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Redemption

Redemption

Liz


BA and Hannibal were waiting patiently for Face, at least BA was. Hannibal on the other hand, was getting annoyed, Face was ten minutes late. Hannibal had called an early morning meeting at their favorite rendezvous point, the city park. Before Hannibal could get any angrier, he saw Face walking towards them. As Face approached, Hannibal's anger diminished, Face still bore the marks of the last job.

Trying to save a family's home from a bunch of greedy land developers resulted in a beating for Face, and the job nearly killed Murdock. Hannibal closed his eyes as he remembered watching in horror as one of the goons pulled a gun from his ankle and fired three times before BA was able to knock him out. One of the rounds hit Murdock in the leg. The pilot bled quite heavily before the team was able to get him help. Today, however, Murdock was resting comfortably at the VA hospital, he would be out of commission for a short period of time, but would make a full recovery. That thought brought Hannibal back to the reason he called this meeting in the first place.

"I'm glad you could make it Face."

Before Face had a chance to reply, Hannibal continued, "After last week I have decided that we should lay low until Murdock is one hundred percent. I don't like accepting any job right now, not without a complete team."

BA nodded his head in agreement. "I think you're right Hannibal, until that fool is healthy I think we could all use the rest." BA looked at Face knowingly, he knew Face felt responsible for Murdock getting shot. The very idea was completely ridiculous to BA, as it was to Hannibal and Murdock. Face and Murdock had been in hand to hand combat with two of the goons, while Murdock was doing well, Face was slowly being pummeled. Murdock had knocked his goon unconscious and turned to help Face when the guy pulled the gun and fired. BA shivered and tried to put that particular memory out of his mind, "What's the plan Hannibal? I for one would like to visit my mom and spend some time at the center."

Hannibal nodded, "Sounds good, I want daily contact though. You will find me at Maggie's. Phone in every morning before eleven. We meet back here in two weeks." Pausing he looked at Face who remained quiet, "Face what do plan on doing?"

Face pulled himself from his thoughts, "I don't know yet." He looked at Hannibal and BA who were staring at him expectantly. "I think I'll go and visit Murdock, make sure he's okay, then give Ann a call. She's been after me to take her somewhere fun."

Hannibal smiled, "Okay Face, call me later and let me know where your taking the pretty lady." Hannibal knew, once Face saw that Murdock was improving Face would feel better. "Now don't forget Lieutenant, Sergeant, I want a call once a day, everyday before eleven. Understood?" Face and BA looked at each other smiling, then jokingly snapped Hannibal a salute. Clamping down on his cigar, Hannibal also smiled, "That's right gentleman, I don't want any surprises!"

*******

Face was waiting for Ann to show up at his apartment. He hadn't told her yet about the unexpected vacation he received earlier in the day. He was feeling immensely better now that he had visited Murdock and could see for himself that he was doing okay. Face smiled, knowing Murdock was all right and spending two weeks alone with Ann, hell this was going to be great.

Ann paused outside of Face's door, she had a sudden anxiety as why Face had called her. After last week and the disastrous job, she realized how much she came to care for Face. She gathered up her courage and rang the bell. She was elated a few moments later as Face opened the door and wrapped her in his arms, kissing her passionately.

Face pulled Ann inside, finally breaking the kiss. "Hi." he murmured, still holding her tightly. Ann smiled, "Hi yourself. What's going on?"

"Well, it would seem that I have two weeks off for good behavior!" Face paused, looking deeply into her brown eyes. "I was hoping that maybe you would like to accompany me somewhere nice and warm?"

Ann didn't answer, instead she pulled his head back down and met his lips with her own. While she kissed him, she ran her hands down his back to his waist, pulling his shirt out of his jeans and sliding her finger tips inside.

Face groaned as he felt her fingers against his skin. He began to kiss her neck as he unbuttoned her blouse. Face was breathing heavily and broke the kiss, stepping back he wrapped his arm around her and led her to his bedroom. An hour or so later, Face lay in bed trying to catch his breath. Ann was snuggled up against him, lightly running her fingers across his chest. "I take this as a yes to you wanting to go away with me?"

Ann sat up and kissed him gently, "Yes! I would love too. The question is Templeton Peck, where are you taking me?"

Face grinned, "I was thinking maybe the Caribbean. It is lovely this time of year."

Ann matched his grin, and began to kiss his chest, pausing between kisses, she whispered, "I was thinking somewhere else." Face could feel his passion rising and was finding it difficult to form words. Breathlessly he asked, "Where would you like to go?" Ann continued, "I was thinking Florida." As he felt Ann's warm mouth move lower down his body, he groaned, "Okay,.... Florida it is."

*****

Face was on the phone talking with Hannibal and trying to pack at the same time. "Yeah, we're going to Miami tomorrow." He remained quiet for a moment as Hannibal reminded him to check in once a day. "I know, I'll call you at Maggie's. Give her my love. Okay see you in two weeks." Face felt Ann slip up behind him, wrapping her arms around him tightly and resting her head on his back.

 

"Everything all right with Hannibal?"

"Yeah, with Murdock getting shot, he is being over protective." Face turned in her arms, "Enough about me, did you talk with your boss? Can you get time off?"

Ann smiled, "All taken care of. I also called dad, let him know where I was going to be."

Face raised his eyebrow in question, "Did you tell him that you were running down to Miami with a wanted man?"

Ann smacked him lightly on the arm, "You know as well as I do that dad believes you're innocent. After all he knew Hannibal in Nam, as far as he is concerned you all were railroaded."

Face pulled away, "I know, but he is a special agent in the DEA. If they knew his daughter was harboring a fugitive, he could get in trouble."

Ann smiled and walked back to him, placing her arms around his neck, she whispered, "First of all I am not harboring anyone! Dad knew Hannibal for many years, he knows your innocent. All of you. And second of all, I am a grown woman, I can choose any one I want for my lover." As Ann whispered these last few words, she reached up and kissed him. Looking into his blue eyes, she continued, "As long as I don't flaunt you in front of him or his agent friends, we're okay. Now stop worrying about my father and start thinking about dinner!"

Face laughed, "Okay, okay, where do you want to go?"

*****

The next morning Face found himself flying down to Miami. Ann sat beside him planning an activity for each day they would be there. As she went on about charting a boat to go deep sea fishing, Face interrupted her. "Ann, I was hoping to spend some quiet time with you. The two of us together alone. You know rest and relaxation?" Face saw Ann smile, as she understood what he was trying to say.

"Oh, I get it, you want to spend the entire time locked away in our room playing house?"

Face laughed, "I was thinking doctor!"

Ann was laughing also, "Well how about I compromise?" Ann reached down and pulled out another brochure, "I'll give up the fishing trip, but we're going to take a tour of the everglades. A friend of mine at work recommended it, she gave me this guys name and number. He owns his own boat and will take us out where most tourists don't get to see."

Face paled, "The everglades, isn't there all sorts of snakes and alligators in there?"

Ann tried not to smile at his obvious concern, she reached over and stroked her fingers through his hair. "Don't be such a baby, you're a Green Beret after all!" Kissing him tenderly on the lips, she whispered, "Don't worry soldier, I'll take care of you."

Face returned the kiss, "I hope so."

*****

Face pulled in front of the hotel, handing the keys to the car to the valet. He turned and took Ann's hand, walking into the hotel. Finally they were checked in and opened the door to their room. Ann ran inside throwing her bag on the bed. Ann opened up the patio doors and smiled. They had a room over looking the bay, several stories up, the patio held an excellent view. Ann turned and watched as Face tipped the bellhop, closing the door behind the man. As Face turned towards her, she exclaimed, "Oh Face, this is beautiful!"

Face smiled, and walked towards her, taking in the view from the patio. He pulled her into his arms, tightening his hold, "Not near as beautiful as you." Face gently took her right hand, leading her back inside.

The next morning Face found himself driving to a marina at Cannon Bay. Ann had made arrangements with Lefty, the captain of the airboat, to take them deep into the Everglades. Face looked over as Ann was reading the map, "Face, take the next right, we're almost there."

As Face parked, Ann hardly waited for the car to stop moving before she jumped out and began to look for their captain. Face followed a little more slowly, the day was already promising to be hot and humid, and to spend it in the swamp was not thrilling. He saw Ann talking with a guy who was checking over a boat, assuming Ann found Lefty, he approached them.

Ann grasped Face's hand, "Face this is Lefty."

Face shook the older gentleman's hand, "Hi, I'm Templeton Peck. I see you already met Ann."

Lefty smiled as he shook Face's hand, "Nice to meet you. I was just telling Ann that it's going to be a hot one today, so maybe we should get going."

Face took Ann's hand and helped her into the boat, following her as she took a seat near the front. As he sat, a sudden feeling of unease settled over him. He quickly glanced around, looking for signs of trouble. Everything appeared to be normal, taking a deep breath he relaxed.

Ann saw Face tense, she reached for his hand. "Face, are you all right?"

Face smiled reassuringly, "Yeah, everything is fine." As Face squeezed her hand, Lefty started the boat and the made their way out of the marina.

Several hours later, Face and Ann were waiting for Lefty to come back to the boat. They had anchored the boat on the shore, and Lefty had wandered into the thick trees to answer the call of nature. Ann turned her head as she heard a small sea plane overhead. She poked Face in the ribs and pointed to it as it circled above, then made a landing about a hundred yards away.

The uneasy feeling Face felt earlier returned, as he saw two airboats heading towards the plane. He was relieved to see Lefty return from the trees. Face pointed to the plane, asking Lefty, "What is that about?"

Lefty took the scene in and paled slightly, getting into the boat quickly he muttered, "Drug runners. We need to get the hell out of here now!" He immediately started the boat and tried to get out of sight by going in the opposite direction.

Jimmy grabbed a load of cocaine off the plane when he spotted another boat in the distance. He reached behind his seat and grabbed his binoculars to take a look. " Shit! Rico, Ernesto we got trouble!"

Rico grabbed his rifle and shouted to Ernesto, "Stay with the plane, we'll take care of this!" Jimmy immediately turned the boat around and began to chase the boat in the distance.

From the second boat, Jason asked his leader, "Duncon, should we follow?"

Duncon threw his cigarette over the boat and growled viciously, "Yes!" He reached down and shouldered a rifle, he was surprised to find other people this far in the swamp. From the way the boat was moving away from them, he knew they were exposed. They would have to eliminate them to ensure that the drugs reached Miami.

Lefty saw the boats turn and head towards them, "Shit! They're following us!"

As Face turned, the first shot rang out, nearly hitting Lefty. Face pushed Ann down and shouted at Lefty, "Do you have any weapons?"

Lefty shook his head no. He was concentrating on getting the hell out of there and thinking he might succeed when one of the bullets hit the engine. Black smoke poured out, causing the boat to stall in the water. Lefty immediately tried to restart the boat, unfortunately the bullet had caused too much damage.

Face stood protectively in front of Ann as they watched the two boats glide beside them. Face remained still as he watched one of the men grab the rope to their boat. Two of the men were pointing rifles at Face and Lefty while the other man lit a cigarette. Face could tell this was the man in charge.

