Chapter 1: Episode 6 - Bastogne
God it’s cold. That’s all Eugene can think about as he trudges through the snow. He needs to find the OP, or another company, someone who can help him find some supplies to feed his desperately dwindling supplies. He’s tried this before, but now he is getting more desperate. He has to find some supplies somewhere.
So many shouts for a medic, so little time to react. He is so lost in his thoughts he doesn’t spot the Kraut until its too late. By the time he registers who much trouble he is in he’s rescued by the ever-calm Dick Winters.
“Doc, Doc,” He hisses ushering him to the side. Eugene barely listens to a word said until he is told to head up the line. Desperate to make himself useful, he finds himself nodding to find more supplies to help his men. He sets out not really sure where he is going….
“Doc?” “Doc?” “Doc?” “MEDIC!” “MEDIC!” “MEDIC!”
The words echo around in Eugene’s head - Its relentless. It’s all he has heard since they dug in along the line. He’s exhausted which makes him ache to his bones. The cold is even worse, invading all his layers down to his bones. He hasn’t really been sleeping, which he knows is bad but he feels constantly on guard – ready for the dreaded shout. But at least when he gets a shout he is making himself useful, he isn’t tied under the foreboding dread that something is going to happen.
“Glorious day hey doc?” Luz smiles as he approaches the medic.
Eugene smirks at that, there is something about the funnyman which makes him extremely uplifting to be around.
“You take care of yourself ok?” Luz slaps something into his hand – it’s chocolate. His favourite. It takes the Cajun a few minutes to register what it is, and that its for him. But it makes him feel lighter all the same
Dick tries really hard not to make it obvious that he is watching the young medic when Strayer is giving his speech. The strain the Cajun has been under has not gone unnoticed in the weeks of Bastogne. Dick appreciates all of his men are under pressure, but he also appreciates that the relentless shelling, injuries and killing of his men are particularly wearing for the young man sitting in front of him, eyes blank. He looks to his left, and as always Lew is right in sync with him, he nods as if to acknowledge the silent concern.
“He needs a break Nix” Winters sighs as the pair walk back to the OP.
Nix can’t help but snort, of course the red-head is right…but a break in Bastogne? For a medic?
“I know” Dick replies flatly – he is aware of how futile the thought is.
“The men will look out for him,” Nix reassures his friend, a reassuring hand on his shoulder. As if on cue he spies Babe handing over a canteen to the medic who is yet to move. The sight gives Dick some warmth, and much needed hope. It doesn’t do much to ease the anxiety in his stomach.
Dick really steps in after lieutenant Welsh gets hurt. His hands are shaking a little himself after his friend gets hurt. That’s when he can really emphasise what the doc is going through. What scares him even more then that, is the haunted look and hesitation on the medic’s face as he stood and watched the scene in front of him. Of course, he gave excellent care as always but its un-nerving to watch. He goes off to find the dark-haired man.
Eugene is sitting in his fox hole, dutifully going through his medic bag. Even in the dim moonlight Winters can see how his hand are shaking gently.
“Eugene?” Dick decides to use his first name.
Eugene startles a little, “Sir?” His voice low, and Winters can hear the exhaustion in it. The medic’s eyes are alert, and Dick internally kicks himself – of course the medic thinks something is wrong. So wrong he is already on his feet and out of his foxhole before Dick can even process the move.
“Everything is ok…. How is Lieutenant Walsh?” The red-head asks. The medic instantly relaxes, well as much as he relaxes.
“He’ll be ok Sir.” He answers back shortly, not wanting to think about the collapsed hospital that they had took him back to, luckily the road had cleared and Harry will be sent to a different hospital.
Winters nods. He hesitates, not sure how to ask if the Cajun is ok. Come to think of it, how often does anyone check in on the other man.
“Eugene…..” Dick starts.
“He had to go to the next aid station….Bastogne’s…..was hit” Eugene forces the words out around the tight lump in his throat. He tries not to think about all that loss, about a blonde nurse with a smile that brightened his bleak day. He tries not think about all those inside.
Dick shudders at the news.
“They will need medics to help there,” he offers knowing the answer will be.
