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This page last viewed: 2017-04-29 and has been viewed 3599 times
Rating: NC-17 for language and adult content
Summary: Ever wonder what Face was doing at the golf course and how Murdock got so attached to
a golf ball? This is my take on the episode 'Heavy Bread'.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I just take the pretty boys out and do wicked
things to them. Wicked, twisted things.
Beta: The wonderful Tricia.
NOTE: Chapters 1-4 are a repost. Chapter 5 is all new.
on the side of his 'borrowed' bed and gently rubbed Murdock's back in a
circular pattern. Murdock had curled around Face's middle. He muttered to
himself, fighting off the effects of the sedatives. Occasionally he shivered,
as if he were caught in a draft, instead of in a warm room. The room was only
lit by a small lamp, the shade tilted away from two men on the bed. Face
continued to rub Murdock's back and began to speak in a calm, soothing voice.
"Remember our first R and R 'together'? Hummmm? Remember the secluded beach house in
Murdock briefly stirred and Face grew quiet. Once he settled down again, Face resumed his one sided conversation.
"Remember the sound that the water made when it drew itself back? That low, keening like sound? You said the wave was sad that it had to go back into the ocean. You said that the water didn't really want to leave. Remember the sound the wave made as it crashed back into the sand? You said[,] "See? I told you that it didn't really want to leave ! That sound means Hi! I'm back! Let's PARTY!!" Well, baby, I want you to listen to the party. Just listen to the party."
Murdock gave one last, long, deep sigh, gave up the fight and hopefully slid into a deep sleep. Face continued to rub his back. About that time,
Face shut the door to the bedroom firmly and turned to look at the rest of the team. There was a hard and dangerous gleam in his eye that Hannibal and B.A. hadn't seen since '
"So how do we get that son of a bitch?"
To his credit,
"How is he? How is he?! How the fuck do you think he is?! He's drugged to the eyeballs is how he is! Dead to the world. We haven't had to do that to him for years,
"I don't know why, Face. Now, you said that when you told Murdock about Lin he was fine. No nightmare? No flashbacks? What was his reaction?"
Face stopped pacing, running his finger nervously through his hair as he thought back. "No, no nightmares or flashbacks. It took him a few minutes to remember him though. But he had nothing but good memories of Lin. He was excited about seeing him again. Even had me looking into music stores for new songs to teach Lin. I knew the other shoe would drop sometime. I just knew it! I'm sorry Lin. I knew that it was you from the first time I tasted the bread. I just didn't know how he would take it. Hannibal and B.A. agreed with me to hold off on telling him until we knew he could take the news. For the past three nights, no nightmare or bad dreams. He seemed fine. He was fine!"
Face began to pace again and shot an apologetic look to Lin.
"Is o.k. Face. I understand," the little Vietnamese man tried to reassure his friend.
"No, it's not o.k. Lin. You understand?! I don't understand! He hasn't had a flashback this bad in years."
B.A. felt like he was watching a tennis match. "Ya need to calm down, man," he stated to Face.
Face stared at him in disbelief, "Calm down? Calm down?! What the fuck do you mean by Calm down?! I won't calm down until I rip that son of a bitch motherfucking cocksucking whoreson bastard's black heart out with my bare hands!!!" Face's voice ended in a shout.
"Quiet, Face. You'll wake up Murdock." Amy protested, shooting an anxious look toward the closed bedroom door.
B.A. was the one to answer Amy. "Don't worry about that crazy dude hearing anything lil' mama. That sedative we gave 'em knocks him right out but good."
Hannibal explained further at the puzzled look on Amy's face. "Murdock has always had a strange reaction to drugs, especially to the stuff we give B.A. for flying. Murdock won't even twitch 'till morning. It makes him an easy target if something unexpected happens. That's why we only drug him if it's really bad. About ninety percent of the drugs they give him at the V.A. hospital are experimental. Somehow Murdock hits every single side affect to almost all of the drugs."
Face continued, "That's why drug therapy won't work with him. Too much of an unpredictable reaction to the meds. The docs can't keep him stabilized because of it. Some of the medication causes severe reactions. They have to keep switching dosages and combination in order to try and get him on an even keel. Most of the time they don't work and then the docs are back to square one."
"How do you think he'll react when he wakes up, Face ?" Hannibal was clearly concerned for both of his men.
Face ran his hands through his hair several more times, thinking. "I honestly don't know, Hannibal."
They all looked worriedly at the closed bedroom door.
They all looked worriedly at the closed bedroom door.
"What do you mean by that, Face?" asked Amy. She wasn't sure exactly what was going on. All she knew was that Murdock had completely flipped out. She hadn't seen the whole thing, but what she had seen and heard was enough to cause her some considerable alarm. She had thought she had seen Murdock at his worse; sometimes his rants and fantasies got a bit too much. But never, in her wildest imagination, had she ever seen anything like that.
Face said nothing at first. He just continued to stare at the closed door, a sad look on his face. Heaving a deep sigh, he turned back to the rest of the group. To his family. He couldn't lie to his family about something like this. They had all made promises a long time ago about situations like this. Nothing would be tolerated but the absolute truth. Their very lives depended on these promises. Or, at the very least, Murdock's sanity.
"I honestly don't know, Hannibal. I truly don't. He's never ... never had a flashback about something like this. We don't have any experience to draw on. You saw him. You and B.A. both. You got any ideas? 'Cause I sure the hell don't. He could go either way when he wakes up. He might be fine in the morning. He might not remember anything about it when he wakes up. Done that before. Might be worse off then we've ever known. Might remember everything and be a basket case. Done that, too. Might be fine, might be worse. We won't know until he wakes up."
"Do you think he'll need to be taken back to the hospital, Face?" asked Hannibal. He appreciated Face's candor. He knew that Face was more tuned into Murdock's moods than either he or B.A. Not because they were lovers, they just had that connection long before they became that involved with each other. Within the first few weeks of meeting in 'Nam, the captain and the lieutenant seemed to connect on some deep level that no one had ever seen before or since. Murdock kept Face on the straight and narrow path.
