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Yes, first in the 'Alphabet' Series
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. >Never were. Just borrowing to entertain a few bored masses. No money made. Trust me, I'm still as poor as ever. :)
WARNING: Violence, Adult Language, Sex and should other warnings apply, they will be posted in the header of that particular part.
SUMMARY: The Team becomes divided by a psychopath who uses each member's vulnerabilities to pit them against one another.
COMMENTS: Plot and content on list, great! :) Grammar and typos, off list if you feel compelled, but I'd rather you didn't. :)
AUTHOR NOTES: * - denotes thought < - denotes emphasis
* * * * * * * * * *
Alex looked around the seedy motel room, his blue eyes
darkening as they surveyed the decrepit environment he
presently found himself in. How had it happened? How had he
managed to fall so far, so fast? It made no sense. No sense
at all. After having the finest hotels in the city at his
beck and call just a month before, to find himself ensconced
in this cockroach-ridden excuse of a hovel was not only
degrading and depressing, it was fucking frightening.
He swallowed and ran a hand over his perspiration
<Someone> was going to pay for this.
And pay <hard>.
He'd make sure of that.
With the slow movements his alcohol saturated body
afforded him, he slowly sprawled across the pitifully thin
mattress of the bed and reached into the drawer of the three-
legged nightstand, taking no pleasure as he extracted the
one valuable possession he'd managed to take with him before
being forced out of his home...
His 1934 German Luger.
Carefully he let himself fall onto his back and held
the weapon in the air, its metal glistening even in the
dimness of the poorly lighted room. A more beautiful object
he had never seen. It would be the *perfect* weapon to use
against those that had caused him so much pain and
A slow sinister smile upturned Alex's lips as he
pictured them on their knees as he leveled the cold metal
against the backs of each of their heads.
"Yes," He breathed, a sudden rush of excitement
coursing through him as he thought of the blood that would
result from <his> action.
But then a sudden realization hit him.
That was too quick. MUCH too quick. Those bastards
would not have the opportunity to experience the emotional
hells that <he> had.
Alex's expression sobered immediately and he wrapped
his hands around the Luger and cradled it protectively to
his chest, as if seeking guidance from it. "I don't want
them to go quick," He muttered, his eyes narrowing into thin
slits as he stared at the cracked paint that pockmarked the
ceiling. "No. It has to be slow. Painful and slow. Fucking
And then an idea came to him.
And he laughed loudly, wondering why the hell he hadn't
thought of <that> in the first place!
* * * * *
"Gentlemen, I trust you enjoyed your time off?"
B.A. glared at Stockwell as the somewhat pompous,
almost always officious General, entered the living room,
smiling slightly. *Never a good sign when that foo' does
that,* B.A. thought with a heavy scowl. From the looks of
the others' faces, he could tell that they, too, were
immediately (and no doubt correctly) suspicious of
Stockwell's thin attempt at a smile.
"It ain't over <yet>," B.A. growled after a moment,
leaning back in his chair and clenching his fists against
the padded arms of the piece of furniture.
"B.A.'s right, Stockwell," Hannibal nodded, his blue
eyes sharply surveying the General's expression. "We still
have three more days. That <was> our arrangement."
"Yes, Smith, it was. However, as you gentlemen are
only too well aware of, arrangements are always subject to
change. Especially in our line of work."
From his position beside Hannibal on the sofa, Murdock
smirked as he shifted position so he could look up at the
interloper. "<Your> line of work, shotgun...<not> ours!
Remember, General, <we> aren't in this for the career
"That's for sure," Face nodded, shifting uncomfortably
in place as he stood near Stockwell. "The perks of this job
definitely do <not> outweigh the risks."
Stockwell looked at Face, still wearing that thin,
almost smug, grin. "I realize it's taking you a while to
adjust to our arrangement, gentlemen. That's only natural in
"Ack!" Frankie shuddered, nearly thwocking Murdock's
arm as he exaggerated cringing. "Don't even <joke> about a
thing like that, Stockwell! I ain't <never> gonna have <no>
relationship with someone like <you>!"
Hannibal chuckled slightly. "That's all right,
Frankie. Take it easy. I'm sure that's not exactly the kind
of 'relationship' our straight-laced, by the book, General
had in mind, right Stockwell?" He glanced at the General,
smiling with satisfaction at the slight crimson flush that
stained Stockwell's cheeks all of a sudden.
"That's it, Smith," Stockwell began after a
moment. "Laugh it up and make your little jokes. You four
won't be laughing when I tell you about Alexander Fawkes and
the not so nice things that gentlemen has in store for you."
A heavy silence fell among the members of the Team for
several moments and they eyed each other warily for a moment.
"Fawkes?!" Murdock exclaimed after a moment, his eyes
narrowing slightly. "Colonel, I thought he was..."
"He <was>, Murdock." Hannibal slowly got to his feet
and turned to Stockwell, his entire aspect rigid with
tension. "He <was> in that psychiatric hospital in
Georgetown. Okay, Stockwell...you've played your little
game. You've got us interested, now OUT with it! Which one
of your operatives sprung Fawkes <this> time?"
Stockwell drew in a breath and crossed his arms over
his chest. "What makes you think my operatives or I had
anything to do with it, Smith?"
"Because <you> were the one who released that psycho
<last> time!" Face exploded suddenly, with such vehemence,
that Stockwell's eyes widened in surprise. "It was <your>
fault that that bastard nearly <killed> us! Twice over, I
"Easy, Face," Hannibal sighed, carefully making his way
over to the Lieutenant's side and turning dangerously
flashing blue eyes on Stockwell. "We <all> know that
Stockwell is a man who likes to burn both ends of the
candle. And he does it better than anyone else I know. What
he <doesn't> count on...is the people that get <burned> just
might <not> be so eager to do his dirty work for him
"Yeah," B.A. nodded vigorously, standing and slamming
his left fist into his right palm. "A pardon ain't worth
Stockwell's back straightened and for several moments
he was silent, letting his steely gaze travel around the
room. "I'm afraid there's more at stake here than just your
pardon, gentlemen, if you choose not to cooperate here. You
see, Fawkes has...connections. Connections that frankly,
without *my* assistance...will destroy you faster than
Fawkes himself. We need each other. I think you all will
agree to that."
"Like hell!" Murdock snarled, leaning forward and
running a hand over his face in frustration. "The day I
agree to anything <you> have to say..."
"I'd rather take my chances on the run," Frankie nodded
"I think we're all in agreement here, Hannibal," Face
stated coolly, his gaze hard as he focused it on
Stockwell. "Trusting our 'friend', the General, here, just
might be one fatal mistake."
Hannibal drew in a breath. "Forgive us for not
<thanking> you for delivering us the news about Fawkes,
Stockwell...but we're <taking> the days off we were
promised, <and> if this is true about Fawkes...we'll take
our chances...<without> any help from you. Comprende?"
After a moment, Stockwell shook his head, the smile now
completely gone from his face as he started for the door,
his stride purposeful if not even a bit harried. At the
doorway, he paused, and threw the Team a pitying look. "You
gentlemen are making the worst mistake of your lives right
now," he stated before turning and exiting, letting the door
slam in his wake.
"Good afternoon, may I help you?"
Alex felt the Luger pressing comfortingly against his
ribcage, barely covered by the ill-fitting shoulder
holster. *Dammit, I should've checked this bastard's
equipment before I blew him away,* he thought as he tried to
look casual as he straightened the suit jacket and flashed
the nurse as disarming a smile as he could muster without
becoming overwhelmed with the need to retch violently.
"I certainly hope so," He forced, reaching into his pocket
for the ID billfold. "The name is Bellows. Dr. Carl
Bellows. I just transferred here and was told that one of my
patients was located in this wing. An H.M. Murdock?"
The nurse studied the pictureless identification card for a
moment then shrugged slightly. "That's odd," She frowned,
eyeing him strangely.
"Well, Mr. Murdock was released from here well over a year
and a half ago. I don't understand why anyone would tell you
he was on your patient roster, Doctor. Perhaps if you wait
here a moment, I can ask my supervisor and..."
She started to walk away but after hastily returning the
identification to his jacket pocket, he seized her arm and
pulled her toward her. "I wouldn't suggest doing that," He
said under his breath. "In fact, I would <suggest> that you
show me any and all release paperwork on Mister Murdock.
Don't you think that would be a good idea, hmm?"
Her eyes widened as she stared up at him. He could feel her
fear as she trembled slightly within his grasp and nodded
weakly, with great reluctance. "Ahh...okay, okay. W...wait
"Not a chance. Take me *to* the paperwork, darlin.'"
She swallowed and noticed the shoulder holster as he opened
the jacket with his free hand. "I believe <this> should
convince you I'm perfectly serious about this," He laughed
wryly. "Now, take me to that paperwork. And, for crying out
loud, <do> be discreet about it, hmmm? There's nothing I
hate <worse> than grandstanding."
