"That's not true." Margaret objected softly as she gently stroked his back. "You care, you care very much."

"Well maybe I shouldn't." He surprised her by pulling away and rising to his feet. "Maybe I should just be like everybody else and not give a damn what happens to her. It would certainly be a lot easier."

"It might be a lot easier." She acknowledged as she rose from her cot and walked towards hi. "But that doesn't make it better." She put her hands on his arms and said. "Hawkeye, you are one of the most caring, tender, compassionate men I have ever met and what your doing is good and noble and right and I..." She paused for a moment as she looked into his misty eyes before adding. "And I want you to know something...I'm proud of you."

Hawkeye's eyebrows raised slightly in surprise. "You are?"

She nodded slightly. "I am. I'm proud of the time and effort that you've devoted to helping that child have a better life, to the obvious affection you have for her when you look at her." She chuckled slightly. "I think that Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce has finally had his heart stolen by this precious little darling. I doubt if another woman would stand a chance now." She looked at him teasingly.

"You may be right." He teased back, raising his hands to place them gently on her arms. They smiled at each other for a few moments until Margaret finally spoke.

"Will you do me a favor?"

"Anything." He promised his voice barely about a whisper.

She led him to the cot and gestured towards the spot she had recently vacated. "Have a seat." He did as she requested, giving her a puzzled look. Wordlessly she moved around his to lift the baby off the cot and place her in his arms. A soft smile spread across his face as he looked at the young child he held. Margaret sat down beside him, placed her arm around his shoulders and said. "Now, I want you to take a good look at her face...at the trust, the love, the sweetness in it." She paused for a moment as she watched him study the baby's sweet, innocent face carefully. "Every time you wonder why you care so much, or why you're doing what you're doing for her I want you to remember the look on her face right now and imagine the look on it ten years from now if you were to do nothing." Hawkeye felt his eyes tear up as he listened to her words. He felt his heart constrict at the thought of what life would be like for this sweet child if they couldn't get the needed permission to get her out of Korea. He felt a renewed sense of urgency to help her, to do everything in his power to make sure she had a happy life.

Suddenly another thought occurred to him. Looking at Margaret he said. "You know, we really should give her a name. It isn't good to keep referring to her as 'the baby' or 'the child'. She needs a name, a good, solid name that she will be proud of."

"I think you're right." Margaret agreed as she reached over and touched the child's cheek with her finger. "What did you have in mind?"

"Actually I have two names in mind." He told her seriously. "I think that she should be named after my two favorite women..."

"Pierce, I don't think..." Margaret started to object but Hawkeye continued without hesitation.

"...Margaret Rose." When Margaret looked at him in surprise he explained, giving her a tender look. "Margaret after my favorite nurse..." Margaret's expression softened as she returned his tender smile with one of her own.

"And the Rose?" She questioned softly.

"After my favorite mother." He told her, his tone barely above a whisper.

Margaret's expression melted even more. "I think that's a beautiful name." She whispered back, tears in her blue eyes. "I'm touched that you'd allow me to share such a great honor with your mother. It...It means a lot to me."

"You mean a lot to me Margaret." He whispered back, his eyes taking on a look that Margaret had never seen before. Freeing one of his hands from under the newly named Margaret Rose he lifted it to her cheek and smiled softly. "You're very special, Margaret and don't let anyone make you believe any different."

Margaret returned the smile with one of her own, placing a hand over the one on her cheek. Before she could reply there was a sudden knock on her tent door.

"Come in." Margaret called, dropping her hand, but not moving from beside Hawkeye on the cot.

The door opened and the Colonel stepped in asking: "Margaret have you seen Hawkeye...?" He stopped when he saw his quarry sitting beside Margaret on her cot, the baby in his arms. "Oh, there you are, Pierce." He hesitated for a moment, suddenly uncomfortable. "I trust I wasn't interrupting anything."

"I was just telling Margaret about what happened in Tokyo." Hawkeye told him seriously as he shifted the baby in his arms.

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Hawkeye." Potter commented gently, his face sorrowful. He knew that his Chief Surgeon wasn't going to like what he had to say, but it had to be said. "I was just talking to the padre and he feels that we should take the child over to the monastery tonight..." He paused for a moment before adding. "And I can't say that I disagree."

