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“I’m going to miss you while I’m gone

You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone

By Jullian Gray

 

NC-17

Summary: Hannibal is in a relationship with someone but is he happy, Face has met someone but is he the right man for him. Can they make the relationship work or is it best to just let that love die and move on? Takes place in Vietnam

Warning: Slash, H/F, Sex, Hurt, Comfort, Violence, Language, War

Special thanks to Karen for correcting my horrible grammar and spelling!!!

 

 

***

 

Part 1

 

"I'm going to miss you while I'm gone," Major Don Larkin purred as he leaned over the back of Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith's chair, draping the front of his body over the other man's back.

 

"I'm going to miss you too," Hannibal turned to smile up at his lover.

 

"Why don't you come to Saigon with me?" the Major asked as he moved to stand next to Hannibal's desk. "I know you can arrange to get the time off away from here."

 

"I'd love to go with you, sweetheart…"

 

"I wish you wouldn't call me that," Don interrupted him and crossed his arms over his chest.

 

"But I have to go through these files," Hannibal continued not missing a beat.

 

Reaching out, Don pushed the pile of personnel folders to one side of the desk before moving to sit in the newly cleared spot. "I don't know why you're looking at these men; I should be all the man you need," he smiled as he began to unbutton his shirt.

 

Standing up Hannibal moved to lean over the top of the other man, bending down he captured the Major's lips.

 

"I have to look at all these men, Don. I've got to find a new supply officer, and if I remember correctly you are not in my unit."

 

"If you wanted me to be on your team you could arrange to have me transferred."

 

Hannibal sighed as he stood up. "Don we've had this discussion a million times. You don't have the training or the experience I need.  I need someone who is Special Forces trained. If you had…"

 

"I know, I know," Don held up his hands silencing the other man. "I'm sorry I brought it up." Reaching up the Major grabbed Hannibal by the front of his shirt and pulled the Colonel back down to him. "Let's not fight before I go."

 

Seeing the sparkle in the other man's eyes Hannibal leaned forward again as Don tugged his shirt out of his pants. "And just what do you purpose we do?"

 

"Oh I can think of a lot of things Colonel," Don smiled again as he kissed his lover.

 

Two Days Later

 

Lieutenant Templeton Peck sat at a corner table nursing his drink. He didn't really want to be in a bar, but he figured it was better than being alone in his quarters drinking. At least if he was in a crowd of people he would be less likely to do something stupid, whereby if he was by himself… No he shook his head, he couldn't think like that, it was an unforgivable sin to commit suicide.

 

'Yeah, like that's stopped you before,' he sighed as he looked at the thin white scars on his wrist.

 

He leaned back in his chair and was startled to see a Major standing over the top of him. Peck started to rise but the other man motioned him to stay seated.

 

"Relax Lieutenant." The Major put his hand on the back of the empty chair. "You mind if I join you?"

 

"No sir." The younger man motioned for him to sit.

 

"Call me Don," the Major smiled as he extended his hand.

 

"Hi Don, I'm Templeton." Peck reached over the table and took the offered hand.

 

"Awful long name for such a young man," Don laughed. "How about Temp?"

 

"Whatever." Peck flashed a smile though it didn't go all the way to his eyes. Actually he hated the name Temp; it was what Leslie had called him along with half a dozen other lovers. But that's what you are, aren't you? Just a temporary fix until something better comes along, he thought to himself.

 

"You alright, man?" Don asked as he reached over to rest his hand on the blondes.

 

"Yeah, just thinking that's all," Peck smiled to look into the other man's eyes. "So what brings you to the big city, Don?"

 

The two men talked for an hour or so before Don finally made his move on the younger man.

 

"You wouldn't want to go back to my room would you? I mean I really don't want to be alone tonight, and from the way you sound you don't want to be either."

 

"I don't know if…" Peck leaned further back away from the other man.

 

"No pressure, if you're not into that kind of scene I understand." Don moved to stand up from the table his hands up in surrender. "Sorry if I misunderstood."

 

"No," the Lieutenant shook his head as he thought about spending another night by himself. "You didn't misunderstand anything, I just haven't been…" the blonde shrugged his shoulder. "I don't know what to call it."

 

"Come on, Temp," Don held out his hand. "You don't need to be alone."

 

Peck looked at the offered hand for a second before he decided what the hell. The Major was right, a quick roll in the hay was a whole lot better than spending the night alone. If he was lucky, the other man wouldn't throw him out right after it was over and he wouldn't have to sleep alone either.

 

***

 

Hannibal picked up the next folder on his desk and opened it. He stopped instantly, his eyes focusing on the young blonde haired man's photo.

 

"Aren't you beautiful," he whispered as his eyes took in every detail of the young man's face; his fingers moving to touch the photograph on their own. Slowly he dragged his eyes away from the photo to the printed words.

 

"Templeton Arthur Peck," Hannibal smiled as the name rolled off his tongue. His eyes scanned the file taking in all the details, his education, experience, number of missions he had been on, his scores and also, most importantly, his disciplinary reports. The Colonel looked at the younger man's age on the paper then the file photo again.  "There is no way kid; no way in hell you're in your twenties, you might have been able to lie to your recruiter but you are not fooling me." Hannibal closed the file and moved onto the next candidate in the pile.

 

Five hours later he was finished, he thought about all the candidates, and all their qualifications. There were some damn fine officers in there, a lot of them with quite a few decorations and accomplishments, but that wasn't what he was looking for. A perfect little soldier wasn't what his unit needed. His unit needed… his hand moved to the pile and pulled out Peck's file.  He opened it up again; his team needed someone like this, a man who wasn't afraid to take risks, a man who could lead if something was to happen to him. Nodding his head, Hannibal picked up his pen and began to fill out the dreaded paperwork to get the young Lieutenant transferred into his unit.

 

'Well Kid, with any luck we'll have you here in a few months,' he smiled as he touched the photo again. "Welcome to the A-Team, Lieutenant."

 

 

 

***

 

 

"God Temp, you are so hot!" Don gasped and rolled off the blonde.

 

Peck moaned slightly as the other man withdrew from his body.

 

"Didn't hurt you, did I?" Don asked as he sat up resting his back against the headboard. "I know I got kind of overly excited."

 

"No, I'm alright," Peck sighed, moving further away for the Major before covering himself with the sheet.

 

Don smiled as he looked over at the blonde. "Thank God you're not the cuddling type, the guy I'm seeing is so damn touchy feely. After sex all he wants to do is lay there and cuddle. Don't get me wrong he's a nice enough guy, but my God, I can't understand why he always wants to hug me, and don't get me started on the pet names."

 

"Yeah who would want that?" Peck sighed; though he could honestly say that he would do just about anything to have someone care for him like that.

 

"Oh and the sex, man it's good, but not like this. I mean you are hot Temp, just straight out hot, but my guy he wants to make love," Don rolled his eyes. "I mean come on, a guy wants straight raw sex right? Hell, what guy wants to be made love to?" Don rolled his eyes again. "I mean, if I wanted tender, gentle, love making I'll go find a woman. Right, man?"

 

"I hear you," Peck nodded his head. "What kind of guy would want to have someone to take care of him like that?" he repeated but inside Peck sighed; he would give his soul to have someone truly care for him, to make him feel special, to love him.

 

"You want to go out and get something to drink?"

 

"No, I'm at my limit for tonight," the blonde shook his head thinking about all the shots and beers he had drunk over the past few hours.

 

"Sure," Don nodded as he looked over at the blonde before grabbing his pants. "You know I'd invite you to stay the night but…"

 

Peck waved his hand stopping the other man. "No, that's alright I understand, I wouldn't want to get caught coming out of your room in the morning." The blonde moved to grab his own pants which were lying beside the bed. "Besides I really need to get back to my barracks."

 

Don watched the Lieutenant get dressed. "Hey, I'm going to be in Saigon for the rest of the week in meetings, I'd love to meet up with you again."

 

"Sure, my unit is going to be here for a couple of weeks for training."

 

"Great, I'll meet you over at the officer's club tomorrow night."

 

"Yeah, about eight or so?"

 

Don nodded. "See you there, Temp."

 

Peck nodded as he left the Major's hotel room to head back to the base to sleep alone.

 

The next night at eight PM, Peck was sitting in the bar waiting for the Major to show up. He hadn't planned on going to the bar or meeting the other man again, but at the same time he didn't want to be alone. Deep down he knew that if he stayed by himself he would do something that would make the priests at the orphanages forget his name, because they didn't talk about the ones who took their own lives.

 

"Hey there, Lieutenant. How you doing?" the Major asked as he sat down at the table across from the blonde.

 

"Hey, Major," Peck smiled as he raised his beer in greeting.

 

"You had anything to eat tonight?"

 

"No…."

 

"Good, my treat let's go."

 

***

 

 Don once again leaned against the headboard as he watched the blonde get dressed. He was just about to tell the young man that he would like to take him out to dinner tomorrow night when his hotel phone rang.

 

The Major grabbed the phone. "Hello?"

 

There was a moment of silence before Don's eyes widened.

 

"Hannibal?"

 

Don turned to look at the young man now standing at the foot of the bed and quickly put his fingers to his lips.

 

"No, I'm glad to hear from you…." Don continued to watch Peck as he continued to talk to the man on the other end of the line.

 

"Of course I miss you, don't be ridiculous," Don rolled his eyes. "Yes I love you." He paused and frowned slightly, "You mean you're here in the hotel, really?"

 

Peck raised his brows and Don held up his finger to wait a minute. "No, I can't wait to see you, either. How about I meet you in the lobby and we go out for… Sure, if you just want to come up and relax that's fine too. I'll come down and… No that's fine, I'm in room 708. Sure, I'll see you in a few minutes." The Major put down the phone. "Damn. Temp I'm sorry about this, I told you he was clingy …"

 

"Don't worry about it, I understand," the blonde waved his hand in understanding, "you don't owe me anything."

 

"If I can get rid of him I'll try and meet up with you later."

 

"Sure," Peck smiled and left the Major to clean up the room before his lover came up.

 

***

 

Hannibal bounced up and down on his heals as he waited for the elevator to arrive. He was just reaching to push the call button again when the second elevator opened, and several people got out pushing their way past the people waiting to get on. As he watched them depart his eyes caught a flash of sun streaked blonde, he turned to see the face of the fair haired man, but the young man was already moving away, his head hung, the silky strands covering his face.

 

Hannibal moved onto the elevator, just as the doors were closing the blonde turned around and Hannibal recognized it was his new Lieutenant, Peck. He started to step back out of the elevator when a woman with a baby stepped in front of him blocking his way just as the doors shut.

