"Fall back!" yelled Captain Fenner, as Camp Garnett came under heavy attack from the Unionists. "Wade! What are you waiting for, MOVE IT!!"
The whole place was full of shots, gunshots and smoke, but all Nick Wade was concentrating on was saving his best friend Josh from a fallen tree which had trapped his leg and from what it looked like, had broken his ankle badly.
"Just go Nick!" Josh managed to wince through the pain, "save yourself, I'm no good like this anyway."
"Shut up" Nick yelled back as he struggled with the log, "you're going home to Crystal if it kills me"
Minutes later, Nick and Josh struggled out through a barrage of falling debris and stray bullets. As Nick dumped Josh on to the floor, he collapsed beside him, clutching his side.
The rest of the troops carried Josh and Nick back to their retreat camp in Kanawah Valley, where their makeshift medical base stood. The medical nurse, Helen Stewart, had heard about this Nick Wade, but had never met him before. The reports she'd heard from the other Confederate soldiers suggested he was a quiet, arrogant and often moody character with little or no respect for those in authority. She did not relish the thought of dealing with him, especially as Fenner had relayed the message that Wade's injury was a direct result of disobeying ANOTHER order. Her brain switched into full medical mode when the two men were carried into the tent. After telling another medical officer to set Josh's ankle, she attended Nick Wade. As she started to peel away Wade's tunic, a pair of dark brown eyes glared at her.
"Don't." He told her.
"Stop being stupid, I've got to take this off to get to your injury." She replied, getting slightly agitated with this Wade character already.
"Just a bullet graze" he winced, "be fine, just give me a bandage and I'll be fine." With that he started to get off the table.
"Lie down", she said, rather forcibly this time. After a further attempt at getting up, Helen started to lose her temper with this guy 'God, what's his bloody problem' she thought and then yelled "LIE DOWN ON THAT TABLE WADE, I WONT TELL YOU AGAIN!"
Slightly shocked by this outburst, Nick complied. But grabbed Helen's hand in a vicelike grip when she again tried to remove his tunic. His eyes pleaded with her and something in his eyes seemed to ease Helen's quest. She stood and looked down at the injured Wade.
"Look, I can't help you if you don't let me." She told him, slightly calmer now. "Are you always like this? This attitude you've got, I don't understand it- I mean, you got injured as a result of disobeying orders and now you wont follow mine!"
"Disobeying orders?!" Wade asked incredulously, "Who the hell told you that? I was trying to save my best friend from dying out there and all that bastard Fenner can think about is whether I obeyed his goddamn orders." She started to try and get up again.
"SIT DOWN WADE!" came the loud reply, "I will not have you disrespecting your senior officer to me, do you hear?"
"Oh when are you going to open your eyes? Fenner's as bent as they come and you know it. He's totally incapable of running this operation and his crap leadership is going to lose us Rich Mountain to the Federals"
"Nick, please" she said, calmly laying a hand on his arm. "Is that what you really did? Saved your friend?" She felt drawn to his big brown eyes, which now just scowled.
"Yeah" he mumbled quietly.
"Look, I understand your concerns about Captain Fenner, Nick. But if you don't let me attend your wound then it'll get infected."
Nick looked at Helen. She's gorgeous he thought. And the way she dealt with my bullshit- should've worked with kids he thought with a smile.
"So what's that smile in aid of?" she asked him, secretly pleased to see the handsome young man relent a bit with his foul mood. Nick was tall, and dark with piercing eyes and Helen found herself quite drawn to the difficult soldier. Those hands, so soft- already she had never met anyone like him Sensing that Nick had been sitting watching her for a while, she started removing his tunic to sort out the wound.
Nick, being momentarily distracted by the fact that the sexy Dr Stewart was unashamedly watching him, he didn't notice her removing the tunic until it was too late. "Helen, wait!" he cried (his voice coming out rather higher than he'd been concentrating on). By the time she stopped, she had uncovered a thick binding of bandages across his chest.
"Please don't tell anyone! Its not like you think." He panicked and removed her hand rather forcefully.
"What the hell do you think your doing Wade? I can't believe you have been fighting on the front line injured like this! What have you done to yourself?"
Swayed by her obvious concern, Nick decided to tell her the truth. "This." He said as he removed the bandages .
"NICK! WHAT THE F " Helen started, but stopped, completely shocked by the pair of full, female breasts she encountered before her. "What the hell is going on here?" she asked, completely aghast.
"Helen, please, I need you to keep this quiet."
"What, the fact that you're a woman?! Yeah, sure, no bloody problem 'NICK'! This is breaking all the rules- you shouldn't even BE here!"
"Oh for gods sake Helen, is it really too much to comprehend that I actually want to fight for what I believe in? Just because I'm a woman? It's just shit, and I'm fed up of it. I am a good soldier. I fight just as well as the men out there."
"What's your name then?" She asked, still a bit shocked by her revelations, and not completely concentrating because of her undressed state.
"Nikki" she replied cautiously. "Look, Helen, I know this is a shock but I really need you to trust me and keep a lid on this ."
"Could you start by putting clothes on it, er, them", vacantly waving towards her exposed breasts, and feeling the colour in her cheeks rising.
"I'm sorry, miss, am I making you feel uncomfortable" she said with a wicked grin.
"Actually, Nikki, Nick WHATEVER, you ARE making me feel uncomfortable. I find out that you're breaking god knows how many rules by even being here, and you're damn uncooperative to boot." She let out, all in one frustrated burst. In fact, she was uncomfortable by Nikki's blatant flirting and blaze attitude to the fact she was sitting there completely topless. Flirting? Had she just considered it flirting? Well considering that Wade was acting like a man in the army, she didn't know what the hell to think of her.
Nikki put on her shirt and her best sulking pout, as she didn't mean for this sexy woman to be made so totally uncomfortable. If she wanted to stay in this army, and fight for her cause she had better make it up "Helen, I'm sorry. That was out of order. I just really need you to do me a favour and keep this quiet. I really can help to change things but I cant do it if I'm given a dishonorary discharge."
"Ok, let me sort out this wound and then you can go back to camp." Helen said, busying herself.
"What about my secret?"
"Lets just say that will be OUR little secret" Helen replied with a smile. "I'm sticking my neck out here Nikki. I'm not sure why, but I am." She patted Nikki's shoulder to indicate she had finished.
Nikki sat up and put her tunic back on. "Thank you" she said, not quite understanding Helen's change of attitude toward her.
Helen didn't quite understanding it either.
LATER THAT NIGHT
Nikki lay awake in her tent. She was quite nervous about what would happen if Helen told anyone- the woman obviously speaks to Fenner occasionally because that slime had given Helen bad information about her injury. But Helen wouldn't do that to her would she? The main problem was, Nikki genuinely liked Helen now- it was her sudden change of heart that had softened Nikki's hard exterior. Nikki also had developed a soft spot for Helen in other areas as well . Those eyes, that figure . Footsteps through the grass broke her train of thought. Someone was approaching her tent.
