AUTHOR'S NOTES: As always, thank you for just taking the time to read my fic. It makes me a happy little ficcer, it does. ^_~
Right, then. This is supposed to be a post-ep for "Taking the Fifth", which aired around here a while back. A recap-- Hawkeye, looking for someone to cuddle up with, posts a dirty note on the board asking any interest nurses to write him a letter why she should be the one to spend an evening with him and a bottle of French wine in the supply tent. Outraged, the nurses stage it so he's fooled by one of the letters and they end up 'crashing' his party and drinking all the wine. There are tons of Margaret/Hawkeye post-eps and alt-endings for this episode, but BJ struck me as behaving rather jealously through the whole thing. So.... yes, a little plot bunny bit my muse on the ankle. ^_~ Obviously, this is slash-- Hawkeye/BJ.
The title is taken from 'Alice in Wonderland'. Why am I suddenly getting images of Hawkeye dressed as Alice? X_X
This may be a little lighter than my usual work, as I was trying to keep with the feel of the episode.
Now, without further ado...
DATE BEGUN: December 28th, 2002
DATE FINISHED: December 30th, 2002
The Danger of Following White Rabbits 1/1
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
"Nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural)."
-Lewis Carrolls "The Alices Adventures in Wonderland."
"I saw a lady rabbit on a skate board, then I fell into a hole and, moreover, I am late for school... !!"
"Miyuki-chan in Wonderland" by CLAMP
(possibly a greater injustice than the Disney version of Alice ^_~)
"You want to tell me how it was playing Romeo to multiple Juliets?"
Initially, Hawkeye was relieved that it was only BJ standing in the threshold of the supply room, leaning against the frame with one shoulder and resting his hand on the opposite side.
"Took me for everything I had," Hawkeye said mournfully, holding up the empty bottle of wine as evidence. "That was a dirty trick-- and not the kind of dirty I was so looking forward to, either."
"A trick?" BJ's voice was thick with innocence, and he pulled on the edge of his pink shirt to avoid looking at the other man.
"Of course," Hawkeye allowed his body to collapse in a heap in the makeshift bed, "it's obvious-- they wrote that 'Sweet Preserves' letter to give my ego a swift kick in the you-know-where."
"Maybe," the younger doctor moved just enough to close the door behind him and lean against it, "they didn't write the letter, have you thought of that?"
Hawkeye's sigh was heavy, "Beej, Beej, how else would they know who signed the letter?"
"Gee," there was a brief jangle of dog-tags as BJ stretched, "maybe because... I told them?"
Hawkeye was on his feet before the last syllable left his friend's mouth, "You... you, YOU!" He pointed, thrusting his finger with each word for emphasis, only half joking, "You dare call yourself my friend!" He gazed woefully through the empty green glass of the wine bottle, holding it up to the light, "A child of '47... a casualty of war. I didn't know the 'B' in your name stood for Benedict." He eyed BJ, marveling for a moment at the carefully blank expression on other's face. "And that poor girl, she-- wait." He held up his hands as if receiving a revelation from above, "Wait just a second. If the nurses didn't write the letter..."
"Then that means there really is someone looking forward to playing doctor with you," BJ's grin was wide and sugary under his mustache. For a moment, he shifted feet uncertainly, before taking a step forward. Hawkeye beat him to it, grabbing his hands and doing a sort of half-Lindy in excitement.
"And nurses who think they've already sabotaged me!" Hawkeye cried triumphantly. "*That's* why you told them, so they wouldn't bother me..."
"Oh ye of little faith," BJ said, raising an eyebrow.
"Wonderful, wonderful!" releasing his friend, Hawkeye proceeded to all but bounce off the walls. He paid no mind when BJ nearly cornered him-- the other man often did damage control when his more eccentric friend became excited. "Oh, Beej, I could kiss you."
"Why don't you?"
Hawkeye wasn't sure how his muscles stilled so quickly-- he was simply frozen, a wind-up toy with a paused key. Very slowly, he lowered his arms from their victorious pumping. Careful, careful-- the supply room floor was suddenly covered in egg shells.
"Um, BJ," he somehow sensed the other doctor's stillness, as if it grew from and was built of his own. "BJ, if my steamy little rendezvous is still on... why are you here?"
