Christmas Break

(A response to the prompt "work." Post-war story.)

B.J. stepped out into the night air, finding Hawkeye exactly where he expected to, sitting on the picnic table just outside the back door. It was a little chilly out here, but not uncomfortable, and anyway, it was pretty much the only place where they could be guaranteed privacy while staying on hospital grounds.

"Merry Christmas," B.J. said as he took a seat next to Hawkeye on the table. It was the first time all day they'd seen each other, apart from 7 o'clock that morning when they were frantically trying to get Erin dressed and ready to go to her mom's.

Hawkeye took a quick look around to make sure they were indeed alone, and then he leaned over and gave B.J. a kiss. "Merry Christmas, Beej."

Hawkeye'd had to work on Christmas Day… it was simply his turn in the rotation. And so B.J. had swapped shifts with another doctor so they would both be on duty during the holiday, ensuring they'd both be off at the same time as well. There were worse things than working on Christmas Day, B.J. reasoned. He and Hawkeye would just celebrate with Erin the next day, that's all.

B.J. looked into Hawkeye's face, tilting his head. He was a little surprised to read melancholy in his lover's expression. "What are you thinking about?"

Hawkeye leaned back on his elbows and B.J. followed suit, both of them looking up into the clear night sky. With a sigh, Hawkeye said, "Oh… a lot of things. For starters, that it ought to be snowing on Christmas—this climate will just never seem right to me this time of year. And that it was really sweet of you to volunteer to work today so we'd be sure to have tomorrow together. But most of all, I'm thinking about Erin, and that I hope she had a fun Christmas Day."

Touched, B.J. inched closer to Hawkeye. "I'm sure she did. Peg was making a huge meal, all of Erin's favorite foods. Don't worry about her… that little girl does not want for anything, that's for damn sure. Her mom and her dads spoil her rotten."

Hawkeye laughed softly. No doubt thinking of the myriad presents that were sitting under their tree even as they spoke, waiting to be ripped open. "Yeah… well… I miss her. Holiday and all that… we shouldn't be away from our daughter."

B.J. rested his head on Hawkeye's shoulder. "You're a bigger sentimental fool than I am, and that's really saying something. Remember all the complaining I did in Korea, how every little thing made me miss Erin? Hell, just putting my boots on in the morning made me miss Erin. Who would've guessed you'd be worse than me?"

"OK, OK," Hawkeye said. "Point taken. Stop wallowing, right?"

"Well I think it's sweet that you're so sentimental—and such a caring father," B.J. added. "But we'll all be together tomorrow, and that sure as hell beats being thousands of miles apart."

Hawkeye turned then, looking B.J. directly in the eyes, admiration written all over his face. "I don't know how you did it."

B.J. cupped Hawkeye's jaw and then brought their mouths together. "I had help," he said softly. "I had the most amazing man helping me get through it."

They leaned together, both of them aware that their respective breaks should be over by now, but reluctant to head back inside just yet. Eh, go ahead and take another five minutes, B.J. told himself.

After all, it's Christmas.