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Too CLose For Discomfort

Too Close For Discomfort

By Angievette

Rating: - NC-17

Disclaimer: - I don't own these characters (I wish!), they belong to Stephen J Cannell. I just write about them for my own pleasure and no profit. However, Dannii and Debbie do belong to me.

Summary: - Face and Hannibal get very close to their clients when the team go to help the residents of a small community being hounded from their homes by a ruthless entrepreneur. Some sex and minor violence, minor character death.

 

Dannii didn't know how long she'd been standing in this alleyway but it had been a long time. So much for contacting The A-Team. All she'd contacted was the flu virus. She'd been running around in circles trying to contact this combat team for the last few weeks. She'd been to meetings that no one had turned up to, she'd been to endless fairgrounds and parks and been handed little notes that led her to another dead end. The last one told her to come here at two-o clock in the morning so here she was. Waiting. On her own. There hadn't been sight or sound of anybody since that drunk who wandered past her about an hour ago.

"I'll give them ten more minutes then I'm out of here," she thought. "Oh brother, the drunk is back."

"Hey mish," he slurred. "Whatcha still doin' here?"

"I'm waiting for someone."

"Dangerous placsh thish alley for a pretty girl like you," said the drunk. Dannii shifted uncomfortably in the doorway of The Kozy Kat Club. There was no one else around.

"I'd go home if I was you," said the drunk. "That's if I had a home."

"I think I'll wait a bit, if you don't mind," Dannii said.

"I don't mind if you stay here all night," said the drunk, smiling. For a drunk, he had the nicest smile and the most sparkling blue eyes she'd ever seen. "It gives me a pretty face to look at instead of the bottom of a bottle."

There was something about the drunk that made her feel safe.

"Sounds funny, I know," she thought. "I should be running in the opposite direction."

"I'm glad I've cheered somebody up," Dannii said.

"What's ya name?" he asked her.

"Dannii," she replied. "Dannii Scott. What's yours?"

"I'm Hannibal Smith," said the drunk, standing up straight and pulling the wig off his head. "I understand you want to hire the A-Team."

"I don't believe it," Dannii said. "You're the leader of the A-Team?"

"Yes, ma'am. Mr Lee told us your story and we want to help you."

"You can stop these men who are trying to force my parents out of their home?"

"We can try, Miss Scott but let's get out of the rain."

He led her to a black van that was parked just at the entrance to the alleyway. He opened the door and she climbed in. Hannibal got in just behind her and sat down. Also sat in the van were two other men, one with the most charming smile and pretty blue eyes she'd ever seen. He was introduced to her as Face and the other man was BA. He looked like a bouncer, with a Mohican haircut and a scowl on his face. He didn't look like someone you'd like to meet in a dark alleyway. Dannii chuckled to herself at the irony. She wouldn't have been sat there now if he had been sent into the alley to meet her.

"Tell us more about these men who are trying to evict your parents, Miss Scott," said Hannibal.

"The ringleader is a guy named Jim Barton," Dannii said. "He's been buying up all the properties in Ryding Valley. He wants to turn the area into a huge shopping mall. He already owns the majority of property out there. But there are a few people who don't want to sell. My parents are two of those people."
"I bet Mr Barton wasn't too happy at that news," said Face.

"Right," she replied. "Some of the other neighbours are just as adamant that they don't want to sell, but lately some of the residents have met with a few accidents."
"Such as?" asked Hannibal.

"Well only yesterday, Mr and Mrs Rose, they live next door to my parents, their house met with a rather nasty fire. They barely escaped with their lives. Mrs Rose is living with my folks. Mr Rose is still in hospital. They're both in their eighties, it shouldn't be happening to people like them."
"It shouldn't happen to anybody," said BA, slamming his fist into the palm of his other hand. "I'd like to shake this guy until his teeth rattle."
"Take it easy, BA," said Hannibal. "I think we need to teach Mr Barton and his friends a lesson in people skills." He turned and looked at Dannii. "Miss Scott, you've just hired the A-Team."

He smiled at her and his eyes twinkled. She could tell she was going to like this man.

"Call me Dannii," she said, smiling at him.

"OK, Dannii," he said, still smiling. Then he turned to Face and said, "We'll need to swing by the VA and pick up Murdock."
"I'm not flyin' with that crazy fool," said BA, climbing into the driving seat of the van. "I'll drive anywhere but I ain't flyin'."
"Will you calm down, BA," said Hannibal. "I promise we won't be flying anywhere."
"I mean it, man," said BA, glaring at Hannibal. Dannii thought he was going to take a swing at him.

"We aren't flying," said Hannibal. "You can drive. It's just that we need as many people on our side as possible."

Face smiled at Dannii.
"You'll like Murdock," he said.

"Only if you like people who are nuts," said BA.

"BA, Murdock isn't nuts," said Hannibal. "At least, not completely."

 

 

 

"Yeeehaa!"

Murdock was jumping up and down on the bed, watching the latest episode of Bonanza. Suddenly, there was a knock at the window and he looked over.

"Murdock, get out of there," whispered Face. "We haven't got all night."

"We goin' on another adventure, Faceman?" said Murdock, clambering out of the window.

"Yeah, so hurry up fool," said BA, coming out of the shadows.

"BA. You were supposed to be staying with the van," said Face.

"Who's the client?" asked Murdock.

"Her name is Dannii," said Face, smiling.

"Pretty?" asked Murdock.

"Very," replied Face, straightening his tie.

"Forget it, Faceman," said BA, shaking his head. "When I left that van, she was gettin' very cosy with Hannibal."

"Oh brother," said Face. "How come the pretty ones always fall for Hannibal?"
"Must be that jazz, man," said BA, laughing.

Face shook his head in amazement and the three men made their way to the van. As they got closer, they could hear the sound of squealing. They raced over to the van, fearing the worst. Face threw the door of the van open and saw Hannibal sat on top of Dannii who was wriggling underneath him, a look of pure delight on her face.

"Excuse us," said Face.

Hannibal grinned at Dannii and got up off her. While his back was turned, she threw a cushion at him and it smacked him squarely on the back of the head. He turned back to her, a mischievous glint in his eyes. She looked back at him, defiantly but a smile was playing round her lips. He advanced towards her and her eyes widened with excitement as he got closer. Her bright green eyes locked with his equally bright blue ones and he was now so close, she could feel his breath on her lips. She closed her eyes, waiting for the kiss she was sure was heading her way. Suddenly, she shrieked in delight as Hannibal started to tickle her.

"That's not fair," she squealed as his fingers brushed over her sensitive skin. "I wasn't ready."

Hannibal laughed and carried on tickling her.

"Ahem," said Face, from outside the van. "There happens to be others present. Could you save this for a more private location?"

Hannibal released Dannii and helped her up. The others clambered into the van and BA drove off. Dannii had given him directions on how to get to her parents house and after introducing Dannii to Murdock, the others settled down to get some sleep while BA drove them to Ryding Valley. The night passed by without any incident and as BA reached the city limit sign for Ryding Valley, the morning sun was starting to stream through the windows. Murdock was the first to wake and he stretched his legs out and accidentally kicked Face. Face moaned and opened his eyes to glare at Murdock.

"Murdock, did you have to do that?"
"What did I do?" he asked, stretching again and ended up elbowing Face in the arm.

"Murdock, this van is too small for stretching," Face complained. "I'll end up a better shade of purple than Barney."

"Nobody's better than Barney," said Murdock, defending the absent dinosaur.

Face shook his head in despair and settled back down to get some more sleep. He sighed when he felt Murdock nudge his arm.

"Don't go back to sleep, Faceman," said Murdock. "I want some company."
"Can't you go back to sleep for a bit?"
"No, once I'm up, I'm up."

Face groaned and yawned. He opened his eyes again and saw Murdock looking at him, beseechingly. There was no way Face could ignore those puppy dog eyes. He laughed.

"Okay, Murdock. I'm awake. What do you want to talk about?"

"Tell me a story," said Murdock. "I like it when you tell me stories."

"Any particular story?" asked Face, with a grin.

"Moby Duck," said Murdock.

"It's Moby Dick," said Face, laughing.

"No, the story of the giant Duck called Moby. Don't tell me you haven't heard that story, Faceman?"
"Can't say I can recall it," said Face, knowing full well that Murdock had set him up.
"Well, sit back and let Uncle Murdock tell you the story of Moby Duck."

Face smiled and sat back while Murdock started to babble about a giant duck. He glanced over at where Hannibal was still sleeping. Sometime in the night, Dannii had scooted across the van and was now curled up in a ball next to Hannibal. He had his arms wrapped around her, in a protective cocoon and he had his head rested against the top of her head. Face held his finger up to his lips to signal to Murdock to be quiet. Murdock looked at Face then turned to see what Face was looking at. He grinned as he saw Dannii and Hannibal.

"The colonel has certainly made an impression on her," said Murdock. "You must be losing your touch, Face."
"I am not losing my touch," said Face. "She just happened to meet Hannibal first, that's all."
Murdock nodded and settled back into his seat.

"Definitely losing your touch."
Face glared at him.

"They do look sweet though, don't they?" said Murdock, smiling at the sight of the colonel and Dannii, curled up together.

"I don't see what's so sweet about it," said Face.

"Now Facey, green is not your colour."

"I'm not jealous, I just think that there is a time and a place for everything and that slap bang in the middle of a case is not the right time for this. Not to mention that in the back of a crowded van is definitely is not the place."

"Face, they're only sleeping."

"Hmmph," was Face's only response. However, it was loud enough to waken Hannibal who opened his eyes and looked at Face.

"Did you say something, Lieutenant?" he asked. Face shook his head. "Good."

"Mornin' Colonel," said Murdock. "Sleep well?"
"Yes thank you, Captain. What's all this about?"

Murdock glanced down to where Dannii was still asleep in his arms. Hannibal grinned at the two of them.

"I can't help it if she finds me irresistible, can I?"

Murdock grinned back at Hannibal and Face closed his eyes again to go back to sleep. BA pulled the van to a halt and Dannii opened her eyes, yawning and squinting with the sunlight.

"Are we there?" she asked, sleepily.

"Yep," said BA. "Man, am I sleepy."

"My parents house should be just as we approach the main road. You can't miss it, it's the one with all the flowers growing round the outside. You can rest there."
Hannibal smiled at Dannii.

"Sleep well?"

"Yes thanks you. I had the softest pillow."

"You're welcome."

Dannii smiled at him and Face grunted from the corner of the van.

