Hawkeye sighed wearily as he pulled himself into his car. He stared at his steering wheel, wondering if he was fit to drive. After dropping Margaret off he returned to the hospital to meet with Susan's parents. Hawkeye shook his head, trying to clear it of the painful memories of the day. The glasses of scotch hadn't helped at all.
He started the engine, not really caring if he would crash or not. Snow began to fall as he made his way out of the crowded parking lot. His eyes began to feel extremely heavy and he pulled off to the side of the road.
He cursed loudly, slamming his fist into the steering wheel, the noise attracting several glances. Hawkeye jerked on his coat and hat and stepped out of his car, the freezing December air quickly sobering him.
He shivered and pulled the collar around his neck. He glanced into the brightly lit windows as he passed them. The storekeepers were all preparing for Christmas which was only seeks away. Colorful lights hung from the windows and cheerily decorated trees stood in every window.
Hawkeye smiled slightly as he saw a little girl, no older than ten with her face pressed up against the window pane of a pet shop. He walked over to her, wondering what she was looking at.
"Oh she's a cutie," he said to the child as he saw a tiny white and black border collie puppy, a red bow tied around her neck.
"She needs a good home," she moaned. Hawkeye smirked and leaned his back against the window.
"Well, maybe you should tell your parents and maybe Santa will buy her for your Christmas present."
The little girl shook her head sadly. "No, mommy said that Santa won't bring her because my Daddy's allergic." She frowned, trying to think of a way to get the puppy and then looked up at Hawkeye hopefully.
"Maybe you can buy her" she suggested happily. "Then she won't be lonely anymore."
Hawkeye laughed and shook his head. "Sorry, missy, I'm not a big fan of pets."
She crossed her arms and watched him suspiciously. "But she's so cute," she argued. Hawkeye chuckled again and was about to reply when a tall woman approached them.
"Carrie, what have I told you about talking to strangers?" she hissed at the child.
"I'm sorry Mommy," she mumbled. Hawkeye felt annoyed that the child should suffer when he was the one that had approached the girl.
"Now apologize to this man for wasting his time," the woman grabbed onto Carrie and shook her shoulder harshly. "Go on, apologize."
Hawkeye smiled gently and shook his head. "No, no, it's quite alright. I was just getting some advice from your daughter on what I should buy for Christmas." Hawkeye winked at the small girl and she smiled. "I think I'll follow her advice." Hawkeye tipped the brim of his hat slightly and made his way towards the entrance of the store.
What could it hurt? He needed some form of company to keep him from going crazy, and he had wanted to stick up for the little girl. Hawkeye grabbed the attention of a sales clerk and announced that he would like to buy the dog. A half hour later he emerged with the puppy on a leash, and several bags full of food, treats, and toys.
"Well, missy, it looks like it's just you and me." He said, talking to the puppy as he made his way down the streets, heading for his home. It took almost an hour for him to reach his home. He wearily made his way inside, cursing as he noticed he had left his door unlocked in his rush to leave that morning.
He walked inside but the puppy pulled back, growling at carved pumpkin, Hawkeye still hadn't gotten around to removing. Hawkeye laughed and scooped the dog up. "Oh, come on, it doesn't look that bad." The puppy licked his face and Hawkeye rolled his eyes.
"Well, well, we've got hot lips do we?" Hawkeye chuckled to himself shaking his head. "What do you think of that name?" he asked the puppy. The dog licked him in response and Hawkeye laughed. "Well, I guess we have an answer; Hot Lips it is."
The puppy continued licking Hawkeye's face as they walked through the house. The light was on in the kitchen and he groaned in irritation, there was more than one thing he forgot to do as he left that morning.
Hawkeye sat the puppy down on the floor and it began to excitedly sniff the carpet. "Come on Hot Lips," he called as he walked towards the sink. He grabbed two new dog bowels from one of his bags and began to fill the first one with water.
Hawkeye sat the bowl down on the floor and filled the second bowl with dry dog food, as he whistled for the dog. He turned around, wondering what she was up to and he jumped in surprise as he saw Margaret bent over, stroking the puppy's soft fur. He took a step backwards and accidentally backed into the full water dish, cursing loudly as the water sloshed inside his shoe.
Hawkeye blinked in shock as he slipped off his wet shoe, staring at the kitchen table. "What on earth are you doing here?"
Margaret smiled slightly, and sat up straight, pulling the puppy onto her lap. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." She apologized, avoiding the subject.
Hawkeye mad his way to the table and sat across from Margaret, his mouth still hanging open. "I tried to call you," he began, a puzzled frown on his face.
Margaret cringed as he leaned towards her. "You've been drinking," she accused sternly.
Hawkeye rolled his eyes. "Wouldn't you if you had to tell a couple that their little girl died, and on the same day some crazy woman waltzes in and out of your life?"
