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11 December 2009 @ 12:39 am
devil's arcade - part IV  
May 18th, 1944, Cassino

Desmond’s uniform is completely torn at the left sleeve; he bites his tongue as Boone, whose clothes are bloody and whose hands are shaking, sits next to him on what was their battlefield underneath a destroyed abbey and stitches a wound on his hip, or tries to.

He can’t bring himself to look up. The whole area is covered in soldiers and from what he has gathered they’re seemingly out of danger, but this isn’t helping Desmond feel any better about the outcome. Even if they did win in the end.

It’s not like they bombed that abbey yesterday, that actually happened three months ago, but still. Right, for him it was only six months before realizing that monastic life wasn’t an option for him, but he still remembers it like it was yesterday, he hadn’t exactly forgotten it and sincerely, after having a translated-in-real-time-thanks-to-Sayid’s-skills conversation with a surviving friar he had felt sick for a long while. At least he wishes it had accomplished something, but sincerely? It didn’t. Accomplish. Anything.

Currently, things don’t look that good at all; there’s a reason why most of the doctors are barely standing up. It took them four bloody months to manage a win here, four months, and they only won because during the last three or four days the Poles from that division, he can’t remember the number of, got themselves practically slaughtered knowing what they were going into.

Desmond isn’t sure that if he had been with their division he’d have had the courage to do the same thing. Whatever. He wasn’t with their division in the first place and damn, the hole left by that bullet he got right in his hip hurts like bloody fuck. At least he had it better than Sawyer, who is currently screaming his lungs out as Jack, whose hands are so bloody that it sickens Desmond just to look at them, takes a bullet out of the same shoulder he got injured in Sicily. At least there wasn’t any sand around here, Desmond thinks gratefully.

He’s tired. He’s bloody fucking tired and he can’t stand this anymore. He wishes he could go back to Clydebank and spend the rest of his life there, it’s not like he’ll ever complain about the weather at home again, but that’s just nonsense. There’s no one there anymore and if they re-built houses, then Desmond doesn’t think his own is among them anyway. He doubts that they’ll have time to build anything at all for a while, anyway. He also thinks he wouldn’t refuse it if he could sit at a table in a small inn and order himself some haggis. He never was one who liked haggis much, but at this point he’d take anything that has Scotland more or less written on.

He also wouldn’t mind getting laid with someone he actually knows; in the last two years he can’t say that he hasn’t warmed anyone’s bed, but it was mostly Italian girls and not really that much. Not that he feels guilty over it or anything; he was perfectly willing, they were perfectly willing, they knew enough English to allow decent communication and at least he still isn’t so desperate to say yes to that Tom guy from an American division, whose surname he forgot, who has been trying to corner Jack for ages. Not just Jack, but well, Jack more than anyone else. One gets what he can where he can, he thinks, and then Boone’s hand shakes hard for a second and Desmond’s train of thought comes back to what’s happening near his hip. Boone is breathing heavily, the needle far enough from the wound.

“You need a break?”

“Maybe after I finish this. Shit. Sorry, man, I’ve just been doing this for fourteen hours and I can’t see straight.”

“Take your time. ‘m not dyin’ here. Not yet, anyway.”

“Yeah, good for you indeed,” Boone mutters before pulling the needle in again.


“Here, Charlie!” Desmond half-shouts. His throat is kind of sore for some reason and he doesn’t have much strength for this anyway. Charlie comes closer, holding a piece of gauze against his collarbone.

Right. That bullet Desmond noticed just in time before it passed straight into Charlie’s neck. He had managed to shove him away far enough for the bullet not to pass through any dangerous place, but it still had hit between the shoulder and the neck and it seems like Charlie is bleeding a lot. Still, better than the alternative.

Charlie nods at them and comes closer, eying the surroundings and not looking much happier than Desmond.

“This is almost as worse as Alamein. Or well. I guess worse. I can’t exactly remember the real aftermath.”

“’Course you can’t, you weren’t there. And tell me that,” Desmond mutters as Charlie sits next to him and glances at their left where Jack is trying to clean Sawyer’s wound.

“Mate, seriously. It took us four months for this?”

