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03 March 2005 @ 02:53 am
Happy Birthday Leigh! (and MASH!fic)  
*sings*
Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu!
Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu!
Tanjoubi Omedetou, Leigh-darling
Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu!


Happy birthday, Leigh-- I hope you have a wonderful day. May it be heavy on the fun, friends, fandom and books, and light on the actual classwork or other nasty obligations. ^_~ I'm afraid one of my presents for you may be a little late (I'm terrible about these things, Aren't I?), but I do have something to offer you now. ^__^

It's a MASH drabble-type thing. BJ/Hawkeye, of course. I always seem to be writing MASH for your birthday. ^_~ Neither of us are active in the fandom that much anymore, so I hope you don't mind. I'm afraid it's kind of repetitive and... pointless... but I tried.

Anyway, the point is, I love you and think you're horribly more spiffy than anyone really has a right to be. *HUGS* Enjoy your day.


=======================
Between the Cracks 1/1
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
mallorys-girl@cinci.rr.com
http://www.demando.net/
written for likethesun2's birthday
=======================




BJ makes himself a breakfast of scrambled eggs, with a glass of orange juice and a shot of gin to make it all go down easier. It's a habit he's picked back up since Erin moved out. It wasn't so much her disapproval, but her understanding that made him tuck the bottle back into the drawer in his study, where it had come from. Such a kind and sympathetic sorrow in Erin's hazel eyes,
(peg's eyes were green and his are blue, so thank god she didn't inherit either)
he couldn't bare it. She never said anything, when he stopped, and that was an understanding he didn't mind at all.


It was Peg who disapproved, Peg who's eyes narrowed at the strange, not-man who'd been slipped into her bed, an exchange for the husband she knew.
(Erin, age five, having gotten into her mother's golden-age pulps.
"Papa, where's Korea? Is it in outer-space?")
"It might as well be," said Peg, miserably curled around BJ on the sofa. It was one of the last times, perhaps _the_ last time, they came to each other for love. "I just don't understand." And she didn't, she was sure he would become an alcoholic, that he was drinking to excess. He tried once-- only once-- to explain to her that, in Korea, there was no such thing. Or else, she said when she realized he only took a shot or two a day, he'd ruin his liver with that stuff. It wasn't even quality.

("Hell," says Hawkeye, "doesn't matter now-- we pickled ourselves in the stuff. The elixir of life-- you cut yourself open and you've got your very own fountain of youth. Personally, I'm leaving my body to the nurses-- for science!")

So BJ knows his liver will be fine, and doesn't really care if it isn't, either. He presses the glass to his lips and knocks back the bad gin that would still be too high-class for the Swamp.
("The only way to start the day," Hawkeye intones.)

BJ can't help but nod with a knowing smile, in the kitchen where he knows no one is there.



Really, most days, he lives the life belonging to the old man who's face he sees in the mirror. For a long time, after he came back, things seemed a lot like they had been in Korea; he was shoved into one existence while the other moved on restlessly without him. Duality, plurality, everything defined by _here_ and _there_. It was only when he woke one night, nine months after he'd come home, thinking about Hawkeye in the dim red lantern light of Rosie's bar, that he realized he didn't have that luxury.
The 4077th had become just another empty field, three miles from the 38th parallel. He couldn't find it if he tried.


But there are still days, days like today, and a whole lot of days towards the end of winter, when he's sure all he has to do is roll over the wrong
(right?
Hawkeye grins, "Or is it left?")
way and this time he'll get out of bed back in Korea. Radar's voice will be on the loud speaker and only Hawkeye's hand on his elbow will keep him upright and sane in the white of the O.R., and the nightmare will start all over again.
Only this time, it will be worse, because he knows how it ends.


The story ends as it begun; with Hawkeye. Hawkeye at the airfield in Kimpo, colorful and bright and real against the army green-- Hawkeye with his lips tinged blue from asphyxiation, sitting propped up against the wall in his boyhood bedroom, mouth open as if to laugh even though he's only trying to breathe. It ends with the Colonel saying a few dignified words over the rocky Maine soil, with that same voice-- less sober-- saying he shoulda known _that_ would cut Hawkeye just too deep. The last straw.
(Hawkeye with a whole lot of straws, with a whole lot of tongue depressors. "Out goes Trapper, in comes BJ. Out goes Henry--" snap! "--in comes Colonel Potter. Sorry Henry.")
They all came to the funeral, of course, everyone that mattered-- a tried troop, war-weary and a whole lot older than they ever remembered knowing how to be. Where had those years gone? Soaked up in Korea, along with all that blood. Father Mulcahy cried while he tried to officiate over the service, standing beside that awful black coffin--
("Not my best color!")
only able to hear silence in one ear and the sounds of his own tears in the other.
Radar held his bright, strangely silent little baby girl on his lap, wiping at his glasses now and then, as if they might show him something else. Margaret held everyone-- including Charles-- up. There was red head with curly hair, who sat in the far back of the church and left halfway through the service.


