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Lessons In Betrayal
Pairing: Face/Murdock; Face/Original Male Character; Mentions of Hannibal/Murdock
Disclaimer: I'm rather glad they aren't mine, as they would never recover from this if they were real. I have to apologize to Mssr.
Cannell for putting his characters through this stuff, but sometimes, stories aren't written by an author . . . sometimes authors are
written by stories, and this is such a case.
Warning: First off, it's Slash. Second off, it's a departure from our usual Good guy, Team makes no mistakes kind of heroes we're used to. Third off, there's a horrible violent sequence toward the end that will be very hard to read, that involves definite non-com sexual appetites (a mild way to say rape), but it's NOT committed by ANY our heroes.
Spoilers: Small mention of Leslie
Summary: A Bet, A Shattered Heart, And A Horrible Plan Gone Wrong.
Comments: As long as they don't involve the words, "I would have done it this way . . ." or "They'd never do that . . ." If it has those words in it, please feel free to write your own story, and I more-than-likely will read it.
Author's Notes: I rated the story NC-17 because of the horribly graphic, and violent, scene that is part of the end.
Face looked down at Murdock and smiled at the sleeping man. He was beautiful when the dawn's sunlight fell on him just right, and it always seemed to fall on him just right when they woke together. In fact, everything just seemed better when the two of them were together, no matter where they were, what they were doing, whether it was day or night, and whether the sun shone or it rained.
It had been a blissful month off, away from bad guys, away from the military, and away from the Team. He and Murdock had taken off together, as they hadn't really connected in a while, and at first, they'd just hung out together and enjoyed the sun, sand, and surf. However, one night they'd both gotten rip-roaring drunk and without warning, Murdock fell to his knees before Face, opened his pants, and to Face's complete and utter shock and amazement, gave him one of the best blow jobs Face had ever gotten. The two men had then slept together - literally - and Murdock introduced the formerly strict heterosexual male to the joys of homosexuality, and to Face's utter shock, he took to it easily.
They'd spent the rest of that month together, and ended up staying at an L.A. motel on the last few days of their vacation. Face hadn't known exactly what point of the month long session of some of the best sex he'd ever had, that he'd fallen in love with Murdock, he'd only known that it had happened.
Murdock was funny, kind, smart, generous, and absolutely, and beyond question an excellent and inventive lover, and he'd patiently overcome each and every one of Face's fearful hesitations. Face smiled and kissed Murdock's ear, which woke the pilot.
"Face?" Murdock stared at him. "What are you still doing here in bed? Hannibal'll be here in . . ." He squinted at the clock. "Two hours."
"Oh." Face was surprised. "I didn't know you wanted me out before Hannibal gets here. I take it you don't want him to know about this?" Face grinned and kissed Murdock's nose. "He's going to find out sooner or later . . ."
"It's not that he doesn't know." Murdock yawned. "In fact, after this, I'm going to have some serious making up to do to him today." He suddenly grinned and his eyes narrowed wickedly. "Unless you want to screw Hannibal too. He's always wondered what you'd be like, we just never thought you'd be open to the experience." He grinned and laughed. "Which was actually why I got you drunk. I figured if you went after me for making a pass at you, you wouldn't be able to move very fast and I could run . . .or at the very least, duck."
"Drunk?" Face's mind screeched to a halt as he focused on what Murdock said, rather than how the light shone over the pilot's sleep moistened mouth, and he stared. "You weren't drunk?"
"Nope." Murdock laughed and touched the tip of Face's nose. "Not as much as you were at any rate." Face swallowed as he realized that Murdock had pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book on him, and he hadn't noticed . . . and even worse than that, had actually fallen for it.
"Oh." He blinked, then tilted his head. "Oh. Wait a minute. Hannibal? You and Hannibal?"
"Yeeaaahhh." Murdock said slowly, and looked at Face, obviously confused. "He and I have been in love for years, Face. Geeze, B.A.'s known for years. We all thought you did too."
"Love?" Face stared at Murdock. "You and Hannibal?"
Murdock's confusion increased, and he sat up. "Yeah, Face, love. Uh . . . you really DIDN╣T know, did you?"
"No." Face shook his head. "No I didn't. I had no idea."
"Damn. I know you said you were a homosexual virgin, but I didn't think you were love blind. I mean, with the way you are with women, I thought sure you'd've at least recognized some of the signs."
"Wasn't looking for any. Besides, men don't . . . didn't do . . . this." He indicated their naked bodies that still bore the reminders from their session the previous night. "That Catholic upbringing and all that."
"Oh. Well, I guess I should tell you everything then. Hannibal and I have been in love for years, and we both were talking and wondered what you were like in bed, so we made a bet . . ."
"A bet?" Face sat up and called on every Con-man's ability he had not to react like he'd been gut-punched, though it certainly felt like he had.
"Yeah, a bet. Hannibal and I bet on how far I'd actually get with you before you punched my lights out." He smiled. "Neither one of us thought you'd actually go through with going all the way." He grinned. "Especially not as easily as you did."
"A bet." Face suddenly felt very ashamed of himself and he pulled the blanket around his body and covered up. "Getting me in your bed was a bet." He had to repeat it to make sure, and Murdock looked annoyed.
"Yes, Face, a bet." He rolled his eyes. "Don't tell me you've never made a bet to get a woman into bed."
"But I'm not a woman."
"What difference does that make?" Murdock scowled angrily. "The feelings are the same, Face, whether you con a woman or a man into bed and into having sex with you. And it's not like you haven't enjoyed what we've done." Face had to nod at that as it was all nothing but the truth, even if it was a little callous. Or maybe it was the love that Face had for Murdock that made it only seem callous. It was certainly clear that Murdock didn't love Face, so he couldn't tell how Face bled as Murdock's words cut into his very soul. "And besides, Face, if you think I'm good, you should try Hannibal."
"Try Hannibal?" Face blinked at Murdock, and realized there were more unpleasant shocks to withstand that day. "But you said . . . aren't you in love with each other?"
Murdock sat up and stared at Face, surprised into almost speechlessness and he shook his head. "Geeze, Face, the way you whore around, one'd never even begin to suspect that you have so many hang-ups about sex. You can love someone and still have sex with other people. It's not like you're making love, after all."
Face swallowed and forced himself not to rant and rave at Murdock and tell him he was wrong, and it was only through sheer force of will he was able not to tell Murdock he loved him and that what the pilot had just said had shredded his heart to ribbons. In fact, he desperately turned away, as fast as he could, from that train of thought, and focused on what Murdock had called him. "A whore? You think I'm a whore?"
Murdock cleared his throat. "Well, maybe whore was a bit strong, but what would a woman be called who slept around as much as you do?"
"So, all we did over the last month was because of a bet?" Face had to ask it one more time. Had to try and find one solid shred of something that proved Murdock may have cared about him more than just a mere sextoy.
"Damn it, Face." Murdock scowled deeply. "What is it with you? Are you looking for compliments? You're handsome, you're built, you've got beautiful eyes, and a hell of a gorgeous mouth. What more do you want me to say? Besides, tell me something -- how many people have you seduced just to get them to go to bed with you whether a bet was involved or not? If you've done it, Face, why's it so hard to believe that people would do it to you?"
Face blinked and his quicksilver mind flashed over all that Murdock had said, and his heart thudded painfully in his chest. "Well, now that you mention it . . ." He said, his voice flat. "I certainly didn't think that my best male friend would be the one to have done it to me . . . and urged on by someone I've always looked at like a father-figure." Face's tone was almost conversational, and he shrugged nonchalantly, though he felt if he moved once more, he'd shatter into a million bloody shards of agony. "However, I thank you for pointing some things out to me, like what a naive, blind, easy slut I am."
didn't say . . . I mean, I didn't mean exactly that . . ." Murdock ran a
hand over his face. "Damn it all to hell, Face. You honestly
didn't know. I thought you were just going along with it because you wanted me as much as I wanted you."
"Nope. At least, not at first. Although I really should have known. I just never thought . . ." He shook his head. "And here we are at the beginning of the conversation, and there's no point in repeating ourselves, is there?" He grinned, and each word was a new
wall around his tortured soul. Walls that he'd never thought he'd have to resurrect once he'd believed himself a full member of the
Team, and who wouldn't be betrayed by any of them, ever. "I guess too, I should thank you also for the new skills that have been added to my repertoire. I also have another outlet for my sexual energy and can whore with both sexes now, and I guess there's no reason to turn down the offers from men any more. I certainly can't use religious convictions as an excuse." He grabbed Murdock's hair and delivered a blisteringly hot kiss that would normally have inflamed an extended round of passion, gathered his clothes, and casually strode to the shower.
Face let the scalding hot water run over his body, and he tried to scrub the memory of Murdock from his mind as easily as he scrubbed the pilot's scent from his body, but it was a wasted effort. Finally he left the shower, dressed, and with his head high, repacked the bag he'd set at the foot of the large bed.
"Listen, Face . . ." Murdock started, but Face shook his head.
"I've heard everything I need to, Murdock. I'll see you at the training compound." He looked up as the van pulled into the parking
lot and he gestured to it. "Hannibal's here. You might at least want to change the sheets. It's only good form when you go from one lover to another." Face gripped the bag until his knuckles were white, and he strode from the house.
Face stopped and swallowed every bit of his anger and betrayal and projected only an air of one who had not a care in the world. He eyed the Colonel with the new appreciation for the male form he'd developed, and finally saw him as a man. He was good-looking, he had beautiful blue eyes, and he was virile. Maybe, if Face hadn't been in love with Murdock, he may actually HAVE gone after Hannibal.
"Hey, Face." Hannibal greeted casually, and Face stopped the cry of anger and loss that welled in him, and he blinked.
"Colonel." Face nodded, and pulled himself physically and mentally from the man he'd trusted, and no longer could. "The Captain's still in bed, but you might want to wait until he changes the sheets. I'll have B.A. drive me back to the compound and you can come . . .drive in with him. After all, it's been a month. I don't know what you've been doing, but no doubt you've missed him. Oh, by the way, whoever bet that the Captain wouldn't get far with me, lost the bet, and lost it big time."
"That would be me." Hannibal looked concerned, and Face fought the urge to punch him. "How do you feel?"
Face looked at Hannibal and blinked. How did he feel? Agonized, shattered, betrayed, in love, hopeless, helpless, sick, disgusted,
filthy, ashamed, and horrified were only a few of the adjectives he could use to describe how he felt, but he stayed true to his Con,
perhaps his greatest ever, and grinned, though he died inside.
"Me? I feel great. Your man's good -- REAL good. It took him a couple of weeks, but would you believe I was stupid enough to fall for my own tricks?" He shrugged. "Actually, maybe you would believe that. Anyway, I have to congratulate you both. That was an excellent Con you ran. Actually, it worked out quite well, and in more ways than one."
"What do you mean?" Hannibal's eyes narrowed suspiciously, and he frowned at Face, but the younger man shrugged.
"As I already told the Captain, I've added some new talents to my repertoire and have had some things brought to my attention that I didn't know, or realize, about myself. So, actually, I've come out on top . . .no pun intended, and I've got you and he to thank for it all." He inclined his head. "But, anyway, Sir, your man awaits. I'll see you back at the training grounds." He walked regally around Hannibal and mentally chastised himself the entire way down the sidewalk.
During the entire exchange, he hadn't been able to bring himself to call neither Murdock or Hannibal by their names as it was FAR too painful, and reminded him that they had been friends...friends he no longer trusted. He also knew that Hannibal had noticed he'd used their ranks, rather than their names, and he knew there'd be questions...questions he didn't want to answer... questions he didn't want to hear.
