DISCLAIMER: All main, recognized characters belong to William Broyles, Jr., John Sacret Young. and Warner Bros.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Silver Lining
By Ann


There was nothing good about war. To the victors go the spoils had to be one of the worst proverbs every written. Granted, the winner did earn the right to boast about how it was all worth sacrificing everything to fight for their cause and come out the victor, but in the end, when you measured the loss of life and limb on both sides, was it truly worth it?

Throughout history, great wars had been fought, and yes, right had prevailed over wrong more times than naught. Many, many injustices against mankind had been righted through the use of guns and bombs, but today, Christmas Day, as I sat and tried to be kind and gracious to both friend and enemy, I found myself selfish in my wishes.

I just wanted it all to stop. Of course, by all, I meant the killing and the maiming and the number of countless injured soldiers who passed through our little hospital on their way to a bigger, better hospital, or in the worst case, on their way to … what? Eternal life? The end of life as they knew it? Just the end?

I hated war, but I especially hated days like today that made me all philosophical because I always realized that no matter how deep my thoughts went when thinking about this war, in the morning, I was still going to be here in this God forsaken place, and the war I'd been trying so desperately to give meaning to, would continue nonetheless despite my wishes for it to just fade away.

My relief finally arrived, giving me a much needed break from having to act all cheery and positive for the wounded. Today was not the day I wanted to be responsible for injecting false hope into the lives of these men who wanted nothing more than to be whole and in the midst of their family and loved ones, instead of listening to someone as jaded as me fill them with utter and senseless crap.

Nothing I could say would make them grow another arm or leg or have their wives suddenly walk through the door and tell them everything would be okay. All each of them wanted was for her to tell him that she loved him and that he didn't need two arms or two legs to return her love.

Fuck, I needed to get drunk. Surely, alcohol would turn off these depressing and morose thoughts, or at the very least, numb the intensity of my emotions. Maybe I'd just head over to see what ol' Boonie had to cure what ailed me.

Stepping into the makeshift bar, I was surprised to find the place empty, well except for Boonie and K. C. I couldn't believe she wasn't in Da Nang screwing some general or curling up next to some V. I. P. in her tent.

Hell, if I K. C. were in my bed, I wouldn't need to get drunk. No, she'd be the perfect distraction to take my mind off the insanity of this war, not to mention she was the Christmas gift everyone wished for, myself included, but I don't think even Santa could manage to get the redhead down my chimney.

I took the seat next to K. C. and basically ignored her as I ordered my whiskey neet. I felt sure she wasn't offended by my rudeness since we pretty much just co-existed around each other. I mean, we were usually civil to one another, but we avoided conversation and close contact as much as possible.

I'd guess you'd say we had a mutual dislike of each other. She said I had too many morals and I was uptight, and I said, she had no morals and was basically a slut. Now, I think you could see the problem of me ever getting her into my tent, much less my bed.

"Hey, McMurphy. Rough night?" Boonie asked me as I don't normally go straight for the hard stuff. Usually, I started off slow and stopped before I became drunk, or on the occasions when I did overdo it, I worked my way up to the hard stuff.

"I hate Christmas," I replied, hoping he'd just let it drop and not try to play concerned bartender.

"Me, too," K. C. muttered; turning and holding her glass up, inviting me to clink mine against hers in a sort of silent salute of our mutual dislike of the holiday.

Shrugging, I acquiesced to her wishes, and we both smiled and downed our drink in one gulp. Man, that burned, but there was no way I was going to give K. C. the satisfaction of seeing my discomfort. I'd planned to match her drink for drink, so there was no way I could appear to be a lightweight.

Many drinks later, I was sharing a table with K. C. as we tried to one up the other on who had the worst Christmas memories. My strict Catholic upbringing had K. C. deciding that her Christmases in the trailer park or some hotel room were looking better all the time. I didn't mention that her stories made me feel guilty for thinking I'd had it so bad all those many years ago.

We continued our conversation long after Boonie had sent us packing. K. C. invited me back to her tent, and I jumped at the chance to cross the threshold into her private quarters as I might never have had this opportunity again.

Pulling a bottle of champagne from her dresser, she said, "I'd saved this for New Year's, but my date cancelled on me so we may as well pop the cork."

