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But What is Freedom 1-3

But What Is Freedom?

Part One

Fingers


Rating: R for language and violence
Summary: A sequel to Let Justice Be Done set between Thanksgiving and Christmas a year after the Team's release. Some wishes have been fulfilled and others haven't or have they? An old enemy hurts someone close to the Team and thus they become involved in a fight for Face's freedom and maybe his life, soon the stakes are raised higher than they could ever have imagined....
Warnings: Violence, language, character death(s) - (none of the four main guys ...)

LARCH TOWERS, LA 9pm 6th December....

Rose Stelling, occupant of no 21 Larch Towers, looked at her kitchen clock as she made up her cup of hot chocolate. She turned to her cat, Marmalade, and murmured, "C'mon, dear we must rush, that programme that we like to watch is on at nine. You know that nice man with that lovely girl and the shady past." As usual she made it to her chair in time and sat down to watch Remington Steele. Rose blessed the fact that the builders of the apartments had thought to soundproof each apartment, that way she was never disturbed in her television viewing. She became totally wrapped up in her television viewing, watching the plot unfold. She particularly enjoyed the sound effects for this episode, the sounds of the fight and then the sound of the gun going off twice.

Rose grimaced as she heard the sound of shouting somewhere, a male voice shouting, "Ann, ANN! Answer me, please love, somebody HELP!"

Rose's lips thinned out, that certainly wasn't from the programme. She heard a door, or two, open up outside, she could always hear the movement of the other residents and decided there was no harm in investigating. She joined the crowd in the corridor and with them listened to the cries of "Oh God Ann, keep going please. HELP someone! Call 911 please."

Rose pushed forwards to the door that was half open and gasped when she peered around it. The apartment had been trashed and that nice young woman who'd only moved in a few weeks before was lying on the floor. An unfamiliar man was kneeling over her. At her gasp, the man straightened up and Rose took a step back as she recognised the professional way the gun was stuck in the back of the trousers. The blond haired man turned around, his pale blue shirt stained with blood. He implored Rose, "Please call 911, please. She's been shot."

@@@@

Face having got what he presumed was a nod from the old woman at the door turned back to doing what he could for the bleeding woman on the floor. Despite the fact it had eight years or more since he'd had to do this, years of ingrained practice made him go through the old routines automatically. His jacket was under her head and his groping hand found a pile of small towels close at hand, 'must have been doing laundry' he thought. He shook his head and refocused on the high chest wound. "Ok Ann this is going to hurt. I'm going to turn you, just so I can get something under your back and then I'm going to lay you back down." Face became worried when little more than a sigh escaped from the unconscious woman's mouth. Once she was on her back again, he checked her pulse; it was rapid, weak and irregular. He pressed hard on the wound, worried at the pink frothiness of the blood, "Damn! Lung's been hit. Come on where are you?"

@@@@

BA was just receiving his doughnuts from the all night stand on the parkway when Jim the senior EMT on the team shouted, "BA get your butt back in here, we've got a call!"

BA ran over to the ambulance and climbed into it. He switched on the siren and gunned the engine. Inwardly he smiled, driving the ambulance was almost like driving the van, only this time breaking the speed limit was legal in most cases. "Where we going to? What's the case?"

Jim shouted over the noise of the ambulance, "Some place called Larch Towers. The call said it was a shooting. Take a right here and then next left." He looked at the notes he'd scribbled down from the dispatcher, "Yeah Gunshot."

The ambulance was silent for the next few minutes as they drove quickly to their target. BA saw the two police cars present. He humphed to himself, 'typical two cars for a fancy neighbourhood like this." He pulled up and jumped out, he was met by Jim. They both strode off to the entrance carrying their emergency equipment with them. An officer in the lobby stopped them both. BA shifted nervously, the police still made him nervous,"What's goin' on Man?"

@@@@

Face's senses were all on alert so when he heard the heavy foot fall on the threshold, he whirled, whipping out his gun saying, "If you're not a paramedic, stay away."

