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Challenge from the A Slash

It Shouldn't Have Happened
Author:  Snickersmobo

Rating:  PG-13/AU/Main character death
Pairings:  F/M
Challenge from the A Slash
Comments:  Sure and drive by are welcome too! 
Thanks Mooncat for the beta. J



The noticeable lack of a howl from the cockpit worried Face and Hannibal.  The helicopter was rated for two pilots, but Murdock never needed a second pilot.  He could fly anything.  And he usually howled on takeoff, enjoying what he loved second most in the world.  Flying.  His first love was Face.  No doubt about in Murdock's or Face's mind.  They loved each other from the moment they both laid eyes on each other.  Face came from another unit on another base.  Murdock was on the flight line doing a pre-check for his next flight.  The blond hair, the blue eyes, and that ass that even cammies can't camouflage.  Murdock didn't know it at the time, but Face had also checked him out, too, and liked what he saw.  Face had a more difficult time explaining his attraction to Murdock; it was his slightly wild hair, a little longer than most soldiers since he was Air Force, the pilot's suit, and very expressive eyes.  At the moment they saw each other, Face swore he saw lust and a twinkle, but Murdock denied it and always had.  He was going on his third mission that day and he was in fowl mood.  Intelligence always sucked and it struck out twice so Murdock sort of flew around until he found his troops.  He figured three strikes for today.  Seeing Face had been his only good thing that day.  The only positive outlook in his future.

Before they even met they both had reputations.  Face was a ladies man, a smooth talker and scammer and Murdock was Howlin Mad and was sometimes mean to boot.  Face's good looks were what caused Murdock to recognize him on site.  It was months in country before they even spoken to each other since they traveled in different circles.  Actually, Murdock didn't have a circle of friends, not even the pilots hung with him.  He was dark and brooding, moody, too.  He could laugh one minute and the next the brown eyes would be smoldering with fire and danger.  It was the latter that kept everyone away from him.  It was later in life when he remembered telling Face he didn't want friends.  His family all died or left him before he joined the service and he was scared to make friends in country because they, too, died or disappeared.  After his grandparents died when he was fifteen, his friend who owned the air field sorta adopted him and crashed two days before his eighteenth birthday.  Murdock hadn't wanted any more friends to die on him. 

The day they finally spoke, was upon an extraction.  Since Murdock was the commander of the helicopter, he, at that moment outranked everyone including the wimp of a Colonel who was sitting in the chopper yelling at Murdock to go.  Murdock yelled back not everyone was on board and thus their continuous screaming went on as Murdock watched Face cover two men (boys really) as they ran for the chopper.  Murdock yelled back at his gunner on the left for him to cover Peck, which was really the Colonel's job telling the gunner to cover, but apparently he wasn't going to do it.  Panser answered with the M-60 angled to the far right where the enemy was.  LT Peck ran as fast as he could toward the chopper.  Murdock rose a little in the air to give Panser a better angle.  He knew Face reached the chopper and was standing or holding onto the skids when he felt the weight shift.   Murdock compensated for the weight on the left side and let those in the back to get LT Peck back on board.  Soon they were soaring through the air as enemy fire hit the chopper.  The windshield on his left exploded as a bullet struck it and went through the right window barely missing both him and co-pilot.  There was glass in his face and arms,  but his steel pot and sunglasses kept most of it off of him.  He looked at his co-pilot who gave him a thumbs sign that he was fine. 

It wasn't until later at the officer's club, that LT Peck asked the bartender what Murdock was drinking.  Bourbon straight up said the bartender.  He wasn't flying tomorrow.  Maybe not ever if Colonel White got his way.  He was so pissed at CPT Murdock the whole camp heard him get a 'chewing out' for not pulling out as ordered.  Some Colonels can't stand the thought that a Captain can outrank them in certain situations.  Colonel White was just that type of Colonel.  Murdock just stood at attention and took it all in.  The Colonel was really blowing smoke because if he mentioned what happened to the higher ups, his career as a field officer would be over and he'd never make General.  He was also too dumb to notice the smoldering look of hatred in Murdock's eyes.  Murdock's personal creed was never leave a person alive or dead behind as long as he thought he had a chance of making it out of the pick up area in one piece.  So far his record was 99% full rescues.  The best of all the pilots, thus, how he got his name Howlin' Mad. Some thought he was too reckless and others were grateful when they saw Howlin' Mad in the hot seat. 

