Murdock slowly sat up, his head was pounding. What had they got up to last night? He'd slept in his clothes, well passed out in his clothes. He wandered out of the bedroom he shared with face and surveyed the mess in the kitchen.¾Oh man! " He muttered, rubbing his sore head .He saw Face outside slumped in the chair sunglasses firmly in place with a glass of Alka-Seltzer in his hand. Murdock smiled even face looked wrecked. He walked out the patio doors and slumped in a chair beside face
"Morning faceyman, what did we do last night?" Murdock said
Face just moaned, "something to do with a bottle or two of mr jack, I believe it was your idea " he replied as he drank the last of the fizzing brew, grimacing, god it tasted foul.
"My idea? " Murdock replied
"Yep, I came over after 8 and you were well away, I joined you, seemed a good idea at the time."Face replied
" Don't it always " Murdock responded, his mouth felt rough and very dry.
"Still, my head feels like a beach ball, still do the crime, do the time. " He said as went back in the kitchen and started clearing up. Face joined him, they had just finished when the van pulled up, and Hannibal and BA jumped out.
"God you two look rough." Hannibal remarked as he entered the house, eyeing the sheepish pair, with more than a little amusement. Face pointed at Murdock "His fault, his idea " Face responded.
"Yeah and I poured the jack Daniels down your throat, you struggled so much ä" Murdock shot back his voice dripping with sarcasm. Face blew a raspberry and playfully threw the kitchen roll at him. Murdock ducked and laughed .It was a long time since face had been this relaxed. The business with Dante had upset him more than he'd let any of the others know; still he'd recovered physically, mentally? Well only time would tell. Hannibal smiled as the team played out the farce in front of him, BA smirked, and he too had worried about face, being so quiet and reserved even with Murdock. Hannibal pulled up a chair, pouring himself a coffee. Face's smile was a welcome sight, he hadn't smiled since, well, and it had been while.
Face was indeed in a playful mood, as he threw the bowl of water over Murdock and then legged it out of the veranda door, with a somewhat irate Murdock close behind him.
"Boys will be boys, " Hannibal said smiling.
"A team that plays together stays together remember!" BA replied walking over towards the open door. Watching Murdock spraying Face with the hosepipe."It s been a long time since I've seen him like that Hannibal, too long " he continued. Hannibal nodded in agreement, as he too watched the spectacle
Before them. Face and Murdock were now rolling around on the floor, tickle fighting oblivious to their friend's bemused faces.
They returned to the house both sodden, both with inane grins on their faces. " G o get dry you two " Hannibal gently chided "Before you catch your death of cold " Face and Murdock sniggered d their r way upstairs.
"Hannibal you think Face's ready to go back in the field?" BA asked.
Hannibal shrugged, "He hasn't got much of a choice BA, you take Murdock to get the supplies, I'll talk to him then."
"Ok!" BA replied. As Murdock disappeared after BA out the door, Hannibal found Face in the living room, nursing a fresh brew and reading the poems.
He looked up as Hannibal came in, and smiled.
"Face, how you feelin no w?" He asked, not in the mood to beat around the bush. Face's smiled wavered as his gaze shifted from Hannibal back to the book.
"I'm o k, why we got a mission?" He asked
"Yeah, Stock well isn't willing to wait anymore." Hannibal replied. Face shot Hannibal a filthy look, anger welling, and he'd been in such a good mood, he hated Stockwell and he hated the fact that he was the reason Hannibal was asking how how he was. As he got to his feet he snarled back,
"Yeah I'm ready, glad you care so much colonel, I mean it's touching, that it takes that bastard to get you to ask how I am. "With that he turned tail out the room throwing his cup in the sink as he passed it, the cup smashed as it hit its target. , And Face stormed out, jumping into his vette, his wheels screaming away as he sped down the dirt track. Hannibal sighed "Ok so that went wellänot "he muttered, "Murdock ås gonna kill me!"
Face wasn't gone long he returned a few hours later, rip roaring drunk. Hannibal had had a tongue lashing from Murdock, he'd remember for along time, he had fucked up, he knew that, as he watched a drunk Lt Peck stumble in through the front door, the point was rammed home even further.
