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The Greatest Man I Never Knew

The Greatest Man I Never Knew

by Susan K.

Disclaimer: I do not own "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" or The A-Team. No profit is made from writing this story. "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" is owned by Reba McEntire. The A-Team is owned by Stephen J. Cannell. I do own Chely Diane Smith-Peck and Katherine Irene Peck.

Rating: PG-13

Warning: Major character death.

Special Note: This story is dedicated to the memory of George "Hannibal Smith" Peppard. May the angels look upon your handsome face and see an angel that left us on earth but graced Heaven with his presence.

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The greatest man I never knew

Lived just down the hall

And everyday we said hello

But never touched at all

He was in his paper

I was in my room

How was I to know he thought I hung the moon

The greatest man I never knew

Came home late every night

He never had to much to say

Too much was on his mind

I never really knew him

And now it seems so sad

Everything he gave to us took all he had

And the days turn into years

And the memories are black and getting white

He grew cold like an old winter wind

Blowing across my life

The greatest words I never heard

I guess I'll never hear

The man I thought could never die

'S been dead for almost a year now

He was good at business

But there was business left to do

He never said he loves me

Guess he thought I knew

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Her tears flowed like rain down her cheeks. The weather was lousy for a funeral. The man who had shown up in her life a few years ago was now gone. Chely Diane Smith-Peck was at the graveside mourning the loss of her father, Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith. Her husband of two years, Lieutenant Templeton "Face" Peck was by her side along with their two old daughter, Katherine Irene Peck.

Next to Chely, Templeton and Katie stood Sergeant Bosco "Bad Attitude" Baracus along with Captain "Howlin' Mad" Murdock. The Infamous A-Team had finally been pardoned by General Stockwell after five years of service to him.

By the time that they were offically pardoned, Hannibal Smith was in bad health. Chely was worried about her father and never left his side. Face was worried about Hannibal and Chely. He knew that loosing Hannibal would hurt everyone that he knew. 'Katie is so young and so vulnerable.' he said to himself as he looked at his baby girlplaying with a toy that Hannibal gave her on her second birthday. 'This is what Hannibal wanted. He has always wanted to be free.' Chely says to herself.

When Hannibal passed away, Chely was reluctant to call Amy Allen and Tawnia Baker. Face and Murdock reassured her that calling Amy and Tawnia would bring closure to them. The day of the funeral was an emotional one for the Smith-Peck household. Everyone had shown up to pay their respects to Hannibal.

Frankie Santana, resident A-Team member in training, drove to the funeral home. He got out of the Porsche saddened by the death of his friend and mentor. He walked to the doorway and saw the black van with the red stripe down its side, pull up and park. Chely was sitting in Hannibal's seat.

Frankie walks over to the van in which he was riding in not more than a few years ago. He opens the door for Chely and helps her out of the van. "Frankie. Good to see you again." she says hugging him. Everyone else gets out of the van and shakes his hand. Frankie looks at Katie.

"And who is this beautiful baby girl?" he asks. Murdock, who was holding Katie, says, "Frank Santana meet Katherine Irene Peck. Katie, this is your Uncle Frankie." Murdock says introducing Katie to Frank Santana. Chely walks over to Murdock and takes Katie in her arms.

Placing Katie on the ground, Katie walks over to Murdock. She was always close to Murdock and Hannibal. Chely hugs Frankie. "Thank you for coming, Frankie. I know that you meant a lot to Dad and that he means a lot to you." Chely says. "Johnny, um, your dad, did mean a lot to me. The least thing I could do is to come and pay my last respects to him."

As the group of people walk inside of the funeral home, Frankie asks Face a question. "Eh, Face, you look good. Haven't been shot lately?" Everyone in the group moans. Chely sees a very familar face. Maggie Sullivan. She is the lady doctor whom fell in love with Hannibal. Face holds Katie by the hand as Chely walks over to Maggie. They embrace each other. "How are you holding up?" Maggie asks.

