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Lost and Found

Lost and Found
by  pob

Rating: PG –13 (some language)
Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team, just love writing about them
Episode Spoiler: Family Reunion
Warning: Drama, some angst, hurt and comfort
Summary: While away for the Christmas holidays, the Team discovers that Bancroft was Face's father.

˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜

Hannibal waited patiently for his men to assemble. It was the first time since they'd started working for Stockwell that he'd felt this good, and he was eager to share his news with his men. One by one they filtered in, all of them appearing exhausted. He could tell by their guarded looks that they were expecting to be briefed on another mission. Hannibal couldn't blame them, though. Christmas was three days away, and they had been going non-stop since Thanksgiving. After the Bancroft case, they had gone on 2 more missions. It was for that reason that Hannibal had gone to talk to Stockwell.

Hannibal glanced at each of his men. Frankie was sitting on one end of the couch, gazing at the Christmas tree that they had just finished decorating this morning. Usually talkative and animated, he'd been pretty quiet lately. Hannibal knew that he missed his family.

BA sat at the other end of the sofa with his massive arms folded across his chest. He'd spent the morning working on the van, stopping only to help decorate the tree. He'd spoken to his mother this morning and had been in a surly mood ever since. Being on the run, he hadn't been able to really spend the holidays with his mother, but this year he felt the pain of their separation more intensely.

Murdock was sitting in the middle of the sofa watching Face, who was doing his best to avoid looking at Murdock. Hannibal knew that something was going on, even though they both denied it. Ever since Thanksgiving, there had been some tension between them. Hannibal had decided to let it go until it affected their performance on a job, which is exactly what happened last time they were out.

It wasn't a big mistake, but it could easily have turned deadly. Face had been distracted on his watch, allowing the guerilla forces to get the jump on them. Their advantage didn't last long as the team quickly regained control of the situation. Hannibal had been in the middle of dressing him down when he saw the pain and weariness in his Lieutenant's eyes. He knew Face well enough to know that something was going on. He had decided to wait until after the mission to sit down and talk with Face. It was then that he had decided that his men needed a break.

Face tried not to fidget, but he knew that Hannibal was watching Murdock watch him. He also knew that Hannibal was not pleased with his latest screw-up. He was pretty displeased with himself. He'd always been able to keep his personal feelings from interfering with work, so why not now? "Because he was our father," a small child's voice replied. "Our dad. And he's gone." Face shook his head to clear his troubling thoughts, oblivious to Hannibal's frown.

"Ok, we're here. What's going on?" BA asked the question that everyone wanted answered.

Hannibal grinned, "I've been to see Stockwell." He held up his hand at their collective groan. "Hold on. This isn't so bad. The general has agreed to give us time off for the holidays. No, really," Hannibal assured them.

"Yeah, well he promised time off before," Murdock sulked. "And what's with that grin? The only time you grin like that is when…."

"We're in trouble," BA finished.

"Guys, you wound me," Hannibal feigned hurt, but couldn't hold back his good news any longer. "The difference, Captain, is that this time, we're going away for the holidays. We'll be spending the next ten days in a cabin in the Pocono's." Hannibal grinned as he waited for their reaction. He wasn't disappointed.

"Are you kidding?"

"How did you swing that?"

"What's the catch?"

"No catch," Hannibal answered. "Stockwell isn't stupid. He knows how important morale is."

And how easily mistakes are made, Face thought bitterly.

"Face?" Hannibal had noticed that Face hadn't joined the lively chatter that now filled the room.

Face met Hannibal's question with a dazzling smile that never reached his eyes. Hannibal wasn't fooled, but he decided to let it go for now. They'd talk at the cabin.

"Frankie," Hannibal addressed the young man. "You're welcome to come with us, and we'd love to have you, but Stockwell has granted permission for you to spend this time with your family."

The young man stared at Hannibal, completely speechless.

Hannibal nodded his head, answering the question Frankie hadn't been able to ask. "Seriously. He's even having you flown there and back."

Overcome with emotion, Frankie jumped up and embraced Hannibal. Laughing, Hannibal returned the hug, thumping Frankie soundly on the back.

It was a father-son moment that Face had difficulty watching.

"When do we leave?" Murdock asked.

"Tomorrow afternoon, so get all your packing and shopping done and be ready to go at 1pm." Hannibal didn't have to tell them again as the men jumped up, eager to start their holiday preparations.

By one o'clock the next day, Frankie was on his way back to California, and the Team was heading to Pennsylvania for a white Christmas.

"Follow this road a little further, BA" Hannibal instructed. "There will be a turn-off coming up on the left."

BA slowed down as he looked for the turn-off that Hannibal mentioned. Snow blanketed the grounds and clung precariously to the trees, but the roads were passable. Spotting the turn-off, BA maneuvered the van up the long driveway.

