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Invisible Demons 1-4

Invisible Demons
by  Shyler


Rating:  R

Warning:  Adult subject matter, strong language (one 'f' word so far but who's counting?), violence.

Archive:  Yes please

Summary:  This is the sequal to "To See A Butterfly"... An invisible enemy from Murdock's past re-enters his life to torment him.

Note:  You don't have to read TSAB to follow this story. *Character's thoughts*  <Vister's words>

Part 1/?

**********

H.M. Murdock was laying on his bed in the Veterans Administration Psychiatric Hospital reading his newest Captain Crimestopper comic (aloud) when his phone began to ring.  Picking up the receiver, he never missed a beat on his reading.

"Captain Crimestopper heroically wrested the bottle of nitroglycerin away from the evil Dr. Baddus and..."

"Murdock?"  Face's voice had just enough confusion in it to catch the pilot's attention.

"Oh hiya Faceman... if you're calling about Snuffy, he's fine.  Doc checked him out yesterday and gave him some antibiotics to fight the infection."  Murdock tossed his comic back on the table beside his bed and listened to his best friend.

"Ah that's great Murdock, we were worried...  wait a minute... Murdock who's Snuffy?"

"Aw come on Face!  Snuffy!  You know-- my mouse!!  Remember he's the one that took a bullet for me on our last gig?!"  Murdock started petting Billy who jumped up beside him wagging his tail.

"Oh yeah... right.  I'm sorry, must have slipped my mind.  How in the world could I have forgotten about your six foot tall invisible mouse friend who stopped the bullet that would have killed you had you not been wearing the bullet proof vest that Hannibal made you put on."

"I don't know Face, but don't worry... I won't tell Snuffy you forgot as long as you send him a big plate of cheese as a get well soon present, okay?"

Face sighed.  "Sure Murdock... look, I'm coming in an hour to bust you out for our camping trip.  Do you have all your stuff together?"

"Sure do Muchacho, right down to the last jelly bean."

"Jelly beans??"

"Well how do you think we're gonna catch fish?!  Would you get on a hook if there was a big slimy worm dangling off of it?"  Murdock was flabbergasted.

"Okay Murdock, whatever you say.  Look, try to dodge security and meet me at the front gate in one hour exactly.  It's getting harder and harder to fool these people because we've had so many jobs lately."

"Gotcha good buddy, this is H.M. Murdock signing out."  He hung up the phone and grabbed his bags from under his bed, all the while scratching his imaginary dog behind the ears.  "C'mon Billy, let's go see how Snuffy is before we high tail it out of here."  He reached down to put the leash on Billy before sneaking out of his room. *****

"B.A., pull over here.  Just in case Murdock did make it past the orderlies I don't want to draw suspicion with the van."  Face, Hannibal, and B.A. jumped out of the van as soon as it stopped off the road in a secluded wooded area a quarter of a mile from the hospital.

Hannibal bit off the end of his cigar before putting it in his mouth. "So what's the plan Face?  You've already used every psychiatric field known to man to bust Murdock out."

"Aw c'mon Hannibal... you know I have to wait until I'm there for the idea to strike.  All I need is a white coat..."  Face was interrupted as a white blur was quickly approaching the guys.  They soon recognized the blur to be Murdock in a straitjacket as he jumped in the van.

"Hurry up guys... I think I lost them in the gardens but I don't want to take any chances!"  The out of breath pilot nearly tripped trying to make it back to his seat.

Hannibal smiled as B.A. quickly turned the van around and peeled out onto the highway.  "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Face looked up at the colonel as Murdock struggled to get out of the jacket beside him.  "What plan?!"

Hannibal smirked and prepared himself for the long drive into the mountains as Face unbuckled Murdock from the jacket.

"Hey Foo'!  Where's your bag?!"

"Ahhh... I guess Godzilla the orderly took it when he put me in the straitjacket.  Luckily he was too busy flirting with Sarah, Dr. Goldstein's new assistant, to notice me backtracking toward the elevator.   B.A. stop at the next convenience store will ya?"

"Aw man, why can't ya pee on the side of the road like other guys? We're already behind."

"First of all, I went to the little pilot's room before I left the looney bin.  Secondly, I need to pick up some more jelly beans for bait."  Murdock stretched the kinks out of his back and ignored B.A.'s answering growl.

Hannibal just smiled and lit another cigar.  "Rest up boys... it's gonna be a long week."

