"How are you feeling?" Hawkeye asked as he handed Margaret a glass of lemonade and took a sip of his own.
"Better now." She smiled. They were sitting alone on the garden swing in the O'Reilly's backyard, the rest of the 4077th gang were slowly trickling out of the house and gathering in small groups around the yard. They'd decided to give the Pierces a few minutes alone before joining them for more reminiscing and laughter. "That nap did me a world of good."
"That's why you should always listen to your doctor's advice." Hawkeye teased. "After all, he only has your best interest at heart."
"Yes, doctor." She smiled and kissed him lightly on the lips.
"Um, I wish all my patients showed their gratitude like this." He joked, kissing her again. She playfully swatted him before leaning back against him. Hawkeye put his arm around her and hugged her to him. "Is 'Junior' behaving today?" He asked, reaching down and placing a loving hand on her stomach.
"Not too badly." Margaret smiled, placing one of her hands over his. "But he is getting extremely heavy though. My lower back is just killing me."
"Here, turn sideways." He helped her turn and then began to gently massage her lower back. Margaret closed her eyes and moaned. She loved the feel of his hands as he gently massaged her aching muscles. He had just the right touch. "How's that feel?" He asked, leaning forward and nuzzling her ear.
"Much better." She smiled, her eyes still closed as she enjoyed the momentary relief his rubbing was giving her tired muscles. "You have magical hands, Doctor."
"I sent away for them from a mail order catalogue." Hawkeye joked as he rubbed his hands up and down her spine. "There were guaranteed to give marvelous back rubs."
Margaret chuckled. "Well, I'd say you got your money's worth." The couple remained quiet for a few minutes as Margaret relaxed and Hawkeye massaged. After about five minutes had passed, Margaret softly said, "Ben, I'm sorry about what happened inside with Frank." She turned her head and gave him a sheepish smile. "I didn't mean to cause such a public scene."
"It's not your fault, sweetheart." Hawkeye assured her with a warm smile. "In a way, I suppose it's not even Frank's fault."
"What do you mean?" Margaret asked as she turned to face him.
Hawkeye replied with a thoughtful look. "Frank thought he was doing you a favor. He thought he was protecting you from someone he viewed as a threat." He stopped for a minute as he reflected on the events that had just taken place shortly before. "I don't think much of the way he did it. And I certainly don't like the fact that he was trying to hit on you, but I certainly can't blame him. As much as I hate to say it about him, he does have good taste in women...some of the time. Mrs. Burns, well, she's another story."
Margaret smiled at his comment and said. "He shouldn't be too bad now that he knows that you aren't my enemy, but the man that I love more than anything in the world." She leaned forward and kissed him on the lips.
Hawkeye smiled and leaned forward to kiss her again. "I guess it would seem rather strange to him that you and I are married." He admitted after he'd pulled away from her. "When he'd left Korea, you were newly married to Donald and we were still thinking we hated each other."
Margaret reached up and lightly touched his face. "I never really hated you." She assured him. "I just didn't understand you. When we first came to Korea, I considered it an honor to be a part of the war effort. To be assigned as Head Nurse and having the rank of Major in what was considered a man's army was something I considered a great privilege. I couldn't understand how any American citizen could treat such an honor so disrespectfully as you did or how you could behave so unmilitary and so insubordinate."
"Well, for starters, my darling Major. The circumstances leading to my being in Korea and your being there were completely different." Hawkeye replied, a serious, but tender look in his eyes. "You were there because you had made the army your career. When you'd signed up to be an army nurse, you knew that going to war was a large possibility. I, on the other hand, had no intentions on getting involved in the war effort. Unfortunately my draft board had other ideas. Being a soldier was certainly not in my job description."
"Well, don't worry." Margaret assured him, her voice serious, but teasing. "Nobody would have ever mistaken you for a soldier anyway."
He laughed sarcastically at her and continued. "At that time I was looking forward to working in a big city hospital, to be part of the hustle and bustle of things. To be able to go home and go fishing with my father every few weeks. Spending anywhere from 6 to 72 hours in O.R. piecing children back together just to send them back to the front to get mutilated again was not quite what I had in mind."
"I know." His wife nodded. "And as the war went on I began to understand more and more how you felt. I even began to feel the same way myself. I was getting to the point where I couldn't stand to see the suffering anymore. I think that's when I really began to appreciate your unmilitary, undisciplined behavior. In my opinion it was your consistent sense of humor that kept the entire unit from going mad, you were the best therapy we could have had there. And I'll always love you for it."
Hawkeye smiled and reached over to hug her. "At least one good thing came out of that lousy, stinking, rotten war."
"What's that?" Margaret asked, her head resting on his shoulder.
"Us." Was his simple reply. "If that miserable draft board hadn't forced me into service, we probably would never have met." He kissed the side of her head. "And knowing that makes me glad that I got stuck in that sewer as long as I did. It was definitely the worst time of my entire life." He leaned back and looked deep into her eyes. "But it led to the happiest."
Margaret's eyes moistened and her heart began to beat a little faster. Knowing how much pain and suffering the war had caused him, she was deeply touched that he was actually thankful that he'd been sent to Korea, just because he'd met her there. That thought meant more to her than any other compliment she could have ever received.
