A/N: Idea's been in my head for ages, but a combination of history classes and a lady come to speak to us about Darfur finally made me write it.
You know of Spanglish; I've got Japanglish. (or maybe anime-nese) They are real Japanese words, but at times, are probably not grammatically correct. I just wanted to get the idea across. I only had a handful of Japanese to work with.
Beta-read by pyrocrazedgel.
I suppose you could call it AU, but it's actually set in the Yugioh universe, just with a war. And a bunch of foreign troops. It's from the POV of an original character, as well.
Disclaimer: No, it's not mine, even though I only slightly hinted at the polar the same way that Takahashi-sensei does.
Rated T for a bit of language, a bit of blood, and lots of death.
They told us to 'keep the peace'. Which I would love to do, only there's no peace to keep. They could definitely use some peace, but there sure as hell isn't any left to keep. We've trekked through miles of city, and I haven't seen a living person--other than the rest of my battalion--yet. Just piles of Japanese bodies. Some of them are pretty young, too. There's a kid right there, can't be more than 12. From the looks of his clothes, fighting to protect his city from the rebels. What we're supposed to be doing.
It's hard not to run up to these people and treat them. I tried enough times when we first got here. But they're all dead, and all I wind up doing is slowing down the group. Already, most of them are ahead of me. I don't think they really care, though. I'm just a medic. Well, surgeon to be precise, but they all seem to forget that. Technically I outrank most of them--just by medical skill, I'm a captain--but I don't have a second of combat experience. Since everyone's dead, I guess I still don't. But it feels like I do. You think being a doctor, I'd be used to seeing dead bodies, but there's so many. Every street, I think that there can't possibly be any more people, and every street, there always are. Didn't anyone evacuate? Or were they all that foolhardy, that they would stay and fight for the city?
If so, it was all for nothing. The rebel group torched the downtown--the outskirts are just bullet-scarred for now--before they were finally stopped. One of our groups went in and did some "peacekeeping". Warmongering bastards, they probably waited until the rebels were torching before they stepped in. All these innocent people--!
I look up from another body to see the rest of the group pick up the pace. What's going on? I jog after them and round the corner just in time to hear gunshots. Instinctively, I duck. The rest of the battalion is already halfway down the street, taking cover behind debris while firing at a couple of Japanese riflemen. Black and red cloth decorates their arms--the mark of the insurgents. One stands in the open while the other one stands behind him. They take turns standing in front and firing, each time, moving closer to us. A couple of the corporals across the street from each other--I can spot the stripes from here--look at each other and nod. One stands up and shoots. The rebels look his way and start firing. Our guy immediately jumps down and the other fellow nails the kid in the front.
The second man doesn't move, just turns and aims at the soldier who shot his comrade. Before he can get return fire, half a dozen soldiers shoot him in the back. Ah, that's where the rest of the battalion went. To get behind him. My stomach sinks at the thought of those possibly being the only living Japanese I encounter on this whole mission.
Then, suddenly, an older man runs out from behind a pile of debris. He's laughing. I'm about to raise my gun, when I see that he's not wearing the mark of the rebels. He must've been hiding, and came out when we killed them. I relax a bit. Finally, something positive.
The sound of automatic weapon fire explodes in my ears. The man immediately falls to the ground, dead. I look around wildly, expecting to see another rebel group. Instead, there's half a dozen of my comrades with smoking guns. The same soldiers than ran around behind the two rebels. What the HELL are they doing?! That guy wasn't going to hurt us! He thought we just saved him!
"Hey!" I shout angrily. "He was a friendly!"
"Orders were to kill everyone!" One of them yells back. The others jeer at me before turning and continuing up the street. My hand curls into a fist, but I know he's right. There was supposedly an evacuation, so the only ones left were the rebels. "Supposedly". I can't imagine that being true with the number of innocent people I've seen. But the soldiers, they're not going to listen to that. All they care about is "kill all hostiles".
Unwillingly, I trudge after the rest of my comrades. Not a one of them turns around to see if I'm there. Someone could jump out and kill me, and no one would notice.
There's an alley off to my right, while I'm walking up the street. I can see debris and bodies out of the corner of my eye. Turning my head, I try to block it out, when I hear something. I freeze, my boot hovering in midair. Slowly, I unsling the automatic weapon from my shoulder. I had hoped I wouldn't have to use it, but I hoped a lot more than I would live through this. I strain my ears for the slightest sound. I hear it again, faintly. I turn back towards the alley. I don't know what the hell I'm thinking, going in by myself, but I just step right in the opening of the alley, the sun to my back. My shadow spills into the frame of light on the ground. Buildings cut off the sun from the rest of the alley. It's dark, and hard to make things out. If I hadn't already seen a mile of dead bodies, I might check to see if these were alive. But they can't be. None of the others were. But what was that sound? I cautiously take another step forward.
