"One of These Days"

 

by Jimaine

 

Rating: PG

Archive: at mash-slash, wherever (whenever) it'll be resurrected! And at T'Len's & Lady Charena's place.

Pairing: Hawk/Trapper...I think

Disclaimer: As always, I hate this kind of public denial… Well, since it *is* a prerequisite... 'I hate this shit', then clears her throat* Oooo-kay, the usual suspects own the show and the characters, I claim nothing as my own except the fact that I borrowed them in order to have a little fun.

 

Author's note: I was listening to one of my favorite CDs when the song...stuck. Truth be told, I'd wanted to use these lyrics for some time now, couldn't decide on the fandom or the pairing, though, until M*A*S*H came along. From the second stanza on, I had to switch POV and pronouns, though. Ah, the song is "One of These Days" written by Robin Bruce Lee and Christi Dannemiller, the recording I have is by Jennifer Davids (but most songs on that CD are covered). Oh, and it's entirely unbetaed (I usually don't post unbetaed stuff, but I've decided to make an exception today:-)))

 

 

 

"Wish someone would tell me when

I won't think of you again

I'll get past the emptiness

And let a little happiness back in.

Pretending not to care

Leaves me halfway there (but)

 

One of these (one of these) days I'll be completely over you

Heaven knows how long it will take

One of these (one of these) days I'll find someone who'll

Love your memory away..."

 

Forty hours and thirteen minutes...that's got to be a new record, even for us. For-r-r-r-ty…rolls off the tongue rather smoothly when it's chased by a couple of drinks. We're so tired that every muscle, every nerve, hums with weariness and keeps us horribly alert. Our bodies resist even our most determined attempts to slow them down, two choppers going full throttle until they simply run out of fuel.

I'm dreading the moment when we shall fall from the sky.

We will.

And God help us then.

I've seen it happen, I won't relive it. I won't do that to you.

 

Standing up on unsteady feet you pour Klinger and Father Mulcahy another generous measure of Monday's production, then drop back onto your cot and grab the sock.

Yes, the sock.

Navy blue.

Unfortunately, you ran out of matching yarn last month, so it's green you're trying to work through the eye of the needle. Emphasis on the 'trying'.

 

So many hours are spent mending people...how ironic that we should spend our off-hours mending socks and shirts. As if we didn't know what else to do with our fingers. Idle work for idle hands.

Hands... I tighten my grip on the glass to keep my hand from shaking. Suddenly, there's laughter. You wink at me across the rim of your glass, smiling at some joke Klinger cracked and I duly missed, and I come crashing back to reality. Sounds return, events occur in real-time again. _First chopper going down...won't you follow?_

 

My fingers fail to seize the martini glass, fatigue and inebriation finally beginning to interfere even with hand-to-Hawkeye coordination. The motion obviously catches your eye and you laugh, good-naturedly, salute me with your own half-empty drink. This is not good... "You can't even sit up straight."

 

Tease! The protest comes automatically, "I can sit up straight...I just can't sit up straight very well." My mumblings don't seem to convince you.

 

"Wan' me t'help?"

 

Better not tempt me. With a grin bespeaking my increasing lack of sobriety, I let my eyes drift shut and banish all present company from my perception. The inebriated chatter is replaced by murmurs of the past. It's at moments like this that I'm most susceptible to them. Memories should be made illegal. At least they should come with an expiration date. But since that's not the case, I must make do with deleting brain-cells en masse and with any luck, I'll score a lucky hit some day. Preferably before having to surrender all of the contents of my skull to insanity...

 

Truth is, with love it's basically the same lesson as with booze: wanting it and having it is really not the same thing. It can't be. It mustn't be.

 

Trying to bend this rule of nature was our first mistake.

 

He tried, oh yeah, he did. Tried to convince me that you can both want and have it. He tried with blond curls, wry smiles and gentle caresses. Tried...with tender hands that operated on patients with detached precision and would continue with equal skill in a darkness filled with whispers resembling my name. Silent, secret passion. In the end it wasn't meant to be.

 

And you won't succeed where he failed, Beej, I won't let you!

 

"Hey, Hawkeye, doncha fall asleep on us now! The Father was just startin' t'tell us about the time he raised money for the orphanage by organizin' a drag-contest at the Pink Pagoda—"

 

"—which Klinger ruined", Mulcahy's slightly slurred voice cuts in. "He was supplying the dresses and…but got the date wrong. Showed up a day late."

