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Of Doves & Steel

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"General, you should rest you've been at it all day helping plant those crops and repairing that purifier. The heat exposure not good for you" Preston says as he watches Eliza kneel in the dirt packing soil tightly around a new tato sprout. "I'm alright Preston. A little sun won't kill me" she smiles up at him and he sighs shaking his head. "Eliza, you've been or here for hours without a break. Please just sit in the shade for a few minutes and drink something. That's all I'm asking and you can even go back to doing what you're doing and I won't pester you anymore I promise" he pleads and she huffs, glaring at him with no heat behind it. "Fine mother I guessing do feel a little light-headed" she concedes pouting at him and walks over to the porch of the house sitting on the front steps well under the shade provided by the ratty awning.

 

Preston sits down next to her and pulls out a can of purified water snapping the top of and handing it to her. "I can't help but worry about you, Eliza. You don't have the tolerance that everyone else has built up over the years towards the environment and it worries me. I don't want to see you sick again like you were after the glowing sea. It took you weeks before you were well enough to get out of bed on your own albeit weakly, and your still not fully recovered. Your one of my closest friends and like a daughter to me I just don't want to see anything bad happen to you" he tells her gently grabbing her hand that rests on her thigh.

 

She squeezes it and nods "I know Preston. I appreciate you caring so much about me even though you can get overbearing at times. Why don't we head back to Sanctuary and I'll rest for a few days. I could use the time to draw out the blueprints I want to be to be used on some of the settlements structures" she says and he smiles at her wrapping an arm around her shoulders bringing her into a side hug. "That sounds good General. I'll have a few of our men head here and finish up the garden and install those turrets you brought. You just take it easy and I'll pack up our things" he says and kisses her lightly on the head before heading out into the pasture and cleaning up the tools she was using.

 

Eliza watches for him for a while until she spots something falling out of the sky billows of smoke trailing behind it. "Preston! What is that?" She calls worried and Preston looks up confused and see's the object crash sending up plumes of smoke and dust. "I don't know. Let me grab our bags. Danni, will you take care of the rest of the cleanup?" He asks one of the settlers who nods and shuffles over to where he stands. "Alright General let's go see what's happened," he says and Eliza swings her rifle over her shoulder and grabs her pack before they head towards the wreckage.

 

After a while of walking, they come upon the crash and Preston sucks in a breath. "It’s a Brotherhood vertibird. I don't think we should mess with their machinery Liza" he says and she shakes her head walking around the heap of twisted metal. She gasps softly as she sees a man in power armor lying on the ground under a broken wing and rushes over to him. "Preston help me lift this off him" she shouts and Preston walks over grabbing onto the wing and helps her pull it up and away from the man. She kneels down next to the limp form and pulls the helmet off the power armor only to be greater by a bloody and bruised face and dark hair.

 

She reaches down and checks for a pulse thankfully finding one thrumming weakly under her fingertips. "He's alive. We need to get him back to Sanctuary so I can help him" she fretts looking up at Preston in panic. He sighs exasperated at her selflessness and nods kneeling down next to her. "Alright General, but if we're going to get him to the settlement he needs to be out of that power armor".

 

Danse slowly drifts into consciousness to the sound of hushed voices and the clinking of what sounds like metal. "Preston it will be fine. I don't understand what the big deal is. We saved him, it shouldn't matter is he's Brotherhood or not” a woman’s voice reaches his ears and he strains his head to hear the others. “I Know Eliza. But It just does. The Brotherhood is an organization who doesn't like civilians to get mixed up in their business” a male's voice responds to the women and he hears her soft sigh.

 

“I just don't understand. He needed help. I was there and I couldn't just leave someone out here defenseless and injured like that. No matter who they are or what faction they’re from. It‘s not right and I’m not going to change that” Eliza firmly voices and Preston sighs. “I know that. And I would never ask you to change that about yourself. The world needs more people like you. All I ask is that you make sure you are being careful. Especially around him. He is brotherhood and you may not understand it right now Eliza, but he can hurt you. I just don't want this to be like the last time you took in a stray. I never want to see you like that again” Preston’s voice darkens with pain and anger at the end of his sentence and Danse tenses at his words. ‘Is the Brotherhood really seen like that to the people of the Commonwealth?’ he thinks now slightly understanding why they were met with such hostility and mistrust.

 

“I can’t do anything but promise that I will try not to ever get into that situation again Preston. This world is so different from my own. It will be a long time before I truly understand how it works but I’m trying. That is all I can promise you is to try” she tells him voice soft and eventually, Danse falls back to sleep to the sound of classical music floating gently through the air.

