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Rolir

by Jasmine

 

Rated: R

Warning: non-con sex between men.

Summary: Face gives up one of his senses so that the team can befriend a Mafia boss.

Note: This is a reprint of a story submitted to Sockii's WGYTTN 'zine. I have taken the liberty of making minor changes in order to make it a better read.

 

 

  

"Hannibal, exactly HOW do you plan on infiltrating the Mafia?!" Amy exclaimed. "This is THE MAFIA! This isn't some Mom&Pop store being roughed up by the local bad guys. These guys play for keeps!"

 

"Yeah, Colonel, these guys are the bad guys' nightmare. The bad-of-the-bad, so to speak. I don't want to insinuate that any job might be out of our league... but..., this job might just be the one," Face complained.

 

"What chu talkin' about man! No job's outta' our league!" BA admonished and looked sternly at Face.

 

Face, exasperated, walked over to the window. He knew they could do the job; in fact, he wanted to take the Mafia down just as much as the others, but he saw no reason to take on such a job in light of the payment, or lack of one.

 

Murdock exuberantly offered, "Colonel, what's the plan?"

 

Hannibal had been leaning up against the table in Face's latest scammed apartment listening to his men and formulating the finishing touches of his plan. The job itself was relatively simple: affix a listening device, commonly known as a bug, somewhere in the private study of William DiCapri. Unfortunately, William DiCapri was also known as "Willy the Decapitator" and it was impossible to get near him. But Hannibal had done his homework and thought he had a good idea how they would accomplish this. Now all he had to do was convince his Team that they could accomplish it too.

 

"We have to gain Willy's trust quickly so we can get in and out fast. We'll need a small bug, a miniature bug, something smaller than you've ever made, BA."

 

"What 'bout the bug that Tom gave us?" BA asked.

 

"Too big. Besides, I don't trust anything the government makes. If we're going to risk our necks, I want to be sure the device is going to work."

 

BA nodded in agreement. Tom Bishop, the man who hired them, was an old army buddy, and they owed him. At least Hannibal and BA did; early on in their tour in Vietnam, Bishop had disobeyed orders and returned to the jungle to help Hannibal and his men out of a tight spot. Without his help, they probably wouldn't have made it. Now, Bishop was heading up a special government task force designed to bring down the L.A. Mafia, and the ability to listen to DiCapri's private conversations would be the ticket he needed to do just that. And since his superiors adopted a 'Don't Ask' policy, he enlisted the help of The A-Team. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything in it for the team except the opportunity for Tom to testify on their behalf if talks of a pardon emerged.

 

"You still haven't told us how we are to gain Willy's trust," Face added, unconvinced they could do it. "His body guards won't let anybody near him and if I've read correctly, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, gets an invitation to his study."

 

"Well, I do have an idea about that. Do you remember Alberto Rolirmo?" Hannibal asked.

 

Face thought a moment and nodded his head, "Yeah, wasn't he that Mafia 'don' who disappeared about seven or eight years ago?"

 

"Yeah," Amy added, "in fact, he was considered one of the most dangerous men in the Mafia. He was young and ruthless, and, if I'm not mistaken, he was quite the playboy: always had a beautiful woman on his arm."

 

"S'what happened to him?" BA scowled.

 

"Nobody knows," Murdock whispered. "He vanished one night."

 

"Shutup foo!"

 

"Now BA.... I'm serious," Murdock whined. "Some say he went swimming with the fishes. Others say he tired of the life and disappeared to an island somewhere. He had a promising career but that was accompanied by a constant fear for his life. He found it increasingly difficult to live the way he wanted to live: too many restrictions and too few people he could trust."

 

"So what's this guy have to do with your plan?" Face asked, not entirely sure he wanted to hear.

 

Hannibal removed his cigar, pointed it towards Face and smiled, "Why... Alberto Rolirmo's comin' back!"

 

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

 

Face came out of his bedroom, dressed impeccably in a custom made Italian suit. "Do you mind if I keep my date tonight? It is Saturday and I've been looking forward to it all week. After all, this job came up rather suddenly and I didn't have a chance to cancel it," Face asked, hopeful that Hannibal didn't already have plans for them.

 

"Go ahead," Hannibal answered, waving his cigar towards the door. He was busy reading some papers he brought with him and seemed not to care. Face was delighted and decided it would be prudent to leave before any change of heart occurred. He had already surmised the team would probably stay the night and it didn't bother him since there was plenty of room and beds to spare. After all, he only scammed the best and this suite took up the entire top floor of one of the finest hotels in L.A.. But it did put a damper on bringing his date back to his place.

 

"Hey Face?" Amy interrupted him as he was leaving, "How do you get a place like this? I mean... sheesh..." she spread out her arms and half turned in amazement.

 

"Professional secret darling," he replied with a smile and shut the door behind him.

 

Amy turned towards Murdock and asked, "Murdock? How do you think he does it? I mean, how can he get away with never paying for a place like this?"

 

"It's all in the attitude, the air that one projects." Murdock said, sounding incredibly sane. "You see Amy, Face doesn't just scam these places, be becomes these places. He is this penthouse suite. He honestly believes he should live here, which is why it is so easy for him to convince others of this. The fact that this doesn't belong to him is a minor detail in a conman's life."

 

"You're talkin' like you know what you're talkin' 'bout, foo!" BA interjected from across the room where he was diligently making the electronic bug.

 

"Actually, it sounds like you described a sociopath," Amy deadpanned.

 

Before Murdock could reply, the doorbell rang and Hannibal smiled, "On time as usual."

 

Since the others had no idea what he was talking about, they waited for him to answer the door.

 

"Hello Maggie."

 

"Hello John," Maggie said while walking through the door and delivering a warm kiss. "I hope we're not interrupting anything."

 

"Not at all. Been expecting both of you. Come in."

 

In walked Maggie Sullivan and another woman.

 

"Hi guys. It's been a long time," Maggie said while smiling at each of them, then she turned slightly and ushered her friend up next to her. "This is Dr. Jeanette Moore. She's a research doctor of ophthalmology."

 

"That's 'eyes', BA," Murdock said much like the way a big brother might enlighten a younger brother. "She's a doctor that specializes in eye problems."

 

"I know that sucka! If you don't shut up and let her talk, you gonna be needin' a jaw doctor!"

 

Hannibal interrupted and asked Maggie, "Does anyone know you're here?"

 

"No," she explained. "I'm at a 'conference' and Dr. Moore is on family leave. We're here for awhile so don't worry."

 

"Good," Hannibal exclaimed and clapped his hands together, "Why doesn't everyone sit down and I'll explain what I have in mind."

 

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

 

A short time later, Hannibal's plan had been laid out. As usual, it had a flair for your basic frontal attack and, as usual, there were still some questions that begged to be asked.

 

"So, if I heard you correctly," Amy began, choosing her words carefully, "this guy who disappeared, Alberto Rolirmo, is, or was, blind. How do you know that?"

 

"Shortly before he disappeared, someone betrayed him and put a bomb in his limousine. It was pure luck that he didn't get killed but the blast blinded him and it's believed that the incident was the prelude to his disappearance." Hannibal walked over to his papers and removed a photo and handed it around. "Here, what do you think?"

 

"Same build and shape, but I don't think he looks much like Face. Face is better looking," Amy commented.

 

"The blast disfigured him. It's believed he had re-constructive surgery; however, they couldn't correct the blindness," Hannibal said.

 

"You'll never convince Face to do this?" BA grumbled after handing the photo to Murdock.

 

"Yeah, and even if Face could pass as this Alberto Rolirmo guy, he's not blind and that would be a tough act to keep up. One slip and it would be cement shoes for Face," Murdock added.

 

"Well, that's where Dr. Moore comes in," Hannibal nodded towards her to explain.

 

She took the cue and cleared her throat, then began, "I have been working on an adhesive for contact lenses. Corrective laser surgery works great, but only some of the time; there are those of us who are condemned to wear contact lenses forever. The adhesive keeps contacts in place and removes the need for daily cleansing. Because the adhesive is totally natural, it wears off every 30 days or so."

 

Incredulously, Murdock exclaimed to Hannibal, "You're going to blind him?!"

 

"Sort of," came the vague response from the doctor.

 

"Sort of?!" Murdock repeated as he looked at her, just as incredulous.

 

"What does this glue have to do with Face?" BA grumbled, sounding almost as appalled by the idea as the pilot.

 

Addressing the large angry black man, Dr. Moore added confidently, "It's not just the adhesive, I've also been working on another project, and I think I can adapt that technology to your needs. I have made a contact lens that is completely clear, almost impossible to detect, AND impossible to see through. Its principle is much like the principle on a two-way mirror. People will be able to see your friend's eyes, he just won't be able to see anything."

 

"I can tell you right now that Face will never agree to this," Amy said. "Hannibal, you know him as well as anybody and you think he'll do this?"

 

"No. But I'll think of something. The actual amount of time that Face spends with Willy will only be a few days. But the preparation time is what counts. Alberto Rolirmo has been blind for eight years and Face is going to have to be very convincing with this. Dr. Moore has worked with blind people and will be able to give Face some pointers. He'll have total immersion into darkness."

 

There were a few moments of silence as the plan soaked in and seemed feasible, but Hannibal could still feel the apprehension. "Of course, Face won't be on his own." Hannibal patted Murdock on the shoulder and said, "He'll have his chauffeur." Then he walked over to BA and patted his shoulder, "also his body guard," and then looked over at Amy, "his latest girlfriend. And, of course, he wouldn't be without the only friend in the world who he can trust.... ME!"

 

The tension in the air eased. Hannibal's plans always sounded better when the team stuck together.

 

"So let me get this straight," Amy summarized. "Face is going to impersonate this Mafia guy who shows up after eight years of being missing. He learns that William DiCapri has taken over his action, and that DiCapri would benefit greatly from a list of contacts that 'Alberto' kept from his days as boss. In exchange for the list, 'Alberto' proposes that he be given protection by Willy's organization if he decides to come out of hiding. A small price to pay for contacts worth millions of dollars. And sometime during this charade, Face will plant the bug in Willy's study assuming he even gets an invitation to it. Then 'Alberto', his chauffeur, body guard, girlfriend and trusted friend will disappear again, leaving Willy a bogus list of contacts which will take months if not years to figure out, and an electronic device in place to mark the end of Willy's Mafia reign. Actually, Hannibal, this is one of your better plans."

 

"Thanks. I can't take full credit for it though. We can thank Chris Thomas for giving me the idea. Now, all we have to do is work with Face these next couple of weeks."

 

"Ah, Colonel? Don't we have to tell him first?" Murdock pointed out.

 

"Yeah. We'll do that when he comes in tonight, while he's still in a good mood from his date."

 

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

 

It was almost one in the morning when they heard the door open. Hannibal was going to wait up and break the news to his lieutenant, but during the course of the evening, no one seemed particularly tired and they each feigned some excuse about not being sleepy. In actuality, they wanted to see Face's reaction to the plan. Even Maggie and Dr. Moore were waiting quietly, pretending to read the magazines left on the coffee table. Their excuse was Dr. Moore should perform the procedure as soon as possible to give Face maximum preparation time. When Hannibal realized that he was going to have an audience, he remembered Face's reluctance to take the case and figured that was cause for great intrigue to the others to see exactly how he was going to convince his second in command to play the part of Alberto Rolirmo. He smiled, rather liking the challenge.

 

Face was trying to be very quiet and slip into the bedroom unnoticed but he heard a voice through the darkness.

 

"Hi Face."

 

He hesitated and wondered why Hannibal was up. "Hannibal? What are you doing awake? It's almost one."

 

"Don't you know we have a job to do? I was hoping you'd be home earlier?"

 

"Oh, sorry Hannibal, but you should have seen Catherine," the admiration in his voice was evident. "She was so exquisite and beautiful tonight and I couldn't bring her back here so we went back to her place and she did to me what I've...."

