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via Arms - Skull_Bearer - Fallout 4 [Archive of Our Own]:

Chapters: 1/?
Fandom: Fallout 4
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: X6-88, Justin Ayo, Courser Character(s) (Fallout), X4-18, Original Female Character(s), Original Male Character(s), Nate Brooks, Nick Valentine
Additional Tags: Courser fic, The Institute - Freeform, The Nuclear Option, Underground Undercover, Synths, Pro-synth, Anti-Institute, Implied/Referenced Rape/Non-con, Slavery, Brainwashing, Gore, Dissociation, Trauma

Coursers are the best of the Institute. Smart, fast, deadly, brilliant. The Institute, however, is run by humans.

Finally finished by Courser fic. Thank you so much to Bigwinged and Duchess of Trash for their beta!
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Nick isn’t finished yet but I didn’t want to go into more detail without a reference. I really like his expression though. I think he’s having his affinity talk with Nate, at the line “Hell, I was so happy to do it, it was months before I started charging anyone.” 

And Nate is just falling in love like a ton of bricks.
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Nate and Nick have an evening in. There are handcuffs. Nick has a breakthrough. Porn with plot. Possibly plot with porn.

On Ao3 here.
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Another chapter of the Adventures of Nate and Nick.

Today, they find a kink shop.


(remove dashes in the address)
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Now to edit and reread a bunch of time until I’m happier with it.

In which Nate falls through a floor, Nick doesn’t know anything about kink, and despite all this, there is sex.
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who is more likely to hurt the other?

Probably Nate directly, he can be a bit insensitive at times, and can blunder well meaning into emotional minefields. Nick more indirectly, his disregard for himself is painful to watch, and it hurts Nate for than anything in this new world.

who is emotionally stronger?

They are both very emotionally strong people. I think it would depend on what pressures would be put on them. Nate can withstand pain probably better than Nick, and can hold out better against torments directed at him. However, he wouldn’t be able to hold out against attacks to the people he loves. If someone threatened to hurt Nick, Nate would crumple completely, whereas Nick would be able to hold out.

who is physically stronger?

Oh Nick, definitely. Nate is actually pretty frail, due to his problems with food. Nick is still pretty sturdy, despite his age, and after he allows Nate to do a bit of maintenance, is much stronger than most humans.

who is more likely to break a bone? 

Nate. He does his best to keep his body in the best health he can, but in the end he’s still struggling to survive on starvation rations. However much milk he managed to keep down, he’s very aware he’s one bad fall away from a lot of broken bones.

who knows best what to say to upset the other? 

Oh Atom, that would be ugly. It’s hard to say, they are both so aware of each other’s pasts that it’s quite frightening how much damage they could do. Probably Nick, if it came down to it, but there is no other way they could hurt each other so much, even if they drew guns and opened fire. It would be the biggest, most unforgivable betrayal.

who is most likely to apologise first after an argument? 

Nate, most likely. He’s more used to it since he’s pretty often making blunders. Nick is a little more reluctant, as he’s a bit less ready to admit immediate fault, but he certainly will apologise, and make more of a deal of it than Nate. 

who treats who’s wounds more often? 

Usually Nate, actually. Nate’s own injuries tend to be easier to treat, a quick bandage and a stimpack is enough, and often he’s finished treating himself by the time Nick reaches him after a fight. Nick can’t always use stimpacks though, if the damage is more than skin deep, and sometimes needs help patching up hard to reach wires and bent metal struts.

who is in constant need of comfort? 

Nate, though he certainly isn’t a slouch in returning the favor. Nate’s needs are more obvious though, since he’s pretty useless in hiding his emotions. He’s fairly easy to look after, however, and Nick is getting pretty good at pre-empting what he needs, and dealing with any flashbacks or bad nights. Nick is more private, has issues that are less flashfire than Nate’s, but slow burning and constant. And a lot of things that Nate does- giving flowers, constant praise and declarations of love and just being an endless romantic- help him in return.

who gets more jealous? 

Nate. Nick does feel jealous at times, but Nate is pretty obvious in how he feels about him and it’s very hard to feel too insecure when you’re being given posies of flowers and having your boyfriend telling you pretty much daily how much he loves you. But Nick- has more of a past than Nate, and maybe a part of why Nate wants Nick to leave his human memories behind is that he’s sick of competing with the ghost of Jenny Lands. Nick is also a bit of a flirt, and Nate has a particularly withering death glare for when that happens. Irma still hasn’t looked him in the eye since.

who’s most likely to walk out on the other? 

It’s not really something that either of them do. Nate usually want to talk out an argument, and while Nick might shut that down if it’s just going to make things worst, he’s more likely to light up a cigarette as a pretext not to talk, and take a few minutes to sort out his thoughts and for both of them to calm down before trying to patch things up.

who will propose? 

Probably Nick, but that’ll take some time. Nate would want to, but after the trainwreck of his last wedding, he would wrestle with the conflicting urge to make that traditional gesture, or to let that last gasp of the old world to die with the rest. Nick would have to overcome his own self doubt substantially in order to do this, and then try and think of a way of proposing, and a marriage in general, that would suit them both and not feel like a farce to himself, or a re-tread of the worst time in his life for Nate.

who has the most difficult parents?