“Apparently. How are the others?”

“Michael’s leg is kaputt.” Desmond cringes at Charlie’s awful German accent. “Not for good, I mean. But he’s probably being shipped back home.”

“Well, that’s a fuckin’ avoided fatherless kid. Doc, careful with that, damn you!”

Charlie glances in Sawyer’s direction and lets out half a laugh before turning towards Desmond. Thankfully the wound is almost stitched and maybe Sawyer will shut up, not that Desmond can blame him.

“Jin is mostly okay. Someone was checking him earlier for something, but I doubt ‘twas threatening. Sayid’s fine. Or at least, two hours ago he was. He was around talking with someone before. I think they need him to translate for the when the people from the Resistance arrive. More or less.”

Desmond lets out a breath of relief he didn’t know he had been holding and Boone’s hand shakes hard again. He puts space between the needle and Desmond’s skin for the fourth time since they started this.


“Boone, you’ve got a problem?” Jack shouts, without taking his eyes off his own stitching.

“Nah, just tired. Go ahead,” he answers, but then Charlie shakes his head.

“Mate, you can barely sit up straight. Let that go, I’m finishing that.”


“Hey, I might not exactly have a license for this, but I can stitch, you know?”

His fingers close over Boone’s hand, the one holding the needle; Boone looks at him for a second, looking like he’s going to faint any second, and then he lets the needle go.

Charlie’s fingers definitely brush against his.

A-ha, Desmond thinks, though really. Not his fucking business. He nods at Charlie and he figures that for all the times he saved his ass, Charlie can give him four stitches.

“Jack?” Boone says then, as he stands up. “I think I’m going to catch an hour of sleep. If I start treating someone now I’d probably just kill them.”

“Sure thing. I got it covered here, go ahead.”

Boone nods and disappears in the direction of the infirmary tents.

Charlie nods, finishes the stitching and cuts the thread away.

“All set. And he did some neat stitching, considering he was falling asleep on you.”

“Nice, Charlie. Real nice. Just let me stand up, now... bloody hell.”


“Aye. But I’m not complaining. I could be dead, right?”

“Reminds me, did you ever finish that book?”

“In Naples. Didn’t exactly want to but when they told us where we were going...” Desmond leaves the sentence there; he isn’t going to tell Charlie that finishing it basically felt like accepting that he was going to die sometime soon. He can figure it out on his own. Now he wishes he hadn’t, but then again, you can never be sure.

“Yeah. I guess you would’ve gone for that.”

Desmond stands up and he doesn’t have much of a choice here; it’s either an expanse of tents and wounded people or the monastery’s ruins. He’ll go for the tents; anyway, climbing up a hill is not anything he feels up to right now.

It feels so much like a lose/lose situation, he thinks as he shakes his head and starts walking towards a tent where he hopes to find a replacement for his uniform, since the whole left sleeve is ripped off and sewing the part covering his hip would just mean losing time. The sewing would hold for two days at best.

He almost bumps into Sayid as he walks; he excuses himself and then gives him a look-over. He looks pretty good for having fought exactly the same amount of time Desmond did. Though well, he’s uninjured; maybe that’s why he doesn’t look too bad, even if it’s obvious that he’s tired.

“Had a nice chat?” Desmond asks; Sayid half-smiles at him and shrugs.

“I guess so. We are to rest here for a couple of days, maybe three.”

“And then?”

“Rome, hopefully.”

It sounds really great, to Desmond’s ears. He just hopes it isn’t as bad as Naples was, but as far as he knows, or at least as far as some American guy named Frank, who’s in the air fleet and whom Desmond had met some time ago, they reserved most of their ammo for other places. Not that Desmond is hoping to play tourist here but it wouldn’t be exactly a bad thing if for once he could look at something which isn’t debris.


“Right. Me and your shoulder would really, really appreciate it if next time you’d get hit on the other side.”

“It’s not like I’ve much of a choice here, Doc.”

“I’m serious. This is the third time they’ve shot you there. Another and... well, it’s not exactly going to fall off but if it happens another time… well, there would be a chance of serious damage there, and I’m not sure one could do much for it.”

