This is fanfic is set after Comrades in Arms (btw I don't think they did anything in that episode) and 6 or 7 months before the war ends. I'm not sure if there's going to be a sequel of not. Please e-mail me KatieD145@aol.com and tell me what you think. Enjoy!
Hawkeye walked out of surgery, 30 hours of it to be exact. All he wanted to do was take a shower and sleep, or maybe he'd sleep in the shower, either way, sleeping was involved. As he stepped out of the shower tent he saw Margaret walk quickly by to her tent; she was crying. 'There goes sleep,' he though. Regardless of how much he'd annoyed Margaret their first months at the 4077 he liked her now, he respected her, he wouldn't let her cry alone.
He went back to the Swamp and got a jug of 'lighter fluid' from the still. He didn't bother changing, because the whole camp considered his robe to be normal attire, and he went to Margaret's tent.
"I come bearing booze," he said after knocking.
"Hawkeye?... Come in," Margaret said. He walked in and sat down.
"Is everyone okay? Is Donald doing something stupid again? What's wrong?" he asked. Hawk was worried it was Donald, the divorce had gone through about a month ago, but that didn't mean she was rid of the creep.
"No, no, it's not that," she said, crying again. "It's nothing really, I just got a letter from my roommate from nursing school. She has a job in Georgia now, and she was telling me about her life, her husband and a baby on the way. Just hearing about all that, and being here, it made me a little homesick." Her voice caught on the last few words and brought on a new burst of tears. She couldn't speak and hold them back at the same time, much as she tried.
Hawkeye sat on her bed and put his arms around her, "Hey, it's okay, it's okay. You're allowed to cry. None of us wants to be here, we all want to be home."
"But that's just it. I am supposed to want to be here. I'm regular army, nobody made me come. I could resign and be out in a few months, but where would I go? I don't even have a place to be homesick for. I was born in Virginia, but I lived in five states before I was 12. I did my nursing school in Oregon, then I went where the Army sent me. To tell the truth, this camp feels more like home than I've ever had, or at least the people here. I'm sitting around bawling because I want to go home, but I'm scared to death that I'll have nowhere to go." She stopped, breathless, and leaned into his shoulder.
He wasn't sure what to say. He never was. He knew this was just a bout of depression like they all got in the camp sometimes. Just like the rest of them, he knew she would be fine the next day, but he also knew from experience that for the few hours the person was upset it didn't matter that they'd be fine tomorrow. They just wanted to think about home and cry. When B.J. was down Hawkeye talked medicine with him, anything to keep him from thinking about Peg and Erin, but then he was experienced with B.J.'s bouts of sadness. He didn't know how Margaret usually handled it though. She'd never opened up to him. Personally he always opted to drink himself into a stupor, although he was pretty sure that wasn't how she handled it. He was glad she was talking to him though.
Hawkeye hugged her closer, "Shhh, it's okay. You'll be fine wherever you go, or wherever the army sends you. You're strong, look how well you've handled all of this. I know you'll be fine, and if you aren't, come work at Crabapple Cove General, they'd all love you." He said the last part jokingly, and started to tell her about his home town. "It's a little town, but the hospital serves three counties, so it's pretty big, and they're good at what they do. I always figured I'd end up there after a few years in Boston, but then I ended up here." He was perfectly well aware that the conversation had turned to him and not her, but he figure if she was listening to him she couldn't be as sad about herself.
"My Dad doesn't work there, he has a private practice, but he's friends with all of them, so I've known all these people forever. There's an ob/gyn nurse who's worked there since it opened 35 years ago. She helped deliver me. She knows the name of every baby ever born at that hospital. Nobody ever called her Nurse Madison, it's Sallie Mae. When they have take Grandma to school day every year at Crab Apple Cove Elementary, she goes into be grandma for the kids who don't have one. One surgeon there, he's probably in his forties now, but he started his residency there when I was ten. The guy looked like Cary Grant and he had the charisma of Fred Astaire. The only woman in the hospital who wasn't ready to pounce was Sallie Mae. He's a good doctor too. All he cared about was helping the patients, not money or anything like that. I followed him around one summer and I treated him like he walked on water. He and my father were the reasons I became a doctor.
Trying to stop crying Margaret said, voice cracking, "Are you telling me Pierce, that you didn't go after one nurse there?"
Hawkeye smiled, "Well, the last time I visited Dad's house before Ouijongbu requested my presence, a new cardiac nurse came to dinner too. What can I say? He wants grandkids." He laughed a little and tried to think of something to say to make her smile. He couldn't come up with anything, so instead he asked, " Where did you go to nursing school? I don't think you ever said."
"I was at Portland, Oregon. It was an experience. Especially the two girls I roomed with. Melissa, she's the one who wrote the letter, and Lorraine. Of course, I joined the army when my training was done, but they both went to work in hospitals. Melissa started at Portland, now like I said, she's moved to Georgia, and Lorraine works as a peds nurse at San Francisco. I'd actually thought of going to one of those places after we get out of here, but they're both married with children. I wouldn't fit in anymore."
