Silver Bells

 

A "Lieutenant Lake" story

by Scarlet Lady

 

 

Lieutenant Green rubbed his eyes, wearily.  It was only October, and already his fiancée had been busy making plans for Christmas.  He didn’t really mind; Lieutenant Lake had had a hard time since her mysteronisation in 2068 and he was just glad to see her happy again.  He sighed.  If he was honest, he’d have to admit that he’d be even happier if she wasn’t so enthusiastically draining.

“Are you all right, Lieutenant?” Captain Scarlet had been watching him with quiet concern.

Green nodded.  “I’m fine, Captain.  Just a little tired, I guess.”

The Captain nodded.  “It doesn’t help with it being so quiet in here.  Why don’t you put the radio on?”

Needing no second bidding, the younger man eagerly did as he was asked.

The strains of a somewhat familiar song burst from the speakers.

Captain Scarlet grinned at Lieutenant Green, instantly recognising the music.  “The radio’s playing Lake’s awful music, Griff.”

“Yeah, it’s surprising how much of the old stuff is still popular,” Green replied, continuing his work.  Ems doesn’t like it when new artists ‘copy’ her old favourites, though...”

He laughed.  “So what did you do last year, if not copy from other artists?”

“Well yeah, but we didn’t mess with ELO!”

The Captain laughed aloud.  “Well, yes, there is that!”

“And that was a little entertainment for a Christmas party, so I guess she’s decided it’s different.  You know what Ems is like…”

“I certainly do!” he replied.  “Speaking of which, how are you getting on? Have you decided on a date for the wedding, yet?”

The Lieutenant nodded.  “December 20th.”

“Three days before Lake’s birthday?” Scarlet stared at him, wondering whether Colonel White would be too pleased.  “That’s FIVE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Griff!”

 “Yeah, I know.  I still don’t know about the honeymoon, though.  Ems doesn’t like to be cold, but she’s always wanted to celebrate a white Christmas… I was thinking about skiing or something… I thought maybe it’d be the kind of thing she’d like.”

“And what do YOU want?”

Green shrugged.  “I want to see her happy, Captain.”

The Captain laughed.  “Well, I can see she’s got you wrapped around her little finger!”

“No, sir, I just… I want to do everything in my power to make her the happiest girl in the universe.  She deserves the best that I can give!”

Scarlet rolled his eyes.  “Well, anyway… skiing…” He rubbed his chin, thoughtfully.  “Have either of you ever tried skiing before?”

“Well… no, sir, but I was really just thinking of somewhere cold and white.  Ems can build her snowman and get some photographs…”

“And what will you do?”

Green smirked at him.  “I’ll warm her up when she decides she’s had enough!”

Scarlet laughed.  “Go for it, Greeny! Just make sure that you don’t get bored.”

The Lieutenant chuckled to himself.  He very much doubted that he’d get bored.  The thought of spending a couple of days with Lieutenant Lake in a cosy log cabin while it snowed outside was becoming steadily more attractive.

 

 

Captain Aquamarine entered the Officers’ Lounge, grinning wildly.  …’Tis the season to be jolly…

Rhapsody Angel looked up from her book.  “Oh, Kelly! What ARE you wearing?”

The Captain reddened slightly as Ochre turned to stare at her too.  “My Santa hat… Why? What’s wrong with it? It’s Christmas, after all!”

Gonna join Lake and Green and dress up this year?” Ochre teased.  “You know, Greeny must really love her! I wouldn’t show myself up for any girl! That outfit…” he sniggered.

“Shut up, Rick,” Rhapsody admonished.

“You know, I’ve never seen them come out of the wrong quarters in the morning. They always seem to be in their own…” he remarked, thoughtfully.

Rhapsody rolled her eyes. “Well, of course they are, Rick,” she said in a mildly patronising tone. “They’re waiting until they’re married.”

Ochre snorted with suppressed laughter. “I bet that wasn’t his idea!”

“And why not?” Rhapsody asked indignantly, knowing exactly what Ochre was insinuating.

“Well… He’s a guy… He has… needs,” Ochre said carefully.

“‘Needs’?” Rhapsody repeated, amused.

“Yeah!” Ochre responded vehemently. “Men have certain physical… requirements, that we would much rather fulfil with a woman than…” He looked embarrassed, noticing the amused expressions on the faces of Rhapsody and Aquamarine.  “I can’t believe we’re having this conversation. I’m right, aren’t I?”

“As it happens, yes,” Rhapsody informed him succinctly. “Lake believes in the sanctity of marriage, and Green is respecting her wishes. I think it’s rather romantic, actually. You see, Rick, not everyone feels the need to leap into bed with the first attractive individual who comes along. Ems and Seymour have a relationship that’s based on more than just physical attraction, and because of that, they are one of the closest couples I’ve ever met.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ochre said dismissively. “Explains why he’s looking forward to the wedding so much, though.”

“You are a complete philistine, Richard Fraser,” Rhapsody snapped. “You just can’t accept that there are more things to life than sex.”

“Now you’re being unfair, Rhapsody,” Ochre said defensively. “I just don’t like the fact that some people make out that it’s a crime to play the field a bit before making a choice.”

Ah, but she doesn’t, does she?” Rhapsody responded. “Has Ems ever said anything like that, to anyone? Has she ever even insinuated it?”

Rhapsody seized upon Ochre’s hesitation. “You see? She respects that other people choose to, let’s just say, conform to modern society. It’s just not the right choice for her.”

“Maybe,” Ochre said eventually, more to shut Rhapsody up than anything else. “But I still think that we’re going to see an interesting side of Green over the next few months.”

Rhapsody sighed. She wasn’t sure why she had bothered; Ochre just wasn’t the sensitive type. “Just don’t wind him up about it, Ochre,” she said, turning back to her book.

 

 

Lieutenant Lake sighed tiredly and rubbed at her temples.  She consulted her list for the umpteenth time and tried to focus on it.  Ow! Me brain hurts! Right… let’s see…where were I? It was always difficult to buy presents for everyone, and this year she was trying to keep ahead of the game by browsing internet shops and jotting down ideas.  The only problem was that she was already tired and the ‘new’ gift ideas seemed suspiciously similar to the ones of previous years.  Sighing again, she tried a new search.  “I’ll just bookmark any interesting sites for now,” she decided.  Seymour can help me with the gifts later.  There’s no rush.”

