devoutish: (049)
Alfie Solomons ([personal profile] devoutish) wrote in [community profile] wickedchouette2017-06-29 01:26 pm

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[Alfie Solomons and Royce Melborn have been inseparable since the day they met - a day that, even over thirty years later, they both claim to remember with picture-perfect clarity. There are some discrepancies in their retellings, but the most important details are the ones that they both agree on: Alfie (aged six) tossed a ball to a mate that ended up going wayward and hitting Royce (also aged six). Given that they both had somewhat rough-and-tumble lives - Alfie as the Camden Town-bred son of a big-time gangster, and Royce as a habitual runaway from the orphanage where he was meant to be living - they of course came to blows. The fight had ended with some nasty-looking bruises on both of them, and Alfie had ended up bringing Royce home for Sabbath dinner.

As the years went on, Royce became something of an unofficial fourth Solomons brother - Alfie's loyal friend, partner in crime, and twin. He kept coming to those Sabbath dinners, and to all the holiday dinners as well. When they were grown, he got a job alongside Alfie, working for Alfie's father's gang. And when the war started, all the brothers including Royce (even Henry, who's a married father of two at this point and therefore wouldn't be drafted) signed up to go off to fight. Royce and Alfie, as it happened, ended up assigned to the same regiment.

They're two years in, now. They're thirty-seven, and they're in France. Like most regiments, theirs has been switching between serving on the front lines and being taken off to serve elsewhere and get a bit of a break. This is their fifth cycle on the front. They're nearly four weeks in.

The whistle of a bomb arcs overhead, and hits another trench about five hundred yards away. Alfie, catnapping in the corner, doesn't even stir - they've all had to quickly get used to sleeping whenever and wherever they can. He'll have to be up soon, though - in five minutes, it's time for watch duty with Royce.]
bywolves: (hooded.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-06-29 06:23 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Royce gets woken up first. He doesn't complain, just rubs at his face and pulls himself to his feet. The officer tells him to go wake up Alfie, and Royce salutes him before heading off through the muddy trenches to find his brother.

The other soldiers have remarked how funny it is to see the two of them. One big and burly and the other small and wiry - both with the same sense of humor and wry sarcasm. They've been friends since they were boys and constantly they're teased about how they're more in-tune with each other than a lot of men are with their wives. Half the time they don't even communicate with words, just vague gestures and grunts. And despite everything, they're still in decent spirits. It's hard out here, but Alfie's not half bad at entertaining the others, and Royce is always there by his side, adding quiet remarks to make the other soldiers in the trenches laugh.

Royce locates Alfie napping. He hates to wake him - sleep is so very precious here - but he's been ordered. ]


Alfie. [ Royce says, crouching down next to him. He scowls as a rat cautiously makes its way closer, shifting his gun in his hand. ] Get up. Before the rats eat you.
bywolves: (you're going to regret that.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-06-29 06:57 pm (UTC)(link)
One. [ Royce says, glancing up at the overcast sky. ] Just about. We've got watch in two minutes.
bywolves: (that's what you're wearing...)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-06-29 07:18 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Royce pulls him up easily enough. He imagines that's one good thing about the war - he's stronger than he ever has been before. Moving sandbags around has done wonders for him. ]

Every fifteen minutes it feels like. [ Royce says, running a hand through his hair. It's so much shorter than he's used to and he's still adjusting to it, even two years later. ] No more than usual, though. You just missed one.
bywolves: (sass.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-06-29 07:39 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Royce snorts. ] Come on. Leave them to their potato mashers. We've got to get to watch before we're hoisted up on a flag pole for the Germans by our own officer.

[ He ushers Alfie off down the crowded trenches, to their cramped watch spot they've been assigned. ]
bywolves: (hnnnn distance.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-06-29 07:48 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Royce has gotten used to being touched out of necessity - the trenches aren't spacious and he's spent a few nights curled up next to other men. He doesn't protest the hands that reach out to pat at him as he passes, just gives little nods and smiles as they go.

He crawls up to his post - it's just a little higher up, enough that he can peer over No Man's Land, since he can see pretty well in the dark - and then glances down at Alfie. ]


That's always the plan. [ Royce says, shifting. He winces, sore. ] Might break up the monotony, though.
bywolves: (broods)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-06-29 08:32 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Royce settles down, easy and comfortable with Alfie at his side. ]

Good. Best not to take chances on infections in general. Good to know they're being reasonable about it and not sending him back here with the rats. [ He's glad to hear it. He was worried - Henry's as much a brother to him as Alfie is. ]

You think they'll let the rest of the family see him while he's holed up in England? [ He tries to keep his voice even. He misses them, too. ]

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bywolves: (oh fuck.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-12 11:36 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Royce doesn't want to leave in the first place. But he knows he doesn't really have a choice in the matter, so off he goes, back to London, and he's so, so glad to see the rest of the family. He's exhausted and overwhelmed by the amount of love he gets from the Solomons left home, but it does feel good to get.

