Disclaimer: I DO NOT own these characters in any way, shape, or form (aside from the OC). They belong to their rightful owners, and I am in no way intending to make any sort of profit off of this. This is fiction, remember. There are some spoilers for those who haven't seen it. I do NOT intend to offend any race, gender, and such forth. It's simply a story, and I do not withhold any opinions that would lead to hatred towards any of these things.
Author's Note: I've spent quite some time since the last Epilogue was posted, and I realized something; everyone was right. I had worn myself down, had sat there and just wanted to end the series that I had spent a lot of time on. What started an idea the moment I left the theaters from seeing the movie suddenly spiraled into an ending that I wasn't happy with even when I had posted it. Some people liked it; they liked the unexplained things and the mystery to it. But quite honestly? The more I've reread it and the more I've watched the movie, the more I wasn't happy with it at all. So with time to actually sit down and write it with inspiration, I decided to give the story a proper ending. I did leave the original epilogue up, but it's truly the Alternative one, not this one. This is the true ending to this side of the story, and now comes the important part:
If you guys read, please leave comments about the new ending. I'm planning a sequel based off of this, but only if anybody is still actually interested in the story. So comments dictate that, and I hope you guys enjoy. I look forward to seeing reviews :)
Sunlight filtered out against the horizon, delving deep back into the sky as rain chased away its happiness. Rickety wheels tumbled over uneven lands, leaving the passengers tumbling and ready to fall at any moment. But feet firmly planted themselves in the ground, keeping everything firmly in place as the world kept spinning despite the seemingly ending that fitted itself in the pit of their stomachs. A hard swallow echoed around the truck without another bounce of the wheels, blank eyes staring at the passing scenery as the cinema was all but a lost memory inside fragile minds.
No words were spoken for nearly half an hour; twenty more minutes and they'd be nearing the boarder and closer to home. But it didn't feel like a job well done; the Congressional Medal of Honor seemed undeserved as the events that had played out so quickly now seemed frozen in time. Failure stormed every thought, clouded it over until it was drowning in a sea of fire. He had gone in with so many men, had known their chances, but somehow the outcome of only he and Utivich standing in the end seemed so much more bitter than what he had ever imagined.
Donny and Omar were lying in the rubble, if there was anything even left. Hugo, Wilhelm…they were gone from a rendezvous that he had known shouldn't have happened. He had felt it in his stomach and yet he sent them to fight, had the persuasion of a man that had just flown himself in from Britain. The 'superior' soldier had given himself up, had sat there and given himself away on the drop of a dime and ruined everything. Good soldier's didn't make it long enough to see the ending of what they had worked so hard for, had put their bodies on the line for.
And then it all came halting down to the haunting face that danced behind Aldo's eyes whenever he closed them. As much as he tried to will her face away, something wouldn't allow him to chase her blue eyes away, allowed him to wallow in his regret. The war was over, and yet he had still come out the loser in the end. An almost unbelievable chuckle rose up in his throat, but he tried to swallow it down before he alerted the last of his sanity the brief moment of weakness. But it still didn't chase her from his mind, the regret building fast and hard in his throat as the brief exchanges flashed in his mind repeatedly.
Shifting uncomfortably and pressing his palms to his eyes until black danced along the edge of his vision, Aldo exhaled noisily and attempted to keep every ounce of his body in check. "Utivich? You ever feel like the world's biggest failure?"
The Private looked up, startled at the sudden change of atmosphere. He had spent so many moments staying quiet and letting his leader brew in peace, but the sudden change in his voice left Utivich completely stunned. It settled into his stomach, washing away the brief moment of victory and leaving guilt in its tide. Allowing his eyes to sweep up the distressed Lieutenant, Smithson Utivich pulled in a deep breath before slowly exhaling, much in the manner his leader had. "Occasionally I do, mostly when I was a kid and back and home."
Aldo nodded briefly before allowing his stare to fixate itself back on the road that was slowly falling way behind them, tire tracks in the aftermath. He tried to picture what kind of chaos Germany would be in once the word of the cinema had hit the news, but even that didn't produce a miniscule smile across his lips. The promise laid heavily across his chest, creating a stranglehold on the beating muscle that he had sheltered in times of the war when boys became men. "I made a promise to 'er last night."
Utivich's eyes slammed up, meeting the sunken mud of Raine's. The stare down continued if only briefly, but it felt like a lifetime in Utivich's mind; he had never seen his fearless leader so vulnerable. Even when Kino was in danger he didn't falter at all, and it left an even sicker feeling in his stomach. If he couldn't rely on Aldo to be stronger than most of the people in the vehicle, who could he rely on? War suddenly became even more real than he wanted to admit, but he sucked the fear down in order to produce a small nod, letting his cotton like tongue slowly roll over his choice of words. "Why'd you do that, Lieutenant? You knew that the outcome would be all of us ending up like Donny and Omar."
The names felt foreign, laden with regret and sorrow that the Private had so carefully tucked away. He could allow himself to mourn his friends once he was safely on American soil, running back into his mother's arms like a good boy, being praised by his father as he inspected the new award his son had achieved. But now still in Germany, even with their fearless leaders long gone, Landa still rode in the front seat, and any form of weakness seemed to put his senses on high end. He had been at war for entirely too long to let his guard down so quickly.
