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Title: The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot
by Fingers


Rating: ummm G to PG (m/m but nothing graphic at all)
Warnings: EXTREME CHRISTMAS SAP. m/m implied -- although there is no sex. No actual soft toys got hurt in the making of this story ......... A bit of h/c
Summary: This is a sort of follow up to the story I did with Val earlier in the year Aluminum Bellies. The song below rattles around in my head every Christmas courtesy of a couple of compilation CD's.
Thanks to Rita and Val for helping with the story and editing :) (any mistakes are mine!) Thanks also to Reckless and Merry who supplied me with the names of the toys they most wanted to see....
** Disclaimer** - I don't own any of the trademarks or copyrights or characters (apart from Lavinia) that may have been mentioned in this story, I have only borrowed them and will return them after use. Said 'borrowing' is for non-profit making purposes only!
Finally Merry Christmas !

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot
(Connor/Carr/Leach)

He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And goodness knows, he didn't want a lot.

He sent a note to Santa
For some soldiers and a drum,
It broke his little heart
When he found Santa hadn't come.

In the street he envies all those lucky boys,
Then wanders home to last year's broken toys.
I'm so sorry for that laddie,
He hasn't got a daddy,
The little boy that Santa Claus forgot.

Spoken:
(You know, Christmas comes but once a year for every girl and boy,
The laughter and the joy they find in each brand new toy.
I'll tell you of a little boy that lives across the way...
This little fella's Christmas is just another day.
He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And goodness knows, he didn't want a lot.)

In the street he envies all those lucky boys,
Then wanders home to last year's broken toys.
I'm so sorry for that laddie,
He hasn't got a daddy,
The little boy that Santa Claus forgot.


(sung by Nat King Cole)

Dec 23rd.

Murdock sighed loudly as he rubbed the protesting muscle in his back and straightened up from his bent over position. His sigh became a snarl when he heard BA's laugh from the kitchen table. He moved over and dropped his rubber gloves on the table in front of BA. "Stove is clean and ready for use."

BA flicked the gloves away from him and said, "Dinner might be quicker if you would help me scrub these potatoes, foo.. captain."

Murdock pulled out a chair from the table and sat down in it, "And get caught by Hannibal? No way, Sergeant." He queried, "Do you know how close I am to earning my TV privileges back?"

BA dropped another peeled potato into the pot. He growled, "Hannibal said he might let me work on the van in a few days." Murdock nodded, "It's been sounding as though it's been missing you."

BA sighed and then returned to his work.

Murdock picked up the gloves and put them and the other cleaning material away in the correct kitchen cupboard. Passing by the small window that let some natural light into the kitchen area, he winced at the sight of the heavy rain. He remarked, "It's wet out there again."

"It's been wet ever since we got here. Think Hannibal picked the place on purpose but he's going to have give the Faceman some time to top off his tan when he gets home. He needs that tan!"

Murdock turned and grinned at the Sergeant, "I thought he looked rather weather beaten last night." Murdock's expression became serious, "Don't think that Hannibal is driving him too hard, do you?"

BA stopped his peeling and put his knife down. "You want to tell the Colonel that? Faceman was the look out. He should've seen them coming before they started shooting at us. Hannibal was right, man was probably distracted by a ..." He stopped just in time.

Murdock pouted and said, "He isn't like that anymore. He was following us. Anyway the only one that we saw was with you!" Murdock shivered slightly as the wind howled around the outside of their rented house and retreated back to his seat at the table. He slumped in his chair and laid his head down on the table. He asked mournfully, "How come Hannibal picked the spookiest, draughtiest house in California?"

"Because he didn' le the Faceman do it." BA put another potato in the pot and shook his head. "He should've been looking out though."

Murdock nodded his chin against the table and let his mind drift back fourteen days.

****

Murdock took his hat off and spun around, "Facey! Doesn't the sight of all these toys make you excited?"

Face grinned at the sight of Murdock jumping up and down. After a few moments, he whispered, "Murdock will you calm down? They're going to think you've escaped from somewhere."

Murdock touched Face's chin and said, "But I have!"

Face's eyes rolled but before he could say anything, BA grabbed Murdock's leather jacket and said, "Shut up, Fool. We're here to get the toys for the kids and not for you. Hannibal wants us back in a couple of hours. We don' have time for any of your fool tricks."

Face coughed and when he had both men's attention, he motioned with his eyes. BA dropped Murdock back to the floor when he saw that they had a witness.

Face put on his Number 1 'let's do business' smile and put his hand out. He read the woman's name badge and said, "Lavinia. I'm sorry to put you out so early in your working day but my colleagues and I are doing a little early Christmas shopping."

Lavinia said, "You ain't put us out. That's why we open so early in the day after thanksgiving."

Face turned up the wattage in his smile, took the woman by the arm, and waved a hand at the store, "We have rather a large order, well two actually. Could you give us some assistance with filling it? I don't have much experience with toy stores."

Lavinia sighed at the slightly lost and overwhelmed expression in the man's eyes. But her store manager's hat remained firmly on. "How are you planning to pay?"

Face never wavered, "I'm going to pay in cash." His hand moved to his inside jacket pocket and brought out a long list. "We already made out a list for you."

