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This page last viewed: 2017-04-25 and has been viewed 7496 times
By Jes Parker & Jullian Gray
Summary: After nearly drowning on a mission, Face has to come to terms with his fear, while the rest of the team tries to understand what is happening to him.
Special thanks, to Shee, and Debbie for all their help with the English language.
Warning: It's a Jes Parker, Jullian Gray fic so I shouldn't have to say any more but here it goes…Slash H/F, language, H/C angst, violence, and death of a non-major character
The water was cold and icy. Blackness swirled all around him, and his lungs began to seize. On the verge of panic, Face lashed out at the man struggling with him, trying to disengage the other man's fists from his collar. His leg bumped the bow of the boat that, just a few minutes prior, had been floating on top of the ocean. A sudden explosion had ripped a hole in the hull, rapidly sinking the vessel, taking him, and the man he had been battling, down with it.
He felt the sting in his calf, but ignored it, focusing on breaking free of the relentless grip. Twisting hard and pushing his elbow into the other man's neck, he felt the hands loosen.
hard, he propelled himself to the surface.
The water around him became brighter, clearer, as he neared the
top. He could see the surface just above
him; make out the shape of a boat as he came closer to that wonderful breath of
air. Inches from freedom, strong fingers
wrapped their way around his ankle, and he was yanked down once again.
Stars exploded behind his eyes, and his lungs burned with their desperate need for oxygen. Turning to look at his captor, his eyes widened. The other man now had Face's scuba tank strapped to his back, the regulator jutting from his mouth. Face had left it on the deck of the small yacht after he had boarded it, to better conduct his search.
The evil glint in the man's eyes, just before he turned and began taking them back down into the ocean depths, told Face that he was in a world of trouble. Kicking furiously, he tried to loosen the man's hold. The man turned, and tried to readjust his grip. That was when Face made his move.
Lungs screaming in protest, darkness swirling his vision, Face twisted, snaking a calf around the man's throat, bending it at the knee, and then he twisted his body. He could feel the telltale sign of the bones breaking, and felt the man's body go limp. He turned, to kick back to the surface, his time running short, but found himself rapidly sinking with the other man's body. Looking down in shock, he found himself tangled in the scuba strap, and the man's grip on his leg, frozen by death. He reached in panic for the regulator, but he couldn't reach the man's face, now pointed toward the bottom of the ocean they were rapidly sinking toward.
Face struggled hard, a dead weight sinking him toward the bottom of the ocean. And then his life flashed before his eyes.
of Hannibal, Murdock and BA rushed through his mind.
complied in silence as
Murdock slid the scuba gear strap over his shoulder. "All ready Colonel," he tried to keep the worry from his voice, but his stomach was heavy with fear. Something didn't feel right.
boat's going down, and fast. BA, hurry
BA didn't tell him that he was going as fast as he could. He just nodded, his eyes focused in the distance at the tiny speck they were headed for.
"Can you see Face?"
BA slowed the boat at the same second Murdock slid cleanly into the water, no order necessary.
going in after him,"
propelled himself through the water, his eyes scanning the distance for his
best friend. He knew, without turning,
Ahead of him, deep in the abyss, he spotted the outline of the boat that had gone down. He kicked harder, his pulse roaring wildly in his ears. To his right, something caught his eye, a flash of gold, causing him to pause in his dive, and then turn.
fingers reached out and brushed against the soft hair, and his eyes roamed the
unresponsive body. He turned Face gently
in his arms, his fingers searched for a pulse.
When they broke the surface of
the water, BA was leaning over the side of the boat, pulling Face out of the
water. He turned quickly, and pulled
He quickly pinched Face's nose, and pushed a breath past Face's cold lips. Water poured out of his mouth with each breath that he forced in. Murdock was dropping beside him, starting chest compressions. Through the blood rushing through his ears, he could barely make out Murdock counting beside him. He was vaguely aware of BA steering the boat quickly for shore, concentrating solely on breathing life back into his lover.
They reached shore, with no signs of life from Face. They maneuvered him to the deserted beach in the middle of nowhere, never ceasing in their efforts to resuscitate Face. Tears were streaking down Murdock's cheeks. BA was biting his knuckles, waiting for signs of fatigue from either Murdock or Hannibal, ready to take over, debating on whether to go for the van, and try to find a way to get it to the beach, or wait and carry Face to it.
"Want me to get the van Hannibal?" he asked, leaving the decision in his commander's hands.
BA sighed, rubbing at his eyes. "Too far
make it," Murdock whispered.
"He has to."
Murdock nodded, allowing BA to drop down in his place. He crawled around Face, to the opposite side of
"I know you can hear me Muchacho. I know you're in there. Please don't leave me. I need you," he murmured. "Don't go Face. Please don't go. I love you.
BA met his own lover's eyes, seeing the heart-wrenching agony in them, and nodded. "Of course I do. More then life itself."
we love you. And we need you. We can't lose you. Not now Face.
Not after all that we've been through.
Don't let something as silly as a little water take you now. Not after everything else you've been
through. You've survived so much more Facey. You can beat
this too." He kept up the string of
encouragement. Told Face exactly what he
meant to him. How his life wouldn't mean
anything without him in it. Begged him, pleaded with him. Then, finally, tears falling harder, his
words coming as choked sobs constricted in his chest, he pushed
"God damn you Face! God damn you!
You can't do this to me. Do you
understand me? You can't do this! I outrank you, and I order you to come back
to me. You can't die yet, Face. You can't!
I won't let you! Please Facey, please. Come
back," he begged, broken, as he pulled Face into his arms. "Please come back," he murmured.
Hannibal and BA watched in shock as Murdock shook Face, begging him to live. Shaking out of their stupor, they tried to gently disengage Face from Murdock's arms. To their surprise, Face began to wretch up yet more of the water that he had taken into his lungs. Leaning him back, they all stared in shock as Face's eyes slid heavily open, and he gazed at them with a glassy expression.
Murdock stilled. His eyes opened, and he glanced first at
"Face?" he questioned. He felt Face shift, and then the coughing started as his lungs tried to expel the water. "Face!" He pushed Face back to look at him. "Oh God Face. You came back."
Face smiled softly. "You need me," he murmured
sleepily. He closed his eyes and drifted
off into unconsciousness as
Face awoke with a start, sitting
straight up in bed, gasping for air. He
looked around blankly. Sweat dripped
into his eyes, stinging them, as he focused on
He sighed deeply, and looked at the clock. 2:30. He sighed again. He quietly got out of bed and threw his robe on. Tying it closed around him, he stumbled to the door, and out to the hallway, slowly making his way down the dark hall to the kitchen.
It had been a week since his near drowning, and every night, he had the same dream. That he was trapped under the water, struggling with a dead body. The dead body of the man whose life he had ended. The team had continuously tried to convince him that it was self-defense; that he hadn't reverted to his past training lightly.
In the kitchen, he filled the teakettle with water, and set it on the stove. He leaned his hip against the counter, and stared out the window at the starless night sky.
He jumped when he heard Murdock's voice behind him, announcing his presence. "You okay Face?"
