A man that Henry didn't know spoke up. "I take it that this is the famous 'late' Henry Blake?" BJ Hunnicutt asked his best friend. He, Colonel Potter, and Charles Winchester had never met Col. Blake, but they heard endless stories about him. BJ looked around at the people who had been there longer than he had. They all looked shocked and tearful. Except, of course, for Frank Burns, who had the compassion of a wet rock, but even he had the decency to look surprised. Hawkeye noticed that Father Mulcahy had a look of being awfully proud of himself in his eyes. Hawk raised an eyebrow at the chaplain.
"You knew about this, didn't you!" He demanded. The priest nodded. "When were you planning on telling the rest of us?"
"I figured that I'd let Henry tell you," the priest replied.
"How long have you known about this?" Hawkeye directed the questions at the priest since Henry seemed oblivious to everyone but his wife. Father Mulcahy looked troubled.
"I've only known that Henry was alive for about a week, and that's longer than Henry's known he's alive." he replied. At the baffled looks he received in response, he went on. "As you know, I stayed at the orphanage for a while, until I got your invitation to come to this. Just before I left, I was called by the head doctor at the recovery clinic in Tokyo. He said that Sidney Freedman needed my help. In my room that they prepared for me there, I found a note from Sidney that said he had been called to see a patient, a wounded soldier with amnesia. Sidney's note said that he believed I could help him identify the patient. I didn't think I could possibly know the man they called Jack, but when they brought him into the office, I looked into the face of our dead CO, Henry Blake. When I saw him there, I fainted from the shock."
Henry came over and sat down, pulling his wife into his lap. They kept their arms wrapped tightly around each other as Henry added on to the tale.
"I lived at the clinic for four years, as Jack. No name except Jack. I guess it was seeing Sidney and the Father that opened up my memory. That night, I had a dream where I apparently cried out your name, Pierce. Father heard me calling out and they came to wake me up." He sighed deeply. "One of the weirdest feelings in the world is going to bed having no identity except Jack, and waking up as Henry Blake. I remembered everything that morning. Who I was, who you all were. It was amazing, but nothing compared to this." He smiled down at his wife, safe in his arms.
"Well Henry, what can I say?" Hawkeye gestured around the room. "Welcome to your memorial service." Henry looked around and noticed a portrait of himself over the huge stone fireplace.
"Where did that come from?" He questioned.
"Colonel Potter made it for us," a quiet voice spoke up. Henry turned, and his smile softened.
"Radar. How ya doin', kid?"
"I still can't believe it," Radar said in his shock. Hawkeye was the only one who had really recovered from the sight of his former CO. After his breakdown, few things surprised him anymore. He spoke to Henry.
"Henry, let me introduce some of these faces to you. Colonel Sherman Potter, the replacement CO. Major Charles Winchester, who replaced Frank after he lost his mind, and Captain BJ Hunnicutt, who replaced Trapper when he was sent home. The fella over there, you probably don't recognize him in men's clothing, that's our buddy Sergeant Klinger."
"Sergeant? Klinger, who spent his army career trying to get a section 8, got promoted instead?" Henry sounded incredulous.
"I was furious, sir." Klinger spoke for the first time. Henry laughed a little.
"I can imagine. What else happened? I heard a little-about Frank leaving, but that's really it." Father Mulcahy had told Henry more, though. he mentioned that Margaret and Hawkeye had become very close friends. Henry looked at the two of them, sitting awfully close together. he suspected there was more to it that friendship, but he didn't mention it. He'd also been told about Hawkeye's breakdown at the end of the war, but kept quiet about it, not wanting to hurt his friend with questions.
"A few things," Hawk shrugged. "Trapper and Radar both got sent home, Margaret married a jackass, causing Frank to lose his marbles. Frank was sent Stateside and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Margaret got divorced from her cheating husband, the war ended."
"And Pierce got shipped off to the crazy house," Frank jumped in. The remark was intended to hurt. Hawkeye got an awful look in his eyes. It scared Henry. Hawkeye stopped talking and withdrew into silence. All the others, especially Trapper and BJ, looked ready to kill Frank. To the surprise of everyone, it was Margaret who spoke in Hawkeye's defense.
"Can it, Frank!" she said sharply. "Yes, Okay, Hawkeye did have some problems. But they were minor problems, and, unlike you, he didn't cause his own. But you, Major-excuse me, Colonel Burns, have always been off your rocker!"
The room was silent. Then Hawkeye broke into a grin. "Well, Henry, do you remember rule number one? When Henry shook his head No, Hawkeye got a devilish gleam in his eye. "Don't ever cross Major Houlihan," he concluded. The room nodded their agreement. Margaret tried her best to look annoyed, but when she looked at Hawkeye, her expression softened. He was looking back at her with a similar expression, eyes shining. Henry realized that the two of them were in love. Looking around at everyone, he saw that nobody else appeared to notice, but then BJ Hunnicutt caught his eye, guessed what he was thinking, and gave an almost imperceptible nod of confirmation. Henry understood. Nobody but BJ knew what the whole story was with those two, and nobody but BJ and himself even realized that there was anything at all. He'd have to talk to BJ later and get the story.
"Let's go outside, get some fresh air," Charles Winchester suggested. All agreed. Henry hung back, pulling BJ aside before he could leave.
"Hunnicutt, tell me what the deal is with Pierce and Major Houlihan," He urged. BJ hesitated. He wasn't sure whether Henry could be trusted with the secret, but as he looked at the other man, who looked overjoyed at being surrounded by people who he loved, he decided to trust Henry.
"Okay, first let me make sure I have things straight here. When you left, Hawkeye and Trapper were spending countless hours figuring out tricks to play on Frank and Margaret, aka 'Hot Lips," am I right so far?" He raised his eyebrows at Henry. Henry chuckled.
"Boy, were those two ever the troublemakers. One time they put Frank in a crate while he was sleeping."
"It didn't wake him up when they put him in?"
"They put the crate around him in the 'Swamp,' bed and everything." Henry had a faraway look in his eye as he remembered the time, so long ago, that he had been at the 4077th. He grew serious. "Listen, Hunnicutt, let me level with you. I was never a good Commanding Officer. Everyone walked all over me, and I allowed it. But in the year that I was in Korea, I felt like those people were my family. When I left Korea, I was Henry Blake, CO turned civilian. And then the next moment it was eight months later, and I was a nameless nobody. Last week, I went to sleep as 'Jack' and woke up as Henry Blake. And really, 'Jack' didn't change much about Henry. I guess that I have a little more common sense then before, but one thing most definitely did not change. I still love these people like my family." He stopped. It felt so much better, having told someone what was going on in his head. Henry sensed that BJ would be someone that would listen to him. His instincts were correct. Anyone else probably would have questioned Henry's reasons for speaking up to someone who was virtually a stranger, but BJ knew that Henry just needed an ear to talk to. Henry continued. "My daughters, Molly and Janie-I haven't seen them in five years. they were both so little when I left. I have missed out on five years of their lives, four of them not even knowing that I had a daughter. I've never even met my son, Andrew. During those four years, I often found myself wondering about myself. Who was I? Did I have a family somewhere? Did they know where I was? Right now, I couldn't be happier, but once this gathering is over, I think that I'll have a hard time adjusting to being Henry Blake, a Somebody, a civilian." At that, BJ's face showed understanding and compassion.