Disclaimer: Don't own just wanted to play with them for a bit, I guess I'll put 'em back when I'm done.

By the way all the bits in italics are present day parts, whereas the parts that are not, are his memories.

It was a great place to be a kid. There was a stream with fish in it that ran right behind the house. (From Hawkeye's Nightmares Season Five.)
The sounds of happy children and rushing water filled the air, as a lone man sat in a comfortable lawn chair, gazing across the fields, lost in his memories.

His blue eyes sparkled with good humour and intelligence, the lines surrounding them evidence of years of laughter and happiness. His black hair was liberally streaked with grey, the only testament to his age, since his face still retained the youthful features of a much younger man.

Sighing softly, his eyes briefly focused on the antics of the children who were playing in the stream that ran behind his house and he smiled warmly at their simple pleasures, before once again allowing himself to slip back into his memories.

His mind automatically took him back to his time in Korea, the pain and suffering that he had seen there never truly leaving him even after so many years. In his mind's eye, he saw the terrible injuries that he had seen inflicted on the bodies of young boys and his desperate attempts to heal their wounds and save them from the pain. The insanity and cruelty that he had seen there had almost destroyed him, and the longer he stayed in that camp, the more he had begun to idealize the world and the home that he had left behind.

Crabapple Cove. Throughout the entirety of his time in Korea, a part of him had always remained in his home town, the memories of his life and family there sometimes the only thing that sustained him during a conflict that had threatened to tear him apart. He had always believed that everything that he would ever want or need was there in Crabapple Cove; that Korea had interrupted his life and then done nothing except take from him. Oh sure he had made some good friends, but he had never felt that those friendships were enough to make up for what he believed he had lost when he had been drafted.

When the conflict had finally come to end, he had returned home immediately, believing that his life could now continue on as it should have done, with only a few adjustments, and that getting the people of Crabapple Cove to say 'ah' and living in his home town would be enough for him, that he didn't need anything or anybody else. His friends from the 4077th would remain important to him, but would no longer be that necessary piece that he had previously needed to keep him going every day. Instead they would become part of his memories, people that he corresponded with occasionally but who would no longer play a vital role in his life.

Hawkeye shook his head ruefully, his naivety at that time in his life still amazing him even after so many years. Sinking back into his chair, he let himself drift back into his memories of those first few months after the 'police-action' (he mentally scoffed at the term) had come to an end.

Initially he had loved being home, the simplicity of a life-style, which he had been able to choose for himself this time, healing his battered soul, but as time wore on and his day-to-day life stayed the same, he began to realise that it was all becoming empty and meaningless to him. His work and his patients were still important to him but his personal life was stagnant and lonely, draining him and robbing him of his lust for life. It had been after a talk with his father that he had finally come to understand how essential his Korean family had been to his enjoyment of life and how much he had lost when he had allowed the ties between them to break.

It was after this realisation that Hawkeye had decided to try and reconnect with his friends. Having made contact with B.J, Colonel Potter and even Charles, Hawkeye had decided to travel to see each of them, hoping that seeing them would help him to reconnect with himself and in turn help him to move on with his life.

He had decided to visit Charles in Boston first, before moving across the USA to visit Colonel Potter in Missouri and then onto California to see B.J.

He never made it past Boston, not on that trip anyway.

As he walked down the corridors of Mercy Hospital in Boston, Hawkeye considered the last few days. Surprisingly he had received a very warm welcome from Charles upon his arrival in Boston, a few days earlier. It appeared that Charles was also struggling after loosing contact with his friends and so had been truly happy to repair the ties between himself and Hawkeye. Hawkeye smiled at the thought. Already he had begun to feel better; a part of him that he hadn't even realised was empty beginning to fill, as he once again connected with his bunk-mate.

And yet he still felt that something was missing, that same emptiness that had bothered him in Crabapple Cove, still following him to Boston, not at all improved by his renewed friendship with Charles.

He sighed unhappily and continued walking aimlessly down the hospital corridors. Charles had been called in for an emergency surgery and Hawkeye had decided that he would tour the hospital whilst he waited for him to finish. Although he had done his residency in Boston, he had not visited the place since he returned from Korea and so he was enjoying the opportunity to get re-acquainted with the city and its' hospitals. Idly he wondered if Trapper still worked over at Boston General or if he and his family had moved away from the city. He had heard nothing from his friend since he had missed him at the airport and the hurt at being so easily forgotten by his friend had never left him.

