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STIR OF ECHOES

STIR OF ECHOES

By Becki



Rating: G - it's a little sad if you're the sappy type.
Summary: Sequel to We'll Never Know. The stars straighten out. But there's something standing in the way of their happiness. Kate's past. This could probably stand alone but I'd advise you to read We'll Never Know so you get an idea of who Kate is.
Comments: Well, here's my second fan fic I've downloaded. Hope you like it. It's a little different from the first in how it's written, it was an idea I already had which I altered to fit this storyline. Comments would be very helpful to find out if this is what people like.
Disclaimer: A-Team aren't mine. The Omega Defence is from the film True Lies - I couldn't think of a better name so thank you to the writers of that film. There's a couple of songs in this - There You'll Be by Faith Hill and I Saw You Today by Bobby Braddock. Once again there's little < > so you know where they start and end. I had done them in purple but it doesn't do colour. Pshaw!
PS. I've put Dr. Richter's first name as Adam but I don't know if it is or not. Someone else had used the name and I couldn't remember if they'd ever mentioned it in an episode, so if you know different please let me know. Cheers.



PART ONE - The Past is Never Far.


She walked through the door and stopped, looking around. The warehouse looked familiar but she couldn't place her finger on it. She walked across - her footsteps echoing deathly around the large building. She could hear the familiar sound of whistling but she couldn't remember where she had heard the tune before. She headed towards the faint light coming from under the door to the office. Before she could reach it, the door opened and light flooded the area where she stood, blinding her.
He was standing in front of her. She couldn't see his face, only a silhouette and she lifted her hand up to shield her eyes from the light. He raised his arm and the glimmer of metal caught her eyes. She knew what was coming but she was frozen to the spot - she couldn't move. She heard it before she felt it. It echoed around her head, then she felt the bullets rip through her flesh - in her thigh, shoulder and side - forcing her backwards, but she managed to keep her footing. Her glazed, wide eyes stared at him as he smirked at the fear he saw. She felt her legs give from under her as she heard a distant scream and realised it was her voice. She jerked -
- And sat bolt upright. Cold sweat trickled down her forehead as she tried to catch her breath. The scream from her throat had awoken her - thank goodness. She laid down and closed her eyes, relieved that it was just a dream. When she had calmed, she leaned over and looked at her clock. It was 6.45. She only had 15 more minutes before her alarm went off. She decided that she'd had enough sleep for one night so she got up and turned her alarm off.
Just routine work today, she told herself as she took a shower and got changed. But that wasn't it...the work was fine...it was where she would be going...'he' was there...
She really wasn't sure what to do...what to say...if - no - when...she saw him...and he saw her...what would he do? What would he say? Would they just stand there...staring at each other...with that awkward silence crashing around them...? So many times she had been so sure she could talk to him...she had so many questions...but now...she didn't think she could. Maybe she could just forget about going...?
She shook her head and sipped her coffee, looking at her notes on the table. She'd had this question before. And she knew the answer. She had to go. She had no choice. It was her only lead and she had to use it, or that was it, that was the end of the road.
No, she couldn't let go. She had to follow this through. All her life she had had this urgency to finish things she started, which had been heightened ever since joining the CIA. She had thought that it had been the best thing she had done to enhance her career - taking it further by going into forensics and investigating for top secret government work.
She laughed with hindsight. What a 'big' mistake. Almost ten months recuperating from the injuries from that last job she had taken on with her partner - and that was after getting out of hospital.
That was when the determination started...the obsession to find who had done that to her. At first her boss and partner had supported and helped her, even though the case wasn't actually active at the time. Then as time went on and she became more and more obsessed, they became worried about her. She wouldn't listen to them and her boss was forced to give her time off saying that she needed more time to get over the trauma of the injury. He'd told her to go home, relax and to not come back until she'd gotten this obsession out of her head and was ready to come back afresh.
She had stormed out - with the information they had already gathered. She wasn't prepared to leave it be so soon. She knew that she would miss the excitement - the adrenaline rush was so exhilarating - she'd only ever heard one to describe it - The Jazz. She had missed it after her injury and she didn't want to go but he had given her no choice.
She'd pored over that information day and night until she had found leads to follow. Most were dead ends. Now, she only had one lead left, the one she had left till last, hoping to never have to use it.

 

PART TWO - I Saw You Today.


She pulled into the VA car park, parked in the closest free spot and grabbing her bag, she got out. She walked into the building and headed up to the main desk.
"Can I help you?"
The receptionist asked.
"Yes, My name's Kate Kawalski. I have an appointment with Dr. Richter - he's expecting me."
"One moment, please."
The receptionist picked up the phone and dialled an extension. After a short conversation she put the phone back down.
"Dr. Richter will be right down."
"Thank you."
Kate smiled and wandered away to look out of the window. After a few minutes she heard footsteps approaching from behind and she turned around.
"Kate."
Dr. Richter smiled.
"Adam."
They hugged.
"It's good to see you. How've you been lately?"
He asked her.
"Not so good actually. I've got a favour to ask of you."
"Well, why don't we head up to my office and I'll make some coffee and we can chat."
"Sounds good."
She smiled and he led her off.
She'd first met Adam Richter after her last tour in 'Nam. He had worked in that hospital she had gone to afterwards and he'd always been a good friend. He was the only one from her past that knew she was still alive - and that was only because he was asked to help on a higher secretive engagement which involved his talents as a psychologist. Kate had recommended him for the job and he had been a little more that stunned to see her still alive.
She was soon settled into his office, coffee in hand. Dr. Richter took a sip and placed the mug on the deck, then leaned back in the chair, linking his fingers and resting his hands on his stomach. He looked at Kate.
"So, what's the favour."
Kate took a breath.
"I need to chat to one of your patients - Sergeant Michael Donaldson."
Dr. Richter leaned forward.
"You want to 'chat' with Donaldson?"
Kate nodded seriously. Adam sat back in his seat and took a breath himself.
"Maybe you should start at the beginning."
Kate looked down, slightly nervous - something Adam had ever seen before - ever.
"Are you okay?"
She nodded.
"It's just kinda difficult, that's all."
Her eyes glanced off to the right of him, and out into the gardens.
"Well, talking about it will help."
She gave him a small smile.
"Yeah. The beginning...right."
She stood, wondered around the office and finally settled down on the window sill.
"Basically about a year ago I was injured - took about ten months to recover and now I'm looking for the group who did this to me. I have one lead - which is Donaldson. Somehow he's connected to them and I want to find out how."
She paused.
"Why do I hear a 'but' here?"
"Thing is...I'm still on sick leave, so this is kind of unofficial."
She gave him a look that said 'please help me with this'. Adam took another deep breath in thought.
"Unofficial?"
She nodded.
"I'm sure that I can arrange something. How long would you need?"
She sighed with relief and gave him a smile.
"Thank you. Um...how long? It depends on how quickly I can get the information from him. What's his mental state like?"
"He has good days, bad days. He's usually quite co-operative. I could give you a week. Maybe longer, it depends."
"Thank you, Adam. I owe you one - big time."
"Yeah, well least I could do, for a good friend."
They smiled.

********************

<Despite all the distance and time
And the changes that I have gone through
You never strayed far from my mind
And I never stop hoping once more I'll see you>


Out in the garden Murdock looked up from his book. Something familiar was tugging at the back of his mind. That old well known feeling...that 'she' was there. He looked around knowing that he would see no-one. It was quite chilly outside. Autumn had just arrived, the hot summer days long gone. The cold didn't bother Murdock. His jacket was a lot warmer than it looked.
He looked down, back at his book but he couldn't concentrate. The feeling was so strong it was suffocating and he couldn't get her out of his mind..., her dazzling green eyes, here soft touch... her dark blonde hair - he could still imagine the feel of her hair as he ran his fingers through it - so thick and soft...
He looked up into the sky.

<I used to wish on a star
And I used to send up a prayer
To Heaven where I know you are
That some day I'd see you up there or somewhere>


"What you doing here, Kate? Haunting me? I wish you would...I miss you...you can hear me though, can't you? I'm okay you know...and one day...we'll be together...just not yet...I'm not planning on checking out until I'm old and grey. So until then...maybe you could just stay at the back of my mind, please Hon...?"

<Then I saw you today
In the backyard at play
Baby-blue eyes, blond hair in the wind
She's you all over again
Although you went away
I saw you
I saw you today>


He looked back down, but as he did so his eyes caught sight of a figure in a window. She glanced out, then disappeared from sight. His heart jumped into his throat. That presence...the girl he saw...she had the same hair - it was slightly shorter than the woman he once knew...but it was the same.
And she had the same look about her...and he was sure that he had caught a glimpse of green from her eyes...even at that distance...they were unmistakable.
He shook his head...it couldn't have been her...she had died...couple years ago...or had she...? He had heard rumours that it had all been cover up...to keep her safe...but he didn't know what to believe. He couldn't see Kate going into that sort of work...it wasn't her. But who was he to say that. He hadn't seen her for what? 14 odd years? People change...just look at him...he'd been normal, sane when he knew her...
He shook his head again, more violently. He stood shakily. He had to go inside. He had to think about this in private...not out in the open like he was now. And anyhow, he had a meeting soon with the good Doc.

 

 

PART THREE ˝ There You'll Be

After finishing their coffee and catching up on old times. Dr. Richter took Kate to go and see Donaldson. But first, he had to stop off to see one of his patients. He stopped outside one of the rooms. Kate stopped just down the corridor to look out of the window into the beautiful gardens. Dr. Richter opened the door...
...and a wave rushed over Kate. She swayed and put her hand out onto the sill to steady herself. She'd never felt it so strong. It was as if he was really close to her...closer than ever. She looked up and down the corridor but saw no-one.
It wasn't until she heard Adam's voice that she realised.
"Murdock? Murdock?"
Murdock jolted back into reality and looked up into the face of his Doc.
"Huh?"
"You okay? Looks as if you'd zoned out for a minute there."
"
Oh yeah, yeah, I'm fine...thought I was Billy run out just then...I was so sure I'd tied his lead to the end of the bed. Hey Doc, will you do me a favour when you go. Can you keep an eye out for Billy and bring him back if you see him? I'm sure he'll come back when he's hungry, but he may get lost."
Dr. Richter took a breath.
"Sure Murdock. I just came to tell you I'll be late for our meeting. I'll come and get you when I'm ready."
"Oh, sure thing, Muchacho."

********************

Kate felt her heart thumping hard against her rib cage. He sounded so different...the only thing that gave it away was his voice...so friendly, cheerful ˝ as it always had been...and that word...Muchacho...he'd always used that word...along with that other loving word he'd used on her mostly...Chiquita...she smiled to herself. Kate heard the door shut, and turned around, mask back in place to see Dr. Richter heading towards her. She smiled at him.
"Right then. Back to business."
He led her back down the corridor...the connection getting weaker as she walked away...and they took the elevator to the floor above and he showed her to Donaldson's room.