"Yeah," Face murmured softly, turning to face him. "Just couldn't sleep."
talk about it yet?"
"Talk about what, Murdock?" Face asked, tiredly.
Murdock smiled, moving around Face and taking the steaming teakettle off the burner. Then he took Face by the elbow and sat him at a stool at the bar, then returned to make them both a cup of tea.
"You haven't slept all week, Face. I know you've been having nightmares. And I can pretty much guess what they're about. Heck, I've been having them myself."
"What are yours about?" Face asked, his gaze falling on his best friend.
Murdock placed Face's tea in front of him, pulled a stool around to sit across from him, and then stirred sugar into his own tea. "I keep seeing myself holding your cold, unresponsive body in my arms," he told him, watching his tea as he stirred it. "No matter how hard we try, we can't bring you back."
"Well stop worrying. I'm here, and I'm fine."
"Are you really Face?"
Smiling his best conman smile, Face pulled his robe open showing Murdock his chest where his best friend had done the chest compressions only a week before.
"Look, hardly even a bruise left."
"That's not what I'm talking about, and you know it." Murdock frowned at him. "Come on Face, you're not sleeping, I know you're not eating much."
"You're lying. When was the last time you slept more that a few hours?"
"Look, I don't want to talk about it."
"You can talk to me about
it, or I can call
"You wouldn't?" Face narrowed his eyes.
"I would, heck I could even get BA in here and we'll just have us one big team meeting, how does that sound."
"Only because you don't tell him what's going on in that pretty blonde head of yours. Now quit trying to change the subject, and tell me what's causing these sleepless nights."
Face leaned back to look at his best friend; he studied the beautiful brown eyes before he finally spoke, his voice just above a whisper.
"I keep seeing him."
"Seeing who, Face?" Murdock leaned forward so he could hear his friend better.
"Every time I close my eyes I see the guy I killed last week. I'm under the water trying to find that damn cylinder and he comes out of nowhere latching on to me. I can't get away. I keep trying, but the harder I fight him, the tighter his hold on me gets. I can feel my lungs starting to burn, and just before I think they're going to explode, I wake up."
"Face, he's dead, he can't hurt you." Murdock reached over to take Face's hand into his own.
"Don't you think I know that? Damn it Murdock, I can feel it. The cold, the pressure of the water pushing against me." Face pulled his hand out of Murdock's grip and ran it through his hair. "I tried to go down to the beach yesterday; I wanted to walk in the surf. I couldn't," he whispered. "I couldn't go anywhere near the water."
"Don't" Face shook his head, "I know you're going to tell me that it's just a dream, that it can't hurt me. Don't you think I don't know that already? Don't you think I tell myself that every night when I wake up soaking wet?" Face reached down, wrapping his fingers around the ceramic mug, feeling the warmth in his cold hands.
"I think you need to tell
"Face, he loves you, he's your partner for crying out loud, you have to tell him. Can you imagine if I was feeling the way you do, and I didn't tell BA how I felt?"
"How you and BA conduct your relationship is between the two of you. How I deal with the colonel is between me and him."
"He has a right to know."
"And when I feel it is time to tell him, I will."
"Come again?" Face stared at him coldly.
"Get off it Muchacho, you won't tell him until it bites you on that pretty ass of yours."
"I'll tell him when I'm ready, not a minute before, and you," Face poked his finger into Murdock's chest "will keep your mouth shut."
"Face you can't…"
"I can, and I will."
"What are you two doing up
in the middle of the night."
Face smiled as he looked at his lover, who was still half asleep. The colonel was wearing a pair a dark blue pajama bottoms, his chest bare, and short silver hair sticking out in several different directions all over his head.
"We didn't wake you up by talking, did we?" Murdock asked, hoping that maybe the colonel might have heard part of their conversation. The dirty look that Face was giving him did not go unnoticed; he just decided to ignore it.
"No, it wasn't the talking
that woke me. I reached out for a
certain blonde and he wasn't where he was supposed to be."
"If you were really sorry, you'd hustle your butt back to bed so I could go back to sleep."
"All right, I'm going." Face smiled as he rose from the bar stool to stand next to his lover.
"See you in the morning
"Damn kid, you're cold," he commented as he started to lead the younger man back to their room.
"I'm sure that you can find a way to warm me up."
Murdock watched Face move in
Murdock sighed heavily; he knew
that Face wasn't going to tell
"Hey fool, what you doing up at this hour, get your butt back in bed," the gruff voice of his own lover called from the doorway.
"Face gets soft kisses and I get called fool. Isn't love just grand," Murdock mumbled as he stood up.
"You say something?"
"Coming, dear." The pilot smiled as he walked past the big black man.
"Hey kid, you going to
sleep all day?"
"Hmmm." Face smiled sleepily as he opened his eyes to look up at his lover, who was leaning down over him.
After their late night love making, Face had managed to finally drift off to sleep, though it had only been for a few hours, it was the first dreamless sleep he'd had in a week.
"I asked if you were going to sleep all day."
"You have other plans in mind colonel?" Face's smile widened as he reached up, putting his hands in the silver hair to pull the older man into a deep kiss.
"I can think of a lot of
things to do, after breakfast."
"I'm not really hungry."
"Haven't been hungry, besides you know I don't eat breakfast."
"You can eat a piece of toast; I've seen you do that. Now get your butt out of bed."
Sighing deeply, Face ran his hands through his hair.
"Alright you win, but can I at least get a shower first?"
"Don't make me come and get you. You have fifteen minutes, lieutenant."
"Make it twenty."
"You want to try for
"See you in fifteen." Face smiled as he climbed out of the bed.
As the colonel watched the beautiful body of his naked lover walk across the room, he couldn't help but sigh deeply in admiration. The kid was just hard not to watch, you just had to appreciate his good looks and tight young body.
Leaving the bedroom, the colonel made his way into the kitchen, where he found a very tired looking BA sitting at the breakfast table, and a very upbeat Murdock pouring pancake batter into a hot skillet, while in another, he was frying bacon and sausage.
"You don't look too upbeat
this morning sergeant."
"Don't know how you do it." BA growled as he nodded toward the pilot, then back toward the bedroom.
"Keep up with him." The big man shook his head. "Crazy man had me up half the night."
It was everything
"Getting old, BA?"
"Ain't getten old, think the fool just been getting lessons from Faceman."
"Don't go blaming the kid
on your lack of stamina."
BA was just about to tell the colonel where he could put his comment, when suddenly someone was banging on their front door.
Moving down the front hallway,
the colonel positioned himself behind the door, while BA moved to stand across
from him. Slowly raising his fingers,
Slamming the door closed,
"I don't remember ordering
"Is this how you treat all your clients, Mr. Smith!" the other man snapped.
"Palmer, what the hell are you doing here?" The colonel pressed the gun harder into the other man's temple.
"I hired you to get my diamonds! It's been a week, Colonel Smith, and I still don't have them! Now, damn it, Smith, I gave you twenty thousand as a down payment for a simple recovery job, and I still don't have my diamonds!"
"What are you doing at my home, Palmer?"