"Man," Murdock exclaimed. "Stockwell really has us out in the middle of nowhere."

"Yeah," Hannibal agreed. "The privacy will be nice, though. And if we get antsy, we're only 30 minutes from civilization."

"Is that it?" BA's question had all four members staring at the picturesque scene before them.

Nestled among the snow-capped trees stood a two-story chalet with a wrap around deck.

Murdock noticed the smoke coming from the chimney. "Don't tell me that Stockwell even had someone come out and start a fire for us."

Hannibal didn't answer as BA parked the van next to the chalet.

Each of them grabbed luggage and packages and made their way up the steps to the heavy wooden door with Hannibal leading the way with the keys. The men stepped inside the doorway, dropping their packages as they looked around. The room was small and cozy, but the high ceilings gave a feel of spaciousness. Hardwood floors were covered with cushiony area rugs. A plush oversized sofa and matching armchairs contrasted sharply against the rustic wood walls. A fire was definitely going in the fireplace. A fully decorated Christmas tree stood in the corner, gaily wrapped presents stacked underneath. Christmas music played softly in the background, and the room smelled of cinnamon.

"Are you sure this is the right place?" Face asked.

Hannibal just smiled.

Before anyone could ask another question or make another comment, they heard the sound of dishes clanging in the kitchen. All heads turned in the direction of the sound. They were greeted with the sight of a smiling Mrs. Baracus.

"Oh! You finally made it!" she exclaimed, holding out her arms as she made her way over to the group.

"Mama!" BA shouted and rushed to embrace his mother in a giant bear hug.

Mrs. B. hugged each of her boys and ushered them farther into the living room. "I'm so glad you're here. I've been going crazy from excitement. But it did give me a chance to get some stew started for dinner."

"Hannibal, you knew about this?" BA asked a still-grinning Hannibal.

"Yeah," Hannibal replied, his eyes twinkling.

"But how did you manage to arrange all of this?" Murdock's voice dropped off as the realization hit him. "No. Stockwell?"

"Yep," Mama answered for Hannibal. "Picked me up in Chicago, flew me here, drove me into town for groceries, and even had someone stay here until I got all settled. In fact, they just left about an hour ago."

The team was silent as they absorbed this information.

"Well, don't just stand there," Mama clapped her hands. "Let's get these bags put away and settled so I can sit down and enjoy being with my boys."

The men chuckled at Mrs. B's take-charge attitude. She was definitely BA's mother.

"Ok, guys. There are two bedrooms and a loft. Mrs. B is in one room so we have the other two," Hannibal turned expectantly towards his men.

Face was the first to speak up. "The loft. Murdock?"

Murdock returned Face's look. He had been wondering if Face would room with him. He was pleased that Face had asked him, but he wasn't sure if he did it because it was expected or because he really wanted to room with him.

"Sounds good," Murdock replied as he headed towards the stairs. "Now I can hear Santa's sleigh as soon as it hits the roof."

"Crazy fool," BA muttered. "I knew it wouldn't be long before he started his jibber jabber." Secretly, he was pleased to see Murdock and Face acting like their old selves.

The team spent the remainder of the afternoon getting settled and reminiscing with Mrs. B. After a dinner of homemade soup and bread, they had all retired to the living room to sip warm mixed drinks in front of the fire. BA was surprised that his Mama knew how to make alcoholic mixed drinks, but everyone had to admit that they were good. It wasn't long before the effects of the fire and alcohol began to counter the adrenaline that had kept them going for the past few weeks.

Murdock let out a loud yawn and stretched his long limbs out in front of him as he readjusted his position on the corner of the sofa. "I think I could stay here like this forever."

"Hmmm," was the murmured reply from Face, who seemed to be more relaxed and unreserved now that they were out of Virginia.

Hannibal looked over from his seat near the fire. His team looked exhausted and well rested at the same time. This had definitely been a good idea. His team needed time to recuperate. He wished that Frankie could be here with them, but he knew that it was more important for him to go home to his family.

"Mama," Face spoke again. "I'm sorry to cut this evening short, but I don't think I can keep my eyes open any longer."

"They're not open, now," Mrs. B. replied, amused. She had been concerned when she first saw how tired they were, but they seemed to be doing better as the evening wore on. "Please don't stay up on my account. Any of you. Go rest.  We'll have plenty of time to spend with each other."

With that, the tired members of the team said their goodnights, each of them stopping to kiss Mrs. B. on the cheek before retiring for the night. All of them except for BA who wanted to stay up with his mother a while longer. They went to her room to talk so their voices wouldn't carry upstairs to the loft and disturb Face and Murdock.

