Title: Heroes for Ghosts
Pairing/character(s): Donny Donowitz/Smithson Utivich, Aldo Raine
Word count: ~2000
Summary: You never thought you could die either. Not for real. Over there, deep in the French woods, scalping Nazis, your hands covered with thick blood, you felt invincible. There, as you watched a German soldier drop dead over the dirt under Donny's bat.
Disclaimer: Tarantino owns all the scalps.
Warnings: Some angst, some violence and some sex I guess?
A huge thanks to: The Amazing Kat (emcee-mana. livejournal. com) who just saved you from my epic!fail past tense. Really, she's a freaking hero.
Heroes for Ghosts
by Dana Norram
You were proud of yourself.
You didn't close your eyes. You didn't even look away. You watched Sgt. Donny Donowitz beat up some Nazi brains for a whole five minutes and you barely blinked at it. You watched the blood spill over Donny's chest and face. You saw (you heard) the kraut skull crack in two, then into four irregular pieces under his now unrecognizable Arian skin. You didn't close your eyes. Not even once.
You were proud of yourself.
Your family didn't want to you to fight. They told you that you're too weak for war. All your uncles shook their heads in disbelief and they made jokes when they thought you weren't around to hear them. But you were and you shouted back how wrong they were. Your mother begged you to stay. Your father could pull a few strings and let you off the hook, she said to you, and you didn't listen to her or even look at her as you packed your things, and you left without saying goodbye.
When you arrived in Europe, you didn't really think about coming home. You never pictured holding your mom, feeling her body shaking between relieved laughs and happy tears. You never pictured that scene in your head. Not even once.
You never thought you could die either. Not for real. Over there, deep in the French woods, scalping Nazis, your hands covered with thick blood, you felt invincible. There, as you watched a German soldier drop dead over the dirt under Donny's bat.
You smiled to yourself and thought we are invincible.
During the nights you were on watch, you smelt blood even when no one was killed that day. You smelt the dry blood under your boots and fingernails. The blood caked into the carved Jewish names spread all over Donny's bat. German blood. Nazi blood.
It's alright, though. The smell is good. It keeps you awake. Keeps you alert. Keeps you proud of what you are doing.
You're a proud and invincible hero.
Once you asked Donny if you could take a close look at his bat. He grinned at you as an irresistible joke grew over his mouth, but he remained silent as he handed his bat. You were serious as you traced the carved names with your fingers, but you stopped as you read a familiar one. You remembered having a distance cousin named Madeleine, and you thought that name could be her.
You sighed as you gave the bat back to Donny. You felt like you should say something.
You whispered you are a hero too.
Ever thought about going back?
Donny turned his face to yours as you spoke. He had an eyebrow slightly raised.
No really, kid, no.
You sighed into the night. Yeah, me neither.
This is fucking war, you know. We signed up to die. That was our damn death certificate, if you know what I mean.
It was Donny's watch, but you came around anyway. You couldn't sleep. The winter was coming. You sat close to him, holding your arms over your chest and watched too. You listened as he spoke, kind of happy just for the sound of his voice, even if the subject wasn't really the best one.
But, after all, you were the one who started that, weren't you?
Why did you sign up for this shit anyway? Donny continued without looking at you. You should be in school. You're a smart kid. You could be a doc one day, if that scalping skill of yours can say something.
You smiled. Then you laughed.
Your left arm touched Donny's right elbow and you felt him shiver, and as you frowned at it a little bit you also remembered- The winter was coming.
My arms are fucking killing me!
The others Basterds laughed at Donny's words. You couldn't blame them, really. Not as Donny made a face and lifted his arms over his chest, rubbing himself. He had spent the last whole hour beating up a dozen krauts, of course his arms ached. And of course it's hilarious to watch The Bear Jew making faces like that.
But you held your smile as you got up and gave Donny a nip of your remaining brandy and said come on, take it. You'll feel better.
One day you grew distracted, just for a second, but long enough for a Nazi to knife you in your right leg. That was a minor, superficial wound, though, 'cause Donny was right after you and soon, very soon, there's nothing left but an excuse for a body, wriggling over the dirt with his head smashed open. The blonde hair turning red and wet with a mix of blood and brains.
Donny helped you up without a single word, his hand shaking with the adrenaline.
Later that night, as everybody was asleep, you thought you saw Donny carving your name into his bat.
You never thought about screwing Donny until it happened. Just as you never really had a single thought about scalping heads before the war, either, and you had discovered you were pretty good at both those things.
It was Donny's idea for that matter. He was the one who offered to sleep with you as the winter came for good. He was the one who laughed and said you're so damn small; you'll need something like a freaking bear to keep you alive. It didn't matter that you had already survived the previous winter all by yourself.
The first night you two just stayed close like everybody else. No touching, just feeling Donny's warm breathe on your neck. Then, on the second night, he touched your waist with a hesitant hand and it stayed there until you sighed and rolled over, facing him.
He turned to face you as well. He smiled at you, his eyes just as warm as his breathe.
You smiled too. You allowed him to slide that hand into your pants.
It was early morning and you were alone on the day you finally got your one hundredth scalp. The kraut had died with two bullets into his head, so you could say the job was a little messy.
