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The Tide Rolls On
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Warnings: Slash, Angst, Language, Death
Copyright: March 22, 2002
This is the third (and final?) part to the little saga I've been writing. The first two can be found complete in the archives. The first was "The Long and Winding Road" and the second was "Over the River".
Murdock had not already been awake, the beating on the door would have surely
brought him out of sleep anyway. He stumbled to the door and was surprised at
who stood there. "What the hell...?"
"I want my wife, and I want her now!"
Murdock sighed and looked at Jack Crowder wearily. "She's not here."
"Like hell she isn't! I know you know where she is!" Jack pushed by Murdock and sat on the couch in the living room.
"Won't you come in?", mumbled Murdock as he shut the door.
"Where is she?"
"I don't know, and if I did know I wouldn't tell you."
"What the hell is going on?" Face stumbled from the back bedroom still wiping the sleep from his eyes. He stopped, surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"It seems he's looking for his wife."
Face turned to Murdock. "Jack got remarried?"
"I'm looking for Savanah!", the man screamed. "Where is she?"
"Jack! I swear, you scream one more time and you'll be looking for her from your coffin! You hear me?" Murdock walked over to the mantle and lit a cigarette. "Why are you in such a hell fire hurry to find her anyway?"
"I need to talk to her." Jack answered in a more calm voice.
"That is between me and her, Captain."
"Oh. Well, she's not here. She's on assignment."
"Now you know I can't tell you that. It's classified information."
"Bullshit. I need to talk to her."
Face had had enough. "Why? So you can degrade her some more? What's wrong? Mommy let you out to play and you can't find anyone to play with?"
Jack looked hard at Face. "She's my wife and I want to see her."
"No." Murdock corrected. "She is your ex-wife, and if she hasn't contacted you then apparently she doesn't want to have anything to do with you."
"You know nothing about our marriage," Jack said coldly.
Now Murdock was angry. "Look, all I know is that every time Savanah needed you, you were no where to be found. You walked out on her, Jack. You walked out on her and then tried to blame everyone but yourself and your precious mother. Well, I have news for you. Savanah was your family. Savanah was your wife and you should have treated her as such. I wasn't going to get involved with this. It's not my place. But by showing up on my doorstep at two o'clock in the morning, you made it my business. The best I can do is tell Savanah you're looking for her when she checks in."
"Fine." Jack said, finally admitting defeat. As he headed for the door, he stopped and looked at the two men. "I was the best husband I knew how to be," he said softly.
Murdock answered just as softly. "That is what makes the whole situation truly frightening."
The sound echoed in the room as the door slammed.
Murdock and Face turned and looked at each other for a long minute. Finally, Face spoke. "You know where she is, don't you?"
"Yeah." Murdock sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Unfortunately, I do."
didn't like this. He didn't like this a bit. The girl was sitting down by the
lake and she had a bottle in her hand. Three guesses told him there was whiskey
in that bottle. Two more told him it was indeed Savanah. She was breaking day
old bread and throwing it to the geese. He wrapped the coat around him a little
more tightly and slowly walked towards her. He sat down on the bank beside her
and sighed. "Want to talk about it?"
"How was your trip?"
"You know when you get like this, you remind me of your mother."
"She didn't like you either, huh?"
Savanah turned and looked at the man. "Want to help me feed the ducks?"
"Whatever. Want some bread?"
"Sure." He took the piece of bread she offered him and lazily threw it at the geese. He knew with a little time and patience, she would eventually talk. He was soon rewarded.
"Jack's been looking for me."
"I know. He called here and I told him that I didn't know where you were."
"The papers are signed and final. Why won't he leave me alone? For years, he told me that's what he wanted." Savanah sighed and looked out over the water. "Damn. When did life get so fuckin' complicated?"
"Now that's definitely your mother coming out in you."
"Not my dad?"
"No. He was a true gentleman. Never cussed like that around ladies. Your mother on the other hand, she cussed all the time. Use to drive your grandmother crazy." He smiled. "I remember one Christmas, we were having a huge dinner party at the house in Washington. Your mother must have been about seventeen at the time and her and your grandmother were going at it." He thought for a moment. "Funny, I don't even remember now why they were fighting. Anyway, we're sitting at the dinner table with all these dignitaries and all of sudden your mother hollers out, 'Mother! Please pass me the fucking salt!'. I thought the whole table was going to choke. I was trying my best not to laugh. A few seconds later, I lost the battle."
"Because your grandmother said in her most lady-like voice, 'Just a fucking minute dear. I'm listening to the goddamned vice president tell a most interesting story.' That's where you get your quick comebacks, by the way."
Savanah laughed. "And what did I get from you?"
Stockwell turned to her and grinned. "My good looks."
Savanah hooted at that. "Oh dear God! I was ruined from the start!"
