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Fear of Flying
Warnings: WAR FIC. Intense scenes, violence, death of non-team characters (Vietnam Setting)
Feedback: Any. Constructive criticism always welcome - on-list or privately :-)
Disclaimer: I do not own the A-team or any of its characters (I believe that they belong to Stephen J. Cannell and Co) and I donít get any money from this, so don't sue me. Any resemblance to anything in real life is purely coincidental. The earth is flat.
Summary: Just what happened to make BA afraid of flying?
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q
††††††††††† "We gotta get out of here,
††††††††††† Amy looked up at him and the pain medication made her
head spin.† "I'll live,
††††††††††† "I know."†
††††††††††† "I'm not flyin'."† The weak protest floated in from the other room, and BA struggled to sit up.† Murdock easily pushed him back down.
††††††††††† "Lay back down, you ugly mudsucker."† The insult lacked all of Murdock's usual energy.† "You're going to start bleeding again."
††††††††††† "I die before I fly."† The big man's voice shook.
††††††††††† "We've heard it before, BA," Murdock replied.
††††††††††† Amy listened to the argument for a moment.†
††††††††††† "No."† Face didn't take his eyes off the runway.† "I figured he just needed another reason to fight with Murdock."
††††††††††† Murdock changed the bloody bandages on BA's chest,
listening to the conversation in the other room.† He pinned the new cloth into place and his
eyes met BA's just as
††††††††††† "I die before I fly, fool," BA muttered softly.
††††††††††† "Come on, BA," Murdock whispered, "It'll be okay."
††††††††††† "No."† BA coughed, a low, racking cough that brought bloody foam to his lips.† "I ain't gonna fly."
††††††††††† "Damn it, BA.† This not flying stuff is going to get us killed.† And if anyone's mental problems are going to get us killed, it's should be mine."
††††††††††† "Shut up, fool."† BA struggled to sit up.† "Ain't nothin' wrong with me."
††††††††††† "Just lay still."† Murdock pushed him back down, suddenly angry.† "If you would just talk to someone about it, you could get over this.† Trust me, I know all about dealing with demons.† If you would just talk about what happened--"
††††††††††† "Nothing happened!"† BA gave up fighting and lay back down with a low moan, obviously weak from blood loss and pain.† "And I ain't never gonna talk about it to no one."
††††††††††† Murdock bit back his reply.† It was no use to point out how stupid that statement was.† Maybe was BA was lucky.† It wasn't something any sane person would want to remember.†
††††††††††† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **
††††††††††† It was a late August afternoon and the sun was hiding behind large banks of clouds that threatened storms.† The lush tropical jungle that covered most of the delta was a brilliant green that stretched to the horizon.† The cool, dark weather moving in from East was starting to war with the hot, humid air that hung over the trees.† The chopper could be heard long before it could be seen, it's angry whine cutting through the silence before the storm.† It was flying fast and low over the trees leaving a trail of churned up leaves in its wake.† It was heading south in a hurry.
††††††††††† The chopper veered to the left as sudden winds buffeted the small aircraft, making all the passengers grab for a handhold.† BA sat clinging to the back bench, fiercely glad that he had hooked up to the safety harness and buckled in.† He didn't want to be on this mission.† In the two years since he joined Smith's A-Team, he'd hated being traded off to other units to do missions.† Especially missions for spooks.† He glanced at the other two soldiers in the chopper bay.† They had CIA written all over them.† No, he amended, they had bad †CIA written all over them.†
††††††††††† They had busted into the barracks three days ago with
orders for BA to be temporarily attached to their "small squad
††††††††††† The mission has been a complete bust from the moment they had taken off.† Weather and enemy movement had forced them to fly hours out of their way, eating up fuel they couldn't afford to lose.† The intended LZ was flooded and they had to set down in a smaller, more hazardous clearing.† For all their complaining about having Murdock along, BA noted, they were more than happy to let him land the chopper.† After an hour hike through water and jungle, they'd crept up on a recently decimated village and large, partially covered mass grave.† Another twenty minutes in had brought them to the smoldering ruins of a large factory that had no business being out in the middle of a jungle.† The spooks hadn't blinked at the pile of half-buried bodies in the village but they were positively livid about the burnt out building.† BA knew he shouldn't enjoy failed missions, but he had hated these three idiot spooks the moment he had met them.† They talked in that annoying jargon company men used when they were trying to intimidate the "civilians" around them.† And they treated him and Murdock like poor relatives, which wouldn't have bothered him except they were the ones who had ordered †BA to join the mission.