“I’m not leaving the line.” Eugene states firmly, fire in his eyes. He isn’t sure how he feels at the suggestion – does Winters think he is not doing his job?
It says a lot about both men, about the bond the pair share that Dick holds his hands up in slight surrender. He decides to say what has been on his mind for the past few days, feeling uncharacteristically unsure of himself.
“Eugene, your job is the toughest in the company and this is the toughest place to do it. You and Spina have no aid station, very little supplies. I am not questioning your job, you are an excellent medic. You are one of the most dedicated men I have ever met, but a few days off the line might help…..ease the strain.” Dick states.
Eugene takes a minute to try and formulate a response. He doesn’t want to leave the men, he can’t leave because being a medic is all he knows now, it’s all he’s done since they moment he landed at Tocca.
“I’m not leaving the man. I can’t….” His voice cracks a little a this and he covers with a cough. He can’t show weakness, he can’t crumble.
Dick senses his need to be alone again, needs his need for solitude - to try and process the evening, and the conversation.
“Ok” he states reassuringly, giving the medic’s arm a squeeze. “Try and get some rest”
Eugene blows out a breath, unsure of how to process the last few minutes of conversation.
Chapter 2: Episode 8 The Last Patrol
Coming off the line doesn't make Eugene's job easier.
Luckily he has Edward Heffron
Thanks for all the kudos, bookmarks and comments.
I will stress again this is about the characters on the HBO series and in no way means any disrespect to the real men of Easy and their heroism.
These one-shots are not in series order obviously but I will try and write 10....I have 3 written so far.....
Easy’s medic grimaced as he heard a painful, coarse cough echo throughout the church. Not that coughing was an unusual sound, not since the siege of Bastogne, and Foy most of the men had a cough to some degree. This was different however, it sounds almost like a wheeze and Roe’s own chest ached at the sound.
The half-Cajun diverted his eyes from where they were focused on readjusting Perconte’s dressings and tries to work out who it belongs too. He can’t help the tired sigh which escapes him, he was needed again, and he only had one pair of hands. Spina had gone to help at the aid station with a few of the more wounded men.
“Go on Doc, I’ll be alright” The Italian states, as if ready the medic’s tired mind, breaking the peaceful silence between the pair. He looks down at the wounded man, who gives him a small and strained smile. The dark haired man nods, looking to Sergeant Martin – who hasn’t left his friends side since they entered the church – he’ll look after him.
Forcing himself up on heavy legs the medic exhales and decides to take a walk along the men to see if he can source the noise. It doesn’t take him long. He spies a very pale and exhausted looking Carwood Lipton sitting in the second row from the front, Captain Speirs of all people, right beside him. The man is coughing into his fist, the sound hoarse and barking.
“That don’t sound so good Lip,” The Cajun states as he approaches, instinctively reaching a hand out to press against the ailing man’s forehead.
“I’m ok Doc,” he replies hoarsely, instantly trying to move his head away from his touch.
“Sure you are, you need ta wrap up warm as you can, take it easy” The Cajun sighs, knowing that both are almost impossible here. Lipton’s eyebrows raise silently, as if echoing his thoughts. Speirs watches the exchange silently – despite being the company’s XO the captain has had very little to do with their medic. Of course, Eugene Roe’s reputation proceeds him – he is one of the best, and dedicated to his men. Speirs doesn’t need to know much more.
“I’ve got nothing to give ya Lip” The raven-haired adds, and apologetic note in his voice. Lipton opens his mouth, wanting to say something to console the other man – it really isn’t the medic’s fault he has nothing to give him.
“I just….need you to try” Doc sighs rubbing at his eyebrow.
Lipton nods, as if sensing the strain the medic is under, how much he needs them to at least try and be ok.
“I’ll make sure of it” Speirs nods firmly, feeling the need to step in as he hears the sheer exhaustion and resignation in the younger man’s voice. He might have a reputation of being a tough SOB, but he is human, and respects the effort Roe has always exerted to ensure all the men are looked after.
“Sure thing Doc.” Lip also replies, his voice barely there. Eugene nods and slopes away, trusting the older man to at least try and look after himself.