Chely struggles with her answer. "I'm going to be okay, Maggie." Face, Murdock, BA, Katie and Frankie walk over to Chely and Maggie. "Who is this pretty little girl?" Maggie asks. Chely smiles. "Maggie Sullivan, this is my daughter, Katherine Irene Peck." Chely says.

Maggie picks up the two year old. She looks into Katie's deep blue eyes. "I think she has Hannibal's eyes." Maggie says. Chely cries at the mention of Hannibal's name. Maggie sees this and places a hand on Chely's shoulder.

Face walks over to his wife holds her in his arms. She always felt safe when he was holding her. Katie looks at Maggie and asks, "What's wrong with Mommy?" "Mommy isn't feeling well, Katie." She walks to the breakroom to get Katie away from the crying and sadness. "Do you mind with I spend some time with you?" Maggie asks. "You can if you want to." Katie says to Maggie. She looks at the child and asks, "Why wouldn't I want to spend some time with you?"

"Cause grandpa went away and I don't want you or anyone else to go away." Tears swell up in the young child's eyes. "Baby, I won't go anywhere. I will always be here for you, your Mommy, your Daddy and Uncles." she tells Katie Maggie holds Katie close to her. "Sssssshhhhhhhhhhhh. It's ok baby. Maggie's got you." she says rocking the two year old in her arms. 'I wonder if your grandfather ever held you like this.' Maggie says to herself.

Murdock walks to the breakroom and finds Maggie and Katie. "You okay?" he asks concerned for them. "I'm fine Murdock. Katie's crying." she tells him. Murdock takes the two year old into his arms and holds her. Chely walks to the breakroom and finds Murdock, Katie and Maggie. "Is Katie all right?" she asks touching the child's back.

"Katiebug'll be just fine Mom." Murdock says. Everyone walks into the parlor when Hannibal's body is. Chely, Face, Katie, BA, Murdock, Frankie and Maggie walk over to the casket and look at Hannibal. Tears well up in everyone's eyes.

Face is the first one to say anything. "He looks real good, right guys?" Face asks hoping not to get Chely even more upset. Murdock looks at Hannibal and says, "Remember when we were prisoners in General Chow's camp? No matter what they did to us, Hannibal was there to comfort and take care of the wounds on us brought forth by the Viet Cong?" BA and Face shake their heads yes. Chely looks at the guys.

"I remember when you all first came into my life. Hazard County, Georgia. Tony had just raped me and you guys were hired by Uncle Jesse. Remember when Face came in the courthouse to pick me up one afternoon and Tony came in and 'wanted to talk'? It took Enos, Cledus, Murdock, BA and Hannibal to hold Face back from punching Tony out. Remember?" she asks. Tears forming in her blue eyes.

She feels the comforting hand on her shoulder from her husband. Face speaks. "I remember when I was first tranfered to Hannibal's command. I was probably 17 or 18 years old. I remember looking at Hannibal and saying to myself, 'Is this guy crazy or what?' Later, I learned that when Hannibal smiles like that, it was the jazz."

"Hannibal was a good leader. Sure, we all joked and made fun when Hannibal went on the jazz. That was the way we were before Stockwell and the pardon business came and took us over." BA says. He recieved a nod from everyone standing at the casket. Chely looks at Katie. Maggie has her in her arms. The group of people move to the nearest couch and sit down. Katie walks over to her mother and father. Face picks her up and places her in his lap.

"Daddy, where's grandpa?" Katie asks. Face and Chely look at each other. They knew that one day, they were going to have to explain to Katie what death was but they had hoped it would be after she was older. Chely looks in the deep blue eyes of her two year old daughter. "Katie, baby, your grandfather is in a very deep sleep. He can't be awaken right now." She swallows the tears threatening to spill from her blue eyes.

Face decides to step in here. "One day very far away from right now, we all will be with grandpa again." The child looks at her father as if to ask him, 'Is what Momma saying true?' Face looks at his daughter. "Baby girl, what Momma saying is true. As much as we may want to wake grandpa up, we can't." Katie looks around the large room. "Who are these people and how do they know grandpa?" she asks. "The people here are friends of ours. Mine, Momma's, Uncle Murdock, Uncle BA, Uncle Frankie, Aunt Maggie and so on."

