By Missy

RATING: PG-13 (Some naughtiness, especially with Shirley and Carmine)
DISTRIBUTION: To Squeaky and FG so far; any other archives are welcome to ask, but disclaimers must be included, my email left intact. send a URL, and provide full disclaimers as well as credit me fully. Please inform me if you are going to submit my work to any sort of search engine. Please do not submit my work to a search engine that picks out random sets of words and uses them as key words, such as "Google"
Please contact me in order for this story to be placed on an archive, or if you want know of a friend who would enjoy my works, please email me their adress and I will mail them the stories, expressly for the purpose of link trading. MiSTiers are welcomed! Please do inform me that you'd like to do the MiSTing, however, and send me a copy of the finished product. I'd also love to archive any MiSTings that are made of my work!
NOTES: This MIGHT be a new series; I'm not quite sure. Ideas?
CATEGORY: L&L romance, S&C Romance
SPOILLER/SUMMARY: Laverne, Lenny and Shirley are all called up for their reservist unit as the Vietnam War erupts.

(Dedicated to all of our brave servicemen and servicewomen who risk their lives daily; my small tribute to their courage.)

No surrender, no courage, no fear...a motto worth repeating, even if it only existed in Laverne's head at the moment. She would go back to the base with a new, black-patent leather suitcase her father had insisted she needed, a note of waiver from her employer (she wondered, for a moment, if Bardwells would've ever given her this much time off, even with a war on and her number being called up). She had dug her uniform out of the back of her closet, pressed it, starched it, bleached it, until it no longer resembled something that Laverne DeFazio would wear.

She'd checked herself in the mirror before leaving home, and in truth could see no relationship between her old self and this new woman who stood in crisp outfit, hair brushed back perfectly.

Laverne could not get over it. She would become part of the war effort.

It bit at her conscious, she hadn't supported the war on any level, in fact she hated it. But she was a Councilman's daughter, a reservist, and she couldn't sherk away her duties as easily as...

"HELLO!" Came an all-too-familiar voice from somewhere deep inside the bus station. The crowds of reservists and volunteers parted as though Moses were shoving them away. Squiggy appeared within seconds behind her, dragging Lenny, who clutched his own suitcase and seemed as dazed as she felt.

"Willya stop pushin' him?" Laverne entreated Squiggy, Ire in her voice.

"If I don't push 'im, he don't walk!" Squiggy pointed out, and just as he said, Lenny froze, and expression of pure fear etching his features.

"Len?!" Concern streaked through Laverne; she pulled him sideways onto the green-slatted bench she occupied. This seemed to loosen up his stance. "Are you OK?"

He nodded, "Just kinda nervous," He said, speaking in broken sentences for a moment, "I didn't eva think I was gonna fight in a war."

"Considerin' what kinda lousy soldiers we were, I do think we'll be goin' overseas, Len." Laverne smiled.

"I wasn't that bad of a soldier!" Lenny complained, righting himself on the bench.

Laverne's expression suggested pure sarcasm, "Remember what happened to yer thumb the last time you tried to shoot a gun?"

He winced and snorted an affirmative laugh, "I'm just glad I didn't break it or nothin'," He started flexing his thumb, just to affirm for himself that everything was in working order.

Laverne laughed and leaned against his shoulder, "Don't worry about it. They'll look at our records and we'll end up on some sorta...what's it called?"

"Homeland detail."

"Yeah, homeland.." Laverne's face filled with confusion as she trailed off. The voice didn't belong to Squiggy, and it REALLY didn't belong to Lenny...

"Shirl?!" She turned around in her seat just in time to see her best friend approach from across the platform, "SHIRL!" Laverne jumped out of her seat and ran to meet her best friend, meeting her with a warm hug, "Whatt're you doin' here?!" She managed, suffocating in Shirley's embrace.

"How are you?!" Shirley asked, fluffing Laverne's hair, "Oh, I messed up your makeup!"

"I'm fine...Shirl, where's Wawha?" She asked, her words distorted as Shirley tried to fix her lipstick by stretching the sides of her mouth out.

