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This page last viewed: 2017-04-25 and has been viewed 3200 times
Author: Major Brat a.k.a. Kre17
Copyright: Kristina Eye 2001
Disclaimer: I do not own the A-Team. And probably never will. <sigh and sob>
Warning: M/M consensual sex.
Pairing: Murdock and Face
Author's Note: To my never-ending support group and dearest roomies a girl could ever have, Glenda, Cath, and Meryn. This story would not be possible without their ever present *pestering* for slash. In a loving way of course. You all are my sole source of inspiration and I'm eternally grateful, as always, for your kind words. This is for them.
Songs used in this story that I don't own or take credit for: Every Rose Has It's Thorn by Poison/Don't Cry by Guns-N-Roses/Unforgiven and Unforgiven II by Metallica. The poems are my own works-Shards of Glass and A Lover's Sonnet.
//We both lie silently still
In the dead of the night
Although we both lie close together
We feel miles apart inside
Was it somethin' I said or somethin' I did
Did my words not come out right
Tho' I tried not to hurt you
Tho' I tried
But I guess that's why they say
Every Rose Has It's Thorn
Just like every night has it's dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every Rose Has It's Thorn//
Murdock sat staring off into the distance from his spot on the beach. The sun was slowly setting, casting its last flicker of life along the horizon. Deep reds and oranges slowly fading to allow the cool blues and twilight purples to paint the night sky. Murdock sighed and rubbed his eyes. Things were going downhill for him. He felt so alone now, so lost, so much the fool.
Sane is such a complex word. Murdock tried to push it out of his head. He knew deep down that Stockwell had been the one to get him released from the VA hospital. Deemed sane. Safe to be able to freely interact with the general public. It wasn't all it was cracked up to be. He felt less and less a part of the team with each new mission. He felt as if he had lost all sense of purpose. Since the others had started working for Stockwell, he hadn't been a major priority. They called on him when needed. But since his false release (damn Stockwell) he felt as if he couldn't do anything on his own, let alone right. What good was being sane if he couldn't do it on his own? He knew the others could sense something was up. His usual joking manner had begun to dissipate.
He knew he wasn't acting himself. He couldn't stand General Hunt Stockwell. He took to many risks with them. What would have happened if he and Frankie hadn't been able to get the bullets switched? He had almost lost them that day. Seeing them in that cell...it had hurt him. He had nightmares for weeks after that. He was on a boat going away from the island. He could hear the shots clearly and when he turned to look back, the water had turned to blood. Frankie was sitting beside him, just staring straight ahead. And the body bags...how many times had he seen them in `Nam? Too many to count. But to think the Team had been in them. Bloody dog tags. He had even dreamed of bloody dog tags being handed to him. They looked like they were bleeding on their own, not just covered in blood, but bleeding it. No chance at escape from Stockwell in sight. Who's to say Stockwell wouldn't turn them in when he was through with them? Running from the past, running from the VC, running from the military, running from whoever was bent on Stockwell's destruction, always moving, never a moments rest.
Murdock turned is eyes to the stars. "How much longer until we can finally stop running!?" He shouted, letting the anger and fear rise to the surface. The only answer he got was a cool burst of wind off of the quickly rising tide. He stood up and walked to the shoreline. He watched as the water tugged at the sand, pulling it out to the depths of the ocean. Metaphorical? Was the same thing happening to him? Was he slowly being pulled away from the Team?
"Murdock? What are you still doing down here?" asked Face, slowly making his way down a sand dune. His normal blonde hair shining metallic silver in the moonlight.
**Have I been so lost in thought that I didn't even notice the sun had disappeared?** Murdock turned back to look out at the water. "I'll be up in a few, Facey. Just thinkin' about some stuff." Murdock was hoping Face would go on back to the beach house, but it didn't happen. He glanced sideways to see his best friend and lover staring out at the same spot he was, hands shoved deep into his jean pockets. Light and shadow accented Face's strong jaw. Murdock fought off the urge to trace it with his fingertips.
"You've been thinking too much lately, H.M. Care to clue me in?"
Murdock felt hot tears begin to swell. He squeezed his eyes shut, forbidding them from flowing. "Just adjusting to all of this." He couldn't turn to look at Face, afraid his resolve would slip away entirely. Murdock couldn't tell him what he had decided to do. It hurt him too much to even think it let alone speak it out loud.
"Murdock, come back to the house with me. Everyone's fast asleep. It's been so long since we've had the chance to be alone together."
As much as Murdock wanted to be with Face, he dreaded it. Slow and sensual love-making, sweet whispered words of love, riding out wave upon wave of unbound passion. Tonight it would be wonderful, but tomorrow....
Murdock's thoughts were interrupted when Face moved directly in front of him. "Murdock? Where are you? Where is your mind taking you?" Face reached up and gently grasped his lover's chin, searching for an answer in those deep brown eyes.
Murdock never answered. He pulled Face against him, drew him in for a kiss. He stopped just centimeters from Face's lips. "Ssshh. No more questions." Murdock gently kissed Face, tentatively at first, wonderful lingering kisses. Then he was drawing Face's bottom lip between his own, running his tongue along the soft flesh. Face sighed and wrapped his arms around Murdock, drawing him closer. So much warmth in something as simple as an embrace. Arms holding fast, enclosing each other in perfect love.
Face pulled back, smiling as he took Murdock's hand in his and pulled him back towards the beach house. Murdock returned the smile, but inside it killed him. He didn't deserve this kind of love and devotion. Murdock though of putting his plan on the back burner for another day or so. He knew he couldn't. If he didn't do it tonight, he never would. It would be hard, but only harder if he waited.
