Rating: This part R for language.
Disclaimer: This story is not to be taken as factual even though there are factual elements to it - it is a fictionalized account and it did not happen. The characterizations are not the real people who's names and images I've used in my story - they are false and should not be taken to indicate any sort of agreement with what I've written. I am not making any money from this, only using my (admittedly) overactive imagination.
A/N: Artistic license is my friend. I've tried to be as accurate as possible but sometimes I tweak history to help myself out. ;-)
Betaed by pippinmctaggart
Part four in this universe which babydazzle
requested so long ago. Previous installments are here9 April 1862, Shiloh, Tennessee 16:15
Billy would never have admitted anything of the sort, but the Union camp was much better stocked and run than the Confederate camp he'd left two hours ago. They still had chloroform, for one, and he'd immediately begun mentally calculating doses for the worst of the transferring patients. Billy and the head doctor, a no-nonsense chap called Dunston, had had discussions on the incoming patients and also on the abilities and short-comings of the transferring medical personnel. Billy had told Dunston that he wanted to keep care duty for Monaghan and Forrest--for as long as the colonel was kept in the camp; Dunston had agreed.
Billy looked down at Monaghan, a fierce scowl on his face. As he'd thought, moving the young man had made his condition worse, and he wondered whether the lad would make it through the day.
"You trying to scare death away with that face?" came the harsh whisper that now passed for Monaghan's voice.
Billy's lips reluctantly twitched. "Is it working?"
"Don't think so. You'll just have to try harder."
"Too bloody right, I will. I'll not let him take you easily."
Even Monaghan's sigh sounded pained. "Reckon it's more to do with me than you, yeah?"
"You'd not be here being contrary if you weren't a fighter. Now just you keep that energy for healing."
Monaghan's eyes slid shut and a few moments later his face went slack. Billy brushed the matted hair off his forehead and told himself it was so that he could feel for his temperature. He almost believed it.
Billy's next stop was Colonel Forrest. His commanding officer was white with pain after having being relocated, even though he was lying on an actual mattress.
"Looks like they're giving you a bit of preferential treatment, sir."
"I'm worth more to them alive."
"If that were the case, they'd not be keeping me behind when they transfer you to the prison camp, sir."
"You really are a piece of work, Bill."
Billy snorted. "Thank you, sir. Now get some rest and I'll be back to check on you later this afternoon."
Forrest smiled weakly and waved him away. Billy wondered how much time he had left before his commanding officer was sent to a prison camp.
*13 April 1862, Tennessee 18:00
Billy sat on a tree stump, his head in his hands. It had been four days since the surrender at Fallen Timbers--as the Union soldiers referred to the skirmish--and Colonel Forrest, separate from the rest of the Confederates captured that day, had been sent North with a special detachment two days ago. It was probably not very Christian of him, but he hoped that Forrest was rescued. Being interred in a prison camp would kill him, no question, and Billy had worked too damned hard only to have it all wasted. It had been a bloody miracle that Forrest had even survived, let alone been in any sort of shape for travel. Billy's skill with surgery and packing a wound--something he hated leaving to American doctors as they seemed to not even know about herbal packs and poultices--had made the difference.
Then there had been Lieutenant Dominic Monaghan. Monaghan had come through the worst of his withdrawal and infection symptoms, even when most others felt he would not. Billy had sensed that the man was a fighter, though, had counted on it. He'd spent the last four days getting to know the soldier; he had to admit he liked the man--liked his spirit and attitude.
A shadow fell over him, and he looked up into Monaghan's pale face. "Christ, sit the hell down," Billy commanded, moving over to allow Monaghan to sit on most of the stump.
"Dominic. I thought I told you no heavy exertions."
"Who knew it would be such an exertion to walk a few feet?" Monaghan's voice was weak.
"You did, you contrary arse. Is it just the flouting of orders, or do you really have a wish to set your health back?"
"You're so prickly, Doctor Boyd."
"It's your health to do with as you please, is it?" When Monaghan nodded, Billy continued, "Not on my bloody watch, it isn't." He could only shake his head as Dominic laughed softly. "Union numptie," he muttered, plucking at the sleeve of Dom's blue coat.
"You look resplendant as well in your little grey frock, you Confederate numbskull," Dominic said, inclining his head.
