Title: Good and Evil
Author/Artist: 2ad_idem (Right)
Characters: America, England. (Small appearance of Germany)
Warnings: Casualties of war, slight prejudice
Summary: America begins to wonder about the blurred lines of Good and Evil after being asked to show the German people mercy.
Author’s Note: The account of the immigrants in this story share a special meaning to me. They're allusions to the story of how my family was moved to America so please don't slander them too harshly.
He stares, unblinking, at it all and soaks it in. Soaks it all in.
A million thoughts run through his mind at once. They all seem to be right and wrong and everyone is celebrating. It’s happy. They’re all happy, so should he.
Still, he must remind himself that the soldiers here earned that happiness. They fought for him, fought harder than he had any reason to ask them to.
America is more proud than he is happy.
He supposes that this is because he keeps thinking about the surrendering. He thinks about how he and the Allies surrounded the nation who seemed as though he would never stop fighting until his Boss left him alone and disenchanted.
He asked for mercy. America wanted to know why he should get it.
“Because,” said Germany, “I have people, too.”
He was not very happy with himself in Berlin.
America checked in with the troops there, met with his General.
The whole of Germany looked like Hell. Still, so many of his soldiers were happy with it.
For a while, America had been happy with it, too. Then he saw a little girl dead on the corner.
She had been wrapped up in what the nation could only describe as swaddling clothes. The child was caked in mud and dirt and shit. Her skin was gray and there was no helping her.
From the time he had been a young colony, America had liked black and white. Things needed to be categorized as bad or as good. Villain or hero.
Seeing a child’s dead, gray skin hit a strange nerve.
“I don’t think all the Germans are evil.”
Isolationism had taught America the value of a good friend. The main problem was that he didn’t have one.
When he joined the Allies in this war, he found something that could only be described as an acquaintance in old England.
It wasn’t much, and it certainly wasn’t anything like it used to be. But America felt like he had no one else to speak to.
The former empire looked like shit. The Luftwaffe would do that to you. But he still looked more spry than he had when America had first joined the war.
The older nation sipped his tea and then lowered it. The way he stared at America was both curious and annoyed.
It was the end of a war. Couldn’t America work this out on his own?
“Of course they’re not all evil,” he finally scoffed. “Have you been reading too much into your own propaganda?”
Maybe. America can’t help but think of a time which wasn’t so long ago when all the British were evil, too.
It’s easier to sort through his thoughts in Hungary.
The landscape is beautiful, though scarred. Still, as he travels with some of his soldiers, he can’t help but be thankful.
There aren’t many Germans here to confuse him. And there aren’t any dead children on the streets for him to see.
He’s most thankful for that.
The train was completely overturned. Luggage of the more unfortunate passengers seems to have been blasted away from the wreckage by a few hundred feet. The crater where the dropped bomb dented in the Earth is only a few yards from the tracks.
“Were people killed?” America asks.
Of course they were.
He never gets an answer. There is only the snickering of those around him in the unit.
“I don’t know why this is bothering me so much,” America expresses without touching his cup.
He just stirs it lazily.
“Perhaps you should have sent Captain America in your stead,” England scoffs. “He never has to kill anyone to save the country from the Third Reich. He’s apparently more efficient than the Allies could have hoped to be.”
America does not deny this out loud. He merely thinks about how it was much more of a job for Superman.
The little girls are sisters. They look too much alike not to be.
They smile pleasantly to the American soldiers and accept the tiny gifts the healthy, young men offer them.
America hands them a pack of gum. More specifically, it’s to the smaller one.
“How old are you?” he asks sweetly.
The girl is perplexed by his English.
America thinks back for a moment and tries again. “Hány éves vagy?”
As soon as the language left his tongue, the older girl pales and takes her sister’s hand. America doesn’t want them to pale, he just wants to have a small conversation. The entire situation is rather suspicious.
Suddenly a woman who had been talking to another soldier runs forward. She’s short, not even five feet, but she looks like she could take on a tiger if they come closer to the girls.
She hides them behind her and mutters, “Bocsánat. Bocsánat. Ők félénk.”
The way she speaks is thick, thicker even than Hungarian. Despite her best efforts, each syllable is pronounced like there is something blocking her nose.
America recognizes this and feels a little ashamed.
He hands her the English to German dictionary he’s been keeping in his back pocket. She takes it curiously and then looks at him, slightly horrified.
“Where can you go?” he asks. She doesn’t respond, so he tries again. “Überall zu gehen?”
Her eyes drift away from him. “Nein.”
Her fingers are trembling in their vice grip on the book.
“Versuchen Amerika,” he responds before handing the older of the two girls a chocolate bar.
His tea has gotten awfully cold.
“I had a huge number of Dutch settlers for the longest time,” America explains. It’s a flat statement, not meant to be taken as shame or boast.
“I recall,” England states dryly. “Are you going to continue wasting my tea?” Tea sounds much more gentlemanly than time.
“Probably,” America responds before rubbing his chin. He would have to remember to shave later. “I don’t know much German, though. Is that weird?”
England stares at him before crossing one leg over the other. “What’s all this about, America?”
“Heroes shouldn’t scare people,” he explains as if it is a deep meaning philosophy beyond another’s comprehension. “But I think I scare German people.”
“Some of them should fear us,” England retorts. “Should fear you. We’re putting them back in their place.”
“But not all Germans are evil.”
The older empire sighs and rubs his temples. America is so young and naïve.
“Do you want us to be more lenient on them this time around?” England questions, voice full of accusation. “Because I damn well know that not all of my people were evil and it didn’t bloody well stop the Blitz.”
America settles in his seat only for a second before scooting around again. “No, nothing like that. Someone’s got to make sure this doesn’t happen again. All I’m saying is that a lot of my people are German in some way. Kind of like a lot of my people are English or African or French or Japanese.”
“That’s what you wanted. To be a ‘melting pot,’ if I recall.”
“I’m not saying I’m not happy,” America stresses. “All I’m saying is that they shouldn’t fear me. It doesn’t make me feel good and it’s useless. I’m not going to hurt them. They should be scared of their own Nazis.”
“What makes you think they aren’t?” England asks.
America’s soil feels like getting the perfect sundae: amazing.
He joins so many of his soldiers in happily diving into welcome home.
Walking around New York City again is strangely surreal. There are no signs of bombers, of land mines, of anything remotely like the European front.
He stops on a familiar path and stares at the woman speaking broken English like someone stuck plugs in her nose.
“Elizabeta, Magdalena! You come! We meet your uncle!”
America smiles. The woman is no more than five feet, most likely a lot shorter without her new heels. The two little girls follow their mother with shouts of “Nein!” and “Schwester!” and “Mutter!”
"Hány éves vagy?” Hungarian. "How old are you?"
“Bocsánat. Bocsánat. Ők félénk.” Hungarian. "Sorry. Sorry. They are shy."
“Überall zu gehen?” German. "Got anywhere to go?"
"Nein." German. "No."
"Versuchen Amerika." German. "Try America."
"Schwester!" German. "Sister!"
"Mutter!" German. "Mother!"