black eye, she kept her one good eye trained on him.

When they finished patching her up and Relic was finally allowed to rest, she couldn't get her mind to stop churning. She hadn't slept in more than two days, but couldn't fall asleep. She found herself scared to death that when she did finally wake up, Johnny would be gone, and she would be alone in the Wasteland again. So she stayed at his side for almost a full day, waiting for him to wake. His eyes didn't so much as flutter the entire time. However, early morning on the second day there was some sort of mishap with the Towers guards and all the beds in the infirmary were needed for the new patients.

"No. Absolutely not. He still needs treatment." Her arms were crossed and she glared at the doctor.

"He will be fine if we move him. All he needs right now is rest and he will be absolutely fine in your room. I'll still send a medic to go check on him." The doctor was relatively young, still kind and empathetic to his patients, unlike most of the jaded physicians in the Wasteland. Instead of being endeared to him for his calm voice and sensitivity, it made Relic all the more irritated.

"No. He needs medical treatment. He…."

"And he will get it. I promise you that we will take good care of him." He grabbed her hand in his and looked compassionately into her eyes. Relic looked back at him, slightly uncomfortable. He squeezed her hand once before starting to let go, but his fingers touched the scar ridge on her wrist. He turned her hand over and inspected the scar. "I didn't notice this earlier. Did you…."

"An accident. That's all." She pulled back her hand angrily. Then snapped, "Just make sure he is taken care of."

Relic left the young doctor and walked heatedly to the extravagant grand staircase in the lobby. It was beautiful, with carved wood and rich carpeted floors. It was unlikely that anything as beautiful as this building had ever existed. Still, the opulence was suffocating and stuffy. Relic found herself wanting air the more she stayed. Their room was located on the fourth floor and in her weakened state it took the girl a lot longer to get up the stairs. Her muscles were protesting by the second level but she was afraid to use the metal box people kept disappearing into. She had witnessed it happen earlier that day. An old couple went into the box, the doors closed, there were weird churning noises, and a few moments later the doors opened and they had disappeared. Creepy stuff.

By the time she got to their room, the medics were already setting Johnny up in the bed. He looked no worse for wear and Relic was incredibly relieved. Someone tapped her on the shoulder and she turned to see a young blonde woman, clearly a servant of some kind.

"Madame, if you would give them to me I will start washing your clothes."

Relic had never thought of herself as a modest woman but now that this stranger was asking for her clothes to be cleaned she found herself blushing. The medics finished up with Johnny and left. The maid stepped into the room and shut the door behind her, basket in her hands already filled with Johnny's filthy outfit.

"Do you have anything I could change into? Or somewhere I could change? " Relic's face was beat red as she glanced quickly at the unconscious Johnny.

" Oh, well you can go ahead and undress in the bathroom if you want and I could bring along a change of clothes in a few hours but right now Dr. Adams said you need to get some sleep. He said you have been awake for a long time." Relic crossed her arms as she looked around the room quickly. Sleep was beginning to pull at her eyelids, beckoning for her to close them once more, but she wasn't sure where to do so. She shut the bathroom door and quickly stripped down to her small clothes. The t-shirt she had on was dirty and permeated with dried sweat and blood. Her jeans were just as bad, and no longer noticeably blue. She took off her shoes and socks as well, wrapped it all in a bundle and shoved it into the maids basket.

"I can take your bra and underwear to be washed too if…"

"No thank you, but if you could find spares I would be willing to buy them from you." The maid smiled slightly, looking away from the half-naked woman because she could tell she was uncomfortable. Relic stopped her before she got out the door.

"Where should I sleep?" She asked the girl as she glanced around the room which had no chair or couch in it. The maid looked at her puzzled for a moment, then simply gestured toward the bed already occupied by Johnny. Relic tried not to betray her surprise.

"Is it…. Um… safe to sleep in the same bed as him?"

"The doctor said that he will be fine. Right now he's just recovering. No need to be so concerned about him

Relic had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. Its not him I'm concerned about. She thought to herself as the maid left her alone. She was conflicted. Although sleep sounded very enticing she wasn't sure she wanted to do so in the same bed as Johnny. However, she also didn't want to go into the hall in her current state. She stood on her tiptoes in uncertainty, still too afraid to leave the bathroom.

Just do it Relic. He's unconscious. She took a deep breath and bolted to the bed before she could lose her nerve, covering herself with the blanket and scooting as far away from the man as possible. At one point she had been afraid that Johnny would never open his eyes, but now she was scared to death that he would. It wasn't that she actually feared Johnny, he seemed respectable enough for a man who left her to a grisly death, but dying from embarrassment didn't seem like a good way to go. Not after she had been through so much. Not after …. She was out before she could finish the thought.

Relic's sleep was plagued with a single nightmare. She was in a room. It was large but all the doors were locked and she couldn't get out. Standing all around were the people she had caused the death of: The mercenaries from yesterday, the redhead from the bar, the girl killed by the scorpions, River, and the Man from the Woods. They all looked healthy but even when Relic begged them to talk, they refused.