 

Peck made his way off the elevator, his head down; he could feel the depression beginning to build in his chest. He told himself he was being stupid, he knew that what he was doing with the Major was nothing more than cheap sex, but it still hurt. He turned to look back at the elevator, wondering if Don's lover was among them.

 

'What does it matter,' he thought to himself. 'It's not like anyone could love you that way.'

 

 

One month later

 

Lieutenant Templeton Peck stood staring at his commanding officer not believing what the other man was telling him.

 

"Transferred, but I just got in this unit, sir."

 

"And now you're getting the hell out of it," his CO growled.

 

He hadn't liked the blonde from day one, and to be honest he was thankful that someone else wanted him. The Lieutenant could do his job, that wasn't the problem. The major problem was that the young man was border line suicidal. His moods were constantly changing, one minute he was on top of the world, the next you could just tell he was planning on how to get himself killed. And that was the last thing the Colonel wanted on his hands.

 

"What did I do that you want to get rid on me so fast?" Peck asked.

 

The Colonel thought about telling the boy of all the trouble he had caused, all the fights that he had been in, all the scams that he knew the Lieutenant was running. But with one look in the blue-green eyes he decided that he couldn't do it to the boy. Instead he decided to keep it simple.

 

"Believe it or not, someone requested you."

 

"Requested me, sir?"

 

Evidently the Lieutenant was just as amazed that someone wanted him.

 

"You heard me correctly. You're new CO's name is Colonel John Smith, he's in charge of one of the Alpha units, he'll be expecting you this evening. Now your chopper leaves in 30 minutes, I strongly suggest that you be on it when it lifts off."

 

Peck looked at him for a minute longer then snapped off a salute. "Yes sir." The blonde turned to leave but was stopped by a gentle hand on his shoulder.

 

"Take care of yourself son, you're a good soldier. I'd hate to hear that something happened to you."

 

Peck offered his former CO a gentle smile. "Thank you, sir."

 

Once the Lieutenant left the office, the Colonel sat back down at his desk and sighed. He knew if something didn't change in the young man's life very soon that he would be dead in the next few months.

 

***

 

Hannibal sighed as his lover pushed him away, he really cared for the Major, but as time passed he could see that they just weren't compatible. He wanted to hold the other man in his arms at night, to touch him whenever there was a chance. Even if it was nothing more than throwing his arm over his shoulder as they walked. Don however wanted nothing to do with it.

 

"What's wrong, sweetheart?" Hannibal asked as he looked at the other man.

 

"First off you can stop calling me that," Don frowned at him. "Second, you can get over on your side of the bed."

 

"Don, I just want to hold you…"

 

"Yeah I know, but I don't like it," the Major griped as he got out of the bed.

 

"Where are you going?" Hannibal asked rolling up on his elbow.

 

"I'm going to my quarters."

 

"Why?" Hannibal sat up, his blue eyes showing how hurt he felt.

 

"Stop with the lost puppy look, Johnny." Don pulled on his pants. "It doesn't become you."

 

"Now what is that supposed to mean?"

 

"Nothing," Don mumbled as he started buttoning his shirt.

 

"No Don, you started something now finish it," Hannibal glared at the other man, his anger starting to rise.

 

"Stop acting like a…"

 

"Like what, Don?" Hannibal interrupted, his voice going low and dangerous. "A fag?"

 

"I didn't mean it like that, Johnny," Don started to back step as he realized that he had just started a fight he didn't want to get into.

 

"I want to show you that I care about you, to try and show you a little affection and suddenly I'm a limp wrested sissy boy? That is what you're really trying to say, isn't it Don?"

 

"You're blowing this way out of proportion…"

 

"Well since I'm just being a typical sissy, how about I add this to the mix, why don't you just get the hell out!" Hannibal grabbed his lover's jacket off the end of the bed and threw it at him.

 

"This is what I'm talking about!" Don shouted as he caught his jacket. "All I wanted was a little space and you're…."

 

"I'm giving you all the fucking space you want!"

 

"So you're saying we're finished?" Don snapped back.

 

Hannibal stared at his lover's face, he could see anger, but he couldn't see any signs of regret at the fact that their relationship was coming to an end.

 

"I don't know. Maybe we just need a few days apart," Hannibal shook his head, not understanding what was happening, one minute they had been having a great time and the next they were fighting. The problem was that over the last few weeks they seemed to be doing more fighting than making love.

 

"You know what, Johnny? Maybe you're right, or maybe we just need to call it quits." With that the Major turned on his heels and stormed out of the Colonel's tent.

 

Hannibal slid back down in the now empty bed and rubbed his face with his hands. What was the use of putting each other through the constant fights? His relationship with Don was becoming more and more strained as each day passed. Maybe he should just cut his losses, it was clear that they just didn't belong together.

 

Don still wanted to party and have fun, while he was looking for something more permanent and lasting. Hannibal rolled over and looked at the spot were his lover had been. He wanted someone he could share the rest of his life with, someone to listen to his hopes and dreams. A person he could just hold when the outside world became too much.

 

"You're dreaming, Smith," Hannibal mumbled to himself as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. "You just need to get over the fact that you are going to die alone."

 

***

 

"Where the hell are they?" Hannibal bitched as he watched the lightening flicker across the sky. The winds were staring to pick up, whipping his short silver hair around. The chopper bringing in his new Lieutenant was already a half hour late.  If it had been Murdock at the controls he wouldn't have worried quite so much, but this pilot was green and despite what the top brass said, they were damn close to a major combat zone.

 

"You going to have to replace your newbie already, Colonel?"

 

Hannibal turned to see Don walking toward him, the Major's hands were stuffed deep into his pockets, a coy expression on his face. "Thought you weren't speaking to me, Major."

 

"Never could stay mad at you for long," Don smiled as he got closer to Smith.

 

"Hmm," Hannibal frowned; he really wasn't up for another round with the other man. In fact he had made his peace with the fact that they could never be lovers, and he was ready to move on with his life.

 

"Look Johnny, I don't want you to be mad at me," Don moved to place his hand on Hannibal's arm. "Even if it doesn't work out between us I still want us to be friends."

 

Hannibal looked over at Don then nodded as he stuck out his hand. "Friends."

 

Don grabbed his hand and squeezed it, "Friends." The two stood there for a second before the Major spoke, "I've got to go, my driver is waiting." When Hannibal cocked an eyebrow, Don explained, "I have a meeting to attend at fire base Alpha. When I get back maybe we can have a drink or two."

 

"I'd like that," Hannibal smiled, knowing that maybe, just maybe he might be able to salvage a friendship out of their broken relationship.

 

Don nodded then turned to leave. When he was a few feet away, he stopped and turned back to look at Hannibal. "Hope everything works out."

 

"Hope what works out?"

 

 "With you and the new Lieutenant, I know how Baracus can be on officers."

 

Hannibal gave Don a slight smile before he looked up at the darkening sky. "Yeah, I hope so too."

 

***

 

Templeton Peck had never minded riding in a chopper, but he could honestly say this time he was going to be sick. The wind had been picking up since they left Saigon, and now it was violently rocking the Huey back and forth. Looking out of the side door he could see the lightening flashing and the sky darkening the closer they got to their destination.

 

'What the hell is it about this damn country?' he thought. 'It'll rain like hell tonight and tomorrow it'll be a 110 in the shade.' As another violent gust shook the chopper, Peck pushed himself further into the bulkhead, then locked his knees so he wouldn't slide as the Huey rocked from the turbulence.

 

 He closed his eyes and tried to imagine what the new base was going to be like, would his new unit accept him or would they be like the rest? Would they see him for who he was or just another pretty boy drop out from college? And most important, why did the new CO, this Colonel Smith want him?

 

 Peck had asked around before he left the base, and a few of the guys knew of Smith and his reputation seemed to precede him. The man was known for getting the job done, and getting his men back safe, he was also known for pissing off the top brass. His men were the best there were, and that was one thing that was repeated over and over. 'So why would he want me? Why would he want someone like…' Peck's thoughts were cut off then the chopper lurched violently to one side.

 

"You guys better hold on back there, it's going to be one hell of a rough landing," the pilot yelled into the back of the chopper.

 

Looking out of the side door again, Peck could hardly see anything; the rain was coming down so hard that he couldn't even make out the ground below them. Leaning forward he looked into the cockpit, if he tried hard enough he could just make out a set of landing lights from the base's landing field.

 

"Thank God!" the soldier next to him yelled. "Five more minutes on this damn thing and I'm going to hurl."

 

"Well in six minutes you're going to be soaked to the bone," the guy across from them shouted back.

 

"Don't give a crap if I'm never dry again, I want off this damn roller coaster from hell. This fucking thing has got to be the…."

 

The complaints came to an abrupt stop when a blinding white light flashed through the chopper and loud boom deafened its occupants. The Huey shuddered violently and warning alarms went off in the cockpit.

 

"Hang on boys, we're coming in hard!" the pilot yelled as he fought for control of the chopper.

 

***

 

"About damn time," Hannibal griped as he watched the Huey carrying his new lieutenant make its approach towards the landing pad.

 

"Told you they were going to be an about an hour late," one of the crew chiefs snorted. "Be Gods honest with you Colonel, that bird thing shouldn't even be out in this shit."

 

"I wish Murdock was flying that thing," Hannibal turned to look at the other man.

 

"You and I both," the man glanced out at the chopper as it circled around to land.

 

Just then a brilliant flash of lightening filled the office, which was followed by an extremely loud clap of thunder.

 

 "Son of a bitch! Get down!"

 

Hannibal dropped to the ground when he heard the chief shout his warning, and turned toward the landing pad. He watched in horror as the Huey dropped like a stone out of the sky, the massive helicopter crashing to the ground. Its huge rotors and rear propeller kicking up large chunks of mud before breaking off, filling the air with deadly shrapnel as the force spun the body of the bird around and around. When the last massive blades sheared off, the chopper had nothing to hold it upright and the Huey rolled onto its side then slid seventy feet before coming to rest in the mud.

 

***

 

Peck didn't know what happened, but he did know that he was alive and in a world of pain. He shook his head and stars danced across his field of vision. When he heard a moan beside him, he forced his eyes open to see the soldier who had been sitting next to him lying on his side tangled in mass of twisted metal.

 

"Can you move?" Peck tried to sit up and almost screamed as pain wrenched through his shoulder.

 

"Think so," the other man shifted, managing to shove the metal away from him. "What about him?"

