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This page last viewed: 2017-11-16 and has been viewed 1134 times

Team Fuzzies

by Charon


Rating: G

Disclaimer: Not Mine. Never Were. No Money.

Warnings: None

Episode Spoilers: Most Of 5th Season Episodes Mentioned (Not Sure Of Titles)

Summary: Talking, Companionship, Lots Of Warm Fuzzies

Author's Notes: This Is Just Something Goofy That Came Out Of Watching My Best Friend Study For A Class. Thanks Cat, For Letting Me Use Your Class Notes :-D




            Hannibal sighed as he looked around the jungle scenery that surrounded them, and wondered if maybe, just maybe, he was getting too old or this kind of crap.


            The mission had gone well, right up until the end, and they'd had to grab the first plane they'd come to, and sure enough, it'd crashed. None of them had gotten hurt in the crash, but B.A. sure was ticked. However, there'd been nothing for any of them to do but make the best of the situation, and everyone knew it.


            Which was exactly what they had done. All in all, Hannibal reflected as he walked around the perimeter of the camp they'd set up and smoked his cigar, it wasn't too bad. Frankie and Stockwell knew where they were, thanks to Face requisitioning something for the team called a Satellite Location Device. Hannibal shook his head. He wasn't sure if he liked all the electronics they suddenly had to rely on, but he knew that times had changed, and that a man who wanted to survive in the world they were in, had to at least keep up with the bad guys as far as equipment went.


            Hannibal looked over at B.A., who scowled at Murdock as the two played cards by the firelight, and then looked over at Face, who wore a pair of headphones and sat in front of a laptop computer, as his fingers typed busily. Hannibal walked over to his men, as there was no real reason to keep a patrol, and knelt by the fire, even as Murdock laughed and slapped down his cards.


            "Blackjack!" He exclaimed happily, and B.A. growled.


            "Third hand you've won in a row." The bigger man frowned. "You been takin' lessons from Face?"


            "Only as the ones I can without cheating." Murdock grinned, then smiled as Face looked up at him, slipped the headphones off, and raised his eyebrow as he saved whatever it was he'd been working on.


            "I do NOT cheat." Face protested as his blue eyes gleamed in the firelight. "I merely assess all the various methods of winning and then go with the most creative and most difficult method of losing."


            "In other words, you cheat." Hannibal grinned at his Lieutenant, who snorted.


            "In the laymen's sense, I guess you'd call it that." Face finally admitted, and bent his head back over the laptop.


            "Say, Faceman, what'cha' doing? You've been typing for the last half hour." Murdock looked over Face's shoulder, and Face sighed as Murdock read a line out loud. "In 1945, due to the fear that Japanese Shintoism was so connected to the Empire, upon the Japanese defeat in WWII, General Douglas MacArthur, in the Shinto Directive, prohibited the Japanese Government on any level from promoting the Shinto religion." Murdock stared at Face. "Why are you writing about Japanese religion?"


            "Uh . . ." Face colored and cleared his throat. "It's homework." He answered.


            "Homework?" B.A. gazed at Face, confused. "What da' ya' mean, homework?"


            "I'm taking an online course and finishing up a degree." Face rubbed his forehead, embarrassed. "Of course, I can't actually GET the degree from the college, but if I wanted to, I could print it up myself." He shrugged.


            "A degree? You're getting a degree? What kind of a degree?" Hannibal asked, fascinated, as he always was, every time Face managed to surprise him, which actually was more often than the Colonel liked to admit.


            "This one's in History." Face flushed. "Not a particularly useful degree as far as the team's concerned, I know, but once I get it finished, I'll go back to working on the one in languages. I just can't do both of them at once. Not with all the missions we run."


            "THIS one? As in more than one?" Murdock's eyes widened. "And just how many do you have . . . or would have if you were actually allowed to graduate publicly?"


            "Uh . . ." Face cleared his throat. "A few." He indicated the laptop. " But the one in languages could translate into a PhD, if I were actively pursuing it." He laughed. "I think I just lack the Dissertation. Thanks goodness I'm not going for a PhD. I'd hate to have to write a Dissertation on languages. More work involved in that than I'm actually willing to do."


