Story Notes: First and foremost let me say that I am not a slash writer, it's not something I am against mind you, it's just that my fiction does not come out that way. So this story, while portraying intimacy between two men is not slash.
I am well known for my Sherlock Holmes writing, among forays into other ficdoms but I grew up watching M*A*S*H and always loved the character of BJ Hunnicutt. Trapper John was so simular to Hawkeye that the contrast just wasn't compelling to me, if you are a Trapper fan God Bless but I have to say that M*A*S*H became my show when the bright eye married man from California stepped off the plane at Kimpo.
I never expected to write a M*A*S*H fic but when I saw a BJ/Hawk fanvid to the tune of "I'll Keep Your Memory Vague" by finger eleven that was VERY well done that closing scene were the two men embraced and Hawkeye told him he would never get BJ out of his system lit a fire in my brain and while I could see how it could be percieved as slash I found the idea of a friendship that intimate and beautiful the inspiration.
Suddenly I had a MEGA plot bunny hopping around and wrote six chapters in quick succession. There are more than six now so as soon as this gets rolling the updates should be prompt unlike some of my other fics (Sorry Albus fans).
The format needs a little explanation. The italic first person parts are Hawkeye writing his thoughts down, then when the action moves to the external it switches to second person.
Feel free to point out anything you see erroneous, or out of character, or way I can improve it. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I have writing it.
All the characters belong to the producers and writers of M*A*S*H tv series and not me.
Thanks for reading in advanced!
I know that anyone who knows me will find this very hard to believe, me Benjamin Franklin Pierce writing a journal.
I know what you would say Beej. "You can write something besides a Dear Joan letter?" You would say it in that familiar baritone, eyes twinkling but face straight.
GOD how I've missed that!
We kept each other sane; you and I, well…saner, and when we parted it tore my heart out because somehow, I knew it was the end. Here's a man who I loved closer than a brother and we were going to be on opposite coasts of one of the longest countries in the world for the duration of the rest of our lives.
At least I got to look into your smiling face, hug you that one last time and say what was leaking out of my heart and causing the drainage in my eye. I never got that chance with Trapper, the bastard.
I still remember that first day when one chapter closed and the greatest one yet opened. The first time I ever shook your hand was an afterthought, my best friend had left with just a Radar kiss on the cheek for goodbye and here was this straight-laced army issue who was so green he squeaked and I was supposed to accept him?
I would be damned if they would have the satisfaction!
But then something happened on that long arduous odyssey back to camp, in that moment when I found myself comforting this new guy in a field by the side of the road, who had understandably thrown up his guts at his first taste of carnage, I realized something, Beej.
Here I was kneeling in some scrubby field, holding a young man out of his own vomit, so far out his element that there was no going back to his life in the sun, and something changed in me, it was a transformation I took with me all the way back to the 4077th.
Trapper was home, that rat left the sinking ship without me, but this shiny new penny with his newly rumpled, dirty uniform, eyes bright with shock beside me in the jeep, had just been thrown into Hell, out in the deep end of the lake of fire without a life preserver.
I promised you, Beej, in my mind, that I would not pull a Trapper and leave you there alone, even if you turned into another Frank Burns.
My fears that the journey beside you would be a chore were laid to rest the first time you drunkingly called Frank Ferret-face and accidentally groped Hot Lips sending them off in a huff.
When our eyes met while Frank was getting in trouble for the jeep we borrowed, and without a word we left him there…it felt like old times.
I wanted to pinch myself, how the hell did I get this lucky a second time, and where the hell did this kid learn that ability for dry sarcasm?
It was love at first quip.
The years we spent side by side, you were my right arm and I was your left, we worked so hard to keep the life burning and alive in each other's eyes so this damned war would not take all of us.
I sat through hours of your droning about every detail of Erin and every loving line from Peggy because I knew you took my bitter asides and angry blathering with just as much grace.
