7

"You mean our dear friends."

"Yup. And I'm going to hate having to admit that they were right." He bent down to kiss her again. "Hey, I've got an idea. Why don't we not tell them?"

"What? Don't you think BJ or Charles will suspect when they see us together?"

"But that's just it! We won't let them see us together. I go back to Maine, and then you come join me. Maybe in a year or two we'll let them know, but then we won't have to admit it was their doing."

"And you just expect me to move to Maine? Give up the life I've built for myself in Portland?"

Caught off guard at her question, Hawkeye looked at Margaret, realizing there were still a few things to be worked out. He took a deep breath, considering what he was about to say. "Margaret, there is nothing in my life more important to me than you. We found each other in Korea, the most god-forsaken place on the planet. The place doesn't matter. I can get a job as a surgeon in any hospital. I love Crabapple Cove, but not so much that I would give up you to stay there. If you really want to stay in Portland, I'll move there to be with you."

Margaret listened to him as he spoke, knowing exactly what making that offer had cost him. "I love you," she whispered. "And I'm not going to ask that of you. I like Oregon, but I hardly have the roots there that you have in Maine. No, we'll live there." She smiled up at him with her arms around his neck, leaning in for another kiss. "And as tempting as it is to not have to admit BJ and Charles were right, I don't think we can avoid telling them."

"No, you're probably right. It's just kind of galling, you know?"

"I know. Now come on, let's head back to Charles'. I bet you anything they're all still there."

"It's three o'clock in the morning!"

"Would you have gone to bed without knowing?"

"No, I suppose not." Hawkeye couldn't quite wipe the ecstatic grin off of his face as the two reunited lovers turned around and headed back to break the news to their friends.

Arriving back at Charles' home, neither was surprised to find the lights still on. "Are you sure we have to tell them they were right?" Hawkeye asked plaintively. Margaret scowled at him. "Okay, okay. Well, here goes nothing." He knocked on the door.

Almost immediately it opened to reveal a rather irate Charles. "About time you two got back. Do you realize what time it is?"

"Gee 'dad,' we didn't expect you to wait up, but when we saw the lights on, we figured you had anyway."

BJ came up behind him. "So? What happened?"

Margaret pushed by him to enter the house. "What do you mean? Nothing happened. We went for a walk and we talked. Nothing strange about that."

"Nothing except for the fact that you two have been ignoring each other with a vengeance the past couple days." BJ had been beside himself with curiosity the entire time Margaret and Hawkeye had been gone.

"I don't know what you're talking about. Hawkeye is an old friend and we had some catching up to do. That's all."

BJ looked at the other three, exasperated. "That's it? Hawk, that's all you're going to tell me?"

"Nothing else to tell, Margaret said it all. Hey, is it just you two here?"

"Yes, Isabelle and Honoria went home." Charles scrutinized the pair, as he followed them back into the living room. "You do realize that it's the middle of the night?"

"Yeah, but I think I'll be staying in Boston a couple more days now, so it's not a problem." Hawkeye responded casually.

"Oh? And what brought this sudden change on?" Charles rubbed his head absentmindedly, making a peculiar picture in his bathrobe and slippers.

"It's been a while since I've been in Boston, and besides, how could I pass up the opportunity to spend time with you, Charles? Not to mention BJ and the lovely Margaret." Hawkeye was unable to suppress the smile that crossed his face as he said Margaret's name, and as he met her eyes, he saw a similar expression on her face.

Both Winchester and Hunnicutt caught the look, and immediately exchanged one of their own. "You know, Hunnicutt," Charles began. "I do believe Margaret is glowing. I wonder why that could be."

"I think you're right." BJ replied, in a lightly sarcastic drawl. "Do you suppose something happened that they're not telling us about?"

"It seems that that just might be the case. Margaret? Hawkeye? Do you have anything to say for yourselves?"

"Okay, okay. I surrender!" Hawkeye gave in. "Your little plan worked, as galling as it is to admit it, the two of you were right."

"I knew it!" exclaimed BJ. "You two have actually gotten back together!"

As if the guilty smiles on both parties' faces weren't a dead giveaway, Hawkeye stepped over and put his arm around Margaret's waist. "Yeah, we have. I have to say, Beej, you're not half bad as a matchmaker."

"Well hey, as much as I'd like to, I can't take all the credit. It was Charles who set the whole thing in motion. He called me with the idea."

"What?" Hawkeye couldn't believe his ears. "Charles? You were behind this? I suspected you were involved, but I thought Beej had dragged you into it, not the other way around."

