Hi everybody! This is the first fic I have ever written-I only discovered Band of Brothers fanfic a few days ago and thought I would try my hand at it. I don't know if this is any good, it's just something I wrote while I was sitting in class. If anyone has any comments, I would love to hear from you!
After All, He Was Only Human
He wakes in the middle of the night, heart pounding, unsure at first of where he is, and upon fully waking wonders how he could have ever forgotten. He struggles to sit up, the cold making his limbs stiff and sore, his gear catching on the rough, ragged wall of the foxhole. He squints in the dim light of the moon, looking over to his right, searching for his closest friend in the entire army.
Relief floods through his body as he spots Lewis Nixon passed out next to him in a drunken slumber, helmet slipping down over his eyes, flask clutched in his hand. Heaving a sigh of relief, Winters wills his breathing to return to normal, the last vestiges of his nightmare slipping from his mind.
It is only since they have arrived here in Bastogne that he has begun having dreams that haunt him during the night with their vivid detail and which continue to haunt him during the day with memories that settle on his mind like snowflakes, clear and sharp one second, gone the next.
He has to will himself to remain strong in front of his men; it would never do for anyone above or below him in the chain of command to see him as being anything other than the consummate leader, the cool headed captain.
It has been a struggle for Winters, more so than anyone knows, to keep this calm façade throughout the war. Others see him as a natural leader but the truth is he never wanted his life to turn into this. While still in high school, before this whole thing in Europe started, before Pearl Harbor was attacked, he always envisioned himself heading off to college, learning enough to prepare him for life, settling down with a nice quiet girl, having a couple of kids, and living a peaceful, comfortable life in rural Pennsylvania.
Instead he is thousands of miles away from home attempting to lead Easy Company in this war, trying to keep his men alive.
It rests heavily on him at times, this responsibility, and he feels the weight of every life he holds in his hands as if it were his own. How could he not, after all, he was only human.
They continue to look at him as if he should know the answers to all the questions, even the ones no one knows how to ask. He doesn't.
No one knows there are times during the night, alone at the CP, huddled in a foxhole somewhere, in a hastily dug trench, in the quarters back at Toccoa where all he can do is cry silently into his pillow/sleeve/helmet, and hope no one ever sees him, that no one ever sees this weakness. He cries for the life he left behind, he cries for the lives of his men that have been lost, he cries for those men who will never know the joy of returning home to the welcoming arms of their families and loved ones, and he cries for chances he could have and should have taken but never did.
Silently, he turns to Nix sleeping beside him and studies him while he sleeps. He is unsure if he would have made it this far without Nix by his side. He doesn't know what he would do if something happened to his best friend. It is not something he really wants to consider either. And who can blame him, after all, he was only human.
He wages a mental debate with himself over whether or not to wake Nix, whether or not he should just give him a little nudge and in the hope that he wakes up so that he'll have someone to talk to, someone he knows will understand. But ultimately he can't find it in himself to disturb Nix from his much needed slumber and sends up a silent prayer that his friend has found some measure of peace from a bottle and his dreams.
However, he is still too unsettled that he knows he'll never get back to sleep tonight. So he swallows his tears, reaches for his helmet and weapon, and climbs out the foxhole, ready to face another day, the impenetrably calm mask slipping into place over his features once again. But he knows he won't find peace from his inner demons for long. And no one should be surprised at this. Not really. Because after all, he was only human.