Send Comment Card

Please Send This Author Comments!
This page last viewed: 2017-06-25 and has been viewed 5255 times

Time seemed to slow down and crawl as the baffled blonde Lieutenant stood staring at his lover

Ex-Love

Author:  Jes Parker, with many thanks to Jullian for writing a particular frustrating comfort scene.

 

Rating:  R

Warnings:  slash, rape, H/C, violence, destruction and mayhem

Pairing:  Hannibal/Face

Comments:  Love them, thank you.  J

Summary:  A new client comes to town – a new client who has a past with Hannibal and Face.  Are his intentions as noble and innocent as they seem? 

Additional Warnings:  Hannibal isn't at his best in the beginning of this piece of fiction.  He makes a serious error in judgment – and hurts Face (emotionally) a great deal.  He does come to his senses and will try his best to fix the damage his error has caused.

 

Acknowledgements:  Many, many, many thanks to Jullian and CJ for all of their wonderful and knowledgeable help.  You are both amazing and wonderful!  Such true friends and I love you both.  Thank you for pushing me to finish this piece, as it kept sticking in my head and just wouldn't get out.  Thank you for helping me over those long hurdles, and continuing to push me to finish this.  Your love and support means more to me then you could ever know.  Thank you!  With all my love, I dedicate this story to you.

 

Disclaimer:  If I owned them, this would have happened in the series, so I guess we all know, my claim to them ends where it begins – in my mind. 

 

Ex-Love

© Jes Parker, 2007

 

×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø×Ø

 

 

Part 1

 

Time seemed to slow down and crawl as the baffled blonde Lieutenant stood staring at his lover, or, soon to be ex-lover anyway.  Face couldn't believe that Hannibal was standing before him so calm and collective, as if they were discussing their newest client, not the end of civilization as Face knew it.  Okay so perhaps it wasn't the end of the world per-say, just Face's world as he stood and watched his entire reason for living come tumbling down around him and the strangest thing was, Hannibal didn't even seem to notice, in fact it was as if he was completely oblivious to Face's pain; to his shattered heart, to his empty soul.  So Face did the only thing he knew how to do.  He smiled and nodded, and accepted the sentence that he had been handed.  He didn't ask why, he didn't beg.  He didn't plead.  He simply accepted the fact that once again, he had been abandoned.  That once again, something better had come along in someone else's life.  Something better then him.  Okay, so he didn't know for certain that Hannibal had found something better.  But what else could it be?  Perhaps he just fell out of love with the conman, it was, after all, difficult to love a liar.  He was someone you couldn't trust, especially when it came to your heart.  It was easy to see why others had such a hard time believing in him.  In loving him.  He didn't expect Hannibal to be any different.  In fact, he was actually honestly surprised that they had lasted this long.

 

"So we're going to be okay, right?" Hannibal was asking.

 

Face turned up the smile a bit.  He was again glad he knew how to smile at the direst circumstances, how to pretend as if all was right in the world, even if his heart was shattering into a million unrecognizable pieces.

 

"Yeah, sure Hannibal.  Why wouldn't we be?" His voice was calm and steady, not at all betraying his emotions jumbling around on the inside.

 

"Well, I just…" Hannibal seemed to finally be at a loss for words.  "We're a team.  What happens to that now?"

 

"Nothing happens to that Hannibal.  Not if we don't let it.  We agreed a long time ago that nothing would ever come between the team.  That, if we were going to start a relationship, the team would always have to come first, and that if anything ever happened to us, the team would survive.  Well Hannibal, I meant that.  I've never been known to go back on my word, and I'm not about to now.  I handled a relationship with you; I can handle one without you."

 

He hadn't really meant it to come out like that.  But he wasn't about to take it back.  Not even after seeing Hannibal flinch at the words.  He could handle it; he had to.  Being a team was all he knew how to be.  He would make it work; one way or another.

 

Hannibal stood watching him for a moment longer, unsure of what else to say.  Finally, he straightened himself out a little, and reached into his jacket pocket for a cigar, not finding one he reached for the other pocket, he grinned when one appeared under his nose.  He tilted his head to see Face's expression; it was completely unreadable, just as Hannibal expected it to be.  Face was good at closing off when he wanted to.  Hannibal sighed.  He had never wanted to hurt the kid, he was taking it a lot better then he had expected.  Then again, what had he really expected?  For him to yell and scream, and beg him not to go?  That wasn't Face.  No matter what Face was feeling, showing it was not an option to the young man.  He just hoped that with time, Face would forgive him.

 

Finally, Hannibal shrugged.  "We meet with the new client Thursday, 9 PM, don't be late!"

 

Face just nodded.  His expression never broke.  With a last look, Hannibal sighed and turned away, heading for the van that sat waiting for him in the distance.  Face just watched him go, thumbs hooked in the back pockets of his jeans.  He shifted his feet, let his hands drop to his side, took a deep breath, and then headed for his Corvette.  As he slid into the seat, he inhaled deeply again.  As he ran his hand through his blonde hair, he glanced up into the rearview mirror, glaring at his reflection.

 

"Well, we did it again, didn't we?" he asked himself.  It was the story of his life.  How did it all come to this?  He put the key into the ignition and listened to the motor purr to life.  He thought back on the past few months with his Colonel, the past several years.  They'd been a team for twelve years now; they were a family, they were best friends, they were everything to each other.  They had fallen in love almost immediately.  From the first time Hannibal saw the young blonde step off the helicopter in Nam, he had told Face, he knew that he never wanted to be separated from him, and did everything in his power to make certain the kid had ended up in his unit.  Hannibal had been nervous at first.  Face smiled as he remembered.  Worried really, about Face.  About his reaction, and a little about whether Face could really commit himself to him. 

 

Face had understood, how could he not?  His reputation as a ladies man had preceded him to the Army base.  And his reputation for commitment, didn't exist.  He had never committed to anyone, or anything before, until the team.  He had told Hannibal he just hadn't found the one person worth committing to, worth spending the rest of his life with.  Not until Hannibal.  Face sighed as he pulled into traffic.

 

He had thought that after all of these years together, Hannibal believed him.  Realized how much he loved him, that he could commit.  Now nothing made sense anymore.  What had went wrong?  Had he done something?  He tried to think through the past several months, but nothing came to mind.  Life seemed perfect with the Colonel; at least he thought it had.  They were happy and they were in love, weren't they?

 

Face shifted gears as he changed lanes, then looked into his rearview mirror again.  "What'd we do this time?" he muttered to himself.  Somehow, he must have done something.  He'd been doing it all his life; sooner or later pushing away someone he loved.  It was his own fault really.  He'd set himself up for this fall.  He knew it was too good to last, so why hadn't he listened to his own warnings all those years ago?

 

"Because I trusted him," he whispered to himself.

 

He let his mind drift back to that morning.  They had sat together over coffee, normal, but Hannibal had seemed distant.  Face sighed; in fact he had seemed distant all week.  He'd tried to get him to open up and talk about it, but Hannibal just kept saying he was tired; that things on the set were stressful, he always had an excuse, and as much as Face tried to push it, Hannibal wouldn't allow it.  He'd finally just get angry. "It's nothing, just leave it alone, would you Face?"

 

Maybe Face shouldn't have pushed so hard.  Maybe he should have backed off like Hannibal had asked.  Maybe that's why he was leaving him.  He wasn't leaving ... just breaking it off.  Their love, they'd still have their friendship.  Hannibal had said so.  And the team, they were a team, they had to stick together.  Didn't they?

 

Of course they did.  They were meeting a new client on Thursday; everything would get back to normal.  Everything would be fine.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

The doorbell rang.  Face didn't even bother to move from where he stood in front of the large window overlooking the city skyline.  He knew who it'd be.

 

"It's open Murdock." Without missing a beat, the door swung open and Murdock appeared in the doorway.  His face was somber, not sporting the usual goofy smile.  His eyes were dark, full of concern as they roamed over his best friend.  Face stood with his back to him, but he could see the dejection in the set of Face's shoulders.

 

"Hey muchacho, you okay?" he asked softly as he made his way into the room, shutting the door behind him.  His eyes never left his friends back.

 

There was a deep sigh from Face, and then he turned slowly.  Murdock was prepared for the wall he saw before him.  He knew that Face would have it up.  After 12 years, he still couldn't let him in.  Not at first anyway.  He would after awhile, but not normally until after he'd done some real emotional damage to himself.  And this time, Murdock wasn't so sure he could repair the damage done to his soul.

 

"Yeah, I'm fine Murdock," Face answered after a hesitation.  "Just tired."

 

Murdock only nodded, not yet ready to call the obvious con.  He smiled instead, and plopped himself down on the overstuffed couch in Murdock fashion.  "Ya wanna talk about it?"

 

Face sighed and sat down beside him.  "Not much to talk about."

 

"Sure there is."

 

Face just shook his head.  He didn't know how to talk, or where to start, or even what to say.  Hell, he didn't even know what to think.  It was all too new to him.  It was like one of those nightmares you're sure you're having and will wake up from at any given second, but the fear is still there, making your heart beat a thousand times faster then it really should, and then somewhere deep in your subconscious mind, you start to wonder if you're really having a dream.  There's that doubt, and then the fear just intensifies.

 

"I'll wake up sooner or later," he mumbled to himself.  Murdock lifted an eyebrow in his direction.


"Come again Muchacho?"

 

"Nothing Murdock." Face sighed.  "Just thinking to myself."

 

And then Murdock nodded, for he knew.  Knew Face was telling himself that it was a dream, a nightmare that sooner or later he'd have to wake up from.  How did he tell him that it wasn't?  Murdock remembered when Hannibal had first admitted his love for the blonde lieutenant. Face had done the same thing.  Convinced himself that it was a dream that he'd have to wake from sooner or later.  He didn't believe he deserved the happiness that he had found.  Didn't think he had deserved the love.  It took a lot of convincing on Hannibal's part to assure the man that it wasn't a dream, that it was real.  That he really did deserve the love.

 

Damn you Hannibal, Murdock thought to himself.  Face shifted on the couch, bringing his eyes to make contact with the pilot for the first time since his arrival.

 

"I told you I'd wake up sooner or later," Face whispered softly.  It seemed Face was on the same wavelength as Murdock.


Murdock put his hand on Face's thigh and rubbed it gently.  He didn't know what to say.  There really weren't any words.  What was he supposed to say?  That it'd be okay?  Life would go on?  That there were a thousand other fish in the sea?  The truth was, for Face, there wasn't.  He knew that, and Face knew that.  Face's one true love was Hannibal.  It was obvious to Murdock.  Murdock realized it when Face actually let Hannibal in.  The kid didn't trust anyone.  Didn't let anyone in.  Not like that.  He was always waiting to be abandoned.  To be ran out on.  Whether it was a conscious decision or not.  Murdock didn't really blame him.  That's all he knew.  Starting at a young age, he was taught that he was unlovable.  Taught that if he gave his heart to anyone, they'd just turn around and break it.  So, Face had stopped giving himself.  Stopped giving the one thing that could be broken.  Even with the team, he was always careful.  Sure they'd gotten through a lot of his barriers, loved him, kept him safe; but loving someone and being in love with someone are totally different things. 

 

Hannibal had changed all that. 

 

So the two didn't speak.  They just sat.  Face continued to stare off out that window, and Murdock kept watch over him.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

"So, tell me again why you found it necessary to hurt Face the way you did?" Murdock had finally cornered the Colonel.  It had been two days since Hannibal had broken up with Face.  Both he and BA had been trying to figure out just what had happened, but all they were getting was the same thing Face had gotten.  "I just need some space."  That's what he had gotten the afternoon of the breakup, and that was what he was getting now.  He grimaced as he thought back on that afternoon.

 

"Hey Colonel, where's Face?" he had asked as he found the Colonel sitting next to BA in the apartment.  BA just shook his head and glared at Hannibal.  Murdock raised his eyebrows.

 

"I don't know." Hannibal sighed.  "Probably at his apartment."

 

"His apartment?  Thought it was both your apartment?" Murdock didn't like the uneasy feeling that was climbing its way into his gut.

 

Hannibal rubbed his palm over his eyes and looked up at the pilot.  "It was.  We broke up."

 

Murdock choked on the apple he'd been eating.  BA whacked him on the back to dislodge it.  "Excuse me?" he'd hollered, staring at his CO in disbelief.

 

"We broke up Murdock.  Or rather, I broke up with him.  Look, I don't feel like talking about it right now." He stood to leave; Murdock stepped in front of him.


"How could you?" his voice was low and dangerous.  He could feel BA behind him waiting for an answer as well.  He got the feeling this wasn't a talked upon subject. 

 

Hannibal couldn't meet his eyes.  "I just need some space, Murdock.  Now leave it alone." He pushed past both Murdock and BA.  They watched him go. 

 

Just before he left the apartment, Murdock called out after him, "So, is Face still in one piece, or should I go over there with a broom and some glue?" His voice was bitter and sarcastic.  Something it usually was not.  Hannibal paused for a slight second, and then continued out the door.

 

Murdock spun on BA angrily, leveling blazing eyes on him.  "What the hell happened?"


BA held up both hands.  "I know just as much as you do.  He called me this afternoon and asked me to pick him up at the park.  So I did.  Faceman was there looking pretty lost.  Hannibal got in the van without a word.  When I asked what had happened, he told me the same thing he just told you, that he needs space."


Murdock sighed as he took his hat off and ran his hand through his thinning hair.  "I gotta go see Face."

 

BA nodded. "I'll drop you off."

 

 

"I told you Murdock, I just need some space." Hannibal was staring at the ground. Murdock shook his head.

 

"You keep saying that, but it's just an excuse.  You need more then an excuse for what you did to him."

 

"How is he?" Hannibal asked with real concern.

 

"How do you think he is?  What'd you think you were doing?  You know how he feels about rejection and abandonment.  How could you do that to him?"

 

"I didn't abandon him, Murdock."


"You didn't?  It sure looks that way from here."

 

"We're still a team.  I'm still here.  I just need some space from the relationship."

 

"That's a crock of shit and you know it." Murdock was livid.  He barely ever spoke this way with the Colonel.  "That's real good, Hannibal.  Get him to trust you, to give you his heart, then jerk it out of his chest, break it in half, and stomp on it, just like everyone else."

 

Hannibal was getting angry now, and when he got angry, he became defensive.  "Like I'm supposed to believe the conman cares?  He should be happy I broke up with him.  I mean 12 years is a long time for someone like him.  I'm sure he's been biting at the bit to get back out on the market for all the ladies.  I just did him a favor."


Murdock's jaw dropped open.  "Is that what this is all about?  You think he wants to see other people?  Is that it?"


Hannibal shook his had.  "I don't know Murdock.  I told you, I just need space."

 

"No, what you need is your head examined.  And they call me the crazy one.  I cannot honestly believe you are that blind.  You're making up excuses and you know it.  And for you to turn this all around on Face, that's low Hannibal.  Down right low.  He gave you everything.  EVERYTHING.  He fully committed to you.  He trusted you with something he hasn't trusted anyone with since he was a kid.  And you just proved his logic to himself." With that, Murdock stomped off.  Anger flooding his body.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Murdock knocked again.  Finally, he just let himself into the apartment.  He stopped at what he saw.  He wasn't sure Face had moved since the last time he'd seen him.  He was sitting in the same exact spot he'd left him in, at the table with a cup of coffee in his hand.  Murdock stopped beside Face and placed a hand on his shoulder.  He was half tempted to check for a pulse.  He looked down into the cup and found it empty.  He gently lifted it from Face's hand and walked over to the coffeepot, which was nearly empty.  Murdock sighed and filled the mug up, then pulled one down for himself, and filled it as well.  Then, after adding a bit of cream to Face's, and lots of cream and sugar to his, he walked over to Face, sat the mug back down in his hand, and then sat in the chair next to him.  He watched Face curl his fingers around the mug as if to warm them.  He instinctively reached out and pulled one of Face's hands into his own.  The fingers were cold, he curled his fingers around them and held them, watching Face for a reaction.  Face finally lifted sad eyes to meet concerned ones.

 

"How ya doin Facey?" Murdock asked softly.  Face shrugged and then let his emotions cloud over.  Murdock sighed as he watched his best friend's walls go up.

 

"I'm okay Murdock." He even managed a smile and it was a damn good one at that.

 

"You look tired," Murdock commented.  "Have you been sleeping at all?" He knew the answer, but he thought he'd ask anyway.  Face just shrugged. Murdock sighed again.  "Well, how about you go take a nice shower and shave, maybe that'll help you feel better.  And I'll just sit out here and watch cartoons.  My favorite one is commin' on." Murdock smiled.  Face smiled back, and got to his feet, taking his mug with him.  He sipped it on the way down the hall. 

 

When he emerged twenty minutes later, he looked refreshed and had a smile in place.  Murdock knew it was a con, but he figured he'd play for a while.  Face needed to feel in control right now, so he'd let him have that.  He figured the best he could do is just be there when he needed him, and to catch him when he finally fell.