"Iie!!" someone screams. I nearly have a heart attack. Oh my g--, they're going to shoot me, I'm going to die, why did I come in here by myself, I don't even like the army, I just wanted to be a doctor and help people I'm not cut out for this please don't kill me--
After several seconds, I realize that I have not been shot or otherwise injured. I listen carefully for the person in the alley. There's shallow breathing, like they've been running, or they're hurt. Which means my option to run just disappeared. Well... I suppose technically I COULD leave, since they might very well kill me, but after all the death I've seen, I'm sure as hell not going to let this life slip away. Not if I can help it. Maybe if I sound friendly, they won't hurt me? That's what they told us to do when they briefed us, at least.
"Hello?" I say loudly, pointing my gun at the ground. I wasn't letting go of that thing until I was sure they weren't going to shoot me first.
BANG. A small cloud of dust blew in my face as a bullet hit the brick building to my right.
"Tomare!" It's a woman screaming; I'm sure of it. It doesn't change the fact that she shot a foot away from my face. My knees are shaking. I don't want to die here! I can leave if she's shooting! There's nothing in my oath that says I have to die trying to help anyone! I'm stuck there, now not sure if I want to help or not. Is she going to shoot? There's a long, agonizing silence while I wait for the answer. All I hear is the sound of her breathing, each breath reminding me that she needs help. Dammit. Please, God, I know I haven't been a good Christian, but I just want to help this woman, please don't let her shoot me...
"Don't shoot," I beg, holding my hands up and dropping the gun. I'm not sure where to look, because my eyes are adjusting to the light and I can't see her.
"T-tomare!" she repeats, though I haven't a clue what it means. I take another few steps, and then stop when I hear a gun cock.
"Shini," she says in a low, threatening voice. I see the glint of a rifle scope, and realize that I'm barely 10 feet away from the barrel of a very nasty looking rifle. The woman is kneeling on the ground. I wonder why she's not standing, until I see the blood on the ground next to her leg. I was right; she is hurt. From her clothes, she doesn't look like a rebel, which may be why I'm not lying on the ground right now.
"I just want to help," I say very calmly. Really, I'm just about ready to piss myself; it may not sound that bad to you; a wounded Japanese lady pointing an outdated rifle in my face, while I have an automatic gun in my hand. But if she could kill me by looking at me, I'd be dead so many times, they'd have to make another circle of hell. I have never seen any human being look at anyone with such hate as that woman did on that day. I just about picked my gun back up and got her before she could get me. I wait tensely for her reaction.
Apparently that had been the wrong thing to say. I see tears on her face as she shouts another curse at me, still glaring fiercely. Is she afraid? I take another step forward, and we're barely as far apart as the rifle now. I can see her hands shaking as she tries to hold the gun steady.
"S-stop," she sputters in broken English. "Leave us!"
Even though she probably just said the wrong word, I glance around behind her to see if there are more people. I see none. Well, none living at least. There might be another couple bodies down the alley.
Then I spot someone behind her. He looks younger than her, but it's hard to tell age in a war zone. War changes people like that. He's got messy blonde hair--so does she, in fact, but I guess it makes more sense to me for a woman to have dyed hair than a man. He's propped up against the wall, which is soaked in blood. My stomach turns as I realize that he's dead.
She follows my gaze and realizes I've noticed the man on the ground. Faster than I've ever seen an injured person move, she jumps to her feet and points the rifle in my face.
"Omae no yarou!" she screams. "Nigeru!"
Uh-oh. This isn't going well. My hands are still raised innocently, and I try to point to the red cross on my helmet. She just shouts more curses at me and waves the rifle. I take a couple small steps back so she won't blow my head off, but I can't just leave while she's standing there bleeding to death. Does she really not notice? Is this what war does to people? I can see the wound pretty well now; it looks like the bullet went right through her leg. Must've missed the bone or she just wouldn't be able to stand, but it's bleeding a hell of a lot. Any person in a normal situation would have passed out by now.
I point to the wound on her leg, then to the cross on my helmet, and tell her again that I'm here to help. The rifle gets waved in my face again, though not as violently this time. Her arms are shaking a lot worse, though she's still glaring daggers. This isn't going to end well if she doesn't put the damn gun down and just let me help--
Oh shit. Her eyes waver for the first time, and I know something's wrong. Or more wrong. She staggers forward and drops the gun. She's falling. I can't move because of all this stuff I'm carrying and because I'm so shocked that she actually fell down. There's a soft thud when she hits the ground. I drop my pack, my gun, and get on my knees. The first thing I do is grab her rifle and scoot it behind me, where she can't reach. Then I tear open my bag and fumble around for bandages. Once I find them, I shift so I'm squatting and can move around a bit, just in case. She's lying on her side right now, so I don't have to move her too much.
