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Rated R - due to violence and just to be safe. Major angst and is set just after Mind Games.
Anything else? Mostly Hannibal and Face with a little BA and Murdock here and there plus flashbacks of Vietnam. Lets just say I went back to Hannibal and Face's first meeting and lets just say it left a lot to be desired. Ok its probably terrible but please tell me anyway!
All characters and team belong to Universal and J Connell. I just borrowed them!
This is my first attempt so please stick with it! It does get better and YES it will be continued if it's worthy!
Non- slash as I don't go there.
***** between paragraphs indicate a different character's thoughts.
There comes a time in everyone life when you look back and wonder, what would have happened or what could have been. In my line of work though you never get much chance. Not until you find yourself looking down the barrel of a gun to which your most trusted officer is aiming at you, through unseeing eyes and being controlled by a madman standing between us and I wonder how the hell it has come down to this.
I shake of the fear, I have known this man for over 15 years and never once in all that time has he ever let me down. I also realise this has always been one of my worst fears for the one I trust most to be turned against me. I banish the thought I know I can somehow reach him, before he either pulls the trigger, someone does something rash or BA decides to take things into his own hands if Murdock and BA find us in time that is.
All scenarios were hopeless and I reflect on my first ever meeting with this blue-eyed vulnerable Lieutenant who was know
looking at me in pure anger, hate and fear. The gun shaking in his hand and I see much as I seen 18 years before a battle of wills
going on in that mind of his, one which I won way back then and one to which I would rather die today for than loose him completely…..
Being a Colonel in Vietnam teaches you a lot of things, so is being an ordinary soldier. However even for me I had never
seen carnage like it, I had seen good soldiers driven insane and eventually taking there own life. It was a place where only
the strongest, toughest and bravest soldiers would survive.
I had seen eighteen-year-old kids come out here and killed in their first day in action and that was the true madness of Vietnam. No one was save in this war.
This also was the place that took my sons live and only BA knew that and maybe he also knew what I seen in my second in command that Face had replaced something I had long lost…..
We had been on the move for the last hour and I knew we were being followed but I also felt it was by a small number or we
would have been attacked by know. We came to a clearing a small burn in front of us, the air was clear and in the darkness I
felt the wariness of the soldiers under my Command. I halted them and picked out my two best soldiers to check what was
I moved forward quickly at first hearing the hushed voices of the camp know setting up behind me. I began to hear the sound of the jungle and let myself relax; someone was coming up behind me, real quite even for a trained soldier.
I turned reflexively hitting the young man to the ground. He pulled a gun and I drew back taking in this wild looking kid.
Golden blond hair waved over the red band on his head, the blue-eyes were angry and most of all full of fear but I also seen the fight in the eyes. He could be nothing more than eighteen if that and even then I seen the vulnerability, he could not hide it from me then either.
'Back off' as he slowly raised himself of the ground. I saw him watching my every move as I reached back for my gun but stopped myself. He was ready for it and although he looked smart, I seen terror in his eyes, so I played along:
'Alright kid but I'm on your side and that's our camp back there, who else are you hiding back here?'
He did not reply just steadily stared into me with blue-eyes that could win anyone over. I seen the determination and I seen him battling between wanting to trust me and fear that he should not let his guard down. Come on kid lighten up as I seen him struggling and bringing his aim higher.
I don't know exactly why my next words came but it was all I could say to this frightened young man before me
'Whatever happened kid, you were not to blame'
Something registered in the eyes and the gun lowers every so slightly, I also seen he had the makings of a true soldier.
I look into those blue eyes again and in that moment I felt something flicker between us and maybe I seen a little of myself in their as well as silence descended between us and finely sounds from the undergrowth turned his attention away from me. I still had to get a decent answer out this wayward kid, who seemed to undermine authority as if he were born to it.
'Peck are you there?'
The young man turned and grinned at the oncoming trio. All about the same age as him and one badly wounded being held up in the middle. I looked at their leader in the light he still had the defiant look but he at last lowered the gun. I appeared to have won his trust.
I also noted they were all in a mess. However it was the profile of the young man that was know tending the other wounded soldier that perplexed me. He was different from the rest and I knew instantly there was more than met the eye and maybe inwardly I seen the likeness to a long lost son but it was something I always was too deny.
