Author: A. V. Meren
Title: My Name is Hawkeye: Founder of Our Nation
Series: Patriots series. Part One.
Author's Notes: First part of a series that's still in progress, but the story itself is complete.
My Name is Hawkeye: Founder of Our Nation
It's impossible to know people. It's just not possible. You'll never be able to understand someone the way that you understand yourself, or even be able to understand yourself; never be able to really be in sync with someone, never be able to truly, completely, fully love someone.
Never, never, never.
In the normal course of things, you only know other people as ghosts; there, but misty, unknowable. What strange course of events set them haunting here where you haunt?
Did Margaret ever really love someone, so much so that she can't love someone now? Was Henry ever resolute, a decisiveness that came to a disastrous end that affected him all the days of his life? Did Mulcahy ever make love, kissing slow and sweet, sliding his lips over those of the ghost of a girl that will haunt his lonely old age?
Klinger--did Klinger ever touch the silky cloth of his wife's dress, love the warmth that seeped through, the softness of the touch?
Or Potter--how many of his friends has he outlived? Not only his *best* friends, but the people he hardly knew--that he grew up with, went to school with, who took off and made lives far away and who he remembers that he once knew, so very long ago, before the beaches of Normandy? Before he ever dreamed that girls were for more than teasing, or that summers could be boiling-Korea hot?
Did Charles ever know anything more than Boston's high society, or Radar ever dream of anything outside of farm and home?
Trapper--God, Trapper!--what did he have, before the war? Before even the dream of the war? Children, a wife--back further, to a childhood of outrageous pranks and a sun-burned, laughing boy who played at war--and everyone got back up, after.
What did B. J. have? Like Trapper, a family--a wife, a child. Strange, that both Trapper and Beej had girl-children. Girls that would grow up to be women, girls that would have children of their own.
Even Frank--much as it pains me to think it--even Frank was something else, once. Had something that no-one but Frank knew, something that made him Frank--a different Frank, one that never knew Margaret, one that never knew blood and pain and strange flashes of a rare kindness.
He wasn't so bad, I know, but he was the best thing in my and Trapper's lives--someone who was always there to mock, to hate, to take all the pranks that we might otherwise have played on each other. And maybe life without him wouldn't have been so bad, but it would have been so much poorer for the lack of me and Trapper in an eternal feud with Frank. Frank wasn't the sum of our relationship, but he was an important part. And that feud--sometimes I think that it was all that kept the three of us sane.
He was a bastard, but he was our bastard. And after, the last thing of Trapper that I had left.
And then he left, too.
The others, the ones that I knew, but was never so tightly bound and knitted and tied with--the nurses and soldiers and Igor serving the remnants of his mad-scientist experiments--were they ever different? Did they ever know something different?
Was Flagg ever sane?
Or was it all a dream?
War changes something in you, but not really. It brings up all you are to the surface, the good and the bad and the bloody.
Screaming and scarred, the horror that you never want to face in yourself comes up to the light and the worst is--you knew it was there. All the time...
So you have a drink, and have another, and build a still and watch the new people go quiet and strange and change into themselves. It hits them hard, at first, and there's screaming and vomiting and crying and asking God 'why?'
But they get used to it. They get numb, or they rationalize, or they gain a capacity for alcohol that would have shocked and disgusted them--*before*.
They're happy, now. They complain, they make jokes, they long and long and long for home--but where is home? Those who get to leave are happy beyond belief--and terrified beyond belief. Home is a strange mirage, a distant ghost that wails and wails around the edges of the 4077, weeping and weeping and weeping.
And the war goes on. It brings up some amazing flashes of goodness, so much more bright for the contrast of surrounding Korea.
Henry and Radar laughing at my and Trapper's antics while Margaret and Frank scowl in disapproval in the background...
A flash, and the same scene repeated, though Henry is replaced by Potter and Radar by Klinger and Trapper by B.J. and Frank by Charles...
God! And who will be there, when B.J. goes?
Because B.J. will go. And then there will be someone else there, someone with an odd name, and a taste for swill out of a still, and I--will still--be here.
There was something before Korea, once, but I can't remember it anymore.
I think that it was only a dream.
I could just walk away.
I could just say "Stop," and "Let me go," and walk away.
And he would let me.
He could just say "Stop," and "Let me go," and walk away.
And I would let him.
But I don't say anything, and he doesn't say anything and the only sounds are those of stifled moans and sharp, open-mouthed, airless gasping. There's a long, sliding sound of clothes rustling on and off our bodies, clothes that get in the way, but that we don't dare take off.