 

Hannibal cut him off mid sentence as Face couldn't see the room full of people he was about to explain his X-rated evening to. "That's okay, Face, you don't have to go into detail. We've actually been waiting for you to come back."

 

"We?" Face was quick to pick up on the plural. His eyes were slowly adjusting to the darkness and he could see shapes in various chairs around his place. "Hannibal, what's going on?" Face asked in a tone that clearly displayed suspicion.

 

Hannibal walked over to Face and led him back to the sofa. He could smell the pale scent of a woman and booze and wondered just how much drinking his friend had done. "Sit down, we want to fill you in on our plan."

 

After he was seated, Face looked around and could make out the silhouettes of BA and Murdock but couldn't figure out who the other people were. "Who's here?" he asked, then, sounding very confused, he added, "and why are we sitting in the dark?"

 

Murdock chimed in, "It's just us and a couple of doctors." He avoided answering the second question because he couldn't reveal that the reason the lights were off was because the doctor wanted to avoid the need for chemical dilation. That probably would not have been the best way to introduce Face to Hannibal's idea.

 

Face heard the word 'doctors' and immediately started to get up but two strong hands gently took him back down. BA had mixed emotions about keeping his friend seated. For the most part, he enjoyed watching him get into tight spots. But this was different and he wouldn't want to trade places. It would be difficult for any member of the team to have his sight taken away, even if it were only a temporary situation, but Face was more susceptible to his fears than anyone else.

 

"Doctors! Will somebody please turn on the lights! Hannibal, I knew I wasn't going to like this case!" Face complained with the fervor of someone who had had a little too much alcohol.

 

Unfortunately, Face was not going to be an easy mark this time around. Hannibal could tell from his voice that he might be a little more difficult to convince than he originally thought. "Okay Face, come with me a minute. I want to fill you in on my plan, in private."

 

Face got up and walked over towards Hannibal. Together they disappeared into the bedroom.

 

Twenty minutes later they emerged. Because of the darkness, it was difficult to see their faces and tell what transpired. Face was unusually quiet but Hannibal was his chipper self. "Okay Dr. Moore, you can begin."

 

Dr. Moore snapped to attention and, using a small black light, led Face to the recliner. "I trust Colonel Smith has filled you in on all the details of what I'm going to do?"

 

Face didn't answer.

 

"Well, you really should relax. This procedure is completely painless. You won't even know I've done anything, and since we're doing it tonight when it's been several hours since you've been exposed to any artificial or natural light, it won't take very long at all."

 

Still no response, but at least Face knew why he'd spent the last half hour sitting in the dark.

 

Maggie walked over and took his vitals. "Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing are all elevated," she reported to Dr. Moore. Then, talking to Face, she said, "I can give you a mild sedative if you want but she's right, this procedure is completely painless."

 

A long slow exhale was all Face gave them this time. But Murdock knew the problem. It was the same problem that he or BA would have had with the plan; and that was it was difficult enough to infiltrate the mob with all your faculties about you. But take away a major element of your survival, namely your sight, and you had a situation that no one wanted to willingly put himself in. Quietly, Murdock answered for him, "It's not the procedure that's bothering him."

 

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

 

Because the lights had remained off, it took less than 25 minutes to dilate his eyes, apply the adhesive drops, insert the contact lenses and then bandage his eyes so that the adhesive could dissolve around the lens while holding the contact in place. It wouldn't be until late afternoon, when the bandage came off, that they would know if they were successful.

 

Maggie walked over and flipped the light switch. The soft light flooded the area and after she blinked several times and allowed her eyes to adjust, Dr. Moore admired her work and cheerfully said, "Now there, that didn't hurt a bit, did it?"

 

Face just shrugged and attempted to get up, but the sudden change from lying to standing caused dizziness that almost toppled him. "Whoaa. Take is slow Face," Maggie said while holding onto his arm.

 

"I'll take him," Murdock said eagerly and guided his friend off to his bedroom.

 

Watching them slowly exit the room, Hannibal asked, "Well, will it work?"

 

"I'm 99.9% sure that it will. But we'll know in about 12 hours," Dr. Moore said sounding as upbeat as possible for someone who hadn't had much sleep. "I'm exhausted so if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to bed. Goodnight, and don't worry Colonel, he'll be fine."

 

Murdock led Face to his bed and let him sit down. He wasn't sure what he should do so he stalled by making sure the path from the bed to the bathroom was clear of any obstacles and brought a glass of water and sat it on the bedside table. Face still hadn't moved and Murdock could only imagine what took place in this room an hour ago. Face would do anything for Hannibal and vice versa. But getting Face to agree to do something this radical was something Murdock never thought would happen. 'Perhaps it didn't,'  he thought. 'Maybe Hannibal ordered Face to do it. Nah. Hannibal never would have done that... or would he?'

 

"Face? Are you going to be all right tonight?"

 

There was a pause and then Face asked, "This glue wears off after how many days?"

 

"Thirty, or there about."

 

"And there are no side effects, right? I'll be able to see afterwards."

 

"Right. Doc Sullivan seems to think you'll be as good as new when the lenses come out."

 

"Is she staying with Hannibal tonight?" the sudden change of topic and disappointment was evident.

 

"I don't know. If I were to guess, I'd say yes." Murdock wasn't sure about the extent to which Hannibal and Face had a relationship. He was fairly convinced that nothing sexual had ever happened between them but he couldn't be positive. Murdock would have given anything to be with Face, but there never was an opportunity to tell him how he felt and now certainly wasn't the time; so instead, he leaned over the bed and gently messaged Face's neck and shoulders. His muscles were tight and so it took several minutes of gentle rubbing before he felt Face's shoulders drop down and the tension leave his back. Since he wasn't making any effort to undress himself, Murdock took off Face's tie and shirt and laid him back on the bed. Then he removed Face's belt and shoes before he noticed that Face had fallen asleep. He looked lustfully down at his friend but knew he had to leave this alone. He covered him with a blanket and left to go to his own bedroom.

 

Hannibal and Maggie watched Murdock leave Face's room and walk slowly to his room and close the door. They were the last to leave the living room that night. Even BA had packed up his tools and turned in.

 

Hannibal noticed Murdock's expression as he left the room and wondered what kind of a toll this job was going to take on his team.

 

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

 

In the bedroom, Maggie had disrobed and was under the covers when Hannibal joined her. She snuggled into his arm and laid her head on his chest. He caressed her back gently but made no further move.

 

"You worried about Face?"

 

"Why do you ask?" Hannibal replied.

 

"Because you're not your usual self."

 

"Oh? What's different?" he smiled at her.

 

"Well, any other time, we wouldn't be talking right now."

 

"Point taken." He sighed and tucked his other arm under the back of his head. "I'm not worried about Face. I'm disappointed in myself for not reading him better. He really didn't want to do what I asked him to do tonight. I can't remember a time when Face put up so much resistance. He complains a lot but that's just what it is, complaining. Tonight, I had to work at convincing him."

 

"But you did convince him, right? You didn't order him to do this, did you?"

 

"No, of course not. He agreed to the plan, reluctantly. Actually, he thought it was a good plan, but he's not comfortable with having to be really blind." Hannibal smiled at remembering part of their conversation where Face was desperately trying to think of alternatives to actually being blind. If Hannibal didn't know Face so well, he might have succumbed to his arguments. "He was good with the comebacks, really good. And he almost convinced me, but this really is the only way. If I could have done it myself, I would have, but I can't take 20 years off so Face was the best candidate."

 

"You don't have to convince me, John, I know you've thought this through. But I would rather be talking about us right now." She snuggled closer and winked at him.

 

She slid her hand down his stomach and felt his stomach muscles quiver before she stopped. It never ceased to amaze her that he could be so virulent.

 

The sensation felt so good that he redirected his feeling for Face toward Maggie and they proceeded to lose themselves to self-gratification the rest of the night.

 

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

 

The bright sunshine flooded the suite and before long everyone was busy taking showers, getting dressed and making breakfast.

 

Between the hardware, tools and gadgets, there wasn't a bare spot on the desk where BA was working. Aside from an occasional grumble, he went pretty much unnoticed.

 

"How would you like your eggs, Amy?" Murdock asked from the kitchen.

 

"Over easy, and just one please."

 

"How 'bout you, Doc Sullivan?"

 

"The same, but I want two."

 

"Dr. Moore?" Murdock yelled.

 

"I'll have the same as Amy," she yelled from the balcony overlooking the city.

 

"Coming right up ladies," Murdock said more to himself than anyone else.

 

Breakfast was uneventful and Hannibal and Maggie cleaned up the dishes and joked around and enjoyed each other's company. Afterwards, they walked into the living area and observed everyone was lazily enjoying the morning. Everyone except Face.

 

"Don't you think we should wake him?" Amy asked. She and Dr. Moore had been practicing walking around the apartment; Amy was learning how to lead the sightless.

 

"He won't know it's daytime," Dr. Moore added.

 

Hannibal agreed and approached Face's bedroom. He hesitated briefly trying to decide if he should knock or just walk in. He decided to walk in.

 

Sitting on the edge of the bed was Face, his hair was tousled, his clothes wrinkled and he needed a shave. When he heard the door open, he stiffened his back and raised his chin somewhat defiantly. Suddenly it occurred to Hannibal what the problem was and guilt settled in the pit of his stomach: Face had never liked being alone.

 

"Good morning Face," Hannibal said cheerily hoping his voice didn't betray him. "Thought I'd come in and give you a hand. Did you sleep well?"

 

Face nodded very slightly. He did not resist when Hannibal put one hand under his arm and helped him up. As he led Face to the bathroom, he noticed the glass of water on the floor, and then felt that tinge of regret that he seldom experienced.

 

The walk to the bathroom was slow and silent and Hannibal could feel his emotions tumbling inside his belly as Face leaned ever so slightly into him. He wished Face would say something but his expression was resigned and Hannibal knew his body language well.

 

"You missed breakfast. Are you hungry?" Hannibal forced himself to sound upbeat.

 

"What time is it?" Face finally asked.

 

"Close to noon. How long have you been sitting there?"

 

"Not long. I guess I was more tired than I thought." He paused briefly before adding, "I would have made it to the bathroom on my own you know," his voice hinted at a smile.

 

Hannibal grinned at Face's acceptance of his situation. Even though Face would complain about jobs and things he was asked to do, he always came through and never allowed his feelings to interfere with his responsibilities. Face would do this job just as Hannibal expected: perfectly. "Yeah, I know."

 

"Do you think I should take a shower with this bandage on?" Face said while starting to undress.

 

"No. But do the best you can." Hannibal left the bathroom to find some clothes. He yelled back over his shoulder, "After you eat, your training begins. I think you'll like Dr. Moore."

 

"Why? Is she pretty? I already know she's smart, but would I be seen with her?"

 

"Face! I'm surprised at you; beauty is only skin deep." Hannibal returned with a clean set of clothes. "You know, it would be very interesting to see the type of woman you fall for when you can't see her face."

 

"She's a dog, isn't she?"

 

"I'll put these clothes over here on the sink," Hannibal said, ignoring the comment. Afterwards, Hannibal stopped and stared at Face. Wearing only his boxers, Hannibal was able to take a good long look at him and admire his physique. Then he walked up behind him and put his hands on Face's arms. He stood like that a moment staring at both of them in the mirror. Face cocked his head slightly as if to hear better but didn't say anything.

 

Hannibal's heart was pounding. The half naked man standing before him was too damned attractive and quite vulnerable. He cared too deeply for his lieutenant and it bothered him. For a brief moment again, he regretted putting Face in his current condition. Shaking his thoughts back to the present, Hannibal gently released Face's arms and turned to walk away.

 

"Don't leave," Face said a little too quickly. His heart was pounding just knowing that Hannibal had been standing behind him. He could feel his breath on his neck and wanted to turn and embrace his colonel, but he knew this wasn't the time. "I mean..." he tried to cover up the loneliness in his voice. Being the quick thinker, he said, "...I don't know anything about this guy I'm supposed to be... Alberto. Why don't you tell me about him?"

