The airport

Ann came out of her reverie when the wing flaps extended and gently shook the plane. She had spent the flight lost in thought analyzing her current situation. Had she led Paul on? She didn't think so, after all, she had been working on becoming a surgeon through four years of medical school and the two years of residency. But now Paul seemed to expect her to 'come to her senses', drop her journey to be a surgeon and become a house wife and mother to his children. Did she want children? Yes, but she was working hard to get established in medicine before that happened. Was she wrong in keeping James from his biological children? The more that she thought about it, the more wrong it seemed. She had pushed for that at the urging of Paul, but was Paul just acting out of jealousy? She was pretty sure that her relationship with Paul was in the dumpster if not totally over. And James? Well, she had seen the stars in James' eyes when he first met her. She knew that she was attractive on multiple levels, no brag, just fact, and James getting a crush on her would not end well. Had her brain been working clearly, she would never have called him for help. But she did ask him for help and now she was landing in Washington DC.

Ann slung her purse with the strap cross-body and pulled her overnight bag out of the overhead compartment. Waiting for the people in front of her to get their stuff and move out the door, she considered how to introduce herself to Mrs Possible.

1. "Good to meet you, I'm Ann, I break men's hearts and crush their souls, perhaps James has mentioned me? Or have you met Paul?". No, too much honesty, too focused on me.

2. "Pleased to meet you, I'm Ann, I'd prefer it if you make my death quick even though I just ripped your son James' unconceived children from his loving arms." No, best not to give Mrs Possible ideas.

3. "Hi, I'm Ann." (offer to shake hands) "Thank you so very much for your help. Have you lived in DC long?" Not bad, short, to the point, give Mrs Possible a chance to talk.

The line in front of her started moving and after thanking the pilots and attendants she walked out of the plane and made her way to the main corridor. She had just decided to follow the signs to ground transportation when a woman dressed in a business suit stood up in front of her and smiling, held up a little sign with "Ann C." printed on it. The woman was her height, brunette and wore glasses.

When Ann paused and prepared to go with introduction number 3, the woman laughed, took two long strides up to her and wrapped her in a strong, quick hug. "Welcome to Washington DC, dear. Were you going with number 3 or number 4?" Mrs Possible left one arm around her and guided her down the corridor.

"What?"

"Dear, you looked like you had a list of things to say and was considering which to use. From the length of your pause, I am guessing number 3 or number 4."

"Uh, number 3 actually," Ann replied, totally off balance.

"Oh, here's a restroom. Do you need to freshen up?"

"No, but I really need to pee." Ann found herself replying.

"I'll wait here then." Nana laughed as she took Ann's overnight bag.

Nana considered her first impression of Ann. She seemed OK with physical touch, had a quick sense of humor and seemed to be dealing OK with being in an unexpected and stressful situation. All important qualities for dealing with children. And men, although from early reports from James, Nana had her pegged as quite the destroyer of men's hearts. Dinner conversation should be interesting.

Ann washed her hands and wondered what just happened. James' mom seemed like a force of nature. Way too observant for her comfort level. Still, she told James that she would trust his mom and she felt like she needed to at least try to trust her. Ann felt her stomach grumble. It was late here, but her stomach was on mountain time. Perhaps they could grab some food on the way to her hotel.

Walking out of the restroom, Ann retrieved her overnight bag. "Mrs Possible, if it's reasonable I'd like to get a bite to eat. This has been a hectic day and I seemed to have missed a couple of meals."

"Please dear, call me 'Nana', it's my Navy call sign from an earlier career. There are nice Italian and Indian restaurants near my apartment, how about we go to my apartment and order some delivery?"

"I don't want to be any trouble…"

"Dear, I have found that the best people are worth the trouble."

"Thank you very much, delivery to your apartment sounds lovely."

Nana's apartment was a simple two bedroom, 3rd floor walk-up. It looked comfortable and tidy. Nana had Ann sit at a table and put forms in front of her. "Please check these passport application forms, cross out and correct any wrong or missing information. How about I order us a sampler platter from the Indian restaurant. Do you like spicy food?"

Ann was finding the lack of missing or incorrect information on the forms a little disturbing. "A little spicy perhaps, I haven't eaten much Indian food."

"OK, I'll tell them that." Nana walked over to a wall phone, dialed a number and started discussing curries and other items.

