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I Will Never Be The Same

I Will Never Be The Same
by Live Lady Roadkill

Disclaimer: A-Team owned by Stephen J. Cannell etc.and the song 'I will
never be the same' is the property of Melissa Etheridge
Rating: NC-17
Comments: Please
Comment Card: Yes
Warnings: M/M SLASH/consensual (A little slashiness--not graphic)
Summary: Don't believe in summaries

 


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I Will Never Be The Same by Melissa Etheridge

So you walked with me for a while
Bared your naked soul
And you told me of your plan
How you would never let them know
In the morning of the night
You cried a long lost child
And I tried on I tried to hold you
But you were young
And you were wild

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

Secrets of your life
I never wanted for myself
But you guarded them like a lie
Placed up on the highest shelf
In the morning of the night
When I woke to find you gone
I knew your distant devil
Must be draggin' you along

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

And you swore that you were bound for glory
And for wanting you had no shame
But I loved you
And then I lost you
And I will never be the same

******************


Murdock glanced at his watch for the umpteenth time and he tugged at the
scratchy collar that was snug around his neck. He habitually adjusted the
brim of his hat but it wasn't there. He muttered, "Please, come on Face. "
He looked out the window when he heard another car pull into the church's
parking lot. He sighed in disappointment when it was another one of his
future in-law's car. The wedding-his wedding was going to start in half an
hour and it wouldn't be the same without Face there to be his best man. He
had not spoken to Face since the night he, Hannibal BA and Frankie received
their pardons and that was seven years ago. Since Murdock asked Donna to
marry him eight months ago, they all had been searching for Face in earnest
but they've turned up nothing. They hired the best PI to supplement their
own search and placed ads in the business section of every major newspaper
across the country for months. Face did say he didn't want to be found and
if anyone could disappear, it was he. He could do it. He could create an
alternate identity in his sleep, complete with birth certificates to credit
history. Murdock understood Face's reasoning for wanting a fresh start,
cutting off all ties that reminded him of his life on the run.

Hannibal walked in as he was checking his watch one more time. Hannibal was
moving slower and his movements took a second or two longer to complete. All
the wear and tear on his body over the years had started catching up to him
shortly after they were pardoned. His eyes still had the mischievous sparkle
in them to indicate that his mind was as sharp as ever even if his body was
slowing down a bit. He saw the far away look in Murdock's eyes as he looked
out the window as another car pulled into the parking lot. Hannibal softly
approached the pilot and gave him a firm pat on the shoulder. Murdock
glanced over his shoulder conveying that he appreciated the colonel's
unspoken support and tugged at the collar to his wedding tuxedo once again.
He sighed. "He's not coming Hannibal. If he were, he would have sent word by
now."
Hannibal pulled Murdock's hand away from his collar and adjusted it in a
fatherly manner. "There's no gentle way to say this but it has been years
since anyone has seen him."
"It's been seven years and two months."
Hannibal smiled patiently as Murdock stopped himself from sounding off the
weeks and days and possible the hours since their last minutes together with
Face. "Hannibal?"
"Yes, Murdock?"
Hannibal finished straightening out Murdock's collar and Murdock sighed.
Face would have been the one to straighten out his collar if he was here. He
had always been the one who straightened out his clothes on special
occasions that required nice clothes. Murdock inspected Hannibal's work in
the mirror and testily moved his neck around. "Hannibal if he doesn't...."
Hannibal gave Murdock's arm an affectionate squeeze. "I'd be honored to be
your best man."
Murdock nodded apologetically for appointing Hannibal to be a stand in best
man but he was grateful. He sighed. "Do you think Face is happy?"
Hannibal answered honestly, "I hope so. The kid's been plagued with problems
since I've known him. I really do hope so."
Murdock flinched inwardly and pulled out a document to look at it. "If he
doesn't make it, at least we'll have an important part of him with us."
Hannibal recognized the papers. "Is that Face's pardon."
Murdock nodded. "He gave it to me because when all of you got your pardons,
he didn't want me to feel left out."
Taking the papers from Murdock to look at them, he pulled out a pair of
reading glasses and studied them. He knew what was written on the papers
because he had an identical set of them with his own name on them. He had
read them at least a hundred times to reassure himself that it was truly
over. Their life on the run and in Stockwell's employ was over. On the back
of Face's pardon was a hand written note to Murdock. "I'll always be there
for you when it counts, Faceman."
Hannibal swallowed hard and whispered, 'Kid, where ever you are, get your
butt to that alter.'
Hannibal removed his glasses and tucked them back into his pocket. He
neatly refolded the document and handed it back to Murdock. "I'll go check
on the guest for you. I got a look at the bride a few minutes ago. You're a
lucky man, Murdock and don't forget that."
Murdock grinned bashfully as he thought of Donna. He was going to be her
husband in twenty minutes. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly which
provoked a smile from Hannibal. "Just remember to keep breathing, Captain."
"Will do."
Murdock smiled as he watched Hannibal step out of the small dressing room.
He chuckled at the little hand written note and his smile got bigger. "Oh
Facey, I wish you were here. You would really like Donna. I want you to meet
her and I want her to meet you, too. To prove to her that you aren't a
figment of our imaginations."

He sighed and returned the pardon document back in the inside breast pocket
of his tux. He wanted to lean against the windowsill but he didn't because
he would wrinkle his suit. Face had taught him well. He looked at his watch.
Fifteen minutes till he will be saying 'I do' to Donna. He envisioned his
future with her since the day he met her and the closer their wedding date
got the more his thoughts were on past and whether Face would make it to the
wedding. He'd have to be satisfied with knowing Face was out there
somewhere, hopefully happy and wishing him well on his impending nuptials.
Murdock fumbled at the pocket that had Face's pardon, the one over his
heart, to make sure it was there. He remembered the night Face gave him
these papers and told him of his plan for the rest of his life. A plan that
didn't include the Team or him.

Murdock watched Carla pass out sealed envelopes to everyone but him. Murdock
was technically not an 'employee' of the government but Stockwell tolerated
his presence because it made the rest of them more manageable. Stockwell
looked on with mild interest as Frankie hesitantly opened his envelope
first, and Face, Hannibal and BA followed to find a bunch of legal papers.
Frankie mouth the words slowly as he read it and when he got to a part where
he understood what the document was he let out a whooping holler that made
Murdock's ears hurt. Frankie laughed and bounced all over each of the men,
throwing hugs at random. He even hugged Stockwell before reading it again.
Face was in a state of shock as he got to the part that caused Frankie to
turn into a human pogo stick. Hannibal looked at Stockwell skeptically.
"This for real?"
Stockwell nodded. "You've fulfilled your end of the bargain in full. I'm
just meeting mine."
Face moaned. "I think I gotta sit down."

