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A Touch In The Darkness

A Touch In The Darkness
by Howlin Thunderbird

General Rating: R
Disclaimer: written just for fun...lotsa fun <g> Original A-Team characters ain't mine, but all others *are* and you'd better believe it! Warning: swearing, graphic war violence, mention of rape, m/m, general blood and guts and death (it's a war fic) This is a slash fic
Comments: not necessary but nicenicenice <big crooked smile> just be nice, this is a tentative effort here, on this group
Author's Comments: dedicated to Viskey, my faithful writing partner Goldfox, and to the memory of my beloved dog, gone of three weeks
Summary (general): In an unexpected attack, the fight for survival becomes the only thing in existence. Can Hannibal pull this crazy band of his together before they all die?





He turned on his bunk, glancing behind him toward the slender, almost shivering young figure standing in the low door to the nearly empty hooch. The other guys were still in the mess, so he had decided to slip back here for a few moments of quiet time to himself. He didn't even have to see him to know who the keeper of that soft voice was. H.M. sighed to himself, somehow resigned by now to the fact that young Peck always followed him. The kid just couldn't leave him alone. That itself brought enough conflict inside the young pilot. Peck's habit of always wanting to be near H.M. no matter where he went became incredibly irritating very quickly, especially when he wanted to spend time around the other pilots. Those men were too rough, too much of the dogs everybody had to be for him to trust them around the young kid. So, despite how annoying he could be, H.M. felt something small but strong and protective inside him. He didn't really like Peck, but he just couldn't let the other men use him the way they loved to. This young seventeen-year-old had no right to be in this hellhole, much less a whore against his will. He snorted. The kid had no right to even be in the war.

"Can -- can I come in?" Peck asked softly. He almost seemed shy. But definitely determined, H.M. knew that.

One corner of Murdock's mouth twisted up into a wryly fond smile. He shrugged, cocking his head toward the place beside him on his bunk. "Sure."

The teenage blond slipped in quietly, carefully and settled down on the opposite corner of the bunk, curling up into a comfortable ball. H.M. had to admit, he could understand, just looking at him, why this soldier who was hardly more than a child was so talked about. In quiet circles, he was famous, and he could see why. Templeton Peck was incredibly beautiful, to the point of unnatural. But so... innocent at the same time. He had been raped, abused, for who knew how long before the pilot met him. But there was an innocence there too. The boy didn't really understand what made people look at him that way.

Truth was, H.M. could see exactly what it was. It included the soft way that gold forelock fell in front of his eyes, or the slender, small frame that was so smooth and supple, or the almost wild beauty of those wide blue-green eyes. Or maybe it was the way those shorts and tank tops exposed soft skin... Murdock blinked himself out of his studying trance, disgusted with himself for even thinking about touching this young man. No way was he going to follow that urge. But it was tempting sometimes. He cleared his throat, tightening his hand around the pendant and chain he held there. "What's up?"

Peck shrugged. "Just wanted to see what you were up to."

H.M.'s eyes narrowed more pointed. "Uh-huh." He nodded slowly, slipping the pendant and chain into his pocket. "You okay, muchacho?"

The young man bristled, drawing himself up, those blue-green eyes suddenly burning. "Why do you want to know? I'm fine!" he snapped, but Murdock heard it. There was a catch in his voice.

The pilot hastily backpedaled, raising one hand to silence his companion. "Shh-shhh. Calm down; I'm not gonna hurt you. Tell me if ya want," he soothed carefully, resting his hand on the blond's fairly slender arm for just a moment to keep this young one from running away. **Yeah right,** a voice nibbling in the back of his mind muttered sarcastically. **C'mon, admit it H.M., he's gorgeous. You want to touch him.** The captain's eyes narrowed sharply. No! No, he would not, absolutely not even think about touching young Peck that way. That would be cruel. Why was he even briefly thinking about being with another male? What the heck had happened to him?

