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Heart of Steel Turned Gold

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Arthur:

I didn't need a woman. Okay, no, that's not entirely true. I wanted one definitely. I just never felt the need. Being the Elder of the Eastern Branch of the Brotherhood of Steel never left me with time to myself. So I suppose it's no surprise that I'm still a virgin. I mean, I definitely knew what to do. I've read plenty of pre-war magazines about that stuff and I knew what women looked like naked but I'd be damned if I claimed to know this from experience. The only time I got even remotely close to being with a woman, my mind completely blanked and I told her to leave. I was now organizing my files without really thinking about them because I've rearranged them again today for the hundredth time. My entire life I believed I didn't need a woman, regardless of what the Citidel tried to press into my brain. I shoved my papers into the cabinet a little more harshly than intended. That is, I thought I wouldn't ever need a woman in my life. But ever since the day that hazel eyed vault dweller stepped into the flight deck, I've felt more my age than ever before. Commanding an army of soldiers ages you. And this girl made me feel like a child. A complete and utter child. I couldn't even look at her when she came to report her missions to me. My back was always turned to her.
"Elder"
Oh damn, damn, calm down. Play it cool.
That voice I could recognize in a heartbeat. I cleared my throat, hoping to sound like myself, which always failed when she was present.
"Yes Knight?"
"I just came to report that the mission Proctor Quinlan assigned me was a success. Paladin Danse stayed behind to secure the package."
Stay cool. Stay... staY COOL Arthur dammit.
"Great work knight."
I couldn't say anything else. I tried forming the words in my head when she cut off my train of thought.
"A question, if I may sir?"
Honestly didn't see that coming.
"Yes knight?"
Apparently those were the only 2 words I knew how to say.
"A...personal question, if I may, sir?"
It didn't feel right, but I kept my back to her.
"What seems to be on your mind, knight?"
"I was just...wondering..."
She seemed to be looking for the right words.
"Why don't you ever look me in the eye?"
I froze. What was I supposed to say?


Because I find you attractive and you make me nervous?
Because your eyes make me feel like a typical helpless teenager?
Because I get lost in those dark honey and forest green hazel eyes of yours and don't want to be found?
Because I'm afraid that love at first sight is real?


I let out a shaky breath hoping she could hear it.
"Dismissed knight"
Silence followed. Finally...
"Yes sir, Elder"
I turned around after her back was turned to me. I wanted to reach out or tell her to come back to me. To give her a warm hug and let her know it's not her that it's my stupidly horny self. Instead I adjusted my battle coat at the growing tent in my jumpsuit at the sight of that marvelous ass walking away from my reach.
Jesus Arthur, can't get any more immature than that, can you?

Chapter Text

Arthur: Ok I now understand my issue. It's been an issue for me since I was a kid. I was a romantic. I always hoped to find the perfect girl for me, not interested in my name or my position in the Brotherhood, but... well, someone who just, loved me for who I was. I wanted to wake up every morning to feather kisses from my wife all over my face. I wanted someone I could wrap my arms around when we were sleeping. Someone who's kiss me before every meeting. I wanted someone who'd kiss my forehead and hold me whenever I felt stressed out or sad. I wanted someone I could call mine, and someone who claimed me as theirs.

I slumped into my chair and threw my head back at the ceiling.

"God, Arthur, you are one pathetic, romantic bastard, aren't you?" I mumbled.

"Ahem, Elder?"

Damn. Didn't even check to see if my door was closed before I started muttering to myself like an idiot.

Way to go Arthur. Way. To. Go.

The voice belonged to Kells. I whipped around in my chair to face him. 

"Yes, Lancer? What's the problem?"

There was always a problem.

"Our energy levels are running at a 67% capacity, Elder. I spoke with Proctor Ingram and it seems that a few more fusion cores would greatly benefit us."

"Very well, can we send a few scouts out to retrieve as many fusion cores as possible."

"I suggest we send Paladin Danse and Knight Storm. Those two are quite the power couple."

My body went rigid. Couple? They were a couple? I mean... I suppose they were closer in age. Besides... what would a 26 year old want with me? I mean I barely made it out of my teen years alive. And that wasn't an exaggeration. 

"Y-yes Kells"

Dammit don't stutter, you idiot.

"Ahem, yes, I agree, sending those two would be beneficial."

"I'll send the two of them up to you once I assign them the task."

"Very well Kells, dismissed. Ad Victorium."

"Ad Victorium Elder"

Great. Now she was going to come to see me and I had to... no, I couldn't look at her. No. What was I so afraid of? I just had to look at her. I wasn't asking her to take my virginity. Well, yet. Just... look at her. It'll be fine. Right?

"Elder?" I turned around.

I was wrong. So, totally, completely wrong.

Her eyes were gorgeous. Hazel. Dark honey near the iris and forest green on the outside. I found my mind wandering everywhere at once. 

I wonder what her eyes would look like in the morning light of my quarters. 

She looked a little downcast but the moment she realized I was facing her, her face melted into a smile.

Oh Lord, sweet baby Jesus, have mercy on my soul.

I gritted my teeth. Her smile was contagious.

My eyes wandered down to her lips. I wondered how they would feel on my own. How they would trail kisses down my jaw and neck to my chest. How would they look around wrapped around the head of my-

"Hello Elder Maxson" she was still smiling.

I snapped back to reality. Did she see my staring at her mouth. Hell, as long as she kept her eyes on my face and not on the product of my fantasies between my legs. 

"Kells has filled you in on your assignment, correct?"

She didn't answer for a moment. 

Holy Shit.

Now she was staring at my lips. 

I let her stare. Why the hell wouldn't I? I wanted her to like me. Definitely. I took the opportunity to let my eyes wander to her neck and collar bone. I wanted to kiss and nibble at it. Maybe leave a few love marks. Nothing too rough though. Before I went to the point of no return, I snapped by eyes back up to hers. I swallowed hard.

"Knight"

Wait a minute, what were we even talking about?

Her eyes blinked up at me. They widened and her face flushed at the cheeks. She looked so adorable.

Yep, cause that's gonna help with my growing erection. Look at little more attractive, will you? 

"I... uh, y-yes... Sir?"

I hoped to God I didn't say that out loud.

No, I didn't. She felt bad cause I caught her staring at me.

I didn't blame her because I had no idea what we were just talking about either. Should I just let her sit here awkwardly or should I spare her?

Nah

"Is there something you've got your mind on Knight?"

Her face flushed even more. What a cutie.

"I...uh. No? Yeah, no. No... Sir. I didn't... I wasn't. I've just gotta.... a lot on my mind... sir. Elder." Her eyes went to the floor.

"Very well, Knight, dismissed."

Was I even supposed to dismiss her yet? 

Doesn't matter. 

She left quickly, hitting her shoulder on the doorway because she turned right too quickly. I let out a soft chuckle.

She liked me.

Thank God, she liked me.

Chapter Text

Arthur:

"Close the door Danse"

Danse looked at me slightly startled but did it regardless.

"Alright Arthur, what's up."

I fiddled with the pen I decided was all of a sudden very interesting.

"I just wanted to talk to you Henry, is that such a crime?"

He narrowed his eyes at me.

"Okay, what do you want?"

Jesus is it that obvious?

"Alright, you got me. I wanted to discuss the details of your mission."

"Ahh. Esmeralda, then."

I felt myself shrink in my chair.

"Yeah. Esmeralda."

I swallowed past the lump in my throat.

"Kells said the two of you were quite the, uh, power couple."

Danse raised an eyebrow. Then his face melted into a smile, I've only seen a couple of times in my life.

"You're jealous aren't you?"

I looked down to try and hide the blush taking over my face.

"I just... wanted... ugh, I'm, uh... happy for you two."

It was Danse's turn for his face to change color. Only the color in his face seemed to drain.

"No! No, I mean, we're definitely not... No. We're not a couple, Arthur. Lucky for you." He added that last part with a wink.

"Okay, so maybe I've developed a little crush."

Silence came over the room. I wondered if he understood what I was asking him, so I didn't actually have to say it out loud.

"So you want me to help you out? Ask if she likes you."

"I'm pretty sure she likes me" At least I hope to God she did.

"I just want you to find out if she likes me, or my name."

Danse furrowed his brows.

"She isn't a typical Commonwealth woman, I doubt that's of any importance to her."

I opened my mouth to disagree when he cut me off.

"Besides, you really think she's gonna wanna talk to me, her commanding officer, about her feelings towards you, my commanding officer?"

"Come on, Henry, you spend more time with her than I do."

"Because we're a good team, and you make us go on missions together. If you want to hang out with her before we embark, she's usually at the mess hall doing some kind of stand up comedy to the soldiers. If not, she'd be in the power armor station. But she's only there late when most everyone else is sleeping. Usually she's talking to Ingram."

"Ingram?"

"Yeah, those two talk pretty often. If anything, you should ask Ingram to talk to her."

Before I could express any sort of gratitude, Henry cut me off... again.

"Or better yet, go talk to her yourself. Find out yourself if she likes you."

God, no.

"No. Not after the...ahem, interesting meeting we had just before you came in."

"Do I want to know?"

"Probably not."

"Alright then, I won't ask. But you better go and familiarize yourself with her."

Danse got up from his chair and walked out of my quarters, leaving me alone again.

It's true I didn't spend much time with her. But whenever other people were around her, they were always laughing at something she said or being comforted by her. She seemed understanding to everyone, and always so polite to people she first meets. She was casual with friends, sarcastic and funny.

I got up, my paperwork done already, and I was ready to go take a shower, and if I hadn't lost my confidence yet, go see Esmeralda. Wherever she was.

The hot shower was nice, but it wasn't enough. I inhaled and took my member into my hand. I closed my eyes thinking of Esmeralda. The way her face flushed earlier today. I gave myself a few pumps trying to think of Esmeralda naked. Her curly light brown hair sprawled out on my pillows. The heat in my stomach was growing, and I fueled that with the thought of her on her knees in front of me. Fuck. Those pale pink lips around my cock. Sucking me like her life depended on it. I started fondling my balls trying to picture her doing the same thing. My breath started growing ragged. The idea of her crawling up on me, nibbling and sucking on my collarbone and neck. Two more quick pumps and I let myself go with a horse groan.

I wonder if she'd swallow my release or spit it out.

I quickly cleaned myself up and got dressed. I looked at the clock. 11:02

Okay Arthur. Just go find her and talk to her. Easy.

Danse said she sometimes talked to the soldiers. Most wouldn't be up by now. Power Armor station it is.

I jogged down to the station hoping to God I'd be able to make it there without hyperventilating first.

She was there.

Conveniantly bending over her power armor letting that nice little bum in the air. I'd definitely save that image for later. I got a better look at her now. She had a humble body. Small chest and hips. A little more box shaped but she had a nice waist definitely. She was around 5'6 and her skin was honey cream colored. I decided to say something before I started salivating at the mouth.

"Knight Storm"

She whipped around but quickly tuned back to her work.

"Hello Elder"

"No need to be so formal when we're alone."

I didn't mean for that to sound so seductive.

"Wh-What, what should I call you then?"

"Arthur would be fine."

"Ok then. Arthur."

I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest when she said my name.

"You can call me Esmeralda. Or Mer if you'd like. More people, they call me Mer."

"Alright then, Mer. How are you?"

What else was I supposed to say dammit, I didn't have a plan coming into this.

"A little embarrassed for, uh... spacing out when I went to report to you."

Yeah. Spacing out. Nice save.

"No don't be, so was I. You're quite distracting to be around."

Breathe, just breathe. A little flirting never hurt anyone. Come on, you can do this.

She turned to face me.

"Oh, me? Nah. I-I don't...have much to offer, as you can see."

Was she... blushing?

"Don't be ridiculous. Unfortunately, no one looks good in Brotherhood orange. Save for you."

That's it. Just keep it flowing. Don't be weird though.

She raised her eye brow, seeming a little more at ease.

"You're a good liar Arthur Maxson"

I jerked off to the image I had of a you in my mind. I wouldn't consider that lying.

"You might be surprised" I muttered, giving her a smirk.

Her eyes lit up. This wasn't uncomfortable anymore. Thank God.

 

We talked until 2 AM.

 

She was so lively. Sarcastic. Funny. Comforting.

I looked at the time and the bags under her eyes.

"Oh God I'm so sorry I kept you up. You have a mission tomorrow and I've deprived you of sleep."

She didn't seem to realize the time either.

"Oh, don't, don't even worry about it hon."

Hon. Oh God this woman was going to be the end of me.

"If it weren't for you I'd probably up already. Nightmares like to keep me up regardless."

"Nightmares?" I was worried now.

"Yeah, unfortunately those night fuckers like to keep me up, preferably waking me with screaming or tears."

I must have had a panicked expression on my face because she immediately added to her statement.

"Oh. Oh no, hon, don't worry about me, it's... it's nothing. Cade said it was post-traumatic stress disorder. I'll be fine though, I promise. It's nothing to worry about, I'm on medication.

"Okay. We should get to bed."

Shhhhhhit.

"I mean. You should, head to your quarters. And I'll go to mine. Not, uh, together. Just, you uh... you know what I mean."

She chuckled standing up and walking over to me.

"Don't worry, I got you." She planted a kiss on my cheek.

My heart swelled.

"Try and get some sleep?" I took her hand into mine, returning the kiss on th back of her hand.

I loved it when she flushed red like that.

"Goodnight Arthur."

"Goodnight Mer."

I went to bed the proudest and happiest man I've ever been.

Chapter Text

Esmeralda:

Shitshitshitshitshit

My head was pounding and I thought for sure it was going to explode. I threw a few frag mines behind me hoping I could get far away enough before the behemoth caught up to me. My chest was in pain but it was now or never. I threw everything I had into my last sprint hearing the beast behind me scream in pain from the detonating mines I left for it. I could hear Danse finish it off with his laser rifle. 

My knees were shaking. If I had been in power armor I wouldn't have sustained such a concussion. Then again, if I was in power armor, there is no way in hell I'd be able to outrun the beast. I looked behind me at the gory mess of red and green now on the concrete.

"Merry Christmas, you filthy animal" I gasped.

"What's that supposed to mean."

"It'll take too long to explain."

"Alright then, I won't ask."

Danse knew exactly when to stop asking questions.

"See that is precisely why you should use power armor soldier."

The adrenaline that was keeping me going was failing me now.

"Pass."

I could see stars now. I was wobbling around like a blind woman.

"Knight? Knight!"

How did I get on the floor?

"Storm, stay with me. Can you hear me?"

Yeah hon, I just need a little...

"Mer? Mer?! No, dammit, Mer!"

...just a little nap...

 

Darkness

 

Behemoth

Veritbird grenades

Arthur

Med Bay

Cade

Beeping

My head was throbbing. My mind was going at a hundred miles an hour. I could feel the medication Cade gave me kicking in because the pain was numbing. Slowly but surely. I wasn't sure if I could open my eyes, not if I should, but if I physically was capable of opening them. It felt like forever before I could finally Munster the energy to crack my eyes open. 

I saw an stone angel in tears.

"Arthur" 

He jerked his head up and desperately tried to wipe away the tears from his cheek.

"Y-you're awake."

I gave him my best smile given the circumstances. 

"How you doing? How's your head?" His voice cracked a little.

"It feels like it's gonna blow up pretty soon so you might wanna take a few steps back."