Once upstairs, Murdock wondered as to Face's mood. He seemed to be a little more approachable since they had arrived, but he still wasn't the same old Face. The loft wasn't very big, large enough to hold only a full size bed and a dresser, and Murdock wasn't sure how Face would react to the close confines. He sighed, as he was unable to determine whether Face was still angry with him and set about getting ready for bed. Having changed into his pajamas, he grabbed a pillow and one of the heavy quilts off the antique bed and started to make a pallet on the floor.

Face, who had already lain down, looked over to Murdock. "You don't have to sleep on the floor." At Murdock's silence, he continued. "I'm not mad, Murdock. Just tired and have a lot on my mind. Besides, once the fire goes out, it's going to get cold in here."

Murdock hesitated and then made his way back to the bed. After he felt Murdock stop shuffling around, Face reached over and turned out the light.

Even though he said he wasn't angry, Murdock still had a hard time believing him. He knew that it was a lot for Face to absorb, having found and lost his father all in the same day, but it seemed as if there was something else. Face usually kept his emotions pretty well hidden, and the fact that he'd been so distant for so long was not like the Facey he knew. Murdock rolled over to look at his best friend. The light from the downstairs cast a light glow and Murdock was able to make out some features. Face was lying on his side facing away from him with the blanket clutched tightly around his shoulders, as if cocooning himself away from the rest of the world.

"Murdock," Face whispered. "If I tell you something, do you promise to let it drop and it's over and done with?" Face still did not turn towards Murdock.

Murdock was quiet for a minute. "Yeah, Face."

"I'm glad that you didn't tell me that A.J. was my father. I don't think I could have handled the rejection."

Murdock was stunned. He would have never guessed that this was what was bothering Face. "But Face," Murdock's voice was a fierce whisper. "You don't know that he would have rejected you. That's just it. I didn't give you the chance to find out."

"But he had the chance Murdock. He knew when he requested that we do the mission. He made his peace with Ellen. I even sat down with him and talked to him. He chose not to."

"But Face," Murdock heard the tired resignation in his friend's voice and desperately wished that he could erase his the pain.

"Remember, you promised," Face said, signaling the end of the conversation. "Just wanted you to know that I'm not mad at you," he finished sleepily.

Murdock remained silent and watched as his best friend fell asleep. Even though it broke his heart to do so, he knew that he would not keep his promise.


The next morning the team awoke to the tantalizing smells of eggs and pancakes. Murdock stretched lazily and rolled over. Despite his late night conversation with Face, he'd still managed to sleep well. He glanced over at the object of his thoughts. Face was still asleep and still curled up in a tight ball. Usually Face would relax in his sleep, but Murdock could see the tension in his brow and posture. He wondered if he could make this better for him. He hoped that he could make this work.

It was as if Face knew that he was being watched and opened his eyes to look into Murdock's brown eyes.

Murdock thought that his heart would break as he looked into Face's blue eyes. Face was not completely awake yet and had not had time to shutter his emotions. Murdock knew Face better than anyone, and he knew that when he wasn't guarding his emotions, you could see into the heart of Face through his eyes. Fear. Confusion. Rejection.

"What time is it?" Face whispered, his mask slipping into place.

"Still early," Murdock replied quietly. "Nobody's up yet. Go back to sleep."

Face nodded and closed his eyes.

Murdock was relieved when Face did close his eyes and fall back asleep. He quietly slipped from the bed and made his way downstairs to the bathroom.


Later that morning breakfast was a festive event. BA and Mrs. B. were both in the Christmas spirit, and the others couldn't help but to absorb their festive mood. Mrs. B. had cooked a traditional family breakfast, one that had BA remembering many past Christmases with his family. The heavy wooden table was filled with dishes, and the men eagerly helped themselves.

"It is so good to have my family together," Mrs. B. beamed as plates were passed around, and the sound of clinking silverware filled the air.

"Mama, this breakfast is fabulous," Murdock complimented as he helped himself to another portion of pancakes.

"How come you never made this for us, BA?" asked Face, as he reached for his orange juice.

BA glanced at his Mama, "It just wasn't the same." Face immediately knew what he meant.

"So what are we going to do today?" Mrs. B interjected quickly, before a solemn mood could overtake them. She had many family traditions that she wanted to share with the boys, but she wanted to bond them together, not bring up painful memories.

"Well," Hannibal answered, "we need to drive into town." He knew that BA would want to pick up a few things for his mother. "And even though Stockwell set this up, we should get a lay of the land."

BA nodded his approval.

"Ooh, can I go? Pretty please?" Murdock's voice took on an excited childlike quality.

"No!" was the gruff response from BA.

"Grinch," Murdock sulked.

"Of course, you can go, baby," Mrs. B shot a reproachful but loving glance at BA.

"Face?" Hannibal looked over at the young man who had been pretty silent up to this point.

