[identity profile] fear3loathing.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] mash_slash
I've been working on this for I don't know how long, it started as an exercise in 'What if Hawkeye was bisexual' playing out in a realistic way, and then oh my, it just extrapolated very very hard from there.

Title: Sanderson, J.
Pairing: Hawekeye/OC
Rating: Wholly and thoroughly *M*

Private James Sanderson moved into the MASH 4077 expecting a quiet time – a rest from the front. Boy was he surprised. He was always quite good at blending in, but in a camp full of eccentrics and misfits, that meant he stuck out. He was too perfect, too easy-going. It made people suspicious – everyone wanted to know what his secret was, because he had to have something wrong with him, something different – everyone did.

Aside from people watching him like vultures for a while, the first thing – or person, should he say – that Sanderson noticed was Hawkeye, because it was impossible not to notice Hawk, he was the life of every party, the end of every tall story, the ultimate authority.

But something about Hawk unsettled James. He caught the man's eyes once during mess. All the doctors and medics tended to sit in a group, and the enlisted men like him kept to themselves, they didn't tend to be here too long. He'd probably be back up at the front the next time they were short on men, which was always, so he could go at any moment.

He was on his way to his usual table, to sit with his usual friends, when he passed by Hawk – who couldn't be more than five years older than him, but it seemed like fifty. He had the eyes of a man who'd lived through more than most men ever had to endure. He was sitting in his robe, shoulder-to-shoulder with Trapper, the yin to his yang, but for a moment their eyes met.

Hawkeye was mid-way through a forkful of eggs, and his hand stopped so suddenly they fell splattering back onto his tray. Sanderson stopped too, feeling as if he'd been caught in the headlights of some colossal truck; the moment seemed longer than it was, Hawk's face blank and unreadable, until slowly, his lips twisted into a smile. A real smile, nothing fake, no casual grin for politeness's sake, he smiled at him, and then Sanderson dropped his eyes and carried on. He didn't know why the moment struck him so much, but he ended up thinking back to it for a good while afterwards.

And while everyone talked about Hawkeye, there was a limited group he and Trapper interacted with regularly – James wasn't interesting enough to run in those circles, he didn't drink himself silly, didn't gamble himself broke, didn't go out cruising for girls – he wasn't worthy of their acquaintance. Or so he thought, at least, because it wasn't much longer than a week after he'd met Hawk's eyes over mess, while he was sitting on a bench outside, enjoying a moment of rest and some coffee that didn't taste as bad as usual, when suddenly he was there.

“Sanderson,” he announced like they were old friends. “You know, I've heard something really interesting about you.” For a moment James's insides seized up, like Hawk had somehow managed to look into his eyes, reach into him and rip out his deepest, darkest secrets.

“Oh?” he replied breezily. “What's that?” Hawk fixed him with a look, a look that hit with the power of a drill. He smiled again, but this time it was sinister, there was something secretive behind it.

“Nothing,” he answered with a smile, and Sanderson sighed without realising. “Oh?” Hawk pushed, picking up on his relief at once. “Hiding something, are we?”

“No, sir,” he said a little too quickly, like he was overcompensating, which he might have been – he wasn't entirely sure.

“Hawkeye,” he corrected, slinging an arm along the bench behind the two of them. “Sir is my father. Or mother. She always wore the pants.”

“Heh,” James chuckled quietly, but said nothing more. He felt awkward in Hawk's presence, like he was standing on the edge of a cliff, staring into the abyss, and at any moment the ground could crumble from beneath him and he'd go spiralling in, sucked into Hawkeye's world, Hawkeye's war – which were different to his normal world, his predictable war.

“Not much of a talker?” Hawk inquired, and James shrugged. Suddenly, without warning, Hawk reached out and picked up his dog tags from his chest, holding them up to study like he was entitled to. “Sanderson J, huh? What's that for, James?" he guessed deftly, and Sanderson nodded. "Oh and look, you're just my type,” he murmured, but his voice was smooth like velvet, like he just sauntered up next to him in a bar and told him to get his coat.

“What?” James questioned in shock, his adam's apple bobbing in his throat.

“My blood type,” Hawk explained, pointing to the letter on the tags. “We've got the same blood type.”

“Oh, right,” James replied, and then without thinking. “I'll let you know if I ever get thirsty.” Hawkeye froze, raised an eyebrow high up his forehead – he was the master of wisecracks, and there weren't all that many people prepared to joke in front of him, for fear of failing the gauntlet.

But Hawk laughed, bright and rich; his hand slapped down on Sanderson's far shoulder, and it was like lightning jumped down it.

“You're funny, that must be your secret,” he hooted, and then quietened down, giving James another one of those looks that made him feel like the man was trying to sink a hand into his very soul. “No, I think there's something else,” he said slyly, and for some reason, his hand hadn't moved from Sanderson's shoulder; Hawk was friends with everyone, it looked perfectly natural, but that wasn't how it felt.

“I really wouldn't know, si... Hawkeye,” he told him. Hawk peered over, into his empty cup.

“Buy you another?” he inquired, and for some reason Sanderson knew he ought to say no.

“Ah, no thanks,” he evaded. “I'm good.”

“What, worried it'll keep you up at night?” Hawkeye teased, and James suddenly realised then he had two ways to go, that this was a test. He could carry on as he had been, or he could stick his arm out and try to get a hold of something different for once.

“All right, but don't tell my lady back home,” he answered coyly, and for the first time dared to smile back. “She told me not to accept drinks from suspicious men.”

“Ohhh, that's just what I like to hear,” Hawk slurred, taking James's cup from his hand, their fingers overlapping for a moment. Next he sounded incredulous, disbelieving, as he asked, “Does your lady have a name?”

“Mom,” he replied jokingly, but Hawkeye smiled like he was personally thrilled with the revelation, like every new piece of information he guessed about Sanderson lured him further into his hands.

