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Ex-Love

Author: Jes Parker, with many thanks to Jullian for writing a particular frustrating comfort scene.

 

Rating: R

 

 

Part 2

 

Back in the bedroom, Hannibal continued to struggle with Face as his movements became less and less urgent, and then suddenly, Face stilled. Hannibal turned him in his arms, and watched the first tear as it leaked from the corner of Face's eye.

 

"Please let me go," Face whispered "You deserve someone better than me."

 

Hannibal reached down to cup the younger man's face in his hand, forcing him to look at him.

 

"Templeton, do you love me?"

 

"You deserve better than me" Face mumbled.

 

"Templeton Peck." Hannibal shook Face slightly to get his attention. "Do you love me?"

 

Face looked up into the blue eyes of his commander.

 

"With all my heart," he whispered as another tear fell, "but I'm a just a who"

 

"No, Face! You are not a whore, and I am the one who doesn't deserve you. You are the most caring, loving and trustworthy person I have ever known. Tem, I love you, God kid, I couldn't live without you," Hannibal broke as he pulled Face to him, forcing the younger man's heads to his shoulder so he could hold him closer. "I love you so much." Hannibal held Face as tight as he could without hurting the injured man.

 

Hannibal took in a deep breath as he tried to get his own emotions under control, struggling to find the right words.

"I know Carl hurt you baby, and I wish I could take it all back. I wish I could have switched places with you to keep you from hurting. You have no idea how much I hurt for you right now. Please Tem, don't let his actions" Hannibal paused as he pulled Face back to look at him " or my words make you think less of yourself. Please baby, please..." Hannibal pulled Face back to him; one arm wrapped tightly around Face's back, his other hand buried in the blonde head holding it to his shoulder. "I love you Tem," he whispered as he hugged Face tight.

 

Slowly, Face began to shift, moving so that he could wrap his arms around the other man.

 

"Please don't leave me John, I can't take it again," Face whispered into Hannibal's shoulder.

 

"Never Tem, never."

 

The two men stayed wrapped in each other's arms for over half an hour before Hannibal shifted them both so they could lie back in the bed. All the while he moved, he made sure that he never let go of his hold on Face, who had drifted off, the sedative pulling him into sleep. It wasn't long, before Hannibal followed.

 

#

 

Three days passed. The deep purple bruises became vibrant colors that spread over Face's body. His aching muscles began to ache more, and a fog seemed to settle in his mind. Face was jittery, and angry. He lashed out unreasonably, snarled and snapped at every little thing, and slammed the doors. Hannibal, BA and Murdock looked at each other worriedly, and the gears in Murdock's head began to spin.

 

"BA, why don't you take Murdock to get some supplies? I think our Lieutenant and I need to have a little chat."

 

"Colonel, I don't think that's a good idea," Murdock started, but BA took Murdock by the arm and dragged him out the front door.

 

In the van, Murdock turned to BA angrily. "Why'd you do that?"

 

"Do what fool?"

 

"Drag me out of there like a five-year-old?"

 

"Colonel told us to go get supplies, you was gonna argue with him. I was just savin' you from laps is all."


"Something's wrong with him," Murdock told him, deflated.

 

"Obviously. Haninbal'll get to the bottom of it. Let's give them some space."

 

"You don't get it you ugly mudsucker," Murdock growled. "I mean there's something wrong with him. I bet you anything that asshole gave him something. He's withdrawing."

 

"You crazy, fool. He's just feeling cooped up. Ya know how Face gets."

 

Murdock shook his head. "I've seen this BA. Use your head. You have too. Think of the war. Think of those guys on the B team. Remember, they all got hooked on Heroin, and couldn't get anymore? Remember what happened to them? Remember how they acted?"

 

BA nodded slowly. "You not saying Faceman's hooked on drugs are you?"


Murdock shook his head. "I don't know BA. I don't know, but I don't think we can rule it out, do you?"


BA sighed. "We'll give them a little while to talk. Then we'll talk to Hannibal. Okay?"


Murdock nodded.

 

#

 

Hannibal watched Face nap on the couch, and decided against waking him. He slept so little since they had found him, he didn't want to interrupt what little sleep he was getting. Instead, he lay down next to him, and soon found himself falling asleep with him.

 

#

 

"Well, isn't this just a touching sight," Carl Mattherson sneered. Hannibal bolted upright, Face seconds ahead of him. Carl stood just feet from them, a gun held steady in his hand.

 

"How the hell did you get in here?" Hannibal growled. "Are you that stupid?"

 

"No, not stupid. Did you really think that I was going to take your threats seriously? You couldn't really kill me, John. I mean too much to you. You proved that to me the night you slept with me after the whore here told you I'd raped him. I love how you believed me over him, don't you?"

 

"Son of a bitch," Hannibal hissed, as he lunged off the couch, not caring about the gun in Mattherson's hand. Carl leveled it at Face.

 

"Take another step and I'll shoot your Lieutenant, and then make you watch me rape him."

 

Hannibal stilled.

 

"That's what I thought. Now, sit down."


Hannibal hesitated, but then sat, anger coursing through him. He caught Face's look out of the corner of his eye, and it practically devastated him. It was a look of sheer betrayal. Inside, Hannibal sighed. He knew he should have told him, but Face was too vulnerable; it hadn't been the right time. He turned his focus back to Mattherson.


"What the hell do you want, Carl?"

 

Mattherson smiled, and looked at Face. "Ready to come with me?"

 

Face's eyes were hard, his jaw set, but you couldn't read him. Mattherson raised his eyebrows. "I'm waiting."

 

"Go to hell," Face responded evenly.

Mattherson shook his head with a sigh. "Not the response I was looking for, whore. I'll give you 'til three." He aimed his gun at Hannibal, his gaze not leaving Face's.

 

"One"

 

Face sat still, his gaze hard. Hannibal's gaze flickered between both of them.

 

"Two"

 

Face clenched his jaw.

 

"Th-"

 

Face exhaled in exasperation, and stood up. Mattherson smirked.


"Face!" Hannibal exclaimed.

 

"Stay out of it Hannibal."

 

"Like hell." He stood up beside his lover. "You are not going with him.

 

"You see any other choices here Hannibal, and I'll happily listen."

 

Hannibal bit his tongue. "You're not going," he repeated, knowing Face was going to go.

 

"Sorry Colonel," Face told him.


"What the hell do you want?" Hannibal demanded of Mattherson.

 

Carl smirked. "You mean he didn't tell you?" Humor sparkled in his eyes.

 

"Tell me what?" Hannibal's eyes narrowed.

 

Mattherson clucked his tongue. "Now, we can't have that. Why, what fun is the game if you don't know the rules, the stakes, or even what the game entails?" He pulled a videotape out of his coat pocket. "Maybe this will help." He threw it to Hannibal.

 

Hannibal caught it as he heard Face's groan. He slowly turned to meet his gaze. Face was pale, his eyes on the tape, and then they lifted to meet Hannibal's intent blue eyes. Face schooled his expression.

 

"Don't play the game Hannibal. I'm not worth it," he told him, and then allowed Mattherson to push him out of the apartment.

 

#

 

Hannibal counted to ten, and then rushed from the apartment, throwing his jacket over his shoulder as he ran; the video clenched tightly in his hands.

 

He couldn't have timed it any better if he had planned it. As he was keeping his distance behind Face and Mattherson, the van came into the parking garage. Hannibal stepped right out in front of it, and BA screeched to a halt. Hannibal ran around, jerked the slider open, and jumped in.

 

"What the " BA started to rant, but Hannibal interrupted him, leaning between the seats.


"Follow that Sedan, but don't let him know you're there. Carl's got Face, and he's armed."

 

BA and Murdock sat stunned for only seconds, before BA pulled out of the garage, and kept his distance from the car in question.

"What happened Colonel?" Murdock asked, turning in his seat.

 

Hannibal shook his head. "Fell asleep on the couch with Face. Carl got in somehow and woke us up. He told Face I slept with him," he groaned, putting his head in his hands.

 

Murdock and BA exchanged a worried glance.

 

"Then he pointed his gun at me and told Face to go with him. Face went. But before he did, I asked Carl what he wanted. Carl practically gloated as he realized Face hadn't told me everything. Damn it, Lieutenant," Hannibal muttered. "So, then he goes on about how we can't play the game if we don't know what the game is, and tossed me this tape." Hannibal held up the tape.

 

"What's on it?" Murdock asked.

 

Hannibal shook his head. "Don't know. I was more worried about making sure Carl couldn't get away with Face again.

 

Murdock nodded. "Well, let's see, shall we?" He took the tape from Hannibal, and BA pushed a button on the console, which lifted to expose a TV and VCR. Murdock slid the tape in, and turned the TV on.

 

The tape cued up, static at first, and then morphed into the inside of Carl's yacht. Face was lying on the ground, bleeding from a head-wound. Carl appeared from behind the camera, and walked up to Face, who didn't move. Carl flipped him over and backhanded him across the face.


"Wake up whore, I waited a long time for this," Carl snarled as he hit Face again. The team saw the minute tensing of Face's body, the one they'd trained themselves to watch for, but Carl didn't. When Carl moved to hit Face again, Face lashed out, snatched Carl's hand, and twisted. Carl screeched in agony. Face rolled, not releasing Carl's hand, and he twisted his body. The team knew exactly what Face was planning, and the terror on Carl's face, said that he did too. But from the stairwell, another figure emerged, and a gun settled at the back of Face's head.

 

Face froze.

 

Carl moved out from behind Face, rubbing his neck, which Face had nearly snapped. He glared at Carl, while the other man held the gun to Face's head, but his eyes shot to Carl's.

 

"I underestimated you, whore," Carl said calmly. "I guarantee you it won't happen again."

 

"So they all say," Face retorted, just as calmly from where he kneeled on the floor.

 

"Oh, I'm going to enjoy breaking you," Carl told him; a sick smile twisting the corners of his mouth as he stepped forward. He reached out to stroke Face's cheek, but Face jerked his head back, despite the gun at the back of his head.

 

"Do you see the camera behind me?" Carl motioned toward the camera.

Face broke eye contact to look over at the camera, and then back to Carl. He didn't say anything.

 

Carl just smiled. "We're going to play a little game, and eventually, I'm going to give the tape to your friends, so they can play too."

 

Face paled.

 

Carl gloated, his smile wide. "Thought you might like that. Of course, by doing so ensures that John finds out that you were telling the truth all those years ago," he sighed for dramatic effect. "But, I figure he's bound to figure it out sooner or later anyway. Tell me something Peck, how'd it feel when he believed me over you?"

 

Face didn't answer, and his expression didn't change. Face was a master at controlling his outward emotions. Unless he wanted you to, you couldn't tell what he was feeling.

 

Carl laughed. "I guess that just means he loves me more. What do you think of that, Peck?"

 

Face didn't answer. He sat still, his eyes the only part of him that moved as he watched Carl pace in front of him.

 

Carl stopped his pacing, and turned to look at Face. "You did know that he slept with me, right? After you told him what I did to you, he came to me and we had sex." He smiled, gloating. "How do you feel about that?"

 

Face didn't move, he stayed completely still, not reacting at all to the bomb that Carl just dropped. Carl frowned. "Awfully quiet, aren't you, Peck?" he paused, as if waiting for Face to answer. "I suppose we should remedy that, shouldn't we?" he paused again. He pushed at Face's head. "Look at that, you're bleeding all over my yacht. We can't have that. Paul, stitch up his head." He looked at the man holding the gun to Face's head. "Lieutenant Peck, let me introduce you to Dr. Paul Morgan." Carl held out his arm, motioning to the so-called doctor, who lowered his gun, and moved out of the camera's line of view.

 

"You're probably wondering why I came to you guys after all these years, aren't you, whore?"


