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Story [TURN: Washington's Spies] Anna's Drabbles and More

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Tarsier, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Fandom: TURN: Washington's Spies (tv show)

    Genre: drabbles/flash fiction; introspection; missing scenes / alternate scenes

    Timeframe: mid-Season Two (1778)

    Characters: Anna Strong; mentions of others

    Notes: I wrote these on a whim after binge watching the show. I really love Anna's character, but I wish she had more agency. Alas, given the time period, I think any more agency would really challenge the historical accuracy (from what I understand, great liberties have been taken with her character already). It's rare that I write something completely canon compliant, but I think this is pretty close.

    The show weaves such a tangled web, it's really hard to distill the relationships and situations in a few words. I apologize if these don't make a lot of sense without knowing the show.



    Companion
    Major Hewlett was, to Anna’s great surprise, not a bad companion. When she had accepted his invitation of friendship, she had hoped, but not really expected, that he had enough honor that he would not threaten her virtue. It seemed that her hopes were fulfilled, he made no improper advances on her, and he even treated her with genuine kindness and respect. In a world without the war, she might even have come to call him a true friend.

    What a silly notion that was—how could there be a world without the war, when the war was the world?


    Avocation
    His interest in astronomy fascinated her. He could talk about stars and constellations for hours on end. She didn’t mind his lectures, but it always made her think there must have been much less to do in England, if people had time to name every pinpoint of light. In America, the earth provided plenty of work; there was no reason to gaze toward the stars.

    He was excited now, as he told her about some movement in the heavens. She smiled politely. He might have been an astronomer, if he hadn’t come to America to crush everything she held dear.

    ---

    Responsibility
    Anna slipped into the stable and approached Major Hewlett’s horses. His beloved Bucephalus was gone, but he still cared for the others and Anna had made it her responsibility to ensure they were cared for in his absence.

    She stroked the velvety muzzle of the nearest horse as her mind wandered. She’d hoped to hear from Caleb by now, hoped for confirmation that her letter had reached Washington and Abe would soon be free. She looked into the horse’s eye and had a sudden thought. She was sick of waiting. Maybe it was time to take matters into her own hands.


    Agency
    She could mount up and ride to see General Washington herself. He wouldn’t say no if she implored him in person, would he? After all she’d risked for him, he would have to grant her an audience. She would tell him what happened, explain everything. Then he would have to act, and act quickly. Anna’s eyes flitted around the stable, coming to rest on a saddle leaning against the wall across the aisle. She took a step towards it. She could do it, she had to. She couldn’t stand to sit idle one more day while Abe rotted away in prison.


    Reality
    Anna stopped short. Someone would surely notice her leaving and try to stop her. But maybe she could evade them. She reached for the saddle. Hesitated. She hadn’t ridden a horse since she was a girl, would she even remember how? She would figure it out, it couldn’t be that hard. She touched the leather. Even if she got out of town, she had no idea how to get to Washington. The forest was dangerous, even to those who knew their way. She backed up, the saddle still on the ground. She couldn’t possibly make it, not on her own.

    ---

    Alone
    Anna Strong had no allies. Abe was held prisoner far away. Caleb was silent. Before, she’d known there were Rebels in Setauket, even if they were hidden. Unseen, they’d been a comfort—if war were to suddenly erupt, she would have someone to run to. She could pick a side, declare her loyalty once and for all, and there would be others who stood beside her. But no longer. The others had fled. She had too, in fact. But the thought of leaving Abe alone had been too much and she had returned. Now Abe was gone.

    She stood alone.


    Reputation
    Her reputation was in tatters. Still married to a known Rebel. Gossip of an affair with a suspected Rebel. All the while being courted by a British officer. And now kicked out of White Hall, with nowhere left to go. She was trash to the townspeople, they scarcely even made eye contact with her.

    There was one person in all the town that did not despise Anna. The bitter irony was that he was the one man Anna despised above all others.

