*To fully understand this story, you need to have seen the final episode of M*A*S*H, "Goodbye, Farewell & Amen". If you haven't, you can still enjoy this story. Just realize there are references to it in here. On another note, I would appreciate any feedback, good, bad, or indifferent,at CLWshorty01@Yahoo.com. Put the subject as RE: the story Voices. (Be gentle. This was my first fanfic.) Thanks, and hope you enjoy.
by Cathy W.
Hawkeye felt many unshed tears finally spill down his cheeks as the helicopter rose higher and higher. He craned his neck and squinted at the large "GOODBYE" until he could no longer see it. 'I figured that this would be one of the best days of my life, the day I went home. The friendly neighborhood Draft Board booked me on an indefinite vacation to a place I didn't want to go doing things I didn't want to do, and I finally get to leave. Go back to Dad and his cooking, the fishing, the private practice I was going to open. But, I'll never be the same. BJ, my best friend. Potter, my surrogate father. Klinger and his big nose. Charles, the pompous windbag. Gosh, I'll even miss him. And Margaret...' He didn't let himself finish the thought.
He looked back at the speck in the distance where the M*A*S*H 4077, his home away from home, had been. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep, the faces of his new family running through his mind.
He awoke, feeling the helicopter coming down for a landing. He had been having a dream that was a mixture of memories from the last three years. He had awakened just as his replay of his kiss with Margaret was over. He could almost feel her lips still against his, in the passionate kiss that had communicated in the seconds it lasted what could not be communicated in years with words. They had felt their souls touch when they kissed, and he knew that his soul would never be whole without her. But things were so complicated.
That's when he first heard the voice. It was BJ's and it sounded so real yet far away. He knew it could not be his imagination. It sounded too real. BJ's voice was saying his name. 'Goodbye, BJ. I'll miss you more than you can know,' he said in answer to the voice. 'BJ and I must have a very strong bond. It's like we're psychically linked. It sounds like I'm hearing his voice.' He stared at the landing pad and the homecoming it represented.
"Dad? Dad? I'm home! Finally," Hawkeye added under his breath. The house seemed too empty, too quiet. He hoped nothing was wrong. He turned the corner into the kitchen and found himself suddenly surrounded by the whole town of Crabapple Cove yelling surprise.
"Hey!" he gasped in shock. Everyone was there, even Mrs. Maynard in her wheelchair.
"Son, I'm so happy you're home," Dr. Daniel Pierce said, his voice almost breaking with emotion. Noticing how glazed his father's eyes looked, Hawk realized his father was holding back tears of joy.
"Dad, I've missed you so much. I love you," he managed to mutter between tears as he hugged his father to him tightly.
"So, tell us about your last day in Korea," someone requested in the back.
"Well, um, this may take a while," Hawkeye said.
"So, any special ladies here in town you want to go see? You haven't been on a date since you've gotten here. What's wrong?" Daniel Pierce asked as his son scowled at him.
"I don't feel much like dating, if that's okay with you," Hawkeye answered sarcastically.
"I'm sorry, Hawk. It's just before you left, you used to be quite popular with the ladies, like your old man here," he replied, trying to lighten the mood.
"Well, a lot's happened since I left, Dad. Like maybe I met someone and grew up a little."
"What's her name? It wouldn't be...what's her name...Hot Lips, would it?" Daniel asked curiously.
"I don't want to talk about it," Hawkeye said moodily and left the room. Daniel just looked on in concern and bewilderment.
"You've been moping around here ever since you got home. Why don't you call Hot Lips? You haven't seen each other for a few months, and I'm sure she'll be happy to talk to you," Daniel said with a smile.
'That's what I'm afraid of,' Hawkeye thought to himself. 'But if she doesn't want to have anything to do with me, that would be even worse. What am I so afraid of? Commitment?' He sat in silence for a few moments and decided to go with his gut instinct.
"Okay, Dad," he replied and headed straight for the phone. He didn't know where Margaret was nor her phone number, so he decided to call BJ first. If anyone knew, he would.
"Hello," BJ answered. There was silence on the other end, so he added, "Can I help you?"
"Hey, Beej," Hawkeye said hesitantly. He hadn't talked to his best friend since they had left, although he had definitely thought about it. He'd figured BJ was settling back into his wonderful life with Peg and Erin in Mill Valley and wouldn't want anyone dredging up old memories for him.
