Margaret stopped in front of the open French doors that led into the O'Reilly's living room. Inside she could see a very agitated Trapper pacing back and forth, a look of extreme annoyance on his face.
Quietly stepping into the room Margaret remarks lightly. "I don't know what it is about this house, but I can't seem to go from upstairs to the backyard without first stopping in the living room." When Trapper looked at her with surprise she added. "First it was Frank, and then Hawk and now you." At the mention of her husband's name she noticed a shadow of sadness darken the other man's eyes. "So, MacIntyre." She commented as she sat herself down in one of the living room's rocking chairs. "What seems to be the problem? What's got you looking so down and out?"
Trapper remained silent for a moment, watching her carefully. He was greatly surprised by her obvious concern for his dark mood. Hawkeye was certainly right, things had definitely changed after he'd left Korea, people had changed. He'd never before seen Margaret so concerned about what he was feeling. With an ironic chuckle he remarked. "If I didn't know better I'd swear that you and Hawkeye didn't just exchange rings, but personalities as well."
"What do you mean?" Margaret asked, her face mirroring her confusion.
"What I mean is that when we were all in Korea it was usually you and Frank that I was angry or annoyed at and Hawkeye that I discussed it with." Trapper explained with an amused shake of his head. "I never figured in a million years that I'd ever be angry at Hawkeye and discussing it with you."
"You're angry with Hawkeye?" Margaret repeated in surprise. "Whatever for? What has he done to make you upset with him?"
Trapper didn't reply at first, instead he turned his back to her. Margaret waited patiently for him to speak. "When I first got Radar's invitation to this little reunion the only thing that I could think about was how great it would be to see Hawk again." He finally admitted, his back still to her. Then with a deep sigh he added. "I felt like such a heel when I left Korea and didn't leave him so much as a note to say 'goodbye'. I wanted to, I even tried to, but how can you tell someone on paper how important they are to you, how much they've meant to you, that they were the only one that made the hell you just experienced bearable. I just couldn't find the right words to tell him that, I couldn't express it well enough to do our friendship justice. So, I just left."
"Have you told this to Hawkeye?" Margaret asked knowing just how hurt her husband had been when his best friend had abandoned him without any word.
Trapper's head lowered slightly but he didn't turn around. With a slight shake of his head he replied. "No I haven't. I haven't had the chance. Whenever I want to talk to Hawk BJ is always with him. The guy seems to be almost glued to Hawk's side."
"Well those two went through a lot together." Margaret commented thoughtfully. "In some ways I'd say a lot more than you and Hawk did." She paused for a minute before asking. "Does it bother you that BJ and Hawkeye are friends?"
"I wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't for the fact that Hawkeye quite obviously likes BJ better." Trapper commented with a sorrowful sigh.
"What makes you so sure that Hawkeye like BJ better?" Margaret asked seriously. She knew that BJ was indeed Hawkeye's best friend and that the two men were a lot closer than Hawkeye had been to Trapper, but she also knew that Hawkeye valued Trapper's friendship very much and that for his sake he was trying his best not to show any favoritism.
Trapper turned around to look at her, his eyes reflected the pain in his tone. "Margaret, I'm not blind!" He exclaimed before turning his back on her again. "I just finished carrying on a one sided conversation with him and BJ outside. It seemed that every time that I would say something Hawkeye would clam up and get very serious, but then when the dearly adored BJ would say something he would start laughing and talking animatedly."
"That does sound rather odd." Margaret remarked thoughtfully. "That doesn't sound like Hawkeye." Then a thought occurred to her causing her to ask curiously. "What exactly were you guys talking about?"
He hesitated for a moment before replying, giving her a slightly sheepish look. "We were talking about some of the different pranks that we'd pulled on you and Frank over the years."
"Like what?" She pressed becoming more convinced that her hunch was correct.
With a brief hesitation he replied. "Like the time that Hawkeye and I kept trying to keep you and Frank apart. Remember we has sent you on a wild goose chase to Post Op and then camped out in your bed waiting for you and Frank to arrive."
