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Blast From The Past
where old challenges go when they die
38 Minutes, by Speranza (M*A*S*H) 
16th-Oct-2006 03:08 am
Title: 38 Minutes
Author: Speranza
Fandom: M*A*S*H
Pairing: Hawkeye/Trapper
Challenge: 38 minutes challenge; thanks to Shalott (*glare*) and Terri for beta!!

38 Minutes
by Speranza
for Arduinna


Radar sits up straight and drops the hand he was playing, which is just as well; even without being sure whether he's playing Texas Hold 'Em or Go Fish, the crazy kid's managed to collect four kings. "Choppers!" he says, and is gone. Trapper looks down at the cards, then looks up at him and makes a face. A moment later, he throws down his own hand in disgust: four, five, seven, eight. Hawkeye shakes his head sadly; that's Trapper, all right, waiting for a six to come along and make his day. "Don't look at me like that!" Trapper says, rising in his purple bathrobe and standing with his hands on his hips. "What've you got exactly?" Hawkeye shrugs and puts down two pairs--eights and tens--and Trapper rolls his eyes. "Oh, that's so you," he says. "Collecting pairs, playing it safe," and they're grabbing their jackets off the hooks now, and banging through the door into the cold October night. "Have you ever known the pleasure of drawing to an inside straight?" Trapper demands. "Have you? My god, Hawk, you haven't lived until you--"

"You'd be waiting for that six until the cows came home," Hawkeye tells him. "And with your luck, I'm guessing those cows picked up some hookers and decided to spend the night at a hotel near the airport."


"Your table is ready, monsieur," Hawkeye says, raising his hands as they place the next wounded soldier on the table. "Would you like to start with the wine list? Red or white?"

"You're shitting me, right?" Trapper mutters from behind him; Hawkeye glances over and sees that Trapper's elbows deep in some poor schmuck's thoracic cavity. "Red's all we ever serve around here; we got bottles of the stuff; gallons going cheap," and Trapper's scrubs are already splattered with red, already soaked with it.

"Oh, I don't know," Hawkeye says, rapidly trying and discarding jokes about piss and plasma and lymph fluid--hell, it's hard to make a good joke about lymph fluid; Jack Benny never had to work with material like this--but almost belatedly, he hears the strain in Trapper's voice and thinks, too early; it's too early for this. "You okay?" Hawkeye mutters, turning to look again at Trapper's thoracic case. "You want me to give you a hand with that?" Trapper's they best they've got, so he usually gets the worst cases off the chopper, but usually he's up for the challenge. Not today; today he's--

"Jesus fuck," Trapper mutters, and suddenly there's blood spurting upward, and Trapper's yelling, "Clamp! Clamp!" and--


--all he can think for the next seven minutes, those long terrible minutes they spend clamping and stitching and suctioning and suturing, trying to keep this kid's blood vessels together when they're more holes than guts, is how he's gonna kill Frank Fucking Burns; God, he's gonna wring Frank's turkey-like neck, because Frank was on triage, and triage means making the hard calls; triage means not putting this kid who's got all this blood and hamburger meat inside his chest in front of Dr. John Francis Xavier McIntyre, because now Trap's going to have to ride this out. Trap's started this, and now he's going to finish it even though any sane person would say, sorry--next!--this one's dead already and in his head, Hawkeye frantically debates pulling rank as Chief Surgeon and stopping the operation now--except the kid can't last much longer, can he? Not with all that hamburger meat, not with all that blood inside him. And then, suddenly, Trap makes a series of fast, neat stitches and Hawkeye thinks, "Wait, hey, ho, hang on a minute--he's gonna!--God, I think he's gonna--" because if anyone can pull this kind of miracle out of his ass, it's Trapper, who threw such a motherfucking gorgeous pass at Dartmouth back in 1938.


The kid dies two minutes later, with Margaret softly murmuring, "No pulse," and then, "No pulse," and then, "Still no pulse." Trapper's yelling for adrenaline and a rib spreader and anything else he can think of, but nobody's rushing to get them; this kid never should have gotten onto the table in the first place. He knows and the orderly knows and Father Mulcahy, softly murmuring prayers near the dead kid's feet--he knows, too. Hawkeye can see the knowledge in Margaret's huge blue eyes over the white of her surgical mask, and some days she's their friend, and some days she's not, but nobody wants this to happen to Trapper John. Hawkeye looks at her for a long moment, and then he grabs for Trapper's arm with his gloved and bloody hand.

"Trapper," Hawkeye says. "Trap. Trap. That's it; let it go."


