Send Comment Card

Please Send This Author Comments!
This page last viewed: 2017-06-25 and has been viewed 7568 times

The water was cold and icy

Deep Fears

By Jes Parker & Jullian Gray

 

Rated NC-17

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

 

fffffffffffffffffff

 

 

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. 

 

Kicking 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.

 

Visions of Hannibal, Murdock and BA rushed through his mind. Hannibal laughing, waving his cigar and smiling his smile that spoke of the jazz.  The first time Hannibal had kissed him all those years ago in Viet Nam, the soft smile on his face, the happiness in the light blue eyes as he looked at him, and the feel of his lips. Murdock's joyful smile, his laugh, and his friendly banter and caring ways.  Slinging his arm around Face and smiling broadly.  BA chasing Murdock after he had teased him one too many times, his quirky grin and his sneaky laugh.  Picture after picture, moment after moment flowed unfiltered through his mind.  They were on the beach, playing football, laughing, not a care in the world.  The beach.  Once, Face's favorite place.  A place that Face could go and find serenity and peace, if only for a few moments, to lock out the rest of the world.  A place that was now surrounded by the water that would now claim his life as it yanked him unwillingly from this world.  Hannibal's face appeared one last time; his hand reaching, stroking his face in comfort and love.  Then there was only peace, and Face was lost.

 

#

 

"Something went wrong," Hannibal ground out around a cigar, peering through his binoculars.  "I see smoke.  Start up the boat BA."

 

BA complied in silence as Hannibal continued to watch the scene through his binoculars.  "Murdock, you ready to go in?  Just in case?" he asked, not tearing his gaze away from the boat with the rolling smoke.

 

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.

 

"The boat's going down, and fast.  BA, hurry up," Hannibal ordered.  The sharp wind blew around them, cutting through them as they whipped through the water.

 

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.

 

"She's gone," Hannibal announced a few minutes later.


"Can you see Face?"

Hannibal shook his head.  "We're too far out."  Hannibal's heart was thudding quickly in his chest.  His stomach gnawed with fear.  His eyes remained glued to the ocean, where the boat his lover had been upon, once sat. 

 

"He's not there," Hannibal whispered, his eyes scanning the ocean as they got closer.  "Damn it.  Where are you kid?"

 

BA slowed the boat at the same second Murdock slid cleanly into the water, no order necessary. 

 

"I'm going in after him," Hannibal said, stripping out of his jacket, and kicking out of his shoes, his hand reaching for a scuba tank.  "Stay with the boat," he said, handing BA his gun.

 

"You got it Hannibal."

 

Murdock propelled himself through the water, his eyes scanning the distance for his best friend.  He knew, without turning, that Hannibal had cut into the water behind him.  In his mind, he counted the minutes since the boat had gone down.  He hoped that Face had been able to surface for a breath, but deep down, he knew that he hadn't.  Murdock had an overwhelming sense of dread growing within him.  A feeling that he had been carrying in him since the start of this mission, and now it was full-fledged, ballooning in his gut.

 

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. 

 

His 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.  Hannibal arrived at his side.  Their eyes met and locked.  Murdock shook his head, panic in his eyes, his head swirling, and cold terror rushing through his veins like ice.

 

Hannibal felt like he'd been slammed in the gut with a bat as all competent thought momentarily left him.  Then, the commander kicked in.  He motioned for Murdock to help him untangle Face from the frozen grip and scuba gear.  They both noticed the unmistakable signs of Face's work on the obviously broken neck of the other man.  Then, Hannibal snaked an arm around Face's chest and began pulling him to the surface.  Luckily, they weren't far enough down to require decompression stops along the way, and they quickly swam to the surface. 

 

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 Hannibal in behind him. Hannibal rushed to Face's side, while BA helped Murdock over the edge.

 

Hannibal frantically searched for the pulse and breath sounds that he knew wouldn't be there.  Still, finding his lover's heart unresponsive, and his chest still, sent cold tendrils of fear throughout his body, making him feel weak and off-balance.

 

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.

 

Hannibal looked around quickly, while Murdock did chest compressions.  Finally he shook his head, then gave Face two more breaths, before speaking again.  "There's no way to get it to the beach.  Will give him a few more minutes, then we'll make our way to it," he paused to breath for Face again.  "How far are we from anything?"


BA sighed, rubbing at his eyes.  "Too far Hannibal," he murmured softly. 

 

Hannibal closed his eyes.  He dipped his forehead so that it touched Face's.  "Damn kid.  Don't do this to me.  Breathe, damn it," he whispered, before breathing for Face again.  He glanced at Murdock.  Murdock met his gaze, and then shook his head, not willing to give up. 

 

"He's gonna make it," Murdock whispered.  "He has to."

Hannibal just nodded.  "BA, take over for Murdock.  Murdock, talk to him.  He always listens to you."


Murdock nodded, allowing BA to drop down in his place.  He crawled around Face, to the opposite side of Hannibal and leaned down near his ear. 


"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.  Hannibal loves you.  BA even loves you, don't ya big guy?" Murdock turned his head, looking at BA through his tears. 

 

BA met his own lover's eyes, seeing the heart-wrenching agony in them, and nodded.  "Of course I do.  More then life itself." 

 

"See Facey, 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 Hannibal and BA off of Face, grabbed him, and shook him. 

"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.

