Disclaimer: I don't own Inglourious Basterds or the characters apart from my own. I don't mean to offend anyone's race, nationality or gender its just how people were in the 1940s, I don't condone it at all.
Note 1: For some reason in my old story the chapters weren't uploading so I've deleted and re-published it. Hopefully it will work this time. Thanks for everyone's reviews, gutted that they're not going appear on this one now :(
Note 2: In the film Hugo Stiglitz doesn't meet the Basterds until they go to mainland Europe which is after the story is set. So just pretend he's always been with them. I can't have a story about the Basterds without Stiglitz :)
Cold, grey and wet. That was what the Basterds thought when they landed in England and they weren't far wrong either. They were more than disappointed when they first felt that icy wind against their skin and the drizzle in the air that was slowly but thoroughly soaking their hair. They had always heard bad things about the British weather but had it on good authority that it was greatly exaggerated and could be quite charming on a warm summer's day. The sun would shine down from a clear blue sky and a light, gentle breeze would blow so that it would never get too hot and unbearable. At the moment though, they couldn't even see the sky that was covered by miles of clouds, some grey and others almost black as though the heavens were about to open. And they weren't greeted by luscious green fields and wooded areas like they had anticipated, but instead a smoky, grey town filled with rows of brick terraced houses as far as the eye could see.
"Welcome to England" Aldo sighed rather disgruntled as he and his men grabbed their bags and slung them over their shoulders for their walk to the barracks. They trudged through the thick, fresh mud that sucked their feet into the earth and struggled to free themselves after each step. Utivich almost lost one of his boots in it.
Perhaps it wasn't going to be as pleasant as they thought it would be here in merry old England.
Lily Coulson was stood outside her house with her mother who was scrubbing at the step in front of the door as hard as she could. She wasn't the only one either. Women who didn't clean their steps were looked down upon by the neighbours and these proud women weren't about to let anyone else scrutinise them or their cleaning capabilities. The street was bustling with activity. The women all stood about outside gossiping to each other as they scrubbed the steps or painted the gates and fences. Lads on bikes rode up and down making deliveries, anything from loaves of bread and milk bottles, to packages and parcels and even the dreaded conscription. And anyone who wasn't otherwise occupied by cleaning, or for some women working in the factories whilst the men were away, they would always pop in next door to find out all the latest gossip.
"Mrs Davies at number 22 has lost another son, poor dear" Mrs Coulson informed next door's Mrs Lucas, who had popped around for her daily chat. She already had the pot on inside and as soon as the steps were done they'd go in and have a nice long chat and groan. Of course Mrs Lucas would have to take her shoes off at the door. No way was Mrs Coulson going to allow her on her steps after she just cleaned them, not with them dirty shoes.
"Aww the poor dear. I don't know how she copes. Anyway, how's your John?"
"He's well. Wrote to us yesterday. He's more upset at being anyway from the children than at the chance of dying the big softie" she rolled her eyes back at the thought of her husband. It was true, he was soft but she wouldn't have him any other way.
Lily smiled at the mention of her father. She was missing him so much but she didn't let anyone know. As soon as one of them broke down the whole family would and she couldn't have that. No, she managed to keep herself composed until night time when sometimes she would cry herself to sleep after having spent half an hour praying for all the soldiers to return back home safely. She always said a special prayer for her father.
"Lily! Lily!" a familiar voice called from up the street and when she turned around Lily saw the warm face of her friend Sybil Hammond. Lily waved and Sybil immediately ran to up to the gate, desperate to tell her friend the news.
"Lily, you'll never guess who's come into town. Americans! And there's some Jerries with them too, but apparently they're good ones" Sybil squeaked with delight at the thought of having new men in the town, or any young men at all really since most of the local lads had joined the army and been shipped off to France. But at hearing this new piece of gossip Mrs Lucas merely scoffed.
"Ha! There's no such thing as a good Jerry" she observed. She had never hated a nation so much as Germany. Apparently she lost a lot of her family in the Great War, including her fiancée, and she was quite sure that she would lose more of them fighting the scoundrels again this time. Sybil, however, ignored the woman who she considered a silly old bat!
"Want to go and take a look?" she asked enthusiastically. Lily had never really cared for Americans that much in truth. She found the men to be either too superficial or too coarse. Or the really bad ones who were both. There had been some vile Americans stationed close by before who she didn't have much time for. But now her curiosity had been awoken once more and she was in desperate need of new and interesting company.
Lily looked around at her mother and even though she wanted to satisfy her curiosity she felt a little guilty at the thought of leaving her mother to do all the housework.
"Do you need me, mum?" she asked but her tone of voice sounded like it wasn't genuinely concerned at all. After all she had helped out with the chores every day and did a lot more than her brothers and sisters did put together. It was about time she had a day off. Her mother looked up at her and sighed in frustration at her daughter's determination to get out of doing her chores but reluctantly replied,
"No I suppose not. Mind you, I want you back in time to make the tea, you hear me?"
"Thanks mum, see you later. Bye Mrs Lucas" and with that, Lily ran towards the garden gate almost jumping over it but remembering at the last minute how her mother always scolded her for doing that and so she unlatched the lock instead and went out the old fashion way. She and Sybil gossiped on the way down to where the Americans were staying and as each minute went by they started getting faster and faster until they were almost running.
The soldiers had been placed in the Scout's hut adjacent to the playing fields where the soldiers could train. Many thought they were so far away from the town centre to stop arguments and fights between them and the local lads. Some didn't take kindly to the Americans coming into their territory and taking their girls away from them. As Lily and Sybil began walking down the lane they could see the outline of some of the men out in the open field already, playing some kind of sport with bats.
