So guys, this is the end. It's been fun! Also, grab the tissues. I've been preparing for this since the beginning (although not necessarily at the very end...Oops!).
Thanks for the reviews and favorites. I wasn't expecting people to keep reading due to my sporadic postings, but you guys all did! You're the best.
Spoilers for "None Like It Hot", Last of the Mohicans, and that's about it (no comments on how you had no idea there was an episode called "That's About It", because we all know there isn't and I know I set myself up for that comment. So, no comments on it. Not even if Hawkeye, Trapper, or B.J. were the ones who'd say it first. We all know they would be!).
A few days later, Margaret comes home to find Daniel and her children nowhere in the house. When she calls their names and gets no answer, she merely puts her hat and gloves away. Finding a note on the kitchen table, she smiles. Daniel and her children are fishing. The mother smirks noticing the children sign their names below his, only her daughter has assistance it looks like. Smiling, Margaret takes a rare moment to herself by luxuriating in a bath. Turning the faucet on in the upstairs bath, Margaret smiles at the memory of Klinger intruding on her coveted bath time in Korea. Shaking her head, the former army nurse takes comfortable clothes from her bedroom and enters the bathroom once again, but this time for good.
Dozing off, Margaret startles when she hears the door slam shut.
Hearing the voices of her children, the mother quickly gets out of the tub to put clothes on. Just as she fastens her pants, she hears her son calling out to her.
"Mom! You have to come see my fish!" Blake calls out. Throwing her shirt on, Margaret calls out, "Just a minute."
As soon as she puts her flats on, the mother heads out of the bathroom to see the fish her son catches while Kelley trails behind her explaining how her fish was better.
"Thought we'd fry these for dinner. How does that sound?" Daniel asks his daughter in law.
With a smile, Margaret replies, "Sounds good. Anything I can do to help?"
"Feel like helping me in surgery?" Daniel jokes as he takes one of the fish to clean. Blake and his sister share a look as they wonder why the adults are performing surgery.
"Let me go scrub up," Margaret jokes grabbing an apron from a hook on the wall. Thankfully with the May weather, she has no sleeves to deal with. Surprisingly, Daniel and Margaret work together almost as well as she and Hawkeye, albeit gutting a fish. The children watch them for a few minutes before running off. Seeing the front door open, the children happily hug their father.
"Hey, kids! Where're Mom and Grandpa?"
"Performing surgery," Blake announces proudly. Confused by the explanation, Hawkeye simply lets his children lead him into the kitchen. Smiling at the pair, Hawkeye watches for a moment until he quips, "Not as hard as a rabbit, is it?"
Margaret rolls her eyes as she continues to hold open the sides of the fish.
"It helps we don't have to give it back," Margaret teases. Ten minutes later, Daniel leads his excited grandchildren outside and begins to teach them about the proper way to clean and cook fish. Hawkeye smirks at the trio before grabbing a beer from the fridge. Together he and his wife head to the back yard and sit in the lawn chairs.
"Hawk, I got the results today from that test. It was positive," Margaret states as she watches her children listen intently to their grandfather's instructions on how to properly cook fish. Hawkeye takes a drink of his beer if only to figure out what to say next. With no answer, Margaret tentatively looks over at her husband who squeezes her hand. Neither really knows what to say. Instead they relish in their family.
Coming into the bedroom that night after tucking in two exhausted children, Margaret crawls into bed next to her husband.
"The kids finally go down?" Hawkeye asks. His wife hums in response. After a moment she replies, "I had to read your daughter two books, but yes. I can't believe we'll be doing this again."
"We'll be in our sixties by the time this one graduates high school," Hawkeye comments before asking, "Do you know how far along you are?"
Having calculated back, Margaret answers, "Coming close to twelve weeks? I have a doctor's appointment next week to know for sure. I'm just surprised I never noticed anything before."
Hawkeye looks over at his wife and notices her worried expression. Brushing a lock of her hair back, he asks, "Are you okay with it?"
Margaret sighs. She is okay, but also scared. Scared of something happening due to her age. Scared of the comments her child will receive for having such older parents. Before she can dwell further into her worries, she hears her husband whisper, "It'll be okay."
She swallows and realizes a few tears fall down her face.
"Thank- you," She whispers realizing she is in for a long six more months.
Months later, with summer coming to an end, Hawkeye is magically able to get his seven months pregnant wife to agree to help host a cook- out at their house just before the school year begins. With the house full of noise and excitement, Daniel smiles happily as he leads his grandchildren and Robbie and Ella's recently toddling daughter outdoors to get out of Margaret, Ella, and Donna's way.
"I thought they'd never leave," Donna jokes as she cuts up carrots to put in the salad. Margaret laughs as she announces, "I'm going to go outside and see when Hawk will be done with the burgers."
The blonde soon makes her way outside and finds her husband joking with Robbie over by the grill.
"Ah hah! Speak of the devil! I told you one of them would be out here to hurry us along," Hawkeye comments as he winks at his wife. She merely rolls her eyes before asking about the burgers.
"Tell them five more minutes," Robbie comments as he notices Hawkeye about to make a joke at his wife's expense.
