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The Card  


The Card
by Janet Jeffries



Rating- PG

Warnings- None, except that this is my first attempt at writing a fic, and may be quite dreadful.

Summary- Face receives a holiday card from an unexpected person. Disclaimer- I do not own any of the characters even though I'd love to, and am only doing this for fun.

Copyright- Janet Jeffries 2000


The Card
 

It was a simple white envelope. No different from the four other envelopes in Face's mail pile. Just more Christmas cards. Frankie looked at the pile with a slightly jealous feeling. He'd just received his third holiday card today, but Face had seemed to receive four or five cards a day for the past few weeks.

"Hey Frankie! Feeling any better?" Face asks in greeting as he enters the living room of the Langley residence. He, Hannibal, and Murdock had been on a 'supervised' shopping trip to the Tysons Corner shopping mall.

"Much better, Face. Thanks, man. I hate getting these colds. How was your trip?" Frankie replies before sneezing for the umpteenth time today.

"Ahh. The usual. Murdock hitting all of the toy departments and pet stores. And Hannibal getting tired of the crowds about fifteen minutes into it. Spending the rest of the day smoking cigars outside and sending the Abels on wild goose chases. I tell you, he's going to drive them to drink."

"And what about you? Did you get any shopping done?" Frankie asks before sneezing again.

"Picked up a few gifts. And a few phone numbers, too. All-in-all, not too bad a day," Face answers with a broad grin.

Frankie smiles back as Face picks up his stack of cards and the shopping bags he'd deposited at the base of the stairs on his way to his room. His mentor hadn't really been himself since the whole Bancroft case three weeks ago. Nothing Stockwell or anyone who didn't know Face would notice, but he just seemed quieter and a little less sure of himself. But it seemed to be passing and Frankie was glad his friend was in better spirits.

******

Later that night, after a passable dinner BA had made, and some not-quite-honest card playing with Hannibal, Face was alone in his room. He had just placed the gifts he'd purchased in his closet and was sitting in his chair by the window going through his mail. A card from Cindy. Another from April. Happy memories, both. The third card had no return address on it. Just his name and address neatly scripted across the front. The postmark was blurred, so that was of no help to him in guessing the sender.

Face opens the envelope and pulls out the card. He notices the folded sheets of stationery inside.   He reads the sentiment on the card and then feels his heart abruptly stop in his chest as he notices the sender's signature- Ellen Bancroft.

Face's thoughts involuntarily take him back to the afternoon Stockwell confirmed AJ Bancroft was his biological father. Face had walked to Ellen who was standing by her (his) father's grave and placed an arm around her. She was still pretty upset by the whole turn of events over the past few days. He had tried to console her, but was feeling a range of emotions from hurt to anger himself and wasn't doing much good. Face really wanted to tell her the news, but didn't know how. He was actually tongue tied for once. As Ellen finally made to leave, he blurted out the information about Bancroft also being his father. "Ellen, he was my father, too."

Ellen had stood there, the shock clearly visible on her features. As Face had moved to take her hand, she stepped back, the shock replaced with anger. "What? What the hell are you talking about? Why did you say that to me?"

"Ellen, I just found out. AJ had told Murdock he was my father, and Murdock had someone look into it. That phone call was the confirmation. He was my father, too. We had the same father," Face replied in an upsettingly quiet voice. He was not sure how to take her reaction, his emotions now numb.

"Why are you trying to hurt me? Haven't I been through enough these past few days? No! Don't touch me!" Ellen had yelled, pushing him away. Face had remained standing where he was, stunned, but Ellen had stormed off to her rental car. He had eventually gained control of his senses and headed for the van. That was the last time he had seen or heard from his half sister. Face had wanted to get to know her, but in hindsight, convinced himself that he was safer emotionally this way. One less person he had to worry about disappointing and/or being hurt by. And Ellen Bancroft could continue to live her safe and 'normal' life without having a fugitive for a brother.

******

Face gets up from his chair and paces about his room a few times. He runs his fingers through his hair and takes a couple of deep breaths. Finally, he quits his nervous fidgeting and opens the folded sheets of paper.
 