I came forward as BA came through the undergrowth. Four eyes looked up in terror and I wondered what the hell had frightened them so much.
'I'm Colonel Hannibal Smith this is BA and he is going to take you back to camp.'
All four drew to attention. The blond still trying to lead as BA went ahead, I levelled up with Peck:
'Some name kid, mind telling us how you got way out here by yourselves'
He glared at me again with that way of always looking down at you, never Peck's strong point and at last he decided to speak:
'Lieutenant Templeton Peck it is actually. We were under orders of a Colonel Ford who decided to take things into his own hands.' His voice clear but cold as he looked at the ground a deep frown across that handsome face.
'He shot ten of our fellow unit without any reason. Wounded Radcliff ' He nodded ahead and I seen the pain in his eyes as he at last looks up.
Peck looked me square in the eye; 'we were the only ones to make it out Smith.' I decided not to push him although I felt he was hiding something more, mind you as the years went past I discovered the kid kept a lot to himself.
All I did find out about that incident was that if it had not been for Face none of that rag tag unit would have made it out alive to tell the story. Strangely the usually over talkative Lieutenant never mentioned it I had to learn the rest from the other three survivors.
The madman spoke again Face listening intently ignoring me and this time I see him snap:
'Did you kill my parents?' Face screams at me the gun pointed directly at me as he comes even closer. Never in all my years have I ever seen Face so mad and I feel anger at what this scare faced stranger is telling him and more importantly Face believes his every word.
'Face I never met your parents, they are alive out there somewhere kid'
I look Face directly in the eye and for a split second a look of uncertainty gleams in the dark blue, if only for a moment and then turns to the other. Hatred in his voice
'You would not lie to me Colonel Ford would you?' Once more I feel distaste at how easily the kid is being used in this game. As the gun that was aimed at me know is turned to the stranger. Only in that moment did I realise the name coming from Face's lips and realise how close Face is to completely loosing it, especially when it comes to a past I still know little off. The kid has at last slipped and given me something to go on and I feel alarm passing through me, I've heard the name before.
'He lies' came the swift reply as the gun once more sweeps back to me. I look once more at the other man and realise we're in more trouble than I thought. This man had a personal score to settle and either way the kid was going to end up getting hurt. For I knew this had to be the one Colonel Ford that went mad all those years earlier before I even lad eyes on Face or more to the point was the twist of fate that landed Face into my unit.
I also knew with each passing minute that Face was getting closer and closer to the edge. I cursed myself for putting the kid through hell for two day beforehand over the false pardon, blaming him when I knew it was as much myself to blame for letting him go. The only bright side of this was Face certainly was paying me back big time, even if he was unaware of it.
I try one last-ditch attempt to save him for I know time is running out fast and just at that moment the kid goes to pull the gun on himself and finely the stunned shock that has kept me in place for the last ten minutes is gone.
I hit one Colonel Ford square in the jaw, killing him was to big a risk with an out of control Face on my hands but Ford goes out cold hitting the ground with a pleasurable thud. I then turn to Face and find the look in that face know of ever increasing anger as I know find the gun pointing back at me. The kid's eyes are still unseeing but the voice is bitter and mad:
'Thought that would get your attention, know why don't you just back off ' Face jabs the gun closer to me and with a look on his face that makes the anger inside me swell even more, never have I seen such a resented look on that handsome face. There was no way I was going to let the kid push me away again though:
'You aren't to blame here kid and I know whatever happened away back in Vietnam was not your fault either. Whatever twist of fate led you to land in my unit I call fortunate for you may be a wisecracking, fast talking conman but you're the only person in the world I would be honoured to call my son.'
All of it true and even took me by surprise as I looked once more into the blue unseeing eyes of the kid and maybe at last something did register way back there…
The words were not the same of that I knew, I looked at the figure lying at my feet and I feel a long ago anger rush back
through me and I am once more back in the bloodshed of Vietnam.
I watched the blue eyed, stubborn looking figure intently before me in this jungle as I think about how I got here in the first place….