He stumbled back to a chair barely making it but dropping the papers that
told the world that he was free. Murdock snatched the papers from the air
before they fell to the floor to read them. He couldn't make much of the
legal mumbo jumbo and used the papers to fan Face while looking for a
reaction from Hannibal. Frankie had stopped pogo-ing around the room as a
big smile broke out across BA's face. He read the legal documents and
giggled that high pitched excited giggle that was so typically BA. Hannibal
asked, "That's it?"
Stockwell raise his eyebrows and inclined his head to the side. "That's it.
Oh .. and you will have the jet to take you back to LA or anywhere you wish
to go within reason and a sum of five thousand dollars each to help you
along till you are able to find suitable employment."
BA growled. "I'm taking my van to visit Mama. I ain't getting on no planes
no more."
Hannibal smiled at BA and looked at Face as he muttered to no one in
particular, "This is really happening. Oh boy, this is really happening."
Hannibal looked around and sized up the whole picture. "Okay men, let's
start packing. The sooner we do this the sooner we can move on.
Stockwell...... It's been.... interesting."
Stockwell chuckled and said, "It certainly has been and you will not be
missed."
"Good.... Okay, let's be ready to go bright and early. It's a little late to
be going tonight."
Stockwell with Carla following him left the room but before he leaving he
said, "And don't 'help' yourself to any of the household items."
BA rolled his eyes. "I wouldn't want any of his junk... I'm packing and
loading all my stuff into the van and leaving tonight. All of you are
welcomed to come with me to visit Mama."
Frankie said, "That's a nice thought man but I want to get back to Hollywood
and get some LA smog in my lungs. I'm flying."
Hannibal raised his hand and said, "Hold on here. Let's all get a good night
of rest before we head out."
BA nodded in agreement. "At the crack of dawn I'm out of here."
"Fair enough."
Face found his voice and looked at Hannibal. "What are we suppose to do
now?"
His voice conveyed how lost he was and Hannibal waved his hand in a long
swooping gesture. "Anything we want."
He pulled out a cigar and lit it. After producing a nice cloud of smoke and
pointed with the cigar to Face. "But keep it legal, kid."
"Anything I want?"
"The papers include our military discharges too, so yes, you can do anything
you want. Now if you will excuse me, I have some packing to do and I suggest
you all do the same."
BA quickly followed Hannibal, and Frankie was no where to be seen, leaving
Murdock and Face to digest the news together. Murdock stopped fanning Face
with the papers and offered them to him. Face slumped back in the chair
heavily and stared at the papers in his hands without blinking. He was far
away. He had dreamed of this day for years but now that he got it he didn't
want it. Murdock snapped his fingers a few times in front of Face to get his
attention. "Mission control calling Face, mission control calling Face."
After blinking hard a few times Face sat up a little but his shoulders were
still hunkered over a little. He was scared and Murdock gave his friend a
pat on the shoulder. "It'll be okay Face. I was scared at first when I gave
up my room at the VA. Even though you've been on the outside you're just as
institutionalized as I was. It'll take a while for you to adjust to having
no boogeyman after you or looking over your shoulder. You are free to do
anything you want."
Face nodded slowly and with a hollow voice he repeated what Murdock had
said. "Anything I want. I can do anything I want."
Murdock grinned and stood up, throwing his arms open wide. "The sky's the
limit Facey. What do you want to do on your first night as a free man for
the first time in eighteen years?"
Face stared at Murdock incredulously. Has it been eighteen years since the
Hanoi Bank robbery? Almost half his life had been taken by that one
incident. Eighteen years of all their lives have been taken by it and
suddenly Face felt bitter about it. He had been too busy surviving to give
any proper thoughts to it and now it was as if he were feeling everything he
should have felt about it-eighteen years of anger, sadness, loss... He had
been cheated. They all had been cheated, including Murdock due to his
loyalty to the Team. Murdock didn't have to be with them, He didn't have to
risk his life on the missions but he did. Face made a move to get up. "For
one thing I'm not staying under this roof for a minute longer. I'm getting
out of here tonight."
Murdock hopped in front of him with concern in his eyes. "Where're you gonna
stay?"
Face placed his hands on Murdock's shoulders and gently guided him out of
his pathway. "I don't know. I'll get a hotel room or somethin'. Anywhere but
here."
"You can stay at my place."
Murdock followed Face and Face sighed. "I was hoping you'd say something
like that because I don't want to be alone tonight... It'll be our last
night as a unit."

Face did not look at Murdock as they made their way to Face's bedroom and
began to pack. Murdock noted how neat and organized everything was. It took
only twenty minutes to pack up everything with the two of them. It was as if
Face was ready to move out and he had organized everything to make the
operation as smooth as possible. He had had plenty of practice at doing this
during their days on the run. Face was a professional squatter, he'd check
the newspaper ads on a regular basis always thinking ahead, always looking
for another place to live. People would sublet their houses and apartments
if they were going away for extended periods of time. It didn't make much
sense to let a house sit empty and gather dust for months and years at a
time when it could earn its keep. When a house in a nice neighborhood,
upscale in particular, would become available he'd call the real estate
agent pretending to be interested in the house and make arrangements to tour
it. During the tour he would pump the agent for information. Usually houses
were only sublet in blocks of time and he'd find out when the house would be
empty and for how long, then made his plans accordingly. He would spend a
good portion of his time doing this when they had down time while they were
on the run to keep a continuous supply of residence lined up. He made a
habit out of keeping his stuff so organized that it only took minutes to
gather all of his personal possessions and leave no trace of himself behind.
When the owners returned or another set of tenants moved in, they would be
none the wiser for him being there. Murdock noted that even though this was
technically 'his' room, Face still treated it as if he were
visiting-visiting for almost three years.

As they packed, Face became more focused, more like his old self. He seemed
to have found a purpose in his movements and became more efficient. He
looked as if he remembered something from long ago and he paused for several
long moments to look about him. His gaze settled on Murdock which made
Murdock a little uncomfortable. Murdock gave him a playful nudge on the
shoulder. "C'mon. We've got a busy day tomorrow. A lot to decide."
Face nodded slightly not taking his eyes from Murdock for several long
seconds as they both hefted suitcases and garment bags. "I want to talk to
Hannibal and BA before we leave."
"Okay."
They took Face's stuff to the edge of the stairs and set it down. He
wandered over to BA's room and Murdock lingered in the hallway watching from
a distance but he was not able to hear everything. Face watched BA fold
clothes that had been washed that evening from the basket and place them in
a duffel bag. "Could you swing by Murdock's place in the morning?"
BA grinned. "Mama would like to see you guys again. Seven too early?"
Face shook his head. "I'm sure she would."
Face sighed and offered his hand to BA. "I'll see you later."
BA placed a folded sleeveless T-shirt in the duffel bag before grasping Face
's hand and gave it a tight shake. Face smiled sadly and looked at BA hard
for a moment before turning to leave. "Good bye, BA."
"Bye, Faceman. See you in the morning. You two be up and ready to go or you'
ll have to find another way to Mama's."
Face smirked and went to Hannibal's room. Hannibal was holding up his dress
uniform as if he were trying to decide what to do with it. "I'm going over
to Murdock's place to help him pack. BA will be swinging by before he takes
off for Chicago."
"'Kay kid, Stockwell said he'll have the checks ready for us by the morning.
I'll make sure BA takes yours and Murdock's over in the morning."
"You flying?"
Hannibal nodded. "We're going to be rising from our graves and I'd rather
tell Maggie myself than call her up."
Chuckling, Face shook his head in amusement. He knew the good doctor had a
strong constitution but he tried to imagine her reaction when her long 'dead
' boyfriend showed up on her doorstep. He imagined she'd stammer and
stutter, and after Hannibal reassures her, she'd have a good laughing cry on
his shoulder. Then once she was through with the laughing and crying she'd
hit him a few times before demanding the entire story from death to
resurrection. Hannibal began to go through his medals, insignias and ribbons
that went on his dress uniform, packing them with great care. This puzzled
Face. Hannibal still had respect for the emblems and symbols of the military
in spite of what they've been through. He picked up Hannibal's old major
insignia to study it. Hannibal pursed his lips and gave Face a pat on the
back. "I thought I was going to spend my entire life in the army."
Face chuckled. "Didn't work out the way you planned it did it?"
"Nope. But that's okay. Nothing ever turns out the way anyone plans it but I
had a hell of a run."
Face returned the insignias to their proper place. "Yeah, we did. Didn't
we?"
"What are your plans?"
Face shrugged. "I'd rather not say right now because I'm not sure about it
yet."
Hannibal nodded thoughtfully. "Take your time kid but not too much time.
Unlike me, you do have a chance for a bit of a life ahead of you."
Hannibal gave Face a friendly slap on the back and Face gave him a look of
admiration. "Thanks Hannibal."
Face seemed to have frozen in place for a brief time before walking out the
door to meet with Murdock.