Lavinia took the paper and read it through.

"Do you want to leave the order with us? We can have it ready in half an hour."

BA's stomach was rumbling so he interrupted, "Diner across the parking lot, Faceman."

Murdock just looked at the floor and shuffled his feet.

Face looked around the cavernous shop, with its corny Christmas music and bright decorations. He came to a decision. "We'll come with you."

BA growled under his breath and meaningfully rubbed his stomach.

Face said, "BA, if we push the carts then we can do it more quickly. And you can tell the kids you personally picked out the presents this year."

BA glowered at the blond for a few moments and then he fell for the brilliant smile and shining blue eyes. He muttered, "Okay, Faceman, but..." He flicked his eyes to the outside of the building.

Face's grin became broader. "Don't worry, I'll keep an eye on our rear. Lavinia, can we start?"

@@@

Lavinia enjoyed the company of the two men who were pushing the shopping carts that were rapidly filling with the toys on the lists. The tall lanky white guy was jumping all over the place and trying all the toys out. But she was much more attracted to the second man; she could tell that underneath that gruff exterior he was a teddy bear.

BA was secretly enjoying the trip to the toy store. As he watched the carts filling with games and dolls and other toys he decided that it was a blessing in disguise that Face's usual supplier had not been around this year. The quality of the toys was so much better here and so was the help. He smiled shyly at the manager, Lavinia, when he knew she wasn't looking at him. He'd already registered the fact that she hadn't got a wedding ring on her hands.

Murdock sighed as he watched BA and the manager disappear from view around a corner. He put down the tambourine he'd picked up and looked around for Faceman. He saw Face stopped at a section of shelving they'd passed earlier. Murdock moved towards Face and then stopped transfixed by the totally open and lost expression on the blond's face. While he watched, Face reached up and brought down a small drum. Murdock smiled, he'd had a rat-tat-tat on the same drum earlier.

Face sighed as he saw the drum. To be truthful, he'd been a bit overwhelmed by the amount of toys he saw in the store; usually Manny already had them packed up into crates when they dropped by to pick them up. He'd followed Murdock and BA around the store, occasionally looking back to check that Decker hadn't materialised, but more often just looking around imagining what it must be like to brought here as a young child. He closed his fingers around the shiny metal drum and was just imagining what it would be like to wake up on Christmas morning to such a toy when a shout of "FREEZE YOU ARE SURROUNDED!" brought him back to sudden and awful reality.

Face dropped the drum and looked around him, he saw Decker and a group of his men moving up one of the aisles directly towards him. He gave a quick glance around and vaguely saw Murdock dive into the empty space underneath one of the shelving units. He had no idea where BA was. He decided to move towards the cover of the baby wear department and would have made it cleanly if he hadn't put his foot through the skin of the drum. He over balanced and went sliding along the floor, a few shots raining after him. Face managed to get into the baby foods section and, taking a few moments to recover from his headlong dash, he released his foot from the drum. Placing it on top of a row of baby food, he hid behind a display trying to work out where everyone was and at the same time work out his escape route.

@@@@

After the first few shots, Decker signalled his men to stop shooting and to remain silent. He knew that the majority of the staff had been safely removed by his men before he'd entered the store, and there were no 'shoppers' other than the A-team members present. He'd seen Peck dive off to the right, Baracus, and possibly Smith, was still unaccounted for.

He signalled to Crane to take his squad and go left, and that he would take on the slipperiest customer of them all, Peck. He signalled his squad to move off to the right.


@@@@

Murdock watched the two groups move away from his hiding place. He wondered what to do. Obviously Decker knew that there was more than one member of the team in the warehouse. He jammed his baseball cap on his head and decided to wait a bit longer.

@@@@

At the sound of Decker's shout, BA reacted instinctively and sought cover, bringing Lavinia down with him into the huge pile of soft toys that lined the aisle they had just turned into. As the toys gave way underneath them, they tumbled into a little space. BA quickly turned and rebuilt the pile as best he could. Once he was sure that he could see out but unlikely to be seen, he turned to Lavinia and put a finger to her lips. He smiled at her reassuringly and Lavinia nodded that she understood he wouldn't do her any harm.

@@@@

Decker stopped at the top of the baby food aisle, this was the direction that Peck had gone in. He started to advance down the aisle sweeping the air from side to side with his fire arm.

@@@@

BA reached into his overall pocket and withdrew the bundle of money that Face had given him to protect. He whispered, "Take this for the damage to the store. It was for the toys but ... It won't cover everything but."

Lavinia could do nothing else but close her hand around the bundle and nodded.

BA waited until the small group of soldiers had passed and then made his move. he sprang from his hiding place and yelled, "COME AND GET ME SUCKERS!" BA took off running in the direction he'd originally come from.

@@@@

Murdock crept out of his hiding place and cautiously made his way to the cart that had been left untouched by the MPs. He reached in and removed the two large plastic sacks of marbles he had put in minutes before they had been rudely interrupted. Using his teeth and nails, he opened them up.

His head perked up when he heard BA's war cry and then the running footsteps. He moved to the head of an adjoining aisle and placed himself in position.