*****

"I ain't gonna tell you again fool, if you don't sit down and shut up I'm gonna ram that comic book down your crazy throat!!"  Murdock, sensing the big guy might actually be serious, ceased his dramatic reading of the many adventures of Captain Crimebuster.  Looking around him, he took notice of Face's grim expression.  And though he couldn't see Hannibal's face from his seat, the fact that the mild-mannered colonel allowed B.A. to threaten bodily harm to the pilot proved what Murdock had feared-- he'd once again alienated his teammates with his insanity.

*Okay, they need quiet time... I can do that.*

<Yeah right... like the king of crazy can suddenly grow up and act like an adult>

Murdock looked behind him to see which invisible friend the voice belonged to.  A cold chill traveled the length of his spine when he was faced with a ghost from his past.  Sitting on the ammunition locker, dressed in army fatigues was Mr. Vister.  Murdock hadn't seen him since his father left three days before HM's twelfth birthday.  In fact, he was the reason for his dad's sudden departure.  Roger Murdock had grown tired of explaining to the police that his son was not being abused­ that all the injuries the boy had sustained throughout his life were due to clumsiness on his son's part.

Suddenly, without warning, a long repressed memory assaulted the pilot.

~~~~ <Let's play a game, HM>

Ten-year-old HM Murdock tried his best to ignore the one voice that had been his constant companion since his Mom's funeral.  Instead he focused on his homework

The child had no real friends.  All his imaginary ones never failed to scare them away.  Especially the one who was tormenting him now. Vister the Twisted was odd in that he seemed to both hate HM and be extremely jealous if anyone else grabbed his attention.  Including his father. The one thing he'd learned very early was to never make Vister angry, and he had the scars to back that lesson.  So the boy mainly kept to himself, never really allowing anyone to get close to him.

He was deeply engrossed in his math problems when his stack of books hit the floor and startled him into awareness.

<I SAID, let's play a game!>

HM looked back at his door, making sure his father wasn't going to come check on him.  "No, I've got to finish my math!"

<Fine> Vister promptly disappeared from Murdock's view.

Hoping the matter was truly resolved, HM picked his books off of the floor and went back to his studies.  As he reached for his pencil, a grotesque redness caught his eye.  His hands were covered in blood. The boy stood up so suddenly from the shock that his chair clattered to the floor.  Looking down at himself, he realized his entire body was drenched in red.

His father called him from downstairs, probably telling him to quit making so much noise, but HM could only focus on the blood.  It was dripping from his arms, staining his books, papers, and floor.  He stumbled backwards, looking for a towel to clean himself off. *It's not real.* He closed his eyes and tried to make himself believe it. *It's just Vister messing with your head.*

When he opened his eyes and saw the blood was still flowing, he ran to his closet and shut himself in.  It took hours before he stopped crying and gathered the courage to open his closet door.  It was gone. Everything was clean with no traces that he'd even had so much as a paper cut.  Vister won the game. ~~~~~

And so went his childhood until he was twelve.  HM ran a trembling hand through his hair and looked back at the apparition. Unfortunately Vister was still there.  *I'm not ready for this, oh God please make him go away!  What are you doing here?*

His answer was an evil grin. <Whatsa matter?  Didn't you miss me, HM?>

"Murdock, will you quit humming? As much as I love ‘My Hero's Have Always Been Cowboys', I'm trying to catch the last refrain of ‘Ode to Joy' before we get out of range."  Face indicated to his walkman.

*I'm not humming­ was I humming?  I don't remember humming.* Murdock nodded his head and turned to face the back of B.A.'s seat.  He randomly selected one of his comic books and opened it.  He stared at a page without really seeing it.  He didn't even speak or dare to glance behind him.

Subconsciously he knew Vister was gone but he also knew he'd be back soon to make his life a living hell.

*****

Face woke up from his nap when Hannibal told B.A. where to turn.  It was getting dark and they'd have to hit a motel soon.  He looked over to Murdock with a puzzled frown.  The man had been way too quiet since he was caught humming over three hours ago.  The pilot still had his comic opened to the same page and was slightly rocking. *In pain?!  No, fear. Murdock was afraid!*

He put his hand on his friend's shoulder only to have him jump a mile in the air. *He's not afraid, Murdock's fucking terrified!!*

"Murdock, it's okay... it's just me.  What's the matter?" *****

Murdock shook his head and began gasping for breath.  How in the world could he tell his best friend there was a dead man hanging from a rope in front of him.  Has been for the past two hours.  He didn't notice B.A. pulling off the road, nor Hannibal's and Face's continued reassurances;  all he could focus on was the smell of rotting flesh from a corpse that he knew was only in his mind.

