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Battle of Britain -- Chapter 9
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Title: Battle of Britain Chapter 9

Rating: R (language and sexual situations)

Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue

Summary: Dominic faces challenges from Topher and Harding while Adelle deals with Ivy and considers how she might assist Laurence and broaden his horizons.

The house in Ealing was still and dark. Adelle didn't blame the family from wanting to hide from their neighbours’ pity. A spark of relief appeared in Ivy’s red rimmed eyes when she opened the front door to Adelle.

As she offered her condolences, Adelle spotted the young man hovering in the background. He radiated tension and anger, refusing to make eye contact with anyone.

“I'd like to talk to Leo in private, please,” Adelle said, nodding reassuringly to Ivy as she guided her mother from the room.

The boy wouldn't look at her, but he hadn’t left, suggesting curiosity if nothing else. “Do you know who I am?” she asked. He shrugged. “Your sister works for me and whatever she’s told you about what she does isn't true. Official secrets.” He flicked a glance towards her, clearly surprised. “I'm sorry about your brothers.”

“Thank you.”

She let the silence linger, watching him fidget. “I expect you're thinking about how to avenge them.” He finally faced her. “How many of people do you think you'll kill, if you enlist?”

“A lot,” he said, tone rough and jagged. “I'll have a gun.”

“So will the enemy and, in truth, the number is likely to be quite small. If you're determined to get revenge, allow me to hand you a more serviceable weapon, not unlike those your sister disguises as ordinary objects. Our operatives take them into occupied France and wreck havoc on our enemies.”

His jaw dropped but he pushed past his shock. “Will you send me to France?”

“How's your French?” He pulled a face, answering her question. “I understand you are good at maths and physics?”

“I suppose.”

She'd spoken to one of his schoolmasters that morning, who'd told her he was a good student, popular with his peers but rather young for his age. He needed to grow up now.

“How much do you know about radios, Leo?”

“A bit.” Most young men tried to take a radio apart at some point.

“Our people in France use radio to communicate with us. Their information enables us to launch impactful operations and select meaningful targets. Radio operators are the most vulnerable to being captured, because the Nazis can locate them, if they transmit for too long. Those here in England who interpret their communications must be fast and accurate. Do you understand?”


“The training for such work will require you to live away from home during the week.” Adelle suspected Leo needed a respite from the memories in these dark rooms and the expectations. “I’ll make sure there’s someone to help your mother.”

“I don't know.”

“This is important work, Leo, not a soft option.”

“I don't want to die,” he breathed, his expression anguished. “But I should be as brave as my brothers. They didn't have a choice, so why should I?”

“Don't you think they'd want you to have a choice?” He nodded. “Then take this opportunity to help achieve our victory.”

“All right.”

She offered him her hand. “Shall we shake, a gentleman's agreement?”

His handshake surprisingly firm, he said, “I won’t let you down.”

Ivy closed her eyes with relief when they told her. Leo endured hugs and kisses from his female relatives, sending an embarrassed smile in Adelle's direction.

“Leo will need to report here, at 10 am on Monday,” she said, writing the address on a card. “He'll work very hard and meet some, unusual people on his way to making a real difference.”
Ivy saw her out. “How is Topher?”

“He misses you but can't admit it. He's unsettled and that's never a good thing.”

Ivy nodded. “Tell him I’ll be back on Monday.”

Although she had come to make sure Ivy could return to work, Adelle found she wanted to go further, to make the young woman understand her value. “Ivy, you have a remarkably fine mind and I know the task I have set you isn’t easy, or what you would choose. When the war is over, I promise I will do all I can to assist you to find a place at an academic institute where you can carry out research of your own.

With Ivy’s family taken care of, Adelle turned her attention to her conflict with Judith. As she made her way back, she took a detour to Piccadilly and returned to Baker Street with an arm full of parcels.

Setting them down on Judith’s desk, she said, “These are a peace offering.” Judith looked as though she’d been crying and Adelle persevered. “This is from my Uncle Charles’ personal cellar,” she said, tapping the bottle of wine, grateful for her ‘spare’ Uncle’s expertise. “He says it’s light and fruity and from an excellent year. He hopes you and Harry will enjoy it. These,” she nodded at the small box, “I know you like.” The chocolates had taken more work to find, as Belgian chocolates were currently in very short supply.

“Thank you.” she wondered if Judith might burst into tears, but she jumped to her feet, scurried around the desk and threw her arms around Adelle. “I’m so sorry. I couldn’t bear it, if someone hurt you.”

Taken aback by the caring expressed by both Laurence and Judith, Adelle sought the right words to acknowledge her assistant’s genuine concern. “Judith, I’m a grown woman and there will be pain in my life.” She smiled ruefully. “None occasioned by Jack Erskine, however – all right?”


“You can remove Major Dominic from your bad books. He didn’t tell me you had told him of the bet and advised me to mend our fences for the good of all three of us.”

“Do you think he’ll buy me a present as well?” Judith asked, her sense of mischief making a welcome return.

“He’s with Topher and some tanks with strict instructions not to permit anything to be blown up. I doubt he’ll have time to shop, but he might appreciate it, if you saved him a chocolate.”

“He’d be much better for you than Erskine,” Judith said, her determination to have her say on the subject proving surprisingly resilient.

“Let’s get back to work. There’s a war on.”

* * *

“He’s in there, sir,” said a soft spoken young man whose name Laurence Dominic had already forgotten. Glancing furtively about, he added, “He seems more than a bit daft.”

“That will be all,” Dominic muttered, squaring his shoulders. After receiving no reply to his knock, he opened the door and stepped into chaos. Broken glassware and ceramics cluttered the work benches. Bits of paper covered in a spidery scrawl littered every available surface. An evil looking green liquid oozed down the side of the bench closest to the door. A powdery substance covered the floor. Maintaining his position, he called, “Dr. Brink, I have your tanks.”