Well, Nate’s are dead, and Nick can’t even remember human Nick’s, so by default that would leave the Institute so- yes. Nick. Holy fuck.

who initiates hand-holding when they’re out in public? 

Nate, although Nick is becoming more and more comfortable in initiating it when they’re in friendly company (Goodneighbour, Sanctuary, or Arcadia). Nate doesn’t care and will happily take Nick’s hand (or kiss, or hug, or-) on the Prydwen. Because fuck you Brotherhood of steel.

who comes up for the other all the time? 

Not entirely sure what that mean? Both of them, probably, they’re attentive and care deeply for each other.

who hogs the blankets? 

It doesn’t really happen since Nate is the only one to need blankets, and if he’s cold, he’ll happily latch on to Nick like a limpet, since Nick basically radiates heat from his various processors.

who gets more sad? 

This can be hard since they are both prey to intense emotions, but in different ways. Nate tends to get hit by emotions as sudden and overwhelming as storms, which leave him completely prostrate, but pass in a short period of time and he can waver back to his own, rather happier self in a few hours. Nick’s are deeper, and much harder to shake. Something he carries inside him for days or even weeks. It’s the worst time, and in those times Nate wants nothing more than to reach inside Nick and pull out whatever sick, festering thing in inside Nick’s head.

who is better at cheering the other up? 

Nick. He’s very good at turning Nate’s mind away from whatever horrible thought or memory he’s caught up in, and getting him stable and on an upward keel. Nate feels utterly useless, when Nick is in a black mood. Can only try and distract him, keep him occupied with cases, and try and assure him that Nate loves him and cares for him and will always, always be there. It feels completely pointless, and Nick wishes he could tell Nate just how valuable these things are to him, and how much good it does him.

who’s the one that playfully slaps the other all the time after they make silly jokes?

Oh wow, if they did that they would never, ever stop. Nick is constantly making deadpan remarks or just general snark, and Nate is always ready with some weird pre-war reference or literary joke. I’d say whatever poor person is stuck with them is liable to lose it and just slab both of them silly. Piper and Cait have been driven to this more than once. Preston just looks around helplessly and wishes he were somewhere else. Dogmeat whines in embarassment. Curie tries to join in which just makes it worse.

who is more streetwise?

Nick. He’s been around more, he knows the Commonwealth. Nate is also rather more naive generally, which Nick loves, but does have to watch out for in case Nate gets caught up in something ugly like the Brotherhood of Steel Nate, really what were you thinking?

who is more wise?

Both of them, but in different ways. They are both rather thoughtful people on the whole, Nick is more practical, but Nate tends to have some very good insights as to people’s motivations and some views that Nick might not have considered.

who’s the shyest? 

Neither of them are exactly shy, but Nate is definitely more outgoing and open. Nick is personable, but usually finds himself taking a more background role, smiling as Nate chats and puts himself around enthusiastically.

who boasts about the other more? 

Nate. If you get him started He. Will. Not. Shut. Up. To the point Nick really wishes he would. Nate has a few topics he can talk about for hours, but at least he warns people first before going into a spiel about Atom. With Nick, it’ll be all ‘Nick is awesome Nick is so brave Nick is so brilliant’ for as long as it takes for whoever it is to run away. 

Nick is a bit more controlled, but when he and Nate are out together, particularly if Nate is all dolled up in is red dress and heels and maybe a bit of makeup, Nick isn’t above glancing around smugly to see if anyone is looking. My boyfriend. Mine.

who sits on who’s lap?

Nate. He will happily hop into Nick’s lap on any pretext. He loves being close to him, loves having Nick’s arms around him. The best place in the world. Nick put up a token protest to begin with, but has long since given up. Its just too good. Nate warm and happy in his arms, curling up surprisingly small. His hair in Nick’s nose, the feel of his eyelashes fluttering against the exposed wires in his neck. Perfect.
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Another chapter of my Fallout 4 fic.

Nick has issues. Nate is an idiot. Nick shouts a bit. Nate is sorry. Nate tries something else.

Nick’s existential crisis, Nate’s attempts to make it better, and various failures thereof. Dedicated to #dma-dima who asked how my Nate would meet with Dima.
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I wanted to write a happy Nate fic, so here you go! Nate and his favourite book, in his first year in the Commonwealth.

The Month was October 

The man raised his head, two hours up, and he hadn’t even taken the pills yet, his body trembled around him, exhausted. He was a spot of stillness in the rushing mob, numbed calm in the screams.

“Run!” Her eyes burn, her mouth a red circle around the world. The boy is crying. The words run down the man’s spine to his legs, bypasses his slack, senseless brain. He runs up the hill.

She takes his arm, pulls him faster even as his legs tremble and cramp, he staggers, almost falls.

“Come on!”

The sun is bright, staining everything gold. The trees wave above them. A heartbeat.

The light, when it comes, is too much to bear. The man shuts his eyes and the skin of his eyelids turns white.

