This page last viewed: 2017-12-14 and has been viewed 2665 times

Title: Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas
by Murdock's Doc

Rating: NC-17 Archive: I guess

Warnings: Anguish I guess and maybe slashy in part 2

Summary: This is the first Christmas since leaving Vietnam. Murdock is in the VA and the Team has not yet been able to visit. Christmas with the A-Team turns out to be anything but a Blue Christmas.

Comments: They would be appreciated and they do let me know if you are enjoying the story.

Disclaimer: The A-Team is the property of Stephen J. Cannell and my writing is not to make money or to obtain fame. I write to show my appreciation of a show that is in my opinion, one of the classics in time.


Blue Christmas

By Murdock's Doc

Part 1

"You would think that medicine would have advanced enough to ease that poor man's suffering." A tall golden haired nurse commented to a taller muscular orderly as he waited for her to lock the door to the patient's room that they had just exited. "After all this is 1973, not the dark ages."

"I thought he was improving." The orderly commented as he followed the nurse down the hallway. "What happened?"

The nurse shrugged, "We're not sure. He was in the day room with the other patient's working on crafts for the tree, and he suddenly went catatonic."

"The night nurse said that he had to be sedated last night." The orderly said. "She said that he started screaming and tearing his room apart."

When they reached the nurses station, the golden haired woman slipped behind the desk and pulled a chart to write down information about the patient that they had just visited. The orderly leaned against the counter and waited. "Has anyone come to visit him?" He asked as the nurse slipped the chart back into its slot.

The nurse frowned. "No, but then again he never gets any visitors." She plopped down in the chair and folded her arms on top of the desk. "It's a shame really, especially this time of the year."

The orderly nodded. "At least we have family to celebrate with."

"Of all the holidays, I think that Christmas is the hardest on the patients." The nurse said in agreement.

Inside the patient's room, a fragile man wrapped tightly in a straight jacket sat in a chair rocking back and forth. His eyes were glazed over and dulled by the medication flowing through his veins. His mouth moved, and the sounds came out in gentle whispers. "Blue. . . blue . . . blue . . . Christmas." These whispers were followed by a pitiful sob before the whispers continued. "Without. . . without. . . without . . . you."

The patient's mind floated in a painless void of fog, but he still remembered and it still hurt. It had been so much easier when his mind had been completely absent during his breakdown, but now memories and feelings were coming back. It hurt. The aloneness he felt was smothering. They had promised him that they would always be a team.

Silent tears streamed down his sunken cheeks as he continued to whisper the words from the song that had played in the day room. "Blue. . . Christmas . . . without . . you."

Someone had visited him from the Army when he had begun to recover from the breakdown. They had been shocked by his frail appearance, but they still pressed him for information. The guys had escaped a couple months back and they had wanted to know if the notorious A-Team had come to visit. The patient sobbed again.

He had worked so hard to comeback from the breakdown that had occurred after the team had been accused of treason. The Army had pressed him too far, tried to twist his mind, and tried to force him to add weight to the crazy accusation against the guys. Days and days of physical and mental interrogation had blurred until he had turned them out, just like he had done in the camps.

It had taken longer for his mind to take a peek outside the protective wall it had built to see if it was safe to come out. The sobbing figure shivered as he rocked. So many months had passed. Every day since he had come back to reality he had thought of the team and hoped they would come for him. They hadn't come, and after all these months hope couldn't carry him through the day. Tears continued to flow unchecked down his face. "Blue. . . . Christmas. . . . without. . . . . you."

He had failed the guys. They knew he had failed them. That's why they hadn't come. The team was gone and he was alone. Closing his eyes, the patient held his breath against the pain in his heart. It had been so much easier when his mind was elsewhere. It was so much easier than knowing that nobody wanted him. Easier than knowing that nobody cared. Depression ate at his soul, and Captain Murdock began to wish for freedom from the loneliness and the pain.