Lost in his thoughts, he failed to notice the person coming down the corridor in front of him, until he collided heavily with him.

"God, I'm sorry, I was kinda lost in my own world there but....Trapper?" Hawkeye asked, wondering if he was imagining his friend, whom his thoughts had been dwelling on only moments before.

"Hawkeye?" Trapper John McIntyre asked, his face showing complete shock at seeing his buddy roaming the corridors of the hospital. "Hawkeye Pierce, what're you doing here? Last time I saw you, you said that nothing would get to leave Crabapple Cove once the war was over."

"Yeah well, people change." Hawkeye said, a little harshly but seeing Trapper flinch, he shrugged and offered a half-hearted smile. "So you working here now?"

"Yeah for about a year now. How you been doing Hawk?" He paused, seeing the hollowness still evident in his friend's eyes, eyes which had once been so full of life and laughter. "Were you in Korea till the end?" He asked, although just seeing Hawkeye's face gave him his answer.

Hawkeye didn't answer but merely nodded, and an uncomfortable silence extended between the pair. Eventually Trapper, unable to stand the silence any longer, spoke.

"So anyway Hawk how long you in town for? You got time to come and have dinner with me and the family?" Trapper asked, genuinely wishing to repair their friendship now that he had the chance.

Hawkeye smiled weakly. "I'm here for a few more days at least so I'm sure I could fit a meal into my busy schedule." He said sarcastically, winning a smile from Trapper.

"Great, here's my number why don't you give me a call and let me know when you're free?" Trapper said, handing Hawkeye a card. "Uh-oh there's my cue." He said, hearing his name being called over the PA system. "I'll see you soon, ok?"

"Yeah, I'll ring you and let you know when I can make it over." Hawkeye said, smiling genuinely before shaking his friend's hand and watching him rush away.

He was lost. There was no other way of saying it; he had managed to get himself completely lost. Throwing himself down onto a nearby chair, he let his head fall into his hands in defeat, rolling his eyes at his own stupidity in allowing himself to get lost. If Charles found out about this, he'd never hear the end of it.

He pulled his hand down his face in exasperation. It was that stupid blonde hair, he had caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of his eye and before he had even realised what he was doing, he had chased after the figure belonging to it, a single name on his lips. It hadn't been her though or if it was she had completely disappeared by the time he reached the spot where he had thought he'd seen her.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid." He muttered to himself. "Why would it be her and why would you even care?" He asked himself, trying to ignore how his heart sped up at the mere thought of it actually being her and almost broke in two when that fantasy was once again shattered. Shaking his head, Hawkeye instead tried to focus on the important point- getting himself back down to the lobby before Charles found out that he had gotten lost in the first place. Slowly he stood up and started looking around at his surroundings, desperately trying to ignore the memories of the sound of her voice and the smell of her perfume, as he sought to find his way back to the lobby. It was all in vain though, his memories merely showed what his conscious mind did not want to admit, that he did care and was struggling to deal with her absence from his life.

"Pierce." Charles shouted. "I apologise for taking so long, I hope you haven't been causing too much trouble whilst I have been otherwise occupied?" Charles asked, a wicked grin on his face as he teased his friend.

Hawkeye smiled weakly, his mind still reeling from his revelation earlier. "No Charles, I've managed to contain the urge to run amok in your hospital. In fact I ran into an old friend earlier, perhaps you know him, Dr. McIntyre?" He explained flatly, surprising Charles with his apparent lack of enthusiasm or even interest in meeting old friends, especially odd when one considered Hawkeye's design in coming to visit him. He also noticed that the hollow look, which had been present on Hawkeye's face during the first day of his visit but had since faded, had returned and he sighed, concerned about this relapse. However knowing that pushing Hawkeye to reveal his troubles would not work, Charles smiled happily and pretended to disregard the misery, which had once again taken a hold of his friend.

"Ah yes, Dr. McIntyre, rather infamous within this hospital, may I ask how you know him, Pierce?" Charles asked, having previously been unaware of the connection between the two Doctors.

"I met Trapper during my residency in Boston and then we were both assigned to the 4077th." Hawkeye explained.

"Ah, so he is the famous Trapper, is he? I wonder that I missed it before, I had always believed that I would recognise that prankster simply based on your stories." Charles replied, chuckling lightly as he recalled some of Hawkeye's descriptions of his friend and their jokes.

