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The Last Mission

The Last Mission
by Snickersmobo


Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Swearing, extreme violence, major character hurt and suicidal tendencies
Summary: Murdock remembers his breakdown
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be, though I would do Murdock in a minute. I'd kick him out of bed because there's more room on the floor.
# Denotes flashback

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MURDOCK POV

Wasn't sure how I felt going back again. Sure we been back before, but this felt different. This was a Stockwell operation. I've never liked Stockwell, well, actually I hate him, hate him enough, but not enough to kill him outright. I've never known how much he knew of my CIA past, it was never brought up and truthfully, I don't remember everything. Never wanted to ask either. So here I am, with the team, going back to where I lost so much and yet gained a family. A family I would do anything for. This was it. The promised "pardon". Complete this mission and the guys would be free from the army and from Stockwell. Should have known better. Should have known there would be a price. Should have known the price would be me.

Nothing unusual about the trip over. We drugged BA and he woke up pissed off once we arrived in country. I flew part of the way over, but since it was such a long flight, I shared part of the flying with one of the Abels. Due to the "top secret" mission, Stockwell wouldn't tell us the exact nature or location of the mission until we were in Nam. So once the Team was assembled and readied in Nam, we found we had a chopper ride to take. BA, of course, needed to be drugged again. Once we were in the air, the Colonel radioed Stockwell for the coordinates and the mission. That was when it all went to hell, but I didn't know to the extent it would go or that I would go to hell too. Through the headphones, I heard Stockwell announce Operation Golden Years has begun as he gave the coordinates. The mission? Information retrieval.

It was right after Stockwell signing off, that I had a sense of foreboding. It slowly started to creep up on me. As I felt my anxiety increase, I recognized an upcoming "panic attack". Hadn't had one in four or five years, but I recognized the symptoms. I also recognized I was flying a chopper with my best friends in it. Not a good combination. I wasn't even aware that I spoke, but I must have as I heard Hannibal ask if I was okay. That was last thing I remember for a couple of hours.

HANNIBAL POV

The mission was going quite well until I heard "oh, shit, not now, not now, not now" in a fast mantra through the headphones. I looked over at Murdock in the cockpit seat, saw how pale he was and asked if he was okay. His response didn't make me feel better. I heard him say "land, land, land, I need land, now, right now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, land, land, land, land, land, land, now, now, now". In the most un-Murdock like way, we landed the chopper just short of a crash. I watched in alarm as Murdock practically threw himself out of the chopper to land on his knees and promptly throw up. Face and I reached the captain at the same time, neither of us understanding what was happening, only caring that Murdock, was violently sick and we didn't know why. In between his retching, Murdock managed to gasp "sed, sed, sed", retch, "sedative". Face went for the sedatives usually used for BA and after injecting Murdock with it, our pilot finally stopped throwing up and fell into a light sleep.


FACE POV
I'm so scared. Not for me, for Murdock. The chopper landed so hard, so fast, Murdock on the ground sick. One minute everything was going smoothly and the next I am running for the sedatives usually used on BA, but asked for by Murdock. What happened? After Murdock fell asleep, I checked on BA. BA should be waking soon and I wondered who, BA or Murdock, would wake up first. Hannibal and I checked our perimeter then sat down next to Murdock waiting for him to wake up. I only gave him a small dosage as Murdock has severe reactions to medications due to his medical history. Hannibal told me about Murdock's behavior in the chopper. Even though we didn't voice our fears out loud, we both know Murdock has a sixth sense, and whatever had just happened it was so very not good. Not good at all.

MURDOCK POV

I hate waking up with sedatives in my body. I always know and this time was no different, until I actually opened my eyes to see two pairs of worried and fearful blue eyes looking at me. I felt like shit, and for a minute, I was confused and wondered what was happening. Face leaned close to me and told me it was okay. That I was okay. He pulled me up into a sitting position and then maneuvered himself behind me and held me close. It took me a minute or two to register my awareness and when I did, I wished I didn't. Hannibal in a quiet voice asked me how I was feeling. I was flustered for a minute between truth and lies, and realized I didn't know the truth. So, I settled on telling what I remembered which was really pretty much nothing. I explained I had a panic attack and needed the sedative to calm me down. Both Hannibal and Face looked at each other, not sure what to do or say next. I didn't know either. The silence was broken by BA screaming his usual "I was flying, I was flying, I'm gonna kill ya. I'm gonna kill ya".

BA POV

I hate flyin' and I hate wakin' up on a plane or bird. Which, of course, is how I woke up, except to realize I was somewhere in Southeast Asia. I hated that too. I was screaming my usual pissed off mantra, when I took in the scene before me. Crazyman was in Face's arms, and Hannibal was kneelin' in front of 'em. All of 'em looked scared and confused, though Hannibal had an extra somethin' to 'him, a thoughtful and concerned one at that. Something wasn't right, but I didn't know what.


HANNIBAL POV
I asked Murdock what the panic attack was about. I could tell his "I don't know" answer was genuine and that worried me plenty. Knowing that asking more questions would bring me no answers, I asked him if he could still fly. We had no real way out of here without calling Stockwell for our backup Abel pilot, and if we had to do that that meant the end of our pardons. Looking back I wish the hell we called Stockwell for the evacuation.

FACE POV

Murdock claimed he could still fly, though for the first time that I have ever seen, he looked at the helicopter as if it had the plague. I wanted the pardon so bad, I believed that Murdock was just over reacting to our current situation.

BA POV

I wanted the pardon so bad, I got on the chopper wit' out another word.

MURDOCK POV

Didn't want to fly again. Didn't know why. Just knew I was in a really "bad place". The guys needed and deserved their pardons. I was gonna fly that helicopter to complete the mission if it was the last thing I would ever do.

As we were flying toward our coordinates, that sense of dread came over me again.

