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by Jes Parker
Authors Notes: This story is a pre-quel to Slow and Easy. Shee decided she couldn't live without knowing what had happened during the case with the couple when Facey was thrown off the boat and lost his gun, nearly drowning. So you can blame her for this mess I'm trying to call a story.
I had a song pop in my head that helped me to write this story. It's called The Gift and it's by Jim Brickman/Collin Raye/Susan Ashton. See end of story for lyrics.
This is a SLASH story folks so take heed now. (Although no actual sex takes place.) If a loving and caring relationship between two men squicks you or if you are underage, I suggest you head over to the Gen library where you can find lots of good stories more up your ally.
For those of you still here, grab a cup of your favorite coffee, tea, co-co, sparkling water or other beverage of your choice, sit back and enjoy the trip into the little area I like to call my mind. But first, the regular warnings, disclaimers and what not. Read 'em cuz I get tired of those crazy few that don't and then they write to me all hot and bothered because of something in my story and if they would have just taken the five minutes to read all the bullhonky then they would have known better then to play in deeper water then they can stand. Whew! I feel much better now.
by Jes Parker
SUMMARY: Facey falls off a boat, loses his gun and nearly drowns.
DISCLAIMER: As I'm sure you all know I do not own The A-Team, that privilege belongs to Stephen J. Cannell. And I'm sure if he saw what I was doing with his boys he'd have a field day suing me. Although I'm quite positive he wouldn't get more then a cat or two and truthfully, they're not worth it. Hell half the time they forget to use the damn litter box on second thought take them!! I'll even throw in the litter.
COMMENTS: Are much appreciated. I just love comments. Hell you can even throw in a flame or two if it makes you feel big to cut someone else down I post them to my 'feel better about yourself at least we don't stoop this low' group and we laugh at them 'til we feel all happy again. Oh yeah, Comment card is great. Thanks!!
WARNINGS: SLASH (Although no actual sex takes place...sorry) If you do not know what SLASH is, that's a loving and SEXUAL relationship between two people of the same sex, normally men... Oh yeah, HURT/COMFORT(not as drastic as my normal stories however I must be slipping) VIOLENCE (not too much though) WAR MEMORIES (Not many). And perhaps a bit of LANGUAGE, but not much. Keep in mind this story is NOT a true story. Things in my story may not always be entirely accurate, although I do take great strides trying to research my stories to the best of my ability. If things don't seem possible, chances are good they are not. And for the sake of all others, PLEASE do not try this at home.
Am I done with these warnings yet?
Many thanks to my betas: Shee, Quent, Firebird and Sandy. You guys are the greatest!
Dedicated to my pal Shee!! Without you life just wouldn't be the same!!
Copyright © Jes Parker, 2001
Sometimes when the sun reflects just right the tiny flecks of gold in those spectacular blue eyes stand out and grab your attention not wanting to let you go. The whole world sorta slips into itself and you cease to notice its existence. All that you're really aware of is the man before you, those blue eyes, the muscles that line his wonderful and sleek body, his blonde hair that blows gently in the wind, tipping in his eyes and without thinking you reach out to gently push it back. The world doesn't exist, it's just him and his silky voice, and what is it that he's saying?
Hannibal blinked as sound came back to him and the world rushed back into play. "Hannibal? So can we trust them? Hey Hannibal are you paying any attention to me at all?"
Hannibal blinked again as he pulled his hand back from his lover's head, where he had been unconsciously brushing the locks of golden hair back from his eyes. Face looked at him with confusion. Hannibal looked around, Murdock had an amused look on his face as he pet the air beside him, and BA had a little smirk playing in the corner of his mouth, although he was desperately trying to hide it with a scowl. But the light in his eyes gave him away. Hannibal looked back at his sole existence for breathing.
"Um yeah, I think we can trust them. Why? What don't you like?"
"Um Yeah?" Face repeated. Was that sarcasm Hannibal heard in his
voice? "Where the heck have you
been? We haven't even met the clients
yet. Just you.
exaggerated the sentence this time, drawing it out with a touch of sarcasm in
"Man he's got a one track mind." BA growled from where he was standing by the van. The hint of amusement was clear to everyone's ears.
Hannibal could feel the blush rising up his cheeks. He inwardly sighed. BA was right. When it came to his Lieutenant all he could think about was loving him. He gave himself a mental shake to snap out of it as he remembered what it was they had been talking about. Didn't take long for it to come back to him and for him to jump back into commander mode. Years of training had him normally quick on his feet, and with his mind. And years of practice made him able to think, most of the time, with his universe by his side.
Hannibal gratefully accepted the cigar he was being handed from his Lieutenant and quickly lit it before replying. After he inhaled deeply, he looked around his unit. "Yeah, they're clear. In fact I think you'll like them Face." A playful glow suddenly appeared in his eyes.
