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Dancing Through the Fallout

Chapter Text

Nora sat outside Taffington Boat House, underneath the recently repaired porch, watching the rain streak down through the late autumn sky.

"You all right, doll?"

Nick sat down beside her, watching her brooding silently. "What's wrong, hun?" 

She snuggled close to him, ignoring the occasional sharp corner beginning to wear away at his faded coat. Nick was such a dear man! 

"It's nothing really," she said. "I'm just- I miss some of my pre-war music."

"That so?"

She tried for a grin. "Silly reason to be upset, I know."

Carefully, h e patted her on the shoulder with the skeletal metal hand. She had insisted time and time again that she didn't mind his metal hand, but h e was still wary with it. Nick thought it would be preferable not to ever go through a repeat of getting her hair accidentally tangled in the hinges of his hand again. H e still wasn't quite sure what all of the words she had used meant, and Nick had been in the Commonwealth for a very long time.

"I don't think I'd put it that way, doll," Nick said mildly. "I used to be pretty attatched to some old records back the day." 

She laughed. "Who's cooking tonight? Is it my turn?"

Nick made a noise approximate to clearing his throat. "Curie, I think, and me."

"Oh, really? Well, I won't keep you from your duties any longer."

She gave him a fond kiss on the lips. "I'm going to go shanghai Maccready into helping me with cleaning up the cereal boxes h e and John keep leaving around."

Nick watched her go, a contented halfsmile on his face. If h e could have fallen asleep, Nick would have pinched himself to make sure h e wasn't dreaming. H e would be eternally mystified that Nora, a beautiful, bedazzling, dame like she was, decided to fall in love with him of all things, a falling apart snark macine.

H e lit a cigarette and walked back into the house.

Chapter Text

"Yah knooow, Curie," Nora slurred, catching herself on the counter where Whitechapel Charlie poured drinks, "Fer a- a- robot ya sure can holdyer liquor!"

Curie giggled tipsily. "Zank you, Madame Nora. I 'ave been studying ze effects of liquor on the body most carefully zince we arrived, and..." she frowned and swayed slightly. "It ess quite good!"

Nora's eyes were unfocussed. "Good for you, Curie," she said absently, and knocked back another drink with a flick of her wrist. 

Curie tried to stand up, but only got halfway. "My legs won't walk anymore," she said plaintively. 

To the great surprise of Magnolia, Nora was able to stand up, though to singer it looked like she was in mortal peril of falling over. 

"C'mon, Curie," she said. "I rented a room to stay in fer a bit."

 Then she actually giggled. 

This was going a little far, Magnolia thought. 

"Hey, Charlie?" she said in her purring voice. 

"Yeah?"

"I think I'm going to have to walk them to the Hotel. Be right back."

He made a noise almost like a mechanical grunt.

Magnolia slipped an arm around each of them. "Come on, girls," she purred. "I gotta get you to that Hotel in one piece."

Chapter Text

"WHO THE FUCK ATE THE LAST BOX OF FANCY LADS SNACK CAKES?"
The newly repaired door to the kitchen blew open, very nearly blasting straight off the hinges.

Curie yelped in surprise and dove into Nora's arms as Hancock came stiding through the door, his face nearly as red as his coat. Slightly caught off guard and a little embarrassed, Nora said mildy: "You scared Curie. You know she's not ready for jumpscares like that."

"Yeah, well, at the moment I don't care," growled the ghoul. "I'm off to have a word with Danse about that missing box of cakes."

When the door banged behind him, Curie finally exhaled and began to giggle nervously. She lifted her chocolate and filling covered face from Nora's shoulder, and looked around nervously.

Curie's giggle was infectious. Within moments Nora was laughing so hard that tears ran down her face, and she had to lean against the wall for support.

"What...on earth...possessed you...to eat the entire box?" she managed to gasp.

Curie's eyes widened. "Oh no madame. I only ate half of them. I was going to put the rest back."

Still chuckling, Nora said, "Quick, go put them back and hide the evidence. I have to go make sure I still have Danse by the end of the day."

Curie nodded. "Right! You distract him and I'll hide ze evidence!"

Nora fairly ran after her irate ghoul, intent on heading off Hancock before he murdered somebody.

Chapter Text

Nick didn't sleep. He had the occasional brief diagnostic shutdown, but that was all he had anymore. He looked upon it wth a certain regret, remebering vaguely how nice it felt sometimes to just lie down and let yourself go.

But, he would remind himself, it wasn't all bad. As he padded around the Taffington Boat House, he carefully checked on each member of his little family.

Piper was sprawled over a spread-eagled Cait, tangled in a heap of bedding. To Nick's eyes it was fairly clear what he had been hearing upstairs earlier. If he could, he would have flushed slightly as he carefully shut the door again.

Curie and Preston had fallen asleep on Nora's big bed, watching old rom-coms. The television flickered slightly before Nick shut it off. Curie had curled like a kitten, and shivered a little in the November chill. Nick carefully covered her with a blanket before he left the room. Dogmeat lifted his head and whined softly at Nick, who put his finger to his lips.

Danse was spread eagled and snoring. His power armor, despite Nora's protests, was standing in the corner.

Maccready was peaceful, if lightly, sleeping, his gun leaning up on the table beside him, where he could grab it if he needed it.

He ticked them off on his fingers. Piper, Cait, Curie, Preston, Danse, Maccready...

As per usual policy, Nick did not go near either Deacon's or X6's door.

Nora was on the sofa, huddled under a timeworn blanket. The grey cat who had adopted her was curled on her stomach, purring sleepily.

She smiled lazily at Nick. "Checking on all your chicks, mama bird?" she teased.

He sat carefully at her feet. "There are worse things," he said softly.
She sat up, dislodging the grey cat, who stalked off with an offended air, and leaned carefully against Nick.

"I love you, Nick," she said softly.

As always, hearing her say that made it necessary for his fans to kick in to cool him off a little.

"You've told me that many times," he said, planting a kiss on her hair. "But I never get tired of hearing it."

She snugged closer. "I'm glad. I'm probably going to be saying til the day I die, and I hate to bore you."

He laughed. "I could never get tired of the sound of your voice, doll. If I weren't a such an old model, I'd probably ask you to sing me sleep a few times."

"Somehow I don't think I'd mind," she said sweetly. "Did you have anything in particular?"

He shrugged. "Something pre-war. One of those slow love songs they used to play on moonlit nights."

She obliged, her voice all husky sweetness as she crooned the words to an old song he remembered that he- well the old Nick and Jenny used to dance to.

It was a little bittersweet, but he didn't mind. He still missed Jenny sometimes, but now he had Nora, and Nick knew that Nora had no intention of leaving him any time soon.

His arm tightened around Nora's shoulder.

Chapter Text

"Go on Nora," Hancock wheedled. "I know he'll do it."

"Yeah, but if he doesn't, I get the sore butt."

Hancock snorted, which interested Nora. How do you snort without a nose? "How 'bout a bet, then," he coaxed. "If he catches you you'll give me all the Jet you find, without seling any of it. If he doesn't, I'll-"

"-pay me a hundred caps."

He made a face. "A hundred?"

"You're the one who's so sure."

He sighed. "Alright fine."

Nora whooped. "Free money, here I come!"

Poor, unsuspecting X6 had just turned the corner when Nora jumped on him. He instinctively caught her in his arms before she fell to the ground. To make matter worse, her arm accidentally hit the side of his head.and knocked off his sunglasses.

Without releasing Nora, X6 looked straight at Hancock.

"For your own health, I must insist that you remove yourself," X6 said in a dangerously level voice.

Hancock took the hint.

Nora kissed him gently. "Just don't hurt him, X," she asked.

Chapter Text

Nick's was grim as he paced the porch of the boathouse. Nora's absence was definitely beginning to worry him.

"Two days really isn't very long, Nick," Piper said uncertainly. She sat on the newly repaired porch swing, accompanying Nick on his vigil. "You know Nora. She probably found something, that's all." Even in her own ears Piper sounded lame.

Nick looked out at the wasteland for the umpteenth time, his golden eyes probing the dry, brittle-looking landscape.

Petite, black-haired, Curie pushed the door open and shut behind her.

"Is she home yet?" she said, half hopefully.

Nick shook his head sadly. "Not yet Curie."

Curie blinked back tears. "I'm scared," she said, her voice breaking, and buried her face in Nick's coat.

Nick hugged her gently. "Come inside with me, Curie."

He guided her back inside the house, giving a slight nod to Piper, who got up and went to the railing around the porch.

Piper ground her teeth as she looked out at the Nora-free landscape.

Damn it, Blue, Piper thought unhappily.

 

"I've decided that I am going after Nora," Nick said decidedly over dinner. Nobody seemed surprised. X6 looked a little offended, but no-one looked surprised.

X6 set down his fork with his usual deliberateness. "If that is so, then I am coming with you," he said calmly, in a tone that would take no arguement.

Nick argued anyway. "No, I should go alone. No offence, X6, but you tend to kill everything insight when someone gets hurt."

"That is exactly why I should go," the courser said. "I would not worry, Valentine. I will not kill you."

"That's not what I'm worried about," Nick muttered.

Something --it sounded like the door-- banged loudly. Maccready, his natural nervousness enhanced by the tense atmosphere, dropped his fork and went for the rifle the leaned against his chair.

Nick got up, but Cait beat him to it. She ran to the door, and wrenched it open.

"It's a note!" she yelled.

Everybody abandoned the table.

"What does it say? I can't read it."

Nick's voice was grim.

"'If you ever want to see your precious Vault Dweller again, you will come to the Beantwon'" -Here he made a face at the spelling- "'Bring us two thousand caps and we.might let her go.'"

Everybody looked at each other.

"Battle plans," everybody said at once.

Chapter Text

Maccready's fingers tightened on his rifle. He had hidden himself in a just about a natural sniper's nest, and as he watched Deacon and Nick cautiously approach the Brewery, he felt his mouth go dry and his heart sped up painfully.

Please let her be okay, he thought.

A Gunner met them at the door.

"We brought the caps," Nick said tersely. "Where is Nora?"

The Gunner cocked her head at him.

"Let's see the caps, then," she said sharply.