"Yeah." Hawkeye said blandly, again causing Charles to examine his friend worriedly, before rushing to change the topic.

"Anyway, you ready to go get something to eat? I understand that my parents are absent this evening so we could dine at the house or perhaps visit that new restaurant which has just opened nearby."


A burst of laughter from the nearby children, startled Hawkeye out of his thoughts. Unconsciously he rubbed the golden band on his left hand ring-finger, a nervous habit that he had picked up over the years, which had become a source of great amusement to his wife.

"I think some part of you still thinks that it's weird that that ring is where it is."

Hawkeye always responded the same way,

"Well the most important part of me is very glad that it's there, that you're here with me."

Hawkeye looked down at his fingers which were still rubbing his ring, smiling at the thought of how close he had come to never having that one person, whom he wanted most, in his life.

Hawkeye jolted awake, the images of his nightmares still haunting him, his eyes darting around the room, as though trying to reassure himself that his nightmares had not followed him into his waking moments. Heaving himself up, he pushed the covers back and staggered groggily over to the bathroom. Walking up to the sink, he glared at the image reflected back at him in the mirror. His hair was mussed and deep blue bags lay under his eyes, evidence of the extent of his exhaustion. Since that day at the hospital, he had been unable to sleep an entire night without waking up from a nightmare about the war. In his dreams tonight, he had been back on the bus, watching as that mother smothered her own child, once again feeling the weight of guilt falling upon him. Staring at his reflection, he reminded himself about what Sidney had explained to him, that it had been the mother who chose to sacrifice her child to save the people on the bus, he had not been to blame.

Angrily he slammed his fist down on the edge of the sink. "God damn it." He swore, pain shooting up from his hand. Gently cradling it in his other hand, he noticed that it was already visibly swelling and he swore again, realising that he may have fractured his hand. Still cradling his hand, he walked back into the bedroom and clumsily pulled on a pair of trousers and t-shirt before turning and walking out into the hall. Briefly glancing up and down the hallway, he noticed that it was empty, which was hardly surprising considering the time. He then turned and began walking along the corridor towards the hotel lobby, hoping to find someone there who could find him some ice for his hand.

"Hello?" He called, hitting the small bell on the desk again. "Is anybody there?" Still he was met with silence. "Shit." His hand was now beginning to throb and he knew that unless he was able to get some ice, he would have to swallow his pride and go to the hospital and get someone there to have a look at his hand. He sighed as he realised that no-one was in the room behind the counter, and frustrated both with himself and the situation, he started back towards his room. However as he was turning a corner on the stairs, a person knocked his injured hand and he cried out in pain.

"Oh I'm so sorry but come on I didn't hit you that hard, there's no need to... Hawkeye?" At the sound of her voice Hawkeye had paused on his way up the stairs, not truly believing that it could actually be her, but at her exclamation of his name, he had lifted his head and looked at her, his eyes tracing the lines of her face, her blonde hair, and dainty figure.

"Margaret?" He asked, his tone still disbelieving. "This has got to be some kind of pain-induced hallucination or a day-dream or something like that, you can't really be here."

"I'm really here- wait you day-dream about me?" Margaret asked, her heart lifting at the chance that perhaps Hawkeye had missed her as much as she had missed him.

"Er...well...you see..." Hawkeye stuttered causing Margaret to laugh.

"I don't think I've ever seen you speechless before." She teased causing Hawkeye to smile ruefully in return, before suddenly wincing in pain. "What's wrong?" Margaret asked, instantly concerned. "I know I didn't run into you that hard."

"No, no you didn't, I bashed my hand earlier and it's just a little sore, that's all." He explained, carefully moving to hide his hand behind his back, away from her piercing gaze, but Margaret ever vigilant to any sort of mischief on Hawkeye's part, instantly noticed his movement and quickly took his hand, before he wa able to prevent her from seeing it.

"Oh my god, Hawkeye, what did you do?" Margaret asked worriedly, carefully examining the bruised and swollen hand, noticing him flinching every time she slid her fingers over the injury.

"It's nothing Margaret; I just knocked it on the corner of the sink in my room. It'll be fine; I was just going to get some ice for it so as to try and bring down the swelling." Hawkeye said, smiling as he realised that Margaret was still running her fingers gently over his bruised hand.

