When You Need Me Most

By LittleDancerGirl

Other / Romance

Chapter TwentySeven: Confronting Her

"All right. One more thing."

Hawkeye looked around the room, but it was clear to him that no one had any more clue than he did, which was unusual. Usually when something came up at a senior staff meeting, at least one person besides Potter had an idea what it would be.

"Pierce, this is mostly for you."

"What have I done this time?" he joked.

Potter didn't laugh or even smile. "I've just gotten word. Lieutenant Monroe's trial will be held in Seoul one week from yesterday." He saw Hawkeye's face pale and couldn't help feeling bad. It seemed like he'd finally stopped constantly thinking about it, and now he had to go bring it up again. "You've been called in, of course, and with your permission the JAG wants Margaret to testify as well as to the extent of your injuries from what happened."

Hawkeye wasn't the only one who had reacted to the news. Looking up, Potter realized the entire senior staff had closed ranks, as it were, around Hawkeye, with BJ gently rubbing his shoulder and Margaret holding his hand. Mulcahy and Charles stood on either side of the trio as if to protect their friend from further harm. It still touched him how much the core of his unit, even Charles, who had always kept his distance, had come together behind Hawkeye in his time of need.

"Yeah," he said softly, leaning his head into BJ's arm. "Okay. Margaret can testify."

"I had a feeling you'd say that. I've planned for the two of you to stay in Seoul until you are called for convenience's sake, as well as the night after your testimonies, in case it gets late." Or in case you need to recover. "I'll let you know as soon as I get the exact date."

xxxxxxxxx

"Pierce, it looks fine. Stop fidgeting."

Hawkeye sent a glare towards his Bostonian tent-mate. "It itches." He continued fussing with his tie.

"Hawk, you sure you don't want me to come with you?"

Hawkeye turned from Charles to BJ. "Yeah, I'm sure. If wounded come in they'll need every hand they can get here, and they'll already be short two. I'll be fine. Margaret will be there to keep an eye on me."

He stepped over and hugged his friend. "Take care of yourself." He patted Hawkeye's back. "I'll be waiting here if you need me when this is over."

"Thanks, Beej."

"Drink before you go?"

"Why not?"

"Here."

A bottle landed in Hawkeye's lap. He glanced from the bottle to Charles, who had just dropped it into his lap. "This is twelve-year-old scotch!"

"Your powers of observation are astounding." Then his face softened a little. "I have no illusions that this is going to be easy for you. I thought you could use a proper drink." His eyes locked on Hawkeye's. "Consider it recompense for my lack of compassion at a time when I should have provided it."

"All right, but only if you have a drink with me. Beej?"

"You bet." He held out three glasses, which Hawkeye filled.

Charles raised his glass in a toast. "Good luck," he said simply.

"I'll drink to that," Hawkeye replied before doing just that. He started to hand the bottle back to Charles, but the other surgeon pushed it back into his hands.

"I have a feeling you'll want this when the trial's over. Share it with Margaret. If there's anything left when you get back, we'll discuss it then." Then he reached over and adjusted Hawkeye's best "going to court-martial clothes", as he called them. "There. It looks fine. Leave it."

xxxxxxxxx

It was like a statue convention. That was Hawkeye's first thought. Not one of the assembled witnesses was speaking. They all seemed to be avoiding eye contact.

The door shut with a gentle tap, and they all glanced in his direction. Then one man stood and limped in his direction. "Hawkeye!"

"Hey, Tom."

The next thing he knew, he was caught in an embrace. The hug was slightly lopsided, the left arm tighter than the right, but it was a two-armed hug nonetheless.

"I see you're getting better."

"Thanks to you guys. The doctor said I'll have no permanent damage because of the excellent care I recieved just after I was wounded. Unfortunately, that does mean I have to go back to the line." He grimaced. "But at least when I do go home I'll be good as new, God willing."

"Tom, you remember Margaret Houlihan?"

"Of course." He stepped back from Hawkeye to nod at her. "Major, it's good to see you again."

"Same to you." She looked ready to say more, but another man walked through the door and she fell silent. He was carrying a briefcase, and she was pretty sure he was the prosecutor.

