Title: The Gypsy and the Bear Jew
Disclaimer: What's theirs is theirs; what's mine is mine. It's as simple as that.
Summary: The brief love story of two crazy kids from Boston. Donny/OC
A/N: Inglorious Basterds made me a very happy woman. Donny just added to the joy.
Lena Ackerman wasn't like any other girl, Donny told the Basterds one night, that he had ever known.
She didn't put out like Betty Harris, or flirt shamelessly like Margo Bernstein. Hell, she didn't even bat her eyelashes at him when she passed him on the street. When they were kids, him no more than thirteen and her at the ripe age of eleven, she ignore him stoically every moment of the day. She would just roll her eyes and go back to washing dishes whenever he tried to get her to talk to him. Donny figured she was mute.
And then she turned fourteen and Donny found himself on the end of a very wicked, very barbed tongue.
His friend Dante was Lena's older brother, and he liked to tease Donny that Lena merely filtered out the idiots, and that he must have fallen under her radar as such. Donny couldn't believe it. At sixteen, he was a downright sexy specimen of Boston manhood, if he did say so himself. To think that a young woman wouldn't like him just wasn't possible, but for some reason, it seemed that she didn't.
The fact of the matter was that it didn't seem like Lena was ever going to fall for the type of guy that Donny was.
What he didn't tell them was that he found himself trying hard to impress her, playing baseball until his shirts bulged over the muscles in his arms. He would wear nothing more than a white, sleeveless undershirt in the summer, when the heat was stifling, just to catch her eye. More often than not, Lena's eyes would just graze over him, but sometimes he caught a smile, and that just encouraged him even more. The years passed, and he went through girlfriends like dirty socks, but after each one dumped him for his quick temper and reckless attitude, he found himself on the Ackerman's stoop, leaning against the railing while Lena scolded him and told him exactly what he had done wrong. She had passed the point of merely insulting him at every turn, and now liked to chastise him whenever possible. He took the brunt of her criticism silently, a thing he never did with any other living soul except his mother, and admired the way her green eyes sparked in the fading sunlight.
Pretty soon, Lena started liking him more than she would have liked to admit. Donny could tell. She greeted him warmly when he came by to pick Dante up for a game, and she always liked to hear his play-by-play afterwards. She wore a certain brand of perfume that made Donny's heart beat a little bit faster, and sometimes he would rub up against her, just to get that scent on his skin. He would jack off to the smell of it, late at night, and refuse to feel dirty about it. When he came, her name was on his lips, the sweetest prayer he had ever said.
He helped her carry in the laundry once, when the sky looked like it was about to dump an entire ocean on the West End, and she gifted him with a beaming smile as he passed her the last basket and almost drowned in the sudden downpour. She laughed then, and he couldn't help but smile at the way she laughed with her whole body. Hell, she laughed with her whole soul. She let him come in and get dry in front of the furnace. She even gave him a cup of coffee for his trouble. Dante came home from work, also sopping wet, and teased them both for looking like gossiping Yiddish mothers, but that just made Lena laugh again. From that day forward, Donny woke up every morning hoping to make Lena laugh.
When Dante was sent to Europe, one of the first to go, Donny stood with her on the platform, waving until the train was out of sight. He heard a sniffle and turned to see the normally tough and sharp Lena pulling a handkerchief out of her pocketbook. He silently put a hand on her shoulder and she looked up at him with watery eyes. He smiled sadly and Lena collapsed into his shirt, sobbing. Donny knew he would never look at another woman again.
After he had seen her cry, it seemed like there wasn't any other boundary between them. His twenty-third birthday passed, and then her twenty-first, and their families began to talk of marriage. Whenever his mother or her grandmother mentioned anything close to a wedding, Lena pulled Donny out of the room by his shirtfront and took him on a long walk to wherever she was in the mood for that day.
"You know, you're sorta a big guy," Lena mused on one such occasion, as she was leaning against the railing on the pier, looking out towards the ocean. Donny was watching her, as usual. It seemed to him that he could never stop watching her. He smirked and ran one hand through his dark hair.
"Maybe you're just short," he flung back and she turned to him, grinning.
That was the great thing about Lena. She didn't argue like the other girls, nor did she get offended about much. There was only one thing that could piss Lena off: when other girls flirted with her man.
By age twenty-four, Donny Donowitz was proud to say that he had been claimed by a hot-blooded Jewish-Italian woman with a temper almost as fiery as his own. The rumors around the neighborhood were that Lena's mother had been one of the Roma, a gypsy, straight off the boat, when Lena's father had married her. After two kids, she decided enough was enough and went back to the old country, leaving Dante and Lena with their father. Poor Adam didn't know what to do with two children, so he gave his mother full reign. Miriam made sure those kids were brought up Jewish, but everyone still knew that Lena Ackerman's mother had been a Roma. Donny never brought it up. They just didn't worry about things like that in their relationship.
