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This page last viewed: 2017-09-18 and has been viewed 2145 times
by Face's New Flame
Note: With thanks to Coke and Charon for the plot bunny they brought into the chat room with them
Summary: With Murdock, you should always expect the unexpected.
Warnings: very m/m slash, but there's some of that filthy het. smut implied too....
Face probably should have expected it. Murdock was, after, certified.
It wasn't a complaint; not by any means. If anything, it was a compliment.
He had never been with such an enthusiastic, adventurous lover. Adventurous,
and at times...
About a month after they'd moved their relationship on to being physical,
Murdock had asked him if he'd ever used toys. Face had misunderstood, and
immediately launched into one of his tried and tested stories about playing
cricket with the nuns. Murdock had giggled, and explained, and Face, not
wanting to appear uptight, but really terrified, had agreed to give it a go.
Full of trepidation, he had agreed to let Murdock tie his wrists to the
wrought iron head board. He was forced to relax; to let someone else be in
charge. Quite a role reversal; usually, he looked after things. He looked
after money, requisitions, he was the one who looked after Murdock and Amy
the most; anytime Hannibal was out of action, Face looked after all of them.
So to have his movement restricted, to be unable to grab and wrestle Murdock
into wanton submission, to have no option but to accept the freely given
attentions of his lover.... it was quite a revelation. Having agreed, there
was no choice but to trust Murdock. And that was difficult. In combat, on
missions, even playing poker, he'd trust Murdock to the end. But in the
Bed was Face's area of expertise. He had become accustomed to setting the
pace, leading the action. He loved to give pleasure to others; he took great
pride in it, in fact. But this, this was like being given permission, at
last. Permission to receive, permission to let himself go.
The first time, Murdock had been very gentle with him, coaxing him to relax,
working on his tense muscles. Face had thought he would never be able to do
it, was on the verge of asking for his freedom.
But then Murdock started.. touching him. Touching him everywhere all at
once, and sucking Face's skin into his mouth, and pushing hard against him.
Murdock had kissed him with new-found passion, sliding his body against his
prisoner's. Perhaps, for Murdock, he needed somewhere to be in charge; one
area of his life he could control.
That was the thought that did it. *Murdock's in control.* And, once Face
made that mental adjustment, from carer to cared for, once he allowed himself
to experience without guilt...
It was amazing. Murdock was busy doing whatever he felt like at any given
time; Face was letting him, no, Face was *begging* him to. From his mouth,
the mouth that weighed and measured every word, that balanced and considered
every thought yearning to be free, came pleading, imploring, damn near
everything short of whimpering, and there was times he was closer to that
than he'd like to admit.
And when they were done... when Murdock gave him back the use of his arms,
and was cradling him, bringing him back down, nursing him back to sanity.
When they were done, he knew then. He was Murdock's, completely. He belonged to him.
He would do anything he wanted.
He didn't understand himself, sometimes. Or maybe he understood himself too
well. Damn it.
He cared for Murdock; damn, he was pretty sure he loved him. Not like a
brother; love, loved him. Maybe that was it, maybe that was what he was
scared of. He'd been avoiding it for years. Commitment.
Face got up out of Rhonda's bed, and kissed her still closed eyes. She
He left a note on her pillow. 'Call you later. Thanks for a great night.' No
signature; that would be an admission that it was actually him and not, for
example, his evil twin brother, leaving her apartment.
He headed for home, and a hot shower, to wash away the guilt.
Face had suddenly begun to love watching TV in bed. He wasn't convinced they
needed the distraction at first, but he had been persuaded.
Murdock was saying something, something part of Face's brain recognised as
being important, but he just couldn't seem to concentrate. To be fair, all
his other senses were subject to a barrage of assault.
His eyes were fully occupied with the video they were watching. The video of
him and Murdock. Him and Murdock and a very resilient mattress, judging by
the damage it was taking. Him and Murdock and not many clothes, growing less
by the minute. God, but Murdock was beautiful; it was a joy to see him in
action, see all the muscles working, see the huge, stupid grin on his
glowing face. All of the things Face never got a chance to see. Murdock
overwhelmed him; he always had to close his eyes to hold on to the last
remnants of lucidity. Lucidity, and sometimes, sanity.
Murdock had tricked him into this, the first time; the camera had been
hidden behind the drapes. He would never have agreed to it. It was just so..
tacky. God, watching porn together.... *making* porn together...
