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by Coke

Rating: PG-13 (I think)

Summary: Face's thoughts after the ending of Family Reunion.

WARNING Angst and more Angst.  Heavy Angst.  Please do not read if this is not for you.

Feedback: Please please please please please :-)

NB The bits in *...* are for emphasis
The parts in **...** are where Face is arguing with himself

Thanks to Hannurdock, Magik and Logan for persuading me to post this  


Sitting, looking out across the lake, but not seeing it.  Not seeing anything so caught up am I in my thoughts.

I had stood next to Ellen, in front of that grave for what seemed like hours.  My arm round her, trying to offer what comfort I could, but all the while I was numb inside.  Murdock had said he might have been my father, but I hadn't allowed myself to believe it.  But it was true, and now... now I couldn't feel anything.  For so long I had dreamed of the day when I would meet my family yet when I do my father couldn't even bring himself to tell me who he really was. I suppose I should have felt angry, or upset, or annoyed or relief but I couldn't feel anything.  I just stood and stared at the mound of earth in front of me until I could do so no longer.  But I couldn't bear to face any of the others, not now, not when I could feel myself slipping down that slope again.  It wouldn't be fair for the others to cope with me like this, and anyway, when feeling like this I cant cope with much company.  So I brought myself out to the seat by the lake.  I can be seen from the cabin, and if anybody wants me they can come and get me, but until that time I will just sit here and think. I know it is the worst thing for me when I am in this state.  I know that the best thing for me would be to go and get something to do, to take my mind off everything, something that is so physically and mentally tiring that when I finish doing it I will fall asleep without spending hours awake, tossing and turning, going over every little event in my mind, but its not what I want to do, and so I just sit here looking out to the lake and remembering.

I don't let anybody see this side of me.  Hey, I'm such a good conman there are times I don't let *me* see this side of me, but its always there, just waiting for something to go wrong.  That's one of the problems of being such a perfectionist, I guess.  As soon as something goes wrong, that nasty part of my brain can't help but remind me of all the other times things have gone wrong, and I have made an idiot of myself, or I have ended up letting others down. Even silly things like getting upset in school because of mild bullying.  Things most people would probably forget.  But not me, oh no, they just get stored up in a corner and every time I feel down they are brought out to remind me of all the other times I have made a fool of myself.  Its no wonder I have so few people I can call a friend......

**Now stop it, come on, there's Hannibal and BA and Murdock and Maggie and Father Magill and...**

Yeah but they don't know the real me do they, they see the me I want them to see, the suave sophisticated man who enjoys good food, good clothes, lots of money.  Who can get anything anybody wants and doesn't even think bout failure.  Sure about himself, loves all the women, doesn't seem to care what others think.  They don't see the little boy do they, the one who wants a mother and a father, someone to pay football with, someone to cuddle me when I'm hurt or unhappy, someone to love me, love me no matter what I do or how I feel. And what about everyone else, all those people who don't like me?  I never had many real friends at school, I befriended those who nobody really liked, just like me.  I mean, who would want to be friends with me?  No family, not welcome to have friends back to the orphanage... and the fact that I'm an orphan.  So I just buried my head in my work, getting top grades most of the time... which made me even more of an outcast, cos I worked and got good grades. I wish I had a puppy. A puppy that would show unconditional love 24/7 no matter how I'm feeling.  Even when I shut myself away from human contact, I could cope with a puppy.  Something to cuddle or pet, just to let me know I'm not alone.

**See, I knew this was a bad idea, Templeton Arthur Peck.  Why don't you just go inside, grab some food and drink and go talk to Ellen. You have got to do that sometime you know, she deserves to know what you know, that Bancroft was your father and you are her half- brother.**

But not yet.  Not yet, in a bit.

**Uh-oh, I hear footsteps.  Murdock's footsteps.  Put a bit of a smile on your face and hide away the hurt, that's it.  He's stopped behind you... wait for it... yep, he's put his hand on your shoulder**

"You okay, Facey-guy?  I noticed you were alone out here."

"Yeah, I'm fine Murdock.  Just thinking, that's all"

**No, idiot, tell him.  Talk to him, tell him how you're feeling. He'll just leave you if you don't, and you know you could do with someone to ground you, even if you don't talk.  Someone to help you prevent you slipping down that slope...**

"If you're sure, but if you need to talk, you know where I am, right Face?  Hannibal's said we're staying here for the next 24 hours at least, so you just gotta come find me, ok"

"Yeah, k.  I'll probably be in in a bit, anyway.  But thanks."

**No, don't, talk to him, ask him to stay.... Too late, he's gone. Gone and left you to your memories again.  Why do you always do that? Why?  You push people away at the times you need them the most.  He would have stayed, you know.**

Why did Bancroft have to hire us?  Why couldn't he have stayed away. I would never have known then, never have known who my father was, never have known that he was a creep who left not only me but also his next family, his daughter. Never have found out that the reason he left was because he couldn't cope with the commitment, not because of a reasonable, rational..... but what could be reasonable and rational enough to leave not one but two families.  But isn't that what I do, don't I love the girls and leave them because I'm afraid of commitment.  I say its because it wouldn't be fair on the girls, or safe for the team, if I was to become serious involved with someone, but I never did, even before Nam.

**Be sensible, you were a baby when you went over to Nam.  How many kids of that age do you know who hold down steady relationships of any length.**

That's beside the point.  I have never had a steady committed relationship, never felt I could cope with one.

