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Against All Odds
Rating :- PG-13
Disclaimer: - I don't own any of the team. They belong to Stephen J Cannell. The song is Phil Collins.
Summary: - Face and Murdock realise exactly what they've got after it's gone.
Warning: - Light Slash m/m, references only. Major character death.
Comments: - Yes please. This is my first attempt at slash. Be kind!
Against All Odds
The red and white corvette drove down the country lanes, seldom attracting a second glance from the other traffic going in the opposite direction. The young blonde man behind the wheel would have made heads turn had they been close enough to see him. It wasn't the fact that he was devastatingly handsome, more the fact his face was streaked with tears. He didn't look like the type of man to cry, he was too reserved, too controlled, too detached to cry. A careful observer would notice the slight shake of his hands as they gripped the steering wheel a little too tightly. They would notice the swollen, bruised bottom lip where he'd bitten it to stop more tears flowing. If one was too look even closer, they would notice the bright blue eyes, filling up with unshed tears as he fought to hold back his emotions. Then there was his suit. Whereas normally, it would be immaculate, a trained eye would notice the creases, where someone had clung to him, the watermarks from another's tears.
Face sucked in a deep breath. He put his foot down hard on the accelerator pedal and the car shot forward. He guided it round all the curves and bends of the road with no effort, the wind in his hair trying to blow away the troubles he had. God, he felt guilty but it was for the best. He leaned forward and switched the radio on. The words of the song flooded the car and his mind.
How can I just let you walk away, just let you leave without a trace?
You're the only one who really knew me at all.
How can you just walk away from me, when all I can do is watch you leave?
'Cos we've shared the laughter and the pain, we've even shared the tears.
You're the only one who really knew me at all.
Face looked down at the radio, half expecting Murdock to be sat there, singing the words to him. It's as if the radio knew, just knew what had just happened. He'd walked away, not even looked back. Murdock had pleaded, begged him not to go and in the end, had just had to watch while Face got up and walked away. God, how he'd hated to do it but everyone had agreed that their relationship had to end. It wasn't good for the team, made them sloppy, emotions had got in the way of plans. More than once, Murdock had abandoned his position to help Face out. He'd done the same, going to rescue Murdock from a firefight when he should have held his position. Hannibal had chewed them out about it.
Shared the laughter? Oh boy, there had been times they'd laughed. Murdock never failed to cheer him up when he was feeling down. Just a smile or a look was all that was needed most times, a slight touch on the arm or a soft embrace when he thought no one was looking.
Shared the pain? He couldn't even get shot without Murdock joining him. Face smiled as he remembered the time that a sniper had taken him out. Shot him in the leg and he'd gone down. Murdock raced over to help him, he took the sniper out almost immediately but not before the sniper had taken a shot at Murdock too. Caught him in the left shoulder. We even conned the nurses into giving us adjacent beds. Hannibal and BA used to come in and sit between us.
Shared the tears? We've cried together. The night Hannibal had nearly been taken from them. BA shut himself away, refused to talk to anyone. The night their relationship first started. They had held each other, cried together, taken comfort from each other. Face had never realised how deeply his feelings for Murdock ran. Murdock knew though, he always knew what Face was thinking before he did. Oh yes, Murdock was the only one who really knew Face and he had hurt him, hurt him so badly there was no going back. They would never be the same after this.
Take a look at me now, 'cos there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face
Take a look at me now, 'cos there's just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against all odds, that's the chance I've got to take.
Face couldn't hold back the tears as he listened to the singer pour his heart out. Why had he listened to Hannibal, why had he agreed with him? Hannibal couldn't possibly know what was best for him and Murdock. This proved it. He was feeling so bad, god only knows what Murdock was going through. I can't go back, he thought. There was no way he could face Murdock again. He slammed his hand against the steering wheel in frustration. Damn it, he still loved him. Murdock would never forgive him though. He'd put Murdock through so much already. He'd never been able to fully let go of his emotions, never completely let Murdock in. He'd finally pushed Murdock over the edge with this though, kicked him while he was down and Murdock would never forgive him. Never.
Face pushed harder on the accelerator, urging the car to go faster. The needle on the speedometer moved round. 80, 90, 100 miles an hour. Still Face pressed the pedal. The needle hit 150mph and Face flew round the bends, not caring if he was stopped. He was crying openly now, the tears blurring his vision. He didn't see the truck until it was too late. The truck driver slammed his brakes on but the corvette smashed into it with a sickening thud.
"What do you mean?"
Murdock spun round to face Hannibal, wondering if he had heard him correctly. Hannibal put his hand out to steady the pilot but Murdock shrugged him off.
"I mean, this is a mission weíre going on without Face."
"But why?" asked Murdock. "I can understand you going without me, you can claim you couldnít scam me out, but to leave Face behind? I just donít get it."
"Itís my decision, Captain."
