Summary: It was only in the darkness she could be herself
Disclaimer: I do not own M*A*S*H, only S3 on DVD. But in a month it's Christmas, and who knows what lies under the tree?
A/N: It has been so long since I have published something, hasn't it? I was just going through some old fics when I found this one. It's set in one of the final seasons... I think. Seriously, I don't remember. Hopefully it's not too OOC.
It's a bit short, but please read and review.

Only in the Darkness

The moment she turned off the lights it became easier to breathe. All the burdens she carried on her shoulders suddenly became much lighter.

In the day she had to be tough, otherwise nobody would listen to her. She would be overheard, used, like many other women were. But here, all alone in the darkness, she could allow herself to be weak, vulnerable. Not usually feelings which were associated with Major Margaret Houlihan, head nurse of the best M*A*S*H unit of Korea. Tough, insensitive and no fun at all were more like it.

But now things were changing. She was changing. She had friends now; friends who cared about her. And she let them. In front of them she allowed her to be more like the person she was on the inside, because they cared about her and respected her for who she really was. They could see partly past the tough Major and see there was something more; something which added a new dimension to her. Something which could make her almost lovable.

And there was no need in denying that especially one of them was extremely good at it. It was almost like his blue eyes could see through her walls. Maybe that was why she was more relaxed when he was around.

If Frank had still been in her life, it probably wouldn't have happened. With Frank she couldn't be herself. She had been more sensitive, yes, more passionate, but that wasn't all. She wasn't always crazy about the army, and a part of her had always been longing to break all regulations and common military courtesy. She smiled as she tried to imagine what Frank would have done if she had thrown the rulebook after him, and started to enjoy herself, be herself.

Donald Penobscott had been the man of her dreams. Lieutenant Colonel and well built, all she had ever dreamed of. It was especially after her failed marriage to that rat she had changed. She had realised what the army had done for her: nothing. It had given her a career but it had also given her two men to love, both men proved to be the worst scum of the Earth, but she had been too blind to see it. The army had made her life miserable, and she could never forgive it for that.

Her true self wasn't Major Margaret Houlihan; it was just plain Margaret. A woman like everyone else: weak, vulnerable and sensitive. She liked to have friends and she loved to be loved. That wasn't a sin, wanting to be loved for more than her looks. All those generals she had been with had loved her for her body, not her brain. They hadn't respected anything which came out of her mouth, unless there was a change she would repay them later.

That night when she was about to go to bed, she hesitated with her hand on the light switch. Maybe, she thought, maybe it was about time to show her true self when the light was on.

The End