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Title: In the End (#5 in series)

In the End (#5 in series)

Author:  Lonely Walker


Rating: PG
Summary:  A story series beginning directly after "Beast from the Belly of a Boeing."  A continuation of "Time of Our Lives," another reunion.  
Archive: OK
Warnings:  Some slashiness.

"In The End" written by Andy Gibb, from Andy Gibb's "Flowing Waters" album, 1977.


Notes:  Lonely
Walker's stories should be read in order:  

  1. Freefall
  2. Ripping Times 
  3. Two Years On
  4. Time of Our Lives
  5. In the End
  6. Smoke and Mirrors 
  7. Ourobouros

 

Some of the same characters appear in Avenger, but that story does not fit the timeline of this series.

 

 

Two Years On:

In The End

_______________________________________________________________________

 

I've come home I've been away too long

But you don't want me back again

And I tried , in the end

 

Vietnam

 

I lay as close to the ground as I could as I heard the bullets pounding into the trees around me. The grass was on fire and I lay, watching the flames creep closer every second that I couldn't move. I was going to die, the single thing that I, and the other young men of America, had been sent off to do. The sound of bullets suddenly grew louder and as I readied myself for death, I realised that the bullets were coming from above me. A chopper!

 

It must have almost landed on top of me, where the bodies of my friends were stacked. One of the few soldiers that came off it managed to stamp on my outstretched hand. I didn't know whether to get up, or just lie there and wait to die. A hand grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled me up onto my feet. I twisted around and could have cried with relief that it was an American who had taken hold of me.

 

"Come on, muchacho, this ain't a place to hang around in." He pushed me towards the otherwise deserted helicopter. He was the pilot, I realised, and had taken a risk coming out to get me.

 

"What's your name?" I asked, as the others piled in and he made to take off back to base.

 

"Don't matter." He replied, chewing gum. "We're all going to die anyway."

 

There's an optimist for you. "I'm Face." I said loudly, above the sound of the rotors.

 

For an instant he took his eyes off the trees below and looked intensely at me. "You be whoever you want to be." He said, with the utmost seriousness. Then the grin reappeared and he talked incessantly about helicopter manoeuvres until we got back to base. Once there, I went to find Colonel Smith, the officer I was assigned to. I asked him about the pilot the next time I saw him, around the airfield at Da Nang.

 

"That," He said. "Is Captain HM Murdock, the greatest pilot you'll ever know. Keep a watch on him, because we might be needing him soon."

 

I can't say you made me very sad

The point of love is not to lie

Points denied ,

in the end , in the end

How can you tell me you don't want me

When I've done all I can to save the day

Suppose I'm in the way

In the end , in the end , in the end

 

America

 

There are very few times in my life when I have felt that I would truly go out a pick a random member of the public and brutally kill them, just to take out my rage on someone. Seeing any one of my friends dying. Having to leave behind injured in Nam because we couldn't help them. And now, because my life is no longer what it used to be, because I don't have anyone to turn to except a man who is as confused about his own future as I am. And because one more complication has turned up on my doorstep.

 

"Amy! Wow!" Murdock's quick smile comes to his face as he gives her a quick hug.

 

"Hey! Get off!" She laughs, pushing him away. "Hi Face!" She sees me waiting in the shadows.

I force a smile and come out to see her. "Amy! How'd you find us?"

 

She's momentarily too busy staring at Murdock's injured face. "What've you been doing, Captain? Say something to BA?"

 

Murdock laughs, despite himself. "I wish. Haven't seen that ugly mudsucker for ages! What you doin' here, Amy? You're supposed to be making millions as a reporter!"

 

"Not much of a story there. There was a big story and my boss figured that the right angle wasn't the best angle. So here I am, freelance and available for work. Anything going?"

 

"As the A-Team? Nothing. I guess you know we broke up as a team a while back?" I blink up at the sun.

 

"I heard, yeah. I'm so sorry about Hannibal. Why did none of you call?" She looks at both of us. "I never know where any of you are. I called the VA, but they didn't even know who you were."

 

Murdock smiles. "How quickly we forget. I'm sorry for not calling, Amy. I had...things to do."

 

"So how'd you find us?" I repeat my question.

 

"Hmmm, well, I checked out the VA. They told me Murdock had been released and had no idea where he was. I looked around everywhere, even that old Chinese laundry Hannibal used to use. I even called BA at the youth centre, but he didn't know where you were. So, eventually, with my ingenuity, I check out the hospital, to find you two limping out. What happened to you?"

 

I decide to give the up-to-date version of our injuries. "Okay, he threw me at a wall, he got tortured and I was injected with a lethal poison. Not all at the same time, though."

 

"And we're still, miraculously, alive." Murdock smiles at her. "I'll go see if I can find some coffee." He escapes from talking about his ordeal at Stockwell's hands.

 

I look up from the floor to find Amy looking at me curiously. "What's going on, Face?"

 

"Too much." I reply. I briefly tell her about our brief association with Stockwell and Frankie Santana. Our trial and 'execution'. The two years after our pardons, when Murdock worked for the CIA and the days after Hannibal's death when we finally freed ourselves of him.