Faceman." B.A. greeted, and Face looked thoughtfully over at the bigger
man. Murdock had said that B.A. had known of his and Hannibal's relationship,
and had known it for years. However, B.A. was not an easy man to read, and
though he acted no differently to Face, the younger man couldn't help but
wonder if B.A. knew about the bet that no one but Face, himself, had lost. Face
remembered Murdock's cold, brutal assessment of Face's 'attributes' - naivet╚, blindness, and whoring, and wondered if B.A. too
saw him that way.
Face already knew that B.A. didn't approve of his scamming, and suddenly, he remembered how B.A. had raged at him after he'd gotten the 'Vette. B.A., among other things, had accused Face of getting the car only as a new away to use women and to act as a showpiece for himself, and Face cringed as he added one more 'attribute' - vanity.
Suddenly, the wound he'd never let anyone see, the wound that B.A.'s words had left, the wound he'd long since thought had healed over, gashed open, and Face knew he couldn't take any more rejection or disparagement from anyone on the Team. He moved from the passenger's seat beside B.A. to his regular seat and pulled himself as emotionally from B.A. as he had physically, and decided he wasn't EVER going to let any of them get close enough to hurt him, again.
"Sergeant." He nodded once, then turned his head and studied the door intently as B.A. pulled away from the motel, and the drive back to the training grounds was silent and strained as more mental walls slammed firmly into place around his shattered emotions.
Hannibal called out as he entered the room, and Murdock emerged from the
bathroom freshly showered and fully dressed. The two men looked at each other
for a moment, and Hannibal frowned. "I was just informed by Face that I
lost the bet. What happened?"
"You did lose the bet." The pilot nodded. "But Hannibal, he was absolutely clueless . . . and I mean about everything. He had no
idea about us, our sexual status, or even the fact that you and I've been sleeping together for years, and it had never even crossed his mind that we would have even begun to THINK that he was desirable to us. Hannibal, I pulled everything on him that Alicia said he pulled on her husband: The innocent vacation, getting him drunk, having sex with him, the speech about the fact that people can have sex with someone they don't love as it's not love-making, and then I delivered the coup de grace, and told him that the only reason I'd done all that was to settle a bet. But Hannibal, he was blind to it all! He fell for everything I said, everything I did, and every line I handed him, and though it was his OWN script, he didn't recognize ANY of it!"
Hannibal stared at Murdock. "That's not possible. Alicia wouldn't have any reason to lie . . . she's B.A.'s Goddaughter for cripe's
sake! Are you SURE, absolutely SURE that he wasn't just stringing you along?"
"Not at first, and right up until this morning, no. He told me that first night we had sex that he'd never been with a man before, and I thought he'd lied -- especially after Alicia told us she'd actually SEEN Face and Eric together . . . TWICE! Anyway, right up until this morning, Hannibal I REALLY believed he'd lied. I believed he only pretended to be ignorant, to be afraid, to be hesitant..." Murdock lowered his eyes. "To be in pain." He looked up suddenly, and his eyes blazed. "And I tell you, Colonel, THAT pissed me off. I mean, when I thought of Alicia and how devastated she was at the loss of her husband, and to FACE of all people, I really burned, Colonel. I mean we all were at Alicia's WEDDING for crying out loud! And then, to have the man that SHE loved seduced away from her by Face, the SAME man that pretended I was his first man . . ." His face flushed with the remembered force of his anger. "Damn it, Colonel, he pretended SO well, that even I was almost convinced it was true, and yet, I KNEW that he was playing me! He was playing ME! His best friend! I woke up this morning, Colonel, and looked up, and saw those ocean blue eyes as they gazed into mine, and they were so . . . so . . ." He threw his arms out as he searched for the words he wanted, then dropped them. "So friggin' innocent . . . so happy! It was like he'd found all the answers to the universe, and all I could think of was how he must have appeared to Eric, and I seriously think that at that moment, Hannibal, I had never hated
anyone so much in all my life as I did him. My hatred found a voice, Colonel, and I called him all kinds of things, not the least of which was a whore. I wanted to deny it all, Hannibal. I wanted nothing more at that moment than to break him, and MAKE him tell me the truth . . . MAKE him confess what he did to Eric, and ultimately to Alicia. MAKE him tell me he'd been pretending all the while we were together."
"And he didn't?" Hannibal asked, and Murdock shook his head as his shoulders slumped in misery, and Hannibal's voice was low. "You keep saying that right up until this morning, you didn't believe him . . . you thought he'd lied, and that he'd been putting you on for the last month. Obviously, you DO believe him now. What changed your mind?"
"His eyes, Colonel." Murdock's voice dropped to a whisper, he turned away, and wrapped his arms around his shoulders. "I saw his eyes, and if I had blinked, yawned, or been otherwise distracted, I would have missed it completely. He was devastated, Hannibal. He was completely and utterly shattered, demoralized, humiliated, and . . . ashamed." Murdock drew in a shaky breath. But then . . . then it was all gone. It was as if someone flipped a switch, and all of the agony I had seen disappeared behind that hundred seventy-five watt, halogen, Con-man's smile. I actually FELT it Hannibal as the walls -- those same walls we took such pains to batter down in Vietnam -- slammed around him, and closed him completely off." He stopped, threw his head back, and closed his eyes as the pain of the memory gripped his heart with icy fingers, and he was silent.
"There's more to it than that, isn't there, Murdock?" Hannibal asked gently after a moment of silence, and Murdock nodded.
"My Face DIED here, Colonel, as surely as if he'd been physically killed, and I SAW it happen, and I KNEW . . . I knew RIGHT then that he'd told the truth! He'd told the truth about everything, including the fact that he'd NEVER BEEN WITH ANY MAN BEFORE ME!" Murdock clenched his hands into fists, and punched a nearby wall. "Damn it all to forty fucking hells, Hannibal! I TOOK what SHOULD have been the sweetest, gentlest moment of loving revelation with someone HE loved, and destroyed it for him! In a drunken binge, on a ratty carpet, in the worst hellhole shack imaginable, and in a bid for revenge for sweet, innocent little Alicia's broken marriage and devastated life, I STOLE something I had NO right to, and I HURT him, Colonel!" Murdock's voice rose and he again went after the wall, but Hannibal reached out and stopped him, and Murdock spun on him. "I didn't know I'd really hurt him . . . I thought he'd been with other men before, so I wasn't as gentle as I should have been . . . WOULD have been, and he cried out. Damn it, Hannibal, he WASN'T ready, and because I thought he'd lied, I ignored his pain, and kept going!
Hannibal!" Murdock's voice broke, and his eyes gleamed wetly. "Don't you understand!? Despite the fact he wanted it by the
time we got to the floor, I RAPED the man I love!"
gazed at the miserable defeated man in front of him, and he inhaled deeply.
"The man you love?" He asked quietly, and Murdock paled.
"Oh damn, Hannibal. I swear, I didn't know I loved him until this morning, when I woke and looked up at him as he smiled at me. Gods, Colonel, he was so beautiful. I mean, the sun shone off his hair and made it look like it was a sheet of spun golden silk, his alabaster skin absolutely glowed, and his eyes, Colonel . . . those beautiful ocean blue eyes of his were almost silver in the sunshine. He looked like an angel, Hannibal, and that's when I knew I loved him. It was also when I knew I hated him too. I called him names, and told him you and I loved each other, not only because it was part of the plan, but because I wanted him to hurt. I wanted to punish him for making me love him. Hannibal -- you, me, and B.A. wanted to teach Face a lesson about destroying peoples' lives because of a few selfish moments, but it was a lesson he DIDN'T deserve . . . and certainly NOT that way. Not by me doing what I did." He hung his head, and Hannibal was silent for a moment.
"So." He said after a minute. "Face does think you and I are in love?"
"Yes." Murdock nodded, his voice bitter. "All according to plan." Hannibal paced the length of the motel room, and his mind furiously turned over all that Murdock had said, and all he'd observed of Face's behavior in the short space of time that Face had spoken to him.
"Look, Murdock." He finally said. "I don't know for sure if any of this can be fixed, but if you DO love Face . . ."
"I do . . ." Murdock's voice wavered and his tears finally refused to be hidden any longer. And Hannibal gently wiped them away.
"Then maybe, after we've gotten to the bottom of all this, and found out who's REALLY lied, maybe there's some hope for the two of you. After all, if he gave his virginity over to you, despite all the other circumstances, and then stayed with you through the whole month, there must have been a reason for it. Also, if he looked as innocent and as happy as you say . . ."
"He did!" Murdock nodded almost wildly, and Hannibal nodded once more.
"And, if he was as devastated by your rejection as he obviously was, and even I could see that he had all his walls back up . . ." He shook his head. "In fact, Murdock, he couldn't even call us by our names, just our ranks and impersonal pronouns." Hannibal sighed and wished he had a cigar, even if to only hold it. "Anyway, for your rejection to have hurt him as it so obviously has, he must care VERY deeply for you, Murdock."
"But, what do we do, Colonel? I want him back. I want my best friend back, if nothing else, but I don't know what to do!" Murdock turned the full force of his pain to Hannibal, and the older man suddenly felt every year of his age and every iota of his
responsibility for the misery of not one, but two of his men, and he was determined to fix what he had caused. He clamped his hand on Murdock's shoulder reassuringly, and his lips were set in a thin line of resolution.
"First, we find out just exactly how much damage has been done to Face, and then we go see Alicia and find out just WHAT the HELL is going on!"
looked around the kitchen of the training grounds that Hannibal had forced them
all to go to, and hated every minute that he was there. B.A. had dropped him
off at the training ground shack, then had snarled something about checking out
the van, and Face had been left alone. An hour later, he'd seen the rental car
that Hannibal and Murdock drove up in, and watched out the front window as they
both got out, together, then walked over to where B.A. lay, half under the van.
There wasn't anything overt in their behavior about their relationship, but that didn't mean anything to Face. He'd missed the signs for years, and he knew too that he didn't WANT to see them. He closed his eyes, and pictured Hannibal and Murdock in the positions he and Murdock had been in, and his heart broke all over again.
He loved Murdock, there was no getting around it, and he loved him with the same almost-obsession that he'd loved Leslie, and yet, this love affair was doomed to go nowhere, just like every love affair he'd ever had. He bent over as his abdomen clenched and he almost threw up. He'd been such a fool . . . he WAS such a fool.
He'd dealt with the pain when Murdock took him. In fact, he'd dealt with it more than once -- and he'd dealt with it because he'd thought that's what he was supposed to do, especially if one loved the man he was with. Not that there had always been pain of course, there was NO way he could have continued had there ALWAYS been pain, and the times that Murdock was gentle and loved him had been wonderful beyond description.
He frowned as he remembered how he'd tried so hard to please Murdock, and had failed to, especially the first few times when everything in him told him what they were doing was wrong. But, he'd fought those voices. He'd fought those voices with every ounce of love for Murdock he'd developed, until he'd finally beaten them into dust. The first time he'd been able to make Murdock . . . conclude . . . successfully, he had almost burst from the force of his joy. For the most part, Murdock had been patient with him, but there had been times when Murdock's passion, his want, and his need, had been so great that he'd barely made sure Face was ready for him. At those times, Face reflected with twenty/twenty hindsight, that there had been something in the pilot's voice and in his manner that had been some sort of anger. However, Face only realized that fact, that very morning.
But WHY was Murdock angry with him? Was he angry because Face wasn't good enough? Wasn't learning quickly enough? Face closed his eyes. He'd done everything that Murdock had told him he was supposed to . . . at least, he thought he had.