Somewhere in all the commotion he heard the word ‘hyperventilating' right before a brown paper bag covered his nose and mouth.  He felt big, strong arms gently pull him to a sitting position at the edge of the open side door of the van and force his head down right before everything went black. *****

When HM woke up, he was laying on a hotel bed.  He was wondering how long he'd been out when cool moisture touched his face.  His eyes snapped open and he tried to jump up but Face grabbed hold of his arms.

"Easy, Murdock.  It's just me­ calm down."  Face folded the damp washcloth and lay it on the pilot's forehead.  "Are you okay?"

"Yeah... I-- I think so."  He slowly sat up, ignoring the sharp pains in his back and neck.  "Where's the others?"

"In the next room.  Hannibal thought it would be better if you didn't feel crowded when you woke up so I scammed us two rooms.  You want me to get them?"

"No."  Face filled a cup with ice and water before handing it to his friend.  After five minutes of silence, Murdock decided to tell the con man what he was dying to know.  "I saw a dead body in the van."

Face sat down next to the pilot and draped an arm across his shoulders, encouraging him to talk.  "It just appeared while we were going down the road.  I... It was so real.  I could smell it, Face!"

"It's okay, Murdock."

"It wouldn't go away... It was there for two hours and I tried to make it go away but my mind wouldn't let me... and..."

Face interrupted Murdock's anxiety attack by placing his hands on either side of the pilot's head.  "I want you to listen to me, Murdock. You're okay.  You're safe here.  I'm not going to let anything happen to you, okay?  Okay?"  He waited for a shaky nod before continuing.  "It was just a flashback.  There wasn't any dead man in the van, you were just seeing things."

Murdock took deep, calming breaths while he got his thoughts in order. Maybe Face was right, but if it were true then it was a flashback to the horrors of his childhood and not the hot muggy jungles of Vietnam.  Any other alternative besides a repressed memory was far too scary to even think about.

The adjoining room door clicked open before a large black head poked through.  Upon seeing Murdock awake, B.A. cautiously stepped in the room followed by Hannibal.  "You okay, fool?"

HM was starting to feel semi-normal again with his family surrounding him.  "I'm fine, big guy but does one really have to pass out before you agree to stop at a hotel?"

He smiled at B.A.'s good-natured growl and got up to use the bathroom.

When he returned, Hannibal clapped his hands together.  "Let's all get some rest boys.  We still have an hour's drive and a long hike ahead of us.  Set your clocks for 0400 hours."  The colonel grinned at the answering groans before he and B.A. left the room.

After Face turned off the lights and climbed into bed next to him, Murdock thought about the days events.  He prayed that he hadn't really seen Mr. Vister­ that it had all been in his head. *We have been on a lot of jobs lately... maybe I'm under too much stress and it's causing me to have flashbacks.*

Just as he was beginning to believe the rationalizations, he saw something move out of the corner of his eye.   He turned and about had a heart attack when, through the soft glare of the bathroom light, he saw the words ‘Let's play a game, HM' written across the vanity mirror in blood.

Part 2/?

**********

After a few hours of tossing and turning, Murdock finally drifted off to sleep.  His next sensation was of someone nudging him awake.  He looked up at the cheery lieutenant who had already showered and dressed and then over to the clock.  "Face, it's 0357... I still have three minutes!"  He pulled the covers back over his head.

"Rise and shine sleepyhead.  I left you some hot water and got your extra set of clothes and toothbrush you keep in the van for emergencies.  We can pick you up some other stuff on the way to camp." Face just wouldn't take a hint.

Murdock threw the covers to the side and padded off to the bathroom. The message left for him the previous night was gone, making the captain wonder at the depth of his insanity.  Ever since Uncle Sam decided that he needed to be locked up in a mental hospital after Vietnam, Murdock treated it all as one big joke.  Sure he had problems... name one Vietnam vet who had played tag with Charlie on a day to day basis that wasn't a little off.  However, he'd been ‘different' ever since he was five and no one thought he needed to be hospitalized then.  But now?

*What's so fucking unusual now anyway?  So I see things that aren't there... hear voices that no one else can.  It's not like the VA is helping me... after all these damn years I'm still ‘special'.*

Murdock was tired of being special.  He wanted to be normal for a change... to wake up and hear ‘real' voices.  He thought about how sad he would be if Billy and Thunder left him as he stepped under the stream of water.  Besides the guys, the invisible creatures were his best friends in the world.  Maybe normal wasn't the answer.

After cleaning himself, Murdock grabbed the disposable razor Face had left for him and some shaving gel.  He picked up Peck's small mirror from the side of the tub and brought it up to his face.  Instead of his reflection, Vister stared back at him with red glowing eyes.  Startled, Murdock dropped the mirror and fell against the back wall.