Duncon knew what had to be done, they would have to kill them. He eyed the girl appreciatively, thinking to himself, ‘I may have a little fun with her before I kill her.' He carefully stepped into the boat, "Hello, I am Duncon Mcleod. Unfortunately, you interrupted my little business deal."

Face smiled his most charming smile, "Oh! We're sorry. I tell you what, you let go of our boat and…"

Before Face could finish, Duncon pulled a gun from his waist and shot Lefty in the head. Face watched in horror as Lefty fell into the brackish water and disappeared. He pulled Ann close to him as he heard her scream, he heard the click of the gun and turned back to Duncon, he was staring down the barrel of the revolver.

Duncon smiled as he saw the realization in his prisoner's eyes. This man knew he was going to meet the same fate as the other man. Duncon relished in the moment, savoring the fear that was in the air. He suddenly realized the woman was begging him.

"Please don't kill us!" Ann was trying to step in front of Face, however he had a strong grip on her arm. She knew Duncon was going to shoot Face, and she was trying to think of some way to stop him. She was finally able to place half her body in front of Face, still begging for their lives. She reached out and tried to pull the gun away from Face.

Duncon was losing his patience, he motioned Jimmy to look through the personal belongs that were on the boat. As Jimmy started going through Ann's purse, Duncon ordered Face to kneel.

Face could hear Ann crying behind him. He heard the sound of a smack and saw Ann fall to the side. He started to get off his knees when he felt the gun against the back of his head. He heard Duncon, "Not so fast hero." Face was desperately trying to think of some way out of this situation when he heard Jimmy call to Duncon.

"Sir, wait!" Jimmy looked at Ann lying on the floor of the boat before continuing, "She's Ann Lees. The daughter of the bastard who has been chasing us for three years."

 

Duncon looked at Ann closely, reaching down he grabbed her by the hair and brought his face close to hers. "Is this true? Are you the daughter of special agent Dave Lees?"

Ann smiled and looked into his eyes, "Yes I am, and this is my husband. My father knows where we are, and if you kill us, he will hunt you down forever."

Duncon smiled back at her, "Well we could use you, but we don't need your pretty husband here." He pointed the gun at Face's head again, he was ready to pull the trigger when Ann cried out, "NO! please, I'll do anything!"

Duncon smiled a truly evil smile, "Anything?"

Ann was scared, she couldn't sit here and watch as they killed Face, so she whispered, "Anything."

Duncon pulled her close, "If your husband's life means anything to you, you will kiss me like you kiss him. Understand?"

Ann nodded and leaned in to kiss him. As her lips met his, she had to consciously think about not biting him. She poured as much as she could into that one kiss, hoping it was enough to keep Face alive.

Face watched as Ann kissed Duncon. He glanced at Rico and Jimmy, they both had their weapons aimed at him. However both men were watching the scene between Ann and Duncon. Face took advantage of the moment, he suddenly threw himself at Jimmy, clutching the end of the rifle and pointing it upwards as Jimmy fired. Face tried to put Jimmy's body in the line of Rico's fire, wrestling with him for control of the weapon. He heard Duncon's voice, "Freeze hero, or I will shoot your wife in the head." Face stopped struggling and turned to see Duncon pointing his gun against Ann's head. Face held up his hands in surrender. He saw Duncon look at Jimmy and then nod, he never saw the butt of the rifle as Jimmy brought it down against his temple.

Ann cried out as she saw Face collapse, blood was streaming down his face from a cut above his eye. She felt Duncon's hands squeeze her arm, and she heard him threaten, "Now Ann, we are going back to my plane and finish unloading it, from there we're going to back to my house and arrange something with daddy." Duncon grabbed some rope and began tying up her arms, placing a gag in her mouth. She felt a moment's relief as they did the same to Face. At least they just didn't shoot him in the head like Lefty. She let them guide her to their boats and tried to sit as close to Face as possible. Even though he was unconscious, she still gathered comfort from the fact he was there.

*****

Murdock was watching television when a sudden uneasy feeling washed over him. He lay in bed for a few moments as the feeling dissipated. He glanced at the phone sitting on his desk, deciding he needed to talk with one of the guys, and knowing that Face and Hannibal were out of town, he dialed BA. He tried to wait patiently as the phone rang, finally hearing BA's voice on the other end, "BA! Hey big guy, what are you doing?"

BA answered in a very annoyed voice, "I'm on my way to the center." He remembered that Murdock was wounded after all and his voice softened, "You need anything?"

Murdock shook his head no, then realized that BA couldn't see him answered and, "No." He hesitated, "I was just wondering if you had heard from Face or Hannibal?"

"I talked with Hannibal earlier today, said Face checked in early." BA could hear the serious tone in his friends voice and became concerned, "Hey anything the matter?"

Murdock was feeling a little foolish, "No, no. It's just that I had this weird feeling, just wanted to make sure everything okay."

BA thought about that comment, suddenly feeling a little anxious himself. "Maybe you should give Hannibal a call."

Murdock thought about that, he didn't want to upset everyone on their holiday, "Yeah BA, maybe I will. Hey I'll call you later."

BA stared at the phone as he heard the dial tone, ‘crazy fool, one of these days I'm gonna teach him to say goodbye.'

Murdock was about ready to call Hannibal, when the nurse came in to get him for his daily therapy on his leg. He paused and shrugged his shoulders, thinking to himself that he was just being paranoid anyway. The big guy had talked with Hannibal, who in turn talked with Face. Everyone accounted for, he rose and obediently followed the nurse out of his room.

*****

After a few hours, Ann gave up trying to figure out which way they were headed. As night fell, she could here the creatures of the swamp become more active. The sounds of alligators thrashing from the banks of the water were frightening. She was worried about Face as well, he had yet to waken. She glanced over at him, and was relieved when she saw him wink at her. After another hour, the boat finally slowed down, in the distance she could barely make out the shape of a small shack.

Face was still feigning to be unconscious, when he felt the boat slow. He was still trying to figure a way out of the situation when he heard Duncon's voice issue commands to his men. He could hear them tying off the boats, and wondered if he could make a move. With four of them, and his hands bound, it would be difficult. He finally decided that he would have to wait, besides he also had Ann to consider. He suddenly felt a hand tangle in his hair and jerk his head up. He opened his eyes as he heard the angry voice. "Wake up!" Face tried to rise, as Duncon's hand never released his grip and pulled him up. Blood from the earlier blow, was now caked on his face, the throbbing in his temple however had lessened. Face watched as Ann grimaced as she stepped into the marshy water, he followed docile, knowing now was not the time to try and escape. They were led to a small tin shed behind the main house. As they were both shoved inside, Face turned to see his captors follow. His stomach sank, he was hoping for some time alone to figure a way out of the situation.

Duncon walked up to Ann running his hand through her hair. "You are so beautiful."

Ann remained frozen as Duncon touched her. She would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her fear.

Duncon smiled, this was a feisty one, and he would enjoy her all that much more. He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers, moving his hand lower to caress her breasts.

As Ann felt his hands touch her, she suddenly stiffened and head butted him as hard as she could. Her aim was perfect, she heard a curse and noticed that blood was streaming from his nose.

 

Duncon held his hand up to his nose, seeing the blood, he became enraged, he slapped her across the face watching as she fell to the ground. He became more enraged as he noticed her look at him with pure disgust and hatred in her eyes. He looked over at Face as he heard him chuckle.

Jimmy and Rico were holding Face, and he watched Ann being molested helplessly. He could see how enraged Duncon was when Ann head butted him. He tried to bring the attention back to himself and chuckled loud enough for Duncon to hear.

Duncon smiled, "You want to play rough? We'll see how rough you like it when I play with pretty boy!" He motioned for Jimmy and Rico to grasp Face tightly. Duncon walked over to Face, looking him in the eye, "We'll see who laughs last."

Face felt Jimmy and Rico tighten their hold of him and he tensed up. He knew what was coming, and was not disappointed as Duncon began punching him. After several minutes, he felt the cut above his eye reopen, and could hear Ann begging them to stop. The only thing that kept him on his feet, were Jimmy and Rico holding him up! As Duncon landed another blow to his ribs, pain erupted in his guts. He wondered which would happen first, him passing out, or Duncon tiring. Suddenly Duncon brought his knee up into his groin, burning pain erupted and he coughed frantically, trying to regain his breath. He sagged forward and the hands that were holding him were released, he lay in the dirt blinded, and coughing. Face desperately tried to regain control of his body, the pain would not diminish, he heard Ann sobbing, and she was pleading with Duncon to stop. He finally managed to stop coughing, noticing that he had curled up into a fetal position, trying to protect himself. He could hear Duncon breathing heavily, the other two men laughing. He again felt hands on him, turning him over, opening his eyes he looked up into Duncon's.

Duncon pulled out his six inch hunting knife and held it to Face's throat. He turned and looked at Ann, "If you ever try that again, I'll kill him. Do you understand?"

Ann nodded, wiping the tears away. She watched in horror as Duncon moved the knife slowly down Face's throat, watching as Face tried not to react.Duncon smiled evilly, suddenly holding the knife at Face's crotch, looking at Face, he whispered, "I swear I'll cut it off if you piss me off gain." He suddenly slashed the knife along Face's inner thigh, below the hemline of his shorts.

Face cried out as he felt the blade cut into his leg, feeling blood seep down his thigh. He bit down on his lip, preventing himself from crying out again. As the surging tide of pain eased, he opened his eyes and saw Duncon get to his feet.

Duncon rose,satisfied that his guests understood what he was saying. He watched as the blood was pooling in the dirt. He turned towards Rico, "Get some water and rags." Rico nodded and hurried out of the shed. Duncon turned towards Ann, "Now, I hope you cooperate, if not…." He let the threat hang, seeing Ann shake her head in agreement, he continued, "Good, now I want the number where we can reach you're daddy. I think he should know that he holds the key to your survival. He is going to get all those special agents off my ass, or else you my dear are going to meet a disastrous fate."

Rico came back in and placed the bucket and rags down next to the wall. He looked towards Duncon for further instructions.

Duncon went behind Ann and cut the rope that bound her hands. "For being such a good girl, I'll let you nurse his wounds." He took the number, continuing, "Lets hope daddy cooperates!" He turned and walked out, Jimmy

following. He had to make the call and wait for Ernesto and Jeramy to return from getting rid of the plane. Duncon smiled, as he walked up the steps, which led to the house, hopefully this was the key to get the DEA off his ass.