And once more, pain gripped his heart as after that morning's series of unpleasant revelations, it had been made painfully obvious that Murdock had thought that Face had been with other men, even though Face had told him at the outset he hadn't. It made some sort of crazy sense that if Murdock had thought he was lying, that the pilot WOULD be upset with him. But WHY would Murdock think he'd been lying? What signals did he send out that would have given the man that impression? Maybe Murdock had thought that Face had just been using him. Again, it made a sort of sense. However, if THAT were the case, then why the bet? Why wouldn't Murdock and Hannibal just come right out and told him what they wanted? Since they didn't, that meant that it had been Hannibal and Murdock who had used HIM, NOT the other way around, so there SHOULD have been no reason for
Murdock to have doubted him, or to have been angry to the point he'd sometimes hurt Face. Not, of course, that Murdock had hurt him on purpose. Face would never believe that one of the Team would, physically at least, and CERTAINLY not THAT way, hurt any of the others on purpose.
But then, WHY did they do what they did to him AT ALL!?
The questions whirled around Face's mind, and he developed a severe headache and suddenly wished that he could just forget the whole thing. Just place it in that same bin where countless, faceless females went after a night of lying to them, then sleeping with
them. He paused, and was struck with the sudden thought that Murdock had been most adamant to let him know that what the pilot and Hannibal had done had only been what Face HIMSELF had done before, and of course, they were right . . . computer salesman, neurosurgeon, et. al.
Face tilted his head and his brow creased in thought. Had he hurt someone Hannibal and Murdock cared about? Some woman they BOTH cared enough about to punish him for it? Were Murdock and Hannibal trying to teach him a lesson of some sort? It certainly wasn't beyond the realms of possibility. Face knew how protective Hannibal, Murdock, and even B.A. were when someone they loved had been hurt. But who could he have possibly hurt that all three of them cared for, and obviously a LOT?
had to think. He had to get away. He had to get away somewhere where no one
could find him, and his eyes were suddenly drawn to the picture that sat on the
scarred tabletop. It was a hell of a good picture of a hell of a beautiful
couple. The woman was a muted shade of dark beige, had ebony eyes, and
beautiful, long, shiny hair. The man was equally as attractive, though darker
than she, and he wore his long jet-black hair pulled into a ponytail that was
almost femininely flipped over his shoulder, while his milk chocolate colored eyes
were a perfect compliment to the woman's dark ones. Hell, they were a perfect
compliment to one another, and Face had often heard the intakes of breath when
the couple had appeared out in public together.
The couple was Alicia and Eric Johnston, B.A.'s Goddaughter and her husband, before their marriage had broken up . . . hell, it hadn't broken, it had SHATTERED, and for some reason as yet unknown to him. He frowned as he realized that the last time she'd visited with the team, Alicia had been angry with him . . . unreasonably angry, and Face hadn't understood why. It was almost as if she'd suddenly hated him. She'd actually gone into hysterics the very minute she'd entered the apartment they'd used at the time. He'd opened the door and admitted her, and was the only one in the room. Suddenly, she'd struck out at him like a madwoman and had screamed at him at him to never to come near her ever again.
He'd tried to find out what she meant, and more importantly, WHY she'd gone ballistic on him to the point of hysteria. However, a
moment later, B.A. had entered the room, and his face was one massive thunder cloud of anger, as he burst out of the kitchen to find out what had been going on with HIS Goddaughter, and WHAT Face had done to upset her so. Face plead helpless ignorance and tried to explain that he had no idea what had happened, but B.A. glared at him, and made him leave the room, as it was more than clear that the woman was NOT going to come anywhere NEAR calming down until Face was gone. After she had calmed down, B.A. had stalked into the kitchen where Face had taken refuge, grabbed the Lieutenant by the lapels, almost
literally threw him up against the wall. Under the threat of getting beaten up AND severely, Face had summarily been forbidden to have anything to do with Alicia ever again, and to stay as far away from not only her, but ANY and ALL of B.A.'s family.
Face, of course, if only to be set down relatively intact, had agreed to whatever B.A. had said. Face knew, however, he would have pursued the matter anyway, but DEFINITELY after he'd waited a few days for everything to calm down. However, it was, he realized -- once more with clear twenty/twenty hindsight -- shortly after THAT, that Murdock had invited him on that month-long vacation. Guiltily he realized that he hadn't given Alicia, her marital troubles, or her odd behavior, another thought.
Face knew that he couldn't talk to Alicia . . . not with ALL of the Team suddenly turned against him, and he knew that if B.A. ever found out Face'd gone against his orders, then he'd kill him, and Face had absolutely no doubts about that. And yet, obviously he'd done SOMETHING to Alicia . . . something the Team felt he HAD to be punished for, and, from the revenge the guys had extracted, it was painfully clear that it had been of a sexual nature, although he hadn't a CLUE as to what it might have been.
Face gazed harder at the picture, and frowned. There was only ONE other person that MIGHT have an idea of just what had happened, and that was Alicia's husband, Eric. Maybe, just MAYBE, Eric could shed some light on what the hell he'd done to make everyone hate him so very much . . . if HE were still talking to him.
walked over to the phone, then dialed a number and waited as it rang.
"Hello. Eric's Construction, Plumbing, And Heating." A pleasant male voice answered, and Face swallowed.
"Eric, this is Face . . ." He grimaced. "I mean, Templeton."
"Hey Tem!" The voice went instantly from businesslike to cheerful, and the man actually sounded happy to hear from him. Face almost sagged with relief. At least SOMEONE wasn't angry at him for some unknown reason. "What's up, man? I didn't think anyone from the Team'd be talking to ME too soon . . . especially after the rant that Alicia did after the divorce. I thought B.A. was going to kill me right on the courthouse steps!"
"Yeah." Face almost snorted. "I know the feeling. But listen, something's been going on here lately. . . something I don't
understand, and don't know what all is involved, but it happened shortly after you and Alicia broke up . . ."
Are they giving you a hard time?" Anger sounded in the voice, and Face nodded, surprised to say the least, then realized he was on the phone, and Eric couldn't see him.
"You might say that." He answered, and the voice was silent for a long minute, then sighed, and was suddenly lower than it had been.
"Look, Tem, I really can't . . don't want to discuss this on the phone . . . not here at any rate. Can you meet me at the hunting
lodge? The place you and I went fishing last summer?"
"In a couple of hours, sure." Face looked at his watch, then stuck his head out the kitchen door and looked out the living room window. B.A., Hannibal, and Murdock looked like they'd concluded whatever conversation they'd had, and all three of them looked toward the house. It didn't take a genius to figure out that they'd been talking about him, and while Face may not have been a genius, he was CERTAINLY an above-average intellect, and he ducked back into the kitchen. "But I'm going to need some time to drive there . . ."
"Yeah, me too. But it's private, and we can talk without being interrupted by Hurricane A-Team. I've wanted to talk to you for a
month, but every time I tried to get in touch with you, I was threatened under pain of death not to."
"You were?" Face's voice was surprised, and he again looked nervously out the window as Hannibal, Murdock, and B.A. walked toward the house, and shook his head almost absently as he concentrated more on the fact the Team was on their way into the house, than on Eric's words. "I can't imagine why they'd have done that . . ."
"I have an idea, Tem." Eric answered, and the sadness in his tone forced Face's attention back to him. "But as I said, I REALLY need to talk to you in person. This isn't a conversation I want to have on the phone. Really, Tem, it isn't."
"Okay." Face paced. "Look, the Team is coming in, and I really can't deal with them right now. I've got to literally run . . . I'll
see you in a couple of hours."
"You got it, Tem." Eric answered, and Face hung up the phone.
The front door creaked open, and his name was called. Frantically, he looked for an escape route, but the only ways out that he had any access to, were through the living room door, where the Team had just come in, or out the kitchen window. He opted for the window, and had just climbed out of it onto the back porch when the Team entered the kitchen.
"Face! Wait!" Murdock called, and dove to the window, while Face leapt over the railing, and hit the ground. He rolled to a stop,
then jumped up, and for a brief moment, his and Murdock's eyes met. All the pain of Murdock's words once more rose to the surface, and with what sounded suspiciously like a sob, Face turned, then fled.
"Oh shit." Hannibal cursed, and he and the others ran back the way they had come. They all but flew out the door just in time to see Face as he bent over in the driver's seat of the rental car, and they knew that he'd hotwired the vehicle as the motor roared to life.
"Face!" Hannibal yelled. "Stop! We need to talk!"
Whether Face heard him or not, none of them knew, as he spun the car in a 180 degree turn, stomped on the brakes, and drew his gun. Automatically, the others, as their war-taught reflexes came to the fore, threw themselves to the ground, OUT of the line of fire. However, Face shot twice, not at them, but at the front tires on the van. Twin hisses filled the air, and the tires went flat. Face then jammed the car into gear once more, and in a squeal of brakes and flying dirt and gravel, he was gone.
shot my van!" B.A. growled, more out of habit than anything else, as they
picked themselves from the ground, and Hannibal looked at him and Murdock, and
his words were calm. However, that calm was belied by the fact that he ran a
hand over his forehead and it was creased with worry.
"Well, now we know the extent of the damage. He's on the run, and isn't using his head. That gives US something of an advantage, but means that he's vulnerable to Decker now." Hannibal paced and rubbed a hand across his forehead once more. "Okay. We can deal with this." He said, and the others didn't know if he spoke to reassure them, or himself. "B.A. Fix the tires on the van . . ."
B.A. looked around at the ramshackle building that had been loosely termed a 'house', and the ancient barn on the over-grown, desolate land that had once been a farm and grimaced. "Hannibal, we only got one spare . . ."
"Then think of something ELSE to use." Hannibal frowned and pointed at the van. "I want that thing up and running in ten minutes. Murdock. Make a list of all the places Face normally goes when he gets upset . . ."
"Colonel, that's got to cover half the L.A. phonebook, and twenty percent of the women in it!"
"Do it, Captain!" Hannibal snapped, as the strain on his own psyche started to show.
"Right." Murdock nodded. When Hannibal was on the warpath, there was no talking any sense into him, and when Face was involved, it made it even worse. "What do we do after we get the van fixed and the list made?"
"We go to see Alicia, see why the hell she lied to us, FIND Face, and get this whole friggin' mess straightened out!" He grimaced, as both men raised their eyebrows at him, and he shook his head. "I mean." He amended. Get this whole friggin' thing FIGURED out! Get to work gentlemen. You have eight minutes." He turned on his heel, then stalked into the house.
drove at breakneck speed, and he tried to get his unruly heart back under some
semblance of control. He couldn't believe that he'd actually shot the tires out
of the van. If B.A. ever caught him, he'd kill him, if only for that fact.
He shivered and thought about Murdock, and how close he'd actually come to stopping for him . . . to speaking to him . . . demanding answers from him. But he knew he couldn't. He knew that he couldn't talk to him, because if he had, the entire Team would have found out his secret. Not the dirty one of his allowing himself to have been seduced and having sex with and by Murdock, they obviously all knew that . . . they had obviously all been in on it, but the secret that he was madly, crazily, passionately in love with the crazy pilot. He couldn't let them know it, especially not since Murdock and Hannibal were in love. The fact he'd hidden his love from them was his last vestige of pride, and he clung to it as if it were a lifeline.
He also thought about what Eric had said, and knew that finally, he was going to get the answer he so desperately needed about why not only Alicia, but the Team as well, had suddenly gone nuts. However, he wasn't going to get his answer if he wrapped himself around a tree, one of which he narrowly missed as he zipped around another corner of the mountainous backroads. Slowly, he reduced his speed, and he sighed as he turned off toward the hunting cabin that Eric had taken him to the summer before, when Alicia and B.A. had gone to visit B.A.'s mother, and Hannibal and Murdock had also decided to vacation together for some previously unknown reason. Well, THAT little mystery was certainly finally explained, and once more Face's heart constricted painfully in his chest.