"Face, are you okay?" asked Hannibal. "You seem to be making the most strange noises lately."
Face smiled at Hannibal through gritted teeth.

"I'm fine, thank you."

BA pulled up outside the house and Dannii pulled the van door open and shot outside. The front door opened and an elderly lady with grey hair and twinkling green eyes stood on the doorstep. Dannii ran over to her and hugged her.

"Mom," said Dannii. "I'm back."
"Sweetheart, it's good to see you again. I hope the city wasn't too hard on you."

"No, and I've got the most incredible news."

"I could certainly do with some good news after the last couple of days."
"Has anything else happened while I've been away?"
"You could say that," said a male voice behind them and Dannii spun round to see her father hobbling towards her, his left leg in plaster.

"My god, Dad, what has he done to you?" Dannii beckoned to the team and they all followed her inside.

"You obviously didn't see the shop as you came into town."
"No, we came in the other way," said Dannii, helping her father into a chair.

"It's ruined, Danielle," he said. "Barton had his thugs wreck the place. I was in the back when they arrived. They sent Cam home and then they kicked the door down. They smashed everything and when I tried to stop them, they smashed my leg up too."

"Mr Barton has made us another offer for our property and we've decided to accept," said Dannii's mother.

"No, mom. You can't sell. I've brought some friends. They said they could help."

"We're tired of fighting, Danielle," said her father.

"Then let us do the fighting," said Hannibal, stepping forward.

"Who are you?" asked Mr Scott.

"My name is Hannibal Smith and this is my team, Face, Murdock and BA. Dannii contacted us to help you. We feel that this Barton needs to be taught a lesson."

"He's got too many people bought in this town. No-one wants to help us."

"At least let them try, Dad," pleaded Dannii.

Her father sat back in his chair, defeated.

"Alright. But good luck. Barton will not play fair."

"Perfect," said Hannibal and grinned at the others. "Just the way we like it."

 

 

 

 

"Danielle has always been the hyperactive one in the family," said Mrs Scott, coming back into the lounge with a tray piled high with coffee and cakes. "She always wanted to solve everyone's problems. Her sister, Deborah, was the quiet one."

"Sister?" asked Face. Mrs Scott took a framed picture down from the mantelpiece and handed it to Face. He looked at it and started with surprise.

"Twins?"

"Yes, the two of them drove us mad," chuckled her father. "But it was always Danielle who gave us the most grey hairs."

Dannii shook her head with embarrassment and stole a quick glance at Hannibal. He winked at her and she pulled a face back at him. The exchange didn't go unnoticed by Face who rolled his eyes at the two of them. Dannii frowned at him. She had noticed that Face didn't like her. She decided to have a word with him later to find out what was wrong with him.

"Danielle had a finger in every pie at school but was never particularly good at any one thing," her mother was saying. "Then she discovered electronics and mechanics."

Hannibal raised his eyebrows and stared at Dannii. She shrugged nonchalantly.

"I just like anything mechanical or electronic," she said. "They don't argue with you."

"You should get on well with BA," said Murdock, smiling. "The angry mudsucker is usually found with his head under a bonnet. Good thing too, that way you can't see his ugly mush."

BA jumped up and made his way over to Murdock, ready to punch the pilot but Murdock was too quick for him. He leapt over the back of the sofa and shot out of the door with BA hot on his heels. Mr and Mrs Scott looked on in horror but Hannibal grinned.

"Don't worry about those two. They're always like this but you get used to it."

Mr Scott shook his head and turned to his daughter.

"Where did you find these people?"

"A friend of mine out me in touch with them. He told me how they helped out one of his friends."

"Which friend?" asked her father.

"Zac, he works in LA at the Courier," said Dannii.

"His friend wouldn't happen to be Amy Allen, would it?" asked Hannibal.

"Yes, do you remember her?"

Hannibal and Face exchanged a grin.

"You could say that," said Face.

"Anyway, Zac told me how you helped rescue a colleague of theirs, Al Massey, from a group of Mexican guerrillas and suggested I contact you to help me sort out Barton."

"Which is exactly what we intend to do," said Hannibal. "First of all though, we need to find a place to stay."

"There's a motel just in the centre of town," said Mrs Scott. She smiled apologetically. "I would have asked you to stay here but with Mr and Mrs Rose staying, there really isn't room."

"Are they in my room?" asked Dannii.

"Yes, sweetheart. We didn't expect you to come home so soon."

"Don't worry, mom. I'll stay in the motel as well. It won't be for too long hopefully."

Then, the door opened and BA frog-marched Murdock back into the room, holding him by his jacket collar.

"Hannibal, tell this fool to leave me alone or I swear I'll do him some serious damage."

"Murdock, leave BA alone," said Hannibal.

"But Colonel, it wasn't me," said Murdock.

"Never mind, we have more important things to think about," said Hannibal. "First we need to go and check into the motel in town. Then we need to figure out a plan to sort out Barton."
"I'll go with you to the motel," said Dannii. She noticed the worried look on her mother's face. "Mom, why don't you and Dad go and stay with Aunt Rina for a while?"

"You mean run away?" said her father, scornfully.

Dannii sighed.

"I'm only thinking of you," she said, looking at her father. "Dad, Barton could really hurt you or mom. Please, just go and stay at Aunt Rina's for a week or so. It would make me feel better. I'll be fine here with these guys."

Mr Scott sighed and put his hand on his daughter's arm.

"Okay, we'll go but I want you to be careful." He looked at Hannibal. "I'm entrusting my daughter's safety in your hands. If it looks like she's going to be in any danger, you send her to her aunt's. I don't want her in any danger."

"I give you my word that I'll look out for your daughter. She'll be quite safe with me."

BA and Murdock went out to the van. Face followed them, muttering under his breath. Hannibal and Dannii said their farewells to Mr and Mrs Scott and followed the others outside. They got into the van and Hannibal grinned at the others.

"I get the feeling that Mr Barton may already know that we are here."
"How do you know," asked Dannii.

"Does he own a silver Mercedes?"

"Yes but how did you know that?"
"It's been sat outside the house since we arrived," said Hannibal.

"Oh no, Mum and Dad," said Dannii and made to leap out of the van but Hannibal pulled her back.

"They aren't going to hurt them," he said. "They want to know who we are so I'm guessing they'll follow us into town. Let's go, BA."

BA put the van in gear and it moved off slowly in the direction of the town.

 

 

Just as Hannibal had predicted, the silver Mercedes pulled off and followed the black van down the road. In the driver's seat, Jack Kinclade looked over at the man sat in the passenger seat. Jim Barton sat quietly watching the van ahead. He wanted to know who these four guys were. No one rolled into his town without him knowing about it and they certainly didn't have cosy chats with the people whose house he was trying to buy. They had come into town with the daughter. She might be the way to get rid of them. He just had to ‘convince' her to make them leave. The van pulled up outside the motel and the four men got out, accompanied by the girl. They went inside and Kinclade pulled the car up and went to get out of the car. Barton held him back.

"Not yet, Jack," he said. "I want to watch them a bit more first. I want to know what their first move will be."

Jack sat back and watched the van.

 

 

The motel was reasonably empty so there was no trouble in getting five rooms. They all threw their belongings in their own rooms and then met in Hannibal's room for a meeting.

"Right, Barton is sat outside waiting for us to make our first move," said Hannibal, lighting a cigar. "The question is, what is our first move."

"We need to get dad's shop up and running," said Dannii. "He can't afford for it to be closed this long."
"Okay," said Hannibal. "You and Face go on over to the shop and see what kind of damage has been done. See if you can tidy it up a bit?"
"What will you do," asked Dannii, the look of horror on Face's face not escaping her.

"BA, Murdock and myself will go and have a chat with a few of the townsfolk and get as many of them to help us as we can. Those that don't want to help must leave town for their own safety. We'll meet back here in an hour."

Hannibal got up and walked over to the door. The others followed except for Face and Dannii who stayed where they were. Hannibal turned back to them and smiled.

"You two take care and don't get into any trouble."

"Trouble? Me?" said Face. "I never get into trouble."

Hannibal shook his head and walked out, closing the door behind him. As soon as the door closed, Dannii turned to Face.

"What have I done to upset you?" she asked.

"What makes you think you've upset me?" asked Face, puzzled.

"Since we got here, you've gone out of your way to avoid me. I saw the look on your face when Hannibal put us together for this assignment. You must really hate me."

"It's not that," sighed Face.

"Then what?"

"Just forget it, Dannii. I don't hate you."

"I can't forget it. I like you, Face. I don't like these bad feelings between us."

"Dannii, I said forget it."

"No. Tell me."

"No!"

Face jumped up off the bed and walked over to the window. Dannii got up also and walked over to him. She put her hand on his arm and felt him jump as she made contact.

"Face, please." She looked up at him and he turned to face her. "Please tell me what I've done."

Face sighed and softly brushed the hair out of her eyes.

"It's not you, it's me."

"What do you mean?" asked Dannii, trying to fight the urge to wrap her arms around Face. He looked so vulnerable and lost.

"I mean I like you, Dannii. A lot. And I don't know how to stop these feelings I have when I'm with you."

Dannii's eyes widened. Then she put her finger against Face's lips.

"Don't tell me anymore," she said softly and placed her lips where her finger had been. Face moaned and allowed himself to be dragged into the kiss. Dannii felt him relax and deepened the kiss. Her hands entwined themselves in his hair and her tongue explored his mouth, savouring the taste of him. She could hear his breathing becoming laboured and she felt his hands running up and down her back. His mouth moved down to her neck and Dannii sighed as he began to nuzzle her neck.

"Face," she moaned, pulling his head back up so she could look at him. His eyes were dark with passion and she smiled at him.

"Wow," she said. "That kiss was somethin' else."

Suddenly, Face pulled away from her.
"What is it?" she asked.

"We shouldn't have done that," said Face. He kept his back to her, not trusting himself to look at her.

"Why not?" asked Dannii. "We're both adults."

"And you also happen to be Hannibal's girl," shouted Face.

"I'm nobody's girl," blazed Dannii. "If I want to kiss you, I can and nobody can stop me."
"I can," said Face, softly. Dannii's temper evaporated as she saw how sorry he was.

"Hannibal means a lot to you, doesn't he?"
"He's like a father to me," said Face. "He saved me and taught me how to trust people again. I couldn't betray his trust like that."

"I've never met anyone like you, Face," said Dannii, opening the door. "You're very complex."

"No, just a simple man at heart," said Face, following her. "All I want is to love and be loved."

"But you are loved," said Dannii. "You just can't see it."

