Fic: Bullets fly for everyone (Generation Kill)
Title: Bullets fly for everyone
Genre: angst, h/c(?)
Warning: violence, blood, lots of swearing
Pairing: there's a hint of Brad/Nate, maybe, if you squint
Summary: This is what happens when Nate wanders off in the middle of the night. He manages to get himself shot.
Comment: first GK-fic, pretty new to fandom, any mistakes please point them out to me, thanks. enjoy reading.
Chaffin yelled, “Is that all you got?” and the appreciative laughter of the men rang in his ears, covering up the shots that followed; which suggested a level of his own indifference he would only reflect on in the surreal safety of a couple of days later. He was getting used to the sound, the whizzing, zipping; a sound that he had thought of as safe until he was told the next day that the whizzing meant that the bullets were flying past him too close for comfort.
The men quieted down, giving rise to the sound of the bullets again, not that it particularly bothered him. What should have bothered him, he thought in hindsight, was the dull thud and the strangled groan in the midst of the whizzing and zipping. But it didn’t. Not until someone called ‘Corpsman’.
Ray hated 25% watches, especially when he was the 25% and it meant that 75% were not listening to him. He could ramble on about something, he was on enough ripped fuel -not as much as he would have liked, but enough - but where the fuck was the fun if there was no darling Brad telling him to shut the fuck up. Besides, 25% watches made no fucking sense here, since their Humvees and coincidentally they themselves were in the fucking middle of this shit-ass Haji cigarette factory surrounded by at least one motherfucking battalion and would certainly know when they were attacked long before they were attacked. Screaming soldiers tended to be a fucking good indicator for an attack.
Ray grabbed the ‘Juggs’ magazine that Trombley had already defiled way too many times, not to mention whatever Brad had done with it, the naughty little - well big – cruel, cold-hearted... holy shit. “Brad!” Ray leaned out of the window of the Humvee. “Brad! I know you’re not asleep yet. You just lay down. ” He received a groan, took it as a sign that he could speak. “Do you feel threatened by Trombley, because, you know, he’s more psycho than you and intimidating and shit and you know, more iceman, or not iceman, worse than iceman. Do you feel like you need to overcompensate? You know Brad, I love you the way you are, there’s no need for you to prove anything or shit, you’re very psycho yourself. And even though Trombley’s got the bigger gun, you’re the man, man. Forget the size of the guns, honestly. It’s like Trombley has –“
“Shut up, Ray.”
“Brad?” Ray saw the iceman snap onto Brad’s face, immediate and unrestrained attention. Poke came straying their way and leaning against their Humvee said: “Must be one of the poor motherfuckers at the main gate.” But Brad didn’t relax.
“Corpsman,” came the steady call again.
“Fuck, is that the LT?” and Ray hadn’t finished asking that question before Brad was on his feet, striding purposefully in the direction of the calling.
“Fuck!” Ray’s entire upper body was now leaning out of the vehicle in an attempt to see what was going on. Poke brushed past him, following Brad at a distance, trying to secure the area. Ray popped back into the car, hit the comms button. “Actual, this is... fuck, LT? Was that you?”
Ray had to wait a few seconds, which felt like an eternity and opened up the deep recesses of his too fucking imaginative mind. “Yeah. I’m about 300 metres to your six. Wound to the thigh. Send Doc Bryan, would you?”
Ray scrambled out of the car. “Brad, 300 metres to our six!” He ran in the opposite direction, to Doc’s Humvee, while all around him the others stirred.
“Ray, shut the fuck up!” groaned Gunny. Batista said something in Spanish, Portuguese, whatever.
“Doc!” In his haste, Ray ran past him at first, Doc having been in the action of getting up and thus momentarily hidden by the shadow of the Humvee. “Doc!”
“It’s the LT. Wound to the thigh.” Ray pointed with his finger in the direction of ‘300 metres to your six’.