~ ~ Elsewhere ~ ~

"Hannibal, it's not right!" Templeton Peck complained loudly. "We've stayed away long enough. He's safe now. The Army won't cause him any trouble."

"We can't risk Murdock's safety." Colonel Smith said with conviction. "One hint that we've visited the VA and the Army will be all over him."

"But it's Christmas!" Peck snapped back. "I won't leave him stuck in the hospital alone on Christmas!"

"Lieutenants right Hannibal." BA added gruffly, "Crazyman ain't got nobody and that ain't right at Christmas."

"Guy's we've gone over this before." Smith said feeling his own resolve weakening. "The Army is watching him and just waiting for one of us to show up."

The handsome face of the A-Team's second in command scowled in anger. "If the situation was reversed, I wonder if you'd be saying the same thing." He snapped as he stormed out of the apartment that he had scammed for the holidays.

Colonel Smith shook his head, knowing that he was right in ordering the others to stay away from the VA, but deep down he knew that he wouldn't be overly harsh if the young Lieutenant disobeyed him.


~ ~ A few hours later ~ ~

The cool crisp air of December in Los Angeles made Santa's stroll into the VA bearable. The red velvet and the fur contrasted sharply with green grass and subtropical foliage that surrounded the Veteran's Administration Hospital, but due to the season, no one took a second look as he stepped through the hospital doors.

"HO HO HO, Merry Christmas!" Santa called out as he walked confidently thought the psychiatric ward on the west wing of the Hospital. Over his shoulder he carried a heavy red sack that seemed to overflow with brightly colored presents. "HO HO HO!" Saint Nick called out joyfully.

The floor nurse looked up when she heard the merry callings. She smiled at the red suited man walking towards her. "Why hello Santa Claus." She said happily. His presence in the Hospital this time of year was a regularly occurring event and she looked forward to the pleasure that this type of visit gave her patients.

Santa stopped in front of the desk and winked at the nurse. "Why hello there little girl, have you been good this year?" He asked with a wink and a twinkle in his blue eyes.

The nurse giggled, "Well that depends on your definition of good Santa."

"HO HO HO," Santa laughed.

Smiling up into the charming beard covered face of the visitor, she asked, "So who are you here to see?"

Santa leaned closer over the counter, "I'm here to pick up my cousin for the holidays, but I'm not so sure that he would be willing to go if I had to take him away from such a beautiful angel."

The nurse blushed, "Oh Santa, I'm sure that Mrs. Claus would box your ears if she knew you were flirting."

"If there were a Mrs. Claus." Santa said with a charming flash of perfect teeth.

Santa moved around to the side of the desk and put his large bag down. "These are from my grandma." He said indicating the bag, "It's not much, but she seemed to think that too many patient's wouldn't be as lucky as her grandson and be able to go home for Christmas. She made dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies and wrapped them up as presents." He leaned on the counter again and smiled, "She seems to think that everyone should have a little bit of holiday cheer even when they don't have any family."

The nurse stood up and peeked into the bag, "This was so sweet of you're grandmother," She said looking at the brightly colored boxes. "There are so many here that are just plain forgotten about and these will brighten up their day."

Santa sighed as he spoke, "It's a shame really, especially after what happened with my dear cousin."

The nurse looked up curiously. "What happened to your cousin?"

Santa shook his head as if in disbelief. "The Air Force notified us that he was missing during a flight in Nam just as we were moving, and it took us almost a year to find out what happened to him." He sighed again. "Just a few days ago we found out that he had been found and was transferred to this very hospital."

"Oh how terrible," The nurse said with sympathy. "The Military sometimes has a problem with their paperwork." She reached out and patted Santa's hand. "If you have his release paperwork in order and tell me who your cousin is then I'll hurry up and get him ready to go."

Santa reached down and pulled out the folded paperwork. "My cousin is Captain Murdock."

"Oh my, we were just talking about his lack of visitors this morning." The nurse said softly. "He's had a setback, and I'm not sure he's able to . . ."