“Very cute. I hope you know what we do to smartasses around here, private,” Hawk warned, and then his smile was there again, with a heat underneath it that seemed to have Sanderson all sussed out.

“Nothing, if you're any example,” he retorted, holding his ground. While he wasn't a natural comic, he could certainly make a wisecrack or two, and wasn't afraid to – not in front of Hawk – he could see that under the robe, behind the aura of greatness, he was just a man like any of them. He swore he wouldn't be intimidated, because if Hawk got difficult, Sanderson could just knock him out. He was a soldier, and in pretty good nick – he worked out from time to time, could run the wiry surgeon round camp til he collapsed of exhaustion.

After he walked away from Hawk that day, another empty cup of coffee between them, he saw the surgeon head back over to officer's quarters – to 'the Swamp', and in a deckchair outside, sipping moonshine, was Trapper John. Sanderson pretended to be studying the latest leaflet dropped by the North Koreans, and watched as Trapper made a gesture to Hawk, and the man laughed sharp and hard, jerked his thumb over his shoulder – towards him – and then laughed again. He wished he knew what they said, but suspected it was probably best he didn't.

Next, he was in the Officer's club having a drink one night, joshing around with his pals – they were planning on taking a Jeep into town to find some local girls, seeing as the nurses were all being kept in Trapper and Hawkeye's pockets like kids hoarding marbles. Sanderson didn't feel like it – never had – but neither did he feel obliged to go along just to fit in. So his friends waited until he'd finished his drink and then made their farewells, offering him the chance to come out one last time – which he politely declined, and then went to fetch one last beer from the bar, assuming he'd have some time to think with it before he headed back to the barracks to turn in.

But no one was alone in 4077 for long; one minute he was sitting at an empty table, a cool beer in his hand, enjoying a moment of quiet, and then the next there was a long arm hanging around his neck, a curly-haired Bostonian sat across the table from him, and Hawkeye's hands over his as he plied the beer from Sanderson's hands and gave it a thoughtful sip.

“Eeesh!” he feigned disgust. “How can you drink this stuff, Sanderson!”

“Tastes all right to me,” he replied uninterestedly, and caught Trapper's eyes across the table in question.

“Hiyuh – I'm Trapper, I don't think we've been formally introduced,” the man remarked playfully, so Sanderson obligingly reached a hand out to shake his.

“Sanderson... James,” he explained shortly, and when he looked back at Hawk, the man had finished his beer. “Hey!” he barked unapprecatively.

“No, no, I just did you a favour,” Hawk told him, and then got up with a hand firmly wrapped around his arm. “We'll get you a replacement drink back in the Swamp. Trap makes a martini that'd knock out a jeep.”

“It did once, remember?” Trapper pointed out, and Hawkeye laughed at some memory Sanderson did not share.

“I really wasn't planning on-” James started trying to talk his way out, but Hawkeye and Trapper shenaniganed him into the Swamp all the same. “Okay, just one drink,” he insisted, so Hawkeye gave him a jug full of gin.

“You know,” said Hawkeye as he lolled down in his cot, while Sanderson took tentative sips from his jug and hoped his tongue wasn't melting off. “I was serious when I said I heard something interesting about you.”

“I thought that was nothing,” Sanderson replied, feeling slightly more assured in the presence of Trapper; with Trap around, he felt less like an insect under a magnifying glass, like one of Hawk's great piercing eyes was beaming down on top of him.

“Exactly,” Hawk answered. “Nothing. Nothing is one of the most interesting things to hear about someone round these parts.”

“You see, private,” Trapper contributed. “If we don't hear about you, you got to be the most boring clown this side of the Pacific-”

“-Or you're hiding something so well no one's even got a sniff of it,” Hawkeye finished; Sanderson half-smiled to himself, and took a proper swig of his drink.

“Maybe I'm just boring?” he suggested, but Hawk got him right between the eyes and shook his head.

“I don't think so,” he replied ominously. “If you were boring, you wouldn't be here, would you?”

“Oh, right. Maybe I should leave then,” Sanderson taunted, but didn't make any move to get up. He was bored of being normal, he wanted a shot of the 4077 insanity, and these were the camp's main dealers.

“I don't see you getting' up,” Trapper pointed out.

“I was bein' facetious,” James answered loosely – the gin was obviously working its magic.

“Facetious, he's being facetious with us, Trap,” Hawk parodied merrily, taking an enjoyment from Sanderson's choice of words that seemed lost on everyone else.

“I thought facetious was a flower,” Trapper asked bemusedly, and paused for impact. “Well no wonder mother was always so mad at me on mother's day.” Hawkeye laughed, they all laughed; that night marked his formal initiation, or at least that was the impression. Why he merited such acknowledgement, he had no idea, but his wasn't the position to question. From that point on, people seemed to know him, respect him a little more; Sanderson, J. – sighted drinking with Hawkeye and Trapper, the camp announcement seemJamesed to run.

“This has been swell, guys,” Sanderson started up once he'd finished enough of his pitcher to feel drunker than he'd been in a long while. “But I'm gonna shoot.”

“Shoot what?” Trapper inquired drunkenly. “We're a hospital. Only thing we shoot is tushies.”

“I'm leaving,” he emphasised patiently, the two of them were obviously far drunker than he was – Hawkeye very definitely, because he got up and insisted on walking out front with him.

“Come on, I'll drop you home,” he announced in a playful mock.

“I'll make it across the compound,” he replied confidently, and gave Hawkeye a pointed look. “Not sure you will.” Hawkeye laughed again, hard and fast – it wasn't that funny, but Sanderson got the impression Hawkeye took everything to its very extreme, no matter what the emotion was.