    How sly of Mary to know this. How cruel of Mary to turn that knowledge to her advantage.


    Nothing
    Mary was insistent—desperate—as she pleaded to Anna. Didn’t Mary realize that, as desperate and hopeless as Mary found herself, Anna was ten times moreso? She did. Of course she did.

    Anna had nothing. Nothing.

    But, she supposed, that meant she had nothing to lose.

    Still, what Mary suggested was abhorrent on a level that could hardly be described.

    Anna would do anything for Abe. Anything but that.

    Nothing. Nothing. Nothing to lose. The words churned in Anna’s mind until all she could see was one option. If there was only one, it wasn’t really an option, was it?


    Devil
    Abe was chained in a dark cellar. He was starving, he was sick, he was injured. He cried out in pain and no one comforted him. It had been a long time; his hope was nearly depleted.

    Anna blinked and swallowed hard, the image almost too much to bear. Resolutely, she approached the door—the threshold to hell. She paused, losing her nerve. She started to turn away, but then she saw Abe again—beaten, bloody, suffering.

    Every muscle in her body screamed for her to run in the opposite direction. She lifted her hand and knocked on the demon’s door.
     
  2. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I have such a love affair with this ridiculous show that it isn't even funny, so I had quite the grin on my face when I saw that you posted these. Anna is a character near and dear to my heart - and I echo your wishes of the show writers giving her more agency. There are moments when I am fist-pumping for her character, and then, all too often . . . nothing. But, you can honestly make that argument about a lot of the female representation on the show, and that is not the rant I meant to have here. ;) Ahem.

    Because your drabbles are beautiful. I especially liked Companion and Avocation - Anna/Hewlett was a delightful surprise in the plot, and you really captured what I liked about them in a few words. I particularly liked: What a silly notion that was—how could there be a world without the war, when the war was the world? That was a beautiful line, both in general and for Anna in particular. She's really given everything up during and for the war.

    I also liked your mid-drabbles where she was contemplating riding herself to Valley Forge and forcing matters along. It's hard to sit and wait, to seemingly do nothing - and for the one thing she can do to be such a terrible, intimate thing only adds to that feeling of trapped hopelessness, and I liked how you described her fear/revulsion of going to Simcoe. Really, well done. =D=

    I definitely look forward to more of these if you have them to share. =D=
     
    Tarsier likes this.
  3. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    I originally got the show for my dad, as a Father's Day gift. I figured I'd sit through a couple episodes with him on Father's Day and then let him finish the rest by himself. But I got totally hooked! It's great to see another fan! :D

    I have this weird urge to write some sort of crazy crossover, putting Anna in a more modern time period and letting her really bloom. But I have other stories to write, I don't need crazy plot bunnies!

    Thanks! I'm really glad the characterization rang true. I wasn't expecting Anna/Hewlett either, and I certainly wasn't expecting to grow to actually like him!

    Thank you! The ultimate irony, of course, is that involving Simcoe was a terrible idea. It seemed like a bad idea and it certainly proved to be a bad idea. That's why I worked to show how desperate and out of options she really was. And of course I had to make sure it was clear it was Mary's idea. :p

    You really shouldn't encourage me. :p Well, I couldn't resist playing out what might have happened if Anna did go to Valley Forge. I apologize that this was written rather quickly and I didn't research the details as much as I would have liked (I'm not caught up with the show yet and keep running into spoilers trying to look up what seem like innocuous details). Also, I have no idea how to write Washington. Anyway, here we go:

    This is of course very AU...

    The Devil's Work

    Anna closed the distance between her and Washington. “Why have you not sent the letter yet? Ben said he gave you my letter days ago.”

    Ben threw a nervous glance toward Caleb. She’s going to get me court-martialed. He shifted, not sure whether to approach the confrontation or keep his post by the door.