@@@@

Crane yelled, "STOP OR I'LL SHOOT!" When BA failed to stop, Crane aimed a warning shot at the ceiling.

@@@@

BA increased his pace when the shots started; he only had a few yards before he could turn and be in the aisle that ran across the top of the store.

@@@@

Decker's head popped up briefly when he heard the shouts and gunshots. Then he narrowed his eyes and returned to his task of finding Peck.

@@@@

Face heard the shouts and shots, too, and knew it would only be a matter of time before Decker would find him. He patted his pockets to confirm to himself that he had left his gun behind. They'd all agreed to do that; one of the reasons, he ruefully conceded, that Hannibal hadn't been happy about this particular trip.

Turning from the unpleasant thought of what Hannibal would have to say to all three of them, Face scoured the area for a viable escape route. He'd automatically logged the layout of the store as he'd moved through it, one of the instinctual skills of survival. 'Time to put it into practice.' He saw an intersection a few yards away from him; if he went left, that would take him further away from Decker and his men, but also further from the entrance. 'Probably an emergency exit or two on the far wall, could use that to get outside.' Face knew that the main entrance would be guarded so that really was his only effective way out. He breathed deeply for a few moments and then sprang to his feet and set off at a frantic run towards the intersection. Reaching it he skidded around and, cursing the fact he had chosen smooth soled shoes that morning, Face turned left, hoping Decker wouldn't be able to catch up with him.

@@@@

Decker was momentarily stunned by the sudden appearance of Peck from the display area but soon gathered his wits and ran after him. His men followed him more slowly.

@@@@

BA turned and saw Murdock's profile in the extreme corner of his eye. He kept running and only briefly smiled when he heard a clatter of marbles as they fell to the floor; his smile became broader when he heard loud cursing come from behind him as the soldiers tried to keep their balance.

As he crossed an intersection, he caught sight of the fool running along the aisle parallel to him. He saw the fool suddenly stop so he did, too, and he sighed as he heard Decker up ahead. He looked around him and he saw an emergency exit a few yards ahead, he pointed to it and Murdock reluctantly nod. BA knew that the door would be alarmed, but maybe it would draw some of Decker's attention off Face.

Before he could act, Murdock came dashing past him, opened the door, and dashed out into the cold air of the now filling parking lot. Both men slowed their pace and moved idly to the side of the building where they'd parked the van and then looked around the corner.

BA rubbed his hands together when he saw that the van was only guarded by two soldiers, both of whom were lounging against the side of the van, smoking.

Murdock felt in his jacket pockets and smiled as he realised he'd picked up two of the jump ropes they had put in the cart. He nudged BA and showed him the ropes. BA smiled and nodded back.

@@@@

The two soldiers never knew what had hit them, their legs taken out from under them and then their arms handcuffed quickly and efficiently behind their backs. They both groaned as they heard the van leave. Decker would be sure to make this go down on their records.

@@@@

Face concentrated on breathing and making sure he kept ahead of the bullets that were smashing into displays and toys to the side of him. He guessed Decker wanted to bring him in alive. He winced as he saw the head of a smurf disappear into a cloud of fibers as a bullet caught it. With relief he saw that the exit he had chosen was coming up fast. Face speeded up. His oxygen starved mind supplied him with 'Into the valley of the dolls' as he charged down a corridor of giant cabbage patch dolls; he knew images of their faces would follow him into his nightmares as one by one they were mown down by the warning bullets. At last he crashed through the door.

Face rolled on the ground and instantly up again, running to the edge of the building; he hoped it wasn't just his imagination that led him to believe that he could hear the engine of the van.

@@@@

Murdock was the first one to see Face appear at the corner of the building and he screamed , "BA, Face is over there!"

BA just nodded and put his foot down aiming the van for Face's position. As he approached the corner of the building, BA barely applied the brakes as he yelled to Murdock, "I won't be able to slow down much, not if you want to get out of the parking lot."

Murdock nodded, climbed over the front seat, opened the slider, and anchored himself so he could pull Face in if necessary.

Face ran towards the van, knowing that BA wouldn't be able to slow down very much. He was glad to see that Murdock was there, 'somebody to catch me!' As the van went past him, he dove for the door. The next few seconds were a blur and then he was in his seat, head down, sucking in great lungsful of air.

After checking that no one was following too closely, Murdock also sat back in the seat, suddenly letting out a howl, "HOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWLLLLLLLLL."

Face laughed., "That was close! We haven't got the toys, but at least we still have the money."

BA's shoulders stiffened. Face saw the action and said, "BA, we still have the ten thousand dollars I gave you this morning, don't we?"

BA licked his lips and pretended to concentrate on the road for a few moments, then shook his head.

Face's head fell forward. "Oh man!"

Murdock bit at his bottom lip and said, "The whole ten thousand?" When no answer came back, Murdock said what both of the others were thinking, "Hannibal is going to kill us."

@@@@

Back to Dec 23rd.