“Well it was good talking. This place needs some fresh blood, and not in the literal sense,” Hawkeye remarked as he made his goodbye, and then reached up and wrapped an arm around Sanderson's shoulders; curling his fingers across his arm. Hawk caught his eyes with a grin that was ninety percent wicked.

“I'll see ya around, James,” he said quietly, and Sanderson had that feeling of standing on the edge of something again – only, this time it was a volcano down below, an all-consuming heat that could explode without warning, that would probably envelop him whole. And it did – on a distressingly ordinary day of all days.

Sanderson was loading up a jeep – he'd been ordered suddenly to take some excess medical supplies into town so they could be passed onto an Orphanage of some kind; he wasn't very clear on the details and frankly had no idea what he was doing. It was a hot, sunny, dusty day, so he had his shirt sleeves tucked all the way up and sweat hard through his fatigues, loading up crates of bandages and bottles with a methodical rhythm. He heard footsteps behind him, but didn't think anything of it until he heard the voice.

“Hark, the incredible man,” Hawkeye announced, and Sanderson stopped mid-swing, letting the crate down and propping a foot up on it, then grabbing the bottom of his shirt and pulling it up to wipe his face. Hawkeye raised an eyebrow, and leant against the bonnet of the jeep. “Careful you don't pull something, private. I think I'm getting tired just watching you.”

“It's no trouble,” he answered. “I'm meant to run this stuff into the village, there's a – nun? – that's meant to meet me?”

“Oh, nurse Craithe?” Hawk asked.

“Could be, for all I know,” he answered bemusedly. “I can't say I know what I'm doing, though. If she's a nurse then surely-”

“Put it this way, James,” Hawk interrupted. “What we as the 4077 give to nurse Craithe is not technically legitimately officiated by the U.S. Army. We just like to do what we can, when we can. Henry probably asked you because you haven't been in any trouble yet.”

“I'm too boring, remember?” Sanderson reminded him, and Hawkeye just fired him a meaningful look.

“Well, you look like a man on a mission, no one's going to stop such a determined G.I. James,” he parodied dramatically, throwing up his hands through the sharp, beaming sunlight, casting claw-like shadows on the ground.

“I am a man on a mission,” Sanderson replied, pulling a half-smoked cigarette from a pack and lighting it. “Only problem is I don't know what or where the heck I'm going with it.”

“You don't? Haven't you ever been to the village before?” said Hawkeye incredulously.

“Nosir,” he replied. “Not had a chance to yet.” Without warning, Hawk clapped his hands together and then vaulted up into the Jeep, tucking his long legs into the driver's seat.

“You're in luck, Private! I'm off duty this afternoon, and I've always wanted to practice my chauffeur skills. You're just going to love the village – it's a real gem.”

“Oh no, Hawk, I couldn't let you,” Sanderson started, and then Hawkeye leaned back and fixed him with another of those charismatic looks, one that simply said 'shut up and get in the jeep', so that was exactly what he did.

“All right,” he conceded, finishing the half of his smoke and then hopping into the passenger seat. Hawkeye drove like a maniac, but that much was to be expected really, and at least he got them to the village and back without killing them. Well there and half way back. They were on the home stretch, when he suddenly took a sharp turn off the road, nearly throwing Sanderson out of his seat.

“There's a great little spot just down here,” Hawk told him by way of explanation. “You can't come down this road without seeing it.” He pulled up just over the brow of a hill, a little viewpoint hacked through the trees and sparse undergrowth to reveal the rugged, torn landscape. It danced around them, a tiny real-life postcard tucked away in the middle of a war, almost distressingly breathtaking. Sanderson, J had been sent to Korea to fight a war, yet he'd never stopped to look at the country itself.

“It's beautiful,” he said quietly, leaning back and putting his feet up on the dashboard.

“Sure is,” Hawk answered, his long surgeon's hands still wrapped around the steering wheel. Then suddenly, he announced, “This just isn't going to work, Sanderson.” James's insides seized again, like Hawk had a hotline right to his gut, and he turned to the man with anxiety.

“What?” he asked, wondering if he feared what he should be fearing.

“Well,” Hawk said conversationally, “you'll need to be sitting at least a seat closer if you're planning on kissing me.” The hand in Sanderson's gut gave him a sharp punch, and he sat up, dropping his feet.

“If... if I did what?”

“Oh?” Hawk inquired, turning to burn him up with that look – the one he'd been feeding Sanderson right from the start, the one that made too much and too little sense. “Aren't you going to?”

“I...” he trailed off, feeling like his pulse doubled speed through his entire body. “... All right,” he murmured shortly before he reached across, grabbed Hawkeye by the collar, and yanked the man's mouth against his.

He tasted sweat and the dust off the road, and Hawk moved toward him, out from behind the steering wheel, threading his hand through the back of Sanderson's hair and pulling his body tighter against his. It was upfront, intense – neither wasted much time, because there's wasn't much time to have.

Hawk's hand crawled under Jame's shirt, clammy against the tight, muscular stomach, and worked around to his back, pulling him into an easy position, while his other hand much busied itself with his pants. Surgical hands were skilled, James remembered thinking, because Hawk managed to unbutton his fly and reach into his boxers without his even realising the man had got his belt off; he just bucked suddenly as Hawk's grip closed on a particularly attention-grabbing place to grab, and his mouth fell away in breathy groan.

Soon he couldn't do anything but grip the side of the jeep and heave deep, hot breaths, Hawk's hand fisted in his pants, until he hit that point, groaning curse words as he bit down hard on his lip, and Hawk bent down, then he was spitting mouthfuls into the dusty dirt track.

Sanderson sat panting afterward, the urge for a cigarette biting him as the sun boiled sweat off his skin – but Hawkeye certainly wasn't finished, and he definitely wanting doing, if grinding into Jame's thigh as his mouth sucked the sweat off his neck wasn't enough of an indication.