But then, later, when they'd been lying in bed, and Murdock had slipped the
tape in, and pressed play...
He'd meant to get angry, had a whole load of outrage stored up and ready to
go. But while he was working out how to express it, how to let Murdock know
it was never, ever, so long as he lived, going to happen again...and he was
destroying the tape.. and... and.. and... and while he was considering that,
he found himself losing the train of thought.
Then, as he was watching his lover on screen, arousing him, moving all over
him, treating him like the most delicate, precious object; as he watched
himself surrendering to lust... Then, Murdock had gone down on him, and his
anger dissolved between Murdock's lips.
So now, his eyes were very busy. His sense of touch was engaged, his hand on
Murdock's stiff cock, Murdock's agile fingers gripping his own firmly. His
tongue was running over Murdock's shoulder, and he breathed in the heady
scent of pure unadulterated sex.
So what Murdock was saying took a while to penetrate. Especially as HM was
breathing it into his ear, sending another wave of sensation through his
'I know where you were last night.'
Face heard the words this time, but they didn't register. He forced his eyes
away from the screen for a moment to locate Murdock's adams apple, and
closed his mouth around it.
Then spoken, not a whisper. The hand on his erection gripped very tightly
indeed, and stopped moving.
'I know where you were last night.'
'Wh.. wha.. what?' No, he must have heard wrong. He transferred his
attentions to Murdock's earlobe, sucking hard and long.
Hmm. Murdock *ought* to be panting at that. He usually did.
'D'you hear me Face?'
Face felt a fight coming on. He removed himself from Murdock, all except his
cock which was held prisoner by Murdock's motionless fist. 'I hear you.'
'Wanna tell me about it?'
Not really. Do you have some broken glass I can walk over instead?
Trouble was, he didn't know what Murdock wanted to hear. Firstly, there was
the possibility that Murdock *didn't* actually know. Then, if he did, how
bothered would he be? They hadn't discussed it, monogamy. And there were
rumours about Murdock's activities in the decade of free love... Given his
specialist interests in the sexual arena, Face guessed most of the rumours
Ah damn. Who was he kidding? He'd stuffed up, he knew it even as he was
accepting Rhonda's invitation, he knew it long before coffee, long before
bed. Long before now.
Murdock was too important to cheat on. But now, it was too late to take it
Face realised he still hadn't replied; that Murdock was staring him down.
'Want to let go of that for me?' Murdock's smile, as he removed his hand,
Nothing to do but come clean. 'I'm sorry. I.. I don't know why I did it. I
wish I did. Murdock, you know I.. I.. you know how I feel about you.'
'I think I do, yes. Which is why I'm gonna give you one more chance.' Face
felt some of the tension leave his body, then return immediately as Murdock
completed the sentence, '... on one condition.'
Face gripped Murdock's hand tightly as they walked into the office block.
Murdock took charge; there was no way Face could get any of the words out.
Face watched as his lover smiled sweetly at the pretty brunette behind the
reception desk. 'We're here to see Dr. Marriot. The relationship counselling
Transcript client interview, first meeting, Messrs TP & HM. Doctor in
attendance Ms R Marriot.
Interview commenced 13.05.
RM: Hi, nice to meet you.
HM: Thanks for seeing us so quickly, doc. 'preciate it.
RM: No problem. I had a cancellation, and your own therapist, Mr ...
Wiesman?, thought it would be best to see you as quickly as possible. Before
I begin, can I ask, is he aware of the nature of your relationship? He was
rather vague on the telephone.
HM: No, not yet. And I'd appreciate if you didn't say anything, just yet. If
RM: Well, perhaps we could talk about that at the end, when you've decided
if you would like to come back and see me again. So, how are you both
HM: I'm fine. I mean, I go to group every week anyway, so I guess I'm used
to this. You're gonna ask some questions, right?
RM: If you would find that helpful. If not, just talk about whatever you
would like to. And how are you about this, Mr. Peck?
TP: Umm.. fine, I guess.
RM: There's really nothing to be embarrassed about. We do see a lot of same
gender couples, you know. So please, do talk freely. You won't offend me.
HM: He's a little shy.
RM: That's ok. You just come in when you're ready. So, you've decided to
give counseling a try. How can I help?