Visions of popping another kind of cork immediately made its way into my inebriated brain, but miraculously, I held my tongue and questioned her reasoning.

"You sure you don't want to save this for whoever you pick up on New Year's Eve?" I asked, not wanting her to be upset tomorrow when she realized she'd wasted her best bottle of bubbly on me.

Grinning one of those classic sexy grins, she teased, "I'd rather drink it with the person I've picked up on Christmas night."

To say I was surprised to hear those words directed at me would be a gross understatement, and I was truly thankful that I was already seated; otherwise, K. C. would've witnessed a most ungraceful moment as I fell on the floor and landed on my ass.

"Just open the damn bottle, K. C.," I replied, hoping that she didn't notice the myriad of emotions I'd experienced in the past thirty seconds. Chuckling, she began to pull off the foil from the top of the bottle.

A loud pop was accompanied by a release of foam and liquid as K. C. quickly grabbed a couple of glasses to catch the overflowing alcohol.

"Shit, I've had generals that lasted longer than this damn bottle," the redhead stated, reaching for a towel to wipe off the excess champagne from her arms and hands while I sat rooted in my chair, drawing the connection between the general and the spew from the bottle.

"Damn it, McMurphy. Get over here and help me drink this stuff before it goes flat," K. C. ordered, and I quickly jumped from my chair and moved to her side. She handed me a full glass, and I proceeded to drink it in the same fashion as my earlier whiskey.

I'd always wondered why one was cautioned to sip champagne, and it soon became painfully obvious as I inhaled a snootful of bubbles on my chugging adventure. Soon, I was choking to death and wondering what my proper parents would think about me dying from the ingestion of alcohol while in the company of a female prostitute.

K. C. was at my side in seconds, helping me to sit and slowly rubbing soothing circles on my back while quietly murmuring for me to just relax. Yeah right, she wasn't the one that was going to die.

During the height of my coughing fit, I somehow noticed that we were both sitting on K. C.'s bed, the place where many a serviceman had died and gone to heaven; however, it would've been nice if I'd at least gotten to reap the rewards of a night with the bombshell before my untimely death.

God certainly had a wicked sense of humor. He finally allowed me into K. C.'s bed, and now I was going to die. The last thing I remember before everything faded to black was, 'Damn it, I should've been more specific in my prayers and dreams.'

When I awoke from the darkness, I remembered feeling safe, and let me tell you, that wasn't a feeling I'd experienced very often at China Beach. In fact, I couldn't remember ever feeling safe. So…I concluded that I must be dead.

Hmm, this was nice, I mean besides being dead and all; soft arms wrapped around me and a warm body snuggled up behind me. This dead thing was all right.

"Hey, you're awake. How're you feeling?" My angel whispered in my ear as she held me close.

I snuggled back against her and replied, "I'm great."

A light chuckle was followed by a gentle tone. "It's nice to see I haven't lost my touch, but you did kind of scare me when you passed out. If you hadn't awakened soon, I was going to get help."

You know, my angel sounded remarkably like K. C. I wondered if that's because she was the last person I was thinking of when I died. It certainly was a nice gesture on God's part to try to make me feel welcomed by using the voice of someone so familiar. I felt better knowing that all the soldiers who died out in the field, as well as in my care, were greeted by someone who reminded them of a loved one.

Now that I think about it, I didn't actually have a loved one, so I guessed K. C. must've filled in as a lust one instead which was fine by me. I certainly wasn't going to complain.

"Colleen, could you turn around, please?"

Wanting to accommodate my celestial being, I gladly turned over to face the heavenly body. Wow, she even looked like K. C. Glancing down at the important body parts, I found everything to be so real and lifelike.

I wondered if my angel would mind if I kissed her. After all, I'd earned the right, hadn't I? I'd restrained my urges while I was on the earthly plain, so surely I was entitled to some sort of reward, wasn't I? Afraid that I'd chicken out, I leaned forward and took total possession of the nearby lips.

Hey, guess what? She moaned exactly like I'd always imagined K. C. would, and Lord, this angel was quite the skilled kisser, a virtual tongue in perpetual motion.