††††††††††† The chopper gave another gut-wrenching jolt and BA glanced over at the three Vietnamese passengers, a young mother with her infant son and a boy about 10 years old, probably the girl's younger brother.† BA had found them hiding in a small ditch on the way back past the village, the only survivors from a population of over a hundred.† BA had been surprised -- and pleased -- when he had been ordered to bring them back to the chopper.† Whatever the mission had been it gave him a good feeling to know that this young family would be better off because of it.† BA smiled at them but they just stared back.† He figured that he would wait until they were on the ground, then try again.† He had some candy bars and he knew that the local kids really warmed up when food was involved.†
††††††††††† The head spook, Johnson -- Colonel Johnson, BA forced himself to remember -- worked his way to the front of the chopper and BA went back to trying to get the boy to smile at him.
††††††††††† In the cockpit, Murdock glanced at the gauges.† They'd have enough fuel to get them back, even if the head winds continued to pick up.† He hadn't been sure they'd make it, what with the detour on the way out and the extra passengers on the way back.† As happy as BA looked to be helping the young family out, it didn't feel right to Murdock.† The sooner they were on the ground and rid of this mission, the happier he would be.† This whole thing felt hinky.†
††††††††††† A sudden hand on his shoulder made him jump and he turned to see Colonel Johnson standing behind him.
††††††††††† "Take her up another hundred feet," Johnson growled.
††††††††††† Murdock frowned at the altimeter.† They were at a good cruising height now.† "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."† He waved at the darkening skies.† "It's gonna be messier up there.† We're better off just skimming the trees like this."
††††††††††† "I don't care how messy it is, just take it up."
††††††††††† "Look, sir," Murdock tried to be polite.† "There's no good reason to go up that high.† The more headwinds we hit, the more fuel we're going to burn.† I'm telling you as the pilot, it's better to stay here."
††††††††††† "In that case," Johnson said, "you're relieved of piloting duties."† He looked at the man in the co-pilots chair.† "Captain Austin, you'll take over.† Take us up a hundred feet.† Captain Murdock will turn over the controls."
††††††††††† Murdock started to complain but something in Johnson's voice stopped him.† There was something bad going on, he could feel it.† "Fine with me," he said.† "I'd like a nap anyhow.† She's all yours, Austin."
††††††††††† "With pleasure."†
††††††††††† The sick feeling growing in Murdock's stomach had nothing
to do with the sudden change in altitude.†
These were bad people he was flying around and he wished that they had
never taken this mission.† He shrugged as
nonchalantly as possible at
††††††††††† BA finally managed to get a smile out of the young Vietnamese boy when the chopper went into a steep climb.† He clung the to rope of his safety harness and closed his eyes until they leveled out.† When he finally could look up, he automatically checked on the young family.†
††††††††††† They were huddled together.† Colonel Johnson was standing next to them,
his hand on the young boy's shoulder.† BA
was about to ask what was happening when Johnson grabbed the boy and started
shouting at the young mother.† He was
talking fast.† BA could only catch a word
or two of the Vietnamese dialect that he was using.† The other spook,
††††††††††† BA tried to piece everything together.† It didn't make sense.† Johnson might have been saying something the factory.† A delivery.† Some deal gone bad.† He wasn't sure.†
††††††††††† A hot, wet gust of wind slapped against the chopper tossing it to the left.† BA slid hard into the metal door.† He fought to catch his breath.† There was an odd roaring in his head.† A metallic taste in his mouth.† He looked back up.† It took a moment to find them.