“How experienced are you?” the surgeon asked instead, and he atually pulled back, though his hands still roamed hungrily across Sanderson's shoulders, down his chest, along the line of hair from his navel down to his crotch.

There was a little care in his voice, a touch of caution, and Sanderson understood – he could tell he wasn't the first man to be accosted in this way by Hawk, but there were probably plenty of boys new to this game, maybe just curious, and Hawkeye was a hell of a man to resist: overwhelming people was one of his most notable habits.

But James just laughed the hardest Hawk had ever seen, loosely pulled up his pants, and then threw a knee over Hawkeye's, straddled his lap, bold and assertive in a way that surprised Hawk.

“Well, wouldn't you like to know?” he taunted with a wicked grin, and just had time to see Hawkeye's eyes light up before his mouth crushed down over Hawk's. Sanderson wasn't a surgeon, he had no miracle-working hands, but he could just as easily shove the officer onto his back along the seat, kneeling down the other side, head in his lap, Hawk's hand fisted in chestnut brown hair.

It was rushed and dangerous, because just about anyone could go a little way down their track and notice the two G.I. Joes doing something very un-American, but that only added to the desperation, the intensity. Soon the grip in Sanderson's hair tightened to hurting, and the next second he was swallowing – always thought it a bit discourteous not to – then he sat up and wiped his hand over an indefatigable grin.

“... Wow,” Hawk accoladed, running a hand back through his hair, sweat drenching his shirt. “As in, wow.”

“Thank you, sir,” Sanderson replied with sarcasm and a smirk, and Hawk caught his eye with an amused look. James rolled back into his seat, fumbled for his slightly-crushed pack of cigarettes, and lit one in the golden afternoon sun, sucking deep on it and exhaling with a smile.

“We need to get you in for a masterclass with some of the nurses,” Hawk remarked only semi-jokingly, rearranging his uniform and slumping against him lazily.

“And give away all my secrets?” he taunted, taking another thick drag on his smoke, before holding it out to Hawkeye. “You want?”

“Mmm,” Hawkeye murmured in the back of his throat, taking the cigarette from him and popping it between his lips. “So that means... no, on the girls, then?” he inquired as casually as he could manage, but it still strung the air with a tinge of awkwardness.

“Fraid not,” James replied coolly; he knew how – or what – he was now, and there seemed little sense denying it to the man he'd just performed a rather popular sexual act on. He had his own struggles, darker moments, but he fit in, he got on with everyone in his outfits – no one ever guessed unless they were like him too, it seemed. And though he never went out looking for his kind of company, things always seemed to come to him one way or another – Hawk did, at least.

“I'm not like you,” he pointed out – Hawkeye was infamous for his kiss-chase act, and it didn't seem to matter whether his prey wore a skirt or pants. “You don't care, do you?”

“Well, I'm just a sucker for blue eyes,” Hawk sighed theatrically.

“My eyes ain't blue,” Sanderson replied with a chuckle, and Hawk laughed, passing the cigarette back.

“Okay, you got me,” he admitted, holding his hands up. “Still, I was right.”

“Mmm?” James grunted through a drag. “About what?” he added through mouthfuls of smoky exhale.

“About you – you're not boring,” Hawk answered, and Sanderson laughed, feeling free and more comfortable than he had in a while.

“I coulda told you that,” he remarked, and offered the cigarette back to Hawkeye.

“Hm, I think I much rather you showing me that,” he jested, sticking the cigarette in the corner of his mouth and starting up the jeep engine.

“Hey, if it's not too much to ask,” James inquired a moment later, as they bumped and bounced back to the main road. “How did you know?”

“Intuition,” Hawkeye answered shortly, taking a hand from the wheel to return the cigarette to his mouth, pulling on it and then passing back over.

“That's all?” Sanderson said suspiciously, finishing the last of the smoke and stubbing it out on the dashboard.

“Well. Intuition and hope,” he admitted. “You'll be pleased to know you surpassed frequent and much-favoured fantasy.”

“Shucks, I'm flattered,” Sanderson chuckled, stretching out and putting his feet up again.

“How long do you expect to be here?” is the next question Hawk pressed him with; Sanderson knew he was good, but didn't realise he was that good. Or maybe Hawkeye was just pleased with the novelty.

“No idea. I could be called up tomorrow for all I know. My unit was disbanded – too many fatalities after... well, it was easier to send the survivors to new units than it was to replace all the ones we lost.”

“Oh,” Hawkeye murmured, remembering that the war happened just as bad, if not worse for other people. “I'm sorry.”

“It's okay,” said James with a shrug. “I'm not gonna say it isn't hard... and, well... it's not like I'll get over it, but it don't bother me so much now. Soon it won't bother me hardly at all.” They drove a little way in silence, considering the statement.

“I'm not sure if you're enlightened or stupid,” Hawkeye commented glibly.

“I thought enlightened was stupid,” he retorted, “it is in war at least. All the happiest, reliable, most honest folks I know in war are as thick as two short planks.”

Of course, he knew that all the smartest guys stayed as stupid as possible – if you thought too much, you got to a stage where you realised it was all meaningless, that nothing made any sense, and the only thing you knew was the horror of it all. Hawkeye was a case point against thinking too much.

“It's an interesting theory,” the man remarked. “Well. You're just full of surprises, aren't you Private Sanderson?” he said it in a way that wasn't even remotely innocent, and James replied with a dark, salacious look of his own. He knew he'd inexplicably find himself stranded with Hawkeye again, and he couldn't deny looking forward to it; his time at the 4077 was sure to get far more interesting.

Although he still spent most of his time with his own friends, who joked about his being 'honoured' by the great Hawkeye, he shared a cup of coffee with the surgeon from time to time, sometimes a drink, usually Trapper was around too, as well as any of their other assorted friends, all fairly innocent and innocuous. He also got invited to their parties, although he didn't always attend; but occasionally there were the times he did.

