Author's Note: This story should be read after "It Takes a Teenager to Tell" due to it being the story of Cora O'Lanny while she is at the 4077th. The story starts while she is still in post-op. Some of the things that happened in "It Takes a Teenager to Tell" are different in this story. Sorry if this causes confusion. Also, the whole Hawkeye going crazy in "Goodbye Farewell and Amen" thing: pretend it never happened. Okay? Thanks for reading!
"The Youngest Army Nurse"
Cora laid in her bed in post-op after hearing the news about Hawkeye and Margaret's engagement. She was proud of herself for helping Hawkeye tell Margaret how he felt, but she wasn't expecting an engagement announcement the same night.
About 12 hours later, Cora had fallen asleep after Kellye had given her the morphine. The pain was still bad in her leg, arm, head, and stomach, but it was a little better with the medicine. She was having one of the worst nightmares that she had ever had. She was back on the front after managing to get out of Kimpo Airbase without being seen. Then the shell landed right in front of her. The same one that had done all this damage to her. Cora let out a scream in her dream like she had in real life. But, evidently the scream wasn't just in her dream. Hawkeye, who was on post-op duty, came racing over to her cot and woke her up. She started crying as she thought of her dream and noticed the pain of her wounds again. "Cora, it's okay, it's okay." Hawkeye tried to calm her down. He kept repeating "it's okay, it's okay." as he held her and sort of rocked her back and forth as gently as he could. It was beginning to take affect though, because she stopped breathing hard and looked at Hawkeye. "It's okay, you're halfway safe here." He tried his hardest to give some comfort to the crying girl in front of him.
Cora cried into Hawkeye's shoulder for about five minutes before both BJ and Margaret ran into post-op. "Is everything okay, what happened?!" Margaret ran over to sit by her fiancé and Cora. "We were in the mess tent and we heard a scream, it sounded like you." She looked at Cora who's eyes were reddened with tear stains. "Are you okay?"
"She just had a bad nightmare . I think she'll be alright. Will you?" Hawkeye asked Cora.
"I think so. I'm sorry I caused such a commotion." Cora felt guilty about getting everyone worried.
"That's okay kid. You're just sort of making us all worried. Having a fourteen year old girl in camp is pretty odd." BJ couldn't believe that Erin would be that old in what would seem like no time whatsoever.
"Try to get some rest. You're gonna be here for at least another week while those stitches heal." Margaret gently pushed Cora back so she was laying down again. Hawkeye and BJ had already gone. BJ went to write another letter to Peg.
"Major, can I ask you something?" Cora wanted to talk to her about something that she really wanted to do.
"Sure, but only if you call me Margaret." Margaret was really beginning to like Cora and Cora was really beginning to trust and like Margaret.
"Well, when I found out that my dad was killed in Korea, I really wanted to, you know, be a part of what happens here where you piece the guys back together. I want to help out around here, when I'm better. Is it possible that I'll be able to stay here and help out?"
Margaret looked thoughtful. "You mean, you WANT to stay here?"
"Yeah, I want to help out guys like my dad." Cora was worried that she wouldn't be able to. "Besides, I don't have any family at home anymore. I don't have anywhere to go. I'd like to help here and have a place to live."
"I'll see what I can do." Margaret started walking out.
"Oh, Maj-" Cora corrected herself, "Margaret!"
"Yeah," she turned around, "what is it?"
"Congratulations on the engagement!"
"Thanks. Hawkeye told me that you got him to build up the courage to tell how he feels about me." Margaret came back and sat on Cora's bed.
"Yes ma'am. I noticed that he looked at you different than all the other nurses. When he looks at you, he has a twinkle in his eye and when he looks at all the other nurses, it's almost like he doesn't want them to be there."
"Really? Well, you get some rest okay." She got up to go to her tent again, but Cora stopped her for a second.
"Major, when I came in here, did I have a bag with me?" asked Cora.
"Yeah, actually, that's right under here." She walked over to the bed again and bent down to get the bag from under Cora's cot.
"Oh, thank you VERY much Major." Margaret looked at her in a mock annoyed look. "Oh yeah, Margaret…Sorry."
"That's okay. What's in there anyway?" She looked at the bulge in the bag.
"My two favorite things." She pulled out a bear first that had a little set of Army Fatigues on. "Jeffey, named after my dad Jeff, and" she pulled out a family picture from when she was about three years old. "Our last family portrait. We just never got around to getting a new one taken. That's my mom and my dad. And that's me. Wow, I looked so funny then. Even more so than I do now." She pointed to the people in the picture as she showed Margaret.
"You don't look funny there. You look like you were pretty sweet." Margaret noticed how happy they all looked before the war had affected all of their lives. "But, I'm gonna leave you and Jeffey alone now, you need your rest. If you need anything though, you can talk to Lieutenant Nakahara over there." She pointed to Kellye. "Now, go to sleep."
"Yes ma'am." Cora chuckled and threw a funny salute with her good arm.
"You've been around Hawkeye for not that long and already you're acting like him? Oh, boy." Margaret laughed as she walked out of post-op and back to her tent where Hawkeye surprised her with homemade fudge from his dad.
Later that day
Cora had fallen asleep shortly after Margaret had left. She had her teddy bear in her arms for the first time since she had stowed away from her house in Tokyo. As she was sleeping, both Hawkeye and Margaret had gone in for post-op duty. Margaret had seen Cora and called Hawkeye over. "Look at her; you would never guess that she was in Korea with more tubes in her than a radio. She looks like a little angel."
Just then, Cora's little nap got horrific. She was having a dream about the week after they had said goodbye to her father, and she and her mother were in the kitchen again. Her mother was as white as a ghost and crying. She was worried about her husband being killed in Korea and then having to be a single mother if he did. She got up and walked to the counter. She grabbed the knife and held it to her chest. Cora screamed for her mom to stop as she realized what was happening, but it was too late. The blade was already pierced into her heart and she was gone. "MOM!" Cora yelled as she woke up suddenly.
Margaret ran over to her bed. "What happened? Are you okay?" She was concerned about her new friend.
"I had a dream that I was back in Tokyo…the week after my dad was shipped out. I saw my mother kill herself again. It was horrible." she started to cry again as she hugged her teddy bear.
"It's okay, it'll be alright. I know that you don't believe me now, but trust me, things will get better. I promise you." Margaret tried to give her a little comfort as she stroked Cora's hair motherly.
"I hope so. Say, have you talked to Colonel Potter yet about me staying?"
"Yep, I did. He said it would be alright. There is one exception though." Margaret told her as Cora's still-upset-about-her-dream face broke into a smile.
"Well, you have to be my maid of honor at my wedding." she chuckled.
"But I'm only 14. Don't you have a friend who's more your age that you would like to have as your maid of honor?" Cora didn't really know why she was asking her.
"Well, if it weren't for you, Hawkeye might not have told me how he felt. I owe my happiness to you." Margaret looked lovingly at Hawkeye who was tending to the North Korean that BJ was working on the day before.
"I'd be honored. Thanks."
"No, I should be thanking you."
"Okay, that works too I guess. Oh yeah, I wanted to ask you, when do you think I'll be able to get out of bed. I can't wait to see what the camp looks like." Cora was always curious about new places.
"Well, you should be alright to get out of bed and move into the nurses tent in about a week. You'll still have the stitches, but you'll be able to be with the other girls and get to know them. You just won't be able to work for about another week after that. As for seeing what the camp looks like, well you can do that right now if you want to. Do you feel up to it?"
"Yeah I do." Cora was kind of excited about it.
"Good. Corpsman, can I get a wheel chair over here?!" pretty soon the wheelchair was over by Cora's cot and she maneuvered herself into it. Her leg hurt more now than her arm or stomach. Her head was still throbbing a little bit, but not as bad as before.
