Rating: R- for some strong language and reference to drug use.
Disclaimer: The Tour of Duty characters and situations do not belong to me. I just like to play in their sandbox.
Summary: Goldman checks in on Danny after he is returned from Cholan. This from the episode: Cloud Nine.
**This is for you, Snowy, the HP of CoZ. My birthday present and best wishes for you on your special day. **
Danny was quiet for now. Inasmuch as any person could be, wrapped and wracked in the agony of heroin withdrawal. Doc knew it was only a temporary respite from the nightmare.
Darkness had swept into the camp a few hours ago, and with it, a soaking rain. It rattled on the corrugated roof of the barracks, a soothing sound in Docís ears accompanied by the ragged and harsh breathing of his friend. He found himself looking out the window, watching the rain fall in the light of the campís lamps. Heard the distant voices of men as they hurried to wherever it was they were heading.
A few minutes ago, or what felt like hours, really, Doc had told the guys to go get some chow. He could watch Danny for now. They were all exhausted, trying to help their friend. And the night promised to be a long one with none of them hoping to get much sleep.
Danny muttered and tossed a bit, clenching fists and teeth. Doc whispered something and rested a gentle hand on the other manís shoulder, trying to ease Danny past this latest nightmare before it became more. It took several long minutes, but his friend finally settled down a bit. Doc checked Dannyís wrists against the ropes and tried not to wince at the raw marks left there from the manís thrashing and struggles.
The hootch was bathed in shadows and wrapped in the thick muggy air. Doc stood, reached for one of the steel pots and went to the door. Shoving it open, he set the helmet out on the step, upside down, to collect rain water. He glanced back over his shoulder at Danny, but his friend was still quiet for the moment. Quiet being a relative term. Doc sighed and closed his eyes. The worst hadnít even begun yet and he knew it.
And then there was the aftermath of all this, after Danny was cleaned up and sober, Doc considered.The medic knew the drying out was nothing compared to what Danny faced after that. His friend was going to have look them all in the eye at some point and ask for forgiveness. Lt. Goldman included.
The air was a bit fresher here by the door. It was still thick and heavy with the heat and the rain, but the sour smell of sweat, vomit, fear and pain was pushed back a bit. Doc found his cigarettes and lit up, still watching the rain. Still listening to Danny and his inner demons.
The rain continued to rattle against the roof.
Doc didnít know what to think of Goldman. The medic had been there the night before when Anderson had grabbed Johnson and the two went to leave for Cholan. It was Ruiz who had asked just as Anderson started to follow Johnson down the steps to the waiting jeep. Asked if the L-T was going, too.
Doc closed his eyes against the flash of disappointment that slipped across the sergeantís face. He had paused, his hand on the screen door, not quite looking back at them.
It had been as simple as that.
Doc knew that over the course of these two menís tours, Goldman had been many things to Anderson- not the least of which was a close friend. But yesterday, Doc realized, was probably the first time the L-T had truly disappointed his sergeant.
Danny would not be the only one with reparations to make when this was over.
Doc finished the cigarette and tossed the butt out the door. He considered lighting up another but decided to wait for now. He could sense that Danny was cycling into another bout of pain and fury and confusion. The medic sat back down in the chair, quietly checking his friendís pulse. He could feel Dannyís muscles flex and strain under his fingers and he whispered some nonsense to try and soothe his hurting friend.
Danny was covered in sweat again, trembling. The medic reached for the steel pot and the towel heíd been using to clean Danny, and cursed softly under his breath, realizing heíd left the helmet back on the doorstep. Not knowing when the guys would be back from chow, Doc soothed Danny one more time and quickly rose to his feet. He then froze, confused for a moment.
Lt. Goldman stood silently, holding the forgotten helmet, rain water dripping from his hair and fatigues onto the barracks floor. His eyes were huge and dark, and hard to read in the shadows of the dimly lit room.
Like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, Doc stood, confused. He didnít know how the other man could just be there without his realizing it. The lieutenantís intensity and shuttered sorrow always sang against Docís sensitivity, making the medic keenly aware of the other manís presence.
Tonight that intensity was touched through with guilt and disappointment.
For the longest moment, the two men stood looking at each other, the sound of the rain drumming on the roof surrounding them in the otherwise silent hootch.
