(2005) No infringement upon the rightful owners of “Combat!”, and the characters thereof, is intended. This piece of fan fiction is for enjoyment only, and in no way will the author gain monetary profit from its existence.
Author's Note: This story is a response to the 5-5-05 fanfic challenge to retell an episode or scene from a female point of view. I chose Mrs. March from the episode Off Limits. All dialog is from the episode itself.
By White Queen
(How can I explain this to him? I don't even know why I feel so compelled to make him understand. After all, I don't even know him. He's just Andy's sergeant. I'm sure I'll never see him again. Even Andy may never see him again, even if he survives the operation. Dear God, let him survive! He's just got to survive.)
(I don't even remember his name. I'm sure Andy mentioned it. He's lighting a cigarette now, at that fire they've always got going.. I've got to say something! I can't go on standing here like a ninny, drinking coffee. Looking solemn. Looking guilty.)
"Would you like some coffee, Sergeant?" (What a dumb thing to say.)
(He's turning around, coming closer. He seems so sure of himself. He's probably never made a wrong decision. Never done something he'll regret. I'll just go over here and pour him a some coffee.)
(Maybe I should tell him how Andy and I met. It was one of those USO dances. They asked us nurses to give the guys a nice time. They could be shipped out for the invasion any day. I don't really like dancing, I'm not that good at it. They didn't even have a band. Just a lot of records. The guys didn't mind, and neither did most of the girls. I saw a boy standing by himself, looking kind of shy. I don't like brash men, the kind that think any girl would be happy if he just smiled at her. This boy seemed shy, so I went to talk to him. He was nice. We had a long conversation, mostly about home and how much we missed it. I thought that would be the end of it, but after the dance he asked to walk me home. A week later, somehow we were engaged.)
"We don't have any milk." (I've never been very good at making polite conversation.)
"Black is alright."
(Say something else. Get him to listen, explain things to him.) "Would you like to sit down?" (He's just leaning there against the counter, that can't be comfortable.)
(This isn't going well. He's so sure of himself. So morally upright. What a funny phrase: morally upright. I wonder if you can be morally downright. This coffee really is awful. He doesn't seem to mind it though. If only he would say something! I can't think how to bring this subject up. If only they'd send word that the operation succeeded. Or failed. But it can't fail! I just need to know.)
"How long do these things usually--usually take?"
(Thank heavens! He spoke!) "It depends." (Oh here it comes, I'm just going to blurt the whole thing out. I can't stand him just leaning there, looking at me. Judging me. And yet, I can't look him in the eye and tell him, either. Maybe if I sat by the table, I'd be more at ease. Or maybe not.) "He was telling the truth. I am in love with Doctor Anders."
(Why doesn't he say anything? Because he thinks I'm trash, that's why. Here Andy is, fighting this war, in danger, maybe dying, and I can't even be faithful to him. It's not like I really loved him, ever. He can be so persuasive, that Andy March. Somehow it all made sense back in England. Get married. Married, when we'd known each other a week, when we might never see each other again. I suppose that's why I did it...somehow it seemed so impermanent. We were both shipping out sometime soon, maybe one of us would die. Why not give ourselves a day or two of wedded bliss?)
"After the war, I'm going to leave Andy." (There, I've said it. At least he can't think I'm untruthful.)
"Look, Lieutenant, your personal life is your own."
(Isn't it funny how our ranks have replaced our names? No one calls me 'Amelia', except Dr. Anders when we're alone. Even Andy just calls me 'Honey'. I don't even know this sergeant's name, just his rank. And yet I somehow know that he would never do what I've done, never betray someone he loved. I wonder if he's married? I don't see a wedding ring. If he was married, maybe he'd understand better. Or maybe not.)
"I want to tell you." (I need to tell you. If I can make you understand, maybe I can understand it myself.) "Because if he dies, Dr. Anders and I could never..." (Not that we've actually done that, of course. Not yet.) "It'd always be between us." (Not that I think Lew would ever let a patient die on purpose. Of course I don't think that.)
(Why isn't he saying something? Why is he just standing there, drinking coffee? Does he understand? Is he even willing to try?) "You understand, Sergeant?"
"I'm not trying to."
(Well, why not! Is that so much to ask?) "It's not as bad as it sounds." (Fine, it is. No, it isn't! I never really loved Andy.) "I'm trying to be honest. I fell in love with this man. I didn't try to, didn't want to. I just did." (God knows I fought against it. But he's so gentle, so caring, so wise. Full of knowledge, of power. Just being near him is like standing next to that fire. He gives off so much energy, warmth, light. And when I'm with him, I can absorb some of that. I've never known anyone like him.)
"Thanks for the coffee, Lieutenant."
(Stop leaving! I haven't explained this yet! And if I can't explain it to you, to a total stranger, how can I ever make Andy understand, or my parents. Oh, not my parents. They were upset enough about my quick war marriage. What can I do?) "Well what would you do?" (He looks like he knows a lot about life. Maybe I just want some advice from him. Maybe that's why I keep chattering on like this.) "Please, Sergeant."
"Look, Lieutenant, everybody's got a problem: you, Kirby, March. There's no time for it. There just isn't enough time. Only thing I can do is try to hold onto my men and keep 'em alive."
(That's it? That's all you can say? You're just going to walk off now, go back to standing by the fire? Turn your back and ignore me? And all you can say is, "we've all got problems"? Thanks a lot! I could have figured that one out on my own! Who does he think he is, anyway, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca? We've all got problems. We sure do! And here I thought he was wise, would know something, be able to help me. Give me some advice. Oh, if only Lew would finish that operation!)