Contubernium: Taking

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Decanus twisted the screwdriver on the turret’s control panel. His eyes were glassy, and it was hard to focus. He coughed, and the stabbing pain of an infection in his lungs made him grimace. Along the walls, the others looked as ragged as he did. It had been four days since they had recovered Nuka Prime. Four days of harassment on the hour. Everything was worse.

Virgil exited from the water treatment plant. His eyes were bloodshot and dark circles were under them. He walked ro Deca us on the wall. By his walk, Decanus guessed the news aboyt activating Nuka Prime was not good.

“Hey Decanus! Here, let me fix that…” Virgil said, reaching for the screwdriver as he arrived.

“I can do it, Virgil,” Decanus replied. He grimaced as he fumbled with three different blue wires, unsure which one he was supposed to reroute.

“I need a break,” Virgil said, gently taking over. Decanus found himself happy to relinquish. “All this talk of quantum units and matter translocators…” he shook his head as he deftly removed one of the blue wires and begin screwing it into a different terminal. “Robotics that I have no business playing with are in that thing.”

“Are you any closer?” Decanus asked.

He shrugged and let out a sigh. “Its designers didn’t even figure it out,” he said. “Your girl is a genius, but she’s stymied. She’s tired, and hurting, and it’s hard to think up miracles when you are like that.”

Decanus considered how hard he found it to focus on a wire out here, in the blowing winds.

He saw DeeCee emerge from the water treatment plant a few moments later. She looked harried and uncertain, but the site of her eyes gave him the briefest moment of joy.

“I’m going to, ah…” Decanus began.

Virgil smiled. “Go ahead. You were almost done here, won’t take me a minute.”

Decanus climbed down off the wall and walked towards DeeCee. She saw him, and her face melted to the happy face he had known, what seemed like years ago

“I talked to Virgil,” Decanus said. “Are you alright?”

DeeCee shook her head. “I’m tired. I ache everywhere, and I don’t want to die. I want to go home. I want to be back in my vault and watch old movies. I want my old view of life out here back,” she said.

“Sorry,” she added. “I know it isn’t just me with problems…I’m just tired.”

“I asked how you were doing, you told me,” Decanus said. He put a hand to her shouldee. “You did nothing wrong. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, Decanus,” she said. “The sun rises and sets because of you.”

Decanus smiled a little. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t even know anymore. Decanus…” she smiled, and put a hand to his scarfed face. “…Rain Cloud…”

“DeeCee, no…” he whispered.

She licked her full lips. “Let me see your face, Rain Cloud,” she whispered alluringly, her breath a pleasant breeze in his face. “Let me, and I shall have sun in my life for all the day and even through the night.”

He took her hand in his. “I cannot, my love…” he whispered.

He felt a buzz at his wrist, and saw a new radio channel – AVeRnus. DeeCee saw it too.

“What do they want, now?” She asked, with fear and anger.

“I don’t know. I doubt it’s their unconditional surrender, though,” Decanus said. “I will listen.”

“No, don’t,” she said. “You always look so miserable after you speak to them.”

“Because I always learn something,” Decanus replied. He touched her face. “Do not worry for me.”

He entered the barracks, to the bunk which time and consistent usage had made his, and with a deep breath he flicked on the radio.

“Alright, what do you want now?” He asked.

He expected the raspy, smug voice of a ghoul like Getorix, but instead the voice was like a falling mountain, and it rumbled the pip-boy on his arm.

“My name is Avernus,” the voice in the radio growled. “I salute you on your defense. As much as this is a testament to the incompentence of my subordinates, it is a testament to your tenacity.”

Decanus said nothing.

“But that is over now. I am here. You have slain a hundred times your number, but such has made not even a scratch to us. I can commit more, and I shall.”

“You say you are competent,” Decanus said. “Yet you warn me of your attack.”

“Because I am not a nerd playing at dice with over-elaborate schemes,” Avernus said with a growl. “I am Avernus, Chief of the Death Knights. I have resolve, which the nerds do not. They cannot push through pain. I can.”