HM: I don't know really. Where should I start?
RM: Wherever you like. Maybe you could tell me what you see as the
difficulties that brought you here?
HM: Well, yes. I guess. I mean.. you know. I love him and all. And he loves
me. So it isn't that.
RM: Would you say that's correct, Mr. Peck?
HM: I guess what the problem is, is.. well there's maybe a couple of things.
I guess the first is, well, we're pretty intense, y'know? I mean, we don't
live together or anything, but when we do see each other, it's like, y'know,
va va voom, fireworks all the way.
RM: Could you clarify that for me?
HM: Well, y'know. We're both pretty physical.
RM: And are you both comfortable with that?
HM: Oh, boy, yeah.
RM: Mr. Peck?
TP: Umm, yes, sure.
RM: C'mon Face, stop starin' at yer shoes. The nice lady's gonna help us.
TP: Sorry. Sorry, Ma'am. Yes, I'm very happy with our... with the... I'm
fine with that.
RM: That's great. You said there were a couple of issues for you though?
HM: Well, yes. I guess the main thing is, Temp here, he can't keep it in
HM: Well hell, if you don't want to tell her, I'm gonna have to.
RM: Mr. Peck? In your own time.
TP: Ah.. well.. ah.. mm...ah.. I guess you could say I have some commitment
HM: He can't keep it in his pants.
RM: Mr. Peck? Mr. Peck, I would strongly recommend that you stay until the end of the session. Mr. Peck?
HM: I guess that's that, then.
RM: We still have a half hour. You're welcome to stay on your own, Mr.
HM: I guess I'd better make sure he's ok. Can I call you later?
RM: Of course. I'm sorry this didn't work out the way you hoped for.
Sometimes it helps to keep trying.
HM: Thanks doc. Call you later.
Interview terminated 13.20.
Face had gone by the time Murdock got outside. He didn't mind; the walk back
to the VA would give him some thinking time. He always thought better when
he was doing something; when he lay down in silence, all kinds of other
thoughts filled his head, all memories, mostly unwelcome. Not as many now as
there used to be, but he had to work hard at it. That was why his room was
stuffed with distractions; music, video games, things to fill up the
Maybe that was it. Maybe he was asking too much, looking for Face to take
that role. Maybe he was too much, too soon.
But hell... how long had they been friends? Couldn't Face talk to him, tell
him how he was feeling?
No, maybe he couldn't. Murdock was so used to talking, it came easily to him
now. But when he looked back...
When they went to help Lesley, it had taken Face forever to explain why;
even then, they'd only got half the story. He'd paid them, *paid* them,
rather than say how he really felt. As for commitment, Murdock still had the
tape of that fake wedding. Face'd been whiter 'n a bridal gown, sick looking
too. And it wasn't anything like for real.
And here was Murdock, who had known him for so long, expecting him to change overnight. The magic power of Murdock was going to make him talkative, open and happy to settle down, just like that. And all that ultimatum bullshit - come see a shrink or we're through. Just sprung on him. Sprung on him with blackmail material playing in the background, when he was so wound up he
didn't know what he was saying. I know you're finding all this a bit weird,
Face, so c'mon, let's have a giggle and make you tell a total stranger all
about it. 'Cos I love you. He'd been an evil bastard, and enjoyed being able
to do it.
Prove you love me. A very childish game.
Not that he forgave Face. Bunking up with some chiquita first chance he got.
Well, maybe not first chance. And he had known Rhonda a while now; knew her
from before. And they hadn't said they were exclusive; Murdock'd just kind
of assumed that's how it would be.
So Face wasn't perfect. Murdock knew how that felt; he knew all about guilt,
too. Feeling he'd let everyone down by winding up in the nut house. Still
felt it; felt bad that he was too damn scared to get out. Face had plenty to
be scared about too, right now. What if it just didn't work out? What if
there was no one, nothing to blame it on, it was just that after all this
time, they didn't know each other as well as they thought, that they'd made
a huge mistake. No escape routes from this one; best they could hope for was
not to hate each other, maybe, once it'd all died down, stay friends.
Worst? Worst, they'd hate each other. They'd split the team. They'd ruin
each others lives. Shit, though, Murdock had thought all that through before
they'd even begun.
More guilt then; more guilt at getting him drunk and guiding him down the
path they'd both been so carefully avoiding. He'd decided to force the
issue, his weapons being scotch and chinese take out. Spring rolls, finger
And when they had....