********


Relic stretched her muscles when she finally got out of bed and dressed quickly. Johnny was still unconscious, no noticeable improvement, so she decided to head downstairs and grab something to eat. Sleeping for a full day or two had that effect on people.

Tenpenny Tower was both confusing and unfriendly. She asked several guests where she could find some food, but they all waved her off, looking first with disdain at her outfit. Although it was clean, it wasn't quite glamorous. She meandered around the place for a bit, noticing a library on the third floor, a ballroom on the second, but couldn't find a dining hall. On the ground floor she found a lounge area and was overcome by exhaustion once more, so she settled into a chair and closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry miss, I thought you might like this." She opened her eyes to see a man with a bowler hat and glasses. He was older, probably in his forties, and holding a plate of food toward her.


"Oh, thank you." She grabbed it from him, setting it down on her lap and started to eat.

"So how is your husband doing?" He asked, still standing.

"Oh… he's better now. Thank you. "

"That's good to hear. You two must have traveled a long way." He sat down beside her and Relic could feel his eyes on her.

"Not that far, why do you ask?"

"You just don't look like you are from around here." Relic didn't say anything. Outsiders were not usually trusted, both in storybooks and real life. "But I can tell you were important. Wherever you came from…. You have an air about you."

"I assure you that I was noone important, but I appreciate that assumption." She tried to give him a smile but it didn't quite reach her eyes.

"Ah, and in assuring that you gave yourself away. You see…." He leaned close to her, breath on her ear, and whispered. "everyone here is important. And even if they aren't, they pretend to be."

"And how are you important?"

"Oh you will see Relic Avelle." Her breath caught in her throat. "Enjoy the food"

Relic sat in shock for a moment before jumping to her feet and following after the guy. She looked frantically in both directions when she entered the hallway, but couldn't see him. He must have been a phantom, a mirage, an illusion of some kind brought on by stress. Logically, Relic knew that no one from her past could find her here, but still the fact that he knew her whole name frightened her. One word came to mind, Evar. She decided to return to her room, with Johnny, where she was safe. Well, safer.


**********


Johnny was already dressed when she entered and he looked extremely pale. The maid was standing to the side, laying out a few changes of clothes that apparently Relic's money had paid for. They didn't look suited to weather the wasteland but then most people in the tower didn't look suited for it. Relic turned to the maid.

"Could you give my husband and I some privacy for a moment?" The girl nodded and hurriedly left the room, and though Relic watched her leave she caught Johnny's face in her peripheral vision. It seemed like something between shock and panic. He looked like he might have been wrestling with the idea of bolting from the room. She sat down on the bed and put a reassuring hand on his.

"Relax my darling. We aren't married." She smiled widely as relief washed over his face. "But I do really need to talk to you about something." At first she had assumed it was the mysterious stranger that she wanted to discuss with him, but she couldn't talk about that without bringing up her past. Her hands instinctually went to cover the scars on her wrists. "I needed to talk to you about…" She took a deep breath and tucked a stray strand of dark hair behind her ear. "About the men yesterday. How do you deal with that? I can't seem to get their faces out of my head. They were haunting my dreams. How do you get past taking another person's life?" She was trying to hold back the sadness she felt for those men; She was trying to hold back the terror she felt for her soul, likely damned for eternity now; And the girl really thought she was succeeding, but a glimmer of her hopelessness reflected in her eyes. Relic wasn't the same girl anymore. "And I want a better apology for trying to kill me."



Death. That was something that Johnny had contemplated very recently, only days ago in fact as he was only inches from it. At that time, he wanted nothing more than a second chance, a chance to do things different and live. Having woken up in this building he had somehow been given that chance. Yet, as he sat on that bed in the strange room, knowing his 'wife' was coming, he wanted nothing more than to die. It would have been a much better fate than the one he was about to endure now. It was almost ironic, in fact, that Johnny had survived countless near death situations, had fought and killed many, and had basically walked into the mouth of hell itself and back out. During all of those times, he had never been as nervous or admittedly scared as he was now.

Now, many believed that Johnny, perhaps because of his charm, was the type of many who had been with many woman. Loving and leaving them all in a wake of broken hearts. This was the farthest thing from the truth however. Johnny had been with few, largely because he didn't trust anyone; especially women that wanted to 'be' with you in any way. It was hard to blame John for his outlook, he had after all, cut his teeth in the backstreets of New Vegas. He knew all to well what those of the female persuasion did to men they seduced back there. Many lied dead because of lust, or blind love, having far worse injuries than broken hearts. Johnny swore he would never let it happen to him. So from that point on, he would go through life alone.

Up until this point it had been working fine for him. The thought of dying without another person caring about him, or living with an empty home forever, never bothered him. He greatly enjoyed his solitude, he also had his gun with him, and the everpresent company of his lovers; Lady Luck and Death. Thinking about it now though, he had actually lost his guns back in the bar of Megaton. Ok, so he truly was alone now. It still didn't bother him though, what bothered him was the thought of being attached and having someone weigh him down.

