Disclaimer: Spike was created by Joss Whedon. The M*A*S*H* characters were originally created by Richard Hooker; I'm not sure who invented the later ones . . .
X X X X X
Radar O’Reilly scurried across the 4077th camp to the VIP tent. Colonel Potter had told him to give the place the once-over twice in preparation for Colonel Walsh’s arrival, and by golly he was going to do exactly that.
He opened the door and shut it just as quickly.
There – um – there was –
Within a few seconds he was running across the compound, where he almost smashed into Klinger, who was wearing a pale green dress. “Whoa, slow down, kid,” Klinger said. “What’s the hurry? Nurses getting their physicals again and you forgot to book a seat?”
“No!” Radar said. “Um, are they – never mind! There’s a nude unclothed man lying on the bed in the VIP tent not wearing nothing!”
“Yeah, I saw Captains Pierce and Hunnicutt stick him in there last night.”
“Any idea who he is?” Radar asked.
“No idea,” Klinger said. “Guy was so drunk the docs had to practically carry him across the compound. He was wrapped in some kinda blanket.”
“Thanks, Klinger. I gotta go report this to the Colonel. Um, green’s not really your color.”
As Radar hurried to the Colonel’s office, Klinger said, “That’s what I keep trying to tell the army.”
* * * * *
Colonel Potter looked up as Radar burst through his office door. “Come in, Radar,” he said.
“Thank you, Colonel,” the boy said, oblivious to Potter’s mild sarcasm. “I was going to check the VIP tent, but –“
“Radar,” Potter said, “You know I hate that word, but.”
“Yes, Colonel,” Radar said. “Um, anyway, you know, to get it ready for Colonel Walsh’s arrival and all, but there was already someone in there. A naked someone. Without clothes or anything.”
“That’s the definition of naked,” Potter sighed. “If I’ve told those boys once I’ve told them a hundred times, stash their spare nurses in the shower. They blend in better. Well, just go get someone to wake them up.”
“Begging the Colonel’s pardon,” Radar said apologetically, “But this was a male someone.”
“And boy I wish I wasn’t. Also, Klinger said as he’d seen Drs Pierce and Hunnicutt dumping this guy in there last night.
“Did you recognize the man?”
“Um, I didn’t actually get up to the head region, Colonel.”
“I can’t blame you. Go wake the doctors.”
“Um, sir, couldn’t I get Klinger to do it?” Radar asked. “Last time I woke Dr. Pierce he hoisted my teddy bear to the top of the flagpole.”
“Your bear is safe,” Potter said.
“He threatened to do the same to me next time.”
“So are you,” Potter said. “Now go wake them up.”
“Yes, Colonel,” Radar said.
A few minutes later Radar led the two doctors in. Hawkeye Pierce was clad in his red bathrobe, B. J. Hunnicutt in a blue one. Hawkeye griped, “Whatever this is, Colonel, I hope it’s important. I was having my nurse’s shower dream again.”
“The one where they’re slowly running out of soap?” B. J. asked.
“Is there any other kind?”
“Can the fantasizing, boys,” Potter said. “This is about this fellow you stashed in the VIP tent.”
“Oh, him.” Potter stared at them patiently.
B. J. cracked first. “Well, you see, Colonel, it’s like this. We have no idea who he is.”
“Never met him before last night at Rosie’s,” Hawkeye said. “He was blind drunk and shouting something about a woman named Drusilla.”
“Right. So naturally you decided he deserved a berth in the VIP Tent.”
“Well, when we left the bar he was passed out in the middle of the road without any clothes on,” B. J. said. “We couldn’t just leave him there for the jeeps to run over.”
“I suppose not,” Potter said. “I guess you did the honorable thing. Still, we’re not running a boarding house here. Go wake him up, find out what he’s doing here, and get him out of the tent. Colonel Walsh is coming in this afternoon, and while old Danny’s a tolerant enough guy I don’t think he’ll appreciate a naked man in his bed.”
“Who of us would?” B. J. asked.
“Hot Lips?” Hawkeye suggested.
Chuckling, B. J. said, “We’ll leave him there.”