"So Major, how'd you like to have a drink with handsome but bruised, former Army Captain?" Hawkeye asked, smiling winningly, as he tried to distract Margaret from his injured hand.

"I'd love to but first let's get some ice on that hand; I have some ice back in my room, and don't even think about saying what you're thinking Pierce!" She said, her glare stopping any smart-arsed response that he may have given about her inviting him back to her room, whilst showing that she had not forgetten about his injury.

"There, does that feel better?" Margaret asked softly, as she placed the ice against Hawkeye's hand.

"Yes it does thanks." Hawkeye replied, the ice soothing his bruised hand as the pair lapsed into a comfortable silence, with Margaret continuing to hold the ice against his hand.

"So Margaret, what are you doing here in good ol' Boston?" Hawkeye asked curiously.

And the rest as they say was history. Hawkeye had invited Margaret out for a meal with him that evening and almost immediately the pieces had fallen into place. As he had been looking across the table at her beautiful face, he had suddenly realised that the hollowness that he had been feeling since he returned from Korea was gone, replaced with a sense of completion and stability that he hadn't felt in a long time. At the end of the evening, he had quickly asked to see her again, rejoicing inwardly when Margaret's eyes had lit up with joy at his question and she had eagerly agreed to go out with him again. After that second dinner, he knew that he had fallen in love with her and as it had gotten closer to the time when he was supposed to be either returning to Crabapple Cove or continuing on to Missouri to visit Colonel Potter and his wife, he knew that he had to tell her how much she meant to him or risk losing her forever.

"Marry me."


"Marry me Margaret. I can't lose you again. I love you too much." He paused. "I know it sounds corny as hell, but I'm not a whole person without you and I don't want to even try to carry on with my life without you in it. So please, put me out of my misery; marry me." Hawkeye pleaded, holding her hands tightly in his own, one hand still bandaged from when he had fractured it on the night he had found her, his blue eyes locked with her blue ones.

"Ok." She whispered, "Yes, yes I will marry you. I love you too, Hawkeye." She continued, her voice still soft, but also determined.

"Thank you." Hawkeye muttered, before placing a beautiful, yet simple, platinum diamond ring on her finger and capturing her lips in passionate but loving kiss. "I love you, and if I ever seem to be forgetting that, feel free to whack me across the head." He said, smiling widely, his whole face lit up with joy and a sense of peace. Then after placing another gentle kiss on her lips, he drew her into his arms. They remained in a close embrace for a while until Margaret lifted her head from his chest and looked up at him.

"So, are there any positions going in Crabapple Cove for an ex-army nurse?" Margaret asked casually, smiling as she saw the shock on Hawkeye's face at her revelation.

"You want to move to Crabapple Cove?" He asked startled.

"Of course, we're getting married where else would I want to be?" Margaret asked, trying to ignore her nerves, knowing that he probably hadn't meant his comment to sound the way it had to her.

"I just thought you'd want to stay in the city, work in a hospital there," he paused. "You'd really come back to Maine with me?"

She nodded. "You'd consider moving to Boston just so I could work in a hospital here?"

"Of course." Hawkeye said instantly.

"Thank you." Margaret whispered, wrapping her arms tighter round his waist and leaning her head back onto his chest. "I want to go home with you though; I'm fed up of not being able to connect with my patients, first in the army and now in these city hospitals. I'm a scrub nurse but I want to be able to spend some time with my patients and get to know them, not just treat them. So I'd rather give up being a scrub nurse than keep going the way I'm going."

Hawkeye grinned widely, both at her desire to return to Crabapple Cove with him and also at her calling it 'home'. "Well then, I guess we're going back to Crabapple Cove, and trust me soon you'll know your patients and your patients will know you too!" He said, his grin taking on a wicked gleam, making Margaret feel a little uneasy.

Hawkeye smiled in memory, remembering the sheer happiness he had felt on that day, knowing that he was going to marry the love of his life and that they would be returning to his home-town. They had gone back to Maine rather than continuing on Hawkeye's planned trip, and Margaret had quickly settled into life in a small town, the life of a nurse in a small surgery, agreeing with her.