 

 

Lieutenant Green smiled to himself as he left the Control Room.  He wanted to go straight to his fiancée, but decided to see if he could get hold of Colonel White first.  Guessing that he would probably be on the Promenade Deck, he headed there.

 

Colonel White had been tending to his plants.  He had many varieties on the deck, as he enjoyed gardening as a means of unwinding.  Now, he was sitting beside his most prized plant, sipping at a cup of tea.

His aide entered and stood before him.

“Hello, Lieutenant, what brings you here?”

Green cleared his throat, awkwardly.  “Well, sir, I wanted to talk to you while we were both off duty…”

“Oh?” The older man set his tea down and waited for his junior officer to continue.

Clearing his throat again, he tried to work out how to start.

Smiling, the Colonel offered some assistance.  “Why don’t you sit down?”

“Thank you, Sir,” Green replied, taking a seat beside him.

“Now, what’s all this about? It’s unlike you to be at a loss for words, or looking so flustered, for that matter.”

The Lieutenant scratched the back of his neck, again displaying his nerves.  “It’s about Ems, sir…”

“Is she all right?” White inquired, frowning.

“Oh yes, sir – she’s perfectly all right.  It’s just that… well… we have a date in mind for the wedding, Colonel, and I wanted to run it past you, before making any plans.”

Colonel White sat up a little straighter.  “I see.  Well, this is good news, I’m sure.”

His aide nodded.  “I hope so, Colonel.”

“Well? What’s the problem, man?”

The Lieutenant fidgeted uncomfortably.  “We were thinking about the 20th of December, Colonel.”

“Do you realise how close to Christmas that is, Lieutenant?”

Green nodded, smiling politely.  “Yes, Sir, but I am also aware that neither Ems nor I myself have left this base for a Christmas vacation… yet.”

White smiled back at him thoughtfully.  “You do have a point.  Were you planning on a honeymoon of some kind?”

“I was hoping to have one over the Christmas, but I still have to talk to Ems about that.”

“Going anywhere in particular?”

The Lieutenant grinned at him.  “Well, Ems mentioned before that she’s never celebrated a white Christmas.  In fact, her part of Britain rarely gets much snow.”

“I doubt you get much snow in Trinidad, either,” the older man remarked, trying to keep a straight face.

“That’s true enough, sir, but we celebrate Christmas differently.  Maybe next time I can take her home…”

White frowned.  “Well, why don’t you do that for your honeymoon? I wouldn’t have thought you’d like a week of snow!”

“Oh, I don’t know, sir,” he chuckled, eyes sparkling.  “After all, we won’t get much time alone if I take her back to my home.  Besides, a place seems all the nicer when it’s snowing outside… uh… when I say that, I mean…”

The Colonel laughed.  “Don’t worry, Lieutenant.  I’m not exactly too old to understand your feelings, you know.”

Green smiled at him.  “Actually, sir, I have one last thing to ask…”

“What more could you want, Lieutenant? I’ve just agreed to grant you your wishes for the wedding and honeymoon…”

“Would you do me a great honour, Colonel?” he asked, quietly.  “I’d like you to be my best man.”

For a moment, the older man was silent.  “The honour would me mine, son,” he said at last, with a small smile.

 

 

Captain Aquamarine waited patiently for her partner to speak.  Lake had come in, sat down and said that she wanted to ask her something; but from then on, she’d said absolutely nothing.

“What is it, hun? Are you okay?”

Lake nodded quietly and cleared her throat with more violence than was necessary.

“That’s a nasty cough you’ve got there.”

“Hmm?” The Lieutenant blinked.  “Oh.  Sorry.”

Aquamarine frowned.  “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah,” she smiled back at her partner, sheepishly.  She wasn’t sure why she was struggling so much – she knew exactly what she wanted to say, but somehow couldn’t work out how to say it.  Why am I so nervous? Kelly’s one of the best friends I have! Clearing her throat again, she began.  Kez… I’d like to ask… a… a favour, I s’pose…”

“Anything, honey.  You just name it.”

“Kelly, I want you to think this over very carefully.”

The Captain grinned at her.  “I think I might just be able to manage that…”

“Would you be my maid of honour? I’ve thought about it very carefully, and there’s no-one I’d rather ask.”

Aquamarine stared at her, not knowing quite how to react for a moment.  “Well… I…” She grinned.  “I’d be… honoured!”

Lake threw her arms around her in a big, excited hug.

“Careful! I need to still be breathing by the time the wedding day arrives!”

Releasing her partner quickly, the Lieutenant reddened violently.  “Sorry!”

“Now…” The Captain became serious again.  “What do I have to wear? Not my dress uniform, I hope…”

“No! That’s the bridesmaids!” Lake replied with a wink before laughing loudly.

Aquamarine pulled a face.

Carefully, the Lieutenant dragged a large carrier bag closer to her and began to rummage.

“What are you looking for?”

“Fabric,” she replied, without looking up.  “No, that’s mine… no…”

Aquamarine moved to her side and waited, watching with curiosity.

“Aha!” Her partner pulled out some shiny, light green/blue fabric.  “I know it’s a little bit light to be aquamarine, but I thought it would look good on you.  I’ve got some aquamarine fabric, too, and I’ve come up with a design for your outfit… well, two, actually.  Didn’t know whether you’d prefer a dress or a suit.”

“You designed these?” The Captain took the designs carefully.  “Oh honey! They’re beautiful!”

“I can use my automatic sewing machine to run them up – that’s how I’m doing my wedding dress.  All you need do is pick one.”

“And the bridesmaids?”

“No, I don’t think I should stitch up the bridesmaids.  That’s not very nice.”

The Captain laughed.  “You know what I mean!”

“Yeah, I know,” she grinned.  “So, what’ll it be?”

“I’d prefer the dress, Ems.  They’re really beautiful – why didn’t you say you can do that?”

Lake reddened.  “I can’t, on my own – I have to rely on computers.  It’s cheating, I think.”

 

 

“Right then,” Lake rubbed her eyes and made an effort to stifle a yawn.  “I think we’ll make a start on my dress… then I’ll call it a night… I’m done in!” She glanced across at the clock on the wall.  S’only eleven o’clock… why am I so tired?”

