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This page last viewed: 2017-10-20 and has been viewed 2930 times
is badly injured, and Face waits by his bedside. . .
Gets sappy here and there.
Why Should I Cry
Murdock could hear voices, but something stopped his
own. Heat stifled him; pain burned a line down his leg, pooled in his
gut. He tried to raise his hand, but couldn't find it. Shit, where was his hand?
It had been right there attached to his wrist only moments ago.
He thought. He took a deep
breath - and knives of agony, white-hot, cracked his lungs into shards.
He couldn't scream.
Darkness suffocated him again.
Face stroked Murdock's limp hand over and over.
Murmuring nonsense that the pilot couldn't hear.
B.A. hovered over them, dark avenging angel.
The nurse on the other side of the bed kept one eye on her patient and
the other on B.A. Face attempted a
reassuring smile. It must have
backfired, because her eyes lost caution, grew warm with sympathy.
"This tube is just to drain fluid from his lungs.
This one is to help him breath."
She adjusted the covers slightly, smiled blandly at Face.
Face's mouth trembled. He
bit the inside of his cheek, and didn't cry.
His watering eyes focused on her nametag. Marina. He liked
His eyes stopped watering. He
risked a glance down into Murdock's still face. Almost flinched, remembered B.A. at the foot of the
White of his skin stark against bruised purple under
his eyes. Tubes obscuring his features. Face's
stomach turned over. He reached out
and smoothed damp hair away from Murdock's forehead.
Fever was worse. Murdock's eyes moved under the lids. Face leaned closer.
here." His breath threatened
to choke him. The heart monitor was
drowning out thought, the respirator hissing at him.
B.A. growled helplessly, clutching the metal baseboard.
It creaked ominously. Face
closed his eyes, shook his head, tension behind his eyes threatening to spill.
He'd been here before. Comes
with the job. He would be calm,
like the ocean. He would float. Wasn't that something Murdock would do? Just float? He
could float too.
"Mr. Parker?" Oh yeah, that was him. He
looked up. Marina blinked at him.
He'd forgotten her. He kept
eyes carefully blank.
"Um, I know you and your friends are concerned,
but Mr. Murdock really needs rest. Too
many visitors could be - "
"We stick together. Ain't leavin' him here."
B.A.'s arms were crossed, the muscles bunching with emotion.
Hannibal stopped his pacing to look at the nurse.
Face glanced at them both, back at the nurse.
She closed her eyes a moment, and he felt a rush of sympathy for her. Just doing her job. Trying
to keep her patients alive. But he
"What about - what if just one of us at a time -
She sighed, shrugged.
"I get this all the time from visitors, but ICU is supposed to be -
"Fool won't get better we leave 'im alone."
Face begged with his crystal gaze. He
didn't have to act. He just shifted
the desperation a little bit closer to the surface.
Marina looked anguished. She
glanced down at Murdock, at the three men each at a point surrounding the bed.
She leaned across the bed, her voice low.
"Mr. Parker, we usually only allow family.
And only one at a time, for short periods.
The doctors need to work."
"We are his family. I'm - " What?
What was he? Hannibal had a speculative look, wondering at Face's loss for
words. Face looked up, resolute.
"I'll stay, Hannibal. You and B.A. go, uh, go home.
I'll keep you posted."
B.A.'s incredulous stare. "Say what?"
Hannibal raised a hand to stave off certain tirade.
Face was still looking only at the Colonel.
They locked gazes, and Face's eyes widened.
need to take care of a few things, but we'll be back in a couple hours."
Marina wrung her hands. "Really, I'm really sorry, but there are no visitors
after 8 o'clock."
"I'm staying." Face slid his hand up Murdock's arm, careful of IVs.
He and the nurse engaged a silent battle.
Face won. Marina narrowed her eyes briefly, sudden realization dawned.
Face smiled. She knew too. Women
could see it almost instantly. She
glanced down at Murdock, back at him. Her
eyes now held a different sorrow.
"I'll talk to Doctor Murali."
She let herself out quietly.
Hannibal put a hand on his shoulder briefly.
B.A. stood uncertainly behind him, watching their interaction.
"We'll bring you something to eat."
Hannibal slid his eyes to the pale figure on the bed, imprisoned by
injury and hospital equipment. He patted Murdock's hand and turned to leave, motioning to
B.A., who looked down at Murdock almost angrily. Almost. The big man's eyes were bright.
"Fool better have his eyes open soon.
You watch him, Faceman." B.A. followed his Colonel out the door.
They were alone.
Face rose, slowly went to the chart at the end of the
bed. He read the technical terms,
lips pressing tightly together. Head
trauma. Internal bleeding,
collapsed lung, fractured femur, shattered patella.
