Edited March 25th 2013
Disclaimer: I do not own Band of Brothers, only the characters you don't recognize from the mini-series. All rights and credit goes to Stephen E. Ambrose, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, the real men of Easy Company, anyone involved in WW2 and the cast and crew of Band of Brothers.
I salute you.
June 6, 1944 – Normandy, France:
Medic Eugene Roe had just parachuted himself into the country-side of Normandy, France. A quiet sigh escaped his mouth in relief – he had made the jump without much trouble. His eyes were sharply opened for any silhouettes while he ears listened suspiciously after every sound the forest would make.
A bit away, he could hear distant sounds of something popping.
'Gunfire' he thought as he eyes narrowed to the dark forest in front of him. He had to move, and quickly. They had been scattered everywhere, and the assemble area could just as well be anywhere in this terrain.
Gene, as people sometimes called him, wondered about the rest of the men in his outfit. Men. Most of them were in the early twenties.
He had enlisted himself as a rifleman (like the rest of the men) at first, where after their CO, Captain Sobel had made him a medic. Eugene had trained at Camp Toccoa and had since 1942 been a part of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne.
He knew that getting too attached to the men around him could be a killer. They didn't know what would happen out there, and nothing that they had been taught in basics, could ever prepare them completely for a war.
Eugene ran, with swift movements, into the forest where he ducked, so he was hidden by some green bushes. Luckily, he still had the equipment he needed to figure out where he was on the map they had been given. He let out a small chuckle when he saw that he had landed less than five miles away from the assemble area. It had been an obligation to study maps, sand-tables and pictures of Normandy until you knew them by heart and could draw a map of it, only by the help of your memory.
He packed up his stuff and made his way through the forest, listening alerting by every sound.
After ten minutes of walking, Eugene stiffened and stopped in his tracks. He heard a puzzle from a bush behind him, where he had just passed by. With quick but silent movements, he pulled out this 'clicker' they had been given to identify themselves.
'Click, click' he tried.
He waited and retained his composure, though he knew that if he had fallen into some kind of trap, then it would either mean becoming a prisoner of war, or being killed right away.
When the rustles of leaves had ceased for a while, he hesitantly demanded their code "Flash?"
Now, when Eugene had the nerve to look closer as nothing had happened just yet, he saw some colored fabric behind the bush. Taking one step after the other, Gene neared the bush, noticing his hands had started trembling the slightest.
He only expected it to have been maybe a cat that had ran away and then a piece of fabric that had been caught in the branches. What he found behind the bush, though, shocked him beyond imagination. In front of him sat a little girl. She was disturbingly thin and had herself crouched up into a ball. She was looking up at him with a frightened, intimidated and pleading look. The fabric he had seen, turned out to be a dress, looking much like a nightgown.
It was mostly what he could see of her arms and legs that made him notice in alarm, though. Fresh bruises and cuts were seen several places, angering the medic. This girl could hardly be more than nine years old.
The look in her eyes he saw now made his dark orbs soften though. Slowly, he knelt on his one knee in front of her, to not scare her.
"Hey there" he smiled softly. He then frowned because he realized that this might be just a civilian French girl, yet the sparkle in her eyes he meant had been there when he spoke to her confused him. Nonetheless, he continued in French.
"Comprendre vous anglais?"
Hesitantly, the girl tilted her head before she nodded. Gene smiled in relief, causing the girl to smile a little as well. It wasn't much, but it was still a smile.
"Why don't you come with me? I can get you some food, something to drink and get a place for you to rest for a bit. Perhaps even find your family again?"
Gene's voice was almost desperate. He didn't like that such a little girl was out here, and alone. It just wasn't safe. At least at the assemble area there would be someone to look after her.
To his surprise, the girl shook her head, wrapping her arms tighter around her knees.
Refusing to give up, Gene smiled and tried to explain "Chérie, you can't stay here. It's not safe out here."
Sighing as the girl looked somewhat stubbornly up at him Eugene sighed, knowing he wouldn't get anywhere with that "At least tell me how you ended up out here, yes?"
Looking around one last time, he had now sat down on the ground completely. If it happened that someone came, he and the girl would be able to hear them before they neared them, plus the bush would hide them for the most part.
A shadow then seemed to roll over the girl's face as she looked down at the ground. Eugene furrowed his brows in confusion, speaking softly and somehow apologetically to her "It's okay. I'm one of the good guys – I'm an American. I won't hurt you, I promise."
