Hawkeye looked skeptical for a moment before starting to sing: "Hush little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a mocking bird... Feel free to join in if you know the words." He encouraged the others.
"That's the ticket, Pierce." Potter cried as he watched the prisoner relax slightly at the soft words. "Keep singing."
"If that mockingbird don't sing, Papa's gonna buy... Papa's...What...what...what does 'Papa' buy?" He asked desperately, forgetting the next words of the song.
"A diamond ring." Charles quickly supplies then sings it. "...a diamond ring."
"Everybody!" Hawkeye encourages.
"If that diamond ring don't shine," Everyone joined in softly. "Papa's gonna buy..."
When the group paused uncertainly Charles pipes up "...a silver mine."
To which everyone else echoed. "...a silver mine."
"Where the hell is Klinger with that ether!" Hawkeye cried anxiously.
"...If that silver mine goes broke..." The others continued to sing.
"Father what are you doing down there?" Hawkeye exclaimed suddenly as the other man started tugging on his foot.
"I found it!" The padre cried eagerly. "I found the pin!"
"Well then get it up here!" The surgeon urged impatiently.
"Move your foot, your standing on it!" The other man replied as he continued to tug on his foot. Hawkeye moved his foot and Mulcahy picked up the pin and jumped to his feet.
Meanwhile Charles was still leading the others in song. "...Cart and bull." He supplied as the rest continued to sing the lyrics.
Grabbing the hand that held the grenade Mulcahy tried to replace the pin as he urged Hawkeye anxiously. "Hold him steady. For God sake hold him steady."
As the pin was put in place Hawkeye told the others. "Okay, stop singing."
When they realized that the danger had passed a collective sigh went up from the crowd.
Just then Klinger came charging in. "I got it!" And held up an ether mask and a bottle of ether.
"Now you show up!" Hawkeye chastised lightly. "Where were you a minute ago when we needed a baratone?"
Margaret shuffled wearily out of the Operating Room and into the scrub room. She let out a sigh and tossed her mask and cap into the laundry bin before noticing that she wasn't alone. Across the room stood a lone figure, his head leaning tiredly against the arm that he had propped against the wall.
Margaret watched him for a few minutes in silence. The anger that she had been harboring earlier was gone. More recent events had taken away the sting of their previous argument and left her feeling ashamed of her behavior. After all, how could she stay mad at the man who, not half an hour ago, had prevented them all from being blown to pieces by a crazy Chinese soldier who was half out of his mind with fear and pain. Somehow a few accusations made in a state of paranoia just could not stand up against that.
"Hawkeye." She finally called softly. When he didn't move she took a few steps closer and gently laid a hand on his shoulder as she softly said his name again.
At her sudden touch his head came up and he looked at her with great surprise, as if she was the last person he expected to see. Before either of them could say anything, he turned and enveloped her in a big hug. Margaret slid her arms around his waist and hugged him back. The pair stood there, clinging to each other for several minutes before either said anything. Finally Hawkeye spoke up.
Not even loosening his grip on her, he said in a slightly husky tone. "I'm so sorry for being such a jerk earlier."
"Hawk, it's okay." She quickly assured him as she rubbed her hand up and down his back comfortingly. "We were both at fault. You may have acted like a jerk, but I shouldn't have gotten so angry with you. I know how hard the last few days have been on you. I should have tried to be more patient instead of jumping all over you the way I did. I'm sorry too."
Hawkeye released her slightly so that he could pull back and look into her eyes. He gave her a grateful smile and then slowly and a trifle hesitantly leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers. Margaret responded by lifting a hand to the back of his head and pressing her lips more firmly to his. Hawkeye leaned her back against the scrub room wall and deepened the kiss, tightening his arms around her.
The kiss last for several moments and when the pair pulled apart both were slightly breathless. Swallowing hard Hawkeye tried to control the emotions that wanted to poor out. Finally in a husky whisper he managed to say. "Thank you, Margaret." And gave her a soft smile.
