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This page last viewed: 2017-08-15 and has been viewed 2016 times
Rating: PG 13
Disclaimer: The characters of the A Team belong to SJC. I am making no profit from this venture.
Summary: When the team barges in on Amy's vacation, they learn some startling information.
Notes: I've stayed out of the Amy discussion and whether or not the team liked her, put up with her, or merely used her to get their information. BUT now I have to come forward with my view that not only did they like her but that they appreciated her and she was a valued member of the team. I think this is what the creators of the show intended as they did write her the PILOT. To me, that makes her an original member ... not an add on or a wanna be ... At least, this is the view that is going to be portrayed by this writer in this fiction.
"Hannibal! Why am I here?" Amy Allen stood with her arms crossed and glared at her 'kidnappers'.
Amy had been more and more fed up with them and their escapades involving near misses with the MP's in recent months. She'd swear that they enjoyed snubbing their noses at the uniformed men. So she told them that she had jumped at the chance to get out of LA and to see her college friends when an impromptu reunion had been organized. She'd called in one night and told them that she was going out of town for a few days and that she wouldn't be available to help them. Hannibal had told her to enjoy herself and that was the last she'd seen of him or the team until she'd been paged overhead to answer the white courtesy phone just before she boarded at LAX that morning. At the phone, she had been grabbed and pulled, unceremoniously from the busy terminal. Only the fact that it was Hannibal kept her from putting up a major struggle.
Hannibal held up his hands in placation and urged her, "Hold on, kid. I've got a good reason for pulling you off that flight."
Her tightly pursed lips and still tightly crossed arms told him that he better have a damn good reason and that he better spit it out ... now. He took a deep breath and prepared to answer. Before he could speak, Face and BA rushed in, crashing the doors of the van open then closed, yelling. "Decker! Go ... Hannibal ... go!"
"Damn!" Hannibal turned back and twisted the ignition. The van purred to life and they raced away from the airport parking lot with a military entourage in pursuit.
Twenty miles later, they turned hard to the left and then right and left again, losing the military police between a donut shop and an auto repair garage. Hannibal threw the van in reverse and spun into the last slot of the auto repair shop even as the owner, a good friend, cued the automatic door to slide down behind them.
"Thanks Butch!" BA rolled down his window and nodded to the grease covered black man.
"No problem, man." He went to the door looked left and right and then lifted the door again. "Looks clear to me."
Hannibal switched places with BA so that the sergeant could drive and lit a cigar as they rolled sedately back into LA traffic, unnoticed.
Meanwhile, Amy had relaxed her grip on the armrests of her seat and resumed glaring at Hannibal. Clearing her throat, she arched questioning eyebrows at him and tapped her foot on the gray carpet. She'd recently cut her hair short and despite the lack of weight to toss, the head toss she executed was enough to let them know she was irritated and the tapping of the foot only verified it.
Hannibal started to speak only to be interrupted by Face. "Hey, Amy... glad to see that the colonel got you off that plane in time."
Exasperated, Amy finally let out one explosive breath and demanded, "In time for what!?"
Face looked at her askance. Then he looked quizzically to Hannibal. "You didn't tell her?"
"Uh, no. I haven't had a chance yet ..."
BA took that moment to interfere from the front seat, "Looks all clear, Colonel."
"Good, BA. Just head out of LA toward ... where exactly where you going again, Amy?"
Amy uncrossed her arms and fidgeted in her seat. "Uh, well ... the reunion is at a spa in Mount Clearwater."
"Oh yeah, now I remember."
Just as Hannibal was getting the map out of the glove box to find the best route, she sighed and admitted, "But I wasn't exactly headed there."
Slowly, Hannibal laid down the paper map and looked at her over his cigar. "You wanna explain that a little better?"
Amy sighed again and rolled her head on her shoulders. "I was going to go to the reunion, but when I looked at my calendar, I realized that I had already made plans for this weekend and so I canceled the reunion and changed my flight at the last minute."
Grimacing for Amy, Face tossed her an encouraging look and sat back in his seat. She had broken rule number one: Never lie to Hannibal ... especially about where you are going and how you can be reached. Sure he had broken it himself, more than once, and therefore he knew just what she was in for. He really felt for her ... really.
Hannibal squinted at her and clenched his teeth around his cigar. "And when were you going to tell me about this change, exactly?"
Mumbling under her breath, she shifted lower in her seat.
"Excuse me, Miss Allen. What was that?" Hannibal demanded.
Louder now, Amy sat up straight again and defiantly retorted, "I said, I wasn't."
"And just what makes you better than any other member of this team, Allen? What makes you think that you can run off at the drop of a hat and not tell anyone just what you are up to?" Hannibal's voice never rose and he never moved a muscle toward her, but she shrank back a bit anyway.
Gulping, she drew in a steadying breath and began to speak. "Hannibal, it's not like you all really think of me as a member of the team. I'm just your gopher and information broker. Why would what I'm doing or where I am going be that important to you, after all?"