"Nikki? Are you awake?" a voice whispered from outside her tent.
'Very discrete' thought Nikki with a small grin 'calls me Nikki outright now!' "Yeah, just thinking."
"Do you mind if I come in for a sec?" Helen whispered again, as she poked her head through a flap in the material.
"Sure. As long as you stop calling me Nikki when others can hear!" she laughed quietly. "What brings you here?"
Helen didn't actually know why she was there- she had just wanted to speak to this enigmatic character again. There was something about Nikki's drive and determination to help and change things that drew her to her tent to see her. "I, er, how's your side now? Any better? I mean it was a nasty gash and y'know, just thought I'd check on you before turning in" she said quickly.
"Why did you really come? Nikki asked quietly.
Helen sat down next to Nikki on her blanket. "You're on your own. Kinda lucky isn't it? Would've been a bit hard for you trying to cope sharing with other guys I mean your secret and ."
"Helen." Nikki stopped her mid-flow. It was really intriguing how this Helen couldn't manage to string a sentence together since her discovery Was it possible she could be interested as well? This thought remained with Nikki for a while.
"Why did you do it Nikki? Why did you give up a safe life to come out here and slum it and risk your life?"
"It was my parents. They kicked me out because they didn't believe in what I believe in." she replied.
"What, they were Union?" Helen asked, incredulously.
"No. They, er, they caught me in a compromising position with one of the girls from the village." When Helen said nothing she continued, "I'm just full of surprises aren't I?! So when they disowned me as their child, I enrolled in the army. I thought that if I was going to have to fight for my beliefs, I may as well put my energy into a good cause."
Helen remained quiet for a while. Her suspicions about Nikki flirting with her in the medical tent were obviously correct. "You're a a deviant?" she asked in a high-pitched voice.
"Yeah. Now that I scared the shit out of you, you may as well go and tell Fenner of my dishonest activities. I'm sure you don't want a dirty deviant like me around! Oh and by the way? I hear the modern term for it is Lesbian!" Nikki spat the final words out.
"Nikki, I didn't mean it like that. It was just a shock that's all." Said Helen, trying to pacify Nikki a bit. "Look, it doesn't bother me what you are. Earlier today, I met a very brave, very good soldier, who risked his life to save his best friend. I admire you for that, by the way."
"You do?" Nikki asked, utterly amazed by this woman.
"Yeah, course I do my fiancé wouldn't even fight. And here you are, doing his job for him! Bastard wouldn't dare to scratch his pretty little face because it holds no personal gain." She said with a bitter sneer.
"What about honour? Surely he wouldn't pass up on a veteran's pension?"
"Yeah, well he's such a damp squid that I doubt he'd make it through one battle." She said with a laugh, "He's expecting me to bring home some kind of reward for our 'perfect family' so it looks like he was the one doing me a favour." Helen added, with such sarcasm it brought her to tears.
"Hey, don't cry Helen!" Nikki immediately moved over to her and put her arm round her. "You said fiancé didn't you?"
Helen nodded glumly, "to be married on the money I make when I'm finished here."
"Bastard!" Nikki said, holding her tighter. She was surprised and pleased to notice that Helen was hugging her back. "Why don't you just leave him, Helen? You're a lovely person. You're forgiving, understanding, you could get another man like that" she said clicking her fingers.
Helen just cried harder.
"Hey, sweetheart, shhh, its ok" Nikki soothed. Immediately cursing herself that she'd let the word 'sweetheart' slip out. If she was honest, she really liked this Helen and was angry because she was so drawn to someone so obviously straight.
Helen pulled away. Nikki cringed, waiting for the onslaught her calling Helen that would bring. Instead Helen just turned to Nikki and spoke "He's got my baby brother at home. God, Nikki, I miss him so much" the last few words were muffled as Helen continued her sobbing into Nikki's shoulder. Helen pulled away again, and laughed through the tears, "did you just call me sweetheart?!"
Seeing that Helen was more amused than disgusted, Nikki was more than relieved. "Er, yeah, sorry about that. Kinda slipped out."
"No one's called me that for ages, actually since I can remember." Helen sighed, leaning against Nikki slightly.
Nikki smiled at their closeness. It was really sweet of Helen to be so accepting of her, but if she had any idea what she was doing to Nikki's insides she'd have run a mile.
"Made me feel loved then, y'know." Helen whispered, barely audibly.
"It wouldn't be hard at all" replied Nikki without even thinking. Again her inner voice was cursing, and praying that Helen didn't hear it.
"What wouldn't" Helen asked her, not quite catching her drift.
"I, er . Shit." Nikki was well and truly busted on that one. She just decided to say what was on her mind. Maybe it would be easier if Helen didn't want to see her again. "You'd be very easy to fall in love with." She said, turning away, just in case a slap was Helen's reply.
"Yeah, well I doubt Shaun even thinks about . Oh." Just having realised what Nikki had said, Helen responded without thinking, "yeah, well so would you be . Nick". With that, she got up to leave. As she went to leave the tent, she turned back to Nikki, dropped a small kiss on the top of her head, then ruffled her hair.
Nikki sat dumbstruck for about ten minutes, trying to figure out exactly what Helen had meant by those words and that parting gesture. She concluded it to mean, that Helen was drawn to who she had first thought Nikki to be. Not who Nikki actually was. But surely Helen must think something of her the parting display of affection showed she cared. Which she decided was enough. In the hostile battlefields, she could do with any bit of care she came across.
THREE DAYS LATER
It was the first time Nikki had seen Helen since the conversation in Nikki's tent. As Nikki went to collect her food ration for the day, she saw Helen walking toward her. Immediately nervous at seeing her, Nikki's mouth went dry.
"Hiya Nick" said Helen with a wink to emphasise her keeping of Nikki's secret.
"Hey." Nikki replied, but her mouth was so dry she just ended up coughing.
"Nick! You ok?" Helen asked, immediately concerned, and started patting her back.
"Yeah, fine" she cleared her throat and took a swig of the water she had just collected. "Bit of a dry throat" she managed to say, despite Helen still vaguely rubbing her back.
"Ah, how cute" said a voice from behind them.
"Piss off Fenner" replied Nikki without turning round.
"You wanna watch yourself with a creep like him around" Fenner said to Helen, nodding toward Nikki.
"I think I can take care of myself, thank you very much Jim" came the icy reply from Helen, who then added, "I'm sure there are worse creeps around than Nick here."
Nikki stifled a smile. She had Helen wrong maybe she did have some idea of how much of a shit Fenner was. Then again, so far, it had only been Nikki who had seen the extent of Fenner's bastardness.
Seeing that Helen's last comment had been directed toward him immediately pissed him off. "Move it Wade, your unit has new orders. Sorry to split you two up but I'd hate to have to tell my nephew of his wife's indiscretions."
"Fiancé, Jim. Fiancé." Helen spat.