 

By late afternoon, Hannibal called a team meeting.  Face looked as though he were dreading it, but quickly turned his frown into a smile when he caught Murdock studying him.

 

"I'll be okay Murdock," he insisted.  Murdock just sighed as he climbed out of the vette at the warehouse.

 

"What's up Colonel?" Murdock asked as he sat down on a crate.  Face hung close to his side, but chose to stand instead of sit.  From all outward appearance, it would seem as if all was fine in the Lieutenant's world.  Murdock had to admit he was playing his act to a tee.  Any longer, and even he wouldn't be sure whether or not he was pulling a con, or was truly ok.

 

He had a feeling that's what Face wanted.


Hannibal waited until all eyes were on him before beginning.  He did a quick once over his Lieutenant to be sure all was okay.  He wasn't sure what he saw there.  Face gave him his full attention, but there were rings under his eyes that Hannibal didn't remember being there before.  For not the first time in the past few days, Hannibal felt a tinge of regret for what he'd done, but he was confused.  He had no idea what to do.

 

"I called this meeting because of the tension between us all.  For us to function as a team, the tension has got to stop.  So, let's get this all out in the open now, so that tomorrow when we start this case, we can perform like the team we are."  He paused and looked around the room.  "Good, so who wants to go first?"

 

Nobody answered him.  BA had daggers in his eyes, and you could see Murdock forming a question behind those expressive brown eyes.  Face just stood silently behind his facade watching the others with interest.  It was apparent to everyone he had no clue of the tension between the rest of the team.

 

"Fine then, I'll start." Hannibal finally sighed.

 

"Fitting, since you're the one who started all this to begin with," Murdock mumbled.

 

"You got something you want to share, Murdock?" Hannibal turned to him.


"All in good time," Murdock replied smoothly.

 

Hannibal chose to ignore him.  "Fine, I know that Face's and my break up has caused some tension on this team.  I am sorry for that.  I know I can't offer anyone, including him, a solid answer right now, but if we're going to continue on as a team, then we have to work together and forget about this childish behavior."

 

"Childish?" Murdock piped up again.  "The only thing childish about this whole thing is the way you have been treating – "

 

"Knock it off Murdock," Face interrupted him softly.

 

"Come again?" Murdock wasn't quite certain he had heard that right.  He looked at his friend with wide, unbelieving eyes.

 

"Just stop.  Hannibal's right.  When Hannibal and I started our relationship, we both agreed to do it maturely.  Tension among the team wasn't anything either of us wanted.  I knew going into this relationship, there was a chance it wouldn't work out.  It didn't. I have to live with that.  You and BA at Hannibal's throat is not going to make it easier on any of us. When Hannibal has a reason, I'm sure he'll fill me in on it.  Until then, we act like a team.  Got it?"

 

Murdock and BA both nodded sheepishly.  Face knew they were only trying to help him, and that they were just as confused as he was.  But Hannibal was right, this was no way for the team to act, and he didn't want them fighting with Hannibal over him. 

 

"Yeah muchacho, we got it.  We'll behave." Murdock spared Hannibal a look, who was busy regarding Face with a bewildered, yet proud expression.  Clearest of all however, was the love that Hannibal portrayed in his eyes, which left Murdock feeling all the more confused.

 

"Sorry Hannibal," Murdock and BA mumbled at nearly the same time.

 

Hannibal pried his eyes from Face, who hadn't even noticed his look, and met the eyes of his Captain and Sergeant.  "I'm sorry too." And he did look sorry.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

"So who is this client?" BA asked as they waited in the van near the bay for their new client to show.

 

Hannibal glanced to his left as he adjusted his gloves.  "Well, actually you already know him," Hannibal answered as he peered into the darkness at the oncoming car.

 

Murdock detected the nervousness in his voice and wondered about it.  He was sure BA picked up on it too by the perk of one eyebrow.  He glanced at Face, but if Face noticed, he didn't show it. He just sat in his seat staring out into the dark.  The circles under his eyes were worse tonight.  He looked as though he hadn't slept in a week.

 

"Know him how?"  BA asked gruffly.  Hannibal sighed and opened his mouth to reply, when the car came to a stop next to the van.  Hannibal nodded and waved, then turned to BA.

 

"That's him, let's go." The team quickly climbed from the van, and walked towards the man.  Hannibal was right; he did look familiar.

 

As Face stepped closer to the man, he felt his heart drop from his chest and his breath catch.  "Oh my God," he whispered.  Murdock shot him a look.


"Facey?" he asked quietly.  In front of them, Hannibal felt his heart tug.  He should have known Face would be on his toes.  He was hoping he wouldn't recognize Col. Mattherson, or at least not remember.  Apparently, he did.

 

"Carl," Hannibal greeted him by sticking out his hand.  Murdock tilted his head slightly as his mind worked feverishly to remember something he knew he should.  "Guy's, you remember Colonel Mattherson, don't you?" He turned to his men.  He quickly glanced at Face.  Face had all his emotions completely hidden, but he didn't take the offered hand, which surprised, and angered, Hannibal.

 

"Lieutenant Peck." Mattherson ignored the others and zoomed in on him.  "It's been a long time, hasn't it?" Face just glared.  Mattherson didn't seem to care about his lack of response, or his rude behavior, and continued on.  "Too long almost.  How have you been? Keeping fit, I see.  And taking care of this old man." He smiled at Hannibal and patted him on the stomach as old friends do.  His hand lingered for an instant longer then necessary, and Murdock's light bulb switched on at that moment.  He groaned inwardly. 

 

How could you Hannibal?  He shot Hannibal a look, which Hannibal duly noted at about the same time he registered the growl from his Sergeant.  So all his men were on their toes tonight.  Good to see.

 

Mattherson led them to a large yacht anchored in the harbor.  Hannibal whistled appreciatively.  "Wow, you've done good for yourself Carl."

 

Mattherson smiled.  "I've made a few wise investments over the years." As they climbed aboard the yacht, and settled in the living area, Mattherson smiled at Hannibal again. Neither Murdock nor BA thought they liked that smile, or how close Mattherson was sitting next to Hannibal.  Face just felt sick on the inside.

 

"I'm so glad you agreed to help me John.  I don't know what I'd do without your help."

 

"That's what friends are for Carl.  We're happy to do this for you."

 

The tension in the room was mounting with each passing moment.  Carl was the only one who seemed oblivious to it.

 

An hour later, Hannibal stood.  "Well Carl, it's getting late, and we have a lot of work starting in the morning.  We'll process some of the information we have, and we'll get back to you in the next day or two with what we've found, and we'll go from there."

 

"Great, thanks again John.  I really appreciate all this.  It was really nice to see all of you again."  He smiled at the team, his eyes lingered on Face for a long moment; Face ignored him.  As the team disembarked, Carl snagged Hannibal by the elbow.


"So, how about dinner tomorrow night John?"

 

Hannibal looked around at his team.  Face just walked down the dock towards the van.  Murdock gave Hannibal a look that clearly said he would pay, and then ran after the Lieutenant.  BA snarled and followed.  Hannibal sighed and looked back at Carl.

 

"Touchy tonight, aren't they?" Carl smiled.  "I don't seem to remember them being so …"

 

"Rude?" Hannibal supplied.  "They're not.  We've been having a few issues, nothing we can't work out.  I'll be talking to them about their behavior tonight, I promise."

 

"It doesn't bother me.  Especially Peck.  I remember what a handful he used to be." Hannibal just smiled.  "So, what do you say?  Can we have dinner?  We still have so much to talk about.  A lot of catching up to do."

 

Hannibal nodded.  "Sure, where?  When?"

 

"Around 8, and how about here?  I have a great chef.  That way it'll be quiet, and we can get reacquainted without the crowd." Carl smiled softly.  Hannibal looked thoughtful for a moment before finally agreeing.

 

"Sure, tomorrow at eight."

 

"Great, I'll send a car for you." Hannibal lifted his eyebrows, and then smiled.  Without another word he turned and headed for the van, not looking forward to the conversation that was about to ensue.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

"How could you Hannibal?" Murdock lit into him as soon as he climbed into the van.  Hannibal sighed.

 

"How could I what, Murdock?"

 

"Oh, there you go, play dumb."

 

"Murdock, stop, please?" Face barely whispered from his seat near the window.  "BA could you drop me at the corner?"  BA turned around.


"You nuts man?  We're thirty miles from home."

 

"Please BA.  I don't feel so good.  I need some air," his voice never rose above a whisper. 

"Drop us BA.  I'll get him back." Murdock was looking at Face worriedly.  BA sighed and nodded, pulling over to the side of the road.  He glared at Hannibal who was chewing on his unlit cigar.  He'd better hope it stayed unlit too or he'd be eating it.

 

"Keep an eye on him foo'," BA told him gruffly, but with apparent worry in his voice.  Murdock nodded at him, and then slammed the door shut.

 

"So, talk Hannibal," BA growled as soon as the van was on the road again.  "This why you dumped him?  So you could hook back up with your ex?"

 

Hannibal didn't know what to say to that.  Part of it was true.  He didn't necessarily want to 'hook back up' with Carl, but yes, his return had his emotions in a twist, and he couldn't sort them out.  He didn't think he was being fair to Face by staying with him.


"I didn't want to hurt Face."

 

"Well you did," came the quick reply.  "And even more so because you weren't honest with him.  What a way for him to find out.  Why didn't you tell him?  How could you let him walk into that without warning?"

 

"I don't know.  I guess I was hoping he wouldn't remember."  Hannibal really did feel awful.  He loved Face.  Had never stopped.  And seeing him hurt like that… he had no idea what to do.  "What do I do BA?" he whispered.


"Don't ask me.  You screwed this up.  You fix it."  BA growled.  After a long pause he glanced at Hannibal.  "You still in love with 'im?"

 

"Who?  Face?"

 

"Yeah, him, and the Colonel."

 

Hannibal sighed.  "I never stopped loving Face.  I broke up with him because I was confused, and I didn't think I was being fair.  Carl came back in my life and I had all these feelings resurface that I hadn't felt in ages.  I don't know why.  I don't know if it's because I never stopped loving him, or if it's just because it's been so long, and I can't help but remember."

 

BA shook his head.  "Why'd you take this case?  You knew he'd find out.  How could you do that to him?"

 

"Carl needs our help," Hannibal insisted.

 

"And that's worth more then Face's feelings?"

 

"We never put Face's feelings before any other client before," Hannibal defended.


"You didn't break his heart for any other client either.  Man Hannibal, put yourself in his shoes.  How would you feel?"


Hannibal did think.  And he knew.  He'd feel betrayed.  Hurt.  Angry.  "I didn't want to hurt him," Hannibal whispered again.

 

"I wish I could believe that."

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Murdock watched Face walk.  Emotions were clearly playing across the conman's features, and Murdock watched them all.  He wanted to help Face, but he didn't know how.  Not this time.  And he wanted to strangle Hannibal.  He wondered if BA hadn't already.

 

They walked in silence for a good forty minutes, before Face finally sighed and sat down on a nearby bench.  They were in the city, shops lingered all around.  It was late however, not many people were on the streets.  Murdock stood and watched Face for a moment. 


Face's stomach was in knots.  Everything hurt.  He had so many emotions filtering through him he couldn't sit on just one long enough to analyze it.  Would he ever feel better?  He couldn't imagine it.

 

"You want to talk about it Faceguy?" Murdock asked quietly.  His eyes were full of concern.  Face looked up at him. 

 

"Why Murdock?"


Murdock shook his head.  "I don't know Face.  I really don't know.  I'm as thrown by all this as you are."

 

Face nodded.  "Why didn't he just tell me there was someone else? Why'd he let me walk into that?  And then for it to be with HIM," Face annunciated the word like it was the devil himself.

 

Murdock lifted his eyebrows.  "Why?  Because they were once in love?" he asked delicately.


Face shook his head.  He didn't know how to answer that.

 

"You've never liked Carl.  Why?  Is it because he and Hannibal were lovers?"

 

"No.  Hannibal broke up with him for me.  I thought that showed his love for me was stronger," he answered quietly, and honestly.  He remembered when they had stopped dancing around each other, and Hannibal admitted his love for Face.  He had broken up with Mattherson, who seemed to take it graciously, in every outward appearance anyway.  Only Face had known better.


"Okay.  Then why?  He always seemed so nice to you.  Why didn't you like him?"  Murdock sat down next to Face and watched as Face visibly shuddered.  "Face?"

 

"It's nothing Murdock.  I just didn't like him," came the abrupt answer.

 

"Try again.  Come on Face.  This is me." Murdock studied at him.  Face looked away and sighed deeply.


"Carl liked me a little too much," he finally whispered; glad to have someone to confide in.  This was a subject he'd never spoke of to anyone.  Sometimes it hurt to keep it locked up so tightly.  But he didn't know what else to do with it.  If Hannibal found out, it would only hurt him.

 

"Liked you too much how?" Murdock was curious.  "Did he come on to you?"


"You could say that.  Look Murdock, can we just let this go?"  He wasn't sure he really wanted to let it go anymore.  He really wanted to get it off his chest, but at the same time, he didn't know if he could voice the past.

 

"I don't think so Face.  I think you need to talk about it." Murdock's voice was calm and soothing.  The last thing he wanted to do was upset Face anymore then he already was.  "So Carl came on to you?  What'd you do?"

 

"What do you think I did?  I told him to go to hell.  Hannibal really liked him and I knew it.  I mean, I know they tried to keep their relationship a secret, but come on, we all knew."

 

Murdock nodded, so far following the conversation.  "So, he came onto you when they were still together?"  Face nodded.  "Then what happened?  Did he back off?"


Face shook his head.  "No.  It just kept getting worse.  I couldn't tell anyone.  You know how bad that would have hurt Hannibal?" His eyes pleaded with Murdock to understand.

 

"Yeah muchacho, I do.  It would have hurt him bad to have Carl betray him like that.  So what'd you do?"


Face sighed.  "I just kept telling him no.  Brushing him off, but he kept touching me, and telling me all the things he wanted to do to me.  Then one day he-" Face stopped as he choked on his words, Murdock looked at him encouragingly, fear wrapping its' cold fingers around his heart, and squeezing.  "Do you remember that fishing trip Hannibal forced me to go on with him?"

 

Murdock thought back, and then nodded, remembering.  Face continued, his voice fearful.  "Murdock I fought him, I really did.  I… I tried to stop him.  But he threatened Hannibal… I had to let him," Face whispered. 

 

"Oh God Face," Murdock choked.  "Did he rape you?"  Face had tears streaming down his cheeks. 

 

"I tried Murdock.  I tried to stop him."  Murdock pulled him into his arms.  Face shook as he sobbed.

 

"Shh, I know you did Face.  I know you did."

 

"He just wouldn't stop."

 

"Did you tell anyone?  Did you report it?" Murdock asked after a long moment.


Face pulled away and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.  "Are you crazy?  I couldn't.  You know I couldn't.  I was always in so much trouble anyway I really didn't think anyone would have cared, or believed me.  And what about Hannibal?  If he found out, he would have been crushed."

 

"Don't you think he would have preferred to know that the man he loved was a sadistic bastard who raped 19-year-old boys?" Murdock practically growled.  "And that's assuming you were 19 like your papers said, which of course, none of us believe."


Face frantically shook his head.  "He wouldn't have believed me.  He would have hated me for it.  Hated me for telling him.  Hated me for saying awful things about Carl.  I never wanted him to hate me."

 

"How do you know he would have hated you Face?  You never even tried.  Never gave him that chance.  Do you really think he would have hated you?"

 

Face looked at him incredulously. "Father Anthony did," he answered, void of emotion.

 

"Who?" Murdock lost the conversation.


 "Father Anthony," he repeated as if Murdock should know whom he was talking about.

 

"Who's Father Anthony?"


Face shook his head.  "He was the head of the orphanage I lived at when I was real little."


Murdock just stared at him as pieces of a puzzle started clicking together of its own will.  "Face, are you trying to tell me that someone hurt you when you were a little boy, and Father Anthony didn't believe you?"


Face nodded.  Murdock squeezed his eyes shut in agony as things suddenly became crystal clear.  "Who Face?" he whispered.

 

"His best friend, Father Charles.  Father Charles was always real nice to us.  He always took us places, and did fun things with us." Murdock noticed Face's voice had slipped as if he were back in the orphanage reliving the nightmare he had once lived.  "He liked me best, he said.  He always was touching me, or giving me hugs.  You didn't get a lot of hugs in the orphanage, so it was always real nice when you did." Face smiled at Murdock.  Murdock just nodded, watching Face remember.  His best friend's face fell suddenly, and he knew where the story was heading.  "But then he started touching me in places that made me uncomfortable.  When I asked him about it, he told me that I was his special boy. And that's the way you always touched someone who was special to you.  He said that I couldn't tell anyone, or they wouldn't let me spend time with him anymore.  I didn't want that to happen.  He was the only one who cared about me."


Murdock's stomach hurt more then it had yet.  That sicko had prayed on Face's fear of rejection.  He waited for Face to continue, but Face just sat lost in thought.