Taken back by her own stated view of her position on his team, Hannibal fell silent and thought about what she had just said. Unsure how to approach this matter, he decided to let it lie for the moment and instead deal with why he had pulled her off her flight. He pulled a single sheet of paper from his inner pocket and handed it over to the woman before him. "This is why it was and is important."
She reached for the paper and tried to ignore the fact that he hadn't negated her position on the team. But then, she hadn't expected him to. She was just what she said she was ... and nothing more.
Settling back into her sulk, she skimmed over the single spaced, crudely typed words and felt her mouth drop open. With eyes wide, she looked back at Hannibal and said, "So ... where's Murdock? Why isn't he here? Some one is obviously after him ..."
Face interrupted, "Murdock? Where in that did you get Murdock?"
"Face! This note plainly says that these people are and I quote, 'going to go after and take out the secret member of the A-Team.' That's Murdock!"
Hannibal nodded but said nothing. Face gently suggested, "Keep reading, Amy."
Mumbling under her breath, Amy read aloud, "We know all about her schedule, her home address and what time she arrives at and leaves the office and just where she meets you for your little briefings ..." Amy's voice trailed off and she dropped the note into her lap in shock. The words 'her' and 'office' reverberated through her head. This notes was obviously meant to point at her!
She thought she was so careful. She always paid close attention when she entered and left the newspaper building and especially when she was going to meet the team. After a few moments of such random thoughts, she cleared her throat and spoke softly, "I'm sorry, guys. I had no idea I was being watched ... I ... guess I've put you all in danger ..."
Once more Hannibal narrowed his eyes at her over the remaining stub of his cigar. "It doesn't matter right now, Amy. Besides, I'm not sure you put us in as much danger as we've put you. Whoever this is, they are good ... they've seen us and they've seen you. For now, the best thing we can do, is go get Murdock and get out of town for a while."
"Awe, Hannibal ... why we gotta go get the fool? I'm already miles away from Westwood." BA grumbled even as he turned the van in the right direction.
"Sorry, BA. Change of plans. We'll just tag along with Amy and keep an eye on her ... where did you say you were really going, kid?" In typical Hannibal humor, the disagreement about her lack of complete truth in her plans was forgotten and he was grinning at the thought of the new adventure to come.
Face grinned back at him and fell in line with his jazzy mood. "I don't think she ever told us, Hannibal ..."
Hannibal and Face both turned expectant eyes to her and waited on an answer. She twisted restlessly in her seat, crossing her jeans clad legs nervously. "Uh ... well ... you see."
"No, but I'd like to. Spill it, kid." Hannibal barked gruffly.
Her instinct was to tell them to head back to LA and they could all just weather this threat in familiar surroundings. But, she had a long-standing date to keep and she hadn't missed it in years. So she made up her mind and offered a temporary compromise. "Okay, but I don't want any comments from you guys. I mean, what I do with my personal time is my business, right? I don't want to know what you are doing when we aren't working, do I?" Amy waited on a response.
Face grinned. "No, I don't think you do ..." He waggled his eyebrows and settled back in his seat.
Hannibal chuckled and retorted, "My life is an open book. If I'm not at home, or with the team, I'm on the set." He shrugged as if daring her to deny this.
"Fine. You can go with me. But I won't explain it right now ... just head for the town of Ashland, in Southern Oregon." She looked at Hannibal as she spoke, her brown eyes asking for some time.
The silver haired colonel debated with himself for a moment. Finally, he glanced at his first officer. Face just shrugged in return. What did they have to lose? They had gotten her off the plane before anyone else could. She was safe and once they had Murdock, if they were attacked, at least they had a full unit to fight with.
"Fine. BA, we get Murdock, then head," he paused to consult the map he retrieved from his lap. "north on I-5. Looks like Ashland is about 16 hours from here."
At that point, the van pulled up beside the back entrance of the VA and Face slipped out, shrugging on a white lab coat as he went. Ten minutes later, he and Murdock reappeared and nonchalantly hopped in the sliding door.
"No problem, Colonel. Facey here just gets better and better ... What's up?" Murdock secured his hat on his head and stowed his duffle bag in the back.
"We're taking a vacation, Captain. Sounds fun, huh?"
"Sure does. Where we going?" Murdock grinned at the other passengers as they all looked at Amy.
"It seems to be some kind of secret. We're going with Amy." Face nudged the pilot over and eased back onto the rear bench seat.
"Oh, we're taking Amy's vacation and it's a surprise, too! This just gets better and better." The wacky pilot nudged Amy's knee, expecting her to grin in return. Her answering smile was small and unconvincing.
"It's not a secret, guys! It's just ... personal and difficult to explain." Amy interjected before Murdock could begin to guess the whereabouts of their destination.
"Everybody shut up and sit down. We're leavin'." BA reversed the van and headed for the interstate to connect with I-5.
"You heard the man, we're leaving." Amy fastened her seatbelt, reclined her seat just a bit and turned away from the others. Feigning a yawn, she mumbled, "Wake me when we get to Oregon ..."