The clocks stopped at 1.17.

In the silence and dazzling glare inside his head, the memory is coughed up, fragmented, full of holes.

He opens his eyes to the cloud, a cathedral spire rising.

A long shear of light and a series of low concussions.

The frail, skeleton of self looks up in benediction. His mouth twitches upwards, weak and drawn. It’s over. It’s finally, finally over.

He’s dreamed of this since he was seventeen.

A dull rose glow on the windowpane.

The lift rattles down, the shockwave roaring just past his head. She’s staring at him in confusion. “Why are you smiling?”

She’s very still as they fall together, holding the boy. Her heart to his, those dark, alien eyes staring out of Nate like black marbles out of chiffon.

Each others’ world entire.

“I’m not.” Nathaniel Brooks smiles.


The light is the first good sign. Nate raises his hand to shield off the glare, blinks and blinks watery eyes until he squints through to the blue, blue sky above. His damp skin steams as the heat of the world hits, a baked in, ancient fire. He peers through his fingers and the sun is a blazing white star high above.

The banished sun circles the Earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.

The birds come next, curious crows on the hanging slackwires from the pylons, and that is a good sign. One of them arches its opalescent black wings and hops up, a flash  of dark against the brassy sky and gone.

Th names of birds.

Nate steps out uncertainly. The world around him a blasted, desertlike.

Ashen scabland. Cauterised terrain.

The ground crunches underfoot. Ants and lizards scurry for cover under the rusted hulk of vehicles, the sunken struts of a construction cabin. Nate’s body flows liquid around him, after the frozen juddering of the pills. He wanders aimlessly around, finds three rations of army rad-away in a petrified crate and it’s a moment’s work to touch them, pick them up. His mind trembles, threatens to snapback however many years.

Look around, to make sure the world is still there.

Like ancient frescos entombed for centuries suddenly exposed to the day.

The world is exactly the same and Nate snorts at himself. He might be mad but he’s never started seeing things. Best not start now. The crows watch him, the tiny animals rustle in brownsnap grass. The trees overhead are bare sentinels, leafless as Nate makes his slow way down the hill.

The low bushes hang with strange flowers. Nate snaps a leaf off and sniffs it, bites. His stomach roils warningly but the taste is good. Rich, fragrant. His pipboy beeps and he tastes the warning sickness of radiation at the back of his throat. He spits it out. Okay. His stomach kicks rebellion. Okay.

But it’s food, at least. He passes a strand of wild bluestained corn, looks down to a sparkling, crystalline steam and oh. Nate squats in the path and looks around. The world is half alien around him and hey, maybe he might as well be on another planet?

“Burroughs.” Nate’s voice cracks. “McCarthy.” Maybe the cold had frozen his vocal cords. “I name this world Brooktopia.” He laughs, low at his own joke.

The world is barren from pole to pole, no sign of human life for miles. Maybe anywhere.

They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world.

“And thank fuck for that.” Nate answers his own head. Maybe he is alone. Maybe he’ll just live here, go mad and starve to death. Okay. He can live with that.

His body is taut and easy around him, muscles and nerve fluid and quick to answer. He hops down to the stream, jumping from rock to rock like a child.


Nate dreamed.

Worlds rich or fearful as such might offer themselves but never one to be.

It was a good dream. No memories in it. Nate can’t remember when he’d last dreamed. Half a decade and two hundred years, probably.

He’s warm in the bed. He’d found old tarp in the truck stop, and an oil stained blanket. But the real source of the heat in the heavy, soft body slumped against his legs.

Nate opens his eyes and the first light of the newborn morning glances across the shattered window panes, paints patterns on the far wall. Ancient faded posters, screaming dead ideologies against vanished enemies.

There’s a faint warning against perverts tacked up above the ancient telephone. Another proclaiming the black menace. Nate sits up and pulls them down, tears them up and tosses the rotting paper out of the window. The dog pricks up his ears and looks at him, a low, curious whine.

“At least you’re happy to see me.” Nate strokes his ears, and Dog whines happily. Nate picks up the telephone and turns it in his hands. Wonders if it has enough power left to call up his old home, tell Codsworth what he could do with his pills.

He lifts the handset.

He picked up the phone and dialed the number of his father’s house in that long ago

Nate looks down at the rotary dial. Circles a finger over and over and finally puts it back. He has no idea what the number was. He has no idea of any number. The memories cracked and cauterised and frostbitten. Gone utterly.

“If they wanted me to remember they shouldn’t have made me forget.” He smiles at Dog, strokes his head again. Dog pants. He turns the phone over and pulls it apart, picks out the circuitboard and copper wires. Maybe they’ll find someone, him and Dog, someone who won’t want to kill them like the last few had. Maybe they could trade.

Dog pants and jumps off the bed, coming back with a haunch of the dead molerat things they’d found off last night.

Nate’s stomach growls but the castaway food around them might as well be stone when he looks at it. He shakes his head sadly at Dog and drinks water from a canister to fill his stomach, clinches his belt again, tighter than yesterday.