"Still up Colonel! " Face slurred as he poured himself a drink, "Now is that because Stockwell told you to? Guess what I don't give a fuck, what's the mission this time? " He asked springing up onto the kitchen work surface.
Hannibal eyed his friend from the doorway, he couldn't remember just when he and Face had become distant, but the fact was s blatantly obvious now, they were. Face was angry, Hannibal knew he hated Stockwell, but this was new, Face didn't usually get drunk. Faces glare burned into Hannibal,
"No, I waited up because I was worried about you. I was, nothing to do with Stockwell." He replied coolly. Faces snorted as he got off the side and slung open the veranda door,
"Save it Colonel, I will be ready for action in the morning, that's what you want to hear isn't it, sir!" he snarled and with that disappeared out the door ad down the path towards the jetty. Hannibal paled, that hurt, Face hadn't been that formal with him for years.
"Leave him Colonel, he's drunk, let him go." Murdock said, sitting on the stairs, he'd heard everything. Hannibal turned,
" Guess you blame me for this mess. " He said bluntly. Murdock shook his head, "Actually no. " he said looking at Hannibal strangely serious, scarily sane, well almost. "Don't you understand since we got involved with Stockwell we've been like puppets? He says jump, you say how high. Before we were a team, we meshed. Face is sick of it, he's got a lot to deal with at the moment .I'm sick of it, Jeeze, he can't do it anymore, he's confused and scared, he thinks of you as a dad, he sees Stockwell manipulating you, and it screws him up even more. He wants his dignity back, his self worth, doesn't want to be the lackey of the man he hates. Hannibal don't you see, we follow you, not Stockwell, you need to take your unit back!" Murdock finished.
"When did you get to be so wise?" Hannibal replied, Murdock smiled as he saw the recognition on Hannibal's face.
"I may be Howlin mad but that don't make me stupid "He replied
Hannibal carried the unconscious Lt over his shoulder toward the van; BA was smiling, as was Murdock. Hannibal strapped Peck in took one last look at the house and slid the door of the van shut.
Hrs later Stockwell read the letter Hannibal had left, screwing it up and throwing it in the roaring fire,
"Shit, " he muttered, "guess it had to end sometime, still, the papers will be an interesting read in the morning." He muttered with an evil glint in his eye.
"Bastard did it!" Ba yelled throwing the paper on the table. "We're wanted again!!!!!!!!"He smirked, " Ahhhhhh fits like an ole glove." Hannibal smiled; it felt good master of his own destiny, well actions at least again. The retreat was the only place Stockwell knew nothing about. Face appeared at the door, and walked slowly to the nearest chair,
"What's all the shouting about guys, it's early?" he wined gently, carefully avoiding any eye contact with Hannibal. Hannibal walked forward and handed him a coffee and some aspirin. He then crouched in front of Peck forcing him to look at him. "Retraining, "Face frowned as he swallowed the pills,
"Well we got fat and lazy under Stockwell. Now we're on our own again."
"What the fuck are you talking about Hannibal?" Face snapped
Hannibal got up and wandered away,"We resigned."
Face looked at him not showing any reaction. "Oh, what now? "
Hannibal smiled, "We're back in training as of now Lt, lets get those scammin skills not to mention survival skills back on track shall we."
Face bristled at the veiled insult, still maybe just maybe it would make things better between them all, god knows it couldn't get any worse.
"Haven't we done this before!!!!"Face wined as he followed Murdock over the assault course.
"Yep! And it worked too up to the point you got had by a pretty lady and me a dog, I mean a dog!" Face cringed
"Ah thank you Murdock for reminding me. " He replied. It had been a week of running, swimming, shooting and ducking and diving each other through the thick forest. Quite frankly Face was Knackered and not in the true sense of the word. However it was working, they all were slipping back into the old routine, slowly but surely. As Face and Murdock passed the finishing line Hannibal stopped the clock.
"Better, not brilliant but better.! He said eyeing Face and Murdock with an s lye grin on his Face. "Right ready for a swim?" He said cheerfully. Face and Murdock glared at him as they recovered from their excursions.