He gave me a smile of his own and took my hand in his, rubbing my knuckles gently with his thumb.

"I didn't know steel could shed tears"

He blushed, "Cade said he did what he could, and that all we could now was hope for the best."

He froze, "He told me not to get my hopes up..."

"Oh ye of little faith. Was it that bad?"

"Danse flew past me on the flight deck sans power armor with... you in his arms... bridal style" he ended that last part with a sour note.

"You're... bitter about that?"

He looked at my hand in his, "I... well, it seemed... untimely..."

My heart stopped and the pain in my head was nonexistent.

"For...?"

He seemed to grow redder by the second, "I was hoping... wondering, if... perhaps, you'd be willing, or, able to..."

Why is it so hot in here?

"...to go... out... with me, I mean if you'd like?"

I swallowed hard, "Like a-a date?"

"Yeah. I mean, perhaps, I could, treat you to... dinner, perhaps?"

"As soon as the stabbing sensation in my head goes away, I'll take you up on that."

I didn't think he could smile any bigger.

"I guess you missed me then, huh?" My joy and self-confidence was overflowing.

"Yeah, you could say that" he leaned in.

He leaned in.

His lips were exactly what I imagined they'd be like. Tender but firm. Loving. Oh, so loving. He tasted like whiskey and chocolate and faintly of cigarettes. Our lips meshed together like they were made for each other. I didn't care how cheesy any of this felt, it felt right. He cupped my cheek gently and swiped his tongue over my lower lip. I didn't see it coming so I couldn't stop the moan from escaping me. That seemed to spur him on. He introduced his tongue into my mouth. Tentatively at first but so very sensual. My heart was beating faster now than it had during the fight with the behemoth. The pain in my head was easily ignorable. No better pain medication in the world than pure love. His tongue grew a little bolder and I wasn't about to stop him. God knows I've been wanting this since our midnight chat a few days ago. He groaned into my mouth, obviously enjoying the way I was responding to his tongue movements.

This. This is bliss.

I pulled away, realizing I needed to breathe. I could barely gasp for air when Arthur whined "no, please" and pulled me back in for another kiss.

I happily obliged. 

"Called it." 

I panicked but Arthur took his time to pull away from the kiss, resting his forehead on mine.

"Is that so Proctor?" He said standing up. I immediately missed the warmth he brought. He played with my hair, curling it in his fingers.

Ingram smiled, "Yes, that is so, ask her yourself. I figured I should pay my friend a visit, but it seems you've taken care of that, huh Elder?"

He smiled down at me, effectively dispersing every butterfly in my stomach. 

"She's quite special. She deserves the attention."

No one's ever treated me like that.

He was 20 years old. He had his choice pick in every busty chested scribe on the Prydwen that fell all over themselves for him. But me. He picked me. He chose the humble bodied, shy, curious, 26 year old ice cube with a 200 year old past. He was a stone cold Machiavellian leader. But he had a heart. Heart of steel sure, but he had a heart.

And for the first time in a long time...

"Don't worry, Mer here can tell you from experience that I can keep a secret. I'll leave the two of you, then. Told you he'd notice you some day Mer." Ingram left with a wink.

He looked down at me with that familiar smile, and I couldn't help but return it.

I'm happy.

Chapter Text

Arthur:


Vanilla Cupcakes.
That's what Mer's lips tasted like. I didn't know that. She had to tell me later when I asked her why she tasted so addictive. A cake with a similar flavor to fancy lads snack cakes. Only those cakes weren't made in a factory by machines. They were made usually by people in their homes for a special occasion like a birthday.
She told me all about pre war life. She went into great depth talking about sports. Football and basketball, she was particularly fond of. How instead of playing it, a lot of people watched other people play it while eating junk food. The way her eyes lit up was heart warming.
But instead of looking into her warm hazel eyes, I was looking into the stone cold brown eyes of Proctor Teagan.
"Elder Maxson sir, we should really..."
"Proctor I've made my orders clear. Recruit who you can. We need at least 4 scouts out in the Commonwealth searching for steel. Have them bring at least 100kg. Proctor Ingram won't be able to do the proper repairs without..."
A pair of hazel eyes and brown braids peeked at me from behind the door of my quarters.
"...them. Knight Storm, I'll be with you in a moment."
She nodded and went to stand in the hall. I looked at Teagan again.
"I expect you to file this report to Proctor Quinlan as soon as you find the soldiers willing to go."
"Yes sir, Elder. Ad Victorium."
"Ad Victorium."
Teagan power walked out of my quarters. Esmeralda peeked out at me again.
"Please enter Knight. Close the door."
She did as she was told silently and slowing not realizing I walked up behind her while her back was to me. The moment she turned around I stooped down to kiss her. She smiled against my lips and wrapped her arms around me but I pulled away.
"Are you supposed to be out of bed?"
"Cade let me go as long as I didn't sneak off on a mission. He said he'd tell all the proctors not to give me any work either."
"Good. So you'll stay on the Prydwen and keep me company?"
"Well you do own me a dinner date."
I pressed my forehead against hers.
"Tonight then?"
"Don't you need to work? I don't want to be a distraction to you and get all the proctors mad at me."
"They don't know about us, they won't blame you."
"Yeah, I picked up on that. I like that. Makes what we have that much more special."
Thank God she felt that way. I wasn't sure if she'd be angry that I wanted to maintain our privacy.
"You're perfect. And if I work extra hard, I'll be able to finish my work. It's relatively the same as usual. See you tonight, say, 9:00?"
"Sounds good, now get to work."
She tried pulling away.
"Ah ah ah."
I puffed out my lips at her. She gave me that smug-ass smile and placed her lips on mine. I still got the butterflies in my stomach like when she gave me the first time we kissed. She had me hooked. I tried giving her a little tongue when she pulled away giggling.
"No, dammit! Get to work. You can try that later, now hurry up!"
She skipped, skipped, out of my quarters.

The work was long and monotonous. It took every ounce of effort to focus on the paperwork instead of getting excited about the date tonight. My eyes were tired and as I finished the last of my files, I stared at the clock.
8:47
I punched my fist into air in victory.
Then it hit me like a freight train.
I had 13 minutes to get everything ready before she got here.
Well, shit.
I ran to brush my teeth. That's all I had time to do before I heard a knock.
Nonononono
It was 8:50 and she was early.
All I could do what straighten myself out before opening the door.

Her hair was down. I realized I've never actually seen it down. Imagined it down, sure, but it was much prettier than I thought it'd be.
She was wearing her signature blue vault suit instead of the orange suit I'd grown accustomed to. It seemed tighter than the orange uniform. If anything, this suit hugged all the right places on her body in a way the orange jumpsuit didn't. 
Why haven't I let her use this before?
She had a backpack too, but not the usual backpack she carried around. This one was more box-y.
"Hey you."
"Hello, please come in."
She strolled in and raised an eyebrow at me.
"So what was your plan for getting us dinner?"
"Well, I was just going to get a squire to bring it up to us."
"So you want to keep our relationship private, but you were gonna ask a kid to bring up 2 plates of food up to the Elder and a knight, without raising suspicions because...?"
Damn. I did not think this through.
"This is why I came prepared honey."
She placed the box on the table, opening it. The best smell I've ever experienced wafted out of the box.
"I hope you like Brahmin and tato stew with tarberry crumble pie for dessert."
"I think I will."
I pulled her into a grateful kiss, again, attempting to get my tongue in her mouth. She accepted this time, playing and twirling around with her own tongue.
God every kiss like this makes me weak at the knees.
Dinner was fantastic. We talked about the usual. Her life. My life. Her past. My past. What we wanted to accomplish. That one I laughed at. When I asked she said very matter-of-factly "I wanna kick the synthetic ass behind my son's kidnapping."
I don't know why I decided to touch a sensitive topic.
"Do you miss your husband?"
She went quiet.
Dammit Arthur, fan-fucking-tastic idea, you idiot.
"I-I'm sorry, That was s-stupid..."
"No. No it's ok. Yes, to answer your question. I do miss him."
She looked down at her food playing with it with a fork. I took her hand in mine.
"I suppose I miss him, but looking back, I... he... I don't think he ever loved me."
"Esmeralda, when you... lose someone... it's easy to doubt..."
"No that's just it. I was, how do I put this, only living as a part of myself."
She furrowed her brow looking for the right words.
"I mean I never really was myself around Nate, I was just using a part of my personality, but never being myself fully. I blame my self confidence. He was a handsome, kind soldier. I didn't think anyone like that would give me the time of day so when we got together, I was determined not to lose him."
How could a woman this extraordinary have such a low self esteem? She was so much fun, professional when she needed to be, and so understanding it was baffling.
"I used to be a people pleaser. Changing my personality to fit the likes of people around me. Nate was no exception."
My heart was hurting. I didn't want to ask but I did anyway.
"What about me? Are you really like this or are you just trying to please me?"
"No. I stopped doing that when I came out of the vault. Figured I might as well be myself since the chances of me dying are greater out here than before the war."
I relaxed a little knowing she wasn't putting on a persona for me.
She chuckled, mumbling
"Hey, but whenever you want me to please you, name the time and place baby."
Shit.
That one went straight to my dick.

"I'm gonna take you up on that offer, just so you know" I informed her.
She looked up with wide eyes and red cheeks, obviously not meaning to say that out loud.
"I... uh, I, um. Christ, it's hot in here."
We finished up dinner around 10:10.
"You mind if I use your bathroom to freshen up?"
"Yeah, go ahead."
She walked over and I went to the table by my bed. I shuffled around for a mirror checking for anything stuck in my teeth.
She walked out with fresh lipgloss and she looked absolutely perfect.
Now or never.


"Now. Here."
"What?"
I swallowed hard.
"You said to name the time and place. Now and here."
She didn't move. Just stood there flushed red like a tato and breathing funny.
She slowing walked up to me, placing a kiss on my lips. We meshed them together and it got hot and heavy quick. She took her time though. Putting my hands on her waist and putting my tongue in her mouth was the closest I've ever gotten to being intimate. She found my zipper, and unclasped my buckles. Before I knew it, I was left in my boxers, breathing shakily, flushed... everywhere, and breaking out in a cold sweat.
She pushed me down on my bed, kneeling in front of me.
"How many girls have done this to you? I wanna know what kind of competition I'm up against."
Fuck.
"I... I'm uh... I'm afraid, you're, the uh... only... girl."
She looked up at me with wide eyes.
"Are you a virgin Arthur?"
My head was on fire. I tried turning away from her but she held me in place gently.
"Y-yes. Yes I'm..."
"Arthur..."
I half expected her to walk out, hell, I expected her to slap me across the face before I expected her to say,
"Dear God, Arthur, that's hot."

Wat

"Y-you...you find that, attractive?"
"Men in the commonwealth don't really have any self respect. I don't really believe in casual sex. You? You've actually saved yourself instead of getting rid of your virginity like it was some kind of chore."
I don't understand what I did to deserve this woman at all, but here she was, on her knees in front of me, tugging at the waistband of my boxers.
I lifted my hips so she could tug away at them. Her eyes widened when she saw my cock. She stroked it lightly, smiling up at me. I responded with a shaky breath. She took the tip into her mouth and swirled around it with her tongue. Nnggh. The feeling was incredible. She took my member into her hot mouth in one swift motion. I choked at the sensation. This was so much better than masturbation. Her tongue worked miracles. Every movement seemed to get me off more and more. She took me deeply into her throats till her nose was hitting my pubes. "F-fuck, Mer." She moaned in response, the sound sending pleasant vibration up my shaft. She took me out of her mouth, still pumping me with her hand, while she gave my balls attention. My mind immediately flashed back to the shower I had before going to talk to her over 2 weeks ago. Her fingers were so much more delicate with me than I imagined she'd be. I'd never be able to masturbate the same way again. She retuned her mouth to my cock. I let out a throaty groan. "Mer. Yes. Oooh, Mer." I've never been so hard. She bobbed her head up and down my shaft. The sight alone was enough to send me off. I was thrusting into her mouth involuntarily when I let myself go with a hoarse moan.
She swallowed.
She wiped her lips and rubbed her jaw.
"You're much thicker than I thought you'd be, and believe me, I thought you were going to be very thick."
I looked down disappointedly at my limp penis. It didn't last long because she started undressing, so I shot my eyes up to her. She unzipped her vault suit, letting it fall rather quickly. Just having Esmeralda here in nothing but her bra and panties was a dream come true. She smiled at me shyly. I got up on my weak knees to hold her close. She said she was still insecure, and I wanted to help her get through that. I unclipped her bra gently and tugged at the straps on her shoulders. I gasped at the freckled beauties so pink and perk with the suddenly cold air hitting them. I didn't even know what I was doing. It was instinct by now. I took one of her nipples into my mouth, experimenting what kind of pressure she liked on them, and what kind of tongue movement could get her to arch against me even more. I switched over to the next breast when I thought I had given the first enough attention. She ran her fingers into my hair and held them there. "Mmh, Arthur. P-please." I looked up from her breast mischievously. "Please what Mer? Tell me what you need me to do." She was flushed, eyes starting to glaze over, curly hair starting to get messier. "E-mmh... eat me out A-augh, Arthur." I didn't need to be told twice. I picked her up quick and laid her on my bed. That milk chocolatey hair sprawled over my pillow just how I thought it'd look. I forced her knees apart and rubbed my thumb over her clit. "Nnaugh." So that was a good move. I took my finger and dragged it down her slick fold. She was so fucking wet. I wondered what it tasted like. I put the finger to my mouth as she watched me. It tasted good, salty but sweet. Something uniquely... Esmeralda. I dipped my head down to take her clit into my mouth and swirl my tongue around it. "Fucking hell." I loved how responsive she was. Every little moan made me rock hard again. I licked the juices she was covered in. The taste grew on me, and I really was enjoying every arch of her back and little moan she would make. I didn't bother putting my fingers in her, I wanted my manhood in her. I got up and aligned myself up with her, one hand down at her clit, and the other one grabbing her breast. I looked for her approval and I got a nod. I pushed myself in her slowly. My head was spinning. I've been fantasizing about this women for who knows how long and now, now I was making sweet love to her. I nearly fainted when I bottomed out. She was crazily tight, slick, and hot. I let her get used to me before she wrapped her legs around me waist and pushed her ankles into my lower back. I took it as a hint and started a slow thrust into her. My breath was ragged and she was moaning. I thrust faster into her and her moans got louder. It was such sweet, erotic music to my ears. "Harder. P-p-please. Fast-er." I was pounding her with every bit of force I had in me. I rubbed her clit vigorously and was sucking on her breast while I held my weight off of her with my free hand.
If this is heaven, I can die happy knowing this is what's in store.
Her moans were echoing off my walls. Thank God I had them soundproofed. The noises she made were for me and me only. I don't know why I did this but I tilted her chin up to me. Her eyes were screwed shut. "Look a-at me... fuck... Mer." She opened her eyes. They were dilated, half lidded, and full of lust. "I-I wanna... see you... cum for me." She kept her eyes locked on me while her orgasm rolled through her like lighting. She screamed my name in her ecstasy. It was most erotic and beautiful thing I've ever seen. An image I wanted engraved in my memory forever. I chased my own release, pulling out and cumming somewhere off to the side. I held her closely in my arms and nuzzled my head into her neck.
"Are you sure you're a virgin?"
I chuckled weakly, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure."
"Well dim damn dimmity damn."
She wrapped her arms around my waist the way I was doing to her.
"That was perfect."
"No" I corrected, "you're perfect."
"So are you."
She started to drift off and allowed myself to kiss her on the head. I closed my eyes.
"I hope to God you believe in love-at-first-sight."

