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Patching up a rifleman

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Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:56 am

Matthew had overridden any objections the boy might have raised, and had gone along with him to the river, where he bathed in the shallow water, rinsing away the dirt and grime from his body. Up to a certain point, he'd let Pye do his own washing, the boy scrubbing awkwardly with his good hand at his body. But when he'd seen Pye start to have trouble Matthew had stripped off his shoes and stockings, rolled up his sleeves, and waded in to help. Once again he overrode any protests that Pye made, handling him gently but firmly, still treating him more or less as if he were a skittish horse. He'd not have let the creature get away with anything either.

After the filth had come away from the boy's skin, Matthew had realized that the extent of his beating had been worse than he realized at first. His entire body was mottled with ugly contusions. But he would be all right again, in time. Mostly. The worst of his injuries were the broken fingers in his right hand; even if those healed straight, they would probably lose some of their range of motion permanently. The incision across the hand was uglier than Matthew had realized as well, but it would heal; deepest across the medial surface of the first digit, it had gotten shallower across the palmar surface of the other fingers, and missed the tendons. It would need a good cleaning-out with some spirits of wine and a few sutures. The knock on his head would have concerned him more, but the boy seemed to be improving from that a little.

He had pulled Pye out of the water - no sense chilling him any more - and the lad had shaken himself off in a way that reminded Matthew forcibly of a dog. He smelled a little like wet dog as well, in fact. The lad's skin was pebbled with goose-flesh, and he was shivering in the slight breeze. Matthew picked up his great-coat from where he had left it on the bank and settled it around the lad's shoulders. It swamped Pye, who was a good deal shorter and smaller than he was, but it'd help him to warm up a little.
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:59 am

The greatcoat felt like a blanket was laid over his shoulders, but it kept the breeze out and the warmth in. His body was beginning to produce some of that though not enough yet for the goosebumps to be any less evident. He held his injured hand tucked close to his chest, and had the healthy one clutching at the great coat's ends to keep it held closed.

His earlier protests had little result. As much as he had hoped to wash on his own, not because he was shy but because he might sneak off, he was not let to do so. Broderick watched him, he let him wash for a while but when he saw that he could not do it himself, he also helped him in that. Again any protests he gave were met with a deaf ear. And now he was clean and still bruised but the cold water may have done well for his bruises anyhow. It did cool him down so that the great-coat was a welcome commodity. His trousers were also wet, but clean and so his gaiters and his shoes.

"Sir." He began and then quietly. "Your great-coat'll get wet. You better'n. .take it." Though perhaps it would have already been too late for that. He was grateful, confused, perhaps still a bit frightened and uncertain of his plans.

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:13 am

Matthew was still keeping one hand on the boy's shoulders; he'd done that the entire walk to the river, steering Pye by means of that hand. He'd done it again while helping him clean up, and kept it there since then. That had been all Matthew could think of to do; he had no experience with teenaged boys (other than what he remembered of himself at that age, and he had been nothing like Pye), only with horses, so he simply treated Pye as if he was a horse.
It seemed to work, in fact; the boy was much more willing, now, to do what he suggested, and appeared to be calmer. He was glad to see Pye easing up a little.

He grinned easily and shrugged off the suggestion while he let go for a moment to pull on his shoes and stockings. Although the wind did nip at him, he could deal with that more easily than the skinny little lad could. "No trouble, lad; if I take it off you now it shan't be dry in any case. You're welcome to it."

Matthew whistled to Lavinia, who came dashing up to his feet, mouth laughing and tongue lolling. She had gone splashing in the river, and then in the dirt, and now her feathery paws were sodden with mud. "Lavvie, girl," he remonstrated, "what have you been doing while my back was turned?"
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:54 am

"She was investigating a stranger," said a voice from further up the river bank. "I wouldn't hold it against her if I were you. Now, what is going on here?"

