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This page last viewed: 2017-06-24 and has been viewed 2504 times
Summary: What if Face had died after the La Cucina shooting? (It
will put the story in context if you've seen "Without Reservations.")
Warnings: MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH. Language. Violence. Dark. Depressing. Sad. If character death upsets you, read no further.
Disclaimer: Don't own the Team, the concept or intend to infringe any copyrights. I'm not in it for the money, which is good, 'cause there isn't any. I do it for the jazz!!
Murdock hummed to himself as he went over his ordinance. Clean gun, clean soul, he told himself, carefully oiling the mechanisms before reassembling the pistol, and giving it a final rub down to wipe off any leftover cleaner or oil. He tested the hammer - nice, sharp sound. Good, he nodded, returning it to the table. He moved on to the long gun. Face's gun. He ran his hand along it, a wistful smile on his face.
The only thing he had left.
It had been months since that night in La Cucina. When he'd held the wounded Face in his arms as the cops arrived, telling him he'd be okay. That Hannibal had promised him - promised them both - that he'd be fine.
But Hannibal had lied.
Murdock didn't hold it against the Colonel. He'd just been speaking hope, like Murdock himself. He'd just been wrong. Face had run out of time. Never even made it to the hospital. He'd passed right there, right in the back of BA's van. Bled his life out all over his best friend's lap.
Murdock wasn't sure exactly what had happened after that. He remembered stopping - at the hospital, he guessed, for whatever good that did. Remembered Hannibal and BA gently taking Face's body from him, making comforting noises. Telling him it wasn't his fault, that he couldn't have known.
But he should've. He should've seen that guy in the corner. Lou. The one with the gun that ripped the big .357 magnum hole in Face.
The one who'd killed him.
Murdock wished he could remember more about the few days after that. The debriefing with Stockwell, the funeral. But he couldn't. He was resigned to that, and didn't even try to any more. Because, in the long run, it didn't matter.
Face was dead and there was nothing he could do to change that.
He finished cleaning the long gun. Oiled it till the barrel gleamed back at him. He smiled. Face'd like that. Always kept his guns clean and neat, just like him.
He finished putting the cleaning materials away, closed the box. Looked around his small apartment and saw that everything was in order, put away neatly. He didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else.
He picking up the case with the sniper rifle, put the pistol in his shoulder holster under a light jacket. He gathered the last of his packages, and took one more look around. If anything was left out of place, well, that was okay. Didn't matter really. He turned out the light and locked the door.
He pulled the blue hatchback sedan up in front of a bar in Arlington. He knew the place - he'd been there before, checked it out once or twice. Knew the type of clientele it drew. Not too bad, but with a certain element that made it perfect for his needs.
He wandered inside and took a stool at the bar. Cast about casually, sipping a club soda. Eyes finally settling on an attractive woman - probably mid-thirties. Sort of a hard edge, but still good looking. He smiled and raised his glass to her. She smiled back, headed over to his side of the bar.
He bought her a couple of drinks. Let her make her proposal. A hundred bucks, she whispered in his ear. Fuck of a lifetime for a hundred bucks.
Sounded about right.
They took his car to a hotel nearby. She had suggested a motel by the bar, but he told her didn't want to stay any place crappy. He felt the need for something nice.
He checked in using the one of the last pieces of ID Face had made for him. The good kind - the kind that even Stockwell's Abels would be fooled by. Face had been so good at that type of thing. Murdock took a moment to admire the license. It was going to be a shame to leave it behind.
What would Hannibal be doing about now? Murdock wondered, taking the woman upstairs. Would Stockwell have called him yet? After the way he'd left it with the General this evening, he wouldn't be surprised. He'd left plenty of time for that bastard to turn the conversation over in his mind.
Murdock had come into his private office unannounced. It wasn't hard getting by - or taking out - Stockwell's agents. Not for him.
He had asked Stockwell why he hadn't done anything that night. He'd known that there were assassins waiting at the restaurant for the Attorney General. Why hadn't he stopped the man from coming? Why hadn't backup been there sooner? Five, even ten minutes would have made a difference. Face would be there right now, if only Stockwell had done something. Anything. But he hadn't. Why?
Stockwell didn't answer him. Couldn't? Wouldn't? Didn't matter now. Not really. Dead is dead and nothing changes it.
Murdock had told him he'd be leaving to take care of business. Personal business. A promise he had to keep. And he'd left the General, looking confused. Genuinely confused.
He smiled. That was as near as he was going to get to closure there.
It had not been mind-blowing sex, but Murdock had to admit to himself it had been pretty good. The woman, at least, was looking pleased with herself. He'd smiled at her and lipped out of bed into the bathroom.
He stood in the shower and let the hot water run over his head, recalling the encounter. A little chat first, a drink from the mini bar. Told her he was from out of town, didn't really live here. Not really. Just here to do a little business.
He'd left the case with his - Face's - rifle in the room. Wondered if the woman was curious. Hoped she wasn't curious enough to mess with it. Wondered if she'd find the diagrams of the courthouse and surrounding streets.
He toweled off and put on fresh clothes. Black turtleneck, camouflage pants. Boots. Just like the Army, he grinned. Maneuvers clothes.