I once thought that Trapper was the best friend I would ever have, in a way he was, because you became my taller, lankier better half, cheesy mustache and all.
And it all ended, for two years, no word, I started hundreds of letters to you, drinking the weak milk they call booze over here, staring at that damned Fort Dix picture, if you want proof, they are still in my study drawer home in Crabapple Cove.
I came so close to calling you, going so far as to the last digit before hanging up and cursing myself for being a sentimental ass. I told myself, "He's home, he wants to forget his time in that sewer and raise his daughter and love his wife, if I ever truly cared for him I'd let him choose that life...a life without me."
It was a pain that I carried around with me, and thought I would for the rest of my life.
Now I get a surprise call, midnight Maine time from a frantic female voice who is sobbing so hard she can barely get the words out.
When she finally calms herself enough, she informs me that my job to keep you intact until we could get you home became more ironic that I ever would have believed.
It was Peg, calling from a mental ward at the local VA, after dialing a number I gave you; she found it still curled up in your wallet.
You stubborn, jackass, you made it to the end and then quietly allowed yourself to go crazy stateside without even giving me so much as a call; if I wasn't so damned worried about you, Beej, I'd kick your ass all the way back to Saigon!
She wasn't able to tell me much, but what she did recount sounded terrifying, don't worry buddy, no one got hurt but you.
Here I was talking to Peg, THE Peg, a woman I had only known through your stories and that filmstrip, I never believed that she was real to tell the truth, I always thought deep down that no one could be that perfect.
Not wanting to step in a pile you left steaming, I cautiously asked how much you had told her of your life in the Swamp and she let me know that you told her about Nurse what's her name and that other one you nearly fell for, during your first night back!
You ridiculous Boy scout, you asked HER, who you crawled on glass to get back to, if she wanted a divorce, my jaw dropped!
She told me that it broke her heart that you carried that much guilt over straying only twice considering how many women in her wives support group were afraid that their soldier boy was bringing them home some exotic VD along with the genuine teak end table!
It made her love you more, you idiot…just like a certain devastatingly handsome tent mate may have mentioned in passing a few thousand times while you were busy working yourself over for that one physical mistake...once again.
If I can't say this later I'll say it now…I told you so!
Honestly, Beej, If you were not already hitched to this woman, I'd propose, you are such a lucky bastard, I might just propose anyway just to spite you.
I did not ask for it but she told me someone else wanted to say hello and suddenly I am talking to a little girl, and man does she have a vocabulary!
Obviously she got her looks AND brains from her mom, thank god for small favors, right?
She called me Uncle Hawk, Beej, she knew me from your (hopefully sanitized) stories showing that you had kept me in your life, at least with your family, so why didn't you just call me?
I am so angry at you right now. I would have moved the whole damned world to get to you, if you would have only asked.
As it is, my father is filling in for my half of our practice, and since we live together the house is occupied, and knows he might be doing it indefinitely. As soon as he learned of your predicament, he told me to go before he kicked me to California himself, just so I can see if I can pull your familiar narrow white fanny out of the fryer one last time.
In his own way he loves you too.
I could have made the flight earlier, and this visit would have been something to look forward to, instead here I am flying out to your neck to visit with an empty shell which looks like you, but may never again have that little light that always lit your eyes every morning letting me know that BJ Hunnicutt is in residence.
It's quite possible that you might have robbed me of that for the rest of our days, but you should know by now I don't give up without a fight. One thing I thought you and I had in common.
I know you are a private man, but I called Sidney to see if he can talk shrink with your head hunter and find out what's the skinny and translate for me.
I also called Father Mulcahy so he can chat with the Big Guy upstairs that I am no longer on speaking terms with, on your behalf.
I called Charles, yes Charles, who I have talked to more than I have you in the intervening two years just so he would know, because he's asked about you. He's sent you letters too, but you shut him out just as completely as you have me.
I guess courting insanity is solitary work.
