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Title: Anniversary


by Murdocksflychica (Beth)


Rated NC-17

Warnings: *Major Character death*. Contains violence, bloodshed,

and language. This fic is very long.

Summary: The guys remember a tragic event on their way to meet up

with each other.

Disclaimer: Of course I don't own them. Just writing for fun.

Comments: Yes, please! This is my first fanfic ever! I could

really use the constructive criticism. The song in the fic is sung by

Johnny Van Zandt and the poem is by Walt Whitman.



God, Face hated anniversaries. The anticipation of this

anniversary had filled him with dread. There's no putting this off

any longer, he thought to himself as he adjusted the knot of his tie

one final time.

He stared into the mirror. When did the wrinkles around my eyes

appear, he wondered. He smiled sadly at his reflection, knowing he

was being characteristically narcissistic. "Time to fly," he

whispered to the empty house as he grabbed the keys to the 'Vette off

the countertop, privately enjoying the duplicate meaning of his words.

Face started to unlock the door to the 'Vette, but after a

moment's hesitation, jumped in. He laughed aloud, but it sounded

holllow to his ears. He turned the key in the ignition absently,

jumping as the radio began blaring. The radio was tuned to a rock

station. Face was more of a classical kind of fellow, but sometimes

the music comforted him. It reminded him - well, there would be

plenty of time for that later.

He pulled out onto the main road. The sun reflected off his golden

hair as the wind whipped it around playfully. He paid little

attention to the disc jockey who was cue up the next song. The

strains of a guitar began to play, and the first lines caught Face's



Doesn't seem that long ago

[Four] of us walking down that road


The next couple of lines were lost as Face fumbled for the knob to

turn up the volume. The first lines sent shivers racing down his



Those were the best days now they're gone


We did have a lot of good times didn't we, Face thought to

himself. Despite being on the run, we had a lot of laughs. Murdock

was always there to lighten the mood with his crazy antics and

endless parade of personas. Captain Cab and the Range Rider had kept

Face in stitches for weeks afterwards.


Oh, it's been twelve years since it went down

Lord lost my best friend now

Face gaped at the console. It was as if the artist were singing

for him, but that was impossible. The artist couldn't know it had

been twelve years to the day that they - he had lost his best friend.

Face remembered the events vividly as if they had occurred

yesterday, despite his best efforts to forget. The mission was

supposed to be a simple recon mission, in and out. All they had to do

was grab the senator's daughter and hightail it to safety.

The Team had used a front door approach - damn Hannibal! he fumed.

BA waited in the running van. The in part was easy thanks to Face's

lock picks, but the way out proved to be tragically difficult.

The kidnappers had opened fire when he, Murdock, and Hannibal had

been mere inches from the black van. Hannibal had grabbed the girl by

the wrist and thrown her in the back of the van with instructions to

stay down. He then climbed to safety in the front seat next to BA as

Murdock and him laid down cover fire. Face had backed into the van,

pausing only for a brief second to allow Murdock to enter, too. In

that brief second that both their guns fell silent, a bullet slammed

Murdock against the floor of the van. The black hightops were still

brushing the ground. Murdock, acting on instinct, sat up to swing his

feet into the van.


Face's eyes filled with tears at the memory. He gripped the

steering wheel until his knuckles were white. He pulled over

suddenly, slamming the wheel in frustration with the palm of his

hand. "Dammit, Murdock! Why?" He knew he was drawing stares, but he

didn't care.


As Murdock sat up, he simultaneously pushed Face down onto the

floor of the van. A second bullet whined past his ear. He heard

Hannibal yell "Go BA!". The tires began screeching as BA stomped on

the gas pedal, but not fast enough. A third bullet, nanoseconds

behind the previous shot lodged itself in Murdock's chest, a place

occupied by Face only moments before.

The van finally lurched forward and sped away as Face laid his

friend in a supine position, attempting to ascertain the damage. He

gingerly removed the leather flight jacket and placed it to the side.

Oh God! The blood. Where was it all coming from?

He stared in horror as the realization dawned on him. There was a

gaping hole in Murdock's midsection and another right over his - his

heart! The blood came gushing out, bubbling with each breath his

friend struggled to take. Murdock's entire T-shirt was soaked with

blood. Face couldn't even make out the zany saying it beheld.

"Hannibal," Face whimpered.

Unbeknownst to Face, Hannibal had already exited the front seat

and stepped into the back of the van. He sat there with Murdock's

head in his lap. Until that moment Face hadn't noticed the trickle of

blood running from the corner of Murdock's mouth to his ear -

internal bleeding. Jesus!

