Author: technicolor-werewolf PM
So, two Russians, a Spanish Basque, a Japanese, a Britisher, and an American walk into a bar... Despite their differences, somehow the Cobra Unit served five years together as brothers without killing each other and even without setting each other on fire. Often. A series of related WWII-era oneshots. Ch 15: Soldiers get time off. Spies don't.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Humor - T. Boss & T. Sorrow - Chapters: 15 - Words: 36,635 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 03-26-13 - Published: 12-02-12 - id: 8757377
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note to the new or returning reader: I essentially started this story cold, and it shows. Over the course of the fic, I've gotten back into practice with fanfiction in general, fully fleshed the characters out and retconned quite a bit of the mistakes I made in early chapters, fixed their dynamic as a unit, fervently studied WWII military history, espionage, and covert ops, created a cohesive headcanon that fits neatly between MGS canon and history as we know it, and even learned how to actually pronounce Russian. I've also learned a lot more about the Boss'/Joy's backstory from Peace Walker, but generally ignored it for my own purposes. I've decided to leave "The Punchline" up even though it doesn't completely match up with my real headcanon and is not at any point my best work...it's sort of like the crazy RP you do with your best friend, except that for some reason I decided to publish it. Hopefully it will sink into graceful oblivion (x.x;), but if not, at least consider yourself forewarned that this is more or less crackfic at its less-than-finest!
A/N: I apologize in advance for my Cyrillic transliterations, which may or may not be correct but are at least there to prevent having to use the phrase "XYZ swore in Russian" over and over again. There was a reason Sts. Cyril and Methodius came up with a whole different alphabet for Russian...
The date was 2 December, 1942, and the Cobra Unit was fresh from Operation Harling. It had been grueling, but at least there was a lull in the action – for now. For the moment, the team was stuck holed up in –
"…the middle of jóbanyj nowhere," the Fury grumbled, completely ignoring the fact that it was his turn to play. "And I've been in prisons bigger than this place, too. They could at least've sent us down to London, don't you think?"
"Maybe so, if they weren't still rebuilding it," the End said pointedly. No one really paid him any attention, as he fell back asleep almost immediately afterwards. It was snowing heavily outside, and since he refused to use up others' resources by eating "normal" food, the lack of natural light was making him grouchier than they had all seen him in months. End had been making do so far by sleeping a lot and using an experimental "horticultural lamp" that he'd brought back from Greece. Whenever Joy asked about it, he would fiddle with the dial and mutter that of course he'd be fine, but it just wasn't the same.
"Shut up and drink your stout, Fury, you're holding up the game," Fear said, poking his comrade in the shoulder.
Fury glowered at him but slapped down his play nevertheless before reaching for his glass. "Two sevens. And if you're trying to get me drunk so I'll be in better spirits, well, I still say this is a pitiful excuse for alcohol. Hell, this is the kind of stuff I drank as a kid."
"Oh, god, here we go again with the vodka rant." The Pain rolled his eyes.
"It is not a rant!" Fury growled. "It is a statement of fact that once you grow up on strong spirits, you can never go back. Isn't that right, Sorrow?" he said, looking to his fellow Russian for backup.
"…twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six…huh? Yeah, yeah. That's why I just don't drink anymore. Unless I can get my hands on at least 8o proof, there's no point. Twenty-nine? No…you made me lose track," he sighed, going back to the beginning of his needle.
The Fear craned his neck around the Pain to get a good look at the Sorrow. "Wait, are you…seriously knitting?"
"Seven, eight…wait, or was that ten?" The Sorrow sighed and just gave up, throwing his project down in his lap. "Yes, Fear, I am. How else do you think I stay warm at forty thousand feet, since you're always complaining about how drafty those planes are and how useless Army issue is at keeping out the cold?"
Fear wrinkled up his nose. He had wondered why his comrade always looked so smug and warm on long flights, but had put it down the whole "growing up in FREAKING SIBERIA, or somewhere close to it" thing. "Yeah, but that's really a girl thing, isn't it?"
"It is a perfectly useful skill," Sorrow said, pushing up his glasses and blushing a little. "And it is not just a 'girl thing'. I learned from my grandfather."
"I knew it!" Fury said, grinning wickedly. "Pansy-ism does run in families."
"Just shut up and let me count," Sorrow grumbled, turning even pinker.
The Fear got up and bounded over, leaning on the edge of the Sorrow's chair to get a better look. "What are you even making? It looks like some kind of mutated octopus, what with all those pointy things."
Sorrow glared at him, curling up a little to hide it as best as he could. "It's a sock, if you must know. Now get out of my face, before you accidentally trip and fall eyeball-first onto one of 'those pointy things'."
