"Rise and shine, Lieutenant! Your jeep is coming in two hours, and I wanted to give you time to say goodbye." Miranda opened her eyes to see Klinger standing in her doorway. She smiled. "Thanks, Klinger," she said, rolling out of bed. She glanced down and noticed that she hadn't even bothered to change out of her uniform the night before.
After Klinger left, Miranda spent the next half-hour changing into her brown dress uniform and making sure she hadn't forgotten to pack anything. She sat on her bed and sighed. She was definitely going to miss this place, but she wanted to leave more than anything. When she glanced at her watch, she realized she had been sitting in her tent for almost an hour. Gathering her things, she headed outside.
Margaret Houlihan was waiting for her. "You ready?" She asked with a grin.
Miranda sighed with a smile. "I guess. It's strange, Major-"
Miranda was taken back by Major Houlihan's sudden friendliness, but she smiled. "It's strange, Margaret. I've been desperate to get out of here from the moment I stepped into OR for the first time, but now that I am, it's hard to leave."
Margaret smiled and put a hand on her shoulder. "I know what you mean. I don't think I'll ever forget the people I met here. They're the best friends I could ever hope for." There was a moment of awkward silence until Margaret continued. "We'll certainly miss you in OR. I don't say this often, but you're one of my best nurses. I hate to lose you."
Miranda nodded, surprised. "Thank you, Margaret," she whispered. "That means a lot."
"Sure, anytime." They walked on for a moment in silence, until Hawkeye and B.J. approached.
"I called Peg," B.J. said quickly. "She and my little girl Erin will be waiting for you when you get to San Francisco."
"Thanks, B.J." Miranda hugged him tightly. "Give them both a hug for me," he said.
Hawkeye held his arms out. "You're leaving me hanging here. Could I possibly get a hug, too?" Miranda laughed and hugged him as well. They all looked up as Miranda's jeep approached.
"Well, I guess this is it," B.J. muttered. "Where's Charles?"
Before anyone could answer, Klinger and Colonel Potter walked up behind them. "I just wanted to see you off, Lieutenant," Colonel Potter said. He shook Miranda's hand. "You're a fine nurse. Good luck."
"Thanks, Colonel." Klinger picked up her bags and brought them to the awaiting jeep. When they were out of hearing range, Miranda touched his shoulder. "Klinger, where's Charles? I can't just leave without saying goodbye."
"Forgive me for being so late." She turned to see Charles standing behind her. She was in his arms in an instant. "I was afraid I was going to miss you," she whispered.
The jeep driver turned to them. "I hate to interrupt, but your plane leaves in an hour and a half, so we better go."
"Just one minute," Charles said, pulling her out of everyone's hearing range. "I don't know how I can possibly go on without you..."
Miranda shook her head. "Don't talk like that. This war can't last forever. You'll come home, and then everything can try to get back to normal. I'll miss you more than anything."
He kissed her deeply for a long moment. When they finally parted, Charles took both of her hands into his. "Miranda, I want you to know I love you more than words could possibly describe."
There were tears in her eyes. "I love you too, Charles."
He took a deep breath. "That is why I want to spend the rest of my life with you. When this blasted war is over, would you possibly do me the honor of marrying me?"
Miranda smiled brightly as tears of joy fell down her face. "Are you sure?"
"Yes! I have never been more serious in my life. Please, tell me you will."
"Lieutenant," the driver called. "I'm gonna get in a heap of trouble by my CO if you don't get on your plane in time. Let's go!"
Miranda ignored him. She took a deep breath and nodded. "Yes, Charles," she said. "Of course I'll marry you." He pulled her as close as possible and kissed her as long as possible.
"Lieutenant!" The driver was getting anxious now. "Please! My CO's gonna kill me! I'm sorry, but we have to go!"
Miranda pulled away slowly. "I have to go," she whispered. She started to slowly walk towards the jeep, her eyes never leaving Charles'. "I'll see you soon." She smiled sadly. "This war will end soon, you'll see." She stepped into the jeep beside the driver. "I love you."
He smiled as the jeep started up. "I love you." The jeep pulled away, and Charles stood and watched it disappear from sight. He sighed and turned back to everyone who stood watching him. There were congratulations all around, and they decided to toast the engagement at the Officer's Club. Suddenly two choppers flew overhead and the entire camp suddenly came to life. Miranda may have gone, but the choppers always kept coming, no matter who was there to take care of the wounded men.
Peg Hunnicutt stood with her daughter Erin at the airport in San Francisco. Her excitement was almost unbearable; the horrible war was finally over, and it was only a matter of minutes before B.J.'s plane would arrive, and they could finally go home. Erin gripped her mother's hand tightly.
"When's daddy coming?" She asked.
"Soon, sweetheart, very soon," Peg replied. She turned to see a woman approaching them. The woman waved happily, and approached.