"But Colonel...!" Hawkeye rose to his feet in objection, but Potter raised his hand to silence him.

"There's nothing else to be done, son. You've tried everything possible, there is just no way to get that child out of Korea."

Margaret watched as Hawkeye's face darkened with sadness and disappointment. She even thought she saw tears well up in his eyes, but he looked away from her towards Margaret Rose who was currently occupied playing with his dog tags. She could somehow sense that the reality of the situation was slowly tearing him apart and there was something in her that couldn't let that happen. Even thought they had only briefly discussed the possibility of what she was about to propose she still felt that it was a prudent plan, especially in light of what she'd seen and heard in the last half-hour. Taking a deep breath she turned to their commanding officer and said. "There is another way, sir."

"I'm all ears, Margaret." Potter looked at her expectantly.

Margaret turned and put her arm around Hawkeye's waist. A greatly surprised Hawkeye gave her an encouraging smile. Looking back to their even more amazed CO she announced firmly. "Ben and I want to adopt her."

Potter's surprise couldn't have been greater if Margaret had announced that they were Chinese spies sent to sabotage the unit. "You want to what?!" He finally managed to exclaim in disbelief.

"We want to adopt her." Hawkeye repeated, pressing closer to Margaret in silent thank you.

"But you can't!" Their CO exclaimed incredulously, his senses still in shock from the unexpected news. "You're not married! They won't let you adopt a child if you're not married!"

"We may not be married yet," Margaret acknowledged slowly. "But we are engaged."

At Potter's wide eyed expression Hawkeye added, his tone gentle and serious. "Colonel, Margaret and I have already discussed this. We're going to get married and do everything that we can to adopt Margaret Rose."

"Margaret Rose?" The Colonel repeated in surprise.

"That's what we've named her." Margaret explained.

Potter looked from Margaret to Hawkeye and back again. "You're not actually going along with this hair-brained scheme are you?"

"It isn't a hair-brained scheme, Colonel." Margaret defended. "I think that it's one that makes perfect sense. That child needs parents and Ben and I want to adopt her."

"But the two of you getting married because of some child...that isn't a solid foundation for a marriage." Their friend exclaimed in concern. Then looking at Margaret he questioned "Since when do you call him Ben?"

"We're not just getting married because of the baby." Hawkeye quickly told the older man. "We're getting married because we want to, because we care about each other."

"But you two haven't even been seeing each other on a social level." Potter exclaimed, trying to make sense of the entire situation. "Have you?"

"Not openly." Hawkeye replied as he looked at his friend seriously. "We wanted to keep a low profile until we were sure that things were going to work out."

Potter suddenly felt the need to sit down. Grabbing the empty chair beside him he slowly sank down into it. Hawkeye and Margaret followed his lead by sitting down on her cot across from him. They looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to speak.

"So, let me get this straight: the two of you want to get married and adopt this child, is that correct." He asked, gesturing to the baby that Hawkeye still held in his arms.

"That's right." They both nodded in confirmation as the other man shook his head in disbelief.

"Well, if you two don't beat all." Then after a brief pause he remarked seriously. "You do realize that you have a very difficult road ahead of you. Not only do you have to adjust to being married, which can be hard enough in itself, but you'll also have a child to look after right away. And getting permission to adopt her is not going to be easy, either. You'll need permission from I-Corps, who'll want to see permission from everyone from Douglas MacArthur's pipe stuffer to Harry Truman's butler."

"Well Harry's butler and I are like this." Hawkeye lifted his hand to show his index and middle finger twisted together.

"You'll probably also need permission from the baby's..."

"Maggie-Rose." The younger doctor interjected, his tone firm and his expression serious.

The Colonel sighed slightly. "...Maggie-Rose's mother and/or father since they're still alive," Potter informed them, then added. "At least I'm assuming that they're still alive."

"Probably since I haven't gotten my hands on them yet." Hawkeye commented, his tone still serious though he did smile slightly as Maggie-Rose started playing with his fingers.

Potter eyed him closely as he added. "Yeah, well under the circumstances their permission is not going to be easy to get."

"I know." Hawkeye sighed in frustration. "But somebody must know who they were or where the mother is. I'm sure somebody must have seen them together."

Back | Forward