"Beej!" Hawkeye called loudly across the crowded Portland airport as he spotted his best friend coming out of the baggage claim area.
"Hawk!" BJ greeted in return, waving his hand excitedly over his head. He stopped walking and bent down to pick something up. A moment later he stood up, holding a little blond-haired girl in his arms. Hawkeye smiled as the pair waved at him again. Then an attractive young woman joined them and started looking around curiously. BJ pointed to Hawkeye and she gave him a more subdued wave.
It took a few minutes for the small family to weave their way through the crowd to Hawkeye, but when they finally made it, the two old friends almost fell into each other's arms joyfully.
"Hawk you're looking great!" BJ exclaimed excitedly as he patted his old friend on the back.
"You're looking pretty good yourself." Hawkeye returned, an enormous grin on his handsome face. "Despite the fact that you still have that cheesy looking mustache. I can't believe that Peg let you keep it."
"What can I say." BJ shrugged and gave his friend a mischievous smile. "She knows a good thing when she's seen it."
The two men laughed and then Hawkeye said with deep feeling. "I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see you again!"
"About as wonderful as it is for me to see you!" BJ quipped with a teasing grin. Then hugging his friend again he said. "I've missed you, Hawk. I've missed you very much."
"I've missed you too." Hawkeye assured him sincerely as he thumped him affectionately on the back. As they separated he looked over at the young woman who was standing slightly behind them watching their reunion with great interest. "And this beautiful lady must be the much beloved Peg that I've heard so much about."
Peg smiled at him and held out her hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Hawkeye. BJ has told me so much about you too."
"Well, I can safely say that half of it is lies and the other half is untrue." Hawkeye joked as he shook her hand and gave her a warm smile.
Peg gave him an amused smile and replied. "Well, I don't know. I've never known BJ to lie."
"No, but his been known to stretch the truth on occasion." Hawkeye retorted, shooting his best friend a mock annoyed look.
"Maybe." Peg conceded, but then with a wicked glint in her eye added. "But this time I'm inclined to believe him."
"I wouldn't." Hawkeye commented casually. "Not unless he's willing to swear on Father Mulcahy's grave that it's true."
"Father Mulcahy isn't dead, Hawk." BJ pointed out with a small chuckle.
"That's beside the point." Hawkeye dismissed causing both Hunnicutts to laugh with amusement. Then bending down he changed the subject by greeting the little girl who was holding onto Peg's leg nervously and watching him curiously. In her hands she held a teddy bear that Hawkeye had sent home with BJ or her when they'd left Korea. "You must be Erin. Am I right?" The little girl giggled and nodded. "Do you know who I am?" He pressed gently. The little girl nodded again. "Who am I?"
"Unco Hawkee." The little girl proudly replied.
Hawkeye laughed heartily as he repeated. "That's right 'Unco Hawkee'." Then opening his arms he asked gently. "Can I get a hug?"
The little girl hesitated for a moment, clinging a little tighter to Peg. Her father had told her a lot about the man that stood before her. He was the man who had given her 'Mr. Bear' and was in one of the pictures sitting over the fireplace at home. She even had a picture of him and her daddy sitting on her dresser in her room. She understood that he was somebody that meant a lot to her father and that her daddy had been very excited to go and visit him. He'd even asked her to be very nice to 'Uncle Hawkeye' and hoped that they would be friends. He'd also said the same thing to her mommy and her mommy had said that she was sure that she'd like Hawkeye if only for the fact that he'd helped her Daddy through a very hard time.
Hawkeye's voice interrupted the young girl's thoughts. He had straightened back up and was saying in a very warm tone. "It's okay, Erin. I can get that hug later." Then addressing the others he asked. "Shall we go?"
"Yes, lets." BJ exclaimed eagerly. "I'm dying to see the famous Crabapple Cove that I've heard so much about."
