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You Lift Me Up

You Lift Me Up

by Nubiangeek

 

Rated PG-13

Category:Romance

Summary:Murdock finds himself in a very interesting situation.

Disclaimer:I don't own them.I can't make any money on them. Don't sue me.

Warning:This is a mushy, gushy love story.If you don't like that sort of thing,please don't read.If you do read, please be kind with your comments :) Thank you!

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

Part 1

Patricia Treemont came down the stairs of her parents' luxurious home. She had moved in the past week or so because of her mother's illness. Her stepfather said that it was nothing to be concerned about. What did he know, the jerk. Patricia wanted to see for herself.

As she came silently down the stairs,she heard them arguing and then she heard the slap.As she came into view,her stepfather was shaking her mother violently.

"Fred, stop it!"

At the sound of her voice, Fred Wallis turned to look at her. That little bitch was interfering again. He'd have to get rid of her once and for all.

Patricia's mom ran off to her room.

"You've interfered once too often,girl!" Fred shot back at her. But, he didn't touch her. All of these years since the incident she expected, no feared that his violence would turn to her, but it never did. Her mother was weaker.He only preyed upon the weak.

The next thing that she knew, he was on the phone. She took this opportunity to go up and check on her mother.

"Mom. you have to come with me. I'm going to get as far from him as I can.It's your money. You can go anywhere you want." She tried to dispel every excuse that her mother might have. All while she was talking, her mother was sobbing and shaking her head.

"I can't leave him. It's too late. But, you Patty, you go. It's only worse when you're here."

The last part stung her almost as if her mother had slapped her.

"Okay, I'm outta here." She declared.She went back to her room and packed. This time, she was the one that was sobbing.

That evening when she returned to her apartment,she was surprised to find two men there. As soon as they saw her,they grabbed her and put a chlorophyll-soaked cloth over her mouth. The world slipped away.

Two Months Later

Murdock was sitting out on the grounds of the VA hospital. He had an easel set up and was wearing a beret and a painter's smock. This week his thing was painting. He didn't see the ragged looking girl heading toward him.

The two months had been hard on Patty.She had fought them, at first, but when it seemed hopeless, she relented. She had been pumped full of all kinds of drugs which they eased up on when they thought that she had given in.She was now beginning to think that maybe she was crazy.

Her mother was dead; killed by Fred Wallis. He came and delivered the news personally right after she arrived. He had the authorities to believe that it was she that had killed her mother.

"She came here and tried to get her mother to go with her. Her mother had refused.We've known that the girl was crazy for years ever since that incident when she was fourteen. We thought that she was getting better...."

He looked like a parent concerned for his daughter. The cops believed him and she wound up here.

"Whatcha painting?" she asked as she approached. she didn't know if she were being watched or not. She looked at Murdock's painting which consisted of stick figures.

She had been watching him for weeks. She had hoped that she weren't hallucinating,but people seemed to be coming in and getting him and then bringing him back later. The other residents seemed too out of it to notice. She only noticed when they eased up on her meds.They always managed to come and go when the staff was sparce and different people were working. Oh, she had checked him out well.

She lowered her voice. "Can I ask you a question?"

Murdock made a point of staying away from the other residents. These people were crazy, and here was one sneaking up on him. Murdock put up his guard.

"I've been watching you."

"That's not a question."

"There are people that come in to get you and then bring you back."

That wasn't a question either, but Murdock decided to let it go. His ears did perk up,though. This girl seemed to be aware of his movements whereas the other residents didn't. He had to be careful,though. She could be one of Decker's

"What was your question?"

"Can you help me?"

She was staring directly at him now and Murdock felt his heart pounding.

"What's wrong?" Murdock managed to ask.

"I shouldn't be here. I'm not uh. . ." She realized that she was talking to one of the residents of an insane asylum.

"Crazy?" Murdock looked at her rather sheepishly.

"I'm sorry. You just don't seem to be as gone as some of the people here."She stopped because she realized that she was digging the hole deeper.

Murdock ignored this statement.

"What do you need help with?"

Patty explained everything looking for signs that he believed her,but she found none.

"So, can you help me?"

"Well, I don't know. I'll have to check with my staff."

Part 2

Murdock contacted Hannibal through their pre-arranged system.

