Chapter 10 - Let Families Grow....
November 22, 1963
In CrabApple Cove, Endora hoped that Hawkeye and Samantha would take her news well. It was good news, and yet one never knows.
"I'll get straight to the point. Three months prior to his death, Daniel and I went out. Got very tipsy, painted several towns red, as it were. He was fun to be around. Some--mortals--allow their limitations to restrict their full enjoyment of life. But not your father--Hawkeye. He and I enjoyed life--and each other, almost as though we were rivalling you two. As though anyone could."
Hawkeye and Sam were smiling, but more at the memory of Dan than anything else. They had already decided they were too alike for a serious relationship to work. Hawkeye had determined to wait for Margaret, even if meant 50 years, and Sam had discovered that she might have someone waiting, somewhere in the distance. Hawkeye had already known about his dad and Endora--or so he thought.
"Well, here's a picture of myself and Daniel that night, Hawkeye. I believe you know the gentleman in front of us, with your Good Book in hand."
"Yeah, that's old....Jim Corrigan!"
Sam was concerned.
"Hey, Hawk, you look like you've seen a ghost."
Pierce walked over to Endora, and tenderly kissed her on the cheek. This simple act made her quite happy. It was acceptance, on Hawkeye's part.
"No, Sam. Not a ghost. Just--my stepmother--and stepsister. Jim Corrigan is the Town's Justice Of The Peace."
Endora quietly held her stepson's hand. Sam's eyes were wide.
"Mother! You and Dan---then Hawkeye and I are---"
"Brother and Sister, Samantha. I sensed your relationship coming to a certain conclusion, albeit a happy one, and felt it was time to reveal my folly. A folly, it seems, that was part of destiny's plan for you two. Now, admit it. Weren't those sweaty boudoir wrestling marathons leaving you both cold and empty, after all was said and done?"
The former couple and new siblings didn't need to smile at one another, to signal this.
"Oh, yeah, I mean, sometimes, after 12 hours, I just wished Sam would --you know--go away-so I could read a book--or clean something."
"He's right. And afterwards, I'd have back pains galore! I'd have to look high and low for something to make me forget those pains--like a massage. Course', those usually led to more pains."
Endora shook her head.
"Sarcasm should not be directed at one's mother! But here and now, it reminds me of Daniel, so I'll let it pass. We thought about an anullment--but--it was hardly an intolerable error."
"Dad had a talent for picking the very best Endora. And your 'error' means that Sam and I have something real to keep in touch about--with no regrets, Sam?"
"Hawkeye! Regret what I've done--regret you? I don't think I could go on, like that, anyway. Siblings or exes, you have a place in my heart-and I bet I have one in yours."
"I guess there is such a thing as a sure bet. When--are you leaving?"
"Today. I do love you, Hawkeye. Eventually, that won't mean what it does today. But right now, being near you means--being with you. We deserve more than comfortable-much more."
"I know you do, anyway. I've been with lots of women, Sam. You know that. But when I'm with someone as long as I've been with you, I feel they deserve a hell of a lot more than 'sweaty birthday suit wrestling soirees in the boudoir'."
Hawkeye smiled a cocky smile at Endora, who smiled back, cocking an eyebrow.
"That's why I like this boy. He listens to his mother!"
The now ex-couple stared into each other's eyes, and kissed full on the lips for a minute. Then, when they were done, something had passed between them. But it was a good passing, with no need to mourn. Something special had ended, and something perhaps even more special had begun. They had both had lovers; but they now had their dream : that the secret playmate of their youth become their true sibling. As if to signal the death/birth, the new brother and sister's mouths went dry as the phone rang.
"Sam--you--you get it. If its that weasel, I will kill him this time. No--no joke."
"All right, you. But I get dibs on the cookies. Hello?---They Hung Up!"
Margaret's courage had failed her. Ezri Dax, preparing to leave, tapped her feet impatiently.
"Lemme guess. Nobody's home. Pity this century doesn't have viewscreens, huh, Margaret?"
The Houlihan temper was flaring, and at high steam, as well.
"You back off, lady! Cause' if you don't, I'll get an Ice Cream Scoop and perform a Symbiont-Ectme--WITHOUT ANAESTHIA!"