He absolutely refused to think about what Hannibal and Murdock may have done together, and instead, concentrated on the wind, the bumpiness of the road . . . anything and everything that took his mind off the man he loved . . . and the man the man he loved, loved.
was back at the van exactly ten minutes after his pronouncement, and he tilted
his head at the van, which listed to the
left, and rode higher on the right side. He bent over and looked in consternation at the tire, which was WAY smaller than the other one, and he raised his eyebrow at B.A. questioningly.
"Found a donut wheel in a corner o' the barn buried under some hay." B.A. grunted, almost defensively. "It'll last until we get to the city where I can fix it properly."
"Very good Sergeant." Hannibal complimented, and Murdock leaned out the side door of the van.
"I've got the list ready, but these are only the places I know about. He may have more that I don't." The pilot shrugged helplessly, and Hannibal nodded.
"Good work, Captain. This is at least a start." The Colonel answered FAR more confidently than he felt. He climbed into his
accustomed seat, and was followed a moment later by B.A., who brought the van to life and carefully drove off.
An hour later the Team sat in Alicia Johnston's home, and stared at her as she pleaded innocence to the knowledge of everything.
"I don't understand ANY of this!" She exclaimed dramatically and held out her arms as she pleaded with B.A.. "I DIDN'T lie, B.A.! I DON'T lie! You KNOW that! I've NEVER lied to you!"
"Alicia." Murdock leaned forward, and his brown eyes gazed at her intensely. "I know for a fact, beyond any doubt, that Face had never been sexually involved with a man before last month, and I mean N-E-V-E-R." He spelled out the word then clasped his hands in front of him, and looked down at the attractive and expensive carpet. "And I mean, never." He repeated, and his voice and manner spoke volumes that his words didn't.
Her perfectly shaped eyebrows jumped into her hairline, and she stared at him. "You . . . you mean, you . . .you did it. You
actually did it. You taught him the lesson." She stared at him, and he looked away.
"Yeah." He whispered. "That's what I mean."
Suddenly, she jumped up and paced the living room of the palatial mansion she called home. "I SWEAR! I REALLY did see Eric and Face together, TWICE! The first time I wasn't supposed to be home, but my car broke down a few blocks from here, and I saw them by the pool." She gestured to the glass doors that led to the pool, and Hannibal walked over to it and looked out. "My husband was, and Face was . . ." She wiped the tears from her face as her eyes went black with anger, and her voice rose in pitch. "And they WERE!" She almost shrieked.
"How were they positioned?" Hannibal finally asked, his voice detached, and she stared at him.
"What the hell do you want to know THAT for!? Planning on taking notes!?" Her voice was bitter, shrill, and angry, and Hannibal
turned on her.
"I'm TRYING to find out what happened." He scowled. "I'm in danger of losing one of my Team, and I don't like the SMELL I'm getting from all this, and you REALLY better NOT be lying, lady, because if you are . . ."
"Hannibal!" B.A. barked, and Hannibal turned steel-grey eyes to B.A..
"Sergeant!" He barked back. "I'm tired of dancing around here. Someone's leading, and I don't know who it is, and by gods, I'm going to get to the bottom of all of this!" He glared at Alicia, and the others knew by experience that glare said more than an angry shout, and she collapsed in on herself.
"Face was on the bottom." She answered in a whisper. "Face down."
"So, you didn't actually see his face." Hannibal confirmed, and she shook her head.
"But it looked like him. He had his build, his height, I even saw the blond hair. It HAD to be him! And it was the same when I looked into the cabana a few days later!"
"When was that?" He asked, and she shrugged.
"A couple months ago. Shortly before my life was blown to hell by that parentless BASTARD you seem so intent on defending!" She clenched her fists, almost in a rage, and Hannibal scowled at her.
"You mean back when the cabana had that broken light." He said, and looked around at the others to see if they had picked up on what he had. "And what position were they in?"
"Face was on his knees in front of MY husband blowing the HELL out of him! There! You happy now!" She burst into hysterical tears, and Hannibal looked at her, and again he was impassive.
"So, again, you didn't see his face." Murdock latched onto Hannibal's train of thought, and she glared at them.
"No! But Eric CRIED when I told him! He was devastated! He said Face told him he loved him! He broke off my marriage and destroyed ALL my hopes and dreams and my marriage and my happiness because of FACE!" She jumped off the couch, and distanced herself from them and picked their wedding picture from the mantle of a large fireplace. "He's mine! I want him, I want him back! I want that blond ASSHOLE to pay for what he did to me! To Eric!" She was so angry she trembled.
"He did." Murdock whispered, and Hannibal stood beside him.
"We thought you were right, and took you up on your suggestion about needing to teach Face a lesson about using people and lying to them . . . especially about using and lying to his friends." Hannibal told her. "And we decided it was a lesson that had been too long in coming. Alicia, we used EVERY trick on Face that YOU said he pulled on Eric, and he didn't recognize the script, Alicia, even though YOU said HE wrote it."
"No." She shook her head and looked up at B.A.. "That . . . that's not possible. He . . . he destroyed everything . . . I wanted to
destroy him! He made my husband leave me!" She threw herself into his arms. He held her awkwardly, and she wept, almost hysterically, and babbled, and the Team knew she wasn't talking to them.
"It's not possible. It's not. Face did this to us. He broke us up. He made Eric leave me for him . . . for another man. Maybe,
maybe if it had been another woman, I could have dealt, but a man. And Face of all people. I thought Eric would be safe with him, but he wasn't . . ."
"Faceman ain't done nothin' to you OR Eric." B.A. finally spoke, and his voice held more conviction than she'd ever heard in her
Godfather's life, and she sat back down on the couch as her world shattered for a second time.
pulled up to the secluded hunting cabin, and noted that Eric's construction van
was outside it, but there was a growth of grass around the tires, as if it
hadn't been moved in a while. He frowned and looked back at the van, as he
walked onto the porch, and quietly knocked.
"Hey, Tem." The door opened, and he looked up, as Eric stood in the door in a simple white sweater, jeans, and bare feet. The man smiled, though it was weak at best, and he gestured for Face to enter. Face did as he was bid, and then looked around the small cabin in shock. What had been a virtually empty shack last summer had become almost a bachelor's showplace. A large, open, Mission styled Futon sat in one corner of the two-room, one bathroom cabin, while cushions were scattered everywhere, though they were mostly concentrated in front of the large fireplace that had been meticulously repaired, and supplied the only light in the place. Books, magazines, and puzzle books of all kinds were strewn about, and he stared at his friend.
"Eric!" He exclaimed. "Have you been living here!?"
"For the last couple months or so." The man nodded, then went into the sparse, but functional kitchen. "It's the only place I've been able to get any peace from Alicia. She's been a bit . . . unreasonable . . . since the divorce." He shuddered. "Gods, Tem,
what a messy thing divorce is. You don't know what a woman scorned can be like . . ."
"I have an idea." Face shook his head, as he thought about what Murdock had said, and how it hurt him every time he remembered how casually Murdock had treated him.
"You want some wine, Tem?" Eric held out a bottle of what Face recognized as a VERY expensive, and good wine. "I'd offer you some water, but I haven't finished the plumbing yet, so the water, for the most part, is really undrinkable, and the generator is on the fritz. Hence no lights and no real heat . . . yet." Face nodded, and he knew that he needed the wine like he needed another hole in his heart, but he had to have something to calm him down. He watched as Eric grabbed two glasses, opened the wine, and then poured it.
"I . . . I thought you were at work." Face said, and Eric shrugged.
"Sometimes I am." He pointed at the phone. "Welcome to my new office. I couldn't take Alicia another day. She's a madwoman, Tem, and here, I don't have a lot of expenses, so I don't have to go to work as often as I did. On occasion, I've managed to sneak into that palatial mansion she calls a house, and as you can see, I managed to grab SOME amenities." He indicated the cushions and the wine, then went over to the fireplace and sat on one of the cushions, then laughed. "And, I guess, well, I guess I've been kind of living like a hermit, so I had to take time to clean the place." He shrugged, and his voice dropped. "I haven't felt like doing much, really . . . not after the trauma of the divorce."
Face nervously walked over to the fireplace, and thought of Murdock, then held his hand out to the fire, and wondered if he'd ever be warm again, especially without Murdock.
"Eric . . ." He swallowed. "On . . . on the phone, you said you knew what was going on . . ."
"I said I MAY know." Eric amended. "But come on, Face. Sit down. You look pale . . . tired."
"I am . . . tired I mean." Face gingerly sat on one of the cushions across from Eric, and cleared his throat. "But . . ." He looked
around the room, then at the fire, and then nervously at Eric. "You wouldn't be trying to seduce me, would you?"
"Seduce you!?" Eric stared at Face in shock, while horror almost screamed from every pore. "Good grief, Face! Why in the hell would I do that!? You're straight, Face . . . VERY straight." He sighed. "I accepted that after our trip here last summer." He
shrugged, and Face sighed, then looked down at the floor, and sipped at the wine. "I . . . I have something to say to you that could make you angry, and I figure if you're comfortable, I can at least get a head start on running."
"Running?" Face's heart jumped as Murdock's words about getting him drunk played through his mind, and his heart continued to
break. "I've received a LOT of bad news in the last day, and I'm really NOT up to running. Just tell me, Eric. What's going on
here?" He looked at the glass of wine he held, and wondered when he'd downed half of it.
"Tem, I have a confession to make. A confession that made Alicia go absolutely apeshit, and I know that with you like you are, and the military background, and all that, I just want to make sure you're still my friend, since everyone else on the Team has decided I'm persona non grata now."
"I know that feeling." Face said, and held out his glass for more wine, which Eric provided, and more out of nervousness than anything, drank though he knew he hadn't eaten since the night before.
"Tem, I'm gay." The man answered, and Face almost choked on his wine.
He stared at the man he thought he'd known, and then recognized the absolute
hypocrisy in his sudden burst of shock, and he hung his head.
"There's a lot of that going around." He finally said, his voice resigned. "But what has this got to do with the Team and Alicia?"
"I'm the reason, Tem. I never should have married her . . . you see, I've known what I am for years. Ever since I was a kid, I knew. My father though, always hated me for it, and he said that if I didn't give up my 'lifestyle', get married to a woman, and 'settle down', he wouldn't finance my business, and he'd make sure I NEVER got any business if I DID start one. So, I caved." He shrugged. "I met Alicia at a party, and she was vibrant, young, beautiful, and everything a woman should be. I married her and everyone was happy, even me, for a while at least."
"What happened?" Face asked, and put his glass down on the floor. Automatically, Eric refilled both glasses, and sighed.
"I met someone, Tem. I met someone who reminded me of all that I had been and all that I had given up, and I fell in love with him."
For the first time in his life, Face could sympathize with that feeling, and he nodded as once again he thought about Murdock. "And?" He prompted, and Eric sipped at his wine.
"It was you, Tem." He finally whispered, and Face picked up the glass and took a large swallow.
"I didn't mean for it to happen. It just did." He looked up, and Face saw the pain in the other man's eyes. "But I knew you didn't
and wouldn't ever feel the same, but I also knew I couldn't go on living a lie. I . . . I told Alicia I wanted a divorce, and she kept
at me, Tem. She asked why, and what had happened, and I finally told her, just to stop her raving, that I'd fallen in love with someone else. She wouldn't let it go, Tem. She kept screaming and shouting, and I finally had to tell her who it was. I finally told her it was you." He looked over at Face, and Face blinked as his face blurred for a moment, then he focused, and put the glass down.
