(2005) No infringement upon the rightful owners of "Combat!" and the characters thereof is intended.  This piece of fan fiction is for enjoyment only, and in no way will the author gain monetary profit from its existence.

Author's Note: This story is a response to the 7-13-2005 fanfic board challenge to write about a grumpy Doc picking a fight with Saunders.


"Grumpy Doc"

Time-travel story #2.5

by White Queen



"Do you think we should wake him up?"  The hoarse whisperer coughed, then continued, "He might get awful mad."

"The lieutenant said we hafta be outta here in half an hour, Billy.  Sarge's gonna be awful mad all right -- if he misses chow," Kirby whispered back.

"I dunno."  Billy coughed again, waving his hand in front of his face in a useless attempt to clear away some of the dust swirling through the half-dark barn loft.  "You do it."

"Fine."  Kirby put a hand on Sgt. Saunders' shoulder and shook it slightly.  "Hey, Sarge," he called, "wake up!"

"Mmmph.  Waaaaaah?  Go 'way."  Saunders batted at Kirby's hand, trying to shoo him away.  "Lemme alone, will ya?"

Billy looked worried.  "Sarge," he chimed in, "Sarge, we've gotta go in half an hour.  If you don't get up now, you won't get any chow."

"Fine."  Saunders sounded a little more lucid.  He opened his eyes, looked around the loft, and unexpectedly smiled softly.  "Yeah, yeah, I'm awake.  You can stop shakin' me now, Kirby."  The smile disappeared.  "Where's the chow?"

"Out front."  Kirby waved vaguely.  "You sure you're awake?"

Saunders sat up.  "Yes.  Fine.  I'm awake.  I'm gonna go get chow, see?"  He stood up, stretched, then climbed down the ladder to the main floor of the barn.

As they watched their squad leader leave, Billy shook his head.  "I've never seen him that sleepy," he commented. 

"Aw, he's gotta be even tireder than the rest of us.  Even if he can fall asleep anywhere anytime like some sort of...."  Kirby shrugged, unable to find an apt comparison.  "Let's go."  He and Billy climbed down the ladder as well, glad to get out of the dark and dusty haymow.

Outside, Saunders got some hot chow from the mess line and found a comfy barrel to sit on while he ate.  The scrambled eggs tasted like jeep tires and the bread was about as old as he was himself, but it was the best thing he'd eaten in recent memory. 

While Saunders chewed and chewed and chewed some more, trying to work his way through a particularly difficult bit of egg, he saw his medic walking past.  "Hiya, Doc," he mumbled through the food, too busy chewing to notice the grumpy expression on Doc's face.

"Well, look who decided to wake up!" Doc replied.  "Glad you cared to join us!"

Saunders blinked.  "Uh..."  He swallowed, no idea how to respond.

"Must be nice to be able to sleep the whole morning away!" Doc continued.  He folded his arms and glared.  "What happened to the Sergeant Saunders that always woke up before everyone else, huh?  The Sergeant Saunders that gave everyone else a good-morning kick?  How's it feel to get a taste of your own medicine?"

"Uh, Doc, you okay?"  Saunders peered at the medic.  "You look kinda tired yourself."

"Hmph.  I'm fine.  I hope Kirby kicked you hard when he woke you up."

Saunders set his empty mess kit on one knee.  "You sleep okay last night?"

"No, I didn't.  I'm surprised you did.  Or is that why you slept so late this morning?  Awake a little longer than usual?"

Saunders tried to look confused.  "Now why would I be awake longer--"

"You know doggone well why, and don't think I don't know too!"  Doc shook a finger at the sergeant.  "You think I don't know what a big bang and a bright flash of light signals?  You two probably think everyone else'll think it's just more artillery or something, but I ain't so dumb as all that."  He folded his arms again.  "Neither is the rest of the squad.  We know who arrived here at oh-one-thirty this morning."

Saunders threw up his hands in surrender, which made his mess kit slide off his knee and land in the dirt.  "Doc, you got me.  What can I say?  I've got no control over her -- she comes and goes as she pleases."

"Right, right, and you just happened to volunteer to sleep in the hay loft by yourself last evening."

Saunders tried not to grin.  "Right."

Doc sighed.  "Sarge, I'm sad to say it, but I'm ashamed of you.  Getting some... R&R when the rest of your squad--"

Saunders cut Doc off, "Aha!  So that's it!"  He nodded solemnly.  "I understand now."

"Oh you think you do, do you?"

"Yup."  Saunders slid off the barrel, picked up his mess kit, and slung an arm around Doc's shoulders.  "What you're saying, Doc, is that DII and Mel haven't visited for a couple days, and you're feeling neglected."

"Is it that obvious?"  Doc sighed.  "And I thought I was hiding it so well...."



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