And if you feel like I feel, baby

In the movie when the brave American paratroopers are headed to the dropzone to kill dirty Nazis, they sit in rows and they laugh and joke around and swap cigarettes and looking at girly mags and chatter away.  I wonder if that’s a real thing or if it’s just something that happens in the movies.  I grant you that a bus isn’t a plane but regardless there was none of that on the way to Paradise.  The tunnel people just sat there stone-faced (pun) and hardly said a word to each other the entire way.  Martialla and I did our best to gab like girls but it was a long ride and eventually we lapsed into silence as well.  At least until we started to get close and Martialla began gearing up. 

“Is that an axe?” 

Martialla held up the axe she was holding and halfway laughed “Why yes, this is an axe, good eye.” 

“Why do you have an axe?” 

She gave me a quizzical look “Are the nanobots eating your brain?  We’re about to go into battle.  Why wouldn’t I have an axe?” 

I frowned at her “You’re not thinking about going out there, are you?” 

She looked at me like I was the crazy one “What else would I do?” 

I gestured “I thought you were going to stay in here with me and shoot people in the back while they were fighting someone else like the heroes that we are.” 

“We don’t have that many rounds Ela, even with just you using what we have, you better be careful about what shots you take.” 

I grabbed her arm as the bus swayed “Are you insane?  Why would you go out there with an axe and try to kill anyone?”  I jerked my head at the mob of quarry people around us “That’s what they’re for, not us.  We’re the generals who are back in a tent away from the front lines drinking cognac and looking at maps while other people go and die.” 

She eyed them and then whispered back like it mattered “Say it a little louder will you, I don’t think everyone heard.  They’re strong but they’re not warriors Ela, they need someone to lead the way for them, put a little iron in their spines.  I get the feeling that as long as they have someone to tell them to do it, they’ll fight fanatically. Left on their own . . . I think they’ll just die.” 

My jaw was practically on the floor “And you think the person to do that is you?  You’re my driver!  You’re not a medieval man at arms, if you go out there with an axe you’re going to die!” 

She gave me a cold look “You know how many people I’ve stabbed, bludgeoned, and bashed since we got out of the damn tubes?  Because I do.  I know that exact number.  I stopped being the person who picks up your dry cleaning and breaks up with dudes you don’t want to talk to anymore sometime after the third or fourth one.”

“I’m not . . . I didn’t . . . mean that . . . ” I threw my hands up in dismay “This is different!  This is like a battle. A battle battle.  I’m not questioning your resolve or your commitment or your ability to commit murder or whatever, I’m saying that this is a terrible idea.  We’re too valuable.  You’re too important! Don’t go out there with them, stay here with me.  Who cares if we run out of bullets after twenty seconds, we can just duck down and wait for it all to be over.  If we win great, if we don’t, too bad we’ll try again.  Or not, we’ll go somewhere else and forget everything here.  All that matters is that we survive.” 

She shook her head stubbornly “We’re going to have to take some risks to make this work Ela.” 

I reached out, not even sure why, and was left gesturing strangely at nothing “All we do is take risks!  Every minute we’ve been here is a risk.  I can’t lose you Mar, what am I going to do without you?  If you get killed . . . I don’t know what I’ll do.  Please don’t leave me alone Martialla.  Please.” 

She rolled her shoulders uncomfortably “I’m not . . . I mean . . . I don’t . . .” She sighed “Look, if I fight I might die, if I stay here I’ll live, for a while, but . . .” 

I snorted “Don’t you fucking trying to Braveheart me Martialla.” 

She looked like she was pinching herself on the leg “There’s nothing for it Ela, if we want to win this is the way it has to be.” 

I looked at her for a moment and she looked at me.  When I went in for a kiss her eyes widened in alarm and she threw up an elbow that smacked me in the chest and knocked me on my ass.  I looked up at her with eyes watering, not from the sting of her rebuke, but from the sting in my boob. 

“Ow, Jesus, you hit me right in the nipple!” 

She gawked at me like a sideshow freak “What the fuck was that?!” 

I rubbed at the pain “I just thought . . . you know, you keep going on about your husband being dead and all . . . so . . . I just thought . . .” 

She all but spat at me “I mentioned it maybe once!  Jesus Ela, this isn’t Cinemax After Dark.  You can’t just . . . just . . . you just can’t!” 

I crawled to my feet in disgust “What are you so upset about?  How do you think I felt?!  Your lips are so chapped they look like two dead flat worms dancing on your face, a face which looks like a dried-up old catcher’s mitt by the way.  I was just trying to make you feel better.  Give you a reason to live, whatever.” 

She turned away in revulsion “You are insane.” 

“You’re being more than a little homophobic right now Mar.” 

She spun around, arms failing “You’re not gay!” 

“Exactly, and I was willing to let you . . .” 

She threw up her hand again “Stop Ela, just stop.” 

I pulled my shirt out and glanced down “Jesus Mar, I think you ripped it off.  Thank god it wasn’t the good one.”  

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