(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5) (Part 6) (Part 7)
The day came when the American troops separated from the British and Tommy and Teddy had to bid farewell to Kon.
“You just stay alive until this is all over, alright?” Tommy clasped hands with him.
“The same goes for you. Altman, you especially.” Kon clasped hand with Teddy next before shouldering his gun more securely. “I’ll see you on the other side.”
Tommy and Teddy watched him follow the rest of his troops, glancing back at the two of them every ten steps of so. It was one of the hardest moments of the war. The deaths were many, the devastation great, but saying goodbye to their friend, not knowing what fate had in store for him with heartbreaking.
The next few days were miserable. Tommy was constantly griping about one thing or another, and Teddy was counting the days he had left Billy alone. Four months of this hell had already passed with no end of the war in sight. When he thought about it, wars had gone on for years. There was the Hundred Years War, for example. What if Teddy and Tommy were stuck out here for years?
“I shouldn’t have left.” Teddy admitted quietly one night, curled against the wall of the trench. “I’m never going to see him again.”
“None of that.” Tommy growled from beside him. “I am not letting you play sob story over here. Keep your chin up, Altman.”
“How long will this war last, Tommy? What are the chances we’re getting out of this alive?”
“Look, I don’t know about you, but I’m making it through this. I didn’t put my brother through hell just to send him back there again.” Tommy tightened his grip on his gun. “I’m getting out of this alive. Are you coming with me or are you just going to lay down and die?”
Teddy looked away. Tommy had determination, but he wasn’t seeing the reality of war. So many of their friends and comrades had died. Kon was gone and who knows if he was even still alive?
“I thought you loved Billy, but if you can’t even decide to live for him then there’s no reason for you to come back at all.”
“I love him,” Teddy looked Tommy right in the eyes, “and I’m coming back with you.”
Tommy smirked, feeling accomplished to have put the fight back in Teddy. “Then prove it.”
They fought four small battles in the next two weeks, and it had taken its toll on them. Teddy was trying to keep track of Tommy’s wobbling form in the snow, but it was hard when the world refused to stop spinning. There was a ringing in his ears that he became familiar with after a grenade went off, but there was no ball of fire and smoke to indicate someone had launched one.
Tommy turned around and was saying something to him, but he couldn’t understand anything he was saying. Darkness was spreading from the edges of his vision and the ground tilted sideways. Teddy let out a heavy sigh before feeling the cold wet of snow coat his right side. After that; nothing.
“Altman!” Tommy hobbled as fast as he could over to Teddy’s prone form, dropping hard onto his knees in the snow. “Hey, get up!”
No matter hard Tommy nudged him or slapped his face, Teddy was out. Teddy was breathing, and his pulse was a little shaky, but he’d pull through.
“I thought you said you were going to get through this, huh?” Tommy muttered, trying to haul him up onto his back. “We need to get you back to Billy, alright? He’ll make you feel better. You just gotta hang through this.”
Tommy was able to take three steps forward before crumbling under the weight. Groaning in pain and sputtering snow out of his face, he rolled Teddy over onto his back and did the same.
“So much for not laying down to die. We need to get back to base before someone finds us.”
Silence met Tommy, and he shivered from the cold.
“Damn it! This isn’t working; but if I go back alone and you die out here Billy will kill me.” Tommy heaved a sigh and watched his breath puff out into the frigid air. “If I stay with you, I’m going to die. Damn, this is a great situation.”