Note and Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own all the storylines, plots, characters, etc. of M*A*S*H (as always, we know we wish we do because it's so great!). This is my first real H/M one-shot and songfic and I know people have used this song before (not in this category, I checked). It's not great and I'll work more on it when I find more words to describe the scene. So, be kind in the meantime please…
When I look into your eyes,
I can see a love restrained
But darlin', when I hold you,
Don't you know I feel the same?
It had been months since Hawkeye last saw Margaret, four months to be exact. It had been the end of the Korean War, when the two had last met up with each other, when the camp was being torn down. There, they kissed passionately as the others looked in awkwardly. It seemed to be the kiss of love, the kiss that would prelude to a relationship that was sure to come.
Beforehand, both Margaret and Hawkeye had been tiptoeing on each others' feelings even though the feelings of love were mutual, restraining themselves carefully. Now, with a new letter from Margaret in hand, Hawkeye had felt his hopes go up in smoke. And there was no going back now.
Walking towards the window of the home he still shared with his father, Hawkeye looked out sadly, without tears this time, resting his elbow on the table holding a lit candle and a pitcher of cold water. Already, a bleak Thanksgiving had already passed and November was winding down into December. A rainy precipitation poured outside, pelting the window with a blue sorrow. Snow seemed too far away, but it was the end of November for Crabapple Cove. It would come soon enough.
Letting his eyes train Margaret's words into his mind, Hawkeye scanned the letter once more, searching for anything that would indicate something, anything, that would tell him that her love was still there for him. In-between the lines, announcing yet another engagement, was nothing more than joy and happiness for herself and her soon-to-be husband. Nothing.
Nothin' lasts forever,
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle,
In the cold November rain
Shivering, Hawkeye always remembered the many nights he spent with nurses in Korea. He wanted to please them as much as possible. To be admired and loved and to keep his sanity was his best bet. However, between all of those nurses, he had found none that would share a life with him, except for one. Towards the end of the war, he thought that he found Margaret to be the one nurse he'd spend the rest of his life with. He thought that she, too, would return his feelings, as she's shown before. After Korea, they would see each other soon and finally have that happy ending that they both wanted.
"Some happy ending," Hawkeye scoffed to himself. "Nothing seemed to last forever with old Hot Lips Houlihan."
We've been through this
Such a long, long time
Just tryin' to kill the pain
Hawkeye knew that there had been no happy ending even for the Koreans after the war officially ended. However, Korea had been the pain both he and Margaret shared, something that made them as strong as the locals. Would that have been their common trait, that one war that bonded them together? Would their pain be the only thing that they shared in their old age, if there was one?
"It was doubtful," Hawkeye said, directing his conversation to the rain outside. "There was always that priceless energy, that one night, that would have kept us together. Korea would have not been our downfall, but our phoenix."
But, lovers always come
And lovers always go
And no one's really sure
Who's lettin' go today
Despite Korea, even Margaret's relationships never lasted forever, never seemed to resurrect themselves from the grave. Back and forth Margaret went, like men were clocks, tick-tock, tick-tock. First it was Frank Burns, then Donald, Scully…a million men here, a million men there, it seemed. She walked right into their silly, powerful arms and then ran right away from them all, even Hawkeye.
And now, Margaret's back into somebody else's arms, some Army brat. Another military man who would have loved her to be at home and not be boundless.
"She's a free spirit," Hawkeye announced to the rain, as if it didn't know. "She'll probably walk out on him, like she did with every other man…even me."
If we could take the time
To lay it on the line
I could rest my head
Just knowin' that you were mine
However, that last night together, before their last kiss goodbye, had been perfect, like Margaret would not have walked out on Hawkeye and gone to that Army brat. A lone tent, nobody around and the wounded being shipped out…it had been quiet. Margaret had only to answer a silent inquiry from Post-Op, only to walk in after her shift like a black cat, seeing the patient Hawkeye sitting in a corner, waiting for her to come. Worried about the state of his mind instead, she rushed over and sat down in that corner, putting Hawkeye's head into her lap. It was as if she had been waiting to do that since the war began and that moment was the time to show her love.