Ann ignored Rico as she immediately crawled over to Face. He was still lying on the ground, trying to get his breath back. She ran her hand through his hair, "Face, honey, it's me. Let me see you." She pulled encouragingly on his right shoulder, urging him to a sitting position. She smiled warmly at him as he opened his eyes and tried to sit up. She helped him crawl over to the wall, leaning his back against it. Her first priority was the cut on his thigh, tearing some of the towels, she tightly wrapped a strip around the wound. She flinched as she heard Face suck in his breath, quickly she finished and tied off the ends of the bandage. Ann reached up and brushed Face's hair off his brow, assessing his injuries. He was a mess, his right eye was swollen shut, and the cut above it was bleeding. His nose and lips were also bleeding, she sighed and dipped another rag into the water, carefully wiping away the blood. Face tried to remain still, Ann's ministrations were painful. At least Duncon had the decency to leave something for her to stop the bleeding in his leg. He was concerned on how deep the knife went, he could not afford to lose a lot of blood. Not if he wanted to get himself and Ann out of this alive. He felt Ann wipe his face gently, looking into her eyes, he could see that she was terrified. He looked up to see Rico lighting a cigarette, turning as he did so. Face whispered so only Ann could here, "Hey, its going to be okay." Seeing her doubt, he continued, "Listen Ann, once Duncon calls your dad, he'll get a hold of Hannibal. All we have to do is hang on till then. Okay?" Ann continued to wipe his face, leaning in he kissed her gently on the lips, "Trust me, I'll get you through this."

Ann tried to show him she understood she paused in cleaning his face, wrapping her arms gently around him, she whispered, "I'll try." She knew the last thing he needed was a hysterical woman, she swore she would do all she could to get them both through this.

****

Murdock could not sleep, the uneasy feeling he felt only intensified as time went on. He rolled over and glanced at the bedside clock, great he thought four in the morning. He wondered what his friends were doing. Suddenly the phone in his room rang, startled he reached over and answered, "Yeah."

"Murdock, I'm sorry to bother you, this is Blake Lees."

Murdock immediately sat up, Blake was the father of Face's latest. "What can I do for you?"

Blake hesitated, he wanted to talk with Hannibal, but was unable to get a hold of him. "Murdock, I just received a call, someone has Ann." Murdock closed his eyes, he felt something was wrong all afternoon., all he asked was, "When?"

"I received a call a few minutes ago, they said they would kill her if I didn't pull off my investigation of the cocaine imports. Murdock you and Hannibal have to help me, I have information on a huge shipment coming to South Florida next week. I don't have the authority to pull the DEA agents off this! I've been working on busting this ring of men for three years. I'm scared to call the authorities in because this group has plants in every department."

Murdock ran his hands through his hair, "What about Face, he was with Ann."

 

 

Blake sighed, "I'm afraid they didn't mention him. Murdock I'm sorry, these men are ruthless, they don't need Face, only Ann."

"I'll get a hold of Hannibal and BA, we'll meet you in Miami." Blake told Murdock where to meet him, and Murdock slowly hung up the phone. His mind kept hearing Blake's words, ‘ruthless, they don't need Face.' Dear god what did that mean? The pit in his stomach grew as he heard these words in his head, testing his leg, he decided he could walk on it. There was no way Hannibal was going to leave him behind on this one, not when Face needed him. He picked up the phone and dialed Hannibal.

Hannibal was driving back to LA, he had borrowed Face's vette, and was making excellent time. He kept going over Murdock's conversation, drug runners, how in the hell did Face go on vacation and end up entangled with drug runners? He had told Murdock to meet him at BA's, and he finally pulled up in front of the apartment. He hurriedly walked towards the building. He found Murdock and BA inside ready to move all the gear packed. He looked at Murdock, seeing the panic in his eyes. "Anything new?"

Murdock shook his head. "No Hannibal. I told Blake we would be there as soon as we could."

BA looked at Hannibal, "I'm taking the van down, I'll meet you there." Hannibal nodded, "okay, drop Murdock and I off at the airfield, we'll get a plane."

BA, still suspicious, grabbed the bags and headed downstairs, followed by Murdock and Hannibal. He didn't notice Hannibal checking his pockets for the small needle containing the sedative. It wasn't long before all three of them were airborne.

Hannibal sat in the plane staring out the window. He was worried, finding Ann in the everglades was going to be difficult. He believed that the men, who took Ann, also took Face. He had to believe that, not to, would drive him insane. He had talked with Face yesterday, Face had told Hannibal of their plans to go on a swamp tour. Hannibal didn't think much at the time, but now reflecting on it, he grimaced at the tone of Face's voice. He knew Face didn't want to go, traveling through a desolate swamp would bring back awful memories of Nam for him. Memories that Face tried everyday to bury. Hannibal groaned as he thought of Face and Ann out in that godforsaken place.

Blake was pacing around his small hotel room, waiting for Hannibal to arrive. He ran to the window as he heard a car pull up front, looking out he was relieved to see Murdock and Hannibal step out of the car. He could also see the bulk of BA in the back, apparently asleep. He quickly opened the door ushering them inside.

Hannibal and Murdock stepped inside greeting Blake as they passed. Hannibal could see how exhausted the men looked, and realized he was as worried for Ann as they were for Face.

"Thanks for coming Hannibal. I'm sorry I don't have any news about Face."

Hannibal smiled, "Face would not leave Ann, he is with her." Hannibal could see the pain Blake was feeling,

"Don't worry Blake, he'll take care of her."

Blake smiled, "Here, I have a map of the swamp." He walked over to the table and proceeded to tell them what he knew. He showed them the area where he believed these men's headquarters were. They were interrupted as BA charged into the room. He was swearing a blue streak, and was interrupted as Blake's cell phone rang,

Blake looked at the team nervously before answering, "Hello." He was silent for a moment before sharing the phone for Hannibal. Murdock moved closer, and strained his ears so he could hear as well. They heard the

recorded voice, "Dad, I'm okay, please do as they say or we'll get killed." That was all that was on the recording, the next thing they heard was dial tone.

Hannibal smiled, "Okay gentleman, Face is with her."

Blake asked, "How do you know?"

Murdock answered with a big grin, "She said we!"

For the next few hours they made arrangements for finding Face and Ann. Murdock was sent out to acquire supplies and BA checked over the ammunition. Hannibal and Blake studied the map, trying to figure out where the camp was. As they left to go to the marina, Blake stopped Hannibal, "You have five days Hannibal, before my men seize that shipment." Hannibal nodded and followed BA and Murdock to the car.

****

Face was curled up on his side lying next to Ann, who was asleep. The noise the crickets were making outside was hurting his head. He shifted slightly, trying to get more comfortable. The wound in his leg was throbbing, along with his ribs. Carefully he took a deep breath, trying to determine if the ribs were bruised or broken. Exhaling, he gave a sigh as he figured they were only bruised. Ann shifted next to him and opened her eyes. Face smiled at her, sending her some strength. Face sat up and leaned against the tin wall, closing his eyes a moment, as a wave of dizziness washed over him. It was extremely hot inside the shed, sweat was running down his back. He reached his tied hands as far as they could go, trying to scratch his back. He sat up as he felt the wall of the shed. The seams of the wall were slightly bent in, causing a dull edge in the metal. He smiled triumphantly, running the rope that was binding his hands along the edge.

Ann moved closer to Face, she was trying to be strong, but these men frightened her. She shuddered as she remembered last night, being pulled away from Face to the main house. She was relieved when all she had to do was make a recording for her father. After the recording she was brought back to the shed. Her hands were tied back behind her and she was shoved inside. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door opening. She looked up into the eyes of Duncon.

Duncon was elated, they had dropped off the message for daddy. After next week's shipment, he could retire. No more worries or hassles, as long as everyone cooperated. He had to make sure everyone understood the rules. He waited for Jimmy to open the door, watching as Rico moved aside. Duncon smiled inwardly, his men were afraid of him. Now he was going to make sure his guests would be as well. He walked inside the small shed, noticing the dried blood in the dirt. Duncon decided he was going to have some fun, he turned towards Jimmy and Rico, ordering them to wait outside. The two men did not hesitate, immediately going outside. Duncon closed the door, turning towards Face and Ann. "Now, you are going to entertain me." He leaned down next to Ann, grabbing her hair. Violently he pulled her into a standing position, holding his knife to her throat. With his hand still entangled in her hair, he leaned in and kissed her.

Ann stiffened as Duncon was assaulting her, her heart felt like it was going to burst in her ribs. She was shoved roughly against the wall, his body pressing against hers. With her hands tied behind her, she was defenseless to stop him. She suppressed a cry as she felt his hand move along her thigh.

Face was frantically rubbing the rope that bound his hands, along the side of the metal. He was watching helplessly as Duncon attacked Ann. After several minutes he could feel the rope loosening. Duncon had Ann on

the floor trying to pull her shorts down, she was crying loudly. Finally as the ropes fell from his wrists, he quickly jumped up and grabbed the hand that was holding the knife, pulling it away from Ann. Face struggled with Duncon for control of the knife, the blade was only a few inches from his face. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ann kick Duncon in the head, feeling the other man collapse on him as he passed out. Face quickly climbed out from underneath of him, as Ann continued to sob loudly. Hopefully with her cries, the other two men outside would not have heard the commotion. He watched as Ann continued to kick the unconscious man, gently Face pulled her away. Face grabbed the knife and released her hands, gently wrapping his arms around her. His mind was racing as he tried to figure out what to do next. The only weapon he had was a knife, and there were two armed men right outside the door. Looking around the shed, he came to a decision. He whispered into Ann's ear, "Ann, we have to get out of here. I want you to scream for Jimmy and Rico. Tell them you killed Duncon, keep screaming until they come in here." Face pulled away slightly, holding her face in his hands, he gently wiped the tears away. "Can you do that?" He smiled as she nodded. "Good." Face walked over to the door, holding the knife tightly in his hand. Ann began to scream, calling out their names.

Rico looked at Jimmy with a confused expression. He followed Jimmy and pulled his revolver from his waist, approaching the door cautiously.

Face saw Jimmy come through the door first, his arm extended as he held his revolver. Face slashed his arm quickly, at the same time as he landed a blow to his face, sending him sprawling. He heard Rico shout a curse and looked up to Ann throwing dirt in the man's eyes. Face grabbed the gun Jimmy dropped and reached for Ann's hand, sprinting out the door. They ran up the wooden walk leading towards the dock where the boats were.

Ann grabbed his arm, "Face! There are two more coming!"

Face turned back and saw the two men running after them, he looked back down the dock. The boats were still another fifty yards. They were on the dock and surrounded by murky water. He flinched as a bullet hit the walk by their feet, making up his mind, he grasped Ann's hand and jumped into the murky depths. As they were in mid air, he felt the bullet tear into his shoulder.

Jeremy and Ernesto ran down the pier, looking into the water. Jeremy looked back up as he heard footsteps running down the pier towards them. He paled slightly as he saw Duncon.

Duncon looked into the water, he looked at Jeremy and Ernesto, "Get in the boats and find them!" He then turned to Jimmy and Rico, who cringed away from the intense glare. "You two get in the water and bring them back to me."

Face and Ann swam under the water as far as they could, only emerging when they had to breathe. Face saw a clump of cypress trees ahead, he indicated to Ann to swim towards them. Face leaned against the tree, they were waist deep in water. In the distance he could hear the boats move off into the water. He noticed that Ann was trembling, "Hey, are you okay?"

Ann couldn't answer, she leaned her head against his chest, trying to stop the shaking. As she felt Face's arms around her, she began to get control. After a few more moments she was able to pull back, it was then she noticed the blood on his shirt. "My God, are you all right?" She immediately tried to pull the shirt to one side and look at the wound.

