DISCLAIMER: I do not own MASH or its characters. Or the song I use in this fic. I only own Abigail Adams Pierce and this story. Please don't get your lawyers. I make no money off this.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: The question for the ages among MASH fans seems to be: "Is Hawkeye too far gone for a happy ending?" If fanfiction is any suggestion, the consensus is yes. So I ask: "What could bring him back from the edge?" From which we get this story.
I may continue on with this storyline, but I'm not sure. Depends on if there is any demand for it, and if I have the time. I wrote this in an afternoon when I really should have been studying for exams. It came out way longer than I expected, maybe too long for a songfic. Any concrit is appreciated...I'm kind of ambivalent as to how this story came out.
Song lyrics are "In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride.
IN MY DAUGHTER'S EYES
By Christina TM
In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be in my daughter's eyes
Hawkeye stood over the crib in his childhood bedroom and watched the sleeping infant inside. Abigail Adams Pierce. His baby girl. It should have been his and Carlye's baby girl, but it wasn't. Carlye was dead. The love of his life had just died from a few broken blood vessels that cut her life short before she could even give her daughter the name she'd thought up.
"If it's a girl, we'll name her Abigail Adams Pierce," Carlye had declared one day as she and Hawkeye discussed baby names. "We can still name her after a famous American and Adams is my mother's maiden name."
Hawkeye thought back to the day Carlye had walked into his office in Crabapple Cove—New Year's Day, 1954. Her husband had died in Korea, she explained, and she needed a job. She couldn't stay in Boston anymore. Hawkeye had reluctantly hired her, not sure he really wanted to work with the woman who liked to show up every few years and give him some open-heart surgery.
Three months later Hawkeye found himself down on one knee asking Carlye, "How do you think your first name would sound with Pierce?" Three months after that, he was in Crabapple Cove Community Church (or "Quad-C," as the locals called it) marrying Carlye. After a decade, he finally was able to marry her.
And now Carlye had walked out of Hawkeye Pierce's life for good. There was no chance of her coming back to hurt him again. He wasn't sure which felt worse: knowing that she might come back, or knowing that she never would.
A hand on his shoulder. Hawkeye turned and stepped into his father's embrace, trying to sniffle back his tears. He'd cried so much lately. He didn't think it would be possible to cry any more.
"For what it's worth, son," Daniel Pierce murmured, "I know exactly what you're going through. And trust me when I say this: it's going to be all right."
"How?" Hawkeye croaked. "How can it ever be all right?"
Daniel's hold tightened. "I know it feels that way right now, Ben. But it will get better. Please believe me."
"How did you do it, Dad?" Hawkeye asked. "How did you go on?"
"I had you," Daniel answered simply. "There were times when I wanted to give up. But I couldn't. You needed me."
Abigail began to cry. Hawkeye slumped further into his father's arms as the burden he'd just been handed suddenly felt heavier. Then he straightened and picked the squalling baby out of the crib. "Sh, sh, it's OK." He swaddled Abigail up and cradled her against his chest. "Sh, sh. Don't be scared. Daddy's here."
The little girl's eyes opened and she stared up at Hawkeye. Hawkeye locked eyes with his daughter.
"She has your eyes, Ben."
"All babies have blue eyes, Dad."
"Hers are going to stay that way," Daniel said with certainty. He shuffled out of the room.
Hawkeye studied his baby's face. "I guess you do look like me." Abigail had a broad face, prominent nose, and a thick patch of black hair already. "I sure hope you grow out of it. It's a lousy life."
The baby gurgled. The sound made Hawkeye chuckle—his first real laugh in nearly a week—and he felt his heartache ease a little. He lay down on the bed and let baby Abigail sprawl across his chest. A sense of awe rushed over the surgeon as Abigail carefully turned her tiny head so her ear was directly over his heart.
"I love you, baby girl," Hawkeye murmured as he lightly ran his fingers over her head. "And as long as I have you, I think I just might make it.
In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe In my daughter's eyes
The terrified shriek sent Hawkeye running from the kitchen into the living room. Six-year-old Abigail was sitting on the floor holding up a bloody wrist.
Hawkeye felt a gallon of adrenaline jolt through his system. "Abigail!" He gasped, taking the cut and examining it. It wasn't deep, that much he could tell. But he'd need to clean it to find out if it needed stitches.