The holes in it marked the progress of his emaciation

The stimpacks keep off the worst of the damage, but he’s going to be a skeleton within a week. Oh well. Nate shrugs. There’s a world out there. Maybe he can find something his mind can accept as food.

Dog eats the meat happily, then jumps about, eager to be off. Nate smiles.


The storm buoys up out of nowhere. “Ah hell.” Nick groans and they dash for shelter under a wooden lean-to under the trees. Barely in in time before the skies open and the rain comes in sheets.

Nate pulls out the old tarp from the Red Rocket, all those months ago, and between the two of them they throw it over the shack to keep the rain out. Dogmeat barks and runs about outside, jumping in the lake before charging back in the shaking himself vigorously over the pair of them until Nick throws a tarp over him too.

“Lovely.” Nick grumbles, flicks through his cigarette packs to find one that isn’t soaked. Selecting one, he leans over to Nate as he fumbles with a lighter in wet hands, their shoulders bumping a little more than companionably. In the gloom of the stormclouds his eyes glow gold. His lips quirk into a small, appreciative smile.

If he is not the word of God God never spoke.

Shut up. Nate snarls at the memory. Not here. Not now. Close and too far. Nick leans back against the rough earth behind them, blows out a stream of blue smoke. Nate watches the smoke, if only as an excuse to look away.

“You might want to look out.” Nick points out into the rain. “It’s worth seeing.”

Nate frowns at him, a faint smile, wondering if he’s being teased. He pulls the tarp off the grumbling Dogmeat and throws it over his head, it rattles like turretfire under the rain. It’s not a radstorm, and the sky is a simple, sullen grey, heavy and swollen with water. Nate squints and looks around. A lot of mud, the lake pocked and shimmering. The smell of dead leaves and moss. Quiet but for the falling rain. Air fresh and cool and sweet.

This is a day to shape the days upon.

“Up there-” Nick’s ventured far enough to point up, the rainwater coursing off the sleek steel of his hand.

Nate blinks rainwater off his lashes, and peers up. Through the heavy drops, the trees around them are flecked green.

He rubs his eyes, looks up at the tree above. The barren branches are opening, putting out tiny green shoots in the storm.

“Hah!” Nate half laughs, like desert plants, dry and apparently dead until the rains come, and then blooming to life.

-out of a green and leafy canopy-

Nate glances back to Nick, then looks away too quickly, in case his friend can read his mind, or maybe read the same book. But Nick is looking up with him, rain running down his face, coiling in and around his broad, purely happy smile. “Always liked the rain.”

“Yeah.” Nate breathes. He extends the tarp out and Nick ducks under it. They sit together, watching the trees bloom as the rain hammers down on and around them.

There’s a line from his book for this moment. But Nate doesn’t think it. It’s not right. Not yet. Besides, both characters died at the end.


“And we’re looking for what in here?”

“Not really sure?” Nate shrugs. His cheek hurts from the brand and he feels- strange, fey. The world runs under his skin and he feels alive. As though everything he thought could just leap to life around him.

Which would be a nightmare, in any other world, but right now, all Nate feels is wonder.

The little tunnel they’re in is low and narrow, forcing both of them to bend double as they buckle down into the bowls of Far Harbor. “Don’t you just want to look?”

Nick snorts, runs a hand over Nate’s shoulder. Rests it there, in the crook of his neck. It’s the work of a heartbeat for Nate to lean over and press a kiss to those metal knuckles. Nick smiles.

“I read a book once,” Nate continues. “Where the two characters went into a cave. There was an animal down there. You could see through its skin.”

“What sort of animal?” Nick ducks under trailing roots.

“They didn’t say. Always imagined it a bit like a Deathclaw, only on all fours.”

“Hope we don’t run into one here.” They turn a corner. “What happened next?”

“Um- they woke up. It was a dream.”

“Not a great ending.”

“It wasn’t the ending. Came right at the beginning, I think.”

“Ah. Good book?”

“My favorite,” Nate tells him the title.

“Catchy. I’ll keep an eye out for it.” Nick smiles.

Nate can only smile back, turning his back to the tunnel for a moment.

Unfortunately while there weren’t any Deathclaws in the tunnel, there were a large number of feral ghouls. They had to put a temporary end to book week.


“Do you know your birthday?” And maybe Nate’s too used to how things work for them, because that seems the best way of asking that question.

the names of things slowly following those things into oblivion

He rests his hands on his bag and reaches into his mind, tries to parse out the beggarly collection of memories, trace comparisons to holidays, to weather, to cold or summer. Finally, he shrugs. “No idea.” Slip away through his fingers and gone. He smiles sadly at Nick. “You?”

Nick shakes his head. “I use April 14th. He sits down beside Nate, on his haunches. “Day I- we-” he stumbles a little over the words, still uncertain, “escaped the institute.”

Nate nods, “Yeah.” His lip curls. Escape. Flee away into the dark and away from the light. Nate looks around at the dusty road, the nodding trees, their leaves shriveling quickly and falling after the rain.

nothing in his memory anywhere of anything so good

“I guess mine’s October 23rd then.”