 

 

Face winced and pulled away, "Yeah, one of the bullets hit me." He smiled reassuringly, "It's only a graze Ann. We have more important things to think about, like getting the hell out of here." Face glanced around them at the surrounding territory. In the distance he saw an embankment, "Let's get on dry land, we'll be able to put more distance between us and them."

Ann followed his lead, now was not the time to break down. Holding onto Face's hand they made their way to land. She could hear the shouts of the other men as they carefully made their way through the water.

****

Hannibal lowered the binoculars, he sighed as frustration settled in. They had been searching all day, he looked at the setting sun. They didn't have much time before it would be dark. He decided they had better-set up camp,

"BA, find a dry place, we need to set up camp."

Murdock looked up, he was disappointed that they had found nothing. The area they had to cover was large, about 300 square miles. His voice sounded anxious as he asked, "Hannibal, we have some daylight left, shouldn't we keep looking?"

Hannibal could feel the worry emanating from the other men, he sighed, "Okay, a little longer, then we need to find a place to camp."

A few minutes later BA shouted, Hannibal, over there!"

Hannibal and Murdock turned to see where BA was pointing. Off in the tall grasses was an airboat, BA was immediately maneuvering their boat alongside of it. Hannibal jumped over into the abandoned boat, looking for clues. Bending down he found a lighter that he had given Face last year for his birthday. He smiled and held it up so the others could see, "Face was here, look what I found."

BA was looking at the engine of the boat, "Hannibal someone shot the engine up pretty good, this boat is trash."

Hannibal's smile vanished as he saw Murdock staring into the water, "Hannibal, I think you should see this."

Hannibal's stomach churned with fear as he looked over the edge of the boat, he saw Lefty lying in the shallow water, with a bullet in his head. "Shit!" Was all Hannibal could say, now they were sure what kind of men they were dealing with. Hannibal pocketed the lighter turning to the other two men, "Lets get the hell out of here."

Three hours later, BA, Murdock and Hannibal sat around a small campfire. Each man was lost in their own thoughts, all worrying about their friend. Murdock could hear the noises of the swamp, causing him to shiver. He watched Hannibal study the map, trying hard to conceal his worry.

BA stood and stretched, "Hannibal, I'll take first watch."

Hannibal nodded, "I'll relieve you in four hours." He turned and looked at Murdock, "You get some sleep."

Murdock watched as BA moved off into the darkness. The curt words were enough to tell Murdock just how worried Hannibal was. The fact that Face was taken by a group of ruthless drug runners was bad enough, but being held out here in a place that reminded everyone of the jungles of Nam, was terrifying. A few times in the boat today, he swore he saw VC hiding behind the trees. He remembered he had to rub his eyes and constantly tell himself where he was. That concerned him, if he wasn't totally alert, he could miss something. He felt bad

 

enough, he had missed the boat, an important clue that Face had been there. He could not allow that to happen again, Face and Ann were depending on him. He sighed and lay down, he had to try and get some sleep.

Hannibal put the map down, his mind on Face and Ann. Blake had told him how afraid he was for his daughter, the men holding her were totally without conscience. They had been known to take what they wanted and killed who ever had gotten in their way. Blake feared the worst for his daughter, and Hannibal knew Face well enough to know that he would not sit by and watch. Hannibal knew they had to keep Ann alive, but if Face caused too much trouble, God knows what could happen to him. He knew he had to find their hideout, the DEA agents were going to seize that drug shipment, and when that happened Face and Ann were as good as dead. He squeezed his eyes shut and groaned at the memory of finding Lefty floating in the water. He remembered feeling guilty at seeing him, guilty because he was so relieved that it was him and not Face. He was afraid that he would find Face like that, and wasn't sure he could handle it. With that thought, he looked at Murdock, being in this swamp was hard on him. He wasn't one hundred percent, Hannibal knew, but was determined to help find his friend. worried now for both of his men, he lay down and tried to get some sleep, he had to relieve BA in a few hours.

****

Face was holding onto Ann's hand as they stumbled through the swamp. They could no longer hear the boats or the men searching for them. Face stumbled over a tree root, sending him crashing to the ground. He cried out in pain as his wounded shoulder hit the ground first, leaving him breathless. As the pain eased he found himself curled on his side with Ann's hands on him, urging him to roll over.

"Face, come on let me see you."

Face rolled over and sat up, leaning his back against a tree. He watched as Ann crawled over to him, and began to carefully open his shirt. He sucked in his breath as the materiel pulled away from the wound, turning his head as he saw the amount of blood.

Ann looked at the wound, knowing she had to stop the bleeding. "Face I'm going to use your shirt as a bandage, I have to stop the bleeding."

Face nodded, and when she ripped off a portion of his shirt and pressed against his shoulder, he almost passed out. His vision was filled with red dots, he moaned and tried to pull away, but Ann's grip was too strong. He endured the searing pain, and eventually Ann seemed satisfied she had stopped the bleeding. Taking another piece of his shirt she wrapped it over his shoulder and under his armpit to secure the bandage. He finally opened his eyes to find her checking the wound on his leg, he was relieved when she seemed satisfied and moved to sit next to him. Face watched her as she scanned the area, occasionally jumping at the sounds the swamp made. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her to him, feeling her tremble. He whispered, "Shh. It will be all right, we'll get out of here."

Ann couldn't answer, she held onto Face and tried to pull herself back together. She couldn't remember feeling this scared. She could feel the warmth of Face's body holding her close, thankful he was with her. She thought that Duncon was going to kill him back in the shed and shivered as she remembered Duncon. The disgusting way he had tried to rape her would bring on nightmares, she was sure of it. She immediately realized that thinking like that would not help them, and looked around, it would be dark soon. Unsure of what to do, she looked at Face, he was sleeping, and his features were finally relaxed. She hated to wake him, he had been through so much. Wiping his hair off his face, she noted how pale he was, and decided to let him rest for a little while, Carefully she reached down to his waist and slowly slid out the knife he had managed to keep. She

wished he could have held onto the gun as well, but when he was hit in the shoulder, he had dropped it. She sighed, and thought to herself, ‘oh well, at least we have a weapon.' She held onto the knife tightly and kept her eyes open for any signs of danger. Forty minutes later Ann was startled by Face, he was beginning to thrash his head and she could hear desperate whispered words coming out. The only words she could hear clearly, were "Tia Het." She knew they were Vietnamese, but had no idea what they meant. She held onto his good shoulder shaking him slightly, becoming concerned when he didn't wake. "Face! Face wake up!"

Face opened his eyes and saw Ann looking at him, he looked around, confused of his surroundings. He let out a load groan as his memory came back. He rubbed his eyes and asked, "Why did you let me fall asleep? We have to keep moving."

Ann held his hand, "You needed the rest, I kept watch while you slept, I didn't hear a thing."

Face smiled at her, she was being so strong, not too many of his other girlfriends would have been able to handle this. He let her help him to his feet, before she could move away he pulled her to him. He lowered his mouth to hers, and kissed her. The kiss started out gently, and became more passionate. Face felt Ann stiffen and pull away from him, he saw the fear in her eyes. Immediately he knew she was thinking of Duncon, he held her by the hands, and whispered, "Ann, I'm sorry…."

Ann placed her finger over his lips, silencing him from apologizing anymore. She tried to hide her feelings, but hearing Face's whispered words, knew she was unsuccessful. Ann stepped back into the safety of his arms, holding onto him tightly. As she felt his arms wrap around her, she remembered that this was not Duncon, that this was the man who had protected her, and kept her safe. She looked up into his eyes, "What do we do?"

Face looked around, assessing the situation, it was now almost dark. "I think we should stay here, we're hidden in these trees, and we'll move at first light." He smiled at her reassuringly, "It can't be that far off to civilization." While he still could see a little, he cleared the area around the tree as best he could. It was a large mangrove tree, it's roots creating a small alcove. Face seemed satisfied with his work and led Ann to lie down between the roots. He saw her hesitate, "Go to sleep Ann, I'll be right here." Face smiled at her as she closed her eyes, the exhaustion finally claiming her. He rested his back against the tree, his shoulder was beginning to burn with pain. With his fingers he checked the bandage, grimacing as he felt the wetness of his own blood. He wondered if Hannibal and the others were looking for him. He knew Blake must have received that message, hopefully he called Hannibal. Some time had passed, he wasn't sure of how long, but he started to feel tired. He rose and walked over to the edge of the water, scooping up a handful, he washed his face. He continued to splash water over his bare torso, washing the grime and sweat away. Even in the night, it was still very hot and humid. He was continuing to splash water on himself, when he saw the alligator. Face only had enough time to move his arm away and stumble backwards, before the powerful jaws clamped shut. Face pulled the knife from his belt, fear crawling up his spine. He sagged in relief as he watched the creature swim away, apparently seeking easier prey. He ran his hand over his face, realizing he was shaking. He crawled over and sat beside Ann, who was still asleep. He lowered his head, and tried to remain calm, despite what he told Ann, he wasn't sure where the hell they were. How long it would take before they found help. Deciding that this line of thought would do no good, he eased back against the tree and kept a look out.He decided to take one thing at a time, just as he did everyday of his life.

Duncon was livid, they had searched the swamp until dark, and they had yet to find Ann or her husband. He needed that women to ensure that the next drop would go off. Now that the sun was up, he demanded his men to get the boats and continue the search. He had decided to go with Ernesto and Jeramy, sending Jimmy and Rico

 

off in their own boat. He smiled, they were a good one hundred miles from anything, they would come across them. Then he would have Ann, and put a bullet in the hero's head, after he watched him with Ann.

****

Hannibal, BA and Murdock broke camp at first light. They started off in a northerly direction, Hannibal crossing off the area of the swamp they already traveled. It was a few hours later, when Murdock heard the sound of an airboat.

"Hannibal, we have swamp rats at two o'clock."

Hannibal saw the boat in the distance, it was moving off in the other direction. He noticed the boat was traveling very fast, and it seemed the team was unnoticed. BA started to move in the direction the boat was headed, when Hannibal stopped him. "BA, that boat came from that direction, go up there and lets see what we can find."

Murdock looked at Hannibal, "Shouldn't we follow? They may be the ones holding Face."

Hannibal was staring at the boat, concentrating, "No, I have a hunch. They seem to be in an awful hurry, and if I'm right, the camp is in this direction."

BA didn't argue, he knew it was impossible to argue with one of Hannibal's hunches. He steered the boat where Hannibal pointed, moving slowly but quietly.

A few hours later, Murdock was peering into the woods with his binoculars. He suddenly lowered them as he thought he saw the sun reflect off metal. He held the binoculars back to his eyes, confirming what looked like a small tin shed, deep in the woods. "Hannibal! Over here, there's a shed."

As Hannibal heard Murdock whisper frantically, he looked through his own binoculars. "I see it! BA move this boat over to the shore. I want to check this out."

BA maneuvered the boat, tying the bow of the boat to the nearest tree. As Murdock reached for a rifle, he stopped him, "Maybe you should stay here."

Murdock looked at BA and then Hannibal, "Colonel, my leg is fine, I can do this."