"Well, I don't know, Colonel,I think she's legit.She definitely doesn't belong in here." Hannibal didn't know if he completely trusted Murdock's judgement on who should and shouldn't be in the Hospital.

"Well, that could be because she's one of Decker's plants. We'll check her out and then get back to you. It's going to be hard getting both of you out."

The next day, Templeton Peck arrived at the V.A. He had paperwork giving him orders to take out H.M. Murdock and Patricia Treemont who were going to be married at St. Mark's Cathedral later on that day. The nurse, who had known Mr.Murdock for a long time,thought that it was so sweet that Mr. Murdock and the new girl were getting married.

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

"Alright, Ms. Treemont, tell us why your stepfather had you put in a V.A. hospital."Murdock hadn't told them anything else because he wanted them to hear it from her.

"Well, my mom was very rich. Fred Wallis married her for her money, but mom left it to me in her will. He killed her and blamed it on me. the only way he could get at that money was to declare me insane by telling the cops that I killed my mother."

"I fail to see what we can do to help."Patty didn't know either.

"Look, just getting me out of that place was a start. But,unless you get proof of what he did,he'll get away with it."

"Give us a minute will you please?"Hannibal motioned the team into the next room of Templeton Peck's procured condominium.

"Colonel, if we don't help her, her stepfather's gonna have her killed."None of the guys wanted to see anything happen to the girl.

"Well, Murdock, what do you want us to do?" The others could tell that Murdock was not being his usual manic self. He was unusually quiet.

"Why don't we hide her out like we hide out until we get some proof on her stepfather."He could tell that they didn't like that idea.

"Come on, Hannibal." Peck said."She'd just be a liability."

Hannibal just chomped on his cigar.

"No more of a liability than April was."They considered this.

"But this will be different.She'd be hiding out. We'd have to keep her safe."Hannibal still had not spoken.

"We could leave her in the V.A. with Murdock."B.A. snickered.He had meant it as a joke.Everyone feared when Face's - uh -face lit up with an idea.

"Well you know, that's the ploy we used to get them out of there. Why not just continue that ploy." Hannibal was still silent.

"Yo man, that girl ain't gonna wanta live in no crazy house with no crazy man."They all pretty much agreed on this.

"Why don't we ask the little lady what she thinks." Hannibal finally said.

Patty had been pacing the whole time that they were gone.She owed her life to these men and wondered what would be in store next for her.

"Ms. Treemont, we have a unique proposition to make." Hannibal then explained what they had been discussing. When he finished, they waited for her reaction.She was shocked at first,and thought,surely there must be another way.But, then she thought about Fred Wallis. He would find her almost immediately unless she was right where he had left her.

"I'll do it." Hannibal looked pleased.

B.A. still didn't look happy. "You realize you're going to have to live with that fool 24/7?" Patty had realized and blushed a little as she thought about it.

"We'll have to give you a real A-Team name if you're going to be one of us.I vote for Pepper." Patty was waiting for it. It was a name kids called her when she was little. She was named after Peppermint Patty.

"Alright, but if anyone calls me Sgt. Pepper or Dr. Pepper I'm gonna kick your butt."

Part 3

So, it was decided that Murdock and Pepper would return to the V.A. hospital as husband and wife. Because of the scam to get them out, the staff was already rearranging the accommodations for the couple.

"So, my little Pepperpot. . ." Pepper rolled her eyes. Would she actually be able to do this?

"Yes, my little maniac." Murdock smiled at her creative comeback.

"Are you going to be okay with this little arrangement?" She noticed that Murdock was now somewhat serious.

"I'll be okay. It can't be any worse than being on the run from my stepfather.Besides, you are kinda cute."She said this as a joke,but she also felt that it was true.

"You know, sugar dumpling, we will have to convince everyone that we're married."Wink. Wink. Nod.Nod.

"How much convincing will we have to do?We're crazy!"

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

"How could you let her run off and get married without the permission of

her guardian."Nurse Dixon was being called to the carpet for letting Murdock and Pepper get married.

"I'm sorry sir, it seemed to be all arranged. I didn't know..."

Fred Wallis didn't like for anything to be out of his control, but this might just be a blessing in disguise. Hmmm,if she's married then she's content and if she's content then she won't fight being here, he thought.

"Okay, fine, fine. Can I see her at least.I want to make sure she hasn't made a mistake." Oh,how sweet, thought Nurse Dixon, a loving father caring about his poor, deranged daughter.

