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The “What Ifs” of Arthur Maxson (aka The Search for Sarah Lyons)

Chapter Text

Nate carefully skirted a pile of goo that once used to be a feral ghoul. As much as he hated the Institute, their weapons sure came in handy. There was a lot of shame that came with the knowledge that Shaun was directly responsible for the suffering of hundreds of people.

Valentine pulled Nate out of his thoughts, “Find anything?”

“Not yet,” the Vaultie answered and opened up another file cabinet. Currently, Nate and Danse were helping Nick to find the Eddie Winter holotapes. So far they had five, and according to the Cambridge Police Station Terminal, they would find another here in the East Boston Police Station. And if a stray bullet hadn’t hit the only working terminal in the precinct, they might’ve found the holotape sooner.

Across the room, Danse was searching some desk drawers. Nate wasn’t sure why Danse was with him and Nick but he suspected it had something to do with trying to atone for his prior racist behavior. The former paladin had been doing a lot lately to make himself more of a likable person and perhaps distance himself from his Brotherhood life. So far, he was doing alright. He was just an awkward person in general.

Nate pushed the drawer back in and his eye went up to the caved in roof. He knew realistically nothing would be up there, but it didn’t hurt to check anyway. He carefully navigated the rubble until he pulled himself up.

Something orange caught the corner of his eye and he saw a single holotape wedged between the rocks. As if it had fallen out from somewhere and abandoned by the owner. “Hey!” He called out to his friends, “I think I found it!”

Nate shoved his hand into the rock and grabbed the holotape. The dad part of him couldn’t resist the temptation. He screamed.

“AHhHHH!!!”

Danse was the one who screamed back while Nick rolled his eyes undoubtedly having seen the trick done before.

Nate laughed and Danse scowled. “That is not funny soldier!”

“Sorry, sorry,” Nate was still full of mirth as he produced the holotape, “I couldn’t resist. My dad did it to me when I was a kid and well- I- Shaun’s not here so…” He trailed off, the mirth gone. Ignoring the sudden sad looks on his friends’ faces he popped the holotape into his pip-boy.

A woman’s voice echoed from the pip-boy, “Still can’t believe I’m out here. It’s a nightmare trying to hide from the Brotherhood... they’re everywhere since the Prydwen showed up. Thought I could outrun them and catch up to Moe but it seems like everything is converging on me all at once.”

 

“I know that voice,” Danse said and everyone turned to look at him. Nate and Valentine waiting for him to continue. “That’s… that’s Elder Lyons’ voice. I’d recognize it anywhere. But how? How can she still be alive? She was killed in action.”

“She could be a synth,” Nate pointed out.

“A synth protecting the Brotherhood?” Danse shot back. Nate and Nick gave the former Brotherhood Soldier/Synth a pointed look. “Oh.”

“Danse does have a point though,” Nick added taking a long drag on his cigarette, “She could be a synth who doesn’t know she’s a synth. But being the elder of the Brotherhood is pretty specific and I’m sure the Institute would want a synth who knows they’re a spy.”

Sarah’s voice continued, “I know that I brought this on myself but a part of me wishes- never mind. It’s too late for regrets. I have to keep going and finish what I started. Get Moe and protect the Brotherhood… protect my father’s legacy… even if this is what it has turned into. Anyway, Last I heard, Moe’s holed up in an old Galaxy News Network station.” She sighs, “Haven’t heard Three Dog in a while.. I can’t believe I miss his voice… If I die-” Sarah stops and lets out a sad laugh, “Not like anyone will hear these anyway. And if they do the Brotherhood would most certain destroy them.”

The holotape ended and all eyes were on Danse. This sounded like a sensitive Brotherhood matter. One that would require them to follow in Sarah Lyons’ footsteps or leave her to do whatever mission she was trying to accomplish. Danse frowned. “This is a complicated situation. We should bring this to Elder Maxson’s attention.”

Nick raised an eyebrow, “You really think that’s a good idea? From the sound of it, she and the Brotherhood aren’t on good terms.”

“I know,” Danse insisted, “But if Elder Lyons is still alive then Maxson needs to know about it.”

“Hang on,” Nate interrupted, “What if she is the real Sarah Lyons and we bring her back to the Brotherhood? How is that going to go?”

“I-” Danse hesitated, “Like I said this is complicated. The Brotherhood has been split before and Elder Lyons… her death and Maxson’s leadership united us as one. But if she is alive then I think we need to find her. Despite being on bad terms, she’s still Brotherhood and deserves to come home.”

Nate observed Danse for a minute suddenly understanding where he was coming from. It was obvious that he was thinking about himself and his own status with the Brotherhood. Perhaps doing this would be a way to bring him some kind of closure or to let him feel like he was part of the Brotherhood again.