 

Peck turned to his other side to see the man who had been sitting across from him. Reaching out, the Lieutenant shook the other man's shoulder.

 

"Please tell me I'm dead," the other man groaned.

 

"If you are then we're all in hell," Peck muttered. "How bad are you hurt?"

 

"I think my leg's broke."

 

"Alright, I'm going to check on the crew."

 

"If they're alive, kill'em."

 

Peck smirked as he started to get to his feet, but as he shifted forward pain flared through his ribs and he stopped. Closing his eyes for a moment, Peck pushed down the pain before starting toward the cockpit again. He tried to force the twisted metal out of his way but could only manage to get his head and part of his shoulders through the opening.

 

"I can't tell how bad off they are, the co-pilot is still breathing but I can't see the pilot."

 

"Hey Lieutenant, I've got a problem here."

 

Peck turned to look at the first soldier, as he looked down he noticed the man was holding his hand over his stomach, blood leaked out from around his fingers.

 

"Damn," Peck started to take his shirt off to use it as a bandage when he heard a noise above him.

 

He looked up to see a silver haired man, with the most intense blue eyes he had ever seen, staring down at him. Even though the older man was soaking wet, and his hair was plastered to his skull, Peck felt his heart skip a beat at the site of him. However in the same instant another part of his brain kicked in and he barked out orders.

 

***

 

"What the hell happened?" Hannibal asked as he climbed to his feet and ran toward the landing pad, the crew chief right on his heals.

 

"Damn thing got hit by lightning! It was so close to the ground it made a complete circuit."

 

As the two men rushed forward, more soldiers came from the base to help. Hannibal was the first to make it to the downed chopper, and ; he climbed onto its side and looked down into the tangled mess. What he saw made his heart stop in his chest. Looking up at him was the most beautiful, young, blonde hair, blue-green eyed man he had ever seen. Though he was cover in blood, mud and soaking wet, the young man was gorgeous 'Your photo doesn't do you justice, kid,' he thought. Then the blonde really surprised him by giving him a direct order.

 

"I've got two injured men back here, the co-pilot is unresponsive and the pilot may be dead. I'm going to lift the first guy up to you; he's got a bad stomach wound! The second one has a broken leg! You'll need to get someone to get the pilot and co-pilot out through the front; it's to smashed up back here for me to reach them!"

 

Before Hannibal could say a word, the blonde helped one of the men to his feet and began to lift him up. Hannibal grabbed the soldier by the wrists and started to pull him out as the Lieutenant pushed him higher. Two other soldiers started to climb up on the side of the chopper and the Huey groaned under their weight before shifting.

 

"Get off! The damn this is unstable!" Hannibal waved the other men away. "If it rolls it'll crush us and kill everyone inside. Go to the front; see if you can get the pilot and co-pilot out through the cockpit glass!" he yelled over the rain and thunder as he turned to help the injured soldier sit on the side of the chopper while he figured out the best way to get him down. A moment later he saw BA and Ray making their way through the crowd.

 

"BA, help me with this guy!" BA was instantly standing at the side of the downed bird, reaching up and grabbing the man as Hannibal turned to help lower him to the ground. With the first soldier safely on the ground, the Colonel turned back to the opening in the side of the Huey. As soon as he looked down he noticed the blonde already had the second man on his feet.

 

"Alright, hand him up, kid."

 

Peck lifted the other man who screamed when his injured leg banged against the side of the opening. "Sorry," Peck apologized and pushed the soldier up to the Colonel.

 

"After everything else that's happened today, I'll live, Lieutenant," the man ground out through gritted teeth as the Colonel grabbed him by the upper arms.

 

"I've got him!" Hannibal pulled the man free of the chopper. "Ray!"

 

"Send him down Colonel!" Ray and several other men helped the injured man down and onto a waiting stretcher.

 

"They got the pilot and co-pilot out of the front," BA yelled up. "Both of them are still alive, is that all of them?"

 

"No, our new Lieutenant is still inside." Hannibal turned back to the opening and laid down on his stomach so he could reach further into the chopper. "Lieutenant Peck, I'm Colonel Smith," Hannibal reached his hand down to the younger man.

 

"Nice to meet you sir," Peck greeted him back as he grabbed the Colonel's hands.

 

"Come on, kid, let's get you out of there."

 

The Colonel pulled as Peck kicked off the side of the chopper. As soon as the younger man was half way up, Hannibal let go of one of Peck's hands and grabbed the smaller man by the belt, hauling him the rest of the way out.

 

Peck lay on the side of the Huey trying to catch his breath; as the stinging rain pelted him, pain coursed through his shoulder and ribs. He jumped slightly when he felt a gentle hand on the back of his neck. 

 

"How bad are you hurt, kid?"

 

"I'm alright, sir." Peck turned to look up at the bright blue eyes that were staring down at him. "A little shaken up, I just need a second get my breath back."

 

Hannibal nodded. "BA, I need a hand here." As BA approached, Hannibal slid his arm around Peck's waist. Carefully he lowered the blonde into the big man's arms who then gently lowered him to his feet. Hannibal climbed down off the chopper to stand beside his Sergeant and Lieutenant. He stood there for a moment just looking the young man over; the blonde was soaked to the bone and covered in mud and blood. He was bleeding from a head wound and there was a chunk of metal was sticking out of his shoulder.

 

"What do you say we go get you checked out, son?"

 

"I don't need anything except some dry clothes," Peck smiled, though Hannibal noticed his face was becoming pale.

 

"I'd believe you if it wasn't for that in your shoulder."

 

Peck looked down at his shoulder and the piece of shrapnel sticking out of it. "Huh, don't know how that happened..."

 

The Colonel watched as his Lieutenant reached up to the imbedded metal and quickly grabbed the younger man's hand to keep him from touching it. Realizing that the younger man was going into shock Hannibal went into action.

 

"Come on, kid, let's get you to medical."

 

"Medical?" Peck looked at his Colonel, he could hear the words, but they didn't seem to make any sense. "No sir, I'm alright…" He slowly started to back up but the Colonel tightened his grip.

 

"You're injured, Lieutenant," Hannibal said softly, he could feel Peck begin to tremble under his hand. "You are going into shock, kid. We need to get you medical treatment."

 

"No sir…" Peck shook his head. "I don't need…" Before he could say another word his eyes rolled back and he started to fall to the ground. Hannibal grabbed him from one side while BA grabbed him from the other.

 

"Medic!" BA yelled over the thunder and pouring rain.

 

***

"He's banged up pretty bad," the chief surgeon stated as he looked at Peck's chart. "He needs a few weeks to rest and let that shoulder heal up. Send him back to me in 14 days and I should be able to give him the all clear."

 

"So there's no serious damage, Doc?" Hannibal asked watching the medical team finish dressing Peck's shoulder and head wound.

 

"No, nothing life threatening, most of it looks a whole lot worse than it is. The shrapnel didn't go as deep we first thought, which is damn lucky for him. A few more inches in and it could have done some major nerve and tissue damage. The only thing that has me concerned is the head wound. Make sure that someone keeps an eye on him for a few days. Just remember he is also going to be stiff as hell in the morning from the bruising, don't push him Smith, he's going to need to rest."

 

"I'll watch him, Doc." Hannibal looked at the blonde sitting on the cot, the younger man seemed to be completely miserable as the nurses poked and prodded him. Oh, the kid would flash a smile here and there, but the Colonel noticed that the smile never reached his eyes.

 

"Come on, son, let's get you out of here," Hannibal called out and smiled as he watched the younger man's face light up for the first time since he had arrived.

 

Twenty minutes later, Peck was lying on a cot in the Colonel's quarters wondering what he was doing there. He knew that the Colonel had promised the doctor that he would watch over him for the next few weeks, but he had no idea that the Colonel literally planned on watching him personally.

 

"You need anything else, kid?"

 

"No sir," Peck shook his head then moaned as pain raced through it.

 

"I would have thought you'd learned not to do that by now, Lieutenant," Hannibal chuckled and moved to sit down beside the young man.

 

"Slow learner I guess, sir," Peck smiled.

 

As Hannibal looked down at the blonde, he noted that the smile seemed to light up the blue-green eyes.

 

"I don't think so," Hannibal returned the smile. Unable to help himself, the Colonel reached down and brushed back the blonde hair that had fallen into the younger man's eyes. "Get some sleep, kid. You've had one hell of a first day."

 

***

Hannibal laughed as he watched BA try to circle around his new lieutenant so that he could take the younger man to the ground. The only problem with the sergeant's plan was that the younger man was faster and before BA could attack, Peck swung his leg out and swept the big man off his feet. However before Peck could move in for the win, BA was back up on his feet circling around the lieutenant again.

 

 "Get him, Baracus!" someone yelled and Hannibal watched as BA landed two solid blows to the kid's kidneys. Peck backed up for just a split second then came back in to deliver a sharp jab to the big man's head which made BA stagger slightly.

 

Hannibal had to admit that he was extremely impressed by the way the kid could move, most of the time BA had his sparring partner down on the ground begging for mercy in less than 15 minutes, but his new lieutenant was not only holding his own but actually getting the better of the big man.

 

 Hannibal smiled as BA came in again, this time going low and while the kid saw it coming he didn't back up, he allowed BA to tackle to him to the ground, though instead of being pinned Peck rolled with BA's momentum and before the big man knew it, Peck had rolled him completely over and was straddling the sergeant's chest with his knees holding the bigger man's shoulders down, while his hands were around his throat. Though BA's hands were not pinned to the ground, every time he tried to roll, Peck would counteract the move, adjusting his slighter body to keep the big man from getting up. However every now and then Peck would lean too far one way or the other and BA would manage to get a blow or two to the younger man's mid-section, but that didn't stop Peck from keeping his advantage.

 

Noticing that neither man was going to give up anytime soon, Hannibal stepped up by placing his hands on the younger man's shoulders. "Alright kid, you got him."

 

To Hannibal's surprise, Peck swung around on him, his right fist coming fast and low. Only years of experience kept Hannibal from getting a fist to his gut, and in a split second he grabbed Peck's wrist while moving back and pulling the younger man off BA and onto the ground.

 

His plan had been to simply put the lieutenant on the ground and keep him there for a moment or two, but Peck was having none of it. As Hannibal started to take him down, the younger man hooked out his free arm and snagged one of the colonel's legs. Hannibal knew that he was falling and knew that if he let go of Peck's wrist he would lose his advantage, but he also knew that if he fell wrong without letting go of the blonde, there was a very good chance that he would break the younger man's arm.

