Chapter Two

Now he understood why BJ was so caught up in bike riding. It wasn't the fact that it was easy to learn it was more the freedom you felt, the wind in your hair that was exhilarating. With a grin on his face, Hawkeye turned the bike back the way he'd come, only to see his friend now lying on the ground. In that moment, he began to worry about his friend's health.

He pulled a little harder on the throttle, scuffing his feet along the ground when the bike shot forward a little, then held his breath as he made his way towards his friend. He exhaled loudly with BJ's name on the end of it. "Beej?" he called out when he thought he was close enough. He saw some movement, but that was about it. He called again, but still no reply.

He stopped the bike and quickly looked for the stand. Finding it he got off the bike, kicked the stand out, then stood next to the bike with his arms out in front of him whilst it wobbled precariously, threatening to fall. "For crying out..." he muttered tersely. Then when he thought the bike was going to stay upright, he turned and moved to BJ's side.

He knelt and felt his forehead. Hot and dry to the touch. His breathing was a little shallower than normal, but he guessed that was because of the shoulder wound. It was the fact that BJ hadn't stirred at all when he'd felt his forehead that had him the most worried. He moved his hand from his friend's forehead to his shoulder and gently shook it. "C'mon, Beej, time to get up."

"Unfgh!" BJ mumbled, "Aww, c'mon, Hawk," he moaned, his voice soft and resonant with sleep, "leave me be."

"Sorry, Beej, can't do."

BJ sighed. More than anything he still wanted his bunk and the sleep that his friend had woken him from, but he knew that the wounded were gonna need them both there. He supposed if he moaned a sickness to Hawkeye he'd cover for him, but he knew that the wounded never came to them in dribs-and-drabs, more like whole battalions... and, when it came down to it, he thought Hawkeye must be as exhausted as he was.

He sighed again. Every day, especially at the beginning of a day, he wished that there hadn't been a war. A war that, all he could see, claimed lives and maimed others, mentally as well as physically. A war that made them leave their loved ones back at home. ''Not a lot I can do about that,' he thought disparagingly. He moved his arms to his side, ready to push himself up and then off his bunk, but a sudden sharp bite of pain took his breath from him and he flopped back down again. "Hawk?" he muttered with confusion through gritted teeth, not knowing why he hurt so much.

"For crying out loud, Beej..." Hawkeye remonstrated, immediately leaning across his friend to inspect the shoulder wound. He found it to be bleeding again, not that that surprised him. When BJ started to move again, he placed a hand on his good shoulder and pushed him back down again. "Stay," he stated unequivocally.

"I'm not a damned dog, Hawkeye," BJ growled back at him.

"I agree," Hawkeye replied, "but you're still gonna stay."

"C'mon, Hawk, we got the wounded to see to..." BJ sighed, "I can't lie here all day..." He then began to push himself up again, but immediately scrunched himself into a human shaped ball when his whole body cried out at him to stop. He groaned and turned onto his side.

Despite his frown of concern, Hawkeye still said, "Now are you gonna stay, Beej?"

Through the pain that had his body tense and his teeth gritting, BJ silently nodded, but then groaned again when another sharp pain caused his body to tense some more.

Hawkeye started to rip at his shirt, thankful that he'd decided to wear the regular army shirt, rather than his favourite blue Hawaiian one; but then even then he knew he still would have ripped into it. He tore a chunk out of the shirt that he was wearing, then tore that into strips. He moved BJ onto his back, prising his knees to the ground when his friend seemed adamant to remain in a ball. "Help me out here, Beej," he moaned.

"Last... last time I take a Martini with you, Hawk," BJ softly groused.

Hawkeye knew what BJ meant by that, but it did not stop him thinking of what could be implied by it. He felt an ache somewhere in the pit of his stomach suddenly take a chunk out of his heart and the sting of tears fill his eyes at the thought. "I hope not, Beej," he whispered in reply, all the while rolling the strips into a ball and then stuffing that ball under BJ's shirt and to his shoulder. He pushed his friend's legs down again, when they threatened to rise, then leant his body down onto his friend's chest and applied more pressure to the shoulder wound.

BJ tried to rise when the pain became intolerable, but the pressure of something across his chest prevented him from doing so. He thought to open his eyes, but the misery he felt kept them closed. He groaned again, "You poisoned me, Hawk?" he asked without a hint of accusation.

