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Title: "Last one to the enemy buys the drinks in Berlin"
Fandom: Horrible Histories
Pairing: Blenkinsop/Maltravers  
Rating: R
Genre: Angst
Beta: None
Summary: the night before they go over the top.
Prompts used: Blenkinsop/Maltravers, trenches, kissing

A/N: Errrrrrrrrr - so [livejournal.com profile] _afterism  posted this amazingly wonderful and smutty piece called "Conquered the Known World" and said how there were prompts for Horrible Histories at Porn Battle XII, so I went and looked. And wrote this. Which is most certainly not porn, it's angsty angst of angstness. About the cutest guys in the world. Woops.

Disclaimer: Don't own, never will own!



It's nothing like how he'd imagined it would go at all.

He always thought he'd find a nice girl who didn't mind him being shorter than the other chaps, he'd introduce her to his parents and they'd love her, they'd go for walks down the lanes near his village, go to dances, and then, one day, they'd get married and then there'd be children. He wasn't quite sure how the children would get there (well, he knew the basics from the other boys boasting, but it all seemed very messy and not a lot of fun for either party), but they would, and they'd grow old together, happy, and content.

Blenkinsop's arms tighten round his waist and he turns in them, holding on with just as much desperation. The thumps are getting louder.

He never thought he'd go to war.

He only joined the army because Blenkinsop was, and he didn't trust Blenkinsop on his own. He was all limbs and spine, tripped over thin air let alone his own feet, and, well, life without him wouldn't be fun.

A splash outside is accompanied by swearing, and the two of them freeze, waiting for the next hit.

Turns out though, that Blenkinsop was rather good at this army lark. He could get hold of food when even the quartermaster - a wiry little fellow who looked like a rat, probably came from London - couldn't. He wasn't that bright, but he knew when to duck, when to run, and when to stop, and really, that's what mattered here. The generals were the ones with the brains - they made the plans after all - the rest of the Army just had to follow.

Even when the orders didn't make sense. Like that attack on the farm.

He moves his hand to Blenkinsop's ribcage, knows that if he presses down he can feel a small ridge of scar tissue. Blenkinsop draws him closer, kissing the top of his head as they wait out the artillery barrage.

If Maltravers hadn't asked him to hold his rifle while he adjusted his cloth cap, if Blenkinsop hadn't bent down - well, he was in the hospital for a week, and only came back to the line because Maltravers harassed the field-doctors till they eventually gave Blenkinsop back to his company, anything to get rid of Maltravers and his constant presence.

As they walked towards the waiting horse and cart waiting to take them back to the line, Blenkinsop had whispered "Thanks old bean", and the sun seemed a little brighter for Maltravers.

The rain is getting heavier now, clattering onto the already sodden floorboards, the ammunition, the soldier's helmets. It's getting colder, even as the clock starts slogging towards dawn, and he doesn't want to go.

It had seemed so easy before. Confusing - all these people they had to fight because of one Duke getting shot, but easy. The Germans were the enemy, the British were suffering the French for a few weeks as allies, but they would win, sort out Europe as they always did, and then Maltravers and Blenkinsop could go home for tea and medals.

But it had been three years of mud, blood, grey skies, sweltering heat, flies and rats. The Germans they encountered on raids often looked as scared as they did, the higher-ups couldn't agree on a plan, and the food got worse and was rarely available - even with Blenkinsop's efforts, they often went hungry.

He shifts closer to Blenkinsop, even though they're practically inside each other's uniforms at this point, trying to make the blankets cover as much of them as possible. They're scratchy, smelly, and full of fleas, but their uniforms are worse.

Their feet are clamped in between each others, trying to keep warm, Maltravers can feel Blenkinsop's breath ruffling his too-long-for-regulation hair as he keeps kissing the top of his head, and his hands twitch in time with the falling shells.

He shifts upwards in Blenkinsop’s grip, kisses the scratchy cheek that’s covered in grime and smells of gunpowder, feels Blenkinsop shudder as he moves down, bends down to meet Maltravers as he always has.

It’s messy – neither of them have really had a chance to improve. Maltravers was too short and round, Blenkinsop too gangly and absent-minded for them to practice with the girls at the dances, but in the darkness of the dugout, surrounded by the scratching of the rats, the constant rain and increasing thumps of artillery, it doesn’t matter.

He moves a hand up past the warmth of the blanket and grips the back of Blenkinsop’s hair, holding on tightly as he kisses him. He can feel Blenkinsop’s breath on his cheek, his chapped lips opening for him, and he stops caring about the fact that they’re probably going to die.

