"Daddy!" Rebecca exclaimed excitedly as she turned and looked at her father. "Guess what!"
"What?" Hawkeye's tone matched his daughter's.
"Mommy said that Clara could come for a visit!" The little girl told him with a big smile on her face.
"Really? Well isn't that wonderful!" He exclaimed, returning his daughter's excited smile. Then, leaning forward he asked in a stage whisper, "Who's Clara?"
"This is Clara, Daddy." Rebecca replied, pointing towards the other little girl.
"Clara Winchester." Margaret added, looking pointedly at her husband.
"Ah, yes!" Hawkeye exclaimed with a broad smile. "It's nice to meet you, Clara." He shook the little girl's hand and gave her a warm smile.
"It's nice to meet you too, Dr. Pierce." Clara replied with a shy smile.
"You know your father, Dr. 'Maniac' here and I all shared a tent while we were in Korea." Hawkeye told her. "He was a very 'interesting' roommate." He shot B.J. an amused smile.
"To say the least." B.J. chuckled in agreement.
"Father has mentioned you both a few times." Clara commented with a soft smile. "He also considered you very 'interesting' roommates."
"I bet he did." Hawkeye commented, looking at B.J. mischievously. "I bet he considered us more than that."
"Father doesn't speak about the war very much." Clara told them. "In fact he wasn't even going to come today, but Momma convinced him that it would be good for him to see his old friends again."
"I'm not surprised that he didn't want to come." B.J. replied with an annoyed glance at Charles, who was still 'yelling' at Father Mulcahy. "He probably considered it beneath him to come and visit with us poor country doctors."
"Father says that he wants to forget everything about the war." Clara replied. "Momma told him that it wasn't good to suppress the memories, that it was better to learn how to deal with them."
"She's right." Hawkeye commented, reflecting on his own experience. "Suppressing them can drive you crazy."
"Where is your Momma, Clara." Margaret asked curiously. She was dying to meet the woman Charles deemed worthy enough to marry a Winchester.
Clara looked around the yard for a minute, her expression thoughtful. "I don't see her, she must be inside...oh, wait, there she is." She gestured to a young woman who had just come out of the house, her hands full of serving dishes.
Margaret reached over and grabbed Hawkeye's arm to get his attention. "Ben, doesn't she look familiar?" Watching the young woman for a few moments she commented. "I'm sure I've met her somewhere before."
Hawkeye nodded his head in agreement. "I agree, but where? Beej, does she look familiar to you?"
"Yes, she does." His friend admitted. "But don't ask me where I've seen her before."
"Where did your mother and father meet, Clara?" Margaret asked curiously, still watching the woman, trying to figure out why she looked so familiar.
"In Korea." Clara replied. "Momma was part of a USO troupe that toured the different hospitals. Father says that she had come to the 4077th with her group and put on a show. That's about the only thing concerning the war that he will talk about."
"What's your mother's name, Clara?" B.J. asked, trying to remember which one of the group she was.
"Eleanor." Clara replied. "She used to be Eleanor Carlyle. She played the accordion."
"Of course, now I remember!" Margaret exclaimed, looking at Hawkeye and B.J. "I remember Charles had taken a shine to her even then. She was good for him. She wouldn't stand for any of his snobbish, high-fluent attitude."
"I didn't really notice." Hawkeye admitted, observing the woman as she helped arrange the food on the buffet table.
"I don't wonder, Hawk." B.J. laughed. "You were too occupied stealing the heart of another member of the troupe. A one Marina Ryan to be exact."
"Marina?" Margaret repeated, lifting one eyebrow in surprise.
B.J. nodded and gave Hawkeye a teasing smile. "She was head over heels for our beloved Dr. Pierce here, but unfortunately for her, he turned her down."
Hawkeye's expression sobered a little. "I felt like such a heel for having to tell her that I didn't share her feelings. I mean she was a good kid - young, sweet and innocent. But I didn't love her." He glanced sideways at Margaret and chuckled. "By that time somebody else had already stolen my heart." Margaret smiled. "I just wish that I didn't have to hurt Marina. I tried to tell her as easily as possible that I wasn't interested, but she was so determined that she didn't make it easy for me.
"It was better that you told her, Hawk, than to lead her on and make her think you did care, just because it was easier." B.J. told him.