Face narrowed his eyes at his CO. "Why's that?"
Hannibal's smile grew wider as he pointed his cigar, which was pinched between his thumb and middle finger, at his second in command. "Because they have a gorgeous blonde daughter in her early twenties that I think you'll like."
Face inhaled at the comment, looking upwards to avoid eye contact with the rest of his team. BA snickered and Murdock outright laughed.
"And to think I thought I was off the market?" Face got a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Hannibal stepped closer to him. "You are," he emphasized this by thumping Face on the chest. "But on this mission a little flirting won't hurt. In fact it could be a real bonus. It seems that one of the goons harassing the Dugans has a thing for Cyndi. Would probably make them really happy if she had a thing for you, don't you think?"
"Aw Hannibal, do you like to get me in trouble? Or do you just get off on seeing me bleed?"
Hannibal smiled suggestively. "Well, I do like to play doctor." Face could only groan.
"I hate your plans."
"I know you do, but suck it up," he turned to face the other men, but turned back as he remembered something. He stepped closer to Face and tipped his loves chin. "Just don't forget who you belong to," he reminded his lover.
That mischievous tone in Face's eyes was back, but before he could say anything Hannibal growled in his ear. "You're mine."
Before the sun had set the following evening, the team found themselves settling in a small mountain community in northern California. The evening air was just beginning to cool from the scorching heat the sun had radiated across the land earlier that day. The light breeze that drifted around them added it's cooling fingers as the sun began to dip below the highest peak in the distance.
Hannibal stretched his arms out to the side as he looked around himself. Now this is the kind of place you fall in love, he thought with a smile. Or fall in love all over again.
His gaze instantly fell on the youngest member of the team. His smile softened and his breath caught as he looked over his lover. Face was standing in the orange glow of the sunset, his hair just a touch out of place, his blue jeans tugging gently at his great ass, his greenish-blue flannel shirt bringing out the color in those chameleon eyes. His golden tanned chest peaked out where the top two buttons were not fastened and his ensemble was completed with the brown cowboy boots he wore on his feet. His eyes were directed over Hannibal's shoulder at the distant horizon where they could hear horses play. Hannibal knew that it was in places like this that Face really felt at home. A place he always envisioned while growing up in the cruelty of a big and careless world, a place that he could someday call home. Even if it was only in a dream. Watching his lover gaze at the beauty of the mountain home and the land that surrounded it, Hannibal knew that someday he wanted to make Face's dream come true.
Hannibal smiled as their eyes met. He saw the serenity behind his lover's eyes and felt his heart swell with joy. Face gave him a warm smile before they set about unloading their gear from the van and Hannibal gave their orders for their upcoming tasks
"So you want me to lead her on." Face stated again as he stood in front of his Colonel in the living room of the guesthouse the team would be sharing.
"I want you to do what it takes to piss these men off enough to screw up."
"So what exactly do you want me to do Hannibal? Take her to dinner? Buy her flowers? Kiss her? Screw her? Make her feel like she's the only woman in the world and then let her fall back to earth at 195mph when this case is done?"
Hannibal pinched the bridge of his nose. The kid could be so stubborn sometimes. Especially when it came to their relationship and the necessity of sometimes having to keep up the appearance that their handsome Lieutenant was 100% straight and completely available. Yet when he finally stepped into the persona, he did it without flaw. Hannibal had to admit, even sometimes he was fooled and maybe even a bit jealous.
"Yes dinner would be nice Face. Flowers a great touch. Kissing makes them jealous. Screwing her we'll talk. And I'm not asking you to drop her out of a plane Face, just date her."
"And when it's all over?"
Hannibal sighed again. "She'd be a complete moron to think that she could have a long term relationship with a felon Face. I don't think she's that clueless."
Face studied his Colonel. "Is this an order?"
"Do I need to make it one?"
"It would make me feel a bit better for cheating on you, yes."
"Fine then Face, it's an order. But it's not cheating."
"How isn't it?"
"Damn kid you exasperate me, you know that?"
"So I've been told."
Hannibal had to smile at that. He shook his head and took Face's hands in his own and sat him down on the couch. "Look Kid, to me it's not cheating. You're doing what's necessary for the job. Just like you 'acquire' things for the job. Don't you see?"
It was Face's turn to sigh. "Yeah, I understand what you're saying Hannibal, but it doesn't mean I like it."
"Do you like to steal?"
Face shot Hannibal a dirty look. "I do not steal," he said indignantly.
"Yeah I know, you scam, you acquire, you break and enter, you borrow " Another dirty look. "But Temp I know you love me. I'm not worried about that. So don't you."