Face didn't move, nor did he answer Carl's question. Carl went on anyway. "You see, my friend Paul designed this new drug, and we needed someone to test it on." Carl smiled. "I thought you'd be the perfect someone. Don't you Peck? I mean, it was because of you, that John left me. I loved him, and then you waltz in with your boyish good looks, and ruin everything. I knew you were trouble the first moment I saw you, although you did have a sweet ass. I've missed that about you, you know. You still remain the best piece of ass I've ever had. Maybe it's because you were so young. Maybe it's because you're so damn good looking. Maybe it's because you fought me all the way down. That was a turn on. Makes me hard thinking about you struggling beneath me," Carl paused and smiled, his hand reaching again, but Face wouldn't let him touch him.

 

In the van, Hannibal was clenching his fist ever so tightly as he watched the TV screen. When he got his hands on Carl he let the thought drift off as all the possibilities leapt into his mind, and then out just as quickly, as the doctor walked back in view.

 

They watched in horror as the doctor walked behind Face, and began stitching his cut, never cleaning it, or numbing it. Each of them was impressed at Face, as he kept his expression schooled, but his eyes were murderous. BA, glancing at the screen periodically, growled, "Sucka's gonna pay."

 

Murdock and Hannibal could only nod.


When the doctor was finished, he pulled out a syringe, and as Face turned to look, Carl flew at him, forcing him to the ground. The struggle was brief, Face almost coming out on top, until the doctor pulled his gun once more. Face was forced to still, and the doctor shoved the needle into a vein. The team watched, their eyes wide and desperate, leaning forward in their seats, as Face slowly writhed from the contents of the syringe, and then lay still, staring at the ceiling.

 

Carl turned toward the screen, his smile wide and large. "John, I know you're watching, and I know how curious you are to what I just gave him. Let's just say that my friend here is a chemist, and for years, he and I have been designing new, powerful, illicit drugs, better then any known substance on the street. After I was kicked out of the Army because of some young fool stupid enough to cross my path and tell the government what I had done, regardless of my many warnings to the contrary, I decided I needed revenge against our government, and at the young kid who thought he could ruin my career. He may have ended one career, but by doing so, he opened the door for a much more lucrative one. I met Paul a few years later, and together we invented a powerful new drug. Our first subject was the kid who I had hoped would have as sweet an ass as your Lieutenant's, but alas I was wrong. No one could top Peck. I thought it only fitting that Peck get to sample this drug, don't you? If all goes as planned, Peck will be addicted in three days. Even if I let him go, even if you come and find him, he'll need me. He'll come back to me, and he'll be more then willing to give me anything I want for this drug. So, in essence John, I win."

The camera clicked off. Hannibal growled and Murdock slapped his hand against his lap.


"I knew it!" he exclaimed.

 

Hannibal turned to him. "Knew what?"

"That it must have been drugs. It explains his mood the last couple days. He was withdrawing."

 

Hannibal rubbed the bridge of his nose, and was about to respond, when the tape clicked back on.

 

Face was just coming around, his head rolling on the floor as he tried to get his bearings. Carl approached him, and Face's body tensed. It only took him a moment to push himself to his knees and face Carl, although he wobbled slightly before catching himself.

Carl stopped in front of him, a sick smile playing at the corner of his mouth. "Look at you, so beautiful and willing on your knees for me. Such a good little whore, just like I told you all those years ago," Carl taunted him, but Face ignored him, refusing to change his expression, or move off of his knees.

 

Without warning, Carl backhanded Face. The blonde's head snapped back with the blow, and then very slowly, he brought it forward again, his eyes locking with Carl's. He didn't say a word. Carl moved to hit Face again, and Face reacted. He threw himself to the side, and kicked out with his top leg, catching Carl across the shins. Carl fell, and Face rolled, coming up on top of Carl. His fist rose, and connected swiftly with Carl's jaw, and Carl fell back. Face pulled his fist again, unseeing the doctor behind him, the gun once again settling on Face's head.

 

Face hesitated for only a split second, before letting loose with the blow that landed with a loud crack against Carl's jaw. The gun cracked down on Face's skull and Face sagged. He wasn't completely knocked unconscious as his head rolled from where he fell sideways, and he struggled to blink away the stars that were obviously circling his vision. He shook his head, climbing to his hands and knees, but Carl was already on his feet and kicking Face roughly in the side. Face grunted, and collapsed. Carl kicked him again. Face still tried to get back up, but was kicked again, and again, and again. Then, Carl reached down and spun Face to his back, where Face clutched his ribs and groaned, his eyes clenched tightly shut, his bottom lip between his teeth.

 

Carl pulled at Face's shirt; his fist clenched in the front of it, and brought Face's upper body off the floor. Face's eyes opened in time to see Carl's fist flying at his face. Carl hit him three times before he let Face fall to the floor. His head lolled, and the team could see Face forcing his eyes open.

 

Carl leaned in over top of him, and claimed his mouth in a bruising kiss. They all saw the knee come up that connected powerfully with Carl's groin. Carl gasped, moaned, and rolled to the side, and the doctors gun was once again aimed, this time, between Face's eyes. Face just laid his head back, and waited.

 

Long moments ticked by as Carl lay groaning, clutching himself, and then finally, he sat up, pushed himself to his feet, and jumped on top of Face, where he punched him over and over in the head, chest, and stomach. Face attempted to lift his hands to ward off the attack, but the blows soon took their toll, and Face was rendered unconscious, and the blows continued to fall.

"Carl, knock it off, you're gonna kill him. Killing him's not in the plan yet."


Carl stopped, although he gave Face one last punch for effect, and then crawled off of Face, and turned to the camera. "Your boy will learn, John. He will learn what you forgot to teach him. That he is nothing but a whore, an unlovable, unwanted, whore. And he will learn respect."


With that, the tape shut off once more.

 

Hannibal was grinding his teeth, glaring at the tape, wishing that the Sedan in front of them would stop, so that he could break Carl's neck.


The tape started up again, and this time, Face was tied to the center of a bed, naked. His body was bloody and bruised, and he was just regaining conscious. Carl climbed onto the bed next to him, and ran his hands up and down the Lieutenant's body. Face came to with a start, and his arms pulled at the restraints. The team knew that if he hadn't have been tied down, Face would have certainly broke the other man's neck.

 

Carl smiled, stood up, and silently began to remove his clothes. The fear that flashed across the Lieutenant's face was unmistakable, but as quick as it appeared, it was gone, hidden behind the facade that Face was so good at wearing.

 

Carl climbed into bed beside Face, his fingers and hands running up and down Face's tense body. "Such a good little whore. Does John tie you up before he takes you? Does he beat you first? I bet he does. I bet he knows how good it feels to beat that ass of yours before taking it. How good it feels to have you fight and struggle beneath him. It's making me hard thinking about it." Carl leaned down, capturing Face's mouth, and kissing him roughly. Face didn't move. Not one inch.

Carl pulled back, disappointed. "No struggle? No fight? But that's what makes it so good. So hot. Fight me, whore!" Carl demanded, reaching out and twisting Face's nipple as hard as he could. Face bit his lip, but did not move.

 

Carl became enraged. He slapped the blonde across the face, leaving a red, stinging welt in his wake, but Face stayed still. Only his eyes showed his animosity, but that was enough for Carl, for he smiled. "I knew you had some fight in you."


He lay completely on top of Face, grinding and rubbing his body into the smaller man beneath him. The team could see Face's fist clench, and pull slightly against the bonds, but otherwise, he stayed still.


Hannibal couldn't help but feel proud of him, for not reacting, not giving Carl what he craved the most. Try as he might, Carl could not get a rise out of Face, and finally, he sat up, straddling his waist.

 

"Does John like it when you're still?" Carl smiled. "I bet he must. That's fine then. You lay still. You lay still and pretend that I'm John. Think of John as I rape you. Think of John as I make you bleed. Think that it's him, and then you can hate him as you hate me."

 

Face's eyes grew darker. He pulled harder against the bonds. Carl smiled, he grabbed Face's wrists, and pinned them to the bed, and he captured Face's mouth once again. Face lay still, for only a second, before he bucked up as hard as he could, and threw Carl off of him, and then he struggled against the bonds. In one quick pull, faster then any of them could see, Face had managed to dislocate his shoulder, and get himself free of one bond, at the same second Carl came back for him. Carl dove on top of him, and the fight was on.


Even with three limbs tied to the bed, Face still put up one hell of a fight, but in the end, Carl won, twisting Face to the side as much as his tied leg would allow, and shoved inside of him, and Face froze. The team watched his face pale, his eyes close, and his teeth clamp down on his lip until he drew blood.

 

And this is how the rest of the tape went. Beatings followed rapes, rapes followed beatings, and the drug followed both, until the moment Hannibal stepped onto the yacht, and nearly killed the son of a bitch. Now Hannibal wished that he had, consequences be damned.

 

After the tape ended, they drove in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Thoughts of the torture the young man had once again endured and thoughts of revenge on the man who had inflicted it. He would pay. The team would be sure of that.

 

The team finally watched the Sedan pull off onto a service drive, and arrive at a small airport.

 

"Aww man," BA muttered, clearly not happy with the turn of events. "Let's take 'em now, Hannibal."


Hannibal shook his head, his gloved hand fisted against his mouth. "Too risky," he told him. "We could get him killed. We'll have to follow."

 

BA shook his head. "Hannibal, I'm-" but he stopped and sighed. "Mattherson's goin down," he finally growled.

 

They acquired a small plane, and followed the plane that Face was forced onto, into the air. An hour later, Hannibal leaned forward in the co-pilot's seat, and watched as the cargo door opened, and a tiny figure appeared in the opening. Hannibal fumbled for the binoculars. They were following at a good distance, hoping to remain unspotted.

 

"It's Face," Hannibal reported. "BA grab the chutes!" he hollered. "He jumped," Hannibal said a moment later.

 

"Anyone following him Colonel?" Murdock wanted to know.

 

Hannibal shook his head. "He's alone."

 

"This doesn't make sense," Murdock said, turning his head. "Why would they drop him there, by himself?"


"Why don't we go find out?" For the first time, Hannibal smiled around his cigar, the jazz twinkling his eyes.

 

Murdock engaged the autopilot and followed Hannibal out of the cockpit, where BA was already waiting, parachute on, and gear in hand. He tossed the other two their gear and their chutes, which they quickly donned.

 

At the door, Hannibal put his hand on BA's shoulder. "How ya doing BA?"

BA just shook his head. "Let's just get to Face."

 

Hannibal nodded, and jumped from the plane. BA followed, and then Murdock. They maneuvered so they were following Face's descent. They dove, not pulling their chutes, so they could close the gap between them, so that when they finally did pull their cords, they weren't that far above Face, who looked up at them, and shook his head.

 

On the ground, Face unstrapped his parachute, and waited, his hands on his hips for his team to land around him in the opening of the vast woods they had landed in.

 

Hannibal grinned at him, taking the cigar out of his mouth.


Face glared. "What the hell are you doing here?"

 

"Rescuing you."

 

"Do I look like I need rescuing?"


Hannibal looked around, and then back at his lover standing in a faded pair of blue jeans and black t-shirt. "Yeah, actually, you do," he paused, "You do, don't you?"


"It would have been a lot more helpful if you would have actually landed the plane, locked in my coordinates, and came back for me in a vehicle."

 

Hannibal nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, we could have done that, but this seemed like a better idea at the time. Why are you here anyway?"


"Because I can't fly," Face responded.

 

The three men didn't know how to respond to that. Finally, Hannibal lifted his eyebrows. "Care to elaborate?"


Face sighed, and looked at the sky, then back to Hannibal. "Without a pilot, the plane couldn't stay in the air for long, I had to jump."


"What happened to the pilot?" Hannibal asked, his eyes narrowed.


Face just stared.


"What about the goons you were with?" Murdock asked.

 

Face didn't say anything.

 

"Carl?" Hannibal asked.

 

"Why? Would you be upset with me if I killed your lover?" Face threw back.

"He's not my lover," Hannibal told him evenly, "you are; and no, disappointed I couldn't do it myself."


Face nodded, his eyes hard. "He wasn't on the plane."

 

"You care to tell us what happened?"

 

"All part of the game Hannibal, didn't you watch the tape?" Face asked, his voice not betraying his emotions that knowing the team had watched the tape, was creating.

 

Hannibal nodded. "We watched it," he said slowly, "but I don't understand."

