"What other symptoms they had in 8063?" scouted Hunnicutt.
"I don't really want to know it," halted him Hawkeye, but looked at Colonel Potter questioningly.
"They observed tremors, stupor, disorientation and..."
"...and coma?" guessed Pierce and slowly sat up, removing the wet handkerchief and putting it to the back of his neck. "Just great. Can I get something to drink?"
B.J. handed him a cup of water.
"What, no Gin? No Martini?"
"You need fluids and Martini is too "dry" for you. No alcohol."
"It's getting better and better. Do they know, how contagious that stuff is?"
"They have some ideas, nothing sure, though. The transmission through air isn't very likely. They have problems with mosquitos."
"Oh, damn!" cursed Hawkeye. "I was scratching the whole way back."
"Little vampires spreading little viruses?" joked B.J. not at all humorly. Hawkeye rubbed at his temples, and returned B.J. a hot handkerchief.
"So if it's not contagious, Hawkeye can be in post-op, right?" asked B.J.
"We are full, Hunnicutt. And while we don't know for sure, how "contagious" this thing can be, I would rather not have Hawkeye in contact with other patients. Their immune system could be compromised. And we are awaiting another group of injured."
"So, I can stay right here, in my bed."
"Rather not. The VIP tent is empty. Just for a day or two, then the stream of injured will slow down." Hawkeye sighed.
"Hunnicutt, bring here a wheelchair."
"Oh, no, I can walk. Really!" protested Hawkeye and stood up. B.J. was right next to him, in case he got dizzy. Hawkeye took one hesitant step, then another. The throbbing in his head was matching the beat of his heart, resonating inside his skull. Outside the tent it was worse. Hawkeye felt as if the sun was burning his brain and he wavered. B.J. was next to him, ready to catch him. Colonel Potter also watched his steps, which unnerved Hawkeye.
At least, he won't have to walk through the full post-op, looking like a zombie. The VIP tent provided a little shadow. Hawkeye lie down in his new bed and tired, shut out the world. He was only half aware of Major Margaret Houlihan coming in. As the cold cloth was placed on his head and chest, he felt a relieving shiver ran through him.
"That's great," whispered Hawkeye and opened one eye, to look at the nurse. Margaret was waving a big needle, smiling.
"Well, I hope, you wouldn't mind. Turn on your side, please..."
"If I didn't know you, I would say that you're enjoying this too much, Margaret," uttered Hawkeye.
"Ouch!" he yelped as Margaret inserted the needle. "Hey, I'm not some Voodoo toll!" protested the patient, as Hot Lips smiled with satisfaction.
"But you get better used to it, Doctor Pierce. Now, be a good boy, and sleep."
"Only if you will sleep with me," argued Pierce with a smirk. Major Houlihan snorted and walked out, muttering something about incorrigibility.
Finally alone, Hawkeye let out a sigh and pulled one of the compression down to his eyes. He forget to ask Margaret for some aspirin, and his head was nearly killing him. Soon, the amplion informed the camp about the delightful dinner, consisting of powdered eggs, mashed potatoes and something reminiscing meat.
"Hey, Beej, come to see a convict?"
"And I thought, you will be occupied with some nurse."
"Nope. No one came, I'm all alone with my head, which is actually trying to turn inside out."
B.J. sympathetically nodded and sit next to Hawkeye.
"I brought you some food."
"From the mess hall?"
"I'm not really hungry."
"You should eat," Hawkeye just rolled his eyes, the wet cloth slipping down his face.
"Right, this isn't very healthy food. How are you doing?"
"The same as an hour ago. You have time?"
"Yes. Winchester is at post-op, I will be tonight."
"How is the boy doing?"
"The last one, I worked on. Attempted suicide." B.J. frowned.
"It wasn't so attempted..."
"Half hour. He got into shock."
"Did I miss something?"
"He didn't had a chance, Hawkeye. Don't bother yourself for it."
The doors opened and nurse Baker stepped in.
"Major Houlihan told me to give you a sponge bath, Dr. Pierce," said Baker with a smile. Hunnicutt stood up, smirking at his friend.
"I will leave you to your "treatment", Hawkeye. Enjoy, " he whispered and was gone.
"I'm all yours," said Hawkeye as nurse Baker came to the foot of his bed.
The air cooled down a little, allowing the people of MASH 4077 some rest. B.J. Hunnicutt was sitting in the post-op, talking to the boy with the three bullets in his gut, who was still unconscious. Margaret Houlihan walked in and B.J. looked at her questioningly.
"He will pull through." she motioned to the boy.
"Prescott? I don't know. He should've been awake, by now." B.J. stepped to Major Houlihan.
"His temp is up - almost 104. Father Mulcahy is with him now. I don't think it's a good idea, put him to VIP's tent. He can get critical, and I can't spare a nurse just for him."
"Is he coherent? No signs of disorientation?"
"He was pretty restless but Father Mulcahy talked him to sleep." B.J. grinned at that.
"Did he ate something?"
"Little. At least he's drinking properly, even if he's complaining that the Martini isn't too dry." The boy on the bed moaned and B.J. was next to him in a moment.
