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This page last viewed: 2017-08-17 and has been viewed 2618 times
Rated PG 13
Disclaimer: The A-Team does not belong to me, but instead to Stephen J. Cannel and I am making no profit from this.
Note: ***** Denote flashback sequence.
Dark, black clouds boiled and raced across the leaden gray skies of Southern Florida. Almost seeming to chase the ebony and red van as it sped over the highway, they were gaining fast and even the convoy of military vehicles that had pursued the team for the last fifty miles seemed to have given up and left the storm driven clouds to do their job for them: run the A-Team to ground.
A glance out the windshield showed the front seat passenger that the winds hadnt abated as he had hoped and that rain was starting to fall in fitful showers. The world outside looked gray and cold. The few cars they passed were hurrying in the opposite direction, away from the storm and its danger. Their drivers hunched over the wheels much like BA, fighting the elements that sought to force them from the pavement.
Along the roadside, trees bent under the extreme force of the winds, branches touching the ground and broken off, leaving splintering wounds behind. Unfortunately, the storm was last on his list of priorities. Getting miles between them and Decker and dealing with the crisis and hand took over all else.
At the wheel, BA Baracus fought the ever-growing winds, coming now in gusts strong enough to send the van off the highway. Daring to take his eyes off the road only for mere seconds, the large black man checked the rear view mirror before speaking.
We lostem, man. What we gonna do now? This storm is getting close.
Storm? The radio, before we lost reception, said it was a hurricane coming inland. I dont know, BA. I still think we need a few more miles between us and Decker
But, what about . He hesitated and just jerked his head to the rear of the van. Hes hurt bad. We gotta get him inside and out of this weather. He cant take much more banging around in here.
I know, I know. His companion stood from the front passenger seat and carefully made his way back to the rear seat and the other two members. Murdock, how is he?
Stooping over the rear bench seat, he saw blood still oozing from the bullet graze on the others temple. A purple/black bruise was already forming. Taking the pen light from the open med-pack on the floor, he checked the blue eyes himself. As he noted again the severity of the head wound and the dressing over the victims upper arm, he listened as Murdock ran down what he had just assessed for himself.
Lost a lot of blood. Pupils still arent responding right. I cant seem to keep him still in here. Murdocks voice rose and he aimed it at the drivers seat. TOO MUCH COMMOTION GOING ON UP THERE! He raised his voice, betraying the jangled nerves and near panic that were rising dangerously close to the surface.
Easy, Murdock, BAs doing the best he can. This wind is getting harder; weve got a hurricane blowing in. Patting the pilots shoulder, he squeezed comfortingly and eased his way back to the front and the driver.
How is he, man? BA never took his gaze from the road. His muscles quivered with the strain of holding the wheel steady.
Not good How far since we lost Decker? The tone was tense and tight with worry and fear.
About 15 miles.
Nodding to himself, he glanced over his shoulder at Murdock and his patient. The lanky man was changing the bandage on the head wound again.
Zoning out, this leader desperately tried to come up with an answer, a plan .
Faceman Faceman what we gonna do? BA pulled him back to the grim reality and forced his decision.
We stop, BA. We have to get Hannibal somewhere stable and see if we can stop the bleeding and if he doesnt wake soon, get a doctor to look at him. As silence ensued once more, his thoughts whirled around him. How did he do it? How did Hannibal make the millions of decisions every time they went out on a mission? He kept them together and safe, for the most part, and he made it look easy.
Face had never been comfortable when forced to face the responsibilities his title gave him. Second-in-command. Hand picked by the Colonel himself. Why, when he always felt like he was foundering without Hannibal to show him the way?
BA, stop at the next place you see. Yell out when we get there. Im going to check on him. Hed watch over him, just as Hannibal had watched over each of them multiple times in the past. He might not be able to tell him what to do now, but he had been showing him for years. Face suddenly thanked God that hed paid attention.
