A/N: Don't fuck with Texas. And don't fuck with America. Period. This is inspired by watching the tea parties of San Antonio, Austin and Atlanta, Georgia. And listening to the music from The Patriot. Ya'll might not like the movie, but by God I love it and I would still watch it if I actually had it. =3=;; which I don't.
And a line stolen from Independence Day. You'll know it when you see it.
It Happens Again
The president looked out the window of the oval office, his dark hands folded behind his back as he gazed out at Washington, D.C. with his dark eyes. Alfred F. Jones, America, watched his back, his mind falling back to old days when it was any number of men standing before him with that same grimace on their face, but usually the grimace was attributed to the hard decisions of being the president, the leader of the free people of the United States of America. Usually it was the grimace of a man who knew that his decisions would fly out in waves and affect every single American and those outside the borders of America. It was usually the grimace of utter responsibility. Instead, however, the grimace on the president's face was harder, sterner, unlike those men who had taken the office so long ago. It was a grimace that made Alfred sometimes sick to his stomach to see, because he couldn't understand why the man held the gaze he did.
It was a gaze he couldn't name the emotions attached to it, as though the man guarded everything he said and did very carefully so none would notice what churned on the inside of his dark skull.
"Alfred, what are your feelings? You requested to speak to me?" asked the president softly.
"Ah!" Alfred was taken by surprise as he looked at the president and blushed self consciously. "Ah, sorry, sir, I was sort of reminiscing about old things, other guys in this place and whatnot," said Alfred, chuckling as he scratched his cheek.
The president didn't turn or really even actually acknowledge him except by voice, "So? You wanted to say something to me, right? What is it?"
"Sir, you and congress can't keep spending this money. We don't have that much to spend," said Alfred, smiling weakly at the man's back, "I mean, hey, you're cool and all, but you all can't keep doing all of this. It'll cause really bad problems later."
"Sorry, did someone send you to talk to me about these things?" asked the president, his voice much sterner than before.
"No, sir, I came on my own. I've been watching the news and all, but they all keep saying everything's all right and whatever, but FOX has been putting out what the other networks should be saying. And the girls are getting restless with all of this mass spending!" Alfred felt like a kid once again trying to talk to England about why things were the way they were. "And… and are you actually thinking about suspecting my boys and girls coming back home from the war as being possible recruits for terrorists?" This was something that had been nagging at him since he heard it on the television a few days ago. What would possess someone to think such a thing about the U.S. military?
"They have the training. They have the desire. It's only natural," said the president, his voice careful now.
"You can't be serious, though!!" Alfred cried out suddenly. "They fight for us! What… what would make you think they would turn against us and join those assholes who want us dead! Those guys that want me dead!"
"It's just a precaution," said the president, his voice careful once again. "The unibomber was in the Gulf War and he came back and attacked us."
"But that was one guy, man!" snapped Alfred.
"One man can do a lot of damage," said the president.
"Are you that one man, sir?" asked Alfred, his voice quiet, but his expression was that of desperate hope that the president would not affirm the conviction.
"Don't be stupid. You need to stop listening to FOX news, they're polluting your mind with their radical right rhetoric," snapped the president impatiently.
"But you're the one who proposed that my boys and girls have to pay for their own injuries from their pockets, sir," said Alfred, his voice getting more and more strained as he tried to keep himself calm. "They fight for us, sir. They fight for me."
"Congress didn't let it pass, Alfred, so you don't have to worry about it," said the president, getting impatient now.
"But that's not the point!!" cried Alfred, slamming his fist down on the desk he stood in front of. "You proposed it! You act almost like you hate them, that you hate me!!"
"Don't be stupid, Alfred!" snapped the president, finally turning around. Those dark eyes burned into Alfred's sky blue eyes and made Alfred, for one moment, believe that he did indeed hate him, but Alfred was certain he had to be wrong. There was no way that America, those fifty states, those many people, could have voted in someone that hated them outright for being who they were.
A statement the president had uttered not so long ago during the campaign lit off in Alfred's mind and it froze him to the core.
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for twenty-five years and nothing's replaced them. It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," said the dark skinned man as he spoke out to a large crowd of people.
Alfred had almost forgotten it and thought the man had probably just said something stupid and would retract it. Alfred knew better because he lived through some seriously hard times long ago. He knew that what he had said wasn't true and yet he had completely forgotten in lieu of just moving along with the way things went. Wong, China, had always said that was the best way to deal with governments.
"Leaders come and go, Alfred," said the gentle Chinaman as he sipped his tea, his face peaceful and gentle, "but China will always remain China. It is the way of all things we are."