When Wallis came to the door, which was open, he found Pepper standing alone in the room unpacking.

"So, what the hell are you up to?" At the sound of his voice, she immediately backed up.Maybe she was crazy,she thought.I never used to be afraid of him before.

"What do you want, Fred?" an evil sneer spread across his face as he said, "I already got everything that I wanted. Everything." He was almost to her when there was a slight movement at the doorway.

"If there's some business you have with my wife,you might want to see me first."Remind me to kiss you later,Murdock, Pepper thought as she sighed with relief.

Part 4

"Oh, so this must be your new husband. You know your mother and I always disapproved of the many men you brought home." Fred looked Murdock up and down and surmised that he was just some poor, crazy bum Pepper had felt sorry for. And yet, deep down,Fred envied him. Pepper immediately slipped around Fred and ran over to Murdock's side. Murdock couldn't miss the look of total fear on Pepper's face.A look he had not seen since he met her.

"Well, I can see that I'm not wanted here, but remember, I'll be checking on you often,Peaches."Her mother's pet name for her. From him, it sounded disgusting.She was almost in tears as she remembered that this ogre had killed her mother. He walked by not missing an opportunity to brush his fingertips along her cheekbone. this sent her over the edge; as he knew it would.Murdock hastened his retreat by slamming the door shut almost before he was out.As soon as the door was shut,Pepper burst into hysterical tears.

"It's alright. I'm here. I won't let anybody hurt you again. I promise."He wondered if he could keep that promise as he whispered words of endearment.He held her for a long time.He could tell that something bad had happened between the two of them and he didn't want to guess what it might be.

After hearing about the incident at the V.A.,Hannibal was ticked.

"So, what do we know about this scumbag Wallis?" Peck took out his notebook and began ticking off several pieces of information that he had gathered.

"Well, everything that Pepper told us is true. He married her mother twenty years ago;obviously for her money.He was quite a bit younger.He immediately sent pepper away to boarding school and camp in the summer. He always kept her away from home. She's a smart girl and probably would have figured things out.She knew anyway.There was a scandal when she was fourteen.She told the teacher that her stepfather had been touching her - uh- inappropriately when she was home for a brief visit."

Murdock looked sick to his stomach and walked away.

"I'm gonna smash that sucka if I ever see him!" B.A. exclaimed.

"Well, no charges were ever filed. Pepper's mom didn't back her on it.

They all said that she was lying - or crazy. That probably helped with the insanity plea for her mom's murder later on."

Hannibal had decided to play 'devil's advocate'.

"Do you think she was lying?"He asked to no one in particular. Murdock whipped around with a rage his friends rarely saw.

"If you had seen them together - the way Pepper cringed every time he moved.He did it alright.I'm sure of it." that was enough for the team. They had been sitting at a picnic bench on the grounds.Pepper was asleep inside.

"We've got to get something on this guy and put him away permanently."

Parts 5 & 6

When Murdock returned, he found Pepper in the gym working out with a punching bag.She probably could kick his butt!She knew that he was standing there.She was beginning to know and sense his presence. Was this the way it was with real married people?

"I took it up to defend myself against him."She answered his unasked question.He held the bag for her as she punched.He could tell that she was secretly pretending that the bag was Fred Wallis. She was crying now as she continued to punch.She needed to get everything out,Murdock thought,and he would be there for her when it was done.

"Come on Murdock. You don't have to give up the bed on my account.Why can't we just share it.Face it, we knew that this would happen." She could tell that Murdock didn't think that it was such a good idea.

"We'll do like they did in some movie.We put this partition of rolled up towels down the middle of the bed." Murdock allowed her to have her fantasy.

The good thing about this whole thing, from Murdock's point of view, was that he was no longer alone.He had someone to talk to and she was goo company.

After about a week or so, they had worked out a routine for their life at the V.A.They had worked out the sleeping,shower, and changing arrangements.Murdock had shown her how to ditch the medication, and everyone,including the staff thought that they were happily married.

Sometimes Murdock let himself think about what it would be like to actually be

married.He knew that Pepper was only participating in the plan in order to stay safe.He knew that she couldn't possibly have any real feelings for him.

