Disclaimer: The characters in the following story do not belong to me (unfortunately) but they belong to M*A*S*H and its related companies. I am borrowing them and not making a profit from them.

Note: Written from BJ's POV.

Title: I'm Here

Describe myself in three words. Feverish. Nauseous. Drowsy. That's me right now. The fact that Hawkeye and me were in a jeep, bouncing along the Korean roads at a rate of knots did not help my empty stomach. I hadn't had sleep in over twenty-six hours, and my forehead could have fried an egg. I wish I hadn't just thought of food.

"Fun conference," Hawkeye, who was driving, said sarcastically. "The first hour or so was worthwhile enough, that new technique for cutting down on amputations is good to know. But did we really have to spend three hours listening to how to decorate a military operating theatre?"

Hawkeye took my non-answer as a sign to continue his ramble. "The highlight had to be that guy at lunch who collapsed. Recognised him from somewhere, but can't remember."

I remembered where. He sat next to me during the conference, and during lunch.

"Doctor said he had some kind of virus or something. I saw him when they carried him out. He looked half-dead." Hawkeye paused for a moment, in thought. "Come to think of it, so did the meat we had."

You had, you mean. I wasn't hungry. I'd felt fine on the way to the conference, but about an hour after the lunch break I began to feel more and more sick. I thought I was being bored to death, but I wasn't hungry at lunch, and the journey back home wasn't helping.

"You okay there, Beej? You're a bit quiet," Hawkeye noticed as he continued driving. I didn't dare open my mouth to reply, in case I threw up.

"You're probably just tired. I don't see why. What else was that lecture for apart from sleep?"

I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get out of the jeep; I knew I was going to be sick. In my delirium I didn't think to ask Hawkeye to stop the jeep, that would have taken too much time, and I couldn't have lasted that long. I just stepped out onto the road that was flying beneath me.

I tumbled and rolled along the hard track, my body in agony. Once I was stationary, I crawled to the side of the road and proceeded to empty what little food was in my stomach. I had barely enough strength to support myself on my hands and knees.

Hawkeye had stopped the jeep as soon as he saw me leave it. He ran over to me, probably in shock at what he had just seen. He held my burning forehead and rubbed my back soothingly.

Once I had finished, I crawled away from where I had been sick and collapsed at Hawkeye's side. He instantly began to check me over, though he didn't need to. He already knew how sick I was.

"What a time to do an impression of my lunch," he mumbled. "You don't know how lucky you are that all you got was a bleeding arm from that stunt back there."

"Hawkeye, I'm sorry," I rasped.

He looked at me oddly. "You're sorry? BJ, you have nothing to be sorry about. It wasn't your fault that ill guy sat next to you. He shouldn't have been at the lecture if he was that ill."

"I should have told you. I didn't want to worry you," I kept saying.

"Beej, it's not your fault," he repeated.

That was when something weird happened. Something beyond my or anyone's explaining. Everything went numb. My vision blurred and everything went black. Everything went cold and I couldn't move. I tried to speak but nothing happened. I could only hear what was going on around me.

Hawkeye saw what looked to be unconsciousness, and began to panic. "The guy in the conference wasn't this sick," he muttered. I think he was feeling for a pulse in my neck, but I was so cold that it was difficult to know.

He must have found one, because he calmed slightly. "Hang in there, Beej," he whispered.

Footsteps crunched away. In my feverish state of mind, I thought Hawkeye was leaving me. Thoughts raced through my clouded mind, and my breathing sped up. I couldn't control the wheezing, and alarm spread over me.

The footsteps returned, this time sprinting. "Beej," Hawkeye gasped. He panicked, and then realised what had caused my anxiety. "BJ, can you hear me? Look, buddy, I'm here for you. Not gonna leave you, okay?"

I hated feeling so vulnerable. My breathing was still fast, but at least there was someone there with me. Why was I being like this? This wasn't me. It didn't occur to me that it was only because I was ill. My anxiety built up and my breathing got faster.

"I'm here, it's okay," Hawkeye soothed. He was doing something, I think, because I was calming down a bit. Probably rubbing my shoulder. "You're going to be fine, you hear? I won't let anything happen to you."

I was calming down, my breathing was getting back to normal, but Hawkeye wasn't satisfied yet, so he carried on. "These are the moments when people tell other people things they should have said long ago. This moment won't be an exception."

He paused for a second, perhaps gathering his thoughts. "Thank you for being my best friend. You've been there for me since Day One, you've helped me through such a lot, and you never once asked for anything in return. I should have looked out for you more, and I will do in the future. I swear that promise on my career as a doctor."

I was calm now. Numbness was seeping away. Hawkeye must have forgotten for a moment that I had the ability to hear him. He sounded like he had cracked. "Please don't die, BJ." Die? Who said anything about dying? Now I was scared again. Scared, but also frustrated. I had to try and communicate with Hawkeye somehow. I tried to remember where my hand would be, my left hand, where Hawkeye's voice sounded like it was coming from. Was that it? I felt something warm and cold at the same time. It took a lot of strength, but I moved it, just a bit. And then a bit more. I found Hawkeye's knee, judging from the feel of the khaki material. I wanted to find his hand, to comfort him, and probably myself too.

"Beej?" Hawkeye must have seen me moving. I could feel myself again. I felt Hawkeye take my hand, holding it for support. "BJ, can you hear me? I'm gonna get the jeep and the radio and I'll be back here, okay? If you understand, erm, find my thumb." I did so, and I heard the jeep engine some seconds later.

"I'm back, okay?" Hawkeye told me, grabbing my hand to let me know. "I'm going to radio home, to tell them." I heard the radio being thumped.

"Hawkeye calling 4077th M*A*S*H," he called into it.

"4077th M*A*S*H, Radar here. What's up, Hawkeye?"

"Radar, listen carefully. BJ's very sick. I am a bit less than an hour away from camp. Tell Sherm, okay?"

"You can tell the Colonel yourself, he's here," Radar said. "Colonel!"

"Hawkeye, what's the story?" Sherman asked.

"BJ's got some kind of virus. He's got fever, he vomited earlier, he's probably delirious, and he sort of passed out but he's half moving. It's crazy!"

"What's his status now?"

"Half unconscious, but he's reacting to my voice and he's started to move a bit."

"All right, Hawkeye. Get him home ASAP, we'll be ready for him here. But, don't put him in the jeep too fast."

"Sure thing," Hawkeye replied, switching off the radio.

"You're gonna be okay," he told me once more. He began to pick up my lifeless body. "Me, on the other hand, I'm going to get a hernia!"

He settled me into the back of the jeep, and made me as comfortable as possible. He was about to drive off when he turned around. He found my nearest hand, took it, and told me, "I told you I'd look out for you."

I was asleep by the time he started the engine.





A/N. A short fic, one that started off as a dream of all things. I just couldn't get this one to stop bugging me, but I finally got it out. I'm taking a vote, is it worth carrying on and making into a longer story? I'm open for suggestions.