Katie looks at her father. "Can I see grandpa?" she asks. "Katie, grandpa can not see, hear or talk to you. Do you understand what I'm saying?" Face asks her. "Yes." the child says. Face and Katie walk over to the casket. He picks her up in his arms so she can say goodbye to her grandfather. "Grandpa...I wove you." the child says before breaking down in the arms pf her father.

He holds his daughter close. "It's okay baby girl. Daddy's right here." he says comforting his little girl. His heart was literally breaking. The man whom he thought of like a father had died from lung cancer caused by smoking those cigars! Amy Allen and Tawnia Baker-Allen walked into the funeral parlor together. Both of the ladies walked up to the casket.

"He looks real good." Tawnia says to Amy. Face and Katie walk over to Amy and Tawnia. Chely walks over to them. "I'm Amy Allen and this is Tawnia. We both knew Hannibal real well." Amy said not knowing that the lady they were talking to was Hannibal's daughter. "Dad often talked about the two of you. I'm Chely, Hannibal's daughter." At that moment, the funeral home director walks into the parlor. "May I have everyone's attention please?"

All eyes are locked on the man in the blue suit. "It's about time for the processional to begin. Everyone, please pay your final respects to the colonel." He disappears. Face looks at Chely. He hands Katie to Murdock. "Are you sure that you want to do this?" he asks concerned for his wife's emotional well-being.

"I have to." Chely says. Everyone proceeds to their respected automobiles and heads down to the cemetary. Once there, the men from the funeral open the door for Chely and Katie. Once at the graveside, the man in the blue suit walks up to the head of the coffin. "Mrs. Peck would like to say a few words about her father." Chely hands Katie to Face and walks up to the head of the coffin drapped in the American flag.

She inhales and exhales. "How do you write a eulogy for someone whom you didn't know that well? You simply tell what you know about that person and what others have told you. My father, a man whom I knew nothing about, came into my life five years ago. He and his friends helped me with battling my ex-boyfriend at the time. I will forever remember his smile when Templeton and I got married."

"Hannibal was very happy. He was even more happy when Templeton and I became parents for the first time. I know that my daughter will ask questions about her grandfather. Her father, uncles, and I will try to answer her questions when she is older. Hannibal Smith wasn't just a colonel. He was a man. He understood if you had trouble because he faced trouble himself." Chely blinks back the tears surfacing in her eyes.

"We are not here today to mourn the loss of Hannibal Smith. We are here to celebrate his life. Hannibal was known for being on the jazz. There was a certain smile he would get and everyone close to him knew what it meant. Hannibal taught us all something before he died. He taught us to be understanding to our fellow humans even if they didn't understand us." Tears our down her cheeks as the rain begins to fall. "Hannibal, you will forever be on the jazz."

BA, Murdock, and Face get up from where they were sitting and walk over to the casket. They fire guns off 21 times in saulte to their fallen comrade and friend. BA and Murdock fold the American flag and Face presents it to Chely. She stands up and Hands Katie to Frankie. The man in the blue suit comes back to the coffin. "That concludes the memorial service for Hannibal Smith." Everyone begins to leave the graveside.

Chely walks over to the casket, clutching the flag close to her. She places the red and three white roses on his cherry-stained coffin. "Rest In Peace, Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith. We will always love you." Face walks over to her. They walk back to the van and get in. BA drives away from the cemetary. Chely reaches over and turns on the radio. Reba McEntire is singing, "The Greatest Man I Never Knew". After the song had finished, Chely looks at her husband. "Hannibal will forever be on the jazz."

Face moves close to her. "That's Hannibal for you. And with this kid around, she'll always remind us of him." he says looking at Katie. All of a sudden, Katie laughs like Hannibal used to. Everyone in the van says, "Hannibal loves it when a plan comes together!"

THE END


The Greatest Man I Never Knew by Susan K.