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Painted Black 1-5

Painted Black
By Black Fire

 

Rated:  PG-13 (overall)

Disclaimer:  I know that the characters are not mine (except for the nurses)

Warnings:  There is some blood, a bit of violence etc. in it, and I think it might get worse.

Summary:  Face gets hurt (Sorry, easy target), HM freaks and there's guilt all over...

I am German, so that my spelling and grammar are not perfect most of the time, but I do try.

The song referred to is by the Rolling Stones and either spelled "Painted Black" or "Paint it, black"...

Part 1

 

Hannibal Smith sighed heavily as he put on his disguise: a black wig, moustache, false gold teeth capping his own, and dark make-up to complete the Hispanic look he was aiming for.

 

A very bright shirt was topped with a white coat and a tag identified him as Doctor Raul Ramirez. Thus made unrecognisable to all but his team, or rather B.A. Baracus, who was the only one of the three with him on this mission. This was the reason why this was so hard for John "Hannibal" Smith: it concerned the few people he really cared about, and of whom he knew that they cared for him. As he walked the last three

blocks to the VA, he caught himself looking over his shoulder.

 

Habit.

 

He knew that the man he was looking for, who was usually at his side, was currently fighting for his life in a flat on the other side of LA. And there was nothing he could do to help him. H.M Murdock, however, needed his help urgently, or was it he, Hannibal, who needed Murdock? The Team needed to be together in a time like this, and this was why he

was on his way to the VA.

 

Upon entrance, he identified himself as a specialist in traumatic stress disorder, and asked to see the patients' files. He felt strange as he made his way past the nurse at the reception, claiming that his visit had been announced, and that the letter must have been lost in the post. When he saw the doubt in her eyes, he missed Face and his talent to get anything anywhere anytime even more. He would only have needed to flash smile at her and would have got anything he wanted. This would not work for him, he knew. The woman would probably feel threatened rather than flattered.

 

He did not understand how it worked, but she believed him and gave him free access to all files. Maybe he should recommend the pathetic sad routine to Face, he thought.

 

He quickly scanned through the files, trying to appear to be concentrating and taking notes. All he could see was the blood streaming from a wound in Face's side, and the look of pure terror in Murdock's eyes, as he stared at his own, blood covered hands.

 

When his eyes had met the pilot's, he had seen the emptiness in his gaze, and the expression of insanity. Murdock had not seemed to recognise any of them, and was babbling incoherently, about 'Nam, probably. He had behaved like a wild animal, curled up in a corner of the van, wiping his hands on his shirt repeatedly. They had been afraid that he might try to harm himself, and had him returned to the VA, hoping that the familiar surroundings would calm him and help him to get himself together again.

 

Hannibal found the file he was looking for. It was bigger than most of the others, probably because of all the tricks Face had pulled to get Murdock out of here. A yellow note fell from the file. Hannibal bent down to pick it up and read: Patient returned in state of shock after 3 day disappearance. Not responsive. Depressive. Special observation.

 

"Nurse? I wish to see this patient...H...M -Murdock. I may be able to help."

 

She smiled, and nodded, signaling him to follow her. They went down the bleak hallway to Murdock's room. A male nurse was sitting in a corner of the room, observing. Murdock was curled up on his bed, dressed in black and clutching at his jacket. When Hannibal entered, the man on the bed looked up briefly, and Hannibal was shocked to see the state the pilot was in.

 

His skin was white, there were deep, dark circles around his eyes. Sad eyes, without a trace of the usual mischief. "He has calmed down a bit." The observer reported.

 

The nurse nodded. "Has he had his medication yet? This is Doctor... Doctor Ramirez. He is a specialist and would like to speak to the patient."

 

"Alone" added Hannibal, eyeing Murdock closely. He had hoped that Murdock would react to the sound of his voice. In spite of his disguise, he had decided to keep the accent to a minimum, so that Murdock might

recognise him.

 

Both nurses nodded and left the room. "If there is a problem, press the panic button" she advised as she ushered her colleague out into the corridor. Hannibal waited until they had gone and approached his friend,

who shrank away into the corner of his bed. It was now that Hannibal noticed the headphones HM was wearing.

 

"Murdock? It's me, Hannibal." he whispered. Murdock stared at him without a trace of recognition. Hannibal went to lock the door and covered the window with his white coat. Then, he removed his wig, took out the false teeth and smiled at the pilot.

 

"See? It's Hannibal. Come to see how you're doing." At this, Murdock sat up in his corner and took off the headphones and stared at him. "Everything is going to be alright. Face-"

 

"NO! HE IS DEAD. GONE." yelled Murdock, and covered his ears and  began to mumble quietly.

 

Hannibal leaned closer to him to make out what he was saying. "Red hands. Blood on my hands. Red hands. I see a red door and I want it painted black...no colour anymore I want them to turn black.... I see a line of cars and they're all painted black, with flowers.... painted black, black, black, black, black..."

