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Amy tossed and turned

That Look

By Jasmine

 

Rated:  PG-15

Subject:  Amy must accept the risks and ultimate abuse that one of the guys endures.

Warning: Talk of  rape.

Date:  August, 2006

 

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Amy tossed and turned.  All night long, she rolled from side to side, punched her pillows and threw off her covers.  For the umpteenth time, she glanced at the clock; less than 30 minutes had gone by.  Before that, it had been ten.  She had already stayed up later than usual, gone to the bathroom twice, gotten a glass of water, and read.  Nothing was working.  She even tried to work on her story, still, sleep was elusive.  She struggled unmercifully to purge the images that invaded the darkness behind her lids, but the harder she tried to forget, the more vivid they seemed to become. She couldn't rid her brain of that look.  Every time she closed her eyes, she could see it.  That look.   It was that look that she couldn't banish from her mind's eye, no matter how many times she closed them.  It was that look that kept her awake at night, that kept her from concentrating at work, and kept her wanting to avoid the team.  But the morning was coming in exactly four hours and 52 minutes, and that meant she would be meeting the guys, and this was the thing she dreaded. 

 

"Another case, kid," Hannibal had said.  "This one just might be the one to get you that promotion, so don't be late."

 

Amy sighed sadly, recognizing the queasy feeling that was once again building inside her stomach.

 

&&&&&&&

 

The alarm clock rang and Amy shot up in bed, disoriented, eventually slapping at the bar to silence the ear piercing beeping.  Pushing her hair out of her eyes she squinted at the time.  She couldn't believe it; she had finally slept.  It had only been a couple of hours, but at least she slept.  Eking out a few hours of peace without awakening abruptly by the nightmares that were ever so present was a small accomplishment.  Unfortunately, she didn't feel rested at all, and for a split moment debated on getting out of bed.  What would happen if she missed the meeting with the guys?  The thought had never occurred to her before mainly because she was still trying to prove herself.  She could tell that BA tolerated her being around, and Hannibal had never completely accepted her presence.  For the most part, Face was okay about it, but it was Murdock who made her feel the most welcome.  All in all, though, she never really felt like she was part of the team. 

 

Leaning her head back, Amy pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them.  Maybe she shouldn't be part of the team.  Maybe she really wasn't cut out to do this sort of thing.  Being a reporter was one thing, but being a mercenary?  High speed car chases, bullets whizzing by her head, always getting captured, and… 

 

She shook her head violently, ridding her mind of the all too familiar thought:  the look.  That look.  The one she had managed to finally keep at bay for two hours, two hours more than she had been able to do for over five days.  Hannibal was keeping a fast pace.  She barely had time to type up her stories when they were off on another case, coming to the aid of the underdog.  Only when did the underdog become them?  Who came to their aid when they needed it?  Who was there to help her rid her mind of the—

 

The phone cut across her thoughts and she was thankful.  "Don't bother picking me up this morning, Chiquita," Murdock chimed into the phone, "Faceman's gonna take me."

 

After she hung up, she wished she had told him that she wouldn't be making the meeting.  She could easily have come up with the excuse that her editor was on her about her story deadline.  The call bought her an extra 20 minutes, so she lay in bed, allowing her brain to remember.  

 

Five days ago they wrapped up a case.  It wasn't a typical case though; the guys seemed uptight and edgy, especially after Hannibal had drawn out the head honcho.  His favorite plan was to do something so annoying that the main guy himself wanted to meet the people responsible.  The guys obviously recognized the slimeball from somewhere.  When she asked who he was, they ignored her.  Hannibal's plans changed and Amy found herself on the outside, looking in.  Then the call came and she remembered BA's voice, or rather his strange tone, like he was panicked.  He told her to pick up Face at some motel and meet up with the rest of them in an hour.  She had to hurry to make the time constraint imposed, but she found the motel and the room without any problem.  The door was unlocked so she pushed it open slightly.  "Face?" she called out softly, wondering if his job had been to seduce a beautiful woman.  "Face?" she called again as she entered into the darkness.  The light from the door illuminated the room and she could see the bed and someone in it.  "Face," she harrumphed, wondering why he wasn't ready to leave.  "C'mon Face," she had bemoaned, "we have to meet up with the rest of the guys in…" she let her voice trail off as she neared. 

