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Hell's For You And Me; MJ, lover, get your ass over here!
Topic Started: Mar 16 2014, 02:22 PM (1,040 Views)
Claude Aubry
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Ship boy aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
[align=center]Date: Dec. 1, 1719
Place: - Aboard Le Phenix, at sea
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Claudine had hardly moved. The laudanum had done its job exceptionally well on the first-time user, submerging her into a painless, dreamless, textureless expanse of dark, an unconsciousness within which she was weightless and unknowing, an un-bodied spirit in a closet that freed through oppression. And even though she was senseless, Claudine was happy.

It was three in the morning when she awoke.

Her single good eye opened slowly, searching the darkness frantically as she tried to remember where she was and why. For an awful ten seconds she could not remember, try as she might, why she wasn't in her bunk - or where she was instead - or why she... ached so much.

She shifted, her left eye moving beneath the pack of her swollen eyelids, and felt the tight, sticky pull of a certain crust on her right cheek. She paused as the pillow's sheet stuck to her face and then, with a brief sting, dropped away. Blood. It had run from her nose and mouth, drying into a sticky glue that attached her face to the loose cloth of the pillow.

She took a deep breath and gave a sharp yelp as he ribs protested with a knife-like grating. "Fuck!" she exclaimed, load enough to be audible to any already-awake ears, but not enough of a shout to awake a sound sleeper.

She did not blush about the curse. She did not care.

Bosun had attacked her...last night? A few hours ago? He had beaten her. And then he had threatened to rape her. And then he had tried to kill her.

And Antoine had come. And Antoine had saved her. And Antoine had brought her... brought her...

To the sick bay.

Oh no... She was in the sick bay...
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Antoine Lemieux
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boatswain's mate aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
'You will be there the moment he comes too, you will tell him plainly that he must NEVER remember or speak of what happened, or by the God as my witness you both will die if I get arrested for this’

And so he was. Antoine sat in the dark, in a vacant berth across from Claude for who knew how long, watching in the near darkness as his eyes adapted enough to see the incredibly shallow rise and fall of the boy's chest beneath the flimsy sheet.

Though it was the middle of the night, and he was waiting on a bed that was relatively soft, and stuck there for an undetermined amount of time, Antoine didn't move to relax or settle in. He spent his vigil perched sternly at the edge of the cot, posture straight, mind alert to all the terrible thoughts this evening's experience had brought into his life. Collar popped up, hiding the marks he knew were possible underneath, even in the dark where nobody could see them. The marks Jacques' hands had left were worse than the kind you could see anyway.

Finally he heard a stirring across from him and brought his attention back to the room. The boy was waking up. In the shadows he saw him trying to lift his head, saw the hesitation as something stuck his face to the pillow, felt in his gut the disorientation he remembered from waking up with his own half-closed eye.


The boy seemed to have tried to sit up, and the resulting curse word hung in the air.

"Shhh," Antoine replied, making himself known in the dark for the first time.

Then he got up, and silently crossed the small space to Claude's bed, crouching beside it. "Can you hear me?" he whispered, leaning in close. Unlike Claude's outburst, Antoine's words were spoken so softly that he was reasonably sure they wouldn't be distinguishable to anyone else, awake or not.
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Claude Aubry
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Ship boy aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
The thing about injuries sometimes is they caused sort of chain reactions of pain, like one link forged about another so that it's movement affected the next, and so on. The case for Claude here would be found to be no different:

The movement had cussed pain, which had caused a curse, which had caused pain. And it was while she was stifling her complaint about this new pain that something in the dark made a sudden noise - closer than she had perceived anyone being - and it caused Zclaude to startle. Which caused pain. Which caused a gasp. Which caused more pain. Which caused her eyes to open wide. Which caused pain...

Antoine was kneeling by her bed when she gave up on reacting and finally took a moment to try and decipher who was speaking to her. She had laid back down - as sitting up was really out of the question between the state if her body and the state if her mind - and turned her head on the soiled pillow to examine her visitor. It was bloody hard with only one eye. But the voice she recognized. And the mild manner.

"Lemiux?..sir..." she spoke in a manner of confirming his identity and letting him know she could hear him. She was speaking pretty quietly herself. It pained her to force air out, so this breathy conversation was right up her ally.

"You stayed all the while?"
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Antoine Lemieux
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boatswain's mate aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
"No," Antoine answered shortly. He didn't have time or interest for the boy's sentimentality. Or, to be honest, the courage to face it.

