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This page last viewed: 2017-12-12 and has been viewed 3786 times
By Jullian Gray
Summary: This is an AU story a story of what if? What if Face had never met up with Hannibal and his A-Team in Vietnam? Would they have met later in life, how different would their lives be?
Warning: Well it is one of my stories so that means that there will be SLASH with H/F and F/OC, foul language, violence, mention of rape and torture, mental anguish, prostitution, drug abuse, heck if you have a quirk I most likely have it in here somewhere so be warned.
Special Thanks as always to HannibalFan52 and Shee for all of their help in making this readable.
Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith knew that he shouldn't be out cruising the Las Vegas strip for a one-night-stand, but he just didn't want to be alone, and the thought of making small talk in some bar to pick up a woman made him shudder. It wasn't that he had anything against women; they were exotic creatures, and he had loved several over his lifetime. The problem was that he was a hardened military man and found that he didn't have much in common with the fairer sex.
There was also the fact that tonight he didn't want to be gentle. Tonight he needed to vent his frustrations, and that was something that women just didn't understand. He had come to the conference in Vegas knowing that he was going to be moved into another position; he and several other officers were up for commendations. What he hadn't known was that along with his new rank came a desk. He would be pulled out of the field and moved into an office where he would push paper for eight hours a day. The bitch of it was that Hannibal knew the Army brass thought they were doing him a favor.
"Fifteen years and two conflicts, and this is what I get," Hannibal bitched as he looked at the men standing on the street.
Driving farther down the strip, he noticed several young men, leaning against the side of a lamp post in typical prostitute fashion. Hannibal slowed to look at them, but quickly sped back up when he realized they were not the type of men he would be interested in. He wasn't looking for a man who wanted to be a woman.
After driving around for another hour, he decided to go back to his hotel. He berated himself for being so stupid as to come out on the strip and look for a whore in the first place. He would be promoted to general in the next six months, and though he hated the thought of the desk job, he knew the promotion would bump his pay grade up enough that he could retire earlier than he had hoped. The last thing he needed was an "attempt to solicit" on his record. Though he was sure, his friend Decker would have a field day kidding him about it until he found out that it was a man that Hannibal had tried to pick up; then Lord only knew what would happen.
Hannibal let out a long, deep sigh as he realized that he was going to spend another night alone.
"Just like your entire life," he mumbled to himself as he watched the people walking up and down the street.
Two blocks from the hotel, he was stopped by a red light. Looking around, he noticed an attractive young blonde-haired man standing on the corner, smoking a cigarette.
No, not attractive, Hannibal thought. Beautiful. As he continued to look the blonde over, the younger man turned to look on at him. Their eyes met, and Hannibal felt his heart leap along with his groin. The blonde looked at him for several long seconds before he moved from his spot and advanced toward the car. As he watched the younger man come towards him, Hannibal prayed that the light wouldn't turn green.
As luck would have it, the light turned just as the blonde got to the window. Without a moment's hesitation, the young man opened the rental car's door and climbed in on the passenger's side.
"You a cop?" the blonde asked as he flipped his cigarette out the window.
"No." Hannibal looked at the younger man, stunned by his boldness.
"Then you'd better get moving before you get pulled over by one." The blonde smiled at him, a smile, Hannibal added, that lit up the entire car.
"Name's Alvin." The blonde flashed him another quick smile.
"John." Hannibal glanced at the other man.
"What are you looking for, John?"
"Something quick, and without commitment."
"Aren't we all John," The blonde shook his head, "Here are the rules John; cash up front; it's fifty for a blow and one hundred for a screw. I don't do anything kinky."
"Direct and to the point, aren't you?" Hannibal raised an eyebrow at the younger man's no nonsense manner.
"You wanted quick, and I'm giving you the options." Alvin stated glancing at him.
Hannibal nodded as they pulled into the parking lot of a seedy motel.
Hannibal thrust harder and harder into the younger man under him, his frustrations leaving his body with each deep, powerful stroke. The Colonel's hands dug into the blonde's flesh as he held him tightly in place, preventing him from moving forward as he had tried to do earlier when he had began the brutal pounding. Alvin grunted below him, though whether from pleasure or pain, he did not know or care.
"Fucking bastards put me behind a desk," Hannibal growled as he pounded in and out of the body below him. "All those years, and they stick me behind a desk, like some used-up, useless piece of meat!" With one last powerful thrust, he came. He continued to slam into the smaller man until he was completely spent. Suddenly exhausted, he laid his head on the blonde's sweat-soaked back as he loosened his grip on the narrow hips. He stayed in that position for several minutes before pulling out of the other man's body.
Without saying a word, he moved off the bed and into the bathroom to get rid of the condom and clean up. It was not until then that he noticed the blood on the condom and his pubic hair.
"Shit", Hannibal thought as he wiped the blood away from his body. If the prostitute had something and didn't tell him, he would tear him apart. Stepping out of the bathroom, he moved over to the side of the bed where the younger man was still lying and grabbed him by the hair, forcing his head up.
"I don't know what kind of diseases you might have, boy, but you better tell me now. There was blood on me."
"I don't have anything." Alvin tried to pull away, but Hannibal tightened his grip in his hair. "I'm clean!"
"Damn it! I use a condom with every trick, and I get tested once a month. Yes, I'm fucking sure I don't have anything!"
"And the blood?"
"You tore me; I felt it when it happened." Alvin glared at him. "Now let go of me!"
Hannibal studied the younger man's face for a second, then slowly let go of his hair. He nodded once, then moved to get his clothes off the floor. Looking back, he watched as Alvin sat up slowly in the bed and lit a cigarette. He would have looked cool and confident except for the fact that his hand was shaking as he took a draw.
The sex had been hard and rough, just as he had wanted it, but as he looked at the blonde, he was starting to regret how rough he had been. Moving back to the bed, he sat down on the side to put his pants and boots back on.
"Sorry if I was…"
Alvin waved his hand, stopping him before he could finish. "It happens."
"I should have been…"
"That's what you paid for; it's not like I don't expect it." The blonde waved his comment off with his hand before taking another draw off the cigarette.
Though Hannibal knew the blonde had made the statement to put him at ease, it only made him feel worse. Unable to stop himself, he reached out and brushed the stray hair out of the young man's eyes.
"How long have you been doing this?"
"Long enough," the younger man sighed as he put out his cigarette and stood up, grabbing his own pants off the chair where they had been neatly laid. It was then that Hannibal noticed the deep bruises on Alvin's lower back and buttocks, along with several faded scars on his back and shoulders.
"Jesus!" Hannibal reached out so that he could touch one of the blue-black marks, before moving to the light scars on the blonde's shoulder.
"Don't worry; you didn't do it."
Suddenly, Hannibal was hit with a feeling of intense jealousy. He knew that he had no right to feel that way - the boy was a prostitute for Christ's sake, not to mention that he had just gotten finished hurting the kid himself - but he just couldn't force it down.
"Customers always this rough with you?" His voice came out in a low flat tone.
"Some." The young man shrugged as if it was an everyday occurrence. "Look, I don't mean to be rude, but I really need to get back out on the street."
"Sure." Hannibal nodded and stood up to leave. He made it to the door when he stopped and turned to look at the blonde. "Maybe I'll see you around?"
"Yeah, I'm sure we run in the same circles," the blonde snorted as he went into the bathroom and slammed the door.
Hannibal looked at the door for a moment in complete disbelief, then shook his head and laughed. The kid sure did have spunk. Reaching into his wallet, he pulled out a hundred-dollar bill and laid it on the nightstand. Picking up the cheap motel pen, he scratched a quick note on the motel note pad and laid it next to the money.
As soon as Alvin got into the bathroom, he leaned back against the door. He didn't know what it was about him, but the older man seemed to completely unnerve him. When he had mentioned seeing him again, Alvin knew he had to get rid of the other man before he said something he would regret. When he heard the motel door shut, he let out a breath that he didn't even realize he was holding. Opening the bathroom door, he looked around the room. Seeing that it was empty, he moved to the motel door and made sure that it was locked before putting the safety chain on it. As he was turning to go back to the bathroom, he noticed the money and note lying on the table. Reaching down, he picked up the note and read it; when he was through he sat down on the bed and stared at the words for several minutes.
I'm sorry that I hurt you, it was not my intention.
Please take this money and have yourself looked at. If you will not do that then
at least take a few hours to rest and get something to eat.
"Bastard," Alvin shook his head as he crumpled the note up in his hands. How dare the man even act like he gave a damn about him. Throwing the note on the floor, Alvin went back into the bathroom to take a shower. He was back on the street a half hour later.
Hannibal shifted in his seat again, trying to get comfortable. He had always hated conferences, but this one seemed to be more boring than normal. As he shifted again, his friend Colonel Roderick Decker turned to whisper to him.
"So, what time did you get back last night?"
"What do you mean?" Hannibal asked as he moved so that he could speak without being overheard.
"I called your hotel last night to see if you wanted to get a nightcap, and you weren't in."
"I went out for a while."
"You old war-dog," Decker smiled. "You found a date."
Hannibal smiled as he remembered the young man he'd had sex with.
"Sweetest little blonde-haired thing you have ever seen in your life."
"Bastard!" Decker's smile widened. "I ended up stuck in the bar half the night with Morrison."
"Not my fault you don't have the common sense to get out on your own."
"Screw you," Decker chuckled as he turned back toward the speaker.
Hannibal turned forward so that he was also looking at the speaker; however, he wasn't listening. His mind was already on the young man with the beautiful, yet haunted blue-green eyes. He knew he shouldn't look for the younger man again; he should just enjoy the rest of his stay in Vegas and return to his life in LA. But there was just something about him. Hannibal shook his head and sighed. He had to get the younger man out of his head. There was no future in loving a whore.
Hannibal laughed at a bad joke that had been told by Decker as he finished his drink at the airport bar. They were scheduled to fly out the next day, but Hannibal didn't want to stay in "Sin City" any longer than he had to. He was afraid that if he stayed just one more day, he would have to find the blonde prostitute, and though he hated the idea of going to his new desk job, he wasn't ready to throw his career away yet.
"Good thing you're in the military, Rod, because you sure as hell would have starved to death as a comedian."
"Kiss my ass, Smith." Decker laughed as he took another drink. "No one asked you."
"Someone needs to keep you from embarrassing yourself." Smith snickered. He was rewarded with a one-finger salute from his friend.
Alvin Brenner sighed as he watched Carlos walk down the street toward him. The two-bit pimp and drug dealer had shown up in town a few weeks ago and had been recruiting more and more men into his stable. So far, Alvin had been able to avoid him, but it didn't look good today.
As they were getting ready to pass, the other man stopped in front of him and held out his hand in a friendly gesture.
"You're Alvin, right?"
"Do I know you?" Alvin asked as he shoved his hands farther down into his jeans.
"Carlos." The pimp frowned as he lowered his hand, "I just took over this area
"Really, and what exactly does that mean?"
The pimp frowned at the blonde for a minute then tried another approach.
"I hear that you are one of the best."
"I have no idea what you are talking about." Alvin shifted so that he could move around the pimp. "And, if you don't mind, I have to get going."
Alvin managed to take two steps before Carlos grabbed him by the arm, squeezing it hard.
"I don't know what game you are trying to play with me, but I know what you are."
Alvin jerked his arm back out of the other man's grip and glared at him, his eyes cold and without emotion.
"I told you I don't know what you are talking about, but if you ever put your hands on me again, I'll hurt you." With that said the blonde turned his back on the other man and continued on his way.
The pimp watched as the blonde walked away from him, a slow smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"You got guts boy, but you'll come around. One way or another, you'll work for me."
Three Weeks Later
Hannibal sighed as he finished shoving a stack of papers into an inter-office envelope and sealed it before tossing it into the out-box on his desk. He looked over at the in-box and frowned. It didn't seem to matter how much paperwork he filled out; there always seemed to be twice as much to do when he got finished.
Hearing the sound of voices behind him, Hannibal turned to see a group of young soldiers marching past his window, their drill sergeant barking out orders as they went.
Hannibal sighed as he turned back to the desk and picked up another piece of paper. He looked at it for a few minutes before tossing it back into the in-basket. It was Friday afternoon and he was bored out of his skull. He needed to get out, and he needed to get out now, before he did something he regretted. Within a half-hour, he was off the base and heading toward his house. However, when he got home, he found himself pacing the rooms, looking for something to do. He continued to pace for another hour before a thought struck him. Going into his bedroom, he packed a suitcase with a few clothes and threw the bag into his car; within 45 minutes, he was on the I-15 heading towards Vegas.
Alvin walked slowly down the street, smoking a cigarette, his eyes slowly scanning the cars that drove past. He was smarter than most of the other prostitutes. He knew that if he leaned against the side of a building or on a corner, then the police would be able to pick him out. As he moved down the street, he noticed Paul, another young prostitute, leaning against the side of a street light. As he got closer, Alvin noticed that Paul was sporting a black eye and a cut lip.
"What the hell happened to you?" Alvin asked as he stopped by the younger man, offering him a cigarette. "Rough john?"
"No." The other prostitute shook his head. "New pimp."
"Don't tell me you're working for Carlos." Alvin shook his head. "I thought I told you to stay away from him."
"I couldn't help it, Alvin." Paul looked around nervously. "He said that if I don't work for him, he would hurt me."