Hannibal thought for a moment, leaving Murdock here would be wiser, but the man was searching for his best friend, to leave him would be cruel. "Okay Murdock, you sure you can do this?"

Murdock nodded, moving off into the deep woods, moving silently despite the throbbing in his leg. As they approached the shed, they could see a house sitting about thirty yards away. There was a walk leading to a dock on the other side. Murdock saw Hannibal move to the front of the shed, keeping his eyes on the house. No one seemed to be present, so Hannibal signaled BA and Murdock closer. Murdock noticed the door to the shed was slightly open, he watched as Hannibal checked inside. Finally giving BA and him the all clear signal. Murdock followed inside,and saw Hannibal kneeling on the ground. His eyes immediately zoomed in on the blood staining the dirt. As Murdock saw the blood, he paled, he was sure it was Face's.

 

 

 

BA walked around the small interior of the shed, bending down he picked up the remains of some rope. He examined it and found the small tear in the metal walls. Grinning he turned to Hannibal, "Look what I found." Holding the rope up so the others could see it.

Hannibal smiled, "Well it looks like Face was able to escape." His smile faded as he thought of the boat earlier, "They must be out looking for them, we'll have to find them first."

Murdock remained quiet, the thought of Face and Ann wandering through the swamp being hunted by a gang of ruthless men made him nauseous. He knew the blood on the floor was Face's, and now he was lost in this awful place alone, without the team. He also knew, no matter how bad Face was hurt, he would protect Ann.

Hannibal could read Murdock's mind, "We'll find them Murdock. Face will be all right."

Murdock could only whisper, "Hannibal, there's so much blood. Face is really hurt."

Hannibal sighed, Murdock was right, They needed to move fast. "Okay, lets check the house and then we'll move out back the way we came. Face will head south, back to where the marina is.

Thirty minutes later, they headed silently back to the boat, to start searching for Face. Hannibal marked on the map the location of the house, to tell Blake when this nightmare ended.

****

Face looked at the sun, they were definitely headed south, towards the marina, but from where he was it all seemed the same. An endless maze of trees and water, he had to force his legs forward. He was so tired after letting Ann rest all night and the loss of blood he was feeling dizzy. Ann for her part, never complained, just held his hand tightly and followed him silently. God he hoped he was headed in the right direction. He scratched absently, his bare torso was covered in insect bites as well as small cuts and abrasions. Suddenly the whole swamp seemed to spin around him, leaving him feel lightheaded.

Ann cried out as she watched Face collapse to the ground. " Shit Face!" She was immediately at his side, checking the wound. Dismayed she saw it was bleeding again, quickly she unwrapped the bandage. Ann grabbed the remains of the shirt and rinsed it out in the murky water, ringing it out as much as she could. She cleaned the wound as best she could, reapplying the bandage, she wished Face would wake up. She sighed in satisfaction, at least she had managed to stop the bleeding, Ann took off her own shirt wetting it, and gently ran it over his face, pleading with him to open his eyes. Finally after what seemed like eternity to Ann, she heard him groan, and watched his eyelids flutter open. With tears in her eyes, she continued to wipe his face, whispering, "Hey baby, you scared the hell out of me."

Face was momentarily confused, he remembered walking, that was all. He carefully sat up, feeling Ann's hands help him. His shoulder felt like it was on fire, the burning pain ran down his right arm,he tried to move it, and found he couldn't. He began to stand,his legs trembled with exhaustion.

Ann gently pushed him back against the tree, "Face you need to rest a moment." She gently continued to wash his face and neck with the wet shirt. Looking around, she muttered, "We need to find some fresh water to drink. Wait here, I'll be right back."

 

 

Face watched her leave, he was too tired to argue. He closed his eyes as the effects of a beating and blood loss took their toll. He didn't want to tell Ann how badly he was hurting.

Ann was wandering through the trees, trying to find a small stream or a natural spring, something where they would be able to drink the water. The swamp water was too brackish, she was about to give up when she found what she was looking for, a natural stream bubbling into the main body of swamp. Ann felt a moment of frustration as she tried to figure out how she was going to get some back to Face. She smiled as an idea struck her, taking off her hiking boot, she quickly filled it. ‘Well not exactly champagne from a slipper, but this will have to do.' Following her own trail of broken branches, she found Face asleep. Ann quietly sat beside him, carefully placing the boot to one side. She looked Face over he was a mess. Blood was caked on his side, and through the blood, she could see bruises covering his ribs and stomach. Ann gently examined his thigh, at least that didn't appear to be bleeding. She debated with herself to wake him, he really needed to drink. She looked around and decided they were safe for the moment, she would wake him and give him some water, then let him rest. Ann knew he had stayed up all night, looking over her as she slept, now she would return the favor. Running her hand through his hair, she whispered, "Face wake up, I found some water," Face opened his eyes and saw a blurry Ann smiling down at him. He slowly sat up, trying to hide his pain, he didn't want to alarm Ann. "Hey, I didn't mean to fall asleep on you."

Ann smiled, running her hand across his face, "You need the rest Face." She turned and proudly produced her boot, "Look I found some fresh water!"

Face tried to smile, it came out as a grimace, "Great."

Ann frowned, "Now don't look like that, these are brand new boots!" She knew he didn't care about drinking from the boot, it was his pain that caused the grimace, but she was trying to lighten the mood. She held the boot to his lips, making sure he drank. When the boot was empty, she asked, "Do you want some more? I can go get some."

Face shook his head, the water easing his scratchy throat. "I think we should keep going."

"No Face, you need to rest, we only have a few more hours of daylight left, we'll both rest and start fresh tomorrow. She saw Face about to argue, and covered his mouth with her hand. "Shut up and listen to me, we need to rest, we have fresh water near by and we are somewhat protected by the trees. So we are staying!" Face laughed, and immediately started coughing, when he managed to catch his breath, he croaked out, "Okay, okay, we'll stay."

Ann nodded, she didn't like the sound of his cough. She took off her shirt and rinsed it in the swamp near by. "Face lay down." As Face did as he was told, Ann wiped his body down, cleaning him as best she could. She noticed his torso was covered in bug bites and scratches as well as bruises. She moved down to his thigh, unwrapping the bandage to check the wound relieved that it was not bleeding. Saving the shoulder for last, as gently as she could, she removed the bandage. It was not bleeding as heavily as it was before, but dark red blood seeped from the opening. The skin around, turning bright red. She was worried, she gently wiped the area, and saw Face move his left hand to stop her. "Face I'm sorry, I have to." His only reply was a grunt, and his left hand reached onto a tree root, squeezing, his knuckles turning white. It was then, she noticed his right arm had hardly moved at all. Alarmed, she asked, "Face can't you move your arm?"

Face gritted his teeth at the added pain her ministrations were causing. He heard the question, but at the moment he was unable to answer. Fortunately, Ann didn't ask again, just finished quickly and wrapped the shoulder.

When she had finished, he could feel her lie down beside him, wrapping her arms around him. He let exhaustion claim him.

Ann knew the answer, he didn't have to answer. Trying to provide support, she whispered, "Rest Face."

****

BA steered the boat silently through the swamp. They moved slowly keeping their eyes open for Face and the men responsible for bringing them out here. He glanced at the sun sighing, another few hours until sundown. He was not looking forward to spending another night out here, but at least they had provisions. In his minds eye, he saw the dried blood in the dirt, he wondered who was hurt, Face or Ann? BA groaned, tonight would be the third night that Face had been out in this godforsaken swamp. Now he was being hunted like a wild animal, BA was certain that if the drug runners found him, they would kill him. They had to find him first, then BA would deal with the rest in his own way.

Hannibal chewed savagely on the end of his cigar, looking into the deep woods. He was beginning to feel as though they would never find them, they had been searching almost two full days. Frustration was setting in. Hannibal turned to Murdock and BA, "BA, stop the boat, if Face and Ann are on foot, they will be in the woods. We'll never find them if we stick to the water." As BA pulled onto the embankment, Hannibal jumped out, and with Murdock's help, pulled the boat onto dry land. Lighting his cigar, he ordered, "Let's hide this boat, then we'll head north, try and intercept Face." He was hesitant to continue, "One of them is hurt, they can't be moving very quickly." With an appraising look, he turned towards Murdock, "How is the leg? We may be hiking for awhile."

Murdock nodded, "It's fine Hannibal, not as tight as it was."

With a small shake of his head, Hannibal started gathering the supplies they would need. Without any more comments, the three men started off, each lost in his own thoughts.

****

Ann remained next to Face, watching him sleep. Occasionally she bathed his face with her wet shirt, concerned that he was running a fever. He had been asleep now for several hours, the sun was setting and soon it would be dark. She had decided to let him sleep, instead of moving on. They were hidden in a clump of trees, and she knew he needed the rest. Before it was totally dark, she decided he would need more fresh water. She was torn as to wake him, or let him sleep before she left for the water. Finally she decided to let him sleep and headed to the small fresh water stream.

Face woke as he heard the approaching sound of a boat engine, sitting up carefully he looked about for Ann. She was nowhere to be found, as the boat engine became louder, Face looked around the tree. In the distance he could see Duncon sitting at the bow of the boat with a pair of binoculars, two of his goons were also with him. Face ducked his head behind the tree, praying that they would move on. He heard rustling of leaves, and saw Ann hiding in the bushes. He motioned for her to stay down, a plan already forming in his mind. If the boat did not move on, he would lead them away from here if he had to. Fortunately, after what seemed like forever he heard the boat move off into the distance. He let out the breath he was holding and felt Ann move next to him, he could feel her trembling. He pulled her to him and held on, trying to figure out what they should do next. He felt they should move, but it was almost night and it would prove too dangerous if they moved on now. He pulled away from Ann and looked into her eyes, "You okay?"

Ann smiled, and nodded her head. She moved away from him and went back to the bushes, frowning she held up the empty boots, "Well these were full of water!"

Face smiled and held his hand out to her, "Shall we get some more?"

Ann laughed and grasped his hand, "We shall!"

Face followed her through the bushes to the small stream. When they arrived, he reveled in washing the grim off his body. They were enjoying themselves so much they were reluctant to leave, Face looked to the sky, "We better find a spot for the night, it's almost dark."

Ann sighed and followed him.

****

Murdock leaned against a tree, it was his turn on watch. Hannibal decided against a campfire, thinking it would attract too much attention. Fortunately there was a full moon out, and Murdock could see quite clearly. He tried not to think about Face and Ann out here on their own, it was scary enough for him and he had BA and Hannibal near by. He knew Face was hurt, knew it as soon as he saw the blood in the dirt. He closed his eyes and prayed that his friend was not hurt too badly. He gripped his rifle tighter, wishing the sun to come up so they could continue the search.

****

Face watched Ann sleep. He was fighting fatigue, but it was his turn to stand watch. His shoulder was throbbing and his right arm was tingling. He felt cold even in the warm air. He knew his shoulder was becoming infected, and the loss of blood he suffered was not helping. He thought a quick wash would wake him, standing he became very dizzy, he staggered over to the waters edge and splashed the water onto his face. He breathed in deeply trying to gain some strength. After a few moments, he began to feel a little better, he sat on the side of the water and waited for the sun to rise.

