Winter in Normandie.

Fan Fiction about Sean, non 18+

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sharpshooter1
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Winter in Normandie.

Post by sharpshooter1 » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:57 pm

Title: Winter in Normandie

Author: Sharpshooter1
Posted: TMB
Disclaimer: Homage and the greatest respect to their creator the wonderful Mr B. Cornwell. These characters only belong to me in my dreams.
For dearest CM – both of us snowbound but thoughts of darling Richard keep us warm.

***Early morning***

Mid January bought them four days of high cold sun and a spiteful, bone chilling cold wind. Lucille coming down the stairs looked across and saw Richard bent over facing the hearth pulling on his boots that had been warming by the fire.
‘Richard you off to check the animals?’ she asked as she took his coat, hat, gloves and woolly scarf from the hooks on the back door. It was a good ambush; he stood up turned round and there was Lucille in front of him holding out his coat, hat, gloves and woolly scarf. She smiled sweetly watching Richard’s face then said
‘So, were you planning to go outside in this freezing weather, coatless, hatless, glove less and warm scarf less?’ He pouted then replied as always ‘It’s not that cold. When I were in Spain we thought nothing of weather like this, we didn’t dress up like dandies in scarves and gloves and coats and …’ Lucille held out his coat, still mumbling he put it on, she then pulled his woolly hat down over his pretty little pointed ears, each one receiving a kiss first. Each finger also got a kiss as she helped him pull on his gloves then she wrapped his warm knitted scarf around his neck and gave those perfect, pouting lips a long kiss. Later, warmly dressed rifle slung over his shoulder he caught up with young Patrick and Dominique in the yard and they disappeared off towards the fields.
Sensibly Lucille sat down with her coffee and toasted her toes by the fire. She smiled, wondering if the famous Lord Wellington had to argue with Richard over every order he gave him. She decided that it was probably true and Lord Wellington had well deserved all his wealth and honours yet she also had a feeling that perhaps sometimes he missed Richard arguing back. She then snuggled into her shawl and enjoyed her coffee in perfect peace.
Later that morning whilst feeding the chickens she looked up at the sky. At some point the sun had disappeared behind sulky, heavy grey clouds and it felt a little warmer.
‘Oh no’ she thought ‘What can I find to keep Richard occupied if we get snowed in? Remembering what they used to do she shook her head smiling. What fun it had been sneaking off together. Now, however the children were getting older and wiser, and were no longer fooled by the excuse that Papa has an aching back and needs to lay down in the bedroom while Mama gives him a nice massage.’ She remembered Patrick’s recent question ‘Why does Papa always giggle and groan so loudly when you give him a massage?
As she finished and turned to go inside the first snow flakes wandered down from the grey sky. She looked around the yard and then at her bucket half full of chicken feed. She looked at the barn ‘Hmm that might keep him busy and stop him whining and telling endless stories about when he was in the army he and his men thought nothing of marching a hundred miles naked and barefoot in the snow – not like the spoilt Frenchies with their fancy boots…’ She giggled then hurried inside the barn and searched through the small supply of off cuts of planed wood propped in the corner.
‘Perfect’ she thought as she carried the bundle of wood into the kitchen then tied it together and hid it out of sight in the small alcove near the back door.

***Noon***

It had been a successful morning, Richard had bagged a small wild pig. He drank his soup, wiped his bowl dry with his bread, swallowed his wine quickly then smiling went out to butcher his pig; happy visions of pork chops for supper dancing in his head. Both Patrick and Dominique tried to get away with wiping their bread round their bowls Lucille turned, caught them at it and frowned.
‘…but Papa always does it and you never tell him off’ complained Dominique
‘Your papa is a man and may do as he thinks fit. You are children and must do as I think fit and that means you will use your spoons to eat your soup ~ all of your soup.’

***Afternoon***

By four in the afternoon it was almost dark and Richard came back in from the barn cold, dirty, covered in blood and dust and more than ready for his bath.
‘All done, I’ve bought some chops in for supper, got any tatties to go with them? Where are the children it’s very quiet?’ he paused ‘It’s starting to come down heavy they should come in.’
‘Richard, they are safe upstairs dearest. Patrick is fighting battles with his lead soldiers and Dominique is trying out new hairstyles on her doll. Why don’t you get out of those dirty clothes I’ve heated some water for you so you can have a nice bath before supper. I’ve got some hot cider to warm you, drink it up.’
She watched him settle in the tin bath, carefully washing himself. She wondered if he had ever considered how beautiful he was, how lovable. He looked up and smiled at her. For a moment she could almost have wept from the wave of love that arose within her as she looked at him, blond damp hair falling over his forehead, broad shoulders, long elegant hands chipped and scarred by life. His body bore too many scars yet he was not scarred, he never complained although often she had seen him catch his breath at the pain of an old wound lodged deep within him. A man of honour, who strove always to be a good husband and father; a good friend and neighbour.
‘Going to snow tonight I reckon’ he said.
‘Yes early to bed I think. Keep each other warm.’
‘Aye, that we will.’

