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Title / Part: Could have been a contender

Could Have Been A Contender
by Elf (sometimes known as lurker Ginger)

Rated: PG

Summary: Brief story – Templeton Peck, still in college, just before meeting Leslie. Is having a relationship with a "friend"
Warnings: Hints of heterosexual sex, otherwise, nothing untoward.
Disclaimer: Members of the A-Team, even before they were members of the A-Team, do not belong to me. They belong to Mr. Cannell, who by his sheer graciousness, lets us play with them. But seriously, there is only one (maybe two) that I am interested in. If you find him wandering aimlessly, send him my way. Also, my CPA knows I make no money from this, and can prove it. I only toy with thoughts of imaginary people when I really should be working on my paper for college. Bwhahahaha…
Author notes: Please send me feedback, this is my first fic posted to the list...




"I gotta go, Kell…" he said softly in the half-light, a hint of regret in his hushed voice. Kelly stirred, and blearily opened her eyes. Templeton was already dressed as he leaned over the side of the bed to kiss her goodbye. He caught her pout before she said
sleepily, "Are you sure? You could stay…"

"Hon, the brothers like to see me every now and then. Helps them pretend that I honor curfew…" He smiled that incredibly bright
smile that she loved, and could make out even in the dim light. He sat down on the side of the bed next to her, a half -hearted gesture that she knew marked his reluctance to leave. It was easy being together, and Templeton was having many conflicting thoughts about their "friendship."

She smiled back, curling around his sitting form, then lay her blonde hair on his lap. She feigned a pout.

"You know," he said, "the other girls in the dorm are gonna start asking questions about this guy who is 'not your boyfriend' being
over here all the time…"

"Don't care…" Kelly replied sleepily and hugged Templeton lightly.

He smiled and brushed the hair from her face. He chuckled, but worry began to nag at him about this feeling that was starting to form in him. In the half-light, he watched her as she occasionally opened her eyes to look at him. "I really do gotta go, hon."

"S'okay," she said blearily and slowly moved her head back to the pillow, but raised her hand to run her fingers through those blonde locks, "You need a haircut."

"Uh huh, you need some sleep," he smiled and bent to kiss her on the cheek. She moved her head at the last instance, and their lips met. They lingered long together. A little too long, Templeton realized. He groaned and whispered, "You don't make it easy for me."

"Nope," she said simply and patted him on the back.

He hesitated, but at last he rose, picking up his rustling jacket from the chair and putting it on softly in the dark. "I'll see you later,
Kell," he said, and picked up his keys from the dorm desk.

"S'okay," she muttered again, shifted, and then settled in to sleep.

He watched her for a moment, conflicted, and then let himself out quietly. When he stepped into the early morning air, he caught his breath. The winter cold hit him as he noted the newly falling snow and mused that he could see his own breath.

He reached into his pocket for his gloves and made his way across campus toward the frat house. He thought to himself that this was no kind of weather for a California boy, and he doubted he'd ever live permanently in a climate like this.

'Just a few more years,' he thought to himself. The new snow crunched underfoot and made halos around the campus light posts. The snow made the night brighter, and actually made him feel a bit cheery. Overall, it didn't feel too cold to him, and he paused every now and then to let the snow softly fall on his face and to look at the beauty of the trees on campus covered with the white fluffy stuff.

As he neared the frat house, he could hear a soft scraping sound coming from the direction of the front porch. A frat brother was outside breaking up the ice on the front porch with a shovel. It had actually rained the night before, and as the temperature shifted, it froze and then was covered by the snow.

Rocky paused as he spotted Templeton and fixed a whimsical smile on his face as he leaned on the handle and waited for him to come up to the porch. Templeton smiled back. "Out with Kelly again, I suspect," he hinted at a chuckle. Templeton just smiled as he came up the stairs.

Rocky had been a football player in high school, as well as Templeton had, but was a good five inches taller than the younger man
and had very broad shoulders. Rocky seemed an unlikely business major, but they had become good friends since Templeton had moved into the frat house. Rocky quickly accepted him as his brother in spirit.

Templeton nodded at the shovel, "What are you doing up at such an ungodly hour? Do you want me to do that?" Rocky noted the dodge with a smirk.

The frat brothers had noted pretty early on the quick changes he would make in a conversation and they secretly titled
Templeton as 'The King of Evasive Maneuvers.'

Rocky knew he talked little of his past, seemingly content to live in the present and would smile and slide the subject to something
else when pressed. The frat brothers actually knew very little about their youngest member, except that he was an orphan, bounced around a bit as a child - between orphanages, possible abusive foster homes, and who knows what else.

"I can handle it. The ice is pretty tough… and I couldn't sleep anyhow," Rocky said, trying to meet Templeton's eyes. He suspected he was falling for that girl, but didn't want to admit it to himself or anyone else. He firmed his grip on the shovel.

"Hey, I could do it, I used to play football too, you know," Templeton answered. Every now and again, Rocky noted, Templeton felt it necessary to punctuate that he was 'man enough.'

Rocky laughed. "Yes, but I suspect you didn't play _defense_," he retorted with a smile. At last their eyes met, and Templeton's was twinkling as he smiled, letting Rocky know that this wasn't a serious challenge. Rocky breathed a sigh of relief… sometimes he just wasn't sure, "You avoided my question."

"Yes, I did," the smile stayed fixated, but nothing more was forthcoming.

"Taking advantage of Kelly's loss of her roommate, I see," Rocky said. Silence still; he just wasn't going to take the bait. Rocky
chastised him lightly, "Sooner or later, she's gonna have to admit you two are more than 'friends',"

"Oh, she'll never admit to that," Templeton spoke at last and smiled easily at his friend, "She'll swear to her dying day that she 'did
not come to college to snag a husband' and that we are just friends."

