"Any tea left in that kettle?"
Trapper had barged into the Swamp to find Hawkeye lying face-down on his cot, head propped up on his elbows, staring intently at the still. His eyes were half closed. It was all very serious.
"Hawk?" Trapper said quizzically. Hawkeye was still wearing surgical scrubs under his clothes. To Trapper's experienced eyes, he looked like someone in the onset of schizophrenic paranoia.
A moment passed. Trapper thought it was safe to lay a hand on the still-
"Don't touch that!"
"Ah! No! It's aging!"
Trapper shrugged expressively, and sat down on his cot, grabbing a magazine. He'd read it twice before, and it hadn't been all that interesting to begin with, being Popular Mechanic, but it wasn't as if there was anything else to do. Five minutes later, Hawkeye hadn't moved. Trapper sighed.
Ten minutes later, Trapper had just about flicked through the magazine again, and he took a moment to look across the tent. Hawkeye was still motionless. He might have been asleep; it was difficult to tell the difference.
It wasn't until another ten minutes after that Trapper looked up at the sound of two olives being thrown expertly into two glasses, followed by a couple of splashes of what could only be vermouth being added to both.
Trapper looked at his right hand – there was suddenly a Martini glass in it. "Look who's back from the dead," he said sarcastically to his unusually silent companion.
Hawkeye looked supremely pleased with himself. "It's aged a whole twenty-five minutes," he said, then took a sip from Trapper's glass. "Ah, sweet juniper…"
Finding his own glass, he drank about half of it and sat back on his cot. Immediately, his eyes half-closed again, and Trapper, with the eyes of a doctor, admittedly a rather tired and inebriated doctor, noticed it again. Hawkeye twitched and shifted uncomfortably. "Blood soaks right through these," he complained quietly, meaning the white surgical scrubs. "I never wear anything underneath them." He paused, and then, with a glance at Trapper, added, "But then you knew that."
Trapper might have unconsciously licked his lips; it was hard to tell. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I knew that."
And then, with a sudden realisation that they had no need to be so discreet, he asked, "Where's Frank?"
Hawkeye looked thoughtful. "Take one guess."
"'Knock before entering?'"
Suddenly, their eyes met. The darkness of the night suddenly seemed to encroach in on them, making their oasis of light the only place in the world, just for a moment…
They were already together, wrapped up in each other, perched on the same cot, trapped in the same hell…
Thoughts wandered. Hands wandered. But even as he began to fall into the moment, Trapper knew that something was wrong. Hawkeye shuddered, and Trapper knew he was losing him…
The darkness receded. The moment had passed, like it always did. Noises in the compound hit Trapper's ears, pulling him back to reality.
Hawkeye's eyes had closed, finally. Trapper gently laid him down on the cot, and rolled him over. Hawkeye had fallen asleep, eyes tightly closed, lips slightly parted, totally abandoned to sleep as only children and tired doctors can be. He was so soundly asleep his eyelids didn't even flicker, although he did murmur and twitch in his sleep, almost as if he were already dreaming. Trapper stood up and drew the blankets over his friend and sometime-lover, and then sat back for a moment, watching him sleep, watching him dream.
Trapper leant down and kissed Hawkeye gently. Straightening up slowly, he pushed the hair out of his friend's eyes, letting his fingers linger…
He opened the door. The cold night air rushed in, and Hawkeye moaned in his sleep. Trapper looked behind him for a moment…
The door closed. He was gone.