Margaret chuckled and nodded. "I remember. What else?"
"I also brought up the time that Hawkeye and I had Radar broadcast your 'farewell' conversation with Frank the time that he'd requested a transfer." Trapper replied, still watching her carefully, trying to gauge her reaction. "And the time that we had 'set up' your tent for your date with Frank. Remember - the joke candle, the collapsing cot, the pudding in the pillow, the sawed off tent pole."
"I remember." Margaret gave him a sly look. "Go on."
"Well I reminded Hawk of how the tent had collapsed on the two of you and he didn't even crack a smile." Trapper exclaimed in disgust then added, his tone turning bitter. "But he thought it was terribly funny when BJ mentioned the time that Hawkeye had stolen your tent. And he laughed like a fool when Hunnicut brought up the time that they had made some dummy fall out of your closet."
"I'll bet they did." Margaret exclaimed with an amused chuckle as she remembered both incidents. Then looking at the hurt expression on Trapper's face she quickly asked. "Was there any story that you related that Hawk laughed at?"
Trapper thought for a moment before replying. "Just one. He laughed about having walked into the Mess Tent stark naked to prove his theory that everyone was so lost in their own little world and wouldn't even notice."
Margaret exploded into a fit of amused laughter. "He did that! I can't believe I missed it! That must have been quite the sight!"
"Nothing you haven't seen before I'm sure." Trapper teased, greatly surprised by her amused reaction.
"Now sure." She chuckled, "But then…though I'm sure that if I had have been there I would have tore a strip off him for pulling such a childish and disgusting stunt."
"Knowing you, Major." Trapper smiled broadly. " I wouldn't doubt it." His expression sobered again as he thought of his friend. Turning back to the window that he had been looking through he commented. "I just wish that I knew what to do about Hawkeye."
Margaret smiled sympathetically as she struggled to rise from her chair. Noticing her husband standing silently in the doorway of the living room she suggested. "I think that the best thing to do is to talk to him. Tell him how you feel. I know that he didn't mean to hurt your feelings." She looked at her husband and motioned for him to join the conversation.
"She's right, Trap." Hawkeye replied, taking a couple of steps into the living room. "I'm very sorry that I made you upset with me, I didn't mean to."
Trapper turned around and faced his old friend, his face reflecting the hurt and anger in his voice. "Then whey do you keep treating me like I don't exist."
Hawkeye's eyes widened in surprise. "What do you mean? I don't do that. I've talked to you just as much as I've talked to anyone else, more than most people actually."
"Except BJ." Trapper spat out.
"Okay, except for BJ." Hawkeye acknowledge but then added, his tone rising slightly. "So maybe I've talked to BJ a little more, so what, is that a crime?"
"It is when you turn your back on your other friends." Trapper retorted.
"Trapper, I don't know what's gotten into you, but I haven't turned my back on anyone." Hawkeye replied, trying to control his tone. "I've done my best to talk to everyone, even old Ferret Face."
"Yeah, everyone except me." Trapper exclaimed in anger. He knew as soon as he made the statement that it wasn't true. Hawkeye had talked to him a lot during the course of the afternoon. But jealousy causes people to say things without thinking clearly, and right now Trapper was caught tightly in jealousy dangerous grip.
"Listen, Trap." Hawkeye began slowly after pausing for a moment to collect his thoughts. "I'm sorry if I have hurt your feelings, but please believe me that it wasn't intentional." He glanced at Margaret for a minute before continuing, his tone betraying his emotions. "I just don't like remembering all the cruel stunts that I use to pull on Margaret the first year that we were in Korea. Some of them were quite mean and hateful and I'm ashamed of having done them."
"But it sounds to me like you still pulled some cruel stunts on her after I left." Trapper replied hotly. "BJ certainly mentioned a few. For instance you stealing her tent, or how about making a dummy fall out of her closet. Those don't exactly sound like particularly nice things to do, yet you laughed like a hyena about both of them."