Anger again tugged at the back of his mind. This was all Stockwell's fault. He would hate him forever and eternity for all the pain... he stopped those thoughts and turned his attention back to Face. He began re-memorizing every detail. Like he could forget, they were emblazoned in his mind for all eternity. But memories fade even when you don't want them too.
Once his mind came back to reality, Murdock found himself heading towards Face's room in the beach house. They were moving as quietly as possible, not wanting to wake the others. Face pulled Murdock into his room. This whole "vacation" had been Stockwell's idea.
**Forget Stockwell right now,** Murdock yelled at his brain. **Focus here!**
The door had barely shut before he pulled Face to him, kissing him deeply, reveling in the feel of Face's tongue against his. Soft lips, sweet mouth, moist heat. Face broke the kiss and moved to nip along the pilot's throat, a major pleasure center he had found on their first night of love-making. He ran his tongue in a circle then lightly blew across it. Murdock shivered in spite of himself. He reached down to unbutton Face's shirt, nimble fingers extracting the round objects in seconds until he could slide his hands across warm, toned flesh. Sliding further up to caress broad shoulders and pushing the unwanted garment to the floor. Lips returned to lips, passion igniting with every touch that passed between them. Shoes kicked aside, pants removed and tossed away, until both were gloriously nude. Their bodies pressed together tightly, hips locked, and arousals touching in earnest. Never breaking from the kiss, they moved to the bed to lay down.
Murdock shut out everything except his love and desire for Face. His hands slid down Face's sides, tickling over his ribcage and down to the hollow in his hip. Face moaned deep in his throat and pulled Murdock closer, bodies entwining until he didn't know where he started and Murdock ended. Face traced patterns along Murdock's back then reached down to cup his ass, pulling his lover's hips down while thrusting his hips up. Light friction, explosive pleasure.
Murdock parted from the kiss and began the lazy task of kissing his way down Face's throat to his chest. Soft, chaste kisses at first, turning to teasing and biting as he came across a nipple. He worked the tiny bud with teeth and tongue, bringing it to peek between his lips. Nipping, small pain. Caressing, pleasurable relief. Murdock shifted his hips to the side and began to run his hand along the hard length of Face's now fully erect cock. Tickling touch from base to tip, thumb brushing increasingly harder over the head, than slowly back down to the base. Up and down, slow and sweet.
Face could barely breathe. He moaned quietly, biting down on his lip to keep himself from waking the rest of the sleeping household. He ran his hand up through Murdock's thinning hair, watching with hooded eyes as Murdock took his sweet time loving him.
"Murdock," he cried softly. "Baby, please, up here."
Murdock stopped his ministration and raised his head. He was shocked at the amount of passion and lust he found in Face's baby blues. He rested his chin on Face's chest, hand still working his lover's erection. "Yes, Facey?" Murdock's hand squeezed a fraction harder.
"No more teasing, lover. Please, baby, I need you now."
Murdock closed his eyes and committed the words to memory, the sound of Face's voice, the tone, the smell of passion, Face's expression. He kissed Face's chest and slid his way down his lover's body until he was kneeling between Face's legs. For just a brief second Murdock's eyes rested on the scar on Face's abdomen. ** Shot at the restaurant. My fault, I should have planned for that contingency. He almost died again. So much blood...Stop! You're losing the moment!** Face reached under the pillow and produced a tube of lube. Murdock anointed his fingers and gently pressed one into Face's anus. Muscles clenched at first, but as he began to move it steadily in and out, they relaxed. He slid in two fingers and began scissoring them, listening to Face's labored breathing and gasps as he hit a sensitive spot.
Murdock pulled away and spread the remaining lube on his aching cock, taking his time when he noticed Face's eyes watching him. He slid his hand up and down, squeezing gently until Face wiggled beneath him, frustrated.
Murdock leaned forward placing his arms on either side of Face's chest, gently hooking Face's knees over his elbows.
"Comfortable?" Murdock asked, positioning himself at Face's waiting entrance.
Face nodded. Murdock began to thrust slowly in, allowing Face the time he needed to adjust. It didn't take long and Face began to buck his hips up in urgency.
Murdock made love to him slowly. Letting himself enjoy the sensations. Tight, wet, heat. Squeezing him, urging him to thrust faster, harder, deeper. He resisted. Sliding only halfway in and pulling out with incredible self-control. He could hear Face crying out beneath him, moaning and pleading with him not to stop.
**Nothing lasts forever** Murdock shut down the thought. He moved easily in and out, panting with lust at each stroke. His body soon took over his mind. He thrust deep into Face, filling him until Face thought he would split in two.
"God, Murdock! Yes, love, let go...baby, let go..I-I'm gonna cum!" Murdock locked Face's legs around his back and laid down on top of him, hips bucking wildly as his orgasm ripped through his soul. They cried out into each others mouths, holding tight as the final spasms racked their systems.
Murdock dropped his head into the side of Face's neck, feeling the heartbeat racing against his cheek. He hugged him tightly. "Love you, Facey. Love you no matter what."
"Love you too, Murdock. Always."
They slipped off to dream in each others arms. When the sunlight splashed its fingers across the bed the next morning, it fell on a sleeping Face. His arm reached over to the other side of the bed to encounter nothing but air. Upon lifting his head, he felt his heart sink. Where Murdock should have been still sleeping was a tear-stained note, blue pen marks running down the page, tacked to a pillow.
Face could barely breathe. Had he done something wrong? He could see the faded words on the paper, running in blue brilliant streaks from shed tears. He didn't want to read it, refused to confirm what his head was telling him. Murdock wouldn't up and leave. Murdock would talk it out, he couldn't just turn his back and walk away from anything. Face's hands shook as he picked up the note. His eyes skimmed over his lover's quickly scribbled handwriting, and the tears began to flow like rain.