 

Hannibal smiled at Face's excellent recovery, and figured now was as good a time as any to fill him in on the details. He pulled up a chair and, while Face fumble around the bathroom, told him as much about Alberto Rolirmo as he knew.

 

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

 

Face and Hannibal emerged together from the bedroom and only Murdock wondered what transpired. Face managed to look respectable in spite of not being able to shower. Hannibal guided him to a chair at the dining room table and asked Murdock to fix him some breakfast.

 

"Coming right up. What'll you have Face? Eggs, bacon, toast? You name it and you got it."

 

Feeling uncomfortable and sensing all eyes on him, he didn't reply immediately. Eating, something he always took for granted, suddenly became a challenge and he wasn't in the mood for a challenge. He was in the mood to be left alone with Hannibal, but since that wasn't going to happen, he forced himself to adjust. "Oh, whatever's easiest, Murdock."

 

Dr. Moore wasted no time in teaching Face some techniques at breakfast. She taught him how to pour his own coffee by using his forefinger as a gauge. "Place your finger just inside the mug. The steam from the coffee will get hotter the closer the water comes. That's how you'll know when to stop pouring," she explained.

 

Throughout breakfast, some more tricks were forthcoming before Face pushed his plate away and declared he was finished.

 

"Are you full or do you not know what's left on your plate?" Dr. Moore asked.

 

"Both," Face replied. "How'd you know?"

 

"I could see the tension in your face. For a conman, you really do give your thoughts away."

 

"Terrific. A doctor AND a critic," Face sarcastically pointed out.

 

Dr. Moore laughed and reached for Face's arm to help him up, "You are doing great," she said. "But, you have a long way to go and I have a lot to teach you, so we'd better keep going."

 

The next couple of hours were grueling for everyone. Murdock and Hannibal got chastised for trying to 'help' Face instead of letting him do it himself. Amy managed to lead Face into several tables, a wall, and a chair, the latter of which delivered a blow to his groin that delayed training. And Face managed to burn his hand with hot coffee, knock a picture off the wall, and trip over a pair of shoes carelessly left in his path. By late afternoon, everyone was tired and frustrated; everyone except Dr. Moore, who was eager and not easily discouraged. "Come on Face. I want to show you how you can..."

 

"Wait a minute!" Face interrupted. "Right now, I'm tired, I'm bruised and I'm having 'sight withdrawals', if that's such a thing, and I really just want to sit down and relax a bit." What Face really wanted was to have his sight back, but that was obviously out of the question.

 

She paused in thought and said, "Very well, it's time to take the bandages off anyway. Sit down in the recliner and I'll get my bag. Murdock, will you pull the blinds?"

 

The room was darker but was by no means dark. "Should we wait until the sun goes down?" Maggie asked.

 

"No, that won't be necessary. It's dark enough in the room," Dr. Moore replied.

 

Maggie walked over to Hannibal and touched his arm. His expression was not one she was accustomed to seeing. "Are you all right?" she whispered.

 

"Yeah."

 

"Having second thoughts?"

 

"Too late for that."

 

Dr. Moore clipped the bandages and removed the white gauze. She slowly pealed the circular patches from each eye revealing a white residue that had formed under his closed lids. "Okay, you can open your eyes now."

 

Nothing happened.

 

"Face, try to open you eyes," she said again, softly.

 

"I am trying. I can't!" he said.

 

The tension in the room was high and the silence was loud.

 

"Jeanette, what's going on?" Maggie asked while walking quickly around Face.

 

"Nothing. This is perfectly normal," she said assuredly. "Get me a warm wet cloth."

 

Maggie returned a minute later with a washcloth soaked in warm water. Dr. Moore placed the wet cloth across Face's eyes and pressed down for a long minute. She repeated this action several more times until the white residue was gone. "Good. Now try to open your eyes."

 

Very slowly, Face managed to open them. It took several seconds of blinking before he appeared to have focused on Dr. Moore. Flashing a brilliant smile, he said, "Hello, Dr. Moore. You look stunning."

 

It took her a moment to realize he was teasing her and that he really couldn't see her before she smiled triumphantly; her experiment had worked.

 

The others were relieved as well that not only were things progressing according to Hannibal's plans, but Face seemed to have developed some humor about this. Hannibal was pleased and glad to have both Maggie and Face nearby. As much as he liked to be with Maggie, he often entertained the thought of being with Face. Up until this morning, though, Face had never given him any indication that he was interested. Besides, Face was too vulnerable and didn't need to have distractions coming his way in light of the upcoming case.

 

"What's for dinner?" Face asked light heartedly.

 

"Anything you want," Hannibal replied.

 

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

 

Everyone was keeping busy that evening as it had been a particularly exhausting day. BA was still consumed with assembling the bug, Murdock and Amy were cleaning the kitchen and Hannibal and Maggie were discussing some flaws in Hannibal's plan. It was Dr. Moore who guided Face to the sofa and then sat down next to him.

 

After several moments of silence, she softly said, "Do you feel alone?"

 

Face paused, realizing she was a very good judge of feelings, "Yes, a little. But I've got Hannibal and the team here so it's not so bad."

 

There was an awkward pause and then Face asked, "What's your first name again?"

 

"Jeanette."

 

"May I call you Jeanette instead of Dr. Moore?"

 

"Of course." She was pleased that he felt comfortable with her.

 

"You know, I don't even know what you look like? You performed this 'procedure' in the dark if I recall correctly."

 

She smiled and shifted her position sideways so that she was facing him. She picked up both of his hands and placed them gently on her face. He shifted his position so that he was facing towards her as well. Using his fingertips, he softly touched her face, hair and neck and developed a mental image of the doctor.

 

"Mmmm. You feel very pretty," he said softly.

 

And indeed Dr. Moore was very pretty. "Thank you. And you are very handsome," she said while gently touching his face. She could feel the bottom of her stomach jump with excitement as she caressed his chin and barely touched his lips with her fingertips.

 

Thinking back on his conversation earlier in the day with Hannibal, Face smiled.

 

"What are thinking about?" she asked.

 

"Hannibal led me to believe otherwise. That you weren't attractive."

 

"He did, did he?" her tone indicating she really didn't want to talk.

 

To further convince him that she was as pretty as he was handsome, she guided his hand down her neck and down her chest. With her hand covering his, she allowed him to touch her breasts and caress her hardened nipples. She could feel him shift from the strain of his own erection while she yearned for their lips to touch. With his hand cupping her breast and his other hand cupping her face, she became dizzy with anticipation. She leaned her head towards his, closed her eyes and imagined the ensuing kiss.

 

Unfortunately, the kiss was not to be had, the noises from the kitchen grew louder as Murdock and Amy had finished cleaning up and were playfully engaged in a game of tag which brought them into the living room.

 

"Keep it down, man! I'm trying to work over here!" BA yelled from his desk in the corner, oblivious to the soft porn show on the sofa.

 

Dr. Moore straightened up immediately, cleared her throat, and pushed Face's hands back to his own lap, where he could hide his own arousal. Disappointed, but not the least bit flustered, Face rested leisurely on the sofa cocking his head slightly as the commotion around him picked up.

 

"You never cease to amaze me Face," Hannibal mused upon entering the room, implying that even without his sight he was quite capable of winning the beautiful woman and getting her into a compromising situation. Nothing ever got by Hannibal and Face smiled at his friend's very accurate assessment of the situation.

 

Murdock knew immediately what Hannibal was talking about but it took both Maggie and Amy a minute to figure it out. But each nodded in agreement when she did. As for BA, he was uninterested in the whole ordeal and probably wouldn't have cared if they had made love on the sofa with him still in the room. Dr. Moore, however, was very flustered and blushed like a schoolgirl. She stumbled over some words but nothing made sense so she eventually gave up and sat silently hoping the subject would change.

 

And it did. They recapped the day's events and identified areas where Face and Amy needed more work. An hour later, after some more talk about the day's successes, they each said goodnight and went their separate ways to their respective bedrooms.

 

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

 

Face adapted remarkably well to being sightless and was moving well throughout the apartment after only a couple of days. Amy also learned quickly how to guide Face through obstacles and gained his trust back. It was time to venture out of the apartment to test their skills. So as not to draw attention and questions from the hotel staff, only Amy, Face and Dr. Moore would make the journey.

 

"Is everyone ready?" Dr. Moore asked.

 

"No," Face replied.

 

"Too bad, you're going anyway," she smiled at him and admired his handsome features. Both Maggie and Amy had commented on the color of Face's eyes being different and she figured that the adhesive must have turned them a deeper shade of blue. It was difficult to take her eyes off of him or forget about the other night. She only hoped no one could pick up on her feelings.

 

Face was understandably hesitant to venture outside. First off, he had to go through the main lobby and hope no one would recognize him. Once outside, there was no end to the obstacles and predicaments he saw himself getting into. This was the true test of trust and he held steadfastly to Amy's arm.

 

"Face, could you loosen your grip a little? You're kind of hurting me," Amy said while adjusting his hand.

 

"Just relax Face. This is no different than being in the apartment. You trusted Amy to guide you around after we rearranged the furniture and she did a great job. Now, trust her to guide you through the hotel and outside," Dr. Moore urged.

 

Forcing himself to relax, he followed Amy. And not surprisingly, she did a very good job of getting him outside and into the sunlight. He felt good; his confidence was rising and he actually began to think that they just might pull this job off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the feeling was short lived due to some commotion on the sidewalk which forced Amy to sidestep and Face to lose his grip on her arm. To Amy, it was a small mishap that she recovered from quickly. But to Face it was a black river of pushes and shoves and sneers that cost him some confidence. When Amy reached for him again, he was disoriented, agitated and shaken.

 

"Face, I'm right here! Are you alright?" She wrapped his hand around her arm and pulled him close and off to the side. "Here, stand up against the building. You'll feel better being out of the main stream of traffic."

 

"Where's Jeanette!" Face demanded.

 

"I'm right here."

 

"Where were you?! Why didn't you help me?!" Face's voice betrayed his irritation.

 

"Help you do what?" she retorted. "Stand there on the sidewalk?"

 

Amy waited with baited breath for Face's reaction. She figured he'd lash out at her verbally as he was quite adept at doing. But instead, he stood tall, with his back up against the building, holding onto Amy's arm.

 

Dr. Moore immediately regretted what she said. "I didn't mean that Face. I'm sorry..."

 

"But you're right," Face interrupted. "In a couple of days I'm going to be in a situation where the wrong move could get us all killed. Better to feel lost and helpless now, when I know I have support, than later when I could take everyone down with me."

 

"You're not going to fall. Not as long as you have me around," Amy whispered. Then, she surprised herself when she reached up and kissed him gently on the lips. Dr. Moore raised her eyebrows as this was the first romantic scene she had witnessed, aside from Hannibal and Maggie. She actually thought that Murdock and Amy had been secretly seeing each other.

 

Face returned the kiss. "Mmm. I could like this arrangement."

 

Before she realized what she was doing, Dr. Moore reached up and also kissed Face gently on the lips. Amy's eyes danced with pleasure as she watched the interlude. "I wouldn't let you fall either," Dr. Moore whispered.

 

Face, feeling more in his element than he had felt in several days, rewarded her with a gentle touch. "Mmmmm, I could really like this arrangement. Too bad there's an apartment full of people."

 

"Yeah, too bad," Jeanette winked at Amy. "We'll just have to wait until the case is over for the three of us to get together."

 

Amy's eyes widened at the thought of this menage-a-trois but then she sighed regretfully and said, "Unfortunately, Hannibal doesn't approve of intra-team relationships. So, whereas you and Face could be together, he wouldn't allow Face and me to be together."

 

Jeanette thought quickly and said, "Okay, so he wouldn't object to Face being with me. And he wouldn't object to you being with me." The glimmer in her eye really brought out her beauty. "So, what's to stop me from being with both of you on the same night? I mean, I can't help it if I can't schedule properly." The innocence of her voice was amusing.

