clay woodsworth never felt obligated. it was either he wanted to do something or he didn't. he rarely negotiated with decisions; everything was black or white. yes or no. live or die. go hard or go home. he didn't merely settle for anything... his shoes echoed off the tile floor even though there were plenty of people around to diminish the sound. military hospitals were famous for their quiet environment. clay couldn't stand it. hospitals, military or not, made him feel uneasy. sure, the thirty-six year old could deal with high risk missions, jumping out of planes, bunking down in dirt and mud, stay out in the heat for weeks, but as soon as you put him in a clean and quiet hospital, he gets nervous and unsure as to what to do.
it made him uncomfortable to feel that way.
clay managed his way through the simple floor, following the instructions from the entry guard on the first floor. the hospital was small, but it was easy to see how someone could get lost. but finding his way was never an issue for clay. after multiple minutes of walking, clay finally found his way to the end of the corridor, where her room was. he stopped at the nurses station across the hall, folded his arms over his chest, and leaned on the counter. a young nurse approached him after a few minutes, and clay gestured to her room. "can i go in?" he asked after a moment, biting back the 'is she okay?' he wanted to ask. the nurse nodded and watched clay knock gently on the door before stepping inside the darkened room.
it was similar to the environment he'd had to be in for a day or so as well once they'd been shipped back to a safe zone. he'd also suffered a couple burns to his back, just superficial stuff, that he had an ointment to use on. but he was fine. a few scrapes and bruises were nothing short of a normal day for clay. he could go back in a few weeks time, once another tour was set up. but her, clay didn't know if their commanding officers would allow her to go back. maybe he'd done her some good, keeping her out of danger by being the one who gave her the injuries. maybe because of him she wouldn't have to go back out there and be involved in the dangers he was...
clay sat down in the recliner in the corner, scowling as he felt his shirt rub against the exposed burns on his back. he shut his eyes and remembered the blast that gave him the burns, superficial as they were they hurt like a firey bitch. he remembered spotting the gun men on the rooftop, aiming at clay and his squad, and hollered for everyone to get down. and then a grenade was thrown and clay took off sideways, pulling her with him. he threw her in front of him, and then threw himself on top of her, like a human blanket. he blacked out when their bodies were thrown into the side of an abandoned car due to the blast.
he didn't know anything about her until he woke up for a few moments as he was being pulled to safety. he was confused, but unable to make sense of any words coming from his mouth. he remembered coming in and out of consciousness throughout the next few hours, but nothing made sense. and then when he was finally able to wake up completely, he learned what had happened and was told he was grounded for a few weeks. made sense... clay watched her for a few moments, thinking it was stupid for him to be there, and stood up, accidentally scraping the chair back in the otherwise silent room.