 

"Face!" Hannibal breathed. 

Murdock stilled.  His eyes opened, and he glanced first at Hannibal, then down at Face's damp, blonde hair.

 

"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 Hannibal gathered him into his arms, and carried him to the van.

 

#

 

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 Hannibal lying quietly beside him in their bed.

 

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."

 

"Wanna 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."

 

"I'm fine."

 

"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 Hannibal in here, and we can discuss it with him."

 

"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." 

 

"Hannibal worries too much." Face sighed as he took a drink of his tea.

 

"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."

 

"Face…"

 

"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 Hannibal about this." 

 

"Hannibal is the last person who needs to know about this."

 

"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."

 

"Liar."

 

"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." Hannibal asked as he walked into the kitchen.

 

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.  

 

"Couldn't sleep."

 

Hannibal nodded as he sat down on a bar stool next to Face, but not before kissing the younger man softly on the lips. 

 

"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."  Hannibal turned to look at his lover.

 

"Sorry Hannibal." Face smiled as he reached out to smooth Hannibal's hair back into its proper place.

 

"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 captain."  Hannibal smiled at the pilot as he took Face's hand in his own. 

 

"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 front of Hannibal, kissing him passionately on the lips, before leaning over to whisper something into the older man's ear.  As soon as Face stood back upright, the colonel grabbed his lieutenant by the waist, and threw him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, within seconds they were out of sight and the bedroom door closed.

 

Murdock sighed heavily; he knew that Face wasn't going to tell Hannibal about his dreams.  However, he also knew that Face wouldn't be able to get over them until he talked to his commander about it.  He and Face could talk till the cows came home and not get anywhere.  But when Hannibal made Face talk, it all seemed to work out for the best.

 

"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?" Hannibal asked softly as he brushed away the stray hair from Face's eyes, noting the slight warmth of the younger man's forehead.

 

"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."  Hannibal stated after the two broke apart.

 

"I'm not really hungry."

 

"Get hungry." Hannibal reached up and pulled Face's hands out of his hair. "You haven't eaten much in the last few days."

 

"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 ten?" Hannibal raised an eyebrow.

 

"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.

 

Still smiling, Hannibal slid into his a pair of sweat pants and threw on a Michigan State University t-shirt.

 

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." Hannibal grinned as he poured himself a cup of coffee, before taking his seat next to the big black man.

 

"Don't know how you do it." BA growled as he nodded toward the pilot, then back toward the bedroom.

 

"Do what?"

 

"Keep up with him." The big man shook his head. "Crazy man had me up half the night."

 

It was everything Hannibal could do to swallow the coffee he had in his mouth without choking on it. BA never talked about his sex life with the pilot, just as he never discussed his sex life with Face to the other two.

 

"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." Hannibal laughed.

 

BA was just about to tell the colonel where he could put his comment, when suddenly someone was banging on their front door.

 

"Who the hell?" Hannibal grabbed his spare 45 that he kept in the kitchen drawer.

 

Moving down the front hallway, the colonel positioned himself behind the door, while BA moved to stand across from him. Slowly raising his fingers, Hannibal counted off three seconds. When the third finger went up, the colonel jerked the door open, while BA snatched the person through the doorway and shoved them against the wall.

 

Slamming the door closed, Hannibal pointed the automatic weapon against the man's temple.

 

"I don't remember ordering any Avon, and it's too damn early for Chinese's take out!" he snarled in the other man's ear.

 

"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!"

 

Hannibal glared at the other man, he had been called a lot of things over the years, but he had never been called a thief. It was something that he did not care for one bit.

 

 "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."

 

"Colonel…"

 

"I said let him go.  Meet us in Long Beach by the Queen Mary at 10:00 tomorrow night I'll have your damn diamonds." With that, Hannibal opened the door and shoved the other man out through it.

 

"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 twenty minutes," Hannibal commanded as he stormed off to get Face.

 

"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."

 

"Come on Hannibal, I haven't been in here ten minutes yet."

 

"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, Hannibal turned and left the bathroom

 

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 Hannibal had already laid out clothes for him. Looking around, he noticed that the rest of the room was already stripped of all their personal items.

 

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.

 

"Unless you have some magic way of getting that cylinder off that ship that I don't know about, lieutenant!" Hannibal snapped. He didn't really mean to take his anger out on the kid, but he was just so pissed at Palmer right now that all he could do was see red.

 

"Muchacho?"

 

Face turned to look at Murdock, and then shook his head, silencing the other man.

 

"Hannibal, by the time we get the van loaded with equipment and back to the beach, it'll be dark," Murdock quickly pointed out, trying to come up with some way to help Face out.

 

"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."

 

"Hannibal…"

 

"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. 

 

Hannibal led the way at full steam, BA right behind him.  Murdock walked beside Face, who struggled to keep up. 


Hannibal glanced over his shoulder.  "Hurry up you two!  We don't have all night!" he snapped.  He turned back around, and continued to braze a path for the boat.  Face didn't even lift his eyes, just concentrated on his feet, almost willing them to move.

 

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!" Hannibal's bellow cut through to him.  He shook his head, snapping him out of his reverie, and tried to force his feet to move.  He made it two steps, before the vision of the dead man jumped into his mind.  He was pulling Face down.  Face looked harder at the ocean.  The wind seemed to pick up; it blew the trees all around them, casting ghastly shapes across the beach as the moon shadowed the leaves and branches.  Face looked around in a panic.  The man appeared before his eyes again.  He was down there, waiting for Face, just like in his dreams.  All of this was just like in his dreams.  He took a step back again, and fell.

