dolevalan: (Sloane)
[personal profile] dolevalan
Title: Easy As
Fandom/original: original
Rating: PG
A/N: For [livejournal.com profile] rougen's prompt, "If I could change the past."



One.

Arthur knew better than to apologize to Danny. His younger brother’s pride would never have survived an apology, even if done far away from their mother’s curious ear. They both knew that Danny should be going too; maybe to the Pacific, or Africa, if not with Arthur to France.

But the army didn’t want men who were deaf in one ear, and a bad bout of pneumonia had taken Daniel Sloane out of the war before it even started. There was no sense in getting sappy over it.

Still, a small, selfish part of Arthur wished that Danny had been beside him, as he marched up the street, a duffel bag on his back. At least, he thought, Mother’s guaranteed her favorite will make it to thirty. The emotion behind it wasn’t bitter, though it was a bit wry. If only one of them was going, it was right that it was him. He wasn’t the one with a beautiful fiancée, or a promising career ahead of him. He was the one scraping by on a lieutenant’s salary, trying not to get shot at.

Hell. Let the Germans try for awhile. Be a refreshing change of pace.

Two.

The blonde was in the kitchen, mixing them both a highball. Tonya. He might actually bother remembering her name. Link it to a phone number. Careful, he thought with a smile as he lit his cigarette. Next thing you know, you’ll be married to her with two kids and a dog named Rover.

She came back in and sat on the arm of his chair, offering him one of the drinks. “Hope you like them strong, Mr. Sloane.”

“Wouldn’t have ‘em any other way, sweetheart.” He took it with a wry grin. Highballs made him think of Celine. Certainly nothing he drank regularly himself. “Are we toasting to anything?”

“To… pleasant possibilities, maybe.” She clinked the bottom of her glass, just lightly, against the rim of his. “If that suits.”

“Hm.” He took a long drink. There was something… almost too good to be true about this dame. She was almost too perfectly suited to his tastes. Refined, with a small edge. Physically a knockout – long legs, great face. A touch smoldering, but self-aware.

He wondered if he was being paranoid.

Arthur took a long drag on his cigarette, letting the smoke be breathed out slip around and between them. She watched, cat-like, her large green eyes intent, amused, and dangerous.

Maybe he’d forget her name after all. If nothing else… he hated people who named their dogs ‘Rover.’

Three.

Clark hit the office at almost a full run. Arthur could hear him pounding down the outer hallway. His phone call had probably seemed on the dire side, on reflection. Maybe that was as it should be.

When his partner opened the door, his face went from white to gray. “Christ almighty, Sloane, what on earth – ”

Arthur raised his hand, willing himself not to wince as he did so. “Breathe. It’s not as bad as it looks.”

Clark shook his head, closing the door and coming to Arthur’s side. “Not that bad? You’ve been plugged.”

Or unplugged, Arthur thought, given how much blood was coming out. He willed himself not to laugh. Giddiness was a bad sign, and wouldn’t help them.

“Why aren’t you at a damned hospital already?” Clark was already taking off his tie, clearly with a view of adding more pressure to Arthur’s own shoddy first aid job. “I’m gonna call an ambulance.”

“No – don’t. Listen to me, Joe, there ain’t time.” Arthur caught his partner’s arm in his, stilling him. “They think I’m dead, and if it turns out I’m not, well. They know where your family lives, got it?”

Clark went very still. “They wouldn’t…”

“You know as well as I do that they would. And not lose a moment’s sleep for it either. Look. If you get me there, I can watch you back, at least. We’ve got a chance to get the drop on ‘em, blow the whole operation wide open.” And if he didn’t make it past that? Well, it wasn’t ideal, but Arthur could think of worse ways to go. “You with me?”

There was a moment of silent tension. Then Joe grasped Arthur’s hand, tightly. His voice a bit ragged, he sad, “Let’s go finish those rat bastards, then.” And he helped Arthur to his feet.

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Estelle

January 2012

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