Ann woke, as the first rays of sun broke through the tress. She sat up and looked around for Face. She saw him sitting next to the water and went over to him. Sitting beside him, she ran her hand across his face and through his hair. She could feel the fever burning inside, sighing she laid her head against his shoulder, feeling his arm wrap around her waist. "I'm going to go and get some more water." Seeing Face about to rise, she gently placed her hands on his shoulders, "No. You stay here, I'll be right back." She smiled encouragingly, kissing him on the forehead and moved off in the direction of the small stream.

Face watched her go, when she had disappeared, he turned and began to splash water on his face and chest. He was in the middle of washing himself, when he heard the sound of a boat. He looked out on the water and saw the boat heading directly for him. Face could see Duncon standing on the bow of the boat, his rifle aimed at him. Face quickly crawled behind the tree, hearing and feeling the bullet kick up a clump of dirt by his feet. He quickly looked around, he only had a few seconds to try and figure out what to do. He saw Ann running through the trees and bushes towards him. He held up his hand to stop her, he knew what he had to do. So far, Duncon only spotted him, he had to lure them away from Ann. Face quickly moved away from the tree, out into the opening. He began to run in the opposite direction of Ann, hoping Duncon and his men would follow.

****

Hannibal was breaking camp, when he heard the faint sound of gunfire. He turned and tried to find the direction the sound had come from. Murdock and BA had grabbed their rifles and headed into the woods. Hannibal shouted, "No! We'll take the boat, it will be faster." He immediately started off in the other direction.

Murdock paused, in his heart he knew Hannibal was right, but all he could think of was moving towards the sound. As soon as he heard the gunshot, he knew Face was involved. He quickly followed BA and Hannibal towards the boat, praying that Face was okay.

****

Ann remained hidden, when Duncon and his men came ashore. She was filled with terror when she saw them jump from the boat and start to run in the direction that Face had disappeared. Tears ran down her face as she realized what Face was doing, he was leading them away from her. She tried to cry out, so they would leave Face alone, but she was paralyzed with fear. Her whole body shook as she tried to make a sound; soon the men were gone, following the trail Face had left for them.

****

Face stumbled through the trees, gasping, he tried to force his legs to move. He could hear Duncon behind him, they were closing the distance. Face tripped over a root, sending him crashing to the ground. He cried out as he landed, rolling over immediately, trying to get back to his feet. He was almost standing when he felt someone tackle him from behind. Fighting desperately, he tried to throw the men off him. Suddenly his feet were kicked out from under him and again, he crashed to the ground. He lay there stunned and dazed, when Duncon filled his vision. Face felt the fear gnaw at him, but he successfully hid it.

Duncon stared down at the man who caused him so much trouble over the last few days. He would enjoy killing this one, but he wouldn't rush it. He turned to Jimmy, "Get him on his feet." Jimmy and Rico immediately grabbed Face and hauled him to his feet. Duncon smiled, "Where is she?"

Dazed, Face could only look at Duncon. He knew he was going to die, so he decided to have a little fun. "Who?"

Duncon tried to hold his temper, taking a cigarette he slowly lit it.

When he heard Face mumble, "Those are bad for you, they are going to kill you." He became enraged, he stepped forward and grabbed a handful of Face's hair. Placing the cigarette close to Face's right eye, he whispered, "One more time, where is she?"

As Face struggled, he could feel Jimmy and Rico's grip tighten. The hand in his hair, held his head immobile. He met Duncon's glare with one of his own, he never thought he would die this way. He always envisioned he would die alongside of his teammates. Thinking of his friends brought a moment of sadness, if Ann didn't get out of this hell to tell them, they would never find out what happened to him. He thought of Murdock, he knew that his dying out here in this godforsaken place would push the pilot into the VA for the rest of his life. He heard Duncon whisper through clenched teeth, "Where is she" suddenly shook him to the present? All Face could think to do was spit in his face, so he did. Face knew he was pushing Duncon too far, but he figured he had nothing to lose. He closed his eyes tight as he saw the cigarette coming close to his face, he groaned as he felt it burn into his skin, very near his right eye. He tried to turn his head, but Duncon's grip only became tighter. Face blindly kicked out with his legs, hoping to catch someone. He opened his eyes when he heard

 

Duncon cry out in surprised pain. Face saw that he had managed to catch Duncon in the groin, a smile of satisfaction crossed his face.

Duncon doubled over, trying to catch his breath. He straightened, and saw the smile on his victim's face, he suddenly calmed, an idea forming in his mind. Turning towards Rico, he ordered, "Go back to the boat, get some rope." He took Rico's place holding Face and whispered menacingly, "I know the girl is close, lets see if she can sit by and hear your screams as you die slowly."

Face made no comment, he was also afraid that Ann would be drawn out in the open. While Rico was gone, he prayed that Ann would remain hidden. He held his breath waiting for Rico to return. Rico finally returned with the rope and Duncon ordered, "Tie him to that tree. Make sure he's bound tight."

Face felt himself being pushed towards the tree, feeling the rope across his chest and legs. His hands were pulled behind the tree and also bound together tightly. In his mind he began to recite a prayer that Father Maghill taught him many years ago, one he remembered saying in Nam. He watched as Duncon made sure the rope was secure, when he seemed satisfied he leaned in and whispered to Face, "Now let the games begin."

Duncon pulled his knife out and placed it against his victim's throat. He let the tip slowly travel down the length of his neck, occasionally drawing blood. He was surprised the man did not scream out, only letting small groans of pain cross his lips. His attention was drawn to the makeshift bandage covering his shoulder. Duncon quickly cut the bandage away, exposing the wound. Fascinated, Duncon placed the tip of the knife inside, twisting as he did so.

Face screamed out in pain, he tried not to but the pain was too intense. He bite down on the inside of his lip to prevent himself from crying out any more. Face could see the grayness that clouded his vision, he knew he was going to pass out soon. His head reeled when Duncon slapped him and screamed, "Wake up!"

Duncon removed the knife from the wound, he didn't want his victim to pass out quite yet. He still intended to have some fun, and so far the girl had not come out of her hiding place. Duncon looked at Jimmy and Rico, "Go find the girl." Duncon watched as the two men vanished into the thick growth. He turned his attention back to Face. "Now," he held the knife underneath Face's right eye. "Make her show herself."

Through teeth that were clenched, Face managed, "Go to hell."

Duncon slashed the blade, causing Face to cry out. Face opened his eyes, surprised that he still had both. He could feel the blood running down his cheek. He could see that Duncon was starting to lose control, with no sign of Ann, Face knew he didn't have much time. Duncon was losing his patience, he needed the woman to make sure the deal went down as planned. He wanted to find her and was tired of wasting his time trying to draw her out. He decided that he needed to finish with Face and move on to find her. He looked into Face's eyes he would enjoy this.

****

It seemed like an eternity to Murdock before BA shouted, "Hannibal! There's a boat in the trees." Murdock held his rifle tighter, he frantically searched the shore for signs of Face. As the boat bumped softly on the shore, Murdock and Hannibal were jumping from the bow and pulling it ashore.

.

Hannibal surveyed the area, there was no sign of anyone. He motioned his men to follow him into the woods.

 

Murdock stopped as he heard a slight muffle in the bushes. He pulled on Hannibal's coat and silently made their way closer to the noise. With weapons drawn, they were surprised to see Ann. Murdock immediately crouched beside her, what he saw in her eyes scared him. "Ann?" He cupped her face and turned it so she could look at him. He was shocked by what he saw, tears streamed down her face, and her eyes were vacant. He looked at Hannibal, "I think she's in shock."

Hannibal crouched down next to him, whispering, "Ann, where's Face."

At the mention of Face's name, Ann seemed to focus for the first time. "I'm sorry." She whispered.

At her words, Murdock felt his heart shatter. He barely heard Hannibal repeat his question.

Ann looked at Hannibal, "He led them away from me. I….I think he's dead."

Before Hannibal had a chance to reply they all heard a scream fill the air, causing the osprey in the water to take flight. Murdock immediately rose, he was stopped by Hannibal's arm on his shoulder.

"Murdock bring Ann." Murdock tried to protest, but all he saw were the backs of his friends as they ran towards the scream. As another heart wrenching scream filled the air, Murdock leaned down and grabbed Ann by the arm, "Come on! We have to hurry!" He didn't have time to sympathize with Ann's condition, he could hear the pain in his friends scream. All he could think about was that Face needed him, and he pulled Ann to her feet, dragging her with him.

As Hannibal and BA approached the clearing, they slowed and moved silently. Hannibal motioned BA to the right while he moved off to the left. From behind a tree Hannibal took in the scene, Face was tied to a tree with a knife sticking out of his shoulder. He could see the man twist the knife and move it downward, causing blood to pour down Face's chest. Hannibal could hear Face moaning and gasping for air. Hannibal silently aimed his rifle and fired one shot. He watched, as the man tormenting Face crumbled to the ground.

Murdock and Ann came crashing through the trees at the same time as Hannibal and BA emerged into the small clearing. Murdock paid no attention to the man lying on the ground as he went to Face. The knife was still sticking out of Face's shoulder, his head had fallen against his chest. For a heartbeat, Murdock thought his friend was dead. He approached on shaking legs, he whispered, "Face?" He received no answer. He reached out a trembling hand and felt for a pulse, and let out the breath he was holding as he felt his friends pulse beating weakly underneath his fingers. He saw Hannibal approach meeting Murdock's eyes with a question he was afraid to ask aloud.

Murdock smiled tremulously, and answered the silent question, "He's alive." Murdock focused his attention back to his friend, he placed his hands on each side of his head, lifting it. Face's eyes were closed, and Murdock began to talk to him, trying to wake him. "Face. Hey muchacho, wake up." He held his breath as he saw the blue eyes tremble open finally focusing on Murdock's brown ones. Murdock encouraged him, "Come on Face wake up, we're here now, it's over."

Hannibal stood beside Murdock he was examining the wound, and found he needed to remove the knife. He saw that BA was standing guard and hated like hell to do what he knew he had to. He met Murdock's eyes and mentally told him to brace Face.

 

 

Murdock winced at the thought of what Hannibal was about to do, he ran his hands through Face's hair lying his head against his shoulder. He held onto Face's head tight as he saw Hannibal grip the knife. He felt Face stiffen and heard the muffled cry of pain as Hannibal quickly pulled the knife out.

Hannibal grimaced as he pulled the knife, seeing that Murdock was holding Face, he immediately moved around the tree and began to cut the rope that bound his lieutenant.

Murdock caught Face, as the rope was cut away and Face slumped forward, gently lowering him to the ground. He could see blood was flowing down Face's chest, and he took off his shirt and pressed hard, trying to stop the bleeding. He closed his eyes momentarily as Face cried out and tried to push his hand away, he gripped the moving hand and whispered, "I'm sorry Face, I got to."

Face heard his friend's apology and tried to acknowledge it. He remembered Ann and tried to sit up, feeling Murdock's and Hannibal's hands pushing him back to the ground. He found his voice and managed to choke out, "Ann. She's…she's out there on her own."