Face wasn't in the mood for holiday festivities. He'd finished his shopping two days ago, and he didn't feel up to trying to keep a cheerful front. "I think I'll stick around here. Unless you need me to get the supplies," he added.

"No," Hannibal replied. "We should be ok."

"Well," Mrs. B. said. "I'm in a baking mood today. I can't remember a Christmas where we didn't have fresh baked snicker doodles."

BA smiled appreciatively at the thought of snicker doodles and hot chocolate. "Let's get to it," he said, pushing his plate away. "Mama, we'll take care of the kitchen."

"That's right, Mrs. B.," Murdock spoke up before she could protest. "Me and ol' Scooter will have this kitchen cleaned up in no time."

"Shut up, fool, and grab those plates," BA tried to sound gruff, but his good mood made it impossible.

They made short work of the kitchen, and the guys were out the door in 15 minutes. True to her word, Mrs. B. set about baking not only snicker doodles but also gingerbread men. Not having anything else to do and not wanting to be alone with his troubling thoughts, Face sat in the kitchen with her and soon found himself helping.

With the house filled with delicious smells, Mrs. B. and Face sat down to enjoy the fruits of their labor. "Whew," she said. "I haven't baked that much in ages." She set a plate of cookies on the table and sat down.

Face placed two steaming mugs of hot chocolate on the table and sat down beside her. Not having anything to say, he opted for silence. He'd been that way all afternoon, preferring companionable silence to nonsensical chatter. Mrs. B. seemed to understand. She made comments here and there but never pressed for more conversation.

"I remember Scooter helping me bake for the holidays. I do miss having him around," she commented.

Face listened to her words and watched her actions. Her tone was wistful and full of memories. And although they hinted of sadness, there was still a cheery air about her. He envied that - being able to deal with painful memories, putting them into perspective and moving on with your life.

"Do you want to talk about it?" The soft-spoken words brought Face out of his musings. He hadn't realized that he'd been quietly staring for that long.

"I'm sorry," he said sheepishly, looking down at his mug.

"Did you ever get a chance to…" she began but quickly stopped short.

"Bake cookies when I was a kid?" he finished, looking back up. He shrugged. "No, not really. It was one of those things you hear about but you don't really miss. It's hard to miss the experience when you've never had it."

Mrs. B. nodded. "Today was different, not like when Scooter and I baked. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't trying to recreate those times with you. I just want you to know that today was special, and I'll remember it as one of 'our days'."

Face felt his face warm with pleasure at her words. She always had a way of making all of them feel like little boys who were the apple of her eye. For the first time in weeks, Face felt a little of the heaviness lift from around his heart.


THAT EVENING
Wanting to give the guys a traditional Christmas, Mrs. B suggested a family tradition that she hadn't done since BA's father had died. Each one would go around the room, sharing stories and memories. BA remembered sitting at his father's knee on Christmas Eve, listening to his dad's childhood stories. Thinking of loved ones left behind, the men all thought that would be a great way to spend the evening.

Not wanting to disappoint anyone, Face nodded in agreement. He feverishly searched his mind to come up with memories that he could share. He immediately rejected the ones from his youth. He didn't share much of those memories with his teammates, mostly because he didn't want them feeling sorry for him. He tried to think of times with them that would be appropriate, but AJ Bancroft and Ellen kept popping into his mind. How many Christmases did AJ spend with Ellen? What was it like when he was gone? Were there anymore out there like him and Ellen? Had AJ thought about them during the holidays? He closed his eyes against the questions he couldn't answer and prayed that they wouldn't call on him.

Mrs. B started the storytelling off with one from her childhood. About halfway through the story was when Murdock noticed that Face was fidgeting more than normal. It wasn't very obvious, but it was there. On the outside, he appeared attentive and smiled at the appropriate moments, but Murdock could tell that he was restless and agitated. Murdock had also noticed that Face had had several refills of the hot cider. All in all it wasn't much, but Murdock had a bad feeling coming about.

At the end of Mrs. B's story, Face stood and took the decanter to the kitchen to make another batch of drinks. He had drunk more than he normally did and was definitely beginning to feel intoxicated. Still he continued on with making another batch, although the others didn't really seem to be drinking very much.

Murdock stepped quietly into the kitchen and silently watched his friend. His movements were a little slower, and the fact that he didn't hear Murdock approach was evidence that his senses were dulled. Murdock figured that Face's excessive drinking had more to do with dealing with the loss of his father than getting into the Christmas spirit. He hoped that he wasn't making a mistake.

"Hey, Faceman. Need any help?"

Face turned to smile at him, not at all disturbed that he hadn't heard Murdock come up behind him. "Nah, this is pretty much done. I'll bring it out in a minute."

"Face," Murdock hesitated. "Are you sure you're ok?"

"Of course," Face blew off the question.