“Captain America, so good of you to come bearing artillery.” Topher spun his chair around in listless circles, his hair standing on end and bloodshot eyes underscored with large dark circles.

“Would you like to see them?”

Topher shook his head. “I can’t go out. It’s too bright.”

“Well, I sure as hell can’t bring them in here,” Dominic countered, crossing his arms in front of him. “Put on some sunglasses or find a hat with a brim.”

“It’s too exposed out there.”

The plaintive tone and Adelle’s obvious concern and affection for the young man couldn’t keep Dominic from grinding his teeth. “The tanks are just outside the east barricade, Topher. You’ll be safe enough there should we come under attack.”

“Are you sure?”

Doing his best to look heroic, Dominic said, “I’ll see to it personally.”

Topher brightened. “If you can’t trust, Captain America, who can you trust?”

Dominic shrugged and stepped aside to allow Topher to exit his laboratory.

“How is Her Majesty?” Topher asked as they strode down a long corridor.


“That’s bad for the complexion.”

“Her complexion has suffered no ill effects.”

“When the deterioration happens, it’ll be quick, almost overnight. She’ll look old. I never want her to grow old.”

Cursing his curiosity, Dominic asked, “Why not?”

“I won’t be able to worship her anymore and we’ll lose this war.” Topher gripped Dominic’s upper arm with more strength than the Major expected. Suddenly panicked, he said, “Everything I do, I do for her. She is my deity. Without her, I have nothing. Unless she would deign to look upon me.” Topher gazed raptly down the hall. Dominic saw only an empty corridor.

“Who are you talking about, Topher?”

He blinked at Dominic. “Her Majesty.”

“No, the woman you want to look at you.”

Topher sighed. “Belinda.”

Gamely soldiering on, Dominic said, “Does Belinda work here?”

“She prepares flawless forged documents.” Topher smiled beatifically. “Her skin is perfect.”

Dominic ripped his arm out of Topher’s grip. “Stay here,” he ordered. Tapping the shoulder of the next person he saw, Dominic asked, “Send some people in to clean up Dr. Brink’s laboratory. Have them be cautious. I don’t know what’s on the floor or the workbenches. Instruct them to keep samples of every substance and don’t let them throw away any of his papers. Just stack them up or something, please.”

“Is Dr. Brink out, Major?”

“Yes and he will be for a while.” The older woman closed her eyes. “Thank goodness. He hasn’t let anyone in there since Miss DeWitt left.”

On a whim, Dominic asked, “Do you know Belinda from the documents section?” When she nodded, he said, “Have her meet Dr. Brink and me outside the east gate as soon as possible.”

“But, sir—.”

“That wasn’t a request,” he clarified before returning to lead Topher to his precious tanks. Blessedly, large chunks of deadly metal captured his attention and Dominic watched the scientist climb over them, behaving exactly like a child with a new toy. Dominic had been adamant about removing all ordinance to make blowing things up impossible, even for Topher. Provided the lunatic didn’t jury rig something. Realizing he’d lost his sightline to the nut in question, he cursed.

“Did you call me out here to admire your fluency?”

He spun to face a petite blonde with bright blue eyes and a challenging smile, who could be no more than twenty-two years old. “Belinda?”

She nodded. “What can I do for you, Major Dominic?”

“Do you know Dr. Brink?” he asked, frowning when Belinda’s eyes widened and she backed up several steps.

“Not well,” she said.

“He’s having a tough time right now and I have to get some very important work out of him.” He smiled in the way Adelle liked and Belinda smiled back, albeit somewhat tentatively. “I wondered if you’d consider helping me … um … motivate him.”

Her smile changed and the hairs on the back of Dominic’s neck rose. “I’m told we’re supposed to cooperate with our American allies.”

“I certainly would appreciate it.”

“I enjoy being appreciated.”

Mindful that Topher remained unsupervised within the tank and had chosen a prettier girl than Dominc would’ve guessed, he said, “Topher, get out here.” Unable to fathom the mumbled reply, he said, “Excuse me, Belinda,” leapt onto the tank and peered inside. “Stop dismantling that, right now,” he demanded, “and come and say hello to Belinda.”

“She’s out there?” Topher squeaked.

“Yes, so move it.”

“I can’t go out there.”

“Why not?” Dominic lowered his entire upper body into the tank to try to ascertain the extent of the damage.

“I worship from afar,” Topher said. “That’s how I like to do it.”

“For Christ’s sake,” Dominic muttered, straightening up and sighing. “I can’t blame you for laughing,” he said after jumping down to where Belinda waited. “I misunderstood, obviously.”

“I’m not sorry you did, Major.” Gesturing at the facility, she asked, “Am I free to return to my work?”

“You are. Thanks, anyway.”

“Don’t thank me until I’ve done something for you.”

He mustered a smile. Flirting usually came easily to Dominic, but this interlude had felt like work. Shaking his head, he resigned himself to joining Topher inside the tank.

* * *

“I hear there was a problem with Mercutio’s check in?” Adelle watched Clive’s reaction, as she referred to the radio operator attached to their Parisian cell.

Clive shrugged, “It wasn’t a problem, per se.”

“He got his check in code backwards.” She didn’t bother to hide the edge in her voice since he’d deliberately withheld this piece of information.

“He did, but it’s easy to see how that could happen. It is a pressurised role.”

“All the more reason not to have an operator liable to panic.”

“You have always had reservations about Mercutio,” Clive began patiently, “but he’s our longest serving radio operator. He’s been invaluable.”

Mercutio had been in Paris for six months, a remarkable achievement, and his presence had enabled them to build up a sophisticated cell – one Adelle had been ordered to expand. He hadn’t made an error before and, while tempting to overlook this one, they had a check in for a reason. “Could we at least agree to look closely at his communications from now on? This uncharacteristic error might be symptomatic of something else.”

