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The voice in my head

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Eugene first heard his soulmates voice when he was thirteen. To say he panicked when he suddenly heard a voice that wasn’t his inside his head was an understatement. The poor boy thought he was going crazy like men coming in and out of his father's office claiming to hear screaming. For weeks he kept it under wraps, this sweet accented voice would speak of such horrid things, things he couldn't even dream of. The voice spoke of his father's harsh words before he got the belt, it spoke about how he resented his mother for abandoning him. The voice made Eugene want to protect it, cradle it and keep the owner safe from everything the world may throw at him.

It wasn't until his father caught him writing down the voices words that he learnt what it was, his soulmates inner thoughts were being shared with him and his soulmate would hear his. Eugene could never forget the look on his mother's face when she found out, a sense of pride that he had never quite seen before... Even Eugene found himself getting excited until everything sunk in.

The voice in his head was clearly a male. Around his age... Maybe a few years older but male all the same. He never really took any notice about it before his family started to ask questions about the pretty voice and what kind of thoughts ’she’ had. Without even thinking about it Gene lied. The handsome troubled voice turned into a typical southern bell, his deep tones that made his heart race where transformed to sweet melodies any boy would melt over.

The true identity of his soulmate remanded his little secret. One he no issues hiding.

He won't lie, he resented it at first, hated the voice he was slowly gaining a connection to. Hated the fact he had notebooks filled with every little thing his soulmate said or thought... He just wanted to be normal to be like Sid who constantly bragged about how perfect his soulmate was. How she thought about everything from what he was like to the Shakespeare while his seemed to think about anything that could be deemed as important in French.

It wasn't until Eugene's 18th that he fully came to terms with his rather unique situation. His soulmate was interesting, to say the least, a different sort of interest that only made him hang on every single word he said. At this point he knew basic facts about him, he was from New Orleans and clearly lived in a far from good home. Although from what he’s pieced out he's no longer living under the same roof as his family. He was a few years older with him just celebrating his 23rd two months prior, he remembers his soulmate making a big deal about having to buy his own smokes that day.

He spoke French, clearly, and would switch in and out of it and random. A habit that made Eugene’s near-obsessive journaling of his thoughts far more difficult than it needed it be. Whenever he switched Eugene couldn't help but groan, part of him wondered if his soulmate did it on purpose in order to keep him on his toes. Or maybe he was just smart enough to know what thoughts to hide behind the cloak of a foreign language. The one thing he hasn't figured out though is his name... Not once had his soulmate even had a passing thought about it. Not only was he faceless but nameless too leading to him

Did his soulmate know his? He won't lie there are times where Eugene finds himself focusing on specific things just in the hopes his soulmate, what he know affectionately calls Frenchie, would hear. The most important one being his name. He once spent all night just staring up at the stars mumbling his name over and over again until he started to drifted off right there on the lawn but Eugene swore he heard French repeat his name back.

War on Japan was declared days after Gene’s 20th, to him it was a sign he should join, to his parents it was a battle he had to avoid at all costs. Heart murmurs were his father's excuse, ”no soldier could deal with the struggles of war with a stumbling heart” became his favourite saying every time he mentioned joining the marines. Everyone he knew was excitedly putting down there names to join the fight in either Europe or the Pacific, Sidney being one of them but it wasn't until he realised French was getting ready to be deployed that Eugene's near childlike wonder for the adventure of war became a life or death need.

He heard each and every battle inside his head. It was like the first time he heard his soulmates voice all over again. Violent cries as Frenchie cursed the loss of life. Despite pleas for the noises to stop as he fights the rain during the night but the worst of all was just the sobs. Eugene could almost feel Frenchies shoulders shake as he muffled his cries by biting his hand, if he could he would swim the ocean itself to comfort the man he only knew the voice of but his heart prevented him to do so. The same heart that beats for his soulmate was stopping him from meeting him.

Never had Eugene hated irony as much as he did at that very moment.

It didn't stop him from trying, of course, every other week he would ask his father to check his heart. Spent countless hours praying for God to allow him to join, if not to be with the man he desired Eugene to be with than to protect his country at least. Unfortunately, his father would say the same thing every single time ”no soldier could deal with the struggles of war with a stumbling heart” and to that Eugene only thought that no man could hear the cries of his love and not go running towards it.

