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: (031)
[personal profile] devoutish
[From here.

As promised, Alfie leaves Royce the bedroom, if he decides to move in there and claim it. He stretches out on the couch, letting his hat fall down over his eyes, and dozes off pretty quickly. The blanket and towel he'd given the kid stay with him. He has no plans to take them back, not tonight and not ever.]
devoutish: (it's not blackmail‚ it's fact-checking)
[personal profile] devoutish
[If twenty-first century London had been overwhelming, twenty-first century New York City is even more so. The buildings are taller, the crowds are more dense, and the streets feel claustrophobic - in some places it feels like you can barely see the sky. It's dizzying when he looks up, but it's hard not to look up, because the sight is breathtaking. He isn't actually sure how much he likes it, but he can't look away.]

Here, can we get to the top of one of these?

[It's a creepy thought. He's never been so high in his life. But he knows that if she says yes, he's going to want to try it, because the curiosity will burn if he doesn't.]
devoutish: (I'll never use steroids to get stronger)
[personal profile] devoutish
[Tifa is mad at them. Again. But again, they haven't budged.

When Alfie had heard that the Undertaker was nearby - just a couple of days away - he'd let Royce know immediately, and they'd quickly decided to split off for a bit to go hunt him down. Six months ago, Alfie would have planned to go alone, leaving "the girls" behind. But somewhere along the line, Royce has become something else. She's become a partner in crime - someone that Alfie can unequivocally trust to understand how he thinks and acts, because she thinks and acts the same way. It's a relief to have that, even though he'd never expected to find it in a woman.

They've been gone for a day now, having split off that morning, and calls from Tifa are still annoyed and clipped. Emily is doing well, at least, even though she's also a little wounded about them having left her. For the third time today, Alfie promises them both that they'll do their best to be back soon. He also knows it's something he can't promise one hundred percent.

With a heavy sigh, he hangs up. Then he goes to look for Royce, who he assumes has gotten a head start on searching the house.]
devoutish: (that's just murder math)
[personal profile] devoutish
[From here.

That is a very excellent shiver. But first things first, he needs to shut that door - on his list of things that he doesn't want interrupted by a freaky gigantic pet snake, this is pretty high. He turns back toward her once he's done, his own shirt half-unbuttoned. He stands there for a moment or two, just taking her in - and then he strides over and runs a hand along her side, down to the hem of her shirt.]
devoutish: (that's just murder math)
[personal profile] devoutish
[From here.

She'll find nothing but bare skin under the robe, his chest hair soft but a little prickly. He opens his mouth to her, obliging, and pulls her closer still - all the way on top of him, if she's willing to go.]
devoutish: (065)
[personal profile] devoutish
[It was a stroke of good luck that had put Alfie within a day's walk of the police station, where Fiona had revived. Watson is on his way too, as are (tentatively) Angel and Rhys - but they're days behind, and there's no question that Alfie will make it to her first. Selfishly, he can't help but be glad about that.

She gets herself to a nearby house, and he's there half a day later - quickening his pace as he sees it up ahead, and calling out her name before he's even up the front steps.]

devoutish: (I can't believe I'm praying)
[personal profile] devoutish
[For two long years, Alfie has been adamant that he's never leaving his world again. He accepts visitors to his own occasionally, but he insists on staying put there himself, refusing to make an exception even for the briefest of trips. He doesn't need to go anywhere else. He doesn't want to go anywhere else. He has his entire life right here in Camden Town (London, England, UK, Europe, Earth), and he's perfectly content to have it stay that way.

This lasts until he gets influenza. It's a particularly bad case even by 1920s standards, and he's heading for hospitalization and isolation. Watson convinces him to come do it in the 21st century.

He's admitted for a week to a hospital in London in the year 2015, where he's pumped full of modern medicine that quickly puts him back on the path to wellness. By the time he's discharged, he's still a little unsteady on his feet, but that has more to do with all the time spend lying around in bed than anything else. Finally, he can go home (to nearly the same point that he had left from - he'd made Watson swear up and down that that was how it worked before he agreed to go). But first, Watson had convinced him to spend a day seeing the sights of the city. Alfie hadn't been too hard to convince. He might as well. He was already here.]

I can't get over the sight of the cars.

[They're walking through the hospital lobby now, towards the front doors. Alfie is leaning on his cane.]

I could see them from the window of my room - it's unbelievable, how fast they go.
devoutish: (a broken clock is right twice a day)
[personal profile] devoutish
[Alfie has been aware of Edgeworth since he'd arrived, but hasn't gone out of his way to talk to him. They don't quite move in different circles - that's hard to do, in a ruined town of less than 100 people - but so far, Alfie knows very little about the guy, and he doubts that Edgeworth knows much more about him.

So when they end up at the same house one night, too close to the nightly lockdown for either of them to find someplace else, there's a little bit of dancing around each other to be done. Alfie settles on the couch (though later he plans to make a bid for the only bedroom and its bare mattress) to sort through his things, digging out a half-empty box of Cheez-Its for dinner. He's been quiet so far, pretty much ignoring Edgeworth, but now he tilts the box in his direction.]

Would you like a cracker?
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: (I will attack you with the north)
[personal profile] devoutish
[When Hyperion pulled out of Pandora, many of the gangs that had operated under their noses came out in full force to fill the power vacuum. Of those gangs, the Solomons gang was one of the biggest, the most prolific, and the most powerful. Unlike many, they were a family gang - close and tight-knit, and intensely loyal to each other (if not always to their outsider allies). And their formidable leader, Alfie Solomons, was notorious for always being at the top of his game.

Another thing the Solomons were known for was working with the little people - mainly the thieves and pickpockets who roamed the streets of Hollow Point, the town that the gang operated out of. Of course, not every small-time thief was brave enough to get tangled up with a bigger gang. But the ones that were... those were the ones that Alfie took notice of. Those were the ones that could potentially be useful.]


wickedchouette: (Default)

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