RATING: Rish (Mild smutiness, mature themes, descriptions of war attrocities)
SEQUEL TO: Flight
DISTRIBUTION: To Squeaky, LW, Kai 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"
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TIME PERIOD: About four years after the show's timeline has ceased.
CATEGORY: L&L romance, drama
SPOILLER/SUMMARY: When the war comes to an end, Lenny arranges to have Laverne meet him. Will she be shocked at what a soldier's life has done to him?
NOTES: Ash suggested the basic idea for this, and I took it just a teeny bit further.
She came to him with an armful of flowers; a silly gesture. What was a guy like him going to do with an armful of red blossoms?
The prop gun he had used to cheer her up so many years ago, she supposed, was the source of her decision; she still remembered his affection for her that day; the concern.
Laverne straightened her dress uniform out carefully; it was a refreshing feeling, to wear something nice, to be wearing an army uniform, because wearing it on the street brought a rain of anger upon her. Even being a born fighter isn't enough to protect a person from the rage of a generation in flames.
Shaking her head, she leaned against the doorknob for a brief second; even though, in all principle, she disagreed with the war, it wasn't right to be so blunt and cruel with strangers who hadn't made a single affront to the other person.
They had endured semi-violent protest at the training office where she'd been stationed; there were sit-ins and marches. The worst thing that had occurred were the numbing restrictions to her soul and routine, as she (wo)manned a desk in LA's recruitment office.
Shirely had been asked to do the same thing; entangled firmly now with Carmine, she had been sent to Carmel, where she ended up becoming part of another recruitment office's secretarial pool. The both of them had been safe, though relatively miserable with their stations.
But Lenny had gone to combat.
He'd sent her letters home, as frequently as he could; when they stopped coming, she worried. Then a cable arrived on her doorstep, informing her that he'd been 'wounded in combat' and he was coming home.
Countless phone calls later, she'd discovered that he lived; convalescing in a nearby hospital. After losing his foot while aiding in the airlift of a fleet of Cambodian orphans.
They wanted to give him a Purple Heart, but she didn't know if he would accept it with joy. She wondered to herself if she really knew him at all any more.
Without hesitation, she pressed the door open.
He lay silently in bed, curled up. Too still to be Lenny, she mused; then he turned toward light that entered the room from the hallway.
She saw blue eyes, watching her silently.
"Vernie?" He murmured.
"Hi Len," She said, quietly; an empty vase on the nearby nightstand caught her eye, "Thes're for ya." She placed the flowers into its hollow confines.
They actually made him smile, "That's real niceaya, Laverne," He watched her as she swung awkwardly from one foot to the other, "Wouldya like ta sit?"
She swiftly pulled a chair up, in order to cut down on her own nervous reaction, she began to swing her legs, "The doctas say you're gonna be fine." She said.
"Yeah," He looked down at himself, "As fine as I'm eva gonna be..."
"Aw, Len, Len...don't worry about that. Yer gonna be as good as new..."
"I ain't gonna be good as new eva again," He pointed out, "Ya ain't dumb, Vernie; I've only got one foot, an' everyone's gonna notice." Tears leaked from his eyes, "Squig noticed. He said I was a cripple."
Laverne touched his face, gently, "Ya ain't a cripple, Len."
"A cripple and a coward," He said, "I done horrible things, Vernie; they make ya do horrible things there..."
"Will it make ya feel better ta tell me?" He nodded, "Go on," She insisted. And in the dark she listened as he poured out, with full shame, what he'd had to do overseas; the men he'd had to kill defending their country. She just held his hands as he spilled out every word into the air between them.
When he finished, she could not hate him for having killed in defense of his country; it was a necessity; she would not have wanted to trade his life for the men who had died at his hands.
"It ain't fun," He said, hoarsely, "It ain't fun ta kill nothin'; It was like when I saw Randy die...it neva stopped hurtin from tha first time."
She crawled into the bed beside him, holding his form to her own as he wept; his lack of control, always evident, was now finally in full release.
"Len," She said soothingly, "Ya rememba what ya said when they took us back for orientation?"
"Yeah," He admitted, though his tears, "I toldja to wait for me..."
"I have." She said quietly. The wordss hung between them like a thin-woven thread from a spider's tail. Her hand splayed against his side and lay there.
"Ya don't havteta give me charity."
"Charity!" She glared at him, "Lenny, when I give myself to a guy..."
"...Ya did give yerself to a guy..."
"...I give myself all the way. An' yer still a whole guy, Len.."
He watched her face as she started into his eyes; looking for some vague trace of unease or discomfort; even pity. He saw nothing of the sort.
"I ain't goin' nowhere," She said, "Sixteen years I waited for ya; I ain't gonna let ya go away an leave me now."
Silence came between them like a cleansing rain. He understood, now, when it eased up; nothing had changed. There part of his tortured soul came to rest.
"I love ya, Len," She said, "Nothin's gonna stop that."
He watched the sun set against her back and strove to believe
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