Rated: PG for auto accident scene.
Summary: Murdock returns to the grave of Kelly Stevens, and recalls the
years after Bounty.
Warnings: Painful scene, mourning, and death of character.
Disclaimer: Written October 2000. Kelly and Murdock's relationship
appeared firstly and lastly in the episode Bounty. The accident scene and
all else regarding the years after Bounty are completely out of my own
Author notes: This is a bit of an intro to my main focus, "the B-team",
for which I'm still trying to finish the first episode. I created them
"Pretty Girl" Murdock passed through the arched gate of a cemetery. Hands in his pockets, collar raised against the autumn chill, he kept his gaze to the path as he walked. Birds chirped above, a squirrel darted past, but Murdock's emotion-filled brown eyes didn't see. His breath came hard as he forced himself up the hill of graves. It had been fourteen years today since he had last been here. A sparkling December day, only a week after Christmas. Christmas was never the same for him.
It was the day his wife Kelly died.
He never talked about her after that. Occasionally he would peer into his things, at an old photo of his "pretty girl", but after all these years, she was more like a dream, a fairy tale. The best two years of his life, he spent with her, and their children.
Murdock closed his eyes in pain. Their children.
Twins, the most perfect, gentlest, best things in the universe. And they were his. For most people, twins would be a challenge, a difficult thing. For him, they were a Godsend. He dreamed of coaching his Micky at little league, teaching him to ride a bike and catch a baseball. He used to waltz in the dark with his baby Molly Sue, and imagine dancing with her before her prom, at her wedding. Even as a two year old, she was the most beautiful little thing. He could hardly imagine what she must've grown up to be.
But imagining was all he could do.
Ever since Kelly died in an auto accident before Christmas, he had been separated from his "double troubles". With him still in the VA Hospital, there was no one to take them. So they ripped them from his arms and sent them off to an orphanage a world away, in West Virginia. He had seen them a few times since then. Sometimes he wondered if they remembered him. When he was freed from the Hospital, he still had to maintain a steady job and a safe home for six months before the twins could be released to him.
He was released in '86. It was now the year 2000, and he still hadn't met the requirements. His family had fallen by the wayside as he followed the A-team into danger after danger. He had, in essence, traded his children for his friends.
He knew he was doing that the moment he decided to help the A-team escape. At the time, it seemed the only choice. But now, as another Christmas dawned, he had begun to ask himself, what would have happened if he had gotten his twins back?
He came to a small plateau, overshadowed by tall trees now bare in the winter chill. A leaf broke from its branch and drifted down like a feather, to fall on the gravestone of "Kelly Stevens Murdock".
Murdock knelt down beside the grave and dusted off the leaves and dirt that overshadowed her shining name. In those words he could still see her face. That bright white face, those blue eyes, filled with fear and hope and emotion. Eyes he could sit and stare into for the longest time. His own eyes welled up with tears, knowing he'd never look into those eyes again.
He laid his hand to his face, the emotion choking him. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I'm so sorry."
His mind flashed back to the happier days more than a decade ago, when he and Kelly were just settling into a happy life. Sure, he was still in the hospital, but she got him out from time to time.
That one day, right before Christmas, he wished she had never met him. She had picked him up from the hospital that afternoon, to come home and spend the night with her and the twins. "Playing house", he had called it with a grin. The twins were at Kelly's home, waiting anxiously in the window, watching for their Momma to come home with Daddy. Momma never came home.
As Kelly drove Murdock down the highway, they came to an off ramp, and came to a calm halt at the intersection below. The dump truck behind them didn't.
Instantly, the atmosphere smashed from happiness to pain and shock. The two were pinned inside, Kelly pinned under the worst of it. Murdock pulled his arm free, scarred and bleeding. But he never noticed. All he saw was Kelly.
She lay there so still, so torn up and contorted between the shards of metal. Murdock's heart tore as he tried to free her. He couldn't. He gingerly embraced her head, whispering to her. "Kelly, sweetheart? Pretty girl, talk to me, honey! Kelly!"
Slowly, her eyes fluttered and opened. Murdock brushed the blood from her forehead, as tears streaked his face. He had seen this before. He knew what was coming. He shook his head. "No, no, please, God, no."
Kelly rolled her head against Murdock's arm. "Take care of the twins."
Murdock shook his head harder. "No, no, you're coming home, sweetheart. We're going to have milk and cookies and sit by the fire and watch the kids open their presents. You're going to be okay, sweetheart, you'll see."
Kelly shook her head. "No*no*" She took a long, painful breath.
Murdock looked away to try to gather his strength. "Help! Help, someone, please!"
"Tell me you love me, Murdock."
Murdock kissed her forehead. "You know I do."
Kelly managed a wistfull smile. "I love you too."
Murdock felt her leaving him and panicked. "No, Kelly, please, no. You can't leave me, sweetheart! No!"
Kelly closed her eyes for the last time.
Murdock stretched out his arm and looked down at the three scars crossing his wrist. He may not wear a wedding ring, but those scars were as good as a ring to him. And a constant reminder of the day he lost his love.
Stooped down to face the gravestone, he brushed aside the leaves and found two small objects just underneath the grass. A toy truck and a little stuffed rabbit. Another tear streaked his face. "I'm sorry I failed you, sweetheart. I wanted to get them back. With all my heart, I* I just couldn't. It's too dangerous, with me following the guys all over. They could get hurt." He paused and looked to the gray skies.
"Who am I kidding? I've hurt them a gazillion times worse by not being there. I'm so sorry, Kelly. I'm so sorry."
"She forgives you."
Murdock jerked from his memories, to see a young woman reflected in the gravestone. His heart skipped a beat. She was so familiar. Brown hair draped around a sweet white face, eyes wide with concern. Murdock gasped. "Kelly?"
He slowly turned and rose to stare into the face of a teenage girl.
Her large brown eyes stared up at him, reflections of his own. This wasn't Kelly. But he knew her. As if.. as if she was a piece of him. The girl gasped. "Dad?"
Murdock took a step closer. "Molly Sue?"
The girl burst into his arms, crying for joy. "Daddy!"
Murdock clutched her and tucked his face in her hair. "Thank you, pretty girl. Thank you."