"Whatever, my dear, you are still under Shaun's lock and key" he retorted back.
Nikki just looked on amazed by the situation here she was, slipping down the slope to being head over heels with Helen, only to discover that the bastard Fenner was the uncle of the idiot fiancé. He heart went out to Helen. The horrified look on her face was not missed by Helen.
Nikki lay in her tent trying to sleep, but failing admirably. It was not completely unexpected when Helen popped her head in the tent.
"Nick?" she whispered into the darkness, "you awake?"
"Yeah." Came a voice from the darkness. It sounded dull and broken. Nikki heard rustling as Helen entered the tent and felt Helen sit down beside her.
"What's wrong Nikki?" She asked, her voice showing all the concern she felt for her.
"Everything. This place. Fenner. You."
"Talk Nikki, I'm listening." Helen said gently.
"Well, first of all, I find out that bastard Fenner is your fiancé's uncle, then the bastard reassigns our unit to go into conflict tomorrow with a bloody huge casualty risk, and I'm living a bloody lie and I'm sick of it."
This time it was Helen's turn to comfort Nikki. "What's the problem with me then?" she was slightly worried she'd done something to annoy Nikki, but after thinking back to their conversation the other night, she had a good idea of what it was all about.
"Tomorrow. It's a very high risk assignment. I think Fenner has made a very bad error of judgement in executing this order. His timing, his direction. Nothing makes sense and I don't know how many of the unit will make it back alive."
"That still doesn't explain why this is about me." Helen nudged gently.
"I might never see you again, Helen. I think I'm in love with you."
Helen fell silent. "If only life were simple, huh!"
"Helen, I'm sorry. I never wanted to make you feel uncomfortable or ruin our friendship, and I tried so hard not to feel like this." Nikki tried to smooth over what she'd just said. "I can't take it back but I wanted to tell you before I went. Just in case, y'know?"
"I don't want you to take it back Nikki." Helen sighed and stroked Nikki's arm. "I care about you so much, and maybe if you WERE a man, I could consider the possibility, but there's no way Nikki, I'm sorry." Helen decided that coming here tonight to hear what Nikki had told her had not been a good idea.
"So are you telling me," Nikki started, her voice very controlled and holding back tears, "that you have never been attracted to a man's personality despite his appearance?"
"Of course I have, but this is completely different" she tried to reason with Nikki and make herself believe that she wasn't the slightest bit interested in this woman.
"It just is Nikki. For a start I'm not even interested in women. I don't think of you in that way, I'm sorry."
"But you thought about Nick in that way." Nikki said slyly.
"How did No I didn't" Helen was indignant in her reply.
"Oh come on" Nikki started to smile for the first time that night, "I saw the way you looked at him. Looked at me"
"Yes, ok, I admit it. I was attracted to him you" Helen's brain was visibly in overdrive as she processed this new take on the situation. "I gotta go." She started to get up to leave.
"I'm scared Helen." Nikki said, her voice again weak and lost.
Helen closed the small space between them. She gave Nikki a tiny kiss on her lips, although they seemed to linger for slightly longer than she had intended.
"What .?" Nikki asked, dumbstruck.
"Just in case, y'know?!" Was Helen's reply. With a smile she left Nikki with her thoughts.
Nikki fell into a semi-content sleep. She knew Helen harboured SOME feelings for her- the kiss had been proof of that. None of that would matter in the morning though, if tomorrow went as she was dreading she might never have to concern herself with Helen or living or anything again.
THE NEXT DAY
Nikki awoke to the bugle signalling the wake up call. Her stomach was a pit of nerves. She decided to speak to Fenner before they went in. It was their order to go for the railroads and demolish the Union's transport system. Nikki thought Fenner's plan of action was shaky and dangerous. He wanted them to go in full force and attack from the front. Nikki knew that the Unionists would be totally expecting this and be ready for them. She expected that Fenner knew the same as well.
As she approached Fenner's tent, she heard whispered voices coming from inside.
"And your sure it will be convincing?" she heard Fenner ask.
"Of course. They trust your leadership don't they?" Another male voice replied.
"Yes of course sir. No problem"
Fenner calling someone 'sir'? That sounded very strange. Fenner was in there receiving orders from someone and they sounded threatening whatever they were.
The other male voice spoke again, this time in an even more threatening tone. "Get this right Fenner. Screw up and the Union will lose this battle. Our cause is in your hands."
Nikki was horrified. Jim Fenner was not only a first class bastard, he was a traitor to boot. She froze, her head swam, she had to get a grip. Well the first thing she had to do was to get out of there and find help.
The only person she could trust enough to assist her in this operation was Josh, but he was being sent home in a couple of days because his ankle injury was getting worse, and he wouldn't be able to fight. He did have one very good use though .. Nikki ran to her tent and quickly scribbled a note to give to Josh. In it, was written the few details she knew about Fenner's involvement with the Union side, and in the event of her not making it back alive, a note to Helen.
Meanwhile, Helen was equally worried. Worried about Nikki's fate in this battle she was so scared of, and also worried about her actions the night before. 'I kissed her' was all that was going round in her head. 'What was I thinking?' It was just so strange during that conversation. Helen had seen vulnerability in Nikki last night and all she had wanted to do was to reach out to her. She suspected Nikki had feelings for her but her admission last night had really shocked Helen. Nikki knew she was straight because they had talked about Helen's fiancé. What the hell was happening between them? Yes, Helen felt attracted to Nick but all those thoughts went out the window when she discovered he was in fact, Nikki. But even after she knew who Nikki was, she still actively sought her out, drawn by her passion. Helen groaned in frustration. She was so unsure of everything. Helen decided she would talk to Nikki when she returned from the battle. What to say though? This was going to be a tough decision to make.
While the Confederates gathered to make their attack on the Union railroads, Nikki was in turmoil. She knew she was in the first team, with the highest casualty expectancy, and she knew their orders were to charge the barricade full on. If she could take a couple of men and sneak round to the back, they might just give the others a change while the Union were distracted.
As the Confederate troops began to move forward, Nikki slipped off the back of the formation and ran through the trees in the general direction of where she knew the barricade to be. Her heart was racing. Everyone she had asked to help her had dismissed her accusations about Fenner as her being cowardice. She saw the barricade in the distance and through binoculars could make out the Union soldiers inside armouring up for their defensive against the Confederate army. "Some surprise attack" she thought, "They knew exactly what time we were coming!" Having seen the sheer size of their weaponry and numbers, it became clear that this was definitely set up to demolish the Western Virginian Confederate army.
As Nikki came near to the back of the barricade, she was sure that the soldiers within the barricade could hear her heart pounding, she was so nervous. Still unsure of exactly what she was going to do, her body leapt into action as she heard the Confederate troops heading toward the front of the barricade. Keeping her body pressed to the ground, she scaled up the embankment to get a view of exactly what was happening inside. An idea crept into her head, if I could distract them when they're about to attack our troops, then there might be time for us to retreat Making sure she was not seen, she lined up her gun to line up with one of the front firing posts .
