Warnings: Character death, lots of angst, alcohol use, swearing. Hey it's not a pretty fic.
Summary: If we don't make the choice who will?
Disclaimer: Stephen J. Cannell owns the A-Team. Take your pick on who the politician is because I won't claim him/her. I own anyone else.
Author's note: I couldn't think of a politician from the 80s besides Regan, Bush, and Quale so pick your favorite politician for this fic and insert name in the fic.
John 'Hannibal' Smith watched as the clock in the kitchen turned 3:00 AM. He had been drinking cups of coffee for the last two hours refusing to give into the need of scotch. He was going to make it through tonight. He wasn't going to remember what happened a year ago in Colorado. He refused to. He refused to every night but it never stopped the nightmares.
Every night he would close his eyes, and every night he would see one of his men falling off the edge of a cliff. Most of the times he'd wake up screaming and other times he was lucky if he just woke up sweating.
'It's been one year.' Hannibal thought as he poured more coffee. 'Still feels like it happened yesterday. I should have saved them both. He shouldn't have made the decision for me. Some Commander I am. I can't even make a choice when two men's lives are hanging in the balance. Literally.'
He poured some scotch as the memories came back.
One year ago
On a plane headed for Pike's Peak in Colorado, Templeton 'Faceman' Peck and Frankie Santana were playing gin. BA Baracas was asleep in the back of the plane and HM Murdock was flying the plane.
Hannibal was reading the file Stockwell had gave him. Stockwell told them that the mission was the usually dangerous type. They had to rescue a politician from some terrorists. They even knew where they were. Now he had to figure out the right plan. The Jazz was flowing through his veins. He took out the map and smiled as an idea came to him. He got up and went to the cockpit to talk to Murdock. Murdock was humming a tune to himself.
"This is where we need to land." Hannibal said pointing to a spot on the map. "We should be able to get to the man without much trouble."
"No problem Colonel. We'll be there in half an hour." Murdock said.
Hannibal left Murdock to his humming and went back to his seat. He listened to the good-natured arguing between Frankie and Face about Face's cheating. 'Frank will never learn.' He thought with a grin.
"What? Me cheat? You must be kidding." Face said putting on his best innocence look.
"Don't try to con me Faceman. I saw you take that card out of your sleeve." Frankie said crossing his arms over his chest.
"Which card?" He asked pulling another card from his sleeve. "This one?"
Frankie tried not to smile but wasn't successful. "How about another game? But no cheating this time!"
Face shrugged and shuffled the cards.
A half-hour later they all got out of the plane. BA was yelling and threatening Murdock, Hannibal, and even the plane.
"Now big guy. I didn't crash the plane this time." Murdock said ducking away from BA.
"Sargent and Captain if you are finished arguing, we need to save the senator." Hannibal said and led the way up a trail.
When they got to the top of the trail, they split into two groups. Hannibal, Face, and Frankie went left. Murdock and BA went right.
Face took point with Frankie in the middle and Hannibal bringing up the rear.
When Face got to the top, he started running. He could see the politician being thrown over the edge of the cliff. Someone grabbed his arm and he hit him. He looked over his shoulder and saw Hannibal and Frankie also fighting the terrorists. Face knocked the man down he was fighting and hurried over to the edge. He could see the man was holding on for dear life. Face leaned down to try to help the man up.
Hannibal had been a little angry when Face started running. Frankie didn't know what was happening. When they reached the top, they were met by the terrorists. Hannibal saw out of the corner of his eye Face rushing to the edge.
What Hannibal saw next replayed in his mind for a very long time.
While Face was leaning over, he left himself open. The man he thought that was out was back on his feet. "Face!" Hannibal tried to warn but it was too late. The man pushed Face over.
Hannibal ran to the edge leaving Frankie to fight the other men. He quickly took out the man who had pushed Face over. Hannibal looked down and saw Face and the senator both holding onto the side. He breathed a sigh of relief that neither had fallen completely yet.
