"Meagan" Margaret said walking over to her and giving her a hug, "I am so sorry about your brother. Pierce told me what happened. Is there anything I can do?" " I think I need to get some fresh air" Meagan said. "Would you care to take a walk with me?" "Sure just let me change my clothes." Margaret said. A few minutes later they were walking down the road towards the village. "Do you want to talk about it?" Margaret asked. "I just cant believe Jimmy is gone. It feels so unreal. They cant even find his body..at least that would give me some closure. I keep expecting him to come back..I know its impossible though. Too many people saw him go down and that buddy of his said he was dead when he checked him. I hurts so much though! He was the only family I had left. I have absolutely no other relatives in the whole world." "Are you going to go home now?" Margaret asked. "No." Meagan said. "What's the point of burying an empty coffin. I would rather stay here with...the 4077 where I can keep busy and be useful." Margaret hadn't missed the slight hesitation in her voice..maybe it was none of her business but she decided to forge on ahead. After all her and Meagan had become pretty close friends since she had come. "Meagan" she said stopping, " I was referring to what happened between you and Hawkeye." Meagan just stared at her a moment. "What do you mean?" she asked her voice not too steady. "I don't mean to pry" Margaret said "and you can tell me to mind my own business but I was a bit shocked to come in and find you in bed with Hawkeye." " We weren't in bed together really. Hawkeye stayed last night. I was hurting and he stayed because I needed him. We had been asleep when I woke up. I couldn't help crying but didn't want to wake him so I was crying into my pillow with my back to him. All he did was lie down next to me and hold me. That's all. We both went right back to sleep until you came in this morning. It was nothing." "Meagan" Margaret said " I don't mean to imply that it was anything wrong. I just thought that maybe you might need to talk about it. How long have you been in love with him?" "I'm not in love with him!" Meagan protested. "We are friends. I mean I do love him but he's always been like a brother to me and...and..I…" her voice trailed off as Margaret just looked at her. Meagan turned around lest her face give her away. "He may have been like a brother to you but he's not your brother" Margaret said. " At first I wasn't sure but I have seen the way you look at him when you think no one is looking. I take it he doesn't know. When are you going to tell him?" Meagan whirled around to face her. " Never!" she exclaimed. "I can never tell him how I really feel about him!" "Why not?" Margaret asked. "Don't you think he has a right to know..that he might want to know that you are in love with him?" "NO!" she practically screamed then lowered her voice. "No. He wouldn't want to know. He doesn't want love. He wants only a good time and nothing more from any woman. He treats me like a sister....almost like I am still a child. He would disgusted to know how I really feel about him. He would hate me and I would lose him. I'd rather remain his "sister" and friend than to become nothing to him." With tears gathering in her eyes, Meagan excused herself and walked quickly back towards the tent. Margaret seeing how upset she was decided not to push the matter further but couldn't help thinking that Meagan might be shocked to learn that maybe Hawkeye wouldn't be so shocked. Margaret had seen the way he looked at her. She decided to give Meagan some time alone and headed to the mess tent for some breakfast.
Back in the tent, Meagan was busy pacing the confines of the tent. She had thought she had hidden it so well! How had Margaret figured it out? Oh god, what if she told Hawkeye? She would have to convince Margaret that she was mistaken. Hell she couldn't do that. She had given it all away with her outburst. Surely Margaret wouldn't tell him. She hoped Margaret wouldn't tell him. She would just have to be extra careful around Hawkeye now. She couldn't afford to let her grief make her let her guard down...like it had last night. What had she been thinking letting him hold her like that?! She knew what she had been thinking...she had been thinking how good it felt. Feeling like she would go crazy if she stayed in the tent a moment longer, she went in search of Father Mulcahy. She knew he was going to the orphanage and she could tag along. She left a note on her bunk.