"Are you sure? You seem a little out of it tonight." Murdock persisted.

"Murdock, would you lay off? I'm fine." The beverage was done and Face poured himself another cupful before pouring the rest into the decanter. He then added another dollop of liqueur to his mug.

"Are you sure you should have another? I mean you're not used to drinking."

Face turned to stare incredulously at Murdock. "Are you kidding me? Is that what this is about? Because I'm drinking? Come on! It's Christmas Eve. We've been on back-to-back missions for the past month. All I'm doing is having a warm drink in front of the fire."

"It's more than that and you know it," Murdock replied quietly. "I think we should talk."

Face stood in front of Murdock with his arms crossed. "About what?"

"You know what. We, you, never dealt with this Face and it's getting to you."

"No."

"Face, don't shut us out. Let us help. This can't be easy for you. You don't have to do this alone," Murdock pleaded.

"Why are you doing this?" Face asked, his voice a harsh whisper so that it wouldn't carry into the next room. "Why can't you just leave it alone like you promised?"

"I'm sorry, Face. I just can't keep that promise when I can see how much you're hurting," Murdock also kept his voice low.

"What and you couldn't break your word to Bancroft but you have no problem lying to me? Merry Christmas, buddy," Face's voice dripped with sarcasm as he tried to brush past Murdock.

Murdock steeled himself against Face's words and prayed again that he was doing the right thing. He grabbed Face as he tried to walk by and spun him around. "No, we're not done. You can't ignore this. It won't go away."

"Great. Advice from our resident nutcase. Just because you're out doesn't mean you're not crazy." Face regretted the words as he said them, but he wanted Murdock to leave him alone, and he just wouldn't take the hint.

Murdock searched Face's eyes for any hint of what he was really feeling. Even intoxicated, Face was still doing his best to shutter his emotions. But the fact that he was taking personal shots at Murdock told the pilot that he was close. He knew that if he backed down now, Face would continue to bury his feelings. "I've been in enough therapy sessions and encounter groups to tell when someone is grieving and in denial. You tell us about how much you want to find out about your parents, yet when you do, you barely give them a second thought." Murdock braced himself for the outburst.

He wasn't disappointed.

"What the hell do you know about it? Where do you get off even saying this to me? He's dead. What else am I supposed to do? Give him a funeral saying how wonderful he was? As far as I know he abandoned his two children…."

"What's going on with you two?" Hannibal demanded as he, BA, and Mrs. B. stood outside the door of the kitchen.

"Nothing," Face replied sullenly as he pushed past them back into the living room.

"Doesn't sound like nothing," Hannibal replied as he noticed for the first time that Face was intoxicated. He had figured that they were all a little mellow, but he hadn't realized that Face had drunk so much.

"Well, it is. Nothing." Face was pacing agitatedly in front of the fire. "Can we just let this drop and get back to our evening?"

Hannibal looked at BA who looked as confused as he did. He turned to Murdock who looked absolutely miserable. "Well, Captain?"

Face spoke up. "I told you it was nothing."

"And I'm asking Murdock," Hannibal replied without ever looking away from Murdock.

Murdock was silent for a few moments before answering. "It's nothing that we can do anything about, Hannibal. I was wrong to try."

"That means it something," BA looked at Hannibal.

All heads turned towards Face as he let loose a long string of expletives. "I don't understand why the hell this is such a problem, but if you guys are determined to ruin a good evening, then fine. Bancroft was my father. Ok?"

His announcement was met with silence.

"What?" Hannibal asked as he moved closer to Face.

Face dropped down onto the sofa, his back against the corner. "You heard me," he responded belligerently. "Apparently, he knew who I was and he requested us for that mission. Murdock found out when he dropped a photo of me and confronted him. Bancroft pleaded with him not to tell me – that he wanted to do it himself, only he died before he could. End of story."

It took a few minutes for them to absorb his words. "Murdock?" Hannibal asked quietly.

Murdock nodded and moved to sit in the armchair near the fire. He looked so dejected that Mrs. B followed him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. She also wanted to comfort Templeton, but she could tell that he would not welcome her advances. BA shook his head and sat at the other end of the sofa. He now knew what Murdock and Face had been fighting about. Face often buried his feelings as he tried to deal with them himself. Sometimes, it worked. Other times, it would blow up in his face. He had a feeling that this instance would be the latter.

Hannibal must have been feeling the same way because he sat on the sofa next to Face. "Are you ok?"

Face didn't know how to respond, so he didn't.

Hannibal watched as Face kept his features schooled. He knew that he had to be upset otherwise he wouldn't have lost his temper with Murdock. He also knew that Face wasn't going to volunteer any more information. "Murdock," he said as an idea formed. "How could you not tell him about his father?" He glanced at Murdock hoping that he could see what he was trying to do. Face could never stand for anyone to pick on Murdock.