Face could only nod. He didn't really like doing this, but he knew Hannibal was right. Making a pass at Cyndi Dugan was probably the best and fastest way to get to the men behind this mess. And as long as Hannibal was okay with it, why should he feel any different about it?
Hannibal smiled and lowered his mouth to taste the delicate lips of his lover. Face groaned as Hannibal's tongue pressed gently inside and explored the cavity of his mouth. When Hannibal stopped he moaned at the cessation of pleasure.
"Just remember you're mine." Hannibal growled possessively in his ear.
"Forever," Face promised.
Hannibal paced by the old apple tree as he watched Face make his way over to Cyndi. They had been briefly introduced the night before and by the look in her eye, Hannibal knew it wouldn't be a problem winning her heart. Not that it ever really was when it came to Face. Face had this way of worming his way into your heart when you least expected it. Face could smile and women melted at his feet, hell half the time men did too. That was just Face. Then there were Face's conning abilities. Face could talk a Penguin into flying south for the winter, which was a feat in itself seeing as Penguin's don't fly. No, he knew Face could pull off this simple task, simple for him anyway. What worried him though was what happened when the bad guys found out.
Hannibal really did hate to put Face into danger, but sometimes it was just necessary. He tried not to worry all that much. Worrying about every situation he sent his men into would cause nothing but an ulcer in just a matter of hours. Hannibal knew that the team would back Face up when needed. And he knew that Face trusted them to do so without hesitation. Face may complain, but he trusted them wholeheartedly. But trying not to worry and not worrying are two totally different things. Hannibal worries about all his men. And since he's in love with the intended target of a mad man, he worried all the more. Even if he didn't always show it.
Oh she's definitely buying it, Hannibal thought to himself. He watched Face's body language. Sure enough, Face had turned on all the charm. As expected, Face fell into his role of womanizer perfectly. Hannibal smiled, admiring his Lieutenant's skill, as Face tossed his head back and laughed at something Cyndi had said and in the next moment had latched onto her hand and kissed it gently just as a gentleman was supposed to do. The smile in her eyes was pure lust. Face played on it. His arm slipped around her waist as she led him off to the kitchen door. Hannibal followed at a distance. He wasn't following them, he was hungry.
Two days later Hannibal found himself sitting on the beach overlooking the ocean as the waves crashed in against the coral reefs, wondering what was wrong with his plan. Why the man supposedly in love with Cyndi hadn't taken action yet? Things were moving too slow for Hannibal's liking. He was the type of man who preferred action to sitting and waiting. No action made the man jumpy and sometimes just the slightest bit cranky.
The sun was setting low in the distant horizon and Hannibal watched in awe as the sun disappeared to the other side of the world. No matter how many times he sat on the beach watching the sun whisper it's final good night before announcing its presence to those waiting on the other side, it would never grow old to him. He only wished his young blonde lover was curled by his side to enjoy the fabulous sight the coming night brought. Hannibal sighed as he reminded himself that it was his idea for Face to court the young and beautiful Cyndi and that Face had wanted nothing to do with it at first.
But now he seems happier then a drunk monkey, Hannibal growled in his thoughts. He shook his head of the thought. It was one of Face's many talented scams. He was only doing what he was supposed to be doing. Look on the bright side. Hannibal tried to convince himself. If he is fooling me then he's definitely fooling the baboons causing this mess. Either way the sooner this whole fiascal was cleared up and packed away, the better.
Hannibal's eyes drifted over the now darkened shoreline. Just as he suspected lights appeared in the distance. He was willing to bet that the lights coming from the drifting vessel were coming from the gangs' hideaway.
Hannibal sighed and stood up slowly. He grunted at the stiffness in his back and placed his hands on his lower back to crack it. He sighed in relief and was just about to turn and head back towards the guesthouse when he spotted movement near where the waves rolled softly up the sandy beach. He squinted his eyes around the darkness of the night and sighed deeply as he saw Face walking hand in hand with Cyndi Dugan. He was too far away for sound, but close enough to see their every move. Hannibal chewed on his inner cheek thoughtfully and then sat back down in the sand, hidden in the shadows.
Face's eyes drifted out over the ocean. He felt Cyndi push herself against his side, warming him. He turned to her and smiled down into her eyes. She smiled back. Face leaned his mouth towards her and captured her lips in a tantalizing kiss. His mouth made the kiss real, but his heart would not. He could only think of Hannibal.
When he pulled away she had an amused look upon her face. "What?" he questioned, eyes sparkling.
Cyndi shook her head. "Nothing," she whispered with a smile. "Let's go in, it's getting cold out here."
Face nodded in agreement and led her off towards the house. Hannibal sighed again and watched after them as they walked down the path. He couldn't help the ache that grew in his heart or the small amount of jealousy that gnawed at his stomach. This was your idea, he reminded himself. Even so, he doesn't have to be so damn convincing. Hannibal shook his head. "Yes he does," he whispered. Still, didn't mean he had to like it.
