Face stared out the small window, watching the children playing on the playground. He turned to Father Maghill, "How long has she been like this?"
Father Maghill sighed, "I'm not sure. When I went to see her last week, it was obvious she had been using drugs."
Face shook his head in dismay, "Why?"
Maghill rose from his chair, walking over to Templeton and resting his hand on his shoulder. He squeezed, "I don't know son. I was hoping you could help her."
Face turned and looked at him questioningly, "Me? Father, I'm the last person she wants to see again."
Maghill looked into Templeton's eyes; "At one time you two were very close. What makes you think she won't want to see you again?"
Face met the priest's eyes for a moment, before looking away. He whispered, "Father that was a very long time ago."
Maghill nodded, and reached out to gently grasp Face's chin. He forced the young man to meet his eyes. "Are you saying that you can't help? One must make there own decisions Templeton, all I'm asking is that you go and see her."
Under the Father's stare, Face nodded. "Where does she live?"
Maghill smiled, and walked to his desk. He wrote down the address, and handed it to Face.
Face took the piece of paper and carefully placed it into his wallet. He looked up to find the Father on the verge of tears. He tentatively stepped closer, reaching for the Father's hand. "Father?"
"I'm sorry son." Maghill whispered. His voice cracked as he continued. "It is very hard when you see one of your children suffering."
Face whispered, "I'll try Father."
Maghill squeezed Face's hand. "I know you will." He pulled Face close, holding him tight. "I pray for you everyday, my child."
Face closed his eyes, returning the tight embrace. He whispered, "Thank you Father."
Face accelerated as he drove onto the highway. He glanced at the address and sighed, not one of LA's more prestigious neighborhoods. He wondered how Beth could have ended up in such a desperate situation. Granted he hadn't seen her in several years, but she was always filled with happiness and full of life. His mind drifted back to six years ago.
Face walked out of his bedroom, he smiled, as he smelled the aroma of coffee brewing. He pushed open the kitchen door and saw Beth standing with her back towards him at the counter. His smile broadened as he saw her wearing his shirt. Face quietly walked up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist.
Beth jumped; spilling her coffee. She laughed and playfully pulled out of his embrace. "Tem! You scared me!"
Face laughed and stepped closer, trapping her against the counter. He grinned evilly at her, carefully taking her coffee and placing it on the counter. He held her close, "I'm sorry!" Before she had a chance to reply, he leaned close and kissed her.
Beth returned the kiss, running her hands through his hair. She was breathless when he finally pulled away. She smiled warmly at him, "That was a hell of a good morning!"
Face smiled, looking deep into her eyes. "Move in with me Beth. I want you with me." He saw the surprise in her eyes at his sudden words. He didn't blame her, she knew of his reputation. He gently stroked her hair, speaking softly. "I didn't mean to shock you. It's just that I want you to be a part of my life." He still saw the shock, and the doubt. Deciding he had to be totally honest, he held her face and continued. "It's totally selfish of me, but I don't have to pretend with you. You take me as I am." He took a deep breath, and whispered. "I love you Beth."
Hearing these words, Beth began to cry. She had loved Templeton Peck for several years, ever since she had met him at the orphanage. He was on the run, and she never dreamed of having a relationship with him. Now all her dreams were coming true.
Face wiped her cheeks, concerned he had revealed too much. In a hesitant voice, he asked. "What's the matter?"
Beth smiled shakily reaching her hands up she cupped his face. "Nothing is wrong. I love you too, Tem." She pulled his face closer, kissing him passionately.
When Face could breath again, he asked. "Is that a yes?"
Beth laughed, "A definite yes!"
Face pulled off the highway; they had spent six months living in bliss. He had never been happier in his entire life. With a moan, he remembered how it ended.
Hannibal helped Face into his apartment. Face moaned in pain as Hannibal eased him into his bedroom.
"Easy Face. Just lie down and relax." Hannibal slipped off his shoes and covered him with the blanket. He turned as he heard the outer door closing. He heard Beth's voice from the living room. "Tem?"
Hannibal walked out to meet her, closing the bedroom door. "Hi Beth."
Beth eyed Hannibal warily, "Where's Tem?"
Hannibal glanced at the closed door, before turning to face Beth. "He's asleep."
A cold knot of fear crept up Beth's spine, "What happened?"
"He's okay. Just a slight bullet graze to the side." He saw Beth pale and continued hurriedly. "The doc says he'll be fine. He was lucky, the bullet only grazed him."
Beth focused on Hannibal's words; 'he was lucky.' How long could the luck hold? She fought her trembling, finding her voice. "I want to see him."
"Sure, he's asleep right now though, he should wake in a few hours." Hannibal grabbed his coat, and headed for the door. He turned back and continued, "If the pain gets to be too much, there's some pain pills on the night stand." He smiled, opening the door. "Tell him I'll stop by in the morning."
Beth quietly walked in the bedroom, pausing as she saw Face asleep. Her heart was breaking as she watched him. She knew what she had to do; she couldn't live like this any longer. She walked into the closet and started packing.
Face woke, realizing he was back in his room. He sat up in bed, wincing at the sudden pain. He heard someone in the closet, smiling as he realized it must be Beth. He called out, "Beth! Hon, that you?" He was surprised to see her emerge from the closet carrying her suitcase. He met her eyes, "What's up?"
Beth stated firmly. "I can't live like this anymore." Seeing the confusion in his eyes, she explained. "I can't live with the worry that you won't come home."
Face sat up, leaning against the headboard. "It's what I do Beth. You knew that when you moved in with me."
Beth nodded, wiping her tears. She crossed the room and sat beside him on the bed. "Yes I did know it. I thought I could live with it, but I can't." She reached for his hand; "I'm sorry Tem. I do love you, but I'm so tired of the fear." She rose from the bed, walking towards the door. She paused, not able to look back, she whispered. "I'll always love you." She ran from the room, not able to suppress her tears any longer.
@@@ Face shook himself from his reverie that had been over six years ago. He had heard through Father Maghill, she had gotten married. He had hoped she was happy, it appeared now she wasn't. He turned onto Martin road, finding her house on the left. He climbed slowly out of his car, glancing around nervously. It was a rough neighborhood, and he eyed some kids standing on the street corner. They appeared real anxious to see his vett; he made a great show of pulling out his colt 45. He smiled as he saw they got the hint. He grimaced in disgust, wondering if they were drug dealers. He looked around it was depressing. He walked towards the front door, hoping that Beth would be happy to see him. He rang the bell, waiting patiently for someone to answer. The door cracked slightly, he smiled as he saw Beth peering at him. "Beth?"
Beth opened the door wide; the last person she expected to see was Tempelton Peck. "Tem?" He smiled at her and she threw herself into his arms. Beth closed her eyes and savored the feel of his arms wrapping around her. She held onto him tightly for a moment, before stepping back. She looked into his eyes, and asked. "Tem, what are you doing here?"
"Do I need a reason to see you?" Face smiled, and reached out to caress her cheek. He continued softly, "At one time, we were very close."
Beth leaned into his hand for a moment, before suddenly pulling away. She avoided his eyes, "That was a very long time ago."
Face's hand fell to his side, he asked. "Can I come in for a few minutes?" Beth eyed him warily, and Face continued. "I just want to talk."
Beth nodded, opening the door wider. She led Face into her small living room and motioned for Face to take a seat. She sat in the chair beside him, and waited for him to start speaking.
Face ran his hands nervously through his hair, not knowing how to start. Finally he looked up, "Father Maghill asked me to stop by." Beth stiffened in her chair, Face continued quickly. "He told me that he thought you were having a problem." He added more softly, "A drug problem."
Beth rose abruptly; "I don't know what you're talking about." She crossed her arms across her chest, glaring at him defiantly.
Face rose from his chair, gently taking her hand and stretching her arm. He saw the bruises from the needles, raising an eyebrow in question.
Beth jerked her arm away, turning her back. She felt Tem's hands rest on her shoulders, and his soft voice ask. "Why Beth?" The tears slid silently down her face, hating that Tem had seen her like this.
Face held her, feeling her sobbing softly. He closed his eyes in pain, not understanding why she would do this to herself. After a few moments, the sobs eased. He turned her to face him, again asking. "Why Beth."
Beth took a deep breath, trying to compose herself. Her voice shook as she tried to answer him. "You wouldn't understand."
Face whispered, "Try me." He led her back to the chair, sitting beside her. He held her hand, encouraging her to talk to him. "Please Beth. I want to help you."
Beth met his eyes, and nearly wept at the concern evident in their blue depths. Taking a shuddering breath, she tried to explain. "After we broke up, I met a man, Dusty. We went out a few times, and I ended up pregnant." She met Face's eyes; "I was trying to get over you Tem. I had to." Face simply nodded, and squeezed her hand. She looked away, continuing softly. "We got married. After two months, I..I lost the baby." She began to cry again, unable to control herself.
Face was momentarily shocked, although he tried to hide it. Hearing her sob, broke his heart. He leaned close, holding her tightly. Several minutes later, Beth pulled away, wiping her eyes.
"After I lost the baby, I found out that Dusty was a dealer." She met Face's eyes; "I had nothing to live for. I lost you and the baby."
Face moved to the floor, kneeling in front of her. He cupped her face in his hands, "Beth, I can help you. Come home with me, together we can beat this." Beth stared into his eyes, almost believing his words. Suddenly she heard a car door slam from the front yard. She jerked her head, panic filling her eyes. She gripped Face's hand; "You must get out of here!"
Face shook his head, "No, I'm not leaving you here."
Beth pleaded, "Please! You have to leave now!" Her panic increased as she saw the determined look in Face's eyes. She glanced towards the front door, knowing Dusty would walk in at any second. "Okay, look come back tomorrow. We'll talk then."
Face hesitated, not liking the idea of leaving her. He also realized that he couldn't push her into this, she had to be willing to make the first step. He sighed, rising to his feet. "Okay. I'll come back tomorrow." He turned to leave and saw the front door open.
Dusty stared at the scene in front of him. Beth came running to him, hugging him nervously. She anxiously introduced the two men. "Dusty, this is Templeton Peck, an old friend." Dusty eyed the man standing in front of him, knowing the past relationship he had with his wife.
Face met Dusty's penetrating glare, with one of his own. He hated this man who was destroying Beth. For a tense moment, he thought they would come to blows. Beth nervously spoke, "I'm glad you could stop by Tem. Take care." Face glanced at Beth, seeing her eyes plead with him to leave. He nodded, "Take care, Beth." Pushing past Dusty, he left the small house. Before he got into his car, he glanced back at the house. He hated leaving Beth, he also realized she wouldn't talk with Dusty there. He climbed into the vett, determined to come back in the morning.
"So you haven't heard from Face today?" Hannibal asked.
"No Hannibal, I haven't talked to him since Tuesday." BA answered. He swore he could here the anger through the phone lines. He tried to ease his colonel's worry, "I'm sure he had a date, or something. Hey did you ask the fool?"
"No, I haven't talked with Murdock yet today. I'll give him a call next." Hannibal replied, trying to cool his anger. He was tired of Face constantly calling in late. Hannibal had lost count of how many times he had worked himself into a panic; to find out Face was on a date. He was getting sick of it. "Thanks BA, and if there's anything to worry about, I'll give you a call." After hanging up the phone with BA, he tried Face again. Frustration filled him, as he heard the line ring constantly. He slammed the phone down, fear welling up inside.
Face heard the phone ringing from the hallway. He hurriedly unlocked the door and pushed his way inside. He picked up the phone and spoke breathlessly. "Hello." He winced and glanced at his watch, hearing Hannibal' s sharp voice. "Lieutenant! Where the hell have you been?" He tried to explain, "Hann..."
Hannibal interrupted him by shouting, "I don't want to hear it!" he tried to calm down, stating in a very cold tone. "We have a job tomorrow. You will be at the warehouse at ten. Understand?"
Face groaned, "Hannibal, I have to take care of something tomorrow."
Hannibal lost his control, shouting. "Goddammit Face! You are a part of this team! I am getting sick and tired of the missed calls, and the constant excuses! Be there at ten!"
The phone suddenly was slammed down, and Face was listening to dial tone. He placed the phone back onto its cradle. "Shit!" He stormed into his bedroom, trying to calm down. After several minutes, he picked up the phone, dialing Father Maghill.
Face woke early the next morning, knowing he had a lot to do before he met Hannibal at ten. The first of which was to get Beth to come home with him. He had to get her out of that house. He drove towards her house, a little anxious about the confrontation. He prayed she would let him help her. He tried to put a handle on his feelings, telling himself he just wanted to help an old friend. Even as he thought this, he knew he was lying to himself, old feelings resurfaced as soon as he saw her. He scowled, admonishing himself. These feelings had to be buried; she was married after all. Granted, her marriage was a disaster, but he wasn't sure if she loved her husband. Until he knew for sure, he couldn't delve too deep into his own feelings.
He pulled into her driveway, noticing Dusty's car parked in the carport. Climbing out of the vett, he checked to make sure his colt was loaded. He knew Dusty would not let Beth go easily. He walked up the sidewalk, seeing Beth open the front door and step onto the porch.
Beth closed the door, not wanting Dusty to wake and find her with Tem again. She turned to face him, "What are you doing here?"
Face immediately saw her black eye, his jaw clenching in anger. Reaching out his hand, he tenderly touched her face. "What happened? Did he do this?"
Beth pulled away, "No, I...I fell."
Face whispered, "Don't lie to me." He saw her eyes fill with tears, and the fearful way she kept glancing inside the house. He stepped closer, "Beth. I can help you. Please let me." The tears flowed down her face, and she was trembling. Face pulled her towards him, wrapping his arms tightly around her. He felt how thin she was, his heart breaking. He whispered huskily, "Do you want to stay here? Live this kind of life?" He barley heard her choked reply, "No!" He closed his eyes in relief, whispering urgently, "Please come home with me."
Beth nodded, and pulled away from him. She met his eyes, "Not now. Come back later after Dusty leaves."
Face shook his head, "No. I'm taking you away now!"
Beth glanced back towards the house, her fear growing. "You don't understand! He's very violent."
Face touched her face again, "That's why we're leaving now. I'm not giving him another chance at you." He saw the terror in her eyes, anger filling him at the man inside. He smiled, trying to ease her fear. "Come on, pack your things. I'll go with you."
Beth clutched his hand, "Tem, please!"
Face opened the door, ushering her inside. "Now Beth." He followed her into the bedroom, noticing Dusty asleep in the bed. Beth was trembling in fear as she hurried into her closet. Dusty stirred, "What the hell?" Face pulled his gun, aiming it the man's chest. "Don't move asshole." He smiled as he saw the confusion fade, replaced with anger. Face spoke coldly; "Beth is leaving with me. So you just relax and we'll be out of here in a few minutes." He glanced back at the closet as Beth emerged carrying a small suitcase. She ran into the bathroom and Face leaned closer. "I ought to kill you for hurting her." He pulled back the hammer to his gun, the soft clicking sound ominous in the small room. The hatred in Dusty's eyes was matched in Face's.
Beth gathered her belongings in the bathroom, pausing as she saw the small baggie containing heroin. Her hand reached for the bag, pausing, she bit her lip glancing back towards the bedroom. The eerie quiet made her nervous, she quickly grabbed the drug and shoved it into her pocket. Beth opened the door and stepped into the bedroom. She gasped as she saw Tem holding a gun to Dusty, both men staring at one another. She stood behind Tem, touching him gently on the arm. "I'm ready."
Dusty saw Peck turn slightly; he climbed from the bed, shouting in rage. "You are not leaving here!
Face quickly grabbed him by the throat, thrusting his gun under his chin. He spoke through gritted teeth. "You son of a bitch! She is leaving with me and you can't do a damn thing about it."
Dusty met Peck's eyes; "Maybe not now, but I will get her back!"
Beth thought Tem was going to shoot him, she pulled on his arm, begging. "Please Tem! Let's just leave!"
For a brief moment, Face wanted to pull the trigger. He felt Beth pulling on his arm, and reluctantly moved away. Beth had gathered her bags, and waited for him by the door. He glanced back at Dusty, "If you come near her again, I will kill you." He kept his gun aimed on him, as he slowly walked out of the house. Climbing into his car, he noticed Beth trembling. He gunned the engine, the tires squealing as he left the driveway.
Face unlocked the door to his apartment, helping Beth with her bags. Neither had talked on the drive, Face not really sure what he was supposed to do next. He led her into his apartment; "Well this is it." He tried to smile cheerfully, "What do you think?"
Beth was trembling, not of fear, but of withdrawal. "It's very nice, Tem." She looked around, noticing the one bedroom. "Where will I sleep?"
Face smiled, "You can have my bedroom. I'll sleep out here on the couch."
Beth shook her head, "No, I can't let you do that."
Face stepped closer, taking her hand. "Beth, I want to." He felt her trembling, "I'm going to help you, you're not alone." He held her gently, running his hands across her back. "I promise, we'll get through this." He pulled back slightly, looking into her eyes. "Okay?"
Beth nodded, avoiding his piercing gaze. "Okay." She pulled away, "I need to use the restroom." Face smiled, leading her down the hall. She closed the door, sitting shakily on the toilet. She pulled the drug from her pocket, the temptation great. Her hands shook as she held the bag. She sobbed everything so overwhelming. The bag slipped from her hands, as they covered her face.
Face leaned against the door, hearing the soft cries from the other side. He knocked, "Beth? You okay?" Not receiving an answer, he pushed the door open. "Beth?" He saw her crying, her whole body shaking. "Oh Beth." Kneeling in front of her, he saw the bag on the floor. Opening it, he realized what was inside. Gently he pried her hands away from her face. "Beth, come on. It's going to be okay."
Tem's hands gently caressed her face, pushing her own hands away from her face. She realized how much she had missed him. She stared into his eyes, asking. "Why are you doing this?"
"Beth, I still care about you. I want to see you well again." Face whispered.
Beth took a deep shuddering breath, "I've missed you."
Face smiled, "I've missed you too." He pulled her close, enveloping her in his arms. Holding her tight, he whispered. "Beth, I can't help you if you don't help yourself."
Beth shivered, holding him tighter. "I don't know if I can."
Face pulled away, "Yes you can! Listen to me, I've been talking with Father Maghill, we found a clinic. They use a treatment, called Methadone. It helps deal with the withdrawal pain." He took a deep breath, "But you have to want it Beth."
"I do... but the treatment your talking about costs too much." Beth whispered.
Face sighed; relieved to hear she wanted help. "I'll worry about that." He smiled as he rose to his feet, gently pulling her to her feet. "Listen Father Maghill is on his way. He's going to stay with you for the afternoon. When I get back, we'll figure out all the details."
Beth was frightened she grasped his hand. "Where are you going?"
"Shh, don't worry. I just have to meet the team for a few hours." Face soothed. "I'll be back in a few hours, we can talk more then." He led her into his bedroom, guiding her to his bed. "I want you to try and get some rest."
Beth slipped off her shoes, before climbing onto the bed. Face sat on the edge, holding her hand. She squeezed his hand, meeting his eyes she whispered softly. "Thank you Tem."
Face smiled, suddenly hearing the doorbell. He rose, giving her a kiss on the forehead and covering her with the blanket. "That's Father Maghill, you try and sleep. I'll be back soon." He walked from the room, closing the bedroom door. Hurrying to the front door, he opened it and saw the Father. "Father! Thank you for coming over."
"Of course Templeton." Father Maghill replied as he walked into the apartment. He followed Templeton in to the living room. He glanced around not seeing Beth, "Where's Beth?"