"Yeah, Crazy Fool," BA always knew what Hannibal was thinking. "He waited his entire life for this and you blew it." BA gave a small shake of his head when Murdock looked as if he was going to say something.

"Scooter," Mrs. B. admonished softly.

Staring at both BA and Hannibal, realization dawned on Murdock. He put his head back down and didn't answer. The only two people who didn't know what was happening were Face and Mrs. B.

"Well, Captain. Is this how you treat your best friend? I guess it's true what they say about keeping your enemies closer," Hannibal waited for Face's reaction.

"Leave him alone," Face spoke up. "It wasn't his fault."

"How can you say that? Thanks to him, you'll never know your father. He took that away from you," Hannibal taunted.

"I said leave him alone," Face replied, his voice rising a notch. Instead of dulling his senses, the alcohol seemed to be having the opposite effect, and he was feeling everything more intensely.

"How can you defend him?" BA joined in. "He was your father."

"He was not my father!" Face shouted finally giving in to his emotions. "He was just a man who…." Face moved to get up off the sofa.

Hannibal grabbed him by his arm and pulled him back down. "Just a man who what, Face?" He hated doing this, but it was always this way with Face. It wasn't pretty how things came out, but they would all be better for the fact that it came out.

Face struggled against Hannibal's grip, forcing Hannibal to use both hands and some of his body weight to hold Face down. "Just a man who what?" he repeated.

"Get off of me!" Face shouted as he continued to struggle, but Hannibal wouldn't budge. His emotions were surging and he was feeling his rein of control beginning to slip. He didn't want to be talking about this, especially in a room full of people where he was the center of attention.

"What Face? Tell me what I want to hear and I'll let go," Hannibal didn't loosen his grip.

Face let loose another string of colorful expletives, but Hannibal still wouldn't loosen his grip.

"It's not going to work, Kid. Stop pushing us away and talk to us." Hannibal's tone was gentler and soothing.

"Please, Face," Murdock implored quietly.

Face quit struggling as he looked over at Murdock. He glanced back to Hannibal, his features hardening. "Just a man who didn't want me. There are you happy now?"

"No," Hannibal replied softly as he let Face up. "I'm not happy about the fact that you didn't get to know your father. I'm not happy about the fact that you feel abandoned. And I'm extremely unhappy about the fact that you've been carrying this around alone for all this time." Hannibal finished in a quiet, weary voice.

"Hey man," BA spoke up. "He cared enough about you to want to find you and make peace with you before he died. Some kids never get that."

Face tensed again at BA's words. His emotions were raw and he couldn't help the small tremble that passed through his body. "Wrong, BA," Face whispered. "He came back, got a good look and didn't like what he saw. He made his peace with Ellen. I spoke to him. We sat down together. We talked. He never said a word. He knew he was dying. He knew that he didn't have much time, and he never said a word. He never reached out to me, he didn't hug me or even try to hold or shake my hand. He didn't want me when I was a kid and he didn't want me now." Tears were streaming down his face, but he couldn't stop them. He kept his head bowed as he tried to hold in the sobs that desperately cried for release.

The room was silent except for the sound of Face struggling for control. They looked at each other, unsure of what to do. They could pat him on the back or even give him a hug but they couldn't deny that the pain he was feeling was all too real.

Hannibal broke the silence. "Face, I never got a chance to share my Christmas memory. It didn't actually happen during Christmas but I think it's appropriate. I've never shared this with anyone before. It's not really a secret as much as something that I had buried so deep that I never thought about anymore. When I left for Vietnam, I left behind the woman that I thought I would marry. I loved her so. We hadn't known each other for every long, but I figured what we lacked in longevity, we made up for in intensity. A few weeks after I had shipped out, I received a letter telling me that she was pregnant. I was ecstatic and scared. I wasn't able to come home for the birth, but I got letters and pictures and felt very much involved in my son's life. Then I found out that he needed surgery. I was granted leave so I could go home and be with him." Hannibal grew silent, as he was lost in his memories. Everyone remained silent as they waited for him to continue. When he did, they were surprised by the hard edge in his voice. "I gave blood so they would have it on hand for the operation. I wanted to be able to take care and provide for my son. That's when I found out that he wasn't mine. Bonnie said that she had just found out, but I don't know if I believe her or not. She contacted Matthew's real father and as easy as that, I was out of the picture. I lost the son I never really got to know. I lost my son to another man."

Hannibal turned to look at Face, placing his hand on the back of his neck. He didn't speak again until Face turned his tear-streaked face up towards his. "Face, I had buried those feelings for so long that I didn't think I would remember them. Then when you said that Bancroft was your father, it all came back. All I could think and feel was that I lost my son to another man."

