A/N: So, just thought I should say this is not the final chapter ahahha. Wow, it's really dragging on! But it'll wrap up soon, I'm sorry to say. I would say I have a life outside this fic… But that's really not true ahahahha. Anyway, this chapter is an example of me mixing around events; this game happened in Zell Am See, but I'm saying it happened in Berchtesgaden, just so I could have a relaxed way for her to meet the rest of the men. The next few chapters will really be events that actually happened while the men were celebrating, but with me slipping Emilie into them. Guilty as charged. (;
Wow, I was very, very unhappy with this chapter when I was first writing it, but I guess it's okay now that I'm looking at it with a fresh mind, and with my writing mojo back. Yay! :D Also, I should probably point out that I love Speirs. It just seems like I was picking on him here lol.
Enjoy, my loves!
Emilie stretched in the sun. The slight-heeled shoes she had borrowed lay by her bare feet as her toes threaded through the bright green grass of the baseball field. She had found a dress her size, a very pale green colour with white trimming. Gene had still insisted on looking away when she changed, to give her privacy and not make her uncomfortable, and she had simply laughed and rolled her eyes. She wouldn't have minded if he had seen anything.
On the way to the baseball game, Eugene had told her about how he used to love sport in school before he dropped out, and that he had continued to play it even after that; he said that when he had contracted polio as a child and was unable to go outside to play any sport, that had been a miserable time indeed. Emilie had also enjoyed certain sports as a child, mostly because her mother had forbidden her to get muddy so, of course, she had. While other girls in school were taught how to cook and sew, she had purposely failed at all those subjects simply because she had had no intention of ever being a housewife. So she had run off with the boys to play football, basketball and whatever else they fancied; she had never hung around much with her own gender. She hated women and women hated her.
Now she watched as the men in front of her bowled, fielded and batted. Gene was back in his PT gear, as were Babe Heffron and Bull, still with a cigar in his mouth. Sitting on the sidelines on army jeeps, watching with smiles but not participating, were some of the officers, including Major Winters and Captain Nixon, along with that man she had seen in Foy and again in the POW camp. She had yet to learn his name. None of the men seemed to notice her, too absorbed with what they were doing. Gene had also told her a little about some of the men, and the entire time she had been watching, she was trying to put faces to names with the limited descriptions of the men he had given her. So far, it was not working.
She was a little nervous about finally meeting the rest of the Americans, and hoped they wouldn't turn on her. Though she had sounded confident in front of Eugene, she really wasn't. They could hate her. She was a Kraut, but a Kraut in the army no less. And she should despise them, after all they had done. Yet she just couldn't. Everyone did terrible things in war, it was a requirement.
But still, even that couldn't detract from the pleasant day, the warmth seeming almost surreal after Bastogne. The whole of the war, it had seemed as though all the colour and life had been drained from the world. Everything looked darker, gloomier, scarier. But now, it was as though a veil had been lifted, allowing the sunshine to touch their skin once more. And it was heavenly.
Too caught up with her thoughts that, for once, weren't filled with horrible, gut-wrenching memories, she didn't notice when the men stopped playing and all looked over to where she was sitting. Only when they started walking towards her did it register. Heffron was whispering something excitedly to the man beside him, whose eyes lit up; the soldier she had talked to in the town the night before was grinning; Bull looked as confused as a man not easily unfazed could. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? Yet she couldn't help smiling as she listened to them.
"Malark, Winters, you redheads got a cousin or something? This place is being over-run!"
"Hey, hey, all of you back off. I've got first dibs on her."
"You are all acting like Neanderthals, ready to hit her over the head with a club and drag her back to your cave."
"Like what now? Web, you know I don't speak Harvard."
Emilie hopped to her feet, pleased to note her ankle was completely healed, albeit a long, jagged scar it had left behind. When the men came to a stop, forming a sort of semi-circle around her, the man that Heffron had been talking to turned to Eugene with a lop-sided grin. "You banging a Kraut now, Doc?" he teased. He was a handsome man, smaller than the majority of the men with dark hair that flopped to one side. She found she liked him already. What was becoming of the biter, aggressive person she had been not too long ago?
She laughed lightly, face reddening, which seemed to act as reward for the soldier's joke as his eyes flicked back to her and his smile broadened. Gene, on the other hand, did not look impressed, which only made her smile more.
"Hey, shut up, Luz," Bull rumbled from behind him and the other man chuckled. Ah, so he's the joker Gene warned me about. "So you survived the war after all, Emilie."
She was almost flattered he remembered her name, and nodded. "I see you did too, Randleman." Bayoneted anymore Germans recently? She may not have fully forgiven him for killing Crichton, but such was war. And he seemed like a good guy otherwise.
All eyes turned to him. "What, you know this lady, Bull?" one of the men asked, frowning. She thought she had heard him being referred to as Peewee back on the field.
He shrugged, acting like it was no big deal. "She stitched me up back in Nuenen," he explained to the crowd. Gene glanced at her questioningly and she nodded; by the way he was looking at her, it was easy to think he almost admired her.
That was when it seemed to click for a lot of the men, as they began asking questions over each other.
"What are you, a nurse?"
"Hey, wasn't you at Brécourt Manor, too?"
"Yeah, you were the one that surrendered to us a few days ago, weren't you? I'd remember someone like you anywhere."
Once more, Emilie couldn't hold back the laugh that flew from her lips as she looked over the soldiers in front of her, sweaty but still with so much energy to spare. She wasn't used to dealing with Americans. "Good God!" she exclaimed over the voices, making them settle down as soon as she opened her mouth, "Yanks with half a brain cell. I'm impressed."