"True." Hawkeye nodded, a gentle smile on his face. "She was such a sweet thing. She didn't belong in Korea. I wonder where she is now, how she's doing."
"Aunt Marina is fine." Clara replied, looking at Hawkeye and B.J. "Momma keeps in touch with all her friends from the USO troupe."
"Does she?" Margaret asked eagerly. "How's Brandi Doyle doing? Is she still in the entertainment business?"
"Why don't you ask Momma." Clara offered. "I'll go get her." Before Margaret could reply the little girl ran off to get her mother.
"I can't believe it! Charles Emerson Winchester the Third and Eleanor Carlyle the First." Margaret mused in disbelief. "I wouldn't have thought that they would have taken that much of a shine to each other."
"Or that he would marry anyone that wasn't rich and pompous like him." B.J. remarked, equally surprised.
"Well, we'll just have to ask old Charlie how he ended up with such a remarkable catch." Hawkeye commented, glancing over to his old bunkmate who had finally given up annoying their dear chaplain and was now talking to the much ostracized Frank Burns. By the look on Charles' face, Hawkeye figured that Frank must be working his usual charm. "Frank Burns strikes out again." He mumbled with a laugh as Charles hastily excused himself and made his escape.
"Momma, do you remember Dr. and Mrs. Pierce?" Clara asked as she brought her mother up to the group. "And this is Dr. Maniac." Hawkeye exploded into a fit of laughter at the name. B.J. shot him a mock angry look and turned to the little girl correcting.
"Actually, Clara. My name in Dr. Hunnicutt. B.J. Hunnicutt."
"Oh, sorry, Dr. Hunnicutt." Clara apologized contritely.
"It's okay, its not your fault." B.J. assured her kindly. "We'll just blame that big oaf over here." He slapped Hawkeye on the leg in retaliation.
"It's nice to see you all again." Eleanor Winchester greeted with an amused laugh. Holding out her hand to B.J. she said. "It's great to see you again Dr. Maniac, I mean Hunnicutt." She shot him a mischievous smile.
"It's great to see you again too, Miss Carlyle or should I say, Mrs. Winchester." B.J. chuckled as he shook her hand.
"Ellie will suit just fine, doctor." She smiled in amusement.
"Very well, Ellie. Please call me B.J." He commented in return.
Ellie smiled again and then moved on to Margaret.
"It's great to see you again, Margaret." She leaned down and gave Margaret a warm hug. And then looking her up and down asked, "So is this your first child?"
Margaret shook her head and rubbed her hands on her stomach gently. "No, this will be our third."
"Your third?" The other woman repeated in surprise. "Wow! You must like big families."
"We love children." Margaret commented. "Actually this one wasn't planned, but we're looking forward to his or her arrival anyway."
"Where are your other children?" Ellie asked curiously.
"This is our oldest girl, Rebecca." Margaret replied, putting her arm around her daughter again. "And our youngest, Elizabeth, is over there with the other children."
"Is she the one with the long black hair?" Ellie asked curiously as she watched the children for a minute.
"That's her." Margaret nodded. "She's hard to miss, she's the spitting image of her father."
"Peg Hunnicutt had her in the kitchen earlier." The other woman commented. "She's such a delightful child." She looked at Hawkeye and grinned mischievously. "Would I be missing my guess if I were to say that she takes after her father in more than looks."
Hawkeye chuckle. "No you wouldn't." Looking back to Margaret Ellie reached out and took her hand in hers. "Well, I must say, Margaret you're looking fantastic. Marriage and motherhood is definitely agreeing with you."
"Thank you, Ellie." Margaret smiled warmly at her and squeezed her hand. "You're looking great yourself."
"And that's despite the fact that she's married to Charles." Hawkeye remarked with a mischievous grin.
"Hawkeye!" Margaret scolded him, giving him a warning look.
Ellie merely smiled good-naturedly. "Hawkeye Pierce." She chuckled slightly as she reached out and shook his hand. "Now there's a name I heard repeatedly after our little visit to the 4077th." Her eyes twinkled mischievously as she added. "I don't know if you knew it or not, doctor, but your little patient was quite stuck on you. You were all she talked about for weeks afterwards."