*********************

Murdock, meanwhile, had laid back down on the bed and was staring up at the ceiling. She'd gone...for now.
He was deep in thought...for a moment the connection was been so strong she could have been in the same room. It was strange...the old feelings. For the past few nights he'd been having dreams of her...he couldn't stop thinking about her...he didn't know why...in 14 years he'd never thought about her so much as he had been this past week...He could always feel her presence, even from across a crowded room ˝ they could always find each other in the middle. He smiled to himself as he though about all the good times they had had together. Just sitting in silence, watching each other...it was never an awkward silence...it was full of electricity...and when they danced ˝ they used to do that a lot...the world would end and they would be as one...dancing among the stars.
He rolled over, and tried to stop the tears falling as he pulled the photo out from under his mattress. It had been taken while they were between their second and third tour. She was sitting on the bench out on the deck of the beach house that Faceman had scammed for them. Hannibal and BA were standing behind and Face and him were sitting either side of her.
Him and Face has their arms around her, Face's over the top of his and he was holding her hand in his lap, their fingers linked...he couldn't tell which were his and which were hers. Hannibal had a hand on Face's shoulder, while BA was standing arms folded with a stern look on his face as usual. Everyone else was smiling.
Murdock gave a slight smile and looked at the other photo behind the first. Kate was standing in front of him, and he had his arms wrapped around her waist. She was leaning back against him, looking relaxed and smiling serenely at the camera. She had her hands resting on his. He was smiling. They were both wearing shorts and while she had a small top on he was wearing a wacky blue Hawaiian style shirt with a white T-shirt underneath. The ocean could be seen behind then, glistening in the sun as was the soft sand underfoot.
Murdock brushed his fingers across her face and sighed. He remembered that picture being taken as well. They had been playing ball on the sand with Face and the others when she had refused to pass it to him. He had ran after her and tackled her, grabbing her around the waist. She gave in after a while and had turned to face him in his arms, that was when Face had shouted 'smile!' and they'd posed. They both still had sand in their hair, and her hair was a mess but Murdock had never seen her look so beautiful.
He failed in his attempt to stop the tears from falling and he silently sobbed with his back to the door.

***********************

Donaldson was sitting on the floor by the window singing at the top of his lungs when they entered. He had his eyes closed and he didn't seem to realise that he wasn't alone anymore.
"Michael? Michael!"
Dr. Richter ended up having to shout to get himself heard. Michael opened his eyes and looked up at him still singing as loud as possible. It wasn't until the verse finished and he stopped singing that Kate heard the background music. The song was playing in the background but Michael was so loud they couldn't hear it.
Kate recognised the song as Runaway by Bon Jovi.
"You have to sing!"
Michael shouted, head nodding in time to the music. Adam turned to Kate.
"I'm afraid if you want to talk to him you'll have to sing first."
Kate gave him a look but joined in the chorus with Dr. Richter.
"Ooh, she's a little runaway.
Daddy's girl learned fast
All those things he couldn't say.
Ooh, she's a little runaway."
Luckily it was the end of the song. Adam gave Kate a look. She could really sing and she grinned at him. The chorus faded and Michael turned it off.
"Michael, this is Kate, Kate's come to talk to you."
"I like you. You can sing ˝ not like him!"
He said looking at Dr. Richter.
"Not many people have as good a voice as you Michael."
Kate said. That immediately got a smile from him, Kate looked at Adam apologetically. He nodded in understanding.
"I'll leave you to it then."
And he left and closed the door on his way out.
"So, you a big fan of Bon Jovi?"
Kate asked. She needed to get him to relax with her. She was desperate to find out what she wanted to know but she knew that if she rushed him then he wouldn't talk to her. She had to get him to trust her.
"Oh Yeah!!! I've met him and everything!"
"Really?"
She very much doubted it but he nodded vigorously.
"They were fantastic! I hear them still playing in my head sometimes, sometimes they annoy me and I just want them to go away, but other times I just put their music on and sing along."
Kate nodded.
"It can be annoying when you get a song stuck in your head. I get that sometimes and usually it's a song I hate!"
She half laughed. He nodded at her, as if in amazement ˝ she understood.
"What's your favourite song?"
"My favourite song? Um...it would have to be...There You'll Be by Faith Hill."
"Oh, that's a nice one. My favourite is..."
But Kate had stopped listening. It had been their song. It had been playing the first time they danced and they had made it theirs.
"Do you like that song?"
She snapped out and looked at him. He hadn't noticed her lapse in concentration luckily.
"It's a good song, yeah, why don't you play it."
He nodded excitedly again and got up, rummaging on the desk to find the tape. Kate half sighed with relief that she hadn't been caught.

*************************

Murdock put the tape into the cassette player and pressed play. Faith Hill's voice came floating out into the air. It was a little fuzzy because it had been played so often but Murdock didn't seem to notice. He laid back down on the bed and closed his eyes.

<When I think back on these times and the dreams we left behind
I'll be glad cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life
When I look back on these days I'll look and see your face>


*************************

"Look what I've found!"
Michael said picking up a tape.
"What?"
"Listen."
He put the tape in and pressed play. Kate closed her eyes.

<You were right there for me
In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am there you'll be
and everywhere I am there you'll be>


"I thought I had this."
Michael said, but Kate wasnÝt listening. The world had fallen away and all she could see was his eyes. Shining like stars in the sky.
Murdock sighed. The stars were shining in her eyes, making them look like precious emeralds. He pulled her close.
Kate felt Murdock's arms go around her and she leaned into him.
Michael watched mesmerised at Kate who seemed to be swaying slightly. He was amazed that a song could do that to a person and he suddenly had a real respect for her. Anyone who loved music as much as that had to be good. Feeling like he was spying on something sacred he got up and started to tidy his desk. So many cassettes were thrown all around it with empty boxes.

< Well you showed me how it feels to feel the sky within my reach
And I always will remember all the strength you gave to me
Your love made me make it through, ooh I owe so much to you>


Murdock felt the tears welling again. He missed her so much. Blinking away tears he looked up at the calendar and suddenly realised why he was thinking of her.
Kate couldn't believe that she hadn't realised it before. Michael's calendar said that the date was August 29th.
Murdock closed his eyes, partly relieved. He thought that he was losing it, not being able to stop thinking about her. Now he knew why. Today was the date when they had first met.

<You were right there for me
In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am there you'll be>


He really did feel like she was just there with him. Somehow he knew he had to find out if she really was dead or alive. All this time he had decided that she must have been dead ˝ he really couldn't see Kate doing that sort of work. But thinking of her still being alive...and all these feelings...he just had an inkling that maybe...maybe the rumour were true.
And somehow...she had to see Murdock. She knew that he was probably feeling her presence ˝ he always could...and if her feelings were so strong then his must be just as bad. She couldn't let him suffer, she had to let him know that she was okay. But how did you start a conversation like that? What was she meant to do ˝ just walk up to him and go 'Hey Murdock ˝ remember me? We broke each others hearts and you think I'm dead ˝ but I'm not and here I am.'
God how ridiculous did that sound?
He shook himself out of his thoughts. Where would he even start? If she was alive she could always find him. She would more than likely know where he was if she were in that line of work.
She shook herself out of her thoughts. When the time was right, it would come to her. Right now, she had other things to think about. She opened her eyes to see Michael looking at her. The song was still playing quietly in the background.
"Sorry."
She said.
"Nah, don't be. You know I've never seen anyone react like that to a song before."
"It's a very special song."
"Why?"
He asked innocently.
"Because it reminds me of an old friend. Someone I miss very much. Do you have any songs that remind you of old friends?"
Michael looked out into the distance.
"There was one...we sang in 'Nam. I don't remember who sang it and I don't have it but I sometimes sing it."
He took a breath and started to sing quietly.
"Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see. Blue birds singing a song, nothing but blue birds all day long."
He sighed.
"Blue days all of them gone, nothing but blue skies from now on."
Kate finished. Michael stared at her.
"You know it?"
"I used to sing it too. It's a Frank Sinatra song. I have it at home."
"You sang it?"
"I worked in one of the hospital's in 'Nam for a while. I could bring it in if you want?"
"Please ˝ yes! I'd like that."
Kate nodded, then looked up at the clock.
"Oh, lunch time. That went quickly. Would you mind if I came back tomorrow? I'll bring in the cassette."
"I'd like you to come back. I don't get many visitors...and I would like to hear the song again."
Kate nodded.
"Same time?"
"I'll be here."
Kate nodded again, stood up, said goodbye and left. She wasn't a couple feet away when she heard Bon Jovi once again playing incredibly loudly. She laughed.
He was obviously having a very good day, and she hoped that tomorrow she could get him talking about 'Nam a bit more ˝ the song would help.

< Cause I always saw in you my light my strength
And I want to thank you now for all the ways
You were right there for me
(You were right there for me)
You were right there for me>


Murdock heard a knock at the door.
"Come in."
He looked up to see an orderly.
"Dr. Richter told me to tell you to meet him in the cafeteria."
Murdock nodded and jumped off the bed.
"Sure thing."
And he wandered off down the corridor. The song was still playing in his head, but he didn't mind. He didn't feel so alone when he heard it.

<In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am there you'll be>


Kate could also hear the song still playing in her head. She had to get home for when her partner came around to check on her.
She jumped in the lift and pressed the button for the bottom floor.
Murdock pressed the lift button and waited patiently.
The lift doors opened on the first floor and Kate looked up.
The lift doors opened on his floor and he lifted his baseball cap covered head.

<and everywhere I am there you'll be
there you'll be>


She looked straight into his warm brown eyes.
He looked straight into those emerald shining eyes.
Their eyes were locked.
They couldn't move
Familiar emotions swept over them like a wave in the warm sun. It made them feel queasy, refreshed and dizzy all at the same time. The world was spinning.
She didn't know what to say. She hadn't planned on meeting him so soon and she opened and closed her mouth.
He stood there stunned. He didn't know what to say. She wasn't dead, she was alive...and she was standing right in front of him. He opened his mouth, then closed it again, no sound escaping his lips.
Before they knew what was happening the doors closed again.
Murdock stared ahead, into space ˝ his head spinning.
Kate stared right through the doors, not noticing the stomach lurching feeling the movement the lift brought.

 


PART FOUR ˝ Cosmic Collision.

Murdock must have been standing there quite a while because the next thing he knew Dr. Richter was standing in front of him.
"Murdock? Murdock, can you hear me?"
Murdock looked up at him. Then looked around. He was sitting down on a seat by the lift and an orderly was standing by Dr. Richter.
"What?"
"Are you okay? You zoned out again for a while."
Murdock looked down thinking, then back up at his Doctor.
"I guess I'm just tired, that's all. Fell asleep standing up!"
He made a joke out of it. Richter wasn't falling for any of it.
"Come on, lets get you back to your room. We can have a chat there."
Murdock merely nodded and stood up. Dr. Richter followed him back to his room.

