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Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

By meridocbrandybuck

Rating: PG for mild cursing
Summary: The team returns home.
Disclaimer: Main characters aren't mine to claim and no profit is being made.



"I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't," Murdock repeated softly, but not too softly that everyone in the van couldn't hear him. Face, B.A., and Amy all looked expectedly at Hannibal, expecting him to argue, cajole, or at least get the pilot to shut up. But Hannibal just calmly took a cigar out of his pocket and bit the end of it off.

Fifty miles down the road, Murdock had finally wound down. Only an occasional unintelligible mutter was heard from his seat. The rest van's passengers were silent.

Another hundred miles. They stopped for gas and grabbed some sandwiches and pop while they were at the station. Face and B.A. both walked Murdock to the bathroom and back to the van-B.A. kept one large hand on the pilot's lanky shoulders. In less than ten minutes they were on the road again. Now the only sound was food being unwrapped and tops being twisted off. Murdock tore his sandwich into tiny bits without eating and then stuffed it all back into the sack.

Night came. Another brief stop and then on the road again. It drew close to midnight and Face relieved B.A. at the wheel. Amy drifted off to sleep on the back couch. B.A. stretched out on the floor.

"I won't," Murdock leaned forward and whispered in Hannibal's ear.

"Yes, you will, Captain," Hannibal whispered back. "Or you are off the team."

Murdock leaned back in his seat and sulked. They'd be there by sunrise, back in L.A. and he'd be back at the hospital. Not willingly, not this time. He didn't want to go back. He wanted to stay in Mississippi. He'd told them all this, explained it to them as patiently as he could. He'd found what he'd been searching for all these years. He felt whole and complete. Why couldn't they see that?

Amy had stopped arguing at one point. Face had turned her around and pointed her towards the van. "We'll deal with it," he'd said. Murdock frowned as she walked away. He hadn't meant to make her cry. Of course, now he realized that it could have just been a scam, her crying. It had neatly distracted him from the needle that Hannibal plunged into his arm. He hadn't woken up until they were hours down the road, already driving across Oklahoma.

He'd tried to explain again but had been firmly told he was going back to the V.A.

"How much gas we got?" Murdock heard Hannibal ask Face.

"We'll need to stop in the next hour," Face replied. Murdock frowned. He had expected Hannibal and B.A. not to understand, but Face… Face hadn't even tried. And now Hannibal was threatening to throw him off the team if he didn't go back to the V.A. and take his meds. Why couldn't he just listen for a moment?

Standing there, in his house, Murdock had felt complete. He hadn't known he was missing parts of himself until then, until he'd stood at the bottom of the stairs and looked up to see the shafts of sunlight streaming through the windows. This is where he belonged. Everything was so clear, so crystal clear.

Murdock shifted in his seat. Of course, that meant he wouldn't be able to help the team anymore. He'd have to leave. Hey, wait a minute. Hannibal was threatening to throw him off the team for trying to leave the team. That didn't make sense. Murdock frowned as he thought, then leaned forward.

"Okay," he whispered into Hannibal's ear.

"Okay what?" Hannibal whispered back.

"I want off." Murdock spoke firmly. "Just drop me off. I can find my own way back."

Face must have heard, because he turned his head for a moment and looked back with an unreadable expression.

"Murdock," Hannibal said in what Murdock recognized as his 'let's be reasonable' voice. "Think this through. How are you going to make a living?"

"I have money saved up," Murdock said.

"Money under my control," Face said calmly, keeping his eyes on the road.

"It's my money!" Murdock shouted. "You can't. That's stealing."

"Hush," Hannibal said firmly. "You'll wake B.A. and Amy."

"I told you we should have kept him under for a while longer," Face muttered. Murdock kicked the back of the seat.

"It's my money," he told Face again. "Mine."

"Well, you can take me to court and sue me," Face said evenly. Murdock knew Face was trying to keep his temper and it was infuriating. Murdock. He hated when everyone treated him like a child just because they were too thick-headed to understand. And they'd just drugged him without letting him explain at all.

"Fine, I can work. I'll get a job," Murdock said. "This house. It belongs to me. My grandfather left it to me in the will. It's in my name. It's my home. I want to go home."

"It hasn't been your home since you were five," Hannibal said. "And it's just a shell of a house on less than an acre of land."

"What are you talking about?" Murdock yelled. "It's beautiful. It needs a little paint, but my room, it was just like I left it. All my toys. You didn't even let me show you where I hide my toys in my closet."

Face pulled the van off the road and switched the engine off.

"Murdock that house burned down. That's how your mother died, remember?" Face said quietly. Murdock turned away from him. He didn't want to a man he thought was his friend tell him such lies. Dirty lies. He saw B.A. sitting up on the van floor, just sitting there, like he was waiting for someone to tell him what to do. And Amy, Amy had her face buried under a blanket.