#In front of me I saw the second chopper explode into flames. Over the radio the screaming of those dying could be heard. As the helicopter fell to the ground, I could see flaming bodies moving as they tried to get out of the helicopter. Behind me I could hear fellow soldiers scream in pain as Vietcong bullets found their mark.#

Somewhere above it all, I heard Face scream my name "Murdock!!! Snap out of it". I guess flying must be ingrained somewhere inside of me because I did snap out of it. If I didn't I probably would have killed them all.

I heard Hannibal through the headphones, I spoke that I was alright, though we both knew I wasn't. As I piloted the helicopter over the ridge, I saw the valley, with a familiar river running through it. We weren't in Nam anymore. We were in Cambodia. I wasn't the only one who understood where we were as I heard Hannibal's sharp intake of breath. What really scared me was that the team, hadn't been in this particular area. How did Hannibal know where we were?? How did I know were we where? What the fuck was our mission?? I looked over at Hannibal to see his expression of confusion and realized mine was probably the same. At least for the moment.

It didn't take long before "déjŕ vu" set in. That was when I really started to lose it. Memories. Memories. Memories. Familiarity set in, but not in a good way. Not sure when I realized the truth, but somewhere along the line I realized I was recreating my route that I took immediately after dropping off the guys for the Hanoi Bank job. I had always mourned my missing memory, figuring there was good as well as bad missing, but had I known the consequences of remembering I would have chosen not to remember. We arrived a mile from the coordinates and I landed the chopper. We were hours earlier than necessary and would use some of the time to traipse through the jungle to get to our mission site. As usual, Hannibal padded extra time in even beyond what we used already, as we always seem to need it.

FACE POV

As the chopper came to a stand still, and the rotors wound down, I stared hard at Murdock, trying to gage his mood. The mile walked through the jungle to village was a silent one. Murdock stepped into the clearing and looked around deserted village. The pilot's eyes were empty as if he was flashing back, yet still knowing. I watched him as he was looking at his surroundings; somehow, I knew this was familiar to him, yet I didn't know how or why. He moved from building to building. I jumped out of the helicopter to carry out my own instructions.

MURDOCK POV
#I stepped off the helicopter into the pouring rain in the jungle. I knew he was here. That Son of a Bitch was gonna tell me the truth or he was gonna die. No two ways about it. I searched each building screaming his name, terrified people screaming back in Vietnamese that he wasn't here. I didn't believe them. As I moved across the clearing, I grabbed the first thing I saw. Put a gun to its head screaming "Where is he??!! Where is he??!! More screaming as others appeared in front of me, but I didn't hear what they said. I wanted him and only him. Only he could tell me who was directed the order. Rain, thunder, lightening, Vietnamese screams, crying, "I'm gonna kill her, I'm gonna kill her, where is he!!! Where is he!!!" The cacophony came to its peak and the sound of the shot wasn't heard above the noise. The body falling, more screaming, no answers, I grabbed the woman over the fallen body. I was screaming, everyone was screaming, the noise was louder than ever, " WHERE IS HE!!!" Another shot rang out, not heard above the noise, another body falling to the ground. #

OH GOD! I killed them. A little girl and her mother. I killed them. I killed them…I killed them…. I killed them.

BA POV

Crazyman was movin' from buildin' to buildin'. A blank look in his eyes. I saw him suddenly fall to the ground on his knees. He was cryin' "I killed 'em" over and over. Never been so scared before. Didn't know what was goin' on, only knew that Crazyman seemed to be really losin' it for real this time. I ran over and put my arms around him. No reaction. "I killed 'em" over and over again as he rocked himself in a fetal position. I looked around for Face and Hannibal, didn't see 'em. We still had a mission to complete, and Crazyman was in the middle of what I spected was another breakdown. The pardon didn't seem so important anymore.

HANNIBAL POV

We were supposed to meet another operative who had a list of Chinese spies currently in prominent positions within the US government and various Fortune 500 corporations. It was priority to get this list back to the US. We didn't need the operative, just the list. As we scouted the area, Murdock preceded to ignore my orders of where he was supposed to search. I saw BA keeping an eye on him so I let it pass that Murdock was off on his own tangent.

As I rounded the corner of the last building that I was searching, I saw BA in the middle of the compound holding Murdock in a hug. As I approached them, I realized they were both crying. All I heard was Murdock "I killed them, I killed them, I killed them…". Rocking back in forth in BA's arms. I knelt on the ground and looked at the both of them. I could only see fear. BA's fear for Murdock and Murdock's fear for what, I don't know. He's killed before. We all have. It was war. However, I knew we were in Cambodia and Murdock knew it as well. Whatever happened I didn't have a clue, but I knew this was bad for Murdock. Bad enough that I wish we never came here for this mission. No pardon was worth what Murdock was going through. Only wish I knew what it was. Wished I could help. Face has been the only one who can get through to Murdock when he is like this. Even with Face's help, Murdock can be slow on the recovery. It took a year for him to even let the team in when he had his breakdown years ago. Why was this remembering me of his breakdown? I am not a praying man, but Lord; don't let Murdock be having another breakdown. Anything but that, anything but that. Murdock is not the same man he was in Nam. He is so special to us, to me, to the team. God, don't let this be another breakdown. Murdock doesn't deserve to suffer anymore than he has already.

MURDOCK POV

I can feel strong arms around me. I hear words around me and recognize BA and Hannibal's voices. I suspect they are trying to comfort me, but I feel no comfort and hear no meaning in the words they speak. The images just won't stop from playing in front of my eyes. Funny how I never remembered for nearly 15 years and yet now I know I will never forget what I have done. I am a cold-blooded murderer.

I wasn't ready to face the music yet. No matter what I have done, I know I wasn't done remembering. How did I crash in the DMZ? Who was the "him" I was looking for? Why was I looking for him?

FACE POV

I was heading for the helicopter when I saw them all in front of me. Hannibal's look told me all I needed to know. I sat beside Murdock and BA gently moved Murdock into my lap. I could barely hear "I killed them, I killed them". Murdock was somewhere between memories and flashbacks. I held him close and tried to sooth him with the sound of my voice. Hannibal knelt in front of me and I saw the needle go into Murdock's neck. I hadn't realized Hannibal left, much less came back until I saw the needle. Murdock hates to be drugged. Can't say I blame him. It leaves you vulnerable.