Blenkinsop tangles their legs even further, kissing back just as fiercely,
. A soft moan escapes from his lips as Maltravers holds on tighter, feels his shirt drag across the recent flea bites on his back as Blenkinsop tugs his chest closer to his, the two of them melded together on a single camp-bed, under a scratchy wool blanket.

The shells have stopped falling.

They break apart, breathing heavily, listening to the silence.

“Guess it’s time then,” Blenkinsop says, his voice rough, and Maltravers can’t speak.

This is it.

He pulls Blenkinsop back, kisses him, tries to say all the things he’s wanted to say for months now but has never really had the chance. Blenkinsop runs his hands through Maltravers’ hair as he replies with a kiss just as desperate, and for one short moment, Maltravers wonders what would happen if they refused to go.

They can’t though. They’re officers. They set the example.

As they detangle, leave the bed, pull on their belts which they polished the night before, tug on their caps, grab their pistols and tuck them into their holsters, their bat-man appears at the entrance to the dug-out.

“Five minutes sirs,” he says, his voice breaking, too skinny and too young under the grime and the mud.

Maltravers replies, but he can’t remember what he said, all he knows is that the bat-man leaves, there’s bustling and tramping of boots on the floorboards outside, and they’re about to go over the top.

He looks at Blenkinsop, bent slightly to avoid banging his head on the ceiling, still all limbs and spine, his belt buckle gleaming in the soft dawn light appearing in the doorway, his hair poking out in tufts underneath his cloth cap.

Maltravers holds out his hand.

“Last one to the enemy buys the drinks in Berlin?” He says, false bravado colouring his words and Blenkinsop smiles a wobbly smile, taking his hand and gripping it tightly.

“Make mine a double whisky old chap,” he replies, and somehow, they let go.

Maltravers can almost pretend they’re about to race to the end of the village.

They leave the dug-out, take their place by the ladders – officers lead the way.

Silence falls on the trench as the Captain raises his whistle to his lips, ready to start the attack.

“Maltravers?”

He looks at Blenkinsop, and damn it his eyes are watering.

“Just wanted to say – thanks, old bean.”

“Anytime old chap,” Maltravers replies, his voice thick, noticing that Blenkinsop is biting his lip again.

As the whistle blows, as they start to clamber up the ladders, Maltravers holds Blenkinsop’s hand.


Date: 2011-08-06 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bandearg-rois.livejournal.com
*sobs* I loved it!

Date: 2011-08-06 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
*hands you some tissues* I'm so glad you love it! Now I need to read some fluff to cheer myself up from writing this :)

Date: 2011-08-06 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bandearg-rois.livejournal.com
Um... I don't know how much fluff I actually have on my journal lol. So I can't help with that

Date: 2011-08-06 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Hee I shall trawl the interwebs :D

And read porn. Sounds like a fun evening :DD

Date: 2011-08-06 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bandearg-rois.livejournal.com
sounds like! ♥

Date: 2011-08-06 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antesqueluz.livejournal.com
Oh, my. Love this.

(and how did I not know about Horrible Histories?!? Thanks for the introduction... "Austria and Germany sitting in a tree...")

Date: 2011-08-06 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Thankyou!

(And I'm glad to introduce you! Warning, it will take over your life slightly :DDD)

Date: 2011-08-06 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paisleypeasant.livejournal.com
This is so so beautiful, seriously. You not only managed to get the characters in there, but there's actual pain in there too and just asddfghjkkl it's pitch perfect.

Date: 2011-08-06 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh thankyou hun!

I'm so glad that the characters worked for you - it was really hard to get across their voices, add on the three years of war, and some how NOT make it completely doom and gloom :)

Thankyou again for your lovely comment! :D

Date: 2011-08-06 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verecunda.livejournal.com
Oh God. *sob* This is gorgeous. So bittersweet. Just the fact that you've taken Blenkinsop and Maltravers and given a realistic take on how the war would have affected them... but still managed to make them recognisably them. Their last lines... *sobbing*

The sense of place was also brilliant, and the end reminded me of the finale of Blackadder Goes Forth, which makes it doubly sad.

Now I'm going to have to go and watch the sketch to cheer myself up... *huggles the poor, innocent boys*

Date: 2011-08-06 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agentblenkinsop.livejournal.com

Same! It reminded me of the end of Blackadder; that was a sad ending to a series :'( But really, it was beautiful and sad and fluffy and realistic, all at the same time!

Date: 2011-08-06 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh thankyou! :)))

Date: 2011-08-06 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
*Passes tissues and cake over* I'm sorry you cried!

