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Trouble is Coming
Authors: Susie Owens, with a little help from Kimberly
Rated: PG 13
Warning Flashback Funeral of
Summary: Face and his family visit Murdock after Kelly's death
Disclaimer we do not own the A-Team. But Todd, Dani, Brandi, and Keene are mine and Ronin belongs to Kimberly.
Ň: Susan Owens 2004-2005
Beta by Star
Author Notes: This story is
set in the future and
I started this story for a friend Debra Waddington who died in August and I dedicate this to her.
Murdock sat in the living of his home, staring at the family portrait, the last one taken before his wife Kelly got sick. He slowly ran his fingers across her face. Her funeral had been earlier that day and he felt so old and lost. He signed. He was now sixty years old but felt older.
Murdock heard the front door open and looked up to see a tall lanky person walk in. He smiled as his son, Todd, walked over to him. Todd smiled as he noticed his dad looking at the picture.
"Hi, you okay, Dad?"
Murdock said nothing at first, just looked at his son. Todd was going to be tall as he was but huskier later in life. His hair was thick, not thin like his own, and black like his mother's, but he had brown eyes like Murdock. Todd loved to play football and was the star quarterback of his high school football team. Murdock thought about all the girls who flocked around Todd like flies to honey, but he knew Todd only had eyes for one - Dani Peck, his best friend's daughter.
"I'm fine, Todd." Murdock patted the blue sofa he was sitting on.
"Come on and sit down. I'm doing okay. You?"
Todd sat and stared at the picture, noticing how close his father was holding it against his chest
"Dad, I miss her, too."
Murdock reached over and gave
his son a hug. "Yeah, I know. It just makes me think about the time we
Todd sat there looking uncomfortable. He ran his hand thought his hair, something he did when he was nervous about something. Murdock looked at him. "Todd, what's wrong, son?"
Todd stood up. Murdock waited as his son began to pace the floor. Murdock then stood up and grabbed his son gently
"Todd, sit down, son. What's wrong?"
Todd hesitated, not knowing how to say what he wanted to say, especially since he probably should have been told the truth before now. He swallowed and slowly sat down. Murdock joined him, waiting for him to speak.
"Dad? Is Ronin Hannibal's son?"
Murdock looked at his son, surprised. "Why are you asking me that?"
"I heard you and Mom talking one night. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to eavesdrop."
Murdock sighed while rubbing
his chin."I see. Yes, Ronin
"No, not the fact he's
Murdock smiled at his son. "Todd, never be afraid to tell me anything. Okay, son?"
Todd smiled back, now glad he had gotten it out in the open. "Thanks, Dad, I will try and remember that."
Murdock smiled slightly and nodded, his mind drifting back to that fateful day in 1993, the day of Hannibal Smith's funeral…
It was raining and people were starting to go home. A group of people stood alone, each lost in their own thoughts. A woman approached them with a child. She walked up to the team and introduced herself.
"Hello, my name is Helen Robbins and this is Ronin." She pointed to the young boy with her. The boy looked up at the group of people. They all smiled at him. He looked to be about four. He had blond hair with a tint of red in it and blue eyes. He was wearing a child's blue sailor outfit.
"This child was my sister's boy. She died and I cannot take care of him any longer. Your friend, Mr. Smith, was his father. I know that my sister would have liked for one of you to raise him."
The team looked at the boy.
They were shocked at the [news. None] of them had known that
Face was the first to
recover. "Are you saying that this boy is
"Yes. If one of you doesn't take him he'll be placed in an orphanage."
Face bent down to the child. "Guys, I know what that's like. I'll take him. I know Rita won't mind. Besides, Dani and Brandi will be thrilled to have a brother. What do you say, Ronin, want to come live with us?"
Ronin just stared at Face and said nothing. Murdock also stared at Face, then back at Kelly. She just smiled at Ronin, who smiled back at her. Murdock knew she wanted this child. They had been trying for two years to have a child.
"Wait a minute, Face. You have two children, your two year old twins. Kelly and I don't... and we really want a child."
Face look at Murdock, suddenly feeling really bad. "Murdock, Kelly, I'm sorry. I should have realized."
Helen Robbins stood there. "Gentlemen, I need your decision by tomorrow."
"I want this child, Murdock. Very much. Please, let's try and adopt him," said Kelly, never taking her eyes off of the boy.
Murdock nodded his head. He wanted Ronin, too. "What do we need to do in order to adopt Ronin?"
"First you need to be [checked] out, but I'm sure there will be no problem. I'm sure you'll give him a good home and plenty of love."
The Murdocks held each others hand. "We can do that."
"Good, then I will see you tomorrow morning in my office." She reached into her purse and took out her business card. "Together we'll go to the adoption agency."
It took almost six months, but in the end, Murdock and Kelly became Ronin's parents
Todd noticed his father's face far away look and it scared him, so he shook him. "Dad, you okay?"
Murdock came back to reality and saw his son's face. "Hey, Toddy, I'm fine. Just thinking, that's all."
They heard a noise and both glanced up as Murdock's oldest entered the room.. "Come on, Todd, Dad's fine. It's been a long day. Stop being such a mother hen."
Todd stood up. "Hey, I was just worried."
"Okay, you two, knock it off," Murdock replied, even though he knew his sons were only teasing each other. They would do anything for one another.
Ronin was twenty years old, soon to be twenty one. He resembled his late father a lot. He was a strong and handsome looking man. His sandy blond hair still had some tints of red in it and he had the most beautiful blue eyes that would make even the meanest person's heart melt.
Murdock suddenly grabbed Ronin and pulled him down to the sofa and enveloped his arms around both of his sons. "With my two sons by my side, how could I not be fine?"
Ronin reached over and tickled his brother. Todd squirmed; he hated being tickled. "Come on, Ronin, cut it out," he laughed. Murdock watched as Ronin attacked Todd more. Todd was now laughing hard.
Ronin was enjoying this. "Say `uncle'."
Todd squirmed, "No... "
Ronin tickled even harder. "Say `uncle', Todd."
