Chapter 7 - Goodbye, Innocence; Hello, Life
November 15, 1962
The man who had arranged the death of Daniel Webster Pierce was now well hidden away, fearful of being found by a man who could crush him like a grape. Hawkeye Pierce still mourned his father, dead of this man's actions, as would Fox Mulder 33 years later, as would John F. Kennedy, Jr., in one year's time, and Martin Luther King the Third, in six years time.
In a sick twist, Hawkeye had been present at the death of this man's father, whom he never gave a damn about. In 1999, the always-young Pierce would become a father himself for the first time, and Blake Pierce would later wonder why her dad was just SO overprotective. The answer was simple, said cool Uncle Walter-he had precedent. In 1962, Hawkeye had been unable to prevent his own father's LSD-induced suicide.
With his then-girlfriend Samantha by his side, he endured the two weeks worth of pointless inquiry. Dan's killers would not be punished--not directly. But all these fathers and sons did not concern him. All that concerned him was a daughter-the daughter of "Howitzer Al" Houlihan.
"Where the hell is she?"
"Calm down, dear. I'm-I'm sure she'll show."
"I--am calm, Sam. Its just that she always liked Dad. As much as we would argue, she liked Dad. Heh. You'll love this. You know why Dad gave me the entire 2nd floor?"
"Well, you have been a grown man for some time, Hawkeye. I guess he didn't want you to move out entirely, so this was a compromise, right?"
"Partly. You see, back in 55, we had a small get-together at our home. The whole 4077th crew flew out, because we like to keep in touch-the whole thing with Henry. Well, Margaret and I are upstairs, going at it, no covers or anything, and in walks my dad. He just stands and stares at Margaret, dumbly."
"She must've been mortified!"
"She---never knew. Her--back was turned--ah-heh-at the time, and I was just ah--lying there, yeah. My dad had a fondness for the female variety gluteus maximus."
"Why isn't she here, Sam? Whatever we feel for each other, she told me that she liked him---hey, where are you---"
The funeral was over, and most had gone home. Charles Winchester had driven up from Boston, and Peg and BJ had come and gone, using Peg's newly revealed family secret. Erin had asked her new Aunt Samantha what use their powers were if they couldn't help people like Dan. She had no answer. Then she, and Peg, and BJ, and Charles, and nearly everyone else had asked where Margaret Houlihan was. That, combined with hearing Hawkeye talk about her for the last week had proven too much.
She vanished, absently sending herself -invisibly-to Jack and Margaret Scully's New Jersey home. She wanted to know what kept Hawkeye's one-time fiancee away, as well. She hoped, despite herself, that Margaret would never come around. She just couldn't say why she felt that way. Luckily, defensive spells like invisibilty were not affected by Hawkeye and Margaret's abilities.
"What do you mean, you forgot?"
"Ease up, honey. You were away in Philly, anyway. Where's the harm?"
"You know I could make it to Maine in a half an hour-less! My God, Jack, Hawkeye must think I hate him-I'll bet he hates me. I loved that old man! He was so sweet, and thoughtful. Hawkeye was so lucky to have him."
"You told me, he walked in on you and Hawkeye, and that he stared at your bare butt, Margaret! How is that thoughtful?"
"You---don't understand. He--oh, God."
As she ran into their bedroom, Margaret was beginning to cry. Jack let her, feeling stupid and awkward. He was forgetting things, lately. Not telling Margaret about Dan Pierce's funeral was unforgiveable.
"Y'know, Jack? Your problem is, you married a woman who loves someone else, and she's too much like you, to boot! Except for sex, its like living with my sister. Never a real disagreement, and never anything--real. Just comfortable."
Jack was a little bit sauced, and talking to himself. But the unseen Samantha felt the sting of his words, too. She wondered about herself, and Hawkeye. How her mother had approved so easily. How he reminded her of what she always thought a brother would be like. But like Jack, she was very comfortable, and in no mind to shake up the apple cart. She walked in on Margaret, and felt low for spying. Margaret was crying over Hawkeye's picture-as she often did. With a gesture, she left.
When she got back to Maine, Hawkeye was waiting for her.
"I am a prize jerk, you know that?"
"No, you're not. You were grieving, and I ran off upset. I'm sorry too."
Again, another non-argument. Like family, all forgiven all the time. No electricity-no tension. Love, but of a very---comfortable sort. Sam eyed a picture of Margaret--also wet with tears, half-hidden away.
"No, not Sam. Not for this."
"Yeah. Uh-oh. Samantha, I was going to say this on Thanksgiving, but I'm grateful for you here and now. Samantha Endoratochter---Will You Marry Me?"
It didn't seem perfunctory, but nor did Hawkeye's proposal have anything but a "Hey, let's do this" quality behind it. She thought about her recent insights, and how she felt that Margaret was who Hawkeye truly loved, and vice-versa. Then, the witch did a very human thing. She forgot all that, and lied to herself in the name of a basic happiness.
"Yes, Darling, I will Marry You."