I was returning to camp after an ordinary patrol to discover none of the normal camp sounds just a deathly silence but it was not till I reached the river and I found ten out of the fifteen men I worked along side dead and the man standing over them with a menacing grin and pointing the gun at me was my Colonel, I thought my life was over right then and there…
I was rooted to the spot unable to do anything listening to the quite water in the river behind him and seeing every moment of my small life in front of me, as I look at the silent corpses at his feet. Fear tingles through every part of me as I lock eyes with my out of control Colonel.
I sensed the three others of my patrol coming up behind me. I see him hesitate as I look him once direct in the eye and I don't like what I see.
Then I see him lift the gun aiming but the first shot fired past me and I see that look in his face as much as say you won't do it kid but I know my thirty year old Colonel has become another victim of this war and taken another ten worthy lives down with him.
I draw myself together and aim…
For all my seventeen years I calmly pull the trigger and he shoots again, this time I'm the target. My shot hits him with enough force back to the water, I watch him fall clutching his chest, blood running freely and blazing eyes still staring at me as he fell backward into the river his body floating away in the fast current.
I take a sharp intake of breath and I realise it is the first time I really have killed to protect my own skin. I feel blood running down my temple and watch the body of what I hoped is a dead Colonel Ford float away. The current of water turns red.
I weaken and finely buckle as a pleasurable blackness swells over me, I feel myself being lifted and distant voices.
I open my eyes and find three deep brown eyes looking at me with concern and gratitude. I try to rise but the ground spins again. Forbes pushes me back down.
'Peck you're staying there' I feel the throbbing pain in my temple but the nausea and dizziness is starting to pass.
I note that Radcliff is also bandaged up and then it hits me I killed our insane Colonel in self defence but I had been too late in noticing for the other ten that were dead. I groan being a conman you pick up things quick I had only been with this unit two days and it all felt wrong from day one. I sensed the Colonel was close to loosing it, I just never realised how close till I walked right back into camp and seen the carnage.
The others picked up the groan but the look they gave me was one of loyalty. It was Radcliff that was the first to speak:
'Peck no matter what happens your going to get through this war. I mean we all could have been killed by that madman had it not been for you'
Years later I always found a sad irony in those words for he never made it. I understood what they were saying and although I was going to have nightmares about this day and this war I was determined I was not going to go down without a fight.
Forbes attends to my wounded temple; it was a deep graze but nothing more although it hurt like hell.
'Peck if that shot had been two inches further to the right, you'd be a dead man' I roll my eyes and produce a red hanker chief which I wrap around my head to cover the wound. They are all looking at me and I realise I'm still a Lieutenant and the one in command. I realised there was only one thing for it get out of here as quick as possible.
They had already dragged me about quarter of a mile up stream and I also knew Colonel Ford had been heading the wrong way for the past day which left me with a real bad feeling that we were in no mans land. We had no radio thanks to our insane Colonel; no means of contact and little food and this was well past midday by now.
We decided to head up river and at a rough guess I knew we were well out of everyone's road on either side, which did give me some comfort. I also knew that fear also kept our pace quick and that we were all jumpy, after this morning's events. The jungle sounds felt alien and not for the first time since my six months at war did I wish I were back home, even if it were to an orphanage.
The one image that kept playing in my mind was that scar faced Colonel Ford was not dead and that he was going to walk through the undergrowth and kill me right there and then. There had been something in that look he gave me before I pulled the trigger that scared the hell out of me, as though in some way he just wanted me to do it.
It was starting to get dark and still there was no signs of anyone maybe I had come too far west I had no idea the only thought was to keep moving. It was then far off in the distance we heard explosions and screams as the sky lightened up and then once more peace overcame the jungle again.
We had come a further mile when I heard voices. We halted and I looked at Radcliff he was getting worse and in need of medical attention for the bad shoulder wound. I watched the unit for about fifteen minutes, it was precise whoever was in charge knew what they were doing.
So very different from our unit in which one madman's will had drove fear through us all.
That in a day I seen the unit did not fear dying for the war they feared Colonel Ford and what he could do, I curse myself for not having read the signs. I signal Radcliff, Forbes and Barnes to a halt. I decide that its time to find civilisation again and whatever other horrors this war is going to throw at me.
I watched the grey haired, steel-eyed man with intent, he appeared to be in charge but I was taking no risks. I had seen the three men fan out to check the surroundings and I followed him I guessed he was the Colonel, he had the look of one anyway and I was prepared to risk it.