"Thanks for keeping him alive," Margaret comments knowing her husband and his humor all too well. Laughing at Robbie's daughter who continually follows her own daughter around, Margaret heads back into the house to refill the lemonade pitcher which she notices is close to empty. Coming outside, she places the pitcher back on the table just as her children run to the table begging for lemonade.
"Where are your glasses?" The mother asks. The children soon turn to grab the cups when they hear a crash.
"Dad!" Hawkeye exclaims before yelling for an ambulance and trying to assess his father's condition. Margaret watches as if back in Korea as her heart begins to break.
"Grandpa?" Kelleye softly says causing the mother to remember her children. Instinctively, Margaret draws the five and six year old to her side.
"Dad!" Hawkeye yells again just as he begins chest compressions. Sensing the tension, Ella herds the children into the house where Robbie is calling for the ambulance. Quickly, Margaret heads to her husband's side to check for breathing. In army mode, Margaret bends down to check her father- in- law's vitals as her husband does CPR. The adults only register the ambulance once the paramedics enter the backyard.
"There's still a pulse," Margaret states as she pries her husband off his father. Whether she is relaying information to the medics or comforting her husband, she is unsure.
The drive to the hospital is relatively silent. Only once does Margaret need to instruct her children to stop arguing. Sitting in the waiting room, Margaret watches her husband walk restlessly down the corridor. Standing up, she puts her hand on his shoulder. They share a silent look before Hawkeye sits down from sheer exhaustion.
"Will you be okay with the kids?" Margaret asks after a moment. Hawkeye nods numbly as his wife heads off to the restroom. Passing by the nurses' station, Margaret notices Donna fill out reports. Motioning her over, the blonde asks, "Could you keep an eye on the kids for me?"
Confused, Donna asks, "Is Hawkeye not with them?"
"No, he is. I just need to use the restroom. I'm sorry this is how you have to spend your shift today," Margaret states hoping her children will behave and feeling sorry for her friend. Going into the bathroom, she lets her unshed tears fall. Frustrated by the day and worried for her family, Margaret cries for a few minutes before drying her eyes and leaving the bathroom.
"Family of Doctor Pierce," A doctor asks just as Margaret comes back to the waiting room. Hawkeye wakes his children and glances over at his wife once everything is explained to them.
"I'm sorry," The attending replies knowing this is not easy for any of them involved.
"Hawkeye," Margaret says softly noticing her husband going into shock. Her tone is enough to cause Hawkeye to sink back into the chair and bury his face in his hands.
"Do you need me to take the kids?" Donna asks softly as she leaves the nurse's station to comfort her friends. Margaret bites her lip and looks over at her husband. With a sigh, the woman asks, "Could you?"
An hour later, Donna picks up the children and takes them with her.
The next few days pass by in a blur. Margaret takes care of most of the arrangements except picking out her father-in-law's clothes. Laying his father's favorite suit out on the bed, Hawkeye stares at it wondering how his father can actually be gone.
Needing a moment to himself, Hawkeye heads to the study to think. Entering the office, Hawkeye barely stifles a sob. Looking around the room, the man notices the copy of his namesake sitting on the desk. Walking over, Hawkeye sits down in the desk chair and stares at the book. He tries to remember the good memories and soon finds himself looking through the desk drawers. Seeing a bundle of letters with his handwriting attached, Hawkeye finally breaks down and cries.
"Grandpa?" Blake asks when he hears noise coming from the study.
Investigating further, the six year old finds his father sitting at the desk crying and staring down at a book at the table. Finally noticing his son, Hawkeye motions the boy over.
"Come here. I have a book I want to read to you."
Climbing into his father's lap, Blake let's his father continue.
"It's called The Last of the Mohicans. Grandpa used to read this to me as a kid when I was just about your age."
The funeral passes with most of the town in attendance with family and friends coming by their house later in the day for refreshments. Not finding anything refreshing about the day, Hawkeye goes for a walk. Coming back to his wife's stoicism, the man's heart almost swells. She will always be the rock in their relationship. She catches his eyes and nods toward the living room where Donna sits with Blake and Kelleye.
"I've got it from here, Donna. Thanks," Hawkeye comments as he settles himself between his children. After a moment, he asks, "Why don't I tell you about your Grandpa?"
Although it pains him to start, he decides to keep a semi cheerful tone for the young children.
Two months later, Hawkeye tries to behave normally. He cannot afford to wallow, especially with the birth of his third child possibly a week away. They discuss names, but nothing feels right. Not until the day of the delivery do they ever decide on a name. Seeing his newest son, Hawkeye's breath is taken away.
"Let's call him Daniel," Margaret whispers careful not to wake her sleeping infant. Hawkeye merely nods unable to say anything else.
"Daniel J., after Beej," Hawkeye finally comments, the name thick on his tongue. Unable to argue with such a fitting tribute to both grandfather and friend, Margaret agrees adding, "Go call him. I'm sure B.J. would want to know about his namesake."
"I love you," He states kissing his wife on the forehead and then his son.
"I love you, too," Margaret replies as she sees her husband off surprised that this is what her life is. A former Regular Army nurse married to the Crackpot Surgeon of the 4077th, and she can have it no other way.