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Some Things Are Best Forgotten
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just fantasize that I do.
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Summary: Hannibal POV. Takes place after Children of Jamestown. Face has taken one too many blows to the head and suffers the consequences. Face h/c, angst.
Some Things Are Best Forgotten
Have you ever noticed how some people have a tendency to draw trouble to them? Well, maybe trouble isn't the word I'm looking for. I mean, take Face, for example. He took a solid hit in the face – even lost a cap from his tooth. Okay, two hits – one from me and one from one of Martin James' goons – and he lost two caps. He was also hit in the gut with a rifle butt in the back of the jeep – but he rallied and the mission went off without a hitch. We got Martin James. I even got my boots.
Face started complaining about a headache. To me, that means everything's fine because Face can complain about the smallest things. It's when he stops complaining that I worry. But today, he was complaining. "Hannibal, my head is killing me. BA, do you have to hit every bump in the road? Murdock, would you just play the quiet game for a while?"
I handed the kid some aspirin and told him to lay back the seat and give the aspirin time to work. He finally drifted off to sleep. We made it back to LA around midnight. BA pulled up to Face's latest place, a condo in Beverly Hills. I roused Face and we all went inside to get some sleep.
I had gone over various comebacks in my mind for the protests that I knew Face would make about us crashing at his place. But instead of saying anything to me, he just looked at me with his eyes half open and walked toward one of the bedrooms. "Night, guys," he said, and then he was gone.
BA headed down the hallway, toward a bedroom. Murdock had already fallen asleep on the couch, so I put a blanket over him and headed toward the final bedroom.
I took off my boots and fell onto the bed and stretched out. It felt good to lie down for a while. In fact, I think I might have fallen asleep.
The next morning, I could hear Murdock rattling around the kitchen, looking for something to eat. I took a quick shower and put on some fresh clothes. I went out into the kitchen. Murdock and BA were sitting at the table, each with a glass of milk in front of them and some toast crust. Some breakfast.
Murdock spoke first. "Hey, Hannibal. Faceman's cupboards are pretty bare. But I can make you some toast if you want. He's out of coffee, but there's some milk left…oh, and some champagne."
Toast and champagne. Yeah. Some breakfast.
"No, that's okay, Murdock. I'll get something later."
Face emerged from his bedroom still wearing the jeans and plaid shirt he had been wearing last night. He was pale, and his hair was askew. My Face radar immediately went off.
"Hey, Face, you okay?" I asked.
Face looked up, his eyes still half open. "I'm fine, Hannibal. I'm just a little tired. Did you guys manage to find anything to eat?"
BA grunted. "We found bread and milk. You ain't got enough food to keep an ant alive."
Face smiled weakly. "Yeah, well, I haven't exactly been able to go grocery shopping, what with getting shot at and all."
He pulled a chair away from the table and sat slowly. A flick of pain made its away across his face and quickly disappeared.
Okay. Now he's not complaining and I'm worried. "Okay, Face, spill it. What's wrong?"
Face looked up at me, all innocent like. "Nothing's wrong, Hannibal. What makes you say that? I'm just tired. Aren't we all?"
"Look, Face. You're pale, your breathing is kind of shallow, and the dead giveaway that something is wrong with you, is the fact that you're hair is messed up." There. I said it.
Face looked at me incredulously. "My hair is messed up? You think something is wrong because I got out of bed, at my own place, after being dead on my feet, and I didn't comb my hair?"
Murdock snickered. BA snarled at him. The smile vanished from Murdock's face.
I continued my assessment of my lieutenant. "Face. I know you. And I know you're in pain. Just tell me what's wrong. Do you need to see a doctor?"
Anger flashed in Face's eyes. "No, Hannibal, I do not need to see a doctor. I'm just tired." He pushed himself away from the table and stood slowly. I heard a small gasp as he stood. "I'm going back to bed." He shuffled down the hall and slammed the door.
I traded glances with BA and Murdock. I could see it in their eyes. They knew something was wrong too. Well, enough of this. I was going to get answers one way or the other.
I walked down the hall and stopped at the door to Face's bedroom. I was just about to knock when I heard something – make that someone – fall. I opened the door and scanned the room. Nothing. I could see the door to the bathroom was half open and the shower was running. I rushed to the door and pushed it open. There, lying on the floor was Face. He must have collapsed as he was undressing. His shirt was halfway off. He had a big, purple and black bruise across his ribcage. Was that from the butt of the gun? Surely not. But it had to be.