"I don't mean the others. I mean someone special. Someone just for me, who loves me and only me."

"You'll find them one day."

Dannii and Face left the motel and made their way over to the shop. Dannii glanced down the street and saw Hannibal talking to Mike Dobson, the pharmacist. He turned and saw her looking at him and smiled. Dannii's heart leapt and she smiled back. Then she turned and saw Face watching them. She smiled understandingly at him and they trooped into the store.

 

 

"What do you mean, your sister is coming here?" asked Hannibal, staring at Dannii in amazement. "Do you not think I've got enough on my plate trying to protect you, without the complication of your sister as well."
"Don't yell at me," said Dannii. "I rang her to tell her about mum and dad and she wanted to come and help us."

"And where exactly is she going to be staying?"

"Well, I thought that we would move back to the house while you guys stay here at the motel."

"Oh right, and you think I'm going to let you do that, do you?" said Hannibal.

"Why not?"

"I'll tell you why not, young lady," he said, pulling her towards him. "I think far too much of you to let you stay in that house on your own. You'll be a sitting duck for Barton. You and your sister. So Face and I will stay with you. BA and Murdock can stay here at the motel."

"Why Hannibal, I never knew you cared," said Dannii, grinning. Hannibal grinned back at her and then swatted her round the ears.

"When does your sister arrive?" asked Murdock.

"I'm going to meet her at the station in about ten minutes," said Dannii and Hannibal groaned.

"It didn't really make any difference whether or not I said she could stay, did it?"

"Nope," said Dannii, kissing his cheek and she left the room. Hannibal motioned to Face and he walked over.

"We'd best go and get ourselves settled in the house," said Hannibal.

They left the motel and walked back to the house that was owned by Dannii's parents. They had called last night to reassure Dannii that they had arrived safely and Mr and Mrs Rose were with them. Hannibal looked at Face.

"You've been really quiet for the past few days, kid. What's on your mind?"
"Nothing."
"Don't give me that, Face. I can tell when there's something bothering you and I know that now is one of those times."

"You won't like it," said Face.

"Since when has that stopped you?"

Face sighed and looked at Hannibal.

"It's about Dannii."

Hannibal stopped, just outside the gate.

"What about Dannii? If this is about me and her, I don't want to hear it."
"No, it's about me and you and her."
"What are you talking about?"
"The reason I was so miserable about you two is because I was jealous."
"Jealous?"
"Of you. I fancied Dannii like mad myself but you got there first. I couldn't handle the fact that I had missed out."

"Face!"

"I know it sounds egotistical but it's how I felt."
"And now?"

"And now I don't. I'm over it."
"And that's why you've been quiet for the last few days?" Hannibal looked at Face thoughtfully. "There's something you're not telling me, though."
Face sighed.

"I kissed her."

"You what?"

"Three days ago. Hannibal, it was just a kiss, I swear. Nothing else happened because of you. I couldn't do that to you. Neither of us could."

"I should put your lights out for this."
"Why? Nothing happened."

"Which is why I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt."

Hannibal turned and walked into the house. Face followed him, hanging his head.

"Hannibal, I'm sorry."
"Forget it, kid. I overreacted."

There was a knock at the door and the two men looked round, startled. Face pulled his gun and stood on the blind side of the door. Hannibal drew his gun and held it out of sight as he pulled the door open.

"Dannii," he exclaimed and put the gun away. He pulled her into an embrace. "What did you knock for?"
"You must be Hannibal," said the girl and Hannibal looked at her.
"You know I am," he said.

"I'm not Dannii," said the girl. "I'm Debbie, her sister."
Face came out from behind the door and smiled at her.

"And you must be Face," said Debbie. "I've heard all about you two."

Hannibal laughed and motioned her in.
"Where is Dannii? She went to meet you at the station."
"I know, she's gone into the next town for some supplies. She said she won't be long."

"I believe you and her are sharing a room," said Hannibal, taking hold of Debbie's bags. "It's this way."
"I assume it's our old room we had as kids."
"Sorry, I forget you two used to live here."

Hannibal put the bags down on her bed and went back into the lounge where Face was still standing mesmerised.

"Face, are you still with us?"
"She's beautiful," he breathed.

"They're twins," said Hannibal. "Of course she's beautiful."
"No, there's something about her, a different kind of beauty."

"Whatever. Come on, let's get back to the motel and tell the others that Debbie's arrived."
"What about Dannii?"
"She'll be back soon."

Suddenly the door burst open and Dannii flew in.

"Is she here?"
"Yes, she's in your room," said Hannibal. "We're going back to the motel, you two meet us there when you're ready."

"Okay," said Dannii. "What's wrong with him?" she asked, pointing at Face.

"I think he's in love with your sister," said Hannibal. "Which reminds me. It must mean he's over you."
"Hannibal, nothing happened, I swear."

"I know. I just thought you should know that I know."
"Oh."

Hannibal got hold of Face's collar and dragged him out of the room.

 

 

"Sorry I'm late, guys," said Dannii, coming through the door of Murdock's motel room. "Debs is staying back at the house. She's a bit tired after the travelling so she's getting some sleep."

Hannibal grinned as Face's face fell.

"I'm sure she'll be up soon, Face," said Hannibal. "Then you can start to work your magic charms on her."

"I'm sure I have no idea what you are talking about, Hannibal," said Face, looking put out.

"I'm sure you don't."

"Listen, man," said BA. "Can we get back to running this Barton dude outta town?"

Hannibal turned back to the group. Dannii sat down on the bed next to him and shuffled up so she was resting against his arm. He grinned at her and put his arm round her and cuddled her closer.

"What we need," said Hannibal. "Is a secluded area where we can set up a base. Barton's going to be expecting us to be based at either the house or here at the motel. We need a completely separate base so he doesn't know what we're going to do next."

"Hannibal, he's got us staked out," said Face. "There's no way we can find somewhere without him knowing about it. He has a tail on at least one of us at all times."

"Then we need a diversion," said Hannibal, grinning at Face. Face groaned.

"Aw, why me, Hannibal?"

"Because you're the best con artist we've got."

Face sighed and got up.

"Come on, Murdock."

"Right behind you, Faceguy."

Face walked out of the motel room, with Murdock behind him.

"Okay, BA. You stay here and let me know if you have any trouble. I'll take Dannii home and we'd better brief Debbie when we get there."

"Sure thing, Hannibal," said BA. "You be careful though. You don't know what this guys gonna do."

"I'm surprised he hasn't made a move sooner than this," said Dannii.

"He's waiting," replied Hannibal. "He's waiting to see what we do first. It's a case of smoking him out. Forcing him to make the first move."

"Do you think he will?"asked Dannii.

"Sure. He wants your property. He can't wait too long otherwise the other residents will think he's losing interest and he won't want that. He needs to keep them in fear of losing their property. That gives him the edge."

He got up and beckoned Dannii over to him.

"We'll get back to the house."

They left the room and BA settled back on the bed, ready to get some sleep in.

 

 

 

Outside the motel, Jim Barton and Jack Kinclade watched as Face and Murdock left the motel.

"Should we follow them, Mr Barton?" said Kinclade.

"No, it's the white haired fella we need to watch," said Barton. "I figure he's the leader and he looks as though he's closest to the girl."

"They must still be inside the motel. We saw her go in but they haven't come out again."

"Then we keep watching until they do," said Barton.

Kinclade sighed and settled back in his seat.

 

Hannibal jumped down from the fire escape at the back of the building and turned back. Dannii was at the top of the stairs and Hannibal could see she was shaking.

"What's wrong?" he called as quietly as he could.

"I'm terrified of heights," she called back.

"Oh for goodness sake," muttered Hannibal and swung himself back up onto the stairs. He picked her up and swung her over his shoulder.

"For god's sake, don't look down and don't make a sound," he said and jumped down from the stairs. Dannii stifled a cry and it came out as a slight moan then she was back on the ground as Hannibal lowered her to her feet. She couldn't bring herself to look at him, her cheeks glowing with shame.

"Dannii," said Hannibal, tilting her chin so she was looking at him.

"I know you think I'm a flake," said Dannii. "I've always been terrified of heights since I fell through a roof as a child."

"What happened?" asked Hannibal.

"I dislocated my shoulder and broke my leg," said Dannii.

"I don't think you're a flake," said Hannibal, lightly kissing her on the mouth. "Actually, I think you're lovely."

Dannii blushed and then she smiled at him.

"I want to show you something before we go back to the house," she said, taking hold of his arm and pulling him along.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"You'll see," said Dannii.

She led Hannibal down a narrow country lane and as they rounded a corner, they came out next to a shining lake, situated in a secluded forest, with a solitary log cabin on the opposite bank. Dannii looked at Hannibal, her eyes shining.

"What do you think?" she asked. "Will this do as your secret base? There's only one way to get here and that's the way we came. Isn't it perfect?"
Hannibal looked around and a million ideas flitted through his head. He turned to Dannii and could see she was waiting for an answer.

"Yes, it's perfect," said Hannibal. "How did you know about this place?"
"Debbie and me used to come here as children. It belonged to a sweet old man who used to let us swim in the lake. He died a few years ago. He left the place to Debbie and me. We were the only visitors he used to get because no one else knew about the place. We found it by accident one day while we were out playing."

"It's just what I had in mind," said Hannibal and he pulled Dannii into a tight embrace.

Dannii glanced up at him then kissed him full on the mouth. Hannibal moaned and returned the kiss. Dannii started to nibble at his neck and Hannibal started to breathe quicker as her fingers started to open his shirt. She opened the first two buttons and she started to kiss the soft hair that covered his chest. Hannibal responded by dragging her head back up and locked her in another breathtaking kiss. Still kissing her, he picked her up in his arms and carried over to a shaded spot underneath a large oak tree. He knelt down and lay Dannii down on the soft grass. He looked down at her and she stared back, her eyes clouded with passion. He heard her breathing quicken as his hands brushed over her breasts. He lightly stroked her soft skin and made his way down to the hem of her T-shirt. Dannii sucked in quickly as his hand went under the fabric and lifted her T-shirt up over her head. He watched as her eyes widened in surprise as he quickly disposed of her bra and then Hannibal lowered his head and Dannii sighed as his mouth closed over her right breast. While he suckled on the right breast, his hand continued to stroke the left. Dannii closed her eyes and let the ripples of delight sweep through her. Suddenly, her eyes flew open again as she felt Hannibal's hand slide down and undo the button of her shorts. Hannibal felt her start in surprise and he chuckled.

"Relax, baby," he said. "I'm gonna take my time with this."