Murdock chattered the entire way back to his apartment and Face didn't seem
to mind at all. He was down right enjoying it because Murdock conveyed the
excitement he should be feeling. He was happy but he was lost. Once they
were at Murdock's apartment they began to pack up the few meager belongings
Murdock had. Murdock felt Face's eyes on him for longer and longer periods
of time. Not only that, Face was uncustomarily quiet. Murdock caught Face
staring at him and he threw a handful of T-shirts in the air. "What is with
you? You look like you're memorizing me or somethin'."
Face dropped a handful of music cassettes into a box without taking his eyes
from Murdock. "You promise me something?"
"Why?"
"You've got to promise first."
"Okay. I promise. Now what's been eating you? You should be jumping out of
your skin with joy but you act like you're going to a funeral."
Face glanced away to gather some strength from an unknown source. "You can't
tell anyone till after it's done. Okay? I'm only telling you because I want
you to know why I'm doing it."
"Just tell me Face. You've got my word that I won't tell anyone."
Murdock would come to regret those words as he listened to Face tell him his
plans. "I'm leaving in the morning."
"We all are Face."
"No... I'm leaving by myself, Murdock. I don't want anyone to look for me
after I'm gone."
"What are you talking about? We've been together through thick and thin,
what makes you think it'll be any different tomorrow or the next day?"
"I know that but I can't explain it Murdock. I-I-I need to make it on my own
for a while. I-I need to figure out things for myself. That's the only thing
I can think of Murdock is that I NEED to do this."
Murdock wiped his mouth in frustration and sat heavily on the well-worn
sofa. "How long will you be gone?"
Face waved his hands up in the air and shrugged slightly. "As long as it
takes."
"A week? .. a few weeks, a couple of months? What Face?"
"I ....don't ...know."
With that answer Murdock knew Face was talking about years, maybe even
forever. "Will you at least write to let me know where you are and how you'
re doing?"
Face sat down next to Murdock as if it was painful. He rested his elbows on
his knees and folded his hands in a steeple so that he could rest his
forehead on them. He paused as if he were praying. "It doesn't work that
way, Murdock. I'm only telling you this so that you will know."
Murdock swallowed hard and rubbed his face. "You've had this planned all
along. Didn't you?"
Face lifted his head up to look Murdock in the eyes. "For a while now."
Murdock thought he should be angry but he wasn't. He allowed the tears to
well up around the rim of his eyes but he refused to let them fall. "Why?"
"When you were shot, you told me that you thought of things you wanted to
do, you regretted and stuff like that. ... That happened to me when I was
shot. I wondered what my life could have been if I had done things in a
certain way. Not necessarily right, but differently because I know no one
can get everything right. It's impossible but I want to give it a try. Fall
on my face if I have too a few dozen times but I have to do this on my own.
I have to know if I can live with myself as myself. Whoever that may be. You
understand?"
Murdock shook his head 'no' even though he did understand vaguely what Face
was trying to say. "But we're your family."
Face smiled sadly at this. He always thought of the Team as his family but
this was the first time anyone had voiced it. "I know. But it's time for me
to leave... For me."
Murdock put his arms around Face and began to rock slightly. "You come back
to us when you feel that you are ready but you have to promise me something
too."
Face returned the embrace as tears began to sting his eyes. "What's that?"
"You have to promise first. I did it now it's your turn."
Face rubbed Murdock's shoulder firmly. "Anything."
Murdock satisfied with this withdrew from Face's embrace. "That you will let
us know if you are in trouble."
"I promise... C'mon. Let's finish getting you packed because I don't want BA
mad at you if you're late in the morning."
Murdock did not make a move. Face turned around once he was standing up.
"Murdock I want to ask you something... You can say 'no,' but I have to ask
you to do something for me."
Murdock sniffles a bit and ran the back of his hands beneath his nose.
"Sure, anything you want."
Face smiled sadly. "Hold on here. You don't know what the question is
first."
Murdock looked up expectantly as Face was mulling over something in his
mind. "You know I wouldn't ask you this if it wasn't important to me and
important to you too. "
"What is it Face?"
"There's something you don't know about me and I didn't know how to tell you
or if I could tell you for that matter."
"Face, spit it out. Time isn't what we have much of at the moment."
Face sat back down next to Murdock and looked him directly in the eye. He
was searching for something in Murdock's eyes and then he nodded as if he
was satisfied with what he had found. Then he relaxed and looked over at
Murdock casually. "Murdock, I'm bisexual."
Murdock's eyes widen as his mind raced and Face waited for Murdock to wind
down a bit. "I couldn't tell you before because I didn't feel safe admitting
it to even you. The military doesn't look favorably on gays and bisexuals
and I kept it to myself all these years. I didn't want to risk being court
marshaled on a sexual deviation charge but now that we are officially
discharged from the military, I feel that it's okay to tell you."
Murdock closed his eyes and nodded. It took him several seconds to compose
his thoughts into words. He looked away for a second before returning his
gaze on Face. "I've always suspected but I never knew for sure. .. You want
to have sex with me, is that what you want to ask?"
Murdock didn't seem to be the least bit repulsed by the idea and Face
breathed easily. "No. Not sex. I want to make love to you."
Those words sent chills down Murdock's body. He was going to say 'no,' but
Face said it with such conviction that he had to rethink his decision.
Murdock nodded. "Before I give you my answer, I want to know why do you want
to do 'make love' to me."
Face took in a deep breath and smacked his lips. He thought I was a question
worthy of a very good answer. Ha clasped his hands together loosely. "You
said that the Team was my family. I know it isn't a man thing to discuss
love between men-not sexual of course. You are the only person in my life
that has given me unconditional love. Forgiven every stupid thing I have
ever done no matter how ridiculous and never brought it up again. You've
made me feel loved in every possible way and the only thing that is left is
physically consummating it."
Face had bared his soul in that instant and Murdock understood what it took
Face to say this. Murdock wet his lips nervously. "I-I... n-n-never .."
Face smiled a little. "It's been over twenty years for me so don't worry
about the mechanics of it. Haven't done it since college. We'll figure it
out together. What is your answer?"
There was absolutely no pressure but Face's eyes sparkled with hope. Murdock
did have to admit that he now wanted this too. Especially after reading a
couple of Richter's psychology books on Freudian psychoanalysis. Face's
question reawakened long forgotten fantasies and Face was the center of
these fantasies. Murdock answered Face's question by leaning over to kiss
him timidly on the lips. It was a simple kiss and when Murdock pulled back
and opened his eyes he unexpectedly saw tears falling down Face's cheeks in
rivulets through closed eyes. Murdock smiled sadly. "Yes. My answer is yes."
Face opened his eyes and swallowed hard. "There's one more thing you must
consider before we do this. This is going to be a one-night stand. But I
promise you something else. If we do this, I will never take another man to
bed again. I promise."
The breath got stuck in Murdock's throat as he absorbed what Face told him.
Face explained further. "I've lean more towards the hetero tendencies than I
do towards the homo of being bi. If I have you tonight I could never do it
with another man."
"Face?"
"Yeah Murdock."
"I said, 'yes.' Now are you going to keep blubbering or are you going to do
something about it?"
Face giggled as Murdock wiped the tears from one of Face's cheeks. Murdock
had never seen Face cry, even when he had been shot. Face without further
delay scooted over close to Murdock, slipping his arms around the pilot's
body. Murdock grinned. "Now I get to see why you have all the women falling
at your feet all the time."
Face grinned back as Murdock relaxed in his arms. "I'm very in touch with my
feminine side."
"Are we going to talk all night or what?"
"Why not do both?"
Murdock pulled Face closer and Face kissed him testingly. When Murdock did
not shy away from him as he open mouth kissed him slowly and deliberately.
Murdock had moments of hesitations but quickly recovered. He tried not to
think that by tomorrow Face would be gone but he couldn't help but to think
of it. With these thoughts lingering, Murdock let go slowly and gradually.
He had already had a lifetime as Face's best friend. He was going to devour
every precious second as his lover. Murdock began to kiss the drying tears,
tasting them and savoring them. The tears he cried for him. Face moaned and
his mouth found Murdock's neck eliciting a pleasurable gasp. Face began to
push the leather jacket from the pilot's shoulders so he could get better
access to his neck. Murdock shed the jacket while trying not to distract
Face from what he was doing. Murdock stretched his neck back and Face
alternated from kissing and sucking, from gentle to firm working his way
back up to Murdock's mouth. Murdock was being taken by surprise as Face
firmly smothered his mouth with his. Face removed his cap and began to take
his head between his hands while stroking Murdock's hair lovingly. Murdock
felt a heat of passion rise from his chest that ached with need, desire, and
love. He caught his bearings and pushed Face back on the sofa. Face was
panting breathlessly. Murdock managed a grin and Face slowly grinned too.
Murdock was liking it and he hooked his finger in the plaid shirt pocket and
pulled Murdock down on top of him. "Let it all go Murdock. The more you let
go the better it is."
Murdock found Face's mouth and freely gave him all he could take as he felt
arms caress around him pulling him impossibly closer. By accident or by
design, he could not tell nor did he care, he found himself straddling Face'
s thigh. Face hooked his free leg around Murdock's and he began to move the
thigh that Murdock was on. Murdock broke the kiss and looked down at Face
incredulously. Face smiled. "You like that?"
Face had rubbed a sensitive spot and Murdock involuntarily thrust his hips
forward against the thigh. Murdock blinked back the tears of pure joy. This
was just the beginning. He trusted Face so much that he let down defenses he
never knew were there. He gasped. "This is beyond anything."
"This is how it feels to make love with someone you really love.. That's why
I needed this. I knew it would be this way."
Face waited for Murdock to catch his breath a little more before bringing
his head down to his so that their mouths could be joined again.

