Author's Notes: This is a World War Two alternate universe for "Top Gun" where I've taken the main characters, Maverick, Iceman, Viper, Goose, and Slider and put them in the South Pacific. Due to the fact that Corsairs were single-seaters, I've turned Goose and Slider into pilots themselves, helping to expand the squadron. As always, I claim none of these characters as my own nor am I making a profit from this in any way.

"Maverick! Maverick!" Ice shouted as he leapt over one of the many broken trees and plowed through a tropical fern that had, up until this point, remained upright.

Just up ahead lay the mangled remains of a once proud F4U Corsair. Its left wing had been torn off completely by the numerous trees that blanketed the island while only half of the right wing lay intact. Undoubtedly the shearing of the left wing had spun the Corsair to the left, smacking it hard against two firm trees that refused to give way. The only remnants of the tail section was a butchered horizontal stabilizer. No wonder Maverick had come down like a rock and without the altitude, there was no way that he could have ejected from the cockpit, but as Ice recalled with a sickening lurch in his stomach, Maverick had been wounded.

"Maverick!" Ice again shouted as he climbed onto the remaining gull wing. The scent of petrol burned his nose and he coughed. He had to get Maverick out of that aircraft because with all the fuel still leaking onto the ground, it was hard to say whether or not it would find a spark to ignite it. The engine appeared dead, but as Ice knew from stories he had heard, this could be a fatal miscalculation. Time was of the essence.

Pulling at the cracked birdcage canopy, Ice tried to ignore how Maverick was in the seat, hunched over to the left and very, very still, and the moment he pushed the canopy back, Ice could see the blood on the controls and his stomach turned cold. He carefully pulled himself closer to Maverick, calling out, "Mitchell! Mitchell!" But Maverick wouldn't respond.

"Don't you dare be dead!" Ice growled as he gently eased Maverick against the seat, allowing Ice to see the extent of the head trauma. Ice felt his voice choke in his throat as he gazed at the blood that covered half of Maverick's face and then at his uniform, which had fared no better. "Wake up, Mitchell! You managed to land! Now get up!"

Sighing in frustration, Ice removed Maverick's flight cap, then pressed his fingers against Maverick's neck. It had been a bad day for the squadron when they engaged the enemy Zeros and though they had triumphed and sent the enemy screaming for home, all of their Corsairs had suffered damage and had to return back to base as quickly as possible. Maverick's had been the worst and though Ice knew that he should have returned to base along with the others, something about Maverick's panic at losing full control of his plane had evoked a surge of compassion in Ice, who continued speaking to Maverick as he plummeted towards that deserted island. He had promised Maverick that he'd stay with him, that he'd talk to him. But then the radio went dead and Maverick's plane disappeared into the trees.

"God damnit, Mitchell, wake up!"

Ice clenched his fist and put his head down, completely furious with himself for not having gotten to him sooner, but a soft, cracked voice spoke weakly, "My arm, I..." Ice lifted his head and peered anxiously at him, watching as Maverick tried to move. "My arm, it's, it's been shot off, hasn't it?"

Regarding the bloody, but still visibly intact arm, Ice replied firmly, "No, you haven't lost it; but your plane, well that's a different story."

Maverick groaned and for a moment Ice thought that he was going to lose him once more to unconsciousness and so he patted Maverick's cheek heartily. "Hey man, don't go back to sleep on me. We've got to get you out of here. Come on, help me help you. Get your arm over my shoulder."

Though it was obvious that this simple action caused Maverick a great deal of pain, Ice ignored it as he helped pull Maverick from the wrecked cockpit. He was glad when he heard the voices of the sailors from the PT boat, for he knew that if he had to try and get Maverick down all on his own, it was very likely that he would have caused further injury. As the sailors helped to bring Maverick against the wing, Maverick's pain increased dramatically, something he expressed with a sharp yelp and the clenching of his teeth. It was only Ice who saw the tears building in Maverick's eyes.

Maverick was never the sort to ask for help and Ice never knew how to give proper encouragement. Perhaps it was in this knowledge that Ice's heart remained so abashed as he gazed into that sickly pale face that was still covered with blood. He should have been able to say something to comfort Maverick; something that would have eased Maverick's mind enough that it would have given him peace; but all Ice could muster was something short and uniformed. There had been so much fear in Maverick's eyes, so much panic and uncertainty, and all Ice had to encourage him with were futile, barren, and completely pointless words. Ice had trifled with Maverick's fears and now he risked losing him all together.

The shock had swept over Maverick like a tidal wave the moment the medic began assessing the wounds. As Maverick babbled incessantly about his alleged lost arm, trying many times to get a good look at his bloodied arm but only succeeding in being pushed back against the litter, Ice sat quietly off to the side on the PT boat, trying not to look as horrified as he felt. There had been so much blood along Maverick's face, arm, and side that Ice couldn't even contemplate what to tell his frightened comrade. There had to have been something he could have consoled him with to reduce the trauma, for shock often killed those wounded in combat and with as weak of a pulse as Maverick had, Ice didn't rightly know if Maverick could have survived it. Perhaps his mind had been so ensnared with the despair he felt at the prospect of having only one arm that his spirit had given up.

Ice felt his grief surge through his throat only to stop short at this tongue. He blinked rapidly to try and clear his thoughts and tried once more to speak, but found his voice silenced by his own self-doubt. It wasn't a secret that the two disliked each other to the point of pure loathing at times, but their rivalry never meant that Ice hated Maverick. But would Maverick have honestly listened to him? He never did before; why would he now?

Ice clenched his fist and shut his eyes. The silence cut into his distressed heart, furthering his shame. "Look, Mitchell..." Ice shook his head from side to side, feeling both frustrated and grieved. "About your arm, you haven't lost it. You were never going to lose it."

His fist relaxed and Ice opened his eyes and gazed down at Maverick. "You were shot, Mitchell, but it's not as bad as it looks." Ice looked up at the hull and swallowed hard. "They were going to tell you that, Mitchell." Closing his eyes, Ice ran his fingers through his hair and sighed deeply, feeling the fear rising once more at the thought of losing Maverick to a misconception of a perceived ailment. "Your arm, it's still there and after it heals, you'll be able to use it like normal. You won't lose it, Mitchell."

Ice opened his eyes and gazed down at Maverick for a moment, allowing silence to fill the hull of the PT boat as they hurried across the choppy waters back towards their island base. Not being much of a fan of rough water, Ice took this time to smooth one of the blankets covering Maverick and he paused briefly as he looked once more into his lifeless face. He reached his hand out, hesitated, then set it down against Maverick's brow. There was still blood on Ice's hands from when he had helped bring Maverick aboard the PT boat and from when he had helped the medic. Ice shivered, but then swept Maverick's hair back several times.

"Don't you die, Pete," said Ice with a slow shake of his head. "Don't you dare die on me."