 

"Murdock. You have to listen to me." Hannibal insisted. "He is not dead. Do you hear? He is not dead, and he needs you to be there for him."

 

Murdock shut up immediately and looked at Hannibal, his eyes wide and sad. "B-but all the blood, there was so much blood, blood everywhere, blood on my hands, blood on the floor, everything red with blood... I see

a red door and I want it painted black....." he shut his eyes to escape the memory.

 

Hannibal sighed. This was harder than he had thought. It hurt him to see the pilot like this. Should Face die, he did not know if Murdock would ever get over the shock.

 

This had been so unexpected for all of them that they had been unable to shield the unstable pilot. It had been him who had noticed...

 

It had been a job like so many others: big company bullying smaller companies into selling their businesses. They had been able to help, and everything went according to plan. Until some neighbours, who had not been involved had discovered who they were and tried to "round them up" for the local Sheriff. It had been completely unexpected: they had been on the way back to the truck when the shooting began. Somehow,

they had managed to get away, jump into the truck and drive. He had been next to B.A. in the front of the van, Face and Murdock sitting quietly in the back. The road was clear, they had got rid of the mob and were heading towards the flat Face had scammed for them. Home for the next 2 weeks.

 

Hannibal had played back the scenario in his head about a million times. Face had tried to talk to him, but he had told him to be quiet, so that they could be sure no more surprises were lined up in front of them. Face had shut up, and Hannibal now wished that he had paid more attention. There had been an unusual urgency in Face's voice... if only the kid had said something instead of just sitting there... He still could not understand how this had been possible... but then, Face was at the back, and had taken some time to make his way to the van... probably kept upright by shock and adrenaline... That kid was unbelievable, sometimes.

 

B.A. had been focusing his attention on the road, and he felt himself getting drowsy. "Hey, Faceman... wanna hold Billy for me so I can brush him?" he had heard Murdock say, followed by a growl from B.A. "Hey, Facey, you asleep? Wakey-wakey..." he heard the captain ask. And just as he was about to tell him to leave the Lieutenant alone, Murdock had stopped and gasped in terror.

 

"Hanni-Hannibal..." he had managed to utter. And the way in which he said it alarmed both B.A and the Colonel. The driver pulled the van over to the side of the street, while Hannibal climbed through to the Lieutenant and the Captain. First, he saw the blood on Murdock's hands. He turned towards Face and immediately knew that something was seriously wrong. The young man was pale, sweat glistening on his

forehead, and he was breathing rapidly.

 

Hannibal checked him for injuries... all that blood had to come from somewhere... he unzipped the Lieutenant's jacket, and saw a blood soaked shirt underneath.

 

Swearing through his teeth, he ripped the shirt open, and tried to find the wound. Blood was now streaming from the unconscious man. "B.A. get Murdock out of here. NOW!" he shouted, hoping that it was not too late.

 

Then hell broke loose. Murdock lashed out at B.A., screaming and kicking, and would not calm down. Hannibal tried to ignore all this, washing blood away from Face's body with a blood-soaked shirt, only to

cause more blood to flow. He saw the deep, angry wound in the Lieutenant's side, and knew that this was serious. He pressed the shirt against the wound to stop the bleeding, or at least slow it down. Murdock

was shivering in a corner, incoherent and not responsive. B.A. looked at him and shook his head. In spite of their constant bickering, the two shared a strong bond, and it hurt the big sergeant to see his friend like this.

 

"Call Maggie, ask her where we can go. And call the VA. We cannot keep him here." He did not need to say more. B.A. arranged for Murdock to be picked up and taken back to the VA, where Hannibal hoped he would calm down. Then, they anxiously waited for Maggie to call back and tell them where they could take Face. He had lost so much blood...

 

 

Part 2 - Murdock

 

...Running and shooting, easy enough when you know how to do it... they won't get the A-Team, and they won't get Billy... we're too fast for them... If I went any faster, would I grow wings and fly... oh... that was

close... better hurry up... where's the van?... There's Hannibal, swiftly leading the way, to the right, I can hear the ugly mudsucker plowing through the bushes... he really should learn to make less noise.... like Faceman... can't hear him, can't see him... The invisible Face... he really should be on my left... oh, another bullet... almost hit Billy... but they cannot hit me they never hit me, not now, not in Vietnam... this place is nothing like 'Nam, nothing is like 'Nam.. .what was that? Hear, turn, look and shoot enemy... react, don't think... play the game... no more shooting, no more running.

 

The Van... Hannibal looks tired, B.A. looks grumpy, Face is not here yet.... "No, haven't seen him since we split up, Colonel. I could send Billy to fetch him, if you want to...?"  ...don't worry, never worry about Face, Face is going to be fine, Face is going to be fine and he is going to be here any minute now... you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are... "Did I hear what, Hannibal? I don't know what I heard, but Billy's quite sure it was-Face! You alright?"