 

Face sighed. "Mattherson and his pal want to see how long a person can go without the drug they designed, and what they'll do to get it. He intended to send me on a little trip to his mountain cabin, and would meet me there in three days. But I didn't want to go to his mountain cabin, so I decided to jump halfway there. Of course, the people that he hired to make sure I got there wouldn't let me, so I had to force my hand. I figured you wouldn't be far behind, but I'd hoped you'd go onto the closest place you could safely land, and come back for me. Especially since you knew that I had jumped alone. If you would have waited a few more minutes, you probably would have seen the plane crash. I should have known that you, Hannibal, would want to do it the difficult way."

 

Hannibal studied him. "What's that supposed to mean?"


Face waved him off. "Figure it out," was all that he irritably said.

 

Hannibal worked his jaw to respond, but Murdock cut him off. "Uh, Face, how long can you go without that drug?"


Face shrugged. "Don't know. As long as I need to, to kick it I guess." He looked around. "Any idea where we are, Murdock?"

 

Murdock nodded. "Yeah, about fifty miles from the middle of nowhere."

 

Face sighed. "I was afraid you were going to say that."

 

#

 

The team began walking southeast, because Murdock was certain that was the closest town they'd come to, although they were at least a good two day hike from anything that remotely resembled civilization. They all knew that as soon as Carl found out his plane had gone down, that he would be on their tail. They could only hope that it took him awhile to pinpoint the location of the crash, and by time he did, that they'd be long gone.

 

Face took point, Hannibal close behind him, with Murdock and BA bringing up the rear. After awhile, Hannibal fell in step beside Face and glanced over at him.

 

"You okay?"

 

Face nodded, but didn't respond.


"Talk to me Face," Hannibal pleaded.

 

"About what?"

 

Hannibal sighed. "Anything. Just-" he stopped. "Do you hate me?"

 

Face halted in his pace, and turned to him, his eyes dark and angry. "You know, when Carl told me that you came to him, and that you didn't believe me, and that the two of you had sex, I didn't really believe him. Part of me could help but wonder, but the other part of me didn't believe it. That part of me hoped that he was lying to get a reaction, that you wouldn't really do that to me," he stopped, looking out at the trees in the distance, and then back to Hannibal, his gaze locking with his lover's. "How the hell could you do that?"

 

Murdock and BA stopped a good distance from the pair, and waited, their eyes full of concern and worry.

 

Hannibal shook his head. "I can't answer that kid. I was wrong, and stupid, and wrong," he said softly. "So very wrong. I hate myself for what I did, but I can't take it back. And I'm sorry for that, because if I could, I would. In a heartbeat."

 

"Only because now you know I was telling the truth. Because now you know what he really is. Who he really is. You should have believed me before."

 

Hannibal nodded. "You're right kid, I should have. I should have believed you. You would never lie to me about something like that. I guess I couldn't believe you would keep it from me for so long. But now, I understand why you did."

 

Face's expression was completely closed. He stood silently watching Hannibal for a long minute; and then finally, he turned and started walking again. Hannibal closed his eyes, and then jogged to catch up.

 

"Is it over?"

 

"Why? Because you cheated on me? Because when I needed you to believe me the most, you didn't?" Face shrugged. "Can't say as I blame you. I cheated on you too, with the same man no less, and I lie to you quite often, so, I can't really blame you for not believing me, can I?"

 

"Face-" Hannibal started, but Face cut him off.


"No, Hannibal, save your bullshit. Save your, it wasn't cheating, and you don't lie about the important stuff, bullshit. I'm tired of hearing it. If it mattered, we wouldn't be where we are now. I'm tired. I don't feel very good, I've got a bullet lodged in my side, and I don't feel like having this conversation!" Face groaned as he realized what he'd said. "Shit," he mumbled.

 

Hannibal's eyes widened. "You what?" he bit back any further comment of, 'why didn't you say something,' because he knew why.

 

"Leave it," Face muttered, increasing his pace.

 

Hannibal shook his head, jogging to catch up. "Face, you need to let me look at you."


"We need to get the hell out of here."

 

Hannibal shook his head, realizing Face wasn't going to listen to reason, but wondered if he was going to listen to commands either. There was only one way to find out.

 

"Stop right there, Lieutenant," Hannibal ordered.

 

Face didn't even pause in his stride. "That's an order, Lieutenant. You can be pissed at me all you want, but you are not going to disobey a direct order. Stop." He reached out and grabbed Face's arm.


Face swung around, pulling his arm away. "You lost all rights to touch me when you went and screwed your ex-lover," he snarled. "Now, we're losing daylight." He began his brisk walk again. Several yards back, Murdock and BA watched the stop and start with raised eyebrows.

 

"I gave you an order, Peck, now you will follow it. Stop right now." When Face refused to stop, Hannibal reached out again, and this time grabbed him by the arm, and swung him around. Face tried to pull his arm back, but Hannibal wasn't having it. "That's enough, Lieutenant," Hannibal told him, grabbing for his other arm.

 

Hannibal barely ducked the fist that flew at his head in time. He felt it graze through his hair, and he pushed against Face's chest, trying to tackle him to the ground, but Face was ready for him. He pushed back against Hannibal, and swung again. Hannibal twisted out of the way, barely avoiding the collision of Face's fist against his jaw.

 

"Knock it off, Face," Hannibal growled, as he swung around, grabbing for Face's wrist. It didn't slow Face down; he just raised his left fist instead, but was stopped by Murdock blocking the punch.


"Knock it off you two," BA demanded, trying to grab Hannibal, and pull him off.

"He's been shot!" Hannibal interjected, shrugging BA off.


Murdock and BA paused in surprise. The hesitation was long enough for Face to pull his fist lose from Murdock's grip, and continue on in the direction they had been heading.

 

"Damnit Peck!" Hannibal growled after his lover as he took off after him. He reached for him again, but Face sidestepped him. Murdock was there, but Face avoided him as well, but was unable to step away from BA in time, who grabbed his wrist. Face pulled back, but Murdock was grabbing for him, and then Hannibal.

 

Face fought wildly, refusing to go down. Suddenly, the hands on him were overwhelming, and he panicked, fighting harder, and each team member realized it at the same time as they sensed the change in Face's fight for freedom. They knew they couldn't let go now, despite their want to not cause Face any more distress.

 

Face twisted, he broke his right arm free, trying to get free of the men holding him. "Murdock, duck!" BA shouted. Murdock ducked just in time to avoid Face getting a grip on his throat.

 

BA grabbed for the free wrist, and Hannibal increased his grip on the left wrist, stepping into Face, pushing up against his body, his other arm wrapping around Face's chest.


Murdock went low, taking out his legs, and Face went down. But on the ground, three bodies on top of him, made him only fight harder.


"Watch his leg, Colonel!" Murdock hollered as he dove for the leg before it could wrap around Hannibal's midsection. He got a hold of both legs, and pinned them to the ground, all of his weight on them, trusting the others to keep Face's fists clear.

 

Hannibal straddled Face's waist, he pinned both of Face's wrists to the ground just as Face broke one of his legs free. BA dove.

 

"Stand down Lieutenant!" Hannibal barked.

 

Face struggled, pulling at his arms.

 

"Peck! I gave you an order," Hannibal snapped. "Stand down!"

 

Face blinked, his struggles slowed, and his eyes focused on Hannibal. "John?" he asked softly, and then his eyes rolled in his head, and he was out.

 

"Shit, he's unconscious. Murdock, grab the first aid kit. BA, be ready to take him down again if he so much as moves."

 

The two men nodded, and moved to obey orders.

 

Hannibal lifted Face's shirt. Blood leaked from beneath gauze that had been taped down over his side. Hannibal lifted the gauze, and found more gauze packed into the wound. The quick, yet excellent patch job had Face written all over it.

 

Hannibal slowly unpacked the wound, and groaned. "Damn, this is bad," he muttered. "Murdock, what's his pulse?" He looked up at his Captain, who was kneeling next to Face's head, his fingers at the pulse point in his neck, his eyes on his watch.

 

"140," came the terse reply.

 

"We can blame some of that on his fight. Damn, what's gotten into him?"

 

"You really got to ask that Colonel?" Murdock muttered, his eyes not masking his anger as his hands clamped down on the wound.

 

Hannibal swiped his hand over his face. He sighed. "I know," he muttered. He studied Face. "Let's get this wound clean and packed, and we'll move out. Face is right; we're burning daylight. We need to find shelter for tonight, and we'll regroup then. Our first priority is making sure he survives the night."

 

Murdock and BA nodded, and they quickly set to work. Face groaned as they irrigated the wound. He slowly came to. BA and Murdock quickly applied firm, but gentle pressure to Face's wrists, and Hannibal paused in his administrations.

 

"You with me Lieutenant?" Hannibal asked as Face began to blink. He watched his second focus on him, and then nod.

 

"Can Murdock and BA let go of your wrists, or are you going to fight us again?"


"They can let go," Face responded softly. He fought the urge to turn his head away. Instead, he allowed Hannibal to lock eyes with him as he searched for his answer in Face's blue depths. Hannibal finally nodded.

 

"Tell me what happened."

 

Face sighed. He did divert his gaze this time as he answered. "Mattherson hired some men to escort me to his house in the mountains somewhere. He didn't say where. He stayed in the sedan; most the guys were already on the plane."

 

"How many were there?" Hannibal wanted to know as he finished cleaning the wound, and began packing it.

 

"Twelve"

 

Hannibal looked up, Murdock and BA's gaze grew wider.


"Twelve?" Murdock repeated. "You took out twelve guys?"

 

Face shrugged. "They let their guard down. I didn't plan on killing them, but they all started diving in on me, and I just started reacting," Face said softly. "The pilots came back to see what the problem was. I was just picking off the last guy, when I saw the gun in one of their hands. I tried to get out of the way, but I couldn't move fast enough. He came over to check on me, and I jumped on top of him. His buddy was reaching for his gun, so I shot him. Then I realized there was no one left to fly the plane. Murdock's shown me how to engage the autopilot, so I hurried up to the cockpit, and engaged the autopilot. Then I found the parachutes, and first aid kit. While I was searching, I found one of the guys' bags, and borrowed one of his clean shirts." He motioned to the shirt he was wearing. I did the best I could with what little they had, and then I jumped. I saw your plane off in the distance when I opened the cargo door. I just hoped it was you, and not Mattherson, and I hoped you wouldn't jump" he paused, "but I knew you would," he finished.

 

Hannibal applied the last piece of tape to Face's side, his fingers lingering on the warmth of Face's skin, and he couldn't help but wish Carl Mattherson had never came back into their lives, or, at the very least, that he had never fallen for his crap, and broken up with Face. If only he had listened to Face, maybe none of this would have happened.


Hannibal sighed, watching his fingers stroke Face's belly. "I'm sorry kid," he whispered. "I've screwed this up big time. I should have listened to you from the very beginning, and I'm sorry that I didn't." He looked up, his gaze settled on Face's. Face didn't pull away.

 

Finally, Face cleared his throat. "We need to get moving Hannibal. We have to go as far as we can while we can." He didn't say, while I can, but they all heard it.

 

The guys helped Face to his feet, and they started off. Hannibal walked beside Face; Murdock and BA brought up the rear.

 

The afternoon shadows slid into evening as the sun began to slide low in the horizon as they walked. The team knew that in the depths of the forest, darkness would fall quickly.

 

"Alright men, we need to find shelter," Hannibal instructed. He glanced at Face, who had walked silently beside him, holding his own without much effort, but he could see the strain of what the hike was doing to him written in the lines of his face, and the hunch of his shoulders. Hannibal knew he was hurting, and he doubted they'd make nearly as much progress tomorrow. He refused to think that Face may never make it out of the woods.

 

"Over here, Colonel," Murdock called out to them, and they turned and headed in the pilot's direction. There was a smaller grove of younger trees in a tight, circular formation, nestled amongst the taller, thicker trees. They pushed through the trees, breaking through into a small clearing. The trees, lined side-by-side, would protect them against the wind. The taller trees, looming above them, their branches sweeping in low, would help keep the heat of the fire they would build, from escaping.