She set everything up and curled up on the sofa, shivering as she supervised her sewing machine.  Mustn’t fall asleep…Don’t like to leave the computer running without me…

The Lieutenant sat up quickly.  At first, she thought it was an alarm of some kind that had woken her, but then she realised the situation was much, much worse.  She flew to her computer to find that the sewing machine had jammed.  On the screen of the computer, a message flashed.

 

THIS PROGRAM HAS PERFORMED AN ILLEGAL OPERATION. THIS PROGRAM WILL NOW CLOSE.

Lights blinked and the sewing machine began to make a terrible noise.  Lake hit control, alt and delete, hoping to sort the problem herself.  The computer bleeped loudly, and the screen flashed and came up with a new message.

 

SEW-A-MATIC HAS ENCOUNTERED A PROBLEM AND WILL BE SHUT DOWN. PLEASE STAND BY.

 

“Don’t you dare!” the Lieutenant yelled at the machine, trying to think of something that she might be able to try to save the dress.

 

YOUR COMPUTER IS UNABLE TO SHUT DOWN DUE TO A FAULT WITH THE FOLLOWING APPLICATIONS: SEW-A-MATIC. PLEASE RECTIFY THIS FAULT BEFORE ATTEMPTING SHUT DOWN PROCEDURES.


Lake screamed and ran to the comm. link.  “Pete!”

Silence greeted her.

Her mind raced.  She had no idea what to do to rescue her dress, and the thought of it going down the pan was too much to bear.  “Pete! I need help!”

There was a groan at the other end.  “Yes, you do.  Did you really have to wake me at 3am?”

“I’m sorry, Pete, but it’s an emergency! My computer crashed while it was making my dress, and…”

“I’ll take a look in the morning – and by that, I mean when I get up, not in half an hour,” her brother snapped in reply.  “Until then, I suggest you get some sleep!”

“What? I can’t sleep while I’m worrying about this, can I? It’s important!” She frowned, realising that she could hear nothing.  “Pete! OI! Pete…” Tears welled up in her eyes, as she realised that he’d cut the link and gone back to bed.  She’d been abandoned.  Now what can I do? I need someone who knows about these things, but I can’t call Seymour she frowned, thoughtfully, and looked at the clock.

Tourmaline had said it was 3am, so why did her clock say it was 9? She rubbed her eyes and looked again.  Blimey! So when I thought it was eleven, it must’ve been one – I was reading the clock mirror image! No wonder I was so tired! She yawned, and thought carefully.  Well, I’ve been waking Kez and Sue rather a lot; lately… don’t want to disturb them again.

“Charity…” she called softly into the comm., as she opened another link.  “I know it’s the middle of the night, but I’m in trouble…”

“Hi, Ems.  You’re not disturbing me, but I’m on duty in Angel One… Can it wait?”

Lake slid to the floor, crying uncontrollably.

Charity stared at the comm. in surprise.  Lake very rarely cried in front of anyone, and this worried her.  “Oh! All right, Ems, don’t worry – I’ll find someone to cover the shift.  Just hang on, okay?”

The Lieutenant fought to bring her emotions back under control.  “I c-can’t ask you… to do that…”

“You didn’t.  Hang on, and I’ll be with you as soon as I can.”

Lake wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and sniffed.  She felt incredibly guilty and annoyed with herself.  If I hadn’t fell asleep, none o’this would’ve happened! Trust me to go an’ call Charity, too! Pete was right – I should’ve just left it ‘til morning!

 

“Oh, Ems!” Charity looked down at the Lieutenant’s dress and shook her head sadly.  “What happened?”

“I f-fell asleep…” She turned to her friend with trembling eyes.

“Well, I should think you did, at three in the morning! Don’t you ever sleep?”

Lake shrugged.  “Mysterons don’ need sleeps!”

“Says you,” the Angel returned.  She sighed and unplugged the sewing machine before restarting the computer.  “Now, let’s see if we can rescue this dress…”

The Lieutenant watched in tearful silence as Charity carefully freed her wedding dress.

“Let me see the plan, Ems, and then could you fetch over your sewing kit? I’ll soon put it right, don’t worry.”

Lake did as she was told.  “Need zomeelp?”

“No, but you need sleep.  Go to bed, or I won’t mend the dress.”

“Not tired…” she replied, stifling a yawn.

“No, you’re shattered.  Go on, Ems, or I’ll call Nurse Thistle.  I’m sure she’ll soon sort you out…”

Without another word, the Lieutenant curled up on her bed.

“Under the covers, please – and turn the light off,” Charity ordered.

Lake shook her head and shivered.  “Too hot.”

Frowning, the Angel pilot stood and went to her, touching her forehead.  “Yes, you are! Ems, what have you done to yourself?”

“Nothing!”

“Well, I’ll have to get Nurse Thistle.  Wrap up and stay quiet.”

The Lieutenant tried to get up.  “I’m okay.  Just tired.”

“You said you weren’t tired, earlier! What am I going to do with you?” she sighed, and sat beside her.  “All right, I won’t call Sickbay.  I’ll stay here with you and work on the dress, for now.” She looked at her sternly.  “But if you seem to get any worse, I WILL call Gem.”

“I’m jus’ tired, I expect…” Lake repeated, though she sounded less sure of herself now.

“Well, you don’t want to make yourself ill so close to your wedding! You need to be fit and well.”

Lake nodded and cuddled up, slipping a fleece blanket round her.  “I know.”

Charity stroked her hot forehead, gently.  “Sleep, Ems.  Things’ll be better in the morning.”

She smiled up at her friend.  “Where’d I be without you?”

“Sickbay, by the look of you! Have you been sleeping at all?”

“Been too busy…” she yawned loudly and blinked rapidly in an effort to keep her eyes focussed.

The Angel shook her head.  “Next time, call for help.  That’s what friends are for! I know you wouldn’t hesitate to help one of us…”

Sssss… I… G…” Lake slurred, finally falling asleep.

Charity smiled and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.  “Good night, sweetie.”