††††††††††† They were now standing by the open chopper bay.† Johnson had the boy by the shirt collar.† He shouted at to the mother.† She sobbed uncontrollably.† BA felt like he walked into the middle of bad movie.†
††††††††††† Johnson spoke again to the mother.† He smiled.† Then he tossed the struggling boy out of the helicopter.† The small body hung in mid-air for an excruciating second before plummeting noiselessly from sight.
††††††††††† BA couldn't move, couldn't breathe.† It couldn't have just happened.† It didn't just happen.† He looked around the chopper and into the wide shocked eyes of Murdock who was straining against the harness holding him into the pilot's seat.† His mouth opened and shut but BA could only hear the pounding of the chopper blades in his ears.
††††††††††† BA looked back at Johnson.† The agent had the baby.† He was swinging it back and forth outside the
††††††††††† At the noise, Johnson's attention snapped from the baby to BA.† The CIA man pulled his pistol, lowering the baby to his side.† HE took two steps away from the door aiming the pistol at BA's head.† "Don't think about being a hero, boy.† You're no better than these gooks.† No one is going to miss a grease monkey and you're lucky I didn't kill you when I saw the factory was gone.† Now, if you want to live long enough to enjoy some fried chicken, you just sit right there and be a good boy."
††††††††††† BA bit back the bile in his throat and stopped straining against the harness.† He had to unbuckle first.† Johnson smiled and holstered his gun.† BA forced his numb hands to work the seat harness.
††††††††††† Johnson swung the baby back out the door and said
something again to the mother.† She
screamed at him and
††††††††††† The spook's hands were empty.
††††††††††† "Damn it, Johnson, why'd you toss it out for?"
††††††††††† "The damn thing slipped."† Johnson shrugged.† "We'll have to get it out of her some
other way."† He grinned and started
walking toward the sobbing woman.†
††††††††††† BA stood and stalked toward them.
††††††††††† Neither Johnson, who was advancing on the mother, nor Davis, who was still fighting with the screaming woman, saw BA as he walked up behind them.
††††††††††† "Hold her still," Johnson commanded.† He pulled a small wicked looking knife from his boot.† "This could be fun."† He made a quick slash along her right cheek, leaving a long bloody gash behind.
††††††††††† BA snapped his neck.†
††††††††††† A loud report cut him off and he fell to the deck of the chopper, half his head missing.†
††††††††††† BA looked up.† Murdock stood, pale and panting, holding a smoking gun.†
††††††††††† The chopper jerked as the pilot turned to see what had
happened.† Murdock leveled the gun at
him.† "Just keep it steady,
††††††††††† BA crossed to the sobbing woman.† He reached out to see how much damage Johnson
had done with his knife but the terrified woman screamed and pulled away from
him.† She yanked against the handcuffs
holding her to the center post and BA could see the bloody gashes that her
fighting had made on her hands.† He
reached down, pulled the keys for the handcuffs off
††††††††††† The young mother scrambled to her feet.† She looked around wildly, panic and fear in her eyes.† Then, in three quick leaps, she threw herself toward the open chopper door.† BA grabbed at her.† Missed.† She was almost to the opening.† With a strangled cry, he dove for her feet.† She dropped out of sight.† He slid toward the door.† Out the door.† He saw the woman's body plunge into the green ocean of leaves below.† BA dropped towards the ground after her.† For a brief, relieved second he thought he'd die, too.† Die and forget everything he had seen.† Then his safety line caught and he was left hanging a hundred feet above the treetops.
††††††††††† Murdock turned at BA's cry and stared in horror as BA fell.† When safety rope snapped tight a second later, Murdock almost cried with relief.† "You lucky son of a--"
††††††††††† The chopped suddenly dipped and Murdock spun back and
faced Austin who was pushing the chopper into a steep dive.† Murdock jabbed his pistol into the back of
††††††††††† BA was lying where the chopper had dragged him when they landed.† He wasn't moving.
