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Death Sentence

Death Sentence (Excerpt from Deja Vu)

by Rita Ractliffe (lovpeppard)

 

Rated: PG-13

Summary: Face has a close encounter with the AIDS virus, but not one you would normally expect.

Warnings: None.... sappy, maybe some tissue time. [WIP, so a couple of incomplete items, sorry.]

Disclaimer: A-Team characters were created by Cannell and Lupo and are owned by Universal. Any other original characters and story otherwise belong to me. Copyright: 1998.

 

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

 

Deciding to tap into his own contacts in Bangkok, Face went

off to locate Nura, who he felt would be the most instrumental in

aiding them to get the basics for this jaunt.

 

Checking at the building where she had last set up an office,

he found it empty. Worried, he went to different locations trying to

find her, until he finally found a man who remembered him and was

able to direct him to her new location.

 

Going down and around the klongs and narrow streets, Face had

a strong sense of dj vu as the terrain became more familiar and he

felt himself carried back in time to that traumatic quest four years

back. The search for a way to get Hannibal back consumed all of us.

It also led to some interesting side forays along the way Nura (a

definite distraction) being one of the most instrumental in effecting

Hannibal's escape; something he would never be able to thank her

enough for.

 

Checking the address on a dilapidated building, Face knocked

on the door. A soft, lyrical voice answered from inside.

 

Pushing the creaky door open, Peck stepped into a crowded

office/warehouse. Looking around, he saw Nura seated on a church pew

bench at a desk halfway back in the room. "Nura... it ... it is good

to see you again."

 

The petite woman looked up, curious at who had come in. The

light being dim and memory engaged elsewhere, it took her a few

moments to connect who the American standing in her doorway was.

"May I help you, sir?" Then as remembrance kicked in, a wan smile

lit her features. "Kal Face... is it really you?" She rose from the

bench, swaying slightly as if off-balance. Her long-sleeved,

trademark gown hung loosely on her.

 

Peck, seeing it, instantly moved to her to keep her from

falling. As he got closer, he was dismayed to see how thin and frail

she appeared. "Are you alright, Nura?" Concern was written all over

him.

 

Reaching out from habit, she grabbed the edge of the desk and

steadied herself. "As well as can be expected." Her eyes lifted to

look at him, the sadness barely disguised.

 

Peck was dismayed at what he saw. "You're not well, are you?

What can I do?" He moved to her side to take her arm in his and

then realized she was skeletal thin beneath his grasp.

 

"It is a sad story, dear kal. One which I am sure you would

have little interest." Holding onto him for balance, she reseated

herself.

 

"How can you say that, Nura?" He sat down beside her on the

latticed bench. "I thought we were better friends than that."

Holding her tiny hand in his, he waited patiently for her to

continue.

 

"I will tell you later... for now, let me take a look at

you." She reached out and gently stroked his jawline. She was

pleased at what she saw. "Life has treated you well, no?"

 

"Better than you, it would seem. We find ourselves once

again tilting at windmills." Off her quizzical glance, he grinned.

"The Team... we're off for another fun trek in the jungle... we're

gonna go rescue some guys that have been out there too long."

 

"So what brings you back to my city, kal Face?"

 

"Thought maybe you could help us get some of the stuff we

need."

 

"I'm not sure that it is wise to question you on that, my

friend." Astutely, she realized that he and his friends were up to

another mission of questionable legality, which, of course, was

exactly why they would want to see her. "Is this your way of asking

for my help?"

 

"Well, yeah... but I don't want to inconvenience you if

you're not well."

 

She shrugged negligibly. "Life goes on. Money must be made

to sustain it as long as possible."

 

"Don't you use any of that money to eat, Nura?" He chided

her, appalled at how very thin she'd grown. The loose gown barely

disguised her gaunt bones protruding. "What has happened to you?

The lady I remember..."

 

"Is no more." She looked up at him sadly, running her hand

lightly along his thigh. "As you will remember, I always relished

the search for love... but, alas, it finally proved deadly. It seems

that there is a new scourge hovering over our land... wars have not

destroyed us, despots have not, time has not... but a small virus now

threatens our land more than any other thing ever has." She refolded

her hands demurely in her lap.

 

Peck shook his head, totally at odds about what she was

getting at. "What are you talking about?"

 

"I believe you call it... aids..."

 

Peck was dumbfounded... "AIDS? Oh lord, Nura... I'm so

sorry..." His look of concern did not condemn nor judge her. "How

long?"