The police officer put his hands out in front of him, "Sir, if you just step away we'll get some help to her."

Face's finger tightened on the trigger, "I said, stay away. I need a paramedic here not the police. Please."

"OK, sir. I'll step back for a second or two. Can you tell me her name?"

"Ann, Ann Foreman."

"Is she a work colleague?"

"She is, was, was my, my, girlfriend."

"Ok sir. You do what you can for Ann and we'll have a paramedic up here shortly."

@@@@

The policeman pulled the door to and stepped back into the corridor. He turned to his colleague and said, "We may need a SWAT team, he's got the gun."

His colleague asked, "What does he want? A route out?"

The policeman shook his head; "A paramedic but that could just be for another fitter hostage."

"Could be, I'll radio Taylor down in the lobby, they can contact headquarters for us."

@@@@

Taylor was just explaining to BA and Jim that the team upstairs were just making the area secure for them when his radio crackled into life. "Taylor, guy's got a gun and looks useful with it too. He wants a paramedic."

"Why don't you just rush him?"

"What and get me and the hostage shot?"

BA nodded at the logic to that answer. A sudden idea pricked his brain; "Hey ah'll go in. I'm used to these situations."

Taylor looked the large, black paramedic up and down and at the expression in his eyes. He knew the police department wouldn't like it if they let a hostage bleed to death whilst waiting for reinforcements. He pressed the transmit button on his radio, "What's the build of the guy?"

The crackly answer came, "Light, looks as though he couldn't stand up in rain."

"I'm sending the paramedic up."

"Ok."

Taylor turned to BA, "No heroics mind, delay him moving as long as you can."

BA hefted his box, "Ah will."

BA walked out of the second floor elevator and saw the pair of policemen waiting at the end of the corridor.

The first policeman went up to BA and said, "I think it is a domestic, guy with her says he was her boyfriend, he seems pretty ragged and unstable so watch it. If you can get his gun off him, it would be helpful."

@@@@

Face held the increasingly cool hands and tried to force some heat into them, he shouted, "Where's that paramedic?"

BA was glad he was faced towards the door and away from the sight of the policemen when he heard that voice. 'Oh man, Face what have you got into here?' He shouted back, "He's a comin'" He pushed through the door.

Face whirled when he heard BA's voice, he kept the gun ready in his hand but it was lowered. "Thank god..." BA pushed the door closed as much as he could without arousing suspicion. He ran to the side and opened his kit up straight away. His eyes widened in shock as he recognised the battered face of the unconscious woman. "Ann? Oh Man Face!"

Face helped BA by taking the BP cuff from him and started wrapping it round her left arm, whilst BA prepared an IV for her right. "BA, I tell you I didn't do it! I was coming to see her, Murdock told me she wanted to talk. I heard the shot as I came along the corridor. I picked the lock and I found her like this. Oh BA tell me she's going to be all right."

BA just asked calmly, "What's her BP."

Face looked down at the readings, "80 over 40, pulse 110. Shit!" Face wiped a bloody hand over his face.

"How long has she been unconscious for?"

"Since I got here."

"Ok." BA paused to quickly look at the wound. "You're going to have to turn yourself in, Face."

"But BA I didn't do nothing."

BA looked hard at his little brother and nodded, he then caught a whiff of fumes, "You been drinkin' again?" Face nodded. "Face you hear me? You got to co-operate with the police. Ah I'm sure you'll be out and visiting little momma here by the time its dawn tomorrow. Anyway one sure way to get back in her good books, you needin' some lawyer help."

Despite his gloom and anxiety, Face smiled. "You sure about this?"

"Trust me little brother. Throw the gun away, towards the door and then sit down by me, hands on your head."

Face's voice bitterly cracked, "I know the routine BA."

@@@@

BA tried to meet Face's eyes but the blue eyes went everywhere but to BA's face. BA sighed and turned his attention to trying to keep Ann alive until she got to the hospital, then he'd be able to help little brother. He took a sounding of her chest and swore, as he couldn't hear any breath sounds on her left side. Now he could hear Jim working on her other side, taking readings and setting up another IV. BA met Jim's eyes and said, "She needs a chest tube."

