Author's Note: I know it's been ages since I updated and I'm really sorry about that. I've just had a horrible time with this and lost interest and hope there for awhile. I want to finish this story, but I don't know if the end will be as 'good' as the rest of it. But…I just hope you like it. Thanks for all the great reviews though!
Hawkeye's heart beat faster and faster as he followed his beautiful wife up the stairs. Her hand felt soft and warm in his and it seemed like all the months he had been away from her were dissolving away as he was finally able to touch her again. Her hand gave him a feeling of comfort that only she could give.
As the second floor of the house came into view, the father that had yet to meet his little son and daughter, could see inside the nursery. The tiny redhead in the crib on the right was fussing and pulling at the blanket he was wrapped in. "Looks like your son's awake." Margaret smiled and stopped before they entered the room, taking her husband's face in her hands, "Don't worry, they love you already."
Hawkeye gazed into the room and nodded, butterflies still flying in his stomach, "Right."
The young mother gave the father of her children a quick kiss and smiled another reassuring smile, "Come on." Grabbing his hand, she gently pulled him into the nursery. Letting go when he was in the doorway, she went over to the crib and gently picked up her son, "What's the matter Mikey?" She kissed his little nose and checked to see if he needed his diaper changed. "You don't need changed and you couldn't be hungry again, could you?"
The little boy squirmed a little before snuggling against his mommy's chest and opening his big blue eyes to make sure it was her. He cooed a little and yawned as he closed his eyes yet again. Margaret smiled down at her little boy and turned around to face Hawkeye. Looking up, she saw him walk slowly over to them, cautious. He was smiling bigger than she'd ever seen him smile. "I think he just wanted some company." she chuckled quietly.
"Can you blame him?" Hawkeye winked and looked down toward his little son, his eyes filled with unshed, happy tears, "You must be the Michael Benjamin I've heard so much about." He ever so carefully touched the soft red hair on the little boys head and had to wipe his eyes with the back of his hand. "He's beautiful."
"Want to hold him, Daddy?" Margaret shifted the tiny baby to her left arm and stroked his soft cheek with the back of her finger.
"Uh…" he breathed in a shaky, nervous breath, "I don't know. He's so tiny…"
His wife nodded toward the chair, "Just sit down, you won't hurt him."
Hawkeye really did want to hold his son, but he was just scared of doing something wrong. He followed his wife's 'orders' though and sat down, taking off his dress uniform jacket first and draping it across the bottom of the changing table. "You sure you trust me?"
"Of course I do." Margaret kissed her little boy's forehead and whispered, "You trust your daddy, don't you?" He cooed a little, "That's what I thought." She knelt down in front of the chair that Hawkeye sat in and gently handed the bundle over.
The proud father was speechless. He was finally holding his son. His son. It was still a phrase he couldn't get used to. Mikey must have noticed the transition and opened his eyes, inspecting the face of the new guy who was holding him at the moment. The tiny hand that was outside of the blanket reached up and squeezed the man's nose. Hawkeye laughed and lightly captured the little hand and kissed it, letting it wrap around his pinky. "Do you know who I am?"
Margaret watched with tears in her eyes as father and son were finally able to start bonding. She was just reaching up to wipe away the tears when Allie started fussing a little too. Getting up from where she still knelt in front of her husband, she went to pick up her little girl, still listening to the one sided conversation that 'her boys' were having.
Mikey had gurgled a little and his father just chuckled and nodded, "That's right." Not really able to talk through the lump in his throat though, he whispered the last bit, "I'm your daddy." Hawkeye couldn't stop smiling as he gazed into his little son's eyes. They really were his. The color was the same, the shape, everything. And the little nose was just like Margaret's.
Allie was still fussing, but like her brother, her diaper was dry and she had just been fed. A few minutes after Margaret picked her up though, she started calming down. And so sibling rivalry begins… The mother chuckled, thinking maybe her daughter was just jealous of Mikey getting 'more' attention at the moment, even though they thought she was asleep and would be nice and let her. "Remember how I told you all about your daddy?" Margaret asked quietly, still by the crib. "Well, he's home. He's here now…" her voice caught up with the tears in her eyes, she was so happy to have her husband home…so relieved, "He's here. And he'd really like to meet you."
"…And I'm going to teach you how to ride your bike, and throw a baseball, and pick up girls in the cafeteria, and-" Hawkeye was still whispering to his son who was actually fast asleep when Margaret came back over, Allie bundled up in her arms.
"Please don't tell me you're going to teach him everything you know…" His wife tried to sound distressed, but she looked too happy to fit the feigned tone in her voice.
The raven haired father laughed, "I promise to keep the still-assembly tips secret until he's old enough."
Margaret's eyes sparkled the way they did whenever she was around the man she loved, "Good, but remember he doesn't have to be a little date machine in elementary school."
"Junior High?" he winked.
"We'll see." The blonde knelt down in front of him again and looked into her husband's eyes. They were soft and sparkling just as much as when he had first laid eyes on his son. "In the meantime, I think there's a beautiful little girl that would like to join in on the conversation."
Hawkeye's eyes were suspiciously moist as he nodded, his face depicting his overwhelming emotions coming from finally meeting his kids. "Y…yeah! Yeah, there's room."
Margaret couldn't help the amused smile that crept up on her face when she watched the man try to figure out how he would hold both of the babies at the same time. "It's really not that difficult." She teased him, "But I can take Mikey off your hands if you want some father-daughter time with Allie."
"That would work," Hawkeye smiled up at his wife and gave her a quick kiss before they switched bundles, trying their best to be as gentle as they could. Allie, however, had fallen back asleep while her parents were talking, but woke up again when her 'napping spot' had been switched out from under her. She started crying, but as soon as her father started rocking her and talking to her, she calmed down enough to open up those big blue eyes of hers.
"You are, by far, the most beautiful little girl I've ever seen." He couldn't stop smiling as he gazed down at his daughter. "And don't worry," Hawkeye lightly tapped the little nose, "that nose of yours may be just like mine, but it's cute as a button on you."
"It is on you, too." Margaret laughed at Hawkeye's remark as she laid Mikey back down in his crib since he had fallen asleep again. "I happen to like your nose."
"You're too kind," he flashed her his best cheeky grin. Looking back down at his daughter, Hawkeye tried to swallow the lump that had again taken it's seemingly normal place for the day. "I promise that I'll always be here for you, Allie. I'll take care of any scraped knees or elbows, teach you how to do all the things you'll need to know how to do, and protect you from anything that you need protecting from. You're my little girl and I know I'm going to want to keep you my little girl forever, even though I know you'll get bigger. Just, try not to grow up so fast, okay? I love you and your brother so much and there is nothing in this world that could ever change my mind. I'd do anything for you two."
Within a few minutes, Alicia Danielle Pierce was fast asleep in her father's arms. The twins must have just been exhausted by the super long car trip. Hawkeye stood up from where he sat in the rocking chair in the corner and carefully walked over to the crib on the far side of the room. The one that was now Mikey's was the one that he had put together the day before and was the one closest to the door to the nursery.
He laid his daughter down in her crib and situated the blankets for her as best he could before tiptoeing over to Margaret. She was still folding baby clothes and situating them in the many drawers of the small dresser. He wrapped his arms around her middle and rested his chin on her shoulder. "You look tired," he whispered in her ear.
His warm breath gave her the same goose bumps that she so missed getting when he was gone. "Gee, why would I be tired?" she asked playfully.
"Why don't you go lay down? They're fast asleep, I can take care of them now," he winked. "Besides, I'm wide awake. For the first time in three years, I've been able to get three nights of about 9 hours of sleep."
Margaret turned around in her husband's arms and wrapped hers around his neck, "Be prepared to get a lot less than that from now on."
"Exactly why I was sleeping so much." It felt so good to finally be able to hold each other again. "But I'd trade a lifetime's worth of sleep in order to be here with you and the twins." Noticing the tears in his wife's eyes, he smiled softly, "I love you more than you could ever realize, you know that right?"
She grinned through the tears and nodded ever so slightly before the happy sobs came out, burying her face into Hawkeye's shoulder. "I missed you so much…promise me you won't ever make me live without you again?"
"I never will," he promised with a whisper, rubbing her back and kissing her hair. "Never."