So here we are. Hannibal told me we were in Cambodia. We still have a mission to complete. Murdock is out for the count and we have no way out of where we are without Murdock. Stockwell said once we reach Cambodia, we are on our own. No help. No Abel, pilot. Don't get me wrong. I still am very worried about Murdock. I don't think worried is a strong enough word. Murdock, when he is out of it, scares the crap out of me. It has only happened four or five times, but he can be suicidal and homicidal in the same breath depending on the circumstances when it does. Neither of which is good for Murdock. Right now, all I know is Murdock is out of it and I feel completely helpless knowing my best friend is in pain beyond anything I understand. He's killed before, what is making him freak out like this?

BA POV

Hannibal ordered me to carry Murdock back to chopper and to stay with him. We weren't leavin' and I think Hannibal wanted him out of site from the village and the rest of the mission. I spent the time watchin' Murdock, worryin' about him.

HANNIBAL POV
I watched BA carry Murdock away. We still had a mission to complete, I tried not to think of Murdock while Face and I completed the surveillance.


But Lord it was hard not to. Something had spooked Murdock good and I feared for him. Damn this mission. Damn Stockwell. Just focus on the mission. Focus on the mission.

FACE POV

Hannibal and I met with the agent as scheduled and returned to the helicopter. The entire time I was distracted with thoughts of Murdock and was glad that the meeting took place with no problems. I was in no shape to handle a screwed up mission and even then, I almost blew hearing the operative arrive as scheduled. I asked BA if Murdock had woken up and he said no. The team talked aloud about what had happened throughout the day to him, but none of us had anything of value to add. We could only speculate and that's what we did privately after a while, waiting for Murdock to wake up.

MURDOCK POV

I woke up drugged and out of it twice in one day. Talk about a bad day. I was confused momentarily, then I remembered again what I had done so many years earlier. I faked sleep while pondering my situation. For the first in my life, I feared I was going to lose the team. They've been my rock, my life, my reason for being. Without them, I would never have recovered from my breakdown. Now so many years later and declared sane, I could feel the walls closing in on me already. The team would want answers and if I gave them the truth they would never understand. I don't even understand, how could they? Being declared sane meant I didn't have my old coping mechanisms in place. All my characters, some real, some imagined, not there for me anymore. I was desperately wishing myself into a catatonic state and that wasn't working either. I was one hundred percent in control here and I was absolutely terrified that I was going to lose the team, and then my mind, in a slow downhill spiraling journey into hell. It was a trip I didn't want to make.

I changed gears in my head and wondered if Stockwell knew what I had done. It was too much of a coincidence that we met in an old abandoned village where I just happened to kill two innocent civilians. Yep… he knew…and was probably hoping for me to have another breakdown. Ever since I nearly killed him while trying to free the team Stockwell has had it in for me. Another breakdown or the Team's withdrawal from my life…either way I'm gone from Langley. I briefly thought of the irony as I realized how much I wanted Stockwell dead for putting me in this situation.

I've been awake for a few minutes now and am still coherent. Nope, definitely not crazy anymore, just trying to find a way to live with myself and what I've done. I guess that's the major question. Live with myself. Apparently, I couldn't do it well the first time. And I haven't remembered everything either. There are still too many holes that need filing in. Could it get worse? Yep, it sure could. Morrison? I vaguely remember being back at the base when the shelling began. I don't remember killing Morrison, but then I didn't remember killing a mother and child until now. From where I'm standing, I'd say there is a good chance that I killed Morrison. And if I did? I cost the team 15 years of their lives. I know the guys tried to protect me during the trial, but I don't think they'll forgive me now. Not for cold blooded murder. How many other innocent people did I kill that I can't remember?

That last thought did it for me. I don't want to remember anymore. I can't live with myself. I don't want to live with myself anymore. I would rather die than face rejection from the team. But I owe it to them to tell them the truth. And with that I decided I was going to do both. Tell the team the truth and not live with myself. I would do it, but not until we reached the states. At least this way I had time to prepare myself for telling the team what I did. With a plan in mind, I decided it was time to wake up for the team.

FACE POV

I saw Murdock open his eyes, though I knew he had been awake already. I asked him if he was okay and he said no, he wasn't. He had something to important tell us, but asked if we could put off the questions until we were back in the states. Hannibal agreed, knowing if Murdock was upset even more than he already was, he wouldn't be able to fly.

BA POV

I was so worried about Crazyman that I flew back to Nam and then the states without being drugged. Crazyman didn't fly much back to the states letting the Abel pilot we picked back up in Nam do most of it. That and the fact that he was silent the entire way completely unnerved me.

HANNIBAL POV

Whatever Murdock had to say, it was big and bad. I've never seen him so depressed and quiet, not since the early days of his breakdown. I'm pretty sure Murdock was well on the way to having another one. We returned to Langley and met with Stockwell. I turned the list over to him while he asked how the mission went. I told him it went without a hitch and gave my standard "I love it when a plan comes together". Something in his eyes told me he was expecting a different answer.

STOCKWELL POV

The mission went without a hitch? Damn! Damn! Damn! Short of outright killing Murdock, how am I going to get rid of him? Hmm… maybe the mission didn't go without a hitch…. Murdock hasn't said a word during the debriefing. As I took a closer look at the pilot, I noticed his demeanor was off. Quiet, hunched, tense. Our eyes briefly connected and I saw his eyes change from defeat to intense hatred in a flash and then it was gone. Well, well, maybe I did succeed and I have to just give it some more time.

FACE POV

I saw Murdock's eyes change as he looked at Stockwell. Changed to that intense look that tells me Murdock is quite capable of killing if pushed. This mission and Stockwell seemed to be the combination to push him. We left the house telling Stockwell that we were going for food. When he didn't object it told me something was up with him. Stockwell has let us out occasionally, but usually a deal has to be made. There was no deal this time.

