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Tommy wakes up in an unfamiliar bed. Sprawled out face first into pillows that don’t smell like home. 

He vaguely remembers how he got here. Driving all night after he’d almost blown his brains out in a field. Thinking that Alfie knew. Alfie could help. 

He’d been almost drunk on exhaustion and stress and fear when he’d shown up the night before. Remembered banging on the door until the house staff showed him to a room and gave him some laudanum to help him sleep.

He supposes Alfie uses it plenty. 

Coming back to the land of the living is a struggle. He cracks an eye open and everything is too-bright. He can hear the ocean through the open windows of his room, and the sun is shining and the world is beautiful and how can that be? 

Mosley is still alive. The world should be dark and stormy to match the inside of Tommy’s head. But even at his most arrogant, he’s never thought he can change the weather to match his mood.

Hasn’t stopped it from happening, though. 

“Hmmm,” comes a familiar rumble. “S’pose your head’ll be givin’ you some trouble now, eh, Thomas?” 

Tommy turns his head slowly, for once respecting the pounding in his head. He lets himself have an indulgent moment where his face is buried in the pillows before he lays it down the other way. Alfie sits in a wicker armchair a few feet from his bed. He’s suddenly aware that he’d taken his clothes off before collapsing into bed the night before.

Alfie eyes him with his good eye.

“What happened then, eh Tom?” His voice is soothing, and Tommy hates that it calms his jangled nerves. Hates that he came here at all, seeking comfort from this brute of a man. “Have you found him, hm? The man you can’t defeat.” 

Tommy squeezes his eyes shut against the question and the reality his life has become. What a fucking mess. His breath shallows as his heart starts racing. 

“Was it you?” he whispers, refusing to look at Alfie as he does. “Did you do this?” 

Alfie harrumphs. And Tommy doesn’t need to lift his head to know that his expression is full of disdain. “See, I’m not fitting to dignify that insult with a response, am I?” he asks, rhetorically. “I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just impugn my honor and my integrity that way, Thomas. That’s what I’m gonna do.” 

Tommy can’t help the smile that stretches his lips thin. “Wouldn’t be the first time you crossed me.”

“But to cross you for a anti-Semitic piece of shit like Mosley?” Alfie clucks his tongue, the sound familiar. “Like I said, gonna ignore that insult on account of the fact that you’ve been laid s’low and have seen fit to splay yourself on my doorstep, Thomas.” His voice hardens and Tommy opens his eyes to see Alfie lean forward in his chair. “Don’t make the mistake of implying it again, eh?” 

Tommy nods, holding Alfie’s gaze as he does so. “Alright then.” He lets his eyes clamp shut again, knowing Alfie hadn’t been behind this failure makes things worse, somehow. 

He feels like he’s been thrown from a horse and trampled. He should have shot himself in that field. Should have ended it. He has no idea what to do, where to go, he should call Churchill but can’t face it and he--

“Slow down there, young Thomas.” Alfie’s voice is much closer now. Tommy feels the bed dip next to him and Alfie puts a hand on his back. The thin blanket and sheet not doing nearly enough to shield him from the comfort of Alfie’s touch. “Dying, eh? Gives a man perspective. Or a god, depending on who you ask.”

There’s that pesky half-smile again, creeping onto his face. “So you’ve said.” 

“Aye, so I have. And I’ll thank you not to interrupt me with that insolent tone.” Alfie moves his hand to Tommy’s head, his touch shockingly light and gentle where it cups the back of his skull. Alfie cards his fingers through Tommy’s hair and Tommy sighs, feeling his nerves settle against his will. 

He wants… lord knows what he wants. He and Alfie have been here before, a time or two. But it’s usually born out of anger, or relief, or simply convenience. He’s never sought the man out for the particular kind of comfort. 

But he had, last night. And now here they are. 

“You think you’ve been beaten, mate. You think they’ve won, yeah?” Alfie’s stroking his head now, like he’s a fucking horse who’s been stung. “But they haven’t, you know. You know that, alright, ‘cause you’re not fucking dead.” 

Tommy can’t stop the words from coming out. He wants to, but something about this place, and communing with a dead man… he can’t stop himself. “Wish I was,” he whispers, holding back tears out of sheer force of Romani will. “Better than this.” 

