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thunder crash and lightning flash
by Raven

PG, slash, Hawkeye/Trapper. Radar just happens to know a few things. So does Mulcahy. Hawkeye's sense of humour is somewhat unpredictable. So is a yo-yo.

Carefully, carefully… always be careful. The words floated forward through time from the pages of Gray’s Anatomy to the reality of meatball surgery. Careful…

He held the blade steady, as always, and traced a line over the flesh, following it up with a long, curved incision, with not a ragged edge in sight. Perfect.

“Never seen anyone cut an apple like that before,” said a voice.

“Cone biopsy,” Hawkeye said, without looking up. “You’ve got to twist the blade… twist it…”

He demonstrated, and a neat cone-shaped section of the apple flew into the air. Catching it between two fingers, he dropped it into his mouth. “You’re up early, aren’t you?”

“I was awake anyway. Colonel Blake woke me up when he went off to play golf.” Radar shrugged. “Figured I’d see if you’d like company.” 

“How’d you know I was here?” Hawkeye had already asked the question, but he knew there was no real answer. Radar just knew.

Radar motioned towards the oddly mutilated apple. “You gonna eat that?”

Hawkeye handed it over without a word. Radar had bitten into it before he asked the obvious question. "What're you doin' here, anyway?"

Hawkeye was in an expansive mood. “I always wanted to fly a chopper, and they’re giving lessons as part of today’s special.”

Radar looked mystified.

Hawkeye sighed. “I came for coffee, Radar.” After a moment, he added, “I was in post-op this morning,” and then stopped.

“And?” Radar asked through a mouthful of apple.

“And there’s no-one in post-op, Radar.”

“The last ones went yesterday. There ain’t any more.”

“Nor in pre-op.” Hawkeye had chosen to ignore the last remark. “Nor in surgery. There are no wounded, Radar!”

Radar guessed rightly that saying anything was a bad idea.

“One thing this war can do,” Hawkeye said, becoming more contemplative. “And that’s give us wounded. And it can’t even do that right!”

Radar’s ears pricked up. He’d thought for a moment… but no. There were no choppers. There had been none in days. A relative lull.

“What are these, Radar?” Hawkeye spread his hands, palms upwards. Without waiting for an answer, he plunged on, “These are my only means of making a difference. I’m a surgeon, it’s all I can do. Without my hands, I’m just a gin-drinking poker player who puts soap on Frank Burns’ toothbrush!”

He paused. And then, he gestured towards the mess tent at large, and added inconsequentially, “And they don’t even serve breakfast in this godforsaken place!”

Radar seized the next opportunity to slip away. He’d never understood Hawkeye Pierce when he started talkin’ fancy.


Frank Burns was awake and in the process of shaving when Hawkeye returned, wet from drizzle. “Shut that door!” complained Frank. “You’ll let the cold air in!”

Hawkeye had already closed the door. “Where have you been?” Frank demanded.

“Talking to Radar. Couldn’t sleep,” Hawkeye said briefly, rubbing his hands together. He seemed cheerful. Frank, always on guard for people sounding happy, regarded him critically. Unusually for this hour of the morning, Hawkeye was fully dressed, complete with hat, scarf and gloves. Neither of his boots were laced, but Frank wasn’t intelligent enough to notice that. 

“Up to no good, without a doubt,” Frank muttered to himself and continued shaving. Hawkeye moved towards the stove. The heat wasn’t enough to traverse the two centimetres of cold air between the stove and Hawkeye’s fingers, and so, knowing he would regret it, he placed his hands on the stove.


Frank sniggered to himself. Hawkeye stuck his fingers into his mouth and decided not to say anything. From the dimmest corner of the tent came a muffled groan and the sound of someone hitting a pillow. Moving slowly because of his unlaced boots, Hawkeye made his way towards Trapper’s cot.

“Morning, Trap.”

“Go ‘way…” Trapper opened his eyes and blinked at him.

“Korea,” Hawkeye said helpfully.