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:07 am

It was not enough that the dog, a scary creature in itself, came running back up when it was called and had the rifleman tense, but there was another voice which made the lad's gaze shot up. It was the man himself. The one who commanded, the familiar figure. He had so many words in his mind that might have described the man favourably, but with him appearing out of the blue it seemed none wished to come forth to present itself.

He wished he had disappeared into the ground just then, or that he had still been standing in the river and he could be taken away by it. Instinctively he hid the wounded hand. "Sir." He found himself standing as stiff as if on parade, dressed not in the green but the red of the 33rd.

Not even 'no sir, yes sir' could suffice as an answer to this man. As a word to be spoken to him. He turned towards Broderick. Would he betray him now and let him hang?... for hang he would if Wellesley came to learn of the true reason of them both being here. "...Sir..." He was speechless and prayed that the greatcoat hit all, and that his face would miraculously show none of the treatment that it was subjected to.

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:25 am

Matthew looked up from Lavinia towards the man who had spoken to them. "Aha," he said. "I shan't, then," he replied with a friendly smile, which faded slightly at the nearly-accusatory tone of the question that followed.

"A lad having a wash, sir," he said a little dryly. It seemed the man was important. From the way Pye was standing to attention, it was easy to gather that much. But Matthew was not certain precisely who he was, and so he did not see that he needed to give any more than that. He certainly was not about to explain how this had come about. Another officer would not likely take the same view of things that Matthew had, and would probably haul the boy straight off for a court-martial.

It was a good thing that the lad's fingers were hidden in the depths of the oversized coat-sleeves, and that the worst of his injuries were also hidden. Only the cut underneath his eye could be easily seen, and the bruise on his jaw. Hopefully this man would not choose to question that, and would be on about his business.
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:12 am

An amused smile curled at Wellesley's lips, as it was clear that though the 'lad' jolly well knew who he was, the other officer did not have a clue that he was addressing his Commander-in-Chief. This could be entertaining.

He raised an eyebrow, bending down and fussing at the dog's ears. He did not ordinarily appreciate the canine species, but this particular bitch seemed friendly and eager to please.

"Forgive me for saying so, but it seems strange to me for an officer to be supervising a man's toilette so closely, to the point of actually leading him to the river. Your pardon, but I saw you from further up the bank."


Last edited by Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:35 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:37 am

"...I was.. dirty, sir." Pye barely found his voice, and that was far from an actual brave and confident tone. But at least he managed to do more than merely move his lips. He was surprised how Broderick did not know whom he was addressing, but was certain that if he had known he would have as well been as courteous as if he was attending the highest nobility. He might not have known what the protocol for those were, never having been witness of it, but he was certain it was more than the simple address.

He gazed at Lavinia and wished her to stay close to Sir Arthur Wellesley. The furthest she was from him, the happiest it would leave the young rifleman. Bemused as he was earlier about staying or leaving, but all that had happened, guilt ridden, frightened, he was too stunned to think of any of that. It was not every day that one saw or met such a person as was before them. To be addressed by him individually, even if with a question, was something unheared of in Pye's opinion. Already he regretted saying anything. he could've been quiet, let Broderick speak. Let the officers speak and him pretend he was invisible. The large overcoat that he had borrowed made him already quite a... different one.

It did worry him even more when the Commander-in-Chief suggested he had seen them earlier. How much, how long, when and where? Only by the river? Pye felt his heart beat so fast and loud that he was certain the other two men could hear it.

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:10 am

Well, this now settled the question of how long the man had been watching them, if he had seen Matthew lead Pye to the river. How much he had observed was another question. At a guess, however, he had been watching them fairly closely; he had a stare like an eagle over that hooked nose of his. Matthew felt it best to address it straightforwardly.

