Title: Dirge for Dress Blues
Characters: Merriell "Snafu" Shelton, Eugene Sledge
Disclaimer: I don't own The Pacific, nor do I mean any disrespect to the real men in K company, and their families. This is based on the actors' portrayal of real men in a fictional setting not the actual men themselves.
Warnings: Mentions of Character Death, slight PTSD on Sledge's part,
Summary: Written for a pacifickink fill:
Prompt: Snafu manages to show up during the dance that Eugene refuses to participate in. Mask included.
A/N: Pretty straightforward repost from the kink meme.
Eugene gets up from his spot amongst all the couples escaping the dance hall, and sighs. It was a waste of a night, as he watched Sid go back to his fiancee, he felt betrayed. He felt wrong all together being there. Everything felt like some kind of odd fever dream, the music too loud, the people and their body heat stifling.
He couldn't even hold a proper dance with a girl without it feeling awkward, their hands are too soft, their make up making them look like dolls more than women. He didn't belong here, so many guys that never made it back did, better guys deserved this.
Turning to go, feeling more sickened than appeased, he hears the crunch of gravel behind him and suddenly: "Watcha doin' Sledgehammer?"
And then it starts.
He's so lonely for someone to relate to, his mind's bringing up people from his past. Still, he turns around, tries to act like he's humoring himself, but hoping, maybe, please, just mayb--
There's a marine in dress blues in front of him, Eugene identifies them right off the bat, and gapes with his mouth open. The mask is a dead giveaway, faded from Mardi Gras long past, the gold, green, and purple still visible in the faint lamplight.
He swallows dryly, this is just another dream, somewhere the Japs will come in, somehow Oswalt will appear, splattering between them. But the commotion of the party is very real around them, his palms are still sweaty from the humid heat, and...it really is someone who left him without a goodbye before him.
"You're sure makin' this a waste of a train ticket," It's said with all the same bravado, but something seems off, Eugene doesn't call him on it. Instead, he attempts a smirk back. It's not perfect but it works.
"Strike out with the ladies again?" There's a grin back under that mask, and Sledge does feel his grow at the sound of the deep chuckle it emmits.
"I ain't here for a bunch of painted up broads anyways," Snafu's walking towards him, slow and measured, like he's not quite sure what he's doing but can only press forward, "what about you, Eugene?"
Because some small part of him still thinks this is a dream, and another bigger part of him is tryin so hard to match Snafu's attitude, Sledge replies back truthfully, "I'm not sure why I'm here."
And suddenly, just as he showed up back into his life, Snafu laughs, it's loud and low, cuts through all the clamor and noise of the party. Sledge finds himself walking closer, attracted to it. It's surprisingly more soothing than even the softest feminine voice spoken to him.
"Pretty little rich boy like you is more out of place here than I am, well shit," Snafu remarks between dying guffaws and straightens, "then, if you don't belong here, and I sure as hell don't, why don't we get the fuck out of here then?"
"Wait," He's not sure of where these words are from, why they suddenly bubble up from his throat by their own emission, and his throat feels so dry, "dance with me."
Snafu stops, jaw setting, and Sledge knows that the request is pushing it, that anyone can walk in on them, and hell, he's not wearing a mask, and he doesn't care. All he knows is that, in that dance hall, he couldn't find it in himself to hold anyone's hand, couldn't relax for a god damn minute to let himself even hear the beat, but maybe, just maybe, things could be different with Snafu.
He's already fucked anyways, been dwelling on Snafu's disappearance more than the reunion of any of the girls back here, back what he thought was home, and part of him still tries to acknowledge it as such but it's so, so hard when this pressure pushes on him and he feels like he can't even breathe.
Snafu still doesn't say anything, just interrupts his thoughts without any kind of ceremony and pulls their bodies together, like it's the most natural thing in the world, like the last time they hadn't been this close, artillery fire had been going off around them. They move towards the cars, away from the people and the music is the only real sound left, faint and in the distance, everything else obscured.
"Don't complain if I step on yo' toes," Is all Snafu offers up, he wraps his arm around Sledge, and Eugene finds the touch comforting, feels soothed in Snafu's calloused palms. "One dance, Eugene."
"You'd try to step on my toes anyways," Sledge remarks back dryly, but he can feel the corners of his lips tug at him, and he nods, "course Shelton." Snafu makes a agreeing noise in the back of his throat and moves his feet.
It's a slow awkward pace Snafu sets, his moves are slightly wobbly, and Sledge feels slightly guilty that he's making Snafu lead even though he's the one who should be practiced in this. But it suits them somehow, suits him, and even though the pace isn't particularly fast or slow, Sledge commits the whole experience to memory. A small part of him wouldn't mind spending the night dancing away if it'd been like this.
He still has so many questions to ask, how the hell Snafu knew to get here, how he knew to show up for the ball, and the more pressing questions of he could stay/would stay, and why he even left without goodbye in the first place. Instead he just focuses on Snafu, here with him, only them in the hot Alabama night.
When the song fades, and just before they break apart, they share a breath between the two of them and it's more intimate than a kiss, flowing through their teeth and slipping between their lungs. Maybe it's a promise for more intimate things later on, the way Snafu looks at him as Sledge undoes the ties for his mask, promises that maybe it's more than likely.
Outwardly, Sledge reaches for his car keys, and tugs on Snafu's sleeve. Snafu follows, easily enough, and they finally take their leave.
It's a far cry from returning home with a girl on his arm, but Sledge is just fine with that.