"Looks like it didn't make a difference." Alvin frowned.
"I'll be all right." Paul looked away from the other man. "Besides, it's not that bad."
Realizing that he wouldn't be able to do anything for Paul, Alvin reached into his pocket and pulled out ten dollars.
"Would you at least do me a favor and get something to eat?"
"I've got money."
"No, your pimp has your money," Alvin corrected. "Now, would you please take this and get something to eat?"
"You're not going to drop this until I take it, are you?"
"No." Alvin smiled as Paul took the money. "Eat with it; don't give it to your pimp, got me?"
"Sure, Alvin." Paul smiled. "You wouldn't want to join me would you?"
"I'd love to," the blonde smiled, "but I have work to do."
Turning his back, Alvin started to walk down the street when he felt a gentle touch on his shoulder.
"Alvin, you're right; Carlos is dangerous." The other man looked around again. "Be careful; he really wants you."
"Thanks, Paul." Alvin smiled again. "I can take care of myself."
The truth was that Alvin had run into Carlos and his two goons over the past few days, and if he opened his shirt past the first three buttons, Paul would be able to see the bruises from those encounters. It seemed that Carlos was not happy about him lying to him about being a prostitute, and had no sense of humor when Alvin told him to "fuck off" when it came to working for him.
Alvin moved down the street again, scanning the cars as they passed. It didn't matter, he thought. Soon he would have enough money saved up and wouldn't be back on the streets for 6 months or longer, if he was careful about how much he spent on food and new clothes.
Hannibal strolled down the strip, watching the people as they passed him. He had played a few hands of poker and had done quite well; his winnings were tucked in his wallet inside his jacket pocket. Hannibal had come to Vegas with the hope that it would give him the break that he need to help him get over the boredom of his current job, and it had worked for a few hours, but soon he found himself bored and restless again. As he sat looking at his cards, he decided what he needed was some company, and as soon as he realized that, he knew he wanted to find the young blonde he had been with a few weeks before. He knew that he didn't have much of a chance of finding the other man, but Hannibal Smith was not one to give up easily. As he strolled down the street, he heard a soft voice speak softly in his right ear.
"You a cop?"
Hannibal turned to see Alvin walking beside him. A smile crossed his lips as he noted how sexy the younger man looked with a cigarette dangling from his mouth and his hands shoved deep into his pockets.
"Not the last time I looked." The older man chuckled. "You?"
"Not in this lifetime," Alvin laughed. "So, what are you looking for, John?
Hannibal was surprised when the younger man remembered his name, and his smile widened.
"Something not so quick, but still without commitment."
"Aren't we all." Alvin laughed again, and Hannibal felt his heart flutter at the sound. "I know this great little hotel around the corner, if you're interested."
"Rates still the same as last time?"
"Still the same."
"Then I think we have a deal."
Hannibal smiled as he watched the younger man moan and writhe beneath him, the beautiful blue-green eyes staring into his.
"You like that?" the general asked as he thrust gently into the smaller man.
"Yes, sir," Alvin moaned as he closed his eyes enjoying the feel of the older man filling him.
"You want more?" Hannibal asked as he withdrew slowly before sliding back into the other man with the same slow stroke he had used before.
"Please." The younger man gasped as Hannibal pushed deep inside of him. "Want more."
Reaching down between the two of them, Hannibal took prostitute's penis into his hand and began to stroke him with the same rhythm that he thrust into him. At first he took his time but as his needs began to build his thrust became more urgent and the blonde's moans became louder. Seeing that the younger man was at the edge of climax he leaned over, he whispered into the blonde's ear.
"Come for me."
His smile widened when Alvin threw his head back and gasped as he shot his seed. The sensation of having the younger man's body climax under him and the sight of him was enough to send Hannibal over the edge. With one last deep thrust, he came.
Slowly and carefully he withdrew; this time there was no blood on the condom. Getting up he went into the bathroom to clean up. When he came out, he noted that the younger man had not moved.
"Alvin?" he called out softly as he sat down on the edge of the bed. When the younger man didn't respond, Hannibal gently shook his shoulders. "Alvin?"
The blonde's eyes fluttered, but they still didn't open.
"Alvin, come on, kid; wake up for me." He gently patted the younger man's cheek with one hand. He was shocked when the blonde grabbed his wrist in a crushing grip and muttered something in what sounded like Vietnamese, but he couldn't be sure.
"Alvin, it's John," Hannibal said softly, making sure not to pull against the other man for fear of upsetting him farther. This time, the blue-green eyes opened, but Hannibal noted how confused the blonde seemed to be. "It's all right; just relax." Slowly, the younger man began to focus on him, and he relaxed a little.
"What happened?" Alvin asked as he tried to sit up.
"I was hoping you could tell me," Hannibal stated softly as he gently pushed the younger man back down on the bed, before removing the other man's hand from his wrist.
"I don't know." Alvin shook his head. "I remember you inside of me, and you asked me…" Alvin stopped talking and stared at the older man in disbelief.
"You came, and passed out," Hannibal finished with a smile on his lips.
"I can't believe…" Alvin shook his head. "That has never happened before."
"Then I feel flattered." Hannibal chuckled as he brushed back the hair that had fallen into the younger man's blue-green eyes. He didn't know what it was, but there was just something about the blonde that made his heart skip a beat every time he looked at him. "But a better answer to this might be when the last time you ate anything was?"
"Earlier today," Alvin shook his head, then a soft smile that spread across his face. "I really don't think that's it."
"Hmm." Hannibal returned the smile with one of his own, his fingers once again moving to the blonde hair. "I still think it would be best if we got you something to eat."
"I'll be fine." Alvin reached up and took the General's hand in his own. "And I can take care of myself."
Sitting back, Hannibal ran his fingers over the bruises on the younger man's chest.
"I can see that."
Alvin shoved the older man's hand away before moving to the other side of the bed and sliding off.
"I don't need a lecture from you. Now, if you don't mind…"
"I know, I know you have to get back out on the street." Hannibal growled as he stood up and grabbed his pants. "Why can't you accept a simple act of kindness?"
"Because there is no such thing," the younger man shot back as he went into the bathroom and slammed the door.
Hannibal sighed and shook his head. He hadn't wanted to fight with the younger man; he just wanted to do something nice for him. Moving over to the bathroom door, he tapped lightly on it.
"Alvin, I'm sorry…"
He paused, not believing that he was apologizing for wanting to treat the other man with kindness, but part of him was afraid that if he didn't, he would never see the younger man again, and he just didn't want that to happen.
"Look, kid, I'd like to see you again."
There was silence for a few minutes, and he was afraid that the blonde was ignoring him, but then the younger man spoke up.
"I'm on the same street after 7:30 pm almost every night."
"I'd like something more guaranteed," Hannibal paused for a moment. "I'd like to meet you next weekend, maybe here around 8:00 or so?"
Again there was silence for a few moments before the younger man spoke up.
"I'll be here in this room. If it's past 8:30, you'll have to find me on the street. I can't wait here all night."
Hannibal smiled when he realized that he was going to meet the blonde again next week. Reaching into his wallet, the General pulled out an extra hundred out of his wallet and laid it on the dresser.
"Make sure you eat," he commanded as he opened the door and walked out.
One Month Later
Hannibal cursed as he looked at his watch. He was supposed to be on the road over an hour ago, but a meeting had kept him late, and now there was no way that he would be able to make it to the motel in time to meet with Alvin. Over the last four weeks, he had grown fond of the young blonde, and took great pleasure not only from the sex, but also from just being with him. Even though their time together was short, he enjoyed every minute of it. For some reason he couldn't explain, he just couldn't get enough of the young prostitute.
Alvin began to make his way towards his normal street, berating himself as he went. He should have been out there two hours ago, but his professor had insisted on seeing him after class. What was supposed to have been a fifteen minute meeting had turned into an hour as the old man was constantly distracted by other students and staff. Alvin had waited patiently, and when it was finally over with, he was glad that he had stayed, since the old professor had given him some good news on his grades.
Of course, like many things in his life, his happiness was short-lived. First, he had missed his appointment with Smith, and then he had run into Carlos and two of his thugs. Carlos had been applying more and more pressure, trying to get Alvin to work for him. To his credit, Alvin had managed to keep the other man at bay for several months, but now Carlos was becoming more and more insistent. He let out a deep sigh as he thought about the earlier run in that he had has with the pimp on his way home…
"Hey, Alvin, I need to talk to you a minute." Carlos smiled as he threw his arm around the younger man's shoulders.
"I'd love to, but I really don't have time to chit-chat." Alvin smiled back as he quickened his stride to get the other man's arm off of him.
"No, you don't seem to understand." Carlos motioned to one of his thugs, who quickly grabbed the blonde by the arm, stopping him abruptly. "We need to talk."
"Can't we do this some other time? I'm kind of running behind today."
"No." Carlos moved so that he was just inches away from Alvin. Reaching out, he grabbed a handful of blonde hair and jerked the younger man's head back. When Alvin started to take a defensive stance, the two goons grabbed him, pinning his arms behind his back.
"As I see it, pretty boy, you're working on my street, taking customers away from my whores. Now, we can solve this problem two ways: one, you come over to my stable, or two, you get lost."
"I'll find somewhere else to work."
"No, that's not what I meant." Carlos pulled out a switchblade and held it to the younger man's throat, the sharp point breaking the delicate skin. "So, let me rephrase it so you understand. You will work for me, or I'll make sure you will get lost forever." With that said, Carlos pulled the blade down Alvin's body, cutting through his shirt as he went, leaving a fine, sharp cut from Alvin's throat to his navel.
"I'll give you 'til Sunday to decide." Carlos smiled as he patted Alvin's cheek. "Boys, make sure to give this whore a reminder not to forget our date."
Before Alvin could react, one of the punks had hit him in the back, while the other punched him in the kidneys. By the time the two were done with him, his body was a mass of bruises. Alvin didn't know if it was an order from Carlos or dumb luck, but thankfully, neither hit him in the face. He had gone home and changed, looking at his bruised and battered body in the mirror.
Shaking his head, he slid on a T-shirt before putting on his Polo shirt over it. Confident that the no one could see the bruises through the two shirts he went out. Making his way to his street, he sighed. He wouldn't be able to sell his body, but he could still sell his mouth.
By the time Hannibal checked into his normal hotel, it was almost eleven o'clock. He immediately headed for the strip. At this time of night, he knew exactly where to go and who he was looking for. Turning the corner, his heart dropped when he didn't see the blonde walking around. Slowly, he cruised around the block again, and still there was no sign of the other man. He was just about to give up when he saw a flash of blonde hair moving down the street. Speeding up the car, he quickly caught up with the young prostitute.
"Hey, Alvin, you need a ride?" Hannibal called out as he pulled alongside the blonde.
Alvin turned to look at who had called his name, then smiled as he recognized the older man.
"Hey, John, thought you weren't coming."
"Just got a little delayed." Hannibal smiled when he realized that the younger man had been expecting him. "If you're not doing anything, I thought we might hook up for a while."
Hannibal watched as the blonde thought about it for a second, then nodded.
"Next time you're late, though, I can't guarantee that I'll be free."
"Sorry, kid. As I said, I couldn't get away." Hannibal quickly pulled his rental car to the curb and stopped so Alvin could get in. As he watched the prostitute get into the car, he noticed that his movements were stiff, and he seemed to pale slightly. Hannibal pulled out into traffic, and was about to ask Alvin if he was all right when he noticed the police car behind him.
"Shit," he muttered.
"Damn," Alvin cursed, but to his credit, he didn't turn around to look at the car behind them. "All right, here is what we do. If they should pull us over, my name is Alvin Brenner, and you dropped me off at the convenience store so I could grab a pack of smokes. You drove around the block to keep from having to find a place to park. I decided to start walking up the street so that I could meet up with you sooner."
Hannibal noticed that the police officer was talking into his radio mike. 'Most likely calling in my tag; so much for keeping my stars, I'm going to be lucky not to be busted down to private.' He thought as he let out a deep sigh.
"What's your name?" Alvin asked quickly.
"Your real name, John; I need your real name," the blonde asked again. "You know the thing I haven't asked about the whole time we have been seeing each other?"
"My name is John, John Smith."
"Now that's original." Alvin frowned as he stared at the General. "Surely to God you could have come up with something better than that."
"I can't help it; John Smith is my name." Hannibal glared back at him.
"Oh come on! You mean to tell me that you are a john, with the name John? Not to mention a nice common last name like Smith?" the younger man shot back.
"Look, kid, I can't help it, but my name is John Smith. Or, if you prefer, you can call me General John "Hannibal" Smith." Hannibal glared back at him.
Alvin was quiet for a minute, staring at the older man is disbelief.
"Shit! The Hannibal Smith? Damn, you had a hell of a reputation in Nam" Alvin shook his head, still not believing it. He had heard stories about the other man when he had been in Vietnam, and at times he wished that he might have been assigned to the then Colonel's unit. But any chance of that had been cut short when he had decided to get back at the men who had destroyed his own team.
"All right, General; let's make sure you get out of this with your reputation intact. Why are you here, and what hotel are you staying at?"
"I'm here for the same reason I've been here for the last few months. I came to see you."
The younger man blinked, but never lost a second of his composure.
"What hotel are you staying at and what is your room number?"