*******************

Kate numbly walked out of the lift, down the corridor and out into the car park. She got in her car...and just sat there. God, he looked so good...smelt so good...felt so good...Her legs had turned to jelly the moment she had looked deep into his soul.
She caught herself day dreaming and jerked herself out of it. She couldn't go down that line. She had to think...what was she to do now? She looked at her watch and suddenly realised how late she was. She'd have to figure it out later, right now she had to get home before Steve, her work partner, wondered where she was. She fumbled the key into the ignition. She couldn't stop shaking with the adrenaline rush of seeing him and she took a couple of breaths to calm herself before she turned the engine on.
It took her ten minutes to get home. His car wasn't outside yet and she sighed with relief. She wouldn't have to answer those awkward questions like 'where have you been?' She pulled up into her drive, got out and headed for the front door. Opening it she suddenly felt a presence. Different to the one she'd had all day. This one put all of her systems on alert.
Someone was in the house.
She pulled her gun out of her bag, which she placed on the floor quietly. She then proceeded to carefully, without sound, move slowly down the corridor. It was coming from the kitchen. She reached the door and carefully pushed it open ˝ quite quickly because she knew if it moved slowly then it creaked. There was a man standing by the table with his back to her. He obviously hadn't heard her. She silently walked up behind him and placed the gun to his back.
"Don't move."
She saw him tense. After a moment he spoke.
"I see you haven't lost your touch."
Kate relaxed. It was Steve. She lowered the gun and he turned around.
"Jesus, Steve, What do you think you were doing, breaking into my house like that?"
"I didn't break in. I found your spare key. You'll really have to find somewhere else to hide it, it was too easy."
She snatched the key that he was jangling in front of her.
"And anyway, what were you doing out? You know you should be resting."
"I went out for a drive, that's all. Needed some fresh air."
Steve would have believed her if he hadn't seen the paperwork on the table.
"Really? So, your trip didn't have anything to do with all of these notes you left carelessly on the table?"
And he stepped aside so she could see all of her work. She sighed and looked down. She placed the gun on the table, then headed over to the kettle to turn it on.
"Kate? Talk to me. I'm worried about you. I finally think you're getting over this obsession, then I find all this."
He gestured to the paperwork.
"You know I just can't let this go. I found some leads. We were right, you know. We had to be right. Why would they shoot us?"
"Shoot you, Kate. I wasn't there remember? I was sitting outside in the car."
He looked upset about that.
"Steve, we've talked about this. It wasn't your fault. It was just routine questioning we didn't need any back up ˝ I could've handled it if they hadn't known we were coming...And the only way they could have known that...is if they were there when we were talking about it."
"What; you saying that they've got someone on the inside? Don't be stupid Kate, we know everyone there."
"Yeah, I know."
She said sounding fed up.
"Come on, Kate. Why don't you let this go. I miss you at work, it's no fun."
She gave him a small smile, but kept on talking, that hint of anger and frustration in her voice.
"Well, the way things are going, I will be coming back. I've researched all the leads we had and they've all been dead ends. Coincidence? I've got one more lead. That's where I was today, and that will be a dead end as well. I'm telling you, someone knows and they're covering their tracks ˝ very well."
"Maybe it's for the best."
"Maybe..."
She looked a bit annoyed and upset that she was going to have to give it up. Steve knew she hated to give up ˝ to leave it unfinished. He hated that feeling as well. He thought for a moment.
"Look; if I help you with this lead, and it's a dead end, will you give it up?"
"What if it gives us a bigger lead?"
"Then, we'll deal with it if it does. But if what you said is true, then what are the chances?"
"Slim to none...okay...I'll stop."
Impulsively he hugged her. She smiled and returned the hug.
"It'll be good to have you back. I've missed you."
"I don't deserve you."
"I know."
He said matter of fact, then laughed and she half-heartedly hit him, laughing too.
"So, what's this lead?"
She suddenly remembered about the VA...Murdock...
"Kate?"
She snapped out of the trance and looked up at him. She had a sad look in her eyes and Steve got worried.
"Kate, what is it? Kate, you're worrying me now, what's wrong?"
"He saw me. He looked right down into me."
She said staring ahead in disbelief.
"Who? Let's just sit you down a moment."
He lead her to the nearest chair and she sat down.
"I forgot about it for a moment there. Seeing you took my mind off of it."
"Off of what?"
"
This lead...?"
"Yeah?"
"
He's a psych patient at the VA."
"Where...'you know who' is?"
Steve knew all about Murdock. Him and Kate had been friends since she'd joined the force ˝ just over 10 years ago. She could never keep anything from him. He knew her better than he knew anyone else. She was so good at hiding her feelings, but he could always see them, he'd told her that it was a gift. It had been about a year after they'd met that he'd found out about Murdock. They were suppose to go to the VA to see a doctor but she had refused to go in. He'd gone in instead and covered for her. But after she had confided in him and told him everything.
"Yeah...I could feel him...it was so strong...I hadn't meant for him to see me yet. I needed some time to work out what to say to him. I knew he could sense me. We always could, so I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I had to talk to him. But...as I was leaving...I was in the lift and it stopped on the first floor...and when the doors opened...he was just standing there...God, he looked so good...but I could see it in his eyes...he looked so shocked ˝ it must have been a shock ˝ he thinks I'm dead and then to suddenly see me standing there..."
"What did you do?"
"...I didn't do anything. I couldn't do anything. Then before I knew it the doors were closing again to go down to my floor. I couldn't say anything, I tried, nothing would come out."
He sat and watched her for a moment. He could tell that the meeting had both excited and saddened her. Finally, after 14 years, she could see the man she loved, but she was sad because she knew that even if she did talk to him, did see him again, they wouldn't be able to go back to what they had. Steve envied her slightly for the connection she and this Murdock had. Ever since he'd met her he'd always loved her. But it was unrequited.
"Kate, I know you better than I know myself. Go and see him. Talk to him. If you leave this you'll regret it. If this Murdock is who you say he is ˝ the mysterious fourth member of the A-Team, then I have a feeling he probably knows you're still alive and that it was a cover. Put him out of his misery. And yours."
"He knows it's me...he knows I'm alive. Only he could make me feel how I've felt all day...and he knows that feeling he's had could only be me. I can't explain it...it's like...like we're soul mates. We have some sort of star-crossed existence. It sounds crazy I know."
"No, it doesn't. Because that's how you make me feel. Whenever I'm with you, you enchant me. I've always loved you."
He looked down.
"I know you could never feel the same, but you are 'my' soul mate...and I'd know what it would feel like if I lost my best friend. So, go to him. Don't let him feel the way I feel about you...and I still see you every day."
Kate looked at him. It was the first time he had admitted his true feelings for her. Subconsciously she'd always known he'd loved her. But she never wanted to lose the friendship.
"I love you too, Steve. But not like that. I love you like a brother, my best friend. But I love Murdock. I've always loved him...it would have been unfair on you if we'd gotten together because my heart would have always belonged to someone else."
"I know that. That's why you have to go to him. And that's an order. Go."
Kate kissed him on the lips and pulled back, holding his face.
"I really don't deserve you. Thank you for being here for me."
"Yeah, well, go. Before you talk yourself out of it. Go and be happy."
She gave him a fierce hug, jumped up, grabbing her gun and running out she grabbed her bag from the hall. She jumped into her car, gave him a wave and pulled out and drove off down the road. Steve leaned against the porch and sighed. Jean Zheng's statement was so right.
*'You know it's love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you're not part of their happiness.' Go and be happy, Kate.*

**************************

Dr. Richter couldn't get through to Murdock. Something had really affected him and he wouldn't tell him. Richter spent nearly an hour trying to get him to talk and Murdock just kept sticking to his 'must be tired' story. In the end Dr. Richter had to give up and he left Murdock alone to sort it out himself, but he'd told him that if he needed to talk then he knew where his office was.

**************************

Kate wandered down the corridors, the many doors to her left and right becoming a blur. She'd driven round for about half an hour trying to work out what to say to him and finally she felt she had a reasonable speech prepared.
She stopped outside one door, and for a moment didnÝt think she'd dare to enter. Then she heard Steve in her head.
"Go and be happy, Kate."
She knew that she had to.
She looked through the small window at who was inside. He was sitting with his back to her, looking out the window. She knew that he could sense her. He was sitting upright, military style in the chair that was at the end of his bed. The slight saddened humming she could hear was too heartbreaking as she opened the door. At first he didn't turn, just kept humming. Then, if possible, he froze and stiffened even more, and moved his head slightly. They hadn't been this close since 'Nam...and the connection felt so strong that she felt that it was controlling her...that she couldn't control it.
She reached him, and ran her fingers along the folds of the worn jacket she knew so well, and feared that this was just a dream. That she could wake up at any moment and she would be crying from the pain. His head moved a bit more.
"Don't turn around. Not yet...please."
She begged quietly. Her speech forgotten she just continued to feel the jacket and then she sat down next to him on the edge of the bed feeling down the sleeve. She could smell the leather, the musky smell of Murdock which was making her head reel in it's familiarity.
"Don't."
Murdock said, his voice strained with emotion.
"Please don't. No more, not again. You're gone."
The voice struck Kate's heart with it's sadness, and she drew a deep breath as she turned the pilot gently by the shoulders and looked into his eyes. She felt her pulse quicken as she looked deep into the brown wells.
Then, she reached up and gently brushed her hand down his face making him close his eyes ˝ the way they always had to each other as a sign of their affection, fascinated by the complete familiarity of the pilot, and his eyes as he opened them and they were glazed with tears and were as bright as crystal as he gazed at her, as if this were a dream he would wake up from.
"I told you I would always love you."
Kate said, overwhelmed with emotion as she brushed his face with her fingertips again, starting at his forehead and running down past his nose and over his lips to his chin. He was just as handsome as she always remembered.
After a moment he seemed to come out of his shocked trance and react to her. His eyes opened wide and after a moment he raised his own hand and brushed it down her face.
"Kate...?"
He whispered. And then, so very gently, he embraced her, one hand going around her back to pull her closer, the other running through her hair ˝ just as soft and thick as he remembered. He took in a deep breath of her scent and his own head started to reel with the old feelings returning abruptly and with no warning. Then, suddenly desperate to see her face again, to make sure it was really her, he pulled away and looked into her eyes, the understanding silence filled the room as he watched tears run down her cheeks.
"Kate...it is you."
He caressed her cheek, wiping away the tears. Kate lifted her hands and held Murdock's face, his shattered expression in her hands and she looked down deep into his eyes. Then she leaned in and kissed him full on the lips. Murdock responded, his lips desperate, pulling Kate closer to him. The kiss overpowered them both, drawing them closer, their hearts locked together in this powerful embrace. The stars finally straightening out and meeting.
Then he grabbed at her jacket and pulled her in, hugging her tighter, not ever wanting to let her go. She ran her hands through his hair and then brought her hand down and rested it on the base of his neck. She lifted her head slightly, so that their cheeks were touching and she took in another deep breath ˝ taking in every inch of him.
"I've missed you so much."
She whispered.
"I've always loved you...always."
He whispered back.

 

 

PART FIVE ˝ The Things you Choose to be.

He picked up the pay phone outside the VA and dialled in a number, then waited for an answer.
"What is it?"
A gruff voice answered.
"You told me to ring if Donaldson had any visitors."
There was a pause.
"Well?"
The voice said impatiently.
"You were right. She was here. She saw him, now she's with a guy named Murdock, I think they knew each other."
"Thank you. Someone will be round tonight to give you your money."
Then the phone went dead. The man in the white orderly uniform placed the phone back on the hanger and headed back into the VA.
The man on the other end of the line, leaned back in his chair and smiled. She'd never get anything out of Donaldson, he was too screwed up to talk any sense. But just in case he would ring his son and make sure he kept an eye on her at work. He picked up the phone and dialled.
"It's me son. Kawalski's been visiting with Donaldson. Talk with Steve, try and find out if he knows anything but don't get him suspicious. And keep an eye on her when she's there."
"Sure thing, Pap. I won't let you down."
They hung up. The son looked sadly at the phone.
"Why did I ever say I'd help him? "
He said aloud with sadness in his voice. He'd never asked to be involved in anything like this, but with his father being who he was, he really had no choice. Or had he...?
"Help who?"
A voice asked making him jump slightly.
"No-one Steve. How's Kate doing?"
He asked following Steve over to their desks in the office.

