Spoiler: this story is set around the season 9 episode "Letters", concerning the dying patient Margaret befriends and later writes to the fourth-grader in Maine about.

Author's note: this fanfiction contains sexual situations that may be inappropriate for younger readers.

Borrowed: lyrics used are from "Fear" by Sarah Mclachlan


And I fear I have nothing to give

I have so much to lose

here in this lonely place

Tangled up in our embrace

there's nothing I'd like better than to fall

The night is dark and damp, and Margaret pulls her robe tightly around herself, shivering. A smooth coldness has settled thoroughly within her, and she imagines that her blood is slowing in her veins, cooling and congealing. She feels as if she is slowly unraveling, little pieces of her soul breaking away and drifting off in the breeze. She knows she needs help to tuck the ends of herself back in, to keep her whole world from falling apart.

She walks across the compound, glad for the small scraps of moonlight tracing a path for her on the dusty brown earth. The door to the Swamp pushes open easily, and she slips quietly inside, barely noticing the musty smell of mold and dirty laundry that fills the tent. Carefully, she tiptoes to Hawkeye's bunk and crouches beside the narrow cot.

He sleeps peacefully on his side, his face relaxed and serene. She is glad to see him calm, and hates to wake him, but she needs him tonight.

It isn't the first time she's come to him like this, serious and sad and searching for comfort. What most endears her toward Hawkeye, what she's discovered only recently –a brilliant, glowing gem of knowledge– is that he won't think any less of her for needing him. Slowly, he is teaching her not to be afraid or ashamed of her own vulnerability. She knows he will never turn her away, just as she will never cast him out when he comes to her tent on the nights when this war is too much for his passivist soul, his eyes shining in the moonlight, something desperate and frightened coiled and glittering inside of him.

Margaret place a hand on his shoulder and shakes him gently.

"Muhn..." he grumbles, burying his face in his pillow. She shakes him again and calls his name. Hawkeye lifts his head, his eyes fluttering open. He blinks, twice, sleepy and surprised to see her there.

"Come with me?" she asks, whispering, before he can say anything.

He must see the prickly pain lurking in the depths of her eyes, because he simply nods and gets out of bed without question. He puts on his burgundy robe and follows her silently out of the Swamp.

They've come together, like this, a handful of times since the first occasion six months ago. Her divorce from Donald had been finalized, and her tiny army bed seemed to grow bigger and bigger every night. She had been assisting Hawkeye in the OR one evening during an influx of wounded, when they lost a patient. Like always, Hawkeye took it hard. For Margaret, the fact that she barely registered the death at all scared her terribly.

That night, after the remainder of the wounded had been patched up and the rest of the camp went to bed, she'd gone to the empty operating room to escape the suffocating solitude of her tent, and found him there, perched on a table, staring at his hands.

She sat beside him and said: "It's not your fault, Pierce."

But he just shrugged. "Still fucking hurts."

"Yeah," she nodded, unperturbed by the sharpness of his words. "But at least for you it hurts."

He looked at her, saw the pallor of her face and the thin set of her lips, and understood. Hawkeye nodded and reached over, taking her hand and squeezing it gently.

She'd remembered, then, the way his arms had felt around her that night in the abandoned shack, the soothing warmth of his lips as they brushed against her own. He had been something solid to hold onto in her desperate fear, and she wanted that feeling of security again.

"Can I ask you for a favor?" she said, nervousness clamping down on her chest like a vice. The opportunity for rejected was great, but something in his eyes, a darkness she recognized, made her press on.

"Of course," he nodded.

Swallowing hard, she lifted his hand and placed his palm on the center of her chest, over her heart, almost between her breasts.. "Touch me," she implored, her voice smaller than she would have liked. She felt absurd and embarrassed, but at the same time, desperately serious.

He raised his eyebrows, stunned. "Margaret..." he'd murmured unsteadily, but didn't remove his hand.

She breathed in deeply, feeling the heat of his palm through her t-shirt. "I just want to see if I can still feel..."

His eyes widened a little, turned a deeper shade of blue, and he moved his hand, lower, as he leaned in to press his lips to her forehead, her nose, and her lips.

She led him back to her tent and they made love, gingerly at first, but the passion so inherent in both of them soon overcame.

And she could still feel. She felt, and felt, and felt. And when it was over, when they were spent and huddled together to avoid the chill of their cooling bodies, Margaret felt alright again. Like she could get up in the morning, and do her job, and live her life, and even smile when she wanted to. And by the sleepy grin on his face, Hawkeye felt the same.