Hearing Face's voice brought Ann back to reality, she moved over and sat on the ground next to him. She ran her hands across his face, crying, "I'm here Face. I'm so sorry.. I should have stopped them." She began to cry uncontrollably.

Face tried to reassure her, but he didn't have the strength. The pain in his shoulder was blinding, and the treetops were spinning. He closed his eyes and welcomed the darkness.

BA saw that Face had passed out and moved over and pulled Ann to her feet, encompassing her in his arms. He let her cry out her frustration, he knew how she felt.

Hannibal walked over to the man lying on the ground and felt for a pulse. He was surprised when he felt one, he sighed and began to tie the man up. They needed to get back to Miami, Face needed medical attention immediately. "BA grab this trash, we'll take him with us. I'll bring Face." He walked over to where Face lay, carefully he bent down and picked him up into his arms. He frowned worriedly as he felt the fever burning in Face. He followed BA who carelessly threw the man over his shoulder, holding his gun in the other hand. Murdock brought up the rear ushering Ann to go in front of him. It wasn't long before they found themselves at the boats. BA threw the unconscious man in the other boat and tied the two boats together. Hannibal gently laid Face down inside the boat and smiled as Murdock immediately crouched beside his friend. Hannibal surveyed the area quickly, turning to BA, "Let's get out of here. We'll let Blake clean up the rest of this mess." He helped Ann into the boat and gently sat her down, she still seemed to be in shock.

Murdock quickly grabbed the first aid kit and began to pull out bandages, replacing his blood soaked shirt. As the boat pulled away from the shore, Hannibal came over and knelt beside them. "How's he doing Captain?"

Murdock frowned, "He's burning up with fever, and I can't get the bleeding stopped."

Hannibal sighed and ran his hand across Face's cheek. He felt the heat emanating from Face, he reached for the canteen pouring fresh water onto some gauze, gently wiping the heated skin.

Face opened his eyes as he felt the cool water on his face. He saw two pairs of concerned eyes looking down at him. He opened his mouth to speak, however no sound came out, his throat was raw and scratchy.

 

 

Hannibal saw the abortive attempt and held Face's head as he brought the canteen to his lips. He let Face drink slowly, not allowing him to drink too much.

Murdock held the gauze with one hand and grasped Face's right hand with the other. He smiled when Face finished drinking, "Hey, you had us worried there Faceguy." He gripped the hand tighter as he saw Face focus on him, "But we're going home now, so just rest easy, we'll be there soon."

Face nodded and closed his eyes, he remembered how desperate he felt when he thought he would never see his friends again. He opened his eyes, his feverish thought betraying him, thinking this was all a dream he tried to sit up.

As Face sat up, Murdock exchanged a worried glance with Hannibal, gently restraining Face. "Easy Face, we're here."

Face tried to push against the hands holding him down, he felt a strong hand cup his face and cringed as he waited for Duncon's face to fill his vision. He was surprised to see Hannibal's warm blue eyes looking deeply into his own. He managed to find his voice, "Hannibal?"

"Yeah, kid. We're here, all of us."

Face turned and saw Murdock smiling down at him, "Murdock? You're real?"

Murdock smiled with tears in his eyes and gripped his hand, "Well Faceguy that's debatable." Leaning down so he could rest his cheek against his friends he continued, "We're real Face, just hang on."

Face shivered and closed his eyes mumbling, "It felt like Nam." Before he passed out.

That simple statement tore at Murdock's heart. He looked at Hannibal and knew he felt the same way. He shivered at the nightmare his friend endured, feeling a hand on his shoulder, he blinked back the tears that threatened to spill.

"He's going to okay, Murdock. We'll get him the help he needs." Hannibal saw Murdock blink away the tears and concentrate on making Face more comfortable. Hannibal rose and went over to Ann, wrapping his arm around her.

Ann looked at Hannibal, "He saved my life, led them away from me. I… I couldn't move, I tried to scream to stop them from getting Face, but I just stayed where I was hidden and let them hurt him."

Hannibal held her as she cried out her pain. When she had subsided a little, he turned her face to his, "Listen to me, Face knew what he was doing. He would have done the same thing for any of us. He's going to be okay, but seeing you so broken up isn't going to help him. I know you both been through hell the last few days, but now we have to concentrate on getting the help Face needs. He was worried about you and will need to be reassured that your okay, can you do that?"

Ann wiped her eyes, nodding.

Hannibal smiled, "Good." He let Ann go and rummaged through the bags pulling out the two-way radio and tried contacting Blake.

Murdock reached into the first aid kit taking out the remainder of the clean bandages, he carefully cleaned off the dried blood beneath Faces eye. He felt a burning rage build inside, thinking of what Face went through while tied to that tree. As he taped a small bandage under the eye, he saw Ann crawl over and sit on the other side of Face.

"Murdock, can I do something to help?"

Murdock handed her one of the canteens and his bloody shirt, "Try and clean off his chest." Looking at the blood soaked shirt, he continued, "Sorry, it' s all we have."

Ann nodded, pouring the water onto the shirt and proceeded to clean off as much dirt and blood as she could. Ann felt uncomfortable, she knew how close Face and Murdock were and she wondered if Murdock blamed her. Gathering her courage, she glanced at Murdock. "I'm sorry Murdock." She lowered her gaze when he looked up into her eyes.

"What for?"

Ann swallowed nervously, "I'm sorry, for not helping Face."

Murdock grasped her hand, feeling her tremble. "Face did the only thing he could. He wouldn't want you blaming yourself."

"Do you blame me?"

Murdock was startled by the question, yes he was angry, with Ann though? No. He was angry with the men who had tied him up and tortured him. He was angry that they could not find them any earlier, angry at how he imagined how afraid Face must have felt. Seeing Ann stare at him fearfully, he answered her question. "No Ann. I'm not angry with you. None of us are." He shook his head, " Face blamed himself when I got shot in the leg, I told him that it wasn't his fault. I got shot helping him out, he got hurt by helping you out. It's something people do when they love someone. So don't blame yourself."

Hannibal placed the radio down and went to BA showing him the map. "BA, Blake wants us to meet him at this inlet here, it's very deserted."

BA nodded, "Okay Hannibal, but it is going to take most of the day to reach it. We're pretty deep in this swamp."

Hannibal inhaled on his cigar, a worried frown on his face. "Do your best BA." He made his way over to where Murdock and Ann were working on Face. "How is he Murdock?"

Murdock shrugged his shoulders, "Okay so far, but I'm worried over his fever. He's burning up, and his shoulder won't stop bleeding."

Hannibal placed his hand on Face's cheek feeling the heat radiate from Face's skin. He could see Face was sweating profusely.

"Murdock sit him up, we need to get some water in him. Ann see if there is any antibiotic in the kit."

 

Murdock gently lifted Face, letting him rest against his chest, his hand still holding the bandage on his chest in place with one hand. With the other hand he held onto Face's head while Hannibal placed the canteen against his lips.

Hannibal poured some water into Face's mouth, discouraged as he saw most of it dribble down Face's chin. He brightened when he saw Face flutter his eyes, "Come on Face, we need you to drink." He tried again, stopping when he heard Face begin to choke. "That's it Face, a little more."

Face felt the water slide down his throat, easing the dry scratchy feeling. When Hannibal held the canteen to his lips again, he reached up, trying to get more of the delicious water. He felt Hannibal ease his hand away, hearing him say softly, "Easy Face, a little at a time."

Face opened his eyes seeing that he was leaning against Murdock, with Ann and Hannibal sitting next to him. Behind them stood BA steering the boat, giving him a huge warm smile. He tried to return it, closing his eyes as exhaustion claimed him. Murdock saw that Face had once again passed out, he gently laid him down and turned to Hannibal. "Did you get a hold of Blake?"

"Yeah, he's going to meet us at a more private cove." He answered the next question before Murdock could ask it. "He's bringing us some transportation and knows of a clinic that we can take Face to. It's fairly discreet, we shouldn't have any problems."

Murdock nodded, looking down at Face. "How much longer?"

"It will take us most the day Murdock. We're in here pretty deep."

Murdock grimaced, but made no comment. The sooner they had Face in to see a doctor, the better he would feel. He looked back at the boat they were towing, thinking if they cut it away they would make better time. But that man was still alive, and Murdock knew that Hannibal wouldn't leave him tied up and floating out here, no matter what the bastard had done.

****

Blake paced the length of the pier, every so often looking through his binoculars to see if any boats were approaching. He went over the conversation with Hannibal in his mind, he could barely hear Hannibal, and it was all they could do to set up a rendezvous point. He knew that Hannibal had asked for a doctor, but he didn't know who was hurt. Finally in the distance he heard a boat engine, looking through the binoculars, he smiled as he saw the huge bulk of BA steering the boat. Running to the end of the pier, he held his breath as the boat finally approached. When he saw Ann, he let his breath go, and a huge smile covered his face. He reached for the rope Hannibal threw him and quickly tied the boat to the pier, it was then he noticed the second boat behind them. Ann jumped out of the boat and into her father's arms, she began to cry as the realization that she was safe finally hit her. "I was so scared daddy!"

Blake ran his hands over her face and through her hair, his eyes checking for any injuries. "Did they hurt you?" He was afraid of the answer he might receive, but he had to ask.

Ann knew what he meant, "No dad, Face stopped them."

It was then Blake saw BA lift Face from the boat. "My God! Is he okay?"

Murdock stepped off the boat following BA, "No! The trash that did this is in the other boat." He ran over to the van that Blake had provided and opened the door for BA.

Hannibal handed Blake the map, "I've marked the hideout, there should be a few more there." Pointing over his shoulder, he continued, "That one there needs a doctor."

Blake nodded, pulling his radio out to call for back up. "Here's the keys, the clinic is only a half hour away, I left a map with instructions in the car. The doctor is an old friend, tell him that I sent you, I'll call him from the car to let him know you're on your way."

Hannibal nodded and headed for the van, pausing as he felt Blake's hand on his arm. "Thank you. Call me and let me know how Face is." Hannibal nodded and jumped into the van, crawling in the back next to Face and Murdock.

****

Dr. Synder waited by the door to his clinic. He went over the conversation he had with his old friend Blake, he was expecting a patient any second. He remembered Blake informing him it was the A-team, taking precautions, he had closed early and sent everyone home for the evening. Blake trusted these men, and Blake was a dear friend, so he decided he would do all he could for them. He walked into the small examining room, checking to make sure he had everything he could think of. Blake hadn't specified what type of injury he would be tending, but had told him they had been out in the swamp for days. He heard someone pound on the door, he turned and ran over, pushing the curtain aside. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw a huge black man standing there growling at him. Quickly, he opened the door and saw an older man carrying someone, and another taller man nervously hovering. He shouted, "In here!" and led them to the examining room, "Lay him down."

Hannibal carefully laid Face down, grabbing Murdock and stepping back so the doctor could examine Face. He watched as the doctor immediately began to cut the makeshift bandage off Face's shoulder. Hannibal felt a mixture of emotions, relief that they had managed to get Face to a doctor and a burning anger as he remembered how he found Face, tied to a tree.

