roseandthorn: (has)
[personal profile] roseandthorn
[Royce and Hadrian are between jobs, and these days, that nearly always means that they come to stay in Medford. Gwen always likes these times the best. It's nice to see both of them - skittery, tense Royce especially - be able to rest and relax, and she's not sure she can think of a sight she likes more than the two of them reclining by the fire, heads tilted back on couch cushions and boots thrown off into the corner.

She never says it, but she often finds herself wishing that they'd never leave.

And... Royce. Royce alone is a whole other story. She knows very well how he feels about her - it's not something he talks about, necessarily, but he doesn't need to. She knows him well enough by now that she can see it on his face as plain as day, and she sorely wishes that he could let himself believe in what she knows he sees, too - that she feels the exact same way.

But every time they talk - and they do talk a lot - she understands more and more, and it makes it very easy to be patient with him. They get by on little touches. They hold hands, sometimes. There have been kisses, usually before they go off to bed in separate rooms. Today, they both happen to be heading up the stairs at the same time, as Medford House settles down around them - it's late, and it's been a quiet night. Gwen tosses him a smile, reaches out to run a hand down his forearm, and then-- impulsively, but gently, she rests her fingers on his shoulder and stands on her tiptoes to press her lips to his.]
devoutish: (027)
[personal profile] devoutish
[Alfie had always thought that, if and when he was able to leave Norfinbury, he'd just want to move on and forget as best he could. He wouldn't be interested in visiting other worlds. He wouldn't be interested in letting other people visit him. He'd want to close off as much as possible, to excise that part of his life that hadn't really been real, at least not as far as his own world was concerned. But as time went on, he'd had to admit that there were a few exceptions - people he would want to keep up with even after escaping. Royce Melborn had absolutely been one of them.

And so, when they leave, they keep up with each other. It's a little strange to have someone from another world visit - especially someone who, for obvious reasons, can't tell anyone that he's from another world. That strangeness rankles at Alfie a bit, but not nearly enough to make him not want to see Royce anymore - all it does is make him wish that Royce was from London.

Months go by, and then years. The visits never drop off in frequency, and they start to feel more like an everyday part of life - get up, go to work, pay a visit to a beloved friend in another universe, ho-hum. Memories of Norfinbury still make Alfie's life a little harder, and it still pains him that it's a part of his past that he can't share with his family. But still, he settles. He continues his organized crime work, he gets married (Royce is invited to the wedding, of course), and he and his wife have a little girl. Life goes on.

Until it doesn't. A little over three years after he gets back, war hits again, and with it come the bombings of London. When one of the first raids hits, he and his entire family are at his parents' place for Sabbath dinner, and the building takes a direct hit. Only six out of twenty-seven people are pulled out of the flat alive that day. Five more die of their injuries over the next few days.

And just like that, Alfie is alone in London.

He has friends on his own world, but he turns to Royce. He can't bear Camden Town anymore - it's too full of memories, and right now, every memory breaks him just a little bit more. So he shows up on Royce's world, uses his last bit of strength to matter-of-factly explain what had happened, and asks if he can stay for a bit. And then he promptly goes to bed and doesn't get up for three weeks.

Alfie Solomons is not a man who gives up easily. But this is too much, even for him.]
devoutish: (049)
[personal profile] devoutish
[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.]
devoutish: (put your money where your mouth is)
[personal profile] devoutish
[It's still a novelty to wake up warm. Alfie revels in it a while, drifting in a half-awake state, comforted by the knowledge that he doesn't really have anywhere to be. It's shaping up to be a typical morning in the Meadous... until he cracks an eye open and sees a fox sitting on the floor next to the bed, its nose only a couple of inches away from his face.

He's aware that he should be intensely weirded out by this. He should want to jump up out of bed and shoo the animal out of the house with a broom. And yet... he doesn't. This feels normal. This fox is supposed to be with him - and more than that, it is him, in some weird way. Alfie has no idea how he knows this, but that doesn't affect his conviction in any way.

Without taking his eyes off the creature, he digs an elbow into the side of the man lying next to him.]


Royce. Wake up.
devoutish: (insomnia is my greatest inspiration)
[personal profile] devoutish
[Alfie hates the ice tunnels. Oh sure, they're a relief in some ways - the lack of snow makes for easier, faster travel, and not having to deal with the chill from the wind is nice. But they're also too quiet and too dark, and just all-around eerie. He's not really what one would call an outdoorsy guy, but he likes to be able to see the sky when he wants to.

Because of this, and because his back is acting up a little more than usual today, he's in a grumpy mood. They've just gotten into their house for the evening - one of the shittier houses in the tunnels, no less - and he's about ready to drop. He tosses his things on the floor, heads over to collapse on the couch, and says to Royce:]


Anything worthwhile on the network?