"Perhaps I shouldn't take all the credit either." Charles had a smug and very satisfied smile on his face. "Certainly a large portion of it, but after all, I did enlist the help of my sister and fiancÚ." He shot a sly look at BJ, revealing that he was trying to get a reaction by deliberately leaving him out.

"Always humble, that's our Charles!" was the only response from BJ, who understood perfectly well how the man's mind worked. "So, tell us all the juicy details."

"What do you think, Margaret? Should we tell them the details?"

She looked at the eager, and very pleased, faces of the two men, and decided to take pity on them and not drag things out any longer. "Oh, I think we can probably trust them." Margaret smiled up at Hawkeye, relishing the feeling of his touch. "I guess all we really needed was a chance to be alone and talk."

Charles elbowed BJ in the side. "See? What did I tell you?"

"And I don't recall disagreeing with you. Go on, Margaret."

"There's not a lot to tell. You both know we were in love in Korea. In fact, it seems that you remembered that fact better than we did."

"Oh, you just needed a little reminding, that's all." BJ was genuinely thrilled for his two friends.

"I think you're right." Hawkeye picked up the story. "When we did finally talk, we it didn't take long to discover that we were both still in love, and we never should have separated." He planted a kiss on Margaret's temple. "That's the short version of a lot of yelling and heartache that turned out all right in the end."

"Everything except one little detail," remarked Margaret teasingly.

"Oh right! That." Hawkeye replied in a teasing voice of his own. "You really think we should tell them that part?"

"I think they might be interested."

"If you say so." Hawkeye had a twinkle in his eye, anticipating his friends' reactions. "We're getting married."

There was absolute silence in the room. "Well, aren't you bozos going to say anything?" Margaret asked.

"Yes! I mean, great! Congratulations! I'm shocked." BJ searched for the right words.

Charles realized his mouth was hanging open and quickly snapped it shut. Recovering his composure, he said, "I see congratulations are in order! I will admit, I didn't expect you two to move quite so fast, but I'm happy for you nonetheless."

"I don't believe it." BJ was incredulous. "Hawk, if you don't beat all. You're serious? You guys are really going to do this?"

"Yup. As soon as possible preferably," Hawkeye replied, with a confirming nod from Margaret.

The news finally sinking in, BJ was thrilled for his friends. "Well, what do you know. I guess we must be pretty good at this matchmaking thing after all, Charles."

"Well of course! With me involved, what else did you expect?" The look on Charles' face was one of such comic injury that the other three dissolved in laughter, with even Charles joining in after a moment.

14 May 1957; Crabapple Cove, Maine

The doorbell rang. Hawkeye stopped by the foot of the stairs to holler, "Margaret? They're here!" Receiving an irate reply, he headed over to the door, pulling it open. "Well, well, if it isn't the Hunnicutts!" He grinned. "I finally got you all out here!"

The Pierces had spent the previous Thanksgiving in Mill Valley, so they were all acquainted, but greetings were said, and appropriate comments made about how big the kids were getting. Erin, going through a shy phase, hid behind her mother's skirt, and the baby, Eric, just watched everything with wide eyes.

"BJ! Peg! It's good to see you." Margaret descended the stairs, now perfectly composed and went to stand by her husband. "I'm glad you were able to make it all the way out here."

"And so are we. Now seemed as good a time as any to take some vacation, and the invitation to finally see the infamous Crabapple Cove was too good to pass up." Although the two couples had kept in close contact the past few years, BJ knew the chances for visits were few and far between, and not to be missed.

Only a few minutes later the doorbell rang again. This time Margaret pulled open the door, revealing Charles and a visibly pregnant Isabelle. "Oh my goodness!" Margaret cried. "You never told me you were pregnant!" She looked accusingly at them both.

"And hello to you too, Margaret." Charles teased her. "We wanted to surprise you, and it would seem that we've succeeded."

"I'll say you have. Why didn't you tell me?"

"I wanted to," replied Isabelle. "But Charles insisted that we keep it a secret. I admit, I wasn't that hard to convince."

"Are you going to keep them standing out on the porch all day, Margaret?" Hawkeye came up behind her. "Oh!" he exclaimed, observing Isabelle's condition. "Hey, this is great! Congratulations! And from the look of things it'll be just the right age to play with ours!"

"I'm afraid our child won't be playing with the common riff-raff...Ow!" Charles rubbed his offended ribs, glaring at his wife.