It takes a minute for Trapper to hear him, and another minute for him to listen. "No," Trapper shouts. "No, no! Jesus, I'm there, I've got it," and now it's another minute of softly arguing with a madman and taking all the abuse Trapper can pour out, stuff that only your best friend can say, "You're just jealous!" and "You know I'm better than you!" as the orderlies quietly jerk the body off the table and onto a gurney, and "You are on a fucking dangerous power trip, Pierce," and then Trapper John is tearing off his scrubs, and pushing through the doors to the O.R. and Hawkeye is ripping off his own gloves and throwing them into the bin and following him out into the cold night air.


Outside the corrugated shed that's their hospital, Trapper is cursing softly and walking in small tight circles like a maniac, and for a moment, Hawkeye can only stand there; Trapper John knows all about risk, but he takes too goddamned many of them for someone with his particularly stupendous kind of crap luck.

"Fuck!" Trapper shouts finally. "Fuck, fuck, fuck! Goddammit!" and Hawkeye says, "He never should've been in there," and "You did your damnedest, Trap," and "We need you back in there," but nothing he says does a damn, so Hawkeye grabs Trapper John's face and kisses his cold mouth, hard, to stifle the flow of fucks and goddamns. Trapper pushes him away and then socks him a crack to the jaw, good enough that Hawkeye's got to open his mouth a couple of times and rub at his bristly chin to make sure he hasn't broken anything. But Trapper's better now, standing there with wide eyes and breathing hard but obviously sane again, and then he's kissing Hawkeye back, deep and dirty in a way that says, I'll suck your cock later and oh, yeah, yes he will; you can count on it. Damned good right hook, and him a lover not a fighter.


"No, really, you'll love this picture," Hawkeye says. "Maria Montez, 1944, and she plays twin sisters--one good and one evil, and both barely clothed--plus Jon Hall is in it. Oh, and also Sabu."

"Oh yeah? Who does Sabu play?" Trapper asks, tossing away a piece of shrapnel. Clink.

"Abraham Lincoln--who do you think Sabu plays?" Hawkeye asks, rolling his eyes. "He's Sabu, he plays Sabu, he's a guy in a loincloth--but her in a loincloth, that's another story entirely," and so he tells Trapper the whole B-movie plot about the evil queen and her beautiful bevy of minions and how she placates her pagan gods by wearing skimpy outfits and throwing people into a live volcano, and everything's normal again, for a while, for these few long minutes, which is all the time they ever seem to have.

16th-Oct-2006 07:41 am (UTC)
eeee! Yay!

Here I was, all ready to toddle off to bed after totally failing to pull off a last-minute 38-Minute story, and thought to myself, "Self, you should check and see if anything else has been posted", and you wrote one *for* me! MASH, yet!

*hugs you* You so rock. This was great -- I love how the tension jacks up and up and up until there's only one way to stop it, and it just sort of *hovers* in that tense dangerous place until suddenly it's all okay again, they're back in the groove and riffing off each other.

Also, someone really needs to kick Frank in the teeth.

Thank you!
17th-Oct-2006 04:35 am (UTC)
You are so welcome. Shalott really put the gun to my head, and then suddenly I thought--man, for M*A*S*H, the 38 minute challenge is canon. *g* (And so is the Hail Mary Pass!)
16th-Oct-2006 07:44 am (UTC)
eeeee! Man, I miss this show. Excellent!
17th-Oct-2006 04:47 am (UTC)
Me too. It must be on somewhere, but I haven't run across a M*A*S*H rerun in ages!!!
16th-Oct-2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
Holy moley, it's Hawkeye/Trapper, and it's brilliant! I love the structuring of the ticking clock into the story, it's so true to their milieu (as the last line caps perfectly) and it winds the emotional tension really tight. I love all the little perfect characterization fillips: Trap trying to fill an inside straight (much the way he tried that beautiful pass back in the day, much the way he tries to save an unsaveable patient), Radar's luck, the spot-on observation about Margaret. Plus, of course, Hawkeye's POV is frickin' fantastic--the way he's so mercurial and quick, groping for jokes to defuse things that can't be defused; his intimate knowledge of Trapper, and the way he finally shortcuts around words to the only thing that can get through. (And Trapper's two-part response, which, YOW.) I love this story, all 38 minutes of it!

17th-Oct-2006 04:37 am (UTC)
Dorinda, thank you--coming from you, this is such a compliment; I know you know your canon! Also, I'm really squeaking with pleasure here, because you really got all of it, the way the gambling and the pass and the patient come together. So thank you so much!!!
16th-Oct-2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
Interesting choice. I certaibly haven't read much if any MASH before, but I liked this. It had a good pace and tone, and you captured some of my favorite aspects of the characters.
17th-Oct-2006 04:40 am (UTC)
Man, there's not nearly enough good M*A*S*H out there, though it's a classic old fandom. aka_arduinna wrote some of the only good stuff there is (here) but it's a languishing fandom, which is really a shame!