Clive sighed and nodded. “I suppose that wouldn’t hurt. We could ask other operatives how he is holding up. He may be due a recall.”

“Thank you.”

* * *

“The turret swivels more smoothly now, just like I told you it would.”

Laurence Dominic nodded, wondering what Adelle DeWitt would think of him indulging Topher’s efforts at improving the tanks. Dusk rolled into evening of day two of his exile with a relatively clean insane genius—rigorous bathing had been a nonnegotiable condition of Dominic sharing a tank with Topher again today. The genius’ manipulations required the light of two high intensity flashlights, so Dominic manned them as instructed. “We need to take the photographs you want to analyze tomorrow,” he ventured. “You know that, right?”

Appearing almost shy, Topher said, “Thanks for letting me play again today, Captain A—oh wait.” He shined his flashlight on Dominic. “You’re a Major! When did you get all high and mighty?” Frowning eloquently, he muttered, “What goes with Major?”

“Just call me Dominic and be done or shorten it to Dom.”


“Absolutely not!”

Topher grinned happily. “He hates it, thereby fulfilling the most important requirement for a nickname.”

Fantasizing about bludgeoning Topher Brink to death with a flashlight would pass the time nicely. “Are we about done here?” Dominic asked.

“Five minutes, maybe ten, Major Dom-Dom, and this tank will perform like never before.”

Dominic wondered if he would be able to hide the body so even Adelle couldn’t find it. He imagined saying, “He was fine when I left. I don’t know what could’ve happened, but I’m willing to return and investigate Dr. Brink’s disappearance, if that’s what you want.” That thought ruined the entire daydream. Dominic didn’t want to come back here to pretend to search for Topher’s remains. He wanted to be with Adelle, yet he’d allowed Topher to waste another day. Unable to unravel his motivations, Dominic prodded Topher with his flashlight.

“Once I tighten this down, we can get something to eat.” Topher glanced at Dominic. “Are you hungry?”

Breakfast had been a piece of toast and some dried apricots—the only edible things on the cafeteria menu, according to Topher, and Dominic hadn’t tried anything else because the scientist declared that the smell of other foodstuffs might cause him to hurl. Lunch couldn’t compete with tanks. “Starving,” he admitted.

“Dinner is better than breakfast,” Topher announced, much to Dominic’s relief. “There’re always lots of starches.”

“Will you eat in the cafeteria?” Dominic asked. Before Topher’s panic fully manifested, he said, “I’ll go through the line and get whatever you want. You can choose the table.”

“I don’t like to be close to other people.”

“I know, but there are a couple of tables off by themselves at one end of the room.” Starved also for people other than Topher, Dominic said, “It won’t be so bad. You might even sneak a peek at Belinda.”

They packed up Topher’s tools and equipment in silence and climbed out of the tank. Using the flashlights to make their way back to the facility, Dominic’s mind wandered to where it usually did these days—Adelle.

“Why are you spending so much time with me, Major Dom-Dom?” Dominic couldn’t mask his flinch. “Only Ivy and Her Majesty do that.”

“Adelle worried about you working with artillery. She … ah … doesn’t want you to get hurt or for any property to get damaged, so she asked me to make sure you proceeded safely.”

“Is that why they aren’t loaded?” Dominic nodded and Topher said, “I could make projectiles that’ll work, so we can test my improvements to the range finder and targeting mechanisms.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Dominic said, forcing a smile. “When I return the tanks, an experienced team will put them through their paces and evaluate everything you’ve done with the proper ordinance.”

“Excellent.” Topher stopped in front of the door to the cafeteria. “Will you copy me on their reports?” he asked.

“If you go in and select a table, yes.”

Looking as if he faced a firing squad, Topher entered the public area. Dominic accompanied him to the most remote table, listening to the scientist’s litany of acceptable foods. Hoping for something reasonably hearty, he joined the cafeteria line. He took more than their fair share of bread. The soup looked good and the woman serving it told him they’d put a ration of bacon in it, so he got two bowls. Topher loved sweets, so Dominic took some fruit and every possible dessert. He shrugged at the glares he received, as he made his way back to Topher.

“A few of us are going to a pub in town later,” Belinda said, appearing at Dominic’s left with four nearly equally attractive friends. They all laughed. “The only pub, truth be told. You’re more than welcome to join us.”

Dominic nodded to Topher. “I’m in for the evening, ladies. Thanks for the offer, though.”

Belinda aimed a perfect pout at him. “We’ll be there quite late and we’re more than happy to wait for you.”

“Speak for yourself,” muttered another.

Speaking to Belinda, he said, “I have someone in London.”

She smiled. “You aren’t in London.”

He realized that line of argument might have swayed him before Adelle let him into her life. “We’re together exclusively.”

Belinda sighed exaggeratedly, emphasizing her chest. “Too bad.”

* * *

Adelle was more irritated than usual, a state of affairs which confused her until she attributed her mood to a certain America Major’s absence. Even then, she characterized her response as strictly professional. They had worked together for months and she’d become accustomed to having his insight and opinions at her disposal. The empty side of her bed mattered not; their affair was too new for her to be pining.

“Aren’t you ready to go home?” Judith asked, emerging with more papers for the messenger service.

“At some point,” Adelle replied, grateful for their rapprochement. “Go, if you have somewhere else to be.”

“Harry’s busy, so I don’t mind staying late.”

An hour later, Adelle hoped she’d accomplished something more. A crisis wouldn’t have gone amiss, but one didn’t appear to be imminent.

Judith had remained at her desk. It was intolerable that the two of them should sit here because the men in their lives were unavailable. “Why don’t we find somewhere to have tea? Maybe go to the cinema?” Judith looked shocked at her suggestion. “You don’t have to, I just thought...”

