A Note Home

Title: A Note Home

Who: Davies, Kelly

Summary: Kelly keeps company with an injured Davies for a while as they discuss the war and life before it.

A fine example of a French town. The buildings are ancient, some dating from centuries ago, and very pretty, the architecture as beautiful as any town in this part of the world.

It doesn't look very peaceful though, as at least half of the population here seem to be military these days - mostly French and British, judging by the uniforms, but with a smattering of people from all four corners of the earth - Canucks rubbing shoulders with Kiwis, Senegalese sharpshooters marching past beturbaned Sikhs and Hindus and more besides.

Midday, and it's quite a busy one, what with the locals still trying to live their lives amongst the backdrop of war. There's the usual flurry of activity near the hospital, but other soldiers who don't have holes through their stomachs or limbs missing are outside, enjoying a bit of sunshine.

One soldier, in particular, is going from group to group, asking persistently, "Do y'have a smoke?" So far, no one has been willing enough to give up any of their precious cigarettes.

Davies's leg is mostly healed, so he's up and about without crutches. He still looks pale and his right arm is bound up in a sling, so the leg is likely doing better than the rest of him. Still, he isn't dead. There's at least that. He's come outside to get some fresh air, and rubberneck both the locals and other soldiers as they go about their business. The man in such intent search for smokes is rubbernecked in turn, though Davies doesn't rush to offer him anything.

The aforementioned soldier eventually gets a handful of smokes chucked - literally - at him thanks to some irritated sergeant preemptively striking before getting pestered. He grins and gathers them up, saluting a thank you, then plonks down next to Davies and stretches his short legs out. With a glance at the fellow soldier, his blue eyes warm a bit with sympathy. "How're you healing?" he questions, with a distinctive Irish brogue.

Davies instinctively ducks when the smokes are thrown Kelly's way. Not that he's in any danger of being hit. The sergeant doing the throwing had better aim than that. He tries to cover his brief flinching by flicking a hand through his air, like he was trying to straighten it. "Eh? Oh, I'm alright, thanks." He grins broad. It's a little forced, but he still manages it. "Figure I'll be back out in the trenches soon." He's a little worse at trying to manage enthusiasm about that. "Doctors should have time to see you, if you need something. Things been quiet the last couple days. Maybe the Huns're having second thoughts after getting pushed back!" Again, it's an effort to sound like that's possible.

A cigarette finds its way in between Kelly's lips. It's only then does he pat his pockets, searching. "… Got a light?" he asks, returning Davies' grin with one of his own, open yet apologetic. He picks out another cig from his newly gained stash and extends it forward in offering to the injuries soldier. "Back in the trenches… guess that's what we're here for, right? Here I thought I'd be seeing the world and I'm seeing and digging more dirt than I ever thought existed. And sadly dirt in France is the same as dirt in Ireland. Fortunately, I've escaped injury thus far, probably for spending so much time in that dirt. Have you seen a lot of action, then?"

Davies shrugs at the last question, not answering as he goes through his pockets. He does have a match, as it happens, and it's offered to Kelly. "Dirty and digging. Aye. That's the truth of it. So you're Irish, then?" That seems a cheerier subject to latch onto right this minute, than the war. "Where you from? I mean, where back in Ireland. I never been, but I hear it's a country with lots of…places."

Kelly lights his smoke quickly, drawing his legs up and leaning his forearms on his knees. He nods in silent camaraderie, gazing out into the curl of smoke before his face. After a moment, a smile forms. "Dublin," he answers simply. "I don't suppose you would visit Ireland, anyway, but maybe after the war is all over, you can come visit our country and see some of its 'places', aye. And by the time that happens, things might be very different…" he muses, then rolls his shoulders. "Where d'you come from, if not a trench?"

Davies is sitting on a crate not far from the hospital entrance, rubbernecking the comings and goings of the medical personnel, soldiers, and civilians still trying to go about their lives in Ypres. Kelly is nearby, smoking. "They say we'll be home by the holidays…" he mutters. A month or so ago it was 'home before the leaves fall,' but it's getting into autumn now. And they're still here. "I'd rather like to just get back to England. Starting to miss it. Which I never figured I'd say. I'm from London, myself. Well…not quite London. North Finchley, outside it, but I been to the city a few times. I'm called Jack. Well, John Davies, but you can call me Jack if you want. What's your name, Irish?"