Nick signalled to Cait, who stepped out from behind the rust pile that used to be a car. She almost staggered under the weight of the sack of caps, that she threw down in front of Nick, stone faced and anger crackling off of her skin.

"Bring her out!"

The big dooropened, and another two Gunners wrestled out a struggling, swearing woman in a familiar blue suit. They threw her to the ground, and the head Gunner planted her boot squarely in the small of Nora's back.

Hancock heard Danse mutter an inaudible curse. His grip tightened on his knife, and he puhed down the urge to skewer the woman with a well-aimed throw.

"Here's your little bitch," the woman said contemptuously, kicking Nora in the gut to push her over to Nick's feet.

 

Deacon helped her up and dusted her off, careful of the bruises beneath the grime. "C'mon," he said, slipping an arm under her shoulders. "Curie can patch you up."

"My business here is concluded," Nick said curtly. "My company and I will take our leave."

"Good plan," the woman said insolently.

X6 stepped up. His face was hard, as he unshouldered his Institute rifle. "I am not done with you yet," he said in a voice like poisoned silk.

Chapter Text

It had been an irrational hope, Nora knew. When she saw Codsworth, she had hoped that maybe, just maybe, he would know what happened to her sealskin. She had hoped, nay, she had prayed that he would have it.

She hadn't been surprised, but she had been broken when she learned that poor, faithful Codsworth did not know where her skin was, or even why it was so desperately important.

"Somethin' the matter?"

Nick's familiar voice made her start.

"Oh, Nick. I didn't think you were done with your tidying yet."

He smiled slightly ruefully. "I might have to give Ellie the agency and retire for good," he admitted. "Either she's gettin' better or I'm getting worse."

Nora's returning grin was halfhearted. Nick, despite his joke, noticed immediately.

"What is it? You've been gloomy ever since we got back from that little trip of ours."

"Just homesick, I guess,"she said sadly.

"Homesick?"

She shook her head. "It's not important."

He looked unconvinced. She tried for a better smile. "Nothing you could help with, Nick. Just problems with mythical creatures."

He quirked what would have been an eyebrow at her. "If you're sure then."

You do know that they all deserve to know? she told herself as she watched Nick take a cigarette from his pocket.

I know...

"Actually, there is something I need to tell you, Nick," she said suddenly. "But I need to tell everbody at once."

His yellow eyes were a mix of curiosity and anxiety. Nora nodded resolutely. "I'm telling everyone tonight."

 

Maccready sat on the porch after dinner, polishing the barrel of his rifle. Nora and Curie were washing the dishes. Or they had been.

The front door suddenly flew open, and what felt like a petite canonball crashed out. "Come quick! Madame Nora has something to say!" Curie said quickly, a slightly damp towel still thrown over her shoulder.

"What?"

"Come on!" she said impatiently, and all but dragged him into the house.

Chapter Text

Nora felt butterflies of nervousness flutter in every corner of her body as she looked at the assembled group of people who had become her family in the Wasteland. They ranged from a former Institute courser to a man who had once killed synths for a living. And they were all dear beyond words.

 

She cleared her throat. "This is going to be hard," she said slowly. "I just hope you all realize how much I trust you to be revealling this information to you."

There were a few uneasy nods.

"Alright." She blinked hard a few times, and swallowed. "I guess I could come out and say it. Here goes."

"I am not human."

There was a general intake of breath, and confused looking about. Nora? A synth? How?

"WHAT?!" Danse exclaimed, jumping to his feet.

"Sit down," she snapped, and he quickly obeyed.

"Before anybody says anything, no I am not a synth," she said calmly. "I never was and hopefully never will be."

"Well, then what?" Piper blurted.

"I don't think you would have heard of me," she said cautiously. "Fundamentally, I am- or was- a shapeshifter. Not- not any more."

Nick stood up. "I think I know what you're trying to say. You're telling us you are a selkie-woman, aren't you?"

She looked at him sharply. "What?!"

Cait's eyes went wide. "A selkie?" she breathed.

"Would somebody tell me what the hell a selkie is?" Hancock said irritably.

"What happened to your sealskin?" Nick asked, ignoring Hancock.

"I lost it."

"What? How?" Cait demanded.

Nora's eyes were pained. "I didn't have time to grab it when the bombs fell."

Cait's eyes widened.

"I've been looking for it, hoping maybe that it wasn't destroyed, just lost or stolen. But-" her breath hissed between her teeth. "-I've never found it."

Hancock stood up. "Why the hell did you need a sealskin? " he demanded.

"She used it to change forms," Cait explained patiently. "When she wore it, she was a seal, and when shhe took it off she…" Cait gestured at Nora.

There was a collective sound of understanding.

Nora sat down, suddenly looking very old and weary. "Go on," she said, flapping hand in the direction of upstairs. "Go think about what I told you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you from the first. I just-"

"Hey. It's fine, Nora," Maccready said softly. "This isn't going to make any difference in our eyes. If anything, you just brought us all closer together, because now there are a couple people that I know who would tear the Commonwealth apart to find that sealskin." He kissed her gently. "And I'm very proud to be one of them."

Chapter Text

"Is Curie still in bed?" Nora asked Nick as he thumped down the stair, absentmindedly threading a strip of cloth through his fingers. He looked at her, eyebrow-or what would have been his eyebrow- raised.

"I didn't check," he said."I thought she was up already."

Nora frowned. "I'm going to go check on her. It isn't like her to sleep this late."

Nick looked outside at the miserble, cold, brown landscape. "I don't exactly blame her," he said dryly.

Nora dearly wished she was close enough to elbow him in the ribs. Instead she contsented to scowling at him as she went up the stairs to check on Curie.

"Curie?" Nora said softly, cracking the door open. "Are you awake?"

Curie lifted her face from the coccoon of blankets she had gathered around around herself. "Madame?" she croaked.

Nora's eyes went wide. "Are you alright, Curie? You look a little…ill."

Curie blinked. "I believe zat you are right," she said hoarsely. "It feels...most unpleasant. I never knew colds could feel so..."

"Miserable?" Nora supplied. "I'm going to get you a cup of tea."

"Zat would be would be most welcome," Curie said, flopping back into the blankets.

"Is she alright?" Nick said anxiously.

"She's fine," Nora said fondly. "Well, she caught the cold I had last week, so not exactly fine. I'm making her some tea."

 

"I have your tea, Curie."

The petite synth peeked out of her blankets, and eagerly took the warm mug in both hands.

"It's a little-"

Curie yelped, and covered her mouth.

"-hot."

"I believe I just found zat out," Curie said, sipping more cautiously.

Nora laughed and put an arm around Curie's shoulders. "It'll be alright. The first day is miserable but usually you'll feel better by tomorrow."

Curie leaned against Nora's shoulder. "I am glad you were sick last week," she confided. "Now I don't have to worry zat I will get you sick."

Nora resisted the impulse to laugh, and instead kissed Curie's black hair. Dear, dear Curie!

"That's right, mon cherie," Nora said. "Drink your tea."

Curie obeyed.

Nora got off of the bed, searching the dressertop for the tarnished,silvered comb that she had given Curie.

"Scooch over," she told Curie, and sat down, crosslegged. "Okay, come back."

Curie rested her head in Nora's lap, and let Nora work the tangles out of her hair.

Maybe being sick wasn't all bad, Curie decided. At least when you had Nora to take care of you.

Chapter Text

Nora always had loved Desdemona's hair. It was thick and silky and fiery red, and Nora loved it to pieces.

In the evenings, when they would retire together, Nora would always drag out the silverbacked brush she always kept polished and she would lovingly brush her leader's hair.

Today, it seemed, Desdemona had hada particularly rough day. Nora could fell the tenseness in the other woman's shoulders as she ran the bristles through the silky fire of Des's hair.

"Relax," she whispered, pressing a fond kiss to the other woman's jaw. "It's just us now."

Des turned and kissed Nora full on the lips. "I love it when you do this for me," she said.

Nora grinned. "I love you too, darling Desdemona."

Chapter Text

The first thing Nora noticed when she returned to consciousness was a headache to spilt her skull.

Then she looked over, and realized that she had other problems besides the biggest hangovr she had ever had.

Piper lay next her, on the room they had rented from the Dugout. She was sleeping like a baby and just as naked.

Nora was also without a stitch of clothing, her Vault Suit tossed in a crumpled heap on the floor.

Oh dear, she thought.

Piper stirred sleepily, and curled a warm arm around Nora's very naked midriff. The sensation was a little strange, but definitely not unpleasant. Then Piper shot up, eyes wide.

"Mistake?" Nora said sympathetically, as Piper hurriedly lay down again.

Piper nodded fervently, and then winced. "Blue, I sure hope you-"

She stopped short, and Nora knew that full realization of their situation had just sunken through.

"Blue?" she whispered. "What the hell happened?"

"Judging by the surroundings, a lot of sex."

Chapter Text

The fact that Nora was a Vault Dweller was fairly obvious to Cait. The blue vaultsuit? Check. Occasional look of being lost in a strange new world? Check. Pipboy? Check.

But what Cait hadn't guessed, and what Nora had carefully not told her, was that Nora was not only a Vault Dweller, but she had known a time before the world had been destroyed by war.

Sometimes Cait wondered about Nora's attitude toward the Wasteland. It was almost like some of the ghouls she had met. Sometimes Nora would sigh, and look as if she remembered some fond memory from days long ago when they would wander the library or the Hubris Comics. She was sometimes caught looking startled, and more than once, Cait had her murmur about how much things change.

Despite what some might say, Cait was not stupid. She quickly began to pick up tht there more to her companion then she may have guessed before.

She just wsn't sure if she should bring it up. Sure, Nora was-perhaps her first- friend she had, but there were somethings that one should keep to oneself.

She certainly wasn't expecting Nora to pull her aside one day and tell her that they needed to talk. At first Cait was worried she had done something wrong, but then Nora sat down and began to tell Cait her own story.

Cait's heart bled for Nora, as the Vault Dweller had to strangle back tears as she told Cait about her husband and Shaun, and her life before the war.

Not knowing what else to do, Cait put an arm around the relic's shoulders, and pulled her into a rough embrace. She didn't speak at all when Nora fi nished her story. She wouldn't know what to say. But Nora had been around her for long enough to know what Cait meant by what she left unsiad.