 

 As he fell he watched Peck roll away from him, and as he hit the ground the younger man was moving to get back on top of him. Unlike BA however, Hannibal saw it coming and moved fast so that when Peck leaned forward to grab him he grabbed the younger man first. He pulled the blonde down hard so that their chests slammed together knocking the air out of Peck's lungs. Before Peck had a chance to recover, Hannibal shifted them both so that the lieutenant was on his back with his arms pinned above his head, secured by his wrists in one of Hannibal's large hands. While the other hand wrapped around the blonde's throat keeping him from rising up and head butting him.

 

 

"Sorry kid, you lose," Hannibal panted as he tried to catch his breath, but when he felt his lieutenant still struggling, Hannibal looked down into the younger man's face, and what he saw made his heart ache. The boy wasn't mad or angry like most men in his position would be, instead he was terrified. The fear in his eyes as plain as day. Slowly Hannibal sat back bringing the younger man's wrists forward so that they were resting on his chest, while the hand he had on the blonde's throat moved to stroke his hair out of his eyes.

 

"Alright kid, it's over," Hannibal soothed as he eased his body off the smaller man, pulling him into a sitting position as he sat back. "You did really well, I'm really impressed."  He watched as his lieutenant blinked a few times as if waking up from a dream.

 

"You're not going to send me to the stockade for taking a swing at you?"

 

"Now why would I want to send my new sparring partner to the stockade?" Hannibal chuckled as he rose, pulling the blonde up with him. As soon as they were standing Hannibal threw his arm around Peck's shoulder. "BA, you get to buy the first round for losing to the new guy!" Hannibal called out over his shoulder as he watched the big man stand and dust himself off.

 

"I'll get you next time," BA laughed and moved up to walk on the other side of Peck.

 

 

***

 

Hannibal sat looking at his team. He still couldn't believe that they had managed to pull off their last mission. No, Hannibal thought as he looked down at the mud and blood encrusted blonde, if it hadn't have been for his new Lieutenant, he was sure that they would all be dead.

 

Things had started out as close to normal as you could get in a war zone. They had been dropped into a clearing six miles from their objective, and the plan was to hike the short distance and observe the enemy to make sure that their intel was correct. Then once confirmed, take out the target and double time it back to the pick-up site before the enemy knew what hit them.

 

"Alright guys, we have a time table to keep," Hannibal yelled over the sound of the rotor wash as the slick rose into the sky. "Let's move out! Ray you have the point, Peck you're next, BA you cover the rear. Absolute silence, and we all keep site of one another, got it?" When each man nodded an affirmative they headed out.

 

They had just made it a little over four miles in when a crash behind Hannibal made him drop down into the brush. As he brought his M-16 up he noticed that Peck and Ray were doing the same. Just a few seconds later he realized that he could hear BA cursing in the underbrush and he quickly held  up his fist to make sure that the two other men on his team stayed in place while he slowly moved back to investigate. As Hannibal crept through the dense foliage he could hear BA's cursing becoming clearer, and risking the possibility of giving away his position, he  hissed out a quick, "Report, Baracus."

 

"I stepped in a damn hole and fucked my ankle up," BA grunted back. Hannibal quietly cursed and said a silent thank you that is wasn't as bad as it could have been before he rose up and motioned for the rest of his team to fall back to his current passion.

 

"Of all the dumb luck," Hannibal sighed as he moved to check BA's ankle. "You think it's broken?"

 

"I don't think so, man," BA hissed and squeezed his foot back into the combat boot.

 

"What do we do, Colonel?" Ray asked as he moved closer to them. Hannibal glanced to his right and noticed that Peck was now sitting on his haunches beside him. 'Damn, the kid is quiet.' Hannibal thought when he realized that he hadn't even heard the younger man approach.

 

"Peck, you help BA back to the extraction point. Ray, you and me will head on to the target and take it out. If we don't make it back before the pick-up time, have the chopper lift off and return in 2 hours. If we are not back by the second extraction time then you are to presume that we have been killed or captured and get the hell out of the area.  Do you understand?"

 

"Yes sir," Ray and BA spoke up together, but Peck was shaking his head no.

 

"You have a problem with that plan, Lieutenant?"  Hannibal asked as he turned to look at the younger man.

 

"Yes sir, I do," Peck stated his clear blue-green eyes locking onto his Colonels.

 

"Noted, but I don't have time to go into this right-"

 

"I have no medical training like Ray does. BA is going to need help walking and I am half his weight where Ray can help him better. Then there is the fact that I have the best chances of taking out the target since I am a sniper," Peck interrupted before Hannibal could finish his statement.

 

Hannibal studied the younger man for a moment before he spoke, "Are you trying to say that I can't hit our target?"

 

"I have no idea what your skill level sir, but I know what I can do, and I assume you have seen my record."

 

Hannibal stared at Peck for one more moment then nodded. "Alright, kid, point taken. Ray, same plan only you and Peck are switching places."

 

"You sure about this, man?" BA looked from Peck to the Colonel. "I mean, he's green as grass."

 

Before Hannibal could say a word Peck turned to look at the big man, his eyes going hard and cold. "I already have one tour, 87 missions, and 42 kills under my belt, Baracus, how many do you have?"

 

If BA was going to say anything in response it stopped dead in his throat as the other man's words sank in.

 

"You're too damn young," Ray whispered not believing what he was hearing.

 

"Age has very little to do with training and skill," Hannibal added as he adjusted his gear. "If we're going to do this we need to move out now."

 

It had taken the two of them a little more than thirty minutes to reach their target, and Hannibal had to admit that he was more and more impressed with Peck during each passing moment. The younger man had found two more trip wires that he hadn't, along with spotting a patrol long before they were close enough to see them.

 

As they approached the target area, Hannibal saw the general that was their main objective, but there was no way in hell that he or Peck was going to be able to get a good shot at him without the entire camp coming down on top of them.

 

"We need a diversion," Hannibal noted as he continued to survey the compound in front of him, hoping without hope that the general would show himself just long enough for one of them to squeeze off a round or two.

 

"How good is your throwing arm, Colonel?" Peck asked as he too continued to study the camp before them.

 

"Not bad," Hannibal turned to Peck, "You got a plan kid?"

 

"Yes sir," Peck smiled, swung his pack off and reached in to pull out two grenades. "I noticed an ammo dump twenty feet to the left. Give me fifteen minutes to get into place and then throw those babies in the middle of it. I swear, Colonel, you will see one hell of a fireworks show."

 

"And what will you be doing?" Hannibal asked, he liked the first part of the younger man's plan but he wasn't too sure he was going to like the second part.

 

"Taking out our target," Peck confirmed, but as Hannibal suspected he would, Peck had laid his rifle down and now only had his side arm and his K-Bar. Reaching out he grabbed the younger man by the arm to stop him from moving.

 

"This is not an acceptable plan Lieutenant," Hannibal shook his head. "I'm not going to sacrifice you for this."

 

"It's not a sacrifice if we take out this bastard and save the lives of the units that will be coming through this area."

 

Hannibal wanted to say more but before he could Peck jerked away from him and started into the jungle, "Fifteen minutes, Colonel," he whispered before he completely disappeared.

 

If Hannibal could have yelled at the younger man to get his ass back there he would have, in fact he would have read Peck the riot act right then and there, but his lieutenant was already gone, and short of following after him there was nothing more that he could do except blow up the ammunitions dump.

 

 If there was one thing that Hannibal could say about Peck's plan, it was that he knew how to get the maximum about of destruction out of two grenades. Not thirty seconds after he pitched the grenades into the center of the ammo dump, the world exploded into a white hot light. As fire and chaos erupted throughout the camp, Hannibal pulled back to where he and Peck had parted company. Grabbing their gear he moved it back further into the protective cover of the jungle and waited. It seemed like an eternity had passed when he saw movement off to his left for just a brief moment.

 

"Don't shoot, Colonel!"

 

'Thank God', he thought when he heard Peck's voice. "Over here kid," he hissed.

 

As soon as the younger man drew closer, Hannibal ran his sharp eyes over him. The younger man was covered from head to toe in mud, his forearms and hands were also covered in blood.

 

"The target has been neutralized, sir," Peck smiled but Hannibal had bigger concerns as he stared at his lieutenant.

 

"Are you injured?"

 

"Nothing worth worrying about," Peck responded as he grabbed his pack and threw it over his shoulder. "We need to get moving before they figure out what happened."

 

As much as he hated to admit it, the kid was right and it wouldn't take long for the enemy to figure out what happened. "You want point, or do you need me to take it?"

 

"I've got it sir," Peck answered as he started out through the jungle back to the extraction point.  

 

Peck set a grueling pace back to the pickup point and once again Hannibal had to admire the boy's agility in the dense undergrowth of the jungle. As soon as the two emerged from the jungle they spotted BA and Ray crouched down in a grove of trees on the opposite side of the clearing which enabled the two men to cover most of the landing area. Skirting around the edge, Hannibal and Peck dropped down beside the two other men.

 

"What the hell happened back there?" Ray asked as he handed his canteen to Hannibal.

 

"Our Lieutenant is what happened," Hannibal huffed out as he tried to catch his breath. "The kid did one hell of a job, unorthodox as fuck but a hell of a job," he finished and reached out to squeeze the younger man's shoulder.  

 

Hannibal was just about to ask BA how his ankle was holding up when the dirt to his left of him kicked up in a cloud of dust.

 

"Incoming!" Ray yelled and the four of them instantly dove for cover.

 

As the team began to return fire, Hannibal looked down at his watch and noticed that they still had five minutes before their extraction, and he was really starting to wonder if they were going to make it as he noticed that they were starting to take fire from their left and right flanks. As he turned to return fire to his left he heard Peck yell, "cover me," right before the kid disappeared into the jungle, a hail of bullets following him every step.

 

"Son of a bitch," Hannibal yelled as he rose up just enough to lay down cover fire for his lieutenant. Just a moment later, several shots rang out from what could only be a high powered rifle and the shooting from their right flank stopped.

 

As the rest of the team concentrated their fire on the front and left, they noticed that the return fire was starting to become less and less from the left of them and so concentrated their fire on the enemy in front of them. Hannibal then heard the most beautiful sound coming from above, and as the gunships arrived, their M-60's rained down a hail of bullets shredding the vegetation to splinters providing essential cover for the second Huey to land and pick the team up.  In a matter of seconds, Hannibal and Ray had BA loaded into the back of the slick before Ray climbed in behind him.

 

"Come on,Colonel, this area is hotter than July in Texas," Murdock yelled as he turned around in his seat.