"I . . . I can't have any more wine." He said blandly, as his shock settled in. "I haven't eaten in a day or so. But . . . but what
"Like I said, Tem, she went absolutely insane with rage. I'd never seen her like that. She started cursing your name, you, everything about you. I tried to defend you, tried to tell her it wasn't your fault, but she just kept going. She swore that she'd make you pay. She swore she'd make it so that no one would want you. She said you needed to learn a lesson about lying and destroying peoples' lives for your own selfish bodily desires, as being the Con-man you are, no doubt you'd destroyed other homes like ours, and she was going to punish you in THEIR names too. She also said she knew just the right people who could punish you and teach you not to use people. Cripe, Face, she scared me. I . . . I'm sorry I didn't go to you, but I didn't think . . . I didn't think she'd actually do it. I . . . I just thought she was pissed off at me . . . trying to get back at me by maligning you."
"No." Face shrugged, then looked at the glass he'd picked up at some point during Eric's confession, and looked at it, confused, as half of the liquid was gone. "I REALLY shouldn't have any more wine." He announced, and then drank some more. "Anyway. No, she didn't just do it to hurt you. She pretty much got to me through Hannibal and Murdock . . . I'm not sure, but I think . . . I think B.A. knew too."
"On the phone, you said they were giving you a hard time . . ." Eric's voice was quiet, and he looked at Face, his aspect serious,
and Face laughed bitterly, then saluted Eric with the almost full glass of wine. Some of it sloshed out of the glass, and he watched
it as it ran down his hand and dropped to the floor.
"That's one way of putting it." Face answered bitterly. "And they sure taught me a lesson. Apparently I was desired by more than just you." Face desperately willed himself to shut up, but it was as if he'd lost all control over his tongue, and it continued on despite his inner admonitions to stop.
Eric's eyes opened wide, and he reached over and touched Face's cheek, and held up his fingers. The firelight gleamed off the
wetness of tears that was on his fingertips, and he stared at Face. "Tem. What . . . what are you saying? I . . . I know what
they are. I mean, I recognized it, because of what I am, but I know you didn't, because you're straighter than a steel rod . . ."
"Apparently, I'm not." Face whispered, and bent his head, and felt more tears as his emotions finally released, and more than likely, from the effects of the wine. His tears ran down his face and Eric placed the wine glass back in Face's hand. Face looked at it for a moment as if he didn't know what it was, shrugged, then tipped it back and drained it as he remembered how happy he had been. "It . . . it took Murdock two weeks to seduce me." He whispered. "And I fell in love with him. But this morning . . .
gods was it really only this morning?" Face shook his head slightly. "Anyway, he told me I was a whore, and the only reason
he'd done it was because he and Hannibal wanted to fuck me, and they made a bet I'd never fall for it." He covered his face with his hand, and Eric leaned over, then gingerly, hesitantly, placed an arm around the distraught man. Gently, he stroked Face's soft hair, and then sighed.
"Gods, Tem. I'm so sorry. I never meant for that to happen . . . all I wanted was to not live a lie anymore." He gently tipped the
once more filled wineglass back to Face's lips, and Face drank, as that was what one did when liquid was presented to you. He pulled out of Eric's embrace, and Eric's hand fell to Face's cheek, and his fingers rested lightly against Face's wine-stained lips. "You should never have learned of our life that way, Tem." He said, and Face swallowed as he immediately thought of how Murdock had embraced him and touched him, and pain exploded in his chest.
"I love Murdock, Eric." Face suddenly said. "I love him, but he loves Hannibal, and Hannibal loves him, and I never want to come in between them, but I can't share Murdock either, even if he AND Hannibal are willing! Now I don't know what to do. I can't tell
B.A. what Alicia's done . . . how she lied to him, and to the Team. He'd never believe me. THEY'D never believe me, because they NEVER do when I tell them the truth. Sometimes I think I'm just a tool that Hannibal has. Something he can use at will, but whenever I've got a problem, I've been delayed, or I'm trying to get something done for myself, it's not important or it's a lie. I don't ALWAYS lie, Eric. I wish someone, anyone, would just believe one thing I say, just ONCE without being suspicious of me or wondering about my motives. I've been humiliated so many times . . ." He hung his head, and Eric's fingers slipped over his chin, and he gently cupped Face's chin in his hand.
"I know I'm not one of the Team, Tem, but if it helps, I believe you, and I'm sorry." Eric told him quietly. And I know I'm not Murdock, but . . .since . . . since you know my lifestyle now, and since I love you, would you consider . . . WILL you let ME give you what Murdock won't . . . or can't? Please, Tem, let me comfort you and love you the way you SHOULD be loved?"
Face looked into Eric's eyes, and blinked slowly as the other man went out of focus, and he realized there was no reason for him not to fall into Eric's arms. He'd slept with Murdock, and most of it had been sexually pleasant. And wasn't that what this was all about anyway? Being sexually used? It would be so easy for him just to let go, and let Eric take over and do what he wanted. So easy just to fall into someone else's bed and dispel some of the coldness that had numbed his soul, as easily as he'd used countless women to numb the same kind of coldness.
He could always blame it on the alcohol. It had been done before.
He closed his eyes, and Eric leaned over and gently placed his mouth over Face's lips. Automatically, Face opened his mouth as he felt the familiar feel of stubble as it brushed over his.
The empty wineglass fell from his numb fingers to the hardwood floor, and shattered, and Face gazed at the firelight as it was reflected in the gleaming shards of glass that so resembled his own heart. Suddenly, he knew that he couldn't do it. Murdock was the only man he'd ever been with, and the only man he wanted to be with. If he couldn't have Murdock, then he couldn't . . . wouldn't have any OTHER man either, ever again.
He broke away from Eric's kiss, climbed unsteadily to his feet, and shook his head, which only made his dizziness worse. "Eric." His tongue seemed heavy, and he again shook his head. "I'm sorry." He said, and Eric stood as well. "I . . . I can't do this. I . . . I
love Murdock, and I can't be with any man but him. I . . . I'm not that . . . comfortable with the lifestyle, and I really don't want
it . . . not without love." His voice dropped to a whisper, and he swayed.
"You know, Tem." Eric held Face's shoulders in his hands. "I thought that you might feel that way." Face tried to step away from
Eric, but he couldn't get his body to do what his suddenly sluggish mind told it to do, and he stared dumbly at the man who all but held him upright. "So, I took out a little insurance."
"In . . . insurance?" Face asked, but his voice had thickened, and his words were almost incomprehensible they were so slurred.
Suddenly, he knew what had happened, and that once again someone that he'd believed had been a friend, had betrayed him. "Oh gods, no." He moaned in despair as his vision blurred, then tunneled, and black fingers grabbed at his mind and body and pulled him into a yawning abyss of darkness and hopelessness. "You . . . you drugged me."
His knees finally buckled, and he collapsed, unconscious, into the waiting arms of Eric, who, with a triumphant grin, slowly lowered the limp body to the floor.
was all Eric's idea! Not mine!" Alicia suddenly
wailed as she put her head in her hands. "He said we needed to teach Tem a
lesson! He said he knew JUST the people to teach it to him."
"Us." Hannibal said, as he looked at Murdock, and she nodded.
"Be . . . because of what you are. Because you're gay too. With what you are, he said you could teach Face the lesson better than any woman EVER could!"
"The only lessons we taught him, were lessons in betrayal." Hannibal hissed and paced the room.
"Hannibal!" Murdock wailed. "What have we done!?"
"I have an idea." Hannibal's face was livid with anger, and it was his turn to punch the walls. "But we're DAMNED well going to get it fixed! I WON'T be played for a fool again! This has happened WAY too much lately, and I'm sick of it!" He turned on Alicia. "Lady, get your ex-husband on the phone, and get him on it NOW!"
"I won't!" She shrieked, just shy of hysterically. "If Face weren't so fucking PRETTY, I'D still HAVE a husband! He STILL needs a lesson! He needs to learn that his pretty face and charming liar's tongue won't get him everything! B.A., you've said the same things yourself! You KNOW you have! You said I could always count on you for anything if I ever needed help, and I needed to teach that blond priss that in the grand scheme of things he NOTHING! We're FAMILY, B.A.! They're NOT! You HAVE to be on my side!" She ran to him and threw her arms around him, and he looked down at her, then at Hannibal and Murdock, and saw the shattered look on Murdock's face that matched the one on Alicia's, and was torn.
He knew she'd spoken the truth about them being family, and he also knew that he'd sworn to sworn to protect his Goddaughter at her Christening, and then again when her mother died. Yet, Face was in trouble, and he'd let it happen, because of the supposed innocence of his shattered Goddaughter, and the supposed lies of his friend. He could barely fathom the terrible and intricate levels of thought and planning that had gone into Eric's, and then, by her own admission, Alicia's. Nor could he completely believe the horribly easy way that the entire Team, though they'd known Face for almost fifteen years, had fallen for that much-layered intrigue. He thought of the several occasions before when Face had sworn he'd told the truth, but none of them had believed him, and yet on most occasions, it had turned out later that Face HAD indeed, told the truth. He looked at the others and knew that they had the same thoughts. Face was going to pay for their mistake . . . his mistake, someone else's hatred and jealousy, and he knew that he couldn't allow it to happen under any circumstances, or for anybody. It wasn't fair to Face.
"Call him, 'Licia." B.A set her back at arms length, and his voice booked no room for refusal, and she turned to the others, but knew she'd get no sympathy from them either, and she punched B.A., ineffectual as it was.
"I hate you B.A.! You chose a Trained Liar over me and it's NOT FAIR!" She screamed, stomped her foot, and swept her gaze over the others. "I hate you all!"
"Personally, lady I don't give a rat's ass what you think of me right now. All I want you to do is get your ex-husband on the phone." Hannibal hissed, and Murdock thrust the phone at her.
"Get that asshole on the phone, and get him on it NOW!" Murdock's voice was harsh, and his eyes were frozen pools of muddy water. Almost insane with rage, Alicia gripped the phone, then dialed the number.
Construction And . . .?" Eric's voice was annoyed, and she swallowed.
"Eric?" She asked, and her voice shook.
"Alicia, for gods' sake, woman, what is it NOW?!" He demanded. "I'm a little too busy here right now to deal with your obsessive
histrionics . . ."
"Then get fucking UN-busy!" Hannibal exploded as he grabbed the phone, and almost punched the speaker option. "You owe us an explanation!"
"Interesting way of putting that . . . all of it. As a matter of fact, I was just about to get busy fucking." Eric suddenly chuckled,
and they all looked at one another, as the coldness in his tone would have frozen water.
"Where's Face!?" B.A. demanded.
"Right where he belongs. With me . . ."
"This was all YOUR idea, you bastard! And they're going to kill me because of it all!" Alicia screamed.
"It was NOT all my idea, part of it was yours, you insane bitch. And if they kill you, so what?" They could almost hear the shrug. "I've got what I want now, and you are REALLY becoming a pain in the ass. I may just kill you myself when I'm done with our pretty friend here . . ."
"Don't you TOUCH him!" Murdock suddenly shrieked, as he clenched his hands into fists and his entire body shook with the force of his rage. "You hurt him, and I'll KILL you! Do you hear me!?"
"I'm pretty sure the entire state heard you, there, Murdock." Eric answered. "In fact, you woke my pretty houseguest."
"Murdock!?" They heard Face's voice as he howled out for the pilot, and it was filled with panic that bordered on outright terror. The three men looked angrily, helplessly at one another, as Face continued. "Help me! Fi . . ."