Santa interrupted her, "His doctor told us all about it, and he and the family decided that it would probably be helpful to let him go home for the holidays."

The nurse frowned, "It's a bit unusual, but if his doctor agreed to it, then I suppose it's alright."

"Doctor Ricter seems to be a brilliant psychiatrist, and I have to agree with him that H.M. needs to be with his family during the holidays."

"Oh I agree." The nurse said quickly.

"Will I need anything special? Doctor Ricter said I would need a weeks worth of his medicine." Santa asked, "He didn't say anything about a special diet or anything like that."

"He hasn't had a diet prescribed, but he's not been eating too well since his arrival so I would try to stay away from rich foods." The nurse advised. "Joe!" The nurse suddenly called out as an orderly passed near the desk, "Captain Murdock has been signed out, will you please get a wheelchair for him?"

"Really? That's great!" The orderly said as he turned directions, "I'll get that wheelchair right away."

Too many questions caused the nurse to forget about the paperwork that was still clutched in Santa's hand. "If you'll come with me, we'll go and tell the Captain he's going home." The nurse said as she grabbed her key ring from the counter.

Disguised as Santa Templeton Peck followed the nurse. He was a bit apprehensive since Murdock's physical and mental condition sounded serious, but he was here and determined to follow through with breaking him out for Christmas.

When the door opened to reveal the near catatonic Captain, Templeton felt his heart skip a beat. Murdock had never had a spare ounce of fat on him, but he was much thinner now, almost sickly. Half listening to the nurse rattle on about the Captains lack of a wardrobe for a release Peck made his way over to kneel in front of his best friend. When there seemed to be no recognition in the pilot's eyes Templeton leaned forward and pulled the rocking figure into an embrace.

"I thought we lost you." Templeton said aloud for the benefit of the nurse. Hugging Murdock tighter he whispered. "Murdock, if you're in there, it's me Face. I'm posing as your cousin."

The frail man's rocking slowed, then stopped. "Jimmy?"

Peck pulled back. "Oh H.M. we missed you so much." He hugged Murdock again, "I missed you so much."

"Oh my." The nurse said wiping a tear from her eye, "He seems to recognize you."

"Take me with you." Murdock sobbed. "Please take me with you."

Templeton leaned back again and gently wiped the tears from his friends face. "I'm taking you home H.M. you're going with me I promise."

At that moment the orderly came in with the wheelchair and after catching the touching sight of Santa hugging the Captain he turned and smiled at the nurse. "Do you think it would be alright to take the straight jacket off him?" The orderly asked.

The nurse nodded and joined the orderly to help take off the restraining jacket. "Lean him forward a little and we'll be able to unbuckle him." The orderly advised "Santa".

"They're taking off that nasty jacket so we can have a real good hug." Templeton cooed to Murdock. "Then we can go home."

When the jacket was slipped off Murdock lunged at Santa and hugged him tightly as he buried his face in the soft fluffy beard of Templeton's disguise. As Peck hugged him back his heart broke to find that he could feel his friends ribs. "H.M. you'll have to let go so we can get you home." Face said softly as he began to get up.

With the help of the orderly and the nurse, they got Murdock into the wheelchair. The Captain was a bit hesitant about letting go of his friend but settled with holding his hand as the orderly wheeled them out.


~ ~ Back at the apartment ~ ~

A knocking at the door that sounded more like someone was kicking it spurred its two occupants to grab for weapons. "Hannibal, BA open up, it's me." Face called out. "Hurry up will ya."

Hannibal reached the door first and stood back in confusion as he came face to face with Santa Claus with holding a man press closely in his arms. "Face?" The Colonel questioned.

"Hannibal I just don't want to hear it now." Face said breezing past the Colonel on his way to his bedroom. "We'll talk about this later." He added as he disappeared into the room.

BA took one look at the Colonel and rushed into Face's bedroom. Smith paused only a moment before following his team. Inside the room, BA entered as Face laid Murdock gently against the pillows, leaving him alone long enough to pull off the jacket hat and beard of the Santa suit. "Crazy man don't look good." He said furrowing his brows.