Nick nudges him in his ribs and Nate rolls with the blow, catching Nick’s coat in both hands and pulling him down, down to the the dust and steaming sunlight and the hubflowers nodding over them.

His hands finding Nick’s body, taut and still and warm with living processes. Nick’s mouth warm and dry and sweet.

Each others’ world entire.


Nate laughs when the pass through the Outskirts into the Glowing Sea. He looks around at the trees and those are definitely dead. Nick gives him a slightly concerned look, but then this isn’t Nate’s usual breakdown warnings.

“Nah, just-” Nate waves at the vista. “All the books I read-”

“Doesn’t compare?”

“You kidding? This is the first bit that’s come close.” Nate pops a rad-x. It’s not so bad this far out, but he’s glad they packed a hazmat suit for later.

The wind warns of a coming storm and he revises that opinion. A pity. He’s hated that thing since Far Harbor. Better to feel the wind on your face, the storm on your skin. Not for the first time, Nate envies the growing number of people born immune to radiation.

The wind catches in a rotten, century old branch and the cauterised wood cracks, making them both jump. Nate snorts. “All the trees in the world are gonna fall sooner or later.”

“That’s a quote?”

“From that author I like.”

“Sounds the cheerful sort.”

Nate grins. “Yeah.”

He bends down to the first pool they find. Flecked gold and shimmering, oilslick gilt. Drinks down a mouthful and hears the giger counter scream. Atom. Your blessing. Your world. Thank you.


“Happy birthday.” Nick’s hands cast over his shoulders. The bones of his shoulderblades, collarbones still stark against his umber skin, redcast from his dress.

“Huh,” Nate glances at his pip-boy. 23rd October 2288. One year out of the vault. One year and two hundred and eleven since the nightmare ended. “So it is.” He turns in Nick’s arms. “Atom’s too.”

“Give Him my best.” Nate snorts, and gasps as Nick gently nips at his throat, the tender skin at the joint of neck and shoulder. “This is your day.”

“Hmm,” Nate smiles, relaxes in Nick’s arms, hooked around his waist. Nate rests his own hands on Nick’s shoulder. Watches him. That smile, oh, he’d first fallen in love with that smile. Those eyes, and brilliant, too-large soul that radiates from every part of him. Oh, thank you. Thank you. He will never thank the Institute for anything, so he raises that praise to Atom. “Do I get a present?” He leans in to snatch a fresh kiss, and perhaps begin said present forthwith.

The kiss comes, so warm. “You thought I wouldn’t?”

Nate pauses, honestly, he has no real idea what he would want. He has everything he wants. Most of it is in his arms. But Nick smiles, and lets go of him with one hand to pulls something out of his pack. It’s flat, and small, and wrapped in soft black cloth.

“A book!” Nate smiles. And not just a book, the cloth around it is silk, long and wound over and over. There are definitely possibilities with this silk. Oh yes.

But then Nate pulls the sweet silk off and- oh.

“Found it in the old Somerville place.” Nick strokes his back. “Decided to save it for today. Is it the same one you liked?”

“Yes.” Nate breathes. Jet black cover. White printed words. He runs his thumb over the pages and loses his breath all over again. “Nick, this is- a first imprint. Look at the way the pages are cut- handcut. This is- three hundred years old or something-”

He gets another kiss and laughs helplessly against Nick’s mouth. Atom, oh Atom how the hell is he this lucky, his arm full with his boyfriend and a silk scarf and this book. An embarrassment of riches.

“I had a flick through.” Nick shakes his head, half laughs. “Nate, what the hell? Have you read this thing?”

“Repeatedly.” Nate grins, “Or- I probably did. I basically memorised it. Don’t remember actually reading it though.”

“And you like this?”

“Love it.” Nate kisses him again, a brief flash of pure happiness. “Always makes me smile when I read it.”

Nick rolls his eyes. “The world ends- and that’s not enough and you’re got to read about it too. Makes perfect sense.”

“Yep.” Nate draws out the ‘p’, smugly.

“Got it all right, did he?”

Nate barks a laugh. He looks around their little home in Sanctuary, the stacks of books, the broad, warm bed, the chair and couch tucked away. And outside, the waving strands of razorgrain and scattered planters dripping with fruit. Brahmin cropping up dry grasses. Fish from the local river. The water running clear, the flowers nodding around the small town, the sky so achingly blue.

“Not a fucking thing.” He grins, then pauses a moment. Nick blinks, curiously. Nate puts the book down, and cups Nick’s face in both of his hand. “Well, maybe one thing.” He admits.

He leans in. Nick kisses back, gentle, oh, so sweet.

“My world entire.” Nate smiles, and kisses him again, and again.
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They’re in the Boston Bugle offices when it happens.

Nate is keeping up a rattling account of what’s on the computers- the articles for the 24th of October 2077. “There’s one here on Eddie Winter,” Nate taps through, then barks a laugh, “And on baseball, yeah, sure nothing’s gonna stop a victory-”

He stops dead, like a holotape just jammed. Nick looks up quickly and Nate has gone very, very still. His eyes are huge, breathing in upticks, faster and faster.