I need some time away. There's these things...no, I just need to re-evaluate what's going on right now in my life. I feel like I'm at a standstill, nothing before me and suddenly nothing behind me. I could fall either way. I can't afford to lose what very little I have managed to gain in a lifetime of heartbreak. Don't come looking for me. It won't do you any good. I need to be on my own, learn to stand without you or the rest of the team to catch me if I do fall. You probably want to know when I'm coming back, and honestly, I can't say if I ever will. I need to find myself, Facey. And you almost died in that restaurant because of me. I don't expect you to wait around for some insane, soul-searching fool. Please, remember what we had. I don't think I could forget. I may be easier if I did, but I'd be erasing the best memories of my life.
Face doubled over on the bed, pain spreading through out his body as the first sob wrenched at his very soul. He felt as if he'd been standing next to a grenade, wondered if the pain was this intense when it finally exploded. He buried his face into the pillow and cried out, hands clutching at the sheets like talons. Face pulled back and sat up, tears streaking down his cheeks. The initial shock slowly subsiding, he reached over to the night stand and with one swoop of his arm, sent everything crashing to the floor. He was off the bed in one fluid motion. He picked up a picture frame and sent it flying into the nearest wall. A picture of the two of them together, happy. Mocking his heart-wrenched soul with glee.
"You fucking bastard!" Face grabbed for the alarm clock next, yanking the cord from the wall in his rage. It joined the picture on the floor after bouncing off the wall. "Don't I get a say in this!?" He tore the covers from the bed, not satisfied with that, he flipped the mattress over. "You can't do this to me!" He paced over to the window, trying to calm down. He caught a quick look at his reflection there, anger and betrayal on his normally cool features. He hated to look like that. No one was allowed to see him like that. Not even himself. His head began to pound, the onslaught of a coming migraine. He lost it. He gave a primal scream and pulled his arm back...
He wouldn't remember what happened next, just suddenly realize he was on the floor and bleeding. His mind would shut out the sound of the shattering glass and the initial pain of flesh being brutally sliced by crystalline shards. And he wouldn't hear the radio still playing a sad, lonely song. Face was lost. And he welcomed the blackness that overcame him as the music played out.
//Give me a whisper
And give me a sigh
Give me a kiss before you
Tell me goodbye
Don't you take it so hard now
And please don't take it so bad
I'll still be thinkin' of you
And the times we had...baby
And don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry tonight//
Hannibal lifted his head up from the newspaper he was reading. "What the hell was that?"
B.A. looked up from under the hood of the van. "What was what?"
Frankie shrugged. "I didn't hear nothing."
"That!" said Hannibal, jumping up from the chair he had been occupying on the back patio. He didn't like the sounds that were coming from inside, especially if he could hear them outside. Sure, Murdock and Face could get a little carried away with their love making. He had learned to sleep with the radio on at nights to drown out any unwanted sounds. But this, this didn't sound good at all.
B.A. and Frankie were right on his heels as they headed into the house. The thunks only got louder and they could hear Face yelling. That didn't scare them, it was the few seconds of silence followed by breaking glass that did.
Hannibal threw open the door, momentarily frightened at what he'd find inside of Face's room. It wasn't anything he was expecting. He looked in at the overturned room, too stunned to speak. Face had never been one to go on a tirade and trash a place. His eyes wandered over to find Face sitting on the floor, arm bleeding intensely. Hannibal glanced above the Lieutenant to find the source of the crash, Face had punched through the window.
"Face," Hannibal could only whisper the name as he made his way through the chaotic mess. "Jeezus, kid. Why in the hell did you wanna go and do that?" Hannibal frowned as he dropped to one knee to examine the cuts. Face didn't move, just sat staring at a piece of paper on the floor. Hannibal snapped his fingers in front of him. "Face? Lieutenant?"
It took a moment, but Face blinked and gave a strange look to his CO. "Hannibal? What are you doing here?"
"I think the question is what are you doing in here? What the hell brought all this on and where's Murdock?" Hannibal sat down next to his younger officer.
Face hissed as Hannibal touched one of the cuts. "What the...? How did that happen?"
B.A. reached into one of Face's dresser drawers and pulled out a med kit. They all still had a bad habit of keeping them in their rooms. He pulled out some antiseptic and handed it to Hannibal. "Ya punched out a window, Faceman. Where's da fool at?"
Face still had a dazed look in his eyes, but the mention of Murdock brought the anger back in full force. He began to hazily remember his previous actions. The window, his fist going through it, and pain. Oddly enough, it didn't hurt as bad as his heart did. He pursed his lips. "Murdock's gone."
The tone in his voice made Hannibal suddenly feel the urge to lean slightly away. "What do you mean 'gone', Face? Back to his house?"
Face hissed in pain as Hannibal began applying medicine to the cuts. He yanked his arm away, refusing to let anyone touch him. Too close, can't get to close. Pain, anger, betrayal...all boiling to the surface as he felt the blood easily sliding down his skin, like sweat. Beads of sweat from multiple love making sessions late into the night...**Don't go there, Templeton. He's left, gone, just like everyone else you ever gave a damn about in your life.**
"Doesn't matter," he mumbled.
"What the hell do you mean it doesn't matter!?" Hannibal shouted. "Where's he gone, Lieutenant!?"
Face handed the letter to Hannibal. B.A. moved around so he could read, but left room for a curious Frankie to see as well. He shook his head. This wasn't right. This was not like the crazy man at all. What could have gotten into him to make him want to leave?
Face slunk back against the wall, dejectedly running a hand back through his hair. "I don't know, Hannibal. I just don't know."
Murdock stared outside the window of the charter bus. He was trying hard not to cry, but the tears just seemed to hover a breath away from falling, clouding his sight like a bridal veil. He turned his attention to the passing scenery. He barely saw any of it. Just blurs of color, like a dripping canvas. An unfinished picture, a distorted photo...and God why did every thought have to come back to Face!?