 

"I'd love to Captain, but I'm still missing a Lieutenant," Hannibal called back as he scanned the tree line for his missing man.

 

"I'd love to tell you we have plenty of time here Hannibal, but if he doesn't show up in the next few minutes we're going to have to leave him."

 

"Like hell we will," BA snarled from the back of the chopper as he glared at the pilot.

 

"It's not my choice!" Murdock yelled back. "These damn things don't fly when they are full of bullet holes!"

 

"I don't think that is going to be a problem!" Ray yelled over the rotor wash, "There he is!"

 

Hannibal followed Ray's gaze and noticed that Peck was coming out of the brush to his left. The younger man was about fifteen feet away from him when he suddenly dropped to the ground.

 

"Fuck, cover me!" Hannibal yelled as he started to run towards his downed man. In response to his command, his team and the rest of the chopper crew began to lay down heavy fire making the enemy dive for cover and giving Hannibal the chance he needed to get to the younger man. The moment Hannibal reached his lieutenant, he dropped to his knees and flipped the younger man onto his back, sighing in relief when he saw the blonde's eyes flicker behind his closed lids. In a matter of a few seconds, Hannibal had Peck over his shoulders in a fireman's lift and was double timing it back to the Huey. As soon as he reached the side door, Ray and BA reached out and grabbed the younger man pulling him inside so that Hannibal could climb in, and the instant everybody was aboard Murdock lifted off taking them back toward the base.

 

"How bad is he?" BA growled as he watched Hannibal and Ray assess the younger man. When Ray sat back on his knees and began to shake his head from side to side, BA leaned further forward. It was at that moment that he noticed the hole in the back of Peck's helmet and the blood running down the side of the blonde's face.

 

"No, no, no," BA heard himself say over and over as he thought about losing the blonde.

 

Hannibal could hear BA and he had seen the look on Ray's face before the other man had sat back, but Peck was still breathing and he refused to give up on the kid now. Unstrapping the younger man's helmet, he carefully removed it from his head and saw how badly the blonde hair was stained red with blood.

 

"I need some gauze," he ordered as he began to carefully look for the wound. It only took him a few seconds to see exactly where the blood was coming from and he carefully placed the gauze over the site to try and stop the blood so he could get a better look, however the second he touched the younger man's head a hand shot up and grabbed hold of his wrist.

 

"Stop please," Peck moaned and reached up with his other hand to try and touch the wound himself.

 

"Easy kid," Hannibal sighed in relief when he noticed that Peck's words were not slurred and he seemed to have control over his limbs. "I need to see how bad you're hit."

 

"It's just a graze."

 

"You don't know that," Hannibal countered as he continued applying pressure to the oozing wound.

 

"Yes I do," Peck reached out a shaking hand to rub his brow. "I took that round when I was taking out the VC on our right flank, it ricocheted off a tree."

 

"Then what knocked you down?" Hannibal asked as he immediately began to turn Peck on his side, BA quickly moving to hold the gauze to the younger man's head while Ray moved to help Hannibal remove the heavy pack.

 

"I'm okay, Colonel," Peck tried to protest, but no one on his team was listening to him as all three worked with practiced precision, and before Peck could tell them again, Hannibal and Ray had him stripped to the waist, the Colonel's hands running over his heated skin.

 

"His whole back is a mass of bruises, but that is all I can see."

 

"God must be looking out for him is all I can say," Ray spoke up and held up Peck's pack to show the other two men the three bullet holes in the center of it.

 

"Jesus," Hannibal looked down at blonde as he realized just how close they had come to losing him. For a reason he couldn't explain he reached out and began to rub the younger man's back with one hand while his other went to stroke the blood matted hair out of his eyes. "The second we hit the landing pad, your ass goes to get checked out. And as soon as you are cleared I want you in my tent, do we understand each other?"

 

"Yes sir," Peck responded right before the last of the adrenalin left his body and he closed his eyes.

 

***

Hannibal sat at his desk going through his mail and the daily reports that seemed to pile up anytime he was out in the field, no matter how short of a time it was. As he flipped through the letters he noticed one addressed from Major Don Larkin and he couldn't help but smile as he opened it. He had no intention what so ever of getting involved with his former lover again, but it was still nice to know how the other man was doing.

 

Hannibal,

I hope that you are doing well, and that life is continuing to be good to you. Things have been exciting here at Alpha base and the camp commander has asked me to stay on for a few more weeks.

Please keep yourself safe and I'll see you soon,

Don

 

As he sat there considering writing Don back, he heard a knock on his tent door.

 

"Enter," Hannibal leaned back expecting to see his lieutenant reporting to him as he'd been ordered to back on the chopper. But instead of Peck walking through it was a very anxious looking Ray Brunner.

 

"Hannibal, they need you over in the medical unit, they want to keep Peck overnight for observation and the kid is throwing a complete fit trying to get released so he can report to you."

 

The moment the words were out of the other man's mouth, Hannibal was instantly on his feet heading out the door and across the compound. "Why do they want to keep him? The head wound?" he asked Ray when the other man caught up with him.

 

"Yes sir, they believe that he might have a concussion."

 

"It's a damn good possibility," Hannibal stated as he opened the door to the base's hospital. The moment he walked through he could hear yelling coming from the back of one of the wards.

 

"What is it about your men, Smith?" one of the hospital nurses asked as she glared at him when he walked by the front desk. "Baracus was bad enough, but this one is a nightmare!"

 

"Where is he?" Hannibal asked though he had no doubt that he could find his lieutenant by sound alone.

 

"Ward B," The nurse continued to glare at him. "At least he was a few minutes ago."

 

"Thank you," Hannibal offered her a quick smile before he and Ray started off towards Ward B.

 

They were just one corridor away when they heard the yelling getting louder, and from the sounds of the voices neither participant was happy about the others comments. Doubling his pace Hannibal ran the rest of the distance, and as he opened the doors he saw a still filthy Lieutenant Templeton Peck standing bare chested with his arms on his narrow hips yelling at one of the doctors on duty.

 

"What is going on here?" Hannibal yelled out over the arguing men so that he could be heard.

 

He almost laughed when both the surgeon and his lieutenant turned and snapped to attention. The only difference was that as soon as the doctor saw who he was, he dropped his stiff posture and started towards him while Peck remained at attention.

 

"You," the surgeon glared at Hannibal as he approached him. "You find these hard headed stubborn ass creatures; you put them in your unit, and then when they get hurt you send the hateful little bastards to me to patch up and expect me to put up with their attitudes."

 

"Now Doc," Hannibal tried but the other man wasn't going to hear any of it.

 

"Don't you 'now Doc' me," the other man huffed. "First you send me Baracus with his crappy ass attitude and now this one who makes him look like a fucking pussy cat."

 

Hannibal looked around the surgeon to look at Peck who was still standing at attention with his back ramrod straight, but Hannibal could see that the kid was exhausted by the slight sway in his stance.

 

"At ease, kid," he called out before turning back to the man in front of him. "Come on, Greg, what's the problem?"

 

Hannibal watched as the doctor took in a huge lungful of air as if he was about to rip him a new one then let it out slowly.

 

"Look, I can't confirm a concussion, but the fact that he lost consciousness for a brief period of time is enough that I want to keep him here overnight. Add to the fact that I put eight stitches in his scalp and he's bruised all to hell makes me want to keep him here even more."

 

Hannibal could see the doctor's point, hell the kid was lucky to be standing there at all, by rights he should have been in the morgue instead of standing in a hospital ward arguing with the attending surgeon.

 

"What if I took him off your hands?" Hannibal glanced over at his lieutenant and he could swear the boy was looking more and more exhausted by the minute. "I've got Baracus with a twisted ankle, and with the kid out of commission until you clear him, my unit will be grounded. All I have to do is paperwork, so I can have the rest of the team keep an eye on him. If he starts acting funny we can double time him back over here to you."

 

"I don't know, Smith. If something happens to him then it's my ass."

 

"That's fine Doc, but if he is with me then you don't have to put up with him, Baracus, Ray… or me."

 

"What do you mean put up with you, Ray or Baracus?" the surgeon narrowed his eyes.

 

"You know if the kid is here, then the rest of us will be coming in to check on him from time to time, we'll most likely take shifts, the kid did save all our hides back at the extraction point. The least we can do for him is to keep him company."

 

"I can order you out."

 

"You can try," Hannibal smiled as he pulled a cigar from his pocket, knowing that he had won this battle. Though just to make sure, he added one last finishing touch. "Did I mention that Murdock has taken a real shine to the kid?"

 

"Fine, take him, but if he falls over it's on your head not mine!" the other man huffed before turning to the orderly and nurse that were standing close to Peck's bed. "Fill the prescriptions for the antibiotics and pain meds for the Lieutenant and get him the hell off my ward."

 

As soon as the doctor stormed out, Hannibal walked over to his lieutenant. "When they release you I want to see you, got it?"

 

"Yes sir," Peck snapped off a quick salute that left Hannibal just shaking his head. "That kid is going to put ten years on me before this war is over," he muttered to Ray as the other man fell in step beside him.

 

"Though you've got to admit, he is cute."

 

"Yeah, the kid has the kind of face that could get him anything, including trouble."

 

"Good thing you're a sucker for a hard luck case huh?" Ray chuckled then ducked as the older man sent a lazy punch his way.

 

"Fuck you, Ray," Hannibal grinned, and they shook hands before exiting the hospital and going their separate ways.

 

***

 

Twenty minutes later there was another knock at Hannibal's tent door and he quickly offered up a silent prayer that it was Peck and not someone else telling him that the boy was in trouble again. As luck would have it, when he called out for the person to enter it was a mud and blood encrusted Templeton Peck.

 

"Can I ask why you didn't get cleaned up before you came here?"

 

To his surprise the younger man's eyes got wide. "You ordered me to come here as soon as I was released."

 

"Jesus kid," Hannibal stood up to take the younger man's arm, guiding him to a chair he sat Peck down. "What type of tyrant do you think I am that I wouldn't let you take a shower and put on clean clothes?"

 

"I'm sorry, I just…"

 

"Relax," Hannibal squeezed his lieutenant's shoulder before grabbing his own chair and moving it in front of the blonde. "I just want to tell you how impressed I was by your actions out in the field today. You have a hell of a head on your shoulders and your ability to think on the fly is extraordinary." Leaning forward Hannibal stared the younger man dead in the eyes. "But if you ever try to sacrifice yourself like that again, I will personally kick your ass, do you understand me?"