Shit. “Watch the doors!” He calls to Piper, then jumps down along the collapsed ceiling. Nate is ashen, all the warm colour gone from his skin and he’s starting to shake and this is bad. This is a very, very bad one and damn, it’d been more than a month since the last one-

He pulls Nate away from the terminal, and that’s the final trigger. Nate starts to scream.

Nick gets him down to the floor, grabs both his hands and holds him down. “Nate.” His keeps his voice low, under the high, wild shrieks. “Nate.”

“What the-” Piper’s strafing the room, confused.

“Just shoot if anything comes in!” They cleared the offices, but Nate’s loud enough to be heard outside. “Nate.” He continues. “You’re here. Nate. Just breath. It’s okay.”

It’s not. He can just about see the terminal from the corner of his eye-

-on Friday afternoon soldiers of the United States Army’s 184th Infantry Regiment opened fire on a group of unarmed civilians-

Oh hell. Nick feels sick. “Nate.” He continues, very softly. “It’s over. It’s gone. Shh.”

“Oh God!” Nate suddenly finds words. “Oh fucking- oh fuck no-”

“Shh,” He’s stopped fighting, at least. Nick sits back and pulls Nate into a hug, holds him close and tight. He’s shaking so hard his teeth are chattering and Nick can feel his own steel bones vibrate. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry?” Nate pulls back, eyes wild and lost. “Nick- I- I- I did-”

“Not you.” And God- whether Jesus or Atom or the dead God under Dunwich Borers- he hopes those scientists suffered. He hopes those who made those damned pills burnt real painfully before they died. “You know it wasn’t you, pet. Look at me.”

Nate looks at him, then curls in on himself, a tiny ball to tuck up against Nick’s thorax, under his coat, curl up small and disappear. “It wasn’t you.” Nick rocks him. “That was someone else, a long time ago. You’re here now, Nateling. You’re here. You’re safe.”

Finally, he feels Nate give a tiny nod against his chest.

The worst is over. He looks up and Piper is at the terminal. She looks down at Nate, horrified.

“No.” Nick shakes his head. Not now. “Turn it off, please.”

And Piper, bless her, puts two bullets through the screen.
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I’m just imagining Nate finding out about this and then he’s collecting like a million gold things and just grinning at Nick.
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Sole Survivor Ask Meme

What is their name? Do they go by the same name they did pre-war? Nate Brooks. He used to be called Nathaniel more often, but now the only people he allows to call him by that are the Children of Atom. He’s ‘Brother Nathaniel’ in the Nucleus. He’s Fixer with the Railroad, General to the Minutemen, and a whole host of new names to Nick.

What was their relationship like with their spouse? Nate honestly has no idea. The memories have all been fried. He wonders if Nora was a childhood friend who married him to look after him, a romance minded nurse who took to him on his many, many trips to hospital, or an opportunistic stranger looking for the security of a military spouse. But she raped him. He knows that much. Shaun must have come from somewhere and he couldn’t have consented to a cup of coffee in that state.

What are other people likely to notice about them first? I suppose it depends on the person. probably tied between his rather unusual, yellowish eyes, or holy shit that guy’s skinny.

Are they introverted or extroverted? Pretty extroverted, he likes being around people.

Describe their voice Quite soft, low. Can rise higher and shriller when he’s louder.

Describe their most fond pre-war memory Nate would say he hasn’t got any and just look at you. He does have some though, the one Christmas he can remember, libraries, that first half of the night he spent in that Boston Queer club. Unfortnately, the knowledge of what happened after kinda- ruins these memories.

Describe their smile He has a few, a warm one for those he loves. A smirk, and a nasty, sharp toothed one that looks like something a Deathclaw might have after you winged it. This hurts and I’m gonna make you pay for it. He wore that smile every single fucking time he went to the Institute. And they did. In spades.

Describe their general appearance, post a screenshot or draw them Nate is tall, six foot-ish. He looks taller since he’s really concerningly thin. Narrow face and nose, full lips, large hazel-amber eyes. His skin is warm, deep mahogony. About the only thin Nate doesn’t like about himself is his hair, it’s red-black, and is just white enough not to dread or afro, and just black enough to pull free of anything else he tries to do with it. He keeps it cut short, and wears a lot of hats.

What were their hobbies pre-war? Nate isn’t even sure. Which is fucking depressing. He liked reading, and his father had a whole basement of banned and ‘subversive music’. Nate remembers the plots of the books, and the music, but can’t remember where he read or listened to them.

What is their weapon of choice? Nate has two guns, a combat rifle which he uses most of the time, and a laser sniper rifle for distance.

Do they get attached to their weapons sentimentally, give them names etc? Oh goodness yes. Nate loves his guns. The combat rifle is called Apex, and sniper Riptide. He’s very proud of the names. 

What is their sexual orientation? Gay as a very gay thing. Homosexual, Homoromantic.

What kind of situations are they likely to avoid? Anything that comes to close to the ‘old world’. It’s like walking through a trauma minefield. In the Institute he ducked into a storeroom, stuffed the end of his coat into his mouth and screamed and screamed and screamed.

