call up to listen to the voice of reason and got the answering machine ***Deleting 4/15. Download to save.***
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

Teen And Up Audiences
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B. J. Hunnicutt/Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce
Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, B. J. Hunnicutt, Igor Straminsky
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Post-Episode: s08e14 Stars and Stripes, but really more about Period of Adjustment, I feel like you all shoud know that I set out to write a PWP last night, but this happened instead, so basically someone should take me out back behind Rosie's and shoot me, because I shouldn't be allowed to Words, Angst, ish?, idk man I don't even think this is that good, just a moment in time, and not necessarily TMD-verse but could be read that way if want to, think my muses got some shit to work out before PWPs can happen lol
Published: 2020-09-13 Words: 1932

call up to listen to the voice of reason and got the answering machine ***Deleting 4/15. Download to save.***


(8x6, 8x14) - A chat with Margaret has left Hawkeye reflective and BJ a little lost.


(special thanks to deathofaraven for a suggestion that sparked... whatever this is!)

call up to listen to the voice of reason and got the answering machine ***Deleting 4/15. Download to save.***




The door to the O Club swung open before BJ had reached for it. He caught it easily, holding it open at the top as a tired Margaret shuffled out, looking like she wouldn't have heard a goodnight if he bothered to offer one. So he didn't. She wasn't the one he'd come to talk to, anyway. 

Hawkeye glanced up from the Scrabble board and back down quickly. He'd been about to put it away but, no, no, it made for fine prop, a good distraction from things he'd have liked to have said. Not often I have to talk to you like a silly kid was on the more chastising side of those things, but he couldn't say he hadn't savored haranguing them with Potter. A rare opportunity to be the angel on someone's shoulder rather than a devil, and he'd relished it because it was exactly what they deserved for acting as they had over the paper, and for shutting him out. Maybe there was some genuine disappointment but why and what kind, he didn't have a good enough handle on to reference it aloud, and Beej and Charles had been swayed by the effort - no point pushing it. Most of his lingering bitterness, which wasn't all that much, was from being shut out. Which makes me just as childish as you, I suppose...

"Tell me it's not too late for a beer," BJ said to Igor, leaning his arms on the bar-top, a sigh ready to fall from his lips at the first sign of a denial of service. 

"Only real close to too late," Igor warned even as he pulled one from the bucket of mostly-melted ice, glancing up at the clock. "Drink fast, huh, Doc?"

BJ only nodded, accepting the beer and taking a long swig. It was a reward for getting most of the first draft compiled from what he and Charles had written separately. They'd polish it up in the morning, they'd decided, both too worn out from the process, the annoyance, and the direct hits to their pride. "Tab me," he told Igor before turning, laying his gaze on Hawkeye where he sat fiddling with Scrabble pieces. 

Upon making his way over to the table, he wasn't surprised to find the board empty except for the word J-E-R-K set down, and had to force himself not to roll his eyes. 

"Of all the gin joints," Hawkeye muttered, pretending to be intent on organizing the pieces in rows by their numbers. "But, oh, if you're here drinking mere, lowly beer instead of 12-year-old-scotch, guess you must be done with your paper?"

"Near enough... Want company?"

"Why? Not tired enough of big words after all that time spent being hoity-toity with Charles?"

"Hawk, come on," BJ forced a laugh, deciding to pull back a chair and sit whether Hawkeye actually wanted him there or not. "I'm beyond tired of big words. Do you know how long it's been since I've had to write anything like that?" It had taken focus and concentration that Charles' nonsense made difficult enough, but Hawk hovering around the edges would have made it impossible. 

And Hawkeye knew that. He just had a bee buzzing around in his bonnet, one that Margaret's half-comprehending camaraderie hadn't entirely swatted away. "I can imagine," he admitted, chin in hand. 

"Then... If you can imagine..." BJ said, reaching over and selecting a few letters from Hawk's rows, ignoring the smack on the hand he received for such blatant thievery, but didn't know how to end the sentence with Igor around. "How about..." Stop the already-cold shoulder I know you'd drag on for days if I let you? Celebrate with me a little instead of acting like I committed a crime by being too busy for you? Because I'm not groveling for that, pal, BJ thought as he laid down his letters.

Hawkeye watched the board, the R in JERK now doing double duty towards the end of Beej's S-O-R-R-Y. He saw then how they could converse however they liked despite Igor's presence and it tickled him, but maybe Margaret's spiel had a lasting effect on his psyche, some vitriol that infected him and made him less compassionate towards Beej's mental strain than he might have been otherwise. The drinks should have made him warmer, less finicky, more glad to see the other after not having his full attention for a while. But they didn't. Just one of those nights. And as much as their arguing had annoyed the whole camp, BJ and Charles being all chummy and leaving him out hadn't felt nice.

But he stopped himself from using the S for SO-WHAT, even if he thought it. He continued to push pieces around, not taking a turn and not quite looking at BJ. His mood wasn't all BJ's fault. Hawkeye knew some of it was Margaret's, no matter how pleasantly they'd passed the time, and that he was probably confusing himself more than anything. Yes, he'd been pushed out of their co-authorship space - pushed out of peace in his very own tent! - and ignored. But it was for a good reason, all things considered. 