Well, more like a crooked path, but nothing completely illegal. He could have started dealing in drugs, like so many did back then, but Murdock seemed to steer him away from that. He never sold firearms or other necessary and vital equipment on the black market -- things that could end up in the enemies hands. He may have traded things, but he never sold anything. Face, on the other hand, seemed to balance Murdock's mood swings. Kept him from going too far in his jokes and pranks. Managed to also keep him out of a lot of bar fights because someone couldn't take a ribbing from him. And then, during their captivity, they helped each other again. Murdock gave Face someone to focus on. To totally take care of and to keep his mind off his own pain. Not that they didn't all take care of each other. They did, but Murdock just seemed better when Face was around. Sometimes Murdock would withdraw completely away from them in his mind. His body was with them in that cramped cage, but his mind was somewhere else. They all tried, and sometimes they even succeeded, in bringing him back. Face had the best success rate with him. Although, towards the end, even he was having trouble reaching him.
So, with that regard, B.A. and Hannibal depended on Face to judge Murdock's state of mind. Oh, they knew he wasn't a doctor, no matter how many diplomas Face could produce, but he knew when Murdock was lying. If he didn't think Murdock could handle anything, that was that. Murdock had to take a backseat. He didn't like it, but after one job turned into a disaster when he said that he could handle it, and he couldn't, he would generally listen to Face's concerns. They came up with set rules for events like this. If Murdock said he could handle something, they would trust him to tell the truth. If he said he couldn't, he couldn't and Face would decide if he would just sit out part of the job on the sidelines, or go back to the hospital. It all came down to trust. No matter how many times those rules had been used, they'd never made a wrong move yet. Hopefully they wouldn't make a mistake this time. Too much was riding on it.
"Like I said, we won't know until he wakes up. It'll ultimately be up to him. His decision. If he wants to go back, we can get him there in about twenty minutes. If not, we can deal with him. He'll be fine either way."
"Maybe we should just take him back to the hospital anyway. I don't think that he's in any way fit to make that decision right now. Do you?" Amy interjected. She couldn't believe that they wouldn't agree with her. Murdock had flipped out. He lived in a mental hospital for a reason. Any prior belief of his faking just went out the window. Murdock was a nut case and he wasn't able to judge his own mental health. The fact that the guys weren't already packing him up to go, was in her opinion, completely shortsighted. She felt that if someone had to be the voice of reason, it would be her. She wasn't quite prepared for the reaction.
Face whirled on her, handsome face stormy. "No! Absolutely not! We made a promise to him long ago. We wouldn't force him to go back if he didn't want to. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will make us break that promise. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to check up on Murdock. He might need something." And with that, he left the room.
B.A. and Hannibal knew that the real reason Face wanted to check had nothing to do with the fact that Murdock might need something. They all knew that Murdock was out for the night. Face just needed to see him for his own peace of mind, to watch him for awhile. For some strange reason, it always seemed to calm him and he never bothered to try to explain it.
Face stared down at Murdock in the half light of the room. He felt a little calm wash over his troubled mind. If Hannibal or B.A. had ever pressed for a reason for this, he wasn't sure that he would be able to explain it in a way that they could understand. He couldn't understand it most of the times himself. How could he make anyone else understand?
Murdock hadn't moved an inch. It always seemed wrong seeing him like that.
It was unnatural, after knowing how very much alive he usually is. Even in sleep, he was always moving, turning, sometimes even giggling if he was having a good dream.
Murdock hated to sleep and tried to put it off as long as possible. Nightmares usually hit in the darkest of the night. They usually catch it after the first whimper, the way he curls in to a tiny ball, trying to find a way to hide from the demons of the night. A simple touch usually drives them out, allows his mind to calm, brings peace to him. It didn't matter who he roomed with, the results were always the same. Separate beds with B.A. or Hannibal, or sharing with him. Many a time, Face had been elbowed in the ribs, or other more vital body parts, by the onset of nightmares. If it was just the two of them, after the dream was driven away, Murdock always cuddled, trying to get as close as possible. Face never minded, though. He liked the contact. No matter how much they complained, B.A. and Hannibal never complained about the loss of the little bit of sleep. O.k., Hannibal never complained. If B.A. didn't complain, he wouldn't be B.A.
Face adjusted the comforter, unnecessary though. He adjusted the lamp. Again, unnecessary. Murdock hated the dark. Always needed some type of light. Even moonlight if they were pulling night guard shifts and they were trying not to be detected. The team never minded though. The light held back the darkness of his madness for awhile. Not completely though. Face wondered if it ever will. He smoothed Murdock's hair back, lingering on his forehead. He was beginning to get warm. Fever. Right on time with that fun little side affect. He wondered what else he would be hit with. He gently kissed him and left, feeling a little bit calmer.
Amy stared at the closed door in shock. She couldn't understand the verbal attack that came out of nowhere. She looked at Hannibal and B.A. No help there. Clearing her throat, she timidly asked, "What promise? What's really going on here, guys?"
Hannibal and B.A. shared a look. Maybe they should answer this one. Amy and Lin deserved to know about the promise. It might save some grief in the long run.
Hannibal stated, "The first hospital that the army committed Murdock to was a real hell hole, Amy. By the time we got to him, he was bad off. They keep him drugged up and restrained. After we got him out of there, we found out that it also extended to physical abuse. Possibly more than that. We'll never know how much though. He's never spoken about it to us and we've never pressed him for an answer. And Amy, you'll never press him for an answer either. Is that understood?"
Amy could only nod. B.A. picked up the conversation. "Crazy man was hurt bad, lil' mama. Real bad. Those guys were suppose ta help 'em. Instead, they hurt 'em worse. Turned what little mind he had left upside down. They were worse than the fuckin' V.C. Least with the enemy we knew why. It was war back then. We was enemies. Somethin' that we understood. We didn't understand this. These docs were our guys. S'ppose ta be on our side. Why hurt som'body that can't defend themselves? Jus' ain't right."
And with that, B.A. stalked away to sit on the couch. Anger still poured out from him at the memory. Hannibal drifted over to him, still explaining, "After that, we vowed to ourselves that he'll never have to go back to a hospital again. We were just kidding ourselves back then. Murdock needed help and he couldn't get it from us. We had to commit him somewhere. We found Westwood and agreed that it was the best place for him. But, we had to make him understand that we wouldn't just leave him there. He was afraid that he'd be left alone, forever. So, we began to visit him when we could. When it was safe. He always asked us, no, begged is more like it, for us to take him away from there. To take him with us. We couldn't at the time."
