The Parachutist, by Camilla10

Summary

It is 1943 and WW II is devastating Europe. Edward Masen is a 23 years old American parachutist sent by the OSS on a secret mission, meant to help the partisans fighting the Nazis in Northern Italy. There he meets a girl concealing a terrible secret. They fall passionately in love and plan to marry as soon as Italy is liberated. However, while going back to the Allied lines and trying to reach Anzio, where the Anglo American forces are struggling to break through Germans' opposition, Edward finds his nemesis, in the form of two Volturi warriors.

Edward is now a newborn vampire, fierce, desperate and bloodthirsty. Will he succumb forever to his inner monster or will he be able to recover at least some of his lost humanity? Will he see his love again and resist the urge to kill her?

Story notes:

Stephenie Meyer owns the characters. The plot is mostly mine.

I have to thank a lot of people for their help in developing the story, adding historical details and editing. In Europe they are: my husband, my mother in law, who risked her life in the Resistance, Alberto, the 2 Giovanni, Lanfranco, Maria Teresa, Luisa, Rosa, Patrizia, Giuliana, Ginevra, Ippolito and Adrian. Over the Ocean I have to name JShay, Master of the Boot, Serendipitous and Geoph (for all things military). Stefanie is my wonderful Beta.

This is an AU story, and the M rating is well earned, both for sex and violence.

In The parachutist the Germans are going to be the enemy, and the feelings expressed about them (not only the Nazis, all Germans) by various characters mirror the ones expressed at the time by those who – with good reasons - fought them. I want to add that my long experience with Friends of the Earth Europe confirms that present day Germans are one of the nicer and most democratic people I know.

The story is almost entirely written in Edward's PoV, with a few exceptions, which will be indicated. When there is no indication, it is Edward's.

Chapter 1 Operation Avalanche

The German soldier emits just a low gurgle when Caputo slits his throat. The other German, the one I felled with my useless carbine's butt, is still breathing, however. Caputo gives me a very hard stare, then proceeds to do what I am obviously reluctant to do myself and dispatches him. I try not to wince and help my comrade to bury the bodies under a pile of rubble inside the bombed house.

So far, so good. We climb to the second floor, from where we can see if somebody is coming, and prepare for a long wait. He passes the canteen to me and we both drink. It is hot and nightfall is still very far away. Obviously, Joe Caputo believes I am a pansy, and I wonder what he would think if he knew that I play the piano too. At least I used to. He is from Trenton, New Jersey, a place where real men, and particularly the ones of Italian descent, surely don't play the piano. They might own a car repair shop, like Joe's parents, or pursue other manly professions. However, he has decided that he will be my protector till we get back to the lines. If we do get back to the lines, that is. We have lost contact with the rest of our platoon, and we fear that many are now dead or captured.

I wonderwhat my problem is. At the beginning of Operation Avalanche a few days ago, when we were parachuted over Avellino, I went about my pathfinder job quite coolly, ignoring the fact that after a while our small group, the first to be dropped, was discovered and fired upon.

This is my first war action. When we were sent to North Africa I did not participate in Operation Torch, as I was asked to give extra training to new recruits, and I was not selected for the disastrous El Djem mission. Then, during the landing in Sicily, the 509th was held in reserve.

In Avellino we soon realized that a full panzer division had positioned itself between us and the rest of the landed Anglo-American army. I fought, trying to save my life and that of my comrades, and to inflict damage, if I could. I have surely killed, watched enemy soldiers fall under my shots. But to cut somebody's throat in cold blood is an obscenely intimate act, and I found I could not stomach it, despite my training.

Those two Germans under the pile of rubble had been exactly where we ourselves wanted to be, inside a ruined house that would be perfect in which to wait for the night and then run down from the back of the building into a small valley that was well covered by bushes and trees. From there, Ciro had assured us, we could find the shortcut allowing us to bypass the Panzerdivision and reach our lines undetected.

So we decided to dispose of them. I lured the two enemy soldiers out of the building by speaking their language. They came out, and I took the first down with the butt of my carbine, while Caputo crept behind the other.

"How come you speak German?" Caputo now asks me.

"My late maternal grandmother was Austrian," I answer "and she insisted I learn the language." What would my Oma think of me being here now, fighting the enemy of her most famous countryman, whom, since the Anschluss, she had hated and despised from the depth of her heart? She would probably be very happy, but very concerned for my safety, too.

