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FIC: Reasons

Title: Reasons
Fandom: Crossover/AU: Watchmen / Inglourious Basterds
Characters/Pairings: Walter, Dan, IB guys.
Date Written: 2009
Summary: Everyone has different reasons for the things they choose to do.
Rating/Warnings: R, for violence/gore.
Notes: Kinkmeme fic, from a while back. Narrative style was VERY experimental. Please note that: A) I am aware that the movie was an oversimplification of complicated historical events and I know that there is reality and there is fiction and that they are not the same. B) Narrative voice is not the voice of the author. C) Wartime doesn’t tend to be very PC, so pardon the period-appropriate derogatory-ness. I’m a lousy Mick myself, if that’s any consolation.


*

They lose folks now and again, and they’re always lookin’ to swell their ranks a little, so when they find the little scrapper down in a trench dead set on cuttin’ a dead Nazi’s heart clear out of his chest, they’re all thinkin’ the same thing. Sure, his symbolism’s a little off – he’s goin’ more for the Aztec thing, not so much Apache – but when they find his little firepit nearby, greasy blackened cooking sticks propped over it, and realize he’s been eating the damn things, well, resourcefulness like that ought to be encouraged, and viciousness like that is just begging to be channeled.

He’s a little feral, a little like an animal, but there are a lot of those skewers lying around, a lot of notches nicked into his belt, and Aldo even ends up persuaded to drop those 37 from the hundred. Hearts are good as scalps anyway, because even heartless fuckers like these can’t very well survive without them.

*

He ain’t Jewish, far as they can tell from lookin’ at him, but neither’s Stiglitz, and he seems to have his own reasons. Condition of his uniform puts him maybe two weeks living in the woods, living off whatever he could find, duckin’ into culverts and shimmying up trees like a damn squirrel. He’s from New York, he says once, and they got a lot of squirrels there, so maybe that’s where he gets it. His unit was ambushed by the river, overwhelmed. Lotta folks captured, plenty executed on the spot. He doesn’t say much more about it.

Asleep, though, in the trenches and gutters, he talks sometimes, talks about how it isn’t fair, none of it, how someone somewhere didn’t deserve that, didn’t deserve what happened. Says a name, Daniel, and they don’t need to listen anymore or question his reasons. Daniel’s such a good Jewish name, after all, and there’s no bond more painful to break than that of brothers in arms.

*

Round dinner one night, scraping the bottom of the single tin pan they keep around for when rations run low and meals’ve gotta be improvised from the surrounding forest, Bear elbow Kovacs in the arm and asks if he’s a Mick, seein’ as he’s got some cousins in New York and he knows from redheaded, pug-nosed New Yorkers.

His father was, he says, but he got gunned down when the Italians started taking over, made an example of his refusing to pay protection on the little pub he had down on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen. Refusing to compromise. There’s some pride in his voice when he says it, and it’s the first thing they’ve heard out of him that’s maybe a little human, so they joke and laugh and compare kill counts for the day like it’s nothin’ special.

His mother was Jewish, he finally admits like pullin’ teeth, but it sounds like it ain’t that fact that bothers him – it’s talking about her at all, and they all know how good a bad mother can screw a boy up, so they don’t make an issue of it.

Bear starts callin’ him the Mick Jew and it sticks.

*

The two of them get on real well after that, something about the enjoyment of extreme and excessive brutality callin’ blood to blood. Bear just likes watching them turn into hamburger meat under his swings, but Kovacs has got that animal in him and he’d happily tear the fuckers apart with teeth and fingernails. He ends every fight with blood on his mouth and a word that still sounds like Daniel stuck between his lips, like every kill is personal. And maybe it is.

He’s good at what he does, though, and between him and Bear the Nazis are scared pretty goddamned shitless, and that’s the kind of news they like to hear.

*

Come the day they stumble onto a small German patrol marchin’ a whole mess of POWs down the road. There’s a camp nearby, a prisoner camp, the sort where they still pretend to honor the rules of warfare, but it’s a good bet that’s no comfort to any of the boys bein’ marched. They look like hell, like they’ve been on their feet for weeks, maybe more, underfed and stumbling and half of ‘em don’t have boots anymore, are walking with their feet wrapped in rags.

The patrol, they make very short work of. It’s what to do with the prisoners afterwards that has them baffled. Search and rescue isn’t usually something they do, but this one had had ‘crime of opportunity’ stamped all over it.

So they put it off, do what it is they do know how to do first. And Kovacs is just finishing up with the two that’ve fallen nearest him, flesh peeling off their skulls like the skin off a plum, when he hears a weak, tired voice behind him.

“…Walter?”

He freezes, fist still threaded through blood-tangled wads of hair. Turns and stands all at once, looking like bloody murder with the knife and the scalps and the red smeared all down his face and jacket and it’s fitting, it really is. Bloody murder. Whatever makes them afraid.

The ghost in front of him winces, but doesn’t step back. “It is you. I thought-”

“Thought you were dead,” Kovacs mumbles, completing the thought, and his voice is all rough gravel, like he hasn’t really used it in weeks. “Saw you captured. Figured with you being… that they’d just kill you.”

