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American Boys
Wicki muses on kin and country and Donny Donowitz

notes: originally written for [ profile] sevenwindows in the OTP meme I did a bit ago. reposted here for organization's sake.


Wicki lived in America long enough to have some vague sense of what that means. Reckless men, and noisy ones. Blood running hot, wolfish smiles. The simmering threat of danger, the capacity for violence-—all there, just beneath the surface.

The kind of thing American women should want and not want all at once. Virility. Power. A sinful allure.

He watches Donny smash his bat into the shattered remains of some countryman’s head. The Nazi uniform gone red and brown and black in places.

Donny whoops, blood and pinkoid gobs of flesh stringing off his bat on the upswing. Kagan, Hirschberg—-all of them cheer. Donny hollers again, his bloodlust to the sky. His hands are red up to the wrists. His eyes are hot.


Wicki was never that—-not ever. They didn’t kill Jews in America, but it didn’t take him long to learn that, even there, the blue-eyed boys with their Protestant God reigned supreme.

Here, though—-

“How you like that, Lieutenant?” Donny asks, yoking the bat over his shoulders. He’s talking too loud, like there’s blood still rushing in his ears.

Raine pulls his lips between his teeth. Considers the corpse. “Y’ain’t leavin enough to count scalps for.”

Some Oberschütze, the last survivor of his company, cries into the dirt.

Donny makes a derisive noise, and fishes a ragged mat of hair out of all that bone and dirt and brainmatter. “I think this’ll be all right.”

He holds it, dripping, for all to see. Wicki watches the flex of his shoulders, the bunching of muscle beneath his filthy beater.

Here, the blue-eyed boys, the dark-eyed ones, and their Catholic or their Protestant God all die the same.

Raine smiles, or at least shows teeth. He turns his gaze to the crying Oberschütze, planted facedown in the dirt, with Utivich’s rifle barrel driven into the nape of his neck.

“Bring ‘im here,” he orders.

It takes Utivich and Zimmerman both to haul him over. The man’s wet his pants.

Still breathing deep, still clutching that tangle of dripping hair, Donny leers at him. The Oberschütze sobs, now.

“Wicki!” Raine calls. “Tell him if he don’t quit his blubberin I’m gonna have Donny take a whack at all em pretty teeth a his.”

Wicki does as he is told. The Oberschütze shuts right up. Wicki looks to Donny, who chuckles, and pendulums the bat like he’s warming up again. The Oberschütze hiccoughs.


Donny has some girl back home—-Wicki knows. Donny talks about her enough.

And what about you, Wicki? Donny asked one time, when they slouched around a cookfire. Anyone waiting for you when we get back?

He didn’t say this is back--or closer to it. He looked at Donny’s grin, and at the pins of light reflected in his eyes. Wicki remembers being hungry.

No, he said.

Donny pretended at offense. American girls not to your taste? Your European standards?

Wicki laughed in spite of himself. Not really.

Donny huffed, amused, and clapped him on the shoulder. You’re something, Wicki.

And the touch lingered.

But Raine has things he wants to know, and things the Oberschütze needs to hear. Wicki tucks a scalp into his belt, and sets to translating.

Beyond them, Donny chuckles, still, in anticipation of Raine’s favorite punchline. The Oberschütze hasn’t figured out the joke, yet.

Wicki glances at their Sergeant again. That nonsense myth, that fantastical character, the Bear Jew, must seem all too real and too terrible to their shivering prisoner. Wicki understands.

Donny is no golem, nor any bear in human skin—but he bristles and he blisters with his violence. His grin intimates some promise beyond words. Danger, of a nonspecific sort. Hot blood. Red mouths. A rush of sound, and slavering breaths.


Raine draws his bowie knife. “I’m gonna give you somethin you can’t take off.”

This, Wicki doesn’t translate. The Oberschütze’s face crumples, again. Hirschberg sniggers something to Omar. In three steps and one swift motion, Donny grabs the scruff of the Oberschütze’s shirt. Hauls him, already babbling unintelligible pleas, to the ground.

Donny’s bat lies glistening in the dirt.

In Wicki’s gut, something coils tight.
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