Margaret calmed down a little from her relieved sobs and was now back down to just happy tears again. Hawkeye pulled back a tiny bit and kissed the tears away that were running down her cheeks, "You really do look tired though. They're sleeping like…well, babies. Why don't you go lay down?"
She shook her head, "I have so much I have to do…unpack, clean, get this house ready for them… I thought I had more time before we left for New York so I don't have any of that done-"
Hawkeye put a finger on her lips, "Shh…except for the unpacking, that's all taken care of." Noticing that Margaret's eyes were getting bigger with surprise, he decided to explain, "I've been here for a couple days. I wanted to get everything ready for your homecoming. Sleeping arrangements included." He nodded toward Mikey's crib.
"Oh you're the one that did that." Margaret exclaimed quietly. She kind of figured either he or Daniel was responsible. "That's really sweet of you."
"It was the Colonel, actually. He gave me the money for it as a going away present." Hawkeye pointed out.
Margaret shook her head in a slight case of disbelief, "That's so sweet."
"Well, he said to use the money for a crib that would go with the one Dad found in the attic and then to use the rest of the money for whatever we needed. Maybe we could put it toward their college funds or something." He smiled his best sexy smile, "Or, the Colonel said that we could use it for a nice little getaway when you're feeling up to…you know." he winked.
The woman blushed, "Oh well…that…that would be kind of nice but…" it had been waaaay too long… "But I think we should put it toward they're college funds," she nodded. A curious look swept across her face, "How much did he give you?"
Hawkeye grinned and gently maneuvered Margaret out of the nursery and into the hallway before he replied. "He gave me an envelope with five American hundred dollar bills in it."
"What?!" she replied, a little stunned and louder than she meant to, at that point realizing why her husband had guided her out of the nursery. "He gave us five hundred dollars?"
"I told him I couldn't accept it, but he wouldn't take it back." Hawkeye shrugged, "So…I did what he suggested and bought the crib, but it was only fifty bucks."
"Well, I guess we could put $225 in each of their college funds then." Margaret smiled and shook her head with the same disbelief as she had earlier, "That man is going to spoil his honorary grandkids."
The younger man in front of her just laughed, "I'll show you the rest of the going away presents I got later." He took his wife's hand and guided her to their bedroom. "But first I really think you look like you could use a nap."
She sighed in defeat, "I have a lot of unpacking left though…"
"I'll take care of it. I promise. I'm not as much of a slob as you would think from seeing the Swamp."
"Alright," she nodded and followed her husband, laying down on the nice soft bed. It was so much more comfortable than the ones in the hospital, and the sigh that escaped from her said it all.
Hawkeye smiled when he heard her and went to lay down beside the beautiful woman. Wrapping her in his arms, he kissed her neck and took everything in, trying to make it all go slower by paying attention to every detail he had missed in the dreams he had had in Korea. Even the best dreams that he had were nothing compared to the real thing. "So much better than snuggling up to a pillow."
Margaret rolled over to face him and stroked his cheek as she spoke, "I don't think that 'custom pillow' I thought about making out of your measurements would have felt this good." She laughed, "I swear that was just one night of total desperation. There was a really big storm and I was scared and lonely and…missed your arms around me."
Hawkeye pulled her closer to him and kissed her as romantically as he could, "I had those nights too." He whispered through the happy lump in his throat, "I even slept with your hat under my chin every night so I could smell your shampoo…" Contemplating what he had just said, he asked, "Does that sound really pathetic?"
His wife shook her head and had to wipe another tear away, "Not at all…I could never get to sleep if your Groucho glasses weren't on the nightstand." It looked like she was thinking about something in the past, "And I don't know how many nights I fell asleep holding that picture you sent me."
They talked for awhile, neither one of them ever wanting to leave sight of the other, even if that just meant closing their eyes for a nap. Well, Margaret didn't want to close her eyes… Hawkeye wasn't really tired, but when she fell asleep he planned on going and unpacking all of Margaret's stuff for her. And that meant leaving the room for at least as long as it took to go to the basement, sort through the laundry, and get a load started in the washer.
When she finally did get to sleep, Hawkeye lightly kissed her cheek and started with his task. He rounded up all her dirty laundry, put it in the hamper, and hauled it down the flight of stairs. He had just opened the door to head down to the basement where the washing machine was, when the front door squeaked opened. Knowing who it was, Hawkeye set the hamper down and raced to the front of the house, "Hey Dad!"
Danielle was struggling to carry four paper bags full of groceries through the door. "Hey Son! Glad to see you're home! Mind giving your old man some help?" The younger carbon copy laughed and grabbed two of the bags and set them on the kitchen counter. They worked on putting everything away, talking and catching up while they did so. "So, I take it Margaret's up with the twins?"
"Well, everyone's asleep right now." An involuntary grin pulled at the edges of the former captain's mouth as he looked at his dad with the same sort of disbelieving look that Margaret had awhile before, "I can't believe those two little babies are really…real!" He had trouble forming the words that really suited what he was feeling, "I mean…I never thought…imagined…"
Daniel folded up the bag he had been emptying and put a fatherly hand on his son's back, "It takes awhile to get used to it. I still can't believe that my son has a son and a daughter of his own. I mean, when I see them, I instantly see you, especially in Allie, but…" he trailed off and now it was his turn to shake his head. "Have you held them yet?"
"Yeah," he nodded, the pride he felt evident in his eyes, "that had to be the best feeling in the world."
"After the nerves wore off?" Daniel added, his knowing eyes sparkling in fun.
The new parents were pretty much regretting their letting Allie and Mikey sleep all day. It was about three in the morning and the twins were wide awake and wanting all the attention they could get. Luckily, Margaret was awake for the most part as well seeing as how she had a long, very needed nap when her babies did. But Hawkeye was getting a little sleepy. Nothing he couldn't handle though. "You know," he looked up from where he sat in the rocking chair, rocking little Allie who refused to go to sleep, "I think those 38 hour shifts in the O.R. were probably the best training we could have got for this whole 24-hour parenting thing."
Margaret just laughed, "You're probably right." She was on the other side of the room with Michael. He had just started crying so she was trying everything she could to get him to settle down.
Hawkeye just watched his wife in amazement as Allie played with his shirt. Margaret was so good with the babies…so gentle and loving. She never stopped smiling at them and always had a twinkle in her eye that just showed how much she loved everything about her new job.
The lamp on the side-table kicked out just enough light to shine on the woman's hair. Hawkeye sighed, realizing that that site was another thing he had really missed… "So when are you going to grow out your hair so it's red again?" He smiled, thinking of how pretty she would look.
"You're kidding, right?" She threw him a playful glare. Being away from him for so long, she couldn't bring herself to give him an actual tough Major Houlihan scowl.
Hawkeye shook his head, "No. I'm not kidding Margaret, you'd look really pretty with red hair."
"Well, thanks…but I gave that up for a reason." Noticing the confused expression on her husband's face, she continued, "I got it from my dad…and I don't want anything to do with him."
Hawkeye nodded, "I suppose I could understand that."
"I know I've told you before, but I've never been able to make that man proud of me. No matter what I do, he's always got something to be ashamed of me for. I've never been able to do anything right in his eyes." She shook her head, "It sounds so stupid, but I just can't bring myself to let my hair grow out again. I've thought about it before, but it feels like…if I do, I'll just be that 13 year old girl, crying herself to sleep every night because she worked so hard to try to get her dad to like her and he just shot her down yet again." Oddly enough, the smile returned to her face, "Wow…that felt really good to get off my chest."
"I'm sure," the man that had been listening to the short rant gently adjusted Allie so she was in his left arm and walked over toward his wife, wrapping his left arm around her waist and kissing her cheek. "Well, no matter what color your hair is, you are by far the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."
Margaret leaned back into Hawkeye's chest and looked up toward his eyes, "Didn't you tell your daughter that earlier?"
"No," he shook his head, "I said she was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. When she grows up to be a woman, which I hope takes a long time…she'll be tied with her mother in that department." He moved his arm so he was still securely holding onto his daughter, but she was next to her brother. "And I think they are both the best looking babies I've ever seen."
"Well, what do you expect with a father like you." Margaret winked, "I think we have a little heartbreaker on our hands. This little boy is gonna grow up to be just as handsome as his daddy."
Hawkeye chuckled, "Make that two heartbreakers…can you imagine how many boys these eyes will attract?" He shuddered, "I'm gonna have to scare 'em off… I could give the same speech that I got in high school over and over again."