********************************

It was quite a while before they'd both got a hold of their emotions. He sat back in his chair and watched her watching him. She was sitting slightly awkwardly on the end of his bed.
"I guess an explanation would be needed."
He didn't say anything for a moment, then he sat forward.
"Kate...I heard you had...had d-died."
He said shakily. Past memories still haunting him.
"Then...you just show up here...I thought I was going crazy...I mean I-I had heard some rumours...that it was a cover up...because you were part of a deep government group, but I never found any evidence ˝ which wasn't surprising..."
He seemed to find his voice again, getting over the initial shock.
"How could you let me think you were dead? Kate, I loved you!"
It was obvious that he was trying to control his anger and hurt. This angered Kate herself.
"And I loved you! You were the one who pushed me away, remember?"
"I was going crazy Kate! What was I meant to do! I was trying to protect you!! I couldn't let you see me like that!!!"
He stood up and walked away, trying to keep his emotions in check.
"Protect me?! You hurt me more that I ever thought I could be hurt!!! I would've stood by you no matter what happened!"
"How was I to know that!!! I mean I was losing it!!"
He turned back round, facing her. She stood up.
"I loved you!!! I never thought I could love someone more. Didn't you know that? That's why I could never leave you!!! But when you ˝ you said those things I ˝ "
Her voice broke. He could see the tears welling up.
"It took everything I had to keep from dying."
She sat back down on the bed looking drawn and pale. The years of emotional pain showing freely along with the last years events. She looked down at the floor. Murdock just stared at her, suddenly realising that she was in just as much pain as he was. For a moment he just stood there...not sure what to do.
"Oh God Kate..."
He whispered. He moved up to her and bent down just in front of her.
"I'm so sorry...I didn't know...I didn't know...I figured that if I tried to make you as mad as possible at me...then you wouldn't care about leaving...Look at me Kate, please."
She had been still staring at the floor.
"Please Kate..."
Finally she lifted her head slightly and looked at him again. Murdock didn't feel comfortable at all. She was doing it again. She was looking inside of his inner self. But he faced her, knowing that he needed to explain honestly.
"I didn't mean to hurt you...I was blind...I couldn't see that I was causing you so much pain...I was just thinking of myself. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Murdock lowered his head, ashamed with himself. Kate's eyes softened, seeing his own pain behind the mask.
"Murdock...I'm sorry too. I should have stayed...I shouldn't have let you get to me. I knew it was the stress but it hurt so much I couldn't see through my own pain. And when I had to fake my death..."
Once again she looked down as Murdock lifted his head. He wanted to know why exactly she had had to fake her death.
"...I wanted so badly to call you...tell you that I was still alive...especially after seeing you at my funeral...it broke my heart...I kept thinking that maybe we could still...but I couldn't. I would have put your life in danger and I didn't want that."
She had looked up again and they were just looking at each other. Then for what seemed like the tenth time that day he took hold of her shoulders and pulled her in. Kate winced just slightly as his hand pressed down on the wound in her shoulder, but she ignored it. Her hands clutched Murdock's jacket tightly, unwilling to let go, her head buried in Murdock's neck. He could feel her heart thumping against his chest and could feel the silent sobs shaking Kate as he continued to hold her close, and then, unable to keep his own emotions in, he cried tears of happiness, relief, joy and every other unexplainable emotion. A silent forgiveness passed between them. He pulled her tightly in to him after he had stopped his tears and he felt her tense up and wince as his arms pressed again her.
Feeling a little confused he pulled her back, but kept hold of her shoulders tightly. He saw the look of discomfort pass over her face as she moved one of his hands from her shoulder, only relaxing once the grip had loosened.
"What is it? What aren't you telling me?"
"It's nothing."
Before she could stop him he had leaned in and pressed her shoulder gently. The sharp bolt of pain that shot across her face was unmistakable and he pulled her jacket and top down slightly. She didn't fight because it only made the pain worse. He stopped when he saw the bandage covering her shoulder.
"Nothing?"
He said gently.
"Just bullet wounds, that's all."
"Wounds? You mean there's more than one?"
He said sounding astonished. He looked her up and down, then pulled her top out of her jeans, immediately seeing the second bandage wrapped around her mid section.
"What happened? Tell me."
She shrugged.
"Not much to tell. I was involved in a botched job and I got shot...but that's old news...it was nearly a year ago."
"So what's with the bandages? Kate, if it was a year ago then they should have healed by now, even I know that."
"So I didn't take the recommended recovery period ˝ I had to get back ˝ I had to find out who it was that shot me! That's why I'm here. I had to see one of the other patients. He was my only lead."
Murdock looked stunned. He'd seen something that he never thought he could see in her eyes ˝ vengeance...and pure cold hatred.
"Kate...you've never been one for revenge...never."
"People change...I've changed."
She took a breath and decided that she had to tell him.
"I work for...well it's an agency run by the government...highly classified."
"How did you get into that?"
He asked incredulously.
"It started about a year after 'Nam. I had been working at a hospital when an agent was brought in with serious injuries. I was the only one that was told of their situation, mainly because one of the agents knew me from somewhere. I'm not sure where ˝ I think maybe he knew my father. Anyway, afterwards they asked if I wanted a job in their forensics department ˝ well, I jumped at the chance. Better pay, company apartment and car. And over the years I worked my way up to where I am today."
"From where I am, that doesn't look like a very good place. Look at you. You're exhausted, pale, so determined for revenge that you haven't even given yourself enough time to heal."
Kate suddenly jumped up.
"Well ˝ what would you know?! Huh?!" She paced away from him, then turned around. "Spending night after night living the same nightmare...wondering through a warehouse in the dark to suddenly be standing in front of a door, that when it opens, floods the whole area in such a bright light that you can't see anything! And then to suddenly see the silhouette of a man." She was staring into space as if he were standing right in front of her ˝ the memories plaguing her. "You never see his face...all you see is the gleam of the metal. And the only sound is him laughing at you, until the bangs echoing around drown it out...And the pain..."
She closed her eyes for a moment lost in the torment, then she opens them again.
"The pain never goes away. And it won't until I can find who it was that tried to kill me...and show them what it's like to hurt 'like that'...to wake up every night to your own screams...Oh God ˝ Oh God-"
Her hands reached up to her face. Murdock moved quickly over to her and gently pulled her towards him suddenly understanding why she hadn't recovered properly after a whole year. She leaned into him and sobbed into his shirt. He held her and shushed her, rocking her gently back and forth like he used to when she had the other nightmares. Nightmares about the night her parents were killed. Murdock knew she couldn't remember what happened that night, she was only seven. But it still came back to her in her dreams ˝ images, sounds, feelings.

*************************************

The van pulled up to the entrance of the block of apartments that was there temporary home.
"Ah, home at last."
Face said, sounding exhausted. The three of them got out of the van and headed for the entrance. Hannibal pulled out a cigar and, biting the end off, he spat it onto the ground.
"I've got to admit, that plan worked out rather well I thought."
"Plan?!" Face answered perplexed. "Hannibal, that was not a plan, that was a complete farce! Piece of cake you told us, gonna go down smooth, Face. Just a couple of goons with toy guns who fancy themselves as pirates, Face. Yeah, in and out, 1, 2, 3, with the girl and the gold. No muss, no fuss. Huh?"
"Right." Hannibal smiled as they entered the lift to their floor.
"Right. Well, we lost our wheels for a while, BA did 20 rounds with Godzilla, you had to walk the plank and were nearly drowned, and a very big and I might say, I lost some ribs and I think my nose is busted. Now, does that sound like a plan that worked well?" Face whined.
"Come on, Lieutenant. We still managed to save the girl, the house 'and' retrieve the gold."
The lift doors opened and Face pulled his key out.
"Yeah well, from now on, Hannibal, Murdock comes with us."
"Not dat fool!"
"Now BA, I know he gets on your nerves, but you've got to admit if he'd been there then we wouldn't have gotten into that much mess, for a start the numbers would have been a bit more equal. 3 against 7 is not my idea of a fun time."
BA turned to Hannibal.
"He's right, Hannibal. The fool's coming with us next time ˝ but no flying, or you're a dead man!"
They entered the apartment.
"Fine BA. Next time Murdock comes. But I still think the plan worked well."
Face grabbed a pillow and threw it at the Colonel, who darted out of the way just in time, smiling.
"Your plans never work well, Hannibal. They just work. I bet Murdock's been having the time of his life while we've been away."

*************************************

They were sitting on the bed by this time. She'd managed to control her emotions.
"Sorry. Don't know what came over me."
"Don't be. I'm sorry, I should have known. Feeling better?"
"You know...yeah. I don't think I've ever gotten over that day. I just kept on going, to ease the pain. I never...never..."
"Let it out?"
She nodded and smiled at him.
"You always knew how to get me to open up, the amount of times you kept pushing and pushing until I went over the edge. It always amazed me how you did it, you were the only person who could get me that angry." She stopped and just stared at him. "Murdock, what are you still doing in here?"
He looked down.
"It's a long story."
"I've got time."
He looked up at her.
"Well..."
The door suddenly opened and they both looked up. Dr. Richter was standing in the doorway.
"Kate, what are you doing in here?"
He seemed surprised to see her.
"Oh hey Doc," Murdock butted in before she could say anything. "She's an old friend from 'Nam. Why didn't you tell me she was going to be here today?"
"I didn't know that you knew each other. Kate, could I have a word with you, please? About Donaldson?"
"
Sure."
She turned to Murdock.
"I'll be back in a minute."
She said and walked out of the door.
"What is it, Adam?"
"How do you know Murdock?"
She'd been waiting for a question like that.
"From 'Nam. Don't you remember me telling you that I did a couple of tours over there? Well, the Captain was a patient of mine. Plus the amount of times I saw him flying patients in and out, I got to know him quite well."
"How did you know he was here, anyway?"
Kate took a breath ready to lie to him.
"I didn't until I bumped into him in the corridor. So, I decided to sit and have a chat. I felt a bit guilty actually, I'd noticed in my last tour that the stress seemed to be getting to him, but he managed to hide it. It wasn't until after I'd gone that he cracked. I felt that maybe if I'd have mentioned it, then maybe he wouldn't be here now." Adam nodded.

"How is he doing anyway?"
"He has his good days, his bad days. Maybe if he didn't keep breaking out and disappearing for ages then we'd get somewhere."
"Breaking out?"
She asked as if she didn't know.
"Yeah, he likes doing that. But he always comes back. Anyway, actually you may have helped me out a bit here."
"Why?"
"Well, I'd just been looking for you, figured you'd gone home. Luckily I came to check on Murdock here, he wasn't doing too good earlier. Anyway, I'm going out of town for a week or so, personal matter. I was going to ask you if you could take over caring for Donaldson but as you know Murdock maybe you could take over his care as well?"
"Sure, no problem. I did owe you."
"Thanks, Kate, you're a life saver!"
He gave her a hug and left her to it. She walked back into Murdock's room and found him sitting quietly on the bed.
"Guess what?"
"What?"
"Dr. Richter's going away for a week or so, he asked me to take over caring for a couple of his patients, including you."
"Really?!"
"Yes, so...we'll have plenty of time to talk."
She said seriously. He nodded and was about to say something when he heard a beeping.
"What's that?"
He asked.
"Just my beeper." She said taking it out of her pocket. "Damn," she looked up. "I've got to go. Work."
Murdock nodded.
"Sure thing." He got up and gave her a hug. "It's good to finally see you again. I really have missed you."
"I've missed you too. Haven't stopped thinking about you."
She said, pulling away. He hesitated about kissing her, and ended up just giving her a peck on the cheek.
"See you tomorrow."
She nodded and left.
Once outside she took a deep breath. That goodbye had felt awkward. She knew that it was going to take some time before they could get over the past decade without each other. And she knew now that they'd never go back to what they used to have. But this was a start and she felt so much better for finally seeing him, it would be so nice to have him as a friend even if she couldn't have him how she wanted him again. She reached reception and switched her mind back to her work. Her partner had beeped her for some reason. She went up to the desk and asked if she could borrow the phone. Picking it up she rang Steve's mobile.
"Hello?"
"Steve, what you beep me for?"
"Sorry, urgent. Boss wants to see us. I'm on my way there now. Meet you there?"
"Sure. See you soon."
And they hung up. She marched back to her car, jumped in and headed for work.