From a distance, a layman might not be able to tell precisely how seriously Pye really was injured, only that he was, and hopefully would not be too curious into the matter. Although that was a pretty slim hope; the bruises covering the lad's entire torso made it very clear that he had been the victim of a brutal assault. Unfortunately, Pye had already refused to explain to Matthew how the beating had occurred or who had done it. And Pye's refusal to report the assault would be another strike against him. Matthew hoped to be able to persuade him to do it, but gently was the only way. He had to make the lad see it was in his own best interests. Another man prying into it was not going to help. This fellow was not likely to see things the same way as Matthew did.

"Then, sir," he said, "if you've been watching us, you'll also be aware that the lad has hurt his hand, and is not able to use it properly." There would be no way that the man had missed seeing the bruises, either, so Matthew went ahead, "Cold water works a treat on contusions and swelling, quite aside from the fact that he was thoroughly dirty." Matthew's voice remained friendly - after all, he could hardly blame the man for being curious, and his attitude towards Lavinia went some distance towards encouraging Matthew to be amiable. But he could not help a slight touch of irritation at the amusement in the man's tone. What was it that he thought was funny?

"May I enquire as to who is asking?"

Lavinia, meanwhile, had traitorously left Matthew's side to trot back to the newcomer, and had leaned her head like a cat into Sir Arthur's hand when he reached down to scratch her ears.
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:33 am

Wellesley continued to scratch Lavinia's ears for a moment in silence, punctuated only by the sound of the dog panting in excitement and the running water of the river. He gave the dog a final friendly pat before straightening up and clasping his hands behind his back, his face pulling on his hauteur of icy formality. The time for petty amusement was over; he had indulged enough.

"Sir Arthur Wellesley," he said, with crisp politeness. "Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic Majesty's forces in the Peninsula. And you, sir? Who might you be?"

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:43 am

Pye had wished he could kick Broderick to warn him it was better to be quiet than to speak more. Of course, while he could kick a fellow rifleman, a friend, he could not do so to an officer, even if one tending to the horses. The man said all the things he should not have. He elaborated, emphesized and made it absolutely clear that Sir Arthur Wellesley did not by chance have his eyes deceive him. No, quite on the contrary. He had made certain that the Commander-in-Chief knew it all, even if that was only the physical ailments of the lad.

He chewed on his lip.

It was then he could not have helped but coughed, so shocked he was about Broderick, though he did still hold the man in high regard. Just a bit... slow in certain things. He had asked who the man was, who this new arrival was.

He gazed nervously towards Sir Arthur and saw amusement leave his face. His own turned paler and more worried. He introduced himself, perfectly albeit with a sense of matter-of-factness, of something that was as common knowledge as what the sun was called and who wore green. He turned to stare blankly ahead. He had often done that in the 33rd. Mister Broderick was probably going to recoil from the shock any moment now! Silly horsedoctorn not to know who this officer, this person, this man was!

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:03 am

"...Oh." Matthew was briefly utterly confounded at the revelation, and then felt the utterest fool that he ever had at not recognizing Wellesley. He felt the tips of his ears turning red; they had always given him away whenever he was embarrassed. But then, what sort of foul fortune was it that they had run directly into the commander-in-chief? Who would ever have expected it?

"I beg your pardon, Sir," he began. "I ought to have known you. I am Matthew Broderick, veterinary surgeon with the 15th Hussars." By the time he was through with it, he had mostly recovered himself. The man's icy expression had suggested he was offended, which perhaps well he ought to be; the commander-in-chief might fairly expect to be recognized by the men in his army. But at least Matthew had apologized sincerely, and that was enough of that. The man could be ice all he liked, Matthew refused to let it knock him off-balance or put him on the defensive.

For another thing, he needed to figure out a way to get poor Pye out of this somehow. It couldn't have been worse for the lad. Matthew wished dearly that he knew a way to handle this more smoothly.
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:59 am

A surgeon, albeit one for horses; though Wellesley reckoned had had probably seen plenty of human patients in his time as well as the four-legged variety.