"Klinger, can you show her around the camp?"
"Of course Major. No sweat." Cora saw the guy who was talking.
'Wait a minute, that guy's wearing a dress!' Cora thought. 'He's crazy!'
"Hi, I'm Corporal Klinger, hopefully soon to be civilian Klinger." Maxwell Q. Klinger introduced himself to her.
"I'm Cora. Let me guess, Section 8 wanna-be?" she said as she held her arm out to shake his hand.
"You're pretty bright. How did you know?"
"Before my dad died, he wrote a letter about a guy in his unit that was trying the same thing. Good luck with that."
"Thanks, I need it." Klinger started pushing her wheelchair around. First they went to the mess tent and then to the 'Swamp' where Cora got involved with a poker game and met Sydney Freedman and Major Winchester. She left the 'Swamp' with about twenty five more dollars than she had entering it. Basically, she left the 'Swamp' with money rather than going in with none. She just bet one of her hair ribbons that she kept on her wrist.
After the 'Swamp', they went to the nurses quarters to see where Cora would be living and then they went to see Sophie. "There's actually a horse here! No way!" Cora was very excited about it. She absolutely loved horses.
"You ride?" Klinger asked.
"I won two equestrian competitions at the Milford Saddle Club. What's her name?"
"Sophie. She's the colonel's horse. I'm sure he would let you ride her when you get better."
"That would be nice. I would be ever so grateful. Hey Klinger, can we go back to post-op? I don't feel too good."
"Of course." Klinger took Cora back to post-op and helped her back in bed. Then he went to work on an evening dress in his tent.
Shortly after Cora had gotten back to her cot in post-op, a short guy with glasses and a wool cap came by her bed. "Hi, I'm Radar. I'm the company clerk here. I thought maybe you would like to play checkers or something."
"Yeah, sure. Thanks. I'm Cora." She shook his offered hand and he sat down. Then he pulled two bottles of grape nehi from his coat.
"Do you like grape nehi?" Radar offered her a bottle.
"Yeah, I like strawberry nehi better, but grape is good too. Thanks." After about two hours of playing game after game of checkers, Margaret came over to the end of her bed and checked the clip board that hung on it.
"Sorry guys, but I think Cora should get some rest. Come on you two, pack it up." Margaret, teasingly, acted like she was talking to two six year olds.
"Well, I'll see you later Cora." Radar went to leave.
"Bye Radar. Don't forget, you owe me a grape nehi!" Cora had won all but two of the checker games.
"You got it!" He went to type up the daily report. Colonel Potter had told him to skip the part that said a fourteen year old girl was at the 4077th. Although, both Radar and Colonel Potter had said it at the same time.
Back in post-op, Cora went back to sleep. Something that she was actually kind of scared to do, that is until Hawkeye agreed to sit and talk with her until she did fall asleep. They talked about their home towns and how they were alike. They both lived in big tourist traps and loved the water. Cora loved Lake Michigan and Hawkeye loved the Atlantic Ocean. "I really didn't grow up in Muskegon though." Cora told Hawkeye. "I just lived there for a couple of months. Really, I grew up in Okoboji, Iowa. Well, Milford actually."
"Really? Radar's from Ottumwa. I wonder if he's been there?"
"I think everyone in Iowa has been to Okoboji. I don't get it though, there's nothing to do. I just said that Muskegon was my hometown because I lived there before we had to move to Tokyo. I also liked it the best. I really did like Milford though. It seems like it's worlds away though. Not just a few thousand miles. I left my best friend there. Her name was Margaret too." Soon after they had that conversation, she dozed off due to the morphine that Kellye had given her.
A week later
"Well Cora, are you ready?" Margaret asked her as she took her stuff for her and walked to the nurses quarters where Cora would live.
"I think so. The only nurse other than you that I've met was Kellye. I hope they like me." Cora was nervous. She didn't have to make friends often. In fact, she really only had to do it once when she was in Milford since she lived there for about eight years. She lived in Muskegon in the summer when school was out, so she just stayed with her family all the time. Then, she was only in Tokyo for about a month before she stowed away to Korea.
"What's not to like?" Margaret opened the door and Cora walked in. The light was off and since it was about 9:00 at night, it was dark in the tent.
"Um, where's the light?" She knew there had to be a light in there somewhere.
"SURPRISE!" all the nurses yelled in unison as the light came on.
"What's this?" Cora was shocked. She had never had a surprise party before. She had thrown a couple for her parents, but she had never had one of her own.
"We wanted to make you feel more at home!" One of the nurses said as she came to talk to Cora. "I'm Rachelle."
"Nice to meet you."
"Hawkeye told me that you were actually from Milford. Were you a Milford Pioneer at any time?"
"Yeah, I was, for about eight years actually. How did you know they were the Pioneers?" Cora was absolutely baffled by ANYONE knowing even what Milford, IA was.
"My cousin went there. I'm from Spencer. I was a Tiger."
"Really? That's what my mom was! This is so cool."
"Yeah, well. I called my cousin and told her about you and she sent me this to make you feel more at home." as Rachelle said that, Kellye came up behind her and handed Cora a 'Milford Pioneer's' banner. It was maroon with white letters. The school colors. It also had the mascot on it. A pioneer.
"This is so amazing. Thanks." Cora was stunned. She had a great time that night and had gotten settled in to her top bunk. She hung the banner by her bed and Jeffey even liked it there. She still treated that bear like it was real. She was really beginning to like this place. Tomorrow, she would start her 'nurse lessons'. She was going to help out in the O.R. both by carrying the litters in and also by assisting the doctors when there weren't enough nurses. She was actually excited by that.
The next day
"So, this is a Kelly clamp right?" Cora was in Margaret's (soon to be Hawkeye and Margaret's) tent learning what all the surgical instruments were.
"Good job. Now, what's this?" Margaret held up another instrument.
"Good job, what about this?" She held up another one.
"That is a ah…um, oh, a rib spreader." Cora couldn't think of it for a minute.
"Good job. Well, that's about it. You know what all the instruments are."
"Well, I learned from the best." Cora laughed.
"No brownie points."
"That's better. Come back tomorrow at the same time okay?"
"Okay. Thanks for teaching me this stuff."
"Not a problem. Besides, we seem to always need help around here."
"Yeah, I've noticed. How many wounded do you get everyday?" Cora had noticed that they had O.R. about ever day while she was in post-op.
"It depends, but sometimes we can have sessions that last for three or four days. That's when we have a LOT of wounded. Those days are pretty hard, but luckily, the nurses get a few brakes. Not a lot, I'm talking maybe two a day and those are for about ten minutes. It takes a lot out of you."
"Wow. That sounds fun." Cora said sarcastically.
"Very." Margaret responded in the same sarcastic tone. "How about we go get some lunch?" She started for the door.
"Right behind you." Cora followed her out the door and into the mess tent. They got their food and found a place to sit by Hawkeye. "Okay, this is kind of awkward, I'll see you later. I'm sitting by the nurses or something."
"How come?" Hawkeye asked knowing perfectly well why.
"Because you and Margaret need to GET A ROOM! Can you come up for air and stay up sometimes?" Cora said laughing. Since Cora sat down, Hawkeye grabbed Margaret and started kissing her.
"Sorry." Hawkeye said and then started kissing Margaret again.
"Oh boy. See ya'." Cora moved to sit by the other nurses. They really made her feel welcome. They seemed to like her and Cora liked the nurses too. Lunch turned out to not be that bad. They had a pretty funny conversation about past lunches. Cora just listened since this was the first meal she had had since she was on an I.V. The wound she got in her stomach messed with her bowel evidently. (that's what Hawkeye said, she didn't know what that meant). Halfway through lunch, Cora watched Hawkeye and Margaret leave and head to her tent. 'Gee, I wonder what they're up to?!' Cora thought. She kind of chuckled and looked back at her meal.