Murdock sighed deeply as his mind went back over the dressing down all three of them got from a very irate Colonel. The groans when he announced that he'd decided to instill some discipline in the team and what the routine would entail. For him it had meant no television, no shared bedroom or bed with Face, having to take every single one of his medications, being nice to the mudsucker and sharing house cleaning duties with him. BA had gotten hit with similar duties. Face had gotten hit with the worst of all; Murdock guessed it was because Hannibal was still angry about the video fiasco earlier in the year. Face's punishment was a series of days structured around physical activity, either out on the obstacle course, running, or doing repairs Hannibal thought needed doing on the house.

Murdock came out of his reverie and looked at the clock. 'Time to get the table set for dinner.' He had barely stood up when the front door banged open and Hannibal and Face walked through bringing a rush of wind and rain in with them.

Hannibal shut the door to and continued his analysis of Face's performance. "Your performance over the last run of the obstacle course was poor, Lieutenant. Your time was even slower than the first time we did it. We'll do it again tomorrow."

Face said tiredly, "'K, Colonel."

Murdock looked across the great room at his lover who was leaning against the door. Both Face and Hannibal were soaked and looked cold. 'How long is Hannibal going to keep it up with Face?'

Hannibal saw Murdock's expression and sighed. 'Maybe we'll have Christmas Day off.' To break the uncomfortable silence that had descended on the room, he turned to Face. "You can take your bath first."

Face smiled. "Thanks." He called across the room, "What time is dinner, BA?"

BA lifted his spoon from the pot that he was stirring and said, "Six-thirty. And don't be using up all the hot water."

Face briefly smiled. "Yes Mama!"

BA lifted his spoon in Face's direction, "Make sure you don't or else you'll be washing the dishes in cold water."

Face grimaced and groused, "Why couldn't you rent a house with a dishwasher, Hannibal?"

Hannibal started studying the paper he'd picked up and shook his head, not deigning to reply.

Face just rolled his eyes and said, "I think I'll take that bath now."

As Face slowly ascended the stairs to the bathroom, Hannibal looked critically around the bottom floor. Once he was satisfied at the state of the house, he said, "Smells good BA."

Murdock let the cutlery fall heavily to the table, Hannibal raised an eyebrow at the noise. "Anything wrong Captain?"

Murdock flashed a glance at BA and then took a deep breath. "When you going to let up on us, Hannibal?"

Hannibal took a moment to reply and then queried, "Us or just one in particular?"

BA joined in. "You're pushing him too hard, Hannibal."

Hannibal sighed, "I have noticed over the last few months that the Lieutenant's physical fitness has been somewhat lagging behind the rest of us. I didn't think asking him to go through some exercises with me would be too much of a hardship."

BA growled and then said, "We all messed up at the toy store, Hannibal. Ain't right you're punishing Face so much."

Hannibal looked genuinely shocked at BA's use of the word punishment. "I'm not punishing any of you. I just want to remind you that we all have to be in peak condition and able to operate efficiently as a military unit."

Murdock banged the last spoon down and said, "So how come we've got indoor duties and Face is the one that you are subjecting to the obstacle course, Hannibal? This isn't about the toy store at all is it? Its about the video fiasco isn't it?"

Hannibal sighed deeply and put the paper down. He seemed to realise he still had his jacket on and made a great show of taking it off and hanging it up in what passed for the closet in the entryway. When he turned around, both BA and Murdock faced him. Hannibal gulped and said, "Face has to learn that our lifestyle can't include his flights of fancy."

BA snorted, "Like they can yours, you mean?"

Murdock added, "Like someone here doesn't harbor flights of fancy about producing monster movies..."

Hannibal took half a step back. "They aren't flights of fancy. I'm really close to getting a deal with..."

Murdock crossed his arms, "So Face can't dream of doing the same thing?"

Hannibal said, "It's not the same thing at all. Face, well Face, he always gets complicated and then he gets into trouble. I just wish he had more focus... Thought some physical training might help him regain that focus."

BA snorted, "You mean make him so exhausted that he won't have the energy to think?"

Hannibal shuffled his feet and agreed. "I guess."

Murdock glared at Hannibal, "But Hannibal, isn't that Face's greatest strength, his thinking power? You know when he found out that Arnie had stiffed him on the toy contract; he was the one that worked out where we could get the toys at the least cost and the safest way to go about it. And the videos, he's working on a deal..."

Hannibal shook his head and said, "No videos, no deals, I don't want to know." Hannibal's tone said that the subject was closed and he opened his paper back up with a snap.

Murdock made a move towards him but BA put an arm out and whispered, "Not now, Fool! Want Hannibal to ruin Christmas Day?"

Murdock shook his head and then his attention was taken by a faint noise from upstairs. He decided to check. "Just going to change for dinner."

 

 

Part 2

 

Murdock walked along the hallway of the upper story and stopped by the bathroom door. He hesitated, knowing Face liked his privacy when bathing, but then he thought a quick ear to the door would satisfy him that he had just been hearing things. Murdock put an ear to the door and could hear water running but no other sounds, not Face moving around or anything. Murdock hesitantly knocked at the door, "Faceman, you okay?"

He waited for a couple of minutes before trying again. "Faceman? You not talking to me?" When there was no reply, Murdock jiggled the door and cursed when he realised that Face had locked himself in. He dashed to the top of the stairs and shouted, "Hannibal, BA get up here quick!" To his relief, BA barged past him and said, "Here let me, fool!" A couple of pushes to the door had BA crashing through into the steamy bathroom.

