The Art of Ungentlemanly Warfare

the artist; (c) Edmund Miller; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Edmund Miller; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Grant finds De Lancey asleep in his office chair with his boots on Grant’s desk, so Grant thinks it only fair to kick the chair away from the desk until it wakes him up.

“Is there a reason you’re in my office?” he asks, dropping a stack of reports down with a thud.  “Or are you just here for a quiet place to kip?”

De Lancey stretches lazily, his pale blue uniform shirt pulling tight across his chest.  “I’ve got news for you actually.  They’re sending you a new magician.”

Title: The Art of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Author: Owl_by_Night

Characters: De Lancey/Wellington, John Childermass/John Segundus, Colquhoun Grant/Jonathan Strange

Summary: Team Peninsular reimagined as combatants in World War 2.


Chapter 1: With World War II raging, a unit of the Special Operations Executive is dedicated to the use of magical espionage. They are Arthur’s Ungentlemanly Magicians.

Chapter 2: Very few people have a good night’s sleep and Jonathan Strange joins the unit.

Chapter 3: Strange arrives on a mysterious airfield in East Anglia and meets the rest of the Peninsulads. It does not got go quite as he imagined it.

Chapter 4: The team are sent to France to rescue Arthur and nothing goes according to plan. They also go to the pub, where everything goes according to Childermass’ plan.

Chapter 5: After the catastrophe of the last mission to France, plans are made, Strange gets his chance to shine and Childermass discovers that not all is as it seems behind enemy lines.

Chapter 6: An interlude from espionage. After events in France, leave is taken and three couples spend the weekend together.

Chapter 7: Leave comes to an end and the boys return. Meetings are held and Strange gets his new assignment.

Chapter 8: Cold weather and worry make for short tempers but fortunately there are phone calls from home and visits North to make things better.

Chapter 9: A mission is planned and Jonathan makes his first trip to wartime France.

Chapter 10: Death, and the aftermath

Chapter 11: Plans are made, explosives set and someone is going to get a shock…

Chapter 12: Dealing with the consequences

Chapter 13: The rescue mission

Chapter 14: The first twenty four hours after the mission.

Chapter 15: (The continuing repercussions of the mission).

Chapter 16: William adjusts, Arthur plans and Arabella enters negotiations.

Chapter 17: William goes back to work and Grant and Jonathan finally get some time alone.

Chapter 18: Arthur deals with a visit from Section X and Segundus does the magic.

Chapter 19: William deals with Arthur’s boys visiting, there are changes for the Ungentlemanly magicians, and thoughts turn to the future.

Chapter 20: An anniversary.

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Related Posts

(Listed in chronological order relative to the timeline of the main story).

The Great War: The impact of the Great War on the characters in The Art of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

Learning to Dance: Vignette set in the 1920s, when De Lancey and Grant were at school together.

Recruitment: 500 words to tell the story of how William came to be working for Special Operations Executive.

Grant: Five minute challenge backstory fic, set just after Grant returns to England, having escaped from captivity in occupied Europe.

It’s the Coat: Short fic set some time before Jonathan joined the Ungentlemanly Magicians, which also touches on the incident that Grant referred to in Chapter 9.

Emma and Walter: Cut scene from Chapter 15.

Arthur: At the end of Chapter 15, Laura has written to Arthur (cut scene).

In Dreams: Short snippet in which Grant dreams about the flight back from France when William was injured.

A Cornish Meeting: Grant meets Jonathan on his return from an overseas mission.

An Ungentlemanly Wager: Some time after Ungentlemanly Warfare ends, Merlin unwisely makes a bet with William.

Like Father, Like Daughter: Grant, Jonathan and Arabella raise a family after the war.

A Bath by Candlelight

bath by candlelight

Grant does not see Jonathan when he first enters the room. He is facing towards the window, already stripped and in his bath.  Jonathan, standing in the doorway from the servants’ corridor, allows himself the indulgence of watching for a moment.  Grant is efficient in his washing as befits a military man, scrubbing a cloth briskly over his arms to remove the dust of his journey. He has strong arms, strong enough to hold a man of Jonathan’s size down if he chooses, and the water curls around the curve of his muscles. It is an appealing sight.

