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This page last viewed: 2017-05-25 and has been viewed 1829 times

Title: It's a Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life?

By Murdocksflychica (Beth)

Rated PG for light swearing, some mild angst, sap and major character death (sorta). Episode Spoiler: Family Reunion
Summary: Face is feeling depressed around the holidays. TAT meets It's a Wonderful Life
Comments: Definitely welcome

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"Facey, pleeeeaaaase," Murdock whined.


"Murdock, I'm not in the mood. Janet just broke up with me, my car's in the
shop, and I have to scam a new place to live by the end of the week."

"C'mon, Faceman. If you don't take me shopping for Christmas presents, who
will?"

Gads, Murdock could be like a relentless child. Those brown, puppy-dog eyes
just completed the package. Luckily, twenty miles separated Face from his best
friend which spared him from those eyes. However, he was questioning why he
picked up the phone as he thumped the receiver on his head for effect. For that
matter, why had he got Murdock the phone in the first place? "Alright, one
hour. One hour is all you get," Face capitulated.

"Yahoo!"

Murdock's excitement was palpable even through the phone line. "I mean it,
Murdock. One hour," Face said firmly then hung up. He grabbed the keys to the
rental car and slammed the door of the beach house shut. He cursed himself
silently as he swung the car in the direction of the VA. He never could say no
to Murdock, and usually his friend's enthusiasm surrounding the holidays was
catching. This year though, he was having a rough time of it. He had found and
lost his father practically within the same day, meanwhile having a fight with
Murdock that left them barely speaking for days. He just lost his girlfriend of
three months. To top it off everything he touched lately seemed to get hurt or
destroyed, including his car. His best friend resided in a mental hospital, BA
was visiting his Mama, and Hannibal was off making a movie off the coast of
Mexico. Here he was, alone again for the holidays. It was his childhood all
over again.

Face put the car in park and tried to psyche himself up for a fun-filled day of
shopping. Who was he kidding? He didn't believe the fake smile, and Murdock
sure wouldn't. He resigned himself to at least trying to make Murdock happy.
The object of his thoughts suddenly appeared putting on his jacket. He ambled
up to the passenger side door and climbed into the Chevy. "What, no orderlies
chasing you?"

"Nope, not today, Faceman." Murdock whipped out a laminated rectangle-shaped
piece of paper. "Got a 24 hour pass."

Wonderful. "I suppose you're staying with me tonight then?"

"You got it. We can roast chestnuts by the fire, put up a Christmas tree, tell
ghost stories, or whatever."

"Ghost stories? On Christmas?" Face sighed heavily as he put the car in gear.
Twenty-four hours of Murdock with Christmas fever was exactly the opposite of
what he needed now.

Murdock sang Christmas carols throughout the entire car ride. Face's nerves
were already raw by the time they pulled into the mall parking lot. "Lookit
this. Not a parking space anywhere near the doors." Face's knuckles were
beginning to turn white around the steering wheel. Then he spotted his oasis.
"Oh man, I can't believe it. How lucky is this," Face commented on the family
entering their van to leave only yards away from the entrance.

Face cracked the first smile he had that day. Face looked over at Murdock who
kept bopping his head in tune to the carols he was singing. When Face looked
back up he was enraged to see another car pulling into the spot. "Hey, that was
my spot!"

"Yeah, well you were too slow, buddy!"

Face was reduced to incoherence. He reached for the door handle. He was going
to teach that guy a lesson. Face felt Murdock's arm across his chest. "Ain't
worth it, muchacho. Let's just get in and get outta here like you wanted."

Face knew Murdock was right, but he was still seething as they finally entered
the mall. The entire hour, one hour and twenty-three minutes to be exact, they
spent at the mall Face was warding off crazed shoppers. He must have been
bumped into or stepped on ten times. Only one person had bothered to say
'excuse me.' And in that hour Murdock had not accomplished hardly anything.

Face glanced at his watch. "Murdock, let's get a move on huh?"

"Just a lil more time." Face only nodded. He had calmed down somewhat and he
knew that Murdock's opportunities to get out into the real world were few and
far between save missions. He resigned himself to more patient waiting. He
began to watch all the families. There was a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed
boy holding onto his father's hand for dear life. The mother pushed a stroller
with a beautiful sleeping infant inside it. The sight should have touched him,
but instead it only depressed him further. It only reminded him of what could
have been. Why had he even been brought into the world if his parents didn't
want him? What kind of sense did that make? He didn't have anyone to love, or
anyone to return the love. Maybe it would be better -

"Facey? Let's go okay? I'm hungry," Murdock broke into his thoughts. He nodded
and let Murdock lead him back out to the car.


