Crowded

By DC
© November 2002

 

Rating: R (for questionable language)

Disclaimer: The Tour of Duty Characters and Situations do not belong to me, I simply love to play in their sandbox.

Summary: This is a first in a collection of moments and missing scenes specific to the episode War is a Contact Sport. In this, Myron starts to deal with the fallout of removing Hockenbury from the unit. 

Special note: This has long been a controversial episode and my take on this is not necessarily a popular one- but I like to think itís an honest one. One of the hottest issues in this fandom is Doc Hockís responsibility in the death of Kuslits. These stories will hopefully fill in some of the missing moments- but also take a look at the some of the events through some of the charactersí eyes.

I would be remiss if I didnít take the time to thank the ladies who help to make my writing possible. Whether itís to clean up the grammar or make a suggestion to pull out what I really wanted to say, you all contribute, and you all make it possible. Thank you Doc, Snowy, Meryn and Mel.


It had started raining a while ago after darkness had taken over the camp for the night. The evening had brought the change of weather in with it. It had been in the air all afternoon- thick and heavy and almost electric. Grumbling at the edge of your senses, but not quite understandable. You knew something was happening, you just couldnít put a finger to what it was.

Except me.

I knew what was happening. And like the weather, I was powerless to stop it.

It made me feel trapped. Pinned. Crowded.

I look at the glass in my hand, swirling the whiskey before I take another sip. The smoke from my cigarette hangs there in the dampness, painting abstract pictures against the near darkness of the hootch. I shift my weight and the creak and protest of the desk chair sounds loud in the otherwise silent room.

The air is thick and heavy. It makes it all that much closer in here.

I hear the footsteps and the door open and slam closed. McKayís cursing and shaking the rainwater off. I donít even bother to look at him. I can feel his emotions, almost see them the way I can see the rainwater pooling on the floor at his feet. I donít need to look up and see the flash of anger in those dark eyes.

"Damn you, Goldman, what have you gone and done!"

Itís not a question. What catches my attention is not the expected anger, but the fear behind the words.

"Youíll kill him- you cut him loose like this and you will kill him!"

Still that edge of fear. Putting the cigarette in my mouth, I reach for the bottle and pour the glass half full.

"Oh, thatís just great!" McKay hurls the soaked rain poncho across the room, water splattering everywhere. "You can Hockenbury and now youíre gonna hide in a bottle of scotch. Perfect, Goldman, fucking perfect!"

I glance up through narrowed eyes. "This doesnít concern you, McKay." I crush out the cigarette.

"The hell it doesnít!" Heís all fury and frustration now. I rarely see him like this. Or did. Now it seems to happen more often. Since he lost his co-pilot to the sniper. The anger I used to keep so close to hand seems to have changed camps and now visits McKay on a regular basis.

"Youíre my roommate, McKay." I keep my voice level, detached. "Donít presume that gives you any right to lecture me on how I handle my unit." I canít help it, though, it prickles a bit and I find myself lifting my chin. So Iím a little defensive.

"Someone should!"

The hootch seems so crowded. It has since Johnny moved in, all grins and nonsense a few weeks back. He fills up a room with his presence, same as Zeke does. Hell, Zeke made me feel crowded on an entire damned firebase and I fought that. Now McKayís doing it to me and Iím fed up with it. Thereís an entire camp here and I canít find any space to even think without someone "pushing" at me.

"Enough, McKay. This is not a discussion we are going to have."

"Damn you." He hisses and I look up again. Johnnyís eyes are dark with his anger and his fear. "You pretend youíre so self-righteous. Itís an excuse, Goldman, a stupid excuse. Another way for you to push another person out of harm's way so you donít have to deal with the fallout!"

"Donít start something you may not be able to finish, McKay." I find myself on my feet now, drawing myself to my full height. We have the better part of the hootch between us but still I feel crowded. And when I feel this way, I start to push back.

"Alex is your convenient excuse for everything, isnít she, Goldman?" McKay challenges, the words cutting soul deep. I can feel his agitation; the edges are sliding against my defenses, cutting painfully. "Why not choke on the truth instead of that damned whiskey." Johnny shoves a hand through his wet hair. "Youíre not sending Hockenbury away because he screwed up, youíre doing it because youíre afraid."

I swallow and try not to show heís hitting way too close to home. "You donít know what you're talking about, McKay." He hasnít moved a step, and yet itís even more crowded than before.

Everything is entirely too close.

"Donít I, Goldman?" Now he moves closer and I instinctively step back. I donít want him in my personal space. Hell, just his being in the same camp puts him in my personal space. But not this. Not like this. Not when heís all cutting edges and sharp words. Not when the pretenses are stripped away and Iím faced with seeing myself in another manís furious and frightened eyes.

"Youíre afraid- afraid for Doc. Afraid OF him."

Johnny is way, way too close. To me. To the truthÖ

"Hell, youíre fucking terrified."

When Iím this crowded, I know only one defense.

"Back off, McKay."

"Take your best shot, Goldman. Go on, go for it." Johnny doesnít touch me, yet he has me pinned.

"Come on, Myron. Whenís the last time you really let me have it? Go for it, hit me- throw something at me for Christís sakes! Prove you didnít completely die the same day she did!"

Itís a poor choice of words, and as quickly as my anger had swept up around me, it now spills away from me. I realize Iím shaking with the suddenness of all of this.

I need space. I need to breathe.

Stop crowding me, McKay.

I push past him, past his desperation and his fury. Try not to let it touch me, reach me.

Outside, it's pouring. I can see the rain sheeting down in the camp lights as I stand at the screen door with my back to McKay. The air is sweet and heavy and damp and I can feel it against my skin.

"Myron," the fright is in his voice again. And now desperation. "Please, please donít do this to Hockenbury. Youíre not going to help him this way, youíll only kill him."

"Youíre wrong." I finally whisper, needing to get away. To feel space around me. To put distance between myself and the noise in my thoughts that is McKay.

"Iím not punishing him," I hesitate, looking back without actually looking at the other man. "Iím trying to save him from himself." I shove the screen door open and push out into the rain, but McKayís not done with me yet.

"Are you so sure?" I stand there on the step, the rain soaking me through in a moment and I find myself looking back, looking at him and seeing what I donít want to see.

Seeing myself.

"Are you so sure, Myron? Or are you really just trying to save yourself?"

~finis~

 

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