Hannibal watched as Face unsuccessfully tried to hold his emotions in. He placed both hands on the sides of Face's cheeks and wiped away the tears. "It's ok, son," he whispered, his own eyes glassy with emotions.

Face crumpled and Hannibal pulled him against his chest and held him, as Face continued to struggle against his emotions. He never cried. He just didn't do it. He had stopped a long time ago, and it wasn't an emotion that he allowed to overcome him. But the alcohol was affecting him in a way that he hadn't anticipated. He didn't want to let go, to let himself feel all of the emotions that were crowding inside, waiting to burst forth. He felt that if he let them out, he would never stop crying.

Hannibal wouldn't release his hold on him. He knew that Face was fighting it, and there was a good chance that he would regain control and do nothing more than shed a few tears. It would be the most that any of them had seen since Vietnam. Still, he continued to rub his hand over his Lieutenant's back and whisper soft words of encouragement.

Face pulled away. "I'm ok. No really, I'm ok," he reassured them. Face kept his gaze averted, embarrassed at having broken down in front of everyone. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to drink so much."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Hannibal asked, keeping one hand on his shoulder, reluctant to let go.

Face gave a self-conscious chuckle. "I think I've shared enough, already. I think I'm just going to head up to bed."

Mrs. B spoke up. "It's still early, dear. Please stay down here with us. We so rarely get the family together like this." She knew that if Face went to bed, he would be left to deal with his feelings on his own, in addition to his embarrassment at having broken down in front of them. She wanted him to feel supported by his family.

After a moment's hesitation, Face nodded, but he still wouldn't meet anyone's eyes. "Just give me a minute. I'm going to go outside and get some fresh air."

Quiet approval was murmured throughout the room as Face stood and went outside and stood on the deck. All were lost in their own thoughts, until Mrs. B. broke the silence.

"That poor boy. He's been through so much, and now this. His parents have no idea what they're missing. I'd be proud to call him my own," she whispered fiercely, dabbing some moisture from her eyes.

"He'll be ok," BA said. "It's going to still hurt him for a while, but now that we know, we can help him through it."

"Colonel?" Murdock asked tentatively. "What about you? How are you doing?"

"Huh?"
Hannibal replied, distractedly, still looking towards the door that Face had just exited. "Oh yeah," he turned towards Murdock. "I'm fine. Like I said, it's been so long ago that I hardly even think about it. When it came back tonight, the pain was more for Face than for what I went through. This can't be easy for him."

"There's more," Murdock ventured. When he had their attention, he continued. "AJ mentioned his mom and how they weren't expecting Face. Since AJ died before Face could find out any more information, I hired a private detective to try to find out some more information about Face. That's what I was doing in town. He finally got everything together and was giving me a report. Now that I have it, though, I'm not sure what to do. I want to protect Face, but I don't want to make the same mistake as before."

The others steeled themselves for the bad news as Hannibal bade Murdock to continue.

Murdock's features became harder. "It seems that his mother was no better than his father. Once alone, she took Face and dropped him in the orphanage and remarried. Never looked back. She passed away a few years back, no other children. He does have an aunt, on his mother's side, still living. She's in a retirement home and doing pretty well. We really don't know how she feels about everything or if she even knows about him."

"How could anyone leave…" Mrs. B. stood up, unable to finish her thoughts. She shook her head, and grabbing the afghan off the back of the sofa, followed Face out onto the deck.

Face closed his eyes as he leaned his forearms on the wood railing, shutting out the onslaught of emotions. Gulping in deep breaths, he fought hard to regain the rigid control that he normally wore as his shield. He wished that he had been able to talk to Murdock. Then maybe he could have dealt with this sooner. He wished that he hadn't drunk those spiked ciders. He wished that AJ had never come back. No. Maybe. He wished that AJ had never left.

He heard the soft clicking of the door behind him, but didn't turn to look. He had known that one of them would come out to check on him. Probably Hannibal or Murdock, most likely Murdock. BA tended to shy away from emotional confrontations. He was better at the pep talks when things weren't of such a personal nature.

Mrs. B came up beside Face and held the afghan out to him. "Scooter told me how you hate being cold."

Face turned to look at her, seeing the compassion and love etched into her features. He silently accepted the afghan from her, never breaking eye contact. He unfolded it and drew it around his shoulders, still keeping Mrs. B.'s gaze. Then slowly, he held his arms out in silent invitation. Mrs. B. was unable to keep the tears from falling as she stepped into his embrace, and he wrapped his arms around her, enclosing them both within the warm confines of the afghan. Face buried his head in her shoulder as the warm tears fell unbidden.

He didn't know why, but he felt so safe and secure in her arms. He could let his guard down when he was with her and not feel so exposed. He couldn't remember his emotions being this raw, not since Vietnam.

