Ten years later:
He didn't know why he did it, but he just followed what his gut told him to do.
The idea had been in his mind for some time – but the events of forty-eight hours ago had solidified his decision.
A shiver ran down BJ's spine, as he saw his former best friend's name etched in granite. He stood at the foot of Hawkeye's grave and began to speak.
"Hiya Hawk… It's been awhile. I uh," BJ faltered as his lips began to quiver and tears welled in his eyes. "I just came to say that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you when you needed me the most. After what happened with Peg, I just couldn't forgive you. I didn't understand who you had become. I wish more than ever that you were still here. It's Erin. She likes a drink just like you did – a little too much. Peg and I tried to help her, we did. Sidney even took her into his inpatient program in Miami."
His tears now started to flow freely. No longer holding back the emotions he had bottled up for the past few days; BJ fell to his knees. "There was so much glass and blood on the road... Erin asked for my forgiveness in her last breath, as the paramedics declared her son dead on the driveway of her childhood home. She tried so hard to stay sober Hawkeye. Oh god Hawkeye, I held my baby girl in my arms as she bled to death. "
BJ knelt on his knees and hands on the frozen October grass and wept until there were no more tears left to cry.
As he stood up and wiped away his tears with the back of his hand, the wind picked up. It was as warm as a July breeze on the beach. And just for a second, he felt warm arms around his body. He knew that Hawkeye was in fact not gone. He was watching over BJ and had forgiven him.
Two days later as BJ watched his eldest daughter being laid to rest in a Mill Valley cemetery – he felt looked up and saw Hawkeye Pierce standing where Erin's headstone will be. Unshaven, and in his stained blue and white Hawaiian shirt he stood with the most sorrowful look on his face, as he stared at the cherry oak casket was lowered into the ground.
But standing beside Hawkeye was Erin, dressed in a flowing, green and white summer dress. Hawkeye's arm was around her waist, and her head rested on his shoulder.
As quickly as they appeared – they vanished out of thin air.
BJ couldn't help but smile, for he knew that Hawkeye was keeping his promise, and watching over those whom he loved.
I apologise that it took me so long after Hawk's death chapter to get these out, but school got in the way as per usual. I also wanted to be 100% satisfied with these chapters.
I hope this last chapter satisfied your questions about BJ's absence (joel shell). This backstory was planned all along.
Thank you to everybody who took the time to read/review this story that turned out to be way more than I ever planned it to be. This story means a lot to me and I really appreciated the feedback. I hope that these final two chapters were a satisfactory conclusion.