Murdock was looking at her strangely again.She wondered what he was thinking.She wondered why he had agreed with this plan. She felt like she was intruding in his space. But,he never complained and he was always smiling.Could he actually like living with her?

Face had broken them out a couple of times for training.Pepper showed off her kick-boxing finesse by beating up Face.

"Aw, look,I slipped. She wouldn't have won if I hadn't slipped."

Murdock remembered her telling him why she had started taking kickboxing. Face decided to sneak up on her and grabbed her from behind. Murdock almost warned the Lieutenant not to do that, but it was too late.Pepper fell into a rage and flipped him over her back. Murdock stepped forward and held her back whispering calming words to her.

"Hannibal, she almost killed me." Hannibal and B.A. just laughed.

Hannibal had been contacted about another mission,so Face was sent to retrieve Murdock and Pepper. they all met at Face's condo to discuss the mission.

"There's a little town in Washington state that is being terrorized by a

land developer.Kent Peterson and his family own a small fishing resort up there.This developer wants the resort and all of the other property up there.

The others have sold out, but the Petersons aren't selling." They all nodded

that this was the usual profile. Pepper was excited because this would be her first mission.

"We leave for Washington tonight."Hannibal announced.they all seemed pumped as they did before every mission - except for Murdock.

"Colonel, can I talk to you?" Hannibal had a feeling what it was about.

"Sure, Captain,." The others were busy getting the supplies ready for the mission.

"It's about Pepper. . ."

"What's the matter? Is the Honeymoon over?" Hannibal was having too much fun.

"No - I mean. . .I just don't think that she should go on the mission. That's all."Hannibal could tell that Murdock was serious.

"Look Murdock, we told her that she can be part of the team. We can't welch on the deal now.Besides, you said that she could take care of herself."He had. He remembered her beating up Face and smiled.

"Don't worry, we'll bring your wife back in one piece."Murdock resigned himself to the fact that Pepper would go .

"Oh, Colonel, don't tell Pepper that we talked." Hannibal laughed as they both realized that she would kick his butt!

As they arrived in the beautiful town of Spring Valley, none of them could imagine anything bad could be happening here. Murdock and Pepper hardly spoke on the ride up there. Pepper wondered if he were mad at her or maybe this was just part of the Murdock she hadn't seen yet.

They had elected to drive so that they wouldn't have to mess with sedating B.A.They met the Petersons at the lake and were beginning to work out their strategy.

We'll come in and run the place as your new hired help" Hannibal was beginning to explain.When Hannibal sawthat Kent Peterson was about to object to this, he said,

"You want them to stop coming after you and your family don't you? This way,they'll come after us." Kent realized this as he looked at his young family.

"We need to let that windbag at Weinberg Developers know that you have some new employees."Hannibal was already on the Jazz.

Face and B.A. were busy checking the weapons, so Pepper had a chance to talk to Murdock alone.

"Okay, what's up? Why the silent treatment?" Murdock hadn't expected to get into this right now.

"I'm sorry. It's just. . . " He looked at her now in a different way than he had ever looked at her. The look was there and then it was just as quickly gone.

"What do you think, Ralph?" Murdock had pulled out a rubber fish and was talking to it.Pepper took this as a sign that he didn't want to discuss it.

"Alright, but why don't you just say that you don't want to talk about it?"She turned and walked away.

"Trouble in paradise?"face asked. Murdock just gave him a dirty look.

Part 7

 

As expected, when the A Team took over the running of the Petersons fishing excursions,Weinberg's men paid them a visit.

"Hello, would you like to go fishing?" Hannibal was dressed like the

Gorton fisherman and was in rare form.

"No we're not here to go fishing,old man. Are you the jerk running this place?"

"Well, I might be. Then again,I might be your mama."Hannibal was deliberately saying things to tick them off.

As the men started tearing up the joint,the rest of the A Team came in. Everyone was fighting including Pepper. She was fighting two guys at the same time and Murdock was getting distracted trying to make sure that she was okay.

"Would you stop!" She yelled at him when she realized what he was doing. He couldn't help it.

After they had thoroughly defeated Weinberg's men,they went running out presumably to tell their boss.

"What the hell was that all about?"Face, B.A. and Hannibal took off in another direction as they guessed what was going to happen next. Murdock looked at her sheepishly.He started to hold up Ralph.

"And don't give me any of that Ralph crap. This is between me and you."