"I don't know about this." Hannibal glanced in his rear-view mirror again.
Alvin Brenner sighed, then smiled at the silver-headed General. He was tired, sore, and really didn't want to go through the hassle that they were about to be put through by the police, but he felt that he had to keep the older man out of trouble, not to mention his own tattered reputation intact.
"General, I don't mean to scare the hell out of you, but unless you work with me, you're going to get a citation for solicitation of prostitution, and I'm going to end up spending the night in jail. Something I'm sure that neither of us wants to have happen, right?"
Hannibal turned his head and stared at the blonde-haired man for a moment, then heard himself say" Cesar's Palace, room 1423"
A moment later, the cruiser's lights came on, and Hannibal moaned.
"I'm going to get busted down to private.
"Not if I have anything to say about it." Brenner smiled. "Don't answer anything if you can get away with it."
"I don't know…"
"Trust me, General." Alvin's smile brightened, and Hannibal didn't know why, but for some reason, he suddenly felt at ease.
"Can I see your license and registration, sir?" the officer asked as he leaned into the driver's side window.
"Is there a problem, officer?" Hannibal asked as he pulled out his wallet. Reaching inside, he pulled out his license and handed it to the policeman. "Alvin, can you please get me the registration out of the glove box? It's in the white envelope." As the blonde pulled out the registration, the cop answered Hannibal's question.
"I noticed you stopping to speak to this gentleman." The cop motioned toward the blonde, who handed Hannibal the envelope. "You do know that solicitation of prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas?"
"First off, officer," Alvin turned so that he could stare at the uniformed policeman, "I am not a prostitute, and the man you are speaking to is General Smith of the U.S Army, so show the man some respect."
"Alvin…" Hannibal started to silence the young man, but the blonde shook his head.
"No, sir; he shouldn't be allowed to speak to you like that."
"All right, then who are you?" the cop asked as he glared at Alvin.
"Lieutenant Alvin Brenner. I'm in town with the General for a conference." Alvin smiled inwardly; there were so many conferences in Vegas that no one could ever keep track of them all.
"Really, Lieutenant Brenner," the cop raised an eyebrow. "Then do you want to explain to me why you just happened to be strolling down the street and got into his car after he yelled at you?"
"Because I walked down here to get a pack of cigarettes," Alvin patted his breast pocket where his pack of cigarettes was resting. "The General said he would pick me up on our way to dinner. When he didn't show up when he said he would, I decided to start walking back to the hotel."
"So, why didn't you get them at the hotel?"
"Have you seen the price of cigarettes at Caesar's?! I'm just a Lieutenant, not a General," Brenner snorted.
"So, is that where you're staying? Caesar's?"
"Yeah, room 1423." Brenner reached into his pocket and pulled out a hotel key, showing it to the cop.
"And what room are you staying in Colonel."
"The same room," Hannibal smiled at the officer. "Figure we might as well bunk together and save the taxpayers some money."
"It has two queen-sized beds. Why spend any extra if we don't have to?" Alvin added.
"The room is registered in my name, if you want to call them," Hannibal offered.
The cop handed Hannibal his license and studied the two men for a moment. The older of the two men he could believe was military; the man just seemed to hold that type of authority. But he wasn't too sure about the blonde, so he tried one more thing.
"What if I just drag your ass in?" the cop asked as he stared straight at Alvin.
"Then you're going to ruin our dinner reservations," Hannibal sighed. "Look, officer, I know you have a rough job, and I know that you are doing your best to protect the fine people of this city, and I respect you for it, but you're barking up the wrong tree. If you want to take my Lieutenant downtown, then so be it, but all you're doing is causing us an inconvenience, because I'll have to go down to the station and bail him out. Which will be a complete waste of everyone's time, plus I don't even want to think of what it will take to get it off of his service record."
"So, he really is in your unit, General Smith?"
Hannibal glanced over at the blonde and gave a tired sigh.
"He's been with me since '72." Shaking his head, he turned back to the cop. "Been a pain in the ass since the minute we met."
"Yeah, but you have to admit I'm fun to have around," Brenner laughed.
Seeing that neither man was nervous about his presence, and that their story did seem reasonable the cop decided to let them go.
"All right, gentlemen, have a good evening."
"Thank you, officer." Hannibal smiled as he put his ID back into his wallet, then slid it back into his pocket.
"Yeah, thanks," Alvin called out to the cops retreating back.
A few seconds later, Hannibal pulled the car out into traffic as he headed toward his hotel.
"Here's your key back." Alvin smiled as he held up the key.
"You want to explain how you got that out of my pocket without me feeling it?"
"Trade secret," the blonde smiled. "Besides, I thought it would help with the story. You can let me out over there." Alvin pointed to the corner at the next intersection.
"You sure are quick on your feet, kid. That was one hell of a scam you pulled."
"You weren't bad, yourself." The blonde smiled over at him, then frowned as Smith drove past were he asked to be let out. "Hey, you missed my stop."
"Who said I was going to let you out?" Smith smiled at him, then turned his attention back to the road. "Can you give me a good reason why we shouldn't do what we planned?
"I figured, with what just happened, that you…"
"Do you know what I want Alvin?" Hannibal interrupted.
"No, I can't think of what you want off the top of my head, but I can guess." The blonde smiled knowingly.
"I want to go out to dinner, and I want someone who I can have a decent conversation with."
"I'm not exactly the kind of person you have conversations with." Alvin shook his head. "I know you're not naïve, but just in case you've made some type of mistake, I'm a whore, remember? You come to town, we meet up, you screw me, you leave, I go back out on the…"
"I know what you are," Smith sighed. "But I'm paying for this date, and I want to take you out before we go back to my hotel for the night. Do you have a problem with that?"
"No, sir." Alvin shook his head, then added: "Are you sure you want to go back to your hotel? Aren't you afraid that someone you know will see you with me?"
"No, I'm not worried. Besides, no offense, but I like my hotel better than yours."
"Caesar's is a nice place." Alvin smiled at the General. "At least you have taste."
Hannibal turned to study the blonde sitting next to him. Though they had been together many times now, he hadn't paid very close attention to the other man. Their first night together, he had been too pissed off to care that much. All he had really remembered was that he had picked up the beautiful blonde with expressive blue-green eyes, and when they were finished, he had been too ashamed of his brutal sexual appetite to want to stay around for long. Their later meetings had been better, but Alvin had always rushed him in and out the door. The most he had really looked at him was the night the younger man had passed out, and even then he had been too worried about his health. But now he had a chance to look the other man over as he drove down the strip.
If he was to guess, he would say that Alvin Brenner wasn't more than 18 years old. 'If that,' Hannibal thought. Again he noted that the younger man had to be the most beautiful man he had ever seen in his life. His blonde hair was trimmed neatly and stopped just above the collar of his polo shirt; a small fringe of hair hung just above bright blue-green eyes which seemed to sparkle in the tanned face. As his eyes moved downward, he noted that the young man was lean, and slender to the point of being thin. The black dress slacks clung to his narrow waist and thighs.
"Of course, I do," Hannibal smiled back. "I picked you, didn't I?" The General's smile widened when Alvin blushed. "Not to mention you look like you could use a good meal."
The two rode another block before Hannibal spoke again.
"You pulled off that con with that cop like a pro. I have to say that your military knowledge is pretty good."
"It's not that hard." Brenner gave a slight smile, but continued to stare out the front window.
"Really? I wouldn't have thought so. Most people don't know a Captain from a Colonel."When the young man didn't comment any further Hannibal stopped probing for information. "So, do you have any preferences on what you'd like to eat?" Hannibal asked, changing the subject.
"No, sir; I leave that up to you." Alvin smiled, and Hannibal was glad to see it again.
Hannibal watched as the slim fingers moved to cut another piece of the chicken breast that Alvin had ordered. He noticed that there was a grace in everything Alvin Brenner did, and his heart sped up each time the younger man offered him a smile. As the other man's eyes started to rise from his plate, he quickly glanced away.
"You're allowed to stare." A soft laugh came from across the table. "You are paying for this." Glancing up, he noticed that Alvin was motioning to his body with his hand. Seeing the older man blush, he dropped his eyes. "Sorry."
"No, don't be." Hannibal reached across the table to give the slim hand a light squeeze before letting go. "How old are you. kid?"
"I don't know. Twenty or twenty-one, I think."
When the General frowned, Alvin sighed, then continued. "I was dropped off on the front steps of an orphanage in LA as a child. They think I was five, but they're not really sure. So, to be honest, I don't know how old I really am. When I say twenty or twenty-one, I'm just guessing."
"Well, I'm thinking that you should guess again." Hannibal chuckled. Noticing that the younger man had stopped eating, Hannibal pushed his own meal aside. "You want some dessert?"
"No, thank you. I couldn't eat another bite." Alvin closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he thought about the General.
He liked the older man across from him; which was rare, since he preferred to stay away from men as much as possible. Men had a tendency to be rough, and almost always left him sore or worse injured. But over the last few months, he had been seeing the silver-haired man he had grown quite fond of him. In fact, if he would allow himself to believe it, he had felt an instant attraction. When the General had sought him out, he hadn't known what to think.
Alvin had to admit that Smith was handsome with his tanned face, vivid blue eyes, and sparkling white smile. He wondered briefly what it would be like to wake up with those strong arms wrapped around him. 'No, you are what you are, and he is what he is,' he berated himself. 'This is business, and it's time to get down to it'.
Opening his eyes, he stared into the blue ones looking back at him.
"To be honest, General, I don't want to rush you, because I am enjoying myself, but I can't make a living sitting here making small talk."
Hannibal studied the smaller man. Even though he could hear the resolve in the young man's voice, he could also see the sense of loss in his eyes.
"All right, kid," Hannibal wiped his mouth with his napkin before laying it down beside his plate. Leaning forward, he stared directly in the other man's eyes. "What's it going to cost me?"
Alvin sighed as he felt the connection that had been developing over the last month break. The pleasantries were over, and now it was time to get down to business. Taking a deep breath, he returned the other man's intense stare.
"I'm not up to any sexual intercourse tonight, so fifty for a blow job."
"No," Hannibal shook his head. "For the entire night; I want you in my bed when I wake up in the morning."
Alvin swallowed hard, his mouth suddenly going dry as he thought about his fantasy coming true. Then a terrifying thought hit him as he remembered how rough their first time together had been: Just because the other man had been kind so far didn't mean that he wouldn't hurt him. Then there was the fact that he couldn't do anything else, as he had been fighting the pain that had been shooting through his body all night.
"Maybe you didn't hear me, sir. I said I couldn't do anything more than give you a blow job."
Smith blinked at the statement. It doesn't matter." Reaching out, he squeezed the slim hand again. "I want you with me in the morning."
Alvin closed his eyes as he felt his emotions start to rise. 'Business, stupid', he berated himself. 'He'll be gone in the morning, and you'll be going on to your next trick. It's best if you just end this with a quick blow.'
"Fifteen hundred dollars," he stated flatly, knowing that the other man wouldn't go for such a high price, especially when he wouldn't get his body.
"I'll give you two thousand if you stay and have breakfast with me in the morning."
It was everything that Alvin could do to keep his mouth from falling open as he looked at the man sitting across from him. He couldn't believe that the General would be willing to pay that much to be with him. Deciding that he wanted the night just as much as the other man, he nodded his head, but changed the terms of the deal in the General's favor.
"Fifteen hundred, and you pay for breakfast." He smiled
"Deal," Smith smiled back at him as he gently squeezed his blonde's hand.
Smith closed his eyes as the ecstasy of his orgasm overtook him. He had known that the younger man had a talented mouth within minutes of stepping into his hotel room, but he had never imagined that he would experience anything like he was feeling now.
As soon as they were through the door, the blonde had began to undress him, his nimble fingers making quick work of his jacket and shirt. Within a few short seconds, he was naked, with Alvin's sweet mouth kissing and licking its way down his entire body. The only catch there had been was when Hannibal had tried to kiss said mouth. Alvin had instantly turned away and said:
"Sorry, it's the one thing I won't do with a trick."
For a brief second, Hannibal had felt hurt, since they had been seeing each other for so long, but he also understood. Shifting slightly, he kissed the younger man's cheek.
"That all right?" he asked as he moved to whisper into the blonde's hair before nibbling on his ear.
"Perfect." Alvin smiled, then attacked his body with his teeth and tongue, until he had finally taken Hannibal into his mouth. From there it was only a matter of minutes before Hannibal had to put his hands on the blonde's shoulders to steady himself. Now, he had his hands fisted in the blonde hair as his hips thrust deep into the warm, talented mouth.
With a roar of triumph, he climaxed deep into the younger man's mouth, shooting his seed down the blonde's throat.
"God, you are so good." Hannibal sighed as he pulled out of the Alvin's mouth. Looking down, he instantly felt a pang of guilt when he noticed how tightly he was gripping the blonde hair. "I'm sorry, kid. I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asked as he pulled the young man up and into his arms.
"No, I'm all right." Alvin smiled, then winced as his bruised body and now bruised mouth pulled tight, though he quickly tried to cover it up. "You were terrific."
Hannibal saw the pained look on the blonde's face and knew that he had hurt him.
"Why don't we lie down for a while?" He guided the Alvin to the bed and sat him down. "Do you want something to drink?"