Months went by with the same result, nights were spent staring at his wall as Eugene tries to give Frenchie some words of comfort during the small moments of peace he had. He’d think about home, about the future, about his dog, just anything remotely positive he could think of. it worked, at least Eugene hoped it did because soon the despair and near cruel hatred were dying down to near nonexisting hums.

 

Gene was almost satisfied with this, staying in his perfect little life and spending his time trying to brighten Frenchie’s day while he went to hell but as he quickly learned not all good things last. Eugene is sure he’d never forget that moment. 4:29 am he woke up with sudden ringing in his ears. His head felt fuzzy as if it was drowning in pain he could not feel. If he focused hard enough he heard yelling, desperate cries of his soulmate. Eugene tries to scream back but he felt his blood run cold. Shellfire, loud deafening booms echoed as if they were happening right beside him, the thick Louisianan accent he fall for was laced with fear. His words repeating over and over in Eugene’s ears

”I don't wanna die, not yet... Please... Not till I see his face”

Silence. That's all he heard for the rest of the night as Eugene tried to muffle his sobs into his pillow. Was this some sick joke? Was God punishing him for some sin he committed? He didn't know... All he knew was that with every passing second of nothingness he heard was another second his heart ached.

The silence remained for days, two days, five hours and roughly twelve minutes if Eugene's calculations were correct. He didn't tell his parents about that night, for reasons he was sure didn't need to be stated out loud but he would be foolish to believe that they didn't notice. Especially when he started to religiously check the death notices for the Louisiana area multiple times a day. Part of him knew there was no point to this, even if Frenchies name were published he would read right past it without even noticing. Why couldn't he have just said his name once?... It would have made this whole thing significantly easier for him.

Then it happened. Subtle at first, so unnoticeable that Eugene was sure he was just imagining it but then it happened again. Louder this time as if the voice... As If Frenchie was making sure he heard it. ”Merde” that was it, one simple word in French that Eugene didn't even understand but by god was it the most angelic noise he's ever heard in his life. A word that he was quick to add to his journal.

He was alive, alive and from what he can understand in Australia waiting to be sent out again. Eugene was conflicted... He was thrilled he was safe and uninjured enough to be fit to fight again but also terrified that he was going back. It was war after all... Few people escape death one let alone twice. Eugene couldn't let him get hurt, not again. Not ever.

He stopped caring about his father's words of his heart murmurs as he applied to the marines. He merely told his mother it would be okay when she tried to guilt him into staying. ”I already have a son fighting Genie please don't make me have both” a few weeks ago her words would have worked. He would have smiled sadly and listened but now he had a reason to leave. A reason stronger than honour or blissful dreams of glory.

He made sure not to think about his deploy days in fear of Frenchie finding out. For some reason, Eugene thought it was best this way, his mind a blank slate until he was sailing well into the Pacific. He felt proud of everything he wanted was right in front of him but then he heard the all too familiar voice he grew attached to over the last seven years say something that he was trying to avoid at all cost.

”ya have no idea what ya getting into...”

He knew he should be concerned. That he should take his soulmates voice seriously considering he had actually seen the war on the frontlines but all he could think about was how much clearer the voice with. How now it sounded like Frenchie was whispering it right against Eugene’s ear instead of from some deep far away place in his head. He was getting closer, both to war and to his soulmate. at that moment as Eugene stared at the barely visible hint of land in the distance he could only assume was Peleliu he didn't know how to feel.

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Eugene didn’t know what he was expecting in Peleliu. Maybe a small part of him was hoping Frenchie would be waiting for him at the dock, a wide grin on his face as he wraps him in a tight embrace. It was unrealistic and almost childish but he had to admit the thought helped him sleep on countless restless nights onboard a less than pleasant ship.

As he stepped onto the beach the first thing he noticed was how thick the air was. It was nothing like the Alabama heat he had known, It was like he could feel it in his lungs with every single breath. Maybe his complaints were loud enough since a small snarky voice popped into his head.

