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Fanfic / between the crosses

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"between the crosses" is a 1917 fanfiction series created by Pavuvu and Ealasaid that is based on the Alternate Universe concept of the protagonist, William Schofield, having the ability to see and interact with ghosts. The series currently consists of eight works: Resonance, hold it high, We are the Dead, Cornerstone, the guns below/now we lie, poppies grow, The Practical Deadman, as well as a fanwork by LadyCharity: words over all. These works are primarily about William Schofield's and Joseph Blake's war experiences.


Tropes contained in this series:

  • Act of True Love: Schofield's willingness to complete the mission in hold it high and his subsequent continuing to carry Tom's ghost is interpreted as this by several characters. In comparison, Schofield seems to view the latter as selfishness on his part.
  • Anyone Can Die: They're in WWI. There isn't a single chapter in the second or third works of the main trilogy that doesn't involve someone named dying or being revealed as having died.
  • Artistic License: A lot of the details about the Blakes' socio-economic standing are vague or only hinted at. This is because neither author initially intended Joseph Blake to become a major character. When he did, they started researching Edwardian society, gave up, and decided to just roll with it.
    • More notably during the Battle of the Aisne, research revealed that one company of the Devons was safely back at the transport lines instead of being with the rest of the battalion when they were wiped out. The authors chose to make this company the main characters' company.
  • Bargain with Heaven: Virtually all times where a person meets the Grim or another reaper count as this to some extent. Schofield's death-bed bargain with the Grim in now we lie is explicitly this.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Five specific instances.
    • When Schofield gets leave home and reunites with his wife and children for the first time in over a year.
    • Joseph and Tom, when Joseph gains the abilities to interact with ghosts and finds out his brother has actually been around for most of the last year.
    • William and Joseph, after William's mortal wounding and subsequent bargain with the Grim.
    • Somewhat subverted in the epilogue, poppies grow. Blake follows his brother and Schofield to his family's home and sees his parents and dog again, but he is still a ghost with whom they cannot interact.
    • Also in poppies grow, William Schofield and Tom Blake are reunited after William dies of old age.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Joseph Blake struggles with this severely in chapter 7 of the guns below / now we lie.
  • Darkest Hour: When Schofield reveals he can speak to ghosts to Joseph Blake and Joseph doesn't believe him.
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  • Dead to Begin With: hold it high begins immediately after Tom Blake's death.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Joseph Blake discovering Schofield speaking with the ghost of his dead brother and subsequently not believing Schofield's explanation — plus threatening to pull him from the front line — plus Tom's seeming collusion in making this possible — all cause this for Schofield.
  • Deus ex Machina: Two specific instances:
    • When the Grim removes the infection in Schofield's hand at the end of hold it high.
    • Despite the entirety of the 2nd Devonshire Battalion historically being wiped out, one company of the Devons survived — because they were at the transport lines. (Not actually made up by the authors, but absolutely exploited!)
  • Earned Stripes: Shows up multiple times. The first instance is when Schofield receives the Sergeant's chevrons in We are the Dead; after that, when other characters earn stripes (or the stars of the commissioned track), you can bet it is mentioned in-text.
  • The Hero Dies: Defied. When Schofield is mortally wounded, Tom reminds him that the Grim has saved Schofield's life before, prompting Schofield to make a Bargain with Heaven.
  • Holding Hands: As a side-effect of Schofield's bargain with the Grim, he can physically touch and be touched by ghosts. He and Blake take the opportunity to hold hands in the hospital as Schofield recovers.
  • I Want Grandkids: Joseph Blake feels this pressure throughout We are the Dead and the guns below. He recognizes it as his mother wanting something to remember him and his brother by if he should also die.
    • Benjamin Richards also mentions having to deal with this pressure when he is on leave.
  • I See Dead People: William Schofield.
    • It is later revealed that Major Hepburn also has this ability.
    • In the last chapter of We are the Dead, Joseph Blake also gains this ability.
    • In the guns below / now we lie Chapter 5, John Farley and Jeremiah Pickering also accidentally gain these abilities.
