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Simple Dreams and Flying Machines
Rating: R for Adult language, sex, violence, death of character (not main).
Summary: Nancy and Murdock are both stretched pretty
thin, and things aren’t about to improve when
Note: Many thanks as always to the wonderful artists whose lyrics are featured in this story (please note that the music is anachronistic and is not an indication of time frame for the story):
R. Thomas (Matchbox20) – You’re So Real
J. Sill – Enchanted Flying Machines
J. Lodge (Moody Blues) – Isn’t Life Strange
R. Thomas (Matchbox20) – Push
A. Myles – Living on Memory
B. Hornsby – Fields of Gray
Disclaimer: I do not own the A-Team or associated characters and I make no money from this – it’s all for fun! Nancy Clay Murdock and her personal associates (besides, of course, Hunt Stockwell) are all mine for good or bad. Enjoy (hopefully) and review (PLEASE)!
dark-haired man about 5'5", with a defiant attitude apparent in every
move, walked into the bar of an Italian restaurant in downtown
"How'd the recovery go, Cuttey?" the man in the shadows asked.
"No problems, Mr. Smith," Cuttey said - he set a brown paper bag on the table, "Here's the money."
A large non-descript thug reached down and took the bag, quickly counting the wad of bills, "It's all here, sir."
Mr. Smith blew a long stream of smoke and knocked the ashes off his cigarette, "You've been doin' good work for me, Cuttey, don't think I don't notice. And never let it be said that I don't reward those who do good by me."
He took another drag on his cigarette, before continuing, "I got a job that's come up that could use your special, uh, talents. Frank here’ll give you the details."
Mr. Smith leaned forward into the light, the jagged scar across his jaw standing out starkly white against his olive skin, "Consider this a test, and if you pass, well, I think I got a permanent place in my organization for a man like you," he smiled at Cuttey and winked, then leaned back, obviously done with the conversation.
Frank rose from the seat next to Mr. Smith, stepped around the table and motioned for Cuttey to follow. They walked through a door, past a set of guards, down a hallway and to a locked office. Frank opened the door and walked to a locked file cabinet. He unlocked it, located the file he wanted, relocked the cabinet and turned to the desk.
Frank opened the file folder on the desk, slowly flipping through the pages in the folder as Cuttey joined him, "This is William Ledley, Mr. Smith's old partner. He's been getting friendly with the local vice cops, if you know what I mean. This file will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the guy, from where he lives to what he likes to eat and when," Frank turned the last page in the file, closed the folder and handed it to Cuttey, "Memorize the contents - the file doesn't leave this office. Mr. Smith wants you to convince Ledley to shut his hole, permanently. Don't want him dead, just scared shitless. And don't leave any evidence."
Cuttey took the file and rounded the desk, sitting down and reopening it to begin reading. He glanced up as Frank turned to leave, "I’ll need some operating cash. Tell Mr. Smith I’ll make it worth his while – Ledley will give up talking permanently when I’m through with him."
Frank looked at Cuttey distastefully, "Yea, well, that's what Mr. Smith is counting on. Stop by the table when you leave and I’ll bank-roll you." He hurried from the room - he'd broken some knee caps in his time, but from what Smith had been able to dig up about Cuttey, that was freshman crap. Cuttey had forgotten more about torture then Frank had ever known. Not a guy to get on the bad side of. But then, that was exactly what Mr. Smith was looking for.
Captain HM Murdock rolled over and hit the snooze, looking at the alarm clock with a grimace - . He wasn't wild about these early mornings anymore, but at least it was only one week out of four. This was his second time on in the past six weeks, and it would continue for another nine weeks, until the initial training phase for the new team was complete.