Todd was now laughing so hard he could hardly speak. ''" Unnn...."
"What? Did you say something?" teased Ronin.
Murdock decided to come to his youngest son's rescue. "Okay, Ronin, let your brother up."
Ronin got up and helped his brother up, then looked at his father. "Pop, do you remember the day mom told us she was going to have Todd? I'll never forget that. She told us on my birthday."
Murdock softly giggled. "It's a day that will go down in history because we were told we would never have another child ."
Kelly pulled the car into the driveway and ran into the house. "Murdock, Ronin, where are you? I have the most wonderful news!"
Murdock and Ronin were on the floor playing a new game Ronin had gotten for his fifth birthday.
"What is it, Mama? Did you get me a puppy for my birthday?"
Kelly laughed as she walked over and bent down to her son.
"No, Ronin, something even better."
She smiled at Murdock. "We're going to have a baby."
Murdock's eyes lit up and he grabbed Kelly, lifting her up and swinging her around.
"A baby? We're going to have a baby?"
Kelly giggled. "Yes, we're going to have a baby. Murdock, put me down."
"Wowie! A baby! We're going to have a baby."
"Big deal," came a small voice. "I wanted a puppy."
Murdock and Kelly stopped and stared at their five year old son. Murdock stooped down to his level. "Hey kiddo what's up? Aren't you happy for your mother?"
Ronin felt bad for what he said. "Yeah, I guess. I just wish it was a puppy. Sorry, Mama."
Kelly smiled. "That's okay, baby."
Murdock winked at Kelly. "Hmm, a puppy, huh? Now, would you take care of a puppy?"
Ronin's eyes lit up. "Oh, yes, Daddy. I would."
"I believed you would, with a little help from me and your mom. So close your eyes."
Ronin stood up and closed his eyes real tight.
"Now, no peeking."
"I won't, Daddy."
Murdock walked out of the room and soon returned and placed a cocker spaniel puppy in Ronin's arm.
"Happy birthday, Ronin."
Ronin hugged the puppy. "Thank you, Daddy, thank you, Mama."
Kelly smiled. "So what are you going to name him?"
Murdock smiled, remembering his invisible dog, Billy. "So, Ronin, why Billy?"
Ronin looked up from having his head buried in the puppy's soft fur. "Because Andy Martin's dog's name is Billy and he's big and strong and I want my puppy to have a big and strong name, too."
Murdock patted his son's head. "Then Billy is a very good name for him."
Todd now smiled at them. "Hey, I like that you'd rather have a puppy than me, Ronin."
Ronin laughed. "Hey, what can I say? But Todd, Billy loved you, too, and always protected us. "
Todd nodded. "I know. I think I cried for days when he got hit by that car when I was six."
Ronin flopped his arm around Todd. "Yeah, I did too."
Todd looked surprised. "You did?"
"Yeah, I did."
Murdock was about to say something when he heard someone at the door. Todd got up.
"I'll go see who it is, Dad."
Murdock nodded. Todd walked over to the door and peeked though the keyhole. Seeing who it was he opened the door.
"Hi, Uncle Tem. Hi, Aunt Rita. Hi, girls."
"Hey, Todd," replied Rita as she gave him a small kiss on the cheek. Face shook hands with him and their daughters smiled bashfully.
"Come on in. Dad's in the front room."
Murdock stood up as Face and his family entered the room. "Face! It's really good to see you. When did you get back?"
"We just got back, Murdock. I'm really sorry we missed the funeral. The plane was delayed."
Murdock sadly smiled at Face. "Well, you're here now and that's all that matters. Come on; let's go into the living room. Gosh, it's great to see you."
"Murdock, we were only on vacation, but it's good to see you too. How are you holding up?"
Murdock lowered his head. The day's events were catching up with him and he was beginning to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. He slowly looked up and stared into his best friend's blue eyes.
"I miss her, Face. I can't believe she's gone. My Kelly, is gone." Suddenly Murdock broke down and cried. Face held his friend as Murdock thought back to that terrible day, the worst day of his life.
Kelly and Murdock sat in the doctor's office, holding each other's hand. When the doctor entered, they could tell by the look on his face that it was not good news.
Doctor Brown sat down at his desk and look at the Murdocks. "I'm sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Murdock, there is nothing that can be done. The cancer is too far gone. I wish we had been able to catch it sooner. I'm very sorry."
Kelly cried on her husband's shoulder. He looked at the doctor, his heart is breaking. His beautiful Kelly was going to die. He choked back the tears and asked softly, "How long?"
"It's hard tosay. Maybe three months if she is lucky."
The doctor had been wrong. She had died six weeks later in their home, with her husband and her sons by her bedside. Murdock remembered that both of his sons had cried but he couldn't remember if he had. Crying now felt almost comforting.
His friend nodded. "I'm here for you, Murdock."
"I know, Face, I know."
He turned to Rita and the girls. Rita was a lawyer Face had met while on a case back in 1988. She was tall, about 5 feet 9 inches, with green eyes and long brown hair that came down to her shoulders when she didn't have it up. They had married in 1989, with the twins being born in 1991.
"Hello, Rita, girls. Thanks for coming."
Rita smiled, taking Murdock's hand. "That's okay, Murdock. Is there anything we can do?
"No. Just all of you being here is enough."
Todd stared at the twins, his heart racing. He wanted so bad to be alone with Dani, but she was older and only thought of him as a friend. "Uh, do you want to see the garden? The tomatoes are real nice this time of year."
The girls looked at each other. "Yeah, sure, why not," replied Dani.
Brandi turned to Ronin. "Are you coming, Ronin?"
"In a minute. I want to make sure Dad's okay."
Murdock waved his son off. "I'm fine, Ronin, you go join the others."
"Okay Dad, but if you need me..." Ronin replied, his voice sounding concerned.
Murdock nodded. "I know where you'll be. Now, go have some fun."
"Come on, Ronin. We're waiting for you," called Brandi.
Dani smiled at her sister. She knew Brandi had a crush on Ronin.
"Now, aren't you two just too cute?" she teased.