Murdock, go help BA watch for a place to stop. Ill stay with him. Seeing that Murdock needed a distraction, he provided him with the only one available. The pilot normally held it together extremely well under stress. He could always be counted on to do his part. But he had been holding it together for the last 20 miles and Face had to make sure he kept it together.
Sure Facey. I, uh, changed that bandage about five minutes ago. Been needing it pretty often. He still aint woke up, though. Murdock unfolded his long legs from under him and stretched awkwardly. One last look at his fallen leader and the man moved up, toward BA.
Seating himself in Murdocks vacated place on the floor of the van, Face was careful to keep a steadying hand on the older mans chest as the van swayed and rocked with the winds. Checking the dressing, he saw it was okay for another few minutes and began to check his pupils. No change. His breathing still seemed easy and his pulse was rapid but strong and regular.
Briefly he held the strong, work-toughened hand in his. This hand had taught him a lot in the years they had been together. Hed been nothing but a kid when Hannibal found him and took him in. It might have been the middle of a war in a foreign country, but hed taken him all the same. No matter how many times Face messed up, mouthed off, or got the Hell beat out him Hannibal was there. To punish, to comfort, to teach; whatever was needed. Hed gone from no good kid to what he hoped was a man to be proud of. And he had the man lying before him to thank.
Looking at the man now, Face wondered when hed gotten so much older. Where had those wrinkles come from around Hannibals eyes and mouth? Was he always this pale or was that from the wound? Face used a nearby towel to wipe blood from the ends of his sliver hair. Has it always been this silver? No, surely there used to streaks of blond/ white. How many of those wrinkles and gray hairs were put there by worry about the team, Face, Murdock and BA? Why? Why hadnt he seen the signs before?
No! There were no signs to see. Hannibal was not old. It simply wasnt possible, was it?
Damn, how did this happen? Sighing raggedly, Face looked at the pale, blood-streaked face and saw it all over again.
Wrapping up the job for the South Florida orange pickers union had been too easy. Face knew it, BA knew it, and Murdock knew it. Hannibal just grinned and lit his cigar. Hed said, Kid, its just that it was such a good plan! He threw his arm over the younger mans shoulder and clapped him hard on the back.
Groaning his frustration, Face began to point out that Magruders henchmen had given up too easy. Something was up and they needed to get their prisoners and their evidence to the police and beat it out of town. Hannibal, you know Im right Deckers going to be here any minute. I bet Magruder called him, personally. Thats why those two-bit gunmen just gave it up! They figure that when the MPs get here, theyll just slip out
Face, kid, youre too pessimistic! Magruder just knew he was outclassed, thats all.
Oh yeah? Then whats that? Sirens wailed closer as Face smirked his I told you so. smirk.
Uh, just a good guess on Deckers part? Even he has to get lucky sometime Hannibal handed the shotgun to the union leader and instructed, Keep them here and when Decker arrives, give him Magruders books and tell him I said hello. He grinned wildly at the bewildered orange picker.
Running for the van, Hannibal called out, Lets go, BA!
The team loaded into the van and Hannibal stuck his head out the window just to see the look on Deckers face as they raced away, again. Easily eluding the MPs, the team hit the open highway and began to relax, just a little too soon. Five pick-up trucks blocked the road ahead and in front of the pack was Mark Magruder, holding a hunting rifle.
BA stopped the van and Hannibal opened his door. Magruder, dont you know when youre beaten? Get out of my way. The police are looking for you by now!
No one beats me, Smith. Stand and fight, if you got the guts! Magruder fired the first shot even as Face and Murdock jumped from the sliding door, guns spitting bullets. The cowboys Magruder brought quickly backed down under the automatic weapon fire. Magruder himself raised his rifle one more time and aimed it directly at Hannibals chest.
Even as he squeezed off his round, Face sprayed the area at his feet with fire from the M-16 he carried and the old man jerked the rifle up before falling back with the rest of his goons. Expecting to exchange grins with his commander, Face stared in disbelief as Hannibal drunkenly swayed toward him.
Face Hannibal got out his name before he fell at his feet, blood from the wound on his right temple spattering Faces legs as he hit the pavement.