The mother started giggling as the two babies seemed to make faces at each other. "Maybe the only boy she'll care about for awhile is her little brother."
"Let's just hope they like each other and aren't at the other's throat all the time."
"Well, seeing as how they both have both of our genes, that means they're already more stubborn than we are so… Yeah let's hope they don't kill each other by the time they can walk." The parents laughed at the thought of their sweet little babies being even more stubborn than their parents.
Knowing what the other was thinking, they both laughed, "We're in for it."
Another hour had passed and the babies were finally looking tired. They were fighting to keep their little eyelids from closing and when Margaret took the rocking chair, Mikey fell fast asleep. It worked perfectly so when she put her son to bed, Hawkeye sat down and Allie was soon asleep too.
"We did it…took awhile, but we did do it." Hawkeye quipped as quietly as he could as he laid his tiny daughter in her crib.
"That we did." Margaret looked thrilled as she took her place in her husband's outstretched arms. "Now…" she whispered, "should we go try to get twenty minutes of sleep before they wake up again."
Yawning, he replied, "Sure." He switched the lamp off and grabbed his wife's hand.
They made their way through the short hallway, still trying to be as quiet as they could since they didn't want to wake up the babies or Daniel. But when they got to their room, Margaret grabbed a nightgown out of the bottom dresser drawer and hurried to the bathroom. Hawkeye just changed into a pair of sweatpants and threw on and old tank top and jumped into bed, exhausted. He had already brushed his teeth and shaved at about one in the morning when he thought they were going to bed, but Allie and Mikey ended up having very different plans for their them.
It seemed like forever, but finally Margaret came out of the bathroom, dressed in the white nightgown that she had worn in Seoul back in December. Hawkeye's favorite. It had been plenty big for her then, but now it seemed to fit a little better. She looked beautiful. But…there was something about the look she had on her face.
"Margaret? You okay?" Hawkeye sat up on his side of the bed and pulled the covers down for her. It may have been June, but at night it still got plenty chilly in Maine and at least one blanket, along with the sheets, was necessary. She climbed in bed, not really meeting his worried gaze. Margaret slowly nodded, but the doctor wasn't all that convinced. "Honey, what's wrong? They're okay. The door's open and so is ours. We'll hear them."
"I know…it…it's not that." she shook her head and pulled the covers up to her.
"What is it?" He played with her hair, knowing it drove her wild when he did that.
She leaned into him and started crying a little, "I…I'm just really sorry you have to see me like this…"
"What?" Hawkeye replied, a little stunned by her reply. He had no idea what she meant.
"I was so skinny when you and I…well, you know. And now…I'm just…I was hoping it would leave when the baby…or I guess babies were born, but…but it's like I still look pregnant even though now it's just fat and…"
He could barely understand her since she was crying into his shoulder, but he got the main gist of what she was saying. "Honey," Hawkeye rubbed her arm and maneuvered her so she was in his lap, "I know what you're trying to say and you are not fat. You can barely even tell you were pregnant."
"But you can…And I am fat now. I'm still wearing my maternity clothes for heaven's sakes. I just figured that since this was big on me before than maybe it'd still fit…but it's too small now too…"
"What I meant was that you can tell because you have that glow to you, your eyes are sparkling like only a new mother's can, and your smile's a little bit different too. Happier. Maybe a little more caring even." He was trying everything he could to get that smile back on her face.
There was a small hint of it, "Yes but it's going to take me forever to get rid of the weight I gained." Hawkeye rolled his eyes, maybe a little to theatrically. "Well it is."
"Oh Honey, you look fine. Amazing. But…it's been forever since I could do this." He reached over and turned off the lamp on his nightstand and ever so carefully pushed his wife so she was laying back on the pillows. "Way too long." He started kissing her arms and made his way up to her neck, covering it with feather-light kisses. He made his way up to her jaw and then to her soft smile.
Her eyes were closed and she had goose bumps, "Ben…" she whispered.
"Yeah?" He replied, his lips pressed against hers.
She tangled her fingers in his hair as her breathing started to get heavier, "I can't do this yet…it's only been three weeks. I have to wait three more…remember, Doctor?"
Hawkeye gave his best sexy grin and Margaret instantly felt like her limbs had turned to jelly. "Just 'cause the roller coaster's closed, doesn't mean you have to shut down the whole amusement park."
"I'll buy that…" untangling one of her hands from his hair, she started rubbing her husband's back and kissing him back as best she could.
"God, it's good to be home." He whispered, his own breath coming a little heavier.
"Mhmm…" the woman replied with a small moan of pleasure, wishing they could go farther. "Ow!"
"What?!" Hawkeye immediately sat up, "I'm sorry. What happened?"
Margaret started laughing a little and shook her head, "No…Sweetheart, it's okay. It's just…I know that's one of your favorite parts and all…" she played up the best sly look she could, "But for now I think they're also kind of…Allie and Mikey's favorite too."
The father of the mentioned…milk fans…laughed whole-heartedly, "Sorry, I got carried away."
"Quite alright." Margaret laid back down and pulled at her husband's shirt, "Now where were we?"
"Oh, I think we were right about…." he started kissing her neck again, "here?" A soft laugh escaped when he felt her nod, ever so slightly.
The newly reunited couple had settled down a little and were now just cuddling under the blankets. "I think that nap's wearing off of me now too…" Margaret yawned.
"You do look tired," Hawkeye whispered, caressing his wife's cheek.
"Let me rephrase that," he gave her a quick, soft, loving kiss, "Great, but tired."
The woman giggled a little, "Honey, you don't have to keep telling me 'I'm beautiful'… I was just teasing you. And besides, lying is bad."
Hawkeye sighed, "Oh I don't have to, but what's saying I don't want to? And it's no lie." He rubbed her back methodically and could feel her relax. Of course, that just made him a little more than surprised when she sat up all of a sudden. "What's the matter now?" He tried to sound as compassionate as he could, but he couldn't help the slight exasperation in his voice. She was a little unpredictable anymore with all of her new mother hormones.
Margaret caught the frustrated lilt in her husband's tone and blushed. "I'm sorry, Ben. I must be driving you crazy…"
"No, it's okay." He sat up and put his arm around her shoulders. "What is it?"
"I just felt like I was falling asleep and I didn't want to…at all. I can't." Her whisper was getting even quieter as she tried to hide her silent tears as they fell down her cheeks.
"No, I…I want to tell you this…" she wiped her eyes and scooted around so she was face to face with her husband. "I'm just scared to go to sleep right now. I mean, I know I'll hear Allie or Mikey if they start crying but…well, it's waking up that I'm sort of afraid to do right now." She shook her head, "It's irrational, I know…but I'm so afraid of waking up in Daniel's car on the way home from New York and…and finding out that today has all just been some sort of a dream. And you wouldn't really be here." Now her shoulders shook as she started crying harder, "I was so tired of waking up alone every morning and not having you here with me through all of this…and when I saw you today in person for the first time in months it was like…a dream come true. I'm just afraid that it was too good to be true and that it's really not."
He could understand that…he could really understand that. Since Potter had given him his discharge papers, he had been worried about waking up to find that it was all just a dream and he was actually still in the Swamp, lying on that uncomfortable slab of concrete he somehow called a cot.
Pulling the crying woman into his arms, Hawkeye gently rocked her back and forth, talking to her and trying to get her to realize that he really was there. "If this was a dream, would I be able to do this?" He leaned down and kissed her lips as gracefully as he could. Pulling back, he looked into her watery eyes.
She nodded, "I always dreamt that you were kissing me like that…of course," she placed a soft hand on his cheek, "it was never really that good in my dreams. Not like that."
"So if I do it again, will that be enough proof that this is all real?" he winked.
Margaret shrugged, "We could see…" He kissed her again, the same way, but made it last even longer, better. When he finally pulled away, he looked his wife in the eyes again, waiting for her reply. "Well…I suppose it's possible that this is all real."
"It is," Hawkeye pushed a lock of golden hair behind her ears, "I promise you're awake. But you do look very tired." He laid back down and held his arms out for her to lay into. "Come here." She laid down slowly, carefully. "When you wake up, for whatever reason or however many times, I'll still be holding you."
She was finally able to let out a quiet comfortable sigh, "I love you, Ben" and she was asleep.
"Love you too." Hawkeye leaned over and kissed her cheek.