”ya get used to the heat, that thickness reminds ya that you're still alive sunshine” Eugene could only smile at the voice. The nickname was new, something his soulmate only started using after he found out Eugene had joined the Marines. It was small and simple, a name that shouldn't make his heart race as much as it did.

Maybe Frenchie knew this, perhaps that's why he seemed so smug whenever he called him that. He couldn't dwell on the thought for much longer, his attention drawn to the sudden noise of the camp. It wasn't like the commotion onboard the ship. Back then it was filled with boyish wonder and excitement, he lost count of how many men bragged about how proud they'll make their soulmates when they return with a medal of honour and a Jap sword. Now though the commotion was one of dread. As if the men were making most of the ability to be loud and be with others in such an open way.

The thought of this caused chills to run down Eugene's spine. Especially when he found his eyes scan down the body of fellow soldiers unable to ignore the clear signs of battle wounds. Would his soulmate have marks like that on his skin? He was sure he would considering all he heard him say in the past.

Eugene had a habit of losing himself in his thoughts, especially when it involved the identity of Frenchie, there have been moments where his small afternoon walk took him across town because of a certain New Orleans voice ringing clear as day in his head. Right now seemed to be no different. His mind raced with possible images of Frenchie, his heart racing at the thought that any person he passed could potentially be the one he was destined to spend the rest of his life with, no matter how short that may be.

Just like normal Gene shut off all the noise around him as he kept trying to recall his voice, almost like he was hoping Frenchie would hear his desperateness and say something to tie over his aching heart till he finally finds him on this forsaken island.
As his eyes scan around he didn't hear the footsteps approach him till he could himself on the ground. An arm playful around his neck as he was wrestled down to the ground

”something’s wrong” it grumbled, a small hint of smugness in the voice as Eugene recognised the figure ”something very wrong if you made it past boot camp”

With a small grunt, Eugene tried to push Sid off of him, a hint of a smile on his face as he struggled against his hold. He was stronger than they were as kids... Hell, he was stronger than he was before he left to fight. ”give me a break you old greaser come on-”

”get up off my deck” the words pretty much dripped with authority as Sid rushed to his feet, Gene close behind him as he stared straight at the two officers. His mind went blank as they started to ask questions. It wasn't uncommon for both Sid and himself to get into trouble, especially in their youth but he didn't expect it to happen here... Or at least not as quickly as they did.

 

The convocation was a blur but Eugene was sure managed to stumble out his name and rank as Sid managed to hold most of the convocation until he managed to find the right words to pull his weight.

”do you fella know each other or is this some kind of conflict revolution”

He gulped, words catching in his throat ”old friends sir, Mobile Alabama sir” he hated how nervous he sounded as the officers took the answer with teasing smiles and a comment not to break anything.

Both boys were frozen in shock as they wait for them both to be out of sight till they relax. A small laugh escaped them ”getting me into trouble the first day” Eugene scoffs, punching Sid’s chest as he walks forward ”we ain't kids no more Sid”

It was only now that Eugene had finally gotten a good look at his friend. Noticed how much he had changed in the months he had gone. Of course, his skin was darker and hair matted down with sweat and dirt but the thing he noticed most was his eyes. Or rather how much they changed, the blue orbs that once shined with mischief and adventure were dulled as if trying to hide a mass of pain behind them. He had changed... For better or for worse Eugene had yet to decide.

”yeah well ya deserved it” he grins, shoving Gene lightly before pulling him close again ”come ’ere we've got some catching up to do and there ain't no privacy round here” Eugene nodded with some hesitation. Of course, he missed Sid, he was his best friend but at the same time, the all too familiar instinct to find his soulmate nagged at him. Eugene wondered if this sensation would last till the day they can finally be in each other's arms.

He was sure his face was showing his emotions right now. He could almost feel the heat in his cheeks as he rubbed them, hoping Sid wouldn't notice. ”so where are you actually taking me, I long romantic stroll along the beach before I get jap bullets flying from all directions” the sentence was meant to come out as a joke but his tone betrayed him. His fear was pretty much standing at full attention in front of his friend.

It was like the air grew thicker than normal for a second. Sid just staring silently out at the water with an expression Eugene couldn’t quite place ”your scared aren't you Gene” he didn't even get a chance to reply before Sid continued ”its horrible out there. The first time you get shot at, your heart feels like it's betting out of your chest. Like it's trying to escape back home without you.”