I was getting closer to him, when he turned around and hit me square in the jaw sending me sprawling to the ground and my head rang with the force of the blow. Automatically I went for the gun and pulled it. The other man pulled back and I found my voice, which sounded strange even to my ears.
'Back off '
The steel -eyed man did, I also seen him reaching back for his gun, which once more sends fear ringing through, me and I raise the gun higher. He decides against it but I see the calm sureness of him and realise even at this moment this man was trust worthy.
'Alright kid I'm on your side, who else are you hiding back there?' I tried to hide the surprised look on my face but it was too late for that, he had already seen me flinch. However it was what he said next that had the largest impact.
'Whatever happened kid you were not to blame'
Simple words but it broke the tension that had been building in me although I still could not put the gun down, as I was still reliving what had happened in the morning and seeing another mans face.
I hear my companions coming and as Forbes speaks I lower the gun and realise I may have found someone I could at last trust in all this blood shed.
I looked once more around the camp, all well laid out and planned. This Colonel sure as hell knew what this war was about
anyway. We appear to have gathered a crowd but I remain aloof and let Forbes talk about the unit which was. I drift away to the fore ground and find a place to sleep.
Sleep does not come and I get a chance too see how my judgement was found to be sound for one Colonel Hannibal Smith as it usually was the bad point was I never counted how many insane things Hannibal would get me to do for The A Team and that they never really bothered me. Occasionally mind you when I really thought he was going to get us all killed I would give him it but he knew what I was capable off even when I was never sure.
Anyway that was years away and I could not sleep due to the throbbing pain of my temple and continues thoughts reeling round in my head of one Colonel Ford. I got up and headed over to the stream, I took of the hanker-chief bathed it and flinched as I touched the wound. I heard two voices coming up behind me, two voices I was going to get to know real well in the years that followed.
'Colonel this kids meant to be getting some shut eye' BA was to the point as per usual.
'Could not sleep kid' as I find myself once more getting a steel glare from the Colonel.
I nod and feel blood once more coming from my temple.
'Right kid I think its time you gave some account of how you got here and we'll fix that wound while we're at it, don't want your good looks ruined Lieutenant'
I was left with no option, other than I knew the others would have already given the full reason to why we ended up in Hannibal's unit and one to which I was thankful he never pushed for the answer from me.
I glare at him as I am given a measure of whisky and although I feel like telling him I don't drink I down it and feel it numbing the pain and emotions inside me. Hannibal pours me another larger measure and this time sip it as I feel the first burning my throat.
'So Peck what brings you way out here?' I watch BA behind him and realise telling the truth was going to be the best option and I was emotionally and physically drained and for once telling a complete lie about how I got in the army was out the question and I realised Hannibal would see right through it anyway.
'I conned my way into the army, I thought it would be good for the ego and the women'
The blue eyed Colonel shifts a grin BA's way and I feel like a five year old misfit again. I also feel myself redden at the truth; I could never have been further from the true reality of war.
I jerk away as he tends to the wound on my temple.
'Lucky that is not infected kid or your Face would not be quite so con worthy'
I think from that moment on I realised Hannibal always could understand me. I look him square in the eye and I feel a moment of trust between us, strangely it reminded me of how a father would speak to a son but I hardly knew this man.
'What about parents' Hannibal was direct I could always say that about him. I look away and stare at the whisky for what feels like eternity. Hannibal turns to BA and shrugs both taking in that this was probably the quietist they were ever likely too see Face.
'I never knew them, I was sent to an orphanage when I was five and lived the rough and tumble live there. I kind of got in some trouble and was moved to a different orphanage, for the last two years I kind of drifted and went under some different aliases'
Ok I had told them next to nothing but coming from my background telling as little as possible was always the best. More to the point I never did tell him the whole truth and not once did he ask anymore about Colonel Ford, which was a relief. Hannibal and BA once more share a brother-to-brother look and I wonder if he is going to keep me here or move me on, as everybody else seems to do.
Hannibal at last nods and pats me on the shoulder. 'Well Lieutenant welcome to my unit, I think you'll suit just fine, as I like to take all the unusual cases the one with the extra incentive' Hannibal probably should have added the ones that risked your live more often than anybody else's as well. I note that he is on his last cigar and that the unit runs pretty short on those kinds of things.