"Young lady, you are a little too young to think boys are cute." said Face.
"Templeton, she's seventeen. I thought boys were cute at fourteen," teased Rita.
"Well, Todd's only fifteen, too young for my daughters, and Ronin's twenty, too old for my daughters," answered Face.
"Dad, what century are you living in?" asked Dani.
"Don't worry,Uncle Tem I will keep an eye on them! I promise nothing will happen. And Brandi can help me," replied Ronin
"Good, that makes me feel a whole lot better. Hey! Who is going to keep on eye on you two?"
Everyone laughed. The laughter died down when they heard a knock on the door. Murdock got up to get it, leaving Face and Rita still talking until they heard Murdock's angry voice.
"You get out of my house! I told you before, I'm not selling! I am not selling!"
Face got up, and entering the hallway he saw a tall man dressed in a dark black suit along with two big, burly, ugly-looking men.
Face moved to stand by Murdock. "Excuse me, is there a problem here?"
The man stared hard at Face. "My business is with Mr. Murdock. Not with you."
Face at once disliked the man. "You mess with my friend, you make it my business."
The man snapped his finger, and his goons grabbed Face. He then shoved some papers into Murdock's face.
"Mr. Murdock, your wife signed these papers. As you can clearly see, this house and the land it is on now belong to me. Vincent Robbins. I want you and your sons out of here before next week. Good day, gentlemen."
.Face struggled to get away from the goons. Vincent Robbins snapped his fingers and the goons let go. They walk out laughing and Murdock slammed the door hard. On hearing the door, Rita came out to join them. She watched as Face took the papers from Murdock and looked them over. Face heard his wife and turned to her. "Rita, please take a look at these papers. Are they legal?"
Rita took the papers and looked them over carefully. "They seem to be, but I'll take them to my office tomorrow and I will go over them there more carefully. If there's a loop hole I'll find it."
Murdock looked at Rita and hoped with all his heart she would find something. He had no idea what that man was talking about. Why would Kelly sign their home over to him? She knew Mr. Robbins was going to build a complex in their neighborhood. He was buying off property and the Murdocks had refused to sell. Now, Mr. Robbins had given him a paper that said Kelly had sold him the property. Why? He sat down with his hands on his head. First the death of his wife and now this. He saw his whole world crashing down around him.
Murdock sat on his couch, his head in his hands as he shook it from side to side. Sitting next to him, Face slid a comforting arm around his confused friend's shoulders.
"Hey, Murdock, don't worry, buddy. I am sure it's some kind of a mistake. There's no way Kelly would sell your home to a man like Vincent Robbins, no matter what those papers say. I promise you this: it will all work out and you and your sons will live in this house for a very long time. No one will ever make you guys leave. Rita and I will see to that!"
Murdock looked up at his friend and sighed heavily before speaking. "Face, I'm so glad you're here. You've always been the brother I've never had."
Face smiled at his friend. "Murdock, I've always felt the same way. I love you and your sons. I don't know what I would have done without you. You got the team out of so many tight jams. Being here with you is the least I can do. With Rita's help we'll get to the bottom of this ordeal with this Mr. Robbins."
Murdock's eyes suddenly looked very serious. Face knew that look. He'd seen it many times before.
"Murdock? What's wrong?"
"Face, the name Robbins, I've heard that name before, but where?"
Face nodded his head. "I don't know, Murdock."
Murdock nodded. "It will come to me. I just got to think."
At that moment there was a loud banging on the door. Murdock looked at Face in disgust.
"Why don't people use the bell? I installed it to be used, not just to look pretty!"
Face stood up. "Easy, buddy. I'll go answer it. You wait here."
Face walked over to the door. Looking through the peephole, a huge smile spread across his face. He opened the door to BA and his son, Keene.
"BA, Keene, so good to see you guys. Hey, Murdock, it's BA and Keene!"
Hearing the news Murdock raced to the door. He saw Face and BA in an embrace. BA pulled away from Face and gave Murdock a small grin.
thanks so very much for coming. Hey,
"If you say so, Uncle Murdock ,but I better get out there just in case. You see they need supervision all right. By me!"
Looking confused, Murdock walked around BA and Face, suddenly realizing that someone was missing. He walked out onto the porch, looking at BA's car in the driveway and then turning around to face the two men standing in the doorway.
"Hey, BA, where's Mandy? I hope she isn't ill. Did she have to care for her mother again?"
BA looked at the ground not wanting to meet Murdock's eyes.
Murdock noticed this and was concerned for his friend. "BA? Is everything okay? Hey, Big Guy, talk to me."
BA looked up and Murdock could see the sadness in his eyes. BA took a moment before he spoke.
"No, Mandy isn't ill and she isn't taking care of her mother." BA took a deep breath and sighed. "Mandy left us. She said that she was in love with another man and she left."
BA suddenly wanted to change
the subject. "Hey, Murdock, did
BA hurriedly passed Murdock and headed for the car. Murdock stood frozen on the porch watching him. Mandy leaving BA was hard to accept. They had both been at the Kelly's funeral earlier and they had seemed to be okay then. There had been no sign of trouble in their marriage. But then, Murdock thought, I may have been too caught up in my own problems to even notice. He quickly came to his senses and hurried after his friend. BA opened the car door and found the casserole on the back seat. He was reaching in for it when Murdock approached him from behind and threw his arms around his big friend.
BA felt embarrassed. "Get away fool, I don't need that!"
Looking a little sad, Murdock pulled away from BA. "Okay, BA. I understand, but if you need to talk, I am here to listen."
BA realized he had hurt Murdock's feelings. "Look fool, I know you only want to help, but I don't want to talk about it no more. You're the one who just lost his wife."
"You lost your wife, too, BA."
Murdock walked away with his head lowered and passed Face as he entered his house. Face placed both hands on his hips, looked at BA and shook his head from side to side. BA looked down at the casserole in his hands and realized he had better try and fix things. He walked into the house and went over to Murdock. The pilot was leaning against the fireplace, gazing upon the portrait of his family.
