Pairings: None as of yet
Spoilers: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen
Summary: AU. Chaptered Story. Hawkeye receives a Section Eight.
Crossposting: fanfiction.net, various communities.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or settings in this story.
Sidney Freedman was happy for the first time in weeks. Humming softly, he shuffled through his papers as he walked down the ward toward Hawkeye's room. Yesterday had been a major breakthrough. Now that Hawkeye remembered what had really happened on the bus, it was only a matter of time until he was ready to go back to the 4077th.
He rapped on the door and waited for Hawkeye to answer. There was a short pause, then Hawkeye yelled, "Come in!"
Hawkeye was stretched out on his cot, his hands tucked under his head. He turned his gaze away from the dingy ceiling as Sidney walked in. "Sidney!" The voice was overly cheerful and the smile fake and slightly malicious.
"How are you feeling today, Hawkeye?" Sidney asked as he sat down.
"How am I feeling? Well, let's see. I've been trapped in this hellhole since I can't even remember when, I'm surrounded by crazy people, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with me! I'm great, Sidney. I'm dancing. Literally. You just can't see it."
Sidney felt as though a cold drop had fallen into his stomach and was now slowly spreading. "Nothing's wrong? Hawkeye, the bus ride. The baby..."
"Will you stop with the damn bus already?" Hawkeye snapped, "Here, I'll give you a dime. Ride the bus as much as you want."
"But yesterday." Sidney said, "Yesterday, you remembered."
"Remembered what?" Hawkeye rolled onto his side, facing Sidney. "Nothing happened on the bus. Nothing."
"Do you remember yesterday's session?"
"Yeah." Hawkeye said sullenly. "You wasted hours of your time on something that's never going to happen. Let's all note that it was only your time wasted. It's my life that's being wasted in this pit. Mine and those of the soldiers I could be operating on."
"What about the chicken?"
"Chicken? What the hell do chickens have to do with anything? Maybe you should be in here too. You can have my bed, I won't be needing it."
"And why's that?" Sidney asked, grasping for control of the rapidly-spiraling conversation.
"I'm leaving. Today. Just as soon as you walk me out there, tell them I'm fine, and let me go on my merry way."
"I'm sorry, I told you already that I can't do that." Sidney said, standing up. "Excuse me, Hawkeye. I'll be right back."
He strode out of the room and paced a small circle in the hall. They were back at square one. It could take weeks, months even, to get back to where they had been. They didn't have that kind of time.
A Section Eight. Though Sidney was loathe to admit it, Hawkeye's case was possibly more than the military could handle. They could send him stateside and he could get help there. But Sidney didn't want to do this until they had exhausted every other strategy available.
Taking a deep breath, Sidney opened the door and walked back into Hawkeye's room. He was once again on his back, staring at the ceiling.
"Hawkeye," Sidney said, "I know you think we're beating a dead horse, but let's talk about the bus ride again."
A puzzled look crossed Hawkeye's face. "What bus ride?"
"Yes, Sidney, I understand. It's just a damn shame. Hopefully home and family will be able to do what the military couldn't. I'll file the paperwork now and send his belongings down to Seoul. Okay? Okay, I'll talk to you later."
Colonol Potter hung up the phone and sighed, running a hand through his thin, white hair. First BJ, now Hawkeye. They were running out of surgeons as the casualties increased. Well, first things first. He'd file Hawkeye's Section Eight, then call I-Corps and try to wrangle yet another surgeon.
He kept Section Eight papers in his desk now that Klinger was company clerk. The dresses were gone, but Potter didn't want to take any chances. He was half finished when said company clerk came in carrying an armload of folders. "Sir, I need you to sign this requisition form for penicillin, and this one for powdered eggs, and these three, I don't remember what they're for, and...Hey!"
Klinger looked from the forms on the desk to Col. Potter's grave face. "I'd know that paper anywhere. That's a Section Eight!"
His eyes narrowed. "I know you're not showing me mercy, sir. Who...Hawkeye?"
Col. Potter nodded. "He's sick, son. He needs help we can't give him here."
Klinger nodded too, the despair and envy visible even as he tried to cover it. Col. Potter clapped him on the shoulder. "It'll all be over soon. You'll go home too."
"Yeah." Klinger was unconvinced. Then he brightened. "Hey, want me to bring him his stuff? I want to, you know, say goodbye."
"Sure thing, Klinger." Col. Potter said, picking up his pen again. "I'll let you know when."
Hawkeye had just sealed the envelope on his letter when the nurse came to tell him that Klinger was there.
"Hey Captain!" Klinger said as he walked in the room. "Wow, this place is a crack-up!"
Hawkeye was sitting in a chair by the window. He was in full dress uniform and smiled as Klinger came in.
"All your stuff is in some guy's jeep outside. You're all set to go."
"Thanks." His voice was flat.
Sidney appeared in the doorway. "Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah." Hawkeye stood up and hugged Klinger. "Looks like I stole your Section Eight." he said.
"Yeah, well..." Klinger shuffled his feet. "Col. Potter says that it won't be long now, and what can I say? I believe him. Take care of yourself, Hawkeye."
"You too." Hawkeye picked up the envelope. "Do me a favor? Give this to BJ, will you?"
"Captain Hunnicutt left, sir." Klinger said, frowning. "He left yesterday."
"Oh." Hawkeye's stomach was gone. "Okay, um, post this for me then."
Klinger walked out with him and Sidney. As Hawkeye climbed into the jeep, Klinger saluted him. Hawkeye smiled sadly, returned it, and gave Sidney a little finger waggle as the driver took off.
Dr. Daniel Pierce sat among the other military families in the airport. The suit he'd worn special was making him itch as he sat in a hard wooden chair and watched the terminal.
At the first passenger's exit, he was on his feet, searching for dark hair and laughing eyes. His son was home, scarred, but home. Daniel had spent well over an hour the night before on the phone with a Doctor Freedman. Freedman had explained the situation. He'd told Daniel not to expect a lunatic in a straightjacket, but at the same time warned that Hawkeye would definitely be different.
The worn, aged man with gray hair and tired eyes stopped in front of him. "Hawkeye." Daniel breathed.
Hawkeye dropped his bags and embraced his father, clutching him with a strength Daniel never would have expected from this walking skeleton of a son. "I love you." Hawkeye murmured through tears.
"I love you too, son." Daniel responded, feeling tears stinging his own eyes. He reluctantly let go and picked up the bags. "Come on, I'm parked nearby."
Halfway around the world, a helicopter landed at the M*A*S*H 4077 and Dr. BJ Hunnicutt climbed out.