She snatched the fish from him and threw it down.

"Talk to me." She pleaded. He wanted to.God knew he wanted to,but he couldn't.

"I can't. Not yet. Please."She saw the pain in his eyes and felt sorry that she had pushed him into doing something that he wasn't ready to do.She reached up and touched his cheek.

"I'm sorry," she said barely above a whisper. She had only meant it as a gesture of friendship,but they both felt the spark of electricity between them.

"I should go and help the guys. . ."They both knew that the conversation was ended - for now.

The next day, the team knew that more trouble would come from Weinberg's guys.They might even meet Weinberg himself today. Pepper was out playing with the Peterson's kids and the rest of the team was restless- waiting for Weinberg to strike.

They didn't have to wait long.More of Weinberg's goons approached and they were armed to the teeth. They shot off a few rounds to get everyone's attention.

Pepper had gathered the children and run for cover.Murdock was trying his best to seewhere she had gone.Then he chided himself and tried to think of her as just another member of the team.

"Mr. Weinberg sends his regards."The leader of the group shouted.

Then, they started shooting up the place again. No one noticed when one of the gunmen ran behind the shed that Pepper and the children were hiding in. A few minutes later the goon came out with a gun pointed at Pepper's head. He also had the kids.

"Okay everybody cool it or they get it."Murdock was about to lose it.

Pepper hated to think that she would be the cause for a ruined mission.

She had to do something.So, she decided to make her move. Using her elbow, she rammed as hard as she could into the man's ribcage.

"Run!" she shouted to the kids.

They ran back to the shed and she tried to follow. The man regained his composure and was about to shoot Pepper.

What happened next was a blur.Murdock yelled, "No!" as he dove in front of Pepper.Almost simultaneously,Pepper yelled,"Murdock, no!" It was too late. Murdock lay unconscious on the ground and he was bleeding profusely.He landed right in front of Pepper.

Hannibal shot the guy who had shot Murdock and Pepper pulled Murdock to the safety of the shed.When the gunfire had ceased,the rest of the thugs had been run of again.

Part 8

"Let's get him inside quickly."Pepper was sobbing but trying not to.

"Face we need to get a doctor.You and B.A. go into town and see if you can round up one."They left immediately.

When face and B.A. reached town,they went straight to the General Store because it was a local hang out.

"Excuse me, we're looking for the doctor's office." There were several townspeople in the store and they didn't look friendly.

"You're the folks up there helping the Peterson's aren't you?" thinking that this was a good thing, Face smiled and said,"Yes, we're here helping the Petersons."The people's faces got angrier.

"Why won't they sell? Our town would benefit from this deal."

"Look, we're in kind of a hurry. If you could just point us to the doctor's office,we'll be on our way."None of them moved or said a word.

Seeing that they would get no help there, Face and B.A. left to look for the doctor's office themselves.

They had put Murdock in one of the guest rooms where he would be more comfortable.Pepper was by his side secretly blaming herself for his being shot.She was applying a cold compress to his fevered brow.She could tell that his temperature was rising and he was losing a lot of blood. He was also entering into a state of delirium. He started calling her name which embarrassed her,a little, at first.

"I'm here. It's okay," she said trying to calm him.

"I have to tell you how I feel.Have to. . . " She tried to quiet him.

She didn't know if this was because she wasn't ready to hear what he had to

say.Either way, she did manage to get him to go to sleep.

Face and B.A. finally returned with Dr. Witherspoon who was coming under duress.

"How's he doing Pepper?"Face asked. He could tell that she had been there the whole time.

"He's resting. His temp is really high, though."

"Why don't you go and get some rest.the doctor's here."She reluctantly went but made them promise that they would come and get her if there was any change.

When she returned two hours later,Murdock's fever seemed to be going down,but he was still asleep. What had he been trying to tell her, she wanted to know.How did he feel?She thought about her own feelings.She was getting used to being married to Murdock.He was very sweet.But, was that enough? Then he stirred again and seemed to be delirious.Pepper felt his forehead.His temperature seemed to be going up again. "Pepper. . . Don't leave me.Everyone I care about always leaves me. lease. . ."She didn't know what to say,so she just said, "I'm here. . .

I'm here, Murdock." She thought that he just wanted her there, but there was a deeper meaning behind what he said.

She thought back to their time in the V.A. hospital.