«Game» It is now dusk.

"Thomas Kelly," the Irishman says with a tilt of his head, the cigarette bobbing in his lips. He chuckles, perhaps a bit darkly. "It's nice to meet you, Jack, though I wish it was under better circumstances. Missing home, eh? I've not reached that yet. I've still got a lot to see and do… this is a nice break from the fighting at home." Said plainly. He lifts his eyes to the sunlight as it starts to wear towards evening, a broad grin lingering. "But if we're home by Christmas, I won't be complaining. Which reminds me." He fishes out some crumpled paper from his breastpocket along with a pen.

Davies shrugs. "It's just…different here than I though it'd be, is all." He grows a bit uncomfortable when Kelly mentions the fighting back in Ireland. He half looks like he wants to ask about it, but then thinks the better of it. So instead he asks, "You writing somebody?"

"What'd you think it'd be like?" Kelly asks curiously. "I suppose I didn't expect all the digging, thought there'd be a little more hand-to-hand fighting with the Hun, not so much shooting them from afar." He pauses, scratching the pen on the paper to get the ink flowing. "I heard they have these… bombs on sticks. Guess we'll be throwing those at each other for a good while, now." The paper has a few words on it already, some scratched out or blotted. "Aye, my kid brother. He can't read, but Da'll read it to him."

"Bombs on sticks. Aye." Davies can't help but shudder. "They're the size of rocks. Small enough to hold in your hand. Except…they blow up when you throw them. Like those shells they drop from the sky, only smaller." He does not seem to want to talk much about the primitive grenades he's encountered. "I should write my brother, I suppose. He's older than me, but not much. Just a couple years. We were going to join up together, but the recruiter said he wasn't up to it. Was sick when he was younger, legs aren't too good. I was waiting until I had some good war stories to tell him but…maybe I can cobble something together from what we done. Leave out some bits that don't need telling."

As Davies recounts the new fangled explosives, Kelly's face darkens, his lip curling in a grimace. "What happened to settling matters with our fists? I'd love to get my hands on one of those Jerries and just…" He seems to notice his clenched hands and forcibly relaxes them, exhaling. "Seems cowardly if you ask me, throwing bombs and running away." The pen is taken up again in place of a fist, and he continues writing while Davies talks. "He'd probably like a letter from yourself, but aye, he doesn't need to know everything. I leave out the endless hours of digging in my notes home." A grin. Is the green behind his ears showing? "You have any other family, other than your brother?"

"Got another brother, Ned, but he's a good ten years older than Bill and me. He's got a job working on the docks up in London. We don't see him much no more. And then there's my sisters. There's seven of us in all. I'm the youngest. Figured I could still do my part, though." He does still sound proud about that, even if all of this hasn't been whatever he thought it'd be. Davies asks, "What about you? You got more folk back home than just your brother?"

A few ashes from Kelly's cigarette drop onto his paper, and he brushes them away with a quick swipe of a large hand. "There's me Da, and my mam died when I was quite small. I'm the second oldest after my brother Adam, then myself, three sisters, and James, who'll be getting this letter." He gives a bittersweet smile, shaking his head. "You know, now talking about them… guess I missed them more than I knew." He scratches away at the paper a couple more seconds. "D'ye have a girl or anything back home?"

Davies blushes some, before shaking his head. "Not really. I was hoping I might meet a girl when we got to Paris but…guess we won't be getting there for awhile." He tries not to sound too disappointed. And doesn't do a very good job of it. Still, Kelly's words seem to have inspired some thoughts in him. "I should write my family, though. Haven't been as good about that as I maybe should've. Maybe I should get started on that. Got some time while I'm still in here." He stands up, with a slight wince. "Good to meet you, Tommy." That's the nickname he seems to have decided Kelly should have.

"French girls," Kelly gives a sly smile. "I think you're better off without them. There's some good looking nurses, but I'm sure you're tired of seeing them." He gives a bright smile, seeing the interest sparked in the other soldier. "It'll keep your mind off things. And your brother will appreciate a word." He gives a heavenward glance at the nickname, but still smiles at it nonetheless, and stubs out the last of his smoke with a toe of his boot. "See you around, Jack."

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