Face entered the room at the tail end of the conversation. He finished it. "We made a promise to him. We promised that if he got better, enough so that we could take him on jobs, that we would never make him go back if he didn't want to. And we've kept it. Sometimes a job would only take a few days, but he would want to stay out for some extra time. We let him. Sometimes he'll call us to be sprung for an overnighter, go to the movies, or just to walk around outside of the hospital grounds. We got him out every time and never pressured him about going back. Sometimes he would test us. Just to see how far he could go, how long he could stay out. When we knew he needed to go back, we would lead him around to the topic. If he still resisted, I had to con him a little. Make it seem like it was his idea. He knew it, I knew it, the whole team knew that it was a con. But, we still played the game every time. Most of the time, he went back. If he still resisted, we let it go. And when we let it go, he wanted to go back. It's come down to a system of trust, Amy. He trusts us not to force him to go back when he doesn't want to and we trust him to want to go back when he needs to. Nobody, Amy, nobody will break that trust. Do you understand now?"
Almost ashamed, she quietly nodded. The three men shared silent looks. Hannibal's and B.A.'s look asked Face if Murdock was o.k. Face's look said as well as to be expected. Aloud he asked, "What's your plan, Hannibal? He'll have to know what his role is in all of this. I will say one thing, though. No fucking way are you going to use him as bait. I don't care what it is, he's not to be used as bait."
Hannibal acknowledged the unspoken threat. Not that he was intimidated. Not by a long shot. When it came to the safety of Murdock's sanity, no one took any chances.
"No bait. My plan hinges on surprise and terror. B.A. and I'll go out tonight to the golf course. We're gonna dig ourselves a nice little hole out in the middle of the trees, away from prying eyes. We'll snatch him in the middle of his game tomorrow. He'll never know what hit him. I'll make sure that he knows that if he doesn't give up Kao, we'll fill that hole with him. B.A. and Murdock will be with me. Amy will be driving the van. I want you in the trees, providing back-up, making sure that those goons he'll have with him don't get any funny ideas about following us."
"Why me? Why not Murdock? He shouldn't have to look that bastard in the eye after what he did to him. What if he flips again? Maybe I should be there just in case."
Hannibal knew what was going on. Face only wanted to protect Murdock. But he knew that you couldn't protect someone from his own mind. Both of them had to face this reality. Both needed to stand on their own two feet. Murdock had to face a nightmare when he was awake and Face had to let go a little. It was for both of their own good that he worked the plan out this way.
"Face, we need you in the trees because you have the best sniper record of all of us. You really want to give Murdock that responsibility? We all trust him to keep a cool head but do you want to chance a mistake? You're the one with the dead-shot aim. You need to be the one in the trees, covering our backs. Murdock can handle himself. Even if he does have a flashback, B.A. and I will be there. We can help him through it long enough until Tommy gives us Kao. If not, maybe it'll even help our case. Don't give me that look, you know that there's no way any of us would put a team mate in danger. If he confronts him, it just might help. We'll never know if he doesn't get a chance to try. He'll never know. Do you want to take that away from him?"
Face started to pace again, mind going into twenty different directions at once. An idea gleamed in his brain. Maybe he could improve on the plan. Make it better. Make Murdock better. A feeling that he hadn't gotten since 'Nam came over him. He felt a calm rush over him; one that he hadn't had since that last time he sat in a tree, waiting for the target to get in range. He knew what had to be done. He turned and smiled at them. Hannibal and B.A. weren't fooled by it. They knew that look very well. And they knew that they didn't like it one little bit.
"Think I got a better plan, Hannibal. You and B.A. dig that hole. But instead of threatening him, we really will fill it. With him. Permanently. You three just walk away and leave the rest up to me. I'll even do him a favor and make it quick. He doesn't deserve it, but I'm a reasonable man. I have mercy even if he doesn't. You couldn't ask for anything more than that."
Amy couldn't believe the calm way that he had just talked about cold-blooded murder. The three men were ignoring her and Lin and she wasn't sure that she should draw attention to themselves. Lin pulled her into the kitchen, out of the way. They left the three men in privacy. They didn't seem to register the void they left.
They all glared at one another. A Mexican stand-off of a sorts. B.A. broke the silence.
"Ya' can't mean that, man. Ya' talkin' about cold blooded murder. We ain't about that and ya' know it. It'll kill Murdock ta hear ya' talk like that."
Face stayed calm, knowing that if he lost his temper, he'll never make them see his side. The right side in his opinion.
"Yes, B.A. I mean it. It's not really murder to put an rabid animal down. That's what Tommy Angel is. A rabid animal. You were in that kitchen with us. You saw him. You heard what that fucker did to him. All these years..." he heavily swallowed down his emotions, "... all these years we wondered what finally pushed him to the edge. Why he spent those last few months withdrawn from the world. From us. Why he would .. he would look at us like that. At me like that. There's no way that he's a human being. Turning Murdock in as a pilot was bad enough. What he did later was unforgivable. He doesn't deserve to live. Leave him to me. Take Murdock and just walk away. That's all I ask. He'll understand. I know he will."
Hannibal stood less then a foot away. "Are you sure Face? Are you absolutely sure that Murdock would understand? 'Cause I sure as hell don't. I'm not too sure that he will either. Can you really look him in the eyes later, knowing that he knows that you killed for him. Killed someone for something that he might not even remember about the next morning? Sounds petty and selfish to me."
"Petty? Selfish? I'm doing this for him!"
"Are you? Are you really Lieutenant? Or is this some sort of misplaced vengeance? You didn't get your hands around his throat ten years ago like you wanted to and now you just want to finish your little power trip! Not at the cost of one of my men, you don't!"
"Power trip? How dare you ..."
"Shut up! Tha' botha ya! I'm tired of listenin' to ya arguin'. Ya' gotta listen ta Hannibal, Face. How ya' know that killin' Angel won't send that crazy fool off the deep end for good? He loves ya' man. Lord knows why but he does. Knowin' ya' killed som'body, no matter what the reason, he'll blame hisself. We all know that. Killin' Angel, well ya' jus' might as well pull the trigger on him. 'Cause we all know that this'll kill him for sure. Ya' really wanna be r'sponsible for two peoples death?"