BA continually threw worried glances over his shoulder, intent on

getting them to safety so Murdock could be looked after properly.

Hannibal caught his eye, a grim expression on his face. "Pull over

first chance you get, BA." Hannibal must have known, and thinking

back Face got the feeling that Murdock did, too.

The pilot shifted his unfocused gaze to Face. The look was glassy

and wild, but still those deep brown eyes bore into the young

lieutenant's soul. Face saw all the pain, fear, love and was that


"Face," he rasped then coughed violently splattering blood.

"No, no, no, buddy. Don't try and talk." The van came to a stop as

Face continued to hold pressure on the chest wound (when had he done

that?). Hannibal was attempting to staunch the flow of blood from the

stomach wound, unsuccessfully.

A door slammed and then the side door of the van opened. BA

climbed in and silently took over tending to the chest wound. The

girl, horrified at what she saw, slipped out the door unnoticed.

"Why are we stopping? Why aren't we getting him to a hospital?"

Face screamed hysterically. "He needs blood. BA you can give him


A hand weakly grasped Face's. Face looked down to see Murdock

shaking his head. Face started to protest, but Hannibal silenced him

with a wave of a black leather clad hand.

"Face," he began again.

"Shut up foo'," BA said not quite angrily. His big black eyes

shone not with anger, but with tears. Perhaps BA had known what was

coming, too. Had Face been the only one to foolishly hope?

"Need to..." Another coughing spasm hit the pilot. When it had

finally passed he dropped his head back exhausted with the effort. He

took deep, shuddering breaths as a wave of pain hit him. Face

squeezed his hand for all it was worth.

"Say what you need to say, Cap'n." Hannibal had eased up pressure

on the stomach wound, and indicated for BA to do the same with the

chest wound. Hannibal was soothingly stroking the thinning brown

hair. BA took his other hand.

"Thank you." Murdock swallowed around the words painfully. "For

being - uhhn - my family. Seeing the real me. Didn't wanna die alone."

Murdock grinned that silly grin, but only for a brief second as he

twisted away in pain. Tears ran down his face, mixing with the blood.

His breathing was becoming shallower now, and more erratic.

"No Cap'n. Thank you for everything you've given to us. Rest now,

my son." Hannibal locked eyes with BA, brows furrowed.

Murdock turned his head back to look at BA. "My turn. be your.

guardian angel."

"Stop that jibbajabba. Ain't time for that yet." Murdock nodded in


"I know. Uhhn - you do too." BA gripped his friend's hand

fiercely. The realization was sinking in with an overwhelming force.

"Don't worry 'bout Billy. I'll look after him for ya. He can even

ride in m' van." Murdock gave him a weak pain-filled smile. His

strength, along with his blood was leaving him at a rapid rate.

Murdock's whole body suddenly spasmed. His brown eyes glazed over

as perspiration ran down his face. "Nonono. Don't leave me, Murdock."

Murdock moved his head from side to side. He flicked his darkening

eyes skyward as if to say 'I'll be up there watching over you. Up

there is where I belong.'.

His breaths were even more shallow now and farther apart. Talking

was next to impossible, but he had to get the words out. He licked

his lips and tasted copper. His eyes met Face's. "Remember. Love.


"We will never, ever forget you! We love you so, so much, Murdock.


His breaths had slowed, his eyes so expressive became empty and

unseeing. A final sigh escaped those lips and then all was still.

"NO! Not yet! There's so much... Murdock? Murdock come back," Face

cried frantically as he lifted his best friend's limp form to him. He

rocked Murdock, trying to shake him back to life.

"Face." Hannibal gently touched his shoulder. "Face." The younger

man was inconsolable. The Colonel had to drag Face away, tears

streaming down his own cheeks.

BA was left alone with Murdock. He gently closed the lids of his

eyes, and lovingly spread the leather jacket across his midsection.

Without seeing the blood it appeared as if Murdock were merely

sleeping. But those blood stains would always be a constant reminded

of what they - he had lost. Only then did BA let the tears spill over.


BA yanked open the door to the old shed. It had been ages since he

had been out here. The black van had sat in this spot since that

fateful day. The blood stains remained a faded crimson on the gray


He only took the van out of storage to drive it on this day. It

was almost a punishment to himself, lest he ever forget. Not that he

could ever forget.