Face took the bourbon and his own beer over to Murdock's table.  He set the bourbon down in front of Murdock. 

"It's the least I can do for someone who helped save my life," Face spoke carefully, watching Murdock's eyes, trying to sense his mood.

Murdock took the bourbon and drank it down in one long swallow, "Just doing my job."

"Maybe," Face took a swig on his beer, "But I know a lot of pilots who are scared of White.  You're not one of them."        

"White's a pansy ass who has no business being in the field, but I shouldn't have to tell you that.  You already working with him and all." Murdock wiped some sweat off his forehead with the sleeve of his aviation uniform.

Murdock got up, "Thanks for the bourbon.  I'll see ya around," and walked out the door.

*Well, he looked pissed, but it wasn't at me.* Face thought as he drank more of his beer.  Soon others joined him and he forgot about Murdock.  Murdock remembered when Face told him the whole story later in the VA.


Murdock's thoughts were broken by Face sitting in the co-pilot's seat. 

"Murdock, you okay with this assignment?"

"Sure, why ya asking?" He replied.

Face was looking directly at Murdock, "You didn't howl on take-off."

"Oops, must have forgotten."  Murdock was watching the instruments and sky.

Face hit the autopilot 'on' and with his hands forced Murdock to look at him.

*Damn, he's hurting.  He doesn't want to do this.* Face knew instantly.  It was the eyes as usual.  They looked slightly haunted, bottomless. 

"We should turn around and say no to the mission."  Face kissed his lover's cheek.

"No, Face, there's a chance of you guys getting your pardons," Murdock took Face's hands in his own, "I could never live with myself if you and the guys missed your one shot at freedom.  I'm doing this for all of you.  You guys have always been there for me and now whether I like it or not, I'm going to be there for you.  And promise me you won't tell Hannibal or BA either."  He was staring down Face, something he hated to do, but it always worked the few times he did it.

"Now go on back to Hannibal and tell him I'm fine, just a little preoccupied thinking of you," which was the truth.

"I love you."

"Love ya more, Face." *Always.*


They threw down their M-16's and ran hard for the chopper.  Face has a slight lead on Murdock and got on board first, throwing out the copilot.  It was a hairy few seconds as Murdock did the same with the pilot and no one was flying the chopper.  Murdock turned it around heading for the guys.  Weapons were firing everywhere and the general fell.  BA and Hannibal dragged him to the helicopter, the general's daughter quickly following.  They made it to the chopper and as it turned away Murdock felt a bullet hit him and he cried out in pain.  The rotors were so loud only Face heard him. 

Murdock wasn't sure, but he thought he heard 'can you make it' from Face and replied he could get to the plane, but probably not the states.

In the back Hannibal and BA realized the general was dead.  Both were disgusted about how things turned out and that the general lied to them.  Even so Hannibal didn't know what to do with the body.  The general was basically a good man and deserved full military honors for his funeral, but he wasn't going to get it.

Everything suddenly veered left sharply and everyone in the back grabbed what they could to stay on the chopper.  Unfortunately, the General wasn't so lucky.  He fell out the left side of the chopper. 

*Not to be unkind, but I guess that answers the question of what to do with the body.* Hannibal thought to himself.  

It was a rough ride even for Murdock and Hannibal realized that Murdock didn't howl on take-off again.  When there was a bit of stability, Hannibal headed forward to see what was happening.  He still had to grab stuff to keep himself from falling.  He finally reached Face and Murdock and didn't like what he saw at all.  Warning buzzers were going off and Face was practically in Murdock's lap and had his arm across Murdock's body, using his shirt to stem the flow of blood.

"How bad?"  Not caring who answered as it was clear Murdock was conscious, but having a hard time flying. 

