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One of Those Nights
Date: April 2001
Summary: The team is shacked up in a cheap hotel room and dark memories surface in the late hours.
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me no matter how much I wish they did (I'm not 100% sure but I think they belong to Stephen J. Cannell and/or Universal). I have made no profit from writing this, so please don't sue me.
Warnings: Nightmares, vague reference to torture.
Comments: Yes PLEASE!
Author's note: A million thanks to Cath for beta reading!
It was hot
A scorching mid-August heat.
Smith leaned his head against the wall, rolling the almost empty glass between his fingers, the amber liquid sloshing from side to side, the ice jingling softly. He let his eyes roam around the room. A double bed, a recliner, a small table, and two chairs. That was it. It was small and dark, and hot.
The faint flickering reflection of the neon sign across the street fell through the dusty window, illuminated the dirty ceiling and the fan that tried to cut its way through the humid air.
He let his tired eyes rest on the sleeping figure in the recliner. Tilted his head. Murdock was hidden under the blanket that was rising and falling steadily with every breath.
Must be unbearably hot. He thought a second about removing the blanket. But before his body moved with his mind, he decided against it. Donít wanna wake him. Not now, when he finally had settled down.
Heíd been actingÖ normal. Smith snorted at his own thought. Normal? Together. Yes. Composed. Sure. Focused. You bet. Ever since they got Face out of that mess last month. Barely got him out. He'd been acting normal.
Like a chord with a single note off key. Dead wrong.
Smith lifted the glass slowly to his mouth. He inhaled the rich scent, and held it a second, before emptying the glass. Peck sighed in his sleep and Smith lifted his eyes from the melting ice in the glass. Face was curled up on his side on the double bed, B.A sleeping soundly behind him.
Pale white skin against dark.
His blond head resting against a flat dirty pillow, hair matted with sweat, arms crossed tightly over the chest. His features were soft and flushed with sleep, innocent in a way. All stripped down to the bare essentials.
He looks so young.
He is young, Smith reminded himself, putting the glass down gently not to disturb the sleeping men. Just because heís been through more than a man ever should doesnít mean his youth is forfeit.
A lonely truck passed on the deserted street below. Making the windows rattle. Face stirred, moaned in his sleep. His forehead creased in a frown. Clenching his eyes tightly shut. Five seconds passed, only the sounds of the sleeping men were heard. Faceís hands were fluttering, like the wings of a moth circling around a flame. Smith was mesmerized by the tiny motions. Then they stopped. Froze in mid-motion. Smith slowly shifted his gaze to Peckís face. His eyes were open. Oceans of fear starring straight at him.
Hold on to something. Those eyes could give you vertigo.
Then it was gone. In the blink of an eye, a very soft blue eye, it was all gone. In control again, Peck let his eyes linger on Smith just a moment longer, then looked away. The terror that had radiated from him just a second ago nowhere to be seen.
Smith let out a long breath he didnít even know heíd been holding. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the unbelievable, the incredible Templeton Peck. Watch him perform his amazing disappearing act right in front of your eyes.
now you see it...
now you don't...
Smith sighed soundlessly and shifted in the chair. Nights were a bitch sometimes.
* * * * *
Face didnít know what had woken him, but he was wide awake in a heartbeat. His heart was racing, blood thundering in his ears, drowning every other sound. He didnít move. If he was ever so still maybe he could cease to exist, just for a little while. God, he prayed they wouldnít come for him. He couldnít take any more; felt all shattered, all broken inside.
Didnít breath. The heat was closing in like a suffocating blanket. Couldnít breath.
The feel of the sheets beneath him, and the soft thumping of the overhead fan slowly brought him back to reality.
Hannibal was watching him. Sitting silently in the dark, his back to the corner, he was watching. The bottle on the floor next to him glittered dully in the neon light. Half empty. His eyes were shrouded in darkness, but Face could feel them on his skin even as he turned away. Sizing him up. Taking him apart, then putting him back together to see that all the pieces were there.
He didnít know, didnít care. Couldnít muster the energy to care about anything. That was a relief. Could you get lost in yourself? That was what it felt like. Like he had gotten lost while trying to survive. And he couldnít find his way back. He rested his head against the pillow. His damp skin sticking to the material. He was wide awake now, dead tired but wide awake. Not likely to get any more sleep tonight. Didnít look like Hannibal had slept a lot either.
His eyes wandered to the figure slumped in the recliner. Murdockís brown hair muzzled under the blanket was all that was seen of the lanky pilot. He had been tossing and turning the entire night, but now his body was still.
It had been one of those nights. Teeming with tension. Slowly building, like a thunderstorm brewing on the horizon. Face had worried. Murdock'd had an uncharacteristic hard shine in his eyes that evening in the bar. Face hadnít seen this side since the early days; wild eyes and soft demeanor, a warped mirror of Murdock's normal self. A split lip and a headache later, Murdock had sauntered back to the van, like nothing had happened. None the worse for wear.
Just one of those nights.
B.A shifted in the bed behind him. His body was radiating heat like a furnace. Mumbling something in his sleep, he draped his arm over Faceís shoulder. It felt secure. B.Aís strong, heavy arm resting around him, holding on to him. Warm. Safe. Never figured holding was that big a deal.
But it was.
Face snuggled up against B.A and closed his eyes. Sleep was reeling him in again. B.A muttered something, Face could feel the rumbling vibrations in his back. Then one word, crystal clear. One name. His name.
B.Aís voice sounded strange, strangled, and strong fingers grabbed onto Faceís arm, as if he was trying to convince himself that Face was still there, that he hadnít been whisked away for another night of agony. Face placed his hand on top of B.Aís. Softly not to disturb the other. No, he wouldnít be taken again, he thought sleepily. Not tonight.
Tonight B.A was guarding him.
~ FINI ~
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