He doesn’t notice a certain red-head watching the exchange.
Eugene Roe is exhausted. He’s pleased to be in Hagneau, out of foxholes and the snow but the job continues. Again and again he is summoned, but rather then the call of medic he gets a knock on his door, usually by a very breathless trooper. Not that he sleeps much anyways – the calls that echoed around Bastogne are a constant soundtrack to his dreams. Sometimes he wakes up convinced he is needed somewhere in the vast snowfall. He thought moving off the line might give him a break from the all the death, but it feels like there is just as many injuries and casualties here then in Bastogne and Foy.
It’s morning now, and the medic has barely slept – a sniper had shot a replacement in platoon 3 during a late night patrol. He then got caught up helping an A company medic on his way back. His hands tremble as he thinks of the young replacement’s lifeless eyes staring up at him. He doesn’t think he will ever get used to that. He is sitting on his bed, trying to summon the energy and determination to venture outside.
His thoughts are interrupted by a knock on his door. Unlike the other men, he had his own room. He knew it was the other men who had decided it, respectful of the man’s tendency for his own space. It touched him really, that these men valued that so much that they would willingly cram themselves into the remaining room. It takes him several minutes for his tired brain to catch up to the situation, and there’s a definite pause before he shouts “Come in”
His stomach is in his boots – he isn’t sure he can deal with another one.
“Hey Doc,” Its Babe on the other door.
“What’s wrong?” He is on his feet instantly. “Lip ok?”
Babe chuckles, “Relax Doc, he is fine. You on the other hand, need breakfast. Joe is serving down in OP 2.”
Eugene relaxes instantly and nods.
Eugene is sitting in headquarters, ready and waiting to be summoned. He hopes he isn’t, but the late night patrol is risky, and his heart is pounding with adrenaline as he waits. Some of the other men are around – Lipton is valiantly trying to stay awake despite his ongoing fever. Luz is sorting through supplies, despite the lateness of the hour – apparently as restless as the rest of them. The three sit in silence which in itself is odd with Luz around. Roe was going to wait in his room, until he realised that the OP is closer to the basement the men will be coming back to.
His thoughts are interrupted as McClung runs through the door “It’s Jackson” he states breathlessly.
Roe’s heart sinks but he jumps into action.
After Eugene Jackson takes his last breath the basement falls eerily silent. Eugene swallows back the guilt of loosing yet another man, and slips the privates’s dogs tags off. He looks up and finds his eyes drawn to Babe.
Babe is staring at home with disbelief in his eyes. The grief in his eyes is overwhelming and the Cajun has to look away closing his eyes briefly with a sigh. He’s startled back into action with the movement of Sergeant Martin who covers the young private with a blanket. The medic nods at the stretcher bearers to take him to the aid station. He briefly makes eye contact with Martin, nods and leaves wordlessly.
The fresh air does little to help him breathe deeply. Another one dead. Another man with his life ahead of him, who survived living on the line, died on a patrol instead. It feels so unjust, so unfair. His hands shake a little as he lights a cigarette. So lost in his own world he doesn’t hear the set of footsteps behind him.
Its Babe, of course it is. The younger man stands back, silently, no longer hesitant to approach the medic. They’re friends of sorts, well as friends as Eugene becomes with anyone. Since Bastogne Heffron has made more of an effort to look out for the selfless medic, make sure he eats, and tries to rest. Truth be told Heffron doesn’t know how useful he is being, but Eugene has been eating more lately, and looks a little more rested since he started to prompt him. Silently he stands, and when the medic slides down the wall of the house they’re standing outside of, hands still shaking he sits right next to him. Purposefully he sits close enough so just their shoulders touch – hoping to ground the medic.
“Fuck Heffron” Eugene sighs, slipping back into his formal name. It’s a habit the man hasn’t quite got out of, especially when a little shaken. Edward doesn’t mind, because once upon a time Eugene wouldn’t let anyone see him like this, trembling with guilt, sadness and the aftermath of sheer adrenaline. Hell even now Babe realises that he is one of a selected few, maybe the only one.
So the pair sit, and smoke, trying to forget about hollow eyes and dark basements.