Hawkeye looked up at the surgeon he had shared a tent with for the past year. "Is that true, Charles?"
"Is what true, Pierce?" Winchester asked with a frown, feigning ignorance.
"That you were the one who came up with the idea of calling here and having me detained so Margaret could catch up with me?"
Charles shrugged nonchalantly. "Well, I don't want to gloat, but I do suppose -"
Hawkeye rushed over and encased Winchester in a vice-like bear-hug. "Thanks Charles. I owe you one."
Winchester smiled proudly, not saying a word, while B.J. took his turn at hugging Margaret. "I miss you already," he said with a broad smile. "You know that next to Peg you're my closest female friend?"
"Thanks B.J., that means a lot. And you know that next to Hawkeye you're my closest male friend?"
B.J. smiled even more broadly. "Well then, from friend to friend, a little advice. Don't let this guy get away from you." He nodded towards Hawkeye. "Why is it that everyone but the two of you realize how perfect you are for each other?"
"I think we realize that now, Beej," Hawkeye broke in. "It was the most hollow feeling I've ever known, watching the camp disappear from the chopper and knowing that I had let the one woman I've ever truly loved get away. And just now when I saw you running towards me Margaret, my heart was practically in my throat. Thanks to Charles, I got a second chance to tell you how I feel about you, about us. So here goes. You're the most amazing woman I've ever known Major, and that goodbye kiss doesn't begin to express how much I love you. I can't imagine my life without you or with someone other than you. So Margaret, this isn't exactly romantic as I had planned, and I'm not doing it in the traditional way, down on my knees with ring in hand, but will you be my wife? Do you think you can put up with me long enough for it to work?"
B.J. and Charles exchanged stunned, ecstatic grins, and Margaret appeared to be close to fainting. Through her tears she managed to gasp, "Of course I'll marry you Hawkeye Pierce. There's nothing in this world I want more."
Hawkeye grabbed his fiance of a matter of seconds and lifted her completely off the ground, spinning around while Margaret hung on. When Hawkeye was done with that, B.J. pounced upon his best friend eagerly. "Congratulations Hawk. When's the wedding?"
"Well Mr. Best Man, I'd have it right now if Father Mulcahy was here to marry us and if my dad and Margaret's family and Colonel Potter and Klinger and Radar were all here. But since they aren't, I suppose we'll have to wait till we get back home, right Margaret?"
Margaret nodded. "I had a pretty primitive wedding last time around, I want it done right this time. And I want everyone from the 4077 to be there. It wouldn't be the same without all of them."
"That's great," B.J. exclaimed. "Hawk, did you just call me Mr. Best Man?" he asked with a frown.
Hawkeye smiled broadly at B.J. "Of course I did. Who else would I trust to look after Margaret's ring for me till I get to put it on her finger? And who else would I want to be up there in front of the alter with me on the most important day of my life?"
"I'm honored Hawk," B.J. said quietly, joyful tears welling up in his eyes. "I just wish I'd have known you when I married Peg so I could have had you as my best man."
The two men silently embraced in a way only two people who were as close as they were could do. "So Charles, why are you being so quiet?" Hawkeye asked as he stepped away from B.J. "You played a big part in bringing Margaret and I together, I think you'd have something to say. You have plenty to say at any other given time."
Charles hung his head and shook it slowly, and Hawkeye Margaret and B.J. all thought they could see a glint of moisture in their friend's eyes. "I'm just so happy for both of you. I know I've been terrible to live with for the past year, but you people...You've had some kind of strange unexplainable affect on me. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I have come to consider all of you as well as everyone else from the 4077th good friends, even though you two cretins hog-tied me and gagged me that one night at 'Rosie-land' and instituted countless other acts of horror against me. I know it doesn't seem possible, but..."
Hawkeye kindly looped is arm around Charles' shoulders. "We did treat each other pretty bad, Charles; that night at Rosie's when we tied you up and then sat on you between dances was, though hilariously funny, cruel and rather unusual. We hated you when you first arrived, you know. You were so sophisticated, so egotistical, so cold, so arrogant, so pompous, so conceded, so unlike us. But you've proven yourself to be a pretty decent guy and an incredible surgeon, especially since some of our compassion has rubbed off on you. There's always going to be some competition between us, that's inevitable, but you've been a good friend and you're always going to."
"Charles, remember that first time you and I really started to get along?" B.J. asked. "Hawk went to the 8063, and we got Dupree for a week?"