After about an hour, he had yet to fall asleep. He was tired enough too, and knew he'd regret his inability to sleep when he had the chance, but it just wasn't coming. Something just kept nagging at him. Starting to get stiff from laying in the same position for the long length of time, he tried to shift around to get comfortable again. It wasn't working though since he felt like he had to keep his arms around his wife. He'd promised, after all.
Margaret was fast asleep though, so Hawkeye decided he would be safe to get up for a moment. That nagging feeling was just making it so hard to get comfortable…even after finding a new position to lay in on the extremely comfortable bed. He gently pulled his arm out from under Margaret's neck and climbed out from under the sheets. Pulling on his red bathrobe, he padded his way to the hall. As soon as he stepped onto the creaking wood floor, he knew what the problem was.
It was one of those things that BJ had warned him about. How he'd get up several times a night, not really needing too, but just sort of absentmindedly drifting toward the nursery to check on the baby, (or babies in this case). 'You'll think of plenty of reasons once you're in the room,' the mustached doctor had said through his big cheesy grin. 'To see if they're warm enough, to make sure they're not too warm, to make sure they're still breathing… That's a big one. I ended up doing that a lot after we brought Erin home from the hospital. When she wasn't crying I was always worried something was wrong…'
Hawkeye had laughed at what his former bunkmate said at the time, but found himself doing exactly that. He tiptoed into the nursery and went over to the small table to turn on the dim lamp, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw the two tiny chests moving steadily up and down as the babies slept. Still trying to be as quiet as he could, the babies' father walked over to their cribs and very carefully touched each of their cheeks, a huge smile on his face. He just lost track of time as he watched their sweet faces.
Back in their bedroom though, Margaret woke up with a jolt, gasping for air. She sat up, calming down after realizing that what woke her up was only something that happened in a dream. "A dream?" she tried to say it out loud, but all she could get out was a defeated, choked squeak. "No…" she could feel the tears coming yet again. It couldn't have all been a dream. It was too real. But then again…it could have been too good to be all real. Hugging her knees to her chest, she started crying. "I had even said it," she didn't talk to anyone in particular. Not even to herself really, "I said that I would just wake up from it all to find I was still riding in Daniel's car, coming home from New York, and-"
Wait…she wasn't in the car. She could have sworn she was awake, but she wasn't in Daniel's car. She was on the white sheets, not the red and white leather bench seat in the Crestline. She desperately started thinking…hoping.
Margaret scooted to the side of the bed and slipped into her robe and slippers. Hawkeye had said he'd keep her in his arms, but maybe something happened where he had to let go for awhile. She walked over to the bathroom door and knocked. There was no reply, but then again it was dark under the door where the light would shine through to the moonlit bedroom. Feeling a little crushed, she tried to think of more ideas. Another popped up into mind, but she hoped it was wrong. What if something had happened? What if Allie or Mike had been crying and she hadn't heard them? Maybe Hawkeye finally woke up to their cries and went to find something horrible…? What, she couldn't and wouldn't want to think of, but there was the possibility.
With her heart racing, the worried mother bounded silently to the hallway to find the soft light in the nursery shining from the table. Taking two of the three needed steps as fast as she could, she realized in mid step what was going on. Her heart almost leapt out of her chest with relief when she stopped and leaned on the doorframe. Hawkeye was standing by the cribs, a look of pure pride on his face. Margaret could take an all to well known guess as to what he had gone to the nursery for, "Well," she whispered, "are they still breathing?"
The man slowly turned his head, almost reluctant to take his eyes off the precious bundles. "How did you know that's what I came in here for?" A curious smile faded out his tired eyes.
"Because I did that about a dozen times a night when they moved us to the Pediatric floor." Tip-toeing over to her husband, she almost started crying with relief as she was able to slip her arm through his. "Aren't they just so sweet when they're asleep?"
Hawkeye nodded, "That they are. When they're awake, too for now."
"Yeah, but unfortunately they won't stay this little forever. They'll grow up and won't want to cuddle anymore…"
The proud father moved his arm and put it around her waist, "Yeah well…if it makes you feel any better, I won't grow out of that."
"I'll keep that in mind, I guess." Trying to sound disappointed wasn't really working, "We're going to be like zombies tomorrow…"
"That sounds about right," Hawkeye nodded, suddenly feeling even more tired than before. "Should we try to get some more shut eye?"
Margaret shrugged, looking up at the clock, "Sure. We might have another hour or so."
"Sounds good." He held out his arm in the 'gentlemanly manor' and his wife slipped her arm through.
"Just please don't do that to me again though…" she didn't want to sound pathetic, but she was really scared there for a moment.
"Do wha-" Hawkeye had bent down and turned off the lamp while he spoke, but had realized what had happened. "Oh God…I'm sorry Margaret. I didn't even think…you were fast asleep and I… Oh no. I'm sorry Honey, I was getting stiff from laying in the same position and then I was worried about…and-"
"It's okay, Ben." his wife stopped him before he sent himself into a tizzy, "No harm no foul." She didn't want to make him feel even guiltier, telling him what she had gone through.
"Well, I promise…for real this time…that I won't get up until you do." He bent down to his wife's height and kissed her cheek. Margaret just smiled back at him and laid her head on his chest as they walked back to bed.
July 9th, 1953
"Hey, look what we got!" Hawkeye had just come in from getting the mail.
"What is it?" Margaret asked, scrutinizing the box her husband was carrying. She was sitting on the couch, giving Allie her bottle while Mikey squirmed beside her on his blanket, waiting patiently for his turn, a big grin on his face.
The man with the box looked excited, "Well, its return address is 'MASH 4077 - Ouijambu, South Korea'. Looks like a reverse care package." He laughed, "I thought the boys and girls at home were supposed to send 'em to the boys and girls overseas."
"Well open it!" Margaret's face matched her husband's.
Ripping through the tape, Hawkeye managed to open the package and dumped out the contents on the living room floor. "There must be about fifty letters in here." He smiled like a kid on Christmas morning as he separated the big pile into three smaller ones. One pile had all of the letters addressed to Margaret, another had the ones addressed to Hawkeye, and the letters in the middle were addressed to both of them. "Want me to read you one of yours, Honey?" He asked, noticing that his wife's hands were full.
"No, it's okay." She could see him eyeing one letter in particular that was in his pile, "Go ahead and read that one from BJ. I'll read mine later."
"You sure?" Margaret replied with a nod, so he grabbed the envelope with his best friend's writing on it and headed for the couch. "One arm, no waiting." He scooped up his little son and sat where he had been laying. "You wanna read daddy's letter with him?" The little boy just giggled his sweet baby laugh, "I thought you would. It's from your uncle BJ."
Margaret spoke to little Mikey, "Don't get any ideas from those two…especially when they're together. We don't need any more practical jokers in this house."
At that moment, Daniel came down the stairs, "What about practical jokers?"
The woman, now trying to burp Allie, chuckled, "I said we don't need anymore practical jokers in this house. Four just sounds like a nightmare." She shook her head in mock disapproval.
"You don't think Allie will be a practical joker?" Daniel teased, but his daughter-in-law must not have understood, so he explained a little further, "Me, your husband, your son, and obviously you!"
"Me?!" Margaret objected, "What on Earth are you talking about?" Her best acting skills were being put to the test yet again.
"Oatmeal in my boots…" Hawkeye reminded her.
"That was payback," she defended.
"That trick you pulled with me at the clinic when you switched Mrs. Lindy's and Mr. Omak's charts." The older Pierce man folded his arms and tapped his foot so he'd look mad. The smile was hard to hide though.
"Okay okay. So five practical jokers will be a nightmare." Margaret couldn't not take credit for all of those tricks she pulled.
Hawkeye shook his head, "Na, we'll be the most fun family in Crabapple Cove. As if we aren't already." He straightened up a little and was trying to go for the sophisticated, if not snobbish, look. Instead, as soon as he puffed out his chest and was about to say something, Mikey started giggling again. Going back to his normal self, Hawkeye nodded toward his son in his arms, "See what I mean?"
Daniel had been leaning on the doorjamb and was headed for the rocking chair in the corner of the room when he noticed the pile of letters on the floor. "What are all those?"
"Letters from hell." Hawkeye replied a little flatly. Margaret could understand what that tone meant though. It was the same one she had tried not to use, but ended up using anyway whenever someone asked her about Korea. There was guilt along with a tiny bit of, oddly enough, nostalgia.
