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No! Chao! No!
Evil, grinning face coming nearer, and nearer, and nearer...
"Face! Wake up!"
Someone is shaking me. I open my eyes, and the leering face vanishes into the white void of a ceiling. Thank God, itís only a nightmare. Where am I? What happened? Oh Lord, I hurt. Head hurts, bones hurt, everything hurts. Concentrate on ceiling. Focus on ceiling and ignore the pain. Ceiling slowly begins to spin. I guess that's a bad idea. I close my eyes, again.
"Hannibal, get back into bed and lie down. Youíre much too ill to be out of bed."
"Ma'am, Face has really bad nightmares. Someoneís gotta sit near him or he wonít sleep."
"Thatís all right. Iíll sit with him."
Large, warm hand grasps mine. Large, warm presence by my side starts to hum hymns, ones I remember from my childhood. I relax. Iím safe. Peaceful darkness envelops me.
Tentative voice. Amy? Whatís she doing here? Where am I?
"There you are, child. Iím so glad you could make it, Amy."
"I came as soon as I could, Mrs. Baracus. What happened? All I know is that I got this frantic message from BA asking me to come here as soon as I could."
"Well, it looks like the boys were hit by that really nasty flu thatís goiní ëround. Apparently, Face simply passed out in this apartment the day before yesterday. By the time they found him, Hannibal was in a bad way, himself. Since both Murdock and Bosco could also feel the symptoms, they called us for help. Itís a good thing, too. Theyíre as weak as kittens."
"Iím here, baby. Amy, would you please get a glass of water? Hush, Scooter, Mamaís here."
Warm presence moves away. Please donít go! Too tired to protest. Too tired to fight sleep...
Cramped in a cage with the others. Pain from the last interrogation still crippling me. Theyíre coming again. No! Please!
"Címon, Face, wake up!"
Gasping into awareness, my eyes open automatically. The world still spins in a nauseating way. I close my eyes quickly!
Someone sits heavily on the edge of the bed.
"Move over, muchacho."
Murdock! My friend, my brother. With effort, I roll over. Murdock collapses next to me with a sigh. Iím safe now. I can relax. I can...
The world is shaking and shivering. Earthquake? Suddenly, the world stops shaking, replaced by a cold vacuum where Murdock used to be. I can only manage a mew of protest.
"Címon, Murdock. Letís get you back into your own bed. Your fever has risen. We have to cool you down."
"Amy, I canít leave Face. Heíll get nightmares."
"Murdock, your fever canít be reduced while lying next to a man who also has a fever. You canít stay there."
"Donít worry, Captain. Iíll take over."
Another body fills the void next to me. A strong arm wraps around me, pulling me close into a safe embrace. Hannibal. I sigh with relief and...
"Well, how are you patients, today, Mrs. Baracus?"
"I donít mind telling you, Doctor, that Iím concerned about how long theyíve been sick."
"Thatís pretty normal for this flu. I expect they will have the symptoms for at least a week and maybe as long as three. Thatís why I made sure you and Ms. Allen had flu shots. This is not the mild bug that people usually call flu. This is the full blown thing. And, all you can do is make sure they drink plenty of liquids, keep cool, and take Tylenol or something like that. I donít recommend aspirin since it might upset their already tender tummies."
"All right, Doctor. I would like you to check out Face, here. He seems to be having difficulty focussing."
Cold hand opens eyes. Bright light makes me squint. I swat his hand. At least, I try to.
"Okay, son. Iíll stop now. Well, Mrs. Baracus, I think that bang on the head he got when he collapsed may have given him a concussion. Since heís already lying down and taking it easy, I think heíll recover from that in his own time. Um, is there a reason why there is an empty bed over there and two in one bed over here?"
"Face has been having nightmares so the others are taking turns making him feel safe so heíll sleep."
"Just be careful. The body heat of another person may make it difficult to reduce his fever."
No! Donít leave me, Hannibal! The arm around my chest squeezes me reassuringly.
"Donít panic, kid. Iím not leaving you. Youíre safe."
Once again, there is a cold space where comfort used to be. Panic rises, and I rise with it. Eyes opening to a strange world of spinning objects and familiar faces and... darkness descends.
Powerful arms pull me upright. I open my eyes to see a pair of dark, muscular arms wrapped around my torso. BA to the rescue. I close my eyes again and smile.
"Hey, little brother, Hannibal had to take a little walk. Heíll be back. Why donít you stay with me for awhile."
Iím not alone; my big brother is here for me. I nod my head with relief.
"The thing is, you gotta come over to my bed because itís bigger. Do you think you can make it?"
Again, I nod my head.
Slowly, he helps me stand, and together we stagger the three steps to his bed. We collapse. Even that short distance has wiped us out. The great A-Team finally defeated by a mere microbe.
Laughter bubbles up and lets loose. BA also starts to laugh. Itís not often we two laugh together, but every time we do, itís like we create a new bond of closeness. I open my eyes long enough to grin at him, and he gives me one of his rare, beatific smiles back.
Nightmares beware! The A-Team is with ME!
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