They continued feeding the birds in silence. Stockwell cleared his throat and continued. "I could have him killed."
"Nah. It'd be my luck I'd have to pay for his damn funeral."
"He sounded pretty upset when he called." When Savanah didn't answer, he continued. "You know, I never did see what you saw in him. Oh don't get me wrong, he's a nice enough fellow. Just not the type of man for you."
"I already knew you didn't like him."
"How? I always treated him with respect and dignity."
"Yeah but when you gave us our wedding present of a cruise, you made sure to tell me I could upgrade to a room with a balcony if I decided to go alone. That was sort of my second clue."
"What was the first?"
"When we came home and announced we were getting married, you poured yourself a drink and muttered, 'The seventh sign of the Apocalypse.' I got the feeling you weren't that found of him."
Stockwell studied his granddaughter. "You're my favorite grandchild--"
"I'm your only grandchild."
"--and I would not have liked anyone you brought through that door." Stockwell turned back to the pond. "Even though I REALLY didn't like Jack."
The bread was gone and the geese had given up on any more. Savanah turned to her grandfather and smiled. "When are you going to retire and hand all of this over to me?"
"When they pry the codes from my cold, dead hands."
"That can be arranged."
"Try it. I already have it in my will that if you are within 30 miles of me when I die, you are to be presumed guilty."
Savanah grinned. "Ahhh General. You DO care about me."
Stockwell laughed. "Yes, I do. From the minute you came into this world, you have been a thorn in my side." He turned to Savanah and got serious. "But that thorn came on the most beautiful rose."
Savanah's eyes were glistening as she whispered. "Thanks General."
"Anytime. Now what about Jack?"
"I'll call him when we get back to the house."
"Good." Stockwell stood up and looked down at his granddaughter. "Remember, it's good to keep ex-lovers close. That way they are more likely to keep their mouths shut to other people."
"Got it. Hey, did you look over those papers I gave you?"
"They look like the real deal. I'm having a friend of mine from Richmond come in tomorrow and look them over. You do good work, Savanah. And trust me, I am NOT just saying that."
As the two walked back to the house, Hannibal lit a cigar and smiled. He hadn't meant to listen, but he didn't want to interrupt the family moment either. 'Stockwell, you old dog,' he thought to himself. 'As much as you try to hide it from the world, you really do have a heart.' Hannibal continued smoking his cigar and watched the beautiful sunset fade into night.
Murdock were already dressed and on their way out the door when they heard
someone softly knocking. Face opened the door to find Savanah standing there on
their doorstep. "He's been here, hasn't he?"
Face nodded and took a step back to let Savanah enter the townhouse. She asked another question as she sat on the couch. "What did he say?"
"He just wanted to know where you were. Murdock basically told him it was none of his damn business."
"The General is ready to kill him. God, I really wish he would cut this shit out. It's not good. I signed the divorce papers. It's over. It was his decision."
"He talked like you two had unfinished business.", Murdock said as he sat on the couch next to her.
"How about if I make some tea?"
"That would be great, Face. Savanah and I have some business of our own to discuss, actually."
Face took the cue and went to the kitchen to start the water and left the two of them to talk. After he had walked out, Murdock continued in a hushed voice. "How did the trip to Vietnam go?"
"Pretty good. I found some papers that may help. I honestly don't know. I handed them over to the General and he has a friend checking them out now."
"When will he know something?"
"He really didn't say. He said he'd page me." Savanah sighed and looked at Murdock. "I know ya'll are ready for all of this to be over with."
Murdock shook his head and answered. "You got that right. I couldn't believe it when those papers crossed my desk a few months ago."
"Well, it IS possible that my dad was taken prisoner instead of killed in the bombing like originally thought. That was a rough period at the time."
"Tell me about it. I was there, remember? Did the General say anything else about it?"
"He said that if dad DID die in 1975, instead of 1972 like originally thought, that would clear the guys of his death. That's one roadblock out of the way."
"What about the robbery?"
"Between his, mine, and your connections, we should be able to get that thrown out. The whole theory behind the robbery was that my dad never signed papers and they were acting on their own. I need to follow up on some leads about some other people who may have been in on it. You know as well as I do that daddy would have gotten the orders from higher ups...he didn't have the clearance to order that mission by himself."
Murdock nodded in agreement. "You know, I'd never thought of it that way, but your right. He was just following orders himself by ordering the team to rob the bank."
"Yeah." Savanah looked towards the kitchen. "Have you told Face about any of this?"
"No. I didn't want to get his hopes up. I wanted some clear proof before I mentioned it."
"I don't blame you. The whole team has had too many disappointments lately." Savanah lit a cigarette and thought for a moment in silence. "Oh! Did you hear about Frankie?"
"No. I knew I hadn't seen him around lately, and Face even remarked about his absence."