Chapter Text

So, I may or may not be updating sporadically for a while. I'm having issues with a recurring dream of a lost city, sunken deep beneath the ocean in the Elder Scrolls 'verse!

So now I'm running round like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to figure out if this is canon or what, if I've heard of it before or just something I came up with lonesome. I could really use help, and if any of you read this, who know what I'm talking about, please tell me if you have ever stumbled across any lore concerning an ancient city to the east of Morrowind that is sunken beneath the sea.

For those of you who say 'oh, its just a dream, whats the big deal,' please know that I have been having this dream seberal times, and continually hear refrences to it in dreams that have nothing to do with Elder Scrolls! My brain just won't focus very well on anything else, and my writing has taken a nosedive in quality. Please excuse my absence, but it wiill probably be very brief. I'll be back before you know it!

Chapter Text

OK, with a great deal of lost sleep, copius quantities of tea, bouncing ideas of my brother while talking at supersonic speeds, and an intoxicating amount of listening to Celtic Thunder and Byrne and Kelly, I have worked out this mysterious searuined city that has been bothering me so much. I have as much pinned down as possible atm, and can go back to writing Fallout soon.

 

Y'know, after I catch up on my sleep, get rid of the caffiene in my system, and apologize for talking my brother's ear off. XD

Chapter Text

Nora had spent so much time in the persona of the Silver Shroud that she slipped into it like a selkie into its sealskin. Her rage at Sinji began to cool and freeze into a hard, cold, anger as she slipped on the black leather gloves and pulled the black coat over herself. Irma watched, concern for Kent and Nora writen all over her face.

"Be careful," she said, handing Nora her hat. "Bring him home safe."

Nora grinned wolfishly. "They are the ones who had better be careful, Irma," she said. "Don't worry about Kent. He'll be through the door before you know it."

Irma said nothing.

Nora slipped the fedora onto her head, and pulled the brim low. She reached over and picked up the Silver Submachine gun.

"They won't know what hit 'em," she said. "Except Sinji. I might just call on my knives to deal with him."

Irma made a face. "Not in front of Kent. He's been through too much already. If he's alive."

Nora looked deadly serious. "If anything happened to him... If Sinji's hurt him..." her eyes glittered menacingly. "They are going to wish they had never been born."

Chapter Text

Cait: All wiry muscles, maybe 5'6-5'7. Tomato red hair can be matted with blood on occasion, and a mischevious twinkle in her eyes when she's in a good mood.

Codsworth: Tries to keep himself cleaned up and rust free! There's still a few nicks and dings here and there, bit that's just the Wasteland life

Curie: Tiny and moderately curvy. At most, she's maybe 5'3-5'4. She has very finely textured hair that she's trying to grow out a bit, and tries very hard to keep herself clean.

Danse: Shorter than you might think, and very stocky. Honestly couldn't care less about being clean or not, and is frequently scolded by Curie abou the oilstain in his shirts.

Hancock: 5'8 and skinny as a beanpole. His skin is leathery and toughened by the radiation he can endure. His eyes are black all the way through, and wickedly humurous. Very bad teeth, due to his sugar addiction.

Maccready: Short and skinny, 5'5-5'7. Nora occasionally teases him about feeding him up and getting some meat on his bones which makes him grumble. Also frequently requires scolding. Also has bad teeth, but they're crooked, not cavity ridden.

Nick Valentine: Long and lanky. Nora suspects the original Nick might have been even taller than hers, which makes her laugh because he's already 6'2. His skin is also a little leathery.

Piper: 5'7 or thereabouts. She frequently complains about being surrounded by giants. Pale skin is thoroughly freckled, which irritates her. Her hands are always moving.

Preston Garvey: 6'0 and rather muscular. He's very shy about it, but his height has coome in handy on several occasions. He has strikingly good teeth for a Wasteland dweller.

Strong: Like the Hulk but slightly smaller and his skin is rougher and deeply scarred in places.

X6-88: Also very tall. 6'3-6'4. Stern and chiseled features. Curie does not have to scold him at all, as he is also meticulously clean. He looms over everybody except Nick, who is only an inch shorter.

Chapter Text

Edward Deegan: Stocky and muscular. Taller than most other ghouls, 5'10-6'0. His eyes tend to be hard, like chips of black rock. Due to his combat training, he tends to be very steady and suprisingly light on his feet.

Kent Connolly: Slightly chubby, and very good for hugging. Short, 5'6ish. His eyes always betray his nervousnsss, and his hand tend to shake even when he isn't nervous.

Pickman: Always incredibly put together and clean looking, even when he's covered in blood. His black hair tends to be a little oily sometimes, and he's middlingly tall, 5'10-5'11.

Chapter Text

"Do synths see ghosts?"

Nora and her company were lazing around together on the sofas that she and Strong had managed to tow back to the boathouse. Hancock was kicked back, his boots up on an old ottoman when he asked that question.

Danse scowled. "Ghosts do not exist," he said emphatically.

Deacon propped his head up on his hands from where he was laying on the floor at Nora's feet. "I saw a ghost once," he said solemnly.

Danse rolled his eyes. "I think we've all learned to take what you say with a grain of salt."

"Or maybe a bucket," Piper interjected.

"Can you guys just answer me?" Hancock said irritably.

Nick leaned forward, his golden eyes glimmering softly in the twilight. "I personaly have never seen a ghost," he said quietly. "Nor have I ever spoken to anyone who has."

Maccready turned a little bit pale. Nora noticed and almost asked him about, but hesitated.

"Can-Can we change the subject? I've never liked talking about ghosts."

"Or little green men?" Cait said evilly.

Maccready punched her in the arm.

"I have a new case, if you're interested, Nora," Nick said, obligingly changing the subject.

Nora sat straight up, accidentally kicking Deacon.

"Sorry. A new case?"

A couple people made exaggeratedly stifled yawns. Nora scowled darkly at them.

"You'll have to fill me in later Nick. Right now I have to deal with a bunch of children pretending to be grown up."

"Don't run off and leave us all alone, mommy," Hancock said in a mockingly pleading voice.

"Must you do that?" X6 inquired.

Nora sighed. "Yes, sometimes I think he must."

"Where are you going, monsieur Valentine?" Curie said, snuggling closer to Nora.

"Hockomock Swamp."

Chapter Text

Maccready knew that there was something very, very wrong with the Dunwich Quarry from the moment he stepped underground. If anybody but Nora had been the one leading him into that ruin he would have balked, and blatantly refused. Since it was Nora, he felt honorbound to follow her and watch her back.

But as they got deeper and deeper into the mine, Maccready began to wonder if he could stretch 'protecting Nora' to knocking her unconscious and dragging her very very far away.

He paced the floor, gravel crunching under his ragged boots as Nora's finger flew across the keyboard. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled, and he turned up his collar.

Nora scowled, and crossed her arms across her chest. "I can't figure out what this thing they found is supposed to be!" she said angrily.

"Maybe we aren't supposed to know?" Maccready said nervously.

Nora snorted. "Mac, if you're that scared, go back to the surface and wait for me."

For a moment he actually considered it. Then he realized that she meant alone.

Nora struck onward, even deeper in the mine. Maccready waited behind for a moment, casting one last gaze around the cave, trying to pinpoint the source of what felt like a malevolent gaze trained on the back of his head.

He heard a gunshot, and the horrible gurgling cry of a feral ghoul. He ran after Nora and saw her in the middle of a cluster of feral ghouls. She was stabbing and slashing like a crazed woman, and for a moment, Maccready didn't dare shoot for fear of hiting Nora, until another ghoul loomed up behind Nora, holding a strange knife.

He struck it dead on, of course, and it fell backward, the knife slipping from its nerveless fingers as the last of the ghouls fell beneath Nora's impassioned slashing.

Nora didn't even turn when he caught up with her.

"Nora! Are you-"

He could have sworn that there was nobody else in the caves, but now it almost-

He shook his head and blinked.

Nora was transfixed at the sight of the men, bound and kneeling before a white altar. Another figure, almost not all man, loomed above them, wielding the knife that Nora had nearly been stabbed by.

"Nora?"

Nora shivered like she had been doused in cold water, and the vision disappeared like mist in the sunlight.

Now all that there was left was a pool of water. Maccready looked at it warily, and didn't move from the entrance to this underground chamber for the worship of obscene deities better forgotten than remembered.

Nora did not. Instead she went to the rim of the pool, as if drawn on a string, and looked over.

"Mac," she whispered, "Come look at this."

He was halfway across the room when she screamed.

It was a piercing, painful sound, driving into Maccready's ears like a jackhammer, pushing him away even as he struggled to her side, catching hold of her blueclothed arm, and pulling her away from the pool. Something was very wrong here, and he was not looking into that damned pool.

Nora did not eveen resist as Maccready half dragged her away, away from that accursed pool, awayy from the doomed quarry, back into the open air of the Commonwealth.

He was never going back there. He didn' t care what happened, he was NOT going back.

Chapter Text

"Just go ask her, Piper," Nora said exasperatedly.

They were leaving the Valentine Agency, collars turned up against the rain the was pouring down from the greenish gray clouds. Nora had gone to check up on Nick, and Piper had accompanied her, ostensibly to say hi to Nick, but really to talk to Ellie Perkins, Nick's secretary.

"Like, not even anything fancy. Just ask her out for a dinner at the Dugout Inn. Or get her some noodles. Just something"

Piper's moody face was matched by the sky above. "But what if Ellie doesn't like girls and I ruin everything?"

Nora sighed. "Well, you're never gonna know if you don't ask!"

She took Piper's elbow, and tugged her over to Taka's noodle stand. Piper's gloomy face didn't change even with the tempting smell of the noodle bowl in front of her.

"Piper, don't be a chicken. Just go ask, and I'll hold the noodles."

The young reporter's expression didn't change. "I don't have any money."

"You can borrow some of mine. I have too much caps in my pockets right now."

"But what if she says no?"

"Then that's life. Haven't you ever been turned down before.? Now quit your problem seeking and go. Ask. Ellie."

Piper shrugged. "Be back in a few minutes I guess."
*********************************************************·*******************************
"Don't you dare say 'I told you so,'" Piper said, grinning.

