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The Vigil

The Vigil

Rated: Eh, PG? Yeah, that sounds about right
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Not making money. Don't sue, you'll only get debts.
Archive & Comments: You know it.

Author's Note: Now, please bare with me, it's a doosy. . . Heehee. . . time
for a brief history lesson. . . there's a reference to Operation Chromite,
which occurred in 1950. See, the American forces in Korea were blocked
inside this teeny tiny segment of South Korea called Pusan. I mean, it was
really small. Anyway, so General Macarthur, he had this really bright idea,
and I do mean bright, not being sarcastic here, to land a few hundred
Marines at Inchon, which was basically in the middle of South Korea, right
on the western coast. Now, the North Koreans weren't expecting this, b/c
the tides on that stretch of coast? Well, the difference between high and
low tide is around thirty feet. When the Marines landed, there was almost
no resistance whatsoever. So the plan, really, was to squeeze the North
Koreans out of South Korea. See, at the same time as this landing, soldiers
inside the Pusan perimeter were getting ready for a breakout. It worked out
so that while the Marines were spearing south, the soldiers in Pusan were
spearing north. And together, they pushed the North Koreans all the way up
to the Korean/Chinese border. All looked well until about a million (and
I'm not exaggerating) Chinese soldiers showed up. Yeah, that's about when
the fastest retreat in military history occurred.

And thank you Reckless for beta-ing!

Now, on with the show!


It was late at night. The hospital was almost completely deserted, except
for the odd janitor or graveyard shift doctor. No one was around to pay any
mind to the old, white-haired janitor who parked his cleaning equipment
outside of room 224.

He entered the room quietly, glad to see that no one else was in the room
besides himself and the man on the bed. Blue eyes glanced outside one more
time before pulling his cart inside with him and closing the door.

There were no noises in the room except for the patient beeping of some
machine or another. The janitor pulled off the uncomfortable latex nose and
fake mustache as he walked towards a chair by the bed, revealing himself to
be John "Hannibal" Smith. He gazed sadly at the prone figure on that
hospital bed, and sighed sadly before sitting down.

It had all happened so quickly, earlier that week. Simple escape, just your
everyday shoot-out with the military goons. And the team's bullets had
found their ways to all the right targets: tires, engine blocks, all that
stuff. Decker was left to clean up the team's mess, and the team had long
since left. But, something had gone wrong.

Somehow, the thugs that the A-Team had captured--well, they'd escaped their
bonds before Decker and company arrived on the scene. And in some scuffle
to escape, one of them had found a gun. Hannibal didn't know the details,
though; all he knew was what was broadcast on the evening news.

They had watched in somber silence as the announcer stated that one Colonel
Roderick Decker, US Army, had been shot three times in the chest and
abdomen. The prognosis was not good.

Smith was brought out of his reverie at a slight movement of the man on that
hospital bed. Decker looked almost dead in the pale green glow of the
monitor displays. His eyes were sunken and had black rings around them.
Tubes ran in and out of his body, making him look less like a human and more
like some bizarre science project.

He knew he ran the risk of capture by coming here. But, he felt guilty.
The rest of the guys--well, they probably knew about him sneaking out late
at night to visit the fallen colonel, but obeyed the silent order to stand
down and leave Smith be.

"Kinda wish you'd get up and arrest my sorry ass right now, Rod," he quipped
with a sad chuckle at the sleeping form. Hannibal ran his hands through his
hair nervously. "I. . . I don't know what to say, man. This wasn't
supposed to happen, you know. I don't know how they could've gotten out,
they were tied up so well." He cast the MP a sideways glance. "Think I'm
losing my edge?" he asked with a small smirk. The smirk disappeared quickly
to be replaced by a strange sadness on Hannibal's face. "Yeah, well."
Gingerly, he rested his hand on the other's shoulder. He'd never been real
big on touching other people, but somehow, he felt he had to do this. He
was startled almost to the point of withdrawing his hand when he felt Decker
twitch slightly.

The faint electronic beeping seemed obnoxiously loud to Hannibal, and he
needed to fill the gap somehow. "Hey, you remember that time we were in
Pusan, right before Chromite, and we snuck outta the perimeter, trying to be
all gung-ho? God, I thought we were gonna die when those North Koreans
spotted us," he said with a chuckle. "Man, we must've run back so fast. . .
and the look on Colonel Brigham's face! Oh, he was so mad. You remember
that, Rod?"

Decker slept on, unaware of the one-sided conversation that was going on
beside him.

Hannibal looked worriedly at the figure on the bed. "C'mon, Rod, you've
been through too much. Ya can't let some punk kid take you down, not now,"
he pleaded quietly. "Remember what you promised, Rod? When we graduated
from the academy, you remember what we said? We're goin' out together, in a
big way, and don't you forget that, you old son of a bitch. Don't you dare
forget that!"

Much to his surprise, he felt Decker move slightly under his hand. Looking
down, he saw the weakest of smiles playing on the MP's lips. It looked like
he was trying to say something, so Hannibal leaned in close. "Say again?"

"Is that just a request," Decker murmured, "or an order? 'Cause, you're a
wanted man, you know. Can't give orders, 'n all that."

Hannibal laughed and leaned back in his chair. "You are such a moron, you
know that? A flaming idiot."

"Yeah. Now get outta here 'fore I have you arrested."

"Right." He got up and was about to leave. "Hey, Rod?"


"Well, you know. . . I'm real sorry, man."

"'Sokay. Now get the hell out."

Hannibal laughed and pulled his cart out the door behind him.


The Vigil by bakedgoldfish



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