Jim was impressed as ever by BA's skills but saw there was something under the surface, maybe the stupid risk he'd taken earlier was hitting him now. "Ok, want me to do it?"

BA snarled, "NO Ah'll do it. Pass me the stuff."

Jim queried, "BA I don't think this is the right time to do your first one."

BA looked up and said, "I've dealt with chest wounds worse than this before fool! Now get me the kit." Jim arched his eyebrows and wondered again what exactly BA's background was.

BA turned to Ann and spoke to her whilst Jim was fastening an oxygen mask on her, "now little momma, this will hurt but it'll make you breathe better, ok? I'll count to three, ok?"

@@@@

The two police officers took Face out of the apartment and searched him thoroughly. Taylor had arrived by now and asked, "Well?"

The first policeman commented, "Only the one gun. No other weapons apart from a set of lockpicks."

"Any ID?"

"Yeah, here." The police officer threw the wallet across to Taylor, who leafed through it, his eyebrows raised at the amount of cash in the wallet. The name 'Templeton Peck' rang a bell somewhere in his memory.

Taylor went over to the blond who was now standing with his face against the wall; his wrists now secured behind him. Taylor bit his lip, the man indeed was familiar but from where he couldn't say.

Face looked up at the uniform that appeared to be in charge, "Can I see her please? I want to make sure she's going to be all right."

Taylor wrinkled his nose at the alcohol fumes and shook his head. "Read him his rights and take him downtown." He was prepared for Peck to smart mouth him back but surprisingly he just nodded and turned his face back to the wall.

@@@@

Murdock shut the front door and tried to sneak upstairs before Amy could catch him. He knew it was late.

"Where have you been?"

Murdock froze on the stairs and smiled nervously at Amy, "Nowhere Baby, just working, forgot the time."

He made a move to go up the stairs and froze again when Amy commented, "I rang the office five times, each time the security man said you left the office at five o'clock with a blond haired man."

Murdock breathed in deeply and bit his lip. "Oh yeah Face, yeah I forgot about meeting up with Face."

"I thought you told me you had stopped going out with Face. You know Murdock what I think about Face and his habits, if you go out with him you're just going to descend to his level."

Murdock realised it was the opening litany to the 'I don't disapprove of alcohol but Face's consumption levels' lecture, he counted to three and said, "Ok, I'm sorry Amy, I should've called but Face and I had some personal business to discuss. I only had one with him and he promised me that he wasn't going to have anymore, he's really trying hard these days."

Amy eyed him suspiciously. There had been several occasions since Easter, after Face and Ann had broken up, when both Face and Murdock had gone out drinking together. Murdock had eventually stopped after pressure from Amy but they both knew from the occasional report of Hannibal or Maggie that Face's destructive drive was still as present as ever. "What personal business?"

Murdock started to answer then mischievously smiled, "Can't tell, it was personal."

Amy moved up the stairs and grabbed her husband from behind, "Go on, do tell."

Murdock smirked and waggled his eyebrows, "Ummm just to say, no I won't!"

Amy smiled in response to the smirk and speculated, "Is this anything to do with your visit to Ann Foreman on Tuesday by any chance?"

"What visit? How do you know about that?"

Amy giggled, "I'm an investigative journalist! No, I called the office to tell you something; I forget what now but your secretary said you had gone out to see Ann. She was hoping that Ann would be coming to work at Horizons again. Is she?"

"No, it wasn't about work, although I'd love to have her at Horizon. Honestly I can't tell you, it's something Face and Ann have to do. Can we go to bed? I'm tired."

"Yeah, ok, I was just shutting up downstairs. And for once the three upstairs are quiet. I just put junior down, he's out like a light, won't wake for ages."