BA and Murdock burst into the room. Murdock inhaled sharply when he saw Face lying on the floor. I looked at BA, willing him to do damage control.
BA put his hand on Murdock's shoulder. "Murdock, go get a blanket. We'll need to wrap him up before we take him to the hospital."
Murdock turned and ran to the living room, retrieving the blanket I had covered him with the night before. I carefully wrapped Face in the blanket, then BA scooped him off of the floor.
Murdock ran ahead to get the van, BA on his heels. I followed behind, an uneasy feeling in my gut. This couldn't be happening.
But it was.
I hate hospitals. The smells, the food, the furniture…the waiting. The three of us took turns pacing in the waiting room. I hoped we could get Face in and out of here before the military got wind of us being here.
After a three-hour eternity, a doctor came out. He looked tired. I reached him in two strides.
"Well, Doc, how is he?"
BA and Murdock had caught up to me and were standing behind me.
The doctor pinched the bridge of his nose then massaged the back of his neck. "He has a concussion and two broken ribs. How he was able to function up to this point is a mystery to me."
It was a mystery to the doctor, but not to me. You don't survive a POW camp without learning how to function in pain. And Face had suffered a lot of pain. He had even been – I shook my head. I didn't want to think those thoughts. Not right now.
The doctor continued. "There is one complication. When he woke up in the exam room, he didn't know who he was. I'm hoping it's only temporary, a side effect of the concussion. But in some cases, amnesia can be permanent. We'll just have to wait and see. We're going to keep him overnight. We've taped his ribs and stitched a small laceration on the side of his head from the fall. He has to remain very still."
"Can we see him?" I asked.
"Sure. We're getting him settled in a room. I'll send a nurse for you when he's ready. He may not know who you are though, so be prepared for that. The main thing is not to upset him."
Face was lying in the hospital bed, the sheet pulled up to his waist. His chest was swathed in white bandages. He had a white gauze bandage on the side of his head as well. I hoped they didn't cut his hair. He wouldn't like that.
We made our way to the bed. Murdock on one side, me on the other, BA at the foot of the bed.
I leaned over. "Face, can you hear me?"
Face slowly opened his eyes. They were glazed and unfocused. He blinked a couple of times. From the way he was looking at me, I may as well have been the boogey man.
I tried again. "Face? It's me, Hannibal. How ya doin' kid?"
"Do I know you?" he asked quietly.
Murdock and BA said nothing, watching the scene play out before them.
What do I say to Face? Yeah kid, we're hiding from the government, we're wanted men, you were a POW and lived through hell as a soldier after living through hell as a kid. I couldn't tell him that. I'm an actor, so I improvised.
"Yeah. We…we're friends. We work together. I'm Hannibal Smith and this is BA Baracas and H.M. Murdock." I pointed to BA and Murdock as I introduced them. Each man smiled at Face, but still said nothing.
Face looked at Murdock, then looked at BA warily. "Uh, hi." It was no more than a whisper when he spoke.
Silence hung in the air.
Face yawned and closed his eyes. I don't know if he was really tired or not, but the tension in the room was palpable, so he was probably just wanting us to leave.
"Okay. We're going now. We'll check on you tomorrow." I motioned to BA and Murdock.
Face opened his eyes groggily. "Okay. Thanks for coming by." He closed his eyes again.
We left the room, an empty feeling in our hearts.
The next morning we headed to the hospital. It was pretty much a silent ride. Face had to go home with us, there was no question. Memory or no memory, he was a wanted man. Capture would mean a court martial, regardless.
We walked into the hospital room. Face looked up at us, smiled a friendly smile. "Good morning," he said.
We traded pleasantries.
We took turns staring at the ceiling, our feet, each other…whatever was convenient. After a 30-minute eternity, the doctor came in. He told us Face was free to leave, but he would need to be evaluated in a couple of weeks by a neurologist if his memory didn't come back. I asked him the chances of memory recovery and he told me what doctors always tell me….."We're not sure. We just have to wait and see."