 

Klinger nods, chagrined at the memory. Definitely one of the lowest low-points in his life, a close second to the day he'd made the mistake to let himself get drafted.

 

A hand comes down on my shoulder and gently shakes me. Ah, gimme another minute...I was just getting reacquainted with someone.

 

No, Beej, it ain't anybody you know. Wonder, though, if I ever truly knew him...considering the way he...left... Left me with gaping wounds in places I never knew existed inside of me, and even with all my triage training I couldn't treat them. Couldn't patch up myself in time, couldn't save myself from...well, myself.

 

Swallowing the lump in my throat in order to make room for another sip of moonshine, I open my eyes and grab the hand still holding my shoulder. Damn you...

 

The eyes I look into aren't the color I expected.

 

And damn myself as well...ah, no, I already am. Damned, that is.

 

Some suture inside of me comes undone...and I'm bleeding again. Bleeding out. Like on one of those days when I've got more blood covering me than pumping through my veins. Round and round until, one day, it stops. I can take to the outside with water and soap...if only the inside could be cleaned as easily.

Life's brutally asymmetrical.

 

The aching pressure in my chest reaches critical. Every breath is an effort, and I'm afraid to let it back out, afraid that the remainder of my soul might escape with it...the part he left me with.

 

Yes...left. Left. Left just like that. Left me.

 

Left me just when I'd decided that there was one thing about this war that actually might be worth the horror, worth the lives of these hundreds of thousands of UN-soldiers.

That being...him. Love. Awfully egoistic of me, isn't it, Dr. Hunnicutt? You probably would despise me if I were to tell you, hate me as a doctor, a human being, and as my friend.

 

For as much as Korea was killing me, I came to be grateful for the horror, as it was serving John Francis Xavier McIntyre, MD, as a side-dish.

 

You smile and let go of my shoulder, allow me to sit up.

 

 

**************

 

 

"Ever since he's been gone

Nights have a way of draggin' on

Friends drop by to comfort you

But you're not much company for long

You'll get past what was

If you live long enough…"

 

 

People look at you and wonder why. Why you care, how you still can...

You refuse to let 'the bastard' win because in your case he's already scored a partial victory. There's this little piece of you he's killed when you were dropped in the middle of...this.

Korea would give even Hieronymus Bosch nightmares.

 

Kill. Obliterate. Retaliate. Execute. Annihilate.

 

The entire situation is so surreal that wasting time trying to find words for the acronym 'Korea' is only a small step further down the Ocher Dust Road towards Toky-Oz, and while I'm convinced that Klinger's Dorothy, Radar the Lion and Father Mulcahy the Scarecrow (he qualifies as his heart sometimes renders his brain nonexistent), I'd have to cast myself as the Tin-Man (thinking too much for my own good sometimes, effectively out-thinking the heart)...and Hawkeye, well, Hawkeye's Toto, of course.

But who's the Wizard, then? Colonel Potter?

 

Chuckles certainly is the Wicked Witch.

And I'm desperate for my red slippers.

 

Korea.

 

Kidney-trauma.

Open-heart surgery.

Respiratory failure.

Exitus.

Autopsy.

 

When they drafted me, Korea was just a name, a geographical reference. One fine day in late June I was returning home with a bag of groceries, my mind on the afternoon schedule and today's dinner, when I found Peg in the kitchen. In front of her, on the table, the morning mail...one particular letter clutched in her hand.

A plain white envelope.

Her face was of a matching color.

 

Peg used to be everything I'd dream about...now I'm in doubt.

 

"B.J...." And she held it up, that envelope with the governmental stamp; I didn't need to open it to recognize it for what it was. Too many stories told by too many people. I had treated people whose loved ones had received letters like that, people who had suffered.

My turn now.

 

Peg's soft voice. Trembling.

'B.J.' That was all she said. 'B.J.' Nothing more. The anger would come later.

 

The more lives we save, the more tenuous our grasp on our own fragile existence becomes. We use miles and miles of catgut, but it's ourselves we see gradually unravel. Stitch by stitch by stitch towards the brink of sanity.

 

Should I stop calling myself B.J. and go by H.D. instead? Humpty-Dumpty...who fell into a war and all the President's Men couldn't put him back together again?