But at the same time, I'm having a really hard time not flailing like a loon at this comment :) Seriously - I'm so glad that they were still them despite the war for you!

And I will admit, I was going for a sort of Blackadder Goes Forth feel for the end, because that episode sums up for me (particularly Darling and George in a way) how these characters would be at this point.

But seriously, thankyou SO MUCH for this comment I have a stupid silly grin on my face at the moment :)

(And now I read to write smut to cheer myself up :D)
Edited Date: 2011-08-06 10:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-08-07 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verecunda.livejournal.com
*accepts tissues and cake* Yes, let's distract ourselves with cake...

You're very welcome! :) Yeah, they do remind me a lot of George, being so posh and naïve and dim and lovable. I think there's a definite Blackadder influence in that sketch. :)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go into denial and decide that the Agent Blenkinsop mentioned in the WW2 code sketch is the same Blenkinsop - older and (possibly) wiser - and that he and Maltravers survived the Great War and went on to serve with distinction during WW2.
(I should really not be so emotionally invested in characters from a two minute long sketch...)

Date: 2011-08-07 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh YES, that's a lovely for them - and maybe you shouldn't, but they're so lovable, it's hard not to be :D

Date: 2011-08-06 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wyvernchick.livejournal.com
My heart, it is broken.

I sobbed right through this. It was wonderfully evocative and so gentle despite the horror of the situation. You never lose sight of the real innocence of Blenkinsop and Maltravers and there's little I can say that [livejournal.com profile] verecunda hasn't already said (I've pretty much said exactly the same thing to a friend of mine on Twitter). Just so beautifully written, and inspired by my all-time favourite HH sketch. Thank you for giving us this.

Date: 2011-08-06 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh I'm so sorry!! *squishes you tightly*

Though I do have a stupid grin on my face at your lovely comment :) I'm so SO glad that the innocence of Blenkinsop and Maltravers comes across here, and that it worked well for you :)

Thank YOU for such a wonderful comment :)))
Edited Date: 2011-08-06 10:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-08-06 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agentblenkinsop.livejournal.com

Aw, this was amazing! It was really sweet, and it captured the atmosphere that would have been around, being in love, and having to fight. Really good, well done :)

Date: 2011-08-06 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh thankyou!!! I'm so glad it captured the atmosphere, and the inevitability of fighting, and that it was sweet :)

Thankyou for such a lovely comment :)

Date: 2011-08-08 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agentblenkinsop.livejournal.com
That's okay :) You deserved it! It really was amazing :)

Date: 2011-08-06 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_afterism/
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

oh, ow. this is perfect, painful and sad and still a little bit hot.

He was all limbs and spine, tripped over thin air let alone his own feet, and, well, life without him wouldn't be fun.
oh, my heart. i love the physicality of this, despite the limited movement in the sketch it still seems absolutely in character.

As they walked towards the waiting horse and cart waiting to take them back to the line, Blenkinsop had whispered "Thanks old bean", and the sun seemed a little brighter for Maltravers.
i started clutching my face at this point. so, so lovely, and it's both sweeter and more heartbreaking when you knows what's coming next.

He looks at Blenkinsop, bent slightly to avoid banging his head on the ceiling, still all limbs and spine, his belt buckle gleaming in the soft dawn light appearing in the doorway, his hair poking out in tufts underneath his cloth cap.
i keep rereading this line, both for the wonderful description and for how it's maltravers who is noticing all this, almost cataloguing it for one last time and oh *clutches face*

but they would win, sort out Europe as they always did, and then Maltravers and Blenkinsop could go home for tea and medals and Maltravers can almost pretend they’re about to race to the end of the village
every moment like this, the innocence of them makes what they're actually facing all the more terrible, and it works so well to show the difference between their sweet simplicity and the horrors of the trenches.

so basically you're brilliant and this is brilliant and my heart is aching a bit now and i'm going to reread this a few more times ♥

Date: 2011-08-07 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
I'm having trouble replying to this, because I just have this big silly grin on my face at your awesome comment.

Just - thankyou. Thankyou so so much for a) pointing me in the direction of those prompts in the first place, and b) reading and saying all these wonderful things :)))

(And seriously I've been researching homosexuality in Stuart England for the Porn Battle. So I can write Charles II/Sotherby. God-damnit why is the image of Ben Willbond Sotherby tied up on a bed so gorgeous dkjsbvksdjvbdkv. It's all your fault xD)
Edited Date: 2011-08-07 08:45 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-08-07 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smalltent.livejournal.com
bless this was so lovely. Perfectly evoked characters, sweet and tender n'awwwwwwwwww. please let them have survived the war so they can return.

and amine_eyes - please please please write southers and charles. actual Willbondage erm Southers bondage would blow my mind:)

I love all you people brave enough to post stuff. I have laods in my mind but too embarrassed to share

Date: 2011-08-07 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh thankyou so much for your lovely comment! And I want them to survive too they're too innocent to not!

