APH: the heart talks in tongues and quiet sighs,
Beaten and bruised, she walks side by side with him, head held high, and he is still in awe. Burma is not much better than the muddy trenches of the Somme, but he can see her now, not crouching down, without a tin hat shielding her face, without the Lee-Enfield perpetually slung over her shoulder. She is weaker, he knows, because of the famine that has racked her land and her bones with sickness and hunger. Yet the difference is almost imperceptible; she stands toe to toe with any other, eyes still fiercely brilliant as ever.
He passes off his ever constant interest in her as a product of boredom. He does not accompany the scraggly infantry men to the nearest towns, charming and bedding the village girls. He, the blonde, blue eyed, wunderkind of England's litter, is still young, painfully so, compared to these empires of old, even to the men of the regiment, in terms of his personal growth. He can hold his own against any of them, this is never contested, yet the creeping feeling