Face! Face! Faceman! Theres a motel, right up ahead. Im stoppin, man
Okay, Murdock, come sit with Hannibal. Ill go get us a room. Staying in the semi crouched position with one hand on Hannibals person at all times, Face waited for his relief. Ill show you, Colonel. I did pay attention, youll see.
Sliding open the van door, Face stepped out into the storm. Blustery gusts pulled at his clothing, whipped his hair into his eyes, and flung gritty sand from the gravel parking lot into his face. He could barely see the small, dingy building in front of him. Branches of palm trees and grass, dirt clods and small debris scuttled rapidly along the ground, more often than not, being caught in the updraft and hurled into his path. Rain started to hit his face and bare neck in stinging pellets, his jacket doing little to protect him from the wrath of hurricane Camille.
Staggering under her force, he finally reached the door and pulled it open. The slippery metal handle flew from his grasp, the door banging against the brick wall. The cheap, gold bell jangled crazily for a full 15 seconds before being ripped from its flimsy post and falling prey to the wild winds outside. Giving up on closing the door, Face entered the lobby and called out. Anybody home?
Stepping behind the counter, he peered into the back office. Deserted. Hello he moved to the front of the counter and called up the narrow stair.
From behind him came wet, plopping footsteps and a gruff voice. Closed up ..hurricane acoming. Better move on! The words came from an old, grizzled man, clothed in head to toe in a shiny yellow slicker. Matching boots covered his feet and he held a hammer in his hand. Been trying to batten down, but shes coming too fast. Gonna just clear out while I can. He dropped the hammer on the counter and stepped toward the door. Well .didnt ya hear me? Move on theyre evacuating the whole town.
No, I cant. We need a room. My friend, hes sick. He cant travel anymore. Face was too tired to even try his charm on this tough, old bird. Look, well pay, whatever you want, but we have to have a room.
The old, wrinkled face studied him slowly. The rheumy eyes took in his exhausted stance. He also noted the shoulder holster, revealed by his wind-disheveled jacket. Finally, settling on Faces light tan pants and Hannibals blood, smeared now by the elements, Sick, huh?
Yes. Desperate enough now to give him anything he wanted, Face reached for his wallet, in his breast pocket.
Whoa, now, son. Just take it easy The man stepped away, hands raised in a warding off gesture.
Realizing his gun was visible, Face held out empty hands. I dont want to hurt you. I just need to get my friend inside and try to take care of him.
Easing toward the door, the old man nodded. Fine, if you wont run, then pick a room. I dont care which. Keys are under the register. Im leaving. You can lock up when you go, if theres anything left Without another word, the man disappeared.
Reaching for the keys, Face exited the lobby and fought his way back to the van. Come on guys, lets get him in before the rain gets worse.
BA left the drivers seat and started to lift Hannibal as Face steadied his head and arm. As he was lifted off the thinly cushioned bench seat, Hannibal stirred and muttered, Kid? Ok?
Face grinned broadly at his teammates and answered, Yeah, Hannibal. Were all okay. Gonna get you inside now. Hold on. Might be a rough ride.
Murdock caught the keys as Face tossed them. Which room, Facey?
The closest one. The owner left. Said for us to lock up when we left He chose not to tell them the rest for now. Once they had Hannibal in and settled, hed tell them the rest. A full force hurricane was indeed headed their way, and the owner might even now be calling the local authorities to report the armed man, desperate enough to stay in the middle of hurricane. He hoped he was betting right and that the storm would play to their favor, keeping Decker grounded just as effectively as they were.
Well, how nice of him. Murdock went ahead and opened the room closest to the van and to the lobby.
As the other two entered with their burden, the sky went totally black. Thunder rumbled overhead and lightening ripped through the heavy clouds. The door shut behind them and rain began to pour in sheets. Camille had arrived. Icy cold and deadly in her fury.
But for now, they were safe and whole once again. They prepared to batten down the hatches as best they could and wait out the storm. Together, they would be able to brave the high winds.