"That was sure nice of them." Daniel could figure out his son pretty well too, even if he hadn't experienced what his son was feeling. "Looks like everyone must have written one."
"Yeah, I can't wait to read them. It's gonna take forever though." The woman smiled and looked over to her husband. "Sorry to break up your father-son bonding time, but I'm sure the little guy wants his bottle."
The babies' grandfather got up from where he was sitting, "I'll get the bottle ready for you."
"Are you sure?" Margaret asked, in the process of exchanging babies with Hawkeye.
"Well of course! Always ready to spoil the grandkids." He had a huge smile on his face as he made his way to the kitchen.
"Oh, Dad!" She called him back into the living room.
He returned with a white towel draped across his arm, looking like a French waiter, "Yes Miss Maggie?"
Going into worried mother mode, Margaret started rattling off instructions, "Remember to just put some formula in a bottle and run it under warm water. Don't heat it up on the stove or it'll get too hot."
"Don't worry. I've done this before." The grandpa gave a reassuring smile and headed back into the kitchen.
"How about you?" Hawkeye gazed down into those big blue eyes of his daughter's, "Wanna help read daddy's letter?" She just did what she normally did and started playing with the pocket on his shirt. "Well alrighty then," he laughed and started reading his friend's handwriting to himself.
Dear Lucky Little So and So…ha-ha,
How's civilian life treating you so far? Are Allie and Mikey as cute as their pictures? Who am I kidding, of course they are! Probably cuter, right? How's Margaret? I'm sure she was thrilled to see you again. By the way, have you heard her opinion on how you showed up yet?
Hawkeye thought about his buddy's last question, his stomach tying into knots as he remembered that moment. "Hey Margaret?"
"Yeah?" She replied, looking up from cooing her daughter.
"I meant to ask you…about how I uh…showed you I was home."
A big smile spread across the woman's face, "What about it?"
"Well, I was kinda thinking…I'm sorry about that. I shouldn't have done it that way. It was a little cruel."
"Cruel?!" Margaret questioned in a bit of honest shock, "How was that cruel? You turned my worst nightmare into my dream come true! Honey, that wasn't cruel, that was genius." She caressed her husband's cheek, "I never would have guessed it was you in that uniform. It was a complete surprise when I read that poem and looked up to see you. Other than when these little angels were born, I don't think I've ever had a happier moment in my life."
"Really?" he sighed with relief. Margaret nodded so he set his letter down and put his free arm around her shoulders, bringing her in for a gentle, romantic kiss. "I'm glad to hear it." he whispered against her lips.
Daniel had just walked in and cleared his throat a little awkwardly, "Order up." He laughed.
Hawkeye gave Margaret another quick kiss before releasing her and picking up his letter again while she went on to feed Mike. Daniel just went back to the kitchen, after an over exaggerated bow, and did the dishes from the night before.
Well, enough with all these questions of mine. Sorry about all those. Life here at the 4-0-Double Natural is just about the same. I would have written you earlier, but we've been extremely busy since you left. We got a replacement surgeon for you, but for the last few weeks, there has been a steady stream of wounded. I guess everyone's trying to get in the last casualties before the war ends. I'm guessing you've been listening to the news? Well, it sounds like the peace talks are really heating up now, and everyone's hoping that something actually comes out of them this time. Erin's birthday is coming up and I'll be damned if I miss another one.
Hawkeye had been listening to the news every night, just waiting for that announcement… He hoped it would be soon. He couldn't wait until the day he could change the time on his watch so that all of his 'Army Buddies' could be in the same time zone. (Or at least within four hours). Still feeling a little guilty about being home when everyone else was overseas, he just couldn't bring himself to change his watch. Even if he did still wear it every day…
I realize you won't get this until after the 4th of July, seeing as how it's been the 5th here for a few minutes. But, I just thought I'd wish you a happy 4th anyway. It's a little after midnight here and we all just got back from the beach at Inchon. We spent the day there and had a huge bonfire when it got dark. Klinger got a hold of some fireworks too so we set those off as well. It was a lot of fun and we all had a good time. On the bus ride back to the 4077th, however, things got a little intense.
We were singing songs and having a great time, passing bottles of whisky around. Then we picked up some wounded soldiers about halfway through the trip. That was okay, except it got a little more hectic and crowded. The trouble started about five miles down the road from there though when we picked up some refugees and a couple more GI's. One of the GI's told us to get in the bushes and kill the engine since there was a group of North Koreans headed that way… We all had to be extremely quiet and everything. Well, right when the enemy soldiers were passing, this baby started crying. Thank God the mother got it quiet though or we all would have been dead meat. I don't think my heart has every started going that fast before. I was sure we were dead… But the North Koreans kept walking and after about a half an hour, we kept going.
Hawkeye sat the letter down, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. "Oh my God…"
"What?" Margaret asked, noticing the look on her husband's face.
"Read this paragraph." He pointed to it with his thumb and held it for his wife to see.
After a moment, her eyes opened wide, "Wow…" she whispered.
"Yeah." Hawkeye breathed. "At least they got out of it."
"No kidding." Still holding the bottle up for her son, she scooted over a little closer to Hawkeye and leaned her head against his shoulder. "Thank God you're home. I'd still be worried sick about you…"
Kissing her hair quick and taking in the wonderful scent of her shampoo, he kept reading what was left of the letter.
Well, sorry this will be so short, but we're sending out the package tomorrow morning and Potter wanted these letters in the office by midnight. Oops! I'm sure he'll still take it. Tell Margaret I'm happy for her, being back home and all, and you enjoy your civilian life. (Don't worry about us, we're fine and the war can't go on much longer). Tell Allie and Mikey that their Uncle BJ can't wait to meet them.
I'll talk to you later!
PS: I heard your flights went well from Peggy. Thanks again for taking Erin her gift! Sounds like she's really enjoying being a little doctor to her sick bears. And Peg was thrilled to finally be able to meet you.
Hawkeye smiled and folded the letter back up and stuck it in its envelope. "How are we going to reply to all of these?"
"Phone?" The blonde suggested. It was the easiest route.
"That would work." Hawkeye laughed, carefully getting up with his daughter still in his arms, and grabbed another letter from his pile. "I suppose I should get to reading these others."
"Yeah, I'll read mine when we put these two down for a nap."
The younger man of the house took his seat on the couch again and put his arm around Margaret, his letter still in his hand. "You know…I'm really gonna miss this."
"What?" his wife looked around, raising an eyebrow.
"Dad's making me go to work next week." He tried to look like he was going to start pouting.
"Really? That's great!" Margaret was excited for her husband. "The clinic right?"
"Yep." He nodded, a smile on his face, "I honestly can't wait. I've been getting cabin fever. Plus I feel like a bum, being on such a long break."
Mikey refused any more of the baby formula so his mother was trying to burp him. When he did, she set him back down on her lap and gave him a kiss on the nose, "What a good boy!" She tickled his little belly until he giggled. Giggling herself, she looked back at her husband, "Well, a month of vacation to recuperate from three years in Korea…I think you deserved that."
"Oh, no question." He laughed, "I guess I just got my own little maternity leave."
"Paternity," she emphasized the P, playfully rolling her eyes. "You want to help me put these guys down for a nap?"
"Sure." Hawkeye moved his arm and picked up his little daughter and headed for the stairs. He kissed her tiny cheek, "You ready for a nap Allie-oop?" A huge yawn overtook her sweet face and she looked her daddy right in the eyes. Her eyelids kept drooping, but she kept trying to keep them open. "You won't miss much, don't worry." His heart melted and the same goofy grin he got whenever the twins did something cute like that, pulled at the edges of his mouth. "Let's get you to bed, sleepy one."
A little while later, the young parents were cuddled up together on the couch, reading some more of their letters. Most of Margaret's were from her nurses, but there were a few from other people as well. A couple were from the corpsmen, one from Colonel Potter, and one that really surprised her was from Emma Casey. She had already read the ones from her nurses. Most of them said the same things. They missed her, congratulations, their new head nurse was something else…what they didn't know. Stuff like that.
The corpsman just wrote little notes. A lot of them had jokes and things that probably wouldn't have made her laugh when she was first in Korea, but really did now. Things about the regulations and how she would have a much better time now that Hawkeye didn't have any regulations to follow…as if he did anyway.