            "A PhD in languages?" Hannibal sighed. "Okay, Face, confess. And I don't mean just answering the questions as we put them to you. I mean full confession time. How many and what kind of degrees would you hold if you did do this college thing like every other normal person?"


            "Um . . . I told you about Ashley, well, if it weren't for the Bar Exam, I could be a lawyer tomorrow. I essentially have a Masters in Languages and like I said, a few more courses and a Dissertation and I could be a PhD there. I have enough courses to hold a Bachelors in Liberal Arts, I'm working on a Bachelors in History, I have several Certificates and one Bachelors degree in Business, one almost Masters in Computers, and under a couple of other names, I have a Bachelors in Accounting and a Masters in Music . . ."


            "Music?" B.A. demanded, and Face nodded.


            "Yeah. I play a few instruments . . ." He glanced at Hannibal and looked at his hands. "I mean, I actually play eleven instruments, and for a couple of finals I composed a couple of symphonies and stuff. Nothing earth shattering, but not bad if I say so myself." He grinned. "In fact, they were actually performed by the college orchestra and I still occasionally listen to the recordings." He ran a hand over his face. "And of course, there's the various courses I've taken just because I've been interested in them, and because they could have come in handy on assignments."


            "Like what?" B.A. couldn't help but ask, and Face grinned.


            "Well, after the fiasco in Germany, I took a German course."  He tilted his head. "Actually, that's what got me back into languages." He grinned. "Although I don't think my ancient Greek and Latin courses will help us too much today. I just took those because I was interested in them."


            "You mean to tell me you took Ancient Greek and Latin courses JUST because you were interested in them?" Murdock blinked at Face in astonishment.


            "Sure." Face smiled. "I could teach you if you're interested. Somewhere among my credentials I have a teacher's license . . . but you'd have to go back to high school in order to learn from me." He winked. "And I would really hate to have to put you through that torture."


            "A real license? To teach high school?" Hannibal tried to picture Face as a high school teacher and decided that Face's class would certainly be popular among the female set, no matter what he taught.


            "It'd definitely stand up under scrutiny." Face grinned.


            "And this history course? What prompted you to study history and to go for a degree in that?" Hannibal looked at the laptop, and Face worried his bottom lip.


            "Well, when we were in Vietnam, I got interested in the Asian culture and wanted to learn more about it, so I took a course or two there through the army, and over time, I took more and more courses. The last time we were in China rekindled my interest." He blushed. "I know I probably shouldn't have brought my homework with me on this mission, but I've got an essay due at midnight USA EST on Monday and needed to get it done. Thought I could get it at least started on the plane in and out of this place. Had no idea I'd get time to do it in the middle of the jungle. But, any port in a storm, so to speak."


            "Don't you usually need books or somethin' when you do homework? I have ta' al'ays remind the kids at the center ta' take their books with `em when they go home." B.A. grumbled and Face shook his head.


            "No. I downloaded the mini-lecture into my laptop already, and read the chapter I needed to before we left. And then of course, there's this." He tapped his head. "I've got a largely photographic memory, and it comes in really handy at times like these. Kind of gives me an edge over the competition. My teammates at college hated me because of it. They'd have to spend three hours studying, and I could read a page and have it all right here in less than half the time."


            "We figured you had a photographic mind." Hannibal nodded. "Nice to have it finally confirmed. Now at least we know part of your secret." He grinned at Face, who laughed back, then shook his head.


            "It's not completely a photographic memory." He denied. "Facts, figures, dates, places, and names get stuck in here whether I want them or not, but the more abstract concepts I need to study for and to remind myself about. Physics stuff stays, but stuff like Quantum Physics and I forget it, literally. Notice I'm not a rocket scientist. That's what we have Murdock for." He winked at his friend.


            "And we know how well that worked out." Murdock grinned, and the others stared at Face as if they'd never really seen him before.