"I love you Margaret." Hawkeye said in between kisses.
"I love you too Hawk." Margaret wrapped her arms around her fiancé. "We need to think of a date for the wedding."
Hawkeye thought for a minute but looked into Margaret's eyes. "The sooner the better."
"My thought exactly. How about a week from today?"
"I think that's a wonderful idea." They started kissing again and didn't stop for quite a while. Then they walked out of Margaret's tent and headed towards the office.
"Radar, can we borrow the PA again?" Margaret asked.
"Yes ma'am. Here you go." He was starting to get a little more comfortable around her because since she accepted Hawkeye's proposal, she was much friendlier.
"Attention all personnel: Hawkeye here. I just thought I would announce that Margaret and my wedding is going to be one week from today at 3:00. Will Cora, BJ, Charles, Klinger, Father Mulcahy, and Colonel Potter please come to the office. That is all and no wounded!"
"What's up guys?" Cora walked into the office with the rest of the gang right behind her.
"Well, we just wanted to have a meeting with our friends. Also, we wanted to talk to you guys about decorating, and I guess other stuff." Hawkeye looked at Margaret.
"Well, the whole wedding plans actually. I was thinking that maybe we could all dress in class A's, but then I got to thinking about you." She looked at Cora.
"Don't worry, I'll think of something. Maybe somebody has an extra set. I'll talk to one of the nurses."
"Oh, wait a minute, I never even thought of that. Why don't you just wear my extra set. I'm sure Klinger would pin it up for you." She looked at Klinger who nodded his head.
Then Hawkeye took charge and started pacing while he 'barked out orders'. "BJ: I'm putting you in charge of decorating. Charles: I'm putting you in charge of music. Colonel Potter: You're in charge of setting up the mess tent with the benches and stuff. Father Mulcahy: You are, of course in charge of marrying us. And Cora: I'm putting you in charge of the cake since you told me you're a pretty good cook and there's no way I'm letting Igor in charge of it. Radar: You're in charge of the refreshments. And Klinger, you're in charge of the clothes. Any questions?" They all just gapped at him while Margaret just laughed her head off where she was sitting on the desk. Everyone thought she was going to fall off.
"Hawkeye, do you hear yourself? Just relax. Everything will be just fine. All we have to do is be married. I don't really care what everything else is like. As long as I'm with you." She got up and walked over to him.
"But, I wanted this wedding to be so much better than the one you had with Donald." Hawkeye looked into Margaret's eyes while everyone watched, feeling like they were watching a movie that just got to the mushy part.
"Hawkeye, this is already a better wedding than when it was with Donald."
"Because it will be with you." Margaret said before they fell into each other's arms and started kissing passionately.
"AWW!" The gang in the office joked while Hawkeye and Margaret kissed for what seemed like forever. They all thought it was so romantic that they snuck out and BJ and Cora watched through the windows laughing. That is, until Father Mulcahy and Klinger drug them away from it.
One week and one wedding/reception later
"Bye everyone!" Margaret called to the gang on the chopper pad as the blades started spinning and the pilot and Hawkeye motioned her in from her last minute see-ya-later's. "Bye Cora. Thanks again for making him tell me he loved me, and nice cake."
"Any time, Margaret. Now go, you'll miss your honeymoon." Cora gave Margaret a hug and then teasingly pushed a teary-eyed Major towards the chopper. Hawkeye gave Margaret his hand to help her up into it, and together they flew to Seoul where they got on a plane to Tokyo for a week-long honeymoon. "Okay guys," Cora said to the others at the pad, "let's go move some stuff." That day Cora, Colonel Potter, Charles, BJ, Klinger, Father Mulcahy, and Radar moved all of Hawkeye's stuff into Margaret's tent and rearranged things so they fit better.
"Who wants to redo the sign?" BJ took the 'MAJ. M. HOULIHAN: KNOCK BEFORE ENTERING' sign off the door and held it up.
"I will Beej!" Cora took the sign and headed for the supply room to get some paint. When she came back, she had a small can of white paint and painted: 'CAPT. H. & MAJ. M. PIERCE: KNOCK BEFORE ENTERING'. "How's that?" She held it up when she was sure it was dry.
"Perfect." BJ hung it back up on the door. "Now what?"
"Well, I guess, we just wait until they come back. It won't be the same without Hawkeye or Margaret here." Colonel Potter answered before he headed back to the office. Soon after, everyone headed to where they were supposed to be. Radar hung back with Cora and they got to talking.
"I hear you're from Ottumwa."
"Yeah. Hawkeye told me you were really from Iowa too. Where at?" Radar asked.
"Milford. In Northwest Iowa. Have you heard of it?" Cora knew not a lot of people had ever heard of the small town that she was really from.
"Of course I've heard of it. I've been there before. I have a cousin who lives there. I used to go to Camp Foster when I was a kid. Also I caught my first pet at Lake Okoboji."
"What was it?"
"A raccoon." Radar shrugged when Cora looked amazed. "I begged my Uncle Ed to get my mom to say that I could keep it." Radar and Cora talked about Iowa for a long time, but they were interrupted by the PA announcements saying there were wounded on the way.
Cora helped with the litters and a little in the O.R. They were pretty short handed, so she helped out as much as she could. It was Cora's first O.R. session, and it ran for more than four days straight. She would run out to the kitchen and get coffee and sandwiches for the doctors and nurses. Then she would take over for the very tired nurses every so often so they could get a half hour of sleep ever twenty hours. During the whole ordeal, she herself didn't get any more than three hours in the whole four days. Colonel Potter, BJ, Charles, and the whole nursing staff were so grateful for her. There were so many wounded, that the 'Swamp', Officer's Club, Mess tent, and VIP tent was filled with wounded along with Post-Op. After the four days were over and the whole camp had caught up on their sleep, (No one slept as long as Cora did though) the 4077th was back to as normal as it could be. Especially when Hawkeye and Margaret came back from their, evidently enjoyable, honeymoon.
Two Months Later
Cora and Margaret were having breakfast in the Mess Tent before the wounded came. Colonel Potter had told them to eat quick since there were wounded on the way. And lots of them. "So, how do you like it now that you're on 20 hour shifts?" Margaret asked.
"I still love it here. At home, I would basically just be reading all the time. Then after dad left, I started crocheting. My best friend in Milford, Margaret, showed me how. Haha, I just realized something."
"Both of my best friend's names are Margaret."
"Thanks. I used to have a friend named Cora too in Fort Ripley." Margaret commented. Cora was going to reply by saying that Fort Ripley was her favorite Army base that she had been on, but before she could, Margaret looked like she was going to be sick, and ran out of the tent and to the latrine. She followed her out of the tent and to the back of the latrine where she got sick.
"Are you alright. This is the third time I've seen you get sick in three days."
"There's a reason for that." Margaret got up and headed to the scrub room to wash her face and talk to Cora.
"What's the reason?"
As soon as they got in the scrub room and Margaret looked to see if anyone was in earshot, she said "Because, well, the Major is gonna have a minor." She said with a huge smile on her face.
"Congratulations!" Cora gave Margaret a big hug and jokingly said to her stomach, "Sorry, excuse me."
"Thanks." Margaret couldn't stop smiling.
"Have you told Hawkeye yet?"
"No, I'm going to tonight though. It's our two month anniversary so, I figured it would be a good time."
"How do you know you're pregnant?"
"I went to Seoul a few days ago and got a test."
"That's why you were gone. That makes sense."
"Attention all personnel: Incoming wounded. All medical teams report to triage on the double." The PA system spoke the dreaded words.
"I'll see you later." Cora ran into pre-op while Margaret went to her tent to get something to tie her hair up.
