"M-married. You're m-married." Frank stuttered again.
"That's right, Frank." Hawkeye nodded, then with a hint of sarcasm added, "In case you forget what that means, it's when a man and a woman love each other and promise to be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives, no matter what. Not just when it's convenient."
Frank's jaw moved as he tried to talk, but no words would come out. His tongue was numb from shock.
"Well, I think that's the smartest thing I've ever heard you say, Frank." Hawkeye commented before turning and guiding Margaret out of the room.
Trapper and B.J. laughed as they moved to help Frank up off the floor.
"You, know, this is the second person we've had to pick up off the ground today." B.J. commented as they hoisted Frank to his feet.
"Yeah, and the party's hardly started." Trapper quipped.
Frank shook his head as if to clear it.
"Are you okay, Frank?" B.J. asked, smiling in amusement at the bewildered look in the other man's eyes.
"Yeah," Frank grumbled, rubbing the back of his head gently. "I hit my head on the bookcase. Now I have a goose-egg the size of a watermelon."
"Maybe we should check him for a possible concussion." Trapper suggested, looking at B.J., his eyes twinkling with mischief.
"Good idea." B.J. agreed. "After all, he landed hard on his brains when Hawk hit him."
"I don't understand it." Frank mumbled in a confused tone. "Margaret and that goldbrick, Pierce. I don't get it."
"What's to get, Frank?" Trapper shrugged. "You put 'Margaret' and 'Pierce' together and you get 'Margaret Pierce'."
"And Rebecca, Elizabeth and Baby Pierce." B.J. added slyly.
A disgusted expression appeared on Frank's face. "That's sick."
Trapper chuckled heartily. "It's not sick, Frank. It's called 'marriage'. Children are usually the result of marriage. Hell, even you should know that, Frank."
"Personally, I'm thrilled for Hawk and Margaret." B.J. commented. "They are so happy and so in love with each other it's incredible. They have two beautiful girls, a baby due any day. I think it's wonderful!"
"Well, I think it's sick!" Frank repeated, a disgusted tone in his voice. "And I won't stand for it."
"What are you do, Frank?" Trapper asked, laughing merrily at Frank's comment. "Ground her? Forbid her from seeing her own husband?"
"Maybe." Frank stated, a thoughtful look on his face.
"Frank, you can't do that." B.J. objected between fits of laughter. "I'm afraid you missed the 'does anyone know any reason why these two may not be wed'."
"That's right, Frank." Trapper added. "I'm afraid you're going to have to 'forever hold your peace'."
"Oh, you two boobs." Frank cried in exasperation. "This is no laughing matter. Margaret's entire life is at stake."
"Frank, leave it be." Potter commented in a firm tone. "It's none of your business."
"That's right Frank." B.J. agreed. "It's not like you're her father. Forget it. You have your own marriage to worry about. Don't bother Hawk and Margaret about theirs."
"You're right." Frank nodded, a thoughtful expression on his bruised face.
"Good." B.J. smiled glancing at Trapper. "Looks like we finally got through to him."
"You're right, I'm not her father." Frank continued, the rusty wheels in his head still trying to turn.
"What?" Trapper asked, surprise on his face at his old bunkie's commented.
"I'm not her father." Frank repeated, then with a smile added, looking at the older gentleman standing beside Colonel Potter. "But he is." Walking over, Frank addressed the man, saying. "Surely there's something that you can do, Colonel. I mean surely you don't like seeing your daughter married to such an irresponsible, unpatriotic, smartski. He is completely unmilitary and doesn't deserve to wipe your boots, sir."
The other men looked at each other and then at Frank with amused expressions on their faces.
"Ah, Frank." B.J. started to say, "That's not..."
"It's okay, Hunnicutt." Daniel held up his hand, stopping the younger man's comment. The older man's eyes were twinkling with mischief. "I'll handle this." Clearing his throat and standing straight, the old doctor asked the other man. "I gather you don't think much of Dr. Pierce, Burns."
"No sir, I don't." Frank replied firmly. "When I served with him in Korea he was undisciplined, unmilitary and had absolutely no respect for his superior officers."
"That's funny, I had no problem with him." Colonel Potter commented.
"A real prankster, I understand." Daniel stated, a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth. The poor doctor was having a hard time to keep a straight face. He was having so much fun baiting Frank. Now he understood why his son loved to torture the man so much. He was just such a willing target.
"That's right." Frank nodded. "He had no respect for army regulations or military procedure. Not once did I get a proper salute from him, even though I was a Major and he was only a Captain."
"I got a salute from him once." The Colonel commented, looking at Daniel with a warm smile. "It was a 'goodbye' gift. Both B.J. and Hawkeye gave me a farewell salute. I was never so touched in all my life. Hawkeye very seldom saluted anybody, and if he did it was out of outmost respect and appreciation for that person."
"Which is why Frank never got one from him." B.J. quipped, glancing at Frank out of the corner of his eye.
"Oh, shut up Captain Wiseapple." Frank sneered angrily.
"I got two salutes from Hawkeye." Radar commented, looking at the others with a soft smile. "One when he gave me my purple heart and another when I left to come home."