*************************************

"You know what, Hannibal? I think we deserve a vacation."
Face said, lowering his paper. Hannibal glanced over at him. The three of them were lounging in the living room of their apartment. They'd been back for only a few hours and Face was already restless.
"You know something, Lieutenant? I think you're absolutely right. We do deserve a vacation. What d'ya say BA?"
"Sounds great to me ˝ but no flying!"
"No BA no flying."
Hannibal turned back to Face. "Any ideas?"
"How about Crystal Lake, it'll be almost deserted now that summer's coming to an end. But it's still warm enough to be outdoors. "
"Aw man not Crystal Lake!"
"Why not? I mean, yeah things went a little bad last time but what are the chances of it happening again. Huh? I could break Murdock out in a few days and we could be at the lake by the end of the week. I don't think Decker will ever suspect us to go there again, and plus the only reason he knew we were there was because that pretty sheriff called him. She's not likely to do that again, now that she owes us."
"He has a point BA. We could grab some supplies and stay up there for a week or two. It'll give you time to work on the van ˝ you know sort out those dents and bullet holes."
"Fine Hannibal. But don't say I didn't warn you if anything goes wrong."
"Right then, it's decided. Thursday, Face, you break Murdock out, and we'll get some supplies. Then we'll be off for a well deserved vacation."
Face smiled at the plan. He was looking forward to spending some time relaxing, plus he would be able to take the pretty sheriff out for dinner like he'd said. He also knew that Murdock would like it. He knew this week was hard for Murdock and he thought it would be a good idea for him to get out.

*************************************

It was only fifteen minutes down the road. She reached it to find Steve waiting outside for her.
"Any idea what this is about?"
She asked him.
"Your guess is as good as mine."
And with that they headed into the building. Heading for a bare door with no handle, Steve inserted a card into a slit half-way down and the door swung inwards. They walked down a long bare corridor and up to a wall, where behind the wall a woman scanned them for weapons with an x-ray device. Steve looked up at the camera.
"Afternoon Janice."
The door in the wall opened and they both stepped through.
"Please identify yourself to the scanner."
They moved to the side wall where there was a device that scanned their retina's and fingerprints and gave their name and number. The computer beeped and said 'identity confirmed' and they both walked past the desk and into the lift. They got out two floors down where their agency was situated. Their boss' office was at the far end and they headed over. It had glass walls and they could see that their other colleagues were already sitting down the main desk. Their bosses chair at the end was empty. They went in and sat down in the two of the four remaining seats.
"Hey Kate, how's things?"
Martin asked. She'd been away for two weeks.
"Things are fine. Feels good to be back. I've missed this place."
"You've got to be kidding me?!" Nikki said incredulously. "This place? It's been so quiet in here that you could have heard a pin drop. You really haven't missed much at all."
"Glad to hear it. What are we all here for anyway? And where's Danny and Mike? Late again?"
"
They're on assignment in New York."
Josh, Danny's close friend answered. At that moment their boss entered through the door from his main office and sat down in his seat. He looked worn out and obviously had bad news.
"What is it, Captain?"
Nikki asked. Captain Peterson glanced at everyone around the table, nodding slightly at Kate in acknowledgement.
"We received word this morning from our offices in New York. Daniel Scott and Michael Yorke were killed this morning."
A stunned silence washed over everyone in the room. Josh closed his eyes and dropped his head. Martin sat stunned staring at his boss, as did Nikki and Colin, while Kate stared off into space, mouth open, unable to take it in. Danny and Mike had been good friends of hers, she'd known them since her father was in the force. Steve put his hand on her shoulder in comfort, unable to believe the news either. He was the first to speak.
"What happened?"
He demanded.
"The reports are unclear. They're saying that someone broke into both of their apartments and ransacked the place before killing them."
"What were they looking for?"
Martin said.
"We not sure."
"What was their assignment?"
Kate asked, finally finding her voice. Captain Peterson looked up at her.
"They were following a lead on the Murphy case, that they'd got from Simon."
Kate stared at him, unable to reply. The Murphy case was what her and Steve had been working on before she had been shot. She had been going to see Simon, the guy with connections that would talk to her as long as she brought food, when the incident had occurred.
The Murphy's were two brothers who, as far as they knew, worked with the KGB. They had numerous operations such as a weapons ring and drugs smuggling, that the Murphy's ran, but, Steve and Kate had suspected that this was all just a cover for what they were really doing. Simon was about to tell them the name of a man who the Murphy's worked for that they knew wasn't involved in any of their other work. A man who, Kate knew, had been running many secret operations ever since her father had been in the force.
Danny and Mike had obviously been carrying on the case, while Steve and herself went off at a tangent following the leads to find out who it was that shot her. Kate had figured that whoever it was couldn't have been directly involved with the Murphy's, because Simon hadn't shown. She knew that if they had been working for the Murphy's then Simon would never have caught wind of the plan and he would have been there waiting for her and he would have also been killed. People working for the Murphy's were too good to have their plans found out, and whoever it was had obviously wanted Simon alive to give them his information. She tried to explain this to her boss, but he wouldn't listen. She was told that she was just being paranoid and that Simon wasn't a trustworthy source.
"So, I was right. Whoever it was wants something from us, that's why Simon wasn't killed."
Her boss nodded.
"I'm sorry, Kate. I should have listened to you. You were right."
Everyone went silent for a moment.
"So...what do we do now?"
Josh asked.
"We all have to be very careful from now on. If whoever it is knew that Danny and Mike were agents, that only means one thing. We have a leak in the system, so what I have told you and what I'm going to tell you doesn't go beyond this room, am I understood." Everyone nodded. "Right. As far as everyone else knows the case is being dropped. We are no longer working on it. Martin and Nikki, I want you to go New York. Find out everything you can about what Danny and Mike had found out and see if there's any evidence as to what it was these people thought they were hiding. As far as anyone knows you're just going over to pick up their things and to tie up loose ends. Josh and Colin, I want you to find out everything you can from Simon, see if you can find out what it was these people are looking for, try not to be too conspicuous. Steve, I want you to stay here. Go over all the information we have and see if there's anything we missed. If anyone asks you're just sorting out paperwork, while your partner is away.
"What?!"
Kate half shouted.
"Kate, I want you to stay home, rest. If anything comes up I want you in tip-top condition. Dismissed. Kate, could you stay behind."
Everyone filtered out slowly, still reeling at the news of their friends deaths but used to putting their emotions aside to get on with their assignments. Kate was left sitting on her own. Captain Peterson stood and moved to lean beside her on the table.
"Kate, I want you to carry on with what you're doing. I'll get Steve to come by and pick up the paperwork you have."
Kate looked up at him.
"Carry on with what?"
"Talking to Donaldson." He put his hand up to stop Kate butting in. "Yes, I know that you've been following leads. I know you wouldn't let this go, plus Steve has been keeping me informed."
"Steve..."
She said threateningly.
"Don't blame him, he was just following orders. I have a feeling that if you find who it was that tried to kill you, then you'll be lead straight to the top man. Don't tell anyone what you're doing. Only Steve and I will know."
"Why not the others?"
"Just a hunch."
"
You think it's one of them don't you? One of them has been leaking information."
"Now, I didn't say that."
"Of course you didn't."
She smiled in acknowledgement.
"If you have any information then let Steve know. He'll come see you everyday, playing the worried partner. Okay? Oh, and get Steve to show you out, tell him I want to see him."
"Sure."
Her boss nodded and she got up and headed out.
"See you around, Captain."
"Be careful."
She nodded, opened the door and left. Steve was waiting outside, as was Josh and Colin.
"What was all that about?"
Steve asked.
"Nothing much, just trying to cool me down. I feel ready to come back and help but he's adamant that I still need time off to recuperate. It's crazy! I don't need to rest, I feel fine."
"No, I think you look a little pale, maybe it's better that you rest. When we do find the bastards it's gonna mean 24 hours work solid until we catch them. Don't want you collapsing half way."
Josh said.
"He's right."
Colin agreed.
"Fine. Well, I'm off them. No point staying round here. Got better things to do. Like learning how to become a couch potato!"
Her friends laughed.
"Gonna walk me out?"
She asked Steve.
"Why not."
He smiled. Once past the security checks and back in the main reception Kate turned to Steve.
"Boss wants to see you, try and make it inconspicuous."
"What about?"
"You'll find out. See you around."
She said the latter a bit louder for anyone trying to listen to hear. With that she gave him a small hug and turned to leave.
"Don't forget to come visit. Don't want to get lonely."
And with that she left.

************************************

Colin Watson looks across to see where Josh, his partner, is. Spotting him over by the filing cabinet looking busy, Colin picks up his phone and dials.
"What?"
A voice answers.
"It's me Pap. We've just had a meeting with Captain Peterson. Kate turned up as well. He knows about Danny and Mike, but they don't know why they were killed."
"They don't know about the code-key?"
"No. And Danny and Mike didn't have it so that leaves Kate, Steve and Josh. But I don't think it's Kate."
"Son, I know you like Kate, but you know that it's more likely to be her than one of the others. Her father didn't have it on him when I killed him so he must have given it to someone. And Kate's the most likely being his daughter."
"But she was only seven and you did tell me that the trauma of what happened to her parents gave her selective amnesia ˝ that she doesn't remember anything ˝ maybe she never will. And anyway it could easily have been Josh ˝ her fathers partner."
"What about Steve?"
"That's less likely. His father worked with Kate's father and I can't see Steve's father telling him something that important."
"What about the others in your team?"
"What; Martin and Nikki? No, they have no connection to Kate's father at all. I've checked and double checked them. They know nothing. I think if Kate knew about the code-key then she would have told her boss when she heard about Danny and Mike but she didn't say anything."
"Maybe she knows one of you is leaking information?"
"They already know that Pap, but they don't suspect me ˝ otherwise I wouldn't still be working on the case."
"Okay, let me think...I'm gonna have to call my boss about this. For now keep a close eye on all of them ˝ especially Kate. I have a feeling she knows something, maybe her father did tell her, but she just doesn't remember. If she doesn't remember then we're fine, we've got nothing to worry about...but if she does you have to be ready. And be careful, I don't want you getting found out. Okay son?"
Colin sighed.
"Sure thing Pap." They hung up.


PART SIX ˝ Appearances can be Deceiving.


Face groaned.
"But Hannibal what about our vacation."
Hannibal gave Face a knowing look.
"It'll have to wait until after, I'm afraid. That family need our help, we can't just leave them to defend for themselves."
Face nodded, downhearted.
"I know, Hannibal."
"It shouldn't take long, kid. It'll be a-"
"-Don't say it, Hannibal. Don't even think about it."
Hannibal smiled and put the cigar back in his mouth.
"You'll have to get Murdock out of the VA tonight. Then as soon as the mission is finished we can go for that well deserved vacation."

***************************************

It had been two days since the meeting with Captain Peterson. Kate had found out no new information from Donaldson, he was going through one of his bad periods again.
Kate had also spent a lot of time with Murdock. He'd told her everything that had happened after she had gone. The fourth tour, the A- Team being sentenced for robbing the Bank of Hanoi and how he had been put in the VA. Kate told him all she knew about the Team's exploits and he told her that he was in fact the fourth member of the Team, which she had no doubt about. He also told her of all the missions that they'd been on and how shocked he had been when he had heard that she had died in a car crash.
She chatted about her life after 'Nam. Joining a hospital and meeting Dr. Richter, then getting involved in the Government which led to her career undercover. She also told him that she had kept a close watch on his life and she confessed into having been to the VA numerous times planning on seeing him but chickening out at the last moment. He said that he had always thought of her and had never truly believed that she had been killed. He said that he could feel it.
It felt like old times to Kate. They had always been able to chat so easily. But she could still sense the slight awkwardness between them. The unspoken subject of their feelings towards each other. She was still deeply in love with him ˝ she could feel it deep inside. And he was also feeling the same way. They had mentioned it when she went to see him the second time but they had decided it best to just be friends and they hadn't spoken of it since.
On the third day she went to the VA as normal, not expecting much from Donaldson. She hadn't been able to get any sense from him at all. She was shocked when she entered Donaldson's room ˝ he was singing again and Kate knew he was back to his normal (if you could call it that) self. She spent the morning with him discussing all sorts of things and she finally felt that she was getting closer. Usually she left him at lunch and would go and see Murdock but as she was so close she went and told Murdock that she would have to see him later that day. He just nodded.
She spent the whole afternoon with Donaldson and finally, around 6.30 she managed to get a name out of him. Peter Hart. She didn't recognise the name.