 

Hannibal took Face's arm, who accepted his help without complaint, and lowered him to the ground. Hannibal studied his face for a long moment. Pain was etched in the handsome features. His shoulders were taunt, his face pale, and he guarded his belly. Hannibal ran a weary hand over his face, and then looked at Murdock and BA. Murdock was watching his best friend stare at nothing, and BA was watching Hannibal, waiting.

 

"BA, gather some firewood. Murdock, can you break out the gear? Face, I need to check your side."


The team, Face included, nodded. They all stared in shock at Face for a brief moment. Something was very wrong if Face was so agreeable.

 

BA and Murdock started on their tasks, while Hannibal knelt in front of Face. "How ya doin kid?" he asked softly.

 

Face pulled his eyes away from the grove of trees he had been staring at, and slowly focused on Hannibal. He shook his head. Hannibal closed his eyes briefly.

 

"What's going on babe?" he asked quietly.

 

Face wrapped his arms around himself more securely. "Cold," he murmured. "Tired."

 

Hannibal nodded as he slid out of his own coat and wrapped it around Face's shoulders. An hour ago, Face had refused it, saying he was hot. "BA'll get a fire started real soon, we'll get you warmed up and you can take a nap. Can I look at your side?"


Face nodded, but he didn't move to pull his arms away. Hannibal could feel the tension in the younger man as he gently pulled Face's arms from his body, and then lifted his shirt. The gauze was soaked with blood, more trickled from beneath the bandages. Hannibal bit his lip as he considered his options. Finally, he lifted the edge of the tape, and pulled the gauze back, the wound was raw and red. Heat poured from it, and the blood refused to slow.

 

"That looks bad, Colonel," Murdock murmured over his shoulder. Hannibal nodded, and then he sighed and looked up at Face, who had his head leaned back against a tree, and watched him with half-lidded eyes.

 

"I hate to tell you this kid, but we need to get this bullet out," Hannibal told him.

 

Face nodded tiredly. "I know," he murmured quietly.


"How long have you known?" Hannibal inquired.


"'bout the last hour," Face's voice was thick and slurred, as though it was with great difficulty that he spoke.

 

Hannibal's fingers gently sought out the pulse in Face's wrist, and he counted, watching the second hand on his watch. Finally he sighed, and wrapped Face's cool fingers in his hand. Murdock was laying supplies out, and in the background, he could hear the crackle as BA got the fire started. He turned his head slightly, and Murdock nodded, catching his eye. Hannibal turned back to Face, who had his head back against the tree, his eyes closed.

 

"You with me kid?" he squeezed the hand slightly.

 

Face moaned in response, but didn't open his eyes.

 

"Face?" Hannibal tried again, squeezing the hand harder, and shaking Face's shoulder with his other hand. This time Face didn't even moan.

 

"He's out," he called over his shoulder as he changed positions so that he could lift Face up. He scooped him into his arms with little difficulty, and carried him over to where Murdock had the sleeping bags laid out and ready.

 

The team never traveled anywhere unprepared. Hannibal insisted they carry a full field medical kit and other necessary supplies to last at least a week in isolation in their packs, which they kept handy in the van. When boarding the plane Murdock had acquired, they had taken along their field-packs, and now Hannibal was glad they had.

 

He lay Face down on the first sleeping bag he came to, and Murdock quickly laid out supplies. BA, the fire now roaring and casting out a warm glow over the campsite, took the kettle of water off the fire, and brought it over near Face.

 

Hannibal took the scalpel from the first aid kit and poured the boiling water over it, while Murdock pulled Face from Hannibal's coat, and his shirt. Face moaned as he did so, tossing his sweat soaked head. Murdock stroked his hair and murmured to him comfortingly.

 

Hannibal knelt by Face's side, the scalpel in his hand and ready. BA knelt near him, gauze in hand.

 

"Ready Murdock?" Hannibal asked him.


Murdock nodded, placing a knee on either side of Face's head and taking his wrists in his hands, pinning them down.

 

"BA, make sure you watch his legs," Hannibal warned.

 

BA nodded.

 

Hannibal took a deep breath to calm his mind, and then carefully pulled the gauze away from the wound, and then he injected an analgesic, centered the knife and made his first incision.

 

Face cried out, twisting his wrists in Murdock's grip, and lifted his hips off the ground. BA pushed his hips down gently, and Hannibal continued to cut. The wound was already becoming infected, and Hannibal cut it away. He located the bullet, as BA dabbed at the wound with gauze, clearing away blood and pus, and then handed Hannibal the forceps.

 

Hannibal pulled the bullet from Face's body, and Face moaned again, weakly this time, not fighting at all. Hannibal glanced at him.

 

"Get his pulse BA," Hannibal instructed.

 

BA complied, moving around Hannibal so that he could feel for the pulse in his friend's neck. BA nodded, satisfied with the count. "136."

 

Hannibal cleaned the wound, and then stitched it closed. He injected Face with another antibiotic, and sat back on his heels with a sigh.

 

Murdock slowly let go of Face's wrists, and then pulled his friend's head into his lap, stroking his hair and talking to him softly. Hannibal and BA watched them for long moments, the only sound, the crackling of the fire, the slight wind blowing the limbs of the trees, and Murdock's soft words.

 

Hannibal finally cleared his throat. "We sleep in shifts. Someone is to be with Face at all times. We need to monitor him, and," he paused, "we need to make sure he doesn't try to snap our necks in the middle of the night," he told them quietly. "There's no telling what this drug, or lack of it, is doing to his mind. Add to that he's injured, and he may think we're the enemy. Let's not take that chance. If he wakes up and is at all confused, unfocused, or a threat, you wake the rest of us and we'll deal with it together. Got it?"


His team nodded, and Hannibal watched Face and Murdock as Murdock gently pushed the blonde locks away from Face's forehead while Face slept.

 

He jumped when BA touched him on the shoulder. "He's going to be alright," BA told him. Hannibal nodded, not trusting his voice yet. "He'll forgive you," BA said softly.

 

Hannibal sighed. "But he shouldn't have to," he replied. "I should have never done it. Should have never left him, should have believed him when he told me what he had found on Carl. I should have believed him when he told me the bastard hurt him. God, you should have heard his voice, BA. He practically broke when I walked away. He called me John, he only calls me John when he really needs me to listen, or when he's hurting or scared, and I didn't listen to him. I didn't listen. I walked out on him BA. I walked out, and where did I go?" he asked, turning to BA, his voice rising. "I went to the very man Face said had raped him. I couldn't have hurt him more if I had raped him myself."


Murdock looked up at Hannibal, listening to the angry words. He felt Face's breathing change, and he knew he had woken up. He glanced down to see Face's eyes open, listening to Hannibal as well. Murdock continued rubbing his hair, offering the only comfort he knew.

 

BA didn't pretend to hide his anger at Hannibal, but he didn't lash out at him either. Instead, he listened to him. Hannibal seemed to deflate. "I don't know what to do."

 

"You can't do anything, Hannibal. You can't fix what you did. You was stupid. You hurt him, just like everyone else in his life, and he may not ever trust you again. Not with his heart anyway. But, I do know that he loves you more then anything, and I know that won't ever change; that fool will let you do anything to him. Anything, and that's the real sad part."

 

Hannibal's eyes were wide, as he listened to what BA was saying. BA shook his head. "Don't pretend you don't know what Ahm talking about."

 

Hannibal shook his head. "No, you're right. I just never thought about it that way before." He sighed. "Is he better off without me?"


"He'd die without you," BA told him honestly. "When you broke up wit him, it was just a matter of time. I figured he'd go and get himself killed. That's why Murdock and I was so mad at you; besides the fact you hurt Faceman."

 

Hannibal sighed, sitting down on a log near the fire, staring into it. "What do I do, BA?"

 

BA shook his head. "That I can't tell you. That you have to figure out for yourself."

 

Murdock glanced down at Face, who was still watching Hannibal intently. He felt Murdock's eyes on him, and he glanced up at him. Murdock smiled. Face rose his hand up, and Murdock took it.

"Lay with me," Face whispered. "I'm cold."

 

Murdock nodded, knowing that Face was much more then cold, and maneuvered so that he was lying on his side next to Face. He pulled the outside of the sleeping bag up around them both, and pulled Face up against his chest, and slid his arm beneath Face's head. Face turned slightly, onto his uninjured side, into Murdock, and nuzzled his face into Murdock's chest, tucked beneath his chin. Murdock wrapped his arm around him, and held him, rubbing his back gently and comfortingly, and he felt as Face drifted off into sleep once more.

 

#

 

Face tossed and moaned; sweat soaked his forehead, and trickled down his spine. Pain continued to pull him from sleep, a deep fiery pain lodged deep in his gut, spreading a throbbing, burning agony from its core, throughout his stomach, side and back. The pain threatened to overwhelm him, and just as it felt as though it would consume him, darkness claimed him once again.

 

Carl was over him, his grin malicious as he pounded into Face's body. Behind him, the doctor prepared the needle, and then stepped forward, jamming it into Face's arm where the burning entered his vein, and traveled up his arm, and then there was only euphoria.


The euphoria was shattered when Carl's laughing broke through his floating thoughts. Face blearily opened his eyes to see the sadistic ex-Colonel on the bed beside him. He was leaning over a figure, kissing him. The other man's arms came up around the ex-Army Colonel and stroked his back lovingly. Carl leaned up, and the other man turned his face toward the blonde. Face's eyes widened in shock, betrayal slammed into him full force as Hannibal grinned over at him.

"Hey kid," he greeted him, his voice deep and husky.

 

"No," Face whispered, he shook his head in disbelief. Hannibal wouldn't betray him like that, would he?


Carl smirked. "Told you he loved me more, whore. Now, turn over like a good little whore so we can pound that sweet ass of yours."


"No," Face said again, stronger this time.

 

Hannibal and Carl laughed, hands reached for him. Face struggled, and the pain flared as Carl began hitting him. The voices changed, the smells warped, and suddenly he knew they were in the jungle.


The heat was suffocating around him as the men held him down, face first into the mud. The pain was overwhelming and unbearable as they beat him and yelled at him in Vietnamese. They demanded answers to their questions, but Face kept silent. He was rolled to his back, his clothes were yanked from his body, and then the soldiers stepped back.


Face sat up. General Chao's special lieutenant was standing in front of him, a riding crop in his hand. He spoke to him harshly in Vietnamese, accusing him of deflowering the General's daughter. Face shook his head, responding in Vietnamese. He tried charm, he tried the explanation the government had ordered him to use when they had ordered him on that damned mission, but the Lieutenant refused to listen. He accused him of raping the General's daughter, to which Face adamantly denied, but it did not matter to the Lieutenant. He told him that the same punishment would be inflicted upon him. Face felt his heart speed up, the fear flood his veins, the cold tendrils wrap their way around him. He shook his head, desperate for the Lieutenant to understand that he had not raped the General's daughter, but refused to give the information about the mission that the Lieutenant was fishing for.

 

It became clear to Face that they knew, knew that he was behind the attack on the General's home village. The Lieutenant pushed, and pushed for information, the riding crop lashing out, burning his already abused skin, splitting it, but Face would not cave. He would not betray his country, even if he hadn't agreed with the damn mission from day one. He hated keeping it from his team, wanted nothing more then to discuss it with them, but he knew Hannibal would go through the roof, and storm in the Brigadier General's office, demanding to know what the hell he was thinking, which was why the General had made it clear that Face was to tell no one, his CO included. That when he'd allowed the transfer to the A-Team, it was with clear understanding that when the Army still needed Face's talents, he would be called upon and he would respond. Face had little choice but to agree.

 

So, he'd gone on the stupid mission, and now, captured in the P.O.W. camp, Face knew that his team's incarceration behind enemy lines was his own fault. They would stop at nothing to find Face, to torture him for the mission he had been ordered on. He had never intended for the General's daughter to get in the way, but she had, and he had no choice but to make due with the cards put on the table just as the United States Government had ordered him. Face yelped, being brought out of his thoughts by a particularly frustrated slice against his cheek. The Lieutenant again demanded an answer, but this time, Face just grit his teeth, and shook his head. The Lieutenant frowned, but then nodded, and gave the order for his men to hold Face.