 

"About a year and a half ago." She stared down at her

loosely clasped hands. "He was such a handsome young man...

beautiful, strong and ... kind. He was the closest person I have

found to take your place." She shyly raised her eyes to his. "After

you left, I found myself with much regret that I had not tried more

hard to keep you here, or to go with you."

 

Face was somewhat surprised at the confession. He'd assumed

that she had only wanted him for the sex, for the unique experience

of having a blonde in the land of brunettes. "I didn't know. I

thought we were only..." how do you say it nicely, Temp? Just

shacking up for convenience sake?

 

She smiled sadly at him, placing her finger on his lips. "Do

not say it. It was only in my mind, not yours." Her eyes glowed at

the very fact of being able to look at him, touch him again. "I

never expected to find any real love in my life. I assumed one day

when I had made a secure life for myself that I would find a husband,

have children... that which is expected of a woman. Foolish of me to

place my heart where it could not go." She bowed her head again, a

soft flush lighting her cheeks.

 

"And he was infected?" Peck suddenly felt a great sense of

guilt, although rationally he knew there was nothing either of them

could have done to change things.

 

"Yes." Her nod was matter-of-fact. "I did not find out for

many months, until it was obvious that I was having too hard a time

getting rid of an infection. I sent for a doctor. Tests were done.

Then I was told." She held her head high, certainly not about to

quiver in shame at this late date.

 

Face took her hand in his again, and held onto it tightly.

Words just can't express what I want to say to you...

 

With her extraordinary grace, she continued. "It is a death

sentence... not only of the body, but the spirit too. I have not

felt the touch of a man on my skin for many months. I miss it... I

long for it, but no man will touch me now; I am marked."

 

illo - death sentence

 

The pathos in her voice tore at his heart. He gently stroked

her face, and then pulled her to him and gently embraced her, holding

her tightly to his own body. She leaned her head against him and

murmured softly, "thank you, my friend... my love..." He couldn't

see the silent tears trickling down her cheeks.

 

"How long do you have?"

 

"It is an unknown factor, but not long, I think. I simply

live day by day, wishing I could just one more time feel the love of

a man, but it is impossible, so I enjoy what I can from each day."

Shaking off the gloom, she raised her eyes to his. Peck was deeply

moved by her condition and resolved to find some way to honor her

secret yen.

 

"So why haven't you been eating? You are so thin, Nura."

 

"It seems less than essential. I eat enough to survive. It

only seems important when I actually feel hungry. Otherwise, why is

the point? Eating well or small will not make any difference. I

will not gain any time if I eat well, so what is the reason?"

 

Peck had no answer. Her logic was impeccable. "But I wanted

so to take you to dinner... to make..." his voice faded as his bright

eyes tried to mask the pain rapidly billowing inside ... love to

you...

 

"And I will not say no. That would be a lovely thing, my

Face. May we do this on the morrow? I am very tired from this day's

work. I would be of little value as a companion... and I would not

wish to be anything less than that which you remember."

 

"Don't be silly, lady. You will always be beautiful in my

eyes."

 

"Ah, yes, but unfortunately, the meal place would be in the

public eye. I must still live here, dear Face."

 

Face stays with her for the evening, after telling Hannibal where he is. They mostly sit in each other's arms...

 

In the morning, she agreed to locate help for them either in bodies to assist, or to help trade the dollars that Hannibal has brought into armaments to take with them. They are very careful about luggage and contraband! She assured him all she needed is a couple days.

 

He left her feeling much more buoyed.

 

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

 

Later, maybe while Hannibal and Maggie are doing their thing...

 

Peck kissed her hands, then slowly, [deliberately] by means

of small kisses, made his way up her arm to pause at the crook in her

neck, then his lips continued their slow, deliberate way to her lips.

Lost in the sensation, she swayed in his arms, eyes closed, letting

the rapture fill her once again. Then coming to her senses, she

pulled away as his lips sought out hers. "No, I cannot let you do

this. It would be death for you. I love too much of you to condemn

you to this hell I live in."

 

Face would not let her have her way, however. Pulling her

close to him, he whispered. "I know what AIDS is, Nura, I know what

it does. I also know how far I can proceed without fear." He could

feel her heart fluttering wildly beneath his fingers.

 

"It is not possible, Face... I can never again do the... make

the love."

 

Almost wanting to cry with the inequitable situation, Face

was determined to give her one last moment of tenderness. "Let me

worry about that, Nura. They have found out many things recently,

new things, things to grant people the chance to love."

 

She looked at him earnestly, wanting so very much to believe.