Murdock shook his head, hoping it would knock it out. Face sleeping in the early morning light, his arm draped gently over Murdock's chest. He had murmured in his sleep as Murdock had crawled away from him. He had been quiet, putting on his clothes and taking out the duffel he'd packed earlier in the day when Face had been busy. His heart had tried desperately to talk his mind out of it, but he had been resolute in his decision. He had to leave, had to do what was best for the team. They would do better without him, without a liability. He thought back to the day in the restaurant. Face shot and bleeding on a kitchen floor, eyes filled with pain. Help-me baby blues, scared and hurt.**I should have paid more attention. I almost lost him.** His heart thought differently.**What do you think you've done now, huh? Lost him again, H.M. Only this time you could have stopped him from hurting. How do you think he's taking this anyway? I sincerely doubt he's jumping with joy**
"I had too. Didn't I?" Murdock mumbled out loud. "I did it, it's done, and I can never go back." **As much as I want too.**
Without Face...he glanced down at his hands, they were shaking slightly. He was scared, even if he didn't want to admit it.
He'd never really been `alone' before. He'd had the team for so long that complete isolation was a terrifying thought for him. How was he going to survive without them? No Face to anchor him back to reality after a horrible nightmare or to just stare deep into his eyes and know what he was thinking? No Hannibal to make up a plan and issue how to execute it? No big ugly mudsucker to tell him to shut up? And suprisingly enough, no Frankie to tell him tales of Hollywood parties he probably had never even been to. He suddenly felt lost and utterly alone. And the shaking turned to violent tremors of self-remorse as he realized that maybe this had been the biggest mistake of his life.
Face was still having trouble believing that all of this was happening. Had he done something wrong? Was he not satisfying
Murdock? He looked at the letter again. The restaurant, like he could have prevented that from happening. It him suddenly, the way Murdock's face had saddened when he saw the scar there last night. He was blaming himself. Face closed his eyes, he could feel the anger rising again, but this time it was directed at himself. **Did I ever tell him I didn't blame him for that?**
"Jeezus, baby. What have I done?" He moaned out loud.
There was a light tapping on the door and then Hannibal came in. "How's the arm, kid?"
Face sighed. "Alright, it's the pain in my heart I'm trying to surpress. What are we going to do? I can't just sit here and let him run away without a fight, Hannibal. This is my fault."
Hannibal sat down on the edge of the bed. "How's that?"
"The restaurant where I was shot. He still thinks it was his fault. Come on, Hannibal, how could he have known? He was trying to do the right thing, and it just didn't go according to plan."
"You know him better than all of us, Face. What would he be thinking right now?" Hannibal leaned slightly forward, staring intently at Face.
Face took a deep breath. "He's upset," **No shit** "He's going to go somewhere that feels safe, but probably somewhere we wouldn't look for him. So that rules out the VA and Richter. He's...hurting...God.." Face looked up at the ceiling and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the pain. "Because of me. Because of the team, Stockwell..." Face's thoughts began to come together like a bolt of lightening reaching the darkest corner. "He just doesn't feel like he's let me down, he's let all of us down. But the truth of the matter is, we're the ones who let him down. Why the hell didn't I see it coming? I'm such a fool!"
“I don't think I follow ya, Face," Hannibal said.
Face stood up and started pacing. "He's been withdrawn lately. You've seen it. Not acting like himself, trying to be...what's the word I'm looking for here?"
Hannibal grinned. "Normal?"
Face nodded. "No conversations with invisible dogs or acting out personalities. He's changed since Stockwell came into the picture. We've all changed. I miss that part of him that was always able to make me forget that it was a mission, that there was always a possibility of injury and death. Murdock was the comic relief we needed, or we would have snapped under pressure. He had said something before to me. I blew it off as frustration before. He said that we'd probably be better off without him now that he's been deemed sane. He was now just a regular guy with no direction to help. Hannibal, I thought he was joking about all of this. He was laughing as he said it." Face put a hand over his tired eyes. "He's feeling left out of the loop."
Hannibal stood up and walked over to the Lieutenant, dropping an arm around his shoulders. "How were we suppose to help him when he never said anything to us about it?"
"Damn it, Hannibal, he did! And all I did was laugh it off. I probably pushed him towards all of this. I have to find him, get him to forgive me. I can't even begin to forgive myself. The signs were all there! We were to caught up in ourselves to pay any attention!" Face's hand began to throb intensely. He wanted to punch out the window again, feel that pain instead of what was in his heart.
"We'll find him, kid. Just hang in there until we do. He'll forgive you, we'll make him see how much we all need him. He's irreplaceable."
Face nodded. He watched as Hannibal left the room. Somehow he didn't think it was going to be that easy. When Murdock made his mind up on something, it took a lot to get him to change it. He closed his eyes and laid back on the bed for a moment, wondering if this whole world was out to get him, to take away everything precious in his life. Mother, father, sister, and now lover. He had been doomed from birth. He was never going to gain penance for everything he had done in this lifetime, but he was damn sure gonna try. First, he'd have to find Murdock. Maybe then he'd find out how to fix everything and get the forgiveness he needed from his lover, less he be unforgiven and lonely for the rest of eternity.
//New blood joins this earth and quickly he's subdued
Through constant pained disgrace the young boy learns the rules
With time this child crawls in this whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own that never from this day
His will they'll take away
What I've felt what I've know
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt what I've know
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free never me
So I dub thee unforgiven
You labeled me I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven//
It had been a long journey by bus. Even longer as thoughts of Face and the Team plagued Murdock's unrestful sleep. He was tired, weary from life, and his decision was weighing heavily on his mind. No turning back now. It was done and he had to move on. He reached above his head and pulled out the duffel from the overhead. He made his way out and into the dusty heat of the afternoon. His eyes wondered around the small town and wondered why in the hell he had decided to come here of all places. The residents that lived here could only be described as dirt poor. In more elite circles, white trash or trailer trash, red necks and sweathogs.