 

"Face?  What happened?" Murdock asked softly.

 

Face looked at him.  His eyes were wide, yet unreadable.  "He hurt me Murdock.  I didn't like it, and I asked him to stop, but he wouldn't. He just kept hurting me.  I didn't know what to do.  I was bleeding so badly, and I didn't feel very good.  Father Anthony was always so nice.  I thought he could help me," Face whispered.


"What happened Face?"


"He was so mad.  He said there was no way that Father Charles could have done that.  That I was a mean, rotten little boy and that I would burn in hell for my lies, and that no one would ever love someone like me."


"Face," Murdock's voice broke.  He shook his head and wiped the tears from his eyes, and looked at Face as he sat there, remembering such a tragic youth.  "Did anyone help you?" Face scrunched up his face.

 

"I got really woozy after that.  I ran to my dorm and hid in the closet.  I don't remember anything after that.  Just waking up in the hospital, and a nurse stroking my hair telling me that it was okay, that no one was going to hurt me ever again.  I never went back to that orphanage; I went to Father Maghil."

 

"And surely he told you that it wasn't your fault," Murdock insisted.


"Yeah, but I hurt Father Anthony.  I really liked him a lot, and when he didn't believe me, I was crushed."


"And you stopped trusting," Murdock finished for him.


Face just nodded, looking off into the distance.  "Uh-oh," he muttered softly, instantly sliding into soldier mode.  Murdock watched it happen as his head flew up in time to see a police officer crossing the street towards them.

 

"Great," he muttered.  He looked at Face, and then at the officer.

 

"You boys out a little late, aren't you?" the officer inquired.  Face shrugged, looking wearier then Murdock could ever remember seeing him.  With the exception of the POW camps, and that was different.

 

"Don't I know you?" the officer went on, squinting at Face. 

 

"Uh, well, that depends."

 

"On what?" the officer asked.


"On who you are," Face hadn't meant it to come out sarcastic, but he was tired and worn out, and off his game.  He'd just relived two experiences that he normally wouldn't have ever mentioned, but he was tired, and his emotions were a mess, and they just popped out.  Now, he was probably going to get arrested, and he at least might as well make the best of it, and go in style.

 

Murdock just looked at Face as though he'd lost his mind.  The officer was thinking fast. 

 

"You got a real mouth on you there.  You got some ID?"

 

"Idea of what?" Murdock closed his eyes.  Face did not just say that.

 

"Oh, we got ourselves a real smartass here, don't we?"

 

"We who?" Face asked, looking around.  Hannibal was going to kill him.  "You have an imaginary friend I should meet?" 

 

"Face, knock it off," Murdock hissed.  The officer's face was turning shades of red.  He reached down for Face's collar. 

 

"Ok son, let's go."

 

"Go where?" Face asked innocently, as he got to his feet.  The officer peered closer at Face, and Murdock knew immediately that he had recognized him. 

"Hey, you're Lieutenant Peck of the A-Team," the man said as if Face was his hero. 

 

Face stuck out his hand, and Murdock groaned.  "Nice to meet you, and you are?"


The officer looked at Murdock, ignoring Face.  "Who're you?" he asked him. "You don't look like one of the A-Team."

 

Face answered for him.  ""His name's HM and I met him at the bar across town." 

 

The officer looked between the two, and then settled his eyes on Murdock.  "You have any idea who you're hanging out with Mister?  This here is a wanted felon.  If I were you, I'd run as far and as fast as you can."


"Why?  Do you think I'm going to bite him or something?" Face smiled charmingly.  "I'm not a vampire you know.  Unless it's you he has to worry about.  Are you a vampire?"


Murdock groaned again.  He could only watch as the officer pulled out his handcuffs and slipped them around Face's wrists, and began to read him his rights.  Murdock's eyes grew impossibly large, and nearly burst out of his head when Face winked at him, and then held the handcuffs, dangling by one finger, out to the officer.  He was certain Face had lost his mind as he wondered just how much of this he should tell Hannibal.   He had a feeling that somehow, Hannibal would get the whole story whether he told him or not, and that he should probably just spare himself the agony of extra workouts, and come clean. 

 

The officer actually growled at Face and refastened the cuffs, tightly this time.  Murdock could see Face grimace as they bit into his skin.  Then he was thoroughly searched, and led off to the car across the street.  Murdock could only stand and stare.  What the hell had just happened?

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

"Colonel, we got a problem." Hannibal heard Murdock come over the line shortly after he'd picked it up.

 

"What kind of problem?" Hannibal was immediately on alert.


"Face's been arrested."


"What?" Hannibal demanded.  "Where are you?"

 

Murdock told him where he was, and Hannibal told him to sit tight, they'd be right there.  He turned to BA. 


"Face's in jail."

 

"Great," BA muttered.  "That's all he needs."

 

They quickly drove to where Murdock was waiting.  "Now what Colonel?  We can't exactly waltz in and bail him out."

 

"Did they recognize him?" Hannibal asked as he racked his brain for a plan.


"You could say that."

 

Hannibal turned to him.  "Am I gonna like this story?"


"Probably not."


Hannibal rolled his eyes.  "So they know who they've got, which means the Military is probably on their way.  We'll have to work fast."

 

Twenty minutes later, there was a large hole in the county jail, and Face was sitting in the van, handcuffs still in place, sporting a bruise on his left cheek.  Hannibal eyed him warily, his seat turned toward the back of the van.

 

"Where'd you get the bruise?"  Hannibal asked calmly from where he sat, facing his unruly charge.

 

"Officer Martini didn't like me much," Face replied with a smile. 

 

"And why is that?  Were you your usual charming self?" Hannibal asked sarcastically as he leaned forward to release Face from his handcuffs.  He winced at the blood staining Face's wrists. "Jesus kid, what'd he do to you?"

 

"I told you, he didn't like me." Face pulled his arms free of the cuffs and rubbed his wrists.  He winced as he did so, and Murdock was there with a rag.  He looked at Face for a moment, before Face held out his wrists.  Murdock wrapped each one with a rag, and then sat back to watch the conversation between Colonel and insubordinate.

 

"So, start from the beginning."

 

Face stared off out the window, emotions in a jumble. 

 

"You know I'm going to find out what happened one way or other, so I suggest you just tell me and make it easier on yourself."


Face turned to him angrily.  "You act as though I got arrested on purpose. As though I walked right up to him and said, hey, I'm Templeton Peck, you know, the A-Team, why don't you throw my ass in jail?  Or do you think that once you dropped Murdock and I off, we just went and wrecked havoc on the town?"

 

"I didn't say that Face," Hannibal said softly. 

 

Face turned back to the window.  Murdock looked at Hannibal.  "We were just sitting there talking, minding our own business, when the cop walked up.  He recognized Face, Hannibal."

 

Hannibal nodded and sighed. "So why the bruise and handcuffs that were on ten times too tight?"  Leave it to Hannibal to read between the lines.

 

Neither man answered.  "Am I to assume Face slipped his cuffs?" His eyes leveled on his lover, or ex-lover.  Hannibal cringed with the thought.

 

Face slowly turned his head and looked at Murdock, Murdock just shrugged as if to tell him, 'it's your story, and I'll back you up no matter what you say.'  Then he met his Colonel's eyes.  Hannibal didn't like what he saw there.  Face looked tired and ill, and just plain sad.

 

"So what if I did?" Face finally challenged.

 

Hannibal sighed.  "Just tell me what happened Face."

 

"What does it matter now?  It's over and done with. They recognized me; the military is on their way and know we're in the area.  I screwed everything up, again.  I'm sorry.  What else do you want me to say?"

 

Hannibal just shook his head and turned back around.  What did he want Face to say?  Well, he'd like to know what happened, but he had ways of finding that out.  He'd just have to wait.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

"Here's that report you wanted John." Carl smiled knowingly at Hannibal as he handed over a large envelope.  "I must say, Peck is just as I remember him."

 

Hannibal shook his head as he pulled out the folder inside.  He glanced through it and groaned.  No wonder the kid was being so evasive.  Hannibal had to smile at a couple of the remarks he read.  He could just picture Face saying them.  Leave it to Face to make a dire situation, worse.  From the reports, Officer Martini had already recognized Face and just couldn't place him as he made his way over to them.  It didn't take him much longer after he got close, to place his face.  So, one way or the other, Face was going to jail.  His attitude just helped him get the best treatment available.  Of course, there was no mention of the brutality Face received at the hands of Officer Martini.  Just the escape that ensued. 

 

So Murdock knew you'd slipped your cuffs, eh? he thought to himself as he read the report more thoroughly this time.  Then again, what had he expected from Murdock?  He wasn't about to rat out his best friend, especially not after the night they'd had.  Hannibal sighed as he closed the report and leaned back on the couch, rubbing tired hands over his weary eyes. 

 

"You okay John?"


Hannibal looked up at Carl as he sat down next to him holding out a drink in his hands.  Hannibal took it with a smile.  "Yeah, just tired."


"Well, you must be, having to keep up after Peck like that.  He hasn't changed much since 'Nam, has he?"

 

"In ways.  But mostly he's still the same insubordinate, sarcastic little twit he was back then.  I think that's what I love most about him." Hannibal smiled thoughtfully.

 

Carl's eyes clouded over briefly, before changing back to a smile.  "You really care for him, don't you?" 


Hannibal looked up.  "Yeah, I do."

 

"Are the two of you still lovers?" Hannibal didn't miss the twinge of jealousy he heard in Carl's voice, although he had tried to hide it.

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "We recently broke up," Hannibal answered honestly.


"What happened?" Carl pried.

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "I told him I needed space."


"I see."

 

Hannibal turned to him.  "Do you?"


"I think so.  You love him.  But after all these years, you see your old lover again, and all these feelings resurface.  Do you still love him?  Would you still be together had things been different, if that gorgeous, blonde, young man hadn't stepped off the chopper in 'Nam?  A million little questions running through your head, and it confused you."


"Exactly," Hannibal breathed.


"I know John.  I've been feeling the same thing." He leaned in and gently captured Hannibal's lips in a soft kiss. 

 

At first, Hannibal responded to the kiss, old emotions slamming into him all at once.  But then suddenly, his mind could think of only one thing, Face.  He loved Face.  Still loved Face.  Had always loved Face.  And no other love could even compare.  Not even the love of the man who once had made his world soar.  Face was his reason for being now, and he'd made one hell of a mistake.


"I gotta go," he said abruptly, pushing Carl away.  Carl looked confused, and then angry, and then masked it with confusion again. 

 

"What?" he shook his head.  "What's wrong?  Are you okay?"


It was Hannibal's turn to shake his head.  "No, I've made a huge mistake, and I have to go and fix it.  Thanks for everything Carl; I'll get back to you about the job." And with that, he was off the yacht and running for the pier.  Carl just watched him go.  Hannibal would be his.  And Peck would once and for all suffer for taking Hannibal away.  Obviously, he hadn't taught the kid a good enough lesson all those years ago.  He could fix that.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

"Face come on, tell me what's wrong?" Murdock was eyeing Face worriedly.  He had accidentally bumped into him, and Face suddenly gasped in pain and doubled over.  Now he had his expression schooled and was calmly telling him he was fine, had just startled him was all.

 

"You're lying Face, and we both know it.  Now come clean." 


"Murdock—" he stopped as he saw Hannibal practically fly into the room, looking winded and excited.  Hannibal stopped and took in the sight before him.  Murdock was standing with his hands on his hips, a flustered look on his face.  His Lieutenant's face was determined, as though he was trying to convince Murdock of something.

 

"What's going on?" he asked as he locked eyes with Face.  Face shook his head, and Murdock turned to him, exasperated. 

 

"Something's wrong with him, and he won't tell me what it is."

 

"What, besides the fact he looks like he hasn't slept or ate in a week?" Hannibal asked Murdock seriously as he took another step into the room.

 

Face just rolled his eyes, but Murdock was quick with a response.  "Yes, besides that. Although that's a good point which I'm sure we'll breach upon soon.  Especially when he collapses." Murdock gave him an evil eye, which Face did a good job of ignoring.


"So what's wrong with him?"


"Nothing's wrong with him, and he is still in the room you know." Now Face was the one sounding exasperated.


Hannibal and Murdock ignored him. 

 

"I ran into him, and he acted as though I smacked him in the gut with a ball bat."


Hannibal looked at his Lieutenant thoughtfully.  "Okay captain, I'll handle it," he said after a moment.


"Sir?"


Hannibal turned to him and winked.  "I said I'd handle it."  

 

"Uh – sure, okay." Now what was going on with him?  "I'll just be outside playing with Billy, should anyone need me."

 

"Tell ya what Murdock, why don't you take Face's vette down to the arcade and play for awhile.  He can call you if he needs you."


Murdock grinned, while Face frowned.  Before he could say anything, Murdock vaulted over the back of the couch, stuck his hand down the front of Face's jeans, fished out his keys, and ran out the front door like an excited child at Christmas.

 

Face glared at Hannibal.  "Why my car?"

 

"Cuz he likes yours better."  Hannibal grinned wickedly.  "Besides, I wanted to see him grope you for the keys."

 

Face didn't bother to smile; instead he turned and headed for the kitchen, and the coffeepot.

 

Hannibal sighed.  He followed Face to the kitchen.  He watched Face pour himself a cup of coffee, and then offer him one.  Hannibal shook his head.  "Face, we need to talk," he finally said as he watched Face stir cream into his coffee.

 

"About what?" Face asked nonchalantly. 


Hannibal sighed again.  "About a lot of things." His fingers played with the counter top for a moment while he gathered courage. 


"You want to sit down?" Face asked politely.  Hannibal shook his head.

 

"I'd rather pace."

 

"Suit yourself." Face headed for the couch and sat down in it while he sipped his coffee.  He tipped his eyes up slightly to see Hannibal pacing the living room floor.

 

"I screwed up Face," he finally relented, turning to his subordinate.


"Screwed up how?"

 

Hannibal sighed, irritably this time.  "Screwed up everything.  I broke up with you because I was having all these feelings, and then when I finally sorted them out, I realized what I wanted wasn't what I thought, was what I had given up."

 

Face just nodded.  He'd actually followed all that.  "And now you want what exactly?"

 

"You, Face!  I want you." Hannibal dropped to his knees in front of the couch, putting his hands on Face's knees.  If possible, Face looked even more tired. 

 

Face felt tired.  He felt exhausted, worn out, deprived.  But every time he tried to sleep, his stomach knotted up, and his brain kicked into overdrive.  He'd been wanting to hear these words all week, and if last night with Carl had never happened, he probably would have flung himself into his lover's arms, and that'd been the end of it, but it had happened.  And as much as he wanted to throw himself into Hannibal's arms and pretend this week never happened, he couldn't. 

 

Nothing made sense anymore.  Hannibal had hurt him.  Badly.  Even more when he found out about Carl.  How could he?  And what would he have done had Hannibal known the truth about Carl?  Would he have still left him, for him?

 

Face didn't say anything.  Just continued to look more and more tired.  Hannibal moved onto the couch beside him.


"God Face, I am so sorry for what I did to you.  I have no excuse.  I acted like an idiot, and I'll do anything to show you how sorry I am." Face still didn't respond, just looked at him tiredly.  "Please Face.  Say something. Say anything."

 

Finally he sighed.  "I don't know exactly what it is you want me to say, Hannibal."


"Anything.  Just … anything." 

 

"Two days ago, those words would have meant the world to me," he finally told him.

 

Hannibal sagged down deeper into the couch.  "How do I make this right?"

 

"I don't know Hannibal.  I wish I did."

 

"Do you still love me?"

 

"Of course I do, Hannibal.  What kind of question is that?"

 

"Then that's a start.  We'll go from there.  You don't have to say anything right now.  Just know that I love you more then anything in this world, and I will do anything to get you back.  Anything."

 

Face just continued to look at him.  He wanted to believe him.  "But what happens the next time some ex-lover comes running back into town?" He couldn't help but voice the concern in his heart.

 

Hannibal sighed.  "Face, I don't know what happened.  I just got so confused, and I hurt you so badly in the process.  I think a lot of it was that I let my fears guide me.  I've been worried, whether I've admitted it to myself or not, that this wouldn't last between us.  That someday you'd find someone else, or you'd just get tired of the commitment.  You were so young when we got together, and under the stress of the war, then we were on the run together, sometimes I wondered if those were the only reasons you stayed.  Would things have been different if we hadn't got sent up?"


Face looked truly hurt by those words.  His head jerked back in shock, his eyes wide.


Hannibal reached for Face. "Face, but I was wrong.  So wrong.  You committed yourself to me from day one, regardless of our situation.  You loved me with everything that you are, because you love me, not because you had nowhere else to go.  I see that now.  How I wish I had before."