Mrs. B held onto him for a few minutes, letting him absorb her warmth and comfort. As much as she wanted to continue to provide comfort for Face, she knew that she wouldn't always be there. She knew that the others would, though. She pulled back to gaze up at him without breaking their embrace. She reached up with both hands and gently brushed the tears from his cheeks. "Templeton, baby, as long as the good Lord is willing, I'll be here for you. I'll be there if you want to call me in the middle of the night after a nightmare. I'll be there to listen if you just want to tell me about your day. I'll make you chicken soup when you get the sniffles from standing out here in the cold. But, baby, I'm not the only one who wants to be there for you."

He dropped his head at the impact of her words. He knew that the others cared and wanted to help. What he didn't know was why it was so hard for him to let them.

Mrs. B reached up and lifted his chin, forcing his gaze back to hers. "I know it's hard to let people in when you're hurting, but they're hurting, too. Let them be there for you. I promise you, they'll help ease the hurt."

Face nodded and pulled her close for a quick hug before letting her go. Wordlessly, they both went back into the house.

The climate in the room was pretty much the same as when he'd left. It appeared as if nobody had moved.

Face crossed the room and crouched down in front of the chair where Murdock was still sitting. He took a deep breath and forced himself to meet his friend's gaze. "I'm sorry. Please, let me finish," he said softly as Murdock made a move to interrupt. "For a lot of things but mostly for letting this come between us. We're bigger than this. I know you would never try to hurt me. I'm sorry I shut you out."

He turned to face the rest of the room. "All of you. I'm sorry for letting this affect me and endangering the team the last time out. For… forgive me?"

Murdock learned forward and engulfed Face in a large bear hug. Face resisted his first instinct to pull away and allowed himself to receive the comfort that Murdock was offering.

Knowing how Face was, Murdock kept the embrace short. He pulled back and looked at his friend, "No more stumbling."

Faced smiled and nodded in agreement. Standing up, he faced Hannibal, BA and Mrs. Baracus. Unsure of what to say, he remained quiet, waiting for a reaction from them.

BA stood and walked over to Face and laid a hand on his shoulder. Words weren't spoken as Face met his gaze and laid his hand atop of BA's. Understanding passed between them, words unnecessary.

Having made his peace with BA and Murdock, Face finally turned his attention to Hannibal. BA gave Face's shoulder a squeeze as he returned to his seat near his mama.

Face felt his insecurities and doubts return as he looked at Hannibal. So many times during the past few weeks, he'd been torn between feelings of loyalty between Bancroft and Hannibal. One was his father and one was the man who'd raised him. A feeling of heaviness descended upon him as he made his way over to Hannibal.

Hannibal looked at the young man standing before him. His heart was heavy for the pain that he knew Face was feeling. "Face," he sighed. "I wish you could talk to me."

Face cringed at what came across as disappointment. His voice was heavy, and he had trouble meeting Hannibal's eyes. "I wanted to. It's just that… well, when we read the file on Bancroft, it was… I mean, we all…" Face trailed off, unable to finish.

The team exchanged glances with each other. They all knew what Face couldn't say. AJ had been a criminal who'd run out on his family. Not only was Face dealing with the shock of finding his father, but to find out he was a criminal who'd deserted two families had proven overwhelming.

Hannibal wasn't sure what to say. He placed his right hand on Face's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. We'll get through things, together, LT., just like we always do."

Face looked up and nodded, grateful that the emotional intensity in the room seemed to be lifting.

Hannibal did not release his hold on Face's shoulder. "Finding out about AJ can be just the beginning, Face. Now, you have somewhere to start. You may not like what you find out, but that's a decision you'll have to make. We'll be there for you, if you let us."

Face took a deep breath and slowly released it. It was as if saying the words made them more real than just thinking about them. "I have decided. I am going to try to find out more about my family. And I do want your help."

Hannibal looked over to Murdock and gave him a slight nod. He then led Face over to the sofa, gently urging him to have a seat. Murdock walked over and sat on the other side of Face. A large manila envelope was in his hands. Mrs. B and BA both came over, each sitting on an arm of the sofa.

"Face," Murdock began, still clutching the envelope. "I hired a private detective to see if he could find any information about your family. He did." He paused at Face's sharp breath. He waited until Faced nodded his approval to continue. "It's up to you. You don't have to open it now. Whenever you're ready."

Face stared at the envelope for several long minutes. Slowly, his hand trembling slightly, he reached for it. Murdock released his hold on the envelope and subconsciously scooted closer to Face.

Face continued to stare at the envelope in his hands. He turned to Hannibal. "Together?"

Hannibal glanced at the others in the room, verifying what he already knew. Looking back at Face, he nodded. "Together," he confirmed.

Having received his answer, Face began to open the envelope.


Lost And Found by pob

 

 


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