Face fought them all the way to the ground. He struggled hard. He kicked, and bit, and hit, and he tried desperately to get his hands, arms, or legs, around the enemy's neck, but it was as though they knew every trick in his book. They were one step ahead of him, as if they were anticipating his moves. Then he heard his Colonel's voice, and his heart sank.

 

Face opened his eyes, and there, against the firelight, was Hannibal, his arms around Carl.

 

"Hannibal?" he questioned, disbelieving what he was seeing.

 

"Yeah, it's me kid," he responded. Then they laughed at him. Hannibal told him how disappointed he was in Face for the mission. Did his love mean nothing that he would go and have sex with the General's daughter?

 

Face shook his head, desperate for Hannibal to understand that it wasn't what he had intended, wasn't what he had wanted. Hannibal shook his head sadly; Face deserved this punishment, and he deserved to be raped for the pain he had caused him.


"You betrayed me Face," he whispered. "You betrayed me. So, I'm betraying you. I'm going back to Carl. I love him more then I could ever love you."


Carl laughed as he patted Face's cheek. "I told you you were nothing but a whore to him."

 

"NO!" Face screamed as the men tried to pin him, and Hannibal walked away, his arm around Carl. He fought harder then he had ever fought in his life. The men's grip around him increased, fighting back now, desperate to control him, to break him as they fought with him. The pain increased in his body, he felt an arm snake around his neck, cutting off his oxygen. And then, the door slammed; Hannibal was gone from his life forever, and he felt his heart shatter into a million pieces, and he gave up.

 

#

 

It was Murdock's watch. BA and Hannibal were sleeping lightly he knew, ready for Face to so much as move. He sat beside the fire, jabbing it with the stick that he held in his hands. BA was curled near him, Hannibal near Face, trying to keep him warm. Occasionally, Face would shiver from the cold seeping through him, the blood loss and infection taking their toll on the normally healthy man. Hannibal would pull him closer, bringing the sleeping bag around them more firmly, attempting to lock in the warmth, and Face would sink into his chest, and fall back asleep once more.

 

Other times, Face would cry out, the pain rousing him from sleep, and Hannibal would rub his back soothingly, speaking to him softly, and Face would snuggle in, and again fall back asleep. Sometimes, when the pain woke Face, he was still and quiet, but Murdock would see his eyes in the firelight. Murdock would silently make his way to his side, but Face didn't normally notice him. Murdock could see the pain, pinched around the handsome features as Face fought to control it. His eyes would be unfocused, but the pain behind them hurt Murdock to see. Murdock would stroke his head, and hold his hand, and when the pain became too much, it would pull Face back under, and Murdock would check his pulse, and pull the blanket around him more securely. When he finished, he'd kiss Face lightly on the forehead, and then find Hannibal's eyes, watching him quietly. Hannibal would nod slightly, and Murdock would nod back, and then Murdock would return to the fire, and his watch.

 

His watch was nearing an end when Face's head began to thrash. Murdock recognized the signs of a nightmare, and he hastily shook BA, and then rushed to Face's side. He bumped Hannibal on the arm, but Hannibal was already waking up.


The three men gathered around Face's side, waiting. Nightmares could be Face's most dangerous time. It was then, if you weren't careful, that he could kill you without ever knowing he'd done it. Face thrashed again, kicking off the sleeping bag. Hannibal tried to hush him, "Hey kid," he whispered. "Everything's okay." But as soon as he spoke, Face grew more heated in his nightmare. "No," he whispered into the dark, and then it came again, with more of a plea behind it.

 

Hannibal reached for him, trying to calm him by touch, but Face twisted sharply away from him and cried out in agony, his hand flying to his stomach, protecting it. He rolled to his belly, trying to crawl away, but Hannibal reached for him again.

 

He struggled, and fought, and the team moved in to help, intensifying Face's need for escape, but they knew they couldn't let him run. If he ran into the woods, lost in a nightmare, it was hard telling what would happen, but they knew nothing good would come out of it, so they held him down, and he struggled.

 

Finally, they were able to roll him to his back, and Face quieted, so they stepped back slightly, but circled him, so that he could not get away, and they waited. Face sat up, and huddled in on himself. His eyes were open, but they knew he wasn't seeing.

 

They tried to talk to him, but he wasn't listening. Hannibal tried to touch him, but he pulled away quickly, and then he spoke, and as they listened, cold fear made its way down each of their spines, their hearts thudded painfully in their chests, and their stomachs nearly bottomed out. Face was speaking Vietnamese.

Face was their linguist. Every unit needed at least one, and Face was theirs. Hannibal could barely keep track of all the languages his lover could speak fluently, but he did it with ease, and it always amazed Hannibal.


The team picked up a word or two here and there when Face lashed out in his nightmare state, but not enough to tell them exactly what was going on, but they knew enough. Face was back in Vietnam, trapped in a Prisoner of War camp, a nightmare he shouldn't have had to live once, let alone, over and over in his dreams.

 

Hannibal knew he needed to bring Face out of this, but he didn't know how. He knelt close to his lover, being careful of his wrists, and tapped him on the cheek, trying to rouse him. Face yelped, and pulled back, shaking his head vehemently. He tried to back away, but he backed into Murdock's leg. Face reached, and the team reacted, wrestling him to the ground.

 

Face fought hard. He kicked Murdock in the leg; bit Hannibal on the arm, and punched BA in the stomach. They each fought to regain their grip, watchful of any body part that could end their life as they tried to pin him to the ground, but Face wasn't going down easily. He continued to hit, bite, and kick as he struggled to kill them. That was when they realized that he wasn't trying to break free, he was trying to kill them, and their hearts beat madly.

 

"Face!" Hannibal tried breaking through to him. "Lieutenant, stand down!" For a moment, Face stilled, his eyes opened again, and he stared at Hannibal in shock.

 

"Face?" Hannibal questioned. Face's eyes were full of hurt and betrayal, and it hurt Hannibal to see. "Face, you with us?"

 

"Hannibal?" Face choked out.

 

"Yeah, it's me kid," Hannibal said softly, but he didn't move.

 

Face started shaking, he shrank back, and then suddenly he screamed, "NO!" the word shattered the silence around them, and then he fought. He fought harder then any of them had ever seen him fight before.

 

Hannibal's mind was a whirl, and his heart beat madly in his chest, he knew they were out of options.

 

"If he took out 12 armed men on that plane, there's no telling what he can do to us," Hannibal growled. "Do what you have to!" Hannibal ordered. And his team obeyed, with heavy hearts.

 

They fought back, knowing that their lives depended on it. Face lashed out harder, nearly knocking Murdock unconscious. BA punched Face, attempting to knock him out, but it barely dazed him, and Hannibal knew what he had to do.

 

He snaked an arm around Face's neck, braced himself with his feet, and rolled, pulling Face around with him; Face's back upon his chest. Murdock and BA scrambled for his limbs. Hannibal pulled up on Face's neck, and squeezed.

 

Seconds ticked by, and suddenly, thunder cracked somewhere in the distance, and Face went limp.

 

Murdock scrambled to see his best friend's face. His eyes were open. Murdock quickly reached for a pulse. Relief washed through him as it beat strongly beneath his fingers, although it was racing like mad.

 

"Face?" he questioned softly. "Can you hear me?"


Face didn't move, didn't respond. Hannibal leaned his head close to Face's chest, and listened. Face was breathing, and he sighed with relief.

 

"Face? You with us kid?" he asked. Face still didn't move, didn't react.

 

The team exchanged a look. Murdock pushed BA, who was pinning Face's upper body to the ground, out of the way, and pulled him up and into his lap, cradling him against his body.

 

"Be careful fool," BA hissed. "He could kill you."

 

Murdock ignored him, so BA and Hannibal waited, ready to spring, watching Murdock hold Face and rock him.

 

Murdock smoothed back his hair, and it occurred to Hannibal that this was the exact same way Murdock had cradled Face all those years ago in the camps when Face had been brought back to them, beaten, bloody, and unresponsive.

 

They watched Face shift slightly in Murdock's arms. Hannibal and BA tensed, but Face didn't react, just shifted, and slowly focused on Murdock.


"You with me, muchacho?" Murdock drawled.


"Murdock," Face's voice sounded broken, and it hurt their hearts to hear.

 

"Yeah babe, it's me. You okay now?"

 

"Hannibal left," Face whispered.

 

Murdock shook his head. "No, no he didn't Facey. You're just confused."

 

"No, Murdock, he left. He left with Carl. I betrayed him, so he left."


"No Face, you didn't betray him," Murdock assured him.


Hannibal was running his hand over his face, watching his lover with sorrowful blue eyes.

 

"But I did, Murdock. You don't understand. This is all my fault. We wouldn't be here right now if it wasn't for me. I told them I didn't want the assignment, but I didn't have a choice. I was only allowed the transfer to the A-Team if I promised them I'd still do their stupid missions when they needed me to."


The team's blood ran cold. They all slowly looked at Face, their eyes wide. "Face?" Murdock asked slowly. "Where are we?"


"Hanoi, POW camp," Face whispered. His friends groaned.

 

"What missions, Face? What are you talking about?"

 

Face sighed, twisting slightly in Murdock's hold. "I'm so tired, Murdock."


"Face," Murdock shook him slightly to keep him awake. "What missions did the Army make you go on?"


"They didn't want to let me go, Murdock. They'd invested too much into my training, but I'd managed to get the transfer anyway, don't ask how," he whispered. "But it was conditioned. I had to accept their missions."

 

The team exchanged glances. Face had still been sent on top-secret missions while he was in their unit? That explained a lot.

 

"Were you on a mission when we got caught?"


Face shook his head. "I'd just come off one. They wanted me dead. They were hunting for me. It's my fault you got caught," Face whispered.

 

"I don't understand, Face."


Face was quiet. Murdock shook him slightly. "Face, what mission were you on?"


"I can't tell you," he whispered. "But it's why Hannibal left with Carl. He found out I'd betrayed him. I didn't want to do it, Murdock," Face broke, tears running down his face. "They made me. The General didn't give me any other choice. I'm so sorry," he whispered. He pulled further into himself.

 

"Face? What mission? What General? What did they order you to do?"


"I can't tell you, Murdock," he whispered. "They'll just torture you for the information. That's what they want. They want information."

 

"Face," Murdock tried again. "We're not in the camps anymore. Open your eyes and look at me."


Face shook his head. "Too tired, Murdock," he said drowsily.


"Face Face!" He shook Face slightly, but Face didn't wake up.

 

Murdock looked up into two pairs of very confused eyes. He knew the confusion was echoed in his own.


"What the hell is he talking about?" Hannibal wanted to know, anger slicing his words.


Murdock shook his head. "I don't know, but it explains why they singled Face out."

 

They had known of Face's past before them. Of his training. Of the missions he had been sent on, the things he had been forced to do. His supply officer cover was more that, just a cover given to him by the things he had managed to procure during his first tour. Things that no one dreamed someone would be able to get, yet Face had done it without even so much as blinking. His talents continued well after meeting the team, and even surprisingly improved, as the things he had obtained grew seemingly more difficult, but he did them with even more ease.

 

They had thought that it was all just that though, his past. There was a time or two where Hannibal had wondered what Face had been up to, when he became secretive and disappeared from time to time, but when he reappeared, it was always with something on the teams most wanted list. Once, he had come back with McDonald's for the team, and the smiles on his teams face had made it hard for Hannibal to discipline Face for his disappearing act, but he had. Now Hannibal realized that maybe he had been disciplining Face for orders he had been following from a higher chain of command. The thought didn't make him very comfortable, but it also made him angry that Face hadn't told him what had been going on.

 

Hannibal stroked the blonde hair off of Face's forehead, still tucked in Murdock's arms, and realized that there was still quite a bit that he didn't know about his young lover.

 

#

 

Dawn broke, and the team stirred. It was Hannibal's watch. He was cradling Face in his arms, who had slept hard the rest of the night. Hannibal was glad for that, for he didn't know how much more his team could take. They were worn out and exhausted from fighting with Face, and each had their own bruises to prove it, and he doubted Face's condition could warrant much more abuse.

