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8 August; dans la plus haute chambre

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Post  Dominic Charcot Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:06 am

Charcot, whose face had been contracted in worry, now broke out in a grin. "Yes! I can see! Montreuil gave me some laudanum and suddenly I could just see again. He didn't even understand it himself. It's like a miracle."
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Post  Paol Kerjean Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:57 am

Paol stared at his friend for a long moment. It wasn't possible. It couldn't be. Charcot, bright eyed and grinning and happy and safe. Miracles didn't happen, not in this place. Not in this war. It must be another dream.

But he was too muddled to puzzle it out and more than that he wanted so desperately to believe it. A murmured, reverent exhalation escaped him in his own tongue. "That's..." He fumbled for an appropriate word, but there were none which seemed sufficient and he just shook his head wonderingly. "You're really alright? You're really here?" he pressed, fear and doubt slipping effortlessly beneath his guard again, "You're safe? And-and the women? They're safe?"
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Post  Dominic Charcot Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:20 am

"Yes, I'm really here, and we're all safe.  The women are fine.  You just saw Manuela.  She's gone downstairs, and the old woman's down there too, cooking.  And the little girl from Thibaudeau's house has been showing me the garden, now that I can see it.  And her sister's been here too, and oh, she's beautiful. We're all fine."
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Post  Paol Kerjean Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:35 pm

With a soft sound which could almost have been a laugh, Paol closed his eyes, the tears he had been fighting back slipping down his cheeks. If this was a dream, he did not want to wake from it. He blinked up at Charcot and his lips moved as though to say something, but a small, furtive voice from the doorway interrupted the attempt.

"Paolo? You are awake now, yes?"
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Post  Dominic Charcot Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:01 pm

Charcot started with surprise and turned around. He had finally gotten Paol to calm down, and now the little girl was going to get him agitated again!

"Martita! Shh, no. He's sleeping. Go away." He waved her away, hoping she would at least understand the gesture.
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Post  Paol Kerjean Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:40 pm

"It's alright," Paol murmured, and a moment later a small, dark head was hovering at the bedside.

"You are awake," she declared, her tone faintly accusatory, "I heard you. And your eyes are open." She cast a reproachful glance at Charcot, as if he had betrayed her by taking the side of the cautious, sensible adults.

"Did you have a nightmare? Maria said you did. Did you dream about wolves? I dreamed about wolves and they were chasing me and wanted to eat me. But I got away."
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Post  Dominic Charcot Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:47 pm

Charcot frowned warily as she spoke in her rapid Spanish that dizzied his own mind, and he was not even feverish. He worried that Paol would grow confused and frightened. "Where's your horse, Martita? Your caballo and your raton?" Perhaps she would go away to find them and not return.
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Post  Paol Kerjean Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:18 pm

Martita held them up, grinning proudly. "Remember Horse and Mouse?" she demanded, plopping them on the bed beside Paol's arm. "A horse like the one that fell on Domingo. Remember? And you picked it up? It fell on his legs! Did you really pick up a whole horse?"

Her face and Charcot's swam in and out of focus, even her chatter faded into a muffled babble of sounds. But they were reassuring sounds and they eased the cold, sick sense of anxiety which he could not entirely banish.

A fit of shivering took hold of him then and even the slight movement seemed to lend renewed fire to his wounds so that he shut his eyes with an involuntary groan.

"You are cold?" Martita asked, snatching her toys back up and tugging the blanket out from under his arm so that it could lie over the top of it. "I am not cold. I was helping Tia Carla cook and it was hot."
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Post  Dominic Charcot Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:31 pm

"No no, careful, gentle, don't touch him," Charcot cautioned, his hands hovering over hers.  "Where is Tia?  Go and find Tia and Maria. I'm sorry, Paol."
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Post  Paol Kerjean Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:27 am

Martita folded her arms across her chest, a wooden animal clutched in each hand, and frowned stubbornly at Charcot. "But I want to stay."

"I don't think..." Paol began, a smile lightening the weariness in his voice, "Don't think you're goin' to win this one, mate."
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Post  Dominic Charcot Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:27 am

Charcot looked doubtfully at them both.  "You sure you don't mind?  You need to rest and all."  He didn't yet dare lay a hand on the girl, or she might put up a fuss and draw the household in and lead Paol into another panic.  And the older sister would never forgive them.  "Please, Martita.  Por favor!" he begged, racking his brain for ideas to make her leave voluntarily.
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Post  Paol Kerjean Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:04 am

Paol winced as Martita's shrill negative pierced to the back of his skull, and she immediately clapped a hand – still clasping its wooden creature – over her mouth, looking wide-eyed at Paol and then towards the bedroom door.

"S'alright. I don't..." He trailed off, the note of urgency in his friend's voice slowly registering. "What's wrong? Dominic?"
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Post  Dominic Charcot Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:11 am

"Nothing! It's fine, everything's fine," he answered quickly, smiling and speaking as mildly as possible. "I just didn't want her getting you too excited. Shh, Mathilde, shh! I mean Martita."
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Post  Paol Kerjean Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:22 pm

"Mathilde?" Paol half raised his head, "Wh--Is she here?"
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Post  Dominic Charcot Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:40 pm

Charcot frowned at his own stupidity. "No. Sorry, I meant Martita. I just got their names mixed up." Then he smiled. "Won't she be happy to see you again though, Mathilde. And Paol!" He leaned forward gently and peered at his friend's face, trying to ascertain how lucid he was. "Can I tell you something else?"
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Post  Paol Kerjean Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:57 pm

Mathilde. His mind couldn't quite seem to grasp it. He shivered, frowning as he tried to hold Charcot's face in focus. Something else? About Mathilde? "Is she alright?" he asked with sudden alarm.
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Post  Dominic Charcot Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:39 pm

"Oh yeah, she's fine!" Charcot smiled, but he could see that Paol was not ready to carry on a normal conversation yet.