Murdock could not remember exactly how they got into his bedroom. Every one
of his senses were overwhelmed and overpowered causing everything to be
blurred. He was swimming in pleasure and Face was trying to drown him in it.
Clothes were shed piece by piece and his mind had slowed down as they were
removing his boxer shorts. Face was already completely undressed and Murdock
wasn't sure what to do next. Once he had stepped out of the shorts Face
pressed himself up against the length of Murdock's body and kissed him. "How
are you doing?"
"The room is spinning a bit."
Face snorted. "Let's rest a bit before we go on."
Face arranged them so that Murdock's back was against Face's chest. Face
began to lazily stroke Murdock's chest and abdomen. "God it's going to be
harder to leave than I thought."
"You can always change your mind Facey."
"I can't stay Murdock."
"Yeah, I know. You can't get a fresh start and figure out who you are with
us hanging around to remind you who you were all the time."
Face hugged Murdock and buried his nose in his hair. "You do understand
then."
"More than I care to. But yeah, I do understand. You need to figure out how
to live your life without us. I see that everyone is going to get on with
their lives. They're heading in different directions already. Sure we'll say
'let's get together for a barbecue next Sunday.' But then the phone calls
will start coming in to cancel. We won't see or spend time together like we
used to do as we're trying out our new lives. At least what you're doing is
more honest and direct... Any idea where you're going?"
"Sorry, can't tell you that because I don't know myself."
Murdock turned over and gave Face a hurt look. Face sighed. "I just don't
know Murdock. And even if I did know I wouldn't tell you because I know you'
d be right on my tail. You're a smart guy. I'm burned out on life and I have
been for sometime. Totally spent and I need to find something to feed this
need I have that only I can satisfy. Call it a sabbatical from my life in
general, if you will. "
Murdock resisted making a comment about that as he began to wonder what Face
was expecting him to do. "I think I got what you're trying to say. I guess I
've been on a sabbatical from life for seventeen years and I need to get
back into the swing of things."
"Good! I want you to go get a life that is worth having. I've always wanted
that for you but I could never figure out why you stuck around us when you
didn't have too."
"You needed me."
"Yeah.. We did need you but now we don't. It's over with and settled."
"I'll miss you like hell."
Face pushed Murdock's hair behind his ears. "I'm already missing you."
Murdock slipped his arm beneath Face's shoulder. "But you have to go, I
know."
"I have a few hundred nasty habits to break and I don't need a witness to my
failures."
Murdock shushed Face. "We all have a few hundred habits to break and even a
few new ones that I'm starting to really like."
Murdock did not want to be reminded of Face leaving anymore. The thought of
him leaving hurt so much and he started to kiss Face again, slipping into
oblivion. With Face's instructing him, he prepared Face and was ready to
push his way inside. Face asked him to do this and he worried about
satisfying him because he was nervous. With some effort he eased himself
deep inside of Face causing him to moan and arched his back to meet Murdock'
s entry. He craned his head to kiss Murdock as Murdock adjusted to the
sensation of being inside a man. He wanted to make it last as long as
possible because he thought the longer he could go on the longer Face would
stay. He had to conserve his energy as long as possible. He had to. He
followed his instincts and adjusted his position to start with slow short
thrusts. It felt good to be connected to Face this way. He lifted his head
to catch a glimpse of the man beneath him and he was captivated by Face's
angelic glow. He couldn't help but to stare at Face's eyes as they fluttered
open to see why Murdock stop kissing him. Murdock began to lengthen his
strokes but kept it slow and gentle. Face moaned through a lazy smile. Their
eyes were locked together and Face changed his position a little and Murdock
began to feel more sensations. Murdock grunted because he was losing his
deliberate control over himself. He thrust became stronger and Face began to
writhe beneath him. He could not resist kissing Face again. He was just so
damn kissable. Face slipped his hands around Murdock's buttocks and pulled
him closer in time to Murdock's thrusts. Murdock silently cursed him for
doing this as he kissed Face deeper. Murdock found he could no longer hold
back and he shuddered as he came. A strained wail escaped from him deep
within as he released every ounce of energy into his lover. He collapsed on
top of Face slick with sweat and Face lay beneath him totally spent.

He barely remembered what happened next. Face had rolled him over onto the
bed and held him and talked to him as he slipped into a deep sleep. He
fought so hard to stay awake but he had no energy reserves to tap into. He
had given it all to Face and he was in heaven in Face's arms. He thought he
had said some things to Face but could not recall anything. Murdock woke
with a start and he looked wildly around the room and next to him. He was
alone. He jumped up out of bed and ran through the small apartment to find
all of Face's luggage gone. With a second look around the living room he
found that the rest of his stuff was already packed, neatly labeled and
ready to go. Face had packed everything during the night. Murdock stood
there, afraid to move and when he became aware of his nakedness, his skin
began to itch with the dried sweat from the night before. Before he left to
take a shower he looked around one last time hoping it was a dream. It wasn'
t.

He quickly showered trying to figure out a way to break the news to BA and
Hannibal. It would be tough on them and they wouldn't understand it like he
did. He wished they had talked more last night. Maybe if he had said no to
the sex.. no .. not sex.... love making, they would have talked more. He
grinned a little through the heartache as he remembered the love-making.
Though he did feel a twinge of guilt for doing it with a man but it was
short lived. He would not regret that, ever. He was proud to be Face's first
male lover since college and will be his last male lover. And they were
truly lovers last night. They've always been lovers and always will be. He
whispered to the air, "I love you Facey. Don't stay away too long."
He quickly dressed and moved to pack up the last few items of his belongings
and found something on the pillow where Face had slept briefly during the
night. It was Face's pardon and military discharge that had a hand written
note to him. 'I'll always be there for you when it counts, Faceman.'

Murdock touched the pardon that was still in the tuxedo pocket to make sure
it was still there. He smiled at how angry BA was when he pulled up
expecting to take him and Face to visit Mama Baracus to find Face had
disappeared. BA got even angrier when he explained to him what Face had done
and called Hannibal up. They stuck around DC a couple of days longer to
search for Face without Murdock's help. Murdock knew he was long gone. It
took him and Hannibal a while to convince BA that Face was on his own,
though Hannibal found it difficult to believe the boy he had help turn into
a man would leave them, especially with no word. Murdock had to remind him
that Face did say goodbye to them shortly after Stockwell had passed out the
pardons and military discharges. Murdock knew Hannibal searched for him
during the first couple of years in secret. Murdock did not worry too much
about Face as long as he did not hear from him because he promised that he
would contact him if he got into trouble. Face was a lot of things and one
of those things was that he was true to his word when he made a promise.