Softly, Hannibal tried to get though to the still angry man. "Face, Murdock wouldn't want you to do this. You know that in your heart. B.A. and I both agree with you that Tommy Angel doesn't deserve to live. But we're not going to be the judge and jury in deciding that. Personally I'd rather have Kao. Angel might have screwed with his mind, but Kao did the real damage. To him and to all of us. A lot of good men died because of that bastard. So tell me, who would you rather get your hands on? Tommy or Kao? 'Cause if you choose Kao, we'll need Tommy alive to give him to us. Believe me, we'll deal with Tommy Angel later. He won't get away with this. Choose now and choose right. There's not going to be any backing out of this later."
Given that choice, Face didn't hesitate with his answer. "Kao. I want Kao more. But Angel won't get away with what he did. I want both of you to promise me that. Promise Murdock. He deserves closure on this. I won't kill him, but after we deal with Kao, I want him to beg me to do it. I don't want any interference and I don't want Murdock to know about any of this. He has enough to deal with."
The two other men shared a look. They both nodded at Face. Whatever Face decided to do about Angel, they didn't really want to know. As long as he waited until after they dealt with the General, it was alright with them.
It seemed that Face had some long dead issues to work though. They also knew that he would keep his word. He wouldn't pull the trigger on Angel unless he tried something really stupid. And they all knew that he wasn't stupid. After all, it was over a month after Murdock was turned in that they found out who the traitor was. And they were there for two months before that.
Amy and Lin drifted back into the living room, hoping that the confrontation was over. All three men were more relaxed now. It seem safe enough for them.
Sighing, Face sat down in the recliner. "What do you need me to do in the morning? How do you want me to handle him?"
Finally back on the right track, Hannibal turn to him. "It all depends on how he is. If he's truly fine, then great! Everything'll go according to plan. If not, it'll be up to you to see that he's o.k. Get him to obsess about something else besides himself. Maybe get him on one of his rants. Get him focused on something, some kinda fantasy. Something good to keep his mind occupied. Keep him from worrying about his flashback. An upset Murdock can't function. We can't afford take the time to look after him in the middle of a shake down."
"What? What can I get him to focus on?"
"That's your job. It's what you're best at under pressure." Hannibal had the nerve to grin at him. He lit a fresh cigar.
"Aw, man! Why ya' wanna go an' do that for? Tha's jus' what we need right now! Never gonna get that fool to shut up! Thanks a lot, Hannibal. Jus' ruin my day." B.A. grumbled. Truth be told, he'd rather have Murdock run his mouth then to be depressed. A depressed Murdock is liable to hurt himself.
Amy decided to contribute to the conversation. She hoped that this time it was safe. She sort of knew where the discussion was going. Murdock needed to think about something other than what happened earlier. Maybe she could help with that.
"What about Billy? Would that help? We could tell him that Billy would be waiting for him at the golf course."
Face slowly shook his head. "That's a nice idea, Amy. But no go. You can't force him to believe in something just on anyone's say so. He has to believe in it. With his whole being. It's like asking an adult to believe in the Easter Bunny just because you say he's real. We could lead him around to an idea; suggestions sometimes work. But it has to come from him. It has to be his idea for it to work. He has to make it real."
Face checked the clock and noticed the late hour. If he wanted to be sharp for tomorrow, he'll have to go to bed soon. Usually the thought of going to bed, knowing that Murdock was already there, filled his heart with joy. And his mind with lustful thoughts. Tonight, it just made him feel sad.
"Think I'll turn in now, guys. Maybe I'll be able to think of something in the morning. Good luck with the digging and please make sure you don't track any dirt on the carpet. Goodnight."
Stopping at the door, hand on the knob, back toward the group, he addressed Amy, his voice hard. "Amy? If you can't face Murdock without that look of pity that's in your eyes now, don't even think to show up in the morning. He doesn't need pity from you or anybody else."
And with that, he opened the door and entered the bedroom. Amy stared in shock at the closed door.
"I didn't ... I don't .. what's ... " She sputtered, speechless.
"Faceman's right, Amy. Crazy man don't need an'body's pity. I know ya' don't mean it. Maybe even don't know it. But it's there and we can see it. Mor' important, he can see it. So don't pity 'em!" B.A wanted Amy to understand that. It did Murdock no good at all to be pitied. He hated it. More to the point, they hated how down he got when he got one of those looks.
Hannibal walked toward the front door, calling over his shoulder, "C'mon B.A. Lets go dig ourselves a nice deep hole."
Amy and Lin hunkered down on the couch, keeping watch over the two men closed off from the rest of the world.
Face quickly stripped down to his boxers and crawled into bed next to Murdock. It would be no fun to wear the pajamas now. He only got them for Murdock. He said that he liked the feel of silk on Face's body. Liked to undress him slowly. Face preferred to go nude, unless they were on a case. He gathered Murdock's limp body to him, arranging him so that he was half on top of Face. He made sure that Murdock's ear was against his heart. He once said that he liked to listen to Face's heart, it made him feel less alone in the dark.
Face liked this position. Either this one or spooning against him. Face was a closet cuddler. It was just something about holding Murdock like this that he liked. He felt powerful, protective of someone else's heart and soul. He nuzzled his face in the soft brown hair and rubbed the long warm back. His hands felt the deep scars across his back. They all had some form of physical scars left over from the camp. Scars formed by the use of razor sharp whips and canes. His own were few and hardly noticeable unless he was deeply tanned. Hannibal's were much the same way. Hardly there unless one knew where to look. B.A.'s looked more like long thin paper cuts on his dark mahogany skin. But Murdock's, his stood out in thick ropes. From neck to mid-thigh, they criss-crossed, twisting around each other. Some on top of one another. It took a lot of years before he would take off his shirt in front of the others. He said he wasn't ashamed of them. He just didn't think that he could face the look of pity or revulsion from the sight from his friends. It took a long time for them to convince him that they didn't feel anything negative at the sight of the scars. It meant that he was a survivor, like the rest of them. They were still amazed that they hadn't lost him to the infection and fever that often set in. He got over the shock of the scars long ago. What he couldn't get over though, was what happened in the kitchen earlier.
