Summary: It was Christmas eve, the war was over for good, and they were going home
AN: Merry Christmas, Jessi!
"Hey, come on now, Leck, the war is over. Dance with me."
"Fuck you," Leckie groused from the bar stool, attempting to soak himself thoroughly in alcohol.
"Look, Peaches, you ain't catching any bees with all this piss and vinegar. It's Christmas, you asshole. We got us two ugly mugs," he grabbed Leckie's chin and forced him to look him in the eye, "and a couple of clean bills of health. We can dance."
"Talk about your own ugly mug, Runner." He was cracking, though, and Runner could read it in the way Leckie leaned back into his touch.
"They've got a live band, pretty broads, and you clean-shaved for once. Dance with me."
"It just seems strange, is all."
Runner sidled into the barstool next to him, raised a couple of fingers for a drink of his own, and said, "in what way, Leckie?"
"All those boys, men, soldiers, going home, leaving behind those goddamn islands and now we're just supposed to be civilians."
"Ain't that what we was before?"
"Well, yes, but damn it, Runner, we aren't anymore. Had you killed someone back then? Had you sat in your own shit and went to sleep in someone else's? What about all those poor fucks that aren't going home? It's cruel and twisty, sending us home with nothing left to us. They sent us out human, but what are they shipping home?"
They sat in silence for a moment, the swing band in the background playing more merrily than ever as midnight pressed in on them. It was Christmas eve, the war was over for good, and they were going home. Runner slipped an arm over Leckie's shoulders, and said grimly, "that was very deep, Leck."
"Fuck you," he repeated, stealing his friend's whiskey and finishing it for him.
"Hey! No, listen, Leckie. We- We're not the same, and I don't know of anyone who is. This was a fucking world war! Look at those German fuckers in Europe, and us over here with the Japs. They were fighting in France and Italy and even down in Africa. We were all over those islands. They bombed us at Pearl Harbor and we bombed them." Runner seemed to sober up at the thought of the a-bomb. "I don't think anybody is ever going to be the fucking same, Leck. But, it's Christmas. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"Where was God in Guadalcanal, Runner?"
"I ain't talking about God, Leck, Jesus." Leckie gave him a sideways look to which Runner gave him the middle finger. "Shut your mouth, I'm talking about people, doing things for other people. I'm talking about, like, fucking Christmas lights and your mother's home cooking and all that good shit, Leckie."
"You're an idiot," Leckie chuckled, downing the rest of his whiskey. "But I'll dance with an idiot."
"That's the spirit, Bob."
"No chintzy waltzes, though. And did you call me Bob?" Leckie smiled, throwing his arm over Runner's shoulders, pulling the taller man down to his height.
"Merry Christmas, Peaches."
Leckie pushed a sloppy kiss onto Runner's cheek. "Merry Christmas, you stupid rat bastard."