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Peace on Earth or Unexpected Encounter)
Summary: Hannibal spends some quality time with Face in New York City when they unexpectedly run into …
Notes: All the details about Radio City Music Hall mentioned by Hannibal are true. Yes, even the bit about the aircraft carriers! The movie alluded to is A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
Disclaimer: The canon characters are, of course, the product of Stephen J. Cannell’s fertile imagination. I can only hope I’ve done justice to his creation.
Colonel John Smith turned up the collar of his jacket and turned his back to the light wind that was sending flurries of light, dry snow through the canyonesque streets of New York City. He puffed contentedly on his cigar as he surveyed the area from his vantage point at the top of the steps of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
It had been a long time – almost 25 years – since he’d last seen the distinctive Art Deco buildings and sculptures of the area around Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. He knew that one of his team had been familiar with the City’s disco scene a while back, but they’d never been here together. Now, he was happy to spend a few days sharing some of his favorite places with someone very special.
He thought briefly of the other members of his team. They’d all spent Christmas together, as they had for so many years. However, the period between Christmas and New Year’s afforded an opportunity to spend some quality time with his lover.
Finished with his cigar, he stubbed it out and disposed of it before returning his gaze to the Gothic magnificence of the Cathedral’s entrance on Fifth Avenue. It was their first stop, and a very special one for his companion.
Deciding he’d given his lover enough private time, Smith pushed open the massive door of the vestibule entrance. He allowed his eyes to become accustomed to the somewhat darker interior, then looked around for his partner, locating the kneeling figure in a nearby pew.
Lieutenant Templeton Peck heard the soft footsteps behind him, and tensed. Moments later, the familiar aroma of Cuban cigars put him at ease. At the touch of a gentle hand on his shoulder, he crossed himself, then looked up into the laughing, ice-blue eyes of his Colonel.
‘How’re you doing, kid?’
‘Fine, Hannibal,’ the young man answered softly. His eyes roamed the long nave as he stood, taking in the fine carvings, the stained glass, and the High Altar. ‘Beautiful, isn’t it?’ he sighed.
‘Sure is, Tem,’ Hannibal agreed, putting a paternal arm around the younger man’s shoulders. ‘It’s one of my favorite stops in New York, even though I’m not Catholic. I’m glad you like it.’
‘Do you think they’ll ever accept us as we are?’ Peck asked wistfully.
‘Probably not in our lifetimes,’ Smith replied, wondering what had prompted the question, ‘but there’s always hope.’ He gestured towards the door. ‘Well, you ready for our next stop?’
‘Whenever you are.’
Hannibal guided Face back out to Fifth Avenue. Crossing the street, they cut left for about half a block, then right onto the Concourse. The younger man admired the white trumpeter angels that graced the raised garden beds that ran down the center of the Concourse, as well as the high-end shops on either side.
Taking his lieutenant by the shoulders, Hannibal turned him to face Rockefeller Center.
Face gasped at the sight of the enormous golden statue of Prometheus that presided over the skating rink below, and the huge Christmas tree behind it. Hannibal grinned with delight as his lover stood there, wide-eyed as a child on Christmas morning, taking it all in.
It made Face think of that animated Peanuts movie, the one where Charlie Brown was a contestant in a spelling bee. Hadn’t Snoopy gone ice-skating right here?
Hannibal grabbed Face’s hand and pulled him down the granite stairs to the rink. There, he rented skates for both of them, and spent an enjoyable hour teaching his lover the finer points of ice-skating, despite the younger man’s protests that his skating ability came in a poor second to an animated beagle.
At last, he relented. They turned in their skates, and Hannibal treated Face to lunch at one of the upscale restaurants on the lower level of the concourse. This, Face enjoyed thoroughly.
Hannibal glanced at his watch.
‘Better eat up, kid. We’ll be late.’
Face looked up, surprised.
‘Late for what?’ he asked.
‘You’ll see,’ Hannibal said, grinning that infectious grin of his.
Reaching street level once again, they admired the 70-foot Christmas tree up close before Hannibal pointed out the building catty-cornered from where they stood.