When he'd finally gotten Face into bed, it had been so damned intense, so
wild, that instantly, in Murdock's mind, everything was settled. He felt
such a strong connection. When he was with Face, it was like coming home.
Everything was right; everything fit together. But was it the same for Face?
Hadn't asked, didn't like to. Murdock just knew that, in his world, they
should be together.
Couldn't be with him all day, every day though. Drive them both nuts.
Maybe he didn't know Face as well as he thought. Sure, he knew the history.
The orphan stuff, the army stuff, everything after the trial. Or he thought
he knew it. But that was all just the facts.
No feelings. No emotions. All kept hidden away behind that huge wall, the
wall that'd been keeping Face safe since he was a boy. And when had Murdock
bothered himself to ask? When had he shown that he actually gave a flying
fuck about anything but sex?
Face wasn't good with words. Well no, that wasn't strictly true. He was
great with words when he was being someone else. But maybe Murdock could
help him there. Otherwise, he'd be running around looking for what he could
never find, until he got too tired to even try any more. And then where
would they be?
So maybe that was a plan.
Murdock walked up the steps of the VA with the germ of an idea in his head.
He handed in his day pass, explained that his cousin had just dropped him
off at the driveway, and told Jane, the nurse on duty in his corridor today,
how good she was looking.
In his room, there was a delivery waiting; pizza, pepperoni and pineapple.
See? When Face wanted to, he could say everything he needed to.
Face drove for hours, round and round in circles, nowhere in particular, but
definitely away from two specific places.
The first was his current apartment, which was stuffed to overflowing with
memories. So many memories, he couldn't work out how to get the door open,
how to force his way in past them.
It was the scene of their first night together. The scene of the crime. That
was a little blurry in places, but he remembered; he remembered enough. He
remembered accepting too much to drink. Because he knew what he wanted, and
he knew how difficult it would be to get there alone. He remembered how he
let Murdock guide the conversation around to women; women and then...
friendship. He remembered Murdock feeding him noodles with his hands, and
Face deliberately misaiming, deliberately lingering over the fingertips.
Dear god, he remembered licking soy sauce from Murdock's chin, and
everything after that seeming unreal, dreamlike, and yet so tangible and
real and inevitable.
He remembered the next morning, waking up alone, and how empty that had
felt. How sickening, even aside from his fledgling hangover. Then relief, at
realising the TV was on in the next room.
Then Murdock offering to cure his headache.
Then a night alone, and the fear, and the regret. The chant running through
his mind, forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been six months since
my last confession....
The same words echoing over and over, as he arrived at the second place he
was avoiding, and the place he had always know was his destination. The VA.
It was twilight, now. Everyone was inside, the grounds still, silent. *Like
a cemetery.* The grounds, and the building. He hated going there; death hung
over the place. So many men looking for their salvation. Broken, some on the
outside, some on the inside. So many deaths in here; so many men by their
own hand. Death walked the hallways at night. Murdock shouldn't be there,
would never be truly well there. He needed to be in a place of hope, of
The doctors were good men, and did what they could. But people have to want
to be helped. He lost track of how many funerals Murdock had been to. He
never missed one; they were his family. However dysfunctional, however
confused, this was his home, and they were his family.
He watched from the road. The light went on in Murdock's room; back from
dinner. Back from seeing his temporary relatives. The bright colours from
his arcade games flickered for a while, and he could picture Murdock playing
and whooping. But ten there were the others times, when he played and was
lost in deep concentration, almost a trance. When the outside world
dissolved around him. When you had to touch him to break through the cocoon.
*We all have our rituals.*
He wanted to go to him, to explain. But he couldn't.
The lights in every other room went out; the corridor lights dimmed. The
night shift was on duty. Still Murdock played on.
Then, the last window darkened.
Face had nowhere left to go.
'Murdock, come on in. You know the drill by now.'
'Yup, sure do Doc.' Murdock hopped onto the couch, and tucked his hands
behind his head. He thought he was doing a great job of being normal. When
he looked in the mirror, he looked normal. As normal as anyone else he knew,
anyway. Which was less reassuring a thought than he meant it to be.
'So, I see you've been out on a trip since our last meeting.'
'I've got Doctor Merrion's report in. So, how about we start with that?'
