til the end

Nov. 1st, 2010 11:04 am
hallelujahpilot: (what dreams may come)
[personal profile] hallelujahpilot
She's in Dallas. It's a Dallas with trees and green and a shining sun that she's never seen before (it's a Dallas like Asheville, 2010) and she's walking along the quiet, empty-where-are-all-the-people street. She's wearing: combat boots, flightsuit, her hair in its ponytail.

She's not wearing: any weapons.

Hey, GM.

Trudy pauses, turns, scans the buildings and windows and doors. Sniper, enemy, targets-

“GM!”

Her pause turns to an actual stop. “...Gene?” Her brother was the only one to call her that; GM, from Gertrude Maria.

Her first thought is that her brother looks old. Normally in dreams, he looks as he did when she left; twenty-nine. Logically, he's thirty-nine, but her dreams have never shown this. For a moment, the man jogging towards her is a stranger. His black hair is shot through with grey, the lines around his mouth and eyes are deeper, and he looks tired, thin, drained. There is a scar on his face that wasn't there before.

He's wearing his fatigues (no weapons) and when he pulls her into a hug, she can feel his bones.

(nothing like combat to lose weight)

“Jesus, you look young,” Gene says, now holding her at arm's length to study her face.

“And you look like shit.”

He grins at her. “Shoulda seen me earlier.”

Even in a dream, this statement is confusing. “Earlier?”

“Yeah, when I was being killed.”

Trudy reaches up and grabs his wrists, forces a smirk. “That ain't funny, bro.”

“Piece of shit body-armour. Got stabbed, like you did. But there weren't no one to drag me to safety. I don't recommend death by mob.”

Trudy can feel the blood draining from her face. “...where?”

“Tibet. Peacekeeping mission. Didn't you break your leg on one of those?”

“Yeah.” Trudy is frowning, staring at her older brother and trying to breathe. “You can't be dead,” she manages, fighting the panic bubbling up in her throat.

“Sure I can,” he says. “I am.”

“Why you talkin' to me, then? Why aren't you talkin' to Rosita?”

“My little girl couldn't hear me.” He shrugs. “You're asleep some place where you can. An' it's been odd, not havin' you around.”

“We didn't talk much anyway.”

“....you've been away for ten years,” Gene points out.

Trudy glances away for a moment. “I know. But for me, seven of those years were spent asleep. It just feels like three.”

“Huh. Not that long, then.”

“Only some days,” and the two share a grin. Sometimes, a tour feels like a lifetime; others, just like a day.

“'Splains why you're still wearin' your old uniform, then.”

“Huh? I'm not, I'm wearing my SecOps-” She glances down. She has her dogtags round her neck; the US flag on her arm; US Marines printed against her breast.

“Once a Marine, always a Marine,” and Gene's tone is odd. Trudy looks up at him, and something in his expression makes her glare.

“Yeah? What of it?”

“Don't you....sometimes wonder if y'sold yourself out?”

“Oh, please,” she snaps. “Someone had to put Alicia through college, and it sure as hell weren't gonna be you. And don't,” she adds, poking him in the chest with her finger, “don't you even think of callin' me a conquistadora.”

“Dad said that.”

“Yeah, he did. And then he disowned me, or did he forget to tell you that bit?”

“Nah, he mentioned it. Feels bad about it.”

Trudy snorts in contempt. “Bit late for that.”

He starts to reply, and then stops. “Look, GM, I gotta go soon. Just. Be careful, okay? I don't mean in your flying,” he says, interrupting her before she can begin to argue with him. “I mean. Look, when Dad called you that, he-“

“He what?”

“Just be careful, in what they tell you to do, okay?”

“Since when have we worried ‘bout that, Gene?” She asks him, feeling old, and tired, and entirely lost.

(he can’t be dead, he can’t be dead, it doesn’t matter that they figured without saying that they probably would miss the other’s funeral, he’s her big brother and he can’t be dead)

He doesn’t smile at her self-mocking tone. “I mean it. It’s not because the RDA’s the RDA and not the government. It’s…”

“It’s I’m part of an invasion force.”

“Yeah. It’s gonna turn ugly, Trudy. You know that.”

“So, what, the guy who managed to get into Delta is tellin’ me to ignore orders?”

“I’m just saying be careful. I know you. You’ve got a conscience.”

“And you don’t?”

“Not really.” He steps close and kisses her forehead. “I’ll be seeing you, sis.”

(don’t go)

“When?”

“When it’s time.” Gene steps back, straightens, and salutes her sharply. “Chief Warrant Officer Chacon.”

She can do this. She can straighten up and salute him back and say, “Gunnery Sergeant Schuyler,” and watch as he fades from view without crying.

She can, and she does, but no one said that she couldn’t wake up with tears running down her face, warm as blood.

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Trudy Chacon

November 2011

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