Face’s eyes widened when he saw Radio City Music Hall for the first time in his life. He’d seen it on TV, of course – who hadn’t? – but he’d never had the opportunity to visit it before.
‘Did I ever tell you I once dated a girl who wanted to be a Rockette?’ he asked.
‘Yeah,’ Hannibal grinned. ‘I think you may have mentioned it once or twice. C’mon, now; we’ve got tickets for the 3:00 show.’
As they crossed the crowded lobby, the Colonel pointed out the two huge crystal chandeliers and other Art Deco accoutrements. To Face, it was like traveling with a talking guide book.
‘You know, Tem,’ Hannibal said as they started up the curved stairway to the first mezzanine, ‘that music you hear is being played simultaneously on two Wurlitzer organs on either side of the stage. Speaking of the stage, it’s got a gold curtain that weighs three tons and has thirteen motors in it. The stage itself is in three sections that can move independently of each other due to its unique hydraulic system. In fact, during World War II, MP’s were stationed throughout the theater at all times, because this stage was the inspiration for aircraft carriers.’
There is a saying: Speak of the Devil, and he will appear.
They lined up to purchase souvenir programs for B.A. and Murdock just as the customer ahead of them finished his purchase. As he turned, they found themselves face-to-face with the tall, gaunt figure of Roderick Decker.
Face groaned inwardly. The last time he’d been this close to those cold blue eyes, it had been at the VA hospital, just after Murdock had been kidnapped by bounty hunters. He took an involuntary step backwards, prepared to flee.
Hannibal just grinned, and stood his ground.
Decker’s eyes narrowed.
‘Smith?’ he breathed, not believing what he was seeing. ‘Peck??’
‘What say, Decker? How’s it goin’?’
‘Hannibal! Are you crazy?’ Face hissed.
‘Nah; that’s Murdock’s department,’ Hannibal replied calmly, his eyes alight with the Jazz. ‘Besides, there’re too many innocent people around. Right, Decker?’
‘You don’t know how tempted I am, Smith,’ Decker growled, ‘even with all these people around. But, it just so happens that I’m on leave right now, and I’d rather not have anything interfere with that. And with it being that time of year…’
His voice trailed off as he considered how his quarry had put their escape on hold at Crystal Lake the previous summer, concerned for the safety of their perennial adversary and his men. ‘However, next time…’
‘Understood, Rod,’ Hannibal said sincerely. ‘Enjoy the show!’
With that, they made their purchases, and went to find their seats.
Hannibal sat up on the bed in their hotel room, his back against the headboard, while he waited for Face to finish his shower. When he finally emerged, wearing the silver-grey silk pajamas Hannibal had gotten him for Christmas, the normally reserved young man exhibited an exuberance that was positively Murdockian.
‘Oh, Hannibal, what a wonderful day!’
Hannibal smiled. ‘I’m glad you enjoyed it, Tem.’
Face sat down on the edge of the bed.
‘Hannibal, next time we’ve got to bring the guys. Can’t you just see Murdock’s reaction to the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers? And the Living Nativity…’ He paused, tears stinging his eyes at the memory. ‘John, it was so beautiful!’ he whispered. ‘B.A. would love it!’
‘B.A. would probably be more interested in the workings of the stage,’ Hannibal said wryly. ‘But you’re right; they’d really enjoy it. And trust you to pick up on the two things that have been part of the show since the beginning. It’s just that I wanted to share it with you first.
‘But enough of that now,’ he continued, suddenly stern. ‘I want my lieutenant where he belongs.’
Grinning cheekily, but taking the hint, Face slid under the covers and allowed himself to be wrapped in the strong arms of his lover.
‘Thank you, John,’ he whispered.
Hannibal looked down into the blue-grey eyes of the man he loved with all his heart.
‘For what, Tem?’
‘For sharing the things that are so special to you.’
‘I’m just glad that you appreciate them, too. Now they’re special to both of us,’ he said, stroking the honey-blonde hair. ‘But there’s one thing special to me that I will never share with anyone.’
Face moved so that he could look squarely into his commander’s ice-blue eyes.
‘What’s that?’ he asked, almost hurt by this revelation.
‘You!’ Hannibal murmured against his lips, before drawing him in for a long, slow kiss…
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