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The Sweetest Rose

The Sweetest Rose

By HannibalFan’52

 

Rating: PG-15

Summary: While preparing a special Valentine’s dinner, Hannibal reflects on his relationship with Face

Warnings: H/F slash

Note(s): The usual introspection, angst, and comfort, but with a twist; I still feel the ending’s a little ‘twee’, as the Brits would say…

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.

**********

The Sweetest Rose

The table was set, and the dinner preparations were well in hand. Already the aromas of a gourmet meal, lovingly prepared, were wafting throughout the house situated an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, while soft music played on the stereo. The few decorations set out for the holiday were subtle, subdued. He wasn’t given to lavish displays.

Hannibal Smith looked around at his handiwork, and decided he was satisfied. There was only one thing left to do before his partner returned from the few errands he‘d asked him to run.

He fetched the card and deep red rose he’d purchased earlier in the day, and set them carefully at Face’s place at the dining table.

As he stepped back to observe the effect, the music on the radio changed from its usual fluff to something more haunting.

You always hurt the one you love,

The one you shouldn’t hurt at all.

You always take the sweetest rose

And crush it ‘til the petals fall.

You always break the kindest heart

With a hasty word you can’t recall,

So if I broke your heart last night,

It’s because I love you most of all.

 

The words slammed into Hannibal’s mind, and he gasped as if he’d been punched in the stomach. Those simple words, recorded by the Mills Brothers in 1944, were so profound, and he’d never realized it. He’d known this song since he was a teenager, but he’d never understood it…until now.

Sure, there had been girls who’d been attracted to him in high school, but in coming to terms with his own sexuality, he’d discovered he could never be interested in any of them. So, when he’d left for West Point, leaving them behind, it hadn’t bothered him, or them, in the slightest.

Yes, he’d experimented over the years. A few times, he’d actually thought he was in love. But no one had truly touched his heart until a helicopter had landed at his base camp in Viet Nam, bringing a certain blonde lieutenant with it.

He crossed to the picture window that looked towards the road, his thoughts on the man who was miles away, the man he loved with all his heart. Placing a hand on the glass, he winced as memories assailed him.

Memories…of all the times he’d acted selfishly…the times he’d misunderstood what his lover was trying to tell him…the times he just hadn’t listened at all…or he’d opened his mouth without thinking…or when he’d taken his partner’s love for granted.

Those last were the worst. They hurt more than the times he’d nearly lost his lover to illness or injury. Much worse.

Some things he couldn’t control, but his own behavior? He should have had better control than that…

*****

A white Corvette pulled into the driveway of the beach house. As Face climbed out, he looked up, and saw his lover standing at the picture window. It looked like he was waving, so he lifted a hand in acknowledgement.

Face bounded up the stairs to the front door. He found it somewhat curious that it didn’t open as he approached, but shrugged it off as he let himself in. When his lover wasn’t there to greet him, though, alarm bells started going off in his mind.

Hannibal?’ he called. There was no response. ‘Hannibal!!’ he called again, an edge of panic to his voice.

A strangled sob caught his attention, and he ran to the living room.

What he saw shocked him to the core. Hannibal - his commander, his friend, his lover - stood there; his head resting on the cool glass of the window, his eyes squeezed shut, and tears coursing down his cheeks.

Hannibal! What’s wrong? Face’s voice shook with fear.

Hannibal just shook his head, not sure of what to say. Not sure of his voice, even if he’d had the words.

Face pulled Hannibal away from the window and guided him to the sofa. He sat his lover down, then knelt in front of him, taking his colonel’s hands in his own.

John,’ he tried again, ‘what’s the matter? Are you hurt?’

Hannibal just shook his head. Face blanched.

Not Murdock?’ he gasped. Another shake of the head. ‘Something’s happened to B.A.?’

No,’ Hannibal said at last, his voice hoarse. ‘They’re fine. It’s you…’

The younger man was perplexed.

Me?’ he asked. ‘Hannibal, I’m fine! Really!!’

No. I’ve hurt you…’

Colonel, what are you talking about?’ Face said, exasperated.

So many times, I’ve hurt you. Can you ever forgive me?’

Face shook his head, smiling indulgently.

Oh, John,’ he said softly, caressing Hannibal’s cheek. It felt funny being the one doing the comforting for a change. ‘No relationship is without its rough patches. Maybe ours has had more than most. It just means we have to work harder to make it the best relationship it can be. If it came too easily, we wouldn’t appreciate it. And I wouldn’t trade what we have for the world!’

Hannibal looked his lover in the eyes for the first time that night.

Tem, what did you ever see in a selfish bastard like me?’

When Face laughed, it was a laugh full of love.

The same thing you saw in a lonely, scared, suicidal smart-mouth like me.’ He smiled, resting his forehead against Hannibal’s. ‘A chance for a life filled with love.’

Pulling Hannibal closer, Face kissed him - gently at first, then deeper, harder. It was a kiss that spoke of promise for the future.

Now,’ Face said when the kiss ended, ‘if my nose doesn’t deceive me, dinner’s almost ready. What do you say we rescue it before all your hard work goes to waste?’

Hannibal had to smile at that. Standing, he pulled Face into his arms, hugging him tightly.

How do you put up with me, Tem?’

The same way you put up with me, John,’ Face answered, kissing Hannibal again. ‘Because I love you.’

Together, they whispered:

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love!’

 

End





The Sweetest Rose by HannibalFan'52

 

 


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