"Fuck off," Billy grumbled. He was surprised to find that he wasn't really angry with Dom, it was a game between them, one he found himself looking forward to more than he should.
"You fuck off, I've not got the energy for it," Dom retorted, his smile wobbly.
At that moment, the unit's photographer asked them if they'd mind a picture being taken. They looked at each other, shrugged and nodded at the cameraman, who went to get his equipment. A few minutes later, the photographer returned, muttering as he struggled to set up his tripod on the uneven ground. It seemed to take forever to Billy, but finally the plate was prepared and slid into position, and a photograph had been taken of the two men in opposing uniforms sharing a seat.
"All right," Billy said after it was taken, "time to get you back to bed, you're obviously about to fall over."
"You're right," Dominic said equably. "You may have to carry me back like the hero and gentleman you are." He batted his eyelashes at Billy.
"You're so full of shit, Monaghan."
"That's what happens when you're a senator's son. You learn how to talk shit with a smile."
"A senator's son. Now it all makes sense."
"Why they kept you here instead of sending you off to prison?"
"Yes. I figured you were someone important. They don't keep enemy doctors around just for anyone."
"Especially not the personal physician of a colonel."
Billy nodded. "I'll tell you something, Dom. The reason I'm--well. I was
--his personal physician is because I make a tonic for diarrhea and it works. Before that, I was a lowly volunteer doctor from Cumberland County."
"Why did you tell me that?"
"I don't know," Billy admitted. "But I do know it's time to take you back to bed."
"Why Dr. Boyd, that sounded almost romantic!"
Billy shook his head at Dom's irrepressible humour as he stood. "Up you get, Monaghan, I've not got all day to sit around with your sorry arse."
Dom chuckled weakly. "Very well, Dr. Boyd. Take me to bed."
"You don't know when to stop, do you?"
"Sometimes I do," Dom said softly. "Like right now? I can tell you're not really angry, you're just gruff."
"Well, shut it and shift it, then."
Billy didn't comment on that fact that Dominic was right to call him sir because Billy outranked him. Colonel Forrest hadn't said anything, so neither would he. Not even to Dom.
*19 April 1862 Tennessee 10:28
Dominic entered the tent without announcing himself. Billy looked up from his patient, eyebrow raised. "Come back later, Monaghan, I'm busy at the moment."
"Yes, sir, Major
So Dom had found out somehow and was in fine fettle. Brilliant. "Out."
Dom's eyes narrowed, but he stalked out of the tent. Billy sighed and apologised to his patient, a young private who'd been burned by a campfire. He finished cleaning and dressing the wound and then went in search of Dom. He found him on the stump they'd sat on the week before.
"Why are you in a huff, Dominic?"
"You didn't tell me you were a Major."
"I didn't tell Hildebrand, nor Sherman either. Did you have a point?"
"Excuse me, Dr. Boyd?" A painfully young soldier called nervously, "Colonel Hildebrand is looking for you."
Billy waved him away, his eyes remaining locked with Dom's. "Whilst I'm being interrogated by Hildebrand, just you figure out why you're so angry, eh? We'll finish this conversation later."
They never got to have that conversation. Billy followed the young soldier to Colonel Hildebrand's tent, where they were immeditaly sent to General Sherman's tent, outside of which four Confederate soliders milled about uncomfortably. Billy's eyebrows rose, but he held his tongue.
Once inside, he was told that Colonel Forrest had been rescued by group of Confederate soldiers and had been taken safely behind lines where he had immediately demanded the return of his personal physician, one Major William Boyd currently being held by the 77th Ohio Infantry. Lee had negotiated with Grant the release of a certain number of Union prisoners of war in exchange for Major Boyd. A deal had been struck, a small contingent of soldiers had been sent with the Union's POWs, and Major Boyd was to gather his belongings and accompany the Confederate soldiers back immediately.
He was accompanied to his tent to retrieve his bags and escorted out of the camp by Union soldiers who closely watched every move the Confederates made. He checked for Dom, but didn't catch even a glimpse. Next thing he knew, he and the rest of the Confederate soldiers were on their way out of Union territory. Billy took a moment to wonder what might have been had he been kept for longer in the Union camp, then packed it away with the rest of the regrets he would examine should he survive the war.
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