***Night***

Lucille was upstairs, the children already settled in their beds. The snow was still falling heavy and fast. Pleasantly full of pork chops grilled with herbs and tatties roasted on the fire Richard sat stretching his long legs, lingering a while before locking up. A special moment that he took each night, a moment to remember battles, faces and names. He had forgotten much but never the names nor the faces of the chosen men. His men, his friends, his dead, always remembered and mourned.
She heard the creak of his footsteps on the stairs and moved back over to her side of the bed. He stripped and climbed into bed then reached across nuzzling into her neck saying ‘Thank you. You have warmed my side of the bed. What did I ever do to deserve you? ‘Just let me love you and warm you now and forever.’ She whispered in reply.

***Morning***

As always the snow had redesigned the winter world. Now a world of strange rounded shapes, tree branches laden with snow looked as cheerful as any spring blossoms. Everything disguised and enchanted by the snow. Richard fetched a shoulder cut of the pork from the barn, Lucille had steeped white beans over night and now they simmered on the stove. Soon she would bring them to the boil then rinse the beans well with fresh boiling water. She said it avoided flatulence and Richard thought that this was a good thing.
By 10 o’clock Richard had fed the animals, checked that all was well, had a second cup of coffee and now sat bored at the kitchen table. Lucille was happy in her kingdom frying meat, mixing the sauce then combining the meat, beans, pounded garlic, herbs, spices and sauce in her large casserole dish and finally putting it into the oven to cook slowly for the evening meal.
She sat down opposite Richard ‘So my lover you look bored, what can I get you? More coffee? I even have some tea left over from Patrick’s last visit.’
‘Nah, I’m fine’ he said looking over at the window which was again a blur of falling snow.
‘My back ‘needs a rub’ maybe we could go upstairs and you could rub it for me – like a nice massage?’ suggested Richard hopefully. She put her hand over his and leant forward whispering ‘The children are upstairs playing, when it stops snowing maybe you could go for a short walk with them. They are getting suspicious about the back rubs you have every time you have stay in and get bored. They say you giggle and groan in a funny way’ she finished trying to hide her laughter. Mortified Richard sat silent and red faced.
The snow had definitely stopped for while and Richard took the children out for a short walk and was beaten by them in a snow ball fight. In some places the snow trembled and fell off of frail branches. Patrick managed to get his father standing beneath a branch that then dropped its’ heavy load of snow on his father. Covered in snow that melted and trickled down his neck and not in the best of moods a freezing Richard marched his troops back to the warm kitchen.
Lucille sent him upstairs to get into dry clothes. They quietly smothered their giggles as the children described their father’s face as the snow cascaded down on him.
‘Best go upstairs, quietly mind you, and draw me some lovely pictures of the snow. Off you go now and leave your father to me.
After a while Richard appeared, he didn’t look annoyed just bored. ‘Come dear heart I have brewed some fresh tea especially for you and look I even baked sables yesterday. Let’s have a little treat and enjoy a quiet time by the fire.’ He drank his tea gratefully ‘Nothing warms you like a good strong cup of tea, sorry bit of an old bear today I’m just bored I’m not used to sitting around doing nowt’ he mumbled with a mouth full of sable.
‘I understand dear heart. I was wondering if you might do something for me. So silly, so foolish but it’s something I would really like. I tried to do it myself but couldn’t think how to make one.’ She smiled sweetly and helplessly across at him. He laughed and said ‘Anything for you lass, tell me what you want’

***Afternoon***

Richard got his tool bag out and Lucille presented him with the bundle of wood stashed away in the alcove. Richard looked at each piece of wood did some drawings and settled down happily sawing, gluing and occasionally cursing the whole afternoon away.
Lucille sat with the children by their bedroom fire, admired their drawings then listened to them read and made them practice their letters. Outside the snow returned and the strong wind moulded the snow into small hills, valleys and mountains. Inside the chateau all was calm and quiet except for the occasional ‘bugger’ that escaped from the kitchen and set Lucille and the little ones giggling.

***Early evening***

The smell of the cassoulet drew them downstairs and back to the kitchen. Aside from a few wood shavings the kitchen was tidy and Richard stood next to a tall structure covered by a cloth. ‘I hope you like it, I think it is more or less what you wanted’ he said then lifted the cloth.

