SURPRISE! - Epilogue 2: Easy Company reunion – South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
"'Ey! Look who it is!"
Olivia smiled widely by the strong Philly accent, belonging to Wild Bill Guarnere.
It was Bill who had arranged these E. Company reunions which had been held for the first time a year or so after all of them had gotten home.
Unfortunately, they were one paratrooper less this year. Alton More had tragically passed away in a car accident last year. Olivia, whom had been all of the men of Easy Company's princess since they hit Normandy on D-Day 1944, had been nine and a half year old back then when the half-Cajun medic, Eugene Roe from Louisiana had found her.
Now, Olivia had just turned eighteen and was officially an adult, but she knew she always would be their little girl and she wanted to be always.
She walked around, greeting her brothers and their families. Some of her them already got kids, some looking much like their father, others more like their beautiful mothers.
Olivia took her time with each man but her mind was elsewhere. Her mind was spinning as she thought of all the memories with each man. And their wives and kids beside them, laughing, would never understand what they had been through together. None of the men, or Olivia in that case talked about their experiences. But once in a while, they would meet and mourn and remember their fallen comrades that never made the trip home. Them that never came home from that trip from England to Europe.
"How ya' doin', Joe?" Olivia heard Bill ask Joe Toye as she returned, sipping on her drink.
Olivia watched as the two men stood upright, only by the help of their brides-to-be and their crutches which they both swore all the way back to Belgium.
She had been nothing more than ten years old when it happened. She had seen the large amount of blood, all that blood she still had traumatic nightmares about.
Terrified she was going to cry there and now, Olivia put her drink down and made way through the men and their families, not daring to look at any of them, afraid of what they were going to see. She didn't notice that a certain person had seen the frightened expression on her face when she had watched the two men, follow her.
He had experienced himself what she felt. Smoothly, he followed her through the crowd, nodding at his brothers, politely saying hi, but careful not to lose sight of her. Every man of Company E. had panicked every time their princess wasn't there – it was like in Bastogne all over again, when she was away, having been shot by a single German soldier that has slipped through their thin line. Critical...
He still had to literally spit the one word out. He had been careful not to use it, ever again. He didn't want to use that word again. It was like watching Olivia's pale, scared face all over again. Watch her eyes close slowly while you could do nothing for her than to keep the pressure on the bleeding, tell her to stay awake, cursing at the jeep that was late.
He heard as the water was opened in the bathroom in Wild Bill's house. Chatter was heard rather loudly from outside. He knew the sign and his suspicions was confirmed when he heard a female sob from the bathroom.
Stopping in the door, he watched her fragile body shake violently from her sobs. That body had been so small and deadly thin when he had found her in the pajamas with the Star of David sewn upon her chest. He would never forget the look she first had sent him. It made him feel like a monster back then, he still shivered, memorizing it.
Besides the tears, he had seen a terrifying look. She had been afraid of him. His knuckles turned white as he knotted his fist in anger of what the bastards had done to her.
He looked up by the name, remembering the name. John Hall's death had been the first Olivia had experienced in her time with Easy. She blamed herself, Roe knowing why.
She was a healer and she should have been there, that was what she was thinking, he knew.
Gene cringed as she repeated all the names of the men she had seen or heard die.
His heart stopped as she softly spoke "Renée."
He hadn't payed attention before, but now her whole body was shaking violently. The shakes was so violent she had to lean against the sink to just stand upright. This time, Gene didn't just stand there. He walked with shaking hands reached out to the girl that had thought his accent to be funny when they first met. The girl that had driven him insane and left him worried as she ran out of the aid-station in Carentan under fire, to aid Tipper. But no matter what, he had loved her and had done everything for her to be all right and well-protected. He would do anything for her.
Olivia jumped a little when Gene's hand softly caressed her shoulder.
"Gene, I can't get it off..." she spoke softly as she put her hands under the water, scrubbing them like they were bloody or full of dirt – none of the incidents being real.
He remembered how easily the nickname had rolled off her tongue as she sat on the haystack back then. She had been oh so adorable as she had watched his every move back then, watching, observing with her large blue-green eyes.
"Livy, it's okay..." He tried to take her hands but she kept on protesting, being stubborn as hell, but that was the way she was.
Every time he said her name he raised his voice to get her attention.
In the end he had to use his powers – if there was anything he could thank his CO from back in Toccoa for, it was the muscles from all the hard training he had gained. They all could. He had made them survive – the most of them.
"Olivia, there's nothing there" he spoke softly as he stroked her cheek, his thumb wiping her tears away once again.
"Why did they have to die, Gene? It's not fair!" Gene wrapped his arms around the upset young woman.
Why? He kept asking that himself. Why did they, his brothers have to die while in his or their comrade's arms?
Some times, back then he had hated his job as a medic. Originally he had signed up as a rifleman like everybody else, but then Sobel had made him become a medic.
Olivia kept mumbling down in his chest about she had to wash the blood off her hands. He was worried, worried sick about his little princess that wasn't that little anymore – this would never disappear he knew. The shadow of guilt and sorrow would never leave her heart.
"Shhhh...there's nothing there" he drawled, rubbing her back.
He would always be there to that and many others would too – even when his hair was white and his muscles ached every time he did a single movement.
They were her brothers and she was their sister. They were her guardians, her their sunshine.
They had been all in this together back then, they were all in this together now.
Forever and always, they would be held together by a strong bond – Now, and to the end of the world...