 

(Face) "Yeah. Had to fight off one of the gang what I ran out of ammo.... Hannibal-". He looks pale, is he alright? Of course he is alright how could he not be alright if he's O.K. I'm O.K. We're O.K. Life's

O.K.O.K.O.K.O.K.... Everyone's quiet.

 

Night descending over Nam... got to stay awake to watch... what if they

come after nightfall, come and attack, attack to kill... "Billy, no, B.A.'s driving, he cannot help me brush you." Face looking so lost again... "Hey, Facey, wanna hold Billy for me so I can brush him?" why

doesn't he answer me why is he so quiet why doesn't he talk why is he so pale... poke him to see...

 

"Facey... you awake?" why is his jacket wet it was not raining, it cannot be blood it is not blood it cannot be blood why is there all that blood... blood spilling out of Face, Blood splashing on the floor, blood on the walls, blood up to my chin, I am drowning in blood... I killed Face, I killed Face... I turned around and shot Face in the forest... he was on my left side and I turned and shot and killed and shot and killed now all is red, red like a sunset in Nam, beautiful red... they are coming to get me they are going to kill me...

 

"NO! NO!" I want it to go I want it to go... I see the red blood and I want it painted black, I see my red hands and I want them to turn black... I am in the Hospital... stop talking to me I don't want to hear I don't want to see... I want everything black, everything safe, I don't want to know that I killed my friend... don't want to think... just stay here and be quiet... quiet... I will never see him smile again... music to stop the voices stop the thought stop... no colours anymore I want them to turn black... I see the girls walk by... the girls walk by... and he is not there to watch them and smile at them and talk to them and hold them and kiss them, because I killed him... maybe then I fade away and not have to face the facts... it's not easy facing off when your whole world is black...

 

Hannibal?... can that be Hannibal?... how can everything ever be alright

again?... all the blood, and all my fault... I see a red door and I want to... no colours anymore I want them to turn black... I cannot look at him I cannot talk to him I cannot tell him...

 

 

Part 3 - AMY

 

Amy Allen woke up slowly, confused, because someone was holding her around the waist. She smiled. Meeting Joel had been one of the best things to happen to her in the last few months. He loved her, no matter what, and even protected her when she was accused of being in touch with the A-Team. That's how they had got to know each other: when she was being followed by reporters from a different paper who were questioning her about her alleged relation to the team, he had pulled her into the office gently, looked at her followers and firmly said: "There is no reason to treat Miss Allen in this way. There is no proof of her collaborating with the so-called A-Team. Goodbye."

 

After that, he had closed the door, and they had gone away and left her alone ever since. He had not left, however. Being a travel-writer, he spent most of his time abroad, but he had returned to write a column

about attractions in L.A.

 

She had admired his perfect smile and lean, muscled frame at once. They had had drinks together, then dinner, then lunch, dinner and drinks after, until a couple of days ago when he had stayed the night. It had been breakfast, lunch and dinner ever since, and Amy was enjoying every second of it. Sex with him was just perfect, and waking up next to him seemed to be the fulfillment of all her dreams. Could he be "the one"? He would have to know about Hannibal and the guys sooner or later, they

could all work together, she could cover for him and he would cover for her...it would be wonderful, no doubt. She turned around and kissed him. He was so kind, never doubted her, never asked anything. She was

absolutely certain that she could tell him as soon as she felt ready for it. It was getting harder and harder to keep quiet.

 

He yawned and opened his eyes, immediately smiling at her. "Hey babe, why aren't you asleep? It's only (he rolled over to look on his watch) seven o'clock in the morning."

 

"I know, but I have to finish that article today...I really have to get ready now. Do you want some breakfast?"

 

"No, babe, all I want is you." He held her even more firmly and began

to cover her face in kisses.

 

"Joel..." she protested weakly "I really need to get ready..." He let go of

her and watched her as she walked into the bathroom. She did not even feel self-conscious around him any more, but enjoyed being stared at in that way. As the hot water hit her body, she realised that she had not

heard from Hannibal for quite a while. Murdock she spoke to sometimes, when he called her to have a chat because he was getting bored at the VA. B.A. would not call her usually, and Face, well, they had never been

particularly close, and probably never would be. She could not put her finger onto it, but there was something about him that made her mad, and she remembered insulting him more than once. She still had not forgiven him for what he had done to her car. Washing her hair, she did not hear the phone ring. Joel answered tiredly.

 

"Amy?" a male voice said at the other end of the line.

 

"No, she's in the shower right now. Do you want to leave a message?"

 

There was a pause, then the voice said "No. That's alright, I will call back in a moment. Tell her it is important."