“Hawkeye,” a nurse said somewhat persuasively on one such occasion, her shirt well up the scale of alcohol to unfastened-button ratio. “Didn't you want to show me something?”

“I did?” he replied bemusedly, a drink in each hand, one outstretched and high, keeping it away from the cajoling grappling of Trapper, from whom he'd stolen it.

“Yes, doctor,” she purred, and even Trap stopped squabbling to take advantage of the view; yet, Hawkeye's eyes didn't follow – he couldn't seem any less interested, actually. Leaning over, he murmurred in Trapper's ear, and his cohort stood suddenly, taking the stolen drink and popping it into the nurse's hand.

“Here, honey,” he cooed. “I can show you what Hawk was gonna.” Her eyes brightened and chest jiggled, but only Trapper watched – Hawk had his eye on something, someone else.

“Really?” the female asked elatedly.

“Why sure,” Trapper replied. “See, I've got one too.” He glanced at Hawk and winked, throwing an arm around the girl and luring her away. “Just over here, honey.” Hawkeye sighed and stretched out, draining his glass and then filling it anew, plopping an olive in for decoration as he headed across the Swamp, to where Sanderson sat quietly, slipping into the background as he was prone to do.

“James,” he addressed, setting the glass in his hand. “Compliments of the chef.”

“What did my mother tell me about accepting suspicious drinks from strangers?” he taunted comfortably, accepting the glass and swigging uninterestedly, their conversation lost to others among the music and rabble of other party-goers.

“That you should do it in all circumstances,” Hawkeye replied. “Especially if it's from a tall, dark and handsome stranger.” Hawk returned himself to the still for another drink or five, but if he didn't think Sanderson was having enough he'd find the surgeon on his arm with a challenging look in his eye and drink in hand. Of course, the more he drank – the more the both of them drank – the harder it became to stay subtle in their flirtation; the issue being that Hawk was more prone to doing it, and James less prone to stopping him.

Thankfully Hawk and Trapper's parties were wild enough to get away with a fair amount of scandal, and if in the dark at the hazy end of the night, one of them could be found straddled over the other's lap, hands pressing tightly into soft, yielding skin, mouths fastened and performing a very intense tongue-to-tongue tonsil examination, people were either too drunk to notice or too drunk to believe what they were noticing. There were a few in the know – Trapper, of course, who was conscientiously quiet concerning the whole topic – Hawkeye must have broken it to him some way or another, as he was far too engaged in play-romance with Hawk to be totally innocent. It was hard to imagine anyone spending too long around Hawk remaining totally innocent. Somehow, they got away with it, even when they probably shouldn't have.

“Private Sanderson,” the surgeon commanded one afternoon. “Your skills are required. Come give me a hand,” the way he said it, a hand sounded very much more sinister than it ought to, and James grinned amiably.

“Sure, Captain Pierce,” he said obligingly, and followed the doctor into post-op. Hawk mostly wanted him to shift things around, particularly the empty cylinders of anaesthetic gas that needed clearing out and refilling. Sanderson carried two over a shoulder and one in his free hand, and didn't miss the way Hawk looked at him hauling the heavy things around like rolls of cardboard.

“I played a lot of football back home,” he explained casually, knowing Hawkeye was just waiting to make a smart comment. “I can't help being built.”

“Was I complaining? Did you hear me complaining?” he replied hyperbolically, turning to a nurse nearby. “Nurse, do you think there's anything to be criticised of Private Sanderson here's ever-so impressive physique?” The nurse blushed, and James rolled his eyes.

“No, Doctor,” she said with a flutter of her eyelashes. “I think it's, uh, very nice.” Hawkeye made a great show of dejection and tried to chat up the nurse in compensation, while James shifted the rest of the empties out of the O.R.

“Well, seeing as your brute strength is distracting all my nurses,” the surgeon remarked when Sanderson walked back in. “I think there's some more heavy lifting you can do for me in supplies. I'd do it myself, but you know, delicate hands,” he made excuses pitiably, holding up the appendages in question. “The O.R.'s gonna miss me if I injure them, and I promised the war I'd visit every day.”

“All right, all right,” Sanderson stopped him with an air of weariness, giving the nurse a knowing glance. Hawkeye would talk all four legs off a bed if he was allowed to. “Anything to help, doc.”

Of course, once they got to supplies Hawkeye had him stack up all the things they needed in a big unmovable pile by the door, and had him pushed up against them before you could say Benjamin Franklin.

“I hope you didn't wear yourself out too much,” he murmured quietly, his hands resting intrusively on either side of Sanderson.

“Try me,” he baited, snapping up close in Hawkeye's face; the ensuing kiss was raw and brutal. James was sure Hawk liked how much rougher he could be with another man – and especially that he'd get exactly what he gave back in return.

It also turned out that there were shelves at just the right level in supplies for Sanderson to hold onto, and no end of creative lubricants at hand; Hawkeye soon had him bent over cursing black and blue, remembering just how good it could all feel, until at last his silent, tense grip on James's waist went slack, and Hawk slumped over, resting his forehead on the back of his neck, breathing release and contentment.

“Shift it, Hawkeye,” he ordered after a while – fit or not, his legs were beginning to ache. “I don't stand round like this just to look good.”

“I don't think I've ever seen you look better,” Hawkeye retorted smartly. “Your best side, private,” he added, and then cracked a palm flat against his ass, hard enough to sting.

“Do that again and I'll punch you,” Sanderson threatened as Hawk stepped back and let him straighten himself up and turn around; as soon as he did, he got a hand fisted in his hair and a hot, hungry kiss to answer to.

“I think you're just the sort of boy mother told me to stay away from,” the surgeon told him, half-serious and half-sex, and then quickly dropped into another heated kiss. “Anyway,” he continued, regretfully forcing himself onto business. “These things really do have to go into post op, so work up a bit of a sweat – take your shirt off by all means – and give the nurses and me something to look at while I finish my rounds,” he demanded lecherously, reaching around to give Sanderson an indicative squeeze.

