My head was pounding and I thought for sure it was going to explode. I threw a few frag mines behind me hoping I could get far away enough before the behemoth caught up to me. My chest was in pain but it was now or never. I threw everything I had into my last sprint hearing the beast behind me scream in pain from the detonating mines I left for it. I could hear Danse finish it off with his laser rifle.
My knees were shaking. If I had been in power armor I wouldn't have sustained such a concussion. Then again, if I was in power armor, there is no way in hell I'd be able to outrun the beast. I looked behind me at the gory mess of red and green now on the concrete.
"Merry Christmas, you filthy animal" I gasped.
"What's that supposed to mean."
"It'll take too long to explain."
"Alright then, I won't ask."
Danse knew exactly when to stop asking questions.
"See that is precisely why you should use power armor soldier."
The adrenaline that was keeping me going was failing me now.
I could see stars now. I was wobbling around like a blind woman.
How did I get on the floor?
"Storm, stay with me. Can you hear me?"
Yeah hon, I just need a little...
"Mer? Mer?! No, dammit, Mer!"
...just a little nap...
My head was throbbing. My mind was going at a hundred miles an hour. I could feel the medication Cade gave me kicking in because the pain was numbing. Slowly but surely. I wasn't sure if I could open my eyes, not if I should, but if I physically was capable of opening them. It felt like forever before I could finally Munster the energy to crack my eyes open.
I saw an stone angel in tears.
He jerked his head up and desperately tried to wipe away the tears from his cheek.
I gave him my best smile given the circumstances.
"How you doing? How's your head?" His voice cracked a little.
"It feels like it's gonna blow up pretty soon so you might wanna take a few steps back."
He gave me a smile of his own and took my hand in his, rubbing my knuckles gently with his thumb.
"I didn't know steel could shed tears"
He blushed, "Cade said he did what he could, and that all we could now was hope for the best."
He froze, "He told me not to get my hopes up..."
"Oh ye of little faith. Was it that bad?"
"Danse flew past me on the flight deck sans power armor with... you in his arms... bridal style" he ended that last part with a sour note.
"You're... bitter about that?"
He looked at my hand in his, "I... well, it seemed... untimely..."
My heart stopped and the pain in my head was nonexistent.
He seemed to grow redder by the second, "I was hoping... wondering, if... perhaps, you'd be willing, or, able to..."
Why is it so hot in here?
"...to go... out... with me, I mean if you'd like?"
I swallowed hard, "Like a-a date?"
"Yeah. I mean, perhaps, I could, treat you to... dinner, perhaps?"
"As soon as the stabbing sensation in my head goes away, I'll take you up on that."
I didn't think he could smile any bigger.
"I guess you missed me then, huh?" My joy and self-confidence was overflowing.
"Yeah, you could say that" he leaned in.
He leaned in.
His lips were exactly what I imagined they'd be like. Tender but firm. Loving. Oh, so loving. He tasted like whiskey and chocolate and faintly of cigarettes. Our lips meshed together like they were made for each other. I didn't care how cheesy any of this felt, it felt right. He cupped my cheek gently and swiped his tongue over my lower lip. I didn't see it coming so I couldn't stop the moan from escaping me. That seemed to spur him on. He introduced his tongue into my mouth. Tentatively at first but so very sensual. My heart was beating faster now than it had during the fight with the behemoth. The pain in my head was easily ignorable. No better pain medication in the world than pure love. His tongue grew a little bolder and I wasn't about to stop him. God knows I've been wanting this since our midnight chat a few days ago. He groaned into my mouth, obviously enjoying the way I was responding to his tongue movements.
This. This is bliss.
I pulled away, realizing I needed to breathe. I could barely gasp for air when Arthur whined "no, please" and pulled me back in for another kiss.
I happily obliged.
I panicked but Arthur took his time to pull away from the kiss, resting his forehead on mine.
"Is that so Proctor?" He said standing up. I immediately missed the warmth he brought. He played with my hair, curling it in his fingers.
Ingram smiled, "Yes, that is so, ask her yourself. I figured I should pay my friend a visit, but it seems you've taken care of that, huh Elder?"
He smiled down at me, effectively dispersing every butterfly in my stomach.
"She's quite special. She deserves the attention."
No one's ever treated me like that.
He was 20 years old. He had his choice pick in every busty chested scribe on the Prydwen that fell all over themselves for him. But me. He picked me. He chose the humble bodied, shy, curious, 26 year old ice cube with a 200 year old past. He was a stone cold Machiavellian leader. But he had a heart. Heart of steel sure, but he had a heart.
And for the first time in a long time...
"Don't worry, Mer here can tell you from experience that I can keep a secret. I'll leave the two of you, then. Told you he'd notice you some day Mer." Ingram left with a wink.
He looked down at me with that familiar smile, and I couldn't help but return it.