'Know I think you should take BA's orders to heart and get some sleep for you don't get much around here and we will keep you busy, I think its time you got to see the frontline kid and put it this way you won't escape it'
To this day there was always a double meaning in those last words and I knew I had been to quite for my own good from the moment I walked into this camp, which was neither like me and maybe he seen that. Anyway one way or the other Hannibal and BA gained not only my loyalty but my trust as well and although there was many times I thought about running away, they kept me sane.
BA watched the young lean blond haired Lieutenant leave and watched the look in Hannibal's face. It was apparent that the Colonel had found something in this young man that he had lost, BA guessed it could only be the son he watched die and maybe something more as though he seen something in that lost soul, something of himself.
BA also knew that kid was needing help if he ever was going to get through this war, maybe he was smart but that kid had a hell of a live before he even came here, conman or not, BA felt sorry for Peck and even then like Hannibal and later Murdock they all understood how vulnerable Peck was and how trouble always seemed to be the kids other middle name.
The other thought BA could not shake of was that he had seen a small moment of history between those two to which neither would mention again, that the frightened Lieutenant, who in years to come would prove himself time and again to the team, was the luckiest kid alive that night. For BA knew without it that Face would either have ended up in jail or dead, neither thought a good one, to someone in later years he would count as a brother.
I felt lighter in heart and as I looked at the vast cosmos of stars above me and thought of the good old USA, the girls back home and of one Colonel Ford. I felt myself shiver at the thought and prayed I would have no nightmares. I drifted in and out but the only dream I had was one I had not had in years.
One of playing at my mothers feet, of a jukebox in the corner of a motel playing soul music and a pretty little girl that plays with the money I'm not meant to be taking from the juke box. My playmate and then I see my mother crying and so is my playmate, I try to go back to the girl with the auburn hair and understanding brown eyes where she plays under the table but my mother grabs me and I realise I'm being taken.
I will see neither again and the image of serenity folds and all I see is one Colonel Ford staring at me with a menacing grin and pointing a gun at me, this time I can't escape. Then his image folds to that of a lone Vietnamese boy I had seen on my first day of war. All alone no older than four or five crying for parents that were probably long dead but when I looked at him his face changed and the kid is me….
I jerk up; feel the sweat running from my brow as I find the caring eyes of BA on me.
'Are you all right kid?
I nod and shake the dream away, was any of it real? And since when did I look back at my life in so much detail, I live for the moment or so I thought. I don't get any more time to think as we are rounded up and head to the hell that is Vietnam.
That day Forbes, Barnes and Radcliff were killed, one landmine that was all it took and I was the only one left from Colonel Ford's unit.
Strangely on that same day I got back to all my usual habits of women, conning and never looked back as I managed to con some cigars from another unit and surprised the rather angered Colonel Hannibal Smith by giving him one and the rest is history or so I thought….
I watch Face, the gun is still directed at me but I slowly see the change in the eye going from angered dark blue to innocent and vulnerable ocean blue and his face come back to its normal concerned look. I also know see it turn quizzical and whiter
'Hannibal?' I barely hear the words whispered from Face but I hear the desperation in the tone and know our Face is back.
I grin at him and I notice the colour is still draining from his face as his hand comes up to his temple and Face screeches in pain. Whatever had the hold on him is gone
'Face quite pointing the gun at me know, your going to be fine' the gun slowly drops and I see him turn and look at his foe and the gun re-aims but I notice the figure on the ground has moved and I realise to late as a gun shot blasts the air…..
I look over at BA we both realise in the same instant that Face and Hannibal have walked into a trap and we're both going to be to late getting there. The source was pretty reliable all things considered Decker, I mean he sends us files on both Face and one Colonel Ford, a man they have wanted for longer than The A Team and that this Colonel was in someway linked to Face. Real bad omen when both the strongest members of the team were hardly speaking.
BA has gone ahead and as I run I hear the first shot and then a second. I also reflect quickly on the past two days in which I had seen the friendship between Hannibal and Face become strained. Neither talking to each other, Hannibal continuing to alienate the kid after the false pardon, when all Face had wanted was forgiveness.