No response, not really, just a kind of shifting of his head that looks a little like worry, or maybe fear.

“For you.” Kovacs holds up the hand with the bloody trophies, and his voice is quieter than ever, and he looks at his feet. Feels suddenly like the mangy old cat that’d adopted his house when he was little, always bringing in dead squirrels and other gruesome shit as presents, his mother howling and screaming every time. He’d tried to tell her the cat was just trynna be nice, but she’d hear none of it.

“Had a cat once…” Dreiberg’s saying, trailing off, obviously stuck on the same metaphor. New York must’ve been crawling with those cats twenty years ago. He shakes his head, obviously dizzy from the heat and the hunger and it looks like he’s lost thirty pounds easy. “Nevermind. Thanks. Just… you hold onto them for now?”

Kovacs nods. Sheathes the knife. Puts the free hand, bloodied as hell, on Dreiberg’s shoulder to lead him back over to the others. Somewhere across the road, one of his teammates is trying to get a radio to work, to call for a rescue squad to get these poor starved fuckers out of here to somewhere safe. He’s swearing and grousing and poking at buttons and when Dreiberg breaks away from him to go offer to help – he’d always had a knack for that stuff, should’ve been a radioman instead of infantry, but the draft board wasn’t good at making sense of those things – Kovacs lets him go.

*

The POWs get shipped back to New York, and in a week’s time, they lose Kovacs to the city’s grip too. Seems his tour’d been up for a while already, and he’d only stuck around because out in the thick like they were, orders were hard to receive, easy to ignore, and he’d had his reasons.

He goes back to the city and looks up the people he’d fought alongside who’d made it through, and he tries to keep in touch. He has lunch with Daniel twice a week and they don’t talk about the war, about six weeks of marching with barely enough food and no boots or about blood smeared on faces and under fingernails and the horrible things one had done in the other’s name. They don’t talk about exactly what that meant, in the grander scheme of things.

Kovacs doesn’t wake up crusted in blood and ash and covered in leaf litter anymore, and the uniform’s gone, but unlike the cowardly jackals they let live from time to time, he needs no visual reminder, looking in the mirror, to know he was a part of something vicious and horrible and wonderful and brutal and honest, to look at that ugly face and think there are less murdering bastards in the world now, because of me.

Because of me.


*

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
midnite_vision
Nov. 15th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Holy crap! That was you? I loved this back on the meme, and it's still awesome. :)
etherati
Nov. 15th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
It took me a while to get up the guts to claim it. XD

Thanks!
radishface
Nov. 15th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
YOU DID IT YAY :D

Also,
I LOVED THIS as you know but I'll say it again.
etherati
Nov. 15th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah finally got up the nerve haha.

And thank you :3
jack_infinitude
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
High-five, you!
etherati
Nov. 17th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
Thanks! <3
omgrun
Nov. 17th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
My god. This may be the greatest crossover in the history of anything.

MICK JEW ALWAYS TOPS.
etherati
Nov. 17th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Oh. My god. Those are sparkly dongs. Where. What. dvfgghkgjhkjkljsddf.

In my fic? USUALLY, YES.

Thanks ahaha.
visiblemarket
Nov. 20th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
Oh god, this was awesome; a friend rec'd it to me and it was just perfect.
etherati
Nov. 20th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was a lot of fun to write. :3
jeanemon
Nov. 21st, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
Oh, man, this was awesome. <3 I love this story, but the end makes me smile. :3 Thanks for writing!
etherati
Nov. 21st, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it. :D And thank YOU for commenting.
kovacsisdead
Mar. 6th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
HAVE I TOLD YOU A LOVE YOU YET?

I have had the worst two days, and this has made everything so much better.

Which probably says something about me, but I don't care.

This is amazing and beautiful and I love you for writing it.
etherati
Mar. 8th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
EEE a comment on an oldfic. :3

Thank you, seriously. I'm glad it made your day better and I'm glad it's still holding up now that it's been a while since the movie came out.

It was a lot of fun to write which, in return, probably says something about me. XD
kovacsisdead
Mar. 9th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
Yes, yes. I still stalk through your page.

I'm not sure I understand how you could doubt this being anything other than pure wonderful. Maybe its just me being a guy, but this is rooted in two words of awesome. You have Bear Jew and Rorschach (Mick Jew, how that made me laugh-- I was kind of glad Blake was out of the house, he would have though I was choking to death.) in one fiction, working together and kicking Nazi-scum butt. How can you doubt that it would hold up?

What it clearly says about us is that we're deeply in tune with the veins of awesome.
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
Nonono, trust me, the appeal of Bear Jew and Rorschach teaming up to KILL NAZIS is not in any way gender limited XD It is basically the most awesome idea ever, which I have to credit the prompter for, because holy wow.

Yes, yes we are. It's a great place to be.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

what this is.


This is a fic journal for the most part, with some art on the side and a sprinkling of personal posts here and there. I don't write as much as I used to, but I try.

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