"Look man, hey, I'm
really sorry. I guess it's really getting to me. I shouldn't have talked to you
like that. I just want to be here for you and help you now, not whine about
"Hey, big guy, your problems aren't petty. I'm so glad you're here."
BA pulled Murdock to him and whispered in his ear.
"You my best friend and I care about you and your boys."
"You and Face both think alike."
"Whatcha mean ?"
"You both told me the same thing."
A week passed and The Pecks invited Murdock and his sons to their home to discuss the information regarding Murdock's home. Their children decided to go to the theater to see the new James Bond movie, so the adults could be alone for this very important discussion.
Rita sat down at the table, taking out a large folder. She carefully removed some of the papers. \"Murdock, does the name Helen Robbins sound familiar to you?"
Murdock thought for a moment "Yeah, she bought Ronin into our lives. Why?"
Rita nodded her head.
Murdock waited for her to explain.
"Ronin's mother is Christina Louise Robbins, the sister of Vincent Robbins."
.Suddenly he slapped himself on the forehead as the name Vincent Robbins registered "Are you telling me that the Mr. Robbins who is buying out the neighborhood,is the same Vincent Robbins who's Ronin 's natual uncle?"
Rita nodded. "One and the same."
This was really starting to agitate him Murdock as he began to paced. What does this have to do with my home?" asked Murdock
"Easy, hon I'm getting to that." Rita carefully looked over the papers before she spoke.
"I had a friend check this out for me. She's a
private investigator so she's got connections. She found out for me that
Hannibal and Christina were engaged to be married;
however, for some reason, her brother was strictly against it and forbade the
Both Murdock and Face read over the papers Rita had given them.
"She went through with the birth alone and brought Ronin John into the world much against her brother's wishes. Well, Christina didn't survive the childbirth. So Helen took the boy and left. She had planned to raise Ronin herself."
Rita paused for a moment.
brother caught up with her and told her to do away with the child or he would
do the job himself. She became very frightened and kept running with the boy,
Face look at his wife. "Rita, what did he have against the child?"
"I don't know, Templeton. My friend couldn't find that out.'"
Murdock shook his head. "I had no idea about Ronin's back ground. It just didn't seem important."
"Kelly did appear to know. She knew she was dying and she also knew that it wouldn't be long before Vincent would somehow cross your path." Rita stopped and looked at Murdock confused face. "Hon, I'm only guessing here, but it would make sense."
Murdock stared, his mind was racing. "Why didn't Kelly tell me of this? Didn't she love me? Didn't she trust me?"
"Murdock, trust me, she loved you, too much maybe. She did what she did for you. You see, you were so distraught over her cancer she was probably afraid that this might be too much for you to bear. So she took matters into her own hands regarding this house. You see,she did't sign the house over to Mr. Vincent Robbins , she sign it over to Ronin Robbins. She asked you not to give Ronin your name. Remember?"
Murdock nodded,"I was hurt at the time,but she reminded me that it didn't really matter. We registered him at school and everything else as"Murdock".but left it open for him to decide which name he wanted. She want us to ever tell him what he should do. We thought that when he was old enough,he would be able to make the decision for himself
"Murdock, Ronin turns twenty-one tomorrow . Right?"
"You see ,effective tommorrw, the house onwer is Mr. Ronin John Robbins not HM Murdock, nor Vincent Robbins. There's no way Vincent Robbins can throw you out of a house that isn't his.
Murdock stared in disbelieve. Then he got up from the table. He was losing control. He had to calm down. Seeing no other option he went outside. Face stood up but his wife shook her head. A few moments later Murdock returned. He stood there staring at them. "Rita, thanks for the information, but Robbins lives above the law. He doesn't give a damn who owns this house and I will not give this house up, not even to Ronin."
"Murdock, you have no choice."
"It's my home...."
Rita placed her arm around him. "I'm sorry Murdock. I wish I could be of more help."
Murdock shook his head "It's my fault . Kelly owned this house I 've never got around to signing the owner papers . She wanted me too but ... " Murdock hung his head."I didn't think it matter."
Face putted his hand on his friend shoulder. "Calm down, Murdock, you won't lose your home. Ronin would never take it from you."
Murdock only nodded.
Rita looked at Face, not knowing what to say to Murdock. Face gave her a smile, letting her know things would work out somehow.
The kids were all seated in the back row of the movie theater. After the movie was over, Ronin stood and stretched his arms. \"That movie was great, guys, but we better get back."
Grabbing his jacket, Todd looked at his brother. "Do we have to go home now? The night's still young."
"Yes, we do," came back Ronin, slightly annoyed.
"Why?" retorted Todd.
"We need to go. It's late and I'm worried about Dad."
"Oh, come on, Ronin. Dad's fine. He's not alone. I wanna stay out more."
By now Ronin was losing his temper. "Well, you're not staying out. I'm the oldest and we're going back to Uncle Face's home."
Todd glared at his brother. "Stop telling me what to do. You're not my boss, Ronin."
"Well, someone has to tell you. You're such a baby. All you care about is yourself."
"That's not true!"
"Well, that's not how I see it. I think we should go be with Dad."
"Why? I love Dad too, Ronin, but I think he would want us to have a good time. I just don't want to go home yet."
Ronin stared at his younger brother. "Why?"
Todd looked at his brother. "I just wanna have... I don't know... I guess I just need to do something fun since Mom died. I don't mean to sound selfish. I'm sorry."
Ronin place his arm around Todd. "I think I understand Todd, but we really should be heading back. It's late and you know how Dad worries."
Todd smile weakly at his brother. "Yeah, I know."
"Tell you what, you and me, Saturday night. We'll paint the town red."
"That'll be cool. I hope Dad'll say it'll be okay."
Ronin nodded his head.
Dani smiled, She was glad they work it out. "Hey, Ronin, you're gonna be twenty-one tomorrow. I've got to wait four more years."
Ronin laughed a little. "Yeah, I know. Thanks for reminding me."
They all got into Ronin's car and headed to Face's house. When they arrived BA was waiting on the porch. The kids got out of the car wondering what was going on. Brandi approached BA.