Glad you liked this!
16th-Oct-2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Damn it all, you made me cry. And God, now it is all I can do to stay at my desk, because really what I want to go is go dig out our MASH dvds and dive back in.

Heartbreaking, is what this is. And gorgeous. And totally believable. And I adore your Hawkeye ("Red or white?"), and that line about the pass Trap threw back in '38 made me weirdly teary, and then next thing I knew I'd lost it.

So, um, you know, thanks. Because wow. Catharsis: that's what we come to fiction for, isn't it? That moment when Trap socks him in the jaw and then kisses him again -- that's like the encapsulation of what I love most in slash fiction, right there.
17th-Oct-2006 04:43 am (UTC)
*hugs you!* Dude, so many of us loved this show. I just always loved the desperation and need to do good that was under their humor. The whole challenges_past thing actually made me shivery-weepy because it was so wonderfully old skool--it's TOTALLY what we wanted out of slash!
16th-Oct-2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
Fabulous job! You really have their voices down, and all the little glimpses of the other characters are just perfect.
17th-Oct-2006 04:45 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was just a HUGE M*A*S*H fan back in the day, and it's nice to have an opportunity to write these guys; they were one of my earliest proto-slash pairings. (For lots of us, I think!)
16th-Oct-2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
17th-Oct-2006 04:47 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
16th-Oct-2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
Ow, ow, and ow, and wow. Gorgeous and I could hear their voices as I read it. Thank you. (And hell yeah, someone deck Frank for this.)
17th-Oct-2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Yay, thank you! Glad it worked for you--especially since I write it in 38 minutes. It's amazing how some things stay with you; I used to hold my tape player up to the TV and record eps on AUDIO and listen to them in the days before VHS. So! I have some credibility here!
16th-Oct-2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
"No, really, you'll love this picture," Hawkeye says. "Maria Montez, 1944, and she plays twin sisters--one good and one evil, and both barely clothed--plus Jon Hall is in it. Oh, and also Sabu."

Omigod, Cobra Woman! Hawkeye’s right, that is an awfulawesome movie! My favorite details: (1) the royal handmaidens are all wearing "do me" heels; (2) Naja’s use of the term “fire mountain” despite the fact that everyone else, including the actress playing her grandmother, says “volcano.”
17th-Oct-2006 04:53 am (UTC)
DUDE!! You know Cobra Woman! One of my favorite movies EVAH. And not only are they wearing do-me heels, but they're walking in them ON THE BEACH TO TIMPANI.

16th-Oct-2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
Well. I'd kinda dodged the whole "fandoms past" thing, partly because I don't qualify for "past" and also because I couldn't think of a fandom. So, I'm having a bit of "Duh, M*A*SH!" moment.

Also. Duh, Hawkeye/Trapper slash = best thing ever.

What really got me was the summary tag you had in your journal "'Have you ever known the pleasure of drawing to an inside straight?' Trapper demands." Fourteen words told me that you already had their voices down.
17th-Oct-2006 04:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much; I actually picked it for exactly that purpose! I was--I am--a HUGE fan; as I've been saying in the thread, I used to hold my tape recorder to the tv in the days before VCRs and then listen to the eps over and over on audio cassette. And even dead tired, in the middle of the night, Trapper's voice comes right back to me. {{Wayne Rogers!}} It's like a sickness!
16th-Oct-2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
This is just stunning, and captures them both *so* well, and their environment, and. Fabulous!!!
17th-Oct-2006 04:56 am (UTC)
Elyn, thank you so so so much! Coming from you, it's a superfantastic compliment!
16th-Oct-2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
I. just.

I have no words for how perfect this is. None whatsoever.
17th-Oct-2006 04:57 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! I love these guys SO MUCH.
16th-Oct-2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
oh god, I love them. And this. And them. And I haven't read any MASH fic in ages (ages!), but now I'm craving it.

*adores madly*
17th-Oct-2006 04:57 am (UTC)
I know! I love them too--so much! And like, it's really been years since I thought of them, but it came back right away, all of it, the voices, the plot, and the LOVE!
17th-Oct-2006 12:43 am (UTC)
This is fantastic. Dead on characterization, and fits so perfectly into the feel of the show. As always, you are awesome.
17th-Oct-2006 04:59 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm a huge huge huge fan of M*A*S*H, and even in 38 minutes, it all came flooding back. (I'll be offering them for Yuletide too; I really want to spend some more time with these guys!)
17th-Oct-2006 12:54 am (UTC) - Through early morning fog I see
Eeeee! Ok here:

"You'd be waiting for that six until the cows came home," Hawkeye tells him. "And with your luck, I'm guessing those cows picked up some hookers and decided to spend the night at a hotel near the airport."