Face paused long enough to nod. "The trip from the hospital wore him out." The con man said as he peeled off the red velvet pants.

"Blue . . . Christmas . . . without . . you" whispered the Captain as he rolled over on the bed.

Face leaned over and rubbed the sleeping pilot's shoulder, "It's okay buddy, we're here. You're not alone for Christmas."

"No he won't be." Hannibal said with a strained voice.



Part 2

"BA, stay here with Murdock." Hannibal said without taking his eyes off the fragile form of their pilot. It was never easy to be wrong about a decision, but it was even harder to face the harm that resulted from a bad decision. He had promised to look out for each and every member of the team. "Lieutenant, I think we need to talk." He said quickly as he turned and escaped the room.

Peck opened his mouth to argue with the Colonel, but he had left too fast. After taking one last look at the sleeping figure of his friend, Templeton started for the door.

As the Lieutenant passed BA, the Sergeant reached out an arm to stop him. "Ya did the right thing Faceman, ya did the right thing."

"At least you think I did," Peck said glancing from his friend to the open door to his bedroom, "I just wish the Colonel would feel the same way."

"He gotta watch out for the team," BA said firmly. "Murdock's part'a the team, and he gonna know ya did the best for the team."

Face found Hannibal in the kitchen. Out of respect for his CO, the Lieutenant decided to wait and give him a chance to speak before going on the defensive. Folding his arms across his chest, Face waited to be chewed out.

"How is he?" Hannibal asked in a low voice.

Face paused, expecting more. When Hannibal remained silent Face uncrossed his arms and ran a hand through his golden hair. "Weak, underweight, and other than that, I just don't know. He'll probably sleep for a while since they had him sedated." The con man moved over to lean against the counter beside Hannibal. "He was in a straight jacket when I picked him up." Face took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a few moments. "He was like a little boy. He didn't want me to leave him. He practically begged me to take him with me."

Hannibal sighed and rubbed his face, "I never thought . . . " He turned and leaned against the counter beside Face. "I was sure that he would handle this better. He wasn't injured when the base was attacked, and he wasn't indicted with the rest of us so he should have been left alone."

"Hannibal, he acted like we've deserted him." Face said with a cracking voice. "You should have seen him. He looked so lost, so alone."

Seconds passed as the two men let the description sink in. Finally, Hannibal reached out and placed a hand on Face's shoulder. "The team comes first Lieutenant." He squeezed Faces shoulder, "The whole team, Murdock included."

"We're not a team without Murdock." Face defended.

Hannibal pulled a cigar from his pocket and nipped the end with his teeth before lighting it. The motion took only a few moments, but he could feel the younger man watching him. As in the past, it did not good to argue with the Lieutenant about the Captain. They were too close. "Do you think he's about the same as he was when we escaped the camps or worse?"

Face's shoulders fell slightly, "Worse maybe, he's on a lot of medication this time."

"Did you manage to get the names of the drugs or bring any with you?" Hannibal asked as he quickly began to formulate the things that they would need to help the pilot.

Face shifted his feet, "I got a weeks worth of his medication, but I don't know if I want him to go back. We owe him more than that."

"Face, we've talked about this before," Hannibal said in a low voice, "I won't endanger him by having him associated with us."

"But Hannibal why don't you give him the choice rather than make the decision for him." Face snapped shrugging Hannibal's hand from his shoulder and turned an angry look towards his CO. "You should have seen him when I picked him up. He needs help. He needs us."

"All the more reason for him to stay at the VA, if he needs help then they're the one's qualified to help him, not us." Hannibal said firmly. "We're on the run, we've got no stability. That will end up causing him more harm than good."

Face turned and slammed his fist on the counter. "It's not fair!" He snapped out in frustration. "How many times did he risk his life for us Hannibal? Huh? How many? Is this how you're going to thank him?"

