Chaloux In A Tutu

L'Eglise de Saint Boniface
================================================================================
[The Grid]-----> > > > > THE LOST GENERATION <
< <
----------------
Even in a place like this the war has left its marks, the once great
windows of the church depicting the lord saviour have been blown to
pieces. Some of the rafters from the roof are broken, and here and there
holes from shells and rounds score the walls of the church. Where there
once were benches for people to sit during sermons are now temporary
tables upon where wounded soldiers and civilians can be seen. The moans and
cries of the wounded never cease to stop, as they just keep coming in
with every day that passes, a numberless throng. Nuns from the local
abbey along with nurses runs along with blood stained rags trying their
best to aid the doctors and field medics that works in here.

At first glance it might be hard to think that faith in god can still
linger in a place so torn apart by the war as this, but the sheer
compassion by those who work here makes up for the tarnished facade of the
church.

It is currently night time.

Sub-Rooms :

Contents
Chaloux
Antonia
Singh

Chaloux is better at some places, but the blister to his chest seems to
give him some trouble still. But the rest are healing nicely, already
practically just scars. He's been outside for some reason or another,
now stepping back inside and walking towards his bed, noticeably not
limping much any longer.
Lucky for Chaloux that Antonia is nearby. Or perhaps unlucky, as she's
just finished looking over a soldier not far from Chaloux and it
appears the Frenchman may be on her list to poke and prod. She scratches down
notes on Chaloux's pale neighbor as a nurse fetches a cup of water for
the man and a small pill.

Chaloux shrugs his coat off and drapes it over the end of the bed, then
kicks his boots off. He looks down at his socks, sadly watching a hole
on one of them, a toe wriggling through it. He bends down and pulls the
sock off, then pats down his pockets on the coat to find threat and
needle, something which many a soldier keeps on his person for such
repairs. He looks at Antonia and gives her a respectful nod in greeting.

Antonia points over to the side of the church with the end of her
pencil, explaining something briefly to the nurse before she moves. On. She
catches Chaloux's nod and returns it, bringing the papers in her hands
behind her as she folds her hands lightly at the small of her back and
steps over closer to the French soldier. "Evening, Soldat," she says,
in a tone that by short stretch of imagination might be 'amiable'. "How
are you feeling today, sir?"

Chaloux puts his sock to the side for now, sitting relaxed on the bed.
"The blisters are almost gone," he says in his characteristic coarse
voice, accent and all, "but one on my chest is still being a trouble," he
admits, having long since given up trying to be all macho when dealing
with the female medical staff. In the end, it'll only mean more pain if
he lies. "How are you, doctor?"

If Antonia appreciates the honesty, it's not obvious. "Quite well,
thank you," she says to answer his question, the response she gives
everyone. "Your chest, you say? Well let's have a look at it, shall we? Might
be asking for a draining, that one."

Chaloux nods and unbuttons his shirt to give her access to the annoying
blister. There are two; one has almost healed already, but the other
one is festering. "Nothing to my handsome face. I am a lucky bastard," he
jokes, giving her one of his toothy grins. "Wallace is much better now,
yes? And how is Walsh?"

"Nothing to your ego either, I see," Antonia says dryly, though she
seems reasonably amused by his comments. She sits down on the edge of his
cot and motions for him to lie down on his back. "Both Privates Wallace
and Walsh are looking well. Spectacular recoveries. Both men of mettle,
lucky for all of us."

Chaloux lies back down obediently, stretching his legs out, looking
down at his feet. One of them still without a sock. He's not suffered
trenchfoot yet, though it's been a few close calls; it's one of the fears a
soldier faces here. "My ego is indeed untouched and as big as ever," he
replies, dead pan. "And, ahh… those Brits, they might not seem tough
but they are like the willows. Bending, but snapping back up again when
you think they are down for ever." A pause. "Do you think I can use my
old age as blame for not being so tough?"

"I'd say you've not much need to cast about for reassurance, Soldat,"
Antonia says, leaning over him a bit so she can inspect the threatening
blister. Her fingers are warm despite the winter air. "You've come
through your difficulties as well as they came through theirs."