Murdock waited on the stairs. He still found it difficult to believe so much had happened in the past twelve months. First the guys getting free, finding out that Amy was pregnant again and then seeing Face fall into what they all thought was the perfect relationship, Maggie and Hannibal got married within weeks and BA made the first move back to LA in order to get on the paramedic course. The glow surrounding Face had been short lived though. All of a sudden, for reasons that were now clear to Murdock, the relationship with Ann broke down and Face commenced on a way of living that everyone at first thought was a passing phase but one that Face seemed to be drawn into more and more. Both Amy and Murdock had envisaged, especially after their move back to LA, that the Team would be as close as ever, but Face seemed to withdraw more and more from the group, especially after Junior was born.

"What was that big sigh for?

Murdock looked at Amy; he shrugged. "Why does Face's life have to be so complicated?"

Amy shook her head, "I don't know HM. Come to bed."

@@@@

Back at the apartment block, Taylor was beginning to take statements when he saw Detective Gordon stride down the corridor. He tried to focus on what the neighbour was asking, "Sorry Mrs Stelling, I didn't catch what you said?"

Mrs Stelling sighed, "I said..."

She paused again as a voice bellowed out, "Coming through!" The occupants of the corridor pressed against the wall to allow the passage of the gurney and its occupant.

Taylor shouted at the paramedic, "How is she?"

The senior of the paramedics shouted back, "Critical!"

Mrs Stelling continued as calmly as she could, 'this was just like Remington Steele in real life!', "I was asking about who was looking after the baby?"

Taylor's eyebrows went up to the ceiling and he turned red, "Baby?"

"Yes, she's got a real cute baby, not more than 3 months old I'd say. She's really good with it too. Has a sitter during the day and she rarely goes out at night."

Detective Gordon caught up with Taylor and asked, "What did she have to say?"

"The victim had a young baby sir, about three months old."

Gordon nodded. This smelt to him to be more than an ordinary domestic. "Background on the victim?"

"Been here less than a month, sir. East Coast accent; neighbours unsure exactly where. She must have had a good job to pay the rent here sir. Kept to herself mainly. The guy we took in said he was her boyfriend sir."

"What do we have on him?"

"Name's Templeton Peck sir. He seems familiar somehow, knew how to handle a gun."

"How was he overpowered?"

"Paramedic went in sir, volunteered to go in and then five minutes later, the perp was sitting by the paramedics side, arms on top of his head, sir."

"Remind me to talk to the paramedic later. You get down to the hospital, no one other than medical staff is to talk to her, understood?"

"Yes sir."

@@@@

BA monitored Ann's vital signs as the ambulance raced to the nearest emergency unit. For once he didn't mind not driving. He saw the eyelids flicker a little and a hand try to take the oxygen mask away.

He closed a hand around the clammy hand and said quietly, "Hey little momma you need that."

Ann heard the familiar voice through the pain just as she had heard Face's voice telling her to hang on, that he loved her. She tried to talk, she knew she had to tell someone, "BA, please."

BA heard the little voice rasp out so he lifted the mask off her and bent down, "Yes little momma?"

"They took him, I tried to stop them but they took him."

BA queried, his pulse began to rocket, "Who? Who did they take?"

"Baby, papers." Ann fought the pain in her chest, "They wanted the papers, I told them I had hidden them. They took Richie instead. Tell Face I'm sorry BA, I thought I could handle everything on my own."

BA bent closer as the voice was getting weaker, "Is Richie Faceman's? Just nod for me." He continued after the slight nod, "Does he know? Was that what he was doing there tonight? Were you going to tell him?" He didn't even get a nod this time just a little squeeze of a finger. An alarm rang out and BA quickly glanced up to see the pulse had risen and her sats had lowered again. He turned up the IV and the oxygen. "Just hang in there little momma, just hang in there." He called through to the front of the cab, "How long?"

@@@@

Zeke Westerland tapped his pen against the desk in irritation; the noise broke through the silence in the room. At length the old man looked up from the papers he had on his desk, "So, I send you on a simple recovery mission for a few papers and all you bring me back is a bunch of personal stuff and a baby."

