A/N: This may be a one-shot, it may not. Depends what response (comments) I get. I got bored, I wrote this. Just a conversation, in essence.
"I cannot hope to understand the pride you take in being attacked with a brush." Foggy sighed, raising himself from the grass on one elbow.
"It's an expression of her undying love for me!" Compo declared, grinning.
"How did you work that out?" Foggy asked, incredulous, though also slightly amused.
Compo sat upright, gazing out at the countryside, and then glancing at Foggy and Clegg; the latter appearing at first glance to be asleep. "Well-"
"Here we go." Foggy sighed, turning to Clegg for help, whose lips twitched in a half-smile.
"WELL," Compo repeated, adding volume for dramatic effect, glaring at Foggy, who pointedly ignored him. "I was reading this magazine t'other day-"
"Directly from the wise man of the paper shop counter." Clegg didn't open his eyes. He could guess their facial expressions anyway, and the sun was awfully bright when positioned directly in his eyes. "I must say I'm impressed."
Foggy chuckled. Compo stuck his tongue out childishly.
"AND it said that some women, if they like a bloke, make sure they seem to hate him as much as possible." Compo continued, grinning. "Makes 'em harder to get."
"Harder to get?" Foggy asked, one eyebrow raised. "How could Nora Batty be any harder to get? And who'd want to spend the time trying?" He scoffed, looking at the smirking Clegg, who also chuckled quietly.
"That's the point, you great prawn! It's all to see how much I care!"
Clegg's smirk grew. "If we apply that same principle to all people who seem to hate you, Foggy must be secretly your most fervent admirer." There was a brief pause.
Simultaneously, both Compo and Clegg burst out laughing, but the former "Corporal" endeavoured to look as regal and dignified as was physically possible. If there was one thing he couldn't stand, it was people laughing at him.
"I'd be more inclined to think the main reason so many people despise you is due to your general...condition. Most notably, your attire." Foggy's gaze was fixed on the hills opposite. Clegg's eyes opened, just enough to see what was going on. It was getting interesting.
"Oh Norm, I don't think my attire is up to military standards!" Compo raised a hand to his forehead, and pretended to faint with shock and shame. He never got tired of mocking that prawn, Foggy.
Clegg chuckled, and Compo leapt to his feet and began marching across Foggy's line of vision, cluttering the view in Foggy's opinion.
"One, two, three, four- on your feet soldier!" He pointed at Clegg, who covered convincingly.
"Yes you sir! On your feet!" Compo's accent was now a remarkably plausible impression of a certain Dewhurst.
With synonymous smirks on their faces, Clegg and Compo marched back and forth in a disorganised attempt at military impersonation.
"No, no, no, you're doing it all wrong!" Foggy returned to the land of the living and rose to his feet. "It's left foot first, get it together chaps!"
"'ere, Norm." The marching duo stopped.
"He's got an idea again." Compo muttered.
"How can you tell?" Clegg whispered back, watching Foggy cautiously.
"He looks like a right prawn." Compo declared, and Foggy glared at him.
"I can hear what you're saying." The latter drew himself up to his superhuman height and tried to retain his dignity. "And I do not take advice regarding my appearance from the small scruffy person."
"'Ere's some more advice an' all." Compo made his favourite gesture, and Foggy chuckled.
"So articulate!" He chuckled.
Clegg shrugged. "You have to admit, he is talented at getting his point across using only two fingers. That must take great skill."
"It does Norm!" Compo nodded.
Foggy turned his back and took a few steps up the slope. "Come along you lot, I've had an idea."
Clegg and Compo exchanged glances, that plainly held anticipation.
"What is it this time Foggy?" Clegg ventured to ask.
"You'll see soon enough." Foggy replied, beginning to walk. He paused at the top of the slope and glanced down at the other two men, who hadn't moved an inch. "Come along, that man!"
Clegg reluctantly began to follow, and Compo sighed theatrically and did the same.
"I have never known anyone with such aversions to innovations!" Foggy tapped his fingers impatiently on his stick.
"Oh, it's not the innovations we have an aversion to!" Clegg replied, reaching to top of the slope. "It's just the work we object to."
"Rubbish! Some exercise in the fresh air will do us the world of good!"
Compo and Clegg paused for a moment, as Foggy began to walk down the road.
"Yes, scruffy person?"
"Shu' up." Compo dug his hands into his pockets. "You know his schemes always get us up shit creek?"
"Indisputably." Clegg agreed, adjusting the plastic mac he carries habitually over his arm.
Compo frowned, his expression one of extreme scrutiny, gaze fixed on Foggy's back. "Then why do we do it?"
Clegg shrugged, and began to meander along in Foggy's wake. "It's something to do I suppose."