"I do not expect evry man in this army to know me, Mister Broderick," he said coolly, perhaps relenting slightly because the man seemed to be genuinely embarrassed by his lack of recognition. "However, I do find myself wondering how this man here came by his extensive injuries in the first place - all of which, from what I have seen, seem remarkably fresh."

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:54 am

There were a number of lies which occurred to Matthew about this moment, some of which might have been believable, in fact, but he was not a dishonest man. The idea of outright lying to Sir Arthur Wellesley, in particular, did not agree with his conscience. "I am not aware of how it happened, sir," he said simply. That was a deformation of the truth; he was morally certain that the lad had been assaulted, likely by one of the men in his regiment. But it was still truth, as he did not know precisely how or who had done it.
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:00 am

Broderick did not exactly lie. He really did not know how it happened. He was not present when it did, and had been asking those same questions. Of course, he had suspicions. But as good as those were at guessing, they were not facts.

Pye stared on in silence, trying to ignore the ache of his broken two fingers. He was terribly worried about those two now. Well, he was worried if per chance he was meant to remain a rifleman. If Vickery decided he had enough then... then it did not matter.

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:19 am

Wellesley's expression took on a fresh coldness. So Broderick was go to play dumb, was he? Sir Arthur had had enough practice at dealing with such a ploy - he had lost count of the number of times he'd been met by such non-committed answers. He would have thought inferior officers would know better by now.

He transferred his full attention to Pye.

"You, man - how did you come by your current injuries?"

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:31 am

The worst had happened. Sir Arthur Wellesley, the man, the commander in chief, the one that everybody looked up to and yet feared all the same, the figure that a soldier would be unused to meeting so close, was asking him to answer a question. The one question, this was, that he could not answer truthfully and yet he feared to lie to such a man about.

"...g..got injured, sir." He stammered. Indeed the result of getting injured were injuries, this was not to be disputed. But the question did not request an answer that was known without the need to ask. He felt ready to crumple to the floor, so great was the fear that he felt at that moment. He had a right chaos of thoughts in his mind, which hardly helped the fact he had gotten a blow to the head not long ago. But even so, he could not present himself as weak, frightened or even to fall to his knees. He would shame the rifles further, and already he had done a terrible damage to them.

He could not tell the truth, but to lie to Sir Arthur Wellesley? Unthinkable! But what to do instead?

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:53 am

Wellesley's blue eyes glittered menacingly.

"How?" he asked.

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:03 am

Pye was certain he was as pale as chalk, and guessed that it had to make his bruises stand out even more. He felt his throat terribly dry, his tongue so heavy as if it had weighed a ton and while it was at it, stuck to his jaw. If this was not enough he must've been sweating even if he felt cold. Chilling. One glance at Sir Arthur's expression only made his heart beat faster and himself wish he was nowhere near that place. If only he had not heeded this man's advice. He would have been long gone!

He could not lie, he would not tell the truth. He could not not tell anything though. Though, was it really a lie to say that he fell? After all, when he was released by the attacker he did indeed crash to the ground and even when he was tackled into the water, it was as close as falling could get. Of course anybody with a clearer mind, a few moments more to think, would know how flawed that assumption was.

"..fell, sir." He decided it was not a lie. It was not a lie because he did do it, just with help. Somebody else's help and he was thus not lying, but omiting a vital part in the answer. But, they always did say answers needed to be short. This one was. Clear and perfectly minimal in length!

"..

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Matthew Broderick on Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:09 am

Pye was giving Sir Arthur much the same sort of answers that he had given Matthew, which was to say, no answer at all, at least not a proper one. Matthew was really being put in a damnable position here. What was he supposed to do? Simply stand by and watch as the commander-in-chief took the poor lad apart? The lad was chalk-white and swaying on his feet, his utter terror readily apparent to the blindest observer.

