Tokyo had been a sanctuary during the war with its clean sheets, scented soaps, real food, and geisha houses. Three day passes for rest and relaxation were few and far between, but the thought of it gave many American soldiers hope as peace talks went nowhere. It was also the first stop on the way home. From Kimpo, Tokyo. From Tokyo, Hawaii. From Hawaii, San Francisco. From San Francisco, Home. Every American stationed in Korea had the route memorized as they dreamed of the day they would finally fly across the Pacific back home to the States. For U.S. Army Major Margaret Houlihan, the day had finally come.
Dropping her suitcases by her feet, she anxiously looked around the airport. Most American soldiers were already back home with their loved ones, but a few remained scattered around the airport dressed in their Class A's. The MASH units weren't torn down until all the wounded could be safely transported. Upon leaving her companions behind at the 4077 MASH, Margaret had traveled by jeep to the MASH unit closest to them, the 8063rd. That was about a week ago. Now, here she was in Tokyo, debating her next move.
"Come here often, Stranger?" a familiar voice from behind asked.
Margaret chastised her anxious heart for skipping a beat upon hearing the voice. After all, it couldn't be him. He would be back in Maine by now, making Crabapple Cove say "ah" and relaying the camp's crazy antics to his beloved father. Still, she turned around, bracing herself for another disappointment.
His pants were wrinkled and he was still wearing that ugly blue and white Hawaiian shirt. At one point, she would have filed a complaint for him being out of uniform, but now she couldn't picture him ever wearing anything else. His body had filled out since she last saw him at the 4077, yet he was still thin and lanky. He no longer looked sickly though like he had when he'd arrived back at camp from his brief stay with Sidney Freedman. His black hair was combed over the way it always was, but a few rebel tufts stuck out. Overall, his appearance was generally sloppy, but that was too be expected. He had never been a fan of clean uniforms or his Class A's. Looking down at her own Class A's, she suddenly felt overdressed in his company.
There were so many things she had wanted to say to him when they were leaving the 4077th. After everything they'd been through together the past three years, she never expected "See ya" would be the last thing she said to him, but at the time it was the only intelligible thing that would come out of her mouth. Even now, she couldn't form the words to speak what's on her mind; to say everything she wanted him to know.
"So, uh…" She tried to speak but couldn't find the right words.
"Listen…" He closed his mouth also unable to form the words he wanted to say.
Looking up into his oceanic blue eyes, Margaret tried to read everything he couldn't say and wondered if he could see every memory and every feeling that they shared in her own. She must have saw what she wanted to see because her feet took a step closer to him, her arms outstretching to feel him near. But then Margaret had to wonder if her brain was working at all because the only thing her mind could recall now was that kiss and how she had desperately clung to him as he had clung to her.
He took a giant step toward her and pulled her body flush against his as their lips meshed together in another fervent kiss. After what seemed like an eternity, but also not long enough, their grips loosened and they pulled out of the kiss. Margaret's breath was labored as she opened her hazel eyes to look up at him and tightly gripped his arms to keep him near. She couldn't risk either of them taking a step back because she knew if they did, she would be waving goodbye again until he was only a speck left in the distance. Lord knows if she hadn't of stepped back after that kiss at the 4077, she never would have gotten in that jeep.
It always seemed hard to breathe after he kissed her like that, but if Margaret had to choose between breathing and kissing him, she'd choose kissing him every time.
"What are you doing here?" She managed to choke out between labored breaths.
"Missed my flight," Hawkeye mumbled in reply.
Smiling, Margaret cupped the back of his head and pulled his face closer to hers as their lips met again, relishing the taste of the kiss. His arms were wrapped around her back so tight that Margaret couldn't have pulled away even if she wanted to. Not like he had anything to worry about as long as he kissed her like that. The kiss deepened and Margaret wondered why she had wasted so much time on Frank, Donald, and Scully. Different men had come and gone, yet Hawkeye had always been there.
"I never want to say goodbye to you again," Hawkeye quietly admitted against her lips.
In that instant, Margaret knew that Hawkeye hadn't of just missed his flight. If he had, he could have easily taken the next flight out. No, he had intentionally missed his flight so that he could see her again. Now that she was back in his arms, Margaret realized that she didn't want to have to say goodbye to him again either. For three years, they had lived and worked side by side. So many others and come and gone during those three years, but they were constant. The only ones to see the tents go up that first day and to see the tents go down that last day.
She used to spend hours daydreaming what the war would have been like without him. Now, she could barely recall a time when he hadn't been in her life. Oh, she knows there was a time when she had lived without him, a time before the war. Before the war had seemed like eons ago and not three years. One could spend three years away at college and it would feel like only a year had passed. Three years in a war felt more like eleven.
The short weeks he'd spent in the psychiatric hospital had been hard. Shell fire continued to rock the camp. Wounded continued to pour in like a flood. The horrors of war continued to come, but the sacrilegious jokes in the operating room ceased. One person that everyone had grown to rely so heavily upon was suddenly gone.
His absence was easier to live with knowing she'd see him again. Ironically, it was also easier knowing she'd never see him again too.
Though now that she had seen him again; now that she had kissed him again, she didn't think she'd be able to survive another goodbye.
"Me neither," she replied with a breathy sigh against his lips.
Overjoyed at her admission, Hawkeye caught her lips in another kiss before peppering her face and neck with small, urgent kisses. "Marry me," he mumbled against her soft skin. Her sighs seemed to fuel his desire more as his kisses turned more fervent. "Marry me, Margaret," Hawkeye repeated. "Right now," he quickly added. "I don't wanna lose you. Marry me."
"Now?" Margaret asked, kissing him again.
"Why not? We're both here, aren't we?" His words became jumbled together the faster he talked.
Margaret stood on her toes. "Yes," she whispered against his lips. "Yes."
"Yes, we're both here or yes, you'll marry me?" Hawkeye clarified.
Her lips touched his again with the slightest pressure. "Yes, we're both here," she clarified with a small giggle. With slightly more pressure, she kissed him again. "Yes, I'll marry you." His fingers buried themselves in her hair as he kissed her again. "But not now," Margaret quickly added as an afterthought.
Resting his forehead against hers, Hawkeye mumbled, "I don't want to wait."
Placing a quick peck on his jaw, Margaret admitted, "Me neither." Hawkeye opened his mouth to speak, but Margaret cut him off. "I'll marry you, Hawk," she reassured him with a quick kiss. "But not until we're back in the States."
"Okay," Hawkeye agreed, claiming her lips once again. Pulling away, he said, "but as soon as the plane lands, I'm dragging you to the nearest courthouse."
"Deal," was all she could muster before she succumbed to her desire and kissed him once more.