Hmmm this story had been rattling around in my noggin' for ages but I finally managed to pry it out of my head and get it down, so voila here it is. I hope you all like it. It's AU obviously and Very angsty in places so be warned. This story takes place sometime after 'Comrades in Arms' which I know has inspired many of these types of stories but I hope that you like my spin on it.
Disclaimer: If I owned them, there would have been a wedding or something between Margaret and Hawkeye during the last episode, since there wasn't I guess I don't own them. Darn.
Margaret stifled another groan, as a knot of pain twisted across her abdomen, her uterus contracting in a defiant attempt to push the body of her child into the world. As the pain began to subside, she sighed and shifted slightly in a vain attempt to find a comfortable position on the rough surface of the wall, which her pregnant body was now leaning against.
Even as her mind continued to try and deny it, her contractions had been steadily increasing in number and intensity and whether she liked it or not her baby, their baby, was going to be born soon.
Leaning her head back, she fought against the tears, which were trying to fall, staring at the silent stars above. 'It wasn't supposed to have happened like this, any of it.' She thought to herself miserably.
'Well tough luck lady,' another part of her mind reprimanded. 'It is happening; now deal with it, like the professional you are!'
A muffled groan broke through her lips as another contraction began to send spikes of searing pain through her already tired body, causing her to look desperately at the body lying next to her to make sure that he hadn't woken up.
"Margaret?" Hawkeye's sleepy voice murmured and she heard him shuffling around to face her. "Margaret, are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Pierce." She growled, her annoyance towards him genuine as she glared at him in the darkness. "Just go back to sleep!" And closing her eyes, she again focussed on blocking out the pain that was ripping through her.
However, instead she felt his presence shift closer to her and reluctantly she dragged her eyes open, immediately focussing on the blue eyes, which shone with concern, in front of her.
"Margaret, will you please tell me what's going on? You said that weren't injured when the jeep crashed, are you sure you're alright?" Hawkeye asked, his eyes searching for any signs of injury, narrowing when he saw how she shifted to hide her stomach from him, her face grimacing in pain. Quickly his arm shot out and he turned her to face him, his own stomach dropping as he saw the look of pain and fear on her face. "Please Margaret, let me help you." He pleaded.
Margaret stared into his crystal blue eyes and felt something inside her snap. Finally she nodded and let her arms fall away from her stomach.
Carefully, Hawkeye lifted his hands and moved to help Margaret lie down so that he could examine her properly. As he laid her down, he tried to convince himself that the changes in her shape were a figment of his imagination, but as soon as he placed his hands against her belly, his eyes widened in shock and no longer able to ignore the truth, he whipped his head round to look at Margaret, who had turned her face away to look at the opposite wall.
Running a hand through her blonde hair, he tilted her head back to face him. "Margaret?"
"I'm sorry," she whispered, her eyes full of tears.
"Oh Margaret, why didn't you tell me, why didn't you let me help you?" He asked sadly, his hand still smoothing her hair away from her pale face.
"I'm sorry," She repeated again.
She remembered how she hadn't originally noticed the signs, the stress and the misery of simply being in the middle of a war, coupled with the difficulty of her divorce and the awkwardness that she had felt around Hawkeye after their time together in the hut, meaning that she had missed the changes that were occurring in her body.
When she had eventually noticed the growth of her stomach, she had tried to deny it. For almost a month, she had carried on as normal, acting as if nothing was happening and that she wasn't growing a tiny person within her, but then one day that had all changed.
One morning, as she was fighting to get her trousers buttoned over her ever-increasing bump, she had felt a tiny flutter from inside her. Her baby had moved and with that she had finally accepted the truth.
She was pregnant, pregnant with the child of a man that two years ago she had despised. She had been terrified and she had panicked. Knowing that her father would disown her if he had found out, she had realised that she could neither go to him for help nor to her mother who was a lush and completely incapable of helping her or her child.
So she had hidden the pregnancy, her terror convincing her that as long as she didn't get found out and sent away that everything would be fine.
