There’s sand in his mouth.
He’s not sure why there’s sand in his mouth – hell, he’s not sure of anything at the moment, beside the fact that he seems to be alive (and even that’s up for debate) – but sand in his mouth there most definitely is, coating his teeth and tongue in a gritty metallic-tasting sludge that he realises, with an odd sort of detachment, tastes a good deal more like blood than it would probably be expected to.
So, he thinks, after a moment’s hazy contemplation, there’s blood in his mouth.
This puts a new spin on things.
For a start, the blood has to come from somewhere (unless it’s someone else’s, which makes the whole situation suddenly a whole fuckton more problematic).
He probes the inside of his mouth cautiously with his tongue and, to his surprise, finds a definite lack of missing teeth or open wounds. The inside of his bottom lip appears to be split slightly, however, and a tentative attempt to breathe through his nose reveals the source of the rest of the blood, given it appears to be broken in at least one place and is pouring gore pretty damn copiously down the back of his throat.
So far, so usual.
It still doesn’t explain why there’s sand in his mouth.
Further investigation reveals several factors that might go some way towards explaining that particular problem:
1. His ears are ringing.
2. There’s blood in his eyes.
3. He’s lying on the ground.
From these three pieces of evidence it doesn’t take a genius-level IQ to work out what’s happened or, given the shouting that’s beginning to filter through that fucking noise in his head, what he’s supposed to be doing about it.
He’s a Corpsman, after all. Should be on his feet, dealing with the wounded. Making sure they don’t lose anyone else.
…On his feet.
He reaches up a hand, attempting to wipe the worst of the blood away (an attempt that fails, given his hand’s covered in the damn stuff), and makes an effort to sit up.
It fails, miserably.
He swears under his breath, tries again – and again, fails.
Which probably has something to do with the fact that half the jeep appears to have landed on top of him, he realises, after a moment of reflection. Yes, that might explain things.
Doesn’t explain why his legs don’t hurt, though. Half a fucking ton of metal lying on top of them ought to feel like something, at least.
“Hold on!” he yells back – or at least, tries to yell, ending up spitting the words through the blood and grit as he makes another abortive effort to free himself.
The shouting sounds almost ridiculously close, and he wonders briefly why whoever it is can’t at least give him a hand shifting this thing so he can get up and help. It takes him longer than it should do to realise why they’re not.
He’s not the medic they’re calling for.
He’s the bloody casualty.
[Author’s note: An older piece, cross-posted from my dA, but I wanted it here as well. Comes from a ‘verse I share with Jai, which contains AU versions of some rather familiar faces]