 

Hannibal settled his hand on Face's forehead, checking his fever. He had had another round of antibiotics, and his fever seemed to be stable. It hadn't gone down, but it hadn't spiked either, which made the possibility of Face walking out on his own power more favorable.

 

He watched Murdock roll over, and open his eyes, and look at them.

 

"How's he doin' Colonel?"


Hannibal nodded. "His pulse is steady, fever is stable, and he slept through the rest of the night."


"That's a good sign then," BA's voice rumbled from where he was tucked into Murdock's neck.

 

Murdock and BA got to their feet, and dug through the packs to find something to eat, while Hannibal set about waking Face.

 

Face slowly opened his eyes, and even more slowly, he focused on his surroundings, and then lifted his head to Hannibal's.

 

Hannibal met his gaze. "Morning Face. How you feeling?"

 

His Lieutenant rubbed at his face, and then looked away.

 

"That good eh? Want something for the pain?"

 

Face nodded, in too much pain to argue. Hannibal smiled at Murdock as his hand appeared in front of Face and he held out the pain pills. Face took them with a murmured thanks.

 

A little while later, they were packing up camp, and ready to move out. Hannibal pulled Face to his feet, and held onto him until he found his feet. Then he pulled away from Hannibal and insisted that he was fine. Hannibal sighed, but let him stand on his own two feet.

 

They began their trek across the forest floor. As they walked, Hannibal glanced over at Face, considering him, and what they had learned, and then he looked back at the looming forest. He decided now was not the time to hash it out, but they would tred upon it real soon.

 

The day wore on. They trekked steadily through the woods, stopping to rest every half hour, and check on Face's injury. The antibiotics seemed to be working. He maintained a slight fever, but he wasn't burning up, and the site wasn't red and irritated, sure signs of infection. Although weak, he was progressing much better then any of them would have ever guessed that he would. Yet, they felt the urgency to get out of the forest, and get Face to safety.

 

Finally, when the sun was just beginning to streak the sky with brilliant reds and oranges, Murdock, on point, spotted a town. He whooped with joy, and the team started down the embankment leading into town.

 

The town was small. One main road leading in and out, with little more then a motel, gas station, restaurant, fire department, a handful of small stores, a market, and a post office. They stood on the sidewalk, and looked up and down the street, then all eyes turned to Hannibal.


"Now what?" Murdock inquired.

 

But it was Face who answered. "Wait here," he told them, and before any of them could reply, he was heading toward the motel. Five minutes later, he came back with a key, and a smile on his handsome face.


Hannibal grinned, and followed his Lieutenant to the right door, and waited for Face to push the door open, and then they all went inside.

 

Once in, Hannibal began issuing orders. "BA and Murdock, you go get supplies. Face, in the shower, I'm right behind you."


The team, exhausted and weary, nodded in compliance, and set about to do their tasks.

 

In the shower, Hannibal removed the bandages, and scrubbed Face from head to toe. At first, Face tried to object, but at the worried look on Hannibal's face, he instead sighed and leaned against the wall. Hannibal carefully soaped around the stitches, and then rinsed Face off. He guided Face out of the shower, and then showered himself off.

 

When he left the bathroom, a towel hooked around his waist, he found Face already under the covers, curled on his uninjured side. He sat down on the edge of the bed, and silently watched Face, his chest rising and falling evenly, already asleep.


The door opened, and Murdock and BA entered, setting bags down on the table near the door. Then Hannibal jerked his head for the shower, and BA and Murdock nodded, heading toward the bathroom.

 

Hannibal went over to the supplies. He found underwear and socks, shirts and jeans, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, shaving gel, combs, snacks, juice, milk, and more first aid supplies. He smiled appreciatively, and put the juice and milk in the refrigerator, and then took the first aid supplies over and sat back down on the bed beside Face.

 

Face woke up when he sat down, and his eyes slowly focused on him. Hannibal gently stroked the blonde hair out of Face's eyes. "How ya doin' kid? Honestly?"

 

Face sighed. "Been better Hannibal, but I'll be alright," he told him quietly. Hannibal could sense that Face was jittery, probably from the lack of the drug Mattherson had hooked him on. He ground his jaw with the thought. Mattherson would pay.

 

BA and Murdock exited the bathroom then, and the team checked Face over, and made sure he wasn't in need of medical treatment that they couldn't provide, and then they made sure he ate. They worried about the drug, but they knew there wasn't much they could do but let Face withdraw, as hard as that was.

 

Face was asleep before the team had finished eating. Hannibal glanced over at him, and then back to the rest of his team. "It makes sense now," he murmured.

 

"What does?" BA asked.

 

"Why he wouldn't let me take him to a doctor after we found him at Carl's. He was terrified of going to a doctor, but I just thought he didn't want anyone to see him like that." Hannibal sighed. "He's going to pay."

 

BA and Murdock nodded in agreement. "Plan Colonel?" Murdock asked.

 

"We get some sleep. We'll see how Face is tomorrow, and if he's up to it, we'll head home, pack our stuff, and go away for a bit. Face will need to recover without the threat of Carl looming over him. He needs to know Carl won't get him while he's sleeping."

 

"What about Mattherson?" Murdock asked, his eyes hard.

 

"When Face is better, we're going to track Carl and his doctor friend down. If they cooperate, we'll turn them over to the military. If they don't," Hannibal shrugged. "I really don't care what happens to them."


Murdock and BA nodded their agreement.

 

#

 

When they awoke the next morning, Face wasn't anywhere in sight. Hannibal sat up in a panic, and quickly roused BA and Murdock. They noticed a set of clothes was missing, and that Face had shaved, and brushed his teeth. They looked at each other in confusion.

 

"He obviously left on his own power, Colonel," Murdock pointed out. "Besides, the key is missing."


As he finished his sentence, there was a click of a key in the door, and the door pushed open. Face came in, carrying Styrofoam containers, and a tray of coffee. He smiled at the team, and then frowned at the looks on their faces.

 

"What?" he asked carefully.

 

"Where the hell have you been?" Hannibal demanded. "We were worried sick!"

Face shook his head. "I was getting breakfast, and a car. I left you a note," he said, gesturing to the table.


Hannibal frowned, and picked up the note, scanning through it. "Oh," he said softly. In their paranoid rush to find Face, they hadn't thought to look for a note.

 

Face smiled and held out the containers. Hannibal shook his head, but grinned, taking the containers. "Where'd you get a car?"

 

Face waved his hand dismissively. "Met this girl," he said, taking a bite of sausage.

 

The team shook their heads and smiled.

"You realize you were half dead yesterday, right?" Hannibal asked, his eyebrow raised.

 

Face just smiled.

 

#

 

Five weeks later

 

"Are you sure this is where he is?" Hannibal inquired of his second in command as they stepped off the plane and looked around.

 

Face nodded, his eyes taking in the horizon. Mountains loomed in the distance, rock formations jutted around them, dry sand kicked up around them from the wind as it swept across the long abandoned runway.

 

"He's in a cabin in the mountains."

 

"How do we get there?" Hannibal wanted to know, looking around at the barren land; vultures squalled in the distance, as they circled above some unseen pray further in the desert.

"Should be a jeep, just beyond that ridge," Face responded, pointing.


Hannibal was looking him up and down. "How do you know this?"

 

Face shrugged. "I know someone, who knows someone, who promised to leave it with the keys in it. They're just as anxious to get Mattherson off their property, as we are to find him. Seems he came in here a few months ago, and just took over, threatening the property owner. The owner, Marc Mason, says he has about 950 acres, give or take."

 

"And Carl just came in and took over? Why?"

 

Face shrugged. "Because he could. Besides, look around, who's going to find him here? It was the perfect place to lay low, and manufacture their drug."

 

"Why keep the family around? Weren't they afraid they'd go to the police?"


Face shook his head. "No, Mr. Mason's oldest son is a juvenile delinquent. He's been in all sorts of trouble, the latest is that he's become involved in drugs. So, Mr. Mason moved his family out here, hoping to clean him up and get him on the straight and narrow. He didn't tell me, but I dug a little deeper and found that Mr. Mason's son is wanted by eight different counties, so Mr. Mason couldn't go to the police, even if he wanted to. I'm sure Mattherson knew that."

 

Hannibal nodded, watching his Lieutenant's face. "What's the kid wanted for?"

 

"Questioning mostly, but I think they can get him on several minor offenses, along with maybe a harsher one for B&E and drug possession. The thing is, he's just a kid that got caught up with the wrong crowd, and before he knew it, was in too deep."

 

Hannibal chewed on the end of his cigar thoughtfully, but before he could respond, Murdock appeared in the door. "Hate to break up this little pow-wow, but the big guy is beginning to stir. We should get him off the plane."

 

Hannibal and Face quickly reboarded the plane, and Hannibal slung BA over his shoulder and carried him down the steps, while Face and Murdock gathered the gear. Face led the way to the jeep, and just as he had said, it sat waiting for them just beyond the ridge.

 

Desert sand blew around them as they loaded the gear and BA into the jeep. Then, Murdock jumped behind the wheel and started it up, and they began driving in the direction Face pointed. Moments later, BA regained conscious, and looked around groggily.


"Where are we?" he demanded, taking in the desert and mountains surrounding them.

 

No answer was immediately forthcoming, so BA asked again, more forcefully this time. "Ah said, where are we?"

 

"We're in the desert, BA," Hannibal said airly around a cigar.

 

"Ah can see we're in the desert, Hannibal. What desert, and where's mah van?"

 

"You're van's safe, BA," Hannibal said calmly. "We didn't think we could drive it through this terrain, so Face got us a jeep."


BA turned to Face, and Face swallowed, and glared at Hannibal. "Thanks Hannibal."

 

"No problem kid," Hannibal said, blowing out a ring of smoke.


"Where are we, Face?"

 

"Hannibal told you. The desert." Face swallowed again.


"What desert?"

 

"Uh, well, you know, I'm not exactly sure what this desert is called. Murdock, any ideas?"


Murdock shook his head. "Nope, but Billy thinks it should be called Dusty. Dusty Desert. See all the dust BA? It's so dry," Murdock commented.

BA just growled. "Shut up foo'. Ah don't want to hear about no dusty desert. Ah want to know where we are. Did you fly us here?"


Murdock didn't answer right away. BA grabbed the back of his neck. Murdock swatted his hand away. "Not while I'm driving, BA. You're gonna make us crash."


"Hannibal!" BA shouted.

 

But Face cut him off. "This is the turnoff Murdock. If we follow this road back, we should find the Mason's trailer."

 

It didn't take them long to find the trailer in question, and the team piled out. A man came out of the trailer, and stopped several feet from the team.


"Lieutenant Peck?" he questioned.


Face nodded and stepped forward. "That's me. You must be Mr. Mason?"


Mr. Mason stepped forward and shook Face's hand. "Call me Marc. I'm so glad you guys were able to come out and help us. We were just about to give up hope when I got your call. I can't tell you how relieved we are," he told him as his wife came out of the house, followed by their three children.

 

Face smiled. "We're glad to help, Marc," he responded, and then Marc made the introductions.


They spoke for a little longer, and then Marc gave them a map of the property and surrounding area. Then the team sat off to set up camp and get a closer look at the Mason's house that Mattherson and his doctor friend had taken over.


Hannibal and Face scooted over a rock outcropping along their bellies, and then Hannibal lifted the binoculars to his eyes.

"Any idea how many men we're looking at here, Face?" Hannibal queried, handing the binoculars over.

 

Face took them and scanned the property. "Marc seemed to think a dozen. I can't tell anything from here. I need to get closer."

 

Hannibal shook his head. "Let's set up camp, and we'll move in closer tonight. We'll use the cover of darkness."

 

"What? No front door maneuver?" Face asked.

 

Hannibal grinned. "Not yet. I want to know exactly what we're up against first."

 

Face nodded, and then they shuffled backwards, and climbed down the rock they had climbed to get a better view of the mountain cabin.