"See, even a lowly, paper pushing Corporal got more respect from Pierce than I did." Frank complained. "And I was his superior officer."
"Having a 'superior' rank doesn't make one a 'superior' officer, Frank." Trapper commented, shooting the man an annoyed glare.
"And on top of all that." Frank continued, ignoring Trapper. "He was constantly pulling pranks and making undignified comments to the nurses."
"Burns, it sounds to me like he was trying to keep from going crazy during one of the craziest times of his life." Dr. Pierce commented seriously.
"Well, I didn't pull pranks, and I remained sane there." Frank protested.
"That explains you going AWOL when Margaret got married and attacking every blond woman in a uniform." B.J. laughed sarcastically.
"He did that?" Trapper asked in a surprised tone, looking at B.J. for confirmation.
B.J. nodded and then added. "He even followed Brigadier General & Mrs. Kester into a public bath because he thought it was Margaret and her husband. Then he attacked Mrs. Kester, begging her to come back to him, or something like that."
Trapper broke into hysterical laughter. "Nice going Frank. Very dignified behavior."
"Oh, shut up, McIntyre." Frank exclaimed in exasperation.
"You know, Burns." Daniel commented a thoughtful tone in his voice. "I don't think that the problem here is Dr. Pierce."
"It's not?" Frank asked.
Daniel shook his head. "No, in all honesty I think it's you."
"Me?" Frank asked in disbelief. "How could it be me?"
"I think you have a chip on your shoulder about Hawkeye and because of it you've branded him an irresponsible joker." Daniel commented, looking Frank in the eye. "But, I happen to know that he is a very responsible individual."
"He is?" Frank asked, a tone of impending defeat in his voice.
"He is." Daniel nodded in confirmation. "He's Chief of Staff at Crabapple Cove General, he's a dedicated husband and father who loves his family very much and who is loved by them. And he's the best son any father could hope for. There's absolutely nothing he wouldn't do for his family. I've never seen him so dedicated to anything since he began studying medicine. What more could a father want for his daughter."
Frank sighed in defeat. "Nothing, I suppose."
"Good, I'll tell Al Houlihan that you agree." Daniel commented, a mischievous smile creeping up his face.
Frank's expression suddenly turned to one of puzzlement. "Do you mean you're not Colonel Houlihan?"
Dr. Pierce laughed mischievously. "Actually, I'm not. My name is Daniel. Daniel Pierce."
"But...I don't understand." Frank stammered, looking at the other man in confusion. "When you arrived, Margaret called you 'Dad' and kissed you on the cheek. You called her your 'angel'. Are you sure you're not her father."
"Positive." The older man chuckled in amusement. "I think I'd remember something like that. I'm not senile yet." At Frank's blank look he added. "Margaret has called me 'Dad' since about the first year of her marriage to Hawkeye. And I've called her 'my little angel' since about the same time. She's made my son so happy, that she seems like a miracle."
"But she said that she loved you and that she was worried about you." Frank stammered. "She treats you like a father."
"Well, I treat her like a daughter." Daniel told Frank with a smile. "And I love her as if she were my own daughter. In a sense, she's the only daughter I'll ever have."
Frank just stared confusedly at the older man. "What do you mean?" He finally managed to ask. "I thought you weren't her father."
The other men that were gathered around the pair all looked at each other and shook their heads. Frank seemed to be getting denser and denser by the minute.
"Frank, this is Dr. Daniel PIERCE." Potter informed him, emphasizing the 'Pierce'. At Frank's blank look he added. "HAWKEYE'S father."
"Which would make him Margaret's FATHER-IN-LAW." Trapper chimed in.
"And Rebecca, Elizabeth and the baby's GRANDFATHER." B.J. added.
"Dr. Pierce?" Frank repeated, saying the name slowly as the information sunk into his already spinning head. "Pierce's father."
"By George, I think he's finally got it." Trapper laughed.
"Congratulations, Major." Klinger piped up. "You just told Hawkeye's dad how rotten you think his son is."
Frank looked dejectedly at the other man and mumbled. "I think I need a drink." The other man laughed as they watched Frank slowly walk out of the room and down the hall.
"Maybe I should go talk to him." Sidney suggested with an amused laugh. "I've never seen him so distraught before. He looks on the verge of losing it."
"Trust me, Sidney." Klinger laughed heartily. "It's too late. The Major lost it a long time ago."
Potter looked at Daniel Pierce and chuckled. "You were terrific, Daniel. How did you ever manage to keep a straight face? I had to bit my cheek just to keep myself from laughing."
"So did I, Sherman." Daniel laughed heartily. Then he shook his head. "That fellow's not exactly the brightest in the world is he?"
"No, he isn't." Potter agreed with another chuckle.
"Now I understand why Hawkeye loved to pull tricks on him." Daniel told the other man. "He's just so much fun to torment."
"And now I understand where Hawkeye gets his highly developed sense of humor that resulted in all those tricks that he used to pull on Burns and everyone else." Sherman commented, looking at the other man with an amused smile.
"Well, like they say, Colonel." Daniel laughed. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Laughing, B.J. and Trapper followed Potter and Dr. Pierce out.