 

Face shrugged, and then winced; which didn't go unnoticed by Hannibal.  "I don't expect you to take me back right now, Face.  Just give me a chance to prove myself to you."  Hannibal studied Face for a long moment, his fingers stroking a blonde lock on his lover's head of their own volition.  "I'm no better then anyone else in your life.  Your worst nightmare came true.  That you'd give yourself to me, and I'd abandon you.  I am so sorry for that Face.  I don't know how to make up for that, or if you'll ever trust me again.  But please, don't shut me out," he finished by tucking the stray blonde lock behind Face's ear, cupping the side of his head, and gazing into his eyes.

 

Face sighed, looking away.  "I'm tired Hannibal.  Can we talk about this another time?"

 

"Sure kid." After a moment, he quirked one eyebrow. "So, what's wrong with you?"

 

"Huh?" Face looked up from where he was twirling his finger along the edge of his coffee mug.

 

"You're in pain. What's wrong?"

 

"N-" Hannibal glared at him, cutting him off before he could really even start. 


"Try again."

 

Face sighed.  "My ribs are just a little sore.  I'll be fine."

 

Hannibal looked surprised.  "Why are your ribs sore?"


"I told you, Officer Martini didn't like me much."

 

Hannibal's expression was one of alarm. "Jesus kid, what'd he do?  Beat the hell out of you?"

 

"You could say that." Face sighed, not meeting his eyes.

 

"Why didn't you tell me?" Hannibal admonished.  Face's look said it all.

 

"Sorry," Hannibal muttered. "Why would you?" After a pause, he added. "Even when I haven't hurt you, you don't tell me what's going on.  Why would you when I've treated you like crap?"

 

Face just sat silently, watching him, a million emotions jumbling through his confused mind.

 

"Let me see."


"I told you, I'm fine."

 

"That wasn't a request, Lieutenant, it was an order!  I'll be the judge of how fine you are."

 

Face just sighed.  He was too tired to argue with him, especially now that he was resorting to rank.  He finally just set his coffee mug down on the end table, and leaned back against the couch, allowing Hannibal to do the rest. 

 

Hannibal unbuttoned his shirt and gasped at what he saw.  His chest was molted with bruises of different colors and shades.  Hannibal's expert hands made their way down his body, searching for serious injury. 

 

"You've got a cracked rib Face." Hannibal looked him in the eye.


"Kinda figured I did," was all Face answered.

 

"What happened?" Hannibal continued to look him in the eye.


"He didn't like my attitude."

 

"Was it the vampire comment, or the imaginary friend?"

 

Face looked at him in disbelief. 

 

"I told you I'd find out one way or another."

 

Face narrowed his eyes.  He knew it wasn't Murdock.  Murdock wouldn't do that to him.  He wondered how he got the information, but decided right now he was too tired to care.

 

"So tell me what happened."

 

"Not much to tell.  Once we got back to the station, he and his buddy were all hyped because they'd caught one of the A-Team.  I suppose I got a bit cocky, and the next thing I knew, Martini had socked me, and I was on the ground getting the shit kicked out of me.

 

"Still handcuffed?" Hannibal asked, his eyes blazing with anger.


"Still handcuffed."

 

Hannibal was angry.  Very, very angry.  Face shrank back a little.

 

"Not mad at you kid.  Mad at those bastards." He studied Face for a long moment, before coming to a decision.  "Come on; let's get some ointment on those bruises.  Then you should try to get some sleep.  We got work to do in the morning."

 

Face looked confused and hurt all at once, and then nothing.

 

"Face?"

 

"Nothing"

 

"Not nothing.  What's wrong?"

 

"We're still taking this case for him?"

 

"What is wrong with you?  It's not his fault I'm a jerk.  I promised we'd help him, now we're going to."


"What if I don't want to?"


Hannibal looked at him in disbelief, and then in anger.  "You'll do it and be happy about it.  That's an order Lieutenant."  Without a word, Face got up and went to his room, slamming the door behind him.

 

"That went well," Hannibal muttered to himself.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Hannibal awoke on the couch.  He looked around blearily as he stretched his stiff muscles.  To prove he wanted his Lieutenant back, and how much he loved him, he'd stayed the night in their apartment, but kept his distance on the couch.  Now, as he looked around, he could see the early morning sun sliding up the walls of the apartment, basking it in an orange glow.  Coffee was brewing in the kitchen, and he inhaled the heavenly aroma as he stretched once more.  He rolled his feet to the side of the couch, sat up, and then stilled.  His Lieutenant was standing near the floor to ceiling windows of the penthouse apartment, looking out at the city below.  His hip rested against the doorjamb of the sliding glass door leading out to the balcony, which he had open, allowing the soft, early morning fall breeze to waft through the apartment.  He was standing in a pair of light blue, soft cotton pajama bottoms, which hung loosely on his hips, and nothing more.  His feet were bare, one resting slightly on top of the other, his knee bent, and his position relaxed.  In his left hand was a cup of coffee, the fingers on his right hand lightly drifted over the mug.  His gaze was directed out over the city, but Hannibal could tell he was lost in deep thought, and wondered if he even saw the spectacular view below.  His blonde hair was still a bit disheveled, and there were dark rings under his eyes.  Hannibal wondered how much sleep he had actually gotten to look even more tired now then he had the night before. 

 

Hannibal's eyes drifted down Face's bare chest, his eyes resting on the dark bruising along his ribcage, and he swore with a muttered curse, the bruising, if possible, was even worse this morning, then he had seen last night.  He pushed himself off of the sofa and crossed the room, standing just a foot from his Lieutenant.  He watched Face's chest heave with a sigh, before tipping his head around to look at his commander.


Face didn't open his mouth to speak.  He didn't need to.  His expressive blue eyes said more then words could ever possibly say.  Hannibal could read every shredded ounce of hurt, every broken promise, and every shattered dream, and it broke his heart to see.  He didn't know how to fix this, and he wanted so badly to.

 

Standing there now, eyes locked with his Lieutenant's, Hannibal couldn't even begin to imagine what he had been thinking when he'd broken up with Face.  He must have been possessed by the devil himself, because breaking up with the person who meant more to him then his next breath just didn't make any sense.  Sure, he had thought he was confused over his ex-lover reappearing in his life, but his feelings for the other Colonel were nothing compared to what they were for Face.  They had never been, and they never would be.  So, why had it been so easy to let Face go?

 

He had to admit, there was something about Carl that intrigued him, that made him remember how good things had been; and they had been good, but that was in the past.  No matter how good it had been, it didn't compare to what he had with Face.  He saw that now, standing in the sunbathed living room, looking into Face's eyes, why hadn't he seen it before?  The grass is always greener on the other side… the thought filtered through his mind.  You don't know what you have, until you've lost it… Would he have known what Face meant to him, if he hadn't lost him? 

 

He pondered that thought, and he realized, with a sudden weight of dread in his stomach, that all too often, he had taken Face, and their relationship, for granted.  He didn't always show his younger lover just how much he meant to him, how special he was to him, and how lucky Hannibal was to have him in his life.  Maybe Face really hadn't known. 

 

He couldn't help but wish Carl had never come back into his life, but he couldn't find it in himself to be angry with the man.  He only had himself to blame.  Carl never forced him to break up with Face.  It wasn't Carl's fault that Hannibal had been weak and had given into old emotions.

 

Now, Carl needed their help.  He understood why Face was upset, but he would just have to prove to him that he could be trusted, for they would still take this case.  They had to.  A person needed their help.  His very life could be in jeopardy.  Face would just have to realize, as he did, that his straying wasn't Carl's fault.  Besides, they'd taken a case for Face's ex lover once, why should this be any different?  He ignored the common sense niggling at the back of his brain.

 

"You're hurt worse then you let on," Hannibal finally said, his voice scratchy with emotion.

 

Face shrugged, and turned back to the city view.  "I'm fine.  It's just some bruises.  They'll heal.  They always heal," his tone was flat, his voice no louder then a whisper.

 

Hannibal wasn't quite certain that Face was just talking about his bruises.

 

#

 

It had been a long day, and it was beginning to wear on him.  They had left the apartment within an hour of Hannibal waking.  They'd both had showers, shaved, dressed, and Hannibal had eaten.  No amount of yelling, ordering, or begging had been able to get Face to take even a bite of the toast and eggs Hannibal had made.  Instead, he stood sipping his coffee with a pinched look on his face, that told Hannibal that Face was feeling quite nauseous, a feeling which Hannibal could not make heads or tails of.  Face insisted he was fine, but every time Hannibal even opened his mouth to talk about the case, the look only grew with intensity.  As the day progressed, it was beginning to grate on Hannibal's nerves. 


Hannibal knew Face was feeling hurt and betrayed by Carl, but would he be so petty to deny him protection that could save his life?  The goons that were threatening him, who wanted secret information that only a few members of the United States Government were privy to, weren't pulling their punches.  After Hannibal had left him the night before, five-men had cornered Carl, and beaten him pretty badly.  However, Carl had given as good as he had gotten, and the men had taken off, but not for good.  Carl had information that their boss wanted, and would stop at nothing to get. 

 

Carl had shown up at the meeting place that morning, shaken, and beaten.  Hannibal was shocked at his condition, and quickly ran to help him.  The beginning of his bad temper had started then, when his team had been slow to help.  Not only slow, but Murdock and Face had flat out refused to help the injured man.  Going as far as to defy a direct order, this not only angered Hannibal, but shocked him as well.  Neither had ever defied a direct order.  Sure, his Lieutenant had pushed him, dragged his feet, and done his best to be obstinate, but never had he outright disobeyed him.  And Murdock, Murdock never defied him.   Hannibal had narrowed his eyes at his Lieutenant, not believing that he would drag his best friend into trouble with him, not trouble like they would soon experience anyway.  Sure, they'd wrecked havoc together before, but not with an offense as serious as disobeying a direct order. 

 

The day had been spent tracking the five-men who had attacked Mattherson the night before, but it wasn't easy, for they hadn't left much of a trail.  When that proved a dead-end, they changed tactics and tried to discover who it was that was in charge, the head honcho who would stop at nothing to get the information he wanted.  This proved to be another difficult task.  Between the limited information that Mattherson could give them, and the lack of trail anyone was leaving them, Hannibal was ready to pound his head into the wall. 

 

He'd finally ordered his Lieutenant off to do a little research through his contact in the government.  He had finally complied, albeit grudgingly, and Hannibal was now waiting for him to return, after spending an afternoon with Carl, where they had reminisced about the old days.  Hannibal had tried to push for more information from Carl to help them with the case, but Carl was being very closed lipped about the whole thing.  He said that all he could tell him was that the information he had was classified, and the men who were after him, would stop at nothing to get it.  Hannibal, having had to keep sensitive information top secret before during his career, didn't push after that.  To protect Carl, and keep him safe, they didn't need to know the contents of the information anyway.  They just had to determine who wanted the information, in order to track them down.


Carl, for the life of him, couldn't even begin to guess who would be after him for the information.  It could be any range of people, and since none of them had yet to show their faces, he could not even give them a decent description.  Just height and build, even their sex was just a guess; although he was pretty certain that they had all been men thus far.

 

The sun had long since gone down, and Face still had not yet returned.  Hannibal had given up on waiting for him to eat dinner with.  He had finally made a sandwich, before settling onto the couch, and clicking the television on, not really seeing what it was that he was watching as he considered their options, worried about Carl, and wondered what it was that was really going on with his Lieutenant.  Surely he couldn't be as petty and selfish as he had been acting.  Was there more to his animosity toward Carl then he was letting on? 

 

He thought back to their days stationed in 'Nam together.  He remembered his Lieutenant's cold shoulder, even back then, and how hard Carl had tried to go out of his way to be nice to Face, despite the blonde's attitude and disgruntled behavior toward him.  Carl had always been good to Hannibal's team, even after they had broken up, and the only way he may have treated any of them differently, was to maybe be a little nicer to Face then the other two.  Overly nice even, more so then Face even deserved, given his attitude and cold shoulder.  When Hannibal called Carl on it, Carl had explained that he wanted his unit to like him, that hard feelings would make it difficult on Hannibal, and that sooner or later, Face would come around.  He would just keep trying.  He remembered Carl telling Hannibal that Face was probably a little jealous of the time they spent together.  To prove that there was nothing to be jealous of, that they could both be his friend, and it would be twice as good, he'd insisted on taking Face fishing, just the two of them.  Hannibal thought it was a great idea.  Maybe that was what Face had needed, a little one on one attention, but when he'd proposed the idea to his Lieutenant, Face had flat out refused, looking disgusted at the idea.  Hannibal, in return, grew angry.  Angry that Carl was going out of his way to be nice to Face, take the first step in having a at least a working relationship, and Face was being a disrespectful, ungrateful, little punk.  Enraged, he'd ordered his Lieutenant off with the Colonel, and warned him that he'd better be on his best behavior and do everything that Carl requested of him, or else there would be hell to pay when he returned.  And he better believe that Carl would inform him of every little infraction.

 

Face had returned withdrawn and sullen, apparently angry with Hannibal for forcing him to do something that he hadn't wanted to do.  But Carl told him that they'd had a good time, that although Face started out their trip leery and angry, that he quickly warmed up and had done all that had been requested of him.

 

From then on, Face seemed to stay on just this side of tolerating the other Colonel, but he no longer flat out disrespected him, which was a definite improvement, and made his life much less complicated.

 

But, as much as Hannibal had loved Carl, he hadn't been able to stop the feelings for Face that he had been feeling.  He knew, looking back, that he had fallen for Face the first moment that he had seen him, but he had been slow to act on those feelings.  First, there had been Carl, and he really had loved Carl.  And then, there was the reputation that had came to the base before the kid ever had.  They had heard the stories of the blonde kid with the gorgeous face, and silver tongue.  How he was a real ladies man, and had them all swooning, but how he never stayed for more then one night.  There was even chatter about how the kid had bedded higher-ranking officers, male or female, to get what he had wanted. 

 

Hannibal had never been able to get the truth on these rumors, not even from Face himself.  Face always just raised his eyebrows, and said, "What do you think?"  He had long ago stopped asking. 

 

The final bridge that had held Hannibal back from taking the kid to bed the moment that he laid eyes on him, had been his age.  Oh, he'd seen his file, the file said the kid had been 19, and Hannibal hadn't believed a word of it.  It was another secret Face still wouldn't declassify. 

 

Finally though, love had won.  Hannibal told Carl that he didn't love him the way that he should.  He had been completely honest with him, and had told him he'd fallen in love with someone else.  Carl hadn't seemed surprised.  "Peck?" he had asked. 

 

Hannibal had nodded.  "I'm sorry," he whispered.

 

Carl had just smiled and touched his cheek.  "I'll always be your friend John, and if rumors are true, and things don't work out, know that there is always a place for you in my heart.  My feelings for you won't ever change."

 

Hannibal had nodded, smiled, and allowed one last kiss, and then he had left.  He found Face in the bar with the rest of his unit, sat down beside him, and smiled.  Then he leaned over and whispered in his ear.  "I have to go to a meeting this weekend.  Go with me?"


Face had looked at him in surprise, but nodded, and that weekend, he confessed his love, and made love to the young blonde for the first time.

 

Hannibal was pulled from his thoughts by a key in the door.  He turned his head to watch his Lieutenant come in, toss his keys on the table, and eye Hannibal tiredly.  Hannibal stood up and faced him as Face slid out of his suit coat and loosened his tie.

 

"Well?"

Face sighed, draping his coat neatly over the back of a chair.  He smoothed it with his hands, not meeting Hannibal's gaze.  Finally, he straightened his shoulders a little, and turned to face his Colonel, one hand still on the coat, on the chair.

 

"How certain are you that he's telling the truth, Hannibal?"

 

The fist came out of nowhere, and it shocked both of them.  Their eyes widened at the same fraction of second, the instant before the fist cracked into Face's jaw, sending him reeling back. 

 

Face held his jaw, straightening again, bringing his head back around to look at his Colonel in shock.  The hurt evident in his eyes, but nowhere did Hannibal see even a trace of anger, which only worried Hannibal

 

Hannibal took a step forward.  "I'm sorry kid," he offered lamely, gently taking Face's hand and pulling it away from his jaw, already blossoming with reds and a slight purple.

 

Face pulled away, his expression completely closed.  "Don't worry about it."  He turned away from the table, walked into the bedroom, and began pulling off his clothes.  Hannibal followed him.  He gently grabbed his elbow and turned him.

 

"Face, stop.  I'm sorry.  Really, truly sorry.  I don't know what came over me."


Something flickered in Face's eyes.  "I do," he murmured, pulling his arm away.

 

Hannibal grabbed his arm again.  "What's that supposed to mean?"

 

"Nothing," Face muttered.  "Just forget it."


"No, you make a comment like that you'd better damn well back it up."

 

Face sighed, sitting down on the edge of the bed.  "Nothing Hannibal," he said softly, and then even softer, "it just seems that since Carl came back, you've been doing a lot of things that are uncharacteristic."

 

It was Hannibal's turn to sigh, as he too sat on the bed next to Face.  He was thoughtful for a moment, so many questions and thoughts running through his head.  "I suppose I have been," he finally responded truthfully.  "But it's no excuse.  I had no right to hit you."

