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This page last viewed: 2017-12-17 and has been viewed 5925 times
Summary: Father Maghill asks Colonel Smith to help Face get through some difficult times. What must Face do that requires help, and can the team offer him the type of help that he needs?
Warning: Character angst, slash (m/m/m/m). Don't read if you're not into same sex sex.
"Colonel Smith, it's so good of you to come."
"Father, it's good to see you again," Hannibal said while shaking the priest's hand.
"Please, won't you follow me," Father Maghill instructed as he motioned for the group to follow him into the visitor's room off the main lobby of the Sacred Hearts Orphanage. Once inside the large room, the priest gestured towards the sofa and chairs, and smiled sadly.
BA and Murdock looked quizzically at each other before walking towards a large window overlooking the spacious grounds and positioned themselves on each side of it. Amy chose a well-worn Victorian style chair to sit in and Hannibal stood near the large double hung entrance doors, surveying the room and watching Father Maghill walk slowly around an old mahogany desk and judiciously sit down. The priest lowered his head and said a silent prayer; it was at this time that Hannibal knew something was wrong.
"Father, you wanted to see us?" Hannibal gently reminded the elderly man.
The priest looked up through tired eyes and nodded, "Yes, I do. I wish it were under different circumstances." He paused, trying to capture some energy. "How is Templeton?"
"Face is fine. Since you requested that this meeting be confidential, I arranged for him to be busy, but I must tell you that I don't like doing this. If that request came from anyone but you, I would never have honored it."
"I know... What I have to say is difficult."
Murdock and BA glanced at Hannibal for some clue as to what this was all about, but they got nothing. Amy also glanced at Hannibal for some indication, some reason for a meeting about Face but intentionally without Face; she too got nothing.
"Is Face in trouble or in any danger?" she asked, slightly more timid than she might have been under different circumstances.
"He will be coming up on some 'difficult' times," Father Maghill answered, nodding his head and emphasizing the word 'difficult'.
"Face can handle himself, Father," BA interjected, not really stopping to think that the statement was a little odd.
"Yes. There's no doubt about that," Maghill answered ruefully, remembering the numerous times he'd narrowly escaped scams gone badly as a young boy. "Yes, Templeton is a survivor, there's no question in my mind about that."
"Then what kind of trouble is he in?" Hannibal asked, feeling a little more concerned than the facts so far warranted.
The priest looked around the room, taking in each person's eyes, seeing almost into their soul. He'd spent days trying to come up with the best way to broach the subject, but nothing seemed to make his task any easier. With a breath to gather his thoughts, he asked, "How much of Templeton's past do you know about?"
Hannibal shrugged, they were now treading on territory that was unfamiliar, "Enough, I guess. He's told us what he wants us to know."
"Has he ever spoken of his childhood in the orphanage?"
Face was not open about his life and that was a well-known fact. He rarely spoke about his youth and when he did it was in general terms, never did he get specific. The Team accepted that, how much could go on in an orphanage anyway.
"He speaks fondly of you and The Sacred Hearts Orphanage," Murdock answered. "He's not prone to discussing his past, but occasionally, he'll regale us with a tale of hitting the winning home run."
The tense atmosphere in the room lightened as each had heard the story at least once, but the mood was short lived when Father Maghill said, "Well, he wasn't always here at this orphanage."
"He came when he was about five," Murdock said, "...didn't he?"
Father Maghill exhaled, then he placed both hands on the desk and peered at a picture of the crucifixion, clearly not seeing it. He reluctantly said, "No Murdock, he wasn't five." Seeing no other way, he began to tell his story:
"It was a beautiful spring day here in Los Angeles, and I was finishing up my visits at the city hospital. Before I left, I checked at the nurses' station about any new patients that might be in need of my services. The nurse didn't say anything, just pointed to the room behind me. I pushed open the door and peered in. There, lying motionless, was a small boy of seven or eight years. Our eyes locked immediately and I could see through into this boy's spirit, almost feel his pain. As I walked into the room, he eyes grew dark, and as I approached his bed, he went wild, the monitors he was connected to started going off. Doctors and nurses rushed in. I stood in the corner and watched them work on this boy. He was so badly beaten, I don't think there was an area on his body that wasn't bruised, broken or bloodied.
"After they stabilized him, I pulled a nurse aside and asked where the boy's parents were, but she shrugged and said he didn't have any."
Father Maghill's voice had become weary and he put one hand to his brow and rubbed his forehead. Amy got up and took him a glass of water, which he gratefully accepted. Hannibal turned and stared at a picture of Jesus, reluctant to allow his thoughts from getting too far ahead.
After taking a few sips of water, Father Maghill continued, "I tried to approach the boy again, and again the monitors went off. Even through sedation, this boy was terrified of me. His eyes showed fear more intense than a boy his age should have known. The rest of the day, I thought about him; I couldn't get him off my mind. Aside from not having any parents, the nurse told me that no one had come forth claiming to be his guardian. The next day, I returned to the hospital and again, when I entered, the boy's monitors went off. He was terrified. He screamed at me to leave, and said he'd never go anywhere with me. I didn't want to upset the boy again, so I left. I'd never seen him before so I didn't understand what his words meant.
"I thought long and hard about him. I called the hospital the next couple of days and asked on his condition and learned he was slowly recovering. I prayed for him and asked God to give him the strength to pull through this Hell he was in. The following week, I made my usual visiting rounds and was looking forward to being finished so that I could go and see him, only this time, I acted on a hunch and removed my collar before I walked into his room. To my surprise, he didn't go crazy. He stared at me, watched every move I made but didn't attempt to get away from me. I kept my distance and moved slowly. I remembered thinking it's amazing what a week's worth of food, medicine and rest can do. Before my eyes laid the most beautiful blond hair, blue eyed boy I'd ever seen. He was angelic. But his eyes still betrayed him and he was frightened. I kept my distance, spoke the Lord's prayer to him and asked him his name. He didn't respond of course, but he didn't go wild either.
Father Maghill took another breath. It was evident to everyone that it was difficult for him to relay his story and somehow Hannibal didn't think the worst was over. A twinge of betrayal crept into his mind and he looked over at BA and Murdock, seeing that they too felt uncomfortable. They knew that if Face had wanted to tell them about this part of his life, he would have. Obviously, if this boy were Face, this wasn't something he could readily talk about. Hannibal walked closer to the desk and as gently as he could, said "Father, I don't know why you're telling us this. I'm sure that if Face wanted us to-"
Father Maghill held his hand up and silenced him.
Hannibal looked over at Murdock and BA, but they just shrugged as if to say ‘What can you do?'. And so he sat down on the sofa, allowing himself to hope that maybe this boy wasn't the young man he'd grown to love.
After several more minutes of collection, Father Maghill began speaking again, "I visited him each day thereafter. The routine was the same: I kept my distance, spoke a prayer and asked him a question. Never did he respond though. Each time I stayed a little longer. I was just beginning to gain his trust when I made a stupid mistake. One day, I walked into his room wearing my collar. He took one look at me and his eyes blazed with anger. For a boy so young, he held the hatred of twenty men. He screamed for me to get out. He pulled out his I.V. and was trying to scramble away from me. My instinct was to rush to him and offer comfort, but that just made matters worse. It took three nurses and two interns to settle him again."
"I made an appointment to see his doctor. I wanted to learn more about this boy and what might have possibly happened to him to cause him so much pain and fear. I wanted to know more than just the passing comments and whispers that were made by the hospital staff. As God would have it, the boy's doctor took a particular interest in his well being. He was perhaps one of the finest doctors in the hospital and I was glad that he had been assigned to the lad."
He paused and took another sip of water. All eyes were frozen on him as he spoke; movement in the room was non-existent. They seemed utterly controlled by the disturbing story, mesmerized by the gentle sounds of the old man's voice, and revolted by the images of a battered blond hair, blue eyed boy.
Father Maghill looked at Hannibal and quietly said, "Colonel, the doctor's name was Peck, Dr. Templeton Peck."
A low guttural growl came from BA and his hands clenched in rage as the identity of Face was established.
‘Damn,' Hannibal thought. Up until now, there was a small, maybe even minuscule chance that this boy wasn't his lieutenant, but that thought was now gone. Murdock lowered his head trying hard to control his thoughts, not an easy task under normal conditions.
Father Maghill stood up and walked to a nearby hutch where he pulled down a small bottle of liquor, his movements shaky and unsteady. "Can I offer you anything to drink?" he asked to no one in particular.
"No. No thank you," Hannibal's quiet answer was for everyone.
The silence lingered and finally Murdock asked, "Father, why was Face afraid of your collar?"
The priest swallowed hard, his expression became sullen again as he returned to the desk, "Murdock, it wasn't just the collar that frightened him so. It was a combination of visual stimuli that triggered his reaction. At least that's the explanation Dr. Peck gave me. I didn't understand until he handed me his file and told me to read it."
Father Maghill sniffed, and disguised an obvious show of emotion by coughing. After pausing a moment, he continued, "I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried that night for the boy..., my Templeton..., your Face."
Hannibal needed his own mind to be distracted and so he reached inside his jacket and pulled out a cigar. Murdock watched this innate action a little too intently for what it was; he also needed a distraction.
The priest continued, "Evidently, Templeton wasn't a first time visitor to the hospital. Near as the records showed, he'd been in and out of hospitals over the past 18 months. The doctor was able to piece together a horrid story that is appalling to this day.
"According to documents, this boy first became the ward of St. Bartholomew's Orphanage under the leadership of a Father Christian Orton. Only Father Orton did not preach God's word to the children, he ran a child pornography and child prostitution ring." The preacher's jaw tightened as he reflected on this image of a Catholic priest betraying his most precious gifts. "I needn't tell you the kind of money a blond hair, blue eyed young boy could bring in. For almost two years, Templeton was used to satisfy the sick needs of any man wealthy enough to afford him..." Father Maghill's voice broke. He had to stop and dab a tissue against his eyes.
BA's gold rustled and Hannibal and Murdock turned to see him leaving the room. Tense shoulders, hands held in fists, BA did not take too well to stories like this. Father Maghill watched him leave too, being reminded of the intense friendship these men shared. Amy got up seconds later and left. She hadn't done as well holding back her tears and when Father Maghill's own voice broke, she felt the stream of saline fall down her cheeks.
"I'm sorry Colonel Smith, I also need to take a minute," he said and he too left the room through a side door.
Hannibal could not suppress the chill that crawled under his skin as the Father had spoken of this horrendous life. Face's smile and outlook on life were at extreme odds with what he was hearing. He turned to look at Murdock and found himself staring straight into his friend's dark brown eyes.
Murdock asked, "Did you know about any of this?"
"No, and I doubt Face would want us to know. If he had, he'd have told us."
"I had no idea, Colonel. Face hasn't always shared his past with me but I feel like I would have picked up on something like this."
"It depends on how far he's managed to bury it."
The door opened and Amy returned to her seat, eyes slightly redder than before.
"Amy? I want you to see if you can confirm any of this," Hannibal stated.
She looked tired and weary but she managed to give him a look that questioned why he didn't believe what the Father was saying.
His tone changed and he added soothingly, "I just need more, for my own peace of mind."
She nodded, understanding what Hannibal must be feeling, and turned as BA entered the room, his expression cold and somber. Finally, Father Maghill returned, haggard and drawn, to sit at his desk again.
Hannibal stood up and said, "Father, I know you mean well, but why are you telling us this?"
"I have to, so you'll be able to help Templeton through what he must do. You have a way with him, Colonel Smith, that I've never seen anyone have." He paused and then said, "Please, let me finish so you'll understand."
Hannibal walked over to the window and stared out, silently relenting.
Father Maghill began speaking again, this time a little more slowly, "Physically, the boy healed and was eventually moved to another room. Psychologically, however, he wasn't fairing as well. He wouldn't talk and was afraid -- no terrified -- of most men. He'd only ever allow Dr. Peck to examine him and that was with a lot of assurances that he wasn't going to be made to do anything he didn't want to. I visited him daily and he came to regard me indifferently, as long as I kept my distance.
"It came time to make a decision about his care. Of course, I wanted him. I wanted to bring him back here and show him what love and kindness are. Because of his violent tendencies, the state social worker recommended he be put into the psychiatric ward of juvenile detention, but Dr. Peck and I agreed that that would be the worst possible place for him, quite possibly resulting in the same type of mistreatment he'd already been subjected to. Going against her recommendation, the doctor released him into my care.
"I never had doubts about our decision, but Templeton didn't make it easy. It took two orderlies along with Dr. Peck and myself to transport him here. It broke my heart to see this child in so much pain. I knew he thought he had been dealt the same hand and he was going to be abused again; finally, the doctor gave him a sedative. I had made a special room for him, away from the other children. As it turned out, I had to lock him in there; he tried to leave many times, only to be returned by Mr. McGrory. I thanked God daily for our Mr. McGrory. He was our grounds keeper who was as big as a mountain and adored the children.
