John woke with a start. He lay in his tent trying to decide what had disturbed him, there was not a sound, not even a rustle from the trees surrounding the campsite. An owl hooted somewhere in the direction of Dixons' Farm, breaking the silence. Thinking that must have been what woke him he closed his eyes again, smiled to himself at the memory of the noonday owl from years ago and prepared to go back to sleep. He jolted back to full consciousness again as he sensed a presence in the tent and raised himself up on one elbow. By the faint light of the moon he could see the outline of someone in the tent's doorway.
"Roger?" he whispered, not wanting to wake the others in their tents nearby and thinking the figure was his brother up to one of his tricks.
"No," replied a familiar female voice, with a hint of a chuckle.
"Nancy! What are you doing here?" John's voice rose.
"Shh!" Nancy slid in beside her fellow captain and touched a finger to his lips.
John imagined his lips tingled at the touch, but lay still and waited, sure that Nancy had some new adventure planned.
"Put your shoes on and come outside. It's lovely night."
Fumbling in the near darkness John found his sandshoes, put them on, and followed Nancy out of the tent. She beckoned him to follow. Silently she led the way from the sleeping camp out to the lookout point, and on round to a grassy patch beyond the lighthouse tree. The moon in its first quarter hung above the western hills, its light reflected as a thousand silver sparkles from the lake. A few scattered lights were visible on the far shore, but mostly the whole lakeside was in darkness.
A fish rose to the surface and dropped back with the faintest of splashes, emphasising the stillness.
"Look. Isn't it a beautiful night?" whispered Nancy.
John just nodded in agreement. He could not understand why Nancy had woken him just to see this.
Nancy turned to him and put her arms around his neck, pulling his face down to hers. Automatically his arms encircled her waist and he let their lips meet. How rarely they were able to embrace like this. It was so difficult to find somewhere away from the others. There were times when being part of a large family had its disadvantages.
Urgently Nancy's tongue probed at his lips, forcing them open and exploring his mouth. He responded in kind while holding Nancy tightly. John could feel the warmth of her body and felt his manhood harden and press against her. Embarrassed, he tried to pull away but Nancy held him tight. "John Walker don't you dare leave now," she said and squeezed him meaningfully.
Nancy undid the buttons on John's pyjama jacket, and ran a hand over his chest, feeling the firmness of his muscles. Caught up in the heat of the moment he shrugged off the top completely and in return explored the curves of Nancy's body while nuzzling at her neck. Her breathing quickened and she stripped off her own top and tossed it down to join John's on the ground.
They embraced again, relishing the feel of skin against skin. Their hands and lips explored each other's bodies, eliciting gasps and moans of pleasure. As Nancy's hand worked down John's torso he gently took it and moved it away.
"Steady," he whispered, "Not so fast."
Reluctantly Nancy moved her hand back up to the smooth skin of his stomach, while nibbling at the edge of his earlobe. Their passion, which had developed unnoticed over the previous five summers had now risen to the surface and surprised them both with its all-consuming fervour.
They broke apart to shed their remaining garments and each stood, taking in the sight of the other's nakedness, before sinking to the ground. Laughing quietly, Nancy lay back, the long grass cool against the heat of her skin. John knelt before her for a long moment, taking in every detail of her body as revealed in the moonlight, then covered it with his own.
"Are you sure this is what you want?" whispered John, his mouth close to Nancy's ear.
"Yes! Of course I am!"
For a few blissful minutes they joined together as one, the boy became a man and the girl became a woman.
Afterwards they lay together with limbs entwined as they regained their breath and composure. No words were necessary as they kissed again before dressing and walking hand in hand back to the sleeping camp as the westering moon dipped below the flank of Kanchenjunga.
Back in the camp the two captains embraced again before returning to their respective tents. Everything was still the same but everything had completely changed between them.