“I’d love to, Miss DeWitt. Give me a few minutes.” Adelle watched with amusement as Judith packed her work away, checked her make up and put on her coat. “Is Laurence going to be Topher-watching for much longer?” her assistant asked as they left together.

“For as long as it takes Topher to decide whether the tanks are genuine or not.”

“Aren’t you worried he’ll be driven to distraction by Dr Brink’s eccentricities?”

“I have great faith in Major Dominic’s ability to stay calm under pressure,” she said. The two of them exchanged a look and then dissolved into laughter.

* * *

Judith appeared inside Adelle’s office the next morning and announced, “According to Bert, Colonel Harding is on his way.”

Their ancient but observant doorman seldom mistook his identifications. Harding was about the last person Adelle wanted to see, but it wouldn’t be fair to Judith if she disappeared.

“Have some lunch,” she said.

“I’m not leaving you with him,” Judith said, shaking her head.

“Because you’re worried about what I might do to him?” Adelle offered, coaxing a smile from her assistant. “I can take care of myself, Judith.”

When Harding arrived, she rose. He tracked her movements, as she crossed the room to his side. “This is a lovely surprise,” she said, kissing his cheek. He smelt of peppermint, making her wonder if he‘d already been drinking. “What brings you to Baker Street?”

“I’m looking for Dominic,” he said, smiling unctuously, “no one’s seen him for days.”

“That’s my fault; I’m afraid.” Looking over her shoulder, she said, “Judith, Colonel Harding and I would love some tea.” She left the door open and, with her arm linked through his, led him into the office, burbling some nonsense about the weather. When she sat down, she made sure he had an uninterrupted view of her legs, of which he availed himself while they waited for Judith. “You’ve probably heard about the German tanks that have mysteriously appeared in a sector we thought to be low priority?”

“Yes, but I’ve been busy.”

“Of course,” she replied smoothly, knowing it was more likely he’d slept through a meeting or failed to read the reports. “I talked to General Crane about it, when he agreed to lend me a tank. Major Dominic is currently supervising those working to establish whether the tanks are real. It’s taken rather longer than I anticipated.”

“Why not send some agents to see for themselves or have the Resistance check?”

“That could expose our agents, which I am keen to avoid until I know what we face. I have incredibly inventive minds at my disposal and I would be foolish not to use them. However, I couldn’t allow just anyone to supervise – inventive minds can also be challenging.” Leaning towards to him, she lowered her voice, “Major Dominic is very good at those tasks.”

“And he isn’t under your feet.” They shared a conspiratorial smile, which made her feel slightly sick.

“I see you have an admirer,” Harding said, glancing at the vase of flowers on her desk.

“Yes, Jack Erskine – do you know him at all?” She kept her tone neutral, though she wasn’t sure Harding would recognise sarcasm if he tripped over it.

“I’ve met him. He has a reputation when it comes to women.” He patted her knee, “Adelle, my dear, I think you should be careful.”

“It’s kind of you to warn me; I’m glad to know you have my best interests at heart.” She hated to help him win money from Erskine but took comfort in that she had already arranged to be better informed about his activities. She looked forward to amassing enough information to put Harding firmly in his place.

* * *

Laurence Dominic finally had what he’d come for in time to get back to London for a late dinner. The German tanks weren’t real. He suspected Topher hadn’t needed actual tanks to make that assessment, but Dominic admired opportunism and wasn’t inclined to tattle.

“You’re leaving?” Topher asked.

“Well, yeah. I need to get this information to Adelle.”

“But it’s Friday,” Topher said, slumping in a chair that looked too big for him. “Fridays are always the worst. Everyone goes away. I stay here. It’s ok with Ivy to keep me company, but it’s hard all alone.” Topher glanced sidelong at Dominic. “Particularly when I don’t have anything fun to do.”

“I’ve already been here longer than planned. I’m not sure I should risk staying another night.”

“You have someone waiting for you,” Topher said. He tossed his copy of the report he’d given Dominic on the nearest workbench. “I wish I did.” His wistful sigh morphed into a slight frown. “I like the idea of wishing I did, anyway.”

“Talk to Belinda and try to make your wish come true,” Dominic growled.

“Worship from afar, remember,” Topher said.

“Use the telephone, then.”

The scientist waved both hands in front of him in dismissal. “Please, stay,” Topher said, eyes welling up with what looked to be real tears. “I’ll tell you a bedtime story. I tell good stories. Ask Ivy, she’ll confirm, not deny.”

Dr. Brink in his tiny bedroom would surely bring nightmares. Then again, a person had to sleep in order to have nightmares and Dominic hadn’t done much of that, instead tossing, turning and thinking of Adelle. Other than after their first time, he’d slept well in her bed, curled around her, warm and sated. Without her, he counted backward from 10,000. Topher’s plaintive expression decided him. “Prepare your best bedtime story, find some liquor and I’ll see you after I make a call I really dread.”

“If she loves you, she’ll understand I need you more tonight.”

The juxtaposition of Adelle loving him and Topher needing him threatened to send Dominic into a psychological tailspin from which he might never recover. Shaken, he made his way to a telephone. He dialed the number he’d committed to memory the second he’d been given it and held his breath, cursing himself for hoping she wasn’t at home.


“Adelle, it’s Laurence. Topher’s unstable and requesting I stay over.” Her silence was damning rather than deafening. “I’ve already sent the tanks back and I have the information we want. It would partially bridge the gap to Ivy’s return on Monday.” She didn’t take the bait to agree with him. “He’s asked me to thank you for that. Apparently, Ivy’s far superior to me in selecting his food.” Unable to stop, he said, “If you think I don’t want you more than to hear Topher’s bedtime story, you’re crazy. I’ll see you tomorrow, if you want.”

“I want, Laurence.” Her throaty murmur sent a bolt of lust careening through him. “I most decidedly want my American Major where he belongs.”