Helen was worried about Nikki. She had resolved to tell her that although she liked her as a friend, her good luck kiss shouldn't be interpreted as anything more than that. A good luck kiss. Even though she knew in her own mind it was more than that, whatever feeling she had towards Nikki would put both of them in grave danger in Jim Fenner ever found out. She reorganised her medical tent for the fourth time since the troops had set off. If Nikki's prediction of a heavy casualty rate was correct, then she would need everything to hand.
"Here they come, sir", one of the younger Union soldiers shouted to a man who appeared to be a superior.
"Keep it steady" his senior replied, "wait until Fenner gives the sign. Then obliterate them."
Every soldier in the barricade had at least three guns each, and there was a huge supply of ammunitions to refill. It was very clear that the survival rate of the confederates would be slim to none. Drawing her eyes back to the ammunitions, an idea came into her head.
The Confederates stormed to the barricade. As soon as they were close enough to prevent safe retreat, the waiting Unionists opened fire. Nikki was temporarily shocked by the sheer brutality, but then leapt into action. She picked off a couple of the soldiers at the main firing posts, her presence going unnoticed by the busy Unionists, who thought they'd been hit by some of the Confederates. When soldiers moved to replace those hit by Nikki's bullets, she snuck right up to the top of the barricade, and fired a round into the ammunitions store. She noticed gunpowder and boxes of bullets. Moving closer still she emptied her weapon into a keg of gunpowder. There was a huge explosion and Nikki was thrown backward and into some undergrowth. Content in the knowledge she may have been able to help her fellow soldiers, the last thing she saw was smoke billowing from the Union barricade.
Helen was still thinking about Nikki when the sound of the soldiers returning disrupted her thought pattern. The sight of many soldiers returning en-mass set Helen's mind at rest somewhat- the fact that most of the troop seemed to be alive and mobile had to be a good thing. There were just a few minor cuts, scrapes and bullet grazes to deal with when they returned. The word from the soldiers had been that upon attack of the barricade, at first there had been heavy fire from the unionists, which stopped when a huge explosion disrupted their defence. The Confederates had not been given the chance to properly go through with their attack, but they had speculated that whatever had caused the explosion it was likely it had led to many casualties within the barricade. Their retreat, though unplanned had been fairly safe.
That night, Helen sought out Nikki in her tent. She felt guilty. She knew she was denying any feelings for Nikki, but the implications of admitting to any such attraction were too great to give in to a whim like that. As she poked her head round Nikki's tent, she was surprised to find it bare. All of her belongings and bedding had gone. Helen's mind began to whir. Could it be that she'd fled from the battle to avoid Fenner? Or Helen herself? Another soldier's tent? No, her stuff would be here. OH MY GOD! Helen thought, suddenly feeling faint what if she's Helen didn't know what to do. Her mind was a blur. Who can I ask where she is? What would they think of her, seeking Nikki at this time of night. And after a battle as well. Helen really started to fear the worse when she thought back to Nikki's final words to her after admitting her feelings "I'm scared Helen" She knew Nikki was worried about the battle. She had expressed a concern about Fenner's leadership! Oh god!
Helen approached Josh's tent warily. She was sure he had been the one Nikki had been brought in with when she was injured, so if she remembered rightly, this was Nikki's best friend on site. Mind you, she had been so fascinated by this intriguing character (even if she did know her firstly as a man), she paid little attention to the other man. The thought struck her at that point that she had felt attraction to Nikki/Nick early on. She smiled faintly at that thought, but it brought tears to her eyes in case Josh gave her the worst news.
"Hello? Josh?" Helen whispered quietly at the opening to his tent.
There was a sniff from inside, then someone cleared their throat. "Yeah. Who's who's that?"
"Helen Stewart. I'm the medical nurse, I tended to your leg. Do you know where Nikki is?"
"Who?" asked Josh, confused.
Helen silently cursed herself "Nick. Sorry, do you know where NICK is?"
"Come in Helen", Josh said with a quiet voice.
With a shaking hand, Helen opened the front of Josh's tent and sat down on the end of his sleeping bag. By the light of the small lantern in Josh's tent, she could see he had been crying. "Oh God." She said, her breathing becoming fast and shallow. "What's happened?" she asked, although from Josh's mood she had a pretty good idea.
Helen was numb. She couldn't cry, couldn't feel, couldn't breathe. She had a horrible crushing pain in her chest. Her mind was just a blur. She wanted to run and be sick but knew her legs couldn't support her even if she tried.
"What happened? How did " her voice cracked on the last word. She stopped so she wouldn't cry. She hadn't noticed the streams of tears already covering her cheeks.
"He was there when we went, and he wasn't there when we retreated." He said, his breath still ragged from crying. "Captain Fenner said he was hit from the Union's front shooting posts, but it wasn't safe to retrieve him when Fenner called for retreat." He paused, "Did you say your name was Helen?"
"Yeah why" she replied, staring vaguely off into the tent somewhere.
"Nick left this for you in case anything happened to him" Josh handed her a folded piece of paper. "Were you two close?"
"Have you read it?" Helen asked him.
"Of course not!" Josh replied, more animated than he had been that night. "Nick's my best friend. I would never betray his wishes. He said it was for Helen and no one else."
"Thank you" she said, toying with the folded edges of the paper. "I think I'd like to read this alone if you'll excuse me."
"Sure" he replied. "will you be ok?"
Helen nodded. "Will you?"
Helen left the tent on shaky legs. She felt sick and empty. When she reached her own tent, it took her a few minutes to light the lamp because her hands were shaking so much. She settled down to read the note. The words were blurred by her tears.
Helen, if you are reading this then the battle went as I expected. I'm so sorry I couldn't stop him. I found out something very important about Fenner that needs to be told. The day of the battle, I went to Fenner's tent to ask him to rethink the battle plans because I knew he was wrong in his reasoning. But I didn't get to speak to him, because he was in deep conversation with someone who sounded superior. They said something about it had better work, and queried whether he would be able to pull it off and did our troops trust him enough. I'm sorry if some of this doesn't make sense, but I'm having to be quite hurried. I think Fenner is in discussions with the Unionists. I think he's setting us up Helen, I think we're going to die.
Now to what I really wanted to say. I love you Helen. I knew from the moment I saw you that you were special. I wanted to confirm my feelings and wanted you to know that I will be with you always. Its up to you now to convince them what Fenner was up to and if there has been the loss of life I expected, it will make things much easier for them to believe. Get rid of Fenner before he kills you all.
If I'm gone when you wake up, please don't cry
If I'm gone when you wake up, its not goodbye
Don't think of this time as a time of heartache and tears
Remember me, remember me
I'll be with you in your dreams.
