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Shaky Hands

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He heard the scream distantly, like the voice was at the other end of a long tunnel. He knew it was for him, wanted to respond to the person yelling his name, but the heavy layer of fog in his brain was still causing some disconnect between his consciousness and his body. He knew he was laying on his back, facing mostly up, but that was about it. He had a nagging feeling that there should be something more, something he dreaded, but he couldn’t think of what it could be.


Pounding footsteps, making the surface under his head vibrate slightly. He tried to turn his head, but MacCready was suddenly there. Nate could only look up at him, his body still refusing to cooperate.


“Dammit.” MacCready hissed absently, not even noticing his slip up as his hands hovered over Nate. He was shaking, Nate distantly noticed, his hands trembling as he retrieved a Stimpack and a dose of Med-X. That was odd. MacCready had often bragged of having steady hands, an ability that any sniper needed to be successful.


His hands were shaking now.


Nate didn’t even feel the needles press into his skin. He felt detached from his body, numb to all physical sensation, barely even noticing when MacCready pulled him up into his arms, cradling him close.


“Breathe, Nate.” MacCready pleaded. “You gotta breathe.”


Oh. Was he not doing that already?


Nate tried to mull that over, but it was getting harder and harder to stay focused. His eyes slipped closed of their own accord, and he felt MacCready’s grip tighten despite the tremble in his hands that was still present. He still couldn’t remember what it was he had to do to breathe.


He distantly heard another faint hiss of a syringe emptying, and then his lungs suddenly decided they knew how to function after all. Nate sucked in a huge breath, suddenly vividly aware of exactly how oxygen starved he was. It only took a couple breaths for the rest of his body to get with the program, feeling flowing back into his limbs, and oh, that really, really hurt.


“I know, I know.” MacCready was murmuring into his hair, his arms still holding him firmly as he rocked them minutely. “I got you, you’re okay.”


Nate closed his mouth with a click, cutting off the whimpers and moans he hadn’t realized he’d been making. MacCready ran his hand through Nate’s hair, his touch soothing despite the faint tremor that remained.


“I’ve got you.” MacCready repeated. “You’re okay.”


This time, Nate believed him.