"Let's see what we're dealing with first, okay kid." Hannibal said stiffly. Face's words stung. "But realize that I will not put Murdock in danger legally, physically or mentally. If he needs help he goes back."

Face looked at the Colonel and considered arguing, but short of accusing his CO of not giving a damn about their friend there was nothing he could say. He just didn't want to admit that maybe the Colonel was right.

"Face, I know this is hard, but we've got to think straight without our emotions getting in the way." Hannibal said with understanding. "For now, how about we try and give Murdock a chance to rest, relax and enjoy the holidays."

Face nodded and looked at the Colonel with determination, "Give it a couple days till we decide what to do with him, okay Colonel. Give him a chance."

"Fair enough." Hannibal said as he blew out a large puff of blue gray smoke. "And Face?"


"If it makes you feel any better, I'd prefer to have Murdock around." Hannibal said with the cigar clamped between his teeth. "He always had a way of livening things up if you know what I mean."

In Face's bedroom Murdock rolled over and opened his eyes. "Are you an angel?" He whispered in a child-like voice as his eyes fell upon BA sitting beside the bed.

"Ain't no angel fool," BA said gruffly, "Now stop that crazy talk and get some rest." BA added gently.

"Are you real?" Murdock asked a bit louder.

"Am as real as it gets." BA responded, "Now git to sleep before I knock you out." The bulky sergeant threatened with a grin.

Murdock closed his eyes and a weak smile crossed his lips, "I missed you too BA."

Hours later, after both BA and Hannibal had given up their vigil over Murdock and gone to bed, Face sat in the chair beside his friend fighting his own exhaustion. When his eyelids dipped closed in a losing battle with sleep, Murdock startled him away by reaching out and touching his knee.

"Murdock? How do you feel?" Face asked quickly.

"Feel like I'm dreaming." Murdock said softly. "I kept hearing Hannibal's, BA's and your voice. You're real right?"

Face smiled and patted Murdock's hand. "No Murdock, you're not dreaming. I'm real." He said as he reached out and ruffled the pilot's thinning hair. "Look, I'm a little hungry, would you like something?"

"I guess I am hungry. Always am when the sedative wears off." Murdock said moving to sit up. "You don't mind do you?"

"Mind? Heck no." Face said rising to his feet. He watched his friend rise unsteadily to his feet but resisted the urge to help. Even as close as they were, the con man felt that Murdock would want to stand on his own. It was a quirk that they both shared. Neither liked to show any real weakness in front of their friends.

In the kitchen Murdock sat at the small breakfast table and watched his friend preparing hot chocolate and sandwiches. "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve isn't it?" The Captain asked.

Face looked up at the clock from the chocolate milk preparations. "Actually today is Christmas Eve. It's three in the morning."

"Oh," Murdock said softly.

"I've got a few things to pick up today, would you like to go shopping with me?" Face asked as he placed a large sandwich and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in front of his friend. After a second trip to the counter for his own snack, the Lieutenant returned and took a seat at the table.

Picking up his sandwich, Face waited for Murdock to answer. When he sat silently staring at whipped cream in the cocoa Face leaned forward. "Murdock, do you want to go shopping with me?"

Murdock looked up at his friend and blinked. "I don't know if I can." He said sadly.

"Sure you can, it's easy." Face said confidently, "Now eat up, so we can go back to bed to rest up before we hit the stores."

"Will you stay with me?" Murdock asked hesitantly.

"If you eat your snack, sure I will." Face said resolutely.

Twenty minutes later, Face led Murdock back to his bedroom. The pilot had tried hard to finish his sandwich, but when his eyes began to water in frustration because he wasn't used to eating so much, Face had let him out of the deal with a promise that he would stay no matter how much was eaten.

"You did good Murdock, don't worry about not being able to finish the sandwich." Face said soothingly, "We're both tired and we should have just settled for the hot cocoa."

"It was good." Murdock said shyly as he shuffled towards the bed.

