Curie watched her experiment with her complete undivided attention. As the orange solution slowly filtered into the cleanest beaker she had, the synth scientist waited with her pen and clipboard at the ready to make note of any discrepancies. So focused on her current work, she failed to hear the door open to her lab.
A light tap at her side made her jump in surprise as she turned towards the intruder, her hand reached for the pistol at her side. A pair of lips met her own, along with the familiar soft touch of a hand above on the back of her hand, which stopped her mid-draw.
Aaron pulled back from the kiss with a small smirk. "You need to be careful love." He looks down to their now entwined hands above her holster. "But at least your reflexes are getting better."
Out of the corner of eye, Curie saw Shaun as he stood by the door to the small shack. The boy was not even looking at her in the arms of his father. Curie fought back the urge to grimace.
Ever since Aaron introduced Curie as his girlfriend, Shaun never wanted to be in the same room with her. The meals they shared were always with either of them talking to Aaron and never to each other. It made the past months between them difficult. Dreading another quick exit from the boy, she was completely aghast when Aaron left her arms.
"I'll be back later this evening. Keep an eye on Shawn for me okay?" Aaron said as he opened the door to the outside world.
Curie uttered quietly, "Excusez-moi?" Did she miss an entire conversation?
But her lover was gone through the door as it closed behind him, her question unanswered. Now it was just Curie and Shaun, alone in a larger than average shed. The silence between them would have been deafening if not for the bubbling of Curie's forgotten experiment.
Shaun took a seat in the corner, the farthest he could be from her without leaving the room, and continued to look everywhere but her. Curie gave a heavy sigh before she turned back to her experiment, hoping she did not miss anything too important.
For nearly a half an hour, the synth could feel a pair of eyes burning a hole through her already tattered lab coat. It would make her chest hurt to see the anger in his eyes towards her. The scientist had one of the highest I. Qs across the Commonwealth, yet she struggled to think of something, anything, to entertain the boy while she finished the final trials of her work.
"Miss Curie?" She heard Shaun asked behind her back.
Her lips curled in discomfort at such a formal title from a child. With a deep breath, Curie fortified herself mentally to face Shaun and whatever his feelings are towards her.
His hands were clasped underneath his chin as he sat hunched over on the stool. Shaun's brow was furrowed with anger as he looked directly into her eyes with an unflinching seriousness. He opened his mouth to speak-
She twisted around to see her experiment, instead of a clear orange liquid that was there only seconds before, it was now a cloudy grey substance that continued to pop and sizzle like rotten meat on a fire. Her experiment had failed and she has no idea when it overcooked. "Oh no!" She cried. First Shaun, now this. "Why today?" She muttered with frustration.
"Do you hate me?"
That sentence froze Curie in her tracks. She turned her attention back to the boy who sat on the stool behind her. The serious face that Curie saw before was not out of anger towards her, but a child that was trying to be taken seriously by adults.
"Shaun…" Curie said softly, her hand covered her mouth in horror at the very thought. He thought that she hated him? She kneeled down to the ground so they could talk this out. She needed to "clear the air" as it were.
The son of the lone survivor turned away, unable to meet her eyes. Curie could see tears welled up like he was about to cry. She started to panic. The robot turned synth was a scientist, doctor and an expert linguist. But she had no idea how to give comfort to the boy. He was not Aaron, who wished to be held tight as he spoke of his fears and sadness.
They may have the same brown, tightly curled hair, but Shaun's lack the dull luster of his parent. His beautiful hazel eyes squeeze shut tightly as if to bottle it in his feelings just like his father. "Where in the world did you get that idea that I hated you?" Curie asked quietly, she made sure to gently hold one of his hands in comfort. A common practice she has seen throughout the Commonwealth.
Shaun did not say anything at first. Curie thought that maybe she had overstepped her boundaries with the boy, its rather unlikely that he would open up his feelings to her of all people-
"It's the way you talk to Dad." He started.
One hypothesis has failed. Curie focused on his rather sullen tone his voice carried before he went quiet again.
His thumb moved in a slow circle around the back of Curie's hand. As if to move through the conversation first before he could speak. "You two always sound so happy together. You smile and talk about your day and Dad listens to every word. When you finally notice me…" He paused. "You're not smiling anymore." He muttered, as if the words could hurt him the moment the rest of the world knows.