She mumbles something while I'm digging in the pack again. I glance at her quickly, but she's still out. It was a different word than the ones she was screaming before, so I'll take a guess and say she's not cursing at me any more. Of course, she doesn't even know I'm there at this point, so what does it matter? I pull out some gauze and wrap it around her leg. Hopefully she won't wake up before I stop the bleeding--
Of course as soon as I think that, her eyes flicker. She looks at me uncertainly and whispers that word again. I don't know what she's saying, so I just tell her that I'm helping. Geez, I sound like a broken record. They always tell us to speak calmly to the patients if they don't speak the same language, and they'll get the general idea. Apparently that's worthless with this woman, because she sits bolt upright and shouts something at me.
"Hey, calm down!" I say, raising my voice for the first time. This was really starting to tick me off, and being nice wasn't helping much. "I'm trying to HELP."
I think she's going to yell at me again, and then she looks down and sees me treating the wound. She looks back up at me, confused. Uncertainly, she asks me something. What are you doing? I imagine she's saying.
"I told you, I'm here ta help," Oh great, I'm so nervous, my accent's coming through. Now she'll never understand me. "Just lie back and be quiet, alright?"
Amazingly enough, she complies, and lies back down. I peek at the gauze in my hand. The blood's stopped soaking through, so I figure it's stopped. I grab the banadages I took out before and start tying them around her leg.
"You're a tough paitient, you know that?" It's gotten too quiet without her shouting, so I start a one-sided conversation. "Anybody else'd probably be dead right now." I see her glance at the guy against the wall, then up at me. It looks like she's thinking something, but she doesn't say anything. I finish tying the bandage and breathe a sigh of relief. I start to gather up my things. I want nothing more than to get the heck out of there.
I'm about to put the last of the bandages back in my bag when she says something to me. Surprised, I look up at her.
"Onegai?" I managed to catch a word of what she says. Please. She's pointing to the man against the wall. I look at him. He's dead. There's no way anyone could lose that amount of blood and live. I look back at her, and she repeats whatever she said, and points again. I don't know what she wants me to do.
"He's dead," I say clearly. She looked up when I said 'dead' before; she might know the word. I guess she does, because she looks down sadly and asks again in Japanese.
"Shini," I say, finally remembering some of the basic Japanese they taught us on the way over. She says nothing, silently accepting it. There's a long grim silence. I want to go, but I don't want to leave her like this. She's still looking down. I realize I don't even know who she is. I wave at her to get her attention and she looks up at me.
"Tom Walker." I point to myself. She looks at me, confused, and I repeat my name. With a heavy accent, she says it back to me. I nod and point at myself. She gets the hint.
"Kujaku Mai," she says clearly. I repeat it back to her, probably accenting it just as badly as she did. She doesn't smile exactly, but her face gets a little less serious.
"Hai," she says. Hey, another word I know! I'm about to stand up to leave when I catch her looking at that guy again. I hesitate and point to him as well. She looks surprised. I figure the least I can do for the guy is say a prayer--or maybe ask the chaplain to; like I said, I'm not particularly faithful right now. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so bad about not being able to do anything for these people.
"J-jounouchi Katsuya," she says in a choked voice. I say his name and she nods. Katsuya. That's what she was saying before, I think.
I stand up, thinking about whether or not to bring her back with me. Even if I can get her to leave the gun here, they'll probably still kill her on the spot. Dammit, I can't take her. I know they'll kill her. I turn to leave. The leftover bandages are still in my hand. I toss them to her, the least I can do. Maybe she'll live through this anyway. Please, let her live. She doesn't deserve to die. I turn away again silently and walk away.
"Arigatou!" she calls after me, then in English, "Goodbye!"
"Sayonara," I say as I leave the alley. The sunlight hits my face, and I pray to a God I wish I knew better that they'll be okay.
A/N: Tom Walker just popped into my head while I was writing. I didn't remember where it was from until I finished the fic. Kudos to anyone who knows where it's from!
Okay, the "omae no yarou" phrase may or may not be gramatically correct, and the other words may or may not be used in the right situation, but here's a list of what all the Japanese words mean. I only have a very small Japanese vocabluary.
Iie - No
Tomare - Stop
Shini - Die
Omae (you) no (possesive) yarou (bastard) - You bastard
Nigeru - Run
Onegai - Please
Arigatou - Thank you
Sayonara - Goodbye
Uh... don't really know why I killed Jou. ; He wasn't dead in the original plot bunny. I blame FMA 15. That was a damn depressing volume.
For the record, when Mai passed out and looked at Tom, she said "Katsuya". In case I didn't make that very clear. ;