 

"Sir, I just thought…"

 

"I know what you just thought," Hannibal cut him off. "You just thought that if you got yourself killed saving the team that no one would care, but I have news for you Lieutenant, you're wrong. BA would care, Ray would care, and more importantly I would care."

 

"No you don't," Peck said softly as he dropped his head.

 

"What?" Hannibal asked not believing what he was hearing.

 

"Nothing sir," Peck lifted his head and offered the other man a bright smile.

 

Hannibal continued to look at the younger man for several long minutes and he almost let the comment past, but the more he looked into the bright blue-green eyes the more he could see the misery in them.

 

"No, it's not nothing," he shook his head. "Why would you think that I wouldn't care about what happens to you?"

 

When the younger man tried to turn and look away, Hannibal took his face between his large hands and asked again. "Why would you think that I wouldn't care about what happens to you?"

 

"You don't want to know," Peck tried to pull back out of the older man's grip but he wouldn't let go.

 

"If I didn't want to know I wouldn't have asked you. Now I'm going to ask you one last time; why would you think that I wouldn't care about what happens to you?"

 

Hannibal watched as the younger man's eyes became bright and it was obvious that he was fighting back tears.

 

"Because no one else ever has," Peck choked out as he tried to pull away again.

 

"No kid, someone has to have cared before now, your parents, teachers…" Hannibal stopped when he felt the younger man tremble harder, and then he remembered Peck's file, an orphan abandoned on the steps of a Los Angeles Catholic church as a small child. Moving his hands from Peck's face to his shoulders he pulled the younger man to his chest and embraced him in a strong hug. "It doesn't matter because you're with people who care now. BA cares, Ray cares and I care." When he felt the first sob wrack the younger man's thin frame Hannibal sunk his fingers into the dirty blonde hair he gently pushed his lieutenant's head to his shoulder while he hugged him closer to his body.  

 

"It's going to be alright kid," Hannibal whispered into the younger man's ear. "I promise, I'll be here for you." When Peck's arms moved around him and held on tight, Hannibal knew that he had gotten through.  

 

***

 

Hannibal sat across his desk looking at the younger man in complete and total shock.

 

Over the last few weeks he'd noticed a hell of a turnaround in his new Lieutenant. The younger man seemed to be happier and would often join in with the rest of the team in their extra-curricular activities. As he watched Peck come out of his shell, Hannibal found that his feelings for the younger man were becoming more and more involved. He discovered that he enjoyed the little touches when their fingers met, when Peck would lean into him to talk, and when they would were forced to sit thigh to thigh in the chopper. In fact if he really wanted to analyze his feelings he would discover that he was falling in love with the younger man. That is why when Peck came to him one rainy afternoon and asked him for a transfer it completely floored him.

 

"I don't understand why, kid," Hannibal shook his head as he looked at the request for transfer lying on his desk. "You've been doing so well on the team, you fit in, your skills are astounding, so why the sudden need to transfer?"

 

"It's a personal matter sir," Peck stated as he continued to look straight ahead his eyes locked on the wall just past the older man's shoulder.

 

"Has someone been harassing you? Because I won't put up with it if someone is causing you problems. All you have to do is tell me."

 

When Templeton Peck heard the words out of his commander's mouth it was all he could do to blurt out the real reason he wanted out of Hannibal Smith's unit. It had nothing to do with harassment; in fact nothing could be further from the truth. The problem was he was falling in love with his commanding officer, and if he stayed much longer he was not going to be able to stop himself from acting on his feelings.

 

"No one is harassing me sir," he said instead as he kept his eyes straight ahead for fear of what the other man might see if he looked at him.

 

"Then what is it kid, talk to me," Hannibal tried again.

 

"I told you sir, it's for personal reasons."

 

"Personal reasons my ass," Hannibal slammed his fist down on his desk before reaching out, grabbing the request for transfer and shredding it into several pieces. "You come up with a real answer other than personal reasons and we'll talk about it," Hannibal snapped "Now get out!"

 

"Yes sir," Peck snapped off a quick salute as he rose and left his commander's tent, his head spinning. He couldn't understand what has just happened. Every time he had asked for a transfer in the past they had gladly signed him out. In fact they had never given him a second look before putting their name on the dotted line, so why was Smith being such a hard ass? He really wished that he could tell the Colonel what he was feeling, but he knew all that would do was get the shit kicked out of him or worse throw out of the military all together. As he walked around the camp compound he couldn't help but wonder if it wouldn't be better for him to just disappear into the jungle never to be seen again.

 

Hannibal watched as his lieutenant walked across the camp with his head down, his hands shoved deep in his pockets. He was surprised not only by the younger man's request but also by his own reaction to the situation. He'd had other team members ask to leave and after talking with them they decided that the transfer was best. So why was it that he had such a bad reaction to Peck asking to leave?

 

"Shit, John, you know exactly why," He berated himself, he was in love with the younger man and it was now obvious that Peck knew too and he wanted to get out, to get away from him.  "Fuck," he leaned forward and picked up the pieces of the transfer request. Maybe, just maybe it would be best to let the younger man go.

 

Later that evening when the rest of the team met for dinner in the mess tent, Hannibal wasn't surprised to find Peck missing. He figured that the younger man would keep his distance for a few days but what did surprise him was the hostility and dirty looks he kept getting from the rest of his team. After half an hour of dirty looks and stares Hannibal had had enough and decided to put an end to it.

 

"Alright out with it," he leaned back on the bench with his arms folded across his chest. "Spill it."

 

At first no one said a word but then Ray decided to take the lead. "We just want to know what went down with the Lieutenant that has him in such a funk."

 

"You think I know something?"

 

"Oh, come on, man, the kid was doing just fine when he went to see you, but when he came back he looked like someone ripped him a new one," BA added. "He came into the tent, lay down on his cot and hasn't said a word to no one. Hell, it took Ray two hours just to get him to shake his head no about coming to dinner."

 

"So I'm automatically the bad guy," Hannibal leaned forward so that he could look the other two men in the eyes. "Did he tell you that he wants to be transferred out?" By the shocked look on both the other men's faces he could tell that the answer was no. "When I asked him why all he would tell me was that it was for personal reasons."

 

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Ray asked.

 

"I have no idea, at first I thought someone might be giving him a hard time, but he assured me that wasn't the case."

 

"It don't make no sense," BA shook his head. "Not to want out like that…"

 

"What are we going to do, Hannibal?"

 

"I'm not letting him transfer until he can give me a reason as to why he wants out of my unit, that's what I'm going to do. As for the two of you, see if you can get the kid to open up and talk to you. There has to be something going on that we aren't seeing."

 

***

 

For the next three days the team watched their Lieutenant and while he seemed to put on a brave face, all of them noticed that the smiles he gave never reach his eyes.  He tried to avoid them as much as possible, and if he did join them in some type of activity he would quickly find a way to be excused as soon as he got a chance.

 

As the fourth day wore on, BA thought about just confronting the younger man but Hannibal beat him to it. BA and Ray were playing a game of cards while Peck lay on his bunk staring into space when their CO came storming through the door, his face red with anger and a piece of paper crushed in his right fist.

 

"You two get out!" he ordered them.

 

Neither man said a word as they grabbed their cards and hauled ass out of the tent as quickly as they could. The moment the tent door closed, Hannibal turned his angry gaze on the blonde in the cot.

 

"You want to tell me what this is, Lieutenant?" he snapped at Peck.

 

"Judging by your reaction sir, it would be my orders to report to Colonel Harrison's unit next week."

 

"I don't know how you managed to pull this off, but it is not going to happen. There is no way in hell I'm going to let you transfer out of my unit without a good explanation, and I'm sure as hell not going to let you go into a suicide squad if I did let you transfer."

 

"What does it matter to you where I go?" Peck swung his feet over the side of his cot so he could look at the Colonel. "I told you I wanted out!"

 

"And I'm still waiting for a good reason why I should let you!"

 

When the younger man just sat there giving him an angry glare, Hannibal did something he had never done in his entire life; he stormed over to the cot, grabbed the smaller man by the front of his shirt and hauled him to his feet. "I want an answer, God damn it! I want to know why I'm breaking up the best fucking team I've ever had." he snarled right into the younger man's face.

 

"Because think I love you," Peck blurted out not realizing what he was saying before the words were out of his mouth. As soon as he grasped what he had said he waited for the older man to explode, to throw him to the ground in disgust or at the very least to bust his jaw. Instead he found himself pulled into a strong embrace, one of the colonel's arms wrapped around his back the other across his shoulder.

 

"Oh God kid, you have no idea how relieved I am to hear that."

 

Peck stood there completely stunned for a few moments before he found his voice. "Did you hear what I said?"

 

"Yes I did," Hannibal pulled back to look at the younger man. "It's normal for a young man to develop feelings for his commander and what is admiration he thinks its love," Hannibal laughed. "Trust me kid, a few more months in the unit and you'll be cursing me every time I come up with a plan, just like Ray and BA do. Now what do you say that we just call this whole transfer mess done and get back to normal?"

 

Hannibal expected Peck to smile, throw his arm around his shoulder and agree with him but instead the younger man pulled away nodding.

 

"Come on kid, why don't we go to the officer's mess and grab a cup of coffee?"

 

"Sure," Peck offered him a slight smile but like before it never made it to his eyes.

 

***

 

As Hannibal sat watching Peck drinking his coffee, he couldn't help but think about what the younger man had said to him. And while he didn't think that the younger man truly meant what he said, he would have been more than happy to tell him that he loved him, too. Of course the blonde was beautiful, there was no denying that, but he was also so much more. Templeton Peck was smart, brave, quick, agile, caring, brash and loyal, but he was also young and young men often didn't know what they wanted. They could quickly jump into bed with someone one day, until something better came along, and then they would jump to that opportunity, and Hannibal didn't think that he could deal with that. He was looking for something long term and lasting, not a quick fling, so as much as he wanted to tell Peck he was falling in love with him too, he couldn't for both their sakes.

 

As he continued to study the younger man, he couldn't help but wonder if it would be best to let him move on. In a way it was torture for them both to have feelings for each other and to never to be able to act on them. Yet, then again, he was sure that Peck would be over him soon enough; the young always moved on. As Hannibal looked around, he noticed Colonel McConnell and a plan began to form in his mind.

 

"I'll make a deal with you, kid. I know that McConnell's unit is down a man." When Peck looked up at him he continued, "He's doing relief runs to several villages in the area. I know he is going to a village about twenty miles from here tomorrow. Nothing dangerous, just drop off supplies and see if anyone as any intel on Charlie's movements in the area. I'll get you hooked up and if things go well, we'll try a few more missions. If after a month or so you still want to transfer out we'll talk about it. Deal?"