If Face turned vision inward, he could see the burning wreckage that was
the helicopter, trailing small fires all over the hillside.
He did not remember tearing frantically across the grass, screaming
Murdock's name. Hannibal had pushed him aside, pulled Murdock out of the pilot's
Flames in the dark.
B.A. stalking the man with the rocket that had brought Murdock down.
They couldn't get anything out of B.A. later, except, "Took care of
it." Murdock's head in his lap, one hand pressing cloth to the gaping wound
in his side.
His memory fragmented the scene, whole hours were gone.
Somehow they'd made it to this hospital.
He'd remembered not to give his real name.
Face came back to the side of the bed, sat in the chair.
Machines forced oxygen into Murdock's tortured lungs.
"Not now. Not
The voices were gone, save one.
He knew that voice. It loved
him. It caressed his mind gently, feather-soft.
Hard to hear through the wall of pain.
He wanted to answer. He
wanted to say, yes, I'm here. Not
going anywhere. But someone had
stolen his voice, his hands, trapped his body, pinned through by pain.
Couldn't that other, the one with the voice, free him?
He wanted to float, so badly. He
wanted to fly away.
But when he thought of flying, there was instead
searing heat, roaring explosion of sound, something crushing his leg, stabbing
his chest, robbing him of air. He
tumbled towards the earth.
He'd fallen from the sky. He'd failed.
Murdock tried to sob with his lost voice.
A doctor was in the room. Absurdly young. Dark
eyes flickering from Murdock to Face, always holding Murdock's hand.
This was their specialist? Face
The doctor looked at the chart.
Came around, leaned over Murdock, raised one eyelid with a dark-skinned
hand. His mouth twisted in
concentration, speculation. He
glanced at the readouts surrounding the bed, falling from the machines to the
floor. Marina waited behind him.
"I don't like this fever."
The doctor's voice was softly accented.
Marina took notes. "Increase the dosage of the antibiotics.
And his lungs are still filling with fluid.
"Uh, Doctor?" Face hadn't spoken in hours.
Whisper through a dry throat.
The young man did not look up as he adjusted tubes, the
drip in one falling a bit more swiftly. "You
shouldn't be here."
"How is he?"
The doctor spared him a glance.
"We're doing what we can. He
needs quiet, and sleep."
Face's voice cracked. The
doctor finally looked up. Sighed. Face
saw exhaustion similar to his own.
"Mr. Parker, I think. . . you need to stay
prepared. Mr. Murdock is not doing
Black dots danced in Face's vision.
He shook his head, blinked furiously to shake the shadows edging into his
sight. The doctor said something
from very far away. Face's sight
narrowed. Marina was at his side,
telling him to put his head down.
When he looked up again, they were gone.
Face turned to Murdock, twined his fingers with the pale slender ones
lying against the covers.
"I can't. I
can't I can't I can't - " Why?
Why now, when they'd just found each other?
Face spoke aloud as tears finally, finally fell.
"You - you said you loved me.
You know what it took to get to this place.
Don't leave now. I know this
could have happened anytime, you and your damn flying, the damn job.
It's not enough anymore. The
team, it's nothing if - "
(If I don't have you.)
Face's whisper was fierce. "We haven't even - we haven't shared everything yet.
I want to have you. Completely.
We have unfinished business." His
hand stroked the cheekbone yet again. He imagined Murdock lifting his hand,
holding it against his face, allowing Face to trace the line of his jaw, the
desire shivering between them.
(It could be just memories now.
Face gently ran his finger down Murdock's neck,
ignoring tubes and needles, caressed the collarbone with his thumb beneath the
collar of the hospital gown. Murdock's
lips were parted under the oxygen mask, bloodless.
(I can't even kiss you. Goddamn machines. Fucking
Anger ran together with despair, his soul and his heart
clutching each other, crying with him. That
part that was himself, was Murdock held inside him where no one could touch
"You can't leave me, I'll be - "
Face spilt tears onto his broken lover.
Murdock reached, in vain, across the hazy black.
Shied away when pain threatened, but reached out again.
That voice, he knew that voice! Someone
who cared, loved him. Someone
Murdock loved. He couldn't stand
the tears that tore his soul. They
called him away from the comfort of nothingness.
He wanted the nothingness. Despair
fell away here. No worry.
But the one who was always there, the one he loved,
suffered. The comfort couldn't
reach that one. Murdock tried to
pull that cozy safety outwards. Met
the barrier of pain again. If he
had a foot here, he would stamp it in frustration.
He could almost see.
But crossing the threshold meant no going back.
The warmth and certainty would be gone.