"Right from here to that buoy and back, ok, then we'll call it a day guys! " Hannibal continued. He watched them race towards the buoy and smiled, this felt good, almost back to normal. Murdock was on his way back first, with Face close behind him. They scrambled out of the cold water almost together, Hannibal and BA handed them towels as they all made their way back to the shack like cabin.
Face sat alone by the roaring fire, showered and changed he felt a bit more human. Murdock appeared and sat down next to him.
"You ok face man?" he asked jovially. Face was staring at the fire lost in thought, recent events replaying in his mind. He was glad they were no longer linked with Stockwell, and yes all this exercise, or what had Hannibal called it retraining, was working, the team were beginning to gel in a way they hadn't for a long time. Still ää.
"Yeah, I'm ok. Is it my watch? "He asked
"Yep, Hannibal' s gonna keep you company. "Murdock replied as he sprang up and began the climb up the stairs, "See ya later!"
Oh great Face thought to himself a he made his way to the vantage point. Just what I need, more time with him. . Not. Hannibal was perched on the fence puffing away on his cigar when Face reached him; the sun was leaving a beautiful glow to the sky as it set.
"I don't need a baby sitter Hannibal, " he said gruffly. Hannibal turned and looked at Face, a man he'd known for so many years, a man he'd seen bloom, was now treating him like a stranger.
"Isn't it time we had this out Lt?" he asked. Face swallowed hard, sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, still looking straight ahead he replied,
"What's the point?"
Hannibal snapped he'd had an enough. He jumped off the fence grabbed Face spinning him round and jamming him against it. Face glared at him,
"Get off me!" He snarled, "I won't tell you again!"Hannibal glared back; he could see all the confusion and pain in Peck's eyes and then backed off.
"So be it, you can't say I didn't try. " Hannibal seethed
"Try what? Lying to me again? " Face yelled. Hannibal, frowned,
"What the hell are you talking about Face?"
"I know, I stumbled across the memo. About Stockwell conveniently covering up what happened to Murdock and me in nam . Because one of the men there was his son!" Face almost screeched, "You knew!"Hannibal had paled.
"What memo?" he asked.
"It was in his brief case, it fell out, so I read it when I saw it had the town's name on it. About 4 weeks ago. That bastard knew what his done did to me, why do you think Dante's body disappeared?"Hannibal couldn't believe his ears,
" And you've been carrying that round since? God am I glad we got out when we did, there was a time you wouldn't have thought twice about telling me. Face you gotta believe me I didn't know. "Hannibal replied. Face was shaking bordering on hysterical; he fell to his knees holding his head in his hands.
"His son raped me Hannibal, and you were at his beck and call like a puppy, I didn't know if I could trust you. "Face sobbed. Hannibal came forward and held the sobbing LT in his arms. Anger welling, how could he not have seen or known .A lot of things suddenly made sense, Stockwell adopting them as his personal little army, Faces behaviour and utter hatred of that man.
"Face its ok, we're nothing to do with him anymore, we'll find a way to get you through this. No one is gonna hurt you or betray you like that ever again. Trust me!"Hannibal gently said as he held his sobbing Lt.
BA and Murdock listened to what Hannibal had to say in complete silence. Face sat on the couch, his eyes red, staring at the now spent fire. BA fists curled and uncurled his anger welling, Murdock was crying, he'd been there too and remembered every blow that was dealt to him, the pain of treachery still raw as it had been members of his own unit doing the beating. He walked forward and sat next to Face, throwing his arms round Face who rocked slowly forwards and back, locked in his own personal hell. He remembered being held down, the laughs and the jeers, as one by one the men raped him. At long last they knew everything, even Murdock, at long last they were away from Stockwell. It would take time for both Murdock and him to heal, but he also knew Stockwell hadn't Banked on the ties that bind them together being so very strong, making the team what it was a formidable fighting machine but also a very close-knit family. They'd forgot that whilst under Stockwell, now maybe they could mend the damage done. And perhaps Piss Stockwell off as they did it, hey bonus!