 

As they walked back toward camp where BA and Murdock were waiting, Hannibal looked over at Face, walking quietly beside him.

 

"We ever gonna talk about this, Face?" Hannibal inquired softly. He watched Face's expression shift into a neutral one, blocking off all outward appearance of emotions. Their relationship had been strained, but it was still intact as far as Hannibal could tell. Hannibal was affectionate with the younger man, and Face didn't shove him away, so he figured that was a good sign. But their sex life was non-existent, which didn't surprise Hannibal too much. He figured Face needed time to heal after what Carl had done to him. He allowed Hannibal to kiss him at times, but nothing that was sexual or more meaningful, and that bothered Hannibal. Face hadn't talked about his feelings, or about what Carl had done to him, and he certainly hadn't broached the subject of Hannibal's betrayal again since that day in the woods. Hannibal had tried, but Face was quick to tune him out.

 

"I don't know what you want to talk about," Face mumbled.


Hannibal stopped and brought Face around by a hand around his upper arm. "Yes you do Face. We need to talk about this."

 

"This what?" Face asked, the first sign of anger dancing behind his normally expressive blue eyes.

 

"Us for starters. Where do we stand?"

 

Face shook his head, running his fingers through his hair. He looked off at the afternoon sky. "I don't know Hannibal," he finally whispered.

 

Hannibal nodded. "That's a start at least," he told him. He reached out and placed his hand on Face's neck. Face flinched slightly, but Hannibal didn't pull his hand away. "Do you still love me?"


Face met his eyes, his blue eyes slightly wide in surprise. "Of course I do," he replied honestly.

 

Hannibal nodded. "Do you still want to be with me?"

 

Face was still for a long moment, and Hannibal could tell that he was thinking hard. "I never wanted to be without you," he finally answered so softly that if Hannibal hadn't been listening, it may have been carried away in the wind.

 

Hannibal sighed, his finger stroking the warm, tan neck. "I know baby, and for that, I'm sorry. More sorry then you could ever possibly know. I don't know what got into me."

 

Face snorted at that. "Yes you do," he responded.

 

Hannibal nodded. "Yeah, you're right. I do. And I'm sorry for that too. I don't see how you can ever trust me again."

 

Face shrugged. "I trust you," he told him evenly.


Hannibal raised his eyebrows. "With what? Your life, or your heart?"


Face bit his lip, looking over Hannibal's shoulder, but then flickered his eyes back to the blue eyes of his commander.

 

Hannibal smiled slightly. "They're two very different things, Face. You trust me to protect you, to watch your back, but you can't trust me not to break your heart again. And I don't blame you for that. I took 12 years of trust and love, 12 years of gaining your trust and love, something you didn't give up too willingly, and I threw it away in a matter of seconds. Even if I stand here right now and promise never to hurt you like that again, you aren't going to believe me."

 

"Are you?"

 

"Am I what?"

 

"Promising me?'

 

"Yes Face. With everything I am. I will never cheat on you, or hurt you in this capacity ever again."


"Then that's a start," Face said quietly.

 

"I wish it were that easy," Hannibal said with a sigh.

 

Face shrugged. "Maybe it is. You made a mistake. You wanted to believe in something so badly that you just couldn't see anything else. He blinded you."

 

"Yeah, and look what it almost cost me Face. Not just our relationship, but you. I almost lost you because of my stupidity."

 

Face studied him for a long moment. "It sounds to me as though maybe before you can make promises to me, before you can ask me for my trust, that maybe you need to find it in yourself first. You need to come to terms with what your mistake cost you before you can ask me to. Because you need to be able to forgive yourself before you ever ask for my forgiveness."

 

Hannibal was quiet for a long moment, but then he nodded. "I suppose you're right kid. But I don't know if I can forgive myself."


"Then how do you expect me to?"

 

Hannibal sighed, and then nodded. "I see your point. So, what do we do now?"

 

"What we always do Hannibal. We go capture the bad guys."


"What about us?"

 

Face shrugged. "We go on. I don't hate you. I don't want to break up. Regardless of everything that has happened, I love you." Face held up his hand. "Before you ask, I don't know why, or how, I just do. Twelve years is a long time Hannibal. Too long to just walk away because you made a mistake. Trust and forgiveness are earned. Earn them."

 

Hannibal nodded. "That I can do. But what about the rest?"

 

"The rest what?" Face asked.

 

"Intimacy? Sex?"

 

Face shrugged. "What about them?"

 

"Do you want them?"

 

Face ran his fingers through his hair another time, a sure sigh of his nervousness. "Yes," he finally told him honestly.

 

Hannibal closed the gap between them, his hand once again cupping Face's neck. "Are you sure?" he whispered. "I don't want to hurt you."

 

"Then don't," Face whispered back.

 

Hannibal's lips gently touched Face's, and for the first time in several weeks, Face allowed himself to be kissed. He opened himself up to Hannibal and allowed himself to feel his love, and with that kiss, he let himself begin to step toward healing.


When they broke away, Hannibal leaned his forehead against Face's. "I love you kid," Hannibal whispered.

"I love you too Hannibal."

 

#

 

When night fell, the team crept closer to the mountain cabin. Murdock and BA hung back, while Face and Hannibal got close to the perimeter of the cabin, and Hannibal watched Face still. Years of watching Face in the field, told Hannibal exactly what Face was doing as he listened to every noise, and his eyes scanned the darkened windows.

 

Finally, Face reported back. "8," he whispered to his CO.

 

Hannibal nodded. "Let's fall back. We'll work out a plan tonight, and put it in gear tomorrow."


Face nodded, and together they slipped into the darkness and met up with Murdock and BA.

 

#

 

Night in the desert was cold. Face shivered inside the tent he was sharing with Hannibal, and Hannibal moved over closer to him, and gently laid his hand on his side. The flinch was minuet, but Hannibal caught it. Inwardly he sighed as he moved closer to his lover, pushing up against Face's back. He nuzzled his nose into Face's neck.

 

"Better?" he whispered. He felt Face nod. He smiled and tightened his hold. "Good, then get some sleep."

 

Face cocked his head slightly to look at Hannibal's face, his eyebrow slightly raised.


"Not until you're ready," he whispered into Face's ear. "Night babe." He felt Face relax with his words, and moments later, they both drifted off into sleep.

 

#

 

The team circled the log cabin, keeping their distance in the woods to stay unseen. Murdock and BA went one way, Hannibal and Face the other.

 

When they regrouped in the back of the cabin, in a grove of solid trees, they looked at Hannibal expectantly.

 

"Why don't we just call in the Army, Hannibal?" BA growled. "This is a stupid plan."

 

"Now BA," Hannibal mollified, "do we really want to take the chance that they're still here by time the Military gets up here?"

 

BA sighed. "Still don't like it Hannibal."

 

"You've made that clear. Now, we round these guys up, and the Mason's will sit on them while the Military is getting here. Any questions?"

 

The team shook their heads.

 

"Good, let's move."

 

The team moved to the edge of the woods, and then rushed the front door. BA gave it a strong kick, splintering it, and sending it crashing in.


Chaos ensued. The men jumped up to meet the fight, but the team had the element of surprise. Hannibal saw the doctor out of the corner of his eye, fleeing for the backdoor. He dropped the man he was currently fighting with a hard fist to the jaw, and then took off after the other man.

 

Face saw someone slip through a door just as he ducked a blow to his head. He returned the blow, sending the other man stumbling backwards, crashing into the dining room table. He grabbed the man again, and two quick blows to the head, had him unconscious on the floor.

 

Hannibal had to chase the doctor for quite a ways before he caught him in a flying tackle, and wrestled him to the ground. The fight was short lasting, as Hannibal had the advantage of years of training. He reined blows down upon the other man, one after another. Only Murdock's shouting, and BA's arms pulling him off, brought him out of his need for revenge.

 

"Where's Face?" Hannibal asked, looking around.

 

They shook their heads. "We don't know. We saw you out here trying to kill this guy," Murdock told him. "The others are all accounted for and unconscious, minus Mattherson and Face."

 

Hannibal's heart sank. "Damn," he muttered getting to his feet. "Let's go find them. BA bring this guy," he told him.


BA nodded and leaned down and grabbed the unconscious doctor, and threw him over his shoulder. He deposited him in the living room in the pile of other unconscious bad guys.

 

"BA stay here, watch them, and call Mason; get him up here. Murdock, start checking the house," Hannibal ordered.

 

Murdock and Hannibal began opening doors, and checking the house thoroughly, guns out and drawn. Finally, with only one door to go, they both paused outside it, and Hannibal nodded to Murdock, who flung the door open. It was a stairway leading down into the basement.

 

They slowly crept down the steps, and made out the voices of Face and Carl.

 

"You won't kill me," Carl was taunting.

 

"You sure about that?" Face threw back, his voice deadly and even.

 

"Yes, and so do you. You won't hurt John. You know that deep down he still loves me. How's it feel, whore? To know that no matter where you go, or how long he fucks you, he still loves me more, and will turn his back on you the moment he sees me? He didn't even believe you. How'd that feel Peck? How'd it feel to finally tell him what I did to you, and have him not only not believe you, but make mad passionate love with me moments later?" Carl had the audacity to laugh. "Did you tell him how bad I hurt you that first time during our fishing trip? How I cut you? How I made you bleed? How I used him to make you submit to me?" He laughed again.


Hannibal and Murdock rounded the corner slowly; despite wanting to rush and grind the ex-Army Colonel into mince meat. They couldn't risk Face.


They found them up against a wall. Face's back was into the wall, Carl's back to them. Each locked in a deadly embrace, their hands around each other's necks. Carl had one hand across Face's throat, the other fisted in his hair, pulling his head back. Face had one hand pushing at Carl's jaw, the other was slipped to the side of his head, and both Hannibal and Murdock knew that it would only take an instant for him to break the other mans neck.

 

"Shut up," Face growled.

 

"Make me," Carl returned. "He'll always love me more, Peck, and there's nothing you can do about it, and you won't kill me because of it. You'll hurt John."

 

Hannibal stepped up silently behind Carl and leveled his gun at Carl's head, engaging the hammer as he did so. "Actually, no he won't. In fact, it would give me great pleasure to watch him kill you. Slowly."


Carl's eyes widened in surprise, and his head spun slightly, but his grip didn't relax.

 

"John! You can't mean that."

 

"But I do," Hannibal told him evenly, his eyes crystal clear, and hard. "But before he does, you're wrong on several accounts, and I want you to know the truth before you die. I do not love you. I stopped loving you a long time ago, and if there was any question about my feelings for you, they were erased when I found out exactly who you are. I only wish that I had known earlier. That he had told me earlier. Because I guarantee you Carl, had he told me what you did, they would have never found your body, because I would have shoved a live grenade so far up your ass, that all you would have had time to do was see the hate in my eyes as I watched you explode."


Hannibal watched Carl swallow.

 

"As for you and I having sex. I made a huge mistake that I will pay for, for the rest of my life, but in no way does it imply that I have any feelings for you. Nor, that my feelings for him aren't exactly what I say they are. It only means I was weak. Just so you know; I love him more then you could ever begin to imagine, and I have from the very first moment that I saw him. From that moment, you meant nothing to me Carl. Nothing. It was him, and only him from that moment on."

 

Carl was shaking his head. "You don't mean that."

 

"With everything I am. Now, you were saying something about how badly you hurt my L-T? Why don't you tell me exactly what you did to him on that fishing trip? Don't leave out any details."

 

Carl was shaking his head again. He glanced at the gun in Hannibal's hand, aimed at his forehead between his eyes. He shook his head again, his eyes desperate.

 

"Why not? You found it so easy to taunt him with it. You said something about cutting him? Making him bleed? Using me against him?" His eyes were hard and deadly as he glared at Carl, daring him to talk.

 

Face's soft voice broke the tension. "That's enough Hannibal."

 

Hannibal glanced at him. Face's stance had not changed, but his eyes were pleading with him to leave it alone. He did not want to relive this memory, not in front of Carl, who would see exactly how badly he had hurt him. Hannibal inwardly sighed.

