barefoot_bard: (Marine)
[personal profile] barefoot_bard
Title: Parting Gifts
Rating: K+ (Suitable for ages 13 and above)
Disclaimers: The characters Bess Thompson and Lil Baker belong to [personal profile] sharpiefan. All other characters are mine. No profit is being made from this story.
Story summary: Show the Colours/Dogwatches AU; A Marine sets his affairs in order. Chatham, August 1794.
Author's Note: Any factual errors that occur within are my own.



It was a rare treat to have a full day's liberty. In fact, George Wicklow couldn't recall the last time he'd been so fortunate. He'd been keen not to waste a minute of it. The company had been paid the day before as well, so he wasn't lacking in funds. All in all, his day up to now had been well spent. Having an extra bit of money in hand had certain advantages. Wicklow didn't often indulge himself but it was his birthday. Or at least he'd always regarded this particular date as being his birthday. It probably wasn't but he did know he'd been born in August so it was close enough.

He slipped his shirt back over his head and with a quick flick of a hand, freed his queue from beneath the thin white linen. The rest of his clothes were piled untidily on a chair near the bed. That extra time was coming to an end, but though he'd shortly need to go downstairs, he didn't plan on leaving the place until the rounding-up patrols came out. If he wasn't sober when he got back to barracks, well...

"In a hurry to go, are ya?" Bess wanted to know. She had gotten up from the bed well before Wicklow and by now was almost completely dressed again.

Wicklow grinned. "Not till you makes me. 'Less you're comin' down for a drink too."

"Got to go down anyway, don't I?"

That was true. He tugged his breeches on and carelessly tucked the long shirttails in before buttoning the breeches up. It was just as well he was going to sea soon. Barracks life was unhealthy. Or at least the tight fit of his breeches told him so. Strange how they'd been a perfect fit only a few months ago. Ah well. All would be right again soon.

"So what's the occasion?" Bess wanted to know, eyeing him as he flopped onto the narrow bed so he could drag on his stockings without falling over.

"My birthday. Near 'nuff." He grumbled an oath when one of his toes poked through a new hole in his left stocking, but shoved his feet into his shoes anyway. He'd darn it later. "I'm goin' to sea agin soon too. West Indies, I think."

Which of course meant the cruise might be one-way. Who didn't know how terrible the West Indies stations were when it came to diseases? That he'd survived one commission there was miracle enough. A second one might not end so happily. Still, there was every chance he'd end up sent to the Med or even the North Sea station. Who knew?

"Happy birthday, at least," she said with a grin.

Wicklow buttoned up his gaiters and smirked. "Cheers." He heaved himself to his feet and reached for his waistcoat. Putting his stock back on nearly completed the tedious work of dressing. On that score, he was looking forward to going back to sea. Being allowed to wear sea dress would be a tremendous relief. As his fingers closed around his red coat, however, he paused. True, it was his birthday and he was celebrating that and his probable departure from the Division, but if the rumours were correct, he thought it was important to make sure everything was in order.

"What're you doin', Wick?"

He held out his shoulder knot, its once-white worsted wool loops stained and beginning to fray. To be seen anywhere without this mark of his rank was guaranteed to earn him a stern reprimand and probably a fine, but the whim of the previous instant felt like the right choice to make. Other than the cost of a few minutes' roll and a drink or two after, he had nothing else to offer. Or at least nothing that he valued enough to gift to anyone.

"If it's the West Indies, I figure..." he trailed off and could only finish with an awkward shrug. He liked Bess well enough. Sure it wasn't her fault she could find no better way of earning a living than by being a whore. She did her best and that was more than could be said for a lot of others. Anyway, despite his limited knowledge of such things, he reckoned she was a good mum and that, considering his own childhood, was a very great factor in his fondness for the pair of them.

Wordless, she accepted the knot, though her expression hinted at something like disapproval, he thought. Suddenly uncertain, he grabbed up his hat. "Sorry," he muttered and headed for the door. It wasn't his way to entertain sentimentality but somehow, that had just seemed the right thing to do, even if he was already questioning the wisdom of it.

"Wick." Her voice stopped him just past the door and he glanced back. "Good luck."

He mustered a fleeting grin and a jerky nod, then, before he could make himself even more a fool, he went clattering down the stairs to the taproom. If he was indeed bound for the West Indies, this silly whimsy would be worthwhile after all. Maybe. Who knew? Lil Baker watched him stride across the straw-strewn floor with neither expression nor speech, but that was her way. At the door, Wicklow paused and turned back. He fished out a tanner and flicked it in Lil's direction. This was his birthday and sure he could spend his money as he saw fit. Especially since today's liberty would be the last for a while.

"For you and the lasses," he said, then he was gone.

Date: 2015-05-04 06:40 pm (UTC)
sharpiefan: Age of Sail Marine ringing a ship's bell (Marine bell)
From: [personal profile] sharpiefan
N'aawww. It's almost a shame he never got to see Bess' kid take the shilling (yes, we all know he's Wicklow's kid, too, but Wick'll never admit as much. :D )

Date: 2015-05-04 07:14 pm (UTC)
wayward_shadows: (Wounded Marine)
From: [personal profile] wayward_shadows
It is, at that. I think Wicklow mostly knows it's his kid but at the same time, there's just that much doubt that he's content to not pursue the matter.

It'd be kinda fun to have somebody who knows them both to deliver the news of his dying, wouldn't you say?

Date: 2016-01-02 08:37 pm (UTC)
sharpiefan: Age of Sail Marine ringing a ship's bell (Marine bell)
From: [personal profile] sharpiefan
Your kinda fun is also kinda twisted...

Yes. Yes, it would. :D

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