Hawkeye started to speak, but he was interrupted by the whining of chopper blades. "All surgical teams report to OR, wounded in the compound."
I guess there goes that conversation," said Hawkeye as they rushed out of the tent.
"Thank you," said Margaret.
Fortunately there were fewer wounded than expected, so there was not the marathon session they had expected and ten hours later everyone was sound asleep in their tents. Although she figured Hawkeye had just been joking, trying to make her feel better, she continued to think about going to Crabapple Cove after the war. She didn't know if she could stay in the army and watch so many kids suffering. She'd worked hard to be a Major, and she wasn't sure she could keep it up. She liked the idea of working in a normal hospital, where being continually undersupplied and always overworked weren't always parts of the job. She'd also be close to Hawkeye, an added bonus. She didn't tell anybody what she was thinking, but she continued to think it.
As the month went on, Hawk and Margaret became good friends. He liked talking about his hometown, and he began to realize that she liked listening. Pretty soon they were meeting up every couple nights, when one of them had a bad day, or if they just felt like talking. Hawkeye told Margaret about all the highlights of the Cove, and gradually began to open up about her childhood as well. The rest of the camp noticed this happening, but they didn't think much of it, although Hawkeye didn't escape good-natured teasing from B.J. Colonel Potter was just glad she hadn't been a tornado in the OR after her divorce went through. Some of the nurses talked among themselves, but none of them ever dared say a word to "the Major."
One day, after a 20 hour operating session, Hawkeye got a letter from home. He was already in an unhappy mood because of a problem with a patient. This didn't improve it. B.J. was on post-op duty so he made his way to Margaret's tent. He knocked, she opened the door and let him in. "Have I ever told you about the Crabapple Cove Lobster Festival?" he asked, rather downcast.
"I don't think so." She was a little worried. "What is it?"
Every year at the end of the summer the town has a big party. It's one of those towns where tourists come and rent houses all summer, so the population doubles from June to September. It's their last big hurrah, but for all of us who live there year round it's 'YES! They're finally leaving!' Booths are set up along the main drag and you can get lobster anyway you can imagine. Baked, broiled, fried, boiled, creamed. It's always different. There are fireworks. That was my favorite part as a kid. We'd sit up on a hill and watch, right near where they went off, so we could get all the sound effects... you probably wouldn't have liked that part." He noticed she was beginning to cringe, and was sorry he'd started talking about the noise.
"Yeah, the only real town celebration I got to have was Independence Day. It was always at a base. They had military parades. We had hot dogs and they set off fireworks. I was always hiding in my house when those went off though." She said congenially so eh wouldn't feel bad.
"You would have been a scarce commodity at my high school. We always went to the Lobster Fest in a big group, and after about eighth grade the major goal, excuse me major, no pun intended, was to bring a girl who'd grab you and not let go until the fireworks were over. Of course the whole town went to this thing from childhood, so we never did find anybody who fit our model." He got more serious, "I don't know what will happen when I get back there after this, shells for fun isn't going to be fun anymore." More quietly he said, "But I guess I won't be worrying about that for at least another year. I got a letter from my Dad today that said it was last month. I hadn't even thought about it. This is only the third time in my whole life I've missed it. Last year, and when my Mom died when I was ten. Thirty-two years and I've missed three. Only one if not for this damn place." He shook his fist.
"It's okay, you'll be back for it next year, at least that's what we're all praying for." She said hugging him. They both went back to the swamp for a drink.
Margaret and Hawkeye didn't think anything was happening. They were just friends who enjoyed each others company. Hawkeye sparred jokingly with B.J. about it on occasion, but although he liked Margaret, he found the idea of her liking him ridiculous enough to be funny.
The nurses especially benefited from this relationship. Margaret began to show her fun side much more often. The walls she'd built up over the years to protect herself, the ones that made her very stern and sometimes downright mean, began to breakdown. Hawkeye, for his part, knew Margaret got annoyed when he went after Nurses continually, so he took a break from it. The nurses could go to O.R. without fear of being screamed at or ceaselessly hit on, life was as good as it could be in Korea.
One night, about a month after their first conversation in Margaret's tent, it happened to be Rosie's birthday. To celebrate, the group (B.J., Potter, Charles, Margaret, Hawkeye, and Klinger) bought each other rounds of drinks, there was no fighting going on momentarily, and no casualties were expected for at least 36 hours. They had a very nice evening but by the end of the night (1am) they were all so drunk they could only vaguely remember who they were, where they were, or what they were doing.
Hawkeye woke up the next morning, and the first thing he was aware of was how much his head hurt. The next thing was that he wasn't in the Swamp. Finally, he realized he wasn't alone. He tilted his head enough to find out he was with Margaret. By that point his head was throbbing and felt ready to explode, so he put his arm around her and went back to sleep.