“Yeah, make it go away…”

“Have a drink.”

“I don’t want a drink.”

“Interesting,” Hawkeye said lightly.

“What is?” Trapper demanded balefully.

Hawkeye placed a gentle, although cold, hand on Trapper’s forehead. Trapper aimed a kick at him and he dodged it neatly. “I would stay in bed if I were you, Trap.”

“What do you think I’m doing?”

Trapper closed his eyes again and rolled over. Hawkeye was in the process of standing up when Trapper suddenly asked, “Why?”

“Why, what?” Hawkeye said lazily.

“Why would you stay in bed if you were me?”

“So I wouldn’t have to wait for you when I got in.”

From the other side of the Swamp, Frank Burns made a strangulated sort of noise. Trapper groaned. Hawkeye looked innocent. “Oh, and there’s the little matter of millions of happy little viruses currently using you to host a graduation party…”

“I'm not ill, Hawk!”

“Ah, a common symptom... delusions...”

“You're just trying to keep me from operating.”


“There's wounded out there who need me.”


“Shut up!”

“...aggression... ah.”

The pillow thrown at him made Hawkeye take the hint. He returned it to its now belligerent owner, and tramped out of the Swamp. “Goldbricker,” Frank Burns said. No-one was listening to him.

Hawkeye wondered if he was really ready to face an army breakfast in the pouring rain, but the severe lack of alternatives compelled him to head for the mess tent. Again.

He met Radar again briefly at the bulletin board, pinning up a wet notice about the low attendance at Father Mulcahy's Sunday sermons, and he was about to go on to the mess tent when he was pulled up short by a man in a dress.

"Hello, Klinger," said Hawkeye resignedly.

"Captain Pierce, sir," said Klinger urgently, "what do you think? Too summery for December?"

Hawkeye inclined his head and regarded the ensemble with a critical eye. The dress was pink, dotted with flowers here and there, matched with an equally pink flowered bonnet and a pair of strappy pink sandals. "It's the bonnet," he said at last. "Change that, you don't want to look odd."

"Thank you, sir!" replied Klinger, obviously relieved, and saluted. Hawkeye allowed himself a smile, and moved on to the mess tent. Looking around, he spotted several nurses plus Major Houlihan, and also Klinger and Radar. He hardly ever ate breakfast alone, but Radar seemed pleased to see him. "Come and sit here," he said guardedly. He clearly hadn’t forgotten the morning’s earlier conversation.

Hawkeye accepted, and sitting down, found Father Mulcahy sitting on the other side. "For what we are about to receive..." the priest intoned, about to make a start on his food.

Hawkeye shook his head. "It's all very well giving thanks, Father, but you don't want to eat it, you don't know where it's been." After inspecting it, he added, "Or what it is."

"Now, now, Hawkeye," Father Mulcahy chastised. "You should always say Grace... although, admittedly..." He stopped, allowing his fork to delve into the contents of his plate. "Admittedly, you may have a point."

Hawkeye nodded. “What we don’t eat, they drop on the North Koreans.”

He was just about to aim the fork at the nameless mess on his plate when a movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention. He turned round to see Frank Burns enter the mess tent, and Radar got up and left with a wave. Distractedly, he turned back to his plate. He picked up the fork, and put it down again with an audible clatter. He turned to look behind him for a moment, before pushing the plate away altogether.

“Something the matter, Hawkeye?” asked Father Mulcahy patiently.

“I’m bored, Father,” Hawkeye said decisively.

“Surely you prefer this,” the priest suggested. “I’ve seen how hard you have to work during a deluge. This must be a respite for you.”

“It’s been too quiet for too long,” Hawkeye said. “We’re due another deluge soon, I can feel it.”

There was a silence. There was never anything a person could say to that, no matter how offhandedly it was mentioned.

“Where’s Trapper today, Hawkeye?” the priest asked suddenly.

“He’s staying in bed today,” was the laconic reply.

“Ah,” said Father Mulcahy reflectively. “I thought the two of you did everything together.”