Sawyer doesn’t really feel like giving a smart answer, mostly because he knows that the Doc is right. Or well, he doesn’t know but he figures that getting shot in the same place thrice in less than two years can’t do much good. Jack grimaces as he stands up, cleaning his hands with a rag that Sawyer just suspects will only succeed in making them more bloody.

“Anyway, I’d go get myself a new uniform if I were you. This one’s not salvageable.”

“At least it’s just the uniform. Argh, shit.”

Jack raises an eyebrow and extends a hand down to him. Any other day, Sawyer would have outright refused it, but he feels dizzy and he isn’t sure he’s going to get up on his own. He raises his good arm and takes it as Jack hauls him up.

“That motherfucking hurts.”

Jack half-smiles and grabs his bag again before heading towards the infirmary.

“Catch some sleep. And hey, think about the bright side. When we get in Rome, you won’t even have to fight.”

Jack doesn’t wait for an answer and leaves; Sawyer snorts. If only that was his main problem.


Charlie would really like to know what the bloody hell he’s doing outside the tents at four AM. Right, it’s not chilly, which is probably a reason, but still. He should be sleeping or at least do something useful while he’s up, but he’s sort of wounded and they won’t let him keep watch.

He doesn’t feel like sleeping at all. That’s probably some kind of adrenaline rush or whatever the bloody hell Jack explained him. Not the point. Maybe he should have gone to England when he had the chance; but the more he thinks about it, the more England seems some sort of abstract entity. He wishes he could come up with something fun enough to take his mind off this, but he has been doing this for almost two years and it’s really not enough anymore. While at Alamein he just didn’t have an idea what the bloody hell he was doing, he doesn’t have that excuse anymore and four months of trying to get here, along with the bloodbath that was going on a day ago, have left him without much of a sense of humor. The bandage on his neck feels unbearable; he’s tempted to rip it out, but he doesn’t know whether he should or not and so he doesn’t.

He goes to the infirmary instead.

Or well, to a huge tent whose lightening is pretty sodding bad but enough not to trip into any wounded person lying on the ground; he nods at the people he recognizes until he reaches a bedside. He doesn’t know the guy sleeping in there but he needs someone to talk to and damn right, Boone’s not only isn’t sleeping but he’s working, redressing the guy’s wound, so he might be up for talking.

“Do you ever sleep?” Charlie whispers; Boone raises his eye for a second, then gets back on his job.

“Maybe. What about you?”

“Didn’t feel like it.”

Boone sort of smirks, but looks at him like someone who gets it. After all, Charlie might be outside doing the slaughtering but he figures that taking care of what gets back from there isn’t that much fun either.

“Well, then you can give me a hand with that guy behind you.”

“For what?”

“Dressing wounds. Nothing too out of your reach.”

There’s something about the way Boone’s blue eyes glint in the dim light of the tent that it’s almost reassuring.

“Alright,” Charlie answers, and when for a second Boone squeezes his shoulder before getting on the other side of guy number two’s bed, Charlie doesn’t have time to find it strange.

Part V
feeling: okayokay
on rotation: Bruce Springsteen - Devil's Arcade | Powered by Last.fm
Shona: lost - charlietoestastegood on December 26th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
♥ Charlie and Boone are continuing to make my heart melt. They're really too sweet for words, and I love how subtle and gentle their relationship is. This entire section makes me want to grab all of the characters and go and hide them somewhere so they can be safe.

Also, shame on Des for not liking haggis. I'm going to take away his Scottish citizenship for that. ;)

Also also, the mention of Tom hitting on Jack all the time made me totally grin. Big gay Tom is wonderful!
the female ghost of tom joad: lost charliejanie_tangerine on December 27th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
Aww, well, I'm much glad to hear that. Those two can be cute, can't they? And I was trying to go for sweet but considering the setting it was kind of tricky. ;) And yeah. That was more or less what I wanted to do too, but sadly no such luck for them. :(

Heee, revoke that! I've never tried it so I don't know about it but one day I definitely will.

I can't have an ensemble AU without Tom hitting on Jack. It's my life mission. ;) ;)