She'd resigned herself to dying, but felt so cheated at what she had

to give up. Never to have a husband or a chance of one... never to

have children... to die unwanted and unremembered... no, it was not

possible. She finally shook her head, disbelief winning out.

 

Face refused to accept it. Taking her chin in his hand, he

tenderly lifted it to meld his lips with hers. She watched him the

whole while, in wide-eyed disbelief, then realizing his determination, her eyes finally fluttered shut and she surrendered to the sensations he had resurrected in her.

 

Lifting her feather weight in his arms, he carried her to the

bed in the corner of the room where he lay her down gently, taking

time to disrobe slowly, so that she might watch. No hurry here,

Nura... this is for you.

 

Lying down beside her, he proceeded to make long, slow love

to her using his hands and tongue and lips. She writhed under his

expert tutelage, lost in level after level of escalating passion. He

could not satisfy her the one way she wanted most, but barring

coitus, he gave every ounce of his heart and soul to her pleasure

that night.

 

Hours later, when she lay curled up asleep, nestled in his

arms, he finally allowed himself the luxury of tears. Some might say

she's a free spirit, a Holly Go-Lightly, some might condemn her as

nothing more than a tramp... but whatever, without her, neither BA,

Murdock or I would have recaptured Hannibal in time to save him, and

for that, there was no measure of her worth to me, us.

 

He held her in his arms, watching her, gently caressing her

face until dawn came, desperately wanting to stop time in its

inexorable march to close this one life.

 

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

 

Around 5 a.m. Nura had a breakdown, Face took her to Drake's

hospital, then had to call Hannibal and the Team for help. It was a

brutal wake-up call. They all got up from their various places, and

convened at the hospital asap! Hannibal and Maggie were shaken the

most.

 

Hannibal watched soberly as the gurney was wheeled by him.

"Len, I would take it as a great personal favor if you could let this

lady stay here until..." his voice faded. He didn't want to say the

words out loud.

 

Understanding, Drake nodded. "Consider it done, Hannibal.

We'll take the best care of her we possibly can." Drake shook his

head. "God, I wish I'd known sooner... we have experimental drugs

and such that might have made a difference."

 

Smith's somber mood wasn't helped any by hearing this. "I

know... I've heard of new procedures, new break-throughs... it's

really too damned bad. She's so important to him -- to all of us,

Len. Without her help, the guys would never have found me back..."

his voice stuck, "when. She made the difference. We all feel so

helpless to see this happening and not be able to do a damned thing

about it. It's just not right."

 

Drake couldn't totally keep hidden a wry grimace at Smith's

words. Always the white knight, huh, Hannibal? You really can't

save the whole world, no matter how hard you try.

 

Face had stayed by her side the whole way, never leaving it

for a moment. With all they'd gone through, he felt he owed her a

comforting presence as long as he possibly could. Her huge eyes had

fastened on him, watching non-stop the whole trip from her home as

she was held tightly in the arms she loved so.

 

Smith watched his friend with concern. This really wasn't

what they needed to start out their trip with. He needed Face to be

up and at his best for the coming ordeal... and ordeal is probably

what it will be... knowing how things usually go with us.

 

She finally was taken into emergency, where Peck could not

follow. The agony was written all over him. He stood by the door,

peering anxiously in the small window there. Murdock had arrived by

now, and seeing his best friend so distraught, moved over to the

scammer. Putting his hand on Peck's shoulder, he said nothing but

gave quiet assurance and comfort. BA also moved over to join them.

Squeezing Maggie's hand, Hannibal then let go of it and joined the

Team in their vigil as respected his role as leader.

 

They got the prognosis... not great... but she would live for a little while longer. How long was anyone's guess, but no more than a day or so. Drake promised to use every option at his disposal to help her. Face emphasized that he didn't want her kept alive like a vegetable... that that was her own wish... she had been too vibrant to die in such a manner. Drake concurred, then as the others left, had one last discussion with Hannibal, now that he had an idea of what they were up to.

 

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

 

Hannibal watched his friend, as his friend slipped away, keeping his thoughts to himself. He knew how much this would affect Face and was really sorry for it. The woman had been a friend to them all, in

ways most people would never even dream of. His eyes briefly misted

as Nura's slender fingers, wrapped around Face's strong hand, finally

went limp, her body giving up the long struggle. I'm glad you were

able to be here for her, Face. I think it helped. Nura, may your

journey be filled with lightness and no more pain. Khap khun kra,

sweet lady. Then he turned away to jump back into the reality of

their mission at hand.

 

TBC in DJ VU

 


Death Sentence by Rita Ractliffe

 

 


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