Hawkeye pushed down on his shoulder again, trying to keep the concern from showing on his face, "Uh-uh, Beej," he eventually said, "more like lead poisoning."

"What?" BJ gasped, his eyes instantly opening with his shock, "You... you shot me?"

"Now would I do such a thing as that?"

"You know, I dunno, Hawk... Would ya...?" BJ accused.

"Okay, now you're delusional," Hawkeye said, "I'm just your good old friendly doctor" he added, trying to lighten the mood, "taking a look and trying to help you, whom, I might add, is really not helping." He stopped when a hand slapped his arm and looked down at his friend with a frown.

"You're the one that's not helping."

"Right, now I know you're delusional," Hawkeye retorted. He opened his mouth to add to his retort when he felt BJ's hand painfully grasp his arm this time.

"Why'd they shoot me now, Hawk?" BJ asked through a moan, a hint of a plea softening Hawkeye's name, "Why... why couldn't they have shot me during the war? Why now?"

Hawkeye simply looked down at his friend, not knowing how to answer his question. 'Who knows, Beej?' was on the tip of his tongue, but instead he tried to lighten the mood. He shrugged and eventually said, "Maybe they finally got their act together?"

BJ groaned and tried to turn onto his side again but Hawkeye's body lying across his chest prevented him. "I've got to get back to Peg and Erin, Hawk," he suddenly blurted, "I... I miss them..."

Hawkeye patted his friend on his good shoulder, "I know Beej," he softly replied, "I know." He then took a look under the shirt and when he pulled the makeshift swab away he was pleased to see that the wound had stopped bleeding. Well, receded to a trickle. He gently moved off his friend and said, "But first we gotta get you to your bike."

"Not sure I can."

"Sure you can, Beej," Hawkeye assured his friend, and despite the worry that was steadily taking his humour from him, he added, "I'm here to help, for help is my name, so a helping I will help."

BJ briefly frowned before whispering, "Wondered why you came when I called."

Hawkeye smiled down at his friend, for once not finding a word in his head to retort with. Eventually he, again, patted BJ on the shoulder and said, "You're gonna be okay, Beej. I swear it."

"Sure, Hawk," BJ replied, then wearily lifted his head to look around. "I guess we'd better see if I can make it."

Hawkeye nodded, shifted away a little, then grasped BJ's good shoulder and heaved again. He ignored the cry of obvious pain and the pants of breath from his friend and continued to heave until BJ stood, albeit a little wobbly on one leg. When it looked as though he was going to crumple to the ground again, Hawkeye shot forward and held BJ around the waist, moving his friend's good arm around his shoulders. "Okay, Beej, not far to go," he muttered, taking most of his friends weight and shuffling them along.

"Easy for you to say, Hawk," BJ gritted out at him, then cried out when he scuffed a foot.

Hawkeye gritted his teeth with determination. No way was he going to let BJ's pain stop him from getting him help. He got them to the bike, knelt and as gently as he could lifted BJ's injured leg up and over the seat of the bike. Out of the corner of his eye he saw BJ move his good arm away from him and then start to windmill with it. He tried to put the foot back on the ground again, but a hand grabbed him by the collar and the next thing he knew both he and BJ were sprawled on the ground.

BJ moaned and shifted.

Hawkeye had this urge to laugh and despite where they were and what had happened to his friend, and the pain he was obviously in, he couldn't help himself. It started as a giggle, rippling through his body, until by the time it reached his mouth it was a full-bodied cackle of a laugh.

"You're not helping, Hawk..." BJ softly groused at him.

Hawkeye started to bang his head against the ground, hoping it might stop his laugh, but the image of BJ wind-milling his arm and then falling, taking him with him, just wouldn't go away. "I... I know, Beej, I know, but... but..." he spluttered.

"Ha... ha..." BJ groused

Hawkeye eventually managed to catch his breath. He thought the laughter would have relieved his worry, but it hadn't; like always when someone he cared about was in trouble, he could still feel the ball of it settling in the pit of his stomach for the duration. He ignored it the best he could, turned to his friend, and as lightly as he could manage, he said, "C'mon, Beej, even you can see the funny side."

BJ simply rose an eyebrow at him.

"Okay, okay, maybe not," Hawkeye muttered, "Anyway," he added, changing the subject, "we nearly got it that time. Wanna try again?"

"Not particularly."

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