"I'm here to find the thief that took my money!"
"My lieutenant damn near died thanks to your diamonds!"
"That's not my problem; you're supposed to be professionals, that's why I hired you. Now I suggest that you get that cylinder by this time tomorrow, or I'll call the military!"
"You threatening me Palmer?"
"I'm making you a promise!" the other man snapped as he pulled himself out of BA's grip. "Now I suggest you either let me go, or shoot me."
"I know which I'd rather you do," BA growled.
"Let him go BA."
"I said let him go. Meet us in
"Bastard," he spat as
he slammed the door closed. "BA, you and Murdock start getting our gear
together. We need to be out of here in
"Got it colonel."
"So much for a nice quiet team breakfast," Murdock mumbled as he headed for the bedroom he shared with BA.
Oblivious to everything that was happening in the entry, Face was just finishing up his shower when he noticed a problem of his own. The day that he had been drug under by the boat, something had cut him, but he hadn't thought much about it. Hell, when you almost drown, and have BA and Murdock pounding on your chest for ten minutes, who would notice a scratch?
Now as he ran a hand over his calf, he could see that the wound was red and puffy. If he put his hand directly over it, he could feel heat coming from it. Sighing, he realized that it must have gotten infected from all the crud that had leaked from the boat's holding tanks when it had sunk. Now there was a pleasant thought. He sighed as he touched the wound. Maybe this explained why he hadn't been feeling so hot the last few days. It also might explain some of the dizzy spells he had been experiencing.
"Great, now I'll end up having to take antibiotics. That'll mean nausea for a week." He grumbled at the thought of having to take the white pills. Penicillin was not a friend to his stomach.
Hearing the door to the bathroom open, he smiled to see his lover come through the door, a smile that quickly disappeared when he saw the expression on the other man's face.
"Get out, Face."
"I don't have time for games, we need to get moving."
"What's going on?"
"Palmer just showed up, we
need to move now." With that,
Forgetting completely about the
cut on his leg, Face quickly finished rinsing off. Grabbing a towel, he dried
himself, and then went into the bedroom.
He smiled when he noticed that
Shaking his head, Face realized once again, that in ten minutes, no one would ever know that they had ever been at this house.
Sure enough, ten minutes later, the team was piled in the van heading toward their warehouse.
"What now, colonel?"
"We get our underwater gear, head out to that wreck, and get Palmer's diamond cylinder so I can shove it up his ass!"
"We're going back?" Face swallowed hard, forcing down the lump in his throat as fear began to build in the pit of his stomach. It gnawed at him, burning; while at the same time, his blood seemed to chill, rushing through him like ice.
you have some magic way of getting that cylinder off
that ship that I don't know about, lieutenant!"
Face turned to look at Murdock, and then shook his head, silencing the other man.
"So, we'll take the under water flashlight."
"Colonel, it'll be dangerous under water at night."
"Damn it Captain, you heard what Palmer said, we're professionals, so let's just get this damn job done!"
"There's going to be a lot of debris floating around that boat, a lot of stuff a diver could get tangled up in," Murdock continued to argue.
"Then Face will just have to be extra careful."
"That's enough; I'm not going to discuss it anymore. I've made up my mind; we are going after that cylinder tonight, end of discussion! Do I make myself clear, captain?"
"Yes sir." Murdock set back in his seat, and then turned to look at Face. What he saw scared him.
The young blonde was sitting in his seat, eyes closed, hands in his lap clenched tightly together, small beads of perspiration dotted his forehead, and his body was trembling.
No one else seemed to notice.
They collected the gear, and made it to the beach in record time. But, true to Murdock's word, night had already fallen. They unloaded the van and carried their gear down to the water's edge, where the boat was still moored. Murdock shot Face worried glances along the way, but Face was concentrating too hard on putting one foot in front of the other, to notice his concern. Murdock could see him breathing heavily, and could almost hear the mantra that he was sure Face was repeating to himself.
The second their feet hit the sand, Face jerked to a stop. His heart was beating wildly in his chest. His stomach was rolling, and his whole body was shaking. He, unwillingly looked up at the ocean, and froze. Full-fledged fear was now rolling over him like a freight train.
The full moon illuminated the ocean, giving it an eerie feeling. The waves crashed hard against the shore. The wind was blowing, cutting through him like ice, and he shivered. He shook his head, and stepped back a step, eyes locked on the water in fear.
"MOVE IT, FACE!"
Murdock was at his side, shaking his shoulder.
"Snap out of it Face!" Murdock was hissing in his ear. "
Face looked up at him. "Uh…" He looked back at the water. "I uh-" he stopped. He shook his head. "No. No problem, Colonel."
"Well then, get up! We haven't got all night!"
Face stared at the water. He tried to take deep breaths. He tried to think of a happy place. He tried every damn thing he had ever tried
before, and nothing was helping. The
fear was too intense. He swallowed hard,
and reached for his bag. He slowly
pulled his clothes off, causing
"God damn it, Lieutenant. What the hell is your problem? Maybe you don't understand the urgency in the matter because you were off enjoying a long hot shower, that is after you slept nearly half the damn morning, while the rest of us were getting our asses chewed out for not retrieving those damn diamonds. Now, I want this case over, and I want it over yesterday. I don't want to ever have to see that asshole again. So, that means you need to get your gear on, and get your ass in the ocean. Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant?"
Face swallowed. Normally he would have a smart comeback, but he couldn't muster the words to say anything. His heart was beating too rapidly, his head was aching, his body was cold with fear, and to top it all off, his leg was pounding with each beat of his heart. All he could do was nod. Hannibal seemed like he wanted to continue to chew Face out, but instead he chose to turn back around and snap at Murdock, who had stopped loading the gear to look at Face in concern.
He turned back around to check on Face's progress, and saw red. Face was standing up, and he had his wetsuit shorts on, but his top was still down around his waist. Instead of pulling it on, he was standing stock still, staring again at the damn ocean.
He stalked up to him. "I'm not telling you again, Lieutenant! Get dressed, now!"
Face looked up at him and shook his head. "I can't do it
Face was shaking his head again. "I can't do it. I can't dive tonight," his voice was a little stronger this time. "Can't we come back in the morning?"
"No, we can't come back in
Face just shook his head. "Not tonight
"You're not hearing me, Lieutenant. We are retrieving it tonight. End of discussion. Now get in the boat. That isn't a request."
"That's an order, Lieutenant!"
Face stilled. He didn't usually disobey a direct
order. He took a deep breath. He looked at Murdock, who was watching him
with wide, concerned, eyes; then he looked back at
"No," he said softly.
"I said no," Face repeated, his voice barely a whisper above the howling wind.
"You have ten seconds to reconsider, Lieutenant, or you can believe there will be hell to pay!"
"I'm not reconsidering
Face shook his head. "No," he said softly.
"Then get in the damn boat."
