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This page last viewed: 2017-10-19 and has been viewed 1819 times
Disclaimer: The A-Team doesn't
belong to me, but to Stephen J. Cannel. I am making no profit from this
Authors notes: A continuation of the FF series, "The Right Choice" and "A Handful of Choices"
Notes: Takes place after Theory of Revolution. I've only seen this one once so I'm probably going to have to claim some artistic license with this one. : )
No real warnings except major sap and minor emotional upheaval.
Face stared out the window of the plane, watching as the white clouds floated by. His mind floated with the clouds, first back to the island, his capture and beating, then to the thoughts that kept his mind occupied during his captivity.
Meagan and Natalie. He'd protected his mind by thinking of them and wondering what they were doing. How were Natalie's dance classes going? Was Meagan still at the store with her father or had she gone back to work? He bet that his daughter was growing like crazy. He knew enough about kids to know that they did that at her age. Was she still playing with Dreyfus? Or had she moved on to Barbie© dolls yet?
Occasionally, he'd float back to the present and shift around in his seat, as if trying to find the most comfortable spot. He surreptitiously held his bruised ribs with one hand and attempted to draw as little attention to himself as possible.
Near him, in the next seat, Frankie sighed loudly and cast sidelong glances at his companion. When he got no response, he cleared his throat and tried again.
Finally, Face gave an inward shrug of his shoulders and turned his face toward Frankie. "Frankie, is there a problem?"
Eagerly the Latino man launched into his question. "Face, do you think I was wrong not to stay?"
Having not really been paying attention to Frankie, despite asking the question, Face had to ask again, "What?"
"Back on the island. I asked Bonita to come with me but she said she had to stay with her people. She asked me to stay with them, but I didn't… Was that wrong? I mean, I really dig her, maybe I should have stayed to help them out?" Frankie explained his quandary.
"Frankie, I'm not the best man to ask about love…" He started to protest but was interrupted.
"What? Faceman? The King of Love? Of course you're the right one to ask… I mean, I've heard the stories about the women and I've seen you with the women at Langley. They just eat you up, man." Frankie stared at him with mixed admiration and jealousy.
"That's not love, Frankie. That's lust, I guess." Face pointed out the difference.
"Well, I never said I loved her, I just liked her a lot." Defensively, he crossed his arms over his chest and waited for Face's response.
"Then why do you think you should have stayed?" Exasperated, Face nearly glared at the younger man.
"I don't know, man. I just thought…." He never got the chance to finish his defense as Face interrupted.
"Listen, Frankie, when you should stay, you'll know, okay?" With those last words, Face stood stiffly and edged past Frankie's knees into the aisle. He needed to check on Murdock, up in the cockpit with the pilot. This pilot of Stockwell's actually seemed to have a personality and didn't mind Murdock keeping him company.
Face suspected, even as the plane took a sudden dip and sharp turn to the right, that he even let Murdock fly occasionally. A mild version of his friend's howl met his ears as he approached and he nodded to himself. 'Yes, he was definitely letting Murdock fly. Gotta remember to thank that guy.' Doing his best to walk normally and not favor his right side, he made his way to the pilot's area and talked with the two men for a few minutes, got and ETA of their arrival time for Hannibal should he ask and turned to walk back to his seat.
From the rear of the plane, sharp eyes watched his return and noted again the slight decrease in his normally quick stride and the hands that seemed to keep finding their way to his right rib cage. Hannibal sighed and flagged the Lieutenant down. "Hey, Face, come here."
Drawing in a deep breath, dropping his hands and forcing his sore body to walk normally, Face approached the rear of the plane where Hannibal had been briefing Stockwell on the phone. "Pilot says we got about 90 minutes to landing, Colonel."
"Good. He letting Murdock fly?" Hannibal lit the cigar Face had handed over with the ETA and sat back to see how long the kid could keep up the rigid posture.
"Uh, yeah… Fletcher seems to be an all right guy. He and Murdock get along real good." Face leaned, oh so casually, against the rear of the seat next to him. He was holding it together and if he was lucky, Hannibal wouldn't want to talk long. He could get back into his seat and rest his ribs.