"Hey, Uncle BA. When did
you get here? Is
By now Dani was standing by her sister. "Is everything okay? You look kind of. worried."
BA waited for the boys before
he spoke. "Come inside, we all need to talk.
They gave each other a look but followed BA inside. BA walked into the kitchen where everyone was seated at the table. Ronin and Todd noticed that their father look tired and upset. They both went to his side
"Dad? Are you alright?" Ronin asked with concern.
"Yeah, Dad, you don't look so good."
Murdock looked up and took in a deep breath. He took both his sons hands. "Ronin, please sit down. There's something I need to tell you."
"Sure, Dad. Is everything alright?"
Murdock took a deep breath.
He stared at his son and sighed. He could see so much of
There was a pause.
Ronin looked at Murdock for a long moment. The look made Murdock feel uncomfortable. Ronin's eyes seem to darken but suddenly it was like there was a wave of sunlight passing through them.
Then Ronin smiled, squeezing his Dad's hand. "I know, Dad. I've known for a long time."
Murdock stared in disbelief, his hands started to shake and he felt tears in his eyes. "How?" he asked in a whisper.
Ronin raise his hand to wipe the stray tear from his father's face. "How did I know? Dad, we don't look alike. You, Mom and Todd all have dark hair; you and Todd have dark eyes. I have blond hair
and blue eyes. There's no way you're my biological father. But I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, you are my father. I know if Mom hadn't gotten sick, you would have told me. I found this picture in an
old box in the closet. I cut it to fit my wallet. I believe he's my real father."
Ronin took out the picture showing it to Murdock. Murdock
looked at the picture of
Ronin hugged his father and whispered, "Thanks, Dad."
"Ronin, why didn't you say something?"
"I saw no reason to."
Murdock returned his son's hug. "I love you, Ronin."
"I know that and we love you too."
Murdock released him and turned to the others who had been quiet through all of this. Murdock noticed a tear in Rita's eye. She wiped it away and smiled. Murdock looked at Face nodding for him to take over. Face looked at the kids. "Wait, there's more. Would the rest of you please sit down?"
Todd, Brandi, Dani and Keene all sat down and waited for Face to speak. "Now I 'm pretty sure you've all heard about The A-Team."
"Who hasn't heard of them?" replied Dani, "I mean they were famous."
Face looked at his daughter. "Dani, we are...."
Before Face could finish, his other daughter, Brandi, spoke up. "Dad, we know you guys are the A-Team."
It was now Face's turn to be stunned. "How do you know that?" he demanded.
Murdock looked at them. "How did you find out? We never told you."
Todd looked at Ronin. Ronin took a deep breath. "We were having one of our meetings up in the attic and we found this old trunk. It was full of stuff about you guys."
Brandi suddenly took over. "I admit, I was really upset and mad because you kept it from us."
"Yeah, she was, but we figure you had a reason for not telling us," said Dani.
Until you felt the time was right," finished
The adults stared at each other. "Well, that was easy," replied Murdock. "Ronin, there is more though."
"What's that, Dad?"
"When you turn twenty-one tomorrow, our house will belong to you."
Ronin looked surprised. "I don't understand."
"Your mom signed the house over to you."
"I'm not really sure. I guess she figured if you owned it, Robbins wouldn't be unable to get it."
"Dad, how can that stop him from taking it?"
"I don't know, Ronin. But the man that was here last week is your uncle. His sister is your natural birth mother. Her name was Christina."
Ronin suddenly stood up, soaking in what he was being told. "My uncle is Vincent Robbins?"
"Man, this is strange."
"You can say that again," replied Todd.
"Dad, you won't lose your home. I promise once this is settled, I will sign it back over to you."
Murdock smiled. "I know, son, and thank you."
"Is it okay if we go outside and talk for a bit?" asked Ronin.
"It's okay with me, if Face, Rita and BA don't mind."
"No, you kids go ahead. Just be careful," replied Face
Dani hugged her dad. "We will you, old worry wart."
The strange man sat in his car as he watched the kids leave the house. His boss, Robbins, wanted Murdock out of the way. He believed he could easily get the house, if Murdock was out of the way. He had been told to follow Murdock till he got his chance to make his move and it looked like he was going to get it. The strange man carefully put his rifle together and waited.
Once their children were outside, Murdock headed for Face's den to be alone.
The man saw Murdock leave and follow him to see where he went Once he saw where.he climbed up a nearby tree and positioned himself. He got his gun ready and aimed it at his target
Once he was in the den , Murdock, took out his picture of Kelly and stared at it for a long time. "Hey, Kelly, I miss you so much. I feel like I'm losing my mind. I don't know what to do. I wish you were here to tell me what to do. You were always good at this sort of thing. If only you were here!"
Walking in, Face placed his hand on Murdock's shoulder. "She's here, Murdock. She's watching over you."
"I know. But I miss her so much."
"We all miss her, Murdock."
Murdock shook his head. "I'm sorry, Face, I'll be okay."
"There's nothing wrong with being sad, Murdock. It's okay to be unhappy."
"Yeah, Murdock, I miss Mandy, too."
Murdock and Face turned to find BA in the doorway Murdock walked up to him. "Mandy was a fool to leave such a wonderful man."
"Thanks. Face, Rita wants us to check on the kids."
Face nodded turning back to Murdock "Will you be okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. Thanks."
BA and Face nodded, leaving Murdock to his thoughts. Suddenly a shot rang out and Murdock stood there for a moment, then fell to the floor in a heap. BA and Face hurried back into the room. BA bent down to check on him. Murdock's head was bleeding but not badly. BA sighed in relief; the bullet had only grazed his friend. Picking him up gently, he carried him out of the room. Face seeing that BA was looking after Murdock hurried and turn out the lights so whoever shot Murdock wouldn't get another chance
Hearing the shot, the children ran into the house. Todd and Ronin stopped in their tracks as they saw BA carrying their father over to the couch. They both hurried over to him.
"What happened ?" demanded Todd.
BA didn't answer him, just gently laid Murdock on the couch, then looked at Face. "Face man, we got trouble." BA looked up at Rita. "Please call an ambulance."