HANNIBAL POV

I told BA to head over to Murdock's apartment, where once there, we pulled the bugs and the cameras. Just to be sure, we searched twice. Whatever was coming I didn't want Stockwell to know about it.

MURDOCK POV

I pulled out the whiskey bottle and poured myself a drink. The bottle's been here forever as I rarely drink, but tonight I need a drink. Fuck!!! I need the entire bottle. The whiskey went down rough and I continued to pour another stiff one. I returned to the living room with my drink and sat down in the only spot left to occupy. I had the entire flight back to the US to think about this, but sitting here and going through with it was another story entirely. Within the next hour my life was going change and definitely for the worse. Hell! My life was going to be over. For I remembered killing Morrison also.

OH GOD! Where do I start, how do I do this? Tell the team things I don't want them to know. How did I ever get here? How did it all happen? Doesn't matter because I won't live long enough to get the answers that I don't want anyway.

I began by telling them about the "déjŕ vu" helicopter ride, the agent I was looking for, and the mother and daughter I killed and the fact that I couldn't remember why I did any of it. Tears fell from my face as I told my story. Telling them this news was the hardest thing I have ever done. I couldn't believe I was here doing this. Telling them this. I felt my heart pounding from the fear. The shocked expressions on their faces. The loathing and disgust that followed. My heart was torn to pieces and I wasn't even done yet. The revelation that I killed Morrison. The team didn't seem surprised by the fact that I killed Morrison. It was the murder of the mother and child that left the team's skin crawling being near me. I could see it in their faces and in their eyes.

BA POV

How could he have murdered civilians, a mother and child??!! I thought I knew Murdock, but it was obvious I didn't. He's a cold-blooded killa and I told him so as I left the apartment.

FACE POV

Oh my GOD!!! I was so stunned and shocked. I couldn't even stand to be in the same room with him. I didn't even look at him as I left the apartment.

HANNIBAL POV

I looked hard at Murdock. He was telling us the truth. How could I have not known him to be capable of murder? Well, that's not true. I knew he was capable, we all are when pushed the wrong way but Murdock wasn't even offering why he did it so we could understand. Understand? There's no way I can understand his murdering a mother and child. And as for Morrison? I suspected… I guess now we know for sure. I told him that killing the mother and child was unforgivable and that he was no longer a member of the A Team as I stormed out the door.

MURDOCK POV

It was as bad as I thought it would be and then some. The emptiness in my heart and head…everything that I had ever lived for and loved for the past 15 years just walked out the door. I was so devastated. I was so lost. I was a broken man. I was crying long after they left and, eventually, I fell asleep from the emotional drain to my head, as my last thought was of Hannibal telling me I was no longer a member of the A Team.

I awoke the next morning with a whole day of nothing planned. Actually, it was planned…sort of. I planned on dying today. I was so fucked up in the head that I wondered if I could get it right. I couldn't even seem to muster the energy to get out of bed and find my gun. I figured that was the surest way. All the other ways seemed that somehow I could be "rescued", which after last night, was not something I wanted to have happen. I don't want to live, I don't want to be locked up again, and I don't want to be without the team. I heard the phone ring, but I ignored it. Who would really want to talk with me? I don't even want to talk with me.

BA POV

The next morning breakfast was a silent affair initially. All of us lost in our thoughts. I eventually asked Hannibal if he thought Crazyman had really done it and he said yes. Face kept wanting to know why. It was a good question. I remembered Murdock's falling tears of anguish as he told his story. I had been so upset that I realized I didn't hear much of anything beyond killing the mother and child. I thought harder to remember what else Murdock had said.

HANNIBAL POV

Why? Murdock didn't know why. I remembered his crying and look of complete shame as he told his story, but the why I don't remember him answering. There wasn't a good reason to kill innocent civilians and I said so. Face responded that if Murdock couldn't remember why, then maybe it was because he was in the middle of a mental breakdown and if that were the case, then it wouldn't be his fault. I looked at Face as I remembered that that logic was part of the reason I plead guilty on his behalf during the trial. Suddenly, I knew that running out on Murdock last night was the wrong thing to do. We all needed to know why, including Murdock, before passing judgment on him. I tried to phone Murdock after I told BA to get the van. He didn't answer the phone. I recalled his demeanor last night and was suddenly very afraid. We drove over to Murdock's apartment. No one said anything, as I knew we were all thinking about him.

FACE POV

I had spent the entire night thinking and even though what Murdock did was wrong, I couldn't get past the thought that maybe he wasn't responsible for his actions. In addition, if that was the case, then Murdock was going through hell and we abandoned him last night. I've know Murdock for 15 years and whatever he did back in Nam, I know he couldn't kill innocent people now.

MURDOCK POV

I finally got up enough energy to rise from couch I had slept on. I went over to my jacket and pulled out my gun. I checked the bullets in the gun and found it was empty. Shit! I forgot we emptied our weapons once we reached Stock well's residence. I don't have any spare bullets, or bullet, as I thought I should only need one. Well, the bridge down the street was pretty high. If I climbed the suspension, I should be sufficiently high enough to end it all. Yep, that's the plan. One last flight for me. A small sob escaped me as I thought about everything I had lost when the team walked out on me last night. All the fear, pain, loneliness and shame hit me at once. I ran out of the apartment heading for the bridge.

FACE POV

We were a block away as I watched Murdock run out of his apartment building at full speed. Hannibal told BA to stay on him and we did until the street became blocked from an 18-wheeler attempting to back up into a driveway. It took almost a minute, which seemed like forever, for the truck to back out of the street into the driveway. For a second I thought about jumping out to move it myself. As we resumed driving down the street, I saw a figure climbing the bridge suspension that was ahead of us. The pain in my heart felt like it was being attack as I realized it was Murdock on the bridge. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, Murdock, please don't, oh god please, we're here, we're here"!!! I was out of the van before it even stopped. "Murdock, please come down from there. Please just come down."