Hawkeye's story ended with a sharp, un-fairy-tale punctuation, but BJ's had to go on, still goes on. There's an unfairness about that which makes BJ bitter, as petulant as Hawkeye once was, reclining on that cold bus amongst the corpses.
("They'll just keep coming...")
And they _do_. From somewhere, from whatever middle-land that twists around soldiers between the time they fall on the battlefield and that terrible, blinding white moment of waking in the hospital. BJ has seen the veterans of Vietnam, has turned his face away-- if only for a moment-- from the mutilation that has only gotten chilling and precise. Their eyes are dull and empty-- Hawkeye eye's; they scream with nightmares that slither down underneath their bones, and they ask, 'Doc, am I crazy?', as if BJ somehow knows the answer.
How should he know? He _feels_ crazy, sometimes. It comes over him suddenly, an impish child in the dark. Sitting with Erin during their weekly lunch, reviewing case files with the senior staff; it can be anywhere and anywhen. It's the unreality, or rather the place where reality frays. The place where his path angled sharply off from Hawkeye's, leaving the story half finished.
Or perhaps BJ just missed it-- the big finale-- having been jostled out of his uncomfortable seat in the jeep during one of their relocations.

He's fallen out of the story, down in between the cracks.

 
 
Emotional Temperature: hopefulhopeful
The Band Plays:: "Love is Gonna Save Us"-- by Benny Benassi & the Biz
 
 
 
Amber: mashminttown1 on March 3rd, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
Wow.

That was beautiful, Meredith. And incredibly moving, too.

The 4077th had become just another empty field, three miles from the 38th parallel. He couldn't find it if he tried.
That, in particular, is a line to be proud you wrote. :)

This is just so lovely.


On a different note, Leigh really is too spiffy to be allowed, isn't she? :D
(Deleted comment)
gamesiplay: BoB -- The best part (by yorda_)gamesiplay on March 3rd, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
*blushes furiously*

Be quiet, the two of you.

Thanks.</strike>
Amberminttown1 on March 4th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC)
*grins* You can not silence the Leigh-praise.

You're welcome.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: love2garnettrees on March 5th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful, Meredith. And incredibly moving, too.
*blushes madly* Thank you so much. I'm glad that line worked, too-- I was worried that it was too straight-forward or... something. ^^;;;

On a different note, Leigh really is too spiffy to be allowed, isn't she? :D
Her spiffiness is unearthly. Indeed, she must have alien linage, to be as spiffy as she is. ^_~
-Meredith
(Deleted comment)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: notafraidgarnettrees on March 5th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
I haven't read M*A*S*H fic in ages, but this really brought me back. It is beautiful. Your characters, as always, are perfect. This brought tears to my eyes.
I haven't written -or- read MASH fic in forever, so I was worried about this piece being incredibly rusty. I'm so glad it worked for you! I always value your opinion. ^__^
-Meredith
gamesiplaygamesiplay on March 3rd, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, Meredith. *clings* I'm going to come back later today once I've finished with this paper (due at five) and be more coherent/detailed, but for now: THANK YOU. The little switch in my brain for M*A*S*H-writing seems to have flipped to "off" for now, but reading it still makes me so happy, especially when it comes from you. I will always have a soft spot the size of Texas for these guys.

Well, maybe not Texas. Maybe California. Or Maine. :)
gamesiplaygamesiplay on March 5th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
Okay. A little late, but at least not never. :)

I'd almost forgotten how incredibly depressing this story is--not just your fic, but the entire story, all eleven seasons and that last punch in the gut that is GFA. I mean, BoB is depressing, but essentially hopeful, I think. Not so with M*A*S*H.

This is incredibly beautiful, and I admire the way you knew when to cut it off. It's the perfect length, and I know how hard that is to achieve. As a writer you always want to say more, but sometimes it's what you don't say that means the most.

BJ makes himself a breakfast of scrambled eggs, with a glass of orange juice and a shot of gin to make it all go down easier.

You have a knack for first lines, and I really think that it's only becoming more and more refined as time goes by. This is so subtle and yet so meaningful. "To make it all go down easier": "it all" is much more than just the eggs and the juice, and that's beautifully articulated without ever becoming explicit.

It's a habit he's picked back up since Erin moved out.

This tugged at my heart, because I MISS your Erin. *smiles*

It was Peg who disapproved, Peg who's eyes narrowed at the strange, not-man who'd been slipped into her bed, an exchange for the husband she knew.

