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If You Love Something

If You Love Something
By emmastark

Rated: R
Warning: Light m/m slash (no sex)
Summary: Another man is interested in Face. Will Murdock let him go? Will Face ever come back if he does?

Copyright 2000


-If You Love Something-

Murdock felt a tug on the blanket. Muzzy with sleep, he stretched out a long arm, felt around on the messy bed, and snagged himself a conman.

"C'mon back here, Facey. Le's just cuddle for a little while more, okay?"

Face grinned. He gently disentangled himself from the grip Murdock had on his red silk pajamas, then brought those long, narrow fingers to his lips. He kissed Murdock's wrist, then the inside of his elbow. Then he reached over and kissed Murdock's sweet lips. They both smiled. But Murdock's eyes flew open as Face wriggled out of his grasp.

"Hey, muchacho, I ain't finished with you yet!" Murdock stretched, then rested his head on his arms. He cuddled deeper into the sheets. It wasn't a bad thing to have a conman as a lover. "They never let me have silk sheets at the VA."

"I don't know why not. I find them therapeutic."

Murdock watched as Face stripped off his jammies and hung them neatly on the back of the bathroom door. He watched him brush his teeth and splash water over his face, running his eyes down that firm, tanned body. He sighed. It didn't take much to make him happy. One conman. A little pizza. A hopped up Huey and maybe some jellybeans. Morning cartoons. Silk sheets. Okay, maybe it did take a few things, but right at that moment, he felt like he had everything he ever wanted, everything he ever needed, right in front of him. He sighed again.

"Murdock, quit sighing." Face pulled on a pair of black lycra running shorts, then sat on the edge of the bed to slip on his socks and running shoes. "You coming?"

"It's really, really, really early, Faceman."

Face smiled. "I'll be back after awhile."

Face watched as Murdock blinked sleepily at him, smiled, and slid back under the covers. Then he walked out of the room.

Murdock heard the front door close and lock behind Face. Face needed his morning runs. He'd told Murdock he needed to run every morning just to keep up with the pilot at night. Hannibal and BA teased Face about keeping his figure up in his old age. But Murdock knew it was more about allowing himself some time to focus and center himself, and let off some of the energy that burned so hot in him, so he could keep a tight rein on his self-control. He'd usually get up at sunrise and do a quick three or four miles. Maybe five, if he was really wound up. Murdock would go with him a couple times a week.

"But not today, muchacho," he thought sleepily. He drifted back into sleep.

"I've timed this one rather well," Avery thought, as he watched the blonde man moving gracefully down toward the beach. He watched for a moment as the man stretched lithely, then began running along the water line. He sighed, and licked his lips. No shirt today. And his hair gleamed in the early morning light. The shorts left... well, little to the imagination. But his imagination was working overtime anyway.

But enough of that. It was time to set his plan into motion.

He dropped the leash to the ground, put his mouth near the big golden retriever's ear, and said, "Go get him, girl! Go get him!" He pointed toward the lone figure. The dog, happy to be out, raced down through the surf after Face.

The cool ocean breeze pushed Face along. His legs were still a little stiff it always took a bit to get started in the morning. But he loved the feel of the moist, salty ocean air and the sand beneath his feet. He loved the feeling of freedom he had when he ran. He pushed himself a little faster as he started into his third mile.

Suddenly, he saw a streak of gold shoot past him. He slowed. A huge, beautiful golden retriever, dragging a leash behind her, was leaping and bounding through the surf at his side, smiling in that particularly golden retriever kind of way.

"Hey, you," he said, coming to a halt. Puffing a little as the miles caught up with him.

The dog came right over to him and shoved her nose in his hand. He petted her soft head, and she responded by jumping up on him. Her big, wet, sandy paws rested on his chest, and she nearly looked him in the eye.

"Down, now. Boy, aren't you the friendly one." He caught hold of her leash, and she didn't seem to mind. She sat on his foot.

Face raised his head when he heard the voice calling, "Sadie! Sadie, come back here now!"

The man who came up to them was in his fifties, Face thought. His jet black hair, with just a trace of gray at the temples, was carefully cut to accent the rugged face. Green eyes looked out from behind a rather expensive pair of designer sunglasses.

The man smiled at Face disarmingly when he finally reached him. "Thank you so much! I'm not in the shape I used to be. Sadie here was giving me quite a run."