"I can't Face. I'm dead already. I'm just gonna make it official now."

"Murdock, you were sick back then, you didn't know what you were doing. Just climb back down the way you went up."

"No can do Facey. I'm coming down though. One last flight for me. I'm sorry I let the team down, I'm sorry I killed that mother, that child, and… Morrison, sorry I ruined 15 years of your lives, and I am sorry for just existing. Guess I was never meant to be in this world. Just know that I love all of you."

BA POV

I saw Crazyman dive from the bridge. Without a second thought, I took off my shoes and I jumped in the water after him. The current was strong. Very strong. I came up and looked frantically for the fool. Face pointed to where Murdock went in and I judged where I needed to be if I were to catch him floating by. And catch him I did. The water was not super deep and the gash on Crazyman's head told me he hit the bottom of the river when he went in. I was having a hard time holding onto him and was grateful when Face appeared beside me and helped me to hold onto him. Face had a rope around his waste that came from the van and I looked to where Hannibal on land was finishing tying the rope to the nearest tree as we made our way back to land.

HANNIBAL POV

Please don't let Murdock be dead! Not dead, not dead, oh shit I fucked up. Whatever happened years ago, Murdock wasn't the same man now. No matter what happened years ago he wasn't able to handle it. Face had been right, Murdock couldn't have been in his right mind then and he, definitely, wasn't in his right mind now and it was the team's fault. We let him down. We failed him in the most basic way that describes friendship. For a few short minutes we didn't believe him, didn't trust him, forgot the man we know now. How could we have done this? Murdock was one of the most kindest and considerate men
alive and if that resulted from his first breakdown then so be it. First breakdown? What did we do?

FACE POV

The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever. I knew BA drove as fast as he could, but it was too long. Way too long. Blood poured from the gash in Murdock's head as I desperately tried to staunch the flow of it. For a while time appeared to stand still for me. I felt like I was in a tunnel with only Murdock in front of me and I couldn't hear or see anything other than Murdock. I couldn't lose him. He's my best friend, my lifeline, and I forgot that in a few short minutes that left Murdock now clinging for life. If he makes it back…No! Not if! He will be okay and we will find out the truth. Even if the truth hurts, Murdock is too good a person to hold the past against him still. Hasn't he suffered enough? I can't believe I walked out on him, I can't believe we abandoned him as a team, I can't believe…. I can't believe Murdock was in so much pain he wanted to die. He wanted to die and we put him there. Tears of anguish and pain fell from my face at the thought of what Murdock was going through. He had to live. Had to live. Had to live. Had to live. I repeated the words over and over believing in my soul that Murdock would survive.

MURDOCK POV

I couldn't even kill myself right. How many times could I awake groggy and disoriented? I wasn't supposed to wake up. I didn't want to wake up. Did God feel the need to punish me some more by my living? My head hurt incredibly bad, felt like a major migraine, and I quickly closed my eyes from the light. In that brief second, when they were open, I had seen the team in the room sleeping in various chairs. Never in my entire life had I ever wished more than now than to be completely insane and nonfunctioning. Catatonic would be nice. I don't want to be here. I can't do this. I just can't do this. Couldn't do it then and I can't do it now.

FACE POV

I saw Murdock's eyes open and close quickly. I stepped over to the bed and picked up his hand.

"I'm so sorry. Please, please forgive me. You have to forgive me. I love you so much. You can't leave us. You can't leave. You can't leave us. Please"

"Facey".

"Murdock, please tell me you won't do this again. Tell me you won't leave us… the team. I don't care what you've done. You can't leave us."

"I'm scared Facey. I'm so scared. I don't. I don't… don't know what I have done. Don't know why. Don't want to find out. Can't handle it. I can't do this. I just can't do this."

BA POV

Tears were streamin' down the fool's face. Crazyman rolled over in the bed and wrapped his arms around himself. He kept mutterin' he can't do this over and over again. After a while, he wouldn't respond to Face anymore. Hannibal and I tried to get his attention and that didn't work either. Crazyman was lost in his own world and no one was able to get to him. If Face couldn't get to him then no one could. Those two were always close, ever since the camps. They went through stuff that no one else knows about and neither of them had ever told.

HANNIBAL POV

Dr. Richter just left. Murdock's been catatonic for over two months now. The doctor says Murdock was in the state he was before the team came to visit so many years ago. Murdock recovered the first time because of the doctor and so I told him what happened this time, knowing he was Murdock's major chance of recovery. I was wrong. Dr. Richter told me that the team was Murdock's recovery lifeline from the first breakdown. Without us Murdock was unlikely to have recovered then and definitely not likely to recover now. The team was in shock, not believing that Murdock would not wake up one day to be his usual upbeat, hyperactive self.

FACE POV

I wondered if Murdock was in pain. I mean.. I know he's not in physical pain, but what about psychological pain? Does being catatonic mean you don't think about anything or do you think about something all the time? I shuddered… terrified… wondering if Murdock was reliving the murders over and over and that what was keeping him from us. No one should have to go through something like that. Not anyone. And definitely not Murdock. His antics, his upbeat personality, his smile, Billy, its all Murdock. It was always a good kind of crazy and now I wonder if he was "bad crazy". I couldn't even believe I was thinking like that. Murdock had to come back to us. He had to. He came back to us once before and he would again. I know I haven't prayed to God in a long time, but please I am praying now. Not for me. For Murdock. He had to come back. He had to.

HANNIBAL POV

We were all feeling guilty. Murdock needed us and we pushed him away, maybe for good. I pushed that thought away while I worked on a plan to find out exactly what happened to Murdock fifteen years ago. I figured Stockwell was in on whatever it was that happened. Stockwell and Murdock had a hate, hate, relationship. Since he sent us on the mission and could have picked anywhere to retrieve the list, I figured he deliberately planned the location. I really hate that Stockwell got one up on me, and not only just me, the team too. Stockwell hasn't mentioned our pardons and when we asked, he said they were coming soon. I didn't believe him. Neither did BA or Face. Stockwell set Murdock up and he was going down. One way or another he was going down, screw our pardons. I knew Stockwell must have a file on Murdock and I didn't think it would be in the house so it must be on the plane. I came up with a plan to get Face on the plane to search the files.

