Danse, Arthur, and Cyn stood together in the living room of their house on Spectacle Island, and they were crying. Cyn had her face pressed to Danse’s chest and he stroked her hair as she sobbed, her tears wetting his shirt. Danse had fought off the tears but when Arthur wrapped his arms around them both and Danse saw the sadness in his blue eyes, Danse gave in and held them both tightly as the tears rolled down his cheeks.
Arthur couldn’t think what to do. He had tried everything he could think of to change the Council of Elders’ minds, but they were having none of it. The campaign in the Commonwealth was over. The Minutemen, led by a person who had come out of the very same vault as Cyn, had defeated the Institute, and the Prydwen was no longer needed here. A small outpost of soldiers, led by Proctor Ingram, was to remain, and the Prydwen, headed by Sentinel Danse, was to head to the west coast, after dropping off Arthur at the Citadel in the Capital Wasteland.
Cyn was only a Paladin, and would go where she was assigned. That assignment was up to Arthur, who could assign her to the Citadel or to the Prydwen. He was leaving it up to her.
“It will be okay,” Danse whispered into her hair.
Cyn gasped, pulling back from him.
“How, Danse? How is any of this going to be okay?” Her voice raised with every word. “I spent my life alone. Months in this wasteland until I found you two. Months. Everything we’ve been through. This home. Everything. And the Brotherhood is just going to rip it away from us?”
She was shouting by the end, pacing the living room. Danse glanced at Arthur. He had never seen her so angry before.
“Cyn…” Danse began. “Cyn. Honey. Calm down.”
“I can’t, Danse. I can’t. I…”
“Cynthia.” Arthur’s Elder voice brought her up short. He was generally quiet, hard working, studious, and loving. But none of that was in his voice right now. He was also the leader of a large coalition of soldiers, Lancers, and scribes. Even Danse’s back straightened at the command in his tone.
“Cynthia,” he said again in a quieter tone, once she had stilled. “I am sure this will only be temporary. I will find a way. I swear to you on my life, it will be temporary.”
Cyn took a deep, shuddering breath, looking back and forth between her two men. She nodded. “I’m sorry. I just… kind of freaked out for a minute there. I love you both so much. I’ve lost everyone else. My family. My… my mother. I can’t lose anyone else.”
Danse took her hand in his. “Even if we are apart, we are still a family. All three of us. Nothing can change that.”
Arthur sucked in a breath, suddenly struck by a thought.
“They can’t break us apart. Not if we are a family.”
“What do you mean, Arthur? We can’t-”
“No. We can. It’s in the Codex.”
“What do you mean? I know they can’t break up married families. But that doesn’t solve the problem. If two of us are married, the third person is still left out in the cold.”
“But we can all marry each other.” Arthur was animated, running his hands through his hair in excitement. “It’s in the Codex. I have that thing memorized, Danse. It was my life as a child. It’s a part of me.”
He sat on the couch, pulling Cyn and Danse down on either side of him. “When the Brotherhood was first formed, the numbers were low, and outside recruitment was very rare. The Order was keenly interested in procreation. So they encouraged relationships and marriage, very strongly. And people procreate more when they have multiple spouses. It was enshrined right in the very words that govern us. A man has no limit on the number of spouses he may bind himself to.”
“Surely they meant a man was meant to have several wives?” Cyn interjected.
“Well, that may have been the intention. But it’s not what it says. It says ‘spouse’. I’m sure of it.”
The Prydwen was set to depart the Commonwealth in two weeks. This would give Arthur enough time to make the requisite preparations for their marriage. He decided that once aboard the airship, he would enlist Proctor Quinlan to ensure everything was done above board and correctly. Arthur hadn’t always seen eye to eye with the Proctor, but he knew the older man put the Brotherhood first in everything. Nobody knew the technicalities and formalities of the Order better than him.
Danse was going to be of little help. The Prydwen needed to be prepped for the journey back to the Capital Wasteland, where there would be reprovisioning and some crew turnover. Arthur was certain that once they were married, the Brotherhood would reassign Danse back to the Capital Wasteland, and the separation would only be for a few weeks.
