Someone on Tumblr requested a fic like this, and I tried my best to deliver. Hope you like it.
The post op ward was quiet and, thankfully, not completely full. Father Mulcahy made sure the door he had entered closed quietly behind him so it wouldn't disturb any patients and started moving down the aisle in the middle of the room.
Most of the patients were sleeping and didn't seem to be in too much pain, but for the ones that did, Mulcahy quietly asked the Lord to ease their suffering. A feeling of helplessness settled on his shoulders, but the priest pushed it away. The wounded were in good hands, and the help Father Mulcahy offered was more of a long-term, behind the scenes healing. He was proud of that, Mulcahy reminded himself.
One of the nurses bustling around bumped into him from behind, jarring him out of his thoughts.
"Sorry, Father," Margaret apologized, smiling at the chaplain. "I didn't see you come in."
"Just tending the flock," Mulcahy returned lightly, stepping out of her way as she went past with a dose of medicine and some water.
"You a preacher?" one of the wounded growled from a few beds down.
Never one to miss an opportunity to be useful, Father Mulcahy hurried over, pulling over a little stool and sitting at the man's bedside. "I am." He pointed to the cross shaped insignia on his lapel. "Was there something you wanted to talk about? I can do any denomination. I'm sort of what you might call an 'all-purpose priest.'" He laughed lightly, hoping to get a smile out of the wounded man.
The soldier, scruffy and scraped, rolled his eyes, looking away disgustedly.
The priest frowned, pushing his glasses up his nose and remaining quiet for a moment. "The Lord is always listening, my son. Would you like to tell me about it, or would you rather we pray together...?"
"None of that's gonna work for me, Father," the soldier snarled, clenching his hands into fists. "I prayed to your god while I was trapped in my foxhole. Begged him to let me get out okay. And now look at me!" He thrust a finger toward his feet, grief and fury flashing in his eyes.
Father Mulcahy's eyes went to the blankets and his heart sank when he realized the soldier was without a leg. There was never an easy answer when anyone was wounded, much less so when they lost a limb. "I'm so sorry," the priest murmured, finding it hard to speak around the lump in his throat.
"Sorry don't give me my leg back." The soldier turned away harshly, blinking away frustrated tears.
"Now, son, maybe..." Mulcahy sighed, praying he could find the right words. He took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose before speaking. "Maybe He has a plan for you. Sometimes the things that hurt us most are blessings in disguise."
"Blessing, my ass! You can get your phony, moronic preacher-shit out of my face. You're pathetic, telling all these guys how much God loves them, how blessed they are, but He let us get clobbered in the first place! If He loves us so much, why'd we get hurt? You're a goddamn fake, Father, preaching a big bedtime story!" The soldier sat up and thrust a finger in Mulcahy's face, his hand shaking and his face red from his emotional outburst. "How do you sleep at night, telling all these guys that it'll be okay when all we do is march out there and get our legs blown off? You son of a bitch."
"That's it," Margaret yelped, slamming the clipboard in her hand onto its hook at the foot of one of the beds. She marched over to stand at Father Mulcahy's side, seething but managing to control herself. "Sergeant, that is enough from you. You are very lucky to be alive, young man." Major Houlihan rested her hand on the chaplain's shoulder, giving him a gentle squeeze. "I understand that you're hurting and that you've lost your leg. I've seen a hundred men come through here that have lost legs, and it was a struggle for all of them. But I have never seen anyone take it out on our kind, sweet preacher."
"Major," Father Mulcahy tried to interrupt, but Margaret talked over him, her voice growing more and more shrill as she spoke.
"This sweet man was just trying to help in ways that we nurses can't. How dare you attack him for this? Your injury is not his fault, and I'm ashamed of you! You should be written up for insubordination!"
The post op ward had gone completely silent, all eyes focused on the shrieking head nurse.
The wounded man scowled and fell back into his bed, rolling away from the officers beside him.
"You're a soldier," Margaret continued, gesturing around the room. "All of these men are soldiers, and they've all been hurt, too. The world does not revolve around you, Sergeant, and the sooner you realize that we're all here to help you, even Father Mulcahy, the better."
Father Mulcahy sat quietly, his ears ringing from Margaret's verbal assault. He didn't even try to say anything, knowing Margaret would probably lash out at him without realizing it.
"Kellye, take over," Major Houlihan barked, her eyes flashing as she glared down at the soldier.
"Yes, ma'am," Kellye answered meekly.
"Come on, Father. Let's get some coffee." Margaret guided the chaplain to his feet, walking out of the post op ward and into the compound with him. She was quiet, still obviously frustrated, and they were halfway to the mess tent before she sighed and stopped. "I'm sorry, Father. I just couldn't stand the way he was talking to you."
"No harm done, I suppose," Mulcahy said, glad to see that the nurse was calming down. "I do wish you hadn't been so hard on the boy, but..."
"Did you hear what he said to you?" Margaret asked incredulously, throwing her hands in the air. "He was rude, out of line, and-and just cruel!"
"Ah, Major, that's not the first time I've had that happen." The priest pulled his glasses off and cleaned them on his fatigues. "People get very confused when their life doesn't turn out like they planned."
Margaret deflated, her eyes going far away for a few moments. "But you don't deserve it, Father. You're the sweetest man I've ever met, and I don't want any of my patients giving you hell. Pardon my language," she added quickly, looking embarrassed.
Father Mulcahy smiled and shook his head. "Major, I may not be much help in their physical health, but if I can help them in any other way, even if that's by being yelled at, I'll do it. Anything to ease their troubled souls."
Major Houlihan studied the priest for a moment before laughing out of disbelief. "You're a prince, Father." She pressed a kiss to his cheek, and they continued over to the mess hall. Margaret teasingly treated him to some coffee, and they sat drinking it and chatting like old friends until Margaret glanced at her watch and groaned.
"Duty calls, I see," the priest observed, draining the contents of his mug.
The major nodded, holding out her hand to take his cup. "At least until Pierce or Honeycutt decides to show up."
"Ah well." Mulcahy smiled as he handed her his mug, briefly entertaining the thought of Margaret screeching at the doctors until they fell out of bed. "Thank you for the coffee, Major."
"It was nothing." The head nurse grinned and began walking away from him and out of the mess tent.
"See you on Sunday!" Mulcahy called after her, chuckling to himself and rising to his feet. He left for his tent, whistling a little tune Radar had found. He may not have been able to do much good in OR, but he had a soul to pray for. He just hoped that between the Lord's guidance and the doctors' work, the injured soldier would find a way to heal. Mulcahy paused, considering everyone involved in the so called "police action." Actually, he mused as he pulled open his tent door. I hope we all find a way to heal.