No rights infringement intended. M/F

No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended. Warning: Rated [MA] Mature Adults only. May contain strong sexual scenes, violence, coarse language, drug use, horror and adult themes.

No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended. Warning: (MA) Mature Adults only. M/M sex. Some violence.

Anon. Feb.1998

Best Mates

India 1799.

Private Tom Garrard had made a new friend, a scruffy, one-time street urchin, called Dick Sharpe, another private in the British Army in India.

"Coming in to the town, tonight?" asked Garrard.

"Me? No. I've got no money. You going drinking?" asked Sharpe, bluntly.

Garrard shook his head "I'm off to the brothel. Been thinking about it all day. Find myself a nice little bibbi for the night".

Sharpe looked envious, and gave the matter some thought. "Lend me some money, then, and I'll come with yer" he said.

Garrard stared at him.

"You are joking?"

"No. Go on, Tom" wheedled Sharpe, giving him a smile.

Garrard just laughed and walked off in the direction of the latrines. Sharpe's smile slipped away, and was replaced with a frown.

Now that the idea of an evening in the town was in his mind, he couldn't shift it. But what to do? He needed money if he was to have a good time. No good asking anyone, they'd do what Tom had done, laugh at him. So, he went for a stroll around the camp. Looking for inspiration.

He found it as he approached Private Tupman's empty tent and looked in. A bottle of arrack. Just sitting there. Waiting to be taken. A quick glance round, and Sharpe had slipped it inside his jacket.

As soon as he saw Garrard again, he pulled out the bottle.

"There you are. What'll yer give me for that?"

"You serious?" asked Garrard laughing "Bugger off, I'm not paying you for that".

"Oh, come on, Tom" Sharpe said, feeling let down now that he had the means of getting some money.

"I told you, no!" laughed Garrard "Anyway, I bet that's not yours".

Sharpe treated him to a look of complete innocence "Course it is. I was saving it, that's all".

"The answer's still no. I'll need all the money I've got for tonight" said Garrard.

Sharpe, undefeated, went off with his bottle in search of a buyer. Garrard watched him as he approached other soldiers, all smiles and soft talk.

Ten minutes later he was back again. With the bottle.

"Miserly bloody lot" growled Sharpe.

Garrard was highly amused by Sharpe's lack of success.

"Think you're asking the wrong people. Try the Colonel. I hear he's in funds." he said helpfully.

"Hmmm" snarled Sharpe.

Then inspiration struck. He grabbed the bottle and got up.

"Be back in a tick" he said to Garrard, over his shoulder.

Garrard watched him go. Watched him saunter over to Tupman's tent. Watched Sharpe pitch his story to the now returned, Tupman. Watched the bottle and money change hands. Watched Sharpe triumphantly walk back to him.

"Good old Tupman,eh?" said Tom "He likes a drop of arrack. How much did he give you?"

"Enough" grinned Sharpe, before disappearing as quickly, and as far away from Tupman, as he could.

Later that evening, Sharpe and Garrard were to be found eating a simple meal of rice and vegetables with their usual group of soldiers. They were busy discussing which brothel to visit, when the commanding figure of Sgt Bickerstaff loomed up.

Sharpe looked up from his plate, and Bickerstaff said "You! Picket duty tonight".

Sharpe gaped, not believing what he'd heard.

"And you" said the sergeant, pointing to Garrard, sitting next to him.

"But, Sarge......." protested Garrard.

"Shut it" said Bickerstaff "I'm two sentries down for tonight. So report to me when you've finished eating. You've got five minutes". And off he walked.

"Aw, bloody hell!" said Sharpe.

Garrard was speechless.

Sharpe spent the first part of the duty listening to Garrard ranting and raving about the ruined evening, and when he could listen no more, he went off by himself. When they passed each other along the picket line, it was in surly silence, Garrard giving Sharpe thunderous looks. He'd set his heart on the evening out, had planned it for days.