"He's been transferred."
"Transferred? To where?"
"Another team. You know as well as I do the General never really liked him being connected with ya'll. He was way out of his league. He's been given a desk job in Langley."
"He's on a 'think tank' team helping to design better and safer explosives."
"Safer explosives? Isn't that sort of an oxymoron? Like jumbo shrimp?"
Savanah smiled. "That's what I always thought. I guess we were both wrong."
Face entered the room carrying a tray and placed it on the coffee table. "Wrong about what?"
"Frankie's been transferred to a 'think tank' to design better and safer explosives." Murdock smiled as Face handed a cup of tea fixed the way he liked it. "Thank you, darlin'."
"Anytime. Well I'll miss him, but it's better that he's in a job like that. I think he'll be more productive."
"I totally agree, Face." Savanah took a sip of her tea and continued. "He never was really cut out for the type of work ya'll do."
They sat in silence for a few moments and thought about the changes taking place. Finally, Savanah changed the subject. "Actually, I had another reason for this late night visit. I wanted to find out how you two are doing. In your personal life, I mean." She smiled. "Blame it on the psychiatrist in me."
Murdock and Face laughed. "We're doing good. Real good," Face answered.
"Good! I don't mind telling ya'll, I sort of think of you two as my surrogate parents and it bothers me when mommy and daddy aren't getting along."
Murdock grinned. "Well nothing to worry about, sweet child of ours. Right now, we're actually more worried about you."
"Me? Oh I'm fine! I'm just glad the divorce is over with. Now if I could get Jack off my back, the world would be near perfect." She felt her pager vibrate and looked down at the number. "Could I borrow the phone?"
"Of course. Use the one in the bedroom if you'd like."
She nodded and went back to their room. The two watched her go and then turned and smiled at each other. Murdock sat his cup down and opened his arms. Face scooted over on the couch and rested his head on Murdock's chest. They sat in silence for a few minutes and then Face said quietly, "I don't like it when we argue."
"Me either. So let's not do it anymore. Or if we do, let's let it be over something stupid like who was supposed to take out the trash."
Face laughed lightly. "I totally agree." They shared a soft kiss and pulled away to see Savanah watching them.
"I like seeing ya'll like that. Look, I hate to cut this short, but I'm needed back at the house. The General needs to talk to me, and Hannibal and I need to finish a chess game we started about a week ago. There's no telling how he's rearranged those pieces."
They all laughed. "Take a picture next time," Face suggested. "That way if he tries to pull anything, you have proof."
"I'll have to remember that. Have a good night you two."
They both stood and hugged Savanah. "Be careful," Murdock told her. "It's starting to rain and the roads are slick."
"O.K. Dad," she teased. "I'll try to keep it around 80." She waved and walked out the door.
Face and Murdock went and sat down on the couch again. They sat there for a long time just holding each other, remembering just how precious their love really was. Suddenly, Face sat up. "Wait a minute! If your 'dad', then that means I'M the mommy! I don't know if I like that."
Murdock laughed. "Well, I have an idea. Why we don't we go to bed and discuss it more in detail?"
Face smiled as he started unbuttoning his shirt. "I thought you'd never ask."
By the time they reached the bedroom, their clothes were all the way down the hallway. They got under the covers naked and held onto each other. Suddenly Murdock slipped all the way under and as he took Face into his mouth, Face muttered, "Keep doing that and I'll be anything you damn well want me to be."
He felt the soft chuckle against his balls and closed his eyes. 'Life doesn't get much better than this', he thought to himself as he laid back and let Murdock take him to new heights.
entered the house and smiled at the night guards. She looked at the clock on
the mantle and realized just how late at night it was. She quietly walked down
the hall to the General's office and knocked softly before entering. She saw
General Stockwell sitting at his desk with his hands folded and the papers in
front of him. Savanah sat down in the leather chair across from the desk and
took a deep breath. "Well? What did you find out?"
"It is most definitely true. Colonel Sam Morrison died in a P.O.W camp in the fall of 1975."
Savanah let out the breath she didn't realize she had been holding. "So what does that mean? For the team?"
"It means it unequivocally clears them from any wrong doing in the death of your father."
"That's good, right?"
"So where do we go from here?"
"I start working on the papers for their pardon."
"Their pardon? What about an exoneration?"
"That would be very difficult without the orders proving they were working on behalf of the government when they robbed the Bank of Hanoi."
"Shouldn't we at least try? I mean, doesn't the agency owe them that much for their loyalty? To their country and these missions they have been sent on? Where they put their own lives on the line?" Savanah stopped as a thought hit her. "Wait a minute. If daddy died three years later than thought, who did we bury that day in the cemetery?"
"No one? What do you mean?"