He knew he was going to miss the house on Spectacle Island, but it was a small price to pay. The Elder’s Quarters at the Citadel were large and comfortable and he knew they would be happy there.
By the next day, Arthur still hadn’t had a chance to speak with Quinlan, although he was on his way to the Proctor’s office when Cyn tracked him down.
She was dressed in her blue Vault suit, with her hair in a knot on her head. She had a bomber jacket over top, and leather armour on her legs. There was a rifle strapped to her back.
“Do you have an assignment?” Arthur asked. He didn’t remember anything on the roster.
“No. Arthur, I have something I need to do. I need permission to leave for a couple of days on a…. personal mission.”
“You can’t go alone.”
“Danse is too busy. I’m not going anywhere particularly dangerous. I need to get something and… say goodbye to someone.”
“Still. I don’t feel safe about it. I’ll authorize a vertibird. The Lancer can watch your back, and they will keep their distance if you need privacy.”
Cyn nodded. “That works.” She stood on her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to his lips before heading to grab the last few items she needed.
Arthur caught a squire to relay his orders before finally heading into the Proctor’s office. He patted the cat on the head absently while he waited for Quinlan to acknowledge his presence.
“How may I help you, Sir?”
“I need to get the paperwork together for a marriage.”
“Generally, the couple getting married fills out the forms, Sir.”
“Well, I’m the one getting married, Quinlan, so I think I’m qualified in this instance.”
The proctor raised an eyebrow. “Congratulations, Sir.” Quinlan did not sound entirely sincere. “Am I to presume the lucky lady is Paladin Arete?”
“Your assumption would be partially correct. However, I need to know if there is anything extra I need to do to take a second spouse at the same time.”
Quinlan’s mouth shot open. “A second wife? It’s not unheard of, although it’s rare. We can certainly…”
“Not a second wife. A second spouse.” Arthur corrected. “I also intend to marry Sentinel Danse.”
“Senti- but- you--”
Arthur almost laughed at the old man. He had finally succeeded in rendering Quinlan speechless.
“If it makes you feel any better, perhaps if you look at it like Paladin Arete is acquiring two husbands?”
“It’s just not done, Sir!”
“Find a way, Proctor.”
Cynthia thanked the Lancer as she hopped out of the vertibird. They were just outside Hyde Park, and to her dismay, the area was flooded.
“Better watch for mirelurks, ma’am,” the Lancer said, holstering her sidearm. Cyn nodded and pulled her rifle from her back, making sure it was ready to fire. “This way,” she said.
They were only a few blocks from her destination. She had not been able to get the nerve up to come here since she had come out of the Vault, but she knew now was the time. The apartment was on the second floor, so she hoped it was still intact.
They came around the corner and Cyn let out a sigh of relief as she saw that the triple-decker apartment she had grown up in was still whole. The bottom floor was halfway under water, but the second floor where her parents had still lived when the bombs fell was up and dry, and the floor above it was still intact as well, although the roof was mostly open to the elements.
The two women approached the building cautiously, but there were no dangerous creatures nearby, so they waded into the front door and up the stairs to the second level.
The door was rotted and opened easily. Cyn looked around at her parents’ home. They had lived there since they had married, and Cyn had grown up in the building. The parlour was mostly unscathed. It nearly took her breath away, and she half expected her mother to come out of the kitchen at any moment, followed by a whiff of spice, or her father to come up the stairs with his heavy step, laughing and calling out for his baby girl in his booming voice and heavy Greek accent.
She had no way of knowing what had become of her parents. They had been away in India when the bombs had fallen. Even if they were safe, it had been over two centuries and she knew they were long gone.
She ran her fingers along the china cabinet, picking up dust with her fingertips and wiping them on her damp leg. The glass was gone from the cabinet, and the tea set and porcelain figurines her mother had collected were gone. It was clear people had been here before. Cyn frowned and wiped a tear from her cheek, but she wasn’t here for those things.