Helen dissolved into tears. Nikki's short poem at the end was the most touching thing anyone had ever written to her and that was from a woman! Then it dawned on her. All this time she had been stressing over her growing feelings for Nikki because she was a woman, and denying what she felt. Now she had lost her, the realisation crashed down on her head like a lightning bolt. She had lost the woman she loved.
(Words for Nikki's poem from Hanson's "With You In Your Dreams" from the 'Middle Of Nowhere' album. Yes, I do own a Hanson album.)
When Helen awoke the next morning, she was overcome with a great sense of loss. She had dreamt about Nikki all night and in the dream they were sitting in a green field with a picnic. There were birds singing in the trees and Nikki was feeding her a strawberry. All of a sudden, a huge crow had swooped to attack the small birds. Nikki had chased the crow off and didn't come back. In a second dream, Helen was sat in the same field, but Nikki wasn't there with her. Neither were the birds, or flowers or sun. Then Nikki had appeared over the horizon with her cheeky Nikki-grin on her face, carrying the crow by its feet. As she came over the hill, all the birds and flowers and the sun returned. She had walked up to Helen and kissed her with such realism Helen didn't want to wake up. When she did, she once again burst into tears.
Wanting to hold on to any last part of Nikki, Helen reread her letter. Something seemed odd though Nikki had said there would be huge loss of life, but it was only Nikki who had been killed. Which could only mean that Nikki had sacrificed herself to save the others. The unexplained explosion! That was it! It must have been Nikki's doing. If she was right, it would confirm that Fenner made up the story that Nikki had been shot dead by the Union. Helen didn't know what to do about Fenner. That man made her sick. She decided to go for a walk and try to retrieve Nikki's body.
Walking across the site of the previous battleground, Helen was relieved to find it deserted. Still she was as quiet as possible in case she was noticed. She walked around the front of the barricade, and whilst there was a lot of debris from the explosion, she couldn't find Nikki's body. Disheartened not to be able to find her, Helen decided to take a walk to the barricade to see what had happened. A cautious peek at the barricade showed that there had indeed been a huge explosion, but from what Helen could make out, there was no way it could have been hit from the front where the Confederates had come from. She was sure it had been Nikki who had managed to somehow get to this point and cause the explosion. As she thought about the description of the battle, the more it seemed likely. No one had seen Nikki actually fighting. It was just Fenner's confirmation of her death that they had.
Helen started frantically looking around the surrounding area to see if Nikki had been thrown from the explosion. As she walked toward some undergrowth, she heard a single bird singing. Spurred on by memories of her dream, Helen started looking under various bushes. It was not long before she found a gun lying in the long grass. Then nearby, a pair of boots
As Helen pulled Nikki's body from the undergrowth, her heart was in her mouth. Her tunic was covered in mud, as was her face. She pulled out a cotton handkerchief from her pocket, and silently wiped the mud from her face. She cradled Nikki's body in her lap and hugged her as if her own life depended on it. She heaved huge sobs of grief. Seeing her body finalised it all and made it too real. She placed a kiss on Nikki's lips. They were still so soft, like they were just the night before last. "I love you too" she whispered.
Was she going crazy? When she kissed her lips, she was sure she felt Nikki breathe through her nose. With her medical training, she couldn't help but check her pulse in a futile hope for some glimmer of life. Her hands were shaking as she grasped Nikki's slender wrist. It was then she felt it. A slight pulse? She took a moment to steady herself and felt again. Yes! It was there! A faint pulse! Opening Nikki's mouth, she blew a very gentle breath of air into her. This seemed to have an effect and made Nikki's own breathing stronger. Helen was overcome. Once satisfied she was breathing comfortably, Helen started to check her body for broken bones. She had cracked some ribs- Helen could tell by the sharp intake of breath the unconscious Nikki took every time she touched one. Her hands were covered in cuts and she had a few on her face. The huge bump on the back of her head suggested a reason for her unconsciousness.
Taking off her coat, she laid it over Nikki. After she made sure she was stable and in the recovery position, Helen ran back to the camp as fast as she could. She smiled as she ran, noticing that bright sunshine had broken through the clouds. looks like my dream came true after all she mused.
"HELP! Somebody give me some help here!" she yelled at the top of her voice as she reached the camp, "Nick's alive! I found him! I need some help!"
There was a huge commotion at her announcement. About six of the other soldiers ran over to help her carry Nikki back. As she turned to run back to where she had left Nikki, she noticed Fenner, glaring, with a face like thunder. She knew he had something to do with it. Her anger helped her to run faster back to Nikki. The bastard had probably left her for dead or hoped the enemy would capture her.
They carried Nikki back and left her in the care of Helen in the medical tent. She bathed her wounds and released the bindings on her chest. It would be easier to breathe if she undid them. That was her reason, but as she let Nikki's breasts free, she couldn't help but stare at the beauty of this woman in front of her. She quickly covered her in blankets in case anyone was to walk in and blow Nikki's cover. After cleaning her wounds, all she could do was wait for her to wake up.
Nikki awoke to the sight of Helen's golden hair next to her face. She thought she had died and gone to heaven. Although if this was heaven, she wasn't impressed by the throbbing sensation in her head. She tried to move a little, and her stirring woke the sleeping Helen.
"Nikki!" she whispered, trying not to draw anyone's attention to the fact she was awake. Helen had things tell Nikki and didn't want anyone interrupting.
Nikki coughed. "Helen?" Her throat was really dry. "Am I dead?" Nikki thought she was definitely in heaven now because of the huge smile Helen was beaming at her.
Helen stroked Nikki's head gently, "no sweetheart, you're not dead. I found you under some bushes near to the back of the barricade." She fetched a cup of water.
"You called me sweetheart" Nikki said, a small smile appearing. Her voice was still weak, so Helen took it upon herself to fill Nikki in on everything that had gone on since her disappearance.
"Yeah, I did." Helen said, with another big smile on her face. "I missed you. I was worried sick, I ." She couldn't finish the sentence as she felt tears welling in her eyes as she recalled her reaction to this woman being dead.
"I know" Nikki replied. She held Helen's hand and stroked the back of it with her thumb. "Its ok, I'm fine. I'll live now."
"But you nearly didn't, Nikki. You were out there all night."
"And I would still be out there, probably dead if you hadn't gone looking. I owe you my life Helen." Tears started forming in Nikki's eyes as well now.
"Actually, I think there's a whole army out there that owe you their lives!" Helen said proudly, stroking an uninjured cheek. "We were told by Fenner that you had died after being hit by fire from the Union barricade. After everything you said in your letter, I just knew that if you were the only one dead, it was from you sabotaging the Union barricade and not from a random bullet. And that Fenner had to be lying. Again."
"You read my letter." Nikki said rather blankly. She didn't want to sound hopeful that Helen reciprocated her feelings.
"Yeah, I did. And you were with me in my dreams, Nikki" Helen said, once again taking her hand. She told her about the dream she had the night before.