"All right, all of you. The trial will begin tomorrow. Witnesses will be called in the following order. Private Brian Morrison, First Lieutenant John Hayes, Corporal Thomas Jacobson, Sargeant Kevin Peters, PFC Aaron Weizmann, Captain Mark Tyree to corroborate for Weizmann and Peters, Captain Benjamin Pierce, and Major Margaret Houlihan to corroborate Captain Pierce. Any questions?"

No one said anything.

"Okay. Now I'll be asking all of you similar questions, with some small variations depending on the individual reports you've submitted. Please be sure to answer all questions as completely and truthfully as possible, or the defense may try to find places to twist. When the defense questions you, just answer the questions truthfully. You all know exactly what happened to you, or in the case of Captain Tyree and Major Houlihan, you know what you saw. Try not to get agitated or upset - they want you to be upset so they can exploit that. Any questions?"

Margaret raised her hand and the man nodded to her. "Excuse me, Colonel, but I've seen court trials before, and in cases like that the defense sometimes tries to bring in questions that aren't relevant." Hawkeye followed her gaze to Tom Jacobson and immediately understood what she was getting at. "What should we do in that situation?"

"What sorts of irrelevant questions are you referring to?"

It was clear she hadn't been prepared for that question, but she recovered so quickly that Hawkeye was sure he was the only one who noticed. "For example, Lieutenant Monroe briefly served under me as a nurse. I have a reputation for being very hard on my nurses, and I am aware of that, but I think you'll agree that has very little to do with this case. However, if that was called into question, and it may be, what should I say?"

Now the JAG Colonel looked slightly taken aback, clearly not having thought of that. "All right, answer the question but stress in your answer that it has nothing to do with the case at hand. I'll try to correct any such irrelevant questions in the redirect. Any other questions? No? Dismissed!"

xxxxxxxxx

"Hawkeye, are you sure you want to be here?" Margaret asked him.

"No." He met her eyes squarely. "But I'm sure I need to be here. I need to support Tom."

She squeezed his shoulder. It always amazed her how much compassion he could show even when he was facing one of the worst things that had ever happened to him in his life. But, amazing as it seemed, that was how he healed.

Hawkeye paled a little when he first caught sight of her sitting behind the table with the defense attorney, and Margaret laid a hand on his arm, telling him wordlessly that if he wanted to leave, she would walk right out that door with him. But he bit his lips and steeled himself, using his free hand to briefly clasp the hand on his arm before turning his eyes towards the judge's bench and resolutely ignoring Janice Monroe.

"The prosecution calls Corporal Thomas Jacobson to the stand."

Jacobson also lost color when he saw who was in the courtroom and briefly looked like he might bolt for the exit. Hawkeye sought out his eyes, and when he found them did his best to send a wave of strength through the eye contact. He saw the younger man's shoulders rise and fall with a deep breath and then he walked forward and stood in front of the bench.

"Corporal Jacobson, do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

His voice trembled a little, but his words were loud and clear. "I do." He sat, resolutely keeping his head turned away from where she sat, glaring at him. The prosecutor approached his table.

"Corporal Jacobson, on what date did you first meet Lieutenant Janice Monroe?"

"April twenty-ninth, nineteen-fifty-three."

"And where were you?"

"At a bar in Tokyo - I don't remember which." It was clear that this upset him, but Hawkeye understood completely that subsequent events had driven that detail completely from his mind.

"Can you describe, in brief, what occured after you met her, focusing specifically on her actions?"

"She identified herself as Marissa Cunningham. She suggested that we find a more private place to have some fun, and I agreed. This 'private place' turned out to be a derelict hotel, no longer in operation. Five men were waiting for us there. I felt like something was off, but she and one of the men blocked the way out before I could leave. As I was trying to push through, the others tackled me, threw me to the floor and pulled off my clothing while threatening me with a gun. Lieutenant Monroe watched and laughed as they raped me." Hawkeye admired Tom's strength of will, to say that one word without flinching. "She taunted me, asked if I enjoyed the fun evening she had planned for me. She hinted that she might want to take a turn herself, though she never followed through on this, but she did help to restrain me a few times, and the rest of the time she was just watching and laughing. After what I think was about two hours, she left with the men, leaving me there alone."