He rolled over and looked appraisingly at his sleeping wife. She hadn't even stirred when the alarm had gone off. But then, he wasn't too sure when she'd come to bed the night before. He brushed the mop of auburn hair out of her face, and sighed. In this light he couldn't see them, but he knew the shadows were there under her eyes. She was working way too much, especially for a woman in her sixth month of pregnancy. Unfortunately, he knew there was little he could do about it – she had a stubborn streak a mile wide.
brushed his lips across her forehead before swinging his legs out of bed and
heading for the shower. He was due at
the compound at to get the recruits up and moving for their morning
work out, and if he didn't get moving he was going to be late. He walked around
the bed to the dresser, glancing at
quick shower and cup of coffee he was on his way. The recruits were already up and ready to go
when he arrived at the compound. There
were eight of them altogether going through the team training.
They greeted Murdock quietly and waited for him to start them off. He directed Larry, the youngest recruit, to lead the way, and took up the rear of the line. Over the past six weeks the course was becoming very familiar to them, and Murdock smiled as he watched them move through it with practiced ease. As the last recruit passed out of sight, he realized he was falling behind and picked up his own pace to catch up.
they arrived back to the house an hour later,
jogged up the steps and stopped by
"Thanks a lot, Hannibal," Murdock said disconsolately.
Murdock leaned on the railing, "I've got to meet the contractor doing the hangar repairs at the airfield at 10," he said thoughtfully, then grinned, "Then Steve's comin' over to give me my instructor's lesson at two."
Murdock shrugged, "Not long - 'course I'm not sure anyone'll want lessons from a crazy ex-army pilot."
"Colonel? Captain?" came a tentative voice from below. Both men turned to look at Larry, who was still assigned 'leader' for the morning exercises, "We've finished cool-down. What next?"
Larry turned and relayed the order, directing the group inside and getting them started on the review.
Murdock shrugged, "Well, they sure seem to have the basics down . . . ‘bout time to move on, before boredom sets in,” he grinned, “Oh, and a comment - you're never gonna weed that crew down to four."
nodded, “This individual training phase has me a little concerned,
Murdock glanced away uncertainly, “Yea, guess so,” he mumbled.
Hannibal let the issue drop for the time being, "Listen, I can take things from here, but I was hoping you'd be around for our weekly meeting with Nancy this morning at 8 - we're supposed to go over progress, talk about the next round of recruits for basics, and the next step after training completion."
sighed, looking guilty and
he said repentantly, "I wouldn't count on
a brave man, Captain,”
"She works late every night, including weekends, anymore," Murdock said irritably, "I didn't even hear her come to bed," his expression was serious as he looked at his commanding officer, "I'm worried about her, Hannibal, she's pushin' way too hard. I could strangle the General for putting her in this position . . ."
Murdock crossed his arms, his expression black, "Don't remind me!"
She reached over and picked up the clock looking at the alarm button - which was in the off position. She glanced over at her husband's side of the bed, suspicion turning to certainty. She set the alarm down and stood up, stretching.
She picked up the telephone next to the bed, and dialed Murdock's cell phone. He answered on the first ring, "Murdock, what can ya do me for?"
"Captain, did you turn off my alarm this morning?" she asked flatly.
There was a pause, before Murdock replied in a perfect Bogey impression, "You can't prove nothin' swee'heart - you got no witnesses."
Murdock decided to push the advantage, "Why don't you stay home today and take it easy. I'll try and get out of here early and come chase you this afternoon."
"Riley will live," Murdock pressed, "you need some rest."
"Don't worry, I won't work too hard," she said calmly, then glanced at the clock again, "I should get moving. I'll see you tonight?"
"I'll see you this afternoon," he said pointedly, "and try to take it easy today, huh Short Cake?"
"Love you, three," he replied, "See ya this afternoon - the earlier the better."
She got a quick shower, and decided not to take time for breakfast, walking into Adam's investigations a little before 11. As she entered the office, she heard Les Jenkins' voice coming from Riley's office. Les had started with Adam’s Investigations just a couple months ago, but had quickly become a trusted and valuable employee. Nothing ever seemed to rattle her, but at the moment she was sounding desperate, "C'mon, Riley, you gotta cover the surveillance for me - this lead will go cold if I don't jump on it now, and I can't be two places at once. Contrary to popular opinion."