'She did a report? She didn't say she'd do a report. What did she say? Can I
see?' Shit. No, she had mentioned that, but he'd forgotten to bring it up
again before he went haring after Face. Maybe they had to; code of ethics,
Doctor Weisman handed him the sheet. He was a pretty good guy; pretty open.
Murdock figured that meant he was almost there, if the doc thought he could
handle seeing his own files.
She'd been discrete; Murdock caught himself just before he let out a sigh of
relief. It just said Murdock had been to see her to discuss relationships
and commitment, and that he would be welcome back. No mention of Face.
Good. He might want to talk about it sometime, but not now. Sometimes
talking didn't make things better at all; sometimes it just ripped the same
old wounds open. And sometimes, you couldn't change a damn thing, you just
had to wait for other people to decide what was going on.
'So, let's talk about that, Murdock, yes? I have to say, I was surprised
when you asked for a referral. I like to think we know each other well
enough now, that you can always come to me.'
Murdock smiled, coyly. 'I was just thinkin', y'know? I've been a lot better
lately. Been thinking about maybe.. well, y'know, I've been in here a long
time. And I'm thinkin', kinda, 'bout what it'd be like. Bein' someplace
The doctor nodded, encouraging.
'And.. well. It's a long time since I've dated. And.. well, y'know. You and
me talked a lot about my family, and stuff. I just wanted to see someone I
didn't know. Easier, y'know? Zat ok?'
Murdock thought that sounded logical; sane, even. And the doctor was still
nodding, not writing anything down. He wrote a lot during the crazy stuff.
'Sure, Murdock. Sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger.'
Murdock thought about Face. For some people, talking was never easy.
'So, did you find it helpful?'
'Guess. I think.... I think it's important to really know someone, before
you jump in. To both want the same things. So I guess I'm not in a rush.
Y'know... I mean, I'm not even out yet. She was a real nice lady. I might go
see her again. Y'know.. even when I'm better.'
'All right. Good. Now, the last time we spoke, you said you were
experiencing cravings for chinese food....'
Days passed; no Face. Murdock wondered how much longer it would take. But he knew; he just knew his Faceman would be back.
More days. All running into one another, all the same. Meals, laundry,
group, therapy, games, then the cycle over again, meals, laundry, group,
therapy, games, over and over and over. But he was *feeling*. He felt sad,
he felt pain, and even that feeling was reason to be grateful; for so long
there had been no feeling, just nothing, just tiredness and emptiness, and
now he was really, truly, feeling.
Just like regular people.
He thought about Face all the time, at first. Just lay on his bed, thinking,
or planned his time so carefully there was no thinking time left in it, but
Face sneaked in there anyway. One time, Murdock spent a whole day mentally
dissecting the significance of the pizza. Damn, he'd been seeing shrinks too
And then, one day, when he came back from lunch, he was there. Sitting on
his bed. Staring at his hands.
Murdock leant, as casually as he could manage, against the wall. 'Hello,
'Hi.' Face's hands were apparently the most fascinating thing in the room.
He couldn't take his eyes off them. *Makes a change from shoes.*
'I'm sorry I took you to see that woman. I guess I just got to where I think
that's what ev'ryone does.'
'It's ok. I'm...,' Face looked up. Murdock's mouth was suddenly desert dry.
He didn't want an apology; he didn't want anything, except except except...
'I missed you, Face,' he blurted out.
'We need to talk.' And he saw through it, saw through Face's attempt at
calm, at reasonable, at normal.
Saw the raw edge beneath it. Saw the hurt. Saw the need.
'No,' said Murdock, sitting down next to him. 'You're not much of a talker,
Face.' And he slid his arm around Face's waist, and Face rested his head on
'What am I, then?' he whispered.
Murdock's other arm completed the circle of sanctuary, of comfort, of
ownership. 'You're mine. Let's get out of here.'
It was like nothing he'd ever known. What they were doing, to an observer,
to anyone not living in their one shared mind, would have looked like making
love; like sex. Like two men wrapped up in each other, around each other.
Like a physical act.
That was the least significant element.
No alcohol, no accessories. Just two old, dear friends.
With each kiss bestowed, a little more forgiveness. Every time their eyes
met, each holding the other captive, a little more understanding. When their
fingers intertwined, it was a symbol sign of belonging. As they held each
other, allowed themselves to be entrapped, trust grew. He was trusted; he
was wanted. Even after all.