When she was done reading all of the short notes from the guys and 'her' girls, she moved on to Potter's letter. She decided to leave the one that might make her mad for later…
I'm so glad you and Pierce have finally reunited in the Cove. From what Hawkeye has told me, it's a beautiful place to be. I'm sure Alicia and Michael will love growing up there. And I can't wait to visit the ever growing Pierce household after this war is over. Well, that is if you want us too! Or heck, everyone could come out to Missouri! Either way…but I guess we'll worry about that later, huh?
You know, this place just isn't the same anymore. Not only did you and Hawkeye leave, but now Radar's gone too. His uncle Ed passed away not too long after that big party in New York City. I think it was about a week after I sent Hawkeye stateside. So we all decided that he needed to get home so he could help out with the farm. His mother's a strong woman, but she wouldn't have been able to do it all by herself.
"Hawkeye." Margaret was laying with her head in his lap.
"Listen to this…" she read him the paragraph she had just read herself. "I just saw Ed not that long ago. He was dancing with the Winchesters and everything." A few sad tears were swimming around in her normally happy eyes.
"Oh wow…" Hawkeye just sort of shook his head in disbelief, "That's gotta be rough on Radar. His uncle Ed was like his dad."
"Yeah. He's home, but what a way to get there." she sighed, "But I can't believe he's not at the 4077th anymore… the colonel's right, that place must be like a totally different unit."
"It was a whole different unit when you were the only one gone…" he ran his hand through her hair. "Everyone missed you like crazy, you know?"
Margaret smiled a little, "The feeling was mutual." She sighed, "I just can't believe Radar's back in Iowa…" After a minute, she read on…
I can honestly say, Margaret, that when I heard you had two beautiful, healthy, babies I was prouder than a peacock. I have only felt that kind of pride once before in my life. When my grandson, Corey, was born. So, now I'm pretty sure I'll be able to really act as their other grandfather. I just hope I can compete with Daniel! He sounds like a great man. Someone who will definitely spoil their grandkids. All the better for Allie and Mikey, right? Haha!
But really Margaret, I'm proud of you too. You were, and still are, the best nurse I have ever scrubbed with. And just from the look on your face in that film that Peg sent us, I can tell that you will be one of the best mothers any little boy or girl could ask for. You're warm, caring, loving, and affectionate. The perfect qualities for any mother. Plus you were a Major in the United States Army! With Pierce's and your genetics…that might come in handy!
Margaret had to reach up and wipe the tears off her cheeks. When she sniffed, Hawkeye looked down in concern, "Honey?"
"It's…it's nothing. The colonel just said he was proud of me…and…" She shrugged, "I hate these new emotions."
Hawkeye winked, "I don't mind them. You're so sweet anymore. I don't have to worry about being chewed out or anything."
His wife just rolled her eyes, "Yeah, gimme a reason to blow up at you, and you'll be sorry you said that."
"I could believe that…" He pretended to be scared as he went back to reading the letter in his hand. From the handwriting that was visible from the back, it looked like maybe it was from Klinger.
Margaret just reached up and patted her husband's shoulder, reading again.
Hawkeye's replacement got here shortly after he left and I gotta say, he makes me miss your husband all the more. It's a man by the name of Hersley… He's a good surgeon and all, but a little too much like Winchester when he first got here. He gets the job done, but it takes him about four times longer than it would have with Hawkeye. And get this, Winchester doesn't even like him! He and Hunnicutt have been pulling prank after prank on him since he got here! In O.R., in the mess tent, in Post Op, at the Swamp, everything! It sure does seem bizarre though, seeing Charles and BJ actually team up to do anything. Like I said…this is a totally different place.
Well, I hate to say this, but I have to go. We've been holding refugees and POW's in the compound and it sounds like there might be a problem. Hope I hear from you soon, but I know how busy you can be with a new little one around. Can't imagine two!
Margaret shook her head, trying to picture the 'new' 4077th. It wasn't an easy task. Folding up the letter and tossing it to her 'read' pile at her feet, she got up and grabbed another one. Laying back down, she opened the envelope, noticing the familiar handwriting. She had seen it many times before. All those years ago in New York City… It had been on the notes she had passed around in class. The elegant swirls on the paper belonged to none other than that mousy faced brat. Emma Casey. The woman who, at one time, had been her best friend.
Dear Mrs. Pierce,
I can't tell you how sorry I am for how I acted all those years. You really would have made a great Ado Annie. You worked so hard for that part and it's a shame you never got to do the play. I know it was hard enough on you without me giving you so much guff for it. It wasn't your fault and I shouldn't have made you feel like it was. I can't believe I let myself lose my best friend.
Of course, I'd also like to apologize for my actions here at the 4077th. I was jealous because you got the absolutely gorgeous husband that I'd always dreamed about. I'm sorry I kept trying to steal him from you. I was just being childish, like I was all those years ago. But, you really do have a wonderful husband. Whenever I tried flirting with him, he never gave in. He was polite, probably trying not to hurt my feelings, but I could tell by the look on his face that he missed you very much.
I hope you know how sorry I am… But congratulations on your beautiful babies. And I'm very happy for you, finally being reunited with Dr. Pierce again.
She couldn't believe what she had just read. Whether or not she could believe Emma, she didn't know. But as far as she could tell, the writer of that letter did sound sorry. But even after all her contemplating, Margaret had no idea what to think. The new head nurse at the MASH unit had really hurt her when they were supposedly best friends. For the time being though, she just shrugged it off and threw the letter in the pile.
The two former residents of the 4077th had just got off the phone with their friends in Korea. They had, amazingly, been able to talk to them for quite awhile. Of course, it had taken a long time to put the call through since the 4077th had once again bugged out. Evidently there had been a big forest fire in the hills of Ouijambu, started by all the shelling. But, in order to reply to all of the letters, Hawkeye and Margaret were able to talk to most everyone. Those that they didn't get to talk to though were just sent messages through everyone else.
Margaret even talked to Emma…and really couldn't believe what she had heard then. She had apologized and congratulated her like she had in the letter, but she even started crying a little too. The two women made up, but Margaret's years of not being able to trust people kicked in and she didn't really know if she could trust her or not. But, soon the wounded came in to the makeshift compound and they all had to go.
It was good timing though since both Allie and Mikey had started crying. The babies' parents had put them down for the night about two hours before, but they wanted their attention again. Margaret was laying in bed, feeling pretty fatigued from the night before. 'Go back to sleep guys…' she tried sending telepathic messages, but knew it wouldn't work.
"I think they're hungry." Hawkeye carried his kids into their bedroom.
Margaret sat up, stretching and yawning, "Thanks Honey."
"No problem." His eyes looked tired, but still very happy. "Here you go Mikey. A spot at the bar." He gave a mischievous grin toward his wife as he gently set his son down on her lap. Going to the other side of the bed, he sat down with his daughter in his arms, "I guess we'll just wait for a table, huh?" Mike had settle down, but the little girl was still crying. Hawkeye was trying everything he could though to keep her happy until she could be fed.
"They sure are growing, aren't they?" Their mother sighed.
"Yeah they are. I can barely blink anymore or I'll miss something." Allie started sucking on his finger, causing him to laugh. "Isn't that right, Allie-oop?"
After awhile, Mikey was full so they switched. "Okay Allie, here you go." Margaret smiled down at her little girl. "You were hungry, weren't you?"
Hawkeye was talking to his son, tickling his little tummy, making him giggle and squeal, a big grin on his face.
The boy's mother watched for awhile, laughing herself. Looking back down toward her daughter, she ran a hand through her daughter's soft black hair. "Look at this, Ben…"
"What?" He asked, a big smile still on his face.
"Look at this hair. It's probably about an inch long already."
"She's Italian." Hawkeye shrugged, "It'll be down to her shoulders by Christmas." The parents just laughed and kept cooing over their kids. When they were both fed and had their diapers changed, the two babies were laid back down for, supposedly, the rest of the night. Of course, their parents knew that wouldn't really happen.
Later, when it was dark and the two were in bed, Margaret scooted over and laid her head on her husband's chest, "You know what I just thought of?"
"What's that?" Hawkeye replied, rubbing her back.
"The twins are six weeks old today." She winked, stroking her husband's cheek.