He saw out of the corner of his eye Murdock and BA helping Frankie with the terrorists so he leaned down like Face did and stuck his hands out. "Face, senator grab my hands. I'll pull you up."
"Hannibal you can't pull us both up at the same time." Face reminded him desperately holding onto the side as his foot started to slide down more.
"Yes I can. Just don't let go." Hannibal said looking over his shoulder again.
"Help the senator first." Face said sliding down a bit more. "I'll be all right."
Hannibal wasn't sure what to do. If he helped the senator up first he might not be able to help Face. However, if he helped Face first, he might not be able to get the senator up. He wished BA was there. He could get them both up. He leaned down further and he looked at Face who gave him a slight smile.
The senator started sliding down and Hannibal made a grab for him. "Face just hold on."
Face nodded to Hannibal. He knew that if he didn't do something the senator would fall. Hannibal wasn't going to choose. "Just help the senator Hannibal." He said and let go. As he fell, one thought went through his head, 'Please forgive me.'
"Face!" Hannibal yelled as he tried to reach for Face but he was too late. He was already to far down. Hannibal pulled the senator up with both hands. When he was safely back on the cliff Hannibal turned around to help the others. With Hannibal's help, they took out the rest of the terrorists.
Murdock ran over to Hannibal and the senator. "Where's Face?" He asked looking around.
Hannibal unconsciously turned his eyes toward the cliff.
Murdock's eyes went wide as he ran over to the side. He fell to his knees upon seeing Face lying at the bottom. BA and Frankie hurried over and neither couldn't help the tears.
Hannibal stood there silently watching his men's reactions trying to hide his own grief. After a few minutes, he said quietly, "Let's go."
Four hours later they were on a plane headed back to Langley. The body of Face had been laid on the floor in the back of the plane. They had done a check to make sure Face had survived the fall but he hadn't.
When the decided Murdock wasn't in the right mindset to fly, the senator had found a pilot to fly them back.
The mood was much more somber on the flight back. Murdock sat in his seat staring out the window silently crying. He refused to talk to anyone. He was silently kicking himself for not getting their fast enough. He felt that he was somehow to blame for his best friend's death. 'First Villa Cuchina and now this. I'm just not fit for this team anymore.'
The senator was sitting across from him also silently staring out the window. He was thinking about what a brave man Lieutenant Peck was. He had sacrificed himself so that the senator could live. When he got to Washington, he was going to make some arrangements to show his appreciation.
Frankie was silently playing Solitaire. He remembered the flight to Colorado and how he and Face had argued over Face's cheating. It seemed stupid now. He also felt very guilty about not being able to help Hannibal. 'If only I could fight better. I would have been able to take them out sooner. When I get back to Langley I'm going to learn how to fight.'
What surprised them all was that BA didn't even argue about getting on the plane. He had carried Face's body onto the plane then buckled himself in. Right now, he was trying not to look out the window. His mind was in turmoil about the whole incident. He was stronger then Hannibal. He should have been the one pull them up. 'Face was my little brother and I let him down. I let everyone down.'
Hannibal sat in the back of the plane with Face's body silently weeping. He couldn't allow himself to cry in front of his men. They needed him to be strong. Now that he messed up, he knew the team wouldn't forgive him. "Damn it kid. Why didn't you hold on?" He said angrily. He wasn't angry at Face, he was angry with himself. He was the leader he should have been able to save them both.
"Johnny?" Frankie asked. Hannibal turned around. "The pilot said that we're going to land in a half hour."
"Thanks Frank. I'll be right up there." Hannibal said turning back around.
Frankie nodded and went back to his seat.
Hannibal silently prayed for his team before going back to his seat. He didn't pray often but right now, he felt that they needed God's help more then ever.
They were still quiet when they arrived back at the house in Langley. Frankie entered first and stood there shocked when he saw something on the table. He picked up one of the pieces of paper.
Hannibal was next into the house and noticed Frankie standing there reading. "What is it Frankie?" He asked.
Frankie looked at him with wide eyes. "Our pardons. This one's Face's."
They were later told that the pardons had been arranged and dropped off before Stockwell had been called.