"Shut the hell up! I'm on the fucking phone!" They heard the sound of a dull blow, and something that sounded like muffled yells, and then Eric suddenly yelped loudly and angrily. "You bit me, you damned bitch!" He exclaimed, and with that came the sound of flesh as it struck flesh, and hard, and it was repeated twice. After that was only silence.
"Johnston!" Hannibal yelled. "Damn it! Johnston, if you've hurt him any more, I'll kill you MYSELF! Johnston!"
Eric came back on a moment later, and panted, out of breath. "Oh, he's fine. Just unconscious. You see, I haven't had time yet to teach him all the do's and don'ts around here, but with time, I'll have a wonderfully docile little helpmate. Not like that crazy bitch there with you. I think he's learned his first don't, but I'll make sure the lesson's repeated once he wakes up." He suddenly chuckled. "But you know, you guys certainly do LOVE to make threats, don't you? Too bad they won't amount to anything, as I know where Tem is, and you don't. However, before I go, Murdock, I absolutely HAVE to thank you for breaking Templeton in for me. I've wanted him for a VERY long time, but training a hetero hero to be a homo slave is ridiculously exhausting and tiring. Now that he knows the basics, he'll be sooooooo much easier to train to service me. He's mine now, A-Team, and I'm keeping him." Eric chuckled, the phone went dead, and Murdock all but collapsed to the couch as despair and anguish washed over him. None of the others could look at each other, and the only sound that could be heard was Alicia as she sobbed wildly.
in the dimness in Face's mind, a phone rang, and he knew that if a phone rang, you
were supposed to answer it. However, he couldn't move, and every one of his
muscles felt as if they had weights attached to them. He listened as the phone
was answered, and he heard Eric's voice as he spoke to someone. As if from a
horrible nightmare, he remembered what had happened, and that Eric had drugged
him. Slowly, he forced his mind to concentrate, and he listened to Eric's half
of the conversation.
"Alicia, for gods' sake, woman, what is it now?!" Eric demanded, and Face used his voice to pull him toward consciousness. As he swam up through the hazy depths, he cracked his eyelids, and saw that he lay on the futon, completely naked. His breathing sped up in his chest, and he tried to move his arms, but they were above his head, and from the familiar feel of a too-tight rope as it bit into his wrists and ankles, he knew that he was tied to the sturdy, oak, Futon frame. "I'm a little too busy here right now to deal with your obsessive histrionics . . ."
"Then get fucking UN-busy!" Hannibal exploded as he grabbed the phone, and almost punched the speaker option. "You owe us an explanation!"
Face heard Hannibal's voice as it sounded clearly over the phone, and his heart thudded in his chest. He knew by the tone in the Colonel's voice that he was pissed, and that, finally, it was at the right person.
Face fought the shiver that passed over his body, as Eric's hand stroked his thigh, and the man's next words froze him in place. "Interesting way of putting that . . . all of it. As a matter of fact, I was just about to get busy fucking." Eric suddenly chuckled, and Face couldn't stop the panic that threatened to overwhelm him. He didn't WANT Eric. Not at all, and CERTAINLY not tied down. It had sometimes hurt when Murdock loved him . . . had sex with him, and he had freedom of movement, but tied up as he
was . . . well, he knew there was going to be a LOT MORE pain as suddenly, he realized what Eric had planned for him, and that it had NOTHING to do with love.
"Where's Face!?" B.A. demanded, and Face whimpered as he tried to pull himself out of his drugged stupor and scream out where he was.
where he belongs. With me . . ."
"This was all YOUR idea, you bastard! And they're going to kill me because of it all!" Alicia's hysterical scream interrupted the
conversation, and Face felt the movement as the man shrugged.
"It was NOT all my idea, part of it was yours, you insane bitch! And if they kill you, so what?" Once again Eric's hands stroked
Face's long legs, and Face almost let the darkness that tried to pull him back under, do so, but Eric continued. Adrenaline surged through Face, and he almost opened his eyes right then, as Eric confirmed his worst fear. "I've got what I want now, and you are REALLY becoming a pain in the ass. I may just kill you myself when I'm done with our pretty friend here . . ."
"Don't you TOUCH him!" Murdock suddenly shrieked, and Face's heart soared in his chest. It really sounded like Murdock cared for him! "You hurt him, and I'll KILL you! Do you hear me!?" Face's eyes snapped open, and suddenly, he shivered as he looked up. He found himself skewered by the eyes of undisguised, perverse, raving, naked lust. There was no love and no sympathy, absolutely nothing in those eyes except for cold, unfeeling, carnal want.
"I'm pretty sure the entire state heard you, there, Murdock." Eric answered as he waved his fingers at Face in greeting. "In fact, you woke my pretty houseguest."
"Murdock!?" Face screamed with all the fear he had of the man that hovered over his naked, tied down body, and he didn't bother to try and hide all of the horror and terror he felt. He knew that he couldn't be able to get out where they were, but he knew he had to at least try and give them a clue. "Help me! Fi . . ."
"Shut the hell up! I'm on the fucking phone!" Eric's voice thundered in Face's ears, and then Eric brought the handle of the phone he held across Face's forehead, and brutally covered Face's mouth with his hand. Face tried to yell around the hand that covered
his, but knew that the others wouldn't understand his muffled cries. Finally, he opened his mouth wide, and bit down hard on Eric's hand. Eric bellowed in pain, and then anger. "You bit me, you damned bitch!" He cursed Face, and before Face could say anything else, Eric had smashed his fist into Face's unprotected chin. Face saw stars, and Eric snarled, then plowed his fist into Face's chin again, and once more, darkness took Face's world. A slow breath left him, and his head turned into Eric's palm as he cupped it around Face's cheek then stroked the pale plane that presented itself to him.
Hannibal yelled. "Damn it! Johnston, if you've hurt him any more, I'll
kill you MYSELF! Johnston!"
Eric spoke a moment later, and he panted, out of breath both by his exertions to quiet the unruly man beside him, and the excitement Face's defiance and ultimate punishment had caused. "Oh, he's fine. Just unconscious. You see, I haven't had time yet to teach him all the do's and don'ts around here, but with time, I'll have a wonderfully docile little helpmate. Not like that crazy bitch there with you. I think he's learned his first don't, but I'll make sure the lesson's repeated once he wakes up." He suddenly chuckled. "But you know, you guys certainly do LOVE to make threats, don't you? Too bad they won't amount to anything, as I know where Tem is, and you don't. However, before I go, Murdock, I absolutely HAVE to thank you for breaking Templeton in for me. I've wanted him for a VERY long time, but training a hetero hero to be a homo slave is ridiculously exhausting and tiring. Now that he knows the basics, he'll be sooooooo much easier to train to service me. He's mine now, A-Team, and I'm keeping him." Eric chuckled, purely for the effect he knew it'd have on the others, and hung up the phone.
Slowly he stripped off his own clothing and lay on the Futon beside his unconscious captive. He willed himself to be patient and wait until Face had woken up for their games and their lessons to begin in earnest. However, he contented his desire and stroked the beautiful, naked body that had so taunted him and his dreams from the very first moment he'd met Lieutenant Templeton 'Faceman' Peck.
Murdock looked up from the couch, and his arms were clenched around his middle,
as if he were sick, and from the pallor of his face, he may have been.
"We've got to do something! We can't just leave him with that bastard! We
HAVE to get him back!" Murdock jumped off the couch and paced the room as
if he were a caged tiger . . . a panicked caged tiger. "We HAVE to!"
"Alicia!" Hannibal barked sharply, and she looked up at him, her perfect face marred by the hysterical tears she'd shed. "Knock it
off, and make yourself useful. Where would he go? Where would he go to be alone?"
"I don't know." She answered, and B.A. stepped up to her.
"Don't be lyin' ta' us . . ." He glared, and she shook her head almost wildly.
"I'm not!" She emphatically denied. "He never told me anything of what he does outside the house!" She suddenly gasped. "But...
but there's a room he always used. I never went into it because he forbade me too, and I loved him enough to let him have his secrets. But it's locked by five locks . . ."
"Show us!" Hannibal demanded, and she almost leapt to her feet and ran through the house, up three flights of stairs, and then stopped at a room all the way at the back of the house. Sure enough, it was locked, and by five different kinds of locks, including a padlock. Hannibal's rage needed somewhere to go, if only to free his mind up for other things, and he suddenly hated the door with every ounce of his being. He knew that it hid all the answers he needed and was determined it wouldn't hide them any longer. He pulled out his gun and first blasted off the doorknob, then each and every one of the locks. When he was done, he did, indeed, feel much more composed, though the door still stood. "B.A.." He looked at the bigger man calmly, and stepped back.
He could very likely have kicked the door in himself, but knew that his men also needed an outlet for their fury, and the exercise would clear their minds, at least a little. He had no physical job for Murdock at that moment, but he knew, more on an instinctual level than anything else, that one wouldn't be long in coming. No less determined or angry than Hannibal had been, B.A. literally threw himself at the door. It shuddered, but held, and he hauled off and kicked it with every ounce of strength he possessed. As if it had all it could take, the door gave out a loud, wailing creak, and like some scene from a movie it collapsed into the room.
The four of them, Alicia included, entered the completely black room, and it was Murdock who found, then turned on, the light switch. A moment later, Alicia screamed and ran out of the room.
"Oh dear God." Hannibal exhaled, appalled to the point of absolute horror. The others, could they have spoken through the force of their own paralyzed shock, would have echoed his obvious prayer, for it was the only sentiment that could even BEGIN to be REMOTELY appropriate for what they saw.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of pictures papered the walls, completely covered the windows, and had even started to crawl their way across the ceiling. And they were ALL pictures of Face. Some were shots that Face had posed for, while most were candid shots that he obviously hadn't known had been taken . . . and taken over a period of at least a year.
Then, there were the other pictures. Pictures that filled the Team with loathing, disgust and dread the likes of which they'd never felt before. Like gawkers at a particularly bloody traffic accident, they stared at what were obviously pictures that had been all been cut or ripped from what were clearly slave/bondage magazines.
see Face's beautiful smile, his blue eyes happy and shining brightly over the
tied up, whipped, beaten bodies, was too much for
Murdock. He went after them with a vengeance, and Hannibal and B.A. just let him go. He howled in misery and in a furious frenzy, tore them down, shredded them, then stomped on them, and ground them into the floor.
"B.A.." Hannibal said as he allowed Murdock his freedom to rip and shred as he pleased, as he needed the physical release of his mental pain. "Look at the pictures left. The candid ones especially. Maybe there's a clue there that will tell us where Johnston's holding Face."
Quietly, he and B.A. searched the pictures, but all they saw were trees, city streets, nightclubs, forests, streams, ground, and dirt.
However, Hannibal picked one picture up from a pile on a desk, and squinted at it. Face was posed, and he proudly held up a string of fresh fish that had obviously just been caught. Hannibal turned it over, and read the date on the back, then his blue eyes went steel grey.
"Fi . . ." Hannibal said as he repeated the syllable that Face had screamed at them, and he finally realized what Face had meant. "I know how to find him." He announced without preamble, and Murdock stopped shredding pictures as B.A. looked over at him
attentively. "Face started to say something before he was cut off, and I know he was going to tell us where he was. Murdock, B.A., remember when you and Alicia went to visit your mother last summer, and Murdock and I took off on our own vacation?" The two nodded, and he frowned. "Eric took Face fishing somewhere, and I'm betting that Face kept some record of the place. I also bet that, somewhere, in Face's things, there's the key to finding him."
"His bag's still in the van." B.A. announced, and the three of them spun around, left the room, and ran down the stairs.
"Wait!" Alicia screamed. "Where are you going!? What about me!? He said he'd kill me!"