There was a knock on the door. Nana answered it and let in a young man carrying a messenger bag. "Dear, if those forms are OK, sign them and give them to Samuel." Ann handed over her forms and birth certificate while Nana rummaged in a cabinet and pulled out an instant camera. "Stand over here, please. Don't smile, customs people want realistic pictures and nobody smiles going through customs." A bit numb, Ann stood where directed and Nana took a couple of pictures. Pausing to let them 'develop', Nana held them out to Ann, "Are these OK?" Ann thought they were fine, Amazingly enough, even her hair looked under control. Nana gave the pictures to Samuel, who bade them a good night and left.

Indian Food

"The Indian food restaurant said a Riesling would go well with the food, is that OK with you?" Nana was rummaging around in another cabinet, this one seemed to be made to hold wine bottles.

"I guess so, I am not much of a drinker. Is there anything I can do to help?" Ann was feeling a little out of control.

"Plates and glasses are in that cabinet, silverware is in that drawer, why don't you set the table." Nana pointed out their locations.

"Set two places?" Ann wondered if there was a Mr Possible about to show up.

"Two places dear, I am a widow and James isn't visiting until the weekend after next."

Ann set out plates, silverware and Nana poured wine into glasses.

There was a knock on the door and soon they were unpacking sacks with little containers onto the table.

If was a pleasant enough dinner, they talked about Germany which both had visited, Ann told hospital tales and Nana told Navy tales (some of which Ann found hard to believe).

Ann found that she liked the wine and many of the dishes, she particularly liked 'butter chicken' and 'saag paneer', a spinach and cheese curry dish.

After they put away the leftovers, Nana insisted that they move to the couch for coffee. Nana believed that surgeons like the navy, ran on coffee.

Sitting on the couch, Ann tasted the coffee. She approved, it was decently strong coffee, the kind that she would order in a restaurant as a "double shot of espresso".

"How did you get the call sign 'Nana?'" Ann set her coffee down on a little table next to her end of the couch."

"The Navy was starting a course called Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. The basic idea was to train people to evade capture and escape if they found themselves behind enemy lines. I was asked to participate as an instructor. My job was to be the 'good cop' in interrogation role play. But we soon found out that many of the students were spilling their guts to me without ever bringing in the 'bad cop'. The school commander interviewed some of the students, he thought I was using 'my feminine wiles' to get them to talk. One student said 'I don't know sir. It was like I was a little boy being questioned by my Nana, I couldn't lie to her!' So even though I was maybe 23 or 24 at the time, the other instructors started calling me 'Nana' and later it was picked to be my call sign."

A silence sank over the pair and Ann started to apologize for how James was being treated when Nana interrupted her.

"In the old days, romance wasn't nearly a big a factor in marriage as was the ability to support a family. In those days, the Blue Heart Society found it easier to manipulate couples and have generally happy results all around. But then people started expecting "Romance" and things got tougher. Take me for example."

"You?"

"Yes dear, James and I are products of the BHS just like you are."

Nana: Indy

Nana leaned back on the couch and took a sip of coffee.

"I remember my parents as both loving, caring individuals. They loved me and loved each other until the day they died. That was what I expected married life to be." Nana took another thoughtful sip of coffee.

"James' father was Henry Jones Jr. He was around ten years older than I and an absolute dreamboat. He had this smile that would make me weak in the knees every time. Strong, athletic, witty, and really, really smart. He was a professor of archaeology and a part-time investigator of arcane artifacts for the U.S. government. I fell head over heels in love with him the first time we met. I had just finished a tour as a diver in a Navy Underwater Demolition Team, mostly reconnaissance and mine clearing."

"How did you ever get into a combat unit as a woman in what, the '50s?"

"Dear, that is a story that requires alcohol, not coffee. Anyway, once certain people found out that I was a woman serving in a combat zone, I was pushed into shore duty, a desk job. Then I got a visit from some people who promised me aviator training if I would agree to have two children with the man of their choice."

"Dr Henry Jones Jr."

"Yes, although he hated the 'junior' part and preferred to be called 'Indiana' or 'Indy'.

"Sounds like a contract made in heaven."

"No. I don't know what they offered him to marry me, he would never say. Marriage was a requirement because of the stigma attached to unmarried mothers in those days. Day care was pretty much unheard of. But he never loved me although he loved James and Slim with all his heart. The love of his life was Marion Ravenwood. Marion couldn't have children and after a while, she also came to love the boys."

"What about you?"

"I was sort of the odd woman out. Indy, of course, bedded me to produce James and Slim and occasionally bedded me when he thought I was feeling too lonely. I admit that I was never too proud to accept his 'acts of kindness'. Most of his attention was focused on Marion. In the great scheme of things, the boys had three people who loved and adored them, and as for me, I got the promised aviator training."