He had purred comically when she lightly ran her fingernails over his chest. "This is the best kind of favor," he'd said.

She'd laughed, agreeing. Yes, she'd thought, feeling the steady rhythm of his heartbeat under her hand on his chest, the finest kind.

Since then, each time one of them felt the relentless shadow of depression or rage creep near, they sought out the other. In the day, nothing changed. They never mentioned their encounters, not to their friends, not even to each other.

Two years ago Margaret never would have imagined that it would be Hawkeye she would come to for solace in the middle of the night. It isn't that he's changed. He still cracks jokes at inopportune times, and sings in the O.R. He still makes passes at every nurse who travels by, and he still seems to delight in breaking rules. But somehow, his idiosyncrasies and goofy, childlike behavior don't bother her as much as they used to. She thinks that maybe it is she who has changed.

Hawkeye and Margaret steal carefully across the compound in the darkness, wary of waking someone and getting caught. Getting caught would mean having to acknowledge their midnight digressions in the bright, clear light of day, and neither is quite ready for that.

Safely in her tent, they sit close together on the bed, thighs lightly touching. She's left the lights off, save for her small desk lamp. But in this heavy darkness, even it's muddy yellow light illuminates them both well. Margaret almost smiles at the sweetly sleepy image of him– his jaw rough with stubble, his eyes dark and heavy-lidded, his dark hair sticking up at odd angles.

She wrings her hands in her lap, wanting to reach out to him, but unable to dismiss the niggling fear that he won't reach back. Old habits die hard, and her practice of self-preservation through distance is honed and sharp. Tonight, she is going to need for him to move first.

He reads her well.

"What is it, Margaret?" he asks, his voice warm and low. She feels the sting of tears at the gentle way he strokes her hair from her face, concern etched across his features in bold script. She doesn't answer, afraid that if she opens her mouth she will be unable to keep from crying.

"Is this about the boy?" he asks lightly. "The soldier with liver damage?"

She nods, swallowing hard. Her voice is hoarse. "He just slipped away, so quiet, like he'd never really been alive at all." Her words feel thick on her lips, sticky and heavy, like molasses.

A cold shiver runs up her spine and she shudders slightly. "I'm really cold," she finds herself saying, an explanation. He wraps an arm around her shoulders then, and the warm, solid flesh and bone under the material of his soft robe feels so good to her she can't help sinking into him a little.

The boy's death had surprised her, not because it was unexpected, but because it was so unceremonious, like a candle flickering out. It isn't that she's never witnessed death before, God knows she has, but it seems to her that because she knew this one, this young soldier, because she'd sat with him for four hours waiting for it, that it should have been bigger, somehow, louder, brighter. For Margaret, the only solid evidence of his passing was the lump that had formed in her throat when she checked for his pulse and found none, and the tiny, niggling pain that appeared in her belly, like a little clamp had been screwed tightly into her gut. And then there was the cold. Death is cold.

"I want to forget." She says, her cheek against his chest, her voice hushed. "Just for a few moments, I want to forget all of this. The pain and the blood and the death- there's so much just everywhere, so much its inside of me," she clenches her fists and gasps softly, capturing a pocket of air in her lungs to hold in the tears. When she speaks again her voice weaves with the effort to keep from crying. "Its like I can feel it under my skin... little tiny bubbles of suffering swimming in my blood, and I-,"

He tilts her chin up and kisses her softly, halting her raw words.

"I want it gone, Hawkeye," she says when they part, their faces so close she can feel his hot breath on her chin.

He kisses her again, lightly, soundlessly.

"I want to forget it."

And again.


This time his kiss is longer, deeper, and when their lips part her voice is a thin whisper.

"Make me forget."

For a moment, Hawkeye simply looks at her, holding her gaze with the impossibly strong grip of his soft, blue eyes, as if the secrets of the world are being revealed to him. Then he reaches out and unties the sash on her bathrobe, pushing it off her shoulders.

She shrugs it the rest of the way off as he removes his own well-loved robe. They kneel together on her bed, facing each other, he in his boxers and soft, over-washed t-shirt, she in her thin, knee-length nightgown. She shivers slightly in the cool night air.

He leans down and peppers her clavicle with tiny kisses, dipping his tongue into the small hollow at the base of her throat. Then he moves up to her neck, lightly sucking. She'll have to wear her black turtleneck tomorrow, she thinks absently, threading her fingers through his silky hair.

When she can no longer stand the quick, teasing kisses, she takes his face in her hands and guides his lips to hers. His jaw is slightly rough with stubble, but she likes the abrasive feeling of it against her face, likes the way it makes her skin tingle long after their lips have parted.