Murdock gave Face a change of clothes and we waited while he changed in the restroom. He came out looking like our Faceman. Jeans, boots, a blue button down shirt. He still had a bandage patched on his head and he was walking stiffly, probably to avoid hurting his ribs. But by all appearances, he looked good.
He stood there, not sure what to do. I walked up to him then and told him, "C'mon Face, let's get home. I'm sure you're tired."
He nodded his head yes and took a couple of tentative steps. Then he asked me, "Where's home?"
I could hear Murdock sigh behind me. BA looked at me. I turned to Face and said simply, "We've got a condo in Beverly Hills."
That seemed to satisfy him. We walked out of the room, not really knowing what to do.
We got Face settled into his room. BA and Murdock left then, leaving just the two of us in the room.
"Uh, Hannibal?" he asked tentatively.
"Is my name really Face?"
I smiled at him. "It's your nickname. We gave it to you in 'Nam. You have the ability to charm anything from anyone with that face of yours. Your real name is Templeton Peck."
Face thought for a moment. "That's what the doctor said, but I wasn't sure he was telling me the truth."
"Yeah. When you were a kid, your name was Alvin Brenner, but you changed it when you got older." I began to dread these questions. I knew he had to be frustrated not knowing about his past, and I knew he deserved the answers, but I was dreading it just the same.
"Why did I change it?" he asked. I knew that one was coming.
"Uh, well, I guess you didn't like it. You were raised in an orphanage, and I guess you changed it when you got older because you didn't want to be 'the orphan' named Alvin." I said. Okay, so that was a lame reason. But he seemed to buy it.
"Hannibal, did you say I was in Vietnam?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah, Kid, we all were. That's where we met. You, BA, and a man named Ray Brenner served with me in my unit. Murdock was the pilot I always requested, so he was a member of the team too. We worked well together." I told him. No way was I going to tell him about the camps.
"Oh. I've met Murdock and BA. Where's Ray?"
"He's married and living in his home town. We haven't seen him in a while."
Face lay there on his bed; staring at the ceiling, then spoke. "You say we work together. What do we do exactly?"
I took a deep breath and told him. "We help people. Sometimes people need help that the law can't or won't give them. We've got specialty training. So people hire us to help them, and that's what we do."
"And I help?" he asked.
More ways than you'll ever know, Kid, I think. But I say, "Yeah, you're my second in command."
"Okay." A one-word answer, and he closes his eyes. I take that as my cue to leave and head toward the door.
Murdock and BA looked worried. I'm sure I did too. I don't usually like to borrow trouble…it's easier enough to make my own. But I couldn't help but wonder if Face was ever going to get his memory back. The doctor said it could be temporary, probably a result of the concussion. So maybe we were just overreacting.
Murdock looked at me. "Hannibal, there is an up side to all of this, you know?"
"You crazy fool, what's good about losing your memory?" BA asked.
"Well, you know how he has nightmares every night? Remembering about the camps and ….and what he went through? Well, now he'll be able to sleep."
BA nodded his head. We all knew that Face had taken the brunt of everything in the camps. He could keep everything tucked away while he was awake. Anybody who met Face and didn't know his history would never guess that he had literally survived hell. But at night, the demons would surface and he would have horrific nightmares. I couldn't remember the last time he had slept through a night without nightmares.
I looked at them both, not really sure what to say. "Yeah, I guess if there's an upside to this, that would be it. Meanwhile, though, I don't think we should take any jobs…not until we know for sure about Face. Between his busted ribs and the amnesia, I think we should just sit tight for awhile."
BA and Murdock nodded in agreement.
That night, Face slept soundly. There were no nightmares, no mumbling in his sleep. I know because I stayed up all night watching him, just in case.
Amy dropped by the next morning. We filled her in on everything that had happened. She was worried of course, and rightly so. I've always picked up a little tension between Amy and Face…I'm not sure what it's about…but it's there.
Face walked into the living room where Amy and I were talking with Murdock and BA. He stood by the doorway, looking lost. Amy stood and walked over to him. She reached out to shake his hand.
"Hi. I'm Amy."
Face shook her hand and smiled. "Hi, Amy. It's nice to meet you."
Amy returned the smile and then turned to look at me. I don't think she really knew what to say. I took that as my cue.
"Face, Amy helps us with our cases sometimes. She's a reporter and she has access to a lot of information we couldn't get otherwise."