Within Ezri, over nine different beings rustled furiously at Margaret's thoughtless words. Then, the mental image of an ice-cream scoop caused all of them to back down-even the psycho. She smiled a weak smile at her patient.
"Oh, Dax. No. I'm sorry. You came all this way to help me. I mean, just hearing about that incident with your ex-wife-well, that helped settle something that's been with me a while, now, regarding a lost friend."
"I'm glad, Margaret. But why did you hang up like that?"
She put down her head.
"A woman answered."
Now, Charles impatience boiled over.
"Oh, my. A woman. A woman on the other end of the line. A woman, on the other end of the line, at Hawkeye Pierce's home! And only 4 years after you..aaaacckkkk...Ma-grit! Yer strangling meeee...ahh..Thank You--HAKK--I didn't need air, after -akk- all. Call him---again!"
"There's no need for that, Charles."
With Samantha and Endora, Hawkeye had appeared out of thin air. Charles was curious, but not overly so.
"I'm not even going to ask. Pierce, I've something to discuss with you and Margaret-immediately, if you would."
"One moment, Charles. Endora?"
"Please go to this address in San Francisco, and inform my friend of Jack's illness. Its--kind of important to me that you do it. Will you?"
"Well, it is a most unusual request. But for my dear stepson.... "
With that, she vanished. Charles was staring at his clipboard. Ezri was not.
"Excuse me. Hi! I'm Ezri Dax."
"Pleased to meet you. I'm Samantha."
"Yeah, listen, Samantha--did that woman just vanish into thin air?"
"Oh, that's just Mother. She and I are witches, you know. By the way, did you know that you-have a symbiote living inside of you?"
"What's your point?"
"Uh-hunh. Good talking to you, Ezri."
"You too, Samantha--oop--there's my ride!"
Sam saw Ezri and Father Mulcahy vanish in a blue nimbus. She noted Hawkeye and Margaret intently staring at one another. Despite herself, she spoke.
"Look, I'm not trying to intrude, here, but your Priest can travel through time!"
Both turned to her, and spoke the same words.
"What's your point?"
As Charles guided the two into his office, Sam sat down, confused and thrown off.
"Boy, these are some strange people Hawkeye knows."
An idea then struck her, and she hoped she could make it happen.
In San Francisco, Endora popped into the home at the address she was given. The only one she saw was a young girl. She looked-familiar.
"Excuse me, child? Is this the Hunnicutt residence?"
"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers, Mam."
"A good idea. But Hawkeye Pierce sent me, to give your father--news. Do you know him?"
"Of course I know him. He saved me from drowning when I was a baby, and he goes out with my Mom's sister, Aunt Samantha."
"Samantha? Your mother's sister? But that would make her---"
A light, happy sob broke out behind Endora. She turned to re-discover yet another part of her family. Her heart rose.
"Peggy! My little---"
"Mother! I've missed you so---muuuch."
"There, there. I was never much of a mother, you know."
"You're mine. That's all that counts."
"Oh, then this child...."
"My name is Erin..what's yours?"
"I do suppose its Grandma, Erin."
"But Grandma Bea and Grandma Cheryl...died."
"I loved Grandma Cheryl, honey. But Grandma Endora is my real mother-and Aunt Samantha's too."
Erin hugged Endora.
"I've got a Grandma again!"
"And I..have you-grandaughter."
Then, BJ walked in. Endora sensed his difference immediately, and stared at him. Then, she shrugged.
"Any other day, I'd be livid. But, Peggy, your father was a bohemian type, after all."
Quickly, BJ was filled in on the family reunion-and the sad message about Jack Scully. Endora was still feeling good about the day, and so made an offer.
"Peggy, allow me to whip up my 1st granddaughter a full wardrobe-to replace those ratty things!"
"Oh, well. BJ, you like to make these kinds of calls, so I'm giving it to you. I know how you hate short-cuts and dishonesty, so do we accept Mother's gift?"
BJ shook his head.