"I think I would be allowed to," Nora said calmly, handing Piper a pouch of caps. "Now go enjoy yourself."

Piper fairly ran toward the Dugout Inn, slowing, and trying to make herself look neat before she opened the door.

Ellie stood by the bar, in a clean dress and the lights gleaming in the coils of her hair. Piper tried one last time to make herself presentable and went to go talk to her.

Vadim gave them a beaming smile when he saw them standing together. "Vhat can I get you ladies?" he said in his booming voice. "Food? Drinks?"

Ellie gave Piper an encouraging smile.

"Uhh... what do you want Ellie?"

"Go ahead and order for both of us. I'l find somewhere to sit."
****************************************************************************************
Piper insisted on walking Ellie home through the rain that neither ceased nor gotten heavier since that afternoon. They conversed earnestly until they reached the pink heart blazoned against the darkness of the alley.

"I had fun, Piper," Ellie said happily. "Perhaps we can do it again next week?"

Piper grinned. "Sure thing, Ellie. I look forward to it."

Ellie's eyes danced mischeviously. "Thursday. Dugout Inn again, don't you dare be late."

Then, before Piper could react, she pressed a sly kiss to her Piper's lips and darted into the Agency.

Chapter Text

Everyone knew the Eat-o-Matic that stood by the door of the Dugout Inn. It was old, airtight, and the claw was beginning to rust a little at the edges. People tried sometimes, for the piece of perfectly preserved pie that sat triumphantly atop the pyramid of plates that held ancient, green, pieces of now unrecognizable food that resembled monsters straight out of Lovecraft's novels.

Nora and Nick made almost a game out of it. They would play with the Bobrov machine, or the other Eat-o-Matics they came across. They would laugh and joke about the number of evil chemicals that must be infused in that delicious looking cream, and about how they never would have eaten anything from those Eat-O-Matics if they had known that there would be pieces of pies laying around two hundred years later.

Neither of them every thought they would actually get a piece of that pie, but it never hurt to try.

They were in an abandoned subway station, sheltering from the acidic, evil-smelling rain that poured in buckets from the clouds that held no grey, only a sickly green. Nick was playing with the terminal, Nora was poking about to make sure that they were alone.

The green light from the pip-boy around Nora's wrist swept around the room, lingering on the form of a squat, rounded machine, whose yellow paint was peeling and flaking off in places.

"Hey, Nick," she called.

"Mhm?"

"I found a pie machine!"

He left the terminal, and came to stand beside Nora, his metallic hand leaning gently on her shoulder.

"I wonder if maybe we'll manage to snag the pie this time," Nora mused.

Nick grinned slightly. "We do have a few hours to waste."

Chapter Text

The Raiders on the stairs had little on their corpses, a few bottlecaps, but nothing spectacular. Nora made a face at them and turned away.

Piper had disappeared into the 'gallery' room. Nora stepped after her, making a face at the pile of half fresh, half decomposing flesh and entrails that filled the rroom with a horrendous odor. Nora gagged and covered her nose.

Piper's voice was a little muffled, coming from behind her sleeve. "Huh. Are these abs-"

She stopped, and her eyes went wide wide with horror. She looked like she was very close to adding the contents of her stomach to the pile of offal.

"Piper? Piper! Are you all right?"

"Th-The paintings Blue! I can't-Oh god."

Piper covered her eyes, as if not trusting herself to look any longer. Nora could not see what had frightened the reporter so muchh, and then realized what had filled her friend with so much disgust and horror.

She grabbed Piper's arm and the two women crashed heedlessly out the door and into the street. They didn't stop running until they could no longer see the gallery or the street that led them to it.

Chapter Text

Nora supposed that being actively hunted by Raiders was all in a day's work when you travelled with Pickman, the mad painter.

They held an active, burning hatred for him, equalling, perhaps surpassing, their hate of each other and the entirety of the Commonwealth. In return, Pickman coolly regarded them as little more than chem-crazed animals, taking an almost disturbing delight in draining their carcasses for his paintings.

Except when, like tonight, he had no canvas to use, and so, was forced to pass by the bodies of the slaughtered Raiders, though not without a regretful sigh.

"You know I don't like it when you do that," Nora said without turning around.

"I apologize, my dear Killer. Perhaps we should walk a little faster?"

"Good plan. I would never have thought of it."

Pickman smiled faintly. Nora's sarcasm never failed to make him smile.

He sped up to match her pace until he was no longer lagging behind her, but walking side by side.

"Raiders are responsible for so much of the world's stupidity," he lamented. "I am glad that as a whole they have managed to do one thing that turned for the better."

"Oh, what's that?" she inquired.

He smiled, in a way very like that of a cat. "Why, they brought you to my gallery of course. I have come to believe that withoit you my life would be very much lacking."

Nora looked a little startled. "Thank you, Pickman. Has the blood lubricated your tongue, making you wax eloquent like this? Or should I expect more such praise?"

He gave her a sly glance.

She sighed. "Well, I suppose it is time to introduce yu to the rest of my family. Don't kill any of them. I'm rather fond of them all."

Chapter Text

Follower Dialogue pt 1

Option 1

"Why do you want to come with me?"

"What better way to be inspired than to wade through the grotesque filth of the Commonwealth?"

Option 2

"If you must come along I suppose you must."

"You seem... less than pleased. Unfortunate. I will remain here for the time being."

Option 3

"Don't kill too many people."

"I assure you, only Raiders."

Option 4

"We're going."

"Ah, at once."

When in combat: "Your skin would make a poor canvas!"

Diamond City Guards reaction to Pickman. "Hey, uhh.. Your buddy there is really freakin' me out."

When swapped with Nick Valentine:
"Bring her back in in piece, Pickman."

"You never will trust me, will you?"

Chapter Text

"I thought synths didn't get frustrated," Nora teased as she watched Piper repeatedly beat Danse at checkers.

"And here I was, thinking you loved us," Nick teased back.

Danse finally gave up. He threw up his hands and left the table, wothout saying a word. Usually he wasn't quite so sore of a loser, but even the most patient person would feel tempted to throw the entire checker boatd in Piper's smirking face after losing twelve games in a row.

"You're up, X," Piper said, stretching in a nonchalant way.

The grey kitten refused to be dislodged from the front of his jacket. It hung on with fearsome tenacity, giving everyone an excuse to smile at the kitten, claws sunken into the leather duster that X6 wore, as the couser attempted to dislodge it without injuring the creature.

"Cats are the devil incarnate," Deacon said, matter of factly, from where he was laying at Nora's feet. Nora kicked him and the kitten. finally dislodged gave a halfhearted hiss in his direction.

"Oh boy," Piper said. "Nothing beats yelling 'King me!' in X6-88's face."

"I am glad you think so," X6 said coolly.

Piper did just that. Repeatedly. Often at the very top of her lungs.

Chapter Text

Maccready, as jumpy as he was, was the first to react to the sounds of gunshots.

One minute, he was relaxing, kicked back on the 'stressed out' sofa, watching Duncan (BTW, I'm fairly sure he isn't even six yet so he's gonna be written like he was five-ish). The next moment, his hat was on his head, his rifle in his hand, and he was screaming at Duncan to get down.

Cait was the second. A redheaded blur ran a Raider through with a switchblade, and then left the body, spasming and twitching, the blade srill embedded in the Raider. Effortlessly, she picked up the swatter that the Raider had been using and connected it with the face of another Raider.

"Where the hell is that crazy Raider-killer when you need him?" Deacon muttered, wishing desperately that Nora and Pickman were back in Sanctuary.

 

Maccready, X6, Hancock, and several of the more battlehardened warriors from Sanctuary tracked the Raiders back to Concord, where they had holed up in the old museum. Maccready felt absolutely no remorse. Like they had spat in his face so many times before: "Ain't personal. Just you or me."

Or, in this case, the safety of his son and the other youngsters of Sanctuary.

As they gave the building a once over, making sure they hadn't missed anything, Maccready was startled by a harsh cry from Hancock that set his heart pounding like a drum and put his legs into motion.

When he skidded to a halt in front of the makeshift prison cell, he had to pull on his combat experience not to make call his Vault dweller's name.

Pickman was cradling Nora's head, trying in his own, odd way to comfort the pain of the relic. Blood was staining her blue catsuit, seeping over Pickman's hands as he tried to staunch the bleeding in her abdomen.

X6 all but threw Maccready and Hancock ou of his way. Slamming the body of the artist against the wall, he all but spat: "What have you done?"

Chapter Text

The cigarette butt glowed in the darkness, nicotine laced smoke floating off invisibly in the darkness. Nick barely paid any attention, his golden gaze fixed on the house that Curie had converted into a hospital.

Maccready collapsed beside him.

"Duncan's asleep," he said, letting go of a weary chuckle. "Poor little guy. He's really worried about Nora."

"As are we all," Nick said gruffly, finally remembering that he held a cigarette and taking a brief drag.

Maccready's face was pale in the light cast by the makeshift hospital, spilling out the windows into the nighttime street. "Oh, god," he whispered. "I don't think I can take this."

"Take what?" Piper asked tiredl, all but falling onto the sidewalk between them.

Maccready's face was her answer.

More for comfort than anything else, she wrapped an arm around Nick and leaned her head on Maccready's shoulder, bringing them all closer together, until she was firmly ensconced.

"I'm scared," she confessed, making a valiant effort to keep her voice from breaking.

 

X6-88 had set a watch over Pickman, binding him to a chair and cuffing the chair to a post driven into the ground. The courser had taken it upon himself to keep watch over Pickman, his Institute rifle firmly in his grasp. He was grateful for his glasses, thankfully keeping the emotions that roiled through his mind hidden and surpressed, like the almost shameful things he saw them as.

Danse joined them around midnight, his eyes hard and full of undirected anger and pain.

Pickman was completely, wisely, silent, but the moonlight that poolled on his face revealed a dark fear that lingered in everyone's eyes.

 

Hancock couldn't sleep. He tried, he really had.

He slipped out onto the doorstep of the house he was currently bunking in, and slipped a Jet inhaler out of his pocket. After a moments thought, he put it away. The last thing he wanted was for the night to last longer than it already was.

 

The red energy of Preston's laser rifle shone throughthe nighttime darkness. A hard knot of surpressed fear clung to his chest and throat with painful claws that made it impossible to sleep.

