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This page last viewed: 2017-11-20 and has been viewed 4880 times
Author: Mad Poet
Summary: Faced with
the serious illness of one of the team,
Disclaimer: The A team, characters and concepts, are not mine. I intend no copyright infringement. I am making no profit from this story idea or execution.
--Or at least, 'preslash', as that is where these emotions are taking
Author's Notes: I've been writing fan fic forever, but this is the first piece I've tried to post. I began this as a series of vignettes--I hope you like it so I am encouraged to continue. I haven't seen an episode in a very long time, and wasn't ever a regular viewer, so, if this is really out of character or wrong, just consider it alternative universe.
the colonel had had the feeling that something was wrong.
His man was
vomiting again. Without thinking about it,
ate last night; he can't have anything else in him,
It was the old, old nickname.
"Gimme a minit," Face gasped. His body was not yet ready to relax, ready to stop fighting whatever was wrong inside.
"I'm 'kay, Han'b'l, go back t' bed." Short, gaspy words, like when he'd pulled the younger man from a lake, or ocean, or pond. Fear in his voice, like when he was hurt and needed to know how bad. And lying, trying even now to con the old man who could read him like a book.
Face fumbled for the handle, flushed the toilet. Stayed where he was on his knees, hands gripping his thighs like he'd just folded after running ten miles in full gear.
are not 'fine', Lieutenant. Do not try to bullshit me, Peck."
moment, neither man spoke. Face kept sipping and spitting water, collecting
"You've lost weight."
Peck nodded. "Yes, Sir."
'Sir.' When was the last time he had heard 'sir'—and in that tone of voice?
"How long has this been going on, Peck?"
"Awhile," Peck admitted.
Anger was growing fast in the colonel, overcoming the fear. Something was wrong, he needed information to fix it, and he was in no mood to have to pull that information from the junior officer like pulling gold from a miser. "And what is 'awhile', Lieutenant?"
up a staying hand, looked at his commander searchingly, assessing him again.
"I have an appointment. Tomorrow afternoon. To see a specialist and schedule tests." Dead calm, dead solemn words. Peck's beautiful blue green eyes were both pleading and steady, even honest.
A nod. "Yes, Sir."
bathroom light was harsh and cold. The colonel could see that Peck had lost
weight, and color. He looked . . . almost haggard.
"Well, what is it?"
man sighed. "I'd rather not tell you,
Hell, I'm terrified, too.
staying hand, and now, the rush of words to buy the younger man's way in the
matter. "I'll tell you,
depended on the younger man's answer.
At the last second, the younger man couldn't maintain eye contact. "I hope not. . . Who's going to take care of you when you're one hundred and two in a nursing home?"
of nice young orderlies will take care of me." Even as he said the words,
his own denial of the situation's gravity,
Face tilted his head back, eyed the ceiling. "I'll stick around long enough to set up the finances. I'll do that before the appointment. . . This could be bad, John."
unaccustomed sound of this man speaking his given name disturbed
Face gave a skeptical snort. "They don't' have smo—"
"If any place does, you'll find 'em for me, Face. Templeton. You got to stay alive a while, yet—I ain't ready for a home."
Tears stood in the back of those beautiful, hurting, blue green eyes. "I . . . this. . . I worked out a budget. If I'm not. . . can't . . you can all be pretty comfortable for eight months or so before you need to take another job. There's time to find a new acquisitions specialist—"
you plan on meds and tests and such?"
"I do not need or want anyone else for this team, Lieutenant." I have you. I need you. Stay with me.
again, tightening and filling
your appointment?" No battle could be fought without information. The
driving. No argument."
Another sigh, and Face accepted his proposal. "I need to be at the bank by one. You should come in with me so's I can sign over th—"
"We'll discuss that later, Tem. I don't know what's going on with you, but I'm pretty sure sitting on this bathroom floor discussing money matters for the rest of the night isn't going to help you get better. You need to go back to bed. It looks like you haven't slept in a wee—in awhile."
Face opened his mouth to argue, closed it, nodded instead. Then, "Yes, sir. Colonel?"
"Could you help me up?"
Kid." Hannibal was sure Templeton Peck tried to help-- he got his feet
under him, and didn't fall-- but the older man still had to practically lift
him to his feet.
"Are you hurting, Tem? Do you need something?"
"I already maxed out my pain killers. I'll be fine, really." He smiled a smile of reassurance that neither man believed, but both wanted to. "I'll be okay. Really. Right tests, right meds, some treatments—everything will be hunkey dorey."
It has to
the lieutenant disappear behind his bedroom door.
He wasn't' sure if he were pleading with Face, with God, or maybe himself.
For some minutes he tried to process the encounter into information, into a plan, tried to take charge—But thought would not come, a plan would not come; he couldn't even pray.
"Colonel?" Peck's voice was quiet, dulled, but awake.
it's me, kid." Knowing the lay out of the room,
"Didn't you order me to get some sleep, sir?"
you have to say "sir", tonight, when I find out you're sick. When I
hear you talk of dyi—of not staying with me.
propped himself up on his elbows. "
"Oh. Ahh, thank you, Colonel."
don't want to talk about it, Lieutenant, because I am scared,"
"Lose me? Hey, with your reputation, you'll have people lined up around the block to take my place."
Every cell of Hannibal's being wanted to reach out and gather Face to him in a lover's embrace, wanted to soothe him with gentle kisses, caresses, wanted to hold him so close illness could not touch him, death could not take him, memories could not hurt him.
memories of the men when he was five, and six, and later, defenseless. . Not
the memories of the older boys in the orphanage. Not the memories of the MPs,
or the VC camp. Every memory was a reason
the memory of that night's illness returned to him.
No. Damn it.
thought, acting on instinct and the need to give and receive comfort,
It was a quietly spoken question. There was no resistance. Face was, before he
was a con artist, a survivor.
was as clear to
They both needed comfort.
"Let me hold you, Tem. I, I think I could use a hug, myself . . . "
The younger man settled into the curve of his arm smoothly enough.
Peck's voice was close and soft. For a few minutes, they both lay quietly, side
"I'm sorry, Colonel—" Peck's tone was a heartbreaking mix of genuine apology, genuine anguish, and the smooth honey of a shifting con. "I guess I'm not—"
"Hush, Face, shut up and listen to me."
man lay silent and tense against him. He tried to pull his hand away, but
"You didn't read me wrong, Kid. You're the most beautiful man I've ever seen. I've wanted you since I met you. But not like this. Not at all, if I can't have your heart. You are worth everything to me. And I will not let cancer, or AIDS, or a brain tumor, or any other damned thing take you away from me without a fight. I'll be damned if I do that."
He heard a pleased but disbelieving snort. "You don't want my heart, John. It's black as the ace of spades. And sick, besides. . . But it's nice you care."
"Of course I care. You need to start caring." He could feel his anger again, and forced it away from the moment, away from any words and touch he could give his lieutenant that the younger man might accept.
know what goes on in my head," Templeton was saying. "I use people.
Hell, I use me. My smile, my ass, whatever. I'm nothing you want. I just look
good. I know that." He finished with a sad little sigh. To
"Listen up, Peck, and listen good. This is a direct order, do you hear me? You are not going to die. You are going to get well and I am going to help you—physically, mentally, emotionally. I want you healthy, happy—beautiful smile, beautiful heart, that quicksilver tongue—every bit of you. Every bit of you is worth it."
sir, I mean, sure,
in the same gentle humored, measured tones he used to defuse one of Murdock's
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