“So do I,” he said. Risking just about everything, he added, “You wanted me to make sure Topher’s on track and … Christ, Adelle, he actually looked insane this time. I’ve cleaned him and his lab up, but he’s fragile and he has a crush on a pretty girl who he can’t bring himself to look at, much less talk to. It’s been so exhausting; I’m actually ready for a fucking bedtime story. Ah … sorry, I’m just tired.”

“Has he noticed you aren’t a Captain anymore?”

“We don’t talk about that.” Her laughter made him smile.

“Colonel Harding asked for you today,” she said, “in addition to defaming Jack Erskine. You’ll need to check in when you get back to avoid his wrath.”

“Understood.” He held his breath, silently admitting how much he wanted to hear her voice some more. “I’d rather come directly to you, but I think I might appreciate you even more after taking whatever Harding has to dish out.”

“No later than dinner tomorrow, Laurence.”

“Absolutely not. Where and when do you want me to meet you?”

“My flat as soon as you can, but not before 6:00 pm, because I’m likely to be at headquarters until then.”

“I’ll be there. Good night, Adelle.”

“Sweet dreams, Laurence.”

He made his way to his room, considering what Adelle had and hadn’t said. He’d decided he was being needlessly paranoid, when he found Topher curled up on the worn couch and a glass of what smelled like bourbon on the bedside table. “You don’t have to tell me a story,” he said, “I’ll stay.”

Topher sat up. “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful queen who had subjects scattered across England.”

Bemused, Dominic drained the alcohol, stripped down to a T-shirt and boxers and climbed into bed, as Topher described the queen’s staff, including a mage of incredible power who he took to be the scientist’s character. Not surprisingly, the mage had a female acolyte who saw to his needs. Shockingly, the queen had an advisor reminiscent of Sir Francis Walsingham—savvy and Machiavellian. “Is that how you really see me? Dominic asked, but Topher ignored the question. The noble lady in waiting had to be Judith. The tragic heroine he decided was Caroline with Anthony and Priya being the Romeo and Juliet of the piece. He couldn’t decide if the Dark King was Alpha or a personification of the German army, but his eyes grew heavy and clarification seemed superfluous.

“The queen required much of her loyal subjects,” Topher whispered, his voice disembodied by the darkness, “but she gave the same in return. They wanted for nothing in her service.”

Dominic smiled, knowing he wanted for nothing when he was with Adelle, and drifted off to sleep.

* * *

Adelle had succeeded in coaxing the woman who cleaned for her into carrying out the task. Since she claimed to be a Russian princess displaced by the revolution, she viewed her role as a char lady as beneath her.

On her return from Baker Street, Adelle had been satisfied with the appearance of her flat but that had left her with time to think about whether she should change. Shedding her office clothes made sense only if what she chose something equally flattering. Uncharacteristically indecisive, she had finally allowed her plans for the evening to dictate her course of action and hoped Laurence would appreciate her efforts.

When 6:00 pm had come and gone, some of her anticipation had given way to impatience. Adelle realised her good fortune; a few days of separation paled in comparison to the time between reunions endured by women whose lovers were posted overseas.

She was curled into one of her armchairs, making a desultory attempt at reading a book when the tap on her door came. As she rose, she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror over the fireplace; her hair was loose, falling over her shoulders in soft waves and she’d taken off most of her makeup. She thought she looked softer and more feminine than usual.

* * *

“I need a drink,” Laurence Dominic muttered the second Adelle DeWitt opened her door. “Do you still have any of that Scotch I brought over the other day?”

“I do,” she replied, standing aside to allow him to enter.

He gestured with the large paper bag he held. “The garden is doing great out there. I brought you some of their surplus. The strawberries are amazing. We should have some.”

“Strawberries and Scotch?”

His breath caught in his throat. Adelle’s royal blue silk robe showed an impressive amount of thigh. She’d tied the belt, more or less, but he caught a glimpse of the bra she wore beneath it. His mouth watered and not for strawberries or Scotch. “You have just made this day worth living, Adelle.”

* * *

“I'm glad you approve,” she said, setting the strawberries on the coffee table before turning her attention to the strained looking man before her.

Framing his face with her hands, she brushed her lips very gently against his, stopping short of a full kiss and gazing into tired eyes. “Now,” she murmured, “Scotch – or me?”

“That's not much of a contest,” he growled and before she could query which way his inclination lay, he pulled her close and kissed her firmly.

The kiss made her dizzy from lack of oxygen and when it became almost too much, she wrenched her mouth away from his, gasping a lungful of air. However, the naked desperation in his expression slammed her mouth back onto his.

They absolutely weren't going to make it to bed. He'd already toed off his boots and somehow she'd unfastened several of the buttons of his shirt. Laurence tugged at the tie to her robe, hissing with frustration when it refused to yield. Stepping out of his grasp, she carefully loosened the knot and then let the robe slither to the ground.

“I brought these the last time I was in Paris,” she said, referring to the silk and lace of her brassiere and matching knickers. “I've been saving them for a special occasion.”

The desire in his eyes was intoxicating and she stepped back into his arms, not caring that his embrace almost crushed her. “I'll be careful how I take them off,” he said between kisses and if she'd been given the opportunity to speak, she would have suggested tearing them from her body.

They made love on an antique rug in front of her fireplace. It was urgent and frenzied, all raw emotion with Laurence's body dominating hers. He left bruises on her hips and her inner thighs, driving them hard and fast with rather more force than finesse. The surrender to the purely physical brought her an intense climax that triggered his release. His hoarse cry rang from the walls and she cradled him against her breast as he rode out the orgasm.

“So,” she said, when they had both caught their breath, “feeling better now?” She'd retrieved the bag of strawberries and offered him one, pressing it against his lips. When he bit into the firm, sweet flesh, juice ran down her hand and his lips followed its path, grazing her skin and making her shiver.