He wants to know about the war front, but nobody will tell him - he's still recovering, and he's not really supposed to be up and wandering the hospital. But when he hears the nurses whispering, it almost doesn't register. He hears his name, and then he registers bad luck, and there's a certain flash of panic that hits him like lightning.

What does that mean? What - are they talking about Alfie? Are they talking about the other boys in the family? What happened? What's a crying shame? Royce knows he's not supposed to get up, but he does so anyway, pulling himself up just enough to try and listen further, to see if he can get more information. ]
bywolves: (peeks in)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-12 11:54 pm (UTC)(link)
[ Well. That's terrifying.

Royce sits up, wincing horribly and only just barely biting back a noise of pain. His heart is thudding in his ears - he needs to find out what happened. He needs - he needs to know, he has to know if -- one of them is dead. Alfie might be dead. Royce wavers, his head spinning at the realization. Alfie might be dead.

He doesn't even know where to start looking. What to do. If he's dead, his body might be out in a field. What if there wasn't enough to bring home? Royce clutches at the bed, trying to pull himself together. ]
bywolves: (ohhh...)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-13 12:01 am (UTC)(link)
[ Fuck. Fuck. Royce pulls himself to stand, biting his bottom lip hard enough to almost make it bleed. He'll look. He has to look. There's - there's a morgue here, right? There has to be. His breath catches, but he shakes his head. No. Stop, just.

Logically. Logically figure this out. He doesn't care who sees him or if someone yells at him, he's going to look to try and find some sort of evidence. A list of admissions, maybe, he doesn't know. He can walk fine enough to get the the nurse's stations to try and puzzle out where he might find the Solomons boy the nurses were talking about. ]
bywolves: (huffs.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-13 12:18 am (UTC)(link)
[ Well, listen, Royce is very good at picking locks. It doesn't take him very long to get in there, though he is practically limping the whole way. He hurts, but this is more important. Royce gets in, and opens the cabinet, searching through for Adam, Henry... Alfie. A place, a room, anything.

He's not sure he'll find a condition, and really he doesn't care much about that either. He just wants to figure out if they're here. If Alfie's here. If he has a room, or a bed. ]
bywolves: (triple what the fuck)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-13 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
[ Royce stuffs the records back in the cabinet, and rests his head against said cabinet for a good few minutes, trying to breathe. Someone is dead. Someone died, someone's gone and he doesn't even know who it is. They're not a patient, so that means - that has to mean --

Royce slams the cabinet shut and doesn't bother locking either it or the door behind him. He's going to search this goddamn hospital from top to bottom until he finds his brothers. Whether they're dead or alive. He limps his way to check every room, trying to keep focused on that objective so that he doesn't lose it, so that the burning behind his eyes stops. ]
bywolves: (touched a nerve.)

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-13 12:38 am (UTC)(link)
[ Royce is in a serious amount of pain at this point, the wounds along his back burning, but he doesn't stop. His name almost isn't enough to stop him, but he does look over his shoulder, pausing for just a moment. Maybe he leans heavily against the wall. It's fine. He's fine, totally. ]

Where is he? [ Royce says, voice strained from walking. ] Solomons. Whichever one, I don't - I don't know who, where is he? Where are you keeping him?

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bywolves: (something strange (in the neighborhood))

for whenever!

[personal profile] bywolves 2017-08-19 04:37 am (UTC)(link)
[ Royce gets caught. He's not supposed to be at Alfie's bedside, but - technically, when they find him, he's still on leave. It's the last day, but still, he's technically on his own time. And they can't exactly punish him for coming back to the war. He gets a bit of a slap on the hand, but they're pressed for soldiers, so back to the front lines he goes. He promises Alfie, before he gets sent off, that he'll make sure that Alfie knows Royce is alive.

It takes Alfie a while longer to get back. Royce spends a few weeks in the trenches by himself. But when Alfie finally is cleared to come back, Royce doesn't give two shits who sees him scramble up from his cot. Royce bear hugs him, practically, glad to see him standing. The relief is practically palpable.

And then, it's... life at war as usual. Weeks pass. And they're in the trenches, curled up and trying catch some sleep. It's been quiet. Royce doesn't know if he likes that or not. He should be sleeping, he just... can't get comfortable enough, which has him twitching against Alfie's side. His back is killing him, a little. ]
Edited 2017-08-19 04:37 (UTC)