 

"Yes sir," Peck nodded giving him a slight smile but Hannibal could tell that it wasn't real, just like all the ones before it never reached his eyes.

 

***

 

The first few missions that Peck took with McConnell's unit had gone smooth and Hannibal was starting to wonder if he was going to lose the kid to the other Colonel. Peck seemed to fit in well with the group and McConnell had nothing but praise for the boy. Though he had to admit that if he was going to lose the boy to anyone then McConnell would be the person he wanted Peck with. Granted that every mission over the wire was dangerous and there was always a chance of getting killed, but McConnell's team mostly did public relation and refugee type missions which gave them a much better chance of not getting shot, blown up or captured than his own team.

 

There were just two problems, the first being that it was a complete waste of the kid's talent, he was great out in the field, he could shoot, track, and spot the enemy well before they could even get close to him. Then there was the second problem, and that was he was jealous. As much as he tried to deny the fact that he was in love with Peck and that it would be in his best interest to let the kid go, he just couldn't do it. The more he watched the younger man the more he fell in love with him and the harder it was to imagine him out of his life. That's why when McConnell's unit was more than three hours late he stormed into the base commander's office and demanded an update.

 

"What's going on with McConnell outfit, Levi?" 

 

"Last report I got was that one of the unit went chasing after some child and now he's lost out in the fucking jungle," base commander Thomas Levi replied as he grabbed a bottle of scotch and poured them both a drink.

 

"Shit."

 

"That's what I said," Levi sighed. "Whoever the dumb son of a bitch is probably walked right into a trap, and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that he's halfway to an NVA prison camp or dead by now."

 

As much as Hannibal wanted to disagree with the other man, he knew that he couldn't. He had seen more than his fair share of green recruits get themselves killed by picking up an interesting object with a mine under it, or being lured away by a child. One minute you were giving a kid a Hershey bar the next you were going home in a body bag when the little bastard blew himself up.

 

"Any idea who it was?"

 

"No, McConnell had it radioed in right before they started their search."

 

"Shit."

 

"I believe we have covered that already," Levi raised his glass before taking another drink.

 

***

 

Five hours later found Hannibal pacing back and forth at the base landing pad waiting for the choppers that held McConnell's unit to land. They had radioed in thirty minutes ago to report that they had found their missing team member and would need a medical unit standing by the moment they landed, and that was it.

 

"I'm sure the kid is alright," Ray tried to calm his commander but as soon as Hannibal turned to glare at him he decided that it would be best to shut up. The older man was in one of his moods and to cross his path right now would be a good way to find yourself digging latrines for a month. So instead of saying anything else he grabbed BA by the arm and made the smart suggestion that they wait for the chopper to land inside the mechanic shop.

 

The second Hannibal heard the choppers he began to pace faster. He knew that Peck was more than capable of taking care of himself; he had seen his boy in action more than once, but he couldn't help it, his gut told him the kid was in trouble.  A few moments later the first slick came into view and Hannibal moved back off the pad so that he was out of the way, however the moment the skids touched the ground he was there opening the side door. As he stepped back to let the medical team in, his eyes scanned the inside of the slick, and as they passed by he sighed in relief when the young man they put on the stretcher wasn't his lieutenant. As soon as the medical team was out of the way he grabbed McConnell by the elbow and pulled him aside.

 

"What the hell happened? Where is my boy?"

 

"That damn idiot Cooper went off chasing a kid and got himself lost in the jungle," McConnell turned to Hannibal and laid his hand on the other man's shoulder. "As for your boy, we wouldn't have found Cooper without him. That kid has to be part blood hound! Shit Hannibal, he's got the sharpest eyes I have ever seen."

 

"Where is he?"

 

"I swear Smith, I want that boy. I don't know if anyone else has asked for him but I'm first in line. That kid is amazing."

 

"Where is he?"

 

"Coming in on the second slick," McConnell motioned towards the other Huey that was making an approach toward the second pad. As the other colonel started to walk off he stopped and turned back to Hannibal. "If you can, give the boy a day or two rest. He's a little beat up."

 

Before Hannibal could ask exactly what other colonel meant, the noise of the second helicopter landing drowned them out.  So instead of pushing the other man for more information, Hannibal double timed it over to the second slick, and like the first time he grabbed the door and slid it open, though unlike the first, he allowed the men to get out. Just when he was starting to worry he noticed a dirty blonde head moving towards the exit.

 

Peck sighed in relief as the Huey touched down on the landing pad, it had been a long day and he was wet, chilled to the bone, bruised, scratched and tired beyond belief. The only thing he wanted to do right now was to take a long hot shower, curl up on his cot and sleep for the next three days. He knew that the odds of not having a mission with his unit would be astronomical, but he prayed it would happen.

 

McConnell's missing private had been easy enough to find; the other soldier had left a trail through the jungle and to the river that even a blind man could follow. The problem was that Cooper had been so panicked about getting lost that when he'd found him, the other man started blindly shooting at him and the rest of the team. When the dumb bastard ran out of bullets, he picked up a tree limb and started swinging it at anyone that came near him.

 

 The lieutenant and several others had attacked at once, but the bad thing was that Cooper managed to get in a couple of good blows to Peck's midsection with the limb before Brock tackled him from behind sending them all crashing into the river. From there the private struggled as if they were going to kill him, and at one point Peck seriously felt like snapping the other man's neck when he took an upper cut to his cheekbone and temple. The worst moment came when Cooper managed to get a hold of Brock's K-bar and sliced the other man's hand open before Peck got his arm around Cooper's neck and choked him unconscious.

 

The ride back to the base had been rough due to the thunder storm that was moving in which just aggravated Peck's injuries, and to make himself feel even worse, he had come to the conclusion that as much as he wanted to stay in Smith's unit, he just couldn't take the daily torture of seeing the man he was in love with. To know that he was so close and yet so far, to want to be able to touch Hannibal and to be touched by him, but knowing that it would never be possible. To Peck that was the worst part of it, the blood, guts and daily existence was bad enough, but the inability to have love or be loved was intolerable. So caught up in his own thoughts, Peck didn't even see his commanding officer until he grabbed him by the elbow.

 

Hannibal watched as Peck exited the helicopter, his head down and oblivious to the world as the other soldiers moved around him. Reaching out he snagged the younger man's elbow and pulled him out of the line. When Peck reeled back and took a swing at him, Hannibal easily countered the blow before stepping back.

 

"Easy kid," Hannibal held up his hand to show that he didn't mean to harm the younger man.

 

As Peck stared at him blinking, Hannibal got his first good look at the younger man and he felt his heart skip a beat at the younger man's bruised face.

 

"Ah kid, what the hell happened out there?" Hannibal stepped forward to touch the bruised and cut cheek.

 

Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Peck enjoyed the older man's touch before he remembered his resolution.

 

"It's not as bad as it looks sir," he stated with a slight smile before he took a deep breath and continued. "If you don't mind sir, I'd like to talk to you about my transfer."

 

"Why don't you go get cleaned up, get something to eat, and come to my tent when you are finished?"

 

"If you don't mind sir, I'd rather get this over with."

 

Noting the defeated look in the younger man's eyes, Hannibal knew that he needed to tell the younger man how he felt.

 

"You're right, I think it might be best." Wrapping his arm around his lieutenant's shoulder, he led let the younger man away from the landing zone.

 

"Think we should go check on the kid?" BA asked from the door of the mechanic shed.

 

"You go check, I'm not going anywhere near the old man until he comes looking for me."

 

Remembering the look that the older Colonel had given Ray earlier had BA nodding in agreement, if Hannibal needed them then he could find them in the mess tent.

 

***

The moment that Peck entered his CO's tent he found himself wrapped in a strong embrace; his head forced to the older man's shoulder.

 

"Don't you ever, ever scare me like that again, do you hear me?"

 

"Sir," Peck tried to say more but Hannibal cut him off.

 

"Every time I look at you, I can't help but think about what it would be like to hold you, to kiss you, to make you mine. I tried to lie to myself, I tried to tell myself that I could live with you as just friend, colleague, and ally, but I can't." Hannibal took a deep breath before he continued, "If you can overlook me being a complete fool and an ass, and if you will have me, I promise you that I will do everything in my power to make you happy."

 

Peck stayed still in the older man's arms as he processed everything that had just been told to him. He had been praying for this for week, and now that he had given up he couldn't believe what he was hearing. As the words slowly sunk into his tired and over taxed brain, he moved his arms up to wrap them around the other man and whispered, "Yes".

 

As the moments ticked away, Hannibal was starting to fear that the other man was going to reject his offer, but when he heard the whispered word he had to make sure.

 

"Yes?" Hannibal asked softly.

 

"Yes," Peck choked as he felt the first tear slip over his bottom lid.

 

When Hannibal felt the first sob wrack through the younger man's body he held onto him even tighter.

 

"What's wrong?" When he felt the second sob he pulled the younger man back so he could see him. His boy's eyes were full of tears, red rimmed, and wide with shock.

 

"I…I…I'm being stupid," he stuttered but instead of being rejected or ridiculed he found himself being held in those strong and powerful arms yet again.

 

"No you're not," Hannibal whispered in his ear as he rubbed the younger man's back. "You've had one hell of a day, and I should have waited until the morning…"

 

"No," Peck shook his head as he moved to hug the other man tight. "I couldn't take being so close to you and not being able to be with you. I was going to tell you I wanted out tonight."

 

"I'm sorry I put you through so much, can you forgive me?"

 

"Yes sir."

 

"No," Hannibal moved the younger man back so that he could see his eyes again. His hands going to his soon-to-be lover's face, his thumbs gently brushing over the bruises and cuts. "There is no sir or Colonel in here when it is just the two of us."

 

"What then?" Peck blushed under the older man's scrutiny.

 

"Hannibal, John?"

 

"John," Peck whispered and Hannibal smiled as he leaned forward to gently kiss the younger man's lips for the first time.

 

"Now that is a sound I could get used to hearing." As he looked into his beautiful boy's eyes he couldn't help but notice how they not only reflected his emotions but also gave him the ability to see into the blonde's soul. Then the younger man smiled and his entire face light up and it took his breath away.

 

"You have the most beautiful face, but when you smile… I love you…" Feeling unable to put his feelings to words Hannibal leaned forward and kissed the other man again. "Why haven't I ever seen you smile like this before?" he asked as he kissed Peck again.

 

"I've never had a reason to before."