Face stood there, not saying anything.
"Face, why don't you sit down and join us?" I asked.
Face sat in the chair furthest away from the rest of us. I really felt sorry for him. He looked like a lost child.
Amy stayed for about an hour, filling us in on the Martin James case and thanking us for our help. She had gotten the front page, of course, and the story had been picked up nationally. She was thrilled.
Face stayed silent throughout the visit, but he was studying each of us intently. I don't know if he was trying to make himself remember us or if he was trying to relearn everything about us…our speech patterns, gestures, things like that. It was a skill that had served him well his whole life…his ability to "read" people.
After Amy left, we all fell into the silence that had permeated the team. Face finally broke the silence.
"Tell me everything. I need to know." He ran his hand through his hair and then pushed himself out of the chair, wincing as the movement caused pain in his side. "I want to know."
Murdock and BA looked at me. I shrugged and turned to look at Face, who had his right arm wrapped around his ribs.
"I'll be honest, Face. I don't know much about your early years. I know that you've been an orphan since you were about 5 years old. I know that you were raised in a Catholic orphanage. I already told you about your name change. You don't talk about your childhood, and we don't push it. Now, why don't you go rest? I'll get you some pain medicine. I can tell your ribs are starting to hurt." Please go to sleep, Face. I don't want to tell you everything. But I can't lie to you either.
Face clenched his jaw, then opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something. But instead he just turned and walked toward the bedroom. I went to get the pain medicine and a glass of water, and then took it to his room. I knocked on the door and waited.
I opened the door and approached him. He was sitting on the side of the bed, his arm held tightly against his ribs. I handed him the pills first. He popped them into his mouth. I then handed him the glass of water. He took two sips and put the glass on the night table by his bed.
I turned to leave, but he reached out and snagged my arm.
"Hannibal, please tell me who I am." He looked straight at me, his eyes locking on to mine.
I sat on the bed beside him. I put my left arm across his shoulders.
"To the world, you are Lt. Templeton Peck. You have the ability to acquire things that no one else could. One time you even managed to get a Cadillac in the jungles of Vietnam. You're what the world calls a scam artist, but you only pull scams when it helps others. Well, and when you need a place to stay." I smiled. After all, he had managed to get this condo in Beverly Hills by claiming to be an actor from some science fiction show.
Face shifted uncomfortably and I removed my arm from around his shoulders.
"So I'm a con man? Someone who takes from others by lying to them?"
I stood up and walked to the corner of the room and dragged the chair that was there with me. I sat directly in front of Face.
"That's not exactly right. Yes, you pull scams. But you do it to help people. We had a case once where teenage girls were being sold into prostitution. We were only able to bring those perverts to justice because of you. You convinced the buyer that you were interested in buying the girls. You had scammed a place to stay as well as a place to hide the girls."
Face looked up at me. "I still don't understand. Why do I have to scam things? Why can't we just buy them like other people?"
Okay. Here we go. "We can't exactly do that. We're wanted men. We escaped from a military prison after we were charged with murder and robbery."
Face said nothing for the a minute, then "We're innocent though."
"Are you starting to get your memory back? That's great—"
"No," he said. "I just know we wouldn't murder anybody," he said matter-of-factly. "So we help people, but we're on the run."
"That's right." I didn't really know what else to say. But he was looking at me as if he was waiting for me to continue.
"Keep going. I know a little bit about Templeton Peck. Now tell me about Face. Tell me who I am." His eyes were locked onto mine again. It was beginning to unnerve me.
"You are Face, the son I never had but always wanted. You are the brother of Murdock and BA. We are a self-made family. You have no problem speaking your mind, especially where the safety of the team is involved. You would do anything to protect this unit…this family. You are brilliant with money and investing, as well as reading people for who they truly are. We all rely on you and trust you." I stopped talking. Face was trying to absorb everything I had said.
"I think I will take a nap now. Be sure to wake me up for lunch." He lay down slowly and carefully and closed his eyes. I knew I had just been dismissed so I stood from the chair and walked toward the door.
I turned back and looked at Face. The pain medicine was pulling him into sleep. I walked out and quietly shut the door behind me.