Yards away, out over the dark ocean; a large yacht lolled with each rocking wave and a man tightened his grip on the powerful binoculars that he held in his hands. His mouth tightened in an angry frown and his eyes grew dark with rage.
"Have a nice night Lieutenant?" Hannibal growled when Face finally stepped through the door. Face only sighed wearily and turned to face his commanding officer.
"Don't start this Hannibal," Face approached sadly. "This was your idea, not mine." He added a bit tersely.
Hannibal sighed and sat down hard on the couch. "Yeah I know," he muttered. "You're just so damn convincing."
Face smiled slightly at the compliment. He sat down next to his lover and put his hand on his neck. "Well, if it makes you feel any better I can only think of you every time I touch her."
Hannibal did smile then and lifted his head to look at Face. "You wouldn't just be saying that to cheer me up would you?"
"I don't know," Face joked. "Is it working?" He turned up his best con smile.
Hannibal growled playfully and leaned into Face tickling him. Face gasped and fell back against the couch laughing.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" Face stopped in his tracks and he felt Cyndi's fingers tighten around his arm. He instinctively wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him, but he didn't bother to turn. Instead he started walking again.
"Hey I was talking to you pal." The voice leered as a hand clamped down on his shoulder. Face let himself be spun around and forced his most annoying smile. He tilted his head slightly and feigned innocence.
"Can I help you?" he kept his voice was light.
"Yeah you can. You can get your blasted hands off my woman."
Face's eyes dipped into confusion. "I'm sorry, do I know you?" he asked, not releasing his hold on Cyndi. He could feel her shaking against his side, but a sideways glance at her face didn't show the fear her body was displaying for him.
"No, I was just about to introduce myself," the man sneered back.
With his arm around Cyndi, Face couldn't block or duck the blow that connected with the side of his face. He did however let go of Cyndi before he fell to the ground. He looked up at the man as he rubbed his bruised and slightly bleeding cheekbone.
"I'm sorry I must have missed your name." he voiced sarcastically as he climbed to his feet, brushing off his jeans. He glared as the man grabbed Cyndi around the arm. "I'd suggest you let her go," he deadpanned.
"And if I don't?"
Right on cue the black van spun around the corner and came to a stop next to the group. Face smiled slightly just before drawing his arm back and connecting a punch with goon number one's head.
Hannibal, Murdock and BA all jumped out of the van then, guns in hand. The other men standing with goon number one had pulled their guns, but seeing the deadly glint in Hannibal's eyes and the illegal automatic weapons the team sported, they quickly lowered them.
"Bout time you showed up Hannibal." Face commented sarcastically as he took the guns from the gang.
Hannibal just smiled around his cigar. He eyed the smeared blood on his lover's cheek, anger growing inside him; he turned his glare on the leader of the gang. "I'd suggest you leave Cyndi and her family alone," he said calmly, the cigar still clenched between his teeth.
Goon number one laughed and looked at his friends. "And if we don't?"
"Well thena we musta be pluckin outta your toenailsa anda fingernailsa and shovin thema upa your "
"Think they got it Murdock." Hannibal interrupted Murdock's Italian dialogue with a grin. Murdock just shrugged and looked at his commander.
"I was just gonna say nose Colonel," his voice took on a sulking expression. Hannibal couldn't help but smile from behind the cigar clenched in his teeth.
Face and Cyndi climbed into the van along with BA while Hannibal and Murdock shot off a round at the gangs' feet and jumped in the van as it sprayed dust and gravel over the foursome standing on the dirt road.
"So who's your pals?" Hannibal grinned at
Face. Face smirked and looked at Cyndi.
Cyndi took a deep calming breath. "The man that hit you," she said looking at Face, 'is Joey Donner," she paused. "The others were Marty Jacobs, Randy Johnson and Morgan Donner. Joey's big brother."
"I take it Joey's the one with the crush on you?" Hannibal asked, watching the young blonde.
She nodded carefully and finally sighed. "We dated awhile ago. But then he started getting weird," she paused as she made a face. "So I broke it off. Apparently he wants me back."
Murdock looked at Hannibal. "You think this whole thing is because Joey's got a nut or two loose?"
"Fool, you the only one with the screws loose." BA snarled from the driver's seat.
"That hurt BA." Murdock pretended to pout. "You know that I'm sane now. I even have "
"Yeah yeah, whateva foo'." BA rolled his eyes. "You always gonna be crazy."
Murdock stuck out his tongue and then looked back at Hannibal. "So whatcha think?"
Hannibal looked thoughtful. "It's a possibility. Cyndi's mom and dad aren't too sure why they've been harassed. I thought that was a bit confusing. Usually when someone's after someone for something they at least tell you what it is."