“You hate them,” Decanus said. “Why do you aid them?”

“Because they have given me purpose,” Avernus replied. “Seared it into my very blood. I despise them, and they know this. My purpose is not to love them, it is to crush all they do not control. I love my purpose, Legionary. More than you love your dead Caesar or your dying Legion. It is in the crushing that I find joy. The Legion shall be my most formidable opponent yet, weakened though it is.”

“I’ll await your coming, General,” Decanus replied. “And see you in Hell.”

“Hell is at the top of a spike, Decanus, writhing forever in agony. In your case, I am charged to do even worse to you. You will be made a Lich. Revel in your humanity, little Legionary. It shall soon be gone.”

Decanus flipped off the radio. He permitted himself a moment to wonder if suicide was the best option, but decided he couldn’t bear to watch DeeCee or Pitch die. It was a selfish and stupid reason, but he had to fight on. The next assault would break the walls. In many places they were in disrepair and nearly falling, and this new Supermutant, fresh and determined, would smash into them with his horde and crush them.

“I knew it,” DeeCee said when she saw Decanus’ eyes as he emerged. “I knew you shouldn’t have listened…”

“It is good that I did,” he said. “We must gather the others.”

It was not hard to get them. Myra was asleep along the wall, Pitch was staring out with a rifle, as was Sheila, while Castor and Pollux continued laboring at a turret. Claudius stood back a ways, watching everything. They were all ragged, exhausted, and hurt. Even Claudius was starting to have the glassy stare of a man taken to his limit and pushed well beyond. When Decanus called, they gathered in a circle around him, while Pollux and Sheila stayed on the walls, looking out byt listening.

“I have just spoken with the commander of the enemy forces,” Decanus said. “Avernus, the Death Knight.”

“Avernus…” Claudius repeated, his face grave.

Decanus looked into the old warrior’s eyes, and for a moment they both shared a look of dread. On the wall, he saw Pollux turn back at the name with the same distaste. Castor loomed as grave

“Who is Avernus?” Myra asked, yawning. “Another Lich?”

“He is the commander of their forces,” Claudius said. “It was he who crushed the Jarheads. He is the true threat of the Liches, their best commander.”

“That is good,” Sheila said as she looked through her scope. “Maybe one good shot makes these assholes ineffective again.”

Claudius smiled. “Let’s hope he is foolish enough to venture out, but from what I know of him, he is wise enough to direct from behind.”

“Have you faced him?” Decanus asked.

“Only his wake,” Claudius said. “He is not a Supermutant of complicated strategies, but he knows he does not have to be. He has soldiers to spare, and his doctrine is to use them.”

“If this were day one, I’d say we could hold his charge,” Virgil said. “But this place is falling apart.”

“So what are our options?” Myra asked. “Try to escape through the salt mine? What do we do if Avernus is going to take the fortress?”

“Avernus is not going to take the fortress,” Decanus said. “Because we are going to destroy it. We will retreat into the Redoubt. Hopefully we can get Nuka Prime activated.”

DeeCee rubbed her arms with a look of fear. “I’m not sure that is possible,” she said sheepishly. “There are some things that could take me months or even years to figure out.”

“Nobody will be mad at you if it is impossible,” Decanus said gently. “But you must try,” he looked to the others. “Start bringing supplies into the redoubt. And get the explosives out of the armory. I intend to cede the courtyard to them, but I do not intend to make it cheap.

The Contubernium began preparations. They would fall back to the buildings. Decanus had a fresh turret built according to Virgil’s design and fabricated by Castor and Claudius. They had taken some of the broken turrets and mounted salvaged fat man launchers on them with mini nukes. The explosions would be immensely destructive, leaving nothing left of the cam. Decanus knew the time to use them was now.

He looked over at the supports where Pitch and Myra were placing charges. When the enemy had swarmed the walls, they would detonate. All he cared about – all anyone cared about – was killing as many as possible.