[He honestly cannot be bothered to check for himself right now.]
raccoongirl: (006)
[personal profile] raccoongirl
[After leaving the others, Mercy and Royce ride on towards the river, and the elven territory beyond. Mercy starts out bright and alert, looking at everything that passes them by - exclaiming over pretty birds, pointing out interesting-looking trees, and, always, asking questions.

But it's been hours now, and she's starting to droop. Her chatter quiets. Her legs, which had swung energetically off the sides of her pony, are now still, and her fingers curl into the horses's mane. She lets out a yawn.]
devoutish: (that's just murder math)
[personal profile] devoutish
[From here.

If they're both asleep, Alfie will turn and try to tiptoe away, not wanting to wake them up.]
devoutish: (put your money where your mouth is)
[personal profile] devoutish
[The good news: they get out. They escape Norfinbury, and once they're out of the town's iron grip, all of its effects on them disappear - no more MN poisoning, no more radiation sickness. They're still malnourished and underfed, and the dead among them are still dead, but they're out.

The bad news? They can't go home yet.

It's some sort of time- and universe-travel issue, which Alfie honestly isn't even trying to understand in full. Using the town's power, they'd opened up a portal, but they hadn't had time to fine-tune it. When they'd all jumped through, they hadn't even been sure it would work - but with the town collapsing around them, they'd all been desperate enough to try anyway. It had ended up dumping them all at random into New York City - or some version of it, anyway - in the early twentieth century. Stark and the other tech wizards are working hard on the issue, pooling their knowledge and using this world's resources to figure out how to safely repair and direct the portal to send them all back home, or wherever else they want to go. The ones who can't help with that are, essentially, left to their own devices. Tony the billionaire sets them up in a nice hotel in a decent neighborhood, and provides them with enough money to live comfortably on as long as they don't go too crazy with spending. For Alfie, Royce, Emily, and Tifa, he's able to find a two-bedroom suite that's available to be rented by the month. Nobody knows how long they're going to be stuck, and nobody wants to take the chance of being left without lodging.

After all the trauma of the past few months and the chaos of the past few days, their little group isn't wild about splitting up even just for a few hours. But Emily desperately needs a doctor's checkup, and Tifa convinces Alfie and Royce to go ahead and scope out the room while she (with help and advice from the more modern doctors) takes her to a pediatrician. And so they go.

The hotel is towering, and looking up at it makes Alfie feel dizzy, so he focuses straight ahead as they approach the front entrance and its automatic revolving door. He has the envelope with their room number and key, and as they walk, he hands it to Royce.]


We're on the sixty-first floor - larger rooms at the top only. Fucking hell, I hope they've got a lift.
devoutish: (I know the knife goes next to the spoon)
[personal profile] devoutish
[Ever since everyone in Norfinbury had taken control of the town's dimension-hopping technology, Alfie has stayed on his own world, never visiting anybody else. At first, he'd even been a little leery about the idea of anybody - close friends included - coming to visit him. But by now he's much more accustomed to the idea, and the Riyria duo has an open invitation to pop over whenever they want to.

When Royce and Hadrian come by for visits, Alfie allows them more reign to wander around the bakery than most. There are times - usually during his meetings - when it's "workers only" and off-limits even for them, but for the rest of the time, he trusts them not to do or say anything stupid. They know how this sort of business works. They don't need his constant supervision. And when they show up today, Ollie doesn't hesitate to usher them in.]


Are you looking for Alfie? He's in the back.
devoutish: (Beeswax‚ Not Yours‚ Inc.)
[personal profile] devoutish
[When the car radiator overheats for the third time in a week, Alfie takes it as a sign that it's finally time for more than just another quick tune-up.

They're in a deserted area, which is both good and bad. On the one hand, most of the dangerous gangs are still in urban areas, the way they had been before the world had gone to shit. Out here in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles and miles of fields with only the occasional small copse of trees, they're not likely to run into anyone at all, much less anyone dangerous. But on the other hand, if they do come across anyone, there won't be anywhere to run to or hide. Alfie, as always, has his pistol tucked into his coat pocket, and they have more weapons stashed away in the trunk. But they're a small group - no match for the bigger gangs with armored trucks and heavy artillery. If they meet one of those, they'll be slaughtered.

With his sleeves rolled up and the hood of the car open, he leans in with his tools, carefully tinkering away. He can't afford to make a mistake here - replacement parts are rare and precious. When he hears footsteps behind him, he doesn't dare look away from his work as he says sharply:]


Stay back. You don't want hot steam to the face.

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