He was in the kitchen, trying without success to pry one of Lin's pastry recipes from him. He'd just told Lin a cooking joke that he'd heard and had the tiny cook laughing. Murdock walked in to fetch a glass of water and seen the two of them. One tall blond man and an Asian man with a large knife in his hand, laughing. The glass was half-way to his mouth before the memory hit him.
The glass shattering on the floor caught their attention. Face looked at him in concern. Murdock had gone dead white. All the blood had drained from his face and he started to violently shake and whimper. Face took a half-step toward him, wanting to help. That step seemed to break the spell. Murdock screamed and backed into the corner of the kitchen. That scream bought the others running into the room. He curled into a tight ball and was babbling something in Vietnamese. Lin struggled to keep up with translating for the team.
"He say, 'No more ... no secrets ... don't know ... can't tell ... sorry ... don't hurt him ... please ... don't ... I don't know .. can't talk ... sorry ... ' Same thing over and over. Does not make sense. He talk too fast, can not understand him. Sorry can not help more."
"It's o.k. Lin. Thanks for helping. Now, if you and Amy will excuse us, we'll take care of this."
Face reached out again and got the same results. B.A. grabbed him, moving him out of
Face struggled in B.A.'s arms. "Let me go, B.A.! He needs me!"
B.A. held him with no effort at all. "Quit fightin' me, man. Let Hannibal handle 'em. Look at 'em! He scareda ya' now. Be cool, let 'em calm 'em down some."
Hannibal ignored the arguing behind him, focusing on Murdock. Brown eyes stared intently into blue eyes. The terrified man slowly calmed. Breathing eased up. The shaking slowed down, but didn't quite stop all the way. Hannibal waited until he was sure that Murdock could hear him. Understand him.
"Captain? Captain, can you hear me?"
Still focused on him, Murdock slowly nodded his head, never breaking eye contact.
"Captain, I need you to talk to me now. I need a report. Tell me what's going on. Tell me what's wrong. Do you understand me?"
Murdock's eyes flickered towards Face. He began to whimper and panic again at the sight of the slim blond man. Never moving his eyes, Hannibal gave an order, "B.A. get him out of here. Right now!"
B.A. began to drag him out of the kitchen. Face fought him off, "No! I'm staying! He might need me. I'm not going anywhere!"
"Face, he's ... " That's as far as B.A. got before Hannibal got fed up. They didn't have time for this shit. The longer Murdock was in a flashback, the harder for him to snap out of it, the more the risk of losing him grew.
He finally snapped out, never breaking eye contact. "Let him stay, B.A. Face, stay the hell out of his line of sight. Do you hear me? Don't let him see you and you can stay. Don't interfere. Don't interrupt. That's a direct order, Lieutenant."
"I hear you, Colonel. I understand perfectly."
Face hid behind B.A., his heart hurting with the order. He knew that Hannibal was right, but it didn't make the feeling go away. He had to let Hannibal handle this for now.
Getting Murdock to calm down again was harder. Tightening his grip, he made Murdock concentrate on him again.
"Murdock. Murdock look at me. That's it. Look at me. Only look at me. Murdock, tell me what's wrong. What's going on?"
He reached up and gripped Hannibal's shirt in both hands. Still trembling a little, he ignored everything but Hannibal.
"You ... you c-c-can't t-trust, 'em Hannibal. D-d-don't trust 'em. N-n-n-not one i-inch." Murdock's voice was shaky and stuttering badly. Murdock only stuttered under extreme pressure and stress. This was not a good sign.
"Who, Captain? Who can't we trust? Do you mean, Face? Why can't we trust Face?"
"N-n-not F-F-Face. Not F-Face. Can't t-t-t-trust that B-Benedict A-Arnold. T-T-T-Tommy A-Angel. He's ... he's a traitor. D-d-d-don't trust 'em. He's the one. H-h-h-he's the o-o-one that t-t-t-told 'em I was a p-pilot. He ... he did. So ... s-s-soo don't t-t-tell 'em a-a-anything. A-a-a-anything at all." He started to shake again.
Oh, shit! Murdock thought that Face was Tommy Angel? It made a sick sort of sense. Both were blond and slender. Although, with the fine and lovely dining cuisine in the camp, Face was a lot thinner than the traitor Navy Lieutenant. It was easy to mix them up from the back. But still, that didn't quite explain the look of pure horror in Murdock's eyes every time he saw Face.
"Murdock, tell me what he did. Tell me now, alright?"
"He ... he w-w-was there. Always t-t-there." He trailed off.
"Where, Murdock? In the camp? Where was he?" Hannibal tried to keep him on track.
Face was having a hard time just listening to them. He should be the one to talk to him. But, Murdock was terrified of him. It was hard to trust Hannibal.
"He had better step carefully. Sometimes it's like walking in a minefield. You never know just what might blow up in your face." He whispered to B.A., hoping the other two men didn't hear him. He didn't want to be kicked out permanently.
Keeping Face behind him, B.A. whispered back for the same reason. "Th' man know what he's doin', Face. Just hang tight."
The two men in the corner were locked in a world of their own. Hannibal tried again. "We know that he's the traitor, Murdock. We know that he's the one that told on you. We don't trust him anymore, remember? We found out about him. Lin told us, remember? We know that he was in the camp."
Murdock began to shake his head again. In fact, his whole body began to shake. Hannibal had to increase his hold on his face.
"N-n-n-noooo! No! He was there! In the interrogation h-h-hut. W-w-when t-t-they h-hurt m-m-mee. In the hut He ... he l-liked to ... to watch! L-like to w-watch 'em t-take their t-turns." Tears began to pool and pour down the distressed face.
"Turns? He liked to watch the guards interrogate you? Is that what you're saying?"
Murdock shook his head harder, fighting Hannibal's hold. "N-n-no, not in-in-interrogatin'. F-f-fuckin' me. He-he l-liked to watch 'em f-f-fuck me. I d-didn't w-want 'em to, h-h-honest! It always hurt b-b-bad. The General h-hurt the worst."
That statement froze the other three men in shock. They knew that it was Tommy that told Kao about Murdock, but no way in hell did they know about this.
Face was the first one to break the silence, and he didn't even bother to lower his voice. Besides, Murdock was so lost in his memory that he highly doubted that he heard anything.
"Dear God, why didn't we know about this? Why didn't he say something before? I'm gonna kill that fucker when I see him."
Hannibal was still trying to calm the distraught man down when B.A. answered Face.
