"With Napoleon in Russia..."



PG-13

Summary: During the horrors of the French 1812 campaign in Russia, a certain gallant Irish rebel captain provides heroic service to the "little corporal"...

His da would be so proud...



Disclaimer: All la glorie de la series BTVS to M. Joss Whedon...!



Archived at the Normal Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, https://www.angelfire.com/zine2/buffyrebecca/index.html or direct to story at https://www.angelfire.com/zine2/buffyrebecca/wnir.html



***

July, 1812...

Vilna, formerly Russian, currently French-occupied Poland...A brief but intense night cavalry skirmish has left a rather heavy number of corpses...Russian, French, French-allied (voluntarily or more often than not, forcibly)...And a few from various nations seeking to win French aid in their struggles for independence...

Naturally His Majesty the Emperor has come to view and commend the dead heroes of France and her allies as well as pay gallant tribute to the brave Russians who unlike their countrymen have come out to fight...And be satisfactorily defeated...

"Yes...Splendid...Look at those tall fellows, Calaincourt..." he taps Calaincourt on the chest with vigor... "When Alexander surrenders shortly We shall insist on recruiting a whole corps of these Russian giants for the Guard..."

"Yes, Sire..." Calaincourt eyes the grim scene...

Odd about a few of the bodies...Looks as though animals have been at them already...

"The wolves and rats have begun their feast, I see..." Napoleon turned over a body with his boot, eyeing the chewed neck and face...

"Most slack of the burial detail..." he turned to a rather harassed-looking staff officer... "Captain, have these corpses attended to at once..."

He pauses, his eye catching as if instinctively, a grand scene of carnage...

"Ah, voila...A splendid...Hmmn..." Bonaparte eyes the now slowly moving figure on the ground more closely. "Why, it's Captain Angelus...And still alive..." He and Calaincourt move over, several soldiers of the bodyguard keeping close... "Captain Angelus?..." The figure rolls a bit and looks up... "Heh, heh...Mon Captaine, it seems that you have cheated death once more...Captain Dumarcq!!...A surgeon for our gallant...Major Angelus..."

Major?...Angelus suppresses an overly healthy urge to beam...Letting out a groan...

After all, those Russian musketballs do sting...

"The Russians, sir?..." he gasps...

"Dead or fled, Major..." Calaincourt tells him... "Well done..."



Amazing fellow...Calaincourt looks the Irishman over...Once would think those wounds had him done for...But nothing seems to kill the man...Last time, after that Austrian cannonball, they tell me he was up and about within two days...

"Indeed well done, Angelus..." Bonaparte nods... "I see it shall have to be another medal, mon ami...You put the best of my corps to shame...I begin to think I should have chosen Ireland over Egypt in 1798...I should already be in London with more like you..."

You ain't kidding, fat boy...Angelus thinks...

"Well, we shall leave you to the surgeon...And a few days well-deserved rest..." the Emperor turns to the hastily-summoned surgeon now examining the few survivors... "Doctor, see that the Major is well-cared for...I cannot afford to lose such men...Take what provisions you need for his and the other survivors' comfort from my personal stores...Major, when you have recovered, come to see me...Adieu and rest easy, my brave ami..." a friendly pinch of the cheek...

Hate it when he does that...Angelus sighs to himself...Feigning more groans for the surgeon who gasps a bit at the extent of the wounds...More amazed by the survival than the extent of the gore...

Where do I begin?...he stares...

"I will try not to cause any more pain than necessary, Major...Brandy!..." he turns to his orderly...

"I've dodged worse, Doctor..." the gallant new Major gives a faint, brave smile, sipping at the proffered canteen of brandy...

A grimace...Hey, it does sting a bit...Especially with that alcohol seeping through...As the surgeon sets about trying to sew up the first large gash at hand...

"But, if you could possibly see that my wife is informed..."

Of my promotion and that bright new medal...

"Your...Wife?...She is here?..." the surgeon blinks at him...Stopping in mid-sew...

"Out seeking forage from the locals...A brave lass, doctor..." he eyes the surgeon's startled look...

Out seeking...Here?...

"Has followed me to the ends of the earth..."

Or at least it sometimes seems that way, he thinks...An inward sigh...

***

"Madame Angelus?..." the surgeon who tended the brave Irishman came over to greet the weary-looking but lovely blonde woman now approaching the tent set aside for the skirmish's survivors...

Uhhh...Darla paused...

Sure, why not...She inwardly shrugged...

"My husband?..." she held down the note of anxiety just enough...

"I am rather amazed to say that I believe he will live, Madame...Pardon me..." he hastily put up a hand... "I'm not thinking...It's just such a miracle for any man to endure..." he sighed...

"Forgive me...But I do believe he will live..."

"Thank God..." Darla murmured, piously... "May I see him?..."

"Yes, but don't tire him...He's in desperate need of rest..."



"Certainly...But...I will be able to stay by him?...I've nursed him through many such incidents..."

"Of course...Orderly..." the surgeon called to the young orderly who'd assisted him earlier... "See that bedding is brought for Madame Angelus...And anything else she may require..."

"Thank you so much, doctor..." Darla smiled gently, turning to enter the tent...