"Bourbon and coke would be nice." Alvin started to smile, then changed his mind as his bruised mouth and body protested his recent activity.
"Be right back," Hannibal moved to the room's bar. "Make yourself comfortable."
Alvin watched the General move to the other side of the suite and sighed to himself. Yes, men were always rough. He sighed as he touched the corner of his bruised mouth. Carefully bending down, he took off his shoes, socks, and pants before he remove his polo shirt, making sure to keep his t-shirt on to hide his battered torso.
A few seconds later, Smith was back with two drinks and a bag of ice. He handed one of the drinks to the younger man before moving to the other side of the bed to sit down. Once he was settled he motioned for the blonde to come over to him.
Alvin took a quick drink then set it down before moving next to the older man. He was surprised when the General moved a pillow into his lap and motioned for him to lay his head down on it. As soon as he was settled, the General placed the bag of ice on the bruised corner of his mouth.
"You should have told me I was hurting you." Hannibal spoke softly as he began to stroke the blonde's hair back out of his eyes.
Alvin shrugged. "You're the client."
"Doesn't matter who I am; you don't deserve to be hurt."
"That doesn't always work in my line of business." Alvin tried to smile; then winced as the bruise let itself be known.
"I'm sorry." Hannibal leaned down to kiss the blonde hair.
Alvin closed his eyes. He didn't know if the other man was apologizing for hurting him or the line of work he was in, but whatever the reason, it made him ache to be with the General for the rest of his life.
"So, what do you want to do next?" Alvin turned to look up at Smith.
"I need to rest, kid; you wore me out." Hannibal chuckled. "If I didn't know any better, I would have sworn you were trying to kill this old man."
Alvin shook his head as he looked into the sparkling blue eyes staring down at him.
"You sir, are anything but an old man." When he had been undressing the General, Alvin had admired the broad shoulders, solid chest, and muscular stomach. If the man had an ounce of fat on him anywhere, he had yet to find it. "Hell, I hope I look half as good as you when I get older."
"Flattery will get you nowhere, kid." Hannibal laughed as he ruffled the silky blonde hair. "What do you say we both take a nap? When we get up we'll see what we want to do?"
"Sounds nice," Alvin nodded as he shifted so the General could lie down flat on his back.
"You comfortable?" Hannibal asked as he moved his hands back to the younger man's silky hair.
"Very." The blonde sighed as he closed his eyes. He hadn't intended to fall asleep, but the feel of Smith's hands in his hair soothed him into total relaxation, helping him take his mind off the other pain in his body. After a few minutes, his breathing evened out, and he drifted off.
Hannibal continued to stroke the blonde's hair long after the younger man had fallen asleep. He enjoyed the feel of the silky strands as they slid through his fingers. However, it wasn't long before sleep began to pull at the corners of his mind. Being extremely careful, he shifted so that the younger man's head was resting on his chest, and his arm moved to wrap around the blonde's slim shoulders. His fingers continued to card though the soft hair until he too, fell asleep.
When Hannibal woke a few hours later, he noticed that the younger man had turned so that he was now curled onto his side. Reaching down, Hannibal began to run his fingers along the edge Alvin's briefs. Slowly his fingers moved upward so that they were skimming over the tan skin just below the hem of the young man's t-shirt. As his fingers moved up, he noticed the edge of a dark ugly bruise; sliding his fingers further up, he began to lift the edge of the shirt when he was stopped by a set of thin, yet strong hands.
When he looked up at the young man's face, he found a set of blue-green eyes staring back up at him. "Don't do that."
"What happened?" Hannibal asked as he moved his hand so he could take one of the blonde's hands in his own as he tried to lift the shirt further up.
"I fell," was the only answer he got as the younger man moved his hand up away from his waist band.
"Mind if I take a look?"
"Yes." Alvin responded flatly as he shifted to slide down Hannibal's chest, kissing as he went. "You know, you are paying for this night. Surely you want to do something instead of taking a nap and looking at a bruise."
"Oh, I can think of a lot of things to do," Hannibal smiled as Alvin looked up at him. "starting with you taking your shirt off so I can see that bruise." He knew when someone was trying to distract him. It didn't work for his subordinates in the service, and it wasn't going to work for this young man, either.
"Look, John, I fell, all right? It's nothing more than a simple bruise."
"Then you shouldn't mind showing it to me," Hannibal countered.
"You know, this isn't going to work out," The younger man glared at the General before he sat up. "I'll give you back your money for everything except the blow job, and I'll be on my way."
"What are you afraid of?" Hannibal asked as he reached out to grab the blonde's arm before he could get off the bed.
"I'm not afraid of anything. Now let go of me." Alvin tried to jerk his arm away, but the pain of his movement caused him to gasp.
"You know, I hate a liar more than anything." Hannibal tightened his grip, pulling the younger man backwards.
"Then we need to part ways now." Alvin glared at him as he fought against the older man's grip and the pain that was coursing through his abused body. "Now let go of me!"
"Take off your shirt, and I'll let you walk out that door when I'm done," Hannibal challenged, noticing the bead of sweat breaking out on the blonde's forehead.
"No." Alvin shook his head as he jerked his arm out of Hannibal's grip before moving to get off the bed.
There were a lot of things in the world that General John 'Hannibal' Smith was not used to hearing, and "No" was at the top of that list. Before the younger man had cleared the bed, Hannibal grabbed him by the arm again and jerked him back down. The struggle was brief, yet intense. However, in the end, Hannibal was straddling the blonde's waist, the younger man's wrists secure in his left hand above the blonde's head.
"Get off me!" Alvin gasp for breath, his face contorted in pain, sweat pouring down his pale face. It was obvious to Hannibal that their struggle had cost him dearly.
Reaching down with his right hand, Hannibal raised the t-shirt. His anger boiled to the surface as he took in the dark, bloody, black-and-blue bruises that littered the younger man's chest and stomach. However, when he saw the knife wound, he became enraged.
"Who did this to you?" he growled.
"Get off me!" Alvin yelled, finally managing to catch his breath. "You have no right!"
Hannibal grabbed the blonde by the jaw and forced the younger man to shut up.
"As you have pointed out to me several times, I have bought and paid for the pleasure of your company tonight. So, I want to know who did this to you, and I want to know now." Smith repeated as he loosened his grip on the younger man's jaw so that he could speak.
Alvin swallowed hard as he really looked into the other man's eyes for the first time since their struggle had begun. The bright blue eyes that he had enjoyed looking at earlier were now cold and hard, and, if he didn't know any better, he would say murderous.
"I got into a fight." Alvin swallowed hard again as the General continued to stare down at him, Smith's blue eyes seeming to look into his very soul.
"Bullshit; there are no bruises on your knuckles" The General's voice was tightly controlled. "Who beat you?"
After a moment, Alvin closed his eyes and spoke softly. "There is a pimp who wants me to work for him. I told him no."
Hannibal continued to stare at the younger man for a few more minutes. When he was sure that he was being told the truth, he released the blonde and moved to get off him.
"Take your shirt off," he stated flatly as he moved over to his luggage.
"I'm going." Alvin started to get up off the bed, but stopped when Smith turned to stare at him.
"I said take your shirt off; do not make me repeat myself."
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Alvin removed his shirt, dropping his head as he waited, terrified of what was going to happen next.
Hannibal pulled out a small medical kit from his travel bag; it was one of the things that he always carried with him no matter where he went. If his time in the military had taught him anything, it was to always be ready for an emergency. When he turned back around, he noticed the defeated slump in the younger man's shoulders and the trembling in the slim frame. Realizing that he had most likely scared the hell out of the kid, he pushed down his anger.
Alvin jumped slightly when he felt a gentle touch under his chin. He lifted his eyes as the fingers tilted his head up. Once again he was looking into a pair of kind blue eyes.
"I'm sorry if I scared you," Hannibal stated softly, his other hand going to push the blonde hair back out of the younger man's eyes. "I never meant to do that."
"It's okay." Alvin offered him a slight smile.
"No, it's not," Hannibal corrected him. Leaning forward, he kissed the blonde on the forehead before gently pushing him flat on the bed. Opening the medical kit, he began to take out the supplies he needed to clean the knife wound. "So, tell me about this pimp."
"Nothing much to tell; he's a pimp." Alvin shrugged.
"Humor me." The General looked up at him, his eyes once again holding a hard edge to them.
"He showed up a few months back. I didn't really think much about him at the time. I mean, pimps and whores come and go. The police will pick them up or they just move on. It's just part of the lifestyle, you know."
Hannibal didn't know, but he nodded for the younger man to continue.
"Anyway, I've been on my own since I started doing this. I get a few offers here and there to work for a pimp, but most of them leave me alone when I tell them I'm not interested. They figure that I'll come around after a while, but this Carlos guy he just won't take 'no' for an answer."
"How many times has he done this to you?" Hannibal growled as he continued to treat the knife wound.
"This is the first time he's had his goons rough me up."
When the General only stared at him, Alvin corrected his statement.
"Okay, he's shoved me around a few times, but this is the first time it's ever become this violent."
Hannibal finished covering the knife wound with a thin dressing before he looked up at the younger man.
"He hasn't hurt you in any other ways, has he?"
It took Alvin a second to understand what the General was saying.
"You mean has he raped me?"
Smith nodded, his eyes once again holding a hard edge.
"No, he's never tried."
"So, you don't have anyone to protect you on the streets."
"Never saw any reason to pay someone to protect me. I'm more than capable of taking care of myself."
"I can see that." Hannibal frowned as he put the supplies back into the kit.
"Look, I don't need a lecture from you on how to live my life." Alvin sat up moving to get off the bed, once again he was stopped, but unlike the first time it was by a gentle hand and a soft voice.
"Why not? I can't do anything else but suck you off." Alvin shook his head. "You've done your good deed for the day. Just pay me for the blow job and we'll both cut our losses for the night."
"Did you ever stop to think that I might just enjoy your company?"
Alvin started to respond with a snide comment, but when he turned to look at the General, he could see the sincerity in the older man's eyes. "You mean that, don't you?"
"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't." Hannibal smiled. Once again he moved to sit down on the bed, resting his back against the headboard. Like the first time, he placed a pillow in his lap and motioned Alvin to join him.
The younger man hesitated for a moment; then moved to his side, resting his head on the pillow. A few seconds later, Hannibal was carding his fingers through the blonde hair while he flipped through the TV channels with the other hand. It wasn't long before the two men were asleep.
When Hannibal woke the next morning, he wasn't surprised to find that Alvin Brenner was gone.
Determined to put the young man out of his mind and life, Hannibal packed his bag and went back to LA. He knew that he would miss the blonde, but he felt that it would be best to separate himself from him and just go on with his life.
Several Weeks Later
Alvin sat up in the bed, leaning against the headboard, a lit cigarette between his fingers. The john who had just left had been rough, the roughest since the night he'd met General Smith.
He sighed, thinking about how their relationship had changed over the past few months, from hooker and client to friends who enjoyed a physical companionship. Though he knew he shouldn't be, he was disappointed that the General hadn't shown for the past few weeks. He knew he had to get out on the street again, but not just yet. Setting his alarm, he slid beneath the sheets. Savoring a tactile memory of strong arms holding him, he smiled as he let sleep take him.
Roderick Decker watched from a distance as his friend John Smith crossed the parade ground. He was worried. Smith had been stomping through life for the past several weeks, growing more and more taciturn. He snapped at the slightest provocation, and practically ignored his friends and colleagues. In addition, his paperwork was getting sloppy.
Decker turned his head as movement on the edge of his vision attracted his attention. A young recruit, eyes on the paperwork in his hand, was headed in Smith's direction. This did not bode well. He watched as the two got closer and closer, and the recruit passed Smith without acknowledging him.
Smith turned on his heel. "Soldier!" he barked, his voice reverberating around the parade ground.
The young man snapped to attention, frozen in place by the tone of the command. He waited, paralyzed, as Smith stalked up to him.
"What's your name, Soldier?" Smith snarled, though he could clearly read the name-tape over the recruit's left pocket.
"Rider, Private Kelly A., Sir!"
"Well, Rider, Private Kelly A.," Hannibal asked, "what did they teach you in boot camp about saluting your superiors?"
"If it wears gold, salute it, Sir!" the young man quoted, finally noticing the 'scrambled eggs' on the visor of Hannibal's cap. He suppressed a moan. He was in for it now!
"There's a reason for that, Soldier," Hannibal snarled. "Yes, it teaches respect. But it also teaches you to be aware of your surroundings at all times." He looked at the young man in disgust. "You wouldn't have lasted five minutes in the jungles of 'Nam!"
The recruit gulped. "Sorry, sir!" he barked as best he could, but he couldn't disguise the tremor in his voice.
"Sorry won't help your family when you're being shipped home in a body-bag, Soldier!" Smith snapped.
"Sir! Yes, sir!"
Smith stared at the young man, trying to decide whether or not to put him on KP, peeling spuds for the next two months. Maybe that would burn the lesson into his memory.
As he looked closer, details started to creep into his mind. The hair wasn't the same honey-gold, and the eyes weren't the same rich blue-green, nor did they have the same wariness, but the young man was about the same age as someone who he'd become very fond of.
"Where were you headed, Rider?" he said more gently.
"Quartermaster's office, Sir," the private replied. "I just got assigned there."