I think I'll take a shower, she had told him. She went into the bathroom.

She was beautiful, he thought. Just the thought of her in the shower

with water and soap sliding over her body and he would have to take a shower.

A cold one.

A few minutes later, Pepper came out in only a towel.

"Sorry, I forgot my clothes. I'm not used to this arrangement yet."

Murdock almost fell out of his chair. She didn't seem to notice this as she

went back into the bathroom.

"Oh sweet Lord, I don't know if I'll be able to keep doing this."

Boy, that was a close one. I almost came out without the towel! I

wonder what that would have done to Murdock. She smiled as she thought about this.

Later,at dinner, Murdock again found himself watching her.She had a

beautiful body.He remembered that from the shower incident. He swallowed hard.

"Is it that good?" Pepper asked.

Oh, yeah.It's good."He smile. He wasn't talking about the meatloaf.

Part 9

 

That night, they were going to have to deal with the sleeping

arrangements.

"Can I trust you, Murdock?" she asked.He thought about it.

"Yeah. You can trust me." It took a lot for him to say that.

When she emerged from the bathroom,Murdock thanked God that she wasn't wearing a skimpy,little nightgown.She had on a long New York Yankees sleepshirt,her hair was in ponytails and she was wearing thick, white socks on her feet.Murdock still thought that she looked sexy.

"Ready for bed?" she called cheerfully not paying attention to the other implications.

Murdock slept uneasily that night.

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

In the meantime, Hannibal was wondering why Weinberg was buying up all of the property. He decided to send Face into Weinberg's offices to find out what they were up to.

Face broke into the office safe and found Weinberg's personal papers.

"Ah, so that's what our little birdie is up to." he said as he busily took pictures. When he returned to the resort,he shared his news with the rest.

"It seems Weinberg is telling everyone that it is going to be a big resort. The town is dying. The young people are moving away. This would bring jobs and,hopefully keep the young people there.This is what apparently sold the others.Want to know what he's really doing?" Face flashed a big grin as he tried to build up the suspense.

"Aw come on Faceman, Stop trying to be so mysterious." Face smiled as he got what he wanted.

"Alright. It seems that there's a lot of money in landfills. He plans to turn the whole thing into a giant dump." Peterson was furious. He knew that something was going on.

"We have the proof, though, don't we?"Peterson asked.

Face held up his little camera."Except for one little thing.He hasn't

done anything illegal, yet. We'd have to wait until he actually built the thing.Unless... What if we sent this information to a T.V. station or a newspaper and have them do a story on how wonderful the new resort will be?"

Hannibal saw where Face was going.

"Yeah, and if he backed out, he would be guilty of fraud. Nice,Face."

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

Murdock was sitting up now. He had been shot in the shoulder, but the doctor got the bullet out.Pepper was all smiles as she saw him now.

"I was so worried." She felt the tears coming. She couldn't stop them.

"Everything's alright now. . . "He hesitated slightly as he took her into his arms.After a while,she pulled out of his arms and asked,

"Murdock,I need you to talk to me.You said some things when you had your fever.I don't know what you meant."She could see the pain coming across his face.She wished that she didn't have to do this, but she had to know.

"And you don't want to hear from Ralph?"She shook her head.He took her face in his hands,reluctantly it seemed, and looked into her eyes. She was beautiful;he had to admit it.He noticed how she closed her eyes as he stroked her cheek.He swallowed hard as he thought about what he wanted to do with her.

His eyes looked like burning coals.She wondered what he was thinking. She had no doubt that he was thinking about her.

"I want to. . . " He couldn't finish.She moved closer until they were face to face.

"You want to what?" Her voice was barely above a whisper and he could feel her breath caress his face. His lips came down on hers.

He was unsure; she could tell. So,she tried to reassure him by putting her arms around him and pulling him to her. She then deepened the kiss and he thought that he would faint.

Murdock put his arms around her and ran his long thin fingers through her hair.He sighed as he thought about wanting to do this ever since he met her.

"I want you." He struggled to say. He felt guilty. As if he didn't deserve her.She felt the tears forming.The were tears for him as well as tears for her.

"I have feelings for you, too Murdock.I'm not ready yet for. . . . Maybe once the mission is done." While she was still contemplating this, the old Murdock came back.

"I think Ralph's hungry."He picked up the fish and walked away.

