Chapter Notes: Well I could have ended this story the last chapter, but I wanted to round it out. Give you guys one chapter without all the angst, one just for the fun of it. To visit one last time.
I have had a blast writing this, rediscovering my love for the M*A*S*H verse, reacquainting myself with the best characters ever on TV.
Like I said before I wrote this for me, for sheer nostalgia but the response has been gratifying so thankyou very much.
Enjoy the chapter.
Not my characters...so you can't sue me.
Two men sat on recliners on a small bluff overlooking the small valley lined with tents below.
"Perfect spot Beej," Pierce said between sips out of a Martini glass. He was dressed in a red bathrobe with a cowboy hat jammed on his head.
His partner sat in his blue bathrobe, fishing hat down to his ears, breathing a sigh of contentment. "So glad you approve, old bean."
They clicked rims.
"So, who all's coming?" Pierce asked reaching down to the beaker to give himself a refill.
"Radar?" BJ called.
The young man with the round glasses who was making his way by with an armful of supplies looked up.
"Who's coming to this weenie roast?" BJ inquired.
Radar reached up and to straighten his glasses. "Just about everyone but Klinger, sir, he said he couldn't get away, Su's expecting any day, he'll catch us next year."
"Where did you get these tents, Radar? This place is perfect, it's like a miracle," Pierce gushed.
Radar grinned sheepishly. "Well you see there's this movie company, and they want to make a documentary about the Korean War, they wanted me to consult because it's got around that I know stuff. Anyways, I told them their tents were too nice and not lived in enough, and suggested that if they set them up for me I'd find people to live in 'em a bit. They let me pick the time and place, then did all the work."
Pierce laughed. "You are a genius, my young friend."
"Total magician, Radar, this couldn't have happened without you," BJ added.
Radars ears went red. "Well…thank you sirs."
Pierce sighed. "For the last time, Walther, call us Hawkeye and Beej, no need for that sir stuff."
"But I use sir only with people I respect, so I guess you'll have to get used to it," Radar responded with a grin.
"To Radar, who could procure a cotton ball in a snowstorm," BJ proclaimed and he and Pierce clicked rims.
Pierce peered around. "Where did Colonel Potter and Mildred get off to?"
Radar shrugged. "They took those horses they rented up into the hills, he said he wanted to get the "lay-of-the-land" that should be them now."
He walked off while Pierce and Hunnicutt looked around at where he gestured.
Colonel Potter and his wife came around the bend right on cue, both waving to the two hosts.
"How does he do that?" BJ inquired as he and his partner returned the gesture with matching salutes.
"If he told us he'd probably have to kill us, good thing Radar's on our side."
They clicked rims to that sentiment.
"How's the apple juice supply holding out?" Pierce inquired as his friend refilled his glass from the beaker. "Got more in the cooler, right beside the Grape Nehi's, I think we'll be fine for now," BJ replied. "Man I do miss the taste of scotch," he lamented.
Pierce nodded. "I'm sure you do, good thing you've got a friend whose going off the sauce to support you."
BJ smiled closed his eyes and let the sun catch his face.
"Why did you grow that mustache back?" Pierce grumbled.
BJ cracked open one eye. "Sorry, Hawk, Peg decided that she liked it after she saw me with one while I was in the hospital.
"Damn, I knew that was going to haunt me," Pierce said with a sigh.
They sat in companionable silence, and then Pierce tugged on his friend's sleeve. Two ladies were walking by the stream that ran through the little valley. They were deep in conversation, but as soon as they looked up, Pierce and Hunnicutt began wolf whistling and making inappropriate comments.
The two ladies posed and preened for them, then went on their way smiling.
"Peg's gaining a little bit of weight," Pierce said with a smile.
"Three months gone, I was going to tell you later, damn your doctor eyes." BJ remarked.
Pierce grinned. "So, tell me some details, come on love, dish for your good buddy Hawk."
BJ got a satisfied grin on his face as he turned to his friend. "Second honeymoon, Lake Tahoe, a friend of mine owns a cabin up there, we arrived and the first night a really bad storm came off the lake, I spent the rest of the night sedated while she held my hand in the local hospital."
Pierce looked confused. "That doesn't sound like how a child is conceived."
BJ shrugged, "That wasn't the entire weekend either, they discharged me, she wanted to go back to the cabin, we slept the first fifteen hours nearly solid, woke up at the same time, I started to apologize, she stopped me with a kiss...never did get to see that damned lake."
Hawk whistled appreciatively.
BJ waved him off. "Oh, stop."
"You cad," Pierce teased.
"Technically, when you are married to the woman, then you are no longer a cad, just a man fulfilling his husbandly duty," BJ informed with a self-righteous tone, "It just so happens that this particular husbandly duty is an enjoyable one." He waggled his eyebrows then said with a smile, "Very enjoyable."