 

"This case is really starting to look up," Face mused.

 

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

 

Several more days passed with each one bringing a new adventure. First they drove to a park and walked around the grounds, avoiding holes and puddles as best as they could. Face couldn't have asked for more attentive ladies than Amy and Dr. Moore. The sexuality emitting from the three was exciting for all watching, but changed nothing as everyone knew the rules and nobody would consider breaking them. That evening, they ventured to a restaurant and ate dinner. Next, they walked around a shopping mall and finally they spent a day in downtown L.A. meandering around an outdoor art exhibit with lots of people, lots of obstacles and lots of opportunity to discover areas for improvement. But Face had learned quickly and expertly the 'tricks of the trade' and looked confident strolling down the walkway on Amy's arm. And Amy had mastered the technique of guiding Face and looked comfortable being Face's eyes and describing the pieces of art to him. Maggie and Hannibal were paired and Murdock and Dr. Moore were paired, each couple keeping a watchful eye out for trouble, namely Decker, or areas where either Amy or Face could improve.

 

Dr. Moore enjoyed being with Murdock as he kidded her and made her laugh. She felt very comfortable with her hand on his arm. When she wasn't admiring Face and Amy and fantasizing about their time together after this case, she was considering Murdock as a potential lover. He definitely had his strengths and she found herself being aroused by his behavior as much as she was aroused by Face's or even Amy's. 'God, what's become of me,' she thought. 'I can't seem to get my mind off of sex with these people.'

 

The day went without a hitch and that evening, Hannibal announced they would contact William DiCapri the next day.

 

"Are you sure we're ready?" Amy asked. "I feel pretty good about what I have to do but maybe a few more days would be good."

 

"Tomorrow is the eighth anniversary of the explosion that blinded Alberto. That knowledge will be Face's entrance into DiCapri's estate."

 

"But isn't that date common knowledge?" Face asked.

 

"Not really. The papers all reported the day after tomorrow, the 20th as the date. It really occurred tomorrow, the 19th. You feel ready?"

 

Face shrugged. On the one hand, he'd never turn down an extra day or two of preparation; but on the other, he was quite comfortable with not being able to see and he knew Alberto's life fairly well thanks to Hannibal reading to him everything ever printed about the man. But the real motivation was the thought of being with Jeanette and Amy after the case was over. "Probably as ready as I'll ever be."

 

"Good. I've rented the limousine, picked up the uniform that Murdock will be wearing, and BA has finished making the bug. No doubt they will scan us for electronic devices so I asked Maggie to get a hearing aid, which I'll wear, and it will house the bug. Bishop will be recording everything starting tomorrow. I don't want to be at DiCapri's estate for more than three or four days Face, so you'll have to work fast gaining his confidence and trust. Maggie, you and Dr. Moore will stay here until we return. No contact unless we signal. Any questions?"

 

"Yeah," Face held up his finger, knowing full well the answer to his next question, "You mind telling me again what's in this case for us?"

 

"Why the chance to clear our names. As a secondary bonus, we get to take down one of the most ruthless mob bosses on the west coast. Isn't that reward enough?" Hannibal asked mischievously.

 

"Ahhh, right," Face forced himself to agree but it was perfectly evident that there would be no convincing him of charity cases.

 

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

 

At the gate of William DiCapri's estate, the limousine waited patiently for the guard to return. Amy, Face and Hannibal sat in the back sipping drinks and conducting small talk while Murdock and BA sat up front.

 

"I should be drivin' this thing, foo!" BA growled.

 

"Now, BA.... Do I look like a body guard? They'd take one look at me and think this Alberto fellow is blind!"

 

It took only a second for BA to register what Murdock said and his only response was, "You'll never be sane, man."

 

The guard returned and said to Murdock, "Alberto Rolirmo's dead. I strongly recommend you turn around and leave."

 

"Dead!" Murdock exclaimed. "Take a look back there fellow." Murdock jerked his thumb over his shoulder toward the back seat.

 

The guard reluctantly walked back to the now open window and looked inside. He could see three figures.

 

Face acknowledged the guard, "My good man, please tell William that I have chosen to visit him on this eighth anniversary of the bombing that robbed me of my sight. If he still chooses not to see me, then I will go. But I will take information that could be of value to him with me."

 

The guard disappeared and the window rolled up.

 

"I'm impressed Face. I believe you," Amy admired.

 

Hannibal also was impressed, but he knew Face too well to think he would make a mistake. Face couldn't see him staring at him and that was just fine with him. Hannibal sat admiring the young man and his ability to appear relaxed and under control in practically any situation. His cool exterior was second nature and Hannibal felt his loins stir as the light reflected off his friend's skin and his vulnerability was laid before him. In that instant, he resolved to tell Face how he felt, after this case was over. How he would like to love Face and show him how much he cared for him. If Face rejected the offer, so be it. Nothing lost. But if Face accepted the offer, then he would make sure he wasn't disappointed. After all, he wasn't sure if Face had ever been with another man. He suspected that Murdock might be the only person with whom Face would be tempted to try a same sex relationship, but he would probably never know.

 

He felt the car move forward slowly and figured DiCapri's interest had probably been peaked. "Remember guys," Hannibal said loud enough to be heard by BA and Murdock, "we only have a few days so make everything count."

 

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

 

The estate was beautifully laid out and the butler, or whoever answered the door, led them out the back of the mansion and into a beautifully landscaped garden. As is customary, BA hung back in a ready position but not too imposing as to interfere with the meeting process. Amy led Face to a chair positioned around a table and she, Hannibal and Face sat down. Murdock stood near BA. Hannibal was eloquently describing the shrubs and the layout of the garden when DiCapri entered.

 

"I can't believe my eyes," DiCapri declared. He walked around the table to stand directly in front of Face.

 

"And I can't believe my ears," Face returned the greeting. "Can it really be my good friend William who has agreed to see me?"

 

DiCapri smiled a genuine smile and replied, "The guard at the gate had but one question to answer for me, and that was, 'Did Rolir have a beautiful woman with him?' I can see things haven't changed much for you over the years." DiCapri laughed and walked around the table to shake his friend's hand. With the help of Amy, Face keenly picked up on the motion and held his hand out. Overcome by nostalgia, DiCapri embraced Face in a manly embrace and added, "I can't tell you how often I think about you. Scarcely a week goes by when I don't have something happen that reminds me of you."

 

Face pleasantly acknowledged the words and said, "Let me introduce my friends. Amy Allen, please meet William DiCapri."

 

"Pleased to make your acquaintance," Amy politely said. DiCapri took her hand and gently kissed it.

 

"And this is my dear friend, Jack Smith. I don't travel anywhere without him."

 

"Mr. DiCapri, the honor is mine," Hannibal stated and put out his hand.

 

"Mr. Smith, any friend of Rolir is a friend of mine," he said, shaking the hand firmly. "Please, everyone, have a seat and I'll get us some drinks," DiCapri said enthusiastically and then retreated toward the house.

 

"He doesn't seem like a murderer," Amy admired. "He's very handsome and very smooth. He sure seems glad to see you Face."

 

Hannibal responded, "Don't let looks and polish deceive you, Amy. That's how these guys make it to the top. Always remember that he is a murderer and he could have us killed in seconds if he wanted to." Addressing Face, he continued, "Did you notice he called you Rolir? I don't remember reading anything that referred to Alberto as Rolir. How are you feeling?"

 

"Fine. I'll be glad when it's over though. I could sure use a drink."

 

DiCapri returned quicker than expected and said, "You prefer ice tea or something stronger?"

 

Face never missed a beat even though his heart was pounding from the sudden arrival of DiCapri. "Ice tea please. I'll save the stronger stuff for this evening," Face ever so confidently responded as he silently chastised himself for being careless with his conversation.

 

"So tell me Rolir, what brings you out of hiding? My guard at the gate mentioned something about valuable information that you have for me," DiCapri grinned slyly.

 

"I'll get to that in a minute; first, tell me about business. If I recall correctly, I left you with quite a gold mine. From the way Jack's described this place to me, seems like you've done all right," Face said feeling more relaxed.

 

DiCapri leaned back and grinned, "Yeah, I've done all right taking over your action. You left quite a legacy and some big shoes to fill. But I managed alright I guess and built a small empire these last couple of years. The few roadblocks that I had, I 'eliminated'. Every now and again something or someone crops up to try and hinder my progress but I can usually take care of them." He paused briefly before beginning again, "And you, my good friend, left quite a few people in the lurch. Where have you been all these years?"

 

"I've been around," Face responded. "Did you ever take care of the Southside action? I always had problems in that part of town."

 

DiCapri laughed out loud, "Yeah, I took care of those jerks. There's not a one who's still around that could give me any trouble. I have to admit that it took a few years to work it out but I finally managed to find their weak spot and, after that, it was a walk in the park."

 

The drinks arrived and the conversation stalled until all were served and the butler retreated. BA noted that the so-called butler could easily be a body guard by his size and muscular shape. DiCapri picked up his glass and toasted his friend, "To my dear friend. Welcome back."

 

Face lifted his glass and returned the toast, "To my dear friend, and to the agreement I hope we can make." They all took a sip of their ice tea.

 

Hannibal had been quietly sizing up the house, grounds and personnel during the conversation as well as analyzing the body language of William DiCapri. There appeared an affection that was misplaced although Hannibal couldn't put his finger on it. DiCapri didn't appear intimated or overly confident; he appeared relaxed and genuinely glad to see his old friend.

 

After a pause, Face began, "You are undoubtedly wondering what brings me out of hiding and onto your doorstep after so many years?"

 

DiCapri smiled and nodded, never taking his eyes off of Face.

 

A gentle squeeze from Amy cued Face to continue, "Well, I'm considering coming out of hiding. But I'll need some protection if I do and the only person who came to mind who could give me that kind of protection is you. As you well know, my disappearance left more than a few people wanting to kill me."

 

"Not to mention a few lady friends," DiCapri added with a wink towards Amy.

 

Amy smiled and glanced sideways at Face who shrugged in agreement and continued, "Anyway, I was hoping that you'd agree to give me the protection I need until I get back on my feet again."

 

DiCapri continued smiling and staring at Face; Hannibal continued staring at DiCapri and sizing him up. Face was ready to continue when he heard DiCapri answer, "Sure, Rolir, I wouldn't mind at all. We can pick up where we left off," a lecherous smile slowly crossed his lips.

 

Hannibal looked deep into DiCapri's eyes and felt a queasiness form in the pit of his stomach. He glanced in the direction of BA and Murdock and confirmed that they'd heard the comment.

 

"Aren't you curious as to what I can offer you in return?" Face asked.

 

"Of course I am," DiCapri recovered and focused on the conversation. "What can you do for me if I agree to provide protection for you upon your re-emergence into our world?"

 

"I can provide a list of name of people who you can, and cannot, trust," Face said. "I think you'd be surprised at some of the names."

 

DiCapri shook his head and said, "No, I doubt you could tell me anything that I don't already know. But I appreciate the offer."

 

Hannibal could stay quiet no longer and interjected, "Mr. DiCapri, I think you'll find the names on this list very different from any list you've ever seen."

 

DiCapri smiled and restated, "I don't believe it will be of use to me...."

 

"Edward Walsh," Hannibal stated.

 

DiCapri's smile left his face and he turned to more squarely look at Hannibal. Edward Walsh was very new to DiCapri's 'circle of associates' but he had been with the 'family' for many years. "What about him?" he asked.

 

Hannibal couldn't help but play with him now, "He might be in the column of people you can trust; then again, he might be in the column of people you can't trust."

 

Face smiled and nodded towards Hannibal, "Jack does all my research and keeps me abreast of what's going on. He's very good at what he does. I'd trust that there's a lot more names on this list that will surprise you."

 

"I see," DiCapri said, obviously contemplating the turn of events. "Like I already said, I'll provide protection for you and your entourage for as long as you like, starting today. I hope you'll be staying here with me?"

