"Congratulations, B.J.," Mulcahy said with a broad smile. "And remember, you've got a good friend who's a priest, for all your baptizing needs."
B.J. smiled. "Thanks Father."
"Wow, you must be real excited sir," said Radar. "Congratulations. And if the new baby ever wants to get a pet, I know all about rabbits and guinea pigs and hamsters and stuff."
"Thanks Radar, if we ever have pet problems you'll be the first one I'll call."
"Hunnicutt," said Charles in a booming voice, "you know that I don't hate you as much as I let on. You're a fairly decent guy actually, and a better father I can't imagine. Congratulations, to both you and your wife. Now why on earth anyone would choose to work in a small town hospital like the one you're going to, I will never be able to fathom, but if it's what you want I'm happy for you. May I propose a toast: to B.J., his wife, his family - born and unborn - and his new life in Crabapple Cove." And everyone clanged glasses one last time.
One Year Later
"Honey!" Margaret called upstairs to her husband. "Hawkeye! Get down here right away!"
"What is it?" Hawkeye demanded as he rushed down the stairs. "Is it -"
Margaret nodded. "Dad!" Hawkeye yelled. "Grab the bag and get the car ready while I call B.J.!"
Daniel came rushing in from the kitchen and grabbed a small bag from the foyer. "I'll go start the car."
"Hurry," Hawkeye prompted his father as he punched in B.J.'s familiar phone number.
"Hello?" asked B.J. on the other end of the line.
"Meet us out front Beej. Right away."
B.J. didn't have to ask to know what was going on.
"What is it?" Peg asked her husband as he hung up the phone, although she had a gut feeling about what was going on.
"I've got to go to the hospital. Stay here with the kids. Or pack them in the car and follow us there. I'm riding with Hawkeye and Daniel and Margaret."
"I'll be there as soon as I can," Peg promised as B.J. rushed out the door. He sprinted across his lawn to Hawkeye's house, which was right next door. Hawkeye was helping Margaret into the back seat when B.J. arrived. "How is everything? You okay Margaret?"
"Everything's fine," Daniel said from the driver's seat. "Jump in, we better hurry."
B.J. leapt into the car, riding shotgun as Daniel sped to the hospital. When they arrived, B.J. raced into the largest building in Crabapple Cove, and immediately noticed what didn't seem to be there. "Cindy!" he called to the nurse stationed at the front desk. "Where the hell are all the wheel chairs? Margaret's out there, and she's in no condition to walk in on her own."
The nurse quickly pointed to a small closet the far end of the lobby "There's one over there B.J."
B.J. grabbed it and took it outside. "You carriage awaits, madam," he said to Margaret as he reached the car.
"This isn't exactly the time for levity B.J.," Margaret groaned. "You can't even begin to comprehend how much this hurts."
"You're right, I can't," B.J. admitted, "but maybe humor will help to keep you mind off the pain."
"Will you just shut up and stop trying to make jokes?" Hawkeye snapped.
B.J. looked at his friend in shock, and Hawkeye immediately felt guilty. "Sorry Beej. It's just..."
"I know Hawk. You're nervous. You have the right to be. If memory serves I snapped at you like that a few months ago."
"Which is exactly why you won't be allowed in that little room with us son," Daniel piped up.
"No buts son. You're not going in, and that's that. I've delivered every person in Crabapple Cove who's at least twenty five years younger than I am, don't you trust me? And B.J. and Mark will both be in there too. They've brought their share of people into the world. Now you'll sit in the waiting room like a good boy, or I'll have you grounded for life."
"Yes Dad," Hawkeye agreed reluctantly. "Gee, you sound like Colonel Potter, ordering me around like that."
"With one key difference," B.J. pointed out. "You're going to obey Daniel."
"Okay, you two have made your point," said Hawkeye as they arrived at the delivery room. "But be advised that I'll be prone to barge in when you least expect me."
"What's going on?" asked a new voice. It was Mark Miller, the other surgeon at Crabapple Cove General. "Oh, hey Margaret. It's time huh?"