Title: A Bath by Candlelight

Author: Owl_by_Night

Characters: Colquhoun Grant/Jonathan Strange

Summary: After a long journey, Major Grant takes a bath.

Author’s Notes: Set in canon-era, some time between the Peninsula and Waterloo, Grant pays Jonathan a visit at Ashfair. After the long journey there it seemed right that he have a relaxing bath, but Jonathan has other ideas.

Recently fengirl88 gave me the prompt ‘sharing a bath’ and this is the result.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own

An Unexpected Vision

unexpected vision

“What the devil -?” Strange stared in bewilderment at the picture in his silver basin. He had been quite clear in his intention to find Lord Wellington’s whereabouts, so why was the wretched thing showing him Major Grant in a state of undress? If magic was beginning to play tricks on him, the consequences did not bear thinking about.

Grant lay on a bed such as Strange had not seen in many months; the room must be in some hotel. He was wearing his shirt and (as far as Strange could see) nothing else. Strange knew he should dismiss the vision and try again, but it was difficult not to let his gaze linger over the Major’s bare legs, or to refrain from admiring his well-shaped calves and powerful thighs.

Title: An Unexpected Vision

Author: fengirl88

Characters: William De Lancey/Colquhoun Grant/Arthur Wellesley, and Jonathan Strange

Summary: Strange discovers Grant in an unusual situation.

Author’s Notes: Written for a prompt on the JSMN kinkmeme; thanks to theicescholar and Owl_by_Night for their encouragement with this one.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own

Magic by Numbers


“We’ve been talking – arguing, rather – about magic, how it’s done,” Lord Wellington said at breakfast, when Strange had finished the short catalogue of his wartime experiences to date.

Strange was by now thoroughly accustomed to ill-informed speculation about magic, but no doubt Lord Wellington and his officers would have their own particular variety of this. He waited politely to hear what it was.

“Major Grant here – ”

That man. The one who had sneered down at him from his horse when Strange, newly arrived in Lisbon, asked where he could find Wellington. A handsome fellow, now that he saw him properly, and looked as if he knew it. He was eating grapes and staring at Strange with a provoking air of lazy amusement.

Title: Magic By Numbers

Author: fengirl88

Characters: Colquohoun Grant, Jonathan Strange & Arthur Wellesley

Summary: “Major Grant here says you and this other chap have given every word in the Bible a number.”

Author’s Notes: written for the Numbers challenge at fan_flashworks; thanks to Owl_by_Night and theicescholar for their help with this one.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own

Over the mountains

most ancient kind of magic

At the end of a month in the Peninsula, Strange had quite lost any fondness he had ever entertained for marching songs; at the end of two, he earnestly wished the authors of Over The Hills And Far Away, The Girl I Left Behind Me and Lilli Burlero at the devil.

Apart from these military airs, the music most often heard in the army was the men’s extremely bawdy songs, which Strange found depressing not because of their indecency, but because of the determined and (it seemed to him) hollow cheerfulness with which they were invariably sung.

Strange had almost forgotten what it was like to hear any other music. He was therefore agreeably surprised, when sitting on a hillside one morning, to hear a pleasant baritone voice singing Robin Adair, a song which he had always liked in the days when music seemed to be everywhere. He did not remember to have heard it sung by a man before, but his chief thought was how well this man’s voice suited with the wistfulness of the words and the tune.

Title: Over the mountains

Author: fengirl88

Characters: Colquhoun Grant & Jonathan Strange

Author’s Notes: Written for this prompt at jsmn_kinkmeme: “Merlin discovers the softer side of Major Rod-up-his-capable-arse-snarkmeister Grant when he hears him singing an English folk song that Merlin knows.”


Chapter 1: Over the Mountains:  Strange discovers a softer side to Major Grant.

Chapter 2: True Hearted: Strange continues to enjoy Grant’s singing, and makes a further discovery.

Chapter 3: The Water is Wide: Strange continues to make discoveries, not all of them about Major Grant.