††††††††††† Murdock crossed to him hesitantly.† "BA?"
††††††††††† BA didn't move but Murdock could see his ragged breathing.† Long shuddering breaths that ended in a painful sob.† Murdock gently touched the big man's shoulder.
††††††††††† BA looked up at him.† "They're dead."
††††††††††† Murdock nodded.
††††††††††† BA held out his large hands.† "I couldn't save them."
††††††††††† "But you tried.† You have to remember that."
††††††††††† "I don't want to remember any of it."† BA put his head in his hands and wept.
††††††††††† Murdock sat beside him and waited.† The sobbing slowly subsided but it was almost an hour later before BA finally sat up.
††††††††††† "Ready to go, big guy?"† Murdock kept his voice calm despite the prickling of fear that pushed at him.† They were still sitting in enemy territory with two bodies and a more than likely psychotic CIA officer who would like nothing more then seeing them dead.
††††††††††† BA turned to him, his dark eyes haunted.† "I don't wanna go nowhere."
††††††††††† "We have to go back to camp," Murdock insisted.† "The chopper is waiting."† He gestured to the chopper sitting quietly fifteen feet to their left.† They needed to get out of there.
††††††††††† BA stood and glared at the chopper.† "I ain't flyin'."
††††††††††† "What do you mean, you're not flying?"† This was new.† BA didn't like to fly but he never flat our refused before.
††††††††††† "I won't."† BA backed up until the safety line pulled taunt again.† "I die before I fly."
††††††††††† Murdock fought down a surge of irritation.† "Look, BA, we have to get out of here.† And we have to fly for missions.† Not flying isn't going to bring them back."
††††††††††† "What'cha talkin' about, fool?"
††††††††††† The manic look in BA's eyes scared Murdock, so he chose his next words carefully.† Slow and easy was always the best route with the big guy.† "The girl and the kids.† You couldn't have done anything.† You have to remember that."† Neither of them could have done anything Murdock added silently.
††††††††††† "No."† BA shook his head, but his hands were trembling violently and sweat trickled down his face.† "I...† I don't remember... What kids?"
††††††††††† Murdock paused a moment, trying to figure out exactly what was going on.† He didn't think that BA had been hurt but a concussion scrambled memories fast.† "The refugees from the village.† A young mother and--"
††††††††††† "No!"† BA cut him off, violently angry.† "That didn't happen."
††††††††††† "Did you hit your head falling out of the chopper?† How many fingers am I holding up?"† Murdock held up his hand and waved three fingers in front of BA's face.† How soon did someone have to get medical attention after a concussion?† Was it already too late?
††††††††††† "I can see jus' fine and there ain't nothin' wrong with my memory."† BA growled and slapped Murdock's hand away.† "When we got there village was empty an' every thin' was burnt up.† Nothin' more happened.† I remember jus' fine."
††††††††††† "What do you mean, 'Nothin' more happened'?"† Murdock's concern faded into a surge of anger.† What was BA playing at?† "If 'Nothin' more happened', how come we got two dead spooks in the chopper and another one who's more than likely planning our court martial and execution?"
††††††††††† BA turned and looked at the chopper, confusion and panic written on his face.† Austin and the bodies of Johnson and Davis were clearly visible.† "We... we left the village.† Everyone was... dead."† BA's voice shook and he spoke slowly, as if lost in the memory.† "We hiked to... to a factory or somethin'.† It was burned down.† Then, on the way back, I found...† I found..."† BA stuttered to a halt.† He stood, shaking, staring his hands.
††††††††††† Murdock waited for the memory to continue, waited for the truth to wash over his friend.† Once BA dealt with it, they would be able to move on.
††††††††††† Nothing happened.† BA continued to stare at his hands.† Flies droned around them.† The angry clouds continued to boil overhead.