Face, Murdock and Hannibal all exchanged curious looks. Amy was not one to sleep all through a road trip. She was one of the last to sleep in the van usually. She was definitely hiding something from them. But what? And what impact would it have if they were attacked by whomever sent that letter?
Hannibal perused the road before them. "Face, better keep an eye on our back trail. We'll switch off positions to keep watch. Everybody settle in for a road trip."
Eight hours, three stops and six greasy take out burgers later, Hannibal directed BA to pull in at the next motel that he saw. He swiveled in his seat to look at the drowsy passengers behind him and announced, "We're stopping for the night. We'll get an early start in the morning ..."
"We can't stop!" Amy sat straight up, eyes wide and urgent.
"Excuse me?" Face asked, somewhat perturbed by the reporter's continued refusal to give any details about this trip. He really wasn't quite sure why Hannibal was indulging her.
"I mean, if we stop ... I'll be late." She scooted forward to the edge of the rear bench seat she had been shuffled to after their last pit stop. "Please ... I'll drive ..." Inwardly she groaned. She hated this long drive, but she had made it before and would make it again. Only her busy work schedule and team activities had prompted her to book the flight she'd tried to get on earlier. She had to be on time ...
BA looked sharply at her in the rearview mirror and she knew he wasn't letting her get anywhere near driving his van. She thought frantically for another way. "Look, just drive until we get to someplace I can rent a car. You guys stop and rest and I'll drive on. You can meet me there tomorrow."
"Allen! We don't know where 'there' is!" Hannibal was exasperated and completely confused. What was she hiding?
Amy stared at him mutely. She recognized the tone of Hannibal's voice. It wasn't usually aimed at her. Usually it was reserved for Face and his never ending scams or Murdock and his latest fantasy. But just now, it was all for her. On top of his earlier displeasure with her attempt to deceive him about her destination, this outburst, she knew, meant he was through indulging her.
She was defeated. She was going to have to tell them what was going on. She'd just as soon cut off her own right arm. Sighing, she capitulated. "Fine ... when we stop, I'll tell where we're going and why."
She only hoped they could still see a way to call her their friend when it was over.
At the window of the cabin set high in the foothills surrounding the town of Ashland, he looked out over the small town below. They'd been coming here for years. The town had grown. Not much ... but the canopy of city lights spread a bigger glow over the night sky than they had all those years ago when they had taken their first vacation here together.
First as children and later as the young man and woman they became, he knew they had often walked at the edges of the woods. Their voices rang through his mind as they had through the trees all those years ago. They had been close, those two; telling secrets and wishes and plans. If you missed one, look for the other and you'd find them both. That was what he used to say. So many years ago ...
Anthony scrubbed a hand over his whiskered face and moved purposely toward the kitchen. She'd rent a car at the airport and drive the rest of the way here. She should be here anytime. In fact, she should have been here some time ago. He'd busy himself with supper for now ... she'd be hungry when she got here ... **when** she got here ... Tonight they'd sleep and tomorrow ... well... tomorrow would take care of itself ...
When he turned away from the window, he never saw the flash of the setting sun on the binoculars in the hands of the man who watched him from below. The man lowered the glasses and switched on his radio. "No sign of Allen or the A-Team yet, sir."
The radio squealed in his ear and a staticy voice replied, "Stay on the old man. She'll show. And since they yanked her off that plane, the A-Team will come with her. We'll get them all for the price of one."
"Yes sir ...Roger that and out." The watcher settled against the tree and waited.
Climbing from the van last, Amy stretched her long legs and yawned, for real this time. She was bushed, but she knew she still had a long way to go before she could rest. She still had to come clean with the team. Hauling her overnight bag from its spot under the bench seat, she angled her face to Hannibal's. I'm going to make a call while you check us in. I'll meet you back here."
"Use the van phone, if you want. We'll come get you in a few minutes. Murdock, stick around just in case." Hannibal gave his orders and strode away with Face and BA in tow. Amy dropped her bag and slid back into the van, pulling the door shut behind her. She quickly picked up the receiver and placed her call.
From outside, Murdock debated for scant seconds, then eased up close to the crack in the slider door. It hadn't caught completely and he could plainly hear Amy's voice as she spoke.
"Hello? It's me. I'm sorry ... I'm going to be late. I decided to drive instead of flying at the last minute. It's going to be tomorrow before I make it." A pause, a heavy sigh and then she continued, "I know ... I know ... I'll be there, I promise. I know what time we always do this, Dad! I'll make it, I promise. Good night." Murdock heard the phone returned to its cradle and swiftly moved back, out of range. He shoved his hands in his pockets and stared up at the evening sky.
Amy replaced the receiver carefully and sat with her head cushioned on her folded hands. It never got any easier. Her father was always going to be the hard distant man he had become so many years ago. He hadn't always been that way. He used to be fun, kind and warm. That was before ...
Shaking her mind free of this thought, she stood and moved back out of the van. Joining Murdock, she waited for the others to return and mentally braced her self for the conversation to come.