There were only about fifteen wounded that day, so it didn't take long. After O.R., Hawkeye and Margaret went to their tent. Margaret didn't know how she was going to tell Hawkeye about the new arrival, so she was going to wing it. "Hawkeye," Margaret sat him on one of the cots that they had pushed together and sat next to him, "do you ever wonder what this place would be like if there was a, oh I don't know, a kid around?"
Hawkeye was puzzled at this. "What you mean? We do have a kid around: Cora. She's fourteen, I would call her a kid."
"Hawkeye," she took his hand and put it on her stomach. "I mean one a little younger, and one of ours."
He got it that time. "Haha!! Really? Oh, Margaret that's wonderful!" Hawkeye was thrilled. He grabbed her and hugged her and didn't want to let go. Suddenly, the same thought hit them at the same time.
"You know what it means though. Automatic discharge. Hawkeye, I don't want to leave you. That's the last thing I want to do." She squeezed him tight and held on to him like someone was going to take her away from him at that very moment.
"I know honey. I don't want you to have to leave either." He stroked her back like he always did when she was upset. "Why don't we go talk to Colonel Potter."
"Okay." Her voice was barely above a whisper and shaky with the tears that were on the verge of spilling out. She just did NOT want to leave Hawkeye. They got up and walked to the CO's office.
"Colonel Potter?" Hawkeye knocked on the door.
"Come on in Pierce." He saw Margaret was there too and added chuckling, "oh, you too um, other Pierce."
"Hi Colonel." She smiled and took Hawkeye's hand again struggling to talk through the lump in her throat.
"Colonel, we have some really good news that can actually turn into bad news with the affect of the good news. You follow?" Hawkeye tried to explain without sounding too much like Radar.
"I think so. What is it?" He got up to stand in front of both Hawkeye and Margaret who were still by the door. "Come on in first."
"I'm pregnant Colonel. For real this time. I even had an actual lab test done." She said with tears of joy leaking from her eyes.
"Well, congratulations Margaret." He gave her a big hug. "Why are you crying though?"
"Because, it means an automatic discharge." Margaret choked out before Hawkeye put his hand on her shoulder caringly.
"Well, I would have to say that you should be able to stay. I mean, your husband is right here and you're pretty safe at a MASH unite." Colonel Potter told them as smiles started spreading across there faces again.
"But, when I thought I was pregnant before, you said I was going to HAVE to go. What changed?"
"I don't want to have to see the happiest couple be split apart when something like this is going on. When you thought you were pregnant the first time, you and Donald were having a lot of trouble. Besides, that's when I cared more about the Army regulations." They all got a kick out of that one.
"So, what's the verdict? Is she staying?" Hawkeye knew the answer, but he wanted to hear it for real so he could get the idea across even more.
"Yes, she's staying and the 4077th will have a little bundle of joy in a few months." He gave Margaret another hug and lead them out of the door. "Now, I think you have an announcement to make."
Hawkeye and Margaret both laughed and Hawkeye picked up the PA mic. "Attention: Hawkeye here. I thought I would make an announcement from both myself and my beautiful wife here." He gave Margaret the 'stare' that made her crazy. "Well, maybe you should hear this from her."
"Hawkeye and I are going to have a BABY!" Margaret was so excited that she basically screamed it into the mic.
"Not only that, but she doesn't have to be discharged." Hawkeye added. Not long after, BJ, Charles, Radar, Father Mulcahy, Klinger, and Cora came running into the office. Cora had already known, but was still excited about it. She was also happy about Margaret going to be able to stay. Everyone congratulated them and that night they had a party at the officer's club. Everyone had beer, scotch, or martinis except for Cora, Radar, and of course Margaret who all had Grape Nehi.
5 months later
Margaret was about seven months pregnant and everyone was having fun preparing for the new arrival that would come in about two months. Cora had crocheted a pink and blue baby blanket for it and BJ and Hawkeye built it a crib. The nurses had given Margaret a lot of clothes for either a boy or a girl and Colonel Potter had Mildred send Margaret his daughter's old maternity clothes about four months earlier. Everyone was excited for the baby to come. Especially Margaret who was beginning to get tired very easily. Also, her ankles were swelling and her back started hurting all the time. She was keeping up in O.R. though. Cora would cover for her a lot, but that was because Hawkeye made her go rest every two hours. He was just looking out for her and Margaret actually wasn't being her usual stubborn self. She let him baby her as much as he wanted. He would massage her back and rub her feet at night and read to the baby from The Last of the Mohicans. (And give Margaret a good laugh while he did it)
One night, when Hawkeye had to work at Post-Op all night, Margaret was walking past, what she thought was the empty nurses tent. But, before she got all the way by it, she heard a little whimper. She opened the door and walked into the dark tent. "Hello?" She heard the whimper again and realized that it was coming from Cora's bunk. She turned the light on and then walked over to the human-shaped lump that was on the bed. "Cora?" She gently moved the hair that was in front of Cora's tear filled face. "Cora, what's wrong?"
"Nothing." was all she was able to get out before she started crying again.
"You know, I'm not a mom in the 'actually having the kid there' sense of the word yet, but I do know that when a kid is crying, it usually means that something is the matter."
"It's nothing, really." Cora dug her face into the pillow again.
"Come on, what is it?" Margaret wanted to know what was going on so she might be able to help.
"It's just that…last night…all the nurses were talking about where they would be when the war was over. About their homes. That just made me realize that, I don't have a home anymore. This place is…well…this is it." She looked around the tent with a little whimper. "Before I was six, we always lived in one of those vans that people used to camp in. We were in a different camp ground every other week. We just didn't have the money for a house, or even an apartment. The house that we had in Milford was small, but it was so nice. My parents painted my room so it looked like an acreage. My mom was a good painter. She painted this horse on the door that looked like Sophie. Then in Muskegon, we lived in the hotel the entire time. And in Tokyo, we just lived in a tiny apartment by the PX." Margaret listened intently to Cora's story as she leaned on one of the corner poles of the bunk bed. "I never felt like I was worth much. Here, I do though. But the war won't last forever. I mean, on one hand, I want it to end soon for you, Hawkeye, and the baby. But on the other hand, I kind of wish that it will last until I'm eighteen, so I can live on my own. And not have to be in foster care, or in an orphanage when it's all over…"
"Things will be fine, I promise you." Margaret pulled back the hair that had fallen into Cora's face again. Cora moved her head to look at her.
"How do you know? About me having things good after the war?" her voice cracked with the tears coming. "Tell me, where will you be when the war is over?"
"In Crabapple Cove."
"Right. You'll be with Hawkeye, and depending on when the war is over, with the new baby. I don't know where I'll be. My parents were both only children. My grandparents are all dead. My parents are both…gone. I don't have any siblings. Margaret, I'm the last O'Lanny. I have nowhere to go. The last ties I have to my parents are my teddy bear and the family portrait. I just don't have a clue what I'll do."
"I don't know Cora, but I do promise you that you'll be alright. I'll make sure of it."
"Thanks." Cora jumped down from her bed and gave her a hug.
"Just remember, I promised."
"I will. I'll hold you to it." They both laughed and walked to the mess tent to get something to eat. Margaret had a peanut butter, jelly, ketchup, and anchovy sandwich.
Cora almost puked when she saw it. "How can you eat that?!"
"It sounds so good." She took a bite. "Mmm…tastes good too."
"Ugh." Cora gagged.
Two months later
The walls of all the tents, O.R., post-op, pre-op, and Colonel Potter's office shook as the 4077th received shell after shell from the North Koreans in the mountains. Radar got on the PA. "Attention all personnel: BUG OUT!" While the rest of the personnel packed up, Hawkeye ran into Colonel Potter's office.
"Colonel, can I see you?"
"Make it quick Pierce." He was packing some of the files from the cabinet.