BA poked his head into the door. "It's time to start."
Murdock nodded and smiled broadly. "Let's go make me a husband."
Just as they were stepping out of the room another car pulled into the
church's parking lot. Murdock could not resist a peek out the window. He did
not recognize the car and BA sighed. "C'mon Fool. Everyone's waiting."
"Just a second will you."
He held his breath as he waited for the car door opened. Murdock ran past BA
and out the door. BA looked out the window before deciding not to give
Murdock chase. It was Face. BA went out to the congregational area to settle
the guest down and followed Murdock out side to find Hannibal already there
with them. Murdock and Face were hugging each other. Face asked, "Am I
late?"
Murdock laughed. "You could never be late."
Before they turned each other loose, the other car doors began to open and
children began to pour out of the car. Hannibal, BA and Murdock were
dumbfounded as Face assisted a Vietnamese woman out of the front passenger
seat of the car holding a baby. "Guys, this is my wife, Kimtrang."
Including the baby, Murdock counted five children in all. The two older
children were obviously not Face's children by blood but it was clear that
he was their father. When Murdock's eyes settled on a little four year old
boy. He knew this was Face's kid because he had a jar full of bugs carrying
them around with pride, the same pride Face showed when he had pulled off a
scam successfully. Face took a two year old toddler dressed in her Sunday
best from the girl that Murdock judged to be in her early teens. Face
proudly placed a hand on the older girl's shoulder. "This is Mylien."
Moving to the boy that appeared to be about nine or ten. "This is
Hoang-Anh."
Then straightening up the little boy's hair. "This little guy with the bug
jar is RJ but we call him Chip. Chip hold your sister's hand."
Mylien moved to take her bother's hand and Face turned to the toddler in his
arms with the biggest brown eyes Murdock had ever seen. "This is Samantha
and over there is Ellen."
Face then introduced his family to the team. Face had a few wrinkles and his
temples were graying but he looked like life had treated him very well and
had obviously blessed him. Kimtrang politely reminded Face of why they were
there. "Richard, I think we should go into the church."
Hannibal fished out the ring box and held it out to Face or 'Richard.' "I'll
trade you, kid.. oh just for now. I'll give her back to you after the
ceremony."
Samantha was exchanged for the ring and Murdock nodded politely to what he
assumed to be Mrs. Bancroft because she called him 'Richard'. He had
hundreds of questions but that could wait till after the ceremony. Somehow
Kimtrang looked familiar to him but the look from his future father-in-law
who was smiling patiently at the reunion, hurried him along.

Once Face's family was settled in one of the pews and Murdock and Face took
their place in front of the alter. Face turned Murdock around and adjusted
his tie a little and Murdock felt like everything was now complete. The
wedding would go off without a hitch as the wedding march began to play on
an out of tune piano and Murdock turned towards the aisle to wait for his
bride. Face and Murdock exchanged looks, studying each other. Seeing that
the other was very happy with what life had given them at last. The bride on
her father's arm was stunning. The gown flowed around her freely and she was
without a veil and her dark rich hair was in a very loose French braid with
daisies and baby's breath crowning her head. Murdock glanced back to see
Face's approval and then locked eyes with his wife to be. He did not take
her eyes from her except to turn around to accept the ring from Face. Donna
smiled at Face in appreciation for making it to the wedding because she knew
how important his being there was to Murdock. Face was relieved to see that
she loved his friend with her very soul as she returned her attention to
Murdock and the minister.

She struck Face as a woman who would be happy growing her own vegetables and
imagined her hanging around the natural herbal remedy section in the
bookstores. Face suppressed a chuckle as he envisioned her trying to feed a
meat and potatoes sort of guy like Murdock tofu and bean sprouts. But then..
that's what Kimtrang had done to him. It took him a while to adjust to the
traditional Vietnamese cooking that she was accustomed to cooking and he
wasn't any worse for it. But every now and then he'd take all the kids out
for a nice fatty cheeseburger and greasy fries to Kimtrang's dismay. She'd
always forgive him when the children would come to their father's defense.
He looked over to see his wife and children. Samantha was going through
Hannibal's tuxedo pockets as he held her and was sitting next to Maggie.
Hannibal was very amused by this and decided that this was definitely Face's
kid. He looked over to BA who was sitting there starring at him as if not
believing his eyes. Next to him was a pregnant woman holding a three year
old boy that definitely resembled BA. Mama Baracus was dabbing tears next to
the woman that Face assumed was BA's wife. Face thought the A-Team has
experienced a population boom and judging from the way Murdock and Donna was
looking at each other, they would waste no time in joining the ranks of
parenthood. Face's gaze settled on Kimtrang.

She was a vision to him sitting there in her silk willow green traditional
Vietnamese dress and every hair in its place in a neat knot at the base of
her neck. When the minister announced that Donna and Murdock were now
husband and wife, Face turned in time to see Murdock kiss Donna. They were
stealing kisses at the wedding reception until Donna's father stole her away
to start the traditional first dance where Murdock would have to cut in half
way through the dance before everyone else joined them. Hannibal returned
Samantha as promised and she wanted to play. Face retrieved a toy from the
diaper bag to distract her as they watched Murdock have the first dance with
his wife. Chip and BA's son, Troy were playing quite noisily in the corner
and Kimtang hovered close to Maggie and Mama Baracus, holding the infant
Ellen, getting acquainted with the women. His older children were outside
playing with the older children of other guests. Hannibal could not hold
back the questions any longer. "Where the hell have you been after this
time."
"Uh, Hannibal I'd appreciate it if you'd watch your language around the
children.... I've been pretty much everywhere. I even managed to get back to
Vietnam but mostly I've been in Vancouver where I ran into and got
reacquainted with Kimtrang and her family."
Hannibal looked apologetically at the little girl in Face's arms and then
back at Face. "What were you doing during all this time? And why couldn't
you at least let us know where you were?"
Face shrugged but remained calm under Hannibal's scrutiny that would have
sent into a fidgeting fit years ago. "Figuring out a lot of things. Starting
a family. I got a little busy and I wasn't sure if I could handle going back
into old territory."
Hannibal noted Face's preparedness for the drilling he had anticipated from
them all. It was as if Face had found a comfortable spot within himself and
nothing was going to move him from it. Hannibal conceded to Face's new
position. "So Face, you say reacquainted with Kimtrang. She's very lovely by
the way and looks like she has everything in hand. When did you first meet
her?"
Face laughed to himself and Hannibal wondered what was so funny. "I'm sorry
Hannibal ... I haven't been called 'Face' since I left Langley."
"Do you want me to call you something else?"
Face adjusted his hold on his daughter who was getting tired, shook his
head. "No. It's like reuniting with an old friend. Everyone calls me Richard
Bancroft now. It was the name I was born with."
"Sounds respectable."
"Hard to believe I am respectable now, doesn't it?"
Hannibal put his arm around Face's shoulder and gave him a friendly swat on
the back. "So what's your story kid? I'm not ashamed to admit that I was
worried sick over you since your disappearance."
Samantha was now asleep on Face's shoulder and he gently rubbed her back. "I
know."
Mama Baracas moved over to them. "Let's see that sleeping angel. If you
like, I could take her for you and lay her down. There's a room with a
couple of cribs in the back."
"Thank you Mama."
Face carefully handed his daughter over to a blushing Mama Baracas and Face
leaned over and kissed the old woman on the cheek. "Ooooh, you are just as
smooth as ever. I ought to smack you for worrying BA like you did but you
are forgiven. I now have five more grandchildren to spoil. Isn't she just a
doll Hannibal?"
Hannibal grinned at the sleeping child in her 'grandmother's' arms. He
studied her for a moment looking for Face in her features. It took someone
who was very familiar with the Vietnamese people to notice that she had
Caucasian parentage. Face's features were very prominent once he looked
passed the dark hair and Asian hue. "Yes she is. You're going to have
problems keeping the boys at bay with this one when she gets another twelve
years on her."
Face groaned. "I'm already having that problem with Mylien. I guess its pay
back time. She already has boys hanging around the house all the time but
she has a good head on her shoulders. I got lucky in that respect"
Hannibal was very amused with Face's dilemma. Mama Baracus stroked the
little girl's hair. "Well you have a while before you have to worry about
this one yet. The little ones are in the nursery down the hall and to the
left if you want to check in on them."
"As long as you're with them I have nothing to worry about Mama."
Mama Baracus sniggered as she turned to take Samantha to the nursery. "So
smooth."
Face looked around the room for his wife to see that Mrs. Baracus had
obviously confiscated his other baby girl too. He smiled at her when she
looked in his direction and she returned the smile. Then out of nowhere
Mylien appeared before him. "Daddy, dance with me."
Hannibal waved Face away. "You heard the little lady. We'll talk some more
later."