"I do"
I nearly jumped. I didn't think she was still awake. I smiled and got back to cuddling her because we were both happy, helpless, sappy, romantics.

And that's just fine with me.

Chapter Text

Esmeralda:

"You let this happen to me."
Nate was in front of me with that head wound bleeding out.
"I couldn't do anything, baby, please let me out."
"You. You let this happen to me. Our son is gone because of you. You are here because of me. Me."
I began crying.
"Nate please let me out, it wasn't my fault."
He raised Kellogg's pistol.
"Looks like they won't have their backup after all."
The shot rang out.

I woke up in tears. I nuzzled my head into Arthur's bare chest, hoping I wouldn't wake him up but I was shaking too much.
"Hey. Hey, shh shh shh are you... sweet pea, what's wrong? Are you hurt?"
Sweet pea. This man was a fucking angel.
"I... nightmare..."
"You don't have to talk about it if you don't want."
He held me closer, kissing my forehead, kissing my tears, kissing my lips. Being here was the safest place in the world, it felt like. I didn't want to leave any time soon.
"Don't let go of me, okay?" I choked out.
"Never. I'm not leaving you and I'm not letting go. You're safe here, I promise."
This man.
"Ok-ay" my voice cracked.
"Shh it's okay, just try and get some sleep okay?"
I responded placing a kiss on his collar bone, directly in front of me. He sighed contently and rubbed my hair down with his thumb repeatedly.
We dozed off.

I woke up happy for once.


Arthur wasn't up yet so I tried waking him up by kissing his nose. His eyes flinched a little.
I kissed his forehead. He shifted a little in bed.
I kissed his cheek. His eyes fluttered open.
I kissed his lips. He kissed me back.


His grip on my waist tightened slightly.
"Morning sweet pea."
"Morning handsome."
It was 6:30 AM. He kissed my neck lightly.
"I don't want to get up. This is utopia."
"Utopia. Thomas More, right?"
"I wasn't referring to the book, but wait, you read it?"
"Sure did. I read lots of the classics."
He rubbed his eyes and turned on his back.
"What's you're favorite book?" He sounded excited.
"I don't know! I like a lot. You?"
"I like To Kill a Mockingbird. I had a copy but it's probably garbage on the side of some road in New California now." He sounded somber.
I was super excited now. I had a copy in very good condition along with a few other books Codsworth (bless his robotic soul) saved for me. I didn't read much now, but I think I just found my book a new owner.
He got up and nodded at the bathroom.
"I'm going to shower, care to join me?"
My heart skipped a beat.
"Sure thing."
He helped me step into the shower and turned on the hot water. It felt good. What felt better was the way Arthur was rubbing soap all over me, planting a few kisses on my skin before rubbing it. Any insecurities I had washed away with the soap down the drain. He handed me the soap, and I did the same for him. I liked the way he got somewhat hard off of it. We washed each other's hair and stepped out just as the water began getting cold.
He got a towel for me and I dried up, eyeing his jacket. That jacket was so cool. I couldn't find anything close to it anywhere in the 'Wealth. I gave the towel back to Arthur. He started drying himself off when I went to put on my panties. I quick threw his jacket on and looked at myself in the mirror. I was pretty insecure about my looks but this jacket looked hella fine on me. After looking at myself and remembering suddenly Arthur was still in the room, I turned to him.
His jaw might as well have been on the floor, his eyes wide, his penis erect.
"Y-you look... g-good" he muttered.
"Thanks honey."
I walked up to him and kissed him, feeling his erection on my thigh. He wrapped his hands around my waist and ran them up to my breasts. My breathe hitched.
Oh I am so ready for a repeat of last night.
There was a knock at the door.
"What." Arthur sounded pissy.
"Elder, sir, it's Proctor Ingram."
I've never seen a man get dressed faster.
I put on my tank top I usually worn underneath my jumpsuit. I put on my jumpsuit up to my waist. I threw his jacket back on before he opened the door. Mary had a pretty stern and professional face on. It immediately left when she noticed me in the corner of the room. She had the stupidest grin on her face.
"I see the two of you got to know each other a little better last night."
"Shut up Mary."
Arthur turned away from me.
I looked at Mary and made fists, palms facing up. I extended them out and brought them back in sharply toward my hips. The universal sign for 'we totally fucked'. She snorted and Arthur looked at me quizzically. I shrugged innocently much to Mary's amusement.
"What'd she do?"
"Don't worry about it elder. I'm just here to tell you the scouts I needed to look for the steel I requested have been dispatched. Here are the names and all the details." She said handing a dirty Manila file to Arthur.
"Ah yes. Thank you Proctor."
"Oh, and elder, you know I respect you and would take a bullet for you, right?"
He looked so confused.
"Yes?"
"Well it true. However, break Mer's heart, and I will break your face."
I started laughing and Arthur just looked concerned for his own well being.
"Is that a threat Proctor?" He sounded worried.
"No sir. That... is a promise."
She turned away and yelled 'Ad Victorium' as she marched out of there.
Arthur looked genuinely afraid for his face.
"Don't worry honey, girls always threaten their best friend's boyfriends."
"Oh." That didn't seem to comfort him at all.
"Here" I said handing back his coat.
"You're leaving?" He pouted. How adorable.
"Not forever silly."
I gave him one last kiss before I left. He effectively made me weak at the knees with every kiss. He introduced his tongue and I responded enthusiastically. It was going to get hot quick so I pulled away. He gave me feather kisses all over my face, jaw, and neck.
"Look, I get every other Sunday off as a personal day. Come this Sunday, I have an idea."
"Promise." I gave him one more quick peck on the lips and left. I ran down to the vertibirds, knowing what the first thing I was grabbing the minute I got to Sactuar...
"Knight Storm. Where are you going off to?"
Come on, seriously?
"Just trying going home Cade."
"I thought you said you wouldn't be..."
"With all due respect sir, I would very much like to not stay on this airship for a week. I promise I'm not doing anything that'll hurt myself. Just want to head on home, relax."
He raised his eyebrow at me.
Come on man, do a sister a solid.
"As long as you promise not to do anything irrational."
"I will not let your good work go to waste Cade!"
I flew out the flight deck and told them to make it to Sanctuary.

Chapter Text

Arthur:

She had been gone for 3 days. I shouldn't have been panicking this much but I couldn't help it. I finished my work in record time just so I could go the flight deck to see where she was or to the radios to see if any vertibirds were dispatched to get her. I couldn't start asking around. She was usually gone for a week at a time so asking to see where she was would raise suspicions. I was in my room, Friday night, trying my best to down the whiskey I poured myself. I heard a knock. I bolt to the door to open it. I don't know why I expected it to be her but I was immediately disappointed.
"Scribe Thomson."
Juliana Thomson. The most flirtatious and devious woman on the Prydwen.
"Please call me Juliana, Elder."
"I hardly think that's appropriate Scribe."
"Just trying to build bridges, sir, not burn them down."
She was attractive, definitely, but I knew her intentions. She was power hungry. She wanted to claw her way to the top using her looks. I wasn't falling for it.
"Do you have a reason for being here Scribe?"
"Just the usual Elder." Her voice was like velvet.
"Go on then."
"Mission to clear out the subway station has been completed. No deaths to account for and injuries are not great enough to report to Cade."
"Very well..." I didn't dismiss her fast enough.
"You should come to the mess hall Elder, I'm sure everyone would love to have you there. I know I would." She touched my bicep gently.
Ugh, give me a break.
"Dismissed Scribe. Ad Victorium."
"Ad Victorium Elder, sir." She dropped that last word with a wink.
She sauntered out of my quarters like we had done God knows what. I closed the door and noticed in my hast, I knocked the glass of whiskey over when I went to open the door. Another knock.
"What?" I couldn't hide the frustration in my voice.
"C'est moi."
I threw my door open and Mer immediately threw her arms around my neck and attacked my lips. I was surprised at how quickly I thrust my tongue into her mouth and took ahold of her hips. I don't think it's possible that I could've been happier to see her. I took a few steps back with her and kicked my door closed. She pulled away suddenly.
"I missed you too" she smiled brightly, panting a little.
"I did miss you. So much" I moaned into her mouth before giving her another kiss. She pulled away again.
"How much did you miss me then?" A devious smile was on her lips.
I picked her up suddenly by her thighs and she squeaked happily.
"Let me show you."
I placed her gently on my bed, tugging at her pants, but I was so nervous and shaking she had to unbutton them herself. Let me remind you she took my virginity 3 days ago so I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I untied her boots best I could and pulled her pants off with them. One of the few times she wasn't wearing a jumpsuit and I was thrilled. I couldn't quite get her panties off, my hands were shaking so bad so I just ripped them in half.
She made a beautiful noise.
"Rude" she gasped.
"Are you complaining?" I said while I threw off my jacket.
She didn't answer.
Yeah that's what I thought.
I kissed the inside of beautiful thigh, enjoying the way it shivered at my touch. I was just trying to get her aroused, that way my performance may seem better than it actually is.
"Are you teasing me?" She sighed.
Was I?
"Y-eeees."
"Are you trying to convince me or yourself?" She chuckled.
I had an idea on how to get her to stop talking and start moaning. She liked when I touched her clit last time. I closed my mouth over it and started swirling my tongue around it.
"Ffff-uhh"
So that works.
I ran my finger down her folds, feeling her slickness on them now. She arched her back so nicely. I gave her a bit of a break when I licked my fingers of her juice. It tasted as good as I remembered, I wasn't dreaming. I used my tongue to sweep across her lips and back up to her clit. She moaned my name the way I liked it.
Okay, okay, she likes this. Don't mess this up Arthur, don't fuck up the only good thing you've got here.

I spread her open so I could put my tongue inside her. She arched against me so I must've been doing something right. I licked her, just, everywhere. So much so, her moans were nearing screams. I decided to send her off nicely.
I nervously stuck my finger inside her, slowly going deeper until it hit my knuckle.
She wheezed, "Arthur, how are you so good at this?"
What?!
"You just... make me like this..." I decided. I've tried losing my virginity a few times before. Only right before we started stripping, my mind would go completely blank and I'd panic, telling whoever that this was too far and make them leave. She was the only girl I actually really wanted to touch, to taste, to please.
"Hey don't leave me hanging here babe."
I was thinking so intently I realized I just kept my finger there and didn't move it. I started pumping it in and out of her, adding a second finger so I could hear her yell louder. She sorta wheezed and moaned at the same time. Every noise made me harder and harder.
"Cum for me Mer, show me how much you missed me."
I scissored my fingers while curling them simultaneously. Her walls clamped down on my fingers and she released herself. She came yelling my name. The sweetest noise I've ever heard. I took my fingers out and sucked off the liquid.
"Well?" I asked smugly, very proud of my work.
"Well you definitely missed me."
I got behind her and cuddled her.
"I'm tired" I murmured into her neck.
"Me too" she sighed.

"So why did you leave?"

"Don't worry about it."

"Well next time don't scare me like that."

"Oh? We're you going to find me if I didn't show?"

"Of course" I scoffed, "you think I'm going to leave you alone out there while I wait here? What if something bad happened? I wouldn't forgive myself if the woman I love... got hurt."

I tensed when I realized I said that out loud. I didn't want to ruin what we had.

Oh God Arthur, you messed up idiot. You fucking ruined it. She going to not talk to you forever now. You ruined it, dammit, you fucking...

"Thank God" she breathed, turning around to face me, "I thought I was only one who felt that way."

I could've had a heart attack right then and there, and died a happy man. 

"Y-you..?" I couldn't even finish I was so happy and hopeful.

"I love you too."

I shuddered, relieved that this was really happening. I starting giving her kisses, peppering her face, neck, and mouth with pecks.

"What are you thinking right now?" I breathed against her jaw.

"I'm thinking how my skin is the only thing keeping me from going everywhere at once." She smiled at me. 

"I love you. God, I, I... I love you." I stuttered.

I couldn't have been happier than at this moment right here.

She nuzzled closely into me.

I want to stay here forever.

Chapter Text

Esmeralda:

I decided I'd wake Arthur up slightly differently than usual this morning. I kissed his forehead, his nose, his lips, his chin, his collarbone, his abs (oh hot damn his abs). He woke up somewhere in the middle there.
"Mer..." he murmured sleepily, "what are you...naugh!"
I started stroking his cock, enjoying how quickly he got hard. I wrapped my lips around his head, earning a low groan from the back of Arthur's throat. I smiled against him and gave him a few licks on the underside of his shaft. I took him all the way into my mouth until I reached his base. It hurt a little, after all, his cock was impressive. Very impressive. He let out an almost feral growl. He seriously knew how to turn me on. I let go of him to trail my tongue up his cock from the base. He shuddered. I started teasing his tip with my tongue, but didn't go further. "Mer, babe. Baby please. Please d-don't stop." I bobbed his length up and down suddenly, as he  bucked into my mouth. He groaned hoarsely in the way that made me hot. He grabbed my hair tightly but released it slightly when I grunted at the sudden pain. He always wanted to make sure I wasn't hurt, even now. "M-Mer,Ohfuck, I-I..." He didn't finished when the hot liquid came suddenly in the back of my throat. He groaned and ran his fingers through my hair. If I hadn't prepared for it, I probably would have choked. I swallowed it down and wiped my lips before getting back up to him and laying my head on his chest.

"That was a pleasant way to wake up" he breathed.
"Think of it as a personal thank you for kindly eating me out last night."
He kissed the top of my head and wrapped his arm around me.
"I love you."
My heart felt like it would jump out of it's chest.
"I love you too."
I was afraid. Afraid that what I felt wasn't real. I loved him the moment he spoke to me and kissed my hand over 4 weeks ago. I thought it wasn't real and that maybe it was infatuation. But it wasn't. I knew it couldn't be. I started grinding my hips on his growing erection. The man had impeccable recovery time. He grabbed my waist and...
A knock at the door.
"Ugh, seriously, what the fuck?!"
The person on the other side of the door couldn't hear that. Arthur usually kept his door a crack open so he could hear who knocked. Whenever he was with me, he shut and locked it, soundproofing what went on between us.

"Mmh, don't hear you swear much outside of bed Arthur. Sexy."

He grinned and rolled on top of me, starting to whisper dirty things in my ear, when the person knocked again. There were only 2 knocks this time which was odd. I didn't know what it meant but Arthur's demeanor changed.
"Ugh. It's Thomson."
Ahh, Juliana.
She was... something else.

"Stay hidden, love."
I could get used to that nickname.
He pulled his jumpsuit on and straightened himself out. She knocked again.
"Can this impatient ho just calm the fuck down?" I asked unusually calmly.
Arthur chuckled and reached the door just as I went to the bathroom and left the door open a crack.
"Elder Maxson"
Oh she's using her flirty voice on my man?
"What seems to be the issue Scribe?"
"Who said there had to a problem to come and visit my favorite Elder?"
Your only Elder you slut.
"I would prefer you would keep this professional between us Thom-"
"Come on Elder, what's holding you back?"
Her voice was seductive, I've heard it enough times.
"Thomson, next time refrain from inappropriate touching."
She was touching him now?
Aw heeeeeellll no.
"Oh do say please, Elder."
"You're dismissed Scribe." I could almost hear Arthur gritting his teeth.
"As you wish."
There was a pause.
A pause.
"Ad Victorium" she said in a breathy way that would probably ruin the phrase for me for the rest of my life.
I peeked out the door to see Arthur basically steaming at the ears.
"She just... ugh... I can't stand her."
I patted him on the back and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He actually scowled.
"Juliana just kissed me on the cheek. I'd prefer if you gave me something a little more."
I kissed him full on the mouth to let him know who he belonged to. It was steamy and heavy, but we both had work to do.