Face was torn. He tried to force himself to move forward,
but he couldn't. Murdock was right. He should have told
"Shut up, Murdock. If I want your help, I'll ask for it!" he snapped without taking his eyes off Face. "As for you, Lieutenant. Since it is now your fault that the client is pissed as shit at us, and now we're out here in the middle of the night, in the cold, and now the fucking rain," Hannibal snarled, just as the sky opened up, and rain started to drip down; not too heavy yet, just enough to spackle the ground, and the group, with cold, wet, fat drops of water.
"You would think you would
have the decency to suck whatever insecurity your feeling up, and get your ass
in that water, to save ours! But no,
instead, you want to sit here and bitch.
I've had it up to here,"
Face's eyes were wide as he
stared at his Colonel in disbelief.
Unfiltered pain and hurt emanated from his core. Was that really how
Murdock was at his back. "Breathe Face. Just breathe," he was whispering in his ear. "You can get past this. You know you can. You're stronger then this. Don't let him win, just breathe."
A tear slipped down his cheek as his body began to shake. "I can't, Murdock," he choked in a whisper.
Murdock sighed. "Then you have to tell him."
Face snorted in disbelief. "Like that's an option right now," he murmured. "He'll just call me a coward on top of everything else."
getting in the boat today, Lieutenant?"
Face swallowed and shook his
head. He knew there was no way in hell
that he could get into the water. Not
tonight. He opened his mouth to try to
form the words to make
"You want to act like a child Face; I'll treat you like a child." Face took an involuntary step back at the words, at the anger in
Face did a double take. "What?" he stuttered, flabbergasted.
"You heard me Face. If you can't do your job, there's no room on this team for your inadequacy."
"What about us?" Face whispered softly, stung by the harsh words.
"John?" he whispered.
"Don't John me, lieutenant, what's it going to be?"
Face sighed deeply, his insides,
and his heart, shattering into a million, tiny pieces. He glanced at the water, then back at
He turned back to his team, who, if looks could kill, he'd certainly be laying on the ground in a pool of his own blood.
"How could you do that?" Murdock hissed in disbelief.
"He's acting like a spoiled
"Someone's acting like a child," Murdock muttered.
"What was that?"
"You heard me."
"Drop and give me fifty, Captain."
"Gladly," Murdock returned smugly, dropping to the sand and beginning his pushups.
BA turned icy brown eyes his
way. "Not right now," he told
him in a clipped tone, knowing that any comment wouldn't make a bit of
difference at this point in time. But
Face watched from the shadow of the woods, as the team left the boat, with the scuba gear still in it, and clambered back up the rocky incline to where the van was parked. Moments later, they were driving out of sight.
Face slid out of the woods, and sat down on a rock, and stared at the ocean. Tears slid down his cheek as his mind frantically tried to process the events of the past several minutes.
He stood up, and took another
step toward the ocean. Murdock was
right. He couldn't let the water get the
best of him. He had survived much
worse. He could do this. He had to.
He had to for
One way or another, he was getting into that water, even if it killed him.
Step by step, he edged his way
to the water. His entire body trembled
with fear. His mind rushed unpleasant
visions throughout his head, pictures of the murky underwater, the dead man
Finally, he made it to the boat, and with a deep breath, was over the edge.
He lay on the deck for several minutes trying to get his thoughts and emotions under control.
How could he have messed up so bad? The colonel was right; all he had to do was get the cylinder out of the safe on the boat. But then the other man was at his back, shoving his gun under his ribs, and the struggle ensued. He still wasn't sure what had caused the explosion.
Face's body began to tremble even harder as he thought about the boat sinking. He could feel the water rushing over him, pulling him down.
"Stop!" Face screamed at himself.
He wouldn't go there, he couldn't, he had to get the cylinder; he had to make things right. If he didn't, then there was no reason for going on. Struggling to his feet, Face unhooked the bowline before making his way to the captain's chair on the team's runabout. Closing his eyes, he said a silent prayer before he put the small craft in reverse, backing it off of the beach, and heading out to the shipwreck.
BA sat quietly in the van, watching the colonel slowly go from psycho commander, to a man who had just made the biggest mistake of his life.
As he had driven through the night, he could see
Hannibal Smith stared out the window wondering what the hell he had just done. He watched the lightening dance across the night sky, lighting the city with brilliant flashes of light. The wind was blowing so hard that it was rocking the van as it sat out in front of the warehouse.
As soon as the van had come to a stop, Murdock had jumped out, not even wanting to be in the same area as their leader. He had been so pissed off that he couldn't even think straight.
"I can't believe I told him
that we were through,"
"You a fool man."
"What the hell did I do?"
"You made the biggest mistake of your life, is what you did. That man loves you more than life itself, and you tell him it's over. How could you, man, I just don't get you sometimes."
"He disobeyed a direct
"That's the crap that got you into this mess. You and that temper of yours; you know Faceman wouldn't disobey you. Crazy fool thinks you walk on water, can't see why, the way you treat him sometimes."
"The way I treat him…"
"Yeah the way you treat him. Every time you get pissed off, you take it out on him. Crazy man messes up, I mess up, and you take it out on Face."
"You do. Tonight, something was wrong, something was bothering him, and what did you do? You scream at him, threaten him…"
"He defied a direct
BA had had enough. He reached over and grabbed his commander and friend by the front of his shirt, pulling the older man within inches of his own face.
"Did you ever ask him
why? No, you just throw him off the team,
you took away everything he had," he snarled at
Fear suddenly flashed in
"What the hell have I done?" he whispered again, terror encasing his heart.
"Hopefully something that you can correct before it's too late. I'm going to get the fool, and then we'll go back to the beach, see if we can find him."
Murdock sat in the warehouse
looking at his friend's white Vette. He still
couldn't believe that Face had just walked off with out telling
"All you had to do was tell him what was wrong," he stated softly to the car.
"What's wrong with who?" BA asked as he stepped up behind his lover.
Murdock turned swiftly and looked up into BA's brown eyes, then lowered his head.
"I know you upset about
"It's not me, its Face."
"What's wrong with Face?"
"I promised him I wouldn't tell…"
Murdock stopped in mid sentence,
and then a slight smile pulled at the corner of his mouth as he glanced up at BA.
He had promised his best friend that he wouldn't tell
"Face has been having nightmares every night since the accident. He keeps seeing the dead guy coming up from the boat and grabbing onto him, pulling him back under." Murdock took off his hat and wrung it in his hands. "He's terrified of the water. He can't even go down to the beach, without freaking out."
"Why the hell didn't he
just tell me?"
"Because he was afraid of disappointing you! He was afraid you would call him a coward!" Murdock yelled at the colonel. "But hell, that would have been kind of you; instead you rip his heart out and hand it to him!"
"Murdock I …"
"You took your love away, you…"
"That's enough!" BA growled.
"He deserves to hear what he's done!"
"He deserves a lot of things, but it ain't going to help Face."
BA pulled Murdock into a tight embrace, hugging him tight so only the smaller man could hear him.
"No matter what you think
or feel about
"He hurt him BA," Murdock whispered into BA's massive chest.
"I know he did fool, so does he, and he's going to make it right." The black man looked over at his leader, who nodded his head.
Face stood leaning over the side of the runabout trying to get his emotions under control.