Eventually, way past midnight, the pickets were changed and Sharpe and Garrard walked in silence back towards the tents. Until Garrard broke it by saying "S'all your bloody fault!"

Sharpe was incredulous "My fault? How?" he demanded.

"You caught Bickerstaff's eye, looked straight at him".

"I didn't!"

"You bloody did, you liar". Garrard was fuming "You want to learn to keep your eyes down, you do".

"I didn't know what he wanted, did I?" Sharpe said, defending himself.

"I know what I wanted" snapped Garrard "And I didn't get it 'cos of you". He paused before adding "I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight".

Sharpe felt some sympathy here. He knew the feeling.

They trudged on, and eventually Sharpe said "There'll be other evenings".

"So that makes it alright, does it?" Garrard rounded on him.

"You'll just have know.....if you're that desperate....back in yer tent......"Sharpe's voice trailed away.

"I can do that any night!" spat Garrard.

"I was only....."

Garrard silenced him with a look.

So Sharpe walked on. Until he felt himself grabbed from behind. By Garrard.

"You owe me for all this" said Garrard knowingly, and decisively, his face bright. And he pulled Sharpe into the shadows.

"What yer doing?" protested Sharpe.

"Come on" said Garrard and tried to push him down. Sharpe quickly had the sense to start struggling.

"Get off" he started.

"Shut up, you'll wake the whole bloody camp" hissed Garrard, and, catching Sharpe's ankle with his leg, unbalanced him, and sent him sprawling.

Before Sharpe could righten himself, Garrard was on him, his hand tightly clamped over Sharpe's mouth, stifling any noise.

"Quiet! Won't take a minute" he grinned " Roll over".He took his hand away.

"No' hissed Sharpe "Get off. I'm not letting you do ..that!"

"Not 'that' you idiot" said Garrard, taken aback.

"What then?"

"You can keep your trousers up, OK?" bargained Garrard.


"You can do it afterwards. If you want?" he bargained again.

Sharpe could feel Tom's determination. It was pressing into him. There seemed to be no way out of this.

Sharpe thought about it for a moment. Perhaps the evening wasn't totally ruined. Perhaps he could even turn it round to his advantage?

"Yeah?" he asked.

"Yeah!" agreed Garrard.

"How much?" demanded Sharpe.

"What?" Garrard looked affronted.

"How much will yer give me, if I let yer?"

"Nothing, you cheeky bugger!" said Garrard "We're mates, right? And, you got us into this mess, right?"

Right" said Sharpe, albeit, a little doubtfully.

"Come on then, we're best mates now. You watch my back, and I'll watch yours?" encouraged Garrard.

'Bloody hell' thought Sharpe, not quite knowing what Garrard was saying, but he nodded all the same.

"And you owe me, Dick Sharpe, or I'll tell Tupman about his bottle of arrack you pinched. He's a big bloke, Tupman. He'll thump you if he finds out".

"How did you know about that?" asked Sharpe, wide-eyed.

"Because" said Garrard "Tupman thought he had two bottles of arrack, and squealed like a stuck pig when he found he hadn't. Didn't know that did you?"

Sharpe shook his head.

"No" continued Garrard "Because you had disappeared like a rabbit down a hole when Tupman found out. Hadn't you?"

Sharpe nodded again.

"You sold him his own bloody bottle back, didn't you?" persisted Garrard.

"Maybe" said Sharpe vaguely.

"Well, we're mates, aren't we, so I won't tell on you, will I? smiled Garrard.

Garrard grinned at his new friend beneath him.

'Damn' thought Sharpe, and knew he was trapped. In more ways than one.

"Roll over" commanded Garrard cheerfully.

Sharpe groaned inwardly, and like every good soldier does, he knew when he'd just lost a battle.

He rolled over.

"Course, I can't say that the other lads won't tell on you" said Garrard conversationly "Then Tupman will definitely thump you....."

The End.

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