 

The image flooded her head.  She took everything in so rapidly that she had to grasp hold of a chair to keep her legs from crumbling.  The man on the bed had been raped. How she knew that, she wasn't sure; she just did.  And the man in the bed was Face. 

 

Amy startled out of her thoughts with such a jolt that she knocked her head on the bed board. Again, she tried to push the image from her brain, but no amount of shaking, hitting or covering her eyes was going to do the trick.  It was time for that shower, cold or hot, it didn't matter.  She just wanted something to concentrate on, something to take her mind off the vision so deeply etched on her eyeballs that she saw it whether her eyes were open or closed. 

 

The water felt good.  It was warm and for once the water pressure wasn't too hard.  She meticulously lathered the soap on her body, unknowingly attempting to cleanse herself of the vile vision that seemed to enjoy torturing her.  As the water rained down, she wondered how she knew so quickly what had happened to Face.  How did she know that he had been raped?  There were whelps oozing blood across his back, and the sheet which covered him from the waist down was stained red.  He lay on his stomach with his arms stretched outwards. She almost vomited when she saw his wrists shackled to the posts of the bed. 

 

Suddenly, she realized that he might be dead.  With her heart pounding and her limbs numb, she hurried around the side of the bed and touched his shoulder, leaning to see his face.  "Face?" she gently asked.  Kneeling beside the bed, she saw that his eyes were open.  As he lifted his head to see her, that's when she saw it.  That look.  That look!  The one she couldn't get rid of; the one that left such an indelible mark on her brain that there's no way she will ever forget it.  The look that hit her with such force and power, that she pulled her hand away as if she had just touched fire. 

 

The shower spray suddenly surged as the pressure increased, which brought her back to reality.  Stepping onto the cool tile floor, she dried off and glanced at the clock.  She still had time to cancel if she wanted, but she only had two numbers, one to the van, and the other to the 'vette. Calling the van meant talking to Hannibal and he could read people as well as she could write copy; he would know something was wrong just from her voice.  And calling the vette…, well, that was impossible.  What would she say?  Would she ask how he was doing?  Again she wondered who the team went to for help.  Exactly what constituted needing help, and who made the determination that help was needed? 

 

&&&&&&&&&&&

 

Her little car seemed to know where to go even though they never met twice in the same place.  The early morning L.A. traffic was heavy but for once she didn't mind, maybe she'd get caught in a backup on the freeway and have to miss the meeting.  Alas, the vision of that look was never too far from her mind and she wondered how she was going to face the conman.  How did the others do it?  They must have known what had happened to him, she'd remembered how BA's voice sounded panicky, almost scared.  

 

Her thoughts drifted back to the motel room.  After she had managed to pull herself together, she untied Face's wrists from the post and half carried half-dragged him to her car.  She couldn't think of anything to say to him, not that it mattered because he wasn't speaking, so they rode in silence.  The look that had caused her stomach to wretch was gone, but he was in bad shape, even his breathing was off.  She remembered how she just drove, looking straight in front of her, trying to forget. 

 

When she arrived at the place BA had said, there was no sign of the van. She cursed silently and glanced at her passenger, mumbling something about it being okay.  She inched slowly forward in the darkened abandoned industrial park before she heard the screeching of tires.  Cutting her off, the Chevy van pulled just inches in front of her, causing her to slam on her brakes.  The guys were out of the van and had opened the passenger door before she had time to cut her engine.  They didn't ask what happened but Hannibal yelled back to her, "Take off kid!  Decker's on our tail!"  And then they were gone. 