 

But then Carl smiled gloatingly. "You want to know, John? You want to know every sordid little detail? I took him to the most desolate place I could find, his insolent ass in tow, ordered by you to submit to my every whim. How gracious of you, John. I never did get a chance to thank you. I wanted a taste of that sweet ass so bad. I knew you did too, so he had to be punished for that. I pounced on him the moment we were out of your site. I took off my belt and I beat him with it, and I made him take it, or there was a bullet in my gun with your name on it."

 

Hannibal's eyes darkened and he began to shake with rage.

 

"We never did go fishing, by the way. Instead, I took him to the most rancid, most seedy hotel I could find. Fit for the whore I would make him. I immediately threw him on the bed, and tore his clothes off. He fought me hard, which only turned me on more, but when I thought he was going to win, I warned him of what I would do to you again. I pulled out the knife you had gotten me, and I showed it to him. Remember that knife, John? I told him how much you loved me, and how disappointed you would be in him if he didn't follow your orders and do everything I told him to." Carl's grin grew. "I made him lie still, John, very, very still, while I cut him, and then I poured salt in every wound I had inflicted. I recommend you doing it John. The power that rushed through me was unbelievable. I was turned on like never before. While he lay there, groaning in pain, I fucked his ass, over, and over and over again. I lost track of the amount of times we had wild, amazing sex. The best sex I ever had. To this day, he is the best lover I've ever known. Which is why I couldn't stop. I made sure I never touched his face. Couldn't have you finding out. We came back to you, and you welcomed me with open arms and we had great sex that night. Remember? I was on such a high from torturing your Lieutenant, that the sex between us was better then ever. You even commented on that fact. You said the sex was the best we'd ever had, and whatever I had done to put me in that mood, not to ever stop. So, I didn't." His grin was huge and knowing. Hannibal felt his stomach knot and twist.


He clenched his jaw and lowered his gun. Carl's smile grew even larger and Hannibal looked him in the eye. "Kill him Face."

 

The smile left Carl's face and fear appeared behind his eyes.


Hannibal turned his gaze to Face. Face momentarily looked at him in shock, and then he tightened his grip, and his gaze darkened. Hannibal heard Carl squeak in protest and fear, but Hannibal ignored him, his focus solely on Face.

 

He watched Face momentarily apply pressure, and then in another moment, his grip relaxed, the second before he would have ended Carl's life. He dropped his hands, shook his head slightly, and moved to walk away.

 

Carl started in surprise. He grabbed his neck, as though to assure himself it was still intact, and then he reacted, grabbing for Face, a knife appearing. Face was faster. Anticipating the move, he reacted; he grabbed Carl's knife arm, and twisted. They fought, the knife disappearing between them, but it only took Face a few seconds to disarm him, pulling the knife from his hand and tossing it away from them. Then he spun Carl around, twisted his arm behind his back, and pulled it sharply between his shoulder blades. He bent him double at the waist, and applied pressure with his foot in his back, not stopping even when Carl cried out in pain. He pushed him until he was lying flat on the floor, begging for his life.


BA came down the stairs then and stopped suddenly at the sight. He stepped closer to Hannibal. "Mason's here with some other guys. Police and Military's on their way. We need to go."

 

Hannibal nodded. "Find some rope," he instructed BA and Murdock, his eyes not leaving Face. A moment later, BA and Murdock knelt down beside Carl, and quickly pulled his arms and legs up, and hogtied him tightly. Murdock smirked at the ex-Colonel and then hit him in the back of the head.


"If I had a skewer, I'd shove it up your ass," he told the other man. "Roast your sorry ass for the military to find."

He climbed to his feet and stood next to Face. His hand settling on his lower back, he leaned closer to him. "You okay?" he asked him.


Face nodded.


"Let's move out. Military's on the way," Hannibal ordered, handing Face his gun. BA drug Mattherson up the stairs, being careful to knock his head against every step on the climb up. They deposited him at Mason's feet.


"If he moves, shoot him," Hannibal instructed, pulling out a cigar. He smiled as Murdock came back with an apple, and shoved it in Carl's mouth.

"This will have to do," he murmured. "Unless you have a skewer? And a fire pit?" He turned to Marc hopefully.


Marc Mason smiled and laughed, and then shook his hand, then the rest of the teams. "Thank you so much for all of your help. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it."


Hannibal nodded. "Just keep that boy of yours out of trouble. You don't want him to turn out like this," he motioned with his head to the scum lying on the floor.


Marc shook his head. "I think this event has opened his eyes."

 

They could hear the whistle of sirens coming up the mountain, so with one last goodbye, the team ran out the door, and back toward their camp, where they quickly packed up, and jumped in the jeep.

Behind the wheel, BA looked over at him. "Now what Hannibal? How do we get home? I don't even know where we are."


"Yeah, about that," Hannibal said from around his cigar, just as Murdock poked him in the neck with a syringe. "We'll be flying home. Glad to see you agree," Hannibal said, patting BA on the back. They quickly slid BA into the passenger seat, Murdock hopped into the driver seat, and Hannibal and Face sat in the back, and Murdock headed back toward the abandoned airfield.

 

Aboard the plane, Hannibal was just depositing BA into a seat, when he glanced over at Face, and caught sight of the red stain on his shirt. In two moves, he was standing next to Face's side, his fingers reaching for the bloodstain, where he saw the tear in the white dress shirt for the first time.

 

"You're hurt, Face," Hannibal said, touching the rip across his chest. Face glanced down, and Murdock stopped in his tracks on his way to the cockpit.

Face glanced down, and then shook his head. "It's just a scratch," he insisted. "Mattherson's knife caught me when I disarmed him."


Hannibal nodded while unbuttoning the shirt. It was a little more then a scratch, but it wasn't too bad. "He'll be okay," Hannibal assured Murdock quietly. "Get us in the air."

 

Hannibal guided Face into a seat, where he cleaned and patched Face's cut. Then he took his hand. "I'm sorry," he told him.

 

Face looked up. "For what?"


"For everything. For forcing you to go fishing with Carl, for not seeing who he really was, or that you were hurt when you came back. For ordering you to do what you were told, for being the one who made sure Carl kept hurting you. How stupid can I be? I remember telling him exactly that too!" Hannibal cursed himself. "God Face, if I had know the reason the sex was so good, had anything to do with you, I - "

 

"Hannibal, stop," Face interrupted him quietly. "You're not to blame for what Carl did."

 

Hannibal shook his head. "But I am. I ordered you to go with him. I ordered you to do what you were told. I -"

 

"Hannibal," Face objected again. "Have I ever been known to follow an order I disagreed with?" he smirked at Hannibal slightly.


Hannibal nodded, his eyes serious and pained. "When the order came from me, you did." Face lifted his eyebrows, and Hannibal sighed. "Okay, fine." And this time he did smile slightly. "You've never been that great about following orders. Only if they were important."

 

"And that wasn't."

 

"But you did it to save me."

 

"As you would have me," Face returned evenly.

 

Hannibal nodded. "I still feel like crap, Face. He was my boyfriend. I should have known."


"He didn't let you know, Hannibal. He had a sadistic side that he did a fantastic job of hiding, from everyone. Don't beat yourself up over something you had no control over."

 

Hannibal sighed quietly. "I went to him after you told me what he did. You told me he raped you," he stopped as he caught Face's wince the word brought. "and I slept with him" Hannibal drifted off. "I hurt you so badly. I don't know how you can still love me."

 

"We all make mistakes Hannibal."

"Not of that magnitude! I should have believed you."

"Why? You had no reason to suspect that Mattherson was anything but the charming nice guy he portrayed to you. I dropped a bomb on you Hannibal, one you weren't suspecting at all. It was a shock. So, you lashed out at me by sleeping with him."


Hannibal's mouth was open. "Are you defending my actions?" he asked incredulously.

 

Face shrugged. "Making sense of them."

 

"I was wrong, Face. End of discussion."

 

"Fine, you were wrong." Face shrugged again.

 

Hannibal sighed deeply and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I made a mistake," he whispered. "A very big mistake. And I'm sorry. Somehow kid, I'll prove to you just how sorry I am."

 

Face nodded, looking out the window. "I believe that," he told him.

 

#

 

The plane landed gracefully, and the team unloaded their gear, and BA, and deposited him back in the van.

 

"Where to?" Murdock wanted to know, sliding behind the wheel.

 

Hannibal looked over at Face, and then to Murdock. "I think we're in need of retraining," he finally answered.


Murdock nodded. "The mountain cabin?" he asked, referring to the cabin the team owned in Northern California where they went to train, or to just be alone.

 

Hannibal nodded. "The mountain cabin."

 

Murdock pulled onto the freeway and clicked on the radio. They listened in silence, watching the scenery pass. They heard the low groan from the passenger seat as BA woke up.

 

Murdock grinned over at him. "Hey big guy, glad you could join us!"

 

"What happened?" he asked sleepily.

 

"You don't remember?" Hannibal leaned forward between the seats.


BA shook his head. Then he turned his head and glared. "A plane! You put me on a plane!"

 

Hannibal smiled and leaned back in his seat. "I don't know what you're talking about BA. Do you Face?"


Face shook his head, a look of pure innocence on his face. "No idea whatsoever. Don't you remember BA? You must have amnesia, that was a pretty hard hit you took to the head."

 

"Hit? What're you talking about?"


Hannibal grinned at Face as Face smoothly replied. "We were hiking. You tripped over a rock in the path, stumbled over the edge of a cliff, and hit your head falling down the incline. You've been out for hours. We were heading back into LA to get you to a doctor." His eyes were twinkling.


BA shook his head. "No man, you lyin! Ah remember, we was in the mountains. Chasin Mattherson."


Face let his eyes widen slightly as he shook his head. "Well, we were in the mountains, but we were the ones getting chased. By that bear. Murdock nicknamed him Carl."

 

"Yeah big guy," Murdock chipped in. "Bear was mean and ugly. I said he looked just like Carl. The bear chased us, and then you tripped over that rock, and fell off the cliff."

 

Hannibal was smiling around his cigar.

 

BA was still shaking his head. "You said we were hiking, Face."

 

"We were. Then the bear came along. Wanted the trout we'd caught. You didn't want to give it up, so you fought him for it. You didn't see the rock."

 

"You said we were being chased."


"We were. He was chasing us for the trout," Murdock inserted. "Aren't you listening?"

 

BA continued to shake his head. " No, we were helping out some guy named Marc Mason. Matherson took over his cabin."

 

"Wasn't Marc Mason the name of that fellow that owned that store where we got the bait?" Face asked Murdock.


Murdock nodded. "Yeah, that was him. Tall guy. Had a whole lot of wild game mounted around the store. That must have been some dream BA."

 

BA narrowed his eyes. "I'm telling you, we caught Mattherson, and that doctor that drugged Face, and we turned them over to the military somewhere in the desert."


Face shrugged. "If you say so BA."

 

Just then, a news reporter came on. "It seems as though we have had another positive A-Team sighting. Locals in Tombstone Arizona said that earlier today, the A-team was responsible for catching one of the men on the military's most wanted list. Ex Army Colonel Carl Mattherson was found by local police and turned over to the military this evening. Locals say they have the A-Team to thank for the capture of the man, and his gang, and for saving their small town from the drug infestation that Mattherson was scheming to introduce to the small mountain community. Local police say that a new line of drugs was found along with the escaped felons, but the military refuses any further comment, except to say that they are following the A-Teams trail, and hope to bring them in before long. The rest of the country however, tip their hats in thanks to the A-Team, and hope you have a safe getaway."

 

Hannibal chuckled, but quickly schooled his expression, as BA slowly leveled his gaze at each of them.

"Bear?"

 

Face and Murdock swallowed. And Hannibal laughed. BA leapt for Murdock, who swerved the van off to the side of the road. Quickly braking, Murdock jumped out and ran, BA right behind him. Face and Hannibal got out of the van and watched. Hannibal leaned his arm against Face's shoulder, and held his cigar between his thumb and finger. He grinned at Face.

 

"I love it when a plan comes together."

 

 


Ex-Love by Jes Parker
Ex-Love 2 by Jes Parker

 

 


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