Hawkeye’s attention had been wandering, but at this, it was jerked back to the conversation in hand. Was it possible that…

A look at Mulcahy’s blandly innocent face told him nothing. Suddenly, visions of people at confession began winging through Hawkeye’s head. Trapper might have… but he wouldn’t. But if he had confessed, that would mean he thought it was a sin, but then again, Trapper still wouldn’t.

After a moment, Hawkeye decided to attribute his suspicions to mere paranoia. The man was a Catholic priest, not a clairvoyant, for crying out loud…

Suddenly Hawkeye remembered he *did*  know one clairvoyant, and suddenly a jigsaw piece fell into place.

With an effort, he realised he had been staring into space for about a minute and a half, and he forced himself to say something.

“Not today.” And with a smile that radiated childish innocence, he stood up and left, leaving his untouched breakfast behind him.


Henry Blake was out on the M*A*S*H country club and golf links (one hole, par 29, enlisted men welcome) but Hawkeye found his company clerk precisely where he was supposed to be.


“You devious little pre-pubescent Iowan farmboy!”

Radar was faced with Hawkeye in high dudgeon. He quivered slightly, for more than one reason.

“You knew exactly what I was doing in the mess tent this morning, didn’t you?”

Radar was silent.

“Well, didn’t you?” Hawkeye demanded.

“I didn’t want to know!” Radar squeaked. “Honest, I didn’t! I just *knew!* And I’m not ever going to tell anyone under no circumstances never!”

Hawkeye’s mind took a moment to sift through the double negatives. “You’d better not,” he said darkly, then relented. Sitting down besides the company clerk, he began playing with a yo-yo.  “It’s not your fault, Radar. You just… happen to know, that’s all.”


Silence. Hawk was engaged in making the yo-yo “sleep” – that is, hover a few moments on the end of the string before speeding back up to his hand.

“Why’d you do it, anyhow?” Radar asked suddenly.

“You ever been bored, Radar?” Hawkeye asked conversationally. “You ever been so bored you want to eat yourself?”

Radar watched in fascination; Hawkeye seemed to have mastered the trick. The yo-yo stayed on the end of its string, quivering with the tension, for almost ten seconds before leaping back into his hand.

Radar answered the question. “Yeah.”

“Well,” Hawkeye said, giving the toy a final flick so it landed first into his hand and then fell into his pocket, “it’s kind of sort of nothing to do with that whatsoever.”

Radar blinked at the disappearance of the yo-yo and any inkling he might have had of what Hawkeye was talking about. “Where’re you going?” he asked dully.

“Home,” Hawkeye said, standing up and leaving the outer office through the swing doors.



The chief surgeon stalked through the compound, ignoring the strange looks he got from people around him. Even the falling rain seemed to brush off him. In his present mood, he might have walked back to Crabapple Cove if it weren’t for the weather.

Klinger waltzed by, twirling a pink parasol.


Henry got a hole-in-thirteen. Unfortunately he was never to know what would have happened next, as play was stopped by fast-moving water rolling down the course.


The door of the Swamp burst open. Trapper looked up, and when he saw who it was, dropped his head and ceased paying attention.

He was forced to pay attention a minute later.

“What the… oww… hell are you doing?”

“Getting into bed with you, isn’t it obvious?”

Trapper seemed to be considering this new development from a great distance beneath the pillow.  “There’s a change. You sure shot out of here in a hurry this morning.”

“It wasn’t Frank, you know,” said Hawkeye indistinctly through a mouthful of army-issue blanket. “It was Radar.”

“Radar? He saw?”

“I don’t think so… but he knew. He wanted to know why we did it. Do it. Whatever.”

A long silence, which Trapper broke by saying intelligently, “Oh.”

“He says he won’t tell anyone.”

“He’d better not,” Trapper said, unconsciously echoing Hawkeye’s words from a short time before. “Now what?”

“Same as before?”

“And you won’t suddenly go running off into the night?”

“Broad daylight notwithstanding, no.”