Ten minutes later, from the bed in her single room, Amy heard their knock. Drawing in a fortifying breath, she stood, crossed the ugly, flat green carpet and opened the door after checking through the window. She had already decided that her best chance was to be open and upfront with them. She opened her mouth and started to speak, "Okay, come on in and I'll tell you all about it ..."
"Kid, why didn't you just say you were going to see your father? That's no terrible crime. I think ... I thought that we had more trust in each other than that." Hannibal had interrupted her before she could even start on her story.
"Yeah, I think it's kinda cute, that you were sneaking off to see your dad. Makes me think of you as daddy's little girl, or something." Murdock grinned and reached out to ruffle her hair.
"What? How? OK ... who spied on me? Face!" Amy rounded on him as the usual sneaky suspect.
"Whoa! Don't look at me. Murdock was the one who was left with you..." Face held up his hands in defense and backed away a step.
Turning with narrowed eyes, Amy headed toward the pilot. Hannibal interrupted and spoke, "It doesn't matter who did what, Allen. The important thing is; why are you trying to hide that you were going to see your father?"
"Look, it's a long story and one that I can show you better than I can tell you. Now that you know where we are going and who we are meeting, can this wait until we get to the cabin tomorrow? I'm beat and I know you all are, too." Her exhaustion must have been visible for Hannibal backed down, nodding warily.
"Fine. But you aren't staying in here alone. We still don't know anything about who sent that note or why. We're going to buddy up tonight. But I will let you pick who gets to bunk on your floor, Amy." He lit a fresh cigar and waited for her answer.
Wearily, she flopped on the bed, covered her face with one arm and pointed blindly with the other. "Him, I guess ..." Daring to peak, she found her finger pointed at Face and sighed. 'Well, at least he won't want to talk all night like Murdock would.'
Resigned to his fate, Face left to gather his bag and returned to find Amy in the shower and Hannibal waiting for him by the outer door. "Sorry, about this Face. But this a better cover than BA or me. Murdock would have just made a nuisance of himself. And if you can get her talk, that's even better."
"Talk? Hannibal, Amy barely speaks to me on good days. Why would she spill her guts to me now?" The blond man didn't bother to wait for an answer. He just rolled his eyes and went past the older man into the room.
Going to the bathroom door, he called, "Amy, I'm out here!"
A muffled, "Okay," filtered through the thin door. Ten minutes later, she emerged and Face entered the bathroom. When he was finished, he found her sound asleep in the bed. A pillow and blankets were waiting for him on the floor. He muttered to himself, "Make her talk? Ha ..." He settled on the floor, gun within reach, and drifted into a light sleep.
Sometime later, he woke to Amy's sleepy voice and restless movement on the bed. "But why? Andrew ... why do you have to go? Dad says he might be able to get you exempted ..." She tossed the cover back and twisted onto her back. Her eyes were closed and she obviously still slept. Her sleepy, almost child like tone continued, "Get yourself killed ... I've seen the reports ... not a kid anymore."
For a time, Face watched her sleep peacefully again and was just about to fall back to sleep himself when she twisted once more and suddenly began to sob in her sleep. Her words were jumbled and watery, and Face rose, moved closer, thinking to wake her. Suddenly she sat straight up and panted, "Not Andrew! No Daddy, no please ... don't say it ..." Tears began to fall down her cheeks unchecked and Face could bear no more.
Kneeling beside her on the bed, he shook her shoulder and spoke low in her ear. "Amy ... Amy ... come on; wake up. It's Face. You're having a nightmare. Come on kid, wake up."
As she woke, she reached out and felt for the human warmth next to her. Grabbing his t-shirt in her hands, she clutched it tight. Her eyes were open and aware and she breathed harshly as reality came back to her. "Face? Oh ... I'm sorry. I didn't mean." She released her hold on him and tried to back away. The cool night air had penetrated the room and she shivered as it touched her sweat dampened skin. "I'm so sorry. I must have woken you."
Face reached out and took her cold hands in his. Chafing them with his own, he dismissed her protests. "It's okay. We all have nightmares." He pulled her forward and draped her blanket around her. "You're cold. Com'ere." Angling her in front of him, he wrapped his arms around her from behind and fell silent.
After several minutes, she laughed nervously and offered, "This feels really weird, Face."
"Well, I won't tell if you won't ... if you will tell me one thing." He felt her stiffen in his arms and allowed her to move away from him some. "Amy? Who's Andrew?"
Turning to look him in the eye, she whispered, "Andrew was my brother."
"Your brother? I didn't know you had a brother." Face backed away enough to see her more clearly in the shimmering light from the green security lamp outside the window. "Come on kid, let's have it all."
"It's a long story, Face. Can't we just sleep now?"
"Amy, you either tell me now, or Hannibal in a few minutes after I go get him. But either way, this has got to come out. It's getting to you. And if it's getting to you, it can get to the team. Anything that can affect you this way ..."
"Can affect the team ... I know. I've heard it before, Face. It's just usually aimed at you," Amy sourly noted.
"It is kind of nice to be on the giving side of the lecture." He winked at her and then grew serious again. "Amy ...?"