As he watched Mylien lead Face to the dance floor he marveled at how well
Face was doing. He'd half expected to get a phone call in the middle of the
night to go to some obscure little town to identify his body over the years.
Now he shows up out of the blue, with a family the size of the Waltons and
appears unshakable. He looked at his wife, Kimtrang and decided that she was
responsible for all of this. Judging from the ao dai, the traditional
Vietnamese women's attire, she was wearing, Face was fairly well off
financially. Mylien was wearing an equally expensive looking contemporary
party dress.

Hannibal thought there was something familiar about Mylien and he couldn't
place his finger on it. BA walked up behind Hannibal, offering him a cup of
punch as he watched Face dance with his stepdaughter and Murdock dance with
his wife. BA commented. "Funny isn't it?"
"Which part?"
Hannibal investigated the punch in the tiny cup and decided not to drink it.
BA pointed at Mylien. "She looks exactly like her Mama did when she was her
age."
BA sighed at Hannibal's visible confusion. "You remember the families who
lived just outside the base in Da Nang? Kimtrang is Dohm-Phu's daughter. She
used to follow Face around all the time."

Hannibal choked on a giggle as he placed the names to faces. Face hired Dohm
's wife, Le-Mai to do their laundry, bought fresh eggs and vegetables from
them, and also paid Dohm and his sons to craft metal trinkets to sell as
souvenirs. He remembered how annoyed Face was to have a thirteen-year-old on
his heels all the time every time he went into the village to do business
with her father. Her father would scold her constantly for behaving so
shamefully.

Hannibal glanced at BA. "Looks like she finally caught up to him."

She certainly grew up to be an exquisite woman. She almost could pass for
royalty with the way she was conducting herself now. Hannibal looked at
Kimtrang. He could see the hardship she had endured in her eyes and her
stance. He could guess her story all too easily because he had heard it time
after time from other Vietnamese people who had made their way to the North
American countries.

When they first met her family she had already experienced eleven years of
living in a war torn country. She had never known peace in her short life at
that time and yet she still smiled. Endured bombing strikes upon her village
time after time because they were close to an American base. They helped her
family bury her grandmother and a younger sister who were killed in one
bombing strike. Face comforted a very frightened girl along with her
remaining sister and her brothers and after many weeks, he managed to get
her to smile for him once again. Hannibal imagined after that final bombing
on Da Nang, her family must have been displaced and ended up in a refugee
camp where things were much worse. He wondered how many years did the proud
Dohm-Phu had to take the conditions of the refugee camps before his paper
work went through so he could leave the country.

He and his family could not stay because in the eyes of the North, he had
helped the Americans-the enemy. They would not overlook his actions. It must
have been very bewildering for them all to move to a different country
unlike anything they ever experienced before and start all over again with
nothing. Hannibal figured that Kimtrang was a widow when Face came along
because it would shame her family to get a divorce and she was still with
her family. How Face met up with her and her family, he could only speculate
and he will probably soon be hearing about how they all came together when
the wedding reception wound down a little.

When Hannibal caught her eye he raised his cup of punch to Kimtrang and she
smiled at him then continued talking to Maggie and Jessica, BA's wife. Even
as a little girl, while following Face around in the village, Kimtrang had a
dignity about her that seemed ancient. After a couple of dances with Mylien
she was waved over by a group of her new friends and Face returned next to
Hannibal. BA smiled as Face shook his hand firmly. "It's really good to have
you back. You are back, right? No more hiding?"
Face shook his head. "No more hiding. Mama has adopted my kids as her
grandchildren."
"I know."
"Speaking of my kids. It's a little too peaceful around here.... Okay, where
's Chip?"
As if on cue there was a scream at the other side of the room. Face held his
finger up in the air and under his breath he said, "There he is. Excuse me,
I need to go get my son."

The music stopped and everyone focused their attention in the direction of
the scream that was continuing. Hannibal thought it sounded like a girl and
followed Face to the center of the gathering crowd. Sure enough Chip was at
the center of the commotion. The jar was open and was sitting on the floor
and Chip was trying to capture a few katydids that were hoping around
frantically. One of the large grasshopper type bugs was attached to a
seven-year old girl's sock. She was screaming and trying to kick it off and
Chip was giggling up a storm. Murdock and Donna made their way over to the
center. Donna mirthfully shook her head in amusement. "Vivian! You silly
girl. You've seen a katydid before."
Donna calmly collected the bug from the girl's sock and put it back in the
jar. Murdock , Face and Chip captured the remaining bugs. Vivian sniffled
and wiped her eyes. "But I didn't have one that big jump on me before."
Murdock carefully closed the lid to the jar once the last katydid was
securely inside, handed the jar back over to the little culprit who had let
them out. He then checked Vivian's sock and pronounced, "It didn't mean to
scare you. It just thought you were very nice and wanted to be your friend.
It must have been a very special katydid to want to be your friend."
Vivian looked at Murdock suspiciously. "You aren't talking stupid again are
you Uncle Murdock?"
Face cracked up and Donna giggled. "Yes, Viv... Uncle Murdock's being silly
again. However that's no excuse for you to be screaming like that. Let's go
and wash your face."
Face took Chip by the hand. "Before Vivian leaves, Chip has something he
wants to say to you."
Chip cocked his head up at his father. "They were only bugs?"
Hannibal and BA exchanged a knowing look when they heard the unmistakable
'Face' whine in his voice as he pleaded with his father.
Face with a warning tone said, "Chi-ip."
The boy caught a look from his mother standing behind his father and he
twitched his mouth to the side. "I'm sorry about my bugs. I won't let them
out again."
Kimtrang gave Chip a look of approval and the crowd dispersed seeing that
the crisis was over. Donna gave Murdock a smooch. "My feet are tired, I'm
going to go and sit down and socialize with the ladies before we cut the
cake."
"Now we can't have you getting tired on our wedding night, can we, Pooh
Bear?"
Donna took Vivian by the hand to take her to the ladies room and then to a
place where she could sit down but not before Murdock swatted her on the
rump. Donna looked back and threw her leg back to affectionately kick
Murdock's thigh. She revealed that she was wearing neon sky blue high top
sneakers on her feet. Face raised an eyebrow at this and Murdock shrugged.
"Something new and blue."
"You got them for her didn't you?"
"Well, we had to match."
Face was afraid to look down at Murdock's feet but couldn't help himself.
Murdock was wearing a brand new pair of black high top sneakers. "Not all of
us has changed like you have, Richard."
Face grinned from ear to ear at hearing his real name coming from his best
friend's mouth. "Chip, this is your Uncle Murdock."
"He looks funny, Daddy."
BA giggled. "I like this kid."
Murdock picked Chip up and made a face. "Well, I am funny in a lot of ways.
Did your Daddy ever tell you about my invisible dog?"
Chip shook his head and Murdock gave Face a look of total insult that caused
Chip to laugh. Murdock whined. "How could you not tell him about Billy? Now
that just aint right."
BA took Chip from Murdock and set him on his feet. "The little brother doesn
't need any ideas. Okay Chip, let's go find Troy and some of your new
friends and we'll race those bugs of yours."
Face smiled in appreciation of BA's creative way of getting rid of the
katydids as Chip cheered.
Murdock and Hannibal watched BA take the little boy outside with his jar of
bugs. Once they were out of sight, they glanced at each other and knew
exactly what the other was thinking. Face must have been exactly like Chip
is when he was a boy. The boy was very appropriately nick-named. He was a
'Chip' off the old block. Murdock draped an arm around Face's shoulder and
steered him over to an empty corner and Hannibal followed them. "I can't say
how happy I am that you made it. It wouldn't have been the same without
you."
"Wouldn't have missed it for the world, you know that."
"Yes I do. You always keep your promises."
Murdock pulled out Face's pardon and discharge papers and handed them to
him. "I believe these are yours. You now deserve them."
Face was confused and he unfolded the papers. He sighed as he read the note
that he had written years ago. 'I'll always be there for you when it counts,
Faceman.' He had completely forgotten them. "Thank you."
Murdock smiled and slapped Face on the back firmly. "Look at you! You look
deliriously happy, got a wife and a whole litter of kids. How did you pull
it off?"
Face nervously glanced at Hannibal and rubbed his mouth a little. "Long
story short-I wandered around the country for a while. Even went to Asia and
wandered around there for a while and studied eastern religion, which didn't
work out too well."
"Doing the Kung Fu thing, huh Grasshopper? David Caridine would be
proud. ... Go on."
Face chuckled in light of what chip had done moments earlier. "Not
Grasshopper. More like slimy slug."
"You are NOT a slug."
Face ignored Murdock and continued with his story. "Whenever I was in the
states I usually ended up in the Vietnamese communities. That's how I met up
with Kimtrang again. I was in Vancouver when she and her mother spotted me
walking around looking for work.... I've given up scamming altogether.
Le-Mai insisted that I speak with ol' Dohm-Phu. They put me up when they
figured out that I was broke and put me to work in their silversmith shop.
When they figured out that they couldn't teach me the trade, they let me do
what I do best... Sales. I helped out Kimtrang with her kids as much as
possible and when Dohm figured out that we were falling for each other, in
an off hand sort of way told me to get my act together or he wouldn't give
her his permission to marry me. The entire family made me feel apart of
them. They all kinda pitched in to straighten me out and make an honest man
of me."
Murdock chuckled. "It would take the whole lot of them to do that, wouldn't
it?"
Face gave an embarrassed grin. "More like the entire neighborhood."
"You okay now?"
Murdock pointed to his head and Face nodded slowly. "Everything's in working
order, Murdock. I hit rock bottom when Dohm-Phu denied permission for us to
get married when we asked the second time. I knew I had to come to terms
with a lot of things before I could be Kimtrang's husband and a proper
father to Mylien and Haong.-Anh. ... Ol' Dohm should have been a
psychiatrist because once I asked him what I wasn't doing right to meet
whatever the requirements were for approval, he told me ... Boy did he tell
me as only Dohm could. And he also told me how to fix those problems....
Funny thing about Dohm-Phu,.... it turns out that he is some Vietnamese
witch doctor of sorts."
Murdock sniggered at the idea of Face being subjected to being in the care
of a witch doctor but he had to admit that he liked the results. He couldn't
wait for BA to hear this.
Haong-Anh walked up to the men and waited patiently for Face's attention.
Face smiled at the boy and gave him his attention immediately. "Dad, may I
go with some kids to the store on the corner? I want a Slurpee."
Face pulled out a few dollars and handed it to the nine-year old. "Get one
for your sister, too."
"What about Chip?"
"Chip doesn't need the extra sugar. Be sure you don't let him see you with
it and tell your sister that too."
Haong-Anh took the money and smiled very happily. "Thanks Dad."
"Be careful if you have to cross the street. This is LA not Vancouver."
"Yes Dad."
Hannibal looked thoughtfully as if a mystery about his old friend, Dohm, was
cleared up as he watched Face with his oldest boy.. He remembered how he
felt in the Dohm-Phu's presence when he first met him. He felt like he was
looking through him. He also thought it would be odd for Face asking for
permission from the woman's father to marry her. Murdock watched Haong-Anh
run outside to meet with his friends in admiration of what Face had done for
Kimtrang's children from another marriage. "So are you now a witch doctor in
training?"
Face took offense at this and Murdock quickly apologized. "I'm sorry about
that Face. It just seems a little ... Bizarre."
"I know but Dohm did give us his blessing and the rest is history. We were
married about a week after he'd given his blessing. The blessing must have
worked because nine months to the day we were married, Chip was born. Now I
manage the entire family's finances and when I'm not doing that, I'm
involved with everything else."
"I see."
"Enough about me for now. What about you two? Donna is evidently someone
very special and I can tell that you're very much in love with her."
"I'm crazy about her and she's just as crazy about me."
Face looked Murdock in the eye and for a brief moment they knew what the
other were thinking. How they knew how the other knew they've found the
loves of their lives. For a brief moment they both remembered their last
night together. How they felt truly loved. That was real love for both of
them and they've both used that night as a comparison. They could not settle
anything for less than what they shared during that night. They both knew
they had found the right women because the women made them feel similar if
not better than they did during those brief, fleeting hours as lovers.
Murdock understood better than anyone as to why Face subjected himself to
Dohm-Phu's approval. Kimtrang must be something extraordinary for Face to do
that.