Alfred took a few steps back, his hands shaking slightly as realizations started to dawn on him that he hated with a passion. They made him sick, more sick than the gaze the president was fixing him with. Blood dribbled down over his mouth as a few more of his boys and girls died in combat. He put his hands up to his nose and looked at the blood as though in a daze.
"That is why we have to bring them home, right, Alfred?" said the president. There was no pleasantness in his tone anymore. "Because you're losing them, right?"
No, it wasn't right! He'd lost so much more during The Great War and World War II, he had lost so much more during Korea and Vietnam, he had lost so much more during the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. He had lost so much more before! These souls that he lost, while he prized them as much as he prized everyone else, were so much fewer in number than those other wars. That meant his children actually kept themselves alive better with better equipment and better facilities than so long ago. That meant that the battles they fought they won more easily than they had so long ago. It meant that as much as he wanted them home, they had to finish the job they had begun, because they, like he, hated not doing a job well done!
"No! No, this isn't right, sir! Not at all!" cried Alfred.
The president turned back around again and looked out the grand windows behind the desk, over the balcony and onto the green lawn of the White House, quiet as ever. The silence sent chills down Alfred's spine. When Alfred finally managed to breathe properly again he straightened up and looked to the president's back solemnly, determinedly. "Are you still going to do all these things, sir? To raise our taxes just to pay off all these ridiculous expenditures, put my children in debt, put me in debt, for a long time, maybe even cause massive inflation like what happened in Germany? Are you still going to go through with these things?" He had to pick his battles, win one at a time and get to the things he desperately needed to get to. He only hoped that by the time he managed to get through to his boss that his children overseas would not be treated like criminals.
Alfred stepped off the plane and looked out over the waiting crowd of people. There were several dressed in the typical "hippie" garb that he had begun to grow accustomed to thanks to Mia, California. His short blond hair blew a little in the slight breeze as he walked down the steps from the airplane and onto the ground. His children, the boys he had watched fight in Vietnam, were around him as they too stepped off the airplane and into the waiting crowd to find their loved ones.
And then someone spit on his face.
Alfred blinked, shocked to the core, as he stopped in mid-step and raised a hand to his cheek where the spittle landed. He wiped it off and looked to see where it had come from. His eyes met a young hippie fellow, his beard and hair long, who glared at him angrily. There were several others, young men and women, who stood on either side of the marines getting off the airplane. Then, they started insulting them, screaming at them various insults, but his marine boys were far better disciplined and just strode through them as though they were nothing.
"Baby killer!" snarled one young woman.
"Monster!!" cried another.
"MURDERERS! YOU'RE ALL FUCKING MURDERERS!" cried a young man.
Then, they all screamed and hollered more at them as Alfred stared, disbelieving, at them. One young man put his hand on Alfred's shoulder and Alfred looked around to look at the young marine in his green eyes. The young man smiled at him and nodded to him, saluting him before walking on.
Alfred took the hint and tried to straighten himself out and walked through the crowd. He found Mia, dressed in the hippie garb as he had grown accustomed to and smiled at him as he approached. He smiled as well and walked over to her, hugging her quickly, pulling her up into his arms and swinging her around as he breathed in her wonderful, clear smell. California was a paradise for him and California herself was the best therapy he could imagine for himself.
"Welcome home, hero," she whispered into his ear and he believed it.
No, Alfred could not let that happen, but the more important thing to deal with was the economy. What was pride in your soldiers, in your country, if you had no money to spend? No, Alfred walked out as quickly as possible to get as far away from the White House as he could. He walked all the way back to his Washington, D.C. home and sat down with a hamburger and a soda to watch the evening news on several channels.
Hannah Cook, Texas, stood on the platform behind the governor and listened to him speak. He spoke out to the Austinites gathered about what it means to be an American, what it means to be a Texan, and how the government had forgotten that the states have rights. Her red curls were pulled back in a twist at the back of her head, albeit unruly, as she watched the men, women, children, sitting out in the hot Texas sun and held aloft their signs and screamed "NO MORE" to the U.S. government in one rallying cry.
He spoke of governor Sam Houston, of president Sam Houston, long ago when he had said, "Texas has yet to learn submission to oppression." It was both in reference to her as much as it was to her children, the children of Texas. It gave her a swelling pride in her heart that, despite the governor's crazy notions of what Austin should do about expanding and becoming more a city like New York, he was a Texan through and through.
When he was done, she walked off the platform behind him and made her way to her car. She drove south down I-35 to San Antonio so that she could make it in time to see the protest rally at the Alamo. She wanted to see the crowd before it dissipated. She wanted to see more of her children finally throwing down the gauntlet and crying out in one voice "We will not go quietly, we will not vanish! We are Texans! We are Americans!"
