(2005)  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 12-19-04 fanfic board challenge to write about a squad member getting wet.



Time-travel story #2

by White Queen



"That's it, Kirby."  Caje glowered at the dirty man sitting on the ground next to him.  "You see that river over there?  You're going to take a bath."

"But I just had one yesterday!" Kirby protested.  "Soon as we got to this ol' town, I was the first one hoppin' in that river."

"Sure," Caje agreed.  "But that was yesterday.  Since then you've been in three fights, had two bottles of wine smashed over your head, and tangled with a stray dog."  He wrinkled his nose.  "And I think you've eaten enough onions for the next few weeks."

"If I'd'a known I was gonna spend half my time washin' myself, I woulda volunteered to stay with the lieutenant out there on the front lines."  Kirby grimaced.  "What's the use of us all gettin' sent back here for some R&R if I gotta spend the whole danged time wet?"

"Caje's right, Kirby," Littlejohn joined in.  "Do us all a favor and go clean up."

"I don't smell that much!" Kirby protested.  "Do I, Billy?"

Billy Nelson, perched on a fallen log next to Littlejohn, looked up from reading a ragged copy of Stars and Stripes.  "Well, I'm not sitting as close to you as Caje is..." he paused as Caje shot him a threatening glare, "...and I'm glad I'm over here!"  He grinned.  "You stink."

"Aw, you guys are no fun."  Kirby folded his arms and glared at the world in general.

"Just go, will you?"  Doc reached inside his pack and pulled out a bar of grayish soap.  "Here, I'll even loan you this."

Sgt. Saunders had ignored the discussion up to this point.  He lay on his back a few feet from the group, hands under his head, his helmet tilted down over his eyes.  Now he rolled his head toward the rest of the squad, tilted his helmet back a bit, and lazily ordered, "Kirby, go take a bath."

Kirby grimaced.  "Aw, fine."  He snatched the soap from Doc's hand and stomped off toward the tree-lined river.

Just as Kirby passed out of sight, a flash of bright light and a loud POP interrupted the tranquil summer afternoon.  A woman in her mid-twenties emerged from the trees near the river and walked toward the squad.

"Uh, Sarge," Billy said quietly, "uh, you remember that girl?"

"What girl?" Saunders asked.

"The one who called herself 'White Queen,' remember?" Caje added.

Saunders bolted to his feet, clapping his helmet firmly to his head, and turned to see what his squad was looking at.

"Hi!"  White Queen waved and grinned.  "How's it going?"

"Fine," Saunders replied cautiously. 

"You don't act fine," she replied, stopping just short of the squad.  "Is something wrong?  You're giving me that look."

"What look?"

"That look you give Kirby when he starts being polite."

Billy snickered, and the others grinned.

"How are the rest of you?"  White Queen looked toward the squad, and Saunders edged around her until he could see her back.  Then he let out an audible sigh of relief.

"I don't have a canteen with me, if that's what you're worried about," she said, turning back to face him.  "And I'm sorry I dumped water on you last time I visited.  It's just that you look so cute when your hair is wet!"  She put a hand on his arm.  "If there's any way I can get you to forgive me--"

A loud screech interrupted her, followed by an even louder splash.  A few seconds later, Kirby reappeared from the trees around the river, sopping wet.  Wearing only his boxers, a muscle shirt, and socks, he raced toward the squad, occasionally looking back over his shoulder.  When he saw White Queen, he skidded to a stop, obviously embarrassed by the fact that he wore only skivvies.

White Queen was too busy giggling to notice his embarrassment.  One by one, the squad's members began to laugh as well, until only Saunders and Kirby maintained straight faces.

"What happened?" Saunders asked.

White Queen's giggling grew so extreme that she lost her balance and began tipping over sideways.  Of course, Sgt. Saunders caught her before she could hit the ground, and she dissolved into helpless mirth.

Kirby barely noticed her collapse.  "Some little blonde woman just jumped out from behind a tree and hollered 'boo!', and she scared me so much I fell in the river!"

White Queen stopped giggling long enough to blurt out, "She's at it again!"

"Who's at it again?" demanded Saunders, trying to stand her back on her feet.

Managing to regain some of her composure, White Queen answered, "My mother.  She's always doing that."

Saunders kept one arm around her waist, just in case she decided to try her human jellyfish act again, of course.  "Your mother?  You brought your mother out here?  Don't you know it's the middle of a war?"

"Oh, I make sure I arrive here when there'll be no danger for at least ten minutes.  Since that's as long as I can make my time machine let me stay anyway.  But here comes my mom."

Sure enough, a plump middle-aged woman came trotting toward them from the trees, her blonde hair swishing about her face. 

Kirby gave another screech and tried to hide behind Littlejohn and Billy.  "That's her!"

"Hi, Mom!"  White Queen waved.  "Come meet the guys!"

White Queen's mom shook hands politely with everyone except Kirby, who kept edging away from her.  Finally, he couldn't elude her anymore.  "Hello, Kirby," she said, smiling cheerily, "I'm the Queen's Mother, and I came all the way here just to meet you!  Oh, and to bring you these."  She reached into the large purse slung over her shoulder, and pulled out three pairs of thick grey socks.  "I know how much trouble your feet give you."  She handed the socks to Kirby, who accepted them solemnly, still trying to keep his distance.

"Uh, thanks," Kirby muttered.

"We've only got a few minutes left," White Queen announced.  She smiled up at Saunders.  "I don't suppose I could...."

"If it involves water, then no!" he protested.  "Whenever you show up, someone ends up wet, but it's not gonna be me this time!"

White Queen pouted.  "I just wanted to give you a quick backrub.  We can't let Lieutenant Hanley have all of them, can we?"

"Backrub?  Hanley got a backrub?  What are you talking about?"  Saunders looked puzzled, but allowed White Queen to lead him over to the fallen log.  Billy stood up to give White Queen a seat, and she motioned for the sergeant to sit on the ground in front of her. 

"You ask him sometime what happened when he was stuck in that farmhouse with those two Frenchwomen a while ago," she answered.  "Now take off your shirt so I can do this properly."

"My shirt?  I'm not takin' off my shirt," Saunders protested.

"Oh, fine," White Queen huffed.  She removed his helmet, then started kneading her fingers into his shoulders.  Soon the tired sergeant's face relaxed.  He closed his eyes and smiled faintly.

"We've only got a minute left," Queen's Mother reminded her daughter.  She turned to Kirby.  "I'm sorry I scared you.  I didn't mean to -- I just wanted to surprise you."

"Didn't mean to scare me?  You jumped out from behind a tree and hollered 'boo!'  That's not supposed to scare me?" Kirby grumbled, but he fingered the thick socks and slowly smiled.  "Aw, that's okay.  I was gonna get wet anyway."

White Queen bent down until her cheek brushed against Saunders' ear.  She whispered something, and his smile spread until it became a genuine grin.  She gave him a quick peck on the cheek, and just as he turned his head to reciprocate, the bright flash and loud POP signaled the departure of the two time-traveling women.

Saunders sighed and moved his shoulders around, obviously enjoying the after-effects of a good backrub.

"Hey, Sarge, what'd she tell you?" Caje asked, his own grin now outshining the one fading from Saunders' face.

The sergeant shook his head.  "The world must never know," he solemnly replied.



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