Murdock circled the perimeters of his mind, looking for
Face, dozing, shot up from the chair as loud, insistent
beeping filled the room. Monitor
alarm. He jumped back as a doctor
he didn't recognize and several others burst into the room. Murdock was hidden
from sight as the staff barked orders at each other.
"He's choking, dammit - "
"No it's - "
"Listen to me!
Get me 50 cc's of - "
"Heartbeat is erratic - "
"Well stabilize it then!"
"Doctor I need to know - "
"Just do it!"
Face flattened himself against the wall, nails biting
deep into his palm, fists clenched to keep from screaming questions.
The alarm was silenced as a nurse fled the room, searching for drugs probably.
(NO! no no no no no no -)
The doctor straightened.
She heaved a sigh and focused on Face, now in the corner.
"He's stablized now. We'll
make sure he's comfortable before we leave.
Nothing to worry about."
Face heard himself giggle. The doctor stared at him warily. Hysterical laughter took him
over as the doctor approached him, crouched in front of him.
He hadn't realized he was sitting on the floor.
"Mr., uh - "
"Parker, " someone supplied from behind.
"No, really, did you say, did you say nothing to
WORRY about? I just wanted to make
sure because I just can't fucking believe you said that - "
"Mr. Parker, get control of yourself."
Face laughed harder.
The unnamed doctor sat on her heels calmly. She'd probably seen everything.
Face despised her for her reserve. They
should be dancing on their heads to save him. Eventually he subsided, noticed
tears wetting the hands he held to his face.
Without a word he rose, brushed past the doctor and resumed his seat by
the bed. Marina looked up from
adjusting more tubes and needles, no more customary smile.
Her eyes were so sad. Face
wondered briefly what he looked like. He met her eyes.
"Did they fix the problem?"
"Can you make them leave,
She turned the drip on an IV, brushed hair from
Murdock's eyes, nodded again. As
she came around the end of the bed to balance the endless medication and
machines, she laid a hand, very briefly, on his shoulder. Drained of emotion, he remained motionless until the room was
Face forced himself to see Murdock, see the suffering.
He could barely breath, his inhalations short and labored.
His heart either sped with wild variability or slowed until his chest
rose and fell only occasionally. He
did not wake, but dreams or pain kept him from true rest.
Face jumped up and paced. Ignored
the knock on the door. Hannibal
slipped inside. Face turned and
smiled for all he was worth. Hannibal
looked at him hard.
"So I'm losing him - " Face began brightly.
"Face, sit down."
"I've been sitting here all day.
I've been sitting all night. All I want is to hear him say something
completely insane, or crack a joke, or - "
Face knew breakdown was close as his voice rose, crossed over into
sobbing, "or tell me he knows I'm here. Why can't he do that for me?"
"He will, Face."
"But you don't KNOW, do you?
You don't know, the doctors don't know, I don't know.
But I should know! I'm the
one of all people. . ." Face
turned to the window, clutching the curtain in one fist.
"We should never have. . ."
"You can't go back, Lieutenant."
Hannibal's voice was soft. "Would you really want to?"
just. Want. Him to. Wake
up." No tears on his cheeks.
But he could hardly put words together intelligibly.
Hannibal joined him at the window.
They stared out at the parking lot.
Acres of cars. Freeway traffic beyond.
Hannibal spoke quietly.
"I don't really know much.
But you two make sense. You
found each other, and you should cherish that, Face.
I won't go into the bullshit about how you both know the risks we take.
I'm sure you'd promptly deck me, and with good reason.
But I know how you think. What
if it was you in that bed, and Murdock standing here, waiting?
What if you were lying there, and you knew he was going crazy with that
"What's your point, Hannibal?"
Face pressed his forehead to the glass, closed his eyes.
"Pull yourself together, and wait some more."
"Ha ha. It's
not so fucking easy, Colonel."
"Do it because you know you have to."
Hannibal leaned closer. "I know how you feel about him.
He needs you to be here. All
of you. Don't fragment."
Hannibal straightened. "That's all the fatherly advice I have in me, Lieutenant.
I'd tell you to go grab a shower and some food, but I know you won't.
So splash some water on your face, and drink the coffee I bring you."
He crossed to the door as he spoke.
"Hold his hand. Tell
him you love him. Cry if you have
to. But don't give up. Murdock wouldn't. I
know you won't either."
He was gone.
Murdock tried again.
Face. Can you hear me.
He wanted to bash his head into a wall.
How could he have forgotten the person behind the voice?
Face. His heart.
His other half.
Face was crying.
No, no, don't cry.
I'm right here. I'm still
here I just can't reach you what is this place Face help me I don't understand
why can't I feel your hand your kiss your touch -
Murdock stilled his panic. Getting nowhere. He
kept himself as far away from the pain as he could.