He reached over and took the leash from Face's hand, then reached out again to shake. "Thomas Avery. I believe we're neighbors, now. I've seen you out running a number of times."

"Martin Kinder. It's nice to meet you."

Avery raised his eyebrow in invitation, and Face fell into step beside him, moving back toward the beach entrance.

"I've made more friends through Sadie, here, than I can count. I love her dearly, but she does tend to be a bit indiscriminate in her affections."

The dog leaned into Face again, as if to affirm her master's statement. He scratched behind her ears as they walked.

"I've always wanted a dog."

"You've never had one?"

Face shook his head. No animals at the orphanage. Then he thought of Billy, and almost started laughing. No visible dogs, at least. "I've moved around a lot. Never spent enough time in one place to give someone a home."

Avery smiled. Despite the presence of the dark, lanky man who sometimes ran with Kinder, he seemed to be lonely. "Perhaps he's one of those people who's always a little bit lonely," he thought. "A little like me, perhaps."

"Why don't you call me Thomas?"

When Face got back to the house, he made a pot of coffee and brought some in to Murdock. He told him all about Sadie, but not very much about Thomas.

"Where you goin', Facey?"

"Over to Thomas'. Just for a few hours he asked me to take a look at his stock portfolio, see if I had any suggestions."

"I could give him a few suggestions," Murdock thought.

He pressed his lips together, but didn't say anything. He was beginning to hope that a Bulgarian sheik's daughter would get herself kidnapped and held for ransom. Or a gaggle of nasty drug dealers would take a small town in Texas hostage until they could exchange their loot with Mexican mafiosos. Or anything that would take the team out of LA for awhile.

He switched the mute button off on the television just as Bugs Bunny was asking Elmer Fudd, "What's up, Doc?" "You'd never believe me, Bugs," he thought.

Face went out the door, pulling on his jacket. Murdock sighed. Then Face came back through the door, came over to the couch where Murdock was sprawled, and kissed him gently.

It took Murdock a minute to catch his breath. It always took him a minute to catch his breath. Just a kiss shouldn't make your knees go all wobbly like that. Not every time. Right?

When he looked up, Face was grinning at him. He disappeared again, and this time Murdock heard the door close and lock behind him.

Bugs Bunny had turned into a Road Runner cartoon. Murdock watched as Wile E. Coyote raced after the bird. "Am I not sophisticated enough for him?" he thought, absently rubbing his fingers across his lips. Road Runner stopped abruptly and Wile E. Coyote ran past him. It took him a moment before he noticed that he'd run right off a cliff, and was standing on air. He got that look on his face. "That's exactly how I feel, bud," Murdock thought. He switched the television off before he had to see Wile E. Coyote plunge to earth.

Murdock kept pace with Face. The sun was barely peeking over the city, but they were already running down the empty beach. The almost empty beach. "Hey, here comes Sadie!" Face said.

Murdock couldn't quite manage to glower at the dog. Especially not when she was licking his knees. But he did glower at the dark figure waiting for them at the end of the parking lot.

He stopped running as they approached Avery, walking into the surf with Sadie, foodling her ears.

Face walked right up to Avery. As they talked, Avery draped one arm over Face's shoulders.

Murdock crouched down and pulled Sadie to him. She licked his cheek sympathetically.

"At least all this jealousy is good for my figure, eh girl? Haven't run this much since Basic Training." Sadie nodded her head, as if she understood, and reached out a paw to shake.

"Tell me again why we're doing this?" Murdock asked plaintively.

"Ah don' like it neither, sucka. You let 'im get us into it. An ah don' like it."

"You said that already, BA. Here. Let me fix that." Hannibal took the cuff links out of BA's large fist and proceeded to hook them into the buttonholes of his tux. BA liked gold, but he really couldn't handle cuff links.

"Come on now, guys! It's not every day we're invited to a big bash like this one. Big band music, dancing, beautiful people..."

"You jus' happy 'cause Faceman tol' you some producer people gonna be there."

"The world is ready for 'The Aquamaniac Returns Again,' BA. I know it."

BA harrummphed loudly. "You jus' too easy to con, Hann'bal."

Murdock stood in front of the window in his black silk boxers. Face was meeting them there. Probably being wined and dined by Avery already. Murdock had seen the look on Avery's face. Tonight was the night. He was going to make his move.

Murdock sighed.