"They are, aren't they?" A huge, playful grin spread across his face, "So what do you want to do? You look kinda tired…"
"Like hell I'm too tired." Her grin matched her husband's as he turned over, trapping her under his lean frame, kissing her passionately. And one thing lead to another…
After awhile and a time that neither of them would soon forget, Hawkeye put his arm around his wife's waist and scooted her closer to him. "I really missed that," he whispered.
Margaret tried her best to look into his eyes from over her shoulder, but it didn't work all too well. She gave up and laid her head back on the pillow, "Me too."
"So? Was it any better after having to wait so long." He started kissing her neck again.
His breath on her neck was driving her wild. She just nodded, trying to keep herself under control.
Knowing what was going on, Hawkeye laid off and just ran his hand through her silky smooth hair. "I love you."
Margaret turned around and snuggled into his bare chest, "I love you too."
July 25th - 11:30 PM
"Margaret." Hawkeye poked his wife's shoulder. "Margaret, wake up!" He had just ran up from the living room as fast as he could, while also trying to be as quiet as he could. Not that easy of a task in such an old house.
"What's the matter?" She was still a little groggy since she had gone to bed right after putting the babies down for the night.
"They're talking about the Peace Talks on the radio. It sounds big!" The former chief surgeon was obviously excited.
She was wide awake now. "Really?!" Springing out of bed, she grabbed her robe and beat her husband in the race downstairs.
The lights in the living room were off, but the whole room seemed to be illuminated by the dim greenish yellow light on the radio that lit up the dials and the 'Silvertone' logo. Margaret took a seat on the couch and Hawkeye turned the volume up before joining her.
"This is Robert Pierpoint in Seoul I've just returned from outside the newly built conference hall in Panmunjom. The hall is a symbol of the renewed hope for peace. It is almost finished and you can still smell the greenness of the wood. Two years of constant disappointment has made skeptics of us all. However the words from Panmunjom today is that an armistice agreement may be reached at almost any hour."
The two on the couch listened intently, their hearts pounding in anticipation.
"While one of the bloodiest battles of the war wages on, it seems peace is finally within our grasp. Final preparations are being made for the Armistice Agreement and Truce talks still haven't been completed. But after a week of secret sessions in Panmunjom they have announced that they will make preparations for signing the Armistice Agreement.
There is certainly some distance to go in these negotiations, but for the first time in over three years the end of this bloody road that we've traveled is only steps away. This is Robert Pierpoint in Seoul."
Hawkeye sighed, "Damn. I thought they were just gonna announce that the war was over…"
Margaret shook her head, smiling, "No but this is huge! An armistice! A peace treaty…finally!"
"Well, I thought you might like to hear that. They said they were going to patch in to the Armed Forces Radio Network so…" He shrugged, looking down at his watch, "Who knows, I might be able to change this soon."
"Wouldn't that be wonderful? Everyone could be back in the states and with their families. Peg would have BJ back, Mildred would have the colonel. Klinger and that girl he kept talking about on the phone could leave for Toledo…Winchester would be back with his parents and Honoria. Father Mulcahy could go back to the CYO like he talked about! Oh it would be great, wouldn't it?" She sighed, leaning back into Hawkeye's arms.
Her husband laughed a little at how breathless she seemed from her ranting. He put his arms around her and kissed her hair, "What do you say we go for a little walk on the beach? There's a full moon, plenty of light."
"What about Allie and Mike?"
"Dad'll hear them if they wake up. But they were sound asleep when I checked on them last."
Margaret looked down at her robe, "Ben, I'm not dressed for it…" She looked apologetic…and very tired.
"Alright." Hawkeye nodded and stood up, "We'll go for a moonlit stroll some other time." He held his hand out, "Madam." His wife grabbed hold and stood up beside him, hugging him around the middle.
"Can you believe it's almost over?"
It was silent for a moment as they made their way up the stairs. Finally, he replied, "Nope, but I'm sure glad it will be soon."
The Next Night - 9:00 PM
Because of the news the night before, Margaret could hardly get back to sleep after they went to bed. She was tired, but too anxious. So, tonight instead of going to bed first, she decided to stay up with Hawkeye and listen to the regular news. The babies were asleep, so she took the time to read the paper while they waited for the announcer to come through the radio waves. Something she hadn't done in a long time. "Hey, they have an article in here about Robert Pierpoint's announcement last night."
"Really?" Hawkeye walked over to the rocking chair she was sitting in and read over her shoulder. "See, I told you it was big news." Kissing her cheek, he retook his spot on the couch.
"Yeah, uh-hu…that's why you were Mr. Grumpy Man afterwards because they didn't just announce the end of the war."
He just hid behind his book, "These things take time…"
The woman in the chair rolled her eyes and jumped when the soft music that was playing turned to the loud Nine O'clock News theme. "Good evening," the announcer greeted in his low, fake tone, "this is the Nine O'clock News and instead of starting off with the stories we had planned, we will be patching through again to the Armed Forces Radio Network for their coverage on the Peace Talks in Korea. Robert Pierpoint has tonight's top story."
Margaret set her paper down and joined Hawkeye on the couch. She felt too anxious to sit by herself. Her husband must have felt the same way since he had already closed his book and set it on the side table. "What do you suppose is going on?"
"I don't know, but I hope they'll just announce it already…" He pulled his wife tight to him. He could feel her heart beating through her chest and figured she could probably feel his too.
"This is Robert Pierpoint in Panmunjom, right outside the conference hall where the Armistice has just been signed. Now, if my sources are correct, the hostilities have been set to end 12 hours from now at ten o'clock this evening. This three year war is now in its final hours. I repeat, the armistice has been signed at exactly 10:01 this morning, thus ending this, the Korean War." There was relief in Pierpoint's voice as he uttered the final words of his announcement. And that relief was spreading.
"It's over!" Margaret squealed, trying not to wake the twins. "It's over! The war is over!" She bounced up, pulling her slightly dazed husband up with her. "It's over, Honey! It's over!"
Finally, the man's face changed and broke in to a huge smile, "It really is, isn't it? Well, almost anyway, but it's over!" He took his wife's hands and started twirling her around the living room.
"What's going on in here?" Daniel asked, coming from the den.
"It's over dad!" Hawkeye smiled, letting go of Margaret for the time being and grabbing his dad's hands, making him do a little dance too.
Daniel just gaped, "It is?! That's great!"
They celebrated quietly, but if they could have, they'd be screaming it at the top of their lungs. They were so relieved for their friends, still in Korea. Now everyone would finally be able to go home.
July 27th - 1:00 AM
Although they had been celebrating the good news as quietly as they could, it must have been loud enough to wake up the twins. Margaret had gone up to take care of them, but Daniel snagged Hawkeye to get some help with the gobs of paperwork he had, piling up from the clinic. They had been working on it for about five hours, but they were no where near done. Of course, Daniel had really brought it all on himself since Margaret was the only one who ever seemed to get it done on time…and she hadn't been working in the clinic since before the babies were born. So now, they were just trying to catch up on about eight weeks of work in the small den that the father and son shared for the purpose at hand.
"You know," the younger Piece man set his pen down and shook his hand, "I wasn't working at the clinic for most of this. Why am I doing any of it?"
Daniel laughed, "Because not only am I still your boss, but I'm also your father. So in that case, because I said so." He looked up and winked.
"I wouldn't ever do this to Alicia or Michael," Hawkeye pouted. In reality though, he didn't mind spending the time with his dad. They had been talking all night about things they hadn't been able to tell each other yet. Mostly because Hawkeye was always with his wife and kids anymore. He loved that, he just sort of missed the time with his dad.
"Wait 'till they're teenagers," the more experienced father retorted, a smile on his lips
They had started talking again, but before long, Daniel put his finger to his lip and listened to the radio, "Hey Hawk…turn it up a little, it sounds like that Pierpoint guy."
This time, he didn't really have a problem with being 'ordered around' and went up to the radio.
"It is now 2:00pm. In exactly eight hours the Korean War will be officially over. It is a time for summing up and these are the most up-to-date figures we have: Cost of the war to the United States has been placed at twenty-two billion dollars.
"In human terms, the cost was much greater. The UN forces have suffered the following casualties: Killed in combat - 71,500; Missing or captured - 83,263; Wounded - 250,000...
"On the communist side 1,347,000 people were killed or wounded. There were also killed 400,000 Korean civilians...
"If you add it all up, it comes to more than two million people killed or wounded.