Eugene didn't want to speak. He didn't have the words that could possibly bring any sort of insight into what he had seen out there but it was clear Sid was waiting for some sort of an answer. ”I didn't join thinking it would fun... I don't think anyone did” just hearing those words leave his mouth didn't sound right. They sounded forced, insincere even.

”you're just as good as good as your company, look out for each other but don't get yourself killed either” a weary smile crossed his lips ”after all if I could make it out and back home there ain't no excuse for you not to” a joke. Eugene knew that's what it was so he made himself laugh but he knew what those words meant deep down.

I saw enough men die, I don't want to see my best friend join them.

Eugene nods, scratching the back of his neck as he let his eyes flick to the ocean as well. The blue water seemed inviting to him, he couldn't help but wonder how long it would take for the novelty to wear off. ”I won't die, if I did who would make sure you wouldn't do something stupid again like jump into the Willis’ yard for no good reason”

Sid snorted and almost glared at Gene. The lightness returning between the pair again, as if war was not lingering in the future for one and haunting the past for the other. ”I had a damn good reason and you know I did! I ain't no chickenshit and if out running that damn dog of there's proved I weren't then it only made sense to do it”

”and I suppose that's why ya screamed the whole damn time huh” he couldn't stop the smirk as Sid grumbled under his breath. ”at least you grew out of your habit for accepting ridiculous dares, a little later than I would have liked but you were always a slow learner”

Sidney's laughter sounded like music at the moment, like he hasn't let out a genuine one in months. ”slow? Says the guy arriving just as I'm ’bout to return home. The only slow one is you” all Eugene could do was roll his eyes but he knew he was right. If only he signed up right away rather than lay around and try to convince his father that his heart didn't prevent him from fighting. Perhaps if he arrived sooner he could have fought with his friend... Perhaps he could have protected Frenchie they day he got hurt.

”slow isn't always a bad thing” Eugene nearly jumped at the sudden voice in his head, it took all his control not to yelp when his soulmate started speaking ”you coming later meant I didn't have to worry about you getting hurt sunshine. I could just focus on your words”

”your soulmate is talking to you again ain't she” Sid’s voice broke Eugene out of his little trance. His face surely turning a shade of pink now. ”whenever she speaks you stare off into space... You also get this dozy smile on ya face like a kid in a candy store”

Eugene nods, his body going stiff as he stumbles out a small ”yeah she is” as casually as he could mutter. He would have thought after lying for so long it would get easier but it didn't. Each time someone mentioned Frenchie it felt like he was a dirty little secret he had to keep hidden. Sid's laughter only made his nerves grow as his friend hit his shoulder gently.

”you know my soulmate got me through a lot out there. Sometimes she would sing, she had the prettiest damn voice you would ever hear Genie” Sid’s eyes seemed to light up as he spoke ”I would just listen to her and it seemed like all that was happening on the battlefield was so far away. Almost like it didn't exist for those short moments.”

Was it like that for Frenchie when he spoke to him. Was Eugene bringing him some kind of comfort as well or was his voice just an annoyance in the few minutes of calm his soulmate had. His mind whirling as he stared down at the ground ”what if they're here too... I can't imagine either of us would be in much mood to sing”

”here too? What do you mean your soulmate is here?” Sid’s lips turned down in confusion slightly as he repeated his words. His eyes scanning Eugene's as he tried to hide his panic. Fuck... Oh fuck. This was his first slip up. Of course, his soulmate couldn't be on Peleliu, there isn't a woman here for miles. Each second felt like an eternity as Eugene tried to scramble for the words.

 

”well... Not... Not like here as in on the island. She's... My soulmate is a nurse. You know the ones on them big medical ships” Eugene prayed that he sounded convincing, that Sid wouldn't ask any more questions and just accept his answer.

Seemingly he did as Sid’s face quickly returned to a bright smile. A deep laugh escaping him ”well look at you Genie! Getting a nurse as ya true love. You might as well shoot yourself in the foot and go find her now if that's the case!” Eugene just smiles, his heart still hammering against his chest. That was close... Too close for his comfort.