"Doesn't sound like a good deal to me."

"Dear, at some point, things can't be about just you, they have to be about the greater good. If Indy hadn't already had the love of his life, perhaps he would have learned to love me. I never looked for another man to love, when you are in love with the sun, a flashlight just isn't good enough. Then when Slim was thirteen, and James was eleven, Indy and Marion left on a secret assignment and never returned."

"You never found out what happened?"

"No, and I was working for the Office of Naval Intelligence at the time so I had resources. Deep in my heart, I still hope to this day that they found a place to love each other in peace, but they both loved the boys too much to just leave like that."

"Do you regret taking the contract?"

Nana laughed, "Dear, regret is something you get to do when you get old. I'm just getting started doing things I may regret later."

"Now tell me about you and Paul."

A/N: In this story, June is Ann's stepsister.

Ann: Paul

Ann stalled to try to collect her thoughts by taking another sip of the really excellent coffee.

"Where did you meet?" Nana prompted.

"We met in homeroom in our junior year of high school. Something just clicked and soon we were pretty much inseparable. We both loved snow skiing and anything that had to do with being on the water. He was someone who was comfortable with silence, so I never felt that I had to keep up a conversation, we could just sit and watch the sunset and just be. And as silly as it sounds, he made me laugh. Undergraduate school was much the same. We were lucky enough to go to the same school, although with him studying business management and me in premed, we rarely shared a class. After graduation, I went to med school and he started working at an investment bank."

"Did you ever consider moving in together?"

"No, Paul is very conservative, no living together or sex before marriage."

"So why didn't you get married?"

"Paul wants a full-time wife, not a part-time wife and part-time student."

"Maybe he didn't want to pay for your med school?"

"Nana! That's a cold thing to say!"

"Sorry, did you want to get married?"

"Not strongly, I have enough on my plate without taking care of a husband."

"So for four years of med school and two years of residency, just how much have you and Paul been together; I mean actually been in the same room?"

"Well, not a lot, I guess. I know it sounds like I only care about me, but ever since Granddad told me about the Blue Heart stuff, I felt like I had to be ready to do something with my life before they showed up otherwise I'd be just another brood mare."

"just another brood mare, dear?"

"My dad's term. Stepfather to be technical, I've never met my biological father. Mom passed away several years ago. Dad loved her deeply and has been bitter ever since. He blames the BHS for her death, says if they had done their job, she wouldn't have gotten cancer."

"I'm sorry for your loss dear."

"Thanks, Nana. I don't see how I can screw up my relationship with Paul any worse. I've not given him serious attention for years now. I've asked him to help me raise another man's child. I've driven him so crazy that he stole my passport and credit cards to keep me close to him. On reflection, I don't know why he didn't break up with me years ago."

"Dear, I can't say why Paul didn't leave you a long time ago. Perhaps you were some ideal of the perfect love and he was fixated on that. Maybe he hoped that you would settle down and be a traditional wife and mother. I'm not even sure that Paul can tell you why."

"And now there is James. Nana, when he walked out of the meeting with the lawyers, he looked like I had ripped his heart out and stomped on it. When I called him today, I could hear the bitterness in his voice. But then he fought the bitterness back and asked what he could do to help me. He is such a nice guy Nana."

"I think so dear."

"But that's why I can't let him get close to me, I'll destroy him like I did Paul" Tears were appearing in Ann's eyes.

"Dear, both of them are big boys, you can't be responsible for everything. May I ask how you plan to deal with both an infant and residency without a partner? Perhaps you should let someone else raise the child?"

All the color left Ann's face. "No, I can do it, I… Oh my God, this is what I did to James." Ann put her face in her hands. She didn't sob, which worried Nana a bit.

Nana scooted over and put her arm around Ann. "Dear, listen to me. You don't have to have the answers tonight. You have time to talk to Paul. You have time to redo the agreement with James if that makes sense. I've read the contract, the child isn't planned to be born until over a year from now. You have time to plan. This has only been on your radar for a couple of weeks. Let's get some sleep, your passport will be delivered in the morning, then we can do some clothes shopping and see about getting you off to Germany. Then I can help arrange to have what you need shipped to you in Germany. Does that sound OK?"

"Yes, Nana." Ann said.

Letters to Germany


Dear Ann,

Mom tells me that you got everything fixed and flew out to Germany on time. Hopefully this note is addressed correctly to get to your new apartment.

Just wanted to wish you well on your residency in Germany. If there is anything I can do for you, even just to send you some food item you miss in Germany, let me know.