As she made her way toward the Alamo she began hearing the cries of the people, their screaming for "no taxation without representation". She heard the speakers who gave their speeches for FOX news, such as Glenn Beck, and others. As she made her way into the area she saw the Alamo, standing still ever since that fateful day when she saw the carnage Santa Anna had left for her and the men who came to aid the men inside the Alamo. She could still smell the scorched flesh, the blood splattered on the walls; she could still feel the burning sensation inside her chest as blood came up out of her mouth and oozed over her chin from those men who died. It was as though it was yesterday and yet she knew it had been so very long ago.
Hot tears welled up in her light blue eyes, the color of the Texas sky in summer, as she gazed at the stone walls of the Alamo. For a moment she could see those monks who used to occupy it when it was freshly built, standing and watching the crowd with gentle eyes. Next to them were David Crockett and Jim Bowie, William Travis and more. They stood silent as they watched and those men who had braved such outrageous odds cheered with the crowd as once again they knew children of Texas stood up for what it means to be free against a corrupt government.
Hannah knew they stood there and knew it wasn't her imagination. She knew they were there as much as England himself knew his fairies were real. As she watched them she walked around the crowd and stood before the great walls of the Alamo, looking up at it and remembering so much and wishing that perhaps she could have been there to help them. But, in the end, she had been there with them. She was Texas and Texas had been there with those men fighting for her.
She felt a chill on her shoulder and looked over to the hand of a monk resting his hand on her shoulder. He smiled kindly at her and nodded toward her. He spoke English, though it was heavily accented as he said, "No matter what we will stand guard over this place. No matter what we will stand with these men who are as determined as we to guard it. It is a sacred place to us and a sacred place to them."
Hannah smiled gently at him and put her hand over his, his hand cold and almost nonexistent. "Thank you, my friend," she said softly and then felt his hand retreat as he walked away to join his brothers back inside the walls of the presidio.
Hannah then looked to the crowd and listened to Glenn Beck speak as she joined it. It was then that she saw a familiar head of blonde hair, looking up at the stage and smiling gently as though remembering different times. Worry was in his face as well, worry that it was all happening all over again the way he had seen it long ago.
"Alfred?" she said as loudly as she could so he could hear her over the crowd.
Alfred turned to her and smiled at her with his usually bright grin. "Hey, Hannah, I thought I might take a look at what was happening down here. I mean, I know they're all over the place, but here… I knew you'd probably be here to join them."
Hannah smiled gently toward Alfred and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly for a moment before breaking away and walking away from the crowd with him so she could hear him easier. "I'm surprised you came here, Alfred, given how much you love Mr. Obama."
Alfred flinched slightly. "I don't love him," he said softly, "I had hope for him, though. And… really… that's all you can have when it comes to presidents, right?"
She rolled her eyes and sat down in the shade on the ground. He followed suit, frowning faintly at her reaction, though he was unsurprised. "He said exactly what he wanted to do and what he would do when he got into office, Alfred. You and everyone else simply didn't listen. If McCain hadn't thrown the race, which I suspect he did, he would never had gotten into the White House. Do you know what his little lapdogs are calling these good people out here, what he calls them?"
Alfred frowned and looked away. "Yeah, I do. Right wing radicals."
"Exactly. He and his little lapdogs in the rest of the news networks are calling these people something that would diminish their effect on the rest of the country, on the rest of the world," said Hannah sharply, "That isn't a president, that isn't a leader. That's a man who wants total control of the government and the people. That's a king. That's a dictator. I know it sounds familiar to you, Alfred, ever so much more it is to me."
"I know, Hannah," he said softly, "But I don't want another civil war, another 'revolution'. I don't want more fighting inside my borders."
"Who does?" said Hannah softly, looking off at the crowd.
Alfred stood in the line and marched with the rest of the American men toward the line of English men. Francis was not there, he was on one of the ships helping to alleviate from the sea the English terror that was scouring the land and taking away more and more American land. Across from him he saw the line of soldiers heading for him, cannon fire exploding the ground further down the line and near him. They would trade fire and then the order to fully attack was given and he charged into the battle, musket and bayonet going through men quickly.
And then a flash of blonde hair caught his eye. In the line was his twin brother Matthew Williams, Canada, and he was fighting beside the English men. Matt was always the shy, modest one in comparison to Alfred. To see him fighting the way he was, shouting and skewering a man in front of him with those blue eyes, the same eyes as Alfred's, glaring in fury. He was loyal to Arthur and would fight beside him if he was asked to.
Then, he turned and looked right at Alfred and Alfred's heart leapt into his throat. No, he didn't want to do this. His disagreement was with Arthur, England, not with Matt! Matt paled and looked uncertain for a moment, scared, frightened, but then he looked back at Alfred and charged at him through the men fighting and Alfred had to bring his musket up to his shoulder and fire. Matt fell back as the ball went right into his shoulder. Matt staggered a moment and looked to the blood darkening the already red uniform and then to Alfred, his eyes wide.
