AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is a comedy. No, I'm serious! Stop laughing! Alright, so this isn't my usual style, but hopefully it'll illicit a few chuckles at least. It'll either prove that I ought to try my hand at this more often, or that I should stick to semi-dark gothic romances in which Hawkeye, BJ, Peg or all of the above are tortured. ^^;/^_~
I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read this! Hopefully it's worth your time. Thanks as always go to Leigh (go read her 'By Any Other Name' NOW!), Iolanthe (*chanting* more, more, more...) and Raven (do the Flagg fic! Write it!) and Dagny, the slash angels.
Not only is this a Klinger/Winchester fic, it also has liberal amounts of Hawkeye/BJ-- hey, I just can't deprive my favorite MASH couple. ^^ Warning-- this is rated pg-13 for liberal uses of innuendo. I hope you enjoy.
The Following is brought to you by Snickers, Ice cubes and the Victoria Secrets Fashion Book. Be afraid, be very afraid. ^_~
DATE BEGUN: January 19th
DATE FINISHED: January 31st
The Courtship of Maxwell Q. Klinger 1/3
~A Comedy in Three Acts~
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
[ACT ONE: In Which The Plan Is Hatched]
The Army was efficient. The Army was disciplined. The Army was a lethal, grinding mechanism of DEATH; a machine of cogs that were people, all trained to do their job, all working towards the great American dream and against the red stain of Communism that threatened every man, woman, and--
Maybe the Army really was all those things- we'll never know, because the Korean Conflict was not a War (no sir, it LOOKED like a war, and it killed people like a war, but it was NOT A WAR. REALLY.) but a Police action. So all the army personnel over in Eastern Asia were just your friendly neighborhood police officers, keeping the peace, rescuing cats from trees and helping little old ladies out of their bomb craters.
Now, in a war-- excuse me-- Police Action, there are soldiers, and generals who sit around deciding which hills the soldiers should charge up or down, as the case may be. There are also bombers, infantry men, cooks, ambulance drivers and the enemy.
It would not be much of a war without the enemy.
There are also doctors, working in MASH units. And if there was one unit furthest from being disciplined, lethal or trained-- the 4077th MASH was it.
Now, the 4077th was run by a seasoned, experienced commander by the name of Colonel Potter. Having been in the Cavalry, he had a fondness for horses, a liking for neatness and... a tendency to paint almost every random object in camp. HQ, on investigation, determined that this last bit was a rather newly acquired habit, and it was their theory that even a spit-and-polish man like Potter could not be left around the utter weirdness of the 4077th without some side effects.
The main source (though certainly not the only one) of this weirdness was a young man by the name of Benjamin Franklin Pierce. He had been given the rank of Captain, but he rarely used it, on the grounds that if he wanted rank he would avoid the showers. He was irreverent, undisciplined, unruly, un- military, and un-un, just to be contrary. Also, he was an incorrigible flirt and incapable of thinking in straight (har! har!) moral terms unless someone else's life depended on it. Most people called him Hawkeye.
Obviously he was a lot of fun at parties.
Once, he'd had a partner in crime most referred to as Trapper (and yes, he got his name for each and every one of the reasons you're contemplating). Unfortunately, Trapper got to go home to Boston, and even now he was fooling around with his secretary while his wife was phoning his office, not getting an answer and becoming Very Annoyed, Indeed. He left Hawkeye with the still and a kiss on the cheek, and for a long time Hawkeye was Very Sad because he had no one to play doctor with, save the nurses, who-- though attractive-- were somehow not as much fun as Trapper had been.
However, this was soon remedied. Hawkeye had a New Friend.
BJ Hunnicut was a clean, spiffy, all-American boy with a wife, a dog and 2.5 kids-- excuse me-- a young daughter named Erin. Somewhere along the line he might have been sane, but any mental stability quickly vanished without a trace. Possibly he traded it for some gin. BJ liked Hawkeye... almost everyone liked Hawkeye. Hawkeye was just a very likable lunatic. However, BJ liked Hawkeye quite a bit more than just being his friend--- he liked him so much that they were regularly doing some very un-military things in the supply tent. Whenever it occurred to BJ that this might --gasp!-- mean that he was NOT as happily married as he said he was, he stuck his fingers in his ears and hummed really loud. BJ may have been in Korea, but one could also reach him at an address in the state of Denial. Obviously, Hawkeye also liked BJ-- quite a lot. He was also a very imaginative lover, so when the choppers arrived one night and BJ ran out of the Swamp with whipped-cream all over his chest... well, they had a lot of explaining to do. But generally, they were very careful, and they were having Fun.