"I'm sorry, Les, but I've got interviews scheduled all afternoon, and our only backup today is sick with the flu."
"Bull shit," Les said vehemently, "You should give Tad the boot - the guy's not sick, he's just lazy."
Riley looked up and glared at her, "And where the hell have you been?" he asked irritably, "You were supposed to be here an hour ago. I guess Stockwell Enterprises has taken the front seat again where you're concerned."
"I'm sorry Riley," she finally said, sincerely, "HM turned off my alarm this morning and I didn't wake up until after 10. I got here as soon as I could."
Riley's expression softened, "I didn't mean it, kid - we're just stretched way too thin right now . . ."
Les sighed, "Tad called in sick, again," she said irritably, "He was supposed to relieve Andy on the Cooper surveillance today, so I could follow up on some things with the Simmon’s missing persons case."
“Cooper usually hibernates in that damn juice bar from 11 ‘til 5 anyway,” Les said, “If it has to go for awhile, we probably won’t miss anything . . .”
“That may be the case,” Riley said, “but this surveil is for Peaspenen, Croft and Croft. They’re a good customer, I really don’t want to let it slide.”
“Go on, Les,” Nancy said, hanging up the phone, but still holding the hand set, “I’ll make sure the surveillance is covered.”
nodded, and headed out the door as
She dialed Tad's number and got the answering machine, "Tad, pick up," she waited a few seconds, then continued, "Listen, Tad, I've had it, you better get in to work today or come back with a doctor's excuse that says you were dying. Otherwise, don't bother coming back in," she hung up in disgust.
Riley looked at her stubbornly, "I'd feel better if I was doing the surveillance - you really shouldn't be in the field in your condition."
"There's more work involved in doing the interviews than in the surveillance," Nancy said matter-of-factly, "All I've gotta do is sit on my butt in the car - I think I can handle that, even in my condition."
Riley looked at her through narrowed eyes, but finally capitulated, "OK, but as soon as Tad gets in here, I'm sending him out to relieve you."
Murdock sat back from the desk and rubbed a hand across his eyes. The numbers on the balance sheet were starting to run together, signaling that it was past time for a break. He stood and stretched, then walked over and looked out the window into the hangar. He could see the contractor still taking notes for completing his estimate to repair the hangar door, and roof. He'd also given him plans and asked him to provide an estimate for adding another hangar bay.
Doc waved at him from the other side of the window, motioning for him to come out. Murdock opened the door and leaned out, holding an invisible carrot and quipped, "What's up, Doc?"
Doc just shook his head, chuckling and said, "You know you're the only person that can make that work, HM!"
Murdock stepped out of the office, and filled his partner in on what the contractor would be quoting. Doc listened solemnly, "Do you really think we'll be able to swing an addition with all the hangar work that's needed?"
Murdock shrugged, "I doubt it," he said flatly, "But it'll give us a budget number to at least begin planning."
nodded, then grinned, "Well, I didn't really stop by to talk
business," he said, "I came to tell you that I would be out of town
for a few weeks. I got tickets for one of them cruises to
Murdock smiled, "That's terrific, Doc," he said enthusiastically, then the import of what Doc was saying hit him, and he looked at Doc uncertainly, "When do you leave?"
"Well, that's just it . . ." Doc said, looking at Murdock apologetically, "I booked it through one of those discount services, where you take what you can get, and I, uh, well . . . I gotta leave tomorrow evening to catch a red-eye outta Philly."
"T-tomorrow?" Murdock repeated disbelievingly, "and how long will you be gone?"
Doc looked at Murdock ruefully, "6 weeks."
Murdock looked slightly panicked, "That's more than a few weeks, Doc!"
Doc shrugged, then clapped him on the shoulder, "But that's why I got myself a partner, right?" he asked with a big grin, "I have every confidence that you can hold down the fort while I'm gone."
Murdock sighed, he could feel those balls he was juggling starting to hit him on the head – and they felt like bowling balls.