"And you are certain that it is this woman here who was responsible?"

Steeling himself visibly, he looked over to where she sat and then back to the prosecutor. "I am."

"No further questions."

The prosecutor took a seat and the defense attorney approached Tom. "Corporal Jacobson, did Lieutenant Monroe force you to enter the hotel?"

It only took a glimpse at the face of the prosecutor to realize he was shocked by this line of questioning. So the defense attorney hadn't asked this of the others? Why was he asking it now?

"No, but -"

"You did, in fact, enter willingly?"

"Yes, but -"

"Corporal, there have been some interesting rumors floating around."

"Objection!" the prosecutor called out. "That is not a question."

"Sustained."

"Okay, I'll get to the point. Is it true that you have, in fact, had relationships with persons of your same sex?"

Tom's eyes dropped to the floor, and Hawkeye's heart went out to him. Besides the implications to the trial, he could very easily find himself discharged for this, and it meant having to come out about a very private part of his life.

"Yes," he said finally.

"On multiple occasions?"

"Yes, but -"

"No further questions."

"Would the prosecution like to redirect?" the judge asked.

"Yes." The prosecutor approached Tom again. "Corporal Jacobson, did you consent freely to the sexual acts performed in the hotel?"

"No."

"Did you make your lack of consent clear?"

"I believe so. I first tried to exit the room, and then when I was pinned I told them to stop and clearly said no."

"Did you do anything in that situation that might have implied consent?"

"No."

"No further questions."

The defense attorney declined to recross, and Tom was dismissed. Hawkeye stood and hurried out of the courtroom, Margaret hot on his heels, to intercept his friend.

Though Tom had left first, his limp prevented him from moving quickly and Hawkeye caught up with him. "Hey."

"I guess I knew that could happen. It was too much to hope they hadn't gotten a hold of that information."

"I'm sorry." Hawkeye gently patted Tom's shoulder.

Tom looked up at him with a forced nonchalance. "At least it's over now, right?"

xxxxxxxxx

"What do you think?" asked Mark Tyree, the only doctor present besides Hawkeye.

The trial had concluded for the day. All the witnesses had been called except for Hawkeye, Margaret, and Monroe herself, and while no one could recall exactly whose idea it had been, the prosecution's witnesses had all gathered to compare notes.

It had been established that while only Tom had been directly questioned in regards to consent and sexual history, they had all faced difficult lines of questioning designed specifically to strike at points that made their testimony questionable. The doctor, for one, had been questioned harshly about his certainty that the injuries had been caused by rape and what he based that finding on, and Brian Morrison, a Marine Private Hawkeye was sure was barely old enough to be in the Army at all, had had his story picked apart so much and been forced to recount the details so many times that he had begun to lose his cool, and been pounced on for that before the prosecutor could convince the judge to sustain an objection. Hawkeye only wondered what they would do to him. He tried not to think about it.

"I think the defense is nervous," Margaret said softly. "That's why they're doing this. They know the evidence is clearly skewed in our favor. I've been in the army a long time, and I've seen some tricks, including this one. They're trying to find any way they can to poke a hole in the case, because right now it's practically airtight. They want to start a sort of cascade effect. Pull out one thread in the hopes that it will cause the whole case to unravel."

"The major uses a lot of metaphor," Tyree said, "but her point's well taken."

"Hey," Hawkeye said, breaking the somewhat uncomfortable silence that had followed Tyree's words, "let's have a drink."

"I don't know about anyone else," John Hayes replied, "but while I could use a belt, I'm in no mood to go into a bar." Murmurs and head shakes around the table confirmed this to be the general sentiment.

"No need. All we need to do is rustle up some glasses and -" he pulled the bottle Charles had given him out of his bag, "voila."

"You think of everything." Kevin Peters raised an eyebrow.

"You can thank my bunkmate. It was his idea."

"Well, thank him for us," Tom said softly.

"I'll see what I can do about cups." Tyree was clearly sympathetic to the other men's desire to remain in the small conference room they had somehow wrangled (Hawkeye had a feeling Margaret was responsible).