Dannii groaned in frustration and pressed herself against Hannibal. He chuckled again and then he lowered the zip of her shorts. Dannii squirmed in pleasure as his hand slid inside her shorts. She could feel the warmth of his hand against her most sensitive part. She gasped as she felt him slide a finger inside her. She could feel her breath getting more and more laboured as Hannibal slipped a second finger inside her. She bucked and writhed beneath him as his fingers teased and stroked her, bringing her to a shuddering climax. Dannii clung on to Hannibal as waves of pleasure swept over her, threatening to take her over the edge. As Hannibal withdrew his hand, Dannii moaned a protest but Hannibal kissed her into silence. While he kissed her, her hands wandered down and opened the remaining buttons on his shirt and pulled it off him. Dannii shivered with excitement as Hannibal's chest rubbed against her naked breasts. Hannibal started to move lower, kissing her neck and then down to her breasts. Dannii sighed with satisfaction as his tongue danced over her, causing delightful sensations to flicker through her body. She relaxed as Hannibal moved lower placing soft kisses on her stomach. His hands slid downwards and quickly disposed of her shorts. Dannii felt the cool summer breeze against her now totally naked body and she sighed again as Hannibal's hand stroked the inside of her thigh. Suddenly, she cried out as Hannibal's tongue flicked over her innermost core. She arched her back, meeting each thrust of his tongue as he probed deeper and deeper. She came almost instantly, crying out Hannibal's name as he shook her very soul. She pulled his head back up and he grinned at her as her breathing started to return to normal. His blue eyes sparkled as he saw the effect he was having on her. As she gazed up at him, a mischievous smile danced across her lips and, taking him by surprise she flipped him over so he was now lying on his back, with Dannii sat astride him. She leant over and kissed him, slowly and softly, before wriggling down him so she was sat on his legs. She lay down so her face was against his chest and she began to place soft butterfly kisses on his chest. Hannibal sighed and lay back, enjoying the sensation. He groaned with pleasure as Dannii's tongue flicked over his nipples and moved lower so she was caressing his stomach. Her hands moved down and slowly undid the buckle of his belt. She glanced up at him as if for confirmation to go ahead and she heard his deep growl of satisfaction as she removed the belt and undid the button of his jeans. She lowered the zipper and pulled them down. Hannibal kicked them free and then gasped with delight as she gave his boxer shorts the same treatment.

"Keep this up, honey and I won't be held responsible for the consequences," he murmured, earning a giggle from Dannii in response.

"That's what I'm hoping," said Dannii and Hannibal laughed. Then, he stopped laughing and moaned with pleasure as Dannii's torment began again, her soft tongue caressing the inside of his thigh, working it's way slowly and seductively upwards. He growled with desire as she continued to place soft, feathery kisses along the length of his shaft, then moaned with passion as her tongue danced lightly across the head, teasing and thrilling him, waves of fire thundering through his body. He arched suddenly as Dannii took him in her mouth, slowly sucking him towards total abandonment. He was about to lose control when he grabbed her head and pulled her up, rolling her over at the same time until he was over her. She looked at him in torment, scared in case she had done something wrong. Hannibal smiled at her to reassure her.

"This is for both of us, honey," he said, stroking her soft skin. "Don't send me over the edge without you."

She smiled at him and automatically parted her thighs until she felt Hannibal settle between them. As he slipped into her soft centre, he felt a slight resistance and at once he started to pull out but Dannii arched her back upwards, accepting him. She felt a slight pain but almost instantly it was replaced with feelings of complete ecstasy as Hannibal moved inside her, slowly at first while she got used to the feel of him, then gradually building up a rhythm until they were moving together. Dannii could feel herself falling out of control and she grabbed onto Hannibal, holding him tightly as her orgasm racked through her body. She felt Hannibal come at the same time, filling her up as he lost control too. They clung onto each other and lay in the grass for a few minutes, both completely exhausted. When their breathing returned to normal, Hannibal rolled over and looked at Dannii.

"Why didn't you say something?"

"Does it matter?"
"Of course it does. I had no idea. You're so bubbly and confident and outgoing."
"Which makes you think I've been around the block a few times, does it?" said Dannii, her eyes filling with tears. Hannibal pulled her into his arms.

"I never said that," he said, holding her close. "It's just that if I'd have known it was going to be a first, I'd have chosen somewhere a little more comfortable for you."
"It's not the place, Hannibal," said Dannii, smiling up at him. "It's the person."
"I just wish it could have been more special for you."
"It was special. It was wonderful."

Hannibal kissed her again and they lay back against the tree.

"I wish we could stay here forever," said Dannii.

"It is beautiful," said Hannibal as they looked out over the lake.

"We could stay," said Dannii. "No-one knows we're here. We don't have to go back."
"Not yet," said Hannibal, grinning at her and pulled her closer.

 

 

"A cabin by a lake? Hannibal, you have to be kidding."

Face stared at Hannibal with astonishment in his blue eyes.

"What's wrong, Face? Miffed 'cause I found it and you didn't have to scam it?"

"If you must know, yes I am," said Face. "Supplies are my speciality, Colonel."

Hannibal chuckled and lit a cigar. Face turned away from him in a sulk. Debbie, Murdock and BA suppressed a giggle and Face glared at them, except for Debbie who he managed a weak smile for. She smiled back at him, reaching over to touch his hand. He started in surprise and she quickly retreated back and sat next to Murdock. Murdock smiled at her and put his arm round her, giving her a quick hug. Face glared at him. Murdock looked back at him, with a strange expression. Debbie looked at Hannibal.

"Dannii showed you Mr Daniel's cabin," she asked him.

"Yes. We'll need to get some food and supplies in though before anyone can move into it."
"It's fully stocked," said Debbie. "I did it last time I was down here."

"Didn't Dannii show you round the cabin?" asked Face.

"Not inside," said Hannibal, staring at Face defiantly.

"Then what the hell were the two of you doing up there for over an hour?" he asked.

Hannibal grinned.

"Hannibal, you didn't?"

Hannibal continued to grin.

"Hannibal, you dog."

"We're both adults," said Hannibal.

Face shook his head and smiled.

"So when do I move in?"

"Who says you're moving into the cabin?" said Hannibal, looking at him. "Do you two mind?"

Hannibal directed the last comment to Murdock and Debbie who were playing Rock, Scissors, Paper on the floor of the lounge.

"Sorry," said Murdock.

"Me too," said Debbie and grinned at Murdock.

"Why not?" said Face, after glaring again at Murdock. "Why can't I move into the cabin?"
"I never said you weren't," said Hannibal, chewing his cigar.

"So I am?"

"Yes, you and Murdock can move into the cabin and BA and I will stay here with the girls."

Face gave a whoop of delight and shot out of the room, then he stopped halfway down the hall and backtracked to the lounge.

"Hang on. What do mean, me and Murdock?"
"Just that. You and Murdock will stay at the cabin."

"Aww, Hannibal. Not Murdock."
"Facey, why not me?" asked Murdock, his face full of hurt.

"Nothing personal, Murdock," said Face. "Hannibal, why don't I have the girls at the cabin away from Barton and you three stay here and distract Barton?"

"Ah, that's why you wanted to stay at the cabin," said Hannibal. "Forget it, Face. The girls stay with BA and me. Now, you and Murdock go and get your stuff and go to the cabin. Make sure you aren't followed. Barton is going to realise in a while that we aren't in the motel and start to look for us and I want him to think we are all in here."

Face nodded.

"When you get there," said Hannibal. "Find another trail away from the cabin, but don't make it obvious. I want a route in and out for us to use so we can tripwire the usual path. Barton will figure it out soon enough and I want enough warning for when he gets there."

"Sure thing, Colonel," said Murdock. "Come on, Face, it'll be fun, me and you, living rough in the wild, foraging for food and hunting down our prey."

"Put a sock in it, Murdock," said Face and trudged back to his bedroom to pack up his things and move them to the cabin. Murdock followed at a distance.

"Debbie, where's Dannii?"

"She's sleeping," said Debbie. "She had a pretty energetic afternoon."

Debbie grinned at Hannibal, who actually blushed.

"It's okay, Hannibal," said Debbie. "But be warned that twins tell each other everything."
"Then go and tell her about the plan," said Hannibal.

Debbie grinned again and jumped up. She walked out of the lounge and down the hall to the bedroom. Just as she was about to open the door, Face came out of the bathroom.

"Hi."

Debbie jumped and spun round. She saw Face smiling at her and she gave a quick smile back before darting inside her bedroom and Face heard the lock turn behind her. He shook his head.

"Perhaps I am losing my touch," he thought, before throwing his bag over his shoulder and walking back into the lounge.

 

 

 

"Tell me, you're joking," said Barton, slamming his glass of Scotch down on the table so hard that the contents leapt out of the glass and onto the surface.

"Sorry, Mr Barton."

Kinclade looked at Barton who just stared back at him.

"Sorry? SORRY? I ask you to keep an eye on them at all times, not to let them out of your sight and now you're telling me that they aren't even staying at the motel anymore."

Kinclade shuffled his feet nervously.

"I can only ask one question now," said Barton.

"We are trying to find them," said Kinclade.

"That wasn't the question I was going to ask. The question is how in the hell did they get out of the motel while you were supposed to be watching them?"
"The motel clerk let us into the room and we found they had a fire escape right outside the window of one of the rooms. They must have used that. There was no way we would have seen them, Mr Barton."
"Right, then we need to find them. Have you checked the house?"
"Scottie is over there now, checking it out."
"Anyone checked the store?"

"Only the little lad in there, Cam Stewart."

"Right, first I want you to go and burn the store down."
"What about the Stewart lad?"
"Send him home if you have a conscience but I really don't care. I want them found and I don't care how."

Kinclade started to walk towards the door but Barton grabbed hold of his arm.

"And, Jack, don't let me down again."

"No, Mr Barton," said Kinclade, and walked out of Barton's office. Barton sat back down in his chair and sat calmly for a few moments.

"Damn!"

He picked up the glass of Scotch and stared at it for a few seconds then hurled it across the room in a rage, watching as the contents spilled down the wall.

 

Debbie slammed the book closed and threw it onto the sofa beside her. Hannibal opened one eye and stared at her.

"What's up, Debbie?"

"I'm so bored, I hate just sitting around."

"Me too but we have to let Barton make the first move."
"It's been 24 hours since Face and Murdock left and I don't see why we have to wait."
"Then we know how he's going to play the game."