The twosome picked up take out on the way home. Murdock was demolishing his
Captain Bellybuster's, but Face merely picked at his. Murdock finished with a
big slurp of his soda. "What is it, Faceman? Why so glum?"

"Huh? Oh nothing's wrong Murdock."

"Mmmhmm. Tell me another one."

Dammit. Why did Murdock have to be so good at reading him? "I just have a lot
of stuff on my mind. Let's leave it at that."

"No can do. Stuff? What stuff? Have you been naughty? Are you expecting a lump
of coal in your stocking?"

"Probably deserve it," Face muttered under his breath.

"Run that by me again?"

"Nothing, Murdock. I'm just tired. I'm going to turn in early." Face got up
from the table and began walking towards the bedroom. Murdock followed him.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don't just start something and walk away."

"Murdock, you're treading on dangerous ground here. Just let me be," Face
warned. Murdock insisted on pushing the issue until Face could no longer stand
it.

"I wish I was never born!"

"Facey, you don't mean that."

"Goodnight, Murdock!" Face slammed the door in his face. He admonished himself
for treating Murdock so badly, but the guy wouldn't let up. Face slipped into
his silk pajamas and climbed into the king size bed. 'What if I was never
born,' he thought as he turned out the light. He pondered this question as his
lids grew heavy.


The smell of coffee pulled Face out of a languid sleep. He yawned and stretched
before donning his robe. He padded to the kitchen expecting to see Murdock
fixing breakfast, but instead he was greeted by the sight of an older couple
sitting down to breakfast. What the hell was going on? Whatever it was, Murdock
had to be responsible.

Face trudged all over the house looking for Murdock, but came up empty.
Giving up for the moment, he returned to his bedroom to get dressed. Where were
all his clothes? Face was on the floor frantically searching for his Gucci
shoes when he heard a rustling from behind. Tensing up, he turned abruptly
ready for an attack. Before him stood a tall, blonde woman.

"Hello, Face."

"W-who are you," he stammered.

"Why, I'm an angel."

"I'll buy that." Face put on his most charming smile, ready to spring into
action.

"Not that kind of angel, nitwit," she said exasperated. "Here, does this
help?" She waved her arm and a soft glowing light filled the room. She emerged
from the light dressed in a white robe with wings attached.

"What the he- heck is going on here?"

"You wished you were never born didn't you? Well, I'm here to show you what
life would be like without you." Face just gave her a puzzled look. "Grab onto
my robe."

Face complied, never having denied a beautiful woman anything before. "You're
about to embark on an enlightening journey."

"Oh yeah, I bet. Where we going, sweetheart?"

"Just hold on, and keep your hands off the merchandise, pal." A warm, glowing
light enveloped them. When it dissipated, the scenery had changed.

"This looks like Arlington National Cemetery," Face stated as they walked
between graves

"It is." The angel stopped.

"Why are we here?" The angel pointed downward. Face followed her finger. He
gasped in surprise as he read the inscription: 'John Smith.' His eyes landed on
the date of death: '1971.'

"1971? What happened to Hannibal? Hannibal's still alive - isn't he?"

"You see for yourself. He died in 1971."

"But why? I don't understand." Face had to take a second look to make sure his
eyes weren't deceiving him.

"He was killed in Vietnam. No one was there to question his plans, to keep him
in check. One day he let the jazz go too far trying to rescue a group of POWs.
He was killed in the line of duty."

"Wait a minute. There was no Bank of Hanoi job? What about the A-Team?"

"There was no A-team. Not as you know it, anyway. The bank job never happened."

"I don't understand. What about BA? What about Murdock? " A flood of questions
erupted from Face.

"You will understand soon enough. You've seen all you need to see here. Grab
on." Face was too dumbstruck to do anything but comply.

He had closed his eyes throughout the journey. When he opened them he found
himself surrounded by drab concrete walls. The more Face looked around the more
it looked like a prison.

"That's because it is a prison," the angel answered his thought.

Momentarily startled by the ability of the angel to read his thoughts, it took
him a second to gather up the courage to ask. "Why are we here?"

The angel turned him to face into one of the cells. Before him was a bowed
mohawked head. "BA," he whispered.

"After he left the army he returned home to his old neighborhood. One day he
found some gang messing around with one of his kids from the center. He was
tried and convicted of assault and battery."

"Who could blame him?"

"Without the Team he had no outlet for his anger. It was only a matter of time
before something like this happened. He didn't stand a chance in that
neighborhood."