 

"I'm not worried about it Hannibal.  A comment like that was certain to provoke something in you."

 

"Why did you make it?"

 

Face sighed again, and then stood to finish getting undressed and then changed into something more comfortable.  Hannibal watched him.

 

"I've spent the last several hours hunting for any information I could find on Colonel Mattherson, and all I've come up with Hannibal, is that he's no longer active in the United States Army, or any other branch of the military.  He was given a dishonorable discharge in 1977, and pretty much fell off the face of the Earth after that.  There is no information on him from that date on, including any of these wise investments that he's made.  He has not used his social security number, opened or closed any bank accounts, used any line of credit, or made any financial investments since 1977.  He's never appeared on a commercial flight, bus, or train, never bought or sold a vehicle, including a yacht, or registered any vehicles with the DMV.  He hasn't even renewed his driver's license.  Hannibal, it's like the man doesn't even exist any more."

 

He watched the pained expression appear more prominent on his Colonel's face with each word.  When he finished, Hannibal was looking at him with wide, disbelieving eyes.  Then, he shook his head.

 

"Well, maybe he went underground.  We did," he pointed out, refusing to believe that the Colonel had been lying to them all this time.

 

Face shook his head.  "And what would his reasoning have been Hannibal?  We went under to escape the death penalty for a crime we didn't commit, but it's not as though we don't exist.  The world is still very much aware that we're out there.  There – is – no – trace – of – himl," he spoke the last sentence slowly, annunciating each word, attempting to make his point heard.

 

Hannibal just shook his head.  "Why was he given a dishonorable discharge?" he was grasping now for any reason to hold onto the image that he had of his ex-lover all those years ago.  The image of the dedicated soldier, not the person Face was painting.

 

Face looked at him solemnly, his gaze hard and direct.  "He raped another soldier, Hannibal."

 

"Bullshit!" Hannibal exploded.  "That's total bullshit.  We both know that Carl Mattherson is not capable of rape!  That explains why he had to go underground," Hannibal stopped, and looked at Face, whose expression had not changed; if anything, it'd become more solemn, more hard."

 

"You're not implying you believe these unfounded accusations, are you Lieutenant?" 

 

Face didn't blink, just continued to watch Hannibal with dark eyes.

 

"I don't believe you.  I don't believe how pathetically petty you've become.  You'd believe anything you heard bad about that man, wouldn't you?  All because you're still jealous of my relationship with him.  That's low Face, even for you."

 

Face worked his jaw contemplatively, hurt by his words, but refusing to give into his emotions.  "And you'd believe anything he says, wouldn't you, Colonel," he emphasized Colonel, stretching out the word, attempting to keep his emotions at bay. 

 

"Of course I believe him; I have no reason not to."

 

"Well here's a news flash for you, Colonel," Face threw heatedly.  "Your boy Mattherson wasn't always as faithful as he led you to believe.  In fact, in Nam, he came onto me, more then once."

 

Face blocked Hannibal's second punch, grabbing his fist and preventing him from making contact.  He squeezed the fist, and then shoved it away.  "Truth hurts, doesn't it?"

 

"You sorry son of a bitch," Hannibal hissed.  "You will stop at nothing to degrade him, to make him look like a gigantic ass in my eyes.  Well Face, someone's beginning to look like an ass, and it's not him."

 

"Sorry you feel that way Colonel."

 

"If your accusations were the least bit true, you would have told me years ago."

 

"Would I have?" Face challenged him.  "What makes you think that?"

 

"Because you wouldn't have ever allowed someone to hurt me like that."

 

Face hesitated, stung by the harsh reality of what withholding the truth could have done to Hannibal, but convinced at the same time, that the truth would have been harsher, if he had even believed the truth.

 

"Would you have believed me Hannibal?  Or would you have just thought it was a ploy to make you break up with him?"

 

"As is now?"

 

"Why would I need a ploy now, Hannibal?  You say you don't love him anymore, that you love me."


"But you're still jealous."


"No Hannibal, I'm not jealous."

 

"Sure as hell looks like it from where I'm standing.

 

"You misconstrue jealousy for anger and hatred.  They are different, you know."

"Barely.  What do you have to hate him for?  He was never anything but overly kind to you, probably nicer then you ever even deserved."

 

"For starters, for hurting you.  For treating you the way he did."


"Then why didn't you stop it?"


Face shook his head.  "That there is a question in itself.''

 

"Exactly Face.  A question you have no answer to."


"No, I have answers Hannibal.  Answers you don't want, nor are you ready, to hear."


"What's that supposed to mean?"

 

"Do you really want me to spell it out for you Colonel?  The person you knew and loved wasn't who you thought he was.  He was a manipulative, conniving, sadistic, rapist.  Every accusation that the government made against him is with merit."

 

If fury had a face, it was surely in the shape of Colonel Smith at that point in time.  Rage emanated from his very core, and he shook with the wrath of his anger. 

 

Face held his ground as Hannibal advanced on him.  Hannibal was livid.  He was so full of anger that he wanted nothing more then to lash out irrationally and hurt the person responsible.  Every ounce of his being wanted Face to suffer for saying such hurtful and spiteful things.   

 

"Maybe you're right Face," Hannibal hissed lowly.  "Maybe the person I know and love isn't who I thought he is."  Hannibal didn't have to tell Face who he was referring to, but he did anyway, and Face's stomach dropped out, leaving him hollow and empty.  "You nailed yourself right on the head.  You are manipulative and conniving.  You will say, and do, whatever it takes to make me hate him, but let's get this clear right now Lieutenant.  No matter what you say, no matter what lies you come up with, I will not hate him."

 

Face didn't blink as he stared at his Colonel, but every part of him ached.  Hannibal wasn't quite finished.  He snatched a hold of the front of Face's shirt and brought them inches a part.  "How dare you make up such lies, such accusations, about him.  Are you that pathetic, that needy, that you would stoop to that level?  The government is wrong Face.  Wrong, and you better damn well get that through your thick skull.  You have no proof Lieutenant!  He is not a rapist, don't say it again!"


Face shoved Hannibal off of him, his heart thudding madly in his chest, anger getting the best of him.  "Carl Mattherson is a rapist," he repeated, just to get a reaction.  He didn't have to wait long.

 

Hannibal took a step forward, his fists clenched at his sides, every muscle in his body taunt with anger.  "You don't have any proof you lying son-of-a-bitch!"


Face laughed a hollow, humorless sounding laugh.  "You want proof Colonel?  You remember that fishing trip you forced me to go on with your boyfriend?  The one I begged you not to make me go on?  His intentions weren't as honorable as he made you believe.  Yeah, he wanted to get to know me better all right, so he held me down and raped the shit out of me, and I had no choice but to let him.  Because you ordered me to do everything he requested, and he threatened to kill you if I didn't."  Face's eyes were crystal clear as he locked his gaze with Hannibal's shocked one.  He didn't allow even the tiniest emotion to show on his face as he watched Hannibal absorb his words.

 

Hannibal froze in place.  Face's words slamming into him like a freight train.  He was unable to move.  Unable to blink, and unable to swallow.  He stood, his mouth agape, trying to comprehend Face's words.  As he did, emotions, one after another, heavy and restricting, slammed into him.  He couldn't sort through them; he couldn't breathe under the raw intensity of the emotions.  He stood, completely still, trying to get a grip on them. 

 

Finally he blinked; he closed his mouth, opened it to speak, and then closed it again, shaking his head.  His eyes locked with Face's, he couldn't read the expression, Face was completely closed off.  He wanted to go to him, to hold him, and he wanted to hit him, and hurt him, all at the same time.  Not Carl.  Carl wouldn't have done that.  To Face, or to him.  He'd loved him too much.  Hadn't he?  Carl wouldn't have; couldn't have done that.  Hannibal continued to shake his head, backing away from Face.

 

"John," Face pleaded softly.  "Please don't," he begged in a whisper.  He read the intent, and it would rip him to shreds if Hannibal left.  He hadn't meant to ever disclose his secret to anyone, especially not Hannibal, and now, his biggest fear was about to become reality.  Hannibal didn't believe him, and he was going to walk away, walk away and maybe never come back.  Face was going to truly be alone, and all because he hadn't kept his damn mouth closed.  It was too easy, in the heat of their argument, to slip.  And in that one instant, everything Face had ever loved and cherished was going to be ripped from him.

 

"Please," Face whispered again, taking a step forward.  But Hannibal shook his head, faster this time, more steadily, and he continued his retreat, and finally, spun on his heal, walked quickly from the room, and in seconds, Face heard the slamming of the door, and the breaking of his heart.

 

Face stood in silent shock at what he had done.  What he had caused, and then he sank to the floor, and just sat.

 

#

 

Hannibal pounded again on Carl's hotel room door.  He didn't care that it was in the middle of the night, or that people were starting to look at him.  Finally, the door opened a crack, and Hannibal kicked it in, snagged Carl by the back of his head, his fingers entwined in his hair, and kicked the door shut with his foot.

 

"Tell me you didn't rape my Lieutenant!"  Hannibal's voice was low, cold, and barely controlled.

 

Momentarily, fear flickered in Carl's eyes with such intensity Hannibal thought he would have a heart attack right there.  Then, Carl blinked, and the emotion was gone, instead, he sighed softly with intent, and let his shoulder's sag.


"Damn John, I was hoping you'd never find out," he said softly, Hannibal's hold increased.  "No, I didn't rape your Lieutenant.  I figured if you ever found out what he had done, he'd come up with a story as such."  He sighed again with intensity.  "I promised him I'd never tell you.  I knew he was young, and confused, especially about his sexuality, and we were in the middle of a war, I understood his feelings.  I shouldn't have kept it from you though John.  I'm sorry."

"What the fuck are you talking about?"


Carl looked at him, surprise written on his face.  "What are you talking about?" Carl turned the question around.

 

"We did some digging.  You were dishonorably discharged for raping a soldier in 1977.  There hasn't been a trace of you ever since.  Then, my Lieutenant tells me that you raped him on that fishing trip you took him on.  You'd better start explaining yourself, and I suggest you do it fast."

 

Carl straightened himself as much as Hannibal's grip in his hair would allow.  "Could you let up John?  We'll sit down and talk.  I'll tell you everything.  I have nothing to hide.  You know I can't lie to you."

 

Finally, Hannibal nodded once, and released his grip.  Carl sat down on the bed, and Hannibal fished in his coat for a cigar.  He didn't sit, just bit the end from the cigar, and then clenched it in his teeth.  "So talk."

 

Carl sighed again, deliberately drawing it out.  "Well, first, again, I didn't rape your LT.  You know me better than that John; I'm hurt that you could even think that about me," his gaze was penetrating, and he allowed his hurt to show in his eyes. 

 

Hannibal's remained hard, watching Carl impassively.  Carl sighed.  "He came onto me during the fishing trip.  Apparently, the rumors were true – about his sleeping with higher ranking officers to get what he wanted."  He laughed a little, looking at Hannibal, who still didn't change his expression.  "He was all over me.  I gently pushed him off, and explained to him, that although I was flattered, how much I loved you, and that I would never do anything to hurt you that way.  Don't get me wrong, the kid was, is, beautiful, and if I hadn't been so head over heals for you, I'd have taken him to bed that instant and given him everything he wanted.  We talked long into the night, and I thought we'd come to an understanding between us.   He wasn't nearly as unruly after that, even civil toward me.  But, I know he kept his distance because he was ashamed of my turning him down, and worried I'd tell people he'd failed.  I thought about telling you, but I'd promised the kid I'd keep his secret between us.  Part of me worried that if you ever found out, he'd turn it around on me.  Obviously, when he found out about the rape charge, and with all his anger at you for breaking up with him because you had feelings still for me, he figured he'd make you hate me by calling me a rapist.  The charges against me are a stack of lies.  Some hot shot kid, who thought he was better then everyone else, didn't think he had to follow my orders.  He found out the hard way that he did.  I drilled his ass into shape, or at least I thought I had.  He apparently thought he was being picked on, and wanted me to pay for being a hard-nosed Colonel.  So, he made up the charges against me.  He even got a couple of his friends to say that they'd seen me harassing him, even hit him, and, well, that was all they needed to dishonorably discharge me.  After that, I couldn't go home.  Everyone knew what I'd been accused of.  I was afraid they wouldn't believe me.  So, having nothing left, I changed my name, and moved out of the country."

 

Hannibal was still watching him.  "So, if you're not still in the Army, what type of information could you possibly have, that anyone would still want?"  Hannibal was still one step ahead of him.  He watched him closely as he answered.

 

There was another sigh, and Carl twisted at his bare arm, rubbing the skin around his wrist.  "I wasn't completely honest with you when we were together John."  He looked up.  "Not that I didn't want to be," he added quickly.  "But, I was sworn to secrecy.  Before we had gotten together, I was a spy for our government.  I was privy to a lot of classified information.  I'm not exactly sure who is after me, or what information they want, but I've narrowed it down.  I can give you a list of possible suspects."

 

Hannibal rubbed the kinks out of the back of his neck, thinking over everything Carl, and Face, had told him.  He wasn't sure who to believe, although Carl had a much better explanation then Face did, it was when Face had a lengthy story that made him leery.  He shook his head, suddenly tired, and feeling, at the moment, very old. 


"Make me a list.  We'll get on it in the morning."  He turned, and reached for the door. 

 

"Wait!  John!  Where are you going?"

 

"I need to get some sleep.  I need to think."

 

"John, please don't go.  Stay here with me tonight."

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "I can't." 

 

Carl was behind him then, his hands on his waist, and his warm breath at the back of his neck.  "Don't be mad at him John.  He's just upset and hurt.  And don't tell me you believe that I could possibly hurt anyone," he finished seductively.  His hands were now roaming Hannibal's chest and stomach.  His lips were lightly drifting over the skin on the back of his neck. 

 

"Carl," he whispered, trying to object.

 

"Shhh," Carl whispered in his hear.  "Let me love you," he finished, his tongue softly running over the outside of Hannibal's ear.  Hannibal shivered, and then was lost.

 

#

 

Murdock reached around blindly for the phone, lifting the handset of the offensive object, and bringing it to his ear.  "Lo?" he murmured sleepily into the receiver.

 

"Murdock, he didn't believe me," came the agonized whisper, causing Murdock to bolt upright in bed.  "I have nothing left."

 

"Facey?  Face, where are you?" Murdock was scrambling out of bed, shoving BA in the side as he did so.  BA's brown eyes opened and locked with his frantic lover's.

 

"He didn't believe me, Murdock," he repeated.


"Face, where are you?  Are you at home?"  Murdock was sliding his pants on, the phone cradled under his chin with his shoulder.  BA was out of bed, throwing his own clothes on, eyes locked on Murdock.

 

"Yeah, I'm here," Face sighed. 

 

"I'm on my way over.  Do me a favor muchacho, just wait for me."

 

"Sure Murdock.  I'll wait."  Then Murdock heard the click of the phone.

 

"Damn," he muttered, thumbing the power off on the cordless phone, and tossing it onto the bed. 

"What's going on?" BA asked, ushering Murdock in front of him, out the bedroom door. 

 

"I think Face might try and kill himself," he blurted, pulling on his shoes.

 

BA's hand froze on the door, but then he twisted it, and yanked it open.  "Ahm gonna kill Hannibal."

 

"Stand in line," Murdock muttered, pulling the door closed behind them.

 

In the van, BA glanced over at Murdock, who was nervously chewing on his fingers, his eyes locked out the window.


"You gonna tell me what's going on now?"

 

Murdock sighed, not moving his gaze.  "Mattherson raped Face back in Nam."

 

The words that came out of BA's mouth next shocked Murdock enough that he redirected his gaze to look at BA.  BA rarely ever swore, at least not with the language he was using now. 

 

"How come I never knew?"


"None of us did.  Face kept it to himself.  He was afraid Hannibal wouldn't believe him.  Apparently, he told him now, and apparently Hannibal didn't believe him."

 

BA growled as they pulled inside the parking garage to Face's apartment.  They waited impatiently for the elevator, and then the long ride to the penthouse.  Murdock didn't bother to knock, just used his own key, and pushed the door open, rushing inside.

 

Face sat at the kitchen table, his forehead against the marble tabletop.  Murdock hurried over and touched him on the shoulder, calling his name softly.

 

Face looked up, while BA looked around suspiciously for any items that could have already been used to inflict suicide.  Knives, pills, poison…

 

"What's going on?" Murdock asked quietly, pulling out a chair to sit next to his best friend. 

 

"He didn't believe me," Face repeated miserably.

 

"Didn't believe you about what?  About Mattherson?"


Face nodded. 

 

"What happened?"

 

Face swallowed.  "I found out that Mattherson was dishonorably discharged.  He raped another soldier.  Hannibal didn't believe me.  Said Mattherson would never do something like that.  We fought.  I was so angry, that it just slipped out that he had done the same thing to me.  I didn't mean to tell him Murdock.  I swore I never would.  I was so afraid he wouldn't believe me…"

 

He drifted off, still looking at the table.  Murdock took his chin and guided their eyes to meet.  He saw the wince, and then the bruised jaw.  His hand immediately dropped. 