If there was a shock going through Doc Bryan, he didn’t let it show on his face. He turned around, grabbed his kit and stormed off, his speed the only varied aspect in his usual manner. But Ray could see the shock he felt reflected on everyone else’s faces. Q-tip was the nearest and Ray could see that his brain wasn’t quite ready to accept the words ‘LT’ and ‘wound’ in the same context. Rudy was the first to move, getting out of his Humvee, pulling Garza to his feet. Ray held out a hand for Q-tip, which was ignored until he kicked Q-tip’s boot. All around them were the curses and scrambles of soldiers getting to their feet. Ray discarded the thought that it felt like panicked frenzy building up.
Nate was restless. The fighting that seemed to be going on in the streets was disconcerting. Especially with so many marines piled up in one place. Car bombs had been going off all around the factory and the bullets that whizzed into the compound were just as dangerous, even without accurate targeting. He had told his men to lie near or under the Humvees for cover and 25% watches needed to be maintained, though Nate had to admit that that was more for protocols than for actual safety.
Gunny had offered to take the first watch, surreptitiously suggesting that Nate looked like shit and should lie down for a beauty sleep. And yet again Nate was confronted with the difficulty of interpreting Q-tip’s ‘Screwby’ as something positive or negative, particularly since Q-tip’s face was hidden from him. In the end, he declined, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to actually sleep anyway, no matter how much his eyes stung, or because of how much his eyes stung. No, he wouldn’t be able to relax, not with all this shooting and unrest in the area. He had to order Gunny into sleeping and this time the giggle that accompanied the ‘screwby’ suggested that Q-tip was amused.
He stepped around the side of the Humvee, stood by Q-tip’s side for a while. He felt more than saw the gazes of his men on him and he couldn’t keep himself from shaking the uneasy feeling of failure off of his shoulder with one roll. They didn’t question him, but then they didn’t need to.
“LT, do you think we could make a difference if we were out there right now? Would it do any good?”
He didn’t immediately look at Q-tip but continued to look towards the main gate. “With a proper recon mission beforehand, in daylight, maybe.” He immediately regretted saying the word ‘proper’. It suggested too much how frustrated he himself was with the conduct of the war, and even if his men sensed that he was just as frustrated as they were, he shouldn’t admit to it. “But in this chaos the only difference us going out there would make would be Doc Bryan cursing the shit out of us in a way that would make even Marilyn Manson blush because we got our asses shot, instead of him sleeping peacefully in the back of his Humvee – assuming he is sleeping peacefully in the back of his Humvee.” Nate looked down into the young face of his corporal with what he hoped was an amused look. Q-tip didn’t crack one of his crooked smiles. He only solemnly nodded after a few seconds, not saying anything at all.
Nate readjusted his uniform once more and stepped around Q-tip, wandering off down the pathway between the Humvees. The disappointment in this war had infested his entire platoon. It was slowly eating away at him, he could feel it. He had thought that this would be different; they had all thought that this would be different. But they should have expected differently from the moment they were put into these Humvees. It just wasn’t right.
He turned right behind the last Humvee and walked around it, following their line back towards the main gate. He knew he was just walking for the sake of walking, get out, stop thinking. It was the only way he could get a little solitude. His feet led him away from his platoon, towards one he didn’t know, but he still kept his distance, not wanting to disturb and not wanting to be disturbed.
He didn’t hear the bullets coming, wouldn’t have known what hit him if it wasn’t obvious. The dull pain to his chest, closely followed by a sharp sting on his inner thigh, however, made it very clear to him what had just happened. The power behind the bullets made him fall backwards and he could just about catch his fall with his hands, scraping them across the asphalt. He didn’t stay there for long, but immediately crawled out of harm’s way and under the partial cover of the factory wall.
“Fuck!” Stupid, fucking stupid, to be wounded in this, here, while walking. Un-fucking-believable. He only wasted one short look at the blood trail that he had left.
“Corpsman!” Nate pulled the tourniquet from around his neck and wrapped it around his thigh, discarding the thought that only a few centimetres lay between future family and no future family. He switched on his flashlight and tried to examine the wound. The blood wasn’t gushing nor did the blood trail suggest that it had been before he’d applied the tourniquet, which for now was a good sign. His femoral artery seemed to be still intact.