Face indicated the closed bedroom door, "Hopefully sleeping." He glanced at his watch, cursing silently as he realized he was late for the team meeting. He quickly grabbed his coat, "Listen Father, help yourself to anything. I should be back in a few hours." He turned and ran towards the front door, pausing a moment. He looked back at Maghill, smiling broadly. "She wants our help. I want to take her to the hospital when I get back."
"Thank the lord!" Father Maghill exclaimed. "I'll call ahead and make the arrangements." Templeton nodded, before closing the front door. He sat on the couch, pulling the phone towards him.
Hannibal fumed as he glanced at his watch; Face was thirty minutes late. BA worked on the van, and for once Murdock was leaving him alone. Both of them realizing how angry Hannibal was. Squealing tires sounded out front. Hannibal bit on his cigar, trying to control his anger.
Face swore as he climbed out of the vette. Hannibal was going to give him hell. He shoved his keys into his pocket, feeling the bag of heroin. He paused a moment, before throwing it in his glove compartment. He took a deep breath, preparing himself mentally before hurrying inside the warehouse.
Hannibal glared at Face as he hurried into the warehouse. "It's nice of you to join us. Care to explain to me why you are late?" Hannibal sarcastically asked.
Face sighed, "I'm sorry Hannibal. I.."
Hannibal tried to remain calm, "Your sorry! Goddammit Face! When the hell are you going to grow up!"
Face remained silent, looking at the floor. He knew Hannibal was going to be pissed, he just didn't realize how much. The silence in the warehouse was ominous, Face not knowing how to answer. He tried to apologize again, "I'm sorry."
Hannibal stared at him, noticing the way Face wouldn't look at him. He suddenly felt slightly ashamed, knowing his words were hurtful. Still angry though, he motioned for BA and Murdock to gather closer. He spoke quietly to Face, "We're not finished, Lieutenant." He cleared his throat, the tension in the room thick. He tried to change tactics; "I had a client contact me at the laundry shop yesterday. A Mrs. Burk. Her mother is in an elderly home in Palm Springs, and some goons are pestering them to leave. They want to bulldoze the place and build another golf coarse. The sad part is, the one of the administration at the home is in on it. I want to go in and flush them." Hannibal looked at Face; "Face you are my son, and will be the one that will take me to the home, get me signed in. BA, Murdock I want you two to set up surveillance. We leave this afternoon."
Face sighed; he couldn't go to Palm Springs this afternoon. Not after promising Beth that he would take her to the hospital. BA and Murdock nodded, moving off to the van. As they gathered the supplies they would need, Face grabbed Hannibal by the arm. He led him away from the van. "Hannibal can I talk to you for a moment?"
Hannibal, who was still angry, nodded curtly. "What's on your mind?"
Face knew Hannibal was still angry, and tried to come up with an excuse to get him out of this job. After racking his mind for several moments, he found nothing. "I can't go with you." He winced, not meaning to be so blunt. He saw the anger in Hannibal's eyes. He continued quickly, "Please, I....I just need a few days, try and clear something up." With his eyes, he pleaded for Hannibal to understand, and not question to thoroughly.
Hannibal bit down on the sharp retort, seeing Face begging him for understanding. "Are you in trouble?"
"No..Nothing like that." Face answered slowly. "I just need to take care of something personal."
Hannibal didn't like it, wishing Face would tell him what was going on. He also realized that if Face was in trouble, he would tell him. At least he hoped he would. He was silent for a moment, finally coming to a decision. "All right Face, I think we can do this one without you." He saw the instant relief wash over Face's features. He continued gruffly, "I don't like surprises." His voice softened, "Are you sure we can't help you?"
Face looked down at the floor, "No. I have to deal with this on my own Hannibal."
Worried, Hannibal whispered. "Kid, if you're in troub..."
Face interrupted him, "Not me Hannibal." He met Hannibal's eyes; "An old friend hit some hard times. I want to see them through this, as much as I can." He saw the doubt in Hannibal's eyes, "Really, I'm okay."
Hannibal nodded, "Okay, I believe you." Face visibly relaxed, and Hannibal admonished himself. He knew that every time he got angry at Face, it put doubts in the kid's head. Face had been tossed around his entire life, and sometimes expected it from the team. He wrapped his arm around Face's shoulders, squeezing them. "We'll be home in a few days, if you need us call us in the van."
Face met Hannibal's eyes, "Thanks Hannibal." He smiled sincerely, grateful for his commander's understanding.
Hannibal chuckled, "Don't thank me yet, you have to take Murdock back to the VA, so he can get a few things." Face groaned, and Hannibal added. "Wait for him and bring him back, will you?"
Face whined, "Hannibal I..."
Hannibal held up his hand, cutting off Face's protest. "The price we pay Lieutenant."
Defeated, Face mumbled. "Fine." He turned to Murdock, "Come on Murdock, I don't have all day!"
"So Hannibal said you didn't have to come with us?" Murdock asked.
Face sighed; they had been over this twenty times. "No, I told you I have something personal to take care of and Hannibal understood."
Murdock whistled, and as they turned into the street the warehouse was located on, he asked. "Who is she?"
Face sighed dramatically, turning into the warehouse parking lot. He parked the car, turning towards Murdock. "Does it always have to be a girl? Can't I have any other problems?"
Murdock was taken back by Face's tone, "Sorry Face. I just assumed." Murdock stared at the dash, his fingers nervously tracing the glove box. He hated when he and Face had a misunderstanding.
Face frowned, ashamed of his sudden outburst. "Sorry Murdock, it's been a long few days."
Murdock smiled happily, "It's okay Face!" He slapped the dash rather hard, causing the door to pop open. He saw the small brown bag inside, he grinned at Face. "Aw Face! You got me gumballs!" Before Face could react, he opened the bag and looked inside. He froze, recognizing the drug immediately. His hands began to tremble as he turned wide eyes on Face. "Face, this is heroin!"
"I know what it is Murdock." Face quickly grabbed the bag and shoved it back inside the glove box.
Murdock stammered, "What...what the hell are you doing with it?" Before Face could answer, Murdock exclaimed. "Are you using?"
Face was filled with anger he turned towards Murdock. "Of course not!" He took several deep breaths before continuing. "Listen, I can't talk to you about this."
Murdock whispered, "Can't or won't." Murdock folded his arms across his chest, "Either you tell me or we see what Hannibal has to say."
Face groaned, not wanting to get into this. He met Murdock's eyes and saw the determination. "Fine, I'll tell you." He looked away, gathering his thoughts. He spoke softly, "Father Maghill asked me to help a friend. She was hooked on the stuff. She's staying with me until I can get her into a hospital. I made arrangements to take her tonight."
"Can I see your arm?" Murdock asked. Face turned astonished eyes on him, and he continued softly. "Heroin is nasty shit Face. I just want to make sure."
Face couldn't believe him; he rolled up his sleeves and shoved them under Murdock's nose. "Happy now?"
Murdock was relieved to see no needle marks. "Sorry Face, I had to be sure." Face rolled down his sleeves, and Murdock asked. "Who is it?"
Face started the car, "I can't tell you."
Murdock took the hint and opened the door, pausing as he felt Face's hand grab his arm. He turned and looked back at Face.
"Promise me you'll keep this to yourself." He saw Murdock hesitate, and gripped his arm tighter. "Promise me Murdock!"
"Yeah sure Face."
Face saw the worry and confusion in Murdock's eyes. They were best friends, and rarely kept things from one another. He leaned over and gripped Murdock' s hand. "Thanks Murdock, and don't worry. Once I get her into the hospital, it'll all work out."
"Yeah sure Face. If you need us give us a call." Face smiled, putting the car in gear. Murdock watched as he drove from the warehouse, a sudden pit forming in his stomach.
Face knew something was wrong as soon as he walked into his apartment. He saw Maghill closing his bedroom door. "Father, what's wrong?"
Maghill grabbed Templeton's hand, leading him to the couch. "Nothing son." He glanced back towards the closed door. "She's having a difficult time. I think she needs to go to the hospital right away."
Face breathed a sigh of relief, for a moment he feared she had run away. "Okay, we can leave as soon as she's ready."
"Good, she's asleep now. We'll wait till she wakes up." Father Maghill whispered. He patted Templeton's hand; "You are doing a good thing, Templeton. I am very proud."
"Thank you Father." Face felt his cheeks burn as the Father praised him. At the moment, he didn't feel as though he was doing anything special. He was just helping Beth, who he suddenly realized; he cared for more than he was willing to admit. He rose from the couch, "I'm going to go and sit with Beth, I'll let you know when she wakes."
Father Maghill watched him go, he wondered what had happened to break the two of them up.
Face sat silently in the chair beside his bed, watching Beth as she slept. He wanted a few minutes alone, to try and sort his feelings out. He closed his eyes in pain as he remembered the months after she had left him. He had spent many nights drinking himself into a stupor. He thought he had finally managed to get over her, he was wrong. As soon as he saw her, he realized he still loved her. Beth moaned, and Face opened his eyes. She was tossing restlessly on the bed, and Face climbed in beside her. Gently, he lifted her into his arms, holding her tightly. He whispered soothingly, "Shh Beth. I'm here. I won't leave you."
Beth felt strong arms holding her; she opened her eyes and found herself in Tem's arms. With a trembling hand, she reached up and caressed his face. Tem grasped her hand, kissing the palm. She met his eyes, drowning in their depths. Beth sat up, never pulling out of his arms. Still gazing deeply into Tem's eyes, she leaned in close, kissing him softly on the mouth.
Face closed his eyes, savoring the kiss. He held her tighter, running his hands across her back. As the kiss deepened, Face pulled her on top of him. Beth moaned softly, and Face kissed her neck as he began to open her shirt. Beth straddled him, sensually moving her hips against his. It was his turn to moan, as he finally managed to rid her of her shirt. He kissed her breast, suddenly feeling her tremble. He stopped, and breathlessly whispered. "Beth...wait."
Beth paused, knowing why Tem had hesitated. They were no longer a couple, too much had happened to them in the last six years. She began to cry, whispering. "I'm sorry Tem." She tried to move off him, suddenly the craving for heroin was intense. For a brief moment, as Tem began making love to her, she had forgotten about the last six years. Tem's arms tightened, not allowing her to move. She collapsed on top of him, loving the feel of his arms around her and his body beneath her. His hands caressed her face and hair, and she began to cry. She whispered brokenly, "I'm sorry...you have to see me like this. I...wish I could change what happened." She sat up slightly, looking deep in his eyes. She touched his face gently, "I wish I had never left you."
Face stared into her eyes, his heart pounding. "Beth I still love you." He saw fresh tears slide down Beth's face, he wiped them with his finger.
Beth cried, her emotions fragile, she whispered. "I..love you!" She saw Tem 's eyes fill with tears, she held his gaze. "Tem will you wait for me? Wait till I get out of the hospital?"
Face held her face in his hands, his throat tight with emotion. He gazed into her eyes lovingly, whispering. "Of course I'll wait! I will help you do anything you need to, to beat this!" He grinned, his heart filled with joy. "I love you Beth! I'll wait forever." He pulled her close, his mouth finding hers. They kissed passionately for several minutes, before Beth suddenly gasped. Face sat up concerned, "Are you okay?"
Beth groaned again, the sudden cramping taken her by surprise. She opened her eyes, "Please Tem, take me to the hospital."
Face quickly got off the bed, helping her put her shirt back on. He whispered to her as he gathered her things. "It's okay Beth. We'll leave shortly." He was beginning to panic as he saw her clutching her stomach and trembling violently. He moved quickly, and it wasn't long before they were heading towards the hospital. Maghill drove as Face held onto Beth, whispering his promise of love into her ear.
Face paced the small hall, waiting for the doctors to come out. He was relieved that he and the Father picked out a private and very discrete hospital. He was determined that Beth would receive the best care. He looked up as he heard the doctor walking down the hall. Father Maghill stood beside him, resting his hand on his shoulders.
Dr. Kelly eyed the men that stood in front of him, "Gentleman, Beth is resting comfortably at the moment." He saw the relief in their eyes; he motioned to the private waiting room. Once inside, he sat in front of them. "I've discussed the treatment with Beth and she is eager to start."
"How does it work doctor?" Face asked.
"Well, we will keep her on Methadone for about five days. She will be totally unconscious, an intravenous drip feeding her nutrients and liquids. Keeping her sedated will ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Once she awakens, she will stay here for four weeks in our rehab program. After she has completed that, she can go home." The doctor explained.
Face nodded, he looked at the doctor. "Can I see her now?" The doctor nodded and Face quickly headed for the small room. He pushed the door open, seeing Beth lying on a bed inside. He walked silently to her bed, reaching down and stroking her face. Beth opened her eyes, trying to focus. Face leaned down, whispering. "Hey there."
Beth smiled, reaching for his hand. She met his eyes; "You're real. I thought I was dreaming."
Face smiled, kissing her on the forehead. "When you get out of here, I'll show you what dreaming is!"
Beth laughed softly, "Promise?" She struggled to keep her eyes open. Face saw Beth struggling to stay awake; he leaned close to her ear, whispering. "I promise forever Beth." He kissed her ear softly, before sitting back in the chair. He watched Beth sleep for several hours.
Dusty was livid; he had no idea where Peck had taken his wife. At the moment he had several friends out looking for her. Now all he could do was wait and see what they had come up with. He paced his small living room, occasionally smashing his fist into the wall. He turned sharply as the phone rang he picked it up. "Yeah!" He heard Jake's voice. "Dusty, I found out where Beth is. Peck took her to the Maxwell Hospital." Dusty fumed silently, realizing that she was now in rehab. "Is Peck with her?"
"Yeah, he's at the hospital." Jake answered.
Dusty smiled, "Meet me at the hospital, I'll be there in twenty minutes." He hung up the phone abruptly, a smile forming on his face. He could't reach Beth, but he could get to Peck. He grabbed his coat and ran towards his car.
Father Maghill stepped into the room, smiling as he saw Templeton asleep in the chair beside Beth. He was holding her hand loosely. Maghill placed his hand on Templeton's shoulder, "Templeton?" He waited until he saw Templeton open his eyes, and focus on him. "I called a cab son, I'm going back to the orphanage."
Face sat up, rubbing his eyes. "Are you sure Father. I can take you back."
Maghill shook his head, "No that's all right." He eyed Templeton, "I think you should go home soon as well. You look exhausted son."
Face smiled, "Soon, I promise." He glanced back to Beth; "I just want to stay for a few more minutes." Maghill smiled, patting him on the back. "I'll talk with you tomorrow." He eyed Face sternly, "Don't stay too long."
Face rose from the chair, his body stiff and aching. He walked tiredly out of the hospital. He din't realize how long he had been sitting with Beth; it was now nearly three in the morning. The parking lot was nearly deserted. He stood beside his car, reaching into his pocket for his car keys. He was startled as a man appeared suddenly from behind a line of shrubbery. He reached for his gun, cursing as he realized it was locked up in the vett. He raised his arm defensively, as the man swung a club towards his head. He groaned as the club struck him, everything going black.
BA was driving west, heading back to LA. Now that the latest job was over, he was anxious to get home and check on the kids at the center. He had promised Bobby that he would help him practice for the football team. He saw Hannibal reach for the phone, "That don't work Hannibal." Hannibal raised an eyebrow at him, and he explained. "I had to order a part, should have it in a few days."
Hannibal frowned, "Find a phone, I want to call Face." BA nodded, and Hannibal lit a cigar. He didn't realize that Face would have no contact with them. He inhaled on his cigar, suddenly feeling a little anxious to talk to Face.
Murdock sat in the back, hearing the conversation. He stared at the seat beside him, remembering the bag of heroin. A knot of fear formed in the pit of his stomach.
BA pulled off the road at a gas station. Hannibal climbed from the van and walked towards the payphone. He deposited several coins and dialed Face, frowning as the phone rang for several minutes. He hung up the phone, panic running through him. 'Don't start panicking now, Face is probably out with a date', he thought. He deposited the coins again, dialing Father Maghill.
Maghill grabbed the phone, praying that it was Templeton. "Yes?"
"Father!" Hannibal began; Maghill interrupted him.
"Hannibal where are you?"
Hannibal felt bands of fear grip his heart. He tried to remain calm, "Father what's wrong? Has something happened to Face?"
Maghill swallowed heavily, "He's been missing for two days." There was silence, and he continued. "I tried to call you but I couldn't get through to the van."
Hannibal cursed silently, "We'll be there in a few hours."
"Hurry Hannibal, I have a bad feeling." Maghill whispered. He hung up the phone, crossing his chest and praying.
Hannibal hurried to the van, climbing inside. He glanced at BA; "Hurry BA, talked with Maghill and Face has been missing for a few days." He heard Murdock gasp and mutter, "I knew something was wrong!" Hannibal turned in his seat, fixing the captain with a hard stare. "Care to let me in on what's going on?"
Murdock shriveled under the penetrating glare. He stammered, "I mean...I don' t know!"
"Don't bullshit me Murdock! I know when you are trying to hide something from me! Now tell me what you know." Hannibal ordered.
Murdock avoided his stare, realizing he had to tell him but feeling as though he was betraying Face. Hannibal coughed loudly; he suddenly blurted, "I found some heroin in Face's car the other day!" The van was suddenly silent, and Murdock managed to meet Hannibal's eyes. He saw the disbelief and he managed to explain further. "He said it wasn't his, that he had a friend who had a problem. He was going to take her to a hospital so she could get treatment."
Hannibal asked softly, "Who was she?"
Murdock shook his head sadly, "I don't know, he wouldn't tell me." Hannibal turned around, staring out the window. He muttered softly, "Hurry BA."
Father Maghill paced the office, glancing at the clock on the wall. He was worried sick over Templeton and wished that the Team would arrive. He stared out the window, watching the rain make puddles outside. He shivered, it was bitter cold outside, and he feared that Templeton was alone and cold. After several more minutes he heard BA's chains jingling. He opened the door, ushering them inside quickly.
As soon as Maghill closed the door, Hannibal asked. "What's going on Father?"
"I'm not sure, I saw Templeton on Thursday at the hospital. It was late, and I left, he promised me he would leave in a few minutes."
Hannibal held up his hand, "Wait. What hospital and why was he there?"
Maghill sighed, sinking into his chair. He met Hannibal's eyes, "He didn't tell you?" Hannibal shook his head and Maghill continued. "I asked Templeton to help Beth Staff, she's addicted to heroin. He had gone to her house and convinced her to check herself into a hospital. She's there now, receiving treatment." Maghill sighed, throwing his hands in the air, "That was Thursday. We sat with her for a few hours. I left promising to see him the next day." He met Hannibal's eyes; "His car is still parked there, just as it was on Thursday."
Hannibal sat heavily in a chair; at least the heroin in Face's car now made sense. He looked up sharply; Maghill's words echoing in his head. "You said Beth Staff. Is that the same as Beth Brower?"
Maghill nodded, "Yes she was married three years ago to a Dusty Staff." He looked away disgusted, "That's why she was in the situation she was in. He beat her; she ended up losing their baby. I guess that's why she turned to drugs."
Murdock spoke before Hannibal had a chance, "Where does this slime live?"
Maghill searched his desk, finally finding the address. He handed to Hannibal, "This is her current address, I believe Dusty is there."
Hannibal took the paper, reading the address. He rose from his chair, "I think we'll start there. I have a feeling he might know where Face is."
BA walked silently to the van, his mind replaying Maghill's words. 'I tried to call you but I couldn't get through to the van.' He clenched his fists, realizing that it was his fault the phone wasn't working. If he had it fixed; maybe they could have found Face by now. The wind whipped around him, causing him to shudder. He glanced at the sky, seeing the dark clouds. He prayed that Face was alive, and that they would find him quickly.