 

"Did Hannibal hit you?"

 

BA was over his shoulder immediately at the words, eyeing the bruise.

 

Face nodded, and BA growled, heading for the door.

 

"Don't, BA, it was my fault.  I asked him if he was sure Mattherson wasn't lying.  I shouldn't have.  I knew nothing good could have come out of it."

 

BA looked over his shoulder.  "Doesn't matter what you said Faceman, he ain't got no right to lay a hand on you.  You two are fightin', bustin' each other's chops, Ah'll stay out of it.  But I ain't gonna stand by and let him beat on you.  Murdock, call me if you need me," with that, he was out the door.

 

"He didn't beat on me Murdock," he mumbled.  "And he isn't going to be happy BA showing up to kick his ass.  He's going to think I cried to you that I was abused.  He already thinks I'm making up Mattherson raping me to get attention, this is going to make it worse."

 

Murdock sighed; he didn't know what to say.  "Why don't you start from the beginning?" he finally told him.

 

#

 

The last place BA thought he would find Hannibal would be naked in the motel room of the man accused of raping his lover. 

 

"BA?" Hannibal questioned, obviously ruffled from a recent romp in the hay. 

 

BA didn't hesitate, his fist swung out and connected with Hannibal's jaw.  Hannibal fell back, onto the floor, in shock.   Carl rushed to his side, and BA stepped into the room, slamming the door shut behind him.

 

"That's for hittin' Face!" he growled, then took a menacing step toward Mattherson.  "As for you, Ahm gonn to tear ya to pieces."

 

Hannibal stopped him by quickly getting to his feet, and standing in between them.

 

"Get outta mah way Hannibal."

 

"Stand down Sergeant!" Hannibal ordered.

 

BA looked at Hannibal in shock.  "What the hell Hannibal?"


"I said stand down," he repeated.


BA shook his head.  "You got your head on sideways or somethin Hannibal?  Cuz you sure aren't thinkin' straight."

 

"Go home BA.  We'll discuss this tomorrow.  And tell Murdock and Face they'd better be at the warehouse by 6 AM.  No excuses!"

 

BA's eyes widened.  "You've got to be kidding."

 

"Do I look like I'm kidding, Sergeant?"


BA searched his face.  "Fine, I'll tell them, but you can't honestly believe they'll be there."


"They'd better, or they'll know what sorry is.  Same goes for you Sergeant."

 

"Whatever Hannibal," he muttered, turning to the door.  "But this is fucked up man," he said, just before he opened the door and left.  Hannibal watched him in surprise.

 

#

 

The next three days were hell for everyone, with the exception of Carl.  Face showed up precisely at 6 A.M., the morning after, surprising everyone.  He didn't speak, unless spoken to, and then he only gave curt, polite, responses.  He did everything that was asked of him, when asked, and never argued, even at the most lame of requests, which Hannibal had taken to giving to him, pushing him for any type of reaction. 


Murdock and BA also did as requested, but begrudgingly and spitefully.  They were sure to let Hannibal know at all times just what they thought of him, Carl, and his case, and exactly what he could do with it.  


Hannibal went through the motions of keeping his team together, but felt as though a rather large fist was firmly implanted in his stomach.  He found himself watching Face, watching his attitude and stiffness, and considering his words all over again.  'He held me down and raped the shit out of me, and I had no choice but to let him.' The words kept circling through his head like a partial song stuck on replay.  Try as he may, he couldn't shake it out. 

 

Then, he'd see Carl, and he just couldn't bring himself to believe the truth in those words.  Carl couldn't hurt anyone.  Carl wouldn't hurt anyone, which brought him back around to, why would Face lie? 

 

Finally, Hannibal came to the conclusion that Face had been trying to con him into believing the awful lies were true, for his own gain.  Face wanted Carl out of their lives, one way or the other, and he would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.  The thought outright angered Hannibal.

 

"Lieutenant!" Hannibal barked.

 

Face didn't sigh, as he normally would have, but calmly turned to his commanding officer, and waited. 

 

"Did you get that report?"

 

"Yes sir," Face responded.  There was no sarcasm, no malice, and no emotion, in those words, just spoken as a soldier responding to his Commanding Officer. 


"And?" Hannibal demanded. 

 

"I narrowed down Colonel Mattherson's list to two possible suspects.  I'm leaning toward one," he bit back his comment that if it did pan out, it was because he was right about Mattherson.  He seriously doubted that anyone was after the man, and that this was all some elaborate ploy.   For what, he wasn't certain, but he had a bad feeling that they would find out soon enough.  Or, at least he would, by the leering looks Mattherson was giving him.  But, what could he really do about it?  Hannibal didn't believe him, and if he murdered Mattherson, Hannibal would never forgive him.  Not that the thought hadn't crossed his mind for the briefest of seconds, but Hannibal would always come first.  He loved him too much.

 

"Alright then," Hannibal declared, rubbing his hands together gleefully.  "Let's go ruffle some feathers.

 

#

 

Ruffle feathers was an understatement.  With Hannibal's plans however, that wasn't really all that surprising.  The unsuspecting terrorists on Mattherson's list were so bent out of shape at the interruption Hannibal's sending Face in through the front door caused, that they immediately sent the team sprawling with gunfire and grenades.

 

"Nice plan, Colonel," Murdock threw over his shoulder, as he returned fire.  "Now they got Face."  He didn't have to state the obvious, but he did it anyway, livid at this whole avoidable mess.  He didn't really care if people were after Mattherson, or what they really wanted to do to him.  In fact, he'd be more then willing to help hold the bastard for whoever it was behind this whole scheme.  He too sided with Face, and thought the word scheme best fit this whole chaotic mess.  Scheme, as in, Mattherson's scheme, but Hannibal wasn't ready to listen to anyone.  Mattherson had him so wrapped up in a world that didn't exist, that he was blind to simple logic and common sense.

 

#

 

The firing ceased almost as abruptly as it began.  The three remaining team members looked at each other, and then cautiously popped their heads out from behind the rocks and trees they were currently hiding behind.  They heard a car door slam, and an engine start, and then tires peel on asphalt. 


Murdock thunked his head back against the tree his back was currently pressed against, his eyes clenched tightly.  "Son-of-a-bitch," he whispered.

 

The team cautiously got to their feet, and made their way into the house the terrorists had been held up in, not surprised to now find it empty.  Murdock stopped dead in his tracks, and Hannibal swung his head around as he caught his motion out of the corner of his eye.  "What?"

 

Murdock's gaze was focused on the floor, Hannibal followed it down.  In the center of the room, there was a thick, red puddle marking the hard wood floor, undoubtedly blood. Hannibal stooped to finger it anyway, rubbing it between his fingers, his heart pounding quickly in fear.

 

"Damn it," he whispered.  He hesitated, a million emotions slamming into him all at once.  He pushed himself to his feet, wiping his blood stained hand on his pants.  "Now, we don't know that it's Face's," he tried to reassure.

 

Murdock and BA both gave him looks that said 'yeah right!'  Hannibal could only sigh, his stomach in knots.  "Fan out, search the place.  We need to know who these guys are, and where to find Face."

 

#

 

Unfortunately, sometimes in life things aren't always simple, and finding a clue to where Face may be, or even why these people took him, or wanted Mattherson's information, was proving impossible.


When the house didn't turn up any information, they headed back to the van, dejectedly.

 

"Now what Colonel?" Murdock asked meekly.

 

An answer wasn't quickly forthcoming.  BA looked over at him.  "You do have a plan, don't you?"


Hannibal chewed on his cigar, his gaze out the window.  "Not one for this contingency."

 

BA growled.  "A'ight, well, why'd Face choose them then?"

 

Hannibal shook his head, pulling his cigar away and looking at it.  "I don't know."

 

"What'dya mean you don't know?" BA asked in outrage.

 

Hannibal looked at him.  "I didn't ask.  We haven't exactly been on speaking terms lately."


"Whose fault's that?" Murdock asked angrily.  "Man, Face knew this was a setup, he knew he was walking into a trap, and he couldn't do a damn thing about it.  And you Colonel, you led him right into it."

 

Hannibal spun in his chair, his eyes narrowed.  "What are you talking about?"


"Why are you so blind when it comes to Mattherson?"  Murdock was gesturing with his hands erratically.  "This whole thing has been a scam right from the beginning.  Mattherson's been playing you Hannibal, and all to get the one thing that got away, and I hate to break it to you Colonel, it ain't you."

 

Hannibal was furious now, his face red, and his hands shaking as he clenched his cigar, pointing it at Murdock.  "Now you listen here Captain, I don't want to hear anymore of this crap."


"Well Colonel, you're gonna hear it, and you're gonna hear it good.  Whether you want to believe it or not, your ex-lover raped Face.  He hurt him bad, and then Face kept it to himself all so he wouldn't hurt you, and a little bit, because he didn't think you'd believe him.  You sure drilled that fear home, didn't you, Colonel?"


"Shut up, Murdock!" Hannibal demanded.

 

"Why?  Because you can't stand to hear anything bad about Carl Mattherson?  Why will you believe him over Face?"

 

"Because Carl has never lied to me."

"And Face has?"

 

Hannibal didn't answer.  BA interrupted Murdock before he could explode again.  "None of dis ain't doin Faceman no good right now," he pointed out.  "Now think, why would Face choose them?"

 

Hannibal and Murdock both fell silent, deep in thought.  Suddenly, Murdock bolted upright.  "Where's that list Hannibal?"

 

"What list?"


"The one Face narrowed down."

 

Hannibal reached into his pocket for the report his Lieutenant had given to him just that morning.  He handed it over to Murdock, who skimmed it.

 

"What?" Hannibal was asking, leaning forward.


Murdock shook his head.  "I'm not sure yet, but something about this doesn't add up."

 

#

 

"What's the matter John?  You look awful," Carl asked Hannibal as he closed the door to the motel room.

 

Hannibal put his head against the door, breathing deeply, fighting to keep the tears at bay.  "They got Face," he whispered.

 

Carl came off the bed, his hands on Hannibal's waist.  Hannibal pushed him away.

 

"Who has Face?" Carl asked gently.

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "I have no idea.  We were following up a lead on your case.  Thought we had the guys narrowed down, I sent Face in the front while we were waiting to burst in through the back, and all hell broke lose.  They started shooting at us, and by time it let up, Face was gone."

 

"Oh baby, I'm so sorry!  I should have never come to you."


Hannibal pushed Carl away tiredly as he tried to nuzzle his neck. "It's not your fault Carl.  You didn't plan for this to happen."

 

"Come sit down John.  You looked stressed.  Let me give you a massage," Carl purred in his ear. 

 

Hannibal pulled away.  "Not now Carl.  I have to go find Face.  I just…" he drifted off.  Why had he come to see Carl, when he should have been out looking for Face?  "I just wanted to let you know what had happened," he finished lamely.   He was in agony over losing Face.  He still loved Face so very much, despite all the problems they were having.  His stomach churned in raw agony over his infidelity, for giving into his emotions and sleeping with Carl.  He felt like he couldn't breathe.  He had to get out.

 

"I have to go Carl," he said, fumbling with the door.


Carl nodded slowly.  "Sure John, sure, but are you sure you're okay to drive?  I can drop you somewhere?  Or buy you a drink, calm you down first?"

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "No, I can't.  I have to go find him.  I'll contact you later."  He got the door open and stumbled out into the cool night air. 

 

At his car, he looked up at the stars.  "Where are you Face?" he whispered.  "I'm so sorry."
 

#

 

It took two days, two agonizingly long days, before the pieces began to click for Murdock, and he began to put the puzzle together.  He found Hannibal and BA sitting at the table, picking at their dinner.  They both looked up when Murdock approached; papers in hand.

 

"What do you got, Murdock?"

 

Murdock pulled out a chair and sat down.  "I think Face was on to something, but I don't think you're gonna like it, Colonel," Murdock said slowly, clutching the papers in his hand.

 

Hannibal narrowed his eyes, but otherwise, didn't speak.

 

Murdock cleared his throat.  "I don't think we were going after these guys because Face thought they were after Mattherson."

 

"What are you talking about Murdock?  Of course we were.  I ordered Face to narrow down that list.  That's what he did."


Murdock shook his head.  "No, he didn't.  That's what was bugging me.  Neither of these two groups Face had narrowed down were on Mattherson's original list."  Murdock laid the two lists down on the table. 

 

Hannibal angled the tops of each paper so that he could read them better.  He shook his head.  "What the heck were we investigating then?"


Murdock scratched his thumb against the tabletop, studying it for a minute, before meeting his Colonel's gaze.  "Hear me out Colonel before you go shouting again."

 

Hannibal clenched his jaw, but nodded once, his eyes hard.

 

"Face didn't believe Mattherson's story, he was pretty certain that Mattherson staged the whole thing to get your attention," Murdock stopped and held up his hand when Hannibal opened his mouth to speak.  "Now hear me out.  He wasn't sure what Mattherson was up to, but he didn't figure it could be anything good.  I think he was investigating who could be in on this with Mattherson.  Now, I could be wrong.  But, if I'm not, Face was right, which means Mattherson is behind Face's abduction."

 

Hannibal slammed his hand down on the table, and stood up abruptly, rattling the plates and glasses as he did so.  Murdock and BA watched him, not surprised by his outburst.

 

"Now you wait a minute!" he snarled, but then he stopped, looking worn out, exhausted, and defeated.  He shook his head.  "I need some air."

 

BA and Murdock nodded, and watched him walk away. 

 

#

 

Hannibal climbed the gangplank to the yacht, not having found Carl at the motel.  He was going to put an end to this once and for all.  He was tired of the animosity between his team and Carl, and he was going to find some way to put an end to it, and prove that Carl had nothing to do with Face's abduction.  He wasn't certain what was going on, but he was positive that Carl wouldn't be behind this.

 

Therefore, when he reached the top of the gangplank and stepped through the open entry, he got the shock of his life when he found his Lieutenant curled in a ball on the floor, naked.  Blood seeped from a gash in his head.  Bruises marred his entire body from head to toe.  And blood seeped down his legs in a way that only meant one thing.  Face had been brutally raped.  And Hannibal saw red.

 

He stepped cautiously into the room, pulling out his gun, and making his way quickly to Face's side.  He knelt to take his pulse, and was shocked to find his eyes open.   They lifted to meet his own, and for a brief moment, Hannibal could see directly into his soul, all the pain and suffering he'd been inflicted, both emotional and physical, were so painful and clear, that Hannibal nearly lost himself in the emotions.  His hand reached out and he gently stroked Face's forehead.  The flinch was minute, but Hannibal caught it.

 

"Is he here?" Hannibal whispered, not ceasing in his stroking, which he could tell Face was taking comfort in.

 

Face nodded. 

 

"Is he alone?"


Face nodded again.

 

"Can you sit up?" Hannibal whispered again, keeping his voice low, not wanting to give his presence away just yet.

 

Another nod and Hannibal wrapped his arm around Face, and pulled him into a sitting position.  He reached behind him for the clothes that he'd seen in his quick survey of the room.  He pushed them into Face's hands.  "Can you get dressed?"  Face's hands were trembling as he took the clothes.  Hannibal helped him to quickly dress, his eyes and ears alert for the sound of footsteps.

 

When Face was dressed, he helped him to his feet.  Face swayed, looking ill and dizzy, but he remained on his feet.  "Where is he?"


Face motioned with his head toward the stairs that led to the galley.  "Wait there," Hannibal nodded with his head to the spot Face was currently standing.  Then he moved over near the door that led to the stairs, purposely knocked a vase over so that it shattered on the floor, then waited, his back to the wall.  He glanced at Face, who was trembling slightly, and then his head moved back as he heard the frantic movements from below.


Mattherson came bounding up the steps. At the top, he stopped and shook his head.  "Trying to escape again?"  He sighed dramatically for effect.  "We can't have that now.  I told you what would happen if you tried to escape again."


He moved through the door, wiping his hands on a towel.  "John's been too lenient on you all these years.  I'm going to teach you a lesson you won't soon forget."

 

He stalked toward Face, who held his ground.  Hannibal moved in behind him, and pressed his gun to the back of Mattherson's head, cocking it with his thumb.  "You take one more step towards my Lieutenant, and you'll be the one on the receiving end of a lesson," his voice was low and deadly.

 

Mattherson completely stilled, his eyes widening in surprise.  Face just watched him, his expression unwavering.

 

Mattherson slowly turned to face Hannibal.  Hannibal kept his gun level, his expression murderous.

 

"John!" he exclaimed with surprise.  "I – uh," he stumbled for an explanation.  Hannibal waited.

 

Mattherson smiled.  "You've been too easy on him John," he said silkily.  "He walks all over you.  I keep telling him how disappointed you are in him.  I was just trying to teach him a lesson.  I can't stand the way he treats you," he tried to explain.  "I was doing it for you."