Cue laughtrack. Because is this fic or is this canonical? Such a flawless grasp of their voices - the tension, how both of them are sort of riding the edge of going absolutely crazy.

Also, I can always trust fanfic to completely rewrite years of my cultural history. I'll never watch M*A*S*H the same way again.
17th-Oct-2006 05:02 am (UTC) - Re: Through early morning fog I see
Cue laughtrack--YES. OMG, I love you so so much, because YES, that's exactly what I was going for, something just a bit cheesy, something where you could hear the canned laughter, a laugh that TELEGRAPHED itself as a laugh. Alda's delivery would make it, though. *g*

As I've been confessing in this thread, I held up my tape recorder to the TV in the years before VCR and listened to the eps on audio cassette over and over. And, surprisingly, the voices came right back. *g* And dude, even as a CHILD in the SEVENTIES I was slashing Hawkeye/Trapper!!
17th-Oct-2006 01:13 am (UTC)
I love Hawkeye/Trapper. This is such a gorgeous piece. It's amazing what you pack into small spaces. Every word an emotional trip of it's own.
17th-Oct-2006 05:04 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I appreciate it--I really love these guys too, and in 38 minutes, well, you don't have a lot of words to waste.
17th-Oct-2006 03:46 am (UTC)
Yay! I love them! I love this!
17th-Oct-2006 05:06 am (UTC)
Yay! Glad you enjoyed it!!
17th-Oct-2006 10:46 am (UTC)
oh lord - two of my favourite things - you and MASH.

/expires from happy
18th-Oct-2006 06:00 am (UTC)
BEAMS! Thank you SO MUCH!!

17th-Oct-2006 01:08 pm (UTC)
OMG M*A*S*H! There's nothing like the classics. You know I'm going to be looking for Hawkeye/B.J. now, don't you?
18th-Oct-2006 05:59 am (UTC)
Hee--pester resonant! She ships Hawk/B.J, maybe you can get her to write something! *g* Me, I'm old skool!
17th-Oct-2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
That's gorgeous! It's so totally them!
18th-Oct-2006 05:57 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was a HUGE fan and spent just years of my childhood watching that show, so they were RIGHT THERE for me when I wanted those voices!!
17th-Oct-2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
This is glorious and painful and *them*; someone else mentioned hearing the laughtrack, and it's true - you really can almost *hear* it. Voices were spot-on and I could see Trapper's face, feel Hawkeye's concern. God. This is wonderful. Thank you so much.
18th-Oct-2006 05:50 am (UTC)
Thank you, thank you!--I really did choose a kind of cheesy joke in order to get that laughtrack feel, and Trapper moved from rage to abuse to suffering to humor so easily in my memory of him; he got that kind of whining fury in his voice that I really, really adored, that was really different from Hawk's huge eyes and low, burning rages.

God, I miss these guys. I really do.
18th-Oct-2006 04:14 am (UTC)
Mmmph. I love you so, so much for this. You've made me want to go to the all-night video store and rent discs of M*A*S*H and just soak up the angst and manlove all night.
18th-Oct-2006 05:42 am (UTC)
YES, they were ALL about angst and manlove--my god, they were right up there with K/S as my protoslash pairing. Trapper/Hawkeye 4evah, in their bathrobes and drinking martinis and laughing about lust and having nervous breakdowns. What's not to love??

I'm so so glad you liked it!
18th-Oct-2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
This is so angstily beautiful! *love love love* Just like them. *sniff* *wry laughter* Thanks!
19th-Oct-2006 04:55 am (UTC)
You are so very very welcome!!
19th-Oct-2006 06:50 am (UTC)
Oh, this is awesome! I read it on the bus and very nearly missed my stop. *loves*
20th-Oct-2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad to have made the ride go faster anyway!
20th-Oct-2006 10:04 pm (UTC)
I really, really liked this story. So much so that, when I saw the post-full-o'-caps, I decided to make you an icon as a present, using my admitedly meager icon-skills. So. This icon is for you, for this fic ^_^
The heart-brush is from colorfilter.net, but that's the only credit needed ^_^
Um. I'm not sure how to put images in comments, so I hope putting this as my user-pic is OK for you to collect it. (Pretend that last sentence made gramatical sense ^_~)
20th-Oct-2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
I thank you using my NEW ICON OMG!!--SO IN LOVE and SO CUTE!! Thank you!!
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