"That's some bruise on your face, kid. Did they hurt you anywhere else?" Hannibal asked mildly.
"What? Oh this?" He brushed his fingers over his check. "Nah, this is all…" As a sudden lurch of the plane sent him reeling into the seat back, he gasped and wrapped both arms around his sides.
"That's all, huh? Sit down and take your shirt off." Hannibal stood as the plane settled and pushed Face into his own seat.
Desperate now to think of a way out of this, Face played dumb. "What? Take off my shirt?" He hated to be hurt and he hated even more for the others to know he was hurt. They acted so weird. Like he was going to break or was something precious to them. And what he hated even more was knowing how he needed them around even as he wished they wouldn't fuss so.
"Yes, Face. Take off your shirt so that I can look at your ribs!" Hannibal reached for the black T-shirt himself and pulled it over Face's head. He swore under his breath as he saw the spreading bloom of purple and black bruises over the right side of the other man's side. "Damn, kid. When are you going to learn?"
Misunderstanding, perhaps deliberately, Face shrugged and responded, "Hey! I missed the worst of it when I hit the floor."
"That is not what I meant and you know it. I mean, when are you going to learn to tell someone when you are hurt?" Running his hands gently over the area, Hannibal grunted then asked, "How many are broken, do you think?"
"None. I don't think so anyway." Face quietly answered.
"Yeah, well, we'll see…" Probing more firmly, Hannibal followed each rib and found no obvious breaks. "None broken out right, but they might have hair line fractures."
Face shrugged, "Well, nothing to do about that anyway."
Reluctantly nodding his agreement, Hannibal asked, "Do you want me to tape them up?"
Face started to decline, but rethought as near him BA muttered and stirred in his drugged sleep. BA hated to fly and usually didn't wake up in a very good mood. He might have to move pretty fast once they were on the ground and BA woke. "Uh, yeah, maybe you better." The tape would support his sore ribs and help him move more freely.
"Hey Frankie! Bring me the first aid kit!" Hannibal called out to the front passenger.
Shaking himself from his thoughts, Frankie complied and left without even asking what was going on.
A bemused Hannibal chuckled and noted, "He's got it bad, huh?"
"Something like that, I guess." Face's answer was quiet and not at all what Hannibal expected.
He eyed Face sharply as he started working the tape around his chest and sides. "You're a million miles away, kid. What's up?" He'd tried, not always successfully, to be more attentive to Face's moods lately. He was always complaining about Langley and Hannibal knew just how and why his lieutenant was so dissatisfied.
Ever since their conversation about Natalie's birthday, Face had said nothing more. But Hannibal knew him just about better than anyone except Murdock; and Hannibal could just about bet that the two females Face had left behind in California were the cause of his sudden melancholia.
"I was thinking about the island and how close we all came to dying. I could have been shot as a spy and if those rebels hadn't helped us, we might all be dead." Face spoke suddenly and not at all about what Hannibal expected.
"Yeah, but they didn't shoot you and they did help us and everything worked out okay."
Nodding his head, Face jumped topics again. "Frankie wanted to know if he should have stayed with her…"
Trying to follow the conversation, Hannibal gamely asked, "What did you say to him?" and then waited curiously for the answer.
"I told him that when it was right, when it was time to settle down and be what she needed, he'd know." Face looked at his leader and friend. "He'll know, won't he?"
Sensing that they were no longer talking about Frankie, Hannibal slowly nodded his head. He finished taping up Face's ribs and assisted him back into his shirt before he answered. "Yeah, kid, he'll know."
Back in Hawkinsville, Meagan gently laid the phone back into its cradle and tried to tell herself that she had done the right thing. Hal Tatum had been asking her out for weeks and when he called this time, she'd said 'Yes'.
It wasn't like she could spend the rest of her life mourning a dead man, was it? Even if he had been the most wonderful man she'd ever known. No matter that he had the most beautiful blue eyes and softest blond hair. No matter that he'd had hands that could make her feel like the most precious thing on Earth and had every time they had touched her.
No matter that when she thought about being alive without him, it took all her will to breath again and again until she regained control of herself. She had to go on with her life. It's what Temp would have wanted. He had wanted that. He told her to do just that.
So why did this feel so wrong?
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