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For Love & Country

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The phone beside Ashlyn’s head buzzes. She lifts it up. “Yes, Captain?” She grins. “Sounds good, sir. Thank you.” She hangs up and picks up the headset. “Ladies and gentleman we have now reached our cruising altitude. There are two restrooms to my right should you need them. MRE’s and water crates are to the rear should you get hungry or thirsty. Feel free to get up and move around if you have to stretch but we do recommend you keep your seatbelt on when in your seat in case of unexpected turbulence. I will let you know when we are approaching Hawaii. For now just relax and enjoy the flight. Oh, and Tobin, no soccer tennis or I make you sit on the wing.”

Everyone laughs as Tobin makes a point of pouting at the loss of her fun. Ashlyn hangs the headset back up and stands, stretching her back. Tracy stands, too.

“Okay, Harris, let’s get that bandage changed.”

“That’s fine. Let me get a change of clothes so I can change into clean ACU’s and get out of these messy ones,” she says, moving back toward her kit bag that had been delivered to the plane for her.

As Ashlyn starts to dig into it for clean clothes she feels a hand run over her shoulder. She smiles as she glances up.

“Why don’t you rest, baby?” she suggests to her wife.

Ali squats down. “I will in a bit.”

Ashlyn notices the goosebumps all over the defender. “Are you cold?”

“Freezing, actually.”

“Damn.” Ashlyn digs into her bag and pulls out a sweatshirt and sweatpants. “Here, baby.”

Ali smiles and quickly pulls on the warm, slightly oversize clothes. “Perfect.”

Ashlyn grins, loving it when her wife wears her clothes. She leans over and kisses Ali’s hand. “I love you.”

Ali smiles. “I love you, too.”

Ashlyn finishes pulling out fresh ACU’s and stands. Ali places her hand in her wife’s back as she follows her up towards the front of the plane. The taller woman appreciates the touch as neither woman wants to be too far from the other for the moment. Ashlyn looks at Tracy as she strips off her soiled ACU jacket.

“Can you cut the sleeve of my tee? It will make it easier to get off over the bandage.”

Tracy nods and pulls out her shears. Before she can cut, Ashlyn groans as she sees her pinch-faced nemesis approaching.

“LIEUTENANT HARRIS, I AM OUTRAGED!” he bellows.

Ashlyn takes a steadying breath. “What’s the problem, Mr. Prothro?”

He gestures towards Ali. “Why was this...this nobody given clean clothes and not those of us who are important?”

Ashlyn’s anger flares. She had been sick of this man before. Now...now he has insulted Ali. Not. Good. Ashlyn steps into his space, her nose almost hitting his pointy proboscis as he stares up at her in shock.

“Stand down, Mr. Prothro. Alexandra Krieger-HARRIS, is NOT a nobody. She is my wife and my world all in one. She borrowed clothes from my kit bag much like she does at our home. So go sit your ass down, stop bitching about everything, and remain silent the remainder of this trip or I’ll shove you out the back end of this plane with nothing but a parachute and inflatable raft. Do you understand, sir?”

The man’s face had paled and his eyes widened in fear the more Ashlyn spoke. He can see her threats are not empty. He quickly spins around and hurries back to his seat. Ashlyn takes a deep breath and turns to Tracy.

“Now...where were we?”

“Ashlyn...that could be bad, right?” Ali asks nervously.

Ashlyn shrugs. “May have just torpedoed my career to be honest. But the fucker insulted you. No one insults you, Alex. Ever.”

Ali is partly scared about her wife’s job being in jeopardy. But she is also turned on as hell. She grabs Ashlyn’s head and gives her a deep, passionate kiss. When it ends, Ashlyn grins.

“Yeah...totally worth losing my career for you, baby.”

Ali just grins and takes Ashlyn’s clean clothes to hold while Tracy cuts the old bandage off. Ashlyn winces as it starts to peel away then sticks.

“Damn it. It’s infected, Ash. Have you had your tetanus shot?” Tracy asks.

Ashlyn smiles. “Tracy, I am up on so many vaccinations your head would spin, some you may not have heard of. Yes, tetanus is one of them.”

“Good to know. This is going to hurt.”

And she isn’t lying. Ashlyn has to bite her lip as the bandage is peeled away. Ali looks at the angry cut once then has to turn away. Tracy works to expel the infection and then flushes the wound with peroxide. After applying new steri-strips she liberally applies Neosporin then wraps it up once more. After the last strip of medical tape is applied to hold the bandage in place she sighs.

“We check it again in 2 hours. We need to make sure the infection isn’t getting worse. No arguing,” she states as Ashlyn goes to object. “You’re getting us home. I’m getting you healing. Fair trade.”

Ashlyn smiles. “I guess I can’t argue that.”

