[ alone ]

by lt dawn chaser

It was incredibly hot and muggy, making everything seem not just sticky, but close. Myron hated close, hated the feeling of being closed in. Too much like being cornered. Or trapped.

Yet here he was, all alone in his hootch. He'd wanted it that way. Made it clear with a few sharp words and a cold look that no one was to bother him, short of the camp being overrun. Even McKay, for once, knew enough to just stay the fuck away.

Brewster knew. The man missed nothing. Somehow he knew that Myron needed to really tie one on tonight and left him to it. Somehow knew the reason why, even if Myron didn't want to face it. There had been understanding and compassion in those eyes, and possibly pity. Myron didn't want the pity. Didn't feel he deserved the rest.

After all, it was his own damned fault he was here now. Alone. There was no one to blame, no one to rage at. Only the empty shadows of the hootch and the bottle of scotch he had on his desk.

He was used to being alone. Had been alone his whole life or so it seemed. Army brat, his father kept the family moving. Never had time to make friendships, nor did the other kids he met. They were all in the same boat, thrown together for a while, then one would leave, another come, Myron would leave and find himself at a new base, starting over again.

Always starting over. Always alone. East coast, west coast, bases in the south. Overseas in Europe, then back to the States. You got to a point where you stopped trying because there was no point. You were only going to move again anyway.

He had his mother, but did he really ever? He meant what he'd said to his father, back at Chu-lai. That what he remembered was a lonely woman. Looking back, Myron realized she was never really there, not completely. She was like half a soul, drifting along. She'd smile at Myron, but there was such a distance, like she was miles away instead of in the same room.

Then one day she wasn't there at all. His father buried her and told Myron after it was all said and done. He never got to say goodbye.

He never said goodbye to his father either. Simply left. Made the decision that he was on his own now. Alone. So he walked away and never looked back. Accepted that he was alone. Had always been alone.

Myron grabbed the bottle and glass and brought them over to his bedside stand, setting them there. He poured off a glass but left it, untouched. Tapping out a cigarette, he then tossed the pack beside the bottle and lit up with sharp movements. The end glowed brightly in the lingering shadows as he inhaled deeply.

God, it was fucking hot and sticky tonight. He sat on the bed which creaked in protest as he stared out the screen door into the dark compound. The cigarette burned slowly between his fingers. It was a moonless night with only the camp lights chasing back the darkness.

He wanted nothing to do with his father's world, yet the war changed that. Too ingrained in him, he let himself get drafted. When he made officer in OCS, he had no one to pin his rank on. No smiling wife, girlfriend, or proud parent. He'd been alone then, in that ceremony.

And alone he came to Vietnam.

He could accept that, had been prepared for it, even expected it. He was an officer, it came with the territory. He'd do his time, feed the obligation his upbringing and conscience made impossible to ignore, and then go back and pick up his life where he'd left off before he let himself get drafted.

Alone in the States, alone in Vietnam, did it really matter where you were when it all shook out the same way in the end?

He drank down half the glass in a swallow. Restless and edgy, he climbed to his feet with the glass still in his hand and went to stand at the screen door and stare out at the camp.

Ladybird was only a year ago. It was a lifetime ago.

He blamed Anderson. Had to blame someone. He'd blamed and damned his father for years, even blamed the old man for his being here in this sorry excuse for a country. Now he blamed Anderson.


Damned Anderson. The bastard just couldn't leave Myron alone, couldn't respect that Myron wanted to be alone. Instead he made it a personal mission, squared his shoulders and dug in. And steadily, quietly, patiently battered at Myron's defenses. Saw past the defiance, the anger, the arrogance... the raw fear. Saw past all of that and saw Myron for who he was. Saw something there he felt worth salvaging. Became more than an NCO, more than Myron's sergeant.

The bastard slipped under Myron's defenses. He became a friend.

And Myron let it happen. Did the one thing that came the hardest for him to do... he trusted the other man.

Trusted him when Myron hadn't allowed himself to trust anyone in years.

And for the first time in his life, Myron stopped feeling alone. Was no longer alone. He hurt, pieces of him shattered with each man's death, each kid's loss cut him so deeply. But he wasn't alone. Anderson wouldn't leave him alone, wouldn't let him handle the burden alone. He couldn't shoulder it all, but he shouldered enough so that Myron felt he could somehow survive all of this.

It had been a mistake. Myron's mistake for trusting, for letting himself believe. He knew better, but he let it happen anyway.

He sent Anderson away. Chased him away. Myron was broken inside, shattered beyond repair. So he blamed Anderson and deliberately sent him away.

Anderson left.

And Myron now found himself alone. He drank down the rest of the glass and closed his eyes. He sent the one person away who could have saved him.

But he didn't want to be saved, did he?

A year ago Myron came to Vietnam, alone. A year later, he was still in Vietnam.

And still alone.

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