He stood on the wall below where Sheila stared out quietly. Sheila spoke very little, and she looked inwards towards the rest of the camp even less.

“They’re massing, still?” Decanus asked.

“Yep. Looks like a couple thousand,” she said. “Maybe fifty Dark Knights in power armor, at least. They’re using their heads this time.”

“It’ll be soon, then,” Decanus said.

“Ohhh shit,” she said. “Better get up here and see this, Decanus. Somebody get Claudius, too.”

Decanus took her rifle in hand, and looked where she pointed. He saw it, and frowned.

“A siege tower?” He asked. “Odd, but we have seen them try to use them before…”

“Not too many siege towers have tentacles,” Sheila said. “That’s some kind of…thing.”

Sure enough, as the distant dust subsided, he saw the ‘tower’ was pinkish, and that a mass of tentacles fluttered almost with minds of their own along its form, long and with sharp spikes on the end. It stood at least two stories tall.

“It’s a Dunwich,” Claudius said without looking through the scope. “I feared they might send them down.”

“What are they?” Decanus asked, handing back the rifle to Sheila but still staring at the distance thing.

“Some kind of science experiment gone wrong, I think. I hope…the thought of those things being some natural entity fills me with a dread greater than any other.”

“I think I agree with you,” Decanus said. “But more importantly, it is going to be marching on us in the morning. How do these things die?”

“Beam weapons,” Claudius said. “Failing those, explosives.”

Decanus looked at Myra and Pitch laboring at the walls with boxes of dynamite. “I think we have that covered.”

Decanus devised a plan with Claudius, one which would involve Virgil’s help. He went to the edge of the barracks, to the catwalk over the walls. This was the place to make a stand. The gate to the catwalk here was metal bars, wide enough for arms to lass through, but nothing larger.

“The rockets won’t hit the bars?” Decanus asked.

“The guidance system on the turrets is rated to not do that,” Virgil said. “Of course, working ninety-nine times out of a hundred means you have a one percent chance of dying with every shot.”

“Not comforting,” Decanus said.

“Mitigated by this…” Virgil pointed to a metal barrier in the catwalk tunnel. “This should block some of the blowback from a close hit. It probably won’t be a picnic, though.”

“Put the turret here, then,” Decanus said, in the doorway of the catwalk. “And the detonator for the explosives. Make sure it is wired to blow. I’ll hit it when they get close.”

Virgil’s face drained. “What do you mean?”

“Someone needs to stay here to keep the pressure off the turret,” Decanus said. “And we want the Dunwich here, above the bulk of the explosives. The entirety of this platform will become shrapnel aimed right at it. This is where the detonation must happen.”

“W-what about DeeCee?” Virgil asked.

“This kind of thing is best done simply and kept quiet,” Decanus said softly. “When I am gone…” he took a deep breath. “…tell her I’m sorry. Tell her I…well, tell her I wanted things to be different. But someone has to stay outside so the others can escape.”

Virgil nodded. “Decanus, I…” he stopped “I’ll get it set up,” he said solemnly.

“You are a good man, Virgil,” Decanus said. “If I don’t get a chance to say that.”

The day was dawning. Everyone went into the buildings, in the catwalks. The idea was to fire upon the enemy from the catwalks between the buildings. The working turrets had all been moved to the western wall, and would kill as many as they could in the onrush. When the walls fell, the Contubernium would head into the Redoubt and close the doors. It would buy them time, but seal their fates. But miracles came the longer one lived to see them…

Not for him, of course. Decanus would be dead by then, hopefully taking that hideous Dunwich to Hades with him. He might never know if it worked. Decanus was a man of faith, who kept Mars as his god as any good Legionary would, but all men wonder what truly lies beyond death, and the thought of oblivion, of never knowing, saddened him. He muttered a prayer to mars, and promised himself he was watch as he crossed the Styx to see what had become of his friends, and DeeCee.

DeeCee. He would miss her most of all. His mother and father would despise him in the afterlife. And what would he do if when he arrived, Rain cloud was there, the man he had murdered, ready to visit righteous wrath upon the man who usurped his life?