Hawkeye and Margaret exchanged mischievous looks. "But you must understand, Trap, those were completely different situations." Hawkeye explained, his eyes eagerly searching his friend's face. "When you and I pulled pranks on Margaret it was out of spite and cruelty, we didn't have much kindness or compassion for her. But when Beej and I pulled pranks on Margaret it was usually out of revenge for something that she had pulled on us. You see the spirit behind it was entirely different. It was out of fun, not out of cruelty." He paused for a moment, his eyes shadowing slightly as he reached over and pulled his wife to him. Kissing the side of her head lovingly he added. "I love Margaret so much now that I hate to remember that there was a time when we didn't mean anything to each other. I mean when you were in Korea she and I were constantly at each others throats, we hardly go along at all."
"Oh, I don't know about that, Hawk." Trapper replied, his old teasing tone returning as his eyes sparkled mischievously. "You two got along well on occasion." At their puzzled looks he added. "Remember when you, Margaret and I shared Margaret's bottle of brandy that she'd stashed away during Frank's little temperance fit." Margaret and Hawkeye chuckled at the memory. "And how about the time that you, Margaret and Klinger went to the Aid Station to lend a hand?" His eyes danced even more. "I have a feeling that you two got along pretty well then too."
Hawkeye looked at his wife and chuckled. "We worked very well together on that trip. Margaret was quite the little trouper."
She smiled lovingly at him and began to chuckle slightly. "Remember what you said to me just before we got back to camp?"
Hawkeye flashed her a teasing smile and remarked. "I told you that if you ever told anyone that I said that that I'd deny it." Then with a chuckle he added. "Oh, what the heck. I certainly can't deny it now."
"What did you tell her?" Trapper asked curiously.
Hawkeye looked at his wife and tightened the arm that he had around her waist. "I told her that she was my favorite officer in the whole army. Then I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek."
"Really?" Trapper exclaimed his eyebrows shooting up in surprise. Looking at his friend he reprimanded. "You rat, you never told me about that!"
Hawkeye shot his old friend a teasing smile. "I don't kiss and tell."
"Oh, really…" Trapper taunted with a sly smile.
"Not a word!" Hawkeye warned, giving his friend a mock serious look. The two friends started laughing heartily. When the laughter died down Hawk added sincerely. "Trap, I really want to appologize for hurting your feelings. It was completely unintentional. You are a very special guy and I am honored to have you as a friend."
"But not as a best friend, right?" Trapper stated seriously. Hawkeye hesitated, not knowing how to respond. Fortunately Trapper continued himself. "It's okay, Hawk, don't worry about it. After all, we haven't seen each other for over twelve years. I understand that things change. I'm just hoping that we can still be good friends all the same."
"Of course we can." Hawkeye quickly assured him. "Both you and BJ are very special to me. I love both of you very much and feel very lucky to have your friendship."
Trapper smiled warmly at his friend and said. "Thanks, Hawk. I appreciate that." The two men embraced just as Radar poked his head into the room. "Oh, sorry." He quickly appologized, ducking back out again.
"Radar, it's okay." Hawkeye exclaimed as the three of them laughed. "What is it?"
Radar poked his head back in and asked. "I was just wondering if you minded if I brought everyone inside. Klinger and I have a few little surprises for you and we needed to use this room to show them to you."
"Surprises?" Trapper and Hawkeye both exclaimed eagerly. Looking at each other they added. "We love surprises!"
Margaret chuckled in amusement. "You two sound like a couple of little children."
"Sorry, Mommy." Hawkeye teased as he hugged his wife to him.
"Well, come on, Radar, bring everyone in!" Trapper encouraged. "We want to see what surprises you have in store for us."
"Yes, yes, come in, come in!" Hawkeye echoed as he clapped his hands excitedly.
Moments later the living room was full of activity as the old 4077th staff and their families found a spot to sit in preparation for Klinger and Radar's surprises.