"OK, Abs." Hawkeye picked her up and carried her to the bathroom.
"Do I need stitches?" Abigail sniffled.
"I don't think so." Hawkeye sat his daughter on the counter and took a bottle of rubbing alcohol from under the sink. "All right, sweetie, this is going to sting a little." He dumped some alcohol onto the gauze pad and gently applied it to the wound.
Abigail started to cry again. "It's OK, it's OK." Hawkeye gently removed the pad and looked at the area again. He breathed a sigh of relief. It had looked worse than it was, and it was a horizontal cut rather than a vertical one.
"Can you make a fist for me, sweetie?" Hawkeye demonstrated.
Abigail followed suit. "Why?"
Why. She always wants to know why. "Because it'll stop the bleeding." Hawkeye quickly wound some more gauze around the wound.
"Will I be OK?"
Hawkeye glanced up from his task. "Yes, honey, you'll be just fine." A thought occurred to him: how had his first-grader wound up with a bloody wrist? "Abigail, how did you cut yourself?" He taped the bandage.
"On the banister," Abigail sniffed. "There's a nail sticking out of it."
A nail?Hawkeye shuddered. It could have killed her.
"Daddy, don't cry." Abigail reached her arms around his neck. "I promise not to do it again."
Hawkeye sniffed back his tears. "I'm not mad at you, Abs," he assured his daughter. "But a cut on your wrist like that can be very dangerous, OK? I just didn't want anything to happen to you."
He felt Abigail nod against his shoulder.
I could have lost her, Hawkeye thought as he clutched Abigail tighter. She's the only reason I didn't destroy myself after Korea. If anything ever happens to this little girl I won't be far behind.The idea was almost too much to bear.
"Can I let my fist out now?"
Hawkeye laughed. "Yes, Abigail. You can."
It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes
Hawkeye looked up from the paperwork he was signing. "Hey, Abigail. What brings you by the office?" Since turning thirteen, Abigail had taken to going straight home after school instead of staying at the office until her dad was done for the day.
"Are you busy?" Abigail looked decidedly uncomfortable.
"Not too busy for you," Hawkeye smiled at his daughter.
Abigail stepped into the examination room and shut the door. She took a deep breath and rushed out: "I got my period today."
Hawkeye nodded. "OK."
Abigail opened her eyes. "OK?"
"OK," Hawkeye repeated.
Abigail blinked. "Seriously?"
Hawkeye couldn't stop a chuckle. "What did you expect me to say, honey? I knew this was coming when I saw you were a girl."
Abigail relaxed visibly.
"Did you talk to your Aunt Louise?"
Abigail nodded. "Yes. She, uh…she helped." She paused. "You're awfully calm about this. Aunt Louise said Uncle Trap had no idea what to do when Becky got her period."
Hawkeye choked back a snicker and stood to hug his daughter. "Did you really think something like this would be foreign territory to a doctor?"
"You're a surgeon, Dad. Not a gynecologist." Abigail's voice was muffled by his shirt.
Hawkeye smiled wryly to himself. Ah, if only she knew. "Don't forget, I was married to your mother."
"Ew!" Abigail jerked out of the hug. "That's disgusting!"
Hawkeye laughed. "That your mom and I were married?"
"No! That you and Mom were married and…you're gross!" Abigail bolted from the office.
"See you at home!" Hawkeye called after her.
Not two seconds later Trapper appeared in the doorway. "What was that all about?" He asked, his Boston accent not dulled in the slightest by seven years in Crabapple Cove.
Hawkeye turned his gaze on his friend. "Thirteen. A funny age. You're old enough to realize your parents had sex and young enough to think it's weird.
And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
"You might as well just fold, Dad."
Hawkeye narrowed his eyes at his eighteen-year-old. She returned it with a teasingly self-satisfied smile. Something else of mine she inherited.
Dramatically, Hawkeye laid his cards on the table. Sure enough, his little girl had just beaten him at poker. Again.
"Man, I wish we were playing with real money," Abigail said.
"I don't," Hawkeye countered. "I'd have lost my entire practice by now."
Hawkeye feigned annoyance. "Nobody gets pleased with herself like you, you know that?"