His tongue pushes past her lips and she lets herself moan into his mouth. He buries a hand in her hair, the other slipping under her nightgown. She feels close to bursting with wanting tonight, and just the soft touch of his hand along the side of her breast ignites a desperate, silver-licked need deep within her belly, and it coils there, furiously waiting.

Breaking the kiss, she wraps her hands around the hem of her nightgown and pulls it over her head, tossing it onto the floor beside the bed. Hawkeye groans low in his throat, starring unabashedly at her exposed chest, and the hungry sound sends a surge of desire through her.

His hands trail lightly over her skin, reading her gooseflesh like braille, moving up her arms, over her shoulders, into her hair, and, gently, across her face, grazing over her eyelashes and the tip of her nose. She adores his hands, his beautiful surgeon's hands. They are strong but gentle, softer than most men's, with long, elegant fingers that she can't help but kiss as they pass over her lips.

His hands move down, cupping her breasts, squeezing them lightly before brushing his thumbs over her hardening nipples. He dips his head to kiss her there, taking one rose-colored nub into his mouth and flicking his tongue against it, causing her to cry out breathily and grasp at his smooth shoulders.

Wanting to feel his skin against hers, she tugs at his shirt and he lifts his arms, allowing her to pull it off. Greedy for his embrace, she climbs onto his lap and slides her arms around his neck, kissing him fiercely, drawing his soft bottom lip into her mouth and sucking firmly, feeling the responding twitch of his erection against her thigh.

They both still have on their underwear, and she wants to remove the final layer between them as quickly as possible. But before she can stand up to take them off he takes her hips and pulls her forward onto him, centering himself against her.

Her eyes slam shut and her mouth falls open at the sudden, direct contact. Her body thrums, and she leans forward, feeling the intense heat of him through the thin layers of cotton. She is powerless to stop her hips as they begin to move in slow circles, creating a pleasant friction where his hardness is pressed firmly between her legs.

They rock together, and with each soft creak of the bed beneath them she feels the pressure in her abdomen build and swell.

"Wait, wait," she says suddenly, grabbing his shoulders and stilling the motion of her hips with some effort. She doesn't want it to be this way. She needs for him to be as close as possible tonight, and there are still two layers of clothing keeping her from that goal.

She places a kiss on the bridge of his nose and rises off him.

A look of hurt and confusion passes over his face, his eyebrows knitting together as he watches her step off the bed. But she smiles softly at him, hooks her thumbs under the elastic waistband of her panties and slides them off. He looks much less confused then, and does the same with his own shorts.

The last of their clothing sitting in small puddles on the floor, they climb back onto the bed.

Only their dog tags are left on, hard, grey metal on soft, pale skin. She reaches out to touch his, running her fingertips over the chain that sits almost delicately over his collarbone, to the flat slates of skin-warmed metal. Benjamin Franklin Pierce, they say.

There are times when she finds him infuriating. He knows how to incense her like noone else, and sometimes she can barely fight the urge to slap him. But right now she thinks that if there should be room for any personal descriptions on dog tags in the future, his would surely read 'beautiful man'.

Margaretreaches into his lap and wraps her hand around the hot, solid length of him, feeling him harden further in her palm. He closes his eyes and sighs when she touches him, but offers no words. She had been surprised to learn that, for all his non-stop chattering and wisecracking during the day, Hawkeye is a quiet lover. She isn't sure if he is always like this, but with her, he speaks very little, and what he does say is hushed, whispered into her ear like a prayer. He offers few endearments, and stays away from the pretty words he uses to lure the other nurses into bed. He lets his hands and his lips speak for him, and, Margaret concedes, they are flawlessly eloquent.

He lays her down on the bed, crawling over her, his slate-blue eyes boring into hers. There are nights when she doesn't like this position, when she feels trapped and vulnerable beneath the weight of another person's body. But tonight she welcomes his solid weight, and is more than happy to let him have control.

He reaches down between them to make sure she's ready. She is. Her arousal is so strong and sharp it is a palpable ache, an almost-pain seeded at her center and moving through her body in hot waves, rushing through her veins, warming her as it flushes her skin pink.

Her name is on his lips as he enters her, followed by a smooth groan of pleasure. She grunts softly at the feeling, the slight twinge of pain as her body stretches to accommodate him, then only the sweet, hot pressure and the steady throb of her heartbeat where their bodies meet.

