As they were wheeling him towards the OR, Margaret took a steadying breath. Though they were usually at odds, she had a soft spot for the captain. It was unsettling to see him this way; pale, injured, too quiet and too still. She couldn't believe it, but she was wishing that he was awake and perfectly fine, telling her a dirty joke in the OR.
"Just hold on. You're going to be just fine."
Hawkeye felt like he was floating. He was in pain at some point, he remembers that, but now he blissfully felt...nothing.
He wanted to stay here.
It was peaceful.
There were no wars, dying soldiers, or bloody surgeries here. All his dark memories and fears seemed like a lifetime away. He had nothing to worry about. Everything was bright, happy, and untroubled.
He was warm and safe.
He could just drift here forever…
But something nagged at him. There was something he should be doing...
A task unfinished. But what was it?
He had to find someone…yes, he had to find them and save them.
Where were they?
He had to leave, he had to get up and find them. Get up. Wake up.
Hawkeye clawed towards the surface, sunlight gleaming far above. Too far above. The darkness kept pulling him back under, it's soothing embrace lulling him with the temptations of blissful oblivion. But he had to wake up.
Kicking, pushing, grabbing, struggling...
He had to get there.
He had to keep going.
Gasping and straining towards the surface.
He had someone to save.
Why couldn't he wake up?
Wake up, wake up, wake up!
With one last push he surged for the light. After what felt like a monumental effort, he managed to crack his eyelids. The brightness burned and shot lightning bolts of pain through his head. Hawkeye slammed his eyes back shut, confusion engulfing his senses.
His heart was racing and his breathing sounded ragged and strained.
Where am I?
How did I get here?
He could hear someone walking closer. "Captain Pierce, sir, you're alright! Just breathe. You're in post-op. Breathe."
Hawkeye tried opening his eyes again and was glad the stabbing pain had lessened somewhat. He blinked sluggishly and looked around. Post-op? Why... Suddenly, memories washed over him like a cold bucket of water. Surgery. Explosions. Injuries. Trapper. Trapper! Grunting in pain, Hawkeye tried to force himself up. He had to find Trapper. Find Trapper.
Lieutenant Holmes could see her patient's distress and shook her head as he made to get up. Placing a gentle hand on his shoulder, she halted his progress and said admonishingly, "Now where do you think you're going?"
"I've got—I've got to—to get up! If you—you'd kindly…move please?" Hawkeye managed, leveling what he hoped was a stubborn stare up at the nurse.
In turn, she gave him a reproachful look.
"You really think you're going to just jump up? After being unconscious and on pain medication for 72 hours?"
72 hours…three whole days?
"You don't—you don't understand. I need—I need to…find…someone."
Hawkeye tried to keep his voice and gaze steady. He could feel the pain medication wearing off, and with it, his injuries were slowly but surely making themselves known. But the mantra in his head was reminding him he had a job to do. He couldn't sit here all day, wallowing in pain and self-pity. He had to find someone. He had to find Trapper.
Find Trapper. Find Trapper. Find Trapper.
Hawkeye tried his best to sit up again, gasping at the pain that shot through his chest.
"Pierce, just settle down. Settle down!"
Henry had walked in to post-op to check on Hawkeye when he noticed him struggling with the nurse. With a roll of his eyes, he strode up to the bed and placed a calming hand on the dark-haired surgeon's shoulder. A pair of worried blue eyes met his own.
"Pierce. Relax. You're going to be just fine."
With a slight shake of his head, Hawkeye tried again to get out of bed.
Understanding dawned as Henry's expression morphed from annoyance to sympathy. He sat in the chair by Hawkeye's bed and gently pushed him back down to the pillow.
"Trapper is fine, Pierce. His leg will heal, and his other injuries weren't life threatening. You got him to us in time. Relax. He's okay."
Fine. Heal. In time. The words jumbled around Hawkeye's brain as he struggled to comprehend.
Henry moved his hand to Hawkeye's arm and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
"He's recovering faster than you have, Pierce. It shouldn't be Trapper you're worried about."
Hawkeye knit his brow in confusion. Sighing, Henry fixed him with a troubled stare.
"You broke three ribs on your right side, had deep cuts on your face and chest, I pulled a piece of wood the size of my foot from your left calf, you had a nasty cut on the back of your head, and a pretty bad concussion. You've been in and out of consciousness since you passed out at the sinks. I mean, come on Pierce, you scared me half to death when you went down!"
Hawkeye blinked slowly. It wasn't all that bad, considering how close he'd been to the explosion. He was more relieved to hear that Trapper was going to be okay. Hawkeye opened his mouth, the question forming on his lips. Henry shook his head determinedly.
"Nope. Nuh-uh Pierce, no visitors. You've just gotten up! You need to rest, I mean it. Lieutenant Holmes is going to give you some more pain meds. And maybe, just maybe, if you're feeling better, and you stop trying to fight the nurses to get out of bed, we'll reassess the visitors thing tomorrow. Okie-dokie?"
Before Hawkeye could protest, the nurse had put the shot of morphine into his I.V. He felt the warmth of the relief flow through his body, alleviating all the discomforts he'd begun to notice. His head started to feel too heavy for him to hold up and his mind got fuzzier and fuzzier.
"Henry! Henry! Is it true? Is he up?!"
Hawkeye's heart leapt even as his eyes began to close from the medication. He'd know that Boston accent anywhere. His best friend in the whole wide world. Trapper. And he was fine.
Trapper came hobbling in on crutches, painstakingly making his way across post-op and towards Hawkeye's bed. There was a steely determination in his eye. Henry got to his feet to protest, but the young surgeon just scooted right on by him and plopped down in his vacated chair. The CO could only roll his eyes. He knew there'd be no getting Trapper to leave Hawkeye's side now. The two were more stubborn than his wife. Throwing up his hands in defeat, he left, telling Trapper to let the other man sleep.
The last thing Hawkeye remembered as his eyes shut was Trapper's hand finding his and squeezing.
"I owe ya one, Hawk. Thanks for having my back."
With a smile on his face, and relaxed for the first time in a long time, Hawkeye Pierce slept.