Hello, readers. I've decided to start cross-posting some of my fics from AO3 and tumblr over to FFN, so if you recognize this story most likely you've read it on either of my accounts there (Ray_Writes and raywritesthings, respectively). If you haven't read it before, I hope you enjoy!
For the Pain
Sleep was hard to come by in Korea. You were either too hot or too cold. You were hungry, or you were sick from the mess tent food. The times when you were exhausted beyond belief often coincided with being shin-deep in blood on the operating room floor. And still there were other times you put it off for different activities involving U.S. Army standard-issue cots.
Trapper often found himself in the latter category when he could, especially since it allowed him to still catch a little shut-eye. Unfortunately, the partner he'd chosen to steal a few hours with tonight was less soft curves and more sharp elbows.
As if on cue, Hawkeye arched his back again, the back of his head smushing into Trapper's nose unexpectedly. He had to turn his face away to avoid getting a mouthful of the other's hair.
"Hawk?" He whispered, the sound practically lost amongst the bubbling of the still.
"Mm?" Another shift, accompanied by a brief elbow jab.
He tried a little louder. "Hawkeye? Hey, Hawk?"
His bedmate's head rose sharply. "What? What is it?" Those blue eyes were fixed on the mesh of the tent.
"Nothing like that," Trapper assured him. Frank wouldn't be back from Post-Op duty till 0800; it was why they'd taken the risk in the first place. "Just, would you settle already? I'm trying to get at least a little sleep, ya know."
"Just getting comfortable."
"Well if you get any more comfortable I'm not gonna have any room," he pointed out.
Hawkeye heaved a dramatic sigh. "Fine, fine." He rolled over onto his side again, leaving well over half the cot free. Trapper shook his head. If the other man was really feeling waspish, he'd just tell him to get back in his own cot. So Trapper made a show of stretching out lazily before slinging his arm over Hawkeye's waist to pull him back against his chest.
Rather than giving another exaggerated huff before settling against him, however, Hawkeye visibly winced, and there was no mistaking the hiss of pain that escaped his lips.
Trapper propped himself up on his elbow. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing, Trap." His bedfellow seemed to remember precisely who he was trying to fool after a moment under Trapper's dubious stare, and so he amended, "My back's acting up. Happens all the time."
"I thought it was your shoulder that gave you trouble," he reminded shrewdly.
His friend's lips twitched into a grimace more than a smile. "Well this is all too real, I assure you."
"You're a bit young for chronic back pain."
"If only I'd thought to tell it that," Hawkeye replied, mockingly wistful.
"Anything I can do?"
"Yeah, you can pack me up in a shipping crate and mail me to Tokyo."
"C'mon Hawk, I'm serious."
Hawkeye peered over his shoulder at him. "You, serious?"
"Only comes around once a year," he told him. "Better take your chance."
The other man continued to study him for a moment, before seemingly giving in with a sigh. "I can't really reach the spot that's giving me trouble."
"Say no more." Trapper patted the cot. "You're in luck, because Dr. McIntrye takes house calls."
Sure, he'd been hoping for sleep, but he wasn't going to turn down the opportunity to run his hands all over a warm body, particularly Hawkeye's. Which was a thought better left un-dwelled upon. Instead he watched as the other man stretched out on his stomach.
"You some kind of prude all of a sudden? Shirt off."
The other man pushed back up gingerly and complied, not before asking "Is this how you charmed all the other girls?"
Trapper grinned. "Nah. Only degenerate Chief Surgeons with gin-positive blood." Of course, his stupid mouth had to go ahead proclaiming things he wasn't even comfortable voicing in his mind.
Hawkeye seemed to take it as the joke it wasn't, for he settled back down with little fuss and no shirt. The cot creaked a little as they shifted into position, Trapper bracing a knee on either side of the other man. There was no cause for alarm over it breaking; they'd tested it pretty thoroughly by now.
Hawkeye turned his head, catching him with a wide-eyed, exaggeratedly vulnerable look. "Be gentle with me."
"Aren't I always?"
"Well truthfully—ah!" Hawkeye cried out before having the sense to clap a hand over his mouth as Trapper dug his thumbs into the area that had been indicated. They both listened, tense and still, in the dark, but no reaction from beyond their tent came. The sentry had to be across the compound or something or more likely just couldn't bring himself to care. Good man.