Murdock climbed into the back of the van; he fought to hold his emotions together. Images blurred together, it happened every time one of them turned up missing. He thought of Beth, hoping it would focus him. He closed his eyes in pain, as he remembered how hurt Face had been when she left him. For several months he feared that Face wouldn't get over her. He knew his best friend, knew how devastated he was. When Leslie contacted him many years later, he saw the same hope in his eyes, only to be crushed a few days later. Murdock knew that it would be the same, that Face would still love Beth and he would do anything in his power to help her. As BA drove through the streets, Murdock stared out the window, watching the rain make wavy patterns on the glass.
Dusty smiled as he watched Peck sleep fitfully. It had been four days since he and Jake had managed to capture him. They decided to bring him to Jake's house, knowing his friends would look for him and might trace him to Dusty' s. He laughed; there was no way they would find him here. Sure they might check his own house, but they knew nothing of Jake.
He laughed quietly as Peck moaned in his sleep. As soon as they had brought him here, they immediately restrained him to a cot in Jake's basement and started pumping him full of heroin. They gave him 12 ccs every six hours and now watching him toss restlessly, Dusty realized he was hooked. He thought bitterly, 'You talked Beth into leaving me, and now you will be sorry.' He walked over to the workbench, filling a needle. Wrapping a rubber tube around Peck's arm, he slapped the vein. Slowly he pressed the needle, watching as the drug entered Peck's body. He laughed as Peck's eyes flew open, he leaned in close. "Enjoy the ride Peck." He turned and walked out of the basement.
Face groaned as he felt the drug coarse through his veins. He had no idea how long he had been held prisoner. Even worse was not knowing how long they had been pumping him full of heroin. Spots danced in front of his eyes as the drug took hold. He blinked several times, trying to clear his vision. He pulled on the chains restraining his wrists, wincing as a sharp pain traveled up his arm. His wrists were bruised almost black from his struggles. He curled into a ball at the head of the cot, his situation crushing him. Warm tears coursed down his cheeks, as he couldn't think of a way to escape. He thought of Hannibal, Murdock and BA, hoping they would find him. He closed his eyes in despair, realizing he hadn't given them any useful information to help them in their search. As the drug took over his mind, he tried to fight it, thinking of his friends.
Hannibal held his revolver tightly as he walked around the small house. In the back yard, he peered into the windows, deciding that no one was there. With the handle of his gun, he broke out one of the panes of glass in the back door. He unlocked it silently and walked in, BA and Murdock following him.
BA checked the house thoroughly, "No one here Hannibal."
Hannibal nodded, frowning in disgust as he saw the drug paraphernalia laying about the house. "BA, move the van a few block's, I don't want him noticing it."
Murdock remained quiet as BA left the house. He wandered around the small living room, trying to quell his fear. In a shaky voice, he asked. "What if we can't find him? If this Dusty doesn't bring him back here?"
Hannibal placed a reassuring arm across his shoulders. "He has to come home sooner or later, and I think he knows exactly where Face is."
Murdock met Hannibal's eyes, "What if it's too late?"
Hannibal could see the fear in Murdock's eyes; "We'll find him!" He shook him slightly; "You have to believe that Murdock! Don't fall apart now, Face needs us."
Murdock nodded, taking a deep breath he tried to pull himself together. Hannibal smiled at him reassuringly, and then turned to search the house, looking for clues.
BA walked back into the house, "What now Hannibal?"
Hannibal continued his search; "We wait."
Face shivered violently, the dampness of the basement was freezing. He glanced up at the small window near the roof; the daylight was fading which meant he would only get colder. He tensed as he heard the basement door open. He watched as Dusty and Jake walked down the stairs. Jake was carrying a tray; Face licked his dry lips as he saw the sandwich and water.
Jake placed the tray on the table, reaching in his pocket for the key to free Peck. As he bent over to free Peck, Dusty held his gun on the man.
Face rubbed nervously at his sore wrists, climbing slowly from the cot. He knew the routine; he would use the toilet and then eat his food. After he was finished he would be restrained again. As he walked slowly to the bathroom in the far corner of the basement, he looked frantically for ways to escape. After finishing his business at the toilet, he became desperate and pushed Dusty, knocking him off balance. He had made it half way up the stairs before someone grabbed him by the back of the shirt. He was pulled down the stairs, landing in a crumpled heap.
"Shit!" Dusty cursed as he pulled Peck back down the stairs. Blinded by anger, he began to kick Peck viscously. He cursed again, kicking him repeatedly.
Face curled up into a ball, covering his head with his hands. He cried out as Dusty kicked him in the ribs, knocking the air from his lungs.
Finally exhausted, Dusty stopped. He turned to Jake, "Give me a hand and help me get this bastard tied up." A few moments later, Peck was back on the cot moaning in pain. Shaking with anger, Dusty filled another needle. He walked back to Peck and grabbed his arm, plunging the needle into his vein. He slapped Peck across the face, getting his attention. "Get used to this Peck! You are staying with us for quite some time." He spit in Peck's face; "You think your so high and mighty. Well you should have kept your nose out of my marriage!" He stalked out of the basement, Jake following.
Face managed to wipe the spittle away, wincing as he lay back on the cot. He suddenly began to laugh hysterically as the drug began to ease his pain. His mind floating, he no longer cared that he was restrained to a cot.
Dusty paused at the top of the stairs, hearing Peck's laughter. He smiled; it was a definite sign that Peck was becoming addicted to the heroin. He closed the door to the basement, and walked into the kitchen. Jake sat at the table, drinking a beer. Dusty laughed, "I think he's getting to like it Jake."
Jake scowled, "What are you going to do with him? I mean you can't leave him in my basement forever."
Dusty opened the refrigerator, grabbing a bottle of beer. He opened the bottle, taking a long swallow. He placed the bottle on the table, meeting Jake's eyes. In a cold voice, he whispered. "I'll do with him what I want."
Jake squirmed in his chair, "What I mean is, I can't have the cops looking around here."
Dusty grinned, "Don't be a fool, he's a felon! Who would report him missing to the cops?"
Jake nodded reluctantly, "So what do you plan to do with him?"
Dusty swallowed some more beer, placing his bottle on the table. He answered his friend; "Well I'm going to release him of coarse."
Jake sputtered his beer, "Your what?"
Dusty laughed, "I said I'm going to let him go." Jake stared at him with open mouth amazement, he continued. "It's a game Jake, I'm messing with Peck 's mind!"
"I still don't understand." Jake muttered.
"It's simple. Once Peck is hooked, I'm letting him go. I know the kind of pull heroin has on people, he won't be able to resist." Dusty explained.
Jake shook his head, "What about his friends? Aren't you afraid that they will find you?"
Dusty finished his beer, rising from the table. "They haven't yet."
Jake watched him leave, he knew his friend was taking a big risk. Unfortunately, he knew he wouldn't be able to talk him out of it.
Murdock paced the living room like a caged animal. They had been waiting in this house for four days, and there was no sign of Beth's husband. From the kitchen, he heard Hannibal talking with Father Maghill. From their muted voices, Murdock deciphered that they were talking about Beth. He turned back towards the window, staring into the darkness. A knot of anger twisted in his stomach, if it wasn't for her, Face wouldn't be missing. He would be with his team, his family. He berated himself mentally, he couldn't think like that. He knew Face would help her all over again if given the chance. Murdock would have to be careful, control his anger when they found Face. He knew his best friend would be pissed if he said anything bad about her.
Murdock saw the black van drive by, BA parking it a few blocks away. BA had been out patrolling the local bars, looking for Dusty. Murdock hoped that tonight would be different, that he had found something out.
Hannibal hung up the phone, walking quietly into the living room. "That was Father Maghill. Beth is awake now and is asking for Face. He didn't know what to tell her."
Murdock spat, "How about Face is missing thanks to you!"
Hannibal sighed, understanding Murdock's harsh words. He wrapped his arm around Murdock's shoulders, "Murdock, you can't mean that. You know Face wanted to help her." He held Murdock's eyes, "He did the same thing any one of us would have done." Murdock nodded, and Hannibal continued softly, "I just wish he would have talked to us about it, maybe...maybe we could have helped him."
Murdock sank miserably into the couch. "I tried to get him to talk to me, but he was protecting her." He looked up and met Hannibal's worried eyes, "I don't think he ever got over her. I think he still loves her."
Hannibal opened his mouth to comment when BA barged through the front door, bringing with him a blast of the cold winter air. "Well BA did you find anything out?" Hannibal asked.
BA shook his head, "No man, I searched all the bars in a ten mile radius. He wasn't in any of them."
Hannibal clamped down on a cigar, trying to keep his frustration to himself. It was now obvious that Beth's husband was not going to come home. It was also obvious that he probably knew exactly where Face was. Face had been missing for over a week now, and Hannibal was beginning to fear the worst. To make matters worse, he had no idea where he should look for Face. He decided that tomorrow they would go and talk with Beth. He would have to tell her what was going on and see if she couldn't give him any ideas where they could look for Face. He looked down at Murdock; the disappearance of Face had hit him hard. Both of Murdock's eyes had black smudges under them, and when Hannibal looked into his eyes, he could see the profound sadness in them. He cleared his throat, "I'll take first watch, I want you two to get some sleep."
BA nodded, Murdock rose from the couch protesting. "Go to sleep? How can we just go to sleep when Face is out there somewhere cold and alone?" BA grabbed his arm, and Murdock shrugged his hand away angrily. "NO! We've done nothing to find him!" He met Hannibal's eyes, his own blazing in anger. "How long do we sit here and do nothing? Face is hurt I can feel it! Don't you care?"
Hannibal reached out and grabbed Murdock by the front of his leather jacket, pulling him close. Through clenched teeth, he whispered. "Don't you dare say that to me again!" He stared into Murdock's eyes; "I care Captain, more than you will ever know! I've cared for the last sixteen years!" Abruptly, he let Murdock go, shoving him slightly. "Don't you dare ask me that question again."
Murdock simply stared, shocked at Hannibal's outburst. He suddenly realized that he wasn't the only one hurting. He stammered, "Hannibal...I'm sorry."
"Go to sleep Murdock, we have a busy day tomorrow." Hannibal stated softly.
BA asked, "You have a plan Hannibal?"
Hannibal answered softly, "Yeah."
Face gasped in pain as another breath taking cramp seized his body. He was shivering from cold, yet his body was sweating profusely. He heard footsteps above him; he hoped that Dusty would come down and give him another dosage. He looked at his arms, seeing the bruises from the needles. It sickened him to realize that he was addicted, but he also realized it was the only way to take the pain away. In the recent days, he noticed that his muscles and joints ached, and he would suffer sever cramping if the dosage was delayed. He moaned in agony, as another cramp tore through him. If only the team could find him, that was his only hope. It was fading fast, knowing he had been here for quite some time.
Dusty prepared Peck's next dosage, looking up as Jake walked into the kitchen. His friend seemed a little agitated, so he asked. "What's the matter?"
Jake slammed his hand against the table, shouting. "What's the matter? I just found out from Tommy that Peck's friends talked with Beth, and now they are snooping around! It's only a matter of time before they track you to here!"
Dusty frowned, he wanted to hold on to Peck a few more days, and make sure he was truly addicted. He also knew it was too risky, he would have to release Peck tonight. "Fine, we'll get rid of Peck late tonight." He smiled as he walked towards the basement. Once Peck was gone, he could concentrate on Beth. He heard Peck moaning as he walked down the stairs. He grabbed his arm and administered the drug, watching as the tension left Peck's body. He smiled broadly, turning and going back upstairs. He realized that Peck was truly addicted, that his friends were too late.
"Pull over BA." Hannibal muttered. BA pulled the black van to the side of the road, Hannibal climbing out. He walked towards three men standing on the corner, pulling out one of the pictures of Dusty he had snatched from Beth's house.
Murdock watched as the colonel showed the men the picture. He sighed miserably as they shook their heads and the colonel walked back to the van. Beth had woken from the methadone five days ago; Hannibal had spoken with her four days ago. She had given Hannibal a list of Dusty's friends and hangouts, and they had scoured the city since then. As the van pulled away from the curb, Murdock's eyes filled with tears. He cried silently in the back seat, not wanting to alarm Hannibal or BA. He feared if he broke down, Hannibal would make him go back to the VA. Also, they were dealing with their own pain, Face had been missing now for almost two weeks. He had nightmares of Face lying in a cold dark alley, alone and hurt. In his dream, Murdock would find him and run towards him. He would hear Face screaming, "Murdock! Help me!" but he never could reach him. He moaned softly, wiping at his tears. He forcibly pushed the dream aside and leaned forward in his chair. In a shaky voice, he asked. "What's the next house on the list?"
Hannibal grabbed the list of Dusty's friends. "Next one is Jake Cidge. BA the address is over in Oakmount." BA grunted his consent, turning onto the highway. Hannibal glanced at the clock on the dash; it was nearly two in the morning. He rubbed his eyes wearily he was so tired. He hadn't slept well since they had left Palm Springs. In the last few days, they had searched the houses of almost every one of Dusty's friends. So far they had found absolutely nothing. He stared at the list of names Beth had given him; they had almost gone through the entire list. He frowned as he thought of Beth, in a few hours he would have to call her and give her an update. She had fought him furiously when she had woken up, demanding that she be released and allowed to help them in their search. She had even packed her bags, insisting on leaving. When Hannibal refused, stating that Face would want her to stay in the hospital, she had broke down and sobbed. Hannibal suddenly realized how much she still loved Face. He knew she wouldn't be strong enough, that she would be better in the hospital. Besides, he had too much to worry about with Face missing and the affects that was having on BA and Murdock. He couldn't take the time to worry about her as well; he'd let Maghill handle that.
Face was woken suddenly, Dusty slapping him across the face. He gasped in surprise sitting up on the cot. He saw Dusty and Jake beside his cot; he cringed as they reached for him. He was suddenly blindfolded and gagged. His heart was racing as his hands were released from the cot and he was pulled to his feet. Once on his feet, his wrists were cuffed behind his back. He was shoved forward; he stumbled, finally managing to walk up the stairs. Dusty had his hand tangled in his hair, guiding him. He heard a door open, and heard the sound of rain. As he was lead outside, he shivered as the cold January wind whipped across his body. Wearing only a shirt and a pair of jeans, the rain had him soaked in minutes. He heard keys jingling and was pushed against a car. A few moments later he gasped as someone hit him hard in the stomach. He doubled over and fell sideways, hands shoved him and he fell into the trunk of the car. He moaned softly as the lid closed. He felt the car begin to move, rocking him slightly. Tears slipped from his eyes as he realized they were probably going to kill him. He thought of his friends, wishing he could see them just one more time.
BA drove past the small house, noticing that there was no car in the driveway. It appeared that there was no one home, the house being completely dark. He parked the van a few houses away, reaching for his weapon. As they approached the house, they could see that no one was home. BA busted out a windowpane in the back door, unlocking it. Once inside they split up and BA found some stairs leading to a basement. He gripped his gun tightly, walking carefully down the stairs. From the stairs, he saw the needles lying on a table. He scowled in disgust, his heart suddenly stopping. He ran towards the table, Face's watch and leather coat lying beside the used needles. He shouted, "Hannibal!" and heard the footsteps running above. He picked up the coat, hugging it against his chest, his eyes sweeping the basement. In the far corner he saw a cot with shackles mounted at the top. He was still holding onto Face's coat when he heard Hannibal's soft voice. "BA?" He held out Face's coat, showing it to Hannibal. "He was here Hannibal."
Hannibal heard Murdock cry out as he sat heavily on the stairs. Hannibal's eyes searched frantically around the basement, searching for clues. He stepped slowly off the stairs, walked slowly around the basement. His face-hardened as he saw the cot with the shackles.
He moved past, heading towards the table. He saw the needles and rubber tubing, his eyes turned back towards the cot. His heart burst with pain as he realized what had transpired in the basement. In a sudden fit of rage, he swept his arm across the top of the table, sending everything clattering to the floor. He continued to smash everything in sight, venting all his anger and fear.
Murdock watched helplessly as Hannibal smashed everything he could get his hands on. He wiped his eyes, rising slowly to his feet. He walked over to Hannibal, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Hannibal this won't help. At least we know he was here." Hannibal turned; furious blue eyes met his. Murdock could see the pain and fear that Hannibal had been burying. He pleaded with Hannibal, "Please Hannibal, don't lose it now." Hannibal heard the desperation in Murdock's voice, saw the brown eyes shimmering with tears. He took a deep breath, trying to control the rage deep inside. He nodded once, before he began to search the basement thoroughly. After several minutes, he moved upstairs. Murdock walked slowly to the cot, sitting on the edge. He ran his hands over the fabric, knowing Face had been there. BA walked over beside him, handing Murdock Face's coat. Their eyes met in understanding, Murdock's fingers gripping the coat tightly. BA finally broke the contact, walking up the stairs to join Hannibal. Murdock remained on the cot, holding onto Face' s coat. He buried his face into the soft leather, smelling Face. He cried softly, fearing that he would never see him again. Hannibal noticed a half-full bottle of beer resting on the kitchen table. He picked it up, immediately noticing that it was still cool. He slammed the bottle down, turning to BA. "Get Murdock, they haven't been gone long." BA hurried down the stairs, he paused as he saw Murdock curled up on the cot crying and clutching Face's coat. He squatted down beside the cot, reaching out and grasping Murdock's shoulder. "Hey Murdock. We'll find him, I promise." Murdock opened his eyes, and BA continued softly. "Come on, Hannibal doesn't think they've been gone for long. You have to pull yourself together so we can go find him." Murdock sat up slowly, grasping BA's hand. "Do you think we'll find him?" He swallowed heavily, "Think he's alive?" "Yeah, of coarse I do." BA answered. "You have to believe that too." He was relieved as Murdock visibly pulled himself together. He helped him to his feet guiding him towards the stairs. @@@ Dusty stared out the window, the rain coming down hard. Finally he pointed to the alley; "Turn there Jake." The car came to a stop at the end of the alley, Dusty and Jake climbing out. Dusty glanced around, making sure they were alone. It was still a few hours before dawn, and the alley was almost completely dark, only a small light shinning high on one of the buildings. He opened the trunk, pulling Peck out. He laughed as Peck stumbled, and pushed him behind the trash dumpsters. Jake pulled the blindfold and the gag off. Dusty stared at him; he no longer resembled the man who held a gun against him two weeks ago. The man that stood before him was pathetic, his face pale and hollow. Dusty grinned, curling his hand into a fist and hitting Peck in the stomach. Peck grunted and sank to his knees clutching his stomach. Dusty grabbed him by the hair and pulled his gun from his waist. He cocked the trigger, pulling Peck's hair, lifting his face. Peck blinked dazed and Dusty shoved the gun against his lips. "Not so tough now, are you Peck?" He laughed as Peck blinked, trying to focus his eyes. He cocked the trigger; "Beth is mine." "Go to hell." Face whispered. He looked up through the pouring rain, seeing his own breath as it passed his lips. He saw the rage burn in Dusty's eyes and knew he was about to die. He smiled, wanting Dusty to pull the trigger. He didn't want to live with the pain and humiliation any longer. He grinned at Dusty, whispering. "Go ahead." Dusty stared at Peck, tempted to pull the trigger. He pulled his hand away, shoving the gun in his waistband. He pulled two needles from his coat pocket, showing them to Peck. "I'll leave these for you, you'll need them when you wake." He motioned to Jake, who stood behind Peck and pulled him to his feet. Jake held onto Peck tightly as he vented his anger. After several minutes, he was finally exhausted. Breathing heavily, he pushed his rain soaked hair from his face. He grabbed Peck by the hair, lifting his head. He smiled as he saw the blood pouring from Peck's nose and mouth. Holding his head, he struck Peck one more time on the face. Jake let go under the momentum of the blow and Peck fell to the wet asphalt. Dusty absently rubbed his bruised knuckles, bending down and placing the two needles by Peck's hand. He looked at Jake, "Let's get the hell out of here." @@@ Murdock sipped his coffee, hoping the caffeine would wake him up. They had been driving around the streets of LA all night looking for Face. He looked at Hannibal; "Maybe we should go back to that house." Hannibal nodded, not knowing what else he could do. He feared the reason why the men moved Face; did they know that the team was getting close? He worried about where they had taken him, knowing that drug dealers liked to get rid of their problems in the desert. He knew if they had done that to Face, he would kill them. He kept his worries hidden from Murdock and BA; they had their own nightmares. He spoke quietly, "Yeah, we'll give it a try." BA grunted, throwing some money down on the table. "I'll go and warm up the van." He walked out of the restaurant and shivered as a burst of cold air hit him. He started the van, turning up the heat. He stared down at the phone, he had let the team down. He envisioned Face scared and hurt, trying to call them for help. He moaned softly, leaning his head against the steering wheel. He had let Face down once, but he made damn sure the phone was working now. He wondered though if it was too late. He whispered softly. "Where are you Face?" @@@ Face moaned and rolled over. His first waking awareness was he was so cold. He realized he was somewhere outside and opened his eyes. The Dumpster was the first thing he saw, then his vision widened and he realized he was in an alley. Slowly he sat up, his stomach cramping as he moved. He began to retch violently, bringing up only water. After a few moments, it passed and left him gasping for air. He suddenly saw the two needles lying beside him. He ignored them, trying to get to his feet. He was now free and wanted to find Hannibal. He managed to get to his feet, shaking uncontrollably. He took a step, his knees buckling, sending him crashing back to the asphalt. He cried out as he landed on his sore ribs. He lay still for several moments, trying to regain his breath.