"Ya' 'member what he was like back then. Crazy man couldn't string two words t'gether when they brung 'em back. When he could talk, didn't make no sense anyhow. How was we s'pposed to know anythin' 'bout this?"
Hannibal decided to risk talking to the two men behind him, knowing that he knew the answer to the question of why.
"I think he blocked all of that out. The shock of seeing a fellow American there, rat-bastard that he is, sent him into some sort of state of denial. Besides, B.A.'s right. By the time they dragged him back, he wasn't able to talk to any of us, much less tell us something that we couldn't do anything about back then. Now, if you'll both shut up, I'm trying to calm him down."
Hannibal rubbed his thumbs across the tear streaked cheeks. He tried to calm himself down too. It would do more harm than good if he got upset over this now. Murdock might take it the wrong way.
"Captain, how long did this go on? Do you remember how many times you were raped? How often was Lt. Angel in the room with you? Can you tell me that?"
"E-e-every time they t-t-t-took me. E-every time. H-he was there m-m-most of the t-time. H-he like to to s-suck t-the General's c-c-cock a-after h-he c-came in m-m-me. H-he wasn't forced to, though. He-he wanted to. M-made m-me watch. I-I didn't want to, b-but they m-made m-me."
Murdock's eyes were oddly blank at this bomb shell that he'd just dropped. As if he was watching someone else go though the experience. It was if his rape was an every day topic of conversation. Then the moment passed.
Murdock's lower lip trembled and his breathing hitched again. He had to get this out. He had to make them understand that he didn't mean for it to happen.
"I-I'm s-s-s-sorry, C-c-c-colonel. I'm s-s-s-oo s-s-sorry. I-I d-didn't mean to. H-h-honest I didn't!"
"Didn't mean what, Captain? It's alright, you can tell me anything. I won't get mad at you."
"Y-y-you'll h-hate me! I-I hate me!"
"I won't hate you. I promise. Just tell me."
"N-not supposed t-t-to t-tell secrets. Not any o-o-of 'em. Suppose t-to k-k-keep all of 'em. B-big ones and l-l-little ones. S-supposed to. S-s-so I-I didn't tell. N-none of 'em. I s-s-swear! I didn't! I p-promise I didn't!"
"O.k. It's o.k. I believe you. I don't hate you. You did good, not telling them anything. Everything's fine now." Hannibal had went from cradling Murdock's cheeks to lightly rubbing his shoulders and arms. It had helped calm him down before, maybe it will again.
"N-not f-fine! Never f-f-fine again! I-I did it! It-it was all my f-f-fault! I-I couldn't h-h-help it! I s-swear I didn't mean to!" Murdock's voice got a little louder and tears flowed faster.
"What did you do, Captain? What's all your fault?"
The words, when they came, were whispered; but in the shocked silence of the kitchen, he might as well shouted out his shameful secret. It was also the only sentence so far that wasn't stuttered. Some how, it didn't lessen the shock.
"I killed Face."
"I killed Face."
At first, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room. No one dared to breathe for the fear of suffocating in the vacuum of space. B.A. was the one to break the silence.
"What that fool talkin' about, now? Faceman ain't dead!"
Trying to keep Murdock focused and still answer B.A., Hannibal half turned and called over his shoulder, "I don't know, B.A. I'm trying to find out now, if you'll both shut up!"
Face sullenly mumbled, "I didn't say anything."
"Shut up, man. Let 'em work." B.A. growled, but he reached behind him and grabbed his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. He wasn't sure if it was to comfort Face or himself. Besides, he thought that Face needed to hold onto something. He had a bad feeling that it was going to get much worse. And he was right.
Hannibal turned back to the distraught man. Murdock had whimpered and flinched when he turned towards him. He thought that Hannibal was going to hit him. He wouldn't blame him if he did. He wished that B.A. would take a swing at him too. At least the physical pain would fade in time. He didn't think that his heartache would ever go away. Maybe he deserved to suffer. After what he did, he deserved everything that he had coming to him. Maybe Ray would finish him off. No use living without Face. He didn't want to exist in a world without him.
Hannibal saw the glazed look in his eyes. Shaking him a little, he finally got his attention. Flat blank eyes looked back. Shit! He was going to lose him again if he didn't do something soon.
"What do you mean, you killed Face? Murdock! What do you mean?"
He started crying again. Twisting his hands in Hannibal's jacket tighter, he tried to explain in between gasping sobs, how he killed the man that he loved.
"He ... he kept a-askin' ... mmmee. He ... he k-kept askin' me who did it. I ... I ... didn't know. I didn't! I swear! I didn't know! He said I w-w-was lyin', but I wasn't. I wasn't!"
He tried to calm him down again. "Shhh, shhh. Just calm down. Calm down, now. Tell me as calmly as you can. Who asked you? What did he mean by who did it? Who said you were lying? Why do you think that you killed Face?"
Confused brown eyes looked at him. He began to shake again, worse this time. His breath began to hitch and it had nothing to do with crying. All the blood had drained from his face, leaving him white faced and his lips moved without making a sound. His formally dull brown eyes filled with terror. Hannibal turned back towards B.A. and Face. He didn't know what to do now. This was beyond his knowledge and he felt completely helpless.
"What's wrong with 'em, man?" B.A. had seen the look in Hannibal's eyes. Whatever scared the Colonel wasn't good.
Face darted around B.A.'s back and took a look at the two men in the corner. He quickly diagnosed the problem and came to a quick solution.
"He's having a panic attack. He's too far into himself. You asked him too many questions at once, Hannibal. He wasn't able process everything and his mind went into overload. He's done this before. Back in the camp. You two weren't there the first time this happened. It was just me and Ray there. He had an attack and everything that we tried didn't seem to work. Until Ray started to sing 'You Are My Sunshine'. It worked then, maybe it'll work now."
Starting softly, all three men started to sing. Three voices blended into one harmony. The badly frightened man started to calm down a little. His body stopped shaking. His breathing eased and color began to creep into his face. The fear began to leave his eyes as he added a fourth voice into the mix. Softly at first, but as the verses went on, it came out stronger and stronger. As the last chorus ended, the brown eyed man was finally calmed. All three men were now sitting on the cold kitchen floor, crowded around him.