BA climbed in the driver's seat and started up the engine which

roughly roared to life. He turned on the radio in the hopes of

drowning out the memories as he backed out.


I can still see him, fishin' on that old dock

I know I can't bring back yesterday

But oh Lord, can you help me find my way


BA bowed his mohawked head over the steering wheel. A picture of

Murdock and Face on the dock at Crystal Lake was conjured up in his

mind. Murdock's 'friend' Bob was between them, both holding a fishing

pole. "Two dummies," BA had huffed. Why? Why had he been so mean and


It was true Murdock sometimes annoyed the hell out of him, but the

man's craziness was harmless and good-spirited. BA secretly enjoyed

his tension-relieving antics, although outwardly he showed nothing

but contempt. Murdock did nothing to deserve his anger, other than

offer his unfailing loyalty and friendship. A good heart in a

heartless world. Would BA and the rest be doomed to be lost in the

darkness without such a bright soul to light the way?


Down to Brickyard Road -Oh walk on down

Down to Brickyard Road - He's with me now

Swore I saw a free bird fly

Ridin' the winds of a southern sky


The next few lines were lost on BA as he choked up. Murdock's

presence was still so strong, even after all these years.

At times, when the grief got so overwhelming it seemed it would

swallow him whole, BA would look up to the sky and see a bird soaring

through the clouds. That sight always bright a smile to his lips.

Sometimes he imagined it was the pilot teasing him relentlessly as he

always did. Murdock always did belong up there, literally and


Murdock once confided to him (rare, usually it was Faceman) that

up there he felt free from all the pain and confusion here on Earth.

There were no nightmares, only beautiful dreams and a clear mind. BA

scoffed at him and called him a 'Crazy fool'. Damn! Man was only

speaking the truth - always spoke the truth.

BA never told Murdock why he wouldn't fly with him. Murdock

thought it was personal. Nothing could be further from the truth. He

regretted never disclosing the real reason. BA just let Murdock go on

thinking BA saw him as incompetent.

A horn beeped urging him to move forward. The lyrics were bringing

crippling emotions up . He turned onto a side street and parked.


Brother do you realize what you've done

Touched the hearts of everyone

You might've died too young

But your songs live on


BA let the tears fall unnoticed. Even with his dying breath

Murdock had been thanking them, professing his love. It should have

been the other way around. Over and over he had sacrificed himself

for the sake of others.

In the camps he did not hide the fact he was a Captain and a hated

pilot, and therefore one of the highest ranking officers. In fact, he

shouted that information loudly. His actions established him as a

leader, and subsequently a whipping post for the VC.

Murdock had been taken out of the bamboo cage several times and

returned hours, days, and even weeks later. Each time he was tossed

back in like a discarded rag doll, Face and BA would tend to his

wounds and hold him through feverish dreams.

Murdock never talked about what happened during the interrogation

sessions, but they had a pretty good idea. On one occasion when he

was returned his whole body kept jerking. BA thought he was seizing

as a result of some inflicted head trauma, but Face simply

stated "Shock treatment."

After awhile his thoughts were no longer coherent, and it was like

he wasn't really there anymore. That may have been a blessing at the

time. But ultimately Murdock had sacrificed his sanity for the lives

of others. He had now sacrificed his life to save another's

The funeral had been awful. Hannibal, like a true leader, had

taken care of the details. Murdock had no family, Face was too grief-

stricken, and BA was too numb. So the task had fallen to Hannibal.

BA was surprised at the overwhelming number of people in the small

chapel. Amy, Maggie, Frankie, Tawnia and Brain, Kelly, Dr. Richter,

some former clients, and fellow patients at the VA were among the

hundreds of mourners.

It felt as if all eyes were on them as the three remaining members

of the Team slowly and deliberately made their way forward to the

half open casket. The other half of the casket was draped with the

American flag.

BA looked around the chapel, not quite ready to face the Captain's

lifeless form. Some heads were bowed as if in silent prayer while

others dabbed at the corner of their eyes. BA caught his mama's eye.

She gave an imperceptible nod as if to say, Go ahead. I'll be your

strength. It's okay to cry.

They all three looked down upon the still figure simultaneously.

Instead of a suit or a military uniform, they had all agreed to bury

Murdock in his usual khakis, T-shirt, black Converse, and blue

baseball cap. Face had argued vehemently against the leather jacket.

He just couldn't bear to part with it. BA and Hannibal didn't have

the heart or the energy to fight him.

Upon seeing the pilot, Face had collapsed hysterically in tears.