He was saved from further explanation by the return of Manuela, bearing a bowl of something that appeared to be hot. It smelled wonderful, and suddenly Charcot was hungry. The bread and cheese had not filled him up, and this must be some of whatever the old woman had been cooking in her pot.

Charcot stood and tried to take the bowl from her, indicating that he would feed it to his friend, but she frowned and shook her head. Then she sat in his chair, the one closest to Paol, and he was forced to move to the other one. "Here, Paol, I brought you some broth, hot soup, to warm you up." Now she realized that her task would be difficult with the patient lying down, and she looked to Charcot, gesturing for him to help his friend sit up. She had not even noticed Martita yet.
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Post  outis Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:23 am

Martita, who had ducked down on the opposite side of the bed in hopes of avoiding detection, tentatively peeked her head up over the edge of the blankets, patience being no match for hunger.

"What's that?" she asked, pulling herself up onto the foot of the bed. "Can I have some?" The legs under the covers twitched as Paol tensed in momentary panic at Charcot's attempt to sit him up, and Martita regarded them warily, but the next moment he seemed to relax and so did she.
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Post  Dominic Charcot Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:14 am

"It's all right, it's all right," Charcot said softly as he eased his friend up and set the pillow behind him. "You can have some hot soup. That will warm you up, eh?" Poor Paol's skin was clammy with sweat and cold. Suddenly Charcot was rather homesick, remembering when his mother would pour a hot bath in the giant tub by the fire. Both of them must be filthy, in great need of a wash and a shave.

"Careful, Martita!" Manuela said as the girl climbed onto the bed. "I thought you went home! What are you doing here?"
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Post  Paol Kerjean Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:44 pm

"Thanks, mate," he murmured, trying to brace himself up with his good arm before giving up and sagging back against the pillows. "Dunno what's wrong with me..."

"I wanted to help," Martita retorted innocently, marching her horse over the mound of Paol's legs.
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Post  Dominic Charcot Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:49 pm

Charcot watched the young girl nervously.  "Should I try to send her away now?  I could take her outside or something."

"Paolo - Paol - hush."  This last was spoken to Charcot as Manuela interrupted him, attempting to draw attention back to her soup.  "Here, you can drink it like from a cup.  I'll hold it for you.  Like this?"
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Post  Paol Kerjean Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:40 pm

He wanted to tell Charcot not to worry, that he didn't mind Martita, but Manuela's voice gently scattered his thoughts. It was almost past belief that she should be there, that she should have come back, but there she was. She was holding something out and seemed almost to be asking a question. "Si?" he attempted to reply, with equal uncertainty, though there was a ghost of a smile on his face.

The warm, ceramic lip of a cup touched his mouth and he drank, tentatively at first, unsure what to expect. It was broth of some sort, hot, but not scalding. He had not been aware of being hungry, he had not been aware of much at all, but he must have been for he swallowed another mouthful, then another.
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Post  Dominic Charcot Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:01 pm

Manuela watched closely, being careful to avoid spilling any of the broth onto his face or his chest. It was a strange operation, feeding a grown man sitting up in a bed. "It's good, isn't it? Are you feeling warmer? Better?"

Charcot hovered, wanting to be helpful but having nothing to offer at the moment. So he offered useless chatter. "Monsieur Montreuil will be by again this evening, he said. He'll be glad to see you eating. Or hear that you've eaten. How's your arm?" What a stupid question. Of course his arm was going to hurt like hell. Paol probably did not need to be reminded of it. "Sorry, just keep eating." He remembered with shame how he had reacted when the surgeon was trying to bandage it up. Had that been only this morning? He had been useless, worse than useless.
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Post  Paol Kerjean Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:32 am

"My arm?" he repeated thickly, "Ain't so bad." It might even have been true, it was hard to tell what hurt more or less with the fog of pain which clung to his sense, it all blended together.

But it didn't matter terribly much. Charcot could see, he was safe and their army had come back. And Manuela and the old woman were safe. What happened to Paol was no longer important.

It was a strange relief to realize that. He didn't have to fight any more.

He could feel the warmth of the broth spreading slowly up into his chest and limbs, blunting the chill and the feverish ache and suddenly he was struggling to keep his eyes open.

*

Martita propped Horse against Paolo's legs, so that it seemed to stand and positioned the rat atop the mound of limbs and blankets. She watched Manuela, watched Domingo, watched Paolo struggle to sit up, struggle to drink, struggle to keep awake. He did not seem to be getting any better.

"Is Paolo going to die?" she asked after what was, for her, a long silence.

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Post  sans nom Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:46 am

"Die?" Manuela gave Martita a worried look, then slowly set the bowl of soup on the little table. Paol seemed to have taken all that he wanted, and he was falling asleep. "No, he won't die. Well. I don't think so. Your papa got better, didn't he? We must pray for Paolo to get better too."

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