This was the third time he'd had to stop the small craft to throw up over the railing. He was now to the point that his stomach was twisting in agony, his throat raw from the bile; and to top it all off, he was light headed.
As he straightened, he noticed the storm was beginning to get worse.
The lighting was dancing across the night sky, and the wind whipped both rain and sea water into the
air. He knew it was too dangerous to
make the dive now, but he knew he had to, despite the danger. He had to do it for the team. For
The wind and pouring rain made him shudder as it pelted his body. He was just so tired. His body ached all over. Inside the wet suite, he felt like he was burning up, while his exposed areas were freezing.
Standing at the railing, Face
considered turning around and heading back to shore. There was still a chance
that if he told
What did it matter, he sighed; if he died tonight in the water, would anyone really care? The two things he had most to live for in life, were gone, the team and Hannibal were both gone forever.
In that one moment, Face didn't care about the storm, the ocean, or the dead man below. He had lost everything and everyone he cared about. Without another thought, he strapped the scuba tanks onto his back, and slid into the dark water.
BA drove back to the beach like a man possessed. For some reason that he could not explain, he knew that Face had done something stupid.
"He's out in this,"
BA glanced over at Hannibal, who was sitting in the passenger's seat, his back ramrod straight, staring out at the raging storm.
"He's probably sitting at some café by the beach drinking coffee," Murdock said from the back of the van. Though he knew, just like the other two did, that it was a false hope. He knew just as well as Hannibal and BA, that his best friend was somewhere on the ocean.
what seemed like an eternity, the van finally pulled up to the
parking area that allowed them access to the beach where the boat was docked.
Before the van came to a complete stop,
"God damn it Tem!" he screamed at the ocean. "What the hell are you trying to prove!"
But he knew what Face was doing, he was trying to make things right. Damn it kid, why did you pick now to listen to me?
The colonel turned to look at Murdock when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"This is all my fault. He's out there all alone, lost, scared out of his mind, and I did it to him."
Murdock was about to agree with
"Colonel, there's a marina up the road about two miles from here."
"We'll find him."
Once he had come to the realization that his life no longer mattered, it seemed to help calm Face's frayed nerves. After all, who care if he died? He sure didn't. Quickly, almost recklessly, Face pushed himself deeper and deeper toward the bottom of the ocean, searching from left to right.
Face was thirty minutes into his search, when a flash of silver caught his eye. Turning, Face found the boat sitting at the bottom, nested in a sand bar. Closing his eyes, he fought down the fear that was rising in the pit of his stomach. He could taste the bile in the back of his throat. Knowing that if he threw up now he would drown, he fought it down. Grabbing a hold of the deck rail, Face pulled himself toward the cabin area of the boat. Making his way through the debris, he found the master cabin. Within minutes, he found the safe, and though his fingers were numb, he managed to open it. Reaching inside, he pulled out a small stainless steel container, the container that had made his life a living hell over the last few days; the little container that had ruined his life.
Tucking the cylinder into his dive belt, Face turned to leave the cabin, when he saw it floating in the doorway, blocking his exit. Any illusion of getting out of the ocean alive disappeared as the corpse floated and bobbed in the current. Face screamed; the regulator slipped from his mouth, and ocean water filled his lungs.
He had almost done it; he had tried to make things right for his team, for John…
"There it is!" Murdock yelled above the howling wind, pointing toward the team's runabout.
"Pull up along side of her
He could feel the dread building in his chest as they closed in on the small watercraft. He was hoping to no end that he would find Face on the deck; he didn't care if the kid didn't talk to him for a month, as long as he was safe.
Once the boats were side by side, Murdock jumped onto the runabout.
"He's not here, and his tanks are gone!"
"I've already looked colonel, he's not here!" Murdock yelled, his anger growing at the colonel for second guessing him.
"You can't go down there
"As you two pointed out, I
messed this up, so I'm going to fix it!"
How could he have done
this? Why had he been so damn rough on
the kid? It wasn't Face's fault that he
had wanted to sleep in, or take a shower, especially after as bad as he had
been feeling lately. Now that
Then there was Palmer and the shit he had pulled. It wasn't Face's fault that Palmer had pissed him off, why had he hurt the one person that he loved? Why had he taken it out on the one person who seemed to love him unconditionally?
'Come on Tem, where are you?'
What he saw stopped him cold. There in the dark, was the bloated corpse of the man Face had killed a week ago. And staring at it in horror, was his lover, eyes wide open in shock and fear, frozen in complete terror.
As he shoved the body forward to move around it, he watched as his lover's face paled, and the regulator fell from his mouth as he tried to scream.
Swearing at himself,
Though the colonel was holding him, all Face could see was the corpse, its eyes and nose missing where the fish had eaten them away. It was staring at him with black orbs, a sneer on its lipless mouth. He was accusing Face of killing him, and now he was coming back to take him down with him.
Wrapping his hands around Face's chest, he pulled him toward the doorway; though when Face saw the corpse, he began to struggle against him, trying to get away.
Damn it, kid, work with
me. I can't take you drowning twice. Letting go of Face's chest,
You did this to him,
the little voice in the back of
The colonel watched as recognition
flashed across his lieutenant's face, just before he passed out in
"Where the hell are they?" Murdock yelled at BA as he looked out over the ocean again, both of them now onboard their runabout. The borrowed boat was anchored near the wreckage and wiped clean of prints. They decided they'd call in the location of the shipwreck and borrowed boat once they were clear. As they waited, every second felt like an eternity.
BA kept his mouth shut; he knew just how his lover was feeling. Face was the baby of the group, the one that needed to be looked after, the one who needed his big brother to keep him out of trouble. Now, here they were on the ocean in a storm, and his little brother was lost, all because of some harsh words that were spoken in anger.
"There they are!"
Murdock yelled as he saw
Quickly, BA turned the boat toward the two bobbing in the water. As soon as they were in range, he handed the wheel over to Murdock so he could pull them out of the sea. Face, he noted, was pale and unresponsive.
"Please Lord, don't let him
be dead," he asked God softly as he laid his little brother on the deck,
before reaching back to pull
"He's got a pulse and his
breathing is shallow," he reported to
"He took in a lot of water
just before I got to him."
"We're on our way man," BA shouted above the howling wind as he turned the boat back toward the marina and their van.
Suddenly the younger man began to cough and choke, bringing up mouth full, after mouth full of ocean water, causing him to choke on the salty water as it came up from his lungs and stomach.
"I'm sorry," Face
"Shhh its all right Face."
"I got them though, I made
it, right." Reaching down into his dive belt, Face pulled out the small
stainless steel cylinder, and handed it to
"You never did anything
Cupping his lover's face in his
"You just hold on kid, I'm going to make everything up to you. You just hold on for me."
"Cold…" Face whispered as a shudder ran through his body.
"How much further BA?" he shouted over the raging storm, glancing up at the large sergeant.
The runabout lurched and bounced in the high sea, slamming down roughly against the water as though hitting bare ground.
BA shook his head. "Dunno
Murdock swore slightly under his breath at the slow pulse beating beneath his fingers. Something was very wrong with Face, but he couldn't begin to imagine what; and as long as they remained out in this storm, they wouldn't be able to access him and see why his condition had so suddenly deteriorated.