"What about Margaret? She's due tomorrow. I'm worried about her Colonel." He started pacing across the floor.
"Hawkeye," Colonel Potter grabbed his arm and made him stop pacing. "I can't imagine what you're going through. When Mildred had my daughter, we were in the states without all of these shells going off, and I was worried. I hope like hell that the baby will wait at least till we get settled back into camp after the bug out. But, even if it can't wait, I promise you Pierce, she'll be fine."
Hawkeye had a very worried look in his eyes, but thanked the Colonel and went to help pack in O.R. "Margaret, what are you doing here?" She was helping pack as well.
"I have to help, Captain."
"Look, I may only be a Caption, and you're a Major, but I'm also you're husband. You're husband that is begging you to take it easy. You're due tomorrow!"
"I'm sorry, I just feel so useless. For the last month, I've been sitting in our tent, while everyone else is with the wounded, knitting little things for the baby."
"I know, but you have to take it easy. Just sit over here and keep us company." he guided her to the chair in the O.R. and sat her down. "Stay."
"I know, I know. Fine."
Soon everything was packed and in the seven trucks and the wounded were in the three ambulances. BJ was driving and Hawkeye and Margaret were squished into the cab of the last big truck with him, when Margaret had a sharp pain in her abdomen. She winced and said "Not now." to her very rounded belly as she put her hand on it. She made sure to say it quietly, so Hawkeye wouldn't hear. She adjusted her helmet and put her head on Hawkeye's shoulder. He put his arm around her.
"You alright?" He was still very worried.
"I'm fine." She reassured him.
"Don't want to deliver your baby on the side of the road Hawk?" BJ asked sarcastically.
"I'd rather do it at a hospital in the states, but that's just me."
"Are you worried Margaret?" BJ asked her.
"Very." She sighed.
"You'll be fine. You're strong." He assured her.
"I hope you're right."
"He is Margaret. You'll do just fine." Hawkeye squeezed her shoulders as he kissed her on the cheek. Margaret looked at her watch to see what time the first contraction hit. Hopefully, they wouldn't be too close together and she could have the baby back at the 4077th when the bug out was over.
About half an hour later, another contraction hit. This one was a little stronger, but she made sure not make any sudden movements to make it obvious. She winced and took a deep breath. She though, 'God, I hope this is the last one for a very long time.' She was wrong though. Not twenty minutes later, a much stronger one hit. "Ahh." she yelped as it hit. She tried not to, but she couldn't help it.
"Margaret?" Hawkeye was WORRIED now. "Are you okay?"
"I think…I'm having…a contraction." She grabbed Hawkeye's arm rubbed her stomach with the other hand while her face twisted in pain. Hawkeye put his hand on her stomach and told her to breathe like she knew how she was supposed to.
"Is this the first one?" BJ asked.
"No, I think I've only had two before this one, but I've been having pains all day." She relaxed as the pain died down a little.
"Oh my God, BJ what are we going to do?" Hawkeye was extremely worried now. More so than before, which he didn't think was possible.
"Well, just relax for now and time the contractions." BJ basically screamed. He didn't mean to, but he was pretty nervous about this whole ordeal too.
Margaret put her head on Hawkeye's shoulder again. "Oh my God." she said under her breath.
"It'll be okay honey." He rubbed his hand on her stomach and kissed her cheek.
She put her hand over his. "I love you Benny." She had never called him that before.
"I love you too." He hugged her tight.
"I don't know about you, but I feel like I just walked into the mushy part of a movie." BJ chuckled as the other's joined in.
About half an hour and three contractions later
"We're here!" BJ stopped the truck behind the other six and the ambulances parked behind them. Colonel Potter came up to the door on BJ's side. "We found a place right up the road to set up a temporary camp. Just park it here for now."
"Um. Colonel, we might have a problem." BJ tried to be calm.
"What is it Hunnicutt?"
"Margaret went into labor a couple hours ago."
"How far apart are the contractions?" Colonel Potter asked with a worried look on her face.
"About eight minutes." Hawkeye responded.
"Okay, well keep her in there for a couple minutes and I'll get some guys to put the wounded in the tent their putting up now. Then we can put her in the ambulance." He walked to the other side of the truck and went to the door on Margaret's side. "How are you doing Margaret?"
"I'm…fine…Colonel." She squeezed Hawkeye's arm as another contraction hit.
"Hang in there Major. Just a little longer."
"Thanks Colonel." Not long after the first tent was up and Klinger, Radar, Father Mulcahy, and Cora all put the wounded in it, BJ and Hawkeye got out of the truck and went to the door on Margaret's side.
"Come on Margaret." Hawkeye helped her out a little before he picked her up and carried her to the ambulance where he laid her on the litter that was in the middle. A couple minutes later Margaret gasped as her water broke. Hawkeye went to tell Colonel Potter.
"Colonel, Margaret's water just broke. Is the O.R. tent almost up?" Hawkeye paced and paced. He almost started hyperventilating.
"Hawkeye," he grabbed him before he could pace any more, "relax will you. The tent won't be up for another hour, but she could just have the baby in the ambulance. You better get in there and help her though, it's gonna be pretty tough without the anesthesia."
"Don't we have any?"
"It's clear in the back of one of the trucks and it doesn't sound like there's much time before she has the baby."
"Okay well, are you going to help. I don't know if I can deliver my own kid. I'm shaking too much. Oh my God, what am I gonna do?" Hawkeye almost started to hyperventilate again.
"Pierce! Get a hold of yourself. I'm coming." Colonel Potter and Hawkeye ran back to the ambulance where Margaret was. Cora was holding her hand and BJ was checking how far dilated she was. Margaret looked like she was in a lot of pain.
"Honey, are you okay?" Hawkeye went back over to her and grabbed her hand as Cora got up to stand by Colonel Potter.
"Oh yeah, I'm fine." She went through another contraction.
"Sorry, stupid question."
Margaret chuckled, "You think?"
"Okay Margaret, on the next contraction you can push." BJ told an already exhausted Margaret. Hawkeye kissed her on the forehead and pushed the hair that was in her face out of the way. At the next contraction, both Hawkeye and Colonel Potter helped sit her up a little and she pushed as hard as she could. "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Okay, good job Margaret. Now breathe for a sec'."
"Hawkeye…I don't think I can do this!"
"You're doing fine sweet-hart."
After about three hours of pushing, the baby was almost out. "Okay Margaret, one more big push."
"I don't think I can!"
"Yes you can honey. You can do it. Come on, one more. We're almost there." Hawkeye urged her on while he and Colonel Potter helped sit her up again.
"What do you mean WE!?" She asked mock-viciously. Hawkeye laughed as she squeezed his hand tight. He stopped laughing when his hand crushed. "AHH!" She screamed as she gave all her effort into the final push.
"It's a girl!!" BJ yelled with excitement as the baby came out. Cora climbed in the ambulance with a big bowl of warm water, a few towels, and her bag that had her stuff in it.
"Here you go." She sat the towels and the water down.
"Thanks. Here you go daddy, want to cut the cord?" BJ handed him a pair of scissors.
"You bet I do." Hawkeye cut it and BJ took her to clean her off in the water.
"Waa!" The baby cried for her first time with her healthy set of lungs as BJ started to wrap her in the other towel.
"Here you go Mommy." He handed her to Margaret.
"Hi there. You look just like your father." She had tears of joy sliding down her cheeks.
"She has your nose Margaret." Hawkeye gently touched his daughter's nose. He had the same tears in his eyes almost slipping out.
"And your lungs." BJ chuckled looking at the baby's mother.
"Never mind." Margaret said mock-offended.
"You did good Honey." Hawkeye kissed Margaret's head.
"You did too." She laughed as she turned her head so she could kiss him on the lips. "You didn't hyperventilate once."
"Of course I didn't. I wasn't nervous." Hawkeye said sarcastically.
