Disclaimers: They look like them. They’re not them. They’re mine. Don’t play with them without permission. It’s two women. There is nothing even slightly graphic in the way of s-e-x. There is swearing. Lots of it. There is also a depiction of the aftermath or war. Not particularly graphic though.
BTW. There isn’t a hospital/recovery unit that works in quite the way I wanted – so I invented one. It’s actually an amalgam of five which do exist but it in itself doesn’t. I know that recovery in these circumstances wouldn’t be handled from start-to-finish this way but I needed it to be like this. So I invented things. That’s why it’s called fiction.
As always thoughts, criticism, praise, offers of favours, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org – I may even be able to get the F&$£@ useless thing to work.
Tin Soldier - Part 2
By Insane Englishwoman
The pain was infinitesimally better each time she woke. Not a lot, just enough to enable her to feel the difference. It didn't help her mood though. She was every bit as depressed, not to mention full of self-pity, as she had been earlier?—yesterday?—she had no idea how much time had passed since she'd pressed the button on her medication supply. Sorcha though she heard a slight noise. Hoping the nurse was there she queried, "Elsa?"
Sorcha heard the nurse approach the bed. "I'm sorry, honestly I am."
"It's alright. I do understand. I can't hope to know how you feel but I do understand."
"Thanks. That's better than I deserve. I shouldn't take this out on you."
"Apology accepted, bombardier. Now, how is your pain level? Unfortunately we can't eliminate your pain completely but we can do our best to see that you are in as little pain as possible."
"Well, on a scale of one to ten it's about fifty-one. But considering it was a one-hundred-and-thirty when I first came to, I don't think I'm doing too badly. Can I just ask something though? You said I could call you Elsa yet you keep calling me bombardier, are you not allowed to use my name instead of my rank? Or do you have to wait for my permission?" There was a short silence. "Elsa? Have I made you feel awkward? Damn! I wish I could see."
"I'm glad you can't right now because I'm bright red. No, don't apologise." Elsa stopped Sorcha almost before she could open her mouth. "It's not your fault. I'm just totally embarrassed to have to tell you that the only reason I'm not using your name is because I don't have a clue how to pronounce it."
Sorcha laughed and then wished she hadn't. "On God, that was stupid. Must remember not to do that again." She drew a shaky breath and waited for the pain to subside. "Ok, I'm good. What do you mean you can't pronounce it? You with a solid Irish name like Flynn? What is the world coming to?"
"My name might be Irish but I'm not. I think my great-great-grandfather came from Cork but I'm thoroughly English. Which raises the question, why is someone with such an Irish name serving in the British army? And why do you sound Liverpudlian?"
"I'll take these in reverse order. I sound Scouse because I am. I'm Liverpool born and bred. And since I'm English born then I'm British and can serve in the army. As for my name, it's Irish because my father's Irish. The name is Gaelic, me Da's a Gaelic speaker; he didn't learn English until he started school. Sorcha is pronounced ser-ak-uh."
"And the rest of it?"
"O'Leary? That mysterious collection of letters is O'Leary?"
"I'm afraid so. Ui Laoghaire is the proper spelling in Erse."
"Well, Sorcha Ui Laoghaire, I'm very glad to finally be able to call you by your name."
"Now it's my turn to ask about names. How come Elsa? That's a fairly Germanic first name to match with your Irish Flynn."
"It's my mother's fault, don't you dare laugh. For a start it will hurt you and secondly after you stop hurting I'll hurt you again." Elsa raised her fists in mock threat. "My mother saw a film when she was a child; a... character in the film was called Elsa. My mother liked the name and declared that when she grew up and had babies she was going to name one Elsa, when I was born she did just that."
"A film? What sort of film has a character called Elsa? A war film? Or maybe... oh no... Born Free ? Oh my God, you're named after a lion?" Sorcha tried not to laugh, she couldn't help grinning though. "You are aren't you? You're named after a lion."
"A lioness, if you please. Yes. I am. No laughing."
"Not laughing. Honest. Grinning maybe, but not laughing." Sorcha said.
"So, how long since the explosion? I mean, I Know I've drifted in and out a bit but I don't know if it's a couple of hours each time or a couple of days."
"I'm not sure I should answer really, I think you've had enough shocks for the day, but I will. I think you should be told. The explosion was three weeks and five days ago. You were held in Iraq for two days until you were stable enough to be flown here. Once here we kept you in a medically-induced coma-like state for three weeks while you healed a little. You've been out of that for three days, most of which you've slept. This is the longest you've been awake since then."
"Three weeks?" Sorcha tried to lift herself up swiftly realising that it was a very bad mistake as agony ripped through her again. "Oh fuck..."
"Don't do that. Here, lie back down. Do you need more pain relief?"
Sorcha breathed deeply for two or three minutes, working through the pain. "I'm ok, bloody hell that was stupid."
"Are you sure, you're permitted more morphine if you need it." Elsa picked up the pump. "Or I can get you some Valium."
"No. It's all right. I can live with it. There is something you can do to take my mind off the pain though."
"What? Tell me what you need."
"What do you look like? You have a gorgeous voice and I'm trying to picture you."
"Oh. Now I'm blushing again. Well I'm about five-foot-four with short, blonde, hair."
"Don't make me laugh, please. As you said—it hurts."
"Sorry. They're green. What colour are yours? I haven't seen below the dressings. I can see you'll be tall when you stand."
"Blue. And I'm five-foot-eleven. So you're blonde, hey. I've always had a thing for blondes." The silence which followed Sorcha's comment was profound. "Well," she muttered, "that was a conversation killer. I'm sorry if I offended you."
"No, no, you didn't...I was just...you caught me by surprise, that's all. I wasn't sure if you were flirting with me."
"And if I was?"
"Then I would flirt back."
"Yes. I am. And now I really think you should sleep some more."
"No, wait..." Sorcha was unable finish her protest before the medication kicked in.