Too many pieces that just won't fit me anymore.

Maybe it's because some of them are yours, components of another jigsaw puzzle.

 

They got mixed up with mine with every little touch over these past months, innocent brushes of hands, sometimes only fingers. I stopped counting them at some point.

 

Tell you what, you sucked my feelings out of me...needing...desperate to feel something, *anything* but Korea. And I let you have it.

Hell, I'd give you more than that. But that's the very thing you won't have from me.

You'd rather swill another glass of moonshine instead of what I have to offer.

 

Three sides of each B.J.-puzzle-piece fit you – my job, my easygoing personality and, last but not least, my marital status.

The only side that doesn't is my identity.

 

Happy as I am with Peg...I've never had anyone *need* me before.

Not the way you do. You flaunt your impenetrable armor to the world, let loose volley after volley of black humor and jokes, and all the time your eyes are begging for help. The smiles are for show, I realized that rightaway, a façade, I just didn't know for whom you were putting on the show. For me, or the rest of the world.

Both, I guess.

Benjamin Franklin Pierce, bereft of his anchor, latched on to the first lifebelt that happened to float by, of course, that being yours truly. And I can't say that I did mind.

You scream out your need in your silences. The pauses you make when talking about a time before my arrival here. It doesn't occur very often, but it does. You never would admit to your weakness, your memories of him are too precious as that you'd share the truth with anyone.

 

Don't I understand...oh boy, don't I understand…

 

If only you could see, if only you could…

 

No amount of Army training – five weeks or even five years – could have prepared me for this – for you, for being *needed* – neither could have life, of the unmarried or married kind.

 

I find myself responding to the silent call of the Hawk.

 

You are everything I did not know I was missing. My hand, despite its hard grip on your shoulder, is shaking as I hold you upright.

 

If you gave me the chance, I could make that fourth side of the puzzle-piece fit...somehow. Please, let me try. As a friend...if not as a lover. He was everything to you, Hawk, I know that, and I...well, I'd just like to mean *some*thing to you.

 

Hey, got another one for you:

 

Kisses.

Offers.

Rapture.

Escapism.

Apprehension.

 

That's my dreams in a nutshell. It'll never be more than that, I'm afraid, never more than me being jealous of a man I never met. A phantom.

 

Ephemeral kisses and a truckload of ex gratia demons, recondite urges you could never reveal, not even to those you claim to trust. And he left you hanging. Without the kisses but with the demons, all alone.

 

God, I hate him with a vengeance for doing this to you...leaving you and taking most of your soul with him without realizing what he was doing.

But maybe he did...realize it, I mean.

 

A funny thing, love is.

According to Father Mulcahy (if I were to ask him), it's the same as with faith...once you stop trying to make sense of it and just let go, everything becomes perfectly clear. I wish it would!

Things don't happen for a reason. They just...happen. The man you loved went away without so much as a note on your pillow.

He created a hollow shell of a man who didn't know what hit him until it did.

 

Asshole!!

 

"One of these (one of these) days you'll be completely over him

Heaven knows how long it will take

One of these (one of these) days you'll find someone who'll

Love his memory away..."

 

One of these days, Hawk, you'll find your way back to the person I see hiding in the depths of the man whose blanket I'm now pulling over him. The man who has fallen asleep – finally, finally...I exchange a tired smile and a few words with the Father and Klinger, and they leave. They don't ask questions, either too sloshed or too tired to pick up on the undercurrents of our situation.

 

I wish it could be me, you know.

The one.

But I don't compare...I couldn't, could I?

 

You let out a soft moan and curl up on your side, the empty glass slipping from your grasp as you relax into sleep. And I bend down and catch it. Put it away safely, next to the still.

*His* still.

It's all about him, isn't it? Always about him. The other half of Hawkeye Pierce...chaotic, charming, dedicated, irascible, irrational and – to my eternal regret – irresistible head surgeon of the 4077th MASH. A man who has to remind himself every morning that he's not in Maine anymore or else he'd lose most of himself.

 

Wish I could let you know how much I love you...Toto. But this Tin-Man simply doesn't have the heart to tell you.

 

I'm not him, I know.

That doesn't mean that I can't be myself and still matter.

 

"One of these days

Somehow, some way."

 

FINIS