But just as he thought it was gone forever, something pulled him back.
Sometimes his mind crowded with the voices of the others.
They tried to say something to him, but all he could catch was their
urgency. And Face's grief.
Hannibal was there sometimes.
Face would be still then, for a while.
He could remember them all now. But
when they were alone, Face would sink again, deeper each time.
Murdock reached out hesitantly. There
was something he had to do.
He had to brave the pain to reach Face.
The internal bleeding was stopped. The
staples in his collapsed lung were adjusted, his breathing made easier.
Doctor Murali worried over infection.
Marina told Face that the doctor was sleeping in the next room over,
wouldn't go home. Face wanted to cry again.
He was sick of crying.
Night fell. Face
got up from his vigil and went to the tiny bathroom.
Looked into the mirror. Red, red eyes.
worth of beard. Christ, he looked
like hell. He couldn't look like
this when Murdock woke up. He
stared down at the sink. His personal kit was there.
Face took a deep breath. Unzipped the kit, and began.
When he emerged from the bathroom, B.A. was sitting in
the chair. Watching football and
holding Murdock's hand. He
practically knocked the chair over in his haste to rise.
"Don't worry, B.A. I won't tell anyone."
"Crazyman jus' needed some company."
Face nodded, couldn't stop smiling.
"'Bout time you shaved, Faceman."
Face shrugged, spread his hands wide.
"So how do I look?"
"Like the Faceman again."
Face found himself near the bed, bent over Murdock, hand to his forehead.
"He feels warm."
"Doctor says the fever's down, but won't break."
B.A. was shifting from one foot to the other. Watching him. Face
sat down again. B.A. crossed
massive arms over his chest as was his habit.
Face arched an eyebrow.
"Something you'd like to say, B.A.?"
B.A opened his mouth, closed it after a few moments.
Shook his head.
"I heard that doctor talkin' to the nurse outside.
They don't seem to think Murdock's doin' any better."
Face had to wait until his heart stopped trying to jump
into his throat. He spoke calmly,
slowly. "When exactly did you
hear this, B.A.?"
"Well, they just don't know Murdock, do they?"
They traded silent thoughts for a while.
Then B.A. said, "Guess they don't, at that."
He glanced over at Murdock before leaving.
After a long time, Face realized he'd been trying to
cry. But there were no tears left.
One step forward.
Two steps back.
Face lay his head close to Murdock's on the pillow.
Brushed one eyelid with his finger.
"I need you," he said.
Face gazed in wonder as one tear slid down Murdock's
face to his temple.
Murdock was absolutely submerged in agony.
Fight it fight it fight it -
He heard Face's voice coming closer.
He was so tired. Maybe he should try another time. When the pain wasn't so bad.
Stupid fool, the pain isn't gonna get any better.
Just go on and break through.
He could almost see Face now.
He struggled to open eyes he couldn't feel.
He reached out, maybe Face could hear him now -
Murdock took a deep breath. Fuck this. Nothing
was gonna keep him here. Face was
so very close.
He broke free.
Hmm. Damn these tubes,
Face blinked. He'd
That sounded like -
He was looking at Face. Trying to. Trying
to talk with the tube in his throat and the mask over his mouth and nose.
The nurse would be in soon, noticing the change on the monitors.
Their faces were so close. Face held him as tears leaked from the dark eyes.
Kissed his forehead. Brushed
those tears away.
"I'm here, baby."
Murdock's eyes followed Face's hands, blinking sleepily,
sharpening as awareness grew. Face
saw that look. Asking if he was
"I know. I
love you too."
Face looked up. Good
old Marina. She was smiling like
"Let me remove the tube from his throat."
Face waited patiently. He had all the time in the world. Marina was brisk and
efficient. But she lingered just a
bit, her hand to one side of Murdock's face.
"Welcome back, Mr. Murdock."
She left them then.
Face leaned on the bed, one foot on the floor, getting
as close as he could. Stared into
those warm eyes. He could stay like
(god, I love you)
The hoarse whisper made Face wince.
He'd never heard anything more wonderful.
"I tried to reach you. I could hear you crying."
Face looked at him sharply.
"I couldn't stand it."
Face smiled. His
sweet lover. He ran his fingers
through the dark, unkempt hair.
"Sorry I took so long."
Murdock sighed, closed his eyes.
He had been here, with Face, the whole time.
They just couldn't reach each other.
Face tipped Murdock's chin. Their lips brushed together gently. Murdock whispered in
"You don't have to cry anymore."
Face smiled into his lover's hair.
"I know, baby.
~ end ~
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