After Margaret finished her breakfast, she went to post-op where she found BJ and Hawkeye talking just outside the door. She walked over to them in time to hear BJ ask " Do you think you can get her on a flight out this soon?" " Who are you talking about?" she asked. "Meagan" Hawkeye said. "I need to get her back stateside so she can bury her brother." "She won't go, Hawkeye" she said. "What do you mean she won't go? Of course she will" he said. "No she won't. She and I talked about it. They never found her brother's body. She said what use is burying an empty coffin. She wants to stay here where she can be busy and feel useful." Hawkeye looked at her somewhat dismayed. He didn't want her to go but he was afraid he might not be able to stay away from her until he got his rampant yearnings under control. He should have known she would want to stay. Hell, he wanted her to stay. He had thought of nothing else but last night all morning. The fresh scent of her hair. The way she had felt in his arms. He was brought out of his musings when he realized that BJ and Margaret were looking at him. "What did you say?" he asked BJ who had asked him a question. "I said that it would probably be a good thing for her to keep busy now, don't you think?" BJ said. "Yeah, yeah. It would be good for her." "You ok Hawk?" BJ asked. "Yeah" he said. "Just a bit tired. I will talk to you later." With that he turned and went back inside the post-op. Margaret watched Hawkeye go inside with a slight grin on her face. She hadn't been wrong about him either. He wasn't feeling to brotherly now and was frantic to hide that fact. Margaret was sure that was behind his wanting to send her home. She couldn't let him send Meagan away. She was sure he would regret it. "Margaret, how is Meg this morning?" BJ asked. "She was in pretty bad shape last night." "She's surprisingly ok" she answered. "I mean she's tired and still understandably upset about her brother but she feels ok. I was sure she would have a horrible hangover." "So was I" BJ said. "I am a bit worried about Hawkeye too. He's been acting a bit strange this morning, really preoccupied and kind of nervous." "Well its to be expected BJ" Margaret said." He was close to them both." With that they both went their separate ways. Margaret went back to her tent which she found empty. She saw the note on the bed and thought that was a good idea for her to keep busy. She lay down on her own bed and was quickly asleep.
Meagan had found Father Mulcahy just as he and Radar were about to leave. "Mind if I tag along?" She asked the priest as Radar went back inside to get more supplies. "Of course not, my child" Father Mulcahy said. "We would love your company. Are you sure you want to come today? I heard about your brother and I am very sorry. I said a prayer for him and you as soon as I heard." "Thank you Father" she said "and yes I sure I would love to tag along. I want to keep busy and the children always seem to raise my spirits." "Yes they do do that don't they." he replied. Just then Radar came out with the last of the boxes and they climbed into the jeep, with her in front next to Radar. As they were pulling out, Radar looked at her and said "Meggie, I am sure sorry about your brother. I didn't know him but I am sure if he was like you he was a nice guy..I mean but you're a girl and all..well..you know what I mean." "I know what you mean Radar" she said with a grin. "and thank you. Jimmy was a real nice guy..kinda like you!" with that she leaned over and kissed Radar on the cheek. "If I ever had a little brother I would hope he would be just like you!" Radar smiled at her and said "Thanks. And if I had a sister I would want her to be like you too." They were soon at the orphanage and all the children were happy to see them. Meagan spent the next several hours giving out shots along with candy, clothing and some toys along with a lot of hugs. Since she spoke Korean, the children loved for her to sing to them and tell them stories. She had taught many of them several English words that they were proud to show off. She was sad when the time came for them to head back to camp. She was silent on the way back to the 4077 wondering how she could face Hawkeye. She hadn't seen him since that morning. She was dying to see him but dreading it too. Maybe she could avoid him for a few more hours. Maybe by then she would have her emotions under control.
Back at the 4077 Hawkeye had come off duty in the post-op ward. Now he sat in the swamp, thankful that BJ and Frank weren't there. He didn't feel much like talking to anyone. Kellye had told him that Meagan had gone to the orphanage with Father Mulcahy and Radar. He was glad that she had gone. He knew she loved being with the kids and it would cheer her up a bit. It would also give him a chance to gather his thoughts before he had to face her. Maybe last night had been just his imagination. No, the feel of her in his arms had been all too real. He wasn't sure he could face her now. He needed to get his.....he didn't even know what it was he had to get under control. He looked out the window and saw that they were back from the orphanage. He could see her talking to Father Mulcahy. Then they were walking towards the swamp. Oh boy. he thought. here goes.