**************************************

It was dark at this time when Face conned his way into the VA and to Murdock's room. They hadn't told Murdock about the vacation, they'd wanted it to be a surprise, and Face wasn't going to tell him where they were going after this assignment.

************************************

At around the same time Kate left Donaldson and she gets into the lift to go and see Murdock. First though she decides to head down to the reception and grab a coffee and call Steve with her findings. She walks around the corner and over to the drinks machine. Overhearing a familiar voice enter she looks around and immediately recognises the man in fatigues.
Decker.
She turns back round, picking up her coffee, thinking quickly. She had to warn Murdock so that he could warn the Team that Decker was on their trail. She knows that the Team are in the area ˝ Murdock had told her.
She turned, moving calmly back round the corridor hearing the receptionist give Decker a lecture on turning up without warning, then she set off at a jog, trying not to spill her coffee. She jumped into the lift, pressed for Murdock's floor and waited impatiently. When then doors opened she quickly pressed for the top floor and hopped out. That should keep Decker waiting a little while at least, Kate thought knowing that the lift could take ages. She ran down the corridor trying not to make too much sound, or spill her coffee which she was holding in both hands.
At that moment Face was arguing with Murdock in his dark room.
"Come on Murdock, don't be silly, we've got to get out of here."
"I'm not being stupid. I've seen her Faceman."
"Murdock, she died years ago. Now come on, before we get caught, or don't you want to go on holiday later?"
"It's just, I have to see her before we go. I don't have her number!"
"Murdock, lets just get out of here. I know that this week's a hard week for you, but we'll talk about this when we get out of here. Okay?"
Face knew that this was the week in which Murdock had met Kate. They had celebrated every year when he was with her, and ever since she'd left, Murdock always used to go uncharacteristically quiet at this time. Face tried to pull Murdock away from him as he was grabbing onto Face's jacket, trying to get him to listen.
"No Face. We'll talk about this now. She's alive and she's here. You're not listening to-"
Before he could finish the sentence the doors burst open. Kate saw Murdock standing in the middle of the room, mid-sentence. Face was trying to loosen Murdock's grip on his now crumpled clothes. They stopped dead when they heard the door open and stared up at who it was. Kate also looked partly shocked ˝ she hadn't expected anyone else to be there. Murdock looked expectantly at Face, knowing that he had to believe him now. Face's eyes widened.
"Kate...but you're...you were..."
He was so shocked to see her he couldn't finish the sentence.
"That's what I was telling you Faceman! She's alive!"
He smiled at Kate.
"But ˝ but-you-uh-what, what are you-what-?"
Face stuttered.
"Forget the questions ˝ Decker's coming."
Face and Murdock's eyes widened again and they looked at each other. Kate was pulling the thermometer out of her pocket that she had with her out of habit and stuck it into her coffee as she quickly moved forwards placing the coffee cup on the bed-side table and she shoved Face towards the cupboard.
"Get in there and be quiet."
She commanded, shutting the door on him as he opened his mouth to protest. She locked the door and turned to Murdock.
"Take off your jacket and cap and get into bed."
She ordered him as she checks the thermometer. When she looks up he is taking his jacket off slowly in confusion.
"Come on!"
She sounds agitated as she pulls the baseball cap off his head. He handed her his jacket and she threw them onto the chair, then she pushed Murdock into bed and pulled the blankets up to his chin.
"Kate, what are you do-"
He started to ask in confusion. Before he could finish the sentence she pushed the thermometer into his mouth. He mumbled something.
"Shh, God you're slow on the uptake today ˝ look ill!"
She whispered fiercely, hearing footsteps coming towards them. She sits down in the chair by the bed as the door opens and Decker walks in.
"Murdock ˝ oh ˝ " He seems shocked to see that he's not alone. "What's going on here?"
He demanded.
"Shh. He's sick ˝ he's got a bad case of the flu."
On queue Murdock groaned. Decker looked at him as Kate tried to keep a straight face ˝ the groan had sounded quite false.
"What? Give me that!"
He moved forwards and pulled the thermometer from his mouth. He looks at it and is surprised to see it reading up in the 100's.
"He's got a fever!"
"I told you he has the flu! Now would you please leave. He needs peace and quiet."
She commanded, standing up.
"I'm sorry to bother you ma'am."
She moves over to him, forcing him out of the room and took the thermometer from his hand.
"I don't expect to have interruptions like this. Next time..." She looks at the name on his fatigues as if she didn't know his name. "Col. Decker, tell us you are coming instead of just bursting in."
"I have reason to believe that Murdock has connections with the A- Team and I know that they are in the area."
"Captain Murdock is going no-where." Kate flashed Decker a badge from the inside of her jumper. He looks at it one eyebrow raised, in amazement and slight confusion. "I assume you know what this badge means, don't you?"
"Again, I'm sorry to bother you. But you have to understand how dangerous these men are."
"Oh, believe me, I've heard all about them. And I'm telling you that Murdock will be going no-where tonight or for a few nights to come. So you may as well go back to where you came from."
"I'm sorry ma'am, but I can't do that. If the A-Tam are in the area, then it's my duty to stay around. I'll be setting up base a few blocks down and have men patrolling the grounds regularly to keep an eye on the place. If you find anything out I'd like to know."
Kate watched him nod to his men and they all left. Kate watched until they were out of sight before she sighed with relief. She turned and headed back into Murdock's room. He sat up straight away.
"Thank you Kate."
He said getting up and giving her a hug. Then they heard a knocking from the cupboard.
"Uh...guys?" Kate went over and unlocked it. "Thanks...uh, how did you know I was here? And-and what are you doing here?"
"I didn't know you were here. I just came to tell Murdock to warn you that Decker was lurking about. I had to make him think Murdock wouldn't be going anywhere so that he would leave. Now, come on ˝ lets get out of here. Decker's setting up base nearby ˝ keeping an eye on the place. We'll use the back entrance."
She turned to go but he grabbed her arm.
"You didn't answer my question. We heard you were killed, what's going on? And how did you get Decker to leave so quickly?"
"It's a long story, come on."
Murdock started to pull his jacket on.
"No Murdock. You'd better stay here tonight. If Decker comes back, he'll be expecting you to be in bed."
"But-"
"She's right Murdock, we can't take you out. Decker will definitely know that you're part of the Team. Stay here, we'll sort something out."
Kate turned to Murdock.
"I'll come and see you tomorrow."
She nodded to him. He took her hand and gave it a squeeze. She smiled at him, nodded again and headed for the door. She looked out, and spotting no- one, she beckoned to Face and took him down the corridor. Luckily they met no-one and she took him to the back entrance ˝ more like a fire escape. It led right next to the car park and she took him to her car.
Suddenly she spotted a movement nearby and spotted a torch light. Face's back was to the sound, but Kate could see that it was a young MP. Face looked at her, he was standing stock still, also having heard the movement. Without warning Kate grabbed him and pulled him close kissing him full on the lips. For a moment he was stunned, then he realised what she was doing and he responded. He put his arms around her, concealing his face as well as to make it look convincing. The MP looked over, shining a torch on them. Kate looked up at him, hugging Face to her. He was one of the men that was by Decker and he recognised her, nodded and moved away. Kate watched him leave, holding her breath. Once he was out of sight and sound she sighed and let go of Face. Face looks at her stunned.
"Thank you. That was close."
"LetÝs go before it gets even closer."
He looked at her and smiled. Then he pulled her in and hugged her tight. She hugged him back, then they pulled away.
"I can't believe it's really you. None of us could believe it when we found out you had...well, died."
They both got into her car and she pulled out and turned left on his instructions.
"Murdock wouldn't believe it until we went to your funeral."
"Yeah, I saw you."
"You were there?"
"Yeah. It...it broke my heart to see Murdock like that."
She said quietly. Face gently urged her on, desperate to know why.
"So, you wanna tell me why? Why you, Katherine McKnight, faked her own death? It's just not you."
"Actually, it's Kate Kawalski. Katherine McKnight died over a decade ago."
"Oh...changed your name as well. Come on, Kate, tell me. Please."
She sighed and pulled her collar over so he could see her badge. He stared at it.
"That's...that's...only people working for the government have those."
"Yeah. I'm, well...I suppose you could call me a 'secret agent'."
"Secret agent?! Maybe you should start at the beginning."
"Maybe I should. But there's not really much to tell. After 'Nam I worked in a hospital for a while. One night some men came in with a guy who'd been shot. I treated him. Turned out he worked for a top government agency. Highly classified. And, after I saved his life, they asked me if I wanted to join ˝ be their medical advisor. Turns out the boss remembered my father, he also worked for the government. I decided why not. Had nothing else planned. It did mean, however, that I had to fake my death. The kind of information I would be dealing with was so classified that if I got found out, people that knew me would become targets, so I had to have a whole new identity, a whole new life."
"That's one hell of a sacrifice, and a hell of a risk."
"If you don't take risks in your life for something you believe in, or for your dreams...then you'll never get to where you want to go."
"Now, that's the girl I remember." She smiled.
"Oh, I'm still Kate. Just not many people know that, or see it."
"You uh, must have missed Murdock. I know he missed you."
"More than you can know."
He sat and watched her, he could see the tears glistening in her eyes. She had changed so much. The Kate he knew was quiet, friendly and she cared so much about things, her job, Murdock, her friends. And she was always laughing.
The girl sitting behind the wheel was different, she had an arrogance about her, a defiance, she acted as if she didn't have a care in the world, but at the same time it looked as if she was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She looked tired, but full of energy and in her eyes he could see that there was a hidden pain, a very deep pain. Something he had seen in many people's eyes but never in that of Murdock's girl ˝ her eyes always laughed and people could tell everything about her through her eyes ˝ the window to the soul ˝ which always seemed to be open.
He realised that the past years must have been hard on her and he hoped that Murdock could reach her, reach Kate McKnight.
"Uh, which way now?"
She suddenly said, jolting Face out of this thoughts of the past and back when they were all in 'Nam together. He looked up and saw that they had come to a junction.
"I'm at the, Plaza Hotel. Know where that is?"
"Sure." She turned right. "Still the same old Face Eh? Posh restaurants, five star hotels?"
He laughed.
"Well, what were you expecting?"
She laughed.
"I guess...I dunno, I mean you've been on the run for over ten years. I figured it would have changed you."
"No, I'm still Face. We've all tried to stay the same. We just keep on moving, it uh..."
"Eases the pain."
She said, understanding as if from personal experience. He watched her again.
"I guess so. Never really thought about it."
He sat and watched her expressions for a few minutes until she pulled up to the curb.
"Here you go. Door to door service."
"Thanks. What we going to do about getting Murdock out?"
"Do you know the large Willow tree at the south end of the grounds?"
"I've seen it, yeah, why?"
"Well, there's a gate hidden in the bushes there. Hardly anyone knows about it. I'll get Murdock out into the grounds and we'll sit down on the bench nearest the tree at around 11.30. I'll need one of you to come in, take Murdock out, I'll need to stay behind, make sure the coast is clear. Think you can get in?"
"No problem."
She nodded.
"You can take Murdock out of the gate. It's usually locked from the outside but I'll see to that. Make sure BA's waiting in the van on the south side of the hospital."
Face nodded.
"Thank you."
He smiled, and pulled her in to hug her again.
"It really is great to see you alive and well."
"You too. I've been keeping a close eye on you, try not to get into too much trouble while you're gone, okay?"
He smiled again.
"We'll try."
He got out, closed the door and watched her pull away and drive off down the road. He turned and entered the hotel and strode up to their room.
It took a long time to try and explain everything to a reluctant Hannibal. He was having a hard time believing Face that Kate was still alive. They'd all been to her funeral, they'd seen her being buried and they had all put it behind them. He'd never admitted it, but finding out about Kate's death had affected him more than he thought possible. She had always been full of life, always laughing and to know that she was no longer in that world had hit him hard.
The shock that Hannibal felt turned to anger and he shouted at Face for not having gotten Murdock out of the VA. Face replied calmly that Decker had been hanging around and that if it hadn't been for Kate, then they'd have been caught. Then Face had to tell Hannibal about Kate being a secret service agent. Well, that sent Hannibal over the edge and he exploded saying that Kate would never be a part of something like that, that it wasn't in her nature. Face had retaliated back that people can change and that Hannibal should have some faith in him to tell him the truth about something so serious.
It worked and Hannibal just stood and looked at his Lieutenant, then apologised as he sat down, saying that it was just hard to take it all in. Face sat next to him and agreed. He said that he wouldn't have believed himself if he hadn't seen her.
After a while Hannibal asked if Kate could be trusted now that she was working for the government. Face said that she was still Kate, deep inside. But he warns Hannibal that the years haven't been good on her. That she's different on the outside, tougher.
Face told him the plan and Hannibal trusted Face and Murdock's judgement and decided to go along with it. But just in case he made a plan B for them if anything should go wrong. He told Face that he would go and meet them, he'd wear his old porter disguise.