Within a matter of minutes Alex found himself ensconced in a
small windowless rooms, watching as the nurse fearfully
started sorting through what looked to be an incredibly
archaic filing system until she finally extracted a rather
thick manila folder.
"H...Here," She stammered as she handed him the
folder. "That...that's all the information we...we have on
Murdock. C...Can I go now? Please?" Her lower lip began to
tremble and her eyes kept glancing furtively toward the door
"Well...since you <did> such a <swell> job of directing me
to the information I needed...I suppose I <could> show a bit
of mercy toward you..."
She sighed with relief, until she saw him extract the Luger
from the holster and casually attached a silencer.
"Wh...what are you doing? I..."
"Mercy, my dear Florence Nightingale, comes in all forms. Be
thankful <this> is the form <I> was gracious enough to give
you." He leveled the weapon with her chest and fired three
times, watching as her body fell backward in a spray of
Alex shook his head as he removed the silencer, dropped it
in his pocket and returned the Luger back to his holster. He
grabbed the overstuffed folder and glanced down at the dying
woman. "Thanks for the help, sweetheart." He winked at her,
turned on his heel and stepped out of the room, casually
closing the door and making his way back into the main
"Excuse me, sir..."
He froze at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. Turning
around, he found himself facing a security guard who was
eyeing him suspiciously, and the folder even more so.
*It's always something, dammit.*
"You, uh...you work here?"
Once more, Alex produced the billfold and sighed
impatiently. "How many more people have I got to show this
identification to, hmm? I just started here and was getting
some information on one of my cases, is that all right with
The guard sighed, nodding as he studied the
identification. "I'm sorry, Doctor. But we can't be too
careful around here these days. There's been
some...incidents...lately...regarding one of our former
patients, and we've had to take some extra precautions."
"Understandable, but can I please be on my way now?"
"Oh. Yeah, yeah. Sure. Thanks."
Alex turned around and started down the corridor, his lips
upturning in a slow grin as he held the psychiatric history
of H.M. Murdock in his hands.
* * * * *
"You know, Hannibal, I really, *really* hate to say this,
but...um, maybe we...maybe we were a little hasty dismissing
Stockwell like that."
Hannibal looked across the table at Face, who was just as
unenthusiastic about eating as the rest of them. In fact,
after Stockwell's departure, the general atmosphere amongst
the group had taken on a solemnity that it hadn't had in
quite some time. The memories of their last encounter with
Fawkes were still fresh on everyone's minds...even
Frankie's, though he came on board for only the tail end of
things. *Lucky for him,* Hannibal reasoned to himself. *The
things Fawkes tried to do to us would've killed that kid.
Nearly killed the three of US.*
"Face, I am <not> going to let Hunt Stockwell run his games
on us again, not where Alexander Fawkes is concerned. How
does that saying go, fellas? Been there, done that? Not
interested anymore." He reached for his beer and took a long
"But what if Stockwell's right?" Frankie nodded, quickly
agreeing with Face, even as he listlessly let his fork
rearrange the almost grotesque display of food on his
plate. "What if Fawkes <does> have those kinda connections
now, Johnny? Don't you think we oughta try to get some of
our own? I mean, this James Bond stuff ain't exactly what I
Murdock laughed sarcastically as he leaned back in his
chair, tossing his napkin onto his plate with an almost
violent force. "<None> of us bargained for <any> of this
shit, kid. Came with the territory."
"I ain't afraid of that foo'," B.A. groused after finishing
a gulp of milk. "That sucka can come after me all he wants.
He ain't gonna get me."
Face smiled slightly as he glanced at B.A. "I'm glad <one>
of us is confident, B.A." He looked at Hannibal again,
shaking his head slightly. "Hannibal, come on...let's be
reasonable about this. I mean, this isn't...this isn't like
normal. There's no plan. No Jazz. Just one mad bastard who
no doubt wants to seek some serious revenge on us for what
we did to him."
"That reminds me," Frankie began after a moment, looking
around the table curiously. "By the time <I> came in, Fawkes
was already on his way outta Dodge, so to speak. Nobody ever
<did> tell me what the hell this guy did to start all this
shit." He looked around expectantly, watching the various
expressions on the Team.
After several moments, Murdock straightened in his chair,
his dark eyes flashing with an intensity that took Frankie
by surprise. *Holy shit, Murdock's pissed,* he thought with
a shudder. *Whatever this prick did to him, it must have
been bad. Real bad. Do I REALLY want to hear this?*
"We first met Fawkes in Nam," Murdock stated after a moment,
his voice subdued and drawn with forced evenness. "His unit
was assigned to work with ours to infiltrate a suspected VC
nest. Routine op, really. Their pilot and I flew recon, back
and forth, scouting ahead from the air because the jungles
were so...so thick..." His voice trailed off and he
swallowed, blinking quickly as if reliving the time.
"Murdock, you don't have to go on..." Frankie started,
quickly wishing he hadn't asked these guys to thrust
themselves back into that war that Santana knew only from
"Let him go on, Frankie," Hannibal countered softly, looking
sympathetically at Murdock. "I think it's about time this
was out in the open anyway. There's some things about this
that I don't think any of us has ever fully revealed to the
others." Leaning forward, he put a hand on Murdock's
arm. "Go on, Captain. We're listening."
"Th...thanks, Colonel." Murdock nodded slightly as Hannibal
sat back in his chair. He remained silent for a moment,
swallowing over his memories for a moment and trying to
figure out how to go on. *How do you summarize a moment of
your life? How do you put it into words?!* He asked himself.
*You just try. Do you best, Captain. That's all you CAN do.
Murdock shifted in place again. "Um...yeah, so...uh...so me
and this guy, Clark I think his name was...we were flying
recon over the area when this...this message from Fawkes
came in...Fawkes was the, uh...the NCO or something,
I'm...I'm not sure. It's all pretty...kinda hazy and,
uh...well, we got the message to fly back toward base
camp..." He groaned and leaned forward, running a hand over
his face, shaking slightly. "I can't...I can't finish this
guys, I'm sorry. I gotta...I can't..."
The others watched in pained silence as Murdock bolted to
his feet and left the room, overcome by memories.
"Geezus, Johnny," Frankie rasped after a couple of
moments. "I didn't mean..."
Face reached over and put a sympathetic man on the younger
man's shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Frankie. It's not
your fault. It's Fawkes. It's all because of Fawkes. You
see...the message that Murdock and Clark had, from Fawkes,
to return to camp...was a set up. Turned out that Fawkes
knew a group of VC were waiting for them there and...they
were brought down." Face paused and drew in a deep breath,
his shoulders stiffening slightly. "They, uh...they ended up
nabbing Clark and Murdock and torturing the hell out of 'em.
Murdock lived, Clark didn't."
"Shit," Frankie sighed, shaking his head and groaning.
"Good thing we found Murdock when we did or he wouldn'ta
been alive neither," B.A. nodded solemnly. "Took care of
those guys. Made 'em pay for what they did."
"But what we <didn't> know was that the <real> enemy was
right in our own backyard." Hannibal leaned back in his
chair and sighed wearily. "Hell, at that point Murdock still
didn't know Fawkes had planned that little scene
deliberately. He just thought it was a horrible
miscalculation on Fawkes' men's parts."
Frankie eyed Hannibal curiously. "So how did you all find
out it <was> this guy's fault, huh?"
Face sighed and drew himself to his feet. "Maybe some other
time, Frankie. Look, nothing personal, but...uh...this has
all been a little much for me to go through right now, too.
I'll, uh...I'll go see how Murdock's doing."
"Good thinking, Face." Hannibal watched as the Lieutenant
left the room.
"I'm sorry, guys," Frankie muttered. "I can see it on your
faces. Reliving this shit...the more I here, I more I have
to wonder how the hell you guys ever walked outta there in
A strange shadow occluded Hannibal's vividly blue eyes for a
moment. "Who says we did?" He mused sadly before he, too,
could no longer fight the urge to walk away from the table,
which seemed to be the present day manifestation of Nam.
For several moments, B.A. and Frankie remained still, not
looking at each other, until at last, B.A. also got to his
"I, uh...I gotta go fill up the van," He muttered before
leaving the room.
Frankie looked around the empty table and ran a hand over
his face, shaking his head. "Good job, Santana," he hissed
under his breath. "Try as you will you will <never>
completely fit in with these guys...will <never> understand
the shit that they do. One of these, you bonehead, maybe
you'll remember that and quit shoving your foot in your
Back in his pitiful excuse of a room, Alex intently pored through the
contents of the manila folder, his eyes greedily absorbing pertinent
information he came across as he sifted through the mountain of
psychiatric data. Much to his genuine astonishment, this <tome>
compiled only the last six <months> of Murdock's time in the V.A.
*Imagine the fucking paperwork for all those years!*, he thought,
shaking his head slightly.