 

"Face!" Murdock was at his side, shaking his shoulder.  "Snap out of it Face!" Murdock was hissing in his ear.  "Hannibal's pissed off enough.  You gotta keep up, or tell him."

 

Hannibal was at their side.  "There a problem, Lieutenant?"

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!" Hannibal snapped again.  He spun on his heal.  "BA get the gear loaded." He turned back.  "Murdock, help him.  Face, get your wetsuit on."

 

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 Hannibal to snap at him again.


"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.

 

Hannibal knew he was being an asshole.  He kept telling himself to shut up, but he just couldn't seem to stop the words from coming out of his mouth.  Palmer had really gotten under his skin and rubbed him the wrong way.  He hadn't been that angry with a person in a long time, and therefore, was taking it out on his team.  He told himself that he'd have to make it up to them later.  Especially Face.  Maybe he should apologize.  But, Face was just making him so damn angry.  He was dragging his feet, and throwing their time schedule off.  He couldn't understand the problem.  Face loved the ocean.  Granted, he didn't always enjoy diving in the cold, and would complain up and down Main Street about it, but he did it, and did it well.  He was the best diver that Hannibal had seen in a very long time, if not ever, which was why he was perfect for this job.  He knew that if they had a chance at all of retrieving those diamonds tonight, it would have to be Face who made the dive. 

 

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 Hannibal," he whispered.

 

Hannibal narrowed his eyes.  "What do you mean, you can't do it?"  He was aware of both BA and Murdock stopping what they were doing, and turning to watch the pair. 

 

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 the morning!"  Hannibal was irate.  "You are getting in that boat, you are going out to the dive site, and you are getting your ass in that water, and you are not coming up until you retrieve that damn cylinder.  Now move!"

 

Face just shook his head.  "Not tonight Hannibal.  I'm not getting in tonight."  Face took a step back.  "One more day isn't going to make a difference.  If we wait till morning, I'll be able to see better; I won't have to worry about debris."

 

"You're not hearing me, Lieutenant.  We are retrieving it tonight.  End of discussion.  Now get in the boat.  That isn't a request."

 

"Hannibal –" Face started to say.

 

"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 Hannibal. 

 

"No," he said softly.

Hannibal narrowed his eyes.  "What did you say?"

 

"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 Hannibal.  I'm not getting in the water tonight.  I can't.  I can't go in there."

 

Hannibal exploded.  "This isn't about you, Face!  This is about a client, who paid us a $20,000 dollar down payment to retrieve his Goddamn diamonds and if we don't retrieve them, he's gonna call the military.  He'll also probably call all the papers and news teams from here to Kentucky, and if he does that, you can be certain we'll never get a job again.  Do you really want that on your head?" he paused.  "Do you Lieutenant?"  

 

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 Hannibal.  But he didn't want him to see him as a coward.  That's what he felt like, a coward.  Never before had anything terrified him this much.  The last time he felt fear like this was – he stopped himself.  He did not want to go there.  There were too many bad memories. 


Hannibal took his hesitation as another refusal and flat out lost it.  "You're one selfish piece of work, you know that Peck?" Face's eyes widened.  "Everything is about you.  You could care less about anyone else, as long as you get your own way.  Do you really think any of us want to be down here in the middle of the night to retrieve some blasted object that none of us could give a rat's ass about?" Hannibal was yelling, practically in his lover's face.  "We're doing it because we don't have a choice.  We promised Palmer we'd get him his diamonds and damn it, that's what we're going to do.  We should have had it by now.  If you hadn't blown up the damn boat in the first place, we might not be here right now.  I mean, really Face, how hard was it to go onto that boat, steal a little stainless steel cylinder, and get back off without being detected?  You're a government trained Green Beret for Christ sake; it shouldn't have been that difficult.  But no, you have to blow up the damn boat, and nearly get yourself killed doing it!"

 

"Uh, Hannibal," Murdock tried to interject.

 

"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," Hannibal emphasized by holding his hand up over his head, "with your constant whining and complaining when things don't go your way.  Well, Peck, we don't always get our own way.  Sometimes, we have to do things we don't want to.  But you don't think about other people, do you?  Now, I'm cold, and I'm wet, and I'm telling you one more time to get - in – the - boat!"

 

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 Hannibal thought of him?  He glanced at BA and Murdock, who were both watching the whole outburst in shock.  Did they?  He looked back at Hannibal.  He pulled his wetsuit up over his chest, and walked past Hannibal without saying a word, to the water's edge.  He got one foot in the ocean, and all the fear, and all the terror, came rushing back.  Emotions battled each other.  His want to please Hannibal, his hurt and sorrow at the harsh words, and the fear of the ocean, and the dreams, and the man down below, who wanted revenge for his death.  He shivered, and he took another step toward the boat. 

 

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."

 

"You getting in the boat today, Lieutenant?" Hannibal asked, as he splashed past, and climbed into the boat.  BA threw the scuba tank in next to him, and looked their way, concern showing in his eyes.

 

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 Hannibal understand, when Hannibal leapt out of the boat, and stormed back to him. 