 

 

Lieutenant Lake closed her eyes and took a deep breath, standing up as straight as possible.  She looked down at the bouquet in her hands, trying not to hold the flowers too tightly.  She hadn’t expected to be this nervous! She turned to glance over her shoulder at her maid of honour and bridesmaids. 

Captain Aquamarine smiled at her.  “It’ll be fine, Ems.”

She nodded, and smiled at each of them in turn.  Come on, Ems, she told herself as she tried to force herself to concentrate.  What is there to be nervous about? We face terrorists on a daily basis, for crying out loud! This should be easy!

Quietly, Captain Tourmaline came to stand beside her.  “Never thought I’D be asked to give you away,” he joked.

She stared up at him.  “How do I look?”

“A picture – I’m proud of you.” He nodded, a small smile playing on his lips.

Lake smiled back at him, gratefully.  He had obviously taken her feelings into consideration, and was making a great effort to be formal.

“You can relax a little bit, Pete,” she whispered.  “If I wanted Captain Scarlet, I’d have asked him.”

The Captain took her arm as the music began.  “For now, I just want to make an effort for you – it’s your big day, after all.”

They walked down the aisle in quiet succession.  Captain Tourmaline led his sister to the alter, where Lieutenant Green was already waiting with Colonel White.

 

“Seymour Griffiths,” Father Ivory intoned in a formal manner.  “Do you take Elizabeth Murray-Stone as your lawfully wedded wife, and do you swear to love honour and care for her in sickness and in health?”

“I do,” Green replied, with a slight nod of his head.

“Elizabeth Murray-Stone,” he continued, turning to Lake.  “Do you take Seymour Griffiths as your lawfully wedded husband, and do you swear to love honour and care for him in sickness and in health?”

“I do,” she answered quietly, turning to smile up at her husband.

“Then in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I declare you husband and wife.  You may kiss the bride.”

Lieutenant Green gathered her into his arms and kissed her passionately.

“Woo!” Captain Ochre grinned.

Captain Cerise nudged him sharply and turned to Aquamarine, rolling her eyes.  “I can’t take him anywhere!”

Ochre turned to her.  “Sweet, ain’t it? She seems quite happy about becoming his ‘awful’ married wife!”

 

Lake went to her maid of honour and handed her a small box.  “Thank you,” she said, quietly.

The Captain opened it.  Inside was a small, golden acorn pendant.  “Oh, Ems…”

“You’ve been such a great support; I had to get you something.”

“No, you didn’t.” Aquamarine hugged her close.  “Why an acorn, though?”

Lake smiled, shyly.  “From little acorns grow mighty oaks, Kez.  I was a little acorn when I joined this organisation, but I’ve come a long way – a lot of that is due to your help.”

“Oh, honey!” She hugged her partner close.  “You’ve helped me, too.”

 

Lake turned to her bridesmaids.  “Don’t scoot off yet!”

Rhapsody and Symphony turned. 

Ems, we have to get ready for duty…” Symphony began.

Lake handed them each a small box.  “Just wanted to give you my thank you gift, first.”

Rhapsody opened her gift with care.  Inside the box was a gold heart, with an angel in its centre, studded with diamonds.  “Oh, Ems! It’s beautiful!”

“You’ve both been great.  Thanks.” She hugged them both close.  “I don’t know whether I’ll get chance to see you again before I go, so I HAD to make sure I saw you now.”

“You’re sweet,” Symphony smiled at her.  “Make sure you have a good Christmas.  Where are you going?”

“It’s a surprise,” Lake smiled.  “I don’t mind where we go, to be honest.  Seymour won’t pick anywhere awful, I know that much.”

“Have a lovely time.” Rhapsody put an arm round her.

“It’s a pity you have to miss the celebration, but I’ll make sure that some of the cake is sent to the Amber Room.”

“Thanks.”

Lake watched the two ladies leave, smiling happily.

 

Though Lieutenants Green and Lake hadn’t really thought much about a wedding reception, Colonel White had prepared one, with lots of help from Captains Tourmaline and Aquamarine.  He knew that many of the officers wishing to be present during the wedding would be forced to work, and so a reception would give everyone a chance to see the newlywed couple.

Charity Angel entered the Conference Room and made a beeline for the bride.  “I see the dress held up okay.  That’s good!”

“Better than me,” Lake returned.  “Thanks for all your help.”

Charity smiled and hugged her.  “You really had me worried, that night.  I thought you’d made yourself ill – you were pale, you were exhausted…”

“I know,” she sighed.  “Please, don’t tell Seymour.  He’d go mad!”

“My lips are sealed,” the Angel replied.

Lake handed her a box.  “I gave Diane, Karen and Kelly gifts as a token of appreciation – I couldn’t leave you out, after you made my dress for me – by hand, no less – and stayed up watching the sewing machine make Kelly’s, so I could sleep.  You were wonderful!”

Ems, there was no need for that!”

The Lieutenant hugged her close.  “If it weren’t for you, there wouldn’t have been a wedding – I wouldn’t have a dress, for a start! Even if I had been able to sort it all out, I’d have been too tired to make the vows, anyway, and probably would’ve celebrated Christmas in the Sickbay!”

Charity smiled at her.  “You push yourself too hard.  You’re married, now – learn to share the bad stuff, as well as the good.  Turn to us when you need us… and I don’t mean when things are so far out of hand you don’t know what to do, either!”

Lake laughed.  “S.I.G., honey.  Don’t worry, I’m learning slowly.”

 

Lieutenant Green went to his wife, seeing that she was becoming weary.  D’you need a nap, before we get going?”

“I’ll sleep on the plane,” she replied, smiling.  “I just want to see everyone, before we get going.”

“Who’s flying us down?”

Lake frowned.  “I thought we were.”

“No, I think I’d prefer to give you my undivided attention.  You look so tired…”

She smiled at him and stifled a yawn.  “I am a bit.  But it’s a good tired.”

He chuckled and hugged her close.  “Okay, Ems.  I’ll just go and see if anyone’s willing to give us a lift.”

Nurse Thistle turned to him.  “A lift?”

“To our honeymoon retreat,” Green explained.

“You’re off, then?” Charity asked.

He nodded.  “Hopefully.”

Thistle gave them each a big hug.  “Congratulations, both of you.  Have a merry Christmas!”

“You too,” Lake replied, smiling as she hugged back.  “Thanks, Gem.”