 

On the lone drive home, she had forced herself to forget.  She had come up with a ton of explanations for what had happened, and kept telling herself that what had happened to Face was a risk the guys took all the time.  At least he was alive.  A thought kept niggling at her mind and she couldn't help but wonder if the guys kept her on the outside of that case because they knew the head slimeball was dangerous, and she might have been his victim instead of Face.  She didn't allow herself to dwell too long on that thought because insecurity was a sign of weakness.  She had to be brave and strong or Hannibal would cut her loose in a New York minute.  She remembered how Face had once said to her, "You have to accept death.  It'll calm you."  But death was permanent and over with.  What about sexual abuse?  How do you accept that? 

 

After the long drive home, she had thought she was going to be able to forget the whole scene and move on.  She remembered that she had showered and after having been up for almost 20 hours, she figured that she was going to sleep well.  Little did she know that the expression on the lieutenant's face would haunt her dreams, and invade her days, making it almost impossible to function. 

 

She needed help.  But who would she go to?  And what would she tell them?  When she played out the scenario in her mind, the one thing that didn't play out was the description of Face's expression.  If she were asked to describe that look, she doesn't think she could.  It was an expression that she'd never seen before, on anyone.  It was fear mixed with defiance.  It was anger mixed with arrogance.  It was shame mixed with honor.  It was an image that defied words, and words were her business.

 

She startled back to reality when she realized she was going to drive by the large wooden sign that read "Entrance to Griffith Park".  The tires on her car squealed as she applied the brake too hard, then turned left onto the small service road.  The park was mostly wooded but she didn't have any trouble locating what she was looking for.  Her heart began to race as she pulled her car behind the van.  Looking through the trees, she saw Hannibal and BA, but there was no sign of Face and Murdock.  This was the meeting she dreaded.  She wasn't sure how to proceed.  How would she act around Face?  How would he act around her?  How would the guys be?  Movement in her rearview mirror caught her attention and she recognized the white sports car that pulled up behind her.  There was no turning back now.  She told her mind to stop thinking about Face and what had happened.  She forced her thoughts to go blank.  Comfortable with her newfound attitude, she plastered on a smile and got out of her car. 

 

She nodded towards the guys in the corvette, but didn't wait for them.  Instead, she walked briskly over to where Hannibal and BA were languishing on a picnic table.  They exchanged the usual salutations and to Amy's complete and total amazement, there was nothing different about any of them.  Murdock and Face sauntered over after a couple of minutes because they were deep in a conversation about Murdock's latest psychiatric treatment.  Hannibal waited as patiently as he could before he interrupted with, "I think this next case is going to be lucrative."  He obviously knew what would grab his lieutenant's attention and he wasn't disappointed.  "Good, we could stand to increase our holdings," Face added with a smile.  Murdock stood nearby with his hands in his pockets, rocking back and forth and smiling like he knew something. Hannibal had one leg propped on the bench and was leaning on it while BA had taken to sitting on the table.  Face was standing next to Hannibal wearing a pair of jeans, a blue collared shirt, and his black leather jacket.  Any lingering injuries he had sustained from the last case had either healed up or were hidden under clothes with the exception of several facial abrasions and the remnants of a black eye.  Amy couldn't help but think that he seemed relaxed, very relaxed and if she wasn't mistaken, he seemed to be in a playful mood with Murdock. 

 

Suddenly, he was staring right at her!  She felt the blood rush from her face as she quickly looked away, but all the guys were staring expectantly at her.  She realized that Hannibal had been talking to her and she hadn't heard a single word.

 

"I'm sorry Hannibal," she stammered and looked everywhere but at the guys, "what were you saying?"

 

He narrowed his eyes and studied the reporter.  She looked like crap and was acting strangely.  Not being one to sugar coat things, he stated, "Let's have it, kid.  What's up?"