"Wahwah? You want some water, Vernie?" Shirley asked innocently.

"No, I said Wahh," Laverne's attempt to pronounce Walter Meeny's name was interrupted by Shirley's squashing her nose as she gathered up specks of eyeshadow that had scattered from her lids. "SHIRL!" She protested sharply, batting her friend's hands away from her face. "I asked how Walter is!"

Shirley's eyes turned downcast and she backed away from her best friend, "He's overseas," She said sadly, "He's part of the first medical team out there. Little Donnie's with my mother." She reached for a handkerchief that had been nearly hidden away at her waist, "We haven't been..agreeing..lately. I thought I could be of most use here. Then they called me up."

Laverne sympathetically patted her best friend's hand, "So you an' Walter are breakin' up?"

Shirley nodded, "It's all for the best, I think." She shrugged, "I thought being a doctor's wife would answer all of my problems. And it just...didn't.." She couldn't seem to explain it without getting sloppily emotional, something she would've willingly done before but now refused to do.

Laverne resisted, with all of her power, a need to say how happy she felt. No one she knew liked Walter much after the bandages came off. But she couldn't help but notice a new primness to her best friend as they sat down; a brandishing of handkerchiefs, neatly-pleated dresses; the attitude of a woman going to tea that she'd always worn, but never practiced with such thoroughness before.

Shirley looked around them at the thickening crowds, "You're here all alone?"

"Nah, Squig's with us...I dunno where he went.." She peered around Lenny's shoulder to finally locate Squiggy where he stood propositioning a WAC some feet away. "Over there," She pointed him out to Shirley.

"I'm almost happy to see him again," Shirley smiled and waved to Squiggy, who seemed to ignore her presence. "Where's your father and Edna?"

"Pop's busy at the Town Council meeting today," Reluctantly, Laverne added, "Edna divorced him last month."

Shirley squeaked her sympathy, "How terrible!"

Laverne shrugged, "Well, she left pop," That was her only explanation. "Rhonda's testing for a Steve McQueen film today," She added, smiling, "And Carmine's..."

"Hey Laverne!"

"...Right there?" Confusion beset Laverne; she'd left her friend at a train station months ago, after he'd returned to visit from New York.

Shirley squirmed in her seat, trying to hide from the presence of her Ex-Boyfriend, something utterly useless. He located them quickly, smiling at Laverne.

"We closed early," He explained, before Laverne could even get a word out, "It's not every day my friends go into battle, ya know!" Carmine's face fell when he saw Shirley, "Shirl?"

Sheepishly, Shirley sat up in her seat and turned to face Carmine, "Hello, Carmine." She said stiffly.

"Whatt're you doing in town?" Carmine asked, perplexed, his voice tinged with an annoyance that made Shirley flush.

"Walter and I..aren't getting along..." Shirley explained, "The baby's with my mother." She finished.

"Huh," Said Carmine, trying for a veneer of cool indifference, "So you got called up?"

"Yeah," Shirley said, primly, "Carmine, we don't have much time, I just..."

"Can I talk to you alone for a second, Shirl?" He blurted out. Shirley's eyes widened at his gall, but she nodded her head and alighted from her seat beside Laverne.

Laverne herself turned to Lenny with a muted sigh. He had been looking at her a moment ago, she was sure of it. Now he stared away from her, into the distance at the lined-up busses.

She looked away again, at Carmine and Shirley, who sat conversing, actually laughing. Laverne smiled sadly. Ya know, they should've stayed together Laverne thought to herself, She should've married him insteada 'Dr. Walter' The name came out in a mocking cadence within her mind.

Then Lenny said, "Vernie?"

She turned to him, "Yeah, Len?"

He blushed and turned his own head to watch Squiggy wheel and deal, "Nothin." He lied. Then out of nowhere, he added, "We ain't gonna see each otha for a long time, Vernie." In a stony, resolute voice.

