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21 August 2014 @ 05:54 pm
The War is Over - A Band of Brothers Fic  
Title: The War Is Over
Author: Gilove2dance
Rating: PG-13 for much swearing (It’s Liebgott, I mean seriously)
Word Count: 1374
Disclaimer: This is in no way a representation of the real men and women who were portrayed in the miniseries Band of Brothers. This is entirely based on Ross McCall and the writers’ interpretation of the man and is not written to cause any offense to said man, nor his family, nor anyone else involved. This is entirely fiction drawn from my head….I haven’t even read the book about the men after the war so really, this is my muse running around screaming at me to write this. Ok...onwards!

A/N: After writing this, I realized I fixate on Joe’s hair a lot and I blame Ross McCall’s beautiful head of hair. Also, I kind of scared myself writing this.

Joseph Liebgott sat at the table, staring out the window without seeing the busy San Francisco street. His fingers automatically flicked a dangling cigarette, letting the ashes fall onto the growing heap on the table. The creases around his eyes were deep with grief as his mouth tightened into a thin line. The look on his face belonged to a much different time and place, when his attire was replaced with coarse khaki clothing and a chain weighed down by duty and hate hung around his neck in the form of dog tags.

The door to the kitchen swung open, startling him out of his memories. He looked up and allowed a smile to grace his features as a pretty young woman with curly brown hair fashioned around her face walked in holding a letter. Joe reached out, grabbed her by the waist and brought her in closer so that he could bury his face in her chest. She let out a musical laugh and ran her fingers through his hair affectionately. After a moment, she slid down onto his lap and pressed a kiss to his temple.

“So this came today.” She held up the letter and watched as her husband stiffened, his face closed off. “It’s from Bill Guarnere. He wrote a bunch about his life in South Philly and his wife Frannie, Babe and there’s even a bit about Major Winters. He wants to know what you’ve been up to and-” She paused, leaning her forehead on the side of Joe’s face as he had turned away from her, shielding himself from the contents of the letter. “He’s organizing another reunion, for all the Easy Company men. He really wants you to go. A bunch have already responded saying they’ll come.”

“I told you, I don’t ever want to go to one of those fuckin’ things.” His voice was hard and he ignored her wince.

“But Joe-”

“NO!” He slammed a fist onto the table. “No,” he repeated softly as he buried his face in her neck. She held him to her tightly for a moment until he pulled back slightly to look at her. “I can’t. I just-” He stopped, mouth open but the words wouldn’t come.

She waited patiently, as she did every time her husband tried to talk about the war. She reached up and brushed his hair back. He sighed. “I did some shit awful things. Unforgivable things and they all know about them.”

“But so did they. It was war time. All of them have done things they wish they never had to do. It was their duty. But now, they can lean on each other to get through it.” She cupped his cheek, forcing him to look at her. “They know what you are going through. They can help where I can’t.”

“That’s the problem. They don’t know what I’m going through. They didn’t do what I did.” Joe bit his lip and looked down. “The war was over. But I did it anyway and they all know. How can I face them again?”

“Joe, I’m sure whatever it was you did, it was warranted. Everybody will know that. It’s over now, it doesn’t matter.”

“To hell it doesn’t!” Joe screamed. He stood up, roughly making sure she had her footing before moving to the other side of the kitchen. “You have no idea what I did!”

“I don’t need to know what you did, I know who you are!” she cried back at him. Tears started forming in her eyes. “I don’t care, I know you are a good man.”

“Yeah? You think I’m a goddamn good human being?” He stormed towards her, face livid with rage. “I FUCKING TORTURED AND MURDERED A MAN!”

She couldn’t hold back the gasp that escaped through her lips and she clapped a hand across her mouth. Joe was breathing heavily, staring down at her.

“Shit,” he whispered, backing up. He sat down heavily in the chair, facing away from the table and dropped his head down into his hands. She walked over and placed a shaking hand on his head. He flinched but allowed her to comb his hair with her fingers, as she always did when he struggled to get his temper under control. After he gave a shuddering sigh, she pulled away to drag a chair away from the table to sit across from him, knees touching, taking his hands in hers.

“Tell me.”

He refused to look at her, instead keeping his eyes trained on the trash can in the corner. “We were in Austria. This town called Zell am See. The war was basically over in Europe and we were just waitin’ to be deployed over to Japan. This was after Landsberg and our discovery of the camp.” His left eye twitched, a nervous tick she had noticed appeared whenever he thought about that camp. She gave his hands a comforting squeeze but said nothing.

“It was Captain Speirs, you see. Well, he had gotten some information from a DP that there was a kommandant of one of these slave camps in a cottage not far from where we were stationed. He needed someone to go down, question him, and if it was the right place, take care of him, you know?” Joe continued softly.

“He picked me to lead. He knew I was angry, that I would make it personal and be able to carry out the orders.” He shook his head sadly. “I don’t think he knew I would do it blindly.”

“You mean-” She cleared her throat and tried again, “You mean the man was innocent?”

“I don’t know.” His voice cracked. “They fingered him. He kept yelling back that he wasn’t, but who would freely admit to being the head of a fucking slave camp? So I smacked him around a lot with my gun. He kept denyin’ it. So I kept hitting him. He kept on saying that he didn’t know what I was talking ‘bout. That I made a mistake.” Joe stared, eyes wide but without seeing the room around him. “And then he said something that I can’t remember. Things went black and there was this loud bang and he was lying there with blood coming out his neck.”

Joe’s face crumpled. “I shot him. I shot him point blank. And I missed. I missed from two feet away and I didn’t care.” He took a shuddering breath. “I wanted him to hurt so fuckin’ badly. Like I was hurting. Like he had hurt my people.” Joe paused and she barely drew a breath, lest he stop. “Webster wouldn’t do anything. Because he is a good person. He knew from the start this was a bad idea. He tried to get me to stop. Every step of the way he tried to get me to stop.

“Skinny ended up shooting him dead. But it was ordered by me. That man’s life is on me. I murdered him and I don’t even really know if he was guilty.” Joe broke down into sobs and she abruptly stood up. She straddled his legs and wrapped her arms around his shoulders as tightly as she could, one hand cupping the back of his neck. He responded by hugging her waist and crying into her shoulder.

“Ok,” she whispered. “We won’t go. I still think they won’t care, they would be supportive. But it’s ok. We won’t go.”

“I just can’t.”

“I know.”

They stayed like that for a long time. Eventually she had to get up and make dinner. She hid the letter away from Joe in her nightstand drawer.

Letters kept coming from all the men. Malarkey, Webster, Alley, Tipper, Luz, Guarnere, Winters...somedays Joe would be willing to listen to them, some days he couldn’t handle it. His many children learned that if they asked him about the war, their cheerful loud father would turn into a sad withdrawn man that removed himself from wherever they were until their mother was able to talk to him. This occurrence became rare and Joe lived a good life with his family. But he never got the courage to face the men, his brothers in arms, in person again.