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Back On The Horse
Summary: A little missing scene from A Choice of Nightmares that came to me recently. Face and Madari have their first taste of coffee since the poisoning. Think of it like those extras you get on DVDs.
Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team. I don't make any money from this.
Back on the Horse
Face picked the jug up out of the coffee maker and walked to the table. Madari sat at the opposite side of the table his eyes fixed on the glass jug Face carried and on the hot coffee sloshing gently in it. Eshe, working at a bench, cast them disapproving glances over her shoulder. Face didn't know if she disapproved of them drinking coffee or of invading her kitchen. He smiled at her, but paid no mind to her glares.
After several days of nagging, the doctor had finally given Face and Madari permission to start drinking coffee again. As they exited the infirmary they had looked at each other and without needing to speak had both turned towards the kitchen.
But as the coffee brewed Face became nervous. He feared a classic case of 'be careful what you wish for.' When he took the jug from the machine and the smell of the coffee floated up at him, his head began to swim and the memory hit him. A memory of his guts being shredded with razor blades. Face glanced around and memorised the position of the door to the yard, in case the coffee decided not to stay down. He took a deep breath, placed the jug on the table and sat.
Madari wore a nervous expression, and Face guessed he shared the same fears. After a moment's hesitation he pushed the two coffee cups towards Face. Face looked at the cups, studied them unreasonably closely, waiting, putting off the moment of pouring the black coffee into their creamy white interiors.
The cups were a pretty sky blue colour on the outside, their saucers, the same creamy white as their interiors, with a thick border the same blue as the outside of the cup. They stirred Face's memories of that night, as he realised the cups they'd drunk their poisoned coffee from must be from the same set as these. Those had been smaller, the demitasse size that looked like a child's toy in the hands of a grown man.
"Face," Madari said, quietly, shaking Face from his contemplation of the cups.
Okay, I can do this, Face told himself. He picked up the jug and poured the first cup. The aroma rose again and his stomach gave a warning twitch.
"Not as - um - scary as the stuff you're used to," he said to Madari.
"That's probably a good thing."
"Yeah, start slow and build back up," Face agreed, pouring the second cup.
"Well, perhaps not all the way back up." Madari looked chagrined. "The doctor has been lecturing me about my coffee drinking. He used the words 'self medicating' at one point."
"You're not thinking of cutting down are you?" Face put fake dismay into his voice. "But, Faris, think of all those thousands of coffee plantation workers that would be laid off!"
Madari chuckled and shook his head. "You're right. What was I thinking?"
They'd not touched the cups yet, putting off the moment with their banter. Face looked at the cups, at the black coffee in them. He wondered if some cream might be a good idea, to ease him back in. No, he thought. Back on the horse. Well the pony, maybe. Espresso was probably the horse. Which must make the scary coffee a wild mustang, he supposed. Murdock had christened Madari's Arab style coffee "the scary coffee", and Face had rolled his eyes at the name. But he knew that from now on he'd never be able to think of it as anything else.
"Okay," Face said, pulling himself together and putting a decisive snap into his voice. He felt foolish suddenly, for being afraid of a little blue cup. "No use letting it get cold."
Each man pulled a cup and saucer towards him and picked up the cup. They both hesitated again, looking at each other. Face smiled and held his cup out, raised it high.
Madari looked serious as he tapped his cup gently against Face's and returned the toast.
At last they drank the coffee. Face sipped at first, so only a few drops touched his tongue. He'd deliberately chosen a mellow, smooth coffee. Nothing too strong for their baby steps. His stomach stayed under control after he swallowed. Feeling bolder he took a bigger gulp. The heat and taste and aroma drowned his senses.
And the fear vanished. Because it felt like coming home. It felt like renewing an acquaintance with an old friend. The poison had tried to kill them, and had used something they both loved, something they relied on, as a weapon, no, as a medium. Made it turn traitor. But now Face felt safe with it again. He put down his cup and looked at Madari who still sipped his coffee, looking contented and relieved. Smiling, Face patted the lid of the coffee jug.
"Welcome back, old friend."
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