And here it is... THE FINAL CHAPTER! sniff sniff I had a ton of fun writting this sotry and I hope y'all enjoyed reading it! Like I've said beofre, endings aren't my strong points so I apologize a thousand times over if it seems a bit anti-climatic. I haven't stared working on the third installement, I don't even have a title worked out yet, but I do know where I'm taking it and I have notes on a few chapters. BUT I reallly want to wrap up some of my other stories and post a new one that I've been working on for a while. Kind of my pet project. So anyway, if anyone has actually read this note all the way through... Enjot the FINAL chapter!
At eleven o'clock Margaret sat down on her cot and wearily pulled her scrubs off. She stared blankly in the dark trying to keep from dozing off again. There was a gentle knock on the door and she stood up, pulling on a bathrobe.
"Come in," she said lightly. Hawkeye walked in and Margaret smiled.
"I was wondering when you were going to show up." She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his quickly. "I did miss you, you know," she said firmly, unsure if he was mad at from earlier.
"Forget about it, Margaret."
"You are alright though, aren't you?" she persisted. "I saw the way you looked when you had to operate on that little girl and—"
"I'm fine," he promised once again. "But," he knew he should saw something to her first. "I'm thinking about giving up surgery."
"Oh Hawk," she sighed disappointedly. "Are you sure?"
He shrugged and kissed her again. "What, you don't like the idea of being married to a town doctor?"
"There's nothing wrong with that," she laughed, her eyes beginning to sparkle merrily. "Especially if you have plenty of time to spend with your nurse."
Hawkeye looked at her in confusion. "What happened to your idea of working in a VA hospital? You seemed so excited about that."
"I've been meaning to talk to you about that," she admitted. "I almost came to Tokyo so we could talk but Sidney thought that wouldn't be such a great idea."
"What, me seeing you?" he asked irritably. It aggravated him to find out that Sidney had kept her from him.
"No, he didn't think you would react very well to what I had to tell you. I'm—uh leaving the army." Her voice was quivering slightly and Hawkeye watched her in bewilderment. "Is that all? Why on earth would—"
"That's not all." Margaret chewed her bottom lip, trying to work up enough courage to tell him. "Do you love me?" she asked suddenly, chickening out and changing the subject.
Hawkeye saw the sudden switch but he thought she would tell him soon enough so he let the matter drop. "Let me show you the ways," he grinned and untied the bow in the front of Margaret's bathrobe, slipping his hands inside.
"What do you think, Hot Lips?" he asked between kisses. "Do you think I love you?"
Margaret nodded dumbly and tried pulling him towards her cot. However, she tripped over her boots which had been tossed carelessly in front of her cot. She fell backwards crashing onto the hard floor, pulling Hawkeye down on top of her.
She moaned and tried to push Hawkeye off but he wouldn't budge. "How convenient," he teased.
"You better get off me buster," she hissed, her former romantic mood gone. Hawkeye persisted by kissing her neck gently. Margaret rolled her eyes, trying to prove that he wasn't managing to seduce her. Although she was so distracted by his cologne and the touch of his skin that she didn't even notice that he had stripped her bathrobe off leaving her in just a black bra and silky panties.
"Very pretty," he mumbled, kissing her stomach.
There was a noise outside the door and suddenly light flooded the room as the light was flicked on.
"Oh," Colonel Potter's voice reached her ears and Margaret cringed. "Well, I was wondering where Captain Pierce had gotten to." The older man had turned bright red, and was staring at the ceiling. Obviously not leaving until he said what he had come to say.
Margaret grabbed her bathrobe and pulled on top of her bare skin.
"I needed to tell you two that everyone's gathering in the mess tent, for a sort of good-by dinner. Although," he coughed slightly. "You seem to be having your own goodbye party in here." He grinned and coughed discreetly. "Come if you can."
As the old man walked out Margaret moaned and fell backwards. She heard Hawkeye chuckle and she sat straight up. "You think that was funny?" she demanded.
"The look on your face certainly was." He stood up and helped her to her feet.
"Well come on," he urged.
Margaret rolled her eyes. "You go on; I'll be there in a minute. I have to get dressed first," her voice was bordering on anger and Hawkeye wisely slipped out of the tent.
Margaret pulled on her faded green uniform, knowing it would be the last time she would ever have to wear it. As she headed out into the dark Charles came up behind her and pulled her aside.
"Margaret, I need to talk to you."