"I'll come with you," Margaret added. The two of them left the room, leaving the men alone in another somewhat awkward silence until they returned a few minutes later, Tyree looking a little dazed.

"Careful now, no breaking glasses, these are borrowed from the officer's club," Margaret hastened to warn them.

"No trouble?" Hawkeye asked as he uncapped the bottle.

"There might have been," Tyree replied. "The Major didn't let trouble come to fruition."

Hawkeye laughed, startling the others and breaking the somber mood. "I should've known." He bestowed a grin on her. "She's always had her own ways of getting things."

Tyree set the tray down in front of Hawkeye, which gave him a chance to lean over and whisper into Hawkeye's ear, "for someone as thin as she is, she certainly finds plenty of weight to throw around."

He grinned even wider as he began to pour the drinks.

xxxxxxxxx

"Captain Pierce, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?"

"I do." Her eyes on him made him want to be sick, but he forced himself to ignore that feeling as he sat down. He kept his own gaze fixed on the prosecutor as he walked up to the stand.

"Captain Pierce, on what date did you first meet Lieutenant Janice Monroe?"

"May fifth, nineteen-fifty-two."

"And where were you?"

"The Pink Parasol Nightclub in Tokyo." The same place where Winchester went after he got married. Hawkeye didn't know why that thought had crept into his mind but he was grateful for it. The small laugh it brought to him inside gave him strength.

"Can you describe, in brief, what occured after you met her, focusing specifically on her actions?"

"She told me her name was Marissa Cunningham. I was interested in her, so I bought her a couple drinks, and then she asked me if I wanted to go somewhere more private. I said I did, she said she knew a place. She led me into an abandoned building, but it wasn't private, there were already six men there. I thought it was an accident, that someone had gotten to our space before we had, so I suggested we try to find another. She told me we were in the right place, and then two of the men grabbed me and held me while a third began to remove my clothes. I said don't, I said no - the men laughed, and so did she. I was threatened with a gun if I tried to fight, and then I was - I was raped." His voice cracked on the word, but he knew that for the purposes of the trial euphemisms wouldn't cut it. At the very least his avoidance of the word would be questioned harshly by the defense. "First by the man who had removed my clothes, and then the others in turn. She said - she said she wanted a turn, that she had earned it for bringing me." Hawkeye had also learned that out of all the victims, or at least all those who had reported the assault, he had been the only one she had actually 'taken a turn' with, and it had shocked him. "They allowed it, and she raped me. Then she taunted me and laughed as the men started again." He swallowed hard, but he knew that what he had to say would serve to impress the seriousness of the assault and the depth of the pain they had caused him. "At one point during the assault, I considered fighting in order to cause them to kill me so that I wouldn't have to endure any more."

The prosecutor gasped at this extremely unexpected admission, and he wasn't alone. Most of the courtroom, even the defense attorney, visibly or audibly demonstrated shock. Margaret, sitting nearby, gave a soft cry and Hawkeye instantly felt bad as he realized he hadn't told her that part. But he continued, trying to pretend he hadn't noticed their reactions. "Finally, they left me alone. I can't be entirely sure, but I believe that the assault lasted about five hours."

"Did you recieve medical attention for injuries sustained in the attack?"

"Not immediately. I was unable to handle the idea of a stranger, even a medical professional, touching me. I had been hurt too badly. Upon returning to camp, I confided in a fellow officer, Major Margaret Houlihan, and she offered to examine me and provide necessary medical care. I accepted."

"On what date did you encounter Lieutenant Monroe for the second time?"

"June eighth, 1953."

"Where did you encounter her?"

"She was assigned to my unit, the 4077 MASH, as a nurse."

"You are certain this is the same woman?"

"I recognized her immediately, and some comments she made confirmed it."

"During her time at the 4077, did she take any action against you or harm you in any way?"

"Yes. She began by harassing me verbally, ignoring my repeated requests to be left alone, referencing what 'we had had', and making suggestive comments. Then she forced a kiss on me in the supply tent. This escalated into groping me, putting her hands in my pants. I don't know how she did it, but she always seemed to know when I was alone and she would set on me. Then I woke from a nap to find that she had removed my clothes and was in the process of raping me again."