††††††††††† Murdock decided to give a gentle push.† "You found what, BA?"
††††††††††† BA spun in one breath and grabbed Murdock by the shirt.† "Nothin'.† I found nothin'!"† He shook Murdock with each word.† "There was nothin' to find."† BA stopped shaking Murdock but he didn't let go.† "We... we must have been ambushed on the way back."† He glanced at the chopper then glared at Murdock.† "We must have been ambushed when we got back to the chopper."
††††††††††† "BA," Murdock forced himself to stay calm.† "You know that's not--"
††††††††††† "Shut up!"† BA grabbed Murdock again and his fingers dug into Murdock's shoulders.† "Nothin' happened 'til we got back to the chopper."† He shook Murdock again, hard then let him go.
††††††††††† Suddenly released, Murdock fell back and hit the ground hard enough to knock the breath out of him.† He stared up at BA, desperately fighting to understand.† BA looked from his hands to Murdock then to the chopper.† There was a dark, panicky look in his eyes and a desperation about his anger that shocked Murdock more than the fall had.† BA really didn't remember.†
††††††††††† Murdock swore under his breath.† This was way beyond a concussion and it was something that was a lot harder to fix.† But all that would have to wait.† Right now, they needed to get home.† Forcing himself to stay calm, he nodded.† "All right," he agreed.† "Whatever you want BA, as long as you get in the chopper."†
††††††††††† BA glared at him for a moment and then gestured to the chopper.† "I'm not getting in there with them."† He nodded at the agents.
††††††††††† "Fine," Murdock agreed.† "I didn't like the idea of flying them back either."
††††††††††† BA watched Murdock as he climbed into the chopper and
then rolled the two dead bodies onto the grass.†
When the second body hit the ground, BA moved to the door of the
chopper, an unreasonable fear and loathing boiling up in side of him.†
††††††††††† "I'm leaving you," Murdock said once the CIA agent was out of the chopper.† "I ought to kill you, but there's been enough death here today.† If you stay put and don't do anything stupid, I'll leave you a gun and a pack."†
††††††††††† Murdock climbed into pilot's seat and started the chopper.† Its engines whined to life and its blades began to shake with repressed power.
††††††††††† BA didn't move, confused by his feelings of hatred and panic.† The chopper gleamed menacingly against the darkened sky and he couldn't bring himself to climb into it.†
††††††††††† Murdock, returning to the middle of the chopper bay with a pack and rifle, turned to him.† "Climb in and buckle yourself into the co-pilots seat.† I'm going to give this to Austin and we and get the hell out of here."
††††††††††† "I'm not flyin'."† Like before, BA said it without thinking and, like before, the sound of the words eased some of his panic.† "I die before I fly."†
††††††††††† Murdock stared at him, clearly annoyed.† "I thought we covered this, BA."
††††††††††† BA looked at Murdock and suddenly it seemed that everything was the pilot's fault.† "Bad things happen with you flyin'."† Saying the words gave a target to the pain and a source to the fear.† "I ain't flyin' no more." BA clenched his fists and waited for Murdock to try and make him fly.† He wanted a fight right now, something to burn up the fear and panic.† He wanted something to hit and Murdock was as good a target at any.
††††††††††† Anger flared in Murdock's eyes for a minute before he visibly forced himself to be calm.† "You've gotta fly, BA,"
††††††††††† Murdock shot a glance at Austin who, while watching the two of them carefully, hadn't moved, then he crouched down, bringing himself almost eye level with BA.† "You gonna stay here and die, is that it, BA?† Is that what you want me to tell your Mama: BA didn't come home because he wouldn't fly?"
††††††††††† BA clenched and unclenched his fists.† "I don't wanna fly."
††††††††††† "But you want to get home and see you Mama again don't you?† And what about the team?† They need you and they need you to fly.† You gonna tell the Colonel and the LT that you won't be flying anymore?† You gonna take a court martial and stockade time and the let the team try and make it without you?† You tour is almost up, you'll end up doing more time in the stockade than serving out your term.† You want your Mama coming to visit you in prison?"