FACE POV

Losing the Abels was no easy task, though BA's been losing tails for years in the van. It took a total of four hours and several vehicle switches to finally lose them all. That was the problem with Stockwell's operation. Too many Abels, they just seemed to appear out of the woodwork like cockroaches. The more Abels we lost, others took their place. The plane was guarded well and I wondered at the front door plan of Hannibal's. We didn't want Stockwell to know we had been there. I hoped my cleaner's disguise would fool the Abels', some of who have guarded me personally. Hannibal didn't think Stockwell would believe we would try this. Stockwell knew our capabilities, but he didn't know just how daring we could be. We never explained our front door method to him and during our missions for him, we were careful not to expose our thought processes. We didn't want to leave him any more ammo to use against us in the future.

 

When I found Murdock's file I was surprised at how thin it was. I mean… this is Murdock were reading about. One conversation with him and you could write pages of stuff about him. The VA's file could be published in encyclopedia book form it was so large. Why was Murdock's file so small?

HANNIBAL POV

Five pages? Murdock's file was only five pages? How could that be? Surely, Stockwell would have had Murdock's CIA information in here, wouldn't he? I scanned the pages and realized most of the information was all recent. Murdock's places of employment, his friends from work, places he's visited, nothing of his past in here. One name I did not recognize. Mark Billings. Supposedly, a friend he met at the museum. Murdock loves the museum and it's possible he met him there, but he would have mentioned a new friend. Neither BA nor Face knew the name either. BA looked up the name in the phone book and ripped out the page. There were 60 Mark Billings in the phone book and we were going to visit all of them. It was the only lead we had and it seemed not much of one.

BA POV

Forty Billings later and I was fed up. This was a stupid plan and I let Hannibal know. He agreed, but said we had nothing better to do. Murdock needed us, needed us to find out what happened. Sittin' around the hospital wasn't doing Murdock or us any good. We gotta find out what happened. As we pulled up into the driveway of Billings forty-one, the man mowing the lawn glanced up at us. I couldn't believe it!!! I knew the man!!! Except I knew him as Scott Jennings, Sergeant First Class Jennings. I saved his life once in Nam.

He took off like a jackrabbit, but we were faster. Face tackled him before he was hardly out of the yard. Hannibal ordered everyone back to the house where we sat in the living room. Luckily, for us and for Scott, no one else was home at the minute. I explained to Hannibal and Face that Billings is really Jennings and how I knew him.

JENNINGS POV

I'm up the proverbial shits creek without a paddle. Stockwell or the A Team. Either way I'm dead. The team will kill me for what I know was done to their pilot. Stockwell will kill me for telling the team what I really believe happened all those years ago. I look from A Team member to member where my eyes finally rested on BA Baracus. He saved my life back in Nam. When someone saves your life, you owe him. I guess it will be Stockwell who'll kill me. I began my conversation with them.


"As you know Morrison was a traitor. We, the CIA, suspected it was so, but we had no proof at the time. We had the office bugged for a week, but Morrison was too smart to slip up there. We knew the bank job was a set up, but we had no proof. As far as we could tell the mission came from the division headquarters… he had a few people in his pocket that made everything he did look legit. Right after Morrison gave you the order to rob the Bank of Hanoi, we sent another agent to find your pilot. He was told to report to specific coordinates in his chopper right after dropping you off. Somewhere along the line, your pilot, Murdock, must have figured it out. His file, when I read it at the time, said he was very intuitive and quick. He figured out your mission was a set-up and that the CIA knew it and let you go anyway."

I paused for a minute to gather my thoughts. This wasn't going to be easy to say much less hear, for them.

"Henderson, the agent he was supposed to meet, was in the village. Murdock did point his gun at the woman….or so the file read…..he did threaten to shoot her. But it was Henderson who shot the woman. It was Henderson who shot the child. Murdock was so crazy at that point that he thought he did it. He pointed his gun at them both. I read the file. He was out of control. Henderson's report said your pilot had and I quote "completely lost it". Henderson shot them both because he was protecting the company. How could the CIA admit that they had a traitorous colonel on their hands and that they had done nothing to stop him? Murdock was the public's truth and when he appeared to lose it, Henderson was all too willing to let him. Let him lose it…let him fall. Let him believe he killed those people. Henderson killed them to push your pilot over the edge. He figured if Murdock died, it would draw attention to him. To the A Team. To Morrison. The CIA couldn't afford that. I guess Henderson's plan worked, huh?"

BA POV

I couldn't stop my fist from punching him in the face. Crazyman never killed them… the CIA knew…. Stockwell knew and, he wanted him to experience it all over again. I thought I was going to be sick at what the fool had gone through, was going through. I barely heard the colonel when he told me enough. Let the man go.

FACE POV

I couldn't stop the tears from falling. My heart hurt so much for Murdock. I needed to be with him, I thought, as I ran from the house.

HANNIBAL POV
Face didn't even make it to the van before the weapons were cocked. Surrounding us were 10 men with very deadly weapons. Not much of a choice, we surrendered and got into the truck reluctantly. The ride took many hours and we couldn't see where we were going as there were no windows in the truck. I know we were all thinking of Murdock and we were worried sick. He didn't do it… but when we escaped, how would we get through to him. He was in his own world, one where we were not permitted to be in it with him.

Once we arrived at our destination, we met with the infamous Henderson. He wasn't to inclined to be hospitable to us. As far as he was concerned, we were a problem to him. Disappear and all of his problems disappear. Murdock was once again catatonic and out of the way. We were the only thing standing in his way of being convicted of murder. We weren't going to be standing long. Apparently, before killing us, he wanted more information about Stockwell. Whatever deal they struck, Henderson didn't believe Stockwell would honor it. We won't the only ones who didn't trust Stockwell.