Stockwell hesitated and then continued. "It's time you knew, Savanah. The day we buried your father, nothing but an empty casket went into the ground. You were young, and full of grief. Your mother and I decided it was just too much for you to handle. It was bad enough that your father had died, but to be burdened with the fact that we didn't have a body? No. We didn't want you
to have to think about that too. Then when your mother died..." he trailed off as he thought about that horrible day.
"What happened to his remains?"
"They were buried in an unmarked grave in Vietnam."
"Oh," Savanah said quietly.
Stockwell's heart filled with sorrow for the news he had given her. He wanted to make it better. "I tell you what, I'll call in some favors. You were right in assuming that the orders had not come directly from the Colonel. Maybe I can find out who they did come from. Would that make you feel better?"
"Yes. Much better. I don't want them to be PARDONED for a crime they didn't commit. I would feel better if it was wiped from their records completely. ANYONE can get a pardon if they know the right people."
"I agree." He stopped and thought a minute before going on. "You really are a bright, compassionate woman. I don't always approve of your actions, but I am always very proud of you."
Savanah smiled. "Thanks. Same here."
Stockwell smiled. "Have you eaten?"
"Come to think of it, no. I haven't had time."
"The cook made lasagna for dinner. Why don't you go to the kitchen and fix yourself a plate? Then you can go to bed. We'll talk more tomorrow."
"O.K. Good night. I love you."
"I love you too, my savvy girl."
Savanah grinned big at the pet name her grandfather had not called her since she was a little girl. She rounded the desk and threw her arms around the man and hugged him tight. Stockwell smiled and kissed her head. Silently, she left the office. Stockwell looked down at the papers in front of him and smiled. He enjoyed the change that had taken place in his granddaughter. He
thought back to the conversation he had with Murdock before Thanksgiving. As he closed his eyes, his thoughts drifted back to that evening and the conversation that had taken place in this very office.
There was a knock at the door. Stockwell looked up from his paperwork and said gruffly, "Enter."
Captain Murdock entered and looked around the study. "Did you call for me?"
"I did, Captain. Come in. Would you like something to drink?"
Murdock shook his head no and sat in the leather chair across from the desk. "Why did you want to see me?"
"I wanted to find out how you were enjoying working with the Agency again."
"It's o.k. I never imagined they would want me back, but wonders never cease."
"Yes. Wonders DO never cease." Stockwell folded his hands on the top of his desk and looked at Murdock closely. "Captain, I'm here to offer you a proposition."
"Well Stockwell I'm flattered, but you're not my type."
"Save the jokes, Captain. I'm having a little trouble with an agent."
"Savanah. My granddaughter."
"Cut the shit, Captain. You know damn good and well Savanah who. Savanah Morrison. Colonel Morrison's daughter."
"What kind of trouble?"
"No one can control her, and she's fast and furious becoming a thorn in my side."
"What do you want me to do about it?"
"I have the papers here for you to transfer to her department. As the head of the assassin division. I want you to be her boss."
Murdock laughed hollowly. "Well General as honored as I am, what makes you think I can control her any better? And why would they ever accept me as head of the assassin division?"
"O.K. Fine. I'll play your game because I'm quickly running out of options. First, who better to control someone as on the edge as Savanah than someone who tends to stay on the edge? Second, you are the perfect choice for this position...Blackbird. You forget, we do have a history."
"Yes we do, don't we?" Murdock thought about this for a minute and said, "This sounds well and good for you, but what's in it for me?"
Stockwell smiled. "How about Lieutenant Peck?"
"What about him?" Murdock asked quickly.
"It's no big secret that you two have been involved for a VERY long time. I loosen my hold on him a little, and you keep Savanah from getting herself killed."
"And if I say no?"
"You really don't want the answer to that. You know as well as I do that with one phone call, you'll be back in that V.A. hospital faster than you can blink."
Murdock narrowed his eyes at Stockwell. "You are one evil bastard, you know that?"
"I revel in it, Captain. So, do we have a deal?"
Murdock thought about it for a moment and then said, "I want you to stop being so tough on the whole team."
"You're pushing me, Captain."
"Hopefully right back to hell where you came from, General. That's the deal."
"Fine. But if your relationship with Peck causes problems, you will be the one to pay. If I loosen my grip on the A-Team, and they run, it will be YOU to do the punishment."
"Agreed. I'm willing to take the chance. I don't think that my team mates will let me down."
With that, the two shook hands, signed the papers, and Murdock quietly left.
Stockwell smiled as he came back to the present. The deal had worked. He had had reservations when Face moved into the townhouse with Murdock, but the two did seem to be getting along better and the whole team seemed more willing to do his missions when asked. 'Yes, it was very good indeed,' he thought with contentment.
Murdock woke the next morning to the phone ringing. He rolled over and fumbled with the phone before saying a groggy, "Hello?"
"Colonel! Good morning! What's going on?"