When they got back to the 4077 Meagan stopped Father Mulcahy as he was heading to his tent. "Father" she said "May I speak with you for a moment?" "Of course" he replied. "Its about my brother. I was wondering...I mean they couldn't recover Jimmy's body but...do you think maybe you could do a funeral for him here? I was his only family and his best friend is here. I know the men in post-op are being shipped out tomorrow afternoon. Do you think we could maybe have a small service in the morning in the post-op ward if that's ok. Those were Jimmy's men..his friends and I think it would be fitting to do it here. I cant bear to go home and watch them bury an empty coffin. I want to stay here. I can keep busy here. I'd rather say good bye to Jimmy here." "I think that's a wonderful idea. Let's go talk to Hawkeye right now and get his ideas and then we can talk to Colonel Potter. I am sure that he would be happy to do it." Meagan was dismayed at the thought of having to face Hawkeye so soon but she didn't have a valid excuse not to so she followed the priest over to the swamp where they found Hawkeye alone inside. He came over to her as soon as they walked in and hugged her. "How are you doing?" he asked. "I'm ok. We just got back from sister Theresa's." "I know" he said "Kellye told me you had gone there. I know how those kids affect you" He said with a smile. "Of course being just a kid yourself..." Meagan smiled back at him, relieved that he was acting like he always did. Maybe he hadn't thought anything about her behavior last night. Maybe he hadn't noticed. Of course her heart was pounding madly now just from him being so close. Shaking her thoughts from dangerous ground she said "Hawkeye I have been talking to Father Mulcahy and I want to do a service for Jimmy here. We can do it in the post-op ward with his men before they are shipped out tomorrow afternoon. Father Mulcahy said he would do the service and you can do the eulogy." "Meg" Hawkeye said "are you sure you want to stay here after what happened. Don't you want to go home?" "No Hawkeye, I don't want to go home to an empty house to bury an empty coffin. I have friends here, a job here, people who need me here. " She said, adding softly " I want to stay here." She turned away lest he see on her face the real reason she wanted to stay...because he was here. "Ok" he said" if you are sure that this is what you want to do then I am all for it. We can get some flowers and get someone to sing and I would be honored to do the eulogy." " Well that's settled" Father Mulcahy said. "Meagan let's you and I go and talk to Colonel Potter. I am sure he will give his ok." "Alright" she said. Looking at Hawkeye she said " Thanks Hawkeye." "You're welcome" he said. Then she was gone out the door following the priest across the compound. He stood in the doorway watching her go for a moment then with a sigh fixed a martini that he never drank.
