"If you were in love with Margaret, why didn't you tell anyone?" Trapper pressed.
"He not only didn't tell anyone, he denied it." BJ told Trapper, his expression one of amusement.
Hawkeye looked at his friend in surprise. "Whey did I deny it?"
"When that UN group came to camp." BJ replied. "Remember that guy from Sweden that Margaret fell for?"
"Yeah." Hawkeye nodded in remembrance.
"You told him that you and Margaret were just friends." BJ continued.
"How do you know?" Hawkeye asked in surprise. "I don't remember you being there when I told him that."
"I wasn't." BJ admitted. "But he came over to the Swamp after talking to you and asked me about the true nature of your relationship. He said that after seeing how jealous you looked in the Mess tent when Margaret had started fawning over him..."
"I wasn't 'fawning' over him!" Margaret objected excitedly.
"Margaret, you practically waited on him hand and foot." Hawkeye replied, his tone holding a mild hint of jealousy.
"Anyway, he said that he didn't believe that you and Margaret were 'just friends'." BJ continued.
"So, what did you tell him?" Hawkeye asked curiously.
"I told him that as far as I was aware you two were 'just friends'." BJ replied. "I told him that I wasn't sure if either one of you felt more than that, but as far as I knew, neither one of you had admitted to anything beyond friendship."
"But, you obviously did feel more than friendship for her, Hawk." Trapper commented seriously. "So why didn't you tell her?"
"Because I wasn't ready to handle a serious relationship." Hawkeye admitted. "What with the war around us and then what happened with me just before we left, I needed some time to get myself on my feet again." Smiling lovingly at Margaret he continued. "By the time we met up again in Chicago at that Medical Convention I was ready to admit to her and myself my feelings for her."
Everyone smiled softly as Clete Roberts related on screen. "This is just the beginning of autumn in Korea and already there's a real chill in the air. Before winter even arrives the temperature will dip below zero and all that after a summer of unbearable heat. If you were going to hold a war, this is probably the most brutal climate on earth in which to do it."
"Here, here!" The members of the 4077th exclaimed in complete agreement.
Back in Post-Op with Hawkeye Clete asked. "You're five miles from the front, on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the OR sessions must be a cause of great tension, what do you do to relax?"
"Relax?" Hawkeye repeated in surprise.
"Yeah, you do get a chance to relax, don't you?" Clete asked seriously.
"Well, for relaxation I collapse." Hawkeye replied truthfully, then added his tone mildly teasing. "And I like to stay in shape, so I drink a lot. That's, uh, that's the really big sport here."
"And Hawk was the champion in that sport." Trapper teased, shooting his friend a teasing smile.
"Oh, I don't know, Trapper." Margaret laughed. "I seem to recall you bending your elbow a few times yourself."
"As did you." He retorted with a mischievous smile.
"I think that we were all pretty good at it." Hawkeye stated seriously.
"Poker." Mulcahy answered Clete's question, his tone serious. Then with a small smile he added. "I know that may sound strange, but poker relaxes me. There's nothing more satisfactory then 'shearing' the flock as it were. Of course, it all goes to the orphans...well, almost all of it."
Everyone exchanged knowing smiles. They all knew just how important the orphans had been to him.
While Charles explained how music was his sanctuary, Margaret leaned closer to Hawk and BJ and asked. "Did either of you know that Father Mulcahy was deaf?"
Hawkeye looked at her in surprise as BJ nodded. Hawkeye noticed the nod and exclaimed. "You knew? How did you know?"
"Because I'm the one that treated him with it happened." BJ replied.
"When did it happen?" Hawkeye pressed curiously.
"Just before we came home from Korea." BJ told him. Looking at Margaret he continued. "Remember when we were being shot at because of the tank that had barged its way into camp?"
Margaret nodded in remembrance. "That was a few days before the war ended. Hawkeye was..." She paused awkwardly for a moment, looking at her husband out of the corner of her eye. "That was when Hawkeye was...away."
"It's okay, Sweetheart, you can say it." He gave her a reassuring smile. "'That was when Hawkeye was in the loony bin'."
"I wasn't going to put it like that." Margaret protested excitedly.
Hawkeye laughed gently. "Why not, it's true." Margaret's expression changed and she gave him a soft smile. Hawkeye knew how uncomfortable she was about making any reference to the time he had lost his senses for a time. But over the years he had gotten comfortable with it, even though he certainly wasn't proud of it. But, just like Sydney had said earlier that day, some people never get over the horrors that they've seen, while others were fortunate enough to figure out how to deal with it and move on. Hawk considered himself lucky to be part of the second group. He'd managed to come to grips with what had happened, learned how to deal with it and move on.