Regardless, sitting on the bed and being scared of what was coming was stupid. Johnny had faced deathclaws, raiders, casino thugs, super mutants, and all other manner of beasts both human or not. To be afraid of this was just stupid, yet he couldn't hide what he felt deep down. Either way, he stood up and began getting dressed. Immediately he noticed that his white shirt had several spots of blood and holes in it, obviously things that couldn't be washed or repaired.

There was a knock at the door and Johnny's heart jumped into his throat, "Come in..." He said, far more shakily than he meant to. As the door opened he saw... it was simply the maid again.

"Is everything to your liking? Is there anything I can get?" The woman asked kindly.

"Yes, who bought this room and would it cost me to get a new shirt?" Johnny asked, stepping up from the bed shakily, his legs still feeling a bit weak from being asleep so long.

"Well, your wife of course and yes it would, she bought some as well this morning, I will be brining them shortly."

"Well, in that case." Johnny said with a slightly wry smile, "My shirt is stained and has holes, I would like a new one if possible and a black suit jacket if you have one... Charge them with my wife's things." Johnny said with a slighty grin, "Oh and one more thing, where am I?"

"Well... Tenpenny Tower of course. I will bring the clothes with your wife's in a moment." The woman said, closing the door behind her.

Tenpenny Tower, the name sounded so familiar to him for some reason. If it is the building he was thinking of, then it was some kind of hotel, like a tiny piece of New Vegas in the middle of the wasteland. What was more curious though was the fact that his 'wife' had paid for all of this. So she was wealthy, well, that was a plus. Perhaps now when he killed her he would actually be able to walk away with a bit of caps. Who said marriage was so bad?

After a few moments the maid came back and began laying the clothes out on the bed where Johnny was sitting. Seconds after she walked in, another woman entered the room. Johnny couldn't see her but he heard her speak to the maid. It sounded like... Relic? She said... her husband?! Johnny's mind began reeling back to the last thing he could remember. He had been so drunk when they were fighting out in the wasteland he couldn't remember much. The last memory he had of Relic was... Her walking into the bar in Megaton.Then there were only flashes of memory after that.

What had happened in between then and now? How the hell had he ended up with her? Well, she was good looking but still, this was horrible. She was quite attractive actually, and she apparently had more money than Johnny had realized. Still, the fact he was with her was just really bad. There was also the fact that she was far kinder than any woman he had met before, and likely wouldn't try to kill him while sleeping, on top of being good looking and wealthy. Still, this was kind of bad.

When she sat down beside him and placed her hand on his, his head dropped down to her hand, his jaw open slightly, then back up to her as she spoke. When she said the words "not married" it felt as if the entire world had been lifted off of his shoulders. He was free again, if he wanted to walk out of this room, he could. Oh, how sweet the air had gotten, how bright the room was. With an almost noticeable skip in his step, he stood up and walked over to the clothes the maid had laid down.

"How do I deal with what?" Johnny asked as he stood up, unbuttoning his white shirt, "Surviving?"

Johnny took his shirt off and tossed it aside, revealing his largely scarred torso, then grabbing the new white shirt beside Relic. "It's not that hard, it's kill or be killed out here. If I don't shoot them, they'll shoot me... It's pretty simple." Johnny side, as he began to button up the shirt, leaning against a dresser facing Relic.

"Why? is something bothering you about it?" He already knew the answer, you could practically see the regret in her eyes... It reminded Johnny of the first time he killed someone, took another mans life... it was painful. "I don't think about it much. The first one was... hard, the second one was easier. Perhaps I've become the very monsters I kill, I don't know." Johnny said, for once there was a tinge of regret in his voice.

Though, it all disappeared when Relic spoke again, "Apologize for what? The fact that I saved your life? Three times? Ok, I'm sorry, I won't save you next time." Johnny said with a slightly smug grin as he began to tuck in his shirt.

"What about you? Where exactly are you from that you've never seen death like this or had to kill? I thought everyone had to do that out here." He said, as he stepped over by her again, grabbing his suit jacket.  



An increase in anxiety always accompanied Relic when she opened up to other people. Her heart rate increased, her breath quickened, and she always immediately regretted opening her mouth. And then, to make matter worse, Johnny started stripping in front of her. She averted her gaze to her hands as he tried to explain how he dealt with it, but he didn't explain very well. Just don't think about it, how could she not. Their faces were burned into her retinas. She couldn't just wipe that away.

As he leaned casually against the dresser, Johnny spoke of how it gets easier with time, but she didn't want it to get easier. She should feel an intense pain in her soul for ever single life she took. Relic knew that life would likely get harder from here, she would probably have to kill again, but she didn't want it to become painless. Masochism, that's what her mother would have called it. Relic dug her fingernails into the mattress as she purposely thought about killing those men, testing herself to be sure it still hurt the same amount. It did.