Optimism; she had to show it for Lenny. He was so easily forlorn, "Aww, Len; it won't be forever; the war'll end and we'll see each other.

"Ya don't know that, Vernie," He sighed, rubbing at his eyes in irritation, "Ya just don't know what'll happen now."

"I do." Laverne said, "Nothin's gonna change what we got, Len." Her eyes went wide as she realized exactly what had been blurted out.

"I dunno what we got, Vernie," Lenny noted, "That's the problem." He took his hand in hers, "Yer my second-closest friend in th' whole wide world. But, ya know...This whole war thing's got me thinkin'.."

She understood that notion; her thoughts had become heavier by the day. Her mind had turned to reflection of her past, to Milwaukee and Shotz in an attempt to untangle her sense of torment. She had satisfied her own sense of malaise by simply deciding that it was just the war driving her on, making her crazy, stirring up her list of priorities.

She noticed, bemusedly, that Shirley and Carmine had disappeared.

"...When I look at ya, Vernie.." He shook his head, bowing it, "Ya don't know what this is like fer me."

He was troubling her now; that sort of reaction not really disturbing her, confusion overcoming her senses instead, "Len, if it's something I can fix, I'll..."

"...It ain't nothin' you can do," His eyes caught her and looked through her soul, so deeply that she gasped, "Ya don't know what it's like ta love ya the way I have. An' now it's too late, Vernie..."

"It ain't never too late, Len," She replied, totally out of control of her own reserve now. Everything seemed to be coming to light now; why bother to reserve her feelings for Lenny? The world was coming to an end, the bomb could drop any second; they could die, separated by an ocean, and never say that final goodbye. Why not indulge him her love, for one moment? Her hand seemed so small when pressed to the middle of his back. He simply turned to embrace her, crushing her body in the warmth of his arms for the briefest moment.

A loudspeaker crackled to life, intoning, in a bored tone, the numbers of their WAC and Reservist units. It was time to board their busses. To grow up.

Shirley and Carmine emerged from where they'd been; Laverne's eyebrows rose skyward as she noticed her best friend's wrinkled blouse and smeared lipstick. Laverne let go of Lenny and stood up, collecting her now-dusty crocodile case. His eyes were filled with so much pain that she could barely stand it.

Why didn't ya just go ahead an' tell him before? She thought to herself, tormented, Now you have these feelin's for him and you can't do a single thing about it... But he crushed her in his arms one more time, this time his lips making an accompaniment on her own, blocking out the sun, blocking out all sense of what used to be a reasonable, orderly world.

When he let go, the world turned Army Green. A loudspeaker blared for last boarding and she allowed herself to be swept away in a flurry of blunt haircuts and lipsticked faces; in minutes she was pressed to a bright-green seat and felt Shirley's body plunk itself airily beside her.

Laverne sighed and rubbed her teary eyes with a balled fist, the streaky windows garbling sunlight to a few dulled streaks. Below her she could make out a form waving frantically; pressing her face to the window she could almost make out Lenny's form doing the waving. Struggling with the window for a moment, she managed to unlock it and pull it down.

"Len!" She shouted.

"Vernie!" He returned, being pushed along by his fellow reservists into a bus, "Promise me!"

"What?!" She asked him.

"Promise you'll wait for me!"

It was a perfect line; cheesy, hackneyed, cliched like a thousand ancient war movies that had played out before her eyes in this lifetime. "I will, Len!"

It was the first time she'd ever promised exclusivity to one man in her life. With Lenny, that felt right.

He faded away into the bus, allowing Laverne to turn and relock the bus window. She lay back against the seat with a sigh; something about Shirley's smirk told her everything she'd ever need to know about her five seconds with Carmine.

"Dya think we're gonna survive this, Shirl?" She asked, her own voice ridiculously insecure.

"I think we'd better," Shirley smiled girlishly, "I've got a date on the day we accept their surrender."

And she waved over Laverne's shoulder to Carmine, who stood grinning idiotically on the platform, a grin that didn't even fade when the bus pulled away.

To Landing

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