Rita nodded her head. Soon she came back in. "They're on the way . Tem we should called the polices."
BA looked up at her. "No police . We take care of our own."
Rita stare at Face. ."Templeton Peck ! Someone is out there . We have to called the police!"
Face place his hand on her shoulder. "We're handed it . We always have."
"I think you both are crazy. I'm calling the polices."
"Please Rita . I don't want the police involved."
"It brings back old feeling and not good ones."
"I'll go see if the ambulance is coming yet."
Todd looked at his father and saw the blood on Murdock's head.
"Oh, God! Dad has been shot!" he said in a broken voice.
BA looked up at Todd. "It will be okay, Todd. It's just a graze but we've sent for an ambulance."
Todd looked at BA, then down at his father. "I wanna go with them."
Face nodded. "I think we all better go."
BA nodded. "Yeah, I agree."
Face turned to his wife. "Rita, BA, and I are going to check the perimeter. You wait for the ambulance and go with them to the hospital. We'll join you as soon as we find out who shot Murdock."
Ronin stared at his father. Then looks up at Face and BA. "Please, I want to come with you."
Face turned to him. "Ronin, please go with them to the hospital. You're not experienced enough to help."
"Uncle Face, I've got to come. Someone shot my dad. I just can't stay here. I'm not a child," Ronin retorted.
Face placed his hand on Ronin shoulder. "I know you want to help, Ronin, and you can, by going to the hospital. Your dad lost his wife. I don't think he could stand it if anything happened to you, too."
Ronin reluctantly sat down beside Todd. "Just be careful."
"We will replied Face as he headed for his office where he kept his guns under lock and key. Unlocking it he took out his gun and gave one to BA.
"Okay, BA, let's go."
"I'm right in front of you, Face," replied BA as he headed out the door.
Face followed behind, only stopping long enough to address his wife. "Rita, please keep an eye on Murdock and the children."
Rita nodded, looking at the gun she had hoped would never have to be used again, but she was glad Face always kept them clean.
"I will, Tem, and like Ronin said, be careful," she replied.
Face gave his wife a kiss,catching up with BA. He handed him a walkie-talkie. "We may need them."
The ambulance soon arrived. The paramedics knocked on the door. Rita stood up and turned to the children. "Stay here, I'll go let them in."
Ronin stood up. "Aunt Rita, please make sure it is them and not the person who shot Dad."
"I will, Ronin." Rita walked over to
the door,peeked thought the peep hole and saw that it
was the paramedics . She opened the door and took them to Murdock. They looked
Murdock over and placed him on
the gurney then, called in to the hospital. Once that was done, they
placed him into the ambulance. One of
the paramedic turned to Rita. "We're taking to
"Thank you. May his sons go with you?"
The paramedic nodded. "One can ride up front with my partner, the other with me."
Rita nodded. Once outside, Ronin climbed inside with his father as Todd got in front. Rita and her daughters and Keene got into her car and followed.
Face gave a heay sigh as he and BA move around the yard. This was something they had not done in a long time. Suddenly Face spotted the guy. He was racing towards his car. Face whipped out his communication. "BA, he's heading your way."
"I see him." BA raced towards the man but before he could catch him, the man had gotten to his car and sped away. BA slammed his fist against a nearby tree. Face caught up with him just in time to see the car speed away.
BA looked sadly at Face. "I'm sorry, man."
Face shook his head. "Not your fault. We better get back to the house."
BA nodded The phone rang as they got inside Face answered it. After hanging up, he turned to BA.
"That's good, man."
"Yeah. Rita's going bring Ronin and Todd back here for the night."
"Yeah, good idea. Do you want me and Keene to stay for the night?"
"Yeah, maybe you should so we can get an early start in the morning."
"You mean to pay Robbins a visit?"
"You bet I do."
Soon the others were back. They got out cab and all went into the house. Face walked over to Murdock's sons and Keene.
"You all will be spending the night here."
Ronin look at Face. "Why?"
"I think it's for the
best." Face then turned to
Ronin glanced at his friends, each giving him an understanding look. They knew that they would talk about this later, Ronin giving the others a signal that they would meet later at their secret place, when the time was right.
Ronin turned to Face. "I'm sorry about earlier. You're right, it is best we stay here. We're kind of tired; could Brandi show us to our rooms ?"
Rita nodded. Brandi took them to the room Todd would sleep in. Then she and Ronin went to the room where he would sleep. Ronin gently grabbed her arm. She looked at him. "Ronin?"
"Tell your sister we'll meet at the old tree house tomorrow. I'll tell Todd and Keene."
"Ok, Ronin, but why there? We haven't used that tree house in years."
"We have to talk about a way to help my dad and it's the last place they'll look for us."
Brandi stood there for a moment. "Why must we do this behind their backs?"
Ronin sighed. "Because they'll never agree with what I have planned. Good night, Brandi."
Brandi closed her door and leaned against it. "I'm not sure if I do either, Ronin Murdock."
Brandi slowly headed for her room. She knew deep down that what Ronin was planning was wrong. They shouldn't be going behind their fathers' backs. They knew nothing about fighting. They were teenager; well at least she, Dani, Todd and Keene were.
Stopping by her parents' room, she glanced in the open door. Face was sitting in his chair reading a book, while her mother appeared to be in bed asleep. Brandi smiled as she looked at them, not wanting to disturb them, but she really needed to talk to someone. She cleared her throat. Face looked up.
"Dad, can I talk to you?'
Face placed his book down on the night stand and stood up and walked over to his daughter. "Brandi,you know you can always talk to me. Let's take a walk."
"Thanks, Dad " she replied ,as she followed her dad.
Walking with his daughter, he placed his hand gently on her shoulder. "Hey, pumpkin, something bothering you?"
Brandi looked at him. "I don't know. Yeah, maybe something." Brandi stared down at the floor.
Face lifted her chin so he could see her face. "You want to talk about it?"
Brandi felt the warmth of her father's touch and it felt so wonderful, but she was still unsure. "I want to, but I don't know if I should."