Murdock and Hannibal followed him in. BA rushed to the faucets and turned them off, just before the bath overflowed.

Hannibal and Murdock both rushed to the figure on the floor. Hannibal whipped a towel off the rack and put it under the blond head. There didn't seem to be bleeding anywhere. Hannibal stroked the hair and said, "Face, Kid, are you okay? Did you slip?"

Murdock grasped one of Face's hands and said, "Muchacho, tell me where it hurts."

Face forced his eyes open, it was hard, and the pain in his back was intense. "Back, hurts. Be okay, just need my flexural and percocet. They're in my bag, just forgot to take them this morning. That's why I was so slow. Sorry H'bal." Face grimaced as a spasm passed through his back.

Murdock glared up at Hannibal as if to say, 'You made him work out with a bad back.' Before he could voice his accusation, Face squeezed his hand. "Not his fault, 'Dock. I didn't tell him, didn't tell anyone."

Hannibal saw that, despite the warmth of the room, Face was beginning to shiver. 'Kid's probably got a cold as well.' Keeping a hand on Face's hair, he looked up and said to BA, "Pass me one of those warmed towels and get his bathrobe, would you?"

"Sure thing, Hannibal."

Hannibal laid the warm towel across Face's shoulders and said, "Anything else wrong, Lieutenant?"

Face flushed at Hannibal's acerbic tone and then said, "Got a cough, had it for a couple of days."

Murdock rolled his eyes, "Why is this the first we are hearing about any of this?"

Hannibal silently took Face's robe from BA and said, "I think we can debate this when we get you into bed. Feel up to standing?"

"If I have someone to lean on, I can manage. I moved wrong and there was no one here to ..."

BA interrupted, "We're all here now, lil' brother."

Hannibal said, "Can you lift up your arm?"

Face coughed loudly and then nodded. He croaked, "Sure."

It took both Hannibal and Murdock to get the bathrobe on and then BA stepped in and lifted Face from the floor.

Face objected to being carried. "I can walk, BA. Dinner's going to get burned."

BA growled at Face and said, "Save your voice, Faceman. Sounds as though it might run out." Face coughed as if in agreement.

Murdock slipped around the pair and ran to Face's bedroom. He pulled the covers back on the bed and found Face's pajamas. He then went to the small overnight bag that Face had brought and dug around in its pockets until he found the medicine bottles. Murdock shook his head as he saw that both bottles were almost empty. He muttered to himself, "Faceman, you are a fool."

The object of his muttering arrived a moment later and was deposited on the bed by BA. Face looked around at the three men and said, "I can cope with everything now. Once I've had my meds I'll be back to normal."

Murdock looked at Hannibal and BA and spoke for all of them. "Don't think so, Face. You can have your meds but I think you also need to rest. You'll have your dinner in bed and some warm salt water to gargle for that throat of yours."

Face's head sank and said quietly, "Trust me to get sick this close to Christmas."

Hannibal sat down on the bed by Face, ruffled the conman's hair, and then said, "No, trust you to get sick and hurt and not tell anyone. How'd you do it?"

Face sighed, "It was the drum. I stuck my foot through it and I went skidding. I guess jumping into the van later didn't help either. Didn't feel it for a couple of days until we were up here and I guess I thought you would think..." Face's husky voice trailed off.

Hannibal looked at the floor rather than at any of his men. He said, "Kid, how many times do I have to tell you..."

Face coughed again and repeated, "Sorry Hannibal. I messed up at the store, my fault; I got carried away with the whole thing. If I'd been watching we wouldn't have gotten caught." Again his speech was interrupted by a bout of coughing.

Hannibal looked up and saw BA glowering at him. He said gruffly, "You'd better get into bed, Kid. Murdock, will you give him a hand? I want him to do as little as possible until the morning. We'll then review the situation. BA is that food burning I can smell?"

BA glowered again at Hannibal and then disappeared. Hannibal turned around to Murdock. "I mean it, Captain. I want him to rest."

Murdock rolled his eyes. 'What does Hannibal think I could get up to with Face having a sore throat and back?' He smiled cheekily. "Yes, Dad!"

Hannibal ignored Murdock and switched his attention to Face who was now lying on his back with his eyes close. "I'll be up to see you later, Kid."

"'K, Hannibal."

@@@@

Once Hannibal had gone, Murdock shook out a pill from one bottle and two from the other and said, "Here ya go. Need some water to make them go down?"

Face shook his head and whispered, "Need a hand to sit up though."

"No problem and then when the pain has gone down a little, we'll get you into your pajamas and tuck you in."

Face nodded miserably and then said, "Think Hannibal will let you sleep with me tonight?"

Murdock sighed at the sad tone in the voice, "Sure. If he doesn't I'll sneak in anyway."

"'K."

@@@@

Murdock came down the stairs. Hannibal was in his chair, BA in the kitchen area.

Without moving, Hannibal asked, "How is he?"

Murdock took his hands out of his pockets and commented, "He's sleeping. The two percocet I gave him knocked him out. His cough isn't too bad, but he's got a bit of a temperature."