Curie can patch her up. She can fix almost anything.

Please. God, Allah, Jehovah, whatever your name is, if you're up there, just don't let her die.

He hadn't prayed since he was a boy. It was an odd feeling.

 

Cait had retreated with a bottle of whiskey, pouring herself shot after shot, wanting nothing more than to sink into the velvety unconsciousness.

She was close. Her eyes were unfocused and everything was twirling pleasantly when the bottle was tugged out of her hand.

Codsworth, dear, loyal, Codsworth had taken the dirty brown bottle, and put it on a shelf.

"Hey…" Cait slurred. "Giiiihive iit back, robo."

The robot's voice was quiet, yet severe.

"Miss Cait, I am fully aware that this one of your coping methods. I am equally aware that if there is any news of Mistress Nora's condition, you must be in a fit condition to hear and comprhend the words coming out of my mouth."

 

It was close to four in the morning when Curie and Doctor Amari decided that they had done all that they could do. Bone tired and heartsick they stripped off the overcoats they had worn for the operation and passed them on to Codsworth.

Nick was the only one awake to see Curie emerging, looking haggard. He gently untangled himself from Maccready and Piper and got up to meet her.

"I 'ave done all I can," she said quietly. "Now she must use all 'er strength to come back to us."

Not knowing what else to do, Nick patted her clumsily on the shoulder.

Tears began to bead at the corners of the petite womn's eyes, and without warning, she threw herself into his arms and sobbed.

Chapter Text

"You'll do fine," Nora said, not budging.

X6 shook his head. "With all due respect ma'am, I was never programmed to watch children."

Nora sagged against the doorway. "X, please. You're the only one around."

X6's face was set in stone. "Unit-"

"Shaun," Nora said warningly.

X6 didn't say anything.

"It's just for an hour," Nora wheedled.

"I do not know how to deal with children."

Nora sighed. "X6, even you can figure something out for only an hour."

I"I think I have been insulted."

"X6 you are the last hope I have. Please just...stop arguing woth me."

"Fine."

She laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

 

"Uni-Shaun, your mother has asked me to watch you while she tends to important business," X6 intoned.

The boy looked at him in surprise. "Oh, okay. What are we going to do?"

X6 was completely lost for words for a moment. "What do you usually do?"

The boy shrugged. "It depends on who's watching me. If it helps, Maccready has been taking me fishing."

X6 thought for a moment. "…I do not know how to fish."

"Oh, well I teach you! Everyone likes fishing!" The boy scarmbled away to retrieve the equipment that he and Maccready used on the river.

 

"How did it go?" Nora sked tiredly when she finally returned home. She had returned late, battered and exhausted from clearing a ruined restraunt of Raiders.

Deacon smiled toothily. "Our boy taught X how to fish today."

Nora did a double take. "Is this true, X?"

He did not even change expression at the ripple of laughter that spread through the room.

Chapter Text

When Nora opened her eyes, moonlight flooded her vision.

At first, she didn't know why she had been pulled out of the dreamworld. It was rare that she was forced out of Ulthar so quickly, and wryly hoped she didn't startle anybody. (Lovecraft FTW)

Half-blindly, she reached to bring Nick closer to her.

He wasn't in bed.

"Nick?"

He was standing in the corner, his arms crossed over his chest and his head sunk over them, as if in deep thought. Nora squinted and sat up, rubbing the back of her hand across her eyes. "Nick? What-"

He raised his head, and Nora's breath caught in her throat. It wasn't Nick.

"Kellogg."

"You noticed," he drawled, in a voice that was and was not Nick's

"Go away. Give me back Nick."

He lifted his hand and examind the light playing over the metallic fingers. "Maybe. Why should I?"

"Because I killed you. You should be dead."

"You did kill me. It's only fair that I toss your boyfriend into the abyss with me."

An icy claw of fear seized Nora's insides. Kellogg chuckled darkly when he saw the look on her face. Her hand closed around the hilt of a knife and gently eased it closer to her.

"Don't you dare," she whispered.

"Oh what, you'll use that knife on me? Not only will you kill me once and for all, but you'll also kill your dear private dick."

Nora swallowed hard, but did not relax her grip on the blade.

"He's fighting me hard, you know," he said, after a moment of silence. "He seems worried that I'm going to hurt you."

"Aren't you?"

He gazed insolently at her. "No. Not yet."

She stood up, the blue fabric she used as a nightshirt catching the moonlight. "Go away, an' give me back my Nick. Either that or I-"

"Either what?"

She didn't answer.

Kellogg/Nick's face contorted. When he spoke it was in Kellogg's voice, but it sounded strained and angry.

"Guess you got your wish, popsicle. Your boyfriend's a fighter."

"Nick? Nick can you hear me?"

The synth's eyes flickered once, twice.

"Nora?"

"Oh, my god. Nick, are you-"

"I'm fine," he said, that familiar, rough voice sounding better than anything Nora had heard in a long time.

Nora hugged him tightly, ters ssqueezing ut from between her eyelids. "Oh my god Nick."

Nick wound Nora's hair lovingly through his skin covered fingers. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you?"

Nora shook her head mutely.

Nick pressed a light kiss on Nora's temple. "I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry?" Nora managed to say. "It isn't your fault. Amari said there would be some lingering mnemonic mpressions."

"Do ya think she could help get him out of my head?"

Nora buried her face in Nick's chest, effectively muffling her voice. "It's worth a try."

Nick carefully steered Nora back over to the bed, and sat down.

"We'll get through this, hun," he promised. "It'll take more than a grizzled mercenary to keep me down."

Chapter Text

Cait: Likes him, but doesn't really trust him. He's just too polite, and nobody but Sole, Curie, and X6-88 are that clean. He is exquisitely polite to her, and in return she flirts outrageously with him. They recognize a spirit of not-taking-shite-from-anyone-except-Sole in each other.

Codsworth: Incredibly suspiscious. He has lived a long time in the Commonwealth and seen some things that would have driven a normal mind over the brink. In that time, he has realize that the polite ones can be more dangerous that Raiders and Gunners put together.

Curie: She wonders where he has acquired his extensive anatomical knowledge. She enquires persistently, but he only ever replies that he has always found the human body fascinating. Pickman finds her naïvete fascinatingly adorable, and tends to spend time with her when he is not travelling with Sole.

Danse: As suspiscious as ever. He trusts Sole but doesn't trust Pickman. He warned the artist away from Sole when they forst met, to which Pickman only laughed nd replied that Sole could take care well enough without his hovering.

Deacon: Being the spy he is, he decided to do some digging, only to be symied by carefully erased family history, going back into the 1910s

Hancock: He's seen some like Pickman in his time. Some were good, some bad, some eccentric. He just doesn't know wht
at to make of the man and it worries him.

Maccready: Like Hancock, he's seen some and worked for a few. He flatters himself that he has a fairlyy good nose for people, and yet he just doesn't know what to make of the man. In his mre fanciful moments he thinks. of Pickman as one who has stared into the primal abyss and seen the crawling chaos..

Nick Valentine: Nick doesn't trust Pickman. No two ways about it. Ol' Nick isn't a detective for nothing, and he has lived in the Wasteland longer than anyone but Codsworth. He's learned to listen to his gut, and his gut doesn't trust Pickman

Piper: She helped Deacon look for family history, and came up on the same dead ends frustrating dead ends. All that they found was a vague mention of a Pickman who was an artist in the 1910s who went by Richard Upton Pickman.

Preston Garvey: Preston is uneasy about the newest addition to their little family. He's a little too good with a knife, and much too good at anatomy. Pickman admires Preston's loyalty to Sole and the Minutemen.

X6-88: They hit it off immediately. They recognize each other as true professionals, and when no one is around, they will have long chats about things disturbing to the rest of the companions, such as how to preserve color and prevent oxidation of their 'materials.'

Chapter Text

The moonlight pooled through the newly repaired windows and spilled over Curie's eyes. She never slept well in bright light, so her eyelids were all but forced open, puling her from the strange new dreamworld she had been exploring.

Nora was still fast asleep, her arm thrown over Curie and pulling her protectively close. Curie had to muffle a giggle as Nora's breath tickled her neck.

Curie blinked sleep out of her eyes and squirmed around to face Nora, careful not to wake the slumbering relic. She gazed lovingly at the contours of Nora's face, softening the sterness that she had been forced to develope in her role as protector and defender. The stern façade only dropped around certain people, and Curie felt blessed that she was one of them.

She curled into Nora's embrace, feeling the warmpth coming off of the larger woman and revelling in it. Nora's fingers curled around her shoulder, bringing her even closer.

"Curie?"

Nora's voice was sleep numbed.

"Go back to sleep, mon cherie," Curie said, kissing her softly.

Chapter Text

X6's combat training made it extremely difficult to sleep sometimes. Particularly when Nora was sharing his bed.

He woke with a start, all his senses automatically shaking free of the heady drug of sleep, and felt a streak of supreme annoyance lace through him.

Nora was draped across his chest, fastened like the small kitten that had adopted them, and would probably require a disproportionate amount of energy to dislodge. No doubt it was this that had sent a bolt of wakefulness through him.

He could see in the dark vastly better than a normal human, yet another gift from his slightly inhuman origins. Even with out the faint light given off from the Pip-Boy on the the small , neatly folded blue square of Nora's Vault Suit, he would have been able to make out Nora's sleeping features.

He inwardly marvelled at her, so delicate, and yet so harsh and stern to those who didn't know her. When he held her, she seemed fragile and as delicate as any human he had ever met, but when they fought side by side on the battlefield, he was allowed a glimpse of her ferocity and the steel in her body and mind.

She stirred a little, and almost slid off, but with a sigh, X6 caught her and pulled her back up onto his chest. After all, even if he never admitted it, he loved the close proximity that she allowed him, and though he would rather die than say it out loud, cuddles were in his honest opinion the best thing Nora had ever taught him.

Chapter Text

Nick padded down the stairs, remarkably quiet for such a 'falling apart synth' as he would self-deprecatingly call himself, coming back from his nightly check on all the members of his little family.

Nora was curled up on the couch, fast asleep, with a blanket clutched to her chest. Nick sighed, and scooped her up in his arms so he could take her back to bed.