He slowly opened his eyes, seeing the two needles. He reached out a trembling hand, grasping them. He sat up and crawled towards the building, leaning his back against the wall, he hesitated. His hand trembled as he held the needle; he closed his eyes and plunged the needle into his arm. After filling his veins with the drug, he sat back and waited for the pain to disappear. He drifted in a drug-induced bliss.
After an hour, he managed to find the strength to climb to his feet. He staggered to the end of the alley, looking for his family. People stared at him as he staggered down the street. An old lady approached him, handing him a handful of change. He stammered, "No...you..don't...." Unable to make her understand, she shook her head and walked away. He stared dumbly at the change in his hand. He looked up and grinned as he saw the payphone down the street. He slowly made his way to the phone booth. Once inside he picked up the phone, dialing the van.
BA drove down the freeway, heading towards Jake's house. He nearly jumped out of his skin as the shrill of the phone suddenly broke the silence.
Hannibal quickly reached for the phone, "Yeah." For a moment there was only silence, then Hannibal heard a raspy voice. "Hannibal...." Hannibal froze a tidal wave of emotions washing over him. Concern, fear and immense joy colliding together, he managed to find his voice. "Face! My god where are you? Are you okay? Tell us where you are!"
Face held the phone tightly, looking around him. "I don't ...know." He tried to focus his eyes, reading the signs. "Coco's bakery..."
Hannibal repeated his words, "Coco's bakery!" He glanced at BA who shook his head. Murdock shouted from the back seat, "That's in Hollywood! On Twelve Avenue!" BA immediately pulled off the highway, turning around.
As BA drove wildly, Hannibal focused on Face. He spoke clearly and slowly. "Face are you hurt?" Murdock leaned forward, watching Hannibal.
"They....messed....me up Hannibal." Face whispered slowly.
Hannibal met Murdock's eyes; he nodded and saw Murdock close his eyes in pain. Hannibal spoke soothingly, "It's okay Face, we'll be there soon. Stay on the phone okay."
"I'm cold...Hannibal. So...cold and tired." Face whispered.
Hannibal's heart broke, "We're almost there Face, hang on." Face didn't answer and Hannibal panicked. He shouted, "Face? Face are you there?" There was no answer, Hannibal whispered to BA. "Hurry BA."
Murdock strained his eyes as BA drove slowly down twelve avenue. In the distance, he saw Coco's, across the street he saw the phone. His heart beat wildly as he didn't see Face anywhere.
Murdock suddenly gasped as he saw someone lying on a bench. He pointed, "There! He's on the bench." BA slammed on the brakes, the tires screeching to a halt. Murdock opened the side door, leaping from the van and running towards the figure on the bench. Hannibal and BA were following closely. Face was curled up on his side, shivering. As Murdock gently touched him on the shoulder, he felt the dampness in Face's clothes. He whispered, "Face?" He gently rolled him over, gasping as he saw the damage done to Face.
Hannibal cursed softly as he saw the bruised and swollen face of his lieutenant. Face had dried blood caked below his nose and around his mouth. It was matted in a two-week beard. After a few moments of shock, Hannibal noticed people staring at them. He turned to BA, "Get him in the van BA."
BA nodded, moving closer to Murdock. His heart twisted as he saw the tears in Murdock's eyes as he gently pushed Face's hair away from his face. BA bent close to Murdock, whispering. "Let me get him in the van, Murdock." Murdock looked up at BA, unable to move from Face's side. BA tried again, "Go get some blankets, he's cold."
Murdock slowly moved away, giving BA room to gently pick Face up. As soon as he stood, he met Hannibal's eyes. "He's lost a lot of weight Hannibal."
Hannibal sighed, his exhaustion and fear catching up with him. He patted BA on the back, knowing both BA and Murdock's emotions were shattered. "He'll be okay now BA. Let's get him home."
Murdock reached for Face as BA gently lowered him to the floor of the van. Hannibal climbed in beside Murdock. As BA pulled away from the curb, Hannibal began to access Face's condition. He checked his pulse, frowning, as it was too fast. He met Murdock's worried eyes, "Let's get him out of these wet clothes."
Murdock nodded, lying Face on the floor of the van. Together they started to remove Face's wet clothes. Murdock moaned softly as he saw the dark bruises covering Face's chest and stomach. He held his breath as Hannibal ran his hands along Face's sides.
"Nothing is broken Murdock." Hannibal whispered. He reached for the blanket, as he was about to tuck it around Face, he saw the needle marks on his right arm. "That bastard!"
Murdock stared horrified at the needle marks; he raised his frightened eyes to Hannibal. "Hannibal they fed him heroin!"
"I can see that Murdock." Hannibal muttered as he tucked the blanket around Face. He looked up and saw the ashen face of his captain and immediately regretted the harsh words. He gripped Murdock's shoulder, "Listen, try and pull yourself together. I need you to be strong, Face needs you to be strong." Hannibal squeezed his shoulder, forcing Murdock's eyes to meet his own. "Can you do that?"
Murdock nodded numbly, looking back down at Face. His best friend was a mess, his face was gaunt and pale, and the only coloring was the dark bruises. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to discourage the tears. Face moaned, and Murdock leaned over whispering. "Face? You with us?"
Face opened his eyes, staring into Murdock's. He felt a warm hand close around his cold one. With as much strength as he could manage, he squeezed Murdock's hand. Hannibal gently brushed his hair back, and Face blinked trying to focus on him. "Hannibal...Beth..."
Hannibal continued to sooth back Face's hair, whispering soothingly. "She's fine Face." He saw Face close his eyes in relief, and Hannibal continued softly. "She's been asking for you everyday. You can see her when you feel better."
Face smiled shakily, barely hanging on to his emotions. He moaned softly, his smile fading. He covered his face with his hands and whispered brokenly. "He gave me heroin, Hannibal."
Hannibal glanced at Murdock for a moment before looking back down at Face. He gently grasped Face's wrist, Murdock doing the same. Together they pulled his hands away, both seeing the desperation and fear in Face's eyes. Hannibal spoke softly, reassuringly. "I know Face. But you can beat it! We' ll help you, all of us. We're a team remember?"
"We're a family." Murdock added softly.
Face trembled, unable to control his emotions; tears leaked from his eyes and ran into his hair. His voice trembled, "I'm...ssorry."
Murdock reached out and gently wiped the tears away. "Shh, you have nothing to be sorry for. Just try and go to sleep." Face closed his eyes, and was asleep in seconds. Murdock tucked the blanket around him and glanced at Hannibal. "Do we risk a doctor?"
Hannibal sighed, shaking his head. "No, I think we can handle this." He continued, as Murdock was about to argue. "We don't know how bad he's addicted, hopefully he can get through this."
Murdock asked softly, "If he can't?"
Hannibal looked away, "If he can't, we'll call Maghill. See if he can get us some methadone." He turned and met Murdock's eyes. "We don't have the luxury of taking him to a detox clinic." Murdock nodded sadly, and Hannibal climbed to the front of the van. "BA, take us to my place. I think that is the safest place for now." He picked up the phone dialing Father Maghill, he spoke softly. "Father, we found him."
BA drove towards Hannibal's, he had heard the entire conversation and was petrified. He had known several kids at the center who had been addicted to heroin. He was fully aware of the effects that drug could do to ones life. He gripped the steering wheel tight, vowing revenge on Beth's husband.
Beth sat on her bed trying to decide what she should do. Tem had been missing for over two weeks. She felt as though it was her fault and she wanted to do something besides sit in this damn hospital and wait. She wanted to run and find him, to take care of him as he had done for her. She knew her husband had something to do with his disappearance. If something had happened to him, because he tried to save her, she would never forgive herself. For the brief time she had stayed with him, she had felt wonderful. He had whispered his love, and promised to wait for her. When she checked in to the hospital, she was full of hope. She rose from the bed, reaching a decision, she was checking herself out.
Face moaned, his stomach cramping severely. He felt a hand touch his forehead and opened confused eyes to see Murdock. Another cramp seized him; he curled up into a ball, clutching his stomach. He bit his lip, as he suffered through the cramp. It slowly passed leaving him gasping on the bed. He felt Murdock's hands, rubbing his back soothingly. He reached for Murdock 's hand, and whispered breathlessly. "Murdock....I don't...think I can do this."
Murdock pulled Face into his arms, holding him tight. He whispered into his friend's ear. "Yes you can! I will help you!" He heard Face moan again, and felt him grow tense in his arms. Murdock whispered softly, "I'm here Face, I 'm here." Still holding Face tight in his arms, he rubbed his back hoping it helped. After a few moments, he felt Face relax against him.
After the cramp subsided, Face collapsed against Murdock. He was grateful for his friend's support. He felt Murdock's hand move up his back and onto his neck, gently massaging his tense muscles. He looked around the room, not recognizing where he was. In a fearful voice, he asked. "Murdock, where are we?"
Murdock continued his easy massage, answering softly. "We're at Hannibal's. We've been here for a few hours now. Remember we found you. It's okay, we're safe."
Face closed his eyes, sobbing. "The walls are moving!" He pushed away from Murdock's embrace, as another cramp hit him. He collapsed back onto the bed, moaning loudly. He gagged and tried to climb off the bed, feeling Murdock's hands on him. He gasped, "I'm....gonna be sick!"
"Okay Face! Let me help you." Murdock whispered frantically. He helped Face off the bed and led him to the bathroom. Face was trembling violently and sank to his knees several times. Murdock shouted over his shoulder, "Hannibal!" He finally managed to get Face to the bathroom, although not before Face started vomiting.
Face sank to his knees in front of the toilet. He continued to retch, feeling as though his insides were coming up. He gripped the toilet, his knuckles turning white. The cramps continued to rack his body, leaving him gasping for air.
Upon hearing Murdock's frantic shout, Hannibal and BA ran for the bedroom. Hannibal saw Murdock half-dragging and half-carrying Face to the bathroom. He followed, and was horrified at what he saw. Face was clutching the toilet and vomiting his guts out, while Murdock was frantically trying to sooth him. He swore softly, "Jesus!" and knelt down beside Face. He helped Murdock in trying to calm Face, and after a few terrifying minutes, Face fell back away from the toilet.
Face felt arms supporting him and opened his eyes to see Hannibal holding him. He shivered, suddenly feeling very cold. "Hannibal, I'm so cold."
Hannibal whispered, "Your going to be okay Face." He gathered Face closer, lifting him off the floor as he stood. "BA, can you get us some coffee?" BA nodded and hurried into the kitchen. Hannibal looked at Murdock, and saw the anguish in his eyes. "Murdock, get some more blankets, let's try and get him warm." He carried Face back to the bed, lying him down. Murdock covered Face with the extra blankets, and Hannibal saw his hands shaking. He decided it was time Murdock took a break. He rested his hand on Murdock's shoulder, "Murdock, why don't you rest on the couch. I'll sit with him for awhile."
"Hannibal please, I want to stay!" Murdock pleaded.
Hannibal saw the exhaustion in Murdock's eyes, but decided he wouldn't be able to rest anyway. "Okay, Murdock." Hannibal climbed onto the bed, pulling Face into his arms. BA walked into his room, handing him the cup of coffee. He placed the cup against Face's lips, encouraging him to drink. Face moaned softly and tried to push the cup away.
Murdock saw the difficulty Hannibal was having with Face and climbed on the bed beside them. He reached for Face's arm, grasping his hand. With his free hand, he gently brushed Face's hair from his face, whispering softly. "Come on Face. Just try a little."
Face opened his eyes, moaning softly. Hannibal held the cup to his lips again, and with Murdock holding his hand, he was forced to swallow some of the coffee. He heard Hannibal's voice, "That's good Face, now try some more." Again he felt the cup against his lips; he turned his head avoiding the cup. "No...I ...no more." He gasped, feeling his stomach begin to cramp. He tried to push from Hannibal's arms; afraid he was going to be sick again. Hannibal held him tightly, and he heard the older man shout at BA. "Get a bucket!" His stomach began to cramp, leaving him gasping in pain. After a few moments, he heard BA run into the room. Hannibal leaned him over the bucket, supporting him as he began to vomit again.
Murdock rubbed his back and shoulders as Face vomited. He had tears in his eyes as he listened to his friend moan in agony. Finally after a few minutes of painful gasps, Face threw himself back onto the bed moaning in anguish. Murdock lay down beside him, whispering. "You're going to get through this Face! You're strong!"
Face didn't have the strength to answer suddenly feeling exhausted. He closed his eyes, doubting what Murdock said was true. The way he was feeling, he wished he were dead. He heard Hannibal's voice, "Murdock's right Face. You're strong." He felt the bed sag and opened his eyes. BA had sat beside Hannibal and gently rubbed his leg. His deep voice barely above a whisper. "We're here for you Faceman." With his entire family surrounding him, he fell into an exhausted sleep.
Beth stepped down from the bus and began walking down the street. She glanced around her nervously, expecting to see Dusty jump from the bushes. A few houses from her own, she breathed a sigh of relief, Dusty's car was not in the driveway. Digging in her purse, she retrieved her house key. She needed more money and she knew exactly where to find it, Dusty's secret little stash. She opened the door and quickly went inside. She didn't want to stay here longer than she needed to. Beth walked into the bedroom and went to the closet, finding the money. In her bedroom, she picked up the phone, dialing Father Maghill. She wanted to tell him that she checked herself out of the hospital and wanted to contact Hannibal so she could help in the search for Tem. She cursed softly as she heard the busy signal. She placed the phone back on its cradle and walked towards the front door. She would just have to go to the orphanage, and hope he would still be there. She stopped suddenly, seeing Dusty's form through the glass. Her heart raced as he opened the door and walked inside. He simply stared at her for a moment, then smiled evilly. She nearly fainted as she heard him say, "Hi honey, I'm home."
BA blinked as the early morning sunlight filtered through the curtains. He sat up stiffly, rubbing his sore neck. After Face had finally managed to fall asleep, he curled up at the foot of Hannibal's bed. He glanced back, seeing Hannibal and Murdock lying on either side of Face. At the moment all of them were sleeping peacefully. BA stared at Face, noting how pale and drawn he was. It had been an awful night for his friend. He was racked with the cramps and sickness for the entire evening. Pushed beyond his endurance, he finally passed out. BA had listened to him moan, even in his sleep. BA pushed himself off the bed, and headed for the kitchen, deciding the best thing for them all was coffee.
Face suddenly sat up in bed crying out in sheer panic, his legs twitching violently. Hannibal and Murdock were beside him instantly, trying to calm him. He grasped his legs, trying to control them. "Hannibal! What's going on?"
Hannibal tried to sooth him, "Shh Face!" He glanced down at Face's legs, watching them twitch. He wasn't sure what was happening, but tried to keep the panic out of his voice. "It's going to be okay!"
Face cried out as another cramp tore through his body. He began to gag, Murdock barely getting the pot in front of him as he vomited small amounts of stomach acid. Finally after a few moments, his legs stilled. He sank back on the bed covering his face with his hands, he pleaded. "Please Hannibal! I can't do this!"
Hannibal gripped his hands, pulling them away from his face. "Yes you can!"
"NO!" Face screamed, tears escaping his eyes. "Please, I need some!"
"No! I won't!" Hannibal saw the desperation in the pain filled eyes. He continued, "Goddammit you can do this!" Face cried out in despair, and Hannibal saw his legs begin to twitch again. Face groaned loudly, clutching at his stomach. Hannibal and Murdock sat him up again, holding on to him as he dry heaved over the pot. Holding onto Face, Hannibal met Murdock's eyes, they were filled with blind terror.
Several hours later, Hannibal led Murdock from the room. He glanced back at Face, making sure he was finally asleep. It had been a rough few hours for all of them. He glanced at Murdock, wondering how he was holding up.
Murdock seemed to read his Colonel's mind, and whispered. "I'm okay Hannibal." He rubbed his neck sitting down on the couch; He smiled as BA handed him a cup of coffee.
BA met Hannibal's eyes, then looked at the floor. "I'm sorry I didn't help Hannibal, I couldn't bare to see him suffer."
Hannibal placed a hand on his shoulder, "It's okay BA." He joined Murdock on the couch, accepting the coffee BA handed to him. "Towards the end, the attacks seemed to be further apart. Do you think the worse has passed?"
Murdock stared thoughtfully into his coffee for a moment. "I'm not sure Hannibal. But maybe we should call Maghill, see if he can't get us some methadone."
Hannibal nodded, "I'll call him in a few minutes."
"Hannibal, what about the bastard who did this? What are we going to do with him?" BA asked angrily.
"He will pay for this BA! I promise you that!" Hannibal whispered vehemently. "But not before Face is back to one hundred percent."
"I want him Hannibal! I'm going to break every bone in his body!" BA spat.
Murdock whispered, "I get to watch." He rose from the couch slowly, placing his cup on the table. "I'm going to go and lie down with Face."
Hannibal watched him go, suddenly feeling exhausted himself. He stretched out on the couch; "BA be quiet will you."
BA grumbled, "I'll be working on the van." He walked out of the apartment, still wanting to go and find the scum who did this.
Father Maghill paced his small office; he had just received a disturbing call from the hospital. It seemed Beth had checked herself out late yesterday afternoon. He stared out the window, knowing what he would have to do. He would have to call Hannibal, and after yesterday's conversation, he hated calling. The team had enough on their plate dealing with Templeton. He felt a pang in his heart as he thought of what the young man was going through. He had faith that Hannibal and the others would set him straight again, but it still hurt him to see Templeton suffer so. He smiled as he remembered the times he had taken care of Templeton as a child. Now it seemed Templeton didn't need him any longer, he had found a family to take care of him. He smiled wistfully, Templeton had always longed for a family and now he had one.
Face woke a bit disorientated, he moaned as he remembered exactly where he was and what brought him here. He heard a soft snore and glanced over to see Murdock sleeping on the bed beside him. Having the urge to use the restroom, he sat up on the bed. Feeling dizzy, he waited a moment, resting his head in his hands.