Hannibal stood up and asked, "Think he needs a doctor?"

Murdock shifted his feet and said, "I don't think so. He's just a little miserable and fed up. I think he needs to rest and..."

"I'd appreciate it if you could keep an eye on him overnight." Murdock nodded, not commenting on the fact that Hannibal sounded as miserable as Face did.

BA came into the living area and said, "What about the watches?"

Hannibal shrugged, "I guess if Decker hasn't found us by now, he won't until after Christmas. I think we can stand down."

BA nodded and then asked Murdock, "Fool, do you think he'll want some of my soup?"

Murdock said, "Sure, BA."

"I'll take some up to him." BA turned and went back into the kitchen area.

Murdock shrugged and went to sit on the sofa that faced the TV. Hannibal returned to his chair, picked up the paper, and then said, "Switch it on if you want."

Murdock switched the set on, found the remote, and started to flick through the stations. He barely noticed BA going upstairs and then coming back down, muttering under his breath about having to warm the soup up again later when Face was awake.

BA put the tray down on the counter and moved to the sofa. Hannibal was sat staring off into space, Murdock was still zapping through the channels, so BA picked up the discarded paper and leafed through it.

BA smiled at the picture of Santa Claus surrounded by a bunch of children and a huge sack of toys and parcels. His eyes ran over the people in the background and saw that among the adults were Father Magill and Lavinia from the store manager. BA read the caption and yelled, "Hey fool, switch to ABC!"

Murdock sighed and complained even as he switched channels, "BA, that's a boring channel, there's only ever news on at this hour."

Hannibal sat up and said, "What's the matter, BA?"

BA grinned. "Nothin' much, Hannibal. Just watch and see."

The nightly news was its usual mix of headlines, traffic, and human interest stories. The trio watched transfixed as the anchor launched into a description of one of the most successful charity appeals ever on the West Coast. The 'Please Remember Santa Claus' Appeal run by Toys R Us. There were pictures of shoppers dropping new toys or donations into baskets at the end of the checkouts and of store workers delivering these gifts to various childcare institutions. At the end of the short montage, a reporter came into view and began interviewing various people involved in the appeal. Eventually they came to Lavinia.

//

"This is Lavinia Burke. Ms. Burke, you have been credited by your managers with coming up with this idea. Could you tell our viewers how you came up with it?"

Lavinia smiled nervously. "I didn' do nothing really. Ah got the idea just after Thanksgiving ."

"Ah yes, your store was involved in an incident with the A-Team. You were actually taken hostage by one of them, weren't you?"

Lavinia shook her head, "The man saved my life. He hid me from the shots and then he moved away to stop them shooting up where I was hidden."

The reporter frowned, "This is a little different from the official story."

Lavinia smiled. "The A-team weren't armed or at least they didn't shoot any weapons in the store."

The reporter arched her eyebrows and queried, "Really? But the statements from the army at the time said that the Military Police only fired in response to..."

A male hand came out to cover the camera. While the picture was blank, the microphone picked up a whispered, "Ms. Daley, your network was given the exclusive on this story with the strict understanding that no questions were asked or information given on the events surrounding the attempted capture of the A-team. Do you really want to explain to your network chiefs and the good people at Toys R Us why we pulled the publicity on this event?"

A moment later the reporter was smiling to the camera again, "That was the voice of Major James Baker, speciality, Public Relations."

The camera swung briefly over to the red-faced uniformed man and then back onto Lavinia.

Lavinia smiled nervously and continued, "Well, the Team was buying two lots of toys. Toys paid for in cash before they left the store. Afterwards, ah wondered where all those toys were going to go. So ah did some asking around."

"Oh?"

Lavinia flushed a little, "I don't want to reveal my sources, but ah found out that Sergeant Baracus helps a day care center in one of the neighborhoods and the Lieutenant – Peck I think is his name - is an orphan. I went to visit the orphanage he grew up in and that was where ah got the idea from. Ah told my bosses and this is the response we had. We're all very pleased."

The reporter smiled at Lavinia. "Thank you, Ms. Burke. We will cross now to the Sacred Heart orphanage where today a very special delivery was made."

//

Pictures of the familiar buildings of the orphanage came into view and then an Army helicopter descended into view with a Santa Claus waving from the cockpit and a sack hanging from beneath it.

BA asked, "Wonder who they got to do that? Why the Army?"

Hannibal cackled a little, "Maybe a bit of blackmail? Big national toy stores don't like Army personnel using their stores for target practice."

The pictures were now giving a close up of the Santa figure climbing out of the cockpit. The downwash of the helicopter blades made his hood and wig flick backwards.

BA giggled, "It's Decker! Oh man!" Hannibal joined in the laughter; usually he got stuck with the job.

Murdock suddenly shushed the pair and hissed, "Magill's talking!"

//

The interviewer said, "So Father, what do these toys mean to the children who receive them?"

The priest clasped his hands and beamed, "It means everything to them. We of course teach the true meaning of Christmas in our religious instruction, but the toys tell them that they aren't forgotten by the world, that someone cares for them, that even if they don't have a family yet, they can still be part of the larger family celebrating on Christmas Day."