"Okay, fine ... I guess I'd rather tell you than Hannibal. After you decide you can't stand me anymore, I'll just pack and leave quietly and you can explain it all to the others." She adjusted her blanket and sat cross-legged in the middle of the bed. "Andrew was more than my older brother. He was my best friend and we were very close. When he died, I thought I was going to die, too."
Face leaned back against the headboard of the bed and listened to her story for the next hour. Her words were halting at first. She stopped often and wasn't able to look him in the face. When her story was over, she did look up to him and ask, "So, can you ever forgive me for not telling you all the truth from the start?"
"I think so. Amy, what is there to forgive? You've been our friend, our teammate. So, it didn't start out exactly that way ... It's not what you were that counts ... it's what you became. And you became one of us." Face shook his head and held out his hand.
Hesitantly, she reached out and accepted his hand. He tugged and pulled her into his arms. "Oh, Face, how am I supposed to tell them that I lied and have been lying for years?"
"Just like you told me, kid. Just like you told me ..." He stroked her hair as she let her tears fall freely. Finally exhausted and just as the sun was beginning to light the sky a rosy hue, she slept, leaving him alone with his thoughts.
The full morning light came all to soon and just as Face himself fell into a restless slumber, Hannibal knocked on the motel door and called, "Rise and shine, kiddies. Time to roll."
Groaning and more than a bit embarrassed at the intimate tangling of their bodies, Face and Amy rolled out of the bed and began to wake. When Amy had dressed and left the bathroom to him, she was finally able to meet his gaze.
Face smiled reassuringly, "You have to tell them today."
"I know, I will. I will ... I promise." She pleaded for just a little more time.
"Okay ... but if you don't say something today, I will." Face rubbed his hand down her arm as he passed. "It has to come out." She nodded and began to pack her bag. Behind her, Face nodded thoughtfully. She would tell them, and he hoped Hannibal reacted as he always had when people came to them for the same reason she had begged, pleaded and manipulated herself onto the team.
The rest of the drive was uneventful. For seven hours they headed north on the long stretch of interstate. The only diversion had come when BA had pulled the van into a small town gas station for a full tank of fuel. Sliding out of the driver's side door, BA had the fuel door open and his hand on the gas pump nozzle before Amy thought to warn him. "Oh, BA, wait!"
An older, grizzly man with grease stained hands and grungy gray work pants approached from the shop and offered, "May I help you?" He stretched his arm out and attempted to take the gas nozzle from BA's hand. "Guess you folks must be in a hurry. I didn't hear you pull in, sorry about that. How much gas you need?"
"I need a full tank and I can do it myself." BA growled down at the proprietor.
Amy stuck her head around the front seat and explained, "Actually, BA, you can't. It's illegal for you to pump your own gas in the state of Oregon."
"What?" BA glared at her then the stubborn man who was still hanging on the gas nozzle. "That's just foolish."
"Could be ... but it's the law. And we don't want any trouble with the law, now do we?" Hannibal shrugged and grinned as if to say, 'What are we supposed to do?'
Still grumbling, BA released the gas hose, but didn't move away. Maybe he couldn't pump the fuel, but he could make sure the other man did it right!
Soon they pulled away with a full tank and a still gripping sergeant. Amy sat up and began to speak as they came into the city limits of Ashland. "Just drive straight through, BA. The cabin is on the other side of town, just a few miles outside the city."
Face appraised the property as they passed and soon came to the conclusion, that even though Ashland was small, it was a prosperous town. The homes were spacious, with well-tended lawns. Expensive vehicles were parked in driveways and open garages and the people who were out merely glanced at them indifferently as they drove past. He whistled as they passed a luxury car parked next to two-story brick home with formal gardens front and back. "Nice town ... folks have very good taste here."
Amy agreed absently, she seemed to not be seeing the streets at all. Her eyes were dimmed and Face suspected she was seeing not the streets of today, but of her childhood; as she might have seen them with Andrew by her side. "Lots of retirement homes here, even more vacation and summer homes. High-income families, old money, new money, what have you ... they all seem to want to vacation or live here for some reason."
"Your dad owns a place here?" Hannibal asked, puzzled. He'd never thought of Amy as coming from a wealthy family.
"Yeah, we came here for vacations for years when we were kids. He's been living here alone for about the last 18 years now ..." Amy relaxed as they left the city limits and began to see older, summer cabins dotting the hills and valleys. "Turn left up here, BA. The cabin will be about five miles down this road. It's the only one on this road ... it's a dead end at the driveway."
She sat back and sighed audibly. It was always hard to come back here, expecting, wanting to see things that she never would again; people who were no longer alive and that she missed every day. Face looked over at her. She sat in Murdock's seat as the pilot had been relegated the rear bench seat for singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the wall, backwards, for the last three hours. He caught her eye and smiled. Nodding to her, he conveyed his support and she smiled softly in return.
Hannibal, catching the exchange in the mirror on his sun visor, started to comment just as BA slammed the brakes on and yelled, "Hey! What's that? What's going on?!"
