This takes place right after "Out of Sight, Out of Mind". The one where Hawkeye goes blind.
Margaret watches from her tent as Hawkeye fumbles his way across the compound with his cane and bandaged eyes. However, having had his sight back for most of the day, and noticing the way he walks almost a little too sure of his steps when he leaves the Swamp lets her know he is pranking them. Shaking her head, the blonde enters her tent and grabs her towel and change of clothes. Heading toward the showers for a much needed scrub, the major turns around when she hears commotion coming from her nurses. Noticing Hawkeye stumble out, she barely hides a smile, and he notices. They share eye contact for a moment as Hawkeye keeps walking, but she keeps staring and standing.
"Have a nice shower, Major. If you want, I can sneak in after you," Hawkeye remarks with a grin. Pointing to his bandaged eyes he adds, "Blind men tell no tales, you know."
Margaret rolls her eyes and suddenly realizes that she may be flirting with a man that is not her fiancee. Angry that Hawkeye can always catch her off guard,the spell is officially broken and she yells, "Stuff it, Pierce!"
Hawkeye puts his hands up in surrender as Margaret stalks off. Taking off his bandage as he returns to the Swamp, Hawkeye looks over at B.J. who asks, "They didn't fall for it, did they?"
"No, but I got a rise out of Hot Lips!" The other man triumphantly replies. With a laugh, B.J. replies, "She was in there?"
Hawkeye shakes his head as he throws his cane off to the side and sits on his cot.
"Found her in the compound on the way to the showers. We had a nice staring contest. I think she likes me," He quips with a grin.
"Couldn't fool her for a minute, could you Hawk?" B.J. teases. Hawkeye makes a face at him, but says nothing as he absorbs his friend's words. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan can see through him. Can always see through him. Swallowing, Hawkeye lays down in his cot to think. Getting up after a bout of contemplation, the head surgeon quietly exits his tent and walks the small distance toward the head nurse's tent.
Changing into fresh clothes, Margaret screams in horror when her tent door is unceremoniously opened. Turning she gapes at the dark haired surgeon who stands in front of her. Regaining her composure, she yells, "Pierce, what are you doing in my tent?"
"Trying to figure you out," Hawkeye remarks as his friend grabs a robe to put over her exposed, brasiered chest. He notes verbally that her robe clashes with the army green of her uniform pants which earns him a scowl.
"Get out and I can fix that color problem for you," Margaret demands wanting to head to the mess tent for dinner and not trusting the notorious, womanizing jokester to be alone in her tent. Instead of complying, Hawkeye shakes his head.
"No. I need to know how you can simply see through everything I do. This has been going on for years, Margaret! How can you read me so easily?" The surgeon demands. Stammering, Margaret replies, "I don't know what you mean, Captain."
"Yes you do. You knew half an hour ago that I wasn't blind. You change your mood when I need it."
"I do not!" Margaret protests wondering why this man is badgering her for something she has no control over. Sure, she can see through Hawkeye's ruses, but he is just as easy to read. Telling him so, Margaret looks at him curiously. His scoff is enough to pique her interest.
"If I were easy to read, this whole camp would be able to see past the jokes I make and my charm."
She wants to laugh at what he calls charm. His charm is nothing more than kissing any woman who walks by. Finally, Margaret questions, "Are you upset that I didn't go along with your little charade?"
He shakes his head before sitting down on the neatly made blankets of the woman's cot. The blonde wants to tell him to stand up, but decides to hear what he is trying so hard to articulate.
"I want to know how you can see the real me?" Hawkeye finally explains keeping his eyes away from Margaret. When he finally looks up at his friend, she has her arms crossed. He cannot fully make out her expression, but stands slowly. As he opens the door, Margaret stops him.
"Come back to my tent after dinner. We can talk then," She states with a pointed look. He smiles gently knowing any flirtatious comment he makes will cancel out their conversation.
The pair barely talks during dinner. Neither has much to say in public. However, every now and then B.J. finds the pair glancing at each other. He decides to talk to his bunk mate once they leave the Mess Tent. Throwing his trash away, B.J. catches up with his bunk mate who seems to be heading quickly into the compound.
"Hey!" B.J. calls out causing his friend to turn around. "What was with you and Margaret tonight?"
Playing dumb, Hawkeye deflects, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Fine, don't tell me. Just remember she's almost a married woman," B.J. reminds causing his friend to roll his eyes. Giving his friend a mock bow, Hawkeye states, "I'll be the perfect gentleman."
The friends part ways, and Hawkeye soon finds himself outside Margaret's tent. Knocking this time, Hawkeye finds Margaret fully dressed when she opens her tent door.
"Do you want to start?" Margaret asks.
"Got something to drink?" Hawkeye asks deciding he may need some liquid courage to actually talk about his emotions. The blonde nods before producing a wine bottle from her foot locker. Raising and= eyebrow at her choice, Hawkeye receives, "It's all I got."
Holding out his hand, Hawkeye is given the bottle and a cork screw while Margaret searches for a couple wine glasses.
"I started getting wiser to it after you kissed me the first time."
"In front of Frank?" Hawkeye grins. Margaret nods, as she holds up two glasses. The head surgeon stands and starts pouring the wine as Margaret brings another chair over for Hawkeye to sit at. After a moment she adds, "I always thought you and Trapper were going to sabotage the camp. I didn't want to think about how good of surgeons you were. Frank was a rule follower, but then I met Donald."