Dear Templeton,

I want to begin this letter by apologizing to you for my abhorrent behavior of before.
It was inexcusable and I am sorry. Losing AJ was just as emotionally upsetting for
you as it was for me. Possibly even more so. I was upset at the time as you know
and I took it out on you. Again, I am truly sorry and I hope you can forgive me.

Not that I doubted you, Templeton, but you can imagine my shock and disbelief at AJ
being your father, too. My entire drive home that day was plagued with thoughts
about what you'd just told me. It wasn't until late that night that a long forgotten
telephone conversation my mother had had with someone decades ago sprang to
mind. My mother had been upset that AJ had left her and was bitterly recounting his
faults. One of them being his previous abandonment of a family before he had met
my mother. She'd said that he had a son he'd left behind simply because it wasn't
convenient for him. Just like mom and I no longer fit into his life.

I'd spent the entire remainder of the holiday weekend at the storage facility holding all
of my mother's papers. I was going through them in hopes of coming up with
something about AJ's first family. That was where I the divorce papers from AJ
and your mother. Instead of studying for my exams, I spent countless hours in the
library trying to research all I could about AJ Bancroft. I didn't get very far until I
received a large parcel of documents from AJ's attorney two days ago. It is in these
papers I really learned about you. You really are my brother and AJ was both your
father and mine.

There is a lot of information in these documents which pertains to the two of us. I'm
guessing that you have a lot of questions about what happened to you and your
mother and I believe most of the answers are here. Not too many of these papers
paint a very pretty picture, thus my hesitancy at forwarding them to you.

I know you tried to counsel me otherwise, but I continue to think bitterly of the man
who fathered us. Especially as I read through the documents pertaining to your
childhood. To abandon us, our mothers, too, because we weren't as important to him
as his money, his businesses. But some of these items I've received show that he
did at least 'monitor' our lives. Old report cards, college transcripts, and the like.   I
used to do some really dumb stunts growing up to get his attention and make him
return (which, as you can already guess, he never did). Like the time when I was 14
and rode the neighbor's motorcycle deliberately into a tree and broke both arms and
my left leg; documented by my hospital records which he had.

Also amongst the documents are several papers relating to AJ's estate. From what I
can make out it is quite sizable. I am sure most of it will be seized by some
government or other, but AJ had built separate trusts for you and I. Which, according
to AJ's attorney, are free and clear of any external intervention. I haven't had a
chance yet to go over the figures. I was hoping you could help me with these.

I would really like to get to know you. As an only child, it is kind of fascinating to
know I have an older brother. I had always wanted siblings growing up and now I
have one. I am not sure what kind of schedule you have, but I would like to invite
you down here to Florida. I don't really have any plans until law school starts up
again here at Florida State University in mid January. I can't believe I finally
graduate this spring. Your sister- the defense attorney. (I just love saying that
-both parts.) Or if you are unable to come here, perhaps I could come to DC and
see you. I have some close friends in Baltimore I could stay with. Please consider
it. I feel really awful that I have possibly ruined any chance of a relationship
between us.

Templeton, I am, in every respect, ashamed of my actions over Thanksgiving.   I
never meant to hurt you and I promise to never hurt you again. You're my brother
and that thought puts a smile on my face. I hope you are able to forgive me and we
can truly be brother and sister.

I can't wait to hear from you.

Your sister,
Ellen
 

Face reads the letter through a second and a third time. Then he carefully folds it and places the papers back inside the greeting card. He gets up from his chair and takes a shower.   Face gets into bed and picks up his bedside phone. Over an hour later, he replaces the receiver and wipes the tears which have come to his eyes. He turns out the light and tries to sleep.

Ten minutes pass before Face reaches for the phone in the dark. The telephone in the other end of the connection rings several times before someone sleepily answers it. "Hey Murdock... Yeah, I know. Sorry for waking you. I can't sleep... No, nothing's wrong... Because I'm so happy. I received some great news tonight."

The End

 


The Card by Janet Jeffries

 

 


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