A/N:

Hello people of Earth! This is unofficialfansie speaking, I just want to let you know that I'm starting new story! Woo-hoo! As you can probably tell from the description this is an AU that takes place during WW2, which was kind of a strange idea for me to have but hey, who am I to question my brain? Updates will probably be every other day, maybe every two days depending on how much I procrastinate. I think that's all for now, please enjoy this first chapter!

New York City, October 1944

Jack stood in the waiting room of the hospital, clutching his hat tightly in his hands. Ever since he was a kid everything about hospitals had made him nervous; their antiseptic smell, their cold, unwelcoming atmosphere, and the knowledge that not everyone who entered would walk out again.

"Anthony Higgins?" Jack looked up to see an older nurse with a clipboard looking around the room expectantly, and he quickly stood and hurried over to her.

"That's my brother," he explained, smoothing out the creases on his uniform as he spoke.

The nurse looked him up and down for a moment before she nodded, gesturing for him to follow her. Jack did so, his heart pounding as he thought about who he was about to see.

"No, Race! I'se not lettin' you join up, and that's final!" Jack yelled, fixing his brother with a murderous glare.

"You can't tell me what to do, Kelly! I'se 19 years old for cryin' out loud, I can make my own decisions!" Race shot back, and Jack winced slightly. Race only called him 'Kelly' when he was furious with him.

"Jack, maybe you should let him," Crutchie piped up from his place on the beat-up sofa. "You'se goin', why can't he?"

"Stay outta this, Crutch," Jack growled in reply, and Crutchie bowed his head, looking like he wanted to disappear.

Turning back to Race, Jack switched tactics. "Race, I'se only tryin' ta protect you. I don't wanna see you get hurt, or worse!"

Race nodded in understanding, his angry expression fading and one of sadness replacing it. "I get that, Jack. But I gotta do my part, I won't be able ta live with myself if I don't! Please, Jack. Let me go."

Jack considered Race for a moment, then stepped forward and engulfed him in a bone-crushing hug. "Just come back safe, kid," he murmured. "For all of us."

"Mr. Higgins, your brother is here to see you," the nurse announced, and Race's face broke into a grin when he saw Jack standing next to her.

"Well, if it isn't the famous Jack Kelly! How ya been?"

Jack chuckled as he perched on the edge of Race's bed, he'd missed the boy's loud, boisterous personality.

"I'se fine, kid. What about you?" he asked, giving Race a quick once-over. He certainly didn't look too bad, he had lost a few pounds and he had dark circles under his eyes but other than that he looked almost normal.

Race shrugged, his happy facial expression quickly morphing into a mask of neutrality. "I'se okay, I guess. I mean, I'se alive so nothin' else matters much, right?" he chuckled nervously.

After all the years they'd spent living together, Jack could read Race like a book. "Race," he said, his tone stern. "What happened?"

Race looked down at his lap for a minute before he spoke, avoiding Jack's eyes. "I was re-loadin' my gun when a bullet hit me in the wrist," he said, smiling sadly. "Hurt like hell, but I kept shootin' until I passed out." Here he paused, took a deep breath, then pulled his right hand out from under the blanket. Or more accurately, what used to be his right hand. Seeing Jack's horrified expression, he quickly explained. "It was gone when I woke up. Doctors say it got infected, so they had ta amputate. But it's fine, Jack. I'll live."

Jack stared at the stump of bandaged flesh for a moment longer, then tore his gaze away from it and looked at Race. "Guess what?" he asked brightly, choosing to change the subject. "I got a letter from Spot a couple days ago, he's comin' home on leave next week."

Race brightened at hearing that, glad to be off the topic of his hand. "That's nice ta hear, can you make sure he visits?"

"Sure thing," Jack answered, nodding. "I can send Crutchie an' JoJo along too if ya want."

Race nodded enthusiastically and was about to say something else when the same nurse who Jack had talked to earlier walked over.

"I'm afraid visiting hours are over now, sir," she said apologetically, and Jack nodded as he stood.

"I'll see ya tomorrow then, yeah?" he asked, and Race nodded his head in confirmation.

"Tomorrow as soon as visitin' hours start. Don't be late, or I'll get Spot ta soak ya when he gets here!" he called as Jack walked out, and Jack chuckled to himself.

"Crazy kid," he murmured under his breath.

A/N: There it is! A few quick notes, flashbacks are in italics in case that wasn't clear, and also rest assured Katherine will show up soon, as well as Davey, Les, Crutchie, and maybe even Sarah! (Yes, I know she's not in the Broadway musical but I have no shame). Also, I was re-reading a few of my stories and it occurred to me that I don't include nearly enough Race so if you like Race then you will definitely like this story. I think that's all the important announcements I have, please review and let me know what you think of this story! See ya!