Letting go of Hannibal, he latched onto Face, crying again. Hannibal backed off a little. It seemed that Murdock wasn't afraid of the conman anymore. They still wasn't sure what caused it, but maybe it's passed now. Maybe he was better.
"I'm s-s-sorry I killed you, Face. I-I-I'm sorry!"
Or maybe not.
Face tried to hold onto the man who was suddenly trying to crawl into his lap. Holding him close, he started to gently rock both of them. Murdock buried his face into the blond man's shoulder, desperately clinging to him.
Gently rubbing his back, Face softly crooned to him, trying to calm him down further.
"Shhh, shhh, shhh. It's alright, now. Everything's gonna be o.k. now. Everything's gonna be o.k. I'm here now. I'm not dead, see? I'm holding you, aren't I? So I'm alive. Everything's o.k."
Murdock pulled away a little and shook his head. "N-no. No, you're dead and I'm jus' d-d-reamin'. I'll wake up all a-a-alone in the dark again. Jus' me and your c-cold dead body. A-a-all alone in the d-d-dark. I don't ever want to w-w-wake up again. I wake up and you're d-d-dead again."
Time enough later to get this straightened out. Now they needed to get him to concentrate on the questions that Hannibal asked. Maybe they can figure out the flashback then. They had to go slow though. Just like before, too many questions at once would just overwhelm him again.
Taking him gently in his arms again, Face tried to wade though the nightmare bog that his flashback had caused.
"Baby, who asked you questions?"
"G-general K-koa. But I didn't k-k-know the answer, so I c-couldn't tell 'em anything. I wouldn't've though. It w-would've been a secret and I can't tell any secrets."
"Can you remember what he wanted to know?"
Nodding faintly he whispered, "He w-wanted to know the name. He always wanted the n-name."
Name? What name? The guys couldn't remember Koa wanting a specific name from them. Ammo dumps and troop movements, sure. Facts about missions, present and future, went without saying. The only names he wanted were of superiors. But, never a specific name. Never went to the lengths that he had gone with the pilots just for the sake of a name.
"What name? What name did he want, honey? You can tell me."
"The name o-of the m-man." Murdock snuffled a little, turning his head and wiping his nose on Face's sleeve like a small child. Face grimaced but went on.
They all wanted to rush the questions. Wanted to get to the heart of the problem, but they knew if they did that, it would be mental suicide. They had to draw him out slowly. It was frustratingly slow, but it was the only way they could proceed.
"The n-name of the man that b-b-bombed his village. That k-k-killed his wife and b-baby son."
Again, the men were shocked into silence. Finally, finally after all these years, they had the answer to the question that had been plaguing them since the day the guards dragged the captain away. Why was Koa so obsessed with pilots? Why did he hate them so much? Why didn't he just kill them quick, instead of drawing out their torture for long as possible? Now they knew everything. Now they knew what pushed Murdock so close to the edge. Now they knew what pushed Koa into such rages at the pilots that fell into his hands.
At first, they just thought that the hate was because the men were pilots. All Vietcong hated pilots. Accused them of being spies and working or the C.I.A. They didn't trust an enemy that they couldn't see in the eyes. Couldn't see their targets. Hated that they were bombed by men who came at them from nowhere, from the very skies themselves. They didn't think it honorable that men in machines killed whole villages without discrimination. No matter that the villages were overrun by them. No matter that the men were just doing their jobs. Following orders. The fact was, they killed without looking at their foes. That's what pissed many of them off. It was ironic, though. These were men who would pop up from hidden tunnels and spider holes. Left traps and deep pits lined with punji sticks tipped in poison and their own shit. Sent children into bars with grenades strapped to them. They called themselves patriotic by shooting Americans in the back, yet they hated the fact that one man could destroy an entire village with just a push of a button.
Face gently gripped his arms again, bringing Murdock's focus back to him.
"You didn't know who, did you?"
"No, b-but he said I was lyin'. I wasn't, but t-they weren't listenin' to me."
"Koa said that you were lying?"
"Who said that you were lying?"
"T-tommy Angel. I kept t-tellin' 'em that I didn't k-know, but Tommy kept sayin' that I was l-lyin'! I wasn't! I r-r-r-really wasn't!"
"We believe you, baby. We believe you. Then what happened?"
"He said ... he s-said that ... that if ... if I didn't tell 'em, t-t-they'll kill you. I couldn't tell 'em anythin'. I'm s-ssorry I killed you."
"He lied to you, baby. He lied. Remember that we don't trust anything that Tommy Angel said? Remember that we said that he couldn't be trusted? He lied to you. That's all. He lied and I'm alright. He lied to you."
"No. S-saw it!"
"Saw what, baby?"
"Saw 'em k-kkill ya'. Saw 'em d-d-d-do it!"
"What did you see, baby? Tell me."
Murdock's voice had gotten whisper quiet. That was o.k. though. The kitchen had once again became so still and silent that they had no problem hearing him.
"He had .. had me in o-one of the interrogation rooms. He ... he hurt me pretty bad. He j-j-ammed his fist up ... up my ass. I d-didn't t-think that the ... the pain could get a-a-any worse than it a-a-already wa-was before. I-I was w-w-wrong. T-the pain g-g-got worse. So ... so m-m-m-much worse. He kept askin' me who dropped the b-bomb. General Koa did. He kept goin' on and on and on. I k-k-kept tellin' 'em that I didn't know. I c-c-couldn't think w-w-with all the p-p-pain. It was a sea of pain. I was drownin' in it. Then ... then Tommy Angel walked in. All by himself. No g-guards, no nothin'. Just walked in with this s-smirk on his face. Koa asked me again and I said that I didn't know w-who did it. Tommy said that I lied. He said that I knew who it was. I t-t-told 'em that I d-didn't. We kept going around in circles like that for a long time. He asked, I answered, Tommy said I lied. And they still h-hit me. Over and over and over again. Then Koa said that if I didn't answer the question, he'll kill one of my f-friends. Tommy said that they'll kill ya'. They t-t-tied me to the table and left me in the dark. They left me there to think about it. I was l-l-left there for a long time. Don't know how long. Then ... then they came back. They u-untied me and fucked and hit me. He asked me again. I t-t-told 'em again. Tommy said I lied again. Then Koa sent for a guard. He told 'em to bring ya' here. There. In the hut. He stood ya' up in the doorway. He a-asked. I answered. He said I was still lyin'. Then Tommy said that I just killed ya'. That it was my f-f-f-ault. That I was being selfish and stupid. That your blood ... blood was on my hands. Then they both laughed and Koa took a big knife out and cut your throat and threw ya' in with me and cut off the light and left. Left us all alone in the dark. I don't like the dark, you know that. Don't like it at all. So there we w-w-were, both of us in the dark. I held ya' and rocked ya' and s-s-sang to ya'. I felt the blood drain out of ya'. I tried to s-stop it. I really did! I tried r-really hard. You were m-m-movin' and tryin' to speak, but nothin' but a gurglin' sound came out. And I tried to keep ya' a-alive. I did! I really t-tried hard! But you just got c-colder and colder. And ya' stopped moving and ya' stopped bleedin' and ya' got real quiet. And we were there for a long long time. In the dark. In the dark. In the dark."