“I’ll fly you down there,” Charity offered.  “Get your stuff, and call me when you’re ready – I’ll meet you in the hangar.”

 

 

Mrs. Elizabeth Griffiths smiled as she stared out of the window at the snow.  “Oh, Seymour, this is the type of Christmas I’ve always dreamed of – snow, peace, a special someone to share it all with…”

Her husband grinned and hugged her close.  “I knew you’d like it here.”

“Well, I’ve always wanted a white Christmas… England doesn’t get much snow, and Bristol is too far south.  We’ve had some fairly heavy falls, but it’s seldom lasted more than a few days, and it’s usually come long after December.”

Lieutenant Green chuckled and put an arm round her.  “Well, we may not be in Bristol, but you’ve got your wish.”

Lake smiled and cuddled into him.  “Thank you.  For everything.”

Without saying a word, he lifted her into his arms and kissed her.

His wife returned the kiss, relaxing in his arms as she let her eyes take in the room: cheerful open fire, scented candles glowing to add to the cosy atmosphere, garlands of holly, ivy and mistletoe…

Green cuddled her close to him, and carried her to the large armchair by the fire.  “You sure you’re warm enough?”

“I’m fine, Seymour.  Don’t you worry.

“Yeah, well…” He smiled, settling down with her on his lap.  “I know how sensitive you are, and I don’t want you getting sick.”

“I don’t think you’re going to give me the chance – you’re taking very good care of me.”

“That’s my job,” he chuckled.  “You should’ve heard the threat Pete gave me.  You may not be related officially, but he’s definitely your brother!”

Lake smiled fondly.  Good old Pete.  I’m really lucky to still have him around.  She yawned, becoming drowsy from the warmth of the fire.

Gently, her husband rocked her while singing softly. 

“Goodnight, pretty one,

I’ll come for you in de morning

In de morning…”

 

The following morning dawned cold and bright.  Without a moment of hesitation, Lake was up, dressed and out the door with her camera.  Lieutenant Green watched her from the window, smiling.  Seeing her out there; so happy and free of care…that’s how I’ve longed to see her.  In seconds, he was out there with her, playing in the snow.

 

“You know,” Lake commented, as they turned back for the lodge, “I always thought you didn’t like snow much.”

“When you’re with me, it’s fun.  I think anything could be fun and exciting, if you’re beside me!”

“Tobogganing?”

Green laughed.  “How about we decide over a hot cocoa?”

Smiling, she hugged him and allowed him to lead her back inside.  “Anything you say – you’re the sensible one!”

 

The two sat together on a large sofa, sipping at the hot chocolate that Lake had made. 

“I never knew snow could be such fun,” Green remarked suddenly.  “I’ve only been out in it during missions, and then it’s just a nuisance.”

“That’s why I couldn’t understand why you chose to come here for a honeymoon, Seymour.”

He shrugged, smiling.  “I knew you’d like it – especially at Christmas.”

His wife set her mug down quickly to give vent to a sneeze.

Ems!” Green put aside his own mug and moved closer to her.

Seymour, it was one sneeze.  I sneeze a lot, don’t panic – I’ve been out in the cold and I’m starting to warm up, so I’ll probably be sneezing for a little while – my nose is numb.”

“Okay, but maybe we should stay in for now.  Just to be sure.”

Lake rolled her eyes.  “What? You’re grounding me?”

“Like you said, I’m the sensible one.  I want you to have a good Christmas, and you can’t do that if you’re not feeling too good.”

Smiling, she continued to drink her chocolate.  “Fair enough, Seymour.  You win.”

Green grinned and grabbed his own drink, before moving even closer to her.  “I love you.”

“And I love you,” she put her mug aside, sneezing again.

“You know, I really need to get you warmed up.  D’you want to go to bed for a while?”

“Bed? We haven’t been up that long!”

Green finished his drink and cuddled her close, kissing with a passion as he rubbed her back and arms.

She sighed and relaxed in his embrace, kissing back.

Carefully, he lifted her up and carried her back to their bed.  “Let’s get you warmed up…”

 

 

“Happy birthday, Ems!”

Lieutenant Lake opened her eyes and sat up with a start.  Green had clearly been busy; he’d made her a breakfast of eggs and bacon; and on the floor beside their bed was a little pile of parcels and envelopes.  “Oh, Seymour… you didn’t have to…”

Green was smiling happily at her.  “Happy birthday,” he repeated.

“Thank you! Thank you so much!” She looked around again.

“I’d eat your breakfast, before you even think about anything else,” he suggested with a chuckle.

Lake smiled shyly and set to work.

 

After breakfast, the married couple opened the cards and gifts together, chatting happily.  Lake was seated on her husband’s lap and they opened each parcel together.

“Hey, look Ems!” Green handed her a box.  “This looks pretty special.”

Lake opened it carefully and stared down at the glittering item inside.  “Oh my word!”

Carefully, he helped her to lift out a beautiful white gold angel pendant, noticing a slip of card as he did so.  “It’s from Pete,” he told her, handing over the card with a smile.

To my sister, with love.  Pete,” she sniffed, and looked up at her husband tearfully.

Green hugged her close to his heart.  “He does love you, you know.  He’s proud of you, too.”

She nodded, and rubbed a hand across her eyes.  “I’m lucky to have him.  Almost as lucky as I am to have you.”

Kissing her gently, he smiled.  “Hey, take it easy.”

Lake sniffed again and straightened up.  “Sorry, Seymour.  I don’t know what came over me.”

“Hey, you’ve been through a lot.  It’s okay, nothing to worry over,” He kissed her again.  “From now on, we’ll go through everything as a couple – maybe the load’ll feel lighter, if we share everything.”

She cuddled into him.  “I love you.”

“Love you too,” he smiled, resting her head against his cheek.

Smiling, she straightened up to select a long parcel and leaned back against him, struggling to open it.

Green helped her quietly.  “What’s this?”

“A new tripod!” She rested it on her lap, removing the packaging with difficulty.

“I remember you saying that your old one was a little worn.  Who’s this one from?”

“Gem,” Lake smiled at him, happily.  “She said she wanted to get me something special.”

Green looked the tripod over with interest.  “This one looks built to last…”

“Yep! It’ll probably outlive me!”