Debbie shrugged and wandered into the bedroom. BA glanced at Hannibal from his position over at the kitchen table where he was tinkering with some miniature electronics. Just then, Dannii appeared in the doorway.

"Debbie tells me that you're bored."

Hannibal sat upright and grinned at her.

"Maybe I am."

BA got up from his chair and headed to the door.

"I'm just going to check on the van, Hannibal. I'll be out the back if you, erm, need me."

He walked outside and Dannii crept over to Hannibal. When she reached his chair, he grabbed her arm and pulled her down into his lap. She shuffled into a comfortable position and lay down with her head on his shoulder. She shivered as Hannibal ran his hands up and down her back. She responded by nuzzling him, smiling as she heard his throaty growl as she delicately nipped the soft flesh of his throat. Suddenly a gunshot rang out and Dannii was unceremoniously dropped on the floor as Hannibal shot up.

"Hannibal?"

"Get in your room and you and your sister stay there until myself or BA comes to get you. Do not make a noise."

Dannii ran towards the bedroom and locked the door behind her as Hannibal raced towards the door, his gun drawn ready. He raced outside to see BA dragging a stocky man towards the house. Replacing his gun in his belt, Hannibal rushed over to help him.

"What the hell happened, BA?"

"I was workin' on the van when I saw this sucker checkin' out the windows. He was by the lounge window. Saw he had his gun aimed right inside. He was aimin' at you, man. So I shot him in the leg to stop him, then knocked him out."

"Nice work, Sergeant. Let's get this piece of filth inside before he wakes up."

The two men dragged the unconscious man inside and dumped him on one of the dining chairs. BA quickly tied the man to the chair and frisked him for wires. Hannibal went through into the hallway. He knocked on the door of the twins' bedroom and the door opened.

"Sorry, darlin'. I didn't mean to drop you like that."
"Hannibal, it's me, Debbie."
"Sorry, Debbie. Is Dannii all right?"

"Not really. She's always had a fear of guns so when she heard the shot, it really shook her up so I've given her a sedative. She's asleep."
"Oh right. Well, you can come out now if you like. It's safe."
"Thanks, I'll lock her in, we both have keys to this room. I'll be out in a second."

Hannibal walked back into the lounge where BA was sat watching the thug.

"The girls OK?"

"Debbie's fine but Dannii's asleep. Apparently she hates guns and the shot spooked her so Debbie gave her some knock out pills."

"Right. You okay, Hannibal?"

"Yeah, just a bit concerned about her."

"Sure, man. She'll be okay. She's a tough little lady, that one."

"Uhhh." The thug started to come round and Hannibal stood in front of him, pointing the barrel of his revolver straight at him. The thug came round and stared at Hannibal.

"Who sent you?" asked Hannibal.

"I ain't tellin' ya nothin'," said the thug. Hannibal lashed his hand across the other man's face and waited. The thug stared back at him.

"I'll ask you again, who sent you?"

The man sat and stared at Hannibal, not saying anything. Hannibal raised his hand again and brought it down the other way across the man's face.

"Well?"

"Barton sent me," said the man, accepting defeat. "He told me to check you out and see what you were up to."
"And?"
"And nothin'. I swear that's it."
"Any more of you lurking around?"
"Not round here."
Just then, Debbie came out of the bedroom and looked in horror as she saw the man in the chair.

""Oh my god."
BA put his arm round her to stop her shaking.

"You okay, little lady?"

The thug stared at her and then a smile danced across his mouth.

"Hello, sweetheart. Which pricktease are you, then?"

Hannibal brought his fist down squarely and punched the man in the stomach.

"Debbie?" asked Hannibal. "You look terrible."

"That's Scottie Jakes. He works for Barton. What is he doing here?"

"Came to see you, beautiful. How's your sister, Debs?"

Hannibal ignored him and answered for him.

"He was poking his nose round here before so we brought him in to find out why. Seems Barton sent him to check up on us."

Hannibal pulled Debbie to one side, out of earshot of Scottie.

"Listen to me, there isn't anymore of them lurking around here. I want you to go down to the cabin and warn Face and Murdock. You'll be quite safe if you take the normal route. They won't have rigged up a tripwire yet. I'll stay here with BA to keep an eye on your sister. If she comes out, we'll tell her where you are."

Debbie nodded and looked at Scottie.

"What about him?"
"We'll keep him tied up, down in the basement for now. You go on, it'll be alright."

Debbie headed towards the door and, after glancing back towards Hannibal, she left.

 

Although it was under awful circumstances, Debbie was relieved to get out of the house and down to the cabin. She was getting stifled inside the house and as much as she liked Hannibal and BA, they weren't much fun. She was thrilled about seeing Murdock, he was so much fun. He was always ready to lighten the atmosphere and Face… Face was… well, she was looking forward to seeing Murdock anyway. She approached the cabin and knocked on the door, opening it slowly.

"Murdock?"

"Shit!"

Debbie looked through the lounge towards the kitchen area, where she saw Face standing with his back to her, shaking his hand in pain.

"Are you okay?"

He turned round and looked at her.

"Yeah, damn screwdriver. You made me jump."

"Sorry, but I did knock."

Debbie looked at her feet. Face smiled.

"That's what made me jump. I didn't expect anyone, let alone you."

"I was looking for Murdock."

Face's shoulders dropped and he nursed his bruised finger.

"He's out searching for another way to get back to the town."
"Thanks," muttered Debbie and turned to leave.

"Wait!"

Face raced over to her. Debbie turned and looked at him.

"What?" she asked.

""Hey, calm down. I just want to talk to you."
"Why?"

"Please?"

Debbie shrugged and walked back into the cabin. Face closed the door and followed her through to the lounge area.

"Do you want a drink?"

"Okay," replied Debbie.

"White wine okay with you?" said Face, pulling a bottle out of the fridge.

"Yeah, whatever."

Face carried the bottle and two glasses through to the lounge. Debbie was sat on the sofa with her legs tucked up against her. Face put the glasses and the bottle down on the little table next to the sofa and sat down next to her.

"What did you want to talk about?" said Debbie.

"You."
"Me?"
"Yes, you and why you seem so frightened of me."
Debbie looked downwards and Face sighed.

"See, you can't even look at me."

He stood up and went to leave the room.

"I'm not sure I even want to know any more. One thing I do want to know though."
"What?"
"What makes Murdock so damn special?"
"Murdock?"
"You've obviously got a soft spot for Murdock."
"He makes me laugh, he's easy going and he makes me feel relaxed."

Face came back round the sofa and sat down again.

"But you don't feel relaxed around me?"
"No, yes, I mean, oh I don't know."
"Now you've really confused me, sweetheart," Face chuckled.

"Don't laugh at me," said Debbie, jumping up off the sofa. Face caught hold of her and pulled her back down.

"I wasn't laughing at you, Debbie. You just keep giving me confused signals. When we were all back at your mum's house, you touched my hand but when I responded, you shot over to Murdock."

Debbie just stared at him.

"And just now, when you came in, you were looking for Murdock and seemed disappointed in finding me here, you couldn't get out fast enough."

"And that's confusing, is it?" asked Debbie.

"Yes, no, you've got me doing it now. I'm not confused as such but…"

"But?" prompted Debbie.

"But I'm jealous, damn it," exclaimed Face. "I want you to hug me, to spend time with me, come looking for me."

"But you don't even like me."

"Oh, don't you start. You're as bad as your sister."

"Dannii?"
"She thought I didn't like her, as well."
"And did you?"
"Yes, too much."
"You couldn't move your hand fast enough when I touched it the other night."

"You took me by surprise, that's all. By the time I recovered from the shock, you were sat with Murdock."

"So, you do like me?"
"Of course I do."
"Because I look like Dannii."

"Oh no, baby. That's not it at all. What did Dannii tell you about me?"
"That she made a move on you and you knocked her back because of Hannibal."

Face sighed.

"Is there anything you two don't share?"

"No."

"I see."
"So, if you see me as a replacement for Dannii, forget it."

"I see you as the total opposite of Dannii actually. She's lively, outgoing, talkative."

"And I'm not?"
"No, you're shy and sweet and untouchable and incredibly beautiful."

Debbie blushed and looked away. Face sat quietly and waited for her to speak. When she said nothing, he took a deep breath and changed tack.

"Do you want that wine now?"
Debbie, grateful for the diversion, accepted.

"What's your real name?" asked Debbie, sitting back against the sofa.

"Templeton," Face replied.

"That's unusual," said Debbie, smiling.

Face shrugged.

"But I like it, it suits you," she said. Face smiled at her and poured two glasses of wine. He handed one to Debbie. As he handed it to her, his hand brushed hers and he felt small shocks of electricity shiver through him. Debbie felt it too and they both jumped, sending the contents of the glass down the front of Face's shirt. Face cursed and started to wipe it. Debbie grabbed a tissue from the table

"I'm so sorry, Face," she said.

"It was my fault," said Face. Debbie helped him to clean his shirt. As she wiped it down, she looked up and her eyes locked with Face's. Not taking his eyes off her, he reached out and put the glass back on the table and then he leant forward and kissed her. At first, Debbie was too surprised to react but then, she relaxed and moved closer to Face. She wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled him closer to her. He stopped kissing her and looked at her. She went to move her arms away but he stopped her.

"You okay?"

"Face, I'm not very good at this."

"You're doing well so far, sweetheart. Just do whatever feels natural, I don't mind."

"I've not had that much experience with men, but you…"
"Debbie, I won't do anything you aren't comfortable with. If you tell me to stop at any time, I will but please don't be frightened of me."

"I'm not, I trust you."

"Good," said Face and pulled her closer to him. He leant over and kissed her again. She relaxed against him and enjoyed the sensation. Face pulled her up against him and she wrapped her arms back around his waist. Face brought his hands upwards and entwined his hands in her soft blonde hair. Her arms tightened around his waist as if to hold him closer and he deepened the kiss. Debbie thought she was going to stop breathing when he released her and moved down to her neck and started placing soft kisses on her neck. Debbie moaned softly as he nipped at the soft skin under her chin with his teeth and she offered no resistance when he gently pushed her back against the sofa so she was lying down. As he moved towards her, her eyes widened and he smiled at her. Suddenly, she pushed him back and sat up, pushing her hair out of her eyes as she scooted to the end of the sofa away from Face.

"What's wrong, baby?"

"I'm sorry, Face, I can't do this."

Face sat back and smiled at her.

"Do what? I was only kissing you."
Debbie blushed as she explained.

"I know it would have gone further and I'm not sure I'm ready for that."

"I told you, nothing would happen unless you wanted it to. Relax babe. Come here."