He lifted his head, eyes boring into hers. “I'm getting there, Adelle.”

Smiling, she ran her hand along his chest. “What else will you require, I wonder?”

* * *

“I require you to feed me strawberries while sitting on my lap naked and with a glass of Scotch within reach for both of us,” Laurence Dominic said, propping himself up on one elbow. “Sound good to you?”

“If you feed me as well.”

“You have a deal, Miss DeWitt, even if you pour yourself something different to drink.” Before she could rise, he caught her hand. “I didn’t know it was possible to miss someone as much as I missed you.” Mildly embarrassed by the sentiment, he kissed her to delay any reply, gently in case her lips ached from the rough way he’d taken them earlier.

“I believe I’ve presented irrefutable evidence that I missed you as well.”

“You don’t greet all of your visitors wearing next to nothing?”

Adelle smiled. “Only the rare, spectacularly special ones bearing fresh fruit.”

“I didn’t know that about you.”

“Now you do.” Shared laughter felt good after the trials and tribulations of the last few days. “Shall we arrange ourselves as you suggested?” Dominic rose and offered Adelle a hand up. She gave him the strawberries and headed for her liquor. When she settled onto his lap, she asked, “Why are you in such dire need of alcohol, Laurence?”

“I thought you’d forgotten my name until near the end there,” he said, daring a smirk. “I must’ve said yours fifty times.”

“A playful mood I did not expect.”

“Me neither.” He laughed. “Feels good, though.”

“It does indeed. I wasn’t complaining, Laurence, merely observing.”

“I like being observed by you. Do it some more.”

She stared into his eyes as she sipped her Scotch. Never breaking eye contact, she reached into the bag, pulled out a strawberry and held it up for his inspection. “Care for another?”

“Always,” he said, bypassing the strawberry to kiss her on the cheek. “Never doubt it.” Adelle looked thoughtful and maybe a little troubled when she fed him the fruit. “Did I say something to upset you?” he asked.

“No,” she murmured, stroking his cheek lightly. He leaned into the caress. “It’s just been a while since I’ve been spoken to like that.”

“Like what?”

“As though I’m precious.”

“You are,” he said, knowing the pronouncement for the truth, feeling the vow he was about to make to his bones. “I’d do anything for you.”

“Eat another strawberry?” she said, offering up a fine looking specimen.

“Gladly.” They fed each other fruit and Adelle left his lap briefly to refill their drinks. The silence didn’t feel like silence at all. Their eyes, hands and mouths spoke eloquently without the need for words.

“Do you wish to speak of Harding or Topher?”

Following his instincts, Dominic said, “Topher wanted to play with real tanks and I think he made some significant design improvements. If the increase in range he estimated is anywhere near accurate, that alone was worth it.”

“I’m surprised you allowed him the lattitude.”

“He wanted a playmate too, Adelle. I think he needed one.”

Her surprise comical, she blurted, “You?”

“I handed him tools, held flashlights, talked to the girl he worships from afar, brought him food and stood over him while he ate it.”

“Tell me of this girl.”

“Her name’s Belinda and she makes fake identifications.”

“What aren’t you telling me?”

“Why do you think there’s something I’m not telling you?” he demanded, amazed at Adelle’s powers of observation.

“You’ve looked me in the eye throughout our conversation, until just now,” she said.

“She’s pretty.” He sighed. “I didn’t realize how far gone I was over you until I met her.”

“You, sir, are dangerously charming.”

“You, madam, are irresistible.” Adelle appeared pleased by the contrast in terms.

A wave of possessiveness washed over him and once the question lodged in his head, it wouldn’t remain unspoken. “Would you marry me after the war, if I asked?”

“I don’t know that I’ll marry anyone.”

“That’s no, right?”

“I’m not sure.” He grinned like an idiot. Adelle slid off of his lap and asked, “What of Harding?” Dominic closed his eyes and leaned back into her couch cushions.“Laurence, do you need to sleep?”

“No,” he said, keeping his eyes closed just for the hell of it. “I didn’t enjoy getting chewed out in front of the entire battalion and Generals Crane and Patton.” He gave up on unclenching his fists. “The entire day was a punishment. Apparently, Patton asked Harding questions he couldn’t answer while I was away. When Patton asked me, post public lambasting and in front of a much smaller group, I answered them. Harding went apoplectic. First Churchill and now this, he said.” Dominic downed the remainder of his Scotch and Adelle snatched the glass to pour him a refill.

“Perhaps we should eat something other than strawberries,” she suggested when she returned.

“Not yet,” he said. “Sit with me for another few minutes, ok?” She did and he draped his arm across her shoulders. “Patton told Crane that he should rely more on me. That added fuel to the fire. Thank Christ Harding doesn’t know about us. The bastard would probably shoot me in the back.”

The fierce expression appearing on her face startled him. “I will soon have Colonel Harding on a short leash.”

“I don’t want to know about it.”

“Clearly, but I may be able to improve your situation.”

“Don’t bother, Adelle. Hating him takes up time I’d otherwise waste thinking about how arrogant and ridiculous he is.” He attempted to soften his harsh tone with a kiss and caress of her breasts. Hoping he didn’t look as spent as he felt, Dominic asked, “What’s for dinner?”

* * *

Adelle considered pointing out that he had impressed another, even more influential, General and that doing so had consequences far beyond provoking Harding’s ire. She couldn’t decide whether to be proud or worried, since rising stars did not sit on the sidelines during major conflagrations.

If he didn’t want to consider the consequences of what could become a meteoric rise tonight, she would indulge him. “Fish stew,” she said, kissing him gently. He looked surprised and she tapped his nose. “I did actually learn something when I lived in France. Fish aren’t rationed, though some of the other ingredients have been adjusted.” While she pulled her robe on he leaned back and closed his eyes again. “Why not rest while I heat the stew?”

“I’m fine and ready to eat a decent meal without having to supervise Topher or listen to Harding.”