"Hawkeye!" BJ yelled in complete joy. "How've you been, buddy?"
"Fine," Hawkeye answered, his heart warming at his best friend's voice. "And you? And Peg and Erin?"
"Great, couldn't be better." After a long pause BJ added, "I've missed you so much, Hawkeye. You can't believe how much I've missed you." Hawkeye could hear the tears through the phone.
"Me too. I just wanted to give you a little space," Hawk said.
"Oh, but so much has happened," BJ replied. He then went on all about his new life, and then Hawkeye told him all about his life. They talked for hours, laughing, crying, and experiencing every emotion possible. They were about ready to hang up again, when Hawkeye remembered why he had called.
"Hey, Beej, do you know Margaret's number?" Hawkeye asked.
"Sure do," he answered, smiling.
"Margaret?" Hawkeye asked as he heard the phone being picked up.
"No, this is Charles. May I ask who's calling?"
'Oh, no. It couldn't be. Please don't let it be what I think it is,' Hawkeye desperately thought. He would recognize that pompous, smug tone anywhere.
"Hey, Charles. You don't recognize the voice of your favorite chum from the good old 4077th?" Hawkeye asked, forcing a light tone.
"Hawkeye?" Charles asked in shock.
"Yeah, the one and only. So why are you there?" Hawkeye had not meant to be so blunt, but now that it was out, he was dying to know the answer.
"I assume, by that question, that you haven't heard. I called BJ a few weeks ago, but unfortunately he was not at home. I made the assumption that someone else would tell you."
"Tell me what!?" Hawkeye demanded. His heart was in his throat and he felt as if it would explode there. He really did not want to hear the answer, but he had to know. 'Please don't let them be engaged, or worse, married,' he prayed.
"Margaret was in an accident. She is doing better, but it is still a very precarious situation," Charles replied sorrowfully.
"Oh, no. What happened?" Hawkeye asked his eyes wide with fear. Somehow, in a perverse way, his heart did not feel so broken but his gut hurt worse.
"She was visiting me here in Boston, saying she needed some advice from an old friend. I was happy to oblige, but she insisted on staying in a hotel instead of the guest room. She was driving there at night in the rain and lost control of the car. She hit a telephone pole and broke several bones. Some fractures were so compound and she had so much internal bleeding that after I operated, I honestly didn't know if she would survive."
Hawkeye didn't say anything for a moment. He was so shocked and utterly horrified that he, for once, was speechless. "Where in Boston do you live? I have to come right now," Hawkeye said firmly.
Charles told him and Hawkeye hurriedly packed (by throwing some clothes in a suitcase) and ran out the door.
"Margaret? Margaret?" Hawkeye mumbled as he ran to the nurses' station in a panic. "Where's Margaret Houlihan?"
A nurse looked up in surprise then looked down at the pile of papers in front of her. "ICU room 3."
"Thank you," Hawkeye managed to utter, partly out of habit. He sprinted down the corridors of the hospital in a desperate search for Margaret. Then he heard a voice. It gave him a strange sense of deja-vu. The faint murmur of a somehow-familiar voice, mumbling. It wasn't like it was in his head. He could hear it as if someone was talking directly to him from somewhere far away. He turned around but there was nobody nearby. The closest person was down at the other end of the corridor and it was just a janitor mopping. He heard it again, but this time he could make out the word Hawkeye. He glanced around again but there was still nobody there. This scared him a bit. He hoped that he wasn't starting to go crazy again. His concern for himself, however, was outweighed by his concern for Margaret. He continued running down the corridor, searching for her.
He found her a moment later. She was pale and wan with tubes sticking out of her everywhere. The bruises and lacerations on her face were healing, but they were right at the point where they looked worse than they did when they were fresh. Her eyes were closed and the eyelids were an unhealthy purple.
"Margaret!" Hawkeye cried as he came to the side of the bed. He looked beside him and saw Charles holding her hand. He hadn't even noticed him there at first.
"Pierce," Charles said quietly.
Hawkeye looked at her and grabbed her other hand. He closed his eyes and kissed her forehead. "Margaret, please wake up. I love you so very much. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you before, but I love you with all my heart and I would die if you left me." He bent his head and wept.
"Hawk," Margaret weakly whimpered. He raised his head in pure joy and kissed her square on the lips in an extreme outpouring of emotion. "I heard what you said, and I love you too." She smiled weakly and squeezed his hand.