 

The next time Danse awakes the sound of movement is closer and in the dim lit room he sees the soft silhouette of a woman rummaging through a desk off to the side. Panic flares through him, his senses heightening the pounding in his head as he lunches off the bed and grabs the figure shoving her against the wall locking her arms against her chest. A squeak escapes the figure and Danse peers into the wide deep steel blue eyes of Eliza who shudders against the wall shocked induced fear playing on her pale face.

 

Danse groans as he slumps forward pain blossoming over his side and Eliza catches him worry filling her eyes. She silently leads him back over to the bed and lies him down. She opens the drawer of the nightstand and sets a pair of candles on the top of it lighting them with a flip lighter. Candlelight floods the room giving Danse a chance to get a better look at Eliza as she looks over him assessing the damage. Long curly burnished copper hair falls over a pair of slim shoulders and the flickering of the flame casts a soft glow on her sun-kissed skin that has freckles splattered across her cheekbones and over the bridge of her nose. He also takes note of the few scattered moles that adorn her cheeks and scatter down her neck onto her chest. “Where… Where am I? What happened? How did I get here?” he chokes out his voice gravelly from lack of use. “You're in my home in Sanctuary. I found yous outside one of my settlements after I watched your Vertibird go down and pulled you out of the wreckage. I brought you here to heal you. I wasn't sure you would ever wake up because you had hit your head hard enough to snap your power armors helmet clean off your suit” she tells him and he looks at her with desperation

 

“Were there any others?” he asks and she looks at him sadly.  “I didn't find anyone else in or around the wreckage. I’m sorry” she whispers.

 

He exhales deeply pain etched on his face as he slumps on the bed. “Would you like something to eat? I have some Brahmin steak I cooked not too long ago which should still be warm along with some vegetable soup as well” she offers and he nods slowly hunger-induced fatigue making his head spin. She walks out the door and he can faintly hear rummaging in the other room.

 

After a few moments, she re-enters the room and sets down a tray that has a bowl of something steaming in it and a plate that has a slab of steak that looks to have little slivers of green on it. A small cup also accompanies the meat that has a slightly floral aroma wafting from it “Here let's get you sat up” she says and helps prop him against the pillows behind him before setting the food down on his lap.

 

Early in the morning, Danse wakes up to sunlight streaming through the foggy glass paned window light classical music still playing from somewhere in the house. Pulling himself up he swings his legs over the side of the bed wincing slightly at the uncomfortable pulling sensation in his side. Stumbling to his feet he leans against the wall looking around the medium sized room the golden light of the rising sun through the foggy glass windows basks the worn cream walls in a warm glow.

 

He sees picture frames on the dresser and shuffles over to it. The first one has what looks like Eliza smiling over the shoulders of a man in a military uniform with her arms slung over his shoulders and his hands clasping onto her elbows. Danse notes the almost identical resemblance between the two and his eyes flicker over to the second one which has Eliza sitting in a rocking chair a blanket draped over her lap looking down at a newborn infant cradled in her arms. The last one causes his eyes to widen as he reaches out and grabs the picture to take a closer look.

 

Eliza sits in the middle of two men. The first is clearly the man from the first picture who has his arm slung across her shoulders and a gun hung from the other. The other is a man with dirty brown hair cropped short and faded grey eyes. This man who has an arm wrapped around Eliza’s waist looks down at her with what could only be described as adoration looks so much like Elder Maxson that at first glance he could very well be mistaken as him.

 

Setting the picture down he pulls himself away from the dresser and opens the door stepping out into the hallway and looks down it. A large German Shepherd lies at the end of the hallway basking in the sunlight coming from what must be a window in the front room. His head lifts from his paws and stares at Danse who stands still cautiously.

 

After tilting his head to the side he huffs and lies back down causing Danse relaxes before he makes his way down the hall. Just as he reaches the end of the hall he sees the last door slightly ajar giving a clear view of the many baby toys littering the floor of the room. Swallowing he pushes the door open and his eyes widen as he takes in the appearance of the room. A broken crib sits in the middle of the room with an off-kilter rocket mobile hanging over it. The rocking chair form the picture in the other room sits across from it rushed repairs clearly showing on the legs and back. A strobe light hangs in front of the closet flickering on every couple seconds. “You shouldn’t be up just yet” a voice sounds behind him and he turns to see Eliza standing there a blank look on her face but he can see the poorly hidden pain in her glassy eyes.

