"How's the patient doing?" BJ asked, coming up beside Margaret.
"Okay, doctor." She replied with a weak smile. "But I'll feel much better when this little bundle of joy joins the world."
"Well, let's see what we can do about that." BJ smiled at her and then moved to check her progress. While he checked on Margaret, Trapper urged the others out the door.
"Just a minute." Frank remarked as he moved passed Trapper and headed towards Hawkeye and Margaret. Eyeing the couple carefully for a minute he held out his hand to Hawkeye with the simple statement. "Truce."
Hawkeye eyed the man carefully for a moment before releasing Margaret's hand to accept Frank's. "Truce." He echoed seriously.
Frank gave Hawkeye and Margaret a small smile before turning and heading for the door.
"Frank?" Hawkeye called after the man. When Frank looked at him he questioned. "Why?"
Frank regarded the couple carefully for a moment before replying. "Because you've obviously made Margaret very happy and for that alone I'm deeply indebted to you."
Hawkeye, for the first time in their long acquaintance, gave Frank a genuine smile of friendship. "Thank you, Frank."
Frank looked at them for a moment longer before turning and following the other astonished doctors out. The remaining four all looked at each other in complete astonishment.
"Was that really Ferret Face Burns?" Trapper asked in disbelief.
"That was him alright." BJ replied, his tone also one of surprise.
"Wow, miracles do happen." Trapper quipped in amazement.
BJ chuckled and then turned back to his patient. "Okay, Margaret, during the next contraction I want you to push okay?"
"Okay." Margaret nodded and got ready to push as the next wave of pain hit.
About forty minutes and several contractions later, Margaret laid back on the pillows, her face glowing with perspiration from her exertion.
"Okay, Margaret." BJ encouraged. "I want you to give me one more push."
"I don't know if I can." She moaned in total exhaustion.
"Sure you can, Margaret." Hawkeye encouraged as he gently massaged her shoulders. "One more push and then it'll all be over."
"Come on, Margaret." Trapper also pressed. "Where's that tough Margaret Houlihan that I use to know. The one that could endure anything."
"The Margaret Houlihan that you knew had never endured child birth." Margaret retorted sharply.
"Come on, Margaret." BJ chuckled softly. "Give us one more push. One more push and your misery will be over with."
"Okay, one more." She finally agreed as she gritted her teeth in preparation. "Will that get you cretins off my back?"
"Yes it will." BJ replied, an amused smile on his face as Margaret prepared to give one more push.
"Aaagh!" She screamed as she pushed with all her might.
"That's it, you did it!" BJ exclaimed excitedly as he gathered the newborn into his arms. After cleaning the baby's nose and mouth it let out a loud protest at it's sudden change of scenery.
Producing a pair of scissors Trapper looked at his old buddy and asked. "Hawk, would you like to cut the umbilical cord?" A soft smile spread across Hawkeye's face as he reached for the instrument. With a skilled hand he snipped the cord that was attached to his newborn child.
After the cord was cut, BJ and Trapper worked quickly to get the baby cleaned up and ready to present to the awaiting parents.
With a broad smile BJ turned and walked towards his friends. "Congratulations Mommy and Daddy." He remarked as he laid the small bundle into Margaret's waiting arms. "You are the proud parents of a bouncing baby boy with a healthy pair of lungs."
"He gets those from his mother." The proud father teased his wife as his bestfriend planted a kiss on her cheek.
"Oh, I don't know about that, Darling." His wife returned with a sly smile. "Yours work pretty well too."
Once the baby was settled into Margaret's arms he stopped crying and snuggled against his mother's warm body.
"Isn't he gorgeous, Ben?" Margaret remarked as she ran a loving finger over their new son's face.
"He certainly is." Hawkeye agreed as he put his arms around the pair. "Just like his mother." He kissed the side of her head and teased. "By the way, have I ever told you that you're beautiful when you sweat." Margaret gave her husband an amused smile before looking back to her wee son.
"He has your nose." She proudly announced after scrutinizing the small face for a few minutes.
"And he has your chin." Hawkeye added with a pleased smile.