"Geezus," He muttered as he turned another page of barely
decipherable notes. "This is <incredible>! The bastard was even
<more> off his rocker than even <I> gave him credit for being! Holy
shit, look at this....the guy's a total flake! Hmmm...should have
<no> problem dealing with <this> one."
He studied one particular page for a moment, letting his narrowed
eyes absorb the signature of the attending psychiatrist who signed
off on Murdock's case that day.
"Hmmm, now <that> sounds like one man I need to make contact
He grinned and closed the folder, feeling a rush of genuine, heady
optimism coursing through him for the first time in a very <very>
"Phase One of Operation Assassination is underway," He smirked as he
reached for the phone book.
* * * * *
Murdock found himself nearing the gates of the Langley compound and
stopped, his shoulders sagging slightly as he heard a familiar voice
calling his name. Reluctantly, he turned around.
"Face, I just needed some air..." He drew in a breath and shivered
slightly as Face gently touched his arm.
"I know, Murdock. I know."
*The hell you do,* Murdock thought with an amount of anger that
surprised him even as he thought it. *You don't <know> what it's
like. Not completely. Hell, you haven't even figured out my feelings
for you yet...*
"Uh, tell...tell Frankie...tell him it wasn't anything personal, huh?
"I'm <sure> he'll understand, Murdock."
*Like HELL he will! Geezus, Face, if YOU can't understand, how the
fuck is FRANKIE supposed to?!*
"I...I don't know," He shook his head, reluctantly allowing his eyes
to actually meet Face's. He swallowed nervously and labored to
maintain his facade of detachment. *Like I don't kinda get a thrill
out of seeing the concern in those baby blues.* "C'mon, Muchacho,"
He began after a moment. "You and I <both> know that...well, that
Frankie will never...CAN never...<really> understand what we went
through over there. Not just with Fawkes, man...but with it all.
<All> the shit."
Face sighed and glanced briefly toward the gate guards, suddenly
feeling a bit inconspicuous with his hand on Murdock's arm. He pulled
it back and pretended to not notice the sudden flash of hurt that
flickered in Murdock's eyes. "Why, uh...why don't we talk about this
somewhere else, Murdock? Hmm?"
Murdock, much to Face's surprise, raised an eyebrow and with
humorless sarcasm mocked, "What's the matter, Faceman? Ashamed to be
<seen> with me now?"
Wounded, Face stared at Murdock. "What?! Murdock, what the hell are
you <talking> about? That...Where the hell did <that> come from? Of
<course> I'm not ashamed to be seen with you! I never <have> been!"
"<What>?!" Face's jaw slackened and his entire aspect was consumed
with astonishment, his blue eyes shimmering with pained
"I said, <bullshit>! You want me to engrave it on stationery and
have it <mailed> to ya?!" There was a sudden vehemence in Murdock's
posturing that was dramatically, not to mention uncharacteristically,
bitter for him. Face drew back further in his shock.
"Murdock, I...wh...<where> the hell is this coming from?! Did the
talk about Fawkes...did it bring up something you haven't...uh...you
haven't told me about?!"
Murdock slapped a palm against his face, hard. "You really <don't>
have a clue here, do you, Face? Geezus! And I thought..." His voice
trailed off and he shook his head, throwing his hands up in the air
in total exasperation. "Never mind! Just...never <mind>!"
"Murdock..." Face watched helplessly as his friend took off toward
the gate with a cadence of absolute indignation, hurt, and resentment.
"What in the <hell>..." Face didn't have the faintest idea about
what <that> encounter was all about...and in all honesty, he wasn't
exactly sure he really wanted to know.
* * * * *
He heard Frankie's hesitant voice from the doorway and drew in a
breath as he looked back at the much younger man. "Come on in,
Frank," He said softly, nodding ever so slightly, a subtle signal for
Frankie to lock the door behind them so they could converse as the
lovers they were, rather than simply as the Teammates they thought
they <had> to portray themselves as.
"Come here and sit down, kid." Hannibal nodded toward a nearby spot
on the bed, watching in bold fascination as the dark-haired, darkly-
complected man obliged...after, of course, locking the bedroom
"Johnny," Frankie started awkwardly after a couple of
moments. "I...I'm sorry, man. I'm so <damn> sorry to have brought
up that shit earlier...you know, about what you guys went through
with Fawkes. Sometimes I...sometimes I can be such a <prick>, ya
Hannibal smiled and rested a hand on Frankie's left thigh, inwardly
relishing the tremor he felt ripple the muscle beneath the fabric of
the man's jeans. "I <told> you not to worry about it...and I <meant>
that." His admonition was gentle, like his touch, but the younger
man knew it was intended with complete seriousness. "Shit is going
to remind us of more shit, Frank, to speak less than decorously. We
<all> have our own baggage to deal with. You're no exception. It's
just...well, it's just a matter of learning how and when we're able
to <fully> able deal with that."
"I guess," Frankie sighed, offering no resistance as Hannibal's
fingers slowly started kneading the muscled area beneath it.
"<Trust> me, kid. Whatever happened...it is <not> your fault.
However...what happens <next> WILL be, if you don't lay back on that
bed right now."
Frankie laughed at the huskiness in Hannibal's voice. "Who am I to
refuse an order like <that>?" He rasped, already feeling himself
becoming aroused as Hannibal's fingers slid over his thigh and
brushed the increasing bulge at the front of his jeans.
Relaxing for the first time since Stockwell's regularly unscheduled
visit, he slowly lay back until he was completely horizontal on the
bed, groaning as he felt his jeans being unfastened and a
comfortingly familiar set of lips passionately crushed down onto his
and they were once more swiftly enthralled with each other as only
the most intimate could be.
Richter sighed and started to turn the key in the lock, freezing when
he sensed another presence watching him. He turned around and found
himself looking at an unfamiliar figure, a man of average height and
appearance, dressed in a black leather jacket, black tee shirt and
jeans, and most obnoxious pair of alligator boots the psychiatrist
thought he'd ever seen. Replete with slicked back hair and black
shades, the guy looked like something out of Bikers Weekly Magazine.
Richter lifted an eyebrow. "Can I help you?"
"You Richter?" The man asked in a voice laden with some accent that
Richter couldn't quite pinpoint.
"Yes, I'm Dr. Richter. Have we met?"
"Not yet. But you're <just> the guy I've been looking for." A slow
smile upturned the man's lips and Richter stared in surprise as the
man extracted a gun from inside the leather jacket, aiming it at
Richter's chest. "Now why don't you invite me in, Doc, hmmm? There's
a <lot> of questions I need to ask you."
"Questions?! What the devil is going on here? Who <are> you?" Richter
looked around the suburban street which, unfortunately, seemed
unusually devoid of human activity at the moment.
"That's not important, Doc. Just unlock the door and let's take this
Richter grimaced but did as ordered, inhaling sharply as he suddenly
found himself being shoved forward into the livingroom as the man
locked the door behind him. "Sit down, Doc."
As he seated himself in a nearby chair, Richter watched the man's
face, hoping for some sense of familiarity. But it was a futile
exercise in recognition, made more futile as the man practically
ripped the sunglasses off his face and glared at him.
"Okay, Doc...talk to me about Murdock. H.M. Murdock. And don't leave
"What?!" Richter almost laughed sarcastically, his eyebrows raising
simultaneously in disbelief. "You've gotta be kidding me..."
The man stood in front of him and waved the gun for emphasis. "Do I
<look> like I'm kidding?! Heh. And they said you were a <good>
"Who said that?" Richter shifted slightly in place, trying to remain
calm and unfettered in appearance as his right index finger slid
around the right arm and carefully pressed a small button concealed
there. For once he was glad he'd listened to his ex and had installed
a silent alarm...."for protection of patient information" he kept at
The man crossed one arm over the other and smirked as he studied the
psychiatrist's face. "Quit playing word games with me, bright guy. I
want to know Murdock's weaknesses. Besides the obvious, I mean. Who
does he love? Does he have family?"
"Why don't you ask the guy yourself? Hmm?"
"Because...because I'm having just a <little> bit of trouble trying
to locate the guy at the moment and because I want <your> take on the
loser. Now, spill it! Unless you want me to spill YOU all over that
hideous painting right over there."
Richter drew in a breath and leaned back, crossing his hands in his
lap and patiently waiting for the assuring sounds of sirens to start
punctuating the air outside.
Unfortunately, after the usual amount of time lapsed, Richter frowned
and realized that something was wrong; that the security crew
"Problem, Doc?" The man smirked, reaching into one pocket of his
jacket and holding up a small bouquet of multicolored wires. "I
suppose you're looking for these, hmm? Your fancy little silent alarm
won't work without <these>."
Richter suddenly felt a gnawing sense of nausea as his eyes riveted
on the barrel of that damned gun.
"Looks like I don't have any choice here," He forced warily after a
few moments, his voice drawn and strained.