James


Ann,

It has been one month since you left and I think I want to come to a close on the things between us. I am sorry for acting such the jerk, but I had missed you during your residency so much that I was desperate to somehow get you back in my life full time. I see now that was a fool's wish. We can't go back to high school and I understand that now.

You left with me as power of attorney with respect to your apartment and some accounts. I transferred that and all your spare keys to an "Amanda Possible" who said she was handling moving what you needed to Germany and storing the rest. I did check on your apartment a couple of times and your lieutenant seems to be taking really good care of the place.

Take care of yourself, I will always remember what we used to have.

Paul


Dear Ann,

I know it is four months away, but here is a conference that I am planning to attend and maybe even present a paper at for our engineering team. Attached are the details of the conference. I think that it will match the time that I need to perform my part of the contract. Let me know if you think this will work for you and as it gets closer, let me know times and days. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know.

James


Dear Ann,

Mom had me stop by your apartment to check on things for you. Everything looks good. Lt Barkin said that the brand of cookie I have packed in this box was heavily stocked in your cabinets when you left. I am hoping that was because they were a favorite of yours and not because you found them on a really good sale. The conference is in three weeks and I am hoping to at least meet you for dinner as opposed to just a "drop off the turkey baster and run" kind of meeting. (in case you can't tell, that was supposed to be humor)

James


Visit to Germany

James walked down the hall to the nurses station. James said, in what he hoped was passable German, "Mein Name ist James Possible, ich habe einen Termin mit Dr Credible."

He was incredibly relieved when the nurse replied in perfect English, "Have a seat over there, Mr Possible, someone will be along shortly to get you."

James walked over and sat down. He was in town for an engineering conference and slipped off to come to the hospital to "donate" his contribution to the contract. He had fantasized meeting her for dinner, then back to their hotel room for wine and…

"Mr Possible?" An older nurse interrupted his thoughts. "My name is Lena. Please come with me." She led him down the hall and into a small exam room. She handed him a clear specimen cup and said "Magazines in the drawer if you need them. I will wait outside."

Before James could say anything, Lena left and closed the door behind her.

'Well, it's not exactly a standard honeymoon.' James didn't need magazines, his fantasy of how the night should have gone would be sufficient. Still, couldn't hurt to check them out. Looking through the stack, he noticed that they were all in German, not they he would care about reading the articles. Taking the magazines, James opened the door and went up to nurse Lena. "Pardon me, would you have the English version of the American Journal of Physics?"

Lena just looked at him. Figuring that she didn't understand him, he tried his questionable German: "Hast du die englische Version des American Journal of Physics?"

Lena looked like she thought he was crazy. 'Well, I guess I should have paid more attention in in German class." Disappointed on not getting a laugh he went back into the room, closed the door and put away the magazines. Focusing on the way he wanted the evening to go, he was able to produce his "business obligation". Taking his contribution to Lena outside, he asked, "Can I see Dr Credible?"

Lena looked into his eyes for a moment. "Wait here."

Ann woke to the sound of Lena coming into the exam room. She was laying on her back on a table with her legs and pelvis elevated.

"I have Mr Possible's contribution," Lena said, pulling a long syringe out of a drawer. Filling the syringe, she moved between Ann's legs. "There are more pleasant ways to do this you know."

"So I've heard, but I really don't want to break this guy's heart."

"But he is so cute. And right outside. You have to lay here for thirty minutes. I'm done," Lena covered Ann with a blanket. "Can I let him in just to say hello? I have heard that having an orgasm helps, he could help with that," Lena smiled slyly.

"No Lena, I'm fine being here all by myself, thank you very much."

"As you wish Doctor" Lena stepped out.

Two minutes later, Lena popped back in with James in tow.

Ann was sound asleep.

"I'm very sorry Mr Possible, I thought you could at least say hello. She does this thing where she sleeps twenty minutes and then is good for two hours. She has a surgery scheduled to start in 45 minutes. We had better let her sleep."

James reached inside his jacket and pulled out a yellow rose. "Can I leave this with her please?"

Lena nodded and James walked over to the table and laid the rose on the blanket covering her. Looking at her face, he saw her without makeup, hair tousled, faint dark circles under her closed eyes from fatigue. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. James turned and left the hospital to go back to the conference.

Three more times during the week of the conference, James dropped by the hospital to leave a 'donation'. The first time was the only time he saw her. Returning to his hotel room after the conference is over, he found a vase of hydrangeas on the table. Sighing sadly, he packed and left for the airport to fly back home.

