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Only A Whisper

Here's one called "Only a Whisper" I guess it should be rated R for offensive language. Summery: An alt. A-Team story to the show "Without Reservations". Face dies after being shot, and his friends, especially Murdock, tries to put their lives back together. When Murdock hits an all time low, he has a late night visitor.

Only A Whisper
By Terri Spencer

Hannibal Smith bent over the body of his injured friend. He took off his glove and slipped it under Faces shirtfront, feeling for his heartbeat.

"Ha...Ha..Hannibal." Face said weakly. He was all but unconscious.

Hannibal frowned. "He's weak, but we can move him. Get the van, BA. We have to get him to DC General right away," Hannibal said to the large African American man that he felt kneeling behind him.

"He'll be there in five minutes." BA said, and hurried out of the restaurant.

I only hope that he lasts that long. Hannibal thought. He barely heard the fight that was still going on between Murdock and Lou, the gangster who had shot Face. Hannibal barely heard Frankie telling Murdock that Lou was out. Or the attorney general coming in, or Murdock suggesting that the attorney general go get Chinese food. Hannibal was too busy picking Faces bloodied body off the floor, and carrying him out to the van.

Murdock and Frankie arrived at the hospital 39 minutes later.

"Any word yet?" Murdock asked. Hannibal glumly shook his head. Murdock started to speak. "It's all my fault, Hannibal..."

Hannibal cut him off. "It's not your fault, Murdock. You didn't shoot him."

"No, but I got him involved. I was worried about Sal being robbed. I told Face that he had to come up with a plan to take those guys down. I didn't see Lou pull the gun, I just saw the other two. Their the ones that I was worried about I just heard a shot, and saw Face fall to the floor..." Murdock started to shake. Hannibal grabbed hold of Murdocks shoulders. Murdock continued to shake violently. "I should have known, Hannibal. I should have known that there was someone else there as backup. I let Face down." And Murdock covered his eyes, and started to cry. Hannibal put his arms around the emotional pilot.

"You couldn't have known, Murdock. No-one could. I never would have suspected. And BA didn't even realize what was going on while he was there picking up the pizza. They had all their bases covered at the time. There was nothing that you could have done. You did what you could for Face. And that was all you could ever ask of yourself." He looked into Murdocks brown eyes.

Murdock saw the conviction that Hannibal held in his eyes. He knew that Hannibal didn't blame him. Murdock looked at BAs and Frankies eyes too. Both sets of brown eyes matched Hannibals in their belief that Murdock wasn't to blame. But Murdock still believed that he had been responsible for his best friend being shot.

Another 20 minutes went by. Frankie asked if anyone wanted coffee. He took their orders, and started to walk down the hallway going to the cafeteria. Then turned around. "Are we going to notify Ellen Bancroft?"

Hannibal looked up. In the last hour he had forgotten about Ellen Bancroft, Faces younger half sister. He was still getting used to the fact that Face had any family at all. The team had been his only family for almost 18 years. Now there was someone new in the picture, who had a right to know.

"Why don't you call her, Frankie?" He said to the young man. Frankie nodded. He knew that none of them would leave until they got word on Face. "I'll be back as soon as I can." And Frankie left for the cafeteria. It was going to be a long night so they needed some coffee. And Frankie was charged to make a telephone call to a woman to let her know that her newfound brother of four months had been shot.

Hannibal sat back. He was worried about his team. He was worried about Murdock most of all right now. He knew that his earlier words to the pilot had had little effect. Murdock still blamed himself for what had happened. And it was going to be hard to convince him otherwise. Murdock was just as stubborn as Face. He also knew that BA blamed himself for not seeing what was going on when he went into the restaurant.

"I should have seen it Hannibal." The big man had said. "Why didn't I see it? I was more worried about getting a pizza for a football game. And meanwhile, Face, who is like a little brother to me, is lying on the cold ground."

Hannibal tried to reassure BA that there was no way he could have realized what was going on because he hadn't been looking for it. But like Murdock, the words fell on deaf ears.

But most of all, Hannibal was worried about Face. He had seen Face struggling for each breath in the back of the van. Hannibal still hadn't washed Faces blood off his hands. He looked up, and saw one of the surgeons that had gone into the operating room with Face coming towards him. He stood up slowly. He didn't notice that BA and Murdock did too.