The doctor looked up and saw three sets of eyes boring into him he swallowed nervously. "Gentlemen, please if you could wait outside, I'll let you know what I find when I'm done." He waited, as the three men didn't move, for a moment he didn't think they were going to leave.

Hannibal eyed the doctor, "Okay doc, we'll wait outside." He watched as the doctor sighed in relief, and Hannibal knew that their presence was making him nervous. Hannibal ushered BA and Murdock out the door pausing, he turned back to the doctor, "If you need assistance, I've been in Nam and know a little about nursing."

The doctor nodded, "If I need you I'll let you know." He watched as Hannibal nodded and closed the door quietly behind him. The doctor sighed and went to work.

****

Murdock paced the small waiting room, the doctor had been in there for over an hour. He went over to the small kitchen adjoining the waiting room and poured himself a cup of coffee. Staring into his cup, his mind went back to the awful moment when he and Ann had found Face. Some of the coffee spilled as his hands began to shake, no matter how hard he tried, he could still hear Face cry out in pain. For one horrifying moment Murdock

thought Face was dead. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard the door open and close. He hurried into the waiting room and looked anxiously at the doctor.

The doctor cleared his throat before beginning, "Gentlemen, there is good news and some bad. The good news is I've removed the bullet. It was lodged underneath the clavicle bone, and he suffered minor damage to the pectoral muscle. He is lucky though, if the bullet had been any lower it would have hit the lung. He has two broken ribs, and severe bruising in the abdomen area. His kidneys, liver and lungs all appear to be functioning properly. We need to keep an eye on the fever, it is dangerously high, almost to 105. I've given him a large dose of antibiotic, and pain reliever. If the fever gets any higher, he could begin to convulse, or his body functions could go into total collapse."

Hannibal ran his hand over his face, looking at Murdock and BA, he could see the fear in their eyes. "What can we do doc?"

"I need ice, we have to cool his body down, and monitor him constantly. It would be better to take him to a major hospital though, if he does go into system arrest, I don't have the necessary equipment to help him."

Murdock looked at Hannibal, he knew they didn't have a choice. If they took Face to a major hospital, it wouldn't be long before they figured out who they were. He tried to make the decision easier for their leader,

"Hannibal should I get ice?"

Hannibal nodded, "BA go with him, doc what can I do?"

The doctor turned and headed back to the examining room, "Help me prepare the patient." By the bed, he listened to Face's breathing, satisfied he looked at Hannibal who stood by the bed staring down on the patient. He could see the worry in the other's eyes, "I haven't introduced myself, I'm Luke Synder. I've been friends with Blake since childhood, so you and your men are safe here."

Hannibal met his eyes, "Thank you, I'm Hannibal Smith, this is Templeton Peck, but we call him Face." Hannibal sat down and took hold of Face's hand, before continuing, "The big guy is BA, and the other is Murdock." He looked up at the doctor, "I really appreciate the help you have given us."

Sam began to pull the covers down, "Like I said Hannibal, you're safe here. I am more than happy to help you, now please get some towels, you'll find them in the cabinet over there."

Hannibal did as he was told, coming back to the bed with a handful of towels. He carefully sat Face up so the doctor could place the towels underneath Face. Once the towels were on the bed, Hannibal heard BA and Murdock arrive, he shouted, "In here!"

Murdock came into the room, "We got the ice doc! What now?"

Sam took the ice from Murdock, he noticed that the man limped slightly when he came in the room. Placing that in the back of his mind, he turned back to the more pressing matter. He placed handfuls of ice into plastic bags, and began to place the bags around Face.

Murdock sat in the chair beside the bed, taking Face's hand, watching as the doctor placed ice all over Face. He rested his hand on Face's cheek, discouraged when he felt the heat radiating from him. Still holding onto Face's hand, Murdock brushed the hair away from Face's forehead with the other. Murdock smiled as Face turned his

face into Murdock's palm, he leaned down and whispered, "That's right Face, we're here. You just rest easy now. You'll be well soon."

Sam placed the thermometer in Face's ear, waiting for the digital readout to inform him what Face's current temperature is. As the device made a beeping sound, Sam pulled it out sighing in frustration as he saw Face's temperature was still at 105.3. "His fever is still very high, in four hours I need to give him some more antibiotic. In the meantime, I need to find an excuse to tell my partners as to why we're not going to be open for a few days."

Hannibal saw Murdock with Face and motioned BA to follow him and the doctor out of the room. He whispered to BA, "Go and find Blake, tell him what's going on. Find us a hideaway, I want to move Face as soon as he is able."

BA nodded solemnly, "Okay Hannibal, I'll be back soon." He turned away, and with a longing glance back into the examining room, he quickly moved out the door.

Hannibal watched him go, then he went to find the doctor, he wanted to make sure that the doctor was calling his partners and not the military. Long years of being on the run, made him extra cautious.

Murdock sat beside Face, occasionally running a cool damp cloth over his face and neck. He noticed Face shivering and pulled the covers over him carefully, so he wouldn't disturb the ice. He noticed that Face was beginning to murmur incoherently and was beginning to struggle with the blanket. Murdock grasped Face's hands, whispering soothingly to him, "Shh, Face. It's okay, take it easy." He saw that his whispered words were having no affect, he turned and shouted for Hannibal. Carefully he tried to restrain Face, concerned that Face would injure himself. He felt a moment's relief when he saw the doctor and Hannibal running into the room. Murdock held onto Face's hands as Hannibal gently pushed his shoulders back to the bed. From the incoherent words, Murdock knew that Face's mind took him back to that swamp. He could hear broken words float through, "Off….. Get off me! No!" Murdock frantically tried to wake him, he shouted, "Face! Wake up! It's okay." But stubbornly Face would not wake up. He only struggled more and Murdock and Hannibal had a hard time restraining him. thankfully Face suddenly slumped back onto the bed, giving a hiccuped sigh as the sedative the doctor just administered took affect. Murdock looked up at Hannibal with tears in his eyes, it hurt

him to see Face so sick and tormented.

Hannibal patted Murdock on the shoulder, trying to be reassuring. He was also worried, if they only could have found them sooner, he could have prevented the wound from getting infected. He shook his head, no sense going down that road, this was the situation they were in, and he would have to find a way out of it.

Face woke up to find himself lying comfortably in a bed. As he focused his eyes, he saw Hannibal sleeping in a chair by the bed. He turned his head and saw Murdock staring down at him. He tried to find his voice, "Hey." He stopped his throat raw and scratchy. He blinked and saw Murdock reaching for the water on the table beside his bed. He felt Murdock gently lift his head and drank from the glass,as Murdock held it to his lips. The water eased his throat, and he was able to whisper, "Murdock, you guys found us?" He suddenly became scared, as he didn't see Ann anywhere. He tried to sit up and felt Murdock's hands on his shoulders, he looked into his friends eyes. "Murdock…" He swallowed and continued, "Where's Ann?"

Murdock smiled reassuringly, "She's safe, Face. We dropped her off with Blake." He could see the confusion in Face's eyes and continued, "Don't worry, we got the bad guys and everything will be okay. You need to stop worrying and concentrate on getting well."

Face tried to comprehend what his friend was saying, "Ann's okay?"

He saw Murdock smile and shake his head yes. He swallowed, his throat still raw, he looked at the water and was happy to see Murdock take the hint, holding the glass so he could drink. His mind seemed suddenly at ease as he saw Hannibal wake and sit on the side of his bed, and saw BA standing in the doorway, a huge smile on his face. He felt a tickling in his ear and brushed Murdock's hand with his own as he tried to make the sensation go away. He heard Murdock's chuckle, "Now Face, stop that! We need to take you're temperature." Suddenly he was looking into his friend's dark eyes as Murdock said, "We can either do this, the easy way or…" he wiggled his eyebrows, "The hard way! If you don't behave I'm going to ask you to roll over and drop them!" Face cringed at the mere thought and kept still as Murdock finished taking his temperature.

Murdock read the thermometer and smiled, looking at Hannibal. "It's down to 103 colonel!"

Hannibal grinned, rising from the bed and patting Face's leg, "Listen to what Murdock tells you, I'm going to tell the doc. I think it's time for another dose of antibiotic!" He saw that Face was losing the battle of awareness and saw his eyes droop. He looked at Murdock and could see the pure joy in his eyes, and thought that his eyes must reflect the same emotion. He walked past BA placing a hand on the big guy's shoulder leading him out of the room. "Did you talk with Blake?"

"Yeah, everything's okay, Ann went to a local doctor and got checked out. She's going to be okay, she's worried about Face and wants to see him." BA watched Hannibal nod, "I postponed the visit until Face mends, it would be better for her state of mind to see him healing."

Hannibal smiled, it would be better for Face's as well. "Did you manage to find us a place to rest for awhile?"

"Yeah, Blake has a house down in Marathon Key, he said only he and Ann know about it. He said we could stay there as long as we need to."

Hannibal pulled out a cigar and clamped down on it, "Great! That will be a perfect spot for all of us to rest and enjoy ourselves!" He paused before continuing, "Maybe I'll call Maggie and invite her down." He saw BA roll his eyes and defended himself, "Hey, Face will need medical attention!"

BA snickered, "Yeah right." He followed his commander outside, both too wired up to go back to sleep. He sat beside Hannibal not even minding the cigar smoke, and watched the morning sunrise.

****

Several days later, they had moved down to Blake's house in Marathon Key. Face was finally allowed out of bed, and the first place he was headed was for the shower. He savored the warm water running down his aching body. Ann was coming over shortly and he was starting to feel better, the antibiotics he was taking had successfully cleared the infection. He was still sore and tired easily but he was definitely feeling better. Getting out of the shower, he threw on some shorts and headed into the living room, hearing Ann laugh at a joke Murdock was telling her. He walked over to her enjoying the sound of her laugh. He sat next to her and kissed her lightly on the lips.

Ann returned the kiss and looked Face over approvingly, he definitely looked better than the last time she had seen him. She looked at Murdock and winked before turning back to Face, "Honey, Murdock and I made arrangements for a captain to go deep sea fishing! We can go as soon as you're ready!"

Face's mind tried to come up with any reason as to why he shouldn't go, all he wanted to do was relax by the water alone with Ann. He couldn't say he wasn't up to it, otherwise his teammates would drag his butt back to bed, his mind worked frantically for a reason as to why he couldn't go.

Murdock took pity on his friend, and finally broke down laughing. He slapped Face on the knee, "Jeez Face, do you really think we would drag you off to go deep sea fishing!" He got off the couch and wondered into the kitchen, still chuckling to himself. He looked out the window, watching Hannibal and Maggie sunbathing, BA was teaching some kids play baseball. Putting his hat on, he decided to go out and put his two cents in.

Face pulled Ann closer, looking in her eyes he asked, "How are you doing?"

Ann smiled and ran her hands across his face, "Now that I'm here with you, great!" She pulled him down on top of her, kissing him passionately.

As Face was pulled down, he returned her kiss thinking to himself, 'now this is how I wanted to spend my vacation.'

END

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Redemption by Liz