"Did you report that assault at that time?"

"Yes. I told my commanding officer and she was arrested."

"Thank you. No further questions."

The defense attorney approached the stand. "Captain, you said you considered fighting to cause yourself to be killed. If that's true, why didn't you?"

"Too many people counting on me. Too many people would have been affected by my decision to do that. I couldn't have that on my head."

The defense attorney seemed to reel a little at this response, which disarmed his ability to follow this tangent. He recovered quickly, however. "Captain Pierce, do you recall the trial in which your commanding officer at the time, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake, was placed on trial?"

"Objection!" The prosecutor almost jumped to his feet. "This line of questioning is irrelevant!"

"I beg the court's indulgence. The purpose of the question will become clear."

The judge considered this for a moment. "Proceed."

"Do you recall the trial?"

"Yes." Hawkeye was confused. What did that have to do with this?

"To be specific, did you or did you not at the end of the trial convince the complainants to drop the charges by threatening to reveal information about an illicit relationship they were engaged in?"

"I did," he admitted.

"What about the case of Private George Weston? Did you or did you not, along with one Doctor John McIntyre, force Major Frank Burns to drop a legitimate complaint by threatening to accuse him of cheating on a medical exam?"

"Yes." What did they do, call up Frank? Hawkeye was starting to see the pattern here, and he didn't like it a bit.

"And is it true that the aforementioned case of George Weston involved you blocking your fellow officer's attempt to seek a discharge for a homosexual soldier?"

"Yes, but -"

"Captain, is it not also true that you frequently pursue relationships with the nurses at your unit?"

"Yes, but -"

"And is it true that you often pursue women, both Asian and American, on your leaves?"

"Yes, but -"

"Did you not willingly accompany Lieutenant Janice Monroe to this secluded location?"

"Yes, but -"

"Captain, have you ever had any sexual relations, other than the incident in question, with members of your same sex?"

"No. And let me tell you something else!" he added loudly before the attorney could interrupt him. "Even if I had, that wouldn't be relevant in this case! No matter what I consented to or how many times or with who, that doesn't change the fact that in this case, with these people, I did not consent. In fact, I made my lack of consent expressly clear!" He met the man's eyes square on. "Promiscuity doesn't make a person incapable of being raped."

"You've used the word rape several times. This implies a non-consensual sex act. Now, I'm no doctor, but unless my knowledge of anatomy is incomplete, a woman would be unable to carry out this act without the man's consent. How do you explain this?"

"Your knowledge of anatomy is incomplete." The fire that had carried Hawkeye through his last defiant assertion was far from burning itself out. "It's true that a man has to be in a state of sexual arousal in order to penetrate a woman, so you've got it right that far. But that state of arousal, that physical reaction, is completely separate from state of mind. Physical sensations can force that reaction regardless of what the person is thinking. The lieutenant was able to force my body into that reaction completely independent of my desires."

"Is that your medical opinion, or your personal one?"

"Both."

"Captain, how tall are you?"

"Uh, six-foot-two." That was completely out of left field.

"How much do you weigh?"

"About one-eighty."

"Lieutenant Monroe, by contrast, is five feet, five inches tall and weighs one hundred and thirty-five pounds. How is it that someone so much smaller than yourself was able to overpower you, to the point where you were incapable of fighting back?"

"The first time, several of the men restrained me and, as I have mentioned, I was threatened with a gun should I try to fight. The second time, she set upon me while I was asleep so I couldn't fight back. By the time I was awake and aware, she had gained a superior position - and I think evidence will show that it is possible for a heavier person to be pinned by someone who weighs less than they do, if the lighter person is able to gain the necessary upper hand."

"No further questions."

"Would the prosecution like to redirect?"

He looked at Hawkeye for a long moment, as if gauging the statements he had already made. "Just one question. Captain Pierce, in the aforementioned incidents where you blackmailed, for lack of a better word, fellow officers, were any of the reports you threatened to make anything less than completely true, even if irrelevant to the situations in question?"

"No."

"No further questions."

"Captain, you are dismissed."