I take his mouth hard and slow, forcing my tongue in as he meets me with equal passion. He grips my shoulder with one hand, the other hand much lower as he tries to bring me off quickly, and succeeds. When I'm done, I drop to my knees and take him in, spitting and wiping my mouth after he comes.
I hate this. So does he.
But we both need it.
It was stupid, the way this started.
I made some stupid crack, and he said something stupid back, and we just knew. We looked at each other, and we saw each other, and we knew.
We knew that neither of us were what we used to think of as ourselves, anymore, and that neither of us really cared.
We knew that we both loved something that we could never know, could never even touch. That we didn't even, really, know what we loved.
Maybe it was an idea. Maybe it was a dream.
We knew it was different for each of us. I don't know what it is for him, but I think he suspects that, for me, it's B.J. And Trapper.
Still Trapper, even now.
We just knew. And he came to the Swamp after, and looked at me, and I looked at him and looked at him and looked at him. He wasn't what I loved, but I wasn't what he loved. So we understood each other, more than any of the nurses ever understood me, more than B.J. understands me.
Not as much as Trapper did, though. Never as much as Trapper.
So I took him out into Korea and we fucked, and he disappeared. And re-appeared, a few months later. No one else in the 4077th knew, but I did.
And when I came home, B.J. looked at me with a question in his eyes and I smiled and made a joke, and Charles groaned and turned over.
But the question--it's still there. Every time I go off into Korea, away from the 4077th and home, the question is still there when I return.
I don't know what it is.
I don't think I care. I have B.J. and the others, I have the still, I have--God help me!--Flagg.
We don't love each other. Hell, we don't even like each other.
This would be so much worse if we did.
We never talk; I don't think that either of us could stand it. But we make noises, sometimes, and call each other things that we aren't.
Sometimes he calls me "goddamnit" and "yes" and "Steve, please!"
Sometimes I moan long and slow and sweetly, and I call him "B.J."
My name's Hawkeye, did you know that? My dad named me that, and I went off to war, and Benjamin Franklin Pierce disappeared.
I don't know why Mom named me Benjamin Franklin, after the founder of our nation.
Charles has a book with that title. "Founder of Our Nation." He let me read it; it was a collection of Benjamin Franklin's writings and a history of his life.
From what I read, from what he wrote that's lasted all these years until I could find a copy of his writings to read, he was a good man. Like me, he was stuck in the middle of a terrible war, and like me, he seems to have had what Charles calls "situational ethics." Had a sense of humor, too.
I like that. The name seems to fit me better, knowing that.
But it was a kind of omen as well, I think. All the things we have in common-it makes me wonder what my mother knew.
I guess it doesn't matter, though. I'm named Benjamin Franklin Pierce, but I'm not that man. He disappeared a long time ago, too long ago to remember, and I don't think he's coming back.
I don't want him to.
I'm afraid of him.
My name is Hawkeye, and I'm a doctor. My home is the Swamp in MASH 4077 in Korea. I don't know this stranger, this guy with a weird name just like mine who's nothing like me. He doesn't drink like I do, crack the same kinds of jokes as I do, do the same kind of surgery that I do. He flinches whenever he hears a shell nearby out of fear more than out of habit, and whenever he looks at the kids in O.R. I can hear him screaming.
He's not me and I'm not him. He's gone away. But someday, Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, M.D. will have to go back to Crabapple Cove, where he was born, and leave Hawkeye behind.
And what will happen to me then? What will happen to that crazy drunk and damn fine doctor, who was born, lived, and died in Korea?
I don't know.
I'm afraid to find out.
What will happen to Flagg, after?
I don't know anything about the man; no more than what the rest of the 4077th does. He's CIA, his name is Flagg, and he's not sane.
So I don't know. Maybe he'll retire and go do whatever a retired spy does, maybe he'll stay in the CIA and go work behind the Wall.
Maybe he'll get killed on one of his missions and never turn up again, and I'll never know what happened to him.
I bet Steve won't, either.
In Korea, in the middle of a war, nobody has a past or a future. Everything lives in the Now.
Right now, I'm in love with B.J. Hunnicut, and he only thinks of me as his best friend, which I am.
Right now, Flagg is in love with Steve of no-last-name, and I'll probably never know that story. But I hope that, for Flagg's sake, it doesn't turn out badly.
Right now, my name is Hawkeye. I'm a doctor, and a good one, who lives and works at MASH 4077, smack in the middle of the Korean War.
Right now, I'm kissing Flagg as hard as I can, and I don't think that I can let go.
I hate Korea.
I want to go home.
But I don't think I know myself well enough, anymore, to know where home is.
And I wonder, did I ever?