Smith took the papers from the young man's hand and perused them, then pointed out the way.
"Better get your butt in gear or you'll be late for duty. Double-time it, Soldier!" Smith barked with a grin.
"Yes, sir!" Rider replied with a crisp salute, treating the officer to a brilliant smile before taking off at a quick jog.
Having watched the performance, Decker decided to catch up with his friend, moving to intercept him as he continued across the parade ground.
"What the hell is the matter with you, Smith?" Decker asked gruffly when he'd caught up with his friend. "For the past month, you've been acting like a bear who's gotten out the wrong side of the bed."
"What do you mean?" Hannibal growled.
"You used to be friendly and outgoing, but you barely give people the time of day anymore," Decker told him, ticking complaints off on his fingers. "Even I've gotten the sharp edge of your tongue a couple of times. You used to be pretty even-handed, too, when it came to discipline. These days? Forget it! I've heard the scuttlebutt going around the base; and what the hell was that just now? First you nearly bite Rider's head off, then you let him off scot-free! If I didn't know better, I'd say you were having woman trouble."
"Yeah, well,' Hannibal hedged, "something like that."
"You old war dog!" Decker crowed delightedly. "Somebody's actually captured your heart?"
"I guess you could say that."
"Not that "pretty little blond-haired thing" from the conference!" Decker said in disbelief. He laughed when Smith colored a bit.
"Yeah; only…we haven't gotten together the last few weeks. Don't know if it's really going to lead anywhere," Smith sighed.
Decker reached out and took Smith's arm, turning him so they were facing each other.
"Tell you what, John," he said. "You need to get out of here for a while. Go to Vegas; find your little playmate. I'll cover for you here."
"Thanks, Rod!" Hannibal said. "I owe you one."
"You owe me more than that, Smith," Decker growled. "I keep track of these things, y'know. Now, get outta here before I change my mind."
Smith grinned at Decker before trotting off to close his office for the week-end. Watching him go, Rod hoped his friend had found someone at last. Decker was turning for his own office when he heard his name being called.
He turned to see Samuel Morrison headed in his direction. There was something about the man that bothered him, but he was a fellow officer, so he felt he had to be polite.
'What's up, Sam?'
"Oh, nothing much. Just haven't seen you in a few days." Morrison turned to watch the figure disappearing into the Admin Building. "Where's Smith off to in such a hurry?"
"I told him to take the rest of the week off. He's under a lot of pressure right now. Why?"
"I just wanted to invite both of you to join me for drinks this evening. How about it?" Morrison asked.
Decker groaned inwardly when he thought of the time he'd spent in Morrison's company at the conference, but plastered a smile on his face.
"Sure, why not?" he said. He found himself pushed forward as Morrison slapped him jovially on the back.
"Fine!" he said. "I'll see you at five, then, and we'll head out to that new bar over on 6th!" With that, he walked away.
'That's another one you owe me, Smith!' Decker thought as he headed back to his own desk.
Hannibal searched the streets of Vegas determined to find Alvin, but it seemed as though he had disappeared from the face of the earth. At 4 AM on Sunday morning, he gave up and went back to his hotel room for the night. The next morning he had gone out for breakfast, and was just getting ready to leave for home when he saw Alvin in a diner. The younger man was sitting in one of the booths, his head buried in a book.
Going inside, Hannibal ordered a cup of coffee and sat down at the counter to observe the blonde. He smiled as he watched as the younger man unconsciously pushed a set of wire-rimmed glasses up his nose every few minutes as they slid down.
'Adorable.' Hannibal's smile widened as the blonde turned the page and readjusted his glasses, his pen tapping against the notebook to his right. 'Absolutely, adorable.' After a few more minutes, Hannibal moved to the booth where Alvin was sitting.
"So, are the glasses a disguise, like Clark Kent?" he asked as he slid in across from the blonde.
When the younger man's head shot up in surprise, Hannibal instantly regretted disturbing him.
"I'm off duty; go find someone else to fuck," Alvin hissed his blue-green eyes changing from surprise to anger.
"I just thought that…"
"I know what you thought. Well, let me tell you something, General Smith even a whore gets a day off," the younger man snarled as he pulled off his glasses and slammed his book closed. "So, if you don't mind, go away!" The blonde began to shove his papers into the backpack which sat beside him. "Or better yet, I'll leave!"
Alvin had been shocked to see Smith. After their last meeting at the hotel, the other man had just stopped showing up, and while it was part of the business and he should have expected it, Alvin had been genuinely hurt when the General had disappeared from his life.
"Don't go." Hannibal laid his hand on top of Alvin's, preventing him from packing any more of his papers away. "I'll leave. I just saw you in the window and wanted to see you. I'm sorry if I upset you."
The younger man glared at Hannibal for another moment, then took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"I'm sorry. It's just been a stressful few weeks."
"That Carlos guy still bothering you?" Hannibal asked as he noticed a bruise on the blonde's left cheek.
"Yeah," Alvin said softly as he lowered his head. He knew if Smith saw the rest of him, the older man would be extremely upset. However, the good thing was that he had all the money he needed for a while, and wouldn't have to go back out onto the streets for a long time. With any luck, Carlos would move on or get locked up in jail before he had to go back out again. "But I don't have to worry about him for a while."
"Are you working for someone?" Hannibal narrowed his eyes. "You know that you don't…"
"Hey, Alvin, this guy harassing you?" a burly short-order cook asked as he walked over to the booth, the waitress who had given Hannibal his coffee just a few steps behind.
"No, Harry," Alvin smiled. "Everything is fine."
"You sure?" The cook looked Hannibal up and down. "'Cause if this bum is bothering you, I'll pitch him out on his ear."
"No, honestly, I'm fine. He just startled me when he sat down; I wasn't expecting to see him."
"All right, but if you need anything, you let Margie know," the cook added before turning back towards the kitchen.
"Thanks, Harry," Alvin called out as he watched the other man leave.
The waitress moved over to the table, and filled Hannibal's coffee cup before turning to rest her hand on Alvin's shoulder as she filled his cup.
"You need anything else, sweetheart, you let me know."
"Sure will, Margie." Alvin smiled at her. The waitress turned to look at Hannibal one last time before moving back to the counter.
"He seems a little aggressive." Hannibal turned from watching the waitress as she started a conversation with the cook in the pass-through window.
"Harry is an okay guy. I saved him some money on his taxes once, and now he kind of watches out for me." Alvin shrugged.
"It's nice to know you have some friends watching out for you." Hannibal smiled before he took a drink of his coffee. "So, what are you reading?" Hannibal asked as he reached for the book, but Alvin put his hand over on it protectively. "I promise I won't steal it," the General chuckled as he gently squeezed the younger man's hand.
"Sorry," Alvin sighed as he handed the book over to Hannibal. "It's just that it cost me quite a bit, and I don't have the money to replace it."
"I'll be careful." Hannibal accepted the book and looked at the leather-bound cover. "Business Management. So, you're in college. Is this your major?"
"Yeah, with a few side courses in accounting, advertising, and psychology." Alvin motioned to other books under his papers.
"And Latin?" Hannibal noted the book sitting beside the younger man's book bag.
"I have to take another language course, so I figured that I would pick an easy one."
"Easy?" Hannibal raised an eyebrow. "I wouldn't really consider Latin an easy language."
"I was raised in a Catholic orphanage." Alvin shrugged. "I got plenty of practice."
"You still could have taken French, or Spanish."
Reaching into his breast pocket, the younger man pulled out his cigarettes and lighter; he lit up a smoke before continuing.
"I learned Spanish when I was in high school, and I already know French and Vietnamese."
Hannibal sat back and looked at the blonde for a moment, completely amazed at what he was hearing.
"So, what are you, a freshman?"
"Junior." Alvin took another draw off his cigarette. "I started to take college-level courses during my sophomore year in high school, so I had a pretty good start by the time I started college the first time."
"The first time?" Hannibal asked as he took a drink of his coffee.
"I dropped out for a few years, but I'd rather not talk about it, if you don't mind."
"I would like to know more, but if you aren't comfortable, I won't ask any further."
"Thank you." Alvin gave him a soft smile
Hannibal sat back and took a few sips of his coffee before something occurred to him.
"If I have my numbers, right then you were a freshman in college at fifteen or sixteen."
"Like I said, I was raised in a Catholic orphanage in LA." Alvin shrugged. "I didn't have much to do except pray and study."
"So, how did you get from an orphanage to the streets of Vegas?"
"When I decided to go back to school, I didn't have my scholarship any longer. Needless to say, I had to come up with the money for my tuition, so I found the best way to do it."
"Why didn't you just get a regular job?" Hannibal asked as he took another drink of his coffee, his eyes studying the younger man.
"I can't make what I need from a regular job, plus I don't have the time." Alvin shrugged, dropping his eyes under the other man's piercing gaze. "I'm taking all the extra classes I can, and most of them are accelerated, so I need as much time as I can to study."
"Any reason you decided on Vegas instead of going back to LA?"
Alvin put out his cigarette and picked up his own drink, taking a sip before he looked directly in the older man's eye.
"I want to go back to LA when I get finished with school. I figured it would be best to stay out of California just in case I get busted."
"You're smart, kid." Hannibal smiled as he handed Alvin's book back to him. "I know this is your day off, but I was wondering if you might like to join me for dinner tonight. I would really enjoy your company. "
Alvin Brenner sat back in his seat and studied Smith for a minute. He knew that he shouldn't allow himself to get any type of attachment toward the General. It had hurt too much the first time he had stopped coming around. But he also knew that it was too late; there was a part of him that truly enjoyed the older man's company, too. 'What the hell,' he though. 'He'll be gone tomorrow, and things will go back to the way they were'. He'd be seeing him on weekends, if he was lucky, or maybe he might just tell the general that this is it and call an end to their relationship at the end of the night. Taking a deep breath, Alvin made up his mind.
"I'd love to, John." Alvin smiled. "Where, and what time?"
As Hannibal watched the young man smile, he felt his heart skip a beat god how he had missed that charming smile.
"How about I pick you up at your place, say 8:00 pm? Just let me know what I owe you so I can get the money."
"I'll be ready." Alvin smiled as he wrote his address down on a slip of paper and handed it to the General. "And John? No charge for tonight. I'm off-duty."
Realizing what the younger man was saying caused a wide grin to pull at the corners at the General's mouth. Standing up, he looked down at Alvin.
"See you at 8:00, kid," he said as he reached down to squeeze the younger man's slim shoulder before he left the diner.
Alvin Brenner smiled as he slid the key to his apartment into the lock and opened the door. After leaving the diner, Alvin had gone to the campus bookstore and picked up two books he would need for one of his next semester's classes. He was even looking forward to seeing the General tonight. Though he was sure that it be the last time he would see the silver-haired man, he couldn't wait to talk to him again.
He made it two steps into the door before he realized that something was wrong. However, before he could react, he was hit in the back of the head, the force of the blow driving him to his knees.
"I'm tired of messing with you, Alvin."
When Alvin recognized that it was Carlos in his apartment, he instantly became angry at the invasion of his personal space. When he worked the streets, he always rented a motel room to take his clients to. He never brought anyone back to his little apartment; it was his home, his sanctuary, a place where he could be himself, not Alvin Brenner - "Whore". In fact, the General was the first person he had ever given his address, and he still wasn't sure why he had done it. But now Carlos had invaded his home, and he was enraged at the intrusion.
"Get the fuck out of my apartment!" Alvin snarled as he turned himself over, his hand going to the back of his head, feeling the bump that was already growing there.
"Now is that way to talk to your employer?" Carlos smiled as he moved closer to the downed man.
"You seem to have forgotten who you are talking to." The pimp moved to step on Alvin's right hand, breaking several bones as he ground it into the floor. "Now, why don't you just go ahead and apologize?"
Alvin bit down on his lip as he fought back the pain when he felt the bones snap in his hand.
"Tell me, you're sorry boy." Carlos smiled as he applied even more pressure on his heal snapping the bones in the younger man's wrist.
Anger rose up in Alvin until it was nothing more than a blinding rage. Ignoring the pain in his hand, he swung his leg around, knocking the pimp to the ground. When Carlos landed, Alvin began to pound on him with his left fist. Though he didn't have as much power in his left as his right, he still put a hurting on the pimp, breaking his nose and loosening his two front teeth.
"Get him off me!" Carlos yelled at his thugs as he struggled to avoid the blows that were being rained down on him.
Alvin continued to fight as he was pulled off of the pimp - he bit, kicked, and clawed for all he was worth, but in the end the three men overpowered him, and Alvin found himself lying on the floor, curled into a ball trying to protect his broken hand, wrist ribs, and bruised kidneys.
Not smart, Alvin." Carlos wiped the blood from his face with a piece of Alvin's torn shirt, his eyes blazing. "Not smart at all."
Moving forward, Carlos grabbed the younger man by his hair and jerked his head up.
"I thought you were a lot smarter than that." The pimp backhanded him. "You know this is going to cost you, boy." Carlos slammed Alvin's head down on the floor a few times, dazing him into submission.
Walking around the room, Carlos began to flip through the books he found on a small desk. Picking up one of the books, he slowly began to tear several pages out letting them fall to the floor.
When Alvin heard the paper rip, he managed to shake the stars from his eyes and uncurl himself from his fetal position.
"Stop!" He tried to pull himself up, but was kicked flat by one of the thugs.
