by Jimaine



Reply to the Friday 5-min-challenge of July 26th


Pairing: Hawkeye/BJ (pre-slash)

Rating: G

Archive: mash-slash, T'Len's & Lady Charena's Swamp, and various interested parties

(providing prior expression of interest)

Disclaimer: I don't own MASH or any of the characters. Unfortunately.

I'm gonna rectify that oversight by building a time-machine and marrying Larry Gelbart.





//If I don't do this now, I'll never know.//


//Do what?//


//Can't tell you.//


//Why not?//


//Because telling you would *be* doing what I'm afraid of doing, that's why!//


"Penny for your thoughts, Hawkeye."


The voice jolts me back into reality, allows me to move again.

I hadn't realized that I'd stopped.

Maybe one day I'll stop forever and never even notice. Wouldn't that be funny...


Careless, Hawk, careless.

With a sigh, I put aside brush and soap and straighten my aching back. Yeah, I'm here again. Minor

lapse in the 24/7 self-surveillance. But the past has this nasty habit of sneaking up on you when you

least expect it. A long-forgotten moment just ambushed me at the basin in the scrub room, taking

advantage of this surgeon who'd gotten lost in the repetitive motions. Like a gazelle at the water-hole,

I'm easy prey for memories.


Drying off my hands, I look up and give a smile by way of a reply. "That wouldn't be enough, I'm

afraid. Not by far. – What've we got out there?" How often have we had this conversation already? Me

asking and you answering, or you asking and me giving the answer that never seems to change. It's as

much a ritual as the scrubbing.


"Two nasty chest cases, a couple of compound fractures and at least three legs whose owners are

prime candidates for arterial transplants…I'd say all in all about half a ton of shrapnel evenly distributed

throughout twenty-odd bodies."


"Just what your draft-board prescribed. Start the music, Beej."


"Had a nice vacation just then?"


"Pleasant enough. I'll show you the brochure later on."


"Wherever it was, I'm glad you're back. I hate to work alone."


Not far away, actually, I was right here, in an identical moment. Just in someone else's company...not

that this little detail matters anymore. It's been so long. I remember mobilizing all my courage for three

words, eight letters. The kind of courage you can have only once in your entire life.


Who am I to think that I can do it twice?


But sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And if not now, I'll never know.


It happens almost by itself.


A second ago, I was there and suddenly, one step later, I'm *here*…right in front of you, blocking

your way into the O.R.  I'm doing it. "Beej…" Saying your name and forcing out the request. "When

we are done here, I need to talk to you, Beej. It's…kinda important. To both of us."


Courage, courage, do I have enough?


You turn your head, you nod…and say, "I know". Nothing more.

Looking at you, into your eyes, my voice catches somewhere between my heart and my mouth. Yes.

You know. And through your silent acceptance I'm being told something else, something even more

important: courage isn't required. Only trust.