When she rolled on top of me, I gladly allowed it and enjoyed this slice of heaven while it lasted. I knew it wouldn't be long until someone realized there'd been a clerical error, and then I'd be sent to my original destination, Purgatory.

I gasped for breath after my third orgasm and couldn't believe the words I uttered next, "Please, stop."

The redheaded angel with the talented tongue crawled back up my body and lightly kissed my lips before laying her head on my shoulder. Well, I'll be damned; she even used the same shampoo as K. C. When I caught my breath, I planned to reciprocate in spades.

Hours later, we'd exchanged 'favors' multiple times, and I was still in Heaven. Maybe I'd done enough good at China Beach to make up for all those other times, or maybe, even the condemned was allowed a day of bliss. Either way, as I closed my eyes to rest, I briefly wondered where I would wake up next.

"Colleen, come on. Wake up. You've got duty in thirty minutes," a sweet voice whispered in my ear. Ah, my angel.

It took a few minutes for the words to filter into my brain. Duty? I have duties in Heaven. But the nuns said…

"Colleen McMurphy! Get your ass out of bed now!"

K. C.? I quickly opened my eyes to find the redhead standing beside the bed fully clothed. What the hell? It appeared that I hadn't died after all, but what about the mind blowing sex? Did that really happen or did I imagine that, too?

I sat up in bed and immediately tried to assess the situation. Okay, I was definitely naked and in K. C.'s bed; however, she was fully clothed and not in the same bed. So, did we or didn't we?

"What's the matter, Colleen? Don't tell me you don't remember the best sex of your life?" The redhead teased, leaning down until we were face to face. Smiling, she kissed me sweetly.

Oh, I remembered everything clearly, but decided not to confirm nor deny her remark lest she discovered that I thought the whole thing was just a dream.

Pulling away, K. C. said, "Damn Colleen, you certainly are one helluva kisser, and you're no slouch in the sack either. I always figured you for a wildcat, and you definitely didn't disappoint. We'll have to have another sleepover sometime soon."

Well, hell. I never wanted to be like Boonie, but K. C.'s words had me wishing for more. Now that I knew first hand what it was like to be intimate with the redhead, I was going to crave her touch all the time. I just hoped I didn't mope around like the lovesick Boonie.

Reaching toward the edge of the bed, I grabbed my shirt and pulled it on, totally dismissing the thought of putting on my bra, especially since I had no idea where it ended up. Instead, I focused on getting dressed as quickly as possible so that I could flee this hell on earth.

I stepped into my pants and moved to zip them up when a hand on my arm stopped my movement. Turning, I looked up into the eyes I'd been avoiding.

"Hey, slow down a minute. We need to talk about this," K. C. stated, moving her hand to caress my cheek.

Closing my eyes, I replied, "There's nothing to discuss. We were both drunk and depressed about the war and Christmas. It was only natural that we turned to each other for a little human contact."

"A little human contact? Honey, if that's what you call all night sex, I'd love to see what you'd have in mind for a bout of serious fucking," K. C. answered with a laugh; however, she continued to softly stroke my face and had moved her other hand to my waist.

It was at this point that I made a colossal mistake. I opened my eyes and looked directly at K. C. to find her looking back at me with such intensity it made me shiver.

"Colleen, I don't want a one night stand with you. I'd like to see you again and take it one step at a time, but, and this is a serious but, I'm not going to give up my profession. Sleeping with other people is part of my job, and if you can't deal with that, then I guess this is it for us."

Was she kidding? Did she seriously think I could sit back and watch different men parade in and out of her tent? Was it all worth it? Could I go back to my lonely existence now that I'd tasted her sweetness?

Smiling sadly, I replied, "I can't do that, K. C." I then quickly zipped my pants and bent over to slip my boots.

Standing, I turned and walked toward the door, leaving the redheaded beauty standing next to the bed.

Just as I reached the point of no return, I paused and asked, "K. C., how'd you like to get together on New Year's Eve?" The redhead smiled broadly and nodded her head up and down.

I returned both the smile and nod and then quickly exited the tent to return to the hospital. Soon, I found myself walking across the compound with a lighter step and a renewed purpose. The situation with the war hadn't changed and my job was still the same, but now, I had something to look forward to.

I had found a silver lining in the dark cloud that always seemed to surround China Beach.

The End

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