"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 Hannibal's eyes.  His blue eyes were dancing with rage.  "You've got a choice Face.  Either get in that boat, or get off the team."

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.

 

Hannibal shook his head, his eyes hard.  "Then there is no us."  Inside, Hannibal was screaming at himself to shut up, but he couldn't bring himself to listen to that tiny voice that was telling him he was making the biggest mistake of his life. 

 

"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 Hannibal.  Hannibal was right.  If he couldn't do his job, he was useless to the team.  To Hannibal.  He had let Hannibal down.  He swallowed hard, tried to force an apology, but no sound would come out, so instead, he turned and walked away, slipping off into the darkness of the night.

 

Hannibal watched him go with wide eyes, hurt that Face could just walk away from him that easily, over something so petty, just because he didn't want to dive in the cold, and the dark. 


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 child, Murdock," Hannibal snarled, unhappy that his team was second-guessing him.

 

"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. 

 

Hannibal turned to BA, who was watching Murdock.  "You got a comment, Sergeant?"

 

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 Hannibal wouldn't be getting off easily.  He was way out of line, and BA would gladly show him the error of his way, once he came down out of commander mode.

 

#

 

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. 

 

Hannibal's cruel words found their way to his heart over and over again like a song stuck on replay.  He had let Hannibal down.  Hannibal was right.  He had been selfish.  He had put himself before the team.  Now, the team would suffer for his betrayal.  They would be out of business.  Their name would be ruined.  They could end up back in a military prison, or be forced to move from the city that they loved, and all because he had been too selfish to think of anyone but himself, of his own fears.

 

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 Hannibal.  For the team.  Even if he wasn't apart of it any longer, he couldn't allow them to suffer because of his shortcomings. 

 

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 waiting, Hannibal disappointed, Hannibal's words…  "Then there is no us."  Vision after vision assaulted his mind, and his precious hold on his sanity.


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 slowly coming back to his senses. He only hoped that it wasn't too late.

 

#

 

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," Hannibal whispered to himself.

 

"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 order," Hannibal argued defensively.

 

"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."

 

"I don't…"

 

"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 command!" Hannibal snapped.

 

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 Hannibal. "Tell me Hannibal, what's he got to live for now?"

 

Fear suddenly flashed in Hannibal's eyes as what BA said struck home.  He could remember the pained look on his lover's face.

 

"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 Hannibal what was happening to him.

 

"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 Face and Hannibal, but if you got some problem, I want to know," he said softly as he cupped the pilot's chin in his hand.

 

"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 Hannibal; he hadn't said a word about his own lover.  Feeling a burden lifted from his shoulders, Murdock quickly filled BA in.

 

"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?" Hannibal demanded as he stood in the open doorway. "Why did he confide in you?"

 

"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."

 

"He…."

 

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 Hannibal right now, Face loves him.  Face knows the colonel's faults, he's not a child." 

 

"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 Hannibal.

 

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 Hannibal what he was feeling, that he might forgive him. There could still be a chance that everything would work out.  But then he would hear the hurtful words, and see the look of anger in Hannibal's blue eyes.

 

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," Hannibal stated softly.

 

 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.

 

After 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, Hannibal was out the door and running down the path toward the beach; Murdock and BA on his heels.

 

When Hannibal reached the beach, his heart stopped, the runabout was gone.

 

"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?

 

"Hannibal?"

 

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 Hannibal and point out a few other character faults their fearless leader had, when he saw the look of total loss and devastation in the older man's eyes.

 

"Colonel, there's a marina up the road about two miles from here."

 

Hannibal nodded his head.

 

"We'll find him."

 

"Thanks Murdock."

 

#

 

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…

 

#

 

Hannibal cursed as BA pushed the stolen boat harder towards the coordinates of the lost boat and his lover.

 

"There it is!" Murdock yelled above the howling wind, pointing toward the team's runabout.

 

"Pull up along side of her BA," Hannibal yelled to be heard. "Watch for Face in the water."

 

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!"

 

Hannibal jumped onto the runabout, searching the boat.

 

"I've already looked colonel, he's not here!" Murdock yelled, his anger growing at the colonel for second guessing him.

 

Hannibal ignored the comment; he was a man on a mission.  Searching the small craft, he quickly found what he was looking for.  Within seconds, he had the team's second scuba tank on his back.

 

"You can't go down there Hannibal!" Murdock ran to the colonel.

 

"As you two pointed out, I messed this up, so I'm going to fix it!" Hannibal yelled as he slid into the water.

 

Hannibal swam as hard as he could down toward the bottom of the ocean.

 

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 Hannibal had time to run the past week through his mind, he realized that Face had been up early every morning, hours before the rest of the team, he had guessed, always with puffy dark circles under his eyes as if he hadn't slept at all the night before.

 

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?'

 

Hannibal was becoming desperate, when he noticed air bubbles coming up just to his left. Pushing himself even harder, he followed the path of bubbles down until he found the boat.  Working his way inside, he found the main cabin.

 

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, Hannibal pushed the body aside so he could get to Face and the regulator. Grabbing a hold of the smaller man, he tried to force the breather back into his mouth, but Face was beyond being reasoned with.  His mind was locked down deep in his nightmare.  Instead of allowing Hannibal to help him, he fought the other man, trying desperately to get away from the dead body.

 

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.