"Oh, 'ya know," BJ shrugged, hands in his pockets. He tried unsuccessfully to pace in the confined quarters, while Hawkeye watched with wide blue eyes. Said, not in frustration, but in amusement; "What am I doing here... what am I doing here?" It was in rhythm with his steps, and Hawkeye's breathing. Finally, the captain seemed to make up his mind, and faced Hawkeye with an honest gaze. "You know, it really doesn't bother me that the wine's gone, Hawk. That was just a bonus."
"Whoa..." Hawkeye put his arms out to steady himself, as if he was dizzy or crossing a thin log in the middle of a lake. "I think we just spun off into uncharted weirdness."
Then-- the wall was firm at his back and BJ was before him, arms on either side; Hawkeye barely remembered to breathe in his surprise. The act seemed unconscious on BJ's part-- the doctor looked at Hawkeye with wonder and a small smile. There was still space between them, but the hot trace of BJ's eyes over his form made Hawkeye feel a flicker of claustrophobia. Distantly, he wondered why he wasn't having a panic attack; the flutter of nerves was there, but the vertigo and nausea were strikingly absent as he fumbled for words in the back of his throat. "Are you drunk?" he finally managed.
"Nope," BJ carefully leaned forward so that the tips of their noses touched. He smelled faintly of cologne and the heavy, flakey soap the laundry woman used, and beneath that the faint summer-day smell that was just *BJ*.
"Okay," the other man tried, "Are you bucking for a section eight?"
"That's Klinger's job, my dear--"
Hawkeye's throat tightened, "Your *dear*?"
"--and," BJ added, "I think this type of discharge falls under the 'blue' category."
"Has your brain been kidnapped by strange little green men?" It was last ditch, followed by a guilty, "Damn, I knew I shouldn't have read Radar's old comics."
"Funny you should mention Radar," a vague, diffuse look of satisfaction fell over BJ's face. " 'Cause, you know, before he left, he told me a secret even our esteemed paranoid schizophrenic Flagg is unaware of."
"Klinger's dress size isn't exactly a state secret, Beej." The joke was almost solid, Hawkeye thought he might grip it with his hands and hold on.
"Well, he's not in the Petite Miss section, anyway," BJ's smile flickered into an intent look-- he seemed to see something behind Hawkeye's eyes. "No-- this is a big secret. See, Radar told me... that you think of me as often as I think of you."
"Ah." Hawkeye was keenly aware of BJ's gaze as he swallowed hard. He then found himself watching, fascinated, as BJ moved to trace a single finger along the curve of the older man's neck and shoulder. The shudder that spilled through Hawkeye's body was given free reign, but he succeeded in rushing the words out anyway; "What makes you take-- as gospel-- the word of a be-speckled, six-fingered missing link that hasn't bathed in the past geological century?"
Bj pursed his lips in thought. "Could be," he said, "because Radar's always known everything at least a five minutes before the rest of us. Or it could be that he pulled some things out of my head I never told *anyone*... I mean, I wouldn't readily admit to thinking of you." Briefly, his eyes seemed far away, "Poor kid-- I nearly decked him; he just caught me off guard."
"Do you?" Hawkeye stared at the air in front of him, as though he could *see* the words he hadn't meant to say, "Think of me often, I mean?"
A smile, genuine BJ, "All the time."
BJ's hand had moved from mere tracing-- he slid his skilled fingers under the tattered red of Hawkeye's robe and began to gently massage his tense shoulder. The self-proclaimed camp Casanova found himself making several guttural, pleased-cat noises before he managed;
"Charles played that "Allegro vivace asa--"ssy thing again, didn't he? You're under the influence of boring music written by men who've been dead longer than we've been in this hellhole!"
"The only thing I'm under the influence of," BJ pointed out patiently, "is a very heavy dose of jealousy."
"Jealousy?" Hawkeye's low vocal cords did not permit him to squeak, but he did his best.
"You know, the green eyed monster," BJ leaned in, "Do you think I like watching you proposition nurses?"
"Um-- excuse me, your marriedness," Hawkeye held up a hand and successfully ducked away from BJ, "but," he fumbled behind him, triumphantly thrusting a polished pan towards his friend, "look in the mirror."