"Oh, Ben, he's so adorable." She cooed lovingly.
"He certainly is." Trapper agreed and leaned down to plant a friendly kiss on her cheek. "Congratulations to both of you." He gazed in amazement at the small family before him. He still found it incredible that they were the same pair he had known all those years ago in Korea.
"Congratulations Dad." BJ said as he extended his hand to his best buddy. Hawkeye accepted the hand then rose to his feet and pulled the other man into a warm embrace.
"Thanks for everything, Beej." Hawkeye said, his tone full of emotion. Then releasing the man he turned to his other buddy and gave him a hug as well. "Thanks, Trap."
"Hey, no problem." Trapper smiled as he hugged his friend to him. He couldn't be happier for his old friend. "It was my pleasure."
"Trapper, why don't we go downstairs and tell the good news to the others." BJ suggested as he moved towards the door.
"Good idea." Trapper agreed as he turned to follow the other man out.
"Wait!" Hawkeye exclaimed excitedly. "I'm coming with you. I want to be the one to tell everyone." He turned to his wife and asked. "Is that okay with you?"
Margaret couldn't help smiling at the excitement on her husband's face. "Go ahead." She replied, then added. "But hurry back. We still have to name this little fellow."
"I will." Hawkeye promised as he planted a kiss on her lips before leaving the room.
"When are we going to hear anything?" Peg asked anxiously as she watched the staircase for any signs of a messenger.
"It shouldn't be much longer, Peg dear." Daniel assured her gently, the calmness in his words belied the feelings of anxiety that he too was feeling. He was dying to find out if he had a grandson or another granddaughter. He tightened his arms around Rebecca who was sitting quietly on his lap, patiently waiting to hear news of her new baby sibling.
"It's been fifteen minutes since we first heard the baby cry." Louise MacIntyer commented her tone worried. "I hope everything is okay."
"Everything will be fine." Potter quickly piped up. "Margaret has three of the finest doctors at her side. She and the baby are going to be just fine."
"I hope you're right, Colonel." Frank mumbled quietly to himself, his own eyes full of concern. As much as Frank hated to admit it to himself, Margaret and Hawkeye did seem to be very happy together. And he couldn't ignore the looks of love that he saw them exchange on numerous occasions throughout the day. He hated to think that his arch enemy had actually won the girl they both adored, but that's exactly what happened. But if Hawkeye made Margaret happy who was he to interfere. That's why he'd decided to call a truce with Hawkeye. At least that way he had a chance of salvaging his somewhat fragile friendship with Margaret, if nothing else.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by excited footsteps on the stairs as Hawkeye came barreling down them with Trapper and BJ hot on his heels. Grabbing the closest person the excited father began waltzing crazily around the living room. He finally came to a dramatic halt in front of his friends, kissing his partner on the cheek before releasing him.
"Hawkeye!" Radar gasped in surprise, wiping his cheek disgustedly.
"Well, Pierce, what is it?" Potter prodded eagerly.
"Well, Sherman." Hawkeye replied, a mischievous grin on his face. "It's a baby."
The crowd rolled their eyes in exasperation.
"A baby what?" Potter pressed excitedly.
"A baby human, of course." Hawkeye exclaimed, pretending to be insulted. "What else did you expect from Margaret and I? What do you think we are?"
"Right now you're almost a dead human." Potter threatened, his tone exasperated, though his eyes were twinkling with mild amusement. "So are you going to tell us what it is or do we have to torture it out of you?" The group started to advance menacingly on Hawkeye.
Ducking behind BJ he said. "Okay, okay, don't hurt me, I surrender, I surrender."
"Well then what is it?" Daniel Pierce asked anxiously.
Looking at his father and then the rest of the group Hawkeye exclaimed excitedly. "It's a boy! A healthy, bouncing baby boy." He picked up Rebecca who had come running over to him and swung her around crying. "You have a little brother, Peanut. An adorable baby brother!" He hugged her tightly and kissed her on the cheek. After accepting the hearty congratulations of all his friends he anxiously asked. "Where's Beth?"