Before them, at the edge of the drive that lead to the Allen family cabin, two men in dark clothes wrestled an older man to the ground and pointed a pistol in his face. The man on the ground refused to speak, shaking his head vehemently. Viciously, the bigger of the men holding him down, kicked his ribs then shook him hard by the collar.
"What the hell?" Face murmured even as he reached for the gun in his shoulder holster. "Hannibal, we have to stop this ..."
"DAD!" Amy yelled out as they got close enough to distinguish the beaten man's features. "That's my father."
The van skidded to a halt and Face threw the sliding door open. Murdock, retrieving weapons from the back, joined him on the ground and passed the guns to Hannibal and BA as they exited the front doors.
Hannibal fired warning shots over the two captors' heads and watched, grinning, as they hit the ground, trembling. "Who are you? What's going on out here?"
Amy rushed forward despite Face's warning to wait and kneeled next to her father. She checked his face and ribs then assisted him to scoot away from the scene of the unfolding confrontation.
"Don't matter who we are! We know who you are, Smith. We've been watching you. We knew the girl would be the key." The man who had kicked Anthony Allen raised his head and sneered at the team. He started to rise only to find himself kissing the dirt again when Face fired only inches above his head.
"Big talk for someone face down on the ground ..." Face moved forward and nudged the first man over and quickly searched his pockets. Pulling out a wallet, he flipped it open to the ID and read, "William Gordon ... Gordon, Gordon, I know! You're the freelance hit man that pulled off the assassination of that Senator a few years ago! The FBI has been looking for you all over! I never did figure out how you managed to get past the security for that hit. Had to be just dumb luck! You two sure don't look very smart."
Growling, the man's companion lurched forward and grabbed for Face's ankles. Hannibal stepped up to him and gave him a glancing blow with the butt of his gun just as Face stepped nimbly out of the way. "Freelance, huh? Who hired you, scumbag?" He redirected his attention to the first man.
"Don't you wish you knew, old man!"
Sighing mightily, Hannibal only shook his head. "I hate bad guys like this ... he's got no clue ..." Face chuckled and agreed. Hannibal spoke again, "Buddy, I don't really care who hired you ... you failed and you get to go directly to jail without getting paid! Your boss, whoever he is, won't get another chance to get this close to us!"
"Murdock, BA ... take'em down to the local cop shop and drop them off with the appropriate greeting ..." Hannibal dismissed the failed assassins and walked over to Amy and Anthony Allen.
"Mr. Allen, I'm Hannibal Smith ... How are you doing?" He ran practiced eyes over the injured man and deduced that there were no serious injuries.
"Colonel Smith ... I'm so thankful to meet you at last. Did you come to tell me about my boy, Andrew? I believe he was in your unit when he was killed in Viet Nam." The man on the ground looked up at the silver haired colonel, his brown eyes an older replica of Amy's. "I was beginning to think Amy was never going to bring you to see me."
Hannibal glanced warily from the man on the ground to his daughter hovering over him. His eyebrows crawled up his forehead as he looked at Amy questioningly. She frantically shook her head and silently begged for just a bit more time.
"Come on, Dad. Let's get you inside so that I can take care of you." Amy urged her father to his feet and wrapped her arm around his waist. Together they made their way to the house with the Hannibal and Face close behind.
As Amy was cleaning and bandaging the various abrasions on her father's face left by the two goons she began to ask him questions. "Dad, why were they beating on you? What did they want from you?"
"They thought I knew where you were and if the A-Team was coming with you. They said they were tired of watching and waiting and they wanted to know when you were going to get here. They knew you had booked a flight to the airport in Rogue Valley and they also knew that you didn't get on it yesterday. When I wouldn't answer them, they got a little rough." Anthony shrugged and winced as the antiseptic stung the raw, tender skin near his eye.
"Dad ... you should have just told them what you knew. You're not exactly twenty five anymore!"
"Well, daughter, you're not exactly a trained soldier, but that doesn't stop you from running around with a band of vigilantes, now does it?" Anthony asked this mildly but his eyes were sharp and bright and she flushed under his scrutiny. "That's what I thought."
Until this point, having been observing this interaction, Hannibal now stepped forward. "Mr. Allen ... Your daughter has learned a lot from us. She's tough and she's smart and she's a good soldier to have around. I'm proud to call her part of my team."
Stunned by the colonel's words, Amy stared at him. Hannibal shook his head at her and firmly clamped his hand on her shoulder. "I don't know why you seem so shocked, kid. If you were a danger to my men, my unit ... you wouldn't still be around. I thought you knew that we appreciate and respect you."
Amy merely nodded, numbly and swallowed hard. She couldn't speak. She was afraid she might cry.
Face sidled up next to her and whispered, "I told you so."
His words prompted her back to action and she shook her head. "But I still haven't told it all yet. Hannibal, I have to tell you something and then if you don't still feel the same ... well ... I'll understand." She put away the first aid kit and pushed in the chair at the kitchen table. "Please, follow me."