The rain fell around them in ice-cold sheets, piercing them with such force, that their skin burned where the rain splattered. Lightening now danced across the sky dangerously close, and thunder rumbled all around them. The storm was on top of them now, and they were still at sea with a man down.
The ocean rose up all around them, waves crashed against the boat, twisting it sharply, bucking, and throwing them across the enraged sea. BA fought to keep them steady, and push the small craft to her limit, his eyes searching for the shoreline.
Face shifted slightly, bringing
his face close to
"Shhh, you don't have anything to be sorry about,"
Face was silent.
"Sorry H'nbl," Face muttered, his eyes rolling into the back of his head.
Murdock's fingers were searching for a pulse again.
"I see shore
"He's still got a pulse
Face's arm jerked just then, then his leg.
"What the hell?"
"It's got to be the
fever. He's burning up,"
Murdock's mind was reeling. He considered the past week's events. "Or his sugar is low. He hasn't been eating much all week, and he's obviously sick," he pointed out.
BA cut the motor as the boat ran
ashore. Jumping out quickly, he tied her
up, with Murdock's help, and they gathered the gear, rushing it to the
They laid Face carefully in the back of the van, and Murdock didn't even have the door fully shut, before BA peeled out and onto the service drive that would take them to the main road.
Murdock was readying a syringe full of glucose, which they kept on hand for emergencies like these. Face had struggled with his blood sugar in the past, mostly during periods of illness, or lack of proper nutrition, which is why Hannibal and the team normally forced the younger man to eat properly, whether he liked it or not.
The seizure had finally run its course, and Face lay completely still on the van floor. His eyes closed and sunken, dark circles creased them, a stark contrast to his pale skin, completely opposite to his normally dark tan tone.
Murdock glanced his way momentarily, before swabbing Face's arm, and injecting the glucose. It had the desired effect, as it began working almost immediately, and Face began to stir.
He muttered incoherently, and
read. He heard BA curse under his
breath, and felt the van speed up a little more.
They came to an abrupt halt moments later.
BA jogged into the all-night convenience store and back to the cooler section. Picking up some orange juice, he headed for the counter, grabbing some crackers with peanut butter along the way. He placed the items down on the counter, and glared at the young clerk, who was staring at him in shock.
"Whatcha lookin' at foo?"
"Uh –n-n-othing," the young man stuttered, ringing up the purchases. "It's uh-" he cleared his throat, "really coming down hard, isn't it?" he mustered up the courage to make small talk.
BA just nodded in agreement, paying the man, and gathering the brown bag in his arms. He hurried back out into the pouring rain, the red-haired clerk staring after him in amazement. In the van, he handed the bag back to Murdock, and then pulled out of the parking lot.
Murdock pulled the orange juice
and crackers from the bag, while
"Awww come on now Faceguy, BA went out in the pouring rain to get you this. The least you could do is take a sip for him," he cajoled as he held the orange juice bottle out again.
Face sighed, too tired, sick,
hurt, and stung by
After a few sips, Face leaned
his head back against
Face wanted to refuse to open
his eyes, and give into the soft tug of unconsciousness that was pulling on
him. He wanted to retreat into the
tempting abyss that was surrounding him, and hide until he could get a hold on
his emotions. He didn't like feeling
weak and vulnerable, but that is exactly where
As he floated in his subconscious mind, peace once again surrounding and comforting him, urgent voices called from somewhere far away. His world was shaken, as though a giant hand were tossing him about. Then there was a sharp sting across his cheek, and pain flared in his chest. Then the body was there. Deep, empty holes that had once been eyes, stared vacantly, calling him, threatening to take him back into the underwater world. The man's hand reached out, caught a hold of him, and pulled. Face was drowning once again, his chest being crushed, and the black void swallowed him.
"Come on Face, don't go to sleep yet," Murdock tried again, stroking damp blonde hair back off of Face's forehead.
Face's eyes fluttered, as though
he was trying to wake up, but then he slipped heavier against
"Come on kid, you gotta wake up," he urged. He shook Face slightly. Face's eyes remained closed, but then his back arched, and his hands curled. Hannibal and Murdock both recognized the signs as posturing. "He's having another seizure,"
This one was calmer. He didn't flail about this time, just remained rigid, with slight jerky movements. His face blued slightly, as he stopped breathing, and then he was calm, his body relaxing, and oxygen rushing back into his lungs once again.
Hannibal and Murdock both let out the breath neither realized they had been holding.
Murdock took his pulse
again. He looked up in alarm as he felt
the pulse struggle beneath his fingers.
"He's givin' up
BA pulled the van right into the warehouse, pushing the garage door button to lower it back down again behind them. He jumped out and ran around, yanking the sliding door open.
They carried Face into the small apartment they had made at one end, for emergencies, but it was normally where one member of the team would go when he was feeling picked on, or angry, or had a falling out with his other half.
Manipulating Face around, he pulled Face from his wetsuit, and briskly rubbed a towel over Face's body, which was when he noticed the red streak now rushing up Face's swollen, red, calf.
"What the hell?"
"Murdock, did he tell you
"No, he never mentioned
being injured." Murdock bent over
"Yeah, and infected," BA added as he slid a thermometer under Face's tongue.
"We've got to get it cleaned out."
"That ain't all we got to do man, his fever is at 106." BA held up the digital thermometer.
"Damn. Murdock, go turn the shower on, BA help me get him up,"
"Hand him to me," he ordered BA as he reached out for Face once Murdock got the concoction down him.
As soon as the water hit him, Face began to tremble, and a soft moan slipped through his lips. The moan soon gave way to an exhausted, weak scream as he tried to get away from the stinging pain he felt all over his body; a pain of thousands of needles pricking his skin over and over again. He tried to get away, but whoever had him was holding him too tight, and he had no energy or strength to fight it. Giving up, he slumped against the person holding him, and began to cry as the pain continued to engulf him. Terrified of the pain the person who held him was going to inflict next.
just a few more minutes kid, we're almost done."
"We have to get this fever down; if we don't, he could suffer brain damage from the extreme temperature," Hannibal told him as he tightened his grip on his lover, shifting the younger man's body in his arms, allowing the spray to flow over the blonde head. He looked at Murdock solemnly. "Or he could die," he told him softly. "You know this."
if you can get his temperature."
"H…u…r…t" Face shivered
"I know baby, I know, just a little more, then you can rest. BA let's get his temperature, and see if we can get him out."
Stepping into the shower, BA forced the thermometer into Face's mouth. Moments later, he pulled it out and sighed with relief.
"Good enough; let's get him dried off and back into bed."
Within minutes, the three men
had their injured friend dried and back in the bed. He shivered and trembled almost violently
beneath the one blanket that
"I need to check your leg
"cc…ol…d." Face shivered.
"I know baby."
"Here." BA nudged
"Open your mouth kid."
Slowly, Face did as he was told,
opening his mouth and allowing
Murdock sat down on the bed and propped Face up so the colonel could get the juice to his lips without spilling it.