“I’d rather not, can't sweep her off her feet if I cant he even stand on my own right” he forced himself to say, hoping his voice didn't sound as pathetic as it did in his head right now. Sid nods, he was clearly curious about his soulmate considering how secretive Eugene was about her... Well rather him. Sensing his oncoming questions he was quick to try and steer the conversation in any other direction than where it was heading. ”what do you know about the Kilo Company...”

Sidney blinks as if trying to process the sudden convocation change ”you mean K company? Are you with them?” all he could do was nod, not trusting his words after his little slip up before. ”well... I haven't heard anything overly bad about them, maybe one or too overly cocky guys but nothing I wouldn't be worried about.”

”cockiness gets you killed” Eugene sighs... Remember the words his father spoke to him just before he boarded the train filled with other recruits.

”it does, but it can also keep you alive sometimes... Eugene I... You'll be okay with them, I just have a feeling” for some reason Sid’s words actually gave him hope, almost like it was true because he said it. Because Sid has never lied to him before so why would he start now? ”I'm assuming the way you were talking you haven't actually met them yet have you?”

Eugene laughed lightly ”no, I got a little distracted when some crazy guy tackled me on the ground for no reason” with a small huff Sid rolls his eyes, a lopsided grin on his face as he shoved his friend.

”Maybe if you didn't look so pitiful and lost they wouldn't have tackled you, now stop talking to me and go find ’em... We have plenty of time to catch up.” if Eugene didn't know any better he would think he was trying to get rid of him. Of course, the reality was as simple as Sid knowing how he won't be around for much longer anyway so why not encourage Eugene to go socialise with the people he may die with.

With a small sigh, he nods, reluctantly taking a step back from his friend. ”yeah... I will. I think I saw where they were camped out with while you dragged me down here.” Sid didn't answer, his only reply was a small snicker as Eugene started to walk away. It was only until he was halfway up the beach that he heard him call out

”stay safe Eugene... For god sake please stay safe.” it was his time not reply as Eugene just kept walking towards K company. Focusing on the small little murmurs his soulmate was whispering in French.

He didn't notice it at first. It started so small that it was nearly unrecognisable but with each step, Eugene noticed that the French mumbles got louder and louder inside his mind. He was getting almost nervous, he remembered his father mentioning that the first time you meet your soulmate their voice would become louder the closer you got to them.

Without even meaning to Eugene quickened his steps, his eyes darting to every single person he passed until he stopped at a small cabin. By now the voice was almost yelling inside his head, whoever Frenchie was... They were in the same company he was in.

He had no idea if that was a blessing or a curse.

His throat went dry as his body seemingly acted in its own accord, shoving the door open using the small burst of confidence he had built up.

Eugene had imagined how he would meet his soulmate ever since he learnt what that little voice echoing in his brain meant. He created fantasy situations that made his heart race but even those didn't prepare him for reality.

It was like it was natural, his eyes locking onto one certain person in particular. He seemed to glow compared to the others in the cabin. His dark features made his heart thud uncomfortably fast against his rib cage. His matted curly locks made Eugene’s fingers twitch, he had a sudden desire to run his fingers throw it as he pulled this man closer to him but what he noticed most about him was his eyes. His beautiful eyes that still seemed to hold confidence and life in them despite everything he’s clearly seen.

His mind was buzzing, he knew everyone was introducing themselves but he couldn't focus on that, his eyes never left the still nameless Frenchie until it was finally his turn to speak.

”Snafu” that's all he said and to Eugene, that's all he had to say. It was him, no doubt in his mind that was the same smooth-talking voice he had melted over time and time again.

He was confident he was face to face with his soulmate. That Snafu was the man he had been hearing for the last seven years of his life but as if the universe was just giving him the final evidence he needed to confirm this he noticed something.

When Eugene looked into his eyes everything was silent. No french mumbles, no complaints or teasing just silence.

Pure, beautiful silence.

Chapter Text

When he was a child he fondly remembered how in tune his parents were together. They knew exactly what the other was thinking, hell looking back on it Eugene can't even remember the two ever having a single fight. Of course, now that he's older Eugene figured out that hearing your soulmates voice in your head certainly helped to understand each other he couldn't help but wonder if they were just a special case or... Maybe he has it wrong.