Chaloux lies on his temporary bed, getting treated by Antonia for some
mustard gas blisters. He's basically well however and will be sent back
to the front in short order, no doubt. Giving Antonia a surprisingly
soft smile, he says; "In truth, it is a relief to be here in the good
care of you and the nurses. But, no matter how horrible it is out there,
we all want to go back as quick as we can. Makes me wonder what we have
become." He doesn't sound like he's lamenting about it, it's just a
sudden realization. In a philosophical mood today, he is, and completely
sober too.

Antonia makes a decision about the blister, it seems. It's got to go.
She glances at Chaloux's face for a moment without moving her head,
slightly raised brow seeming to be waiting for Chaloux to put in some
neutralizing punchline. When it doesn't come, she sits up and reaches for
the medical kit nearby, setting it on a stool. "I don't think it's a
matter of 'become'," she says, flipping open the case. "Men have always
behaved so in wars. Men have always /had/ wars. Makes me wonder which is
the more futile attempt - your job or mine." Her voice seeks no
reassurance or sympathy, merely stating her thought as she gets gauze from the
kit.

"Yours. I imagine that if women decided to no longer bother, men would
stop warring because of too many problems at home," Chaloux murmurs
dryly, facing the independent woman again. He turns a bit pale, eyeing
that kit with some wariness, as if fully expecting a shitload of pain now.

Antonia arches an eyebrow, looking marginally amused by that
assessment. "Why Soldat, did you just make a sideways admission that you and your
ilk are effectively under female control?" She says, not entirely
teasing as she prepares a gauze layer beside his arm and gets out their
antibiotic ointment and a needle. "May I suggest you turn your face the
other way. The more attention you pay this, the more uselessly
uncomfortable you're going to be."

Chaloux just grunts in reply, letting Antonia believe what she wants on
that. But it's not the first time he's made comments of the kind, so
maybe his archaic ways are changing or he never was as badly male
chauvinistic as he's appeared. He obediently turns his face away and grabs the
covers in a fist, preparing for some hurting. But he knows that it's
needed, so he steels himself.

"Once we take care of this, you should be feel quite a bit better,"
Antonia says, talking steadily under her breath as she holds the needle in
a matchflame to sterilize it. "All we'll need to do is hold you for the
night to be sure no infection sets it, and on the morning you ought to
be ready to go as you please." Her fingers touch his chest again,
needle held in the left hand and gauze in the right. Her voice is calm as
she pushes the sharp needle into the blister's curve. "Corporal Singh and
Privates Garner and Walsh were discussing your call for talent the
other night. They are quite excited to see what the Soldat will come up
with."

Chaloux nods mutely, then holds his breath. The needle goes through
skin and he lets the breath out in a hiss, forcing himself to relax. He
makes another grunt, raising his eyebrows in surprise. "They did? I am
quite excited about what I will come up with too. So far, I seem to have
no luck finding people willing to perform, except some of the men in my
group who can play some instruments. And myself. I have not decided if
I should dance in a tutu or if I should…" He takes a sharp breath
there, clenching his jaw at the pain before finishing; "… sing a
sentimental song and give the soldiers scars for life."

Antonia picks up the tiny scalpel lying on the gauze nearby. She
doesn't cut any skin, just using the tip to make a tiny cut in the bubble of
loose skin. At Chaloux's talk of a tutu she presses the edge of the
gauze against the edge of the now-draining blister, leaning over him just
a tad to peer at his rough face. "May I say, sir," she says with
exaggerated gravity. "That should the Soldat decide to go cavorting about in
a tutu for the occasion, that I shall even take up needle and thread
and construct him one worthy of the man he is."

Elise has arrived.

Chaloux seems to have less stomach for blisters than he had for having
his legs all shelled and shot. He swallows and turns paler, but focuses
on Antonia's face and the subject of the show. "Then I have no choice.
I must do it," he replies mock gravely. "And should I happen to find a
few more willing to dance in a tutu, would you help me make some tutus
for them too?"