“Sounds tempting, but I’ll pass.”


“You’ll catch whatever it is I’ve got.”

“You’re not ill, Trapper! I just made that up to annoy Frank!”

“No, you didn’t.”

“No, I didn’t. Damn Hippocrates! ” After a moment’s deliberation, Hawkeye added, “You know, I could call it a sacrifice of war.”

“Don’t. Ouch!”


“Your boots! Take them off!”

 There were two thumps as Hawkeye’s unlaced boots hit the ground on the other side of the tent. After a minute or two more of thrashing about, Hawkeye appeared to have settled down. He laid a hand on Trapper’s forehead, no mean feat considering how close together they were. He whistled.

“Can I go back to sleep now?” Trapper asked indistinctly.

“Feel free…”

After about five minutes, Hawkeye felt Trapper’s breathing slow down, becoming deeper and more regular. Moving slowly and deliberately as not to wake his friend, he reached for the pitcher and a glass. Blowing in it to give himself the impression it was clean, he poured himself a drink and sighed. Rainwater was dripping off his hair into Trapper’s eyes.

If Hawkeye had been paying attention, he would have heard a light rustle of canvas and running footsteps at the corner of the Swamp. But through the falling rain and Trapper’s gentle breathing, he heard nothing.


The running footsteps made their way to the other side of the compound and stopped in front of a tent door. Knock, knock.

“Come in!” came the voice from within.

Radar entered to find Father Mulcahy engaged in trying to write a sermon. He looked up to see the company clerk. “Well, Radar, what can I do for you?”

“Father,” said Radar urgently, “I’m not a Catholic. That’s probably ‘cause I’m a Protestant and I’m sure sorry but I gotta confess something please.”

The priest motioned him to a chair. “Of course, Radar. What is it you want to confess?”

“It’s about… oh, gee, I can’t tell you. I thought I could. I had to tell someone, I did, ‘cause it’s something I know, see, that I’m not supposed to, and I figured if you knew it too with you being a priest and all it might be okay but it’s not and now I don’t know what to do.”

Father Mulcahy got up slowly, walked to the door of his tent and looked out into the downpour at the tent he knew to be the Swamp. Clouds were gathering in the west, great grey dangerous clouds.

“You know, Radar,” he said, “I suspect that whatever it is, I already know it.”

Radar looked at him sharply. “You mean… but how-”

Father Mulcahy held a finger to his lips. “Shhh, Radar. The Lord moves in mysterious ways…”


A sudden flash of white light caught Hawkeye’s attention through closed eyelids. Moving with feline precison, he swung lightly off the cot and went to the door barefoot. Opening it, he looked out on a bleak grey sky that carefully offset the general olive-green. Looking out across the compound, he saw Radar and Father Mulcahy as dim grey shapes in the distance.

 He turned around, and looked back into the haven. Trapper was awake, staring back at him. “Come back…” he said drowsily.

 By this time, Henry had arrived back in the camp, bedraggled but triumphant and armed with a five-iron.

 Frank Burns, deciding to brush his teeth at the sink in post-op, had suddenly found himself foaming at the mouth.

 Radar was safely back in Colonel Blake’s outer office, holding Hawkeye’s yo-yo. Every time he tried to make it sleep, it swung up and hit him between the eyes. He didn’t mind; it stopped him from having to think.

 Father Mulcahy’s sermon that Sunday was based around the theme of tolerance, acceptance and understanding. This was widely considered to be his best sermon yet, featuring as it did a certain relevance that lent it extra flavour and spice.

 The Swamp’s stove was burning brightly. Trapper extended one foot and kicked it shut. There was still plenty of light, provided by an oil lantern as well as the bare electric light. The noise of rain on canvas would have drowned out all conversation if there had been any.

The ground water was beginning to encroach on their haven, lapping gently over Hawkeye’s bare feet. He shook them dry and closed the door. Trapper was waiting for him.

“Oh, finest kind,” Hawkeye murmured, as the sky split open in a thunderstorm. 

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