Chapter 4: If Love Be Not His Guide: Strange receives an unexpected gift, which gives him plenty to think about during Grant’s absence.

Chapter 5: The Seeds of Love: Strange and Grant go on their mission, and spend the night together.




Fishing for Stars


Colquhoun Grant was not a man who enjoyed the chase. To be sure, he thrilled in it when his quarry was of the human variety, and French in particular: singular or plural, soldiers traveling alone or whole army corps moving in vast columns. But chasing an animal until it was cornered in some tangled wood or exhausted by the pursuit of baying hounds gave him no pleasure.

Yet Grant was an active man who loved the outdoors and, in times of fair weather, could not abide spending any free hours cooped up in a narrow tent or a close, airless room in some Portuguese family’s borrowed villa. In his boyhood in Scotland his favorite sport, other than riding horseback over the heather-clad hills or tramping up and down glens on foot, had been casting a line into the streams or lochs in the countryside, angling for trout and pike. He had almost always tossed them back after catching them, watching them wriggle away through the clear, cold waters: the pleasure lay not in the catching but in the skill needed to throw the lure into the right current and the strength and dexterity to reel in the line at the first nibble.

Title: Fishing for Stars

Author: onstraysod

Characters: William De Lancey/Colquhoun Grant

Summary: On a mild summer night in the Peninsula, Major Colquhoun Grant and Colonel William De Lancey take a break from their duties to pursue different hobbies.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own


The Sweetest Thing

sweetest thing

Major Colquhoun Grant pulled the door of the old farmhouse closed behind him and leant against it, breathing heavily. He could still hear the roar of the artillery over the rumbling of the thunder and the incessant beat of the rain on the tiled roof but at least he should be safe here for a while.

He shrugged off his soaking greatcoat and winced as a jolt of pain shot through his arm. The bullet had struck him just above his elbow and his sleeve was soaked with blood. He didn’t think it was particularly serious but he needed to get the jacket off and assess the damage and unfastening the buttons with one hand proved a lot harder than he expected.

Title: The Sweetest Thing

Author: solitaryjo

Characters: De Lancey/Grant

Summary: De Lancey treats Grant’s wounds with honey.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own

Song of the Onion


Strange was quite right to be concerned as to Lord Wellington’s reaction had he learned about the French troops’ singing cooking-pots. Fortunately the Iron Duke never got to hear about it and Strange, too, was left in blissful ignorance; equally fortunately the spell wore off after a while, although it caused a certain amount of consternation whilst it was working.

Title: Song of the Onion

Author: Small_Hobbit

Characters: Pot/Kettle

Summary: A sergeant in Napoleon’s army is taken by surprise at the source of the singing he hears.

Author’s Notes: The inspiration for this came from one of Fengirl’s fics: “Strange had long since completed the spell for the roads, and had begun on one to make the French troops’ cooking-pots sprout holes when their contents reached sufficient heat. In his present distracted state he thought the spell quite likely to have some other effect – to make the pots burst into song, for example. No doubt this would disconcert the French for a time, but he did not like to think what Lord Wellington would say about it.”

Notes: For fengirl88; inspired by If love be not his guide, part of the Over the Mountains series.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own

A horse is a horse


“We have to do something,” De Lancey insisted. “It is his birthday after all.”

Strange gave him a doubtful look. “I’m not sure about this, colonel. I may not be privy to his lordship’s inner thoughts but I am fairly certain he is not the type to celebrate birthdays. Besides, what on earth does one get for a man like that?”

“Good point, Merlin.” Grant shook his head. “What do you think William? You know him as well as anyone. What would he wish for?”

“In truth, I think he would wish for the war to be over and the killing to stop.” De Lancey sighed. “I saw him after Badajoz, you know. Weeping over the men who had fallen. He will never admit it but he feels responsible and just wants to put an end to the bloodshed.”

Title: A horse is a horse

Author: solitaryjo

Characters: William De Lancey, Colquhoun Grant, Jonathan Strange & Arthur Wellesley

Summary: Merlin finds a true friend and confidante for Wellington.

Author’s Notes: Just a quick one for Wellington’s birthday.

Read it on Archive Of Our Own