She had been successful and had managed to keep the growth of her belly hidden from the entire camp, including him but although she had carefully monitored her pregnancy and her health, she hadn't even begun to think what she would do once the baby was born until earlier that week, at which time she had panicked again. But before she had had the chance to try and come up with a new plan, Potter had ordered Pierce and herself to attend a conference in Seoul and she had once again focused all her energy on simply hiding her increased girth from him.
The pair had barely spoken a word as they traversed the bumpy and dangerous roads, which led to Seoul, Margaret's guilt having caused them to drift apart over the last few months to the extent that they barely spoke to each other at all anymore. They probably would have continued on in that manner but life as always, decided to throw them both another curve ball.
A flat tyre had caused the jeep to swerve and although Hawkeye had frantically tried to gain control of it, it had slammed into a tree. Hawkeye had been thrown free but Margaret had remained in her seat, wrapping her hands round her belly in a desperate attempt to protect her baby.
And now she sat staring at him, contractions rippling across her uterus, his face bruised and cut and his eyes shining with concern and- dare she wish it- love? She lowered her head sadly, knowing that all love must have been driven away by her behaviour in the past few months and instead she focussed on breathing deeply as the contraction died off.
"Oh, my Margaret, forgive me." He said, causing Margaret's head to shoot up in surprise. "I'm sorry that you didn't think that you could come to me about this, about our baby." He explained, rubbing his hand gently against her swollen belly.
"I...er...how do you know that it's er..." Margaret stumbled nervously, glancing up at Hawkeye.
"I can count." Hawkeye explained simply. "Now I need to examine you, Ok?" Margaret nodded and helped Hawkeye to remove her trousers so that he could check the progression of her labour.
"Oh god." He whispered, his heart pounding slightly. "Ok, Margaret, darling, you're fully dilated and the baby is crowning," he paused and leaned forward to place a gentle kiss on her forehead. "It's going to be fine, I'm just going to grab some supplies from my bag and then we'll get you as comfortable as possible, Ok?"
"Mmmhhmmm." Margaret hummed in response, the pain and his care of her, helping to numb her fear of what would happen next, for the moment at least.
"Ok Margaret, one more big push, just one more, that's it, there you go." Hawkeye called, as their baby slipped into the world. Hawkeye grasped the child and quickly cleared its nose and mouth of all fluids, his actions inciting a loud cry of angry protest, causing wide smiles to appear on both of its parents' faces.
"It's a girl." Hawkeye said, as he placed the squirming baby on her mother's chest.
"A girl, a girl." Margaret murmured, placing a gentle kiss on her daughter's damp head. "Aimee, my little Aimee."
"She beautiful, Margaret." Hawkeye said, as he skilfully delivered the afterbirth, examining it for tears, it was difficult in the dim light, however having checked it as carefully as possible he smiled and disposed of it before sitting down next to them.
"Yeah, she is. She has your nose." Margaret said, hesitantly, keeping her eyes fixed on her daughter.
"I think you're right, poor thing." Hawkeye replied, smiling widely as he gazed at his daughter's face. "Aimee, beloved, it fits, she is beloved."
"Margaret? Margaret are you Ok?" Hawkeye asked, as he noticed how pale Margaret had become.
"I'm not sure." She replied weakly.
"Alright, I'm going to check that everything's ok, it's probably just your body reacting to the fact that you just gave birth." Hawkeye explained, more to reassure himself than Margaret.
"No, no." He muttered to himself as he saw the pool of blood that was forming around Margaret and continuing to grow. "Please, god no." He looked at Margaret, his face telling her more than his words could. "Margaret, I...it's..."
"It's ok, Hawkeye. Come here, come lie with our daughter, be with us." She said, her face calm and full of love. Hawkeye smiled weakly, the knowledge that she was bleeding out hardly registering, as he beheld the serenity on her face, the sense of peace surrounding her, helping to calm his own sense of grief.
Knowing that Margaret needed him as much as he needed her, he slowly moved up to lie beside her, gently pulling them both into his warm arms, leaning down to place a loving kiss on her lips.
"Hawkeye?" Margaret asked after a little while, continuing as she saw him nod. "Look after Aimee, make sure she has a good life, don't let her grow up like me, always moving from one place to another, she needs a stable home, a loving home, promise me, Hawkeye." She demanded as he tried to protest.