I got dressed, left him with another kiss, and made my way down to the mess hall.
Juliana was in her usual place so, naturally, I made my way over to her and her minions to see what went on in that little brain of hers.
"What's up Juli?"
She gave me that fake, plastic grin she gave everyone.
"I think I'm on to something. Something concerning Elder Maxson."
"Ooh, do tell." I was a great actress but I could help my sarcasm from coming through.
"I think Elder Maxson is in a relationship with someone on this ship."
"Really?" I sat down.
"His clothes were disheveled, his bed was a mess, and there is no denying that scent."
"Who could it be?" One of Juliana's girls asked.
"Could be anyone" I added.
Juliana scoffed.
"Elder Maxson wouldn't pick just anyone. He needs a woman. A real woman."
Oh, so I'm a real woman? Thanks Juli.
"He needs someone who could please him in bed, and somewhat pleasant."
Jesus Christ Juliana.
"But above all, he needs a good mother for his future children."
Wait...
"Someone superiorly healthy and in good condition to bear children. Someone who he knows would be a good mother and First Lady of the Brotherhood."
My heart was shattered into a million pieces, and if that wasn't enough, Juliana was stabbing me with the jagged shards.
"Arthur Maxson isn't interested in being in a true relationship. If this fling isn't just an attempt to blow off steam, then it's an attempt to convince a girl he cares about her. He is a soldier with a heart of steel. No one is going to change that. The best that bitch could hope for us that their honeymoon phase doesn't end sometime next week."
I excused myself. I had heard enough.


I hated Juliana. Why should I believe a single word she says? But it made sense. It just made... so much sense. He did tell me about his obligation to marry and continue his line. But no, he told me he didn't care about that. He... He... God, am I just that stupid?! It felt strange falling in love with a man in a month, and now I knew why. He was playing me so he could ensure a mother for his children. I couldn't blame him, I mean I'm healthy and from before the war. In their eyes, there's nothing wrong with me. I was just a baby carrier. Just. I thought he loved me. I felt confident in front of him, and my insecurities vanished when he was around but.
I started sobbing the moment I stepped into the bathroom stall.
He said... no. People 'say' things all the time. He didn't mean it. Esmeralda, you idiot. You really thought he would actually fall for you? You're pathetic. You're in way over your head. God, I hated to admit it, but Juliana was right. That bitch was actually right. Arth... no. Elder Maxson wouldn't ever notice me if it weren't for my situation. He's after a wife, and I happened to fit the bill. But. No, the way he kissed me, just... it had to be real. But how could it when everything else said otherwise. I mean, he pulled out the time we had sex but who's to say he would do it next time? Juliana was right, he just wanted someone pleasant who'd be a good mother. He never cared about me, he cared about my uterus.

I got up from the stall shakily. I was trembling, and I knew my eyes were probably crimson red. I needed to blow off steam before confronting Arthur or else I know I'love break down or blow up.
I walked slowly to the knight quarters. Rhys was there, cleaning his laser rifle.
"Rhys" I said, trying to hide the crack in my voice.
He looked up at my bloodshot eyes.
"What happened to you?" He didn't look worried, just as if he was asking a question like what the weather was like.
"Don't worry about it. You got a place that needs clearing out? I need to kill something."
"Yeah sure..."

Chapter Text

 

Arthur:

I didn't see her the rest of the day. I woke up slightly worried. I mean, I understood if she wanted space, but this was my day off, and I wouldn't get another in 2 weeks. Being a day off, I was in my room, literally twiddling my thumbs most days, but today was special because I had a surprise for Mer. I kept on waiting.
2 knocks at my door.
Could this bitch leave me alone for once?
I opened my door to Juliana... again.
"Hello Elder, how are you this fine morning?"
"Just fine, thank you Scribe."
She peered into my quarters.
"Are you here for any particular reason?"
"Isn't that Knight Storm's cap?"
Ingram came to me yesterday with Mer's beloved cap. She wore it almost everywhere. Not often when she put her hair down, which she usually wore when she came to see me.
"Yes, someone came and asked me to return it to her when she next reports in."
"She does seem to... visit you quite a bit."
I internally panicked but I kept my composure. She noticed. If anyone would have noticed, it would have been her.
"You know, I saw her yesterday. She seemed upset. Crying in the bathroom."


If she was lying I was going to... I don't know what I'd do but it wouldn't be good! Mer was crying? Why? Was she hurt? Who the fuck would try and hurt her?


"Do you have any idea as to why, Scribe?"
I was desperate.
"No sir, but it's nice to see you so concerned over your soldiers Elder."
Dammit.
"Is that all you came here for Scribe?"
"I worry about her Elder. She seems upset, and closer to you than she is to me. Perhaps you can talk to her when she gets back."
"When she... gets back?"
"Oh yes, she took a mission from knight Rhys yesterday after she stormed out of the bathroom. Seemed very determined."
I was get worked up over nothing, right? She was fine, right?
"Well I should be going. Ad Victorium Elder." She turned without another word.
I stayed in my room, pacing for what seemed like days, when really, it was only 3 hours. There was a few other times someone would knock as ask if I was ok. I hadn't eaten yet. I'd dismiss them swiftly. Another knock.
"Who is it?" I asked.
"Moi" the voice on the other end responded.
I opened my door slowly to see Mer there, not exactly frowning, but not smiling.
"Come in, please."
She entered slowly.
"Is everything alright?" I asked worryingly.
"No, unfortunately."
My heart dropped. Before I could say anything she spoke again.
"Look, you've been good to me, so Imma shoot you straight. I heard some... unsettling things... about you. About us. I needed to go blow off some steam yesterday before I came to see you so I'd be level headed and not make drama."
"Okay." I couldn't find any other words.
"It was... suggested that you were with me only to secure heirs to your throne and a decent First Lady for the Brotherhood."
It felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart with a shard of broken glass.
"That is what this is all about?"
She looked at her feet nodding.
I pulled her into a hug.
"My love. You need to know that I don't care about that at all. If it were up to me, I wouldn't even have children. Not because... I don't like children, I do! I just would rather have them when I'm ready. I'm still a boy, but if there is anything I know for sure, it's this. I love you. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever change the way I feel about you. I don't care if you don't want kids, if you don't want to get married, or if your best friend is a feral ghoul, I love you."
Her head was buried in my chest. She started almost spazzing and I felt a wet spot on my jumpsuit. I tilted her chin up to me to see she was crying. Her eyes were extremely bloodshot, her cheeks puffy and red. It broke my heart.
"Hey, hey, hey, shh, sweet pea? Sweet pea look at me." She did. "You need to know I'm not going to ever hurt you. I don't want to ever hurt you and I'll fight anyone who tries. I love you, I promise. Oh, please don't cry precious, please don't cry." She smiled at me through her tears and squinting eyes.
"I... love you... too" she sobbed.
"Shh, sweet pea, it's ok. Come here, I have a surprise for you love."
She nodded. I led her to my couch and crouched down to look at her in the eye.
"Close your eyes sweet pea."
She closed them and I kissed her on the forehead. I went to the bathroom where I was hiding the small tv. A working tv. It didn't take much to get the tv to work, but someone found a decent recording of her favorite movie. I placed it in front of the couch and put the movie in. I set it up, ready for it to start. I turned it on.

Naaaaaaaaaants

ingonyamaaaaaaa

bagithi baba!

She opened her eyes wide and stared at the small screen.
"NO" she said completely baffled.
"Heh heh, Lion King, right?"
"I... no, where...? Where did you find this?"
"A few scouts found it and brought it back. Do you like it?"
"Yes! Oh my gosh, Arthur!" She pulled me down on the couch next to her.
"We are going to watch this Arthur, and you are going to love it."

I did.
The film was just... incredible!
The animation, my God, it must have taken years to do it.
"Well?" She asked as the credits began to roll.
"It... it was amazing! Wow I loved the music, so well done. Can you feel the love tonight? So good!" She laughed and nuzzled into my chest. It felt good to see her smile again.
"Wanna go to sleep, love?"
"Mhmm" she said sleepily.
I scooped her up into my arms bridal style and carried her to my bed, setting her down gently. I crawled in next to her and wrapped my arms around her, pulling her close to me.
"Come here, love." I said kissing the top of her head. I sort of wanted to have sex, but I needed her to know that I loved her for far more than just her body. I loved her for her, and she needed to know that.
She kissed my collarbone directly in front of her.
"I love you." She murmured.
"I love you too." I said.
For some reason, I thought of the way Juliana came in today. Almost knowing I had Mer's hat. Knowing all these things about Mer. It made me wonder if she was to the one to plant the ideas of mistrust into her mind. It made me angry to know Juliana might have hurt her emotionally. I wanted to ask but I didn't want to ruin our perfect moment with it, so I promised I'd ask her later. Tomorrow morning or later tonight when her nightmares woke her. For now, I was content. She was content. This was bliss.
I started falling asleep when a very catchy tune popped into my head.

Can you feel the love tonight?

Chapter Text

Henry:

I didn't know why Arthur was so excited when I handed that old movie to him. I decided to see him this morning, ask him how everything was going. He spent a lot of time in the Medbay while Esmeralda was recovering. It was good that he took my advice to talk to her more.
I didn't knock. Everyone is required to, but I forgot for some reason. I don't know what I expected to see, maybe Arthur working at his terminal, like... normal. I stepped in,
"Elder Ma..."
Fuck.
Arthur was on top of my subordinate, shimming her vault suit down her torso and sliding his hands underneath her bra. His mouth was attacking her neck and she was arching into him, legs around his waist and fingers brushing through his hair.
"...xson?"
They both looked at me shocked, probably more shocked that they left the door unlocked.
"It can wait" I said quickly, closing the door harder than I intended.
Was that... hot?
I didn't want to think about that. Not now. I waited a few minutes until Mer opened the door and flew past me. I walked back into Arthur's quarters and gave him a smug grin.
"I'm... sorry you had to see that." He said.
"When I suggested you get to know her better, this isn't what I intended."
Arthur blushed furiously.
"You should have knocked."
"You should have locked your door."
"Fair point, Paladin. What is it you came here for?"
"Let's assess the immediate problem here Arthur. Why didn't you tell me? And don't you dare say that this was the first time because you were way too confident for this to be the first time the two of you got handsy with each other."
He blushed even more.
"Come on, Arthur, you said I was your closest friend. Why didn't you say anything? Maybe just a 'hey heads up, whenever you walk into my quarters, there's a chance I'll be feeling up Esmeralda so proceed with caution' or something."
"I... should have told you. I just got so caught up with her I forgot to tell you. I should have, now that I think about it, because our relationship is private, and I've been dying to talk with someone about this."
"Well you have me now, so start talking." I pulled up a chair.
"She's so fantastic. I can't get enough of her. She's so vibrant, and just... so cool."
I've never seen Arthur like this. He adored her, I could see.
"What's she like when she fights?" He asked curiously.
"Pfft. She's not very hot, if that's what you're thinking. She fights unconventionally. She has this philosophy that, I quote, 'In order to survive in the Commonwealth, you have to out-crazy the next person' and she believes in that thoroughly."
"Define unconventionally." He soundly slightly worried.
"She screams and laughs and tells people they need to be reconditioned and yells 'unacceptable' a lot. Don't get me wrong, she sane. It's just a persona she puts on to scare the crap out of raiders and gunners."
"Ok. I wasn't questioning her sanity."
He started pouring some whiskey into a cup and handed me one.
"So you haven't answered the biggest question."
"What's that?"
I waited specifically until he was drinking his whiskey to ask.
"How's the sex?"
Arthur choked and spit out a bit of his drink. He started coughing.
"I-I didn't see that coming." He coughed again.
"Well?" I pressed on, like the dick I was.
"It's amazing." He finally got out.
"It should be, considering your, ahem, lack of experience" I couldn't hold back the smile tugging at my mouth.
"You know what Danse, I think I've had enough of this small talk. What are you here for?" He was blushing again.
"Right, here to report Proctor Teagan asked me and Knight Rhys to assist him with a mission."
"Very well, Paladin, dismissed."
"Ad Victorium Elder."
I got out of there to search for Esmeralda before I had to go.
She was in the power armor station, talking to Ingram.
"Does he say Ad Victorium when he climaxes?"
Esmeralda laughed loudly.
"Oh man, thank God he doesn't. I'd laugh if he did."
"Ahem, Knight." I interrupted.
"Just so you know Paladin, I regret nothing."
"Of course you don't."
Ingram looked confused.
"Danse walked in on me and Arthur getting it on."
Ingram started laughing, "I would have paid to see your face when you realized what was going on Henry."
"It was pretty epic." Esmeralda smirked.
"So..." Ingram looked at me, "Did you like what you saw?" Esmeralda choked.
My throat went dry.
"Yeah he did" Ingram concluded.
Esmeralda looked away blushing.
"Well hey, if you and Arthur ever want a threesome, you got a candidate."
I felt my face grow hotter. I never thought of Esmeralda like that before. She was attractive, sure. But I never... oh God.
"If you're done embarrassing us Ingram, I think it would be safe to change the subject."
A few people were walking into the room now.
"I don't know, Ingram, but I can picture you with Dansey here."
It was Ingram's turn to blush. Did... did she like me? Ingram was attractive. I always admired her and her dedication to the Brotherhood. I did like her, regardless of what happened to her. A flood of very dirty thoughts crossed my mind and I looked away.
"You should bring Ingram to the Brotherhood Ball Danse."
The Brotherhood Ball was an annual event that happened every fall and it was in a 6 months exactly. Everyone in the Brotherhood was invited and permitted one date outside of the Brotherhood. Bringing Ingram wouldn't be a bad idea. I'd have to ask her. Later though, not while Esmeralda was making it weird.
"Is your... significant other, bringing you Mer?" Ingram changed the focus back to her.
"I don't know. I'd love to see the look on Juliana's face if she saw us together, but at the same time, I don't want people hounding me with questions. That's what I have you two for."
We all had a good laugh.
"You ready to go Paladin?"
Rhys was here.
"Yes Knight, I'm ready when you are..."
"Hiiii Rhys" Mer waved in a flirtsy way. His face contorted.
"Ugh, I'll meet you at the command deck sir."
He walked away, ignoring the wolf whistle Esmeralda gave him. I was shocked at her attitude around Rhys. I thought they hated each other. She laughed.
"I fucking love messing with him. He always has the best reaction."
"If you're done hazing your fellow soldier, I'm going to leave you guys to it."
"Bye Danse" Ingram said turning back to her work.
"See ya later. Give Rhys hell for me, will ya?" She winked.
"Yeah yeah"
I walked to the vertibird deck, ready for my mission.

I bet Ingram looks good in a dress.