He looked at her sharply.  “It will if you don’t eat, and keep allowing yourself to get too cold, Ems…”

Seymour…”

“I don’t want to take you back to Cloudbase sick.  What’ll Colonel White say?”

“He’ll say… ‘I can see Lake had a good time’!”

“No, he’ll say: ‘Can’t trust you off this base for a second, can I?’ And you know what, Ems? I’d have to agree with him – I have to keep such a close eye on you…”

Lake rolled her eyes.  “I don’t just go without food, anyway! Admittedly, I did just get dressed and run outside without giving breakfast a thought on the first morning, but I was excited…”

“That’s the kind of excuse I’d expect from a six year old…”

Embarrassed, she turned away.

“Well…” Green relented and hugged her close.  “I know I must sound like a party pooper, but I care, Ems.  I love you.  I don’t want to see you get hurt, or sick, or…” he kissed her.  “Just promise me you’ll look after yourself, would you?”

Lake nodded and cuddled into him.  “I’m sorry.  I just so rarely get the chance to enjoy snow, I suppose I went overboard on the first day.  Now I’ve gotten used to it, and I’m sure that it won’t melt before I get the chance to enjoy it, I’m fine.”

Her husband laughed merrily.  “You’re crazy!”

“It’s part of being a Stanton,” she told him, quietly.  “But don’t tell Pete I said that.”

He chuckled.  Wanna try out that tripod?”

“Could do,” she smiled back at him.  “Can try out some night-shots, tonight! I bet that’d look good, if I set it up right…”

“Not yet, then?” He smiled and cuddled her into him.  “Your hands are like ice,” he whispered.  D’you feel okay?”

“Yeah,” she sighed, as he began to rub her back and shoulders.  “I am as long as you’re here.”

“That’s not what I meant, Ems.  Are you okay?”

Lake snuggled into him.  “I’m fine.  Don’t worry so much.”

He took her hands and kissed them, trying to warm them.  “I can’t help it.  You mean more to me than anything.”

She smiled and kissed him playfully.  “I love you, too.  So… so much.”

 

“Come on, come on,” Scarlet urged, glaring at Captain Blue.  “I know it’s Christmas, but Lake and Green will be coming home in a couple of days! We don’t want them walking in to find half-finished quarters, do we?”

Charity Angel flicked some paint at him, cheekily.  “Perhaps if you did less yelling and more working, things might move a bit quicker!”

Scarlet turned to her angrily.  “I’m just saying that things aren’t moving fast enough.”

“No, we know you’re not,” she returned.

“Guys, c’mon,” Blue sighed, tiredly.  Charity, how’s the painting going?”

The Angel smiled at him.  “Nearly done, Captain.”

“That’s great.  Just be careful with the walls, okay?”

Scarlet rubbed his temples and tried to calm down.  “Right… what do we have to do next?”

“We’ll have to let the paint dry, or it’ll all be ruined, Paul.  I vote we have lunch, once we’re done.”

He groaned loudly.  “But this is taking ages…”

“We’re nearly done,” Charity pointed out.  “Once the paint’s dry, all we have to do is get the furniture in.”

“What about their belongings?”

“I’ve assigned Charity to help Aquamarine and Cerise sort through all Lake’s stuff,” Blue told him.  “She seems to collect loads of junk.  I think I can handle Green’s stuff on my own – he’s more organised.”

Scarlet nodded.  “Pete’s gone to find them a Christmas tree and a few odds and ends… I wonder how he’s getting on.”

“As long as he doesn’t go crazy – we’ll have to store all that stuff until we’re ready for it!”

Charity laughed.  “You should’ve thought of that before you gave him the job!”

Scarlet turned to her, raising an eyebrow.

The Angel smiled at him sweetly and continued her work.

“She’s got a point, Paul,” Blue pointed out.

“I just want this ready by the 27th.  It’s the 24th, now! Tomorrow’s Christmas, so everyone’s going to be too busy enjoying themselves – that leaves one day!”

“Have I come at a bad time?” Captain Aquamarine asked, poking her head round the door.

“Kelly! My life saver,” Scarlet smiled at her warmly.  “What can I do for you?”

The Captain held up a beautifully made lampshade.  “Is there anything else you need?”

“That’s wonderful!” Charity told her, with enthusiasm.

Scarlet nodded.  “Great work.  Have we got everything, now?”

Ems’ old floor lamp needs a bit of TLC,” Aquamarine remarked, thoughtfully. 

“I know,” Charity piped up.  “I mentioned it to Nurse Thistle – she said to put it to bed with a hot water bottle.”

Blue laughed.  “What d’you think, Kelly?”

“Oh, it just needs to be cleaned up a bit, maybe a new shade to match this one…” she held up the one she’d made for the ceiling.  “Want to help with that, when you’re done here, Charity?”

“Sounds good!” she beamed.

Scarlet turned to her severely.  “Just bear in mind that you’re on light duties due to exhaustion.  Take it sensibly.”

“I’m all right.  All I did was miss a couple of nights of sleep…”

He rolled his eyes and turned to Aquamarine.  “Keep an eye on her, would you?”

She nodded, smiling.  “Don’t worry, Captain.”

 

 

Lieutenants Lake and Green shared a traditional Christmas Day.  They took lunch at a nearby inn.  Lake had never felt so happy or comfortable.

“Here, Ems, try some of this stuffing – it’s delicious!”

She nibbled it and smiled.  Seymour, don’t tell me you’re trying to fatten me up…”

“Why not? I don’t think it’d matter if you put on a couple of pounds!”

Lake laughed.  “Oh, Seymour! I thought you liked me as I am!”

Green popped a sausage into her mouth, playfully.  “I do, but I wouldn’t mind you putting on some extra weight.  You do need a little building up.”

She smiled, eating quietly.  “I’ll see what I can do.”

 

After the meal, they sat together in a little sitting area, cuddled together with a mulled wine each.  Green hugged his wife close, stroking her hair.  “How are you feeling?”

“Like a Christmas turkey – stuffed!”

He kissed her, stroking her stomach gently.  “Are you okay?”

“Yeah… Just really drowsy…” She yawned and fidgeted slightly, trying not to fall asleep.