He couldn’t see anyone coming to help him. “Corpsman!” He fumbled with the pockets on the side of his flak vest. Somewhere he had a bandage. Or maybe he had forgotten it in the truck, maybe Mike had all of them. He couldn’t remember. “Fuck.”
“Actual, this is... fuck, LT? Was that you?” For some reason, it nearly made Nate laugh. He had to tell Brad that his RTO had lost a touch of his perfection.
“Yeah. I’m about 300 metres to your six. Wound to the thigh. Send Doc Bryan, would you?” He could hear Ray’s shout, again not altogether as professional as Nate would have expected. Though neither was he, he had to admit, as his fingers had finished exploring his flak vest and not managed to procure gauze or any other kind of bandage. He couldn’t remember when he had taken it out or for what reason. He heard sharp and hurried footsteps and he didn’t have to look up to know who it was, but Nate had a sudden panic that he would be confronted with unabashed anger in a few seconds and he needed to know whether that was the case. Just as he moved his eyes to Brad’s face to look for signs of the iceman, Brad’s eyes perceived the trail of blood and the first sergeant stopped dead in his tracks.
Nate gave him a few seconds to come to his senses – he gave himself a few seconds to come to terms with the scared look on Brad’s face – before calling to him: “Brad!”
Brad only dimly wondered why Ray was shouting at him instead of using the comms. It was a level of idiocy he did not necessarily expect from Ray, but he could not deny his own lack of cohesive thinking. He blindly followed Ray’s direction, convinced that Ray would get Doc Bryan. He had rather more difficulty to convince himself that Nate was fine even though he seemed to have been able to point out where he was. Somehow he had this view of Nate as the selfless bastard who would come crawling back on his own, not wanting to be a burden for anyone. So it was natural to assume that if he didn’t, the wound must be so severe that he simply couldn’t.
Brad passed their last Humvee and there he was, leaning against the wall, fingers searching for something. It almost looked like he had chosen that spot for a bit of sleep and was looking for a goodnight-cigarette like Ray sometimes did. It looked peaceful, he looked peaceful, not a trace of panic and Brad nearly breathed a sigh of relief. And then he saw the blood and it wasn’t the blood itself that made him worry, but the fact that it was enough blood for him to see in this darkness that made him stop in his track. It made his heart stop in its tracks and plummet down into a deep hole near his kneecap.
That was all he needed. He ripped open one of the side pockets of his flak vest, pulled out the gauze and knelt beside Nate.
Brad’s eyes shot up; widened.
“I don’t think it’s the femoral artery, Brad.” Brad tried to push that thought out of his mind, and searched for the wound, pressing the gauze against it. Nate hissed, but right at this moment Brad didn’t give a fuck whether he was pressing down on the wound too hard, as long as the bleeding stopped. He could hear Poke cursing under his breath by his right side and felt like joining in, only louder.
“Anything else?” He stared hard at Nate, daring him to lie.
“Just a nasty bruise I’ll have tomorrow right below my right nipple, and my hands,” He held them out and Brad grabbed them almost like a predator that’s been starving for 10 days, “tore the skin when I fell. Nothing serious.” But Brad wasn’t listening to the ‘nothing serious’ anymore. He had turned his head at the sound of several footsteps approaching. Doc Bryan was ahead by a few metres, and Brad moved to Nate’s left to make room for the Doc.
It felt like hellhounds clawing away ferociously at the outer walls of the platoon, of the men’s stoic warrior demeanours. It also ripped down his own sense of security. It was Walt who actually said out loud what he was thinking.
“Shit, if the Lt gets send home, we’ll go to shits out here.” He saw Q-tip throw a worried glance at Walt. He had seen Walt with such a face after he had accidentally shot the civilian at the roadblock; he had seen Brad with such a face watching the little camel boy Trombley had shot; he had seen Poke look like that after that one hamlet got blown up. Now, however, that look was worming its way onto everyone’s face and Evan could not help the unsavoury feeling of fear rising in him.