The glass shattered into a hundred little pieces but a glowing eye was clearly visible on one of the shards.  Murdock put his head in his hands and sighed wearily.  Someone knocking on the door brought him out of his daze.

"Murdock, are you okay?  Did you fall?"  Face's voice helped him get his nerves back in order.  At least the pilot had the strength of his brothers to lean on while he was afraid.  Not for the first time, Murdock wondered what the three guys saw in him.

He answered his friend's worried inquiry with a subdued ‘I'm fine' and proceeded to clean up the mess.  It was going to be a long vacation.

*****

"What happened in there?"  Face handed Murdock a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit from McDonalds as soon as he emerged from the bathroom.

Murdock shrugged his shoulders.  "I dropped your shaving mirror.  My fingers were soapy and it slipped.  I'm sorry."  Although the team knew sketchy details about Vister, Murdock chose to keep his unscheduled return a secret.  There was no use in worrying everyone.  They would probably pity him and look into having him locked in a private padded cell anyway.

Face smiled.  "No problem, I'll pick up another one later.  We still have to stop in...  What?"  The con man followed Murdock's gaze to the corner of the room behind him.  "Oh my god!"

HM perked up.  "You... you see it too?"

Face responded by walking over to the small table and picking up his pajamas.  "I can't believe I almost left these behind... they're silk! Do I see what?"

The pilot sighed and tore his gaze away from the five-foot black widow spider making it's way up the wall.  He nervously smiled at his friend. "Oh nothing.  I just thought someone spilled an entire bottle of Pepto-Bismal on the table."

"Oh ha ha, very funny.  I'll have you know that these are a big hit with the ladies!"  The adjoining room door clicked open followed by Hannibal's amused voice.

"That's only because they want some for themselves Face.  Now get your gear and come on before the train leaves without you."  The colonel stuck his head back in.  "Oh, and let me warn you... B.A. hasn't had his milk yet so be careful."

Face and Murdock looked at each other and groaned.  As they headed for the door Murdock took one last look at the arachnid perched in the far corner of the room.  Anger and hatred filled the pilot like never before.  That son of a bitch was going down one way or another.  With a smirk and a fiendish gleam in his eye, he tipped his baseball cap to the spider and left. *****

"Captain's log, forest date 867-5309: The fearless foursome known as the A-Team began their trek into the woods at too early hundred hours and set out for destinations unknown.  With each man carrying a  pack weighing more than the entire team put together..."

"Shut up fool!!  This ain't no Star Trek episode, and you ain't Captain Kirk!"  B.A. paused long enough to give Murdock a mean look before turning back to the trail before them.

"Not STAR Trek, B.A.­ FOREST Trek and I am a captain... I never said my name was Kirk!"  The crazy man immediately sidestepped B.A. who must have decided to shut him up manually.  Murdock smiled and jumped behind Face for protection.

The handsome con artist seemed to be more discouraged with their hike. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this, Hannibal!  Damn these packs are heavy!  How much farther is it anyway?"

Hannibal, who'd been silently leading the weary group deep into the mountains for hours, stopped so suddenly that B.A. nearly collided with him.  Unfortunately, Face and Murdock were only focusing on their aching backs and hadn't noticed.  Peck ran into B.A., who stood strong until Murdock tripped over a fallen branch and sent all three men to the ground.

Hannibal grinned at the sight as he lit a cigar.  The gear the men were carrying made his troops resemble three turtles stuck on their backs... one of which looked ready to kill something, namely the tall lanky turtle on the end.  He reached to help Face up and slapped him on the arm.  "We'll camp here tonight."

Murdock grinned and reached his hand out to B.A.  "Help me up big guy so we can break out the S'mores."

B.A. was about to snarl something when he noticed a cut on the side of his friend's face.  "What happened to your face, Crazy Man?"

After being hauled off the ground by the suddenly concerned mudsucker, HM dusted off his pants.  "Um, I had a disagreement with a tree branch back there.  It said I couldn't go forward, I thought differently and it slapped me in the face."

B.A. rolled his eyes.  He walked away muttering something about asking a crazy fool a question.  Once alone on the path, the grin left the pilot's face.  He reached up to touch the small wound which had long since stopped bleeding.  He had thought it was another one of Vister's games until B.A. said something about it.  Sighing, Murdock realized he was having more trouble than usual in determining reality from fiction.

The way things were going it was only a matter of time before he lost himself completely in a world of illusions.

*****

Part 3/?