"Now you're making me blush," Pierce said with a grin.
"What about you, Hawk, Polly and you set a date yet?" BJ inquired watching the two ladies as they made their way down stream.
Pierce slipped out of the chair and knelt before his friend, taking the man's right hand, and pulling a jewelry box out of his robe pocket. "BJ Hunnicutt, you are my best friend, my confidant, my knight in terry cloth armor with a cheesy mustache and big feet, will you be my best man?"
BJ touched his chest with a limp hand. "I don't know, Hawk, why…this is so sudden, what's a girl to think?"
"Am I interrupting anything?" said a calm considerate voice; Father Mulchahy came into view staring at them curiously.
"Nope, just practicing," Pierce said slapping the box shut and returning it to his robe, taking a seat.
Father Mulcahy nodded but he remained a little suspicious from his expression.
"So are you out enjoying the air, Padre?" BJ inquired as he refilled his glass.
"Just thanking the good Lord that he has seen fit to bring us all back together if only for a while."
There was a slam of a door and a large balding disgruntled man stepped out of one of the tents. "What is the meaning of this?" He called up to the party on the hill.
BJ and Pierce exchanged a look, and then turned back schooling their features as innocently as possible. "Whatever do you mean, Charles?" BJ called down.
"You said there would be running water," Charles complained.
"Yeah, you run to the stream with a bucket and back," Pierce confirmed.
Charles glowered. "You said there were pipes and everything."
BJ and Pierce held up pipes they had secreted in their robes.
Charles turned and went back into the tent growling words that they could not make out and would probably have needed a dictionary if they could.
"But there are facilities, quite nice, showers, just like you promised," Father Mulcahy remarked removing his hat to run a handkerchief over his brow.
"We'll tell him after his first snow-melt sponge bath, we'd appreciate it if you'd keep it under your hat, Father," BJ requested with a smile.
Pierce agreed with a nod.
Father Mulcahy nodded. "If he were to ask, are there facilities in this camp, I will be forced to tell him right away, but then again how often does that topic come up in conversation?"
They laughed as he ambled on his walk.
They touched glasses in a silent salute.
"So...how are you really?" Pierce asked. His eyes studying his friend carefully.
BJ smiled. "Good days, bad days, like everyone else...Mother...handled my first big ER rush two weeks back, got the shakes but talked it out with Patty, my dad is attending sessions with me by the way."
Pierce nodded down to the two older gentlemen quietly fishing, there was quite the heated conversation going on from the murmur that made its way up to their ears.
"Daniel Pierce and Jayson Hunnicutt, will the world survive?"
BJ laughed. "It did alright with us getting together."
"DEAR GOD WHAT IS THAT!"
Charles bellowed from inside the tent. BJ worked his way out of his chair. "That's my cue; I think Charles found our mascot."
He pulled on a heavy leather glove he had under his chair as he made his way down. "Hold on Charles, I'm sure he's more frightened of you than you are of him."
"I would not gamble any funds on that assumption," Charles yelled back.
Pierce laughed. It was so good to have BJ back.
Presenting a ring to Polly was not the only special gift that Pierce had on him to give. He reached down and pulled up the pad, it was a little worn from the travel and had been read and reread numerous times. He pulled a pencil out of his hair from over his ear and began to scribble one last entry.
I thought I was done with this.
In these pages is an account of one of the longest weeks of my life. Incidentally this weekend was planned on the exact date a year later from when you came back to us.
Since then, Erin played in the snow in Maine, me and Pop made it out to San Francisco, he got to meet his honorary other son, and I must say seeing the two most important men in my life finally hugging each other's neck turned my estrogen levels up quite a bit.
We kept our promise you and me, the phone bills bear that out.
I called you sometimes. like when I froze up for a moment after a local kid was rushed into my practice with a broken leg, you gave me a call when you had a flashback while pushing Erin on the swings in the park. It just helps to hear your voice.
If we can't be strong apart, being weak together is a good compromise.
The idea for this weekend came from Peg; she wanted to know if we could just rent a ballroom somewhere and get the old crew together for your first re-birthday. That's what she called it.
It grew from that into this massive undertaking, and here we are enjoying a camping experience in old army surplus tents, choosing the things that we swore never to do again, because while it was the worst time of our lives, it included the best people.
Peg was right, Beej, the army threw us together with no choice, but then we took that and made a life. The other units had massive turnover, but we stayed stable because we loved each other.
Right now I am watching you carry a hissing angry possum, which you secreted in the tent earlier, to the edge of the camp for release. Charles is accusing you of all sorts of dastardly deeds to come, and you're not disagreeing with him.