I like getting a glimpse of Peg here. I think it's too easy to give her the short end of the stick, because She Doesn't Get It. But the fact that she doesn't is as hurtful to her as it is to BJ. She's been cheated, too, and you got that across.

("The only way to start the day," Hawkeye intones.)

BJ can't help but nod with a knowing smile, in the kitchen where he knows no one is there.


This might well be my favorite part of the story, when suddenly the parentheses become integrated and make such chilling sense. Hawkeye, talking to BJ after the war... and yet not talking, finally silenced.

The 4077th had become just another empty field, three miles from the 38th parallel. He couldn't find it if he tried.

I'm with Amber on the love for this line. It reminds me of that scene in GFA where they're taking down all the tents for the last time, and it's so desolate even when it's celebratory.

Radar's voice will be on the loud speaker and only Hawkeye's hand on his elbow will keep him upright and sane in the white of the O.R., and the nightmare will start all over again.
Only this time, it will be worse, because he knows how it ends.


*sighs* This part got to me, too. I think especially because I haven't watched the show in a little while, so it was a powerful reminder of that atmosphere for me personally, too. If that makes sense.

Hawkeye with his lips tinged blue from asphyxiation, sitting propped up against the wall in his boyhood bedroom, mouth open as if to laugh even though he's only trying to breathe.

Whoa. This is Hawkeye all over. Gasping for breath and making it into a laugh.

(Hawkeye with a whole lot of straws, with a whole lot of tongue depressors. "Out goes Trapper, in comes BJ. Out goes Henry--" snap! "--in comes Colonel Potter. Sorry Henry.")

One of my favorite scenes in the show.

Father Mulcahy cried while he tried to officiate over the service, standing beside that awful black coffin--
("Not my best color!")
only able to hear silence in one ear and the sounds of his own tears in the other.


Wahhhh.

There's an unfairness about that which makes BJ bitter, as petulant as Hawkeye once was, reclining on that cold bus amongst the corpses.
("They'll just keep coming...")


And you managed to work in another of my favorite scenes! You are psychic, I tell you.
gamesiplaygamesiplay on March 5th, 2005 08:41 am (UTC)
The last little bit--

BJ has seen the veterans of Vietnam, has turned his face away-- if only for a moment-- from the mutilation that has only gotten chilling and precise.

I always want to see more done with Vietnam as it relates to postwar stories, particularly because Klinger's line on the subject in the OR in GFA is so poignant. *chalks up another point for you* :)

He's fallen out of the story, down in between the cracks.

This is a slightly different take on postwar BJ than I think I've seen before--his pain, his scars, and not just the ones related to Hawkeye. He suffered--and suffers--too, by himself.

Thank you so much, Meredith. I'm so thrilled with this.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: frozengarnettrees on March 5th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
but for now: THANK YOU.
*glomps leigh( You're quite welcome, I assure you! ^__^

The little switch in my brain for M*A*S*H-writing seems to have flipped to "off" for now, but reading it still makes me so happy, especially when it comes from you.
*blushes* Honestly, I thought my switch was off, too. But, when I was painting the other day, I popped my new season seven DVDs and... lo and behold. I had a paragraph of this saved from sometime back in June, and I suddenly knew what to do to finish it.

Well, maybe not Texas. Maybe California. Or Maine. :)
Too cold for Maine right now. We'll hit the beaches in Cali and save Maine for summer, ne? ^_~

I'd almost forgotten how incredibly depressing this story is--not just your fic, but the entire story, all eleven seasons and that last punch in the gut that is GFA.
I'm glad it's not JUST my story. You know, I'd never thought about it before, but there's something essentially bleak under the humor and banter of MASH. I'd noticed the bleakness, but the fact that the show is essentially pessimistic... Huh. You always make me see new things!

This tugged at my heart, because I MISS your Erin. *smiles*
*blushes* Thank you. I don't know why I like to bring her in so much, but I do.

She's been cheated, too, and you got that across.
In class the other day, we were talking about the gulf between men and women in post WWI England. The women had experienced freedom, while men expected them to remain unchanged; the men had been horribly scarred, while women expected them to be strong. It really got to me, thinking of that constant inability to relate.

Hawkeye, talking to BJ after the war... and yet not talking, finally silenced.
*shivers at the way Leigh phrased it* You're so eloquent, even in feedback!

And you managed to work in another of my favorite scenes! You are psychic, I tell you.
Well, we share a brain sometimes, don't we? ^_~ Or at least rent to each other.

He suffered--and suffers--too, by himself.
The war changed BJ in different ways than it changed Hawkeye. Sometimes I think it might be harder for BJ to survive-- to keep going.

Thank you so much, Meredith. I'm so thrilled with this.
You have no idea how happy that makes me. ^_^ Look for something else in the mail soon.
-Meredith