************************************

So, around 11.20 Murdock and Kate left his room and headed into the gardens. She'd explained everything when she had turned up at 10.30. He asked how Face had been after they had left. Kate told him that he'd been more than just shocked and wondered how Hannibal was taking it all. Murdock said probably not too well either. He informed Kate that Hannibal had taken her death almost as bad as him. And although he had tried not to show it, Murdock knew.
The information shocked Kate, Hannibal had never seemed to pay Kate much attention, of course he had liked her and they chatted but he always seemed too Military to actually get to know her better, but somehow...without Kate noticing he had known her, he had understood her. Kate realised that she had greatly underestimated him. She'd always seen him as a father figure but figured that he didn't see that, or just didn't care.
Kate and Murdock sat down on the bench nearest the gate and chatted, keeping an eye out for one of the Team.
"Before you go, Murdock, we need to get something straight."
"Yeah, I know. Us."
Kate nodded.
"We can't just jump back into this. It's been too long. Even though I'm dying to kiss you again, I know it's wrong. We need to start this slowly, I don't think I can...just go back to how it was. I hope you can understand that."
"I completely understand that. It's okay. I feel the same, sort of. We'll take it...slowly."
Kate smiled.
"Thanks Murdock."
From afar Hannibal, dressed in his white porter disguise, watched them. All that night he'd been up thinking. He couldn't get it through his head that Kate was alive. And he still hadn't believed it as he'd gotten changed and had snuck into the VA.
She had always been so open to him, and he had pushed her away on more than one occasion. It had just been his way of dealing with people. He didn't want to let them get too close, didn't want them getting hurt. The only ones who knew the real him back in 'Nam had been BA, Face and Murdock. Kate had never noticed the looks he'd given her, or the admiration in his voice when he spoke of her...didn't want her getting too close...or he didn't want to get too close. He thought of her as the daughter he never had -˝ so full of life...even in a place full of death. He always looked forward to seeing her smile when they came back from a mission ˝ almost as much as Murdock did.
And now, he watched in stunned silence as Murdock and Kate walked over to the bench that was in his line of sight. It was her. There was no mistaking her smile, her eyes, the way she held herself. It was Kate.
For a moment he just stood there watching, then as he looked down at his watched it was exactly 11.30 and he moved out of the shadows and rambled over to them.
Kate and Murdock looked up as they heard the old man move over.
"It's Hannibal."
Murdock whispered to Kate. Kate stared at the guy as he ambled over to the bench. He was bent almost double and had greying hair and beard.
"You've got to be kidding me."
She whispered back.
"No, it's his famous Porter disguise. Recognise it anywhere."
Kate stood as the man reached them. So did Murdock.
"The famous porter disguise, Eh, Colonel?"
"Are we clear from MP's?"
Murdock glances around.
"It's clear, Colonel."
"Wait."
Kate suddenly says. She sits back down and looks down.
"Guy, over by the fountain."
Hannibal sits down beside her where he can look at the fountain without suspicion.
"It's an orderly."
"No, it's one of Decker's MP's. I recognise him from last night."
Hannibal turned and looked at her. She was still staring over at the orderly.
"Decker's certainly learning."
She stated.
"He sure is."
Murdock agreed. He was still standing up and half bouncing about, then he stopped and stood between the bench and the orderly so he couldn't see them directly. Kate turned her head and found herself looking straight into the old porters eyes. They shimmered that crystal blue she remembered so well and she smiled.
"It's good to see you, Hannibal."
She said seriously.
"It's a shock to see you. I have to admit I didn't believe Face when he first told me."
Kate smiled at him, then opened her mouth in shock as he pulled her into an embrace.
"I've missed you, kid."
He whispered into her ear. She closed her eyes and smiled, comfortable. Then they pulled away.
"For a dead girl, you look pretty good."
Kate laughed.
"Now, you wanna tell me where this gate is? The sooner we get out of here the sooner we can talk."
He said looking around.
"Right over there."
She nodded her head towards the right. He glanced around.
"I don't see it."
"That's the beauty of it. You can't see it from the grounds. It's hidden by the bushes. It's usually locked from the outside but I sorted that out this morning."
"So, what's the plan?"
"I'll distract the orderly while you and Murdock go for a walk. As soon as I'm out of your sight get into the bushes."
Hannibal nodded.
"What about you?"
"Don't worry about me. I'll be fine."
Hannibal stared at her.
"God, you're so different."
Kate smiled at him.
"I'm still me. Just a bit older, a bit wiser."
Hannibal saw a spark of something deep in her eyes. It looked liked sorrow. It startled him, he hadn't been prepared to see that emotion within her. Her eyes always danced with laughter and happiness, not with what he saw now, not with sorrow, pain. He made a mental note to ask Murdock what he knew about her life after 'Nam. Because something had seriously affected the young girl. Kate stood and stepped up to Murdock.
"I'll see you around. Be careful."
Murdock smiled.
"Always. I'll give you a ring when we get back. We still have a lot to talk about."
Kate nodded.
"Now. Go."
"I miss you already."
"I miss you too."
And with that Kate walked towards the orderly. Murdock and Hannibal watched her leave.
"God, Murdock, I can't believe it's her."
"Neither could I when I first saw her. I've missed her so much."
"Me too, Murdock."
They started to stroll towards the trees but not making it look too obvious.
"But there's something not right with her, I'm sure you noticed."
"Couldn't miss it, Colonel."
He said sadly.
"Have you talked about it?"
Murdock glanced at the Colonel, then back at his feet.
"She...the years haven't been good to her, Colonel. She used to be such a free spirit, now she looks like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. I found out she was injured almost a year ago. She was shot a few times. They still haven't healed Hannibal. It's been almost a year and they still haven't healed."
"That's not right."
Hannibal said sadly, then noticed Kate and the orderly moving around the corner.
"Now, Murdock."
He ordered and they both marched into the trees, making sure no-one else was about to see them. They walked through the bushes until they came to a wall of hedge.
"Check to the left Murdock, I'll go right."
They separated and started checking the hedge. After a few moments Murdock called out.
"Over here, Colonel."
Hannibal joined him and Murdock parted the hedge. There was a wooden gate there.
"Good on you, Kate."
He smiled and pushed down the handle. The gate swung out and Hannibal glanced out. There were more bushes on the other side so no-one would see them leave. They stepped through and Hannibal carefully closed the gate behind him and they stepped through the trees to find themselves suddenly by the main sidewalk.
"Wow. That was easy. We'll have to remember that for future reference."
Murdock stated. Hannibal led him over the road to where a car was parked, and they jumped in.
"Well, Colonel?"
Face asked.
"I would have never believed it if I hadn't seen it."
"So lil sis is still alive?"
BA asked.
"She sure is, BA."
Murdock smiled.
"I just wish she looked better than she does."
Hannibal replied sadly.
"What do you mean?"
BA questioned as he pulled out and drove down the road, in the opposite direction of Decker's base camp.
"Turns out she's been through a lot this past decade. What with working undercover and being injured. Looks like the lifestyle's getting to her."
"Injured? What are you talking about?"
Face questioned. It was news to him.
"She was shot, Faceman. Last year. She still hasn't gotten over it. But she won't admit it. And she's been having nightmares about it. You know like back in 'Nam and about her parents. But these are worse. Much worse."
There was silence for a moment. Just the noise of the car's engine. BA wasn't too happy about driving the car but they couldn't very well drive the van. Decker would have recognised it instantly.
They all knew about nightmares, they'd all had their fair share of them back in 'Nam including Kate. But Kate had other ones. Like the night her parents were killed. They'd all heard her relieving that night, even if she couldn't remember it.
"It's strange, she's still Kate...inside...I can still feel her...but she acts so differently. We need to get her back guys. I owe her that. We need to find the old Kate, wherever she may be. You with me?"
"
I'll be with you all the way, Captain."
Hannibal nodded.
"Count me in Murdock."
Face smiled.
"Me too."
BA agreed.


PART SEVEN ˝ Some Things Never Change.