Face was satisfied that Murdock regretted nothing about that night and
tucked the pardon Murdock had given back to him into his jacket pocket.
"That's good to hear. ... Hannibal? What about you and Maggie? I see you two
are together."
Hannibal smiled. "Yeah. We're living together. Marriage is for the young. We
're comfortable with things the way they are and we want to keep it that
way."
Face nodded appreciatively. "There is something to be said for being
married..I want to properly introduce you to Kimtrang. I'll be right back in
a minute"
Murdock tucked his hands in his trouser pockets and grinned as Face went to
get his wife. "He is great isn't he?"
Hannibal nodded in agreement. "I can hardly believe my eyes. I kind of
expected not to ever see him again."
"Yeah, I know. You don't need to worry about him anymore."
Hannibal looked at Murdock curiously and Murdock shrugged a little as
Kimtrang and Face approached them. Face had he hand resting comfortably on
the small of her back, never moving it. "Colonel Smith, Captain Murdock, it
is a pleasure to see you once again."
Murdock grinned. She wasn't soft spoken like most Vietnamese women had known
in the past. She carried an air of authority of a woman of important
standing in her community and wasn't afraid to display it. "We've been
kicked out of the military, we're no longer Colonel and Captain. Just call
me Murdock."
"And me Hannibal."
Kimtrang inclined her head a little to indicate that she respected their
wishes. Hannibal asked, "How is your father?"
"He is very well, thank you. You must come for a visit. Father would like
your company once again."
"I'd like that very much."
"I will tell him you are doing well and have Richard make the arrangements
for your visit."
"Yes, ma'am."
Face seemed to stand a couple of inches taller with pride while standing
next to her. Hannibal was beginning to see that she was the source of Face's
newfound inner strength. "Yes, you all must come up and see Dohm-Phu. He
wouldn't forgive me if I didn't make the arrangements as soon as possible."
Murdock shrugged. "I'll talk to Donna. We'll be getting back from our
honeymoon in three weeks. Give me your address and phone number before we go
and we'll drop in on you on our way back. We're taking a plane up to the
Alaskan wilderness to camp out. Vancouver is one of our stops on the way
back for refueling."
Kimtrang said, "Then you must stay a few days with us. Richard has spoken of
you often and very fondly. It would be good for you as two good friends get
reacquainted once again."
"With it put that way I don't think Donna could refuse. And speaking of my
wife, I think I should go find her to get ready to cut the cake. If you
would excuse me, I'll catch you a little later."
Kimtrang smiled as Murdock left them. "I must check on the children,
Richard. You stay and talk with Hannibal."
Hannibal could tell that Face wanted to check on the kids too but more
importantly he thought that Face wanted to spend a few moments with Kimtrang
alone. Not that he could blame him. It was only natural for a man to want to
spend as much time alone with an exquisite creature like Kimtrang as he
could. "That's okay. I need to talk to Maggie and see if she has our hotel
keys because if I had it I think I may have lost it."
Face was amused by this obvious ploy to free him to go with his wife to
check on Samantha and Ellen with her. With his hand still on the small on
her back he turned to walk next to her. "I'll talk to you later Hannibal. We
plan on being in town for a couple of days before we fly back to Vancouver.
Maybe we can spend the day together?"
"Okay kid, or better yet. Why don't you pack up the kids and drive up to Bad
Rock with Maggie and me. I'm sure Maggie will love it."
"Sounds like a plan."
Kimtrang nodded her approval and both Hannibal and Face smiled. Hannibal
watched them head to the nursery, side by side. Face slipped his arm
comfortable around Kimtrang's waist cozily and kissed her on the temple as
they made their way through the room. Somehow calling Face 'kid' didn't fit
right anymore. Kimtrang was exactly what Face or rather Richard needed.
Somehow 'Face' didn't seem to fit him anymore either. Hannibal thought he'd
work out what to call Face later. He now had to go find Maggie and tell her
they were going to have a house full of company and Chip for a day or two.
Hopefully more.