"If we catch him with Face, doing what we THINK he'll be doing to him, you won't have to worry about him killing you." Murdock scowled.
"And if I were you, lady." Hannibal snarled. "I'd think about taking a nice long vacation, because if I see you again, you may not
have to worry about your husband at ALL."
"B.A.! Do something!" The woman squealed. "He just threatened me!"
"'Licia, I promised I'd take care o' ya', and I always have." B.A. told her, as Murdock yanked Face's bag from behind the seat and
poured the contents on the ground. "But ya' lied ta' me. Now Face is in real bad trouble, and he's goin' ta' be hurt real bad, 'cause I believed you and they believed ya' too. Hannibal ain't goin' ta kill ya' -- no one is. But ya' got ta' take responsibility for your part
in this." He looked down at the ground. "Just like we have ta' take responsibility for our part in it."
"But it was Eric's idea, NOT mine, and YOU'RE the ones who did what you did! I didn't DO anything!" She shrieked, and B.A. turned away from her.
"Ya' talked to us, Girl. You just as guilty as any of us, AND Eric. Ya' know right from wrong, yo' mama taught ya' that, and my Mama finished teachin' ya'. Just like we know right from wrong, but ya' fo'got, just like we did" B.A. turned away from her.
"He took my man away! He and his pretty boy looks broke up my marriage, even if he DIDN'T do what Eric said he did!" She
screamed. "He needs to pay for that, and you're just going to stand there and side with the man who destroyed my life! I thought you were my FRIEND, B.A., but you're NOT!" She stamped her foot. "I'll tell!" She suddenly screamed. "I'll tell everyone I know who you are and where you are!"
"Lady, we're in the papers every day and we've managed to still escape okay. You can tell whoever you damned please, just get the hell out of our faces and let us get on with our business." Hannibal hissed as he and Murdock finally came up with a thick, black book that looked like an address book, and they wasted no more time on the hysterical, spoiled woman who suddenly dashed back into the palatial mansion in a storm of tears and wails about her ruined life.
"Thank God for Face's organization skills." Hannibal said, and he dismissed the problem of Alicia, and exactly who, and what, she would tell, to the more immediate problem of finding Face. "Everything's arranged according to date, and includes subheadings listed alphabetically." He flipped through the book, and stopped, about a third of the way through, and Murdock read over his shoulder, while B.A. gathered Face's things and stuffed them back in the bag.
"Fishing: July 12th. Called by E. to go fishing with him as A. and B. have gone to visit B.'s mother. Was supposed to spend time with H. and M., but they decided to off somewhere together. No clue why, where, or what. Guess it's just one of those crazy, spur of the moment things that crazy people do on A-T. Am taking E. up on his offer, and meeting E. to go to his cabin in Mountain Road Woods, just off the interstate turnoff. E. says it's a hundred yards back from the road, and very secluded, so won't be disturbed by anything but the crickets. Sounds like something I'd say to a potential girlfriend . . . but, he's a man, and he's married to B.'s Goddaughter, and is a good friend to A-T. Probably is just tired and wants downtime due to business volume."
The others cringed at the obvious innocence in the entry that Face had made, and then spared it no more thought as they jumped into the van, which B.A. had gotten fixed before they'd arrived at Alicia's place.
moaned and turned his head as pain engulfed it and his physical countenance,
and he couldn't think clearly. He felt the naked body that lay beside him, and
his heart leapt. "Murdock?" He asked, through a painful split in his
lip, but the voice that answered him was NOT the one he wanted to hear, and the
memories of the recent events overwhelmed his mind.
Fingers stroked his tender head, and it throbbed. "I taught you one lesson, Tem, and that's not to bite me. Now I'm going to give you another don't, and don't make me punish you for disobedience again. I don't want to hear ANY of the Team's names mentioned by you again. Is that clear? You're mine now, Tem, and you're to forget they even existed."
I won't." Face hissed. "They'll come for me. They won't leave me here with you." He added, and an open-handed slap made his head explode in pain.
"They don't know where this place is, and that misguided, ill-advised attempt on your part to tell them, wasn't NEAR enough to give them any clues." He grinned and ran the tip of his tongue over the soft curve of Face's ear, and the man pulled away, as Eric's fingers trailed goosbumps over Face's chest. "So, what say we try this again, huh, my beautiful Templeton."
"No." Face turned his head away, but Eric gripped the abused chin in his hand and forced Face to look at him once more.
"Don't fight me, Tem. I'll get angry, and I really don't want to have to beat you senseless each time you disobey me." He brutally shoved his mouth over Face's, and Face tried to keep his lips closed, but Eric bit them until they opened, and his tongue leapt into the open space.
"No!" Face cried out and lifted his neck and turned his head, first one way and then the next, and dislodged the tongue from his mouth. However, Eric was relentless, and every way that Face turned his head, there was that slick tongue on his mouth. Face rolled his body away from Eric's hands as best as he could, and Eric suddenly growled, then threw his entire weight onto Face and pressed him into the padding of the Futon. Their pelvises pressed together, and Face froze for a moment at the feel of a man on him . . . a man that WASN'T the one he was in love with. "No-o!" Face screamed and heaved upward as far as the ropes that bound him would let him, and Eric was thrown off of Face, and onto the floor.
Rage exploded across the man's face and he picked himself up. "It doesn't have to be this way." He hissed as he grabbed a belt from the floor. "All you have to do is say you want me, and then do whatever I want!" He whipped the heavy piece of leather over Face, and it bit into the flesh of his chest, his stomach, and his thighs. He clenched his teeth against the all-too familiar pain of the whip, and kept his cries inside, and wouldn't allow himself to let Eric see his pain any more than he had let the bastards in the prison camp see it.
I DON'T want you." Face scowled angrily. "I'll never want you, and I'll NEVER do what you say!"
In answer, Eric sat on Face and his groin locked Face's chest to the Futon. Without warning, he viciously yanked Face's head up, then threw the belt around the bound man's throat. He slipped the end of the leather through the buckle, and tightened it until the buckle rested against Face's Adam's apple. Face tried to inhale, but Eric pulled the belt tighter and continued to do so each time Face tried to draw a breath. "You may be stubborn, Templeton, but I'm in charge here, and the sooner you learn that, the better it will go for you." Face watched as everything around him slowly went hazy, and out by the corners of his eyes, darkness slowly tunneled inward, until everything was almost completely black. His struggles lessened, and finally stopped, and immediately, Eric released the belt. Blood raced to Face's brain while oxygen flooded his body, and the darkness dashed in and grabbed him. However, a sharp blow that stung against his already battered face brought him back around. "No. No. No." Eric fairly grinned. "No more unconsciousness. You've slept long enough. It's time to play now."
"They . . . they'll kill you for this." Face rasped, and Eric sighed, distinctly bored.
"So they said." He shrugged and pulled on the belt once more. "And I'm really getting tired of hearing it . . . and I am definitely
tired of hearing you talk. I've got MUCH better plans for your mouth than that." Face's eyes widened in horror and dread as Eric placed his knees on either side of Face's neck and his hard shaft dangled over Face's mouth and the tip brushed his lips.
"No." Face rasped and again tried to turn his head away, but Eric grabbed his bangs and held onto them tightly as he pulled the belt tighter. Face's struggles ceased, and Eric released some of the pressure from the belt.
"You WILL do as I tell you, Tem, or so help me, if I have to whip every last bit of your skin from you, I WILL do it, until you learn to obey me! You're MINE, Tem! Do you hear me!? Mine! And you'll BE mine until I decide you aren't!" The sweat dripped down Face's body, and he shivered as it chilled him and burned the welts from the whipping he'd received, as the heat from Eric's fully engorged rod burned his bloody lips.
The only man's shaft that Face had ever tasted, had ever WANTED to taste had been Murdock's, and that had taken him weeks to get used to. In truth, he wasn't even really all that used to it a month later. But Murdock liked it, and Face wanted to do it because his man liked it. However, Face couldn't take another man into his mouth. He just couldn't. "Eric . . ." He whimpered, and hated himself for his weakness, but every cell in his body trembled in disgust and fear of the man over him. "Please. No . . ." However, the moment he'd opened his mouth, Eric leaned forward, and slipped between the partially open lips.
gagged, and Eric drove himself deeper into the softness of Face's inner mouth,
and Face panicked. He started to close his mouth, but Eric jerked on the belt,
and Face coughed around the intruder. "Don't even begin to close your
mouth, Tem." The man over him hissed. "You bite down on me, and I
swear, I will cut off every one of your fingers ONE by ONE. You really DON'T
want me to do that, do you?"
Face froze, and looked into Eric's eyes. He looked for any sign at all that the man over him bluffed, but there were none. The eyes were cold, cruel, and empty of all save the excitement he so obviously felt. Face knew that Eric could and would indeed carry through with his threat, and no, Face didn't want that. If he lost his fingers, he'd never play the piano again, never crack another safe, pick another lock, or hold another weapon. In short, he'd be useless to the Team when they found him. "No." He whispered, and Eric smiled and gently brushed Face's bloody bangs back from his forehead.
"I didn't think so." He grinned triumphantly. "Now be my good little cocksucker, and open your mouth." Face opened his mouth, and he cringed as the muscles pulled tightly at Eric's unfamiliar length and diameter. "Wider, Tem." Eric gasped, and then rose up, and pressed down. Face closed his eyes, and tears ran down into his ears as Eric raped his mouth. "Open your eyes, damn you!" Eric gasped, and yanked on the belt, and Face's eyes flew open. "MUCH better. Oh yeah. I like it when you watch me little slave. Gods, your eyes are soooooo beautiful when they're filled with tears." He breathed in and out, and threw his head back in ecstasy. He gripped the railing of the Futon with one hand as he rode Face's shoulders, and kept a tight grip on the belt with the other. Suddenly, he roared upward, and plunged down, and almost screamed his orgasm. Face tried to spit it out . . . even Murdock had never made him swallow. Eric once more tightened his grip on the belt and shivered over Face. "Swallow it!" He ordered. "Swallow EVERY last bit! Milk me dry you fucking whore!" He yanked on the belt and Face cried out as the metal buckle pressed into his throat. Eric loosened his hold on the belt, and Face did as he was told. It was hot, it was thick, it was salty, and it was more than Face could stand, and he gagged as his stomach churned, and his face went deathly pale. "Throw that up and I SWEAR I'll beat you so hard you won't be able to walk for a VERY long time."
Face forced it to stay down, only by the sheer force of his willpower, and Eric collapsed onto his back beside Face. "Why?"
Face whispered. "Why me?"
"Because you're beautiful." Eric shrugged. "And you're strong, and I want to break you. You get along on your looks, and that fast
tongue of yours and think you're God's gift to the Human Race. You need to learn humility, and I'M just the man to teach it to you. And once you've learned that, then you'll be my perfect little mate. Quiet, submissive, mostly beautiful . . ."
"Mostly?" Face whispered, and Eric shrugged once again.
"You aren't going to go down quietly. I knew that form the outset." He grinned and turned and leaned his head on his hand as he gazed down at Face. "So . . ." He stroked Face's battered aspect. "You're going to get a little broken in our games. I'm prepared for it. Besides, I think you're beautiful even bruised and bloody. Also, you're a damned lot more exciting than that bitch I was married too." He grinned wider. "I planned so carefully, Tem. I hired a look alike to fuck and blow me where Alicia could see, and
then I played my part soooooo well."
"Part?" Face asked, and through his pain, sickness, and panic, was almost unable to understand the intricacies of the thought that had gone into his kidnapping, and Eric nodded.