"Ah, Texas," His voice dripped with sarcasm. "No place like home." He made his way down the street, getting strange glances from the locals. He didn't crack a smile or cast a glance in their direction at all. He just wanted to check into the motel and try to rest.**Quit fooling yourself, H.M. You know you only sleep well when you're in Face's arms.**Murdock picked up the pace. He wanted out of the sun, wanted the security of darkness to hide him from the world.
He made his way into the motel, a small garish establishment called The Tumble Weed. It was appropriately named. The place was deserted except for two cars. One probably belonging to the owner. He went into the office, thinking how nice it would be to get out of the dusty, hot air. It wasn't much better inside. Mint green walls with stained tan carpeting, slightly cooler but recycled air pumping from a loud ac unit. The man behind the counter gave him a toothless grin. He had on a white tank top that strayed above his bulging stomach, almost like he was carrying triplets. The cooler temperature inside didn't seem to be helping the man, his shirt was stained in the front from sweat. His greasy hair was slicked back and tied into a short ponytail.
"Can I help you, boy?" The voice was slurred and sounded aggravated.
Murdock stepped up to the counter. "Yeah, I need a room."
The man stood up from the stool he had been sitting on and grabbed a key off of a hook behind him. "How long you stayin'?"
"Don't know yet. I'll pay ya for a week to start. How much?" Murdock pulled out his wallet.
"Hundred and fifty. I got one working air conditioner and someone already has that room so I won't make you pay the usual two hundred and fifty. That's the best I can do." The man stared at Murdock, not caring if he left or stayed.
"That's fine." He handed him the cash and took the key. A piece of tape was on it that said three. Murdock didn't hesitate to leave the man behind. He didn't like him. He didn't care. He just wanted to get to his room and shut everything else out.
The room was worse than the office. Still the same mint green pain, but chipped and peeling in so many different places. The carpeting wasn't too bad, even though there was a large burn mark in one corner. It was sweltering inside. He went over the yellow stained window and pushed it open. It finally decided to move after much cursing and proclamations to God. A small breeze came through, offering the smell of dust. Murdock didn't care. He reached over and flipped on the radio, trying to find something. Nothing caught his attention, so he just left it on a station. He turned and went to the bed, dropping down onto it and shut his eyes. The music was hard, a metal station, but it didn't matter. The words seemed to fit. He wondered why it was that every time you turned on a station, the music seemed to fit your mood. Sleep claimed him before he could even think about the musty smell of the sheets and the smell of stale cigarette smoke on the pillows.
//Lay beside me
Tell me what they've done
Speak the words I wanna hear
To make my demons run
The door is locked now
But it's open if you're true
If you can understand the me
Then I can understand the you
Lay beside me
Under wicked sky
Through black of day
Dark of night
We share this paralyze
The door cracks open
But there's no sun shining through
Black heart scarring darker still
But there's no sun shining through
No there's no sun shining
What I've felt
What I've know
Turn the pages
Turn the stone
Beyond the door
Should I open it for you
What I've felt
What I've know
Sick and tired I stand alone
Could you be there
Cuz I'm the one who waits for you
Or are you unforgiven too?//
Face sat staring out the window, his mind not even registering on the three other men in the room. His mind was on one,
Murdock. He kept going from depressed to hysterical every few minutes. He was mad at himself, the Team, Stockwell, Murdock. Emotional overload, logical shutdown. He was scared, he couldn't remember a time when he had felt like this. Not Vietnam, not the orphanage, nothing. His usual masks were completely gone. He had no strength to hide. He felt empty, except when the rage began to play through his veins like a orchestra's swelling crescendo.
"Do you understand, Face?" Hannibal bit down on his cigar, warily eyeing the Lieutenant.
"Yeah, I don't like the idea of waiting a few days, but you're right. He needs some space." Face turned to look at his CO. "And maybe I can figure out where he went."
"I hope you do, Lieutenant Peck. He's a liability to me and the operation."
B.A. growled low in his throat as Stockwell entered the room. "Don' ya know how to knock, sucka?" It was more of a threat than a question.
"Liability?! Is that all you see him as? What about a dedicated and loyal human being?" Face was red with anger, staring down the General with all his might.
"Easy, Face," Hannibal said, taking a step forward.
"Yes, Lieutenant, I suggest you watch your tongue when you are speaking to me. Remember who has the power to have you thrown back into the brig and executed."
Face lost it. "Fuck the pardons, fuck the operation, and most importantly, fuck you! I don't give a damn about them anymore!
You lying manipulative seedy bastard! None of this would have happened if you hadn't come along! You brought all of this on. I've been blaming the wrong person. You play with us like puppets. Pull a string and we all dance. Well, ya know what? If I don't find Murdock, if things don't get fixed, I'm holding you personally responsible. And believe me, General, you'll never know when I'm coming for you. You could be walking out of the grocery store and find your throat slit." Face stepped forward and grinned ferally. "And if you've done all your research on my military history, even the few solo missions I went on that they," He nodded his head to Hannibal and B.A. "Don't know about, you know damn well I will go through with my promises."
Hannibal could barely believe what was playing out before him. He cast a glance to B.A. and Frankie. B.A. just stood there, his eyes filled with fire. Frankie looked lost, wanting to be anywhere but in that room. Face was out of control and it rarely ever happened. Except in `Nam, only in `Nam. He watched as the Lieutenant's eyes seemed to bore holes through Stockwell's usual cool demeanor. How could they not? Face's usual bright blue eyes were cold and flat, grey as steel. Flushed with anger and trembling, he stood before Stockwell with the-don't-fuck- with-me look that he had worn in battle. Murdock could go off into his own little world, and so could Face when he was pushed.
