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Summary: Face tries not to think about the future
Note: More random ramblin' I'm afraid
Sometimes, he'd look at the cards and that's all he would see; cards. No
patterns, no wins. Sure, he was the numbers guy, the sharp mind, the fast
moving conman. But still, some days it was all just shapes and colours
blurring together. That was the real difference, the reason Hannibal would
lead and he would follow. Where Face saw shapes, Hannibal saw the result,
the big picture. Hannibal was relentless in his pursuit of the perfect hand.
Some days Face could make sense of it. Just some days.
He'd never been much of a drinker, and there weren't so many places left to
hide. Not so many people to take him in, to give shelter. Well, he was the
charmer, wasn't he? No one wants to see the tarnished edge of the silver
So mostly he'd drive, or go for a long walk. Maybe go see the game, if there
was one on. Any kind of game, any place there were other people. Where it
wasn't just him, staring back at himself, staring into himself. But not
people he knew; no one he'd have to get close to. No one who'd try and get
inside the darkness in his head, no one who wanted to help, because when
they wanted to help, it stirred it all up again. And when he was almost
there, when he was almost ready to talk about it, when, for once, instead of
winging it, he'd rehearsed and rehearsed, and tried all the words out, and
got them all arranged so they made sense; when he was nearly there...
When he was nearly there, that was when they left.
Hope can be the most dangerous thing of all.
Sometimes there was no game. There was nowhere to walk, there was nowhere to
He might go over to BA's, help him out, work on the van with him. Even get
his hands dirty. They worked comfortably together, without words. Once in a
while he'd drop something, or struggle with a stiff bolt and the spanner
would recoil into his hand, and he'd fight to keep in the curses - BA wasn't
one for swearing.
When Face made mistakes, a mass of white teeth would grin back at him, and
BA would chuckle. Face felt welcome there. BA didn't smile very often, and
it was nice to be the cause. He guessed maybe that made him a little more
clumsy than he really was. Sometimes he played to the audience.
He didn't visit Amy often. She was pretty and smart, and although he tried
to see her as 'one of the guys', well... she wasn't. The times they passed
themselves off as husband and wife were a little too much fun to be
comfortable. While she was wise to his tricks, there was a danger - and
maybe he flattered himself over the degree of danger, but it was there, and
he could feel it - there was a real danger that he might believe it a little
too much, and she might let him. Might even fall for it herself.
Already she knew him too well. His real name, his background, how he lived;
more than any other woman had in a long time, maybe all his life.
That wasn't the disconcerting thing. It was the way she could predict his
reactions, knew how he would act, speak, feel. The attributes that made them
such a great working team were those he feared finding most in the outside
Murdock? Murdock was probably the person he felt most comfortable spending
time with, but was, of course, the person it was most difficult to see.
Murdock understood without saying a word. His whole life was one series of
distractions. Games, videos, playing dress up, even the planes and 'copters
were just big toys, it seemed.
Murdock would always come through when it counted. He knew what reality was.
He just chose to avoid it. So, in theory, Murdock's strange, distorted
universe made the perfect bolt hole.
It could also be unsettling though. Because Face could see how similar they
really were. If anything, Murdock was simply more honest in choosing to
If Amy knew him well, Murdock knew him better.
One night, restless and unable to sleep alone in yet another strange bed,
Face had slid a white tennis sock, new from the packet, onto his hand,
making a mouth between his thumb and forefinger. He'd watched his silent
companion moves its 'jaws', yet remain mute. He didn't have the words to put
there. He didn't have anything he wanted to say out loud. When you said it
out loud, it became true.
Maybe that was the difference. In Murdock's world, things only had to be
true for the moment they were said. There were no tomorrows.
Hannibal was easiest to deal with. They would make plans, plot for
contingencies. Have fun coming up with lists of new ways to scam Murdock out
of the VA, each more outrageous and audacious, laughing as the ideas grew
They would go over hide-outs and escape routes. They would look at the state
of the market and investments. Make sure things were still on track for
retirement, although that, Face didn't like to dwell on.
When Hannibal couldn't work any more, there would still be a long time left
to be alone. However hard he tried, Face just couldn't see himself as a
proud father, or settling down for a few rubbers of bridge with the rest of
the pensioners. Hannibal made it sound like they'd be running scams forever,
and however unrealistic that was, Face found it comforting.
Forever would only last as long as Hannibal, though.
Hannibal didn't let him off with much; or if he did, they both knew he was
doing it. And Face liked that, that there was a touchstone, a constant.
Someone who would always be there for him, who would always take him in,
take him back.
He remembered something about home being the place they have to take you in.
He wasn't so sure he'd take himself back, sometimes.
Women lived longer than men, didn't they? So maybe there would still be some
options, later on. Or maybe the nurses would be as pretty as the ones down
at the VA.
Would it make a difference, to any of them, if they were pardoned? If
Murdock knew his companions were living openly, weren't going to vanish
overnight, would he make more of an effort to keep in touch with reality?
Would BA be able to do more for his community?
And Hannibal. What would Hannibal do?
Some days, Face saw the cards just fine. Saw the patterns. Saw where the
Some days, Face let Hannibal win.
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