Chapter Text

Arthur:

"And you'll come back to me right away, right?"
"Yes sir" she breathed into my neck softly, raising my hair on end.
"Good" I pecked her shoulder, "then take care of yourself, I'll be here sweet pea."
She pulled me into one last kiss and turned out of my quarters, making her way down to the vertibird docks.

Four months. Four months full of love and happiness and unexplainable stains on my bedsheets. It was a miracle we didn't have any big fights. Fights that could have exploded into much worse issues were handled carefully by her cool demeanor or her talent at reasoning, using logic to get to a consensus that satisfied us both. She made me happy, but she made me scared. I never felt so afraid of losing someone.

I sank into my chair and looked at my terminal. The thought of her getting hurt. She nearly gave me a heart attack when she came back from that behemoth fight. I didn't feel as strongly as I did for her then as I do now. What if she came back injured or... if she didn't come back at all. I shuddered as I unscrewed the bottle of my favorite brandy. I poured it in the glass but didn't drink it. Just stared at it. The brown reminded me of Mer's hair. I looked at the ceiling.

It was very possible that she wouldn't return from a mission. Possible that the last time I see her is in her casket before she's put in the ground, if she got lucky. But if I lost her. My heart would be shattered. She would take a piece of me I could have never gotten back. It scared me that I fell more and more in love with her every day, and that I lost more and more of my control over the situation. I was used to being in control, but I lost all sense of it with Mer. It became increasingly difficult for me to not grab her ass or nuzzle into her neck when I saw her in common areas, but we both had to contain ourselves. It was near impossible for me to not interject when I saw a man getting what I deemed a little too close for comfort. She had me around her little finger, and we both knew it. Call it fate or pure luck, but she never took advantage of that hold she had on me. She was perfect, and maybe that's why it scared me so much to lose her.

Where would I find someone else like her?

Even finding someone who would be willing to love me and not my title was a struggle in itself. For a little bit, I thought I was maybe going into this too fast, but it felt way too right not to be true love. She was my everything, and I'd be at a loss without her.

I did my monotonous work and headed out to run a few laps around the Prydwen. Until Esmeralda pointed it out, I never noticed the way many of the woman looked at me, especially after my workouts. I stopped to check my pulse when I heard a few women giggling behind me. I turned my head to see a few scribes and knights in their uniform staring at me, particularly my lower half. I was getting all this attention, but I never felt more alone.

Mer wasn't here.

Maybe keeping our relationship private was a mistake. Ever since Danse walked in on us a few weeks ago, I never realized how badly I wanted everyone to know this remarkable woman was mine. I wanted to scream at the world that she was mine and mine alone. I wanted everyone to know that I wasn't for anyone else, that this woman had my heart completely. It was difficult for me to see the world without the compassion she inspired me to have for others. I wanted to touch her sweetly without fearing what others thought about us. I had to do this.

I went to my room, changed quickly and found my way to the mess hall.

"Soldiers..." everyone tuned to me, a few standing in my presence. I motioned for them to sit.

"I have an announcement to make." Everyone was watching me, including the particularly interested strawberry blonde in the corner of the room, Scribe Thomson.

"There has been quite a few rumors floating around the Prydwen that I have been romantically involved with someone. I am here to put those rumors to rest." Everyone seemed interested now.

"The rumors are true." The hall erupted into gasps and hushed whispers.

"Now, of course not all of them are true, however, it is true I am romantically involved with a woman in the Brotherhood. She would like to keep her identity a secret for a moment, and she had no knowledge that I would inform you all today, so I can imagine her surprise at this announcement." Everyone looked around at each other.

Good, at least they think she's in the room.

"Now everyone, I'd like to ask you all to respect our privacy. She and I been together for a few months, so I apologize for not telling you all this, but I wanted to be sure of my feelings before her before I informed you all." I heard a few 'aww's' in the crowd and decided that was all of my sensitive side they'd see tonight.

"Thank you all for hearing me, and enjoy the rest of your night. Ad Victorium."

"Ad Victorium" everyone echoed back.

There was a good possibility she'd be pissed when she gets back, now that everyone knew the truth, but at least no one knew it was her. A few men congratulated me and the older, more experienced men would either pat me on the back or shake my hand.

I felt on top of the world. No one knew she was mine but at least they knew someone was mine. Now they knew I was a man in love. Now they'd walk with caution, knowing a woman here could possibly be my lover. It made me happy to know everyone would treat each other with a little more respect knowing there's a possibility that my woman is standing among them.  

I jogged up to my quarters to immediately regret my decision. There were a few men and women standing loitering around my quarters, watching. For a moment, I didn't understand, and asked them all to leave unless they had business to discuss with me. I walked into my quarters and no one followed me in. They didn't come to report to me, they came to see who would walk into my quarters at night and not leave until morning. Now I knew that last night was the last night of complete privacy we had. It would be difficult for us to spend nights together anymore without more rumors starting or have her sneak out of my quarters in the morning without people harassing her for answers. Beforehand, I felt like a dead weight had been lifted off my shoulders until I realized I just added an entirely new burden to both of us.

I knocked back the brandy I left in my room from before and looked at the ceiling again. The only way for her to be able to visit me is if she came to report to me, and even then, she couldn't linger around for very long. Unless... everyone knew it was her. For a moment the answer seemed obvious, to tell everyone that it's Esmeralda Storm, but another thought crossed my mind. I opened my door and asked a passing squire to bring me several of our best scribes. The child ran off as fast as they could to get them. 

This is it. This is actually it. I'm... not going to do it when she gets back. No, I'll wait. It has to be the right time, and it has to be done when the time comes. I hope it can be done soon. I know the Brotherhood has the supplies. We just need to utilize them in the best way possible. 

"Elder Maxson sir." A few of my best scribes were there.

"I'm guessing you heard my announcement to everyone in the mess hall."

"Yes sir" one of them answered, "she must be quite the extraordinary woman."

You have no idea.

"She is, and I must ask you all a favor." Breathe Arthur, just breathe. "An extraordinary woman deserves an extraordinary engagement ring. I know I can trust you all to make my future wife the best of the best ring." 

They all looked at each other excitedly.

"I also trust you will all keep this information strictly on a need-to-know basis."

"Of course Elder, do you have any specific requests?"

"Yes, actually. It needs to be platinum, have the largest diamond the Brotherhood owns or can find within a one-month time span, and later on, I'll need two more rings for our wedding bands, also made of platinum. When the time comes, I'll ask you to engrave our names on each ring, but for now, keep it plain."

They were all scribbling down notes, when one of the female scribes spoke up.

"And how would you like the diamond cut, Elder?"

There were different cuts?!

"To be quite frank, I wasn't aware there were different cuts." The male scribes didn't seem to know that either. 

"If you'd like, we can bring you a small chart with the different cuts and present them for you to pick."

"Yes, that would be perfect. Thank you."

"Would you like to keep the one diamond or have several smaller ones surrounding the band?"

I'd give Esmeralda the entire world if I could.

"The more diamonds, the better. I would like it to be as intricate and beautiful as possible." Because she was intricate and beautiful. "But it can't be gaudy! Don't make it obnoxious... if that makes sense." 

The female scribes looked at each other with smiles and looks of awe on their faces while the males nodded and scribbled down the cost of supplies and the like.

"I'll spare no expense on this ring, it must be absolutely perfect. I'd like a sketch by the end of the week of any ideas you might have. Ad Victorium."

"Ad Victorium" they said in unison. 

She deserved all the stars in the heavens in my opinion. A few more caps for a few more diamonds wouldn't hurt. I had money, but never spent it, never seeing a good reason to buy something, but now I had it. She was going to get the best damn wedding ring in the entire damn world. 

I went, got ready for bed, and laid down looking at the ceiling once more.

She really does have me wrapped around her little finger.

Chapter Text

Esmeralda:

I knew it'd be difficult to explain to Arthur that my baby boy is actually half his age and most likely in the Institute. It broke my heart and I needed to tell Arthur about everything I discovered this week.

The moment I walked onto the Prydwen, everything seemed off. I was gone a solid week, what could have gone on that made everyone so hush hush? I wanted Arthur, but I also needed a damn shower. Goodneighbor and Diamond City have their own scent that smells repulsive when added together. I went into the showers and enjoyed the much needed hot water and light steam coming out of it. Once I got dressed, I went to Arthur's room to see the handful of people idly standing around, occasionally whispering to each other. I had a manila folder with me so it looked as if I meant to report to Arthur when really I just wanted to sleep next to him and let my stress go in his embrace. Maybe bang a little.

I walked into his room and closed the door behind me, seeing Arthur stand there doing his paperwork.

"Please leave the files on the table there and I'll get to it as soon as possible." There was a table with several files near the door.

"What, no kiss?" He whipped around and ran to me so fast I didn't even notice until several spins in that he picked me up and was twirling me around. I came back from the probably one of the worst weeks of my life, and all of it melted away in his arms. I started laughing from the joy and he slowed down to start kissing my face. This man was fucking adorable. He dropped me to hold my face in his hands. He just looked at me. That way. The way he always did. Full of love and something else that made me feel warm and super fuzzy inside.

"So what's up honey? What's with the sudden fans lingering outside your door?" His face changed to annoyance and maybe a very subtle panic.

"Yes, the soldiers know about us." Figures.

"Who said anything? Was it Juliana? I'll cut that bitch." He chuckled... nervously?

"Actually sweet pea... it was me."

I took a step back but kept a firm grip on his biceps. I wasn't mad, which I could probably credit to my very laid back demeanor, but I was confused about his change in attitude.

"Arthur Maxson, are you on chems?" He laughed,

"I'm the afraid the the only thing I've ever been addicted to is you, love."

This man had a talent for turning anything into a compliment. Not that I was complaining.

"Look, you can't be here for long, everyone is going to start getting suspicious..." I held on to him tighter.

"So looks like spending nights together is not a possibility?" He looked disappointed.

"I'm so sorry sweet pea. I was stupid, I was impatient and willing to settle on everyone knowing I was... I just, I'm so happy. With you, I wanted everyone to... with all the men around here, that they knew you..." I pressed my lips against his adorable little self conscious face.

"It's okay honey, we'll work though it."

"O-kay" he mumbled against my lips.

I turned around and left, knowing I'd have to tell him sooner or later that my son is in the Institute, that I know how they get in and out, and that I have the blueprints to create a molecular relay. I went into the knight's quarters and found my way into the bed I used to sleep in every night. I climbed in and shut my eyes. I heard familiar rapid footsteps at the edge of my bed.

"Here to give me a goodnight kiss Rhys?" I smirked without opening my eyes.

"Don't you have to be an asshole somewhere else Storm?"

"Not till 4:00" I said smirking at the reference he didn't get.

"Cute"

"Thank you Rhys. I always knew you found me attractive."

"Ugh, fuck off."

"You hear anything about the Elder's new flame?"

"New? He was probably a virgin before this chick." Rhys, my man, you're not wrong.

"Besides that's old news."

"I just got back from a mission, I didn't hear about this until only a few hours ago." He didn't say anything.

"Who do you think it is?" I asked, breaking the silence.

"Probably some sentinel no one knows about."

"I think it's you Rhys. I think you're cheating on me." I always took the chance to annoy Rhys whenever the moment presented itself. He scoffed.

"Elder Maxson isn't my type."

"Then I think it's Haylen." Quiet again. I opened my eyes to see Rhys was on his bed cleaning his guns, but he had a white knuckle grip on the towel He was using to clean it with.

"I don't think Haylen would... do that." I almost forgot Haylen confessed her love to Rhys, and Rhys rejected her. I decided to push his buttons. Probably a bad idea, but fuck it.

"Yeah, I bet it's Haylen. She's so kind hearted and dedicated to the Brotherhood..." I sat up in my bed to see his face snarling.

"...I bet Elder Manson appreciates that. Appreciates her."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Rhys spat out, looking at me with a fire in his eyes.

"I just think Elder Maxson could appreciate Haylen and give her the attention she deserves. Attention, long over due." He gritted his teeth but eventually relaxed, going back to cleaning his laser rifle. Was he regretful? I knew Haylen still had feelings for Rhys, but what about Rhys?

"After all... Haylen deserves someone who reciprocates her feelings, doesn't she?"

That did it. He got up, leaving his rifle parts unattended and stormed out. So Rhys was regretful. Good. He should see that he hurt Haylen, now he was hurting, as he should be.

I laid back down and looked at at the ventilation system above me. Shaun was in the Institute. My baby was 10 years old. What would Arthur think of that? Even if he took him in, his age would mean he was 10 years old when Shaun was born and I would have been 17. Maybe having a father figure so close in age to Shaun would be beneficial.

Whoa whoa whoa calm the fuck down Esmeralda. What on earth makes you think Arthur is going to accept Shaun? He's your son, not his. You two aren't even officially together. But... Arthur loved me. He'd at least be accepting of Shaun right?

I couldn't sleep. The lack of Arthur's arms around me and peace of mind was driving me insane. Everyone was starting to drift off into bed now, the only problem was that I wasn't sleeping and that Rhys' bed was still empty. I got up quietly and went to the library. I found several books but I couldn't find the one I was looking for. I went back to the room and fished around my crate of stuff until I found what I was looking for. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. If I ever felt bad, I'd read, and tonight, I was feeling particularly interested in Machiavelli's advice on leadership. Probably because the book reminded me of Arthur. The library didn't have this book, so it was likely Arthur didn't ever read it. I loved this book so we could share it. I closed my eyes and thought of Arthur, wondering if he was thinking of me. If anything, he was probably masturbating, which was very flattering. I loved Arthur. If all I had to do was not sleep with him for a few months, that would be fine, as long as it didn't affect our relationship, I'd be happy. Happier than I've ever been. 

But still. With Shaun, I was afraid Maxson wouldn't accept him. We weren't married so he didn't have to. But if we were married...

Whoa. Slow down Storm. You've got a good thing going on here with Arthur. Let's not push it until you're both ready. We've got the Brotherhood Ball to be looking forward to now.

Maybe by then...

Chapter Text

Arthur:

The thing that hurt most was the fact that it was my fault. Three weeks ago, she came to me with the plans for a molecular relay, and began her work with Ingram to complete, leaving me here without her. Here. Alone. Like I have been. If we had agreed to take time away from each other, I'd be fine, but it was my fault. I couldn't keep my big mouth shut for a while longer and it hurt us. She came to see my two to three times a week. We'd share a passionate kiss, talk for 20 minutes, give another kiss goodbye, and she'd leave me here in my drafty room with nothing but my shadow and my whiskey to keep me company. The crowd surrounding my quarters never died down. Everyone wanted a glimpse at who would stay the night with me. My bed became increasingly colder, and I recently began to cry myself to sleep. I missed her. Her laugh. Her ridiculous stories. Her cringe-worthy puns. The look she gave me when she thought I was an idiot. The half smile she tried to hide when I told a bad joke. The way she threw her head all the way down and back up again, flipping her long locks out of her face. Her delicate touch. Her understanding eyes. Everything. I'd do anything to spend an extra 20 minutes with her. She'd been so dead set on the relay that she didn't visit me at all for the last seven days. What is wrong with me? I never felt this bad being alone. Before, I was quite comfortable being alone, and now...
There were a few knocks at my door.
"Enter."
Mer walked in and closed the door. I stalked towards her and pressed my lips to hers hungrily. Her arms wrapped around my neck and she pressed herself into me. I held her close, relishing the warmth, knowing I wouldn't feel it again for a while. We pulled away reluctantly and I buried my face into the crook of her neck.
"I..."
"Stop saying your sorry. You didn't know this would happen." She patted my hair down and kissed my cheek. I didn't know what to say. I'd apologized to her nonstop over the past week.