Stepping in front of the three men, the surgeon said the two worst words anyone could hear. "I'm sorry..."

Frankie carried the hot coffee on a tray that he had snatched. Along with the four coffees, he had cream, sugar, and a milk carton for BA. He also brought some juice for Hannibal, Murdock and himself. He came around the corner and saw one of Faces surgeons. Judging by the look on the surgeons face and the stunned expression on the teams faces, he knew the news. Face was dead.

Frankie dropped the tray with a clatter.

The next few days were the worst in Murdocks life. He didn't remember the last time that he felt such pain. Where there wasn't pain, there was an emptiness that he didn't think could ever be filled. The last time that he had felt this way, even though he could barely remember it, was when his mother had died. He remembered waking up in the middle of the night, crying for his mother. At first, his father came to comfort him. But after a while, his father stopped coming. He figured that the young HM would recover sooner if he was just left alone. So Murdock eventually stopped crying out for his mother. He just cried in the middle of the night so nobody could hear him.

Then years later, he had found a friend in the Hell that had been Vietnam. Templeton Peck had arrived, and filled an empty space in the pilots heart. An empty space that he didn't even know was there. They had become close in no time. They had both lost much in their young lives, and were kindred spirits in ways that defied explanation. Murdock had always wanted a little brother, and Face fit that bill perfectly. And at times, especially after Murdock had cracked during the torture sessions at the VC death camp, Face took the role as the big brother. They leaned heavily on each other. Now Murdock felt like part of himself was gone.

And now, Murdock was filled with rage. "What the Hell do you mean Stockwell? What do you mean that no charges are going to be filed against those people who killed Face?" He couldn't believe what he had just heard. The men who had planned to kill the attorney general were just going to be charged for that crime. The murder of Face had been swept under the rug.

"You must understand, Captain. Lieutenant Peck was a convicted killer himself. And to the rest of society, you are either dead already or wanted escaped criminals. Peck is considered a non person. Case closed."

"YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!" Murdock screamed, flying at Stockwell. Stockwell was saying that Face wasn't important enough to see justice done on his behalf. Instead, the men who had murdered him were going to go unpunished. Hannibal caught him, holding him away from Stockwell. "Society and you made him a non person. Face was orphaned by his family. Orphaned by many homes. Then orphaned by his own country. Now you, you bastard, are orphaning his spirit. You're saying that his memory isn't important enough to see justice done."

Stockwell shrugged. "Look at it from my position, Captain. If it became known that I had helped you escape, and have been harboring you for the past five months, my career would be over. And so would any chance of a pardon for your friends."

" Fuck your pardons. Face is never going to get a pardon. There is no pardon from death. Even if you were able to arrange a Presidential Pardon tomorrow, Face wouldn't be able to have the one thing that he has always wanted. A chance at a normal life. Don't tell me your problems Stockwell, because I just don't give a damn!" Murdock screamed. He struggled against Hannibal, trying to get at Stockwell. And Stockwell stood there, with a smug smile on his face.

Hannibal had had enough. He passed a still struggling Murdock over to BA. "Get him out of here, BA."

BA took the pilot outside, followed closely by Frankie. Hannibal turned an ice cold glare on Stockwell. Stockwell took an involuntary step backwards. He had never seen such a look in Smiths eyes before. Ice cold fury, grief, and murder were there in that look. Hannibal saw the effect that his look was having, and took a step forward, pressing his advantage.

"You and I are going to have a nice talk, Stockwell." Smith said in a low voice. "One of my men is dead. A man that I have basically raised for the past eighteen years. So I don't care much right now what happens to you. What I do care about is what happens to this team. A team that you promised a chance at a normal life. Now you sit there, and have the audacity to say that Face is a non person. Let me tell you a little about him. He is a much better man then the likes of you.

"Face was a loyal and true friend. He was the one who kept things light, and would gladly throw himself on top of a landmine in order to save anyone on this team. And that includes you, Stockwell. Would you do the same for him? Who is the better man?" Hannibal glared at the older man. "All Murdock wants, all we want, is to see justice done for Face. And if we don't get it one way, we'll get it another."

