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This page last viewed: 2017-10-20 and has been viewed 1672 times
by stompy sara
warnings: language, a little angst, and Amy *g*
archive: please, w/comment card
comments: any kind, muchachos
Amy Allen threaded the key she had received that morning onto her key ring; the front entrance to the beach house was dark, the insistent whisper of the waves coming through an open window on her left.
She heard faint voices in the back of the house, padded slowly through a living room illuminated only by the cloud-covered moon at the open window. Through a doorway, to her right, a long hallway with light shining through another doorway. A figure filled the frame, blocked out most of the light.
"Amy?" B.A.'s gruff, clipped greeting.
Amy interpreted the movement in the dark as an invitation. B.A. disappeared, and she walked hesitantly towards the light, into the room.
B.A. sat heavily in a folding chair in one corner of the room, scowled at the pieces of wire, tools, and other miscellaneous bits scattered over the card table in front of him. Face waved at her, pacing, a portable phone balanced between shoulder and chin, his hands occupied with a pad of paper and a pencil.
Murdock stood at the window, humming, his arms crossed tightly. He didn't turn at her entrance.
Amy walked to the bed dominating the room, perched on the foot of it nervously. "So, what's up guys? Where's Hannibal?"
"He'll be back." B.A. chose not to elaborate. Amy sighed. She wasn't sure how B.A. felt about her; he never smiled at her, but then, she hadn't seen him smile at anything in the short weeks she'd known these men. She flicked her gaze to the tall man at the window, wondered what he could be looking at in all that darkness. Face was speaking into the phone.
"I'll be there tomorrow, seven a.m. sharp. Yup. Sounds good." Face smiled at the handset as he hung up. "Another problem solved. We'll have plenty of ammo tomorrow, B.A. No questions asked."
"Your welcome," Face said dryly. He turned to Amy, the smile dazzling. "Hi Amy! Good of you to come. Would you like anything to drink?"
Amy shook her head. "Don't treat me like a guest, Face. I'm here because Hannibal sent me a note and a key this morning. No explanations, just this address and an order - " she stressed the word, " - to be here. So, that means I'm working with you guys again." She couldn't help smiling, anticipation rushing with excitement through her. "So what's the deal? You need info on someone? Need an extra hand?"
Face expression changed at that question. He looked at B.A., slid his eyes to Murdock. The smile faltered.
"We might need you as, uh - let's call it backup. Just in case. We need every hand in this one, and, ah, it doesn't hurt to bring you along. . ." He turned towards the door. "I'll just go get that drink. We have some gamay in the fridge? Sattui's? It's something I picked up when I was in the Napa area last month."
"Sure." Amy watched him leave, tried to catch B.A.'s eye. The big man lowered his head purposefully over the device in his hands. Well fine, then. Guess she'd have to figure this out for herself. She got up slowly, went to Murdock's side. Still the pilot did not acknowledge her.
Clouds floated wraithlike across the sliver of moon. Fitfully, the light hitting the waves, dimming again. Murdock humming at her side. Amy didn't recognize the tune. It was singsong, the key flat and strange. As she watched, he drew one curtain around himself, blocking the light coming from the bedside lamp. The view before them jumped into clarity.
"Hey," she said softly.
"There's a ring around the moon tonight," he drawled, the accent long and lazy. "It's gonna be cold."
"It is cold," she confirmed, glad to keep him talking. The look in his eyes was too dreamy, too far away from this room, this moon. She wondered if she knew what she was doing.
"Body heat," Murdock said, tightening his hold on the curtain. "You can make it through, with body heat."
Amy reached out, hesitated. Dropped her arm. "You don't have to worry about that here, Murdock."
He turned a long gaze on her. His dark eyes were lost in shadow. She was aware of his breathing, his grip on the curtain. "Never, ever let down your guard. The walls have ears. The jungle has eyes. The moon reaches out cold, cold fingers, your breath
crystallizes. You blink, and you're dead. Or the guy next to you. He forgot to say goodbye in the night. He escapes, but doesn't take you with him."
"Shuttup, fool. We ain't in the camps no more." B.A. crashed his fist down on the card table.
Murdock laughed. Amy backed away, sorry she'd opened her mouth. She was out of her depth here. The man she'd met at the VA hospital had been replaced by this cold, haunted stranger. Keeping her movements small and slow, she went back to her seat on the bed. Thankfully, Face entered with two wineglasses in his hands. She rose to take one, steering him with her eyes back out into the hallway.
"What's the deal here?" she hissed, her breathing shaky. "He shouldn't be out of the hospital like that."
Face shrugged uneasily. "We don't like to leave him there too long, even if it seems he would benefit from their care," he said, moving back farther along in the hallway. "We have his medication - Amy, we can't visit him regularly, you know that. The only way we can be there for him is if we break him out once in a while."
"He's talking about - "
"I know," he interrupted, his eyes hard. "We'll take care of him, okay?" He started to move around her. Amy stopped him with a gentle hand on his arm.