 

With that, he hung up. "Babe!" Joel called into the bathroom. "Babe, hurry up, there was an important phone call for you. "

 

Amy came running from the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, her hair dripping and her toothbrush was still in her mouth. "O's it?" she mumbled around it.

 

"He would not tell, but it sounded urgent. Calling you back in a minute." He smiled at her sweetly as he watched her disappear into the bathroom. 

Five minutes later, the phone rang again, and Amy answered immediately.

 

"Amy?" Hannibal.

 

"Yes."

 

"Got to make this quick if they are trying to trace us. Come and see us. You know how." Then, he was gone.

 

Amy stood there, the receiver still at her ear, trying to make more sense of this. Hannibal had sounded very cold, but there had been something else in his voice she had never heard before. She could not identify it,

but she got the feeling that there was something wrong. He wanted her to come and find them, instead of them coming to find her. And if he knew that Joel, a stranger to him, was with her, it was only natural for him to be careful.

 

"Babe, is everything alright? Who was that?"

 

"Oh, just a friend."

 

"A friend, at that time in the morning?"

 

She hated not to tell him the truth, but she wanted to speak to Hannibal first, know if he had any objections to him knowing. "He once did me a favour and got me onto a story, and now, he asked me for a favour. That means I won't make it to lunch today, maybe not even dinner."

 

"That's alright, babe, I won't be upset. I will be right here when you come

back."

 

"Promise?"

 

"Promise. Now go and get ready." With that, he gently kissed her. Amy got dressed in a hurry and went to her meeting. After that, she went to find the A-Team.

 

Joel was still sitting in her bed when she finally left the flat after a long goodbye. As the door closed, his smile turned sinister as he reached for

the phone and dialed a number he had memorized. He only waited for the person at the other end to pick up before he spoke: "She got a call today. Male, may have been Smith, sounded too old to be Peck, but can't be sure. Haven't met them yet. Did not want to speak to me, just her. She said she had to go and see a friend, repaying a favour, that spiel...No, we don't want her to get suspicious...No, I can handle that...if it is the A-Team, I will find them. Slow and steady.... She is getting softer, I can feel it...yes, I'll be in touch..."

 

After a long journey from contact to contact, Amy had ended up in front of an innocent-looking flat. No trace of the van or the guys. She wondered whether they were there at all.

 

She rang the doorbell, and was surprised when a blond woman opened the door. Her hair was bleached, damaged and greasy looking and bundled on top of her head in an impossible pony-tail. Her pink lips were moving absurdly as she was loudly chewing a large amount of chewing gum. She was dressed in a bright red combination,  so tight that Amy wondered how she could breathe at all. To top it all, her fingernails were

painted in a shade of green which, Amy was sure, would glow in the dark.

 

"Hi! What do you want?"

 

Amy was so fascinated and disgusted by this creature that it took her a while to answer. "I was told I could find some of my friends here...must have got the wrong address..."

 

"No, you haven't. You must be Annie. Come on in. I live below here. My name's Val. Valerie, but only my mum calls me that, everybody else says Val, except for at work, they call me Miss Jones. I always wanted to be a nurse, you know, only I cannot stand the sight of blood. So I am a cleaner, that's sort of a nurse, too, isn't it, only  cleaner... Hahahahahahahaha!"

 

All this was delivered at such a high speed that Amy wasn't sure what she had really heard.  After smiling tiredly at the joke, she said: "It's

Amy, not Annie. Did my friends leave anything, a  message or something, for me?"

 

"No-Yes, they said to wait for them and to stay with...what's his name again...I am terrible with names...Well, come along, come in, do you want a coffee, I just made some, it's nice and hot, or if you want some food, Ben said to help yourself... Of course that's not his real name but I sort of thought of Ben Cartwright when I saw him, don't you think he

looks like Ben, or don't tell me you never watched Bonanza, Ally?"

 

"Amy. Of course I have...was there anything they wanted you to tell me?" she asked as they sat down with some fresh coffee and chocolate chip cookies Amy had found in a cupboard. The fridge had been empty,

which surprised her. No milk, and, not much more than several bottles of nail-varnish in bright colours, some slices of bread and half-eaten bagel. Nothing the guys would be very likely to have in their fridge. And those cookies...'Who of the guys would buy these? Maybe Murdock...treats for Billy...he would not mind sharing.' The whole apartment looked cheap and in bad condition. Face would never scam a place like this...

 

"Well, they said I could leave once you arrived... so you're here to  take care of ... oh, what's his name... you know, I will never forget a face... oh, yes, that's it, Face, what a strange name... of course I cannot go into his room... I don't even know him... Only ever saw him when they arrived... I simply cannot stand sick people... always wanted to be a nurse, though... sit a bed and hold the patient's hand... must be terribly romantic... I would be a good nurse..."