I tried to talk to Face but like Hannibal, he did not want to listen and both he and BA had been the two carrying the burden as the kid became steadily quieter and Hannibal's temper even worse. Neither wanted to talk that was clear but the team was paying the price.
All I feel know is the right bad feeling I had when Hannibal said he was sending Face in with no back up to a forlorn house in the middle of no where. To find some agent and con some guns. It had set up written all over it. Face had only nodded and did not whine once about the whole plan but if anything happened to the kid I know who will really be to blame.
Face could have been walking into a death trap and Hannibal did not seem to care, very unlike the Colonel who had taken the whole pardon to heart and let his emotions cloud his usually clear judgement. I at last come to the clearing and nothing prepares me for the blooded mess before me.
BA stands over a scar-faced stranger who lies dead at his feet and even in death I see eyes of a mad man. However it's the other image that stops me dead in my tracks as I see the unbelievable.
Hannibal with guilt-ridden eyes and expression looks at me for assistance. As I come to the blood covered form of my best friend. Blood spills from his chest covering the blue checked shirt and onto the wilting grass below. For one moment I think him dead completely. Yet I note the small movement and then rasping breath, we have moments if that.
I tend to the wound, Hannibal barks at BA to get the van and we look each other in the eye, neither of us wanting to think that he might not make it. Face groans and I realise we're loosing him.
Hannibal pushes the blond hair back and for the first time in my life, I see an almost completely defeated Hannibal. I also see the expression of that of a father who knows what coming next. However the white-faced blood covered Lieutenants head rolls to the side and I search for a pulse. I find it weak but Face it still with us just….
'Come on Face hang in their kid, that's an order. You are not going to run out on me again do you hear' the voice was grim from Hannibal as I hear the van coming and all I hope is it is not to little to late as I look down at the still form of Face. Whatever happened here had it not already done so destroyed the team, for if Face did not make it the team was history.
I look at Hannibal at last recognising him as the haze that has covered my mind at last lifts. I see the concern, the honesty and it then hits me what did he just say? However I ignore his further comment and turn back to Colonel George Ford and pull the trigger but as I turn, I find as I had done eighteen years earlier myself looking at the barrel of a gun, just this time Ford does not hesitate and as I fire I feel pain hit my chest…..
For a moment I look into the dead eyes of Colonel Ford and grin I had at last won but I feel myself buckle and Hannibal grabs me as I feel myself hitting grass.
The dull pain that had clouded my mind is gone filled by new pain searing through every atom of my body. I black out for what feels like an eternity and when I at last open my eyes. I see Hannibal and he can't hide the fear I see in his eyes. We both know and my only regret is, Hannibal never gave me the chance to make up for the pardon. Then I feel myself weaken and realise death is not far away. I look once more at Hannibal and realise he is the only man that I ever really wanted or seen as a father, the only person that treated me as a son……
I look past Hannibal to the blue sky above, feel the heat of the sun and the grass below me. Every breath is getting harder and then I hear another familiar voice Murdock's. New agony passes through me and I realise I'm going to pass out and this time I'm not going to make it…..
The voice is strong and firm and just before the blackness turns to an eternal white, the voice calls me back
'Come on Face hang in their kid, that's an order. You are not going to run out on me again do you hear'
I latch onto that but the fight is going out me and I realise my luck has finely run out one Colonel Ford made sure of that. To much pain as I realise I'm bleeding to death and my time has come and I've only got the thought of the people we managed to help, the women I was never able to commit too and all the cons I've done and the team the friends that treated me like a brother, I could not let it end like this but I feel my strength going and realise like long before all this is in someone else's hands and oblivion seems welcoming as the pain sears from my chest……….
I have seen all this before in another time and place. Watched my son die and know an orphaned kid, who has for the past years become so much more than the son I watch die all those years before. I know watch this fragile life below me still trying to grasp for the last shreds of life, as I fight back the tears and the pain.
For in the same way I had let Face down as I let my son down all those years before, for I let my guard down, drove the team apart and know I was paying the price. Once more I have been too late, why had I not killed the Colonel when I had the chance. To late know as I lift the limp bleeding form and I know if Face dies something goes with me as well, something nobody can replace……
TO BE CONTINUED
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