 

Amy shook her head, trying to convince herself as much as them that everything was fine, "Nothing.  I just haven't had time to write up our last story is all…and my editor is after me for it."  Hannibal smirked slightly, but didn't ask anything more.  Instead, he began to relay the problem as it had been told to Mr. Lee by their potential client. 

 

Pleased that they seemed to buy her explanation, Amy found herself once again studying Templeton Peck.  He had slipped his hands into his pockets and seemed intent on listening to Hannibal's story.  How could he do that?  How could he just ignore what happened to him and move onto the next case like he was getting over a bee sting.  Then she thought about BA and Murdock and Hannibal, and wondered how they could do it.  How could they just move onto the next case like nothing had happened to Face?  For God's sake, the man had been raped!  How do you ignore that!

 

"Are you okay, Chiquita?"

 

Amy froze, realizing again that they were staring at her and that she had completely tuned them out and was living in her own private little world.  She looked first at Murdock, then at BA, and finally at Hannibal.  NO!  Hell no, she wasn't okay!  She lifted her shoulders and shook her head, "No, I'm not okay," she began.  "I'm sorry, I tried to be okay with all this.  I tried to be strong and handle everything like you guys would handle it, but," she felt the tears begin to invade her eyes, "I can't do this.  I can't just pretend nothing happened and move on."

 

She saw movement and turned directly into Face's arms.  He was quick and smooth and had her by her elbows firmly while whispering, "It's okay Amy.  I'm okay."

 

She struggled slightly but was grateful for his closeness. "How can you be okay?" she said, barely able to look him in the eye.  "How can you act like nothing happened to you?"

 

"Because I can.  I can't explain it, but I can do it."

 

"No!  I don't buy that.  I don't understand how you can pretend that you were never—" she stopped abruptly, not wanting to say the actual word.

 

"Raped?" Face supplied.  "You can say it Amy.  I was raped and beaten.  But what you don't know is it wasn't the first time."

 

She stared at him, still allowing him to hold her elbows, while she grasped onto his jacket. "What?" she whispered.

 

Deciding not to elaborate, he explained, "I can't do what I do without taking risks.  Being a soldier or a mercenary for hire is dangerous work.  What happened is simply the risk that's involved in doing what I do and being who I am."

 

'UNACCEPTABLE!' she wanted to scream, but instead she blurted, "I don't buy that!  You take risks with a car, you take risks with a scam, but you don't take risks with your body."

 

Calmly, Face replied, "What happens to me isn't usually my choice.  Nobody has ever asked me what I wanted to risk, usually they make that determination."

 

Still shaking her head, she asked, "But how do you recover from it?"

 

Face shrugged, "You don't 'recover' from it; you just move on."  She looked puzzled, still not getting what he was saying.  Face swallowed and continued, "This sort of thing follows me.  The first time—" now it was his turn to stop abruptly.  He released her arms and walked away a few feet before turning back around, "I was eight the first time it happened.  I was told then that it was my fault, that I had 'asked' for it by the way I smiled, or by the color of my hair.  I sure as hell didn't understand what that meant, but I didn't have a shoulder to cry on, and I had to make my own way.  As I became a teenager, the life I had on the streets of L.A. made my stay in Chow's POW camp seem like a vacation.  And if I didn't learn how to 'recover' from it, I wasn't going to survive.  Somehow I make it.  I really can't explain how I make it, just that somehow I manage to move on."

 

Amy interrupted, "But I don't get how you can let it go.  If it happened to me, I'm not sure I could let it go."

 

Hannibal quietly added, "It could have easily been you instead of Face.  That's why we changed our plans after we learned we were dealing with Whitcomb.  He's got a history and we know it."

 

"But—"

 

Cutting her off, Face stepped up to her again and put his hands on her shoulders.  "Those people can't do anything to me," he stated.  "My body is just that, a body.  My smile is just that, a smile.  My face… all these physical things are just tools to me.  It helps me get what I want, or what the team needs.  But it's not who I really am.  I'm more than a smile; I'm more than this face.  If the smile or the looks were to leave tomorrow, I'd still be me, and I'd still get by.  These are just tools I use to do my job."