"The prosecution now calls Major Margaret Houlihan to the stand."

She gently squeezed Hawkeye's hand as she passed him. He took the seat she had vacated. She had been there to support him; he felt he had to show the same support.

"Major Houlihan, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

"I do." She sat down.

"Major Houlihan, on what date were you first made aware of the assault committed against Captain Pierce?"

"It was either May eighth or May ninth, 1952 - it was very late, so I'm not quite sure if it was after midnight or not. Captain Pierce told me what had happened."

"And you did, as he stated, administer medical attention?"

"I did."

"Can you detail what you saw when you examined him?"

"By this point, it was the morning of May ninth, and the bruises were still severe enough that an untrained eye would most likely have believed the injuries were far more recent. His back, chest, abdomen, and sides were covered in bruises, and his arms and legs showed bruises consistent with being forcefully restrained. He had three cracked ribs, two on the left, one on the right, and severe tearing around the rectum consistent with having an object - in this case, a sexual organ - forcibly inserted and also consistent with the damage often observed in women who have been the victims of rape."

"Major, did you notice any psychological effects to Captain Pierce following the assault?"

"Several."

"Can you detail those, please?"

"Well, I'm no psychiatrist, but from an untrained perspective, his behavior was vastly different from what I would have characterized as normal for him. He was known around camp for being lighthearted, joking and laughing constantly. It was at least a week after the assault before I even saw him smile again. As the defense attorney stated, he was known for making advances towards women - that disappeared completely for a while and even once it came back he was much more timid about it. It was a long time before he was back to his old ways. Also, he was usually not particularly modest. At one point I had to give him an injection in his rear because most of the rest of the camp staff was ill." She locked eyes with him, and he smiled despite himself, remembering clearly the incident in question. "He wasn't shy about lowering his trousers, in fact he made no secret of the fact that he found the whole thing amusing. When I asked him to remove his shorts for the examination after he told me about the assault, he resisted the idea and it took me nearly half an hour to convince him to do so, and he pulled away from me as soon as I touched his hip, and then it was clearly taking him all of his strength not to do so again while I conducted the examination. In addition, he suffered a severe panic attack when a patient grabbed him in the operating room - I believe he was undergoing a flashback."

"At what point were you informed that the woman serving under your command was the same woman who had assaulted Captain Pierce?"

"The same night she arrived. Captain Pierce told me."

"Were you kept abreast of the harassment he detailed in his statement?"

"I was. At the time, I was the only one in camp who knew, he came to me when he needed to talk or be comforted. He told me what was happening."

"Did he inform you when he was raped the second time?"

"I heard that first from Colonel Potter, who was told by the Captain. Pierce then confirmed it."

"Did you notice any effects to him from that assault?"

"Yes. He was very shaken, very frightened. For several days he had to be escorted every time he left his tent and he repeatedly asked not to be left alone at any time."

"Thank you, Major. No further questions."

The defense attorney stepped up to Margaret. "Major, you say you were the only person Captain Pierce told?"

"Yes."

"However, is it not also true that you and the Captain had an antagonistic relationship at that time?"

"No, not exactly. We had had an antagonistic relationship earlier in our mutual time at the 4077, but we had begun to form a tentative friendship before this event. I believe most of the camp was unaware of this fact, however."

"Still, there were people in the camp he was closer to than you?"

"Yes, I suppose."

"Then why would he confide in you?"

"In many cases, he was uncertain what reaction to anticipate from other members of the camp."

"But you, who had tried to deny him the position of chief surgeon, who had reported on his actions multiple times with the intent of getting him in trouble - he wasn't uncertain about your reaction?"

Margaret bit her lip hard, knowing what she would have to say - what she had told only a few close confidantes since the reaction to her first report had been so negative. "When I was seventeen, I was myself a victim of rape. Captain Pierce knew this. He knew I would be sympathetic."

"Is that so? Captain Pierce knew you had been a victim of rape?"

"Yes."

"Was he not also aware of your connections in high places and your spotless record?"

"Yes, but I don't see how -"

"Is it possible that the injuries to Captain Pierce were caused by something other than rape?"