The con man grinned brightly. "I'll make some for breakfast." He promised as he opened a dresser drawer and pulled out two sets of pajamas. Turning, Face saw Murdock lowering himself to the bed. "Ah . . Ah . . Ah . . Jammies first." He scolded as he held up two sets of silk pajamas, one red, one a pale mint green. Face set the mint green pajamas beside Murdock. "They'll be a little loose on you, and maybe a little short but they'll be comfortable."

Murdock sat silently and watched as his friend undressed down to his underwear. His friend's physique hadn't changed much since Nam, and the pilot was grateful. Too many of his nightmares had evolved around the Team being hurt or killed. The dreams that had focused on the team had turned into excuses for their absence. "You're all right. You're not hurt." Murdock whispered.

"Sure I am," Face said pulling on the bottoms. "There's not much of a chance to get hurt since we left Nam. It gets a little hairy sometimes on the special projects Hannibal sets up for us, but for the most part they're a breeze."

"Oh," Murdock said with a fallen face, "You've been busy."

Face sat down beside his friend and placed an arm across his shoulder. "Murdock, we haven't deserted you. The Army has been watching you and Hannibal kept us away to keep you from being drawn into the trouble we're in."

"The nurses are nice." Murdock said staring off into space. "And they don't . . . they don't . . " Murdock couldn't finish. He couldn't tell Face about the harsh treatment that he had received after the Team had been accused of robbing the Bank of Hanoi. He wasn't sure about a lot of things that had happened.

Face shook his head, not sure about how to handle the obvious depression that Murdock was suffering from. "We'll talk about it later, when you're ready." Face said as he reached over and began unbuttoning Murdocks shirt. "Let's get you ready for bed."

The pilot passively allowed his friend to undress him then replace the institutional clothing with the silk pajamas. Face's hands were so gentle as they brushed against his skin, and the feeling of silk rubbing against the hair of his body caused tiny shivers. It had been so long since he had been with someone he could trust or someone who cared about him. Shivering slightly, Murdock shifted uncomfortably in order to disguise the embarrassing physical reaction to the many stimulants that had been gone from his life.

Face looked at his friend with concern. "Murdock, are you all right? Am I hurting you?"

Murdock shook his head no and scrambled into the bed. "Just tired Facey." Once in the bed, Murdock pulled the covers tightly to his chest and squeezed his eyes shut tight. A few moments later he felt the bed shift as Face got in on the other side.

"Nite Murdock," Face said as he shifted closer in the bed to his friend.

"Nite Face," Murdock responded softly.

Sighing softly Face flung his arm over his eyes, willing himself to sleep. He had noticed Murdock's discomfort, and thankfully the pilot had been so concerned with covering the reaction that he had not noticed that he had not been alone in his response.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Face rolled out of bed a few minutes before 10 in the morning. When he found the bed empty, the con man panicked and bolted out of the room to search for his friend. A few steps out of his room he heard muffled tones of Murdock talking with someone in the kitchen. Curiosity took over and Face crept closer to listen.

"What do you think would be best for you Murdock?" Hannibal asked with a gentle voice.

"I need help Colonel, too much happened during the war and after to be able to deal with it alone." Murdock said in a pained voice.

"I'm sorry Murdock," Hannibal replied thoughtfully. "I was sure that you were all right and just messing with their minds just like you used to do back in Nam. I never expected a breakdown."

"It happened before in the camps." Murdock said sadly. "I guess the second time around was easier."

"I can understand what caused it in the camps, but what happened to cause it this time?" Hannibal asked insistently, "Did something happen after our arrest?"

"It doesn't matter." Murdock quickly said, "I know I need to be at the VA, but ya gotta know Hannibal, I can't handle being left for so long. I need you guys."

"Murdock . . " Hannibal persisted.

"Colonel, I can't talk about it. Not now. I need some time with the shrinks before I'll be able to talk about it." Murdock pleaded. "Just promise me ya won't leave me alone again for so long." Murdock sobbed, "I felt I was alone, that you guys didn't want anything to do with me."