Face shot Hannibal a look that said, 'Great, what have you gotten me into this time?' Hannibal just smiled.
"You cowards, why'd you let them get away?" Joey Donner berated his friends.
"In case you didn't notice Joey, those guys had automatic weapons. Would have done a lot of good against our puny hand guns." Marty explained calmly, not bothered by Joey's outburst.
"Not if you were a good shot." Joey sneered.
Morgan stood up and walked over to his little brother, placing his hand on his shoulder. "That's enough Joey," he said softly. "Don't worry, we'll take care of this. Just makes us have to alter our plan a little bit that's all," he smiled vindictively. "But first, I think we need to pay a little visit to pretty boy, what do you think?"
Joey's eyes lit up.
"Great Hannibal, this is just great," Face complained as he paced the floor of the guesthouse, hand absently on his stomach. Hannibal smiled at the gesture.
"What's great Face?" Hannibal smiled as he lit a cigar. Face snatched it out of his mouth and put it in his own, inhaling deeply. Hannibal grinned and shook his head. "I've told you before kid, those things are bad for you." Hannibal took it back from Face and watched as he continued to pace.
Face ignored Hannibal's comment. "This whole thing is just great."
Hannibal had to agree. When he insisted Face make them jealous he didn't realize how close to the mark he'd really come. If this whole thing was because of a jealous ex and Face was the new man in her life, things could get really ugly. But it was too late to change the plan now.
"You're right Face," Hannibal finally
sighed. "It would have been nice
to know Cyndi had dated Joey when we took the case. Maybe we would have went about this a little different," he
paused in thought. "Then again
Face spun on him. Hannibal shook his head at him stopping whatever protest that was about to escape. "Think about it Face," he began, cigar pinched between his fingers, clearly enjoying this. "What better way to draw them out?"
"You mean piss them off."
"Well, yeah, whatever works." Hannibal's eyes were twinkling.
Face glared and finally shook his head. "I cannot believe we're working a case of a jealous lover."
"Just be glad it's not a jealous lover of one of the many women you wooed through the years," Face continued to glare, not at all amused by the comment. "Besides," Hannibal plowed right on, "we're getting paid good money to do so, so whose complaining?"
"Oh man I knew this was a bad plan." Face groaned more so to himself then anybody else. His eyes darted nervously at the approaching goons as he carefully pushed Cyndi behind him. He thought about going for his gun that was hanging faithfully in his shoulder holster, but quickly dismissed it seeing how outnumbered he was; it would only bring more risk to Cyndi. Face then took another step back, pushing them both up against a tree. "Why oh why did I insist on this walk in the woods?" he muttered and then turned to Cyndi. "Run. Run as fast as you can and don't stop until you're safe back with the team."
"What about you?" her eyes sparkled with fear for the man before her.
"Don't worry about me, just run!" he gave her a light push and she obeyed his orders and took off through the woods, dodging in and out of the trees. Face threw himself in the path of the four men, hoping to give her a good size lead. Little did he know, she didn't need one. They weren't after her.
"Hey guys, can't we talk about this?"
"Ain't nothin to talk about. I told you to leave my girl alone and you just don't seem to be listenin. I think a lesson's in order. Then maybe you'll think twice before touchin things that don't belong to ya."
"Look pal. I don't know what your problem is, but Cyndi's just not interested in you. I think it's time you move on. Find someone new. I'm sure you can do that. A good lookin guy like you could probably have any girl in town if you wanted."
"I don't want any girl in town," Joey snarled. "I want Cyndi. And as long as you're in the way I can't have her." Joey stepped even closer to Face, a psychotic gleam in his eyes. Face swallowed.
"Well, yeah, but you know, if you want her so bad you really shouldn't be goin around harassing her family. That's kind of a turn off. Women just don't go for it. They like the strong, sensitive type," Face turned on his con smile. "Try toning it down some. Lay off her family. Who knows, maybe she'll take you back. Why are you harassing her family by the way?"
Joey shook his head. "What business is it of yours?"
"Hey Joey, just finish him so we can get out of here. She makes it back to the ranch and his friends are gonna be up here in no time using our heads as target practice." Marty interrupted.
Joey smiled. "Hold him," he growled.
Marty and Randy moved to either side of Face. Face lashed out and caught Randy on the jaw, then ducked and tried running, but Morgan caught him with an uppercut, sending him sprawling into Marty and Randy's waiting arms.
"Perfect," Face muttered.
"Not for long." Joey grinned as he pulled back and swung at Face's head, hitting him beside the eye. The Lieutenant's head snapped back and he blinked rapidly trying to quell the stars. Before they cleared, another fist popped him in the gut, with another following to the ribs. Face groaned and slowly brought his head up to meet Joey's crazed eyes.