 

Amy shook her head to digest what she had just heard. Ben... that had to be Hannibal, wanted her to here to look after Face? Great. Just what she needed when she could be home with her perfect boyfriend. Looking

after Lieutenant Templeton Peck. As if he could not look after himself. But, Hannibal had sounded very serious. What was going on?

 

"Where is he?"

 

"Through the living room, first bedroom on the right. Are you a nurse? Or are you his girlfriend? Do you want me to show you?"

 

"No, I am not his girlfriend, and no, you should probably go home. Unless you want to help me play nurse..." she secretly smiled at the thought of Face's reaction upon being taken care of by this woman...

 

"No, you should really get going... If you need anything, I am right here... you use the elevator, it is working, go down to the first floor, three floors down and right underneath." With that, she pointed to the entrance door.

 

Amy was confused: if she was supposed to go downstairs, that's where the team were hiding. She smiled and waved as she left the flat and stood in front of the elevator. There was a sign on it saying "Out of order". She

pressed the button anyway and entered, hoping that she would not get stuck in here. She pressed the 1 and was grateful when the elevator moved down. The door to the apartment was open, so she slipped in quietly.

 

Val had told her that Face was in the first bedroom on the right.... The apartment was bigger than she thought, with enough room for three or four men. Surprisingly luxurious, furnished with a lot of style, she observed. Not like Val's at all... Amy stood in front of the door and listened. Not a sound emerged from behind the doors, so she thought that Face was probably asleep or listening to music or something.

 

She knocked on the door "Face? Face, are you in there? It's me, Amy. Can I come in?" There was no reply. "Face?" she asked again, slowly opened the door and looking in. The room was darkened, but she could

recognise Face in the bed, seemingly asleep. So he really wasn't feeling well, she thought. Then, she noticed something else: a syringe on a chair next to the bed, as well as a glass of water and a bottle of pills on the nightstand. This had to be more serious than she thought. But Hannibal would never leave a wounded man... unless he made sure that he was safe. Suddenly, Amy felt very bad for having thought that Face was just causing a fuss about something ridiculous.

 

She inched over to the chair, put the syringe onto the nightstand and looked at Face. He was looking very bad: even in this light, she could see that he was very pale. There were dark circles underneath his eyes, and his skin looked like wax. "Face?" she again asked, more softly this time. Even though they never had a very close relationship, it made her feel bad to see him like this. She really wanted him to give her a reason to insult him again instead of just laying there. She did not hear the footsteps, and almost jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

 

Hannibal. So he was there after all. "Hey, kid."

 

"Hannibal-why..."

 

"Val? Charming, isn't she? A colleague of mine. Actress.  Security, Amy. To make sure no-one followed you. Decker would have burst in to find you having coffee with an old friend... and we would have been warned and ready to escape... he would not look down here until it would be too late... we can get down into the garage with the elevator, we have just taken out all the light-bulbs so it looks as if it is not working, and into the van. We have been listening to your conversation to make sure it was

really you. But no Decker..." he trailed off, distracted by a movement of Face's hand. He sat down on the bed and stroked the younger man's hair. "Face? Face, can you hear me?" But there was no reply.

 

"What happened to him, Hannibal?" Amy asked quietly.

 

 "He got shot. How it happened, I don't know. He hasn't been able to tell me." 'Or I haven't been listening properly.' He thought bitterly.

 

"Is he going to be O.K?"

 

"I don't know, kid, I don't know.  We took him to a doctor who  turned out to be related to the chief of police, called them as soon as we left, I'm certain. At least, he got the bullet out and closed the wound... we are fighting blood-loss, exhaustion and an infection here... hospital is out of

the question, unfortunately...Decker is keeping close watch over them." Hannibal stopped and looked at her, with tired eyes and only the ghost of his usual smile. "So who is your young man, then?"

 

"How do you know-oh, yes, the telephone. He's a colleague. His name is Joel, Joel Gatz. We have been going out for quite some time now. You would like him, he is great." She felt herself blushing, speaking about Joel in a situation like this. When she saw Hannibal's worried expression, she quickly added: "He does not know about you. I am sure he would be a great help, but I did not want to tell him without asking you first."

 

"So you trust him."

 

"As much as I trust you. What do you say?" She said this full of hope, but in her heart, she knew what his reply would be.

 

B.A. Baracus had entered the room, also looking tired and worried. He was very protective of the team, especially Face, Amy had observed. When it came to fights, he always rushed to help Face, who, although making a fair effort, sometimes just was no match for the opponent.

B.A., of course, was a lot stronger than his slender team mate, and appeared to be happy to help him. An unspoken agreement: B.A. took care of Face in fights, and Face would show his gratitude with a smile. Why was Face so much more vulnerable than the rest of the team? It must be hard for them to see that they had failed to keep the lieutenant out of harm's way this time...