"Mind if we join you?" A voice suddenly interrupted. The couple looked up to see B.J. and Peg walking towards the garden swing.
"Please, have a seat." Hawkeye offered, gesturing to the vacant seat across from them. The Hunnicutts sat down and smiled warmly at the Pierces.
"How are you feeling, Margaret?" Peg asked giving her a friendly smile.
"I'm doing fine, thanks, Peg." Margaret replied, returning the smile with one of her own. She was so glad to finally get a chance to get to know the woman that meant so much to her dear friend. Even though Margaret had never actually told B.J., he didn't just mean a lot to her husband, he was very special to her as well.
"I thought that maybe we could have that 'talk' now." Peg commented to Margaret as she glanced slyly at B.J. out of the corner of her eye.
"Now's as good a time as any." Margaret laughed, also shooting B.J. a mischievous look.
"What kind of 'talk' were you two going to have?" Hawkeye asked, looking at Margaret curiously.
"Yeah." B.J. echoed. "What's with all the wicked looks. What are you girls up to?"
"Oh, nothing much." Margaret replied innocently. "I was just going to tell Peg about some of the trouble you two got into while we were in Korea is all. You know, all those dirty blackmail stories that used to float around camp about you two."
"Dirty lies is more like it." Hawkeye retorted, pretending to be indignant.
"How could you believe such trash." B.J. added, shooting Margaret a mock injured look.
"Because I started most of it." She said casually, grinning wickedly at both men.
"Oh, is that so." Hawkeye drawled, looking at her in amusement. "Okay, but what about the other stories that you don't know anything about."
"Like what?" She asked, accepting the bait. "Give me an example."
"Okay, for example, how about the time that Beej had gotten us lost on the way back from the Kanson Battalion Aid Station." His eyes were dancing with amusement. "You want to talk about trouble, not only did he get us lost, he also got us walking."
"Walking?" Margaret exclaimed in surprise. "What happened to your jeep?"
"We had a little accident." B.J. replied calmly, shooting Hawkeye a mischievous look.
"A 'little' accident?" Hawkeye cried, looking at his best friend with a wicked look on his face. Looking at Peg he added. "I was driving with a maniac. First he gets us lost, then he flips the jeep in the middle of goodness knows where."
"Hey, what are you complaining about, I missed the other wreck didn't I?" B.J. defended.
"And became one yourself." His friend shot back.
"Hey, look on the bright side." B.J. shrugged, his tone light. "If we hadn't have had that accident we would never have met 'Ralph'."
"Ralph?" Margaret repeated, her brow dipping in confusion. "Who's Ralph?"
Hawkeye and B.J. both started to laugh in amusement. "'Ralph' was a North Korean soldier that surrendered to Hawk and I as we were trying to find our way back to camp." B.J. explained. "Hawk named him 'Ralph' because he reminded Hawk of somebody's kid brother who use to follow his sister and Hawk whenever they went out together."
"So, what happened?" Peg asked, her eyes wide. "Did this soldier follow you all the way back to camp?"
B.J. and Hawkeye laughed harder as they remembered the funny little man. "Well, we couldn't just leave him behind." Hawkeye replied, his tone reflecting his amusement. "Beside the fact that he was cute and adorable he simply wouldn't let us."
"Anytime he thought that we were going to ditch him he'd cry out loudly and then with a very amicable expression put his hands up in surrender, jabbering away to us in Korean." B.J. added with a chuckle. "So, we took him with us."
"Wasn't it rather dangerous to walk around with a North Korean soldier following you?" Peg asked. "What if you had come across other soldiers, from either side."
"Actually, we did come across some other soldiers, North Korea soldiers in fact." Hawkeye told her. "And it was actually a good job that we had 'Ralph' with us because he saved our necks."
"What did he do?" Peg asked, her tone and expression serious.
"He heard the soldiers coming, so he trained his gun on us and made us stand up." B.J. explained. "Then he started yelling at us in Korean."
"Weren't you afraid?" Peg asked, looking at the two men, her eyes wide.
"Terrified." B.J. replied, his tone serious. "'Ralph' had gone from this amicable, placid follower to a gun wielding, screaming madman. We didn't know what had happened."
"Then we saw the other North Korean soldiers coming down the road and we thought that we were dead men for sure." Hawkeye continued. "They were all ready to shoot us, but some how 'Ralph' talked them out of it. They left us in his hands and continued on."
"Hawk and I were in absolute shock. We couldn't believe what had just happened." B.J. added, his tone slightly amused. "Once the other North Korean soldiers were out of sight, 'Ralph's' friendly expression returned and he put his hands up in eager surrender again."
"You guys were lucky." Margaret commented, her tone serious. "I remember you coming into camp with the North Korean, but I didn't know the story behind how you met him."
"See there's a lot of stories about Beej and I that you don't' know." Hawkeye smiled mischievously at her.
"Well, I guess I'll just have to find them out won't I." Margaret told him, giving him a meaningful look.
"You're in for it now, Hawk." B.J. laughed, watching his friend slyly.
"You better believe it." Margaret teased, her tone light as she leaned over and kissed Hawkeye on the cheek. B.J. and Peg smiled softly at the pair.