Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters of M*A*S*H they all belong to Fox, although I wish I owned them! Also, the people I create are my property, and I don't mind people using them, just ask me first please!
NOTE: I haven't seen all the episodes of M*A*S*H, as in Australia, reruns are patchy, so if I've got anyone's existing parents, spouses, siblings, hometowns, or children's names wrong or other details incorrect please tell me at email@example.com Any other comments would be greatly appreciated!
This picks up in the episode where Hawkeye goes missing. I tried to keep this one fairly short to fit into an episode length, so details about what actually happened to him are a bit sketchy. I think there are some similarities to someone else's interpretation of this episode so if there are, I'm sorry. But I still hope you enjoy the alternate ending!
Hawkeye was always singing, He had been known to warble during an operation, while on a date with a nurse, when arguing with anyone of his superior officers or for just no good reason. And every time he sang, it was always the same, off-key, out-of-time tune, barely recognisable as "I've Got You Under My Skin". He'd show up late to meetings, making his presence known before he got there. "Don't you know little fool, da, da, da, da, da, da. Use your da, da, do, da. Wake up to whatever it is. For each time you da, da, da, da, do, da, do, da, da, da, da, do, do, da. Coz I've got you under my skin!" He'd flop into his place, as Colonel Potter would comment dryly, "Good to know you could make it." But now he was missing and he had been for days. Everyone was worried, BJ had drunk so many homemade martinis that if you cut him open, he'd have the gin flowing through his veins. Klinger was desperately listening for anything heard from new patients that would do as a rumour. Father Mulcahy was leading half hourly mass sessions at which all present, usually just him, prayed for the safe return of Hawkeye. Margaret was absolutely beside herself with hysteria, snapping at nurses unreasonably and ignoring everyone else. Colonel Potter had finally gotten word, and with regret called Major Houlihan, BJ Hunnicutt, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy into his office.
"This is all they found." He said, tipping a bloodstained jacket and dog tags onto his desk. Tears instantly filled every eye. "I was searching his files and he left a will and something for each of us. BJ, first would you go and get the third book from the right, his Captain's bars and the little velvet box that are all on his bookshelf? Oh and that hideous shirt." BJ left the room, and was back with the items in about five minutes. He wrote this, 'Everyone, I don't want to think what's happened if you're reading this, either we're all drunk or I'm dead. Father Mulcahy, I have two things for you, first my Captain's bars, I never wear them, but I hope you'll get that promotion, second some advice, your collar's on backwards!" Father Mulcahy accepted Hawkeye's Captain's bars, from the Colonel's shaking hands. "Klinger again two things, I know how hard you're bucking for that section 8, so I hope that if someone sees you wearing my Hawaiian shirt with a black evening gown and mule skin flats, you'll get it. The second gift for you is my everlasting respect, I never knew such a scrounger yet I never knew such a good friend." Klinger picked up the shirt, and without meaning to, inhaled the stale smell of blood, alcohol, dust, perfume from a nurse and cheap cologne that always came with Hawkeye. He slipped it on as the Colonel continued. "BJ, I've left a package you might like to give to Erin, a list of all your patients in the time I've known you, a list of all the bad things about you that Erin is not to turn out like and a list of all the good things about her daddy that I hope Erin will turn out like. And there's a recipe for martinis, which you probably won't want to give to Erin." BJ accepted the package and began reading the lists his best friend had lovingly prepared. Colonel Potter read on "Colonel, as you know my father called me Hawkeye after his favourite character from 'Last of the Mohicans,' so I give you that book." The Colonel picked up the book and fingered the pages and kept reading, his normally strong self-sure voice cracking with emotion. "And finally, Major Houlihan, Margaret, I have a letter for you, if you choose to disclose the contents of it, that is your choice." The Colonel handed Margaret an envelope, and with tears in her