"No. Actually, Doc...you do. You don't talk, you die. That's always
an option." The man grinned and seated himself on the sofa, leaning
back and heavily throwing his alligator boots atop the cherry
coffee table that separated the two men. "It's up to you, man. I'm
game for either one. What I don't get from you, I sure as hell can
get from someone else. It's not like you're my only option here."
"I see. Mind if I ask you a question?"
"Go for it. Shows you're paying attention."
Richter groaned inwardly. "What is it about Murdock, huh? What has
that guy done that could possibly instill so much hatred in you?"
The man laughed and shook his head. "Always on fucking duty, aren't
you, Doc? Trust me...you <don't> wanna know what's going on."
"Why not?" Now Richter was genuinely curious and he leaned forward
After a moment, the man's smile evaporated and his eyes hardened,
expression evaporating in an instant. "Because then I'd have to kill
<you>, too," He stated bluntly.
Richter swallowed and ran a hand over his face.
* * * * * *
Face shook his head as he made his way back up to the house, inwardly
wondering what the hell that scene with Murdock had been <really> all
about. It was more than just Fawkes and the memories, although that
was, even for <him>, a pretty substantial part. There was something
else...something almost tangible, a feeling like maybe he (Face) was
overlooking something that should have been patently obvious.
He <hated> when he got that impression.
He sighed and made his way toward his room, deciding to grab the keys
to his Vette and take off for a drive, something that seemed to help
him take his mind off things.
Or maybe he'd call Yvette, that luscious new Austrian model he'd met
He grinned slyly and started toward his room, but stopped when he
heard the damndest of noises coming out of Hannibal's room.
"Oh god, <yes>, Johnny! YES!!!!"
Face's aspect paled and his eyes widened as he recognized that voice
immediately. "Frankie?!" He mouthed, immediately forgetting his <own>
intentions as he pressed an ear to the door and reeled in
astonishment to sounds he thought he'd <never> hear!
Frankie and Hannibal?! Having SEX?!
Face listened in horror as he heard the distinct sounds of moaning
and groaning and another cry of exuberance from Frankie. The image of
Frankie and Hannibal together was unbelievable...Face found himself
reeling in disbelief as he staggered away from the door.
And right into a hard figure that appeared seemingly from out of
"Hey!" A familiar gruff voice intoned.
Face jerked and whirled around in place, surprised to find himself
looking at B.A. "B.A.! Uh, listen...I, uh...I was just on my way to
my room and..."
"You was listenin' outside <Hannibal's> door, Faceman!" B.A.
frowned. "That ain't right!"
"Well, look I...I know it might <look> rather, um....suspicious,
B.A., but you don't understand, I..."
"You're right, sucka! I <don't> understand! Need help with the van.
Can't find no one else so you'll do. C'mon."
"But..." Face stammered as B.A. grabbed him by the jacket collar and
literally dragged him away from the door, moments before Hannibal's
triumphant cry of "Yeah, kid, yeah!" reverberated through the
"All righty then....one down. Three to go."
Alex grinned and let his hands wrap around the steering wheel,
luxuriating in the feel of the faux leather covering that had sat
baking in the afternoon sun well before Fawkes had liberated the
vehicle from its owner. He smiled and let his fingers tap to the
rhythm of the classical music that blasted from the car's rear
He started to whistle, his mind processing images of the death and
destruction that was soon to begin.
Very, *very* soon.
He pulled into the parking lot and turned off the engine, looking up
at the small building with keen interest. This small veterinary
clinic was rather quaint in appearance, he noted, his mind imagining
the face of the female owner and operator of the establishment.
He could see it now...
* "Kelly!" Murdock cried, his eyes bulging in horror as he collapsed
at the graveside. "Oh god, it's true..."
"Of course it's true, you moron," Fawkes leered, standing nearby
and watching the grief-stricken man with a broad grin on his face. "I
warned you what would happen if you betrayed me, Murdock. I fucking
<warned> you, and you never listened! Well, it's a few years after
the fact, but there it is...the result of <your> screw up! I hope you
can live with yourself, buddy. That's <more> blood on your
hands, 'Muchacho'! More <innocent> blood!"
The look of primal hatred that shot from Murdock's eyes was
strangely exciting to Fawkes and he chuckled as he watched the
trembling pilot waver to a standing position, hands clenching and
unclenching at his sides in overwhelming rage. For several moments
they remained silent, staring at one another in a silent showdown
that had begun many, many years before...*
"Game point, Murdock," Fawkes snickered. "Game point."
Reaching into the pocket of his denim jacket, he caressed the cold
metal butt of the Luger and inhaled carefully. "Not so fast, Fawkes,"
he told himself, also noticing a disturbing sensation in the hollow
of his abdomen. "No rule says you can't <enjoy> yourself while
getting even with that nutcase."
He licked his lips and glanced toward the building where he saw a
woman pass in front of a large window. "Mmmm...definitely going to
<enjoy> this one."
He climbed out of the car and affixed as accommodating a smile as he
could muster, a smile that broadened as he made his way toward the
building's entrance and he could hear the woman's voice inside,
apparently in conversation on the telephone.
How long had it been since he'd even <been> with anyone?
Years. Since his wife's death.
*Shit. No wonder I'm getting hard just listening to her and watching
her shadow pass.*
He drew in a breath and let his mind wander until he heard her
* * * * *
"Hand me the wrench!"
Face remained still, shaking his head and looking as if he were
walking around in an entirely alternate dimension, until B.A. shook
him and he jerked himself out of his self-imposed reverie, eyeing the
black man with wide eyes. "Huh? What?"
"I said, hand me the wrench, fool!" B.A. growled impatiently,
releasing Face and leaning back away from the open hood of the
van. "Okay, sucka...what's goin' on?"
"H...hah? Wh...what makes you think something's going on? Listen,
B.A., I'm sorry I wandered off like that, but I..."
"Don't wanna hear no excuses! Wanna hear what's goin' on!" B.A.'s
eyes flashed dangerously as he crossed his arms over his chest and
awaited a response from his visibly disturbed companion.
"No you don't," Face managed quietly, before he could stifle the
words. *Shit,* he thought with a sigh, running a hand over his face
and looking absolutely ill all of a sudden.
"Hey guys!" A familiar voice enthused suddenly, mercifully (at least
to Face) interrupting the proceedings. He and B.A. turned and saw
Frankie and Hannibal approaching, both men looking more than a little
refreshed and Face paled visibly.
"Need some help with that van, man?" Frankie chuckled, practically
dancing as he approached.
"Frankie and I were in the neighborhood and just thought we'd pass
by," Hannibal grinned mischeviously, eyeing Face curiously. "Did we,
uh...interrupt something here?"
"NO!" Face practically shouted, pulling away from B.A. and all but
cringing, despite the strange looks he was getting from the
others. "Not a thing! I, uh...excuse me, fellas, hah? I'm just...I
REALLY need to go out for a drive right now..."
"Face..." Frankie started, frowning in confusion. He started to
follow the Lieutenant, but stopped when Hannibal shook his head.
"Let him go, Frank." Hannibal's eyes darkened slightly as he studied
Face's hastily retreating form. "I've got a feeling that Face really
<does> need to be alone right now."
"Hannibal, somethin' ain't right with him," B.A. nodded, shaking his
head in disbelief. "He been actin' real funny since I caught him
outside your room."
A moment of silence followed, punctuated by Frankie's half-cough/half-
"Wh...what?!" Santana half-squeaked, dark eyes widening slightly in
Hannibal frowned and shot B.A. a wary look. "What was that, B.A.?!
You caught him outside my room?! When?"
B.A. shrugged slightly, then scratched his head briefly. " 'Bout a
half an hour ago I guess. I needed help with the van and couldn't
find no one else, so I dragged him away. He was listenin' at your door
and lookin' real, <real> funny."
"Aw shit!" Frankie cried, paling and slamming a hand against his
thigh. "Johnny, I KNEW..."
"Easy, Frank! <I'll> handle this." He shot B.A. a serious
look. "B.A., not a word of this to Murdock. I don't know what Face
told you or what you think, but not a word of this until I get this
straightened out with the Lieutenant. You got it?"
B.A. nodded, but looked more confused than ever.
"Good. Frankie, go cool off. We'll talk later. B.A., just..."
Hannibal paused a moment. "Sit tight, pal." He glanced at Frankie
again. "Both of you."
They watched as Hannibal walked away, determined to find Face. (In
more ways than one.)
"B.A..." Frankie started, then swallowed and shook his head.
"I don't wanna know," B.A. grumbled, returning his attention to the
mechanics of the van engine, the ferocity of his efforts glaring to
the trembling Santana.
*Shitfuck*, he swallowed before turning on his heel and storming back
toward the house, his face flaming crimson.
Murdock slammed the apartment door closed behind him and sighed
heavily, forcing himself to try to steady himself. The entire scene
with Face had nearly <completely> blown up in his face. He'd come
close, <too> damn close, to telling his best friend in the world
exactly just <how> deep his feelings for the man <truly> ran. His
love for the man was so intense at times it hurt, like now, and much
more than simple physical aching and longing.
