The 4077th M*A*S*H was peaceful, bearing no resemblance to its appearance just hours before. The ground that had been filled with frantic people, jumping from one bleeding body to another, moving them only to be replaced by yet another broken body, was now mostly empty, with its few occupants sluggishly making their way towards the various tents littered across it. No wounded were expected for the next few days. Three tired surgeons trudged out of Post Op and onto the compound, the taller two still in their blood soaked scrubs. Hawkeye yawned and stretched, looking ready to collapse after yet another 42 hour session of meatball surgery. He closed his eyes against the glaringly bright sun and reopened them to a squint trying in vain to both see and block out the sunlight he hadn't seen in almost two days.
"I could sleep for two days straight." BJ declared to the sparsely occupied compound, looking much the same as his friend. Charles remained silent as the three of them made their way to their tent. He was much too tired to put effort into a conversation with two people, whose voices he had the misfortune of hearing, practically nonstop, for the past 42 hours.
Upon reaching the Swamp, Hawkeye immediately collapsed on his army issued cot, not even bothering to take off his mud and blood caked boots. His eyes shut well before he even hit the bunk.
"I think I'll sleep off the rest of the war." Hawkeye mumbled into his pillow. "Wake me when they declare peace."
Ignoring his two bunkmates, Charles walked over to his side of the tent with every intention of putting on a record, any one of his massive collection, to banish the last two days from his mind. Music helped him unwind and he definitely needed to unwind after a 42 hour OR session, or any OR session for that matter. Before his fingers could so much as graze the vinyl, he heard a voice from the other side of the tent growl, "Don't even think about it."
Charles turned around to face the owner of the voice, ready to give him a piece of his overtired mind but the words never left his lips. To his amazement he found BJ, glaring at him from the floor, where he was doing pushups. It hadn't taken Charles long to figure out that his bunkmates were insane, and he'd quickly learned to expect the unexpected and then some when it came to those two imbeciles, but pushups after 42 hours of surgery was something he never would've expected. And he had thought that BJ was the saner of the two. He was now beginning to think he was much too hasty with his earlier judgment. Deciding he was far too tired to argue, and that watching the cretin, whose brains were probably baked from his beloved Californian sun, was only increasing his weariness, Charles left the record player in favor of collapsing on his sad excuse for a bed. Not a minute later, an announcement crackled over the PA.
"Attention, Attention all senior staff report to Colonel Potter's office immediately for a senior staff meeting!"
Charles muttered something about a lack of decency and insufferable conditions before getting up and heading to Colonel Potter's office. BJ looked over at Hawkeye, who by looks of it was already asleep.
"Hawk, get up. Hawkeye. Come on we gotta go," but Hawkeye remained dead to the world despite his efforts.
"Hey Hawk!" He shouted as he threw a pillow at his best friend's head.
"What? What?" Hawkeye practically yelled as he shot up in bed, causing BJ to burst out laughing at his friend's startled reaction.
"Get up. We gotta go to the Colonel's office." BJ managed to get out among his laughter. Hawkeye groaned but didn't argue as he got up, a testament to his exhaustion. Together, the two surgeons left the Swamp and made their way to Colonel Potter's office in the silence of two people simultaneously on autopilot. They entered the office to find that Charles, Margaret, Father Mulcahy, and Colonel Potter were already waiting when they arrived. Margaret and Charles looked irritated to be there, Mulcahy looked confused, and Potter's face was grim.
"I could've sworn I put up the gone fishing sign." Hawkeye quipped.
"What's wrong Colonel?" BJ asked, noting the Colonel's expression as he and Hawkeye dropped into their usual seats on the far side of the room.
"I just got off the horn with Battalion Aid. It's raining shells by them and they need a surgeon on the double, theirs was killed."
"Oh god" Hawkeye said, the weariness in his voice no longer due to lack of sleep.
"Heaven rest his soul," Mulcahy said, his voice low in mourning for yet another casualty of the war.
"I already sent Radar to load up a jeep with medical supplies. Now whose turn is it to go?"
"It most certainly is not mine!" Charles snapped.
"It's mine Colonel," said Hawkeye, "but since Charles seems so eager to-"
"Not on your life, Pierce!" Charles sneered.
"Well, it was worth a shot." The ghost of his normal cheeky smile adorned Hawkeye's face but slid off as quickly as it had appeared. He turned back to Potter before asking, "You want me to leave now?"
"Yes they said they needed one pronto. They're being flooded with wounded and they're understaffed." Potter stated grimly. Hawkeye nodded and got up to leave.
"And Pierce," Hawkeye turned around, his hand still on the door, "be careful son."
"Aw Colonel, Give me some credit, you make it sound like I go looking for trouble."
"I'm serious Pierce, if you come back in more than one piece I'll have you cleaning Sophie's pen for the next month."
"Ah-huh, in that case I'll remind Radar to attach the training wheels to the jeep," and with that he left. Once he was out of earshot, Margret said, "Colonel, I'd like to volunteer to go with Captain Pierce. Surely they could use a nurse as well."
"No major, they only asked for a surgeon. I'm not offering extra, they're getting shelled pretty badly."
"How bad?" asked BJ, who was already beginning to worry for his best friend.