The angel paused to let it all sink in. Face didn't know how much more he
could take. Hannibal dead? BA in jail? What next? The angel looked at him with
sympathy. She knew what was coming next. It would no doubt be the most
difficult for the man to see.

Face beat her to it. "We're going to see Murdock now, aren't we?" He didn't
have to see her nod to realize that that's where they were headed.

"You will see him as he was soon after the war, and as he is now without you
and the Team. I have to warn you that it won't be easy to see, " the angel
tried to prepare him as the warm glow enveloped them once again.

Face found himself looking at institutional white walls. The date on the
calendar read April 7, 1975. Behind him he could hear strangled whimpering.
Face was scared to turn towards the sound. The angel gently nudged his shoulder
and spun him around. Before his eyes lay Murdock. Face barely recognized him.
He was strapped down to the bed, all four limbs in restraints. He was so thin,
sickly even. Tubes protruded out of his arms and his nose. Face choked back a
horrified scream. Murdock's eyes were glazed over, and there was a madness in
them he had never seen before.

The angel urged him forward. "No. I don't wanna see anymore," Face spat
angrily. "I know how Murdock was. I don't need to see it again."

The angel snapped her fingers sharply. "Well, you need to see this." They were
in a dark alley. Steam rose up from the vents caused by the damp chill in the
air. A figure emerged from the shadows walking towards the pair.

Recognition dawned on Face. "Hey, it's Murdock. See he got better. He got out."

The angel merely shook her head. "No, Face. He didn't. He was functional in
the hospital while he was on his medication, but then they kicked him out."

"Why? Why would they do that? Dr Richter would never do that to him."

"Dr Richter never treated him, and without the funds they couldn't keep him
there. So they sent him on his way with a month's worth of his medication."

"But you said he was functional while he was taking his meds. So he still is,
isn't he?"

"He can't, Face. He has no money. No one in this economy will hire a
non-skilled schizophrenic pilot without a license. And there's no A-Team,
remember? Besides he's not really with it enough to remember to take them
anyway."

"He's gotta have somebody at home to look after him," Face's voice raised in
desperation. The figure brushed passed him muttering incongruent phrases.

"You filled that role, Face." She pointed an accusing finger at him and then
did a grand sweep with her arm. "This is his home."

"What?! No, I can't take anymore," Face exclaimed.

"This is his reality, Face- a reality without you."

"Take me back. I'll do whatever it takes. Just make things go back to the way
they were. Please," Face pleaded, near tears.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes! Yes, of course I'm sure. I'd never forgive myself if Murdock ended up
like that because of me."

"That's an exaggeration, but at least you're starting to get the point." She
withdrew a small silver bell from beneath her robe and began to ring it.

"I suppose now an angel has gotten his wings."

"That's a myth," she replied. "But it will take you home."

Face could still here the tinkling of the bell as he saw the scenery fade
before him. He felt himself gently falling. "Wakey, wakey, Faceman." The voice
sounded like Murdock's coming from far away. He could barely hear him over the
damn bell.

Slowly he returned to consciousness. He opened one eye, and nearly screamed.
In front of him was Murdock dangling a silver bell in front of his eyes. "Jeez,
Faceman. I didn't mean to give you a heart attack. It's just breakfast time,
s'all."

"Okay," was all Face could squeak out.

"Hey, think we could bake some cookies for the guys back at the VA today?"

Face's heartbeat was slowly returning to a dull thump. He nodded as he
continued to try to catch his breath. Murdock started to get up off the bed and
head for the door. Face pulled him back to the bed and hugged him tightly.
Murdock, surprised, returned the hug and sat back down. "What's wrong, Facey?"

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong." ' In fact, everything's going to be just fine,' he
thought.

"Are you sure? You're acting kinda weird, even by my standards."

Face looked deep into Murdock's eyes. "You know I'd never let you down. You
know I'd never leave you alone, right?"

Murdock grinned as he got off the bed to return to the kitchen. "I know
muchacho. I know I can always count on you." Murdock paused on his way out.
"Everything's gonna be okay, Face."

Face sighed contentedly. He really did believe that everything would be okay
from now on. He had friends, no a family that depended on him. He depended on
them, as well. It was a dysfunctional family, but a family nevertheless. He
laughed as he heard Murdock ringing the bell in the kitchen, trying to get it
to match up to his rendition of 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing.' Yep, this is
right were he belonged.



It's A Wonderful Life? by Murdocksflychica (Beth)

 

 


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