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Resplendent

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Capernoited - Slightly intoxicated or tipsy.
Basorexia - An overwhelming desire to kiss.

The barn was positively uproarious, nearly the entire settlement having taken the night off to come party. It was nothing extra special, just a reason to dance and drink and celebrate a good growing season. It had taken some doing to be sure, but Finn had come through as she was wont to do. She’d been working tirelessly for several weeks not only to get the barn set up and decorated but to fix up some jukeboxes and get more defenses in place so some of the guard could take a break, too.

At first, Cait had thought it stupid and would probably draw too much attention, and part of her was sure it would be a bust. Finn was a genius, no doubt about it, but she was talking like it would be the event of the year.

She’d been skeptical all the way back to Sanctuary. Finn had come to get her from Diamond City earlier that day, but they’d been side-tracked on the way back by another goddamn roving band of murderous robots, so by the time they got back, it wasn’t far from sundown, and Finn was antsy to get back to work. Once they rounded the corner from the truck stop, Cait had to pause to take in the sight before her.

Finn had indeed been busy those past few weeks.

Four new heavy turrets lined the bridge, and at least a dozen were spread out along the bank of the creek, pointed out from the settlement. Walls had been built up around the main part of the neighborhood with a guardsmen’s outpost directly outside the gate that stood just beyond the end of the bridge. A small barn had been built around the generators that sat near the water, and junk fences stood around the water purifiers and the crops. It looked like an entirely new settlement, and Cait had to hand it to her:  it looked damn safe.

Finn hefted her pack on her shoulder and greeted the guard with a grin and a fist bump. “Any trouble?” she chirped.

The guard shook his head and moved his gun to his other shoulder. “No, ma’am, not even a rad roach.”

Finn nodded. “Excellent. Preston told you you’d be relieved early tonight, right? So, you can come enjoy some of the party?”

He nodded with a grin. “Yes, ma’am. And I thank you.”

With a pat on the shoulder, she shoved her way into the settlement, Cait in tow. The streetlights had been polished, the ones with dead bulbs replaced. The streets had been swept and the debris picked out of the grass. Houses had begun to be repaired, all of them now having at the very least a patched roof and some of them with new walls replacing the fallen ones. The repairs were far from pretty, but Cait had to marvel at Finn’s ingenuity.

They rounded the corner to the center of the neighborhood and Cait stopped in her tracks, staring straight ahead. Finn, having noticed Cait was no longer following, turned to her friend and beamed, a hand proudly on her hip. “I know right?”

A huge barn sat spread across the two empty slats of concrete that sat around the circle with the giant tree. It was two-storied, 3-walled, and the floor stretched out into the street. There was a bar sat inside with a ton of sitting areas, lights strung up all around, two jukeboxes on each floor though none of them turned on yet, and on the second floor was a TV area and what looked like two pool tables. Cait looked at Finn, jaw slack. “You did all this?”

Finn nodded, looking fondly at her creation. “Yeah.”

“In two months?”

“Yeah.”

Cait shook her head in disbelief. “That’s… impressive.”

Finn chuckled and clapped Cait on the shoulder. “Thanks. Oh, Preston—” Finn was off, trotting over to where Preston had rounded the corner.

Cait hefted her pack again and set off across the street for Finn’s house. Shite, even this place looked different. The hole in the wall had been patched and painted, the grass had been cut down, the dog had a new doghouse with a little sign that said “A Resplendent Boy” hanging off the top, though the dog was not at home, it would seem. Probably off with Mama Murphy, Cait thought, idly wondering what the hell “resplendent” meant. Finn was always doin’ that, coming out with these big weird words and insisting they weren’t just made up. And who was Cait to say? Finn was a learned woman before the war, “a professor of linguistics and also a student of engineering” as she had been told. (Finn went on to explain that meant she taught people about words and where they came from, and also she took classes to learn how to build shit. That’s how she knows how to do all this settlement building shit.)

Nearly an hour passed before Finn walked inside, a chipper jump in her step as she passed Cait on the couch. Cait glanced back at her with a raised brow. “Someone’s happy,” she remarked.