"Did you say something, boy?" Carlos ripped out several more pages, throwing them to the carpet.
"I found some more, boss." One of the thugs picked up the book bag that Alvin had carrying when he had entered the apartment. The pimp smiled as he started to tear the pages out of these books, also. "Do you think you are smarter than everyone else because you go to school?"
"Don't!" Alvin again tried to get up and crawl toward Carlos, but he only made it a foot before he was kicked in the back of the head. His body came crashing down on his broken wrist, and he screamed in pain, his vision blurring before turning dark. When he came to, his apartment was a complete shambles, his furniture busted, clothing in shreds, but, worst of all his books lying in tatters around the room.
"Nice of you to join us again," Carlos bent down to smile at him, Alvin's wire-rimmed reading glasses perched on the end of his busted nose.
"Why?" Alvin croaked out.
"Because you need to learn your place, whore." Carlos backhanded him across the face. "I own these streets and everyone on them. When you decided not to join me, some of my boys thought that they could go out on their own." Carlos grabbed Alvin's hair and pulled his head back again. "See, you're setting a bad example. But now when they see you working for me, they will know that there is no hope."
"I won't work for you." Alvin gasp as Carlos tightened his grip.
"Oh, I think you will." Carlos smiled as he motioned the two thugs to grab the younger man, beating him again. Alvin tried to fight them off, but after several good blows to his kidneys, he passed out again.
When he woke again, he was upright and on his knees, and he could smell something burning. It took him a moment to focus his eyes, but when he did, what he saw terrified him. Carlos was melting cocaine and heroin in a spoon.
"He's awake, boss," one of the thugs commented as he felt the younger man shift in their hands.
"Hold him." Carlos smiled as he filled the syringe with the now-melted liquid.
"No." Alvin shook his head as the pimp came towards him with the syringe.
"You ever had a speedball?" Carlos asked as he pitched a piece of rubber tubing to one of his men.
One of the goons grabbed Alvin by the arm, and wrapped the piece of rubber tubing around his arm and pulled it tight, cutting off the circulation. Again the young blonde struggled, but as before, they beat him into submission. A moment later, Carlos injected the drug into his arm.
"Since you must have some problem working with me, then I'll make it easier for you." Sitting back, the pimp watched the drug start to take effect.
"You are going to give me everything you have, and you will do it with a smile on your face, and beg me for more." The pimp patted the younger man's cheek lightly. "We already have a good start going." The pimp showed Alvin the money he had stolen from the younger man's wallet and what he had found hidden in one of his text books. "And in return for your obedience, I'll keep you blissfully stoned."
Reaching out, Carlos patted Alvin on the cheek one last time before he hit him full force.
"I'll give you two days to heal up that pretty face of yours, then I expect to see you at my place."
It was at that second that Alvin began to vomit uncontrollably. The thugs let go of him, and he caught himself with his left hand, his broken right going to his already abused stomach.
"Ooh, bad reaction. Sorry, buddy boy." Carlos smiled. "But don't worry. In just a little while, you'll be on cloud nine. Come on, boys; let's leave this whore to his high."
Laughing, the three men made their way out of the destroyed apartment.
Hannibal parked his car and got out. Looking at the apartment building, he glanced down at the address Alvin had written down, then back up at the number on the building. The building was run down, but the grounds around it seemed to be clean and free of debris. Reaching back into the car, Hannibal grabbed the bottle of wine he had bought for their evening. As he made his way up to the third floor, he was passed by three men, one of them covered in blood. As he overheard their conversation, a blanket of fear covered him.
"You think he'll be able to work in two days, boss? I mean, we roughed him up pretty good."
"His face is intact, just a bruise here and there. The customers will still go for him."
"Yeah, but we messed him up…"
"Let me tell you something. Once those drugs kick in, he'll do anything to get more. That fucking whore will work seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, just to get another hit. Besides, it's not like he's got anything else to do. He sure as hell isn't going to be writing any papers anytime soon." The three men broke out in laughter as they moved across the apartment's courtyard.
Hannibal thought about stopping the men and confronting them, but they were three against one, and he felt a greater urge to check and see if Alvin was all right. Taking the stairs two at a time, he made it to the apartment that Alvin had written on the paper for him. He knocked on the door several times and got no response. Listening closely, he could hear movement inside.
"Alvin, it's John," Hannibal banged harder on the door. "Are you all right, kid?" Again he could hear movement, but no answer.
"Alvin, if you don't tell me otherwise, I'm coming through this door in 30 seconds." Hannibal had counted to fifteen when he heard a muffled sob. "Screw it," he growled, and slammed himself against the door. After the third hit, the lock gave and he was standing in the doorway of what could only be called a war zone. Furniture was overturned and smashed, paper littered the floor, blood smeared the walls, but the worst thing was the battered form of Alvin Brenner. The younger man was kneeling on the floor, desperately trying to pick up the shredded papers of what had once been his textbooks.
Quickly, Hannibal moved to kneel in front of the younger man. As he took in Alvin's image, he was appalled by what had been done to him. The blonde's clothes were ripped, torn, and covered in vomit. His face and body were a mass of cuts, scrapes, bruises. Blood oozed from his arm, nose, and mouth. It was obvious that something was terribly wrong with his rib cage, and his right hand was hanging uselessly at the wrist.
"Alvin?" Hannibal reached out and gently rested his hand on the younger man's shoulder. However, the younger man ignored him and continued to attempt to pick up the papers. "Alvin, stop and look at me, kid."
"I …can't …got… class…. tomorrow"
"Alvin, you need to be still so I can see how badly your hurt."
The blonde shook his head violently. "Have… get…books in…order…"
Hannibal put his other hand on his the younger man's other shoulder and stopped him from picking up the paper. "Alvin, look at me, kid."
Hannibal's heart broke as a pair of tear-filled blue-green eyes looked up at him.
"Don't understand. I… my books…. in order," Alvin wheezed.
Something about the younger man's behavior raised a red flag in Smith's mind. There was something more going on than just the injuries from an attack. There was no way that the younger man should have been functional after the beating he had taken. Leaning closer, he tilted the boy's head up, opening his eyelids wide. The pupils were completely dilated.
"Jesus, kid! What're you on?" Hannibal swore. "I never figured you for a junkie!"
"N…n - not…" the younger man panted, struggling to get away.
Hannibal snatched the kid's arm in disbelief and checked the crook of the elbow. He had viewed the younger man naked enough, but it had been weeks since he had last seen him. He'd also seen too many strung-out soldiers in Viet Nam to be mistaken about the signs of being wasted. To his relief, there were no needle tracks, only the one puncture wound that continued to ooze fresh blood.
"I believe you," he said, his voice calmer, but still angry. "Who did this to you? What did he give you?"
Alvin tried to shake his head, but relented at Smith's pleading look.
"C… Carlos," he finally admitted. "…s - snow and…sma-ack…I th - think…not…sure…"
"Shit!" Snatches of overheard conversation flitted through the Colonel's mind. "What does this Carlos look like?" he asked.
"Short…dark curly hair…," Alvin gasped out, his breathing becoming more and more labored.
"Travels with two muscle-bound goons?"
The younger man nodded as he tried to pull away from Hannibal, desperate to get to his destroyed books.
Smith's lips pursed grimly; the description fit the men he'd seen on the stairs. The pimp could not be allowed to get away with this, but that could wait. Getting the younger man to the hospital was more important than revenge.
"I'll help get your books together when I'm done, but right now I need you to lie back so I can see how bad you're injured."
"I'm… all right." Alvin shook his head as he tried to pull out of the Colonel's grasp. "Feel… fine."
"You're not fine," Hannibal stated softly as he as he gently pushed the younger man backwards until he was sitting on his butt before he lowered him the rest of the way down. "You're injured, and I need you to be still while I check you out." Being as gentle as possible, Hannibal began to assess the blonde's injuries. After a few moments, he decided that they were more than he could take care of, and he needed to call an ambulance.
"Alvin, where is your phone?"
"Kit…chen." The younger man nodded as he panted for breath, his face was becoming paler and paler, yet his cheeks were flushed.
"All right, kid, I'm going to call for help. I want you to lie still until I come back." Taking his jacket off, Hannibal placed it under the younger man's head.
Alvin looked up at him, as he tried to sit up once again. "Feel…all right."
"You're far from it," Hannibal sighed as he pushed him down once again. "I want you to lie here until I get back." Getting to his feet, he quickly went into the kitchen and found the phone. He pressed zero and waited for an operator to answer. A short time later, he gave the address, and was assured that an ambulance would be there shortly.
Going back into the living room, he found Alvin back on his knees the remains of a book in the crook of his arm, his smashed reading glasses in his hand, rocking back and forth; tears streaming down his cheeks.
"Alvin?" Hannibal knelt down in front of him again, his hands once more going to the younger man's shoulders. "I need you to lie down."
"Why?" The blonde looked up at him. What was left of the lenses were now smeared in blood where they had cut into Alvin's palm.
"I don't know, kid." Hannibal leaned forward and carefully removed the glasses before he pulled the young man into his arms; he rocked him back and forth for a few moments trying to sooth him before trying to lower him to the floor again. "But I need you to lie back down."
This time, Alvin began to struggle as he tried to lower him.
"Can't… have to get back… the street; have…. to make…. money… have to… new… books… for tomorrow's class."
"You're not going back out on the street, Alvin," Hannibal sighed as he used his own bodyweight to push the young man flat. "Tonight, you're going to do what I tell you to do, and if a doctor says that you can go to class tomorrow, then I will buy your books for you."
"No… have to… earn the… money, have to do…myself…have to " Anything else that the blonde was going to say was cut off when he grabbed his chest right before his eyes rolled up into the back of his head.
"Alvin?" Hannibal shook the younger man. When he got no response, the Colonel checked the blonde's pulse. The rate at which the blonde's man's heart was beating worried him; it was almost as if he had just finished running a marathon. Thankfully for Hannibal, it was at that moment that the ambulance crew showed up
Alvin Brenner moaned as he blinked against the harsh light that assaulted his eyes. He turned his head when he felt a gentle touch of his hair. He was surprised to find John Smith sitting beside his bed, stroking his hair.
"I was starting to worry about you," the older man said softly as he continued to stroke the sweat soaked strands.
"Where am I?" Alvin glanced around the room, though it was hard to focus.
"You're at Clark County General."
"Clark County?" Alvin looked at him, confused; then suddenly a look of panic crossed his face. "I have to get out of here. I can't afford this."
"You're not going anywhere." Hannibal placed his hands on the blonde's shoulder and gently pushed him back down in the bed as he tried to sit up. "You are scheduled for surgery in the morning."
"I don't need any surgery." The younger man stared at him. A confused look crossed his battered face. "Why would I need surgery?"
"Your right hand and wrist are broken in several places. A surgeon will be arriving in the morning to repair the damage and set the bones," Hannibal explained softly as he ran his fingers through the blonde's hair, smoothing it back off the younger man's forehead.
Alvin looked down at his right hand, which was currently wrapped in heavy bandages. "They can just cast it, can't they?"
"They can, but you'll lose most of the function in your hand."
"Then have the doctors set it. I…I … can't afford all of this."
"Don't you worry about the cost; I'm taking care of your medical bills." Hannibal tried to sooth the younger man as he began to get agitated.
Alvin stared at the General in complete disbelief.
"No, no, no, you can't do that," he answered as he shook his head. "I won't let you do it."
"It's already done." Hannibal smiled softly as he kept stroking the blonde's hair. "The only thing I want you to worry about is getting better."
Before Alvin could respond, a doctor came into the room carrying a chart.
"Ah, Mr. Brenner, I see you are awake."
"When can you release me?" the younger man asked as he tried once again to sit up.
"Mr. Brenner, you have surgery scheduled in the morning for your hand. Aside from that, you have suffered a severe beating, with multiple fractures, broken bones, and lacerations. There is no way in good conscience that I can discharge you."
"Then I'll discharge myself." Alvin started to get up, but was stopped by a firm hand. "I feel fine."
"You're not going anywhere until the doctor releases you," the General stated firmly.
"The hell I'm not," Alvin shot back as he shoved Hannibal's hand off his shoulder.
Before anyone could react, the younger man swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. He made one step before his legs gave out from under him and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Moving over to the side of the bed, Hannibal knelt down in front of the blonde.
"Now will you listen to reason?" he asked as he took the stunned man's face in his hands.
"I don't understand. I feel fine." Alvin looked at his now-trembling hand. "I don't hurt."
Being careful of Alvin's wounds, Hannibal lifted him off the floor and placed him back into the bed. This time, he made sure that the side rails were pulled up so the younger man couldn't get away quite as easily as he had before.
"You want to explain it to him, Doc?" Hannibal asked as he pushed the blonde hair off Alvin's now sweat-soaked forehead.
"The reason you don't feel any pain, Mr. Brenner, is because you were injected with a cocaine and heroin mixture. The first part of the drug gives you an adrenaline rush, speeding the heart and making you very alert. The second part has a morphine-like effect; it slows the heart and decreases your ability to feel pain. You are currently not on any pain medication because of the heroin; however, as it wears off, you will become more and more aware of injuries you have suffered. Once we are sure that the drug is no longer in your system, we'll start you on a strong course of painkillers to make you comfortable."