"Stockwell wanted me to call and tell you and Face to be here at the house today at two o'clock. He's being tight lipped about it, but he did tell me that he's having a party, and to dress western."
"That's what he said. Jeans, cowboy hat, you know...western. Took me by surprise too, but he seems to be in a good mood. I'm willing to go along with it."
"What time again? Two o'clock?"
"Two o'clock," Hannibal confirmed. "See you then."
Murdock hung up the phone and looked at the clock by the bed. 'Nine- thirty. Plenty of time to catch some more sleep.' He stretched and rolled over again and pulled Face close to him. He heard Face mumble something and bury his head deeper in the pillow. Murdock smiled. He had woke up with a hard on and saw no reason to let it go to waste. He began to gently kiss Face on his ear and smiled when Face moaned. "Are you awake?" he asked softly as he continued kissing the con-mans head.
"I am now. You're killing me, you know that right? I can only take so much."
"I could stop."
"And then I would have to hurt you." Face rolled over and smiled at his lover. "Woke up happy, did we?"
"More like woke up horny."
"I hope Hannibal wasn't the cause of that."
"My thoughts and dreams are only filled with you."
"Good. I don't like having to compete." Face quickly flipped Murdock over on his back and straddled him. "I can sort of be the jealous type."
"Sort of?" Murdock asked teasing.
Face growled and lowered his lips to Murdock's. The kissing soon turned from playful to passionate as Face ground into Murdock. Murdock let out a moan and said, "Now who's killing who?"
Face grinned and kissed his way down to Murdock's throat, gently sucking on his Adam's apple, and then moved down his chest. He took one nipple in his mouth and bathed it with his tongue. When it was hard, he turned his attention to the other one, loving the sounds he was causing to come from Murdock. He stopped and looked at his lover beneath him. His eyes filled with tears as he thought of everything they had been through together. But it made his heart swell to know that they HAD been through it together. Always leaning on each other. He traced the scars on Murdock's chest and he was lost in thought as he fingered each scar that had been left by bullet wounds, torture from the camps, and other mishaps on the different jobs they had taken over the years.
Murdock opened his eyes and watched Face. The con man was not aware he was being watched and it broke his heart to see the look in those eyes as his lover gently touched his scarred body. He ran his fingers through Face's hair and lifted it to his eyes. "Are you o.k.?" he asked softly.
Face nodded and kept tracing the scars. "I was just thinking about how many times I've almost lost you." He looked deep into Murdock's eyes and said what he was feeling. "If I didn't have you, I would be so incomplete. I don't think I would want to go on."
Murdock pulled him in close for a kiss and then guided his head to his chest. "You hear that?" he asked softly.
Face nodded. "It's your heartbeat."
"That's right. That heartbeat means I survived. I survived not only FOR you, but BECAUSE of you."
Face smiled and wiped away a tear. "Sometimes I get scared that...that I'll never see you again."
Murdock nodded. "I get that way too. It's natural. But Facey, that's life. Life is ever changing. The tide never comes in the same way twice. But it DOES come in. The tide rolls on. That's what makes life and love so special."
Face smiled again and said, "That's one of the things I love about you. You always know the right thing to say when I get too bogged down. You always lift my spirits.
"Well Facey, that's what I'm here for. That's love." He reached down between them and stroked Face's erection. "And you are my true love. You always have been, and no matter what life throws at us, no matter how the tide rolls in, you always will be."
Face felt himself grow hard again. "Murdock?" he gasped. "I need to feel you. I need to feel you in me. Right now. Please take me."
"You don't have to ask twice."
Face rolled to the side as Murdock opened the nightstand drawer and took out the oil. Face had already turned onto his back and Murdock turned him back over. "I want to see you. Please?"
Face nodded and spread his legs. He watched as Murdock prepared his finger and gasped when he felt him slide the well oiled finger in.
"Are you okay?"
"Better than okay. Don't stop."
Murdock smiled as he slipped another digit in and scissored to stretch his lover for what was to come. It always amazed him at how he never tired of seeing Face enjoying what he did to him. He kissed Face softly on the lips as he positioned himself at the entrance. When he had received a slight nod from Face, he entered him. He laid still for a moment to let Face adjust and then started rocking slowly back and forth. Finally, he put all of himself in Face and hit his sweet spot. Face moaned and moved with him, chanting Murdock's name. When he felt Murdock come in him, it sent him over the edge. They lay together for a while until Murdock eased out of him. Murdock ran his hands through his lover's hair and kissed him gently.
Murdock snagged a towel from the floor and cleaned them both up. He pulled Face into his arms and sighed. Face cleared his throat and said, "I love you, Murdock. Ever since I was nineteen years old, I have loved you." He smiled as he continued. "I'll never forget the first time I saw you."
"When was that?"