Our jail cell (room) was very sparse. Nothing here to use. Henderson had apparently done his homework. Not only was there nothing here to use to escape, but also they searched us so thoroughly, they took Face's best lock pick. For the moment, we weren't going anywhere.

MURDOCK POV
Where's the team? I've been tuning out reality for a while now. But always in the back of my head, I heard the team. I heard Face, heard BA, heard Hannibal. I haven't heard them for a while now. Where are they?


Do they need me? Even though I don't want to deal with reality, I know something must be up for them to be gone so long. Something's wrong. I know it. Something's wrong. I struggled with myself to choose between reality and fantasy. Reality won out. I think the team needs me. I can't explain, I don't know why, I just know that something is wrong. Where are they? I don't know, but I suspect Stockwell knows. And that's where I head.

STOCKWELL POV
Those eyes. Murdock's eyes. Jesus…they can be so cold and angry. They look the same as the last time, when Murdock tried to kill me, while the team was on trial. I have no doubts that Murdock would kill me without a second thought if he thought it was necessary to accomplish the mission. Accomplish the mission. The only way he can do that is with my help. I'm willing to do that until the Abels find us. How could he have gotten to me? I have the best protection in the US. I still can't believe he kidnapped me from the restaurant without help. Without the Abels around. Murdock was always the most unpredictable of the A Team. The unstable. The most capable of killing me without a second thought if pushed. In some ways, I knew I was dealing with an equal. Smith was an equal, but he was predictable. Murdock wasn't. That edge could cost me my life if I'm not careful.

I was willing to work with Murdock; however, he wasn't willing to work with me. He didn't trust me, and the loaded gun at my head told me so. I'm not frightened. I don't scare easily, but I wasn't sure how to get out of this. I couldn't control Murdock. That left me without a plan. Without backup.

MURDOCK POV
I'm so fucking pissed!!! Very, very pissed off. The team had vanished without a trace and I was responsible. I searched the house, my apartment, and other places I know they go and nothing. I was two seconds away from killing Stockwell. The only thing saving him was that I wasn't sure I didn't need him anymore. It felt good to have my gun against his head. I don't like to hurt people, not in general, but Stockwell wasn't people. He wasn't human. He was also very stupid. Getting past his Abels was easy. Finding his schedule was easier. I've been watching Face for years and know how to scam with the best of them when I need to. I just don't like to.

Henderson??!! That's the son of a bitch who has the team!!?? I remember him. What a traitorous bastard! My hand never wavered from Stockwell's head as I made him drive to Henderson's place. When we arrived, I could see it was heavily guarded. Stockwell and I got out of the car and still my hand never left the side of his head. The hand with the gun in it. God!!! I wanted him dead!! I was one second away from killing him. I never wanted anyone so dead as I wanted Stockwell dead at this moment. Just a few more minutes. A few more minutes. Find the team. Find Face. Find Hannibal. Find the Big Guy.

The guards didn't shoot at us, which told me they were working for the government or Stockwell. Anyone else would have shot us dead. We walked carefully into the building, my hand never wavering, never wondering, willing to pull the trigger at the slightest noise….

HANNIBAL POV
The guards stopped moving. The tension in the air increased. I could hear footsteps in the hallway. No other noise was prevalent. Rounding the corner I saw Stockwell first…then Murdock pointing the gun at his head. I looked at Murdock. He was definitely sane. Very sane. I could see the anger, fear and coldness in his eyes. Murdock has the most expressive eyes if you knew how to read them. I did know how to read his eyes. He was going to kill Stockwell if we let him. I couldn't let him kill Stockwell, but right now, we needed to escape.
_______________________________

MURDOCK POV
I saw three stunned faces in front of me. I ignored them and told the guards to open the cell door or I'd kill Stockwell. Face, BA and Hannibal exited the prison. Hannibal spoke as he stepped up to me.

"Murdock" he said very softly, "Hand me the gun."

"No, Hannibal."

"Captain! Hand me the gun and that's an order."

"No! Not until ya'll are safe."

"Captain… Murdock… do you trust me?"

"Course I do, Colonel."

"Then trust me now. Hand me the gun."

FACE POV
I saw Murdock hand the gun over to Hannibal. I wasn't relieved though and I wondered why. I mean, Murdock came back to us and even managed to rescue us, so why am I still so worried about him. Maybe it was what I saw in his eyes. I saw so much pain…. so much fear…. and something else I'm not sure I recognize. It wasn't jazz, but something along the lines of determination. Murdock can be very determined, but this was something more. Like maybe he came to a decision and would extend his full effort to enacting it. Whatever it was I was pretty sure, I wasn't going to like it.

 

We ran out to the car leaving everyone behind alive and well including Stockwell.

BA POV
I couldn't believe the crazy fool rescued us. Not sure how it came about, but I know I'm grateful. As we left our prison, Murdock pointed toward our escape vehicle. Not my choice of vehicles, but if it has wheels who can be fussy. I jumped into the drivers seat and peeled out of the road leaving rubber for quite a ways. I drove for five miles before anyone spoke.


FACE POV
I could feel the tension radiating from Murdock. I could see his clenched jaw, the scowl on his face, his body hunched in a tight form. I asked him if he was okay. His clipped delivery of I'm fine also told me otherwise. After everything he has gone through the last several months, I wondered in amazement that he managed to rescue us. I also wondered at how long he would remain in reality. He's my best friend, the brother I never had growing up, the person I care about most in the world. I care about Hannibal, BA, Father Magill, but Murdock…he needs me. I've never been needed the way he needs me. I can't imagine living in a world without Murdock. Without his personalities, his wit, his smile. When Murdock smiles his eyes light up with this sparkle of life that is so….well, just so Murdock. He's so full of life. After his suicide attempt, I'm so scared he'll try again.

BA pulled into a motel where I defrauded us some rooms. I made sure Murdock and I shared a room. I wanted to talk with him. From the look in Hannibal's eyes if I didn't talk with Murdock, I'd be in trouble.