Danny suddenly reared against the ropes, crying out in pain and both men jumped, Goldman nearly dropping the helmet. Doc quickly sat back down, trying to calm a now very awake Danny who continued to strain against the ropes, eyes wide and wild and filled with fear and pain.
"Make it stop, Doc! Oh gawd- it hurts!" Danny tossed and thrashed. Doc completely forgot the L-T as he tried to keep his friend from hurting himself.
"Doc! Ya gotta help me!" Brilliant fevered blue eyes stared unblinking at the medic.
"I am, Danny. Ya know I am. Ya gotta trust me."
"It hurts, Doc! Please give me just a little, please- just so the pain goes away!" Danny was tossing, trying to reach for Doc. The medic shook his head, wiping some of the sweat off of Dannyís face.
"Ya know I canít do that. Ya gotta just hang in now. Iím not gonna leave ya, Iím right here."
"Damnit! Donítcha understand?!" Danny lunged against the ropes at Doc, who simply sat back. "Donít do this to me, Doc- for gawd sakes! Be my friend aní help me out!"
Doc stood up, checking Percellís wrists as the man continued to fight against the ropes. "Stop it, Danny! Youíre hurting yourself!"
"Damn you!" Percell shouted. He grabbed at Doc, managing to get a punishing grip on one arm before the medic could slip free. The strength of Dannyís fingers crushingly tight brought stars to the edges of Docís vision and he hissed in pain.
"Danny, stop it!" The medic was no match for the other man even on a good day. Percell tightened the grip even more, his eyes brilliant with his agony. Doc was sure his friend was going to break his arm in another moment.
Another pair of hands were there, cool and strong. Doc looked up in shock and pain to see the L-T on the other side of the rack. Heíd completely forgotten the man was even there. Now Goldman was carefully loosening the vice-like grip Percell had on the medic.
"Come on, Danny," Goldman spoke carefully, concentrating on trying to free Hockenbury without breaking the other manís fingers. The lieutenant finally got enough leverage and Doc managed to break free.
"Let me GO! I SWEAR IíM GONNA KILL YOU IF YOU DONíT LET ME GO!" Danny ranted and thrashed.
"Doc- are you okay?" Goldman had a slightly horrified look on his face as he glanced up at the medic. Hockenbury had his arm cradled against his chest, but nodded. He was shaky and drenched in sweat, the arm throbbing painfully.
"You hear me, you gawd damned conchie excuse for a man!"
"Just calm down, Danny." Doc sat back down, putting both hands on Percellís chest. "You can call me all the names you want, but I ainít untyiní ya."
"BASTARD!" Danny snarled and twisted, Doc flinching at the damage being done to his friendís wrists, but not paying any mind to the words. "I swear Iíll shoot you myself when I get loose!"
"Yeah, well, I think youíll have to get in line behind Marcus first," Doc shook his head and glanced up at Goldman. "Talk to him. Say anything, sir. Just talk to him."
Goldman just stared at him for a moment.
"L-T, he just needs to hear your voice. He donít know what heís sayiní. But in that mess inside is our Danny Percell. That part will hear you, sir."
Goldman swallowed. He hesitated, then reached behind him for the helmet he had put on the bunk. "How you doing here, Percell?" The lieutenant found his voice as he handed the steel pot over Danny to the medic.
For the moment, Percell had stopped struggling against the ropes and lay panting and glaring at the medic. He twisted around and pinned Goldman with a hateful look.
"What the hell do YOU want?!"
"Just wanted to see how you were doing." Myron kept his voice level and detached.
"Doc says I canít, Danny." Goldman glanced up for a moment at Hockenbury, who was wringing out a towel in the fresh rain water.
"Bastard coward medic! Donít belong here!"
Goldman did not miss Docís subtle flinch.
Danny switched moods and tactics in a flash.
"L-T, hey L-T," he now begged and tried to reach for Goldman.
"Yeah, Danny. Iím right here." The lieutenant put a careful hand on Percellís shoulder.
"I didnít mean to, L-T." Tears filled his eyes and he again tried to reach for the lieutenant, the ropes preventing him. "Please help me, I wonít do it again. I promise ya."
"Iím right here, Danny. Doc tells me youíre gonna be alright."
"Please, please! L-T, ya gotta help me! I just need a little bit! Iím hurtiní awful, L-T!"