    Anna had been trembling as Ben and Caleb led her to Washington’s quarters. Ben had wanted to believe she trembled with fear or nervousness, but now he was fairly certain it had been more like frustration bordering on rage. He’d tried to get her to sit and calm down, but she was having none of it. And she’d created such a commotion in the camp he’d decided it was best just to get this over with quickly. Now, he was questioning that decision.

    Washington, seated at his desk looked up. First, his gaze settled on Anna. Then Caleb. And finally Ben. “Who is this?”

    Anna spoke before Ben had a chance. “Seven-one-seven. Anna Strong. One of your spies in Setauket. Your only spy in Setauket at the moment. Demanding that you lift your fingers and sign a simple letter to free Abraham, the spy who is—”

    Failed spy.” Washington rushed to his feet, his hands slamming on the desk. Then he stepped around the desk, a finger pointed at Anna. “His information is erratic and too often lacks context. His commitment to the cause is in serious doubt. Oh, and lest we forget, he got himself caught.”

    Caleb twitched by the door, as Washington leaned over Anna. Ben swallowed hard. If this went sideways… He would protect Anna. Of course he would. But he couldn’t raise a hand to General Washington. Caleb on the other hand…

    It was quite ironic—probably the only three people in the whole camp who truly supported Washington were a hair’s breadth from coming to fisticuffs with him.

    Ben had momentarily stopped listening to Washington’s rant, but he refocused when the General's voice rose several decibels.

    “You would release a murderer, a war criminal of the highest order—”

    “Major Hewlett is hardly a war criminal. He is an honorable man.”

    Ben cringed inwardly. He couldn’t believe Anna stood before him, arguing with General Washington. This couldn’t possibly end well, could it? Then again, Anna did have a way of making men do things they wouldn’t normally do. Such as bringing a barmaid from a loyalist town to the middle of Valley Forge to accost the top General of the Continental army…

    Washington stared down at Anna. “He snuck into a Continental outpost at night. Slit the throat of an officer. Wrote a note and signed his name in the man’s blood. He cut out the man’s tongue and pinned it to his desk. You call that an honorable man?!

    Anna’s eyes narrowed as Washington breathed down on her. “No. It wasn’t Major Hewlett. I know him. When did this supposedly happen, anyway? Hewlett has not set foot outside of Setauket in years. He holds court all day in the church he turned into a stable. At night he eats pork and drinks wine in the Magistrate’s house. He has no interest in lurking around the darkened woods to bloody his hands.”

    “The men in the captain’s command deserve to see justice done for this atrocious crime. This is the devil’s work. The man who did this deserves death. If you are blinded—”

    Anna had seemed to stop listening. She stared at the ground and whispered, “Devil’s work?” She turned abruptly toward Ben. “Devil’s work? It was Simcoe! This is your fault! If you’d killed him as you promised…”

    Anna closed in on Ben, even faster than she’d pounced on Washington. Caleb stepped aside. As a rule, he wouldn’t let anyone mess with Ben but himself. Anna was an exception. Besides, Caleb had wanted to shoot Simcoe, and Ben had insisted they keep him alive. Caleb had already caught heat from Anna for it, it was about time Ben got the same.

    Anna’s fists rained down on Ben. He ducked, but did not fight her. He tried to think, to see if Anna’s words could be true, but it was hard while being assaulted. “Anna, please! I’m sorry! Anna…”

    “STOP IT!” Washington’s voice cut across the room. Anna ceased her assault on Ben.

    “Control your guest,” Washington snarled at Caleb.

    Caleb took Anna’s hand, though she had calmed.

    “What say you to this?” Washington’s tone was sharp as he addressed Ben.

    “It…it could be. She does know both of them better than I do. Simcoe was…I believe he was unaccounted for at the time. Sir.”

    “Knows them a whole lot better, if the rumors are to be believed.” Caleb could not resist the quick barb, which earned him such a glare from Anna he almost regretted it.