"The relay is done." She sighed.

"No." I looked down at her. "No, wait. You can't go."

She touched my cheek and rubbed it with her thumb.

"My son is in there Arthur. My baby boy. I have to go."

"No, no!" I tightened my grip on her,
"What happens if it goes wrong?! What if I lose you?! I can't..."

No, Arthur, no, fight back those tears dammit.

She wiped away the tears that's started rolling down my cheeks regardless of my inner monologue.

"I trust Ingram, she didn't want me to go either, but I have to."

"T-the Brotherhood ball. It's in 2 weeks. I was going to ask you..."

"I'll try and make it love, but I need you to be my rock. I need you to be strong for me."

I chuckled dryly, "You're my rock if anything."

I kissed her again, feeling the way she shivered slightly at the air conditioning that cooled my room even more.

"Tomorrow is the day."

"Okay. Tell me another one of your stories." 

She smiled and I pulled her towards my bed. She sat on my lap and started caressing my scarred cheek.

"Did I tell you about the time my Thanksgiving turkey exploded?"

The hell?

"Don't know what a Thanksgiving turkey is."

"It's like a radchicken but a lot bigger. It was a time to celebrate everything you were thankful for, and we ate turkey. Now you know what deep frying is?"

Now she's just messing with me.

"I'm not that ignorant sweet pea."

"Geez, just wanted to make sure considering you didn't know what a sweet pea actually was until a few weeks ago."

She was never going to let me live that down.

"Alright well my dad and my brothers wanted to deep fry this 30 pound bird."

"Oh God."
"Yeah, and the thing is..." she got up from my lap, despite my protesting groan.
She stood in front of me and gestured at the air in a circular motion.

"This turkey had to be put in really slow. I told them this, but of course they don't listen." Her passion and exasperated voice made me chuckle.

"These assholes drop this poultry into the scalding oil and the turkey just..."
she bent over herself and threw herself out of the position while shaking her hands and making an exploding noise.

"This motherfucking turkey ends up in the neighbors tree." Her exaggerated pre-pubescent voice she sometimes uses never fails to crack me up.

"Needless to say, we didn't have turkey that year." She climbed back into my lap.

"You're turn." She smiled. I had the perfect story. The time I pranked Proctor Quinlan when I was 16 by hiding his previous cat.
There was a light rapping at my door.
She looked down at her lap. I cupped her cheek.

"It's ok" I could see it really wasn't.

"Will you come back tonight?"

"That will look suspicious."

"I don't care. I need to see you. Please."
She hugged me and I cradled her in my arms.

"Kay."

The knocking came again. She huffed and got up to leave. I reached for her hand and pulled her back into me for one more searing hot kiss. Once we pulled away she wiped her shiny lipgloss off my lips and walked away. I let a small smile tug at the corner of my mouth at Proctor Quinlan who entered. The rest of the day went by in a haze. A few soldiers I dispatched for missions, a few reports read and confirmed, and a reprimanding for several trickster soldiers. A knock came at my door around 5:00 and I hurried to open it. There were two scribes with a medium sized black box.

"Hello Elder, we've come with several samples."

"Ah, yes, right, of course. Come in."

The 2 young women went to my desk and opened the case. It had seven rings, all different diamond shapes and designs. I smiled at the different rings. They were all surprisingly unique.

"These are all rings completed, ready for the big day."

I exhaled. They were all beautiful. But which one was for Esmeralda?
There was one on the edge that stood out. It had the biggest diamond but the band had an intricate detailing. It make the rounded diamond resemble a flower. Tinier diamonds scattered the band and it was breathtaking. Just like her. I picked it up.

"This one. Definitely this one. It's perfect."

"Square cushion cut. Definitely beautiful. One of our favorites." One of the scribes said, picking up the ring and cleaning it with a cloth and liquid before putting it into a small black box. She slide it across the table to me.

"She's all yours elder."

"Thank you. Really. I wouldn't have known where to start if it weren't for you and rest of the scribes."

"Of course Elder. It's always easier when you're deeply in love. We picked up on that."


Sentimental. I shook both of the women's hands before saluting them and dismissing them. I put the box in my bottom drawer, hidden underneath several spare jumpsuits.

It seemed like forever before I finally heard another knock at my door. It was 12:00 AM. I opened the door where she was, a small satchel over her shoulder, and a sad smile on her face. I let her in and closed the door. She peppered my face with light kisses and I enjoyed the feeling of the butterflies in my stomach.

"I got you something, I was going to wait until tomorrow but..." she opened her bag and reached in, pulling out my gift.

No fucking way.

"I... I..." I hadn't seen a book in this good of a condition, well, ever. And of all books, To Kill A Mockingbird.

"My Mr. Handy preserved a lot of my old books. I also want to give you this..." 

The Art of War. Sun Tzu. A plain white book with what seemed to be writing of Asian origin underneath it.

"And this... my favorite book. You asked before, and I didn't know..."

The Prince. Niccolo Machiavelli. A blue book with a small picture of a statue in the middle.

"It's been a very good tool for me to whip the Minutemen into shape. It should remind you of me... while I'm gone."

"Thank you sweet pea. I'll cherish these."

I turned to put them on top of my desk. She went behind me and wrapped her arms around my waist, sighing. I turned around and kissed her gently, cupping her cheek. We walked to my bed where we both undressed in silence. I lifted her up, earning a small chuckle. If I could get her to laugh again, my night would be complete. I kissed the junction of her neck and her jaw. She moaned softly. I began my slow descent, nipping and sucking on her soft skin, leaving a trail of light purple down her neck. I would have felt bad if it weren't for her sweet moans that kept me motivated. That and her hand that was guiding my head lower down her abdomen. I finally reached her core and the heat radiating off of her was insane. She was glistening wet and I immediately went to close my mouth over her clit. She writhed underneath me, and I watched her face contort in the nicest way at my movements, her sweet moans filling the air. I suddenly got an idea. A stupid idea. But an idea nonetheless.

"Sweet pea?" She groaned at the lack of attention, throwing her head back, eyes on the ceiling.

"Yeah Maxy?"

I swallowed past the lump in my throat.

"Can I record this?"

She looked down at me now. Confused.

"Record what?"

"This. The noises you're making."

She smiled. An actual smile. It was big and toothy and such a relief that she wasn't mad at me for suggesting this.

"You plan on having this recording for yourself or are you sharing?"

"You should know by now that I am a very..." I kissed the inside of her thigh, making her shiver.

"Very..." I kissed her swollen clit, making her jerk her hips slightly.

"Very selfish man."

"Well in that case..." she breathed, "what are we waiting for?"

I got up in record time and grabbed a holotape and recorder.

"Just don't say my name." She warned. I groaned in frustration.

"A difficult request my love but alright."

The holotape began it's recording. We had 3 hours of recording available and I was planning on using as many of those minutes as possible.
I immediately went back to my work, eat her out in the way she loved. Her moans were amplified when I stuck a finger inside her. I quietly thanked God that this holotape was capturing all of this. When I went to add another finger I hit a rough spot.

Odd.

She shrieked and I thought I hurt her.

"Merde! Arthur, please, mon Dieu, right there!"

Was that... French? I knew she spoke French but she rarely ever did since no one ever knew what she was saying.

I continued to rub that spot and she was basically sobbing. I couldn't tell if this was painful so I slowed my movement.

"You bastard, don't you dare slow down!"

If that's how it's going to be.

I started downright abusing that little spot, memorizing it for later. Her cries threatened the soundproof walls and my dick was throbbing for attention of it's own. I rubbed her clit vigorously and she came in a shattering cry of my name and a whirlwind of French, what I could only assume would be, curse words. I pulled my fingers out slowly and cleaned her up of her juices. She shuddered as she came down from her high. She was glistening with sweat, her face a work of art, and her body flushed pink.

God she is intoxicating.

I let her recover before she turned me over and straddled my knees, stoking my dick almost possessively. I shuddered at the relief and she lightly blew a cool stream of air down my shaft, making me buck my hips involuntarily at her. She took my head in her mouth for a few seconds before she took all of me into her mouth. I choked at the heat and immediately took her off of me. She groaned in protest but I turned her back over and aligned myself up at her entrance. I leaned over her and started kissing her, pushing myself inside her gently. It was all so surreal the way we moaned into each other's mouths, hands all over each other, not giving a care in the world about anyone or anything else. I moved to her sensitive neck, back at giving her gentle hickeys while she moaned at my thrusts, but I couldn't find that spot that had her screaming. I separated from her to change angles, lifting her up so her hips were in the air and her knees were over my shoulders. I thrust inside of her once again and...

Oh.

Now this... this was sex.

I could hit that sweet spot with ease and she was practically falling apart in my hands. My sharp thrusts were getting faster and faster with the sweet noises that were bouncing off the walls. The music she made was so hot it shouldn't be allowed. The slapping of our skin was so obscene I felt dirty and bad yet so so good. My breath was ragged and I could barely contain myself. She came again crying out in French and I nearly cried when she did. It just felt way too good. When I knew I couldn't hold it back, I started to pull out but she kept me in place by locking her ankles around my lower back.

"L-love, I'm close. I'm gonna... oh fuck... I'm gonna cum..."

"Do it then." She whimpered.

I... I heard that, right? She said that? I wasn't dreaming?

Too late. When the liquid finally stopped spurting out of me, I pulled out of her slowly.

"What's wrong, you getting tired?" She chuckled breathlessly.

"Not on your life sweet pea."

The night went on the same way until the holotape clicked, signaling that it was out of storage. I didn't want it to stop but we both knew we couldn't have sex the whole night, and we were both dead tired with the multiple orgasms and relentless teasing we both endured all night. When we stopped, we cuddled together, telling each other stories and holding each other closely. We eventually fell asleep, dreading what tomorrow would bring.

 

I woke up to the sound of my shower going and the absence of warmth besides me. I got up and knocked on my bathroom door before joining the love of my life in the shower. We were both somber and quiet in the shower, as we got dressed, and as we left my room. She stopped by the knight bunks to grab a big travel suitcase and bring it with her.
Was she going to bring that with?
No. The moment we made our way to the relay she walked up to Ingram and handed it to her.

"What's this?" She looked at the worn case, taking it from Mer.

"Just... promise me you'll open it when I've transported."

She looked at her with a sad twinkle in her eye.

"Promise. Now get on that platform."

There were 3 star paladins, three of scribes that helped me pick out Mer's engagement ring, Proctors Ingram, Teagan, Cade, and Quinlan. Paladin Danse was there too and was saying something to Esmeralda. I checked with Ingram to insure everything was in place.

"I wouldn't be letting her go if there was even a screw out of place, Elder. Look, I know you're worried. She and I built this thing and I'm worried. There's nothing in this world that can get done without risks, but Esmeralda is trusting in me and you and Danse to give her confidence."
I sighed.

"Yes. I know. I can try. For her."

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Esmeralda stepping up to the platform.

Wait... no!

I ran over to her and grabbed onto her wrist. Everyone was watching us now but I couldn't give a single fuck. I pulled her off the platform and pressed my lips forcefully on hers. Everyone gasped and there were hushed whispers filling the air. She wrapped her arms around me and kissed me in a way that made me dizzy. We eventually pulled away to sad smiles and a few all-knowing grins from Ingram, Danse, and... Quinlan? She started to walk back to the platform,

"I love you Esmeralda." A few people awed sadly at my words. She looked at me, broken.

"I love you too Arthur."

"Take care, and come back to us soldier." I tried smiling but it didn't really work.

"Yes sir, Elder Maxson."

She got onto the platform and looked up at the sky. She did something funny with her hand, motioning it to her head and down, then to the right side of her chest, then left. She shoved the holotape Ingram gave her into her pocket and nodded at Ingram.

Zzzz-ooop

The flash of blue was blinding but it was gone now. Everyone looked around. I tried to keep my eyes off the burn mark where Esmeralda once stood and looked at Ingram. She blinked a few times and looked at the suitcase besides her. She zipped it open and looked, immediately gasping, still looking down at the contents but letting tears fill her eyes. They never fell. She closed the case and took it with her, leaving us. Everyone began to trickle out quietly except me. I stood there while everyone else left. When everyone was gone, I collapsed and sobbed into the irradiated earth echoing one thought over and over again.

"Please God, let my sweet pea return to me."

Chapter Text

Esmeralda

Well the Institute sucked.
Sucked major balls.
God I hated the fucking Institute.
Nothing could make up for it.
Not the hot showers.
Not the sanitary bathrooms.
Not the warm beds.
Not the poor excuse of a son I met.
Not the scary courser he made me tote around.
Nothing.


