Faux Pas
By Visage

It has been a while since I've written anything besides Lesson Plans. Like. A LONG while. I've been re-lurking in this fandom for a while, but only recently caught a plot bunny of my very own to submit, even if it is a little silly. Sadly, I own nothing, nothing! No offence or infringement is intended.

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He was answered by the distinctive clatter of silverware on tin.

At least a dozen pairs of eyes were fixed on him, ranging from wide shock and surprise to not-so-well-hidden amusement. He tried to swallow, a thick lump congealing in this throat before settling like lead in the pit of his stomach. He sputtered and coughed, desperately trying to find the words to make his latest blunder right, even if he wasn't entirely certain what he had done to begin with.

Sergeant Andrew J. Carter was no stranger to putting his rather large foot into his average sized mouth. It was not usually a planned offence, and never intended to be malicious. Yet no matter how hard he tried, eventually he ended up with a bloody nose and a black eye when meeting new people.

Why, there was this one time when he was walking home from school with his cousin, Davy. It had been a hot day, especially for mid-spring, and the light jacket he had left with that morning-

His thoughts were interrupted when a quick hand grabbed the sleeve of his flight jacket and yanked him off the communal bench with a little more force than was necessary, thank-you-very-much. Before he could get his wits about him he was bundled out the door and into the main compound, a string of angry French words following. The barrack door closed with a resounding slam as soon as he crossed the threshold, nearly catching his backside in its wake.

Immediately Cater began to replay the past few days, especially the last twenty minutes or so back in his mind, skimming even the tiniest detail for a clue. The men of Stalag 13 had been friendly and welcoming to their newest resident, as friendly and welcoming as one could expect when one was being held captive. He was still adjusting to the reality that he was a Prisoner of the German Luftwaffe, miles behind enemy lines in what had been described as the toughest camp in all of Germany. No hope of escape, even less hope of rescue. The first few nights had been haunted by bad dreams and a chill that settled in his bones.

That afternoon had melted into twilight as the men huddled around the stove, trying to conserve what little heat there was. They were in a final round of gin when Louis LeBeau, their resident gourmet, began clanking his pots and pans around in earnest. The delicious smell that wafted from the little stove had been tickling Cater's nose for the past half an hour, distracting him just enough to miss his chance to call "Gin" and win the entire pot.

"C'est fini! Supper anyone?" LeBeau dusted his hands on the apron tied around his waist before setting them on his hips. His chest puffed out in pride, giving the little Frenchman the illusion of a few extra inches of height. He couldn't help but wonder if that was intentional or subconscious. There was a guy he knew back home who was around the same height. All through High School he had the best posture of the whole graduating class and all the other fellas thought it was on account of his lack of height-

"Cor, Andrew!" Carter was torn away from his tangent of thoughts for the second time in less than five minutes. A long arm settled around his shoulders, belying the angry English voice that it was attached to. "Of all the ruddy stupid things to say, why did you ever pick that!"

"I didn't mean anything!" Cater sputtered. "Honest! Not on purpose, at least…" His voice trailed off as his eyes shifted to the ground. "What did I even do?"

Peter Newkirk heaved a great sigh, his eyes rolling heavenward. He muttered something under his breath about a divine deity before continuing. "It wasn't exactly you, Mate. I promise. Frenchmen are passionate people. It's all that wine, women and song that muddles their brains, see? And our Louis, see he got a double dose of that burning passion by some stroke of luck. He didn't mean half the things he shouted at you. At least I don't think he did."

"I guess it's a good thing I can't speak French. I can't be mad about what I can't translate!" Carter tried to grin at the Corporal, but instead was met with Newkirk holding his hand over his eyes and slowly shaking his head.

"Whelp, the good news is that Louis won't let you starve. Probably. …Especially if the Colonel orders him not too. And thankfully he's the forgiving sort, for an officer. And thankfully LeBeau is fairly obedient when it comes to the Gov'nor's orders… even though he sometimes holds grudges.

"Golly." Carter shrugged. He looked up at Newkirk, genuinely puzzled. "All that because of one little request for ketchup?"