"You feel so good," she whispers as he begins to move in steady, slow strokes. "God, you feel so good, Hawkeye." She wraps her arms tightly around his back, wanting him closer, wanting to surround herself in his warmth and his compassion. She feels an overwhelming urge to crawl inside of him, to press herself so tightly against him that she dissolves into him like ice melting on hot pavement. She wants to hide in the warm circle of his arms until her world isn't quite so dark and cold and terrifying.

As glad as she is to be immersed in him like this, the plaguing images of death and blood and war are creeping into her thoughts, and she struggles to push them away.

He notices her internal tug-of-war when she stops lifting her hips to meet his thrusts. Smoothing her hair back from her damp forehead, he says two quiet words:

"Be here."

Margaret takes a deep breath, letting the air fill her lungs and releasing it slowly. She is pressed up so close against him that she can feel his heart racing in his chest, and she concentrates on that, his steady, speedy pulse.

They move together, and for long moments she is lost in the fluid rhythm. For now, this is what she needs, the solid, soothing heat of him inside of her, the strong, sure way he moves within her, pulling her away from the pain and death that cling to her skin like burs on wool.

Fiery tension builds low in her belly, but she is straining for relief, gripping the tight muscles of his upper back, unable to free herself from the dark images of the day.

She can tell by the way he is biting down on his lower lip and the tension in his arms that he is waiting for her to find release before he claims his own. But he's getting tired, and she can tell he is struggling to hold on, his control slipping with each measured circle of his hips.

She clenches her teeth in frustration, her orgasm lingering just out of reach. She is trapped in the prison of her own mind, unable to chase the ghosts away.

"Please, please, please...." she whispers, unsure whether she's pleading with Hawkeye, God, or herself. She just wants to let go, to take the last step off the precipice she knows she's standing on, but the young soldier's eyes haunt her, holding her back. She struggles to push his image out of her mind, to relinquish of the pain and helplessness she feels in the wake of his death, but it's too strong. It's drawing her away from here, away from Hawkeye, and she shakes her head, crying out in frustration.

"I can't," she whimpers, tensing in his arms, embarrassed and panting with exertion. She feels hot tears begin to collect beneath her closed eyelids.

Hawkeye shifts his weight to rest on his left hand, and then moves his right down between them to the place where their bodies meet, never breaking the steady rhythm of his pelvis. She stills his hand with her own and shakes her head. It isn't going to work. She's too tense, too sad, too deep in her pain to find release tonight.

"It's okay, Hawkeye," she says softly, trying to keep her voice steady. Suddenly, she just wants him to finish and go away so that she can curl up on her stomach, bury her head in her pillow and cry long and hard. "Take what you need."

Her words seem to liberate him, and with a soft cry he speeds up, moving above her in quick, irregular strokes. He comes with a low, rumbling moan, and she feels his body tense and shudder in the circle of her arms. Then his muscles seems to soften, untighten, and he eases off of her, landing with a soft thump beside her on the bed.

He lies there for a few moments as his breathing slows and evens. But then, instead of turning over and falling asleep or getting up to leave like she hoped he would, he places a soft kiss at the corner of her mouth and says her name. She doesn't even realize she's screwed her eyes shut until he leans over and runs his fingertips lightly over her eyelids.

"Look at me," he implores, and she takes a deep breath and opens her eyes, meeting his steady gaze, seeing the kindness and patience there. She can't stop the tear that slips out, trailing down over her cheekbone to rest wetly in the curve of her ear.

"Hey," he says, his brow furrowed, his voice thick with concern. "Hey, it's okay. You're just all coiled up, Margaret. You need to relax a little, and you'll be fine" He smiles softly and she feels foolish for being so upset. "You'll be just fine," he repeats.

He reaches across her to grab a handful of tissues from her bedside table and hands them to her so she can wipe herself clean. When she is finished he smiles at her again, and from the sparkle in his eyes she expect him to break into one of his jokes or wisecracks. Instead, he sits up and pulls her with him, helping her onto his lap so that she's straddling his lower thighs.

"Don't think,"he says his voice so soft and low she barely hears him. "Just feel. Alright?"

She nods and closes her eyes. Just feel, she thinks. She feels him. He is everywhere around her, his arms encircling her back, holding her up, his large hands pressed against her skin, one just below the nape of her neck, the other at the small of her back. She feels the warm, moist skin of his thighs clasped between her own and his breath hot against her face.

She feels his hand move from her neck to her shoulder, then down, between her breasts, over the gentle swell of her stomach to rest between her legs. He strokes her there. His fingers move slowly at first, a soft caress against her damp folds, but as her breathing becomes heavier the pressure of his strokes become firmer, and he slips two fingers inside her. She gasps, biting down on her lower lip.