Meagan and Father Mulcahy had just gotten Potters permission for the service when they heard the PA "INCOMING WOUNDED! ALL PERSONNEL TO OR." "I guess that's us folks" He said "Let's go." They all made their way to Triage and to pre-op. Meagan worked in triage for awhile then went to scrub. Hawkeye was alone in the scrub room when she went in. "Hi." he said. "You sure you're up for this?" "Yeah I am fine. Thanks." Their hands bumped as they both reached for the soap at the same time. Meagan drew in a quick breath as a tingle of desire went through her. She stole a glance at Hawkeye to see him staring at her a strange look on his face. "Oh god, he knows what I am thinking!" she thought to herself. She didn't say anything, only finished scrubbing and went into the OR where she had to assist Frank Burns. It was a fairly simple operation they were doing. Just removing some shrapnel. Thank god there were no really heavy cases this morning. She was handing Frank the retractor he requested when he stopped for a moment and looked at her. "Oh no" she thought "did I hand him the wrong thing?" Frank cleared his throat and said "Uh..I just wanted to say I am sorry about your brother. He was a good man and a good soldier..even if I didn't know him..but if you are any indication. Well anyway. You should be proud of him and yourself too. You are a fine nurse." Meagan was so shocked she nearly knocked the tray of instruments over. He never gave compliments. "Why...Thank you Major Burns. It was kind of you to say so." "Well I am not so bad as people will tell you. You may call me Frank. No need to salute." "Thank you Frank" she said trying not to laugh. "Clamp!" he said and they went back to work on the patient. Hawkeye and BJ exchanged amused glances with Colonel Potter but said nothing. Hawkeye knew she was trying not to laugh by the way she kept her head down. Hawkeye was still reeling from the slight touch of her hand earlier. He had hardly been able to not touch her when she looked at him. He had been grateful that she had gone into OR so quickly..Oh Lord I hope she didn't know what I was thinking. This was getting pretty bad. He had thought of nothing else but her all day. Tonight he needed to make a trip to a willing nurse and by tomorrow things would be back to normal....or what passed for normal. He finished with his patient and saw that Frank had also finished his. Meagan was just finishing closing. He called for his next case. It was a bad chest wound that had just come in. He needed a good nurse on this one. Margaret was in the middle of a surgery and didn't need to change. That left Meagan. "Meg" he called. "Will you assist me on this one?" "Sure" she replied and went to get fresh gloves and gown. When she came over to the table they began working just as they always did. She could practically read his mind. He hardly ever had to ask for an instrument. she always knew what he needed. They worked together in silence. Meagan's nerves were on end she was so aware of the man next to her. Her pulse raced everytime their hands or bodies brushed together. If he only knew what she was thinking now... Hawkeye's nerves weren't faring much better. He was keenly aware of the woman next to him. Here he was with his hands up to his elbows in some kids guts and all he could think about was "Playing Doctor" with the nurse next to him. If she only knew what he was thinking... The OR session lasted a few more hours. By then it was night time and Meagan was so exhausted she could barely move from the bench that she had collapsed on out side of OR. Hawkeye came out the door and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw her sitting there with her eyes closed and her head leaning back against the wall sound asleep. He stripped off his surgical gear then leaned over and gently scooped her up in his arms, careful not to wake her. He walked out of the tent over to Margaret's tent with her still sleeping soundly in his arms. The tent was empty when he went inside. He turned on the lamp and walked across the tent towards her cot. He didn't count on the boot in the middle of the floor. He tripped over it and almost fell. He tightened his grip on her so he wouldn't drop her and she came awake with a startled scream. "Hey its ok! Its me!" he said sitting down on the cot with her still in his arms. She relaxed in his arms and began to laugh. "Hawkeye!" she said "what are you doing? Trying to scare me to death?!" "You fell asleep outside OR. I was trying to carry you back with out waking you so I could put you to bed. Then I tripped on a boot and almost broke both our necks!" He too began to laugh and forgot to put her down. He looked down into her eyes and his heart almost stopped. She was looking at him strangely. "Put her down right now!" he said to himself. He sat her down on the cot and stood up. "You better get some sleep," he said. "We both should. I am gonna head to bed. You know where I am if you need me ok?" He couldn't help himself. He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, his lips lingering there just for a second. He patted her arm gently and turned to go. "Hawkeye?" she said. He turned and looked at her. "Thanks," she said. It was all he could do not to go back to that bed and scoop her up and kiss her til she was breathless. He took a deep breath and said. "Don't mention it. All part of the service ma'am." and he went out the door. Once outside he stood leaning against the door. "Pull yourself together." he thought. It had just been too long since he had been with a woman that's all it was. He needed a willing nurse and it would go away. He headed to the Officers Club to see who was around.
Meagan released the breath she had been holding when the door shut behind Hawkeye. She could still feel his lips on her forehead and raised her hand to touch the spot. She longed to wrap her arms around his neck and pull him down to her and kiss him. She could just imagine his shock were she to do so. Hitting the pillow in frustration she lay down and waited for sleep that was a long time coming.