"Murdock, we need to talk. I need to know how you're doing. What about your meds? Do you have them with you?"

"No meds. I'm okay."


"No. Your're not. You're not okay. You didn't kill that women and child. Henderson did. Jennings told us. You didn't kill them. You did have a gun against their heads, but you didn't kill them, Murdock. You didn't kill them." Was he hearing me?

"I remember Face. I remembered holding the gun against their heads. I know I did that. I saw them fall Face. I was touching them. I know I did it. I know I did it. They both died 'cause of me. 'Cause of me. I killed 'em. I killed 'em. I killed….

No!!!! You did not kill them! Listen to me. Listen to me! You did not kill that woman and child. Henderson saw you and set you up. The CIA knew about COL Morrison, knew he was a traitor. Henderson set you up to take the fall. Think Murdock. Just think about it."

"I don' know Face. That night… it was raining, thunder and lightening, and everyone was screaming and yelling. It was all in Vietnamese. They were beggin' me not to kill her. The mother. I don' know Face. I just don' know. I can see myself with the gun at her head, but I don' know, can' remember if I really pulled the trigger. But she's dead Face. How can I not have pulled the trigger? How can I not have?"

"You didn't because Henderson did. The CIA knows it. Stockwell knows it. They didn't want to air their dirty laundry."

"Face…. even if you're right…I did…. I did…. kill Morrison. We were the only people in the room. I remember pulling the trigger. I'm still not sure why, but I know I did. I know I wanted him dead. Deader than dead. And you know what… I want Stockwell just the same. Deader than dead. If I see Stockwell again, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do. I don' know if I can control myself. I don't know if I want to even try."

"Murdock please…lets just try to sleep now. We're both exhausted and we need to regroup in the morning. Promise me that you won't try to leave this room or try to kill yourself tonight. Please promise me!"

"I promise Faceman."

HANNIBAL POV
How did Murdock know to rescue us? The last time we saw him he was catatonic. I can't believe he showed up with Stockwell like he did. I've always known to not underestimate Murdock, but my God! To pull himself out of his catatonic state, kidnap Stockwell and find out where we were, wow…. I was so proud of him as I made a mental note to mention it to him first thing in the morning. We should never have walked out on Murdock, the fact that we did…I did…is probably the most shameful act I've committed. I wondered how we could make it up to him. Could we even make it up to him?

The next morning we were up at our usual time and went for breakfast at the diner across the street from our motel. On our way to the diner, I appraised Murdock's physical condition. He looked exhausted, pale and too thin. The past few months had taken its toll on him.


We sat down and ordered immediately. Upon Murdock requesting coffee only, I supplemented his order with an omelet, toast, home fries, juice. Murdock claimed he wasn't hungry and I ordered him to eat the meal when it came. It's true though. Murdock never eats when he is upset or stressed. I recalled last night's thoughts.

"Murdock, I just wanted you to know how proud of you I am for being able to come to our rescue. You did a great job and we all thank you."

"Mmm." Murdock not looking at any of us.

"Murdock, did you hear what I said?" while frowning. I was concerned with his mental state.

"I heard you Hannibal."

"Murdock, we were wrong to walk out on you. I can't tell you how bad we all feel, how I feel, about not being there for you initially. We are here for you now." I put my hand on top his to emphasize my point.

FACE POV
I didn't think Hannibal was getting through to Murdock so I put my arm around his shoulder and joined the conversation.

"Murdock, Hannibal is right. We screwed up, but we are here now and we are not going to let you go anywhere without a fight."

"Ya fool, we love ya and you not gonna get away from us again." BA scowled his most fiercest one."

Murdock was staring down at the table having not looked at anyone of us in the eye.

MURDOCK POV
I was so confused and still afraid. I wanted so much to believe them, but I don't know. I've been through hell and I'm not back from there yet. I loved the guys, but my heart was still hurting. I can feel the physical ache front and center.

 

"I know you do BA. I just need more time…I need to find out how everything happened. I can't remember everything; my memory is full of holes. I need space. I need to…to…. I don't know what I need. Can ya'll just let me be please?

I don't think they're going to buy my answer even though it's the truth. I can't look any of them in the eye, which is unusual for me.

Face squeezed my shoulder, "Murdock, we want to help you. I know this is hard for you, but you're not alone even if that's what you think you want."

Breakfast arrived and I didn't want to eat it, but even after everything that's happened, I feel Hannibal's glare of insistence. I managed about half my plate before my stomach rebelled. As I placed my napkin down and glanced quickly at Hannibal to see his reaction.

HANNIBAL POV
I wasn't happy that he didn't finish his plate, but I recognized that his stomach had shrunk while being hooked to the feeding tube in the hospital. During the night, I thought hard of a plan to get through this mess and couldn't come up with one that would give 100% of the answers in one shot. Our first priority was to ensure Murdock's emotional health so we finished breakfast and began our trip back to the hospital to visit Dr. Richter.

BA POV
It was a very quiet trip back to DC. I missed Murdock's fixations and rants, though I would never tell him that. I'm not good with showin' feelin's, but the fool know that. I wanted to get into a fight with him, strangle him so he know I love him. I glanced in the mirror to see Murdock's eyes closed and Face staring at him. Hannibal was chain-smokin cigars the entire ride lost in thought. There was nothin' normal about the ride back to DC. Just too quiet.

FACE POV
We took Murdock back to the hospital. Surprisingly, he went without a fight. He worked so hard for so many years to be declared sane and it's clear he was sliding backwards…had slid backwards, but recovered. Maybe that's why he didn't complain; he knew he was sliding backwards, maybe in a more permanent way like the first time so many years ago. Maybe Murdock's recent catatonic state was not a true state. What if he was aware of his withdrawal this time around? Not intentionally scaring us, but somehow lost in his thoughts desperately trying to piece everything together. If so it made sense in that, he managed to come out of his shell and rescue us.



The Last Mission by Snickersmobo

 

 


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