 

"So this is your true face?" Hannibal asked, running his thumbs over the younger man's cheeks again. "Is this smile just for me; my smile, my face? God, I love you so much, I don't know what I would have done if I had lost you."

 

When Hannibal saw the moisture appear in the younger man's eyes he pulled him close to his body once more, and swallowing his own tears he whispered into his ear, "Don't cry. Please don't cry, baby."

 

"I love you, John."

 

"I love you too, Tem."

 

The two stayed in each other's arms for several minutes before Hannibal felt the younger man trembling and he realized just how tired and exhausted he must be.

 

Still holding the smaller man tight to him, he moved slightly and murmured softly, "Why don't you go get cleaned up, get some clean clothes on, and come back here? I'll go over to the mess tent get us some chow and we can relax for a bit. Does that sound good?"

 

"It sounds great," Peck sighed as he gave his new lover one last hug before moving back out of his solid arms. "Meet you back here in twenty minutes?"

 

"Make it thirty; I don't want you to have to rush," Hannibal leaned in for another quick kiss.

 

***

 

 

"Looks like our Lieutenant is alright," BA nudged Ray as he watched their CO enter the mess hall.

 

"I wonder if Hannibal got that transfer mess straightened out."

 

"I sure hope so, man," BA shook his head as he reached for his milk. "I'd hate to lose him, that kid's sharp."

 

"I know exactly what you mean," Ray nodded the raised his hand when he noticed that Hannibal was getting ready to walk back out with a tray loaded down with a little bit of everything on it. "You hungry, Colonel?"

 

"I'm grabbing the kid something to eat while he gets cleaned up."

 

"How is he?"

 

"Dirty and exhausted from what I can see. I still need to sit down and go over everything that happened this afternoon with him."

 

"The kid sure looked down when he came off that slick," BA commented before he picked up his milk and took a drink, grimacing when he tasted the chalkiness of the powder that made it.

 

"He'll be fine, big guy."
 

"So, you going to talk him into staying with us?"

 

"It's already done," Hannibal winked before looking at his watch. "I'll see you two in the morning."

 

When Hannibal arrived back at his tent a few minutes later, he expected to have a little time before Peck showed up. Instead he found the younger man asleep in one of his desk chairs, his chin touching his chest, and his damp blonde hair covering his eyes. Setting the tray down on his desk, Hannibal moved to kneel in front of his new lover and looked at him for a few moments enjoying the unguarded, relaxed features. Being unable to stop his own hand he reached up and gently swept the hair back out of his face. He was surprised when the younger man startled backwards almost pitching himself out of the chair.

 

"Easy kid," Hannibal reached out and gently placed his hands on the younger man's shoulders. He watched as Peck blinked a few times, before he finally seemed to register where he was. Hannibal could tell the moment he figured it out when a red flush spread across his lover's cheeks.

 

"Sorry, I didn't mean to drift off."

 

"It's alright, kid," Hannibal moved one of his hands from his lover's shoulder to his hair so that he could brush the wet strands back again. "You have to be exhausted."

 

"I'm alright."

 

"I'm not buying it; maybe after you eat something and get ten or twelve hours sleep I'll believe you." Moving to the other chair, Hannibal picked up a sandwich and handed it to his lieutenant. "Now eat so we can get you to bed."

 

Hannibal couldn't help but smile when the slight blush covered the younger man's cheeks yet again.

 

"You're staring," Peck glanced up at him as he took another bite.

 

"I can't help it," Hannibal reached out to grab a coffee not once breaking eye contact. "You are so beautiful."

 

When the blush became a deeper color red, the younger man looked away.

 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you," Hannibal apologized and offered him the mug of coffee.  

 

As he took the cup, Peck shook his head sending a small fringe of hair down into his eyes. "I'm used to the words, I'm just not used to the sincerity."

 

"You don't believe my sincerity?" Hannibal leaned back.

 

"No sir," the younger man looked at him with fear in his eyes. "That's not what I mean, I...I..." Peck knew that he was ruining everything, but he couldn't seem to put what he was thinking into words; a problem that he rarely had.

 

Seeing the panic in the younger man's face, Hannibal wrapped his hands around the younger man's smaller ones. "Relax kid, I'm not going anywhere. I know you're tired and strung out, I was trying to get a rise out of you and I shouldn't have done it, and I apologize."

 

"No," Peck looked down at the mug at his hand before he looked back at him. "I've heard the words a lot in my life, but I've never seen that before, the look in your eyes… I have never seen anyone look at me like that before."

 

For a moment Hannibal was at a loss for words himself when he realized that the younger man was telling him that he had never been loved by another human being before. He wanted to tell Peck that he must be wrong, that he had forgotten about the good things in other relationships because of bad breakups, or perhaps he had just forgotten. But the way the younger man was looking at him he couldn't get the words out. The kid was almost in tears.  

 

Moving forward he kissed his lover gently on the lips before he whispered, "The look is love, Templeton, and you see it in my eyes because I love you."

 

"I love you, too," Peck whispered back just before he captured Hannibal's mouth in a breath taking kiss that started out sweet but quickly became passionate when the younger man's tongue demanded access. Hannibal allowed Peck to explore his mouth for several minutes doing as he pleased before he returned the kiss, deepening it, and taking possession of what he considered his.

 

When the two broke apart, Hannibal rested his head against the younger man's. "I want you to know that I can be controlling, overly possessive, and overly protective. There was also a person who said that I smothered them with too much affection to the point that they needed their space."

 

"They were a fool," Peck moved his mouth back to Hannibal's to kiss him again, only this time he opened his mouth willingly inviting the other man in. Hannibal growled when he realized what the other man was offering and kissed him deep and hard, leaving them both breathless when they broke apart.

 

"Oh, I promise you Templeton, when it comes to you I plan on being very possessive, extremely protective and it you will let me, smothering you in affection."

 

"I'd love nothing better, John,"

 

"I'm glad to hear that, kid," Hannibal smiled before kissing the younger man on the forehead. "Because I want you to finish eating, so I can get you into bed."

 

Cupping the younger man's hand holding his coffee, he raised them to the blonde's lips, gently commanding, "Drink," before letting go of his lover's hand so that he could grab a cup of his own.

 

Peck took a drink before looking up to give the older man a strange look. "Tea?"

 

"There's a lot less caffeine and it'll help to relax you," he explained as he took a drink from his own mug. "So tell me exactly what happened out there with McConnell's unit."

 

Twenty minutes later, Hannibal was satisfied that he knew everything that happened and he moved over to his cot, pulled back the blanket before sitting down and motioning the younger man to join him.

 

"Come on, kid, bed time."

 

Part of him expected to see some type of hesitation in the younger man, after all this was a huge step in their relationship, but it never happened. Peck got up out of his seat and stood before Hannibal, his blue-green eyes shining down at him. Reaching out he grabbed the younger man's belt and tugged him even closer as he stood up. He moved his hands to the buckle and undid it before unbuttoning the top button and lowering the zipper. With this done, he then gently tugged the green army t-shirt up and over the blonde's head. The moment the t-shirt was removed he came face to face with the cuts and bruises that littered his lover's body.

 

"Oh Tem," Hannibal shook his head as he gently ran his hands over his boy's bruised body. He knew that everyone got injured from time to time; hell the poor kid had been shot, battered, bruised and concussed since he had been with him. However, that was the entire point, the kid had been with him, he had known about what was happening to the younger man and while he might not have been able to stop any of it, he was there when it did occur so that there were no surprises later like there was now.

 

"I'm alright, John."

 

"No, never again," Hannibal growled as he took hold of his lover's jaw and lifted his head so that they were looking eye to eye. "You will never go out in the field with anyone else. If you are not with my unit then you do not go."

 

"It's not that bad," Peck tried to reassure him again, but he found his mouth being covered by his lover's as he was passionately kissed again.

 

"I just got you in my life, and I'll be damned if I lose you because of someone else's mistake."

 

"I'm not a child. I know how to do my job, sir," Peck growled as he stepped back away from his older lover.

 

Hannibal was just about to argue with the other man when he realized what he was doing, so he took a deep breath and tried again. "I know you are, kid. I'm sorry." Taking a deep breath he reached out to Peck and offered him his hand. "Forgive me?"

 

"Are you always this hot headed?" Peck asked as he took his lover's hand and surprised him by pulling him forward. "'Cause you know it's kind of hot."

 

Noticing the playful look on his lover's face, Hannibal grabbed the younger man's hips closing the slight distance between them. "You beautiful, mischievous, little brat."

 

"You said something about your cot, sir?"

 

 Hannibal couldn't help but notice the way the word 'sir' seemed to roll off the younger man's tongue like something exotic. Not to mention the slight smile with a hint of mischief in the blue-green eyes, and he once again wondered how many different faces the kid possessed.

 

"Yes, I did." Hannibal returned the younger man's smile with one of his own. Moving his hands down the slim hips, he carefully and gently peeled his lover's pants down over his thighs until they were pooled at the blonde's feet.

 

"Commando, kid?"

 

"I was in a little bit of a hurry to get back here."

 

"I can see that, and shaved?" Hannibal's eyebrows rose when he saw that the younger man was completely shaved clean below the waist.

 

"You disapprove?"

 

"Not one damn bit, I think it is sexy as hell but can I ask why?"

 

"It helps to keep the lovely jungle creatures from attaching, but I hear that my commanding officer finds it as sexy as hell, sir."

 

When Hannibal heard the word 'sir' spoken again in that same tone, he felt himself getting hard, but he forced it down, as much as he was enjoying this play he had other plans for tonight. Slowly he moved his hands back up the younger man's calves, thighs, and buttocks until they came back to rest on his hips. Carefully he turned them both around until the blonde's knees hit the back of the cot then gently pushed him down.

 

"Lay down," he commanded softly. The moment that Peck complied, Hannibal surprised him by covering him up with a couple of thick blankets before kissing him gently and moving back to his desk chair.

 

"No offense, John, but you're one hell of a tease," Peck stated as he rose up on an elbow to look at his lover.

 

"I'm sorry, kid," Hannibal chuckled softly. "But you need to rest and that poor old broken down cot of mine is not going to be able to support both of us."

 

"Then you should take it and I'll go back to my tent," Peck started to get off the cot, but Hannibal pointed at him and shook his head no.

 

"Don't you move. I want you here with me and in that cot. Now lie down and go to sleep."

 

While Hannibal could tell the younger man wanted to argue with him, he did as he was told, though Hannibal noticed that there was yet another look he had never seen before on the younger man's face.

 

***

 

TBC

 


You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone by Jullian Gray
You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone 2 by Jullian Gray

 

 


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