"It took months of working with Templeton. I would spend a part of every day sitting with him and comforting him. In school, he was like a sponge, learning everything he could." Father Maghill stopped and smiled. He was remembering a particular memory and shared it, "I remember the first time I saw him smile. I'd never seen a smile that was so radiant it could take your breath away. He smiled with all his heart. I also remember the first time he took my hand. We were walking to chapel and he reached up and held it. It was the first time he expressed any need for comfort.
"He had been here over a year and we had made great progress, but he was still a long way from where he needed to be. Since Templeton was prone to nightmares, Mr. McGrory had taken to sleeping outside his room and he would come and get me when the boy would have them. One particular night, Templeton was deep into a bad dream and he didn't wake readily. I needed Mr. McGrory's help but unfortunately when Templeton awoke, he only comprehended two men hovering over him and he went wild. I'd never seen such terror in a person; his eyes were murderous. We managed to restrain him but there was no relaxing our grip, he viewed the slightest release as an opportunity to escape and kept us very busy that night. I hated having to restrain him, but he was resourceful and given the chance, he surely would have fled. I spoke softly to him, said some prayers and kept assuring him that we wouldn't hurt him nor do anything to him that made him feel uncomfortable. He, of course, didn't say anything; his eyes just kept flickering, searching for something.
Murdock quietly stated, "So his nightmares began before Nam."
Hannibal looked at him in acknowledgment. They had all believed that Viet Nam was the source of their friend's troubled nights, but now they were hearing it went deeper than that.
Father Maghill shifted and absently picked up a pencil and toyed with it, very lost in thought. He finally took a deep breath and continued, "I knew I had to get him to talk about his experience at the hands of Orton, but I had to first get him to talk about anything. I'd sit with him and tell him stories on just about anything and everything I could think of, but he would just listen, never speaking.
"I'll never forget the time when he finally spoke to me. It was a stormy spring day, and he was scared. Scared of the thunder, of the lightning, and in general of being alone. We were the last to leave chapel and as I always did, I waited patiently for him. It was then when he spoke, he said, ‘Do you know what today is?' I had never heard his voice, except of course for the times he was so encased with fear he screamed at me. It was music to my ears and so I got down on his level and said, ‘No, Templeton, I don't know what today is. Do you?' He looked down and softly said, ‘You found me on this day...in the hospital.'"
Once again, Father Maghill took a tissue and wiped his eyes. "It was amazing that he remembered the exact date I walked into his room two years earlier. We spoke often from that point on. He had absorbed everything he'd ever read. He has a photographic memory and we conversed on all kinds of topics, except for one that he needed most to discuss. I knew only too well that healing could not begin until he dealt with his past. But I didn't want to lose the progress we'd been making. It had taken two years for him to believe that I really wasn't going to send him into the lecherous claws of a politician, business man or use him for my own pleasure. He was beginning to show signs of normalcy, enviously watching the other children as they were adopted."
The pause was long enough for BA to mumble, "Why wasn't he adopted?"
He didn't immediately answer which allowed Amy to follow up on the question, "I would think a boy like Face would have been adopted immediately."
Father Maghill nodded in agreement and then answered, "Many families inquired about him. They would watch him playing in the field and get one look at his smile and they were hooked. Unfortunately, Templeton would take one look at the fathers and back away. At all of nine years of age, he just didn't understand and thought that every man would end up molesting him and hurting him like the other ones had. After these confrontations, it was guaranteed that he'd have a nightmare. One night, after he'd awoken, sweat soaked, eyes blazing with fear and hatred, I tried to get him to talk about it. I held him and spoke softly and for a moment, I really thought he was going to unburden his mind. We had often spoke of giving your problems to God and letting him guide you and I really thought he was going to open his heart and release some of his anger. I could see that he wanted to, but to this day, I don't know why he didn't. I believe he couldn't. He had suppressed it so deep and was terrified of it surfacing. I didn't push him anymore. I was afraid of what reliving those memories would do to him, so I told him I'd always be there in case he needed to talk."
Father Maghill looked and sounded exhausted. He finally added, "Regrettably, I never had the opportunity again to reach inside Templeton and relieve him of his pain. He matured into a teenager, barely controllable. He was never easy to get a handle around, but as he matured, he became even more difficult. He learned to use his smile to acquire material objects and when that didn't work, he developed a silver tongue that would have been the envy of even the most successful politician in California. I tried to guide him but he was angry and as his anger grew, so too did his recklessness.
"He started spending more and more time away from here and I learned later that he was staying at Angel's Guardian Orphanage. The head master there and I were good friends and he was aware of Templeton's situation and would let him stay whenever he got the urge to roam. At least he wasn't running the L.A. streets or in jail; we looked out for him.
"At 16, he graduated from high school and was attending college and was most probably looking at a great career in mathematics, but he was restless. One day, he walked into my office and said he was leaving. Two days later, he boarded a flight to begin his life in the Military."
"Face was 16 when he enlisted?" Murdock said, reconfirming that he heard the age correctly.
"Yes, Murdock. He lied to the recruiter and must have produced false identification. I knew he was running but I wasn't sure what he was running from. It wasn't until I received a letter from him that I figured out why he'd gone off to Viet Nam. Templeton had wanted to die, escape the nightmares that so plagued his mind, finally be rid of this life that he'd been dealt. His time with me here prevented him from taking his own life so he figured he'd go to Viet Nam and someone would take care of his problems for him. How I'd wished I had gotten through to him years earlier.
"At some point though, something must have happened. He wrote a letter and it was different from all the others. It seems that he took a bullet protecting his friend. This friend of his was what he called a ‘short timer' and because Templeton got shot, his friend got to go home to his family. He wrote that all the guys over there talked about their mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers and grandparents and how much they would miss them if they didn't make it. He developed a sense of purpose and decided that if he could help keep some of these guys alive, then he could make a lot of families very happy, especially the mothers. Templeton never spoke of his mother, I seriously doubt if he remembers her, but he would often ask questions about mine and what she was like." Father Maghill sighed, again, at the memories he'd held so dear for so long.
As a thought occurred to him, he lifted his head and stared straight into the Colonel's eyes and said, "A turning point for Templeton came when he met you."
Hannibal raised his eyebrows, acknowledging the comment.
Father Maghill reached into the desk and pulled out a neatly folded piece of paper. He slowly opened it and read,
Sorry it's been so long since I last wrote but I'm a Lieutenant now. It took all my time and skill to pull this con off but the top brass don't know what they're doing so it wasn't too hard. At 18, I'm probably the youngest lieutenant in the war. I've somehow managed to hook up with a maverick CO named Colonel Smith, but everyone calls him Hannibal. He's the first officer I've met who actually cares about his men. He has this Sergeant named BA who's as big as Grory and a mechanical genius, and this pilot named Murdock who has a great outlook on life although nobody's really sure if he's sane or not. Anyway, Colonel Smith reminds me a lot of you, he's sharp, fair, and caring and sees beyond my face (although I won't bother telling you the nickname I've been given). He seems willing to take a gamble on me and I hope I can repay the confidence. Maybe I'll take a bullet meant for BA or Murdock. (Only kidding, Father, I seem to live a charmed life over here.) I'll write again, Fondly, Lt. Templeton Peck."
Hannibal puffed on his cigar, remembering the first time he'd met up with Face. He'd done his research and knew he was an orphan, but never dreamed that just ten years earlier, he was living a Hell that no child should have ever lived. He snapped back to the present and composed himself. Finally, he stood up and said, "Father Maghill, please forgive me for repeating myself, but why are you telling us this? You mentioned Face was going to need our help. Our help to do what?"
Another piece of paper was removed from his desk and handed to Hannibal. "A subpoena? What are you being subpoenaed for?"
"The District Attorney's office has built a case against Father Christian Orton."
"I'm reporting on that case," Amy added making a sudden connection between this story and a current news story. "It's in all the papers and TV, only his name isn't Christian Orton, I think it's John Reid?"
"Yes, he's had many names, but he's all the same man. All these years and there have never been any charges filed against him for his part in child pornography and child prostitution. There's always someone else to take the fall for him, but not this time. They have a strong case against him that will shut down his operation and put him behind bars. That is, of course, if some key witnesses come forth and testify. And Templeton is a key witness."
"Face can't walk into a courtroom; he's a fugitive running from the military!" Murdock pointed out. "He comes out, and whammo! Face is history."
"No, Captain Murdock, it won't be like that. I've been involved in discussions with the DA, Colonel Decker, and his superiors. Contrary to what you may believe, the military wants to stop Orton and his child prostitution ring more than they want to put Templeton behind bars. You see, Orton's operation is worldwide; what started over 25 years ago on a small scale has grown so much that the FBI and CIA are involved. The military isn't really happy about it, but they have agreed to work with the DA's office to ensure protection for Templeton when he testifies."
"Does Decker know we're here?" BA growled, ready and on alert.
"Yes, BA, he knows. And you also know that they could have arrested you by now if they wanted. Believe me, Colonel Smith, this is NOT a setup. It is the honest truth that they want Templeton to testify against this man. They have pictures, names, and addresses. They have the doctors and nurses who treated Templeton and they want this man off the streets and all authorities, military and civilian, are working in concert to achieve this. There is no statue of limitations on his crimes and Templeton can provide the testimony that can pull all of this together. Orton runs a worldwide ring and his conviction is the only thing that will shut it down."
"How can Decker just ignore the fact that Face is within his grasp?" Murdock asked.
"There are several options but for the moment it looks like the DA intends on granting Templeton a 24-hour Presidential pardon. That means for a day, nobody can touch him. It's never been exercised before but it's an option and probably the most viable one at this time."
"A 24-hour Presidential pardon? I've never heard of that," Amy stated. "Besides, the defense attorney will never allow the testimony of a convicted felon. It'll be thrown out of court."
"The crime for which Templeton was convicted occurred many years after he was abused at the hands of Orton. His testimony will be used to corroborate that of the other witnesses." Father Maghill paused before he continued, "Templeton's testimony is the most graphically explicit of anyone's. I know the facts and I've seen the pictures..." he choked on the words. "I told you a blond hair, blue eyed boy was a prize...."
The room fell silent as the realization of the request was absorbed. Hannibal knew what his role would be in this and he didn't like it. It wasn't like being on the jazz and enjoying the thrill of the conquest, it was more like drowning in emotional turmoil and mending the broken spirit of one he'd grown to love. "What do you think we can do, Father?"
The priest put his hands together in prayer and formulated his words carefully, "I'm not sure Colonel Smith. I don't want to see Templeton go through this pain again. I knew if I approached him, he'd shut me out. I originally told the DA to forget it, that I wouldn't agree to subjecting him to this. But they showed me the case they intend to bring against Orton, and it's true that Templeton's testimony is what they need to get a conviction. And everybody wants this sick man away from our children."
After dabbing his eyes again, Father Maghill continued, "The problem still lies in getting Templeton to testify. Colonel Smith, I know that he listens to you and respects you. I told you his story not because I wanted to betray him, but because I needed for you to feel the pain as I feel it, so you can better understand him if, and when, he needs you most. There's no guarantee that he's capable of speaking about the crimes committed against him, let alone in a room full of the very people he's been running from for years. But without his testimony, Orton will surely walk."
Hannibal blinked cold and angry eyes, hiding his feelings well like he's been trained to do. He didn't like the idea that Decker knew he was there, he hated knowing Face was sexually abused, and he despised having to place one of his men in a dangerous situation, both physically and emotionally.
Father Maghill sensed the anger and responded gently, "Don't misunderstand me, Colonel. I do not want Templeton to relive the pain of 25 years ago. If he can't do it, then that's God's will and so be it."
The ride in the van was eerily silent. Murdock didn't pester BA and Amy didn't ask all her questions. Hannibal sat pensively, switching between staring at his cigar and staring out the window.
"Amy, check out this story. Find out if there is a ‘Dr. Templeton Peck', a ‘Father Christian Orton' or any records of a boy in the city hospital twenty-odd years ago."
"Right," she replied.
"We'll meet tomorrow." With that, BA pulled the van over and let her off next to her car.
"BA, let's go over to Face's place. We'll wait for him to get there."
"What about that job for Mr. Clarkson?" Murdock asked.
"What job," Hannibal stated flatly, refusing to consider this interference right now.
BA and Murdock toured the beautifully decorated penthouse suite where Face was currently calling home. They were marveling at the diplomas, certificates and awards on the wall.
"Who's he s'posed to be this time?" BA growled, while perusing the wall for clues to Face's identity.
"Montague J. Claiborne, M.D.," Murdock read off one of the diplomas.
"Who!" BA barked.