"You love her so much how come you're harassing her family?" he managed to choke out. Joey's fist connected with his lip, splitting it against his teeth. Face spat out the blood, his eyes full of fire, as he looked his attacker in the eyes. "You may love her, but she will never love you." Joey glared and hit him again, knocking his head back once more. Then he repeatedly punched Face's ribs. Face dropped to his knees between Marty and Randy and Joey grabbed him by the back of his sweaty head, gripping his hair tightly, pulling his head back so that their eyes met.
"You just tell Mr. Dugan that if I don't get my money in 24 hours, he can say adios to his daughter."
"You'd kill Cyndi?" Face whispered, trying to make sense of the conversation.
"Not Cyndi stupid. Angelina," Joey growled. "And for the last time, stay away from Cyndi." With that Joey delivered a final blow to Face's head, only this time using the fairly large branch he'd found lying on the ground. Face's eyes rolled up with the impact and Randy and Marty let him fall to a heap on the forest floor. Then the four quickly disappeared.
Cyndi grabbed her side as she staggered from the woods and into the clearing of her family's home. The team, seeing her stagger out of the woods, quickly ran up to her.
"Cyndi. What happened? Where's Face?" Hannibal asked, panicked.
"Joey," she gasped. "Joey and his friends-" she stopped and took a deep breath. "They must of followed us. Face told me to run. You've got to help him," she pleaded.
BA ran to the van and grabbed the guns while Hannibal's eyes searched the woods.
"Where'd you leave him?" he asked as he turned back to her, accepting the gun from BA. He heard Murdock rack the M-16 he was holding. Hannibal turned slightly and could see the deadly gleam in the eccentric pilot's eyes. Face was Murdock's best friend and if anything happened to him
"Straight back. About a quarter mile. There's several large pines in a circle, you can't miss it." Hannibal nodded and patted her on the shoulder.
"Go inside and lock the doors." With that the team was off and running to find their lost friend.
"Stay alert guys, there's the clearing," Hannibal motioned. Murdock and BA silently slipped off in separate directions, while Hannibal continued on going straight.
Murdock was the first to see the crumpled form of his best friend. "Ah Jeez Face," he muttered softly and approached cautiously. He doubted the men were still around. "Found him, Colonel," he called loudly as he kneeled next to his battered friend. His fingers shakily reached out seeking a pulse on the side of Face's neck. He let out the breath he'd been holding as he felt it beating steadily against his fingers. He laid his hand on his friend's back and leaned down close to his ear.
"Hey buddy. You in there?" he sought softly. He felt Hannibal drop beside him.
"He alive?" Hannibal questioned hopefully, a tinge of panic in his otherwise controlled voice.
"Yeah, pulse is fast, but strong." Murdock assured him. Hannibal quickly removed his black gloves and stuffed them in his pocket just as BA dropped across from them.
"Aw man," he muttered as his eyes took in the situation.
Hannibal delicately reached out and pushed the damp hair from the side of his lover's face so he could see that side of his head. As he did so they could see the bruising and large gash and blood streaking down over and around his eye.
Murdock's hands skillfully ran under Face's shirt and up and down his spine, while BA quickly checked his neck.
"Alright, let's turn him," Hannibal said quietly as they both nodded their approval.
Carefully they supported his neck and back and rolled him over. They all moaned at the sight that greeted them. Their Lieutenant's face was bruised and bloody, his clothes rumpled and dirty and splotched with blood. Hannibal carefully opened his second in command's shirt and touched the bruised ribs.
"They broken, Colonel?" Murdock asked, fingers laced with Face's.
Hannibal shook his head. "Don't think so. They're gonna hurt like hell though."
"Facey Come on pal, open your eyes. Let us see those baby blue's." Murdock murmured to his friend.
Hannibal stroked his lover's cheek while BA growled across from them.
Hannibal looked up at his Sergeant.
"They gonna pay, Hannibal."
Hannibal nodded. "One thing at a time though BA. Let's get him conscious and back to the house to clean him up, then we'll go after Joey and his friends," he turned his eyes back to Face. "Come on Face. Wake up."
Face groaned and shifted beneath them. He tried to open his eyes, but they felt so heavy. He groaned again wondering who the hell hit him with the bus. "That's it Face. Open your eyes," he heard Hannibal call to him somewhere off in the distance. He felt Murdock's hand encompass his own and he squeezed a little.
"He's comin around Hannibal." Murdock reported. "Come on Facey. That's it. Follow my voice back."
Slowly, they watched as Face opened his eyes and took in his surroundings and the scared, concerned looks of his friends. "Bad plan Hannibal," he groaned as his tongue felt around in his mouth. "Awww Hannibal," he groaned again as his sore tongue found the loose cap.