High Winds 2/?
Settling Hannibal onto the bed farthest from the window and door took less than five minutes. He was placed in the center of the bed, covered warmly, and watched constantly by at least one member of the team at all times. His face remained pale and drawn. The wrinkles none of them had ever really noticed stood out in stark relief now. The blood from his wound lay, drying, into the tiny crevices around his eye.
Face picked up the damp cloth from the nearby table and carefully cleansed away the flecks of dark red. Brushing over the bruised temple aroused the man before him and the ice blue eyes opened and stared, blearily, at his lieutenant. Feeling the relief, once again flood through him, Face began to softly clearly to his friend. Hannibal? Can you hear me?
Yeah, dont have to yell. The older man croaked out his reply. His eyes squinted shut against the pale, florescent light above him.
Uh, yeah, sorry. Nearly whispering now, he continued trying to determine how coherent Hannibal was. Do you remember what happened?
Eh? Of course I, we, ummm . Well, I got hit by a train I think feels that way Hannibal sighed and attempted to raise one hand to his forehead. Unfortunately it was the injured arm and he winced at the movement. Shit what ?
You cut your arm on some glass when you fell. Magruder shot at you and grazed your head. Do you remember Magruder, at all? Face wiped away more of the blood even as Hannibal shook his head negatively, and then checked the bandage on Hannibals upper arm. The movement had re-opened the gash and it was oozing again. Hey, Murdock, bring me that med-kit, will ya?
Sure, Facey. He scooped up the bag and nearly leapt across the room when he realized Hannibal had turned his head toward his voice. Colonel, you awake?
Either that or dead and this is hell Hannibal groaned. Where are we?
Florida. We lost Decker but managed to drive right into a hurricane. Face intoned in his usual, sarcastic manner.
Well, good job, lieutenant. The colonels reply was equally sarcastic.
Murdock grinned and said, Well, seems like everyone is back on track!
Hannibal spoke up again. Where, in Florida, are we exactly?
Motel, near Jacksonville. The owner was nice enough to let us stay, even though he was clearing out. Murdock waggled his eyebrows at his colonel and then at Face. He obviously thought Face had pulled another quick one to make the owner feel so hospitable to them.
Cracking a tiny smile, Hannibal waited for the story of the scam that got them out of the elements and into this room, despite their appearance and the hurricanes approach. Well, Face, what did you use on him? Undercover cop? Or work accident?
Not exactly. Face sighed his answer.
What do you mean not exactly? Hannibal, knowing that he wasnt going to like the answer, struggled to sit up. He immediately regretted the action. His head lolled back and his eyes lost their focus. Moaning, he attempted to hold his aching head once more.
Easy, Hannibal. You need to lie still Face caught his hand and prevented him from further re-opening the wound on his upper arm.
Murdock eased their leader back onto the pillow and wiped the now, even more pale, sweating face with a cool cloth. Curiously, he watched Face as he shifted nervously in his spot on the edge of the bed. What exactly had Face done to get them out of the storm?
Murdock knew that he had lost it just a bit in the van, yelling at BA and all, but seeing Hannibal awake and well, sort of coherent, did a lot to center his whirling thoughts and the murmuring voices in his head again. More settled now, he could see clearly the signs on Face of some problem. He wasnt displaying his usual, self-satisfied, con went well, smile. He looked downright embarrassed. Now, knowing that Hannibal wouldnt rest until he knew exactly what their situation was, he urged Face to just go on and get it out.
Facey? What exactly did you tell that guy? He did rush past the van in a big hurry. Sort of looked spooked, too. I thought it was just the sight of the mudsucker His voice trailed off and he waited for an explanation.
I just told him that I had an injured friend and that I needed to get him out of the weather. Face defended his actions.
Suspiciously, Hannibal narrowed his eyes. He knew his lieutenant well and Faces shifty behavior and darting eyes told him that he wasnt getting the truth. Face could lie to anyone but him. He never had been able to lie to Hannibal. And? He watched, as Face grew even more squirmy. And what else did you say to him to spook him? Report, Lieutenant!
