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Warnings: Slash, Though It's Light And Non-Graphic Outside Of A Few Facial Strokes (Please Get Your Minds Out Of The Sewer And Back In The Gutter Where they Belong) And Some Kissing. Oh, And By The By, They're Talking Again.
Dates Written: October 10th, 2001 To November 21st, 2001
Disclaimer: They aren't Mine. That honor goes To Mssr. Stephen J. Cannell. However, That Doesn't Keep Me From Borrowing them Once In A While. :-D
Summary: Angsty Moments For Murdock About Relationship With Face Following Events In 'Secrets'.
Episode Spoilers: Major Ones For Without Reservations
Author's Notes: This Is A Companion Piece For A Story I Wrote Called 'Secrets', That Came To Me In The Middle Of One Of My Insomniac Nights. It's Not Really An Epilogue, Nor Is It A Continuation, Which Is why I Call It A 'Companion'. You Don't Have To Read 'Secrets' To Get The Gist Of this, As I've Summarized Secrets Here In This Story, But Feel Free To Read It If You'd Like.
Murdock smiled as he put the box down on the bed and looked around the huge bedroom of the new apartment with pride. It was much bigger than his old one had been, it was in much better condition than his old one had been, it was in a much better section of the city than his old one had been, and it was shared. That fact, simply by itself, made it a hundred times happier and far less lonely than his old one had been.
Face and he had picked it out together and announced to Stockwell in no uncertain terms that they were moving in together, whether he liked it or not. He didn't make any hesitation about letting it be known that he DEFINITELY didn't like it, but he hadn't exactly locked Face out of the compound either.
Murdock had to laugh at that thought. There was no place in the world with any kind of locks at all that could hold Face in, or keep him out, if he had his lockpicks with him. That made it VERY convenient for Murdock, who had kept forgetting to provide Face with an extra key to his old apartment, when Hannibal and B.A., though they didn't condemn the relationship, made it known that they were uncomfortable with the sounds that frequently emerged from various places around the compound.
Murdock knew that the Team'd never say anything about their relationship. They were just glad to have Face around to even HAVE any kind of relationship at all. He sighed and thought back to almost two years before, when they all, he included, had been less than supportive of Face, and what it had almost cost them. He closed his eyes and sighed.
The day had been great, warm, sunny, and bright, and the spirit of camaraderie was strong, and he, Hannibal, and B.A. had gone to lunch, Face having disappeared the night before on a mysterious date with someone that he'd told them he was in love with. They'd all assumed it had been a woman, and were absolutely horrified, to the point of absolute and total disgust, to find out that it was a man named Anthony Parelli.
The Team had confused -- to put it mildly, their experiences in the Vietnam Prison Camp, where the guards had raped every one of them -- with the physical expressions of love that Face and Anthony were engaged in when they'd seen them. Rather than having seen Face and Anthony, they'd only seen their own pain, humiliation, and anger at what they'd all suffered at the guard's hands, bodies, and voices. With the images of the camp firmly entrenched in their minds, they'd verbally assaulted Face and his lover, and had stopped from physically assaulting them only because they'd all been in public.
Face had started to cross one of the main streets in L.A., when Hannibal told him he'd have to choose to go with Anthony or stay with the Team, because he wouldn't be allowed to do both. Face had been shocked into total immobility, and Anthony had been killed as he'd pushed Face from the path of an oncoming car that had been driven by a drunk driver. To say that the Team had been less than sympathetic to Face's loss was a massive understatement, and Murdock shuddered. He swallowed hard as he remembered, with deep regret and shame, that they had forced Face to continue on with his life as if nothing had happened, and Face had suffered immeasurably for it.
Their callousness had shattered the already grieving, broken man, and he'd committed suicide. Murdock almost gasped at the pain that clenched at his stomach as he remembered the desperate rescue the team had made, and how they'd fought, with everything that they were, to bring back the life that they had destroyed with their fear, hatred, and misunderstanding.
It wasn't an easy climb back to emotional stability . . . for any of them after that, but especially for Face. It was only through the efforts of Hannibal, a repentant Team, and an equally sorrowful set of Anthony's parents, who hadn't been understanding either, that Face recovered at all from his devastating loss.
A year later, Murdock had almost lost Face again, only this time to a mob man's bullet in a restaurant that had nothing to do with any of the crazy missions that Stockwell sent them on. No. That time, Murdock had a job as a waiter, and Frankie and Face had gone to the restaurant where he worked, to have dinner. However, unbeknownst to any of them, there'd been a mob hit put out on the Attorney General, who was to have dinner later at the same restaurant. Face had been shot in the stomach and the wound had gone untreated for hours, until Hannibal and B.A. were finally able to liberate the restaurant and they were all able to get Face to a hospital.