Hannibal and BA supported him between them. Face tore away from their

grip, flying at the coffin.

Face hugged Murdock, then shook him fiercely. "Come on. Get up!

This isn't funny any more," Face choked out between sobs. Hannibal

had tried to pull Face away, clearly shaken by the lieutenant's

display of grief.

After several moments Face finally collapsed on Murdock's chest

and sobbed. Hannibal wiped absently at his tears. BA again tried to

stand Face upright, but a hand on his shoulder had stopped him. He

stood face to face with his mama who merely opened up her arms. BA

had finally broken down, the sobs coming in great big gulps.

When he pulled away, Mama's dress was soaked. Somehow Face had

gotten back into a standing position, and was now leaning heavily on


Reluctantly they took their seats in the first row of pews. The

service began with the hymn 'Amazing Grace', Murdock's favorite hymn.

A new batch of tears erupted from Face which had the domino effect.

At the end of the hymn there wasn't a dry eye in the chapel.

The reverend began. "O ye though I walk through the valley of the

shadow of death..." BA tuned out, too lost in his pain.

At some point the reverend had opened the floor for those who

wished to share sentiments of Murdock. After a few people had shared

their thoughts, Hannibal had risen with a folded paper in his hand.

He cleared his throat trying to compose himself. "When I think of

Murdock I think of bravery," he commenced. He went on to share

stories of the camps, and of the time Murdock jumped in front of a

bullet meant for him.

"Over the years I grew to love him as a son, as well as a friend.

The world will never know how much it lost losing such a kind,

gentle, intelligent, caring man. But I intend never to forget." He

turned towards the coffin, eyes icy with tears and concluded with a

poem by Walt Whitman:


O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!

O bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.


O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills

For you bouquets and ribbon's wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Hear Captain! dear father!

The arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You've fallen cold and dead.


My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won:

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.


BA slowly began to rise as Hannibal stepped down off the altar. He

knew they had each agreed to say a few words, but words were not his

strong point. Words belonged to Murdock. Lord, that man could talk

someone into a coma with his jibbajabba.

He swallowed his fear. BA wouldn't let Murdock down, not after all

he had done for the big guy. He spoke ironically on Murdock's love of

flying, how he had once talked the Colonel into LAX after being

temporarily blinded. He touched on Murdock's loyalty and his gentle

nature which was a balance to BA's temper. He mentioned Billy

briefly. BA hadn't known he had so many words in him.

He turned towards the coffin. "I loved you although I never showed

it. And I'll always love ya brutha, and keep ya close to my heart."

He kissed his massive black hand and placed it gently upon the coffin

as he made his way back to his seat.

Now it was Face's turn. Would the young man be able to do it? He

rose slowly, hands on the pew in front for support. He painstakingly

made his way to the front. After taking a moment to compose himself,

he began:

"I stand before you today not only to mourn Murdock's untimely

passing, but to celebrate his life, a life filled with countless

obstacles. He was left motherless at the tender age of five, left

with an abusive father with no other family to escape to. Yet, he

persevered, and found a love of flying. His love of flying led him

to be the youngest man ever to join the Thunderbirds. Forced to leave

due to illness, he wound up in the jungles of 'Nam where we met. We

formed an immediate kinship. We had a lot in common, including our

family life. But while I wallowed in self-pity, Murdock shined with

optimism. As the war raged on the four of us became each other's

family, leaning on each other, counting on each other, trusting one

another. No one was more deserving of that trust than Murdock. He had

risked his life to pull us out of the fiery jungle hundreds of times,

with no regard for his own safety. He was wounded twice, and received

two silver stars for his efforts.

War does funny things to a man, steals their souls. But never

Murdock. For those of us that knew Murdock well, you know he spent

most of his adult life in a mental institution. Most people blamed it

on the horrors of the camps, but that was only a small piece of it.

See, for someone so full of life to be surrounded by so much death...

And then at the end of the war we were arrested. Eventually we

escaped and went into hiding, but Murdock was unaware of that. He

thought we had abandoned him. And in a way I guess we did leave him

behind, something we swore we'd never do." Face's bottom lip

trembled, but he continued. "His heart was broken.

My point is this: for a heart so pure and true to survive it must

be protected. So he built a wall around himself. Hence the internal

war he was forced to rage on a daily basis. We tried to fight with

him, being there when the nightmares took over, but he had

said, 'This is one battle I have to fight alone'. I admired his

courage and his fortitude for waking each day thankful to be on the

Earth and enjoying every moment to its fullest.