Nothing! The barked order, even weak as it was, had the desired effect. His voice was strong and he looked Hannibal right in the face, briefly But he might have seen my gun and maybe your blood and that might have startled him He spoke this in one rushed breath and quickly cast this eyes to the floor.
Closing his eyes and groaning again, Hannibal sighed, So he left in a hurry and might even now be calling the cops!
Or he might not Face reminded Hannibal. He was running from the hurricane. He, uh, didnt seem to think this was the safest place to try to weather the storm. He probably thinks that we wont be a problem by the time that Camille is finished. He smiled and tried to make this sound like a good thing. He failed, again.
Hannibal cracked his eyes and glared at Face. So we may or may not have police on our tail? And we may or may not have a chance to survive this storm? His voice, even weak and laced with pain, clearly showed his disappointment.
Yeah. I guess that about sums it up. Face muttered quietly. His eyes immediately shuttered and he pulled out the ever-present mental mask that hid his emotions. Drawing in a deep breath, he turned both the colonel and med-kit over to the pilot and informed, Im going to check on BA, you take over here. Swiftly, he walked away before either man could reply.
Tired again, Hannibal sighed hugely and tried to ask, Is BA okay?
Yeah, hes fine. Just scoping out the joint, you know, seeing what we can use. Murdock watched the colonels eyes drift closed. He remembered the hurt look in Faceys eyes that the colonel didnt see and abruptly added, You know, Colonel. Faceman did real good in the van, when Decker was chasing us. He got us all here safe and sound.
He better. Thats what I taughtim to do. More asleep than awake now, Hannibal slurred out his words.
Well, he learned real good. Murdock persisted.
I know hes smart why I picked him. Then he was unconscious again. Deep, even breathing reassured that he would wake eventually, probably with a hell of a hangover and no party to remember.
Murdock sighed with him and patted his arm. Well, then maybe you should tell him every once in a while
Holding onto each post on the sidewalk and fighting the ever-growing winds and flying debris, Face laboriously made his way to the motel office. The clouds were even heavier than before and the rain was falling in sheets of icy pellets. Knowing that soon it wouldnt be possible for them to be out at all, Face thought about what they would need to carry back with them. He checked items off of his mental list as he came closer to his destination. Water, food, radio, candles. Weapons and ammunition came in when we did. Need to check for medical supplies and see if there is anything lying around to keep Murdock occupied. Cards, board games, video games would be even better.
Reaching the lobby office, he saw the door nearly off, hanging by only one hinge. The wind must have torn it from BAs grip. Stepping inside, he walked through the rainwater, puddled on the worn tile floor and called for the sergeant.
Back here, man. His voice was muffled and Face followed it to the rear of the office. He saw BA had already neatly stacked several bottles of water, some wrapped foodstuffs, fat candles and a portable radio into a wooden box that sat on the desk. Found this stuff under the desk. Man mustve known the storm was coming. He already had everything we need to last a few days, if we careful.
Good, BA. What about something to reinforce the windows and door of the room? That wind is just getting stronger and stronger. Face started to rummage through the rest of the items in the cabinets and drawers. No first aid kit yet but he did find a deck of cards and a box of dominoes. He shoved them into his jacket.
Found some nails and a hammer, but no lumber, not sure what he was going to use BA shook his head in puzzlement even as he added the tools to the box. But Ahll find somethin.
Nodding his head thoughtfully, Face headed for the small bathroom attached to the office. He pulled open the medicine cabinet and felt relief wash over him. The sight of a well-stocked first aid kit, as well as mild, over the counter, painkillers greeted him. Thank you, God. Face breathed out even as he lifted the metal case and shoved the bottle of Tylenol© in his pocket along with Murdocks games.
Outside the wind took on a weird howl and thunder shook the building. Glancing up, Face chuckled slightly, I hear you, dont press my luck, huh? Stepping back into the outer office, he headed for the door. BA, lets get back to the room. Or else we wont be able get back, soon.
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