"It says here he's a plastic surgeon. I often wonder how he keeps all his personas straight. And they think I'm nuts," Murdock said, while walking back to the overstuffed sofa and plopping down. "Hannibal? I just can't believe that we know nothing about this side of Face. Do you think he'll testify?"
Hannibal appeared to be studying the room but he was really going over the conversation they'd had with Father Maghill, trying to pick up on the least little inconsistency that would cast doubts on that horrendous story. "I don't know Murdock. It's hard to tell what people will do, especially someone like Face."
"What'd you mean, ‘someone like Face'?" BA said as he too plopped onto the overstuffed sofa.
"Face is not given to talking about his past, which is apparent by none of us knowing anything about it. He's able to suppress things that most men couldn't. Take the time in the POW camp, he's never spoken of that."
"Ain't nobody ever speaks of that Hann'bal," BA stated flatly.
"Look, we all know that Face got the worst of that ordeal. Do either of you really know what Charlie did to him?"
There was a solemn shaking of their heads.
"Neither do I. But you can bet it wasn't pretty. And I can probably guarantee that he's never uttered a word of that to anybody." Hannibal paused and removed his cigar. "And that's one hell of a burden to keep bottled up inside."
"You got a plan, Colonel?" Murdock asked.
"Yeah..." But before he could tell them, a noise at the door startled them and Hannibal pulled his gun just in case it wasn't who they were expecting.
The door swung open and in walked the familiar site of their handsome, well-dressed friend. "Hi guys," Face said, pleased to see his friends were there but not too happy to see they were making themselves very comfortable in his new place. "How do you like it?" he quipped as he picked up a magazine and placed it on the coffee table under BA's feet.
"Nice Face," Hannibal smiled and waived his cigar. "How long you here for?"
"Just a month. Oh, I got the information you wanted on Clarkson. Sounds like a cushy job that's going to pay well." Face pulled several pieces of paper from his inside breast pocket and tossed them on the table. "But, you know, you didn't have to come over tonight to get it, I'd have taken it to you tomorrow," Face said, picking up on the slightest look of uneasiness from BA and Murdock. He walked to the bar and set out several glasses, "Drinks?"
"Yeah, I'll have one," Hannibal said, maybe a tad too quickly.
"No thanks, Faceman," Murdock said.
BA shook his head.
"Oh sorry BA, I don't have any milk. I really wasn't expecting anyone tonight."
"S'okay, Face," BA said gently.
Now Face was positive something was going on and after pouring whiskey into two glasses, he said, "Okay, guys, what's up?"
Hannibal stood and took the proffered glass, drinking the shot in one swallow. Then he said, "We visited Father Maghill today."
"Really. Is he okay? I was just there several weeks ago and he looked awfully tired. Why'd you go see him?"
Hannibal turned away and didn't answer. Face looked at Murdock, who quickly looked away, and then BA, who also didn't make eye contact. Now, Face was really suspicious. "Come on, Hannibal, what's wrong with Father Maghill? Is he ill?"
"No, he's not sick," Hannibal answered as he walked back to the bar, poured another shot of whiskey and turned it up. Then, he added softly, "Face, he told us about Father Orton." He watched his young friend intently for his reaction. Murdock and BA also stared, although they weren't really sure what to expect.
Face was waiting for more information and when he realized nothing more was forthcoming, he simply said, "Am I suppose to know this Father Orton?"
Hannibal cocked his head and glanced sideways at the others. Then he turned and walked back over to his chair and said, "Does that name mean anything to you?"
"No, should it?"
Murdock and BA looked at each other, wondering what to believe. If the story Father Maghill told was true, Face would have certainly remembered this man's name. If the story was false, then the question was why would Father Maghill lie to them? An almost imperceptible nod from Hannibal told them to stay quiet and let him handle it. "Father Maghill thought you knew him. You don't?"
"No, I don't recall the name."
"Oh, well then, I guess he must have been mistaken." Reaching for the paper Face a previously tossed on the table, Hannibal said, "So you found out the information on Clarkson. How's it look?"
The next 30 minutes were spent talking over the case. Face was completely unfazed by their earlier conversation and appeared normal, even down to complaining about Hannibal's 'front-door' approach. As usual, he offered his place to them for the night but Hannibal declined and they left. Once in the van, the three sat in silence for a long time.
BA finally grumbled, "Man, Face had no idea who Orton was."
"Yeah, he didn't show one sign of recognition. Thank God it isn't true," Murdock added. BA nodded his head in agreement.
"Face is lying," Hannibal stated quietly.
"What!" they said in unison.
"He's lying. He's knows what we're talking about, but he's a con artist, a professional liar. He can hide it better than anyone I've ever seen hide anything."
"I don't know Hann'bal," BA countered. "He didn't even flinch when you said the name of that preacher. He didn't lose concentration or nothin'."
"Yeah," Murdock agreed, "I've seen plenty of pathological liars in the VA and they usually have some mannerism that gives them away. You'd never pick up on it unless you knew the person and we know Face pretty well and he didn't give any hint that he knew what you were talking about."
Hannibal indicated with his finger to wait, and he picked up the phone, dialed and waited for someone to answer. "Hi Amy. What'd you find out?"
Several minutes later he put the receiver down and said, "Maghill's story checks out. There is a Catholic priest in custody right now for child prostitution. There really was a Dr. Templeton Peck but he passed away about seven years ago. And, Amy tried to pull the hospital records from 24 years ago and there's an 18 month time span where access to all records has been denied."
Sorrow descended on the team members again. The small ray of hope that this had never happened to their friend was gone. Murdock quietly stated, "How is Face going to be able to testify when he denies even knowing this man who made his life a living Hell?"
"I don't know Murdock, but I'm going back up there. I have a feeling that tonight might be a little rough on him."
Face was staring out the window when the doorbell rang. "Who is it?" he yelled through the closed door.
"It's me, Hannibal. Open up."
Face unlocked the door and opened it wide. With a smile, he said, "Did you forget something?"
Hannibal was amazed at his friend's acting abilities and as he walked past, he commented almost inaudibly, "You should go into acting."
"Excuse me?" Face said, confused.
Hannibal spun around and squared off, "Face, I know you're lying. I know you know who Father Christian Orton is."
Startled by the confrontation, he earnestly replied, "Hannibal, I wish I could help you, but I can't." Closing the door, he walked around him, avoiding eye contact.
Hannibal wasn't sure why he was lying or even if he was lying; maybe Face really didn't remember. Crimes like these manifest themselves differently in victims and Face is a unique individual, which means he makes a unique victim. His approach to dealing with this problem had to consider Face's intellect as well as the limited time he had to find an answer. Passivity would get him nowhere, so he decided to push him a little, try to get him to open up. "I think I'll stay here tonight."
Face turned, surprised, and stammered, "Ah..., yes..., well Hannibal, when I originally offered the place, I was alone but I decided to call Catherine and ... well... you know..."
"Did you call her?"
"Not yet, I was just about ready to when you rang the doorbell."
"You don't want me to stay? Are you afraid that tonight might be a little rough on you?" Hannibal was not being gentle and Face dropped his easy-going facade.
"Look Hannibal, I really don't want you here. You can take my car if BA's already left."
"I want you to do something for me," Hannibal requested as he walked over to the bar, filled a glass with ice and topped it off with water.
Face, looking exasperated and annoyed, watched him.
"I want you to pick up this glass."
"I want you to come over here and pick this up."
"Lieutenant, I'm asking you to pick up this glass!"
Face narrowed his eyes and clenched his jaw. Reluctantly, he walked over and put his hand around the glass and picked it up.
"There! Are you satisfied!"
Staring Face squarely in the eye, Hannibal said quietly, "Father Christian Orton."
The tremor in his hand caused the ice to rattle and the water to spill. Face put the glass down quickly and stared at it.
Guilt swept over Hannibal as he watched his lieutenant try again to pick up the glass, only to hear the ice rattle and see the water spill. He reached over and placed his hands over his friend's.
"Hannibal, let me go," Face half-heartedly complained, totally preoccupied with trying to pick up the glass without spilling its contents.
"Face, it's okay. Don't try any more," his gentle voice contrasting his earlier tone. He led him to the sofa where they both sat down. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Looking completely confused, Face turned and asked, "Talk about what?"
Hannibal was perplexed, "Talk about Father Orton."
"Hannibal, I wish I knew something about him for you, but I can't recall the name." In confusion, he ran his hand through his hair.
"Face, I know about the first orphanage you were at. I know about Father Orton and what he did to you when you were a child. I know about the sexual abuse you lived through. I know about the beatings you received."
Face shook his head fervently. "No, I don't know what you're talking about! I've been with Father Maghill since I can remember!"
Hannibal covered Face's hands again, only this time, they were colder and trembling even more. For someone who's never at a loss for what to do, Hannibal was at a loss. Was Face lying? He certainly sounded sincere enough. He never would have imagined that Face was capable of suppressing this part of his life so deep that he couldn't bring himself to admit it happened.
Hannibal decided not to pursue the conversation. They sat in silence, next to each other, for quite some time with Hannibal periodically reaching for his friend's hands to determine his state. Face didn't seem to mind this physical touching and even smiled at his Colonel during one such moment, the kind of smile Hannibal had seen his lieutenant use when he was turning up his sexuality. Once, when he took his hands away, Face reached for them and held onto them, making him wonder what his friend was thinking. It became apparent that Face didn't want him to leave and for a split moment, he saw the frightened boy, beaten and abused, lying in the hospital room. He wondered how anyone could be so cruel to another human.
Comforted by his colonel, Face leaned his head back and shut his eyes.
Hannibal watched him, admiring his lieutenant in ways he knew he shouldn't be. Unconsciously he was rubbing the back of Face's hand. The intimacy he was experiencing with his lieutenant was exciting and invigorating; he rather liked what he was feeling but he knew this was a vulnerable time for his friend and that he needed security and support more than anything else. If Face wanted more, either emotionally or physically, he was more than capable of controlling their destiny.
While resting, Face had drifted off to sleep. Hannibal released his hand and quietly slipped away and made himself comfortable in the recliner. It wasn't too long before he was awakened. Face was talking but the words were garbled. He moved closer, trying to understand what was being said.
"No... I don't want to...get away from me," Face mumbled. He tossed his head and pulled at the cushion. "Don't touch me! GET AWAY!"
Hannibal reached over and laid his hand on Face's shoulder, but to his surprise, Face reacted violently. He was shoved back over the coffee table and Face was yelling at him, "Get away from me! Don't come near me again or I'll kill you!"
"Face! Face! Wake up! It's me, Hannibal!"
A moment later, the light switched on and Face stood over him, looking confused, sweaty and disoriented. "Hannibal! What happened? Did I push you down?" he said while reaching his hand out to help him up.
"Yeah, you had a nightmare, want to tell me about it?"
Face rubbed his hand over his face and said, "Wow, it was a weird one. There was a kid, and this man. And this man kept beating this kid and this boy wanted to run but something was holding him..." Face stopped and looked at Hannibal's concerned expression. Feeling a bit ridiculous for having such a dream, he sleepily said, "Sorry for waking you Colonel. Why don't you go to one of the bedrooms and get some sleep?"
"Face, we need to talk."
"Ah, Colonel, maybe tomorrow, I'm really tired."
"I think we need to talk now."
Face yawned and turned away, saying, "Hannibal, I'm really exhausted from running around all day getting the information on Clarkson. I promise, we'll talk tomorrow."
"No, Lieutenant! We'll talk now," Hannibal toned.
Face spun around, annoyance replacing his sleepiness. "There's nothing to talk about!"
They stared at each other, two strong wills silently dueling with each other. Once again, Hannibal saw the small, frightened boy that Father Maghill spoke about, the body that was terrified and the eyes that were angry, all hidden behind a beautiful facade aptly named for his handsome features.
Suddenly, Face grabbed at his head as a sharp pain seared through him and his knees buckled, "AAAAAHHHHH!"
"FACE!" Hannibal lunged forward to catch him before he completely crumbled to the floor. Grasping him firmly in an embrace, he offered comfort, "Face, relax...try and take it slow."
Still gripping his head in hopes that the pain would abate, Face struggled against the restraining arms, groaning, "Let me go!"
"Here, sit down." Hannibal managed to move his struggling friend to the sofa and as gently as he could, guided him down.
The flashbacks were vivid and bright in his head as he squeezed his eyes tightly shut, trying to relieve the sharp pain that the light was producing. Face wasn't sure who was with him or who was holding him or even where he was. As he felt the hands pushing him back onto the sofa, a wave of fear overcame him and he lashed out, not knowing whom he was lashing out at. He was easily restrained which made his desire to struggle even greater and he heard himself yelling and demanding to be let go. Finally, his demands turned into pleas and eventually he lost his battle with the pain and allowed himself to slip into nothingness.