The slimmer, sharper aide, bit his lip nervously, "I thought, sir, that well, if we took the baby she'd have no choice but to deliver the papers to you, sir."

Zeke's voice rose querulously, "She can't do that if she's in intensive care or dead can she?"

The slimmer aide glanced sideways at his colleague for the evening, "I'm sorry about that sir. She wasn't sensible, she decided to fight us sir."

Zeke returned to tapping his pen. 'Damn! Damn! If those papers she'd gathered in support of one of his former associate's appeal were made public, there'd be no chance of avoiding prison; he'd have to flee the country. They also held the information that would enable the IRS to track his many financial boltholes. Damn!' "Did you catch a glimpse of whoever shot at you?"

The brawn in the operation finally spoke up and said, "Someone blond sir, good shot too, nearly got me."

Zeke bit his lip, "Blond you say? Hmmm." He returned to looking through the papers the incompetent pair had brought back for him. He smiled as he saw the birth certificate. "This is just too perfect, too perfect for words."

"Sir?"

Zeke looked up at the two men in front of him; "You can live for now. Find someone on the staff who will look after the baby. Keep a guard on him and I don't want him leaving the house."

The pair left the room wondering how a three-month-old baby would escape on his own, but did not voice their questions.

Zeke signalled to his remaining aides to leave him alone. He got up from his chair and walked over to the jug of hot coffee that had been brought in as his two men had reported in from their 'simple job.' He poured himself a cup and took it over to the window. He looked out unseeing over the gently illuminated patio area. His thoughts were not on how beautiful his mansion was but the fact that he might just have revenge over Smith, Peck, Baracus and Murdock at last. Ever since their release a year ago, he had watched and waited for any opportunity that might present itself. Baracus and Smith had sank into almost gentle obscurity, their quiet lives giving him little opportunity for attack, Murdock in his role as head of that bleeding heart liberal organisation had interested Zeke for a while but Peck was much more interesting. Peck had almost sunk into a quiet oblivion for a while after their release but then he'd re-appeared on the party scene in a big way. Zeke's hand clamped down on the saucer as he thought jealously of the 'compensation' the four had received from the Government. He nodded to himself, he'd been right to keep track of Peck. Zeke laughed. He hadn't expected that his revenge would be so complete. That blasted lawyer, who had been so close without knowing it, was now no longer a concern to him. His aides had already received a report from the hospital that indicated that she wasn't expected to survive. Normally that would be inconvenience since he had to have those documents, but he could now get the A-Team to work for him. "Oh yes Colonel Smith, every man does have his price. I expect the police will have picked up your good lieutenant by now, if that was him in the apartment. I think I will wait a few hours before calling, I hate disturbing anyone whilst they are asleep."

@@@@

Face was careful to keep the palms of his hands turned towards the table, even though they were now clean, he could still see the red blood on them, the blood that had collected on them as he had tried to stop the wound from bleeding.

****

He'd heard the once familiar sound from down the corridor, the muffled sound broke through his optimism about why she wanted so urgently to see him after so long. The brief meeting in the restaurant two weeks earlier had been unexpected and had re-kindled feelings, he'd hoped he'd buried. Now all his senses were on alert, even in this muffled, soundproofed building, he could hear the noises coming from the end apartment. He ran down the corridor feeling for his lockpick, 'much quicker than getting her to come to the door.' He automatically went for his gun as he opened the door and cursed as he remembered he didn't carry one anymore. He saw the shadow climbing out of the window and ran towards him. He tripped over the body on the floor and almost screamed as he saw who it was. "I'll be back in a moment Baby."

Without thinking he picked up the discarded gun and went to the window and automatically tried to shoot one of the tires out on the revving car. Putting the gun back in his belt when he saw the car move out of range, he turned back to the bleeding figure on the floor.