“You're a total nympho, aren't you?” Sanderson accused, at which Hawkeye laughed himself silly, lolling back against the nearest set of shelves as he shot the man a filthy look.

“You're only just realising that now?!” he taunted; James rolled his eyes, then started shifting the boxes away from the door.

It was a convenient arrangement if nothing else; Sanderson wasn't a jealous man, wasn't bothered Hawkeye cavorted around with as many women as he could get his hands on. He didn't feel that way about Hawk – he liked him, sure, and he certainly liked sleeping with him, but it wasn't much more than that. It never would be, not in that time and place. Mostly it was quick, sordid affairs in snatched pockets of time; when no one would suspect them, because although neither of them personally had a problem with what they got up to, they both appreciated it would be easier all-round if it the whole camp wasn't in on their extracurriculars.

Sanderson could theoretically chase Hawkeye up if he felt so inclined, but rarely did because before he even got past thinking it'd been a while, Hawk was usually inexplicably next to him in the showers, bumping into him late at night – bumping into him several times more.

Then there was the time the Swamp was empty, the one time; Hawk was dating several other nurses, but it was Sanderson's elbow he loomed up by during mess. A whole night undisturbed, and he knew exactly who he didn't want disturbing with.

“Heya, James,” he greeted casually, a meal tray that was largely cups of coffee in his hands. “Can I join you?” Sanderson gestured his agreement with a fork, and carried on eating as Hawk dropped down opposite him.

“Where's Trapper?” he asked once he'd finished his mouthful; it was unlike Hawkeye to be seen without his partner in crime.

“R&R in Tokyo,” Hawkeye lamented. “Bastard.”

“Heh,” Sanderson chuckled. “Cryin' shame, that.”

“Well, I pity you more,” Hawk replied. “You're on Trapper replacement duty.”

“Oh?” he inquired, stuffing a forkful of greens into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. “What does that entail?”

“Mostly drinking gin,” he explained, pouring two half-drunk cups of coffee into the same mug.

“I don't like gin.”

Hawkeye gasped, outraged. “That's not the sort of thing Trap would say! You're a terrible Trapper.” he accused.

“So fire me,” Sanderson suggested with a shrug, and then with an almost undetectable smile, in a quiet, un-overhearable tone. “I'll give it a shot. No Major Burns?” James liked Hawkeye, but not enough to tolerate Major pain in the ass Frank Burns for him. Not to mention, the last thing he needed was a prude like Burns finding out he wasn't exactly sexually orientated in the preferred direction. He wanted to go home, but without a dishonourable discharge.

“Nada,” Hawkeye replied with obvious glee. “Seoul with Hot Lips. Well, I've got to dash to post-op now.” He stood up, downing the rest of his coffee and shooting Sanderson a wink.

“Catch ya' later, Hawkeye,” he said uninterestedly, and carried on eating as if nothing had passed between them. A few hours later, he showered and then made for the Swamp – just after dark, when no one seemed to notice or care who was going where to see who.

And Hawk was waiting for him; he had his boots off, and was lounging across a triple-bed he'd made by binding all three cots in the room side-by-side, sprawling across them like some kind of party piece.

“Jeesh,” Sanderson scoffed. “You know, I'm most impressed you managed to fit all them all together.”

“I was bored,” Hawk explained. “You know, Trapper wouldn't leave me hanging like this.”

“I do a lot of things Trapper don't do,” he countered without fuss, not even attempting to draw attention to the implication. Hawkeye sprung up, jetted across the tent, and before Sanderson had time to blink there was a glass of moonshine in his hand.

“I'll drink to that,” he proposed, clinking glasses with him, and with a shrug James downed the contents.

“Is that thing even comfortable?” he enquired as Hawkeye retook his position lying across all three cots.

“God no, it's awful,” he answered, swilling from a new glass of gin. “I just did it because I can.”

“Can't argue with that,” Sanderson agreed, kicking off his boots, getting a fresh drink and then sitting down on a free corner. They drank quickly – the night had an air of hedonism and abandon about it, and the chances of it ever happening again were slim, so they both knew it had to be taken full advantage of.

“You're really not much of a talker, are you?” Hawkeye commented after a while.

“I figure you talk more than enough for two people,” James retorted, taking another thick slug of the poison in his glass, letting the freedom and anticipation work all the way from his toes up. Then at last he put it down and turned, taking Hawkeye's from his hand.

“Hey, I'm still drinking that,” his partner protested, but he was strong and uncompromising in his movements.

“No you're not,” he stated quietly, and Hawk docilely let the glass be plied from his grip. Sanderson took a huge swig from the last of the contents, draining and only half-swallowing the mouthful as he put it down and then turned back to Hawkeye.

He leant over, one hand heavy on his shoulder, and pinned the surgeon down, then closed his mouth over Hawkeye's, the taste of gin sharp and wet in his mouth. It was deep, determined, mouths open wide and tongues deep, though all they could taste was martini. This would be the first time they'd have the luxury of undressing, and Sanderson stripped quickly, acquiescing to Hawkeye's furious and multiple attempts to rip his shirt clean off, kicking pants and socks away afterwards, until he pressed against the fully-clothed captain in just his boxers and arousal.

Quickly Hawkeye flipped James onto his back, straddling his waist, and spent a good long while just looking at him, a jackal's grin on his face. He was enjoying his catch.

“You gonna sit there drooling or actually do something,” Sanderson taunted, so Hawk laid two hot palms against his stomach and bent over him, hard kisses working from his collarbone all the way up his throat, to his ear, then finally to his lips. James laughed hoarsely, grabbed Hawkeye by the back of the head, and stuck his tongue so far down his throat it was making a point more than an actual kiss. “You fuck women too much,” he accused with a smirk. “Makes you soft.”