††††††††††† BA took a long, deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to push the fear away.† Murdock was right.† "All right."† He climbed into the chopper, his stomach churning and his hands shaking, but his mind was made up.† "I'll fly, but only because I want to get home.† I'm only flyin' to get home."
††††††††††† Murdock sighed and watched him buckle into the copilot's
seat.† Then he turned back to
††††††††††† BA didn't say anything when the chopper took off and Murdock kept an eye on him, waiting for some sign that BA remembered anything that just happened, but BA just stared off into the distance, very carefully not looking at either Murdock or the chopper bay.† Murdock wanted to say something but couldn't force the words out of his mouth; he kept hoping that BA would speak first and save him the problem of finding a way to ask him what he was thinking.
††††††††††† They were fifteen minutes out of home base when BA finally broke the silence.† "I hate this fuckin' place."†
††††††††††† The vulgarity sounded alien from BA and it carried with it such hatred that Murdock almost felt like BA had hit him.
††††††††††† "We all do, big guy."
††††††††††† "I'm gonna do whatever I have to get out of here. †And when I make it home, I ain't never gonna fly again."
††††††††††† "You won't have to BA.† Once you're home, you can keep both your feet on the ground."
††††††††††† BA nodded.† "An' I'm goin' help kids,† I ain't ever gonna let another kid die."
††††††††††† Murdock glanced at BA.† He wondered if the big guy realized what he said.† "That's a good idea.† You're good with kids."† Murdock frowned.† Was BA's memory returning?† Was he starting to remember what really happened?† He decided to push a little.† "There was nothing you could have done, you know."
††††††††††† "What'cha talkin' about, fool?"† BA glared at him.
††††††††††† "With the girl and the kid."
††††††††††† If BA hadn't been belted in Murdock thought he would have hit him.† "There weren't no girl.† There weren't no kid.† And there weren't no baby."† BA spoke the words slowly and dangerously.
††††††††††† "All right, BA."† Murdock tried to sooth the angry man.† "I'm sorry."†
††††††††††† "Yeah... well," BA faltered, then continued haltingly, "just forget about it, okay?"
††††††††††† Murdock watched as BA sat back in the seat and closed his eyes.† The problem was, Murdock knew, you couldn't forget about something like that.† You never forgot it, not even if you thought you did.
††††††††††† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **† ***† **
††††††††††† "Times up."†
††††††††††† BA struggled to sit up.† "No.† No.† No flyin'."† He looked at Murdock, eyes feverish and wild.
††††††††††† Murdock suddenly snapped.† He was so tired of fighting BA demons for him.† "Knock it off, BA.† We all have things we'd rather not think about and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let this little indulgence of yours kill any of us... including you."
††††††††††† "No!"† BA was shouting now, almost incoherent.† "No!"† He fought again Murdock's restraining hands.
††††††††††† Murdock struggled to keep BA from further ripping open
his wounds.† "
††††††††††† BA didn't even flinch when the needle went in, his wild eyes never leaving Murdock.† "Don't let 'em die...† I just let them die."† He sobbed once and his grasp slowly loosened and his hand fell to the cot.
††††††††††† Murdock rubbed his neck where BA had gripped it.† "Damn it."† He hands shook and he violently wished he could forget it all, too.
††††††††††† "Are you all right?"†
††††††††††† "Can you believe that?" Murdock snapped.† "I couldn't do anything either, just
watch... †Why can't he--"† Murdock broke
off in mid sentence, before he said too much.†
It wasn't his secret to tell.†
But, damn it, even if he couldn't tell
††††††††††† Murdock ignored the questioning look
††††††††††† Face shrugged.† "Who can figure Murdock out?"† He grunted as he lifted his end of the cot and they slowly followed Amy out to the plane.† "Probably just mad that BA doesn't like to fly."
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