And she would have reason to be. If it had not been for Ciro, I would be dead by now. Our platoon had been ambushed by a much larger enemy force. We were pinned to a wall, answering to the fire, but clearly succumbing. Caputo and I were near the corner of the wall encircling a farm house, crouching behind a broken hand cart. A whispering voice had called us in dialect: "America, venite cu 'mmia," telling us to follow him. And, miraculously, we had been able to turn around the corner unseen and follow the farmer, Ciro, who drew us inside through a gate. "Trasite int'o pozzo" he had said, indicating the well and giving us a straw each, mimicking the action of breathing through it.

So we went into the well, relatively easy to descend into due to many protruding stones, and slid under the dark water, carbines and everything, The water was shoulder deep. When we heard German voices we ducked also our heads in, breathing through the straws.

We remained there a very long time, frozen by the cold water, until Ciro came for us, after the Germans had long gone.

In the following days, brave beyond belief, Ciro had concealed us, fed us, lent us something to put on while our uniforms and equipment dried, the carbines and pistols probably ruined. It was clear that we had no other course now than try to go back, as indeed our engagement rules dictated, namely saying that, when one or two soldiers lost contact with their comrades and could not fight effectively anymore, they should try to avoid capture and find their way back to their lines.

Finally, when night comes Caputo and I leave the bombed house from a back window and go down the slope, starting to run when we are under the tree cover. Ciro has given us very clear instructions, describing our road to safety perfectly. At a certain point, however, Caputo stumbles and falls, uttering a string of profanities. A sharp, nasty metal wire has cut through his boot. He manages to rise again and, limping slightly, resumes his run at a slower pace.

We march all night and some of the following day. Finally, thirsty and famished, we hear voices. We approach cautiously, concealed behind some bushes and, thank God, they are speaking in English. We have made it!

We report to Headquarters, eventually, and we are told vaguely to wait for further orders, and then we are dismissed. It is not surprising to learn that the 509th has had heavy losses and even our Commander is missing in action, dead or captured. It is highly probable that now our battalion will have to be re-organized.

Finally, Joe has the time to attend to his injured foot. It appears immediately that the situation is worse than he thought. His boot is full of dried blood, and he can't even take it off to assess the damage.

I help him to the nearest field hospital, as he now has serious troubles walking.

"You are lucky," says the orderly while I wait. "Doctor Frankenstein is in; he is the best." He uses the disconcerting nickname with affection, as he adds. "Poor guy, had a terrible accident when a container of acid fell on him. His eyes were spared, but his face and the back of his hands..." He shudders. "But still he volunteered..."

A lot of time passes, and finally a doctor comes out and walks toward me. I salute and try to keep my face expressionless. Indeed, his eyes were spared and they are a beautiful light brown, like dark honey. But the face is a hideous mess, despite the efforts done to put it together again. It is covered in scars, some puckered, others unnaturally smooth, like milk skim.

"At ease," he says, his voice soft and melodious. You are a friend of Lieut. Caputo?

"Yes, Sir," I answer, identifying myself, "we just came back from Avellino."

"Congratulations," he says. "It must have been though. I am Captain Cullen, and I have just amputated two toes from your friend's right foot. He will walk again, eventually, but his parachuting days are at an end, I am afraid. He is sedated now, but please, come back to visit him, if you can. He is not very happy."

I say that I'll do it, salute and leave the hospital, going in search of something to eat.

Chapter endnotes

What is Capt. Carlisle Cullen, who is the vampire we know, doing in Salerno in 1943 and what happened to his face? Don't worry, it will all be explained. In the meanwhile, please, leave me a review.

A panzer division was an armored division in the German Army. These divisions usually consisted of one tank regiment, two motorized infantry regiments (including one mechanized battalion), an artillery regiment, and several support battalions (reconnaissance, anti-tank, anti-aircraft, engineers, etc). Source: Wikipedia

A pathfinder is a paratrooper who is dropped at the very beginning of an action, in order to set up and operate drop zones, pickup zones, and helicopter landing sites for airborne operations, air resupply operations, or other air operations in support of the ground unit commander. Pathfinders use a wide array of skills, including air traffic control, ground-to-air communications, sling load operations and inspections, and drop zones in order to ensure the mission is a success.

The Anschluss (German for "link-up"), was the 1938 incorporation of Austria into Greater Germany by Hitler.

Oma means granny in German.

All I know about Trenton NJ comes from the wonderful novels of Janet Evanovich. This is my homage to her and I hope it does not offend anybody.