"I'll make sure you never have to deal with this again," she reassured Hawkeye, almost like an endearment, to help keep his sanity. "We'll never have to leave each other again. I know where to find out. I'll come, looking just for you. We don't be separated again."
And it had been like that all night, before the wounded came again, the party the next night and then Klinger's morning wedding. They had stayed, Hawkeye's head in Margaret's lap, for hours. Nobody found them. Nobody heard of the sweet love they spilled in each others' ears. It had been hushed, with no gunfire to disturb the best time of their lives.
For Hawkeye, at least, it was the best time of his life.
Margaret had seemed to have belonged to Hawkeye at long last. They could finally be with each other for the rest of their lives, just after the war, when she looked for him in Crabapple Cove. She even said that. The sincerity in her eyes even told Hawkeye that it was the honest truth.
If you want to love me,
Then darlin', don't refrain
Or I'll just end up walkin'
In the cold November rain
Do you need some time on your own?
Do you need some time all alone?
Everybody needs some time on their own
Don't you know you need some time all alone?
But, could it have been that Margaret needed some time to herself to think, even if the sweet nothings she said were actually ingenuous? Maybe being with Hawkeye wasn't her best option after all? That she didn't love him anymore? That to be with that Army brat was more secure than to be with a town doctor, living with his father in the old family house?
There were too many possibilities. Margaret was a strong woman, for sure. She would figure her feelings out.
I know it's hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But, if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn't time be out to charm you?
Well, then again, Margaret had closed her heart to everyone she knew. For the longest time, she wouldn't reveal her darkest secrets, even to those who inches together to her, being her friends: hopes, dreams and desires. Nobody had been able to pry anything from her, not even Frank Burns. The camp, especially the nurses kept her at an arms' length for the longest time, thinking that she was a horrid little bitch.
Hawkeye saw it differently. He saw an oppressed woman, wanting what every other one pines for. He saw a vicious woman, wanting to protect what her deepest human depths were. He even saw a sexually promiscuous woman, one that actually wanted to stop raving after powerful men and settle down to a relationship, a marriage of equals.
Sometimes I need some time on myown
Sometimes I need some time all alone
Everybody needs some timeon their own
Don't you know you need some time all alone
Hawkeye looked to the candle on his right, thinking perhaps that he, too, needed some time to himself, away from Margaret in thought and deed. Dreading to reread the words again, he rashly put the letter to the top of the candle, watching it burn slowly. As the flames grew larger, he quickly doused the paper into the pitcher of water. Wet, grey ashes flew where, but the words in which Margaret had written to him – excited, encouraging words – were not to be trifled with again.
"Good riddance to feelings," Hawkeye proclaimed to the greyness that had once been paper and ink. "Good riddance to love and to Margaret for now."
And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain,
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So, never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
Nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain
So, whenever Margaret realizes how much she truly loved Hawkeye…if she did ever…then she'll find him. She promised. And Hawkeye knew that Margaret Houlihan always kept her promises.
Even if they stopped loving each other, Hawkeye and Margaret would find the others' soul. In the meantime, it was a time to heal. It wasn't just from the war, but also from love.
Don't ya think that you need somebody?
Don't ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody…
You're not the only one
You're not the only one
Within the ashes that dashed all of his hopes, Hawkeye stood there, still staring out into the November rain once more instead of his grey mass of mush. Ignoring the shower of grey on the table, he smiled. He knew Margaret well. She'll know that she picked the wrong man in her life. In his heart of hearts, Hawkeye knew this.
And if being with this new man was her life, then so be it. Hawkeye knew to let the things (and people) he loved go. If they came back, it was meant to be love. If not, that, too, was meant to be friends. They both needed each other: to support, cherish and love, even if they weren't a couple. To be friends was enough. To finally be lovers would be a dream come true.
If only Hawkeye, and even Margaret, could overcome the autumn showers together…