Hannibal watched as Alvin visibly paled before his eyes. He also noticed that the younger man was shaking all over.
"No, no, no, no." Alvin was whispering under his breath. "Not again. I can't do it again."
"Do you have any other questions?" the doctor asked, but Alvin wasn't paying attention to him. He was starting to rock back and forth, shaking his head from side to side. "Mr. Brenner?"
Hannibal watched the younger man with growing concern. Something wasn't right, and they needed to know what it was.
"Doc, can I have a moment alone with him?"
"I don't know…"
"Please, just give us a second. I promise as soon as I find out what is wrong, I'll let you know."
Once the doctor was out of the room, Hannibal lowered the bedrail and sat down on the bed. Very gently, he placed his hands on each side of the younger man's head and forced it up.
"Talk to me; tell me what is going on."
"I can't do it again," Alvin whispered, though Hannibal noticed that the younger man wasn't looking at him and seemed to be going into his own world.
"Look at me, kid," When their eyes met, Hannibal asked a second time. "Can't do what again?"
"The drugs. I can't fight them again," Alvin whispered, his eyes bright with unshed tears. "You have to call off the surgery. I can't go through it. I can't!"
"Alvin, I need you to explain to me what you are talking about.; I don't understand what you're saying."
"A few years ago, I had an accident; they put me on morphine for the pain." Hannibal noticed that Alvin had started to tremble harder, and the tears were now leaving wet trails down his cheeks. "I got hooked; it took me months to kick the habit. Don't you understand, General? I can't go through that again!" Alvin cried out as his voice broke.
Without a moment of hesitation, Hannibal pulled the younger man into his arms, hugging him tight to his body.
"I won't let that happen to you," Hannibal reassured him as he stroked the blonde head resting on his shoulder. "I promise you won't go through this alone. I'll be here for you."
Alvin stayed wrapped in the older man's embrace for a long time, sobbing out his physical and emotional pain. When all the tears were shed, he stayed where he was, allowing himself to feel safe. After a long time had passed, he slowly pushed himself back away from the General.
"I'm sorry." He turned his head to look away, but was stopped by a gentle hand on his cheek.
"Why?" Hannibal asked as his thumb moved to wipe the tearstains away. "You have nothing to be sorry for."
"I didn't mean to drag you into my problems." Alvin took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You should leave."
"Have you ever thought that I don't want to leave?" Hannibal asked as he smiled at the blonde.
"Why would you want to stay?"
"For such a smart kid, you sure are dumb sometimes." Hannibal chuckled as he pushed the blonde hair out of the younger man's eyes. "Have you ever considered that I might have feelings for you?"
"How can you have feelings for me?" Alvin stared at the older man in amazement, "I'm just a street wh…"
"That's enough." Hannibal put his hand over the younger man's mouth, silencing him. "I'll decide who I want to have feelings for, not you." When Alvin just stared at him, he continued. "I've enjoy being with you and talking to you, and when I didn't see you for the last few weeks, I did nothing but think about you. I really missed you, kid." At the puzzled look in the blonde's eyes, he went on. "You're a smart kid who can hold up his end of a conversation, and when the doctor releases you, I'd like for you to join me at my home in L.A."
"Join you?" Alvin asked softly when Hannibal removed his hand from his mouth.
"Yes, join me. I have a large home just off the beach, with more than enough room for the two of us."
"I thought you were in the Army. How can I…I don't see how…." Alvin stumbled for words, then bowed his head. "I can't."
"I just can't," Alvin repeated softly.
"Give me a one good reason."
"I can't leave. I have school."
"And I'm sure that UCLA has a fine Business Management program, so I don't see any reason why we can't get you transferred."
Alvin Brenner took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he realized that the older man kept using words like "we", as if they were already some type of couple. There was no way that the other man could feel this way about him; he was nothing more than a common street whore. Suddenly, he understood why Smith wanted him, and he decided to make the older man say it.
"I can't pay for anything. Carlos took all the money I had saved. There is only one way I can pay you back for all of this."
Hannibal shook his head as he began to speak. "I don't want you to come to my home as some type of sex slave or indentured servant. Once you get back on your feet, you can help out around the house for your rent. I'll lend you the money to pay for your education, and if it makes you feel more comfortable we'll come up with an amount you feel is fair for the interest rate. When you graduate and get a job, you can start paying me back."
Alvin stared at the older man completely stunned. "I don't know what to say," he said softly.
"Say 'yes'." Hannibal's smile widened as he brushed the blonde hair out of the younger man's eyes for what seemed like the hundredth time.
"Yes," Alvin answered; his voice little more than a whisper.
"Good." Hannibal leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead before laying him back down in the bed. "Now, let's get the Doc back in here and see what we can do to help get you through your recovery without a lot of pain killers."
Hannibal sighed as he put down the phone. There were certain things that a man just hated to do, and bringing your best friend in on your problems was one of them, but in this matter he didn't see where he had a choice. Settling back in the chair, he watched the young man sleeping in the hospital bed, and Hannibal knew he had made the right decision.
After an hour had passed, he left to go meet Decker at the airport.
"You care to explain to me what in the hell is going on?" Colonel Roderick Decker asked as he moved about the destroyed apartment.
Hannibal hadn't planned on getting Decker involved, but the more Hannibal thought about it, the more he realized that he might need help in dealing with Carlos and his gang. Hannibal was sure that he could take care of the three men without any problem, but he felt it would be best to have back-up, just in case something went wrong.
"It's complicated." Hannibal glanced over at his long-time friend.
"Nothing with you is ever simple, John, so spill it." Decker crossed his arms over his chest and glared at his friend.
"I met someone a few months ago." Hannibal stopped as he started to wonder if telling Decker was a good idea.
"And?" Decker began to frown as he noted Smith's body language becoming defensive.
"And he means a lot to me."
"Jesus Christ!" Decker threw up his hands in complete disbelief. "I thought you were over that shit when Jack died."
"Being gay isn't something you get over." Hannibal glared at him.
"I've seen you date women, John."
"But you haven't see me screw them, now have you Rod?" Hannibal snapped.
"Damn it, John!" Decker shook his head. "Are you trying to throw your career out the window? I thought that, after Jack died, you stopped..."
Decker stopped when he saw the pained look in his friend's eyes. He remembered how devastated Hannibal had been when his lover had been shot and killed in Korea, and he had to admit that, as far as he knew, Hannibal had not slept with another man since the death of his former partner.
"All right, all right." Decker raised his hand to stop the argument that he knew they were about to have. "I just don't want to see you throw your career away on some piece of ass."
"He is different from anyone I've met in a long time."
"Does he mean as much to you as Jack did?"
Hannibal stared at Decker, blue eyes staring into blue.
"He means as much to me as Samantha meant to you."
"That's saying quite a lot, John," Decker whispered.
"Yes, it is."
Hannibal thought back to when he had first met Roderick Decker back during the Korean War, and how that chance meeting might have saved both of their lives. Hannibal had just found out that Major Jack Conley, his lover of two years, had been killed in a mortar attack earlier that morning. Deciding that he needed to vent his anger at God, he had gone into the base's small chapel to tell the Almighty exactly what he thought about his guiding hand. When he walked into the chapel, he was surprised to find it occupied by Major Decker, who was sitting on one of the wooden pews with his service revolver to his head, the hammer back, and his finger on the trigger.
"You know, if you plan on doing that, I would suggest putting the barrel in your mouth and pointing it towards your brain. The way you have it now, you're going to miss half your brain and make a vegetable out of yourself."
Decker turned to look at Hannibal his blue eyes full of pain and torment.
"Hey, I'm just trying to help." Hannibal offered a half-smile as he moved to sit down at the end of the bench.
"I didn't ask for your help," Decker growled, though Hannibal noted that he was now pointing the weapon toward the floor.
The two men remained silent for some time before Decker spoke.
"You got a family?" he glanced over at Hannibal's uniform shirt. "Smith"
"No, I'm a confirmed bachelor," Hannibal studied the other man. "Is that what has you so upset? You get a Dear John letter?"
"No, I got a 'Your wife is dead, and we can't find your 3-year-old son' letter." Decker held up the letter that was clutched in his left hand.
"Jesus." Hannibal shifted. "I'm sorry…Decker, right?"
"Yeah," the blonde-haired major nodded.
"They don't know." Decker shook his head. "Her car went off the road and down an embankment, killing her instantly. The police can't find my son."
"Is there a chance that she could have left him with someone - a baby sitter, or her parents?"
"No." Decker shook his head as he looked at the letter in his hand. "Samantha would never leave him with anyone. She didn't trust anyone to watch Richard but us, and at times I'm not so sure she trusted me." Decker gave a small laugh that sounded almost painful. At the puzzled look in Hannibal's eyes, he started his story.
"You have to understand, we were married when I was 20, and Samantha was only 18. Her parents didn't approve of our marriage and they disowned her, so it was just the two of us. A year later, she became pregnant with Richard. It wasn't an easy pregnancy, Smith. There were a lot of complications, and we almost lost him several times. He was born three weeks early, and the doctor told us not to expect him to live. After he made it through the first month and started to put on weight, they told us he would be retarded, and would never be able to do anything for himself." Decker smiled as his mind shifted back to days spent on leave with his son, watching him run around the yard, playing in the bathtub, calling him Daddy, and starting to read before he shipped out to Korea.
"They were wrong on all counts. I'm not going to deny that he was small for his age, but there was no stopping him." Reaching into his front pocket, Decker pulled out a photo and handed it to Hannibal. "He was so damn smart."
Hannibal could only describe the photo as the all-American family. Decker was in his dress uniform, with a beautiful young blonde-haired woman beside him. As Hannibal stared at the photo, he was amazed by the color of the young lady's bright green eyes, her smooth, flawless tanned skin, and her sparkling smile. Sitting on Decker's lap was a little blonde-haired boy, his arm in a white plaster cast. Hannibal could see that the child had taken almost all of his looks from his mother - the delicate facial features, the blonde hair, slight body, and sparkling smile. However, there was one thing that both parents had contributed to in the boy's looks, and that was his eye color. Decker had blue eyes, his mother had green, and the boy had a combination of the two.
"How did he break his arm?" Hannibal smiled as he continued to look at the photo.
"He was always into mischief," Decker chuckled as he took the photo back and looked at his son, his fingers caressing the little boy's cheek. "It happened a few months before I shipped out. He was climbing in one of the trees in the front yard and fell out of it. When he landed, he broke his arm in three places and his collar bone in two. It took two surgeries to get everything back where it belonged, but you know something, Smith? He never screamed once. I'm not going to say he didn't cry, but you never would have thought he was hurt as bad as he was. It left one hell of a scar on his left shoulder. Sam was so upset about it until the doctors told her it would fade when he got older and it would hardly be visible. I thought she was going to break my neck for not watching him closer." A smile pulled at the corner of Decker's mouth as he continued to touch the photo. "When we got the little monkey home, he tried to climb the same tree again, cast and sling be damned. To tell you the truth, I don't think anything could slow him down."
"You have a beautiful family."
"Had, Smith; had." Decker's voice went cold.
"Have," Hannibal corrected. "Your son is still out there somewhere, and if you love him half as much as you say you do, then you will get your ass in the Colonel's office and demand a pass back to the States."
Decker looked at Hannibal for a moment, then stood up. "You're right, Smith."
"Damn straight I'm right." Hannibal rose to stand beside the other man. "Tell you what - you get the pass, I'll get you on a transport."
It wasn't until Decker was on a plane headed back to the States that Hannibal remembered why he had gone into the chapel in the first place. Later that night, he went back and thanked the same God he had been mad at earlier for helping him to save Decker's life. He also said a silent prayer that Decker would find his missing son.
"So where do we start?" Decker asked as he surveyed the mess.
"Let's see if there is anything we can salvage. Then, I guess, see if we can clean the place up enough so the kid can get some of his deposit back."
"From Colonel to cleaning lady; I love it," Decker grumbled, but he bent down and began to pick up the papers off the floor where he was standing.
Several long hours later, the two men were almost done. Hannibal was just finishing up sweeping up the floor while Decker was going through the closet in the bedroom to see if Carlos had left any clothes that Alvin could wear home from the hospital. As he went through the shredded clothes, Decker saw a box in the very back corner. Pulling it out, he was surprised to find it was an Army footlocker.
"Hannibal, I just found something interesting," Decker called out as he opened the footlocker and began to go through its contents.
"What do you mean by 'interesting'?" Hannibal asked as he came into the bedroom to see the other man crouched over something.
"Looks like whoever ransacked his place missed this." Decker reached in and pulled out a photo of four men in fatigues. Two of the men had dark black hair, one had brown, and the last one was blonde. "This your boy?" Decker asked as he handed the photo to Hannibal.
"That's him." Hannibal smiled as he took the photo out of the other man's hand. As he studied the photo, he tried to figure out where the kid might have been stationed. However, his thoughts were interrupted by Decker.
"You said his name was Alvin, right?"
"Yeah," Hannibal looked down at Decker who was studying another photo and a piece of paper. "Alvin Brenner."
"I think he has some explaining to do, because according to this, he is Templeton Peck."
Hannibal accepted the paper and photo from Decker. The paper he recognized as discharge papers with the name Templeton Arthur Peck on them; the photo was another one of "Alvin" in fatigues, though unlike the first one, Hannibal could easily make out the name-tag on the younger man's shirt. The patch clearly read "Peck".