 

"We would have to check up on him, just to make sure. We cannot afford to take any chances right now. But this should be a team decision. B.A., what do you say?"

 

"I'm with you, Hannibal."

 

"But can't you make an exception, just this once? I really don't want to lose him, and if I have to lie to him continually..."

 

"You know we cannot do that, kid. But if it means so much to you, we are going to check him as soon as we possibly can. Now, why I asked you to come: Murdock did not take the whole situation very well. We cannot leave Face alone at the moment... could you stay here and look after him until we are back? I do not want him to think we have left him..." Hannibal, for once appeared lost for words.

 

"You want someone familiar to be there for him. I understand." She knew that Hannibal would not have left Face's side could he avoid it, so Murdock's situation had to be pretty grave. She also knew that they had all gone through so much together already that they had become closer than most families. One looking out for the other. This was how they must have survived Vietnam, and their imprisonment.  Amy did not want to think about what Hannibal must be going through right now. Even she

felt helpless in the present situation. "What happened to Murdock?" she asked carefully.

 

Hannibal sighed. "He was the one who discovered Face's injury. You know how close they are, and it was just too much for him. Sometimes, it seems as if one cannot exist without the other..." 'and the team cannot exist without either of them' he added in thought.

 

Amy nodded. She understood. "Don't worry about Face. I will not leave his side until you come back." she said softly.

 

Hannibal smiled at her sadly, and gestured to B.A. to follow him as he left the room. Both were reluctant to leave their injured friend.

 

Amy sat down on the edge of the bed, taking over Hannibal's place, and gently put her cool hand onto the lieutenant's forehead. She could feel that he was feverish, and decided to go and fetch a towel and some cold water to cool him down a bit. When she returned, she found that he had moved slightly. Was he waking up? She sat back down, wet the towel she had brought, and carefully mopped his face and neck with it. He let

out a slight groan and moved his head slightly.

 

His mouth moved, and she leaned towards him to understand what he was trying to say. "Han-Hannibal?" he whispered, apparently too weak to open his eyes.

 

"It's Amy, Face. Hannibal is going to be back soon. I am here to take care of you." She did not know whether or not he had understood, because he was getting more agitated, asking for Hannibal again and again. Amy did not know what to do. She felt helpless and wished

Hannibal or B.A. were here to calm Face down. She was afraid that he would hurt himself if she did not manage to calm him. So she did the only thing she could think of and began to stroke Face's blond hair.

"Shhh, go back to sleep. Go back to sleep."

 

Eventually he calmed down and fell asleep again. He would be an easy target for anyone right now, and it hurt her to see him like this. This was no longer the Faceman Peck she knew, who could talk anyone into anything. To her own surprise, she felt tears burning in her eyes. Just

then, she heard a key turning in the lock, and did not dare to breathe until she could hear the familiar voices.

 

B.A. and Hannibal had returned. The door opened, and Hannibal's familiar frame appeared.  "Any change?" he asked.

 

"He almost woke up and asked for you. I did not know how to... he wouldn't..." she was crying now, remembering how helpless she had felt.

Hannibal embraced her and held her until she had herself back under control. "I am sorry..." she said, wiping traces of tears from her face.

 

"Don't be. It's O.K." he smiled at her gently. "I think you should go home now."

 

"I am going to stay until you have eaten something. You cannot afford to break down, as well. You stay here and I fix you something to eat."

 

"Thank you, kid, I really appreciate what you are doing."

 

Amy went into the kitchen, where B.A. had begun to assemble the ingredients for dinner. "Let me do this. You go and sit with Face." She said gently. He looked at her and nodded. There was no need for words.

Amy cooked and sat with Face while the others ate. She knew that it would be difficult enough to lie to Joel tonight, and she thought that a candle-light dinner at their favourite restaurant would make things easier.

Before she left, she promised to be back soon.

 

When Amy got back to her flat, Joel was waiting for her. They kissed for a long time, got ready and went out for dinner. Now, Amy realised just how tired she was.

 

"Everything alright, babe?" he asked.

 

Wishing to tell him everything, but knowing that she couldn't, she hesitated. "No....everything is alright."

 

Epilogue:

 

Joel was waiting patiently. He had got new information, just as he heard Amy walking up to the door and looking for her keys in her bag.

 

"She is coming back...yes, got it,... Peck ... that's the pretty blond one... they cannot be moving if his condition is so bad... going to work on her... of course she trusts me... I never fail..."

 

Just as Amy opened the door, he hung up, hoping that he had not been too obvious. If she felt that he was hiding something... no, she only had eyes for him, and kissed him passionately. She smelt of food, and he could see traces of mascara on her cheeks. She had been crying... this was going to be easy. Too easy. A few drinks, a few kisses, a few

sweet nothings, and he had her where he wanted her. Under control.

 

 

Part 4 - B.A.