 

Hannibal lowered his weapon, nodding, and put his gun away.  Mattherson sighed with relief, taking a step forward, his hand reaching.  "I knew you'd understand baby."

 

Hannibal's right fist came up fast and hard, and slammed into Carl's temple, sending him backwards, where he landed hard on the floor.  He looked up at Hannibal in shock.

 

Hannibal was on him before he could open his mouth in surprise.  He grabbed him by the collar with his left hand, and landed a hard right across his jaw, followed with another.

 

"You sorry son of a bitch," Hannibal growled.  He hit him again.


"John!  Stop!" Mattherson gasped.  "What are you doing?"


Hannibal pulled him into a standing position.  Mattherson struggled to find footing.  Both hands on his ex-lover's collar, Hannibal pulled so they were nose to nose.

 

"All this time.  All this time, you've been lying to me."

 

"No John, no.  I never lied to you."


Hannibal hit him again.  "I flat out asked you if you raped him.   You made up some elaborate story about him coming onto you, and all this time it was just a crock of shit."  He hit him again. 

 

Mattherson sobbed, blood trickling down his chin and from his nose.  He shook his head.  "You've got to understand John.  I did it for you."


This enraged Hannibal all the more, as he punched him twice more in the head.  "For me?" he growled.  "You raped the person I love more then life itself, for me?"  He hit him another time for good measure.

 

Mattherson shook his head frantically.  "No John.  You don't really love him.  You love me.  He's just got you fooled.  I had to do it.  I had to punish him for treating you badly."

 

Hannibal hit him again.  "Let's get this straight right now.  He never hurt me, and he never disappointed me.  But you, you've lied to me, you cheated on me, but worst of all, you hurt my Lieutenant, and that, Carl, is inexcusable."  He hit him once more, and then let him fall to the floor.

Hannibal glanced over at Face, who was watching him very carefully, his expression closed.  Hannibal sighed and shook his head.  "I'm so sorry kid.  I'm so sorry I didn't believe you.  But a lot of good that does you now," he said softly.

 

"John please," Mattherson muttered from the floor, spitting out blood.  "Please, don't let him suck you in again.  He took you away from me John.  Don't you see?  Don't you see he has to pay for that?"


Hannibal kicked Mattherson in the side.  "He is ten times the man you will ever be.  You are the only person that needs to pay for anything.  And for the record, he didn't take me away.  I walked away of my own free will."

 

Mattherson continued shaking his head, struggling to push himself up onto his hands and knees.  Taking a deep breath, he pushed himself up onto his knees, and then pulled himself to his feet.  He faced Hannibal, who took his eyes off Face to look at him, barely restraining himself from launching at the other man, and beating him to death. 


Mattherson squared his shoulders.  "Peck is worthless.  You and I both know this.  The sooner you accept that, the happier you will be."

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "You, Carl, are the worthless one.  I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to see."

 

Mattherson's face darkened, and he straightened, his attitude shifting.  "I'm sorry you feel that way John.  But, just so you know, Peck is the best piece of ass I have ever had, and I don't intend on letting him go without a fight."

 

"Oh, that I can do," Hannibal assured him, advancing on him.  "I'll beat you to a bloody pulp, and if you're lucky, I may even let you live."

 

Mattherson took a step back, away from Hannibal.  "You wouldn't really kill me, would you John?"


Hannibal nodded.  "Yes, I would.  You took something from me that means more to me then my own life.  You beat him, you hurt him, you raped him, and that's just what I can see, I'm sure you probably did something that I can't see right now.  But believe me, I will find out every detail of what you did to him, and I will make you pay for every bruise, every cut, every broken bone, and every iota of pain you inflicted upon him, and then you will suffer immensely for it."

 

Hannibal was directly in front of Mattherson now.  Mattherson had quit retreating, and was looking Hannibal squarely in the eye.  Hannibal met the challenge, his gaze hard, cold and penetrating.

 

"I might not be able to press charges against you for what you did to Face, but let me assure you that I will find something on you; and you will rot in prison for the rest of your life; because if you don't, you can be certain that I will kill you," Hannibal promised him.

 

He turned to go, Mattherson snarled behind him.  "Even if you take him John, he'll be back.  He'll come crawling back to me, begging for more.  And if he doesn't, he won't ever be safe; I already got him twice, I'll get him again."

 

That was all it took for Hannibal to completely snap.  He turned quickly, his fists clenched, the right already flying through the air at Mattherson's head.  It connected solidly, snapping Mattherson's head back.  His left came up, slamming into Mattherson's gut.  Mattherson was falling backwards, and Hannibal was following, his fists still swinging.

 

Face watched him, allowing him to take his frustrations out on the man who had made his life a living hell for years, but when the blows weren't ceasing, and Mattherson's head was lolling lifeless beneath the onslaught, Face couldn't sit by and let Hannibal kill him.  Hannibal wasn't a killer.  He couldn't let Mattherson's murder sit on Hannibal's conscience and eat at him, even if he wouldn't mind seeing the man dead.  Face knew about having deaths on your conscience, he'd lived with numerous deaths eating away at him from his years as a sniper for his unit, but then, it was life or death.  Kill, or be killed.   It wasn't his ex-lover.  He didn't want to imagine what Hannibal would feel once the rage abated.

 

Face gently laid his hand on Hannibal's shoulder.  "Hannibal," he said softly.  "Stop"

 

But Hannibal was too far lost in his rage to hear.  Face knew he was too injured and weak to physically restrain his lover, but he saw no other choice but to try.  Reaching for Hannibal again, he jumped at the voices behind him.

 

"Face!" Murdock's relieved gasped filled the room.  "What the hell is going on?" he demanded seconds later, his eyes drifting from Face, to their Colonel beating a nearly unresponsive Mattherson.


BA rushed past them, and pulled Hannibal forcefully off Mattherson.  Mattherson's head dropped ungracefully to the floor when Hannibal's left fist was yanked from his hair.

 

Murdock was now looking at his best friend in shock.  It didn't take long for him to take in his rough, bruised and bleeding appearance, and Hannibal's lack of concern for the man who an hour ago could do no wrong, and figure out what had happened.  As Mattherson started to shake his head and push himself upright, Murdock growled lowly and rushed forward, knocking Mattherson back to the ground, his fists flying, connecting with the already battered face and body of the ex-Army Colonel. 

 

"Murdock!" BA growled exasperated.  "Knock it off, ya gonna kill him."  But Murdock didn't let up.  BA pushed Hannibal to the side.  "Stay, Hannibal," he growled, then rushed forward and snagged his own lover around the chest. 

 

"Let go!" Murdock demanded.  "He hurt Face."

 

"Ah know what he did man.  I know.  But killin him ain't gonna help Face.  You think that's gonna make him feel better, or worse?"

 

Murdock visibly relaxed in his arms; BA let him go, and turned to Hannibal, who had also aborted his attempt to get back to Mattherson.  Instead, he nodded at BA, and then went to attend his lover.

 

Murdock followed Hannibal.  BA stomped over to Mattherson, who was getting to his feet, rubbing his bleeding jaw.  "Thanks Sergeant.  I always knew I liked you."

BA's fist connected squarely with the center of his nose, effectively breaking it, blood spraying in every direction.  "Well don't, cuz I don't like you!"   He let the man fall back to the ground.

 

"Plan Hannibal?" he asked, his eyes on Face, absorbing his condition.  His whole body radiated anger and hate, and if Mattherson rose again, he doubted he would be able to contain the utter rage soaring through his body.

 

Hannibal tipped Face's head gently by placing his fingers under his chin.  He guided their eyes to meet.  "We do this your way kid.  What do you want us to do with him?"

 

Face maintained eye contact, not pulling away.  He considered his options.  "Let him go," he whispered. 

 

"You sure?  You say feed him to the fish, we feed him to the fish.  You want him to live, then we'll let him live, but no way in hell is he getting away with what he's done to you," Hannibal stated, his eyes locked firmly with Face's.

 

Face did break eye contact to look around Hannibal at the jumbled heap, bleeding on the floor.  Mattherson was either unconscious, or a really good actor.  His money was on the first given the beating he was just given.

 

"I don't think that's a problem Hannibal.  You already beat the hell out of him."


"I plan on doing much more."

 

Face looked back, their eyes meeting once again.  Face could read every emotion in Hannibal's eyes, and it hurt him to see the pain he was feeling.  Despite everything, he still loved Hannibal more then anything, and he probably always would, no matter what the other man did.  He sighed mentally with that thought.

 

"I just want to go home Hannibal," Face said softly, swaying on his feet.  Hannibal and Murdock were quick to grab him.

 

Hannibal nodded.  "Alright kid, we go home.  Murdock, BA, Mattherson can stay here, but make sure he fully understands that we're not through, and what will happen if he so much as calls, or comes within three miles of Face.  And I think I'll put in a call to Decker to let him know where to find this two bit slime."

 

"Aye, Aye Colonel," Murdock let Hannibal adjust Face's weight, before letting go, and standing back with BA.

 

Hannibal helped Face down the gangplank, and into the passenger side of his car.  Once settled, he ran around to the driver's side and got in.  He reached over slowly, and gently stroked Face's cheek, who had his head back against the seat-rest.

 

"Be honest with me babe, do you need a doctor?"

 

Face sighed tiredly, and turned his head into his hand, his eyes opening to fall upon Hannibal's concerned face.

 

"I don't want a doctor Hannibal," he said, trembling.  Hannibal slid across the seat slowly, not wanting to startle Face. 


"What's the matter babe?  Besides the obvious."

 

"No doctor Hannibal, please?"  Face didn't normally plead, and so his reaction startled Hannibal quite a bit.  His eyes narrowed suspiciously. 

 

"Okay Face, we won't go to the doctor, yet," he emphasized.  "But, you have to let me take care of you, and if I can't fix something, or if there's a serious problem, then we're going to have to get help.  Understand?"

 

Face nodded.  His eyes on Hannibal, he searched him, suddenly emotionally needy.  "I'm sorry," he whispered.

 

Hannibal's expression shifted to shock.  "For what?"

 

Face looked away.  "For Mattherson, for what he –" 

 

Hannibal guided Face's head around by placing a gentle hand on the back of his neck, then stroked Face's lips with his thumb, stopping him from speaking further, and shook his head.  "You don't get to be sorry for anyone, especially not for Mattherson," he said gently.  "The only other person, besides him, that gets to be sorry, is me.  Expect that I'm going to be doing a lot of groveling in the months, if not years, to come."  He looked deeply into Face's eyes.  "I really am sorry," he whispered.  "It kills me to know how badly I've hurt you."

 

Face didn't pull his eyes away as he watched Hannibal, emotions too strong to fight in his exhausted state.  He knew he should be angry at Hannibal, and in the back of his mind, he was, but right now, he was too tired to feel it, and too hurt and too desperate to even try to care.  All he knew was that he felt safe in Hannibal's arms, and right now, that's where he wanted to be.  He'd deal with all the rest later.

 

Face closed his eyes exhaustively, and rested his head against the palm at his cheek.  He leaned into the fingers stroking his hair, knowing that he was safe with Hannibal. 

 

Hannibal watched him, his stomach churning.  He was worried about Face's mental state.  Face should be hating him right now, but instead, he was taking comfort in him.  Not that Hannibal was complaining, but he knew that something was terribly wrong.

 

He glanced up at the sudden motion at the top of the gangplank.  BA and Murdock were coming out of the yacht, and heading down the ramp to where they had parked the van.  They came to a stop just outside Hannibal's car, both sets of eyes identical with anger directed, Hannibal knew, at him.


The windows were down, and Murdock leaned in.  "He okay?"


Hannibal shook his head.  "No, let's head back to our apartment.  We'll look at the damage and decide what to do from there."

 

Murdock's expression didn't change.  He stared hard at Hannibal, and Hannibal knew that Murdock was going to tear into him later, commanding officer or not, and that he was going to have to let him.  He nodded his understanding.

 

They drove quietly back to the penthouse apartment that Face and Hannibal had once shared.  Hannibal kept glancing worriedly at Face, who rested his head against the window, but allowed his hand to be encompassed warmly by Hannibal.  Hannibal wanted nothing more then to comfort the man, love him, and make every little pain go away.  However, he knew that it wouldn't be that simple, and that Face's recovery, physically, not to mention mentally, would be a long time in coming. 

 

Hannibal seethed with anger at himself, and his former lover.  Why hadn't he been able to see what the rest of his team had so easily seen?  Why hadn't he believed Face when he had told him that this had happened before?  If he had, Hannibal may have been able to prevent this from happening again.

 

His mind was reeling with 'what ifs' and 'why didn't I's'.  He was so caught up in his self-torture, that he nearly missed Face whispering to him, his chin in his hand, propped against the window.

 

"What was that Face?" Hannibal asked gently.

 

"Are you mad at me?" Face repeated, not meeting his eyes.

 

Hannibal nearly ran the car off of the road in his surprise.  It took him a moment to recover.  "Why on earth would I be mad at you?"

 

Face just shrugged.

 

"Don't give me that kid," Hannibal told him, shaking his head.  "There's no reason on this earth that I would be mad at you.  You didn't do anything wrong."

 

Face just shrugged again, and Hannibal looked over, worried. 

 

"Face, you realize that, don't you?  You were a victim here.  That asshole hurt you; he nearly killed you.  If anyone should be mad at anyone, you should be mad at me.  I treated you like dirt, broke up with you because I was insecure, ignored you, chose the word over someone I don't care half as much about, over someone who I love with all of my heart, and would die without, I continue to treat you like dirt, kick you while your down, and then, when I can't kick you any longer, I let that bastard do it for me.  God Face, you should hate me."


"I don't hate you," Face murmured. 

 

Hannibal sighed, shaking his head as he pulled into the apartment complex.  "I don't know how you couldn't."

 

"Because I love you," Face said simply. 

 

Hannibal parked the car before he turned to look at Face; he gently reached out, and stroked Face's cheek with his thumb.  "And I love you Face.  More then you could ever possibly know, and I'm sorrier then I could ever tell you.  I will suffer every day for the rest of my life, knowing that I did this to you."

 

Face sighed, looking away, and out the window at the underground parking garage.  "I don't want you to suffer," he said softly.

 

Hannibal took a deep breath. "Come on baby, let's get you upstairs," the endearment slipped off his tongue easily.  Face looked over at him in shock, and it took Hannibal a moment to realize why.

 

"I'm so sorry Face.  I never should have broken up with you.  I want to be with you more then anything in this world."

 

"You want me back?" Face asked in shock.

 

Hannibal nodded.

 

"Why?"

 

"Because I love you."

Face shook his head.  "Why would you want me?"

 

Hannibal's mouth was open.  "Why would I want you?" he repeated.  "Because I love you, with everything that I am.  I'm not whole, unless I'm with you.  My world doesn't rotate, unless you're in it.  I'm nothing, without you.  I just didn't realize it, until it was too late.  And I'm so sorry for that Face.  Sorry though, just isn't enough.  Not after what you've been through."

Face shrugged.  "I'll heal.  I always do," he murmured quietly.  "Let's go in Hannibal, I'm tired."

 

Hannibal nodded, although he wanted to pull Face into his arms and hold him until all his pain went away.  Instead, he slid out of the car.  Murdock reached down and opened Face's car door.  He and BA had stood just outside the door, waiting while Face and Hannibal talked.  Now, he leaned in the car, and helped pull Face to his feet.


"You okay Face?" he whispered, referring to being on his feet.  Face nodded, and allowed Murdock to support some of his weight as they made their way to the garage elevators, and then up to their floor.

 

Inside the door, Face sagged completely against Murdock.  Hannibal rushed around to his side, but stopped abruptly at the flinch from Face at his sudden movement.  He closed his eyes briefly. 

 

"Gonna help you Facey," Murdock murmured in Face's ear.  Face just nodded.  He allowed Murdock to wrap his arm around him, and half carry him through the kitchen, across the living room, and into the large bedroom.  Hannibal and BA quickly split up to gather the things they would need.

 

Murdock gently laid Face down on the bed, and then sat next to him.  "I've got to get you out of your clothes Face, that okay?"

"I'm not going to fall apart Murdock.  I'm not a fragile flower," Face told him.  "I'm just sore, and my pride's a bit hurt, but I'll be okay.  Really," he told him, his eyes clear, and his voice steady.


Murdock smiled.  "You just keep telling yourself that Face," he told him, brushing a stray lock of hair out of his eyes.  "Maybe you'll even start to believe it.  But, this is me.  You're right, you're not a fragile flower, but you are hurt, much more then just your pride.  You might be able to pull one over on the rest of the world, but your con job isn't going to work on me."

 

Face sighed, and looked away.  He glanced at the door, found it clear, and then looked back at Murdock, but he couldn't seem to find the words he was looking for.

 

Murdock just nodded, squeezing Face's hand.  "I know Face, I know," he whispered.  "We'll get through this together, okay?"

 

Face just nodded.

 

Murdock stroked his cheek gently with his thumb, and then started helping Face take his clothes off.  Having not seen Face naked at the boat, his shock was palpable as he took in the bruises, scratches, and dried blood. 

