No infringement upon the rightful owners of "Combat!" and the characters
thereof is intended. This piece of fan fiction is for enjoyment only,
and in no way will the author gain monetary profit from its existence.
Author's Note: This story is a response to the February 2007 fanfic board challenge.
"La Vie en Rose"
by Thompson Girl
Lt. Hanley groaned as he struggled to consciousness. He tried to sit up, but hands pushed him back down. Not onto hard ground, but onto something soft and cushioning. "Where--?" It took a monumental effort to get the single word out.
A voice spoke to him in French. A female voice. He tried to make sense of that, of what a woman would be doing there. "I don't speak French," he said.
Silence stretched around him, and for a moment he thought the voice was gone, that he'd chased it away with his boorish declaration, but then it came again, softly, gently, and he relaxed at the soothing tone. "I said not to move, Lieutenant. You will start bleeding again."
She spoke more than passable English, and he nodded at her words. He didn't have the strength to move anyway. His side didn't hurt as much as he thought it would though. She must have given him morphine or something. He wanted to smile... no pain. Just swirling darkness and a lovely voice.
"Lieutenant, can you look at me?"
He wanted to, wanted to see if she was as beautiful as her voice. It was a voice to cling to, to come back to life for. It reminded him of Marlene Dietrich, only the accent was different, the voice a little lighter. He pictured a pretty brown-eyed girl, with a beret atop her shoulder-length dark hair, and a scarf around her neck.
"Look at me, Lieutenant."
He forced his eyes to open. The room whirled above him, and, nauseated, he closed his eyes again.
"It's all right," she said, and it was all right. Her voice made it so. "Rest."
He felt a cool cloth touch his forehead, and that helped too. She wiped the perspiration off his face, then her hand was against his forehead, brushing his hair back in a gentle, continuous motion. He relaxed into her calming touch, let himself forget everything but the feel of her cool fingers against his fevered skin. He drifted, but her voice came again, pulling him back to the present.
"I am with the Resistance," she said. "Henri and Jacques found you wounded and brought you back here. They left you in my care."
"You were alone when they found you, Lieutenant. Do you know where your men are?" Her fingers never stopped their constant caress. It made it hard to think, or maybe that was just the morphine at work, or both. He didn't know, wasn't sure he cared. She went on, "Lieutenant, where are your men? Henri can get a message through. Your men, they can come for you, yes?"
Hanley tried to recall the events that had led to him being wounded.
"Can you remember, Lieutenant?"
For that voice, for that wonderful touch, he would have tried to remember anything. But it was too hard, everything too fuzzy, and he let himself sink through a world of black haze.
A sudden pressure against his lips brought him back, and, startled, he realized she was kissing him, gently but insistently.
"Wha--" he started to say, and this time got his eyes open. The room was dimly lit except for a single candle sitting on the stand to the right of the bed on which he lay. The woman pulled back, smiling, her hand still touching his face, and he could see her in the amber lighting. She was beautiful, but not what he had been imagining. She was actually blonde, blue-eyed, and fair-skinned. Her cheeks dimpled when she smiled at him. She looked like she should have been a pinup girl for the Third Reich, not working for the French Resistance. But then she spoke again, with that low sultry tone and that teasing French accent, and he forgot about the rest.
"Like in the fairy tales, no?" she said. "The kiss always brings them back. We French are famous for our kisses, you know." And before he could say anything, she kissed him again, with more feeling. It wasn't fair. He wanted to put his arms around her, show her it wasn't just the French who could kiss like that, but he couldn't seem to move.
"You need a doctor, Lieutenant," she went on, stroking his forehead again with that lulling repetition, her tone a little anxious this time. How worried she sounded for him. Kiss me like that again and I'll be just fine, he thought, but she went on, "You are badly injured. I only stopped the bleeding. We need to get you back to your unit. You have medics, doctors, no? An aid station?"
"Yes," Hanley murmured.
"Then help me get you to them, Lieutenant. Henri and Jacques went to get a wagon. Where are your men? Tell me."
He frowned, trying to remember.
"Please, Lieutenant, look at me. You must focus. If you don't tell me where we can take you, you will die." Her cool fingers were against his cheek, turning his face so he looked into her lovely blue eyes. "Please, where are your men? Are they in Ste. Pierre? Beauvoir?"
Now why did that last name ring a bell? He frowned and closed his eyes, shutting out her face. He couldn't think with her right there, the perfume of her skin intoxicating, that gentle touch promising more if he would just answer her questions. Then he remembered why the town name was so familiar -- the squad was there. They'd been cut off from their own lines in that last battle. It was the Resistance who had led them to the safety in the bombed-out town. She was with the Resistance, didn't she know that?
Her voice intruded again, murmuring, "Lieutenant. I can't help you if you don't help me."
Cold clarity cut through the fog. He studied her pretty features, so earnest and caring, so beautiful. So full of deceit. Her smile froze suddenly, and he wondered what she saw on his face. Disappointment? Regret? Pity? He felt them all, but it didn't matter. It was easy to find his voice then. "My name is Lieutenant Hanley, my serial number is 01217705."
She slapped him hard and pushed herself away from the bed. He could hear her voice from the other room, harsh and impatient, speaking German now, and a man's voice answering her angrily.
A burst of gunfire interrupted them, and Hanley heard the sound of a door being kicked open and voices shouting. Familiar, reassuring, American voices, ordering the Germans to surrender. Voices he could count on.
"Lieutenant?" Saunders called.
After the honeyed insincerity of the German woman, that brusque tone of the noncom couldn't have sounded sweeter to his ears. Hanley smiled to himself and called back, "In here!"