*****

Sighing deeply he came out of his thoughts to look at the clock. He wondered if there had been any news from the hospital. He wanted so much to be there, to be with her; she'd probably forgotten what it was like but not him. Face looked up as the door opened almost eager for the interrogation to begin, then he would be able to go and see her. He let his head drop in disappointment when it was only a relief for the officer guarding him. He turned back to contemplating his hands.

@@@@

BA paced up and down the little waiting room they'd been placed in when they got to the hospital and had released their charge.

Jim was dozing, "Calm down BA. This is just routine, it's just to take our statements and then we'll be sent home early."

BA forced himself to be calm and sat down for a moment or two and then looked at his senior, "Think she'll live?"

Jim pondered for a moment; the door opening and the entrance of a man brandishing a badge prevented his answer. "Gentlemen, I'm Detective Gordon. I just want to take your statements about what happened tonight and then you're free to go. Sorry to have taken so long, we've been trying to trace the movements of this man."

BA forced himself to be polite although he recognised traces of Decker, Fulbright and everyone who had chased them over the years. "How's the victim, sir?"

Gordon's face fell, "She's in the OR but." Gordon spread his hands. "That's why we need your co-operation gentlemen, this may become a murder charge real soon."

BA tried to remember Face's lessons about donning a poker face and just nodded. Gordon turned to Jim first and asked him a few basic questions and then dismissed him. Jim nodded to BA as he left. BA ran a dry tongue over his dry lips and tried not to remember the interrogation after they'd been captured the last time. He was relieved that Gordon didn't seem to notice his nervousness.

Gordon was confused about the signs of nervousness coming from the paramedic. "Ok Mr Baracus, I'd like to thank you for the job you did in disarming the suspect this evening. How did you manage it by the way?"

BA thought about for a moment and then said, "Man was happy when he saw I was a paramedic. Gave himself up."

Gordon saw the nervous shifting of the eyes and again wondered what was wrong. "I believe you rode in the back of the ambulance with the victim on the way here?"

"Yeah ah did."

Gordon wondered about the intelligence of the people that were training as paramedics these days. "Did she say anything?"

"Nah, Ann was unconscious all the time."

Gordon noted that down and nodded. "So..." His question never got asked as a uniform opened the door and passed a note to Gordon. Gordon looked up and said, "Thanks Mr Baracus for your co-operation. If you give your address to the officer here, we'll be back in touch if we need any more information." Gordon got up and disappeared.

BA gave the requested information and waited in the room for five minutes before popping his head out to check the lay of the land.

@@@@

Over at the Murdock's the house lay quietly asleep, apart from that is the puppy who bored with being locked in the kitchen whilst his mom lay asleep with the humans upstairs decided to play with the wire that snaked up the wall from the outside. Eventually he got it between his teeth and chewed on it. Eventually he bit through it and then bored with that game went to find another.

@@@@

BA walked down the corridor and eventually found a secluded pay phone. He tapped in Murdock's number, Murdock had access to lawyers and he would know what to do. He would know how to explain things to Hannibal. All BA got was the ringing tone, and he didn't know Murdock's cell phone number. BA knew he had to call Hannibal up at Bad Rock. Before doing so he called his momma.

@@@@

Mrs B woke up slowly, she thought she was having a dream, late night telephone calls were only figments of a long and forgotten past. But there it was the phone, trembling she picked it up.

"Hello, Mrs Baracus."

"Momma!"

"Scooter, everything all right? Where are you honey, I thought you were working tonight."

"Oh momma, something really bad has happened."

"Are you all right? Are you hurt." Mrs B sat up now fully awake.

"No momma, I'm fine. Its Ann Foreman, momma. She's been hurt bad."

"Oh lord. Have you called Templeton, he'll want to know."

"That's the problem momma. I can't explain right now but she needs someone with her. She's got no family here; the closest kin she has is in New York. Momma they say she might. She needs someone with her. I can't, I may have to..."

Mrs B closed her eyes at the last sentence, she then took a deep breath and said calmly, "Do what you have to scooter, you know my prayers will be with you. Where are you?"