Colonel Potter shook his head slowly. “Not even as a joke, boys.”
As they stood to leave, Hawkeye said, “You ruin all our fun.”
“That’s my job description,” the Colonel said. “Right under command the camp and be a surgeon, it says, ruin the doctors’ fun.”
Hawkeye said, “I KNEW it,” as they left.
* * * * *
Right before they got there, B. J, asked, “You think maybe he’s woken up by now?”
“And gone where?” Hawkeye said. They opened the door to the tent. “Nope. Still naked as a jaybird and dead to the world.”
B. J. reached down and shook the guy’s shoulder. “ Hey, Hawk,” he said. “Feel this.”
Hawkeye felt the man’s skin. “That’s room temperature.” Then, worried, he felt for a pulse. After a few seconds, he said, “Dammit. He must have drunk himself to death.”
B. J. thought a second. “Something doesn’t add up here. If he’s been dead long enough to get down to room temperature rigor mortis should have set in. He’s still flexible.” He let the arm flop to the ground. “And the odd thing is, didn’t he seem a little cold last night to you?”
Suddenly, the “corpse” rolled over in his bed and muttered, “Dru, Dru . . .”
B. J.’s jaw dropped open and Hawkeye let out a yelp and jumped backward. “What the hell was that?”
“Some kind of postmortem muscle spasm?” B. J. suggested.
“Right,” Hawkeye said. “A muscle spasm that makes him roll over and talk.” He reached down and shook the guy until he woke up.
Immediately he pulled the blanket over himself and jumped back to the edge of the tent. “What the bloody hell is going on here?” he asked. “Who are you wankers, and how did I get here – wherever that is.”
Hawkeye answered, “Taking your questions in reverse order: You’re in Korea. You got to this tent because the two of us found you unconscious in the middle of the road. I’m Dr. Pierce and that’s Dr. Hunnicutt. And that’s what we’d like to know, because as near as we can tell you should be dead.”
“I have a chronically low body temperature and a hard-to find pulse,” the man said. “I’m Spike, by the way, and I suppose I owe you my life.”
“A body temperature that low and you should be suffering hypothermia,” B. J. said. “And no one’s pulse is THAT hard to find.”
“And what’s this about saving your life?” Hawkeye added.
Spike sighed. “Right then. Okay, I’m a vampire. I seem dead because I AM dead. And you saved my life because if you’d left me outside during the day I’d have been a pile of ashes by now.”
Hawkeye smiled broadly, his ‘I’m humoring you” face. “Okay. Yeah. Well, we’ll be going now to get you some clothes. Because some VIP is coming to use this tent and now that you’re awake you can be on your way.”
“Are you deaf?” Spike asked. “I’m a vampire. If I go outside I’ll burn to death.”
“Okay then,” Hawkeye said, still smiling. “We’ll just be on our way then.”
Suddenly Spike grabbed B. J. around the neck and his face – changed? Now that couldn’t be good. Hawkeye charged over and the man decked him with one punch. “You ungrateful son of a bitch,” Hawkeye said as he stood up.
“Tell you what,” Spike said. “You two saved my life, so I’ll give you yours.”
“Funny way of showing it!” B. J. said, protesting.
“You’re doctors,” Spike said, “So this must be a hospital, right?” Hawkeye nodded, unsure of what to do next. “Good. When you get me the uniform, get me some blood as well. For the road. Four or five pints ought to do it.” When Hawkeye looked at him skeptically, Spike lowered his fangs towards B. J.’s neck. “Look, mate, I’m getting my blood either way,” he said. “if you catch my meaning.”
“Oh, I’ve caught it all right. Have a type preference?” Hawkeye asked acidly.
“Hawk, he’s got his hands around my neck,” B. J. said. “Now is NOT the time for your patented sarcasm.”
“Okay then,” Hawkeye said as he made for the door. “Anything else?”
“That should do it,” Spike said. “No, wait. If you take off, nothing’s going to stop you from ringing this place with MPs and firing in. Just call someone from the door.”
Hawkeye opened the door and looked outside. “Radar!” he yelled. “Come here a second.”
“Leave the door open so I can hear, mate,” Spike said.