Trying a new tactic, making the girl come with him whether she wanted it or not, Eugene stood up, brushing himself off, holding a hand out for the girl to take "I'm Gene. Eugene Roe. I'm a medic."
They stood there for a few minutes, neither of them moving an inch besides for the girl's shifting eyes, moving alternating from Gene's face to his outstretched hand.
Eugene would swore he saw a facade leave the girl's eyes as she hesitantly took his hand, Gene feeling her squeeze it softly as if to really find out if what was happening was real.
This time it was Gene who hesitated before he smiled "Good, that's it."
When he had helped her out of the bush, he looked her over swiftly before questioning concerned "Can you walk?"
He then realized that her hair had a dirty-blonde color while her eyes was a pretty green one. Still holding her hand, Eugene looked on as the girl 'proved' to him that she could walk. The sight of her made Eugene think of a baby who had just learned how to do so.
Eugene chuckled when he saw how the girl looked proudly up at him "Good then. From now on, and until we meet my friends, I need you to keep close and be quiet. Could you do that for me?"
Again, she tilted her head before shrugging her shoulders, nodding her head, mischief glimpsing brightly in her eyes. Eugene smiled, leading her by the hand. It had taken a while, but he slowly began to gain her trust. He wondered what story that lay behind those hazel-green eyes.
Eugene jumped as the girl finally talked. By now, they had been walking for almost another ten minutes.
"Pardon?" Gene questioned, furrowing his brows.
"My name's Olivia Mae, but my friends call me Olivia or Mae, never the two names together, though" Olivia Mae babbled in a semi-thick French accent. It turned out that this nine year old was slightly different than what Gene would have expected.
Shaking her hand, Gene chuckled "Well, it's nice to finally meet you formally, Olivia."
Eugene chuckled as Olivia ended up blushing at his remark. Then another round of gunfire were heard in the distance, and Gene would swear that he heard some of those air-raid machines going off in the horizon. As expected, he felt a tug on his jacket. He looked down and saw the little girl walk even closer to him than she had done before. Gently smiled Eugene at her.
"Don't worry, it's far away from here" he assured her.
"Are you sure?" she questioned, pulling an extra tug at his jacket.
After another amount of walking in silence, Gene finally asked "How did you end up here anyway, Mae?"
Without noticing that Eugene had used the other name for her, Olivia began to explain " My memory is a bit blurry, but I remember that these men came and sort of threw us out of our house in Holland, but they took us somewhere – mommy, daddy, my twin sister Mary and my older brother Daniel. They separated us."
As Eugene listened, his brows furrowed more and more, and a frown appeared on his face. Looking to the ground, Olivia continued, a confused brow appearing on her face as well "Mommy screamed and cried, trying to prevent the men from taking us. 'They are too young. Please', she said."
Eugene looked down as he heard her swallow, new tears threatening to roll down her cheeks. He ran his thumb over her hand, while giving it a soft squeeze once in a while.
"Have you ever been in America before?" he choked out, clearing his throat as he continued because of the confused look on Olivia's face "Your accent is good, really good, considering your age and nationality."
Reluctantly, Olivia replied "Actually, I was born in Atlanta and my family are French, but we moved to Holland when I was no more than two, when I first started to speak. Daddy made sure I got English and French lessons to keep the languages at bay."
Eugene nodded, uttering a hum of understanding before sighing in relief at the sight before him. Olivia first looked up at him as he sighed, and then at the sight before them.
A few meters down the road, she saw the first sign of civilization ever since...she didn't quite remember much from Holland, other than she hit her head.
Buildings looking like barns were spread out in front of them. She saw men dressed like Gene, and she could feel on his hold of her, that he was more relaxed than he had ever been out in the forest. They seemed to be well-guarded since Olivia and Gene briefly had past some guards on their way there. So, like Gene, she relaxed just a little herself. And Eugene had promised her that he wouldn't let anyone hurt her. There was just this little thing that gnawed inside Gene. How the heck had she ended up in Normandy when she had lived in Holland?
"Oi, Gene!" someone called from behind them.
The both of them turned around, watching another man with the same medic-band as Gene run towards them with a wide smile on his face.
Eugene smiled, glad to see one of his comrades "Spina."
The two men shook hands before Spina discovered the little girl hiding behind Gene's leg. Gene looked down at her as well, smiling softly at her, making Spina wonder.
"It's okay. It's one of my friends" Eugene told her, gently pushing her forward with one hand on her back.
Spina now smiled, crouching down to Olivia's size "Now, who's this? Hi there."