With that, the dam had broken, Shaun's words tumbled out of his mouth. "Is it because I spend so much time with Dad? I know he has been spending a lot of time with me ever since he rescued me from the Institute. You two might have been happier if I was left behind." He continued to talk, but it had degraded to blubbering as Shaun choked up.
For a moment, Curie did not say anything as she tried to process what the young boy was saying. You two might have been happier if I was left behind. She could not think of anything to say logically to make the boy feel better, let alone what she truly thinks. The android could not hate him for being the robotic son of his father. So she decided to take a page out of Aaron's book.
Curie hugged Shaun. Her arms wrapped around the smaller boy tightly as his sobs slowed and stopped. She picked him up and held him close before she sat down on the same stool. The time was as good as any, so Curie began to speak. "I never hated you Shaun. If anything, I was afraid." She spoke quietly, barely above a whisper.
Taking his silence as the sign to continue. "You never said anything to me, I thought you hated me. I know I'm not your mother and with…" Curie paused as she tried to think of the best way say the next part without making the boy upset. "previous leader of the Institute gone, your Father is the only person you have left in the world."
The scientist slowly leaned the boy forward so she could look him in the eye. "I was afraid that you didn't want me to be a part of your family. Every time I showed any affection to your Father, you turned away, I thought you were disgusted by us, or at least by me." Curie remarked sadly.
Shaun practically recoiled in horror. "It wasn't disgusting!" He cried out, only to clamp up immediately after he realized how loud he yelled. "It's just embarrassing watching you two be all lovey dovey." His cheeks were bright pink as Shaun struggled to look anywhere but at Curie.
An idea formed within Curie's mind, her processors whirled with information as a smile broke across her face. "You know Shaun, I have always been a firm believer in science." She placed Shaun back on his feet in front of her. "Do you know what science is used for?"
He wiped away the water in his eyes then shook his head for no.
The doctor smiled warmly. "Science is used to figure out the unknown. To solve mysteries that confound us for years, centuries even." She walked over to her previous experiment and carefully cleared it away from her work station. "What better way for us to get to know one another then having a few experiments of our own?"
With a small nod from the boy, Curie pulled him towards the table as she set out her various tools and tubes. "Before your Father rudely interrupted me this morning, I was working on a Radscorpion vaccine…"
When Aaron returned later that evening, he can't help but to exclaim, "I see you two are finally getting along."
Both Curie and Shaun were hunched over the table. Identical lab coats and googles as they took two very different sets of notes. One with complicated words and calculations, while the other was pretty sparse in comparison.
The both looked up to Aaron and smiled, before their attention was drawn back to the now bubbling beaker.
"Curie!" Shaun cried out. "It's reacting to our add-dit-tives." The boy struggled with the last word.
Curie beamed proudly at his attempt. "Then that means that it is nearly complete my assistant." The synth gazed at her love with a smile. Her lover was already over her shoulder as he watched them scribble their notes away. "Young Shaun has been a great help to me today. Why he even gave me some ideas for beneficial mutations after I'm done with my current research."
Aaron's face paled. Curie watched him as he mouthed mutations back at her, his eyes wide in uncertainty and caution. It certainly did not help their situation when Shaun mentioned, "A third arm would be great when your hands are full of everything else and you need to open a door."
The infamous rogue of the wasteland blanched, while Curie sneaked a peck on his cheek. Young Shaun turned away with embarrassment, but Curie saw the small smile on his face and knew that everything was going to be alright.
I will admit, while most people fall heads over heels for Piper and Hancock, my waifu shall always be the robot found locked away in a Vault. A post-ending story with general angst/family stuff with a new relationship between two synths. I may expand on this at a later date, whenever I get back to a Fallout mood.
This came out generally the same way I planned it, though the timetable was much longer than I wanted. Had 3/4 of the story done a month ago, never got around finishing it till earlier last night. In my mind, I see Curie has adapted to having a human body for the most part, though the emotional side of things will always be a hit or a miss for her. As for Shaun, I shall claim the boy as a blank slate to do what I must.