Mostly dressed, he padded into her kitchen and came to stand behind her with his arms around her waist, while she stirred the stew. “Smells good,” he commented.

“Do try to contain your amazement.”

“I’m wondering what other skills you might be hiding.”

“I like to keep you guessing,” she replied, leaning her head back as he kissed her neck, nearly dropping the spoon when he slipped his hand under her robe to stroke her breast. She really wasn’t much of a cook, but she wanted him to appreciate this meal.

“Can I do anything?” he asked.

“I think we’ve established you can do many things,” she smirked, glad to make him laugh. “What is Topher’s verdict as to the authenticity of the German tanks?”

“They’re fake.”

She stirred the stew and considered what that meant. “ Caroline is currently in the town where Dr. Dubois practiced. The good doctor has disappeared and she hasn’t found any sign of Anthony and Priya; they haven’t checked in either.”

He rubbed his hand down her back. “Are you ok?”

She shrugged, not wanting to admit that the last few days had been difficult on many levels. “I’m encouraged, actually. Alpha isn’t subtle when it comes to disposal of bodies. He wants his handiwork to be admired and feared.”

Adelle tapped her head against Dominic’s shoulder. “Will you pour some scotch, in case you need something to take away the taste of the stew?”

She found the stew edible and Laurence praised the flavour, finishing her helping as well as his. “If the tanks are a decoy, what are we supposed to miss?” He mused, leaning back and pushing the bowl away.

“It might be an attempt to smoke out some of our agents, but it feels too elaborate. I’ve told Caroline to stay where she is for the moment and see if she can find a photograph of Rene Dubois. Her team is managing without her; Madeline’s doing very well.”

Dominic didn’t share his thoughts. Adelle didn’t mind. He’d tell her when he was ready and she harboured the hope that he’d derive an answer from some piece of seemingly insignificant information.

She could happily talk with him for hours, but she hadn’t changed her mind about what she thought he needed. Perhaps, they both needed it. “Why don't we go to bed?” she said.

“Um … Adelle, I … ah …”

“Laurence, what is it?” She took his hand.

He refused to blush. “You said that if Topher wasn’t scarred beyond recognition by my visit, you would grant certain sexual favors that I’m not sure I can … ah … fully appreciate right now.”

“I meant to sleep,” she said, bringing his palm to her lips.

Looking down at his empty bowl, he muttered, “That’s not been what you’ve meant when you’ve said that up until now.”

“You haven’t been utterly exhausted either.” She smiled and his heart lurched. “I am a bit curious, though, Laurence. Is Patton as brilliant and charismatic as they say?”

“He would take to you like a duck to water.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“Isn’t it?” he asked, smiling at her obvious exasperation while following her to the bedroom. “Patton’s not a man; he’s a phenomenon. I’d guess Rommel’s much the same.”

“Erwin is … a complicated man and a deep one.”

“I guess they aren’t similar after all, because Patton is image, respect for the links in the chain of command that lead to him and a flair for the dramatic, but I’d follow him anywhere, because he has the gift of leading men into battle. That’s something that can’t be taught, in my opinion.” He felt the disappointment bitterly. “Unfortunately, I won’t get that opportunity.” Adelle kissed him on the corner of his mouth and unbuttoned his shirt. “Patton and the Seventh will go one way, Crane and the Fifth the other. Crane isn’t calling the shots for our offensive either, so I don’t understand why Harding got so pissed off. I wish he’d go back to bragging about his new mistress. I can tune that right out.” He didn’t resist when Adelle divested him of his shirt and started working on his trousers. “She sounds … boring.”

Adelle maneuvered Dominic into bed. “Boring is an odd word to attribute to someone’s mistress,”

He wondered at the agitation in her tone. “She does everything he wants, when and how he wants it. Given how the man drinks, only a liar or the pathologically non-discerning could praise his stamina in bed. I could go on, but I’d rather not.” Dominic shivered. “He’s insufferable enough without her feeding his ego full to bursting.”

“What choice does she have, Laurence?” Smiling slightly, Adelle tapped him on the chest. “Roll over.”

“What? Why?”

“I’ll massage your back and you’ll rest.” When he’d changed position, Adelle leaned in to speak directly into his ear. “I will make good on my promise of sexual favors. I’m rather looking forward to it.”

When he admitted, “I’ve never had a massage,” he realized he should be sleeping, rather than conversing but couldn’t leave bad enough alone. “I mean, I’ve … well, women have sort of rubbed my back, but I’m not sure if that’s the same thing. Christ, you must think I’m a rube.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what a rube is,” Adelle whispered, as she applied her hands to his shoulders and back.

“A hick, a … a … someone from the countryside who’s never been to London and doesn’t know how to act around a woman who’s lived in Paris.”

“I have no complaints.” She kissed his left shoulder blade, even as she deepened the massage. “I’d have communicated them to you, if I had.”

“If you say—. Oh, God, that … that’s … Jesus, yes.” He couldn’t hold back a groan. Tension released all the way from behind his right eye to the base of his spine. His legs felt like jelly and his eyes drifted closed. He forced them open, but she applied pressure again and his mind grew detached from his body. She worked the same spot and his eyes dropped like the gate to a portcullis and consciousness slipped away.

* * *

Laurence was a possessive sleeping companion and oddly, Adelle didn’t mind the way he wrapped himself around her. This surprised her, given that a previous lover had accused her of maintaining physical and emotional distance.

It was almost dawn and she had things to do, yet a Sunday allowed her to hope for a few lazy hours, when promises made might actually be kept.

Untangling herself from Laurence’s embrace, she watched him sleep, amused that he frowned the moment she’d moved. Determining her strategy, she brushed a soft kiss to his cheek, which smoothed the frown away. Carefully, she moved above him, trailing butterfly kisses over his chest as she worked her way down his body, curious how long before her ministrations took effect.

