Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce stood in front of his father's whitewashed home, not knowing what to do. He didn't want to ruin his reunion with his father or be too awkward. He hadn't sent his dad anything about the war being over and coming home. He wanted it to be a surprise. Then he remembered the nurse had mailed the letter he had wrote while in the asylum. "Damn." He whispered. Now his father will take pity on him. Or worse, fear him! Maybe he hadn't gotten the letter yet. He had to do something though so he summoned his inner strength and rapped on the door.
"Hang on a sec." a slightly gruff voice called. The door opened. Daniel looked shocked. They didn't say anything for several seconds. "Ben?" Daniel asked quietly. "Either that or I'll need new dog tags." Hawkeye joked tearfully. Then Daniel opened his arms and his son accepted the embrace. Hawkeye let go "Can I come in yet?" Hawkeye ribbed "Yeah shure." Hawkeye stepped onto the worn blue carpet and scuffled his feet. "Much better than dirt." He said mostly to himself. "God son! You got old!" Daniel joked. "Thanks a lot." Hawkeye said dully while trying his best to hide his freshly graying hairs. Something nagged at Daniel. "So, are you okay now Ben?" He asked quietly. "Dammit Dad!" Hawkeye cried, suddenly angry "I'm fine!' I am perfectly happy and don't you dare try to take that away from me! I knew I shouldn't have told you anything but I did and if you want to ruin this happy day for both of us then thats just fine and dandy! I didn't ask to be put in this situation but I was and there is nothing we can do about it so would you just let it go!" Daniel was stunned. He had never seen an outburst in his son this great. "I'm sorry Dad," Hawkeye had lost that fire and was now remorseful. "I guess I left a bit earlier than I should have." He meant the D-Ward. Then suddenly that little shine in his eyes came back. "So, what do you have to eat around here?" Hawkeye was cherry again. "Oh whatever."
Daniel was a little nervous. Hawkeye began searching the refrigerator. After a while Hawkeye found a two day old whitefish platter. He set it down and did his little 'MMMmmm' and 'Ahh' thing as he ate "Dad this is heaven!" Hawkeye cried. He finished the platter and thanked Daniel for a "marvelous symphony of yumminess" Hawkeye plopped himself onto the couch and Daniel followed. "So tell me son, what was it like there in Korea?" Daniel tenatively asked. "Oh, well, um...uh...well, uh" So many ways to answer that one. Hawkeye thought. Tell him what he wants to hear. "It was a great learning experience" Nice and vague. "Oh, okay." Daniel was having a hard time talking to his son. He decided to give up. "Why don't you go get into some civilian clothes?" Daniel asked. Hawkeye scowled "I'm trying my best dad. If you had the same experience, you wouldn't act the same. But you just dismiss me like everyone else." He stood up and his temper flared. "It's just NOT that EASY! Do you know what it's like to have children killing children all around you!?! And you're alone dad, you're alone!! If you can't understand that then the hell with it." Hawkeye walked out the front door. Daniel followed him out. "Where are you going?" He asked breathlessly. "I'm renting a hotel, I just need some space for a while " he said in an even tone. Daniel knew Hawkeye would be fine so he let his son leave again. Hawkeye marched onward. He smiled and thought: Wow! That was dramatic. It really was a grand return.