Murdock had started to rock again. Oh, God. No wonder he had freaked when he saw Face and Lin together. Laughing and holding a butcher knife. It also explained the disappearance of Dillion Carson. Another blond in the camp. There were several there at that time. It would have been so easy to fool Murdock by substituting one blond for another. He'd been in such pain and confusion that they could have held up Sammy Davis Jr., told him that he was Face, and he would have believed them. The only reason that they didn't kill Face was that he was still useful to them. Dillion Carson had been rendered mute when an English speaking guard had taken exception to what he said and cut out his tongue. He had used a heated poker to sear the wound, just to keep him alive.
It also explained how many of the pilots mysteriously died. Bleeding to death from the inside out. No evidence of outside bruising on the stomach. It was a fucking miracle that Murdock was still alive.
Face held him tightly, gently rocking with him. Hannibal looked at him, waiting. There was no hope of avoiding this. He wasn't snapping out of it, so they had to sedate him. They never liked to do it, but sometimes it couldn't be helped. Like now. The longer he went on like this, the more damage it would cause further down the road. But it would be up to Face to make the final decision. Face will have to deal with the aftermath later, so ultimately, it should be up to him.
Face nodded and Hannibal went to get a sedative. Face grabbed his leg before he left and the Colonel looked down at him.
"I didn't bring anything with me. He'd been doing so well that I didn't think that we'd need it. Gonna have use some of B.A.'s stash. Use less than half the usual dosage and mix it with water. He may be out of it right now, but no telling how he'll react to a needle. He may have trouble swallowing pills now but we can always get water down him."
He nodded again and left. B.A. wasn't sure what he should do. He stood and awkwardly shifted from one foot to the next. Face knew he needed to do something to feel useful, so he felt comfortable giving instructions.
"Help me get him to the bedroom. That stuff'll knock him right on his ass and it's easier to get him in bed if he's already on it."
B.A. helped them both to stand up. Murdock just clung tighter to Face and started to mumble about how sorry he was. It was an odd trio that walked out of the kitchen. Lin and Amy stood back and watched. They'd already been warned by Hannibal not to interfere or cause any disturbance to the three men. They needed to keep Murdock calm and if he saw Lin, or even Amy, it might set him off again.
Murdock was hunched down as far as he could get without landing on the floor. He had Face in a bear hug, his face buried into the shorter man's neck and shoulder, still sobbing and muttering that he was sorry. Face had an arm full of Murdock, trying to rub his back and pet his hair in an attempt to sooth him. B.A. had his arms around them both, trying to guide them to the master bedroom, taking most of Murdock's weight. Their feet tangled up with each other, making the trip across the living room slow and clumsy.
Reaching the room, B.A. briefly let them go to turn on the bedside lamp and to pull down the covers. Face maneuvered both of them to the side of the bed. Murdock wouldn't let up his grip, crying harder and mumbling about how if he let go, Face would be dead and he'll be left all alone in the dark.
"Unbuckle his belt and pull his pants down around his knees. I'll set us down and we'll figure it out as we go along."
B.A. did as he was told. Although it seemed to be an intimate gesture, it wasn't anything that they hadn't done or had been done to them over the years. Three men, alright four, on the run couldn't always drop into just any old emergency room and have injuries taken care of. They tried to avoid hospitals if they could. With the exception of Murdock. Being patched up by each other, not to mention being in the army and the p.o.w. camp pretty much took care of any sense of modesty. Any other time, the Captain would have cracking jokes about how the ugly mudsucker was just after his body. He didn't notice anything but Face.
Setting them both on the edge, he had B.A. take the rest of the pants off, along with the tennis shoes. Face had enough trouble trying to keep from being strangled by his lover. B.A. had to take off the jacket and shirts. He gently peeled one arm from around Face and took off both the jacket and button-down flannel shirt. The tee shirt under everything proved to be the biggest problem. He didn't want to unbury his face from the blond man's shoulder. Didn't want to have so much as an inch of air between them. And as soon as one arm was freed from a shirt, that arm shot back to its original spot. It took at least five minutes to get him stripped down to his boxers.
Hannibal came in by the time the undershirt was off and handed them the water. It took a little coaxing, but Face got the water into him. He screwed up his face at the bitter taste, but the lieutenant wouldn't let up until the last drop was drank. Hannibal and B.A. withdrew from the room as soon as Murdock had begun to relax a little. Face kicked off his shoes and pulled them both to the middle of the bed, where the pilot curled around his middle, still crying. He began to fight the drug, not wanting to sleep, not wanting to let Face go. That's when the conman began to rub his back and talk to him. Sometimes if he was talked to just as he nodded off, the nightmares were held at bay. Sometimes it made no difference. He hoped that this time it would work.
Face was brought out of his memory by a light snore from the still sleeping man. He grinned a little at that. It wasn't often that he did snore and Face liked to tease him about it. Then the frown appeared when he noticed that the fever got just a little bit higher. He squeezed him just a little tighter, dropping another kiss on the sweat covered hair. Reaching under the pillow, he retrieved his sleeping mask and put it on. Murdock may have trouble sleeping with the lights off, but he couldn't sleep with lights on. His problem was easily solved. Murdock's wasn't. Face drifted off to the pleasant dreams of what he was going to do with Tommy Angel. He had learned a lot of nifty tips from the V.C. and he couldn't wait to try them out on that sonofabitch.
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