It's only when he thrusts a man's face through a window and sees his broken, bloody reflection in the shattered glass that Richard remembers he's not at war. There's no enemy here. Only a sobbing drunkard who's never seen the snow-covered, blood drenched hills with sniper-filled pines that haunt Richard's dreams.
His face is still in one piece on those nights.
It's not splattered across the rubble of an abandoned building. His eye isn't on fire and burning in the socket, and his blood isn't dripping down the wall behind him as soldiers shout around him. Shrapnel had never seemed like a greater enemy than snipers. There was blood and bone tearing through his throat and falling through his fingers, and the bloody drunkard stirred beneath his feet.
"Fuckin' Darmody died. Bout time. 'Es been fuckin' up my deal with Nucky."
Richard can't remember the man's voice even those his words are echoing round his head. His moans weren't gunshots, but Richard couldn't shake the fear and anger from his brittle mind. Dripping sweat, blood, and bourbon, he reached for the man. Richard's fingers, so pale in the light of this boardwalk alleyway, gripped a dirty collar and tugged the man to his feet. Glass mixed with the grit covering the ground glittered as a door opened, and someone inside the bar shouted.
It's the warm trickling of blood down his cracked glasses and ruined, unmasked face that brings back everything—the liquor and the laughter, the old men in Nucky's pocket, and the drunken, unforgivable slurs against the dead.
And Richard slams the man into the brick wall again, his head cracking against the stone and his body slumping to the ground. There's brick dust and blood dotting Richard's suit, his steps are unsteady, and the cuts crisscrossing his knuckles feel like they've torn through the bone. But he breathes and the unbearable, wonderful numbness settles over his skin. There's a ringing in his ears, and the scent of booze and garbage is overpowered by memories of morning in Angela's kitchen.
But the memories hurt worse than the blows that shattered his bones.
His feet carried him to the end of the alley before he heard the groan.
Richard turned, his better ear straining to hear to the rest of the rant, but nothing comes. He stumbles into the street, running back home with his face covered and blood flying off of his hands.
That one he can forgive.