Face felt like he could finally breath again; he felt whole again. There was
no urgency; no hurry. This could go on forever.
Each was a mirror of the other; as Face trailed a finger along Murdock's
arm, so the movement was returned, soft, sensual, laden with promise. As his
mouth opened, so Murdock's, meeting, equal, partners in something now far
beyond the physical. As he pulled his body away, shied away from
culmination, so Murdock matched him.
This could last forever; this night would last forever.
And when they succumbed, it was as equals, each imploring the other, each
craving, wanting, wanted, needing, needed.
Like nothing he'd ever known.
'Make love to me, Face.'
He was fine, while Murdock was here. It was their own fantasy, their own
dream world. And it was different, this time. Safer. Insane, of course, but
Three days now they'd been in bed. In bed, and curled up on the sofa, and
cooking together, and in the shower, and in bed, and in bed, and in bed. And
still he had no desire to let him go.
It was the thought of the drive, more than anything else. Driving Murdock
back to that building, full of people who wanted to get inside your head and
force drugs into your body. The thought of it.. of them doing those things
to his Murdock...
He remembered it clearly. Security hadn't been as tight, in the early days.
No spare men. More inside the hospital, than outside in the real world.
He remembered all the times that Murdock tried so hard to forget. The times
Murdock saw, now, as steps on the road back. But then, Murdock hadn't had to
He had never had to hold someone's hand while they waited for their first
shock treatment. A treatment they wouldn't use anymore, except in the most
extreme cases. Would he be home, now, if they had left him alone, if they
had talked him through it? Would he be home, if Face had known more, done
more, fought for him, tried harder? If he'd known, if he'd tried harder to
find out... but he listened to doctors, then. They were all he had to hang
on to. Sometimes believing is more important than the belief.
Murdock hadn't had to watch himself zoned out on tranquillisers, not knowing
or caring if it was Face or Hannibal or the boogie man sitting with him.
Hadn't talked for hours to a blank face, expressionless eyes, looking for a
reaction, any reaction, any sign of the vaguest recognition.
Murdock hadn't sat up with himself, rocking him back to sleep after the
nightmares and the cold sweats. Hadn't shared every dream with him.
Murdock hadn't taken his own punches, silently accepting the bruising and
the cracked ribs, while he fought the imaginary armies in his mind. Hadn't
held the screams inside, hadn't gripped him until the demons subsided, all
so the doctors wouldn't come running, so they wouldn't pump more
suppressants into him.
Murdock didn't remember how bad he had been. Face didn't want him to.
Face watched him sleep. Years older, but so much younger. At peace.
Regaining his hope, and perhaps some of his innocence.
He retrieved a pillow from the floor, and tucked it under Murdock's head
before spooning in behind him. Murdock half woke, sighed contentedly, and
laced Face's fingers. Face felt another part of himself slip away, and
become a part of them, and was glad for it.
He had to find a way to make it work; to hold on; to make it last. Because,
once they opened that door to the world outside, the fantasy would die.
'Fa-aaaaace...' Murdock prodded his shoulder.
'I'm awake, I'm awake,' muttered Face, rolling himself further into the
covers. Murdock nuzzled into his nape. He almost purred.
'Face, wake up call. C'mon. I need to get back. They'll be giving my room
'Let them,' Face told the pillow. And Murdock had to drag the bedsheets off
him and threaten him with a pitcher of cold water before he'd get up.
Third night alone, and the old feelings were coming back. He needed Murdock;
needed to be held, needed someone to wake up with. No, not someone. He
needed Murdock there with him.
And yet, he couldn't say it.
'Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove.'
Because when Murdock was out, out of that hellhole, when Murdock stopped
being a lab rat, when Murdock was somewhere he would be cared for, and
needed, and wanted...
When Murdock was whole again...
When Murdock was whole, he wouldn't need Face.
Face was ready for questioning. He had his passport, driver's license, old
armed forces card, all made up in the name of John Murdock. The ones he used
with the nurses sometimes, when he needed to get HM a day pass.
He didn't need them. Dr Weisman seemed to accept that he was Murdock's
cousin. Well, why wouldn't he? The accent was, after a fashion, the same.
