Friends in need
The usual, the people/characters do not belong to me.
Hawkeye is sitting in the swamp talking to someone unseen by the camera; this is towards the end of the series.
"You're the only one who I've said this too, the only one. I know you won't say a word that's why I can tell you." He stands and starts to pace. "I think I'm going mad." Hawkeye stops pacing as if waiting for a reaction, with none forthcoming he flops onto the chair. "Really, I think they've sent for Sidney."
The door opens and BJ enters the swamp. "Come on Hawk, the movies about to start," he crosses the floor as he speaks, picking up his hat. Realising the other man hadn't moved he glances at his friend, "Hawk, are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'll be along in a minute, you go ahead save me a seat, forget the seat save me a nurse." Hawkeye wiggles his eyebrows and speaks in a Groucho Marks voice, trying desperately to prove to he's okay.
BJ, though isn't fooled, he shrugs "Nah, I think I'll stay and keep you company, we can go over together."
Hawkeye's head snaps up catching BJ's eye. "I don't need a babysitter. I'm fine. I'll come over when I'm ready." The anger in his voice was evident.
BJ raised his hands in defence. "Okay, okay, I'm going." The worry in his voice was obvious, Hawkeye had them all worried BJ's parting words belied his concern "just promise me you won't sit in the dark too long." Not waiting for a reply he left, making a note to speak to Colonel Potter, they needed Sidney sooner rather than later.
Hawkeye leaned forward and lifted something from the chair, giving a harsh gut wrenching laugh as he did. "No, there's no need to baby-sit me, I'm fine I'm sure grown men all over the world are sitting in the dark spilling their guts to a stuffed toy." Holding Radar's much loved bear in his hands as he spoke, "Damn this place." He roared, as he launched the bear watching as it hit the side of the tent. Just thenthe door opened again, Hawkeye turned away from the light, thinking BJ had come back, he snapped"I told you I don't need a babysitter" he desperately tried to wipe the tears from his face as he spoke.
"I may be many things, but a babysitter I most certainly am not." Charles Emerson Winchester III stood in the doorway, "I thought you were with the other rabble watching the movie." He considered leavingyet there was something that made him pause. "I obviously didn't realise you were still here."
Charles played for time, for once uncertain as to his next move; he'd seen the bear in orbit, the tears Hawkeye had tried to conceal. The last few days there had been real concern in the camp about Pierces' behaviour, so much so Winchester considered crossing the compound and fetching the Priest, or Potter.
Yet there was something so vulnerable about the man in the red bathrobe that unless he acted now maybe they wouldn't get this chance again. Charles made a decision.
He stepped into the swamp letting the door close behind him. "Pierce, I don't wish to pry but are you alright?"
"Charles….I…," pausing Hawkeye turned toward the other man, in that split second the words he didn't want to speak tumbled from his mouth. "I hate this place the suffering, the blood, the death. Charles I think I'm going mad." The words continued to tumble out but it was the desperation behind them that Charles heard, he listened in silence. When Hawkeye eventuallystopped Winchester exhaled, the man was petrified.
"Pier…," he corrected himself " Hawkeye you've been here longer than most of us. I don't think I myself would have survived without your friendship and your ability to see the humour in most situations, albeit basic and moronic but humour none the less. But as to your mental state I think." He paused, the man before him was exhausted, the energy that usually surrounded him hadgone. Capt. B.F Pierce; Chief surgeon at MASH 4077 was a man on the edge. This man didn't need sympathy he needed a friend, a friend who understood.
Taking a breath Charles took the seat opposite him. "As to your mental state, I think you're tired, extremely tired. You use humour and laughter as efficiently as you use a scalpel, yet that doesn't stop the panic and terror we feel as surgeons when a ambulance arrives full of wounded andterrified boys. And you are possibly the finest surgeon who I've had the opportunity to work alongside, and therefore the loss of one of these young men makes its mark deeper and deeper every time. The stench of death and despair envelope us, yet in the centre of this nightmare we strive to be Doctor's, healers. Each time we treat the healthy bodies of young men who have been mutilated by other young men, we die a little inside. When on a daily basis we attempt to match body parts to the right body how can we all not consider ourselves on the verge of madness?"
Hawkeye sat in silence, although they shared a tent the men in it never spoke of the harsh realities of the life they lived here. Their fears were kept to themselves rarely did they voice them. They shared the same fears and nightmares, the knowledge that this man who he had come to admire as a surgeon, and now a friend shared the same fears made his pain slightly easier to bear.
Charles closed his eyes, trying to understand how things had come to this. He Charles Emerson Winchester III should be in Boston not here in hell. Lately he toohadtrouble erasing the faces of the young men he'd operated on from his mind, now he saw them awake or asleep.
"Hawkeye, I can't promise you an end to all this, but I can promise you that right now you are not alone, and far from mad perhaps in reality you are the sanest of us all."
The words opened the flood of tears Hawkeye had been desperately trying to hold back, he bowed his head and let the tears fall. Charles reached across briefly placing a hand on his friends shoulder. Displays of emotion were not the Winchester way, yet he felt his own eyes filling with tears, if this war continued would they all end up like Pierce or indeed were they already there.
The clapping and cheers from the mess tent filled the air. The film was starting.