Dr. Daniel Pierce had immediately bonded with his daughter-in-law to be; originally it was simply because of the smile which she put on his son's face but soon he had loved her for herself. They had been married soon after they returned to Maine, a small ceremony which they had invited Charles, Trapper, Colonel Potter and his wife, B.J and his family and many others from their 4077th family to attend. Colonel Potter had again walked Margaret down the aisle, since unfortunately 'Howitzer' Houlihan had refused to be a part of what he claimed was a sham of a marriage to an undisciplined, arrogant and self-centred idiot. His cruel words about her fiancé had led Margaret to break off all communication with her father, a situation which would last for many years. Thankfully Daniel had loved and supported his daughter-in-law, filling the void of the loving father she had never had, something which Hawkeye had always been truly grateful for.

Their life had continued on in this peaceful manner until one day towards the end of June.

Hawkeye watched as his wife moved among the patients in the waiting room, offering kind words to worried mothers and gentle hugs to their children. He smiled as he watched her playing with a little girl. He still found it difficult to be around younger children but watching Margaret with them always brought a smile to his face, especially when he allowed himself to imagine her with their own children. He had found that even as he struggled with his own fears about being around children, he had begun to envision beginning a family with Margaret. He smiled again and then catching Margaret's eye, he beckoned her into the examination room.

"Yes, Dr. Pierce?" She asked, ever the professional. "Can I help you with something?"

"Nope, I just wanted to do this." He said, before capturing her lips in a passionate kiss. Margaret let the kiss continue for a short time before pushing him back.

"Goofball." She said, though her smile and the affectionate look in her eyes proved that she wasn't really annoyed.

"So are you feeling better now? You threw up for the third morning in a row this morning." Hawkeye asked, rubbing his hands up and down Margaret's arms, trying to quell his worry about his wife's health.

"I'm fine, Hawkeye." She replied, pecking him lightly on the lips. "You can stop worrying, and don't even try to say that you weren't, everything is going to be fine. Now why don't you get ready for your first patient, daddy." Margaret said, before turning and leaving the room, a suspiciously innocent smile on her face.

"Ok, I'll just get ready to...." Hawkeye trailed off as the full impact of his wife's words hit him and he spun around and darted out of the room after his wife.

"Wait a minute, did you say Daddy? Are you trying to tell me that I'm going to be a Daddy, Margaret?" Margaret nodded, tears of joy shining in her eyes. "We're going to have a baby? We're going to have a baby!" Hawkeye shouted happily, suddenly lifting Margaret into the air and spinning her round, heedless of the crowd of patients who were currently sat in the room, smiling at the antics of their beloved Doctor and Nurse and shouting words of congratulations to the soon-to-be parents.

Hawkeye gently placed Margaret back on the floor and led her into his office.

"So when do you think the baby's due?" Hawkeye asked, immediately placing his hand against her still-flat stomach.

"Hmm I'm about two months gone, so I should be due in early January." Margaret replied, placing her hand over Hawkeye's, which was still caressing her stomach.

She had been right, their daughter Molly had arrived on 7th January 1955, followed by their son B.J (who's full name was Benjamin Jonh, since Hawkeye had quite adamantly said that his B.J's initials would stand for something!) on May 22nd 1957. Margaret's last pregnancy carried a little surprise for the pair and on the 18th December 1960, they welcomed Danny and Lily Rose into the world.

As the years passed, Hawkeye and Margaret had watched their children grow, providing their children with what each had not had whilst they were children, a stable home and two loving parents, since although Hawkeye's mother had loved him dearly, he had lost her when he was only ten. Regular reunions and trips had also ensured that the children were close to their parents' friends from the 4077th, a fact that both Margaret and Hawkeye were extremely grateful for.

"Hawkeye?" A voice said, interrupting his reminiscing, and a pair of gentle arms wrapped themselves round his neck, hugging him gently. "What were you doing, love?"

"Reminiscing." Hawkeye said simply, smiling up into the still beautiful face of his wife. "Sometimes I find it hard to believe that those children, playing in the same stream that I used to play in, are our grand-children. It's just amazing, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Margaret replied, gently placing a kiss on his forehead. "Yeah it is." She paused. "We can be grateful for so many things though, can't we? Our marriage, then our kids, who had the chance to grow up in this perfect place and now our grand-children. I couldn't have wished for more."

"No, me neither."

Woo it's done. This story was originally teeny but it kinda evolved into something bigger, lol. Hope you all enjoyed. Please review though only if it's constructive, no flames please. Thanks and I hope you liked it. A xxxxxxx