Hawkeye chuckled softly, his eyes sparkling in amusement. "I knew. It was kind of hard not to know when she made it quite obvious. I haven't had too many patients kiss me on the lips while I helped them into bed. In fact, she was the only patient that kissed me while I helped them into bed. "
"Well don't forget, Hawk." B.J. pointed out. "Most of your patients were soldiers, generally of the male gender, so I don't think you'd want to have your patients kiss you on the lips while you helped them into bed."
"True." Hawkeye laughed in agreement. Then looking back to Ellie he asked "So, how's that special little patient of mine doing anyway?"
"She's doing very well." Ellie smiled. "She'll be glad to hear that I saw you again. She always wondered what became of you after the war."
"Well, you can tell her that I am healthy and happy and married to our wonderful Major Houlihan and have two beautiful daughters and another baby on the way." Hawkeye replied, putting his arm around Margaret lovingly.
"She'll be glad to hear that." Ellie smiled at the pair.
"What's she doing these days?" Margaret asked curiously.
"She's still living in Washington." Eleanor replied. "She's married to a wonderful young man and has an adorable little girl who's about four years old now."
"That's terrific." Hawkeye smiled delightedly. "I told her when she was in Korea that she should be home in Washington eating her apples and dating starving young actors. Looks like she listened to me."
"Actually her husband wasn't a starving young actor." Ellie commented, her eyes twinkling with amusement.
"Oh, yeah?" Hawkeye remarked. "What is he then? A doctor? A lawyer? A candlestick maker?"
"Actually, you'll never guess who she married." Ellie remarked a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
"Somebody we know I take it." Hawkeye commented, a thoughtful look on her face.
Ellie nodded. "Do you remember a patient that B.J. had while we were there by the name of Michael Nowicky?"
"Nowicky?" B.J. repeated, a thoughtful look on his face. "That name sounds very familiar."
"Wasn't that the name of the young man that Marina tried to help?" Margaret asked, looking at B.J. and Hawkeye curiously. "You remember the one that wouldn't talk at first, but who warmed up to Marina and started talking to her."
"That's the one." Ellie nodded. "That's Michael."
Hawkeye looked at Ellie and smiled. "You mean that those two got married?" At Ellie's nod he exclaimed excitedly. "That's terrific!"
"It certainly is." B.J. agreed with equal enthusiasm. "Maybe that rotten war was good for something after all."
"What do you mean?" Hawkeye asked.
"Well, that's two couples that were brought together because of the war." B.J. replied eagerly.
"Two?" Hawkeye asked, a puzzled frown on his face.
"Yeah, two. Marina and Michael and you and Margaret." B.J. replied.
"Me and Margaret, oh, yeah." He turned and grinned at his wife. "How could I have forgotten." She gave him a mock annoyed look before starting to chuckle softly.
"How's Brandi doing?" Margaret asked curiously. She had really come to like the older woman who had shared her tent for those few days.
"She's fine." Ellie chuckled. "She's working in a little club in New York. I got a note from her a couple of weeks ago. She's got a new beau, been going out for a few weeks. He's a lawyer for some law firm. Sounds like an interesting fellow."
"He'd have to be to keep up with Brandi." Margaret chuckled in amusement. "Next time you talk to her tell her I said 'hi'."
"I will." Ellie nodded. "She'll be glad to hear how you are all doing."
"Ellie!" A voice called from the direction of the house. Ellie turned and saw Mrs. Potter coming towards them. "I'm sorry to interrupt, dear, but Patty is getting worried about your casserole. She wondered if you could come in and make sure if it's finished. She doesn't want it to burn."
"Okay, Mrs. Potter, I'll go check it right away." Ellie assured her. Looking back to the others she said, "It's been great talking to you. I'll hook up with you later and we'll chat some more."
"See you later, Ellie." Margaret smiled warmly. The young woman turned and walked quickly back towards the house.
Hawkeye shook his head and chuckled. "I still can't picture her and Charles together. They don't seem to fit."
"Ben!" Margaret whispered in a warning tone.
"Huh?" Hawkeye looked at her in surprise.
Margaret glanced pointedly at Clara who was still standing before them, silently warning him to watch what he said.
"Many people feel the same way about you and Margaret, Hawk." B.J. pointed out. "You two certainly would not have been voted 'Most Likely To Fall In Love And Get Married And Live Happily Ever After'."