But hark and alas! On the horizon looms a threat to the happiness of our valiant boys! Something hideous, something wicked, something... troubling.
In this case, Trouble's name was Charles Emerson Winchester (the third). You see, the Army-- generally being against such things as people enjoying themselves-- often put three men to a tent. Before the arrival of Charles Emerson Winchester (the third), BJ and Hawkeye had a tent mate by the name of Major Frank Burns. Paranoid and rather dumb, Frank was a suspicious nuisance, but never the less did have his perks in that he was often off 'visiting' his friend Margaret, who was also a Major. Like Frank, Margaret believed wholeheartedly in the army. Like Frank, Margaret was a dedicated American. They had a lot in common, including a fondness for riding crops. The only thing they didn't have in common was their gender. But really! They were Just Friends.
Isn't it sad that a man and a woman can't have an honest, healthy, platonic relationship without people thinking in an unclean manner? For shame!
Needless to say, there wasn't a soul (or Seoul) in Korea who didn't know Major (ly married) Frank Burns had been doing the mattress polka with Major(ly not his wife) Margaret Houlihan.
Of course, eventually Margaret got it into her head to go looking for Lasting Commitment, Stability and Understanding-- and, failing to find that, she got married. But even then, Frank's desire to root out communists often kept him away from Swamp, so BJ and Hawkeye were free to use the privacy as they saw fit. Frank was very disappointed because he could not *find* any communists. Hawkeye thought perhaps they should put Frank in a box and mail him to China, for surely he would be able to find some communists *there*.
Frank proved to be the least mentally stable of them all-- so he was shipped back to his Mommy, and the two remaining Swampmen were stuck with a new bunk mate, in the form of Charles Emerson Winchester (the third). Charles did not have hair; he did not have a sense of humor and, worst of all, he did not have anyone to mambo on the mattress with. He *did*, unfortunately, have a phonograph, on which he played increasingly morbid music written by classical (read: rotting) composers at increasingly longer intervals, much to the annoyance of his tentmates.
Who knew Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was among Hawkeye's few complete and utter turnoffs?
Things were looking bad for Hawkeye and BJ-- they were confined to playing in the supply tent, and occasionally having a romp in the shower, where BJ made sure Hawkeye cleaned in places even his own mother wouldn't have asked about. Needless to say, they were becoming a little frustrated.
Strange stuff can happen when you come between a man and his Nookie.
So when, after a week long deluge of wounded, Hawkeye and BJ returned to the Swamp to find a symphony blaring there in, this frustration rose to a peak, and not the one Hawkeye was interested in. It seemed that Charles had decided to recuperate by listening to his music for the next however-long-the-lull was. BJ was quickly becoming of the opinion that Beethoven ought to be summarily outlawed. Hawkeye had started considering the bright sides of a Blue Discharge, because at least he could... *ahem*, with BJ on the Colonel's *actual* mattress, which he'd been wanting to do for some time. The tables in OR were starting to look really good to both of them.
Disheartened, our heroes retreated to the mess tent, on the theory that the *last* thing in the world the so-called 'food' could be was an aphrodisiac.
"Will the man give us no peace?" Hawkeye raved. No one really paid much attention, because Hawkeye raved on a regular basis. He was, after all, a raving lunatic. "That blob of Boston snobbery is quite possibly the greatest atrocity this war has seen in... the last five minutes."
"Don't look now, but I think Chuckles has a rival," BJ nodded towards the unidentifiable goo Igor was shoveling onto their trays.
"Hey," said Hawkeye, poking a gravy-covered bump with his fork, "so that's where my sweat socks got off too."
"Best ingredients they've had all week," BJ commented dryly. They sat down at an empty table, with Hawkeye nearly (but not quite) in BJ's lap. No one bothered to notice this, either, because BJ and Hawkeye were always touching each other in some way, shape or form. It was par for the course.
"I never thought I'd say this," Hawkeye put his chin in his hand, "But I miss the good old days. Frank gone to sniff Hot Lips' dress shields..."
BJ added, "...Swamp to ourselves..."
"Plenty of time, gin and *no* wailing violins." They sighed again, this time in tandem.