He'd swept his hair back off his forehead, and forced himself into cargo
pants and a t shirt. And if Murdock was, as he said, almost ready to get
out, well, a caring relative on the outside would facilitate that. John
Murdock had been working on the rigs; he didn't get into the city to visit
as often as he'd have liked. Hardly at all in the last year - he hadn't met
Dr Weisman before, had he? No, he didn't think so. But HM wrote a lot, so he
knew all the good work he'd been doing.Ý He was talking about getting out of
the VA for the first time. That had to be a good thing, didn't it? Did the
doctor think he was ready?
He wanted the best for Murdock; well, wasn't that what they all wanted? But
he didn't want him to feel rushed to get out. Perhaps if they could keep
this discussion between themselves.....?
Amazing, how people saw what they wanted to see. What was convenient.
'Umm.. isn't this a little odd for you, Murdock? I mean, more than usual?'
''tain't a sex thing Face. Sorry, Doctor Peck, should say.'
'It's not? Then why....?'
It was and it wasn't a sex thing, in truth. Those times Face came to bust
him out, in the days before he got passes, and he was all dressed up in the
white coat, with the stethoscope, and the glasses, and looking all
intellectual and stuff. He'd always looked damned hot. Murdock'd seen Amy
eyeing him up, thought there might be something going on. Been jealous. Only
now he knew which one he was jealous of. He'd liked Amy well enough; sure
missed her. But it wasn't the same. If she was still here, and Face had
'Promise you won't hit me?'
'Murdock, you know I won't.'
'Promise you won't get mad?'
Hmm. That wasn't the reply Face had given in Murdock's head when he planned
this out. 'Promise not to run out on me?'
'Well all right, we're still gonna be buddies then. Great!'
'Just cut to it, Murdock. You're scaring me.'
Trouble was, it had seemed like such a *great* idea when he'd thought of it,
walking back that night. And it had grown in his head, until it wasn't just
a great idea, it was the best idea. Ever. In the whole history of great
ideas, if there had been an ideas competition, it would have been the
So why was his stomach churning? Ok, ok, just go for it.
'Face, you know how you're such a good actor? No, no, don't be modest,
that's how you do so well with all those scams, we all admire you for it, so
just nod your head and take a compliment well.'
'And you know how you screw up big time when it comes to actually talking
'I do not.'
'Oh you do too, tell me one time you've told me anything without me
wheedlin' and naggin' you fer hours'nd hours. Go on. You can't, can you?
Right. So. You know how we're both shit scared of messing this up, this..
whatever it is, and everything going wrong?'
A nod. Agreement, shy, but it was progress.
'And I can talk about any damn thing and you can't. No, don't argue with
that one. So what I thought was...other than how damn cute you look in that
get-up, no, don't try and distract me, it won't work,' as Face warmed to the
last bit and slid his hand over Murdock's knee, squeezing gently, 'so I
figured as you're such a good actor, maybe Doctor Peck could give me a
report on Faceman's progress.'
'How cute, exactly?' Face's other hand snaked around Murdock's waist, even
as he side-stepped the issue.
'Aww c'mon Face, I'm trying to help here.' And I'm not.
'I know Murdock. I'm not yelling. It's just... it's difficult.'
'Bad idea, huh?'
'Pretty bad, yeah.' He planted a kiss on Murdock's forehead. 'I'll try, ok?
It's all I can say. But in my own way.Ý I appreciate what you're doing. I
know what you're saying, I do. But.. well, I never had anyone to really
listen. You must have been the same, you were the same, when you first... '
went crazy, Murdock completed silently. 'How long did it take you to be able
to talk about things, Murdock?'
'Pretty long time, I guess.' All my life, until now. Murdock sighed. 'What
we gonna do Face?' There wasn't a second-best idea ever kicking about. That
had been it. Face had thoughts of his own, though.
'Take our time? How about we take it slow. I tell you how I'm feeling before
I do anything stupid, and you do the same.'
Murdock wrapped his arms around Face, holding him tight. It wasn't what he'd
hoped would happen, but it was progress. 'Sounds good to me. So, you want to
take off the lab coat now?'
Face assumed his husky, seductor voice. 'Don't you want to consult .. Doctor
Murdock would have said yes, but for some inexplicable reason, he was near
paralytic with a fit of the giggles.
'You realise that could be taken in several ways, Lieutenant.'