Hannibal felt his body go limp and moved quickly to determine his state. It had taken most of his strength to restrain him and he was literally lying on top of him when he felt him relax. After determining that his vitals were good, he retrieved a wet cloth and wiped down his lieutenant's face and covered him with a blanket before sitting heavily in the recliner. Staring at his young friend, he knew he was treading on unfamiliar turf and wondered what ramification would come of all this. Putting someone like Orton away was what the team was all about; they'd spent the last eleven years locking up slimballs just like him, but they did it together, as a team, with nothing personal involved. This time would be different and he wondered what price he would have to pay to accomplish this mission.
He needed some information and so he picked up the phone and dialed. After several minutes, he heard a beautiful, albeit sleepy, voice say, "Hello?"
"Hi Maggie, it's Hannibal. I'm sorry to have to call so late, but I need some advice..."
Without giving too much away, he was able to glean some insight into the human brain and even learned the name of a drug that could be of use in helping people remember and deal with heinous memories. He'd get Murdock to get some at the VA. He told Maggie not to worry but to listen to the LA news and she'd know what was going on.
The Team met the next morning at Face's apartment and Amy filled them in on all that she was able to find out. Basically, Father Maghill's story checked out and she even managed to run into Decker, although he didn't see her. Hannibal updated them on the events of the past evening and had expressed concern over Face's ability to block out this part of his past.
They spoke quietly as Face was still sleeping on the sofa, that in itself was unusual for him to sleep much past seven, and it was already ten in the morning and time was precious.
"Murdock, did you bring the Bentrinolax?" Hannibal asked.
"Yeah, but that stuff's pretty powerful, they use it on some of the patients in the VA. If not used right, it could have some nasty side effects."
"I know, but Maggie gave me specific instructions on how to use it..." before Hannibal could finish, Face began to stir.
Murdock hurried over to the sofa and sat on the coffee table, staring intently at him. When Face opened his eyes, he startled as he was confronted with Murdock's partial-grinning glare just inches from him.
"Whaaaaat?" Face asked, feeling like he'd done something wrong but couldn't put his finger on it. "Why are you staring at me?"
"Oh Facial One, you obviously forgot about picking me up today. Do you know what time it is?"
Face was not at all going to be suckered into a debate just minutes after waking. "Well, you're here, so does it matter?" He moved his hand to shield his eyes from the light and said, "Anybody got an aspirin?"
"How's your head?" Hannibal asked, knowing the answer.
"I'll live. Why didn't you wake me? Aren't we supposed to be meeting with Clarkson today?"
They looked at each other. It was apparent that Face didn't remember the flashback, and quite possible that he didn't remember anything else either. Aside from a headache, he didn't seem to be bothered by last night's episode at all.
Seeing as though no one was making a move to get him an aspirin, he got up and went for it himself. Earlier, Amy had switched on the television and just as Face was walking across the room, the news coverage of the impending trial of the Catholic priest began.
Face stopped and watched. At several points, it was evident he wanted to turn his head and stop watching, but he didn't, or couldn't. When the report ended, he was a little confused at what he was doing. Amy gently reminded him that he was getting an aspirin. Once he'd left the room, she commented, "He's really messed up, Hannibal. I don't think I've ever seen him this way. If he's managed to suppress what happened to him as a child, do you think it's wise to resurrect those memories."
BA grumbled his answer, "If he don't, a lot of kids will suffer."
Hannibal let that answer suffice, having already given that question much thought and not really coming up with an answer. But he knew enough about psychology to know that suppressed memories could surface at the most inopportune time. With their line of work, perhaps it was best to help Face work through this, and at the same time put this slimeball away for good.
He wanted to start working with Face immediately so he pulled out a cigar, prepped it, and said, "Okay. Amy, I want you to go to the courthouse and snoop around. If you hear anything, call. BA, Murdock, make yourselves comfortable, we could be in for a long day."
Try as he might, Face simply could not, or would not, remember anything that his friends had wanted him to. He was getting agitated at their insistence and didn't understand why they weren't leaving to meet with Clarkson. That's when Hannibal decided to give him the drug. The Bentrinolax started to take effect immediately.
It didn't take long for Face to realize what kind of drug he'd been given and although he became encased in a mental fog, his eyes raged, 'Why are you doing this?' He tried to ask, "Why...do... this?" his voice felt a hundred miles away. He turned to Murdock, who was taking his pulse, "Why?"
Murdock shrugged, smiled and rubbed his arm in gentle strokes. Face moved his hand so that he was touching Murdock's leg, an act motivated from insecurity more than anything else.
Hannibal sat down on the coffee table in front of him and squared off. "Face, you need to remember what Father Orton did to you," his voice was soothing and calm. "It's very important. You will more than likely be called upon to testify against him. Your testimony can put that slimeball away, for good."
Face's eyes rolled up.
"Oh no you don't! Come on, Lieutenant, don't give up. Stay with me here, will you?" Hannibal slapped his face until he came around and tried to focus. "That's better. Now, let your mind take you back." Deciding that it would be best to take him back slowly, Hannibal began with the last case they'd been on. "Remember Adriane Johnson, the daughter of the man who hired us? She really had her sites set on you."
Face couldn't control his thoughts, nor for that matter, his emotions. He was angry and feeling incredibly helpless. He wanted desperately to run from the room, but the drug would allow for nothing but sitting on the sofa and reliving whatever his Colonel had in mind. Trusting that Hannibal had a good reason for doing this and realizing that escape was impossible, he succumbed to the power of the drug and his Colonel's familiar voice and allowed the memory to fill his head. Slowly a smile formed on his lips at the vision of the beautiful red headed girl whom he managed to spend a few nights with. He admitted quietly, "She was good..."
Hannibal took him back a few years to another case with an equally beautiful woman whom he knew Face had developed a relationship. Again, he said, "She was really good..." and then thought, 'This isn't so bad. These memories feel good.'
Hannibal continued to take him back, slowly, filling his head with fond memories of ladies and clients and successful missions over the years. After an hour, he'd made it back to Ft. Bragg and the bogus trial they were put through. He looked at his watch and made a quick calculation of how much time they had, three more hours before the Bentrinolax wore off. He nodded for Murdock to take over; then he stood up, stretched his legs, and prepped a cigar.
Face's hand, which had been resting on Murdock's leg, was now being held. Murdock took him back to Nam and through several of their successful missions. Face's demeanor changed noticeably. Even his speech changed slightly. He wasn't reliving their missions like hypnosis would have made him, but the drug was making it possible for him to remember details and emotions and desires that he'd either forgotten or suppressed. He spoke freely and uninhibitively.
BA kept a close eye on the scene unfolding, wondering how much Murdock could take, and ready to jump in if necessary. Hannibal also kept close tabs, getting reassurances from Murdock that things were okay and small indications from BA that he was ready to step in. He surmised that holding onto Face's hand had a calming effect on both men; they had been through so much together, and now watching them sitting so close, with only inches separating them, he'd wondered just what kind of ‘experience' they had acquired halfway around the globe.
It finally came time to remember the POW camp and Murdock faltered. Hannibal smoothly took over again but it meant that Face had to give up the hand he was holding as Murdock walked away, regaining his hold on what passed for his reality. Hannibal resumed his previous position and noticed a physical rigidity in his lieutenant as he relived some of the more intense moments as a prisoner. Hannibal motioned to BA and he came over and sat down next to Face, reaching for his hand which was eagerly grasped.
Hannibal had hoped that Face would be more verbally forthcoming with events surrounding his stay in the camp, but it was evident by his demeanor that he intended to share nothing, but remembered everything all too well.
Two hours left. Their only familiarity with the territory they were heading into, Face's childhood, was what Father Maghill had told them yesterday. Hannibal spoke deliberately, careful not to jump ahead too fast. He talked about the chapel, and playing sports. He mentioned Angel's Guardian Orphanage and Sacred Heart's Orphanage. He mentioned Mr. McGrory and Father Maghill and Dr. Peck.
As Hannibal stepped back, he noticed Face had become very quiet. He also observed that Face was almost trying to become smaller, almost as if he were trying to shrink away from the words. Hannibal paused between memories, hoping that his friend would offer some insight into his horrific world, but he just sat and listened.
Detaching himself from his words, Hannibal pushed on, bringing up names and dates and specific events. He slowly spoke about the nightmares and the significance of a priest's collar.
Suddenly, Face leaned forward and pushed Hannibal away, allowing his momentum to carry him up so that he was standing. Doing anything but sitting -- or laying -- while on the drug Bentrinolax was not recommended and BA caught him as he stumbled forward. Unfortunately for BA, Face's memories were vivid and he was now throwing a punch with the hatred of an abused boy but with the force of a well conditioned, well trained man. His fist caught BA's jaw and snapped his head back. Hannibal grabbed his other arm as he was attempting another swing; unfortunately for Hannibal, Face adapted to the restraint and used his free elbow to come back and knock Hannibal across the face. Finding freedom, Face moved swiftly across the room, shoving Murdock out of his way, and stumbling into the wall.
Pressing his back flat against the wall for support, he yelled, "Stop it Colonel! I don't want to do this!"
"Face, you do remember, don't you," Hannibal calmly stated as he rubbed his jaw and moved slowly closer to his agitated friend.
"No, I don't! I don't want to go back there!"
Hannibal had to keep pressing; it wasn't likely they'd have another opportunity at this. "You remember the city hospital where they took you after you were beaten."
"NO!" Face shook his head vehemently.
"You remember being held by those men, being forced to do things that hurt you."
"NO! NO!" Face grabbed at his head as the searing pain returned, his vision blurred from the light, "Please Hannibal, don't do this!"
Murdock caught him as he slumped to the floor, still grasping his head, still denying the truth, still suppressing the memories.
Hannibal made one last statement, "You remember the rapes and, as a young boy of seven, you remember the feelings of abandonment and betrayal."
The flashing lights in his head wouldn't stop nor would the visions of the attacks, the men, the pain, the guilt, and the confusion. Still holding his head, but succumbing to his emotions, he slowly nodded. "Yes, I remember," his voice almost inaudible. He leaned heavily into Murdock's arms, repeating "Yes, I remember...."
Hannibal kneeled down and put his hand on Face as BA gently pulled Murdock away but not before Hannibal was able to look into his deeply saddened eyes; he prayed Murdock would be able to handle this. Turning his attention back to Face, he felt the trembling body and his heart was heavy. Gently, he half carried him to his bedroom and laid him down on the oversized bed and pulled the bedcovers over him. He stayed almost an hour, until he heard the rhythmic breathing of sleep.
Murdock and BA looked up when he re-entered the room. He didn't expect to see Amy sitting there but knew something was up for her to be back so soon.
"How's Face?" Murdock asked eagerly.
"He's sleeping." Addressing Amy, Hannibal asked, "What'd you find out?"
She put down her glass and said, "They announced the pardon an hour ago. Beginning tomorrow, Face will have 24 hours to come forth and give his sworn testimony against Orton." By the expression on their faces, she wasn't sure what had happened here. "He did agree to testify, didn't he?"
"It would have been nice to have had a little more time," Hannibal despaired.
Shaking her head, she replied, "They couldn't risk it, more notice would have meant more time to coordinate a murder attempt. They wanted this to be a surprise to Orton's organization. You're lucky you have this much time." She looked around the room again at their saddened faces. Slowly, she added, "He did agree, didn't he?"
"Well, he didn't disagree," Hannibal countered.
"Oh, that's just terrific. He's supposed to testify in less than 18 hours and he doesn't know it yet?" she stated, completely unaware of what Face had been put through. She looked at the wounded expressions on their faces and wondered exactly what happened that afternoon. Fortunately, she had the good sense not to ask.
The heavy and deliberate noises coming from the bedroom could only mean one thing: Face was angry. It was dinnertime and BA had brought back some burgers and they were eating when they first heard the sounds. Murdock lost his appetite and pangs of guilt encompassed him. Pushing his food away, he sat quietly, waiting for the inevitable eruption to occur. Amy quietly ate her food, as did BA. Hannibal sat back and took a long drawl on his cigar, contemplating how he was going to handle his angry young friend.
Dressed in jeans and a sweater, Face emerged from his room, glaring at the occupants of the suite.
Hannibal lightly asked, "Hungry, Face? BA brought back some burgers." He waived his cigar towards the fast food bags.
Face was seething with anger, but for as angry as he was, he knew deep in his heart that Hannibal must have had a reason for doing what he did. He vaguely recalled hearing something about testifying but couldn't be sure. He had a splitting headache and his mind kept racing between his childhood and his present situation. He didn't know where to begin. He ran his hand through his hair and calmed himself down; being angry with Hannibal was not something he was comfortable with.
"Why? Hannibal," was all he could ask, his tone reflecting his confusion.