BJ made a small 'hmm' in the back of his throat, sitting on the makeshift bed with a posture of half-dejection. Briefly, he patted the space beside him, and the look in those pale blue eyes was too much the BJ Hawkeye knew for him to resist coming to sit beside his friend.
"I won't bite, I promise," BJ did, however, put a loose arm around the older man, hand coming to cradle the back of Hawkeye's head. He closed his eyes, settling his body against the red robe and the warm form he could feel through it. "I love Peg, she's always been there. But the only time I've been *in* love before now was when I was a freshman in college." Hawkeye's mouth made a perfect 'o' that asked the question, even if he couldn't find his voice. "Peter Durbin," BJ explained, "Sat across from me in at least two of my core classes. We had a brief on-and-off... sometimes he didn't want to leave me alone, and yet there were other times he couldn't stand the sight of me."
"That's..." he couldn't seem to form full thoughts, "God, BJ."
"He married his high school sweetheart, Sophie-Lynn Morison," BJ said the name with careful attention to detail, "and I married my friend, the girl next door."
"Peg..." 'Move!' Hawkeye cried to his muscles, which had gone lax and warm under BJ's touch, 'Don't let him make this mistake!' If anything, his body seemed to lean further towards the younger man-- that's what they meant about moths and flames and not being able to keep away.
"Yeah, Peg--" BJ was right beside Hawkeye, and at the same time very far away. "I do *love* her, I'll always take care of her. She gave me Erin, so there'll always be a part of me that's hers and no body elses'. And when... with that nurse, I was upset because she and Peg could blur-- I wanted her to be Peg. And, I wanted to run away from you."
"I--" for the first time, he acknowledged the jealousy he'd felt, watching Donovan and BJ exchange glances, seeing BJ's empty bed, knowing...
"But you," it was strange, to see that look in BJ's eyes, something akin yet totally apart from that devotion Hawkeye observed when the other doctor talked about his wife, "what I..." That word, he wasn't ready to say that word. It couldn't be a casual, 'I love you'-- BJ probably never even said it over his shoulder to Peg. With BJ, it could never be anything but honest. And maybe it was better not said, just held under the tongue like a secret, sweet and heady, "...feel for you and what I feel for Peg, it's never going to get mixed up. In love and love, do you see the difference?"
For so much said, there was only one small sound in the other man's throat, "Yes." Cautiously, "Does Peg..."
"You'd be surprised what Peg knows." Said with a fond smile.
"You married one hell of a woman," Hawkeye was almost completely in his best friend's arms now. It was surreal, a backwards, upside down painting. Sighing, he lifted both hands to his temples, "This isn't happening..." He felt BJ's grip relax as the other man tried to pull away, but his own arm came around to prevent that. Quietly, "I think about you all the time too, Beej." Lightly, the social butterfly smile and that familiar wink, "In more ways than one, if you know what I mean, and I know that you do."
"Good," there was a mutual movement to get closer, "I'd hate to ruin Radar's perfect track record."
"And he *heard*," Hawkeye moaned in embarrassment, "I can't believe..."
"That's what *I* said," BJ laughed.
A beat, then comfortable silence, then, "Beej, I know I'm the fast bad boy and all that, but I...."
"I mean it, Hawk." Kisses and the brush of a mustache on his neck. The murmur of 'mine' against his bare skin. "You know I do."
"Uh-- ooohh," more vowels and syllables that, while not words, acted as communication, "I do, really, Beej... I... you're my *best* *friend*, and..."
Hopefully, "A little bit more?"
"Who knew," Hawkeye asked the supply tent ceiling, "I'd be conquered by a guy with big feet and a cheesy mustache? A lot more, Beej. A LOT more."
"Hey-- you're the notorious lover-boy. I expect the full treatment you were reserving for that 'nurse'."
"I'm not pulling the love-em-and-leave-em this time," by Hawkeye's expression, it seemed almost painful to be so honest. Strange, strange, and the other man held his partner with care. "What about--"
"The hanger is on the door--" BJ assured him, "No one's going to bother us. It's all part of my master plan."
A sweet, doe-eyed smirk, "I didn't have a chance."
A shift of weight, fingers tracing lazy patterns, "Yeah?"
"I just have one question..." the mischief was in Hawkeye's voice.
Silence, ripe with a smile.
"What you said in the letter-- do I really turn your knees to 'Jell-O'?"