But that's okay. You knew the Lieutenant would be pleased. Somehow you knew Donny would be pleased too.
You were proud of yourself.
You two never kissed and you didn't know that you really wanted to until you felt Donny fall over your chest, breathing faster and harder after he fucked you for the very first time in a single bed of a cheap motel.
His lips were so close to yours. You could see beads of sweat under his nostrils. You were breathing fast and hard too, panting under Donny's weight. You ran your hands over his back, moving your legs apart just a little bit, finding a better position.
Donny wasn't looking at you, you noticed that. His eyes were closed and his face was peaceful, not like he looked after beating a fucking kraut to death. No, it was more like when Donny fell asleep after he was on watch, like he had reached the end of a road and he was like just happy with himself.
So you relaxed and closed your eyes too. Even without the kissing you knew you could live with that feeling you just gave to him.
You were busy sharpening your knife when the Lieutenant broke the news about Operation Kino. You listened carefully, the whole idea amazing and scaring you at the same time, and you couldn't help but feel a strange feeling as the Lieutenant said that Wicki and Stiglitz would join the operation to escort the British spy.
Not you. Not Donny.
That didn't make you feel proud, you knew that. You knew you felt relieved.
You didn't know there was a death sentence over Donny's head as you heard the shooting coming from La Louisiane's basement. You just shared a quick look with him and for a few moments, neither of you said a thing.
You didn't know that until later, as the Lieutenant left you out of the dangerous part, all that you can come up with was I can't drive. You knew you could say I don't speak Italian either, why can't I go instead of Omar? But you remained silent. You knew you couldn't argue with your superior, not without giving Donny and yourself away.
You spent the next few hours trying to learn how to drive. Your hands shook the whole time. You missed your knife and the scalping but you lived. You wondered if Donny was going to make it, too.
Your reflection stared at you as you washed your face and looked in the mirror. Von Hammersmark's hotel bathroom was bigger than the room where you and Donny fucked for the first time. You could hear voices behind the door and you didn't even bother to look back as you heard the door opening.
You need to shave Donny said.
You looked at the mirror and saw him in a tuxedo, his hair done and a small smile upon his face. You know that he knows he is going to die tonight, and that he was ready for it. You weren't, but you agreed with his words, running one hand over your face, feeling the stubble tingling. There was a blade and shaving cream inside the cabinet, and you prepared the cream and spread it all over your jaw line, but as you grabbed the blade, you noticed your hands were shaking badly.
Gimmie that, kid Donny said as he took the blade from your hand. You wanna to cut your throat or what? He turned on the water and started to shave you. You remembered Donny saying he used to work at his dad's barber shop back in Boston. It felt good, you thought, having his hands all over your face. Even if he had a blade with him.
Well, look at that he said after a few minutes. You checked your face at mirror one last time. That was it. You two had to go now. You looked at Donny, who still had the blade in his hands. Somehow, he seemed out of place there, in that fancy bathroom without his bat, not wearing a wifebeater and his stolen dog tags. You took a step closer, taking the blade from his hands and putting it on the sink.
You wanted to say please, be careful but you knew he had a fucking bomb wrapped around his ankle, so instead you took his face into your hands and pulled him down for a kiss.
And just for one second, Donny fought, right before he kissed you back.
Donny had a hand over your mouth as he pushed you against the bathroom wall, opening your trousers and fucking you hard and fast. You closed your eyes and tried to not to think about how that was the last time. You felt the coldness of the ceramic against you cheek and you smelt the aftershave lotion. You felt Donny slide a hand inside your underwear and you moaned into his fingers. He kissed and bit your neck as he thrust harder inside of you.
You noticed the water running in the sink, the only sound you could really hear besides the harsh breathing at the back your neck.
I think Donny would want you to have it the Lieutenant said as he gave you a long package wrapped in brown paper. He always said you're the smart one. He knew you're going to make it through this shit.
Three days passed since you two delivered a barely unharmed Hans Landa to the OSS and you were in a plane flying back to New York, sitting tight next to Lieutenant Aldo Raine.
You never thought about going home, really. You didn't even know what you would say to your parents, uncles and aunts. You wanted to get back to France, even if you didn't have anything or anyone there for you to go back to. You took Donny's bat in your hands, feeling the Lieutenant gaze upon you.
We kinda saved the word... didn't we? You asked no one in particular. The Lieutenant seemed to understand because he didn't reply.
You didn't go to Manhattan as you landed in New York. You just said goodbye to the Lieutenant and took another plane instead.
It was later that night as you stepped in front of a small barber shop in Boston. The street was empty and deadly silent. You opened the package, taking Donny's bat and examining its surface under the light of a lamppost. The wood still smelled like blood and you couldn't help smiling, though that wasn't what you really wanted to do.
You took a deep breath and pulled out a knife.
The next morning, an old man found a baseball bat carved with Jewish names left in front of his shop. Right next to S. Utivich he read the name of his son.
Note: This was my first attempt to write an Inglourious Basterds fic and was originally posted at my Live Journal (dana-norram. livejournal 37053. html). English isn't my first language so save your baseball bats and remember: constructive criticism is very welcome. :)