 

A sharp pain blossoms in his chest as he notices her go to clutch her stomach but pulls her hand back clenching it at her side. He quietly walks out of the room and she shuts it a light exhale leaving her trembling lips. The dog from before lifts his head up ears twitching before he takes off out the front door barking happily and her eyes wide a smile breaking out on her face as the man Danse recognizes from the pictures walks through the front door.

 

“Nate!” Eliza cries and rushes towards him making him drop the duffle bad and riffle so he can catch her. “Whoa Liza!” he groans as she burrows into him clinging to him tightly. Nate pets her hair and catches sight of Danse who leans against the wall for support. “Hey Liza, who’s your friend there?” he inquires and Eliza peeks at Danse from over her shoulder. “This is the man I saved from a crashed Vertibird while I was helping out at Abernathy Farm. Preston says he’s part of the Brotherhood of Steel” she explains still pleasantly smiling up at him.

 

Nate raises an eyebrow before running a hand through his sweat-dampened hair that's a shade darker than her own. “Eliza you can’t keep bringing strangers home. One of these days you're going to bring someone home that’s not going to be as kind as these ones are” he murmurs and she pulls back from him a glare on her face. “Why does everyone say that? I can not in good conscious not help someone in need especially when it’s within my power to help them. Even Preston told me I shouldn't have helped him because he could hurt me just because he’s part of the Brotherhood of steel! And now you're telling me the same thing only in different words” she exclaims breathing heavy as she starts to tear up.

 

“Hey, Eliza don't cry. I'm sorry Okay? I don't know who or what this Brotherhood of Steel is so I can’t say anything. I just worry about you. You have such a kind heart and a desire to help anyone who needs it. But out there, plenty of people would take advantage of that and can really hurt you” he tells her and tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear. “And there are just as many that need my help who wouldn't hurt me Nate” she responds and his shoulders slump admitting defeat. “If I could, the Brotherhood is not here to hurt anyone. We want to help just as much as you two do we just have an army backing us up” Danse interjects and Nate looks at him with a hardened expression. “One army already fucked over my sister. So I'm sorry if I am having a hard time believing that yours would be any different” Nate growls his body tensely coiled in aggression.

 

Eliza squeezes his arm lightly making him relax slightly. “That is understandable. And the unfortunate truth is there is nothing I can do to prove to you that we are any different besides giving you my word. But in this current situation, I know that my word means nothing to you” Danse admits in defeat and Nate scoffs. “You couldn’t be more right” he snarls and Eliza steps in front of him putting her hands over his chest giving him a soft look. “That’s enough Nate. Why don't you show me what you brought back for me from your trip” she says and he nods before turning around and dragging the duffle bag behind him and dumping it in front of her “McCreedy and Hancock have the heavier stuff and are putting it in your workshop. I have the lighter load here” Nate and Danse watch as Eliza tears open the bag an excited look on her face as she goes through the smaller boxes and bags of Medical supplies, food items, and clothing. ‘She looks like she got something worth a thousand caps on her birthday’ Danse thinks and Eliza looks up at Nate thanking him.

 


 

“Well, Liza says you can walk around now. Just no extensive activities for a few more days” Nate says as says he leans against the wall watching Danse who sits on Eliza bed looking out the window. “I hope you know I didn't mean for my presence to be such a disturbance. I really mean no harm to her or anyone here” Danse says looking at the younger man with sincerity.

 

Nate sighs and steps into the room a somber expression replacing the light-hearted one he wore only moments ago. “Look, my sister means the world to me. Not just because we are related by blood but because she is my other half. My twin, whom when I see hurting I hurt as well. Since arriving in this new world I have killed anything and anyone who I deemed a threat to Eliza. I have done things I didn't even think I was capable of and regret up to a point to keep her safe. Now I believe you didn't mean to cause the disturbance you unfortunately have”.

 

As Nate talks, Danse studies him and realizes he is a lot like Elder Maxson in the way his presence demands respect and your full attention. “But I will never fully trust anyone besides myself with my sister's safety. But I am willing to give you a chance. Just know this, if Eliza is hurt by you or because of you the consequences will fall upon your head. I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and I will make you wish she had never witnessed your vertibird go down and you will regret her deciding to help you that day. And don't you even think for a moment that because of your military background you can out anything me. I was in special ops long before even a hint of the idea of having your grandparents even crossed your great-grandparent's minds. Do I make myself clear?” Nate asks tone hard as he bores down at the other male.