"I promise, but you're not going anywhere. I'll go and see if I can get some help, you're going to be fine!" Hawkeye said, his tone becoming faintly manic as he realised how close he was to losing her forever.
"Hawk, Hawk." She murmured, squeezing his hand reassuringly, knowing that the likelihood of him getting help in time was low. "Just stay with me, hold me, please?"
"I love you, Hawkeye." She whispered, after they had lain together like that for a while.
"I love you too, more than you will ever know." Hawkeye said, as he held her tightly against his chest, their daughter now sleeping peacefully beside them.
"Hawkeye," She asked, her eyes flickering, her tone sleepy. "Let me hold, Aimee." She begged, lifting her arms weakly to hold her daughter for what she now knew was to be the last time.
"I love you my Aimee, always, always." She said, cuddling her darling child close to her chest, wishing that this moment would never end. Fighting against the feeling of unconsciousness, she shifted and leaned up to kiss Hawkeye lovingly. "I love you both, never forget that." And with those words, her eyes slipped closed and she slipped into the welcoming darkness of unconsciousness.
Hawkeye stumbled as he watched the soldiers carry Margaret's body towards their jeep. The comforting weight of his daughter was held securely in his arms, but the grief that was threatening to consume him made him feel numb everywhere else.
As the soldiers lay the body of the small woman in the back of the jeep, one turned to face the grief-stricken man that had silently followed them, clutching the body of a tiny infant to his chest.
"I'm sorry for your loss, Sir." He said genuinely, smiling kindly at him and Hawkeye nodded numbly. "So if you want to jump in the front, Mikey here will drive you back to your outfit."
"Thanks." Hawkeye mumbled, clambering into the jeep whilst carefully holding Aimee against him, all the while trying to avoid looking at the small body that had been laid across the back seats.
"We've got to do something Colonel. It's been three days since the funeral and the only time that he's left her tent is to get milk and vitamins for the baby. He doesn't talk, won't let anyone even touch the baby, we don't even know if it's a boy or a girl for god's sake." B.J ranted, as he paced about Colonel Potter's office. Sighing heavily, he flung himself down onto the chair and gazed at the Colonel.
The Colonel's face appeared to have aged ten years in the last few days and his eyes were bloodshot, evidence of the toll which Margaret's sudden death was having on him.
"God I miss her. She wouldn't have let him wallow like this; she would have brought him back to his senses immediately." B.J said, choking a sob at the thought.
"Yeah, yeah she would've." Potter replied, wiping away the tears, which had begun to slip down his aged cheeks. He paused and concentrated on the matter at hand. "I've called Sidney and he should be here any minute, he wanted to be here earlier but the shelling meant that he couldn't leave Seoul until today. Meantime, I've also had these drawn up." He said handing a pile of papers to B.J, who read them, confusion soon spreading across his face.
"Hardship discharge? But how?" B.J asked, knowing that even though Hawkeye needed to leave Korea with the baby, it was unlikely that the army would allow him to since he wasn't Margaret's husband and therefore it might have been argued that he didn't have any legal rights to the child and no actual need to leave.
"Thanks to this." Potter replied simply, handing him another wad of paper. "It's Margaret's will. She had it updated and left it with me a few months ago, I guess when she realised that she was expecting," He wondered aloud before continuing. "Anyway there's a specific paragraph in there regarding Hawkeye and their child."
"Their child?!!" B.J asked astonished but quietened as Potter gestured for him to read the aforementioned paragraph.
I hereby recognise Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce as the biological father of my child and state that he will be given full custody and rights to the child (be it a boy or a girl) on the occurrence of my death. Should I die before the birth certificate is completed, I demand that Captain Pierce be named the father of my child and that it should take the surname Pierce in recognition of his paternity.
"Wow." B.J said in shock as he finished reading the paragraph.
"Yeah that girl was one smart cookie, based on that will, Hawkeye will be discharged from the army as soon as Sidney has seen him, and sent home with the baby. This is no place to raise a child." Potter said sadly, thinking of all the children, who were being forced to grow up in the midst of a war.
