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Team of One
Rating: PG-13 (Angst) death of a minor character
Note: For "Tiny" March 2001- December 12, 2001. I can still here you running on the big wheel in the sky.
Thanks to Cathy (as always) for beta reading this for me.
Takes place midway through the last season.
"Captain, open up the door"
"No" the muffled voice said from the other side. Hannibal began
massaging his temple. When Murdock hadn't shown up for the meeting, he
had just assumed he couldn't get out of work. That happened often
enough. But when Murdock didn't pick up the phone, Hannibal had started
to worry. 'No,' he thought to himself, 'I started worrying about
Murdock a long time ago.'
There was a part of Hannibal that had wanted Murdock to stay at the
VA. When the captain had first bounded into the new house proclaiming
his sanity, Hannibal had resisted the urge to tear up his papers.
Somehow he'd managed to stay on the sidelines of Murdock's new life.
Every once and a while, he would contact a business and secure Murdock a
job, then convince his friend that he should go apply at the place.
"Murdock, don't make me break down this door. Look, I'm not mad at you,
I just want to talk" Hannibal waited for the response. The door opened
suddenly, catching him slightly off guard. Murdock's body filled the
doorframe as Hannibal gave him a once over. 'Puffy eyes, tear marks on
his red face, un-kept hair and a shadow of a beard, something is wrong.'
"What can I do for you, Colonel?" the tired pilot's voice said softly.
Hannibal sighed and took out a cigar.
"May I come in?" Hannibal asked, gesturing to the door. Murdock paused,
then nodded. Hannibal followed Murdock into his apartment. It took a
few seconds for Hannibal to realize that his eyes didn't need to adjust
to the light from the darkness outside, the place was pitch black.
Feeling his way around, Hannibal found an old chair and sat down.
"Would you mind if we turned on some lights?"
"No power" Hannibal closed his eyes. 'What has Murdock been doing?'
"How long has your power been shut off Murdock?"
"A few weeks"
"Why didn't you tell us?" Hannibal asked quietly, resisting the urge to
kick himself. He should have known this would happen. 'Murdock has
never lived by himself, why should I expect him to know what to do?'
"I didn't want to worry you?" the small voice said from the other side
of the room. Hannibal saw a match light and the eerie glow of a candle
lit the room. One bed, one bag of clothes, the chair Hannibal was
sitting on and a cage were the only things besides himself and Murdock
in the room. Hannibal felt his heart stop.
"Murdock, you don't need to live like this." Hannibal watched his friend
intently for a moment.
"I know, I just…"
" Didn't want to ask for help?" Hannibal provided.
" Didn't want to fail." Hannibal leaned back in the chair.
"Asking for help doesn't mean you've failed. Is this why you're
upset?" Hannibal gestured, indicating his surroundings..
"What else is wrong?" Murdock got up from his place on the floor and
walked over to the cage. Kneeling, he opened the cage and picked up the
hamster inside. Hannibal wasn't a doctor, but he knew death when he saw
it. "I'm sorry captain," Hannibal said honestly.
"He was only a few months old. I made sure he had food and water, even
when I didn't have money for anything else I made sure. I guess it must
have gotten to cold for him." Hannibal noticed his breath for the first
time. 'No heat, no power…probably no water.'
"When I was young, I had a dog…"
"and your dog died," Murdock finished. Hannibal glared at him for a
second then softened his gaze.
"Yes, he did die. But after he died, my father said something to me
that I never forgot. He said, "It's not the length of time an animal
lives, but how much it touches you that maters. If you cared for it and
loved it, then both of you have been blessed with a wonderful time
together. " Both men sat in silence, watching the flame of the candle.
"Hannibal, can I come and stay at the house for a few days?"
"As long as you promise me one thing, Murdock." The pilot nodded.
"Promise me you'll never think of yourself as a team of one again"
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