"Matt, please don't," said Alfred, breathing fast.
Matt pulled a saber out and brought it up, his mouth setting in a grim line as he used his still usable hand to hold it up. "You're the one that turned against big brother Arthur!" he shouted and then their sabers clashed. Matt, fueled by fury at Alfred, was a lot harder to fight that Alfred had previously thought his brother capable of doing. Matt, despite the blood coming from the wound in his shoulder, sliced the air in front of Alfred's nose several times and nearly nicked him twice.
"Matt! Stop! Stop fighting!!" cried Alfred, blocking a blow and knocking Matt backward as he shoved with his saber. Matt was hard to knock back however and he had to block again before a stabbing pain in his side cut through. Matt had used his other hand, the one attached to the wounded shoulder to swing from the side and stab him with the bayonet. Alfred's vision blurred slightly as he staggered backward a bit. "M…Matt….I…you…"
Matt stared at him, his face pale as he watched Alfred, his eyes wide in horror. He looked down at the blood on his hand and on the bayonet, the blood darkening the blue coat Alfred wore as he moved away from Matt to collect himself.
The retreat was sounded and Matt grabbed Alfred and shoved him into one of the blue coated men near him. "Take him!" he shouted as loudly as he could. "Take him away, now! Please!!"
Alfred stood once more on the battleground, only this time he wasn't doing the fighting. He was looking at the massacre before him at Gettysburg. The ground was soaked through with the blood of men. Before him on one side he saw his northern girls. Pennsylvania with her light brown hair and gentle eyes were glaring across the way to the other side past Alfred. New York, Anna Fern, her steely gaze locked on the other side as well. All the northern girls were scraped up and bruised, but otherwise unharmed. Blood dribbled down his chin as the pain of the split in his stomach made him dizzy again.
Blood started bleeding through his dark blue union uniform in a straight line across his stomach, separating his north from his south. A strong set of arms grabbed a hold of him to keep him from falling over. Hannah, blood splattered on her face, dirt and sweat on her beautiful tanned skin, was holding him up. Whatever grievances the southern girls had with the northern and the union government, Alfred would always be their Alfred. The look of genuine pain in Texas's clear blue eyes told Alfred everything. Georgia, her eyes almost black, her dark brown curls pulled up, her gown dirty on the hem from walking through the mud to where she stood next to Arkansas.
"You shouldn't be here, Alfred," said Hannah softly, sternly, "You need to be resting."
"It's because of you lot that he's suffering!!" cried Anna as she stepped forward.
Hannah frowned and glared sharply at Anna. "You shut the fuck up, New York!"
Anna gasped a bit at the language Hannah spoke with, but didn't back down one bit. "It's because you all won't give up your slaves! It's unjust and immoral!"
"It's because ya'll keep hiking up our damn taxes because of those damn slaves, Anna! If ya'll didn't keep doing that then maybe we wouldn't be in this damn fix!" snarled Hannah, still holding up Alfred.
"Stop! Stop it this minute!" shouted Alfred, more blood coming up as he did so and he gurgled slightly into his hand. Hannah and Anna stopped shouting at each other and looked to him, worried, though Hannah's face was as stern as ever. He wiped the blood with his already bloody hand and looked to them both. "All of you are what's killing me!"
"Then, don't tax us like England did," said Hannah sharply and let go of Alfred, walking away. She joined the other girls and they all joined their respective leaders at the rebel camp. Anna picked up her skirts and hurried over to Alfred's side, wrapping his arm around her narrow shoulders. "Come on, Alfred, let's get you back." Alfred couldn't argue. The burning in his chest and the burning in the split was making it hard to think much less argue.
Alfred sighed and looked to the crowd again. "Hannah, this is serious what's happening. He's… he's actually trying to hurt me. I'm scared."
"The easiest way to hurt America is from the inside," said Hannah softly, "But whether hit from inside or the outside, America will stand back up and fight back. The sleeping giant will awake, is awakening."
Alfred nodded and wrapped an arm around her waist as they continued to watch. She leaned against him, though they hardly ever really had this much contact with one another. Theirs was a union of convenience, but by God Texas would fight for America until the day she died. She was venomous, difficult a lot of the time, but her strong opinions were ones that were sound. Just like the opinions of many of the mid-western girls and the western girls, the southern girls and the northern girls. They all spoke their minds and it was thanks to being with him that they could.
In the end, only time would tell how things would turn out. Alfred could only hope that whatever his current boss wanted to do would ultimately hurt the American people and if it did that the people would continue standing up for what they believed to be true and just.