He's promised to consult with some experts he knows to see if he can come up with any ideas for me to try, there are some new drugs on the market that he might be able to find out about there in that big city hospital that made the mistake of hiring him.
He sends his best, by the way, well he droned on for about twenty minutes but I choose to think that's what he meant.
It appears that the Swamp rats still have each other's back; I hope that sanctimonious wind bag can come up with some ideas, because you know what Beej? I am fresh out.
Why am I writing this journal?
I am writing this journal for your sake so you can see just what you being a stubborn pain in the ass is causing the people around you and I want to guilt trip you into staying healthy the rest of your life whether I am in it or not.
Also, it might be selfish but I just want a written record for my own posterity, if we can't find you in the maze of your mind where you have gone, I want to know that I have truly done my best.
This is just like the old 4077th OR, Beej, you have to learn to call it, send the kid home in a bag and ask for the next bloody high-schooler in the wrong war at the wrong time, except this time, I am going to crack open the ribs and squeeze that stopped heart until the corpse begins to rot before I give up, even if it takes months, or years.
However, I have to start accepting right now that you might already be gone, and if that is the case, I will never forgive you.
You had my number in your wallet, Beej…the whole damned time…how do I live with the fact that you let yourself fade to black without even trying to call?
Did I not tell you I love you enough?
Pierce put the pad to the side with a weary sigh. He knew his lamp was keeping other people awake who were trying to sleep the flight through, he was half lit on the little bottled gin he was using to medicate himself, but he had to get those thoughts down.
He took another swig to empty it, it tasted better than anything the old still put out, but somehow not having that flavor of stagnant tire swing water and worn out skivvy offended his palate.
It had been one long blur of a day, Twenty-four hours since that call from Peg.
"I don't know what happened, Hawkeye, he started drinking every day, having flashbacks, then hallucinations, some of them violent, night sweats and nightmares…then he left the house one night without a coat, in the pouring rain and when we found him two days later he was curled up in an old box under an over pass that had been left behind by a squatter, trembling and convinced that he wasn't due for a post-op shift for two hours yet. He kept talking about me and Erin like he missed us while we were in the room! I was afraid, I knew he would never forgive himself if he did something to us, but I couldn't be sure that he was aware enough to know that we're not the enemy. I had him committed. My own husband, Hawk, I got him back, now he's gone…again!"
She began to sob, this woman he had never met face to face feeling safe enough to cry, comforted by his presence over a phone connection. He knew it was selfish but he had to know.
"He never called, Peg, not for two years, what makes you think I can reach him if you and your sweet little girl can't?"
She sniffed a bit, and then answered in a confused tone of voice. "I saw him write letters to you, Hawk, I heard him talking to you in his office more than once, and I assumed it was over the phone…oh god, what's wrong with him?"
To which Pierce had replied, "My guess is, a lot."
She had actually found the strength to chuckle. "He said you could always make him laugh, even when things hit the skids. He loves you Hawk, I've never been jealous of that. He always told me if something happened to him that I should call you. So, please, come, he needs you, we need you."
Suddenly she put that bubbly little girl to babbling to her Uncle Hawk, it was a dirty trick, worthy of BJ himself, but it got Pierce on the first available flight.
Pierce pulled out a well thumbed picture of two men with an arm around each other, both wane and tired but giving the camera hell, he still found himself smiling at the cheesy mustache.
"Good night, Beej, wherever the hell you are."
He pressed the picture to his chest, and turned out the over head light, the turbulence disturbed other fellow passengers but it was comforting to a man who had slept for endless nights on a narrow cot with mortar shells pitting the fields nearby, less than a minute after he shut his eyes he was asleep.
Chapter Notes: Writing Hawkeye is interesting, he rants and raves and foams at the mouth an manages to be funny at the same time. It's hard to write him without BJ quipping right back for him to play off of but that was part of the challenge. I promise if you stick with me you will be reading some of the best writing I have ever done but it will get dark before it gets better.