"I see. So you got boy trouble? Well you came to the right person," Face smiled with a wink.
Brandi's eyes grew wide. "Dad! No, it's not that. Let's say that you know someone is doing something that you feel isn't right. Would you tell on them?"
Face studied his daughter thoughtfully before he answered, not wanting to say the wrong thing. "Well, I guess it would depend on what they were doing. Whether or not I thought it was dangerous or even life threatening."
Brandi sighed. "Yeah, it's dangerous. Or it could be."
Face knew his daughter and knew she was asking for help. "Brandi, whatever's wrong you can tell your old Dad."
Brandi looked at her father and breathed a heavy sigh, but knew she had to tell him.
"Ronin wants us to try and stop Robbins."
"Us? You mean you kids?" Face asked .sternly but gently.
"Yeah. Dad, I don't want to do it, I'm not a fighter."
Face studied his daughter's face and kissed the top of her head. "Brandi, you go to bed. I'll talk to Ronin."
Brandi looked at her father, tears in her eyes. "Dad, please don't tell him I told you."
"I won't," Face promised, bending down to place another kiss on her forehead. "Now, you go to bed. And don't you worry. You did the right thing."
"Thanks, Dad. Good night."
Face watched Brandi walk away. He sighed a little and went to the room Ronin was staying in. On his way he stopped and gently
opened the door to check on Todd as well. He saw that Todd was sound
asleep [ and
Ronin was not asleep. He was lying on the bed a plan running through his mind. "Who is it?"
"It's Face, Ronin, we need to talk."
Ronin swung his feet around and sat up. "Come on in."
Face walked in and looked at Ronin. The person he saw was not a young man without any worries, but a person who was carrying the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. Face sighed. A young man like Ronin should be dating and enjoying life, not spending time worrying. He paused for a moment before he went over to him and sat down on the bed. "Ronin, I know what you are planning to do and I can't let you do it."
"Well, I was planning on going to sleep," Ronin said.
Face shook his head. "You know what I mean. I saw you and Brandi talking and I heard you organizing a meet in the tree house."
"So, we always go to the tree house."
you guys haven't been to the tree house since Todd was twelve. Now,I didn't just fall of the turnip truck . You're
"I have no idea what you are talking about," Ronin tried to defend himself. .
"Ronin, don't try to con a conman. I understand where you're coming from. But in all honesty, I can't let you do it. If Robbins gives us trouble[,then we'll stop him, but you guys will stay out of it."
"That's not fair," Ronin protested. "Robbins nearly killed my dad tonight. As far as I'm concerned, I'm part of this even if the others aren't."
Face studied the younger man.a look of concern on his features. He knew Ronin had a point. "Tell you what.Murdock's getting out tomorrow and then we'll all have a talk; you, me, Murdock and BA. Maybe we can work something out
The young man stared at Face. "Dad's getting out tomorrow?"
"Ronin, you know your dad hates hospitals. He spent almost half his adult life in one and then with your Mom's illness and all, I don't think he wants to spend any more time in one than he has to. And anyway the doctor said it would be only overnight."
He smiled and ruffled the young man'd head ."Besides, you know what a hard head your dad has."
That brought a smile to Ronin 's face. "Uncle Face, that would be great. I'm glad Dad's coming home tomorrow."
"Just know this, we will not let you get you involved in anything life threatening. And you will need to learn a few things."\line "Yeah, I get you."
"Good. Well, goodnight". Face turned to leave then stopped. "Ronin, promise me you won't do anything until we all talk about it."
"I promise. "Goodnight ,Uncle Face." Face."
Face nodded and left the room. Ronin climbed into bed ,kind of glad Face was sharp and had figured out what he was planning. He hoped the talk would help.
The next morning, the kids were up and sitting around the kitchen table eating breakfast when Ronin came in. "Morning, guys, what's for breakfast?"
Todd looked up. "Eggs and hash browns. Aunt Rita said to help ourselves. "
"Thanks, I think I'll just have a bowl of cereal." Ronin went over to the refrigerator, opened it up and took out the milk. He returned to the table and saw that Brandi had gotten the cereal. "Thanks, Brandi."
Brandi nodded. Ronin sat down at the table with a far away look in his eyes. Todd watched his brother. He had seen that look before. It always meant that Ronin had something on his mind. "Hey, Bro? Are we still going to meet at the tree house?"
Ronin shook his head as he poured milk into his cereal. "No, there's been a change of plan. Uncle Face over heard us talking . He had a long talk with me and we decided it would be best not to jump into something we really don't know about. Uncle Face thinks it would be a good idea if they had a talk with us."
Todd gave a heavy sigh of relief. "I'm glad. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to handle that Robbins guy."
Brandi looked over at Ronin. "By 'they' I presume you mean our parents?"
"Well, I think our fathers, actually," replied Ronin.
Rita entered the kitchen. She smiled at the young people. "Morning."
"Morning," they answered her.
"Mom, where's Dad?" asked Dani.
"He went to pick up Murdock."
"This early?" asked Ronin.
"Yes. Murdock called and asked Tem to come so he could be there when the Doctor released him."
The kids nodded.
Todd turned back to the others. "Ronin, what did Uncle Face tell you?"
"Just what I said, that we're not ready to go up against Robbins."
"Of, course you're not ready to go up against Robbins."
They all turned but it was Todd who reacted first. He jumped up, knocking over his chair as he went to give his father a hug.
Murdock almost lost his balance from his son's hug, but quickly recovered as he returned it with a huge grin. "Now, what did I do to deserve that?"
Todd didn't answer, just gave his father a small smile.
Face was just coming in. "You know, Murdock, you should have waited for me. You could have stumbled."
Murdock turned to his friend, "Face, I'm fine. I'm not helpless." Face sighed as Murdock turned back to the kids. "Now, what's this about them wanting to go after Robbins?"
"Calm down, Murdock, and let's hear what Ronin has to say," said Face.
Murdock nodded and sat down, his younger son beside him. "All right, Ronin, you have the floor. I promise I'll hear you out."