He smiled.  “Finish your drink, and we’ll head back.  Can’t really fall asleep in here – they’ll think you’re drunk or something!”

Lake did as she was told and stood carefully.  “Ooh…!”

Her husband watched with amusement as she tried to keep herself from falling over.  Quickly, he put an arm round her, steadying her.  “Okay… you are tired, aren’t you? Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall.”

She allowed him to guide her to the door, shivering as it opened and let in a whirl of wind and snow.

“Boy, that’s some storm…” Green looked down at her, doubtfully.  How could he possibly drag her through a blizzard like that?

“I’ll be all right once we start walking,” she assured him with determination, guessing what he was thinking.

“You sure?”

“Yes,” she smiled up at him and nodded.  “We can’t stay here, can we?”

“If you’re sure, Ems, but it’s gonna be a long walk.” He hugged her close and they set out together.

 

The weather was worse than Lake had realised.  The wind was strong and boisterous, swirling all around them, driving snow with it.  She shivered and clung to her husband.

“You okay?” he yelled in her ear.

“When we get back,” she replied.

Green found himself half carrying and half dragging his wife.  She was desperately tired and it was becoming difficult for her to breathe the cold air.  “We’re nearly there,” he coaxed.  “Come on, Ems, don’t give up on me now.”

She nodded, concentrating on walking for all she was worth.  Can’t keep this up much longer, she thought.  It’s just too cold and I’m so tired…

Their chalet loomed out of the snow.

“Made it, Ems! Come on – let’s get in, out of this storm!” Green pulled her inside, quickly.  “Take your coat off – I’ll go light a fire.” He kicked his boots off, quickly.

His wife didn’t answer.  She ran straight into the bathroom, locking the door behind her.

He sighed and hung up his coat, moving his boots to one side as he did so.  That done, he went and knocked on the bathroom door.  Ems, I’m gonna put some blankets on the sofa.  We can sit there and get warm.”

She emerged a moment later, pulling a towel round herself and shivering violently.  “’Kay, Seymour…” she sniffed.  “Sorry.  I should’ve listened to you… we should’ve waited at the lodge.”

He hugged her close.  It’s okay, Ems.  We made it back – it doesn’t matter.  You enjoyed the meal, right?”

“It was lovely,” she nodded.  “Now, I just need to sleep it off…”

“Don’t go to sleep, Ems.  Come on, we’ll sit in the lounge, by the fire.  I’ll just get those blankets.”

 

 

“They’re coming!” Captain Cerise hissed, shoving Aquamarine through the door of the quarters they’d been decorating.  “Quick – everyone hide in the bathroom!”

Charity lit the last candle in the centre of the small folding table.  “They would be early!”

“Some people have no consideration,” Cerise agreed, gesturing for her to join them.

Captain Scarlet leant against the shower.  “Did we finish everything?”

“There were still a couple of boxes to sort through,” Aquamarine told him.  “But I’m sure Ems won’t worry about that.  It was just a jumble of books and CDs off her old shelves.”

Ssshh!” Blue hissed.  “They’re coming in.”

 

Nurse Thistle opened the door for them.  “I hope it’s all to your liking,” she said, quietly.

Lake stared around her.  Compared with what she had gotten used to, these quarters were huge! “Oh, Gem! Whoever did all this?”

Nurse Thistle opened the bathroom door wide.  “There’s quite a team of decorators in here,” she remarked, with a grin.

“I just supervised and helped with the heavy labour,” Scarlet informed them, modestly.  “Everyone chipped in.  Aquamarine made the lampshades and throws.  Charity helped to hang the wallpaper and painted … she also helped to paint me…”

Lake smirked.

“Rhapsody and Symphony helped with the decorations,” Charity said.  “And Sue kept Pete under control, when he bought them!”

Green laughed.  “Sounds like you made a great team!”

Cerise blushed slightly.  “I also helped Diane to annoy Paul, Adam and Pete, I’m afraid.  It was our job to tell them where to put everything.”

“Oh no! Two supervisors doing one job – it must’ve been awful!” Lake winced.

“It was when they started arguing!” Scarlet groaned, loudly.  “Honestly – women!”

“Careful, Captain,” Thistle warned.  “You happen to be outnumbered.”

Lake smiled and settled down in a chair.  “Well, this is really lovely.”

“Yeah,” Green agreed.  “Thanks – all of you! It’s just so unexpected…”

“Well, we sorted through as much as we could,” Charity told them.  “I didn’t know where to put your sewing machine, Ems…”

“And there’s a box full of books, ELO memorabilia and a heap of CDs,” Cerise added.

“Which they wouldn’t allow me to burn,” Scarlet added, winking at Green.

“Good!” Green returned.  “You upset Ems, and you’ll be eating through a straw!”

Seymour!” Thistle stared at him in surprise.

Captain Tourmaline put an arm round his brother-in-law.  “He’s protecting his wife – that’s how it should be!”

Scarlet rolled his eyes.  “That one doesn’t need protection… yet.”

Charity Angel took a seat beside Lake, quickly, as a number of angry eyes turned on Scarlet.  “I’m keeping out of the way!”

Lake smiled at her, tiredly.  “Very wise.  But if they want to fight, they can take it outside!”

Ems, are you okay?” she asked, as the Lieutenant yawned into her hand and sniffed.

“Yeah… it’s just been a long week…” She smiled at her and blinked as her eyes swam out of focus.

“Careful, Ems.  Do you want me to get Seymour?”

“No, I’m okay.  Just need a drink, I think…”

Charity cuddled her close.  “I’ll get you one.  Just curl up here.”

Ems?” Lieutenant Green crouched in front of her.  “You okay?”

“Think so,” she mumbled, cuddling up under a throw.  “Just suddenly feel so tired…”

“Maybe we should go,” Scarlet suggested.  “Come on, Adam.”

Nurse Thistle went with them to the door.  “I’d better stay here, for now.  Just in case.”

Blue nodded and looked back at Lake.  “She doesn’t look too good.  Want me to let Sickbay know?”

“Not yet,” Thistle replied.  “I’ll call them, if I feel the need.  She might just be very tired.”

The two men left quietly and Thistle went to Aquamarine and Cerise, who were standing back and clearly feeling awkward.

