Hawkeye didn't remember much from that night, after Frank caught the three of them drinking. He remembered chasing the nosy Major away, and he remembered trying to play some kind of card game, and he had a vague recollection of attempting a daring raid on the kitchen in order to get more supplies, but the rest was a hazy blur of alcohol consumption and laughter.
The next morning, a much more sober Major Houlihan was once again at Frank's side, but Hawkeye wanted to remember the softer personality she had shown that night; the one that slipped through her guard so infrequently.
It wasn't until a week later, when Trapper filled up the last roll of film on their camera and took it to the x-ray lab to develop that Hawkeye discovered proof of the gentler Margaret.
Apparently, during one of his blacked-out moments, Trapper had begun snapping pictures, including one of Margaret planting a giant kiss on Hawkeye. It was an incredible gift; good for almost two whole weeks of blackmail until Margaret found him "donating" medical supplies to one of the local villages.
He officially ripped the photo up in front of her, calling a truce to the current blackmail war, but he kept the second copy hidden in his footlocker. Proof, when he needed it, that beneath her tough military shell, Margaret was really a nice person.
Hawkeye was already working on his fourth sucking chest wound when the second wave of wounded arrived, and he was spared the task of running outside to do triage. By the eighth or ninth customer, he didn't even look at their faces anymore, just their wounds.
It wasn't until the next evening, after he had finally gotten a little sleep, that he reported for duty in Post-Op and finally saw who he had been working on. One of his worst cases stopped him in his tracks.
He would know that face anywhere; he'd played tag with the ten year old version hundreds of times. "Jimmy Anderson?"
He wasn't sure if he spoke the words aloud, but Margaret was suddenly at his side. "Yes."
Hawkeye felt as though his brain was full of mush. "He's from Crabapple Cove! What's he doing here?"
Trapper would have said something like, 'he was drafted,' but Margaret just took his hand and led him behind the curtain.
"I checked his file. I thought you might have known him. Hawkeye, I'm sorry. He's not... it was too late before he was even brought to us..."
She handed him the file, and Hawkeye recognized his own handwriting. Stomach wound: shrapnel removed, kidney removed, liver in shreds. Chances of recovery: 20%.
His own callous assessment struck Hawkeye like a punch to the gut, and he felt all the air whoosh out of his lungs.
He wasn't sure how much time passed, but he felt a brush of lips against his cheek, and gently whispered words. "Sit with him. I'll do your rounds."
It was pure coincidence, really. Hawkeye was snooping through the camp personnel files, trying to figure out what the devil BJ stood for, when he decided it might be fun to peak at Margaret's dossier.
He figured that after so many months working side by side with each other, there was very little he didn't already know about her that her file could enlighten him on, but there was always that chance of an embarrassing middle name or some other fun fact.
Instead, he discovered that her birthday had been four days earlier, and no one in camp appeared to have known. In fact, Frank was probably the only person who had ever known and done anything about it, and he was now long gone.
It took a little wrangling from Kim Sung's traveling market, but he finally found the perfect thing. Hawkeye wrapped it up in a little brown paper he found, wrote 'Happy Birthday' on the front, and left it on her bed while she was in Post-Op.
The next morning Margaret caught him coming out of the shower and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thank you," she whispered.
Hawkeye just smiled and replied the only way he could, "They look much better on you than they did on Klinger."
She frowned, of course, as he expected, but Hawkeye noticed that she didn't take off the pearl drop earrings for the rest of the day.
Hawkeye wasn't sure why Margaret was coming into his tent to yell at him, but she had just made his night. Jumping to his feet, he wrapped his arms around the nurse, dipped her, and kissed her deeply.
BJ laughed at first, but when the kiss kept going, he finally cleared his throat and murmured, "Uh, Hawk?"
Hawkeye finally released Margaret and calmly sat back down, picking up his darning again, while he waited for her to catch her breath and her bearings.
"What was that about?"
Hawkeye merely gestured above her head with one of the needles. Margaret looked up and saw the clump of mistletoe he had hung up.
"Merry Christmas!" both doctors chorused cheerfully.
"Alright Margaret, what's this about mmph!" Hawkeye's annoyed question was cut off by a set of warm lips crashing onto his own. He let himself sink into the kiss, wrapping his arms around Margaret's waist as their tongues twisted together.
After several long moments, they pulled apart and Hawkeye looked up. "Mistletoe?" he asked cheerfully.
"Without the audience this time," Margaret replied.
"What brought about this change of heart?" he asked, not unkindly. Margaret usually put up with his holiday pranks, but she rarely instigated them.
"Maybe I'm tired of fighting," she replied softly. "Maybe I'd like a little peace this Christmas."
Hawkeye smiled sadly at the reminder of the patient they had worked on last night, at the memory of death and blood and sacrifice. This moment was a much better way to remember the holidays this year than that night was.
"Same here. Holiday truce, Major?" Hawkeye asked sincerely.
"Holiday truce, Captain," she replied.
Hawkeye gave her another swift kiss, followed by a quick salute, before ducking back out of her tent.