Title: King and Country
Author: Thesseli
Fandom: Blackadder
Timeline: Blackadder Goes Forth, soon after 'General Hospital'.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters -- I'm just borrowing
them. No money is being made, and no snotty Englishment were
harmed in the writing of this fanfic.


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King and Country
Part One: I Want to Break Free



The sun's rays were just beginning their half-hearted illumination of the dank prison cell
when Captain Edmund Blackadder awoke, with the vague sensation that his slumber had
not been restful. He was aware that his dreams had been peopled with strange figures,
figures he could only half remember, as if they were characters from a book he'd read
many years before. Yet somehow they were more real than that. It was almost as
though they were trying to tell him something, trying to get some kind of message
through…

"Oh, bloody hell," he groaned, as he suddenly came fully awake. Now that
consciousness had returned, he had no trouble remembering -- and he sincerely wished
that the dreams he'd had were just dreams, and not the hazy recollections of the night
before. He covered his head with his pillow and groaned again.

"You all right in there, Captain?" called a voice from outside.

"Yes, yes, I'm all right," he spat. "Why shouldn't I be all right? After all, I've just been
humiliated by a roomful of MP's, visiting me during intimacies with a lovely young lady
ambulance driver -- how was I to know she was General Melchett's niece? -- and arrested
in the nude, no less, by that gawking desk jockey Kevin Darling, and then stripped of my
command! So, private, why shouldn't I be all right?"

"Um…'cause they're comin' to get you out now, sir?" offered the thoroughly chastened
enlisted man.

At that moment, the pompous voice of Captain Kevin Darling wafted into the holding
cell through the barred door. It seemed that he was speaking to someone who had arrived
with him; Blackadder raised himself to an elbow to listen.

"…and now perhaps Captain Blackadder will learn that a bit more decorum is expected
of an officer in the British army. He should be more like you, sir…no wonder they gave
you his unit. Congratulations on your new command."

Blackadder could have shredded the moth-eaten prison blanket with his bare hands. //My
replacement?// he thought indignantly. //They bring my replacement here to collect me?
How could they have found someone so quickly? It would have to be someone at least
equal to my rank, and I don't know of any new officers to be assigned here. It's not that
paper-pusher of Melchett's, so--//

"Thanks, Captain, but there's nothing about this command to congratulate me for -- not
yet, anyway. Only a loser like Blackadder would have been satisfied with it…ah, I can't
wait to get back to my own unit, flying free through the clouds, blasting the Germans to
Kingdom Come and sending their pilots to fiery death on the unfeeling earth below…"

Blackadder's head whipped around in shock. He sprang up from his cot and peered out
the cell door at the figures in the hall. //That voice, that contemptuous, oh-so-arrogant
voice -- it's not possible, they couldn't have given my command to *him*…//

Beside Captain Darling, a tall, blondish man stood, decked out in the tight-fitting and
stylish uniform of the Royal Flying Corps. His arm was in a sling and he was surveying
the holding area with obvious distaste.

"Flasheart," he gasped in disbelief. He backed away from the door and cast his eyes
heavenward. "There is," he muttered to himself, "no justice in this world." Blackadder
had taken malicious pleasure in the news that the egotistic pilot had been shot down
during the past week, but on the whole he'd hoped never to hear the name of Lord
Flasheart ever again…much less encounter him in person. Worse yet, it now seemed he
would be serving under him. He shuddered involuntarily at the wording. His short stint
in the Flying Corps had been unpleasant, to put it mildly; this would undoubtedly be even
more unbearable. He grimaced as the men outside approached his cell.

"Well, well, if it isn't Captain Blackadder," purred Darling, smiling like the proverbial
Cheshire Cat. "I hardly recognized you, with your clothes on."

The prisoner just glared wordlessly, although this seemed to amuse the other man even
more.

"I suppose you could say that I caught you with your pants down, 'eh, Captain?" Darling
continued, chuckling to himself.

"How lucky for you that doing so brought some measure of amusement to your otherwise
dreary life," he retorted smoothly. "Have you come to get me out, or are you just here to
relive fond memories of annoying the animals at London Zoo?"

Darling's eyes narrowed. "The general wants you to be released. At first I advised against
it…until I found out what was in store for you."

"Oh?" he asked suspiciously. "And what, pray tell, is in store for me?"

"Not just you, Blackadder, but also for the men formerly under your command,"
Flasheart replied briskly, finally condescending to speak to him. "You've been replaced
by a more competent officer, someone who's not so stupid as to be caught with the niece
of his commanding general; and someone who's guaranteed to have your men whipped
into shape in no time. Got to separate the wheat from the chaff, 'eh? Can't have any
slackers in *my* unit," the pilot said, staring pointedly through the bars at the cell's lone
occupant.

The Captain held his temper admirably, he thought, and said through tightly clenched
teeth, "May I point out that it is highly irregular to give a ground assignment to a member
of the Royal Flying Corps, particularly the command of an infantry unit?"

"Melchett's orders," the pilot retorted. "And what he says goes, even if he *is* mad as a
mongoose. But cheer up, it's only temporary -- just until this heals," here he gestured
towards his injured arm, "Or until they send Melchett a permanent replacement.
Whichever."

Blackadder considered this. "They'll never find another officer before your arm is
completely healed," he pointed out.

"Then I guess I'll be gracing you with my presence until they do." Flasheart grinned at
him. "And as an added bonus, I'm sure that all those lovely ladies at the field hospital
will be glad to hear that *I'll* be sticking around, if you get my drift -- woof woof!"

The dark-haired man moaned inwardly as the door to his cell was unlocked and he was
led to freedom…or as much freedom as he could enjoy under Flasheart. So immersed
was the Captain his own misery that he almost missed what (oddly enough) sounded like
the word 'roses' in the middle of Flasheart's lewd ramblings...