Face held his had out and Debbie placed her hand in his. He pulled her close to him and folded his arms around her. She snuggled up against him and he sighed, contentedly.

"Better?"
"I'm sorry, Face. It's just that I'm not as experienced as you are. I've only ever had one serious relationship before and if I'm honest, I'm a bit scared of you."
Face hugged her tighter.

"Please don't be scared of me. I'd never do anything to hurt you."

"Not intentionally, I know you wouldn't."
Face stroked her cheek softly and lifted her chin up so she was looking at him.

"I promise you, I'll never hurt you. Please trust me."
Debbie looked directly into his eyes, green locking with blue.

"I trust you, Templeton."

Face started at the use of his real name, then gently brushed his lips across her forehead. She closed her eyes and leant against him, breathing in the musky scent of him. Face pulled her closer and wrapped his arms tightly round her. She placed her hands against his chest and felt his heart beating. She laid her head against his chest and her cheek came into contact with the wet fabric of his shirt. She looked up at him.

"You should really change that shirt, it's still wet."

She reached over to start unbuttoning his shirt and Face felt her fingers scorch his skin as they brushed against his chest. He suddenly stopped her and held her hands still. She looked at him, half afraid and he kissed her fingertips gently.
"Face? What's wrong?"
Face smiled at her.

"I'm just making sure."

"Of what?"

"That you really want this."

Debbie took hold of his face in her hands and looked straight into his eyes.

"I want you."

Face groaned and kissed her, slow and tantalising kisses. Debbie's fingers found their way back to his shirt buttons and slowly undid each one, until she pushed the shirt back over Face's shoulders and he shrugged out of it, throwing it across the room. Still kissing him, Debbie ran her hands over his now bare chest and to her delight, felt Face shiver with pleasure as her hands danced lightly over his torso. As if to retaliate, Face ran his hands up and down her spine, causing ripples of pleasure shuddering through her. He chuckled against her mouth as she gasped out loud. Face moved his mouth lower and started to nuzzle her neck, moving round every so often to nibble her earlobes. As he did so, his hand moved up to take hold of the zipper of her dress. He paused slightly, waiting for a sign to proceed. Debbie pressed herself up against him and it was all the confirmation he needed. He slowly pulled the zipper downwards and dropped the straps of he dress off her shoulders. At first, Debbie panicked at the thought of being exposed but panic gave way to pleasure as Face lowered his mouth to begin suckling her right breast. She could feel his hand slowly caressing her thigh and she relaxed, allowing the waves of desire sweep through her. She groaned as Face abandoned her right breast but then gasped in delight as he gave the same treatment to the left. She entwined her fingers in his hair and pushed his head down, as if to urge him closer. Face pulled her round so she was sat on his knee, his mouth never leaving her breast. He wrapped his arms around her and stood up, still holding onto her. He started to carry her through to the bedroom but Debbie stopped him.

"Wait!"
Face looked at her.
"What's wrong?"
Debbie kissed him.

"Nothing. It's just I've always had a fantasy about making love on a rug in front of the fire."

She blushed a deep scarlet as Face chuckled then he turned around and lay her down on the rug. He lay down next to her and stroked her arm.

"Then allow me to make a lady's fantasy come true."
Debbie smiled at him and pulled his head back down to kiss him again. He gently pulled her dress down and discarded it. She moved her arms to cover herself up but Face held them down. She stared at him but he smiled at her.

"You're beautiful, I want to see you."
Debbie blushed but then said, "I want to see you too."

Face smiled again.

"Go ahead, baby."
Debbie leant over and undid his belt. Face lay back and sighed with delight as she discarded his trousers. He closed his eyes and relaxed as his boxer shorts went the same way. Suddenly his eyes shot open as he felt a soft brush against his inner thigh as Debbie ran her hand up his leg. He chuckled and rolled her over so she was underneath him.

"You like teasin', huh?"

She looked at him and waited for him to make his next move. He lowered his head and nuzzled her stomach, his tongue dancing across her soft flesh. He moved lower and she squirmed in delight as his tongue ran lightly up her thigh and then she gasped with pleasure as he softly caressed her delicate core. Just as quickly, he stopped and brought his head back up and looked at her, a mischievous glint in his eye. He laughed quietly as she groaned in frustration.

"Serves you right, baby."

She wriggled underneath him and he groaned too as her leg brushed against his hardening shaft. He slowly ran his hand down her body and she whimpered as his fingers brushed against her. The heat pooled between her thighs as he gently slipped a finger inside her.

"Oh Temp," she sighed, then sighed in delight as he slowly teased and stroked her towards the edge. Just as she thought she was about to lose consciousness, he withdrew his hand and settled himself above her. He looked at her and she looked back at him, a silent affirmation passing between them. Face moved inside her and she arched her back, accepting his full length and he moaned with desire as she held onto him. Her nails dug into his back as they both came together, crying each other's names in ecstasy. Face wrapped his arms round Debbie and pulled her up against him. She snuggled down next to him and closed her eyes, a feeling of total bliss settling over her. After what felt like hours, she opened her eyes and found Face looking at her. He moved her hair back out of her eyes and kissed her forehead.

"You okay?"

Debbie nodded.

"How does it feel to have played out your fantasy?"
Debbie giggled.

"Not as comfortable as I thought it would be."
Face looked distraught.

"I'm so sorry, Debbie."

Debbie quietened him with a kiss.

"It's not you, it's the floor. Too hard."

"I thought you meant…"
"You were perfect."

Face stood up and pulled her up with him. He scooped her up into his arms and walked towards the door.

"Where are we going?" asked Debbie.

"To bed," stated Face simply.

Debbie smiled at him in delight and kissed him. He carried her through to the bedroom and kicked the door shut behind him. He laid her down on the bed. Still kissing her, he lay down next to her and stroked her thigh with his hand. She reached up and ran her hands through his soft, blonde hair, then ran her hands lightly down his back, causing him to shiver with delight. He moved even closer to her, rolling her over so she was directly underneath him.

"Hey Face, guess what?"

The door slammed open and Murdock burst into the room. For a moment, nobody moved, all three of them too stunned to react. Then there was a mad panic as Face and Debbie dived under the sheets and Murdock shot out of the door. A few seconds passed and then, he stuck his head back round the door.

"Sorry, guys, but you just have to come and see this."

Face muttered a string of obscenities under his breath.

"I'll be out here when you're ready," said Murdock and left the room.

Face pulled the sheet down slowly to reveal Debbie's face, still hiding under the covers.

"He's gone, darlin'. You can come out now."

Debbie groaned and Face grinned at her, then kissed her on the forehead.

"I'll go and see what he wants, you come out when you're ready."

Debbie smiled at him, grateful for the delaying tactics. She wasn't quite sure how she was going to face Murdock again. Face got up and grabbed a clean pair of pants from the closet and pulled them on. He slipped a T-shirt over his head and smoothed his hair. He walked into the lounge and saw Murdock sat on the sofa, drinking the white wine that he and Debbie had abandoned earlier.

"Murdock, you are so dead," said Face, crossing the room quickly and pulling Murdock up by the lapels of his jacket. Murdock choked on the wine and then dropped the glass to let his hands concentrate on removing Face's hands from his throat.

"Face, you're choking me," spluttered Murdock.

"Good," retorted Face, holding Murdock a little longer before letting him go. Murdock fell to the floor, gasping for breath. Face wandered over to the fireplace and turned to watch Murdock, as he picked himself up off the floor and dusted himself down. Then he grinned at Face.

"No wonder you wanted me to disappear for a while."

Face pulled a face at him.

"You went to find an escape route, it's not like I invented a reason for you to go out."

"So I see your seduction routine worked again. One more chalked up for the Facial One."

"Ahem!"

Both men turned quickly to see Debbie standing in the doorway with a bed sheet wrapped around her.

"I need my dress," she said quickly, giving Face an odd look. Murdock handed it to her and she snatched it off him and hurried back into the bedroom.

"Anyway, it's not like I interrupted anything, is it?" said Murdock, smirking at Face.

"And how would you know that?" asked Face, running his hand through his hair.

"How do you think I knew where you were?" responded Murdock. "I just followed the trail of clothes."

Face blushed and glared at Murdock.

"We spilt some wine, if you must know," he said, hearing how lame the excuse sounded as he said it.

"And," continued Murdock, as though Face hadn't spoken. "I swear that rug was straight when I went out this morning."

Face started coughing and then Debbie reappeared in the doorway.

"I think I'd best be getting back to the house. Hannibal and BA will be wondering where I am."

She started towards the door but Murdock followed her.

"Don't leave because of me."

Debbie managed a weak smile.

"I'm not. Really," she added when he gave her a pointed look.

"Then I'd better show you the route back to the house. If you go the normal way, you'll set the alarm off."
"Sure."

Face watched them leave, feeling a small twinge of jealousy in the pit of his stomach.

Debbie and Murdock walked round the side of the lake and past a small bush.

"It's through here," said Murdock, moving some branches aside to reveal a small opening in the hedges. The two of them crawled through and followed a small path through the forest in silence until at last Murdock spoke.

"Debbie, I want to apologise for what happened back there."

"It's not your fault," said Debbie. "You didn't know what we were doing."

Murdock hung his head, guiltily.

"But I did. I saw the wine and the rug and noticed your clothes were on the floor."

He looked at Debbie, who had blushed a deep scarlet.

"I saw a chance to wind Face up and I took it. I didn't think about the effect it would have on you. I'm really sorry, and I hope you can forgive me. I'll understand though, if you hate me."
"I could never hate you, Murdock," said Debbie, giving him a hug. "You're the best friend a girl could have."

Murdock smiled and hugged her back.

"I'm glad you don't hate me. I think I owe Face an apology too."
"Don't you dare," said Debbie. "He deserves it."

Murdock gave her a funny look but she said no more. Murdock led her through the forest until they came to another small opening. As Debbie peered through it, she saw the house ahead. There was nobody about and Debbie turned to Murdock.

"Hannibal knows you're on your way," said Murdock. "There's a trigger switch on route that let him know one of us is coming down the path."
"You guys are incredible."

"Why thank you, ma'am. We do our best."

Debbie giggled and went through the opening. She ran lightly down the path and through the back door. Hannibal was sat on the sofa, reading the paper. BA was asleep in the armchair.

"You took your time," said Hannibal, glancing up at her. "I thought you'd only be gone an hour at the most."

Debbie blushed and Hannibal grinned at her.

"Face can be very talkative, can't he?"

Debbie blushed again, then smiled at him with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"Almost as talkative as you, Hannibal."