He was sure Snafu was Frenchie, whenever he was around the tanned brunette his heart fluttered up to his chest, he could barely speak around him let alone combat the sarcastic remarks he threw at him but the most damning evidence Eugene had was the silence in his head around him. He didn't hear a single voice outside of his own when he stood beside him, he used to dream of that moment and imagine how beautiful that silence would be but now he's started to experience he hated it.

He begged for Frenchie's smooth voice to fill his head again as the aching in his arms distracted himself from the throb in his chest. His hands stained with oil as he scrubbed the drums with all the energy he had pent up. He could hear the sound of someone kicking the barrels, the clanging as it bounced off the dusty ground below. ”why don't you get a brush and give us a hand” someone hissed, spinning around to face the shirtless Snafu, eyes harsh as he glared

”fuck that shit, I scrub drums for no man” he smirks, leaning back in the Pacific sun as he almost looked down on everyone. Usually, Eugene would despise personalities like his, the cockiness would get under his skin and his smugness would rub him the wrong way but this time it didn't. Was this the effect of a soulmate?

Eugene found himself speaking without meaning to, his hands tightly gripping the barrel so he could feel the metal dig into his palms ”can we take a break?” His voice sounded more defeated than he thought. He put it down to the heat but deep down he knew that wasn’t the case.

Snafu smirks, his eyes seemingly staring straight into his soul. Was he trying to figure out what Eugene was thinking? “Do whatever you want, this ain’t my detail” why did every sarcastic word cause a shiver to run down his spine. “I was supposed to dump ya’ll off here and then report back to the CP”

Giving a sideward glance to the person beside him he gave a weak sigh of frustration. Eugene was able to let a lot of things slide, or maybe he could let what Snafu did slide, but it seemed like he was the only one who could do that. “So why are you still here” someone spat, throwing his brush to the ground as he straightened his back. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as the tension kept rising. Was he about to witness a fight? And why did he have such a strong urge to be on Snafu’s side?

“I like to watch the new guys sweat” He purrs, his eyes drifting in Eugene's direction almost as if scanning down his body before looking away. He was sure there was a hint of something in Snafu’s eyes that wasn't smugness but Eugene had an impression that Snafu didn't allow people to see his emotions very often.

Eugene found himself following when everyone else huffed away to the mess all, his heart thumping against his chest as the distance between him and Snafu. This was the moment right? If he started hearing Frenchies voice then his suspicions would be proven correct. So he started counting.

Twenty steps and his mind was still clear... He had to walk faster.

Thirty-five steps and he started to hear a buzz, a familiar hum that caused his shoulders to relax.

Forty and he could finally start to hear his low southern drawl echoing in his head. He was sure he was smiling now, a small lopsided smile that always found a place on his face when he thought of his soulmate.

Then it happened, at exactly fifty-seven steps he heard the voice he had craved for what seemed like years ”Tu m'as manqué le soleil?” Eugene had no idea what those words meant but he knew he had to go back to his cabin to try and write down Frenchies words in his little black book.

That night Eugene had his first nightmare. He wasn't a newcomer to them, as a child he suffered from them greatly. As a child, he refused to sleep unless his mother held his hand until he finally succumbed to his own tiredness but Eugene hadn't had these vivid visions since he started to hear Frenchies voice all those years ago. His mother past comment that maybe his soulmate was defending him from the dreams his mind created. It was a comforting thought, one that probably stopped the dreams more than the original theory but today Frenchie wasn't there to protect him anymore.

He couldn't remember exactly what happened or why he was running but that just made it worse for him. He swore he could smell blood and grime as he found himself running through a cemetery of a battlefield. It was a blur of screams and cries as he just ran forward to what he hoped was safety, his chest heaving and he felt his heart skip a beat. That was when he tripped, his body tumbling forward as he came into contact with the wet mud below. Eugene scrambled to pick himself up as he looked behind him to see what hindered him. He wished he didn't.