“What?!” Hawk scoffed. “I've never heard so much nonse-” but he couldn't finish the sentence, because Sanderson sat up like Hawkeye weighed all of a stone on top of him, and had him back down on the cots before he'd any concept of what was what. Businesslike, James pulled off his shirt, unbuckled his pants, undressed him like he was stripping down a body, until Hawkeye lay underneath him without a stitch to wear, but looking like he was very much enjoying it.

Sanderson was on the whole an easy going guy, willing to do most things for most people, but he did have a hard side – he could be tough, when he wanted to. So rather than letting Hawk cavort around in charge as he usually did, he was going to give him back what he was due for once. Judging by the look on Hawk's face, he was looking forwards to it.

Not to say he rushed it – not at all. James took it nice and slow, almost painstakingly slow, stretching with his hands for so long that the Hawkeye, the officer, his senior, the one and only, was begging to be fucked like he didn't know what.

“Seriously, James,” he panted, gleaming with sweat and wriggling underneath Sanderson in frustration. “Are you sure you're not a North Korean in disguise? This has to qualify as torture.” His tormentor only smirked, and after a little more cat and mouse, finally gave in, at which point Hawkeye grabbed the nearest shirt to hand and bit down on a healthy mouthful of fabric, muffling guttural moans as he arched his back equal parts pain and pleasure.

James took it slow at first, knowing it must have been a while since Hawk had been in this position of their particular act, but didn't give him too long to get comfortable – if Hawkeye got too comfortable, he'd start talking, and if he was talking he was clearly thinking too much.

Exactly how many people passed by the Swamp that night, oblivious to the knowledge that Dr.-Captain Pierce was being fucked senseless by one of the enlisted men wasn't something either of them cared to count, but Hawkeye was hard pressed to spell his own name at the time, much less perform mathematics. The full extent of his capabilities didn't extend much further than gripping the end of his bunk and bucking against unrelenting movements, until he came long and hard, streaking across hot skin and flesh. James wasn't far behind, pulled out and propped himself on an arm, squeezing the last powerful burst along with Hawk, and then fell panting to the cot alongside him. Then there couldn't have been more than thirty seconds silence until he opened his big mouth.

“If I ever implied you were dull or boring, James, that comment is eternally withdrawn,” he murmured, dragging a shirt across his torso to clear up the mess they'd made between them.

“And this was all it took? I shoulda fucked you sooner,” Sanderson drawled sleepily.

“I can't argue with that,” Hawkeye agreed very enthusiastically, rolling up on one elbow. “Why didn't you?”

“You were too busy fucking me,” he answered caustically.

“Oh yes. So I was,” Hawk conceded.

“Nympho,” he rightfully accused, and Hawkeye grinned, leaning over Sanderson and catching his jaw in his hand. He pulled him across for a throaty kiss, and quickly released him again, flopping back and heaving a sigh, one hand resting on his stomach and the other behind his head.

“You know, I'm not sure if I should weep for womenkind's loss, or be thankful for my own gains,” he remarked after a while, just as Sanderson was about to drop off.

“Hawkeye, sir,” he retorted sarcastically. “You don't quiet up and I'll fuck you so hard next time even Major Burns is gonna be asking who shoved a stick up your ass and made you walk like that.”

“Ooohh, a threat,” Hawk taunted, “and you flatter yourself, private.” He tried to grope demonstratively, but James swatted his hands away; however, Hawkeye continued to fidget and fuss, until at last Sanderson lost patience and pinned down the surgeon as he turned onto his front, half his torso and one heavy arm holding him still. It seemed to quiet the man up, and he was then able to sleep awhile.

That is, until he woke up some time later with a certain part of his anatomy in Hawkeye's mouth that definitely wasn't there when he went to sleep. He woke with a thick, groggy moan, but Hawkeye didn't stop. Soon he was gripping him by the scalp and giving all the encouragement he could possibly need, until finally he gagged and swallowed deep. Still only half-awake, Sanderson gave a yawn, then sat up and tossed Hawk onto his back, straddling him calmly as he rolled his shoulders back and stretched.

“How is it I always end up on my back with you?” Hawk questioned, but didn't complain too bitterly, considering Sanerson ground down over him until he was incoherant, throbbing and desperate, and then finally sunk home, curses and praise flowing from his lips in one continuous jabber.

Sanderson realised that night it was a blessing in disguise Hawkeye ran several people at once, because his libido had yet to discover its own end – his energy for acts of depravity was insatiable. It was certainly one of his more memorable nights from the 4077, and waking up in the early morning and being able to reach out for a warm, willing body was a luxury rare-afforded in a war, let alone for someone like him.

They dozed in the early hours of the morning, Hawk curled round James like a long, lanky throw; a hand resting over his heart, laying together because they simply hadn't the energy left to do more than that – a night's decadence used up to its absolute limit. Only when lust had been dried up, seared to nothing, did intimacy come to replace, sneaking in almost unrecognised.

“You know,” Hawkeye murmured against Sanderson's bare skin, his fingertips soft and inquisitive against his chest. “If we weren't here and now, you're the kinda guy I could see myself-”

“Com'on, Hawk,” James warned, sensing the dangerous sentimentality in his tone. “Don't go talking now. Only leads to trouble.”

“Didn't you know? Trouble is my middle name,” he claimed. “Benjamin Franklin Trouble Pierce.”

“And here I was thinking you were just Hawkeye,” Sanderson replies coolly. “I'm serious, though. Just cause you have to go promising all the nurses the world in a shiny ring, don't class me with them.” He felt Hawk's sigh all the way across his bare chest, and wondered where he left his cigarettes.