 

Hannibal could see the panic rising in Face; and he knew that if he didn't get the regulator back into the kid, he would drown. Grabbing a hold of Face's jaw, he squeezed until it opened, then shoved it into his mouth.  Even though it was in, Hannibal didn't think that the kid was getting any air; he was still turning pale before his eyes.

 

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, Hannibal grabbed him by the head and forced him to look at him.  As he forced Face's head around, he could see the terror in the younger man's eyes.

 

You did this to him, the little voice in the back of Hannibal's mind screamed. If you had just stopped and listened.  Reaching out, he gently touched his lover's face.  Slowly, Face focused his eyes onto Hannibal's.

 

The colonel watched as recognition flashed across his lieutenant's face, just before he passed out in Hannibal's arms.  Struggling, Hannibal turned Face around so that his back was against his chest.  Working his way to the doorway, he made it past the corpse, before picking his way through the debris.  As soon as he was free of the boats rigging, Hannibal swam as hard as he could towards the surface, pulling Face's unconscious body with him.

 

#

 

"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 Hannibal break the surface of the water.

 

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 Hannibal over the railing. When he turned back around, Murdock was already at Face's side pulling off the dive equipment and checking for vital signs.

 

"He's got a pulse and his breathing is shallow," he reported to Hannibal as he knelt down next to the unconscious blonde.

 

"He took in a lot of water just before I got to him."  Hannibal reached up to wipe the hair back from Face's forehead. "Jesus, he's burning up. BA…"

 

"We're on our way man," BA shouted above the howling wind as he turned the boat back toward the marina and their van.

 

As Hannibal turned his attention back to Face, he noticed the blue-green eyes staring at him. 

 

"Face?"

 

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.

 

Reaching down, Hannibal pulled Face into his arms, cradling the smaller man to him, trying to offer him some type of comfort and support as his thin body was racked by each coughing fit.

 

"I'm sorry," Face moaned against Hannibal's chest. "I didn't mean to be so much trouble."

 

"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 Hannibal.  "I did make it, right…. I did, didn't I, John?"

 

Hannibal thought his heart would break at the pleading look in Face's eyes as he stared up at him, begging for forgiveness.

 

"You never did anything wrong baby."  Hannibal felt the tears spill over his lower lids as he looked down at Face. "It was my fault, not yours."

 

Cupping his lover's face in his hands, Hannibal kissed Face tenderly on his lips.

 

"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.

 

Hannibal gathered him closer, trying to warm him with his own body heat, and love, but Face continued to shiver; the shaking becoming even more violent as the minutes passed.  However, what concerned Hannibal was not the shivering, but the heat pouring off of his lover.  For as cold as Face seemed to be, his body was burning up in the exact opposite; his body radiating heat as if he were on fire. He could not imagine what was causing the fever, but knew they needed to get to shore quickly.


"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 Hannibal.  Ahm goin' as fast as I can, but this storm is really slowing us down."  His eyes locked with Hannibal's, and the concern that he saw there nearly overwhelmed him.  Then he took in the shaking form of their lieutenant.  Face shuddered and shook in Hannibal's grasp, his eyes barely open.  His face was pale, and from what he could see of the younger man's eyes, he was terrified.  Then he glanced at his own lover, huddled on the floor next to Hannibal and Face, his hand wrapped firmly around Face's hand, offering what support and love that he could.  He could see the expression in Murdock's eyes, and watched him begin to rock back and forth.  He only hoped that Murdock would not disappear into his own little world again.  He was relieved when Murdock shook himself a little, and wrapped his fingers around Face's wrist, his eyes moving to his watch.

 

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 Hannibal's ear.  "I'm sorry, Hannibal," he whispered again, as another shudder ripped through his body. 


"Shhh, you don't have anything to be sorry about," Hannibal told him, holding him closer.  "I'm the one who's sorry.  So terribly sorry.  I shouldn't have said those awful things to you."

 

Face was silent.  Hannibal turned him slightly.  "I love you Templeton Peck.  You hang on, you hear me?"

 

"Sorry H'nbl," Face muttered, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. 

 

Hannibal shook him slightly.  "Damn it kid, wake up!  Don't you do this to me."

 

Murdock's fingers were searching for a pulse again.

 

"I see shore Hannibal," BA shouted to them.

 

"He's still got a pulse Hannibal," Murdock assured him, "but it's real weak and thready."

 

Face's arm jerked just then, then his leg.

 

"What the hell?" Hannibal muttered, just as Face's whole body spasmed, twisting and jerking in a full-blown seizure.

 

"It's got to be the fever.  He's burning up," Hannibal muttered.

 

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. 


"Damn," Hannibal muttered, thinking fast. 

 

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 van.   Hannibal pulled Face into his arms, and followed at a fast pace.  BA got the van running, heat on full blast, while Murdock ran back to assist Hannibal.

 

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.

 

"Where to Hannibal?"

Hannibal had not thought that far ahead.  His entire thought process had been on Face, and the shoddy treatment he had dealt him.  Hannibal shook his head.  "Go to the warehouse.  We'll figure out a plan from there."

 

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.

 

Hannibal was studying the glucose monitor.   "Damn, you're right Murdock," he muttered.  "Why didn't I notice?" he whispered more to himself then anyone else.