Sid was laying there, face paled and mouth opened unnaturally wide as if forced that way. His eyes dimmed in an unmoving look of pure terror, almost looking up at Eugene to ask for comfort and security. He tried to scream but no voice came out, just a pathetic whimper as he crawled away from his friend. Tears blurred his already hazy vision as he mumbled the Lord's prayer in his head.

”Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name” he whispers, flinching at a loud bang in the distance ”thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven” he almost sobbed when he saw Sid’s mangled hand twitch, was he still alive? ”give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” his heart was playing up again... He could feel it's quickened pace slam against his rib cage. ”and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever” he managed to stumble to his feet, back turned away from the body his friend as he whispers a soft ”Amen.”

Then he heard it, a voice that made him stop in his tracks. ”sunshine...” it was scratchy and faded as if it wasn't actually Frenchie’s voice but an imitation of one. It was laced with hatred and disappear as it kept calling Eugene's name.

”sunshine you can't leave me here” leave him here? How could he ever abandon him? ”why didn't you help me? Did ya get sick of me already?” his body trembled as the voice got louder but the fear didn't truly set in until he felt a cold, bony hand wrap around his ankle, trying to pull him back down into the cold mud. Eugene didn't get a chance to look to see who it belonged it but as he bolted up from his bunk in a cold sweet he knew who the nightmare was about. He had heard that voice inside his head for far too many years not to recognise it.

As he attempted to calm his racing heart Eugene's eyes darted across the room as if checking everything was in its right place. Hesitantly he peeled the covers off his body, allowing his legs to dangle off the edge. It still didn't feel real... None of this felt real still so Eugene did all he could think of to wake himself up, he dug his nails into the palm of his hand and he didn't stop. He refused to when he felt his nails break the skin, he kept going when he felt the burning sensation as the pain started to sink in. He was only satisfied he was in reality when he felt a small trail of blood trickle down his arm. Even then his eyes followed the trail as of examining if it was his own.

The habit was unhealthy, anyone could see that. By the time he was ten, his body was littered with crescent-shaped scars from his ’necessary reality checks” not that anyone paid enough attention to notice. Gently he wiped his hand clean with a handkerchief he always seemed to have tucked in his pocket. Sighing as the once crisp white fabric gets stained with red. No matter how many washes it goes through his blood would still have tainted it, it could never return to how it was before. Eugene could help but wonder if he’d be like that when he gets home.

If he gets home.

He lost track of time as he stared at his now numb hand, he didn't even notice the morning sun peeking through the windows until it was right in his eyes. The final reminder he needed that it was time to face the real world again, a world that was currently facing war. Near reluctantly Eugene pushed himself into a standing position, surprised by the lack of coldness that met his feet as they touched the wooden floor. The smallest smile crept on his face, he might as well enjoy the pleasures of life before he walked into hell.

Just as Eugene’s hand touched the door one name jumped into his brain. Sid, his friend, the person get just dreamed a mangled version of them just an hour previously. His feet moved towards the direction if his cabin before he even realised it, a strong impulse to check on him took an overall sense of self at that very moment.

For some reason Eugene found his anxieties take control as his brisk walk turned into a jog. His eyes focusing on the small, identical cabin that Sidney stayed in. For some reason, he heard a voice in his head, not Frenchie’s but one that vaguely reminded him of his own ”he's abandoned you Geney. He’s gone.”

He almost growled as he slammed open the door, the loud bang of it hitting the wall seemed to bounce off the walls of the empty room. There wasn't a single trace of anyone. No trunks, no bags... Hell, even the beds were stript of everything but a mattress. The only living thing there was a large rat that scurried away out of sight when he entered the room. Almost desperately he looked around the room, searching every single corner of this room as if Sid could jump out at him at any second.

”oi kid, you looking for someone?” if it wasn't for Eugene chewing on his inner cheek he was sure he would have yelped at the sudden interruption, especially since it sounded so commanding and authoritative.

Slowly he calmed his breathing enough to speak, his hands shoved into his pockets ”yes... Um the people that stayed here, did they move cabins? They were just here yesterday” he hoped his voice didn't sound as pathetic and weak as he thought it did but with the almost sympathetic look the unknown soldier gave him it was wishful thinking.