He walked a bit faster, a natural instinct of sorts – be the first on scene. Poke was standing, but instead of looking at Nate, he watched the area, his weapon at the ready. Doc Bryan and Brad were crouching by Nate’s side and their hands moved around busily, while Doc was asking the precautionary questions.
“Did you lose your consciousness?”
“No,” came Nate’s answer and he looked like he wanted to say more, but Mike cut him short.
“Fucking stupid, Nate.”
“It’s not like I planned this, Mike.” Nate set his jaw and Evan has gotten to know this as the sign of frustration or absolute concentration. He presumed it was frustration.
“You should have just gone to sleep like I said instead of strolling about like you’re on a Sunday afternoon walk.”
“Is there anything we can do, Doc?” asked Christeson eagerly and with a voice that was higher than usual.
“You can all get the fuck out of here.” Nate’s eyes wandered around the half-circle that his platoon had formed around him. Only Poke and Rudy were standing a bit off, watching the perimeter around them; ready to shoot at any muzzle flashes they could see.
“You can bring me a stretcher, Christeson,” said the Doc, ignoring his Lieutenant completely. Q-tip took initiative and grabbed Christeson by the collar, pulling him with him back to the Humvees to get the stretcher.
It made everyone stop, except for Brad who continued to disinfect Nate’s hands.
“I don’t need a fucking stretcher, I can walk. And I mean it. Get the fuck out of here.” The fierceness in Nate’s stare made Evan take a step back. He had never not wanted to follow Nate’s orders anyway, trusting him completely; but the look in Nate’s eyes actually made him shrink away from him, like a child from its parents after it has trashed the TV. The rest of the men, however, seemed to give a shit. A wave of ‘We’ve got your back, Lt’, ‘We’re not going anywhere’, ‘Yo, screwby’ and ‘Shut up, Nate’ roared up. If anything the group seemed to press closer together.
“For Christ’s sake, I got shot standing right about where you guys are standing now, there are still bullets flying around. I’m fine, I’m not going to die, but you might if you don’t fuck off back to your Humvees now. That’s a fucking order, or I will fucking NJP all of you, is that clear?”
“I’ll save you the trouble writing up all those NJPs, Lt,” said Doc Bryan, standing up and nodding to Brad and Mike. “Get him up and help him back. The bullet grazed his thigh, minor wound. If he’s real nice, I’ll let him stay instead of putting him on the next bird.”
Evan could practically hear the weight dropping off of these shit-laden shoulders. Q-tip jumped Christeson with a ‘woohoo’ and a ‘screwby’ and both grinned like maniacs. Poke shook his head at the over-excited youth; with a smile on his face.
“You can’t put him on a bird, Doc, the rate this is going, it’ll be shot down, go up in flames, Lt will burn to death, because he’s strapped to the fucking stretcher and we will all kill first you then ourselves because we let you put him on the motherfucking bird in the first place and he died because of us.” Ray looked at them with his earnest face and round eyes; mouth in thin lines.
“Ray, shut up.”
“Way to cheer up the mood, brah.”
“Okay, let’s get this show moving. Walt grab Lt’s M-16.” As if to speed up the process, bullets cut through the air and hit the ground just one foot away from Rudy. Mike and Brad lifted up Nate, each one of his arms lain across their shoulders.
“I feel like a fucking baby here,” cursed Nate, rolling his eyes.
Brad laughed at that. “Don’t pretend you don’t like the attention, sir.” Nate told him to shut the fuck up with one look. The smirk doesn’t go away though.
“How is he?” asked Evan, notebook at the ready; doing the only thing he could do.
“It’s a graze, a shot that got caught by the flak vest and scraped hands. He’s fine,” the Doc replied, cleaning his blood-smeared hands with a piece of paper-towel.
“He’s fucking lucky,” grunted Mike as they passed, Nate being more or less dragged rather than being allowed to walk on his own.
Doc Bryan looked after them with wistful eyes. “We’re fucking lucky.” And that’s what Evan actually wrote down.