Back to the present.
Hannibal looked at the clock. It was almost 6:30 AM. He hadn't even realized he had been sleeping. He knew Murdock would be calling him soon to see if he had changed his mind about flying to Arlington to visit Face's grave. He wasn't ready for it. He hadn't been there since the funeral.
After the funeral, they all headed back to California. Hannibal tried to renew his relationship with Maggie Sullivan but it had been too long apart for them. He ended up renting his own apartment and tried getting back into the movie business. Like his relationship with Maggie that also fell apart.
BA stayed in Los Angeles for a few months before heading to Chicago to help his mother who had been diagnosed with Cancer.
Murdock and Frankie decided to share an apartment in LA. Frankie went back to special effects.
Murdock, on the other hand, went back to seeing Dr. Richter. With his help, Murdock started to move past what happened in Colorado and even made the announcement of going back to Arlington to visit Face's grave. But he was having trouble trying to convince Hannibal to join them.
As if on cue the phone rang. "Hello?" Hannibal answered.
'Hey Johnny it's Frankie. Murdock wanted me to call you and let you know we are leaving for the airport. He wanted to know if you had changed your mind.'
"No I haven't. You two go on ahead to Arlington." He could hear Frankie telling Murdock what Hannibal said.
'Hannibal I think you should come.' Murdock said into the phone. 'Dr. Richter said it would be good for us all. BA drove from Chicago and is already there.'
"Murdock I'm not going okay?" Hannibal said, not wanting to admit that he wasn't ready.
Murdock made one final attempt. 'Hannibal you can't keep blaming yourself for what happened to Face. It wasn't your fault. You made the only decision you could.'
"But I didn't make the decision Murdock. Face did. I shouldn't have put him in the position to make it."
'Hannibal wouldn't you have made the same decision? If Face hadn't let go would you have went for the senator first?'
Hannibal was quiet for a minute. "I probably would have."
'Any of us would have. I've got to go Hannibal.'
"How long do I have to get ready to go?"
'That's great! We'll be there in soon. And Colonel?'
'Billy and Face would be proud.' Murdock said before hanging up.
For the first time in a year, Hannibal smiled.
Frankie, Hannibal, and Murdock walked into Arlington National Cemetery. BA was standing there waiting for you. "Hannibal I didn't know you were coming."
"I wasn't but someone helped me realize I needed to." Hannibal said looking at Murdock.
They walked through the cemetery stopping every once in awhile if BA, Murdock, or Hannibal recognized a name. Soon they found Face's grave. On it was inscribed:
Templeton Arthur Peck
Born: Richard Andrew Bancroft
September 17 1950-May 23 1987
Hero to all
They each took turns 'speaking' to Face. Frankie did his in silence before moving away.
BA went next. "Well little Bro hope you didn't think we forgot you. Hope your not trying to scam everyone in heaven. Mamma sends her regards. She wishes she could have been here but she's too sick." BA stopped when he felt the tears in his eyes. "I miss you." He whispered and stood up and moved out of the way.
Murdock was next. He placed a chain with a cross on it on the headstone. "That's from Father Magill he asked me to put it there for him." He told the others before turning back. "Well Facey wish you were still with us. I miss you so much. You are the best friend I've ever had and ever will have. If you could only come back..." He trailed off. Hannibal placed a hand on his shoulder. "But you can't." Murdock said fighting back the tears. "But don't worry Face I won't forget you." He said getting up and moved away crying.
BA and Frankie went after him leaving Hannibal alone. "Well lieutenant I hope you're doing all right in heaven. I know that's the only place you would go. You had a good heart. Maybe, too good of a heart. Kid you shouldn't have made the decision. I would have saved you both. But then again, I would have done the same thing if I had been in your shoes. We all miss you kid. I hate to say it I'm the one taking it the hardest. Drinking and nightmares but I am going to fix this. I promise you and the others that." He could hear BA and Murdock arguing off to the side. "Guess things never change. Say a few good things about us up there. We'll see you again sometime." He said and got up and walked back to the others.