 

B.A. Baracus was waiting in his van, hidden in a back-road three blocks from the VA. He was tired, hungry and angry. Angry at Face, angry at himself, angry at Hannibal, and again angry at himself for being angry. This situation was just getting too much. Faceman shot, Murdock completely freaked out, Hannibal so... so strangely calm. This calm almost frightened the big sergeant. It wasn't a sad silence, it was a

grim silence, grim and deadly. Hannibal was dangerous in a state like this.

 

Back in 'Nam, he had often been that silent when things were rough. Like in the camp. The only kindness he had shown then had been towards Face, who had been their captors favourite victim. He had not believed that Face would get out of there alive. Hannibal had been kind but firm with the Lieutenant, comforting at some times, and giving him

orders at others. Now, B.A. knew that these orders were probably what had kept Face alive through all this. It had been hard to watch. The memory still sent shivers down his spine. Hannibal forcing water and

what little food they got into Face, who had been too weak to sit unaided. Pale, skinny, beaten and abused... having seen the Lieutenant in that state, suffering and his frightening apathy to it all... when he had smiled again, a long time after, B.A. had known that a smile from the Lieutenant would always be reward enough for him. It had been due to Hannibal's

relentless cruelty... he had forced Face to return to reality. When Hannibal gave an order, they had to follow if they wanted to survive. Hannibal knew what he was doing. His plans were risky, but they had all

survived. Until now.

 

If Face had not followed Hannibal's order to be quiet, or if Hannibal had been more open to the urgency in Face's voice... no... he had to blame himself for this. He had not been able to protect Face,  he had let him down. He had noticed that the Lieutenant was looking pale, but he had not mentioned it, It was not like him to mention something like that. Maybe all this was his fault. If he had said something, maybe he had been able to prevent all this... even if he could not have protected Face, he would have been able to protect Murdock. He saw himself as the protector of the team, that's what he could do for the others. He just felt so helpless in this situation. There was nothing he could do but pray. And keep his eyes and ears open.

 

He stared out of the window. He had never let his team down until now. Now, he noticed that he had left the radio running the whole time... Lee Marvin was singing "I was born under a wand'rin' star..." He could hear

Murdock's voice "Turn it up, turn it up turn it up!" He had been singing along in his best Lee Marvin voice, which made it hard even for B.A. not to smile. "Come on, B.A., sing with me. You can do it, even a mean, ugly mud-sucker can sing this song... come on. B.A., let's hear your impression... Go on, it's easy... "Life can take you pris'ner and the plains can bake you dry... Snow can burn your eyes but only people make you cry..." He had not joined in, of course, but he had enjoyed the break from seriousness. He had enjoyed to see Hannibal and Face almost helpless with laughter... the crazy fool Murdock knew one thing... he knew how to make them laugh, and he knew when they needed it.

 

God, he needed Murdock right now, to tell him one of his crazy stories, to make the others forget the seriousness of the situation... he wanted to

start one of their half-serious arguments... 'Man, I am getting just as crazy as the damn fool.'

 

Rain was falling in heavy drops. B.A. watched as they hit the windscreen and slid down silently, the tears flowing down his face mirroring them. He wanted to be with Face, to watch over him, to be there when he woke

up, just to let him know that nothing would harm him, that everything would be alright. Amy was with him right now. She would take good care of him, but B.A. was afraid that Face would think that they had left

him. They had never left him behind. He would always desperately try to keep up, no matter what, determined not to cause problems. His whining and dramatic attitude was gone in times like that, when things were

getting tough.

 

His stubbornness might have got him this time.

 

Every time B.A. had fallen asleep he had had the same dream: back in 'Nam, chased by the enemy... he could smell the jungle, was alert with fear, full of adrenaline. He turned to see Face running towards him,

bullets flying. There was a stream between them, and B.A. was gesturing and shouting to Face to hurry up and swim across to him, to safety. He could see the Lieutenant's face respond to the pain caused by the bullets hitting him and burning into his body. Face ran, jumped... water splashed around him, all red with blood. Blood raining down everywhere...

 

B.A. focused back on the road. He understood why Murdock had reacted so strongly. His imagination was so strong, and seemed to modify reality for him... and if reality was bad, it would almost crush the unstable pilot. Retreat into fantasy was his only way out. The sergeant was not sure

whether the pilot was going to be able to face reality ever again should Face die. Those two shared a special bond, depending on each other. Face would deal with problems by keeping it all inside, while Murdock

externalised everything. The pilot was sometimes the only one who could get Face to open up a bit more, while Face knew how rationalise and use Murdock's behaviour even better than Hannibal.