I wanted nothing more than freedom from this underground gilded cage. I wanted to run away into Arthur's embrace and cry. I lost my son. He was alive. But I lost him to the Institute. The synth Shaun was nice. Polite and reserved. A clean slate almost. Bright kid. Or... yeah no, he was still definitely a kid.
"Mother." Ugh.
"Shaun."
"No need to be so cryptic Mother."
I continued packing my dress carefully into my bag.
"Nor should you be so secretive. What's the occasion?"
Jeebus Kid give your mama a break.
"To be completely honest, I have a friend in the Brotherhood of Steel, Paladin Danse" ahem Arthur Maxson ahem "and he's invited me to the Fall Ball they host every year. If he hadn't invited me I probably wouldn't be going but I'm not going to bail on him."
Just change the name and it would have been completely honest.
"Does your friend even know you're alive and well in the Institute? I'm sure that is excuse enough not to go."
"Shaun, I can make my own choices. I am a grown woman, after all, I did have you."
"One isn't necessarily an adult once they give birth, Mother."
"No, but they are when they prepare themselves mentally, emotionally, and financially to support a family."
I could feel him staring daggers at the back of my neck.
"Is there something you want to say to me Mother?"
"There something you wanna hear Shaun?"
That shut him the fuck up.
"Very well. Have fun at your party, just remember that the Brotherhood may have helped you reach me, but now, they are no longer useful, especially to the future of the Institute."
"Bye Shaun."
"Take X6-88."
The handsome, emotionless courser?
"Shaun I already have a date, please, I don't need a guardian."
"Very well Mother, be careful. The Commonwealth is lurking with danger."
"I'm aware, thank you for the advice."
With that I zapped right out of there thanks to the courser chip in my pipboy. At least with the Institute intact, I was able to take up sewing properly. I was able to sew a dress with feathers and make a mask since the ball was a masquerade. It looked like a swan and the dress was white to match with rhinestones near the neck, mimicking a necklace. It reached 1/3 up my thigh and was tight enough but not too tight. I decided to transport just outside of the airport. I looked at the clock, realizing that a half an hour of the party had passed. My curly hair was straightened and I was ready to finally fall into Arthur's embrace. I ran into the entrance, tipping my signature green baseball cap at the soldiers. I finally made my way into the Prydwen. I ran past Ingram's quarters and stopped dead in my tracks. I looked at her door.
When Ingram was gone, her door was locked. When she was there, her door was cracked open, kind of like Arthur's.
Her door was opened slightly.
Danse asked her to go with him so there was absolutely no reason for her to be a half an hour late to the party. I opened the door. She was on her bed reading a book. Her hair was curled, no doubt meaning to go to the ball, but deciding not to last minute. She looked up from her pages and a smile lit up her face.
"You're back!"
"Don't you 'you're back' me. Why aren't you at the party?"
She took at me sadly.
"Mer... I can't go-"
"None of that! Now get those prosthetics on and put on that dress."
She groaned but obliged. She took the suitcase I gave her from the side of her bed. She opened it. It looked like she didn't even touch it. She pulled out the legs I gave her and started strapping them on. I shimming out of my jumpsuit and into the dress I made. I helped Ingram into hers and helped her with her makeup. She stood up once I put the heels on her feet and she looked at me, legs shaking.
"I don't know if I can do this."
"Yes you can baby doll, now lets go."
I hooked my arm in hers and walked side by side with her down to the airport again. We put on our masks and walked through the gates once we showed our dog tags. I immediately started scanning the room for Danse, spotting him on the side near the alcohol with... Arthur? The man he was with looked different. I waited, holding onto Ingram before I took a breath and walked towards them both. They were facing away from us and we could hear their conversation.
"I don't even want to be here Danse."
"As Elder, it would be frowned upon if you didn't make an appearance."
"I've made an appearance so I am not required to stay longer. I don't want to be here without Esmeralda. It's just hurts."
"Well Ingram wasn't feeling well so we both seem to be in the same situation."
We both looked at each other. She feigned illness? That bitch. And I mean that in the nicest way. Arthur was sitting down so I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and put my head right next to his. Ingram wrapped her arms around the standing Paladin and pressed her cheek against his back. Both men flinched and turned to look at us. Danse spoke first
"Ingram, I thought... wow, you look spectacular."
Arthur looked completely different. His beard was cleanly shaven off. I could see his eyes through the mask and thought he was going to cry. He stood up in front of me and caressed my cheek.
"Sweet pea." He choked out and I now could feel the tears in my eyes. He pulled me into a tight embrace.
"It's really you Sweet pea. You're here."
He leaned into a kiss. It was so innocent, no tongue, no anything but somehow it was the most passionate kiss I've ever felt we had. When we broke away I brushed the tears off his cheeks and gave him my most sincere smile. He pulled me onto the dance floor and we began dancing, swaying slowly with the music. He wasn't a very good dancer but neither was I so we fit each other. He made up for it with feather kisses all over my face whenever we screwed up. I could feel people watching us but I didn't give a single fuck. I was home in his arms. Wherever he was, I'd feel safe. The party went by in a whirlwind. People congratulated us, even if they didn't know who I was. To be fair, my untamable curly hair was straightened and I was wearing a mask. I spent the whole night in the arms of the man I loved. We danced, we talked (not about the Institute, thank the Lord), and we kissed. Oh we kissed. He gave kisses like a fountain gives water. I didn't let go of his hand the whole night.

We finally got to our room, both in good spirits. I kissed him like it was the last kiss I was ever going to give him. He backed up until the back of his knees hit his bed frame. I lifted my skirt higher to straddle his lap. He gripped my thighs slide them up my ass, going up till he reached the zipper of my dress. I pulled away breathing.
"Arthur Maxson, I worked ten plus hours on this dress, so if you rip it, I swear to God you're not getting laid in a month."
"Yes ma'am."
Oooh. Now I liked the sound of that.
"Good boy." I breathed into his lips before diving into another kiss. He moaned when I started grinding myself on his erection and so did I because I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel heavenly. Also that moan. I loved a responsive man and Arthur was... mmh. He took his sweet damn time with that zipper until it was fully unzipped and I could stand up and slip it off. He took off his jacket while I undid his tie and buttons of his dress shirt. He still had the white mask on, which was kinda cute, but we'd save these for another time. A kinkier time. I unbuttoned his pants and pulled them down as he lifted his hips to help me out. I took his boxer off with them to save time. I took the strap of my bra and snapped it against my skin. I could swear Arthur was drooling. I'd never really teased him like this before so I could sense his surprise and definite arousal. I slowly slid the straps of my bra off taking my time to unclip the back of it. I let it fall on the ground and snapped the waistband of my panties to draw his attention from my breasts to my waist. He had a white knuckle grip on the bed sheets and this was way too good to not take advantage of. I slid them off, one hip, then the other. I stepped back over to him and sat in his lap.
"I never realized what a tease you are" he whispered, gravelly and rough, the way that got me hot.
"I'm drunk enough to work up the confidence so yeah."
He started circling my clit with his finger.
"So wet my love. Do I even need to do this?"
"Mmh, yes Arthur." I said, bucking my hips at his hands.
He started with one finger, driving it slowly into me, letting my squeeze down around the digit.
"Fuck, I missed this" I groaned.
He started pumping it in and out slowly, and stared at my face. His own eyes were half lidded and goddamn sexy.
"Love what you did with, augh, you're face."
Aaaand my sexiness just flew out the window.
"Thanks baby, did it out of grief" he admitted, still looking as hot as he did.
"I'm... mmh, here now" I whispered.
"Good."
He took his fingers out and aligned himself up with me. I stretched around him as I sank down but fuck, did I miss that slight burn. He gripped my hips and we both groaned in unison as I finally took all of him in. I started rocking into him, taking almost all of him out then sinking back in at a good pace.
"Mer, oh yes, Mer. Fucking..."
He started lifting his hips up, bouncing me on him and my mind was blurring. I started calling out in an assortment of French, Spanish, and something that resembled Arthur's name. White hot stars exploded behind my eyelids and I slumped down on Arthur as I tried to milk his orgasm. Wait, when did he come? I was too distracted to even notice he came, and apparently really hard, inside me. I didn't really mind. I'd get birth control and a day after pill later with Cade. We slumped against his bed, both covered in a sheen of sweat, breathing heavily. He got his breath back before me so he spoke first.
"I love you."
"I love you too darling."
I nuzzled into the nape of his neck, dozing off and he held me closely in his strong arms.

Home.

When I walked out of Arthur's quarters I noticed a very hasty Paladin in a messy tuxedo sneaking out of Ingram's quarters at -I checked the time- 4:30 in the morning? Those two were naughty. I strolled up to Ingram's room and opened the door. There she was. Her bed was an absolute mess, as was her hair and makeup and, ah, yes, the smell of sex was definitely there. She desperately tried covering up her naked body with her sheets but I already saw.
"Tsk tsk tsk. The Virgin Mary is virgin no longer."
"Oh shut the fuck up. I wasn't a virgin."
"You were in my book. Looks like you got some good dans-ing lessons. I'll leave you to recover."

I'm an asshole.

Chapter Text

Esmeralda:

"No, no, no, no, NO! Of all the times, NOW? Right now?! Cade, why didn't they work?! They should have worked!"

 

Five hours earlier

 

"The absence of Doctor Filmore cannot and will not hinder the progress being done on Liberty Prime. I expect him to be ready to attack in three days. Ad Victorium!"

"Ad Victorium!"

I stood next to Arthur, proud to be one of his loyal soldiers, ready to fight against the Institute. After the fall ball and the long, teary talk I had with him about my son, we decided that moving against the Institute as soon as possible was the best course of action. 

"The day is fast approaching Knight. A word?" 

I nodded and we walked slowly to a secluded corner, still in sight, but out of anyone's earshot.

"Like I said, the day is fast approaching, are you sure you're alright Mer? I've hardly seen you smile."

I gave him a tired smile, the best I could manage at this point.

"Everything is just taking it's toll on me, I'll be alright. The sooner the Institute is up in smoke, the better."

He nodded and gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze, the best he could probably manage given the stares we've been getting lately.

I needed a milkshake.

I walked into the mess hall where the closest thing to a milkshake was a protein shake that tasted like sand and Brahmin shit. 

"Fucking hell" I muttered to myself.

"You've picked up the soldier vocabulary quite well" 

"Thank you Cade"

"Can we speak in private?"

"Sure, there's nothing here I really want anyway".

We walked in silence. I knew what this was, he was going to hand me my birth control pills and reprimand me for having sex in the first place without marrying Arthur first. He knew. Damn, everyone knew at this point. A few people saw us kiss and the rest was spread. There was a rumor going around that I was with Arthur but had Danse's child and was about to engage in something resembling polyamory. I chuckled to myself at the whispering initiates when I walked by. Cade's exam room was very clean. Or, should I say, clean as it gets in this godforsaken Wasteland.

"Very well, we're going to get you on birth control, correct?"

"Sir, yes sir."

"Okay, here, take one of these, once a day, everyday."

"Awesome thank you Captain..." I got up.

"Miss Storm?" He grabbed my arm and pulled me back down to sit.

"If I could just run a few more blood tests? I know it must be tedious to of me to keep asking you but it's... I've never had the opportunity to study the DNA of anyone who lived before the war. Even vault dwellers have been exposed to some radiation, but you're so unmutated, it's fasinating to study."

"Sure Cade, whatever you need."

He quickly wiped my skin with an alcohol swap and started to look for the vein to inject his needle. It was a small prick but I've been shot at, so I suppose it was nothing too awful.

"There we go. Thank you so much Miss. Storm, Ad Victorium."

"Ad Victorium."

I walked out gripping my arm slightly and somehow found myself at the door of Danse's quarters. I lightly rapped at the door. He opened it, not trying too hard to hide the surprise on his face.

"Knight, is there..."

"Can we talk sir?"

He side stepped out of the way of his doorframe and I stepped in slowly.

"What seems to be the problem?"

"Just needed to tell you something."

He raised his left eyebrow, a thing he did often while talking to me, I just noticed.

"Now I know we're not the best of friends, but we're going to be infiltrating the Institute tomorrow, so I felt you should be in the know, you know?"

"Alright."

Here lies the lie.

"The Institute was planning on sending a synth to replace you. It was never dispatched, but there was intent."

His eyes grew wide and there was a fire in his eyes.

"They... what?" He gritted out of his teeth.

"The synth had defects, so the plans were scrapped and while I was there, they were thinking of reviving the project. I just don't want you to get hurt, because I know what a good soldier you are, and I know how much people care about you. Me, Arthur..." He looked at his feet, "Ingram".

He looked up and smiled. It was rare for him to smile like that but he did and I smiled right back at him. 

"Thank you Knight."

"Can I ask you a favor Danse?"

"Of course, anything."

I grabbed his bicep gently,

"Take care of Ingram for me?"

"Always. Ad Victorium."

"Ad Victorium."

I walked out of his quarters calmly but at war internally.

You, 'Esmeralda Storm', just lied to your commanding officer's face. You didn't lose that holotape like you told Ingram you had, you didn't tell Arthur the truth about Nate, and Danse is most certainly an escaped synth. Even your name is as fake as the words coming out of your mouth. Why? Why is it so easy for you to do this: to lie without remorse? Just the fact you can do it is disgusting. You're word is shot to hell. You are are a Godawful person and you deserve every damn thing that's happened to you...

"Knight Storm?"

"Sir?"

"May I see you for a moment in my office?"

"Yes sir."

Cade nearly dragged me into his workplace.

"What's going on?"

He closed the curtain to his room and looked me in the eye.

"I was doing some tests with your blood. There's no other way to put this Knight, but you're pregnant."

"What?" 

"You're 7 weeks along. You're carrying the heir to the Brotherhood."

Everything was muffled as if I were underwater. All I could hear was my pounding heart in my ears and I tried to speak, but it barely came out as a whisper.

"The day-after pills..."

"What?"

"THE DAY-AFTER PILLS CAPTAIN"

"Please Storm, keep your voice down."

"No, no, no, no, NO! Of all the times, NOW? Right now?! Cade, why didn't they work?! They should have worked!"

"Please remember that most of our medicine is not made here since we don't have the resources-"

"What does that mean Cade?" My mouth was full of bile, I was going to be sick.

"Those pills I gave you were from before the war..."

I let that sink in.

"You gave me pills that were OVER 200 YEARS OLD?"

"I know you're under stress, and I can understand your frustration but..."

"Frusteration? Fruster-oh no, Cade, no, I'm not frustrated. In fact in fucking ecstatic! What better time to be pregnant that during the week of TOTAL WAR but no, no, no, of course I'll calm down. It's not like there's a possibility of me dying in the Institute. It's just full of coursers and shit, nothing to be worrying about! Frustrated, Captain? No, definitely not frustrated. Frusterated would be carrying the hope of the Brotherhood of steel in your womb while you're being shot at. I'm... terrified, Cade." 

I didn't know when Cade had helped me sit down and gotten me a bottle of water or when the shaking began but I couldn't find a way to make it stop.

"We must inform Elder Ma-"

"No" I begged, "No, please, Cade, if he knew I was pregnant, he'd never let me go, and even if he did, he'd be crushed if I died carrying his child..."

"You don't think he'd be crushed if you died, regardless of whether or not you were pregnant?! The future of the Brotherhood in growing inside you at this moment. I'm sorry, but you can't lead the soldiers with Max-"

"Cade you can't do this to me because it's not Maxson's."

Where in the actual fuck did that come from?

"It's... Are you..."

"Please don't tell him"

He saw right through that petty lie,

"So you're saying if I had Elder Maxson take a paternity test..."

"Ok no, don't do that, you got me, just... let me tell him, okay?"

He eyed me suspiciously, most likely contemplating whether or not he could trust my intentions. 

"Please?"

He looked away and I knew my fate was sealed,

"For your sake, I will keep silent. As far as I'm concerned, you are not at the stage where it is safe enough to announce pregnancy. However, if you die, I am informing Maxson of what you just forced me to do, and that man will be devestated. Is that understood?"

"Yes! Yes, oh Cade than-"

He narrowed his eyes at me.

"Right, right okay. Ahem, thank you Captain, Ad Victorium."

"Knight."

"Yes?"

"You are aware that if you don't come back alive, Elder Maxson will slit my throat for not telling him this earlier. My life is in your hands, I hope you know."

"I won't let you down Cade."

"Knight?"

"Yes?"

"Congratulations. Ad Victorium."

"Ad Victorium."

This baby will be born into lies. His father knows nothing about him, his mother's Past is incomplete, his step-brother is a synth as is 1/8 of all the members of the Brotherhood of Steel.

The rest of the day went in a blur. I somehow found myself sitting alone in Arthur's bathroom in a a tub of hot water and soap. I looked down at my named abdomen.

"Hey there ya little parasite" I said in the most loving way possible. The way my dad used to call me before my mother would swat him on the head for it.

"First ever war, you excited? Haha, looks like we're gonna be battle buddies."

I wrapped my arms around my stomach,

"Mamma's done a lot of things in the past, but she's not gonna lose another baby to the Wasteland. You got nothing to worry about. Momma's got you."

My tears started mixing with the water in the tub and my voice was strained and cracking.

"Momma's not gonna let anything happen to you o-Kay? Nothing baby. I promise."

I gave my stomach another squeeze before getting out of the water, toweling myself off and crawling into bed. The plans were set, but Arthur still had to work later than me. It was 2 AM before I faintly heard a door open, heavy boots hitting the floor, the shower faucet turn on, the faucet turn off, and felt the weight in our bed shift towards my left. I turned my head slightly to let him know I was awake.

"So?"

"So."

"Almost done?"

"Almost. I can't believe the day is almost here."

He held me tighter, I was the little spoon tonight.

"I love you Esmeralda. So much." He breathed into my hair.

It felt wrong. So wrong. I sighed in defeat.