Rough men

Sergeant Major Chaos looked at the sleeping form of the woman laying in one of the six stretchers in this Blackhawk. The woman who would be the death of him. A god damned civilian! Probably the best combat surgeon he had ever seen and she wasn't supposed to be here! She was supposed to be in the field hospital ready to treat incoming wounded. Incoming wounded that weren't supposed to exist because this was a god damned police action! Two of their fire teams were caught in an ambush and a Blackhawk coming in for close support was hit with an RPG and forced to make an emergency landing nearly on top of them. And when he found the idiot that let her, a civilian, ride on that chopper, he was either going to rip his liver out through his nose or kiss him on the lips because initial reports from the fire team squad leader was that without her, there would be three body bags on this chopper instead of three men who were wounded but alive and a surgeon who would keep them that way.

She had taken off her body armor once they were in the clear. He had checked it and found several gouges in her 'chicken plates' where stray small arms fire had probably struck it. How the hell she was able to move while wearing that heavy armor, much less run, he had no idea. That style of armor was intended for aircrew, not ground pounders. On the evac, he had seen her carrying one end of a stretcher to free a rifleman to provide cover. He saw her get up, steady herself, drink water from a canteen and then start checking her patients. He checked his watch, twenty minutes on the mark. Another of her legends was that she could go for days on nothing but twenty-minute naps every two hours.

The Sergeant Major had been sent out because of stories about her had filtered up to command level. His task was to find out if they were true and if so, shut her down and send her ass packing. For someone who had only been in area for ninety days, she certainly seemed to get around. She seemed to have a sixth sense of where she would be needed. Chopper crews were constantly taking her out on MEDEVAC and even a few CASEVAC/Dust Off missions that usually didn't carry medical personnel. When he asked the crews how in the hell did she talk them into taking her along, they usually mumbled something about a "Puppy dog pout". One story had her doing artery repair surgery on a corpsman's leg in the back of an M113 personnel carrier in the middle of a firefight.

At the fire team level, she was considered a good luck charm, that no matter how badly you were hurt, if you saw her you knew you would make it home alive. Depending on which corpsmen you talked to, she had personally saved between ten and twenty-five men by providing critical medical treatment under combat conditions. And another three today. Who knew how many more she would save indirectly due to her quiet insistence on training new techniques to any corpsmen who would learn from her?

He pressed himself against a stretcher to allow her to move past in the narrow aisle when the chopper hit a pocket of turbulence. His arm automatically shot around her to steady her. Around her lower abdomen. A hard lower abdomen. A hard lower abdomen with a bump. Horrified, he turned her around to face him. Before he could say a word, she looked up at him with those brilliant blue eyes and said, "All these men are somebody's baby, Sergeant Major."


Ann put the last of her few belongings into her duffel bag and headed out to the waiting area to catch the next military transport back to Germany.

"Dr Credible!" A voice called out from behind her.

She turned around. "Yes, Captain, how can I help you?"

"General Trix would like to speak with you, Ma'am."

"Captain," Ann sighed, "If he just wants to chew on my butt, please tell him that you missed me. My butt has been well and truly chewed already this week. Now if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my hospital in Germany. Where I expect it to get chewed on some more." Ann turned and continued on to the waiting area. Checking at the counter, she found that a 'space available' seat would be open on a transport to Germany loading in an hour. Sitting down, she did what any experienced warrior or surgeon would do. She went to sleep.

Twenty minutes later she awoke to find a general standing at parade rest in front of her. Looking out on the tarmac, she saw perhaps seventy-five men standing in parade ground rows. The general offered his hand, taking it, she stood up.

"Dr Credible," The general said, "The men wish to show their appreciation for your service. If you would step outside please." The general picked up her duffel and led her onto the tarmac. They walked in front of the formation and stopped.

A PFC stepped up and handed her a small book. "Dr Credible, every time you saved one of us you saved all of us. This book contains the names of the mothers of the men you have saved, the mothers of their brothers in arms and our names."

Ann opened the book. The title page said, "We are all somebody's baby". Flipping through the book she saw the men had handwritten their name, their unit, and their mother's name.

A corpsman stepped up and handed her a coin. The coin had a caduceus, the symbol of medicine on top of crossed rifles. Around the edge were the words "Credible's Rough Men". "This coin will be carried by the men who had the privilege of being watched over by you, Ma'am!"

Ann found her vision getting blurry. Turning to the general, she asked; "Permission to hug these men please."

"Permission granted Doctor".

It was the greatest group hug in Ann's life.