 

B.A. cursed the Lieutenant's stubbornness once more. He should have known that he could not keep an injury like that to himself. B.A. still wondered how it had been possible for Face to get up and carry on after

being shot like that, a bullet deep in his side. Must have been fear and adrenaline that kept him up. He could almost see him, his arm firmly pressed against his injured side, staggering to his feet, muttering under his breath, and running, running, running. He had known that they had to move quickly. And he had known that the others would not have left him. They could all have got caught had he not turned up. Face had been willing to give his life for the team, he must have known that the injury was serious...

 

Hannibal was returning. B.A. quickly dried his face and changed the radio channel. The Colonel did not look as if he had good news, and he did not need his sergeant to let him down now. They had to be strong to

get through this. There was no need for words. Silently, using back-roads and shortcuts, they returned to their flat, where Amy was waiting for

them.

 

Face had almost woken up at one point, and Hannibal and he were going to take turns watching over him at night. There would always be someone there should he wake up. And if he should die...

 

 

 

Part 5 - Face

 

The situation was typical. They had just finished a job, even got paid a fair amount, and were on their way back to their van and then to the apartment he had organised for them. House-sitting for an acquaintance. Of course, something had to go wrong. Hannibal's plan had worked out beautifully until now, so complications were even more of a pain. They had hidden the van in a piece of woodland, because they had been trying to work as undercover as they possibly could. Now, this was what caused the problem.

 

"I told them that this was a bad idea.", he thought.

 

Now, a violent group of neighbours had discovered who they were, and had decided to chase them. Rounding them up for the police, probably, and for the money.

 

This was why he was running through this forest, carrying a useless gun and hoping to get away before the police or even the MPs turned up.

 

"Hold it right there!" someone shouted

 

Face spun around, aiming his empty rifle at the voice when his foot got caught in a root, causing him to stumble and drop his useless weapon in an attempt to stay on his feet. 'Great.' he thought, 'just great.' He heard a shot nearby as something hit his side, causing a burning sensation and throwing him backwards.

 

"Shit! I think I shot one of the bastards..." he heard someone shout as his world turned black.

 

Consciousness returned suddenly. With a start, Face opened his eyes. He expected to be in custody, but found that he was sprawled on the ground, and alone.

 

It was getting dark quickly. Feeling strangely light-headed and hazy, but not in pain, he had only one thought: 'Run.' He had to find the others. They had to get away from here as quickly as possible. Blood was oozing from his left side. He unzipped his black leather jacket and pulled his shirt aside and strained to have a look at the injury. 'Strange,' he thought as he looked at his wound, which he had believed to be nothing but a graze, 'It looks bad. Pretty bad....I cannot feel a thing. Can't be as serious as it looks.' 

 

Knowing that he had to try and stop the bleeding, and that he had to hurry and join the others, he  pressed his arm against the wound and struggled to his feet. The ground seemed to tilt dangerously at times, but he managed to carry on.

 

If he did not get to the van soon, they would either have to leave without him, or look for him and get caught themselves. It could not be far, he could make it. They could not get caught because of him. His head cleared up a little as he rushed through the forest. He had to find Hannibal and the others and get out of here. Then, he could get help.

 

After what appeared like an eternity, he saw the van and three familiar figures. So they had been waiting for him. He approached quickly and carefully, making sure they would recognise him instantly. Blood was soaking through the thick leather of his jacket. He was going to need help. And soon.

 

Then, he noticed how nervous Murdock looked. The pilot was in no condition to deal with more stress...Face sensed that his friend was pretty unsettled by the situation. Probably reminding him of scenes in 'Nam he would rather not remember. Face did not blame him. There was a lot of stuff he never wanted to have to think about again, either.

 

Right now, he had to speak to Hannibal, Hannibal would know how to handle the situation, Hannibal always knew what to do. Now that the adrenaline rush was wearing off, he began to feel stranger than before.

 

Still no significant pain, but a strange sluggishness. Everything around him moved too quickly. He felt BA's gaze and realised that he had been spoken to. Asked whether he was alright. He should say something, but Murdock was looking at him apprehensively as if to say "You have to be O.K, so I can be O.K, too."

 

So he smiled at BA, and told him that he had had to outrun one of the guys when he ran out of ammo. Which was what he had intended to do. And managed to get shot in the process.

 

As they climbed into the van, he tried to get Hannibal's attention, without alarming anyone, especially not Murdock. He believed to have found the right time when Murdock had climbed into the van, and Hannibal was about to do the same.

 

"Hannibal, I-"

 

"Not now, kid."

 

"But Hannibal, I ..."

 

"I said not now. Let's just get out of here quickly."

 

With that, Hannibal climbed into his seat and closed the door, waiting for Face to do the same. As soon as the door was closed safely behind him, they drove off. Face sat in his usual seat, next to Murdock, when, all of a sudden, he felt tired. Drowsy. He would not be able to hold on for very much longer. He had to say something, but he was too tired to speak. Maybe if he just rested for a second, just sit here and wait for some strength to return...he could hear Murdock talking to him, but all that was too far away...

 

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