 

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 Hannibal stroked his damp hair.  Dampened by the ocean, or the heat rising from his body, they were not sure.  Murdock grabbed a thermometer, and popped it under Face's tongue.  Hannibal whispered encouragingly to him, while Murdock held the thermometer in place.

 

"105," Murdock 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.  Hannibal looked up in time to see BA hop out, and run through the rain into a convenience store, and then he focused his attention back on Face.

 

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 Hannibal moved Face so that his back was against his chest.  Face was slowly coming around, but when he saw Murdock coming at him with the orange juice, he weakly put his hands up to fend him off.

 

"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 Hannibal's admission, to argue.  He obediently sipped at the juice, causing Murdock and Hannibal to exchange a look of surprise. 

 

After a few sips, Face leaned his head back against Hannibal's chest and closed his eyes.  Murdock tapped his cheek lightly.  "Come on Facey, you can't sleep just yet.  Let's get your sugar up first."

 

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 Hannibal's harsh words had left him.  He knew that he deserved them all.  He had been a coward, giving into his fears, and disappointing Hannibal.  He had been selfish and unfair, and nearly destroyed the team in the process.  Hannibal had been right to break up with him, and kick him off the team.  He would have left him too.  This made the black hole swarming before him, all the more appealing.  Anything was better then having to deal with his emotions, and the fallout they had caused. 

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 Hannibal.  Hannibal shifted Face in his arms. 


"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," Hannibal muttered, lying Face onto the floor of the van.

 

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 Hannibal," his voice shook with shock.

 

"Face!" Hannibal commanded.  "Come on Face, you gotta wake up.  Come on back to us kid."  He slapped Face across the cheek, trying to rouse him with the pain, then, when no response was forthcoming, rubbed his knuckles briskly against Face's sternum. 

 

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. 

 

Hannibal laid Face in the large bed in the small room he shared with Face, while BA and Murdock began rushing in supplies. 


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?" Hannibal bent down to examine the wound.  As he reached out to touch it, he could feel the heat radiating from the wound.  Carefully, he touched the reddened skin, causing Face to moan.

 

"Murdock, did he tell you about this?" Hannibal asked as the pilot brought in more blankets.

 

"No, he never mentioned being injured." Murdock bent over Hannibal's shoulder so he could see the wound. "It didn't happen tonight; it looks like it's at least a week old."

 

"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," Hannibal instructed, knowing they didn't have time to spare.  They all knew that if his fever reached 108°, his organs would begin to shut down, and that he would die.

 

Minutes later, Hannibal was standing bare-chested in the shower stall as lukewarm water poured over him, more cold then warm.  He watched as Murdock poured crushed up ibuprofen mixed with water down Face's throat while BA held 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.

 

"Shhh just a few more minutes kid, we're almost done." Hannibal hugged him closer to his body feeling the heat radiating off of his lover.

 

"Hannibal, you're hurting him." Murdock stepped forward to try and take Face away from the colonel.

 

"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."

 

"BA, see if you can get his temperature." Hannibal shifted Face again so that the smaller man's head was resting on his shoulder. Gently stroking the wet hair, he whispered in his lover's ear, "Face come on baby, work with me."

 

"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.

 

"103"

 

"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 Hannibal would afford him, too afraid that by covering him under several as he wanted would cause the fever to spike again sharply.

 

"I need to check your leg sunshine." Hannibal leaned over to kiss Face softly on his fevered forehead. "Can you tell me when you got cut?"

 

"cc…ol…d." Face shivered.

 

"I know baby." Hannibal stroked Face's hair out from his eyes.  His heart broke as Face cringed away from him.   

 

"Here." BA nudged Hannibal with his hand, in which he was holding a glass of orange juice and two pills he recognized; one was an antibiotic, the other a sedative.

 

"Thanks." Hannibal took the glass and pills from his sergeant.

 

"Open your mouth kid."

 

Slowly, Face did as he was told, opening his mouth and allowing Hannibal to place the pills in it.

 

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 little more." Hannibal smiled at him, encouraging him to finish the glass of juice as he turned it up.  Once Face managed to get the last few drops down, Hannibal took the glass away from his lips.

 

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 his touch, Hannibal reached out and pulled his partner into his arms, hugging him tightly to his body.

 

"So…sorry…I…I…let …you …down…" Face stammered as he trembled in Hannibal's embrace.

 

"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," Hannibal reassured him as he pushed Face back so they were looking into each other's eyes. "I love you Tem.  Do you hear me?  I was wrong to say those things to you, I never should have even thought them, let alone said them. I am so sorry."

 

Face looked deep into Hannibal's bright blue eyes and found the one thing he needed to see more than anything.  He saw the love that Hannibal had for him, nothing but love in the blue orbs.  He watched as a tear slipped over Hannibal's lower lid, sliding down his cheek leaving a wet trail as it made its way down to his jaw.

 

"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 Hannibal's ear.

 

Hugging Face close to him, Hannibal felt like a weight had been lifted from his heart.  He knew deep down that even though Face had forgiven him, he still had a lot of work ahead of him to set things to right. Maybe that was part of his problem; he knew that Face would always forgive him, and he just stopped trying to show the kid how much he loved him because of that.  Closing his eyes, he now knew that he needed to back up his words with action; he needed to show the younger man exactly what he meant 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," Hannibal reassured him, hugging him even tighter. "I'm going to take care of everything; will you let me take care of you, Tem?"