"Well, then lets go." Hawkeye encouraged as he reached for a suitcase. As he did so he felt a slight tug on the bottom of his coat. Looking down he smiled when he saw Erin looking up at him, her arms outstretched. His smile widening he picked her up and said. "Shall we blow this pop stand?" Erin merely grinned and nodded her head in agreement.
"So how did your date go the other night?" BJ asked curiously as they drove along the road that led to the Pierce homestead. All the way from Portland to Crabapple Cove the two old friends had been catching up on what had taken place in each other's lives since they'd last seen one another. Peg had added her comments too, but was mostly content to sit and listen as the other two chattered on like a couple of excited schoolboys.
"Actually it went very well." Hawkeye replied, trying to cover the smile on his face by checking the side review mirror. "She was very nice and we hit it off quite well."
"That's good." BJ commented, shooting his buddy a mischievous grin. "I'm glad that your evening went well."
"It went very well!" Hawkeye exclaimed adding. "And that was despite the fact that I ran into Charles."
"Charles?" BJ exclaimed in surprise. "I don't believe it! How's the big lug doing?"
"Oh, he's doing just fine." Hawkeye assured him. "He was quite in his element at the banquet."
"Well, of course." His friend remarked. "Stuffy black tie affairs are his specialty. What did he think when he saw you there?"
"Well, he was surprised, of course." Hawkeye chuckled. "Said he hoped my date had brought a leash and muzzle for me so I didn't embarrass her."
"That sounds like Charles." BJ laughed with amusement. "What was his reaction though? Was he friendly? Did he pretend he didn't know you?"
"No, actually he was okay, he talked to me." The doctor replied. "He wasn't overly friendly, but to be honest he was friendlier then I expected he would be, given the circumstances especially. I mean we're talking a stuffy, high fluent affair filled with high officials and rich mucky mucks. The only reason I was there was because I was escorting someone who's cousin works at the hospital that was sponsoring the banquet. Having a reputation to maintain he couldn't exactly break out a chess board or a deck of cards and set up a game or anything like that."
"True." BJ quickly agreed with a chuckle. "Wouldn't everyone have looked if you and Charles had set up a poker game or a chess match in the middle of their stuffy banquet. You'd have never lived it down."
"You mean Charles would have never lived it down." Hawkeye corrected with a mischievous laugh. "I've pulled enough off the wall things not to care anymore what people think of me, but Charles on the other hand..."
"Charles would never let his rich counterparts see any other side of him but the proper, educated one. BJ commented. "So, I gather than you didn't have much of a reunion with him."
"Oh, to the contrary." His friend remarked with a chuckle. "The next day he invited my date and I out for lunch and we had a real reunion, especially after Trapper showed up unexpectedly at the same restaurant."
"Trapper?" BJ exclaimed in surprise. "You're kidding? I bet he was surprised to see you."
"To say the least." Hawkeye chuckled mischievously. "But the four of us had a nice little reunion, even Charles got into the spirit of it. To tell you the truth, I think Charles misses us more than he wishes to admit."
"What makes you day that?" BJ asked curiously.
"For one think he seemed eager to get together after the banquet." His friend replied thoughtfully. "And secondly, he's invited us over for dinner some night this week."
"He has?" BJ couldn't believe his ears. Then with a sly look at his friend asked. "Who's us?"
Hawkeye immediately understood what his friend was trying to get at. "Us means you and Peg and Erin and Dad and me and the very nice lady I met the other day."
"Oh, really?" BJ's eyebrows raised inquiringly. "So you're going to be seeing more of this 'very nice' lady are you?"
"Actually I am." Hawkeye informed his friend as he turned the car into his driveway.
"Oh, yeah?" BJ pressed, his eyes sparkling with expectation.
"As a matter of fact, we're getting married next Sunday." Hawkeye avoided looking at his friend as he dropped the bombshell. If he had of looked he wouldn't have been able to keep a straight face for BJ's expression was nothing short of hilarious.