"Murdock," Hannibal said, again in his reasonable voice. "We think you may be having a reaction to your new meds. And the stress of your grandfather's funeral. You haven't slept…" His voice trailed off.

"Fuck off. Just let me out. I thought you were my friends!" Murdock yelled again. He reached for the door handle but B.A. was there, holding him down, ignoring the scratches and bites. Murdock felt the needle slid into his arm again and then nothing.

Someone jostled him. "Okay, your home. Murdock, wake up. Come on, I don't want to have to carry you," a voice said.

"Face," Murdock thought. Face was trying to wake him up.

"I ain't seen him this bad in a long time," Murdock heard B.A. mutter. "maybe we shouldn't leave him."

"I already spoke with Nurse Jeffery," Face said.

Murdock kept his eyes closed. Yeah, Nurse Jeffery. She knew. She'd been in Vietnam. Hannibal and B.A. had saved her cousin's life. That's why she got a job at the hospital, to pay off what she viewed as a family debt. He idly wandered what Face had to explain to Jeffie, as none of the team liked to be seen near her. Indeed, Face tried to keep track of her shifts so that he never scammed Murdock out of the hospital on her watch.

Someone lifted him up gently and carried him. B.A. Only B.A. Face would have fetched a wheelchair. Murdock let himself drift off to sleep again, but woke when someone placed him on a bed. They took off his shoes and his socks and then started unfastening his pants.

"We'll do that," he heard Nurse Jeffrey say firmly. "You need to go. Are you sure this is everything that you gave him?" Murdock tried to open his eyes, but his eyelids felt too heavy.

"Yes," Face said. Some papers rustled.

"He shouldn't have been out of the hospital, especially so soon after he started new medication," Nurse Jeffrey scolded.

Murdock managed to get his eyes open at that point. "What's wrong?" he croaked. "Am I sick?"

"Be quiet," Nurse Jeffrey told him firmly. Murdock did as he was told. Jeffery was not cruel or unkind, not really, but she had a special way of ensuring compliance from the patients in her care.

"It was his grandfather's funeral," Face protested.

"All the more reason to be careful with Captain Murdock," Jeffrey insisted. "Now, go. I don't want to be seen talking to you."

"I'll call you later, Murdock," Face said. "Take care." B.A. grunted something and waved. Murdock waved back.

He only needed a little help in changing into his pajamas. Then he sat on the edge of the bed and drank water while Jeffrey checked him over. Finally she handed him a little paper cup with little white pills in it.

"What happened to the new blue ones?" Murdock asked, glancing at the white pills suspiciously.

"Your friends seem to think they gave you some trouble during your outing," Jeffrey said sourly.

Murdock shrugged and downed the pills with a glass of water, then lay down on his bed. It seemed to be quite late at night, or quite early in the morning. He couldn't tell which, but it was dark outside and the hospital was very quiet. "Tell me a bedtime story," he asked.

"I don't have time for nonsense," Jeffery said, peering down at her clipboard. "I'm making an appointment with the doctor for you first thing in the morning, so get some rest."

Murdock yawned and stretched. "You need a vacation," he said.

"How was Mississippi?" Jeffrey asked in a cautious voice. "I was sorry to hear about your grandfather."

He shrugged. "Hadn't seen him in years. Kind of disowned me. I wanted to go by and see where my old house used to be, the one I lived in when I was little. Before it burned down. But I guess we didn't get a chance." He lay back against the pillow. That was odd. He didn't really remember anything about the trip, just being at the funeral home and seeing the old man lying so stiffly in his coffin. The last living member of his family, except for some distant cousins he'd never met. He had sent his grandfather a letter every month and Christmas cards, but had never heard back from him, not since he'd returned from the war.

But Murdock did remember that Face had promised to take him by the old place, especially since he'd found out it was going to be turned into a strip mall. And it wasn't like Face to break a promise.

Maybe he'd blacked out. But he hadn't had a real black out in years. Did that mean…? His nurse was almost at the door.

"Wait, Jeffie, What did I do?" he asked. "Did I do something bad?"

Jeffrey turned around and smiled. "I don't really know the particulars, but your friends said you were ranting about golf balls." She blinked strangely for a moment then left, turning out the light and locking the door behind her.

Murdock curled up on his side. That was it. Bad meds, being cooped up in the van. Of course he'd started in on the golf balls again. The meds are what probably caused the blackout. Yeah, that was it. He ignored a little niggling doubt that crept through his mind, that maybe something else had happened. But why would Jeffery lie to him? If it were something important, the team would tell him. He flipped onto his side, curled up around his pillow and drifted off to sleep.



Homeward Bound by meridocbrandybuck



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