**That makes you better than your father though.  He left two relationship cos he couldn't hack the commitment.  You wouldn't do that, and you are much better cos you don't let it get that far before you call it off.**

And then when I was in Nam... God, I still remember, you know.  Still remember how I felt the first time the base was mortared.  It was late, almost Christmas, in fact it was a week before Christmas.  I hadn't been over there long, not been out of base even, and we had just had the Carol concert.  It felt weird, out in that stifling heat, in the middle of a jungle singing Christmas carols.  But it a way it was nice.  It had a familiarity to it that was very comforting.  Well, for a short time anyway, cos just after we got into out billets, there was a whistling noise.  I had never heard anything like it, never.  Didn't know what the hell it was, didn't know what was going on.  Then I felt a hand grasp the scruff of my neck and pull me down to the floor, pushing me under my bunk, and the feeling of a body push up against me.  `Its okay kid, its just a mortar. Just those bastards trying to prove who's boss.  As long as we stay here we'll be okay.' Hannibal later admitted to me that he was making it up as he went along, but he wasn't going to spook me any more than I had already been . Yep, I had met Hannibal on my first day there.  As soon as he saw me, he decided I was going to be `helpful' in his squad.

**Ok kid, that's enough.  Forget it, push it away.  It was a long time ago, you have to think of Ellen now, and what you're going to tell her**

I know, I know.  God, I hate feeling like this.  I wish there was an instant cure to depression, but you know, I don't actually remember ever not being depressed.  I don't remember a time when I wasn't at least mildly down.  I liken the feeling to a roller-coaster.  You start off at a high point, and end at the same height, but in between there's a lot of ups and downs, and some level track. The thing is I don't remember starting, and I cant see the end, all I remember is being on this up and down track, seemingly filled with more downs than ups.  Maybe I should go see someone, go talk to Richter, but I really don't want to.  I coped with this for so long by myself, why should I need to go talk to someone?  I know, talking can help you share your burden, can help you feel better, but it cant change you can it, and the only way I am going to come out of this is to change my whole existence.  So for now, I'll survive, cope by myself, and hopefully this down won't be as bad as some I have had.  I mean I do have a sister now, and that's good.  And, just like always, I'll survive.  After all surviving's what I'm best at.  Suicide isn't an option, not just because of my up-bringing, but also because no matter how bad I feel, I have never yet thought death would be better, cos death is for ever, and life is what you make of it. Death, well no-one really knows what death constitutes do they, is there an afterlife, do we live again on this world or do we just lie in a box until our remains decompose.  I'd rather stay alive cos at least I know what to expect.

What on......... Where did Hannibal come from, he's just sat next to me.  I didn't hear him.  Oh well, looks like it's back to the real world for a bit, if only until tonight.

"Face, you alright"

"Yeah, fine, why shouldn't I be, I mean, we just buried my father for pete's sake.  A man I found out was my father after he was buried. Of course I'm fine."

**Calm down, calm down, come on he's only concerned for you.**

He's just sitting there.  Why didn't he answer me?  Why didn't he leave me?  Leave me alone, leave me to sort myself out, like everyone always does?

**Because he loves you like a son, that's why.  Not everybody hates you, or puts up with you on sufferance.  Your team *is* your family, and they do love you, whether you believe it or not.  Take that step Face, come on kid, take that step, talk to him.  Now, before you can talk yourself out of it.**


He's just looking at me, with those big blue eyes, looking concerned.  I cant do this, I cant

**Yes you can, come on, tell him how you feel about Bancroft, tell him how confused you are... just one word at a time Face, that's all it takes.**

*I can't.*

**Yes you can.  NOW!**   "I'm sorry Hannibal.... I shouldn't have gone off at you like that... its just..."

**Come on kid, that's it... its just you feel so confused because you don't feel anything and you think you should.  Look, he's still looking at you, he wants to know.**

"Its just I ... what should I be feeling Hannibal, what?  I feel nothing inside.  He was my father, surely I should feel something, anything, but I don't, I just feel ... empty"

He's pulled me into his arms...holding me close.  I needed this so much.  Thank you for being there, thank you for not leaving me.

"Templeton, listen to me.  Bancroft was your father, your biological father.  But that doesn't mean he was your dad.  You wouldn't feel anything for a dead man you didn't know, and unfortunately that's what Bancroft was to you, a man you didn't know..."

No, I cant hear this, I cant.  I can feel the tears coming, and I don't wan them, I don't want to cry.  Especially not here."

"...but you know now kid, you know who he was, and you know some of your family now Face.  You may not have had the chance to get to know him, but you now know who he was..."

The tears are pouring down my cheeks, and I cant hold the sobs back any longer.  Hannibal is still holding me and for that I am grateful.  He is still talking to me, but I can't hear what he is saying.  Suddenly I can feel, and my tears are of sorrow, sorrow that I never knew my father, never had a chance to know him.  They are tears of anger, anger aimed at my father for leaving me, anger at God for taking him from me before he had time to tell me who he was. There are other feelings as well, but I don't know what is what anymore, all I know is these huge racking sobs and tears. Gradually I start to calm down, and suddenly I feel myself moving. Hannibal has picked me up and is carrying me to the cabin, but I don't say anything, just concentrate on trying to get myself back under control.  He carries me through into the bedroom, lies me on the bed, gets a damp washcloth and wipes my face, cooling the heated skin for me. I am too tired to do anything more than smile at him, well try to smile anyway, and I sink into darkness, knowing that I may have a long way to go, but finally I think I'm on the way to a happier normality.

© L 'Coke' Burley  Sept 2000    


Musings by Coke



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