*****

..."Who's got my bloody arm?"  Murdock was about to continue with his story when he noticed Face try to suppress a yawn.  "Aww, c'mon guys­ this is a classic."

The bored lieutenant pulled his marshmallow from the fire and blew on it to cool it off.  "Murdock, that has to be the oldest campfire ghost story on the face of the Earth."

"The oldest and the lamest, fool!"  B.A. poked at the fire with a long stick then turned to their leader.  "We hiking again in the morning, Hannibal?"

The gray-haired colonel looked up from the map he'd been studying for the past twenty minutes.  "You bet, B.A.  If we start out going east at Dead Man's Curve, then switch to north by northwest at Black Widow Ridge, we should be roasting our weenies at the base of Suicide Falls by sundown tomorrow."  Hannibal ignored the team's stunned faces as he took a bite out of his S'more.  "Mmmm, thi' is goo', Mu'dock."

Face's marshmallow fell off the stick to land unnoticed in a gooey mess near the fire.  "Hannibal are you serious?!  Dead Man's Curve, Black Widow Ridge, SUICIDE Falls?!"  The con-man looked to the other two men for backup.  Luckily, B.A. shared his views.

"Faceman's right, Hannibal!  That don't sound like no vacation­ it sounds dangerous to me!"  The tough looking sergeant crossed his arms and waited for the colonel's response.

Hannibal grinned at his men.  "Boys, boys...  I'm surprised at you! Here I am planning out our entire vacation so we won't have to worry about Decker being on our tails and what thanks do I get?  Now these are just names!  Would I lead you somewhere dangerous?"

Murdock, Face, and B.A. immediately opened their mouths to answer in the affirmative when Hannibal cut them off.

"I meant would I lead you into danger without a good reason?"

As the fire crackled beside them, casting an eerie glow to their faces, the three men instantly shook their heads ‘no'.  Hannibal would never risk their lives without a very good reason.  There have been too many times each of them has had to count on Hannibal's plans to get them out of a tight spot.  In fact, it wouldn't be too far fetched to say that the older man has spent much more time pulling them out of danger than leading them to it.

Hannibal looked up with a smile.  "So, are we agreed to the destination?"

Face looked down at his fallen marshmallow with distaste before pushing it into the fire.  "Sure, sounds like our kind of place anyway."  He smirked.  "We should feel right at home."

B.A.'s frown softened a bit.  "Yeah man.  I guess you're right.  They are just names."

"Murdock?"  The three men looked at the pilot who suddenly appeared to be uneasy.  He finally raised his head to meet their confused gazes.

"Sounds like a scream, Colonel."

<You don't know how right you are, HM>

As Hannibal began rattling off coordinates and other facets of the plan he was working on, Murdock turned toward the evil apparition sitting next to him on the log. *Why the fuck won't you leave me alone, Vister?*

<Tsk, tsk.  Watch your language BOY.  I'm not as nice as I used to be.>

The captain just shook his head and stared at his demonic companion. He wondered about the army fatigues Vister donned.  He didn't remember the man ever wearing camouflage.  But here he was, roasting a hot dog in the fire and looking like G.I. Joe.  Before Murdock could make a smart assed comment, the ghost pulled his stick from the fire.  Murdock turned green as Vister bit down on the severed human finger stuck to the end then offered some to him.

Murdock put his hand over his mouth and closed his eyes. *Don't throw up, it's not real.... it's only in your mind... it's not real.*

<What's the matter, HM?  You're not hungry?  That's odd... your friends seem to be enjoying theirs...>

The pilot's eyes snapped open just in time to see B.A. about to take a bite of his dinner.  Murdock jumped up, grabbed the three sticks with the hideous digits attached from his comrades and threw them in the fire before running away from the camp to throw up.

As he was retching in the bushes, HM felt a strong, steady hand on his back.  Knowing it was his best friend and not wanting to face him just yet, Murdock turned away and stumbled to the nearby stream.  He stooped down to rinse out his mouth and splash his face with the cool, clear water.

As he was getting his head together, the rest of the team joined Face at Murdock's side.  The worry they had for their friend skyrocketed when HM began sobbing.  Wordlessly, Peck crouched down beside the pilot and took him in his arms.

As the hysterical man clung to Face for dear life the other two men watched the scene uncomfortably-- both not sure how to handle the sudden hurricane of emotions.

As Murdock's whimpers turned to soft hiccups, he finally pulled himself from his friend's embrace.

"What happened, Murdock?"  Face kept his voice soft to encourage the pilot to talk to them.

After a minute of dead silence, Murdock looked up at his team and shared his deepest, darkest fear.  "I think I'm losing my mind."

*****

Invisible Demons 4/?

*****

Murdock lay curled up in his sleeping bag inside the huge four-man tent.  He could hear the guys' soft voices from outside around the campfire.  They were no doubt talking about him and his recent episode. The captain didn't give a damn.  He was too numb from the whole ‘Vister' experience to care.