Inside, they joined the Hunnicutts in the living room. "I must say, Margaret, you're looking wonderful for just having had a baby," commented Peg.

Margaret laughed sharply. "I'm not sure how true that is, but it's nice of you to say so. As many babies as I've seen born, I'd never realized before just what a chore it is to go through pregnancy and give birth."

"Speaking of which, where is this little whippersnapper of yours?" BJ asked.

"Yes, you were rather mysterious on the phone. Just saying it had been born and was healthy, but no details." Charles put in his two cents.

"Well, that's something I think we'd better show you." Hawkeye rose from his seat and disappeared into the other room. A minute later he was back, with a baby in each arm.

"Twins!" exclaimed Peg.

"Yes, these are our two little angels." Margaret stood up to take one of the babies from Hawkeye. "You see, Charles, we had a little surprise of our own."

"Yes, I can see that," was his response.

"Will you look at them? Remember when ours were that little, Peggy?" BJ oohed and aahed over the newborns.

"But I don't understand. Why couldn't you tell us about them before?" Charles questioned.

"We could have, but it wouldn't have been as much fun without you all here together. We wanted to introduce them in person to their uncles and aunts." Hawkeye smiled proudly at the bundle in his arms.

"You see," added Margaret. "Once we realized I was carrying twins, we decided to give them rather special names." Her audience looked at her expectantly. "This little man I have here is Charles Daniel Pierce."

"And the little lady in my arms is Briana Jane Pierce," her husband finished.

"A little Charles and a little BJ," murmured Isabelle when no one else spoke.

"That's right," Margaret beamed. "We wanted to name them after the two people who were responsible for bringing their parents together."

"I don't know what to say." With a curious expression on his face, Charles walked over to Margaret. "May I?" She nodded and handed him the baby. "I'm touched. Margaret, Hawkeye, I am truly honored that you would name your son after me." He fell silent, gazing at the sleeping tot in his arms.

In the meantime, BJ had also had his namesake transferred to his arms, and was watching her. "A little BJ, huh?" he said softly.

"And her initials actually stand for something." Hawkeye watched their reactions, a satisfied grin on his face.

"Hawk, Margaret..." BJ looked up to meet his friends' eyes. "I can't tell you what this means to me..."

"Well it meant a lot to us too, what you did for us, going to great lengths to make us see the truth." Margaret leaned over to pat BJ on the knee.

"And in a way they owe their existence to you." Hawkeye added.

"That's right, they do, don't they? You're lucky they had two, Hunnicutt. Otherwise they would have only been able to use my name." Charles snide comment was almost automatic as he focused his attention on little Charles, but provoked a round of chuckles from everyone else.

"Actually, we're thinking of calling him Charlie. Or maybe Chuckie. Couldn't make such a little guy grow up with such a pretentious name, now could we?"

"Oh, but that would be an injustice! To give him some ridiculous nickname, when he has a perfectly good, dignified name..." He stopped when he realized that Hawkeye was only trying to get his goat.

"They should be wanting to be fed pretty soon here." As if on cue, both babies stirred and started to cry. "And there they go, right on time." Margaret reached over to reclaim her daughter from BJ, while Charles awkwardly handed his charge to Hawkeye. "They never let me forget when it's time to eat. If you'll excuse me for a moment." She left the room.

Hawkeye trailed after her, speaking over his shoulder to their guests, "Sorry folks. Just one of the joys of getting two little ones for the price of one!"

In the nursery Margaret sat down in an arm chair and began to nurse the little girl. Their son impatiently waited his turn, but quieted down as Hawkeye rocked him back and forth. "I think we had the desired effect on those two, wouldn't you say?" he commented to his wife.

"We definitely caught them off guard, if that's what you mean. I am glad we decided to go ahead and name the twins after Charles and BJ after all. I still can't believe my father said we should name them Oscar and Alvina!"

Hawkeye chuckled and leaned down to give his wife a kiss. After two years of marriage he was still in awe of the fact that she was actually his. "I can't believe we even have children. Who would've thought six years ago that either of us would be parents, much less with each other? We came so close, so many times, to blowing it all."

Margaret smiled up at her husband, feeling more at peace with herself than at any time she could remember. "We were lucky, that's all. In the midst of all the blood and death, we found each other. And in the end, it isn't what might have been that matters, only what is."

"And what is, is that despite everything, we're together." Hawkeye dropped another kiss on the top of Margaret's head and fell silent, both content for the moment to simply be together.

The End

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