He remembers being shot, twice, and blacking out. The next thing he can remember is a fuzzy darkness, pushing against the earth and feeling cold air on his fingertips before losing consciousness again. Now, it took him a minute to process the dim lighting and the elderly man’s voice. I'm alive. My name, he wants my name. What was it again? Mar- Marcus. I'm Marcus. “It's Marcus.”
“Huh,” the older man says. “Not what I would have named you, but if that's your name-”
The hell does that mean? Marcus looked down, seeing that he was stripped to undergarments. His binder was removed, exposing small breasts. Shit fucking, fuck! “Don’t you dare tell anyone!”
The man, apparently a doctor, put his hands up in small surrender. “All right, Marcus. I got some dressings you can use to hide those. Hope you don't mind my digging around your head. Had to pick out all the shrapnel.”
Doc Mitchell gave Marcus some medical supplies after clearing him to leave. He had an old vault suit that belonged to his wife, his own was too big for Marcus’s small frame.
Sunny Smiles made sure Marcus could defend himself. As he fired the varmint rifle at the bottles, he remembered the days in his childhood, teaching himself to shoot. He even remembered before then, how he preferred melee combat. As a kid he would carve wooden swords with his best friend and spar in the field. Victor, that was his best friend’s name. Before Marcus ran away from Arizona, he was always told not to play like the boys. Soon, Victor was going to leave and promised to come back in adulthood and marry him. All a woman could do there was hope to a treasured wife. Marcus hated that, he never felt right as ‘Mara’ and felt betrayed by Victor’s submission to their society's norms. Only the boys were allowed to learn Latin, yet Victor once taught him as well in secret. At least he didn't tell anyone when Marcus spat in his face and called him a damned fox. It was the last time they saw each other.
“Everything okay?” Marcus was brought back to reality by Sunny. He was here in the Mojave, shaking hands gripping the varmint rifle and tears threatening to spill.
He exhaled and told her, “I'm still remembering who I am.” She nodded and didn't press further.
Shortly after leaving Primm, Marcus discovered that the Legion had expanded and now sought after the Mojave. He remembered he was doing courier work to get money for passage into California. Now he wasn't sure the NCR could keep the Legion out forever. Maybe after finding this checker suit bastard he would go east.
One of the NCR rangers asked him to investigate Nipton. There was smoke, possibly raiders or fiends. He hoped it wasn't because of Caesar. But as he approached the town, his fears were confirmed. A powder ganger ran up to him, ecstatic over winning a lottery. It made his blood boil, so Marcus shot the man as he ran on to freedom. He wasn't sure why, but he felt the man deserved the same fate as the others in Nipton.
Inside Nipton, Marcus was approached by a frumentarii of all people. This legionnaire with the wolf pelt hood told him of Nipton’s corruption. Marcus, appalled by the mayor's actions, found himself musing how the town got what it deserved. The legionnaires left, and now he felt disgusted with himself. These were the ideals and people he escaped Arizona to be rid of.
After informing Ranger Ghost of Nipton’s fate, Marcus went to the gas station to scavenge. He found a journal, apparently written by the late mayor of Nipton. Marcus was most bothered by the mention of the frumentarii. He had introduced himself as ‘Mr. Fox’ which reminded Marcus of his last words to Victor. What happened to Victor? Did he really join the Legion after all? What if- no, I survived two bullets to the head. I can't be that unlucky.
Vulpes and his men waited out the night in an abandoned trailer. He kept watch as the legionnaires slept, as he found himself thinking back to the courier. The courier was a small man with almost feminine features, which particularly stood out with their eyes. Those eyes reminded him of someone, he couldn't quite place whom as he usually suppressed memories of his life before the Legion. Vulpes had spent most of the hour contemplating whether to review those memories, or to keep them locked away. He could not regard his childhood with fondness, not since he learned of Mara’s death. He’d chosen his new name in her memory, but that was all he would allow himself to have from that time. Even remembering her face would be too much. Well, I just opened that can of worms I suppose.
And that’s when it hit him. That courier looked so much like Mara. Same eyes, soft features, it was a cruel coincidence. And the courier even showed fondness to the idealism of Caesar's Legion. Perhaps the courier could become an ally? Or would his likeness to Mara cause Vulpes to become distracted?
Either way, it was apparent that this man was the same courier said to have been found in Goodsprings with an inch of his life. He heard of this news on Radio New Vegas, which he frequented often for leads and outside intel. The courier was on a revenge quest, having been robbed during a delivery on behalf of the mysterious Mr. House. Caesar had ordered the frumentarii to keep ears out for a platinum chip, which was associated with the pre-world bunker below the Fort. There was a decent chance the courier was carrying that very chip. Once back at the Fort, Vulpes would have to pass this along to Caesar.