"Jacqueline"

He lifted his head, I could feel it without looking, 

"What?"

"My name before the war was Jacqueline Eloise de Botton. I thought you should know."

There was silence for a little while, just the steady sound of our breathing and my heart beating loudly in my ears.

"I like that."

I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding.

"Which name do you prefer?"

"Esmeralda in public, Jacqueline is for you, and you only."

I turned around so we could snuggle even closer. 

Please don't ask, please don't ask...

"What should I say when I climax?"

He asked.

"Pfft, whatever floats your boat... er, battleship I guess."

"I love you Arthur. All of you, no matter what happens in 2 days, you're my love."

"I love you Jacqueline but nothing is going to happen to you, I won't let it."

I couldn't tell him. If he knew about our child, I'd never be able to do the Commonwealth the justice it deserves. 

Instead I snuggled closer to him and kissed his collarbone gently, hoping my nightmares would let me rest.

Chapter Text

Esmeralda: 

 

A duffle bag of aluminum cans, wonderglue, used motor oil, and fans was all I needed to rebuild the institute transporter to make it back in. Sanctuary was the ideal place. Full of resources and willing hands to help out. Preston greeted me at the gate.

"Pres...ton?" His face was angry, and appeared more so the closer he got to me.

"Goddam, General, it's gone. The food, our supplies. We barely have enough for anything." He growled at the last part and began mumbling.

"Preston" I dropped my bag and placed my hands firmly on his shoulders, "what happened?" 

He looked up at me almost hopelessly "The Brotherhood..."

My mind nearly blanked but I somehow kept my composure. 

"The came in here with their power armor and mini guns. Demanded us to give them our scrap supplies and any food that wasn't currently growing" harvesting season had just finished, I could see the horror in his eyes "It's gone General. All of it." 

I gave him my bag, "Take this and put it in the workbench for me. I have to talk to someone..." 

That grenade didn't call a vertibird quick enough. I sat on that thing hoping, praying, the food went uneaten, the scrap wasn't used yet.

The Vertibird landed, and by the time it did, I was pissed.

I marched up to the elders quarters, not caring for the people that got in my way. There was no one there. Even more pissed, I went to the small room they used as a conference room. I banged on the door so loudly, I think the entire Prydwen heard me. Teagan answered, seemingly annoyed,

"Knight, now is not the time." He growled at me.

"I need to see Elder Maxson." Not my Arthur, not my Maxy, not my sweet pea. I need to see the Elder of the motherfucking Brotherhood of Steel."

"In case you haven't noticed, Elder Maxson is in a meeting, and you" he pointed a bony finger at me, "are supposed to be rebuilding the teleporter."

"I don't need to discuss my issues with you, Teagan, I need to discuss them with the Elder." 

He scoffed,

"The Elder does not have time for a visit from his whore, come back another time." The door slammed in my face before I could react to-

Oh. Oh. Fuck. To. The. No.

A screwdriver was all I had left in my bag. The one I used to pick locks.

Guess it'll have to do.

---

Arthur:

"So once the teleporters have transported the scientists, you're saying..."

Teagan returned from God knows where. The smug grin on his face was more than unnerving. 

"We'll be left with coursers, mostly gen 1 and gen 2 synths." Ingram replied, eyes glued to the plans. 

The door rattled. No one else noticed. Before I could say anything, the door opened from the wrong way with a very angry looking Esmeralda. Tomato red face with nothing but a screwdriver in her hand. 

"I can't believe you-" Teagan stammered, standing from his chair.

"Elder Maxson, I need to speak with you." She said way too calmly. 

"Of course, in a-"

"Now" she growled.

Whoa shit. I raised an eyebrow. She didn't usually raise her voice at anyone, especially me. 

"Very well" I sighed and stood up. I walked towards her and lead her to my quarters. I doubted seriously she wanted sex, seeing how inappropriate it would be to unscrew the door hinges of the meeting room for it, but I never really knew with her. I closed the door behind me to face her. She had her arms crossed and a scowl on her face. 

"Am I wrong to assume you wanted a kiss?" 

"So, Elder" she said my name with grit, and it brought me back to when Sarah Lyons would scold me when I was a child.

"How am I supposed to rebuild the teleporter sans resources?" 

"What?" I said, genuinely confused.

"How am I supposed to build the teleported when your soldiers stole all my settlement's resources?" 

Her settlements, I nearly forgot she was the General of the Minutemen. 

"It is natural for our soldiers to need resources to repair their armo-"

"Excuse me, excuse me, I just, I must have something in my ear, but did I just hear you defending their crime?" She looked at me with wide eyes.

"It isn't a crime, they need to eat..."

"So you allow them to steal my people's food, that they grew and worked hard to produce?" Her eyes narrowed at me,  "What kind of entitled piece of shit thinks that way?" 

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, we defend those settlements, so in return-"

Apparently those were the wrong words to say. She exploded.

"DEFEND? DEFEN-Oh okay, right, see my settlements have NEVER reported any help from the Brotherhood, but who knows, maybe you help different set- oh wait just a flipping fucking minute. I own..." she leaned in real close "ALL. OF. THEM."

"Jacqueline! I'm sorry they took your supplies but there is nothing I can do now! It's probably been used to repair power armor and create gun mods by now." She was steaming. 

"Then how the actually fuck am I supposed to-"

Teagan, Quinlan, Cade, and Ingram were at the door. They couldn't hear this, they weren't used to anyone swearing in front of their elder. 

"Knight Storm, if you wish to stay on this mission to infiltrate the Institute, I suggest you stop speaking and get to work. Having you on this is a privledge many others would be proud to-"

I didn't see her hand, nor did I feel the contact it made with my face but I could feel the burning sensation it left as she stormed out of my quarters and past the proctors.

I turned to see Ingram chasing after the woman of my dreams while the others looked at me, waiting in anticipation for my reaction. Hoping for some kind of punishment, but all I could feel was despair. I walked past them slowly and made my way towards the power armor station.

There she was, as beautiful as the day I first spoke to her, hammering away at her power armor, ignoring Ingram's words. She put a helmet on and grabbed a blow torch.

"You know you're overreacting ri-" the sound of the torch igniting interrupted her. 

"Not now Ingram. Why not just let Liberty Prime blow a hole through the CIT ruins? It's the easier plan." She yelled through the noise.

"We didn't want to take unnecessary lives here, we wanted to see how teleporting would..." she huffed "You aren't even listening to me are you?"

The torch blared for a good ten seconds before she yelled again, "Whatever you're saying, don't bother." 

Ingram grumbled to herself how stubborn she was before marching past me and towards her own station. Apparently the armor wasn't working because she roundhouse kicked the metal plates into the walls. She stormed off to her old bed and footlocker. I followed silently behind, hoping she'd calm down at least a little before I approached her. She jumped face down on her cot and started screaming, her pillow muffling most of the noise. She turned her side and sat up, grabbing her dufflebag. 

I touched her shoulder gently. I though she'd burn a hole through my skull with the glare she gave me. I sat down next to her. 

"Sweet pea" I whispered "I am sorry, but you know..." 

"Yes, yes" she exasperated "I'm aware that you need to assert your authority over your men the way dogs do, making sure they don't challenge you so you stay the alpha, I get it" she shrugged her shoulders, "What I don't understand is your need to raid local farms for supplies. How do you think we got those supplies Elder?" 

"I..." I wanted to protest

"I went out there Maxson, I collected tin cans, desk fans, coolant bottles, telephones, and I building my settlements out of scraps. All of this, within a year." Her eyes were full of sorrow when she finally looked at me, "Imagine what you could do if all of your soldiers did the same. The Prydwen would be unstoppable." Her eyes were welling up now. 

I help her close, not wanting to let go, the attack was coming very soon, and there was no reason to be making new enemies, especially with the woman I loved.

"No more then, Liberty Prime will be ready, and after the Institute is destroyed, we'll make a peace treaty, one that benefits your people and my own." I sighed "I promise."

She grabbed my hand a gave it a squeeze before standing up and going to see Neriah. 

We'd be okay. 

We'll make this work.

Chapter Text

Arthur:

 

I waited ever so nervously on the platform. The battle was over. All I waited for was Mer. This was her moment, not mine. She appeared from the back and walked towards the edge. No one could say anything before she slammed the button down. Everyone watched in surprised terror as the bomb detonated, another infamous mushroom cloud made its way into the air. Everyone cheered. Everyone but one. Mer stood there, frozen. Everyone faded away but I walked slowly towards her behind her. She crumpled onto the ground. I sat next to her but didn't touch her. She screamed. No, she screeched. She was in pain. She cried out and all I could do was listen.

"Shaun, God, what have I done to you?" she screamed, "I burned you" she cried into the sky. 

There was nothing I could say. Nothing I could mutter to try and dull the pain of a mother, not only a mother who lost her child and husband, but witnessed it both times. Yes, she killed her own son, something no one should have the burden of doing. But she did it. I held her small frame lightly. I might be stronger and bigger than her, but she was tougher. She persevered through situations I could never go through myself. 

"Arthur..." her words were quite this time, "can I be alone?"

I kissed the crown of her head gently, 

"Take as long as you need".

I stood up and walked toward the Pyrdwen once again, hoping she'd be able to walk through the doors again. 

 

Esmeralda:

My parents never were there for me. I wasn't good enough for them. They were convinced I couldn't raise my son, especially with a military father. I hated them. I fucking hated them and they were right. My son. 

 

 

"I'm sorry Shaun" I whisper

"No, you're not" he spits back at me

"Shaun..." I plea, reaching out my hand to touch his

"You're destroying everything I've ever worked for." He pulled his hand away

"You think I wanted this?" I spit out

He looks taken aback

"You're my son. My flesh and blood. Every maternal instinct is telling me to kill myself before I harm a hair on your head but you left me no choice!" My vision is blurred, I can't see. "Please Shaun, I don't want to fight".

I can hear him breathe and wipe away the tears that run down my cheek,

"Tell me something..."

I looked up at his crystal blue eyes and slightly crooked nose.

"You have so much of your father in you."

He smiled and his eyes softened 

"Really?"

I nodded. I wrapped my arms around him. My boy. He did the same. I kissed the top of his head.

"I love you Shaun."

"I love you too mother, now go, do what you must."

 

 

"I killed you" I cried into the floor, sobbing hysterically.

I have no concept of real time. I am measuring everything from the moment I murdered my son. Twenty minutes since I killed him. Thirty minutes. Forty.

"A shame, what you did".

I sit there in my guilt and horror, too ashamed to look up.

"I bet you could've saved your boy. A shame."

I heard the gun reloading, I didn't stop her. 

"Don't worry darling, it'll be over soon."

What felt like a hot blade stabbed my side. I screeched like a fucking banshee. I panicked once I remembered my current state of health. I held my side hard to stop the bleeding.

"Oh and don't worry, I'll take good care of Arthur."

Wait.

No. 

That was it, wasn't it?

I couldn't save Shaun, but if I could do anything, if I had the chance to not fuck up for once and do something right, it would be this baby. This baby with Arthur would be my only hope 

Chapter Text

Esmeralda:

I woke up, fully expecting to never see those piercing overhead lights again. No one was in the room. The monitor beeped in sync with my heart. I wanted to cry, part of me delighted to be back, another part feeling screwed over by the world once more. Maxon was nowhere in sight. I suppose it was for the better, I should probably rest.

Yeah. Rest.

 

Arthur:

This world can officially kiss my ass. And Esmeralda can too. The girl got hurt so much, it felt like every time she got a scratch, my heart snapped in two. Now look at her. Pale, unmoving, possibly on her deathbed. I cried more in two days than I have my entire life. At this point, nothing came out, I just gasped and trembled. Cade pointed out some movement yesterday, but I didn’t pay much attention. Comas were no joke and I wasn’t about to get my hopes up for more heartbreak. I sat in my room, up to my nose in paperwork, trying to distract myself from my dying fiancée about 100 feet away. There was a knock on the door. 

“Hey”

Ingram stood a bit uncomfortably at the door. 

“Proctor”

I was in no mood for informalities. 

“I just came to tell you some good news” she said, straightening up, a small smile on her face.

”Very well, what is it?” I said, convincing myself not to listen to her.

”It’s Esmeralda sir.”

I looked up, unable to ignore that name.

”What?” I breathed out.

”Shes awake”.

Immortal words I never thought I would hear. I leaped from my chair and pushed Ingram out of the way. By the time I reached Cade’s office, I probably broke a Brotherhood sprinting record. Cade slowed me down.

”Alright look, I get it, but you have to calm down, alright?” He was very stern, “No touching besides hand holding, no kissing, no raising your voice, nothing that might cause her stress, got it?”

I nodded, my throat was too dry to say anything. 

Cade slowly walked in before me, opening curtains to a wide awake woman I never thought I’d see again.

”Hey you” She spoke, her voice straining.

I sat down next to her and held her hand, saying nothing.

”So... did you miss me?” She smirked.

I laughed dryly, “You have no idea” 

She squinted “Are those tears I see?”

I wiped away at my wet eyes, “Tears of joy, I’ll have you know”.

We both smiled and sat in silence. It was nice, almost like a relief. She looked at me, a new sort of worry on her face.

”So who was it?” 

A pretty loaded question.

”Juliana”.

She nodded a little, almost expecting that answer. 

“She’s dead”.

She jerked her head to my direction.

”Cade saw what happened, he shot her leg to stop her but she pointed at you again. He shot again, but that one directly at her back.”

I didn’t care much for Juliana, never actually saw her as a threat, but what happened made me want to burn her corpse and throw her off the Prydwen.

”Is this a bad time to tell you I’m pregnant?”

I froze.

Pregnant? With... my...? But how did she... but that means... well clearly Cade must have... why did he say... was this a bad time... if I knew... I mean... I would have suffered even more... but I had the right to... she should have told me... or should she have... but I’m the father... did that bullet... no Cade would have said something... is it still... I mean she said she was currently... unless case didn’t tell... but they spoke before...

There was snapping in front of my eyes.

”Houston, we have a problem, Arthur doesn’t seem to be responding”

Was I not saying anything?

”Uh, Arthur? I asked you if you were ok?”

I smiled slowly

”Ok? Ok? I just found out my fiancée is alive, she’s carrying my child, everything is more than ok!” She laughed in relief  “Well thank God for that”.

I leaned in very slowly and gave her a small kiss. She groaned, “That’s it?”

”You aren’t in condition for more. Doctors orders” I was not about to jeopardize her health for my dick.

”Fine, but you owe me one”

I smiled again and kissed her forehead, “deal”.

 

One year later

 

I woke up in a cold sweat. A ringing in my ears, looking at the clock by my head. The lights blinked ‘4:07’.

”I got it” I groaned, getting up and walking to the small crib that held my most precious treasures. Had no idea treasure would waking me up this early. I picked up the little girl, with eyes like mine and a face like her mother’s. Esmeralda appeared next to me, picking up little Alex, the boy that looked just like me if it weren’t for the tiny brown curls on his little head. I looked at little Jessica in my arms, named after my mother. Alex named after Esmeralda’s father. Both bore the name Maxson and would one day rise the ranks of the Brotherhood, but for now, all they wanted was to be comforted. As tired as I was, this life right here, I would never trade. Not for all the riches in the world, not for the most powerful army. And her. I wouldn’t trade her for anything or anyone. This life was the life I always the wanted. She was the person I always wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

I think the feeling is mutual.