Leaning his back against the door, Murdock allowed himself to close
his eyes briefly and struggle to get his emotions in check.
Rerunning the scene with Face wasn't doing him any good. He <knew>
that. And yet...and yet he <needed> to figure out <why> bringing up
memories of Fawkes would cause such an intense knee-jerk reaction to
his feelings for Face.
What the <fuck> was with <that>?!
Slowly he released a breath, letting the circulation of air relax his
"Dammit, Face," He sighed after a couple of moments, reluctantly
opening his eyes and looking around the apartment that was eerily
shadowed thanks to the late afternoon sunlight that was streaming in
through the sliding glass doors nearby. "Why in the <hell> can't you
just..." He paused, his gaze suddenly drawn to a nearby stand where
a phone and answering machine rested.
The answering machine was alive with a sporadic red light, indicating
the preservation of at least two messages.
"Great," He groaned after a moment, slowly running a hand over his
face and thoughtlessly shoving his cap further toward the back of his
head. "<Now> what?! And do I really and <truly>, truly and really,
really really truly <truly> wanna know?!" He hesitated a moment,
wondering if he should check the machine. After all, if it <was>
Face, as it more than likely was bound to be...did he <really> feel
He shook his head and laughed to himself. "Get a hold of yourself,
<Fool>," he mocked as he made his way toward the telephone
stand. "It's just <Face> for cryin' out loud! Geez...actin' like a
damn love struck teenager."
*Maybe because that's EXACTLY how you feel, Murdock! A love struck
teenager with a crush!*
"On my friggin' <best friend> of all people," He smirked, letting his
left index finger slide across the machine.
Within moments the small studio apartment was filled with the sounds
of Templeton Peck's concerned voice, just as Murdock had expected:
"Uh, Murdock...you there?" A pause. "C'mon, Murdock, if you're
there, pick up, will ya? <Please?>" Another pause. "Dammit! Ah, okay,
then...call me when you get this, huh?"
Murdock couldn't fight the slight smile that struggled to upturn his
lips as he took off his cap and tossed it onto a nearby chair, then
did the same with his jacket as the second message started playing,
this one <also> from Face:
"Murdock, will you pick up this damn phone?! I just..." A pause and
what sounded like a nervous swallow. "I <really> need to talk to you,
buddy. You will <not> believe what I just found out..."
Murdock's left eyebrow shot up in curiosity. Hmmm. "Wonder what
<that's> all about?" He mused as he took off his sneakers, then
kicked them across the room before folding himself into a nearby
Meanwhile, the next message on the machine played:
"Well," A chillingly familiar voice said, immediately causing Murdock
to bolt upright in his chair, eyes widening in astonishment and
instant recognition. "Hell-o there, <old buddy>, H.M. Murdock," The
voice of none other than Alexander Fawkes chuckled, purposely mocking
the cheerful message that greeted callers whenever they phoned
"Oh <shit>!!" Murdock gasped, nearly falling out of his chair as the
"Remember me, Murdock? Heh. Yeah, I'm sure you do. At least, I like
to <think> you do. You and I...we were more than comrades, huh? We
were...what did you call us? Oh yeah...we were MUCHACHOS! Yeah.
That's it. Listen, there's someone with me who wants <very> much to
talk to you, buddy. We'll call back. Hope you're there."
Murdock gasped and felt his hands gripping the cloth arms of the
chair, unaware of how white his knuckles were becoming.
It was goddamned Fawkes!
How in the HELL could <that> have happened?!
Murdock felt a renewed sense of revulsion for Hunt Stockwell,
churning like acid in the hollow of his gut as he waited through a
series of mundane, unimportant, suddenly <meaningless> messages,
before Fawkes' voice returned to haunt Murdock's dwelling, and his
mind, once again:
"Murdock, here's your friend. Since we didn't get a hold of you,
looks like you're gonna have to settle for this instead..." A series
of shuffling noises, a painful cry, and then another voice resounded
from the machine's speaker, a voice that otherwise would have
gladdened Murdock to no end to hear...but whose presence now,
alongside Fawkes, caused the pilot to tremble in horrified
*Kelly! Oh god, no...you sick prick! You goddamned sick prick!
Kelly...oh please no...*
"H.M.," She choked, her voice barely audible. "H.M., please..."
He closed his eyes. She was the only person, beside Face, who had
managed to get to him like this...
*Don't let me lose her! Please! Not like this! Not to HIM! PLEASE!*
"...please don't blame...don't blame yourself. I love you!"
She screamed the last words, her voice cut off abruptly in midflight
by the sound of a single gunshot, followed by a heavy thud.
Murdock's eyes flew open and he screamed.
* * * * *
"Lieutenant, turn off the engine."
Seated behind the wheel of the Vette, Face jerked upright, paling
when he saw Hannibal standing beside the passenger door, one gloved
hand resting firmly on the door handle before him.
"Uh, look, Hannibal...I, uh...I just remembered that, uh...that
there's an errand that Stockwell asked me to run and I...I really
<don't> want to upset him. I mean, you know how he gets and
all...what with what went on and everything and..."
"Cut the crap, Face," Hannibal sighed, his blue eyes narrowing as he
leaned forward. "Turn...off...the...engine. Unless you want me to
do it myself..."
"No!" Face exclaimed, the thought of Hannibal reaching across his lap
suddenly instilling sheer terror in his blue eyes. His fingers
fumbled with unnatural clumsiness, but he eventually managed to turn
the key. He exhaled uncomfortably. *As Frankie is so apt to
eloquently say,* he thought with a nervous swallow as he watched
Hannibal open the door and seat himself, *...shitfuck!*
"Kid," Hannibal began after a moment, his blue eyes sparkling with a
strange, almost mischevious twinkle as he glanced at Face. "You and
I have gotta talk."
"Uh, Hannibal, I really <don't> think that...that's necessary, is
it?" He could always hope, right?
Hannibal simply stared at him for a moment. "That depends," He half-
chuckled after a minute. "Are you going to blush like hell and turn
your eyes every time I try to look at you?"
"Uh, well..." Face shifted in place.
"Look, let's just get this out in the open," Hannibal sighed and
leaned back a moment, drawing in a carefully measured breath, but
keeping his gaze on the uncomfortable younger man. "What you heard
at the door..."
"Hannibal, you don't have to..."
"For god's sake, of <course> I have to! If we're gonna operate as a
Team, this has <got> to be resolved! So, okay, let's resolve it.
Frankie and I are lovers. There."
"Hannibal!" Face felt his face flush even deeper and he longed to
crawl out the door. And yet there was something there that kept him
still meeting Smith's gaze. "How...how did...when...?" *You know,
Peck, for a Con Man you sure are making an ass of yourself right now.*
Of course, it wasn't everyday that the man he'd looked up to for so
many years, the man he'd respected almost like the father he never
had...it wasn't <everyday> that Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith
admitted he slept with members of his own gender. Sure Face had seen
plenty of men swing both ways over in Nam. Hell, he'd been
propositioned a time or two.
PROUDLY admitting his relationship?
With <Frankie>?! A little <street urchin> like <Frankie Santana>?!
Face shook his head slightly and he laughed nervously, running a hand
over his mouth as he labored to find something to say.
"Face...let me explain..."
"No. I mean, you don't...you don't have to..."
Hannibal frowned. "That's where you're wrong, kid. I see the fear in
your eyes. <That> is precisely the reason I made Frankie keep this
"What?! <You> made him not...not...?"
"That's right," Hannibal stated with an almost boastful air that
showed Face a brief glimpse of the genuine emotion felt for his young
lover. "Frankie...when he started on the last Aquamaniac picture...he
made no secret about his attraction to me. In fact...he, uh..."
Hannibal paused and a youthful glow lit his blue eyes as he laughed
slightly and relaxed his posture slightly. "He wanted to practically
shout it from the rooftops the first night I agreed to go out to
dinner with him..."
Face swallowed. *I can't believe I'm hearing this. I just CANNOT
believe I'm hearing this! Look at him! He really DOES love Santana!
My god! Look at him! It's in his eyes, his movements, his talk...*
Hannibal was practically glowing!
Face thought he was going to be sick, but somehow managed to hold it
together to nod stiffly and force a smile. "So, you...uh...this
wasn't your..." *Aww shit, do I REALLY want to know this?!*
Of <course> he did. His curiosity seemed to override his momentary
apprehension...at least for a moment or two.
"First time?" Hannibal laughed, studying Face's expression for a
moment. "Hardly, Face. But, uh...I think you've heard enough for one
day." His smile evaporated as he reached out to put a supportive hand
on Face's arm and Face winced and pulled away, as if Smith's touch
Hannibal inhaled sharply and forced himself to exit the
Vette. "Face..." He started as he closed the door behind him.
"Don't tell B.A. about this. Not yet. Let me do that."