"Listen." His voice was so quiet there were barely sounds - only a bare minimum of consonants, articulated slowly and deliberately to be heard by their intended audience only. He leaned in close, so that his mouth was nearly next to Claude's ear.

"I don't know what you remember about this, or what you believe happened. But whatever it is, whatever you may think to say to anyone about it, there is a name you CAN. NOT. mention."

He had never delivered a message like this, before, never had cause, but it was vital the shipboy understood it now.

"You know which name that is? Do you?"

He paused, waiting not so much for an answer as for the words to have their chance to sink in.

He had meant for that to be all, but something crept into that silence. And that something was fear. And he needed to know that the boy shared it.

"I... I can protect you," he whispered, going off the beaten track of his prepared script. "I will try. But there is nothing, nothing I can do, if you inform on him. Nothing."

Let that be warning enough, let it hang in the air. He didn't mentionthat Jacque had threatened him too. But he couldn't fathom that it would make a difference. What did the shipboy care what happened to the boatswain's mate?

"Do you understand?" he demanded in that same nearly non-existent whisper, more urgency than voice.
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Claude Aubry
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Ship boy aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
Jacque. He was covering for Jacque.

Claude's heart grew heavy in her breast and her stomach took on a bitter, churning action as her emotion grasped the realization and ran with it. He was kind enough to save her and to hide her. But he would cover for Jacque no matter what. Because apparently they were that close. Maybe they were lovers...

She nodded slowly because there was nothing else to do and, to be honest, she feared that a negative reaction might find her pillow pinned down over her face. And she could only stand to die by smothering once inherent lifetime.

He was so close that his smell was in every breath she took - a mix of fancy cologne and mildew - and he spoke so quietly that his words were less the real thing than a shadow of the real thing, noises made by the opening and closing of lips.

He was speaking into her left ear, and so was on her blind side. Claude nodded as he suggested that she knew the name he spoke of and nodded when he finally asked if she understood. He had said that he would protect her - no, try to protect her. But what did that mean? She could feel Jacque's crushing grip on her. Felt his deathly stare. What could Antoine do to protect her? How was she expected to survive this trip with Jacque prowling the deck?

"But...wouldn't I be safe if he was put away? If he is free he will kill me. He will kill me. I am not safe!" As she spoke her voice became slightly louder and a bit more frantic, and her slight body took on a terrible tremble. She was even more frightened than she had realized. She was traumatized. And Antoine wanted her to let it go. To pretend that everything was normal.
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Antoine Lemieux
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boatswain's mate aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
Fear had apparently not just communicated itself to the boy, but taken him over. Antoine was relieved that he apprehended the urgency of it all, but the noise was unacceptable. If Claude mentioned Jacque at that volume and someone else in the sickbay heard him, all could be lost.

Antoine, in an attempt to deal with this, reached out to stop the boy from panicking, only to find him trembling. Not knowing how else to stop it, he wrapped his arms around him, trying to hold him still, leaning his face over his ear once again in what became an awkward, unintentional embrace.

"Shhhh," he insisted again. "No, you don't understand at all. If he's 'put away' others will be free to carry out his orders. Others work for him." He paused, mentally checking in on whether the trembling had stopped. Though why would it? What in what he had just said was any less frightening? Time to change course...

"I work for him. He told me to stay with you here, to see to it that..." 'That you don't talk' is what he wanted to say, but it was too awful. "..that you are comfortable. That you are safe." That was, of course, not why Jacque had sent him, and nobody in their right mind would believe it was. But perhaps still it was not an entirely inaccurate description of his mission, as Antoine himself had now come to understand it.

"I won't leave you," he promised in the boy's ear, for what it was worth. And what was it worth? He was unused to the concept of protecting someone. He had offered to help people before, back home, but they were usually people who wanted his patronage, who were only interested in his family connections. Was that all he had to offer now too?

"He won't touch you while I'm here," he said, with confidence he wasn't sure he really had. And then, by way of some kind of explanation, after only minute hesitation, he added the reveal.

"I'm his son."

Had it been said out loud, with voice, it would have been clear how little pride there was in that statement anymore. In a whisper, though, the words hung alone, information but no context, a secret imparted, both awful and, if possible, helpful in some way.
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Claude Aubry
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Ship boy aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
[Not sure why this is so long. Sorry. Most of it is just response]

He reached out for and wrapped her into a secure embrace - something she had far from expected, despite his gentleness when he had carried her in her earlier. Oh, how she would wish that this motion had been under different, better circumstance! She had thought of his embrace, it was true. She was guilty of thoughts which concerned him. But why must the fulfillment of those dreams at long last come now, under these terms? Not that her merely being brutally injured was the worst of it - no. No, the worst yet was to come.