Hannibal leaned forward, maintaining his cool exterior, and realizing just how important it was to show strength and courage as well as controlled compassion. He chose his words carefully and without going into the same detail that Father Maghill did, relayed the story of their meeting the day before. Face listened intently, alternating between sitting on the sofa and peering out the windows and only occasionally showing signs of apprehension. Several times, he shook his head, not wanting to hear any more, but Hannibal continued in a soft and consoling voice. It wasn't until he mentioned the 24-hour Presidential pardon that Face looked up from the floor.
"Did you say a 24 hour Presidential pardon?" he asked with a hint of hope in his voice.
Hannibal smiled and affirmed with a wave of his cigar, glad to see Face react this way to the news. Unfortunately, the price he'd have to pay probably hadn't registered yet. They sat in silence and allowed him to absorb the events of the past day. Hannibal thought he was actually holding up well considering what he'd been forced to remember.
Face didn't know what to do. He was confused and nauseated at the thought of coming face to face with his tormentor. Even having a day of freedom was of little consequence when half of it would be spent in the courtroom peering into the faces of the people he spent most of his life running from.
Absorbed in his own feelings, he gazed around the room but stopped when he saw the look on Murdock's face. Suddenly, it occurred to him just how hard this ordeal was on the people he cared about the most. He knew his friends well enough to know that they would be feeling his pain and misery just as much as he was, if not more. He stepped over BA and sat down in between them sitting so close that their shoulders were touching, and he rested one hand on Murdock's leg and the other on BA's leg. Producing a very sensual smile, Face asked, "How're doing Murdock?"
Murdock shook his head in a miserable attempt at disguising his concerns and answered, "Good, good." Realizing his friend wasn't buying it, he added, "I'm worried about you though."
"Ah, well, don't be. I'll be okay."
Hannibal watched the interlude. There was chemistry between them that transcended casual friendship and once again he caught himself thinking about the kind of relationship Face was quite capable of achieving with any one of the team. Looking at the three of them, Face sitting in the middle acting as a conduit of sensuality, he remembered the only other time when Face had almost turned the tables on the team, leaving three men confused, mystified and extremely sexually frustrated.
His mind drifted back three years earlier, when Face had been particularly disturbed over a case they had taken, allowing his insecurities to surface. It was the first time that Hannibal realized the extent to which the team's friendship could go. It was an incredible week of sexuality that Face totally controlled. He had almost taken them into the throes of passion, and not surprisingly, everyone was receptive to the idea. At first, they weren't sure if Face was even aware of the effect he was having on them, his smile or touch being capable of producing a burning desire that was difficult to control. As quickly as he had turned it on, though, Face unexpectantly turned it off, much to the disappointment of everyone. Since that time, however, he had made no attempt at heightening the team's sexuality again, and he was the only one who could make it happen. Only Face could initiate it, not him, not Murdock and not BA; Face was the one who had the sexual charisma that was necessary to make it work. He had the ability to bring the team together effortlessly. He was sexually savvy, and Hannibal wondered if Face would ever bring them together to experience the ultimate level of friendship.
Thinking back on what happened to Face as a boy made it harder for him to see him welcoming a physical relationship with another man, but maybe that's exactly what he wanted, more specifically, needed. Maybe he needed one of them to love him so that he could release the buried memories and move onto fresher, more satisfying experiences.
But those thoughts were interrupted when he caught a glimpse of Face that bothered him. He saw something that was different, something that he'd not seen in many a year. Then it occurred to him that he really wasn't that calm, peaceful and composed person he was now portraying sitting in between his friends; instead, he was scared and feeling alone. Being an accomplished con artist himself, he saw through the phony facade.
Sadly, he wondered if Face would actually be able to go through with it.
The evening passed slowly, Face had eaten very little and was feeling a little uncomfortable with the extra attention he was getting. He was caught more than a few times staring off into space, obviously remembering his childhood and the years prior to Father Maghill. All those years of successfully burying and suppressing bruising memories at the hands of Orton was lost under the influence of a drug and a very determined colonel. Amy wasn't sure how she could be of help so she left shortly after dinner, giving Face a light kiss on the cheek and a few words of encouragement.
Face was glad that she had gone, his vanity around women still being in tact. It took years for him to build self-esteem and even longer to develop a sense of security, and he probably never would have achieved what little success he had in those areas if it weren't for these guys. So he really just wanted to be with them, as near to them as he could get and he found himself either sitting or standing next to anyone who would stay still long enough for him to get comfortable.
Burying the hurt and pain that was weighing heavy in his eyes, Face talked about the Clarkson case. His teammates were impressed with his ability to focus on the upcoming case and not let the events of the past two days cloud his thinking. But they also knew him well enough to know that he was a professional, and they were being duped, his choice of weapons being a disarming smile, sensitive voice, sharp mind and, occasionally, a sensual look that wasn't lost on anyone, including BA.
Quick, diverting glances among Hannibal, BA and Murdock made them aware of the intense sexuality that Face was emitting. They knew he probably wasn't aware of it and that they were heading down the same path that they took a few years earlier. But somehow, this was different. Face was different. Of all of them, Face was the one who required physical comfort, and not just required it, but demanded it. Fortunately, he had three friends who were ready, willing and quite capable of giving it to him, if he'd only open up enough and let them in.
As the evening progressed, two things became evident; one was that Face was avoiding talking about anything that had to do with his testimony, and two, Face was intentionally avoiding going to sleep. Hannibal had steered the conversation on more than one occasion to the upcoming trial but Face only dropped his eyes and stared at the floor, seeking comfort through physically touching BA or Murdock, whoever happened to be next to him. Hannibal was worried, if he couldn't talk about it to them, how could he talk about it to a room full of strangers? But he knew he couldn't force it; in time, Face would open up.
"Faceman, I think you should get a good night's rest so you'll be ready for tomorrow," Murdock said, encouraging Face to at least think about sleeping.
Face didn't want to sleep; it was pointless in his mind. He'd no sooner put his head on the pillow and the men would be there, touching him and pulling his clothes off and forcing themselves on him. The more he struggled, the harder the beatings were and the more painful the abuse was. He'd remembered every detail of every man who had ever raped him. He remembered every smell, every nuance and every name. Unfortunately, the thought of having to testify in the morning was making his stomach churn. Ignoring Murdock, he just shrugged.
Face never wanted his friends to know about this part of his life. His fear was unfounded and he knew it, but he couldn't help feeling that they too would abandon him if they knew of his sordid past. And the thought of losing these guys was just about as painful as any thought he could have. He felt the blood drain from his face and prayed nobody noticed it, but Hannibal knew him too well and could see the anguish settling on his handsome features.
"Face, why don't you try and get some rest. I know you don't relish the nights right now but it'll be over by tomorrow and then things should start getting better for you."
Knowing he couldn't stay awake all night, he reluctantly agreed, "Yeah, I guess you're right." But procrastination got the better of him and 15 minutes later, he was still not making a move towards his bedroom. Hannibal and Murdock looked at one another, concerned and tired. Then Murdock stood up and pulled Face by his arm to his bedroom.
"Murdock, what are you doing?" came the all too familiar complaining voice.
"I'm going to make sure you get a good night's rest."
Face didn't fight it and actually felt better about having someone else in his room. Once inside, Murdock tossed a pair of silk pajamas his way. "Now put these on and get some sleep."
Clad only in the bottoms, Face emerged from the bathroom to find Murdock waiting in a chair across the room. Surprised at his presence, he asked, "Aren't you going to bed?"
"Just as soon as I know you're in bed and sleeping peaceful as a baby."
Face smiled and Murdock felt he'd achieved a small win in this otherwise winless situation. He turned the lights off and watched as Face climbed into bed and tried to get comfortable. After several minutes, he heard Face say, "Murdock?"
Murdock waited for a response but there wasn't one. He thought Face wasn't going to continue, so he encouragingly said, "Do you need something?"
After a moment, Face quietly said, "Yeah... you."
Startled, Murdock froze in his chair. He wasn't quite sure if he had heard correctly, but in the soft light of the room, he could see the dark eyes begging him. He was wishing the room were brighter so he could read his friend's expression better, but since it wasn't, he got up and walked over to the bed. On his way there, he noticed Hannibal and BA standing in the doorway.
Murdock sat on the edge of the bed, not sure of what Face meant, aware of his teammates watching, and deciding it would be best if he let Face set the pace.
Face moved over, indicating for his friend to get in bed with him.
Murdock glanced over at the door and saw them both offering the smallest of approving smiles. He then slipped under the sheets. Face moved slowly as he shifted himself closer. Murdock could feel his stomach flutter and looked to Hannibal, but Hannibal just leaned up against the doorframe and watched, seemingly enjoying the scene. Murdock felt his cock grow hard and was fearful of what his friend would do if he felt it, but Face simply nestled himself against him and it would have been impossible for him not to have felt Murdock's burning desire.
Within minutes of cradling his young friend in his arms, Murdock felt the steady and calm breathing of sleep. Hannibal walked over to them and peered down. They looked so comfortable together and the vision of his men was so pleasing that he simply said, "Nice, Murdock, keep him calm. I'll relieve you in a couple of hours."
The night was long for everyone and especially hard on Face. Murdock had spent most of the time waking him from the nightmares, as did Hannibal. When Hannibal went to relieve Murdock, Face woke up with such a start that he wasn't certain if he would be able to fall back asleep again. But Hannibal crawled into bed and slowly Face moved next to him until he felt Hannibal's strong arms wrap around him.
Face felt more relaxed now than he had been since this ordeal began. There was something about being with his colonel that made everything right. Face went back to sleep and it was Murdock's time to admire his teammates. He stood there until they were both asleep, watching disheveled blond hair rest against silver. Face had a way of bringing out the sexual desires in men, unfortunately, now was not the time to advance with that thought, he told himself. But he silently prayed that the time would come soon when he would be able to relieve his lustful desires for his best friend.
BA took his turn with Face, sliding into the bed and gently taking Hannibal's place: Face never woke. His fair-haired friend's distinct aroma filled his nostrils and he had trouble keeping his thoughts pure. Some other time, some other place, maybe, but not right now, when Face was too vulnerable for his own good. He felt the pangs of movement in his groin and acquiesced to the fact that he was going to be awake the next couple of hours, not just as a result of physical frustration but also from Face's nightmares that Hannibal had already warned him.
Face didn't seem to realize the affect he was having on his teammates. He didn't realize it three years ago and he wasn't realizing it now.
The morning sun brightened the penthouse living room where Hannibal, BA, and Murdock had gathered for breakfast. Even though Face had suffered a bad night of nightmares, they were getting anxious for him to begin his day. He was scheduled to testify at nine and it was already eight and still no sign of him.
"Should I go get him?" Murdock asked.
Hannibal contemplated the question but before he could answer, Face slowly emerged from his bedroom. He was unshaven and only wore the black jams. The anticipation in the room fell like a brick as they realized this could only mean one thing.
BA growled, "Hey man, you hav' ta get ready. It's already past eight!"
Face walked to the bar and poured a shot of whiskey. Hannibal and Murdock looked at each other, concern written across their faces. Hannibal walked over and stopped him from pouring a second glass and walked him over to the sofa where they sat down together.
"What's wrong Face?" he softly asked.
Face blinked slowly, taking a long slow breath before saying, "I don't think I can do it."
Hannibal paused as if he were considering his options. Then asked, "Why not?"
Face was very uncomfortable and fidgeted with his hands. Noticing this nervousness, Hannibal motioned for Murdock to sit down next to Face, which he eagerly did. Murdock reached over and took his hands and held them. Face didn't seem to mind and was thankful for Murdock's and Hannibal's physical closeness.
"I don't WANT to do it. I don't WANT to see his face or feel his eyes on me. I don't WANT to see Decker and the MPs, and I don't WANT to live through it again." Face closed his eyes and tried hard to block the images that kept invading his every thought. "Hannibal, I managed to put this behind me once and it was so damn hard..." Opening his eyes, he looked at his colonel, pleading with his entire body. "Why do I have to do this? Why?" he quietly asked.
Hannibal thought a moment, not really sure what he was going to say. He remembered Father Maghill's final words, ‘I do not want Templeton to relive the pain of 25 years ago. If he can't do it, then that's God's will and so be it.'
"I can't answer that for you, only you can decide if you can do this. As for Decker and Orton, I don't know what to tell you. They'll be there but they won't be allowed to speak to you or get close to you. Amy told us the conditions of the pardon and in addition to having protection, nobody will be anywhere near you."
Face sighed, then added, "I'm not sure if I can answer some of the questions. I honestly don't know how I will respond when I have to talk about it...."
BA could keep quiet no longer. He wasn't angry, but the injustices in the world sometimes got to him. The tone in his voice was forceful and it made them all look up, "Face, we can't tell ya' what to do, but I can tell ya' that if you don't testify, there's a blue eyed, blond hair boy out there that's gonna be hurt, maybe even killed. It might be happenin' right now. And you have the power to stop that. 'Cause only you can tell those people what it was like to live through that Hell!"
