Written as part of the Great Shack Challenge of 2001. If you haven't checked out the main page for this yet (101 Ways to Wind Up in a Canadian Shack), do! It has 30 authors in 62 fandoms, and I guarantee there are fandoms you never dreamed of there, as well as some of your favorites. They're short (500-600 words), and they're good. These eight were my contribution.
All of my shacks are collected here.
written December 2001; posted December 31, 2001
Hawkeye compulsively stirred the contents of the pot again, then paced along his chosen path: stove to door to table to bed to stove again. He started to rub his arms against the cold and caught himself, shoving his hands into his pockets instead.
It had been a bad idea, getting here first. There was too much time to think.
He stopped at the table and stared at the bottle of scotch sitting in the middle of it, painfully tempted. The ice in his stomach would melt away with the liquor's heat -- just one glass, and he'd be calm, ready to face this.
This. God. How could he be so scared? It was just --
"Hawkeye?" Cold blast of air, uncertain voice, heavily-clad figure in the doorway.
"Trapper." He managed a smile that he hoped was welcoming, forcing himself to move forward and take Trapper's bag.
After a few minutes of bustling around getting rid of coats and boots and luggage, they were standing a few feet away from each other, staring.
"You as nervous as I am?" Trapper asked.
Hawkeye started to laugh. "I damn near reached for some liquid courage just to be able to say hi to you," he admitted. "Hi, Trap."
A heartbeat later they met in the middle in a tangle of arms and the pressure of solid torsos, and before he knew it Hawkeye was crying into Trapper's neck. He could hear ribs creaking, but couldn't tell through the pressure inside his chest if they were his or Trapper's. He held on tighter, feeling his own neck getting wet before they finally managed to pull away a few inches.
"How did things get so weird?"
"I don't know, but God, I'm glad to see you." He hugged Trapper quickly again and let go. "I can't believe we had to come to another foreign country just to say hello in person." His eyes started to prickle again at the sight of the quick, bright grin he remembered so well.
"That stew I smell?" Trapper asked suddenly, looking toward the stove.
"Yeah. My dad's specialty -- he sent a ton of it along. I think he doubts our cooking ability."
"Great. I'm starving." Trapper dropped into a chair and waved a hand imperiously. "Garcon!"
Hawkeye moved to the stove and lifted a spoonful of the stew. "You really want this in your lap?"
"Well, if you're gonna be like that..." Trapper laughed and got up to help himself.
"It's just like old times," Hawkeye said later, eyes half-shut as he listened to the wind battering the cabin.
"Yeah. Except for the good food."
"Well, yeah. And no tent."
"And no still."
Hawkeye sat up straighter. "To the still -- a noble soldier who served with honor under trying circumstances."
Trapper raised his brandy in salute. "To the still."
They both settled back into their chairs again. "But other than that --"
"And no one bleeding on us," Trapper added.
"-- and no one bleeding, it's just like old times."
Hawkeye wriggled his toes, gazing contentedly at them in all their black-socked glory. Not an inch to the side, Trapper's feet in their brown socks were propped up on the same ugly plaid footstool. He uncrossed his ankles and leaned his left foot into Trapper's right. Trapper promptly returned the pressure.
Hawkeye sighed and let his eyes close. Too few people appreciated the joys of holding feet in front of a fire.
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