Finn beamed at her as she dropped her pack down and came to sit by her. “Oh, just Preston. He can be quite timorous sometimes.”

“Timorous?”

“Shy, dear.”

“Ah. What’d you do to the poor bastard this time?”

“Honestly not much, just said thanks for working with me to get the guard schedules changed and to coordinate the food situation.” At Cait’s unamused stare, she chuckled. “And I might’ve kissed his cheek, no biggie.”

“Uh huh.”

Finn smiled at her, the movement tugging at the scar going through her lips and drawing Cait’s eye. She stared at them for perhaps too long a moment before Finn cleared her throat. “Are you alright for a bit? I should go add my finishing touches. It’s nearly dusk, now.”

Cait jumped at her voice and turned her head to hide a blush. “Yeah, no problem. I’ll just be here.”

“Brilliant.” Finn was up and out of the house in moments, leaving Cait to sit alone and ponder the implications of her apparent infatuation with the vault dweller.

About another hour passed and Piper found her way to Finn’s house. The two of them sat and talked until the gathering bell was rung in the distance. “Ooh, that must be it,” Piper mused, grinning like an idiot.

“About damn time,” Cait grumbled.

As the two women left the house, they were met with the smell of cooking food and the sound of music, but not any music that was common to the Commonwealth. This was something new, with a heavy beat that thrummed almost tangibly throughout the street. Most of the settlers were already gathered in the barn, drinks in hands, or were gathered around the circle where cooking stations had been set up. Food was being grilled or stewed, meats and vegetables and fruits, and the smell of them made Cait’s mouth water. She meandered her way over to a grill and picked up a few skewers packed with various vegetables and observed the crowd with amusement. Piper had found Preston and was talking animatedly with him off in a corner;  Ava was tending bar, making drink after drink for thirsty settlers; Hancock, Maccready, and Deacon were huddled together, probably conspiring to pull off some prank or another which made Cait roll her eyes;  Curie and Codsworth were stood to the side, probably discussing humans’ desires to imbibe alcohol and the likes;  though she didn’t see him, she knew Danse was out and about because his power armor was standing empty near the workbench. From what she could see, that was it as far as Finn’s inner circle was concerned. The rest probably couldn’t have been persuaded to join the festivities, and she couldn’t say she blamed them. If Finn herself hadn’t asked, hadn’t flashed those ridiculously sweet honey-brown puppy dog eyes at her, Cait doubted she would’ve come.

She was deep in thought when a glass was shoved into her hands, startling her. She followed the lightly tanned and scarred hand up to Finn’s grinning face and blushed. “What’s this then?”

“Whiskey cola.” Finn raised her own glass and waited until Cait hesitantly clinked hers against it. “Cheers.”

Cait hesitated to drink more than a sip or two, but Finn downed the whole thing in one go. Cait raised a brow at her. “Just how many of those have you had?” She was swaying a little, her cheeks darkened considerably, and the top of her vault suit was hanging about her waist, leaving her standing in a black halter top. Cait had to hold herself back from letting her eyes focus on the way the zipper of the suit dipped down.

“Pfft.” Finn waved her hand nonchalantly. “Like. 5. I don’t know.” At Cait’s incredulous look, she laughed and slipped her arm into Cait’s. “Come on, let’s get a better perspective, huh?” Cait had no choice but to let the dweller guide her up towards the second floor, had to keep herself from rolling her eyes when Finn grabbed a whole bottle of whiskey from the bar as they passed it. They settled at last into a pair of chairs gathered around a small table near the edge of the floor, giving them a good viewpoint of most of the party. Finn put her hand in her chin and grinned, watching people dance. “Lookit them. They’re so blithesome.”

Cait looked down at the settlers. “Blithesome?” she asked.

“Means like… merry and gay. People at festivals are blithesome.”

“Gay like happy, not like... well, gay, right?”

“Yes, dear. Like happy.” Finn chuckled as she lifted the whiskey to her lips.

Cait watched the lip of the bottle press against her flesh, the single drop that escaped and slid its way down her freckled chin. “Tell me some more big words,” she heard herself saying. Startled at herself, she tore her eyes away from Finn’s face before the other woman could see her staring.