"So, what happened to the good Father?" He asked, returning his thoughts to the conversation at hand.
"During the first attack, he ran outside to rescue the POWs who were unprotected in the middle of the camp. One of the blasts knocked him down and damaged his hearing. I wanted to send him for a hearing test, but he was so worried that he'd get sent home and that his orphans would be left in the lurch that he swore me to secrecy." BJ explained, glancing at the man they were discussing.
"But how was he talking with us earlier?" Hawkeye stated, looking at BJ with a puzzled look on his face. "He certainly seemed to understand what we were talking about."
"I asked him about that." BJ replied, a gentle smile on his face. "He said that he's learned to read lips. He can usually understand about 70% of what's being said and put together the rest. Didn't you notice how much he concentrated on our faces while we spoke? He was reading our lips and watching our facial expressions."
"Well, I'll be!" Hawkeye exclaimed in amazement. "I never would have suspected."
"Me neither!" Margaret agreed. "I wonder why he didn't tell us what happened."
"I think he likes being treated like before." BJ commented. "He doesn't want people feeling sorry for him or treating him like he's different."
Margaret and Hawkeye nodded in understanding as the BJ on screen was commenting. "Oh, I'd say with a lot of horse play, taking out your frustrations on other people. You know, good clean American fun."
"And we certainly had a lot of 'good clean American fun' lurking around camp." Potter commented, his eyes twinkling with amusement as he looked at Hawk and BJ.
"I won't lie to you." Hawkeye was saying to Clete. "I've established some wonderful, temporary relationships with a lot of the nurses here..."
"That's the understatement of the year." Trapper chuckled teasingly.
"...I like to think of myself as the social director of the heart." Hawkeye concluded, causing the present audience to roar with laughter.
"'Social Director of the Heart', eh?" Margaret repeated as she leaned closer to her husband and chuckled. "Like Bigalow, Able, 'Sweet Preserves'?"
"'Sweet Preserves'?" Trapper repeated with a chuckle. "Who was that?"
"Never mind." Hawkeye exclaimed, shooting his wife a mock annoyed look.
Margaret merely grinned at him and said. "'Sweet Preserves' was the code name of a 'nurse' who answered an add that Hawk wrote inviting a nurse to share a bottle of expensive French wine with him. The nurse was suppose to write a short note explaining why she should be chosen to share this bottle and then sign the note with a code name."
"So who was 'Sweet Preserves'?" Trapper pressed eagerly.
"'Sweet Preserves' was..." Margaret paused for a moment and shot her husband a sly look. "...the entire nursing staff."
"Much to Hawk's dismay." BJ added with a large grin.
"We planted a phony note as bait." Margaret explained grinning wickedly at her husband. "Tasty bait, I must admit, that fed his hungry ego. Then we sent one of the nurses in to meet Hawk, just to set the hook, then we reeled him in."
"And poor Hawk fell for it hook, line and sinker!" BJ concluded with a hearty laugh. Looking at his best friend he added. "It took me a lot of pulling and prodding before I could get him to tell me who 'Sweet Preserves' was."
"I'm not surprised." Margaret replied with a chuckle. "I'm sure it was hard for him to admit that he was 'had' by the entire nursing staff."
Hawkeye merely grinned good-naturedly at his friends as on screen Clete Roberts asked Klinger what he did to relax.
"I don't dare." Klinger replied quickly, his tone emphasizing his feelings. "If I do, somebody will think that I like it here."
"He's the only sane one here." BJ remarked, speaking of Klinger. "It's the rest of us who are crazy."
"Speak for yourself, Hunnicutt." Charles retorted, his eyes actually dancing in fun.
"I did, Charles." BJ replied, shooting his old bunkmate a sly glance. "And for everyone else in camp." Charles refrained from further comment, contenting himself with merely giving BJ a mock annoyed look.
On screen Clete was asking Hawkeye. "How has being a part of all this, the war, changed you?"
"Well, I'm very impressed now with the terrible fragility of the human body." Hawkeye replied, his tone emphasizing the amazement he felt. After a slight pause he added. "And the unbelievable resiliency of the human spirit."
"Amen." The medical staff echoed in agreement to Hawkeye's observation.