Because of Hepatitis

It all started with an overheard conversation. She really hadn't meant to overhear what she'd heard… but then again, she figured there was really no harm in listening for just a few minutes.

Ever since what Pierce had said to her earlier that day, about standing up to Donald's mother and demanding the respect she deserved, she'd felt… off. It wasn't like Pierce to be so serious where she was concerned. Sure, he could be plenty serious in the face of death or when one of those young boys came in with a belly full of shrapnel. But with her, he was all jokes and snide remarks with the rare and brief nice word.

But today, what he'd said to her while he was checking her for symptoms of Hepatitis, he'd seemed genuine and more like the man she'd always suspected had lurked underneath all those snide remarks.

So, after all that, she'd decided to take a stroll around camp to think about what Pierce had said, and also to think a little bit about Pierce if she was being honest. She knew what she could really use was a nice long chat with her cousin, Suzanne, her longtime friend and confidant. It really had been too long since she'd heard Suzanne's voice. So, she decided she'd take a chance and see if she could get Corporal O'Reilly to patch her through to California.

But, after waltzing into the building she stopped in her tracks, her hand resting on the door. She could see Pierce's head of shaggy, black hair with his back turned to her and Corporal O'Reilly sitting on his cot with an odd look on his face. The low murmur of voices tipped her off that they were talking about something awfully serious.

Naturally, she gently crouched down near the crack in the door to listen in.

"…at Rosie's and then the guys'll start messing with the girls, you know. And I… well I just start feelin' sleepy. I mean is there something wrong with me, Hawk? Am I not… hotblooded enough if you know what I mean?" That was Corporal O'Reilly, but what were they talking about?

"Radar," Pierce started, "One day you're gonna find a girl who's pretty and kind and smart and everything you didn't know you were looking for. And I promise you're not going to feel sleepy then."

There was a short pause, then, "And I don't think you've got any problems here Radar. You say you're not hotblooded enough but what I see in you is different from those other guys. But it's a good different Radar. Those other guys, they're rough and really, they don't treat those girls with the respect they deserve, but you do Radar. You bring a little bit of Iowa with you wherever ya' go and you're a better person for it."

"You really mean that Hawk? Gee thanks, I… well I guess I never thought of it that way, you know?"

"Sometimes we just need a friend to put things in perspective for us, Radar."

Silence, then, "I'm really sorry to say this now, but can you drop your pants?"

Margaret rolled her eyes. Pierce must've been here as part of his rounds checking the camp for Hepatitis. Margaret rolled back on her heels before pushing to her feet and deciding to call Suzanne later.

Maybe Pierce really had it in him to be serious and all the jokes and silliness were more of a coping mechanism than she'd thought.

Margaret shook her head and headed to the mess tent to grab a coffee and think it over.