"Son of a bitch," he muttered, his fingers trailing a particularly intense bruise along his abdomen. 

 

"It's looks worse then it is, Murdock," Face tried to lighten his dark mood.

 

Murdock snorted.  "Yeah, right."

 

He felt a hand on his shoulder.  He looked up into the eyes of his own lover.  The concern and anger that he was feeling was reflected in the depths of the chocolate eyes. 

 

They made quick work of cleaning Face up.  Face was cooperative, never complained or argued, just did exactly as they requested of him, which had the team worried to no end.  It was totally unlike Face to cooperate, unless of course, he was really hurt.   Hannibal continued to eye him carefully, as he scanned his lover's body for injuries that needed more medical treatment then he could provide.

 

The worst of the injuries seemed to be a gash on the back of Face's head, which had been cruelly stitched together, and had become infected.  The team set to work pulling the stitches, cleaning it, and stitching it back together again.

 

Face had tiredly told them that when he had gone in the front door according to Hannibal's plan, he had been knocked unconscious before he even realized he was being attacked.  Hannibal realized this was the blood they had seen in the cabin.

 

Satisfied that Face's physical injuries would heal with time and rest, he finished his exam, and helped Face into comfortable pajamas.  Murdock and BA moved to the other room to heat up dinner. 

 

Hannibal sat on the edge of the bed, watching Face.  Face sighed, and moved over, lifting the covers. 

Hannibal raised his eyebrows, and Face smirked.  "I'm not going to jump out of the bed like some blushing virgin bride, Hannibal."


Hannibal nodded once, and climbed into bed next to Face.  Face curled up next to him, his head on Hannibal's chest.  Hannibal gently stroked his back, taking comfort in Face's presence, but worried sick about his behavior.  Face should hate him right now.  If nothing else, he should be seriously pissed off.  He should be upset and hurt by what happened to him, not acting as though it didn't matter, as though it were no different then any of their other cases gone bad. 

 

Hannibal sighed.  "Why don't you hate me Face?" he asked his lover bluntly.

 

"I could never hate you, Hannibal.  You may piss me off at times, but I don't hate you."

 

Hannibal shook his head.  "A week ago, you were ready to rip my head off when I wouldn't drop Carl's case.  You wanted nothing to do with me then, what changed now, when you should hate me more for everything that happened in between?"

 

Face drew circles on Hannibal's chest with his fingers.  "I realized that you were just being sucked into Mattherson's jet stream again.  He always had that affect on you, even if you didn't notice it.  I was hurt by the way you acted, nothing more.  I didn't stop loving you."


"But why would you want to take me back now?"

 

Face shrugged.  "Because I need you," he admitted honestly, and softly.  But, deep down, Face was thinking, because if I push you away now, you'll have a chance to think about it, and you'll realize that you don't want me... not after what happened.  Not after what I did.  Not after I made your lover betray you.  Deep down, Face was scared.  He was more then scared, he was terrified at the thought of a life without Hannibal.  The thought was more then he could bear, and he began shaking.

 

Hannibal held him closer.  "What's wrong Face?  Talk to me," he asked, stroking his back.

 

"I just don't know why you'd want me now." 

 

Hannibal sighed.  He didn't know how to fix this.  He didn't know the right words.  He didn't know how he could have let things get this bad, or how he hadn't believed Face when he told him this had happened before.

 

Suddenly, the full sum of what he had done slammed Hannibal fully in the gut.  He groaned, agony flaring through him.  Mattherson had done this before.  Face had tried to tell him, and Hannibal hadn't believed him. 

 

"Hannibal?" Face asked, worry coating his voice.

 

Hannibal pulled him so that he was hugging Face close.  "I'm so sorry baby.  So, so sorry.  How could I do this to you?  How could I make you doubt my love?" he murmured against Face's ear.

 

Face didn't know how to answer that, so he didn't.  Instead, he enjoyed the feel of Hannibal's arms around him.  Enjoyed the comfort that the arms offered.  The security.  Face knew he was safe in those arms.  As he drifted in the warmth those arms provided, he couldn't help but wonder for how long Hannibal would love him again.

 

#


Hannibal felt Face's body grow heavier in his arms as he drifted off to sleep.  He tipped his head to lie on the soft blonde hair of his lover, and his mind recapped the last few weeks.  He watched Face's shields fall into place as he'd shattered his heart.  He remembered the dark circles beneath his eyes, the attempt at normalcy, and the way he stood up to Murdock and BA to maintain peace on the team.  He re-watched his lover's face the night they had the big blow out.  The night Face had tried to tell him exactly what and who his ex-lover was.  The conversation ran strongly in his ears now as he replayed the night in his mind.

 

He couldn't believe that his temper had allowed him to hit Face.  He had promised to never raise a hand to his younger lover.  Face deserved better then that.  He'd been beaten all of his young life, he didn't need it from his own lover. 

 

He remembered with a heavy heart how he had called his lover petty and pathetic as he had grasped at straws to defend his ex-lover.  He couldn't believe all the awful things he had said to Face, all the terrible things he had called him, manipulative and conniving.  Words that Face may never admit hurt him, but Hannibal knew that they had.  Face's whispered plea echoed through his mind now.  "John, please," he had begged.  Face rarely called him John, only when he was really hurting.  Hannibal ran a weary hand over his face.  He had walked out on Face after he had admitted Carl had raped him.  When he should have been helping Face, holding him, loving him, and reassuring him, he went and slept with the motherfucker who had violated his lover. 

Suddenly he felt ill.  He gently laid Face on the bed, and ran for the bathroom.  Murdock and BA looked at each other, and went after him. They found him sitting on the floor, his back against the wall, shaking.  Tears streamed down his face as his fingers wrapped around his ears. 

 

"Hannibal?" Murdock asked softly, carefully approaching him.

 

"I slept with him Murdock," he whispered in agony.

 

"Slept with who?" Murdock asked, confused.

 

"Carl.  I slept with him.  After Face told me what Carl did to him, I went to confront him about it.  He had a good story.  Told me Face came on to him, but nothing happened.  I slept with him Murdock," he repeated.  "I slept with the bastard after Face admitted he had raped him.  I slept with Face's rapist," he choked.

 

Murdock's eyes were wide.  He turned and glared at BA.  "Did you know about this?" 


BA nodded, diverting his eyes to look at the wall. 

Murdock shook his head, his glare penetrating.  BA swallowed.  He knew they'd be discussing it later, and he was not looking forward to the conversation.  He cleared his throat.  "Ahm gonna go check on Face."  He turned quickly, and headed for the master bedroom.

 

Murdock sighed, turning his attention back to Hannibal.  "I'd tell you what an asshole you are, but I think you pretty much know that," he told him.

 

Hannibal nodded.  "You said he knew that he was walking into a trap, and there was nothing he could do about it.  You knew Carl had raped him."

 

Murdock nodded. 

 

"Why didn't you tell me?"

 

Murdock helped Hannibal to his feet, motioned for him to wash his face, and then led him out to the living room.  BA appeared behind them.

 

"He's out cold.  Let's hope he sleeps for a while.  Lord knows he needs it."

 

Murdock and Hannibal nodded, and then Hannibal looked at Murdock pointedly.


Murdock removed his hat and ran his hand through his thinning hair.  "I didn't find out Mattherson had raped Face until the night Face was arrested after you broke up with him.  Face never told any of us.  He never had any intention of telling you, or you finding out." He held up his hand to stop Hannibal's next question.  "Tell me something Colonel, had I told you, would you have believed me?  Believed him?  Because you sure as hell didn't believe him when he finally admitted it.  You should have known that Face would never lie about something like that.  Not after what happened to him as a kid, and sure as hell not after what happened to him in the camps."

 

Hannibal paled with his words.  "Why didn't he tell me then?  Why didn't he tell me after it happened."

 

"Hannibal, you ordered him to go off with Mattherson on that fishing trip.  Face begged you not to send him.  Begged you, but you thought you knew best.  You never stopped to consider that Face may have had a legitimate reason not to go.  Apparently, the bastard had been coming on to him for quite some time.  He didn't tell you, because he didn't think you'd believe him.  He raped him for the first time on that trip.  You ordered him to do everything Mattherson told him to do, and he threatened to kill you, Colonel, if he didn't let him, or if he told you.  He kept it to himself to protect you.  And, a small part of him was afraid that you wouldn't believe him.  Guess you drove that fear home, didn't you?"  Murdock didn't care that Hannibal was feeling guilty; he should.  "That night that he told you the truth, I thought Face was gonna kill himself.  He'd hit an all-new low.  I'm pretty sure the thought had crossed his mind, which is why he called me.  If he hadn't… well, I quite frankly don't want to think about it."

 

Hannibal swallowed, his mouth dry.  Murdock noticed.  "How's that hit ya Colonel?  While you were out fucking your ex lover, Face was considering ending his own life."

 

BA's eyes were impossibly wide as he watched Murdock tear into Hannibal.  He wasn't pulling his punches, that was for sure.  He didn't feel sorry for Hannibal, Hannibal deserved everything Murdock was dishing out, and he shouldn't be surprised by Murdock's fierce defense of his best friend; Murdock was maybe the most protective of them all when it came to Face, but yet, he was surprised.  He was partially wondering how many laps Murdock would be running once this was all over.  He told himself he'd run them with him to show his support for how he'd stood up to Hannibal.

 

"He knew it was a trap.  He knew it was all a setup and I let him walk right into it," Hannibal whispered, his eyes on his hands in his lap as he twisted his fingers.  He looked up at Murdock.  "This wasn't about me, was it?" he asked.  Carl didn't come back for a case.  He didn't even come back for me.  This was all about Face, wasn't it?  He came back to hurt Face."

 

Murdock nodded.  "Looks that way."

 

Hannibal didn't think that any heavier of a weight could fall on him, but the knowledge of Carl's entire reason for returning was to hurt Face, nearly sent him to his knees with it's crushing weight.  He felt as though he couldn't breathe.

 

"What did I do?" he whispered.

 

"Fucked up," Murdock deadpanned.  BA's eyes rose. "The real question though, Hannibal, is can you fix it?" 

 

Hannibal ran his hand through his hair.  "God, I hope so.  He's so hurt, but he's acting like it wasn't any big deal.  He's more worried about whether I still love him.  He's afraid that I won't.  He's so insecure, and I did it to him."

 

"Well that's the first thing you've gotten right in a long time. Can you blame him for being that way?  One day you love him, the next you throw him aside."

 

"No." Hannibal sighed deeply as he stood up and made his way back to the master bedroom, quietly slipping inside before shutting the door behind him.

 

"Kind of hard on him weren't you?" BA asked as he watched the bedroom door shut.

 

"You so don't want to start on me right now buddy especially after you decided not to tell me about Hannibal's little romp in the hay with Carl."

 

BA looked into Murdock's angry brown eyes and swallowed realizing that he was now in a world of hurt with his own lover.

 

After shutting the door to the bedroom, Hannibal sat down in one of the two chairs that were in the bedroom suite, and watched Face sleep. He watched the slow rise and fall of the younger man's bruised and battered chest.  He was responsible for all of Face's injuries; he was the reason that Face was now a mental and physical wreck.

 

Hannibal wanted to go over to the bed and pull Face into his arms, but was afraid of how Face would react.  Sure he had been invited in the bed once already, but he didn't want to take advantage of Face's vulnerable state of mind. When he heard Face moan, then cry out, all his fears left as he quickly moved to comfort his lover.

 

Face softly moaned in his sleep as the dream he was trapped in began to play out in his already frail mind.

 

He was tied face down to the bed in Mattherson's stateroom on the yacht, while Hannibal's ex-lover stood over him naked, running his hands over his body.

 

"You know, I don't approve of what you keep doing to John, you keep coming between what is mine Peck.  Now tell me that you don't love him and I may consider letting you go."

 

When Face didn't respond, Mattherson grabbed Face by the hair and forced his head up.

 

"No wonder John doesn't want you Peck; you can't follow directions for shit." Mattherson punched Face in the ribs with one hand while still holding onto Face's hair with the other. 

 

Carl began to run his hand over Face's back and buttocks while tightening his grip on the blonde hair.

 

"Though, I will give you this, you are beautiful, for a whore, I can see why John keeps you around, you do have a nice tight ass.  Though you see who he came running back to you, don't you?"

 

Slowly, Carl moved so the he was now kneeling between Face's tied down legs.

 

"Because no matter how beautiful you are, you're still just a whore." With that Mattherson shoved himself into Face causing the younger man to cry out in pain. "You are a fucking whore!  He could never love you, whore!"  Mattherson screamed at Face as he raped and beat Face at the same time.

 

 

"Tem, Templeton.  Come on baby wake up, you're having a nightmare." Hannibal reached over to grab Face's wrists, holding them in his hands as he spoke quietly, reassuringly to Face.

 

At first, Face began to struggle; he could feel the pain of Mattherson violating him, the bonds cutting into his wrists and ankles as he fought against the bonds that held him to the bed.

 

Then, he heard something that made his heart ache; it was Hannibal calling out to him, telling him it was all just a dream, to wake up, that he was safe.  Slowly, Face opened his eyes and looked up to stare into a pair of very concerned blue ones.

 

"John?"

 

Hannibal's heart broke when he heard the pain and fear in Face's voice as he called his name.

 

"I'm here baby, I've got you."  Hannibal let go of his wrists, and stroked Face's cheek with his hand, moving closer to the man he loved.

 

"Don't leave me, please."  Face wrapped his arms around Hannibal and buried his head in his lover's chest as he began to sob.  He didn't want to cry; he was a grown man, but he hurt so badly, in body and mind, and he was so confused.

 

"I'm not going anywhere Tem." Hannibal kissed the top of Face's head before he began to rub his back trying to sooth the younger man in his arms. "I promise I won't ever leave you, as long as you'll have me, I'll be here for you." 

 

Carefully, Hannibal shifted his position so that he could lay down with Face in his arms, keeping the smaller man as close to him as possible. "I love you Templeton Peck, and I am so sorry for hurting you," Hannibal professed his love to Face as he continued to rub Face's back. "And if you give me the chance, I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to make up for the crap I've done to you."

 

"I'm so confused," Face whispered as his mind reeled with what Hannibal was telling him, verses what Mattherson had been beating into him over the week.

 

"Confused about what Face?"

 

"How can you love me, I'm nothing…nothing… but a …" Face began to tremble as he tried to get the words out.

 

"What Face?" Hannibal asked, but deep down inside he already where Face was going with this line of thinking, but he needed to confirm it.

 

"A whore," Face whispered, as he tried to pull out of Hannibal's arms. "I'm nothing but a whore," he moaned.

 

Hannibal tightened his grip on Face preventing him for pulling out of his arms.  Face began to thrash, his mind struggling to remain in the present, and not get sucked back into the past week.  He flipped to his side, and lashed out.  The nightstand light crashed to the floor.  Hannibal leapt out of Face's way as he swung back around, narrowly avoiding a black eye, but he wasn't ready when Face grabbed him with his legs, pinning Hannibal to the mattress.  Hannibal quickly grabbed for Face's wrist.  As he struggled with his lover, the bedroom door flew open and Murdock and BA rushed in.

 

"It's okay, I've got it," Hannibal told the pair as he continued to struggle with Face.

 

"He's gonna kill you," Murdock stated in alarm, his eyes wide.

 

"I can handle him," Hannibal insisted.

 

BA watched as Face continued to struggle in Hannibal's arms.   He knew they couldn't leave, not with Face out of control.

 

"Hannibal, Murdock's right, Faceman could kill you and not even know it if he got free.  Least let us grab a sedative."

Hannibal sighed, and then nodded, still fighting with the struggling man.  Hannibal knew that Face wasn't trying his hardest, but at the same time, couldn't afford to let him get to that point either. 

 

Murdock dashed from the room, and came back with the sedative.  BA moved in, and helped Hannibal pin Face to the bed, who continued to fight them, but his movements were becoming weaker and slower.  Murdock quickly found an exposed vein in Face's neck and injected the sedative.  BA waited a few moments, then let go, and backed away, grabbing his lover by the arm.

 

"Come on." BA pulled him from the bedroom and closed the door behind him.

 

"Face needs me!" Murdock told him as he tried to get past the big man.

 

"He needs Hannibal, not you." BA growled back as he moved to block the door again.

 

"Hannibal caused this!" Murdock tried once again to shove past BA.

 

"And Hannibal needs to fix it!" BA snapped back.

 

Murdock visibly deflated.  He knew that BA was right, but he couldn't help feeling so angry with Hannibal right now.  Hannibal should have never… Murdock let the thought drift off into nothing.  There was nothing they could do now, but pick up the pieces and hope they had a strong enough glue to put them back together again.  He sighed, and BA wrapped his arms around Murdock and held him.

 

#

TBC

 


Ex-Love by Jes Parker
Ex-Love 2 by Jes Parker

 

 


Send Comment Card

Please Send This Author Comments!