Nikki smiled as Helen told her the bit about Nikki kissing her. "Was I good?" she asked, flirtatiously.
"Very" Helen replied with a sexy tone to her voice, and a playful smile on her face.
"How good?" Nikki asked again, giving her a cheeky grin.
Helen slowly leant down and captured Nikki's lips with hers. Nikki let out a soft moan as the kiss deepened. It was a very slow, sensual and exploring kiss, as Helen didn't want to hurt Nikki's chest.
"I love you Nikki" Helen said softly into Nikki's hair.
The next few days were like a blur for Helen & Nikki. Each was wandering round in their own little world. Well, Helen was wandering and Nikki was resting in her tent. It just so happened that a lot of Helen's wanderings involved going to see Nikki in her tent....
Helen was lying next to Nikki, studying her face. She had the most perfect features she had ever seen. More so when she was lying there expressionless. She had witnessed the full extent of her beauty as she cradled Nikki's mud-covered face in her lap after finding her unconscious. She leant over and stroked a hand down Nikki's soft cheek. Nikki flinched and woke up.
"Jesus Helen!" she gasped, catching her breath, "how long have you been there?"
"Not long. I was just watching you sleep. You looked really sweet." she said with a giggle.
Nikki pulled her down for a kiss.
Helen laughed to herself.
"What's so funny?" Nikki asked, with a little confused smile on her face.
"This! Us!" Helen replied, "I can't believe I have only really known you for a few days and I'm sneaking into your tent to watch you sleep!"
"Is this where you tell me you're actually a nutter who likes to watch people sleep?" Nikki, asked with a giggle.
Helen was suddenly serious. "This is where I tell you that I've never felt this close to anyone before. Not even Se...." She stopped, but it was too late.
"What are you going to do about Sean?" asked Nikki, suddenly becoming deadly serious she didn't want to find out that Helen was planning on going back to him and just using her for some comfort during the war.
"I don't know, but it'll make it easier to end things because of Fenner." she paused when she noticed the look on Nikki's face. "what?" she asked her.
"You are going to finish things with him?" Nikki was wary.
Helen immediately moved over to reassure Nikki. "Sweetheart, when I figured out what I felt for you, there was no question of me going back to him. I knew I had to finish things with him, and now we know that Fenner is involved with the Union, I'll have all the grounds I need. I just need to sort out my brother." Helen's face saddened at the thought of not seeing him again.
"Its ok, we'll get him back somehow" Nikki sounded confident, but didn't really feel it as she had no idea how long they were going to be in battle for. "I'll think of something, don't worry."
They sat holding each other for a while before Helen had to get going. "I'll see you later, after dinner, yeah?"
Helen was walking back to her first aid tent when she heard a voice behind her.
"Be careful Helen, I'd watch that Wade if I were you." Jim Fenner's voice sounded menacing.
"Well, you're not me Jim" Helen said flatly, walking away from him. "Anyway, I've heard you're the one to watch." She immediately regretted being so bold when he grabbed her arm and sharply twisted her to face him.
"YEAH? Well, I'm warning you. I have plans here. I don't want you or your little soldier boy messing them up."
Helen was tempted to retort that she and 'Nick' already knew about his plans, but managed to keep her mouth shut this time. She went back to her tent and silently wept. She was so worried about her little brother, Alex, and also terrified of what would happen to him if Fenner got word back to Sean about whatever he suspected between her and Nikki. She really needed to form a plan with Nikki about how to expose Fenner's involvement with the Union before he tried to drag them into another one-sided battle.
As she watched Nikki over dinner, Helen was filled with a warm feeling of comfort. It was something about the way that Nikki would slip her sidelong glances that made her heart glow. you soppy cow she thought to herself.
After they had all eaten, Fenner made a point of deliberately being a few feet away from Helen at all times. This did not go unnoticed by Nikki, who immediately became suspicious.
When she finally managed to get a second alone with Helen, she voiced her concerns, "Don't come over to my tent tonight. Fenner's suspicious."
Helen began to protest.
Nikki cut her off, she knew they didn't have time for this the situation was getting serious. "All we need is for Fenner to get evidence of... us and we wont have a leg to stand on when we expose him as a traitor. How's it going to look if he's just sprung us for having an affair then we..."
"Affair?" Helen whispered, about to voice her opinions.
Nikki cut her off yet again. She could sense the urgency of keeping a lid on things. "you know what I mean Helen. You KNOW you're more than a quick fling to me. Which is why we can't be stupid about this. If he exposes us, then it will just look like sour grapes when we try to expose him."
Helen was silent this time. She understood how thin the ice was they were walking on. "Especially if they find out your true identity." she added.
"Exactly." Nikki replied. She actually hadn't considered that notion as she had been so wrapped up in Helen the past day or so.
THE NEXT DAY
Nikki was up early. She'd had trouble sleeping that night because the bandages she wore on her chest were making her sore ribs ache. She was beginning to get pissed off with the whole charade now. Everyone was still treating her with a hero status because of her action in the battle so what would it matter that she was a woman? Little had been said about the fact that Fenner's account of her death didn't match up with her being alive. Nikki was waiting for the right moment to correct them.
As she sat outside her tent smoking a hand-rolled cigarette, she noticed Fenner leaving his tent. She took this perfect opportunity and snuck in unnoticed. Not knowing how much time she actually had, she set straight to checking through his papers. There didn't seem to be anything unusual just a few maps of the area and battle plans. She cursed silently. There had to be a special place he kept private stuff in. Looking under his clothes, she found a small wooden box. It was about 5 inches by 3 and looked the perfect place to hide stuff. Breaking open the tiny padlock, she found a bunch of papers inside. She stuffed them into her pocket and slipped out of Fenner's tent to read them in the relative privacy of her own tent.
The first was a telegram, which gave extensive evidence against Fenner regarding his involvement with the Union in the last battle. GOTCHA! she thought. There were also numerous letters from Sean. That was very strange, although not entirely unexpected. From what she could make out, he was making some kind of deal with Sean regarding Helen. Nikki was suddenly very worried. She frantically read more of Sean's letters. By the end of the next one, her hands were shaking. It basically outlined a plan between Fenner and Sean to kill off 'the problem' and to 'deal with the kid'. Nikki froze. If she was reading this right, Fenner had been in dealings with Sean all along to kill Helen. Her brother Alex looked like he was a pawn in their plan as well. She had to go find Helen.
As Nikki approached Helen's tent, she heard voices inside. One was Helen's and the other, although speaking in harsh whispers was undoubtedly Fenner. Nikki nearly stopped in her tracks to quietly listen to what was going on. As she crept to peer into the tent, she was horrified by what she heard.
"Thought you could have a holiday while you were here, did you? Fenner hissed. "Thought you could play away from Sean? Have sordid little affairs while he's at home with the kid?"
"Jim, please!" She heard Helen say, her voice sounded strained and scared. "It's not like that!"