Lucille and the children gasped with pleasure. She had thought to keep Richard happy and occupied so she asked him to build a bird table because she worried about making sure even the wild birds were fed in such weather. Richard had created a bird palace. There was a large communal area to spread dry bread and seeds, a little roof on four legs to shelter them from the snow or rain as they ate. He had added to the other side of the table a small house with rounded holes and perches for ease of entrance and exit. This was the ideal size for small birds like tits, finches and wrens to shelter and eat. The table was about five foot tall just out of the reach of the cats. On a tiny plaque he had carved ‘For Lucille love from Richard.’

Hugged, kissed and praised by his family he sat at the kitchen table, the children fetched the bread basket, the cutlery and plates. Then came Lucille carefully carrying the large casserole dish. She took off the lid and the smell of herbs, garlic, onions, tomatoes, pork and beans filled the kitchen and their mouths watered. Second helpings and a small glass each of a good hearty red wine saw the children full up and tired, they went up to bed without complaints or excuses.

***Evening***

Lucille and Richard drank some more wine and exchanged loving words, looking at each other and marvelling that life had relented and granted them this happiness.
‘I’ll lock up and damp down the range. You go on up to bed. Leave the plates we can do them tomorrow’ he said. He opened the back door and thought of his poor lost souls; the files of unknown red coats perhaps for ever lost and caught up in the freezing wind and wished them release and a safe passage onwards, upwards and out of the storm. Minutes later he was undressing as he climbed the stairs and he reached their bedroom naked, crossing the floor straight to the bed and into Lucille’s waiting arms and warmth. Gently they held and loved each other slowly, a bodily renewing of all their vows of love, a rewriting of all their promises to care for each other. Outside it still snowed but before dawn the wicked wind had blown itself out.

~Fin~
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Post by Czechmade » Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:06 pm

:flower: :flower: :flower:
Ah dear heart, this a a beautiful, loving story. I was there with them, sniffed the smell of food and acrved wood, listened to the giggling and laughter and those "buggers". You warmed these cold, cold January days. What a wonderful gift! Many thanks and bless you, Sharps dear! abighugs_gif
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sharpshooter1
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:23 pm

So glad you enjoyed it CM - kept me warm writing it. Fun thinking about what Richard would do if he got snowed in!!! Hugs S x
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Post by Moominmamma » Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:06 pm

A lovely, heartwarming tale for a cold and snowy winter's evening! Thank you so much. abighugs_gif I love your detailed descriptions and can vividly see every scene.
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:27 pm

Hi there Mooms I am so glad you enjoyed the story - snow bound and bored like everyone else when dear Richard came to mind and then the story seemed to write itself. :-D
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Post by Way2prickly » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:23 am

You have such a gift - I feel like I'm in the room with Richard and Lucille and the children. Like others have said, I can smell the food, I can sense the love, I can almost feel the people.
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:05 am

Thank you way2prickly - I am happy that you enjoyed this little story. In the TV series the scenes between Lucille and Richard especially his laughter and smiles as he chases a chicken round the yard suggested the possiblities of a happy, fulfilled Richard finally living in peace with the love of his life.
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Post by morvgal58 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:12 pm

Thank you very much, Sharps - that was a beautiful story. You really get inside the characters of Richard and Lucille - dare I blaspheme?...better even than Bernard Cornwell! Thoroughly snowed up here in France, I wish I had my own Richard to keep me warm. Also, it is lovely to learn from Mr Cornwell's books about the American Civil War that Richard lived well into his eighties, and Lucille too - that is always a cheering thought. Thank you again.
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:02 pm

Bless morvgal-glad you enjoyed the story. I love writing Richard and family stories. The fab Mr B Cornwell has my deepest respect and admiration; his Sharpe novels opened up a whole new period of history for me.
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Post by gillian » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:52 am

Truly loved the short story, as well your's Sharpe's Antonia.
The subject is not very in Cornwell scheme. But, when reading his novels I've got really tired with this battalion of ladies (they did quite a good job when making TV series).
I wanted to read something really comforting. Thank you.
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:00 pm

Thank you Gillian - I am delighted that you enjoyed it. BC is a wonderful writer and it is fun and a privilege to play around writing short stories based on his incredible characters.
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Post by mjcd1951 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:00 pm

Good story. Thanks for sharing. You are one talented person!

JOY :-D :-D :-D
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Post by sharpshooter1 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:54 am

My pleasure entirely Joy, so pleased that you enjoyed the story.
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