She takes her clothes from Ali and goes to change. By the time she gets out, she sees a group from the National Team had gotten with people from the embassy for a rousing game of Heads Up. Ali, however, sits in the seat beside Ashlyn’s. The blonde walks over.

“Not playing?”

“Nope. I’m sitting with my wife. Got a problem with that, soldier?”

Ashlyn leans over and gives her a kiss. “Not at all, baby. Not at all.”

Ashlyn goes and stows her dirtied clothes then returns to her wife’s side. She puts her right arm around Ali and pulls her close.

“So...we can’t make out and can’t make love. Guess we should talk, eh?” Ash suggests.

Ali snuggles closer. “How about we talk about our future? You know, kids, retirement dreams, stuff like that.”

“And puppies? Three or four puppies, right?”

Ali giggles. “We can negotiate.”

The women smile and start to paint a picture of their future. Some aspects are true dreams. Others are fanciful realities. But both love that they are making plans to grow old together some day.


 

Throughout the flight, friends visit with Ash and Ali, who remain in the seats up front, not wanting to be far from each other. Ali even dozes for a time on Ashlyn’s leg. But the blonde refuses to sleep. Until they reach Hawaii she is in charge and she will stay awake, stay vigilant, until her charges are safely back on the ground. She is staring at the ceiling, thinking about a new colour scheme for the living room in Ken’s house when the phone by her head buzzes. She grabs it.

“What’s the word, Captain?”

“Approach in 10, on the ground in 23.”

“You rock, sir!”

“Damn right I do. Get them settled and let me know when all are set.”

“Yes, sir,” Ashlyn says and swaps the phone for the headset. She keys the mic. “Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention please?” People quiet down and Ali lifts her head from Ashlyn’s lap, her eyes droopy from sleep. “We will be cleared for approach into Pearl Harbor in 10 minutes and the aim is to have this bird in the nest in approximately 23 minutes. At this time we ask you to discontinue use of electronic devices, take your seat and buckle up. It has been a pleasure serving you today. We know you have limited choices when looking for an airline to evacuate you after a natural disaster but we’d like to think you’d have chosen us anyway. So on behalf of Corps of Engineers Airlines we’d like to thank you for flying with us and we hope to hell we never have to travel with you again,” she finishes with a grin.

There is a rousing cheer, as everyone hopes they never have to be evacuated like this again. Ashlyn hangs up the headset and turns to her wife.

“You better get back to your seat, baby.”

Ali reaches and pulls the harness out for the jump seat, quickly buckling herself in. “I’m fine right here.”

Ashlyn smiles as she pulls her own harness on. “These seats suck compared to the others.”

“But you’re here and that makes them the best seats on the plane.”

Ashlyn leans over and gives her a quick peck. To most, that would have sounded like a cheesy pick-up line. But Ash knows Ali is sincere. They hold hands until Ashlyn has to let the captain know everyone is ready.

Once the plane is on the ground, Ashlyn remains at the front of the plane as the passengers, tired, hungry and thankful to be done traveling, grab their things and exit the back of the plane. Ali stands beside her wife the whole time. As those two finally exit the plane, Ashlyn immediately snaps to attention bringing her hand up to salute her boss.

“Sir, what brings you to Hawaii?” she asks Colonel Menninger.

The colonel nods a hello to Ali before turning back to Ashlyn. “Word has it some big wig from the embassy was on the plane and had some issues with you, Lieutenant.”

Ashlyn groans. Ali stiffens, ready to go all “Mama Bear” on the man if he tries to blame the blonde for Prothro’s issues. Before either woman can say anything, the colonel continues.

“Between you, me and the fence post, no one believes the crap he spews and nothing will end up in your permanent record. I just need to know one thing, Lieutenant.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“Did you really threaten to toss him out of the plane into the ocean?”

Ashlyn’s cheeks flare. “Um, yes, sir. But with a parachute and inflatable raft for safety,” she adds with a slight grin.

Menninger surprises Ali by bursting into laughter. “Our Ambassador to Japan sent me his congratulations on a job well done and has offered a commendation simply for putting up with that blowhard Prothro.”

Ashlyn sighs in relief. “Thank you, sir. He insulted my wife and I saw red.”

“If he insulted your wife he’s damn lucky to be alive.” He hands her an envelope. “This is where the US Women’s Team is staying for two nights. I took the liberty of booking you a room there, too.”

“So...I don’t have to return immediately to DC, sir?”

“Nope. You were on a mission and nothing about it was easy. You get your 3 days off, though the third will be for travel in this case. In the meantime, enjoy the islands.”

Ashlyn smiles and squeezes Ali’s hand. “We will, sir. Thank you again.” She turns to her wife as the colonel gets in a Jeep and is driven away. “So, off to get some sleep?”

