"I'm sorry," Kermit breathes.

"That you were never a father to me or that I found out?" Jim's voice shakes as he paces back and forth the small confines of the trench.

"Would you keep your head down, Colonel?" Kermit tries to remind Him of the situation at hand.

"Sir, yes, sir," Hellstrom aims the saw and shoots off a few rounds before throwing himself on the pounded dirt floor.

"I am sorry," Kermit crouches down besid his son, "that I wasn't a father to you. But with my line of work," he gestures at the guns, the spent shells that litter the ground, "it would be better...safer for you without me."

"Safer for you,"Jim spits.

"Hmph. Well, yes, safer for me too, Jim. I can't... I couldn't afford to have atatchments that could be used against me. What do you want me to say? You know what war is like. My life was a war... Apparently still is."

"All's fair in love and war," Jim quips.

"Yes, well, I did love your mother. Kermit stares at his son's face, seeing another.

----paris, a lifetime ago----

He had been longuing in Paris in between jobs. He's found a small cafe that served the best hamburger this side of DesMoines.

She had been the waitress.

"You American?" She approached Kermit's table.

"That obvious?" he grinned, running a hand over his cropped hair.

"I like to think I can spot a fellow country-man. I'm from Seattle."

"When are you off work?" Kermit tried to sound casual.

"My shift actually ends right now," she looked at her Timex.

After a successful mission, Kermit was feeling bold. "Care to join me for lunch?"

"Sure, I'll put in our orders so we get it quicker. What do you want?"


She laughed. It was the laugh of a nymph. "Come to Paris for a hamburger?"

"Well, what are you having?"

She blushed. "Hamburger."

"Yeah, that's what I thought," Kermit muttered under his breath as she left to put in their order. She returned wordlessly and say down accross from him. "I'm Kermit," he extended his hand, then brought hers to his lips. "Enchante."

She blushed again. "Kermit... That's Gaelic for 'free man'."

He smiled. "you're the first person who didn't say 'like the frog?'"

They laughed. "What's your name?"

"Oh, sorry! I'm Liberty."

Kermit shook his head. "We make quite the pair then."

"Yes, we're free!" Liberty said.

Kermit forced a smile. If only he were free to love this woman for the rest of his life... He knew he only just met her, but... he WAS enchanted.

To Be Continued....