You were walking towards me. You had just landed a chopper and you had a cigarette in your mouth. You took one last drag off of it, and flicked it away. You had on a pair of camo pants, those army issue boots, and a green t-shirt. You were still wearing your sunglasses and you had a blue baseball cap turned around backwards on your head. You came up to me and said, 'Hi.
I'm H.M. Murdock. I'll be your pilot today.' You were so handsome. You still are. I thought I had never seen anything look as wonderful as you did at that moment."
Murdock laughed. "And now?"
"Now I know how wrong I was."
"Wrong?" Murdock asked, confused.
Face smiled. "About a week later, I saw you in your dress uniform. As much as I wanted you that first day, I wanted to do nothing but be your lover when I saw you in that thing."
Murdock chuckled. "Maybe I should bring it out from the back of the closet."
"Just make sure no one else is around when you put it on."
"I will not be held responsible for my actions."
Murdock kissed him on the top of his head. "Well, since we're having confession time, I still get a thrill when you walk into a crowded room. All the women, and some of the men, always turn to look at you. You don't know how good it feels to be able to think, 'that beautiful creature is my soul mate.' Sometimes I just want to take you right there in front of everyone."
Face laughed. "I will never enter a crowded room the same way again."
They were laughing in earnest now when the phone rang. Murdock rolled over to answer. "Hello?" He listened for a moment and then asked, "When?" He sighed and looked at the clock. "Give me forty-five minutes." He hung up the phone and turned to Face. "I gotta go."
"An agent just came in from a mission and I have to help debrief him."
"Someone from your department?"
"No. Another department. Sometimes they call other department heads in to help out. Looks like it's my turn today." He got up and headed towards the shower. "There's a party today at Stockwell's. It starts at two o'clock. The dress is western."
"That's what Hannibal said. Don't worry. I'll meet you there. I may be a little late, but I'll be there."
Face nodded and replied, "Okay." He rolled over to catch a little more sleep while Murdock showered and got dressed. When Murdock was ready to go, he leaned over the bed and kissed him on his cheek.
"I'll see you later."
"Okay. Be careful, and try not to be too late."
"Yes dear," Murdock teased as he walked down the hall. A minute later, Face heard the door close. Face sighed and closed his eyes. 'Yep. Life is pretty good,' he thought as he drifted off to sleep.
pulled up to the house and stepped out of his car. He felt a little uncomfortable
until he saw another party goer in the same type of clothes he was in. He
smiled and walked through the front door. He stopped in surprise by all the
people he saw. 'Must be a hell of a bash,' he thought as he made his way to the
bar. He ordered a beer and then turned to scan the room. He saw Hannibal, B.A.,
and Frankie standing in the corner talking and smiled. He thanked the bartender
for the beer and went to join them. There was a live country band playing in
the back yard, and the music wafted through the open doors. B.A. had his back
to the wall and was the first to see Face. When he motioned to him, Hannibal
and Frankie turned around. Hannibal smiled and held up his own beer in a
salute. "Face! Join us!"
Face smiled and clinked his beer bottle against the others. "Don't you guys look spiffy!" he joked.
Frankie grinned. "Some party, huh?"
"You got that right. Look at all the politicians. Wonder who's running Washington?"
"Same as always...nobody." Frankie laughed at his own joke.
"Where's the crazy fool?" B.A. asked.
"He had to go to the office for a while. He promised me that he'd be here later." He turned back to Frankie. "How are you enjoying your new job?"
Frankie smiled. "I love it! These guys are really something! I just think it's an honor to be connected to all of them. Even though, I do miss all of you guys."
Face nodded. "We miss you too, but I think this job is better suited for you than we were."
Frankie nodded his head in agreement. "I totally agree. Oh well. Just think, the next time you guys are out on a job, you might just use something I developed."
Face laughed. "Just make sure it's Murdock proof."
They all laughed. Suddenly, Frankie caught a woman across the room checking him out. "Excuse me. I think I'm being called."
They watched as he quickly crossed the room and struck up a conversation with the lady. She smiled at something he said and took his offered arm to walk outside with him. Hannibal grinned and then turned back to Face. "Come on. There's something we want you to see."
B.A. nodded in agreement. "You've gotta see this. Come on."
They walked down the hall to a room Face had never seen the inside of. He remembered one night how he started picking the lock, and an agent interrupted him. It had to be the most carefully guarded room around. As he walked into the open room now, he gasped at what he saw. There on the walls were pictures and photos of every kind. Some had been made professionally,
some not. He stopped in front of one and looked closely at it. "Who is that?" he asked.
"THAT is Stockwell...on his wedding day," Hannibal answered.
Face whistled softly. "His wife was beautiful."
"Yes she was. Come look at this one." Hannibal led Face across the room to another photo.