Thankfully oblivious to the fierce battle of will, Peck relaxed slowly again, still curled in his tight ball on the end of the bunk. "Okay," he whispered softly. The moment Murdock glanced up at him, the kid quickly pulled his eyes away from his own little study. The world had slammed into slow, complete silence, but the air seemed to grow more tense between them. Finally, Peck broke the deafening quiet quickly. "Murdock-?" He cut off sharply, biting his lip.

H.M. frowned, shuffling a deck of cards with long fingers. "Hmm?"

The kid paused, prepared to say something, then finally shook his head. "Never mind."

Murdock's eyes narrowed, watching him. Something wasn't right. Either Peck had just escaped an encounter, or a nightmare, or something of that nature, but he was scared. And there was definitely something he wanted to say. He decided to change the subject. If the kid was determined to stick to him like glue, he might as well help him calm down a little. At this point, the young lieutenant looked like he wanted to bolt. Either that or was desperate to stay and afraid he would turn him out. "One of the guys and me wanted to go into Khe Sanh tonight. I was wonderin' if ya wanted to come with me." Templeton Peck spun and stared at him, eyes widening in shock. H.M. couldn't help but smile, for a moment allowing warmth to show in his eyes as he met Peck's.

He seemed a little lost, very unsure. "Uh... um... you sure?"

The smile widened to a brief disarming grin, accompanied by a casual shrug. "If you'd like. Don't have to." H.M. glared at the ceiling a disgusted snort. "I havta admit, those guys are a pretty nasty danged bunch sometimes. I'd be goin' through hell tryin to get them to leave you alone but... you're welcome to go with us if ya want." H.M. didn't look at the young kid. Why did he have the feeling he had just signed up for an irritating evening?

Peck fell silent, curling tighter around himself, and finally shook his head slowly, staring off into space. "No, thanks, H.M..." He swallowed, barely even speaking in a whisper and met Murdock's eyes. What H.M. saw there almost tore into his heart, the mix of softness and pain and fear and defenses. "Go without me."

Murdock was not sure whether to be alarmed or not that the kid had used his first name. As far as he was concerned, he saved his butt a lot, but they weren't on a first-name basis. He gauged his team-mate suspiciously. "Alright. Well, I gotta go, so I'll be seein' ya." The next words slipped out before he could stop them. "Take care of yourself." He silenced. Why the heck he'd said that, he didn't know, but this was beginning to feel way too uncomfortable to stick around. The pilot pushed himself up to his feet and exited the hooch before Peck could say another word.

He no way wanted to even slightly start being attached at all to this kid.

But it would be easy...

**Damn, just disappear, Murdock.**

* * * * *


Chapter 1


Darkness had a strange way of becoming something actually plausible. A real person. Somehow midnight could become its own creature. The blackness could only be pierced by the light of the stars, which shone like pinpricks in the deep jungle night. That and the dim orangish glow from the neon lights and lanterns of the smallish bar H.M. watched overhead from the low ceiling. It was definitely dark, but he had no idea how late he and Captain Tinnesman had been here. The walls themselves had begun to weave a path through H.M.'s eyes, swimming like little rivers. The pilot ran his tongue slowly over dry lips, playing with a nearly empty glass of whiskey between his fingers. He stared at the amber liquid for a moment, his mind lost elsewhere, back at Delta. Peck never came here much... course, his reason might make perfect sense. H.M. snorted in disgust and downed the glass, feeling the woody taste on his tongue as the alcohol burned a path down. Of course that kid never showed his face generally around here. This was a place to hang on off nights for recreation, but it wasn't the best place to keep from being prowled after.

Probably better he hadn't come with him.

Probably best he'd left the young lieutenant out of this mudhole. Still... Murdock's eyes followed the curves of a young Vietnamese prostitute he'd become familiar with with detached approval. He and Thai had enjoyed each other a couple of times in the darkness of the murky, stinking back room, but he wasn't in the mood for sex. He hated needing and having sex with a girl who'd been a whore all her life. It wasn't even her choice really. She needed to support her young child. Almost like Peck...