"Come on Facey, let's take a couple of big swallows," Murdock encouraged him to drink
"That's it kid, just a
Reaching out, he tenderly stroked Face's cheek with his fingertips; he could still feel the heat coming off the younger man.
"Tem, I am so sorry baby. I
didn't mean to hurt you. I never meant
to hurt you." As Face leaned into
…down…" Face stammered as he trembled in
"Don't you apologize to me,
Templeton Peck; don't you ever apologize to me for something I did wrong. You could never let me down, kid. You are the best damn partner, lover, friend
and lieutenant anyone could ask for,"
Face looked deep into
"Don't cry John," Face whispered as he reached out to touch the wet skin.
"Can you forgive me Tem?"
Wrapping his arms around the older man, Face buried his head in his lover's shoulder as nodded his head yes.
"Could never stay mad at
you," he whispered in
Hugging Face close to him,
"Once we get you better, we're going to go on a vacation. We'll go anywhere you want to go, and do anything you want to do."
"Just want to sleep at night," Face's voice broke as tears spilled from his eyes.
"I'll help you with that too baby." Now realizing just how much his lover had suffered in the last week, Hannibal rubbed his back trying to offer Face some comfort.
"He won't go away." Face shuddered suddenly as he thought about the nightmares that kept him awake.
"I won't let anything hurt
you Face. I'm here, and now that I know
what to look for, I can help you get through this,"
Face nodded his head, feeling safe for the first time since this whole nightmare started.
"That's my boy, now I want you lay back and relax." He kissed Face softly before laying him back on the bed.
"I'm going to look at your leg." He stroked the hair out of Face's eyes again. "Can you tell me when it got cut?"
"I think when I was on the boat the first time, right after it went under."
"It's been like this for a
"No…I…" Face began to
tremble, afraid that he had made
"Easy Tem, I'm not upset with you," he reassured his lover, taking the smaller hand in his, encouraging him to continue.
"I just noticed it earlier
today. I was going to tell you, but then
you came in the shower and said we had to hurry and get out of the house, and I
just forgot about it. Later, when it
hurt again, I was too upset about diving," Face broke off, his eyes
downcast, refusing to meet
"Kay." Face closed his eyes; suddenly he was just too tired to keep them open.
"Damn." He looked up at Face, whose eyes were still closed. "BA get some hot towels ready. Murdock, I'm going to need a scalpel and antiseptic."
"I don't have a choice,
Murdock sighed, hating that
"Alright Murdock, you hold his hand, talk to him, try and keep him calm. BA, once I cut the wound, I want you to start wrapping the towels around them; we need to try and pull out as much of the infection as we can."
As soon as Murdock and BA were
As Face moaned, Murdock squeezed
his hand. "Shush it's going to be all right Muchacho,
"It'll come back," Face whispered as he looked up at his best friend, fear once again appearing in his blue-green eyes as he thought about going to sleep.
"No it won't Facey,
The pilot had watched
"You know he loves you Facey." Murdock reached over and wiped Face's sweaty forehead.
Face glanced down at the colonel, who seemed to feel the younger man's eyes on him, and stopped for just a second to give him an encouraging smile. Reaching up, he squeezed Face's hand gently before returning to his work.
"I know," he whispered
softly as he continued to watch
"He's going to get you through this Muchacho, we all are."
"BA, hold his leg down, I'm
going to pour the antiseptic in the wound. Murdock get
ready to hold him down." Wiping his
hands on a clean towel,
"Face, I'm almost done, but I have to clean it out this one last time. It's going to hurt, but as soon as I get finished, you can sleep."
"Are you going to stay with me?"
"Of course I am Tem. Just a little more kid, then you can rest. I promise I'll be right next to you."
Kissing Face softly, he went back to finish his work on the infected leg.
"Alright guys, here we go."
As BA tightened his grip on Face's leg, Murdock hugged him tighter to his own body.
"STOP PLEASE!" he
yelled as he tried to grab a hold of
"It's over Tem, no more kid, no more." Gently, he rocked his lover in his arms, whispering words of love and encouragement in his ear.
Slowly, BA rose from his kneeling position from beside the bed and walked over to his own lover.
"Come on fool, let's leave them alone."
"What if Face needs me?"
got everything he needs right now, and if he needs anything else,
"Don't argue with me; they need to be alone, and that is what we're going to do, we going to leave them alone."
After BA and Murdock left the
Stripping out of his own
"Go to sleep, I'll be right here for you." He kissed Face softly as he began to stroke the sweat-dampened hair.
"He'll come for me as soon as I close my eyes."
"I won't let anyone or anything get to you Tem."
Face continued to watch
"Close your eyes, kid. I'm here for you."
Slowly, Face closed his eyes, he didn't want to go to sleep, but his body couldn't take anymore.
Twenty minutes after Face fell asleep, he began to moan, his head moving from side to side.
He was sinking under the water; he could feel the pressure building in his chest making it harder and harder for him to breath. Suddenly, he heard the soft voice of his lover calling out to him.
"Face, I've got you, come
on kid, wake up."
"I'm here Tem."
Three more times that night they
went through the same ritual of
"He's still running a temperature, though the swelling in his leg looks like it's going down. I want to clean it out again once he wakes up."
"You look tired man," BA growled as he handed the colonel a cup of coffee.
"Kid didn't sleep but a few
hours last night. Every time he'd drift
off, that damn nightmare woke him back up.
I cannot imagine what he's gone through this last week, and I can't
believe that I didn't notice."
"What are we going to do Colonel?"
"We keep him on antibiotics
for a few days and hope the fever breaks, if it doesn't…"
"I need you two to find a house for us to hold up in. The apartment will do for a day or so, but he needs some place where he can rest without any noise going on around him. It won't be long before these businesses start up for the day. Between the trucks and the forklifts, he'll never get any sleep."
"Country or beach?" Murdock asked instantly, ready to go house hunting.
Knowing how much Face loved the ocean, he thought it would be a great place for the younger man to recover. He could almost see Face swimming in the surf, his body tan, his blonde hair dripping with sea spray. Then it all hit him, Face was now terrified of what he use to love the most
"My God, what have I done to him?" his voice was barely above a whisper as he stared at the wall.
BA stopped in front of his
The colonel looked up at
him. When their eyes met, BA saw just
"I could have lost him, God help me BA, I still might."
"He'll make it."
"Bout time he figured it out." Murdock crossed his arms as he glared at the closed door.
"Lay off of him."
"Lay off of him, I haven't even begun to start."
"And you need to stop. You ain't gonna to do Face no good by picking at the colonel. He feels bad enough."
"Leave him be, foo'." BA crossed his arms over his chest, putting an end to the discussion.
Late that afternoon, BA carried Face into the master bedroom of their new house.
"He's still hot," BA noted as he laid Face down in the bed.
"Han'bal?" Face opened his eyes to look around the room, though he couldn't seem to focus his eyes on anything.
"Cold." Face shuddered as he tried to bury himself farther down beneath the blankets.
"Face, I need to take your temperature."