Hannibal watched in silence. He saw Face's hands balled into fists, knuckles white from the pressure, but kept down at his sides. He could see the muscles in the Lieutenant's jaws twitching from the tight clench he had placed on them. He looked deadly, nothing like the usual charming gentleman they were used to. This look was reserved for dire situations only. And it looked like this was one of them. **Oh, shit, kid. Be careful.**
Stockwell's usual cool slipped at the threat. He looked at Face in fear of his life for just a fleeting moment. It wasn't lost on Face, his mouth twitched in amusement. "I want a plane. I want cash. I want you to get off our backs. If you don't do these things, you will regret it. I promise you. Give me what we need, and everything's back to normal. You still get your missions, and we still get our pardons."
Stockwell stood there. "Alright, Peck. You just bought yourself a one way ticket to hell with all of this. You owe me. And you will pay your debt before you leave my services, I promise you."
Face nodded his head. "I keep my promises, Stockwell. All of them."
Stockwell turned on his heel and headed out of the room. Hannibal rushed over to Face, who had shakily sat down on the bed. "God, Face, what the hell were you trying to do!?"
"I'm the supply officer. I just got the supplies we're gonna need." Face turned his eyes away. "Nothing matters except Murdock, Hannibal. Pardons or not."
Frankie walked from one end of the house to the other. He hadn't been there for Face's little tantrum session earlier. Johnny had filled him in on what was happening when he'd returned. He felt bad for Face. Murdock was his best friend. He had never been close with anyone but Murdock and Johnny, and Face was taking this really hard. Sure, he could understand being torn up about losing your friend, but this? He didn't seem to grasp it. Not to mention what had just happened in Face's room with Stockwell. That had shook him up quite a bit. Face never, never lost his cool.
Frankie looked up and found himself standing outside of Face's door. He was hesitant about knocking, but it was like watching from outside of his body when he finally did.
Face's voice was sharp and clipped. "Yeah?"
Frankie took in a deep breath and went in. Face was still sitting on the end of the bed. He wasn't shaking anymore, that was a start. **What in the hell am I suppose to say to him?**
A pair of sad blue eyes were on him as he stood awkwardly in the doorway. "You can come in, Frankie. I'm not gonna chew your head off."
A wise-ass smile crossed Frankie's face. "You sure about that, Faceman?"
He was answered with a weak smile. Frankie cleared his throat. "Listen, Face, I'm really sorry about Murdock leaving. He's my friend too, and I know you two are very close. And it's great you wanna help him and all..."
Face waved his hand, silencing the younger man. "Frankie, I appreciate you trying to cheer me up. But, this is something very important to me. I need to find him."
"Is this because of him being in the VA? Him not being able to take care of himself?"
Face sighed. "No, Murdock is very capable of handling himself. This is something different. Something that you probably don't wanna hear about."
Frankie leaned back against the wall. "Face, I'm trying hard to fit in here. I know I made my share of mistakes since I've been here. I just wanna help. I want my pardon just as bad as you guys do. How can I help when everyone thinks it's best not to tell me everything? I can handle it, I have so far."
"Murdock and I are lovers." Face's words hung in the air, waiting for some kind of response. He didn't blink, didn't move, just watched for Frankie's reaction.
What threw Frankie for a loop wasn't the actual admission, but more the tone of voice that came with it. Face was daring him, challenging him to say something hurtful. The thought flittered across his brain quickly.**So quick to throw your guard up when you think you know what someone's going to do.**Frankie stood there a second, his face not giving away any emotion. Then the corners of his mouth started to turn up into a small smile.
"That's it? That's the big secret that no one's told me?" Frankie laughed. "Come on, Face. I've worked in Hollywood for years now. Homosexuality is a norm there. I have no problem with it, never did. Who am I to stand in the way of true love?"
"You're not disgusted by it? Think any less of me?" Face felt some of the tension in his body slowly subside.
"Nah, man. Honestly, I think more of you for it. Not everyone can accept who they are and move on. You and Murdock have to have something special. It explains a lot."
The room grew silent for a moment before Face spoke again. "Now you know why I have to find him. He is special to me, to all of us. It's not the same without him here."
"Face, a little advice. I know I give a lot of it, mostly bad, but just listen before you say anything. You, my friend, need to stop this negative flow of karma that you pull around you like a blanket. Quit taking the blame for everything that happens. I seriously doubt he blames you. Murdock never blames any of you. So stop mopin' around, get your ass in gear, and lets go find him."
Frankie had moved from the door to sit on the bed next to Face. He dropped his hand on the conman's shoulder and gave a squeeze. Face smiled. "When did you get so smart, Santana?"
Frankie shrugged. "Johnnie's rubbin' off on me I guess. All I need now is a cigar and I'm set." Frankie grinned when he heard the laugh that rolled deep from inside Face's throat.**Good, Face. We need you on your toes for this one. Murdock especially**
A water globe. A simple children's toy in the shape of a heart. He stood holding one, staring into it with sad eyes. They were all there, Hannibal, B.A., Frankie, and Face. They were talking, but he couldn't hear what they were saying. He pressed his ear to the glass, straining for any stray word he could pick up. Nothing. Silence. Murdock watched from outside as they all laughed, everyone but Face. Suddenly, his lover was staring up at him. His mouth was moving, trying desperately to say something to Murdock.
"Facey, I can't hear you! How do I get in?" Murdock said, holding the globe closer to his face. The miniature Face started waving his hands frantically. Murdock shook his head. "I don't understand!"