"Why so glum, Captain?" The Colonel was wearing red and white polka-dot boxers and a cigar. He took his dress shirt from its hanger and put it on as he came over to Murdock.

"I think I'm losing him, Hannibal. Why would he want me when he can have Avery?"

"Don' know why he put up wit' you this long, fool."

Murdock's head dropped to his chest. He felt like crying.

Hannibal shot BA a look.

"BA's right, Hannibal. Avery's rich, sophisticated, handsome. Everything Face has ever wanted. You should see 'em together. They look just right. Not too tall or with receding hair or wears a t-shirt all the time and watches cartoons and likes pizza with anchovies better than caviar and is crazy." Murdock felt a sob catch in his throat. Then Hannibal's hand came down on his shoulder, patted him gently.

"Haven't heard him complain, Captain."

Murdock just shook his head. "Why'd I have to fall for the one guy that the whole entire world not one half, not the other half, the whole entire world finds irresistable, Hannibal?"

"This sucka's afta Faceman?"

Murdock shot him a look. Almost smiled. "You're a little behind the times, big guy."

"Gentlemen, I believe that what we really need in this situation is a plan."

Murdock's spirits refused to be raised. "Too late," he thought. "Too late."

"What's the plan, Hann'bal?"

"Well, BA, first I propose that we finish dressing. Murdock?" Murdock went over to his t-shirt drawer. Did you wear a t-shirt under a tux? Avery would know. He picked through them. He didn't really trust advice from books or people. But he listened to his t-shirts. The first one he grabbed didn't seem to apply, so he put it back. It was the one that showed a picture of the universe with a little pointy arrow saying "You are here." Then it had a picture of a little spaceship with two little green men piloting it and a wide-eyed human strapped in the back. A little pointy arrow pointed at the spaceship and said "I am here. Hellllllppppp!"

The second t-shirt he picked said "Drink A Grape Ne-Hi Today!" He threw it back in the drawer. The third shirt had a picture of Winnie the Pooh on it. A butterfly fluttered over the words, "If you love something, let it go free. If it comes back to you, it will be yours forever. If it leaves, it was never yours to keep." Murdock pulled it over his head, then slipped on his white dress shirt.

Hannibal was fussing over BA's bow tie as BA draped a few of his gold necklaces over the top of his tux. Finally, Hannibal let go of his tie. "Beautiful, BA. Beautiful. Now, guys since we've all got invitations, what do you say we go in the front door?"

Hannibal and BA went in the front door. Murdock decided to try out the old double pincer maneuver by peeking in the back window and figuring out the lay of the land before committing himself.

A full moon had risen over the ocean down below, and Murdock could hear the faint murmur of water over the sound of music within the big, beautiful cliff-side house.

Couples drank glasses of champagne on the balcony overlooking the back yard. A few people walked and talked, looking down at the ocean.

Murdock made his way to the huge windows that lined the ballroom. They were open, to let the sea breeze waft in and the music waft out. The band was playing waltzes and fox trots and a few fast swing numbers, and they were good. The guy on the sax was really making it sing.

Murdock spotted Avery first, looking like he was born in his white tuxedo. Then he spotted Face, because that's where Avery's gaze was locked.

The crowd on the dance floor parted for a moment, and Murdock could see Face dancing with a beautiful red-headed woman. He held her close, his eyes locked on hers, leading her effortlessly through the crowded floor, turning her until she was dizzy. When the song ended, he gave her a smile (that smile), led her over to her chair, and was immediately asked to dance again by a long legged brunette.

As they began a fast two-step, Murdock tore his eyes away. He spotted Hannibal talking to a group of producers. They all had cell phones sticking out of their pockets and wore that impatient "Who's here that's important that I should be sucking up to" look. BA had his arms folded across his chest and was glaring at a pretty, lonely seeming blonde girl who was standing by herself across the room from him. He had a way with women.

When the waltz was over, Face made his way over to the blonde. Murdock sighed. But then she was nodding, and he was leading her onto the dance floor. No, not onto the dance floor, across it. He was introducing her to the big guy.

Murdock smiled as the BA and the blonde girl looked at each other shyly and began to box step in awkward circles in the corner of the room.

Then Face spotted him.

Murdock ducked down. He hung his head. What would Face do now? Find him a girl to dance with? Leave him in the corner with a glass of punch while he worked the floor? Disappear with Avery at the end of the night, leaving Murdock to walk home alone?