 

"Yes, of course," Face agreed.

 

"Very good. I'll see you at dinner tonight," his demeanor had changed slightly. "If you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to," DiCapri bid his farewells and left them alone.

 

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

 

"Amy, your signals to Face are very good," Hannibal commended.

 

"You could see them? I was hoping to be more discreet," she lamented.

 

"Well, they were perfect, Amy. Do you think we convinced him?" Face asked.

 

"Let's just say that he wants to believe you're Alberto Rolirmo. Whether or not he does is another story," Hannibal answered.

 

"Hannibal, what do you think he meant when he said, 'we can pick up where we left off'?" Face asked. "Did they have some sort of deal going before his disappearance that we don't know about?"

 

"I don't know. But we'll probably be gone before we find out," Hannibal answered. But he thought differently judging by DiCapri's body language and grin. He didn't want to worry Amy or Face about his suspicions so he changed the subject and said, "Let's make our way back to the house and find our quarters?"

 

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

 

DiCapri watched the three talk from the window in his study. Standing next to him was a powerfully built man, also looking out the window.

 

"Is it Rolirmo?" the huge man asked.

 

"I don't know Nick," DiCapri answered. "I've never known plastic surgery to be so damn good. What do you think?"

 

The huge man pondered the question briefly before answering, "It's been a long time and people change. Same general build and personality: a pretty lady on his arm, a bodyguard who could pound anyone, a single friend he trusts with his life. The profile fits. It could very well be him."

 

"We'll find out soon enough. In the meantime, I like what I see and I want them to feel at home. Show them to their rooms."

 

"Yes sir, Mr. DiCapri," he said.

 

And indeed DiCapri did want to believe he was Alberto Rolirmo. He watched Face walk down the sidewalk with Amy and then disappear into the house. His mind rolled back eight years and he allowed himself to close his eyes and relish in the memories he had of his former lover.

 

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

 

Their accommodations were more than adequate. The entire east wing of the house was theirs to enjoy and everyone had his own bedroom; everyone except Amy who was expected to share with Face. Based on the very tight finger squeeze that she gave him when she realized she had to share a room, he figured she wasn't very happy with the arrangements.

 

"Why didn't you say something? I would have liked my own bedroom," Amy chastised, sounding somewhat indignant at Face's unwillingness to come to her cause. "What will Hannibal say?"

 

"Nothing. And besides, wasn't it just a few days ago when you said you were looking forward to being with Jeanette and me after the case was over? Or were you secretly trying to get to Jeanette?" Face teased.

 

"Face! I'm a little nervous just being here and actually playing a role in this case, something that Hannibal seldom lets me do. I could have used some time to myself."

 

"Are you afraid I might see you naked?"

 

"Of course not!"

 

"...I might not be able to control myself?"

 

"No! I trust you immensely."

 

"Then, what's wrong?" he genuinely wanted to know.

 

She took a deep breath and sized him up standing alone in the middle of the room. She walked over to him, gently straightened his tie and whispered, "I don't trust myself." She kissed him softly on the lips and then vanished into the bathroom, leaving him excited and confused.

 

After taking a minute to recover from her admission, Face stumbled over something on his way to the bed.

 

She heard the commotion and rushed from the bathroom. "Are you okay?" she said while reaching for his arm.

 

"Yes."

 

He allowed her to help him to the bed where he sat down. Then he continued, "If you must know, Amy, I didn't exactly want to be left alone. I'm sorry if it put you in an awkward position but I'll sleep someplace other than the bed. Just point me to the nearest chair."

 

She was taken aback by his vulnerability and sat down beside him. Face had always exuded confidence and she never remembered him ever showing his insecurity although she and Murdock had discussed his weaknesses once. "Sorry Face, I didn't think about how you might be feeling. I remember listening when Hannibal, Murdock and BA agreed that they didn't want you left alone if you agreed to wearing the lenses so I guess you are right... Hannibal won't mind." She reached over and rubbed his back. "We better dress for dinner. I'd hate to make William angry at us on our first day." Then, as an afterthought, she whispered, "By the way, there isn't a chair in the room."

 

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

 

"I don't recall ever eating with my hired help, Rolir. I was hoping for a more private setting," DiCapri grudgingly said.

 

Again, Hannibal noticed the body language and the tone being used to address Face and would have resoundingly defined it at jealousy had DiCapri been female. But Hannibal wasn't sure what emotion it was and so allowed Face to respond: "Consider these people part of my family. They've been with me since the accident," Face informed him over an after dinner drink. "Anything you have to say to me can be said to any of them. I trust them with my life."

 

"Very well," DiCapri turned to address Murdock. "Mr. Murdock, you might be interested in my fleet of vintage automobiles. I think you'll find my collection to be quite unique." Then he turned to BA and said, "And BA, you should find my weight room to be challenging." Looking over his shoulder to the man standing at the far door, he ordered, "Nick, show them around please." Murdock and BA didn't budge and Face sensed the atmosphere in the room had shifted. He didn't want them to be separated but it would have been the height of rudeness to not let them go. And besides, it wouldn't bode well in his attempt to gain DiCapri's trust if it appeared as though he didn't trust him, so Face figured he'd better accept the invitation. With a slight nod, the three dutifully departed the beautifully decorated library where they had retired to after dinner.

 

"And Ms. Allen, you might be interested in spending some time with my personal buyer." A woman dressed eloquently entered and acknowledged Amy. DiCapri continued, "Angelia has brought with her this evening a selection of Versace dresses and accessories." He took Amy's hand and guided her towards the door, "please look them over and try them on. Keep a week's worth of dresses for your stay here." Amy was stunned and her eyes showed her eagerness to view the fashions but she was there to be Face's eyes and she didn't feel comfortable leaving. DiCapri read her mind and said, "Don't worry about Rolir, he's in good hands and we need to discuss some business."

 

Again, Face had to appear as though he trusted him and so he said, "Go ahead Amy. Enjoy yourself."

 

"Are you sure Alberto?" Amy asked enthusiastically.

 

"Yes."

 

"Thank you," Amy said. She quickly walked over to Face and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "Just call if you need me." Then she and Angelia left the room.

 

If Face was anxious, he didn't show it and Hannibal looked carefully for signs of distress. But as usual Face would never allow such feelings to interfere with his job and so he turned his attention back towards DiCapri. "I hope you don't try to get rid of me, Mr. DiCapri," Hannibal said with a smile.

 

"Something tells me you wouldn't go," DiCapri shot back, not nearly as amused as Smith was.

 

Face listened to the banter and was very adept at 'seeing' the situation through words, tones and silences. He was relieved to hear that Hannibal wasn't leaving too and probably would have guessed that, but with Hannibal, one never knows what he's going to do. Face only hoped he was successfully hiding his own anxieties, which were building with each passing minute. He had been the recipient of this kind of attention many times before and he knew where it was going. He could also feel the tension between those two rising and decided he'd better intervene. Just to make sure Hannibal didn't leave, Face said, "Jack is involved in all of my decisions. Without him, I'd probably be dead by now."

 

Simply stated, DiCapri got the message and acquiesced, saying, "I wouldn't have it any other way. Please, Mr. Smith, have another drink while Rolir and I catch up on old times together."

 

"Actually, William," Face said, knowing full well he wanted to avoid any conversation of their past together, "I was hoping we might be able to discuss some future opportunities. I'm particularly interested in hearing about the Talliasi incident and how you managed to wriggle free from that disaster. Also, I'd like to hear more about this 'weak' spot in the Southside area. They always gave me such a hard time. And...."

 

DiCapri cut him off with a laugh and a pat on the arm, "All right, Rolir, one question at a time. It seems you've been keeping up with me during your absence. That pleases me." After a pause, he continued, "I too have some questions for you, namely, where have you been these past eight years and why haven't you tried to get in touch with me? At first I thought the explosion killed you, but I heard through the grapevine that you were alive and laying low. I didn't pursue it because I felt certain you would appear after you had time to sort things out. The pressure to continue what you started was great and since it was a do or die situation, I did. While jockeying for position of your turf, I accidentally severed Louie d'Amati's head. And it was honestly an accident, but that's how I became known as Willy the Decapitator and from that point on, very few people messed with me. But, I got to tell you, kid, I really missed you those first couple of years. I missed the times we had together and I missed the...." His voice trailed off and he stopped, like he had said too much. He finished his drink in one swallow and waited out the silence.

 

Hannibal didn't like the turn that this conversation took. It was now evident that Alberto Rolirmo and William DiCapri were more than friends, something Face picked up on earlier. Now things started to make sense to Hannibal and he became angry at his friend, Tom Bishop, for not sharing this knowledge and even angrier at himself for not digging deeper to learn something like this. Giving Bishop the benefit of the doubt, he surmised that probably very few people knew about their relationship. All things being equal, this case would have been a breeze. But with this new twist and Face being blind, Hannibal didn't want to linger any longer than necessary. His thoughts were interrupted by Face.

 

"William, I'm sorry to disappoint you but the explosion not only robbed me of my sight but it also robbed me of some of my memory. I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about."

 

'Well done Face,' Hannibal thought. And then it occurred to Hannibal that DiCapri might well be jealous of him. And that he'd better watch his step so that something doesn't mysteriously happen. "Yes, Mr. DiCapri. Alberto spent a good number of months in therapy trying to rebuild his past, some of which was lost or distorted due to the concussion he received when his car exploded." Hannibal stared at DiCapri to get a sense for what he was feeling. But he was good at hiding or at least masking what he was thinking so it was difficult for Hannibal to tell.

 

"Rolir, Mr. Smith, I'm sorry that I rambled on that way. I am very glad to have you back and it's my own selfishness that allowed me to think things could be the way they were. You're right, we should discuss new business and new opportunities and not look back. Let me tell you about the Talliasi incident...."

 

And so the rest of the evening was spent listening to DiCapri talk of murder, extortion, racketeering, and black mailing. Hannibal hated what he heard but disguised it well and was glad he was wearing the bug that was transmitting everything being said back to his friend Bishop. Face interjected very little and then it was only to keep the liquor and conversation flowing. Hannibal had watched DiCapri circle Face like a hawk circling his prey, but he kept his distance, at least until later in the evening.

 

DiCapri was quite drunk and felt few inhibitions when he suddenly leaned over the back of the chair that Face was seated in and wrapped his arms around him in a lustful head lock.

 

Face was taken off guard by the move and spilled his drink. He reached for DiCapri's arms but he was in an awkward position and found it difficult to determine what angle DiCapri was coming from. Fortunately, it was only seconds before Hannibal was gently wrestling a drunk DiCapri off his lieutenant and ushering him outside where a patiently waiting Nick took him.

 

Upon returning to the library, Hannibal said, "He's gone; we can leave too." Face waited quietly while Hannibal picked up the glass from the floor and tidied up a little. Then he placed Face's hand on his arm and led him to the east wing of the house. Face seemed surprisingly relaxed in light of what just happened and so Hannibal commented, "You don't seem bothered by what he did?"

 

"He was drunk. Besides, he spent the last hour circling me so I was half expecting him to do something. But I have to admit it caught me by surprise when he did make his move. Can you believe the stuff that guy has done? It'll be a pleasure watching him fall."

 

About that time, they arrived at his bedroom and were ascended upon by BA, Murdock and Amy. "What happened?" they asked in unison.

 

Hannibal held his finger to his lips and motioned for everyone to go into Face and Amy's room before anything more was said. Once inside and the door was shut, he said, "Nothing, why? What happened with you all?"

 

"We each tried to make our way back to the library but we were intercepted by Nick and two other guys, who were just as big, who politely but adamantly returned us to our rooms," Amy reported.

 

"BA 'convinced' Nick to crack the door to the library so he could see for himself that you and Face were still together," Murdock added.

 

"Sucka be pickin' his teeth off the floor if you weren't in that room with Face," BA growled, looking at Hannibal. BA had obviously picked up on DiCapri's intentions.