Singh enters the church, hands laced behind his back. There's an
/almost/ casual ease to his stride, though he makes it more properly straight
and military as he nears the beds of the other soldiers being treated
here.

Antonia picks up another piece of the thick gauze in her other palm,
cupping her hand into a shield over the top of the blister so Chaloux can
more easily avoid having to watch pus leak out of it. She attempts to
keep back her impulsive smile but is only partly successful. "Sir, it
would be an honor," she replies, with the tone that only an Englishwoman
can have at the thought of sewing tutus for Frenchmen to wear. "You
shall be the best-dressed danseurs this side of Moscow."

"Only if they are pink," Elise teasingly informs Chaloux in french as
she enters just at the right time, it seems. She smiles all the same,
and nods to second Antonia's agreement to sew such outfits. It seems the
french nurse has done away with her sling, finally.

Chaloux's blisters has healed marvelously, except for one on his chest
which is the one Antonia is now treating. He sighs, smiling a lopsided
smile at the doctor and then actually /blushes/ as he realizes that
Elise caught the exchange, as well. "Mademoiselle Dupres," he greets her
nonchalantly, drinking her in with his eyes before he sees Singh. He
salutes from his prone position, then winces again as that makes the
blister move slightly. He is such a baby at times.

Singh returns Chaloux's salute, along with a wince of some sympathy at
the French soldier. He was in time to hear something about dancing but,
for better or worse, missed the bit about tutus. "Private Chaloux.
Ladies." He offers a deep nod and smile to Antonia and Elise. "How does the
day find you?"

Antonia makes no motion to indicate whether she understood Elise's
French or not, leaving it for Chaloux to shoulder. She presses the gauze
gently against the blister, coaxing the rest of the foul contents out
into the cloth resting on his chest. "Marvelouslly, Corporal," she says to
Singh, glancing up at the dark-skinned man. "Soldat Chaloux here and I
were just discussing that show he means to put on."

"And quite zee comedy eet seems eet vill be." Elise adds for Singh's
benefit, remaining where she has come to stop at the foot of Chaloux's
bed. Antonia has things more than under control, and really, she's simply
here for the conversation. The rest of the patients in the 'hospital'
are resting comfortably, or talking amongst themselves.

"I will keep the details to myself to not spoil the fun," Chaloux
explains to Singh. "Mademoiselle Dupres, Doctor Young - please keep it to
yourselves for now?" he pleads of the two, glancing down at his chest for
a moment, starting to feel better. Draining the blister might be
hurtful but it's only for awhile until it feels less strained and tender. "I
will be going back to the front in the morning," he explains, as he's
basically in good condition again. "I suppose I need to discuss it with
Captain Foster."

Singh grins. Comedy sounds like fun. "I would not have the surprise
spoiled for me," he says with a soft chuckle. "As for the captain, that
would probably be best, though I cannot see what objection he would have.
You can likely find him in his dugout." The captain rarely strays far
from it.

Antonia has a secret! She's no older than most of the women here; not
much more than a "girl", all told, though no one could ever look at her
and really think of her and 'girl' in the same moment. Except, perhaps,
right now. She's trying so hard not to be amused, but when Chaloux and
Singh speak of bringing the idea up to Foster she has to clap her palm
to her mouth to keep from laughing. It doesn't stop a giggle, though.

The sad thing is that most of the people here in this mess are no older
than 'boys' and 'girls'. So many young who no longer have a youth. "I
promise," Elise assures Chaloux, her right hand settling on her hip as
she grins down at the prone figure. What a piece of work…

Chaloux stares incredulously at Antonia for a moment, before he too
grins, eyes dancing with mirth. "It might be the shortest show in the
history of the world, but even so, it will be the hightlight of my career
as a showman," he says with a broad smile at the trio around his bed.
"Mademoiselle Dupres, how is your arm? I see you no longer have a sling.
And you, Corporal?"