 

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 week?"  Hannibal looked at him in shock.

 

"No…I…" Face began to tremble, afraid that he had made Hannibal mad at him again.

 

"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 Hannibal's eyes.

 

Hannibal sighed, realizing he'd treated his lover worse then he'd ever imagined "Alright kid, I want you to lay back and relax while I look at it.  If it starts hurting too bad, you let me know, alright?"

 

"Kay." Face closed his eyes; suddenly he was just too tired to keep them open.

 

Gently, Hannibal began to probe the hot swollen flesh.  He cursed softly as puss began to seep from the open sore.

 

"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."

 

"Hannibal you can't cut him, he's already hurting too much." Murdock stared at him in disbelief.

 

"I don't have a choice, Captain," Hannibal spoke softly as he reached up to stroke Face's cheek. "If I can't get the infection under control, it could kill him.  Or at the very least, he could lose his leg, which we both know would kill him anyway."

 

Murdock sighed, hating that Hannibal was right, and moved to comply with Hannibal's orders.

 

"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 in place, Hannibal slit the small wound open, causing puss and blood to pour from it.  BA instantly laid a hot towel over the wound, applying slight pressure.

 

As Face moaned, Murdock squeezed his hand. "Shush it's going to be all right Muchacho, Hannibal is just about done; he's going to get you fixed up, then you can rest. How does that sound Facey, just you and the colonel stretched out for a nice long nap?"

 

"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, Hannibal knows about it now.  He won't let it come back; he won't let anything hurt you." Murdock looked down at the colonel and his lover who were both focused on the wound on Face's leg.

 

The pilot had watched Hannibal closely over the last few hours, and though he had been ready to tear him a new one the first chance he got, he realized he couldn't.  He had watched as the colonel had poured his heart out to Face, and as he watched the older man now, he could see just how much he loved his best friend. 

 

"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 Hannibal.

 

"He's going to get you through this Muchacho, we all are."

 

Hannibal could hear Murdock talking to Face as he continued to clean the wound.  He cursed himself for not taking better care of his lover.  If he had just paid closer attention, Face wouldn't be in this shape.

 

"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, Hannibal moved to take Face's sweat covered head in his hands so that they were looking directly at each other.

 

"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."

 

"Kay"

 

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.

 

Bending over, Hannibal poured the antiseptic into the wound.  As it hit the burning flesh, Face arched his back and tried to kick out of BA's grip.

 

"STOP PLEASE!" he yelled as he tried to grab a hold of Hannibal's hands. "Please Hannibal…please…stop…" he panted and gasped for air.

 

Hannibal moved as quickly as he could.   He lightly dressed the wound in clean white gauze before taking Face into his arms.

 

"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?"

 

"Faceman got everything he needs right now, and if he needs anything else, Hannibal will take care of it."

 

"BA…"

 

"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 small bedroom, Hannibal laid Face back down on the bed. As he looked the young man over, he noticed that Face was still pale and sweating, his body trembling from exertion.

 

Stripping out of his own clothes, Hannibal climbed into the bed behind Face.  Gently, he pulled the younger man to him.  Face laid his head on Hannibal's shoulder as the colonel wrapped his arms around him.

 

"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 Hannibal, afraid to close his eyes, afraid to go to sleep, terrified what would happen this time.

 

"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.

 

Hannibal watched as Face slowly drifted off; he knew the kid would have a nightmare tonight, so he made himself comfortable and readied himself for a long night.

 

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." Hannibal gently shook Face till his eyes opened.

 

"Hannibal?"

 

"I'm here Tem." Hannibal smiled at the younger man in his arms.

 

Three more times that night they went through the same ritual of Hannibal waking Face as soon as the nightmare began.  Comforting him before trying to get him to drift back off to sleep; by the time morning came around, both men were completely exhausted.

 

 "Morning Hannibal, how's he doing?" Murdock asked as Hannibal emerged from the bedroom.

 

"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."  Hannibal sighed.  "He just fell back asleep a few minutes ago.  I need to get back in there with him before the damn thing starts again."

 

"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…" Hannibal shook his head. He was just so damn tired and worried about Face that he couldn't think straight.  After sitting at the table for a few minutes, he rose to go back to the bedroom.  He made it to the door, and then stopped as a thought occurred to him.

 

"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.

 

"Beach," Hannibal replied without thinking.

 

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

 

Suddenly, Hannibal slumped against the doorframe as the weight of exactly what his actions and the mission had cost the man he loved.

 

"Hannibal?" BA rose from his seat and slowly approached the colonel. "Hannibal, you all right man?"

 

"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 friend.  "Hannibal?"

 

The colonel looked up at him.  When their eyes met, BA saw just how distraught Hannibal was.   

 

"I could have lost him, God help me BA, I still might."

 

"He'll make it."

 

Hannibal slowly straightened, then opened the bedroom door.  As he stepped through, he turned to look back at the sergeant.  "But what have I cost him?" he asked as he softly shut the door.

 

"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."

 

"BA…"

 

"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.

 

Hannibal quickly turned down the blankets as Murdock got the supplies together to change the dressing on Face's leg.  

 

"He's still hot," BA noted as he laid Face down in the bed.

   

Hannibal sighed deeply as he took the thermometer out of the med kit. He had been battling with the fever all day. Every time he thought they had it beat, the damn thing would spike dangerously high again.

