Once at home in his own room on his own bed, it suddenly dawned on Hawkeye that not saying goodbye to BJ was the least of his concerns. He'd dreamed of this moment for the longest time, not ever thinking that it would be this way. His mother had long since died, and that was hard, but this was his father. His father! The wordsmith general, teller of all things funny, and even not so funny, the healer of all wounds. For once Hawkeye was at a loss for words, not that anyone was around to share his thoughts with.

It was the laughter, definitely the laughter that he'd miss the most. Not that he'd gotten through the shock stage, but it occurred to Hawkeye that he'd never again hear or read one of his father's jokes that had never failed to nearly bring him to tears with laughter. Now when he thought of his father, there were tears all right, just not of the joy that Daniel Pierce had brought him throughout the years.

Boy there were so many years to choose from...the years after his mom died, when his dad so bravely refused to take a day off work to tend to his patients. The way his dad would get exasperated with him for trying to sneak a different girl in his room almost every weekend night during the formulative teen years. The sight of his dad trying to be brave and not shed a tear as he sent his only child off to war. But it would be the unmet moments that Hawkeye would miss the most.

Never would Hawkeye get the joy of seeing his father dance with his son's bride at the wedding that may or may never occur. Never would he get the joy of watching his father announce the birth of his first grandchild. Never would he get to watch Daniel bounce baby Danny on his knee, delighting in the small squeals that only a youngster could make.

Hawkeye was a brave man himself, but for the first time in his life, or at least that he could recall, he sat down and cried, bawled really, but he cried, for the void in his life was that unbearable.

0000

"How do you think he's doing?" Potter asked as BJ sat down beside him in the mess hall.

"I don't know, to tell you the truth. I've seen him hold his own during times of crises, and there were times I wasn't sure how he'd pull through. This is a tough call, Colonel, and it's not one I'm sure I want to make."

Potter nodded solemnly. That visit with Pierce was one of the hardest he'd ever had during his stint in the army. He'd come to not only respect Hawkeye, but he'd sure come to appreciate him, if not love him as if he were own.

"Do you think we should call?" Margaret asked as she took her place at the table.

"Do you think it would do any good?" Potter asked, somewhat rhetorically.

No one had the answers. No one knew what was best for Hawkeye Pierce, and if they didn't know what to do, how would they expect him to know what to do next?