Walking single file away from the back of the house, Amy led them to a shaded area near a well-tended plot of ground. Embedded in the lush green grass, a marble slab with bronze lettering protruded from the earth. She sank to her knees next to it and reached out for her father's hand. He knelt gingerly next to her and brushed away a stray, dried weed from the polished surface.
BA and Murdock, back from dropping off the hired goons, had joined them by this time and were silently standing with Face, a little behind Hannibal. Hannibal stepped close enough and read aloud the engraved lettering on the monument. "Andrew Adam Allen. Son, brother, friend. Always loved. Always missed." A birth date followed, the date of the day before, but no date of death was inscribed.
Amy cleared her throat and began to speak without looking up from the stone. "Andrew was my older brother. He was a senior in college when he was drafted to go to Viet Nam. He was brilliant. He was pre-med and had already been accepted into medical school. Dad had some connections and was pretty sure he could get Andrew exempted. I know you guys probably don't think much of that. You probably think that men who got out of serving that way are pretty vile people. I didn't care. I just wanted my brother alive and at home where he belonged."
She chanced a look up at them. Her eyes were bright with tears and something else ... defiance? She knew they were proud to have served their country and they weren't ashamed to admit it. Hannibal smiled a little and crouched down to look her, eye to eye. "If I had a boy who I could have gotten out or kept out of that hell hole, I'd have done it in a heart beat. It's only natural and right to want the ones you love safe and sound at home, kid."
Thus encouraged, Amy took in a deep, fortifying breath and began to speak again. "Andrew wouldn't have any part of it. He wanted to go, to serve. He said that he was no different from the rest of the young men his age. It was his place to go, he said. He refused to let Dad try to get him exempted."
Anthony interrupted at that point. "My boy was proud. He was brave and young and strong ... and sometimes I think he was stupid, brash and fool hearted. I told him he was throwing his life away for a cause that didn't have anything to do with him. But ... it was the sixties and he was young and he said, 'Dad, as long as I'm free to walk the streets and go where I please, when I please; as long as I'm free to think and act as I want to ... then it is my business. It's my business to try and help others less fortunate than we are to get the life that they want and need. Everyone is entitled to those simple freedoms and as long as I have them, I can fight for others to have them as well.' He was full of fire and conviction and before I knew it he was gone." Anthony's voice cracked and tears trailed down his cheeks and he was no longer able to speak.
Amy took up the story once more. "He finished basic training and was shipped out immediately. We got letters fairly regularly for a while. Then they slowed and finally just stopped completely. I wrote Andrew everyday, without fail. We send postcards and pictures and notes from family and friends. If Andrew was strong enough to go, then I was strong enough to support him. I was fourteen years old ..."
Suddenly restless, she stood and began to pace up and down behind the marble monument. Hannibal stood still and let her talk. He'd ask his questions later. She needed to get this out ...
"First, we got a telegram from Dad's contact in the Army. His unit had been moved up suddenly and was out of communications range. He said don't be alarmed ... he'd keep us updated and soon Andrew's unit would be back to base and he would be able to write to us again."
"Weeks went by and we heard nothing. I watched the news religiously, trying desperately to understand what was going on and why. We talked about it in school and at church and at home. It was half a world away, but Viet Nam became the center of my world. My brother was there, somewhere ... Finally, we got word ... General Havens came to see us personally. He and Dad were college roommates and had been friends for years. He stood in our door in his dress uniform and said, 'I'm sorry, Tony, Amy. Andrew's entire unit was taken. He's been listed as MIA for a month. We now have intelligence that indicates he and most of his unit are dead or irretrievable. His status has been changed to killed in action.' I didn't understand. What did that mean? Was Andrew dead? Or missing? I fell apart and I remember crying and screaming at that old soldier in his crisp, dress uniform. Why my brother? Why Andrew?"
Her tears began to fall again. Her shoulders trembled and Face walked around the others to go to her. He comforted her and let her cry again in the daylight at her brother's grave as she had before in dark of the night.
Having regained his composure, Anthony stood and faced Hannibal squarely. "Frank Havens was a good friend and he told me things he probably shouldn't have. His intelligence came from a colonel who had led a group of POWs from an NVA camp before they were all killed. The colonel was sick and injured, but he had done his best to remember every man who went down in that camp, every boy who died away from home, every soldier who gave his life to protect those who couldn't protect themselves. You were that colonel, Mr. Smith. You were there when my boy might have died. You or one of your men might have known him, talked to him ... been with him when he couldn't hold out anymore. I need to know, Smith. Did my boy die in that camp or was he left behind to die later, alone?"
Silence reigned and the male members of the team exchanged long looks. They had been asked this before and would probably be asked again. To go back and to remember and relive for the sake of a fellow soldier's family and loved ones. Only this time, the family and loved one was a loved one of their own. Amy ... Amy and her father needed to know and they all knew they would go once again back to that place and time because they had to, because they could.