“I suppose,” Hawk consented. “I mean, you're right, it'd never work out – neither of us can wear white, so who would be the bride?” Sanderson laughed; trust Hawkeye to start thinking about only what he couldn't have.

“I should get going soon,” he remarked, noting the light rising up over the camp; another day at war. For once Hawk didn't have a wisecrack to make, and instead twisted up to press his mouth against James's, kissing deep and desperately. “Hey, relax, Cap'n,” he slurred. “I'll still be here tomorrow.”

“Mmn,” Hawk murmured, spreading his knees on either side of Sanderson's hips without moving far from his mouth, craning down over him. “For how many more tomorrows, though?” he questioned when he found a breath that wasn't sucked into intense, frustrated kisses.

“How can I know?” he replied. “You ain't gonna start crying, are you?” he baited. “Going all emotional on me – told you that you fuck women too much.”

“And whose fault is that?” Hawk retaliated, and Sanderson reckoned he probably had enough energy left for one last round before he slumped back to the barracks to sleep it all off; Hawk was willing too, judging by certain telltale signs that may or may not have been prominent.

“Yours,” James snapped quickly, and then grabbed Hawk by the chin to crush mouths messily together one last time; Hawk staying on top of him, but close, almost claustrophobic as he ground Sanderson into him, pouring hot, clammy breath over his shoulder as moved carefully, building slowly but surely towards a helpless, overpowering climax.

“If,” Hawk panted against his lips, “no, when. When you go back to the front, James, don't get killed, okay?” he said quietly, slowing in his movements, keeping their faces close. “You know, some of my favourite parts of you wouldn't work any more if you were dead.”

“One favourite part in particular,” James teased, giving a slow thrust, which made Hawk shudder, digging his fingertips into the thick muscle of Sanderson's shoulders.

“That part especially,” he replied, and caught his mouth in yet another kiss. Sanderson laughed soflty and then flipped Hawk over, pinning him down to wring the last pleasure out of him.

“If you'll insist on acting like a woman, sir, I might as well fuck you like one,” he chuckled, and Hawkeye would have complained if he could be bothered, and wasn't more engaged in angling himself just right – which he was, so the comment was allowed to slide.

Perhaps Hawkeye jinxed it, but no more than a week after that night Sanderson got his orders, and back to the front he went. He was sad to leave the 4077 – it was a unique place, a real, genuine nut factory, and he was thankful he could be a part of it for as long as he had.

He got the feeling Hawkeye avoided him until the day he had to leave, either because he was sulking or because he didn't want to risk being around him in public, lest he do something stupid. He saved that for their goodbye, when he popped out of post-op as Sanderson walked by and grabbed him by the wrist.

He said nothing, but didn't need to as James followed him unassumingly to the empty O.R. and no sooner had the doors swung shut behind him than Hawkeye was flooding his senses, tangled tightly against him, tongue and teeth making a furious assault on anything they could reach. Sanderson could have lied and said he didn't care, but when Hawk wore his emotions so flagrantly, he felt the man at least deserved the truth.

So Sanderson kissed back, hard and rough, making sure Hawkeye would remember what it was like long after he was gone. Maybe he didn't love him, but he was fond of him, and maybe if things were different, if it hadn't been here and now that they'd met, it might have been something more. Not that there was any sense thinking about that now, so he just poured every last energy into their farewell, and pulled back, damp and swollen.

“I was serious about before,” Hawk said with a deceptive calm. “Don't get killed, James.”

“I'll try,” he answered warmly, knowing he had about ten minutes left to get on a jeep out of here. “See ya, Hawkeye.”

And he certainly did try to stay alive, safe in the knowledge that if he was wounded he'd go right back to the 4077 and he knew they'd look after him there like one of their own. But he was one of the lucky, and didn't suffer than anything more severe than scratches and bruises in his new outfit – nice, friendly, normal guys, and he almost found it boring – then suddenly the war was over, and he was going back home; they all were.

He couldn't exactly say he thought of Hawkeye often – he didn't pine for him like some heartbroken sweetheart, but maybe he missed him from time to time, his company, his character, his all-encompassing life. Not to mention his other more practical skills.

But Sanderson had his life back, he could be James again, not a private, more than the sum of information engraved on a small piece of metal – Sanderson, J. He went back home, and found himself gravitating up the East coast towards New York, a place big, loud and full of eccentrics – just enough like the 4077 to keep him comfortable, where he could spend his time downtown, where folks were a little more understanding of his ways, and he was able to live innocuously.

Imagine his surprise, then, when in one of the bars he frequented as the years slipped by – not a place to go cruising, but a quiet retreat guys like him could feel safe in – when he was sitting alone, enjoying a beer one minute, and then the next there was an arm around his shoulder, two martini glasses next to him, and a wicked grin purring in his ear.

“If it isn't Private Sanderson, J,” came the faux-announcement, and James nearly fell off his barstool. “Now, what's a nice boy like you doing in a place like this?”

He looked well – certainly better than he had in Korea – there was still madness in his eyes, but it was calmer, happier. He didn't look like he was living on the very edge of sanity, he wore a shirt and suit trousers, carried a professional air – perhaps he was in town for a medical convention, or maybe it was just wild chance. There didn't seem to be much sense in questioning the how, once James had shaken himself thoroughly and made sure that he wasn't hallucinating – that it was him.

It was then he smiled, taking the dexterous hand in his and shaking it. “Well,” he remarked, “if it ain't Dr. Benjamin Franklin Trouble Pierce.”

“Ohh,” Hawkeye replied with a truly wicked look. “You don't know the half of it.”

I feel like such a sucker for giving it this ending, but goddamit I fell in love with them just a little bit too much and a disappointing, realistic ending would make me too sad and it is MY damn story so I'll do what I like with it. I'm not a huge player of the OC game, but I felt that it was the only way to go with a concept like this.
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M*A*S*H Slash

October 2012

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