"I know kid, just a few more minutes, and then you can sleep." He smiled down at Face as he ran his fingers through the blonde hair.
Face lay almost motionless as
"I don't know how much
longer he can keep this fight up."
"He's going to be
okay," Murdock assured
Twenty minutes later, the dressing was changed and Face was once again asleep.
"Why don't you go lay down in the other room for a while? Me and the fool will watch him."
"I can't leave him."
"Didn't ask you to leave, just told you to go lay down. One of us will come and get you if he wakes up."
"There are clean towels in the main bath," Murdock added as he leaned against BA.
"Are you saying I stink, Captain?"
"A rose by any other name
could still use a shower." The pilot smiled as
"We know, if he wakes up we'll come and get you."
"He's still asleep, hasn't moved once."
"Why the hell did you let me sleep so long?"
"Cause you ain't going to do no one any good dead on your feet," he hesitated, looking guilty. "I hate to bring this up, but if we're going to meet Palmer, we're going to have to leave in another hour."
"Shit, that son of a bitch completely slipped my mind."
"I can go by myself if you want."
"No, I want a chance to
shove that damn cylinder down his throat,"
"Meet you in the van."
"How's he doing Captain?" the colonel asked as he crossed the room to sit on the bed next to Face.
"Hasn't moved. Though I did get his temperature a little while ago; it's back down to 102."
"I'm going with BA to take those damn diamonds to Palmer; we'll be back in a few hours. If he wakes up, try and get him to eat or drink something."
"I'm going to be gone for a little while Tem. I promise I'll be back real soon," he whispered in the blonde's ear.
"Don't worry colonel, he'll
be just fine," Murdock reassured
"Take care of him Murdock; he's all I've got."
The pilot studied
"I know he is
"We'll be back as soon as we can."
Murdock glanced at his watch; Hannibal and BA had been gone for almost three hours. If he figured his times right, it would still be another forty-five minutes before they got back. He was just getting ready to pick up a new comic, when Face began to stir.
At first he thought that maybe he was just shifting positions in his sleep, but when he heard the moan, he instantly knew Face was having a nightmare.
"Hey Muchacho, wake up," Murdock called out softly as he sat down on the bed and shook his friends good leg, though making sure to stay well out of Face's reach.
This was one of the few times he was ever truly afraid of his friend. Face could be deadly if he was awakened wrong. Even in his current weakened state, he could still snap someone's neck before he ever realized what he had done.
Slowly, Face's eyes fluttered open. The first thing that the Captain noticed was the fear.
"Hey Facey, it's alright, you're safe."
Carefully, he reached out to touch his friend's face, turning it so that they were looking into each other's eyes.
"Murdock?" Face croaked.
"Yep, the one and only."
"He and BA went to give Palmer his diamonds; they should be back real soon."
Face only nodded as he broke eye contact by closing his eyes.
"What's wrong Muchacho?"
"Just tired," Face whispered as he tried to pull himself back into a ball.
"Oh no you don't, you need to eat something before you go back to sleep."
"Don't matter what you
want, it's what you need, and
Face waited for his friend to
leave before he let his emotions show on his face. Closing his eyes, he let his pain overwhelm
him. He had thought that
Now, he realized that it was all
a dream; something that his fevered mind had dreamt up.
Face pulled the blankets up around himself as he felt a chill run through his body and his broken soul. Closing his eyes, he sighed and pulled himself back into a tight ball. He'd had enough fighting; he was just too tired to fight, and what was the use anyway?
When Murdock came in with the tray, he frowned when he noticed Face was asleep again.
"Oh no you don't, Muchacho, you're going to eat even if I have to feed you myself."
Sitting the tray down on the dresser, the pilot reached to pull the blankets back from Face's body. As soon as his hand touched his friend's bare shoulder, he realized what was wrong. Face's fever was spiking again.
"Damn." Grabbing the thermometer, he forced it into the blonde's mouth. Moments later, he pulled it out and cursed as he saw the 106.5 on the digital readout.
Quickly, he snatched the portable phone off the cradle.
"Joe's pool hall,"
"He's getting bad again
"Hang on captain we'll be there in …"
"Five minutes," BA's voice came over the receiver.
"Get the bathtub full of water; we'll be there soon."
"Got it Colonel." Murdock hung up the phone and pulled the blankets off of Face before he ran for the bathroom.
Within minutes, he was fighting Face to get his clothes off, as Face shivered violently and tried to curl up into the fetal position.
Hannibal and BA entered the house at a dead run. The Colonel grabbed the thermometer as BA helped hold Face down on the bed.
"107 shit, Murdock did you get the tub…"
"It's ready for him."
Before anyone else could react, BA scooped Face up and hurried to the bathroom. Quickly, he submerged Face's naked body in the water.
As soon as his fevered body hit the water, Face began to struggle. His mind couldn't process what was happening to him. He remembered talking to Murdock, now he was back in the cold ocean, and it was trying to drown him again.
Suddenly, Face stopped and went
"Still beating, though it's moving way to fast."
"What are we going to do? He can't take much more of this," Murdock asked as he moved around to hold Face's limp hand.
"We leave for Bad Rock tonight."
Closing his eyes, the Colonel scrubbed his face with his hands.
"We don't have any choice BA, the next time we do this, it could kill him from the shock. Maggie has antibiotics and training that I don't."
"You just keep fighting Tem. We'll have you better in no time."
The drive to Bad Rock seemed to
take forever. Face's fever continued to
climb dangerously high, as
His lack of response concerned
For the team, it had to be the longest five-hour drive they had ever experienced, each of them watched as Face's condition steadily worsened before their eyes.
When they reached Bakersfield, Hannibal noticed that Face was beginning to wheeze with each breath, by Fresno, his fever was hovering at 106.9, and when they reached North Folk, an hour outside of Bad Rock, he was struggling to breath, and the slight wheezing was now a rattling sound deep in his chest.
As soon as the van pulled up, Dr. Maggie Sullivan ran out to meet the team.
The Captain was kneeling beside the two of them, wiping the younger man down with wet towels.
When the door opened,
"I can't keep his fever
down, and he's having trouble breathing,"
"Get him in the exam room,
now!" Maggie ordered as she watched the big Sergeant take
Face's almost lifeless body out of
As soon as Face's was on the table, Maggie began to examine him, listening to his lungs and heart.
"How long has he been like this?" She looked over at Hannibal, who was now standing beside Face, holding the younger man's hand.
"He hasn't felt well all week…"
"He's been like this for a week?" Maggie yelled at the colonel.
"No! A little over a week ago we went on a mission
…" Fifteen minutes later,
He cared for Maggie dearly, but felt that his love life was none of the good doctor's business.
"John, you should have brought him here a lot sooner. He's critical. He needs to be in a hospital."
"We can't take him to a hospital Doc, he's wanted; if they find out who he is then they'll send him straight back to prison."
"He'll be better off in
prison than dead." She glared up at
"Not for him."
"I'll do what I can for him colonel." Maggie turned her back on him and quickly began to continue her care for the ill man. She knew that it was bad for any man in prison, but she had never thought how it would be for someone as young and handsome as Face.
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