Murdock woke as he felt Face move beside him. He opened his eyes to see Face sitting on the edge of the bed. Murdock moved slowly towards him, resting his hand on Face's shoulder. He whispered, "Face, you okay?"
"Yeah" Face mumbled softly. "I need to use the bathroom." He pushed off the bed, he was trembling so hard, and he nearly collapsed. Murdock moved quickly and held a supporting arm across his shoulders, speaking softly. "Let me help you Face."
At the moment, Face was feeling a little better. He didn't have the paralyzing cramps, just felt weak and exhausted. "I think I can manage on my own."
Murdock hesitated, not quite sure weather to believe him. Face took a shaky step towards the bathroom, and Murdock stepped away. He watched Face carefully, ready to leap forward if he fell. After several moments Face managed the small journey, turning and giving Murdock a tentative smile. Murdock smiled in return, and as the bathroom door closed, he sat on the bed.
Face leaned against the door, trying to gather his strength. He glanced in the mirror and grimaced in disgust. He was filthy and had a scraggly beard. He noticed Hannibal's razor sitting on the sink, picking it up; he tried to control his trembling as he began to shave.
Murdock sat on the bed anxiously; Face had been in the bathroom several minutes. Hannibal and BA walked into the bedroom, Hannibal immediately asking. "Where's Face?" Murdock's eyes moved to the closed bathroom door, he lurched to his feet as he heard the shower turn on.
"What the hell?" Hannibal muttered angrily as he moved towards the bathroom. He knocked on the door, "Face? Open up!" He reached for the handle; surprised to find it unlocked. He pushed open the door and saw Face sitting on the toilet. He was shaking uncontrollably; he looked up at Hannibal.
"I wanted....a shower." Face whispered.
Face looked scared and lost as he sat on the toilet trembling uncontrollably. His face dotted with red spots of blood where he had cut himself shaving. "Face, it'll be alright." Hannibal whispered as he sat on the floor beside him. "Do you want one of us to help you?"
Face nodded his head, "Yeah."
Hannibal began running the water and BA left the room as the phone rang. He hurried into the living room picking it up. "Yeah?" He listened for a few moments, scowling softly under his breath. He looked towards the bedroom, "Hang on Father, I'll get Hannibal." He set the phone down and hurried into the bathroom. Face was just lying back in the tub when he walked in. "Hannibal, you got a call."
Hannibal frowned and handed Murdock the shampoo; "I'll be right back." He chuckled as Face ignored him, too enraptured in the warm water. BA led him into the living room, closing the bedroom door softly.
"Hannibal, Maghill is on the phone. There's trouble." BA whispered.
Hannibal's stomach sank; he picked up the phone. "Father?" He listened for several minutes, finally replying quietly, "Okay Father, BA and I will be there soon." He hung up the phone cursing softly. "Shit!"
He met BA's worried eyes, "Beth checked herself out of the hospital yesterday. She hasn't been heard from since."
"Oh man! What are we going to tell Face?"
"Nothing yet. He has enough to handle without worrying about her." Hannibal answered. BA frowned, and Hannibal glanced back at the bedroom door. "There' s some soup in the cabinet, heat some up. I want him to eat something before we leave." "I don't like lying to him Hannibal," BA whispered. Hannibal frowned, "We're not. We're going to find out what the hell is going on." He saw the doubt in BA's eyes, and continued. "Listen, we'll tell him when we know something for sure."
BA was about to argue, when the bedroom door opened and Face walked unsteadily out. Murdock walked closely beside him, making sure he didn't fall. With one more glance at Hannibal, he walked into the kitchen and began to heat the soup.
Face sat heavily on the couch; "I wanted to sit amongst the living for awhile." He smiled shakily, trying to show he could manage.
Hannibal smiled broadly, "Great! How about something to eat?"
Face grimaced, shaking his head. Hannibal sat beside him, "Come on Face, you need to eat something."
Murdock accepted the bowl from BA; "I'll help you Face." He spooned some of the soup and Face reluctantly swallowed. He waited a moment to see if Face could keep it down. He asked softly, "Okay?" At Face's nod, he fed him some more.
Face managed half the bowl, before his stomach began to protest. He rose from the couch, Murdock helping him. "I think I want to go back to bed." Hannibal nodded and Murdock led him back towards the bedroom. He sank grateful back into bed, and fell asleep.
Murdock covered him with the blanket, taking time to gently push his hair from his face. He glanced up to see Hannibal motioning him to the living room. He quietly walked from the bedroom, closing the door behind him. "What 's up?"
"We have to leave." Hannibal whispered. At Murdock's confused expression, he continued. "Maghill called, Beth disappeared from the hospital."
Murdock whispered frantically, "What! Where is she?"
"I don't know, but I can guess. BA and I are going to drive over to Dusty' s, see if she went there."
Murdock glanced back at the bedroom, "What do I tell Face."
"Nothing for now, not until we know what happened." Hannibal ordered. He grabbed his coat and walked towards the door, glancing back at Murdock. "Call us on the van phone if you need us."
Murdock nodded as Hannibal and BA left the apartment. He turned and walked back into the bedroom, sitting in the chair beside the bed.
Dusty packed his car quickly, gathering up all his valuables. He was shocked to see Beth in the house, and the events after that were blurry. Now she was lying on the kitchen floor bleeding. She hadn't moved, and he knew he had gone too far. He had killed her and now he had to run. He grabbed his heroin stash and the money and ran to his car.
He would have a few days to escape the country, before anyone found her. He pulled from his driveway, tires squealing as he drove away.
Lori stared out her window, watching as Dusty threw stuff into his car. She noticed how panicked he was, always glancing around. Earlier she had seen Beth walking down the street, she had wanted to go and say hello, but her infant son Jack was hungry. After she put Jack down, she noticed Dusty was home and never liking that man, decided to wait till he went to work. Now, after watching him barrel out of the drive, she became a little concerned. She glanced at her older son, "Jeffy, watch Jack. I'll be right back." The boy nodded and she left the house, walking towards Beth's. As she walked onto the front porch, she noticed the front door open. Sticking her head in, she called. "Beth? Are you home?" She slowly walked inside, fear settling around her. She screamed as she saw Beth lying on the floor, blood pooling around her. At the same instant, the phone rang. She picked up crying; she heard an elderly gentleman's voice. "Beth! Beth is that you?" Lori sank to the floor, sobbing. "NO! Beth's dead!"
Father Maghill gasped, suddenly hearing the dial tone. With shaking hands, he dialed Hannibal's apartment.
Murdock woke from his light doze as the phone rang. He rose off the bed and hurried into the living room. Breathlessly, he answered. "Hello?"
Face sat up, hearing the phone ringing. He heard Murdock's muffled voice, he glanced around the room noticing he was alone. He closed his eyes, as a part of him screamed to leave and find heroin. He knew it would take the pain away, but he also knew it would destroy him and his family. He sat up in bed, wanting to be with someone. He felt chilled, so he grabbed Hannibal' s robe and put it on. On shaky legs he walked towards the door, opening it quietly.
Murdock whispered urgently, "Father calm down! Hannibal and BA are on their way over to Dusty's." He was silent for a few moments, listening carefully. He groaned, "Oh my god, Beth's dead." He turned suddenly, hearing the small cry from behind. He froze as he saw Face standing in the door, his face ashen. He was shaking his head in denial and Murdock saw his eyes fill with tears. Face suddenly stepped back into the room, closing the door and locking it. "Father I'll call you back!" Murdock hung up the phone, running towards the door. He pounded on it, pleading. "Face open the door! Please Face let me in!"
Inside the bedroom, Face frantically threw on his clothes. He had to find Beth, had to make sure she was okay. He headed for the door, pausing as he remembered where Hannibal kept his gun. He stumbled to the closet, finding it easily. He shoved it into his waist and opened the door. Murdock was standing on the other side, through gritted teeth, he whispered. "Get out of my way!"
Murdock shook his head; "I can't do that Face." Face tried to push past him Murdock grabbed his him. "Please Face! Let's wait until Hannibal gets back!"
"NO! I have to find her!" He struggled to get free of Murdock's grasp. As they wrestled, Face became livid; he pulled the gun from his waist pointing it at Murdock. "She's not dead! I know it!"
Murdock spoke softly, "Face, they found her at Dusty's." Face shook his head furiously and Murdock continued. "I'm sorry Face." Face's hands were shaking as he held the gun on Murdock. Murdock stepped closer, slowly reaching for the weapon. "Come on Face, give me the gun." He reached for the gun in Face's hand.
Face shook his head, denying Murdock's words. As Murdock reached for the gun, Face stepped back. He tripped over the coffee table, losing his balance he squeezed the trigger. The gun fell from his hands, as he landed on the floor. Expecting Murdock to grab him, he crawled away quickly. It was then, he saw Murdock lying on the floor. He stared at his friend for a moment before crawling over to him. He screamed, "Oh Jesus no!" He saw the blood pooling around Murdock's head, soaking into the carpet. He scrambled to his feet in sheer terror. He had shot his best friend in the head, he had killed Murdock. He couldn't bare to see Murdock lying there, he ran blindly from the apartment.
BA parked the van a few blocks from Beth's house. He watched, as the police talked with a woman in the front yard. A moment later, the front door opening and a stretcher was wheeled out. "Hannibal, look!"
"It's Beth." Hannibal whispered. They watched as the rescue squad loaded Beth into the ambulance, a moment later, pulling away from the curb. "Follow them BA." Hannibal ordered. He wanted to know exactly which hospital they were taking her. From the way the paramedics were hurrying, he knew she was in bad shape. BA drove carefully through the streets, keeping a safe distance from the ambulance. It pulled into Saint Joseph's; BA drove past the emergency entrance and again parked the van on a side street.
Hannibal watched as Beth was rushed inside. He picked up the phone, dialing Maghill. It rang several times before a breathless Maghill answered. "Hello."
"Father, BA and I are out side Saint Joseph's. Beth was just brought into emergency." Hannibal explained.
Father Maghill sank into his chair, relief flooding through him. "Thank the Lord! I thought she was dead!"
Confused, Hannibal asked. "Why did you think that? Who did you talk with?"
Maghill began to explain to Hannibal what had happened. "I called Beth's house, hoping she was there. A woman answered and was quite hysterical. She told me Beth was dead." He took a deep breath, the events of the last few weeks catching up with him. "I couldn't find a way to get to her house, so I called your place hoping to catch you."
Hannibal felt sudden fear creep along his spine, he asked quietly. "Who did you talk to?"
Maghill answered. "I spoke to Murdock."
Hannibal rubbed his eyes, there was no telling what Face would do if he found out something happened to Beth. He asked Maghill, "Can you get to Saint Joseph's?"
"Yes." Maghill paused, "Hannibal is everything okay at your house?"
Hannibal answered softly; "I hope so." He hung up the phone, glancing at a worried BA. "Drive home BA, I got a bad feeling." He dialed his apartment, his fears growing as no one answered the phone.
Face crouched behind a dumpster, trembling in fear and grief. After fleeing Hannibal's apartment, he ran blindly through the streets. He finally ran into an alley and sought refuge behind the dumpster. He sat resting his back against the wall and his knees against his chest. His mind replaying the sight of Murdock lying lifelessly on Hannibal's floor, blood oozing from his head. He rested his forehead against his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Beth was gone, and now so was his best friend. A man he loved like a brother. He would have gladly given up his own life for Murdock. He thought of Hannibal and BA, and how devastated they would be when they found Murdock. Face could never go back, never face the men he thought of as family. He had destroyed everything, in one instant he had destroyed the family he always wanted. He closed his eyes in pain; he had nothing to live for. He wrapped his arms across his chest, pretending it was Murdock's arms. He longed to feel Murdock hold him, protecting him. He sobbed loudly as he realized he never would feel Murdock hold him again. He looked to the sky; tears coursed down his face. He whispered, "I'm so sorry Murdock." He sank his head against his knees, the sobs choking him.
Hannibal hurried down the hall leading to his apartment. On the drive over, he began to panic. Visualizing what he and BA would find. He unlocked the door, shoving it open in haste. He screamed as he saw Murdock lying on the floor. "Murdock!" he knelt down beside the captain, immediately checking his pulse. He let his breath go, as he felt the steady beat beneath his fingers. Gently he turned Murdock's head, seeing the deep gash on the side. He glanced up at BA; "He's alive! I need some towels to stop the bleeding." BA nodded and hurried off, Hannibal focused his attention back on Murdock. His fingers trembled as he parted Murdock's hair, getting a closer look at the wound. Murdock was lucky the bullet only grazed him, Hannibal shuddered realizing what could have happened. BA handed him the towels and Hannibal applied pressure to the wound.
Murdock moaned softly, opening his eyes. He blinked rapidly, trying to focus. Finally he saw Hannibal and BA kneeling over him. For a moment he was confused as to what was happening, then panic filled him as he remembered Face. He tried to sit up, Hannibal gently restraining him. He managed to find his voice, "Face!"
Hannibal glanced at BA, who shook his head. He laid a comforting hand on Murdock's shoulder. "Easy Murdock, we'll find him."
Murdock tried to sit up again, this time feeling Hannibal and BA's hands helping him. He swayed dizzily for a moment, before managing to sit on the couch. He held the towel to his head, and met Hannibal's eyes. He spoke miserably, "Father called, said Beth was dead." He broke off for a moment, taking a deep breath. "Face overheard us talking. He locked himself in the bedroom. When he came out....he went crazy." He glanced at the floor; "I'm sorry Hannibal, I...I tried to stop him."
Hannibal sat on the couch beside him, pulling him into his arms. "It's okay Murdock, we'll find him." He felt Murdock trembling and knew he had to get him back to the VA. He was worried over his wound and wanted him checked out by the doctors. He whispered, "Murdock can you walk?" Murdock pulled away and nodded his head slightly,
Hannibal continued. "Good, we need to get you back to the VA, have the doctors check your head."
Murdock shook his head, wincing as the pain lanced across his head. He stammered, "No. I..I want to find Face!"
BA knelt down in front of Murdock, taking his hand. "Listen Murdock. Let us take you back, so the doctors can look at you. We'll find Face and bring him home." Murdock opened his mouth to protest, BA stopping him. "We can't find Face if we're worried about you passing out on us! Just let them check you over, and then you can help us."
Murdock nodded in defeat; Hannibal gently helped him off the couch. Together Hannibal and BA guided him to the van. It was a quiet journey to the VA.
Father Maghill sat in the waiting lounge at Saint Joseph's. He had been waiting nearly four hours. He drank his coffee, praying for Beth, Templeton and the team. So much had happened in the last few weeks, he prayed the insanity would end. He looked up as a doctor approached.
Dr. Holt stuck his hand out to the priest, introducing himself. "Hello Father, I'm Dr. Holt. I'm told you are waiting information concerning Beth Staff?"
Father Maghill nodded, asking. "Yes, is she going to be all right?"
"I'm sorry Father." The doctor answered quietly.
Father Maghill sat heavily in the nearest chair, whispering. "Oh dear God no,"
Dr. Holt sat beside the elderly priest, resting his hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry Father, she suffered a severe skull fracture, there was nothing we could do." He waited a moment, before asking softly. "There are arrangements that need to be made, we need to contact her family."
Maghill nodded, meeting the doctor's eyes. "I'll see to her needs doctor."
Face lifted his head, noticing it was now night. He shivered as the cold winter air chilled him. He felt the cramps in his stomach, and knew what would stop them. He had no reason now to fight the craving. He rose unsteadily to his feet, staggering out of the alley. He walked for over an hour, forcing his legs to carry him. He soon found himself in the section of the city where crime and drugs were rampant. He watched as prostitutes walked the street corners, hoping to score. One of them noticed him and walked towards him.
"Hey sugar, looking for some action?"
Face stepped back slightly, "No..I" He paused, and stepped closer, resting his hands on her waist. "I need some heroin, do you have any?"
Holly eyed the man before her, trying to determine if he was a cop. She decided he wasn't, a cop would be dressed warmer. He was only wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and she swore he showed signs of withdrawal. His complexion was pale, dark shadows under his eyes and she could feel his hands trembling. She nodded, and grasped his hand, pulling him down the street.
Face followed her as they walked through an empty lot, finally stopping behind an abandoned warehouse. The girl reached inside her purse and pulled out a small bag. He watched as she dug out a needle and spoon, finally pulling out a small bag of heroin. He licked his lips and stammered. "I..I don't have any money."
Holly raised her eyes in amazement. She stared at the man; he had a desperate look in his eyes. She smiled seductively, moving closer and pinning him against the side of the building. She ran her hands across his chest, "I'm sure we can work out a deal." She raised her eyebrows, waiting for his answer.
Face cringed mentally, knowing what she wanted from him. He thought of Beth and Murdock, both gone. He wanted the drug in her purse, knowing that was the only way to ease his pain. Her hands were caressing his body, making him feel sick. As her hands wondered across the front of his jeans, he grabbed her wrists. "I want the heroin first!"
Holly smiled, and began to prepare the drug. She broke off some heroin and placed it on the spoon. With her lighter she began to melt it into a liquid, filling the needle she turned towards the trembling man.
Face pushed his sleeve up, and with her help, injected the heroin into his system. He sank to the ground, leaning his back against the wall, letting the drug flow through him. After a few moments, he felt the girl climb on top of him. He opened his eyes; "My name is Tem."
Holly laughed, "I don't care what you name is sugar. We had a deal." She leaned in and kissed him.
Face returned the kiss as best he could, feeling her hands caressing him through his pants. He felt his buckle being undone and his zipper lowered. As the drug took a hold of him, his humiliation and shame disappeared. Leaving him feeling totally empty, void of any feelings.
BA drove along the street slowly, keeping his eyes open for any signs of Face. It was now nearly two in the morning and they had been driving for several hours. He rubbed at his eyes tiredly; they had already checked Face' s scammed apartment, finding it empty. Hannibal had decided to gather Face's belongings, not sure when Face would be able to return home. He continued to drive, praying that they would find him.
Hannibal stared out the window, wondering how he could have prevented this. It was January, and although it was LA, it was still bitter cold outside. He wondered where Face could have run to, he wanted so much to find him that it ached inside. He glanced at the clock, it was past two. "BA, let's call it a night." BA simply nodded and turned the van around. As BA turned the van around in an empty lot, the headlights shinned on a woman. She was walking across the lot, shoving something in her purse. Hannibal guessed she was a prostitute and wondered what had made her choose her lifestyle. Was she on drugs; did no one care for her? He watched her sadly as she worked the street, talking with men she didn't know. He whispered softly, "Where are you Face?"
Alone once more, Face sat up buckling his pants. The girls words echoing in his head. 'If you need money, a good-looking guy like you could make a killing at the train station. There are lot's of men who would pay dearly to be with you.' Face had been appalled and told her that was out of the question. She had laughed at him and walked away. He realized though, he needed money. The amount of heroin she had given him wasn't enough, he needed more.
He rose to his feet and began to walk, trying to figure out where he could get some cash. His cash was tied up in the team, and there was no way he could touch it now. He stopped suddenly, remembering that Maghill always kept some cash in his office. Face had at one time tried talking him into depositing it into a bank, so it would be safe. Maghill had brushed off his concerns, saying that he had faith in the Lord. Face swallowed, it was his only option. There was no way he could sell himself at the train station. Feeling the cold, he walked briskly towards the orphanage.
Face had been gone for a full day, and BA continued to drive through the streets, watching the people carefully and looking for anything that might lead them to Face. He stopped at a red light, watching a homeless man dig in the trash can, he fought back the tears, as he thought of Face alone and frightened. Knowing Beth was gone and thinking he had killed Murdock. BA could only imagine what he was thinking how he felt. He worried what Face would do; terrified that he would do something stupid. The light changed, and BA was brought from his reverie. He listened as Hannibal argued with Murdock over the phone.