Relic wanted to tell Johnny that he wasn't a monster, hearing his voice laced with regret, but she couldn't bring herself to reassure him. He did leave her to be torn to pieces by the Beast. That wound had yet to heal properly. Yet here she was, sitting in the same room as him, having saved his life several times. What was it about him? Was he so incredibly charming that she just kept coming back? Or was it that she felt she owed him her life? The more she thought the more she realized the question wasn't about him, it was about her. Was she really so incredibly messed up that she would keep coming back to such an untrustworthy person? Relic already knew the answer.

Then he asked about her past and Relic knew it had been a bad idea to open her mouth. She wasn't sure how much she should reveal, how much she wanted to reveal. But most importantly, she didn't know how much information she owed Johnny in the first place. Uncomfortable with the thoughts of her past Relic got off the bed and went to sort through the clothes that she had recently bought. The cotton was warm in her fingers. As she pawed through the clothes in silence, she decided that if that mysterious stranger was sent by The Community Johnny deserved some answers. Or at least half answers.

"I came from a walled in community north-west of here. That's why I haven't really had to deal with the same things you have. Women weren't allowed outside very often. They wanted to protect us." She paused for a moment trying to decide what she wanted to say, and what she wanted to leave out. "I had to leave, for my own safety, and so I came here. That's my story Johnny. Now how about you tell me yours? Why were those men after you in the first place?" She wanted to sound calm, convince him to tell her through kindness, but somehow the inflection came out different. She was aggravated. Sure she wanted to save Johnny's life but maybe if he had just told her what was going on in the first place she could have avoided the damnation that was slaying another. The hypocrisy of her thoughts was lost on Relic.



All the talk of killing and how one eventually got used to the bloodshed, it made Johnny think of his first kill. It was a young age to be killing another human, but in the wasteland, childhood rarely lasts long. Johnny was only seven, maybe eight, yet he could remember the day as if it had only happened just moments ago. The more he thought about it, the more vivid the image became. It haunted him a lot through life, always making him wonder if things would have been different, had he let the man live.

His parents, who were both scavengers, were trying to unlock an door in an abandoned bunker. Johnny was playing with the gun his father had just given him, when he saw a shadow move by his parents. Without hesitation Johnny fired his pistol at the shadow, which promptly groaned and collapsed. His mother rushed to John's side, while his father took out his gun and went to check on what Johnny had shot. It turned a man who had recently been attacked by radscorpions. Later they found out that the man was a member of a gang in New Vegas... The very same gang that killed his mother and father. Johnny could still remember what it felt like to watch the mans life fade from his eyes.

It had been the first time Johnny had ever killed, or watched a man die. The feeling was unexplainable. To see a living breathing person, full of life die was horrifying for a child that young. To see a living person go from being a man, to an object, it is something that can break the soul of even a grown man. To be experienced by a child...

The sound of Relic's voice snapped Johnny back into reality. All of that didn't matter now, it was in the past. Killing was a way of life for him now, and he was damn good at it. That had just been the first kill in a long line of what would practically become his occupation later in life. He quickly tucked in his shirt and began tying his tie as Relic spoke.

As the woman explained where she came from, Johnny paused momentarily. He had heard a lot of strange stories throughout his life. He once heard of a woman who gave birth to a three headed molerat... Actually, that was one of the more believable ones he had heard. Relic's however, was undeniable strange. An entire community that was walled in community that controlled it's women? That... actually sounded a lot like New Vegas. In fact, if by women, Relic meant hookers, it was definitely New Vegas.

"So... You left a walled in, protected community that took care of the women for the safety of the Wasteland?" Johnny asked raising a brow, "Oh yes... that makes perfect sense."


Johnny slipped on his vest as he turned back to Relic, buttoning it up as he spoke, "My story isn't too much different from yours. I had to leave where I was for my own safety, and now I'm here."

He was going to leave it at that, but when he saw the look on her face he let out a soft sigh. What was it about her? No one had ever gotten him to open up about absolutely anything. Yet here he was standing, head fighting with... whatever filled the cavity in his chest, over whether or not to say another word. Whatever filled the cavity in his chest won for unexplainable reasons.

"There are some very powerful people where I come from, they have a lot of money and out here money buys power. I did some things to make them very upset with me, and now here I am, with half of the wasteland wanting my head for a trophy. Not that... most of the wasteland doesn't want a persons head as a trophy anyways." That was unfortunately far more true than it should've been. With all the scum that filled the wasteland, most prized the head of a slain foe.

Suddenly the door to the room opened without warning, it was a very sharply dressed man with a bowler hat, "Sorry to intrude.... But Mr. Tenpenny requests your presence in his suite for dinner in thirty minutes. Arrive promptly." Without another word he seemingly disappeared.

Johnny moved to the door and glanced out into the hall, but it was completely empty, he turned back to Relic, "Well... That was creepy. So, I guess you need to get changed, honey dearest." Johnny said, folding his arms and leaning against the wall, watching her as if waiting for her to strip and change. After a few moments he grinned, "What? We are married... Alright, I'll wait in the hall. It is sad how quickly the flame of lust left this relationship." he asked with an air of disappointment before giving a wink and leaving the room.