            "You know, Face." Hannibal shook his head in bemusement. "You keep showing the fashion plate, playboy aspect of you, and people have a tendency to forget that's one hell of a brain you've got under that perfect hair and behind that perfect smile."


            "Thanks." Face tilted his head and grinned lopsidedly. "I think."


            "Face." Murdock looked solemnly at his friend. "Why do you do it?"


            "Why do I do what?" Face looked at Murdock, confused.


            "Why do you make people think the only thing there is to you is what they see?"


            "Why not?" Face shrugged. "One of the reasons a con works is because people make up their own minds about you and it's usually based on looks and first impressions. If people thought that I were smart, or that there were more to me than just what they see on the surface, I'd lose my edge." He shrugged. "Besides, to tell you the truth, no one really cared that there was more to me before. They didn't need me or want me for anything other than what I could get for them."


            "Speaking of something along those lines, Face . . ." Hannibal spoke up and blew a ring of smoke into the sky. "There's something I've been meaning to ask for a long time, and now seems like as good a time as any to ask."


            "Okay." Face swallowed, closed the lid of his laptop, and faced his Colonel as an uncomfortable silence was filled by the sounds of the jungle.


            "Why are you still here?" Hannibal finally asked.


            "What?" Face was startled. "What do you mean, why am I still where?"


            "He means wit' us, foo'." B.A. answered, and the three others glanced at one another. "I kinda' been meanin' ta' ask ya' that myself."


            "And so've I." Murdock nodded. "After all Face, you've got the looks, the talent, and obviously the brains . . ." He indicated the laptop. "To do anything and be just about anybody you want. And yet, you're still here, with us. It doesn't make any sense. Especially given the fact that you want, more than the rest of us, to have what supposedly passes for a normal life."


            "Murdock's right, Face. I mean, come on, less than seven months ago, you almost died." Hannibal looked into the handsome face of his Lieutenant, and his own bright blue eyes clouded at the still painful memory of seeing Face's bloody body stretched out on the kitchen floor of the Italian restaurant. "Yet, you're still here and still doing the same things you did before."


            "And just three months before that, you tried to leave, because you didn't like, and didn't trust Stockwell." B.A. reminded the Lieutenant.


            "And all that stuff with A. J. Bancroft . . ." Murdock tossed a rock into the trees. "You could have taken on your birth name and gotten the heck away from us, but you didn't. Just what is it that's keeping you here with us?"


Face was silent as he leaned back against a fallen log and looked up into the canopy of the jungle trees. "Actually, I discussed the A.J. Bancroft/Richard thing with Ellen." He let out a breath. "And we came to the conclusion that it would be better for everyone if there were no mention of me in the Bancroft family."


            "What?" Hannibal exclaimed and frowned at Face.


            "Yeah." Face looked at the ground and picked a piece if dirt from his pants. "Seems there was enough of a taint on the family name already and Ellen decided that the family didn't need another criminal in it."


            "Are you saying she rejected your claim to both your own name AND the family?" Murdock blinked in absolute shock.


            "And that's putting it nicely." Face nodded slightly and sighed. "In short, I'm never to darken the Bancroft door with my presence, or she'd go public and say that my claims were false and then she'd call the military on us." He indicated the others.


            "But they ain't false!" B.A. sat up, angry at the woman who'd rejected his friend. "Stockwell chased down the information hi'self!"


            "Unfortunately, there's no paper trail to follow and a lot of Stockwell's information was word of mouth." Face shrugged. "There's no birth certificate for Richard Bancroft, no school records for Richard Bancroft, no medical records for Richard Bancroft, and because of that, there's no proof that a Richard Bancroft ever existed." He shrugged. "Except for the word of a dead man and a few nurses and whatnot, of course." He sighed. "So, in short, there's no Richard Bancroft, and if there's no Richard Bancroft, then there's no family claim."


            "And you were going to tell us this . . . when?" Hannibal ached for his younger friend, and Face shook his head.