"Don't worry," Face exhaled, shaking his head slightly. "Wasn't
planning on it, Colonel." He watched as Hannibal started to walk
Smith paused and turned around, one eyebrow raised curiously as he
For the first time for most of the day, a small but genuine smile
upturned Face's lips. "Is this where I'm supposed to ask, 'Is a cigar
really JUST a cigar?' "
For a moment Hannibal was silent, and then it happened.
The tension was broke...at least for the moment.
But as he watched a now chuckling Hannibal walk back toward the
compound, Face was still having apoplexy about the whole idea and the
scenario he couldn't seem to get out of his head.
He turned on the engine, determined to find himself a woman, or
Richter stared in horror as the door to the cell opened and Fawkes
shoved a battered woman inside. Quickly scrambling over the newly
expired form of the nurse he'd been struggling to keep alive for the
past several hours, he made his way to where the new arrival now lay
in a battered, unconscious ball.
"Got another way to occupy your time, Doc," Fawkes grinned as he
slammed the cell door closed and turned the key in the lock,
pocketing it with excessive casualness. "Hope this one lasts longer."
Richter glared up at the man as Fawkes, now dressed in one of <his>
best suits, walked away, his footfalls resounding like small claps of
thunder as they echoed off the stone walls that comprised the cell
blocks. Moments later the resounding noise of a slamming door
followed, and Richter exhaled before carefully easing the beaten
woman onto her back so he could study her.
What he found made his stomach turn, despite his years in the medical
and psychiatric professions.
"Mother of god," He inhaled, his eyes widening as he stared at the
nearly disfigured face and violently battered body that was covered
in blood and looking like something out of a horror movie.
Tentatively he reached out and touched her face and jumped back when
one eye flipped open and she whimpered.
"Hey, hey...shh, it's okay. I won't hurt you. I...I promise. I'm a
doctor. I just..I'm a doctor. I want to help you. Please."
Her eye looked up at him and he somehow had a feeling that she
understood and would trust him. Whoever this poor girl was, she
obviously had some connection to Murdock.
He sighed as he removed what was left of his shirt and started to
tear it into strips. As he started binding of the girl's wounds,
Richter thought of Murdock and wondered exactly <what> his former
patient had done to instill such wrath in Fawkes.
At that point, Richter couldn't even begin to fathom the true extent
of Fawkes' madness and honestly wasn't sure he really wanted to.
Hell, he <knew> he didn't want to.
* * * * *
Stockwell looked up as the door to his office was thrown open with
such violence that it cracked slightly as it slammed into the wall
"Carla, what the..." He stopped when he saw the figure that occupied
the doorway. "Captain Murdock."
"Carla's tied up," Murdock stated coldly, his posture as hard as the
look in his eyes. Stockwell would have had to have been <blind> not
to have seen the pure unadulterated hatred burning in those eyes, and
to realize that hatred was directed squarely at <him>.
"I see." For a moment Stockwell remained motionless, watching and
waiting to see what Murdock would do.
"You and I have to talk...<Stockwell>."
Stockwell leaned forward, his dark eyes flashing as he watched
Murdock slowly advance toward him. "You and I don't <have> to do
<anything>...<Captain>. I don't respond well to threats or
ultimatums. You should know that about me by now."
"I don't give a flying fuck <what> you respond to, you...you bastard!"
Stockwell stiffened. "You know, Murdock...I'm beginning to see the
darker side of your so-called insanity and I must tell you, I find it
less than appealing. You might want to give serious reconsideration
to what you are doing here at the moment, before you say or do
something you will regret later on."
"The <only> thing I regret...is ever having set eyes on YOU! Now you
tell me...right here, right NOW...where Fawkes is. And don't, do NOT,
tell me you have no idea because I <know> how slugs like you operate,
Stockwell! I <know> that little scene back at the house was just a
show to advertise what you were gonna keep on' doin'
anyway...checking up on Fawkes, whether we volunteered to 'help' you
"I see. Interesting theory, Captain."
"We both know it <isn't> a theory." Murdock now stood in front of the
desk, so close his thighs brushed the structure. Stockwell watched
with a sort of morbid fascination, and a tight smile, as Murdock
leaned forward, slamming his palms on the desktop so hard that it
shook slightly. "Cut the crap, General. I'm <not> leaving here until
you tell me where that son of a bitch is hiding out. And after I take
care of him...you can bet your ass that I'm not going to let <this>
latest lie go by. I promise you that!"
Stockwell smirked and slowly removed his tinted glasses, making a
point of casually resting them on the desktop before looking up into
Murdock's eyes. "Don't threaten me, Captain. It really does <nothing>
for your entreaty but make you look...well, to put it frankly,
"Why you..." Murdock started to lunge for Stockwell but stopped as he
heard the all too familiar sound of cocking guns from the doorway. He
didn't have to turn around to know that, at some point, Stockwell had
somehow managed to summon a couple of his goon squad.
"Emotional reactions hold no place in a mission like this one,
Captain," Stockwell stated. "They only cause more damage than prevent
it. Trust me on that one. Now, if you think you can remain <civil>
about this...sit down and perhaps we <should> talk. Especially given
the messages Fawkes left on your answering machine..."
"Wha...you...you KNOW..." Murdock's voice trailed off for a moment
and he straightened, running a hand over his face. "Why the <fuck>
does this surprise me?!" He exclaimed with a bitter laugh, his
shoulders shaking slightly. "Why does <anything> you do surprise me
at this point?! So tell me, old man...how long have you had my phone
tapped, huh? A week? A month?"
Stockwell leaned back in his chair and much to Murdock's surprise, a
look of genuine concern flashed in the older man's eyes. "Ever since
you took the apartment, Captain. I, uh...like to keep track of my
"I'm not your ANYTHING!" Murdock paused, swallowing repeatedly over
the emotions that seemed wont to surface. "If...if you had my phone
tapped...if you KNEW what this...what Fawkes was doing...for god's
sake, man, why in the name of god didn't you DO something?!"
"I couldn't." Stockwell replied quietly after a moment.
"Couldn't or <wouldn't>?!"
Stockwell exhaled carefully. "Does it make a difference?"
"Yes! It makes ALL the difference! Someone I...someone very, VERY
dear to me is fucking DEAD, Stockwell! DEAD! And you just...you just
sat back and <let> it happen?! You knew it and..."
"Now just hold on a minute, Captain," Stockwell interjected, his tone
hardening as he got to his feet and started to make his way around
the desk. "There is MUCH more to this than you realize. Much, MUCH
more. Now, I truly AM sorry about what happened to your former
girlfriend...but this isn't JUST about you. The rest of the members
of the Team are involved here. Fawkes is taking out revenge on ALL of
you. According to our sources..."
"Your SOURCES let an innocent woman die!" Murdock's voice was now
starting to crack and his anger and resolve was fast crumbling
beneath the weight of his emotional anguish. He turned away, slamming
a fist against his thigh, ignorant of any pain that the blow might
have caused himself.
"No, Captain, they didn't. They gather information, that's all they
do. The actual prevention of Fawkes...that's up to you and the rest
of the Team."
Slowly, Murdock turned his head and met Stockwell's gaze, studying
him suspiciously. "What do YOU get out of this?" He muttered after a
moment. "If we nail Fawkes...what the hell do YOU get? According to
you, WE'RE the ones this guy wants..."
"Yes," Stockwell nodded. "You are." Carefully he put a hand on
Murdock's shoulder. "Let's just say that I don't appreciate anyone
trying to eliminate <my> personnel, Murdock. That's something I tend
to take a little personally."
Murdock remained silent, not sure how to reply to that. Pulling away,
he stormed out of the office, literally shoving his way past the two
armed men that Stockwell had earlier summoned, who started to go
after him, but stopped when Stockwell lifted a hand.
"It's all right, gentlemen," The General replied. "Let him go. The
boy is going through Hell right now. Give him some space."
*He's going to need it before THIS nightmare is through. We ALL are.*
Hannibal found himself walking the grounds of the compound, losing
himself in thought as he thought about his encounter with Face. The
look of abject horror that shone in the Lieutenant's eyes was
painful, though Smith <hated> to admit it. It cut through him worse
than any weapon had. The <last> thing he ever wanted was to see that
look in his own men's eyes.
His own men.
That phrase took on a new meaning since he gave into his attraction
He paused and drew in a breath, the cigar in his mouth suddenly
tasting as appealing as plywood. He yanked it out of his mouth and
threw it to the ground, crushing it with his foot.
He hadn't <meant> to give in.
He hadn't <meant> to find himself drawn to the much younger man.
It just happened.
He sighed. He could understand Face's fear and revulsion. Hell, he'd
felt those emotions firsthand when <he> first discovered Morrison...
A cold shudder traveled down his spine at the thought of that man,
the man who had started so much and yet was around for so little.
"Bastard," He found himself muttering.