As soon as he closed the door behind him and turned around he walked over to what looked like a small bar in the hallway and began digging for a drink. After a few moments he realized... he would much rather have water than whiskey. It was the strangest sensation in the world, but he grabbed a small bottle of purified water and leaned against the bar, waiting for Relic.

After a few moments, a woman came around the corner and walked directly up to Johnny. She was wearing a red dress with a plunging neckline, the faded red dress matched her fiery red hair. She was quite attractive, there was no doubt about it. Johnny had seen the look she had in her eyes many times before, from woman around New Vegas.

"Johnny Cadillac I presume? I've heard the name being whispered around the tower. It's not often Tenpenny invites someone to his suit, and rumors spread quickly around such a small sanctuary." She said, leaning closer to him to grab a drink from the bar.

"Yes well, I seem to cause waves wherever I go... It's nice to have those waves not be full of bullets for once." He said, sipping his water, which for the first time, he preferred the taste of over whiskey... he couldn't understand why though.

The woman smiled, her devilish red lips curling into a seductive grin, "Yes, well to be honest. This tower is lacking in men of your... stature." She said, looking him up and down like she was eying a piece of candy.

"Well, I've never considered myself very tall." Johnny said with a wry smile, he knew what she really meant.

"Who said I was talking about your height? What I meant was, I bet you are quite skilled with your firearm."

"I'll assume you are talking about my skill with a gun." Johnny said, raising a brow.

"Assume away..." She said, taking a sip from his drink.

Even though Johnny wasn't actually married, something about this felt awkward and made him glance toward Relic's room. What was wrong with him? Did he actually... No, Relic was an annoyance, nothing more. Yet, there he was waiting for her to come and strangely thinking about her while talking to this woman... What was wrong with him? Perhaps he did need a whiskey.  



Relic realized as the words exited her mouth that she had already given him this explanation of where she was from, almost word for word. It was when they had first met. Perhaps she had it so reheared that the words were simply ingrained into her head, and it was the only way she could reply. Maybe she should work on that, if she actually wanted to.

She smiled when Johnny asked why she'd leave if they took care of their women. It was such a complicated answer, one she wasn't sure how to address. They weren't exactly taken care of so much as kept prisoner, but she hadn't realized this until it was too late. Relic wished she could have rescued some of the other brainwashed women, but it was too late to think about such things.

Johnny told part of his story. There were powerful people, he did something to make them mad, and he was now being hunted for that. It was vague and she simply sighed at how little they trusted each other. Of course her mistrust was sound, and she had the distinct impression that Johnny didn't trust anyone. Or maybe the vague explanation was his way of showing trust. But what she did get out of his story was that he was probably the one in the wrong here. Perhaps she had killed innocent men.

Their conversation was interrupted though by none other than the man in the bowler hat, barging in and ordering them to dinner. His sudden appearance in the place s he had gone to escape him made Relic uneasy. She hated to admit it, but he scared her. The fact that he had some sort of authority in this place made it all the worse. And then there was this Tenpenny person. He must be dreadfully important to own a whole tower but then why did he want to see them. Relic had a sneaking suspicion it had to do with her past. Maybe it had something to do with Johnny too. She just hoped it hadn't been a mistake to come here, thought they likely would have died in the wilderness otherwise.

The man left abruptly and Relic was too lost in thought to acknowledge Johnny's comment. That is until he said something about changing in front of him while leaning expectantly against the wall, that snapped her back to reality. He had a smug grin on his face.

"Um…" Relic was at a loss for words, her face grew hot and read with embarrassment. Did he really expect her to strip? Because if that was the case he was sadly mistaken. She eyed him cautiously and he shrugged at her.

"It is sad how quickly the flame of lust left this relationship." He said with a wink before leaving her to her privacy. It was a jest. Relic felt silly about her embarrassment but laughed at the joke.

She rifled through the pile of clothes laid out for her and found most of them to be dresses. It wasn't exactly that she hated dresses, having been "encouraged" to wear them most of the time back home, but they simply weren't practical. Relic assumed that most people in this tower weren't worried about practicality and if she wanted to blend in she needed to look the part.

Relic grabbed a dark blue cotton dress that matched her eyes. She pulled off her clothes before pulling the thing over her head and down onto her body. The soft, warm cotton felt nice on her skin compared to her old clothing. The dress fit tight on her torso and flared out slightly at the hips, ending just below the knees. She buckled the built-in fabric belt at her waist and quickly went to the mirror to see how she looked. It was a definite improvement from the bloody and bruised woman who showed up here. She grabbed some shoes the maid had left, and slipped them onto her feet. They were white and slightly more feminine then the boots she typically wore.

Finally, Relic brushed through her long dark hair and braided it down her back before piling it up onto her head. It was a hairdo her mother used to do often but Relic lacked the same flair from cosmetology her mom had. It looked decent enough, like she had actually put effort into her appearance, and that's all she really cared about.