“Hm.” Finn set the bottle down and hiccupped, a slight sway in her head as she thought. The blush across her cheeks had spread to her ears. “Oh, there’s parsimonious. It means stingy, excessively frugal.” Cait let out a soft hum of acknowledgement. “Then there’s pusillanimous. That’s my favorite word. It means timid, easily scared. It’s where the term ‘pussy’ comes from to describe someone who’s afraid.”

Cait snorted at that. “’S’at true?”

Finn smirked at her and took another swig. “Course it is, Cait. I don’t lie.”

Cait bit her tongue but gave Finn a knowing smirk back, letting her know that she knows that’s a shit statement. “Right, tell me more.”

“Oof, you’re demanding tonight,” she said, tucking a chestnut curl behind her ear. “Oh, pulchritudinous.” She said that word with a bit of an accent like Codsworth’s, and she said it slowly as if to let the ridiculousness of it settle in better. “It means lovely, pretty to look at, beautiful.” She followed the last word with eyes that roved over Cait’s body, making the Irishwoman blush.

Cait covered her blush by clearing her throat. “D’you only know words that start with p or you have others in that library in there?”

Finn chuckled and took yet another drink from the whiskey. It was catching up to her fast, Cait could see. She pursed her plump lips in thought, staring directly at her companion as she searched her brain for something she might like to hear. “Oh,” she said at last. “Chivy. It’s a verb. Means ‘to maneuver with small movements.’ One might chivy a pool ball from its pocket, for instance.” Her words were beginning to slur, her eyes focusing and unfocusing as she looked at Cait.

“Ok, here’s one for you,” Cait said, leaning forward. “What’s another word for ‘drunk?’”

Finn grinned lazily, and resettled her face in her chin so that her fingers were cupping her cheek, her pinky brushing against her lips. “Oh, an excellent question. There’s inebriated, but that’s pretty common. Maudlin, but I’ve never liked that word.” She wrinkles her nose at it. “It sounds like it should mean something like macabre. I don’t know.” She thought for another moment before grinning again, the tip of her pinky brushing against her teeth. “Capernoited. That’s a good one. Loads of people don’t know that one. It’s Scottish, you know.”

Cait snorted and took the bottle from her. “Yeah, well, I’m Irish and you’re plenty capernoited, Finn.”

Finn pouted playfully but leaned a little closer, her voice lowering. “Here’s another word for you, my Irish Cait.”

Cait blushed at ‘my’ but folded her arms across her chest, leaning forward to hear it anyways. “Let’s hear it then.”

Basorexia.

Cait raised a brow at that. “What’s that, then? Like when you don’t eat?”

Finn chuckled and shook her head. Her hand lowered, and Finn leaned across the table far enough to put her lips next to Cait’s ear and “whispered” (she was far too drunk to accurately whisper so it came as a hoarse regular speaking level,) “It means, ‘An overwhelming desire to kiss.’”

Cait didn’t have time to ask her what she meant before Finn’s hand was against her cheek and Finn’s soft lips were pressing against hers. Cait’s eyes flew open wide in shock, and after a quick moment she gently pulled away, blushing furiously. “Finn, I…”

Finn sat back down, not meeting her eyes, blushing down to her shoulders. “I-I’m sorry, Cait. You don’t have to—” She turned to leave, got a few feet away before Cait’s hand caught her wrist.

Cait smiled gently at her and pulled her close so they might speak quietly. “Finn, I do like you. A lot. But you’re smashed.” At Finn’s beginning of a protestation, Cait put her finger to the other woman’s lips and shook her head. “Don’t argue with me. If you feel the same tomorrow, then we’ll have ourselves a right proper discussion.”

Finn looked at her for a moment and sighed, seeming to come to the same conclusion.

Cait chuckled and slipped her hand into Finn’s. “For now, though, what d’you say we go dance?”

Finn’s eyes lit up, and she nodded eagerly. “Yes, let’s.”

The two of them spent the night at each other’s sides, dancing and talking. It wasn’t until they woke up the next day and Finn gently asked Cait if it would be alright to kiss her again that Cait finally realized what “resplendent” meant.