Become a Fan
Strong Blue Soldier
By Bad Music
Monday, July 01, 2002
I opened my eyes for what felt like the first time in years. I was on a soft brown sofa, in front of a warm, crackling fire. Yes. Everything was soft...and warm... Had a flashback, then, finally. Last I had remembered, my world had gone cold, hard, and dark. Then I opened my eyes to find myself here.
I jumped and gasped to feel a tapping at the door. I looked up. The entire room was warm, brown, and lit by the red fire. Another knock. What should I have said, I had no knowledge or rememberence of who was behind the door. "C-Come in?"
He was dressed in red and brown, almost camoflauging the room, his brown hair, eyes, and peachy complexion doing similar. His face was friendly, but not shy, framed by attractively disheveled locks. He was tall. And he could tell by my perplexed look that I had no idea who he was.
"You have no rememberence of me, do you?" His voice was like hitting your leather boot on gravel -ringing, yet rugged. I realized he had been carrying a tray, which he now set down on table beside the sofa. He sat down. "I saved you."
Those three words generated another flashback. I remembered falling to the ground, my bright red blood mingling with the hard white snow to make a violent peppermint swirl pattern. As my eyes closed shut for the last time, I remembered being elevated, but not being conscious enough to be able to ask what was going on.
I shook my head, the sudden burst memory making my brain hurt. He noticed, apparently. "You remember, then?"
I slowly sat up, and nodded, trying to put the pieces together. "A little," I admitted.
He let out a sympathetic chuckle. "Let me help you... I found you laying faced down in the snow among...God, dozens of slaugtered men. I thought you were one of them. I was about to leave when -I guess this was fate - you emitted a groan. I turned you over. You were so frozen, the blood was dried and stuck to your face..."
My face...! I reached up to feel a long bandage down the side of my cheek. "I was struck."
He nodded. "So I did what a war nurse knows to do. I picked you up and brought you here to my home. Skip to twelve hours and here we are."
A war nurse. I looked at him. "I don't understand. Why, then, did you not bring me to a sickbay?"
The warm man sighed. "All the infirmaries were blown up. I got out just in time...can't...can't say the same for my patients."
Those damned savage Epacians! "I'm sorry," I mumbled, looking down.
He placed a hand on my shoulder. "What's your name?"
"I'm Julius. Dr. Julius Carmine...Just Lionel?"
I was then able to let out a small laugh. "Gen. Lionel Sage Zaffer, to be specific. My whole platoon is dead, then?"
Julius frowned, and clumsily tried to change the subject. "I...well...have some dinner. I doubt you've eaten recently." He handed me the tray.
I, to be honest, was rather glad to speak of something else entirely. My jaw dropped open at the sight of the food prepared for me. I picked up the cheddar block. "Cheese! My christ, how long had it been since I've had cheese?"
Julius laughed. "And lentils, and mulberries, and some cardamon water. Eat it all. I prepared a balanced meal so you could get back to one-hundred percent."
I stopped stuffing my face for a moment, and turned to him. "Thank you...for all of this. I don't know how to repay you."
"I don't do this for reward, but for karma. That's why I am what I am." Shifting his position, he continued. "I didn't, by the way, clean you, only because you were unconscious up until a few moments ago. I didn't want to invade on your privacy."
I felt my hair -normally thick, wavy, and that same light-bright blonde of a pre-pubescent girl's. Now, it did feel rather greasy,muddy, and was clumped with blood. "I appreciate that, " I replied.
"You are welcome, General, after your meal, to take a hot bath."
I smiled at the thought of warm, cleansing water. "I think I would like that. And please, after this, I think you have licence to not address me so ceremonially. It's Lionel."
"Thank you. Forgive me for asking, but aren't you a little young to be a general?"
"Yes." And that's all there was to that. I scraped and lapped my bowls clean. "That was quite satiating. Just what I needed."
"Let me take this from you," he said hospitably, removing the tray from my lap. "I'll go heat the water for your bath, now."
I stood up, relieved to find that my legs still worked perfectly. "Where is your lavatory, then?"
He turned to me before heading out the door. "I was about to show you. Down that hallway, on the left."
I, in soiled, but still surprisingly brilliant, cobalt blue velvet uniform, stood out like a sore thumb in his bathroom of soft pumpkin and terra cotta. It had lots of wood paneling, and a round wooden tub against the wall. I literally had to peel my clothing off of myself, the dirt, and melted snow creating almost an adhesive between them. I then heard his voice on the other side. "Are you all set, then?"
Naked, I hopped into the tub. "All set." As he walked in with the first pot of heated water, I drew up my knees to cover my privacy. I couldn't understand why I all of a sudden felt self-conscious. In the quarters, the men and I bathed in front of eachother, because of space, or lackthereof, and never had a second thought of it. But now...
The water barely covered my calves, but felt good nonetheless. "I've another pot boiling now. That should fill it," he said, straightening the towels.
He then surprised me by taking a hyssop bar, kneeling beside me and scrubbing it against my back. As he spread the lather out to my shoulders, I said to him, "I can do this. It's not my arms that are injured."
"No bother," he answered, his concentration still on my cleanliness, "this is what I know to do." A stove whistle. "More water on the way."
He offered a guestroom for me to stay the night in, and a robe -red, not surprisingly- for when my bath was completed. I looked at myself in the intricately designed full-length mirror before me. How good it felt to be clean, warm, and with a full belly. My skin, save the gash on my face, had resumed its slight pinkish hue that it had lost from fighting in fifteen degree weather. My hair was lusterous and luminous again. Still, I thought, all my men...
Julius cracked open the door, not knocking this time, as this was his own house. "I brought you some tea."
I smiled. "You spoil me, brother."
He, in return, shrugged. "Nothing I wouldn't normally do for a patient in need." He handed my the generous sized mug of rose-hip tea.
I gave him a look of disbelief. "Oh really? You offer ALL patients your sofa, your bathrobe, your spare room, and a free bath?" I took a sip of the tea's hot sweetness.
He looked at the ground. "Well...I thought you were dead."
I stepped towards the bed to sit down, and found myself in a position where the light of the candles' light shone right upon me."
Julius' eyes widened a bit. "Although...I must admit..." He walked towards me, and I found myself not backing away. "...I do have a thing for blondes in red..."
I felt myself blush as I smiled, involuntarily, from ear to ear. "Well, then," I replied, in more of a whisper, now. "Now that you're in here, and I'm here..." I bent down and blew out all of the the candles. No more red or blue. Just two young men in the dark.
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