"No, Danny," Goldman said softly.
Doc felt the instant switch in moods as the rage surfaced again. He saw Goldman steel himself for what was going to be another ugly scene.
"DAMN YOU!" Danny raged, throwing himself against the ropes in an effort to get his hands on Goldman. "YOUR FAULT!"
Percell started to violently thrash against the restraints. "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" Both Goldman and Hockenbury leaped forward, trying to pin Percell down and keep him from further hurting himself.
"Bastard! Glad sheís dead!"
Doc felt that one slice deep into the L-T, but Goldman simply closed his eyes and continued to try to help Doc to keep Danny pinned down till the bout of rage passed.
"Forgot the rest of us! I needed ya aní WHERE WERE YOU?!"
"I know, Danny, but Iím here now."
"GO TO HELL! I HOPE SHEíS WAITINí THERE FOR YOU!"
Danny took one last lunge against the ropes before passing out completely. Hockenbury and Goldman just stood, still holding down the now unconscious man, all of them panting. The silence of the barracks returned, and in a small corner of Docís exhausted mind, he could once again hear the rain rattling on the metal roof.
Goldman carefully released his grip on Danny and shakily sat down on the bunk behind him. Doc unwound his fingers from his friendís fatigues and eased his tired body down onto the chair after he set it upright. At some point during the struggle and shouting, he must have knocked it over.
The rain water had, unfortunately, spilled and Doc stared dully at the dark stain that spread across the floor. He finally looked up to see Goldman watching Danny, a stricken look on his face.
"L-T," Doc ran his good forearm across his brow, wiping at the sweat dripping down his face. "He didnít mean any of it."
The lieutenant didnít say anything. But Doc could sense the other manís anguish and pain. And guilt.
"Itís just words, L-T, and the drugs. Itís not Percell."
Those dark eyes looked up at him, nearly black in the shadows of the hootch. Doc could feel the other man struggling to put his shattered walls back in place. Could see him reaching for the "officer" in all of this to hide behind.
"L-T, I know you care," Doc hesitated when Goldman raised his head a fraction, the dark eyes becoming shuttered and distant.
Please donít run away! Please donít hide from this! He needs you! We all need you!
I canít, please- donít ask this of me! Not now!
The plea hung unspoken in the air between them.
"Why didnít you turn him in, sir- list him AWOL?"
"Does it matter?" Goldmanís voice was flat, the words falling awkwardly in the dim barracks.
"He really didnít mean those awful things he said, L-T," Doc finally replied. "It was just the drugs speakiní. Not him. When heís past all this, heís not even gonna remember most of it."
Goldman slowly climbed to his feet. The detached and distant look was almost back in place. For those who did not know this young man, it was almost a look of arrogance.
"Heís gonna make it, L-T."
Myron glanced up, eyes darkening. For a moment Doc saw the walls crash down and the frightened, hurt and grieving man looked back at him with so much pain and anguish in his eyes. And Doc saw clearly in that breath exactly what the other man was so afraid of.
"Itís a war, sir. Right or wrong, people die. You canít change that."
Myron flinched at the truth of the words.
The lieutenant finally broke the gaze and looked though the window to the pouring rain. Doc could see the other man was trembling, just barely, but trembling nonetheless.
Doc realized Goldman was so afraid. Afraid of losing one of them. And afraid of losing himself.
Afraid because sometimes, he wasnít sure if that wasnít such a bad thing.
As if suddenly reaching a decision, Goldman finally shook his head, walking around the end of Dannyís bed and pausing beside the medic. Doc sensed he wanted to say something, but the other man couldnít seem to find the words. Instead he bent down and picked up the fallen helmet from where it had spilled earlier. He stared it for a moment, swallowing.
With a last glance at the still unconscious Percell, Goldman avoided Docís questioning gaze and walked silently to the door. He paused there, head lowered and not quite looking back at Doc, who still just watched him.
"I just wanted to make sure that he was okay, Doc."
To say Iím sorry. For all of this.
Goldman pushed out the screen door into the rain. Before it swung shut, Doc could see him put the steel pot back on the step, upside down.
"Itís alright, L-T," Doc whispered into the stillness, finally looking at Percell. " "Sooner or later we all need to be forgiven."