Since Danse’s banishment and newly garnered hostility with his former brothers and sister, the former paladin had slipped into an “existence”. Joining the Minutemen helped Danse to feel like he was a part of something bigger but it wasn’t same as being a member of the Brotherhood.

“Okay,” Nate finally said, “Let’s do it.”

Danse breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Paladin.” He opened his mouth again as if to suggest he come along and then remembered his cruel circumstances. “I will head back to Sanctuary and await your return.”

Nate smirked unable to resist the jab, “I’m sure Hancock will be pleased to see you.”

Nick chortled as Danse sputtered and turned bright red. It was common knowledge that Danse and Hancock were sleeping together but Danse liked to pretend that they weren’t. What no one knew for sure, was the extent of their relationship. Whether they were fuck buddies or in a committed relationship, those living in Sanctuary had to admit that they made a good a pair. Except Strong who of course, didn’t like anything or anyone.

----

Elder Arthur Maxson often dreamed about the late Elder Sarah Lyons. In his opinion, she had been a great leader, even better than her father. She was absolutely perfect in every sense of the word. More often than not, he wished she was still around and wondered what his would’ve been life if her life hadn’t tragically ended.

He wondered if they could’ve been Elders together, freeing the Commonwealth of the Institute and their monsters. Or if not, he would’ve been content to be her right hand. A Sentinel who stayed by her side and fought with her in battle. He hoped that she would one day look at him the same way that he looked at her. He imagined what it would be like if they got to kiss. How it would feel to have Sarah’s strong hands in his own, to be pinned under her in a sparring match leading to more-

“Elder Maxson?” A squire knocked on his door and Maxson jerked upright in his bed.

Grumbling with irritation, he got up and swung the door open. “What is it, squire?”

The young man squirmed under his gaze but tried to remain as professional as possible. “Paladin Nate and his companion Detective Valentine are looking for you, sir! They said they have important business to discuss with you, sir!”

Maxson gave a moment to stare down the squire and then nodded, “Dismissed.” The child bolted the second after. Arthur grabbed his coat off the chair and slipped it on.

He was curious about why Nate was coming to see him. After all, the man was never around and always hopping to a different settlement that needed his help. He wouldn’t even take an unofficial side mission from Teagen claiming he’d rather die than be a raider. Nate was around even less after the whole Danse debacle. In order to Nate to come to Prydwen and request to see Maxson must’ve meant that it had something to do with the remnants of the Institute.

Sure enough, Arthur found Nate and that disgusting synth detective waiting for him on the bridge. The synth was smoking even though he had no need to or lungs to even hold smoke. It was just coming out from the expose parts of his face and neck. Maxson hated Nate’s choice in competitions and loathed the synth’s presence on the ship. Although, given the choice, Arthur preferred the synth to the foul mouthed ghoul.

“Elder,” Nate addressed without waiting to be spoken to, “is there a secure place that we can talk. Nick and I have something sensitive we need to discuss.”

For a moment, Arthur was quiet. If this was an issue about the Institute, then the Vaultie would’ve been already talking about it. No, this was different. A “sensitive issue” he said. Maxson could only assume that it had something to do with Danse. It bothered him because part of their agreement was that Danse was never the brought up ever again. Out of sight, out of mind. At least, that’s what he thought the phrase was.

Maxson brought them to the forecastle of the ship. He spoke before Nate could get in another word. “I thought we agreed never to speak of Paladin Danse ever again.”

“This isn’t about Paladin Danse,” Nate answered. He pulled out a holotape. “Listen,” he said and popped it into his holotape.

A voice, the most wonderful and beautiful voice, filled Arthur’s ears and sent his heart soaring. He knew that amazing and strong voice anyway. That was Sarah’s voice. She was alive and she was here. Here in the Commonwealth and she was protecting the Brotherhood. From who or what, he wasn’t sure but he was sure as hell going to find out and he was going to bring her home. Home to him, to the Prydwen, to the Brotherhood.

There was a look on Maxson’s face that Nate had never seen before and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. There was a sort of gleam in his eye, a twitch in his finger, and… a blush on his face? It was like something inside Maxson had sparked and suddenly Nate wasn’t looking at the Elder of the Brotherhood of Steel.

Maxson cleared his throat, “Paladin. Get whatever equipment you need and meet me by a Vertibird in two hours.”

Nick looked shocked and Nate nearly choked, “W-Hang on, meet you?

“Of course,” Maxson answered, “This is a top priority mission. We are going to search for Sarah Lyons and we will not stop until we do.”