He emerged from the bathroom. The woman was looking guilty, even a little edgy. He smiled again. Thanked her, placed the money on the nightstand. Could he have a kiss? No? How much extra? he asked.
Another hundred? What the hell. Just money.
He took her by the shoulders, and softly placed his lips on hers. Put it all in that kiss. Goodbye to Face. To the Team. To his old life, whatever that had been. Goodbye to everything.
A last human contact.
He smiled again and put the extra hundred on top of the first. Gathered his gun case, put on a pair of sunglasses, turned and left without another word.
He was in a black rental sedan shortly after dawn arrived. He'd left the sunglasses and the clothes he'd been wearing in the other car miles ago. Changed into a suit and tie. Not a particularly nice one - nothing like Face would've worn - but appropriate for his needs. Damned uncomfortable though. Reminded him why he'd stuck with tee shirts and chinos all those years.
He checked the ID case in his breast pocket. FBI Agent C. Duke. One of Face's favorite pseudonyms at the time he'd made these up. Corky, Face would call him. Murdock smiled again. Great name for an FBI man. Oh well. The ID was flawless, so it could say Hunt Stockwell on it for all he cared.
Murdock surveyed the area behind the city prison close to the courthouse. He'd been waiting for the agent in charge to show up. This was the day that they'd be transferring that son of a bitch. The one who killed Face. He'd given state's evidence to beat the charge. They'd given him witness protection.
Death traded for life. Just not fair.
He waited patiently. When the government car pulled up, he made his move.
It wasn't that hard - surprisingly easy, in fact - to subdue a lone agent when you were quick and quiet. He waited in the agent's car for the backup to arrive to transport Lou to the courthouse for his final papers.
The guy finally showed up. He was so young, probably inexperienced. Had to be, since he bought Murdock's line about the original agent being sick without a second thought. Too bad, he thought. He really ought to be more on the ball, especially with these mob types. Good for me, though. But he was going to need more people around him. He'd wait till the courthouse.
He got into the car with the kid after picking up the prisoner. They drove in near silence to the courthouse. Murdock looked at the kid. It was going to be a shame, really. He smiled thinly at him.
It's never easy killing, kid. Remember that. I'm sorry.
They finally pulled up behind the courthouse. Murdock got out of the car, scanned the surrounding buildings. Saw what he expected - Abels everywhere. Everywhere around him, they were concentrating on the surrounding buildings - specifically the ones facing the rising sun.
Stockwell's hooker had a good memory for details. He'd wondered if she would pick up on the sunglasses. Hadn't taken her long to get in touch with Stockwell, either, feed him everything. He was glad he'd found out about this little cadre of the General's informants. It had come in handy.
He saw the men on the ground, too. But no one looking at him. They were looking for the camouflaged sniper, the shot in the dark guy. Not Hannibal Smith's man. Mr. Through The Front Door. He'd learned from the best. He hoped Hannibal didn't hate him for this. A brush of sadness, then resolve.
Hannibal wouldn't hate him. He'd understand. He hadn't told him about it, about the promise. But the Colonel had been worried, Murdock could tell by the way he'd been looking at him lately.
But Murdock was a man of his word.
He knew that Hannibal would understand when he got Face's gun delivered to him by courier. He'd spent a long time trying to decide what to tell him. How much he respected him, how he'd saved his life in more than one way so many times over and over. How much all three of the guys had meant to him. His family. Beloved.
But he couldn't find the words. So he simply scratched a note:
Colonel, it's been an honor. I'm sorry.
He'd slipped the note in the case with the gun. Arrangements had been made and the Colonel would have it by the end of the day.
The young FBI agent was helping Lou out of the car now; it was damn hard keeping your balance doing that in handcuffs, Murdock knew. He slipped behind the prisoner, helping him stand. Sort of unsporting when he was in cuffs, Murdock thought fleetingly. But what the hell. He hadn't given Face a chance....
"Remember me?" Murdock whispered, a voice as cold as death in the prisoner's ear. "Villa Cucina. I told you I'd hunt you down till the day I died."
Lou whipped his head around. Murdock wanted to be sure he got a good look at him before he pulled the trigger. And he did.
Murdock knew the right spot - Lou was dead even before he hit the ground. The young FBI agent started to yell, held his gun on Murdock, yelled some more. Murdock smiled at him. Sadly. Raised his gun. It's never easy to kill, kid. Remember that.
He stood still, making sure everyone saw him, everyone saw what he'd done. Pulled back the hammer on the pistol pointed at the young agent. Smiled sadly at the kid, who cocked the hammer on his own gun. He looked scared shitless. At least the kid has bullets, Murdock reflected.
He'd had only the one. All he needed.
Murdock didn't know how many shots were fired at him at once. Really, he thought with mild surprise, it turned out after the first one you really don't feel any more. Felt his head hit the concrete as he fell, but it didn't hurt; he just kind of felt it bounce once or twice as his limbs crumpled beneath him.
More shouting. And then everything started to get quiet again. Quieter than it had been in years. And he closed his eyes. He could do that now. He'd kept his promise.
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