"You see it's all actually rather convenient, Helen" Fenner said, his voice strangely calm. This frightened Nikki because she knew that the calmer Fenner appeared, the more likely he was to be plotting.
Helen looked at Fenner with confusion.
"Darling Sean and my good self had a little deal going that would secure a perfect income for him and myself." He moved behind Helen and spoke against her ear. She could smell his stale, putrid breath. He went on to explain to Helen exactly what their little plan was.
"You see, I'm afraid Sean isn't the perfect fiancé you thought him to be. Him and me had come to an agreement in which you accidentally got killed somehow in battle. I was wondering how I would be able to accomplish that with you always hiding in here and messing with that pathetic Wade."
At those words, Nikki nearly went in there and ripped off Fenner's balls. She had to wait for the right time though. She could see he was holding a gun and knew if she timed it wrong Helen could get killed.
"But, now I have the perfect situation" he continued, trailing the muzzle of the gun down the back of Helen's neck. She shivered. "Because when I say that I came to confront you over the discovery of you and Wade's affair, you got violent Helen. You pulled a gun on me Helen. Very unprofessional Helen."
His continued use of Helen's name scared her this man was so close to the edge it was frightening. She didn't know how she was going to get out of this situation. She only prayed that Nikki would come and find her at some point. Nikki was praying for Helen to hold it together until she got the chance to go in.
Fenner's eyes were bulging now. He had beads of sweat breaking out on the creases of his forehead and was close to killing her on the spot. "Of course, I have to act in self defence. And shoot you to protect myself. Because who will lead this army on if you kill me in cold blood." He raised the gun to point at Helen's head. She closed her eyes and waited for the bang.
The sound from Fenner's gun ricocheted around the camp, bringing numerous soldiers out of their tents to investigate the commotion.
Nikki had rugby-tackled Fenner to the floor just as he was about to pull the trigger. His stray bullet ripped a hole in the side of the tent, and Helen was thrown to the ground. Nikki and Fenner wrestled on the floor for Fenner's gun, each trying to point it in the other's face. Nikki winced as one of Fenner's fists came into collision with her bandaged breasts. "You bastard! I'll kill you!" she yelled as she made a leap for the gun again. Fenner was quicker though, and turned the gun around to point at Nikki. She kneed him hard in the groin, sending another stray shot off into the tent. While he was temporarily out of action, Nikki grabbed the gun and stood up over him, with the gun pointed at his chest.
"You are such a piece of shit!" she screamed at him.
The row in Helen's medical tent brought others over to see what was going on. They looked into the tent with confused faces as Nikki stood over Fenner.
"Fenner would like you all to know what a lying scheming piece of horse shit he is." She announced. "He would also like you to know that he is, in fact, a SPY for the UNION!" intakes of breath from those outside conveyed their shock. "I'm going to show you the evidence to prove it as soon as I've dealt with him."
She looked at Fenner below her, who now lay with a contented look on his face.
"WHAT is so fucking FUNNY?" Nikki yelled, prodding him in the ribs. She followed his gaze to the corner, where Helen was slumped unconscious. A trickle of blood ran down the side of her head. A stray shot must have hit her.
Nikki felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. She wanted to run to Helen but Fenner had incensed her so much she wanted to finish the job.
Matching her voice to the calmness she heard in Fenner's earlier, Nikki said to him "So. You got your way. She's dead." Her voice wavered on those two words and she just wanted to turn the gun onto herself. "You'll get your money from her fiancé. The one who's paying you to kill her so he can cash in on her veteran's pension." Another shocked gasp went round those watching. Fenner's eyes were wide with horror. He knew he was messing with the wrong soldier. Nikki motioned for someone to check Helen while she continued her tirade on Fenner.
"I don't think he deserves to live." She said through clenched teeth. She looked up and was met with approving looks from the others.
"You don't have the balls." Fenner said, his brow and uniform now covered in sweat.
"You're right actually Jim" she said with a half smile. "I don't."
With that she sank a single shot into his chest.
Nikki stood there in silence for a couple of seconds looking down at Fenner's lifeless body. She had blood spattered on her legs from where she was standing over Fenner. She dropped the gun next to his body and went over to Helen.
"She's alive", the soldier who was watching her told Nikki. "Just grazed the side of her head I reckon. She was very lucky."
Nikki bent down and took the unconscious Helen into her arms. She laid her onto the bed and cleaned off the blood with a shaking hand. I nearly lost her she thought to herself as Helen started to stir. Helen winced as she opened her eyes and a sharp pain shot through her head. Nikki sat stroking her head as Helen came round.
"Hey" Nikki said gently.
"Hey yourself" Helen replied, then winced again as she tried to smile.
"You need to rest darling." Nikki soothed, "its going to be quite sore for a while." She paused. "I nearly lost you today Helen. I don't know what would have happened if " her voice cracked and a tear trickled down her cheek.
Helen leaned up and kissed it away. "You saved my life Nikki." She said before gently kissing her lips.
"Well I guess we're even then" Nikki replied with a smile. "I need to go and talk to the guys out there." She said, standing up, "There are some things I need to tell them. About me, about Fenner."
"What's happening with Fenner? Can we expose him?" asked Helen.
"Fenner's dead." She replied. "I shot him. He's dead."
Helen raised her hand to her mouth. "You? He's an officer!"
"He's a traitor." Nikki said, before walking out the tent.
As she stood in front of the troops, Nikki felt nervous. She had no idea how they were going to react to what she had to tell them. She showed them the evidence she had against Fenner and Sean. Luckily they backed her up and many came forward to say they would confirm the events leading up to Fenner's death to law courts. She took a deep breath before telling them the news that would shock them immensely.
"The other thing I had to tell you is the fact that I am not who you think I am." She said confidently. She was met with looks of confusion. "I am not Nick Wade. My name is Nikki. I am a woman."
There was utter silence as this news sunk in. Nikki had not noticed Helen appear behind her.
"Nikki is the bravest woman I have ever met." Helen stated boldly. "She fought when she didn't have to because she wanted to make a difference. She risked her life to fight in this war because she believed in the cause. She single-handedly turned the tables on the battle at the railroad barricade and saved all your lives, despite traitors like Captain Fenner. She also saved my life in the tent with Fenner earlier." She looked up at Nikki and beamed a proud smile.
Nikki tentatively put an arm around her shoulders, relieved when Helen hugged her waist. She was not sure whether or not Helen was comfortable with others knowing their unconventional relationship.
There was silence for a moment as this information sank in. Then one soldier started to clap slowly. Soon others followed and rapturous applause ensued.
Talk of what happened earlier in the day seemed to fill the day. There was no further word from the Unionists following the recent battle. Nikki suspected they were laying low after the mass destruction she had caused to their troops and their barricade.