"You must be crazy! Crazy if you think I'm gonna just stand here---and turn down an offer like that. Kids' clothes cost a fortune, Peg. Let her zap us all something, for that matter! I'd have to be an uptight fool not to take advantage of my wife's full abilities. I can do surgery, you can do this. I don't see you giving me permission to be a doctor. Only a Simon Lagree would want that kind of control over his wife."
As time went by, people noted how well-kept the Hunnicutt household was, and how much free time they all had. Endora genuinely liked this new son-in-law, right off the bat. The next one would require some adjustment--for BJ as well as Endora. But that story of "The Witches-In-Law" is, in fact, a whole other story.
Back in Boston, the bed-ridden Jack Scully felt his power of speech return. He thought certain the stroke had erased it forever. With that back, he made a decision-one he would not regret at all.
In the lobby, Samantha sat exhausted. Trying to undo Jack's stroke entirely would be as dangerous for her as for him-certain things were as far beyond magic as they were beyond science. But his speech center was a snap. Now, if he only he did the right thing-and if only Hawkeye and Margaret did, as well. Inside with Charles, the news was not good.
"When I couldn't make heads-or-tails of what I saw in Jack Scully's blood, I contacted our-soon-to-be Monsignor, who traversed the timestream to fetch Julian. An extreme measure, I concede flatly. But Doctor Bashir simply had knowledge I could not. What he told me is this : Margaret, yours and Hawkeye's immune systems are hyper-active. They literally seek out invading bodies and attempt to neutralize them. I won't play with you. Its made a permanent shambles of his circulatory system. He faces whatever time he has left in an escalating cycle of strokes and disability. You may not be his wife anymore, in any real fashion. This never happened to you two, because you are proof against one another's systems."
Charles let the words sink in.
"Now, Pierce, your Samantha..."
"Is like Radar, Charles. Not his kind, but resistant to most of our problems. She's--a witch, like her mother and Peg. After how Dad left us, I had her check herself for any goodies our pal might have left us. She's good."
"A witch? Like--Peg Hunnicutt? BJ's wife?"
"Uh, yeah, and oh, my stepsister, too. Endora married my Dad last year. Sam's my step, also."
Margaret's look was one of pure disgust.
"She was the last one. We're all freaks, now! Every last one of us."
"How dare you---You half-call me up after 3 years, and I show up to see another one of your tantrums. Great job, Margaret! You destroy Jack's heart, after ripping mine out. Wanna take Radar or Sidney's heads, while you're at it?"
"Oh, don't you start, you hypocrite! You hide behind Jack, asking how I am, when you don't really give a damn about me. Just the precious future in which you get to play super-hero. Have to have wifey there, for the cameras."
"You know, lady, you are nuts! The only person more nuts than you is me, because I still love you, and I haven't felt this alive in 4 years. My guts are churning, Margaret. The country's gone nuts, and I find out that because I didn't have the guts to get you back, Jack is gonna die. For how rotten I feel, it still beats every single moment I spent with that terrific lady out there. Looking at you, I have to bite down to remember Sam's face. That's not fair to her--its just you and me."
Margaret just stood and stared.
"I owe Jack the world's biggest apology, but it won't be enough, will it? What do you do when you've wrecked a man's life? Hawkeye, you say you didn't have the guts to get me back. Guts wouldn't have helped. I know they wouldn't, because I'm the coward. Or maybe we both are. You snap my bra, I scream 'Atten---shun!", and we dance around each other like we have since that first OR. I'm tired of dancing around you, Hawkeye. I know you're tired, too. Jack could hang on for a while, you know. I'll stand by him, but will you wait for me?"
"Of course. Like I said, I'm in love with you. But, Margaret, what exactly am I waiting on?"
"I'm in love with you, darling. Keep you or lose you, you will be mine. Not because of fate, or history. But because that's what Margaret Houlihan wants, dammit. I am deeply, stupidly, frighteningly in love with you, honey. Whatever the time, however long Jack has, after=A0its done, Hawkeye Pierce, will you..."
Just then, Charles Winchester, who had ducked out during the argument, poked his head back in.
"Come quickly, the both of you! Jack's recovered his speech, and needs to peak to both of you, urgently!"
The two abided the interruption, for Jack remained their prime concern-for now.