Singh also has to stare in surprise at the expression on Antonia's
face. Trying to make sure he's seeing that right. A broad smile breaks
across his own face after he's confirmed he isn't seeing things. "I am
quite well," he answers Chaloux sincerley. He gives his left, now
unbandaged, wrist a nimble flick. "I was just taking a walk about the town. I
haven't had much chance to take it in since I arrived here." He pauses a
moment before saying, "If there is anything I can do to help with your
show, Private, just ask."

Singh's offer to Chaloux completely does it for Antonia now. She
/really/ has to force back laughter now, keeping her hand firmly against her
face and even having to lift her other hand to help keep her mouth shut
as well. Her green eyes are positively lit as they look up at Singh
above the tips of her fingers. "Oh Corporal…would you?"

At Singh's offer, Elise herself lifts her hand from her hip to smother
her mouth, though it's apparently for a coughing fit. She cringes
slightly, the 'cough' jarring her left arm, but she seems quite thoroughly
involved with coughing and unable to stop. Though, if one were to look
closely, they might see the sheer amusement dancing in the young
frenchwoman's eyes as she sits heavily next to Antonia on the edge of
Chaloux's bunk.

Chaloux is the only one not having a coughing fit here. His eyes shift
though and he opens his mouth, then closes it again. No. No, he is not
going to ask Singh to dance in a tutu. "Yes, I could use some help with
the… whas is it called… logistics? I have asked around and it seems
the hotel is willing to host it, but there is a lot of work.
Instruments, lighting…" He shrugs, not too sure of it himself. "Nothing too
complicated though." He gives the two ladies a warning look after that,
not wanting the surprise spoiled.

Singh switches a glance between Elise and Antonia, brows arching.
What's so funny? He doesn't actually ask, though. He does reply readily to
Antonia,

"Of course, Doctor. It would be my pleasure." He then turns back to
Chaloux with a nod, flexing his fingers almost eagerly. "Logistics? I
think I could manage that."

Antonia coughs lightly into her hands, gently brushing the heel of her
hand at the corner of her right eye. Dear oh dear. She inhales quickly
through her nose, trying to regain composure even if that amused look
is going to take hours to fade away today. "Nurse Dupres, I've lanced
this blister for the Soldat; could you give it a gentle clean and
re-dress it for me, please?" She looks up at Singh then. "A nurse told me your
hand is looking better. I'll have a look if you don't mind, sir. Might
be able to clear you for release."

Giving Antonia a quick nod, Elise clears her throat quietly. "OF
course, Doctor." She waits until Antonia has had a chance to stand and move
before scooting forward a short distance so it's easier for her to reach
the area that needs tending. In french, she murmurs down at Chaloux,
"You are terrible. You really should take his agreement to join you on
stage in a tutu."

"Excellent," Chaloux says, thankful for Singh's offer. "Cooper showed
some interest in helping, and I think Walsh can assist with that part as
well," he says, relieved that people are willing to help. He listens to
Elise and speaks in murmured French to her, lips quirking into a wry
smile. "I am terrible for not taking advantage of an unsuspecting man? I
still have some decency, Mademoiselle!"

Singh nods to Chaloux as he rolls up his sleeve for the doctor. "I
heard Private Cooper and Walsh talking about it earlier. I shall enlist
them for this endeavor. Let me know what sort of equipment you'll require.
And anything else, I am your man." He is mercifully unable to speak
French. He holds out his left hand to Antonia with a grin.

Antonia lets Elise have the seat quite readily, standing with Singh so
she can inspect his hand. "Looks fantastic," she says approvingly. The
blisters are down to a minor rash on the man's hand. "How are the ones
here treating you?" She makes a vague, sweeping gesture over Singh's
torso.

Elise had pretty much been counting on Singh's probable inability to
speak French, or she'd never have chanced saying something so rude! "Of
course you're still decent, Achille. I was teasing you." she assures the
french soldier in his mother tongue with a smile. Reaching over, she
collects a cloth, thoroughly wetted with cool water, with which to begin
gently cleaning the lanced blister.

"Thank you, Corporal," Chaloux replies, before his undivided attention
goes to Elise. Not that he's /talking/ right now. Instead he's just
looking intently at her face as she takes care of the blister.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.