 

When I finish, the look on her face is one of sorrow, that she ever left us to this. She looks directly at me. "Face... How is he? Murdock, I mean. What's going on with him?"

 

Why ask me? When have I ever known what goes on in Murdock's head? I stare back for a few seconds and wonder if there wasn't, after all, something more than friendship between Murdock and Amy. "He's hurt." I reply honestly. "He needs a friend who can listen to him. A friend who doesn't have exactly the same problems."

 

"Oh, Face." She smiles at me. "I'm just another problem for you, aren't I?"

 

"You're not a problem, Amy." I say. "Really, you're not."

 

You don't see sense ,

eyes never cry

Please take part of me ,

leave the rest to die

I can't say you made me very sad

The point of love is not to lie

Points denied ,

in the end , in the end

 

After we've all talked for at least an hour about nothing much, Murdock takes Amy out of the back of the house. I watch them lying on the grass up the hill there in the sunshine for a while. When I see Murdock gently kiss her, I turn away and go back to the living room to find a book to read. All I find are Murdock's manuals. Where he got them from, I have no idea. I've always suspected that Murdock was a much better scam artist than he ever led us to believe. He would have to be, to get any of the items that regularly cluttered up his room at the VA.

 

Murdock and Amy. Who would ever have thought it? Well, me, probably, if I'd ever even considered that Murdock might have a serious relationship. The first time we met Amy, none of us really seemed to like her much. Hannibal and myself always did have an aversion to clients without a lot of money. BA never really cared about money, but in those days he was continually either in a bad temper or unconscious. And those two things usually led to each other. Murdock, however, has been able to reserve judgement on everyone since the dawn of time. I guess they're a good match. Both similarly crazy.

 

Difficult as it is, I immerse myself in the first manual I can find, and am busy learning about the structural integrity of a Huey when the back door opens and Amy comes back into the house.

 

"Hi." She says quietly.

 

"Hi." I say, putting down the manual. "What's going on?"

 

"Murdock wants to talk to you." Amy tells me. "He's out back. I'll wait here."

 

I nod in reply and make my way outside. Murdock's still lying flat out on the hill, picking apart a stray leaf with his fingers. I wander over and crouch down next to him, not speaking.

 

"You wanted the answer to a question." Murdock says, glancing at me. "I guess I owe you the answer. I do love you, Face, but not in the way you might want me to." He realises what he's said and quickly amends it. "I'm not saying you're gay, Face, and I don't care if you are, but you want someone to look after you and tell you everything's okay. I can't do that, because I'm not your father, or someone at the orphanage, or Hannibal." He throws the leaf away and sits up, to stare at his sneakers. "You're my brother, Face, and my friend. I can't be any more than that."

 

"I know." There are tears in my eyes when I say this. "But, god, Murdock, what am I going to do? You've got Amy, and your damned planes. What have I got? Huh? I don't even know who I am!"

 

"You be who you want to be." Murdock fixes his gaze on me. "Because, I was wrong, it does matter. We're all going to die someday and what sets us apart is what we've done, not what we've regretted doing."

 

He catches me in a hug and I cry into his arms.

 

"Come on." He says. "We've got a beautiful young lady waiting for us, and you've never passed up on that before."

 

How can you tell me you don't want me

When I've done all I can to save the day

Suppose I'm in the way

In the end , in the end

 

Murdock and Amy got married six months later. They really do make the perfect couple. Even BA showed up for the wedding, albeit reluctantly. Frankie, of course, was too busy blowing up fire extinguishers to come along. Murdock's started up his own business - something incomprehensible involving helicopters. He says that the government has so many choppers left over from Nam, they're practically giving them away to private companies. At last he seems to be happy in a world of aeroplanes. Perhaps it's a life of escapism from the horrors that plague his dreams, but he's doing what he wants to do.

 

And so the adventures of the A-Team became the adventures of Face and Murdock and then became the adventures of... who? Faceman? Perhaps he never really existed. Templeton Peck? A man of my own invention, who was never really me. Who am I, then? Richard Bancroft, I suppose. Only son of infamous businessman AJ. A man I have never been, but the glove fits.

 

I'm back at Hannibal's grave, as always contemplating my life. As always, when the music stops, I'm the one left without a chair. I almost wish that there was a war on, so that I could find some purpose in life. Or that we were back in the black van, being chased by Colonel Lynch and chasing bounty hunters. It's a life we've all lost. Where is my life now? Hannibal, where are you when I need you?

 

I realise now that he was right in what he said after Murdock rescued me. I do need to keep a watch on him, because I do need him. He's my friend and my place in this world always seems to be with him. Cause, after all, we do make a great team.

 

I go to find out if he needs a co-pilot.

How can you tell me you don't want me

When I've done all I can to save the day

Suppose I'm in the way

In the end , in the end , in the end

 

 

End for now.  See SMOKE AND MIRRORS (#6 in series)

 


In The End by Lonely Walker

 

 


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