There was a pause as the shorter character considered this. "Aye." Compo followed, chuckling as Foggy turned around and saw them, now about three hundred metres behind.
"If you men walked any slower, you'd stall!" He called over his shoulder, pausing to wait for them to catch up.
"Oi! We can't all have giraffe legs!"
"Perhaps," Clegg continued, drawing nearer, "you could consider slowing down a bit."
Foggy laughed. "You wouldn't last three minutes in the jungle. Route marches, mosquitoes, low branches-"
"Thou's never been in the jungle!" Compo shouted, now nearer.
"Keep your voice down! You're disturbing the wildlife."
Compo scoffed. "The only wildlife I care about disturbing is Nora Batty." He passed Foggy and continued to amble along, leaving Foggy to join Clegg.
"You know, we really ought to do something about him." Foggy jabbed a finger at the smallest member of the trio.
Clegg considered for a moment. "Well, we could always try and fit him in a washing machine."
"And damage that machine irreparably?" Foggy's tone was belligerent. "Think of all the dirt he's accumulated over the years, no machine could withstand that."
"Not many humans can." Clegg grinned. "You must have quite the immune system." He nodded to Compo, almost in admiration.
"That's right, I have Norm!" Compo turned around and began to walk backwards.
Foggy coughed. "Well he must have a sturdy constitution to stomach chasing after Nora Batty all the time."
"'Ere! Don't you go insulting my love!" Compo waved a threatening finger.
Clegg intervened. "Be fair, she is a rather...powerful influence."
"Ah, she is Norm." Compo paused, and rested a leg on the nearby stone wall bordering the road. "That she is." He gazed out like a lovesick puppy, and the other two continued walking.
Glancing back, Clegg wondered aloud. "Do you think he'll move from there?"
"Oh, not for a while." Foggy replied, unperturbed.
"He might not know where to find us." Clegg continued.
Foggy laughed. "Oh, I suppose we can dream. But his type of people don't tend to give up easily. They're hardy little devils, and I swear sometimes that man has a homing beacon."
Clegg joined in the laughter, and the sound of feet made them both turn, and jump with surprise.
Compo was stood directly behind them, grinning like an idiot. "I 'eard that."
Foggy staggered backwards, but regained composure quickly. "How many times do I have to tell you- I can't be responsible for my actions if you take me by surprise!"
"I've an action for thee." Compo repeated his favoured gesture, and began to walk again.
There was a pause of silence as the trio ambled along in a line.
"Out of professional interest, where exactly are we going?" Clegg asked, after a few minutes of lapsed conversation.
"Wherever it is, I hope it involves Nora Batty!"
Foggy sighed. "It most definitely does not involve Nora Batty! You should leave the poor woman alone."
This set Clegg chuckling with sheer regalement. "Poor woman? Nora Batty? If he tackles her, I feel more sorry for him!"
"Perhaps that is true." Foggy acquiesced.
"Well, if it don't involve Nora Batty, what about the cafe?" Compo inquired, fiddling in his pocket as he did so.
Foggy paused. "Yes, actually. We need to discuss this latest idea of mine."
"Did that sound foreboding to anyone else, or just me?" Clegg asked, cautiously.
"Nah, t'were just you Norm." Compo retrieved a small bundle of string from his pocket and balanced it on his palm. "Ivy may not be quite the Nora Batty, but she's pretty handy with a tray."
"We don't wish to hear that." Foggy reprimanded, in a tired tone. "And what is that?" He nodded at the string.
"This?" Compo waved it in the taller man's face.
"Yes that, now will you put it away?" Foggy raised a handkerchief to his face.
"Is thou afraid of string?"
"Of course not!" Foggy wiped his face and replaced his linen square in a pocket. "I would just rather not touch it. I don't know where it's been."
"Course thou does, t'were in my pocket!"
"Upon reflection, I'd rather not have known. Any other scenario would have been preferable than your pocket."
"Norm!" Compo turned to his friend. "What's he saying about my pockets?"
"I think Foggy is implying that they may be in need of decontamination." Clegg replied, observing the hills all around with great interest.
"Oh." Compo shrugged and returned the string to his pocket. "Per'aps he's right."
"Of course I'm right!" Foggy gestured at Compo's threadbare clothing. "But it needs more than decontamination, it needs burning."
"What's thou trying to say?" Compo stopped, and glared up at Foggy.
Foggy laughed. "Oh nothing, nothing at all." His voice was unimpressed and mildly sarcastic.
"Norm, I think he's mocking me!"
"I never doubted it." Clegg replied, also stopping in his tracks.
Foggy and Compo glared at each other, standing in the middle of the road. Clegg noticed a glint as a large van appeared around the corner behind them.