 

Amy was softening, but she still wasn't getting it.  She lowered her head and quietly said, "I can't forget that look on your face when I found you in that motel room.  I can't even describe it, but—"

 

Face cut her off, "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry that you saw that.  But you have to understand that I have to put my head into a place where I can be while it's happening.  I can't fight them, but I can mentally remove myself from what's happening, and that's what I was doing when you found me."

 

She looked at the rest of the team, and then asked, "So how can you move on like nothing has happened to him?"

 

"What's makes you think we can?" Hannibal countered.

 

She didn't want to be asked questions; she had no answers.  She looked back into Face's eyes.  It was the first time she'd looked directly at him since the motel.  Without thinking about what she was doing, she reached up and touched his face.  She saw the scars from the attack, and the bruises.  Finally she softly asked, "Who helps you through it?  Most people require months of therapy just to appear normal, but you can't even go to a doctor without being turned over to the police."

 

Face took a deep breath and nodded his head towards the team, "I have them to help me, and…" he leaned forward and tenderly whispered into her ear, "I have you to help me."  He smiled down on her and with the ease of a silver tongued conman, lightened the mood and admitted, "I don't need that much, not really."

 

Murdock chimed in, "Just round the clock care until the nightfillies go away."

 

Nightfillies? She looked perplexed.  BA snarled, "Nightmares, foo'!"  Amy smiled, and then BA continued, "And he also knows that Whitcomb won't ever be comin' after him again."  Amy looked at the burly sergeant, realizing what he'd just admitted.

 

Face followed her arms down until he found her hands and held them.  They were very close and the two made an attractive couple.  "The best thing you can do is to accept it.  I'm not asking you to forget it, even I can't forget these things.  But I can move forward and get on with my life.  And if you want to help me, you too will find a way to move on."

 

Off in the distance, they heard a distinctly female voice cooing, "Templeton…, oh Templeton…"  They all looked up.  Across the way standing next to a cherry red Mercedes 380 SL, was a beautiful young woman waving seductively towards the group. 

 

Amy's eyes widened when she saw her.  "Is that Elle Macpherson?"

 

Face waved back to the girl and shouted, "Just a minute.  I'll be right there."  Grinning down at the brunette he held by the hands, he simply nodded, "Did I mention that I have Elle to help me through it?"

 

Amy smiled, then began to laugh.  Face kissed her forehead and repeated, "Don't worry about me.  I've always been able to manage, and I don't see any reason why I can't continue."  He gazed across the way at his date, and then turned to his commander.  "Hannibal?"

 

Smith didn't even need to hear the question, he simply replied, "We're leaving in two days, I'll call you with a list of things we'll need." Face smiled and tossed him his keys.  Then they watched as Face walked towards the fashion model and embraced her in a long steamy kiss.  He opened the passenger door and the long legged beauty glided in, and then Face slid in behind the wheel and they drove off, leaving the team to watch with envy.

 

Amy blurted, "How does he do it?"

 

Hannibal laughed and answered, "Not even he knows how he does it."  Then in a more serious tone, he continued, "There's a saying, You gotta take the good with the bad.  With Face, more often than not, he gets the raw deal, but then again, more than any of us, he gets the beautiful girl."

 

"The reward doesn't seem to justify the risk." She deadpanned.  Then she looked at each of them and asked, "How do you guys do it?"

 

"If he can move on, so can we," BA grumbled.

 

"You gonna be okay, Chiquita?" Murdock asked.

 

Amy took a deep breath and shrugged.  "I guess so.  I still don't understand how he brushes it off, though, but I guess I never will."

 

Murdock quietly agreed, "Join the club, kid."

 

 

~Fini

 


That Look by Jasmine

 

 


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