That kid didn't want to be used and discarded and played with either... And he didn't really have a choice, not really. H.M. had grown used to him and kicked butt to protect him in his own, aloof way. The wolves tended to keep their paws off Peck generally when he was around, and that satisfied him enough. It wasn't like he really cared... certainly no emotional attachment to the kid...

Not much anyway.

Murdock held up his hand with one word to the man behind the bar to hold off any more alcohol. Another swig of that stuff and he'd be high enough to explode in a burst of fire to the moon. He felt a bristling inside his pants and brushed his groin briefly with his hand to soothe himself. Maybe he was wrong, maybe he was in the mood for sex. His body sure wouldn't complain at all to the relief and brief flash of pleasure. He felt the heat pass through his body and closed his eyes to enjoy the thoughts randomly floating through his mind. Pictures. Soft skin flushed with passion, the heat of someone's body around him as they both moved together. He could almost feel the touch, smell the hot sweat. Then the hesitant but passionate way a lithe kid moved, blue-green eyes...

H.M.'s eyes flew open. He gasped, thrusting himself out of the alcohol-hazed dream and shuddered in disgust. What the heck?! He sat on the stool shaking for a minute in shock. That hadn't been a woman in that dream. That had been that kid, Peck. If he hadn't believed it before, he did now. That kid had something that did things to men!

Someone touched his shoulder. "Hey, Murdock? You okay, man? Looks like you're ready for some serious action."

Murdock's eyes chilled. That voice had been more than sensual at the end, very inviting. He glared at the reddish-brown haired pilot standing beside him. "No comment, Kev," he muttered very slowly. "I don't want it; find yourself another partner." Kevin Tinnesman shrugged and smiled, his hand catching and sliding down H.M.'s jaw. The younger pilot jerked his head away, grabbing the man's wrist and digging his fingers in. "Don't touch my body, dangit, or you're gonna find yourself bleedin', Kevin."

The other pilot pulled his arm away, nodding with a slight smile. "Alright, Murdock. If you'd ever be interested later, I'm game, kay?"

H.M. didn't move. "Save it."

The senior pilot sauntered away to find his companions. He never pushed things, and that was what Murdock liked about him. But the man was decidedly homosexual and Murdock didn't want attention that way. Not from him anyway.

Peck on the other hand...

The captain's gut churned in disgust toward himself but he'd had it this time. He might as well face it, as sick as the truth was. He wanted to take that kid and touch him, make his body his. Maybe even show him how special intimacy could be with someone you liked and who liked you back. Show him what it was like to be not just a victim of just sex, but how to love it. But Murdock didn't love Templeton Peck, not really... did he? It'd be almost impossible. They'd known each other for only a collection of weeks and the teenager had an irritating way of never leaving him his share of privacy. The pilot finally shook his head and snatched up his jacket from his lap. It was time to leave before he made a sight of himself with what was growing steadily in his pants, courtesy of a picture of Lieutenant Peck nude in his mind.

The man behind the bar mentioned something about tab and H.M. nodded. He shrugged on his jacket and reached in one pocket to take out enough change for his share of the drinks. He left word with the other, older pilot and ducked away through the bead draperies out the door into the darkness outside. He stared up at the stars for a minute, the blurred words of a rock song mixing with pictures of Peck in his mind. His hand absently found its way back inside the depths of his pocket to grasp the pendant he had been playing with earlier. It wasn't much really, not to anyone else. But it was the last piece he had of someone he really did love once. The only piece left...

Time to face the truth.