"I told her you'd seduced me on our vacation last summer. I told her you'd gotten me drunk and that you and I had sex, and then you left me. I told her you'd made a bet with someone to see if you could seduce a straight, married man. Poor put upon me couldn't live with her any more knowing what I'd done. You see, Tem, there's one thing you have to know about Alicia. She is ONE hell of an obsessive/possessive little bitch, and when her things are taken from her, she goes absolutely wild. She loses all control and acts like a spoiled three year old whose toy has been taken away. She begged me to stay. Pleaded with me even, but I held out. I couldn't go back to her . . . back to her bed. Not after what I'd done. Not after what you'd made me become. And for all of that, you needed to be punished. Needed to be taught a lesson, and I sure wished I knew someone, preferably someone close to you, someone who was gay and could hurt you, to teach you that lesson. I manipulated her perfectly, Tem, and she did JUST as I had known she would, and she ran crying to Big, Black Bad Ass Baracus about how you had spoiled her marriage, ruined her life, and shattered her dreams. He did JUST as I knew HE would, and went back to the all mighty Hannibal Smith,
and he did as I knew HE would, and planned the perfect revenge."
"Murdock." Face whispered through his aching mouth muscles, and Eric scowled.
"THAT was where I went wrong, Tem. I THOUGHT you would be sickened and disgusted, and betrayed. I knew you would have no one to turn to for help, except the last friend you had who was involved in all of this, but who had never said or done anything to you to indicate that he had a part. You see, you aren't stupid Tem. I KNEW you would have figured, sooner or later, that whatever the Team did to you was somehow connected to Alicia and her little tantrum, and, sooner or later, I'd hear from you wondering what went wrong. I set this whole thing up Tem. I set this cabin up to seduce you, and once you were in love with me, you'd do whatever I told you to do, and willingly . . ."
"I wouldn't have . . . " Face told him, but he raised his eyebrows and traced a finger lightly over Face's eyebrows.
"Oh, I figured I'd have to beat you a few times, rape you some, and destroy your ego . . . I told you I'd planned for you to stay not
quite as pretty as you were, but, eventually, you'd give up, especially when your Team no longer wanted you . . . especially when
I let them know you were with me, and what we were doing."
"Doing?" Face asked, and Eric shook his head and rolled his eyes, disgusted with the bloodied man beside him.
"Gods, Tem! Just how naive are you!? You've got talent, man! You've got one HELL of a sharp mind, you're a Hell of a Con, and your potential for carrying out criminal acts with impunity is WASTED on that goody-goody Team! The things we could do together with your brains and skills and with me holding your chains and working from behind the scenes." He clenched his fist and slammed it into the mattress by Face's head, and Face couldn't stop himself as he flinched. "But then you went and fell in love with that friggin' crazy-assed pilot! And if he's not in love with you, I'll cut off my own dick and eat it!"
"Love?" Face's eyes widened, and he stared at Eric, and hope lit up his eyes, but the man beside him suddenly snarled.
"Yes, LOVE, my love. The way he sounded, if he could have come through the phone and strangled me with his own entrails, he would have. But don't get your hopes up little slave." Eric grinned. "You'll never see him again, and the only coming that's going to happen is when I shove myself so far into your hot, tight little ass, you'll feel me fucking the back of your throat!" He gripped Face's hips in his hand, and rolled Face onto his side. "And speaking of asses and coming, I'm ready for round two."
"No!" Face screamed. He hadn't wanted to scream. He hadn't expected to scream. He'd expected to be the strong soldier he was and take whatever Eric did to him, and take it like . . . well, like a man . . . at least, like a man was supposed to take things. The way they always did in the movies and on television: A stiff upper lip and revenge in their eyes. But his nerves were raw, his psyche almost shattered, and he knew that if Eric took him forcibly, if Eric raped him in ever sense of the word, not only would the physical pain be an agony he couldn't bear, but his mental pain would be FAR worse, and Face didn't know if he'd have the strength to go on. He didn't know if he'd have the strength, or the will, to live. He didn't know if he'd be able to persevere and wait for Murdock to rescue him . . . to find out if the pilot, his best friend, his lover . . . really DID love him.
Eric pressed against Face's tight buttocks muscles, and Face tried to pull out of the man's hands, but Eric just swayed and moved with him, and with a hand, he opened Face to him.
"So beautiful." He moaned as if hypnotized, and without warning, pushed his fingers into Face.
Oh gods, did it hurt, and Eric moved the fingers around and it hurt again. "So tight." He moaned, and Face sobbed brokenly as he felt the fingers as they brutally and repeatedly, pushed in and pulled out of him. He cried out as the pain became intolerable and silence impossible.
Viciously Eric twisted his fingers inside Face, and then opened them just as savagely. Face clenched at the ropes and his nails dug into his palms as his hips came off the bed, and he screamed once more. Eric positioned himself behind Face and yanked his fingers out of Face, who collapsed onto the Futon. His body shook, and he whimpered as Eric touched Face's flaming center with his spike-like shaft.
Hannibal called out suddenly, and pointed out the windshield. "There's the turnoff!" The van spit gravel from its
back tires as B.A. spun the wheel, and yanked the van around the corner, which
it took almost on two wheels. "Slow down, B.A.." Hannibal said.
"And look sharp guys. We're looking for a driveway or something that would
indicate an entrance big enough for a car."
"I see it, Colonel." B.A. quietly announced after about ten minutes, and stopped the van at the entrance of what amounted to little more than a rutted path.
"We get out and walk from here." Hannibal told them, and the two others stared at him, but B.A. acquiesced, though reluctantly, and killed the engine.
"But Colonel . . ." Murdock was almost frantic, and Hannibal turned around and looked at him more seriously than either B.A. or Murdock remembered him looking at them in a VERY long time.
"Surprise and silence are our biggest assets right now." He answered by way of explanation. "This is Johnston's territory, and he knows the terrain. We can't risk announcing ourselves and giving him the chance slim though it may be, to escape, and maybe take Face with him. I want ALL of us in place before we bust in to take him down." Hannibal made sure both men looked directly at him and that he had their complete attention, then spoke again. "And, one more thing. No matter what happens, no matter what he's done, NOBODY kills him." He waited a moment and, as he knew they would be, the protests were fast . . . and furious,.
"Don't kill . . . !?" Murdock was almost apoplectic with the force of his rage. "Colonel, after what HE'S done! What he's caused! If he hurts Face . . ."
"I took him inta' my family, Hannibal!" B.A. was right behind Murdock. "He sat at my Mama's table, and lied ta' HER, and then lied ta' all a' us! He's GOT to pay for what he's done! 'Cause a' who we are, there ain't no law in the country goin' ta' be able ta' make him pay! We gotta' . . ."
"Listen, guys." Hannibal's voice was quiet, but intense, and his blue eyes burned into the brown eyes' of what remained of his Team. "I've thought about this the entire way here. When we left Vietnam, we vowed we'd never take another life, and we haven't broken that vow the entire time we've been on the run. Not only that, but you both know that WE'RE as much to blame for this situation as Johnston is. Yes, HE'S the one who used Face, Alicia, and ultimately us. However, WE assumed the absolute worse about Face because a woman came wailing hysterically to us about how he betrayed her. And who was it we believed? Who was it that we NATURALLY assumed was in the right, JUST because it involved a sexual situation?"
"Her." Murdock whispered, deeply ashamed of himself, and he looked down.
Hannibal nodded. "And who DIDN'T we even consider to ask just ONCE if it were true or not?"
"Faceman." B.A. answered, and realized where Hannibal was going, even if he didn't want to see it.
"Right. And, really, this is no different than in any OTHER situation where we've ALWAYS believed the other person, rather than Face. So, if we kill Johnston for what HE did . . ." Hannibal started, and Murdock sighed.
"Then we may as well kill ourselves, because we're obviously no better than he is . . . especially in THIS case." The pilot's voice
was quiet, and it trembled.
"Yeah." Hannibal finally looked down at the floorboards. "Also, think about this -- if he's hurt Face like we believe he might, or already has, then Face may need long term care . . ." His voice cracked, but he went on, though it was obviously an effort. "Both physically and/or mentally. If we kill Johnston, we move up from being twenty year old bank robbers in another country in another time in a war no one wants to remember, to being murderers no better than any other modern day, wanted felon. We'll be instantly hated and hounded by almost everyone in the country. We'll have no friends, no one who will shield us, and no place to hide . . . no place to rest . . . and no place to, God willing, heal." He put one hand on B.A.'s shoulder, and the other on Murdock's, and squeezed gently, even as he briefly closed his eyes. "Right now guys, the way things stand, Face needs The A-Team. He doesn't need an avenging older brother . . ." He tightened his grip on B.A. "Nor a raging lover . . ." He squeezed Murdock's shoulder and sighed. "Nor a pissed off father."
It was quiet in the van for a moment, and finally, Murdock nodded, though it was clear he wasn't happy, but his voice was steady as he answered. "I understand, Hannibal."
"Me too -- don't mean I gotta' like it though." B.A. growled, and Hannibal nodded.
"I know. Believe me, I know. Okay, let's move out." As one, the trio slipped out of the van, and as quietly as they had trod through the jungles of Vietnam, they walked through the forest of California. Finally, after they'd walked about fifty feet into the forest, they came to the rental car that Face had stolen, and they crouched behind it as they observed the eerily quiet cabin.
A shrill, agonized scream suddenly rent the calm of the forest, and every last one of them recognized it as Face's. Hannibal's arm shot out as Murdock and B.A. suddenly jumped up, and he grabbed hold of them both. It had been one of the hardest things for him to do and his agony showed, even as he was skewered by both an angry glare and an agonized stare.
"Colonel . . ." Murdock struggled to get away, and Hannibal sincerely hoped that B.A. wouldn't follow suit, because he knew
he'd've never have been able to hold him.
"Damn it!" Hannibal hissed. "No escape, remember? B.A., get around to the back of the shack and let us know when you're in place. Murdock you're with me through the front door. B.A., ten seconds after you let us know you're ready, we go in together -- AS. A . TEAM."
"Sorry, Colonel." B.A. offered, and without another word, left Murdock and Hannibal. Quietly, or as quietly as the big man could,
he sneaked around the side of the cabin.
"Can I just wing him, Colonel?" Murdock pleaded as he pulled out his weapon. "Please? Just a teeny tiny little bullet wound to the
shoulder? It won't kill him . . ."
Hannibal swallowed, and wanted to tell Murdock 'yes', but he knew he couldn't. Murdock was completely unpredictable and as such couldn't be depended upon, especially in his current emotional state, to actually miss if he shot at the man they had both called 'friend'.
"Murdock." He swallowed quietly, and took the gun from the pilot. "B.A. and I are going to handle Johnston." He put a calm hand that spoke of none of his own shame, rage, or misgiving, on Murdock's shoulder, and made sure that he looked the pilot directly in his eyes. "You have a MUCH more important job, and that's to protect Face. You have to see what you can do to help him." He glanced at the cabin, and then looked back into Murdock's eyes. "Remember what I said earlier. He let you bed him, Murdock, and he stayed with you. Not only that, but he called out to you, not me or B.A., but to YOU, in his panic, on the phone. There had to be a reason for all of that, Murdock, and I don't think, after the way we treated him, that it was JUST the fact you were his best friend."
blinked and nodded. "O . . . okay, Hannibal." He inhaled deeply, and
Hannibal smiled, then clapped the man on the shoulder, and together they
quietly made it to the porch. Hannibal drew his own weapon, and for a moment,
all was silent.
However, that silence was shattered by a crash from the back of the cabin. The two men looked at one another and knew that B.A. had entered the cabin . . . B.A.'s signal that he was in place. Suddenly, Hannibal raised his foot and smashed the front door in.
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