The three men stared at the large black man, soaking in the words that were blatantly laid before them. Face knew he was right. He held Murdock's hand tighter and once again pushed down the feelings of trepidation and fear. He got nauseous whenever he thought about the attacks and what those men did to him. He had managed to suppress that period of his life for so long that it almost didn't seem real, but BA was right. And he remembered all to well what it was like to be that small boy, frightened beyond belief, terrified of the pain and torment he was going to suffer. And that boy's only hope is a man being able to testify, to walk into a courtroom and tell everyone what he had been subjected to so many years ago. He didn't realize he had been squeezing Murdock's hand.
Hannibal stared at BA the longest, sensing the hurt he felt for Face and knowing how much courage it took for him to be so blunt. As Face stood up and left the room, he heard Murdock mumble, "You'll be okay Face."
Twenty minutes later, Face re-entered the room, only this time he was clean-shaven and wearing his Military dress uniform. He stopped in front of the television when he heard the news:
//Our Top Story today is the testimony of Lieutenant Templeton Peck in the Child Pornography and Prostitution charge against Father John Reid, alias Father Christian Orton. More on that story from Phil Shelley at the LA County Courthouse. Phil...//
//Thank you, Tom. As you can see, it is a media circus as we anxiously await the arrival of Lieutenant Templeton Peck of the infamous A-Team. As of 12:00 am, Lt. Peck has been granted a 24-hour Presidential Pardon that means he does not carry the fugitive status that he's held for 11 years. We are still unsure whether or not he will show, but our sources indicate that if he doesn't, the case against the catholic priest is weak. This is Phil Shelley, reporting live from the courthouse. Back to you Tom.//
Without uttering a word, Face picked up his keys and left.
Peering out the window and watching him get into his corvette and drive away, Murdock asked, "Colonel, do you think he'll be okay?"
"If he can put this behind him again, he will."
"I wish we could be there with him."
"Yeah, me too."
Keeping the television on most of the day, they watched the arrival of Face to the courthouse. He was poised and calm and used his smile to captivate an already attentive press.
Hannibal was proud of his lieutenant, aside from the obvious display of confidence, he exuded sex appeal like no one he'd ever seen. And even some of the field reporters couldn't help but comment on the very attractive witness.
As the day wore on, Hannibal managed to occupy his time by cleaning his guns, and BA kept busy by creating a small electronic device. For the most part, Murdock was able to occupy his mind but occasionally he lost control and bothered BA. The bickering was like music to Hannibal's ears because it interrupted his thoughts of Face being asked such intensely personal questions. He knew he would provide a compelling account of the sexual abuse, but he hoped the price wouldn't be too high. There were a lot of issues that he needed closure on and, unfortunately, Hannibal wasn't sure what the issues were and if it was even possible to bring closure to them. He had a feeling he knew who could help Face through a lot of it and glanced over at Murdock who was quiet for a change. Then, he glanced at BA who also would be willing to help Face deal with his problems. Face had a way of frustrating them, him too actually, but they never said anything. But this time, it seemed different. Face needed more from them than he's ever needed. Fortunately, he knew no one would object to whatever Face asked.
It was late in the afternoon when he looked at the TV and saw the news flash of the case. He turned up the volume and BA and Murdock came over anxiously awaiting information.
//"Good afternoon and welcome to the Five O'clock news. I'm Larry Campbell. Today's top story surrounds the testimony of Lt. Templeton Peck. Was it enough to convict the Catholic priest? Joining us live from the courthouse is Lynda Sanders."//
//"Thank you, Larry. Prosecutors had hoped that today's testimony by Lt. Templeton Peck would be enough to convict Father John Reid, alias Christian Orton, of running a world wide child pornography and prostitution ring dating back to the 1950s. The 24-hour Presidential pardon granted Lt. Peck was viewed by critics as trying to sensationalize unsubstantiated charges against the Catholic priest. However, as proven by today's testimony, it was well worth the risk. According to sources close to the case, the testimony given was graphic, detailed and particularly heinous. Another source confirmed that there wasn't a dry eye in the courtroom during most of Lt. Peck's testimony and at one point the judge called a short recess for several of the jurors to collect themselves. We are told that the accused glared at the lieutenant but that Lt. Peck avoided eye contact with his childhood abuser. On a final note, we have learned that when Lt. Peck was challenged by the defense attorney and asked how he could remember in such detail that which happened to him over twenty years ago, he quietly replied, 'How could you not remember.' This is Lynda Sanders reporting live from the courthouse. Back to you Larry."//
They should have felt relieved, they should have felt satisfied, maybe even vindicated, they should have felt any number of emotions, but instead, there was a sadness in the air that was laced with guilt. Guilt at not being able to be with their friend during this difficult time.
"Well, he did it," Murdock reflected.
"Yep," agreed BA.
Now they just had to wait and see exactly what he did.
At 11:55pm, the door to the penthouse suite finally opened and in walked Face. He appeared physically drained but managed to put forth a genuine smile and return a bear hug that was generously given by Murdock. Hannibal and BA followed Murdock's lead and gave him a hug accompanied by much verbal praise. Face took off his jacket and slumped down into the overstuffed sofa for some much-needed relaxation.
Hannibal asked lightly, "The trial was over at six o'clock, where have you been?"
Face smiled and said, "At six o'clock this evening, I still had six hours left on my pardon. I wasn't about to waste them." He offered no more explanation and they asked nothing more but Hannibal was pleased that he was able to enjoy a few hours of freedom, something they knew he longed for.
"It looks like your testimony was 'xactly wha' they needed," BA commented.
Murdock added, "Yeah, Orton will probably get convicted and get the book thrown at him. There are a lot of kids out there thanking you." Murdock sat down on the sofa beside him, catching the subtle smell of liquor.
Face didn't look too enthused but he nodded in agreement. Hannibal wanted to ask a lot more questions as did Murdock, but Face looked tired and worn out. As soon as Murdock sat down, Face reached over and placed his hand on Murdock's leg, resting lightly but firmly.
He stayed like that awhile, enjoying the quiet of the room and the feeling of being with his friends. He was relaxed now and felt comfortable knowing that Hannibal, Murdock and BA were still with him. Once during the day the thought of his friends leaving him crept into his head but he quickly dispelled it, he knew they'd be there for him... at least, he prayed they'd be there for him.
He knew he owed them more of an explanation than he was giving. After a long silence he decided he'd try to give them something. He finally whispered, "It was hard, really hard. Trying to answer all their questions, having to speak in detail what so many men did to me..." His voice wavered.
Murdock reflectively pulled Face towards him wrapping his arms around the younger man's shoulders as Face willingly descended into his embrace, an embrace that was warm and meaningful. "Face, you don't have to tell us. It's over now."
Face was so relieved to be held by someone he trusted, someone who knew him for who he was that he wrapped his arms tightly around his friend and nestled into his shoulder, burying his head into the arms so lovingly holding him.
BA watched them on the sofa together and saw something in the embrace that was more than friendship. It was sexual without being explicit; sensual without being feminine. He glanced at Hannibal and knew he saw the same thing; being with the same three guys for so long allowed for emotional interpretation that wasn't always black and white. BA thought the embrace was probably the best thing for Face especially since he could have decided that he wanted to be in the arms of yet another beautiful blond, getting ready for a love making session that Hefner would envy. But, instead, he choose to be here, with his team, being held by Murdock, watched over by Hannibal, and protected by BA. To be in a place where he could be himself and escape from the harsh memories he'd been forced to relive.
Hannibal also admired the two sitting together, holding onto each other, and was grateful for the strong feelings his team held for one another. He thought back to the occasions when he had been exactly where his captain was now, holding his friend after he'd been tortured and abused at the hands of the enemy. How many times can Face bury the pain? How much heartache can Murdock take? The two of them were alike in a lot of ways, both had issues they had to deal with, both had learned to deal with them differently. He watched as Murdock gently stroked Face's hair and reassured him that he didn't have to talk about anything he didn't want to. With a thoughtful look, he knew that Murdock as much as Face needed the reassurance that everything was going to work out. Lifting his eyes up, Hannibal looked over at BA: quiet, strong, and somber. Hurting as much for Face and Murdock as he was, BA showed it the only way he knew how, hiding behind a gruff facade. But the gentle look in his eyes gave way that he too felt a sadness for his friends.
Face didn't talk anymore but he did allow himself to sink further into the arms of Murdock and drift off to sleep. It only lasted a few minutes until he suddenly and unexpectantly jumped, the victim of a flashback he never wanted to relive.
"Face, it's all right," Murdock soothed, trying to hold him closer, but Face untangled himself from his friend and stood up. It took a minute for him to orient himself but then he stepped over Murdock and walked to his bedroom.
"We can't leave him alone, Colonel, he's not going to be able to make it through the night," Murdock hurriedly pointed out.
The nightmares had been fairly steady and there was no reason to believe that he wouldn't have worse ones tonight. Hannibal agreed, "I know. I'll give him a few minutes and then check on him."
After a short period of time, Hannibal walked into Face's bedroom. Sure enough, he was restless and obviously not getting much sleep. "Face?" Hannibal said as he bent down and touched his shoulder.
Face rolled over and looked up at Hannibal, eyes heavy with despair. He wanted to release his emotions but he just didn't seem to have the strength for it. Almost pleadingly, he asked, "Hannibal, will you stay here tonight?"
Without hesitation, he sat down on the edge of the bed. He knew Face wanted to say more so he just sat quietly and waited patiently for him to continue.
After several minutes, Face said, "My mind just won't stop. Every time I turn my head, there's another man, another story to tell, another question, another nightmare.... I'm sorry Hannibal, I just don't think I can do this again." Face rubbed his hand over his tired face and was frustrated with himself for not being able to control his nights like he could control his days.
Responding to the initial question, Hannibal answered, "Yeah, I can stay." He removed his shirt and shoes and laid down next to him. Face moved nearer and rested his hand on Hannibal's side, gently rubbing him and clearly not realizing the effect he was having on his colonel. A few minutes later, he succumbed to much needed slumber.
Hannibal turned over on his side and laid his hand on Face's bare chest, reassured by his steady breathing, and mesmerized by his handsome good looks. Face was the only one on his team who had the power to change the dynamics of it without really changing anything. If he wanted, he could pull all four of them into an evening of unparalleled sexual passion and then walk away from it as if nothing had ever happened. When it almost happened three years ago, he could still recall the sexual frustration that Murdock and BA and he had experienced. But Face managed to make everyone feel okay with it, and when it didn't happen, he somehow managed to make everyone feel okay with that too.
Hannibal shook his head to rid it of these thoughts and caught a glimpse of Murdock and BA standing in the doorway. He couldn't see their expressions but he could see enough to know they were sexually aroused, no doubt remembering the only other time where Face parlayed his sexuality on his teammates. Through his jeans, he too realized that he was aroused. ‘Okay Face, we're ready whenever you are,' he thought.
Amy came bustling into the room, "Hey guys! Have you heard? The jury's almost reached a verdict!"
It had been a week since Face had testified and three days since closing arguments had taken place in the trial of the Catholic priest. Face had pulled back on his sexuality although he still wanted to be close to them and usually sat next to Murdock with his hand resting on his friend's khaki clad leg, but nothing more was initiated. As frustrating as it was to everyone, they never alluded to their feelings, knowing that Face would make his move when, and if, he needed to.
"When are they going to announce it?" Hannibal asked, glancing at his watch and realizing it was too late in the day for anything to happen, but also being aware that verdicts could come anytime.
"Probably tomorrow sometime."
"They only deliberated a couple of days. Is that good news or bad?" Murdock asked.
Amy scrunched up her face and said, "It's hard to tell. Some are saying that it's good news for the prosecution but others are saying it's good news for the defense. I don't know what to think."
"They better convict that sucka," BA growled.
Face had remained silent during the conversation and was hoping Amy would leave. Under any other circumstances, he would have welcomed her, but he was feeling particularly insecure and vulnerable and he just wanted to be around his friends, especially if a verdict was on the verge of being announced. Fortunately, she had to hurry off to the courthouse in case they did convene that night, she didn't want to miss it. Once again, she kissed Face on the cheek, mumbled something and then she was gone.
Murdock watched as Face sat heavily on the sofa and rubbed his brow. "Hey, are you okay?"
"Ah, sure Murdock, I'm fine," he lied.
Hannibal and BA looked at each other, knowing he was lying. Murdock sat down next to him and waited until he reached over to lay his hand on his leg but intercepted it and held it in his own hands. "Face, whatever the verdict, you did the right thing. You did the only thing you could have done."
Face sighed, "I know.... But what if they don't convict him?"
Hannibal interrupted, "Then he'll have to deal with The A-Team."
Face wasn't sure he could go up against his former abuser and it must have shown because BA walked over and sat down next to him. Subconsciously, Face raised his hand to place it on BA's leg but it was intercepted as well, "Hann'bal's right," BA growled. "If he gets off, then he'll deal with me! One way or another, he'll get wha' he deserves!"