'And that what you're suggesting, if taken a certain way, would earn you a
dishonourable discharge from the Army.'
Hannibal took out a cigar. 'Ok, kid. Let me set the ground rules for you.
Nice and clear, so we know where we stand. One, if this affects either of
you at work, you're both off the team. Two, if he ends up back in the VA,
you are off the team. Three, you don't tell BA. Ever. If he works it out,
well, that's up to him.'
'And four, if you screw around on him again, I'll take your balls off
myself. Got it?'
'Wow Face! Cool place!'
'Think?' Obviously, as Murdock was almost bouncing off the walls.
'It's fantastic! What's in here? Aww... Space Invaders, Pacman, Pinball?
Wow, look at that TV! What's in here, cool, kitchen, this the bedroom? Hey,
that dresser's just like mine.. so's the wardrobe.. you been ripping my
stuff off? Who'd you get this place off, anyway?'
'You like it?'
'Sure I like it. It's.. it's my kinda place. Bit small for you though, ain't
Face shrugged. 'I like it fine. Anyway, it's not like I'll be living here.'
'No? Why d'ya bring me here then? Whose place is it, anyway?'
Stability, familiarity. Nowhere too big, or too scary. As like his room as
it could be. A place for him to be on his own, while he adjusted. Near the
hospital, close to familiar sights. A telephone, and an answering machine,
to keep in touch with the brave new world outside the door.
'The investments have been doing well, Murdock. And the doctor said you'd
need someplace.. well, like this. For when you got out.' The investments had
done all right, but not that well. Face had put up half the money himself.
But Murdock didn't need to know that.
'For me? As in, it's mine?'
'Your name on the deeds, Murdock.' He handed Murdock the keys. He stared at
'Really? I mean... really?' This was as close to speechless as Murdock had
ever got. They walked through the rooms again, Murdock really looking this
time, looking at all the stuff Face had put in for him. Pictures of his
favorite birds, all the best babies to fly. All his old movies, dozens of
tapes, on the living room shelves.
And there. He'd almost missed it. Right by the front door, there was a dog
'I thought you might like to get a real Billy, one day. If you like. We
could walk him, together. So. What do you think?'
'We're gonna live here? Together?'
Face took his hand. 'Not yet. The doctor said you should try being on your
own first.' This was so difficult; so very difficult. He so wanted Murdock
to need him. More than anything. 'He said it would be hard for you, learning
to be independent again. But you know I'll be here when you want me to. You
got a phone there. You just gotta call.'
'Doc Weisman? You spoke to Doc Weisman? About us?'
Face shook his head. 'No. Not about us. He thinks I'm your cousin John.' And
he gave Murdock's hand a squeeze. And he took a deep breath. And he ignored
the panic rising up from his belly. 'But I will if you want me too.'
Murdock just melted into him, and this time, neither could get the words
'You realise what you're suggesting would have got you a dishonourable
discharge from the army, captain?'
Hannibal puffed on his cigar and thanked the lord he was a great actor.
'Ok, Murdock. Let me set the ground rules for you. Nice and clear, so we
know where we stand. One, if this affects either of you at work, you're both
off the team. Two, when you tell BA, you don't let on to Face that you have,
and you make it clear to him it was your own decision. You know how
protective he gets of you, and I don't want Face hurt. You screw that up,
and you're off the team.'
'And three, if you ever fuck him over, I don't care whether you mean to or
not, I'll take your balls off myself. Got it?'
Damn, thought Hannibal. I'm good.
They had one night together; one last night, before reality came in. Before
they both went to see Doctor Weisman. They ordered pizza, one half pepperoni
and pineapple for Murdock, one half green peppers and mushrooms for Face.
They drank cheap white wine from plastic cups, and watched an old Bogart
movie. Neither really knew which one; they were too busy christening the
couch. That night, they christened every room. A new beginning.
And the next day, when Face walked him back in, when Face walked in with him
to keep the appointment with Doctor Weisman, as they walked through the
grounds with everyone watching, some in shock, some smiling, he held
Because Murdock needed him, and Murdock would always need him. Not because he was ill, not because he had to; but because it was Face, and because he chose to.
Because telling Hannibal was the hardest thing Face had ever had to do, and
from here, everything just got better.
Because it would never be perfect, but he wasn't perfect, and that was ok.
And because there were so many wonderful kinks they still had to explore
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