 

Face stood motionless, listening to the conversation and thinking how much easier this would be if only he could see his opponent. Besides, being around a Mafia boss with perverted ideas and NOT being able to see him was unnerving him. He mentally calmed his nerves, a skill he learned in Nam.

 

Noticing his lieutenant, Hannibal placed a hand on BA's shoulder and said, "Guys, we're going to hurry up our operation a little so let's try to be on extra good behavior. Hopefully, Face will get an invitation to the study tomorrow and it appears as though I just may get the same invitation. We'll plant the bug and then we'll be leaving."

 

The news sounded good to everyone since being in a mob boss's house wasn't high on anyone's list of safe places. They nodded in agreement and left the room, leaving Amy and Face to work out their sleeping arrangements.

 

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

 

Amy noticed Face's hair was unusually tousled and it looked as though he spilled his drink on his slacks. "What happened Face? Did you spill your drink or did he spill it on you?"

 

She was to the point, Face thought. "I spilled it after he made a move on me," he said nonchalantly.

 

"He what!" she stopped to make sure she heard him correctly since she was only half joking when she said it.

 

"Yeah, you heard right. Could you point me towards the bathroom? Apparently, this fellow Rolirmo and DiCapri had a very close relationship before he disappeared. It's evident he'd like to pick up where they left off. Ah, Amy? The bathroom?"

 

"Oh sure, Face," Amy jumped up and escorted him over. On the way back to the bed, she thought about DiCapri making a move on Face and wondered why he was so calm. She tried to put herself in his position and what would she be like right now had DiCapri made a move on her. She shuddered at the thought and was thankful Hannibal never left his side. But she didn't stop wondering if Face's calm exterior was due to experience with men or if he just expertly hid his feelings.

 

Mindlessly, she got ready for bed when it hit her that she was about to get into the same bed with Face! She undressed and slipped into a white satin nightshirt that wasn't exactly sexy but it felt good, and since she wasn't sure how the evening was going to progress, she decided it would do. When Face opened the door, she startled a bit.

 

"Amy, you don't have to be nervous. I'm not going to do anything to you," he said with a smile. He remembered his way to his suitcase and began fumbling for his clothes.

 

"I know that!" she said indignantly. Then she added a little softly, "Are you okay? I don't imagine he was the least bit successful with Hannibal being right there?"

 

"No, he wasn't. And let's just say that I'd like this case to be over as soon as possible. I don't exactly like being the object of this man's lust."

 

She watched as he began undressing. "Are you going to undress in front of me?"

 

"If you stay where you are, then I guess I am."

 

She threw a pillow at him and then went to the bathroom. When she returned he was in bed. She turned off the light and crawled in next to him but to her surprise, he was asleep. She was disappointed but also relieved that their first night together was undemanding. Then she stopped to think just how exhausting it must have been for him to maintain this act all day. He was the focus of conversation from morning until late at night and he kept up the act perfectly. She leaned over and kissed him softly. Before she drifted off to sleep, she thought of the rest of the team and wondered how they were doing.

 

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

 

Murdock and BA followed Hannibal to his room and they discussed the events of the evening.

 

"I don't like where this is headed," Hannibal stated. "He has his sights set on Face, or 'Rolir', and I don't know how long Face will be able to fend him off before he comes on too strong. With Nick and those other goons, they could easily separate us."

 

"How's Face holding up?" Murdock knew the answer but he wanted to hear it from Hannibal.

 

"He's doing fine. He's hiding his fears as usual which is another reason I want us out of here."

 

"What if he don't go to the study tomorrow?" BA asked. "The bug won't get planted?"

 

"It's tomorrow or never. Bishop has enough on DiCapri right now based on everything he told us tonight. I can always hide the bug in the library too. When the risk becomes greater than the reward, it's time to rethink our mission."

 

Murdock and BA understood. The risk to them, and especially Face, was much greater than any of them had expected. He had held up brilliantly all day and would continue to hold his own, but if they were discovered or DiCapri decided to pursue his desires, Face could be in trouble.

 

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

 

The day was bright and beautiful and DiCapri was feeling good in spite of the previous night's indulgences. He, Nick and two other fellows stared out the window of the study onto the garden courtyard where Hannibal, Amy, Face, Murdock and BA appeared engaged in conversation. DiCapri had missed breakfast and it was now close to noon. He had wanted to take care of some morning business before he joined Rolir.

 

"Well, do you think it's Rolir or not?" DiCapri asked his associates again.

 

"The chauffeur seemed to know his cars and the body guard was definitely in good condition," Nick answered.

 

"Do they seem overly protective of Rolir?" DiCapri asked.

 

"Not really. He is their boss and if you want to get paid, you try and keep your boss alive," Nick stated, which prompted DiCapri to hand him a sideways glance at the double meaning of the statement.

 

"How about that Smith fellow. What do you think their relationship is?"

 

Nick answered again, "Exactly what he says he is, a trusted friend."

 

"Do you think he and Rolir have a sexual relationship?" DiCapri wanted to know.

 

"I don't know. They do seem very comfortable with one another. Do you buy his story of memory loss from the explosion?"

 

DiCapri grimaced and turned from the window. "It's possible, I suppose. But I can't believe he has totally forgotten what we had together." Then he smiled and added, "I guess I'll just have to jog his memory. I'm going down to join them. Let me know the minute the analysis comes back."

 

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

 

"He has left the window," Murdock reported easily.

 

"He's probably embarrassed at what he did last night," Amy added. She was wearing a new emerald green dress that fit her perfectly.

 

Face remained unusually quiet but looking amazingly relaxed and rested.

 

"How many are in the study?" Hannibal asked.

 

"Four, including DiCapri," Murdock answered. From his chair at the table, he was able to look directly at the house and see the men watching them. "What do you think there're up to?"

 

"Probably trying to determine if Face is really 'Alberto Rolirmo'. If I were him, I'd try to pry more information from your past, so be on your guard Face and don't give anything away," Hannibal said, knowing that the order was unnecessary.

 

Face nodded and shifted in his chair slightly. Amy leaned over and covered his hand with hers mostly as reassurance that she was next to him. "My God, Face, your hand is freezing. Are you cold?" she asked.

 

Murdock's heart sank. He knew that Face channeled his nervousness differently than most and that his cold hands were a sign of stress and anxiety.

 

Face turned as if he was looking straight into Amy's eyes and said, "He's coming."

 

Startled by the statement, they looked towards the house and sure enough, DiCapri was walking across the grounds. "Very good, Face," Hannibal commended. "The keen development of your other senses could prove beneficial."

 

Murdock and BA left the table and stood approximately 10 yards away and waited as he approached.

 

"I'm terribly sorry I missed breakfast this morning, Rolir. I hope you can forgive me, you too Mr. Smith and Ms. Allen. I had to take care of some business but I promise to reserve the rest of the afternoon for you."

 

"Business that I hope I can benefit from, William," Face very smoothly set everyone at ease and brought a smile to DiCapri's face.

 

"Of course. But you haven't told me what part of the business you want to re-enter. The gambling operation is very lucrative right now as is our prostitution ring. You name it, my friend, and the action is yours."

 

"Tell me more about the other parts of the business. Just before the accident, I had put into place a gun running operation. How's that going?" Face asked.

 

"And I thought you said the explosion caused memory loss?" DiCapri good-naturedly tried to corner him. The tension was high, but Face never flinched and if he thought he messed up, his expression never gave it away. When DiCapri's efforts to 'catch' Rolir failed, he resumed the conversation, "It's going well. Just like you said, you set into motion a very successful gun running scheme that's still in place today."

 

The next two hours brought unending conversation from DiCapri. Face asked all the right questions and answered all of DiCapri's questions with the skill of a con artist. Amy used discreet signals to cue Face but he had grown accustomed to DiCapri's mannerisms and didn't need them. Murdock and BA stood just within earshot admiring the ease at which Face was conversing on topics he knew nothing about. And Hannibal watched DiCapri closely for any signs of mistrust with an occasional glance at Murdock for a signal as to whether or not the goons were still in the window. He was so convinced that Bishop was getting such good information from these conversations through the bug that was still in his hearing aid that he began to think it wasn't necessary to go to the study and he even actually preferred they didn't. Face was carrying out a performance of a lifetime and he made a mental note to tell him so when the case was over.

 

Hannibal noticed a slight gesture from Murdock and then saw DiCapri look over towards the house.

 

"Gentlemen, Ms. Allen, if you'll excuse me, it seems I have some business to take care of. This shouldn't take long," DiCapri said. He nodded goodbye and walked briskly away.

 

Murdock and BA wandered back over and sat down. "My God Face! I can't remember the last time I saw you in such rare form. You're definitely keeping up with him," Murdock praised.

 

Face rubbed the back of his neck and peered up towards the sky and then turned his head from side to side in an obvious attempt to relieve some of the tension which had settled there. Amy got up and started giving him a much needed message that was greatly appreciated.

 

"Thanks, Murdock." Face tiredly responded to Murdock's praise. "It's a damn good thing you all are here. I'd hate to go head to head with him by myself."

 

They all smiled because that's exactly what was happening; he was going head to head with DiCapri by himself. But he didn't see it that way and even though they weren't doing anything, to Face, just being around was enough.

 

"How about a walk. I'm tired of sitting here," Face suggested.

 

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

 

"What is it Nick?" DiCapri asked before he reached him.

 

"I think we better go to your study, Mr. DiCapri," Nick urged.

 

Once again, the four men were looking out the window and watching as their guests walked around the grounds. "Okay, what is it?" DiCapri asked.

 

"He isn't 'Alberto Rolirmo'," Nick stated.

 

DiCapri turned and looked at his body guard. "What?" he tried to hide the disappointment in his voice.

 

"The fingerprint analysis was done like you requested and you're not going to believe who these guys are," Nick stated.

 

"Who?"

 

"The A-Team."

 

"What!"

 

"We have a positive ID on three of the five. The other two we're still trying to find out."

 

DiCapri turned away from the window and sat down at his desk. He wanted desperately to believe it was Rolir. Maybe Rolir was one of the two that wasn't identified yet. "Do we know who Rolir is?"

 

"I'm sorry, Mr. DiCapri, but we do. His name is Templeton Peck, Lieutenant," Nick's voice was sympathetic and caring. Like his boss, he wanted Rolir to be Rolir, as he remembered some of the encounters he had had with Alberto. "His friend, Jack Smith, is Lt. Colonel John Smith, known as Hannibal. And the big black bodyguard is Sergeant BA Baracus."

 

DiCapri clenched his fist, closed his eyes and nervously tapped his upper lip. Five minutes passed in silence before he said, "Leave me."

 

Nick and the two other goons left the study immediately. Nick could feel the despair in his boss' heart and silently vowed revenge on this A-Team.

 

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

 

"How long has he been gone?" Amy asked.

 

'Too long,' Hannibal thought.

 

"An hour," Murdock answered.

 

They had walked the grounds and were back at the table waiting. Face was quiet and Murdock could tell he was feeling stressed again. He nodded at Amy who placed her hand over his and affirmed that his hand was ice cold.

 

"Someone's coming," Face stated after cocking his head slightly.

 

They all turned and from a distance they saw Nick approaching.

 

"All right, everyone, be ready for anything. I don't like the looks of this," Hannibal quietly stated.

 

"Excuse me, Mr. Rolirmo? Mr. DiCapri asked me to bring you inside to the library. He has some more information that you might be interested in," Nick said, sounding non-threatening and managing to relieve some of the tension that they were feeling.

 

"Okay. You don't mind if we all come, do you? I hate to be without my family," Face said as he took Amy's arm.

 

Nick nodded his agreement and they retreated to the library only to be kept waiting again. Finally, DiCapri entered carrying a box and looking cheerful.

 

"My apologies again for keeping you waiting but I wanted this presentation to be perfect. Please, Ms. Allen and Mr. Smith, sit on the sofa. Mr. Murdock and BA, if you will be kind and stand next to the fireplace. And my dear Rolir," he paused as he reached for Face's arm and guided him ever so gently to a bar stool, "please sit here next to the bar."