Face looked at BA, knowing he'd probably kill Orton, and then looked to Murdock, seeing how difficult this was for him, and then to Hannibal, who was probably already scheming to take Orton and his organization down if there wasn't a conviction. He was so comfortable with them and grateful that they stuck with him through all of this that a sudden and overwhelming feeling of desire came over him and he couldn't control it. He wanted to show his appreciation, be with them in ways he'd only imagined, but he wasn't sure if he would be able to. Many times he'd entertained the idea of engaging in sex with each of them, but his insecurity usually prevented him from taking it to the level that he'd wanted. But when he got into this mood, it was hard for him to control his desires, he decided to throw caution to the wind and act, after all, he'd never been refused before when he sought to raise the level of comfort that he needed. He sweeped the room again, only this time, he presented each one of his friends with a very seductive smile.
Hannibal felt a twinge in his groin; it was happening. Face was raising the stakes, raising the level of sexuality, allowing the comfort to come from deep within. They were ready for it and had been ready for a very long time. The sun was setting and the room was getting darker. Face set the mood and it would be Face who set the pace and decide what, if anything, would happen. Hannibal's instincts were good and they were telling him that his lieutenant needed something, something more than he's ever needed. And sure enough, as he watched, it began.
Face slowly lifted Murdock's hand and softly brushed the back of it against his lips, allowing himself to take in the distinct aroma that surrounded the pilot. Murdock gasped silently as he felt his friend's lips against his skin. Ever so smoothly, Face transitioned from Murdock's hand to BA's hand, allowing his nostrils to fill with the distinct aroma of his other friend. Hannibal was amazed at his lieutenant's ease with what he was doing. He was in complete control, his moves effortless and natural, like he'd been doing this sort of thing with them all his life.
Face's eyes were closed and he was lost in the ecstasy that his friends were providing him; unbeknownst to him, his friends were lost in the ecstasy that he was providing them. But neither BA nor Murdock initiated any movement, knowing that the tide could change rapidly with Face and they didn't want to upset the status quo. Hannibal found it increasingly difficult to remain a bystander, as the throbbing in his groin was becoming unbearable while he watched his team and his mind raced in anticipation of what was to come.
Whether intentional or not, Face kept the pace slow and deliberate and remained very much in control although he probably didn't know it. He released Murdock's hand and reached up and touched the far side of his friend's face, staring deep into those brown eyes and parting his lips ever so slightly.
Murdock leaned in and received the most sensual kiss he could have ever imagined with Face expertly using his tongue to explore his mouth. He no sooner released his lips than he saw Face turn away from him and greet BA's mouth with the same tenderness and sensuality that he'd just received. For a moment, he wasn't sure which was more exciting, being a part of the kiss or watching as his friends kissed.
Very smoothly, Face stood up and pulled gently on his friends to follow. After all three were standing, Face looked straight at Hannibal.
The look on his face was not one that Hannibal was accustomed to seeing in the presence of men, he usually saved it for the ladies. It was Face but it wasn't Face; he had turned on the sexuality to a height that was even difficult for him to achieve. Add to that the darkness in the room, and the atmosphere wasn't like anything he'd ever experienced before. Face stared at him for a minute and then released Murdock's and BA's hands and went over to him, gently taking his hand and guiding him into his bedroom; Murdock and BA followed.
Face stopped next to the bed and turned. He was squarely looking into Hannibal's eyes, which were seductively blue in the dimly lit room. He leaned forward and delivered a mind-melting kiss that sent his colonel into another dimension, wondering how one man could be so incredibly sexual.
Taking in the masculine smell of his lieutenant and feeling the warm tongue merge with his own didn't leave any room for noticing his shirt being expertly unbuttoned and removed. As swiftly as his shirt was dropped, so too were his jeans and before he could think, he felt his friend's warm breath and soft kisses move down his neck, down his chest and stomach and linger near his rock hard cock.
Murdock and BA, who had been observing this beautifully choreographed seduction, were having difficulty containing their own desires. Face was an expert, and this was the first time they'd been allowed to witness his moves. They had waited for this for a very long time and didn't want to do anything that might interrupt the flow, but they also didn't want to feel the confines of their clothes and quietly followed suit and started undressing.
After throwing an approving smile their way, Face watched as his friends disrobed. He sat on the edge of the bed, looking at each one of them, admiring them and relishing in the comfort level that he was finally able to achieve.
They had gone too far for Face to have a change of heart and he was the only one who was still fully clothed. Face had no intention of stopping what he had started, but Murdock and BA didn't know that and he could be temperamental at times. Murdock slid in behind Face with his long legs on each side of him and wrapped his arms around his friend. Face leaned back into his chest and relaxed as he felt Murdock's warm breath against his neck. Before long, he felt his shirt being unbuttoned and pushed back and his nipples being gently caressed. BA had moved in front of him and started removing his jeans, finally allowing his hard cock to find freedom.
Hannibal watched as only a man who loved his men could. Knowing what BA was about to do, he smiled with anticipation at what he was about to witness. Sure enough, Face bucked when he felt BA's hot tongue run down his shaft and Murdock's reaction to that was to hold onto him even tighter. Hannibal wasn't sure if he would be able to control himself as he watched his men. Face looked up and offered Murdock a kiss just seconds before BA engulfed him in his mouth. Face had a difficult time keeping the kiss going while BA moved up and down on him, obviously tasting the salty semen as it seeped onto his tongue, but Murdock didn't allow the kiss to end.
As only Face could do, he managed to free himself from the bonds of his teammates and regain control again.
At first, Murdock thought this was the end, this was as far as he was willing to go. But then he realized that wasn't the case at all, that Face wanted to see some very specific things.
"I want to watch you two together," Face quietly said, referring to BA and Hannibal, and then he reached into the bedside table and handed a tube of lubricant to his friend, establishing exactly who he wanted paired and what he wanted to see. Then he tucked himself tightly against Murdock, wanting his feelings to be good and secure as he watched.
The grin never left Hannibal's face as he leaned over BA and they kissed passionately.
Face was watching intently, allowing Murdock to hold him and caress his already too sensitive chest.
BA turned over and positioned himself on his hands and knees while Hannibal moved in behind him, allowing his hands to feel the muscular butt and lower back.
The soft groan that came from their lieutenant sounded like an objection and caused all three men to look his way.
Face looked unsure of himself.
Hannibal asked, "Are you okay with this?" The three men held their breath, wondering if they had gone as far as their friend was capable of going.
Face hesitated, and then finally mustered the courage to ask, "Hannibal? Have you ever been with another man?"
Understanding what his second in command was asking, he nodded his head and said, "It's been a while, but yeah."
Very softly, Face made his request, "Would you mind changing positions?" Face could feel the air ebb from his lungs and he experienced his first real fear of rejection.
But Hannibal just raised his eyebrows and grinned, thankful that that was all his lieutenant wanted. Winking at Murdock, who also showed relief at the simple request, Hannibal switched places with BA, exchanging a kiss as they did.
Face relaxed back into Murdock's embrace and Murdock allowed his relieved feeling to flow down his arms and into his fingers which danced around his friend's chest.
BA positioned himself on his knees behind his colonel, never allowing the grin to leave his face. He lifted Hannibal's hips high so that his buttocks was even with his own cock. Hannibal pulled a pillow under him, spreading his legs and pushing his hips high off the bed. BA rubbed the lubricant all over his hardened sex, slowly and deliberately giving himself pleasure as he moved through his own slippery hands.
Murdock licked his lips as he watched the black sergeant and his commanding officer get ready to engage. He allowed his own hand to drop down and caress the warm soft hair on Face's lower abdomen but became concerned at the rigidity that seemed to be enveloping him.
BA took the lubricant and covered Hannibal beautiful ass, listening while Hannibal moaned in anticipation. He rubbed his cock against his colonel's cleft until he found his entrance, then he pushed very slightly and applied minimal pressure without penetration, exercising great personal restraint given that he just wanted to thrust deep inside his leader.
BA teased again, slipping only a fraction of the way inside, before pulling out again.
Face tensed and turned his head, the movement being noticed by BA. Murdock held him firmly and kissed his hair but Face was having difficulty. Instead of entering Hannibal, BA stalled by reaching underneath his colonel and fondling his testicles.
Hannibal enjoyed the tease but sensed something was wrong. He
looked over at his second in command and saw the problem. If he had
thought about it, he probably would have guessed that this particular act
would have caused pain for Face to watch. An idea came to him and
he smiled at what he had in mind, secretly thinking that he really liked
the idea of tandem sex, especially when the other recipient was going to
be his lieutenant.
He reached a hand out and touched Face's leg to get his attention. "Why don't you join me?"
Face was confused by the request and swallowed, not really knowing what he meant or even how to respond to it.
Murdock understood and eagerly suggested, "Face, let me love you the way BA is loving Hannibal. You'll feel how great it can be."
For the first time all evening, Face was truly at a loss. "I don't know Murdock..."
Second guessing Face was not something anyone could do successfully but Murdock felt it was worth a try. So he wrestled out from behind Face and kneeled beside BA, encouraging him to move into position. Face didn't move and he looked as though he was suppressing some very strong urges to end what he'd started.
Fearful of that happening, Hannibal reached over and took Face's hand and said, "It's okay Face. Remember that you're with us, people who care about you, and who love you. We're not those men from your past, we're not going to hurt you. You and me, we can do this... together."
Face thought about it a moment and then slowly rolled over, assuming the same position as his colonel but never taking his eyes off him. He really wasn't prepared for this and he wasn't sure how far he could go with it, but Hannibal was going to do it and he had dreamed of being with his friends in this way, so he'd give it a try. He moved close to Hannibal so that their shoulders were touching, he pulled a pillow to his chest and lifted his hips up and, with a slight smile and still looking at his colonel, whispered, "Okay, I'm ready."
BA shot Murdock an approving grin and continued to show great restraint by rubbing his cock against the cleft of Hannibal's ass. Murdock used the lubricant and Face felt the cool wet jell drip down his buttocks, praying his feelings of love for these men would overcome his feelings of anxiety that were currently being suppressed.
"Face," Murdock whispered, leaning over and running his hands down his beautifully bronzed and well toned back, "I'm going to prepare you with my fingers first."
Face didn't respond, he just continued to stare into his colonel's eyes, and Hannibal continued to grip tightly his lieutenant's hand, smiling the same ‘on-the-jazz' smile that Face was so accustomed to seeing. He felt Murdock's fingers penetrate him and for an instant, he couldn't contain his apprehension. He squeezed Hannibal's hand tightly and felt the air leave his lungs. He went to pull away but Hannibal, who was inches away, said, "No, Face! Remember who you're with. You're with us..." and he let his voice trail off as Face eased back into position.
Then he whispered over his shoulder, "BA."
BA knew exactly what to do and Face watched as Hannibal slightly arched his back when BA's fingers penetrated inside of him, the smile never leaving his face, offering assurances of pleasure and satisfaction.
Murdock pushed several fingers inside of him, further, to spread the moisture as far as he could. In doing so, he leaned over and kissed the beautifully bronzed back that lay in front of him
Hannibal smiled at Murdock and after a moment, Face offered his smile, weak as it was because he was still struggling with the memories of his childhood.
BA growled in a lower and more seductive voice, "Colonel, I'm gonna fuck you..."
Hannibal smiled expectantly at what he was about to receive, long overdue and much anticipated. "Well, Sergeant, take your best shot..." and he moaned loudly when BA penetrated his entrance and pushed deep inside him.
Face watched, remembering... But instead of screams, he heard moans; and instead of tears, he saw smiles. His colonel was obviously enjoying it. Recalling what Hannibal had said, ‘Remember who you're with...', he glanced over his shoulder and smiled.
Murdock smiled back. "Are you ready to join Hannibal?" he whispered as he leaned forward hoping that the lieutenant would find comfort in being next to his colonel and being loved by his best friend.
Face didn't immediately answer, he was honestly afraid, but didn't want to show it. He squeezed Hannibal's hand so that he could look into his eyes, see if he was feeling pain or ecstasy. When Hannibal opened them, he saw what he'd hoped he would see. "Yeah, Murdock, I'm ready."
BA managed to smile when he heard Face's response, and felt himself getting harder as he slowly pumped in and out of his colonel's well toned ass. He watched as Murdock spread the lubricant again and then positioned the tip of his cock to enter into Face's beautifully shaped ass.
Hannibal never broke eye contact and knew immediately when Murdock had engaged him. Still holding eye contact, he whispered to Face, "Relax. In a few minutes, when he finds your spot, you'll be able to feel how good it feels." And then he leaned forward and kissed him. A strong kiss that was intended to give Face the strength to enjoy the love being offered. And it seemed to work. When he pulled back, Face was showing signs of contentment.