That was when Murdock had decided that he never wanted to live without Face. He didn't want him just as a brother-in-arms, or even just as a best friend. Murdock decided that he wanted to know Face in just the same way that Parelli had known Face. And, for the formerly strict heterosexual male, to say he was surprised by his realization was a massive understatement! However, from the first time he'd kissed Face, he knew that twenty years of searching for something that he hadn't even been aware he missed, had ended with the surrender of Face's lips, and his heart, to Murdock's.
Absently, Murdock looked into the box he'd placed on the bed and pulled out a framed picture of a man with long, perfect, ebony hair, cafe mocha colored, flawless skin, jet black eyes, and a smile that was just as perfect as the rest of him. Murdock sighed and knew that with Face's Caucasian, flawless skin, sunshine blond hair, and blue eyes, he and Anthony must have looked beautiful together, and were, no doubt, the envy of men and women alike.
Murdock shook his head and looked at himself in the mirror over the dresser. Perfect was no way in which he could even begin to be described. His brown hair couldn't be described as anything but brown . . . and thinning. His eyes were brown, his skin slightly tanned, and he knew it wasn't flawless. He glanced at the tuxedo that Anthony wore, and then looked down at his worn leather jacket, t-shirt with the funny saying, and khaki pants, and shook his head again as he noticed that even his smile was slightly off-center. Murdock reached into the box again and came up with a bundle of letters that were tied with a blue ribbon, then read the address on the front.
"To my Dearest, Precious Templeton." He read aloud and wrinkled his nose as he grimaced. He didn't think he'd ever get to the point where he'd actually ever be able to call Face by pet names, and wondered if maybe Face missed being called anything but 'Face'. He reached into the box again and pulled out a pile of letter that were tied with a red ribbon, and again read the address out loud. "To Mssr. Anthony Parelli."
How typically Face it was, Murdock mused, to call an Italian by a French address. Murdock wondered if Mssr. Anthony Parelli actually had spoken French, and if Face missed that as well. Once more he reached into the cardboard box and pulled out a small, black velvet box. He opened the box and gently ran a finger over the surface of the very expensive pin that resided in it. It was two Foxes entwined, one of which was made of Diamonds, the other Spinel, and the dark fox had perfect black sapphire eyes, while the white one had perfect blue sapphire eyes. Murdock knew that Parelli had specially ordered, picked out, paid for, and matched the eyes of the fox pin, perfectly (there was that word again) to him and Face. Guiltily, Murdock looked over at the toy monkeys that sat on the dresser and held each other tightly that he had purchased, and sighed.
"Hey, Murdock!" Face's voice called as the front door opened, and Murdock looked up suddenly as Face's steps headed for the bedroom. "The furniture and stuff isn't going to move itself . . ." His voice stopped, and Murdock gazed up at him as he suddenly froze in the doorway, another box in his hands. His face paled, and he swallowed. "Um . . ." Face licked his lips, and Murdock dropped the pin.
"I'm sorry, Face. They were in the top of the box, and I was just curious. I didn't read any of the letters . . ." He said, but Face slowly set the box down and entered the room.
"No . . . it's okay. I don't have any secrets from you. I . . ." Face's voice cracked, and he cleared his throat. "I meant to get rid of that stuff actually. After all, I've got you now . . . I shouldn't hang on to Anthony . . ."
"Face, speaking of him . . ." Murdock looked up at the handsome Con-man, and was once more made aware of his own inadequacies. "Why did you choose me?"
"What?" Face stared at Murdock, who picked up the picture of Anthony, and sighed. "People would look at you and he, and they'd say, 'there goes two very perfect men. They're perfect together. They look perfect, they're hair is always perfect, they're clothes are always perfect, and everything's perfect with and about them.' But look at me, Face."
Face tilted his head at Murdock, not sure where his friend's mind had taken him. "I am." He smiled and his blue eyes softened as his love for the man filled him.
"Face, what do you see in me?" Murdock stood and paced. "I mean, I'm not perfect, I'm not rich, I'm not handsome, I give weird gifts, I'm hardly the most cultured of guys, and I'm certainly not as . . . demonstrative . . ." He pointed to the bundle of letters. "As he was. I mean. Face, you and he didn't care if people saw you in public. I get nervous if we're just sitting
together at the compound on the couch sometimes. It's not that I'm jealous of Parelli, Face. I'm not, but I just honestly can't figure out what you see in me. I mean, come on. He gave you something like this . . ." He held up the pin. "And I give you toy monkeys. He took you to the Opera, and I take you to miniature golf. He took you out to fancy restaurants where the menu's written in five different languages, and I take you to Captain BellyBusters for their 50th Anniversary."