She shook her head. "Not now Charles, everyone is…"
"I want you to come to Boston with me," he urged. Margaret stared at him in shock.
"No Charles. I--"
"Please, Margaret, you mean so much to me."
"Charles I think you should know that—"
"I know about the baby," he said suddenly. "I checked the blood type of the sample you gave me. It's A-, Baker's blood type is O+. Your blood type happens to be A-." Margaret flushed and tried to formulate a response but Charles interrupted her thoughts.
"I would love to bring you back to Boston with me," he repeated. "You're an amazing woman Margaret and I would like nothing more than the assurance that I could be with you forever."
"I would always be there for you, Margaret," he insisted. "I know that cretin hurt you but I would always love you," he vowed sincerely. "As well as this child."
"Charles, I'm married." She couldn't believe she had said it. It had slipped out so easily.
Charles face blanched and he backed away slightly as thoughts swirled around in his mind. "Pierce?" he asked hesitantly, almost afraid of the answer. Margaret nodded and the man dejectedly began to walk away.
"No, Margaret. It's perfectly alright. You made your choice." And with that he headed back to the swamp to finish his packing.
Margaret sighed heavily and began to make her way to the gathering. She made it to the mess tent just in time to hear Potter's announcement.
"Tomorrow, the tents of the 4077th will be coming down for good. For an awful long time we've been living together, eating together—"
"Sleeping together," Hawkeye piped in as he found a seat. Margaret smiled to herself, knowing what the Colonel had to be thinking.
"Well I wouldn't know," the old man said with a smile. "I have a horse."
Margaret was dismayed to find that the only seat available was beside the Colonel. Reluctantly she sat down.
"Anyway, since this is our last evening together I've been wondering what your lives will be like when all this is over. I thought it might be a good idea for each one of us to get up and tell everybody what we'll be doing next."
As a ripple of agreements floated through the tent Margaret touched the old man's arm hesitantly. "Why don't you go first, Colonel," she urged.
One by one everyone went around, telling about their career changes or advancements and Margaret struggled to pay attention.
Hawkeye voice drifted to her ears and she jerked back to attention.
"When I graduated from medical school I couldn't wait for the action of a big-city hospital. But now I'm not so sure action is all it's cracked up to be. In fact neither is cracking up. So I think I'm going to take it easy for a while. I don't want just a bunch of anonymous patients to parade through my office. I'd like to maybe—uh talk with them for a few minutes, get to know who they are. So I think for now, I'll be very happy just getting Crabapple Cove to say ahh."
Margaret smiled as she saw a spark jump into his eyes; she knew he was about to spout of something smart-alecky.
"And I can't say I've loved you all, either," he continued, a grin creeping across his face. "But I certainly have loved as many of you as I could." He looked to Margaret and gave her a little wink. She smiled even though she could feel Potter staring at her.
Charles walked into the tent and Margaret's mind left the conversation again as she thought about what she could possibly say to the group. Her hand rested against her stomach lightly and she looked down before heaving a large sigh.
"…because we've decided to get married." Klinger's words brought Margaret's head up and she smiled genuinely and reached out to grab his arm. "The only problem is, she won't leave Korea until she finds her family, so…" he sighed and shrugged. "I'm staying in Korea!"
The group burst into laughter and Klinger held up his hands. "Here's how I figure it. If you love someone, you've got nothing but trouble. So you either stop loving them, or love them a whole lot more."
As everyone applauded Margaret looked to Hawkeye and smiled. She knew what she wanted to say now; what she needed to say.
"But the first thing I'm going to do is having a wedding here with my family!" Klinger exclaimed. "We'll do it tomorrow before everyone goes!" The crowd burst into applause and when it died down Charles stood up and cleared his throat ceremoniously.
"I hated this experience," he began with a bitter tone. "I thought I wanted nothing more than to forget everything," he turned towards Margaret and smiled cynically. "And everyone. But once I'm home in my beloved Boston, I hope I can forget the bad times, but remember the wonderful times I've shared with some of you. And I hope we can remain forever as friends."
Margaret smiled at him apologetically as he sat down, and he nodded slightly, accepting her unspoken message.
"You're the only one who hasn't gone, Major." Potter prompted, looking at Margaret expectantly.
Margaret stood up and took a shaky breath. "I have a lot of my father in me," she began. "It's never been his way to tell people how he feels about them. So I guess that's why I never told my nursing staff what I told other people about you. It's been an honor and a privilege to work with you. And I'm very, very proud to call you my friends." She sniffed discreetly as the nurses smiled gratefully and clapped softly.