Decanus shook his head free of such nonsense. He took a deep breath, checked his rifle, and prepared to die.

When he arrived, Virgil was still there.

“Virgil!” He shouted. “What in the name of Vulcan are you doing? Get to the chem lab, now!”

“Sorry, Decanus. I needed to make sure some things were calibrated. You have the detonator?”

“Yes…” Decanus said, holding it up. “I can wire it…”

“No, let me…”

With a swiftness he grasped the detonator and slammed the gate shut. It took a moment

“Virgil!” He screamed. “Get out of there right now!”

“No time for an argument, Decanus,” Virgil said with a small smile as he latched the door from the inside. “The Contubernium needs you. And…someone cares about you. Besides, I can repair the turret, you can’t. It’s the logical move.”

“I am a dead man!” Decanus yelled. “Branded! You aren’t supposed to die here! Open the door, by Mars!”

Virgil laughed, and Decanus saw a smile on his face that he had never seen, and a quiet confidence had surfaced. “You know, I’ve screwed up a bunch of times in my life, Decanus. This isn’t one of them. It’s a hell of a thing, to be free. If you had asked me, I always thought I was free, because no one gave a shit about me and I could go wherever I wanted. But I didn’t. I stayed where I was safe, where I had always been, picking over grocery stores for cans. The only true slaver is fear. and I have always been afraid. But not now.”

Decanus shut his eyes. “I will see that your bravery is honored,” he said quietly. He reached his hand through the bars and clasped Virgil’s arm. “Die well, hero. Kill many.”

“Go to Jacobstown, Decanus,” Virgil said. “Make DeeCee happy. Make yourself happy.”

Decanus stepped away from the cage. Virgil worked quietly, loading his cannons and hooking in the detonator. The turret whirred to life, pointing its mininukes outward.

Decanus headed to the chem lab, climbing the steps and getting into the upper catwalk. He waited.

Sheila announced it first with a whistle. A moment later, the cannons aling the wall fired up, spraying bullets at the onrushing horde. From her perch, Sheila began firing, then Myra and Pitch from theirs. The return fire came furious, and in rhe span of a few seconds Decanus watched every turret explode in fire. It had been quicker than he had hoped.

The Dunwich lumbered to the walls, bullets from the Contubernium thudding into its thick slimy skin. They may as well shoot a moving tar pit, Decanus thought. The Dunwich raised a tentacle four men long, and brought it down. The wall shattered with a force that Decanus feared might trigger the explosive charges, but it didn’t. Beneath the Dunwich, in the open hole, a wave of green and black poured in like a river. There were no ferals, just Supermutants and powered armored Dark Warriors. Decanus opened up on the swarm, watching several Supermutants fall in the entrance as his rifle thundered. The return fire was accurate and withering, and he ducked back behind the metal. He put his gun up and fired vainly, just to try to return fire. He grimaced as he felt a bullet skim the flesh of his hand, and when he brought it back down it was bloodied.

The enemy continued to pour into the courtyard, and Decanus took what shots he could. When it was neatly packed, the flame traps at the doors fo the buildings ignited, and the courtyard became an inferno. DeeCee had flipped a switch in the water treatment plant. Supermutants screamed, and the Dark Warriors pulled back and out of the intense fire, into the path of the mini nuke launcher.

Two power armored warriors fell beneath the powerful explosions, and more Supermutants and Dark Warriors were soon to be its victims.

Protecting the turret was Virgil, firing his weapon, bashing Supermutants who drew close as his mininuke turret roared and explosions rocked the landscape, kicking up dust with their fantastic explosions and putting craters everywhere. Among its targets, the turret landed a hit on the tentacle of the Dunwich. The Dunwich roared beneath its assault, and smashed at the turret. The barricade held, and it took a facefull of mininukes as Virgil shot at it with his hand cannon and screamed defiantly.

The Dunwich bellowed in rage, but it fell backward from the force of the explosions, and another round of mininukes slammed into it, knocking quivering pink flesh free and sending it into the dirt. This, sadly, did not do much to stop the creature.