With her Uncle's illness and the new partnership in Stockwell Enterprises, she was spending most of every day on administrative activities for either Adam's Investigations or Stockwell Enterprises, and it was becoming very tedious. It was nice to take a break from the reigns and just work.
She glanced at the clock, noting that it was approaching . Her stomach was reminding her that she'd skipped breakfast, and she was starting to feel funky. There was a sub shop on the corner, and she decided to duck in and grab some lunch, the mark probably wouldn't be out of the bar for another couple hours anyway, given his habits. 15 minutes later she came walking out of the shop, her sandwich in a bag swinging from her wrist as she headed back towards her car, pulling her keys from her pocket.
almost reached the car when a non-descript kid in baggy pants and oversize
t-shirt walked up behind her. Without
breaking stride, the kid, grabbed the bag with her lunch, breaking it off her
wrist, and took off down the street at a flat-out run.
"Look, Jack, I got lunch," the voice sounded hopelessly cheerful, "This will make you feel better - you just need to sit up and eat, everything will be alright."
sight that met
jumped up and pulled a little switch blade out. Pointing it menacingly towards
scene hadn't been so pitiful,
glanced at the little boy, then looked at
"Callie," the girl said curtly.
how old are you, Callie?"
"Almost 13," she said, adding threateningly, "But I can take care of myself - and anybody else tries to make trouble for me and Jack!"
sure you can, Callie,"
"He's 5 and a half," Callie said, "he just small for his age."
"You two live out here all on your own?"
"We can take care of ourselves," Callie said defiantly, "We don't need no grownups messin' with us."
Callie looked at Jack, the worry she felt showing plainly on her face, "Since yesterday morning," she said quietly and continued miserably, "I tried . . . tried to . . .," she clenched her jaw, blinking back tears angrily, the hand holding the knife trembling as she continued in a rush, "We went to the hospital day afore yesterday. The nurse took him into a room, and then I heard 'em callin' the cops . . . they woulda split us up - that's what they do. I couldn't let that happen . . ." her voice trailed off in a choked sob, she looked down at the little boy miserably, "Please say he's gonna be alright," she whispered pleadingly, her look self-recriminating, "I’m s’posed to take care of him . . . he’s my responsibility . . ."
lowered the knife slightly, brushing angrily at the tears on her face with the
other hand as she considered
looked at Jack, her expression uncertain, “What do you think, Jackie?” she
asked quietly. When Jack didn’t respond,
she turned to
At the car, she had Callie sit in the back, and laid Jack down next to her, discarding the soiled blankets and grabbing her emergency blanket out of the trunk to bundle him in. She pulled away from the curb, the surveillance forgotten, and headed for the nearest hospital.
Murdock was pacing in the hangar when Steve showed up to give him his instructor's lesson.
"Hey, Murdock," Steve said jovially, "Ready to teach me somethin'?"
Murdock glanced at the pilot instructor, and smiled, "Actually, I was wondering if maybe we could skip the lesson today, and talk business . . ."
Steve looked at him quizzically, "You mean besides you paying me to teach me what you already know?"
Murdock put an arm around Steve's shoulders, steering him towards the office, "Well, you see, I have a little problem that I think you can help me with . . . I know you're kinda busy with your folk's store, but wouldn't you just love to spend some more quality time here at the airfield . . . you know, looking after things?"
Steve looked at Murdock in surprise as he shut the office door, "Is somethin' wrong with Doc?"
Murdock dropped into the chair behind the desk and motioned to Steve to sit down, "No. He's just going on vacation . . . an extended vacation. And I'm gonna need some help around here for the day to day stuff. You were the first . . . well, to tell the truth, the only person I could think of on such short notice. He leaves tomorrow."
Steve was nodding in understanding, but his look wasn't encouraging, "You know how much grief Dad gives me even over these lessons Murdock . . .," he said uncertainly. Steve's Mother and Father owned the grocery store in a nearby village, and Steve's father had been pushing Steve to start taking over the family business. Steve was less than enthusiastic about the grocery business, but he didn't want to disappoint his Dad.