She picked her way through the dining room and parlour, as her mother insisted on calling it, back through the kitchen. Her earliest memories of her mother were here, the scent of cardamom and oregano lingering in her mind, and she remembered her mother flipping her long, black braid over her shoulder and handing her the knife, showing her how to cut the vegetables with her hand wrapped around behind her.
Cyn’s mother had cooked the Indian food she had grown up with, spicy meats and rice, and had learned to make the lamb souvlaki and Greek desserts her husband liked as well. Cyn smiled briefly, remembering the baklava, dripping with honey. I think Danse would love that. I should try to make that for him, she thought.
She headed out of the kitchen and down the hallway, past the bedroom which used to be hers. She didn’t look inside. She had taken all of her things when she moved out.
Her parents’ bedroom was a ruin. The window had broken and centuries of rain and weather had poured in. The bed had collapsed, and the dresser was tipped over, blocking the closet door. She grabbed it and pulled, moving it away from the closet and out of the way. The shelf had broken in the closet as well, so she moved that aside, along with the rotted remnants of her father’s clothing. None of it was identifiable, and she was worried.
Finally, having cleared out the closet, she reached her goal. Built into the floor was a safe. The key was long gone but Cyn knew the combination. She spun the knob, entering her birthdate, and then opened the safe, her heart in her throat.
And there it was. She pulled out a parcel wrapped in thick, waxed paper and placed it in her bag. She didn’t know what condition it was in, but she wouldn’t open it until she was in the safety of the Prydwen. She also removed a small jewelry box from the bottom of the safe and placed it in her bag, before shutting the safe. She left the cash behind. It wasn’t much and wasn’t going to do her any good anyway.
She stood and looked around the room one more time. “Bye, Mum. Bye, Papa. I love you.”
Cyn had made it back to the Prydwen safely, and she was sitting on the hard sofa in the Elder’s quarters that night waiting for Danse. She watched appreciatively as Arthur removed his coat and unbuckled the top of his flight suit, revealing some deliciously dark chest hair. He caught her eye and returned her smile, and when she patted the seat beside her he raised his eyebrow at her.
“Come sit with me, Arthur,” she said in her most sultry voice.
“I don’t know, Cyn. I was thinking of getting on my computer. I have a lot of unread messages…”
She pouted prettily, looking up at him as he stepped closer. When he was within range she grabbed him by his suit and tugged him right up to the sofa. “What if I got on my knees and… begged?”
Arthur got down to his knees and pushed Cyn’s legs apart, groaning as they wrapped around his waist. “No need for that, sweetheart. I’m already yours.” He leaned forward and kissed her, his eyes closing at her sweet taste. One of her hands came around his neck and the other slid into the open collar of his flight suit, and she pulled him even closer to him, until he was enveloped in the scent of her.
Cyn’s mouth opened and Arthur slid his tongue inside, stroking gently as she opened up to him. A soft sigh escaped from her and Arthur’s hand slid up to cup her breast gently through her vault suit, but before he could go any further, there was a tap at the door.
Arthur sighed and got up, but he smiled when Danse came in, kissing him quickly before plopping down on the couch next to Cyn with an exhausted groan.
“Rough day?” Cyn asked.
“Ugh. I spent most of the day mediating a disagreement between Proctor Ingram and Proctor Teagan. There was some kind of misunderstanding about the allocation of the power armour frames. It didn’t help that neither one of them would leave their post to discuss it in person.”
“Those two have never gotten along,” Arthur commented as he sat down on the other side of Cyn, taking her hand in his and twining their fingers together absently. “And you’re not the only one fighting with proctors today. Quinlan was giving me grief over the marriage arrangements. I explained my request to him and he seemed shocked, but he said he would get right on it. Not a half hour later he shows up here with some excuse why it couldn’t be done. I had to actually pull the Codex down and prove my point. He huffed off but then he was back an hour later with some other issue.”
“Do you think he’s trying to undermine us? Maybe it’s because I’m pretty new to the Brotherhood…” Cyn began.