The week dragged by. Face had become acclimated to us and was engaging in more and more conversations. His ribs were still hurting him, but he was moving about okay. I could tell that he was finally feeling like he belonged with us. And while he was our Face, he wasn't our Face, if that makes any sense. I think the fabric of what makes us unique is made up of our past experiences. Face couldn't remember his. So even though this Face was a likeable man, and was fitting in with the team, it just wasn't the same, and I think, no, I know that we were all "grieving" for the Face we knew.
Face was determined to learn about himself though. He would ask questions …questions about Vietnam. BA had told him about a couple of missions we had pulled off over there and I had too. Murdock just told him he didn't really want to talk about Vietnam. It was really starting to take a toll on him, so BA and I decided that Murdock probably needed to back to the VA for a while. Of course, we knew that would raise questions from Face.
I called Amy and she said she would come and get Murdock tomorrow and take him to the VA for us. We usually let Face handle the VA, but I still didn't want to chance it. Especially with him not being 100% physically.
I went out to the patio to smoke a cigar before going to bed. Murdock and BA had already gone to bed. Face joined me on the patio.
"So, what's wrong with Murdock?" he asked.
"Well, the war really got to him. He's usually at the VA psychiatric hospital. We get him out for missions….well, you do…..but he's been out longer than usual. I just think he needs to get back, that's all." I really didn't want to tell him about the camps and how Murdock escaped the brutality by retreating into his mind.
"But he'll be okay, right?"
"Sure, Face. He'll be just fine. Uh, why don't you go to bed? You look beat." I took another smoke from my cigar and exhaled. I was tired, and even though I knew he wanted answers, I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to give them to him.
"Yeah, right. G'night Hannibal."
I heard the patio door slide closed. I stood there, smoking my cigar, and wondering if things were ever going to be the same again. It was just a matter of time until we would have to take on a mission. Amy had already mentioned a couple that she thought sounded perfect for us. Could Face function as a member of the team?
I said a little prayer that Face would get his memory back so we could get Face back. Then I realized how selfish I was being. Face couldn't remember the hurt of his childhood. He couldn't remember the death and destruction of the war. He couldn't remember the prison camps, Chao, all the men he saw die. And even though I knew those memories helped make Face the soldier he was, the man he was, I couldn't bring myself to wish he could have those memories back.
No, we would just have to accept this new Face, and given time, he would be able to go on missions with us. The rest of us could remember the old Face and embrace the new Face. As long as we were together, we would be fine.
I stuffed the butt of my cigar in the ashtray and opened the patio door. I entered the house and locked the patio door behind me. I walked quietly down the hallway and had just reached the door to my room when I heard it.
Face was screaming.
I rushed into his room. He was screaming in his sleep, thrashing about in his bed. I reached out to him, to wake him up. In one swift move I thought would have been impossible with his ribs in the condition they were in, he was out of bed and had me down on the floor, my arms pinned behind my back.
Murdock and BA rushed in. BA turned on the light. Face woke up then, and released his hold on me. He sat on the floor, his back against the bed, knees pulled up to his chest. I slowly sat up and turned to face him. He looked at me. The pain in his eyes was so deep, his emotions so raw, that I had to look away for a minute.
A tear made its way down Face's cheek. He wiped it away with his shirtsleeve. "I remember everything," he said, his voice barely a whisper.
BA and Murdock stood in silence. I just sat there and looked at Face, at a loss for words. We had wanted our Face to return. We had grieved for him. And now he was back and we were…..sad. Our Face was back. But only at a price.
Face looked over to BA and Murdock. "I'm okay, guys. You can go to back to bed. Sorry if I woke you."
BA just shrugged his shoulders. "It's okay Face, don't you worry none. You need anything you just call out."
"Yeah, muchacho, what the big guy said…you need anything, you know where we are." Murdock put his arm across BA's shoulders. Surprisingly, BA allowed it and they retreated from Face's room.
I helped Face get up off the floor and back into bed. He lay down slowly. I pulled his covers up.
"I'm not a child, Hannibal. I can put myself to bed you know."
Yes, Face was definitely back. I knew what he was doing but I wasn't ready to let go yet. "I know that, Face. I just know you're ribs are still hurting and I didn't want you hurt them trying to get your covers situated." Satisfied he was tucked in, I turned to leave.
I flicked off the light.
"Good night, Hannibal." Face said quietly.
I wish it were is what I thought. "Good night, Face," is what I said.
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