Do they have any fears or phobias? Colossal, screaming breakdown for being inside power armor/using a minigun. Everything else tends to according to situation or his ability to handle, but these are regular triggers. Worse, with so much of his memory gone, Nate doesn’t always know what’s going to affect him.

Describe their morality. Is it black & white or are there grey areas? Usually black and white, but there are times (notably Far Harbor) wherein Nate is just entirely lost and goes with his gut and/or is just plain selfish. DiMA lived. He shot Pickman. Shaun died screaming.

Which faction/group(s) are they affiliated with, and why? Railroad and Minutemen. Nate wants to help people, and to him, people include ghouls, synths, and sane supermutants if they want.

Which faction/group(s) do they dislike, and why? Well, the Institute, on the whole ‘you tortured and enslaved my boyfriends and half my friends’ basis, but he has a rather savage hate for the Brotherhood too. He believed them. He really thought they would make the Commonwealth a better place. Turns out they were as cruel and brutal as any raider, just with more firepower. Poetically, they went down in flames.

Did they find romance in the commonwealth? Who are they with? Nick Valentine. Nate ran into him after only a few weeks out of the Vault, and fell in love like a ton of bricks only a week or so later. 

What do they love the most about their romantic partner(s)?  When Nick was telling him about how he became a detective, the way he smiled when he told Nate it took him mouths to start charging anyone. Nate just thought ‘I have found the most perfect person on the face of the world and I am so in love.’ The idealization didn’t last too long, but the love did. He is very happy. He still thinks Nick is the best person in the Commonwealth, if not the world.

Do they suffer from any mental health issues? Yes. He has pretty bad PTSD, mostly manifesting in flashbacks and panic attacks, he’s probably somewhere on the autistic spectrum, although not diagnosed, and a subconscious eating disorder that makes him throw up or just be unable to swallow food.

Do they partake in anything that could be considered escapism? Reading mostly. He hates drugs and doesn’t drink. He and Nick collect books, Nate likes science fiction, and, weirdly, post-apocalyptic novels.

Do they have any memories that make them physically cringe with embarrassment? Nate still feels shit about joining the Brotherhood. Nick told him again and again, tried to warn him about them, but Nate had been so blinded by the tech and gleaming power armour and- yeah. He was a fucking moron.

Describe their butt. You heard me. Pretty skinny, bony, he doesn’t sit down much.

What are their insecurities? He’s a man out of time, he’s completely fucked in the head, and he’s 22 and has never had a proper consensual sexual experience (before Nick). 

What boosts their confidence? Helping people, shooting assholes, dressed up in a nice red dress, putting on a bit of makeup and feeling sexy.

What makes them angry? Privileged cruelty. Raiders are one thing, but at least they’re kicking rocks with the rest of us. The Institute? The Brotherhood? They are armed, safe, and swan around, killing and taking and not even calling it raiding.

Do they cry easily? What’s likely to set off the waterworks? Sometimes, emotional overload mostly, he tries to hide it, and at least behind his gasmask no one can see tears.

How do they cheer themselves up, or how would other characters cheer them up? He tries to be around others, even if it’s just playing fetch with Dogmeat. Maybe build things, but he feel better around others. Nick and Piper have picked up on this, and stay with him, talk to him while they do their own things. It helps so much.

What do they miss the most about pre-war life? “Nothing.” Nate crosses his arms, scowls. It’s a lie. There are things, but even thinking it seems- traitorous, to the person he was. He admits, if only to Nick, that he misses the libraries.

Who is their bff post-war? Piper. They are both awkward, jittery people who are determined to do the right thing. And of course Nick, but that goes without saying.

Has the post-war commonwealth changed them physically? Nate lost weight at a terrifying rate in those first few weeks, then put a bit back on after Far Harbor, he has a few more scars, and the dark brand of Atom on his cheek.

Has the post-war commonwealth changed them mentally? Nate isn’t sure. He doesn’t know who he was before. No one he wanted to know. He’s happy now, was happy the moment he can out of the vault, saw birds and thought ‘huh, maybe it’ll be okay after all’. It was.

How do they react to being humiliated, intentionally or otherwise? Depends on what. Almost anything and Nate would just brush it off, or even laugh if he agrees he was ridiculous. He doesn’t take too well to being mocked for his appearance if he put time in dressing up, and really takes badly, flashback badly, to being mocked for his engineering work.

Do they/did they dance? Describe their funky moves. Nate loves to dance. So does Nick. One night, at the Third Rail, they had a slow dance together to Magnolia’s singing. Then Magnolia stepped down for a drink, and a new song came on. No one here but us chickens. Nate pulled Nick into a few fast Swing Steps and Nick, went along, perfectly. There was a moment they just looked at each other- you dance? You too? Then they went flat out and absolutely tore up the dance floor before rolling back to the Rexford just before dawn. It was one of the best nights of Nate’s life.

How do they feel about ghouls? Ghouls are people. End of. Feral ghouls? Well, humans snap and go Raider, so they can’t talk.

How do they feel about synths? Synths are people. The first synth Nate met was Nick and it’s rather coloured his impressions. He finds 2nd gen synths scary since they look like and unlike Nick.