"Miranda!" Peg called. She and Miranda had become close since Miranda had been transferred to San Francisco hospital. A lot of patients from Korea passed through San Francisco, and Miranda even met a few who had come from the 4077th. She had tried to get as much information about her former unit as possible, but the patients didn't have much to tell. Peg had become her closest friend, and just as B.J. had said, they waited for the war to end together.
"Sorry I'm late," Miranda said. "Has their plane come yet?" They had learned that Hawkeye, B.J., and Charles were all coming to San Francisco on the same plane. Klinger had unbelievably decided to stay in Korea with a fiancée of his own to search for her family, Colonel Potter was leaving a few days behind everyone else, and Margaret left for another base to get in touch with her father.
"You haven't missed anything," Peg said. "Let's get down to the airfield." They made their way down to the airfield and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Peg noticed a black limousine pulled up to the airfield about thirty feet from them. The driver walked to the back of the limousine and opened the door for the distinguished couple that got out.
Peg smiled. "That's Mr. and Mrs. Winchester," she told Miranda. "You should go say hello."
Miranda's breath caught in her throat. She froze, trying not to make eye contact with the Winchesters as they waited for the plane. "I can't, Peg," she whispered. "If they heard about me, I'm sure they can't stand the thought of me."
"They're really nice people," Peg said. "They might want to meet the woman their son is going to marry before the wedding."
Miranda nodded. Taking a deep breath, she walked over to Charles' parents. "Mr. and Mrs. Winchester?" She had tried to make her voice strong, but it came out surprisingly weak. Mrs. Winchester turned to her, gazed at her for a moment, then smiled. "Might you be Miranda?" When she nodded, Mrs. Winchester hugged her tightly, much to Miranda's surprise. "Charles has told us so much about you," the older woman said. She turned to her husband. "Isn't she divine?" He nodded with a smile. Mrs. Winchester continued. "Charles has made us realize quite a bit over the past few months. If you would ever wish to become a member of our family, we would be honored to have you."
Miranda couldn't believe what she was hearing. She could only wonder if Charles knew this news. She hugged both of the Winchesters just as a plane began its decent on the airfield.
"It's them!" Peg cried. Little Erin began jumping up and down. They all gathered together as the plane touched down on the runway. When the hatch finally opened to a long stairway that had been placed there, a surge of uniformed men and women began flowing out. They suddenly spotted Hawkeye as he stood at the top of the staircase and squinted into the sun. Miranda noticed he was dressed in his green uniform and signature red robe. She smiled. That was Hawkeye for you.
Spotting them, he hurried down the stairs and ran up to Peg and Miranda, hugging them both.
"B.J.'s right behind me," he told Peg. Turning to Miranda, he said, "Charles is behind him. If you'll excuse me, I have to go kiss the ground we're walking on." He fell to his knees and kissed the ground. "Ah, to be home!"
B.J. suddenly came running up to them. "Peg! Erin!" He hugged his wife and daughter fiercely, never planning to let go. Miranda smiled at the reunion, her heart warming for her friends. She suddenly saw a figure descending the staircase, dressed in a brown formal uniform. Miranda's breath caught in her throat. It was him; she could feel it. She ran up to Charles and stopped in front of him, out of breath. Charles immediately dropped his bags and pulled her close, Miranda's tears soaking his jacket.
"I feared you wouldn't come," he said. "I had thought-"
"Charles, I love you too much to miss you coming home." He kissed her deeply, holding her tight. He reluctantly pulled away and glanced back at where she had come from. "Are...my parents here?" He asked.
She nodded quickly. "Yes, I met them. They're wonderful, Charles, just wonderful." They walked over to Mr. and Mrs. Winchester, hand in hand. Charles hugged both of his parents joyfully, and then put an arm around Miranda's shoulders. "Mother, father, I wish to tell you that Miranda and I..." He took a deep breath. "Miranda and I have decided to get married." He prepared himself for their refusal, but was pleasantly surprised.
"Oh, Charles, how wonderful!" Mrs. Winchester cried, hugging the both of them. She turned to Miranda. "We must have the wedding as soon as possible. You simply must come to Boston with us; we can start planning the minute we arrive there."
Charles smiled. "Mother, if you don't mind, I think we should get settled first before we begin any more excitement." Miranda nodded. "I would also like to get back to Pittsburgh and check on my brother," she said.
"Of course!" Mrs. Winchester cried. "Do forgive me, I have gotten ahead of myself. Come, let's return to our hotel; we can relax for a few days, and then begin the trip home." She turned and headed back to the limousine.
Charles took Miranda's hand. "Ready?" Miranda nodded, and then walked towards the limousine.
Miranda smiled to herself. Everything had happened so fast since she had first arrived at the 4077th M*A*S*H. She almost laughed at the irony of the situation. Who would have guessed she would ever marry the man she had absolutely hated in the beginning?
It certainly was odd, but stranger things had happened at the 4077th. All of them revolving around a war that tore some people apart, but at the same time brought them together.