Murdock rubbed his hands over his face and sighed, "I know, Steve," he said resignedly, "I was just hoping that maybe his attitude had changed. You said you hired a couple good clerks that were handling things at the store while you were away, I was hoping maybe we could just rearrange your schedule some so you could cover things here for me in the mornings, maybe a couple hours in the evening . . . it's only for while Doc's gone . . ."
Steve looked at Murdock thoughtfully, "I'd really like to help out, Murdock," he said, "I just don't think Dad's gonna be happy about it."
Murdock nodded, "That's OK . . . I'll just have to find someone else . . . You wouldn’t happen to have any suggestions?" he asked hopefully.
Steve sighed, "I don't suppose Gerry is an option?" he said, glancing suggestively over his shoulder towards the hangar.
Gerry Smith was the mechanic that they had hired about a month ago, and seemed to be working out . . . as a mechanic. Murdock scheduled his work for him, and ordered all the parts that he needed. All Gerry did was fix things.
Murdock shook his head, "Gerry is great at what he does, but I doubt that he's the least bit interested in running the desk," not to mention, not really capable, he thought ruefully.
Steve nodded and the two men sat there quietly for several minutes. Finally Steve stood up, "You know what, Murdock, I'd really like to work here at the airfield . . . let me go talk to Dad. I'll let you know tomorrow what I'm able to swing."
hospital registration desk,
The nurse at the desk was a petite young woman, who looked up with an air of unconcern, "So does everybody else here, sign in and take a seat - we'll call your name when it's your turn."
nurse looked at
"Ma'am, you . . ." the nurse had stood and was beginning to reply when the emergency room doctor came out, "What seems to be the problem here?" he asked amiably.
The doctor did a cursory examination, feeling Jack's forehead and flashing a light in his eyes, "Bring him right in here," he directed, and Nancy and Callie followed him into a nearby examination room.
doctor motioned to the bed, "I'm Dr. Lyons. Just lay him down there," looking around
the curtain, he called out in the hall way, "I need to get an IV started,
stat, bring some glucose and . . ." he turned to
Callie looked up at her and swallowed convulsively, "I, uh, I don' think so," she said quietly.
than a minute later, there were two nurses in the room, and they and the doctor
were working on hooking Jack up to an IV and monitors. One of the nurses turned to
the nurse sighed heavily, looking at
"Well, then, it would really be best if you went and sat down in the waiting room, we'll come get you once we get him stabilized."
This seemed to galvanize Callie to action, "No," she said vehemently, "I'm not leaving Jack."
nurse glared at
"She's not our mother!" Callie practically screamed at the nurse and pushed through to stand next to Jack, holding his hand in a death grip.
The nurse looked more than a little surprised, "I'm sorry, miss, I thought . . ."
know what you thought,"
The doctor glanced up, and smiled consolingly at Callie, "No way," he promised sincerely, "Jack won't go anywhere without you knowing about it."
Callie looked at the doctor shyly, then looked at the nurse distrustfully. Finally, her eyes met Nancy's and Nancy knelt next to her looking at her seriously, "They're doing everything they can to help Jack, and we need to get out of the way and let them do it, Callie," she said matter-of-factly.
reluctantly let Jack's hand go and allowed
She settled in the chair by Nancy, her gaze never leaving the curtain covering the examining room where Jack was.
Callie nodded miserably, “I know, but I don’t like being away from Jack – he needs me.”
in silence for a few minutes, with Callie fidgeting nervously.
we go get a bite to eat? It'll probably be a little while before they can tell
us anymore about Jack,"
A ghost of a smile touched Callie's lips and she nodded, "I'm real sorry about your sandwich."
Tad Leanard walked around the outside of the juice bar one more time, searching for any sign of Nancy Murdock. He had checked inside and the surveillance mark was still there - no big surprise given that he spent most of his free time and most of his paycheck, in this particular juice bar.
certainly wasn't that he really wanted to find
sighed as he sat down in his car and considered his findings. The mark was in
Stephanie answered the phone on the first ring, "Adam's Investigations, Stephanie speaking, how may I help you?"