They’re in a bar fight. Did they start the fight, are they getting beaten on, or are they trying to break it up? Didn’t start it per say, but probably threw the first punch after a line like- ‘synth fucker’.

What ’S.P.E.C.I.A.L’ stats do they value/embody? Intelligence and Agility. Mind and hands.

When the going gets tough, your sole survivor…. Blows their head off.

Who do they think is indisputably the most important person in Vault 101: He who shelters us from the harshness of the atomic wasteland, and to whom we owe everything we have, including our lives? Atom? Nate is bewildered by this question.
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And it suddenly occurred to me how friggin’ terrifying it must be to anyone actually working in the Institute.

Now, I hate the Institute. To the point where I seriously side-eye anyone who sides with them on a ‘good’ playthrough. Like- no. These guys are slaving murderers. Trying to redeem them is like being made Fuehrer so you can redeem the Nazi party. That boat has sailed, hit a radstorm, been set on fire and went down with all hands. I judge you.

But I was shooting up the main lobby with my level 80 something Sole Survivor (who wears a bullets and bones gasmask and the silver shroud outfit) Nate and his epic Synth boyfriend Nick Valentine, when I really started wondering what the hell the actual scientists who were cowering under their desks were thinking of this.

It must have been like goddamn Terminator with a guest appearance from the Shadow Man from Princess and the Frog. 

You have this smashed up, completely wrecked, how-is-this-thing-still-moving Gen2 synth who is just gunning down everything around it with zero problems, and occasionally shouting orders to this- thing in a hat and trenchcoat and skull gasmask that looks like a Voodoo god for the Atomic War generation.

And your soldiers keep coming, and they keep getting gunned down, wave after wave, over and over and nothing is even touching these two and they just keep tearing through your ranks until they start wearing thin, and you’re cowering under your desk, terrified and you don’t have a gun and these things are just killing machines that even the Coursers are no match for.

And finally, all the Institute’s defenses are just little piles of scrap and spare parts and oh god they’re coming in. And you don’t know if you should run or hide and they’ve seen you and you’re shouting every deactivation code you’ve ever heard of in the hopes that they might do something. But the Gen 2 doesn’t even flinch and just looks at you with hellish yellow eyes and that torn up mouth pulls up into something that might be a smile and ‘Heh, yeah, that hasn’t worked for a while, kid.’

And Gasmask just looks at you and makes this horrible noise like a sort of poisoned gas hiss and it’s got this gun, this enormous, black and silver gun with Apex written on the barrel and your voice stutters and chokes- ‘De-activate… unit-’

‘I wouldn’t finish that, kid.’ The synth gently pushes Gasmask’s barrel away. ‘You’ll just piss him off. Now, they’re clearing your lot out at the top level. How’s about you run for it and I’ll try to keep Baron Samedi here from shooting your legs out?’

You run. You might have taken the elevator, or you might just have levitated out of sheer panic. By the time you’re shoved through the transporter and out the other side, it occurs to you you should have picked up new pants along the way.
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So, I’m playing Fallout 4 with a load of mods. Including the Nick Valentine Romance mod because what else do you even need? I just finish his quest and hence there’s the final chat between him and my OC Nate, all loving good stuff, we hook up, it’s great.

So we go back to Sanctuary for *ahem* good times since I have the whole sex and intimacy mod installed too, go to bed and what the hell pops up at that moment?

“Abernathy farm is under attack!”

I’m just imagining Preston rushing in shouting that when Nate and Nick are just taking their clothes off and is just 0_o and Nate is just GODAMNIT because he’s been dreaming about this for fucking weeks. And Nick is probably laughing his head off, the synth git.

Godamn cockblocking Super Mutants.
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In which I inevitably drag in Pacific Rim references.

Whaddya mean Dangerous Minds was not totally a three way Drift?


In which Nick and Nate deal with the aftermath of Dangerous Minds, and I explore why pre-war’s The Eternal 50s would really, really really suck to live in.
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It’s nice to know that UNLIKE THE LAST TIME I fell so hard for a game franchise, Fallout 4 is finished and thus is free from all future developmental meddlings and so I can enjoy it freely and with eternal love for Nick Valentine without worrying that Bethesda might, y’know, BLOW UP THE FUCKING UNIVERSE.


No seriously, sorry to all my followers but I have like two more major stories I really want to tell in Fallout 4 and they both involves Nick Valentine being awesome because I swear to Atom I haven’t loved a game character so much since Garrus and yeah, I have a type in these games.
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I”m sorry! It’s just too goddamn fun to write. These are all things that happened in my game so it’s not an AU for a change.

Running Ever Faster From Yourself
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It’s going to be a series of various highlights from my roleplay playthrough with my Sole Survivor Nathaniel, who has such a grab bag of issues it’s not even funny. Exploring some of the nastier parts of the pre-war world, and why it might be nice to wake up in a world where these are no longer a problem.

tldr: when you set something in a 50s themed world, you don’t get to just pick the nice bits of the 50s.

World Well Worn and Gone

October 2017

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