Margaret took a shaky breath and looked towards Hawkeye and he nodded encouragingly. "I had planned to go back to the states with my husband…"
There were a few scattered gasps but Margaret continued. "I was going to work in a \vertran's hospital in Augusta, Maine."
People began to put the pieces together and heads whipped back and forth and whispers tittered across the room. "But now things have changed a bit." She took one final breath and took the plunge.
"I'm going to be discharged from the army for medical reasons." Hawkeye's mouth dropped open and he looked at her in shock. She had told him she was leaving the army, not that she was being kicked out.
"What are you talking about?" Hawkeye stood up in aggravation.
A few excited gasps rippled through the room and Colonel Potter stood up and grabbed the woman's shoulders.
"Margaret why…" he stopped himself and Margaret realized he had tears in his eyes. "Why didn't you say anything?"
Margaret turned back to the crown and straightened her shoulders. "After Hawkeye and I were divorced things changed between us," she told the group. "Not between me and Hawkeye but between all of us. I was no longer "one of the crowd" and for good reason. I just thought that if I wanted people to trust me again, and I wanted to remain on speaking terms with some of you," she looked towards BJ who was making his way towards her and she smiled. "Then it was best that we kept our marriage a secret.
"Oh, Margaret," he said softly as he pulled her into a hug. "I can't believe you thought we would hate you for something like that.
Margaret sniffed and hugged him back. "Stop being so sentimental," she ordered with a smile on his face.
BJ pulled back, holding her at arms length. "A baby?" he asked. Margaret nodded exuberantly and BJ hugged her again. The silence in the room had worn off and she was now receiving shouts of congratulations.
Margaret still hadn't worked up enough courage to look at Hawkeye. Colonel Potter hugged her and she managed to settle her gaze on the spot where he was sitting. He was gone. Margaret felt her heart crash into her stomach and she struggled to keep her emotions at bay while everyone laughed with her and hugged her.
"That's my wife, Honnicutt." Hawkeye laughing voice came from behind her. "Let go of her and go get your own."
BJ laughed, released Margaret and patted his friend's shoulder as Hawkeye scooped Margaret into his arms. "A baby?" he whispered.
She nodded hesitantly. "I'm so sorry, Hawk. I know I should have said something but it's just that you—"
Her words were cut off as Hawkeye bent forward and dipped her into a long kiss. More cheers erupted from the crowd and when he let her up, he had a few tears swimming in his eyes.
"You're happy?" Margaret asked incredulously, not expecting to see the smile on his face. Hawkeye nodded and kissed her forehead again.
"Well what about a wedding?" BJ cried as he stood up on a table.
"We're already married." Margaret protested.
"We'll make it a double wedding!" Klinger offered in excitement.
Margaret shook her head firmly. "No. This is the most important day of her life. I would never do that to Soon-Le."
"Well what about tonight?" Kellye suggested, becoming increasingly excited at the prospect of another wedding.
"But I don't want to put—" Margaret began to argue.
BJ put a hand on her shoulder. "If you think you're going to cheat me out of a wedding for the third time you're crazy." He told her with a little wink.
"It's settled." Colonel Potter stated, putting a warm hand on Margaret's shoulder. "We'll meet back here in a half hour.
"I'd hurry if I were you, Margaret." BJ urged as he grabbed Hawkeye's arm and led him away. Margaret stood in place dumbly. She had no idea what to do for the next half hour.
Leah Thompson came up behind her and grabbed her arm. "What are you waiting for?" she asked. "We only have a half hour!"
"How could you not have said anything?" BJ asked, an almost angry expression on his face. "This is the second time you've done this to me!"
"Margaret asked me not to say anything." Hawkeye bent down in front of his foot locker and opened the lid, rummaging through the wooden box for his tuxedo.
"Oh, and you always do exactly what Margaret wants?"
Hawkeye found the tuxedo and stood up, walking over to his best friend. "She knew she screwed up when she left me for Donald. She knew that irritated just about everyone. And she knew that if we suddenly announced that we were married only two hours after she divorced that bastard that no one would give her even the slightest chance to admit she was sorry."
"I would have—"
"Oh really?" Hawkeye interrupted his friend with a smile.
BJ sighed, knowing that seven months ago he probably wouldn't have forgiven the woman. "Fine, fine. At least she let me in on this wedding."