The dress top showed off a bit of cleavage that Relic wasn't used to showing but she had seen the way most women dressed around the place. Dresses that were slit up to the thigh, plunging neck lines, slightly see-though. The majority were practically naked. So the dress she wore was modest in comparison. She looked at the other clothes. They all were. The made was a good judge of character it seemed.

All around and looking quite pretty, Relic couldn't leave the room yet. She knew that whatever this was between her and Johnny it had to end soon. She grabbed her backpack and stuffed it with her pants, shirt and other clothes, thinking about what to do while she did. She could always try to find the Graduated members of the community, maybe they'd let her live with them. Eden shouldn't be that hard to find. She just wished they had more connection to the community then a few letters once they left, maybe then it would be easier to figure out where it was.

She left the room to find Johnny wasn't in the hallway so she headed for the one place she knew she would fine Johnny. The bar. It was a lot nicer then the bar in Megaton. Bartender looked nicer, walls were decorated nicely, bottles weren't dusty, and the clientele were… Relic's eyes stopped on a Redhead sitting very close to Johnny. Her clothes were tight, and hugged her in all the right ways. She was busty, with a neckline that plunged almost to her naval. Probably the most beautiful woman that Relic had seen. She suddenly felt very silly in her dark blue dress. She also felt…territorial. How dare this woman hit on her pretend husband. It was absolutely reprehensible. Relic wanted to make that woman feel the same way, hot blood flooding her face, breath raged. She wanted her to feel silly in her ridiculous excuse for a dress.

Relic approached the bar. She sat down on the stool next to Johnny, touching his shoulder lightly to get his attention.

"Hey. So, I'm all dressed." She eyed the woman in red with suspicion. Relic saw that she didn't feel threatened at all. She settled down in her seat and waited, taking a gulp or two of her drink. The brunette's face flushed. "So… um…. Thank you, by the way, for rescuing me." She shook her head in exasperation. This wasn't proving she was better than that woman at all. What she needed was to be sultry, exude charm like Johnny does. She put a hand on his arm. "Have I ever told you how much I like your mustache… it really suits your face." The redhead chortled a bit into her drink. Relic blushed but continued. " I mean… I'm sorry that's not what I meant. Your suit… I didn't notice it before but its actually quite tight. How do you fight so well in the Wasteland with it?" What was she saying? Relic had read many stories, some with romance in them but they never mentioned how hard it was to flirt. The redhead was laughing loudly, waiting for Relic to lose interest and leave Johnny alone. She felt her face, it was extremely hot.

Why was she doing this anyway? She didn't even like Johnny.

"Um… I'll…. I'll meet you up there okay. Bye Johnny." She stumbled slightly getting off her chair and walked off quickly, shaking her head at her own stupidity. What was she thinking? Jealousy, that must be it, simple jealousy. She saw that woman with her traveling companion and naturally felt intimidated. She was afraid of him leaving her, that was it. Simple friendly jealousy, afraid of losing her friend. That thought made her pause mid step.

"My friend?" The thought was foreign to her. Relic wasn't sure what to think. She pushed it from her mind and took the stairs two steps at a time. She couldn't think about that right now, she need to figure out who this bowler hat guy was.



Attraction was something that happened between a normal man and woman... or between any two people who realized they liked being around each other. It was a natural feeling and something nobody could resist, but that doesn't mean everyone has felt it. Johnny for instance being one of the lucky few that had been exempt from that emotion for his entire life up to this point. Sure, he had been attracted to certain things, like money and his guns. However, another person was something very new.

Though, the fact that these thoughts were going through his head was just foolish. He had barely met the girl, he wasn't attracted to her. He wasn't attracted to anyone. Yet, she was quite different from any person he had ever met before. Then there was the fact that she was quite attractive, he had seen women who were staggeringly beautiful but there was just something abou... No, he wasn't attracted to her. She was just unique and he was a curious individual was all. Yet, there he was with a beautiful woman in front of him and he was fighting himself in his head about Relic.

The red head leaned a little closer to Johnny, "You know, I've always wanted to learn how to properly handle a gun... Perhaps you could show me?" She said, her red lips were very close to Johnny, it would have been obvious to a blind man what she wanted.

"I hate to dash your dreams of a private lesson, but I only unholster my guns for my wife." What the hell did he just say? Was he really being committed to a relationship that didn't exist?

The red head smiled her devilish smile again, "Oh come now Mr.Cadillac... I know that isn't really your wife."

For perhaps the first time in a very very very long time, likely since he had been but a child, Johnny was at a loss for words. His mind and... again whatever filled that black hole in his chest, were fighting with each other. They were fighting so hard that Johnny couldn't figure out what to say. Thankfully, before the pause in his speech got so long that it was awkward, a break came.

The voice of Relic caused both Johnny and the red head to turn at the interruption, Johnny almost had to glance around to the room to see where Relic was. Then it donned on him, the woman in the blue dress in front of him WAS Relic. Johnny could feel his jaw drop slightly. All the blood on her was gone, her skin clean, her hair was done nice and that dress.

"No problem." Johnny breathed out when Relic thanked him for saving her, he still could not believe this was the same Relic. She didn't even look like the same woman it was... quite impressive actually.