Margaret ducked her head slightly, her messy hair, hiding her face. And then back in again." She whispered quietly.
Hawkeye sighed and reached across the table for her hand. "Why are you here?" he prodded gently.
Margaret allowed him to hold her hand and smiled softly. "You said if I ever needed a friend…" she shrugged uncomfortably, trying to decide what to say. He wasn't making this easy for her. "And you said if I was ever alone…" Margaret closed her eyes, trying to control her emotions; she hated feeling so out of control.
"I am alone," she mumbled, looking straight into his eyes. "But I don't want to be."
Hawkeye stood up, his face not showing any emotion at all. He held out his hands, helping Margaret to her feet, much to the dislike of the dog. "Why did you leave him?" he asked seriously. His intense gaze made Margaret shiver. She had never seen him quite this serious before.
"Because he wouldn't make me happy." She responded with certainty.
"What would make you happy?" Still he showed no sign of emotion and Margaret shifted uncomfortably; where was he headed with this?
"Someone who loves me enough to want me to be happy, even if it's not with him." Margaret raised her eyebrows wonderingly; would he take the hint?
"Well you already have that, so you should be happy." Hawkeye squeezed her hand and then let her go, as he shuffled towards the bedroom.
Margaret's mouth dropped open as anger boiled up inside. She cursed under her breath and sat down heavily ad she heard his bedroom door shut. She looked down at the puppy, who was watching her hopefully, wanting a bit of attention.
"What's wrong with him?" Margaret asked aloud, causing the dog to cock its head in confusion.
She picked the puppy up, running her fingers through its silky fur. "Well at least I have a good friend, right?" she asked the dog. Margaret smiled slightly, recalling Hawkeye's new name for the puppy.
"He gave you a rotten name, do you know that?" Margaret chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully and then smiled.
"Judith; that's what I'll call you."
"What kind of rotten name is that?" Margaret's head jerked up at Hawkeye's voice. He was leaning casually against the doorframe, dressed in his tuxedo.
"That was Hawkeye's lover," she responded quickly.
Hawkeye shook his head. "It was not!"
Margaret smiled, and nodded defiantly. "Don't you read? It was in the Deerslayer; the book before The Last of the Mohicans. Judith was constantly chasing after Hawkeye, just like this one will be," Margaret said indicating the puppy who had climbed off her lap, and was contentedly lying on top of Hawkeye's foot.
Hawkeye shrugged. "Well, fine, but it's still a rotten name." Margaret stood up and leaned against the opposite side of the entryway.
"So where are you going hot shot?" She teased, hoping he wouldn't catch the small twinge of hurt in her eyes.
Hawkeye held his arm out to her and smiled. "I was just going to take my best girl into the living room for a dance."
Margaret's mouth dropped open and she smiled helplessly. "Well I suppose that wouldn't do any harm. I mean it's not as if we aren't getting along anymore." Margaret realized she was rambling but she just couldn't help herself.
"We're still friends, right. I mean, just because I decided not to marry Jeremy, nothing has to change, right? Because really…"
Hawkeye stopped her abruptly as he leaned over and kissed her mouth softly. "You're wrong," he whispered. "We aren't just friends anymore, and everything has to change."
Margaret's mouth dropped open and she shook her head. "No, Hawk, please," she pleaded. "I don't want to lose touch with you, I want to…to…" As Margaret stumbled over her words she missed the distinctive twinkle in Hawk's eyes.
"Marry me?" he finished for her, somewhat teasingly. "Is that what you want?" Margaret blushed hotly and Hawkeye smiled.
"Well that will be alright I suppose," he continued in feigned exasperation.
Margaret took a shaky breath and looked up him. "You said you would be there for me if I needed a friend or more," she said, stressing the last two words. "Did you really mean that?"
"I'm not in the habit of lying to women who outranked me." He said, grinning from ear to ear.
"That in itself is a rotten lie," she countered. "I can count the times on one hand when you've been honest with me."
Hawkeye shrugged, "Well then I guess I'll have to leave it up to your judgment." Hawkeye leaned down and kissed her again, softly at first but it quickly deepened as he pulled her as close as possible.
As he broke the kiss, Margaret began to laugh softly. "I think you meant it," she whispered. Hawkeye's smile grew and he pulled her closer.
"I'm glad you think so."
Margaret laid her head on his chest and sighed deeply. "This is all I want," she mumbled. "You're all I want."
Hawkeye pulled her head upward again, kissing her forehead gently. "That can be arranged."
Yay! I finally finished! I hope you all enjoyed the story. I know I've been bad about updating this one, but I'm moving in ten days, so I've been extremely busy. Thanks for all your patience and your wonderful reviews!!!