by Lilith and SaRa
Hawkeye Pierce idly pushed the swing he sat on with his foot. It creaked slightly as he rocked, and the sound was very much at home in the idyllic lake town of Crabapple Cove. He stared out at the water, lost in his musings. He hadn't thought about the war and the years that directly followed in ages. Or, at least not much. But, for some reason he just couldn't seem to get the memories out of his head today. It was 5:00 in the morning, when sensible people are asleep, yet here he was, ruminating on the past and watching his breath make smoky rings in the biting morning air.
A long-ago trip to Tokyo with Margaret. There'd been a dance floor, and couples in military garb dancing. Hawkeye and Margaret had stepped out on the floor. The band had played songs that they had never heard, but they danced anyway. It was a wonderful night, and he remembered that they were laughing.
He snapped out of his reverie, and shook his head ruefully at his reminiscences. He leaned his head back against the swing and closed his eyes. It seemed odd, that while they were there he would hate it so much, yet now he looked back almost fondly. Going into the village with her to do a shot clinic for the little Korean kids. The summer air was heavy and sweet, and the two of them stood in the crowded street. Just for a moment, it had seemed to the two of them that it was a happy little foreign town, even though they were half a world away from everything they knew. He remembered she was laughing. Despite their initial antipathy, it has appeared for all the world that they were so in love.
People said you couldn't go back. Hawkeye believed that, but maybe if he could hold her close, they could just let go again. He stared out at the water again. He was happy here; he and his wife got along just fine in his old house. They were still in love, even after all the time they'd been married. But something inside him just wanted some of the excitement of he and Margaret together again, like it had been during the war. So far from everything, yet they had what they needed--each other. He thought about when he first saw her. On that day, he had to stop and tell himself that what he felt for her was just a little crush; it was too early to call it love. As the war went on, he learned that their love was a powerful thing.
But then it was over. On that last day in Korea, he'd said goodbye, knowing that he would never see her again. They'd said their farewells, and he'd kissed goodbye the person who would be the measuring stick for all the women he would ever meet. Standing there on a dirt road, the air had been heavy and sweet, and the mood had been so upbeat, it had seemed like there was music everywhere. They were finally going home! So why was it that all Hawkeye could think was how he was saying goodbye to his chance with one of the only two women he'd ever loved?
He snapped abruptly back to the present as he heard his wife come down the stairs and walk into the kitchen. He groaned. She was an awful cook. When his dad was alive, he'd cooked for them. Since he died, however, Hawkeye had damn-near starved.
He drifted back into his pleasant memories. Sitting on the "porch" of the Swamp, watching the female figures meander into the shower, and making dirty comments the whole time. Being chastised by Margaret for being a "pervert" and a "germ."
Toward the end, after he'd appeared at Kellye's door with flowers and been turned away, they'd danced all night in the oclub. After arriving together, they'd danced with each other until the club had closed. Afterwards, they'd gone off to her tent to share a bottle of scotch. That night was one of Hawkeye's two favorites about Margaret--shared only with one other night spent together in a bombed out hut in enemy territory. That night, they'd sat and talked until nearly 3:00 A.M. He'd had so much fun and didn't want it to end. He never imagined that he could enjoy just sitting and talking with a woman; he'd always thought it had to be a bit more physical than that. Of course, the physical had been pretty great, too. He sighed. He smelled burning bacon, which meant that breakfast was almost ready.
Finally, he saw her working feverishly with him and BJ to prolong for a few hours the life of a mortally wounded soldier. They'd all taken it so personally, the need to keep him from dying on Christmas day. When they'd finally pronounced the soldier dead, she'd sat there in her bloodstained Christmas shirt, eyes wet, talking about the fragility of human life. Hawkeye didn't think he'd ever forget that time. Most of the memories of her that he remembered the best were happy ones, but this time he knew he would never forget.
He was snapped out of his musings by his wife calling him inside to breakfast. He stood up, dropping his quilt on the swaying bench that was suspended from their roof. He was hit in the face by the smell of burned bacon and charred toast. His wife was looking at the mess in dismay.
"I only turned around for a second, and the damn bacon burned! I forgot about the toast in the oven..."
He grinned. "C'mon, babe, lets go grab something to eat in town."
"Okay, lemme grab a sweatshirt. What were you doing out there, anyway," she asked as she fished an old ratty sweatshirt out of the closet.
He grinned and held open the door for her. "Just remembering what we were like in Korea, when we first met."