Title: The man you knew
Characters: Malarkey, Webster, Stephen Ambrose, Christenson,
Genre: Angst, Gen, RPF
Disclaimer: I don't own Band of Brothers, nor do I mean any disrespect to the real men in E company or their families. This is based on the actors' portrayal of real men in a fictional setting not the actual men of Easy themselves. Nor do I own the real Don Malarkey, David Kenyon Webster, Pat Christenson, or Stephen Ambrose fyi.
Summary: The real Malarkey thinks about the men presented in Band of Brothers and of one in particular.
A/N: This pretty much came about when I found out that Malarkey apparently had/has a strong distaste for Webster. It's kind of an anti-buddy/character study fic-hybrid, really. I'd wanted some kind of assurance in my head canon, but instead got this...I'm pretty sure Malarkey probably doesn't hate Webster this much. I blame the fact I was frustrated with Russian homework that this came out a bit more caustic and bitter than intended and I offer up my icon in some kind of appeasement for this. Thanks to binni for the quick beta and stopping me from just deleting this thing, btw~
Malarkey knew that Webster never had held any feelings of malice towards him.
And even when Malarkey looks up at the screen, notices the little interaction that the actors that play them share—he can't help but think his open disdain for Webster had been obvious. He can't help but snort slightly at the small screen, watching the man playing Webster wax on lyrically.
Webster had always been an outsider, hell, he even seemed to welcome it at times. Sitting to the side writing in that damn book of his, complaining about the injustice of it all and trying to 'describe the common man'—Malarkey felt a sneer rising on his lips as he did back then. They weren't fucking animals, and he wasn't any fucking different from them.
Where'd that so called vision gone?
He could have sworn more than half the book was just Web's fucking bitching, it'd become more about him than them. Fucking Ivy Leaguers...he'd almost chucked the book out the window on more than one occasion.
Malarkey's mouth sets in a grim line and he continues to sit by and watch 'himself' or well, hell what counts for himself, a downtrodden man who had lost his five best friends and still kept fighting with everything he had. Webster's double—something like the man, he thought he knew but knows he didn't really—watches from a far with slightly detached pity. Now that seemed familiar.
Webster had never been a bad guy, he has to admit slightly.
He'd go on patrols—(only when ordered, but then again how was this different from some of the others?)—he wasn't some glory hound (save for his bitching on more than one occasion about the 'absurdity' around them—and damn it, they ALL knew it was absurd—it was fucking WAR)—and the man was loyal enough to those he considered friends and on the rare occasion he decided to feel moved by the plight around him.
No, Webster wasn't on the same level as Dike—he admired with a roll of his eyes, he'd come damn close—but he wasn't there. His damn aloofness still annoyed the hell out of him—people had been dying around him, good men—and yet, there he was alive and well if only for the occasional gripe and moan.
Cry him a fucking river, Professor.
Muck and Penk were TWICE the man you were.
His book isn't shy about his dislike for Webster—Ambrose had favored the little prick like he was the next messiah—and he can't help the added chagrin that more than a little of him thinks that it's so god damned unfair the one gold brick cry baby gets more reverence then the men who ACTUALLY fought just cause he kept a diary. Webster never truly tried to fit in, if at all—whether it was cause of his money or that foolish dream of observing, he doesn't know. What he does know, was that in a company of heroes, he knows very damn well that Webster wasn't one.
He's moved from his thoughts when he looks up at Webster trying to get him out of patrol.
He tries to recall an event where the real Webster, the fading one in his mind that has admittedly been warped with the tinge of dislike, would ever go so far for one of them.
Nothing comes to mind and Malarkey rolls his eyes.
Hollywood, what'd they do to make the artistic ones the saints, huh?
He hates this episode, hates that the damn book based on the whole damn series might as well have been through Web's point of view, hates that even with all this hate, Webster had, true to form, barely fucking noticed him through those damn oblivious yet judging eyes. He'd written of him scarcely, loosely populated appearances—like he was a casual acquaintance of an acquittance. As if they fucking even liked each other.
Stupid, foolish, college boy filled with stupid, foolish ideas and an education that did him little good.
And where'd that gotten him?
“Disappeared at Sea.” Is all he can remember Pat saying, tone low and head bowed at a reunion.
Christenson was one of Web's friends so the grief isn't that unexpected, but still...Malarkey recalls distantly that he did feel something of a twinge of pity. A detached “oh” of what a shame. He hadn't lost sleep over and even now he doesn't, still—he looks at the TV and at the Webster trying so hard to get back into everyone's good graces, thinks of the real time in Haguenau where he'd barely noticed the guy—who'd been with his own pack of friends, easily sitting in an abandoned house, awaiting orders with a bored face.
Malarkey settles into his chair, and even with all that disdain—apparently only really acknowledged on one side—he can't help but raise a brow at the young college boy in front of him. And wasn't it sad that Webster seemed more noble in there than he did in real life?
Almost like a character in those damned stories of his.
He laughs at the irony, as he watches Webster push Popeye out of the way and begin to exchange his own shots.
Maybe it was the propaganda of the thing or maybe it was just a mind too tired to contemplate it anymore. Lumping him in with the rest of them; lumping the whole thing with a period of his life that was supposed to have been all over. But, he can't help but wonder what would have happened if Webster had actually tried to serve with them instead of just play solider-boy and then sit back, bitching, when he realized that it wasn't just some game. Or tried to actually think of himself as one of them instead of some kind of scholar from on high.
No, Webster never had many unkind words to say about Malarkey.
But Malarkey had plenty to say on him.