“No, he has no issue with you and I marrying. He just seems to have some kind of problem with Danse. I’ll get to the bottom of it tomorrow. The good news is, Kells seems amenable to performing the ceremony. So at least there’s that.”
“One less thing to worry about,” Danse said.
Cyn yawned, stretching a little. “I better get off to bed.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay a little longer?” Danse asked.
Cyn giggled. “No way. You boys will keep me up all night. I have to be up at 06:00 tomorrow to go supervise the packing at the house. Besides. There’s only enough room for two here. At least one of us has to sleep alone.” She bent to give each one a soft kiss, before reluctantly turning and walking out.
Danse turned to Arthur, scooting a little closer into the empty space left by Cyn. “She still hasn’t decided whether to come with me or stay with you. Even if we can manage to limit it to a few months, she still has to make a choice.”
“I don’t envy her. I couldn’t pick between you two.”
“Me neither, Arthur. And either way, I’m going to miss you.”
“Me too.” Arthur pulled Danse close and kissed him hard on the mouth.
The trio saw very little of each other over the next few days. Arthur was growing irritable, as this was not how he wanted to spend the small amount of time they had remaining to them. To make matters worse, Quinlan was being stubborn over the marriage, stonewalling them at every point, and they were running out of time.
There were only four days left until the Prydwen departed. Cyn was almost done packing up their belongings from the house, and the airship was stowing the last few items for departure. It was only a two day journey back to the Capital Wasteland, where the crew would rotate out and the Prydwen would be departing for the west coast.
Cyn had still not made a decision on who she wanted to remain with, and neither Danse nor himself were willing to bring it up. Neither of them wanted to pressure her in any way.
The situation with Quinlan came to a head when Cyn came storming onto the Command Deck. She scowled impatiently as he dealt with the scribe he was speaking with, but he already knew there was something wrong before he even spoke to her.
Once the scribe had departed, Arthur turned to Cyn.
“Do you know what Lancer-Captain Kells told me?”
“He told me that Proctor Quinlan came to him and tried to convince him not to perform the wedding.”
“What is up with that guy, Arthur? Why is he so opposed to us getting married?”
“I’ll get to the bottom of this. We need to find out what Quinlan said to Kells.”
“He said he will meet us in the mess at dinner time, and we can talk about it then. He wants to talk to all three of us.”
Kells didn’t have any answers, but he did have somewhat of a solution.
“I think Quinlan has been delaying your wedding for some reason. After he talked to me, I looked through the Codex and there is no real reason for you all not to be married. The only thing maybe is that he objects to your being a synth, Danse, but given that you were reinstated, and a Sentinel at that, there is a precedent. I think there isn’t any other issue besides that it’s personal for him, somehow. But I have known both of you for over a decade, and in the past two years, Paladin Arete has done nothing to cause me concern either. I consider all of you my friends. That was why I fought hard for you to be reinstated, Danse.”
He paused for a minute, frowning.
“We couldn’t have done that without Quinlan’s help either. He was very vocally in support of you then, Danse. There’s something I’m missing.”
Cyn looked at Danse and Arthur. They both seemed as confused as she was.
Kells shook his head. “Anyway. What my point was is that I think you deserve the family you choose. We all do in this wasteland. You’ve all lost so much, you need to grab any kind of happiness you can. So I propose... “ he chuckled to himself for a moment. “Anyway, I propose that I perform the ceremony here for you, in private, at your house. You take two days leave before the Prydwen leaves. And then when we get back to the Capital Wasteland we can get all this sorted out with Scribe Jameson. The head scribe outranks the Proctors. I know it’s out of order, but this way you can have your wedding here and a few days together, and it will still be “official” before the Prydwen leaves to the west coast.”
Arthur looked at Danse and Cyn. “What do you guys think? I know it’s not the-”
He was interrupted by Cyn, who jumped up and threw her arms around Lancer-Captain Kells. “Yes! Yes we want to do that!” She kissed him on the cheek and Arthur could swear he saw the hardened old Captain blush.
“Well, I guess it’s settled then. If Cyn agrees, then we all agree.”