"Steph, I need to talk to Riley," Tad said without preamble.
came on the line a minute later, "What do you mean you can't find
not stupid, Riley," Tad said derisively, "Cooper's still here, and
tight and handle the surveillance," Riley said, then punched the hang up,
"Shit, damn and hell," Riley said vehemently, slamming the phone down, "That woman can find trouble anywhere!"
He turned to Stephanie, "Cancel the rest of my appointments this afternoon," he started out the door, then hesitated with a quiet ‘fuck’, and turned back, "And call Murdock . . . tell him his wife is AWOL. I'm gonna need some help finding her. Tell him to meet me at the juice bar."
Cuttey had just finished a whirlwind tour of Ledley’s neighborhood. It was a little too upscale, with the houses too close together, to permit him to do his work in Ledley’s house. There were way too many conscientious, good citizen ears around. He needed a place where either no one would hear the screams, or no one would care if they did.
He sat back and considered his options. There was that old warehouse in the river district that his buddy owned – it was convenient and he doubted there would be anyone around there that would care if they heard him working. However, that was the same buddy that had hooked him up with Mr. Smith, and it was probably better to avoid any chance for a connection to be made to his customer. Then he remembered the hunting cabin that he had used last deer season. Secluded, not too far away, it was perfect. Now, how to get Ledley there – that would require a little more thought, and he always thought better on a full stomach.
Murdock pulled up at the juice bar in his truck, jumping out and heading toward Riley's parked car, his agitation apparent.
Riley saw him coming and braced himself as Murdock stormed up, "What the hell was she doing in the field, Riley?" he practically exploded.
"It was a simple surveillance," Riley said soothingly, "Nan’s probably fine . . . she was in the sub shop about half hour, 45 minutes ago and bought a sub, and the bum across the street remembers her driving away from the curb just a little while after that."
"Was anyone in the car with her?" Murdock asked curtly, his concern evident.
Riley's lips formed a thin line, "Not that the guy noticed, but I wouldn't say he was the most reliable witness . . ." he put a hand on Murdock's shoulder, "we just need to find her, the guy was certain she took off north, so we'll start canvassing in that direction."
was talking a black van pulled up, followed by a red 'vette.
minutes later, Face called
meet you there,"
When Murdock, Hannibal, BA, and Riley arrived at the Emergency Room a few minutes later, Face was trying to determine if Nancy had been admitted, "She's a pregnant woman, reddish-brown hair, about 5'3" with blue eyes."
"Listen," the nurse said patiently, smiling at Face flirtatiously, "I told you, the only pregnant lady to come in here today came in with a couple kids, and she wasn't admitted."
turned as Murdock came up behind him, "It doesn't sound like anybody's
Murdock pulled his wallet out, holding a picture out to the nurse, "We're looking for this woman, have you seen her?"
The nurse looked at the picture, and nodded, "Yeah, that's her," she said certainly, "I think she took the girl and went to the cafeteria."
Murdock smiled in relief, "Thank you, thank you very much," he turned then looked back, "which way to the cafeteria?"
The nurse provided brief directions, and soon a small procession was headed purposely towards the cafeteria.
finished her food, and
looked at the cake uncertainly, glancing at
After a few seconds she sat back and crossed her arms, "So, are you knocked up or are ya just fat?"
"Twins, huh?" Callie said, her curiosity obviously peaked, "I never knew nobody with twins afore. They got a father?"
Callie looked at her like an errant child, "Yea, sure,” she said impatiently, leaning forward, “but I mean is he around, or did he take off after he knocked ya up?"
looked down at the table with a curious look, "You mean you meant to get
pregnant?" she asked quietly, her eyes straying questioningly to
seemed to be having trouble with this concept.
She shifted in her chair, "My mother didn't care anything ‘bout me,
and then Jackie came along . . . she really didn't want us,"
mouth hardened into a bitter line, and she looked at
Callie snorted, but didn't respond to the statement, instead asking another question, "So, who’s your husband?"