Other people, however, weren't so kind. There was one moment in particular that Donny would recount to the Basterds that would have them rolling on the forest floor. Donny had been taking a breather outside his father's barbershop one afternoon in August. It was hot as the Devil's spit, and Donny had stripped down to nothing more than his undershirt. He was sitting outside the store, drinking a Coke, when Betty Harris walked by with her herd of harpies.
"Donny Donowitz, for God's sake, put on a shirt!" Betty called out, smiling as her fan club snickered. Donny smiled back politely and cocked his head sideways. He tightened his grip on his Coke bottle in an effort not to say anything. Unfortunately, this also flexed his biceps in just a way that made the young women titter loudly. Betty opened her red-lipsticked mouth to say more when Donny heard,
"Nah, Donny don't put a shirt on. I like you better like that."
Lena walked up behind Betty and pushed through the group of girls like they were nothing more than bowling pins.
No, Donny thought to himself as his mouth went dry. Lena didn't walk. She sauntered. She came right up to him and rested an elbow on his shoulder, pressing her petite frame against him. Her brown hair flashed in the sunlight, flowing over her shoulders and coming to rest on the tops of her breasts. Her red dress, bold and daring for a young woman, was cut just so that all her curves were accentuated perfectly. With her tan skin and green eyes, she made an exotic picture, and Donny wished he had a camera to catch her just as she was.
Betty Harris' nose wrinkled. "Ugh, Donny," she whined. "What're you doin' out slummin' with a gypsy?"
Donny's breath caught in his chest, but before he could say anything, he felt a hand on his chest. He didn't have to look up to see Lena's usually smiling face smooth and expressionless as glass. Without a word, Lena's hand slipped up his chest, over his shoulders and onto the back of his neck, in a seemingly possessive gesture that made Donny shiver. Her fingers wound themselves in his dark hair, massaging gently. He had to breathe deeply to keep from getting hard at that touch.
Suddenly, Lena's hand was gone, and she was sidling up to Betty with a grin on her face that made Donny nervous. "That's a swell dress, Betty," Lena cooed, her Boston drawl getting stronger with every word.
Betty Harris, quite possible the most vain, and stupid, woman in all of Massachusetts, was dumb enough to smile back and take it as a compliment. "Why, thank you," she simpered, swirling the yellow dress around her. Donny thought she looked like an egg yolk, but he was too busy watching Lena's hips sway to say much of anything.
"I suppose you think a dress like that is goin' to get you a date with my man," Lena continued, voice dropping to an icy chill. The girls around Betty started to back away, catching on that Lena wasn't in a cheery mood. Betty, still oblivious to the fact that she was in mortal peril, raised an eyebrow.
"Your man?" she scoffed. "I don't remember anyone sayin' that Donny belonged to you." She laughed delicately at Lena. "In fact, I don't remember him ever sayin' anythin' about bein' with you," she added, still blissfully unaware that she was facing her death.
Lena smiled mirthlessly. "Like I said," she sighed, running her eyes up and down the length of Betty's dress, "that's a real swell number you got there." Her eyes snapped up and Betty stopped laughing. "I wonder what it'd look like with bloodstains."
Betty didn't have time to look confused. Anyone could have told Betty that insulting Lena's heritage made her angry; questioning her relationship with Donny, as vague as it was, made her downright furious. Betty had signed her death warrant the minute she decided to flirt with Donny Donowitz. The minute Lena's fist hit her in the nose, she went down like a wet rag, screaming like she had been shot. In a flash, Donny was up, arms wrapped around Lena's waist. He dragged her down the alley behind his father's store, one hand on her mouth and the other holding onto her hip. She wasn't fighting him; no, she was perfectly calm, swearing in Italian behind his hand but perfectly stationary in his arms. The whole thing happened so fast that Donny didn't think anyone had seen it, but he hid in the shadows of the alleyway until Betty, bawling her eyes out, and her cronies had disappeared.
Donny was shaking all over, but not from fear. He knew Betty wouldn't tell anyone about who had hit her. To admit that it had been Lena would have been insulting to her pride. No, Donny Donowitz was shaking because he had never been so fucking turned on in his life. He released his grip on Lena's waist long enough to spin her around and press her to the wall, claiming her mouth with his. His strong arms cradled her while her arms snaked up around his shoulders, clinging to him like her life depended on it.