The evening meal was an upbeat affair following the revelations about Fenner and Nikki. Many a cup was raised in her honour. After talking and laughing with the other soldiers for a few hours, Nikki noticed Helen looking weary. No wonder she thought, all that stuff earlier must've taken it out of her. Nikki feigned a yawn and told the others she was going to turn in. Helen followed, much to the amusement of a few of the younger soldiers. As they reached Nikki's tent, she turned round to kiss Helen goodnight. To her surprise, Helen eagerly pulled Nikki's head down for a rough, passionate kiss.
"Wow" Nikki replied breathlessly. Seeing the aroused look in Helen's eyes, Nikki decided that maybe she wasn't so tired after all. "Do you, er, wanna come back to my place?" Nikki asked with a smile.
Helen nodded and pushed Nikki through the flap in the tent. As she pushed her to the floor, Nikki yelped as her injured ribs were shaken. Helen flinched when she realised she'd hurt Nikki. "Sorry sweetheart", Helen whispered. She lovingly stoked the top of her chest and planted a single kiss just above Nikki's breasts. Nikki sighed at Helen's gentle touch. "I should check they're ok" Helen said, putting on her doctor's voice and a mock-serious face. Nikki sucked in a breath of air as Helen's hands scooted underneath her top to 'check' her 'ribs' were ok.
"Now if you think those are my ribs, I am very much doubting your medical expertise!" Nikki started to joke as Helen's hands roamed across her breasts. She was suddenly quiet again as Helen pinched a nipple between her fingertips. Nikki let Helen take the lead as she wasn't sure how far Helen wanted to take it and at what speed. When Helen eased Nikki's top off over her head to marvel at her exposed breasts, Nikki had a fair idea how far this was likely to go. Wanting to please Helen with everything she was worth, Nikki sat up and started to kiss Helen's neck. Helen let out a little moan as Nikki's soft lips hit a particularly sensitive spot. Nikki lifted Helen's top above her head and held their bodies close. It was the first time they had felt each other's skin on their own and Nikki's skin was on fire everywhere it touched Helen's.
Helen was feeling the same as she kissed Nikki hard again, tangling her hands in Nikki's short hair. Nikki expertly manoeuvred Helen so that she was lying half on top of her, half to the side. Nikki took a moment to study Helen lying below her. "You're gorgeous Helen Stewart." she said in a whisper. In the half-light of Nikki's lantern, she could see Helen blush slightly. Nikki slowly stroked a hand down the side of Helen's body and brushed an erect nipple with her thumb on the way down. Helen gasped at Nikki's sensitive touch, and Nikki continued the onslaught on Helen's neck. Satisfied that Helen was enjoying her actions, Nikki turned her attentions to Helen's breasts and started to knead them and rub the nipples. Helen arched up to her touch, and Nikki delved her tongue into Helen's mouth for another breathtaking kiss. She left small butterfly kisses all down Helen's neck in a trail to her left breast. She captured the nipple in her mouth and sucked gently. Helen let out a low moan, which verged on a growl and turned Nikki on immensely. She flicked and tickled her nipple to even greater effect.
Helen, by this time, was completely lost in the sensations Nikki was causing and Nikki had to silence her once or twice to prevent her drawing attention to their actions. Most of the soldiers seemed fine to cast a blind eye to their relationship, but loud lovemaking might be a bit much to expect them to tolerate. The thought of making love to Helen quickly snapped Nikki out of her paranoia and the world outside the tent paled into inexistence. Turning the lantern down to a faint glow, Nikki continued her worship of Helen's body.....
THE NEXT MORNING
Nikki awoke to find Helen snuggled up to her under the army blankets. It made her sad to think that Helen's first time had happened in a tent, on an army camp, and not in the luxury she would have gladly afforded Helen under different circumstances. Helen looked so sweet when she slept she even looked like she wore a half-smile. Well, in reality that's all she was wearing! Nikki had often felt cold under the rough blankets at night, but the body warmth from Helen's back against her chest was keeping her quite warm. She pulled the blanket back up over them and kissed Helen's temple. Helen stirred and turned over to face Nikki. She planted a sleepy kiss on Nikki's lips and then continued to snuggle up to Nikki's chest.
"You ok?" Nikki asked Helen.
"Mmm" she replied sleepily. Waking up a bit, she looked into Nikki's eyes with a seriousness that worried Nikki. "I love you so much."
Nikki gave a relieved sigh, "I love you too sweetheart. Last night I hope I didn't rush anything?" She was anxious that they might've moved too quickly for Helen's liking.
"Of course not. It was perfect." She smiled coyly, "it was actually WOW! I can't describe it. I've never "
Nikki giggled, "I gathered you enjoyed it, in fact, I think most of the camp might've gathered that by now!"
Helen blushed and was immediately embarrassed as she remembered being rather vocal as Nikki's tongue worked her magic. She became aroused again as she remembered the image of her grabbing Nikki's dark hair in bunches as she came. Her hand trailed across Nikki's naked breast. She watched in wonder as Nikki's nipple immediately puckered at her gentle touch. She leaned in for a slow and very sensual kiss.
As much as she was enjoying Helen's well, Helen in general, Nikki knew they had to get up before they ended up repeating last night's show for the rest of the camp to hear in broad daylight. With a frustrated groan, Nikki managed to extract herself from Helen's grip.
The sight of a sleepy Helen trying to get dressed in Nikki's tent was almost too much especially when Helen kept making the odd comment that clothing wasn't really necessary for what she'd rather be doing!
As they emerged from the tent, they were met with a few knowing smiles. Nikki was feeling great, not only because of the night before, but also because she was free to dress without the heavy bindings she had worn round her chest for so long.
When they sat down to breakfast, Lieutenant Mark Waddle stood up to address the troops. Nikki couldn't help smile at his name. She knew it was immature, but it was one of the few childish moments she allowed herself, and indulged in it every time she saw him. Waddle was a good man though, and Nikki trusted him.
"Right, men!" he started, then pausing to look at Helen and Nikki he added, "and women. I have received news from our seniors that as from today, this battle is over."
A huge cheer resounded from the relieved soldiers. None were more relieved than Helen and Nikki, as this meant they would be able to get Helen's brother back.
Mark continued, "Nikki, I am afraid this is the last battle you will fight in, now your true identity has been revealed." He watched her face drop as she thought she would be punished for her masquerade. Noticing her reaction, he continued quickly, "but in light of your heroic actions at the Battle Of The Railroad, you will receive a full veteran's pension with Honourable Discharge effective as from now. Your actions have been recognised in the form of a Bravery Medal to be awarded at the earliest opportunity."
Another cheer and round of applause followed, and Nikki was lifted high into the air by her fellow soldiers.
As the excitement died down, and the soldiers eagerly rushed to pack up their equipment, Helen caught up with Nikki. "You're disappointed aren't you?" Helen asked her.
"No Helen, I'm not." She couldn't explain her low mood. "Its just gonna be weird, not fighting for the cause anymore."
"Well how about fighting for me. For Us. For our future." She wrapped her arms round Nikki and the two shared a wordless embrace. "Lets go home."
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