Suddenly he snapped back into reality as if somebody had slapped him. He closed his jaw and his demeanor became calm and collected again. Though he couldn't help but raise a brow when Relic began talking again. His... Mustache? He slowly glanced between the red head who seemed to be enjoying something, and Relic whose face was turning several shades of red very quickly. His eyes slowly fell to her hand as she laid it on his arm. Why was she touching him?

His brow raised even higher when she mentioned his tight suit. Was she saying he was fat, "Uh, thanks? It's, custom made so... It's like a second skin, I guess." Johnny said awkwardly, he did love his suit but it just seemed like an odd thing to say. He was honestly very confused by this point.

Then as the flustered Relic began walking away it hit him, she was flirting. Well, actually she was trying to flirt and failing horribly but she was trying. That meant she liked him, why he cared about that fact was beyond him but suddenly, the red head was of no interest to him as he admired the form of Relic as she left. It was ironic really, she was trying so desperately hard to get his attention, when only days ago he had used her to save his own life... several times. Since when was he one to try to make logic of things though?

"So, now that all of that is out of the way, shall w-" The woman was interrupted as Johnny stood up.

"Sorry, I have a date, I mean, I have an appointment with Tenpenny." Johnn said, downing the last of his drink and following after Relic.

Her blue dress barely disappeared out of sight as she startated going up the stairs to Tenpenny's suite. Johnny finally caught up with her just as they were about to reach the door that lead to the top of their tower. Without warning, or making his presence known, he slipped his arm around her waist and opened the door into the top of the tower.

"What? We're supposed to be a married couple, right?" Johnny said with a slight wink.

The small room was filled with doors, private suits Johnny assumed, but at the front of the room were two large doors. Doors that he assumed lead to Tenpenny's suit, the two guards at the door confirmed this idea. The two guards turned to Johnny and Relic, then nodded, and opened the door for them, though neither one spoke. It was slightly creepy, but he walked through the door, arm still around Relic, as the door closed behind them. One of the guards entered with the two, leading them through the suit. The foyer they were standing in now was lavish, obviously filled with the best furnishings that were left in the Wasteland and that caps could buy.

"So, what exactly do you like about my mustache?" Johnny whispered to Relic as he followed the guard. He had no idea why he was even putting up with Relic, she had been nothing but an annoyance so far, but something drew him to her. She had served her purpose so far though, saving his life several times. So regardless of what happened next, he knew he could use her again if worse came to worse with whatever this Tenpenny man wanted. The question that was nagging at the back of his mind though, was would he be willing to use her like that now?  



Relic tried unsuccessfully to shake her humiliation. She didn't understand why she stumbled over her words so much when Johnny made it seems so easy. And the damn woman in the red dress, oh how she wanted to choke the life out of her.

She felt an arm encircle her waist and was about to elbow whoever it was in the side when she turned to see Johnny's smiling face. Something about the fact that he had chased after her made Relic smile back, and although she was uncomfortable with him touching her, she also kind of liked him being so close. And he was right; they were supposed to be married after all.

They pushed through the double doors and Relic was immediately overwhelmed. She had thought the lobby was beautiful but that was nothing compared to the top floor. Glittering chandeliers adorned the ceiling and rich carpets covered the floors. Unlike the majority of the wasteland, which smelled like dead things and sweat, up here it smelled sweet. The woodwork was ornate and Relic couldn't help but run her hands over it in awe. No wonder it took so much money to get into the place, this was clearly paradise.

"So, what exactly do you like about my mustache?"

Relic was pulled back to reality as she felt Johnny breath on her ear. Redness spread from that place on her ear to the rest of her face, like fire through paper. So Johnny had realized that it was odd as well. If only she could go back in time and erase the grievous mistake of opening her mouth.

" I…. I'm not sure what got into me." This wasn't entirely true though. She waited have a breath before speaking again. "Well, actually I do. You did. Somehow you got into my head. So… yes I like your mustache and I'm not sure why I like it so if we could just never ever speak of that whole thing again I will be the happiest girl in the wasteland."

They walked along for a second, Relic busy thinking about why she actually did like his mustache when her mind caught on something. He had left the redhead for her. That woman was clearly interested in him, and yet he had left her alone in the bar to chase after the brunette who had just make a fool of herself. This was a quandary.

"Hey Johnny?" Her question was interrupted by a blonde servant who directed them down the hall and to the left.

"Mr. Tenpenny is running a bit late. Please have a seat in the dining room, he will be there shortly." The man said with his slight voice. He left them and returned to his post. They followed his instruction, walking through ornate oaken doors into the grand dining room, which was far more attractive than the one the guests used. Relic and Johnny could have laid down, head to toe on the table and they wouldn't be able to reach the end. She wondered to herself why they'd be eating at such a grand place.