"Thanks, Dad. Last night when you were shot, I knew Mr. Robbins would stop at nothing to get the house, and there's no way a slip of paper is going to make him back down. So I decided a new team must be made to stop him."
Murdock eyebrow's furrowed, but he remained quiet, waiting for his son to finish.
We had planned to meet at the tree house and we were going to become the New A-Team. Uncle Face overheard me and Brandi talking and, well, he put a stop to it for now. Dad, I want to help stop that Robbins creep."
Murdock stood up and moved over to his son. "Ronin, Mr. Robbins is a very dangerous man."
"Dad, I would have done anything to stop him. Even if it meant killing him."
Murdock gave his son a worried and painful look. "Ronin, I don't *ever* want to hear you say that again. Killing a person is wrong. There are other ways to deal with those types of people."
"Dad, you've killed and I'm sure my real dad has, too."
"Yes, we have, but those were different times, a different world. We were at war. They killed us, we killed them. But this is different. When we helped a client we contained the baddy, we never killed them. We always left them wrapped up to be delivered to the police. Robbins is dangerous. And there is no way you kids are going to be part of this."
Ronin clenched his fist, trying to keep control of his anger. He knew getting angry would not help. "Dad, I'm not a kid any longer. I know you'd like me to be but I'm not."
Murdock stared at his son,
reminded once more just how much like
Ronin nodded. He was trying his best to see his father's point of view. But he also wanted his father to see his. "I know we're inexperienced but you could teach us or at least me."
Todd stared at his brother but remained quiet.
"Son, I just don't want you involved."
"Murdock, can I speak with you for a moment? In private?" asked Face.
Murdock nodded as the two men went into another room. "Face, if this is about teaching Ronin, no way."
"Murdock, this is up to you, But Ronin is twenty one years old. He's an adult and if he chooses to do this, you really can't stop him. You learned to use a gun at an age younger then Ronin is now.
"That was different, Face."
"Is it? I know you don't want Ronin involved in this. I wouldn't want my girls involved either, but Ronin is Robbins' nephew; he *is* involved whether you like it or not. If Ronin was my son, I would want him to be able to protect himself. He's not my son, but I think you should at least teach him the basics."
Murdock thought for a moment. "Face, I know you're right, Ronin should learn the basics. I'm just not crazy about it."
"I know, Murdock. We all want to protect our kids from the world we live in. But they've got to grow up some time and we can't always protect them."
"Yeah, I know," Murdock sighed. "I'll teach him how to use a gun."
Face wrapped his arm around his friend's shoulder. "Well, at least it's a start."
The two men made their way the kitchen. Murdock went over to his son.
"Son, this was something I never wanted for you. But it's out of the bag now. I don't want you to go off on your own and get yourself killed, so we're going to train you. But only you. And please listen to us, your life may depend on it."
Murdock moved his attention to his friend. "Face, can I see your 9 mm? I want to start Ronin out on it."
Face nodded as he went over to his gun cabinet. opened it and took out the gun. Returning to his friend he gave the gun to him. Murdock nodded his thanks . He then carefully check to make sure it wasn't loaded . Once he was satisfy he placed the gun on the table.
"Ronin, this is a big step. It's hard sometimes for me to see that you are no longer a child. Learning how to use a gun is a big step, but I have confidence that you will manage it."
Ronin gazed down at the gun.
"Go on, pick it up and get to know the feel of the gun."
Carefully Ronin picked the gun up. He felt the cold steel of the gun as he carefully checked it over. Murdock held his hand out and Ronin returned the gun to him.
"Dad, was my real father killed by a gun?"
Murdock shook his head. "No, Ronin. Your father enjoyed his cigars and they caught up with him. He died of lung cancer."
"He refused treatment. I argued with him; treatment would have at least prolonged his life, but he refused it," Face said sadly.
Ronin nodded and took the gun back from Murdock. "Thanks for giving me this chance, Dad. I promise I'll listen."
Murdock turned to his other son. "Todd, I need to know if you 're okay with this?"
"Dad, I'm not really crazy about it. But I do understand."
"I know, son, but it will be okay."
Later that day Murdock and Ronin were at the firing range practicing. "Okay, son, I showed you how to load the gun. Now find your sites and gently pull back on the trigger. Here, let me show you."
Murdock then proceeded to show his son how to fire a gun.
An hour went by and Murdock told Ronin to remove his ear protector as he removed his. "Ronin, that's enough for today. I believe you've learned a lot. I'm very proud of you. Why don't you get your stuff from the locker? I'll wait for you in the car."
Ronin nodded and headed for the locker room and Murdock went to the car. He was standing at the trunk to open it when he felt the cold steel of a gun in his back.
"Mr. Robbins wants to see you," a raspy voice whispered
"Tell him I'm busy at the moment," Murdock replied sarcastically.
"Sorry. Mr. Robbins don't like to be told no," replied the man as he brought his gun down on Murdock's head.
The ex-pilot saw stars right before he passed out.
Ronin walked out of the gun club just in time to see his father being put in back of a black sedan. The man got in and took off. Quickly Ronin jumped into his car and took chase.
The dark blond man looked out the rear view mirror. "Hey, we're being followed. You better lose him."
The driver sneered. "Yeah, I see him. Hold on."
The two cars drove down
The other man took out his gun and checked to make sure it was loaded. "You just drive. I'll take care of our shadow."
The man placed his head out of the car window and aimed it at the other car's tires and fired his gun several times. Soon the bullets hit their mark. The car swerved as Ronin fought hard to maintain control. It spun several times before it finally came to a halt only inches from a tree. Ronin sat there for a moment catching his breath.
Shaking, Ronin slowly got out and fell, down on the ground. He could hear the sirens. Two highway patrol cars pulled up beside him. One officer went up to him. "Son, are you okay?"
Ronin sat there for a moment, not saying anything. He had a far away look in his eyes. The officer looked concerned as he bent down to see the boy face. "Son, are you okay?" The officer asked again. "Do you need to see a doctor?"
Ronin stared up at him. "They took my father."
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