I do not own any of the characters in M*A*S*H or any of the copyrights.
"Hi, Uncle Benjy"
This isn't right. She isn't supposed to be here. That freckled face was supposed to be home reading her books and training to be a nurse in the college where both her father and I studied.
"Grandpa says hi," she said, but I barely registered it. All I could do was lunge forward and grab her by the shoulders.
"Pierce!" Potter shouted but I ignored all of them. This was between my niece and I.
My fingers dug into the uniform, "What are you doing here, Anna?" I growled at her.
Her eyes narrowed at me, "I'm here for the cocktails, what do you think?
I let her go and let her fall back a little, "Go home," was all I could manage.
"I need discharge papers for that, they don't just let anyone go home whenever they want. This is the Army," she said defiantly.
She held out the piece of paper that hadn't noticed she had been clutching in her hand, "This is for you."
Carefully, I took the paper and stared at it then looked back up at Anna, "What is it?"
She shrugged, "I wouldn't know. It isn't addressed to me," we both just looked at each other then.
"I'm sorry but let me get this straight," Klinger stepped forward, his coral colored dress fitted perfectly; "You two are related?"
No one really answered but Anna smiled as she turned to look at Klinger, "Of course, Corporal Klinger, can't you see the resemblance," her head snapped back to me, "the Pierce family eyes only come around once every generation."
Between Anna and I, tension grappled to reach our throats and choke us to death. Both of us wary of the other and ready to bolt in the other direction at the first sign of movement; like we are a couple of wild animals.
Potter stepped forward, "Now that the family business is out of the way, Major Houlihan, meet your new assistant."
Anna saluted Margret professionally, "Major, I am honored," she greeted.
"Oh great another Pierce," Frank complained.
I turned on him, "You don't have to work on the idea of throwing her out Frank, she's leaving," I spat at him.
"I most certainly am not. The only way you're getting me out of here is if you can get the president on the line," Anna shot back. We are too much alike.
"More like when I get your father on the phone," I hissed at her, "What was he thinking letting you come here?"
She was silent for a few moments. Her eyes seemed to get a distant look but that disappeared as quickly as it had shown up, "He didn't have much opinion on that," was all she said.
I started to speak again, but Potter cut me off, "Okay that's enough. You two need to cool off. Margret, why don't you show Corporal Pierce her bunk," Margret just nodded then steered my niece out of the room.
I fixed Potter with disgruntled look but he already had one of his own plastered on his face, "I know what you're going to ask me, Pierce, but the answer is no. I can't get her sent off all willy-nilly. I need an extra set of hands around here; we all do. As of now, Corporal Annabelle Lee Pierce is part of the 4077th M*A*S*H; and unless she gets a letter from someone higher up, she is staying right here. End of discussion."
I made an exasperated noise then stormed out the door all the way to my barracks. BJ followed me of course.
"What is your problem?" he asked relentlessly.
I sat down on my bed and faced him, "My problem? My problem is walking around with Margret like she's walking into a job interview! She's too young to be here," I answered.
BJ sat down on his own bed, "We've operated on kids younger than her."
"Soldiers, BJ! We worked on soldiers! Not…not…."
My head fell into my hands, "How could my brother be so stupid to let her come here. She's only eighteen for God's sake."
"How could any father send their child into war?" BJ nodded at the letter, "maybe you should read that."
I lifted my head and stared at the white envelope that lay on the coverlet of my bed. My name was printed neatly on the front in what I recognized as my father's handwriting. All I could do was shake my head and answer in a croaked voice, "Maybe later."
How on earth could this girl be related to the infamous Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce. She was so polite and quiet. Even when I tried to be hard on her I felt awful for it.
Seeing as she would be my assistant, I led the girl to my tent that we would now be sharing. I held the door open for her and watched her carefully as she stepped inside. She didn't say anything just looked around thoughtfully. No smart comments. No jokes. This young woman could not be legitimately related to Pierce.
Lifting my chin I cleared my throat as dramatically as I could, "That's your bunk over there. Now, let's get one thing clear. You may related to one of the surgeons but do not expect any special treatment from me. I will want everything done spot on when I ask it done. No more, no less. Are we clear?"
Corporal Pierce only nodded, "Yes, Major. I understand."
That was...easy. Never have had an argument with Hawkeye that ended up with him agreeing let alone calling me Major.
I nodded toward the vacant bed, "Go on and unpack," I told her and she walked over, setting her suitcase the bed. As I watched as she removed her hat and a tumble of red hair fell onto her shoulder blades.
I must have made a sound because she turned and tilted her head to the side, those bright blue eyes pinning me with a questioning look.
"You're hair?" I explained, "I didn't expect it to be.." I fumbled over my words but watched her as she gingerly raised her hand and touch it to her hair.
Pulling her hand back, she looked down at it and we both saw the red dye staining her fingers. A bright smile cracked out on her face followed by the sweetest laugh I think I've ever heard.
She looked up at me with an apologetic smile, "Forgive me, Major. My friends from my last unit and I had a party last night. We thought it would be funny to dye our hair. It's just temporary."
I couldn't keep the smile off my face and laughed along with her, "I've heard of that fad," turning walked to my desk and picked up a stack of green clothes and handed them to her, "Go shower and change. That's an order."
She saluted me with a grin, "Right away, Major."