She stirred a little when Nick put her down on her soft bed, and blinked sleepily at him. In the silvery glow from the moon outside and the yellow light given off by his eyes, he was surprised to see tears tracking down her face.

"Nick?" she whispered hoarsely.

He sat carefully down beside her, taking her battlescarred and calloused hand in his own. "I'm here doll."

She sat up and hugged him as tightly as her flaccid muscles would allow. He was a little taken aback, but wrapped his arms around her in return, and pulled her gently into his lap. He realised that she was trying to muffle her weeping into his faded white shirt, unintentionally soaking it in the process.

"Shh. Shh, it's alright, Nora," he murmured.

She hicvuped and tried to cease her quiete weeping. Nick carefully wiped away her tears, and stroked her hair gently, trying to comfort her.

When the last of her desperately muffled sobs had passed, and she seemed to relax a little bit, Nick made to put down on the bed and leave the room. Nora caght his wrist and pulled him back.

"Please, Nick," she whispered. "Stay with me. Please don't leave me."

He hesitated, and then smiled softly. "Anything for you, doll. I'm sure how comfortable of a bedmate I'll be though. Move over."

Chapter Text

Danse: "Hey, Danse, could you give me a hand with this?" Nora yelled. She braced her foot against the battered heap of used-to-be power armour and pulled at the stubbornly resistant fusion core embedded in the power socket.

"Danse, if you don't get over here, I'm probably going to end up spraining something important!"

Danse huffed a sigh, and turned to give Nora a hand, as, completely out of patience as she was, Nora kicked the stubborn core.

It shot out, taking Nora with it, and yanking her backwards. Her head thankfully hit something soft, and for a moment she was unsure where she had landed.

Danse groaned, and Nora scrambled up, red in the face. Danse was on the floor, clutching his own 'fusion cores,' that had unintentionally cushioned Nora's fall.

"Oh, my GOD, Danse, I'm so sorry!" Nora squeaked.

"S'okay," he managed. "I think I'll just lie here for a minute..."

 

Deacon: "You don't like it, don't try sneaking up on Nora next time," Desdemona said unsypathetically.

"I didn't know she was gonna hit me there!" Deacon whimpered, holding an ice pack to the Nora-affected area. Glory turned away to hid an evil smirk at the superspy's predicament.

When Nora walked in and saw Deacon surrounded by lounging, unsympathetic females, she made a beeline for the group with an evil grin to match the one that Glory was sprouting.

"Recovered from that injury to your tenderloin?" she asked, feigning complete innocence.

Deacon rolled his eyes at the helplessly cackling women around him.

 

Hancock: It was completely unfair that the one time he managed to surprise Nora, he was completely sober. If he had had the foresight to take a quick puff at his jet inhaler before he had snuck behind her, he could have taken a much longer time to admire the surprised look on her face.

A moment later, he was very very glad he had had the foresight not to take a puff of jet, so that he wasn't forced to savour the explosion of pain that erupted somewhere around the area of his 'pants snake.'

Nora jumped to her feet. "Oh, I'm so sorry! Are you alright?"

His voice was a little cracked and his grin a little less cocky than usual when he looked up at her.

"Wanna kiss it better?" he gasped.

 

Maccready: "Hey, Mac," Nora said, laying a hand on his shoulder.

He looked backward at her. "Oh, hey Nora," he said, and shot another bottle off of the stump fifty feet on front of him.

"I didn't you played with shooting ranges," Nora commented.

Maccready shrugged. "Gotta stay in shape somehow." He straightened, and offered the firearm to Nora. "Wanna try?"

She looked a little unsure. "What if I break it? I'm not used to handling your rifle."

"Oh, this isn't mine," he scoffed. "This a Raider's junky spare."

Nora grinned and shrugged. "Sure." She said. "Maybe you can teach some of your crackshot tricks."

"Alright. Be careful. It has a hell of a kick."

Nora wasn't used to using rifles, but she supposed she probably should lean. She knelt, put it to her shoulder, aimed, and fired.

A noise like Nora never heard surrounded her, like the squeal of a dying molerat, mixed with the roaring scream of a Deathclaw.

"What the hell did I just hit?" Nora yelped scrambling to her feet.

In response, she heard a faint whimper coming from behind her. Maccready was rolling on the ground, face pale, and gripping his bruised twig and berries.

It was several minutes before he could manage to speak.

"I...told...you...to watch...the recoil."

 

Preston Garvey: Nora and Curie were trying to teach the citizens (and Preston) of Sancruary, the prewar game known ass soccer. Preston naturally, was the goalie.

Curie's face was bright red from laughter and physical exertion as she energentically kicked the ball toward Nora, who immediatly sent it soaring toward Preston, laughing with the petite synth.

He caught it...but definitely not in the way he wanted to, and the soccer ball soared happily toward its brethren in name.

He doubled over, whimpering, as Curie ran forward to make sure he was alright.

"Mon deiu! Monsieur are you alright? Is zhere anything I can get you?"

Managing to grin through the pain, Preston nodded. "Yeah. Can I have an ice pack?"

Chapter Text

Beep. Boop. Bwep, bwep... BLEEP!

Nora winced at the loud volume of the pipboy game she was playing, and glanced over at Maccready, half expecting to be scolded for being so loud when he was trying to read through his stack of comic books.

Instead, the merc was fast asleep, hunched over an issue of the Unstoppables. Beside him leaning his never-far rifle, with his cap hanging over the barrel. The smoky light from the lantern painted his chestnut hair interesting hues of yellow and red..

Nora poked him lightly to try and wake him up. No effect.

She poked him again, harder, this time. His head simply lolled to the side, and he started to snore.

Nora sat back on her, an unwilling grin turning up the corners of her mouth. Macready was one hell of a stubborn merc sometimes, especially when it came to his beauty sleep. Left with no other option, Nora picked up the stubborn merc and carried him to bed.

Macready, even for how skinny he looked, was surprisingly heavy. When Nora finally managed to dump him on the bed, her arms were burning, and flopped over the sleeper's chest.

"Uhhh...Nora?"

"Ya couldn't have woken up before I took it on myself to carry you to bed?" Nora asked, rubbing her arms.

He stretched out on the bed and knocked off his boots. "Naw. I was enjoying the feeling of being carried."

Nora swatted him lightly. "Could you just ask for cuddles next time? My arms feel like they're gonna fall off!"

Maccready laughed. "Fine. How 'bout this: You. Me. Cuddling. Now."

 

Nora grinned. "Now we're talking, crackshot. Make some room for me."

Chapter Text

I have no inspiration. T-T Please send me some fluffy drabble prompts, peeps, I'm bored and feeling lonely and uninspired.

Chapter Text

The bonfire in the middle of Sanctuary roared up warmly, licking the stars with ruddy orange tongues of flame.

Sturges grinned and took a drink of the bottle of beer at his elbow. "…and then we took off like scorched Deathclaws."

Nora roared with laughter. "Preston, you gotta tell me if that really happened," she chuckled, wrapping an arm around the shoulders of her favourite Minuteman.

Preston didn't respond. His eyes were faintly glazed with an empty sadness that Nora hadn't seen in ages.

"Preston, are you alright?"

He looked like he had just been shaken oit of his sleep, and blinked hard. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine."

He stooped and grabbed his laser musket. "I'll be right back, Nora. Sturges-"

The heavily muscled handyman nodded, his previous good humour completely wiped away. "Right. You go on and make your rounds."

"What was that about?" Nora asked, completely confused. "Did I say something wrong?"

Sturges sighed. "Naw," he said softly. "He doesn't have the best memory at times."

"What?"

Sturges leaned forward, staring into the fire. "See...It's like this. When me'n'Preston were growing up, we were like brothers. His dad adopted me when I came in wandering in from the Wasteland. Taught me everything I knew." He smiled wrily and jerked his shoulder in a brief shrug. "I was good with my hands, he was good with a musket. When he was eighteen, he joined the Minutemen.
"When we were twenny or so, the settlement we were livin' in got attcked by Raiders. Our dad gets shot'n the head. Dies instantly. Our sister got raped and trown off a building and broke her spine. An' Preston's laying in a pool of blood more dead'alive."

Nora had turned pale, and almost looked like was either gonna cry or throw up. "And…"

"I dragged him all the way to the nearest doctor I knew of. He was patched up and managed ta pull through, but...he wasn't the same. All his memories from before the attck were gone. So I start tellin' these stories from what I remember of oir life before it all happened. Least he knows what happened, and least I still got ta keep my brother. Coulda been worse."

Nora looked pale. "Oh, poor Preston."

She got up, brushing dust off of her Vaultsuit. "I'll be back. I'm gonna go talk with my Minuteman."

"Hey," Sturges said, catching her wrist. "Be gentle with him."

"I always am," Nora said softly.

Chapter Text

The Valentine Detective Agency had no windows which made it a little disorienting when you woke up and couldn't see if it was light or dark, and had no Pip-Boy to guide you.

Piper stirred a little bit, snuggling closer to Ellie in the twin bed they had shared in the heat of that night. Ellie shifted and turned around to face Piper.

Piper sat up, shivering a little bit as a blast of chilly air on her naked torso. Careful not to disturb Ellie, she reached for her discarded clothes.

"Leaving me already, Piper Wright?"

Ellie proped up her head with an arm bent at the elbow, looking like one of those prewar pictures of pinup girls, especially with the blanket hugging her naked body in very suggestive way. Piper felt her mouth go dry and she swallowed convulsively.

"Not-not if you don't me to," she stammered.

Ellie laughed. "Piper, honey, I'm not gonna make you do anything you don't want to."

Piper grinned. "I love you Ellie."

"I love you too, my lovely reporter. Come here."

Chapter Text

You know what they say.

'Any port in a storm.'

Especially a storm that was ready and roaring to fill you up to your eyeballs in rads.

Nevertheless, it gets to be a little bit of a problem when said port is full to the brim with bad memories. Specifically, Vault 111.

Nick looked over at Nora, propped up on a two hundred plus year old desk. Her head was on her shoulder, her eyes fast closed. The monitor on the desk flickered and started a replay of the holotape she had fallen asleep to.