The real problem wasn't that he hated Peck. He just couldn't let himself have another male lover; losing the first had just about killed him. He snorted and wandered off through the crowd on the streets. **You're scared, aren't you?** a scoffing voice mocked in his head. **You're alone because you think you're brave. But you're scared. Dang scared. So you'll hate him for the rest of your life.**

"No," he hissed quietly. He squeezed his eyes closed to try and hold back the words. "Not true. Stop thinking about it, Murdock. He's a kid, dammit. He's been hurt. Stop thinking about him like that!" He cleared his mind, but one image stayed. That shy but wild, scared but determined soldier with the heart of a child.

Damn, he was beautiful.

The pilot's fist clenched and he laughed slightly, bitterly at himself. "You're drunk," he whispered softly, shaking his head. How had it come to this? How the heck had it come to this?

He stood beside the dark Army jeep parked in front of the lively bar, suddenly angry and frustrated at himself. He had never thought he'd sink this low to want a kid four years younger than he was, a kid who'd been with half the men on the base, just because of the sex appeal that brought the other wolves in Peck's direction. He was the young one's protector. How could he think about being that cruel to him? H.M. glared in anger at the pendant in his hand. How the hell could he?! he screamed in his mind, throwing the object as far as he could away into the black jungle's edge.

He stood there for a microsecond, staring into the darkness, trembling with alcohol-edged anger. He didn't care anymore. Finally, the pilot turned and fired up the jeep. He had to get back to base.

* * * * *

Hannibal's mind drifted away as he breathed a ring of cigar smoke into the air and watched it curl under the dim moonlight. He leaned back against the hooch wall outside the door and stared off into the jungle after a slight rustling in the leaves. He stayed silent until the echo of a jungle creature drifted back. Hannibal relaxed slightly and took another drag of his mostly finished cigar with a frown. Where the heck was Murdock? He knew what time he was supposed to be back by. It had to be well past midnight, but the young captain was still missing. He hadn't reported back to him or any of them, not even the pilots. The colonel shook his head impatiently and sighed; Murdock definitely had an attitude problem they had to deal with. That pilot needed to learn how to act more like a man and take responsibility instead of taking off every time something irritated him. The colonel's eyes flashed in the darkness as he thought about it.

After a few seconds, he sighed and felt the tension run out of his body, replaced by a feeling of quiet sadness. He dropped his cigar and ground the butt into the dirt. Truth was, Murdock was young. And Peck was even younger. He was starting to get the feeling that kid wasn't even his claimed age of eighteen, which meant he had to have come into the service illegally. Damn, his whole small team was young, almost too young to be able to be responsible men. But Murdock, especially, had a rebellious streak at the moment. And he'd been hurt to the soul, it'd been easy to see that; no matter how much anger the pilot tried to hide it behind. In a way, Hannibal Smith could understand how that could make him so aloof. But at the same time, he certainly didn't like it. The corners of his mouth went down in a hard frown and he muttered something quietly.

He silenced suddenly, listening through the darkness. Something was coming, it sounded like for a moment. This time Hannibal almost willed himself to hear it and it was recognizable. The growl of a jeep coming up the road. He listened to the sentry and the recognizable reply, and took a deep breath to steady himself as he watched the jeep cross the camp. Murdock. It was about time!

The tall captain jumped out of the jeep as Hannibal approached but didn't stop and moved right past him. By his path, one thing was obvious, the kid was drunk. He shook his head again at the younger man and stifled a swear word. "Murdock," he called out sharply, quiet.

Murdock halted and turned, unfazed. Neither one of them spoke. "Sorry I'm late back, Colonel," he finally broke the silence, and ducked inside the door into their small barracks before Hannibal could get a word in edgewise. He sounded sincere enough, he supposed. The silver-haired colonel just watched him go tiredly. If only he could get Murdock to open up or let whatever his problem was go before he got into some real trouble.

