Choices

By DC
© May 2002

 

Disclaimer: The Tour of Duty characters and situations do not belong to me. I just love to play in their sandbox.

Summary: Missing scene from The Road to Long Binh

Thank you to Doc (who said what’s wrong with this?), Mel and Snowy. My friends and betas and cheering section all rolled into one. If it weren’t for you guys- I wouldn’t be doing this.

***Happy Birthday Witchbaby. Hope you enjoy. A thank you to you as well for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. ***


                                                       

"You are such a pushover."

When had that happened to me?

When did I make the choice to suddenly start to care again?

It had been so long. Months in fact. A lifetime. I made a choice as she lay dying in my arms, as I felt her warm blood on my hands. A decision to not participate any more. There simply was no point to it.

That was my choice.

If I had been on that prisoner detail a couple of months ago, Digby would be at Long Binh right now. And all the pushing, all the cajoling, all the knowing looks from Anderson would not have changed that. Because I wouldn't have cared. Digby had done this to himself.

Digby had made his choice.

I can tell McKay is still watching me, even though I have my back to him. He's smiling. Not gloating. Just pleased.

I'm not an idiot. And just because I no longer wanted to participate in what was going on around me, didn't mean I wasn't aware of it. Everyone figures McKay moved in with me just to push every button I had. Which was true, he did. But he had reasons for doing just that. He was bound and determined to get me to fight back- to fight him because then I wasn’t just turning away. Like Anderson, he wasn't about to give up on me. He wasn’t content to let me stay behind my careful walls.

That was McKay's choice.

Damn Anderson. If I didn't know better, I swear he poisoned the entire damned camp just to get another shot at me in Tay Ninh. I wouldn't be anything more than polite and distant at Lulu's. A couple of beers at most and careful conversation. Stayed away from the hard things, the things I didn't want to look at in myself. Things I wasn’t ready to deal with.

What the hell happened to me at Tay Ninh?

Five or six beers later and he had me. Brings back memories of a time when I was a different person. Before Alex. When I was young and angry and foolish. And I'm just drunk enough to grab onto those memories... and spill my guts to the man. God you’re a patient man, Zeke Anderson. You were back then, at Ladybird- patient despite my snottiness and my anger and my fright. You have been since she died. Nudging me. Pushing me. Reminding me. Refusing to give up on me.

That was your choice, Zeke.

Alex would have been so angry with me. I wasn’t supposed to die with her, right alongside her on that street in Saigon. But I did.

That was my choice.

We've all made our choices.

Hockenbury and his choice to not kill.

Percell and his choice of drugs.

McKay and his choice to live in the wake of Alex’s death.

Anderson and his choice to come back for another tour.

And myself?

I didn’t want to hurt anymore.

When had that changed? Her death wasn't any less real to me. And I still ache desperately from it.

So does McKay. I catch it in his eyes in those unguarded moments when he’s so tired he can’t hide from it. That moment when he’s as haunted as I am. It is fleeting, and I’m left wondering at what I really glimpsed. Times when I stand at the door of his slick and he looks at me without the masks. He is hiding too, in his own way. Hiding behind his quick smiles and easy-going nature. Alex was the first part of himself he lost. He’s been losing more of himself every day. But still he gets up and faces this war. Faces himself.

That is McKay’s choice.

Digby. What happened there? He made many choices. Some were mistakes. He had a reason to run away from life and to hide. Yet he fought back, wanted to live. And was willing to give that up for me without a thought. One heartbeat we are staring at that grenade. In the next he is on top of it, ready to die.

That was Digby’s choice.

He was willing to die so that I could live.

One man who fought to reclaim his life was willing to sacrifice it in an unselfish moment for another man who gave up on life one evening in a street in Saigon.

It was Digby’s choice to die.

It was not Alex’s choice to die.

I had thought I had died on that street. Had wanted to die on that street. Digby’s choice to die for me made me realize that maybe it had been the wrong choice.

~finis~

 

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