"Look there they are. Are any good looking?" Sybil asked as the two came to a stop. She squinted trying to get a better look at them but it wasn't doing much other than straining her eyes and making them hurt.
"Can't see from here" Lily said as she stood shading her eyes with her hand because of the bright but equally grey clouds above were distorting her view. The sun was fighting desperately to pop out today but the clouds were having none of it, making them look like they had a golden lining.
"Lets go and talk to them" Sybil grinned and before Lily could even say a word against it, Sybil had gone off and began walking over towards them.
"Sybil! Don't!" Lily protested. She knew what people around here thought about girls who befriended Americans. But Sybil didn't care and rather than leave her friend unchaperoned Lily ran after her and linked arms with her. Sybil gave her a victorious smirk which she wore upon arrival on the fields.
"Hey fellas!" Sybil cheerily called out, grabbing the attention of the men who ears pricked up at the sound of female voices. They turned their heads to see two pretty young women walking over to them, arm in arm. One was a pale blonde and the other was more tanned with curly, light brown hair.
"Well hello there, ladies" one replied in a thick accent that sounded quite similar to the one that Oliver Hardy had at the end of Way out West to Lily's ear, though she could be mistaken. She didn't have a good ear for foreign accents. He seemed a charming man anyway and she could tell that Sybil had fallen for him already with his clear blue eyes and dashing moustache.
"So you're Americans? When you getting shipped out?" Sybil asked him, supposing he was the leader of the group.
"Not for a few weeks yet ma'am. Why? You wanting to get rid of us already?"
"Of course not" Sybil giggled girlishly making Lily roll her eyes back and blush with embarrassment. "Wanted to know how long we've got you for, can't waste what little time we're given."
Lily's face turned even redder and she had to lower her head to hide her blushing cheeks. It was saying things like this that was starting to make her the talk of the town, not that Sybil minded this really. She always liked to be the centre of attention and acted outrageously to get it.
"What's your name soldier?" Sybil inquired.
"Lieutenant Aldo Raine, at your service ma'am" he replied, clicking his heels together as though he was asked to stand to attention but then he gave a litle courteous bow of the head. "And yours?"
"Sybil Hammond" she replied, fluttering her lashes.
"Well ain't that pretty. And you?" he complimented before turning to the blonde girl.
"Lily" she introduced, finally raising her head to make polite eye contact with him. But she was determined that she wasn't going to give him her last name.
"Beautiful" he smiled.
"Don't suppose you fellas have any nylons with you?" Sybil asked openly without any hesitation. She was in desperate need of new stockings and was just about ready to do anything to get her hands on a pair. She knew how these Americans worked. Give them a favour and they'll give you stockings. Loads of her friends did it and she was getting pretty sick of having to darken her legs with gravy and pencilling on seams.
"What?" Aldo asked a little confused, furrowing his brow.
"Sybil!" Lily chastised at the same time, shocked that her friend could ask such a thing to men they had only just met. No wonder they think that English girls are loose women when girls like you say such things. You're gonna give us a bad reputation. Sybil looked at Lily with innocent eyes but Lily knew better than to be taken in by them. After a moment of awkward silence Lily decided to break it.
"We hear you have a German with you. Is he a friendly German?" she let out a light laugh to which the Lieutenant smiled at.
"Well, depends on your definition of friendly"
"Which one is he?" she asked, looking over all nine of the men and trying to guess which one was the Jerry. Well she could discount one anyway. Aldo Raine was certainly no German. Her eyes wandered over each and everyone one of them and they all seemed to have pleasant, smiling faces. All except one and that so happened to be the one that Lieutenant Raine pointed at.
"Guten Tag" she greeted warmly in the little bit of German she knew. But the German looked at her with cold eyes and a stern face which made her feel rather uncomfortable. Once again she blushed from embarrassment and mumbled "well perhaps not then"
"Just ignore Hugo, he's not the loquacious type. We do have an Austrian though" he alternated and pointed out the Austrian soldier who had dark brown hair. The Austrian took her hand and brought it to his lips kissing it in a gentleman like manner, bringing a smile back to her face once more.
"Guten Tag fraulein, ich bin Wilhelm Wicki" he introduced himself and Lily found herself utterly enchanted by the charming Austrian soldier.
"So what are you boys doing tonight?" Sybil asked suddenly after Wilhelm had straightned himself back up after greeting Lily, trying to get the attention back on herself. She wasn't jealous of Lily really, she considered herself much more attractive than her friend, but she knew that Lily had that sweet personae that men like to have in a wife, and Sybil didn't have much to offer other than her pretty face.
"I don't think we have any plans"
"Why don't you come to the pub. We'll be there. We've got friends" Sybil suggested whilst fluttering her long eye lashes at the lieutenant who couldn't help but laugh at her flirtatious ways and attempts to conquer his affections.
"Well then, we might just happen to find ourselves wandering in there tonight. If you happen to be there, we may just join you" he supposed much to Sybil's delight.
On the way back Sybil couldn't stop talking about how handsome Lieutenant Aldo Raine was, and she still continued to harp on about him when they reached the town and went into the tea rooms. Lily didn't pay any attention to her however. She was busy with her own thoughts and had come to a series of conclusions. After her encounter with the Americans and Germans, Lily'a views or opinions hadn't changed at all. To her, the Americans were still superficial and vulgar and the Germans cruel and unkind. But she had a newfound respect for the Austrians now after meeting the refined Wilhelm Wicki. To her it didn't even matter that Adolf Hitler himself was an Austrian.