"She's so cute you two." Cora walked over to take a look. "This is for her." Cora handed Hawkeye the pink and blue blanket that she crocheted.
"It's beautiful Cora. When did you make that?" Margaret asked when Hawkeye unfolded it.
"I started it a few months ago. I got the yarn when I tagged along to Seoul with Radar."
"It's really nice Cora." Hawkeye gave Cora a hug and then asked Margaret, "So, what's this little angel's name?"
"I have an idea." Margaret whispered her idea to her husband.
"I like it." As Colonel Potter climbed into the ambulance with Radar, Father Mulcahy, Charles, and Klinger right behind him, Hawkeye introduced his daughter to her very extended family. "Everyone, this is our daughter, Cora O'Lanny Pierce."
Everyone looked at Cora. She had tears in her eyes and a big smile on her face. "It might not be the last name, but you're not the last O'Lanny anymore." Margaret smiled and while she said it.
"Thanks you guys." Cora's voice broke before she half laughed and half cried with joy, which made Margaret cry a little more as her new daughter snuggled in her arms.
Hawkeye reached into his pocket. "I don't have cigars, but these will have to do." He took out a handful of cherry licorice and handed everyone a strip. Hawkeye went back to Margaret and the baby. "You know what?" he asked the baby with a hushed tone.
"You're early. You weren't supposed to come until tomorrow." Everyone laughed.
"Actually Pierce," Colonel Potter pointed at his watch. "She's right on time. It's 12:05am." Everyone laughed again.
"Hey you're pretty good at making your daddy look good." Margaret laughed as she talked to her baby. "He's the one that figured out the due date."
"How hard could that be? Nine months after our honeymoon." After the laughter subsided, everyone except Hawkeye, Margaret, and of course the baby jumped out of the ambulance and helped set up camp.
Two months later
Hawkeye and Margaret were in their tent playing with Cora. (Everyone started calling the 14 year old Cora, O'Lanny instead of just Cora to cut the confusion.) "Attention all personnel: Incoming wounded. All medical teams report to triage, on the double." the PA system called every one to the fun.
"I'll see you later honey. Buy Doodlebug." Hawkeye kissed his wife and played with his daughter's tiny hand. Margaret didn't have to work because Cora still needed her mom a LOT.
"Have fun Hawkeye." Margaret followed him to the door with Cora in her arms and gave him another kiss.
"Yeah, I'll do that." He said sarcastically. About ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door.
"Hey Margaret!" O'Lanny walked through the door. "How's my little name sake?" She walked over to where Cora was laying on Hawkeye and Margaret's pushed-together-cots and made her funny face that always made her giggle with that cute little baby's laugh.
"She's pretty active today. She won't even let me get dressed. Every time I try, she cries." She stopped for a minute with a questioning look on her face. "How come you're not helping out in O.R.?"
"Colonel Potter told me to come over here and keep you company. It's gonna be a long one. So…" She shrugged with a smile on her face. "you're stuck with me."
"Haha. Can you watch Cora for me while take a shower?" Margaret looked desperate.
"Of course I can. It's my pleasure." She went to sit down by Cora on the cots and tickled her tummy.
"Thank you so much. I owe you one." She gathered her stuff and headed out the door. A half an hour later, and a very sore face for O'Lanny from making so many 'funny' faces so Cora wouldn't cry, Margaret came back fully dressed and feeling a lot better. Then they got to talking.
"So, what's Milford like?" Margaret asked O'Lanny as Cora cuddled to her mother.
O'Lanny closed her eyes and thought for a minute. It seemed like forever since she had been there. "Well, it's got about three hundred people who live there year round. But in the summer, the population jumps to twenty thousand. Believe it or not. I remember how it used to be a ghost town in the winter except for the weekend that the Winter Games were on, and then in the summer, you could walk to Okoboji faster than you could drive, because there were so many people."
"What's Okoboji?" Margaret asked.
"That's the most popular town around Milford, it's about ten miles away. It's actually smaller than Milford, but more people are there. Everywhere you look, people have shirts that say Okoboji on them. I remember the first week that we lived in Muskegon. I saw about ten people with an Okoboji shirt on. While I lived in Milford though, I never understood why people would go there, but now that I've been away from it for so long, I think I know why."
"Why would that be?"
"Because, everywhere you go, someone always says hi to you…and the beeches around Lake Okoboji and Spirit Lake are just filled with beech glass…that's so smooth that it's almost rounded and so much fun to collect. And in the fall, it's so much fun to go camping under the trees at Gull Point that are the most remarkable colors. It's almost like they invented a new color for the leaves. And the lakes are the most remarkable shade of blue you can ever see. Often times those lakes are referred to as the Blue Water lakes." O'Lanny tried not to remember too much to make her homesick, but it was too late.
"It sounds beautiful." Margaret pictured it from O'Lanny's description.
"It is. I miss it a lot. I can't believe that I called Muskegon my home town. I guess I didn't realize how much I loved Milford. I can't believe I miss all that corn!" She started laughing. "Trust me, it's EVERYWHERE! And the local cattle yard that smells horrible on a hot summer day. I even miss that!" Margaret laughed. "I'm serious! I actually do miss that smell a very little bit, but I do miss it!" Now O'Lanny couldn't keep a straight face either. They both laughed and little Cora started laughing too with her little baby giggle when she heard the other two laughing; which caused them to laugh even more. O'Lanny and Margaret talked and talked until supper time, when they all went to the mess tent and O'Lanny made sandwiches for her and Margaret, and got Cora's bottle ready for her so Margaret could change the baby's diaper.
The wounded just kept coming and coming for more than three days. On the second day, Colonel Potter decided that they did need O'Lanny to help. Although she was helping in O.R. with both carrying the litters in and assisting the doctors when the nurses needed a break, she still found time to go make everyone sandwiches at meal times.
A week later
Hawkeye, Margaret, Cora, and O'Lanny were out by where Sophie was kept behind the motor pool. It was pitch black with only the light coming from the moon illuminating their faces. "It's hard to imagine that this is Korea." O'Lanny looked up at the sky, and at all the stars.
"Yeah, it's almost like being home again. I used to lay out in the back yard and look at the sky all night on a clear day." Hawkeye said while adjusting his arms so he could carry Cora for a while and give Margaret's arms a rest.
"Really? I used to do the same thing. I would make a wish on a different star every night." Margaret looked up at the heavens.
"What did you wish for?" Hawkeye asked playfully.
"Well, I would wish for my Prince Charming to come the most." Margaret played with Hawkeye's hair as she answered.
"Did you get him?" O'Lanny asked jokingly.
"Yep, only mine was a Captain instead of a prince." Margaret told her. At this, Hawkeye handed Cora to O'Lanny and grabbed Margaret around the waist, dipped her down, and kissed her. They kissed for a long time. O'Lanny laughed as she watched them. Finally, they came up for air and Margaret reached her hands out for Cora. "And then I got a little angel." She kissed her sleeping daughter's forehead and Hawkeye did the same.
"I'm gonna miss you guys." O'Lanny didn't mean to say it out loud.
"What do you mean? Where are you going?" Hawkeye chuckled while he said it.
"I mean, when the war is over." O'Lanny looked back at the stars.
"Well, if the peace talks keep going this way, you might not ever have to miss us." Hawkeye smirked. "I don't mean to pry, but where are you going to go when this is all over?"
"To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I would really like to go back to Milford, but not for as long as I was there for already. I would like to see who used to be my other best friend, Margaret Calorty, again. I wonder if we have anything in common anymore? Probably not. Her biggest concern the whole time I knew her was what her hair and clothes looked like. Honestly though Hawk, I don't know. I'll probably get to Tokyo and be stuck there since I won't have any money for a plain ticket. Unless I get in on more poker games." She looked at Hawkeye.