"Face. Can I ask you something - personal?"
"What?" Guarded tone.
"Did it - was it cold there? In the camps."
She tried not to flinch away from the pain in his eyes. "Yes," he said, voice low. "If you were sick - and we frequently were - the chill could kill you." She thought he would say more, but he closed his eyes, said nothing further.
"Face - I'm sorry - "
Face shook his head. "Don't be. Look kid, we trust you, right? Murdock trusts you - hell, he sticks up for you all the time. Don't be afraid of him - of us. We just - some nights it's hard to forget."
"Yeah. Yes. Okay."
"Okay." He smiled, the elegant conman back. "Hannibal should be here soon. I'll give you a run-down of the mission." He started back toward the room.
"Hey," she called, catching up with him, "What do you mean, 'sticks up for me'? What's he gotta do that for? Face. . . "
Amy leaned in the open window, breathing in sea air, a scent that always brought her calm. She could see the Colonel's white hair glinting in moonlight as he strode down the path. He waved to her; she smiled, glad that the guys had decided to move to the living
room. The back bedroom was becoming claustrophobic.
She glanced behind her at Murdock. He sat quietly on the sofa, a little zoned, medication taking the edge off of his memories. He looked up, grinned, more like himself.
"Hey, come on over here muchacha."
Amy crossed the room, sat next to him. He leaned towards her conspiratorially.
"You ever been through the looking-glass?"
She watched his body language, his eyes, but they didn't hold the past in them like they had before. This was just the sweetly zany pilot she'd come to like. Amy smiled indulgently.
"No, Murdock, I've never been through the looking glass."
"Everything's backwards. Black is white. Things don't make sense, but that's because they're reflections - you're lookin' at yourself backwards. Inside out and upside down. Sometimes light. Sometimes - sometimes dark. . ."
Hannibal came through the door, cigar-smoke trailing behind him. He nodded at them. "Amy. Captain. How are the preparations going?" He strode into the adjoining kitchen without waiting for an answer.
"Hey Colonel. You ever been through the looking-glass?"
Hannibal didn't so much freeze as pause, his hand halfway out of the brown paper bag on the counter in front of him. He looked up across the breakfast bar at his pilot. His eyes held that knowing look Amy had come to recognize.
"Yes, I've stepped through a couple times, Captain," he said slowly, walking towards them, a can of soup forgotten in his hand. His gaze was searching, assessing.
"I been through there today," Murdock stated, leaning back on the sofa. He glanced at Amy, and his eyes matched his smile. "Back and forth. I don't think I need to visit there again tonight."
"No. I don't think you do. You stay here with us a while. We need your help on this one, Captain." Hannibal spoke to Amy with his eyes, and she nodded, gave a thumbs-up. He turned back towards the kitchen, his step sure. Amy smiled. When she looked at
Murdock again, he had a question in his eyes.
"Did I scare you earlier muchacha?"
Amy nodded slightly. "Yeah, a little. I just didn't know if - if there's something I can do to help - "
He shook his head. "Naw. Just get trapped in the ol' noggin sometimes. Go through to the other side."
"Yeah, you shoulda stayed there, sucka," B.A. said from behind them, making Amy jump. She turned to glare.
"Geez, you could warn a person, you know!"
"Tch. Open up them ears. I got the transmitters workin', Hannibal."
Murdock grinned mischievously. "The mudsucka likes you. Can't you just feel all that love and warmth comin' from the Big Guy?" B.A. pointedly ignored him.
Face appeared to Murdock's right, slightly behind the sofa. Amy didn't miss the look that passed between them, the question unspoken, the answer given. Face squeezed Murdock's shoulder, joined the rest of the team in the kitchen.
"Before you even ask, Face, no, I did not get that take-out you wanted."
"Aw, Hannibal, it's the best on the wharf!"
"Their entrees start at twenty dollars. Forget it. There's plenty of food in here."
"Chef Boyardee and pork 'n' beans does not constitute food."
"Chef Boyardee?" Murdock piped up from beside Amy. "You got ravioli, Faceman?"
"Ravioli? You want ravioli, Murdock, you go to Fontana's. You do not open a can of Chef Boyardee."
"Hey!" the pilot said indignantly, "the Chef and I go way back! You can break out some a' that, right? Come to think of it, maybe the Big Guy should do it."
"And why is that?"
"Come on Face, we all remember that soup you made when we were at LZ Cork."
Face threw up his hands. "We were in the middle of a monsoon, and I had water, freeze-dried beef, and a can of sterno. What the heck do you want from me?"
"Well, the pilots down the hill didn't seem to have any trouble. . ." In the background, Hannibal was laughing around his cigar. Amy would swear she'd seen B.A. smile.
She watched them warily, but the tension that had accompanied the dialogue earlier in the night had faded. The light banter was just that - friends who knew each other intimately could tease each other. That was all. She took a deep breath, thought about the things she'd learned about them tonight. About the things she'd seen with these men, this team, in the past month.
Damn, it would have made a hell of a story.
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