~~~~~

"HM, I thought I told you to clean up your room!"  Roger Murdock stood amid the piles of dirty clothes and abandoned toys that littered his son's floor.  The subject of his attention was standing before him with a broom in his hand.

"But I did dad!  Mr. Vister keeps messing it up... he says he wants to play cops and robbers instead."

The rage boiled inside the elder Murdock at the mention of his son's imaginary friend.  "HM Murdock, if I EVER hear you mention that name again I will give everyone a good reason to suspect I'm beating you up!"  The man grabbed the boy's arm and pulled him around to face him.

"Dad, you're hurting me!"

"Vister is not real!  Just because you're too stupid to make it down a flight of stairs without falling doesn't mean it's okay to start imagining evil spirits!!  Now clean up this room BEFORE I REALLY GET MAD!!!!"  Roger forcefully shoved his son backwards onto the bed.

HM stared wide-eyed with tears coursing down his face as his father mumbled something about needing a drink before leaving.  Shaking with fear and sadness, HM once again began the slow process of cleaning his room.  It took hours to get the mess straight with Vister hanging around, waiting for another chance to hurt the boy.

Oddly enough Vister didn't come back.  But then again, neither did his father.  It was the last memory HM would ever have of the senior Murdock before he walked away from his son completely. ~~~~~

Murdock sighed and allowed the sounds of tree frogs and crickets soothe him to sleep. *****

"I'm telling you Hannibal, I think we need to take him back to the hospital!"  Face ran his fingers through his already tousled hair.

Hannibal shrugged.  "For what, Lieutenant?  He said himself he'd just had one to many hot dogs and it made him sick."

"What about the break down by the stream... he thinks he's losing his mind for crying out loud?!  You're not worried about that?"  Face took a deep breath to calm himself down before he woke up Murdock.

"Flashbacks, Face.  We've dealt with them before."  The colonel chewed on his cigar.  "Remember when Murdock used to get ‘em all the time?"

B.A. uncrossed his hands and looked thoughtful.  "Yeah... one time the foo' climbed up on top of Faceman's book case.  It took us three hours to get it through his crazy head that there wasn't no VC troops after him."

"But guys, Mur..."

Hannibal interrupted him.  "Murdock's been through a lot lately, Face. Too many jobs too close together.  Besides, it didn't help that you guys kept scamming him to take all the graveyard shifts as lookout."

B.A. and Face suddenly donned guilty expressions.  "How did you know, Colonel?"

Hannibal rolled his eyes.  "Well it wasn't too hard to discover since Murdock fell asleep and landed in his plate of lime jell-o at the end of our last gig.  You guys are gonna have to lighten up on the man.  It's hard enough to pull your own weight on our missions.  Let's reserve the scams for emergency situations... not because you don't want to cancel your date with a busty blonde."

Face sighed.  "Do you really think he should stay here instead of at the VA where they can take care of him?"

"Face, this is exactly what he needs!  Time away from the stress and chaos of the real world.  Two flashbacks and a sour tummy won't keep Murdock down.  I think he really needs this vacation."

"That crazy foo' ain't never been in the real world, but your right Hannibal.  I think he could use some fresh air for a change, ‘stead of bein' cooped up."

"Great, B.A.... Face?"

"Well...  Maybe you're right Hannibal.  I brought along some of his medication from the VA just in case.  I know he doesn't like to take it but some of it's supposed to mellow him out."  He rooted around in his pack and produced three vials of pills.  "That could be what's wrong with him.  Even though he keeps saying he refuses to take his pills... maybe the nurses have been using other methods to get him to take it without him even knowing about it."

"Hmmm, let's keep that in mind, Lieutenant."  Hannibal checked his watch.  "Hit the tent guys, we're in for a busy day tomorrow."

*****

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Invisible Demons by Shyler