And heeeeeeeeeeee I am in the process of writing it, but it's kind of growing rather rapidly, so may be a while. That image is a damn fine motivator though ;)

And thanks! I will admit, I've had plenty of practice at removing the fear from the fics I've posted in other fandoms, but I would love to read anything you post! The more fics the merrier! And everyone here is so friendly aswell, which is wonderful :DDD

Date: 2011-08-07 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dracothelizard.livejournal.com
Oh break my heart, why don't you!

Date: 2011-08-08 08:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
If you insist :)

*sends special gaffa tape over to fix it*

Date: 2011-08-13 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xhyperxmusicx.livejournal.com
Ok. This made me cry. I didn't even cry watching Deathly Hallows Part 2. But this? TEARS EVERYWHERE. It's so beautiful and bittersweet and painful, oh my god.

I think my heart is broken.

Date: 2011-08-14 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
*hands over special gaffa tape for the heart*

I'm sorry I made you cry, but really, I'm so glad that it worked for you :) (and they are so ridiculously lovable that I couldn't help but wibble when writing as well)

Thankyou for your lovely comment :)

Date: 2011-08-21 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nix-nox-noir.livejournal.com
...

I actually don't know what to say about this.

This was divine - amazingly divine.

I can't stop thinking about it, as it so perfectly captures the crushing fatalism of the trenches.

I really want them to survive and go on holding hands forever.

(please tell me they do)

Date: 2011-08-22 10:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
*rolls around the comment a little*

Eeeeee I'm so glad you like it!

And in my headcanon they do - it's rather thought out which is worrying, but oh well :DDDDD

Date: 2011-09-04 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] broncobabe007.livejournal.com
So apparently I read this about a trillion times, bookmarked it, and never got around to leaving a comment? I am a bit rubbish sometimes.

OMFG, this fic. It is so beautifully, achingly vivid. I can't read it without tearing up.

The generals were the ones with the brains - they made the plans after all - the rest of the Army just had to follow.

I don't even know what to say to this. I really don't. It is perfect.

Blenkinsop runs his hands through Maltravers’ hair as he replies with a kiss just as desperate, and for one short moment, Maltravers wonders what would happen if they refused to go.

This line always hits like a physical blow. A brief foray into something that isn't quite optimism but isn't crushing fatalism either in an environment so utterly hostile to it.

He looks at Blenkinsop, bent slightly to avoid banging his head on the ceiling, still all limbs and spine, his belt buckle gleaming in the soft dawn light appearing in the doorway, his hair poking out in tufts underneath his cloth cap.

The things this line does to me cannot actually be expressed in words. It is more of a wailing and rending of garments sort of response.

Um, I am going to stop now, because otherwise I will quote the whole thing and prattle about how it takes away my ability to be sensible and coherent. Because it does. It really truly does.

Also, de-anonning here a little - I'm the anon who prompted for 'please, please, please let them survive and be all domestic and wonderful together' over on the meme, and I am so stupidly excited that you are writing it.

Date: 2011-09-04 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
So I'm trying to say something coherent and witty, but I'm basically flailing like a loon at your comment.

Just - oh GOD I'm so so happy that you love this, and n;vjdbsvlkdsvlds you're amazing :DD

:DDDDDDDDDDDd I am writing it, but it's coming incredibly slowly (damn those other prompts), but it will be done!

Date: 2011-09-13 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twizzle-eeyore.livejournal.com
So beautiful! Such raw emotions so successfully portrayed. I tend not to comment on fics, but I couldn't pass this by without commenting to let you know how much I loved it. It's now going to be added to my memories to be read again later.

Date: 2011-09-13 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Aw thankyou very much for such a lovely comment! I'm so glad the emotions worked for you, and that you liked it :DDD

Date: 2011-09-13 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] balinese-baby.livejournal.com
Trying hard not to cry at this, the husband would certainly want to know what I was reading and I think he would definitely think I was mad. But this is so beautiful, I will just have to hope that they will survive and come back for a follow up story.

Date: 2011-09-13 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amine-eyes.livejournal.com
Oh I'm sorry! *squishes and offers tissues* But, thankyou for your GORGEOUS comment :) and in my headcanon they do, so hopefully I will one day get it onto paper :)

Thankyou again for such a lovely comment :D

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