Disclaimer: These characters belong to 20th Century Fox, not me.
Sequel to Holding On.
He dreams every night now, his dreams filled with dark, erotic imagery that's so intense it's almost frightening. He dreams of the golden, muscular body beneath him, damp with sweat. He dreams of the big, gentle hands on his own body. He dreams of the two of them together in the shower, water sluicing over them as they...
And when he wakes up, gasping and shaking, he's filled with shame and confusion. He's only known B.J. Hunnicutt for two weeks. Two weeks. How can B.J. have invaded his dreams so completely?
In the daylight, he sneers at himself for developing a crush, as if he were sixteen. But in the darkness, he knows it's more than just a crush. It isn't even an obsession. It's something so deep he doesn't have a name for it.
All he knows is that he wants B.J.
But he can't have B.J., and he knows it. Beej is a happily married man, and besides, he's all that is pure and innocent and good--and maybe that's why Hawkeye wants B.J., because there is so little goodness in this place that he's inexorably drawn to it.
Regardless, B.J. would probably be horrified to know that his tentmate is having this sort of dream about him on a nightly basis. Hawkeye wishes he could stop. But he has no control over his subconscious, and so the dreams continue.
Every night, he dreams.
A week later, Hawkeye and B.J. are in the supply room, doing inventory, when the whining sound of a shot echoes through the compound.
"Oh, hell," Hawkeye says, slamming the open door shut. "It's a sniper."
B.J. looks at him, wide-eyed. "He's firing on a hospital?"
"They do sometimes," Hawkeye answers, trying to sound like this is perfectly normal, and nothing at all to be worried about it. In fact his hands are clenched, white-knuckled, his legs are trembling, and his heart is thudding in his chest. A year in Korea hasn't inured him to being shot at. It still scares the hell out of him.
"What do we do?"
"We're supposed to head for the Colonel's office..." Hawkeye cracks the door open, and another bullet whistles past. He slams it shut again, having assured himself there's no one out there wounded in the compound right now.
"The Colonel's office? You're kidding me."
"Let's stay put," Hawkeye says. In fact they're lucky. A Quonset hut is probably the safest place they can be. It's a lot better than being caught in the Swamp. There are two small windows, but otherwise, the place offers decent protection against bullets.
"And what if casualties come in, or someone gets hit?"
Hawkeye lifts his head and looks B.J. in the eye.
"We go take care of them."
B.J. swallows and nods, looking more scared than before. The two of them were fired on by snipers on B.J.'s very first day in Korea, and from the look in his eyes, Hawkeye guesses he's remembering that day, and all its associated fear and horror.
"But right now, Burns is on duty in Post-Op, and we really don't have to be anywhere," Hawk says, doing his best to sound calming. "So sit down."
His own knees are wobbling dangerously, so he drops onto the only available seating, a cot that's used by the whole camp for illicit assignations. He's used it himself, so often he jokes it ought to be called the Hawkeye Pierce Memorial Cot.
B.J. sits down beside him, and suddenly Hawk is aware of the heavy, fast rhythm of the other man's breathing, the scent of his sweat. Just like in his dreams.
He pushes the thought away, knowing that B.J. is scared, not turned on. Self-disgust fills him. He ought not to be thinking about B.J. that way at all, at least not during daylight hours. He can't control his dreams, but he should be able to control his thoughts the rest of the time.
But B.J. is right next to him, in a place he associates with sex, and his mind reels helplessly down some very dark paths.
"How long do we have to stay in here?"
"Till the sniper gets bored and takes off," Hawkeye says, trying to ignore the images in his head. "Usually they don't hang around long. We've had a few that stuck around for days, though. One thought this was MacArthur's headquarters. He had to be taken out by a chopper."
B.J. swallows and looks sick. Hawkeye doesn't blame him. "Hey," he jokes, "it could be worse. You could be trapped in here with a gorgeous nurse. Instead you've got me."
B.J. turns his head and offers a rather feeble effort at a grin. "Yeah, being stuck in here with Able would be hell on earth."
Hawkeye laughs. "I'm sure."
In fact, he reflects, he'd rather be trapped in here with B.J. than Able-- and that's not as strange as it sounds. The truth is he's been with both men and women in here, and if he were going to be honest with himself (as he rarely is), he'd admit that he enjoys sex with men a little more. But he rarely indulges in it, because of the very real dangers involved.
As much as he hates the Army, as much as he loathes Korea, he doesn't want a dishonorable discharge following him around for the rest of his life. He's seen firsthand the difficulty blue-ticket veterans have in getting jobs, the way they're shunned. He doesn't want to go back to civilian life as a pariah. The thought of being an outcast in his hometown of Crabapple Cove scares him almost as much as the sniper does.
They fall silent as another bullet zings through the compound, clearly audible even through the metal walls. B.J. shifts on the cot, looking panicky, his clenched fists resting on his thighs. Hawkeye hesitates, then reaches out and puts his hand on one of B.J.'s fists.
It's something he wouldn't ordinarily do, but they're not in public, so he figures it's okay. Just to offer comfort.
"It'll be okay," he says softly.
B.J. stares at him, and then slowly, his clenched fist relaxes. He turns his hand over, palm up, and the two of them interlace their fingers.
Hands clasped together, they wait.
It's close to two hours later when the P.A. system informs them the sniper is gone. The two of them grin at each other and stand up, wrapping their arms around each other, then pulling back, hands on each other's shoulders.
"Congratulations," Hawkeye says. "You've made it through your second sniper attack."
"Two snipers in three weeks," B.J. says. "Do I get a medal?"
"Nope. Not even a certificate. It's just another day in Korea, Beej."
They stand there, hands on each others' shoulders, staring at each other. Slowly their grins die, and the atmosphere between them seems to become charged with something hot and electrical, like summer air sizzling just before a lightning strike.
And then they're leaning toward each other, as if drawn together by a magnet, and their lips brush together, very softly.
It's just one kiss, and somewhere deep inside, Hawkeye is grateful that it's mutual, and that they're both stone-cold sober. Because whatever is happening between them, he doesn't want to feel like he's leading B.J. down a dark path. For once in his life, he doesn't want to be the seducer. B.J. deserves better.
And so instead of trying to deepen the kiss, Hawkeye pulls back and looks into B.J.'s eyes.
"Time to go back to work," he says.
B.J. hesitates, looking uncertain, and then smiles a little.
"Just another day in Korea," he says, with a wry inflection to his voice.
No, Hawkeye thinks. Not just another day. Definitely not. It's a day he'll remember forever.
He wants to grab B.J. and kiss him again, but he doesn't want to push this-- whatever this is. If it's anything at all, and not just the relief of two guys who've been pinned down by sniper fire for hours. He isn't sure what's happening between them, but whatever it is, he's afraid to make a wrong move. Already, B.J.'s friendship means too much to him. He won't risk screwing it up.
He lets go of B.J. and turns toward the door. He opens it, and daylight floods in.
Together, they step out into the sunshine.