Face stopped and stared for a moment. "Oh my God.", he whispered. That's Colonel Sam Morrison."
"Read the plaque below it," B.A. said.
Face bent down and read the inscription aloud, "Major Samuel Robert Morrison and Mrs. Anna Morgan Stockwell. Married before God and their friends and family on August 23, 1960." Face quickly did the math as he stepped back to look at the picture again. "They had been married for 12 years when he got killed."
"Yeah. She's a beauty, isn't she?" Hannibal grinned. "No wonder Sam never strayed."
"She looks like Savanah," B.A. said gruffly.
Face agreed. "You're right. Something around the eyes and the smile."
He studied the picture a while longer and then stepped to the next one. He grinned in amusement. He didn't have to read the plaque to know that the baby in the christening gown was Savanah. He read this plaque aloud also. "The pride of her parents and the apple of her grandparents' eye. Our angel born on December 25, 1962. Savanah Murdock Morrison. The greatest gift we ever received." He stopped and looked at the picture again. "I didn't know her middle name was Murdock. That's strange."
"Not really, considering the Captain is her godfather."
They all turned in surprise to see Stockwell standing behind them. He came up beside them and looked at the picture with pride. "When she was born, she let out a howl that was earth shattering. I remember Sam turning to me and saying, 'My God. She sounds just like a pilot I know.' Later that night, he talked to Murdock. Murdock told him he would be honored to have his name
attached to her and he would be happy to be her godfather. So...she got the middle name of Murdock. Her first name comes from the city where she was conceived." Stockwell chuckled softly. "I've never told her that part, so let's keep that to ourselves. Okay?"
The others grinned and nodded. There were some things a person NEVER needed to know. They heard B.A. giggling across the room and turned to see what was so funny. He pointed to a picture and they all laughed. In the picture, Savanah was about four years old and sitting on top of General Stockwell's big oak desk with his dress uniform hat sitting crooked on her head, laughing. The general had a huge grin on his face and was saluting her. "Looks like you've surrendered, General," Hannibal teased.
"Boy don't I know it. She use to come into my office when she was little to hide when she got in trouble...which was all the time. She would come running down the hall and hide under my desk. She knew even then that she had me wrapped around her finger. She's always been a spitfire. The only comfort I had was that I wasn't the only one who was taken by little Miss Savanah Morrison." He smiled and pointed to another picture. "See if you can guess who that young man is, so taken by our little southern bell."
The team turned to look at the picture he was pointing at and their mouths dropped open. "She was three when that was taken," said. Savanah sat in a young LIEUTENANT Murdock's lap with his flight helmet on her head and his combat boots on her feet. She had a thumb in her mouth, her other arm wrapped around his shoulder, and her head on his chest...sound asleep. Murdock was sitting in a rocking chair with his head back and his eyes closed. He had a small smile on his face and they could tell the only person he was aware of in the room was the little girl on his lap. "The only girl that ever snagged me."
The men turned to see Murdock leaning against the doorway, laughing. He came up behind Face and wrapped his arms around his lover's waist. As he rested his chin on Face's shoulder and looked at the old black and white photo, he softly whispered, "God, was I ever THAT young?"
Face smiled. "I think we all ask that question about ourselves sometimes."
The team went around the room looking at all the different pictures. There was one of Anna Stockwell, Savanah's mother, as Miss Virginia. One of Savanah at about two on her grandmother's lap. They moved on and stopped, surprised, in front of another black and white photo. It was of the whole A-TEAM. They turned and looked at Stockwell with questions in their eyes.
"That was sent to Anna in 1970. Sam wrote on the back of it, 'My team and my friends.' Anna framed it and hung it on that wall herself. Every night, she would bring Savanah in here and tell her to kiss her daddy, her godfather, and their friends goodnight. She always did. Then, she would go back to her room and say a prayer for all of you before she went to bed. She was a sweet child with a big heart."
They moved on to pictures of Savanah at her high school graduation ("Valedictorian, and only sixteen", her grandfather announced with pride.), her college graduation ("Summa Cum Laude", he couldn't resist throwing in for good measure), and finally her own wedding portrait. Oddly enough, her husband Jack was not in the picture. "He didn't want any pictures made. Didn't see the point," Stockwell said angrily. "Savanah wasn't going to have one made either, but I put my foot down. I told her that I was paying for the wedding and damn it, there WOULD BE a picture of her in her wedding dress to grace the walls with her mother and grandmother."
They turned again and looked at Colonel Sam Morrison's daughter. The smile looked genuine, but her eyes gave her away. There was no twinkle, no laughter. "I still don't understand why she married that son of a bitch. I told her she didn't HAVE to. It would be fine without him"
Something in his tone made Hannibal study him closely. "What do you mean? What would be fine without him?"