Murdock pleaded through the phone, "Please Hannibal! I have to help you find him!"
Hannibal sighed, "Murdock, I think it would be better for you to rest a few days. Give yourself time to heal, don't worry we'll find him."
Murdock tried to keep the panic from his voice, "Hannibal, he thinks I'm dead! When you do find him he'll need to see me! Make sure I'm real!"
Hannibal moaned softly, knowing Murdock's words were true. He glanced at BA, who simply shrugged his shoulders. "Okay Murdock, we'll be there in twenty minutes." He hung up the phone, "BA."
BA whispered, "Yeah, I know." He turned the van around heading for the VA hospital.
Face woke up shivering from the cold. He sat up slowly and moaned softly as he remembered where he was. After breaking into Maghill's office last night, he had broken into the abandoned warehouse and fell asleep. He ran his hands through his hair, he wasn't sure if he was trembling from the cold or the withdrawal of heroin. He pulled the money from his pocket, counting it silently. He sighed, not much but enough to last him for a while. He didn't want to think about what he would do after the money was gone.
He thought of Hannibal and BA, they were sure by now what he had done. Tears came to his eyes, he had done something the military had been trying to do for years, destroy the team. He thought of Murdock, he was Face's best friend. Had helped him through some of the worst times in his life, and he had killed him. He shook his head, trying to clear the awful images. He rose to his feet, walking towards the broken out window. He shivered again; it was cold and raining hard. He needed to find some warmer clothes, but first he needed more heroin, to try and dull the pain in his heart.
Murdock sat in the back, absently rubbing the bandage on his head. He stared out the window, lost in his thoughts. Maghill had called several hours ago, telling them that Beth had died. The old man was devastated, and Hannibal had to add to his misery by telling him Face had disappeared. Maghill was in tears, when he told Hannibal about the stolen money, only Templeton and a few others had known of its existence. Murdock knew Face had taken the money, and was petrified by the action. He realized that Face was alone and scared, in his mind his entire life destroyed. That kind of thinking would make a man desperate, and that scared the shit out of Murdock. They had to find Face, and find him quick.
Face pulled aside the plywood and climbed inside the abandoned warehouse. He glanced around nervously, making sure he was alone. He huddled into the furthest and darkest corner and began preparing the heroin. He had spent most of the day looking for someone selling the stuff, and was now feeling the affects of the wait. His hands trembled as he injected the needle into his arm. He breathed deeply feeling the aching in his joints and the cramping in his stomach subside. On his journey for heroin, he had stopped and bought himself a coat from a used clothing store. The coat was worn and did little to keep him warm, but he figured it was better than nothing. Besides he had little money, and the cost of heroin had surprised him. He figured, if he was careful, he had enough money to supply him with heroin for a month.
He reached into his coat pocket, pulling out the sandwich he had purchased at the gas station. He gagged several times, but forced himself to eat. When he was finished, he curled into the corner, listening to the rain outside. He stared into the darkness, thinking of Murdock and Beth. Each one holding a special piece of his heart. Tears welled in his eyes; he reached for the heroin again, wanting to numb the pain.
Hannibal sat on his patio smoking a cigar, BA and Murdock still sleeping inside. He needed these moments alone, where he didn't always have to be the strong one. The one who reassured everyone, telling them that everything was going to be okay. Deep inside though, he was scared. Scared that they may never find Face, the kid had vanished into thin air. Like the others, Hannibal was devastated. Face was in bad shape when he had run, Hannibal knew he was back on the heroin. He knew the kid was running scared, thinking his whole life was destroyed. The thought of Face taking the heroin, alone and scared, tore Hannibal's heart out. A nagging voice haunted him, was Face even alive? It had been over three weeks, and they hadn't found him yet. They searched everyday, driving endlessly along the streets. There was no sign of Face, and the nagging voice seemed to be getting more persistent. He closed his eyes; images of Face injecting himself full of heroin haunted Hannibal. A single tear escaped his closed eyes, rolling down his cheek. Hannibal loved Face like a son, and imagining what Face was going through alone, was tearing Hannibal apart. His shoulders shook; he was no longer able to control the tears.
BA watched Hannibal; he had been on his way to make coffee, when he had spotted the older man on the patio. He saw Hannibal's shoulders shaking and knew he was crying. BA walked silently in the kitchen, giving Hannibal time to grieve alone. He silently made the coffee, praying that they would find something. For the last three weeks, BA watched as Face's disappearance was slowly destroying his family. It tore his heart out listening to Murdock cry himself to sleep at night, or watch Hannibal bury his fears so far down; he was making himself sick. It was almost a relief to see Hannibal letting go of some of his grief. BA had faith that they would find Face, knew it in his heart that Face was alive. They would just have to keep looking. He banged some pots together, letting Hannibal know he was awake.
The rain was leaking through the roof, creating large puddles on the warehouse floor. Face shivered, he was so cold. He coughed suddenly, his chest aching. He curled into a ball, trying to stay warm, pulling the coat tighter around his body. He knew he was sick, he had lost weight dramatically. Living on coffee and a sandwich every now and then, he had become skin and bones. Face didn't care; he had lost everything that mattered to him, now he was just existing. Unable to go to sleep, he sat up blowing into his hands, trying to bring warmth into his cold fingers. He rose to his feet, a wave a nausea passing through him. He glanced at the heroin, and shook his head. The way he was trembling he would never manage the needle. He walked to the window, pushing aside the plywood. He needed a cup of coffee first; something to warm him before he handled the drug. He walked through the field, ignoring the cold rain that soaked him. Someone suddenly jumped him from behind, knocking him to the ground. Face tried to push them off, his wind knocked from his body as they kicked him in the ribs. He gasped in pain, trying to crawl away. He managed to get to his hands and knees before they kicked him again. This time, he cried out in pain, and found himself lying in the dirt, moaning. Face felt two pairs of hands roll him over, someone straddled him. His eyes wouldn't focus, and a blurry shape hovered over him. His head suddenly exploded in pain, as they began to punch him. Before he passed out, he felt hands in his pocket, taking the rest of his money. He hoped they would kill him.
Holly walked down the street; she was exhausted after another long night. She was just relieved the rain had stopped. She passed by the empty lot, noticing the bum sleeping. She sighed, her life wasn't what she dreamed, but at least she had a home. She heard the man moan, she froze recognizing him immediately. Cautiously, she walked towards him. She knelt down beside him, gently rolling him over. She gasped, he was a mess. His eye swollen shut; blood caked in his beard. She touched the side of his face, startled at how warm his skin was. His eyes flew open at her touch, he moaned softly as he tried to move away from her. She whispered, "Shh, it's okay. I won't hurt you." He closed his eyes again, and she was afraid he was going to pass out. She shook his arm gently; "Can you walk?"
Face opened his eyes again, staring at the strange woman. He suddenly remembered her; she was the prostitute he met the first night. She gently ran her hand through his hair, soothing him. With her help, he struggled to his feet. He gasped in pain and nearly collapsed, pain erupting along his side. Holly gripped him tighter, whispering words of encouragement. Slowly they made their way to her small apartment.
Holly struggled, trying to unlock the door and keep the man from falling to the ground. Finally she pushed the door open and led him to the bed in the center of the room. She sat him on the bed, holding onto his shoulder to keep him from collapsing. Holly removed his soaked coat and shirt, wincing as she saw the deep bruises covering his chest and sides. Once she removed his shirt, she gently laid him back on her bed reaching for the buckle on his pants.
Face opened his eyes wide as he felt a hand opening his pants. He moved stiffly, trying to crawl away. He heard a woman's voice, "Shh, it's okay! I just want to get you out of these wet clothes." He nodded and sat up, helping her remove his pants. She made a face, kicking his filthy clothing in the corner. She pulled the comforter off her bed, wrapping it around his shoulders. He smiled weakly, "Thanks."
Holly returned the smile, reaching up she brushed the hair from his face. She whistled softly, "Damn sugar, you're a mess!"
"My name is Templeton." Face whispered.
"Okay Templeton, my name is Holly. Do you think you can manage a shower?" Holly asked.
Face rose unsteadily, holding his ribs as he followed Holly into her bathroom. As she adjusted the water, he relished the fact he was going to be able to wash. An image of Hannibal, BA and Murdock helping him bathe flashed across his mind. He moaned softly, pushing the image away. He pushed the shower curtain aside, wincing as he stepped into the tub. He turned to Holly; "I can manage." He pulled the shower curtain closed.
Holly grinned, she left him alone and walked back towards the main room She crinkled her nose at his clothes, picking them up carefully, she headed towards the laundry room down the hall.
Face emerged from the bathroom wearing a towel around his waist. His ribs ached, but at least he was clean again. He saw Holly sitting at a table, preparing heroin. He licked his lips as he watched her hold the fire under the spoon, melting the drug into a liquid form. He suddenly realized the men who attacked him had taken all his money. He had a little of the drug left enough to last him for a few more days. He tried not to panic and sat slowly in the chair beside her. She met his eyes, and smiled. He waited nervously, watching her fill the needle.
Holly glanced at Templeton; she handed him the needle. He smiled his thanks and injected himself. She watched him closely, amazed at how he had changed since she had last seen him. His face was chalky, almost translucent, the bruises standing out vividly. Now that he had shaved, she could see them clearly. Her eyes roamed his body, noticing how thin he was.
Face handed her the needle, eyeing her warily. He remembered the last time he had taken her drugs, and what she wanted from him in return. He looked around the room for his clothes, not seeing them anywhere. He asked softly, "Where's my clothes?"
"Oh, I threw them in the wash." She met his eyes and chuckled softly, "They should be burned, but I figured they were all you had." He looked away, smiling faintly. She stared at him a moment, before asking. "Do you have any money?" He continued to stare at the floor, shaking his head slightly. Holly sighed, "Listen you can stay here for the day, but you have to leave tonight. I have to work."
Face nodded, "Thanks." She smiled and went into the kitchen, preparing them both something to eat. He stared out the window, wondering how he was going to get some money. He thought about going back to the orphanage, dismissing the idea immediately. Certainly Maghill had taken care of the rest of his money. He felt a wave of shame, Maghill certainly knew he was the one who had taken the money. He remembered Holly telling him about the train station; he shuddered at the thought. He suddenly realized he had no other choice. Holly emerged, placing a bowl of soup in front of him. He stared at her for a moment, asking. "Why are you doing this?"
Holly looked up from her soup confused. "What do you mean?"
"Why are you helping me?" Face asked softly.
Holly studied him, before answering simply. "I don't know, something about you tells me your safe."
Face stared at her, in a quiet tight voice, he whispered. "You know nothing of me! He tried to keep the quiver from his voice as he whispered. "I had a brother, who used to think the same." He rose abruptly and walked to the window, tensing as he felt her approach from behind.
Holly laid her hand on his back, "Your right, I know nothing about you. I do know that you could use some help." She hesitated, and then continued softly. "So here I am."
Face turned and faced her; she smiled at him and continued softly. "Look, I 'll I'm offering is some dope and soup. Nothing more." Face thought about it, he smiled and let her lead him back to the table. He sat stiffly, and started to eat the soup.
"BA, park the van. I want to get out and walk these streets, show people a picture of Face. Someone must have seen him." Hannibal ordered softly. BA pulled the van over, and Hannibal climbed out. He handed Murdock one of the pictures; "You and BA cross the street. See if any one has seen him." Murdock nodded and he and BA quickly crossed the street. Hannibal glanced down at the picture; Face smiled back at him. Hannibal felt his heart constrict in pain, he pushed the pain aside, as he had done for several weeks. He started walking, it was early evening and the streets were getting busy.
Hannibal had walked for over an hour, asking people if they had seen Face. So far, no one had. He passed an empty lot, remembering it from the first night Face had disappeared. Hannibal wondered what happened to the prostitute that they had seen.
Murdock and BA watched cautiously at the two men on the corner. It was obvious to BA and Murdock that they were dealing drugs. Murdock pushed off from the wall, following the man with the drugs. BA and Murdock followed him for several blocks, keeping their distance. They saw him duck into an alley, and decided to follow.
BA glanced at Murdock; their eyes met and BA nodded his head. They walked silently into the alley. BA smiled, the guy was leaning against the wall, counting his money. BA walked up behind him, tapping him on the shoulder. The man nearly jumped out of his skin, as he saw BA standing behind him. BA scowled, grabbing him by the throat. "I hate drug dealing scum!"
The guy was startled and Murdock, stepped forward shoving the picture of Face under the guys nose. Through clenched teeth, he asked. "Have you ever seen this guy?"
BA tightened his grip, trying to encourage an answer. Finally he heard the guy gasp, and he loosened his grip.
"Yeah, I saw him." He choked.
BA was momentarily stunned, after weeks of hearing nothing they finally found a clue. He gripped the man tighter, "When? When did you see him?"
"A few Days ago!" The dealer stammered. "He bought some dope, a few streets away!"
Murdock was trembling, Face was alive! In a quiet voice, he asked. "Do you know where he is?"
The dealer eyed them warily, hesitating. He choked as the grip around his throat tightened. He decided to tell them what he knew, hopefully they would leave him alone. "I saw him go into the abandoned warehouse on Sixth Street! I swear, that's the last I saw of him!"
BA growled, "You better not be lying!" The dealer shook his head; BA let him go and followed Murdock out of the alley. They had to find Hannibal and let them know what they had found. He spotted the Colonel across the street, "Come on Murdock, let's tell Hannibal what we found!" Together they hurried across the street.
Hannibal paused as Murdock waved frantically at him. The look on Murdock's face caused his heart to flutter. As they approached, he asked. "What is it? Is there something wrong?"
Murdock spoke breathlessly, "A dealer saw Face go into an abandoned warehouse on Sixth!"
Hannibal remembered seeing the building, it was by the vacant lot. His heart missed a beat, "A dealer?"
Murdock lowered his gaze, "Yeah, I guess he's still using."
Hannibal nodded grimly, trying to formulate a plan. "Okay, let's check out the warehouse, hopefully Face will still be there." BA and Murdock nodded their heads anxiously, and Hannibal warned. "Now listen, he's going to be out of his mind on that shit, be careful."
Murdock glanced at BA, before replying softly. "Yeah, I know Hannibal." He met Hannibal's eyes; "I just want to find him."
BA squeezed Murdock's shoulders, "We all do, Murdock." Murdock nodded silently, and BA could see him fighting back the tears. He looked to Hannibal; "Shall we go?"
"Grab some flashlights from the van, BA" Hannibal ordered. As BA went to the van, Hannibal wrapped his arm around Murdock. "We're going to find him Murdock."
Murdock wiped his eyes, fighting the tears that threatened to overwhelm him. "I know Hannibal." BA returned and handed him his flashlight, they hurried to the abandoned warehouse.
Face woke and found himself in Holly's bed. He sat up as he heard her coming out of the bathroom. "Oh good, your awake. I left your clothes on the chair there." Holly pointed as she sat at the table. He rose slowly from the bed; relieved to see he was still wearing the towel. He grabbed his clothes and started to dress.
Holly filled the needle, sighing in relief as she injected herself. Templeton sat beside her and she prepared him a dose. She handed him the needle, "I have to leave, go to work."
"Yeah, I'm going to go and find some money." Face mumbled as he pushed the needle into his vein.
Holly couldn't resist, she sarcastically asked. "Yeah? Why don't you tell me where that money tree is hiding?" She saw him look at her sharply, and she continued. "I'm sorry. It's just that we all have to do what we have to in order to survive." He nodded miserably, she held his hand. "Listen, go to the station. Find an old guy, they'll pay just to watch." He remained silent, staring at the table. She sighed and rose from her chair. "I have to go."
Face took a deep breath, wincing as his bruised ribs protested. He followed her out the door, waiting as she locked it behind them. She smiled at him and turned to leave, he grabbed her arm. "Be careful out there Holly."
Holly was stunned; no one had ever cared. She grabbed his hand again, whispering. "Come back in the morning. You can stay with me for awhile." She turned away and headed for the street, another long night in front of her.
Face watched her go, before finally turning away. He walked on unsteady legs to the train station. Never had he imagined he would be so desperate, he had hit rock bottom.
BA pried away the plywood allowing them to enter the warehouse. As Murdock' s flashlight shone inside, he saw the rats scurrying for cover. He winced, imagining Face living here. He turned as he heard BA's voice.
"Hannibal! Murdock!" BA whispered loudly. He heard Hannibal and Murdock running towards him. Hannibal asking, "What is it BA?" He shone his light in the corner, showing them what he had found.
Hannibal knelt down beside the trash, a few sandwich wrappers and dozens of coffee cups. It was obvious someone was living here. In the corner a bag caught his attention. He opened it and cursed softly. He looked up at Murdock and BA, "Heroin."
Murdock fought his despair, he had hoped that Face would have been here. In a panicked voice, he shouted. "Where is he? Where could he have gone?"
As Murdock started to lose control, BA glanced at Hannibal expecting him to calm Murdock. BA saw Hannibal was staring at the trash, his own emotions choking him. He turned to Murdock, roughly grabbing his shoulders. "Listen fool! We are close!" He shouted as Murdock stared uncomprehendingly. "We will find him!" In a pleading voice, he continued. "Don't fall apart now Murdock. We're so close."
Murdock shrugged BA's hands off, asking. "What now?"
Hannibal rose, BA's words pulling him from the brink of despair. In a strong voice, he answered Murdock. "We go back out and search. He's close Murdock, I can feel it." He didn't wait for a reply; he walked out of the warehouse.
Hannibal sighed as the young girl walked away, she hadn't seen Face. He was about to put the picture in his pocket, when he saw the prostitute walking towards him. Holly eyed the silver haired man, hoping he wasn't a cop. Causally, she walked towards him, eyeing him warily. She smiled, "Hey sugar. I haven't seen you around."
Hannibal returned her smile, "I'm looking for a friend." He handed her the picture, "Have you seen him?"
Holly gasped, unable to hide her shock. A healthy vibrant Templeton smiled broadly at her. The man that had spent the afternoon with her barely resembled the man in the picture. Her hands shook as she handed the picture to the silver haired man. She stammered, "No,...I haven't seen him." She tried to walk past; his hand grabbed her arm.
Hannibal met the ladies eyes, and he saw how frightened she was. He loosened his grip, not letting go. "Please, he's a friend. I just want to find him and help him." In her eyes, he watched her inner battle. Hannibal knew she could tell him where Face was. He let her go, and in a voice barely above a whisper, pleaded. "Please lady, he's my son."
Holly was confused; she wasn't sure what she should do. She couldn't tell if the guy was telling her the truth or not. She stared at the picture; the Templeton she knew was just a shadow of the one in the picture. She raised her eyes; "You're not going to hurt him?"
Hannibal whispered, "I would never hurt him!"
Holly glanced back at the picture, before handing it back to the older man. She hoped she was doing the right thing, hoped Templeton would be saved from this hell. "He's at the train station."
"Is he buying heroin there?" Hannibal asked softly.
Holly laughed sadly, "No, he's trying to get the money to buy the dope there." She saw the horror on his face, and whispered defensively. "Listen pal, he's just trying to survive like the rest of us!"
Hannibal frowned; he couldn't imagine Face selling himself. He grasped her hand, "Thank you for telling me where he is." The girl smiled and walked away, Hannibal looked frantically for Murdock and BA. He spotted BA by the van, Hannibal hurried towards him. They had to get to the station, find Face and pull him from this living hell he had got himself into.