"What do I see in you?" Face sighed at Murdock, and stepped toward the pilot, and gently reached out and stroked has fingers down the side of Murdock's face. "Murdock, when I run my fingers through your hair, the texture is like silk under my fingers, and it's soothing to me to know that you're close by and available for me to touch." He smiled and gazed into Murdock's eyes as sighed. "Your eyes are brown, Murdock, but they say everything about you. They don't hide a thing. When you're happy, they show it. When you're sad, they show it. When you're angry, mischievous, and seductive, they show it. They're also incredibly compassionate and warm, and they give me permission to be the same with you, without fear. As for these . . ." Face ran a gentle finger over Murdock's lips. "These are the same lips that could have denied me, and left me alone with nothing more than your friendship, but they touched mine, Murdock. You had no idea what to do, and yet, it was you who bent over me, kissed me, and gave me the courage to love again." He ran his eyes over Murdock's clothing. "And as for the way you dress, you're like a pair of flannel pajamas and a cup of hot chocolate . . ."
"Flannel pajamas and hot chocolate!?" Murdock stared at Face, who chuckled.
"I know, it's a strange analogy, but think about it for a moment. Flannel pajamas are warm, soft, and comfortable. They're what you put on when you come home into a safe world from the cold, unhappy outside. A cup of hot chocolate is soothing and comforting. You know what you'll get when you make it. You know that it's not going to be different. You know the taste, the smell . . . everything." He sighed. "You're my friend, as well as my lover, Murdock, and you are someone I can rely on in any circumstance. Anthony . . ." He gazed at the picture and couldn't keep the throb of pain from his tone. Murdock gently steered Face to the bed and they sat together as Murdock put his arm around Face's shoulder, and Face leaned into the comfort offered. "Anthony was wonderful." Face admitted. "He was charming and dashing, and gods, was he beautiful. He was passionate and he loved me, and he loved life. He loved life almost as much as you do." He sighed. "But his life was different, Murdock. His life was Operas, tuxedos, silk and satin pajamas and bedsheets, fine dining, limousines, and expensive gifts. It was what he knew, just like worn t-shirts and embracing monkeys are what you know. You love me, Murdock, and that's what's important to me . . . not what you can give me, or what you can do, but just the fact that YOU love ME." Face shook his head at Murdock, and sighed.
"That's easy to do, Face." Murdock smiled gently, and his brown eyes gazed into Face's troubled blue ones, but Face looked down.
"So you say. But I often wonder why you love me, Murdock. I mean. Sometimes, I just watch you when you sleep, afraid that one day you'll just wake up, think that all of this has been a mistake, and I'll be alone again."
"I'd never do that, Face." Murdock turned Face's chin so that he looked into his eyes, and laid a light kiss on Face's mouth. "I told you I love you, and I'm never going to let anyone take you away from me, and I meant it."
" I know, Murdock, but still, we have such a long history together, and it's not always been full of laughter. It's long, filled with pain, bad memories, fights, and gods, Murdock, some of the things I've done . . ." He shook his head. "Things that people really shouldn't do to those they call their friends. And yet, you've stuck with me through everything."
"Just like you've stuck with me through everything." Murdock smiled. "So, in other words, here we are, two people who don't think the other is good enough for them, and yet they're desperately in love with each other." Murdock threw back his head and laughed. "We really do deserve each other, Face."
"Yeah, Murdock, I guess we do at that." He fingered the piles of letters, the picture, and the velvet box, and swallowed. "And . . . and I'll get rid of this stuff as soon . . ."
"No, Face." Murdock's voice was soft, and Face looked up at him, confused.
"Why not? I have you now."
"Anthony Parelli was a part of your life, Face. I have no more right to ask you to forget him than he would to have asked you to leave us."
"He didn't . . ." Face commented, and Murdock nodded.
"Exactly." He handed Face the letters, and the pin, and the picture, and Face looked at the things he held, then up at Murdock.
"If . . . if you want sometime, Murdock." Face licked his lips nervously. "You can . . . you can read the letters."
"Tell you what." Murdock smiled and touched his lips to the tip of Face's nose. "Some day when there's snow outside, and there's a traveler's advisory on the roads, there's hot chocolate in a pot on the stove, a fire in the fireplace, we'll put on flannel pajamas and we can read them together. Whatt'a' ya' say?"
Face stared at Murdock, and he knew beyond any shadow of any doubt exactly WHY he loved HM Murdock. He stroked Murdock's cheek and smiled, and Murdock knew, beyond any shadow of any doubt that he had said, and done the right thing as Face sighed.
"I love you, Murdock." Face whispered, and Murdock basked in the warmth and slowly he and Face drew together and kissed.
"Oh for cryin' . . ." B.A. snorted as he stood in the doorway of the room, and looked at the two men, and shook his head. "Hannibal! They at it again!"
"Get a room, you two." Hannibal smiled indulgently as he looked at his two Teammates, and they broke apart, then looked up. Both of them blinked innocently, then grinned.
"We did!" They exclaimed, and Hannibal dropped the box he carried and grabbed both of them by the scruffs of their necks.
"Come on. The furniture isn't going to move itself in, and you've got plenty of time for that later."
"Yeah. We do at that." Murdock smiled, and as B.A. shoved him out of the room, Murdock dropped the pin on the dresser next to the monkeys.
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