"Oh Face...you're so hot," Murdock said, receiving maximum pleasure from being sheathed within the man he could honestly say he loved.
Murdock and BA kept up a slow but steady pace, each maneuvering ever so slightly to find that one spot that turns the experience into a thrilling one. BA found Hannibal's first and when he did, Hannibal squeezed his eyes closed and released a loud moan. Shortly thereafter, Murdock found Face's and he bucked at the sudden sensation that coursed through his body.
With their bodies displaying the initial sheen of sweat, BA and Murdock worked into a slow, gentle rhythm, offering as much pleasure to their partners as possible. And Face and Hannibal pleasured themselves by keeping the same pace as their partners. As their speed picked up, so too did the moans. BA and Murdock, shoulder to shoulder, pumping, faster and faster, in tandem until the cries of pleasure were drowning out the slapping of the rapid movement. Four bodies, in the throes of sexual pleasure, glistening in sweat, ready to explode at the same time could only be accomplished by transcendental friendship.
And then they came, together, moaning and whimpering, and bucking and pulsating until the last drop of semen was spilled from each man. Only the heavy breathing lingered in the air for several minutes.
Murdock was the first to pull out and he rolled onto the outside of the bed with his arms caressing his lover's back. BA pulled out of Hannibal and laid down, propping his head up on his elbow; and Face and Hannibal lay in the middle facing each other.
"You all right kid?" Hannibal whispered, out of breath and reeling from the ecstasy he'd just experienced.
Face nodded and then added with a definite tone of contentment, "Yeah. Feeling better than I've felt in years." He paused, as if he wanted to say more, but then stopped.
The moon filled the room with soft light and it was very easy to see everyone. Each was lost in their own minds, not feeling it necessary to speak. Murdock, however, was full of questions and after fifteen minutes had passed in silence, he finally asked, "Why didn't you tell us about your childhood?" Then, as an afterthought, he added, "Have you ever told anybody?"
Considering the question for a moment, Face answered, "No, I've never told anybody. I forced myself to forget about it. Not until the testimony did I ever mention it to anyone. Imagine holding something like that in for so long and the first time you speak of it is in front of a room full of strangers," he gave a strangled laugh as he remembered Decker's expression. "The sad thing about it is I didn't tell them half of what happened. I only answered their questions, and when they wanted to know if I had anything to add, I couldn't bring myself to tell them the rest of it. Hell, at that point, we'd already taken two breaks so the jury could compose themselves." He paused, then added introspectively, "Orton knew though, that bastard knew. He just stared at me, just like he used to..."
They lay still, frozen in their places, listening to Face's words.
Murdock asked, "Do you remember that doctor who treated you?"
"You mean Dr. Peck?"
"Yeah I remember him. He was really nice to me, but I couldn't accept his kindness, I didn't know how to accept it. He looked just like the men who had..." he stumbled, not wanting to say the word. Finally he deliberately said, "who had...raped me." He swallowed, lost in thought, and then added, "I remember when he gave me his name. They had no record on me and so they had no name for me, and I wouldn't tell him what Orton called me, so he asked if I would mind if he called me Templeton. He said that was his name and he'd be honored if I allowed him to call me that. Before I knew it, my name was Templeton A. Peck." Face smiled at the thought, obviously enjoying one of the few good memories he had. "A part of me had died during that time, so why not the name too. Maybe I could start new, with a new life, a new home and a new name. I did get a new life, but those memories haunted me and it took a long time to accept my good fortune with Father Maghill.
"Father Maghill said a lot of folks wanted to adopt you," BA commented.
"Yeah I know, and I always wanted a family, but I just couldn't do it," he grimaced slightly at the non-sense he was talking. "I mean, I wasn't easy to control to begin with and I knew that I wouldn't be able to trust any of the fathers, who looked just like those other men. I know it doesn't make sense, but to a nine-year-old, not much of my life had ever made sense. Most of it just hurt, and I didn't want to hurt anymore."
Hannibal quietly asked, "You don't hurt now, do you?"
"No," he said, sending an alluring smile towards his colonel, "I don't hurt now."
Hannibal ran his finger down Face's neck and chest and brushed his nipple, achieving the desired result: Face closed his eyes and moaned softly. Murdock leaned over and brushed his lips against Face's neck, nuzzling his friend.
Satisfied and relaxed, BA enjoyed watching this and commented, "Face, how you ever managed to get us together in this way is a mystery. But I gotta tell ya, I like it."
Hannibal's groin started to build and he wanted more than anything to love his lieutenant, but would he be up to it again so soon after Murdock?
He threw caution to the wind and asked, "Face?"
He paused and then whispered, "I want to love you. Will you let me?"
Face looked at his colonel, only a hint of concern showing.
Speaking metaphorically, Hannibal added, "If you'll allow us, the three of can take you up that mountain and keep you there awhile."
There was nothing in this world that Face wanted more than to have Hannibal make love to him. He stared at him, barely able to control his emotions and wanting to shout ‘yes' so that Hannibal knew just how much he wanted this. Ever since Viet Nam, Face had wanted a physical relationship with him. All of his other commanding officers tried to seduce him, but not Colonel John Smith, he was the first one who didn't and that's probably what made him so desirable, but that's also what prevented Face from acting on his desires. Had he thought it was remotely possible, he'd never have pulled back on his seductiveness over the years. He'd just figured that if Hannibal wanted him, he'd tell him.
Anxiously, they waited for Face to respond. All apprehension seemed to disappear when Face said, "Yes, I'd like that more than you'll know."
Murdock's stomach fluttered, BA gave a deep sensual growl and Hannibal allowed his grin to grow into a full-fledged smile.
Hannibal shifted positions and so did Face but Hannibal stopped him, saying, "No, a new position." When he was finished, Face was on his back with a pillow under his lower back, hips elevated, legs apart and knees brought up to his chest with Hannibal kneeling between his legs. BA and Murdock were on either side of him, gently holding his legs apart. Hannibal couldn't help but admire the body lying before him, "God, Face, looking at you right now is doing things to my body that no woman has ever been able to do. Anybody ever tell you that before?"
"Colonel, I can assure you that no man has ever said that to me."
"So... we are your first same-sex experience?"
"My first consensual same-sex experience," Face corrected.
Even though his words had the potential for destroying the mood, Face delivered them in such a way as to keep the atmosphere electrified. BA could not hold back anymore and gently pushed Face's leg down and licked his lips at the sight of his already hardened sex. ‘Gentle' really wasn't BA's way, and soon Face thrust his hips up at the sudden sensation of a hot mouth engulfing his shaft.
Having stared too long at Face's mouth, Murdock decided it was time to claim it. Face eagerly accepted it, thinking it was so nice to be feeling a strong, masculine mouth that matched his own.
Hannibal beamed with pleasure as he witnessed this erotica. Face's beautiful entrance was still moist from their earlier session, but he thought it best if he used the lubricant again. With Face being completely occupied, he could take his time and enjoy getting his partner very moist. He gingerly used his fingers to push the jelly inside and only detected a very slight movement from his partner. It was getting difficult to control himself as his fingers felt the hot, smooth walls now waiting to encase his own burning cock. Slipping his fingers out, he lubricated himself and put the tip of his cock on Face, a sight he had only ever dreamed of.
Murdock had changed places with BA and was now sucking Face's throbbing cock while BA was tweaking and licking one of his nipples.
BA felt the change and whispered, " Remember who you're with. He's showin' you how much he loves you." And it was the truth. BA had long known about Hannibal's feelings for Face, for that matter, Murdock's too. Even he had strong feelings for his fair-haired friend and was thankful he was finally able to act on them. He resumed his pleasure on Face's other nipple.
Hannibal pushed again, this time finding the sensation of being sheathed inside his long time friend more exhilarating than he had ever imagined. He gained speed slowly, working up to the same thrusting as Murdock was already enjoying. His mind was in no hurry but his cock was burning with desire. He pumped and pushed until he knew he'd found that one erogenous zone that would take Face to new heights.
Face was experiencing a sexual overload: BA tweaking his nipples, Murdock sucking his cock, and Hannibal fucking his ass. His mind wasn't functioning; he was simply reacting to the physical pleasures he was feeling. He felt more comfortable in the company of these three men than he did with most of the women he'd ever been with. If he could have thought straight, he might have decided he never wanted this moment to end; but he couldn't think.
When he could take it no longer, Face cried out, "Hannibal!" and thrust forward seeking out the furthest depths of Murdock's mouth and depositing all his cream down his friend's throat. Hannibal climaxed just seconds later, exploding deep inside him, trying to give him as much pleasure as he was receiving. They bucked together until the last spasm of cum had left their bodies.
Feeling overcome with a desire to taste Face, BA kissed Murdock and sucked some of the cream from his lips and then licked Face's still engorged cock of any remaining or seeping cream, sending quivering ripples up Face's stomach. Murdock moved up and kissed Face, sharing the remains of the white cream that filled his mouth with its giver.
Time seemed to stand still for everyone. That was definitely the most erotic sex any of them had ever had.
"Oh, Jesus, Hannibal..." Face moaned.
"You liked that?"
"Oh, God, I never knew it could be like this."
Murdock said, "That's because you've never been with anyone who truly loves you."
Regrettably, Hannibal slipped out of Face, and BA and Murdock let his legs straighten out. After a few moments, the bed was straightened and they were laying down, admiring their young friend and very pleased with themselves for being able to offer him what no man has been able to do, and proud of him for being able to take it.
The three of them, Hannibal, Murdock and BA, could have made the night last forever, trying new positions, feeling new sensations, and offering the highest level of comfort to the sexiest member of their team, but Hannibal knew by looking at him that the evening was over. Face didn't want any more and quite possibly couldn't take any more. Further, Hannibal knew that he didn't feel the need to make love to any of them, at least not yet. In due time, he felt his lieutenant would be taking each of them and he knew he'd be looking forward to it. Until then, he realized Face got what he needed, true love as opposed to forced sex. Hannibal could only hope that Face would continue to elevate the sexuality among the team. It didn't take long before they heard the contented, rhythmic breathing of him sleeping, leaving his teammates to conclude the rest of the night.
Face entered the room more upbeat than they had seen him since this ordeal began. He was immaculately dressed and radiated. Before he had a chance to speak, the door flew open and in ran Amy.
"Have you heard! The jury convened early this morning and found him guilty on all counts!"
Murdock gave Face a big hug as did the others and for the first time, they felt they had their old Face back. Even Amy noticed it.
"My goodness, Face, you really look good. There's something different about you... I guess a good night's sleep is all you needed," she commented.
"Just being with my friends was all I needed," he replied, never hesitating or giving anything away.
Hannibal loved this aspect of his lieutenant. He could take them up to the highest mountain and back down again, effortlessly. And he did look good, very relaxed and confident. In fact, there was something all too familiar about his demeanor and he just had to ask, "Are you going somewhere, Lieutenant?"
"As a matter of fact, Colonel, I have a lunch date."
"A what!" Murdock exclaimed, incredulous at his friend's gear shifting ability since he'd laid awake most of the night reliving his newly acquired memories.
"A date. You know, ‘Guy asks girl out and girl accepts?" A date."
"With who!" BA croaked.
"Lynda Sanders. She's the television reporter who covered the story. After I testified, I asked her out to the first meal that occurred after the jury reached a verdict, and that would be lunch," he said after checking his watch. He determined he'd have enough time to drop Murdock off at the VA and meet her at the restaurant. "Let's go Murdock, I'll drop you off."
"Face, no need to drop him off since we have to be meeting with Mr. Clarkson today. You do remember we have a case to do, don't you?" Hannibal said, patronizing his playboy lieutenant.
"Oh sure I do, Colonel. I'll be back in plenty of time to make the meeting," he said while following Amy to the door. He let Amy out first and then turned, standing in the doorway. He looked back into the room at the most important people in his life. The mood quickly changed and he became serious. He looked at each one of them, holding eye contact a little longer than usual, feeling grateful for having such friends, and turning up the sexuality once again, he simply said, "Thanks."
Hannibal acknowledged the comment with a very slight waive of his cigar, and BA and Murdock each returned a nod. Then, as if Face had read their minds, he added, "We'll do it again sometime... sometime real soon." With a final smile and a nod, he shut the door behind him.
The three remained silent for a while, lost in the memories of the previous night. There was so much more to explore, to learn about, to experiment with, but Face was the one who worked on his own terms, and they understood that. They would bide their time until he was ready again, hoping it would be soon as Face had said it would be. But they knew they couldn't keep him from his women, they just hoped they could offer him a heightened sexual experience that no woman, or women, could match. After all, no one could love him like they could, and he still had to experience the sensation of loving one of them. After several minutes of contemplating the future, Hannibal thought back over the many years he'd known these men and smiled to himself, thinking, ‘I love it when a plan comes together.'
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