Hannibal watched as Murdock paced the floor. He seemed agitated and less energetic than usual.
"Murdock, is something wrong?"
Hannibal watched as Murdock smiled at him. It was a Face smile, a con, a scam.
"Murdock, what is it?"
"I know why youíre doing this. Itís because of me and Face, because of our relationship. Gee, Hannibal, you should have said. Face broke it off about six hours ago, nothing to worry about."
"How long ago did you say?"
Hannibal breathed deeply. He hate asking Murdock this, knew heíd react badly.
"Did he break it off or you?"
Hannibalís instinct was accurate. Murdock flew off the handle.
"What do you think? You think Iím this upbeat because I got rid of him? He left me, didnít even look back, damn him. And do you know what? Itís because of you and the whole team. You felt we jeopardised the team and now because he finished it, youíre leaving him out. Take him, not me. I donít want to be with you anymore."
Hannibal waited until Murdock finished and he sank down onto the bed, crying. Hannibal went over to him and put his arm round him.
"Murdock, listen to me. I should have been straight with you in the first place, weíre not going on this mission without Face."
"But you said."
"Weíre going on a mission to find Face. He vanished about six hours ago and he hasnít checked in yet."
"You donít think somethingís happened to him, do you?"
"Thatís what I want to find out," said Hannibal. "Come on, Captain. BAís waiting for us."
"Iím sure you have a lot to talk about."
Murdock smiled at Hannibal and they left. They climbed into the van and even BA didnít offer his usual grunt at Murdock.
"Where to, Hannibal?" asked BA.
"Murdock? Any clues as to where he might head?"
"Try up towards the sea. Whenever he needs to clear his head, he drives round the old roads, plenty of space to put his foot down."
"You heard him, BA," said Hannibal, leaning forward to switch the radio on. "Head on up towards the sea front. Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of Face or the ĎVette."
He tuned the radio into a music station and sat back. Nobody spoke in the van and the music filled the silences. Suddenly, a song started up and Hannibal leant forward to switch it off. Murdock stopped him.
"Leave it Hannibal," he said. Hannibal sat back and studied the pilot, whilst the words echoed in the confined areas of the van.
I wish I could just make you turn around, turn around and see me cry
Thereís so much I need to say to you, so many reasons why
Youíre the only one who really knew me at all.
Murdock sat back, his eyes closed, listening to the music. Why had Face just walked away from him? He couldnít be that unfeeling. Murdock had pleaded with him, cried, begged for him to stay. But Face had just left. Didnít give him a chance to ask why, he had so much to ask him. He knew it was because of the team but he needed to hear it from Face directly. Truth was, he needed Face more than heíd ever told him. Face was the one who was keeping him sane. Without Face, he didnít have anything solid to hold onto. Face knew though. Face always knew what Murdock needed. Murdock opened his eyes and glanced out of the window. The countryside flew past in a blur as BA sped down the roads. Suddenly the van drew to a halt as BA glanced up the road.
"Road block, Hannibal. Looks like some kinda accident."
Hannibal looked ahead. He saw a young policeman and beckoned him over.
"Hey sonny, whatís happened?"
"Been a road accident. Some flashy car ploughed into a truck. Just moving the truck out of the road now. Shouldnít be too long."
Hannibal nodded. Murdock looked out of the window at the scene around them. He saw a flash of white in the undergrowth off to the side of the road. His breath stilled. It couldnít be, surely not. He leapt out of the van and over to the white shape.
"Murdock, where are you going?" shouted Hannibal, jumping out of the van and following him. Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw. Murdock was standing next to Faceís corvette. The entire of the front was caved in, the front passenger seat was missing, folded in amongst the wreck. The driverís seat hadnít fared much better. Murdock was just staring at the wreck, shaking his head in disbelief, the words in his throat stuck. Hannibal walked over and gently pulled him away. He led him back to the van.
"Look after him," he said to BA.
"The ĎVette," replied Hannibal.
Hannibal shook his head. He walked over to the policeman heíd spoken to earlier.
"What happened to the drivers?"
"Are you a relative?"
"Maybe. I recognise the corvette, my son drives one like it."
"The truck driver is being treated for shock, nothing major. The other driver, Iím afraid he wasnít so lucky. Theyíve taken him to City Hospital. He had no form of identification on him, it doesnít look good, Iím afraid."
"Thank you officer," said Hannibal. He walked back to the others.
"Theyíve taken the driver to City Hospital."
"Is it Face?" asked Murdock.
"He hasnít been identified," said Hannibal. "Letís go, BA."
The van backed up and headed for the hospital. When they got there, Hannibal and Murdock raced into A&E.
"The young man who was brought in about six hours ago. Road accident. Where is he?" Hannibal almost barked at the poor girl behind reception.
"Are you relatives?"
"Heís my son," said Hannibal at the same time Murdock said "Brother."