Angry Supermutants abandoned the rush upon the water plant to attack the barracks and the threat to their heavy hitter, and from within his barricade Virgil fired upon them with his machine gun, still screaming at the top of his lungs. His brown hair was wild in the wind, his mouth open and fierce, his face smeared in dirt and grime. Supermutants fell before him as mininukes continued to streak past him and buffet the Dunwich in its large, pustulous face.

The first bullet to enter went through his waist, and Decanus knew that it had sealed Virgil’s fate. Virgil fell to his knees on pain for a moment, looking confused and uncertain for but a split second. In his face Decanus could see him almost pause to consider, doubtless wondering if he should just drop and await his certain death. Instead he rose quickly, resuming his scream and firing as he battled the onrushing Supermutants.

The mini-nuke launcher had turned most of the courtyard into craters and mushroom clouds, as Virgil’s fire traps roasted most of the Supermutants alive. This was Virgil’s hour, as he and his traps waged war upon the ugliest enemy mankind had faced since the bombs fell. More bullets entered him, but he fired on, carried on, even as he became slick with his own blood. The Dunwich itself, burned by fire and reeling from the bombs, staggered forward with murder in its shifting, yellow eyes, towards the architect of its pain.

It clasped the side of the barracks and climbed up it, and with a tentacle swipe it shattered both the bars and the turret, and knocked Virgil to the ground with a nauseating crunch. Decanus could see Virgil’s face as the creature loomed over him. There was no fear, no anger. There was peace, and the trace of a smile as he flipped up the detonator’s cap, closed his eyes, and pressed down.

The only thing as loud as the explosion was the screams of the Dunwich as shrapnel and force ripped its body apart. Power armored Dark Warriors and Supermutants collapsed by the force, and fell to the concussion.

Decanus heard Sheila’s anguished cry from the catwalk, saw her face twist in horror, and her mouth form Virgil’s name.

“Virgil!” Pitch yelled. The boy had raced onto the catwalk between the greenhouse and the barracks, and the explosion rocked him as the structure moaned and shuddered. The boy lost his footing, and he plummeted down into the ashen mass below, where the flames had subsided.

“No!” Decanus shouted. He leapt from his high spot, down amidst the burned corpses and staggering Supermutants who rolled and groaned on the ground. He drew his machete and put on his Yao Guai glove. As one Supermutant began to rise, Decanus brought an upward slash across his face with his bear claw, removing most of it and sending the husk back down to the ground.

Pitch lay unmoving in the courtyard as Decanus raced to him. He hefted the boy up on his shoulder. A Supermutant approached, but it was felled through the head from a shot by Castor.

Decanus ran as fast as he could. The boy was light, and he dodged. He ran for the water treatment gates. Claudius emerged from them, a rifle in his power armored hands, blasting Supermutants.

Decanus had just about reached the door when the bullet pierced him. He gasped and fell like a stone, doing his best to cushion Pitch in the fall. He heard Claudius curse, and felt himself lifted onto metal shoulders.

He heard the gates slam shut, the flamers turn on, screams of Supermutants.

“Fall back! To the Redoubt!” Claudius boomed.

The next few moments were a swirl of agony and delirium for Decanus. He was headed down the tunnel into the salt mines. The hidden compartment was shutting behind them. They moved on in the light of flashlights until they reached the dangling incadeacent bulbs of the Redoubt. The air was dry. Traveling in a power armor shoulder was painful.

The Vault Door sealed shut with a thunderous rumble and a loud, clicking lock. Decanus felt himself fade out of consciousness.

“No…NO! Decanus!” He heard DeeCee shouting, before he entered into a wondrously numb blackness.

When he awoke, he was wrapped in bandages and laying on a bed. He inhaled, and it hurt slightly.

“Decanus?!” He heard Pitch say. The boy looked tired, but he grabbed Decanus’ hand excitedly and squeezed it. “Deece, he’s awake!”