Matthew reached out to take hold of the lad to support him, and in the same movement took the opportunity that it offered to speak to Pye. Under his breath, barely even a whisper and without letting his lips move, he suggested to the lad, “kicked ‘y a horse.” From this distance, Sir Arthur ought not to have been able to either see or hear it. He reassured himself with the thought that once again it was not, after all, precisely lying, only giving Pye an idea to cover for now. If the boy had heard. He wasn’t sure.

Although he expected that Sir Arthur would be furious at him – already was, in fact; the expression on his face when Matthew had answered him earlier had given that away fairly clearly – Matthew spoke up again, protective instinct driving him to risk it. “Sir,” he said, disregarding the sharp force of those ice-blue eyes, “he’s in a fair way to fall right now. Go easy on the lad, can’t you?”
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:25 am

"What, again? How careless of him," Wellesley said archly, though the man did look as if he were about to either collapse with fright or be violently sick. Yet despite everything they were going to try and play him for the fool - he could see that in Broderick's closed manner - and became more certain when the horse doctor pleaded for a little respite. "Though if it is your medical opinion, sir, let him sit on that rock over there."

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Sir Arthur Wellesley
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Species : General Officer Commanding
Number of posts : 4534
Age : 30
Location : Where you least expect it.
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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:31 am

Again? Wellesley knew everything, did he not. Of course he did. Who else would know everything in that is to know about things that went on in the army. But to be singled out this way, even if it was his own fault that he had been singled out, he regretted waiting with Broderick. Regretted agreeing to bathe and to remain, to stay where he could fall under the scrunity of his superiors and worse so, bring the 60th rifles into a bad light in the mind of this man. Captain Vickery did not deserve it. No. That man had done so much for the men and for him.

Perhaps he really did not deserve to wear the green coat. He lowered his gaze, staring at the floor while the inner turmoil continued. He did need to sit. Boy he felt like he needed that and more. "Sir. ..sir, please jus' want t'... that is...is.. captain Vickery is t' finest officer..an'.. an' t' rifles sir. It's an honour such as I don' deserve..." He shut up then. What point did any of that blabber have?

Oh, he should have remembered how it was in the 33rd. When an officer spoke, one had to be quiet. When they wanted the person to speak, it was nothing more but yes sir, no sir, and that was it. No opinions, none of one's thoughts, nothing. Hakeswill took things a step further. A successful man was one, that disappeared among the many nameless men. Else there was trouble.

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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Zachary Pye
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Species : British Riflemen; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2694
Location : Waiting for dinner
Member since : 2009-02-14

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:04 am

Wellesley watched as the man stuttered to a halt, then wobbled back to sit on the rock. He had a guilty conscience certainly, but then so did practically every man when confronted with a high ranking superior.

The name of Vickery did not escape the general, though. If the boy was one of Vickery's men he knew that the captain would vouch for the man's character - as it seemed would Broderick, by th eway things were going.

"What is your name, man?" he asked.

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Character and snarkage courtesy of Sir Arthur and Latin_cat.

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Sir Arthur Wellesley
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Species : General Officer Commanding
Number of posts : 4534
Age : 30
Location : Where you least expect it.
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:25 am

He failed at being an invisible man, one of the many. Singled out now, by name, he lost that privilege. "....Pye, sir. " He hesitated.

"Rifleman Zachary Pye." And now he wished that Wellesley would have a memory span of less than a few seconds and that he would have forgotten his name in the time that took him to turn around or to look at Broderick.


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'Green is the best colour for light troops and if put on in the spring, by autumn it nearly fades with the leaves.' J. G. Simcoe
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Zachary Pye
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Species : British Riflemen; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2694
Location : Waiting for dinner
Member since : 2009-02-14

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:40 am

"3rd Company, 5th Battallion of 60th Rifles, I take it? Under Captain Vickery?"

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Character and snarkage courtesy of Sir Arthur and Latin_cat.

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Sir Arthur Wellesley
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Species : General Officer Commanding
Number of posts : 4534
Age : 30
Location : Where you least expect it.
Member since : 2008-05-14

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Re: Patching up a rifleman

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