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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.


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