Face wiped the moisture from his eyes as he listened to the conversation. He had been afraid that Murdock would feel deserted but to hear it was so much worse.

"Never . . . never ever think that Murdock." Hannibal said with conviction. "Even when we're not with you, you're always on our minds and in our hearts."

The silence coming from the kitchen drove Face forward. When he entered the room he found Hannibal holding Murdock in a way that a father would comfort his child.

"I don't want you to go back Murdock. I want you to stay with us." Face said, breaking the silence.

Murdock pulled away from Hannibal's embrace and turned to his friend. "Facey, I'm screwed up, I need help."

"There's been no decision made." Hannibal interjected. "We were just putting the facts on the table and discussing options."

"You promised Hannibal." Face said unhappily.

"And I'll keep that promise." Hannibal replied firmly.

Even though they had holiday preparations to take care of, the tension between Hannibal and Face was high. Thankfully, the preparations for the evening and the following day took them in different directions.

When evening arrived, they remained separated. Hannibal escaped into the kitchen to make Christmas Eve dinner and to begin preparations for the following day's feast. Face locked himself in his bedroom to wrap the presents. Murdock and BA were left to decorate the tree.

"I am breaking up the team," Murdock said as he placed a red ball on the tree.

"Nutton can break up the team fool." BA said gruffly as he added a gold ball to the tree.

"They're mad." Murdock said sadly. "And it's about me."

"Whole world ain't bout you." BA said hoping to distract the path of the conversation. "Now shut up and put the balls on the tree."

"You're not mad at me." Murdock said quickly.

"Always knew you was crazy." BA snapped impatiently. "An it don't make no difference where you at, you still part of the team. It just gonna take the Colonel time to git over the guilt bout what happened to ya, and the Lieutenant time ta deal with the fact he ain't let you down before they stop bein mad."

"It's not their fault." Murdock said plopping down in a chair near the tree.

BA stopped what he was doing and looked at the pilot thoughtfully. Hannibal and Face were at odds, and now Murdock was feeling guilty. "Han-ni-bal! FACE! Git out here!" He hollered in his deep voice.

Face and Hannibal burst out of their respective hiding places and rushed into the living room. "What's wrong?" They asked in unison.

"Sit down!" Growled BA. Even though he was the lowest ranking member of the team, his imposing stance and the sour look on his face carried a lot of weight. Both Hannibal and Face paused longer than BA felt they should have and he repeated himself. "Ah said sit down!"

A second later BA was the center of attention. "Now ah had it with both you. Crazyman is blamin himself for your guilt trips and it's gonna stop now." He looked from one to the other. "Faceman, Murdock needs help. Always did cept you been too blind to admit it. He can't stay with us. Hannibal, the fool needs us and don't need to be locked up cept for visits. He needs to be part of the team. He was always crazy but he always come through for us when we needed him." BA scowled. "It's Christmas time, we ain't gonna fix the fools problems in a week. You need to come up with a plan for the fool to be part of the team again and give him time to get his head fixed." He turned to Murdock and pointed a gold encrusted finger. "And you need to worry about getting your mixed up head fix for good and start remembering we don't leave no body behind. Never did and never will."

"Is that all sergeant?" Hannibal asked with an amused glimmer in his eyes.

"No that ain't all." BA replied gruffly. "We gonna have a Merry Christmas cuz I pity the fool that screw up mah Christmas. Got that?"

"Well I think that says it all guys, anybody got anything to add?" Hannibal asked as he leaned back into the cushions of the couch. Murdock raised his hand. "Go ahead Captain."

"No matter what happens in the future, no matter what path the team follows, I want ya to know I'm with ya." He looked at each of them in turn. "And I want to say thanks for making what looked like a blue Christmas for me into a happy one. I'm happy ya came for me, I'm happy to be with ya again. Merry Christmas guys."

"MERRY CHRISTMAS!" They all spoke in unison.



Blue Christmas by Murdock's Doc