“Are you nuts? We’re on base with credit cards. Time to go to the PX and get me some clothes!” Ali insists.

Ashlyn laughs and nods. “You got it, Princess. Let’s go see what the others are planning and then stop at the PX before going to the hotel.” She leans in close. “Though you won’t need anything tonight. I promise you that.”

Ali flushes and shivers at the hungry look in Ashlyn’s eyes. Yes...it will be a very good night indeed.

A few minutes later, Ashlyn is getting clothes sizes and cash from soccer players who want fresh clothes. Looks like the PX is about to have a rush on clothes as no one has the energy to go shopping. Well...no one but Ali. As the brunette is waiting for her wife, her phone suddenly rings with a text alert from Ash. Ali is confused until she hits the open button.

Baby, not sure you will get this due to communication issues but I am on my way. Don’t worry, Alex, I will bring you home safely. Be strong until I get there. I love you so much.

Ali’s eyes tear up as she reads a text sent as Ashlyn was leaving for Japan. Had she gotten it on time it would have alleviated her fears. The calm, sure words would have been comforting almost as much as seeing Ashlyn live and in person take over the rescue of the Embassy Annex. Ali pockets her phone and plays with the single red rose Ash had given her.

“I’ll pay you back, Ash, for everything. I swear,” she whispers as she waits for her wife to finish with their friends.


 

At dinner that night, Ashlyn, who still hasn’t slept, is doing everything she can to keep her face from falling into her lasagna. Becky finally looks over at Ali, who is chatting with Lauren.

“Uh, Kriegs, your wife is going to burn her face if you don’t get her to bed,” she jokes.

Ali turns around and looks at her wife, grinning as her head bobs up and down. She smiles. “She’s so cute.”

“Yeah. And a damn hero 10x over in our eyes,” Abby says. “Need help getting her up to your room?”

“Uh, maybe. Let’s see how mobile she is.” She stands and shakes her wife’s shoulder. “Ash, sweetheart, let’s get you up to bed. You need to sleep.”

Ashlyn shakes her head. “Can’tsleep’tilgetyouseguyssafe,” she slurs.

“Yep, she’s got me turned on again,” Lauren jokes, amazed that the exhausted woman is still worried about the team.

Ali rolls her eyes. “Baby, we’re safe. We’re in Hawaii. And if you get a good night’s sleep you can probably surf tomorrow.”

Ashlyn’s eyes open partway. “Surf?”

“Yes, baby, surf.”

“Um’kay,” she mumbles as her eyes droop once more.

Before Ali can say anything, Hope and Abby are beside her. “We got her. Just get the door unlocked,” Hope says as the two players get their old friend up between them.

Ali grabs her things, shaking her head in amusement. She leads the trio up to the 7th floor where Abby and Hope gently deposit Ash on the bed after Ali pulls the covers down. Abby looks at Ali.

“You got it from here?”

“Yep. Won’t be the first time I undressed her when she is passed out. Thanks, guys, for getting her up here.”

“No problem,” Hope says, staring at Ashlyn. “You know, I thought she was nuts to walk away from the game just as she was starting to peak. But I swear, Kriegs, when she walked through that door in Japan I was so damn glad to see her. It was like...like I knew we’d be okay since she was there.”

Ali smiles and squeezes Hope’s uninjured arm. “Thanks for saying that.”

“I meant every word. She’s incredible, Ali.”

“I’d agree but I doubt you’d be shocked by that.”

Hope grins. “True. Tell her I owe her a beer.”

“Hell, I think we’ll all be buying her rounds tomorrow,” Abby states. “See you guys in the morning.”

“Night guys,” Ali says as she walks them out.

She goes to her wife and carefully undresses her. Unlike Ali, Ashlyn hadn’t even napped on the plane and she had been so tense during the stay in the Annex, the brunette knows that’s adding to the blonde’s exhaustion. Once Ash is just in her boxers, Ali also gets ready for bed. Once she climbs in she pulls her wife close and kisses her temple.

“I love you so much, Ashlyn Michelle Harris. You’ll always be my hero, my soldier. Always.”


 

The call of her bladder wakes Ashlyn around 3 a.m. She looks around the room in confusion.

I was at dinner. When the hell did I get up here?” she wonders. She looks at the clock and is even more confused. “Is that 2:58 a.m. or p.m.?” She runs a hand over her face. “Damn I feel like sludge.”

“It’s the middle of the night, baby,” Ali mumbles, as if Ashlyn had asked the questions out loud. “You fell asleep at dinner so Hope and Abby helped me get you up here.”

“Oh. Gotta pee,” Ashlyn says and regretfully extracts herself from the arms of love.