 

"Face?" Hannibal reached down to stroke his lover's forehead. "Hey baby, you still with us?"

 

"Han'bal?" Face opened his eyes to look around the room, though he couldn't seem to focus his eyes on anything.

 

"How you feeling?" Hannibal felt stupid for asking.  Hell, he already knew how the kid felt, he felt like crap, but he had to see how coherent Face was.

 

"Cold." Face shuddered as he tried to bury himself farther down beneath the blankets. 

 

"Face, I need to take your temperature."

 

"Tired."

 

"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.

 

"Kay."

 

Face lay almost motionless as Hannibal stuck the thermometer into his mouth.  However once the colonel removed it, he tucked himself into a fetal position.  

   

"105" Hannibal sighed as he pulled the blankets around Face's now trembling body, leaving only the injured leg exposed.

 

"I don't know how much longer he can keep this fight up."  Hannibal looked up at BA.  "I couldn't get any food down him this afternoon, and I think we both ended up wearing the juice I tried to get him to drink."

 

"He's going to be okay," Murdock assured Hannibal as he walked into the room carrying a pan full of hot, wet, towels.

 

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." Hannibal rubbed his face with his hands as he leaned back in the chair he was currently sitting in.

 

"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 Hannibal stood.

 

"Alright but…"

 

"We know, if he wakes up we'll come and get you."

 

 

"Hannibal, hey Colonel, it's 8:30."  BA shook Hannibal's shoulder to wake the older man.

 

Instantly, Hannibal was awake and alert.

 

"Face?"

 

"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," Hannibal growled as he stood. "I'm going to check on Face before we go."

 

"Meet you in the van."

 

When Hannibal entered the master bedroom, he noticed Murdock sitting in a chair beside the bed reading a comic book to the sleeping man.

 

"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."

 

"Sure Colonel."

 

Leaning over, Hannibal gently kissed Face's forehead.

 

"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 Hannibal.

 

"Take care of him Murdock; he's all I've got."

 

The pilot studied Hannibal very closely for a minute.  He could see the pain in the Colonel's blue eyes as he looked at his sleeping lover.

 

"I know he is Hannibal.  He means a lot to me and BA too."

 

"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."

 

"Where's Hannibal?"

 

"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."

 

"Not hungry."

 

"Don't matter what you want, it's what you need, and Hannibal put me in charge of taking care of you.  So I'm going to get you some juice, soup and jello, and you are going to eat it," Murdock stated firmly. "So, don't you even think about closing those baby blues until I get back."

 

#

 

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 Hannibal had forgiven him. He could have sworn that the older man had proclaimed his love for him, forgiving him for not wanting to go in the water, that he had understood his fear.

 

Now, he realized that it was all a dream; something that his fevered mind had dreamt up. Hannibal had only cared about the fact that he had gotten the diamonds and helped end the case, allowing the team to keep its reputation.  Closing his eyes, he fought the pain of his heart breaking.  He couldn't let the others know how he felt, or they might turn against him too.

 

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," Hannibal's voice came over the line after the second ring.

 

"He's getting bad again Hannibal; his temperature is getting really high."

 

"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.

 

Hannibal quickly grabbed a hold of Face's wrists before he could hurt BA.  The kid was struggling like a madman trying to get away from them. He was kicking and screaming trying to break free and get out of the water.

 

Suddenly, Face stopped and went limp. Quickly, Hannibal checked for a pulse.

 

"Hannibal?"

 

"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."

 

"Hannibal, Faceman can't travel, he ain't strong enough."

 

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."

 

Reaching out, Hannibal tenderly stroked Face's pale cheek.

 

"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 Hannibal cradled him on the floor of the van.  He stroked his fevered head, talking to him softly, telling him meaningless things, stories of their past, ideas of the future, anything that came into his mind, just so that if Face could hear his words, he would know that he wasn't alone.

 

His lack of response concerned Hannibal, as he took in the pale face, and his dark sunken eyes.  His fingers drifted over the blonde locks and the fevered forehead as he glanced up at Murdock, who sat silently next to BA, but turned in his seat, watching the couple with dark, worried eyes. 

 

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.

 

Hannibal had called to tell her that they were on their way up and that Face was in terrible shape, but when BA slid the side door open, she nearly cried out in shock. The youngest member of the team was lying in his colonel's arms. He was stripped down to his boxers, his body pale, but flushed with fever.

 

The Captain was kneeling beside the two of them, wiping the younger man down with wet towels.

 

When the door opened, Hannibal looked up at Maggie, his eyes showing his desperation.

 

"I can't keep his fever down, and he's having trouble breathing," Hannibal explained in a rushed panic as he helped BA get Face out of the van.

 

"Get him in the exam room, now!" Maggie ordered as she watched the big Sergeant take Face's almost lifeless body out of Hannibal's arms.

 

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, Hannibal had told Maggie how Face had come to be in his current condition, leaving out their personal affairs in the matter.

 

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 Hannibal.

 

"Not for him." Hannibal returned the doctor's stare. "You have no idea what they will do to him if he goes back." 

 

"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.

 

 

TBC

 


Deep Fears by Jullian Gray and Jes Parker
Deep Fears 2 by Jullian Gray and Jes Parker

 

 


Send Comment Card

Please Send This Author Comments!