eyes, she scanned the letter inside. "I'll read it for you," she whispered, "My dearest Margaret, if you're reading this, I don't want to know what's happened to me. But I'm leaving you an apology for all the dirty tricks and practical jokes I've played and for all the things I said that I shouldn't have. I'm also leaving you my mother's wedding and engagement rings. Dad gave them to me to give to a special woman in my life and you have definitely been the most special. All my love Hawkeye Pierce." Tears fell down her face, and Colonel Potter left his seat to shakily hug her. BJ wiped several tears from his eyes, and asked, "Are we going to tell the rest of the camp." Potter took a deep breath. "Yes, yes we will, in the morning, and until then Klinger, not a word I don't want this regarded as a rumour. We'll have a dawn service at 10.30," An almost-smile crept onto a few faces. "Just as Hawk would have liked..." BJ said desolately. Potter nodded, "We'll have one last drink and say our private goodbyes. Then I want you all to go to bed. Klinger, I'm entrusting the arrangements for tomorrow with you. Including a call to Sidney Freedman, we might need him." Klinger nodded as the Colonel poured everyone a drink. "So long Hawkeye. You would have made a finer surgeon than I ever was." He choked back his tears as he raised his glass. "Hawk, whenever I see Klinger wearing your crappy Hawaiian shirt, I'll think of you." BJ lifted his glass and stood up, joining the Colonel Potter. "You could have just signed my discharge papers, sir. But I know you're a great man, you're willing to give someone the shirt off your own back." Klinger stood up and held his glass in the air. "Rest in peace my son." Father Mulcahy said simply and joined the three men, holding his glass in the air also. Everyone looked at Margaret, who sat there numbly, tears pouring down her cheeks as she stared at her glass. Suddenly she moved, opening the velvet box and slid the two rings onto her ring finger. "Goodbye Hawkeye, I'll wear your rings forever," she glanced briefly at the diamond ring and the plain gold band. She stood up, and lifted her glass. "Goodbye Hawkeye," the Colonel said, everyone 'clinked' their glasses and drank. Margaret was still sobbing and so Colonel Potter took her hand and she buried her face into him sobbing. "I wish to talk to Margaret alone. Dismissed." Everyone slowly filed out as Margaret continued to cry into Colonel Potter's chest.
The next morning as the Colonel called for attention, he struggled to find a delicate way to break the news. Everyone looked at him, BJ and the others, who already knew, had huddled together, trying to appear as expectant as everyone else. "I'd... I'd like to say that Hawkeye is on his way to us... or even heading Stateside, but I can't I'm sorry. He got caught in the shelling, and all they found was his dog tags and his jacket. He's... he's dead." Forks, trays and people hit the floor. A coffee cup shattered as a young nurse began to cry hysterically. "Breakfast is hereby cancelled." The Private who was serving the meal put down the scoop. "Good, I don't want to eat." Someone said. Tears flowed as people hugged and consoled each other. The Colonel cleared his throat, "We'll have a dawn service at 1030 hours, a Hawkeye dawn service." A suggestion of a chuckle went through the room. "I expect to see all of you at the service in the compound." Colonel Potter turned on his heel and left, Margaret sobbed inconsolably onto Father Mulcahy and BJ tried to revive the people who had fainted.
There was not a dry eye in the company as the last respects were paid to Hawkeye. Margaret was wearing his rings, Klinger the shirt and Father Mulcahy the Captain's bars. "And now," Colonel Potter slowly said, "We'll have a song in memory of Hawkeye. Hit it Klinger." The PA system crackled and the first bars of "I've got you under my skin," played, tears now streamed down every face. "I've got you deep in the heart of me, you're nearly a part of me..." the formation had broken up as people hugged and comforted each other. Only BJ, Colonel Potter and Major Houlihan, her rings glinting in the early sun, still stood to attention, saluting. As the chorus began, they heard a voice singing behind them and everyone turned. Hawkeye emerged, bruised, dirty, limping and bleeding. There was a shocked silence as he joined the group, still singing. "For each time you start, just the thought of you makes me stop, before you begin. Coz I've got yooooou undeeeeeeeeeeer myyyyyyyy skiiiiiiiin!"