Stockwell looked startled like he didn't realize he had spoke the thoughts out loud. He looked at the men and shook his head. "Don't tell Savanah I told you this." He took a deep breath and looked at the picture again. "She was expecting a baby. That's why they got married. She was pregnant. I told her she didn't have to marry him. I told her she could keep living here and I would help her. I told her that if she never worked another day in her life, she would be fine. My wife and I, and Sam and Anna, had seen to that. But she said no. They were already engaged when she got pregnant, and she just laughed and said 'we just jumped the gun a little. It'll be o.k.' I had my doubts, but I went along with it. Now I wish I had listened to my gut instinct."
Murdock had tightened his grip on Face and asked in a hard tone, "What happened?"
Stockwell walked over to the wedding picture of the Morrisons' and said, "About six weeks after they got married, Jack's mother and sister went over to their house. They started screaming at Savanah that the only reason she had gotten pregnant was to rope Jack." He laughed a hollow laugh. "Those bitches actually had the nerve to tell her that the only reason she married Jack was to get his money. Savanah was already in a weakened state, and she hadn't really learned to stand up for herself very well at that point in her life. She got upset and worked herself into a fit." He bowed his head and said softly, "She lost the baby that night." He turned and looked at the men. "I always sort of blamed myself. I was on a mission in Russia, and I didn't know what had happened until I got back about two weeks later." His eyes turned cold. "Jack was nowhere to be found, as usual. That's when I got the bastard transferred to my department. Savanah went into a deep depression and stayed in bed for almost a month. She was pretty tore up."
He sighed and turned to the men. "Please don't tell Savanah I told you about that. Not too many people know. I got my revenge, though. It was years later, but I got revenge for my grandchild." He smiled coldly. "Jack paid dearly for that mistake." He didn't expound and the others didn't ask. They knew he would never tell the secret hell he put the man through for doing what he did to Savanah.
Murdock was shaking as he held onto Face. He turned and looked at Savanah's picture and softly whispered, "My God. How much is one person supposed to take?"
They all pondered the situation for a few minutes in silence and then Stockwell cleared his throat. "Enough bad trips down memory lane. Shall we remember the good times today and go back to the party? Colonel, I'll buy you a drink and a good cigar."
Hannibal nodded. "Make it a stiff one and a Cuban and your on, General." The two walked out together with Hannibal's arm draped over Stockwell's shoulder. B.A. shook his head sadly and walked out behind them. Face turned to look at Murdock and asked softly, "Are you o.k.?"
Face was frightened by the look he saw in Murdock's eyes. "I REALLY want to kick Jack Crowder's ass."
Face nodded and asked, "I wonder how he got him back?"
Murdock grinned coldly. "He made me his boss...and I fired him. I even jerked his pilot's license away from him."
Face looked surprised. "When did this happen?"
"About two weeks ago. That's why he wanted to talk to Savanah." He turned to Face. "That's o.k. though. He's not around anymore. Savanah doesn't know it yet, but she will soon."
"Where is he?"
"Murdock laughed. "The Artic Circle. The only job he could get was at a watch station up there."
Face laughed with Murdock. "Remind me to NEVER work for you."
Murdock grinned slightly. "Nobody else has that problem anymore anyway."
"What do you mean?", Face asked, looking closely at his lover.
"Today was my last day."
"I quit the agency. I handed in my notice. That's what the meeting was about. It was MY debriefing. It was supposed to be Monday. I didn't want to tell you until after then. I know how much you hated me working for the Company, and you mean everything to me."
Face didn't know what to say. "Is that the only reason you quit?"
"No. There were other reasons."
"Only reason I took the job was as a favor to Stockwell. He wanted me to keep an eye on Savanah. She handed her resignation in last Tuesday, and I quickly followed suit." He turned and looked at Face. "I'm sorry I didn't discuss it with you. I'm tired Face. I just need a break from working for a while."
Face nodded in agreement. "I know. Don't worry. I think our pardons are coming soon. Stockwell hasn't sent us on any missions in a while, and I think our contract is coming to a close. Hannibal, B.A., and I talked about that. We think that's one reason Frankie's been transferred."
Murdock nodded. "I have gotten the same impression." He took his lover in a hug and held him for a long moment. "I pray to God this will all be over soon," he said quietly.
"Me too," Face answered. He stepped back and looked at Murdock again. "What's Savanah going to do?"
"She got her license to practice medicine back. I think she's going into private practice...after a VERY long vacation."
Face thought about this for a minute and grinned. "I think we need a long vacation, too. Maybe in Hawaii?"
Murdock smiled. "What do you have in mind, Lieutenant?"
"A nice hotel, plenty of liquor and even more room service. I want us to go to bed for at least a month."
"Name the date and time and I'm there."
They smiled and walked out of the room together. Leaving the old ghosts to rest, as they silently reminded all of the men that the tide truly does roll on.
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