"Is this the first time you've received donations like this?"

Father Magill licked his lips for a brief moment and then admitted, "No. We've gotten a donation of new toys every Christmas for the past few years. We've always had donated toys, for which we have been thankful of course, but in the main they're used and often broken." Magill's face dropped. "Even if they are only orphans, the children do have some self respect and you can imagine the effect that has on them. " Magill paused and coughed and then continued, "For the past several years, one of our former residents has made a donation of new toys every year. Of course this year has surpassed all others."

The reporter smiled. "Would you care to identify this former charge of yours for our viewers? Such acts of charity should be rewarded."

Magill said, "I'd rather not if you don't mind. Temp … err …he guards his privacy rather closely."

The reporter smiled conspiratorially and said, "Of course, Father. I respect your wishes and that of your mystery donor. We'll take a final look at some shots we took earlier of the children and staff here and of course of Santa Claus with the gifts that were donated from the 'Please Remember Santa Claus' Appeal. Father Magill helped us choose the music that accompanies these pictures; he felt that it conveyed what the appeal means to him and these children."

//

The three men in the room were silent for a long while. The noise of the recurrent cycle of news and weather and sport didn't filter into their silent reflection.

At last Hannibal got up and switched the news off and said, "Face should be awake by now. I'll go warm that soup up and take him some hot milk."

Murdock nodded and curled up on the sofa, his arms hugging himself. BA looked at his hands. After a few short minutes they heard Hannibal climb the stairs and open the door to Face's room. Both of them remained silent with their thoughts.

@@@@

Murdock eventually roused himself from the deep period of introspection that he'd fallen into. Stretching and yawning, he looked at the clock; it was past nine. Hannibal hadn't come down as far as he knew. BA was nowhere to be seen but then Murdock heard a faint banging from the garage. Investigating, he found BA standing over the open hood of the van. Murdock challenged, "What you doing big guy?"

BA didn't raise his head. "Needs some work on it before tomorrow."

Murdock leaned against the doorway into the garage. "What do you need to do tomorrow?"

BA straightened up and looked at him. "Christmas fool!"

Murdock jumped up and down. "Christmas, like with a tree and tinsel and ornaments and prezzies?"

BA glowered. "Not for you, fool!"

Murdock beamed. "I know but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy them, does it?" Murdock paused and asked, "Can I come with you?"

BA said, "Who'll look after the Faceman?"

"I will." Hannibal's voice came from the doorway. BA and Murdock both turned. Hannibal looked down at the dusty floor and said, "He's asleep again. He's not too bad, pain in his back is easing. Milk helped his throat."

Murdock looked at the downcast figure and said, "It's not your fault, Hannibal. He should have told you. He can be so pig headed at times."

Hannibal smiled, "That makes two of us then. Anyway, I suggest if you want to get some rest you go to bed now."

Murdock glanced towards BA and teased, "Not before the ugly mudsucker says whether I can go tomorrow or not."

Hannibal looked towards BA and said, "BA?"

"Okay, but I'm not having his crazy fool antics."

Murdock pretended to glare at BA and said in a mock English accent, "My dear chap those are not antics but...."

Hannibal smiled. "Murdock, I think you'd better get going upstairs before you get covered with oil."

Murdock skipped past Hannibal humming a carol. "Night, Hannibal."

@@@@

Murdock blinked and then wondered what had awakened him. Face was still on his side, with a pillow between his knees. Trying to keep still, Murdock listened for the noise that had awakened him. There it was again, a creak of a floorboard and a little squeak and rattle of the doorknob. Knowing that, even with no one on watch, no 'enemies' of the Team would have gotten past BA's traps and alarm wires, Murdock closed his eyes.


@@@@

Hannibal decided he would oil all the door handles the next day, 'give me something to do.' He poked his head around the door and seeing both men fast asleep decided to venture into the room.

Murdock kept very still.

Hannibal moved to the side where Face lay and by the light of the nightlight, assessed his fever and, satisfied it wasn't too high and that Face's expression didn't indicate he was in much pain, quietly said, "'Night son. See ya in the morning. You're safe here with Murdock."

Murdock remained still and silent as Hannibal left the room. He was almost asleep again when he heard a croaky voice whisper, "'Night, Dad." And then almost immediately, "Night, Murdock."

Murdock stretched an arm out and touched his lover's shoulder and said, "Night, Faceyman. Love you."

"I know."

Soon the room was filled with the sounds of sleep again.

@@@@

Murdock poked his head around the front door and said, "Pssst, Hannibal!"

Hannibal walked up to the door and opened it wide. He reported, "He's upstairs asleep. Been up most of the morning and some of this afternoon. He just took a bath. Be quiet though, his cold has gotten worse."

Murdock nodded to show that he understood and turned and waved to BA.

Hannibal asked, "Did you get everything?"

Murdock nodded and said, "Yes. I got him a couple of other things that weren't on the list, too."

"What about getting it all wrapped?"

Murdock grinned, "Won't take long, not with three of us. I took a special course at the VA on how to wrap presents. I'll show you!"

Hannibal rolled his eyes.