Face and Kimtrang entered the nursery to find Samantha playing with some
toys and a few other toddlers. She still had sleep in her eyes and Mama
Baracus was holding Ellen. Face took Ellen from her along with a cloth
diaper from the diaper bag after acknowledging another elderly woman who was
assisting in looking after the younger children. "Are they behaving?"
"They're as good as gold."
"Thanks for watching them, Mama... How's Daddy's little angel? Huh?"
"I don't mind it a bit. I just changed her. I looked in the bag and I couldn
't find a bottle. I take it that she's not a bottle-fed baby. There's
another room down the hall for some privacy so you can feed the little one,
Kimtrang."
Kimtrang smiled politely. "Thank you, Mrs. Baracus."
"No need to thank me, child. I'm glad to see there are some people in this
world don't do the convenient thing and buy that powdered formula gunk. You
go on now. The little 'un is getting' hungry."
Face smiled at Kimtrang as she gave Mama Baracus a look of agreement before
taking her infant daughter from her father's arm. Seeing that Mama Baracus
and the other elderly woman were really enjoying caring for the infants and
toddlers Kimtrang said, "We will bring her back."
Kimtrang spoke a few words of Vietnamese that caused Samantha to look up at
her parents for a moment and then she returned to playing.

Following Mama Baracus's directions they found the room and Face leaned
against the door that did not have a lock to ensure his wife the privacy she
required. He loved watching her breast-feed. He watched her sit down and
cradle their youngest close to her. When Ellen was securely attached to a
breast0, Face sighed. "I'm glad you made me come. I wasn't sure if I'd feel
comfortable around them anymore but it's like no time has passed between
us."
"You know you wanted to come. They are you're true friends. Why would that
change over time?"
"I guess I've changed too much and I thought that would be a problem."
Kimtrang chuckled knowingly. "You haven't changed since I met you when I was
a child. Your heart was good and still is good. It's what is in your mind
that has changed. Your friends have hearts like yours. There is no time
between hearts that are alike. That is why you are able to pick up and
continue as if no time has passed."
Face folded his arms and repositioned himself against the door, nodding at
his wife's explanation to how he was feeling. "What do you think of staying
here for about a week?"
Kimtrang smiled knowingly. "I like Dr. Sullivan, Mrs. Baracus and Mama
Baracus. I would like to talk with them more. Perhaps you, Hannibal and Mr.
Baracus could take all of the older children camping? I will call father
tomorrow and tell them we will be staying a few more days."
Face raised his eyebrows and leaned forward. In an amused tone of voice, he
said, "Darling, they are family. You can call them by their familiar names."
Kimtrang blushed a little and Face smiled. It was seldom that he'd see he
wife embarrassed. He thought she was at her most beautiful at moments when
she was caught off guard like this. To save her from further embarrassment,
he directed their attention elsewhere. "When do you think we can start
trying for another baby?"
Face smiled broadly at Kimtrang's exasperated response. Seeing that he was
serious she sighed. "Let's wait till Samantha and Ellen are both out of
diapers before we start trying. I would like to see the washing machine free
of diapers for a little while."
"I do my share of laundry."
"I know you do and father thinks it's strange to see a man do woman's work.
I would like more children too but wouldn't you like to sleep through the
night without having to wake up for two o'clock feedings and changing
diapers in the middle of the night for a little while."
"Hmmmm... I could think of a few other things I'd like to do at two o'clock
in the morning."
"I'd like that too but we can not do that if we are both tired from
attending the children throughout the night, now can we?"
Face nodded thoughtfully because she did have a good point. "Guess you're
right about that and I think I need to give BA and Murdock a chance to catch
up with us."
"You're being sarcastic again."
Face shrugged. "Thought that was one of the things you loved about me?"
"I love you for you. The sarcasm I think we could do without most of the
time."
"I love everything about you. Even your tendencies to be too serious at
times."
Kimtrang sat motionless for a moment staring in Face's eyes before removing
the baby from her breast and closing her dress. Face positioned the cloth
diaper on his shoulder and took Ellen from her mother. He began to
soothingly rub the infant's back to burp her as her mother sorted out her
dress. Kimtrang watched her husband do this and thought she was lucky to
have such a good man to want to take such an active role in the babies. She
walked up to him and caressed his free shoulder and he leaned over to give
her a kiss. "Your friends must be waiting."

They've returned to the reception in time to see Donna playfully feed
Murdock a bite of cake getting frosting on his nose. In turn, he tapped his
frosting coated fingers on her nose. Donna took another piece of cake mashed
up against Murdock's mouth. Kimtrang raised an eyebrow at Face at this
playful display. BA stepped forward to stop the two before there was no cake
left for the rest of them to eat. Murdock and Donna were laughing themselves
silly as they took napkins and started cleaning up each other. When waiters
started passing out champagne, Face sighed. It was his duty as best man to
make the first toast as everyone looked to him. With baby against his
shoulder and glass in hand he searched carefully for the right words. "For
the first time in my life I'm almost at a loss for words."
The crowd chuckled and Face pointed out the obvious. "But I said 'almost.'"
More chuckling and Face sighed. "Murdock, what can I say that hasn't been
said before?"
Murdock smiled bashfully and Donna hugged him. Face smiled bigger. "We've
been through thick and thin in the most impossible situations any of us can
imagine and yet you always were quick to make light of it no matter how
dismal things seem. It is a rare thing to find a friend who has been as
generous, kind and loyal as you've been to your friends and I couldn't be
more proud to be counted among your friends. I bless you and Donna, with as
much happiness as I have been blessed with and more. I'll always be there
for you when it counts, just as you've been there for me."
Murdock chuckled and turned to Donna. "Think you can handle five kids?"
Donna giggled against Murdock's shoulder as everyone raised their glasses to
them and when the laughter subsided everyone took a drink in honor of the
newlyweds. Murdock smiled at Face knowingly and sighed. Face nodded in
appreciation of his best friend. After the series of toasting was over
Murdock and Donna made their way past the well wishers to where Face and
Kimtrang was. Donna grinned mirthfully. "That was a lovely toast. Thank
you."
"Uhm... Rich, were going to be leaving soon to start our honeymoon.."
Face smiled and carefully fished out a business card from his dress jacket
without disturbing the baby. "Here.. look us up when you get into Vancouver.
We would love to have you for as long as you can stay.. By the way. What do
you do for a living these days?"
Murdock accepted the card. "Thanks. I'm a flight instructor and I teach
stunt flying on the side. That's how we met."
Murdock took Donna's hand and kissed the back of it. Donna lovingly smoothed
Murdock's ever thinning hair and Murdock turned to his best friend. "...
uhm.. Face?.... You're through running?"
Face closed his eyes and nodded slowly. "Yes, I'm through running. See you
in three weeks?"
"Count on it."
Murdock fingered Face's infant daughter's hair and grinned. "Don't have
anymore kids before then. Give me and Donna a chance to catch up to the two
of you."
"Okay."

Face watched Murdock and Donna get pelted with rice as they made their way
to a waiting car with a train of Murdock's old high top sneakers tied to the
bumper. Donna threw her bouquet of daisies and baby's breath behind her and
Mylien caught it. Face groaned. "Oh, my God."
Kimtrang giggled as Mylien ran up to her parents to show them the bouquet.
"They're beautiful aren't they Daddy?"
Face watched the train of old high top sneakers take their final beating and
then turn to look into Kimtrang's eyes. "Yes they are, sweetheart. Mylien,
take your sister to the nursery. I want to dance with your mother."
Mylien hefted her infant sister carefully and rolled her eyes. Halfway to
the nursery Mylien told her baby sister. "I know that look. That's how you
and Samantha got started."

The end.


I Will Never Be The Same by Melissa Etheridge

So you walked with me for a while
Bared your naked soul
And you told me of your plan
How you would never let them know
In the morning of the night
You cried a long lost child
And I tried on I tried to hold you
But you were young
And you were wild

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

Secrets of your life
I never wanted for myself
But you guarded them like a lie
Placed up on the highest shelf
In the morning of the night
When I woke to find you gone
I knew your distant devil
Must be draggin' you along

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

And you swore that you were bound for glory
And for wanting you had no shame
But I loved you
And then I lost you
And I will never be the same

 


I Will Never Be The Same by Live Lady Roadkill

 

 


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