Margaret returned the smile and the gratitude. "Thank you. Thank you for keeping us all from being blown to smitherines."
No charge." He assured her lightly, then in a more serious tone added. "Let's just hope that I never have to do that again."
"I'll second that." She exclaimed firmly and then shuddered at the thought of going through that ordeal again. Closing her eyes she leaned forward and buried her face in his chest. Hawkeye responded by tightening his arms around her again and burying his face in her hair, planting soft kisses on the top of her blond head.
For the moment they were so engrossed in each other that neither one of them had noticed that BJ had stuck his head into the room and was now watching them with an enormous grin on his face. He had arrived in time to witness the kiss that his two friends had exchanged and the hug that had followed. He too shared Colonel Potter's wish that they would realize what a strong connection they had and what a wonderful couple that they would make if they decided to make their marriage a permanent thing. He already knew his friend's feelings for their spitfire of a Head Nurse, but he wasn't quite sure yet of their Head Nurse's feelings towards his friend. He knew that there was a level of attraction there, but how deep it went he wasn't sure. Margaret had a tendency to give such mixed up signals that it was hard to read what she was truly feeling. He only hoped that his friend would be able to decipher the puzzle and win her heart.
"Hey Hawk." He called softly, trying to get his bestfriend's attention. After a moment Hawkeye lifted his head slightly and looked at the other man. "We're all going over to the O-Club. You and Margaret want to join us?"
Hawkeye nodded and addressed Margaret who was still leaning against his chest. "Do you want to come?" Margaret nodded and gently pushed herself away from Hawkeye.
Straightening the front of her white scrubs she very quickly encouraged. "Let's go, I sure could use a drink!"
BJ and Hawkeye chuckled as they followed her out.
"Padre, finding that needle in the haystack makes you man of the hour." Potter told his friend as they all entered the Officer's Club.
"Well, thank you Colonel." The good padre replied in a pleased, yet modest tone. "I'd like to think that I was motivated by heroism. When it comes right down to it, I was saving my own hide."
The others laughed as they took their seats at the bar.
"Well, I'm just glad that my hide was so close to yours." BJ commented as he leaned against the bar.
"Well, I'm buying a round of drinks." Potter announced and then looking at Mulcahy added. "And they're all for you."
"Well thank you, sir." The padre accepted and then ordered. "I'll have a scotch, please."
"Bourbon." Potter ordered.
"My usual." BJ requested eagerly. "Times two."
"Got any Ouzo?" Klinger asked getting a scathing glare from Igor. Chastised he added. "I'll have a beer."
"Scotch neat." Margaret said.
"Same here." Hawkeye echoed tiredly causing the others to turn and look at his with surprise.
"Hawk, did I hear you right?" BJ questioned in disbelief.
"Pierce, you hopping off the wagon?" Potter asked with concern.
"I just spent five minutes serenading a guy who held our lives in the palm of his hands." Their friend commented with a weary tone in his voice.
"Oh, Hawkeye." Mulcahy encouraged. "Don't give up now."
"You only have two more days to go." Margaret added eagerly.
"Let the boy make up his own mind, folks." Potter countered. "If Carrie Nason had been in that OR with us she'd be getting a little juiced herself about now."
"Hey Hawk, I thought you were going to make it." BJ commented, a trifle sadly.
"Look I admit it, I need this drink, alright." Hawkeye replied as he picked up the glass and held it up to eye level. He looked at it for a moment, fully aware that his friends were all watching him expectantly. Setting it down hard he sighed and said. "I'll be back when I want it, not when I need it." Turning on his stool he slid off and headed out the door. His friends all gave each other pleased smiles as he left.
As Hawkeye exited the Officer's club he spotted Kelley walking with Maggie-Rose. Calling out to them he quickened his steps to catch up.
"What can I do for you, Hawkeye?" Kelley asked, giving her comrade a friendly smile.
"Oh, nothing really." He replied as he returned the smile. Then looking at Maggie-Rose he added. "I just thought I'd take this little angel off your hands for a while."
