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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
by Val

Rating: G
Pairings: F/M
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys
Warnings (if needed): SLASH! Schmoop!
Summary: Face figures out a way to get in to the VA hospital to see Murdock the first Christmas after the Team's trial & escape.


Templeton Peck contemplated his plan one last time as the bus he'd hired bounced along toward the hospital. It would work. It had to work! He couldn't let Murdock be alone on Christmas Eve! He looked over at the choir members he had managed to assemble on such short notice. He'd found a few dozen people who'd been turned down by other groups but who were desperate to sing Christmas carols *somewhere*. He'd left the rehearsals to the director he'd hired.

"Uh, Mr. Peck?" Speak of the devil.

"Yes, Mrs. Oldham?" he answered politely.

"Are you sure we're up to this? I mean, you haven't even heard the group sing."

She melted as he gave her one of his patented smiles. That was how he'd hired her in the first place. She hadn't wanted to come up with a decent choir on such short notice but she wasn't proof against that smile.

"I have every confidence in you, Mrs. Oldham. I'm sure we'll sound great."

"We? Uh, Mr. Peck, you haven't practiced with us at all."

"I'm only going to sing one song, a solo. It's kind of a sentimental thing, a gift for an old friend of mine. I promised him that I'd sing it every Christmas."

"Is it the same friend whom you promised you'd have a choir sing every year at the Veterans' Hospital?"

The smile changed to a more sincere one. "Yes," he said quietly. "Yes, it's the same person." The smile grew sad as he thought about the reason he was sneaking in to see his best friend in the first place.

It was the only idea he could think of. He couldn't just waltz into the VA hospital and ask for Murdock. He was a wanted man! The Team was wanted now, they had to be careful. As an eccentric vet doing something for the memory of his best buddy he had the perfect cover. Nobody would pay attention to him, just to the choir.

He smiled as the middle aged teacher he'd hired started the group warming up, then winced as he actually heard them for the first time. They sounded terrible! He groaned as he realized just how crazy this idea was. If there had been a way to get off the bus quietly, without anyone else noticing, he would have chickened out then and there.

Almost as if in response to his thoughts, the bus slowed and turned into a parking lot. "Too late, Peck," he thought to himself. "We're here."

Out loud, he told the group, "All right, folks. You know why we're here. These people don't get to go home for Christmas. They miss their homes and their families so our goal is to lighten this night a little for them, let them know they're not alone." He switched tones, giving them his most heartfelt vocal effect. "I'm doing this for a friend of mine, a buddy from Vietnam. He can't be with his family either, but I promised him that I'd share with some of the veterans here. Thank you all for your help in keeping my promise." He let his voice break a little as he finished. It wasn't hard. He hated having to sneak such a few short minutes with Murdock.

The little group cheered as he concluded his remarks. One of the women, in her twenties, smiled at him through her tears.

They entered the small auditorium where their audience was already waiting. Peck's mouth went suddenly dry. He hadn't seen Murdock since they'd been jailed for robbing the Bank of Hanoi. Murdock's mind hadn't been too stable on the ground for months but when he saw his best friends arrested for following orders, he snapped. The last time Peck had seen him, the lanky pilot sat petting an imaginary dog on the head, talking softly to it. He hadn't recognized any of his friends or even noticed that they were there.

Hopefully his friend would be lucid enough now to get the message, without alerting the authorities that there was a fugitive in the room.

Suddenly he realized that everyone was looking at him, including the guards circling the room. With a big smile, he stepped up to the microphone already set up on the stage. He'd asked the VA to provide the PA system and, true to their word, it was ready for their performance.

"Hello everyone!" he said cheerfully, scanning the crowd for his best friend...his lover. "I'm a Vietnam vet, just returned to the States. I left behind a lot of friends, and, in gratitude for getting back here in one piece, I decided to bring in my little choir to let you know you're not alone. Someone cares about you."

That was the signal he'd worked out with Mrs. Oldham. The piano started and the group burst into song.

The first song was horrible. The little group mangled "Silent Night" then segued straight into "Deck the Halls". Next was "O Holy Night". Peck winced as the soprano soloist hit a particularly sour note. Someone in the audience started talking as she sang. Annoyed, Peck looked toward the sound to see who was being so rude.

With a small gasp, he recognized Murdock. The pilot appeared to be oblivious to everything else around him. The others nearby started to laugh at his conversation with his invisible dog. He looked almost normal, except for a slightly glazed look. Peck's heart leapt as he saw his lover. He wanted so bad to run right over there and hold him, make everything better for him.

At the end of the song, he signaled to Mrs. Oldham to let her know it was time for his song. Nervously he stepped up to the microphone.

"I'd like to sing a very special song for a very special friend of mine. I hope somehow, some way he can hear me because I mean every word."

The pianist started slowly, unfamiliar with the notes. She paused when she got to the part where he was supposed to start singing. He was staring so hard at Murdock that he missed his cue. He blushed and laughed self-deprecatingly.

"I guess I'm out of practice. One more time?" he asked the piano player who blushed under his smile. She started again. This time he was paying attention and started singing on cue.

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas," he started out.
"Let your heart be light.
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the yuletide gay."

He almost laughed on that line, hoping nobody had noticed. Someone had. Murdock looked up, his head cocked like a confused puppy's, staring at the figure on the small stage.

"Next year all our troubles will be miles away.
Once again as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more."

Peck tried to put special emphasis on that line, trying to let Murdock know he wasn't alone, that he was loved and needed and that everything would be all right. He had to let him know *somehow*!

He sang the next lines simply, no "Faceman" special emphasis, no pretense, just a promise.

"Someday soon we all will be together,
If the fates allow.
Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now."

Tears filled his eyes as Murdock stood and led the applause. The pilot had stared intently at the conman throughout the song. Murdock nodded and noted out loud, "I bet your friend heard that one, mister. Yup, I bet he did, sure 'nuff."


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Val



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