"At least we had Hotlips to distract Frank..." Slowly, beneath his mustache, BJ began to smile. "Hey...." They exchanged glances.
"Are you thinking...?" Hawkeye winked, his smile becoming Very Evil, Indeed. "Except I doubt Hotlips jumps in bed with any old Major. They have to be at least a three star general for her to be as indiscriminate as all that."
"I think," said BJ with authority, "that our beloved Chuck needs a girlfriend."
"He gets nookie, we get nookie-- bartender, nookie... for my friends!" Hawkeye exclaimed, before BJ clamped a hand over his mouth and shushed him. Hawkeye just licked the other man's fingers.
BJ's question was an urgent, "When do we start?"
"Right now, my friend." Eyeing the nurses, Hawkeye excused himself and sauntered of to a gaggle of ladies sitting across the tent. BJ watched-- reminding himself that he was NOT jealous, no... he was a Happily Married Man (really!)-- as Hawkeye charmed the young women with some small talk, then got down to business. Gasps from the ladies, looks of skepticism. Most shook their heads, and Hawkeye, ever the smooth operator, promised them something for their trouble. Nods all around, and Hawkeye gave his partner (in more ways than one) a thumbs-up.
Operation Get Charles Laid was officially off the ground.
Charles was having a Really Weird Day.
It started out in a fairly usual manner. He woke up, discovered he had not been magically transported to Boston over night, and then he become annoyed. He stayed that way while he brushed (the remains of) his hair, flossed his teeth and put on a clean (or as clean as anything can be in the Swamp) uniform. A small 'snack' of Mozart's "Requiem" helped his spirits-- that is, until Hawkeye started making up words for the song, all of them centering around the sexual antics of a horny Australian salamander. Charles found it somewhat disturbing that his bunk mates were in such a good mood-- lately they'd been shooting him dirty looks, drinking a lot of gin and, occasionally, one would put his hand on the other's knee. Perhaps Charles should have read into this a bit, but he did not want to see it, and he was a Winchester, thus it was not there.
Upon entering the mess tent, Charles' day began taking an unusual turn. In line, a pretty blond nurse asked him if he might be interested in taking her to see 'The Thing That Ate the Bronx', showing in the self-safe tent that evening. Charles turned her down on the grounds that he wouldn't be caught *dead* in the Bronx, much less watching a film about it. Another nurse asked him if he wanted to help her wash her hair. (Charles, of course, did not do menial tasks.) A nice-looking redhead inquired if he might stop by her tent for dinner. Nurse Baker asked him if he wanted to take a jeep out for a drive; Nurse Kelley asked if he might teach her to waltz.
And so on, and so on. The pestering even continued when Charles took the only seat in the mess tent a Winchester would dream of using-- the one next to the person closest to his caliber. Of course, Colonel Potter was a *long* way from being Charles equal-- at least in the Boston doctor's mind.
"Seems like you're the catch of the day," Potter commented from the other side of his copy of Stars and Stripes.
"Well," said Charles, and left it at that. On the other end of the bench, Hawkeye and BJ were griping about the food, leaning very close to each other-- but it was all in the interest of sampling their awful meals. Perfectly innocent, yes.
"Did you do something to my nurses?" Margaret asked Hawkeye, immediately suspicious.
"She probably thinks you poisoned their feed," BJ joked, shutting his mouth at the look the Head Nurse gave him.
"What makes you think I have anything to do with this, Margaret?" Hawkeye was all innocence.
"I know you, you degenerate pervert," Houlihan retorted, proving that perhaps, after all, she had spent a bit too much time around Frank. Sighing, Margaret took a sip of her coffee. "They're just usually not this... randy."
"My dog's name is Randy," Radar piped up with some enthusiasm. Of course, he had completely missed the point, but that was part of his job. Most everyone at the table ignored him, and that, too, was part of his job.
"Well, Margaret," Charles soothed, "perhaps they have tired of the swine about these parts and decided to find themselves a gentleman. It's a shame there's only one in camp."
"And he's taken!" Hawkeye exclaimed, using the opportunity to latch onto BJ's arm. "I bet each and every one of those nurses is jealous of Peg." He winked, "I know I am."
Perhaps it's a testament to the state of affairs at the 4077th, but no one even batted an eyelash.