He lays his forehead against hers and breathes with her, the sweet rhythm of his hands relaxing her, her muscles slowly yielding, the painful clamp that had twisted itself into her gut after the soldier's passing finally releasing it's hold. Her head feels too heavy for her neck and she lets it fall to his shoulder. Beautiful man, she thinks again, her tongue darting out to taste his warm, salty skin.

"Fall." he whispers, his lips brushing the curve of her ear. "I'm here, I'll catch you. Let go, Margaret. Fall..."

And with one last stroke of his nimble fingers, she does. Safe in the warm circle of his arms and pressed by the soft grate of his voice she lets herself take the final step over the edge of the cliff, and with a sharp cry of pleasure and relief, falls, into him, over him, willingly drowning in the hot waves that roll through her body. She shudders fiercely, arms locked around his shoulders, face pressed into the soft, damp skin of his neck. His free hand drifts up her back and over her scapula, pausing at her shoulder to squeeze gently before traveling back down her spine, then up again, the motion drawing her upwards, his touch lifting her higher into the white-hot frisson she's tumbled into.

And when she comes down, gulping for air and feeling as if her heart is trying to thump its way out of her chest, he is there to catch her, just as he promised.

Her eyes flutter open and she lifts her face to kiss him.

"There," he says when their lips part. He smiles warmly. "There you are."

He lays them down on the bed, and she curves to his side, her head on his chest. She feels light, as if she would drift away if his arm wasn't around her shoulder. The heaviness that had been lodged in her chest moments before has lessened.

She hasn't forgotten the boy she watched die today. She hasn't forgotten the sandy blonde hair that fell into his eyes, or the tender way he spoke of his girlfriend– the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. But she feels better. One moment of escape was all she wanted.

"I'm not cold anymore," she whispers, a smile on her lips. He kisses the top of her head and pulls her closer, his thumb drawing small circles at the nape of her neck. Margaret closes her eyes. She is marvelously warm.

Hawkeye falls asleep first, his breathing becoming deep and slow and steady under her cheek. She lies beside him on the small bed, breathing in the musky scent of sweat and sex that has filled the tent. She likes the way he smells.

She lifts her head to look at his face, then reaches out and smooths back a strand of his dark hair, affection blossoming deep in her chest. She wonders if she is in love with him. She knows she loves the way he touches her, and the way he so openly offers his friendship, even when she's bitter and mean and trying to drive the world away. She loves his lopsided grin and his brilliant hands and the melodic timber of his voice. She even loves his tattered purple bathrobe. But what she feels for Hawkeye is different than what she felt for Frank and Donald. Her affection for him isn't born from admiration or infatuation, but from friendship and respect. It's a different kind of love than she's known before. It's safe and solid and soothing. It's why she knows she can come to him on nights like this, and he'll do his best to cast away her demons. But as surely as she knows this, she also knows that it would never work between them, outside of Korea, outside of this cruel war. They're too different, and at the same time, too similar, too stubborn. They'd end up hating each other, and that's something she never wants.

She kisses him lightly on the side of his jaw before laying her head on his shoulder, and he hums, softly, in his sleep. This is enough, for them. This sweetly desperate sharing of souls and bodies in the deepest part of night, this refuge they've found in each other, this is enough.

Before she lets herself fall into the darkness of sleep, she thinks of what will happen next. They've done this enough times to have a routine. They'll sleep for a few hours, and he'll slide out of her bed before dawn. She'll be able to hear his grin in the darkness as he dresses, cracking a joke about the holes in his socks or the food they'll eat in the mess tent, as he ties the sash on his bathrobe. He'll find her hand in the dark, press a smacking kiss to her knuckles, then turn it over and, more gently, kiss her palm. "Sweat dreams, Major," he'll say, and quietly slip away.

In the morning, he'll plop down beside her in the mess tent. "Try the coffee yet?" he'll ask. "It's looking less and less purple these days." He'll take a sip and grimace comically. "Quite deceiving, really." They'll go on like nothing has happened, like nothing has changed, and it hasn't, really.

But the next time she can't shake away the cold that seeps into her bones, or the night becomes too long and lonely for him to bear, they will find warmth in each other, and together, chip away at the layers of demons and darkness that sometimes slide in to shadow their weary souls.


This was my first try at a MASH pwp. How'd I do? Was it terrible? Or do you want more? Drop me a line at SamanthaCaldwellhotmail.com