A loud horn suddenly interrupted the pair's musings.
"That must be Sid."
"Can I come in?" Sidney called after knocking twice and receiving no answer. Upon his arrival, B.J and Colonel Potter had quickly updated him on Hawkeye's activities that day and also the clause, which had been found in Margaret's will, regarding the baby and armed with this new knowledge, Sidney had quickly headed over to Margaret's old tent.
Knocking again, Sidney sighed heavily and stepped backwards, trying to decide what would be the best course of action. Remembering B.J's comment of Hawkeye emerging whenever he needed food for the baby, Sidney decided that that might be the best time to speak with the grieving Captain. With the knowledge that the baby was indeed Margaret's and Hawkeye's child, Sidney had realised that he had to tread carefully in his dealings with the emotionally distraught man or risk doing more harm than good.
Walking over to the Mess Tent, Sidney decided to grab a cup of coffee whilst he waited for the emergence of Hawkeye.
Entering the tent, he almost recoiled at the heavy emotions that filled every crevice of the room, grief marking the faces of almost every person that he saw there.
Grabbing a cup of coffee, he quietly headed over to a table in the corner, his perceptive eye instantly noting the broken figures of his friends sitting there.
"Mind if I join you?" He asked, causing all four men to look up at him.
"No, of course not, Sidney, please have a seat." Father Mulchay said kindly, gesturing for him to sit next to him whilst Max Klinger and Charles Winchester smiled at him weakly.
The group sat together silently, their minds distracted by the memory of the fiery blonde Major, who was now absent from their table. Finally, Sidney decided to broach the topic of Hawkeye and the baby, knowing from the Colonel that only himself and B.J were aware of the true parentage of the child.
"I need to ask you all a few questions, I know it's not the best time but I need to know a bit about what's been going here the last few weeks, particularly between Hawkeye and Margaret." He asked gently, noticing the slight flinch of each man at the mention of her name.
"To be honest, Major," Klinger began, "There was nothing really out of the ordinary going on. The only things I really noticed were that the Major was quieter especially a few months ago but then she cheered up again, I mean sure she still wasn't all sunshine and daisies but you know it was nothing out of the ordinary." He paused and seemed to be lost in his memories.
"Hmm, what about Hawkeye and Margaret, did they seem be closer?" Sidney asked, realising that Margaret's changes in mood could be attributed to her pregnancy.
"No, actually if anything they seemed to have drifted apart in the last few months." Charles said, speaking for the first time since Sidney had arrived.
"Really?" Sidney asked curiously. "Interesting." He muttered to himself, now extremely curious about what had happened between the couple. However he had no more time to wonder since at that moment, Hawkeye walked past the tent heading for the kitchen, a small baby clutched tightly in his arms. Bidding farewell to Charles, Klinger and Father Mulchay, Sidney stood and wandered over to where Hawkeye had been heading.
As he entered the kitchen, he heard Hawkeye talking softly to the obviously fussy baby who still lay curled up in his arms.
"Ok baby, food's coming, it's alright daddy's got you, daddy's got you."
Deciding to announce his presence rather than be noticed by Hawkeye, Sidney walked further into the room and spoke.
Hearing his friend speak, Hawkeye momentarily looked up but soon focussed his attention back on his child.
"So who is this cute little one?" He asked, realising that Hawkeye was not going to speak of his own accord. However, Hawkeye still did not speak, instead he merely gathered the milk, which he had taken from the fridge, a couple of napkins from a nearby drawer and walked out of the room.
Sighing heavily, Sidney turned and followed him as he walked across the compound and entered the tent. Walking straight into the tent, Sidney immediately noticed that everything had been left as it had been the last time he had been there, the only difference being the lack of Margaret's own presence.
"Don't you knock?!" Hawkeye snarled angrily, spinning round to face the friend whom he now saw only as an intruder. "GET OUT!" He yelled but Sidney just stood there, examining the broken man before him. Hawkeye seemed to be about to yell again, when the cries of the tiny baby lying on the bed suddenly distracted him, causing him to quickly move to comfort it.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry baby. It's alright; come on, come on, there we go." He soothed as the baby's cries began to lessen.