"Hey!" A loud cry from the gate suddenly pulled him from his reverie,
and Hannibal watched in surprise as a beatup old Chevelle screeched
through the gate, past the startled attendants and up the drive
*Who the hell is THAT?!,* Hannibal wondered.
Intrigued, Hannibal started toward where the vehicle screamed to a
halt and the driver's side door was thrown open violently. When
Hannibal saw who it was, his blue eyes widened.
*Murdock?! My god, he looks pissed...*
"Murdock!" He called, stepping up his pace as he walked toward the
man, his brows furrowing in concern. As he drew close, he saw that
the pilot's face was white with rage, a barely suppressed vehemence
that Smith hadn't seen <this> badly since...
*Dammit! This has GOTTA have something to do with him...shit!*
"Murdock, what is it? What's wrong?" Hannibal felt a tightening in
his abdomen as he willingly let some of Murdock's tension flow onto
For several moments, Murdock stood still, staring at Hannibal as if
looking at a ghost. "He killed her," He half-whispered after a
moment, his voice trembling.
"What? Who? Who killed who?" Hannibal swallowed, clasping Murdock's
arms as the Captain looked like he was going to waver slightly.
"Kelly, Colonel. He killed...He killed Kelly."
Hannibal watched as Murdock paled even further. "Fawkes?" He asked
warily after a moment, suddenly feeling very ill.
Murdock nodded stiffly and swallowed. "He...he left...he left...aw,
shit, Hannibal, he killed her over the fucking phone!!! On my
goddamned answering machine!!"
"WHAT?!" Hannibal's fingers wrapped tightly around the man's jacket,
fiercely sinking into the leather.
Murdock drew in a breath, continuing to tremble despite the firm
grasp Hannibal had on his arms. "He...he left a message...two
really...on...on my machine...and he shot her. I...I just talked to
Hannibal drew in a sharp breath and straightened
stiffly. "Stockwell?!" His scowl deepened. "What did <he> have to
"A..Actually, Colonel, he...he wasn't...he...aw shit, I can't..."
"Easy, Captain. Go in. Sit down. Hell, get yourself a drink if you
have to. <I'll> talk to Stockwell."
"But Colonel, I..."
"Murdock...I <mean> it. Go try to calm your ass down. You won't be
any good if you're a wreck." He paused and his voice softened as he
carefully put a hand on the man's shoulder. "Don't worry, buddy. I
<promise> you, we'll nail him...and nail him good. <Together>...as a
Murdock, eyes slightly moist nodded. "Th...thanks, Hannibal." He
watched as Hannibal released his shoulder and stormed off
*Geezus,* Murdock thought. *Stockwell is NOT going to like what's
about to hit him shortly.*
* * * * *
"Hi there, I was told that I could find a Sister Teresa here?"
The nun surveyed the visitor a moment. "Um, just a moment...would you
mind waiting, please? I, uh...I'm new here and I have to see how
we're supposed to handle such a request."
"Of course." Fawkes grinned, the faux mustache he'd so carefully
applied earlier that day starting to irritate the tender skin beneath
it. *Dammit, I want to fucking ITCH this thing!*
He watched as the gate was closed and locked and he drew in a breath
as he casually straightened the serape he'd nabbed in town. *Ahh, the
wonders of flight. I can be in two countries in one day...amazing.
No wonder Murdock loved piloting so much. It left *so* many more
Leslie Becktall was just beyond that gate, and soon another piece to
the puzzle would fall into place.
He smirked and envisioned Templeton Peck's face (no pun intended)
when he saw what plans Fawkes had in store for <this> sister...
Ah yes, this was going to be sweet.
After a couple of moments, the gate opened again and a different nun
appeared, this one slightly older but with an attractive face that
Fawkes immediately recognized from the dossier he'd built over the
The former Leslie Becktall.
*I love it when a plan comes together*, he guffawed inwardly.
"Hello," She smiled, a sweet, genteel smile that almost, *almost*,
made him reconsider using her in this part of the plan.
But then she spoke again.
"I'm Sister Teresa. Sister Agnes said you wished to speak with me?
How may I help you, Mister...?"
"Black. John Black. Um, actually, Sister...I was directed here by an
old friend, Templeton Peck..."
Her eyes widened. "Templeton?" She gasped. "Oh! I, uh...that doesn't
sound like..." She paused and smiled. "I'm sorry. Please...do come
in. Any friend of Templeton's is sure to be a friend of mine."
Fawkes smiled broadly. "I sure hope so, Sister. But, um...forgive me
for sounding kinda strange here, but...um, well...in all honesty, I
have this...I have this <thing> against convents. Can we, maybe, talk
in my truck? See, it's parked right over there. I know it sounds
pretty unorthodox, but..."
She laughed softly and held up a hand slightly. "Don't worry about
it. If Templeton sent you, I'm sure you're not a homicidal maniac. Of
course. Let me tell Sister Agnes, and I'll be right with you..."
She started to turn to leave, but he reached forward and quickly
seized her arm and dragged her through the opening in the gate,
slamming it behind her as he yanked her against him. "I've got a
German Luger in my pocket, Sister. If you value your hide, I suggest
you don't open your yap and come along real quietly."
Fear shone in her eyes but she nodded stiffly, reluctantly allowing
herself to be led toward where a decrepit pickup truck was parked
several yards up the road.
"Who...<are> you?" She stammered as he shoved her around toward the
bed of the truck. "You're...you're obviously not a friend of
Fawkes smirked. "Observant, Sister. Now, you might wanna say a prayer
She blinked. "For you? Wh...why?"
"Because the Big Guy up there is NOT going to like what I'm about to
do to you right now." Deftly reaching beneath his serape he extracted
the Luger and slammed her upside the head with the butt, then tossed
her limp form into the bed of the truck.
"Too fucking easy," He laughed as he climbed back into the cab and
drove back toward town.
Face groaned and rolled onto his side, deliberately keeping his back
to his disappointed companion. "I'm sorry, Candy," He sighed quietly
after a couple of moments. "I <really> thought..."
"Save it, Templeton," The woman muttered. He could hear her reaching
for her clothes, could practically feel the breeze from her movements
as she dressed. "I <don't> want to hear any more of your excuses!
I've heard enough of 'em to write a <book>! First, you said you had
to work, so you called to cancel our date, a generous <half an hour>
before you were <supposed> to pick me up...and now...now that you
finally <do> show up on my doorstep, <claiming> you want to spend
time with me...you're about as turned on as a damn <fish>!"
He sighed and closed his eyes a moment. "Candy, you...you don't
understand!" When he opened them again and eased himself toa sitting
position, he saw the dark-haired beauty dressing with an almost
violent vengeance, pausing only to shoot him a venomous look of
"You're <absolutely> right, Templeton Peck! I <don't> understand!
And I don't <want> to understand! I am <sick> and <tired> of being
<interesting> enough for you ONLY when it suits you!"
"No! Save it! Just...save it! I don't want to hear it! Now, I'm going
out for a while. So <help> me, Templeton, if your ass is NOT out of
this apartment by the time I get back..."
He sighed and watched her storm out of the room, listening as the
front door slammed moments later. He groaned and lifted the sheet
away from his naked body and glared down at himself. "Thanks a
<lot>, 'pal'," He muttered, shaking his head. "Why the <hell> did
you pick NOW to do this? Why couldn't you...why couldn't you have
been a <nice> penis, a <working> penis, huh?! So <what> if my mind's
on Murdock and...that <other> thing!" He paused and
shuddered. "That's why the <hell> I brought you here in the first
place, you prick! To FORGET that!" He groaned and leaned back,
laughing sarcastically. "Even my <dick>'s pissed off at me! This is
<pathetic>! Absolutely <pathetic>!"
Within ten minutes, he was dressed and out of the apartment, driving
the Vette back toward the compound. *Maybe if I sneak in and go
straight to bed I won't have to deal with it*, he thought, taking no
comfort in the cool breezes that were gently ruffling his hair as he
After a few minutes, the car phone rang and a feeling of more intense
apprehension washed over him. "Looks like I'm gonna have to deal with
it anyway," He groaned as he reached for the receiver and hesitantly
brought it to his ear. "Yes, Hannibal?"
"Sorry to disappoint you, Peck. This isn't Smith."
With a start, Face's foot slammed on the brake and he narrowly
avoided colliding with an oncoming car as he violently jerked the
Vette off to the side of the street. He never acknowledged the curses
that were shouted at him as the driver sailed past, never noticed
anything outside the deadly familiar voice that now seemed to live in
his car phone, a voice from his past he'd hoped he'd never <ever>
have to hear again.
*Shitfuck!, as Frankie would say. Fawkes!*
"You there, Peck? You <remember> me, buddy boy?"
Face swallowed, leaning back in his seat and trembling in
disbelief. "Fawkes..." He managed after a moment, his voice sounding
tight and drawn.
A low chuckle resonated like thunder over the line.