Murdock jumped as a pair of hands grabbed the water globe from him. "As I grew older, I put away my childish things." Murdock watched in horror as Stockwell tossed the globe over his shoulder.
“NOOOOO!" He lunged for the heart-shaped ball, but it hit the ground and burst into thousands of pieces. As it shattered, he heard Face's voice in his mind. "My heart is fragile glass with many stones thrown its way..."
"No!" Murdock sat up in the bed, wildly tugging at the sheets. His eyes were wild with fear. It took him a few minutes to realize where he was. When it finally dawned on him, he flopped back down and groaned. Texas, cheap motel, dust, and no Face.
**Having second thoughts, Captain?** Murdock tried to shut out his conscience. **Call him. Explain why you did what you did. He'll understand.**
Murdock squeezed his eyes shut. "Can't, gotta go through with this now that I've started. Better this way. I can't get him shot if I'm not there."
His subconscious sighed.**But you can still hurt him.**
He made his way over to the small dresser with the cracked mirror and started at his reflection. His eyes were small and bloodshot from lack of peaceful sleep. His hair was either sticking up in all directions or clung to his forehead from sweat. He ran a hand over his chin, feeling the stubble growing there. A long sigh rose from his throat. He winced as his stomach began to growl. **You need to eat.*
"Not hungry. And why in the hell am I arguing with myself." He covered his ears. "Leave me alone!"
**Someone's gotta look out for ya, but have it your way.** The voice stopped and he was, once again, alone.
Murdock sat back down on the bed. He grabbed for his duffel bag, rummaging through it to find his money. His hand stopped when he came across a leather-bound book. He pulled it out and stared at the gold lettering of his initials on the cover. It had been a gift from Face on their one month anniversary. He opened it to the front cover and let his fingers run along the inscription that Face had put there.
You are everything I could have hoped for. Before I found you, I was lost and alone. With you, I am whole. The poem on this page is how I felt when I first discovered my feelings for you those many years ago. I was afraid of rejection, afraid you wouldn't feel the same, but I wanted you to have it. To remind you of my steadfast love now that I have you for all of eternity.
My heart is fragile glass,
With many stones thrown its way.
Crystal canyons replace the once faceted surface,
Refracting the light into tiny pinpoints.
It's once full-room illumination now a passing dream,
Now the nightmare of it's many flaws is seen.
My life is threatening to fall to pieces.
One gust of wind will blow away,
My House of Cards, my House of Pain,.
Near a River of Tears, in the Forests of Despair
With every beat of my heart, the cracks widen.
And finally, the shattering moment comes.
My body is filled with shards and splinters.
My ears are left ringing,
With the tinkling of falling glass and tears.
The only light I have left,
Turns into the tiniest twinkle.
Even then, my house topples,
And scavengers steal away what's left,
Of my once whole heart,
Hiding away the last of it's gleaming remnants.
The river is damned, and flows no more.
The trees have long since been cut away.
And I am left with...
My heart was it's own enemy,
And it's beat was it's own death march.
Glass cuts deep and shatters easily,
And the only blood bled...
He slammed the book shut, refusing the tears that had begun to burn in his eyes a chance to fall. Murdock grabbed his leather jacket off the chair and slipped it on his shoulders, disregarding the heat. He tossed the book back in the duffel, suddenly wanting not to touch it. He should have left it behind. Too many memories, and no future. He moved to the door and stepped out into the dimming sunlight. Okay, maybe he was a little hungry and there was a diner a block away. A little bit to eat wouldn't hurt.
Face stood staring outside the window for what felt like the millionth time in two days. He felt so cold without Murdock here with him. His bed showed the signs of the last couple nights of unrestful sleep, the comforter on the floor and the remaining sheets twisted and untucked. The worst feeling was waking up to find the bed beside him empty. He'd cried himself to sleep the night before, unable to stop the sobs that had torn at his gut. After he had exhausted himself and was almost asleep, he heard the door open as Hannibal came in. His colonel said nothing, just tucked the covers more tightly around him and placed a hand on his shoulder. Then he was gone, leaving him to a lonely and suddenly large room. It had been too much to deal with at once and he had cried again until he lost consciousness.
His mind had been to tired to even allow him a single dream of happiness past. No images of his lover, no sweet whispered words tumbling from Murdock's soft lips. The night was simply an black hole that sucked him away from everything. It hurt so bad. No words could describe the pain he was feeling. He wasn't waiting any longer. He had to find Murdock now. But where would he go?
Face began rummaging through his memories of the places they had been together between cases. Disneyland, he smirked at that memory. It hadn't been his ideal vacation. Lots of people swarming around, lots of kids whining. Way too much junkfood, his stomach protested to the thought. The only good thing about it had been their time together. He'd let Murdock drag him on the rides, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean. No, Murdock probably wouldn't be there. Try again. Crystal Lake? No way. The whole team had been taking vacations there when they were able to. Face could feel a migraine coming on. He pressed his hands to his forehead trying to wish it away.
The only thing that had ever helped one of his severe migraines had been Murdock. He would make Face lie stomach down on the bed, gently massaging his shoulders and back. He would alternate between intense and gentle pressure, all the while whispering softly to him about anything and everything under the sun. He'd tell him about some of the things he used to do in the Thunderbirds. Murdock was always able to help the pressure ease up in his head. After awhile, Face would be feeling slightly better. He'd laugh as Murdock would relate some of the hilarious stories that had happened in the VA. Of course, Murdock would scold him, knowing that headache was still causing him pain. But in the end, Murdock knew how to get Face's mind off of the stress. Sometimes he hadn't had to speak at all. Just a tender touch would melt away the ugliness of the day. On Face's less stressful days, the massages would turn playful until they were rolling on the bed tickling the hell out of each other. More than ever, it resulted in passionate love making sessions. One slight touch and Face would be on fire. Murdock would take his time too, drawing out the foreplay for as long as he could. A few of those nights had been absolute torture, but Face had always managed to return the favor. God but Murdock knew just what to do to get him wound up and the good thing was that he also knew how to wind him down. Those hands, those eyes, those lips, the man was the embodiment of sexual pleasure. But it just wasn't great sex, it was everything before and after it as well. Strong arms wrapped tightly around his waist, holding him in the afterglow. Soft kisses brushed to his forehead, eyelids, temple, never giving Face a chance to let him forget that he was there. Always there. Until now.
