They sat in Hawkeye's hotel room in Seoul. They were disheveled and sweaty at the end of a long day, but B.J. felt both energized and soothed as he sat facing his former campmate.
Hawkeye still seemed caught off guard by the whirlwind of his best friend tracking him down in Korea and hauling him back to his hotel room, so B.J. initiated the conversation, making sure to hold Hawkeye's gaze as he did. "Hawk, you need to come back home with me," he began. "This… this plan of yours? I'm sorry, but it's cr—" he stopped himself before saying the word. "It's futile."
Hawkeye cocked his head. "You think so?" He sounded honestly surprised to hear this assessment of the situation.
"Do you really think you're going to find this woman? Hawk, she probably doesn't even live around here anymore. These people, they move around a lot. You know that. You don't know her name, you don't know anything about her." He paused, placing a hand on Hawkeye's arm in a gesture of comfort. "You need to get back home. Your life is back in the States. Back in Crabapple Cove. With your father, who's very worried about you, by the way."
Hawkeye looked down at his hands. He was quiet for a few minutes, and B.J. just waited, though it wasn't easy. But he needed for this conversation to sink in, to plant itself firmly in Hawkeye's confused and stubborn head, and he would take it as slowly and as carefully as he had to.
Without looking at B.J., Hawkeye said, his voice soft, "I wanted to talk to her, Beej. Find out what her life is like now. I mean… I'm sure she thinks about it every day. I do too. Not a day goes by that I don't remember. I…" He faltered then, and B.J. moved closer to him, pulling him into a hug.
"What you need, though, is to talk to Sidney about this. You need his help to get you through this… and the help of your dad… and the help of your best friend, who loves you." He rested his chin on top of Hawkeye's head. "I'm sorry, Hawk, but the answer is not here. I don't see how we can track down that woman so you can talk to her. We could spend the next year looking for her and we probably still wouldn't find her."
Hawkeye drew a deep breath. It was probably a relief to hear somebody articulate what he must have, at least on some level, realized by now.
Feeling confident that he was making progress, B.J. continued, "Do you agree that this is pretty much a wild goose chase? Can you see that?"
A brief hesitation, then Hawkeye nodded slowly. "I tried," was all he said.
"You did try. You gave it a shot, but now we have to get you back home. And Sidney will be there to help you. More sessions, whatever you need."
"It's been a year, you know?" Hawkeye said, sniffling a bit.
"I know," B.J. said, but he felt guilty that it'd taken Sidney to remind him of that.
"I only wanted him to be quiet." Hawkeye was crying now; B.J. felt a tear landing on his arm as he held his friend.
"Don't, Hawk," he said gently. He wasn't Sidney Freedman, he wasn't trained in how to deal with this kind of thing.
"I didn't want her to kill him."
"Of course you didn't. I know that." Unsure of what to do, B.J. only tightened his embrace. "Please don't think about it. We'll head home tomorrow, all right? You'll get help there… We'll call Sidney."
Hawkeye nodded and wiped at his eyes. Silence fell over them for a few minutes, but B.J. just kept holding onto his friend. Finally Hawkeye let out something that sounded like a small laugh. "I can't believe you came all this way to get me. All the way back to Korea… just for me. That's kind of crazy, Beej."
B.J. smiled. "Yeah, well… crazy pretty much describes my life since the day I met you, Hawkeye Pierce," he teased, and that brought real, honest-to-God laughter from both of them.
And suddenly B.J. felt that whatever the hell he had set out to do here… well, somehow he'd managed to accomplish it.
The phone rang and B.J. called out, "I've got it, Peg," just before he snatched up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Hey, Beej!" Only two words, but they made B.J.'s heart soar. He grinned. Hawkeye sounded happy and exuberant and very much like himself.
"Hawk? Hey, it's great to hear your voice. How are ya?"
"I'm doing good, Beej. How are you and the missus and the little bean?"
B.J. laughed. Why the hell Erin was "the little bean," he had no idea. "We're all great and looking forward to visiting you and your dad next month. That's still on, right? You're not calling to cancel, are you?"
"Absolutely not! Of course you're still invited… Dad's excited about seeing you all… and of course I am too. No, I just called to say hi, and to let you know that Sidney's gone back to New York now."
B.J. leaned back in his chair. "Your sessions are over?"
"Yeah, at least for the time being. He'll come back up here in a couple weeks to check on me. I must be his prized patient, with all the attention he gives me."
"Maybe he just loves Maine lobster."
"That could be it." There was a constant smile in Hawkeye's voice, and B.J. could tell that it wasn't faked or forced.
"So I take it you made some serious progress with him, then… and that you're doing better." It wasn't a question exactly; he didn't want to pry. Therapy was a private thing, and B.J. respected that.
"I'm doing a lot better, Beej," Hawkeye said, "and that's probably the main reason I called. I have you to thank for this. For pulling me back from the edge. I'm still struggling, and maybe I always will, but Sidney's helping me, and like you said, so is my dad, and so do you, even though you're 3000 miles away. Just knowing that you care…" He trailed off, perhaps embarrassed.
B.J. waved a hand as if Hawkeye could see him through the phone. "Of course I care. You're my best friend. That's never going to change. We're there for each other, no matter what."
"Well you really came through this time. I was a little... lost. I'm not even sure what I would've done if B.J. Hunnicutt hadn't come riding up in a black Buick in the middle of Nowhere, South Korea. It was… I don't know… a kind of miracle."
"In the form of some gangly guy with a cheesy moustache?" B.J. asked playfully.
Hawkeye chuckled. "Well, it was no burning bush, but what the hell. I'll take it."
They both laughed then, and B.J. looked up at the ceiling, tears welling in his eyes, as he listened to the sweet sound of his best friend's laughter.
In spite of everything Hawkeye had been through, in spite of not getting the closure he'd hoped for, he sounded good… he sounded happy. As far as B.J. was concerned, that was the miracle.