"Oops, haha. Keep those little fingers away... Ah, there we go. Just say it, right there, right there, go ahead. *baby giggles* Ah yay! Hi honey. Listen...

"I don't think Shaun and I need to tell you what a great mother you are, but we're going to anyway. You are kind, loving, funny, *baby laughter and male laughter* that's right, and patient. Patience of a saint, your mother used to say.

"Look, with Shaun and us all being home together, it's been an amazing year, but even so, even so I know that our best days are yet to come. There will be changes sure, things we'll need to adjust to. I'll rejoin the civilian workforce; you'll brush the dust off your law degree.

"But everything we do, no matter how hard, we do it for our family.

"Now say goodbye, Shaun. Bye, bye, say bye-bye... *giggles*

"Bye, honey. We love you."

Nick felt compassion surge through his steelframe body. He crossed the room and shut off the holotape.

Nora stirred and looked up at him. "Nick?" she asked, her voice blurred by sleep.

"Go back to sleep," Nick said, more gruffly then he was wont.

Nora slumped back down.

"I miss them," she said, her voice thick. "The tape helps." It was almost as though she was more explaining to herself then to him.

Nick squatted down next to her. "I know," he said more gently. "If I thought it would help, I'd say I'm sorry," he said. "But since it won't I can only promise that I'll help you find your baby."

Nora let out a small laugh that sounded more like a sob. "Thanks, Nick." she said.

He patted her shoulder gently, "We'll find him," he promised. "We'll find Shaun."

She smiled weakly. "Goodnight, Nick."

"G'Night, Nora."

He sat beside her as her breathing got slower and more regular, as she slowly drowsed off again.

Nick stood up, gently disentangling himself from Nora, careful not to wake her. His metal hand had accidentally tangled in her hair, and it took him a moment to undo.

He pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead, and then turned away, pulling his tattered trench coat closer to his lanky body.

Chapter Text

"You are being passive aggressive!"

"I am not passive aggressive!"

"Is that so?" Nick snarled. "Look, Nora, you've been up to this since we moved into this goddamn Castle! I can't do a single thing right anymore, can I?"

 

Maccready sighed and tugged his hat down over his face. Nick and Nora had been screaming at each other all afternoon, and it was not at all pleasant for either them, or the people who shared Fort Independence with them. 

He put an arm around Curie, who was pale and frightened. Maccready figured this was probably the first time she had heard a blowup like this before, or at least her first sinceshe had changed her body and  become susceptible to anxiety.

"Hey, it'll be OK," he said reassuringly. "Lucy and I used to fight like this sometimes and we always worked it out."

Curie nodded jerkily. "Of course, of course. It simply...very unpleasant for those who must listen."

Maccready grimaced in sympathy. "That it is, Curie."

 

"Nick, you fucking well know I didn't mean to insult you!" Nora shouted, throwing her hands up in the air. 

"No, I fucking well don't," he roared. "If you think I'm so goddamn old and rusty, why don't you just toss me in a scrap heap and use me to build a radio or something!"

"That's not what I said!" Nora screamed.

 

The stars shone benevolently in the humid summer sky. Rather than risk the lion's den, the rest of the Castle dwellers opted for a cookout, hoping that maybe the screaming in the kitchen would subside by bedtime.

Maccready shifted uncomfortably. In his lap, the chubby form of his son was curled up and fast asleep in the firelight. On one side, Curie had dozed off, and was leaning on his shoulder. On the other, the slight form of Shaun was tucked under his arm as he stared at the flickering orange fire.

"Who's getting the blankets?"

 

"If I'm so much of a damned nuisance to you, why don't I just leave?!" Nick bellowed.

"Yeah! Why don't you?!" Nora screamed at his retreating back. "Go ahead and leave, you fucking COWARD!!!"

It wasn't until she was alone that let herself cry.

 

Nora did not sleep well. It oppressively hot and sticky, making her toss and turn for hours, before she managed to fall asleep, and then her sleep was troubled.

In the wee hours of the morning she woke up, and decided to find Nick, and at least try to apologize to him.

Nick! She called through the empty halls of Fort Independence. Nick was nowhere to be found.

Her heart beat faster and faster as she realized he had taken her seriously and left.

Nick! Nick, please, I didn't mean it! Nick!

 

Nora fell off the bed, wrapped in a tangle of blankets. She sat straight, tearing off the blankets and half running, half tripping out to find Nick and apologize before it was too late.

He was standing at the parapet, looking out at the ocean in the predawn light, his cigarette glowing softly.

Nora breathed a sigh of relief.

"Hey...uh, Nick?"

"Mhm?"

Nora's shoulders drooped. He was still mad at her.

"I-I just wanted to apologize. I didn't mean what I said yesterday, at all," Damnit, she was starting to cry! "I'm sorry, Nick. Please don't leave. I need you here."

For a long moment Nick remained stiff and angry. Then his stance softened, and he turned to catch Nora in a tight hug.

"I know you didn't, doll," he said gruffly. "I'm not about to let the best thing that's happened to me go over an arguement that got out of hand."

Chapter Text

Curie brushed her sweaty hair out of her face as she and Shaun worked side by side in the razorgrain fields. Shaun, hishair cut short, seemed almost unbothered by the August heat, even after working all afternoon in the fields around Sanctuary.

"Mon deiu!" Curie exclaimed. "Shaun, please pass me zhe water bottle. I am parched."

With a courtly bow, the strapping young man fetched the water that Nora had sent out with them.

"Your water, sweet Curie," he said. "Though it could hardly be as sweet and clean as you are."

Curie giggled.

"You are growing into quite the charmer, young Shaun," she said, after handing the water back to him.

Chapter Text

It had taken months of walking across the godforsaken barrenness that was the Wasteland. On the way, Maccready had taken a detour to the Capital Wasteland and picked up Duncan, and allowed the rest of Nora's company to appreciate just how much more of a shithole his home was.

And still, they endlessly trekked westward.

They had set out in April, by the Pip-Boy reckoning, and it was already late July when they reached the ruins of Santa Fe. Maccready wanted to stay, but Nora pushed them on and on. It was early August when they finally reached the mouth of the Pecos River Valley.

Nobody but Nick had ever seen so much green before. Even with Nick, Nora was a little worried that he would have an overload.

 

 

 

 

Cait
She only comes along because its Nora
At first
Then she actually SEES why Nora brought them
She wants to just fall down and roll in the grass
But everybody is watching her
She ends up crying when nobody is looking
And giving Nora enormous hugs for no discernable reason
She feels so free here

Curie
She’s awestruck.
She is just speechless
She wants to see everything and drink from the river
And eat the trout
She and Piper end up splashing each other in the shallowest part of the river
And almost get pneumonia
But for once Curie doesn’t care, aven as she sits in a blanket, completely naked, as her clothes dry
Nora ‘helps warm her up’

 

Danse
He has to leave his power armour behind
Because he’s burned through all his fusion cores
HE sulks about that for a while
Then Hancock teaches him how to fish
“BE QUIET! YOU’LL SCARE THE FISH!”
Yes, the irony escapes him
They still catch a bunch of fish
He’s still a grouch about that armour though

Deacon
He takes his shades off.
Stares
Laughs
He totally finds a spot where he goes skinnydipping
And nearly freezes his spy maler off when it drops ten degrees
But like Curie, he’s just laughing and wondering why he hasn’t come here before
Then he gets sad thinking about Barabra
And how she would have loved this

Hancock
When he learns that the fish aren’t going to try to eat them all he has a field day
Catches some puts some back
He also teaches everybody how to fish
Willing ly or not
Even X6 learns to fish
He’s a bit disappointed by the lack of Jet, but then he discovers some marijuana plants somebody grew in their backyard
He’s happy

Maccready
He’s wiping tears from his eyes.
He has a decent place for Duncan to grow up in.
And berries you can eat with out getting rad poisoning
No Gunners
No Deathclaws
He picks up Duncan and the two of them give Nora a huge bear hug
He also is the best fisherman of them all

Nick Valentine
He hasn’t seen anything this beautiful since before the war
Present company excepted
He’s worried about the water, and stays up by the old road that’s falling apart
He also watches Nat, Shaun, and Duncan while everybody is laughing and splashing each other in one of the old ponds
And hands out blankets
He lobbies even harder than Maccready to stay in the valley
The kids need a safe place, after all.
And it’s a hell of a lot better than anywhere else

Piper Wright
She’s acting like a kid
She’s trying to reprimand herself, but it’s not working
“I’m a serious reporter-NUTS!”
Also joins in the skinny dipping party
When Nora builds their hous(es) she paints the roof blue
“It’s your favourite colour!”

 

Preston Garvey
Had never seen anything like his in his LIFE
The water is clean and clear
The animals have ONE HEAD EACH
Like how is that even possible?
Him and Maccready and the kids go crazy over the gooseberry bushes
They get themselves all scratched up
They don’t even care.
Giggling in the berry patch
Hunting with Nora during the fall

 

X6-88
Nobody even expected him to come along
But he did
He briefly takes off his glasses for the first time
(Except in front of Nora)
He does all the heavy labour on the house(s)
Better hunter than fisher or farmer

Chapter Text

Cait slammed the door of the newly fixed refrigerator. Nick looked up from the table in mild reproof.

"We just got that working again," he said mildly.

"I don't fuckin' care!" the pit fight growled. Shaun groaned and covered his ears.

"Mam said to stop swearing," he reminded her.

With a visible effort, Cait did not swear at the boy who was absorbed in a checker game with Nick.

"So what's missing?" Nick asked wearily.

"Something to eat. I'm f- I'm really hungry."

Nick sighed and turned around in his chair. "Cook something."

"I don't know how. And besides even Nora can't make Sugar Bombs."

"There's Mirelurk cake in the fridge," Nick said, turning back to his game. "I think there's a mutfruit pie on the fridge. Nora taught Curie to make it since she ate all the snack cakes. There's even some tarberry cookies if you're really craving sugar."

Cait scowled as she retrieved the mutfruit pie. "I have no idea how she finds the time to make all this food before she leaves."

"Because Mam says none of you can cook and she doesn't want us to starve," Shaun said calmly as he moved a piece.

Cait laughed suddenly. "That's Nora all right. She'd never let anyone go hungry."