"I know this guy." Hannibal looked up to see Decker looking at another photo. "His name was Bryan Ramsey. His unit ran search-and-destroy missions into Laos. If I remember correctly, he and his men were captured and killed except... Jesus!" Decker stopped as he stared at the photo. The kid's face was hard to make out because of the camo make up and dark sunglasses, but the patches on his jacket, and the sniper rifle he was holding made it apparent to the Colonel exactly who the young man was. "Do you have any idea who this kid is?" Decker stared at Hannibal.
"Obviously not," Hannibal frowned as he realized that his lover had lied to him yet again.
"This boy was the only one who survived from his unit when they were captured on a mission near the border. The son-of-a-bitch managed to escape by himself and find his way back across the border. He was so badly injured that they didn't think he would live. A little over a month later, he walked out of the hospital and attacked the chopper crew that refused to pick his unit up at the start of their mission. Word had it that the LZ was too hot, and the choppers left them to fight their way out. I saw the report, John, and the things that those bastards did to those poor bastards in those few months was unreal." Decker shook his head
"His whole unit dead and months in a camp; no wonder he went after the crew. Hell, I would have tried killed them, too."
"What I don't understand is why didn't he tell you who he was?"
"I don't know, either, but it's something I plan on finding out."
Decker put the papers he had back into the footlocker before turning to Hannibal. "So what do we do about this?"
"What do you mean?" Hannibal eyed him innocently.
"Don't try to con me, Smith; I know you to well. You're not going to let these bastards get away with beating the hell out of this boy." Decker stopped and took a deep breath. "Hell, if you don't do something about it, I will. No one gets away with beating up one of our own."
Hannibal smiled as he looked over at his best friend. He had planned on asking Decker for his help, but was glad that the other man had volunteered.
"No, I'm not going to let these bastards get away with this, but I need to come up with a plan. Besides, the kid goes in for surgery at 7:00 in the morning, and I want to be there when he comes out."
"Tell you what; I'll book a hotel for a couple of nights. When you're ready, call me."
Reaching out, Hannibal clasped his hand on Decker's shoulder. "Thanks, Rod; I mean it."
"Yeah, whatever." Decker laughed as he looked at the photo of the blonde-haired man. There was something about the younger man's looks that pulled at the corner of his mind, but he pushed it aside as he tossed the picture back into the box.
Hannibal tossed the year-old copy of Life magazine down on the waiting room table. He hated waiting more than anything, and now was worse than ever. Now that he knew that Alvin Brenner was really Lieutenant Templeton Arthur Peck, he wanted some answers. He knew he should be mad at the young man for lying to him, but he wasn't. In fact, he was hurt that Peck hadn't told him the truth. As he thought about Templeton Peck and all that he had been through in his life, he found that he admired the kid for his bravery and courage.
There weren't too many men Peck's age who would do what he was doing to try and better themselves. Hannibal picked up the magazine again. Yes, he had a great deal of respect for the kid. It wasn't … 'Oh, who the hell are you kidding, Smith? You're falling in love with the boy,' Hannibal sighed.
He could put all the fancy words to it and call it anything he wanted, but the truth was he loved the younger man, and wanted nothing more than to have Peck by his side. Hannibal wondered what it would have been like if Peck had been assigned to his unit instead of being discharged from the Army. Could he have controlled the younger man's violent outbursts? He was about to analyze his feelings further when he was spared by a nurse.
"I'm looking for Mr. Brenner's family."
"Here," Hannibal stood up.
"And you are?"
"John Smith; I'm his uncle." Hannibal lied knowing that they wouldn't give him any information or allow him to see Peck if he told them the truth.
"If you'll follow me, please," She smiled and led him down the hall to a private room. "The doctor will be with you in a moment."
"Is he all right?" Hannibal asked just as she shut the door. As soon as the door was closed, Hannibal began to pace the room. He had been in enough hospitals in his life to know that being moved into a private room meant; private rooms were never a good sign. After a few minutes of pacing, the doctor opened the door and came into the room. He was followed by another man dressed in surgical scrubs.
"Doc?" Hannibal's voice was strong, but he felt weak inside, dread building in the pit of his stomach.
"Mr. Smith, I want to assure you that Alvin came through the surgery with flying colors, and he is in recovery now. However, we are having a little trouble getting him to wake up."
"What do you mean?" he asked as his heart skipped a beat in fear.
The second man stepped forward and introduced himself.
"Mr. Smith, my name is John Taft. I was your nephew's anesthesiologist. I want to assure you that he is in no danger; it's just that some people are slower to come out from under sedation than others; your nephew seems to be one of those people. We're keeping a close eye on him, and will let you know as soon as he is awake."
"Can I see him?"
"As soon as he is out of recovery." The doctor smiled.
"If possible, I would really like to be with him now." When Hannibal saw that the doctor was about to tell him "no", Hannibal quickly started talking again. "Please, Doc, I'm the only family he's got have left. His parents are dead, and I promised him I would take care of him."
When the two men looked at each other, Hannibal knew he had them on the hook, now all he had to do was reel them in.
"I'll stay out of the way; I just want him to know that he hasn't been abandoned. He's already going through a rough time. Being mugged in a strange city has scared the hell out of him."
"I don't see where it would be a problem." The doctor nodded as he opened the door. "If you'll just follow me."
Hannibal followed the doctor down the hall and into a large room that was divided up into smaller sections by curtains. Halfway down the room, the doctor stopped and turned to Hannibal.
"As I said, he's not really awake."
"As long as he knows I'm here for him." Hannibal smiled as he parted the curtain, walked inside, and sat down in the chair beside the bed. He had only been sitting there for a few moments when he noticed that Peck was mumbling in his sleep. Moving closer, Hannibal listened to what the younger man was saying. His breath caught in his throat as he heard the blonde's words, all of which were spoken in Vietnamese.
"No more, stop! Bryan, please don't leave me like this! You can't die, Captain. I don't want to be alone. Don't touch me, you bastard; I'll fucking kill you! Stop, Don't! You can't die, Bryan! Please, don't die; please, Captain! Stop, get your fucking hands off me! Don't! Stop! I'm not going to tell you anything! Don't touch me!"
When Peck began to tremble violently and shake his head from side to side, Hannibal could stand no more. Reaching down, he gently shook the younger man's shoulders.
"Wake up, Lieutenant," he ordered, using his best commanding tone.
"Captain?" Peck opened a pair of glassy eyes and looked around. "I swear, Bryan, I didn't tell them anything."
Realizing that the younger man was still in his dream and would most likely stay there due to the anesthesia, Hannibal improvised his answers.
"No, Lieutenant, its General Smith." Reaching out, Hannibal gently stroked the hair out of the younger man's blue-green eyes. "You're safe now, and you need to rest."
Peck looked at him for a moment then frowned. "Sir, my CO, Captain Ramsey, he was in the camp with me."
"You don't worry about your Captain," Hannibal shushed him. "You just rest."
"But sir, you have to get him out. His family…"
"That's enough." Hannibal placed his fingers over the younger man's lips. "Everything is going to be taken care of, understood?"
Peck looked at him for a moment then nodded.
"Good. Now, I want you to close your eyes and get some sleep. We'll talk more when you wake up."
"Sir?' Peck continued to stare at him, though Hannibal could tell that he was fighting to keep his eyes open.
"Tell General Fulbright his pilots are dead men when I get out of here."
"I'll be sure to pass that along." Hannibal smiled as he pulled the blankets up around the blonde's shoulders. "Now, close your eyes and get some rest."
Hannibal stayed with the young Lieutenant until he was moved into a private room. When the doctor came in, he informed him that Peck would most likely sleep until that evening. Hannibal wrote him a note and left it with a folder that he had brought with him.
"So, what's the plan?" Decker asked as he glanced over at Smith while they drove towards the strip.
"We're going to go where I first saw Peck. Someone has to know where this Carlos hangs out."
"And when we find him?" When Hannibal turned an evil smile in Decker's direction, the other man nodded. "That's what I was hoping."
The two men sat quietly before Decker spoke again. "How is the boy doing?"
"The young man," Hannibal corrected, "is doing well. The surgeon said that the operation went well, and when the cast comes off in about six weeks, he should have full use of his hand after therapy."
"I'm glad to hear it, John."
After a few more minutes of silence, Hannibal sighed. "All right, what is really on your mind?"
Decker looked at his friend and shook his head. "You know me too well."
"More like too long. Now spill it."
"I just can't help but wonder if you're making a mistake." Decker held up his hand before Smith could protest. "I know that you think that you are in love, and if you are, then more power to you. But what do you know about this boy - excuse me, young man." Decker corrected when Hannibal shot him a dirty look. "He's already lied to you about his name. I mean come on, John; what else has he lied to you about?"
"I don't know, Rod, but I feel something for him that I haven't felt for a long time, and I do plan on talking to him."
"And if he doesn't give you the answers you want to hear?"
"It'll break my heart, but I will leave him here."
Decker studied his long-time friend for a moment then laughed. "You are so full of shit your eyes should be brown. You know damn well that you'll take him home and try to change him, just like you did Baracus and that crazy-ass pilot of yours when you were in Vietnam."
Hannibal looked down the street at the traffic as he drove. He told himself that if Peck continued to lie to him, he would leave him in Vegas. But after seeing the young man in the midst of a nightmare, and knowing what he had been through, he knew that he couldn't.
"You know me too well, Rod." Hannibal repeated with a sigh.
"Unfortunately," Decker bitched as he looked out the window.
"Ah, hell, you love me and you know it." Hannibal laughed. "I mean just think about how boring your life would be without me."
"Yeah, I might live to see retirement," Decker snorted.
"Huh." Smith frowned.
"And what fun would that be?" Decker snickered.
"You're just too fucking funny, you know that?"
"You love me and you know it." Decker laughed as he used Smith's words against him.
The two men continued to bicker back and forth until they got to the spot where Smith had picked up Peck.
"Nice area." Decker looked up and down the street at all the prostitutes.
"What did you expect?" Hannibal rolled his eyes.
"For you to come down with a disease, by the looks of some of these guys," Decker mumbled as several men approached the rental car.
"What you looking for, sugar?" one of the prostitutes asked as he moved to lean on the door.
"I'm looking for a pimp by the name of Carlos," Hannibal stated as he leaned across the seat.
"Don't know anyone by that name." The prostitute tried to back away from the car window, but Decker grabbed him by the shirt before he could get away.
"I think you're lying to the gentleman." Decker smiled a predatory smile.
"Get off me." The hooker tried to pull away, but Decker only tightened his grip, and pulled him in closer.
"This pimp beat the hell out of a friend of mine, and I want to know where to find him," Hannibal growled at the man being pulled into the car window.
"I don't know any pimp by the name…"
"You know, maybe if we start beating the hell out of a few assholes, word might get back to this guy and he'll find us." Hannibal smiled over at Decker
"Good idea, and we might as well start with this one." Decker turned to glare at the man in his grasp.
"You wouldn't!" the prostitute sputtered.
"Watch me," Decker sneered as he jerked the man against the side of the car before he pulled his fist back to punch him square in the face.
"Wait, wait!" the hooker yelled as he tried to get loose. "I don't work for him, but Paul over there does." The man pointed to a young man across the street that couldn't have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old.
"Then I suggest that you get his attention, because I'm not letting you go." To get his point across, Decker jerked the other man against the side of the door again.
"All right, all right." The prostitute put his hands up in surrender. "Hey, Paul! C'mere! I've got a double."
Hannibal watched as the young hooker made his way over to his side of the car.
"So, what are you guys looking for?" He winked at Hannibal.
"Actually, I'm looking for some information."
"What kind of information?" Paul tried to back away, but Hannibal stopped him with a light touch on the wrist.
"Do you know Alvin?"
"Sure, everyone knows Alvin." Paul smiled as he moved back to the car window. "He's a great guy. I didn't have money to eat one night, and he took me to a little diner and told me to get whatever I wanted; didn't ask me for nothing in return."
"Your pimp beat the hell out of him last night," Hannibal stated flatly.
"Oh, Jesus," Paul put his hand to his mouth. "I knew that Carlos wanted him real bad, but I didn't think he would go through with his threats."
"So, you've heard him threaten the boy…" Decker stopped and corrected himself at Smith's sharp gaze, "…young man, and you didn't do anything about it?"
"What are we supposed to do?" the prostitute Decker was still holding onto spoke up. "Go to the cops?"
Decker turned to glare at him, but released his grip on the other man's shirt. "Get out of here."
"Uh-uh. You didn't tell me this involved Alvin."
"Does it make a difference?" Decker frowned.
"Look, asshole, believe it or not, I do have a heart. Plus Alvin's helped me out a time or two."
"All right, what I need to know is where this Carlos guy hangs out, and how many bodyguards he keeps around him." Hannibal looked at Paul, then the other prostitute.
"What are you going to do to him once you find him?" Paul asked.
"I'm going to make him wish that he'd never met Alvin." Hannibal smiled a feral smile that made both men take a step back.
"Are you Alvin's pimp?" the first prostitute asked
"No, he doesn't need a pimp, because he's no longer in this business."
"Then who are you?"
"His avenging angel," Hannibal deadpanned. "Now, where can I find this Carlos?"
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