Hannibal blushed as well, then retreated back behind his paper.

"By the way," he said, as Debbie made her way to the bedroom. "That was some powerful sedative you gave Dannii. I've not heard a peep out of her since you left."

"They are pretty powerful," said Debbie. "They usually knock me out for a good few hours. Besides, she needs the rest. This whole business with Barton has left her frazzled and her nerves are shot to pieces. I'll go and see how she is."

Debbie wandered out of the room and down the corridor. She opened the door quietly so not to wake Dannii and entered the room. Hannibal went back to the paper. All he got from BA was a snore.

 

 

"Why is that good news," asked Murdock, looking at Hannibal in bewilderment. He had come down from the cabin with Face, after Hannibal had summoned them for a team briefing. He had got some more information out of Scottie Jakes about the torching of the shop. Both girls were still in their room and had not yet heard this piece of news. Hannibal drew out a cigar and grinned at Murdock.

"Because it means he's made the first move. Now we can go to work."

"But he's watchin' our ev'ry move, man," said BA, snorting with irritation. "How can we possibly make a move on someone who has us staked out ev'ry second?"

"Easy, BA," said Hannibal, blowing a puff of smoke in the air. "We use bait to lure him away from us."

He turned and grinned at Face.

"Oh, not again, Hannibal," he whined. "He didn't follow us last time, he isn't going to do it this time either."

"Sure he will," said Hannibal. "Because this time you're going to take something he wants with you."

"Which is?"

"You are going to take the deeds to this house with you. Barton will then have you followed and probably try to relieve you of the deeds."
"Not caring how, I suppose," said Face, looking decidedly worried.

"Relax, Lieutenant," said Hannibal, putting his hand on Face's shoulder. "We'll be behind you all the way."

Hannibal grinned again as Face groaned. Suddenly, the bedroom door opened and as Face looked round, a hand came out of nowhere and slapped him across the face.

"That's from Debbie," said Dannii, her eyes blazing.

"What the hell did I do?" asked Face, rubbing his cheek, trying to ease the stinging sensation.

"She is NOT another one of your conquests or another notch on your bedpost."
Murdock looked down at the floor as Face turned and glared at him.

"She heard you. Nice one, Murdock."
"I'm sorry, Face," mumbled Murdock.

"Would someone mind telling me what the hell is going on," asked Hannibal.

"Ask him," stormed Dannii and marched back out of the lounge. She paused at the door and turned back to them. "And Debbie is refusing to come out while he is still here," she said, pointing at Face, before stalking out of the lounge, slamming the door behind her.

"Well, Lieutenant?"

"It's a long story, Hannibal," said Face. "And it has nothing to do with our plan for Barton."
"Then I don't want to know," said Hannibal, simply. "Now get going with those deeds."

Face sighed and marched out of the door, the deeds to the Rose's property tucked under his arm.

 

Across the road, in a plain, white van, Jack Kinclade and Sammy Jenkins watched as Face left the house. They both noticed he was carrying a sheaf of legal papers.

"That must be the deeds," said Kinclade. "Barton was right. He must be taking them to the safety deposit box for security. Let's go."

They both grabbed their rifles from the seats beside them and leapt out of the van, taking Face completely by surprise. Kinclade quickly snatched the deeds from under Face's arm and was then knocked to the ground by a quick upper cut from Face. He then spun round to face his other attacker and the next thing he saw was the butt of Jenkins' rifle as it made contact with his nose and then he saw black.

 

 

Hannibal was stood by the window, watching the sunset, when he felt two arms snake round his waist.

"I hope that's you, Dannii because if it's BA, I'm outta here."

He was answered by a small chuckle and then Dannii moved round to stand in front of him. He kissed her quickly and then resumed his watching through the window. Dannii lay her head against his chest.

"What's wrong, Hannibal?"

He sighed deeply.

"We should have had word from Face by now. Something must have gone wrong."

"He's only been gone an hour. He'll be back. Or maybe, he went straight to the cabin."

"No, he'd have checked in first. He's in trouble. And there isn't a damn thing I can do about it."

Dannii jumped back, frightened by the aggressive tone in Hannibal's voice. Although she knew he was a soldier and was well aware he had a temperamental streak, she was still surprised by the speed of his mood swings. She slowly backed away, colliding with BA.

"He's all right, lil' girl," said BA. He's just concerned for Face. We all are. He's like a son to him and he's my lil' bro'er. He just hates the waiting."

"I feel terrible," said Dannii.

"Why?"

"Because the last words I said to him were in anger. If anything should happen to him, before I get the chance to apologise…."

"Take it easy, sweetheart," said Hannibal, Dannii's distress momentarily bringing him out of his trance. "Face will have already forgotten about it."

"I still want to apologise to him."
"You can, when he comes back," said BA. "Besides, he'll…."
BA was cut off by the warning trigger going off.

"It's Murdock," said Hannibal. Moments later, the back door opened and Murdock came in, his eyes locking with Hannibal's, searching for an answer to his unasked question. Hannibal found he couldn't look at the pilot and turned back to the window. Murdock marched over to his commanding officer and glared at him.

"So what do we do then, Colonel?"

"I don't know, Murdock. We have to wait for Barton."
"Again? We seem to have done nothing but wait for Barton to make his moves. What about our moves, Hannibal? When does Barton get to play the waiting game? We wait, he burns down the shop. We wait, he captures Face. We wait, Christ knows what he'll do next."

Murdock started to pace up and down in front of the window. BA put his hand on the pilot's shoulder but Murdock shrugged him off. Dannii looked at Hannibal.

"Murdock does have a point, Hannibal."
"I know he does."

Murdock stopped pacing and stared at Hannibal in amazement.

"Then let's do something."

Hannibal shook his head.

"We can't. It might place Face in more danger and I'm not risking that."

"Goddammit, Hannibal."

Murdock swore and punched the window. The glass shattered and blood dripped down onto the floor from the cuts all over Murdock's hand. Dannii grabbed a tea towel off the top of a kitchen unit and raced over to Murdock. She wrapped it tightly around his hand to stem the flow of blood and he looked up at her, tears in his eyes.

"That was a bit stupid, wasn't it?"

Debbie smiled at him, and then she grabbed her coat and headed for the door.

"Dannii?" Hannibal grabbed her arm.

"I care, even if you don't."

"Of course I care. We just can't do anything silly. Face can hold his own."

"I can't just sit here and wait for Barton to kill him. He has the deeds now, what's to stop him killing Face then us too."

"Nothing," said Murdock, moving round to stand next to Dannii. "We have to do something."

"Okay," sighed Hannibal, knowing he was defeated. "But Dannii, you stay here."
"Like hell I do," she said. "I either go with you or without you but I'm going to find Face."

Hannibal shook his head. God preserve him against independent women.

"All right, but you stick close to Murdock. I want you two to go out and make your way round to the cabin. Go by the escape route so they don't see you get there. BA, you follow them but at a distance. Take Debbie with you."
"No, I want her left out of this part," said Dannii. "She's not as strong as me. She'll be safe here if I lock her in the room."

"I don't like leaving her on her own."

"She'll be fine, but I don't want her coming with us."

Hannibal looked at the fiery sparkle in Dannii's eyes and smiled. She could be just as stubborn as he could, if not more.

"Okay, if this thing goes to plan, no-one will be sniffing round here once I leave. When the three of you get to the cabin, find a position and stay there. You'll see me come down the path and then Barton should be behind me. That's when we open fire, but not until you see Barton."

"Sure thing, Colonel," said Murdock. "Come on, Dannii. Let's get going."

Murdock opened the back door and they made their way quickly across the garden and out through the gap in the hedge. They raced down the path and then reached the cabin. Murdock leapt down into a low ditch that ran round the edge of the lake. Dannii raced over to the cabin and ducked behind the wall, out of sight. They both had AR-15's with them, courtesy of BA's van. They heard the rustle of the trees and BA shot out from the forest and ducked behind a large oak tree. They waited for Hannibal to come out into the clearing. Time passed and then Hannibal came into view. BA, Murdock and Dannii braced themselves as Hannibal moved into position behind a large bush and they waited. The trees of the clearing rustled and then Face came into view, being used as a human shield behind whom stood Barton, the barrel of his pistol pressed against Face's forehead.

"Drop your weapons and come out or I'll kill him," shouted Barton. Hannibal could see from where he was hiding that Face had been badly beaten. He was barely conscious and his head hung limply downwards, the bruising on his face evident. Hannibal's heart contracted at the sight of him and he stepped forward, his arms held up in a gesture of surrender.

"I want all three of you," shouted Barton. Hannibal realised that Barton didn't realise that Dannii was there too and prayed she didn't show herself. It seemed as though she had heard him as Murdock and BA stepped into sight, their arms raised too. Dannii pressed herself against the cabin wall and prayed no one would see her. Barton moved forward, still keeping Face in front of him and several of his men ran into the clearing behind him. They covered Hannibal, Murdock and BA with their guns and then Barton threw Face forward. Hannibal knelt down and examined him quickly. There were cuts and bruises all over his body but there didn't seem to be anything more serious than that. Barton grabbed Hannibal and dragged him up so the Colonel was facing him.

"You think you've been clever with me, mister?"

"Doesn't take much to outsmart you, does it?" said Hannibal, grinning at Barton. Barton punched him in the stomach. Hannibal doubled over, then straightened up, quickly. Barton motioned him over to the cabin and, encouraged by the other men with guns pointed at them, the others followed. Dannii shrank back against the cabin wall, trying to make herself invisible. Barton locked the four men inside the cabin and laughed.

"Make yourselves comfortable, gentlemen," he jeered. "You could be here for a while, depending on how long it takes for me to get those little girls."

"No, Debbie," whispered Hannibal. Face looked at him in amazement.

"Debbie? What about Dannii?"
"Quiet," said Hannibal, listening. There was the sound of footsteps and then silence. Hannibal looked out of the cabin window. He could see at least three men surrounding the cabin and he would put money on there being more. He prayed Dannii had gone for help or at least hidden out of sight.

"Hannibal, whatta we do, man?" asked BA. "We can't rely on the lil' lady to get us outta here."

"I know," said Hannibal. "What we need is…."
He was interrupted by the sound of a window sliding open.
"Hey guys, need a hand?"

Dannii poked her head through the window and whispered to Hannibal.

"Come on, sexy, I ain't leavin' you behind."

