"But you have been pretty busy at that time." Kyong explained and took his hand. "Suddenly you were the only person to take care of two little girls."
"How old are they?" Mrs. Collins wanted to know.
"Kathy will be six next month and Becky is four." John said proudly. "And they get along very well with Kyong. They seem to like her more than her aunt, the sister of my deceased wife. That's where the girls are now."
They stayed in that restaurant for a while longer. Then Kyong-Lee grandmother wanted to go home. She wanted to let the couple alone for the rest of the evening. Kyong was old enough and didn't need a chaperon. John and Kyong brought Mrs. Collins back home and then drove into a bar.
They talked for hours and it got later and later but they didn't care. John remembered the times at MASH. He talked about the practical jokes that Hawk and him played on Frank and Margaret. And Kyong shared her memories with him. She couldn't understand John's opinion about Major Margaret Houlihan. She had liked the head nurse, they had turned out to be good friends.
"Margaret must have changed. She was married?" John asked.
"Yes." Kyong answered. "With some Lieutenant-Colonel but it didn't last long. They had problems. That guy cheated on her and then he got himself a transfer to San Francisco. He didn't want to solve the problems. Isn't that rude!"
"And then the Major got divorced?"
"I think so. She was still married when I was there but she should be single by now." Kyong said. "Maybe it was because of Frank that she was so different before."
"Could be, that guy was a total looser." John said. "It's good to hear the troop has a nice CO again. This Colonel Potter seems to be a bit like Henry somehow despite the regular army."
Now the doctor realized that he missed the time he had spent in the MASH. And he really missed Hawkeye. How could he not have left him a note when he headed back home?
Kyong seemed to read his mind. She put an arm around his shoulders and comforted him. "Let's hope the war is over soon. Then you should meet Hawkeye again. Maine isn't that far away."
"Yes, maybe." John kissed her cheek. "But it won't be the same thing."
Kyong knew what he meant and nodded. They sat there for a while not saying a word, only hugging.
A few minutes later John looked at Kyong and said: "Nevertheless I hope the war comes to an end soon and everyone can go home. It had caused enough trouble already. Enough is enough!"
It was very late when John brought Kyong-Lee home.
"Well, have a Good Night 'Trapper' John McIntyre." Kyong smiled and gave the doctor a little kiss.
"Yeah, you too." John replied. "And thank you!"
"For what?" The girl wanted to know.
"For everything!" He took her hand and accompanied her to the house. "For the last months. This is the first time since Louise's death that I feel very happy. Our conversations helped me a lot. I'm just glad that I found you!"
In the meantime they reached the front door and Kyong plugged the key into the lock. Then she turned around and put her arms around his neck.
"I'm also very happy." She confessed and looked him into his eyes. "I don't want to push you into something, after all that you had to go through. But I have to tell you. And if this should be to early for you, going to fast, then please tell me. I will understand."
"Then out with it!" Trapper helped.
"I think..." Kyong began. "No, I'm pretty sure, that I'm in love with you." Expectant she looked at him.
John smiled softly, pulled her towards him and kissed her passionately.
When they loosened the embrace after a while, John whispered into her ear: "I feel the same way!" and then walked back to his car.
With sparkling eyes she looked after him and waited until he drove away then she went inside.
Almost exactly the same day a month later, July 27th 1953, Trapper John and Kyong-Lee listened to the radio and heard from the end of the Korean war. With tears in their eyes they fell into each others arms in the lounge of the Medical Center.
At that time in Korea, it was already evening over there, the whole staff of the 4077th came together in the mess tent and talked about their future plans and dreams. They would all return to the states with one exception - Klinger.
It was hard for everybody to say good-bye because the years of living and working together had turned them into a family. And now every member of this family had to go their own ways. They knew that they would never come together like this and that made them sad.
And nothing would be the same as before the war, John knew it. Some wouldn't have any problems to adjust back into civil life, others would need more time to get over the after-effects of the war and the memories. Maybe they needed a lifetime.
John really wanted to call Hawkeye, now that he was back in the USA. But always something intervened. First it was the fear that Hawkeye would never forgive him his departure without saying good-bye, then he thought it would be better to wait a while until Hawkeye adjusted to civil life. And then BJ's letter came. He had written Kyong four weeks after his arrival in Mill Valley. He had told her about his wife and kid, about the last events in the outfit and about Hawk's nervous breakdown and his stay at the psychiatry. When Kyong told Trapper about that he decided to wait longer. Thanksgiving came and went, also Christmas, but John didn't call Hawkeye.
Kyong often tried to talk him into taking the receiver and dial his number but John always thought it was too early. Bad excuse, he simply was scared.
But then one day Kyong found a piece of paper in the clinic.
"Hey, John!" She called him in the corridor. "Did you read that?" She showed him the paper.
"Yeah, the surgeon convention here in three weeks. Why?" He said. "You know that's nothing for me. Not my style."
"I know but I also know two other surgeons who won't fit into such an event." Kyong grinned. "And I will nevertheless invite them to the convention and to a dinner with me afterwards. Because I want to see Hawkeye and BJ again!"
"You're not really planning that, are you?" John swallowed but he had to admit the idea wasn't that bad.
"Oh yes, I am! And I will see to you going there, too. It's about time for you to meet your friend again. You have no excuses!"
Her resolute behavior and the way she looked at him made John laugh. He reread the paper and then nodded.
"Okay, you're right." He admitted. "Invite them both. And after the convention the four of us go out to dinner. Boy, they will be surprised that you and I are a couple. I wouldn't miss Hawkeye's reaction."
"So you agree?" Kyong asked him to make sure.
"Yes nurse Chao, I do." John scooped her up into his arms and kissed her. "But now I have to go back to work."
At this evening Kyong sat down at her desk and wrote two invitations. She was looking forward to next month and was happy.
It was pretty odd that Trapper John and she had found one another. A nice coincidence of fate, her grandmother had said one day and Kyong had confirmed that.
Kyong was anxious how Hawk would react if he heard that his old bunk mate and his former patient were together. She wouldn't miss it for nothing in the world.
February 10th 1954 was the big day. Kyong-Lee and her grandmother drove to the airport at 7 p.m. to pick up BJ. Hawkeye wanted to come on the next day directly to the convention center by car. Kyong was a little disappointed but now she was happy to be able to spend the evening with BJ, her savior. Both, Hawkeye and BJ, intended to stay a couple of days in Boston.
BJ didn't know about Trapper either. She had written to him that she dated a doctor from her clinic but she never mentioned his full name.
"BJ!" Kyong shouted excited and waved when she discovered him among the crowd in the terminal.
The young man threw his bag over his shoulder and walked towards her radiant with joy.
"Kyong!" He then shouted and ran the last few yards. He scooped her up into his arms and almost didn't want to let her go.
When they parted the girl introduced him to her grandmother.
"Now you're the one I owe to that my granddaughter is still alive. It's a pleasure to finally meet you, BJ! Kyong wouldn't stop talking about you." Mrs. Collins welcomed the newcomer and reached out her hand.
Smiling the doctor took it and said: "I hope she only mentioned the good things about me, Mrs. Collins."
"Yes, well, I think she didn't leave out one of your practical jokes." She told him and BJ looked at Kyong his eyes widening. "I enjoyed it very much!"
BJ was relieved, laughed and then left the terminal with the two women.
The three of them had a merry evening, drinking wine and telling stories. In Kyong's opinion BJ didn't change a bit and the surgeon claimed the same about her.
"Will your boyfriend be at the convention, also?" BJ asked curiously. "What exactly is he doing?"
"He is a thorax surgeon at the children's clinic I also work at."