Alfies fingers tighten in his short hair, tugging his head back and sending a spike of… something through his veins. Something real, and alive. 

“Gonna ignore that insult too, Tom. Feelin’ charitable, innit?” 

“You know that’s not--” 

“Nah, ya know? Ya know what I know, Thomas? You need to remember who you’re talkin’ to and who you are. Reckon you came here for a reminder.” Alfie huffs a breath of a laugh. “‘Cause you know I’m not gonna put you in the ground, so you came here for a little clarity from your ol’ pal Alfie. Or you came here to be a dead man, alive. Hide from the world. Now which one, eh? Which is it?”


“Asked you a question, Thomas. An’ you’re in my house, eh? Came here at the dead of night, scaring the absolute piss outta my housekeeper and now you’re gonna tell me, right. Gonna tell me what you came here for.” 

Tommy’s neck is straining now, from his head being pulled back for so long. He swallows, watching Alfie track the motion with his good eye. 

“Please,” he murmurs, quiet in a way he’s only ever been with this man. Only ever let himself be with the one person who sees him, who understands. “Please.” 

Alfie regards him for a long moment more, then he puts more pressure on where he’s pulling Tommy’s head up. Tommy gets his hands under him and pushes himself up, letting Alfie pull him wherever he’s needed. 

Alfie leans down and kisses him, rough. Tommy scrambles to sit up the rest of the way, hampered by the hand that Alfie still has in his hair, holding his head in place while Alfie plunders his mouth. 

He gets lost in it, the taste of Alfie both familiar and foreign, the softness of Alfie’s lips juxtaposed with the abundance of beard. The textures are maddeningly different and incredibly arousing. 

He tangles his tongue with Alfie, getting that familiar thrill of power when Alfie moans, deep in his chest. Tommy feels his prick hardening, and he expects the familiar sensation of embarrassment. It doesn’t come, not even when he finds himself climbing into Alfie’s lap and settling himself there. 

“Mmmmmm,” Alfie hums, pulling back to bite harshly at Tommy’s jaw. “So it’s a reminder you’re after.” 

“Shut up, Alfie, for fucks sake.” Tommy’s fumbling at the placket of Alfie’s trousers, trying to get them on some sort of equal footing. 

“Nah, don’t think I will mate.” Alfie bats his hands away, opening his own trousers and pulling his cock out. “My house, innit? Doing this my way.” 

Something feral spikes in Tommy, and he’s tempted to get up. Just put his clothes on and forget this whole thing. Fucking insufferable man, why did he think--

“Hnngh” any thoughts of escape are cut off when Alfie slides his rough hand around Tommy’s cock, fisting them together, warm and wet. “Fuck.”

“Yeah, tha’s right,” Alfie kisses him again, deep and wet as he sets a brutal pace. Stripping their cocks efficiently. “Just give in, mate, fuck.” 

For a few minutes there’s no more words, just the sound of Alfie’s hand jerking them both off mixed with the wet sounds of their kissing. Tommy moans with abandon as he gets closer, letting his mouth fall open and Alfie take complete control of their kiss. 

“Gotta let go for me, Tom,” Alfie grunts, sucking a mark into Tommy’s jaw that he’ll be pissed about later. “Guests gotta get off first, tha’s the rules so you gotta get that pretty cock all wet for me.”

Tommy keens, feeling his balls draw up tight but he needs--

Alfie sinks his teeth into Tommy’s lower lip and that’s it. He’s coming long and loud, screaming as he lets the tension from the past week bleed from him with his release that paints his stomach and Alfie’s hand. 

Alfie lets his cock go but keeps Tommy close as he finishes himself off, letting go with a guttural yell and burying his head in the juncture of Tommy’s neck and shoulder. 

Tommy just breathes, eyes closed, satisfied. They come down together, and Alfie lays Tommy back and gets his own trousers off before flopping on top of the smaller man. 

“Alfie,” Tommy protests, halfheartedly. “I gotta get up. Got things that need seeing to.” 

“Nah mate,” Alfie rumbles, wriggling a little where he has Tommy pinned. “Not done with you yet.” 

And Tommy supposes that maybe, just this once, the world can wait.