Hannibal smiled slightly. "What's the matter Lieutenant? 'Nother loose cap?" he couldn't keep the amusement from his voice.
"It isn't funny," Face muttered, slightly concussed, Hannibal judged from the slur to his voice.
"Open up," Face obeyed and Hannibal looked in and carefully pulled the cap from his Lieutenant's bloody mouth. "Don't worry Face. We'll get it fixed. We always do."
"That's exactly the point Hannibal." Face murmured, as his eyes grew heavy.
"No you don't Lieutenant. Open your eyes," Hannibal commanded. "Get him to his feet guys." Murdock got to his feet and waited while Hannibal and BA pulled Face upright and then caught him as he swayed forward. Murdock waited, hands on his friends hips, one leg pressed forward and into Face to steady him, while Hannibal and BA adjusted his weight between them. Then he collected the guns and led them from the woods.
"Come on Face, keep your eyes open," Hannibal's tone was still commanding, hoping to keep his younger lover awake. "Tell us what happened."
"Told you, your plan sucked." Face's voice was sleepy, his head lolled between them.
"Did you get in any good punches?" Hannibal joked, trying to keep Face talking.
"Doubt it," Face sighed. "Randy or was it Marty?" he half shrugged. "One of them, probably has a sore jaw, but that's about it. Morgan's got a fast upper cut. And Joey Joey's got one hell of a right cross."
"You've got a pretty decent right cross too Faceguy," Murdock quipped; he turned over his shoulder to grin at his friend. Face smirked. "You'll have to show Joey next time we see him."
"Or you could show him your left hook." Hannibal joined in. "More damage."
"I could just show him my knuckle sandwich," BA growled from beside Face. "Then he can spend the rest of the day picking his teeth outta the ground."
The small, yet powerful group made their way out of the woods as Face's head slipped onto BA's broad shoulder. "Wake up Face," he tried to sound gruff, but when it came to Face being hurt, the big man just couldn't do gruff.
Murdock turned and stood in front of Face and gently tapped him on his bruised cheek. "Facey. Wake up Facey." Glazed blue-green eyes opened, but didn't quite focus.
"Let's get him inside." Hannibal started walking again, and Murdock ran ahead to open the door to the guesthouse. The front door to the main house opened and Mr. Dugan stepped out, running over to them.
"Oh my God, is he okay?"
"He will be." Hannibal said as they climbed the steps. Mr. Dugan followed them in.
"I'm so sorry. Is there anything I can do? This is all my fault. Should I call a doctor?" he nervously began to jabber.
Murdock turned to him. "No, don't call anyone. He's a felon remember? We don't bring in outside help unless we have to. We can take care of this. And this isn't your fault. You can help by going back to your house and locking the door until we come and get you." Murdock ushered him to the front door.
"You sure I can't help?" his eyes drifted to the figure Hannibal and BA were gently easing to the bed.
"We'll take care of him. We always do." Murdock assured the man. When he got the man out the door, he quickly ran to gather supplies, with BA on his heels.
Hannibal sat carefully next to Face. "Come on Lieutenant, open your eyes," Face blinked. "That's it baby. Open those beautiful blue eyes for me." Face slowly opened his eyes and settled them on his commander.
"Just wanna sleep Hannibal. I'll take the next shift, m'k?"
"No, open your eyes Face." Hannibal ordered as Face's eyes slowly drifted shut again.
Face's eyes flew open in panic and darted around the room. "They here Colonel?"
"They just stepped out to gather medical supplies." Hannibal tried to reassure him.
"Med. supplies? Who's down? Thought we were gonna escape?" Face's voice was rising in a whispered panic. Hannibal narrowed his eyes.
"Where are we Lieutenant?"
Murdock and BA were just coming up to the edge of the bed and stopped short, watching Face and Hannibal with growing concern.
Face looked up at Hannibal, eyes trying to focus. "We're not getting out are we?" Face's voice was nearly devastated as he ignored the question his commander had asked.
"Out of where Lieutenant? Where are we?" Hannibal didn't know if he wanted to know.
Face sighed, as his eyes grew confused. "Camp," he murmured. "VC didn't see them. Set up," his words grew heavy as his eyes drifted again. Murdock gasped; BA stood and stared, not sure what to do, and Hannibal's heart sank.
"Face! Open your eyes and look at me," he watched blue eyes flutter. "We're not at the camp anymore. We're free. Come on Face. Look around. See?" Face slowly looked around.
"Free?" he asked with confusion.
"Mostly," Hannibal smiled. "Everything's going to be okay. You just took a hard hit on the head."
"For a bit. Just rest baby. You're gonna be okay." Hannibal watched as Face slowly nodded and drifted into a fitful sleep. Then he turned to meet the concerned looks of his friends, who still stood where they had stopped in shock, holding the medical supplies they had gone to fetch.