    With a growl, Washington returned to his desk. As he began to sign a letter, he barked, “Get me the postman!”

    “Yes, sir!” Ben, Caleb, and Anna scrambled out the door.

    ~ * ~
    Breathless, the three childhood friends gathered by the horses.

    “I still can’t believe you stole Major Hewlett’s horse,” Caleb commented.

    “The Major won’t care,” Anna responded as she pet the horse’s nose.

    “Of course. Because you’re his close personal friend, right?”

    Anna huffed, but did not respond.

    “Anyway, you are so lucky I found you out in that forest.”

    “I would have found my way.”

    “No. You wouldn’t have.”

    “Never mind that,” Ben cut-off any further bickering, “But Anna, you cannot do anything like this ever again. You could have been killed. And I still don’t know what kind of trouble I’m in.”

    “I was desperate! I hadn’t heard anything from you.”

    “In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the middle of waging a war here.” Ben gestured to the tents and soldiers around them. “We don’t have time to stop by and chat with you every day.”

    “You think I don’t realize that? You think I know nothing of war? I live in a house with Major Hewlett, Abe’s father, and Mary. You think that is comfortable for me? Or easy? My battlefield may not look like yours, but I am fighting every day.”

    Ben was silent. After a moment, Anna continued.

    “That’s not quite right. I don’t live in that house anymore. Abe’s father threw me out after Hewlett was captured. Now I live in a root cellar, working in the tavern I used to own. The last person I spoke to who wasn’t placing an order was Mary. And she very nearly convinced me to go to Simcoe for help.” Anna spat the name, her voice full of venom, her eyes full of tears.

    Caleb snorted. “Simcoe? How would you even get him to help you?”

    Anna looked levelly at Caleb, her jaw set despite the dampness in her eyes. It took him only a second to understand. “Anna!”

    “I will do what I must. I will give all I have to the cause.”

    “I’m sorry, Anna.” Ben looked down and rolled a rock to the side with the toe of his boot. He looked up, finding Anna’s gaze. “We’ll communicate as much as we can. But often we simply can’t. Abe will be released soon. You won’t be alone much longer.”

    Anna nodded, gathering the reins of her horse. “Let’s go,” she said, pulling herself into the saddle.

    Caleb mounted his own horse. He tipped his hat to Ben before charging into the forest beside Anna.
     
  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Well then, I am more than happy to be a bad influence as to your further posting. ;) Because I did like this what-if! Anna certainly had a fair bit of fortitude and guts to march up to Washington and force the matter like that - that's not an easy feat to do! I was with Ben in holding my breath and wincing, and my but did she put her fingers right where a sore spot already was for him to abandon his cool and let his temper so loose - wow. Great, charged dialogue all around! But I'm glad that her insight into both Simcoe and Hewlett were able to aid Washington in coming to a conclusion earlier than in canon. She certainly circumvented a lot of pain and indecision that way. =D=

    But the best part of this for me was the childhood friends interacting. Just:

    “I still can’t believe you stole Major Hewlett’s horse,” Caleb commented.

    “The Major won’t care,” Anna responded as she pet the horse’s nose.

    “Of course. Because you’re his close personal friend, right?”

    [face_laugh] Yep, only Caleb. [face_laugh]

    I highly enjoyed this, and am looking forward to anything more you have to share! =D=
     
    Tarsier likes this.
  5. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Mira_Jade Thank you so, so much for your comments! I really didn't expect anyone at all to read this. You kind comments have been a very pleasant surprise. :cool:

    I really don't know what to think of Washington at this point. I hope he seemed somewhat in character here, he's something of an enigma to me.

    But I'm glad that her insight into both Simcoe and Hewlett were able to aid Washington in coming to a conclusion earlier than in canon. She certainly circumvented a lot of pain and indecision that way.

    Watching Washington agonize over that decision was, well, agonizing. "Valley Forge" is definitely my least favorite episode, I was glad to be able to circumvent it. :)