Margaret shut the door quickly, turned to face him, and put her hands on her hips. "Well?"
"C'mon Margaret, don't be so angry at me. We had such a great time today, now you're..." He shook his head. "Look, I just want to know whats bothering you so much."
Margaret silently moved to sit on her cot. "I keep thinking about things."
Pierce nodded, sitting next to her. "Like what?"
"Like how today would be the day Donald and I just met," she said, referring to her ex-husband, "which painfully reminds me that..." She stopped talking. Wait a second, she thought to herself, why am I even telling him? Its none of his business. Why would he even care anyway? I had better just get rid of him.
"Margaret?" He looked at her questioningly.
"You know what? I'm fine. Really. You can go now Captain." Margaret stood up, going over to the door.
"Oh no you're not. I know when you're lying to me Major Houlihan, and this is no exception. Now out with it. I want to help you."
She looked at him skeptically as he came over to her and put his hand on the side of her face.
"Margaret, tell me whats wrong. I'm trying to be your friend here. It usually helps when friends talk to each other."
Margaret closed her eyes briefly then looked at him. She sat down in her chair this time. She sighed. "Well, like I was saying...remembering about Donald, reminds me that I'm still...alone."
Pierce sat down across from her on her cot.
"Not that I'm some dependent weakling...I don't really need any man to be with me. It's just that I keep thinking about how the war will end, and how this whole camp is my family," her eyes filled with tears, "and how much I'll miss them when we all leave." She let the tears fall down her face.
Hawkeye wiped them away with his hand. "Margaret, of course the war is going to end. That's the greatest thing. No more young soldiers to patch up and sew together; no more 15 hour shifts; no more green coffe with orange green beans. We'll all still be together though, in each others' hearts. We've been through something so terrible together and nothing can change that. It makes us all closer together, even if we're not living all together in some army camp."
She nodded slightly. "I guess that's kind of what I told myself earlier. But...what about someone that I've grown close to, someone that I don't think I can live without? How do people deal with that? Just never tell them and go live my life wondering ‘What If?' everyday?"
Pierce smiled, "Oh, you must mean Colonel Potter. He's been like a father to you."
Margaret looked down at her hands, her fingers intertwined with Pierce's. She slowly shook her head. "No..." she said quietly. "I meant you Hawkeye."
He stared at her, stunned. His brow wrinkled, he thought, wait a second, did Major Houlihan just say she couldn't live without me? He mentally replayed her last few sentences. Yep, it did appear that way. Now, how to handle this. Was she just joking with him? He didn't think she knew how much he cared about her. He thought he would just chance it and tell her.
Not hearing anything from him, Margaret looked up at Pierce. Stupid woman, she thought to herself, why did you go and tell him that? You've just ruined the only real relationship with a man that you have ever had. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound desparate...I didn't mean to say..."
"Hang on. I think I'd better tell you something. Margaret, I really care about you. But, if you're joking around with me..."
Margaret bit her lower lip. "Well...it is true."
Pierce knelt toward her and hugged her close. Margaret rested her chin on his shoulder. "I wouldn't try to change you," she said quietly, "like I tried to when we were sent to the 8063rd for that medical demonstration. I realized that you're who you are, and I like you that way." She pulled away from him, looking down into his eyes.
"You don't suppose that...that I feel this way only because...it's convienient, do you?"
Hawkeye sighed and sat down next to her. "Well, I think that by God's ever mysterious ways we were meant to find each other here. Kind of like fate. I mean, even though there were obstacles like Frank Burns and Donald Penobscott, we still found each other."
"I think I understand," she said quietly. All these conflicting emotions were storming inside her. She did not want this to be one of those relationships like she had before. In a way she wished she had never met Pierce, so that she would not be going through this. But then, she was glad she knew him and had the chance to be close to him. Her brain was overloaded, as well as her heart. She pushed Hawkeye away gently. "Maybe this isn't such a good idea," she said to him.
Pierce looked at her. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, I don't want this to be some high school relationship or just some fling. And I don't want to be tied down and smothered. I just...I don't know...I'm just confused as to what to think..." Margaret put her head in her hands, sighing.
He looked at her, stunned and utterly confused. Okay...so now she doesn't want me, he thought. Or does she? This required some choice words, so as to not hurt or offend her. "Margaret...I understand how you must feel. If you want, I can just go back to the Swamp and leave you alone. You know, to think it out."
She looked up at him. "I don't know what to think though...I mean, I care about you a lot. You're one of the best friends I've ever had. You can make me laugh when I'm in the worst of moods...you're just...special Hawkeye."
Pierce thought his face would redden. He was never really complimented by her before, well not like this anyway. "Well...what if we just kept each other company. Just to have someone to be close to at times."
Margaret poked his ribs. "Yeah, not in the way that you're thinking of Benjamin Pierce..." She smirked at him.
"Hey now, you're the one that thought it first! That was one of the cleanest things that ever came out of my mouth!" He laughed.
Smiling, Margaret put her arms around him again. "I think it's a good idea. I wouldn't mind just having someone to confide in and be...close to - not in the way that you keep thinking of though!"
He laughed, hugging her close. "Good, I'm glad you're okay now. If I could just get some air in my lungs..."
She pulled away a little. "Sorry," she grinned at him, "you're just so huggable."
"You're a little icy," he joked.
Margaret's mouth dropped open. "How dare you!" She slapped his arm.
Pierce laughed, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! It was only a joke!" Margaret continued to slap his arm and chest, trying not to smile.