Margaret groaned. "Yeah, time for some morphine."
Mark smiled. "You're not going to be in there with us, are you Hawkeye?"
"According to these two I'm not."
"Good," said Mark. "You're a nervous wreck. If you delivered the baby you'd likely drop it."
"Okay boys, enough small talk," Daniel said sternly. "Let's get in there before we turn the hallway into the delivering room."
B.J. wheeled Margaret into the delivery room, and Daniel and Mark followed at his heels. "Nervous B.J.?" Mark asked quietly as they pulled some towels and child - sized blankets down off a shelf.
"Yeah, but don't tell Margaret."
"As long as you don't tell her how nervous I am."
"Or how nervous Daniel is."
"One of you help me get her up on the table," Daniel demanded, and B.J. rushed over to help.
"B.J.?" she asked.
"What is it Margaret?"
"You aren't nervous, are you?"
B.J. was silent for a split second before saying, "No. Not at all."
Margaret grinned knowingly. "I am too."
B.J. smiled. "We all are. But at least the three of us aren't quite as nervous as Hawkeye."
Just then Margaret let out a painful yelp as she was seized by a strong contraction. "They're five minutes apart," Daniel announced. "It'll be any time now. Bring that surgical tray over here Mark, just in case. Hang on Honey, it's going to be alright," he told his daughter-in-law as he squeezed her hand encouragingly.
"Sit down Hawkeye, you're making me a nervous wreck just watching you," Peg urged as Hawkeye leapt out of his chair at the sound of yet another painful yell from the delivery room.
"It's just that they've been in there for hours!" Hawkeye exclaimed as he sat down next to his best friend's wife. "What if something's going wrong?"
"Believe me Hawkeye, nothing's going wrong," Peg assured him. "The first one's always a toughie. I took twice as long to deliver Erin as it did for Ben. It's true, she's hurting in there right now, but it's nothing Margaret can't handle. Before you know it it'll be all over with."
Margaret let out another yell and Hawkeye once again jumped to his feet.
"Down Hawkeye," Peg urged him again, this time tugging gently on his sleeve. "Sit boy, and stay."
"You would have made a good general," Hawkeye teased.
Peg couldn't help but laugh. "There you go. Keep a humorous approach to the whole thing. It'll make it go quicker."
"I hope you're right Peg."
"Okay Margaret, one more and that'll be it," Daniel said calmly.
"That's what you said two pushes ago, Dad."
"I know, but the baby's got a big head."
Margaret rolled her eyes as she got ready to push once more.
"B.J., come listen to this," Mark said. He was wearing a stethoscope and listening to the sounds inside Margaret's stomach.
B.J. took the stethoscope from Mark and put it on. He listened for a minute, then a frown came over his face. It quickly turned to a smile. "Margaret, Daniel - hope you not tired yet, I think we're going to have a double play."
"Okay, this is insane now," Hawkeye decided as he rose from his chair and began pacing the hall. "Labor doesn't take this long, not even your first time. I'm a doctor, I know."
Peg rose and put her hand on Hawkeye's shoulder. "Settle down. It won't be long now, I promise."
As if on cue, B.J. emerged from the delivery room.
"Well?" Hawkeye demanded of his best friend as he rushed up to him. "Is it over? What's going on? Talk to me Beej."
B.J. shook his head and smiled amusedly. "Hawkeye, Hawkeye, Hawkeye," he said as he placed his hand on his friend's shoulder. "Take it easy, alright? See why we wouldn't let you in there with us?"
"Yeah yeah yeah. Now what's going on?"
"It's over," B.J. announced. "Margaret says she doesn't want to see anyone till she's slept for about a year, and Mark's trying to keep her awake long enough to feed her kids so they don't starve to death."
Hawkeye frowned. "Beej, you seem to have adopted a very odd speech pattern. You're referring to my child in the plural form."
B.J. couldn't help but smile. "That would be because you have a child in the plural form. Congratulations Hawkeye, it's a boy.... And a girl."