“I don’t like to leave her, when she’s like this,” Cerise said, quietly.

Aquamarine looked over at the Lieutenant with concern.  “What can we do?”

The Nurse put an arm around them both.  “Go and sit down, for now.  Ems will call you, when she wants you.  I’m sure she’ll feel better knowing that she has so many people here for her.  I can see you care a lot.”

Aquamarine nodded quietly, and went to sit down out of the way with Cerise.  “Hope she’s all right…”

Thistle went back to Lake, taking her hand gently to check her pulse.  “How do you feel?”

“Just very tired…”

“Well, I suppose that’s not very surprising.  Especially after all the preparation you did for your wedding…”

Charity helped her to sit up and drink some water.  “How was the honeymoon?”

“Wonderful!” Lake smiled up at Green in a secretive manner.  “Better than anything I could have imagined!”

She smiled and put an arm round her.  “Good.  Was the weather okay?”

“Oh! It was great!” she grinned.  “I’d forgotten just how much I love snow!”

“Calm down, Ems,” the Angel pilot advised.  “I know you’re happy, and that’s good, but you need to rest for now.”

S’pose so…” She yawned loudly and sniffed.

“Have you caught a cold, Ems?” Charity asked, touching her forehead.

“I feel okay,” the Lieutenant shrugged.  “Probably just needs sleep.”

“We’ll leave you to it, then,” Thistle decided.  “Call me if you need me, though.”

“And me,” Aquamarine added, standing up and going to her.  “I’m never far away.”

Cerise took her hand, gently.  “Look after yourself, sweetie.  I worry about you.”

Lake smiled at them warmly.  “I’ll be all right.  You all worry too much!”

Green smiled and hugged her gently.  “There’s no such thing as worrying too much.  You’re very special.”

The Lieutenant sighed tiredly and smiled up at them.  So’re all of you.”

Charity was the last to leave.  She helped Lieutenant Green to make his wife comfortable and turned up the heating for them.

“Thanks,” Green said in a whisper.  Ems told me you’ve been a real support, lately.”

“I’d do anything for either of you – you should know that.”

He smiled and nodded.  “Thanks, Charity, it’s appreciated.”

Charity hugged him gently and touched Lake’s shoulder.  “I’ll see you both later.”

 

 

As the weeks passed, Lieutenant Green rarely left his wife’s side.  She seemed to be constantly tired and rather fragile.  It worried him a great deal.  They began to try to go to bed as early as possible and he did all he could to help her rest.

He cuddled her close to him one night and kissed her.  Ems, if you’re no better tomorrow, I’m taking you to Sickbay.”

Seymour…” She yawned loudly.

“You shouldn’t be this tired.  I want to know that you’re okay – there could be something wrong.”

She sighed and pulled away, trying to get up.

“I’m sorry.” He hugged her close and gave her a kiss.  “I didn’t mean to upset you.  It’s just starting to scare me, that’s all…”

She pulled away again, becoming more insistent.  Seymour, you didn’t.  Please, just let me get up – I have to go!”

He stared at her.  “What’s the matter?”

“I have to use the loo! Please, Seymour…”

Green released her, quickly.  “I’m sorry, Ems.  I thought you’d already been to the bathroom…”

His wife didn’t reply.  She ran off as quickly as she was able.

He sighed and decided to get up and wait for her at the door, thinking that perhaps she’d run off to be sick.  “You okay in there?”

Lake sighed tiredly as she left the bathroom.  “I think I’m ready for bed, now…”

He put an arm round her and led her back to bed.  “Did you throw up?”

“No, Seymour.  I just had to… uh… No, I wasn’t sick.  Don’t worry.” She reddened violently.

“You’d tell me if anything was wrong, wouldn’t you?”

“I’m fine, as far as I can tell.  I probably just had too much to drink, or something.” She cuddled up against him.

“Okay,” he smiled and kissed her.  “Sleep well, Ems.”

“You too.” She yawned loudly and relaxed in his arms, settling down.

 

After a sleepless night, Lieutenant Green dragged his wife down to the Sickbay.  “This is for your own good, Ems.  You can’t go on like this forever – you’re already exhausted!”

“I know, Seymour.  I feel all right, though… I’m just very tired.”

He shook his head.  “You don’t usually have to use the bathroom every five minutes…”

“I expect I’m going down with a virus.  It affects… things like that, sometimes.”

“Then you’re sick, Ems,” he pointed out.  “I know a cold doesn’t sound very serious, but it still needs to be dealt with.”

She nodded.  “But I can fight a cold on me own…”

“Not if it’s wearing you out, you can’t.  You’re not getting out of this, Ems.” He cuddled her close to him as they walked.  “I just want to know that everything’s okay.  I’m really getting worried.”

She nodded quietly and allowed him to drag her into Sickbay.

 

After several questions and a number of tests, Doctor Fawn sat the couple down.  “It’s nothing to worry about,” he began, carefully.

Lake turned to her husband, immediately starting to worry.

“Actually, it should be good news,” he continued.

“Good news?” Green repeated.  “What makes you say that?”

Fawn leaned back in his chair, smiling at them.  “Let me be the first to say it; congratulations – you’re pregnant, Lieutenant Lake.”

Lake stared at him.

Green smiled at her, happily.  “Oh, Ems…!”

She continued to stare for a moment.  Then she fainted.

Ems!” Her husband grabbed her quickly and sat her on his lap as he tried to revive her.  “What’s wrong with her, Doctor?”

“Fainting and dizzy spells are common,” Fawn explained.  “Put her in the recovery position – she’ll be all right.”

Lake struggled slightly and opened her eyes.  M’okay…”

“Nausea, sickness and exhaustion are also common symptoms, in the early stages,” the Doctor continued.  “You’ll both have to take special care.  Lake, I’m putting you on light duties, as of now.”

The Lieutenant would normally have been annoyed by this, but instead she smiled and hugged Green close.  “This is the best Christmas present I could have asked for… even if I will have to wait for it…”

“Same here!” He lifted her into his arms and kissed her.

She smiled and cuddled against him.  All of a sudden, nothing mattered to her.  She had her future spread out before her, and she knew it wouldn’t be as daunting or lonely as it had seemed when she had first joined Spectrum.  Life was good!

 

The end

 

 

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