The arguing pair turned and started to run as the van skidded to a halt, and a familiar face poked out of the window. "You dozy prawns! I could've run you over."
The face appeared to reconsider. "And thinking about it, I'll come round again. Get back to where you were."
Compo laughed and placed his grubby hands on the passenger's window which was rolled down surprisingly quickly. "Get your hands off my window."
"Aww, come on Sid, be a mate." Compo's slightly toothless grin merely caused Sid to sigh.
"Get in. But you can leave your ferrets outside; I'm not the bloody RSPCA."
"Thanks mate." Compo climbed into the front, and the other two shuffled onto the back seat.
Sid turned around to face them. "And you'll be dropped off at the cafe; I'm not a bloody taxi."
"I should hope not in this; you'd take up all the parking spaces at the airport." Clegg interjected, and Sid rolled his eyes and turned back to face the front.
"You lot must be the three doziest dollops I've ever met." The van began to move. "And yet you still manage to be in control of your own lives. A bloody miracle."
"Be fair, I lost control of my life for thirty years." Clegg replied, watching a nearby chip pan very warily. He had a feeling it meant him harm.
"And I had very little control during the war!" Compo added.
Sidney snorted. "Well that t'were different. Then there was something to do."
"I was a Corporal! I should think I'd be in charge of my own life." Foggy was also watching that chip pan cautiously.
"Don't knock it 'til you've tried it." Sid swerved, and the chip pan teetered. "You, lucky bastard, have never been married."
"I never found cause to be married."
"Wise bastard." Sid muttered.
Compo laughed. "Foggy Dewhurst, wise? How many sane decisions has he taken in the past year?"
"A fair few, actually." Foggy drew himself up proudly.
"And how many times have they nearly got me killed or mortally injured?" Compo continued, turning round slightly.
"That was your own fault. The plan was perfect. It was only the help that was substandard."
"I'll remember that, next time you want someone to drive you about." Sid called from the front seat.
Compo turned around completely. "Nice one, pillock. You've hurt his feelings."
"Hurt Sidney's feelings?" Clegg chuckled. "You might have got us banned from the cafe, Foggy."
Foggy sniffed, attempting to look as dignified as possible. "Surely paying customers are always welcome?"
The other three roared with laughter. "Firstly," Sid began, "you dozy prawns are never welcome. Secondly-"
"Thou never pays if thou can help it!" Compo shouted at Foggy, who visibly recoiled.
"I must agree Foggy, you are somewhat over cautious with money." Clegg added.
Foggy frowned. "I am nothing of the sort. I simply choose not to squander it."
"You should try it sometime." Compo replied. "It's fun."
"I'm sure." Foggy was entirely unconvinced, and stared out of the window in silence.
"Maybe when Foggy's a bit tipsy, he's looser with money..." Clegg mused.
"Is he heck!" Compo roared with laughter.
Sidney joined in the laughter. "Foggy Dewhurst, loose with money? That's about as likely as him and Nora Batty." He gestured at Compo with a thumb.
"'Ang on, what are you trying to say?"
Clegg interrupted. "Nothing. He said nothing."
"I'm not asking thee!" Compo told Norman, turning back to Sid. "I'm asking thee."
Sidney laughed, but made no reply.
"You shouldn't distract him when he's driving." Clegg protested. "I do hate it when you distract people when they're driving!"
"Calm down Norm." Compo turned to face him again. "I am just asking Sid-"
This was interrupted by a screeching of brakes and a yell of "Pillock!" from Sidney, which Foggy and Clegg both took to mean 'cling on for dear life'.
The van skidded to a halt and Sidney yelled at the man in the green car who'd pulled out of nowhere. "You dozy prong!"
Clegg and Foggy glanced at each other, then both stared at the passenger seat.
"Where is he?" Clegg asked. "Did he go through the windscreen?"
A disgruntled and scruffy face popped up from beneath the seat.
"Do you think he's alright?" Clegg whispered to Foggy.
The face emerged and jumped out of the chip van, glaring at the man in the green car. "YOU GREAT DOZY-" He slammed the door with a grubby hand, and rushed at the other driver, as Sid jumped out the other side, torn between helping Compo strangle the other man, or removing Compo's grubby hands from around the aforementioned man's airpipe. So he chose to lean on the side of the van and observe, chuckling and wincing in equal measure.
The two remaining inhabitants of the van pressed their noses to the right-hand window, watching in silence. After a rather ominous crunch, Clegg turned away, shielding his face with his mac. "I can't look!"
Foggy laughed. "I reckon he's fine. Can't vouch for the man in the other car, but I think the little scruff will survive."