  • Implied Love Interest: John Farley and Jeremiah Pickering, to each other. It's explicitly canon in the shippy ficlets left out of the main series.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Joseph Blake, William Schofield, and Tom Blake, respectively. They are also an example of The Three Faces of Adam.
  • Last Kiss: Twice!
    • In the first plot chapter of now we lie, Joseph kisses Will's cheek and holds him as Will lies dying.
    It turns out to be more of a Now or Never Kiss.
    • In poppies grow, Schofield kisses Tom Blake's forehead when Tom finally goes with the Grim.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: The entirety of the series is set between 1900-1919 and is heavily researched. Of course, the ghosts and the death omens are the noted exceptions.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Mr Blake and Major Hepburn. To some extent, Joseph Blake and Benjamin Richards as well — though to what extent depends on the time they've been at the Front . . .
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Not explicitly stated but is seriously implied, particularly by Mrs Blake.
  • Portent of Doom: The Grim, technically. Subverted, in Schofield's case.
  • The Quiet One: William Schofield.
  • Rank Up: Schofield is promoted to Sergeant shortly after being transferred to the 2nd Devonshire Battalion. After the action at Villers Bretonneux, Benjamin Richards is promoted to Major, Joseph Blake is promoted to Captain, and John Farley is promoted to Sergeant.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Schofield implies that this is the reason he was at Thiepval. Later, it is revealed that his Sergeant at the time saw him speaking with ghosts and subsequently reported him for cowardice (shellshock), resulting in Schofield being transferred to another unit.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Justified. They are involved in WWI and high casualty rates.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: William Schofield for nearly the entirety of the series. By the end of the series, Joseph Blake and Benjamin Richards also fit this trope, along with virtually everyone else still alive.
  • Shot at Dawn: Subverted. When Schofield is called to Major Hepburn's quarters after Joseph discovers his abilities, Schofield expects he is going to be punished in some way. Instead, Major Hepburn reveals that Schofield was transferred to the 2nd Devons specifically to act as the deadman.
  • Shown Their Work: Often the authors include historical information
    • about upcoming battles, usually in scenes where officers meet formally;
    e.g.: Schofield listening in on battle plans before Ypres; Joseph receiving orders with other Lieutenants from Captain Richards
    • disposition or placement of the battalion along the front line, usually in scenes where characters are returning to the line from the hospital or from leave;
    e.g.: Joseph returning from his leave after Ypres
    • realities of being a soldier or officer, usually in scenes where characters are pondering the circumstances challenging them as an individual.
    e.g.: Schofield reflecting on why he never applied for the commissioned officer track after he is promoted to Lieutenant of 5th Platoon
  • Survivor Guilt: Joseph Blake and Mrs Blake are both shown explicitly to believe they are partly responsible for Tom's death.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Two of the battles faced by the characters during the German Spring Offensives involved the battalion retreating whilst serving as a delaying action. Unfortunately, in the second, the battalion decides to make a Last Stand.
  • The Team: 5th Platoon.
  • Team Dad: Joseph Blake is this by default for 5th Platoon.
  • Team Mom: William Schofield gradually becomes this for 5th Platoon.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Tom Blake, Joseph Blake, and William Schofield, respectively.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: William Schofield and Mr Blake both exhibit this on occasion; so does Major Hepburn.
  • Together in Death: At the very end of the series, William Schofield's ghost meets the Grim. Tom Blake meets him, too.
  • Trauma Button: Several.
    • Seeing sparks or fire can trigger Tom Blake into reliving his death.
    • Seeing Schofield unconscious/unresponsive triggers Tom Blake's memories of Schofield being buried in the booby-trapped bunker.
    • Anything that makes Schofield think he is going to be outed as someone who sees ghosts triggers him to remember being charged with cowardice and being transferred to the front at Thiepval. This gets less triggering as the series progresses and Schofield a) learns he is not alone, and b) gains the trust and acceptance of Joseph Blake.
    • Being woken up by a bombardment triggers Schofield's memories of being mortally wounded at the Somme in March, 1918.
    • Not being able to breathe/difficulty breathing triggers Schofield's memories of being buried in the bunker.
  • True Companions: William Schofield, Tom Blake, and Joseph Blake.
  • Up Through the Ranks: In the guns below / now we lie, after the action at Villers Bretonneux, Schofield is promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
  • War Is Hell: Self-evident.