"Cedars momma. She's in the OR. There's a nurse in the emergency room who'll be able to find out for you. Her name is Charlie. Love ya momma."

Mrs B said to the dial tone, "Love you Scooter." She got out of bed and started dressing.

@@@@

BA fortified by his call to his momma dialled the number for Black Rock; he knew that Hannibal's decision to move out there had been a bad one. He was now more than two hours away.

@@@@

Hannibal vaguely heard the ringing of the phone through his sleep but paid it no heed. Long gone were the days that a midnight call was anything to do with him. He turned over as he heard Maggie sigh and answer it.

He jerked awake at Maggie's tone, "BA calm down, I didn't get half of that. What's the matter?"

"When?"

"Ok BA, ok! John, it's BA for you."

Hannibal opened his eyes and instantly came awake at his wife's troubled expression. He reached out for the phone and listened to BA as he poured out his report. When BA had finished, he sought to calm his sergeant down. "Ok BA, try Murdock again. If he doesn't reply, go there and alert him. He knows the best lawyers. We'll meet you at Murdock's and decide what to do. Do you know if anyone has contacted Dave in New York?"

There was a pause and then Hannibal's face drained, "I think you ought to repeat that Sergeant."

Another pause. "Does Face know? He doesn't? Oh shit!" There was another pause. Hannibal ran his hand through his hair. "Make sure you get through to Murdock. Don't worry BA everything will look better in the morning." Hannibal looked at his watch; "We will be there in just over two hours. Here's the number of the cell phone. See you at the Murdock's."

Hannibal turned around to see Maggie already getting dressed. "I'm going alone, Maggie, it's just another one of the problems that Face gets into, it will be sorted out by morning."

"Really Hannibal? Who's the one that has been kidnapped then? Ann is in the hospital and Face is in a jail cell, and it can't be Murdock either."

Hannibal pursed his lips, he forgot sometimes how sharp his wife was, "It seems that Ann has a little three month old baby boy. She told BA in the ambulance that 'they'd' taken him because she wouldn't hand over some papers. We'd better get going before Face does something we all will regret and before Ann." Hannibal sighed, as he knew how much they all owed to Ann for the work that led to them being released. He continued, "Wakes up. I want to be the first one to give her a lecture about keeping secrets." Maggie squeezed his hand in understanding.

Whilst Maggie was calling the Sheriff's office to leave a message for Hank to say that she had to go to LA urgently to visit a sick relative, Hannibal was readying the car. His expression became grim when Maggie came out of the house carrying a shiny metal case. He recognised it as a field medical kit.

@@@@

Face looked up as Gordon entered the room and then quickly looked back down at his hands again. He tried to fight the memories of the last interrogation he'd had. The growing pain in his head, the incessant questioning, the disbelief when he said that he knew nothing of what they were asking.

Gordon saw the tenseness of the suspect and checked that the officer in with him was alert and ready to move should he try anything. "So you've got a record."

Face looked up, "We were innocent of all charges."

"Spent eight years in jail though didn't ya? Eight long years until a lawyer by the name of Ann Foreman broke you out."

Face licked his lips, he knew what the man was trying to do, and he remained calm. "Ann helped us to get the charges acquitted. We didn't break out, we were released." Face leaned back, "Even got compensation from the Army for their mistake." Face paused, "What has this to do with tonight?"

Gordon sniffed, "Just making sure. You'll know what it is like in prison then."

Face's fists clenched involuntarily, "Yeah I know."

Gordon sat down and flicked through the papers that he had brought in with him, "So why did you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Shoot her. An argument?"

"NO I didn't shoot her. I came in and found her there."

Gordon leant back and smiled, "We've got your prints on the gun, I expect the swabs we've took of your hands will show that you fired it and I expect the bullet the surgeons will be removing will match the ones in the gun. So why did you do it?"

Face said carefully, "I didn't shoot her. Look aren't I supposed to have a lawyer by now? I don't have to talk to you."

Gordon smiled, "Yeah you'll know all about your rights won't you?"