”if heading on a ship back home means moved then yeah, they left earlier this morning. Could probably still see them if you went down to the beach” Eugene’s face must have changed because a small sympathetic smile passed across his face ”goodbyes are hard for some of us kid, it's too final... Too decisive that this could be it” deep down Eugene knew that he was just trying to be helpful but it didn't help. All he could do was nod and try to lift his feet up as he walked away. Hands trembling in his pockets.

His head felt fuzzy as he shuffled towards the beach, his eyes stayed fixed on the ship that almost floated on the horizon. ”told you he abandoned you” his own voice sneered in his head, almost mocking him as stood along the shore. The ocean barely licking at the tips of his boots. He tried to ignore the voice, hoping that if he did maybe he could hear Frenchie’s instead.

”Frenchie? He didn't even acknowledge you existed. I'm sure he took one look at you and got disappointed” he hummed, not out of agreement but... Certainly not fighting against the voices claims. ”not sure what's worse, the universe forcing you to be with another man or the universe forcing you to be with the likes of you”

Eugene’s eyes stared at his feet, watching as he dug them further into the sand below. Was the nightmare fucking his head up more than he originally thought? Why did he hold such hatred for his friend when he could finally go back home. Sid is returning home safely to a soulmate that loves him and acknowledges him. Did his soulmate hate him? Was he that repulsive? Eugene knew he wasn't exactly movie star quality. He was tall and lanky making him unsure of how to hold himself in a crowd. His skin pale and dusted with so many freckles he was sure someone could play dot to dot on his shoulders. The list went on as he thought about it, his ears stuck out too much and his nose seemed too long for his face. The longer he locked the more reasons he found for Frenchie to be disappointed in who he got matched with.

”for Christ sake could ya stop. I heard ya shit talkin’ yourself from across the damned island” the New Orleans accent made Eugene freeze, his blood running cold despite the humid heat. How did he not recognise the silence in his own head? He was so caught up he didn't even think for one second that Frenchie could have possibly overheard his little self-reflection.

He heard heavy footsteps walking closer to him ”you have no idea how hard this is for me do ya? Ya just so fun to tease sunshine, your whole face goes red. Including your ears what, in my personal opinion, stick out just the right amount” his heart started to spread up again but not in the same way it did before in his nightmare. The thudding against his chest was like a melody to his ears, each thud meant that Frenchie (Snafu? He still wasn't sure what to call him after so many years of the nickname) got a little closer.

Suddenly he felt Snafu grip his collar, his knuckles lightly brushing against the sides of Eugene’s neck “turn around Eugene.” his voice sounded deeper as if laced with an emotion he couldn't yet place. Could it be the same one he saw in his eyes back when they were scrubbing barrels? A dark sense of need and desire. ”Gene next time I ask it won't be as polite. Turn around sunshine.”

Nervously he was pulled out of his thoughts. His body tense and he slowly turned on his heels to finally look at his soulmate and it was truly a sight of pure beauty. His dark curls seemed messy and matted down, almost as if he just rolled out of bed a few minutes prior and as per normal his cheat was bare, causing his dog tags to have a strong contrast against his tanned skin.

Eugene's mouth suddenly felt dry as his eyes hesitantly scanned lower, taking notice of how his pants seemed to hang off his hips as if was in a rush to put them on. Did he wake up just to comfort Eugene? God he wished he could enter his thoughts right now to find out. Who knew he would ever be frustrated about being physically close to his true love.

He knew he should speak, say one of the many lines that he planned on saying when the two finally meet but his mind drew a blank. He instead found himself getting lost in Snafu’s eyes as he slowly got closer to him. ”if I really hated you would I do this sunshine?” Eugene didn't have a single second to even think about his words before he felt a rough pair of lips press against his own. The hands on his shirt collar pulling him closer as Snafu showed no sign of stopping the rough, if not somewhat needy kiss.

Eugene stood still for a second. His mind racing as if trying to process if this was actually real or if he was still stuck in a messed up dream version of reality but didn't take long for him to decide. Real or not Eugene wasn't going to sit and do nothing.

So without hesitation when Snafu gently pulled away from his lips Eugene threading his fingers through his dark locks before whispering a small and near desperate plea of ”again...”