"Descent"

 

by Jimaine

 

response to last week's (August 8th) 5-min-challenge. Only got around to it today. Sorry. Will get on to the current one right away.

 

Rating: PG

Pairing: Hawkeye/B.J., B.J.'s POV

Archive: mash-slash…and in my private little Swamp at http://tostwins.slashcity.net/jimaine.htm

Disclaimer: none of it's mine, they belong to FOX, all eleven seasons (and don't I hate them for it) and I'm just borrowing them for a little fun. No profits are made.

 

 

***********

 

Grit your teeth and swallow the lump in your throat.

Once, twice…maybe the pain will fade. Nervously, he tightens his hold on the armrests and stretches his legs in what little space there's available. Almost there. They started their descent twenty minutes ago. Home…he's going home.

 

They're past the cloud cover, sinking lower. Twenty more minutes to go, at least that's what the pilot says. In the seat next to him, a heavyset sergeant mumbles in his sleep and shifts so that the smell of stale beer and cheap tobacco is now wafting in his direction.

Well, he's smelled worse over these last two years. With a faint thud, he lets his head drop sideways against the window. Nothing out there but fog. How fitting…he can't even see the home he's returning to. Somewhere down below is the life he ought to live, the life he's aching to reclaim, and he knows it is there, but for some reason it's less real than the place he has left 48 hours ago. That 'otherplace' will all its horrors that should have become the *past* the moment he began his journey east, is still the only present he can acknowledge.

 

Ouch! His ears pop at the changing pressure inside the cabin; the sudden sharp pain making him grit his teeth even harder.

By God, he should be crying tears of joy by now. Instead he feels this numbness, this strange paralysis.

Down there, beneath the thick gray shrouding the entire Bay Area, is another world. A world of light, ordinary people, smiling children and Sunday picnics.

His world no more.

The extraordinary, the exceptional (with the blood, the deaths, the desperate kisses given and received), remains in the darkness far beyond the sea…and in his memories and dreams that are yet to come. When he was *there*, all he could think of was home…now everything is reversed. Is this to be his curse (punishment for the crime?), never again being allowed to exist in one and only one place, always torn and stretched across several thousand miles? Not much of a difference between Korea and Mill Valley and Mill Valley and Crabapple Cove; however, it hurts twice as much if one is pulled in both directions at once.

 

Between a rock and a hard place, between two worlds (lives, loves…), having the best of neither.

 

The co-pilot emerges from the cockpit to inform them that they'll reach Travis Air Force Base in fifteen minutes; they've just reached the coast north of the Golden Gate.

 

Is there a parachute on board? He feels a strong urge to take a shortcut. But then again he doesn't. In spite of the fog (_Nothing like good ol' San Francisco fog!_) he can see the passing landscape quite clearly, if he wants to or not. San Rafael, across San Pablo Bay and into Napa County. Kudos to the pilots…he'll never understand how they can fly by instruments only, their passengers' lives depending solely on a few technological gadgets and gizmos, but he admires them for it. Skills are skills, a job is a job, and he's done his.

 

Hopefully, he'll have help in figuring out what he's supposed to do from now on. How to make his hands and mind slow down…and his feelings, too, providing that he can get them back and (well, that's almost too much to ask for) put names to them again. Compassion…rage…pity…despair…

He's run out of all of them.

Love, too.

 

Gray is streaming past the window like liquid cotton, and he closes his eyes.

 

God, he certainly hopes that once he sees what the fog is (mercifully) hiding from him, this reality will become his once again. Or at least a little bit more like it.

 

For right now, he wishes that they'd remain in the air indefinitely. Up here, it's safe, no past and no present. Limbo. It's pleasant enough. He doesn't have to choose between 'then' and 'now', doesn't have to assign names and significances.

 

Choosing hurts.

Living hurts.

Remembering hurts...everything does...

 

So he grits his teeth as the plane touches down on the runway.

 

Home.

Four letters, like love (or life), and he can't quite recall the true meaning of either of them.

 

What hurts most is the knowledge that he isn't the only one who feels this way.

 

 

FINIS