* * * * *

It was hot. It was muggy. It was muddy, miserable. Another early morning dawn in the jungle base that made Peck wish he were anywhere but here. As much as he cared anymore; for all he felt, he'd already lost almost everything anyway. **No,** he forced himself. **Positive thoughts.** Yeah right. Tem sighed and suppressed a shudder, rubbing his hands over his sweat-dampened arms to keep his mind from thinking in the opposite direction. He could still virtually feel those hands on him from last night's dream. He closed his eyes and drew up whatever emotional defenses he'd honed in order to be a soldier to keep from shivering. But he felt so scared sometimes. So scared... He knew that as long as he stayed with Hannibal, B.A., Ray, and especially Murdock, he'd be safe from the enemies on both sides. But how long was that going to last..?

Tem shook himself out of that thought and looked around the inside of the hooch in the dim light. Nobody else was there; he was alone. Where was Captain Murdock? Probably out flying a chopper somewhere, rescuing somebody, or warming up a Huey, or something along those lines. Anywhere else but in the same room with him. He sighed and bundled up his stuff in one arm for a quick shower. He could barely stand himself, waking up this sweaty. He still wondered where Murdock was, though. He already knew the pilot hated being around him too much, and how irritated following him made the older young man. But Tem figured, better to have someone to help drag him out of any possible scrapes than care about how annoyed his team-mate got.

Even though he wished Murdock didn't have to be quite so stand-offish around him. Tem sighed. I guess I can't have everything. He was just glad the captain still hadn't left him completely alone again.

The young lieutenant exited the safety of the small barracks toward the building across the base, leaving tracks in the rain-softened mud and glancing around in curiosity through the groups of soldiers to find his own team, which was nowhere in sight. The teenager drew himself up and tilted his chin high. He didn't really need them right now; he could take care of himself. He certainly wasn't going to depend on somebody else for anything this simple.

Tem felt the light spatter of warm, fresh rain on his skin as he ducked under the overhang inside the very public showers. Really, that was all it was, an open building with shower heads in the walls and curtains for a supposed hint of privacy and civilization, and hard tile slick with water and steam on the floor... And about half the men on the base watching him enter in both mocking and envy.

He closed his eyes briefly and tried his hardest to ignore the eyes he could feel raking over his still-dressed body, waiting for him to strip. He tensed hard, forcing himself despite it all to shuck the clothes, trying his best not to make any kind of show of it. He hated the predatory glint in everyone's gaze, but he felt too mucky to really care as long as they kept their hands off. He dropped his clothes on the floor and dived behind a protective curtain, underneath the lukewarm spray of water he opened up. It was times like these when he wished he could just turn invisible and disappear. He didn't want the attention, or any of this, but he didn't have a choice. They didn't care whether he wanted it or not, he still got it. More 'attention' than he wanted. He hadn't even been here for two weeks when a group of men had shown him just what kind of 'attention' they thought he deserved. He shuddered and swallowed, his stomach feeling suddenly sick.

Tem could feel mixed anger and hurt trying to well up, wanting to lash out at everyone right now, the whole world, and at God who had made him this way. But it wasn't God's fault; it was his own for being so interesting to them. So -- the young blond hissed -- pretty. He wanted to spit on the word. He hated that word now. That was all anyone ever told him, that he was pretty and sexy and should have sex with them and should sleep with them in their beds anytime they wanted. He didn't have a choice in the matter.

Course, most of the time, it was actually on the floor, and they didn't ask for permission first either. He snorted bitterly and lathered some soap up between his hands, trying to imagine something, anything, else but that. Maybe even imagining just for a moment that he wasn't here, hurting. Maybe somewhere else, maybe at home, with a family to call his own. Brothers and sisters even. Or better yet someone, anyone who could just love him, just for who he was. Feeling what he'd always wondered, how it felt to feel safely wrapped in someone's arms. But no-one who'd come to the orphanage had cared enough about a little boy to adopt him. He didn't have a family, and nobody alive even cared what happened to him.

Nobody except maybe for this last team. Hannibal, and B.A., and Ray. But Murdock especially.

