He was always glad to leave Frank to do the nightshift in post-op, but the fact that tonight he couldn't bring himself to so anymore than throw token insults really should have been a clue that something was wrong with a capital 'W'.
Then again, there'd been a neon sign flashing 'FUBAR' ever since he came to Korea, so maybe his senses needed recalibrating.
In any event, Hawkeye dragged himself over to the Swamp and flopped into Trapper's bunk of op of the man himself, curling as close as he could get and breathing a sigh of relief that he finally felt warm. Every instinct he hadn't dulled with alcohol over the years had been on high alert all day and his muscles were starting to spasm randomly from how tense he'd been holding himself trapper didn't wake up- the man could sleep thorough anything except children crying and choppers- but he did shift to accommodate him without Hawkeye having to use his elbows. "Go back to sleep," he said quietly, giving up on getting access to the concrete slab masquerading as a pillow and dropping to lie on Trapper's shoulder instead.
Slowly, tentatively, inch by inch, he relaxed into Trapper's arms and his eyes fell shut.
An immeasurable amount of hours later, Hawkeye could neither confirm nor deny if he was actually asleep. The darkness had only deepened as the night went on, but he was fairly sure his eyes were closed. Maybe it was a part of his dreams- he had no imagination, after all. The feeling of safety and warmth hadn't gone away, so he was veering towards being asleep.
His pillow groaned and shifted underneath him, "Hawk'?"
He tutted, "Pillows don't talk. You need to reread your job description."
"Mmmm... in the morning. Go to sleep."
"Pot and kettle, my dear doctor."
"Only woke up because 's so hot."
"That's the fortunate aspect of being cramped worse than PMS- you get to feel your toes again."
A long, low hum buzzed in his ears and held him even closer. A soft pair of lips kissed the top of his head as hands started to stroke up and down his back in time with his pulse. Hawkeye felt a piece of himself break away.
"Go to sleep, Hawkeye." Another piece. He slept.
"Hawkeye? Hawkeye!" He didn't know who was shouting or who they were shouting. The ground gave way underneath him. Another piece broke away.
The sledgehammer in his head forced him awake and the stench of Post-Op antiseptic seared his nose immediately. Blue sky was above him- did they lose the roof in a Wizard of Oz accident?
No, Trapper. Trapper had blue eyes.
Hawkeye shifted and felt a knife run up his torso, "Ah."
Trapper sat down heavily in the chair next to his bed and took it as an admission of guilt. "You're an idiot you know that?"
"If I was an idiot, I couldn't know that." Far from being a volleying shot, his mouth felt strange and all the words ran together. "Wh- happened?"
"Appendicitis." His face was cool. "Textbook appendectomy." His voice lowered and he leant forward, "How long were you gonna give it before you told somebody?"
He blinked, "I had appendicitis?"
With a noise between a huff and a snarl, Trapper stood up, chair screeching on the floor, "For fuck's sake, Hawkeye." In the next second he was gone, scrubs whipping out the door.
Hawkeye had to blink again before all the pieces fell into place. "Trapper!" he croaked, sitting up on his elbows and then pulled in opposite directions but the pain in his abdomen and the pain in the over-stretched IV. "Trapper!" he couldn't remember the consequences of pulling out an IV; figured if he hadn't bothered to remember it couldn't be too dangerous and tried to get his stupid fingers to work and his legs over the side of the bed.
"Just what on earth do you think you're doing, Pierce?"
Hot Lips. Oh sh-
"Trapper," he pulled his hand away from her to gesture at the door his friend had just exited through. "Need to-"
"You need to stay in bed."
With brutal military efficiency, she had him under the sheets and trapped again not a moment later, scowling over his IV port. "But Trapper, he just left Margaret, you gotta, I gotta..."
Any other woman would have softened. That was why she was head nurse. "You need to stay still. You'll tear your stitches."
He glared, then melted against her icy look, slumping back into the mattress and feeling boneless. She started making notes on his chart, keeping one eye on him to make sure he followed orders. "Klinger!" she barked once she'd got to the end of the page.
Klinger materialised out of nowhere but somewhere to the left, skirt clinging to his legs. (It said something Hawkeye couldn't even appreciate that.) "Tell Lt. Colonel Blake: Pierce is awake and I'll expect he'll make a full recovery. And if you see McIntyre on your way, tell him Pierce would like to see him."
Despite himself, Hawkeye smiled. As soon as Klinger was out of earshot he said, "Thanks, Margaret."
She sniffed, though not with as much disdain this time, "You can thank me by being a model patient."
"How'll you punish me if I'm not?"
The raised eyebrow told him you don't want to know and he laughed- gingerly- and relaxed a bit, keeping his eyes fixed on the door.
Maybe he blinked or maybe he dozed off, because the next thing he knew, Trapper was standing over him.
"Trap," sobbed Hawkeye before he could stop himself. "I'm sorry."
Fingers pushed his hair away from his face and helped him turn over to face him. "No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't- I shouldn't have just run off like that."
He pressed into his hand, trying to will himself back seven hours to when he'd felt safe. "Really didn't know. Thought it was just nerves. Or the food. Or Margaret trying to kill me with the food."
Trapper laughed softly, "Nah, Hot Lips wouldn't do that to ya, Hawk. She'd kill you with her bare hands."
The giggled together like schoolboys, the sound coming to an end like a babbling creek. There'd been a creek his father used to take him to for a picnic, when he was young. God, he wanted to go home. Sometimes even more than he wanted to stay with Trapper.
Perhaps the thought made an appearance on his face, because Trapper's own expression fell and he sat on his previously-vacated chair, leaning his elbows on the edge of the mattress and dropping his voice so only he could hear. "You scared the hell outta me."
Whatever soft part of Hawkeye the war had yet to touch shrivelled up and turned tail, "Aw dammnit, this mean no more hell-raisin' at Rosie's?"
"For the love of-" he buried his head in his hands and trembled slightly. Just once.
Hawkeye felt the panic again, shooting to grab hold of his wrist before he could leave this time, "What is it?"
Without looking up, he started to speak. "I really wish sometimes you wouldn't do that, you know?"
"Whenever I try to tell you how I f- whenever I try to tell you something important, you crack a joke and don't let me."
"Well, put it on the list and we'll give it to Sidney next time he comes for poker night."
He couldn't tell if not being able to see his face made this better or worse.
"I thought..." the words choked off and Hawkeye froze, blood turning cold. "When I woke up, it was hot, so I knew you weren't dead, but when I got a look at your face- Christ, I thought you might be. You were... I picked you up and carried you to the OR, Hawkeye. Henry did the surgery. I still don't know what I said; the fact the MPs haven't carried us both off already's a damn miracle, I was so outta my mind. I really thought you- I still think you could- well. You know."
Mindful that they were in Post-Op with less privacy than a Soviet dentist's, he threaded their fingers together under his pillow, trying to find the scene of Trapper amidst the antiseptic and the blood. "I'm alright, Trap."
"Margaret would kill you if you weren't."
He laughed, cut it short when it pulled at his stitched, then flinched again when he saw the fear on Trapper's face. He squeezed his hand tightly before forcing himself to let go. "I'm alright." Louder, he added: "I'll be back in the Swamp before you know it."
Trapper smiled and Hawkeye let himself give into the remnants of anaesthesia pressing at the backs of his eyeballs, "Come visit me later? We can plan something evil to do to Frank."
Trapper laughed. "It's a date," he promised and Hawkeye just managed to catch the words before he fell asleep.