Deacon appeared in the door.

"Is there anything to eat?"

He looked utterly nonplussed as the kitchen erupted in laughter.

Chapter Text

"I didn't think we were milking the brahmin already," Maccready remarked, scanning the fridge.

Hancock shrugged, not looking up from his second bowl of Sugar Bombs. "There's fresh milk in the fridge, so I guess we are."

Maccready pulled the bottle out and set it on the counter while he rummaged through the cabinets that he, Deacon, and Curie had cleaned out and towed back home. He had found a white ceramic mug, and had been looking forward to using it.

Danse wandered into the kitchen, his power armor mercifully left at the door, thanks to Nora's rule of 'absolutely no power armor in the house.'

He gave Maccready a quick look. "What's that?"

"Milk," Maccready said happily, slopping it into his mug and sitting by Hancock.

Danse raised an eyebrow at Maccready's loud slurping. "Could you cut that out?" he asked irritably. Maccready grinned at him and slurped louder. Danse scowled.

"I hate it when you do this."

"Why do you think I do it?" the former mercenary said smugly, finishing the last of the milk.

"At least I can hope this was poison," Danse muttered.

"Nah," Maccready said comfortably. "It says 'Milk' on there."

Danse quickly read the label and his face was a sight to see.

"Shit. What is it?" Hancock said.

Danse spluttered, going bright red in the face. There was an instant squealing of chairs being pushed away from the table as Maccready and Hancock bolted over to read the label more carefully.

Hancock groaned. "You've to be fucking kidding."

Maccready turned a shade of tato red that rivaled Danse.

They heard footsteps coming down the long hall, and instantly, everybody made a wild scramble. Danse shoved the bottle in the fridge and slammed the door, Hancock hid his cereal bowl, and Maccready dumped his mug into the sink that Danse had managed to connect to the water purifier. They were all siting at the table, rapidly chewing on a leftover mirelurk cake, that they had carefully checked first, trying to look completely innocent when Nora marched straight into the kitchen.

Chapter Text

The gunshots sounded again, loud, clear, and very painful.

"Shit," Pixie muttered, her short, mahogany hair already matted with blood. A white hot lineof pain bloomed across her gut, and she doubled over, cursing like a creatively drunken sailor.

"WHY WON'T YOU DIE??"

"I've asked that myself," Pixie muttered, driving her knife through the Triggerman's gut, and twisting it sharply. She wiped away the blood that threatened to pool in hereyes.

I bet I look like somekind of Demon, she thought wryly. Covered inblood as she was, she realized that if she stuck around much longer, she'd probably have to deal with a Deathclaw on top of everything else.

Stims. Pixie never actually needed them' unless the pain was bad enough, but they avoided the awkward questions that Pixie had been running from for years. Not even Nate had known about her invulnerabilities, and she certainly didn't want to be parading herself in this strange new world. Pixie put one to her vein and carefully depressed the plunger.

She hissed with relief as her skin began to knit back together. She had already wasted enough time, and she needed to find this man, Valentine.

Kellogg. All that had come to symbolize the cruelty of the Commonwealth for Pixie. Even as he talked, Pixie could feel rage filling her diminuitive form, right to the roots of her mahogany hair. Her fists started clenching and unclenching,her nails biting deep into her palms.

Then, all hell broke abruptly loose. Kellogg brought his pistol to bear and emptied to full clip into her chest.

Dimly, she could hear Nick, fighting to reach her. He thought she was dying, when nothing couldbe farther from the truth. The pain helped her focus her rage, bring it, the full weight of her bitterness, grief, anger, everything, onto Kellogg.

She almost wanted to tear out his throat with her teeth and two hands. Instead, she drove the sacrificial dagger she had found in the Dunwich Quarry through his chest and twisted viciously.

"I want my son, you bastard," she whispered. "Go to Hell."

 

"Pixie!" Nick yelled, bolting to her side. "C'mon, doll, you can't die on me now. Look at me. Please, just don't die on me."

She coughed, tasting blood. "Stims. Now. Bleeding all over you."

 

The Institute was gone. Father- she couldnot think of him as Shaun anymore- was dead. She had married Nick, as much as one can be married in the Commonwealth. And she still hadn't told him about why she had not died that day, when all logic and common sense dictated that she would have breathed her last.

Pixie tried to soothe her consciense by telling herself that it was likely Nick had made a shrewd guess.

She grinned sourly as she reached back and felt the bullet scars. Enter on one side, exiton the other.

Maybe she should tell him in writing. But no, he deserved a full, face to face explanation. It was only fair.

She just had to work up the courage to do it.

Chapter Text

"What are you making?" Curie asked, stepping into the Castle's kitchen.

Nora looked up briefly from the batter she was laboriously beating.

"A surprise," she said airily.

"You are a tease," Curie pouted.

Nora laughed. "And you are too cute for words! Give me a hug sweetheart."

Curie happily obliged. She was so short she barely came past Nora's chin. Nora put aside the batter, and wrapped her arms around her tiny synth.

"I love you, Curie," she whispered.

"I love you too," Curie said sweetly. "Now may I know what you're making?"

"You are awful!" Nora laughed. "It's your cake."

"My cake?"

"Angel's Food, except with Mirelurk eggs. Crab cake, I guess?"

The women laughed.

"I love your cakes," Curie said softly, snuggling herself into Nora's arms again.

Nora pressed a fond kiss to Curie's fine black hair. "I know. Why do you think I make so many?"

Chapter Text

Nora and Edward Deegan had been pals since he had walked up to her at Beacon Hill, and spoken to her in a few blunt words about working for the Cabots.

Some (including some of the Cabots) saw it as an unlikely friendship. At first, many took Nora to be a delicate flower, easy to crush and trample beneath spiked boots. Edward was rough and ready, a brawler and a drinker, preserved by much less polite means than Nora.

Jack Cabot had seen the hidden depths of both of them before. Edward spoke in softer terms to Nora, sometimes seeming almost tender, and Nora....

Well, Nora had taken down an entire building of Raiders with little to no actual help from Jack.

There for, when Jack accidentally walked in on a talk best left unlistened to by ears other than those that the conversation was directly intended for, he did not narrowly squint at them, watching for some sign of foul play or fodder for gossip like his mother. Nor did he half-close the door and eavesdrop like his sister. He closed the door, and went back to his laboratory as soon as he saw Edward take Nora's hand in his own.

 

"Nora, I think we need to talk," he had said soberly that evening. Nora was stayed the night in the Cabot house, as she was more than welcome to, and had been surprised by Edward, minus his characteristic combat armor.

"Oh, sure," she replied lightly, and had sat down on the couch, crossing her legs at the ankles, and had smiled that smile that always made Edward's heart skip a beat. "Another job to do?"

"Well, not exactly," he had muttered awkwardly. "I-I just wanted to talk."

"Is something wrong?" she asked, leaning forward and propping her chin on her hands. She studied him worriedly.

"Not really wrong," he said, twisting his cap in his hands. "I-uh-I do still owe you, I guess," he was really floundering now. Back before the war, he had never been good at articulating what he wanted to say, except in blunt, forward words and gestures that felt wrong and out of place with Nora.

"Owe me for what?" she asked.

"Uh--" his vocal cords felt like they had stopped working. Now he looked like a complete idiot, he thought angrily. He thought he had blown it already.

Nora reached over, and touched his hand. "Hey, Ed. You know you can talk to me, right? I'm not gonna turn on you for anything you have to say. Come on."

She cupped his face in her hands over the table, a gesture that made Edward's heart go double time.

"I love you," he blurted.

Edward mentally cursed himself in the strongest language possible. Now he had one and made a hash of everything, blurting it all out like that, like a teenager in love. He flinched mentally, preparing for Nora to reject him utterly, in the very ripe language that she was so fluent in.

She didn't.

Nora laughed, but not a mocking laugh. A real, affectionate laugh.

"You silly ass," she said fondly. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting to hear you say that."

She swung her legs over the table to sit beside him on the other couch. "Good to finally get it out Ed. I've been waiting for a long time."

Chapter Text

HELP! I wanna write SOME smut, but then I'm afraid to, because it might be bad, and then I'm afraid to because people might not want to read it.... ^_^; And I'm anxious my mom will want to read my book, too, lol/

 

Can I have some prompts? I feel like maybe I'll get off my butt if I have some prompts.

Chapter Text

Nora scowled down at the dirty mattress that she and Curie had managed to salvage.

Today had not been a good day. Curie and Nora had set out in a hopeful frame of mind. Perhaps their salvage efforts would turn something up, they had thought. Nope. Nope, nope, and nope again.

"Madame?" Curie asked softly, taking Nora's Wasteland-roughened hands in her own, smaller, smoother ones.

"Hi Curie," Nora sighed.

"Is something zhe matter?" Curie asked, her accent delicately lilting over each word. Nora loved her voice.

"Yeah. Maybe," Nora said, feeling a little distracted by the synth's hand over her own. "Um... There's only one bed."

Curie blinked. "Zhen what do I sleep on?"

Nora's eyes widened. "No, no, no, Curie. You'll take the bed. I've slept on the floor so much I'm used to it."

Curie leaned a little closer, and put her hand on Nora's cheek. "But, mon cherie it hardly seems fair. You 'ave, after all, done all of zhe work on this trip. You take zhe bed."

"We could share it," Nora blurted, and then blushed. She had never been in love with another woman before, and felt like she was eighteen again, talking to her first crush. Her cheeks turned dark with embarrassment. "I-I-I mean-"

Curie pulled away, her brown eyes turning confused. "B-but I thought zhat was a gesture one only shared with ones lovers," she said.

Nora shook her head quickly. "N-no, not like-not like that. Of course not. Just-just sleeping? Unless- unless you want to, of course."

Again she cursed the wayward tongue, and the sweet, soft brown eyes that made her spill all her most precious secrets as her blood rose back into her cheeks.

Curie cocked her head, still confused. "What do you mean?"

Nora really wished she hadn't said anything. "I-uhh..." her brain flatlined when Curie reached over and took her hand again.

"You mean like zhis?" Curie asked, and kissed Nora.

Nora was to surprised to react, even to the brief, chaste kiss that Curie had given her.

"Y-yes, Curie," she said. "Like that."