I can't see you without seeing that fresh faced boy that had not even seen his thirtieth year in that bar in Kimpo, or without seeing those steady blue eyes peering over a mask in the surgery room, reliable as a metronome, and less temperamental. Or that kind hearted family man, who somehow managed to keep his integrity without being a colossal ass to those who did not.
Of course now, I also have an image of a lost man wearing my friend's face, staring out a window in an institution room, trapped in another world, absent from this one.
I learned from that poor lost soul, a very valuable lesson, one which I will keep with me for the rest of my days.
We need each other, you and I, the dependence is there, and it may be permanent, but I could never have a better person stuck at my side.
"Again with the note pad?" BJ called as he made his way back up to the recliners.
Pierce put it away. "Just writing down some thoughts."
"You've got non-pornographic thoughts?" BJ said as he settled in.
Pierce glared at him. "It's not a sketch pad if that's what you mean."
BJ laughed. "I bet they were brief."
"Wisenheimer," Pierce shot back.
They raised glasses and clicked rims.
The doorbell rang, breaking the young man out of his revelry, studying medical textbooks.
He answered the door and a tall older man stood there with a familiar million-watt smile.
"Uncle B! What are you doing back east, it's not Christmas yet," He said.
BJ had to laugh at the boyish grin from this younger man. The older children looked like their mother, but Natty Pierce was his father through and through.
BJ shrugged. "I actually came to stay for a bit." He indicated the luggage that he had with him on the porch. "Ben's running the practice these days, and Erin's back overseas, in France according to the latest post card."
And Peg's in the ground
The words were not spoken but the thought was passed between them.
Nat smiled. "Oh Mom came by just the other day, she settled in Bar Harbor, dating another Doctor, he's nice, but he can't hold a candle to dad."
BJ smiled. "No one ever could."
Nat stepped forward and hugged the older man. "He'll be glad you came, I'll put you in the guest room, why don't you go on up, he's napping but I'm sure he'll want to see you as soon as he wakes."
BJ let his nephew go, and he made for the stairs, his old knees creaking as he ascended. "Sheer stubbornness to stay in your room up here, Hawk," he grumbled.
The better to hear your knees pop, my dear, He heard Hawk say in his brain were a permanent Hawkeye Pierce resided giving running commentary.
He made it to the top, paused outside his friend's bedroom
Coward He grumbled at himself for his reluctance.
He opened the door and saw his old buddy, asleep in the bed, heart monitor beating in time to the weakening organ in his chest.
It made sense in some perverse way that a man who had the greatest potential for love, and the biggest heart that BJ had ever known would have it fail on him later in life.
Oh the bastard was offered a new heart a few years back, but he looked at the doctor in horror. "You want to put a fresh heart in an old rusty hulk like me, when some kid could use it to live far beyond any time I have left? That's preposterous!"
He had told that to BJ over the phone, and they had one of the few true arguments they had ever had. He just could not let Hawk go without a fight. They called back an hour later to apologize but ever on the same wavelength, at the same time, so each got a busy signal.
He walked over to the bed, and sat in a chair nearby, checking the lines carved into his friend's still somehow youthful face in the sun light coming through the window. Composing himself for the task ahead.
He knew this man, knew his every feature, every expression, had held on to him like the last stable thing left. Now he was seeing him out, and it was tough.
However, BJ could remember a moment when his friend had done the same for him. Flying was not as iffy a proposition now as it was then, and Hunnicutt was a lot less connected than Pierce had been in those days, and yet the man came running at the first sign his friend needed help.
He had never been able to pay, Hawk back, until now.
"Promise me Beej, you won't let them place me in a home, I know my kids love me, but they all have lives, including Nat whether he knows it or not, so if I go incognito, unresponsive, fight for me. You have power of attorney."
BJ leaned forward and took his friend's hand, he was as gentle as possible.
Who knows how much longer they had, months, years, hours, days? All BJ knew at this point was that he was going to be there to see Hawkeye home, just like he did in Korea.
He pulled out a pad that he bought in the airport commissary, dug a pen out of his coat pocket. He had time to wait until Pierce woke up, he was not going anywhere.
He began to write…
I know that anyone who knows me will find this very hard to believe, me, BJ Hunnicutt, writing a journal...
Story Notes: I have debating this all day long. I wanted to end it with them in the sun clinking glasses and having a day, but I went were the story took me. You can't get the full scope of this friendship until you see it as a full entity. In my head this last scene was the end. Some will see it as a downer, but I think it's beautiful, just like the rest of the friendship.
I made a promise in chapter four when I wanted to back away from some elements, to tell the truth, so this is me finishing with that same commitment.
Thanks for reading!