That was the point where Donny would stop and smirk at the Basterds. Smitty was clinging onto his every word – poor kid was probably still a virgin – and Omar was gaping like an idiot. Donny would stop, clear his throat, and get up, swinging his bat over his shoulder like he had nothing more to tell. The poor mooks would moan and tell him he was being unfair, that he had to finish the good parts, but Donny didn't want to. Any other broad, and he would have gladly told them exactly how she screamed his name when she came. But not with Lena. He couldn't tell them that about Lena.
Not because they hadn't. That wasn't it at all. Once the two of them became something, intimacy was all over the fucking place. Literally. Donny had probably been more adventurous in his love-making with Lena in those two years than he had been his entire teenage career. She went from being a shy, smartass to being a steamy seductress, and Donny loved to submit to her. She made him feel like more than just another Jewish kid from Boston. When she arched her back as he stroked her insides just right, Donny was a king.
He wasn't about to tell that to the Basterds.
He couldn't tell them about the first night he had kissed Lena. She had just gotten a letter from Dante telling her that all was well and that he was falling in love with Europe, even if the Germans were a pain in the ass. Donny had just opened his own letter to a similar message and came bounding up the front stoop, letter in hand, to show Lena, when the door opened and she came flying out, throwing her arms around his neck and pressing her lips to his. It hadn't been particularly passionate, and he was pretty sure her father had seen, but to Donny, it felt like everything. Lena was even smiling when she pulled back, and the blush that crossed her cheeks made her all the more beautiful. They swapped letters and laughed at Dante's sorry attempt at humor, but Donny's mouth still burned where she had touched it.
He couldn't tell the Basterds about the first time he had kissed her somewhere besides her mouth. How she had pulled him into the darkest corner of the cinema, and practically crawled into his lap as he nipped at her throat. Her voice got husky when she was turned on, and she moaned low as he slipped the two top buttons of her blouse out of their holes and tasted the skin between her delicate collarbones. He refused to tell them how affected he was when her fingers tugged his hair when he opened her blouse fully and cupped her warm, full breasts in his palm, feeling her nipples pebble against his skin. She laughed breathlessly, feeling his arousal beneath her.
"Good to know I'm not disappointing you," she had breathed into his ear, and he groaned, pulling her mouth down for another kiss. The soundtrack of the movie covered any sound they made as the newsreel flashed across the screen. He pulled down the cups of her bra and lapped one nipple into his mouth, humming when Lena's breath caught. Her hips rolled against him and he looked up at her. She was looking down at him, face flushed and gorgeous. He growled low in his throat and bit down gently. Lena's mouth opened in a gasp, and her head rolled back, exposing the pale, smooth skin of her throat. Donny had released her from his ministrations and pressed a kiss to the swell of her breast. The scent of her was heady, overwhelming even, as she pulled his face up to hers to plant a kiss on his forehead. His hands trailed up her back to twist in her brown curls to bring her mouth to his. He could feel her hands shaking as she redid the buttons on her shirt and he gently pushed her hands away to do it for her.
Donny couldn't tell the Basterds how soft she made him want to be, how much he cherished every moment spent with her. That was more than the Bear Jew liked to admit to.
He did tell them about the night he fucked up. About the night that he got the letter from Raine that the Basterds were a go and that Staff Sergeant Donny Donowitz was needed in Europe. He had had one too many with the boys from his dad's shop, in celebration. He had staggered home late that night three sheets to the wind. He had just been walking up the front stoop when he heard someone giggle, low and very feminine. His dumbass side, the side that always came out whenever he was intoxicated, took over and pretty soon he found himself surrounded by the scent of a woman that was not Lena. The fingernails that left welts in his skin were coated in ruby-red nail polish, a thing that Lena scorned. Raven dark hair flowed over shoulders in waves, not Lena's brunette curls. The Basterds had the decency to look ashamed for Donny when he told them about waking up in the morning in a bed that wasn't his, with a woman that wasn't Lena.
"I came in lookin' like the sorry sack-a shit that I was, and she knew," he growled, smacking his bat against a tree. The sound echoed through the forest, much like the sound of Lena's open palm hitting the side of his face when she smelled the unfamiliar perfume on his skin. The fury in her face as she hit him was still etched in his mind. "You bastard," she had hissed from between clenched teeth.
"Now, I don't stand to be hit by nobody," Donny said into the fire that burned under the Lieutenant's careful watch, "and she certainly wasn't an exception."
They all laughed then, like they knew exactly what had happened. He was certain they all thought that he had left the bitch right then and there, spitting words that would make a woman cry.
Donny knew better.