            "Never." He admitted somewhat reluctantly. "It didn't seem like something you guys needed to deal with. Especially with all the stuff Stockwell keeps putting us through."


            "Are you saying that you weren't going to tell us that your only family, your real one at that, rejected you? I don't get it. Why wouldn't you tell us that?" Murdock looked hurt, and Face sighed.


            "You get kicked enough, you just come to expect it, and it doesn't hurt quite so much. Besides, I could and can see where Ellen was and is coming from, and it made and makes a lot of sense. After all, you can't clean up a dirty counter with a dirty rag. You have to have a completely clean one, and that's what Ellen wanted. So, since there's no such person as Richard Bancroft complete with biological family, all that's left now is Templeton Peck, orphan." He spread his arms and bowed to the group.


            There was silence for a moment, then the others gathered closer to Face and Hannibal gripped his shoulder. "I'm still sorry to hear it, Face. You deserve better than that."


            "I'm sorry too, man." B.A. said gruffly and sat next to Face. "Things like that shouldn't happen, especially in families."


            "Yeah. I thought families were supposed to be there for one another." Murdock patted his arm comfortingly and Face smiled wanly.


            "But, Face." Hannibal looked at him again. "With Ellen rejecting you like that, I would have thought you'd've taken off. Kind of the last straw so to speak."


            "Oh, I thought about it." Face nodded and leaned his back against B.A., who shifted to accommodate the weight. "No doubt about that, but then I got shot." He looked around at them. "And I remember certain things from that night." He smiled gently. "You don't have a whole lot else to do but listen when you just lay in one spot and shiver and try not to die." He closed his eyes. "Man, I hadn't hurt so bad since `Nam." He shuddered, and Murdock gripped his arm, as if to convince himself that Face was still with them. "But anyway, I remember hearing Murdock tell the main goon that he was only seconds away from being in the same condition I was in. I hadn't heard Murdock that furious in years. Then when you guys came in, your first question was about me." He chuckled. "Then Murdock just about beat the crap out of the guy that shot me." He smiled broadly. "And you were all there when I woke up in the hospital. I didn't wake up alone." He closed his eyes and laughed. "I can't tell you how good a feeling THAT was. Even when I was recovering, you were all so amazingly tolerant of me." He smiled ruefully. "I know I didn't make it easy on you."


            "No, you didn't." Hannibal frowned. "If you weren't whining about being uncomfortable, wanting pillows, drinks, special and weird foods, and other stuff, you were over-doing it in your physical therapy sessions or trying to sneak off to meet some woman. You were harder to keep track of than a teenager."


            "You make a very BAD patient Face." Murdock sighed and rolled his eyes.


            "Yeah, I thought I was goin' ta' kill ya' myself by the time ya' got the okay ta' go back on missions." B.A. added gruffly.


            "But you didn't kill me." Face grinned. "And there's your answer."


            "Our answer?" Hannibal was thoroughly confused.


            "To your question of why I'm still here." Face sighed. "Do you guys have any idea how many times I've asked myself why you kept me on the team after I screwed up with some girl or when a scam wouldn't exactly go the way it was planned?" He closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply as he swung his legs over Murdock's lap, and the man shifted to allow it. "And then, after my fake pardon . . ." He shook his head and flushed scarlet with shame. He looked away, then back as their hands never left him, only gripped him tighter in sympathy. "I mean, after the way I acted, you guys could have, and should have, thrown me off the team so fast I would have felt the suction for a week afterward. But you never did. You let me stew for a couple of days, and I suffered one really miserable training exercise, but you still let me stay on the team."


            "And that's why you're still with us? Because we let you stay on the team after you screw up?" Murdock was completely lost.


            "If people were tossed off the team because they screwed up one way or the other, then there wouldn't be a team at all." Hannibal admitted and shook his head as he thought of the number of times they'd ALL made mistakes, many of them not particularly bright ones.


            "Can't deny that." B.A. agreed, and Face smiled.