"You know you can't keep hiding in here forever, is that the kind of life you want for your child?" Sidney asked, deciding that the only way to get Hawkeye to open up was to push him a little rather than coddle him. Hawkeye sighed heavily, his shoulders slumping as he sank back onto the small cot, now feeding the child with a modified surgical glove.
"Aimee, her name is Aimee." Hawkeye murmured, the first words that he addressed to Sidney since he had arrived.
"Aimee. That's a beautiful name."
"So, you want to talk to me about it or should we just keep dancing in circles?" Sidney asked, sitting down beside Hawkeye.
"They're going to take her away from me, aren't they? I've already lost Margaret and now I'm going to lose our daughter too. I've failed her. The last thing Margaret asked me to do was to take care of our daughter and I can't even do that." Hawkeye said, unconsciously referring to the baby as his daughter several times, causing Sidney to smile kindly.
"Actually they're not."
"Oh yeah? The army is suddenly going to do what's best for an innocent child?" Hawkeye scoffed cynically.
"No, in this case they won't have a choice." Sidney paused. "Come with me, I need to show you something." He urged. "For the sake of your daughter." He pleaded softly as he saw Hawkeye's hesitation.
"Does this mean what I think it does?" Hawkeye asked, as he placed the will back down, still holding his daughter close, having again refused to allow anyone but himself to hold her. "No one's going to be able to take her away from me?"
"No, no one can take her from you." Sidney confirmed gently, smiling at the relief that spread across Hawkeye's face.
"Oh thank god." Hawkeye sighed and watched Aimee play with his finger for a few moments. "So what happens next?" He asked eventually.
"Well maybe you should let B.J or Colonel Potter check Aimee over and then we can discuss what happens after that." Sidney suggested carefully and Hawkeye nodded, standing up to follow Sidney out of Colonel Potter's office.
"Colonel Potter?" Hawkeye called as they exited the CO's office and he spotted the Colonel standing nearby.
"Yes, Pierce?" Potter replied, surprised yet pleased to hear the Captain speaking to him once again. "What can I do for you?"
Hawkeye cleared his throat hesitantly, knowing what he needed to ask, and yet still tentative about doing so.
"I was wondering whether you would be willing to give Aimee a proper check-up?" He finally blurted out.
Potter smiled widely and gesturing in the direction of one of the exam rooms, he replied, "It would be my honour, Pierce."
"I miss her, Sid; I miss her every god damn day. It's such a cliché, I know but I guess I really didn't know how much I loved her until I lost her and now I have to raise our daughter alone and to be honest I'm terrified that I'll screw that up." Hawkeye explained sadly, a few days after Sidney had arrived.
"Every parent worries that'll they'll screw up, it's a natural and perfectly common fear." He paused and smiled reassuringly at the fears of the new father. "It's true that you will almost definately make mistakes but what's also true is that all Aimee really needs is for you to be there for her and to love her."
"And what if that isn't enough? I mean come on Sid, I left it till the last possible second to tell the love of my life that I loved her more than anything in this world, how can you be sure that I won't do the same with Aimee?" Hawkeye asked his tone desperate.
"The fact that you are even worrying about this now tells me that you won't make that mistake. You'll be alright Hawkeye, you have a lot of love to give to that little girl and something tells me that she will never think that she isn't loved."
"No problem. Now I have one more thing to tell you." Sidney said, pausing slightly to gain Hawkeye's full attention.
"Oh yeah, what's that?" Hawkeye replied, too emotionally exhausted to respond with a witty come-back.
"You and Aimee are heading home."
"What?" Hawkeye asked disbelievingly.
"Well you didn't really think that Colonel Potter would let you raise her here? He requested a hardship discharge for you the day after Margaret's funeral, once he had confirmed that you could indeed take Aimee home with you. You my good friend are going home."
"Home, home." Hawkeye murmurmed, and then turning to Sidney, he reached down and gently lifted his daughter out of the Psychiatrist's arms. "You hear that my beautiful Aimee, we're going home."
So there we have it. I hope you enjoyed it and you didn't think that the characters were too OC. Anyways Read and Review, no flames though please. Thanks. A xxxxxxxx