That was greeted by chuckling and she could practically see herself rising in their good books. Then again, just being a woman had already ticked all the boxes. "So, are you gonna tell us, or not?" one of the soldiers asked curiously.
"Actually, I'm a medic," she told them, quickly searching each of their faces for any sign of malice. When she found none, she continued on, "For the German army. My name's sergeant Emilie Demont."
Their eyebrows shot up and they turned to whisper things to each other, seemingly impressed but still not aggressive. So far so good. That was the worst bit out of the way, now that they knew who she was.
The man she now knew as Luz asked, leaning forward, "Seriously? You sound pretty damn Australian to me. How'd you land that gig?"
She had been through this a thousand times over, but, strangely, in this particular instance, she didn't mind repeating herself. "My mother's German. I was born there. When I moved Down Under to go to university back in '41, I ended up having to work as a nurse to earn some money to pay for it. Then I was called back home and drafted and, since I had had some medical training, I was assigned to be a medic." Emilie shrugged. "And that's my life story. Boring, I know."
"Boring?" Exclaimed another soldier, this time a smaller, Italian-looking man. "I'm hooked. Lady, your life could be turned into a goddamn movie and I'd pay to see it."
"That's sergeant to you," she corrected with a laugh. The other soldiers elbowed the man in the ribs playfully, chuckling and gloating about how he had just been pulled rank on by a Fraulein.
Luz spoke up once more; he had quite the motor-mouth. "Hey, you wanna join in the game, Emilie?" he offered, chucking her the baseball he had been holding.
She caught it easily, tossing it from hand to hand. "Boys and their balls," she joked, which was once again met by laughter. "No, I'll sit out on this one, thanks. You kids have fun."
"Hey, hey, I'll be sure to look extra good out there just for you," another man called.
Emilie smiled crookedly. "I appreciate it," she replied, "But I'll actually be watching Roe over here." With that, she lashed out one hand, caught Gene's arm and drew him towards her; caught off guard, he stumbled, and, to avoid falling, steadied himself by fastening an arm around her waist. When he realised what he had done, he blushed but didn't remove his hand. The men around them whooped and cheered and laughed.
"Fine-lookin' dame you've got yourself there, Doc," Luz commented, grinning.
"Yeah, I'm jealous! Where can I get me one?"
Eugene smiled slightly, looking down at Emilie. "Sorry. One of a kind."
"What's going on here?"
Everyone glanced over to see the officer that she had yet to learn the name of; she was getting used to calling him the Crazy Foy Runner, but she still wanted to know who he was. As soon as they saw him standing there, the soldiers straightened and lost their smiles; in fact, they all looked a little fearful. Winters and Nixon were standing on either side of him in their dress A uniforms, Nixon wearing large, expensive-looking sunglasses. Their gazes found Emilie and their eyebrows shot up. Captain Nixon removed his shades as though he couldn't believe his eyes.
"I asked what was going on here," the officer repeated, sounding stern but not irritated. She supposed he didn't want to ruin the day by losing his temper. His gaze flicked to Emilie and her breath hitched in her throat. She wasn't sure why; she had faced men of far higher ranks than him. But he had a presence that demanded respect. "And who are you?"
Gene took a small step away from her, not wanting to get either of them into trouble. Not that there was much they could do to her. Contact her mummy? "Sergeant Emilie Demont," she introduced herself, and, for some unknown reason, awkwardly added, "Sir." Dammit, pull it together.
"Speirs, relax," Winters stepped forward and placed a hand lightly on the other man's shoulder, lips set into a tight half-smile. "She was one of the German soldiers that surrendered to us."
Eugene spoke up. "She's with me."
Speirs levelled his scrutinising gaze on the medic. "You do realise there's a non-fraternisation policy?"
"I knew her before that was instated."
"Plus, I'm Australian."
"That doesn't change anything. You're breaking the rules. And as CO, that won't be tolerated."
Now Nixon was forced to intervene, nudging Winters aside, a smirk gracing his features. "Let's all just calm down, shall we?" Speirs glanced at the man that had come up to stand beside him. He looked ready to argue, but Nixon was speaking once more before he got a chance. "Look, war's basically over. I'm sure we can make one, tiny exception."
"Making exceptions to the rules means that soon we'll start excusing violations every which way."
Winters blinked. He had a somewhat calming presence, with his soft voice and kind eyes. "Nix is right, Speirs," he told him, "It's okay. You've done an excellent job making sure the rules are followed, but give this one a little leeway, as a favour to our medic." Even without saying a word to give her that impression, Emilie knew Winters was silently pulling rank on the other man.
Reluctantly, Speirs relented. With a last glance at Gene and Emilie, who both met his gaze evenly, he turned and brushed past the other officers, returning to lean against the jeep and seethe silently. Emilie couldn't help feeling a little triumphant, and she could see that the men around her were all struggling to hide their smiles.
Winters turned to Emilie. "I'm sorry about Speirs," he told her, "He… Well, he takes his job very seriously, to say the least." He tipped his brown hat that boasted his oak cluster and the symbol of a paratrooper. "Major Dick Winters. It's a pleasure to meet you."
Before she had a chance to introduce herself, Nixon ducked in between them and extended his hand. "And I'm Lewis Nixon, Dick's more exciting counter-part." He flashed her a smile. "Welcome to Easy Company."