She would have hunched her shoulders to put more room between them, but she hurt too much and was too burdened mentally to do so - not that he seemed to notice her small bosom. The binding, coupled with her modest size (she was not quite flat chested, but something slightly less than 'a handful') apparently was continuing to disguise her well. Good. She could not think what would happen if that, on top of all this, came to light.

His embrace tried to swaddle her tremors away, but his words only provoked them. It was worse than she had thought. Jacque was not simply a bad man, but a bad man with loyalists to do his bidding, making him veritably untouchable to a nobody like Claude. So, no, Antoine. It wasn't comforting. Not at all.

But that still wasn't the worst of it.

She tensed in his arms at what he said next. And although he couldn't see it, not with her chin nearly upon his shoulder, she frowned. He...worked for Bosun? Yes, he was the Bosun's mate, so in that sense he worked for Jacque...but Claude felt that somehow that wasn't exactly what he meant.

And of course she didn't believe that Jacque cared if she was "comfortable" or "safe." What did Antoine take her for, an idiot? Jacque had literally just tried to kill her. He didn't care if she was safe, and he certainly didn't care if she was comfortable.

Most likely, Antoine had been sent to shut her up - to tell her not to tattle. Which he'd done. With surprising efficiency. She wouldn't tell. How could she? If someone as gentle as Antoine worked for Bosun, who else? Anyone could.

'I won't leave you,' he said. 'He won't touch you while I'm here...'

Claude bowed her head and stopped when her nose touched his shoulder, surprised somewhat as she had misjudged their space in the shadowy dark. But she didn't lift her head or correct the placement. Her hands were hanging by her sides, her head bowed over his shoulder so that her nose just brushed his coat; her trembles had reduced until they barely existed at all.

'...I'm his son.'

Claude was still.
And then she raised her head, slowly.
And pulled back in his arms until she could see his face, and he could see hers, her one good eye peering at him intensely, her brows furrowed daintily.
She swallowed once, and stared into his features, her eyes finally flitting to his nose...his mouth...his cheeks...and back to those green eyes.

She would have never seen it if he hadn't said it. But she could see it now. The familial traits. Not exactly. But close in some aspects. Close enough. Close enough in the dark, aided by the brush of shadows.

She was quiet for what felt like a very long time. But before he could move - she would speak to interrupt his moving he moved soon - she spoke, her voice as soft as his, but tainted - despite that it was an echo of consonants, barely breathed - by the very hint of hope.

"You asked him to spare me?"
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Antoine Lemieux
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boatswain's mate aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
'You asked him to spare me?'

Well, not exactly... More like, I didn't dump you in a barrel, and in turn almost got strangled to death in my own bed. There was very little 'asking' involved.

And if there had been, would Antoine have dared? Would Antoine, the perfect son, the perfect noble, the perfect everything have actually been perfectly just and selfless when it came down to putting his own neck on the line for the sake of someone else? Almost certainly no. He was perfectly cowardly as well...

But let the boy think what he wanted. He heard the hint of hope in that question, if it made him feel better he could have it.

"You should sleep," Antoine answered simply, laying the boy back down and pulling the sheet up again over his chest. "Can you sleep? Don't worry, I'll be here."
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Claude Aubry
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Ship boy aboard "Le Phenix"
French Navy
She didn't want to sleep. She didn't feel safe here. Yes, he was there and yes, by all evidence he had protected her thus far, but the thought of closing her eyes - of thrusting her well-being into his hands and his hands alone was scary. There was so much that could go wrong, wasn't there? The doctor could come in and insist upon checking her. Jacque could come in and break his promise to Antoine - or send someone else to do it. Oh God, oh God, oh God!

She succumbed to his hands as he laid her down and pulled the covers back over her body, but she was not comforted, and she watched him intensely as best she could, hardly moving.

"You're not like him." she said softly. She told herself that this would be a good thing for him to hear. Because of course, who would want to be like that man? He was evil.

Beneath the covers her hand moved, freeing itself gently to reach forward and out for his arm. She grasped him gently and gave a little squeeze before retracting her arm and falling quiet.

She would stay awake for a while, although as quiet as the dead as thoughts flew through her head and fatigue once again overtook her. And at some point despite her effort not to, and if she wasn't addressed, Claudine once again fell asleep.

[align=center] - THE END -[/align]
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