“W-why aren’t you at the walls?” Decanus said, still groggy.

“The walls fell, Decanus,” Pitch whispered. “We’re in the Redoubt, the door is shut,” the boy’s voice broke. “Virgil…”

“I know, boy,” he said softly. “Where are the others?” He asked.

“The others are sleeping,” DeeCee said, appearing in view. She looked relieved, but exhausted. “The Redoubt door is thick enough that it’ll be a while before they break in, even when they find the entrance. Besides, once they break in, it doesn’t matter much. Everyone just wants to rest.”

“How long have I been out?”

“Sixteen hours. It took three stimpaks to stabilize you. We’re down to our last two,” she said.

“You should have saved them, let me…”

“You say that again, we are going to be down to one stimpak, because I’m going to smack you so hard you’ll need it,” she said. She looked to Pitch. “Go get some sleep, Pitch. He’s awake, and I’m with him.”

“Forgive me, Decanus,” Pitch said. “My foolish weakness nearly got you killed.”

“Feel no guilt,” Decanus said. He touched the boy’s shoulder. “Much has been asked of you, more than should have been. You have done well, and I am proud.”

DeeCee’s eyes followed Pitch as he left.

“Virgil was brave,” she said.

“Yes, he was,” Decanus said with guilt. “It was not my design that he should die.”

“I know what you were planning to do,” she said, in a tone between an accusation and a lament. “You were planning to guard the turret, detonate yourself.”

“To save the Contubernium. This is war, DeeCee,” he said. “And I am a dead man, but the Legion…”

“Fuck the Legion!” DeeCee shouted. “Can’t I ever matter more than the damned Legion?”

“You?” he began, confused at first at what she had said. As he saw the anguish in her face, he understood. “You…” he struggled. “You matter just as much as the Legion,” he managed to say.

She saw the effort it took for him to say that, and her brow relaxed, and the flashing softened in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Decanus. It is not fair to be angry at you, I just think of almost losing you, and it scares me.”

“Everyone’s apologizing when they shouldn’t be. I’m proud you. Of all of you. Especially…” Decanus winced.

DeeCee’s face contorted into weeping. “Virgil…”

Decanus sat up with a wince, and brought her face to his chest. “I know,” he whispered as she let out a sob. “He was the best of us. The very, very best of us.”

“Sheila has been crying,” she said.

“Surprising,” Decanus said. “I thought she hated him.”

“I guess not. I feel bad for her, but the worst thing is…I feel relief. Virgil has become a dear friend over the weeks, but more than grief I am thankful to him. All I can think about is how it was almost me.” She rested against Decanus’ bare chest and embraced him, tightly. He thought back to when he had seen the gauntlet, and he stroked her hair

“I’m sorry I put you through that. I’ve been on the other side of it.”

He felt her lips probe, and plant a kiss upon his bare chest, then another, and another. She rose up and looked in his eyes. The tears on her face seemed to scorch, as passion rose in her.

“Make love to me,” she whispered in his ear. “Virgil gave his life, maybe so we could have a few moments. I want to live, Decanus. I want to feel life, to love my man and enjoy this brief time.”

“DeeCee, I don’t think we should-” Decanus said with hesitation. He wanted to, wanted to taste a sweet bite of the fruit of life before his death, but it wasn’t appropriate, he knew it.

She looked at him with clenched teeth, her eyes now flashing. “You never do. But you want it, and I’m going to give it to you,” she said with a growl. She pushed him back onto the bed.

“DeeCee, I said…” He began as he rose, but did not finish. She was on him, pushing him back down and pressing on him. Her deathclaw hand reached over and ripped the scarf from his face with a tear of fabric.

“DeeCee!” He cried out as if she had torn away his clothes and left him naked.

“I hate this,” she shouted, holding the shredded mask in her hand. “This fucking thing that doesn’t let me see your face, touch your face, or kiss you. I hate it, and the Legion.” She tossed it aside. “No more.”