When she gets back to the bed she pulls her wife close. After a few minutes, it is obvious neither woman wants to go back to sleep. Ali shifts until she is straddling her wife. By the light filtering in through the curtains, Ali stares down at the blonde. She caresses her cheek, her fingers tracing the pronounced cheek bones.

“Hope said she knew we’d be okay when you walked in that door over there. I felt the same. I prayed you would come and you did. And...and things you did may have scared me but I don’t think anyone else would have gotten us out of there without trouble. You were so...smart and calm. Everyone was saying how great you were and how much they admired you. It made me so happy to hear.”

Ashlyn smiles and shrugs. “I was just doing my job, baby.”

“I know. But I think they, and even I, finally got an idea about what you really do and what you face sometimes.” Her hand gently runs over the bandage on Ash’s left arm. “It was terrifying. But you were so...so driven and calm. Were you really that calm inside?”

Ashlyn takes her wife’s hands. “Hell no. Inside I was terrified. If I fucked up something could happen to you and the team and those families and my men. But if I had showed that fear to those thugs they’d have pounced on that weakness. I had to ignore my emotions. I’ve done it before but...” she takes a deep breath, “...but it’s never been so hard before. Everything I did I kept thinking about the fact that you were in that building; that you could see me get hurt or worse; or that I would fail and God knows what would happen to you. I’ve never been so scared in my life, Alex. I couldn’t have lived if my actions had gotten you hurt.”

Ali stares into sincere, teary hazel eyes. She then leans down and captures her wife in the type of passionate kiss they had been wanting to share but hadn’t had time to yet. As they moan, Ashlyn grabs the ends of the tee Ali wears and lifts it up, breaking the kiss long enough to remove the cloth. Her hands immediately go to perfect breasts as their mouths clash once more. Ash is rubbing, squeezing, pinching nipples as Ali starts to rock her hips down into her wife.

Ali needs more. She enjoys what her wife is doing but she needs to take charge. She slides down, her mouth engulfing a stiff peak. Ashlyn moans and arches up into the contact. Ali lavishes both breasts with attention as her hips thrust down against Ashlyn’s warm center.

“Baby...more...please...”Ashlyn grunt out.

Ali kisses her way lower, pushing down Ash’s boxers as she goes. She twirls her tongue around a bellybutton nestled in amazingly toned abs. Her right breast pushes against her wife’s throbbing core, making Ash see stars.

“Fuck...Alex...”

Ali smiles and finishes her travels south. She stares into a honey coloured triangle wet with desire. “Mine, soldier. All mine.”

“Yes, baby, yes! All yours, my love,” Ashlyn agrees.

Ali leans in, breathing in the scent of her wife’s desire. “So good, Ashlyn.”

Ashlyn just whimpers as Ali drags her tongue up through soaked folds. Her tongue stretches in as far as it can go, penetrating her wife over and over, feeling muscular walls clamping down on her probing tongue. When she feels Ashlyn getting close, she pulls back.

“No...baby, please...”Ashlyn begs.

But Ali lets her tongue swirl gently around the pulsing clit. She uses an arm to still the twitching hips of her wife, making sure everything stays right where she wants them. She plunges her tongue inside once more, again masterfully driving her wife to the brink of ecstasy before drawing back to pay attention to the clit again.

Ashlyn’s head whips back and forth on the pillow. Her wife was slowly killing her but DAMN it felt so fucking good! This continues longer than Ash would have expected. Her body is literally trembling with need and Ali knows it’s time to deliver her over the edge.

“I love you,” she whispers against her wife’s center.

She then plunges two fingers into her wife.

“ALEX!” Ashlyn screams at the apex of her pleasure.

Ali thrusts hard and deep as she sucks her wife’s clit, also flicking it with her tongue. Soon Ashlyn is coming undone, spilling her love all over her wife and the bed. Ali slowly climbs up her wife’s body, placing gentle open-mouthed kisses all along the way. When they are face to face, Ali leans her forehead against Ash’s.

“I love you so much. Thank you for coming for us.”

Ashlyn runs her hands up and down Ali’s back. “No need to thank me. I’d have begged, borrowed and stolen to be the one with the chance to bring you home. You’re my world, Alexandra Blaire Krieger-Harris. I’d give my all to protect you.”

Ali nods. “I know. And that’s why I make sure to thank you every chance I get.”

The two kiss some more. Ashlyn attempts to return her wife’s affections but Ali refuses. She can see her wife is still tired.

“There will be time for more later, baby.” Ali says, shifting to snuggle into her wife’s side. “Sleep now, baby. Sleep.”

Ashlyn smiles and pulls her wife close. Soon she is once again in dreamland, Ali’s hand tracing patterns on her stomach. Ali stares at her sleeping beauty. How the hell had she gotten so lucky?

“I love you,” she whispers once more before kissing Ash’s chin and settling in to sleep the rest of the night.