"HM?" Callie asked derisively, "What kind of name is that?"
kind of name," Murdock said at
Worried brown eyes met her blue ones, "I could ask you the same question . . ." he said quietly, "You weren't at your surveillance, and you didn't answer your cell phone, so Riley was naturally a little concerned regarding your whereabouts . . . since you hadn't called."
Nancy winced, it was never a good sign when Murdock sounded so perfectly calm and adult, "I had to turn the cell phone off when we got to the Hospital, and I . . . well, I guess I didn't think to call . . . we haven't been here all that long, and we were busy getting Jack admitted and all . . ." her voice trailed off weakly and she looked at her husband repentantly, "I'm really sorry - I didn't mean to worry you."
Murdock continued to look at her sternly for a few long seconds, but then his gaze softened, and he gathered her into a bear hug, "Oh, heck, I don't care," he said in relief, "I'm just glad you're alright."
"Speak for yourself," Riley said darkly as he dropped into a chair at an adjacent table, "I can't take this kind of shit - I'm getting too old."
Murdock crossed his arms, his expression serious again, "You disappear without a trace, and expect us to react any differently?" he asked flatly, "Your track record isn't that great right now, you know."
Callie was standing against the wall, her eyes big and round. She looked like a rabbit, ready to take flight, and the image was intensified when everyone's attention was turned on her.
looked around the circle warily, looking only marginally less like she wanted
to run away.
BA was nodding in approval, "How's the little man now?"
we can do to help?"
stood as well, "Yea, and I'm gonna salvage what I can of the afternoon . .
. which isn’t much . . . by rescheduling interviews," he looked at
of snorts and derisive "yea's" met that statement, and
Callie finally stepped forward, nodding after the group of men exiting the cafeteria, "They like your babysitters or somethin'?"
glanced down at the girl and his grin widened, "I'd say she's got your
number, Short Cake," he said, and pulled out a chair, "Sooooo, what's
for dinner?" He pulled
shook her head silently, her eyes never leaving Murdock, who had quickly
looked up at
He sat back
and crossed his arms, looking from Callie to
leaned forward and looked at
"Consider it dropped," he said, smiling at her apologetically.
Cuttey had spent the last couple hours eating, drinking, and planning. Carefully reviewing in his mind everything he knew about Ledley’s habits, he’d hit upon a straightforward plan. Ledley spent every Friday evening playing poker at Jester’s in eastern DC. He always took a cab, so it would be easy enough to grab him there, he’d be drunk and off-guard. Probably wouldn’t realize that he wasn’t going home until they were already well on their way to the cabin. He paid his tab and went out to the car. He was going to pick up groceries for the weekend, and drop them by the cabin along with his tools. Then he’d head home, he’d have time to make the rest of the preparations tomorrow.
Dr. Lyons came walking into the cafeteria awhile later, and leaned against an adjacent table considering the trio. Callie jumped up when she saw him, "Is Jack OK?" she asked, worry creasing her face.
doctor smiled at her reassuringly, "Jack is doing much better, we have his
electrolytes stabilized, and we're pumping him full of antibiotics to fight the
infection. He's got a pretty bad case of pneumonia, and he's not out of the
woods yet, but I'm optimistic," he looked at
Kneeling by Callie, he looked searchingly in her face, "Young lady, I'd really like to take you into one of the examining rooms and give you a thorough once over to make sure you don't have whatever Jack had that started this. I may go ahead and start you on a round of antibiotics anyway, just as a precaution."
looked at the doctor uncertainly, "OK, but I wanna see Jack first. And . . .” she glanced at Nancy, who smiled
reassuringly, then looked at Dr. Lyons, “and
Dr. Lyons nodded, "Of course."
Dr. Lyons led them to a room down the hall, where Jack was settled in a bed, with
IVs and monitors beeping all around him.
She turned to the doctor, "Can I stay here with him?"