The harassment continued all day. In the Post-Op ward, in the Officer's Club, outside the showers and even in his own tent-- Charles' company was requested by each and every member of the nursing staff. Finally, when one of the Korean laundry girls propositioned him, Charles put his foot down.
"Gentlemen," he drawled, entering the Swamp to find Hawkeye and BJ sitting on the same bed-- BJ was playing cards and Hawkeye was reading a book... upside down. Charles decided that he didn't want to know. "I do not know what nefarious plot your pea-sized brains have hatched, but I insist you call off these females!"
"Geeze, Charles, we were only trying to help celebrate!" Hawkeye protested.
Against his better judgment, Charles asked, "Celebrate what?"
"Why," said BJ sweetly, "the fact your ego recently annexed Wisconsin."
"Please," the Major snorted, "I can not imagine what you're up to but, please, leave me out of your childish scheming." With that, he took a seat on his bed and, with the utmost care, placed his record of Beethoven's Ninth onto the phonograph.
"Ug," said Hawkeye eloquently, his voice mostly drowned out by the music.
"I'm thinking of killing him," BJ admitted.
"Who-- Beethoven or Charles?"
The younger doctor raised an eyebrow, "Does it matter?"
"What's the MATTER with him?" Hawkeye hissed, "We tried blondes, brunettes-- blonde brunettes and brunette blondes! We tried 'em short, tall, fat, skinny and everything in between! What-- does this guy only date girls specially approved by the Society Column?"
"He must have a weakness," BJ said determinedly. For a moment, the two men simply looked at each other, before their tableau was interrupted by a knock at the Swamp door.
"Enter if you dare," the dark-haired captain said direly.
"Hello, sirs," Radar smiled, ducking his head at Winchester, "and you too, sir."
"Corporal," said the Major, unimpressed.
"Uh," Radar reached into the brown bag clutched at his side, "I got that stuff you wanted, Hawkeye." Slowly, he withdrew a large, frilly, overdressed box of chocolates, handing them to the Captain. "I've also worked out a rotation schedule for each nurse to get a weekend pass in Seoul."
"What's that for?" BJ asked, indicating the chocolate.
"For the nurses, of course. Chocolate is the universal language."
The other man chuckled, "It took a box of chocolates and weekend pass each to bribe the nurses to ask you on a date, oh Eligible Bachelor Winchester."
Charles merely sniffed, "There's no accounting for the lack of taste around here."
"There's this, too, sir," Radar coughed a little, producing a bottle of sticky red-pink liquid from the bag. Hawkeye took hold of the jar with something approaching excitement and reverence.
"Strawberry sauce," BJ leaned over to read the label, "What do you want that for?"
Hawkeye merely Looked at BJ.
"Oh," said BJ.
"Uh-huh," said Hawkeye.
"*SQUEAK*" said Radar, and fled for less hormone-riddled parts of camp.
It was entirely fortunate that at this moment, a jeep rolled into the compound. It's lone passenger lifted the length of tasteful pleated skirt, extended one long leg, and stepped as daintily as possible onto the uneven mud road. Inside the Swamp, BJ and Hawkeye noticed as Charles turned his head, eyes fixed on something in the compound. They watched the careful look of disinterest on the Major's face and saw-- for a brief moment-- exactly what they were looking for. Excusing himself hastily, Charles left on an errand, but the two captains paid him no heed, easily seeing past his flimsy excuse now that they had seen the truth.
"Did you see that?" BJ asked, once their bunk mate was safely out of earshot.
"All this time," Hawkeye mused, "We were shopping in the wrong department! Playing on the wrong team, looking in the wrong end of the woods, sifting through the wrong linens...."
Briefly, the doctors indulged themselves in a victory kiss. When they came up for air, they settled their eyes on their new quarry, that swarthy siren, who was currently having an animated argument with Charles.
Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger.
Attention all personnel! Stay tuned for the next chapter chronicling Klinger's love-life! Will Charles ever admit his feelings-- assuming he has any? Just what exactly is Klinger planning to do? When will Hawkeye realize that strawberry sauce could be dangerous, considering the amount of chest hair BJ has? Hell if I know. Also, due to extreme indifference among troops, HQ in Seoul reports they are considering the cancelation of the entire month of March. Colonel Potter requests that all personnel refrain from threatening to eat dirt instead of the mess tent food-- you're giving the cook ideas. One last item, would Hawkeye Pierce please report to the supply tent? Captain Hunnicut needs help counting the... inventory.