 

After everyone was where he wanted them to be, he walked behind the bar and opened the box and began to talk to Face, "These past two days have brought back memories for me, which I'm saddened that you can't share with me. But I did so want to believe...." he let his voice drift off.

 

'Shit! He knows!' Hannibal thought. A quick but evil glance from DiCapri confirmed his suspicion.

 

DiCapri pulled out an object wrapped in a white cloth and set it on the bar. With a single pull, he dropped the cloth and displayed the ice tea glass that was used the previous day. Hannibal immediately made a move as did BA and Murdock, but they were too late. The library doors swung open and standing in the doorway were four well armed goons.

 

"Get back where I put you!" DiCapri shouted at them.

 

With guns aimed at them, they had no choice but to do what they were told and so Hannibal sat back down and Murdock and BA backed up to the fireplace. Face knew immediately that things had soured but was hard pressed to determine where everyone was and how many people were now in the room. He held tightly to the side of the bar, appearing calm on the exterior but churning inside.

 

DiCapri pulled out two more glasses and lined them up on the bar. "Like I was saying, I so wanted to believe that you were Rolir and you shared the same memories of us like I did. But of course you wouldn't be able to remember our rendezvous', not because of the memory loss you claimed to have, but because you were never there, Lieutenant!"

 

Hannibal had heard enough, "So you found us out! What do you plan to do with us?"

 

"Mr. Smith, what I plan to do with you should be obvious. I'm going to kill you." Then he turned his attention to Face, "What I plan to do to your Lieutenant," he said while walking around Face and getting very close but never quite touching him, "is to give him some of my fondest memories."

 

BA and Murdock lunged forward but were cut off by a spray of bullets that ripped through the bookshelves and across the fireplace. Several more goons entered the room and held guns steady at each of them. When order was restored, DiCapri said to Hannibal, "You could tell me why, Colonel Smith! Why you've invaded my house and who you're working for?"

 

The look Hannibal gave told DiCapri that there was no way he was going to talk. "Don't worry, I'll learn what I need to know from your Lieutenant." And then he turned his attention to Face and said, "You have a perfectly chiseled face and a body I'm going to enjoy taking, but are you really blind?" He deceivingly turned away from him, but then quickly changed directly, spun around and landed a blow to Face's jaw. Face went crashing into the coffee table in front of Amy. She quickly reached down to help him up but felt the backside of DiCapri's hand across her cheek and fell back into the sofa.

 

"Leave him alone!" DiCapri exclaimed. He pulled Face to a standing position by his collar and stared into his eyes. "Yes, I do believe you are blind. Amazing. I've never been with a blind man." Then he pushed Face to the bar and ordered his men to take him to his bedroom. Hannibal's mind was racing, desperately searching for an escape. But there were too many guns levied directly on them and there would be no rescuing Face if they were killed due to a stupid move. And so he watched as Face was manhandled and jerked out of the room by DiCapri's goons.

 

Face was out maneuvered from the start and easily restrained by Nick and another goon. He was pushed and shoved down halls and up stairs until the noise of the library was too distant to hear. He was pushed up against a wall and felt Nick's hand rub against his crotch and his lips press onto his. He struggled which resulted in a punch to his stomach, but it stopped the fondling and kissing, at least temporarily. The next he knew, he was being thrown onto a bed and his hands were being tied above his head. Then the groping and beatings began. He tried to struggle but it was useless. He was at their mercy and could do nothing as he felt his clothes being ripped off. Despair and fear enveloped his body and he found himself almost feeling grateful that he couldn't see what was coming.

 

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

 

The helicopter was noisy and crowded and Amy nervously wondered if they were going to meet their death by being thrown from it. Their hands were fortunately tied behind their backs and this gave BA optimum working conditions for breaking his ropes.

 

Hannibal impatiently looked around and Murdock and BA knew what was on his mind: Face. And the only way they would get back to him is if Hannibal came up with a plan. So they bided their time in silence while he thought. A quick glance from Hannibal was all BA needed to know that he was expected to break his ropes and then untie Hannibal as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

 

Hannibal yelled to the guy opposite him, "Where are you taking us?"

 

"To Mr. DiCapri's favorite burial site," the goon said with an evil smile.

 

"Feels like we're flying east. Only thing east is the desert," Hannibal prodded.

 

The goon must have been feeling fairly confident because he decided to come forth with some details. "Yeah, that's right. Mr. DiCapri found this spot in the desert that nobody would ever think to look for bodies. He dumps all his problems there. By the time anybody finds you guys, you'll be nothing but bones." The goon nudged his buddy and said to Hannibal, "Don't worry about your friend; he'll probably be joining you in a couple of months, after my boss gets done with him." The two goons laughed in evil approval of the sexual abuse Face was going to receive. Then the second goon added, "I hope he's not a virgin; Mr. DiCapri can be rough!" This brought great laughter from the goons in the chopper.

 

They flew for over an hour and then Hannibal received the signal from BA that he was free. In turn, he signaled to Amy for her to distract the already not so attentive guards.

 

"Hey, you. Why are you interested in killing me? I can probably be of service to you," she said, smiling a seductive smile.

 

"Nah, I'm actually anxious to get back and have some of your friend. You see, Mr. DiCapri might let us take him after he's had him. Your friend is very appealing to us."

 

"Well, then, why wait for him when you have us," Murdock piped up. Sensing Amy wouldn't bring the desired distraction, Murdock quickly improvised and offered his sexual services to any takers. He got the desired result and a shuffle ensued in the helicopter that lasted just long enough for BA to get back to back with Hannibal and untie the main knot holding his hands. BA continued to pretend he was tied, as did Hannibal during the melee that followed. It took only a short time for order to be restored but when it was, the lead goon informed everyone to keep silent or he would throw the next person who so much as mumbled out the door.

 

Within 15 minutes, they were descending in the middle of the wide-open desert and landing in a flurry of flying sand. They were escorted away from the chopper and lined up near a shallow pit. "Say your prayers cause now you're gonna die. And you might want to say a few for your friend. His misery is going to last a little longer than yours."

 

Before they had a chance to raise their guns, they heard the sound of more helicopters approaching from over the horizon.

 

"Larry, go see what it is," the lead goon demanded.

 

The noise got louder and louder and Hannibal seized the opportunity. He and BA broke from the line and rushed the armed guards who were looking skywards trying to determine who the helicopters might be. Murdock was agile enough to bring his tied hands from behind his back in front of him and he raced for DiCapri's helicopter. Amy used her body to charge and knock over a confused guard and then kick his rifle from his hands. From the sky, the helicopter was spraying gunfire. After what seemed like an eternity, Hannibal saw half a dozen well armed men jump from the helicopters and coral DiCapri's men.

 

Hannibal looked up and was greeted by Tom Bishop.

 

"I heard everything from your transmitter. Are you okay?" Tom yelled over the noise of helicopter blades.

 

"We don't have time to catch up," Hannibal yelled back. "He has Face!"

 

Tom understood and nodded. "We can be there in an hour and a half."

 

"We can be there in an hour!" Hannibal yelled as he retreated to DiCapri's helicopter where BA, Amy and Murdock were already waiting.

 

"Go, Murdock!" he ordered, as he jumped inside.

 

Murdock lifted the chopper up and achieved altitude quickly.

 

"Open her up!" Hannibal yelled.

 

There was no need in telling that the Murdock, he already had her at top speed.

 

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

 

Murdock landed the helicopter just after the sun had gone down. Hannibal calculated the time; over three hours since Face had been taken.

 

"Amy, go find a car and bring it around to the front," Hannibal said.

 

She nodded and darted off towards the garage. The three crept swiftly but carefully into the back of the estate and located the rear staircase to the west wing. Once upstairs, they had a long hallway of closed doors to choose from. Hannibal quickly figured which door must lead to the master suite based on the layout of the east wing, which he had explored the previous night.

 

The room was dark but was indeed the master suite. Across the room was the huge king size bed. As they got closer, they could see a figure lying between the sheets. BA quickly went to the window, while Murdock hung back at the door. Hannibal approached the bed and immediately recognized the blonde hair.

 

"Face?" he whispered. He turned Face over and saw his hands were tied to the slats in the headboard. "Face?" He felt for a pulse and found one. "BA?" Hannibal whispered a little louder.

 

BA hurriedly over and asked, "Is he all right?"

 

"Get his hands free!"

 

BA pulled on the slat that Face was tied to and it broke in half. Hannibal lowered Face's arms and heard his barely audible voice say, "N-no more... please... no-o more..."

 

"Face, it's Hannibal. You're going to be okay now." He helped Face to the edge of the bed and then helped him sit up. He yanked at the blanket until it was loose and wrapped it around Face's naked body, not knowing what he was covering up and not being able to take the time to find out. BA and Hannibal helped him to his feet and across the room to Murdock.

 

Murdock took over for BA who opened the door and determined the hallway to be clear. As quickly as was possible, they exited down the rear staircase and back out the rear of the estate.

 

Amy waived them over to a parked limousine. BA hot wired it and drove down the long driveway. Fortunately, the guard, thinking it was Mr. DiCapri's limousine, opened the gate without hesitation when he saw the approaching car. BA turned left and headed for downtown L.A..

 

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

 

"Go away! Would you please just leave me alone!" Face said tersely.

 

Hannibal, Murdock, Amy and BA looked at each other. They were surprised by the forcefulness in his words. Maggie exhaled and was feeling at a complete loss for words. Face needed a doctor but was refusing to be seen. He just sat on the edge of his bed, slumped over with the blanket held tightly around him. He didn't sound angry, though. He sounded desperate. Desperate for someone to listen to him. Desperate for someone to hear his words.

 

'It's no use,' thought Hannibal. He recognized Face's tone and unless he ordered Face to undergo the examination, it wasn't going to happen. Hannibal read Murdock's thoughts: 'Leave him alone.' BA all but said the same thing. Sensing their despair, he nodded his head towards the door signaling for everyone to leave. Reluctantly, they turned and walked away.

 

"Hannibal?" Face quietly said.

 

They stopped to listen, but Face said no more. He didn't have to, Hannibal understood what he wanted. And so Hannibal stayed behind while the others left the room.

 

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

 

"What happened back there?" Dr. Moore wanted to know. She had waited to ask her question until they had completely left Face's room.

 

"We were found out," BA grumbled.

 

"How?" she wanted to know.

 

"Fingerprints," Murdock stated.

 

"Fingerprints? How'd he find out your fingerprints?"

 

"He probably has half the L.A. police force on his payroll. It wouldn't be difficult for a guy like DiCapri to have access to a forensics lab." Murdock was subdued and appeared exhausted. He sat down on the sofa and ran his hands over his head.

 

Amy sat down beside him and comforted him, "Murdock, there wasn't anything we could do. We were lucky to have escaped ourselves. We couldn't stop DiCapri from... from doing what he did." Amy knew the strong feelings that he had for Face. Sometimes she wondered just how close their commitment was to each other. She knew one thing for certain: Murdock was in agony. She saw that by the way he had held Face in the limo.

 

Dr. Moore was just about to question her last statement but a quick look from Maggie told her to keep her mouth shut, which she did. BA grumbled something that wasn't audible as he walked over to the table where he'd been working on the bug and slapped some tools across the room. They crashed into the wall and onto the floor and made an awful racket; Dr. Moore nervously moved away from BA and closer to Murdock and Amy.

 

She watched as Amy consoled the pilot. She watched as he put his arm around her and they held each other. Not in a romantic way, but in a comforting way. But a woman's intuition is seldom wrong and she sensed there was more to their relationship than anyone knew. She made eye contact with Maggie and they both walked into the kitchen. Once out of ear range of the others, she asked, "What happened to Face?"