 

Danse looks up at him with an equally hard expression not liking the way he speaks to him but understanding the reasoning behind it. “I understand” he mutters voice low and forced. Nate stiffly nods and walks out of the room heavy footsteps the only sound breaking the tense silence. Danse runs the conversation again piecing more information on the two as he does only to frown as he recalls two particular sentences. ‘

 

What did he mean by ‘since arriving in this world’ and ‘long before even a hint of the idea of having your grandparents even crossed your great-grandparent's mind’. What could he have possibly meant by that?’.  

 

Eliza lifts the tricorn hat from her head and wipes the sweat off her brow before she places a few more tato in the basket sitting next to her. A wet rough nose nudges under her arm as Dogmeat tries to burrow his way into Eliza’s side making her giggle setting the hat on his head and scratching under his chin as he wags his tail peering up at her happily. She hears scuffling and turns and sees Nate and McCready wrestle in the dirt sending large clouds of dust into the air. “Go get them boy” she whispers to Dogmeat and he barks running at the two men making them shout in shock. “Dammit Eliza, I almost had him!” McCready shouts and Eliza chuckles grabbing the basket and sets it on her hip. “Sure you did! Maybe next time McCready” she chortles and she hears Hancock snigger behind her.

 

Nate slings his arm across Mccready’s shoulders. “Yeah kid, maybe next time” he laughs and dodges a fist aimed at him and slinks into the house.  “Here sister let me help you with those” Hancock says and grabs the basket of melons and walks with her towards the house. After a few moments of silence, Eliza looks over at Hancock and sees him looking off into the distance with a slight frown tugging at his lips. “Is everything alright Hancock?” she asks gently and he looks at her and sighs.  “Yeah, I just need to head back to Goodneighbor. With the Brotherhood around these parts I need to go back and make sure everything is alright over there,” he says and she stops walking to look at him confused. “What do you mean? I don't understand what your towns safety has to do with the Brotherhood” she says and he smiles at her gently settling a hand on her shoulder.

 

“I know you don’t sister. Let’s just say the Brotherhood doesn't take kindly to Ghouls, synths and any other beings they deem less than human. It’s why I haven’t gone near your house since the tin can in there woke up. But I don't fault you for helping him. It’s one of the things I liked so much about you when we first met. That and you can cook up some pretty amazing stuff. And I don't just mean your food. But don't worry, I’ll be back. Just be careful who you give all your help too in the meantime, okay?” he asks and she nods. He squeezes her shoulder tightly and sets the basket by the door before tipping his hat and disappearing down the road leaving her to watch him as he goes.

 

“Hey, Sis! Come on inside its almost dinner time” Nate shouts and she sighs setting the basket down by the other and goes inside to see Codsworth setting the table. “This is delicious! You did good Liza” Nate tells her his mouth full of food making her smile as Danse screws up his nose and Codsworth scolds him. “I’ve been thinking. Since I am to be leaving tomorrow I have decided to ask you two if you would join me back to Cambridge. I have a team there and we could really use two people like you with us” Danse says and Eliza looks at him while Nate narrows his eyes at him. “What are you asking Danse?” she asks curiosity coloring her tone.

 

Nate scoffs cutting into the Radstag on his plate. “Isn’t it obvious Liza. He’s asking for us to join his little cult” he mutters bitterly and rips the chunk off the fork chewing roughly. “The Brotherhood Of Steel is a highly respected organization, not a cult. But he is right. I am asking you to become a member of the Brotherhood. Your Minutemen are doing good work here but they lack the manpower or resources to fix things on a larger scale. With you being in the Brotherhood you could make a much bigger difference. Especially with your intelligence and skills in engineering. Your array of skills would be put to good use up there and you, in turn, would be taken care of” he explains and Nate glares at him heavily from across the table.

 

Danse tries to ignore his burning gaze and instead focuses on Eliza’s eyes which reminds him of the original Brotherhood of Steel blue used on the old flags and decals. “I’m sorry Danse. But I am going to have to refuse. I have a big responsibility of taking care of my people and I couldn’t do that wherever your Brotherhood is located. Besides this is my home, this will always be my home and I could never abandon it. I will do my part in helping make the Commonwealth a better place and I know your people will too. So I’d be willing to help anyone if they came across one on my settlements but I won’t leave them to fend down here for themselves. I hope you understand why I’m refusing your offer” she says and he nods. “I do. You are very noble and honorable. I hope you keep doing this because I already see such a difference. Preston was right this world needs more people like you. Ad Victoriam General. May you bring sanctuary to anyone who comes seeking it”.