Fury laughed. "Ooh, the old "be careful, you might poke your eye out with that thing" lecture. Sooooo scary."
"Hey, is that one finished?" Fear said, suddenly noticing something poking out from under the Sorrow's arm.
"Yes, but –"
The Fear snatched the completed sock before the other man could stop him and held it up to the light, breaking into giggles. "Cute! Real cute. I can just feel the manliness radiating from the decorative border thingy around the leg. Did you make that up all by yourself, or did you have to special order one of those little magazines for housewives with too much time on their hands?"
Sorrow tried to grab it back, but in vain. "Just give it back, will you? Do you know how strict the rationing is on wool here?"
"Don't know, don't care," Fear said gleefully, disjointing his finger and thumb so that the sock swayed grotesquely back and forth between them. "Joy probably got it for you, so what does it matter? That woman could make a rock bleed, so I'm sure she could get you all the pretty little things you could ever want." He grinned and tossed it onto the table, thankfully avoiding all three glasses of beer. "Just take a look at that, boys."
Fury picked it up and smirked. "Very cute, I agree. Are those little snowflakes on there? How do you even do that?"
The Pain squinted a little. "Wait, that's not for you, is it, Sorrow? I mean, your feet are kind of small, but still…"
The Sorrow stormed across the room and snatched back the stolen half of the Joy's Christmas present, retreating to his chair half in irritation and half in embarrassment. "Look, do I make fun of you for how much you cried after your pet spider passed, Fear?"
Fear glared and sat back down at the table quickly amid snickers from Fury. "I had extremely legitimate reasons for that! You have no idea how potent his venom was! I was mourning the death of a comrade – Pain, you understand, don't you? – which is completely different from doing stupid sissy needlework when you could be over here having drinks and a game of cards with us real men."
Pain patted Fear on the shoulder. "I completely understand. Oh yeah, and speaking of cards, I call ne verish on those sevens," he added, reaching over to the pile of cards to check. "Haha! Take 'em back, liar."
Fury gathered up the large pile of cards that had accumulated among the cigarette butts, bottle caps, and crumpled paper on their table. "Ah jób. Now see, this is the reason we let Joy do the spying - I can't lie worth dermó."
"Would you two stop it with the Russian?!" the Fear spat angrily. "We're not even playing that version of the game!"
"Not our fault you never bothered to learn it."
"Yeah, everyone else here is practically fluent, Fear. Get with the program."
"Pikutara joan, Fury. I'll learn Russian when you learn Basque, how about that?"
Across the room, Sorrow untangled his yarn and tried to tuck the other sock away as quickly as he could, but once again he was too slow. "Are those snowflakes? Let me see," he heard, as gentle hands suddenly reached down and plucked it from his own.
"You've got to stop sneaking up on me like that," he said, jumping a little and flushing pink again as the Joy draped herself over the back of his chair.
"You've got to learn to feel me coming," she said, fingering the knitted fabric with a smile. The body was in heather grey, the decorative pattern made up of varying shades of olive and cream. It was…frankly, beautiful. "Do you let your guard that far down when you're not in battle?"
Her soft breath on the back of his neck was making it hard to think. "I…wasn't expecting you," he stammered lamely. "I was distracted."
"Life is one long series of distractions," she sighed. "Learn to shut them out, Sorrow, or they will overwhelm you and leave you susceptible to the attacks that come when you least expect them." …not that she was doing a terribly good job of shutting out distractions right now, herself. Joy dropped the sock back into his lap and pulled back from that particular distraction, shooting a look over at the card table. "The executive decision, boys, is that they are snowflakes, and that they are damn good snowflakes too, so leave him alone about them."
"You're such a killjoy," Fear said, shaking his head and then giggling at his own terrible joke before slapping a card down. "One eight."
"Ne verish," Fury said with a grin. (Further distraction, Joy noted: the sound of more angry swearing in Basque and Spanish against a background of laughter, followed by that of cards being flipped over.) "…jób!"
"The point of the game is to not end up with all the cards, Fury!"
"Well, why don't we change the rules so it is?"
"Because then it wouldn't be bullshit anymore, that's why."
"Well, that's bullshit!"
"I haven't even played my hand yet!"
"WASN'T TALKING TO YOU, PAIN!"
The Joy dragged the last free chair between the End's and the Sorrow's and collapsed into it with a sigh. Between the funny looks she kept getting from the officers' wives, the loud and violent way these three interpreted "brotherly love", the End getting progressively grouchier from lack of sunlight, and now this weird...attraction...thing...she was starting to feel toward the Sorrow...well, they had only been here for less than a week now, but if they didn't get new marching orders soon, she truly believed that she was going to go crazy.