Hawkeye grinned and grabbed a razor off Charles' desk. "Do me a favor and kill the caterpillar."
All the nurses escorted Margaret into her tent. "How do you want your hair done?" Sarah asked, pushing Margaret into a chair and picking up her brush. "It's so short it's going to be hard to do much.
"It's plenty long enough," Margaret protested. "Besides, it's fine the way it is." She argued.
"Oh come on, Margaret." Kara Able spoke up. "How many times do you have a wedding?"
Margaret looked at her, waiting for the girl to catch on. Kara laughed and blushed slightly. "Opps, sorry."
Margaret laughed suddenly, feeling incredibly grateful for what everyone was doing. "I love you all," she said suddenly. "Thank you so much for everything you've ever done for me."
"Can I come in?" Klinger called from outside the door. Kellye opened the door revealing Klinger juggling a large dress box.
Margaret flushed suddenly, praying it wasn't the wedding dress. "Um—Klinger, I'm not so sure…" she trailed off. She just couldn't bring herself to wear the dress she had been wearing when she married Donald.
"Don't worry, Major," he laughed, realizing what she was thinking. "I thought you might like to wear something a bit different."
He pulled the cover off the box and all the women squealed. "It's all yours, Major. A wedding present."
Margaret pulled the dress out of the box, gasping in delight. It was floor length, evening gown made of a dark-green emerald silk. The sleeves draped across the shoulders elegantly, and there a slit going up the side of the dress that Margaret was sure Hawkeye would heartily approve of.
"Oh Klinger it's beautiful," she breathed. Klinger stepped forward and hugged the major.
"Good luck, Margaret." He said, using her first name softly. Margaret kissed his cheek and he laughed. "You better hurry into that dress," he cautioned. "The groom is ready and waiting.
Margaret grasped Colonel Potter's arm tightly. "I'm going to miss you," she whispered. He nodded, not trusting his voice.
"I hope you two are incredibly happy together." He mumbled gruffly.
Father Mulcahy began to play on the piano keys tentatively and Margaret cringed playfully at the off-key noise. She walked into the mess tent and smiled as she saw Hawkeye dressed in his tuxedo, BJ standing beside him dressed in full uniform. Hawkeye's mouth dropped open as he saw the dress she was wearing and he teasingly licked his lips.
"I do hope that boy can wait through the ceremony for a kiss," Potter whispered in her ear and Margaret nodded.
Mulcahy cleared his throat and began the ceremony. "We are gathered here today—er tonight to witness the union of Margaret Houlihan—er, Pierce and Benjamin Pierce."
Hawkeye reached out to hold Margaret's hand.
"Who gives away this woman?"
"I do," Potter's gruff melancholy voice brought tears to Margaret's eyes and she smiled sweetly at him.
"Do you have the rings?" Mulcahy asked. Margaret chuckled and shook her head to the priest but Charles walked forward from the back of the tent. He walked towards Margaret and handed her a simple band of white gold, his eyes bearing a melancholy happiness for her.
"Take it," he urged, pressing his hand against her bare arm. "As a wedding present."
Margaret smiled her thanks genuinely.
"The bride's ring?" Mulcahy prompted as Charles melted back into the crowd.
Margaret looked at Hawkeye who chuckled and pointed to her ring finger. The crowd laughed and Margaret slid the ring off and handed it to him.
"Do you Margaret Houlihan take this man to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer 'till death do you part?"
Margaret nodded emphatically. "I do."
The padre turned to Hawkeye who was grinning like a cat. "Do you Benjamin Pierce take Margaret Houlihan to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, 'till death do you part?"
He looked straight into Margaret's eyes, wanting to skip the rest of the vows and pick her up and spin her around the room, but instead he forced himself to speak.
The crowed let out a collective, happy sigh. "The rings please."
Margaret looked up at Hawkeye, a playful look in her eyes, and slipped the band onto his left hand. "With this ring, I thee wed," she whispered. Hawkeye slipped the ring onto her finger and repeated the phrase.
"Well," Father Mulcahy smiled mischievously. "Hawkeye, you may now kiss the bride."
Hawkeye unexpectedly picked Margaret up and planted a firm kiss on her mouth. She laughed and kicked her legs in the air.
"Let me go!" she shrieked after he let he rup for air.
Hawkeye smiled and put a soft kiss on her lips. "No, baby." He mumbled. "I'm never letting you go."