He tried to cover his face, but she pushed away his hands and pinned him by the wrists. Even if he were healthy she could have effortlessly pinned him, but he was still tired and weak. She lowered her face, breathing in ragged pants, and began to kiss him passionately. He struggled but it did absolutely no good against her. His penis hardened, and he gave in, tasting and inhaling, knowing it was happening either way.

She enveloped him, and he penetrated deeply into her. She took in a deep gasp and grimaced, letting out a tiny cry of pain.

“I’m hurting you-” he said.

“It’s…wonderful…” she rasped. “Now…no more talking…” she removed her collar and flung it across the room. It skittered near the door. She put her deathclaw hand firmly over his mouth, and she pushed his head down into the bed. From then on, until she finished, she spoke only in growls and moans.

The pleasure was intense. Decanus had slept with women before, and while he had enjoyed it, it had been perfunctory, what was expected. He had seen it as a mere diversion, not worth all the fuss that was made. This was different. DeeCee was the most beautiful woman he had seen, and watching her rise and fall upon him with such fury – watching every perfect muscle move with each thrust- made him nearly wild. His body was on fire, and as he pushed inside her he found himself groaning involuntarily at the intense, wondrous feeling of her. He was thrusting desperately, trying to quench the flame within.

His groans of pleasure and fear excited her, and she responded louder, growing more aggressive to the point of frightening, and he groaned louder. She kissed him all over with such passion that it bordered on beastial, and she stared at him with clenched teeth. Ravenous.

It was not long under her force and power that the bed shattered into pieces, and he fell and banged his shoulders into the shattered frame. She did not stop. It only made her more determined, more violent, and more intoxicating. And Decanus’ muffled cries grew louder, which made her grinding more furious, until finally she arched out her back, thrusting her heavenly breasts skyward and let out a high pitched cry of joy and victory. At the sight and sound he was overcom, and he erupted into her.

She stared down at him as he climaxed, eagerly and greedily grinding against him as he finished. She smiled with pure joy, until she looked at the bed, and at Decanus, and her hand over his mouth. She realized what she had just done. Her face twisted into horror. She stood, and raced for the door, and Decanus felt a greater fear than at any point earlier.

“DeeCee!” He shouted.

She stared back at him, eyes full of remorse. She fumbled for her collar.

“Decanus…I’m so sorry. I…I hurt you. I can’t even ask you to forgive me…

“I will never forgive you,” he said, watching her face contort in agony before he quickly added “…if you leave me, now,”

“I don’t deserve-” she protested.

“Don’t leave me,” he pleaded. “Not like this. Not after what you just did to me. I need you DeeCee. You are all I have.”

She went to him, and as she leaned down over him, he grapsed her by her head, and brought his lips to hers. Their tongues met, and where before she had been mostly an animal, here she was timid, and he was the aggressor.

The second time that they made love was less ferocious than the first, but no less passionate, or pleasurable. He hugged her tightly and she held him. She was tender, deliberate, and she let him take control. When they came it was together, rasping together as they looked into each other’s eyes and let the pleasure overtake them.

“That was better,” she said, kissing him. “I was not so monstrous.”

“I liked it this time. It…it wasn’t bad, the first time,” Decanus said, shifting, uncertain that he should say what he was about to say. “…I liked it then, too.”

DeeCee smiled. Her face reddened. “So did I…” she said. “I liked this way very much, but I liked…taking you. I may do it, sometimes.”

“Only promise me you won’t leave, after,” he said.

“I will never leave,” she whispered, kissing him again. “Don’t you leave me, either.”

“I can’t,” he said. “I love you, DeeCee. No matter what happens, I am with you.”

“You will come with me, to Jacobstown?” She asked, her voice full of hope.

It was a rhetorical question, they both knew. Neither of them would leave this place alive. Jacobstown was not about some place in the Mojave anymore. It was a paradise on earth, an idea. A place where a Legionary and Deathclaw-hybrid maiden could escape the grim reality.

“Yes,” he said, “I will go with you.”

She smiled, and the glow in her face was radiant. They kissed.

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