Face bit down the urge to hit the smug detective and looked blankly at him. "Yeah. You're not getting another word out of me until I speak to my lawyer."

Gordon raised his eyebrows, "I see you don't want to know about how your victim is doing."

Face looked up. Gordon smiled as he saw the anxiety in the expression. Then Face shook his head and said, "She's not my victim. I'm not going to play your games; I've played them with experts. You might as well take me back to my cell, I'm not going to say anything more until I have seen a lawyer."

Gordon stood up and scraped his chair back. "That's fine by me. Because from what the hospital have told me that I am almost certainly going to have alter one of the charges anyway."

Face swallowed the nausea that erupted in his stomach, his mind reached for a prayer to say and then his brain asked the question, "One of the charges?"

Gordon saw the play of expressions and said, "Yes, kidnapping. Look if you tell me whom your accomplice was and where you're holding the baby, we might be able to cut a deal."

Face stared blankly at the detective for a second. 'If it wasn't for Ann, I'd swear I was being set up by Murdock or more likely Hannibal to teach me a lesson about something.' "Baby?"

Gordon became angry, he had quickly read the background on Templeton Peck and he'd seen some hard characters in his life before, but the man's acting ability was amazing. "Yes. Didn't you know she had a three-month-old child who has now disappeared? I don't think it walked out of there alone do you?"

Face dropped his face into his hands. "Shit Murdock!" Their conversation of earlier came back to him now.

****

Murdock had been vague in his conversation ever since Face had picked him up at the Horizons building, not even asking how Face had liked his trip to Hawaii.

Even now Face could tell Murdock was nervous about something, he half wondered whether Hannibal had given Murdock the job of delivering the weekly lecture on his lifestyle. "What's up Murdock?"

Murdock twirled the beer around his glass, "Nothing's up Face."

"Yes there is. Hannibal given you the weekly lecture job now?"

Murdock almost grinned, "No."

"Ok am I in trouble with Amy for missing some family event?"

"No."

"Spill Murdock."

Murdock sighed. "I ran into Ann the other day."

"Oh, that's difficult to do seeing as you both work at opposite ends of the city."

"Ok. I went to see her."

"Why?"

Murdock sighed, "Because, everyone was upset she didn't show for Thanksgiving."

"She already told you that she wasn't coming Murdock."

Murdock grinned, "Well she told us that last year." He sobered. "So I went to see her to say that we're still friends even if you and her weren't talking."

Face pretended to play with his beer mat, "And?"

Murdock grinned, "Well we had a long talk and lots of things were discussed."

"Oh?"

Murdock paused, "She wants to talk, Face."

Face could feel a flush spreading up his cheeks, "When?"

Murdock put a hand out to prevent Face going then and there. "She said any night after nine. I've got her address." "I know it already."

"She gave me the entry code to the block to give to you."

"Thanks." Face took a sip of his drink. "Why does she want to talk Murdock?"

"I think she feels the need to clear the air. She's got something to tell you?"

"Is she, is she, does she want to get married?"

Murdock grinned, "No, not that I know of. Look I promised Ann I wouldn't say anything to you or anybody, just go and see her."

"Is it a nice surprise or bad surprise?"

Murdock laughed nervously, "I don't know Muchacho, I can't tell you."

Face looked at Murdock, "I still love her more than anything you know." He looked down at his drink, "This helps deaden the pain. You know when I was in Hawaii, I thought what a beautiful place to come on honeymoon."

He felt a hand squeezing his, and a voice saying, "Muchacho, hold onto that dream. But tonight promise me, you'll be calm and not be angry, whatever she tells you. Ok? Will you promise old Murdock that?"

Face looked at Murdock confused, "What's there to be angry about Murdock?"

Murdock swiftly changed the conversation.

****

Face didn't register the officers as they stood him up and hustled him out of the interrogation room, all he could think of was the question, 'why didn't they tell me?'

Next


But What Is Freedom by Fingers

 

 


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