BA pushed past them both carrying two bags full of groceries. "Out of the way, suckas!"

Murdock moved his head in the direction of the retreating back of BA, "Don't worry, Hannibal, we bought a cookbook."

Hannibal said, "Face would have gotten someone to cook for us."

Murdock said, "Well, you'll just have to make do with us two in the kitchen."

Hannibal nodded.

@@@@

Christmas Day.

"Wakey, wakey, Faceman!"

Face grabbed hold of the hand that was patting his cheek. "Murdock, what time is it?" he whispered hoarsely.

"6 am!"

Face pulled the covers over his head and coughed a little. "Leave me alone."

Murdock pouted and said. "I wanna go downstairs. I want you to go downstairs with me."

Face pulled the covers back down to look at Murdock and said, "It's 6 am, my throat's sore, and my back still hurts. Can't it wait?"

Murdock pouted even more. "Pleeeeeeeaaase? I've got a percocet all ready for you."

Face groaned, knowing that Murdock wouldn't let up. "Okay." He rolled on his back and, grimacing, sat up a little to take his pill and wash it down with a mouthful of water. When he had done that, Face rolled onto his side and off the bed. He sleepily took the robe held out to him by Murdock and slipped himself into it. Yawning and coughing he followed Murdock downstairs. He stopped in surprise at the transformation of the great room. A small tree decorated with lights and ornaments stood next to the TV and underneath that were a few packages.

Murdock took Face gently by the hand and led him to the straight-backed chair that Hannibal had indicated he had been most comfortable sitting in. "I'll get you a drink before we start."

"Start what?"

"Opening your presents, of course."

Murdock went to the coffee pot and poured two cups of the cinnamon coffee he'd spied in the store. He brought them back to where Face was sitting and handed one to the conman. "Here ya go." Murdock waited until Face had taken a small sip of the coffee and then said, "I'll put your coffee down for you. You've got to have your hands free."

Face coughed a little as the spice hit his raw throat and then croaked, "To do what Murdock?"

Murdock produced a large round package and said, "To unwrap your presents! Here, bet you can't guess what it is!"

Face looked at Murdock questioningly and then proceeded to delicately unpick the scotch tape and unfold the paper. Face couldn't help smiling as the drum emerged from its wrapping, "A drum! Wow, you don't know..." Face stopped and coughed. Murdock produced a rectangular package. "Here's your other one from me."

Face whispered, "Thanks! But I haven't gotten anything for you, Murdock, I..."

Murdock grinned, "Well, when you've finished opening this present you can give me an IOU."

Face frowned slightly. "My credit's not that good."

Murdock said, "It is with me."

Face persisted, "What about Hannibal and BA. I mean I can't exactly give them a kiss no can I?"

Murdock grinned and put his head to one side, "You could give them your cold." With a shake of his head, he continued, "Don't worry Face, while the mudsucker was busy getting the food, I got him some oil for the van and a new lighter for Hannibal so they've got something to unwrap later." Murdock paused and then suddenly became aware of the two sets of eyes looking down from the stairs. He continued, "Hannibal has had his main Christmas present already, can you believe how realistic Decker looks in a Santa Claus outfit?" Murdock's grin became broader when he heard the quiet snort from the stairs.

Face questioned, "What about BA?"

Again with a quick glance to the shadowy stairs, Murdock grinned, "You can supply that when you get back to LA!"

Face looked questioningly at Murdock, "Oh?"

Murdock said, "A certain lady's telephone number."

Face matched his lover's grin when he caught the meaning, "Ah!"

Murdock looked down at the package in Face's hand and gestured at it, " Open it already."

"Okay, okay. " Face didn't take as much care this time unwrapping the present, uncaring whether the paper was ripped or not. His face lit up when he saw the figure in the box. "GI Joe? Wow Murdock, you know when I was a kid, I so wanted one of these. We got one once in a box of donated toys but his arm was broken off. Kind of scared us from playing with him." Face turned his blue eyes up to Murdock who was now standing over him with his arms behind his back. "How did you guess? I mean. Thanks, love."

Murdock grinned. "Just got a big hint from Uncle Nat." Murdock produced the bunch of mistletoe that he had had behind his back and said, "Feel like writing that IOU now?"

Face nodded. Murdock didn't need any words of encouragement.


The end......

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot
(Connor/Carr/Leach)

He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And goodness knows, he didn't want a lot.

He sent a note to Santa
For some soldiers and a drum,
It broke his little heart
When he found Santa hadn't come.

In the street he envies all those lucky boys,
Then wanders home to last year's broken toys.
I'm so sorry for that laddie,
He hasn't got a daddy,
The little boy that Santa Claus forgot.

Spoken:
(You know, Christmas comes but once a year for every girl and boy,
The laughter and the joy they find in each brand new toy.
I'll tell you of a little boy that lives across the way...
This little fella's Christmas is just another day.
He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And goodness knows, he didn't want a lot.)

In the street he envies all those lucky boys,
Then wanders home to last year's broken toys.
I'm so sorry for that laddie,
He hasn't got a daddy,
The little boy that Santa Claus forgot.


(sung by Nat King Cole)


The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot by Fingers

 

 


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