Dr. Lyons looked at her apologetically, "I'm afraid not. We're going to be moving him up to ICU in just a little bit, and there is a limit on visitors there. Besides, you need to get your rest, too."
"I think it would be best if we let Jack get some rest now, that's really what's going to help him get better," Dr. Lyons said, "Let's go take a look at you, Callie and make sure you aren't suffering any ill effects from this infection."
Callie looked like she was going to argue, but after some consideration, she instead turned back to Jack, “I’ll be back tomorrow, Jackie – before you know it,” she patted her brother’s hand, then got up reluctantly and followed the doctor out of the room.
Murdock sat in the waiting room, Dr. Lyons ushered Nancy and Callie into an
empty examining room. He gave Callie a
thorough physical examination, and proclaimed her in overall good health, if a
little undernourished. As promised, he
still wanted to prescribe a series of antibiotics as a precaution,
"Callie, why don't you wait here while I take
Dr. Lyons led Nancy out into the waiting room, where he motioned for Murdock to join them, out of Callie's earshot, "Mrs. Murdock, I'm in a rather difficult position here," Dr. Lyons began hesitantly, "Given that you found these children in an alley, I really should call Children's Services . . .” he indicated the admission forms, which were still only partially filled out.
Nancy looked at him worriedly, “I just want to make sure that Callie and her brother are going to be able to stay together . . . I promised her I would do everything possible to make sure they weren’t separated.”
Dr. Lyons hesitated a moment, “That’s always a problem with siblings . . . so few foster parents are willing to take more than one child at a time. There’s no real way to guarantee that they won’t be separated, especially with Jack in the hospital.”
Dr. Lyons nodded thoughtfully, "If that’s the case, I think I’m going to delay making any calls today, it’s late anyway,” he held out the admission form, “For now, fill in your contact information on the forms. We’ll resume this discussion tomorrow, after we’ve had a chance to see how Jack progresses overnight.”
Dr. Lyons shook their hands, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning during visiting hours. Like I said, we’ll be moving Jack up to ICU shortly, so check at the front desk when you arrive.”
Callie up, and they headed out the door to
She looked at him defiantly, then grinned "You love it!"
She pressed the prescription into his chest, "Why don't you fill this on the way home, and I'll get Callie settled into one of the spare rooms."
Murdock took the slip of paper and kissed her forehead, "Okeydokey. I gotta make a quick run by the airfield too . . . I'll see you at home."
Inside Nancy gestured around, "Make yourself at home, the bathroom is right in there, the kitchen is at the back of the house - and always well-stocked with HM around . . . maybe you'd like to get a shower while I go make the bed."
nodded silently and went into the bathroom and shut the door.
When she came downstairs and walked into the bathroom, the shower was still running. She laid a t-shirt and pair of shorts on the sink counter, then picked up the pile of dirty clothes that Callie had left on the bathroom floor and put them in the washing machine.
"Callie, I've left some clean clothes on the sink for you," she said, backing out of the bathroom, "They may be a little big, but they'll have to do until we can get your others clean."
Murdock came in 15 minutes later and found his wife in the kitchen, putting clean dishes away, "Hey Short Cake, where's the little drifter?"
"She's fine," Murdock said reassuringly, "Shower probably feels good. She'll get out when all she's gettin' is cold water."
When Callie came out about 10 minutes later, Nancy and Murdock were sitting in the living room talking quietly.
Murdock looked up and grinned at her, "Well I'll be grounded - there was a girl under all that dirt."
looked at both of them uncertainly, then yawned widely.
Murdock stood suddenly, "Hang on, you need your medicine," he said, motioning towards the kitchen.
she’d taken her medicine, they walked upstairs together.
Callie still seemed very cautious of both of them but she moved into the room and sat on the edge of the bed, looking exhausted. However, she didn’t make a move to lie down.
crouched down next to her and smiled warmly, "Sleep tight,
Callie-girl," he said, and added comfortingly, “you’re safe here, there’s
nothing to be afraid of. And like
of a smile touched Callie’s lips as
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