Sitting in his seat, Hawkeye adds, "A general."
Rolling her eyes, Margaret states as she sits across from the man, "Yes, but he's also all I've ever wanted. And, my father will be proud."
"You really look up to him," Hawkeye remarks as he swirls the wine in his glass. The blonde nods happy to talk to someone about her family, "My father always wanted a boy, so I think he kind of resented us. My sister and I."
"Yeah," Margaret remarks as she takes a gulp of her wine. The pair sits in silence a moment. Neither knows what to say. Finally Margaret asks, "Do you mind if we sit on the bed? I'd like to be comfortable when I explain whatever it is you want me to explain."
Hawkeye nods, stands, and takes both wine glasses. Handing Margaret's glass to her, Hawkeye moves his seat closer to the bed. Taking a sip of her drink, the blonde remembers why Hawkeye is in her tent.
"The talk," Margaret begins again, "that you wanted. I started spying on you for a while, like I said. Then, I somehow started being teamed with you for surgery. I may have picked up on your tone and temperament along the way."
"Well that was anticlimactic," Hawkeye comments as he downs the rest of his wine. Margaret shrugs.
"I just don't fawn over you like all the other nurses."
"No, you don't placate me like all the other nurses," Hawkeye corrects knowing she cannot resist his kisses. The looks in her eyes are what he smiles at each time. Staring mournfully at his drink, Hawkeye remarks, "You know, my dad says that was how my mom knew she wanted to marry him?"
"Your mom?" Margaret asks thinking the womanizing comes from his father. With a chuckle, the head surgeon gets up to grab the wine bottle. Taking it back toward his chair, Hawkeye gestures to the cot.
"Mind?" He asks. The head nurse shakes her head. Topping Margaret's wine off, then his own once he sits down, Hawkeye explains, "My mom died when I was a kid. So any stories of her I've only heard from my dad. Anyway, apparently when Dad courted my mom, he was warned by her two sisters and her friends that she was a tease. Now, mind you in 1918 that's obscene for a woman. But, Dad loved her. He jokes sometimes that he tamed her, but really she just chose him. He wouldn't give in to her flirting no matter what she wanted. Well, he did once. That's how I came about. I miss her."
Margaret merely sips her drink completely unsure how to digest the man's words. She has both her parents, but now realizes why he writes home so much. If she is honest, Margaret is a little jealous of the pair's relationship.
"I guess two damaged people can make quite a pair, huh?" Hawkeye asks to break the silence as he and Margaret nurse their glasses. After a few more hours of talking and a little joking, both adults begin to nod off. Saying his good-byes, Hawkeye heads back to his tent. He wakes up early to find B.J. coming into the tent whistling and groans.
"Good morning!" B.J. chirps, "When did you get in?"
"Around one, I think," Hawkeye remarks as he chooses to ignore his friend's eyebrow raise. "We talked and drank some wine. That's all."
"Uh huh," B.J. comments as he grabs his razor to shave. Feeling an odd need to defend himself, Hawkeye replies as he grabs his robe, "Honest! We just needed to talk something over!"
B.J. merely hums a dissatisfied hum.
"Attention all personnel!" The loud speaker announces.
"Guess that's our cue," B.J. states as he puts his razor down. Knowing he will have his first surgery with his eyesight back, Hawkeye hangs his robe up, and trudges behind his friend.
"I didn't miss this," Hawkeye murmurs as he works on a belly wound of a soldier twenty minutes later. Margaret looks at him carefully. Thinking he may have actually not caught something, the nurse asks, "Miss what, Captain?"
"This," He emphasizes by nodding to his patient. "I'm happy to see, but the insides of some kid aren't it. What I wouldn't give for a Rita Hayworth film. Or Joan Blondell? I could laugh until my sides hurt."
"Joan Blondell?" Margaret asks not thinking the surgeon to be a fan of hers. Hawkeye smirks from behind his mask. Asking for suction, he comments, "Yeah. She's great comic relief. You two actually have a bit in common."
"Oh, really?" Margaret asks as she waits for the next instrument to be called.
"They're both blonde loud mouths?" Frank calls out ruining the moment. B.J. tells his bunk mate to shut up while the incompetent surgeon merely whines about how unfair he is treated.
"Says the man with no lips," Margaret mumbles under her breath.
"You would know," Hawkeye teases earning a rather brusque, "Watch it, Captain."
"You or my patient?" The surgeon flirts. Both he and Margaret sober quickly when a new patient is brought in. While repairing broken muscles, and then resetting the bone, Hawkeye barely has a chance to apologize to his friend. He opens his mouth after a slight lull, but soon they are flooded again.
Wanting to sleep for the next two days after an arduous fifteen hours, Hawkeye is surprised when Margaret extends an olive branch by asking if he is okay. With a yawn, he answers, "Yeah, just tired."
The head nurse nods before she turns back around to find her friend's blue eyes marked with seriousness.
"I meant to tell you in OR, you and Joan are firecrackers. Reliable, headstrong, and blonde."
"Thank- you, Captain," Margaret answers as she tries to hide a smile. Hawkeye however notes the small bounce in his friend's walk as she walks away. He smiles to himself wondering if after they make it out of the war he and Margaret can be something close to friends.