When we had finally returned to see him at the VA to tell him we

would be going on the run, he insisted on coming with us despite his

illness and weakened condition. 'Ya gotta stick with your unit' he

had said. We abandoned him as a time when he needed us the most, and

here he was worried about our safety. I shamefully had my doubts, but

Murdock proved he was stronger than any of us.

He acted as our pilot, friend, a brother, my best friend, a clown,

our rock, our mediator, and our support. Everything we should have

been for him but wasn't, he was to us.

His final act of love was to lay down his life for me. Much like

the bullets he had taken for Hannibal among others, the bullet that

robbed him and us of a life, was meant for me." Tears were now

streaming down his face.

"He died the way he lived - a hero. Murdock will always be

remembered for his flying skills, his soft southern drawl that never

raised in anger, that silly grin he plastered on his face to evoke

laughter, the kindness in his heart, and the gentleness in his soul..

But to me he'll always be a hero - my hero in mind, body, and soul. A

spirit so strong it can never truly die. Thank you, Murdock for

showing us what life is supposed to be about. There will never be a

day that goes by that we won't miss you. Let us all try to live up to

his example."

Silence reigned at the heartfelt sentiment just delivered. The only

sound was tears dropping onto the hardwood floor.

After a few words from the reverend the service was concluded.

Face, Hannibal, and BA hung around so they could say their final

goodbyes before the casket was closed forever.


Hannibal sped down the boulevard, oblivious to the other

motorists. He was alone with his thoughts, having convinced Maggie to

stay at home with the kids. God, how the kids would've loved Murdock

who was like a big kid himself. It just wasn't fair that someone who

had had so much love in his heart, would be robbed of the chance to

share it.

"It's something I have to do privately," Hannibal had explained.

Maggie had understood. After several years of marriage she had

realized that she had not only married Hannibal, but the Team as well.

A sad song drifted up from the speakers. Rather appropriate, he

smirked. He guessed he had joined it somewhere in the middle.


You might've died too young

But your songs live on

I know I can't bring back yesterday

But we'll be all together, again someday


That last line struck a chord with Hannibal. BA had said something

to that effect as they stood beside Murdock's grave. How did he put

it? 'We found each other in 'Nam -' "God will lead us back to you in

Heaven," Hannibal finished out loud.

Only a few blocks from where he was going, Hannibal had to pull in

a parking lot. His crystal blue eyes swam with the memories.


The service had been hard enough, with Face's outburst and the

eulogies. But the was the final goodbye.

The three of them had stood outside the hearse in full dress

uniform, awaiting its contents. Dr. Richter had joined them. Murdock

had once described him as the fourth most important person in his

life, so it only seemed fitting that he made the fourth man - the

fourth that should've been Murdock. They stood two man to a side,

Hannibal and Face in front with BA and the doc in back.

The foursome made their way slowly to the top of the hillside, the

sun reflecting brightly on the American flag draped over the silver

casket. The mourners had gathered at the graveside and watched as the

four men placed the casket on the platform. They stepped back, Dr.

Richter falling in with the rest of the mourners while the other

three remained aside.

Some words were said and some passages read, but Hannibal wasn't

paying attention. He was preparing himself for the orders he'd have

to give - the last orders he'd ever give.

The rifles were picked up somberly. Face, BA, and Hannibal had

fallen in line with the others. Hannibal swallowed around the lump

forming in his throat.

"Aim!" Rifles raised. "Fire!" The shot pierced his heart. He saw

Face flinch.

"Aim! Fire!" He blinked back tears and saw BA did the same.

"Aim! Fire!" The last shot echoed in the silence as the rifles

lowered. Funny how they were honoring their friend with the very

thing that put him in that wretched box.

BA and Face had begun to fold up the flag. They presented it to

Hannibal without emotion. Hannibal had wanted Face to have it, but

Face declined saying he didn't deserve it. He would keep the pilot's

leather jacket instead.

Hannibal had done the next best thing. He handed it back to

BA. "This really belongs to the wife or mother. Your Mama was a

mother to Murdock, the only one he's ever really known. You two

should keep it in Chicago."

BA tried to refuse, but Hannibal insisted. "Murdock would want you

to have it." BA was touched and hugged Hannibal. How Murdock would've

loved to see the big guy voluntarily hug someone.

With Mama holding onto the flag, the three of then stepped up to

the lowering coffin. Each threw a single rose on the coffin.