The nurse looked at them both. Hannibal explained.
"This is my other son."
The nurse smiled sympathetically.
"Heís in intensive care. If you come this way, the doctor will come and speak to you both."
The nurse led Hannibal and Murdock through to a small waiting room. She left them and a few moments later, BA joined them. They waited in silence until a doctor cam into the room and shook Hannibalís hand.
"I believe youíre the young manís father," he said to Hannibal.
"Thatís right," replied Hannibal. "How is he?"
"Iíll be honest with you," said the doctor, sitting down. "It doesnít look good. Heís in a pretty bad way. He has two broken legs, a broken collarbone and serious lacerations on his torso and face. Thatís just the visible damage. He has also suffered internal bleeding, one of his lungs collapsed and a ruptured spleen."
Hannibal turned pale and glanced at Murdock. He had curled himself up in the corner and was rocking himself to and fro. BA was sat next to him, a hand on his shoulder for comfort but Murdock didnít seem to notice it.
"Can we see him?" he asked the doctor. The doctor nodded.
"This way," he said, leading them into a small room. Face lay on the bed, surrounded by monitors and machines, drips connected to his arms. Hannibal looked at him, he looked so peaceful.
"Talk to him," urged the doctor. "It might help him to hear his family."
The doctor closed the door behind him as he left the room. BA walked over to the bed and rested his hand gently against Faceís cold cheek.
"Come back to us, lilí brother," he said quietly and he left the room. BA wasnít good in hospitals, they made him jumpy. Hannibal laid a hand on Murdockís shoulder.
"Talk to him, Captain," he said. "Bring him back to us."
Murdock stared at the figure lying on the bed. He walked over to Face and sat down beside him.
"Iím so sorry, Facey. I never meant for this to happen. I just wanted the two of us to be happy."
Hannibal sighed and left the room. Murdock continued to talk to Face.
"I love you, Face. I never meant to hurt you, I didnít want us to affect the team. Iím sorry you had to choose between us, but Iím glad you chose the team. I understand and I can forgive you. I just want you to come back. Things wonít be the same without you, whoíll whine at me for talking to Billy. Who am I gonna help pull off some crazy scam?"
Murdock paused, remembering past scams.
"Weíre a good team, you aní me, donít break us up. I love you."
Murdock stopped, unable to continue. BA came back into the room and sat next to the bed. Murdock looked out of the window and saw Hannibal talking to the doctor. He looked at BA and saw the big man had tears in his eyes. Hannibal and the doctor came into the room. Hannibal came over to Murdock and put his hand on his shoulder.
"The doctor says they canít do anymore, we have to say goodbye."
Murdock stared at Hannibal, panic in his eyes.
"But Face is gonna get better, heís gonna come back to us."
Hannibal shook his head. Murdock threw himself against Hannibal and howled with anger and despair. BA leant over Face and kissed his forehead.
"Goodbye, lilí brother. I love ya, always have, and always will. God will look after you now, my job is done."
He stepped away from the bed and held Murdock while Hannibal said his goodbye.
"I couldnít have asked for a better Lieutenant than you. Nobody deserves peace more than you do, although Iím sorry it had to come so soon. I was wrong to force this choice on you, and not a day will pass when I donít regret my choice. Sleep well and may God be there when you wake."
Hannibal squeezed Faceís hand and walked back to Murdock. The doctor stepped forward and one by one, switched the machines off. Face continued to breathe for a few moments then all his movements ceased and the room was silent.
Twelve months later.
The cemetery was quiet, the sun was starting to set in the sky and most of the visitors had left for their homes. All but one. A young man was sitting by a gravestone, not moving, just talking.
"Facey, I promised you Iíd visit, you canít get rid of me. I spoke to BA last night. He and Hannibal send their love, told me to tell you theyíd be down to see you soon. They wouldíve come today, being it your anniversary but Deckerís onto them again. Iím sure theyíll come by and say hello soon. The angry mudsucker told me not to jibba jabba too much, he said youíd get bored but I know you donít mind."
So take a look at me now, Ďcos thereís just an empty space
And thereís nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face.
Take a look at me now, Ďcos thereís just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against all odds and thatís what Iíve got to face.
"I miss you so much, Facey. I wish you were here with me. I keep expecting you to walk through the door of the VA and whisk me away on your next mission but then I wake up and know it wonít happen. Youíre never coming back, itís unfair."
Murdock swiped the tears away from his eyes and smiled.
"I gotta go now, Facey. The reverend wants to close the churchyard but Iíll come back and see you again soon. I promise."
He leant over and kissed the headstone, then walked out of the cemetery, hands in his pockets, shoulders hunched. The reverend watched him go and then walked over to the gravestone where the young man had been sat.
Templeton Peck, Lieutenant.
Died February 4th 1984, aged 30.
Loving brother of John, Bosco and HM.
Against All Odds.
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