"Still sharp as ever, aren't ya, Peck? I bet you're still using that
brain of yours to come up with some pretty fancy schemes and shit,
Face closed his eyes a moment as memories tried to play themselves
before his mind's eye projector. *No! Not again! Not...again...*
"What the hell do you want?!" He found himself practically snarling
after a moment as his left hand wrapped tighter about the steering
wheel, knuckles whitening from the force.
"Actually, Peck...I've got something I think <you> might want. And
want very, <very> much, if I know you like I think I do." There was
an almost deafening pause for a moment, before the voice of Alexander
Fawkes returned. "Would you like to talk to it? Hmm? Yes, of course
you would. Say hello, <dear>, sweet, loving...SISTER..."
Face's eyes flew open wide and his jaw dropped open immediately as
his heart seemed to stop beating.
"Leslie?!" He cried. *Oh <shit>, that bastard has <Leslie>!*
"Tem, I.." She screamed as the phone was yanked away from her.
"Leslie! Leslie!!!" Face shot forward, wrapping both hands around the
phone and shouting her name for several seconds, his body trembling
"She can't hear you, Blondie," Fawkes' laughed after a moment. "It's
nappy time for Sister Teresa. She sends her regards though..."
"What the <hell> do you want, Fawkes?! Me?! You've got me! Name your
place and your price and I'll fucking be there! Just <don't> hurt
her!" *Anymore than you already <have> you bastard,* He added as a
"Oh, it's not that simple, Peck. Not that simple at all. Y'see...for
one thing, I <have> you. I know I do. You're just not completely
aware of it. But...you will be. And soon."
Face swallowed, his temples throbbing as his blood seemed to be
pulsing rapidly. "What...what's the second thing?" He managed to ask
tightly after a moment.
Silence for a moment.
"Fawkes?! Goddamn you, what is the second thing?!!!"
Face could almost envision the slow, chilling smile upturning Fawkes'
mouth as the man replied, "Leslie's dead, Peck. That sound you heard?
I just bashed the sister's brains in. She's deader than a doornail."
"You fucking liar!" Face exploded, slamming a hand against the
windshield so hard it produced thin rivulets of blood between his
fingers. But he didn't feel the pain. He didn't feel <anything>
except pure, unadulterated hatred.
"You'll <see> how much of a liar I am, Peck, when I ship her body to
your precious D.C. compound in a shipping crate. I'll be in touch,
buddy. We're not through yet. Not by a <long> shot."
The connection was severed and Face remained in place, left hand
dripping blood, right hand lifelessly dangling the cell phone
receiver, his eyes staring out at nothing.
* * * * *
"Looks like a cold night out there," Frankie began, glancing at B.A.
warily as the older man sat at the dining room table working on
putting together some delicate piece of electronics that could have
been a garage door opener for all Santana a knew.
"Yeah." B.A. grumbled, keeping his attention on the task before him.
*Shit, what the hell am I doing?* Frankie thought, running a hand
over his face. "B.A...." He started after a moment. "Can
we...uh...can we maybe talk, huh?"
"Busy. Talk later."
B.A. shot him a look of irritation and Frankie sighed, holding up his
hands weakly. "Okay, okay! I get the message, Big Guy. I'll,
uh...I'll just go see if I can piss off someone <else> today."
He sighed and left the room, making his way toward the front door of
the house. "I'm goin' stir crazy here," He muttered as he walked
outside. "I've gotta get the fuck out of here for a while. I'm sorry,
Johnny. This <ain't> what i had in mind for our vacation."
He glanced around and noticed one of Stockwell's goons casually
standing beside the garage area. Well, as casually as those thugs
ever <did> stand.
Frankie smiled. "Time for me to fly," He mused as he approached the
man. "Hey there, amigo...say, uh, can I ask you a favor, huh?"
The man eyed him dubiously. "I'm not here to be your servant,
"I know that. I know that. And that...that's not what I'm meanin' to
<ask> you to do...I mean...uh, bein' my servant and all. I was just
wondering if you could check out somethin' for me."
The man crossed his arms over his chest and raised an eyebrow. "You
got a problem, take it up with the General. I'm just here to keep an
eye on you little pissants. Nothing more."
*Pissants, huh? Good to know we're bein' so respected 'round here.*
Frankie straightened and drew in a breath. "I...I understand that,
but there's a possible security breach over near the garden. Or, uh,
<isn't> that your area, either? Security, I mean..."
The man scowled and reached inside his suit jacket for his service
weapon, peering into the darkness just beyond the lighted pathway
before them. "Where?! I don't see..."
As the man leaned forward, Frankie reached down and picked up a
ceramic pot and slammed it against the back of the man's head,
immediately sending the goon crumpling to the ground in
"Sorry about that, man," Frankie apologized, hastily fumbling in the
man's pockets for keys to the unmarked sedan that lay parked in the
drive a few yards away. "Nothin' personal. I promise...I'll return it
good as new. I'll even bring back plenty of aspirin."
Without a second glance, Frankie seized the keys and was on his way
to the car, determined to get the hell away from everything, at least
for a few precious hours.
Little did he know that would prove to be one <helluva> mistake.
Fawkes sighed and ran a hand over his face as he listened to the
sound of the plane's engine: steady, continuous, predictable, strong.
Everything he wished he could find within himself.
Looking out into the darkness, his hands clasped firmly on the
controls, he couldn't shake the torrent of thoughts that were
plaguing him, had <been> plaguing him.
Less than six weeks ago he'd been living large, literally, with his
own business, his own homes, cars, wife...
At the thought of his wife, he drew in a breath and steeled himself,
barely acknowledging the muffled cries from the bundled figure behind
"Another casualty of war," He smirked, glancing briefly at his watch.
He'd be back in the States in another fifteen minutes. Not bad
timing. Not bad at all. Flying too low for radar detection made the
trip much more expedient.
A low, almost gutteral, sigh escaped him as visions of his last
encounter with his once time 'friends' flashed before his mind's eye
projector. They'd killed his wife, they'd killed his business, they'd
killed his career...
They might as well have fucking killed <him>.
A cold shudder rippled down his spine and he shifted position
slightly. "They're gonna pay for what they did to ya, darlin'," He
muttered. "I swear it. If it's the last thing I do. I'll make each
and every one of those bastards pay for it."
*Pay and pay dearly.*
He smiled at the thought.
* * * * *
Murdock looked up as the sound of the front door being slammed open
succeeded in startling him out of his self-imposed reverie. He
jerked to his feet and watched as Face stormed into the front hall,
stopping when he saw Murdock.
"Murdock, where's Hannibal?"
"Uh...out. Talkin' to Stockwell."
"Talking to Stock...<shit>!" Face slammed a fist against his thigh,
his eyes shining with frustration and, Murdock noted with surprise,
an almost tangible aspect of...hatred.
*Shit,* Murdock thought. *Something's happened...Fawkes?!*
"Face, what is it? What's goin' on?" Murdock swallowed, feeling his
stomach turning as his eyes narrowed in concern.
Reluctantly, Face looked up and met Murdock's gaze. "Leslie," He
forced after a minute. "Fawkes has...he said he....he..." His words
Murdock reeled, his jaw flapping open in visible
astonishment. "Wh...what?!" He managed after a moment, shaking his
"Fawkes! Fawkes, he...he called me on my car phone. Don't ask me how
the hell he got the number. He told me...he put Leslie on and..."
Face's voice trailed off and he looked away a moment. "Dammit,
Hannibal! Why did you have to pick NOW to go calling on Stockwell?!"
"Uh, Face...he, uh...he's not exactly 'callin' on Stockwell..."
Face jerked his head around and frowned, quizzically eyeing
Murdock. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"He, uh...he's letting Stockwell have it, I think. Fawkes..." He
swallowed. "Fawkes called me too, Face."
"What?!" Face's eyes widened. "Well, wh...what did he...what did he
say? Did he...did he <do> anything?"
For a moment, a heavy silence fell between them.
"He, uh...he left a message on my machine," Murdock managed, his
voice cracking with emotion as he drew in a breath and straightened
his back. "He, uh...he told me he had Kelly. You, uh...remember
Kelly. He, uh...he put her on the phone and then he...and then he..."
Face exhaled carefully and stepped forward, silently putting a hand
on Murdock's arm and sharing in the man's grief for several precious
They pulled apart quickly, turning around as B.A. appeared, seemingly
from out of nowhere, scowling darkly and eyeing the two oddly for a
moment, a moment that mercifully passed fleetingly, Murdock noted to
himself with an inner sigh of relief.
"What's goin' on in here? Heard a door slammin'."
For a moment, Face and Murdock looked at each other, neither one
exactly sure what to say to B.A.
*Do we tell him about Fawkes NOW?* Murdock questioned silently.
*So he can protect his loved ones?* Face added with a slight tilt of
his head and a shimmer in his eyes.
Murdock nodded slightly and turned toward B.A., who was looking at
them strangely. "B.A., we got a problem. A <big> problem."
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