Chapter 1: One Funeral, Hold the Responsibilities

1980

Eva Pierce threw her pen down in disgust. Why was she the one chosen to give the eulogy at her father's funeral? She hated funerals. She hated writing. The only thing she didn't hate out of the whole mess was her father.

"How's it coming?" asked Erin Joeseph (formerly Erin Hunnicutt). She sat down next to the dark-haired woman.

"Horribly," Eva snapped, thrusting the paper at Erin.

" 'Benjamin Franklin Pierce lived from 1923 to 1980,' " Erin read. "Well, it's not a bad start."

Eva sighed and rubbed her forehead. "You liar, it's a terrible start. Erin, can't you help?"

The blonde shook her head. "I've told you no five times. You have to do this yourself. If I help you it won't be your own."

"Did you swallow a funeral advice booklet?"

"Ha ha, very funny."

Laying her head down on the table, Eva said, "If only Mom was here. She always knew how to say things. I remember when I had to write all the thank-you notes for my graduation she basically worded everything. Then Dad told her she was giving Emily Post a run for her money and she threw a cream puff at him."

The conversation was interrupted by Annette Winchester's entrance. The woman took the piece of paper from Erin's hands. "This is Hawkeye's eulogy?"

"Correction--was." Eva crumpled it up into a ball and tossed it across the long wood table. "Anyone want more coffee?"

"How can you think about caffeine at eleven at night?" asked Annette. She pulled her shiny red ringlets into a ponytail. "I'm as wired enough as it is."

"That's because you haven't worn off from your time difference," Eva told her.

"Do you even know what time it is in London?"

"A lot earlier than it is here...I think." Eva shook her head, as if to jerk her brain into a writing mode. "I'm going to go and see if everyone in the living room is all right."

She stood up and went through the kitchen into the living room. It was filled with her parents' friends from Korea--B.J. and Peg Hunnicutt, Charles and Lucille Winchester, Radar and Julie O'Reilly, Max Klinger and his children Lucas, Rena, and Marilyn, Father Francis Mulchay, and Trapper McIntyre and his daughters Becky and Kathy. Even Frank Burns and his wife Louise had come, along with their grandchildren Robby, Carolina, Adam, and Donna. Their daughters hadn't shown up because of weddings and a bar mitzvah.

"Does anyone need anything?" Eva asked.

There was a chorus of "no's" until Kathy's son Kevin spoke up.

"I want a cookie! NOW!" he howled.

"Someone's a little tired," Kathy said.

"It's all right, I'll get him one." Eva chuckled as she grabbed a few Oreos from the kitchen and tossed them to the very tired nine-year-old. "Anything else?"

"Perhaps you should get some sleep," suggested Father Mulchay. "You look quite tired."

"I think I will," Eva replied. "I'm really sorry about the lack of space here."

"We could go to a hotel," Peg offered.

"No," said Eva. "My father would have wanted you here. I want you here. If I have to stay in this house by myself...I just can't."

"We'll stay," Becky said.

Eva let a small smile spread across her lips. "I'm going to go upstairs, but call if you need me."

She trudged up the narrow staircase to her bedroom. Actually, her bedroom that was being shared with Annette and Erin for God-knows-how-long.

It was small but comfortable and had been Eva's home for the last nineteen years. Now that both of her parents were gone, she couldn't bear to sell the house but knew she had to. It was much too big and way too expensive to keep maintaining.

"Why is my life so damn hard?" Eva demanded to her reflection in the mirror. "I'm supposed to be going to college and dating three guys at once and saving up for the new platform sandals everyone has, not arranging funerals and settling wills and...and..."

She stood up and headed for her parents' room, thinking that maybe she could get a good night's sleep and get up at six to finish the eulogy.

Then she remembered.

Klinger, Marilyn, Rena, Lucas, Peg, and B.J. were sharing it for the night.

You can't kick them out of their room, Eva said to herself. It's the biggest one in the whole house; you could fit almost everyone in it.

It's your house, another voice inside her head argued.

Yes, but you invited them.

Why are they sleeping in your mom and dad's room anyway?

BECAUSE YOU ASKED THEM TO!

Don't you dare shout at me!

I CAN SHOUT IF I WANT TO!

Will you kindly shut up?

NO!

Eva gripped her arms tightly, almost breaking the skin with her nails. She silenced both of the voices in her head and trotted downstairs.

"BUT I WANNA WATCH T.V.!" whined Kevin.

"Absolutely not," Kathy snapped.

"Come over here, buddy," Trapper said, "and Grandpa Trapper'll tell you a story about an evil ferret named Major Burns."

"I resent that!" said Frank.

"Big surprise."

Eva cleared her throat. "Everybody, I have a really big favor to ask."

The group looked up expectantly.

"Would you mind if I slept in Dad and Mom's room tonight?" asked Eva. "I hate to put you out but I-"

"Go ahead," said Klinger. "Hell, I spent three years on an Army cot, one night in a sleeping bag won't kill me."

"Thank you and good night." Eva went back up the stairs, dropping the smile from her face. She headed into Margaret and Hawkeye's bedroom and collapsed on the bed.

And for the first time in four days, she was able to cry.

XXX

A/N: This is another one of my ideas that popped in from somewhere in deep space. The next chapter will start in 1960, when Hawkeye and Margaret get together.