Winchester nodded, smiling at the memory.
"We laughed together for the first time while we watched Dupree racing around the compound on Sophie. I got to admit that was a great idea on your part. For the first time you used your sense of humor to help me, instead of using it against me."
"And the three of us had our first real discussion," Margaret broke in.
"Surprised all of us," Winchester recalled.
"Anyway," Hawkeye interrupted, "at some point in time you became one of us. So Charles, you know that I'd never have anyone but B.J. as my best man, but I can always use an usher or two."
A radiant smile crossed Charles' face. "Are you asking me to..."
Hawkeye nodded. "I am."
"And I would be honored. Thank you Hawkeye."
Crabapple Cove, Two Months Later
Hawkeye peered into the mirror and straightened his tie. He stared at the reflections that surrounded his own: his father, Colonel Potter, Radar, Charles, a clean shaven B.J., and Klinger, who was fresh from Korea after finding his wife's parents and brother and bringing them back to the states. "So how do I look?" Hawkeye asked, spinning around to face the other people gathered with him in the small second floor room of his Crabapple Cove home.
"Absolutely ridiculous," Charles retorted.
"Get rid of that cheesy hat," B.J. told Hawkeye as he snatched the old tattered cowboy hat from his best friend's head. "You should have dropped this thing down the latrine before we left Korea. And I can't believe you insist on wearing that awful Hawaiian shirt under your tux. That should have gone down the latrine too."
"Are you crazy Beej? This hat and this shirt, no matter how tasteless they are or how incongruous they are with a tux, hold very dear memories for me. Anyone who tries to throw either one down a latrine should be thrown down the latrine himself. What do you think Dad?"
Daniel shook his head in amusement at his son. "I'm just thinking how horrified your mother would be to see you dressed like that on your wedding day."
"Colonel?" asked Hawkeye, hoping to find approval from his former commanding officer.
"That getup is worse than half the stuff Klinger ever came up with. You look like a bona fide section eight."
Radar was laughing so hysterically at Hawkeye that he couldn't speak, but Klinger said, "I think that if I had added that to the Klinger Collection I would have gotten two section eights. All you need is the Groucho glasses and the flippers."
"Oh, you mean these?" Hawkeye asked as he picked the two items Klinger had mentioned up off the floor. As he struggled into the flippers everyone joined Radar in hysterics, but they were interrupted by a loud knock at the door. No one noticed the devious smiles B.J., Radar, and Klinger exchanged.
"Come in if you dare," Hawkeye called as he slipped on the Groucho glasses and began parading the room, tripping on the flippers. As the door swung open, revealing the newcomer, the groom stopped dead in his tracks turned white as a sheet.
"I almost thought I wasn't going to make it in time," announced the tall man who stood in the doorway. "But I told the pilot to run all the lights, and I got to Augusta just in time. Actually the hardest part was getting from there to here. You sure live in the middle of nowhere, Hawkeye. What the hell are you wearing?"
Hawkeye quickly tore off his glasses and struggled out of the flippers and stared at his guest in shock. "Trapper?" he croaked, finally able to speak.
"Hey, you still remember my name! I thought you had forgotten I existed."
"I forgot you existed?" Hawkeye demanded angrily. "You mean you forgot I.... Aw, what the hell. It doesn't matter anymore anyway. How did you get here? I tried for two weeks to call you and let you know about today, but no luck."
"That's because we were on vacation for three weeks," Trapper explained. "But thanks to these three I found about your big news before it was too late." He nodded at Radar, Klinger and B.J.
"You three?" Hawkeye exclaimed, staring at his friends.
"It was my idea to invite Trapper," B.J. announced. "Klinger happened to have his number, than we got Radar to call him."
"Wow. I can't believe it. I just can't believe you're here Trapper. I just can't....God it's good to see you Trap," Hawkeye declared as he drew his old friend into a crushing bear hug. "This is incredible. Beej, Radar, Max - how can I thank you?"
"I'll be happy if you don't demote me to usher," teased B.J. with a broad smile.
"And I'll be happy if you don't kick me out of the wedding party," Klinger added.
"I just want you to pay for the phone call," Radar piped up. "We talked for hours! That's long distance, you know, it cost me a fortune! I can't afford that!"
"Just call collect next time," Hawkeye advised. "As for this time, hit Charles up for it."
"I don't think so Pierce," Winchester declared adamantly.