“Wouldn’t want you to get lonely,” Hawkeye said. When Radar came up he told the corporal, “I need four pints of O positive and Charles’ bathrobe. Get Lt. Mulcahy to bring it, and make sure he’s in his work uniform.”
Radar asked, “Gee, four pints. Anything wrong? And what if Major Winchester won’t let me have his bathrobe?”
“Then get someone else’s.” He looked back and Spike theatrically choked B. J. “Now hurry.”
Radar vanished and Spike looked at Hawkeye. “There now, was that so hard?”
A few minutes later Father Mulcahy came to the door carrying four pints of blood and one of his own bathrobes, dressed in full clerical garb. “What’s this about?” he asked innocently as Hawkeye opened the door.
In response, Hawkeye grabbed the priest’s cross, turned around, and shoved it into Spike’s face. The vampire jerked backwards and let go of BJ, who sprang forward. Hawkeye upended the wardrobe onto him and yelled “Out of the tent! Now!” The three of them made it outside before Spike could throw off the furniture and make it to the door.
Then, acting more like an officer than he’d done since he came to the 4077th, Hawkeye ran over and told Radar, “Get as many people as you can in two minutes over here, fast. On my orders. Move!”
Father Mulcahy said, “What – what was that?” he crossed himself and uttered a brief prayer.
“That, Father, was a vampire,” Hawkeye said. “And right now we’re going to kill the son of a bitch. Excuse my language.” In two minutes Radar had a dozen people standing there. “Okay, folks,” Hawkeye said, “Pull the tent down.” Inside, Hawkeye could hear muffled swearing and frantic movement. “I said, pull down the tent,” he said after a few seconds when no one did anything. “Like this.” He went over and started pushing and pulling the framework. A few seconds later, B. J. joined him, followed by Father Mulcahy.
Radar said, “Um, I don’t know about this, guys. The colonel’ll get awful mad.”
“Let him,” B. J. said. “Hawkeye’s got a good reason for this.” Within half a minute, everyone in the vicinity had joined them, though most were confused. The framework began to loosen.
Colonel Potter came up to see the commotion. When he saw what was going on, he thundered, “What in Sam Hill is going on here? Pierce –“
“Not now, colonel,” Hawkeye said. “We’re almost –“ and with a crack the tent came down. “Gotcha,” he said triumphantly. Spike, underneath, was still swearing. “Quickly!” he said. “Pick up the canvas –“
They never got the chance. Holding a blanket over his head and carrying a bag of blood in his teeth, the half clad Spike struggled his way out of the collapsed tent and took off running. “I’ll remember this,” he said as he ran off.
“So will we,” Hawkeye called after him.
* * * * *
In Colonel Potter’s office, the 4077th’s commanding officer said, “A vampire. I don’t believe it. That’s Bram Stoker stuff. It’s all a load of bushwa.”
Father Mulcahy, Hawkeye and B. J stood there. “Colonel,” B. J. said, “The man had no pulse, his skin was cold as ice, and his face turned into something –“
“Forehead ridges and fangs,” Hawkeye said. “I know we joke around a lot but do I sound like I’m joking?”
“No, you don’t,” Potter said. “And you, Padre?”
“Well, I only got a brief glimpse,” Father Mulcahy said. “But there was definitely something off about the fellow. I can’t speak to the medical parts, of course, but –“
“But vampires?” Potter asked.
“He was burned by the Cross,” the priest said. “There is a story in the Bible of devils possessing swine, and untold tales of them possessing humankind over the ages. Perhaps this Spike was one such poor unfortunate at one time.”
“He didn’t seem that unfortunate when he was trying to choke me to death,” B. J. said.
Reluctantly, Potter said, “Well, I’m not sure if I believe it but if the three of you vouch for it then I’ll assume there’s something to it. But the story ends here, got it? Don’t go spreading this. Anyone asks, he was just a crazy person.” Then he snorted. “He’d have to be half crazy anyway, running around this close to a war zone. And that,” he said, “Brings us to the most important part.”
“And that is?” Hawkeye asked.
In a long-suffering voice, Potter said, “Where’s Colonel Walsh going to sleep?”