"I don't believe so. The bruises and cracked ribs could, I suppose, be attributed to an assault that didn't involve rape, but the tearing couldn't be caused by anything else I can think of."

"Was there any physical evidence after the second assault?"

"No," she admitted.

"Was there any evidence, in the first instance, to suggest the sort of female-on-male rape that Captain Pierce detailed?"

"No."

"No further questions."

"Does the prosecution wish to redirect?"

"Yes. Major Houlihan, in your experience, has Captain Pierce ever created a lie of the scale that this would have to be if it were anything other than the truth?"

"Absolutely not. He may play jokes, be un-military, and occasionally threaten people with the truth they'd rather keep secret, but I have never known him to flat-out lie about something like this."

"Is Captain Pierce known for using military justice channels to right perceived wrongs?"

"No. If anything, that's more characteristic of the way I used to be than the way he is."

"Thank you, Major. No further questions."

"Major Houlihan, you are dismissed."

"The defense calls Lieutenant Janice Monroe to the stand."

"You want to stay for this?" Margaret whispered to Hawkeye as she squeezed in next to him.

"I want to see how this turns out."

She slipped her hand into his as Monroe was sworn in. The defense attorney approached the stand. "Lieutenant, you have been present for all the testimonies of the prosecution's witnesses. Do you, in fact, recall meeting those men who claimed to have met you in Tokyo?"

"Yes, I do. I worked as a nurse at Tokyo General, I went out at night. It's no different than what the men do."

"Did they appear to have a similar interest in you?"

"Down to the last man."

"Are you familiar with Captain Mark Tyree?"

"I've met him. He was a doctor serving with me at Tokyo General."

"What was your opinion of him?"

"He was a competent doctor, if a bit likely to believe what he was told, and I don't think he liked me."

"Elaborate, please, on his likeliness to believe what he was told."

"Oh, you know. Patients came in with foot wounds, claimed to have stepped on a mine or been hit by shrapnel, he never investigated further. In one or two cases, they were discovered to have shot themselves to try for a discharge."

"And elaborate on what he thought of you?"

"He was very curt to me. It wasn't really his fault, a lot of the other nurses didn't like me either, and I think they'd been spreading stories. He treated me like I couldn't be trusted."

"On what date were you transferred to the 4077 MASH?"

"The orders came through on May twenty-ninth, 1953. I arrived on June eighth along with two other nurses."

"Did you recognize Captain Pierce?"

"He's a hard man to forget," she said suggestively. Margaret felt Hawkeye's hand tighten around hers as he fought not to be sick.

"Lieutenant, please describe the events leading up to and including your arrest."

"I was in the Officers' Club, flirting with Captain Pierce, and he pushed me into a table. Colonel Potter cleared out the club and told me he would begin an investigation. I went back to my tent with the other nurses. The next thing I know, there's a sentry in my quarters saying I'm under arrest. The other nurses tried to intervene, but Colonel Potter broke us up. In the end it was decided, without my input, that Colonel Potter would explain the reason for my arrest to Major Houlihan, and she would rule on whether or not I should be arrested, and the other nurses would accept that."

"How would you describe your relationship with Major Houlihan?"

"She was very, very hard on me, seemed intent on making my life miserable. Of course, I don't really blame her. If Captain Pierce had been making accusations about me, I'm sure she was just reacting to the information she had."

"No further questions."

The prosecutor approached her. "Lieutenant Monroe, did you at any time lure any or all of the men who have spoken at this trial into a trap for the purpose of allowing others to sexually assault them?"

"I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that my answer might incriminate myself."

"Did you engage in sexual acts with Captain Pierce without his consent?"

"I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that my answer might incriminate myself."

"No further questions."

The defense declined to redirect and both sides asserted they had no more witnesses, and the prosecutor stepped up to give a closing argument.

"You have heard the testimony of witnesses," he began. "Not merely one or two, but a total of six, all of whom have identified the defendant as the woman who led them into a trap to be raped, and who taunted and harassed them as part of the assault. The idea that every single one of these witnesses is lying or mistaken is absurd. The defense has attempted to call into question the testimonies of each and every witness, but have yet to present compelling evidence to suggest any deficiency. All the defense's evidence has been circumstantial and based on some fairly significant jumps in logic. Nothing they have suggested or implied is impossible, but they have also not shown it to be probable.