"In addition one-forth of all Korean nationals are homeless and one hundred thousand are orphans…"
"And for what…?" The reporter went on, but the Korean war veteran questioned the statistics bitterly. "It was all just a horrible waste," he shook his head, taking his seat back at the desk across form his dad.
"Oh not a total waste." Daniel pointed up. "What about Margaret and the twins? They wouldn't have happened if the war hadn't."
Hawkeye nodded, "Okay, so three good things came out of the war…"
Margaret woke up to a baby crying. For once, there was just one and she could tell it was her daughter. Hawkeye had rolled over, but since he had been up all night and had just gone to bed a few hours ago, she let him sleep. Not even bothering with her robe, she stumbled into the nursery and turned on the lamp. "Shhh…what's the matter baby girl?" She whispered and reached into the crib to pick up the crying baby. Looking over to make sure Michael was still asleep, she grabbed the girl's '4077th Original' baby blanket and wrapped her up, heading for the stairs.
Hawkeye had told her that they kept having bulletins on the radio when he had crawled in bed and accidentally woke her up. So, she was curious and figured if there weren't any, the music might lull her daughter back to sleep after she was fed.
On her way to the rocking chair, Margaret turned on the radio and tuned it so the channel she needed came in as clear as it could. At the moment, there was just soft music playing so she sat down and pulled up her shirt for her hungry daughter. "Remember me telling you about Korea?" She whispered, softly playing with the girl's fine hair, "Well that war is over and all of your mommy and daddy's friends are going to be with their own families soon. Isn't that great?" Allie just stretched her tiny legs out a little and closed her eyes. Margaret smiled down in motherly pride and laid her head back, singing softly to the melodies on the radio.
She had almost dozed off when a man's voice quietly filled the room. It was the voice of the reporter, just rattling off another bulletin. "President Eisenhower says he's going to ask for an emergency relief fund of two million dollars to help build up the war torn Korean economy. Another two hundred million may be allocated to the reinforcement of the Vietnam Army in its war against Communism in South East Asia. It is now three hours before the cessation of hostilities."
The woman just sighed, "Another war." Looking down at her daughter, she whispered, "I hope in your life time you'll see a day where there are no more wars. It's not fair to have to live through this kind of thing. I hope they find a way to have peace in the world when you're older. Or very soon would be nice too." She kissed her finger and gently stroked the girls cheek.
When Allie was done, her mother burped her and just rocked her for awhile before taking her back up to bed. Having twins was much more difficult than she could have expected when she first found out why she was still having pains. Sure she had plenty of help from Hawkeye and Daniel, but there was the fact that she had so little time to just bond with one or the other. She was always afraid of giving one more attention… So, to try and make amends, she stroked her son's back for awhile before going back to bed herself.
* * * * * * * * *
At about seven o'clock, Mikey was ready for his breakfast so instead of going back to sleep after he was done, the tired mother just got up and hour early and made cinnamon rolls from her grandmother's recipe. They took forever to make and it wasn't often anymore that she had time to make them. But they were delicious and the perfect start to a pretty important day.
"Those were amazing Honey." Hawkeye had pretty much scraped his plate clean with his fork, wanting every last glob of the wonderful frosting.
"I'm glad you liked them." The chef smiled, taking the last bite of hers. They were pretty good, if she did say so herself.
"Here, I'll take care of these." Hawkeye grabbed his plate and the empty serving dish in the middle of the table, along with the silverware.
Margaret turned around and looked at the clock, "Don't you have to go to work soon? It's already a quarter to nine."
"Nope." He shook his head, "Before he left, Dad told me to stay here until they announced the cease fire. He thought we should be together for the big moment."
"Well that was nice of him." Getting up from her place at the table, she passed her plate and silverware to her husband who was already filling the sink with soapy water. "I'll dry."
"Thanks." He gave her a quick peck on the lips as he artfully spun around and grabbed a dish rag. Or at least tried.
He ended up stumbling a little and sending Margaret into a fit of hysterics. "Smooth. Very smooth," she teased him. Drying the first plate he washed, the nurse asked, very 'professionally', "So how many cases do you have today, Doctor Pierce?"
"Well, Nurse Pierce, I think today will be a slow day. One or two camp physicals, an athletic physical, and seeing as how the summer break is about half over, we'll probably get a few of the little neighborhood boys in with broken bones. Stinky and I used to try to get the most out of our summers when they were coming to an end…one of us always ended up hurt."
Margaret just rolled her eyes, "And you're not going to tell Mike about that, right? I don't want him getting hurt."
"Scouts honor." He gave a soapy Boys Scout solute, "But you know he will get bumps and bruises from just being a boy, right?"
"Oh of course I do. I was one of the boys when I was little. The girls on the military bases were too…girly. No, I know he'll get skinned knees and elbows, but broken bones just give me the willies. Especially those compound fractures we used to work on." She shuddered and then remembered the time, "Hold on." She turned the small kitchen radio on and went back to where she was.
There were only about sixty seconds left of the fighting and shell fire could be heard over the radio. It gave the two people in the kitchen goose bumps. They both held their breaths as the words they had been waiting so long to hear, finally were spoken.
"This is Robert Pierpoint speaking to you from Panmunjom. One minute before ten p.m. and you can still hear the sound of nearby artillery. At some point during the next few seconds the guns should go silent as the cease-fire officially goes into effect…" There was more shelling and then it just stopped, leaving an eerie silence, "There it is. The sound of peace."
They both exhaled at the same time, relieved looks on their faces. A few happy tears rolled down Margaret's and Hawkeye's eyes were pretty moist as he dried off his hands. "It's all over now…" he smiled and hugged his wife who was laughing her relieved laugh.
"It's over!" she squealed again as the gorgeous man who held her in his arms picked her up and spun her around in excitement. When he set her down, she looked over toward the radio. It was still silent. Looking up into those piercing blue eyes, she smiled, "I think I could really get used to the sound of peace."
Hawkeye nodded, "So could I." He dipped the beautiful woman low and kissed her with as much passion as he could muster. But, just when Margaret started kissing him back, there was a small cry from upstairs. Lifting his head a little, he chuckled, "Déjà vu."
The man's wife was still being dipped, "Why don't you go see what they want and I'll get the camera. I really want a picture of the three of you. I think today would be a good day to do it."
"That I could do." He straightened them both back up and kissed Margaret's cheek again quick before heading up the stairs. The twins' father was able to make them happy enough to stop crying for awhile by making silly faces at them and tickling their little feet while they were still in their cribs. They giggled as their daddy scooped them both up and sat in the pale green rocking chair in the corner of the nursery.
Before Margaret brought the camera, a gift from Daniel, into the nursery, Hawkeye gave his kids a promise he hoped, very much, to keep. "I'm sorry I wasn't there when you guys were born. And I'm sorry I wasn't there for the first few weeks of your life either… But from now on, I will never miss out on any part of your lives. I promise." He carefully kissed their small noses, making them giggle even more. "You're stuck with me."
"And we're all very happy about that." Margaret had been leaning against the doorframe, listening to Hawkeye's promise with happy tears in her eyes. She raised the camera and got everything focused. "Okay, say cheese everyone."
"Say cheese, guys!" Hawkeye lifted up the babies a little so they could be better seen by the camera and smiled. That same smile that had been on Margaret's mind since she left for that first trip to Tokyo after the passionate night in the hut. The smile that proved he was in love…not only with her now, but also with his beautiful son and daughter.
Well, I REALLY hope you liked this 'Goodbye Farewell and Amen' of Missing Out. I hope it wasn't too long for you and that you don't mind how I modified things from the actual show… I really did modify a LOT. I just hope you all liked it! :-D
A few things do need explaining though. The whole 'Just 'cause the roller coaster's closed, doesn't mean you have to shut down the whole amusement park.' thing is actually one of Ron White's jokes. I just thought it would fit pretty good where it was in this story. Haha. Also, the Robert Pierpoint radio announcements are the ones that were on M*A*S*H. I'm sure there were probably different versions of them on the radio that night, but those were the only ones I could find online.
But, other than that… I hope you liked it and I can't wait to hear what you thought. Special thanks go out to Lissy for ALL of her help! And Bev of course! Also, to anyone who has ever left a review or just read my story. :-D
Thanks for reading! And if I don't reply to your reviews right away, just know that I will! I'm going to be gone for three weeks with no internet so… When I get back though!
PS: I've left this story open for a sequel. So, we'll see what happens. Maybe? Okay...REVIEW TIME!