The captain had a way of keeping his distance but every time someone tried to hurt him, somehow Murdock was always there to drag him out of it, to even fight for him. But then he'd draw back again, and still be irritated at him. Tem frowned. He couldn't figure out what motivated the man, he was just grateful it did, whatever it was. He still wished sometimes that Murdock would actually care. Each time he thought maybe he did, the captain would always push him away. It made him wonder why H.M. bothered to keep him safe.

Except for last night. Tem could have sworn Murdock actually cared, then. And he'd almost told him his wish... but just ended up a coward again, afraid Murdock would attack if he opened himself. He couldn't quite trust anyone, really. There were only four people in the world he could trust at all. And one of them was a wonderful, handsome pilot who was so kind to him sometimes despite how angry he seemed to everyone. He'd give anything to feel completely safe near him. He almost did already. But to be utterly and entirely safe, wrapped up in his protection...

The world wouldn't be enough to give for that wish.

So how much did Captain Murdock really care? Was he just being a friend or was he trying to trick him into going into bed with him? Somehow, Tem couldn't believe the latter even if he tried. Murdock could have had millions of opportunities for that if that was what he wanted. But he protected him instead... Tem let his imagination wonder, just for a moment, as he spread soap slower across his skin. Touching himself. Wondering just how it might feel if Murdock touched him. Would it actually be possible for anything to feel... good? The young blond broke himself quickly out of his daydream with a shiver. He wouldn't even want to risk trying, even if he was really interested. Sex hurt. It always hurt. He didn't want anything to do with physical relationships.

Tem's dream was shattered by a cold voice behind him, and he spun to see the curtain wide open, a large, naked man standing with a dangerous casualness there. He gasped. "Lookin' good, Vixen." Riley. Sergeant Neil Riley, the one man in the world he couldn't stop. The one who'd owned his body since he was sixteen. Worse, everyone knew about it; they called him Riley's whore.

He fought the urge to bolt, flushing with mixed anger and embarrassment as everyone laughed heartlessly around him. He wanted to disappear more than ever, at the same time wishing he could just kill that man. But blowing up wouldn't help, he'd end up on his back in a flat second on the floor, Neil Riley instantly on top of him. So the best idea would just be to disappear. If he could. Fat chance.

Tem turned off the water and tried to pretend to ignore everyone around him as he pushed quickly right past the muscular man toward his clothes. Riley caught his arm and spun him around. His eyes chilled as he yanked the blond into him. Tem squeezed his eyes shut and fought a shudder as he felt the other man's hot body pressed against his. "I've missed your company." The grip tightened on his arm painfully. "Haven't seen you in weeks."

Go to hell, Riley," Tem hissed softly, struggling. The other man laughed and released him, grinning. Why did that look send a chill down his spine?

"I've always liked your spirit, Peck. Keep it up, pretty vixen." Riley snatched quickly at Tem's naked behind as the young lieutenant skidded away. Their eyes met; Riley's sharpened fiercely. "Later," he promised. "And you open your mouth, I swear I'll whip you up and down until you bleed."

Tem shuddered despite himself and dressed as quickly as he could. He didn't even care what the others were saying about him or thinking, he just wanted to run. Away, far away, where they couldn't reach him. He clenched the cross on the chain around his neck in a silent, terrified prayer for protection, and did everything but run outside. He only hoped later meant a long while later.

* *


A Touch In The Darkness: Prologue-1 by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 2: GDPs by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 3: Way of Blood by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 4: Mist by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 5 "Lonely Nights" by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 6 by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 7 by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 8 "Hmong" by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 9 by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 10 "Terror" by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 11 "Remnant" by Howlin Thunderbird
A Touch In The Darkness 12: "Lao" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 13: "Flight 13" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 14: "Interlude" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 15: "Parting" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 16: "Ambush!" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 17: "Hundred Miles of Ailoshain" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness 18: "Ban Soppheung" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox
A Touch In The Darkness19: "Ban Soppheung" by Howlin Thunderbird and Goldfox



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