Rocky looked into Templeton's eyes. He was beginning to see a haunted sort of worry there. Perhaps a bit of desperate clinginess, perhaps regret, he wasn't sure. "Yeah, right, friends who… occasionally sleep together…" Rocky trailed off, letting his friend know that knew full well what was going on.

Templeton casually glanced away and feigned intense interest with his used Corvair, fixed with the license plate, 'SO CAL,' parked in the driveway, saying nothing.

Rocky waited, knowing the next evasive tactic was about to come. 'And here it comes…' he thought.

Templeton turned back to Rocky, smile returning wider than it had been before. 'If that was possible,' Rocky thought. "Yeah,
well… you know how it is," Templeton said with a kind of forced cheeriness and a shrug, "She's getting a new roommate next week anyhow. Transfer from another dorm. Leslie something, I think."

"Ahhhh….." was all Rocky managed to say and tried to meet Templeton's eyes again, nodding his head in a wise fatherly manner. The haunted look behind the smile lingered.

"Anyhow, I better get some sleep, gotta study tomorrow," Templeton said, ducking the unspoken question.

"You study?," Rocky feigned a shocked expression, only half joking because it seemed the kid was so terribly smart. Rocky knew
Templeton was currently in a composition class, for which he could just sit down and flawlessly write a paper within an hour or so. Seems he had a natural gift with words and always aced his writing classes. He knew another of his classes was a business math class, also a skill he seemed to have a natural affinity for.

"Every now and again, contrary to popular belief, I do, in fact, study," Templeton said.

"Sure," Rocky met with a grin, "Sure, you do." Tomorrow was Saturday and Rocky was fairly certain that his friend would probably find something else to do. Although he had to admit to himself that he would sporadically find Templeton reading in the study or staring out a window in deep thought. He wondered where he went to in those moments. But, if caught in those contemplative moods, he would quickly gloss over to something lighter and talk of something recently topical, business usually.

Rocky knew there was more depth to his friend than he would ever let on to. It seemed as if Templeton deliberately wanted everyone to _think_ that he was shallow. Like he was hiding from something in his past, something he might not ever confess to, even to himself. Like some part of himself he may not ever be able to share with anyone.

It troubled Rocky somewhat, as he cared for his 'little brother' in an inexplicably protective way. He knew Templeton would likely
go to his grave without uttering anything of it, however. His soul was a closed door, and the frat brothers had come to sense the past was not up for discussion. Period.

Templeton yawned and stretched, growing visibly uneasy.

"Well, I know you won't be waxing the car tomorrow. Heck, if the snow gets any heavier, you'll be lucky if you can find the car
tomorrow," Rocky said, breaking the restlessness and nodding in the general direction of the ragtop Corvair.

Templeton laughed quietly to himself in the night air, "Guess not." He met Rocky's eyes with the typical twinkle and asked, "You up for some chess or something tomorrow? It will probably be a good day to stay indoors."

"Sure," Rocky said. He briefly wondered where Tem got the money to buy a car like that… he always seemed to have enough money when he really needed it, "Sure, or maybe I can introduce you to the fine art of the snowball fight."

Templeton laughed and it echoed across the lawn, "Oh, goody… well… tomorrow then," he said and moved to go indoors.

"Good night, sleep tight," Rocky said with a wink, alluding to a 'fatherly' tone he adopted every now and then with his friend. Templeton half jokingly seemed to appreciate it, but it remained unsaid.

"Thanks," Templeton got the joke and smiled, "I will." At that, he slipped inside and headed up the stairs to his room.

Rocky looked down at the shovel and the ice-covered porch. He suddenly lost interest in the project and figured the ice would still
be there in the morning. In fact, it might make a nice tactical advantage just in case a snowball fight did happen to break out.

He looked up at Templeton's window, saw the light come on and then, just as suddenly, go out again.

Rocky's mind wandered over to think of Templeton's 'friend' Kelly again, and his brow furrowed. It was true that she had hotly
declared to all and sundry, whenever pressed, that she was _not_ in the market for a husband, was _not_ dating, and was _only_
interested in getting through school. She was in pre-Med now and he knew the road for a woman to become a doctor in today's society was going to be, in the very least, a challenging one.

Kelly and Templeton had become fast friends when they met and everything had been strictly platonic. Until just recently. Rocky thought that maybe it was too bad for her, as Templeton seemed like he might not be a bad catch, really, and he did seem to be at least contemplating the idea of a future wife and family. Perhaps he was a little too lonely, which is why it was easy for him and Kelly to slide into more than just studying and hanging out together.

Rocky sighed. Maybe Kelly should not take this so lightly. It was somewhat evident to him that it was not quite as casual a relationship for Templeton - at least, not as much as he wanted it to be, or to appear. Rocky sighed, 'God, he is so young, and seems so lonely sometimes…' He was beginning to get that sinking feeling that his frat brother was at great risk to get burned in the relationship, and he might get blindsided by it. 'Kelly is a bit older and should know better,' he thought, but just as quickly chastised himself for thinking of her as so much more mature. Suddenly, Rocky felt a sleep weariness creep over him. He glanced at the dark window again, 'Good night, my friend, I sure hope you know what you are doing… and maybe find a better "friend" someday…' Rocky then stepped inside the door so he get off to sleep himself, shifting his thoughts to evil ideas about snowballs and the naiveté of those born and raised in California.



Could Have Been A Contender by Elf



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