"The next one is tomorrow. Sydney Freedman will be there. I'll lend you some money so you won't win all that money from a hair tie again." He mock-rolled his eyes.
"Sounds good." O'Lanny yawned. "I'll see you tomorrow. I'm gonna hit the sack."
"Sweet dreams!" Margaret quietly called to her.
"You too guys!" After O'Lanny left for the nurses tent, Margaret turned to Hawkeye.
"You know what I was thinking?" Margaret had a look of curiosity on her face.
"What's that?" Hawkeye watched Margaret pace back and forth.
"What if we were to take Cora back with us, and she could live with us for a while?"
"Well, I was thinking that we would take our daughter back to the states with us." He knew what she meant, but he had to say it.
"You know what I meant. So, what do you think? I mean, she's really a hard worker and we've gotten pretty close to her. She doesn't have anyplace to go anymore when the war is over. Need I go on?"
"No, you don't have to. In fact, I was actually thinking the same thing. We'll tell her tomorrow before she wipes everyone out at the poker game again." Hawkeye and Margaret watched the stars for a while longer, and then walked back to their tent.
Later that night
O'Lanny was having one of the best dreams she had had in a while. She was at the 4077th with everyone and they were having a party, in her honor. It was her birthday. Klinger had made her a cake that had 'Happy Birthday O'Lanny' in pink icing and white frosting. She was about to have a piece, when she woke up noticing that she really had to go to the bathroom. She ran out to the latrine, but on her way back to her nice warm army issue bunk, she heard a few gun shots. The next thing she knew, she was laying on the ground with a bullet in her stomach, shoulder, arm, leg, and in the side of her head. Before she blacked out, she heard a door slam and Margaret scream and saw her and Hawkeye run towards her as the rest of the camp came out of their tents to see what was going on. "What happened?!" Colonel Potter came up by Hawkeye who was checking O'Lanny's pulse.
"It must have been a sniper." Margaret started crying as she stroked O'Lanny's hair back. It had turned red from the blood and made O'Lanny's brown hair almost orange.
"It's weak, but it's there." Hawkeye finished taking her pulse while BJ tried to comfort Margaret. "Will you watch our Cora while we take care of O'Lanny?" Hawkeye asked Kellye.
"I'd love to, Captain." Kellye went into Hawkeye and Margaret's tent and watched Cora as Hawkeye, BJ, Colonel Potter, and Margaret all went into the O.R. with O'Lanny on a litter.
"She's pretty bad, she'll need two units of AB negative, stat!" Hawkeye called to Colonel Potter from the scrub room.
"Got it!" He grabbed the blood and hooked her up to it. Before long, BJ put her under and Hawkeye, Colonel Potter, and Margaret did their thing.
"We're loosing her." BJ frantically told Hawkeye after about three hours. "No pulse."
"Oh my God." Margaret ran to get the adrenalin before Hawkeye had to ask for it.
"Come on Cora. Live damn it!" After Hawkeye tried to get her heart to start pumping again from the outside, he had to do open heart massage.
"I've got a pulse. Stronger. Stronger. Okay, back to normal. You did it Hawk." BJ was relieved.
"Good job honey. You did it!" Margaret put her head on his shoulder for a second before he asked for another instrument.
About two hours later, they were done and O'Lanny had about a 65 percent chance of surviving. BJ and Hawkeye put her in post-op where they sat up the I.V. and the privacy screen since she was a girl in a post-op filled with guys. "I'll be right back." Hawkeye ran to the nurses tent. "Can I come in really quick?"
"Well, I guess we can trust you now that you're married." Nurse Able joked as she opened the door. "What is it?"
"Can I get O'Lanny's teddy bear please?"
"Here you go Hawk. I was planning on taking it to her in the morning." Rachelle handed Jeffey over to him. "She's going to be alright isn't she?" All the nurses looked up for this one. Kellye had taken Cora into the nurses tent so she could be with the other nurses.
"It's about the same as when she came here the first time. Well, actually it's a lot worse." All the nurses looked worried. She hadn't had the best chance the first time, but she pulled through all the same. "Well, I'll talk to you guys tomorrow. Bye Cora." He kissed his daughter's forehead and thanked the nurses for watching her for him and Margaret.
Hawkeye went to Post-op where he had the that night's shift. He put Jeffey in O'Lanny's good arm, and (aside from looking after the other patients when needed) sat by her the whole time. He looked at the severely banged up teenager that was laying in that bed and thought about what he did when he was her age. Nothing included being in a war zone.
"How is she Hawk?" BJ walked in at about 7:00am the next day to take over Post-op duty.
"Not responding. Blood pressure's dropping, and she's got a temperature." They were conferring while standing at the end of her bed.
"I'll come get you if she starts responding." BJ pushed a very exhausted Hawkeye out the door.
"Thanks." Hawkeye went to his tent and talked with Margaret. She tried to get his mind off of what he had to do the night before, but he just couldn't stop thinking about O'Lanny. Finally after about twelve hours, BJ knocked on the door.
"Come on in BJ." Margaret called.
"She's awake. She's in a lot of pain, but she's not strong enough for morphine right now. It's still questionable, but I think she's gonna be alright!"
"Can we see her?" Hawkeye got up.
"I think so." BJ lead Hawkeye and Margaret carrying Cora.
"Hey Sweet-heart." He said in hushed tones. "How do you feel?" Hawkeye sat down on the edge of her bed.
"Hi Hawkeye. It hurts a lot." Her voice was barley more than a whisper. "What happened?"
"A sniper got the best of you." He tried to make is sound like it wasn't as bad as it really was.
"Please, tell me all of my limbs are there." She hoped none of them were gone. She had seen so many guys having to deal with the loss, and she didn't want to deal with that too.
"All of them are still there." Margaret sat on the other side of O'Lanny's bed with Cora in her lap. "You gave us quite a scare."
"Sorry." She sighed, "God, my head hurts." she took her free hand and touched the bandage that was wrapped around her head. "Where all did I get hit? I hurt everywhere."
"Well, your head, stomach, shoulder, arm, and your leg. The bullets in your leg and arm actually broke bones so, that explains the hard things." Hawkeye pointed to her arm and lightly knocked on the plaster on her leg.
"Will I have to be on an I.V. for a while again?" O'Lanny didn't mind that compared to the mess tent food, but solid food was always better.
"I'm afraid you will." Hawkeye responded. He checked her blood pressure and temperature and decided that she could have some morphine. She was very grateful. The next thing she knew, she was asleep and dreaming of her mom and dad. She woke up crying because the dream was about the day they were moving into the apartment in Tokyo. It was the last day that O'Lanny and her parents were ever all together.
One Week Later
"Hey O'Reilly. Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
"You up for a game of checkers later?" Radar came by with a big green four leaf clover made out of shiny cardboard to hang up on the wall by the door.
"A short one. My head hurts really bad." O'Lanny rubbed the bandage that was on her head.
"Okay. I'll be back in a minute. I'll get the board." They had only played for about five minutes when wounded came. Radar went to help in O.R. while O'Lanny had to just lay there. After about three hours though, Father Mulcahy and Klinger came and put O'Lanny on a litter and moved her into the VIP tent. They had so many casualties that they had to put wounded where ever they could. Then not too long after that, they had to bring another patient into the VIP tent that had just come out of the O.R. The other patient was about what O'Lanny thought was sixteen. He definitely didn't look old enough to be eighteen. He wasn't hurt that bad, but still pretty bad. He had a leg wound and a bandage on his wrist. About twenty minutes later, he woke up from the anesthesia, and asked where he was.
"You're at the 4077th MASH. I'm Cora, but everyone calls me O'Lanny now." O'Lanny slowly situated herself so she was propped up to about the same level as he was.
