All Go Down Together
At the Korean Airport he's given a room number and a time: 0900 hours, report to lobby. The nice lady aide adds that he's going to a new MASH unit, which he already knew, and that he'll be joined by two other doctors tomorrow. John thanks her and drags his suitcase to the hotel; he's been informed that his locker will be sent along afterwards, and he wonders how long it'll take the army to do so. In his room he collapses and falls asleep almost instantly.
He wakes with a start two hours later, disoriented and wondering why he can hear helicopter and planes overhead. It takes him almost a minute to remember and he groans when he realizes. He drags on pants, throws on a robe and wonders down to the bar; still open, though with very few occupants. Right down at one end is a dark haired man sipping at a martini glass - he's wearing a red robe. The man turns slightly and catches sight of John; he grins and motions him over and John finds himself grinning back as he walks over.
'A martini for my friend here, and another one for me!' the man calls as John pulls up a chair. 'Hawkeye Pierce, famous in verse and song,' the man says, holding out a hand and John takes it laughing.
'Trapper John McIntyre,' he says; he doesn't know why he uses the familiar name, but it seems appropriate. 'How'd you get the name Hawkeye?' he asks, as their drinks come.
Hawkeye takes a sip and sighs blissfully before answering.
The first boy on his table is barely 19 and bleeding everywhere, or so it seems. At the next table he can see Frank's hands shaking slightly and he can hear Henry humming somewhere in the room.
'Scalpel' he says; the squelch of flesh is familiar at least and the belly is comfortingly standard, apart from the metal stumps he can see. He counts one, two, ten and he's sure there'll be more in the others, the ones lying waiting out in the prep room.
'Someone tried to turn this kid into a bullet,' he says, exasperated. He instructs the nurse to begin sewing and heads out for the next, trying to ignore the bile at the back of his throat. He looks at the young boys, they all look like kids there, with their blood and their cuts, and he tries not to imagine them as children; he wants to throw up, but the anger is slowly overpowering that.
'Klinger, next!' he calls and head back in.
He looks at Hawkeye, just finishing up on his patient, and Trapper can see the beginnings of shadows in his eyes. He wonders if the same shadows can be found in his.
Hawkeye pats him on the back on his way out.
Frank wonders after Margaret when the party ends and he cracks a joke about needing affirmation, which makes Hawkeye laugh and lean on him while they walk back to the Swamp; Trapper enjoys the feel of his bulk, something solid to hang on too.
'I'm sorry,' Hawkeye tells him again, when they get back to the tent. He shrugs; 'Ah, it was too good to be true anyway,' he sits down on his cot and Hawkeye pours him a martini. 'I was looking forward to seeing my girls again, though.' Trapper says, carefully to say it lightly, not to linger on the thought; he's already cried enough today.
Hawkeye sits down next to him, puts an arm around him; it surprisingly warm, comforting. Trapper leans into him, and they sit quietly for a few moments; Trapper marvels at the quiet, the relative peace of the moment – somewhere below all his disappointment and sadness, he feels happy, calm.
'I would have missed you,' Hawkeye whispers and Trapper isn't sure he was supposed to hear it, so instead of answering, he kisses Hawkeye's cheek. It gets him a smile, but Hawkeye looks like he's likely to start crying as well, so Trapper kisses him again, on the mouth. This time he can feel the smile against his lips, and he presses closer when he feels Hawkeye responding, holding onto Hawkeye with one hand on his shoulder, another on his waist. Hawkeye opens his mouth, pressing even closer, and Trapper thanks whatever higher powers for this, for having Hawkeye to make him forget, to make him laugh; he wants to thank Hawkeye for keeping him upright and for this, but he can't find the words, so he keeps kissing him.
Hawkeye licks at the corner of Trapper's mouth before pulling away.
'But will you respect me in the morning?'
Trapper laughs because he can't cry and wrestles Hawkeye onto the bed.