"Tim?" Prescott moaned again, but then became still. B.J. grabbed his wrist and was rewarded by a strong heartbeat. Sighing out in relief, he lifted up one eyelid.
"Still unconscious, but I think he's slowly waking up."
"Pity, that his friend didn't make it."
"It's still weird. First, he shot him, then stepped on the land mine? Why not shoot himself? I think it's easier and quite effective."
"Maybe it wasn't suicide attempt after all," thought Margaret absently, while taking vitals of another patient. "It could be an accident."
"That would do it a pretty off-day."
No one saw the leer on the face of the young man with a shot wound in his leg. His eyes were shining with malice. He will wait for the right moment.
Father Mulcahy left VIP's tent, when the sky darkened and stars were shining through silver clouds, which were promising storm. Hawkeye was left in the company of nurse named Loren, who was moved from MASH 8063th. She was writing his temp on the chart, and was going to give him a sponge bath, to bring down the fever raging in his body. But Hawkeye didn't enjoy it, he didn't even try to seduce her. Hawkeye Pierce was pretty much out cold.
Heat changed into cold, streaming through his veins to heart and stomach. Seeing only white plane, Hawkeye was distraught by the sudden change of the surrounding. For one second, he really thought that dead claimed him.
"Hey, wait! Who are you?" shouted Hawkeye at the vague figure walking away from him. The man - Hawkeye now saw the army clothes and haircut - slowly turned.
"Who are you?"
"James. But everybody call me Jim." The figure disappeared and Hawkeye wanted to yell from confusion and - to be honest - also from fear, when someone touched his shoulder. Hawkeye spun around to look straight into the familiar face.
"Y-you?" Hawkeye stammered, eyes wide with fear. Not being the one religiously founded, the spirit world wasn't close to him. But seeing the man, who just few hours ago died, can shake someone's faith.
"It wasn't my fault."
"Tim. I didn't kill him..."
"He isn't dead,"
Jim tilted his head then shrugged.
"But he will be, if you don't stop him."
"I don't understand this. You are dead?"
"Am I dead?"
"So, why then, am I seeing you?"
The ghostly figure let out a sigh.
"You must stop him!"
"No," protested Hawkeye. "This isn't making sense. You should've been talking with father Mulcahy..."
"You tried to save my life."
"And I failed! Isn't that telling you something?"
"He will kill him."
"Who? Who want to kill whom?" asked Pierce in frustration.
"I don't know, who it was. But he's still wanting to kill Tim. And you must stop him!" The place started to cloud over. Jim was lost in the mist and Hawkeye was back, trashing in his bed and mumbling: "No, come back... who is it? No!"
"Hawk! Come on, wake up," urged him B.J., while Hawkeye twisted and shook his head in denial.
"Must stop him," whispered Pierce and with a final "No!" bolted up in bed, almost knocking B.J. down. Breathing too fast, his head was spinning.
"Calm down," guided him B.J.. "One deep breath, now, let it slowly out."
Hawkeye obeyed and was looking around the little room, as if searching for someone.
"Where?" he asked, confused.
"VIP tent. Hawk... you all right?"
Stupid question, ragged himself B.J., seeing the look on his bunkie's face.
"Who?" B.J. put a hand on Hawkeye's shoulder to stop him from standing, then touched his face. "You're delirious."
"No, he was..." Hawkeye stopped. How can he explain Hunnicutt, what had just happened a while ago? Why, he himself couldn't accept it. He let B.J. push him down with a scowl, but was really grateful for the cup of water.
"Here, drink. Who's Jim?"
Playing with the water longer then was necessary, Hawkeye considered the answer.
"My last patient."
"But... he's dead. You know it."
Hawkeye nodded, immediately regretting the movement.
"Shit... my head's killing me." he got out through clenched teeth and B.J. get into the doctor mood, counting his pulse and heartbeat with a great interest. Hawkeye let him do the examination, trying to find out, what happened on that place and what he can do about it.
"Your temp is down a degree," told him B.J. with a sigh. "At least something."
"You have news from 8063th?"
B.J. uncomfortably looked away, trying to miss the question by giving Hawkeye a dose of antibiotics.
"Beej," hissed Hawkeye as the needle found it's target. "You're as lousy with injections, as Margaret," he protested grumbly.
"Bad news?" he asked again and seeing B.J.'s curt nod, gulped down a portion of fear.
"One of them fell into a coma." watching every expression crossing Hawkeye's face, B.J. quickly added: "But the other two, who were after the stage of fever, are all right. The last one is doing like you."
"Yeah, he's seeing ghosts?"
"So, that's Jim. Hawkeye... you had fever 104.5 at the time. It was all just a dream."
"Can... can you please check on Tim?"
The surprise on B.J.'s face was real and Hawkeye felt a little satisfaction from it.
"He didn't told me his full name. I think it should be the guy with three bullets, you remember him, right?"
"How do you know his name?"
"Jim told me. And some other things, too. Want to hear them?"
B.J. nodded, curious. If it was just a piece of imagination, he'll better know, what's Hawkeye thinking. And if not...