            "That may be true, but we aren't talking about any of you. We're talking about me and my reasons for still being with you and on the team." He settled himself more comfortably against his teammates. "The thing is, none of you have ever tried to change me. You've let me make mistakes, you've let me try things my own way, and you've let me work mostly as I will. You've also never made me do things that I didn't like or want to if I really, really protested them and not whined merely for appearances sake. And then when I have made mistakes, you haven't hung them over my head like banners of shame." He smiled and looked through the tree tops to the bright stars above them. "I noticed, but I never really thought, until I got shot, about what all you really do for me and let me do."


            "That's what a Team's supposed to do, Face." Hannibal was embarrassed, and he covered it by puffing on his cigar.


            Face looked at them and blushed. "The thing is, Hannibal, we're more than just a team. You guys are my family. I just never realized it before." He sighed. "That's why it didn't hurt as much as it could have when Ellen rejected me. You see, I've already got the best family a man can ask for, and I know that when/and/or if, and at this point I really don't care what it is, we ever get the pardons, then I know we'll still be together. The same way as we've always been together. And then, just like you said before Hannibal, there's always the thugs in the park and motorcycle gangs taking over towns." He grinned. "So I know I won't ever have to worry about getting bored. And, I also know that as long as I'm with my family, there's nothing we can't do, and there's nothing I'm not willing to do for you."


            "Awww. That's so nice, Face." Murdock said, and Face blushed.


            "I probably should have said this stuff before I almost died, but how do you tell the best friends you've got that you love them?"


            "Just like that, foo'!" B.A. grinned, and hugged the smaller man tightly.


            "As long as we're sharing here, that's the same way I feel about you . . . all of you." Hannibal smiled at his friends, more glad at that moment than any other, that he had chosen to bring the four of them together.


            "And me too." Murdock admitted enthusiastically, and B.A. nodded.


            "We sure do be a family." He looked around at the four of them. "But you got to admit, we make one strange lookin' family." B.A. said, but he grinned, and the others laughed.


            "True, but we certainly deserve each other." Murdock laughed, and he and B.A. looked at one another and grinned, then looked at Face as he lay stretched comfortably between them. "But, as for you . . ."


            "We ain't no bed!" B.A. declared, and he and Murdock dumped Face to the ground. The laptop hit the ground, and Face dove for it.


            "My essay!" He yelped, but the laptop turned itself off. "Aw crap!" He whined. "Now I've got to type it all over again!" He turned to Murdock and stood, a scowl on his face, and Murdock backed away, his hands raised in supplication and self-defense.


            "Gee, I'm sorry, Face, but I'm sure that with your superior mind, you can remember it, and it'll be easy for you to re-do!"


            "Yes, and if someone else types it, it'll be even easier to do." Face advanced on Murdock, but the pilot jumped behind B.A...


            "Alley Alley Oxen Free!" Murdock yelled. "Home Base! Faceman can't get me!"


            "No fair hiding behind B.A.!" Face exclaimed and went for Murdock, but B.A. grabbed him by the collar and brought him up short, then reached around and grabbed Murdock and yanked him around until he was in front of him, and he held onto both of them.


            "Stop messin' around me! I ain't yer Home Base!" He glared at the two smaller men, and Face and Murdock looked at one another. Suddenly the same mischevious glint filled one set of brown eyes and one set of blue eyes, and the same sly smile crossed their faces.


            "Doggie pile on B.A.!" Murdock yelled, and he and Face swung toward the bigger man, who was thrown off balance. The three of them tumbled to the jungle floor amidst a tangle of arms and legs, and three over-grown children's laughter rang throughout the calm of the jungle night.


            Hannibal watched the three of them wrestle, and grinned as Face and Murdock, for the space of a minute, gained the upper hand over B.A., and then promptly lost it. He puffed contentedly on his cigar and shook his head at their VERY rare antics, as he saved Face's laptop from certain doom. A chuckle let him and he leaned against a tree, out of the way of the flailing limbs of his friends . . . his family.


            Maybe he wasn't too old for this crap after all.





Team Fuzzies by Charon



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