"Spina, this is Olivia Mae. Olivia, this is Ralph Spina. He's a medic, just like me" Gene introduced.
With a timid 'Nice to meet you', Olivia shook Spina's hand, her lips slowly curving upwards as Spina still held her hand and was swinging it from side to side. He let out a small and quiet chuckle as he stood up again, ruffling Olivia's hair before they started to walk towards the make-shift aid-station, which originally was a barn, but it was all they had for now.
A few meters in front of them, Olivia had started to feel more and more comfortable as she dared to walk by herself now. Although, the two medics made sure they could see her, and she could see them. The assemble area began to become more stuffed with soldiers as they came walking exhausted into the 'camp'.
"Where did you find her?" Spina asked quietly, without looking at Eugene, his eyes steadfast at Olivia's wandering figure.
Eugene had meant to tell everything he had been told by Olivia, but he saw that she made her way closer and closer to them and he didn't want her to think over the horrible things she obviously must have been through.
"The forest on my way here" he simply replied, just as Olivia walked up and took his hand with a smile, which Eugene returned. When Eugene knew that she wasn't looking, he glanced upon Spina, giving him the 'I'll tell you later' look. Spina nodded curtly.
The make-shift aid-station aka the barn was a tiny building where the floor had been swept clean of hay and several cots for the eventual patients had been put up. There was a couple of hay-stacks in the corner where Spina got Gene and Olivia situated before he left to find something for them all to eat. A few minutes later he came back with three bowls more or less hot chicken soup. They ate in silence, only the quiet sounds of slurps filling the room, the back ground buzzing only seeming like a distant noise. When all three of them were finished it was Eugene's turn to go with the bowls, leaving Spina and Olivia alone. Lost in his own thoughts, Spina ran his fingers through some pieces of papers until...
"Ouch!" Spina hissed "Goddamn it."
Olivia absentmindedly tilted her head before grabbing an astonished Spina's hand.
"Let me see" she cooed, taking a look at the long scar in Spina's palm. Spina, whom looked on in awe did nothing. Olivia then put her right hand in Spina's wounded hand, making him wince, thinking it would sting when palm met palm. To his surprise, instead of stinging, a bubbly feeling ran through his hand and out to his finger tips and when Olivia released her grasp on him, he looked at his hand, expecting there would be a scar still bleeding, but there was nothing.
"How the h-."
"Spina" Eugene spoke in a warning tone as he approached them.
"Gene, get a look at this!" Spina exclaimed, almost shoving his hand into Gene's face. Eugene instead grabbed the medic's hand, examining the palm. He took a look at Spina who alternately shifted his glance upon him and then Olivia who looked at the two men in confusion. Gene then looked at Spina's palm again, being able to sense the trail of a scar, but he wasn't sure. Then he quickly realized what Spina was going on about, and came to the conclusion that only one thing could make this possible.
Eugene's calm eyes looked upon Olivia who had begun to look the slightest nervous.
"Are you a healer?" he asked while Spina still couldn't believe what had just happened.
Olivia gulped, choosing her words with surety "Well, I have been able to do that to minor wounds ever since I was little – so..yes?"
The two men then looked at each other.
"Spina, try and figure out if Lt. Winters or any officers or non-coms from Easy Company has arrived yet, please" Gene told Spina who didn't need to be told twice.
"Have I done something wrong?" Olivia asked, expanding the gap between them, looking at Gene with a mix of confusion and nervousness.
"No, no!" Gene assured her with a smile, closing the gap between them again "You haven't. Trust me. It was just a...bit of a surprise, honestly."
He then crouched down to her size asking her curiously "How old are you, darling?"
"Nine" Olivia replied "and a half."
Eugene chuckled at the addition "Well, I have to say that you're a very skilled healer at only nine and a half years old. I had to look very closely to find the little trail of the scar."
"Thank you – I think" Olivia wrinkled her nose before giggling quietly. Her cheeks had also turned the slightest bit of pink.
He chuckled as she realized he had seen her cheeks.
"It's not funny!" she protested.
Laughing, Gene sat down on a hay-stack opposite her "I think it was very funny."
The two sat and conversed for awhile. Olivia learned that Eugene was a half-Cajun and were from Bayou Chene in Louisiana while Eugene learned that Olivia had an interest for history – especially some of the revolutions there had been in France in 17th and 18th century.
What Eugene didn't know at this moment was, that the girl in front of him would become a huge impact on him and the rest of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne in the time to come...
Comprendre vous anglais? - Do you understand English?