I'll admit right off the bat this is my first attempt writing for the M*A*S*H fandom, but I've been a huge fan for years. Not really sure why I'm writing for Winchester, seeing as how he's not one of my absolute favorites, but I was watching "Fade Out, Fade In" the other night on tv, and the idea just popped into my head. Anyway, on with the fic!

I do not own M*A*S*H or any of its characters/plot/setting/etc

Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock

Might Have Been Chuck

He stared blankly at the wooden door that still swung out and in from the impact of the old, but steady hand that had pushed it open in order to exit. Winchester knew the aged appendage and digits were steady, as he had just received a firm and uncompromising handshake from the owner of it.

Colonel Sherman T. Potter was not a man who fooled around, it seemed. This was a good fact to know; Winchester liked to be aware of his surroundings, and the people inhabiting them. This man, his jailer, was sure to be an obstacle to his pathway home.

With those thoughts, Winchester stared morosely at what was to have been his first and last drink at this dismal excuse for an Officer's Club in a dismal excuse for a hospital, deep in the backwater backcountry of the Korean Peninsula. This was what Potter expected him to get used to? Cheap alcohol in dusty glasses with terrible, ear-splitting awful, music crackling from an old jukebox behind him as officers, nurses, and enlisted men alike shuffled in and out!

His shock had taken some time to transform into despair, but it evolved much more quickly into righteous anger. How dare he! Who did Potter think he was to force him to stay? Charles Emerson Winchester III had merely come to this place of war to serve his term, a few simple lectures, demonstrations, perhaps a game or two with one of his family's acquaintances—

And more of Potter's words smacked him with full force in the face. It wasn't just the old Colonel conspiring against him, but Baldwin as well! All for a measly $672.17 in cribbage debts! Of course it all came back to Baldwin; the man was scheming to get away with not paying him back. That was it, it'd be best for Baldwin if Winchester got hit by a stray bullet here at this out-post.

Good Lord. Just as quickly, his anger was replaced by fear. What if he died? This was a war, men dropped like flies in war. And he could be one of them. Winchester had never intended for things to end this way, no Winchester ever intended for things to end like this. He had a life, and a job, and a family all back in Boston for heaven's sake!

Of course, he supposed quite a few of these men already trapped here had those things as well. Yet he could hardly dare to ask.

And there was the rub. Above all things, here in this hell-hole, he was alone.

Charles Emerson Winchester III, used to circles of much higher society, had ignored, snubbed, and outright insulted away any and all hopes of companionship, sympathy, and camaraderie. And he had been fine with it, because he had thought he would soon be leaving this dump and be back in comfortable Tokyo.

But now…

He had seen the look in Pierce and Hunnicut's eyes. They were not men who forgave easily. And they were to be his new tent mates! Tent mates!

If things had been different, if he had known that he would be suffering alongside all these doctors and nurses for indefinite eternity, perhaps Winchester would have acted differently. He might have shed the skin of upper society in order to survive. He might have been more excepting of their overtures of welcome. He might have been polite to the company clerk. He might have accepted a small drink in the Colonel's office, or might have tried the swill in the Swamp.

He might have been Chuck.

But Charles Emerson Winchester the third could never be Chuck. And they all knew it. So he would suffer alone.

So yeah, I'm not really sure how I did, so I'll leave it up to you to decide. This is sort of what I thought Charles might have been feeling at the end of that episode. He kind of dug himself a hole during the first have, socially speaking anyway, and it takes him nearly the rest of the series to climb out of it. I don't think he would have done that if he knew that he would be staying at the 4077th. But anyway, that's neither here nor there. Thanks for reading, and please review!