"The left arm, colonel."  Murdock replied gritting his teeth.  Hannibal made his way to the first aid kit and first used the scissors to cut away his shirt.  Sometime earlier it was apparent his jacket was removed.  Face probably helped him.  Hannibal could tell he lost a lot of blood, but didn't think he needed a tourniquet.  He took the gauze and applied pressure as hard as he could.  Murdock groaned at the pain it caused.

"Sorry, Captain, but I don't think you need a tourniquet yet."  Hannibal kept up the pressure as Face turned his attention to the alarms.  Face couldn't fly, but he could tell Murdock what lights were flashing and ask if he could do anything.

"Captain, change of plans.  We need to get close to an international airport under radar.  Can you do that?"

"I don't know, but I'll try."  Hand and foot coordination for a chopper pilot was hard under the best of circumstances, but under these, it seemed near impossible.

Murdock, using all the strength he could muster, changed course.  Pain ripped through his left side.  He was grateful it wasn't his right side or he wouldn't have been able to move the instruments at all. 

With an occasional shift of course, Hannibal applied three more bandages before the blood stopped altogether.  Face had most of the alarms turned off due to Murdock's directions. 

They finally reached a very small clearing, that neither Face nor Hannibal thought they could get down into.

"I'm passing out Colonel.  Door gunner duty time." 

With that Hannibal turned to the back and grabbed BA. 

"Right side.  We gotta help clear the branches."  BA's face paled even more than it had been for the past 20 minutes, but he knew what to do. 

Both of them slapped on the door gunner earphones and leaned out their respective sides.  The two minutes felt like ten to BA and even Hannibal wasn't sure how Murdock did it, but they were down.  Though, the last ten feet they just dropped.  They both heard Face say Murdock passed out.

Hannibal did the blood transfusion between BA and Murdock on the chopper in the back.  Not the most sanitary of places, but it was the best he could do.  It had been a half hour since Murdock passed out.  Hannibal shot both BA and Murdock full of antibiotics.  Strange that the medical kit instructions came in four languages.  Thank God English was one of them. 

Throughout all of this General's daughter assisted Hannibal.  Face held onto Murdock's hand.  He had tears in his eyes, but didn't shed them.  Not yet, Murdock was going to live.  He had to.  He'd been and seen too much not to.  Earlier in the plane he should have insisted that they turn the mission down.  Somehow his instincts had known it wasn't going to turn out okay, but he wanted that stupid pardon.  He didn't say it, but he was glad the general fell out of the chopper.  If the General wasn't already dead, Face just might have killed himself.  He definitely would have if Murdock didn't make it.  

Murdock broke into a fever an hour later.  BA was up and around drinking fluids.  Hannibal undid Murdock's bandage and knew he was in trouble.  I huge rash appeared around the wound.  It was infected.  He had already tried to get to the bullet out, but couldn't find it.   He knew he missed bits of cloth, too.  He was no surgeon.  Murdock needed a hospital, he needed it now, and they were in the jungle in Vietnam.  They couldn't go to a hospital, because there was little doubt they had been notified of possible Americans needing medical attention.

Face looked at the rash and ran his hand over Murdock's forehead.  It was too hot.  He looked at Hannibal.  They both knew Murdock wouldn't survive the night.  Hannibal cleaned out the wound again as best he could. 

No words were needed as Face lay down next to Murdock.  Everyone, but Hannibal, fell asleep in the chopper in whatever space they could find.  Hannibal made his final check of Murdock at 2:00 am and found no pulse.  He gently tapped Face's shoulder and he instantly woke.  Hannibal shook his head and walked away giving Face his privacy.  Hannibal had a plan to get them back stateside and he would need Face to con.  Face needed to do his grieving now.  They'd have to bury Murdock away from the chopper before dawn.  Give him as proper a burial as they could and then blow the chopper.  The burial wouldn't be enough.  Murdock had sacrificed his life for the team for so long his death didn't even feel real yet.  Hannibal wasn't sure he had time to grieve himself because they still had to get out of the country.  He had to plan for the safety of BA, Face and the general's daughter.  They had to leave Vietnam again.  Hannibal's eyes were slightly watered as he contemplated how it all happened.

The End.


It Shouldn't Have Happened by Snickersmobo



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