Face wondered through the train station, not quiet sure what he should do. Since it was Friday night, the station was bustling. He had been there for a few hours and had seen a few young men leaving with other men. Others simply disappeared into the men's room. He sat tiredly on a bench, wondering if he could go through with this. Someone sat beside him, a quiet voice asking. "How much for a few minutes alone in the men's room?" Face looked up into the man's eyes, seeing his lust. His voice quivered as he whispered. "Two hundred."
"Two hundred! Make it one and you have a deal." The man whispered.
Face nodded and rose from the bench. He squeezed his hands into fists, trying to stop his trembling. He felt physically sick as he thought about what he was about to do. As he walked into the men's room he noticed a few men leaving. He was relieved to see that it was rather large and nearly empty of people. The guy walked to the furthest stall, opening the door for him. Face paused, taking a deep breath he walked slowly towards the man. He started to walk into the stall when the guy grabbed him and pushed him against the wall. His hands were roughly rubbing Face's chest and Face screamed as he felt the guy kiss him. He managed to push him away, and as he approached him again, Face managed to punch him in the mouth. The guy fell to the floor, moaning softly. Face was breathing heavily as stood above the guy, his fists clenched. He felt sick to his stomach; the bathroom seemed to be closing in on him. He ran for the door, pulling it open and running out.
"BA, take the north side of the station. Murdock take the south." Hannibal ordered softly. Both men nodded and disappeared in the crowd. Hannibal began to walk around the station, he saw some kids waiting around the men's room. He sighed; the sight tore his heart out. He froze suddenly, across the room Face was nearly running for the door. Hannibal could tell he was upset, by the way he kept running his hand through his hair. Hannibal found his legs, and tried to push his way through the crowd. Face was near the door now and Hannibal was afraid he would lose him. He shouted, "Face!" Face suddenly froze, staring at him. Hannibal held absolutely still, Face was still out of his reach and he didn't want to spook him. He was shocked by what he saw. Face had lost so much weight, his face gaunt and pale. It reminded Hannibal of the prison camp. Even from the distance, Hannibal could clearly see bruises on his face. He held out his hand taking a tentative step forward. Face suddenly bolted running for the door. Hannibal shouted again, "Face wait!" He ran after him, afraid he would lose him.
Murdock and BA heard Hannibal's shouts; they ran through the station trying to find him. They paused, glancing around and breathing heavily. Murdock was frantic, he heard Hannibal shout Face's name. He turned wildly, searching for either one of them. He suddenly saw Hannibal running out the door. He grabbed BA's arm shouting. "He's running outside!" They both ran for the door, pushing it open and following them outside.
Murdock heard car horns blaring; his heart was in his throat as he saw Face running across the street, cars nearly running him down. Hannibal was running after him, but was losing ground as he fought with the traffic. Face had crossed the street and was running away, afraid they would lose him, Murdock ran to the corner and shouted. "Face wait!"
Face stopped instantly, recognizing his voice. Murdock had tears in his eyes as Face stared at him. Wishing he could wrap his arms around him and reassure him that he was alive, he simply waved frantically. The movement galvanized Face, and he started to run towards him. Murdock saw the car coming; he turned back to Face, screaming. "NO!" It was too late, he watched horrified as the car hit his best friend, sending him flying over the roof.
Hannibal had just made it to the sidewalk, when he heard a car horn and the sound of tires screeching. He looked up to see a car hit Face, sending him hurtling through the air. Hannibal shouted, "Oh Christ No!" He ran towards the crumpled figure lying on the ground, fighting the rising panic as he knelt down beside him. Face was conscious and was writhing in pain, holding onto his right leg.
Hannibal reached out and tried to push him back to the ground. As he tried to calm him, Murdock and BA knelt down beside them. Hannibal saw the tears in Murdock's eyes as he reached for Face.
Face was moaning in pain, and Murdock could see his right leg twisted viscously right below the knee. Face was incoherent and as Hannibal reached out to touch him, Face fought with him pushing his hands away. Murdock moved quickly behind Face, wrapping his arms around him. Face struggled, and after a few moments Murdock could feel him weaken. He gently pulled Face tighter against him, whispering soothingly to him. "Shh, Face. I got you now. Everything will be alright." Face moaned as Hannibal's hands examined his leg. Murdock brushed his hair back, fighting his tears as he whispered. "I'm here, I won't let you go." He felt Face go limp in his arms, and would have panicked if he hadn't been able to feel him breathing.
BA was watching frantically, he wanted so much to hold Face in his arms. He realized he would have to wait, right now they needed to move. He could hear the sirens in the distance and knew it was only minutes before the police arrived. He glanced at Hannibal, "Hannibal we have to move!"
Hannibal nodded, "Get him in the van." He stepped out of the way so BA could lift Face into his arms.
Murdock let go of Face as BA easily picked him up. He turned to Hannibal, "Shouldn't we let them take him to a hospital?"
Hannibal sighed, wrapping his arm across Murdock's shoulders leading him to the van. "No, we'll find somewhere to take him." He saw the worry in Murdock 's eyes and continued. "I'm not letting him out of my sight again."
Murdock nodded miserably and hurried to the van. He climbed into the back, followed by Hannibal. He kneeled beside Face, and almost fell over as BA squealed the tires, leaving in a rush. Murdock held Face's hand tightly, running his hand through Face's hair. Hannibal knelt down beside them, finding the first aid kit.
"Murdock help me get his clothes off. Let's see what we're dealing with." Hannibal whispered. He grabbed the scissors from the kit and begun cutting away Face's pants. He winced as he saw the damage done to Face's leg. The knee was severely swollen and discolored, Hannibal knew it was broken. He continued to cut the pants, removing them entirely. He looked up at Murdock; he was slowly removing Face's shirt. He was having difficulty; his hands trembling so badly they refused to work the buttons. Hannibal moved closer, helping him. Hannibal felt a pang in his heart, he knew Murdock was close to breaking down, but at the moment his attention was focused on Face. Soon they had removed Face's clothes, and Hannibal saw the deep bruises on his chest and sides. He gently ran his hands over Face's ribs, cursing softly as he felt some of them were broken. He reached for the small flashlight, bending over Face. He gently opened Face's eyes, shinning the light in each. He sighed; the pupils were slow to react to the light. He looked at Face's arms, noticing the needle marks. He wondered if the slow reaction was due to the accident or the drug. He reached for a blanket, tucking the blanket around Face's shoulders. He looked up at Murdock, his heart plummeting as he saw his pilot. Murdock sat beside Face rocking back and forth. He held Face's hand tightly, silent tears rolling down his face. Hannibal moved closer, wrapping his arm around him. "Hey Murdock, he's going to be okay."
Murdock nodded numbly; he kept hearing the screeching tires, seeing the sight of Face flying through the air. He trembled as he realized if he hadn' t yelled Face wouldn't have crossed that street. He whispered brokenly, "I...shouldn't have called for him."
Hannibal grasped Murdock's chin, "No! It is not your fault!" he continued more softly, trying to reach him. "Listen to me! If you hadn't called for him, he would have lost us." He took a deep breath, his voice suddenly cracking. "We have him Murdock! We have him back!" Murdock nodded, and wiped his tears away. Hannibal continued, "Listen I need to find somewhere where we can take him. Keep an eye on him and let me know if he wakes, okay?"
"Yeah, Hannibal." Murdock whispered. Hannibal moved to the front of the van leaving Murdock alone with Face. Murdock simply stared at Face, drinking in the sight of his friend. Face whispered incoherently, tossing his head from side to side. Murdock reached out and laid his hand on Face's forehead, he immediately felt the fever burning. He reached for some water and wetted some gauze. He gently wiped Face's neck; he was pleased to see Face calm slightly.
"Okay Father." Hannibal softly replied. He waited a moment, listening to the priest. Finally he spoke softly, "Yeah, we'll call you to let you know how he's doing." He hung up the phone, glancing at BA.
"Maghill gave me an address as to where we can take Face. It's in big Bear; there's a small clinic there."
"How can we be sure it's safe Hannibal?" BA asked.
Hannibal sighed, "Maghill assures me that it is. I guess the doctor there grew up at the orphanage and knows of Face. He always told Maghill if he could help us out to let him know." Hannibal rubbed his eyes tiredly, continuing softly. "Maghill's calling him, let him know we're coming."
BA remained silent, wishing they could take Face to the nearest hospital. His friend deserved the best, not some out of the way clinic. He gripped the steering tighter, forcing his himself to calm down. Right now he needed to get Face to the clinic and he couldn't let his emotions get in the way.
It was very late by the time BA pulled into Big Bear. Face hadn't stirred during the three-hour drive. Hannibal glanced into the back of the van, smiling as he saw Murdock curled up beside Face. His arm draped across Face' s chest. BA pulled into the parking lot of the small clinic, and Hannibal noticed the light on inside. As he climbed from the van, he saw a man standing in the door. He turned to BA, "Get Face, I'll explain what I know." BA nodded and hurried towards the back of the van, Hannibal walked towards the clinic door.
Doctor Nick Hunt had been anxiously waiting for the A Team for three hours. Ever since Maghill had called, he had hurried to prepare what he thought he would need. Maghill hadn't told him much; just that Templeton was hurt. A pair of headlights flashed across the building, he moved to the door seeing the black van. A man climbed out of the passenger door, he recognized him as Hannibal Smith. Nick watched as he had a brief conversation with BA Baracus, before moving towards the clinic door. He immediately unlocked the door, holding it open for him. He held out his hand, "Hi, I'm Nick Hunt. Maghill told me to expect you."
Hannibal was relieved, the man's friendly greeting easing his worries. He shook the proffered hand; "I'm Hannibal Smith." He pointed to BA who was carrying Face through the door. "That's..."
Nick interrupted him; smiling warmly. "I know who you are. Father Maghill often talks about you." He saw Smith nod, and continued. "Please, bring him in here."
BA followed the doctor into an examining room. Very carefully, he placed Face on the examining table. He stepped back, allowing the doctor room to work. Hannibal and Murdock stood beside him, each one watching the doctor closely.
The doctor lifted the blanket, wincing as he saw the extent of damage done to the chest. Running his hands down his sides, he felt at least three broken ribs. He pulled the blanket completely off, cursing as he saw Face's leg. He looked up, meeting Hannibal's eyes, "Please, it would be better if you would wait right outside."
Hannibal didn't want to leave Face; he saw the pleading in the young doctor 's eyes. It suddenly dawned on Hannibal that the doctor needed to examine Face thoroughly, which meant Face, would be in pain. He glanced at his two men, BA was clenching his fists, and Murdock looked as though he was about to break down and cry. Hannibal sighed, and grabbed his men by the arms leading them out the room. He turned at the door; "You'll let us know what you find?" The doctor nodded absently already consumed with his work. Hannibal watched for a moment before following Murdock and BA into the waiting room.
Murdock paced the small waiting room. He glanced at the clock; it had only been twenty minutes since Hannibal had ushered them from the room. He wanted to be with Face, to hold him and reassure him. He watched as BA opened some cabinets, finally finding some coffee. As BA started making the coffee, he muttered. "I'm going outside for a few minutes." He didn't wait for an answer and quickly headed for the front door. He hoped the fresh air would calm him.
BA watched as the coffee began to brew, he understood how Murdock felt, he didn't want to leave Face alone either. He poured himself and Hannibal some coffee; he froze as he heard an ear-piercing scream come from the examining room. He glanced at Hannibal, who was instantly on his feet and running towards the room. BA was close behind him.
Face woke slowly; moaning softly as a sharp pain erupted in his leg. He blinked his eyes, trying to focus. He felt fear settle over him as he didn't recognize where he was. He felt someone touch his leg, causing another flash of pain. He moaned softly, remembering seeing Hannibal at the train station. He had strange images of Murdock holding him; he fought the tears as he realized it must have been a dream. A man filled his vision, smiling down at him. Panic surged through him; he curled his fist and managed to hit the man across the jaw. The man stumbled backwards; Face tried to get off the table. He felt hands on his shoulders, pulling him back. He lunged forward, falling off the bed. He screamed in agony as pain erupted in his leg and side, leaving him gasping on the floor. The man came around the table, and kneeled down beside him brandishing a needle. He gritted his teeth, trying to crawl away. Suddenly he saw Hannibal and BA kneeling beside him, BA lifted him and placed him back on the table. He tried to sit up, feeling BA's hands pushing him back down. Tears filled his eyes, as Hannibal and BA filled his vision. He opened his mouth but couldn't find his voice. Suddenly BA disappeared and Hannibal climbed on the bed, Face felt himself being gently lifted and held securely against Hannibal's chest. Face sobbed, finally managing to find his voice. "I'm...sorry. I wish ...I was the one who died......not him."
Hannibal was close to tears himself, and hearing Face's broken words of sorrow, he couldn't control them any longer. He held Face tightly, gently rubbing his back. He whispered fiercely, "No, don't say that!" He felt Face shudder and pulled away slightly, he brushed Face's hair away from his face and whispered urgently. "Listen to me, Murdock's okay!" He glanced over his shoulder, hearing the door open. He smiled as he saw Murdock and BA walk into the room, the pilot nearly running for the bed. He moved off the bed, giving Murdock room.
Face stared in shock; not believing Murdock was real. As he felt the pilots arms go around him, he shattered emotionally. He sobbed harshly, never thinking he would feel Murdock hold him again. Face continued to cry as Murdock held him, gently rubbing his back and whispering reassuringly into his ear. Face couldn't make out the words, but for the first time in a long time, he felt safe.
Murdock simply held him, rocking him slightly. This time he didn't fight the tears, they slid down his cheeks. After several minutes, Murdock felt Face relax against him. He eased back, moving his hands to cup Face's face. He met Face's eyes; "You didn't hurt me Face. You couldn't."
Face stared at Murdock for a moment, reaching his hand up to touch his face. He whispered, "I thought I killed you."
Murdock shook his head, "No! I am fine!" Face closed his eyes in relief; suddenly exhausted he sagged forward leaning against Murdock's chest. Murdock heard the doctor cough and eased Face back against the table.
Face held onto Murdock's hand, refusing to let go. He fought against his exhaustion, wanting to talk with Murdock. His eyes closed against his will, he forced them open, afraid that Murdock would be gone. He felt Murdock's hand brush his hair back, heard him whisper. "Shh, Face. Go to sleep, I'll be here when you wake." He smiled weakly; closing his eyes and letting the exhaustion claim him.
Hannibal glanced at BA, "Let's wait outside, give the doctor some room." He turned to Murdock, patting him on the back and whispered. "If he wakes, tell him we're right outside."
Murdock nodded as Hannibal and BA walked from the room. The doctor looked at him, expecting him to leave as well. Murdock pulled a chair closer, grasping Face's hand. He met the doctor's eyes; "I'm not leaving him." The doctor took a deep breath and nodded. Murdock watched as he resumed his work.
Hannibal stared out the window, his mind trying to formulate a plan. Face was in bad shape, and he needed somewhere where he could take his team and they would be safe. He sighed; he didn't want to take them back to LA. It had been a hard month; they deserved more than to be cooped up in his apartment. His thoughts were interrupted as the doctor walked into the room.
Nick helped himself to some coffee before addressing the two men in the room. "He's going to be alright. I've taken x-rays and there are no internal injuries. Although he has suffered three broken ribs and his right leg is fractured quite severely. The patella bone was shattered as well as the fibula and tibia bones." He paused in his diagnoses, seeing the blank look on the men's faces. He pointed to his own leg, right beneath the knee. "The two bones below the knee are fractured cleanly. The patella or the kneecap I 'm afraid is shattered, not life threatening, but very painful." He took a swallow of coffee, before continuing. "He also is suffering from bronchitis, I've given him a strong dosage of antibiotic." He paused, looking into his coffee a moment before meeting Hannibal's eyes. "I've noticed needle marks on both arms, Murdock told me Face has a problem with heroin."
Hannibal nodded, "Yeah, he's been through a rough time. I was hoping you could give me some methadone."
Nick sighed, "I'm afraid he's too weak for methadone. He's running a high fever and a sedative that powerful mixed with the antibiotic could cause him to go into cardiac arrest."
Hannibal cursed softly; he paced the small room. Face wasn't strong enough to go through withdrawal again. He turned to the doctor, "Isn't there something you can give him?"
Nick shrugged his shoulders, "I can give you a milder sedative, but he will have periods of lucidity and the craving for heroin will be intense. The way I see it is you have two choices, one you can continue the heroin."
"No!" Hannibal answered harshly.
Nick held up his hands in defense, continuing. "I was saying, continue with minimal doses, until he is stronger and can handle the methadone." Hannibal shook his head and Nick sighed. "Listen, I'm not condoning drug use! But at the moment I have a man in there who is physically traumatized and I'm not sure if he can handle the withdrawal symptoms at the moment."
Hannibal ran his hands through his hair, not knowing what he should do. He turned and met the doctor's eyes; "You said two choices, what's our other option?"
"Well as I said, we give him a mild sedative. He will have periods of lucidity, and with his other injuries it will be rather difficult for him." Nick answered. Hannibal and BA remained silent and Nick could see their pain. Somehow, he wanted to ease it. He suddenly had an idea, "Listen, do you have somewhere to take him?" Hannibal shook his head and Nick continued. "Okay, he won't be able to travel for several weeks. You need to somewhere where you can lay down low for awhile." He grinned, "And I have just the place for you."
Hannibal raised his eyebrow questioningly, "Where?"
Nick smiled, "I own a cabin on the lake. You can stay there for as long as it takes Face to heal and I'll be close if you need anything."
Hannibal glanced at BA, looking for his opinion. The Sargent thought for a moment, before nodding his approval. Hannibal turned back to Nick; "Okay we' ll take you up on your offer. When can we move him?"
"Give me a few minutes, I want to make sure the plaster on his leg has dried before we move him." Nick answered. Hannibal nodded and Nick walked back to the examining room.
A few hours later, BA turned the van onto Creek drive, looking for Nick's cabin. It had started to snow, fortunately it hadn't begun to stick to the roads yet. At any other time, he would have found the drive beautiful. Now though, he was more concerned on getting Face safely settled into the cabin. Finally he found the cabin and turned into the drive.
As the van came to a stop, Murdock checked on Face again. Whatever Nick had given him, it sure worked, Face was still asleep. Murdock felt the chill in the air as Hannibal opened the front door; he tucked the blanket tighter around Face's shoulders.
Hannibal opened the rear door, and allowed Murdock to climb out. He handed him the key, "Go unlock the door and turn up the heat." Murdock nodded, taking the key and hurrying off. BA reached inside the van and carefully lifted Face, carrying him towards the cabin. Hannibal closed the van doors, glancing around. Everything seemed quiet; he smiled faintly and followed BA into the house.
Murdock ushered BA towards a bedroom and BA gently laid Face onto the bed. Murdock quickly covered him with the comforter and sat beside him. He picked up Face's hand, turning to Hannibal who stood in the doorway. "I thought I would stay with him for awhile." He glanced back down at Face, "Make sure he knows I'm real."
BA grumbled, "You haven't been real in years." He walked from the room, giving Hannibal a brief smile as he passed.
Hannibal moved closer to the bed, staring down at Face. The kid was still asleep, and probably would be for several hours yet. He suddenly felt exhausted; he patted Murdock on the back. "I'm going to sack out. Call me when he wakes."
Murdock nodded silently. As Hannibal left the room, he settled himself more comfortably on the bed. He watched Face sleep; simply holding his hand and gently brushing his hair back from his face. He wanted to hold him, wrap his arms around him and never let go. But Face was physically battered, and Murdock was afraid he would hurt him. Murdock was worried over Face's physical condition; besides the bruises and broken bones, he had lost a lot of weight in the last month. He wondered if Face was physically strong enough to fight the withdrawal pain. As if Face read his mind, Murdock heard him moan softly and watched as Face's hands twitched. Murdock carefully lay down beside him, whispering softly. "Shh, Face. It's going to be okay." Face moaned again, before falling into a calmer sleep. A soft smile spread across Murdock's face, "It's going to be okay. I'm here for you Face."