Murdock stood awkwardly. He felt for his cap, but then remembered that he'd left it back at the house. He looked up at Face.

Face looked gorgeous in his tux. He almost took Murdock's breath away. Murdock could smell him that particular blend of soap and musk and Faceness it made him shiver.

Face stretched out a hand, and Murdock looked at it suspiciously. Face shook it a little, impatiently.

"Come on. I know Hannibal's not the only one around here who knows how to make an entrance."

Murdock wasn't sure what to do, so he grasped Face's hand. He felt himself being pulled up through the large, open window into the ball room.

An older lady, her blue-tinted hair carefully coiffed for the evening, blinked at him over her champagne. A young woman who had clearly had a bit too much to drink already that evening let out a tiny little scream. But she smiled back when Face smiled at her.

"Where we goin', Faceman?" Murdock murmured.

Face just held Murdock's hand more firmly in his.

Murdock felt a little dizzy. Was this the letting go part or the leaving for good part?

"Facey, I know you don't want to be with me no more," he started.

He saw Face nod at the guy with the saxaphone. The band sashayed from a rousing swing tune into a slow, melodic waltz.

And suddenly, Murdock was in Face's arms and they were dancing. And he was looking into those clear, laughing blue eyes the ones he felt like he could fall into forever. Face's gaze never left his. The whole room fell away, and there was only Face and only music and only dancing.

Face led for awhile, then let himself be led across the floor. Murdock spun him around, then caught him again, then they danced close. Murdock dropped his face into that soft, blonde-brown hair and breathed in Face's scent.

He didn't notice when the song ended.

But he did notice the tap on his shoulder.


Avery spoke to Murdock, but his eyes never left Face.

"You're a very accomplished dancer, Mr. Kinder."

Face smiled and Murdock's heart fell. He took a step back.

"May I have this dance?" Avery asked Face.

Murdock squeezed his eyes shut. It felt like the whole room was holding its breath with him.

"I'm afraid my dance card is full," Face murmured politely.

Murdock's eyes shot open.

"For the rest of the night?" Avery asked.

"For the rest of my life," Face said. He nodded courteously to Avery, then took Murdock into his arms once more.

Tears traced their way silently down Murdock's cheeks as they moved into another smooth, slow waltz. Face reached up and brushed the tears gently away with the back of his hand.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... I didn't mean to."

"It's okay, muchacho. It's okay."

Murdock pulled Face close, then. He wrapped his arms around him as they swayed gently to the persistent sound of the tenor sax, playing just for them.

"Did you really mean it, Facey? About forever?"

Murdock felt Face nod against his shoulder.

"Forever," Face murmured. Then he laughed and looked up with teary blue eyes into Murdock's warm brown gaze. "Who else in the entire universe would wear high top tennis shoes with a tuxedo, huh? And look as beautiful as you?"

They both sighed happily. Then Murdock swung Face down in an elegant dip and just held him there, looking at him, drinking him in.

"Love you, Facey," he said.

"Love you," Face answered. And they danced some more.

Avery stood near the beverage table, drinking a cup of coffee. His eyes never left the couple on the dance floor. Of course, most of the eyes in the room were on that same couple on the dance floor.

The redheaded woman sighed as she picked up another glass of champagne. She clicked her glass lightly against Avery's coffee cup. "We win some, we lose some, don't we Thomas."

Avery tore his gaze from the dance floor and looked at his guest. He smiled wryly and took a sip of coffee. "Why do the cutest guys in the room always end up going home with each other these days?" The redhead shook her soft curls and sniffed.

"Why, madame, I'm still available," a strong, some might say commanding, voice answered from behind the beverage table.

The woman turned. And smiled. "Why hello, there. And who might you be?"

"The man who's going to sweep you off your feet tonight, m'lady."

The redheaded woman giggled and let the white-haired man, looking quite gallant in his black tuxedo, lead her onto the dance floor.

The white-haired man spun the woman around twice before leading her into a breathtaking tango. But even while he was taking his partner's breath away, he had time to watch Murdock and Face continue their waltz across the dance floor, caught up in their own particular music. He had time to see BA and the sweet little blonde he seemed to be getting along so well with continue to do an awkward, but heartfelt, box-step in the corner. And he had time to think to himself, before he let his own particular music (his own particular jazz) take him away, "I love it when a plan comes together."

-The End-


If You Love Something by emmastark



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