"I'm Jason. How come they call you O'Lanny…and, how old are you anyway?" He looked confused at the American girl in the bed by his.
"Well, I'm fifteen. My birthday was a couple of days ago, but I didn't mention it. And, they call me O'Lanny, because now there are two Cora's in the camp. One is only about three months old though."
"Three months old? Is she Korean?" They were getting along pretty good.
"No, she's the Chief Surgeon and the head nurse's baby. They got married about a year ago." O'Lanny explained.
"Wait, the head nurse and the chief surgeon had a baby? Didn't she have to go home when she got pregnant?"
"Normally, she would have had to, but trust me: things are pretty loose around here when it comes to Army Regulation."
"By the way, why are you here anyway since you're only fifteen?" Jason listened to her whole story. He kept asking more questions about her and what she did here.
"How old are you Jason, you don't look more than sixteen to me."
"Actually, that's exactly how old I am. I took my brother's birth certificate and enlisted."
"Because, my oldest brother Alex died in the war about two years ago. He actually died in the first battle that Americans were involved in. I decided, that as soon as I thought people would think I looked eighteen, I would enlist and see what it was like for him."
"Oh, I'm sorry about your brother." O'Lanny kind of wished she ever had a brother.
"Thanks. But, let's get to a more interesting conversation. Where are you from?" Jason changed the subject.
A while ago she would have said Muskegon, but now she said Milford, Iowa whenever she was asked. Jason came from Emmetsburg, Iowa which was only about a half an hour away from Milford. Jason and Cora talked all night. The next day though, they slept all day except O'Lanny woke up when Jason went into shock. She knew how to help him, but with her shoulder, arm, stomach, and head the way they were. Not to mention her leg, she yelled at the top of her lungs for someone…anyone. Pretty soon, Kellye came running in to help him. It turns out, that there was a whole in the artery in is his leg that Hawkeye didn't see and it had gotten really infected, really fast. He had to be taken back into O.R. and about an hour later, Hawkeye came in to the VIP tent to talk to Cora.
"Is he alright Hawkeye?"
"I'm sorry. The infection was just too sever. God, I can't believe I missed that whole." Hawkeye got up and started pacing the floor, while O'Lanny's eyes started watering and she started to cry. They hadn't know each other long, but they knew more about each other than any one else probably had. Hawkeye went over to comfort O'Lanny.
"He was only sixteen." She told Hawkeye. "He lived in a town not too far away from where I lived."
"I know. I've already sent a telegram to his parents. Of all the things that I hate about the army, that's the thing that I hate the most."
"I don't think anyone likes that part. So, how many wounded did you have?" She tried not to think about Jason.
"About three hundred actually. We had to build bunk beds in Post-Op. There's wounded everywhere you look. The Officer's Club, the Swamp, the Mess Tent, the VIP tent." He looked at O'Lanny as she smiled for the first time since Jason went into shock over three hours ago, and she usually always smiled even when she was hurt really bad. "I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere."
"I'll try to stay here." She sarcastically responded.
"Okay" Hawkeye went into his and Margaret's tent and got Margaret to come with him. She grabbed Cora, and walked out the door with him to the VIP tent. They knocked at the door to the tent when they got there.
"Come in." O'Lanny called.
"Hey O'Lanny. How are you doing?" Margaret went to sit on the edge of her bed.
"Fine I guess." O'Lanny accidentally looked at the bed that Jason was in. She had tried not to do that, but it didn't work too good considering it was the only other thing in the tent. She had even tried putting Jeffey over her eyes, but he rubbed against the wound on her head and was extremely uncomfortable.
"This might be the right time to tell you what we're gonna do after the war. I don't know why, but I think it is." Hawkeye sat on the other side of her bed.
"What do you mean?" O'Lanny looked confusedly at Hawkeye.
"What he means is that, we had an idea, and we were wondering if you liked it." Margaret decided to make things less complicated.
"What's the idea?" She listened intently.
"Well, we thought that if you wanted to when the war was over, you could come back with Hawkeye, Cora, and I. We could all live in Crabapple Cove together." Margaret told her idea excitedly.
"I love the idea, but I have a feeling I would just impose. I don't want to be any trouble." She looked at Hawkeye. "And, I know you would be living with your dad, and I don't want to trouble him either."
"Nonsense. I wrote him about this about a month ago and he said that it sounded like a good idea." Hawkeye wanted her to come back with them, just like Margaret did.
"Well, I love the idea…yeah, if you really want me, I'll gladly go with you." O'Lanny picked Jeffey up and held him in her free arm. "Look's like we'll have a home after this is all over, Jeffey."
"Have you always been this much like Radar?" Hawkeye laughed and gave O'Lanny a hug.
"We can all be one big happy family." Margaret smiled as she tickled her little girls tummy.
"Maybe this one won't be as complicated as my other one was." O'Lanny's voice broke a little as she said it.
"No, it won't." Margaret handed Cora to Hawkeye as she hugged O'Lanny.
July 28, 1953
It had been about six months since O'Lanny had been shot by the sniper. Now, the only thing left from that were the scars that would be there from then on. Radar had gone home because his uncle died as well. That was really sad for O'Lanny, since they had gotten so close. Everyone from the 4077th was in the Mess Tent that night. The day before was July 27th. The day the Korean Armistice was signed, and the war was over. Tomorrow, everyone would leave and the tents of the 4077th would come down for the last time. But tonight, for the last time, everyone would be together. They were all telling stories about what they would be doing after they got back to the states.
"Well, I used to want to be involved in the action of a big city hospital." Hawkeye started his little speech. "But, now that I've seen action, I realize it's not all it's cracked up to be. Now, I'll be happy getting Crabapple Cove to say Ah." Then he looked down at where Margaret was holding Cora and O'Lanny was sitting right next to her. "And, I'm also really glad that I get to bring home the love of my life… and two more. I guess I hit the jackpot." Everyone laughed. Then, it was Margaret's turn.
"When I came to Korea, I was proud to be a woman that had made the rank of Major. I was proud of that title, too. But, I like my new titles a whole lot more: Wife, mom, and…" she couldn't think of a word that would describe herself to O'Lanny.
O'Lanny spoke up. "Try hero Margaret."
She nodded and had a few tears in her eyes. "Okay. Wife, mom, and hero." Everyone clapped as Margaret sat back down. Now, it was O'Lanny's turn.
"When I stowed away to Korea from Tokyo, I never expected to become part of a family. I came to Korea so I could meet the man that tried to save my dad. I was just going to thank him, and somehow, be on my way. But, when I got hurt, and I was in post-op all that time, I realized how hard everyone worked, and how much help was needed. I wanted to stay here so bad and help out, but I also wanted to stay, because the people here are so unique. I mean, everyone comes from a different part of the U.S., and you're almost all so different. Yet, since you were thrown together by the war, you formed a family. Some in a more literal way than others." She looked at Hawkeye and Margaret while everyone else laughed. "To tell you the truth, I wanted to stay here because I didn't have any family whatsoever back in the states, but just by being here those first couple of days, I knew I would have one here. And that is definitely what I have here. And, I'm thankful for each and everyone of you." She looked around the mess tent. "One of the people that I'm completely thankful for, went home early," referring to Radar, "But everyone else here is also very dear to my heart, and I'll miss you all very much." Her voice started cracking with emotion. "And, I just want to say, that everyone here has made me realize that I would really like to be a doctor 'when I grow up', and I hope that I'll be able to learn from the best." She looked at Hawkeye. Then she looked at the crowd in the mess tent again. "A few of you, I probably won't see ever again, so I just want you to know, that I have had a wonderful time with everyone, and that you are probably the best bunch of people I'll ever get to know."
"To friends and memories." Colonel Potter gave a toast before all of the glasses, mugs, and cups were clanged together before everyone went to bed in their tents for the last night at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.