The other mourners fell back into the shadows of the surrounding

trees. Some got in their cars and drove away, leaving the three alone

by the grave.

The hole in the ground reflected the hole that was now in their

lives. "We have to do this," Hannibal broke the heavy silence.

"I can't." It was the first time Face had spoken since the eulogy.

"Be strong." BA placed a loving and supportive hand on his


"My strength is gone - gone with Murdock," Face said with a mix of

bitterness and sadness.

"He ain't gone, not really. His spirit survives as long as we do,


"BA's right. We're saying goodbye to his body, not his spirit."

Hannibal knelt down urging the others to do so.

The three formed a semicircle around the grave. Each grabbed a

handful of earth.

"May you be free of all the pain and suffering you endured in this

life, and may the next life give you peace. Thank you for everything

you've given us. You have our eternal gratitude and love. Remember

you always, Cap'n." Hannibal spread the dirt over the casket and

stood up, taking a place behind Face.

"I may not have showed it, but I loved you like a brutha, man.

Worried 'bout you like a brutha too. Always thought you was the

weakest one, but you was the strongest. I'll miss you. But we found

each other in 'Nam - God will lead us back to you in Heaven." BA

dropped the contents of his hand onto the casket and stood up beside

Hannibal. They both stood behind Face with a hand on each shoulder.

Face sighed, eyes downcast. His lips moved as if in silent

prayer. "I can feel you. It's like you're still here. I never want to

lose that feeling, lose you again. There won't be a day, even a

second that goes by that I won't miss you. You were everything to

me." An unchecked sob escaped his lips. "Watch over us so we will be

reunited when the time comes. I'll love you till my dying breath and

even that won't do you justice. Vaya con dios, muchacho." The last

words were haunting. Face sprinkled the dirt over the casket and

broke down.

BA and Hannibal comforted themselves and the young lieutenant,

tears christening the ground. A bird flew by low, overhead. The

scream caused them all to look up. An eagle had taken to flight that



Things ain't the same since you left our world


No, Murdock. Things were never the same without you. It took a lot

of time to even rebuild a semblance of an existence. Gradually, day

by day they had picked up the pieces.

BA of course had gone back to Chicago to be with his Mama. One of

the first things he had done was to set up a shrine with the flag.

Murdock's medals were placed strategically around it with a picture

of the pilot with the Team to round it out. BA used it as an

incentive to open up his daycare center which he named the HM Murdock

Center for Children.

Face had a more difficult time, staying with BA for awhile. But it

got to be too painful and he had fled to a secluded house on the

beach, at first only speaking to them on the anniversary each year as

promised. Most of the time he spent alone with the memories. The

leather jacket was never far out of reach.

And Hannibal, well he'd gone back to Maggie. Thank God for her.

She had helped him work through the pain, insisting he talk about

Murdock. After awhile the clutching in his chest was replaced by

laughter whenever a thought of Murdock entered his mind.

He was coming to this place again. Had it really been another

year, twelve years in all?


Swore I saw a free bird fly

Ridin' the winds of a southern sky.


It had been twelve years, and he was now all silver on top, his

jowls prominent. He stared into the rearview mirror at the wrinkles

around his eyes as he parked. Those eyes fixed on BA and Face who

arrived before him.

Usually Face was late, but never when it was pertinent to Murdock.

He would always show up to break Murdock out of the VA early even.

Perhaps he wanted Murdock with him more than he let on. But he had

been the one to insist that Murdock stay in the VA and get help. The

breakdown had scared Face most of all, afraid he would never get his

best friend back. And somehow they were here again.

The three of them walked up the hillside behind the VA, exchanging

half hearted greetings. There'd be time for catching up later. For

now there was a higher purpose for being here.

The hillside crested overlooking a small stream. They stood under

the shade of an oak tree. Face bent down to scrape away the leaves

and cut grass off the stone while BA pulled some weeds away from the

edges until finally the etching was clear:


Capt 'Howling Mad' Murdock

November 24, 1947 - May 31, 1988

Beloved pilot, friend, unsung hero, member of the A-Team

"Ya gotta stick with your unit"


Well, Murdock. You are no longer a secret weapon. You are an

exposed weapon like you wanted all along. We never gave you the

credit you deserved.

When the three men left there was a tiny fern, a stuffed Billy the

beagle, and a sock with a face drawn on it left behind. Some where

over head, a bird soared.



The End



Anniversary by Murdocksflychica (Beth)



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