"Amazing woman, eh?..." a tall lieutenant came over to the surgeon... "She's been with him on every campaign since he joined us in 1808..."

"Indeed..." the surgeon looked at the closed tent flap... "You're acquainted with the Major?..." a questioning look...

"Much as any man in the corps, I imagine..." the lieutenant nodded... "Though he does keep a bit aloof at times...Natural enough, being a foreigner...A fine fellow all the same...Many's the night we've shared a bottle or a patrol, or both..."

"And a woman?..." the surgeon smiled...

"Doctor..." the lieutenant grinned... "Ask not such questions of a man of honor...But the Major is human enough in that respect...Though Madame keeps him in line, I understand..."

"Irish is he...?"

"Yes...Had to flee the place...Got into some trouble with the British and came to Paris with the lady, a gentlewoman of the land, and I'd guess...Though he has never admitted...One cause of his flight...He'd seen service with the Brits so the army was glad to have him, after checking his background...I hear the story is the British executed his entire family one night for his misdeeds...The usual story of our Irish volunteers...Naturally he seeks vengeance...And the liberation of his land by our Emperor..." the lieutenant tapped a pipe against the pole of the hospital tent...

"Must be terrible for the woman..."

"Life's hard for all, doctor...But she's a good woman...Back in 1809, I saw her one evening stare down an Austrian cavalryman who'd reached our camp on a raid, sword pointed at her heart..."

"A worthy wife for such a man...Beautiful as well...Even out here..."

"Indeed...And don't think there are none in the army who envy him..." the lieutenant sighed...

***

"Ah, my darling..." Darla stepped carefully passed the other wounded to the gallant Angelus' cot... "Let me see you..."

"In Hell...Moron..." she hissed... Audibly... "My brave love...I'll clean these wounds, darling..."

"Uh...No need, dear...The doctor did a fine job..." Uhh...He groaned as she fingered a tightly-sewn gash...

"Oh, I think I'd better, dearest..." she gave him a devoted beam...

"Idiot..." she whispered, between clenched teeth...Pulling hastily and roughly at the new bandage..."Unggh, Darla...Watch it..." "'Watch it', dear?...I wish I had a hot poker to shove in there...You goddamn fool..."

"Darla..." a plaintive note..."Just trying to fit in...Fill the role...And make you proud, dearest..." Winning smile...

"Shut up..." grim hiss as she glanced at the handful of wounded...And mauled...Still clinging to life...All unconscious for the moment... Harsh, mocking whisper... ""Come on, Darla...What a grand time we'll have with the French chasing the Russkies to Moscow...' And while you were off playing Irish rebel hero with the fodder, I end up stumbling round this god-forsaken muck hole of a place, looking for anything...We've eaten nearly half the horses in the cavalry corps, you know...And the population still here is strictly string-beaned old ladies and men...Exceptin' our own brave lads whom the Master warned us not to deplete so long as Napoleon looks a winner..."



One young soldier groaned and opened eyes...Blinking at the heavenly sight of a blond angel by the cot of a fellow soldier...

Oohhh...Angelus groaned again as she grabbed and tightened his bandage..

Yes, the brave Captain Angelus, his fellow Irishman...

"Let me get that nice and secure, sweetheart...We must get that bleeding stopped..."

Arggh..!!. "Darla!..."

Such an angelic visage...Ah, the dear brave lady his wife, herself...

"Courage, dearest...You'll live, I know you will...And how are you doing, Private O'Reilly?..." she turned to the young soldier...

"A born nurse..." the lieutenant outside noted to the surgeon as they listened...

***

A private tent along with some special delicacies having been provided through the gracious benevolence of His Imperial Majesty, Darla had arranged for her gallant mate to be carried to it to allow him the quiet essential for his recovery...Retaining her usual impressive faith against all odds that yet again her Angelus would miraculously survive...

"Enough...I've had enough..." she fumed quietly to Angelus as soon as the solicitous surgeon and other comrades of the newly minted Major had finally departed to leave her to her vigil...All that could be done having been done... "Whatever the Master said, I don't care anymore...I say we eat all of them we can, including that fat little bug of an emperor and head back to Paris..."

"Darla, you know what the Master said...He has magics protection from that Corsican mother of his...We can't eat him...Not to mention..."

"That Slayer ex-wife of his..."

"Josephine'd kill us all if she thinks we're threatening him...A violation of the Concordat he signed with the Master in her presence in 1800...Heck if she even learns we've nibbled a few of his soldiers..."

"Damn bitch...What's with her?...He dumped her for that Austrian and she's still keeping an agreement that's got the Council of Watchers ready to terminate her...If they can ever get at her..."

"The foolish woman still loves him...Humans..." Angelus shrugged... "Go figure...But the Master wants him left unbothered by us anyway...If he succeeds and conquers the world, when Josephine dies, we could have a field day in a despotic playground under one ruler...Besides...Not only is he spreading death and destruction across Europe...He just promoted me again...And is going to decorate me...When I've sufficiently recovered..." Rather proud gleam...

"In a daylight ceremony, you moron!...Daylight?!..."

"Maybe it'll be overcast...The weather's been terrible...Sides in one of those heavy French overcoats and big hats I won't feel a ray..."

***