"Boy, you really weren't kidding," he leaned forward a bit to whisper.
"Would I lie to you?" was the equally hushed reply.
"Well truthfully," he echoed, grinning as Hawkeye reached back to smack weakly at his elbow. "Least now I know to take better care of you."
"You better. You were too cheap to buy the warranty, and I have a very strict no-return policy."
He doubted Hawkeye knew just how badly the thought of ever 'returning' him hurt. But he wasn't the one meant to get maudlin, and anyway his friend genuinely needed some help here. So Trapper began working his fingers a bit more carefully into the knots of tension that seemed to make up the entirety of Hawkeye's back. He pushed himself too hard, Trapper mused. For all his affectations of laziness, in the OR Hawkeye seemed to labor under the belief that he could bring their patient survival rate up to 100% by sheer force of will. And somehow he hadn't burned out yet. Trapper liked to think he maybe had a hand in that.
His hands were certainly doing something now and something good judging by the muffled noises Hawkeye was making into his lump of a pillow.
"Pretty sure you're enjoying this more than the sex," he quipped. For once there was no quick reply. "I'm gonna have to do this more often," he noted to himself.
There was something decidedly intimate about it, in a way that the numerous nurses he'd slept with hadn't been. Putting his hands on another person not for some quick sexual gratification, but out of genuine affection and concern…it was times like these when he really did feel like a cheat.
But Trapper couldn't help himself. Every time Hawkeye slung an arm around his shoulders, or leaned against him, or pulled him into a dance he gave in, because these were the things he missed most from home, and if he couldn't have home then he could at least have Hawkeye Pierce.
The man beneath him shifted slightly, a nonverbal reminder that he was clearly neglecting his duties. Trapper resolved to stop thinking so damn much and to just focus on what was in front of him. It was the only way to survive this place anyway.
Hawkeye had a lot of back to him, being so tall, but that was really only giving him the excuse to take his time. His forearms were begging for a break, though, so he obliged them. Instead he leaned over and began retracing the trail of his fingers with his lips. Hawkeye made some small sound into the pillow, and for a moment he fiercely wished they didn't have to worry about being overheard, that he could listen freely. He wanted to hear just how badly he could wreck a man like Hawkeye.
Trapper lifted his mouth from his lover's back. "Feeling better?"
Slowly, the other man's head turned to the side. "Beautiful…you're beautiful," Hawkeye mumbled, speech slurred as if he were drunk on something. He was barely keeping his eyes open.
Trapper shook his head. Yes, Hawkeye was definitely comfortable—and Trapper didn't have any room. Probably for the best. If he dropped off in this cot now he wouldn't be able to drag himself out of it on his own. He pressed a last sloppy kiss to the base of Hawkeye's neck, then stumbled the few feet to his cot and collapsed on top of the blanket.
The grit of sleep was in his eyes and his ears were ringing with Frank's whine before he registered even hitting the pillow. "—and where is your shirt? Sleeping out of uniform is against regulation, Captain!"
"I was visited in the night by a masseuse with magic fingers, Frank," Hawkeye explained patiently as he laced up his boots. "Better than yours." Trapper snorted into his pillow.
"Oh, that's enough of your drivel," the major said with contempt, storming from the Swamp with a change of clothes for the shower and probably for his stay at Hot Lip's tent after.
Trapper rolled over fully onto his back just as Hawkeye turned from watching Frank's departure with a puzzled expression. "You think he'd appreciate the truth every once in a while."
"Magic fingers, huh?" Trapper echoed with a grin. "Think that's the best review I've ever gotten."
"Wait till I recommend you to my friends." Hawkeye retrieved the upper half of his uniform from the floor where it had been discarded the previous night. Then, with a quick glance over the shoulder, he was crossing the tent in two strides, leaning over, and crashing their lips together for a moment that seemed both too brief and dangerously long in daylight. "That's if I don't decide to keep you to myself," the other man breathed against his mouth.
He fell back onto his cot with his arms crossed behind his head. "I could be persuaded to become a personal physician."
Hawkeye smiled down at him, actually smiled, the kind that made those blue eyes crinkle at the corners. "I'll schedule my follow-up appointment later." With that, he straightened and strode from the tent, his shoulders not nearly so hunched as usual. Trapper pressed a thumb to his lips and smiled.