Pepper was still crying as he walked away.She was trying to understand: to understand him.

Part 10

Face saw Murdock leaving and went in to find Pepper crying. He could guess

what had happened.It was really hard for anyone to get close to Murdock; he always seemed to mess things up somehow.

"Hey kid, are you okay?" He asked this even though he knew that she wasn't.She tried to dry her eyes and not show that she had been crying.

"Oh, I'm just mad at myself for ever getting mixed up in this whole mess."

"You know that's not true.You love us; at least you love one of us."

She looked up at Face and could not deny his words. He was right.

"Is it hard pretending to be married to someone you're in love with?" He had hit the nail right on the head.

"You know, I've always dreamt of being married and having a couple of kids and living in the house with the picket fence - the works.This isn't exactly the Donna Reed Show." Face nodded his head in agreement. He knew that she was waiting for him to give her some great advice, but he had none to give.Except. . . "The only thing that I can tell you, is that you have to enter his world.That's the only way to reach Murdock.Watch how Hannibal does it."She nodded and then B.A.came to tell them that they were leaving. Face had made some contacts at the local news station and turned over

their evidence to them.The story aired on the six o'clock news. The report was a favorable one,so that Weinbergcouldn't squirm out of it. They all stood around watching it and were grinning from ear to ear.

"I love it when a plan comes together!"They had expected this from Hannibal,but it actually came from Pepper.

"What?" She asked.

They said their goodbyes to the Petersons and headed home.

Murdock was dreading going back to the V.A.He knew that it meant another opportunity for Pepper to talk to him.

Pepper felt awkward, too. Maybe she should have kept her big mouth shut, she thought. Anytime he did talk to her, he was quiet,but polite. It was

killing her.Then she remembered what Face had said.She reached into one of her drawers to get something and then headed to the Arts and Crafts room.

Murdock saw her leave. Why can't I talk to her? He put his head in his hands.A few minutes later he looked up and right in front of him was a sock puppet.

"Hi, I'm Ruthie." She couldn't believe that she was doing this. Murdock looked into her eyes.He couldn't believe it either.

"Ruthie wants to talk to Ralph.Where's Ralph?" Murdock reached over and picked up Ralph.

"Hi, Ruthie." Pepper smiled. She had to be careful about what she asked.

"Does Ralph want to tell Ruthie something?"Pepper looked into his beautiful brown eyes and he looked back. Murdock put Ralph down and then took the sock puppetfrom Pepper's hand.

"I love you." he said quietly. Pepper leaned forward and kissed him.

She couldn't imagine that she would be this happy hearing him say those words.

She then stood up and pulled him up with her. She took his hat off and proceeded to slowly unzip his leather jacket. Murdock remained perfectly still except for the bobbing of his Adam's apple as he swallowed hard. She slowly

removed his jacket.they never took their eyes off of one another. She took a deep breath and then began to unbuckle his belt.

"Pepper, you don't have to do this." He said hoarsely.

"I want to." She answered back.

She finished undressing him and then started kissing him again. Murdock couldn't control himself any longer.He pulled her down to the bed.He kissed her hungrily as he struggled to remove her clothing. She stopped him and stood up to go into the bathroom.

"I'll be right back."Murdock waited, no too patiently, as he thought about her.He did love her and he was glad that he could finally say it.

The bathroom door slowly opened and Pepper came around the corner. She was wearing a very provocative negligee. She had bought it on a whim while on a shopping spree with her girlfriends. She had never worn it, until now.

"Do you like it?" she asked tentatively.'

"I like." he said, huskily.

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

You Lift Me Up!

Climbing on a cloud,dancing on a daydream

I don't have a doubt just how good this life can be

You lift me up!

Running in the rain,singing in the sunshine

Telling all the world why I'm so in love with life

You lift me up!

Chorus

You lift me up!

I'm touching the blue sky

You lift me up!

I'm on top of the world

You lift me up!

I'm getting closer to heaven

And every little thing I love

You lift me up!

Headed for the stars,riding on a moonbeam

You've taken me so far

Farther than I've ever been

You lift me Up!

Chorus

It's so crystal clear

I'm in love

All I ever want,All I ever need is right here

Chorus

(Words and Music by Chris Eaton and Cindy Morgan. Sung by Rachel Lampa)


You Lift Me Up by Nubiangeek