Aldo didn't seem to pay attention to how foreign the two names sounded; they were now just a blur inside his mind, taunting along the name that he was trying so desperately to forget. Her voice rang so clear in his head, pounding like a taunting drum as his palms began to dig into his eyes again. It was laughing, taunting as his sanity threatened to snap in two, a low growl of frustration escaping his lips as his fingers left miniscule crescents in his forehead. "She didn't have no part bein' in that war. She was just lookin' fer escape."
"She found it though, Aldo." He wasn't sure if it was wise to use his first name or the memory that seemed too fresh, and the second their eyes locked Utivich regretted it. Aldo's scowl penetrated his mind, digging into the depths of his mind that he wasn't even aware he had. But he tried to remain passive, tried to be the braver of the two as he tried to welcome the warm thoughts of being home once again. That seemed to be the furthest thing from Aldo's mind, and the young Private half expected him to leap out of the truck and run back towards the radio station.
"She ain't dead, Utivich, I know it. Landa ain't that good an actor," a certain amount of desperation was beginning to build in the man's eyes, and it frightened Utivich. He had seen it entirely too many times before; it was that same look a naive boy gave his first girlfriend while she broke up with him, declaring that there was no way to work it out. There was always something hidden in those words, something that would make the boy try just that much harder, and it sent a chill down his spine seeing it in his leaders eyes.
"Will all do respect sir, you were there. There's no other way-"
"He easily could've slipped 'er out the back door 'er something. Utivich, it can't be that easy. When has Landa ever been easy?" A fierce tone was hidden beneath the façade of calm, and he had to collect himself for a moment before turning his eyes to his Private who looked more than a little bewildered. It left him dry and hung up, eyes meshing together in a desperation that he could only hope the boy understood. He had come so far, had given up entirely too many soldiers' lives that could've been prevented, and he wasn't ready to let it end with another notch on his belt. There was no honor in it, and it was already ripping his sanity in two as the border was within a mile's reach, the truck slowing down even more as his entire body shook in exhaustion.
Five hundred feet and they would be stopping, exchanging positions and putting Landa in his delirious façade as a prisoner. He had one shot to make something happen, to strike fear into the once proud Jew Hunter. Fingers tightening around his pants leg momentarily, Aldo gave one brief glance at Utivich and then back to the border that was gaining rapidly. The trees were becoming denser, and he inhaled the fresher air as his head cleared momentarily. "We's gunna change the plans, Utivich. You's gunna handcuff 'em after we get our possessions back. I'm gunna shoot Hermann, you's gunna scalp him, and we's gunna give Landa a little somethin' he can't take off on his nice little piece of land."
Utivich's bewildered look barreled into Aldo's mind, but his determination was far too great to take as careful of care as he normally could. The truck rattled to a stop, and one more exchange was shared with their eyes before they carefully were escorted out, possessions exchanged and pistols fired. Knees straddling the once proud German Colonel, screams of pain and fear filled the air, new scalped added to Utivich's belt and Aldo's debt eased. A sharp exhale filled the air as the knife was finally taken away, tears of pain brimming up in Landa's eyes as the two men exchanged a headed gaze, two leaders threatening the other to look away in a moment of weakness. But something ignited in Landa's as he stared up at the American leader, a smug smirk on his face as his trembling lips bored into his mind.
Leaning down closer to his ear, Aldo kept the exchange private from the boy walking back towards the trees a bit, giving his leader a moment of privacy. Smirking slightly as Utivich disappeared behind the tree line, Aldo's brown eyes bore into Landa's, breath catching in the German's chest. "I'm gunna have a helluva time fuckin' the shit out of yer daughter once I find her."
He pulled away quickly, eyes catching Landa's once more as pure hatred shown through. The smug smirk grew more as he watched the German's eyes work quickly, attempting to cover up an emotion that was better concealed. A bubble of hope washed away the other casualties of war if only for a brief moment, Utivich appearing from the trees once he was sure it was safe. Hauling up the new prisoner, the two loaded Landa into the back of the truck, Aldo's smirk never leaving his face.
Giving the German a heated look as Utivich trailed off towards the front of the vehicle, Aldo gripped the sides of the truck momentarily. Hate and fear filled eyes stared down the Apache, truly terrified for a brief moment now that the weakness had shown through. "Knew you didn't have it in ya. I'll send my regards; I'm sure she'll be glad to know daddy dearest is a Nazi forever."
The sputtering was the last thing that hit Aldo's ears before he walked away, slamming the rusty truck door as he glanced over at the worn out solider next to him. Timidly shifting around before laying his head against the window, the faithful boy glanced over quickly. "So what now, Lieutenant?"
Aldo shifted the truck into gear before pulling across the border, smirking and hitting every rock and rut he could find on the road. Glancing over at Utivich briefly, he let a smile set onto his face. "We go home and wait for it to cool down, son. Then I'm heading back within a year if she don't rear her head in the South."
Utivich raised an eyebrow in question at his commander's statement, but said nothing. Allowing his eyes to close briefly, the exhausted solider left his plotting leader to his plans, allowing his world to slip to black and dreams of an awaiting homecoming party.