"Aw man Hannibal," Murdock murmured as he slowly sat down and used the wet cloth that he was holding to wipe away the blood smeared on this best friend's face. He didn't need to finish the thought. Face was back in hell and there was nothing they could do. Nothing except wait and see.
Face groaned and tried rolling over. Strong hands grabbed his shoulders and he shuddered. Not again. He couldn't do this again. Hadn't they just come for him? What would they want this time? More torture? The box? Or did they want him? Face thought he probably preferred the torture to the other two options. Hands caressed his sides and he began to struggle. No not this. Anything but this. Hannibal help me, he thought in desperate panic. His foot lashed out to kick his attacker, but he refused to scream. He refused to give them that satisfaction. Instead he bit down hard on his lip to keep the scream inside. Strong fingers gripped his jaw, he struggled harder.
"Face come on, it's only us. We're not gonna hurt you Face. Come on back. You're not there anymore. It's over." Hannibal tried to calm his struggling lover. He felt the bed sag as Murdock came over to sit by him. He soothed a wet cloth over Face's forehead while Hannibal's hands stroked Face's sides. BA paced by the foot of the bed.
"Face no!" Murdock exclaimed as Face's teeth clamped down on his lip. Hannibal's hand shot up and gripped Face's jaw while Murdock spoke calmly in Face's ear trying to calm him.
"He's drawing blood," Hannibal said between grit teeth. Murdock pinched Face's nose. After a moment Face had no choice but to open his mouth to draw in air.
"That's it buddy. Breathe. Can you hear me Face? Are you in there somewhere? We're not gonna hurt you. It's over. They're gone. We're safe now. You're safe now. Please wake up." Murdock pleaded with his friend. Slowly blue eyes opened and locked with brown.
"Hey babe. You're okay. We're here," Murdock soothed. Face slowly looked around. "You know where you are?"
Face shook his head once.
"You know who we are?" Murdock asked with concern.
A nod this time.
Murdock smiled. "Who am I?"
"Murdock." Face whispered.
"That's right buddy. You're okay. You just need to rest."
"Jealous boyfriend." Murdock smiled.
"Was she worth it?" Face asked sleepily.
Murdock frowned. "Um Facey are you in love?"
Face hesitated then nodded slowly.
"With who Face?" Murdock spared a glance at Hannibal who was sitting quietly watching his lover's face.
"Hannibal." Face finally answered softly.
"Does he know?" Murdock questioned.
Face grunted. "Are you crazy? He'd lay me out," Face said weakly as his eyes began to close again.
Murdock sighed and looked at Hannibal again. "Well, at least he's not in 'Nam anymore."
Hannibal nodded, although his eyes held concern. "He really thought I'd lay him out if he told me how he felt?"
"Colonel, if you hadn't been in love with him hadn't ever experimented with other men, how would you have reacted?"
Hannibal opened his mouth to respond, but at the twitch of an eyebrow from his Captain, reconsidered, closed his mouth and sighed. "I don't know," he finally admitted. "But I don't think I would ever have hurt him for feeling a certain way. He's gotta know that."
Murdock sighed as he stroked Face's fingers that he now held in his hand. "Hannibal you gotta see things from Face's eyes. Growin up the way he did and all the crap that happened in his life made it real hard for him to trust anyone. Look how long it took us to get him to let us in. To trust us," Murdock looked sadly at Face. "Trust doesn't come easy to Face. I often wonder what happened to him that made him so weary of everyone."
Hannibal nodded. "I know. The camps were bad enough, but Face came into our unit distrusting the world," Hannibal sighed sadly. He knew bits and pieces, but he wondered if he'd ever know the whole story. And what he'd do if he did hear it.
"Can't be easy growing up not knowing who you are," BA quipped from where he finally settled on the end of the bed. "And not havin people to love and care for you."
"World sure can be cruel," Murdock agreed. "I only wish he'd share more about his life before us. For someone who can talk so much, he says so little," Murdock smiled sadly. "Yet he'll sit and listen for hours about someone else's life."
Face sighed inwardly as he listened to his friends' voices. Somehow through the cloudy mess his brain was in, their words registered and struck home. He really had kept them in the dark about his childhood. Even after all they'd been through together. He hadn't really meant to. It just wasn't easy to share that part of himself that he tried so hard to keep locked up where it couldn't hurt him again. It wasn't easy to even think about it, to remember. How could he possibly relive it? But as Face slipped back into the darkness of his mind he promised himself that he'd let them in. He'd tell them about his life, about his past. He owed them that much after all these years. And most of all, he trusted them to help him to finally heal the damage done in his heart. For only they could. For only his family loved him enough to chase the demons away. Face smiled in his sleep. His family. It'd only taken 18 years to find them. But it was well worth the wait.
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