"On several of my clients' cases, past sexual history has been called into question, but the relevance between those histories and this case has not been established. To paraphrase what Captain Pierce so eloquently stated, promiscuity does not preclude the possibility of rape. Nor, I submit, does sexual orientation. Whatever a person may have consented to in the past, that does not change the fact that each and every one of the witnesses has clearly stated that they did not consent to the acts in question. The defense has presented no, I repeat no evidence to counter the statements of half a dozen people who identified this woman as the perpetrator, or those medical professionals who testified that they did, in fact, observe injuries consistent with rape.

"This woman has been accused of rape, conspiracy to commit rape, sexual harassment, and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. She has presented nothing substantial to counter the overwhelming evidence that she is, in fact, guilty. The prosecution rests."

He sat and the defense attorney rose. "The prosecution presents a series of narratives to suggest that my client is guilty, but they have no proof. No one witnessed anything, no one can corroborate the accounts of her actions. Captain Pierce claims he was assaulted in Tokyo, but he reported this assault not to his commanding officer, not to a close friend, but only to a woman he had a tenuous relationship with at best, but who had herself been a victim of rape and would be sympathetic to allegations of same. In addition, when she arrived in the camp, Captain Pierce still told no one but Major Houlihan, who he continued to feed tidbits about ongoing harassment. It was nearly a week after her arrival that he finally reported the assaults to his commanding officer, and of course he had a witness to back him up in Major Houlihan."

Margaret tightened her hand around Hawkeye's, using her free one to run up and down his arm. She couldn't believe they were making Hawkeye, who had suffered more than anyone, out to be the villain of the story.

"A former colleague of Captain Pierce, a Lieutenant Colonel Frank Burns, informed me in writing that Captain Pierce had several times threatened to make allegations that would have destroyed his career if then-Major Burns had refused to capitulate to his wishes. What his true grievance with my client is may remain forever unknown, but he has certainly threatened her career. What happened in the other cases is less clear, but it isn't a stretch to believe that a handful of unrelated incidents were all folded in under this umbrella, this fiction. The defense rests."

"This court will recess to consider this case."

Hawkeye was up and on his way out almost before the words were out of the judge's mouth, Margaret close on his heels, connected to him by the hand she still held. He faltered once he was out of the courtroom, as if unsure where to go, and she guided him the half-block to the hotel where they were staying. She unlocked the door to his room and guided him inside, helping him sit on the bed.

"What can I do?" she whispered soothingly. "What do you need? Tell me."

"I need to wake up from this nightmare," he replied brokenly. "Will this ever be over?"

"Soon, Hawkeye, soon." She rubbed his back, silently praying that it would end the way they both hoped. "It'll be over soon."

He reached out his arms like a child wanting to be picked up. "Hold me, Margaret. Please hold me."

She pulled him close, wrapping her arms securely around his back. She could feel him shivering against her body. "You're safe in here. You're safe. I'm here." She felt him clutching her shirt and had to fight the urge to cry. It just wasn't fair, everything he had had to go through.

"I think I'm going to be sick," he whispered weakly.

"Come on." She released him from the embrace and pulled him to his feet, leading him into the bathroom. He doubled over the toilet, bringing up everything in his stomach. She stood next to him, rubbing circles into his back, until he finally drew up shakily.

"I don't think there's anything left in me," he said, his voice still weak and shaky.

She filled a glass with water. "Here. Rinse your mouth."

He took it from her gratefully, using some of it to rinse his mouth and draining the rest. "I need to lie down," he told her when he'd finished. "Please, I just need to lie down."

"Of course, of course." She laid Hawkeye down in the bed, pulling off his dress uniform so he was just in his shorts.

"You're not going to go back to your room, are you?"

"Not unless you want me to," she assured him. "If you want me here, I'm here."

"I want you here," he whispered.

"I knew you would." She began to stroke his hair. "Rest. Just rest."

His eyes slid closed, and he let darkness consume him.

*~*~*~*

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