 

Maggie looked pale as she relayed what Hannibal had briefly told her, "Face was most likely raped by DiCapri. Evidently, Alberto Rolirmo, the guy who Face impersonated, and DiCapri had some sort of relationship going on before he disappeared. When DiCapri discovered Face wasn't this Rolirmo guy, he took his revenge. He tried to have the others killed while he... while he was with Face."

 

"Did you examine him? Is he okay?"

 

"No. He wouldn't let me. Face is confused and not thinking too clearly. He's actually acting the way one would expect given what's happened to him. He doesn't want any more attention."

 

"Why is Hannibal still in there then?"

 

She sighed before continuing, "Because Face wants him to stay." Maggie really didn't want to explain that which she didn't understand herself but she gave it her best try. "Those two have a relationship that's hard to explain; they need each other. Face probably feels safe with him. Hannibal once told me that one of Face's weaknesses was insecurity; he has a fear of abandonment. Because Hannibal knows that, he tries to make sure that Face is never alone."

 

Maggie didn't really want to talk anymore. She was concerned for Face just as much as Jeanette was but she was also concerned for Hannibal. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do now but wait. And, there wasn't anything more to say except, "Hannibal will take care of Face, he always has."

 

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

 

Hannibal made sure the door was shut tightly before walking back to Face. The room was well lit and he didn't like it, so he turned off all the lights except for one on the bedside table.

 

Face remained motionless on the bed, seemingly staring at the floor that he could not see. Hannibal wanted to touch him, comfort him, turn back the time, do anything that would take the hurt away, but what was done, was done and there was no turning back. Instead, he walked into the bathroom and returned with a glass of water.

 

He took Face's hand and placed the glass in it. "Here's some water."

 

Face nodded slightly but said nothing. He wanted to talk to Hannibal and let him know what happened, but he couldn't. He felt ashamed and wished to God he could see Hannibal's eyes, try to read what he was thinking. Compounding his misery was the pain his body was in and the nauseous feeling he was having. A shower was what he wanted and as soon as he could muster the strength he would take one.

 

Hannibal watched Face hold the glass of water. He barely moved except for the slight shaking his hand was doing. He had seen enough and simultaneously took the glass from his hands while sitting down on the bed. "Face, won't you please let Maggie examine you?" Hannibal said as gently as he could.

 

"No. I'm tired of people looking at me. I'm tired of not being able to see them. I'm..." his voice trailed off.

 

Hannibal listened and gave him time to gather his thoughts.

 

"I want to take a shower Hannibal. Could you just get me to the bathroom?"

 

Hannibal understood and he helped Face to the bathroom and turned the shower on. When Face dropped his blanket, Hannibal gasped. The bruises and cuts on his torso and extremities were more than he expected, but before he could say anything, Face was in the shower and had closed the door. Hannibal debated whether he should stay or leave and decided he'd better stay. And it was a good thing because shortly into his shower, Face asked, "Hannibal, are you still here?"

 

"Yeah, I'm here."

 

"I'm not feeling so good... I don't think I'm going to be able to finish..." his voice faded and he slumped against the shower wall.

 

Hannibal immediately jumped up and had the water turned off and a towel around Face before he could slip to the floor. "Take it easy, kid. I'll get you back to the bed." Face leaned heavily against him while they walked out of the bathroom. Before he laid him on the bed, Hannibal quickly dried him off, then he gently guided him into the bed and covered him with the sheets.

 

"Hannibal?" Face whispered.

 

"Don't try to talk, Face. I'm not going to leave you if you're worried about that."

 

Lying down had done him some good as he wasn't feeling as bad. And he wanted to talk, tell Hannibal what happened to him. After several deep breaths, Face stated, "He didn't do it."

 

Hannibal stopped cold. He had seen the blood on the blanket; he had seen his body. And now Face was saying DiCapri didn't rape him? If DiCapri didn't, then who did? "What are you saying, Face?" Hannibal said as he sat down on the side of bed very near to Face.

 

"DiCapri didn't rape me."

 

Hannibal was still confused; he didn't know if he should be relieved or angry at someone else. "He just beat the shit out of you?" Hannibal added dryly.

 

"What you see is the handi work of Nick and that other goon. They didn't want me to put up much of a struggle for when DiCapri came for me."

 

"What did DiCapri do?"

 

"He did plenty," Face stated despairingly, "but he stopped just short of raping me." He continued softly, "It was really strange; it was as if he wanted me to submit to the encounter. He didn't want to force himself on me. He talked like we could have something if I would just give it a chance. He didn't care that I wasn't 'Alberto Rolirmo'; he just wanted me to want him. He didn't want to hurt me..." his voice trailed off as he remembered parts of the encounter, "but he did. He..." Face stopped abruptly at the memory.

 

"Face, let it go. You don't have to go there again," Hannibal urged gently.

 

Face wanted to let go but he wanted to talk also. He grimaced at the thought. "I didn't know what he was going to do until it was too late. He used lubricant on his fingers and said he was preparing me. At some point, he said I was too tight and needed more work."

 

Hannibal rubbed his eyes, grimacing at the thought of Face suffering through the sexual abuse. "He used only his fingers then?"

 

Face nodded, then whispered, "God it hurt..." the words caught in his throat.

 

Hannibal peered protectively down at his young friend. He watched Face shut his eyes and try to block the memory, but to a blind man the memories are always vivid. He saw Face's hand reach for him and the grip was tighter and stronger than just needing reassurance of his presence. He leaned forward on the bed and realized how much Face needed to be comforted. He embraced him and could feel him trembling and holding back his emotions. Emotions that had been building probably since Nam and not until the sheer vulnerability of this mission had it been allowed to surface. Hannibal longed to go back in time and refuse this job.

 

He continued to hold onto Face until his breathing was quieter and regular and he stopped trembling. Exhaustion prevailed and Hannibal gently released his hold on him. The young man had drifted off to sleep. 'Good,' Hannibal thought. 'You're going to need this.'

 

He stared at his friend for the next hour, rethinking the events of the case and mulling over the words Face used to describe the encounter. His face was peaceful yet bruised. But even the swollen jaw didn't detract from his good looks. 'If only you weren't so damn handsome, ' he thought. 'DiCapri might never had felt the need to possess.'

 

Face not only was great looking, but Hannibal knew he had a sexual charisma that attracted men as well as women. He loved this man and since the time he had promised himself that he would tell Face exactly how he felt, he had been looking forward to it. But in light of the events that Face had just been subjected to, he found it difficult to believe that he could muster the necessary courage to reveal his feelings.

 

He reached over and gently touched Face's chest and felt his heart beating. The beat was soothing and Hannibal relaxed. He smiled and whispered, "In due time, Face, I'll show you what it's all about. And I guarantee that you'll be smiling and begging for more."

 

He waited a few more minutes before he left; he didn't notice Face lifting his head as he left the room.

 

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

 

Murdock was the first to jump up when Hannibal came out of Face's room, "How's he doing?"

 

"He's finally sleeping. Maggie, do you have any sleeping pills. I have a feeling he's going to be needing them if he's going to get any rest these next 24 hours."

 

"Hannibal, you know I don't give out medication. I really should examine him..."

 

Hannibal held up his hand and she stopped talking. "He wasn't raped. He was badly beaten and sexually assaulted, but DiCapri didn't rape him."

 

There was a sense of relief that permeated the room but it was short lived when Hannibal asked, "Dr. Moore, is there any way you can get rid of the lenses without affecting his sight?"

 

She looked confused and said, "The adhesive is natural and will wear off in a couple of weeks. He'll have his sight back then."

 

BA reiterated, "He wants to know if the lenses can come out early so Face can see again!"

 

She contemplated a minute before saying, "There is a product that might do that, although it hasn't been fully tested. I could call the lab and ask them to send it to me."

 

"Why would they do that when they think you're on family leave?" Amy asked.

 

"I don't have much of a life outside of my work and so they are accustomed to me working while I'm on vacation or leave. It really wouldn't raise any suspicion among my colleagues."

 

"Do it," Hannibal stated. "Murdock, would you mind checking on Face. BA will spell you in a couple of hours."

 

"Right," Murdock said and swiftly walked to Face's room.

 

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

 

"Hannibal?" Face waited for a response but heard nothing. Louder, he repeated, "Hannibal!"

 

"No, Face, it's me, Murdock. I can get Hannibal if you want?" Murdock had dozed but was now wide awake and sitting on the edge of the bed.

 

"No, that's all right."

 

"Are you okay? Can I get you anything?"

 

Face rolled over and winced at the movement. "I'm hungry. Do you think I could get something to eat?"

 

"Sure Face. Anything you want." Murdock clicked on the bedside light and glanced at the clock, 2:42am. "I can make you breakfast, lunch or dinner; you just name it."

 

With Murdock's help, Face was able to sit up and swing his legs over the side of the bed. The pilot hurriedly pilfered the closet and found a robe and helped Face put it on. He noticed the cuts and bruises and cringed at the thought of Face being beaten and assaulted.

 

Once in the kitchen, Murdock went about preparing a light meal consisting of soup and bread, which Face slowly ate. Halfway through the meal, BA came into the kitchen and grumbled, "I'm s'pose to relieve you and I find you out here stuffing your face." Looking at Face, he added softly, "You feelin' any better?"

 

"Yeah."

 

BA sat down and helped himself to the soup and bread and the three sat at the table in silence. It was difficult to look at his blond headed friend with the bruising around the eyes and swollen jaw.

 

Finally, Face asked, "Have either of you been with a guy?"

 

Murdock and BA looked at each other. Not being one to mince words, BA clarified the question by asking, "Had sex with a guy?"

 

Face nodded yes.

 

There was another pause but before either one could answer, they heard a door shut and footsteps. They waited. Amy appeared in the doorway. "I thought I heard voices. Face, how are you feeling?"

 

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

 

It had been a week since DiCapri discovered them, and a day since Face had regained his sight by using the untested product that was sent to Dr. Moore. The only side affect was his sensitivity to light and some blurring that should go away in a day or two. And so on this beautiful sunny morning, Face was lounging on the balcony wearing a pair of sunglasses. Maggie Sullivan was saying her goodbyes to Hannibal and Dr. Moore was saying her goodbyes to the rest of the team.

 

Maggie asked Hannibal, "Do you think he'll be okay? He wouldn't let me do a very thorough examination and so he could still have some injuries that I'm not aware of."

 

"I'll take care of him. You know that I appreciate all you've done for him. He doesn't say much but he's glad you're around. So am I for that matter." They kissed and embraced but didn't make any promises for the future; Maggie knew where she stood and never pressed for a commitment.

 

Amy pulled Dr. Moore aside and out of earshot of the others and whispered, "You haven't forgotten about our date, have you?"

 

Dr. Moore smiled and asked, "Do you think Face is up for it? I don't want to push him into anything he might not be ready for."

 

Amy contemplated the question while sending a sideways glance towards Face, "Oh yes, I think he'll be up for it. You can't keep someone like him down."

 

Dr. Moore smiled and said, "I'll let you know in a minute." Then she walked out onto the balcony not knowing that all eyes were on her.

 

"I've come to say goodbye."

 

Face looked up at her and smiled. He had been thinking about the range of emotions that this case had put him through. So much had happened to him and there were many unanswered questions: he wanted to know what happened to DiCapri, he wanted to get to know Jeanette better, he wanted to revisit the conversation he'd had in the kitchen with BA and Murdock, he wanted to be alone with Hannibal and learn what it was like to beg for more... The list went on and on but at this exact moment, he couldn't focus on his thoughts, much less on the beautiful doctor standing beside him, and so he simply said, "Goodbye."

 

"Like you're going to get off that easy," she mumbled. She kneeled down and kissed him. He didn't resist and seemed to enjoy her sensual lips and wet tongue as she caressed the inside of his mouth.

 

"Mmmmmm." Then Face added, seductively, "I seem to recall you have a scheduling problem when it comes to dates."

 

She smiled broadly. Only Amy knew the true meaning behind the quick glance and the wink she threw her way.

 

 


Rolir by Jasmine

 

 


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