"Johnny… why didn't you go after that woman? She liked you." Relic asked as they sat down next to each other. Before he could respond the doors on the opposite end of the hall exploded open and in walked the bowler hat man. He looked gruff and serious. His eyes went directly to the brunette, and he smiled at her, but not in the kind of reassuring way that Johnny smiled. It wasn't the way that calmed her nerves, but made them worse. This wasn't going to be a friendly dinner after all. She grabbed Johnny's hand in hers, scared at that moment of both her past and her future.
Next Chapter: [link]

Last Chapter: [link]




This is a fallout fanfic written by myself and the wonderful, talented, gorgeous, and amazing :icondragonavicious:



The characters and story of this are original and owned by their respective owners. Meaning myself and :icondragonavicious:

The fallout boy, fallout logo, and fallout universe are registered to Bethesda Softworks.
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:iconmre1967:
Pretty cool how we are getting more insight on Relic and Johnny’s past.

I did notice an inconsistency in the passage of time though but its something easily missed.
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:iconamintyfreshness:
Yes, these next few chapters should shed quite a bit of light on their past. Though, in both of their cases, some things are better left forgotten haha.

Yeah, there have been a few inconsistencies that we noticed rereading through them recently. What is the inconsistency you found, though?
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:iconmre1967:
I was pretty cool to see Johnny as such a cold hearted person. You got a sense that he was dangerous due to his past but to see him this way with that family in the desert was on a whole different level.

Relic’s past is still a bit fuzzy but more is coming out in little teaser bits. Which is good since not knowing about her past is and this place she is from just adds more mystery to her character.

Going by Chapter 5 Relic and Johnny likely arrive early that morning or late at night at Tenpenny Tower. Then in Chapter 6 it mentions that “The first twenty four hours that Relic spent in Tenpenny Tower was spent in one of their hospital beds.” followed by “So she stayed at his side for almost a full day, waiting for him to wake.”. Its not completely clear if she sat by his bed the same day or if it was after first 24 hours getting medical treatment since it also mentions “..early morning on the second day..” shortly afterwards.

However the key point was when she was asking Johnny "I needed to talk to you about…" She took a deep breath and tucked a stray strand of dark hair behind her ear. "About the men yesterday…” that took place on their second day in Tenpenny Tower. Going by her statement that “yesterday” would have been the day they arrived at Tenpenny right? A quick fix would have been to her say “About the men at Megaton”
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:iconamintyfreshness:
Haha, well thank you. I don't want to say too much, but what he did to that family is minor compared to other things. I'm glad you enjoyed it though.

Relic is very interesting. I myself am always eager to read about her, she is a very mysterious and interesting character. She has a much deeper past than she lets on about.

Wow, I didn't even notice that one, very good eye and thank you for pointing that out. It is a tad bit confusing, I'll be sure rememedy that when I have a chance. Thank you for pointing it out.
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:iconmre1967:
Your welcome.

The two of them are very unique that’s for sure. Both have a cool back story that is just waiting to be told sooner or later whether or not they like it or not. Its kind of like playing Fallout 3 or New Vegas with a good gal character fresh out of a vault that teams up with a evil like guy. That’s what make them great to read about.
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:iconamintyfreshness:
That is actually what I really like with what's going on, even though neither one of them really wants it to get out, both of their stories are getting told. You know, that is actually a really good perspective of it haha. I personally think Relic is quite a bit more interesting than Johnny though, she is a very mysterious person and is incredibly realistic. I'm am incredibly happy you are liking these stories and characters though, it means a lot to myself and Scarlett as well.
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:icondragonavicious:
Dragonavicious Feb 27, 2011  Student Digital Artist
What was the inconsistency? Don't be scared to point that out to us because I know there are quite a few.
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:iconmre1967:
Going by Chapter 5 Relic and Johnny likely arrive early that morning or late at night at Tenpenny Tower. Then in Chapter 6 it mentions that “The first twenty four hours that Relic spent in Tenpenny Tower was spent in one of their hospital beds.” followed by “So she stayed at his side for almost a full day, waiting for him to wake.”. Its not completely clear if she sat by his bed the same day or if it was after first 24 hours getting medical treatment since it also mentions “..early morning on the second day..” shortly afterwards.

However the key point was when she was asking Johnny "I needed to talk to you about…" She took a deep breath and tucked a stray strand of dark hair behind her ear. "About the men yesterday…” that took place on their second day in Tenpenny Tower. Going by her statement that “yesterday” would have been the day they arrived at Tenpenny right? A quick fix would have been to her say “About the men at Megaton”
Reply
:icondragonavicious:
Dragonavicious Feb 27, 2011  Student Digital Artist
You are right that makes no sense. They get to the tower at dark, then there is a day or two in the hospital, then she sleeps for two days straight. So thats like four days.

Yeah yesterday doesn't work. I'd like to blame it on where she came from but I think that excuse probably won't work here.

I'll ask Minty to fix it, and thanks for the heads up.
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:iconmre1967:
Your welcome.

The four days now even sounds more believable for Johnny to heal up a bit from as well.

Since I’m kind of working on a few stories of my own I’ve been paying more attention to some of the written works submitted from people or groups I watch to pick up on a few things. So its kind of a learning thing for me as well.
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