Kelley's expression became uncertain. "I don't know, Hawkeye." She said, a trifle hesitantly. "Major Houlihan asked me to looked after her. I don't think she'd like me to give her to someone else without her permission. What if..."
"It's okay, Kelley." Hawkeye quickly assured her. "Major Houlihan won't mind if I take her." The nurse hesitated for another moment before passing the child over to him.
"Hey there, Munchkin." He greeted eagerly, a broad smile on his handsome face. "How's our little girl doing today?" The baby smiled brightly at him and reached up to grab his dogtags. Looking at Kelley he asked. "Isn't she just the cutest baby you've ever seen?"
"Yes she is, Hawkeye." Kelley replied, chuckling at the excitement on his face. Running a gentle hand over the baby's soft head she said. "She's very cute."
"She most certainly is." He proudly echoed, the in baby talk he said to the little child in his arms. "Yes you are, you're the cutest baby that we've ever seen." The baby gurgled and smiled at his words, not truly comprehending what he was saying, but enjoying the way he was saying it. Looking back to his comrade he said. "I'm going to take her back to the 'Swamp'. If Margaret comes looking for her that's where we'll be."
"Okay, Hawkeye." Kelley nodded and watched as the pair walked off towards the doctor's tent. After they disappeared inside she turned and headed towards the Officer's Club. Just as she was going to step in the door opened and out came Margaret.
Upon spotting her Margaret asked with mild alarm. "Where's Rose?"
"Hawkeye took her." Kelley quickly replied. "He...He said it would be alright, that you wouldn't mind..."
At her anxious tone Margaret held up her hand and stopped her. "It's okay, Lieutenant. Captain Pierce can take her whenever he wants. That's fine." Then gesturing towards the interior of the Club she urged. "Have a good evening."
"Thank you, Major." Kelley replied in surprise as she watched the other woman head across the compound.
Margaret was going to return to her tent and leave Hawkeye and Maggie-Rose alone when she heard voices coming from the 'Swamp'. Pausing in the compound between her tent and Hawkeye's she could barely make out Hawkeye softly singing: "...Papa's gonna buy you a cart and bull." Creeping softly towards the tent she smiled as she listened to him sing the rest of the lullaby to the little girl lying on his cot. When he finished he looked up and caught her watching them through the tent screen. He gestured for her to come in and join them. Quietly, Margaret opened the door to the tent and came inside. Hawkeye motioned for her to sit down beside him on the cot. Margaret did and looked over his shoulder at the little girl, who was happily chewing on the ear of a stuffed bear. Margaret frowned slightly as she looked more closely at the stuffed animal.
"Where did that come from?" She asked curiously.
"Radar gave it to me when he went home." Hawkeye replied. "As a reminder of him, I guess."
Margaret reached out and touched the bear that had once been a precious possession of their former company clerk. "I remember when Frank first found out that he slept with a bear." She chuckled. "He wanted me to help him get rid of it when Radar wasn't looking."
"That sounds like Frank." Hawkeye grumbled in annoyance. Then looking at Margaret he commented in surprise. "And you didn't help him?"
Margaret paused for a moment, a thoughtful look on her face. "I think Frank and I were on the outs at the time."
"That would explain it." He chuckled knowingly as he looked back to the little girl.
"You know, Hawkeye." Margaret commented after a few moments of watching him play with Maggie-Rose. "I think being a father agrees with you."
"Oh, yeah?" He questioned in surprise.
"Well, look at you two." She gestured to the smiles on the little girl's face. "She's obviously smitten with you."
"Aren't all the women?" He teased lightly.
"Hawkeye, I'm serious." She lamented. "In less than a week you have that little girl's full attention. I don't know how you do it." She sighed. "I guess...I guess I just don't know how to relate to her. How to be a father."
Hawkeye chuckled slightly. "Well how about trying to be a mother, I'll be the father."
Margaret smiled at her error and commented. "I suppose I could try."
Giving her an encouraging smile, he put his arm around her shoulders and said. "You'll do just fine, Margaret. Trust me."
To be continued...