Amy broke away from Face's embrace and moved to stand close to Hannibal. "That's only the background, Hannibal. I knew all of this when I arranged to hire you that first time. I knew not only that you were the A- Team, but that you were in the same camp that Andrew was in. I fully intended to insinuate myself into your team and find out all I could about how my brother lived and died in Viet Nam. After we returned to LA, I threatened, bribed, whined and manipulated until you agreed to keep me around. I'm ashamed of that now, but then ... all I knew was that you might have knowledge about my brother that I wanted ... needed ... to know. I used you and the team. I'm sorry." She met his cool blue gaze and waited for his reaction.
"Allen, that's been over a year ago ... why are you just now telling me this?" Hannibal's voice was calm, cool. He sounded more curious than angry and for the first time since she knew she'd been trapped into bringing them with her, she allowed herself to hope that he might not hate her for her betrayal.
"I was waiting until I knew you better. I wanted to be sure that you were telling me the truth." She grinned wryly, a small smile more for herself than his benefit. "When I knew you better, I knew you too well. I saw how you all went out of your way to help others, especially veterans and their families. I saw the way you were all affected each time you had to talk and think about that time. Yet, you did it willingly every time. You never turned anyone down, even if they just wanted to talk about the glory days, because they needed to think there had been glory days. You guys became my friends, my brothers, my heroes. I just couldn't ask you to go back again, not for me ... not even in your minds."
Hannibal swallowed hard and looked at her long and hard. She met his gaze evenly and suddenly she found herself in his arms and against his chest. His voice rumbled in his chest, his heartbeat was a back rhythm to his words. "Kid, I don't know what to say. If I gave General Havens your brother's name, then he was there ... but I don't really remember." He closed his eyes and struggled for a thought, a glimpse of the young man they had described to him. "Maybe if you have a picture of him ...?"
Anthony pulled his wallet from his rear pocket and extracted a worn, faded picture of a young man in slacks and button down shirt. At his side, a young Amy smiled bravely at the camera as he held his bag in one hand and saluted his dad with the other. "This was taken just before he left home for boot camp."
Hannibal released Amy, took the picture, studied it and passed it to Face. "I'm sorry ... I just don't ...there were so many men there. Men who weren't mine to command. As ranking officer, I became their CO in that situation, but ... "
Face had passed the picture to BA who shared it with Murdock. BA shrugged and shook his head and started to hand it back to Anthony. Murdock's voice stopped him and they turned to listen to the pilot speak. "I remember him, sort of ..."
Amy felt her heart sink. This was what she had been afraid of. That Murdock would be the one to remember, to have to go back and dig into that dark recess of his mind. She opened her mouth to protest, to tell him it wasn't necessary. She couldn't handle being the cause of one of his relapses. "Murdock, no ... please... it's not ..."
"Its okay, chica. Andy was a cool dude. He liked the same music that I did and for a while, when we first got thrown together, we'd talk about singers and lyrics and stuff. He told me he was going to be a doctor and that he wanted to specialize in pediatrics. He liked kids. He used to talk about his family. His father and his sister. He was crazy about you, Triple A. Hmph ... guess you weren't the first Triple A, huh? Seems like there was a whole darn family of you." Murdock's voice was light, almost whimsical and Amy shuddered as she wondered what this was going to cost her friend later, in the night, when the dreams came back for him. She knew he had bad dreams ...nightmares and not always at night ... that was all she wanted to know, all she could handle.
"Murdock, please stop ... I don't want you to do this. Please ..." She begged him to let it go ... to come back to the here and now.
He just smiled and continued to talk. "I remember he knew lots of jokes. Ya'll know the one about the two boys riding bikes down the interstate? That one was his ... he used to tell them one after another ..." He laughed a bit and suddenly his eyes closed, as if against a bad thought or memory. "I went somewhere one day ... when I came back, he was gone. His unit got moved to the other side, away from us. I don't think I saw him again after that ... Face, why did they separate us?"
Face walked to his friend and shook his shoulder. "Murdock, come on back now ... that's enough." Amy had tightly wrapped her arms around herself and was watching them with big, terrified eyes. "You're scaring Amy, buddy. Come on, that's enough."
Calling Amy's name seemed to do the trick, for the big, brown eyes flew open and cleared. "I'm sorry, darlin' ... when I saw his picture, I could just see and hear him so clear. He loved you and he missed you. I don't remember going over the wall, getting out of the camp, but if Hannibal says ... well ... he's never been wrong about it."
"You were his friend, just like you've been mine, Murdock. That's enough ... it's enough." She moved unsteadily to him and caressed his smooth jaw with her hand. "Thank you."
She then turned to the rest of the team and asked, "Can you ever forgive me?"
Her answer was a chorus of smiles and nods. Hannibal cleared his throat to speak, but only nodded instead. He may have lost the memory of one Allen under his command, but he wouldn't lose this one.
As the sun set into the crimson evening sky, the group stood around the empty grave of Andrew Adam Allen, the first Triple A. One of them remembered the son he'd raised, one of them the brother she'd loved and lost. Still another recalled a brief friendship with a man who had made him laugh at a time when laughter was rare and precious. And the others? They watched protectively, as they were likely to do when something they treasured was weak and in need. This time it was two of their own team members, their pilot and their Triple A.
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