Written for Sage for Yuletide 2006.
Many thanks to elynross, Merry, and Therienne for beta and hand-holding!
written December 2006, posted January 1, 2007
Hawkeye leaned back in his chair, taking a moment to just breathe in the quiet as the door closed behind Radar, straggling behind Henry, Margaret, and Father Mulcahy, all heading off to their own quarters at long last after the nightly poker game that had bored him almost as soon as it started. This was what he'd been waiting for all night, while he laughed and joked with everyone, the picture of bonhomie. The corners of the VIP tent were shadowy, hiding the battered quality of the few furnishings and the olive drab of the walls, leaving him and Trapper alone in a cozy cave once again, the way he liked it best.
Relief and affection surged through him as he gazed at Trapper, sitting across from him in his disreputable yellow robe, head bent and gleaming burnished gold in the light from the single lamp as he gathered cards back into a deck with sure, steady fingers. "Y'know, I'm gonna miss your ulcer when it's gone," he said, voice carefully light. These last two weeks had been like a dream: work as horrible and terrifying as ever, interrupted by long stretches of time spent in here with Trapper, talking about anything and everything that was neither horrible nor terrifying.
Trapper snorted and glanced up. "Oh, yeah, it's been great." He poured himself another glass of milk from the nearly empty pitcher at his elbow and drank it down with a grimace. "I'm never drinking milk again as long as I live once this is over."
"Ah, c'mon, it's not that bad," Hawkeye said, standing up and starting to gather up the rest of the detritus from the game -- glasses, a few crumb-filled plates, and an impressive scatter of the tongue depressors they were using for chips, after Margaret had declared that playing for money would be too stressful for Trapper, over Trapper's loud complaints. Since they weren't worth anything, they just started fresh every game, splitting the stack evenly among whoever was playing that night.
The poker games were the best way they'd found of making Trapper feel like he was still part of things, while making sure he stayed away from anything that might get him worked up at all. If his ulcer didn't heal completely here, he was going to be transferred to Tokyo to repeat his "treatment" -- tranquilizers, bland diet, and rest -- and from there he'd be transferred to another unit.
No one wanted that, with the possible exception of Frank, so they'd all been careful to follow HQ's recommendations to the letter. It had only taken a few days to realize that Trapper wasn't going to be able to relax in the hospital, even on tranquilizers, while surrounded by patients in need of a doctor's care. By the fourth time he'd gotten up to check on someone's chart, Margaret was threatening to tie him to the bed -- then threatening to bring him up on charges, when he leered a little too much at the thought of being tied up by her. Radar, bless his pointy little head, had come up with the idea of giving Trapper some privacy in the VIP tent, since no one was using it, and they'd managed to keep him quiet and relaxed and on the mend since then, with no distractions. Hawkeye had put a big sign on the door, threatening dire consequences to anyone who talked shop when they stopped by to see Trapper, and he and Margaret had worked out a low-key visitor schedule designed to keep Trapper occupied but not overwhelmed. Hawkeye made sure that he was listed every day.
Poker had been added around Day Twelve of the three-week recovery period, when unanimous medical opinion had declared Trapper fit enough for a few hours of company and entertainment every night -- largely inspired by Trapper's grim declaration that if he didn't get to do something soon he was going to walk into the OR and start operating on the first person he saw, patient or not.
"It's like a vacation," Hawkeye added. "No work, cabana boys bringing you meals three times a day, pretty girls hovering and giving you drinks at all hours...."
"Easy for you to say," Trapper groused, shuffling the cards idly. "Klinger's not that pretty a girl, and Radar's not exactly my idea of a cabana boy. And as for the meals he brings -- you wouldn't think that food could be blander and less interesting than the usual junk they serve here. I must've lost ten pounds on this stupid diet."
Hawkeye glanced keenly at him, checking to see how tightly his robe was tied. Maybe it was time to start easing him into walks on nice days, get some muscle tone back after more than two weeks of lying around. That'd help his appetite, too. "It's only for a few more days," he said bracingly. "And in the meantime, you still have these lovely accommodations."
"Ah, ignore me," Trapper said, slapping the cards down on the table and leaning back with a sigh. "I'm just bored, Hawk. I appreciate everything everyone's doing for me, I really do, but I'm going out of my mind here."
Hawkeye put everything on top of the dresser, where he knew Radar would clear it away in the morning, and dropped back into his chair, looking at Trapper consideringly.
"Want me to set it up so Frank walks in while you and Klinger are in a compromising position?" he offered. "Be fun watching him turn purple because he can't upset you by yelling."
That got an honest shout of laughter, one of Hawkeye's favorite sounds in the world, and he beamed in delight.
Trapper shook his head, still chuckling. "Man. That'd be something, all right." He rubbed his nose and glanced sidelong at Hawkeye. "Actually, truth is -- Know what I said about Klinger not being that pretty?"
"Yeah, well, he's not. But he's looking better all the time." Trapper pointed a finger at him. "Tell him I said that, and I kill you in your sleep. I'm a doctor, I know how to do these things."
Hawkeye grinned. "Not a word. But what's the cook putting in your milk these days, anyway? I mean -- Klinger? Please! Okay, I admit, that red number he was wearing today always does great things for his eyes, but still."
Trapper flushed a little and chuckled in embarrassment. "I'm telling you, Hawk, it's getting that bad. No one else will even flirt with me."
Hawkeye gave him his best coquettish glance. "I'll flirt with you, sailor," he promised huskily, rewarded with another of Trapper's bright laughs.
"Don't tempt me," Trapper said warningly, grinning back.
Heat curled through Hawkeye's belly, and he froze.
"Yeah," Hawkeye managed. He got up and moved out of the light a little, pretending to putter, glancing at Trapper when he figured he was a safe distance away. More heat, heading south. God. How could he have missed this? What was he going to do about this?
Trapper stood up too, frowning as he took a few steps toward Hawkeye. "Hawk, are you -- oh, God," Trapper breathed, looking closely at him. "Hawk?"
"Sorry, I--" Hawkeye shook his head. "I should probably go." He knew what he looked like: flushed, lips parted, eyes dilated. There was no way to mistake it for anything other than what it was.
"Don't," Trapper said quietly. "Not unless you want to." He glanced away, then back again, meeting Hawkeye's gaze squarely. "I meant it when I said don't tempt me, too -- you're the biggest temptation in this camp."
Hawkeye looked at him, wide-eyed. "Trap?"
"Yeah," Trap said wryly, "I know." He reached out a hesitant hand and drew one finger along Hawkeye's jaw. "Okay?"
"Oh, my God," Hawkeye breathed, shivering as the touch trailed fire along his skin. "That is so much more than okay I can't -- C'mere, wouldja?"
Trapper went willingly, blue eyes darkening as he slid one hand behind Hawkeye's neck and curved the other around his waist, leaning in and touching his lips carefully to Hawkeye's.
They stayed like that a moment, chaste as schoolgirls, and then Trapper tightened his grasp, opening his mouth and licking Hawkeye's lips. Hawkeye moaned, parting his lips to let Trapper in, melting into the kiss. With a final lick that was pure promise, Trapper finally drew back, moving both hands to cup Hawkeye's face as he looked into Hawkeye's eyes.
Hawkeye gazed back, knowing he looked stunned and not caring. "We are so stupid," he said, and Trapper cracked up, and as easily as that everything was normal and right again, just better than ever.
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