"So you want to play again, Dad?" Abigail asked with a playfully malicious glint in her blue eyes.
"I think not." Hawkeye stood from the table. "I'd like to end today with some of my pride intact, if you don't mind. Besides, I hear the winner has to buy the ice cream."
"I guess it's the least I can do." Abigail stood up. She'll be as tall as me by high school graduation. I know it.
"Where'd you learn to play cards like that anyway?" Hawkeye asked as they exited the house into the hot July evening.
Abigail shrugged. "I don't know; some guy."
"Well he must have been some teacher." Hawkeye slung his arm around his daughter's shoulders.
Abigail reached up to clasp his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder. "Oh, he is." She glanced up. "Other than that, though, he's kind of a rake."
"A rake?" Hawkeye laughed at Abigail's characterization of him. "Get in the car, Abs."
Abigail dashed over to the car.
In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
Hawkeye adjusted his bow tie and tapped on the bride's room door. "Abigail?" He'd hoped to get some alone time with his baby girl before the ceremony started, but it was looking like a lost cause.
"Yeah, Dad. Come in," Abigail's muted voice answered.
Hawkeye quietly opened the door. Abigail was adjusting her veil in the mirror. When he entered she turned and faced him.
Hawkeye gasped. His daughter looked like an angel in the flowing white dress with her jet black hair streaming over her shoulders. And her eyes—those brilliant, vibrant blue eyes—radiated a joy and happiness that Hawkeye doubted had ever been approached by any other bride past or present.
"Oh, honey," Hawkeye murmured as his vision blurred. "You look so beautiful."
"Stop it, Dad." Abigail fell back on flippancy. Just like he would have. "You'll make me blush."
Hawkeye stepped forward and took her delicate hands in his. "Abs, if you want out, you can do it," he said. "I won't be angry with you and neither will anyone else. We can walk out of this church right now and nobody will think less of you for it."
Abigail's grin grew wider and she shook her head. "No way, Dad."
Hawkeye drew her into a hug. He was the man in his little girl's life no longer. He was about to turn the reins over to someone else. Now it was another man's job to take care of her and protect her. Something inside began to ache.
"I love you, Daddy," Abigail whispered.
Hawkeye kissed her cheek, careful not to smudge her makeup. "I love you too, my beautiful one." He pulled back, put on a brave smile and offered his elbow. "Shall we?"
Trapper slowly approached the lone mourner standing by the coffin. "Abs." He put his hand on her shoulder.
"It's not fair," Abigail lamented in a strained, tight voice. "He wasn't supposed to go yet."
Trapper turned the woman around and held her in his arms. She was right, it wasn't fair. Seventy was old, but not old enough. Not when the elder Dr. Pierce had lived to ninety, dying only two years earlier.
They stood in silence for a little while. Then Trapper spoke. "Abigail, your dad wanted me to tell you something for him."
Abigail sniffed and looked up. It wasn't much of a reach, seeing as she was nearly as tall as Trapper.
Trapper took a breath, hoping he could get through the message without breaking down. "Honey, when your dad got back from Korea, he was a wreck," the elderly doctor began. "He was depressed, he had anxiety attacks, he drank a lot…once he even tried to kill himself."
Abigail gasped. "What?"
Trapper held up a hand for silence. "When your mom died, I thought for sure he'd just tear himself apart." The tears were starting to form. "But he didn't, honey. He didn't give up because he had you. You needed him, and he loved you.
"I know you're sad that he's gone." Trapper's control was crumbling. "I am too. But believe me, Abigail: if not for you, he'd have died a long time ago. You made him so happy. He loved every moment of being your dad. You gave him a reason to live and bought him thirty-five years. That's half his life."
Abigail caught her "uncle" up in a tight hug. "Thank you, Uncle Trap," she rasped. "Thank you so much."
Trapper hugged her back and decided to make a small attempt at levity. "Don't forget, he'll never be dead as long as you're alive."
The attempt worked. Abigail laughed as she pulled out of the hug. Trapper looked into her eyes for a moment. Hawk's eyes.Eyes full of warmth and laughter and kindness and good-spirited joking.
No, he'll never be gone as long as she's here, Trapper thought. As long as Abigail's eyes are seeing, Hawkeye Pierce will always be alive.
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy she made me
For I'll be there in my daughter's eyes