What bugged him more, perhaps, was that at the sight of an even slightly aggravated Beej, half his brain said to steer clear and the other half said to offer himself up to take his aggravation out on. Not that he'd have used those exact words - or would he? - but the thought had crossed his mind after he'd brought Scully to his Lady Fairer-than-Scully-deserved. He could have dragged Beej away for a little bit, could have held his attention, and BJ'd have definitely been relaxed by the end of it-

"Hey, guys?"

They glanced over at Straminsky.

"I've got to do a check on stock," Igor said, a crate of empties in his arms as he made for the door. "Anybody comes in, you tell 'em we're closed?"

"Yeah, sure thing," Hawkeye nodded, waiting for the door to open and swing closed before he spoke again. He plucked a K from the pieces and set it after the O in SORRY. "There. See? Okay," he gestured at the board. "You're sorry for being hoity-toity, and I'm okay," he smiled placidly, meeting BJ's gaze.

BJ watched him over a sip. He knew Hawk's expressions well, especially the less sober ones, and there was something not entirely honest in that smile. BJ wanted to believe it if only because he was too wiped to spend his energy on analyzing further, and because it more or less solidified the (only slightly necessary-feeling) apology he'd come to deliver. Still, he couldn't read Hawk easily, fluently right off the bat, and that bothered him a little. Easier to pretend it didn't, when he'd missed Hawk's company compared to everything about their other bunkie. "Well..." He rested his beer on the table with a hand around it, licked his lips, and nodded at the board. "Wanna play for real, see how many points we can rack up before Igor gives us the boot?" 

"Nah," Hawkeye decided, reaching for the board and scooting it to the edge of the table, folding it nearly in half with his thumb keeping it open. He set it beneath the table's edge, sweeping the rows of letters onto it. "I'm tired of playing," he said with a soft sigh, setting the board into the box as he stood. 

BJ watched him meander to the game shelf, bottle paused mid-raise. Was he imagining it, or was the tone of that sentence more loaded than anyone who'd ever stumbled out of the club at closing time? He hoped not.

But things were a little uncertain ever since... a different apology. A far more important one. One that Hawkeye had never actually said the word 'forgiven' about, just that it was okay, all right, something along those lines that BJ had been too hammered to recall. Plenty had happened since and they'd been fine. 

Fine, but not as close as... as they'd been sometimes, before.

And they both knew by instinct, not discussion, that it was entirely in Hawk's hands to change that. 

Or not to. 

BJ didn't necessarily see it as a waiting game, even if it felt like one sometimes. It wasn't a game at all, and very possibly nothing to wait for. Some sign either way, maybe, but... Hawk being tired of a board game wasn't a sign of any sort. BJ was just paranoid of words altogether after meeting Charles' endless barbs before they'd been benignly bullied into a truce. Right?

"Not just tired but sleepy," Hawkeye added around a yawn, turning away from the shelf and heading for the door. And how nice it'll be to fall asleep without you two bitching each other's heads off, he mused, pleased with his peacemaking efforts still. "Beddy-bye time. You coming?"

"Aren't we guarding the bar?" BJ asked.

"As soon as I'm on the other side of this door, those bottles are perfectly safe," Hawkeye assured wryly.

And all of a sudden, BJ desperately wanted to say, We have a minute alone here, so just tell me where you're at. But as much as he wanted to know... he didn't. Not if the answer was one he wouldn't want to hear, especially after so long a day. "I'll finish this off and hold down the fort," he decided, raising his beer as if it counted as a real point for staying behind. Igor would probably be back in a minute or less, it was hardly a trouble, and it would help him keep his thoughts to himself. 

All the same, he turned his back to the door before Hawk departed. The things he worried about sometimes, well, they made him strangely disinclined to watch Hawk walk away. Didn't matter that they'd be under the same canvas roof again in two minutes tops. The things he worried about made him unsure in ways he'd never felt before. 

Hawkeye made for his cot and tried not to consider too deeply how, some time ago, they'd have used that minute of Igor's absence for discreet kisses or under-table caresses. God, but how he missed moments like those, moments stolen from the government itself, kisses borrowed from a woman in Mill Valley, little indiscretions occurring on Uncle Sam's dime and giving them both a spark of hope in a wasteland so sorely lacking in it.

Oh, he trusted Beej. Sure he did. With his very life. 

But whether it meant he was touched in the head to want him, Hawkeye still needed some time to think on. 

He knew he'd spoken pure truth to Margaret: one had no choice but to take people as they were. But that moment, that one very terrible move of weeks before, didn't define Beej in Hawkeye's mind. Far from it. He knew he'd ease up more over time, and want kisses again, and trust more. He knew his own dreamy spiels to Margaret were more riffing off her own than about anything in some future elsewhere, anyone else. He was fine. They were okay. 

Well, so long as we never have to write a paper together, Hawkeye chuckled to himself.

But it wouldn't hurt, he didn't think, to play it all close to the chest until he was really sure. If he wasn't sure, testing it and freezing would hurt them both too much. Less painful, most likely, to leave BJ wondering and sorry a little longer - as revenge for shooing him away from the good scotch, if nothing else.


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