Face sighed heavily. How many times had he done that lately? Too many to count. Crying, sighing, staring, all he could do recently. His gaze swept around the room and fell upon one of Murdock's left behind tee shirts. He crossed the room and picked it up, turning it over in his hands to read the front. Face's eyes went wide with realization. Would he go there? Would he really go back to where he had lost so much as a child? He tossed the shirt down onto the bed and ran from the room.
"Hannibal! I know where he's gone!"
The shirt was half on the bed and half off. Gravity took hold and it slid to the floor. The words `If you're gonna play in
Texas...' facing up at the ceiling with a bucking bronco beneath the lettering.
Murdock pushed the door to the diner open and stepped in. The smell of various foods filled in his nose and his stomach responded with a loud rumble. The room was almost empty except for an older couple in the corner booth, a trucker at the counter, and another man occupying a table by the jukebox.
The waitress looked up from her conversation with the trucker and offered a genuine smile. "Hey, honey. We're not very busy so you can sit anywhere you like."
Murdock returned her smile, even though his heart wasn't in it. "Thanks."
He made his way over to a table by the window. He glanced at the man in the back of the room. It looked like he was staring at his reflection in the coffee cup that sat before him. It was almost comical, Murdock could almost picture Face doing it. Checking his appearance. He felt the tug on his heart and let the thought slip away as he sat down. The menu was pretty basic, burgers, subs, and sandwiches. There was a paper insert showing the dinner specials. He let his eyes roam down the grease-stained page looking for something interesting. He felt eyes staring at him and looked up to see the waitress standing there.
"I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were there," Murdock forced a smile on to his face.
"S'okay. Can I start ya out with a drink? Give ya some more time to decide on what you want." Her green eyes sparkled happily.
"Uhhm, coffee would be great, miss?"
The waitress smiled. "Connie, no miss if ya don't mind."
Murdock extended his hand. "H.M., how do you do."
Connie laughed, it was musical sound. "I'm fine, let me get your coffee and then I'll come back and get your order."
She turned away and went behind the counter. Murdock looked her over. She was young, probably not even out of high school yet. She had red hair, cut short, just below her jaw. Between the hair and the eyes, she reminded Murdock of a pixie. She must have sensed him watching her because she looked up and gave him a wink. Murdock laughed in spite of himself. She came bounding back over with his coffee.
"Do I need to give ya a little longer? Kinda hard to peruse the menu when you're watching me work."
Murdock shook his head. "Just wondering what takes you so happy. This town seems kinda drab."
Connie nodded. "It can be. But ya gotta stay optimistic. Things have to get better."
Murdock glanced back down at the menu. "Well, what do you recommend? I'll take your word on it."
"The meatloaf's pretty good, I'm not to crazy about the gravy. Too bland. In my honest opinion, I'd go with the open roast beef sandwich. It's Cook's speciality."
"Sounds good to me. I'll take that." Murdock finished up his order and leaned back in the chair. He almost felt normal, as long as his thoughts didn't drift back to the team or Face. He looked across the room to the man by the jukebox again. He was now swirling the spoon around in his coffee. He looked lost. Murdock decided to make conversation with the man. He reached into his pocket and pulled out fifty cents, heading to the jukebox.
He popped the quarters in and started to search for a song. He needed something up beat. Nothing slow. His finger ran down the list until he came to Charlie Daniels.
As the song started to play, the man looked up at Murdock. "Good choice."
"Thanks. You eatin' alone?" Murdock gave a soft smile.
"Alone, yeah. Eating, not enough cash this week." The man picked up his cup and took a sip of the coffee.
Murdock was shocked at the bluntness of the man's admission. "Come on over sit with me. I got more than enough food coming my way and I ain't all that hungry. I can split it with ya. Plus, I'm new here and need to hear someone else talk besides me or I'll go nuts."
The man smiled. "I don't wanna be a burden."
"You won't be," Murdock said and headed back towards his table. It wasn't long after he had sat down that the guy plopped down in the chair across from him. Murdock smiled. "Name's H.M."
"Lyle Roberts. Nice to meet ya." Conversation started out slow. Murdock knew how to draw someone out of their shell, and in no time they were joking and carrying on. Connie came over with the food. "Can you bring another plate, Connie? Lyle's gonna help me eat all this food." Connie nodded and headed off into the kitchen.
"So that's my story. No job, no home, no family, and stuck out in the middle of nowhere sleeping in my car," Lyle took another bite of his french fry.
Murdock felt bad. Sounds like this guy was having a worse time than he was. He couldn't hear a tale like this and not do anything about it. "Well, I'm staying over at the Tumbleweed right now. I've got a few extra blankets, a floor, and a shower. You can stay there until you get stuff straightened around if you'd like."
Lyle shook his head. "Nah, I've already imposed on you enough."
Murdock laughed. "So what's a few nights in a dingy hotel room. It ain't the greatest but it beats sleeping in a car."
"You don't mind?"
"Nope. Come on." Murdock went up and paid the bill, giving Connie a nice tip. "I'll show you around my mansion. Besides, just between you and me, I doubt things could get worse. For either of us.
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