After picking up her book from the table, Kate laid herself down on the sofa for her first night off since the A-Team left ˝ four days ago. She'd worked non-stop since they'd gone and she was starting to feel the fatigue. Steve told her to stay home that night rather than come in and help or go the VA and for once Kate didn't argue with him. She'd gotten enough information out of Donaldson for now and it was time for a short recess.
She wasn't five pages into her book when someone pounded on the door. She sat up mindful. Steve had told her he'd call in the morning, so it couldn't be him, plus he usually rang before he came, and it wasn't likely to be anyone else from work. Deciding to air on the side of caution, she picked up her gun from the table, while placing her book down. She stood and moved quietly towards the hall where whoever it was banged again. Feeling the adrenaline pumping she reached the door. She took a deep breath ready for anything, and was about to ask who it was when a voice spoke.
"Kate? Kate are you there?"
The voice called carefully.
"Murdock?"
She unlocked and opened the door to see Murdock standing there, looking tired and filthy.
"What are you doing here? You scared me!"
"We need your help. Are you alone?"
Kate nodded. Murdock signalled to someone behind him and she saw Hannibal and BA emerge from the shadows, the limp form of Face hanging between them.
"My God, what happened?"
She asked moving aside to let them in.
"Put him on the couch."
She commanded, placing the gun in the back of her jeans , while grabbing the first aid kit from the cabinet in the living room.
"He got shot at. Bounced off a metal can and scraped past his temple. We've cleaned it as best we can but we wanted to get it checked out by a professional."
"Good idea."
She said kneeling next to the unconscious Lieutenant and automatically placing her fingers on his carotid artery. It was there and relatively strong. She looked up at the rest of the Team.
"You all look like hell, why don't you go into the kitchen, get some coffee and something to eat. The bathrooms upstairs, first on the left if you want to clean up."
She turned back to Face, carefully lifting the make-shift bandage to examine the wound.
"Will he be okay? He's been unconscious since it happened."
Hannibal asked her.
"He'll be fine, it's mostly superficial, but he may need a couple stitches. He's concussed, that's why he's unconscious, he'll wake soon enough."
Hannibal placed a hand on Kate's shoulder and squeezed it. Kate looked up at him, nodding in understanding at his concern. Then the three of them left Kate to look after him.
She was just finishing the two tiny butterfly stitches and placing two small lines of tape across the wound when she heard a low moaning and Face started to stir. She shushed him gently.
"Careful, take it easy."
She whispered. He moaned again and moved his head.
"Face, try and keep still for me."
"My head..."
He whispered, then his eyes fluttered open and focused blearily on her.
"Kate...?"
She smiled.
"Yeah, it's me. Just relax. Do you remember what happened?"
"Fighting...he had gun..."
"ThatÝs' right. You were very lucky. The bullet just scraped past your temple. You've got a concussion and I've had to give you a couple stitches."
"Stitches?"
His eyes widened slightly at the thought.
"Don't worry, I haven't ruined your good looks. They won't leave a scar. A couple days and you'll be as good as new."
"What a headache...I'll kill him."
"Kill who?"
"Hannibal...said it'd be a p-"
"-Piece of cake."
She finished for him and laughed.
"You should know by now never to trust him when he says it'll be a piece of cake. That's just jinxing it from the word go."
Face grunted.
"Get some sleep. And I want you to take it easy for the next few days. Get over the concussion."
Face just nodded and closed his eyes.
"Thank you."
"Don't mention it."
She smiled, then quietly packed away the first aid kit and joined the others in the kitchen.
Hannibal, Murdock and BA were sitting quietly around the table, drinking coffee. All three looked up when she entered.
"How is he?"
Hannibal asked straight away. She noted as she answered that all three seemed to have cleaned themselves up and she was relieved. Now she wouldn't have to order them.
"He's gonna be fine. In fact he just woke up ˝ but, he's asleep so there's no point in rushing in there."
Hannibal sat back down from the half standing position he was in. The three men physically relaxed to know that Face was gonna be fine.
"I told him he's to take it easy for the next few days, so I want you to make sure he does. No more missions for a while, okay?"
They all nodded solemnly.
"For a moment back then, when I saw that guy shoot at him, I thought he was a gonna."
Hannibal said quietly.
"Nah Colonel, Faceman one tough guy."
"Try lucky, fool. That man was just a bad shot."
Murdock stared at BA.
"Faceman's tougher that you think you ugly mudsucker."
At the name calling BA went and stood toe to toe with Murdock who stared back trying to be just as menacingly.
"What'd you call me fool?"
BA grabbed his lapels and was just lifting him off the floor when they heard a stifled laugh come from over by the sink and they looked over to see Kate trying hard not to giggle.
"What?"
BA asked, not amused. He lowered Murdock a little.
"Even after over a decade you lot never change. You and Murdock still argue, Hannibal's still on the Jazz and Face is still the charming, chauvinistic heart-breaker. And you're still helping people that need it. Huh...some things just never change."
"You have."
Hannibal replied softly, with a hint of sadness. Kate looked at him, staring at her with those clear blue eyes. She turned away and picked up the kettle, pouring herself a coffee.
"Yeah...well, circumstances out of my control."
She replied just as softly.
"And those circumstances mean you have to take your gun to the door every time someone knocks?"
Kate turned back round to face him. She noted that he'd stood, and that both Murdock and BA were watching her carefully. Especially Murdock, who she knew could tell what she was going through.
"I've just been more cautious lately. Two of my friends were murdered while on the job I was suppose to be on."
As an after thought she added,
"We're all being careful at the moment, just until we've sorted it all out."
Murdock knew straight away that it was something more and he stood and walked over to her.
"You're angry with yourself. Because you think it should have been you."
She turned to him angrily.
"Yeah, it should have been me! But then I go and get myself shot and Danny and Mike took over!"
Her voice broke slightly.
"I didn't even know they'd been assigned it."
There was a pause.
"Tell me what happened. How did you get shot?"
"I went into a warehouse to question a man we found to be easily persuaded to dish out information ˝ all it too was Chinese take-away...we'd been a thousand times...but someone must have found out...they were waiting for me."
"Where was your partner?"
"I told him to wait out in the car, that I'd be okay."
She looked down.
"Doesn't sound like your fault to me."
She looked up at Hannibal.
"But it was, don't you see...I let my guard down. If I'd have been more cautious, if I'd have let Steve come in with me, then none of this would have happened. Danny and Mike would still be alive."
"Yeah, but you wouldn't. You've have been killed instead of them."
Murdock argued, the grief evident.
"What would that matter."
She said despondently, staring at the floor, trying to hold back the tears she felt coming.
"Everyone I love...think I died a decade ago. Wouldn't have been many people who would have missed me. You already thought I was dead."
"But I didn't."
She looked up at him.
"Not really. Even after going to the funeral, seeing your grave. Somewhere deep inside, I could still feel you...I can't explain it...but, ever since I first met you there was a connection and I know you can feel it. It was always strongest when we were together, but I could still feel it when we were miles away. So, when I heard you'd died I couldn't believe it because the bond was still there. For a while I just figured maybe, you were with me in spirit, but when I heard rumours you may still be alive I had to believe them. So, you see. If you had have died, then I would have known it, because part of me would have died."
Kate stared at him. In those eyes she could see the Murdock she knew, the serious, sensual Murdock, and not the crazy Murdock she had seen for the past couple of weeks. She felt the tears coming, because she knew that he was right. Then she felt gratitude and contentment when he pulled her into his arms and hugged her tight. She wrapped her own arms around his neck and rested her head on his chest, feeling comforted.
Hannibal and BA, feeling as if they were prying on a personal moment, decided to check up on Face and they left quietly.
Murdock and Kate stood still as Kate sorted out her feelings and took hold of her emotions, stopping the tears. Feeling the silence going on to long and become awkward, she spoke.
"This feels familiar."
She sighed, relaxing. Murdock looked down at her head resting on him.
"It's comfortable."
She lifted her head and looked up into him.
"It always was."
She felt her face moving closer to his as he lowered it. Feeling the old memories sweep over her, she started to close her eyes. He did too.
Then, suddenly, as one, they both realised what they were doing and they pulled back, giving each other small, awkward smiles.
"Um...maybe I should see how Faceman is doing."
Kate just nodded as Murdock walked out. Kate took a breath and leaned back onto the counter.
*What the hell were you thinking, Kate?* She said to herself. *You can't just go back to how it was, you've discussed this. Now get back into professional mode, check up on your patient and forget what just happened. All gestures of affection stop right now.*
When she entered she saw Face half sitting up chatting to Murdock. Hannibal and BA were listening.
"I thought I told you to rest."
She said like a stern doctor.
"I'm resting...see I'm still sitting, hm?"
She rested her hands on her hips and gave him a look. She was about to lecture him on the importance of resting after a serious knock to the head when she heard her beeper. She looked around, unsure of where she left it, then spotting it on the coffee table she grabbed it.
"It's Steve, he's coming over." She looked up. "You'll have to go before he gets here. But you," she looked at Face "need rest. At least a week. You're to do nothing strenuous you got me? Nothing strenuous."
Face rolled his eyes and nodded.
"And that includes dates."
"No dates for a week?!"
He whined, Kate ignored him.
"If you come back in a fortnight I'll take the stitches out. You lot can make sure he stays home."
Hannibal, Murdock and BA nodded.
"Now, you'd better get going. Steve'll be here soon."
Hannibal and BA stood and started to help Face up. Murdock turned to Kate and took her shoulders.
"Will you be okay?"
Kate smiled.
"I'll be fine. I've been fine for 10 years."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded.
"I'm sure. I'll call if I need to talk, okay?"
"You'd better. I'll give you a ring when I'm back at the VA."
He pulled her in and gave her a brief, comforting hug. She gave him a squeeze back and they parted. She walked him to the door and waved them off. She went back inside and tidied up and 5 minutes later the doorbell rang and Steve called through.
"Kate, it's me."
Kate opened the door.
"Hey Steve, what's up?"
"Just checking on you. How you doing?"
Kate sighed. *Where do I begin?*

********************

A week later and nothing new has happened. Murdock had rang a couple of times and said that he would be back the next day. Kate was glad because they had a lot to discuss ˝ mostly about their relationship. She said she'd meet him at 1pm.
That night Steve came round again, unexpected. Kate knew that something was wrong straight away and she led him to the sofa where he watched her for a moment.
"What's wrong? Steve? You're scaring me, what's happened?"
He looked at her sadly.
"Kate...Josh...he was found dead in his apartment."
She stared at him.
"What...?"
Her breathing became slightly shaky and Steve put his hand on hers.
"The place had been ransacked. Looks like it was the same people that killed Mike and Danny."
She was silent for a moment.
"When will it end...when...?"
Steve took both her shoulders and pulled her towards him, to face him properly. He knew that the news was going to affect her deeply. She'd known Josh since she was a kid. He'd been her father's partner.
"Kate...we need to stay strong, okay? We need to keep going. The sooner we find out who's behind it the sooner it will all be over. You got me? Kate?"
Her eyes focused on him and he saw a sudden strength fill the empty void that was there. He'd managed to get through. As long as he could keep her strong now, to help her get through it, then he could deal with the aftermath once everything was over. It was the only way to survive in their line of work. It made it harder in the long run but later didn't matter.
"What do you want me to do?"
She said, the determination in her voice.
"I found some more information."
He handed her the file that he'd placed on the table.
"What's this?"
"Everything we have on Peter Hart."
She opened the file and took out a single sheet of paper.
"Not much then?"
"No, Peter Hart isn't his real name. We do have a photo. We want you to show Donaldson to make sure it's him."
Kate nodded.
"Sure, I'll go and see him tomorrow."
Steve nodded.
"I'd better get back. Are you going to be okay?"
Kate looked at him and sort of shrugged.
"You know...for now."
"I know. Call me."
Kate nodded and showed him out, locking the door securely after him. Once he'd driven off down the road she leaned back against the wall, her eyes closed and took a couple of deep breaths. Everything was moving so fast, things were happening all at once and she wasn't sure where she'd ever get the strength to carry on. Then she thought of Murdock. He'd always managed to pull her back from the edge in 'Nam as she had him. She opened her eyes and knew that she would be okay...at least for the time being.
It was strange how some things never changed...not even how deeply Murdock could affect her.

*******************

The phone rang and he picked it up.
"What?"
"It's me papa. Josh didn't have anything on him."
"So it has to be Kate." He said, slight laughter in his voice. "Okay, tomorrow I'll send my own men to her place to find out if it's there. I want to deal with this personally. If it's not then-"
"You can't kill her!"
"Calm down! I just want to scare her. Maybe she'll show us where the papers are hidden."
"What if she does have them?"
"Then she's mine. Don't worry, I won't kill her. Not at first anyway, it'll be more fun to keep her around for a while. And I don't want you anywhere near. If she figures it may be you, then your covers blown. I'll ring you tomorrow night."
The phone line went dead. Colin hung up his end and sighed, putting his head in his hands.

******************

11.30 the next day and Kate slouched out of the VA exhausted. Donaldson had finally identified the photo ˝ it was Peter Hart and Donaldson had also mentioned that Peter was his first name but that he had changed his last name for some reason. Donaldson said he didn't know what it was but he said that he had a son that he thinks was called Colin. Frowning, Kate slumped into her car and called Steve, giving him the news so that he could research into it.
Unlocking the front door she stopped dead at the sight that met her eyes. The hall was a mess ˝ straight away she pulled the gun out of the back of her trousers. She took a few cautious steps and entered the living room. Before she had time to fully enter she felt a gun dig into her back.
"Don't move."

 

 

To Be Continued...

 

If you want more please send me comments.


Stir of Echos 1 by Becki
Stir Of Echoes 8-11 by Becki
Stir Of Echoes 12-15 by Becki
Stir Of Echoes 16-21 End by Becki

 

 


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