"How?"

"You said it yourself, General. We're non-people. We don't exist. That's how." And Hannibal left, leaving Stockwell trying to control his bodily functions.

Murdock walked around the garden, fighting his emotions. Finally, he sat down on the ground and sobbed. The guilt that he felt was just too much to bare. No matter what Hannibal said to the contrary, Murdock knew the truth. After all, Hannibal hadn't been there. He had. He was at fault. He had pushed Face to intervene on Sals behalf to foil a robbery attempt. He hadn't seen Lou pull the gun, and shoot Face. He had only heard the shot, and watched in shock as Face fell moaning to the floor. "I'm sorry, Face. I'm so sorry. I let you down." He sobbed. He felt something wet and cold under his hand. He looked up, and saw something that he hadn't seen in a while. "Billy. You came back. Oh Billy, so much has happened since I saw you last. The team was captured and were put on trial. They were convicted of murder and sentenced to die. But they had made a deal with a man who said that a Presidential Pardon could be arranged if they would work for him. So Frankie and I found a way to rescue them. But now, Face is dead. And I killed him Billy. I killed him just as sure if I had pulled that trigger myself. Oh Billy, what am I going to do?" And Murdock buried his face in the dogs fur, and sobbed.

He didn't notice that Hannibal watched from the bushes.

The next day, they buried Face. They read from the Bible, and sang hymns. Ellen Bancroft came up. She said a quick prayer, and left again. She barely knew Face. Even though she felt grief over things that were never to happen, it didn't compare to the grief the team felt.

Murdock kept talking to his invisible dog. BA looked like he wanted to throttle Murdock, but knew that Murdock was coping the only way he could. Hannibal took Murdock by the elbow, straight to a Veterans hospital. There he was greeted by Dr. Richer, Murdocks psychologist at the VA in California. Murdock talked for a long time. About Face, and about the guilt he felt. Dr. Richter finally convinced Murdock that he wasn't at fault. Only it took quite a few sessions.

Even Hannibal talked to Dr. Richter. The grief that he felt was like what Murdock felt, but yet it was different. Even though Face was actually only a few years younger then Hannibal, Hannibal still loved him like a son.

When it was time for Dr. Richter to go back to California, Hannibal asked how much the team owed. Richter just shrugged, and told that his expenses had been paid by Stockwell. Then Richter hugged Murdock, assured the pilot that he was only a phone call away, and left.

Murdock awoke from a sound sleep that night, and was startled by what he saw.

"Don't be frightened, Murdock."

"F...F....Face?"

"In the flesh, so to speak." Faces ghost said, a wry smile on his lips. "I've been concerned about you Murdock. That's why I'm here. What is this I hear about you wanting to end it?"

Murdock stared at Faces apparition. And he was more startled by what had been said. Nobody knew about that. " I just can't take the pain anymore. Face, I killed you."

"You didn't kill me, Murdock. Those men did. You didn't pull that trigger. And what would have prevented those men from killing everyone in that restaurant after they had shot an attorney general. They wouldn't have left any witnesses behind."

"But you..."

"I didn't see him either, Murdock. And even if I had, it would have made no difference. Except that more people would have been hurt. Please, don't blame yourself anymore. And put any thoughts of ending it away. That would kill Hannibal, not to mention BA. They need you here, Murdock. And when it comes to be your time, I'll be there to greet you with open arms."

Murdock started crying. He reached out, and grabbed his friend. How he was able to do that, he could never tell. But he felt Faces arms going around him in a tight embrace. "I love you, Faceyman." He sniffed into Faces shoulder.

"And I love you too, Murdock. And I am always nearby, just a whisper away. And someday, tell my nephew about his uncle Face. Your brother and friend."

He pulled away. Murdock saw that he had been crying too. "I love you. And remember, I'm just a whisper away." Murdock watched his friend fade from view. Feeling lighter then he had in a long time, he kissed the photo of Face that he had by his bed, and lay down to sleep.

And just when he was about to nod off, his eyes popped open. "Nephew? What nephew?"

The End.


Only a Whisper by Terri Spencer

 

 


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