“Hmmm, that’s a nice way to wake up,” he said, opening his eyes and drawing her to him for a long, luxurious kiss. “Good morning, Miss DeWitt.” he said when they parted, rolling her under him and rocking his hips against hers.

“Good morning.” She kissed him again and ran her hand down his spine. “We have time, so I would like to fulfil certain promises I made before you went away. Your role is to let me know when you feel close to release.”


“So I can stop and allow you to regain control before resuming.”

“And this makes things, er, better?”

“You’re adorable when you can’t decide whether to be embarrassed or curious.” She blocked his instinctive retort with a kiss. He made a frustrated sound before relaxing into the kiss. Taking advantage, she pressed against his shoulder, manoeuvring him onto his back so she could stretch out on top of him. “It makes the pleasure more intense,” she said, trailing her hands over his chest as she wriggled into a more comfortable position. “It’s a test of your control. We build the pressure together and when we reach your limits, the choice is yours, hard or gentle, fast or slow. I’ll let you take over.” Stroking her fingers across the sensitive spot on his hip, she added, “Trust me.”

“You do like tests.” He stretched his arms out. “Well, let’s see what you can dish out.” She smiled, wondering if he had any idea what she could do to him.

He cried out for her to stop, when she had her hand wrapped around his erection and her lips tormenting his left nipple. She backed off, smoothing her fingertips over his brow and letting him catch his breath as she murmured her approval into his ear. “You’re ready for more, aren’t you?” she asked, varying her touch to draw patterns on his side and chest until he relaxed a little. When his eyes met hers, she moistened her lips and bent over him once again.

* * *

“Wait, Adelle, Christ, wait.” Laurence Dominic had lost count of how many times he’d told Adelle to stop. His skin felt too tight; his muscles vibrated with strain. He’d never known sex could be this completely and utterly physical and yet test the very fabric of their relationship. He wanted to please Adelle by doing what she’d asked and to test his limits. He needed to know how far she could drive him, how far he could be driven, but if he didn’t come very soon, his heart would explode and make a big mess.

“Relax, Laurence, you’re fine,” she murmured into his ear, patting him on the shoulder. “You’re doing very well.”

“Wha ... what does that mean?” he panted.

“I admire your staying power and stubbornness,” she said, running her fingers through his hair.

“Adelle, I ... I’m not sure ... Christ, I don’t think ... God, what are you doing to me?”

“Quite possibly preparing you for the most intense climax of your life.”

“I feel ... I’m not sure what I feel, but I feel so damn much ... I don’t know if I like it.”

“You will.”

Her gentle kiss of his cheek lifted his hips from the bed. Her serene smile dynamited him into motion. Dominic took Adelle’s lips ruthlessly. “I can’t fucking wait any longer,” he moaned. “I want you now.”

Adelle kissed him hungrily. “Take me.”

An idea lodged in his head and he thought it a good one. “I think I can manage another few minutes,” he said before arranging her in a seated position leaning against the headboard, all the while hoping his lover at West Point had imparted sufficient knowledge to make this work. He didn’t really enjoy being on the giving end of oral sex, but he’d liked how Janine had responded. Adelle outdid her and he enjoyed the evolution of a somewhat surprised squeak into low, urgent moans and beautiful French. Wondering what the stream of Russian at the end meant, he held Adelle as the orgasm shuddered through her. “I love you,” he murmured, “and I want you so much I can’t stand it.”

“I vaguely recall telling you to take me,” she whispered, “and I’m impressed you’ve regained control yet again. I’ll have to work harder to shatter it in the future.”

He entered her, slowly and powerfully. Adelle whimpered. He groaned. Ignoring threats of failure from overtaxed muscles, Dominic set a slow pace. Meeting him thrust for thrust, she clung to his shoulders and returned his kisses with equal fervor. The flush of color and sheen of sweat on Adelle’s skin pleased him. Her mouth tempted him, her hands and legs urged him on and her whispered words couldn’t be denied. At the end, they coupled frenetically and came together explosively. The orgasm seemed to last a long time but the transition between, “Fuck, that was fantastic,” to, “I need to sleep,” had never been so quick. Fighting it, he whispered, “You are the best.”

“I’m not the one who’s attracted Patton and Churchill’s attention.”

“You know Churchill and Rommel. You don’t need to attract anyone’s attention.”

“I have attracted yours.”

“You have, Adelle. For now and for always.” He chuckled tiredly. “Whether you want it or not.”

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Oh god, I don't even know what to think with this fic anymore! I feel like it's almost all too good right now that something is going to go wrong. I guess all I can do is enjoy the ride.

Good times do often precede bad ones. This is true in life and even more true in fiction.

Hold on and enjoy the ride!

I loved it!!

Adelle and Domininc missing each other (and feeding each other strawberries), him wanting to marry her (Adorable!), Adelle and Judith making up (and Judith crying!) and Topher telling Dom stories. Everything was wonderful.

I love everything about this.

I'm so glad. We worked hard to build in themes and details and it's great to know that both levels are operational.

Their affair is new but the build up was long enough that I think it's reasonable that they miss each other. And Dom has a romantic streak--who knew? I can't recall the quote exactly, but when drugged he said something to the effect that he's not all rough edges and barking orders (before he began to pet his suit jacket).

He's a small town boy with old fashioned ideas in 1943. He wants to marry her.

Adelle and Judith making up at Dom's behest, no less. Judith maybe saving him some chocolate.:)

I don't know where the idea of Topher telling Dom a bedtime story came from--somewhere deep in the bowels of my warped psyche, I guess.

Apologizing in advance if I don't get things posted next week. It's spring break.

(Deleted comment)
Savoring is good, particularly because it's spring break for my kids next week so who knows re posting. I'll try, though.

The beginning of a love affair is all pwp!

Glad you are enjoying!

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