BA rummaged through the kitchen, frowning as he found the cabinets empty. He turned to Hannibal who was staring out the patio door, watching the snowfall gracefully. "Hannibal I'm going into town, get some food."
Hannibal turned from the picturesque view. "Before you go, I'll give you a hand in unloading the van."
BA nodded and followed Hannibal to the van. As Hannibal grabbed their duffel bag, BA grabbed the weapons locker. Inside, he unpacked the locker placing guns in each room of the house. Ready to leave, he saw Hannibal unpacking their clothes. He gave his Colonel a slight smile.
Hannibal saw BA grin, and replied wryly. "A good commander is always ready for the unexpected." BA chuckled softly and headed outside. Hannibal finished unpacking and then walked to the bedroom. He opened the door quietly, peeking inside. He smiled as he saw both Face and Murdock sleeping peacefully. He closed the door and lay down on the couch, asleep before his head hit the cushions.
Face woke as a sharp pain traveled through his lower stomach. He moaned softly and shifted on the bed, gasping as more pain erupted in his leg. Suddenly he heard Murdock's voice break through the pain. "Face?" He opened his eyes and saw Murdock staring down at him worriedly. A sob caught in his throat, "Murdock, am I dreaming?"
Murdock's eyes filled with tears, as he heard the frightened voice. His throat tight with emotion, he whispered. "No Face. I'm here." Face struggled to sit up, and as Murdock tried to gently push him back down; Face grabbed his shirt, determined to pull himself into a sitting position. Murdock wrapped his arms around him, easing him gently to his chest. He felt Face trembling and held him tightly. He closed his eyes as Face sobbed against his shoulder. He stroked Face's back, whispering. "Shh, Face. It's all right now. Your safe with us."
Face cried softly into Murdock's shoulder, the crushing despair he had felt during the last month overwhelming him. He whispered brokenly, "Murdock...I thought I killed you!"
Murdock squeezed him gently, stroking the back of Face's head and neck. "No Face, I'm fine." He held him for several minutes as Face cried out his pain. Eventually his sobs eased, only an occasional hiccup breaking the silence.
Finally, Face pulled away, looking into Murdock's eyes. He simply stared at Murdock, confirming the fact that he was real. Finally after several moments, he whispered. "I'm...sorry."
Murdock covered his mouth with a finger. "Don't be sorry Face! You have nothing to be sorry for." Face shook his head and opened his mouth to protest, Murdock whispered fiercely. "I said, you have nothing to be sorry for! It was an accident and nothing more!" He pulled Face to him again, holding him tight. "You understand?" Face nodded against his chest, and Murdock smiled slightly. "Good!"
Face relaxed into Murdock's arms, savoring the feeling of being safe. He thought of Beth, and pulled away from Murdock, resting against the headboard. "Murdock, tell me. Is Beth..."
Murdock stared at Face for a moment, trying to find the right words to soften the blow. He grasped Face's hand; "I'm sorry Face."
Face stared at him for a moment, before turning away, looking out the window. A feeling of immense loneliness and sadness filled him, Beth had left him again. He felt Murdock grasp his hand, gently caressing his arm. He turned and met Murdock's eyes, seeing the sadness reflecting in them. His heart still ached for Beth, but he suddenly seemed less lonely, less sad. He smiled faintly and tried to lie down, suddenly not feeling very well. He felt Murdock's hands easing him to the mattress. He wondered where they were and how long had it been since he had taken a hit of heroin. Now that Murdock was alive and he was back with his family, he no longer wanted the heroin. Yet he knew his body was going to crave it and wondered how long he had before the pain became unbearable. He closed his eyes, hoping to sleep through it.
BA carried the bags of groceries through the door and placed them on the counter. Hannibal sat up on the couch, scratching his head. BA chuckled, asking. "Sleep long?"
Hannibal grinned, feeling rested for the first time in weeks. He peeked his head in the bedroom, seeing Face and Murdock sleeping. He turned back to BA, helping him unload the groceries. "Did you get Face some soup?"
BA scowled, "No man! I'm gonna make him some soup. My mama's recipe, guaranteed to make him feel better."
Hannibal smiled warmly as BA gathered the ingredients he would need. BA was no different than he or Murdock; they all wanted to help Face. He turned sharply as a strangled scream erupted from the bedroom. He glanced at BA for a moment, noting the fear in the sergeant's eyes. He ran for the bedroom door, pushing it open. He groaned at the scene that greeted him. Face was sitting up, doubled over in pain. Murdock held him, as he gagged and retched on the bed. Hannibal quickly crossed the room, sitting beside Face on the bed. He helped Murdock support Face as he continued to vomit. He rubbed Face 's back, meeting Murdock's eyes clearly seeing the pain in them. He glanced up at BA, who stood in the doorway. "BA, get some water!" BA disappeared and Hannibal whispered to Face. "Easy Face. This will pass!" Face moaned loudly, and collapsed back onto the bed, clutching at his ribs. His face gray in color and covered in a film of perspiration. BA hurried into the room, handing Hannibal the water. Hannibal reached for the bottle of sedatives, shaking one of them into his hand.
Murdock knew what Hannibal was doing and eased Face into his arms. Face moaned softly, and Murdock whispered. "Shh Face. Hannibal has something that will ease the pain."
Face opened his eyes, trying to focus them. Everything was blurry; the bed seemed to be spinning. He felt someone place something in his mouth, and cool water poured into his mouth as well. He swallowed, choking slightly. He was vaguely aware of Murdock holding him as another paralyzing cramp seized him. He screamed in agony, certain he was dying.
Murdock walked tiredly from the bedroom; he saw Hannibal and BA enjoying a cup of coffee. He helped himself to a cup, before joining them at the table. He stared into his cup; it had been four days since they had first brought Face here. They all endured the long days and nights watching Face go through hell. He had suffered through seizures, vomiting and blinding cramping. Murdock wondered how much more he could endure. Face had lost so much weight in the last month, it left him very weak. He hadn't been able to keep anything down in the past four days. Murdock was frightened; he looked up at Hannibal. "Do you think it will be better today?"
Hannibal sighed, running his hands across his face. "I don't know Murdock. All we can do is wait and see."
Murdock nodded, drinking his coffee. During the past few days, when he watched Face cry and moan in agony, he was tempted to go back to the doctors and get him some heroin. He was so desperate to alleviate Face's pain, that he almost suggested it to Hannibal. He knew what Hannibal would say, yet he wondered how much more they could take.
Face woke to an incredible ache in his throat. He reached for the glass of water sitting on the table beside his bed. His hand trembled but he managed to drink half the glass. He set the glass down and sank back into his pillows. He waited a few moments, wondering if his stomach would protest. When no cramps seized him, he smiled slightly. He wondered where the others were as an urgent need to use the restroom washed over him. He saw a pair of crutches in the corner and decided he could make the journey on his own. Throwing the blankets aside, he carefully climbed from the bed. He gasped in pain as he put weight on his broken leg. Fire erupted in his knee; he gritted his teeth and grabbed the crutches. Once balanced, he smiled welcoming the pain, at least it wasn't withdrawal pain. Slowly he made his way to the bathroom, steadying himself on the crutches as he relieved himself. Passing the bedroom door, he heard the others talking softly in the other room. He reached for the robe on the end of the bed, shrugging it on and headed from the bedroom.
Hannibal was on his feet the instant he saw Face emerge from the bedroom. "What the hell are you doing?" He asked as he guided Face to the table, helping him sit in the chair.
Face shrugged his shoulders, answering softly, "I'm okay. I was tired of being cooped up in that room." He avoided Hannibal's eyes, certain of what he would see in them. Hannibal had been the one to find him in the train station, and Face remembered the look of shock and disgust in his Colonel's eyes. Images of Hannibal holding him during the past few days flooded his mind. He brushed them away, of course Hannibal had taken care of him, but Face was certain he had lost his commander's respect.
Hannibal stared at him, noting the pale complexion and the dull eyes. It was a good sign that Face had joined them and he didn't have the heart to admonish him. He sat back down, asking. "How are you feeling?"
"Okay I guess." He smiled, "No cramps but my leg hurts like hell." Face answered.
Murdock smiled hugely, wrapping his arm around Face's shoulders. "That's great Face!" Murdock leaped from his chair, "You thirsty or hungry?"
Face hesitated, glancing at Hannibal; he could see his colonel staring at him intently. Hannibal always knew when he was downplaying his condition. He really didn't feel like eating anything but feared Hannibal would send him back to the bedroom if he refused. He nodded, "Can I have some coffee?'
Hannibal glanced at Murdock, nodding his approval. He looked back at Face, "How about something to eat?"
Face glanced at Hannibal pleadingly, seeing the look of resolve in his eyes. Defeated, he answered softly. "Yeah, okay."
Murdock grinned and hurried into the kitchen. He heated the soup BA had made for Face and poured him a cup of coffee. He carried the soup and coffee placing them in front of Face. He watched Face eye the soup warily, and placed his hand on his shoulder. "Can you manage?"
Face stared at the soup, feeling his stomach do flips. He nodded silently, spooning some of the soup and tasting it. After a few mouthfuls, he looked up to find three sets of eyes staring at him. He asked, "What?"
Hannibal asked softly. "You okay?"
Face smiled, "Yeah, I think so." Slowly, he ate some more soup. He noticed his hand trembling and tried to control it, hoping no one else noticed.
Murdock noticed, but decided to ignore it. He was thrilled to see Face up and sitting at the table with them. He spoke cheerfully, "Eat up Face! BA worked hard at making that soup for you."
Face looked up from his soup surprised, asking. "You made this BA?"
BA blushed, nodding. "Yeah man." He shrugged his shoulders, "No big deal, my mama always gave it to me when I was sick."
Face was suddenly overcome with emotion. He reached across the table and grasped BA's hand. "Thank you BA." He felt BA squeeze his hand, before he withdrew it. He ate some more soup, feeling their eyes watching him. After several mouthfuls, he started to feel queasy. He smiled faintly, pushing himself off the chair. Murdock was at his side instantly and he avoided their eyes as he whispered. "I'm tired, gonna lay down for awhile."
Murdock could feel Face trembling as he helped him back to the bed. He covered him with a blanket and sat down on the edge of the bed. He brushed Face's hair from his forehead, concerned, he asked. "Are you okay Face?"
Face nodded, closing his eyes. "Yeah." Murdock continued to sit beside him, and after a few moments, he opened his eyes. He could see the concern in Murdock's eyes. He shifted and asked quietly, "Murdock can I ask you something?"
Murdock smiled, "Of course you can Face! You can talk to me about anything, you know that."
Face spoke softly, "How do I regain Hannibal's respect?"
Murdock was shocked, he asked. "What makes you think you've lost his respect?"
Face shifted his gaze, looking out the window. "Come on Murdock. After everything I've done this past month, how could he not be?"
"Face that's crazy talk. Hannibal understands what you're going through."
Face struggled to a sitting position. "I almost sold myself at a train station for gods sake!"
Murdock saw the pain and humiliation in Face's eyes. He pulled him to his chest, holding him tightly. "No one can know the pain you've been through Face. And no one judges you, not me, BA or Hannibal." He cupped Face's neck gently; "We love you Face, and want to see you well again." He shook him gently, "All of us!" Face nodded, but Murdock could see the misery in his eyes. Murdock sighed and helped Face to lie back on the bed. Face closed his eyes and fell asleep immediately. Murdock watched him sadly; Face had many demons to conquer.
Face woke as Murdock rolled over and pulled the blankets with him. Face shivered and grinned, Murdock always pulled on the blankets. He glanced at the clock, it was nearly dawn. He carefully rose from the bed, reaching for the crutches. He hobbled over to the dresser and found some clothes. He froze as Murdock snored softly, once he was sure his friend was still asleep, he hobbled to the bathroom. He dressed quietly, pulling the sweat pants over his cast. He hobbled into the living room, noticing Hannibal's cigars on the table. He picked one up grinning and headed for the patio doors, picking up a blanket that was lying on the couch. Once outside, he sat heavily on the lounge chair, wrapping the blanket securely around him. He enjoyed the cigar for a few minutes before he heard the door open. He turned slightly and saw Hannibal walk onto the patio.
Hannibal woke when he heard someone in the living room, wrapping a robe around him he left his room to investigate. He was surprised to see Face sitting on the patio and frowned as he saw him smoking a cigar. He sat on the lounge next to him; "Do you think that's wise?" He asked, pointing to the cigar.
Face shrugged his shoulders, "Why not?"
Hannibal was annoyed; they had just spent the last few days fighting the withdrawal pain and fighting the bronchitis that left Face weak and exhausted. In a sharp tone, he answered. "Well you aren't fully recovered from the bronchitis yet!"
Face heard the sharp tone, and glanced at Hannibal. He could see the anger in his eyes. He sighed and stubbed the cigar out. For a few moments, they sat in awkward silence. Finally Face gathered some courage, and whispered. "Hannibal I know you're disappointed in me, and I'm sorry."
Hannibal stared at him amazed, never had he intended to give Face the impression he was disappointed in him. "Face..."
Face interrupted him, "No Hannibal. It's okay." He turned to meet Hannibal's eyes. "But I promise I will make it up to you, to all of you." He swallowed heavily, "I'll make you proud of me again."
Hannibal stared at him in shock, finally moving to sit on the lounge with him. Face looked frightened and Hannibal's heart ached. Ever since he had known him, Face always tried to make him proud. Hannibal wrapped his arms around him, feeling him trembling. "Oh, Face. I am proud of you!" He heard Face choke quietly, and he stroked his hair, his own voice choking. "I am proud!" He held him for several minutes, finally pulling away. Face wiped his eyes, smiling at him slightly. Hannibal smiled softly, "I don't want to hear you talk like that again, understand?" Face nodded and Hannibal smiled, moving to his own chair. He pulled a cigar, hesitating before he handed it to Face. He laughed softly, "Don't tell doc Murdock."
Face laughed softly, lighting his cigar. For a few minutes, he simply sucked on his cigar and watched the stars. Face asked hesitantly, "Hannibal...."
Hannibal waited a few moments, when he was certain Face wasn't going to continue, he asked softly. "What is it Face?" Face remained silent, staring at the sky. Hannibal could see the internal battle waging in the younger man. He spoke softly and gently, "Come on. Tell me what you are thinking."
Face turned and met Hannibal's eyes, "I miss Beth so much Hannibal, and..." He looked away, unable to finish.
Hannibal whispered. "And?"
Face sighed, closing his eyes. "And sometimes I want to take heroin, to..to ease the pain."
Hannibal smiled, sitting forward in his chair. He reached out and grasped Face's chin. "I know that Face. But do you think Beth would want you to?" Face shook his head slightly, and Hannibal continued. "Of coarse not. I know your hurting Face, and we'll help you as much as we can. When the pain is too much, remember you're not alone. You have us, you always will!"
Face reached for Hannibal, holding him tightly. He whispered brokenly, "Thank you Hannibal." He smiled as he felt Hannibal wrap his arms around him, whispering. " Your welcome kid. Just remember what I said."
Several weeks later, Face stood with Father Maghill at Beth's grave. Still on crutches, he kneeled awkwardly, crossing his chest and praying silently. After a few moments, Father Maghill kneeled beside him. He met the Father's eyes, whispering. "I loved her Father."
"I know you did son." He saw the tears brimming in Templeton's eyes, and continued softly. "Remember, she's always with you." He placed his hand over Templeton's heart, "In here."
Face nodded, wiping his tears away. He reached for the daisies, placing them lovingly around her grave. With Maghill's help he stood, whispering. "Good bye Beth." He turned and together they walked back to his car. Face leaned against his car; asking. "They caught Dusty?"
Maghill nodded, "Yes, in Mexico. Unfortunately the Mexican authorities refuse to extradite him. He's now serving life in a Mexican prison for murder down there."
Face nodded absently, wishing he could get his hands on him. He met Maghill' s eyes, "I wish I had a chance at him Father."
Maghill smiled softly, "He will have his judgement day." He changed the subject, asking. "Does Hannibal know where you are?"
Face winced, glancing at his watch. It was nearly nine in the morning, certainly Hannibal and Murdock would be awake by now. "No, I better get going before they send out a search party."
Maghill chuckled softly, "Go home to your family Templeton."
Face embraced the priest, whispering. "Thank you Father."
Maghill smiled and watched him climb into his car. He wondered how Templeton could drive with his leg in a cast.
Face looked up and saw Maghill staring at him, he seemed to read his mind and grinned. "Piece of cake Father."
Maghill chuckled, watching him drive away. He gasped as the little white car, nearly avoided being hit by an oncoming truck. He shook his head as Templeton stuck his arm out the window, waving goodbye to him.
Hannibal stumbled out of his bedroom and made his way to the kitchen. The team had since returned to LA, Murdock, Face and himself shared his apartment. Since Face was recovering, BA returned to his own place. Hannibal still felt Face should stay with him, not certain the traumas of the past few months were healed. He still caught Face staring into space, sadness filling his eyes. Hannibal realized he couldn't keep him here forever, but wanted to be sure he wouldn't do something foolish when he did get a place of his own. Hannibal sighed; it was just his over protectiveness that kept Face confined to his apartment. Face had come a long way, both physically and mentally. Murdock came out of the guestroom, yawning and scratching his head. Hannibal grinned, "Good morning. Is Face awake yet?"
Murdock stopped in his tracks. "Face isn't in there. I thought he was out here."
Hannibal's heart nearly stopped. "No, he isn't!" They both started to search the apartment frantically.
Murdock ran out of the bedroom, "Hannibal the money I got him yesterday is gone!" He looked at Hannibal horrified, "You don't think he..."
Hannibal's heart was in his mouth; not wanting to believe Face had left to find heroin. Suddenly the front door opened, and Face walked in, still leaning on his crutches. Hannibal breathed a sigh of relief, asking. "Where the hell have you been?"
Face smiled, and closed the door. He turned to face Murdock and Hannibal. "I had an errand to run." At Hannibal's raised eyebrow, he continued. "When I was on the street, I met a girl named Holly."
"Yeah, I remember her." Hannibal answered softly.
Face shrugged his shoulders, "I convinced her to check into Maxwell Hospital." He met Hannibal's eyes, seeing the fear. He grinned, asking. "What's wrong? Thought I went out and bought some heroin?"
Hannibal blushed, feeling slightly ashamed for doubting Face. He met Face's eyes, "For a moment, yeah I did. I'm sorry."
Face shrugged his shoulders, "It's okay, kind of nice to see you care." He glanced at Murdock, explaining softly. "She helped me out, and I wanted to repay the gesture."
Hannibal nodded, noticing the distant look in Face's eyes. He wondered what the younger man was reliving. He stepped closer and embraced him, whispering. "I'm proud of you Face!"
Face held on to Hannibal's robe with one hand, the other gripping the crutch tightly. He squeezed him tight. After a few moments Hannibal pulled away, Face smiled and asked. "Does this mean I get my own place?"
Hannibal laughed, "We'll see! Right now I'm hitting the shower."
Murdock waited until Hannibal had disappeared into the bathroom. He turned to Face, asking softly. "Face what about the money?"
Face glanced at the floor, unable to meet Murdock's eyes. "I had a debt to pay to Father Maghill."
Murdock stepped closer, lifting Face's chin forcing him to meet his eyes. "Everything okay now?" Face nodded and smiled. "Yeah, everything's fine." End