Marcus had made it to Boulder city, solved the hostage situation between the NCR and the Khans, and gathered a new lead on his attacker. Benny Gecko of the Tops was his target. He'd give the bastard hell, make sure no one found the body, and keep heading east. Yep, sounds like a plan. Marcus laid back on the dirty cot, content despite the exhausting journey he was on. Probably because it was almost over, fucking finally. He fell asleep easily to the sound of distant coyotes on the hunt, and the crackling of the dying fire.
They lived in a small farming community, where they worked as security. Raiders were always coming by, making threats to try and get free food supply. They seldom left with their lives. Marcus was efficient in long and close range, while Victor would wait for the moment to strike as enemies drew near. They were a perfect team. Reports of suspicious activity nearby sent them scouting about. Just vagrants, plotting a heist on the town's shipments of mutfruit.
Back at the house they readied for bed. Marcus shivered under the worn blankets. “Cold, my love?” He nodded as Victor joined him. Then his calloused hands dipped dangerously low. “I'll have to warm you up, then,” Victor whispered, ice blue eyes focused on his own. Marcus felt heat building in his core as his lover worked him. It wasn't long before he peaked, and he then spilled over. It felt divine, like he was falling. Falling hard and fast so unexpectedly, he actually felt queasy? And then he hit something hard with a thud-
His shoulder crashed into the concrete floor. “Son of a bitch,” Marcus groaned. He forced his eyes open to the morning light spilling from the broken windows. It seemed he fell off the cot in the middle of that dream. Which was new, as he usually dreamed of his childhood when Victor was there. It's not like he's ever seen Victor in adulthood, therefore didn't really have a visual reference for sex dreams. Those eyes at least were the same.
Getting to New Vegas was really strange. Marcus ended up in the Lucky 38, speaking to his apparent employer for the failed delivery. At least House didn't care if he killed Benny. He certainly was going to enjoy that.
Until Benny booked it, that is. Marcus was in the penthouse suite, furious at having missed the opportunity. He made for the bar and smashed every bottle sitting out on the counter. He always loathed alcohol. Only because he grew up in Legion territory. But it was so ingrained and who would want to allow themselves into such a vulnerable state like that?
Marcus stormed out of the Tops, almost crashing into the man approaching him. Thankfully he stumbled back just in time to avoid physical contact. Marcus didn't really look at him, but he was on edge and definitely not prepared to help anyone today. “The hell do you want?”
The man, wearing a suit and hat, just stared him down with intense blue eyes. “Courier, Marcus, right? I have news that may lighten your foul mood.”
Shit, that voice. “You- you're the frumentarii from Nipton.”
The man’s eyes widened just a bit, but otherwise was unfazed. “I'm surprised you know what a frumentarii is, let alone that I am one.” Fuck, did I just give myself away? “Regardless, you've been after the Tops chairman, Benny. We know where he is headed. And it suits both our interests.”
“Keep talking,” Marcus said, deciding it best to speak as little as possible while he processed the appearance of the frumentarii. He tried to focus anywhere but the eyes, afraid of what they would reveal.
“There is an old-world bunker beneath our Fort, which we believe that chip is the key to. Benny will attempt to sneak into our camp and infiltrate this bunker. He will fail, and we will keep him prisoner for you to decide his fate.”
Marcus thought on that for a moment, as he was also preoccupied with coming to terms that he knew this frumentarii. As long as he doesn’t figure out who I am. “And I take it Caesar wants what is inside this bunker? I help him get it in exchange for finally getting rid of Benny?”
“Not quite,” the Legionnaire said. “Caesar wants this bunker destroyed, though it is merely an audience with you he seeks. Whether or not you carry out that task is up to him.”
“And why does he want to see me?”
“You have been stirring up much in the Mojave, Marcus. Some of us, myself included, see you as a possible ally.” How the tables have turned, Victor. “So unless you have more pressing matters at the moment, you can come with me to Cottonwood Cove.”
Oh joy. It took amazing self control for Marcus to not roll his eyes. He really did want to be finished with Benny, though. “Alright, I just need to grab some things from the Lucky 38. By the way, what should I call you? I highly doubt ‘Mr. Fox’ is your name.”
“My name is Vulpes. Vulpes Inculta.” He leaned back against the Tops building. “I will wait for you here, Marcus.”
“Of course you went with that,” Marcus muttered as he walked away.