Hannibal blushed and Murdock giggled. BA scrambled through the window and took Dannii's AR-15 off her. He motioned that the coast was clear and Murdock climbed through after him. Since nobody had thought to search them before locking them in the cabin, Murdock still had his pistol hidden inside his jacket. BA and Murdock moved slowly round, checking for any sign of Barton or his henchmen, while Dannii and Hannibal helped Face out of the window. When he was out, Dannii threw her arms round his neck and hugged him.

"Thank goodness you're okay," she cried. Face looked startled but hugged her back.

"I'm fine, sweetheart. Don't worry about me."
"I was so afraid something would happen to you before I had the chance to apologise."
"Apologise for what?"
"For slapping you. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean the things I said. I know how you feel about Debbie."

"Come on, you guys, let's get outta here," said BA. As Barton and his men had no idea there was a separate path leading back to the house, his men were only guarding the front of the cabin. The five of them raced down the path and back to the hose but realised they were too late. From the gap in the hedge, they could see Barton talking to Kinclade.

"Damn it, I want her found."
Face stifled a moan.

"Debbie."
Hannibal put his hand on his shoulder.

"I know, Lieutenant but we can't do anything yet. It's pretty obvious she's hiding and until Barton finds here, it's the best place she can be."

"What do we do, Hannibal?" asked Murdock.

"We go in," said Hannibal, drawing his revolver from his waistband. "Dannii, stay here."

He caught the glimpse in her eyes and held his hand up before she started to protest.

"I mean it, baby. You're unarmed and not used to this situation. You could get hurt."

Dannii folded her arms and glared at Hannibal, knowing he was right but hating it all the same. He smiled at her and brushed her cheek, gently.
"You did good back there," he said. "Thank you."

She smiled at him and kissed his cheek.

"Go get em, soldier."

Hannibal motioned to Face to take the left, BA took the right, Murdock covered the rear and Hannibal took the point. On the count of three, Hannibal Raced through the gap in the hedge and took the nearest man out, straight away with a quick upper cut in the nose. Barton spun round to see what was going on, but Face was too fast for him and knocked him down with one blow. Kinclade took aim at Murdock who had followed Hannibal out of the hedge but BA came in from the right and fired a single shot, shattering his kneecap and Kinclade hit the floor, howling in pain. Murdock raced over to the house and went inside, Hannibal close behind him. As they burst through the door, they came face to face with Scottie Jakes, who Barton had freed from the cellar.

"I've got a score to settle with you," said Jakes, aiming at Hannibal. He squeezed the trigger but fell to the floor. BA came through the front door, clutching his rifle.

"Did I get him," he grinned. They raced outside to where Face was finishing tying up Kinclade and the others. Hannibal dragged Jakes out too and they were all bound together. Dannii came through the bushes and grinned.

"Nice one, guys."

Hannibal and Face grinned at her.

"We just need to find your sister now," said Hannibal. No one noticed that Barton had slowly begun to stir again. He quickly reached inside his jacket and withdrew a small handgun. He clicked the safety off and aimed directly at Murdock, who had his back to him. Dannii noticed and cried out to Murdock.
"Look out, Murdock."

Murdock spun round just as Barton pulled the trigger. Dannii leapt over and pushed Murdock out of the way but the bullet caught her smack in the chest and she fell to the ground, not moving. BA turned and fired at Barton, at the same time as Hannibal did. Barton fell to the ground, lifeless. Hannibal raced over to where Murdock was cradling Dannii.

"BA, get to the van and radio for help. Quickly!"

BA got up and started to race to the van but Dannii gasped "NO!"

Hannibal moved her slowly round so she was in his arms.

"It'll be okay, baby. We'll get help."
"It's too late, Hannibal. It's over."

"No, don't say that."
"It's true. I need to tell you something though, Face too."

She grabbed Face's collar and pulled him closer. BA put his arm round Murdock's shoulder and moved him away. Murdock threw himself into BA's arms and started sobbing. BA held Murdock while he cried. Dannii tried to sit up, but the pain was too much. She motioned for Face and Hannibal to come closer then she started to whisper.

"I have something to confess to you both. I'm not who you think I am."

Face and Hannibal looked surprised.

"I'm Dannii, but I'm also Debbie as well. It was me playing two parts all along. I never meant to hurt either of you, but I just need to explain and apologise before I go."

Face looked at Hannibal, not understanding. Dannii pulled Face closer.

"When I kissed you that first time, back at the motel, I felt something special, something clicked and it felt so right, but you backed off, you didn't want to hurt Hannibal, betray his trust."
Hannibal sighed. Dannii looked at him.

"And neither did I. I never planned this, it wasn't something I had plotted, it just happened. When I was with you, you made me feel special, I'd never experienced anything like it before. You made me come alive as a woman. You showed me what it was like to love and be loved and I'll always remember that day by the lake and how incredibly magical it was."

Hannibal's eyes filled with tears and he blinked furiously to keep them back. Dannii turned back to Face.

"Then, when I came to the cabin looking for Murdock, the vulnerability in your eyes affected me in a way like nothing else. I tried to fight the feelings for you, not wanting to give in, to deceive Hannibal but it was the way you gave me control, let me set the pace, my resolve crumbled and I fell in love with you too."

Both Hannibal and Face widened their eyes.

"Yes, I love you both. What started out as a harmless game turned into something more. In the end, it got out of hand and there was no way I could tell either of you, because then I would have had to choose. I couldn't do that, I couldn't choose between you two. Maybe, it's better this way."
"Don't say that," said Face, tears falling down his face. The sight of Face's grief was too much for Hannibal and his own tears spilled over. Dannii reached up and wiped the tears away from Hannibal, then Face.
"Don't hate each other, there was no way you could have known. Face, when I was with you, I was Debbie, I was a different person to Dannii. I hope you both don't hate me for this."
Face looked at her in amazement.

"I could never hate you, baby. I love you, I love you more than anyone or anything in my whole life."

Dannii smiled at him, then grimaced as another wave of pain swept over her. Hannibal leant over and whispered in her ear.
"That goes double for me, darlin'. Hold on for me, please."

Dannii closed her eyes, the pain too much for her. She opened them again and reached out for Hannibal. He took hold of her left hand and Face clasped her right hand, willing for her to hold on until the ambulance arrived. Dannii closed her eyes again and Hannibal felt her hand slip away, at the same time, Face felt the same.

 

 

 

 

Three weeks later

 

The black van pulled up outside the Ryding Valley cemetery and the four occupants got out, slowly checking for any military people who might be tailing them. They walked slowly over to where there was a brightly polished headstone, underneath lay flowers and cuddly toys. The gravestone read: -

In Loving Memory of

Danielle Anne Scott

Loving daughter of Frank and Thelma Scott

Cherished sister of Deborah Scott

Born April 20th 1961

Died November 12th 1988

Aged 27.

God Rest Her Soul.

The four men stood silent for a moment. They had not been able to attend the funeral the week earlier, due to the presence in the town of the military and police and the like. They heard that Barton's men had been arrested and charged with assault, arson, obtaining property by deception and kidnap. However, due to Face being the kidnap victim, that charge had been dropped but they were still facing a lengthy prison sentence. Frank and Thelma Scott had received the deeds to their property back and were taking a vacation in Texas with their daughter, Debbie. BA stepped forward and knelt down by the grave. The other three stepped back slightly.

"Hey, little mama, that was a mighty brave thing you did. You proved yourself to be a true team member that day. Just wish you hadn't paid the price for it. I'm really gonna miss ya, kid. You would have made a great addition to the team."

BA placed a small toy cat on top of the grave and prayed. He then stood up and returned to the group. Murdock rested his hand on BA's shoulder before stepping forward to the grave. He bent down and placed his favourite blue cap on the grave then knelt down beside it.

"What did you go and do that for, crazy girl? You shouldn't have stopped that bullet for me, I'd give anything to be in your place now, if it only meant you were back here with Hannibal and Faceman. They both miss you like crazy. I'll let you into a secret though, I knew it was you all along. Well, not all along but when you stood up to Hannibal to find Face, I knew it was more than a guilty conscience. I saw it in your eyes when you bound my hand in that tea towel. I saw how much you loved him, and then I knew it was you. God bless you, Chiquita."

Murdock stood up and ran over to the van, tears in his eyes. BA went after him and Face walked slowly over tot he gravestone. He took off his gold chain and placed it gently besides Murdock's cap.


"That's for you, baby. I can't begin to tell you how much I miss you. You meant the world to me and in my head, I know you're Dannii but to me, you'll always be Debbie. You gave me so much taught me how to love again. I love you, baby and I always will. I'll never forget you and I'll always be grateful for that day up at the cabin. I'll never look at a fireplace the same way again. Life hasn't been the same since you left though. Eating, walking, talking even breathing is hard without you. You were my life and although it was only for a short time, you made me live again too. I know how much Hannibal misses you too. You'll be glad to know that we both understand your reasons for doing what you did, it won't come between us, because like you said, you were two different people. We only dated the same body, not the same spirit. I promise to love you and cherish you for always and I'll never forget you. Goodbye, my love."

Face stood up and kissed the gravestone. He walked back to Hannibal and squeezed his arm. He knew how difficult this was going to be for Hannibal. He'd just done it himself, but for the Colonel, it was always going to be the toughest. Hannibal patted his hand and then Face joined BA and Murdock by the van and watched from a distance as Hannibal approached the grave.

"I don't really know where to begin, kid. Stopping that bullet, you did what any one of us would have done. But godammit, I need you here with me, I need you to help me get through the day. Without you, there's no reason for getting up in the mornings, no reason for sleeping at night. Life has no reason any more. God chose to take you and I'll never understand his reasons, same as I'll always thank him for leading you to me in the first place. Why couldn't you hold on though just a little longer? I'll never forget the moment you slipped away from me. It will haunt me for the rest of my life. It doesn't matter how many times you face death or see death, it never gets easier and for it to be the girl I was going to marry, it's too much to bear. Some days I get up and find myself wishing to join you or even replace you. Your parents will never forgive me, I gave them my word that you'd be safe and a day won't pass without me feeling so guilty that I couldn't keep that promise. I should have stood my ground, made you stay in the house or even made you go with your mom and dad, leave town where you'd have been safe. But I know you, you would have found a way to come back. You were the most stubborn, independent, brave and most beautiful woman I've ever met. You'll always be in my heart, forever. I love you, Dannii and I always will. Rest in peace, my angel."

Hannibal placed a small velvet box on the grave and walked to the others. They all climbed into the van and drove slowly away, leaving the peace and tranquility of Ryding Valley Cemetery behind them.

THE END


Too Close For Discomfort by Angievette

 

 


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