He had begged forgiveness like his very life had depended on it. The tears that streaked down her face broke his heart, and he reached for her, trying to get a hold of her, to make her see…
She hit him again and then he caught her wrist in his large hand. She felt tiny, like she had a bird's bones, and for a moment the heady knowledge that he could break her arm overwhelmed him. Then came the shame for thinking such a thing, and he pulled her to him, capturing her mouth under his. There was a moment when Lena struggled, and briefly Donny wondered if it was the end, but then her hands came up to tangle in his hair, to clench tightly in dark locks and pull his head back so she could attack his throat. Her mouth traced a fiery line up over his Adam's apple, under his jaw, rasping against his stubble, and over to his ear, where she lightly licked the lobe until his entire body was shaking with arousal and anticipation.
"You ever cheat on me again, Donowitz," Lena had breathed into his ear, "and I'll make damn sure you never enjoy sex again."
With a growl, he had pulled her from him and swept her into his broad arms. "Don't threaten me," he said to her and felt a shiver run through her at the low rumble of his voice. He had carried her up the stairs to her tiny apartment, to the bed that they had first fucked in, and thrown her down. She had quickly scrambled to her knees and pulled him to her, sliding her fingers under his suspenders and pulling them down his shoulders, lips fighting with his for dominance. While Lena undid the buttons of his shirt, Donny had made quick work of the clasps on the back of her dress and dragged the whole thing up and over her head. The red flush on her cheeks coupled with the array of curls that scattered across her shoulders made his cock harder than he ever thought possible. She slid his shirt down over his shoulders and threw it across the floor, bringing her hands up to toy with his nipples under his undershirt, scraping her fingernails over his chest hard enough to leave welts even through the light fabric.
Thinking about it a year later in France still made Donny's mouth dry and his cock swollen.
He remembered the way Lena moaned his name when he pressed his body against hers, clasping a mouth to her breast while his hand kept the other well-covered. The way she writhed beneath him as he slid of her stockings and her panties, breathing in the smell of her arousal and perfume. When he tasted the unique flavor that was purely Lena and her hands ran through his hair, clenching and unclenching with her need for release. His tongue played games with her clit, running over and over the tiny nub until Lena's entire body shook. She was never much of a screamer, but the way she would look at him right before she hit the edge of her orgasm, and he would see her mouth form his name right before she threw her head back and gasped through her release.
He remembered sliding up her body as she caught her breath and smoothing the hair away from her face. She looked up at him through hazy eyes and cocked a half-smile, one that mirrored his crooked grin perfectly. Lena's arms wound around his neck as he pressed his forehead against hers, breathing in perfect time.
"Get on your back, Donny," she had whispered and he obliged her. He was powerless not to. She loomed over him, naked and radiant in the setting sun, her eyes sparking at him. She leaned down until her naked chest was pressed flush against his clothed one, and ran her fingers up his undershirt and over his stomach. "I'm gonna erase her scent from your skin," she told him and Donny didn't doubt her for a second. When she began laying kisses along every expanse of his skin, Donny knew he was done for. Off came his shirt and pants, and then she was sinking onto him and he lost himself in the tightness of her womb. His back arched upwards as she moved down and they groaned their pleasure in perfect unison. Her breasts bobbed as he moved her on his cock, and Lena gripped his biceps to keep her balance, leaving finger-shaped bruises on his skin. Donny held back his orgasm long enough to make her come, and then he flipped them over and wrapped her legs around his waist, plunging into her like it was the last thing he was ever going to do.
"Oh, Donny," Lena whispered as she came again and that's when he had let himself go, biting the juncture of her neck and shoulder as he shuddered his way through her release. They held each other like that for what felt like hours, each listening to the sound of the other breathe. When he finally had the strength to roll off of her, he pulled her to him, breathing in the scent of her hair.
"I leave in a week, doll," he whispered into the darkness and he felt her body tense in his arms.
"Will you come home?" she had asked, so quietly that he almost hadn't been sure if she had spoken at all. He was silent for a moment, fighting the urge to tell her the truth and to spare her emotions. Finally, the truth won out and he pulled her back, dark brown eyes meeting green as he told her,
"I dunno, baby."
She hadn't said anything then, just cuddled closer to him, her head pillowed on the broad expanse of his chest. He didn't sleep at all that night, content to listen to the beating of their hearts. Sometime in the night, he pulled out from underneath her and retrieved his favorite bat from the corner of the room, taking his pocket knife from his pants' pocket.
The night, as he carved the names into his bat, she was there, silently watching him, naked under the covers as he branded each name into the wood.
Towards the base, right where he knew his hands would grip every time he bashed in another Nazi skull, he wrote her name.
Every time the Bear Jew held his bat just so, he felt Lena's name under his hands, and he smiled, thinking of his Gypsy.