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Beyond Curtain Call
Summary: Story happens right after the Episode Curtain Call, Murdock is still at the V.A. Recovering from his gun shot and the Army has increased its presence, The Team is staying away for their and Murdocks safety.
Comments -Yes Please
Disclaimer: I do not own the A-Team or make any money of this.
Warnings: None, maybe some strong language. Just a bit of emotional stuff.
After the episode Curtain Call, it has been weeks since the team all got together. Its not going as well as they hoped. Decker hasn't left the VA since Murdock showed back up with a fresh bullet wound . Doubts of Murdock's have cause a fight between Him and Hannibal . And now it's up to Maggie Sullivan and Face and BA to make everything right between the two. Can the guys get out of this with out killing each other.
John "Hannibal" Smith was pacing the room when he heard a gentle knock, before he had a chance to respond his Girlfriend Maggie entered. They had met a few years before when BA took a hit in the leg and needed medical care. They ended up fighting off some bikers and saving the town. Maggie and John had been an item since even though their time together was sporadic due to Hannibal's life. But they spoke as often as possible and get together on his down time. He had invited her up to the house for what was supposed to be a relaxing time with friends.
Maggie didn't wait for a reply as she entered the room. She stood in front of him with her arms crossed over her chest.
" What in the hell is going on, I come in to see you punch Murdock in the face and yelling at your other to men Hannibal that's not you" . Maggie waited for an answer She searched his Blue eyes for a clue to his thoughts but only found pain..with a trace of something she had Never seen in him Guilt .
"Aww Maggie... I really screwed up. I knew Murdock was just venting, that he needed to be reassured that all was gonna be OK but I couldn't , everything he said was true to an extent. We do keep him on a shelf and take him down when it suits us. But we figured he liked the life too. Maggie I almost got him killed. Not in a forsaken jungle but right here in the states. Hell it was 50 miles from here. He took a Bullet meant for me. He never thought twice, I don't even think he thought about it at all just reacted. Just Willing to die for me. Now he is under Decker's thumb , even if we need him or he needs us we cant get to him". Hannibal looked away from her, he couldn't stand to see the accusations unspoken in her face whether real or imagined.
Maggie touched his arm and pulled him into her arms. She didn't know what to say , how to help him through this turmoil. All she could do was hold him till she felt some of the stress leave his shoulders and he rested his head on her shoulder.
" John Listen to me , she took a step back to look him in the eye, Those men out there , they need you. I know its a hard burden to carry but like it or not you are all they have. With out you BA and Face would end up in a prison or worse . And Murdock ..well whether he realizes it or not right now He needs you guys as much as you need him. You didn't ask for this but we get what we get and we deal with it. Could it be that its not the military's interference now that is bothering you. Could it be that your guilt over Murdock taking that bullet for you as say is really what is making you react like this.
Why?" Maggie sat down at on the bed and waited for his answer.
" Cause I screwed up, I have been avoiding him, But not cause I don't care or didn't want him around or even Decker ….... Its cause I SCREWED UP. All me, My pride , My ego or whatever. Almost cost him his life. I had been really sloppy before this too, Crazy plans , not even fully thought through, just fly by the seat of pants kind of stuff. Usually we got through with a black eye or a few cracked ribs. Stuff that would not even make us think twice. Just laugh it off ,drink a beer and move on. Even when BA was shot and we met you that time ...it wasn't serious , I had a bigger problem keeping BA from hurting Face for the whole thing. Then keeping BA from killing Murdock for his teasing about the blood. But this last time." Hannibal sat down next to Maggie and put his head in his hands.
"This last time was BAD I mean BAD. We didn't even have a first aid kit in the van for pete's sake. We have every thing else in that ride. But no FIRST AID KIT What in the hell were we thinking . Even little old ladies keep a kit in the their cars for an emergency. But If I need to I could put a disguise on but not save one of men. Hannibal was back up pacing reaching into his pocket for a cigar and found none. Dammit smoked my last one earlier. Hannibal's agitation was reaching a palpable amount now. "If Face hadn't gotten the kit and stole a MP uniform Murdock would be dead and we would be in prison."
"John you got to talk to them , Murdock needs to hear you, they all do. They need to know your sorry and move on . You need to tell him. "
" I can't Mag, I can't say sorry I don't know how to , He still has nerve damage.. Ricter told me . A mugging was the cover story at the VA, he broke up a Mugging and took a bullet to the Shoulder. That's our grand cover story. We can scam a whole town, but couldn't cover my screw up better than blaming an invisible man. We made Murdock look like a hero but they don't know HE really is . He should have a hundred medals for the things he has done , That we all have done. But the only Metal we will get will be cuffs. "
" John talk to them tell them this , they have the same fears the same anger , maybe if you guys talked about it once in awhile it wouldn't get bottled up and explode like this." Maggie tried to pull him back into an embrace but to no avail.
He looked out the window and took a few deep breaths .
" Your right, your always right,.. I do need to make this right. OK lets get this over with.. I really Need a smoke." He turned back and kissed her gently on her forehead. They walked out of the room hand and hand .
Murdock was looking over the back deck He knew he had been unfair, but nothing is fair . He had been on edge due to Decker's continuous pressure and his practically moving in with Murdock. He needed some time to regroup mentally and Physically but his constant threats, and demands had rubbed the man's fragile nerves raw. He was ashamed of his outburst. He was about to turn around and head back in to apologize when Face came out , holding a cup or tea for Murdock and a glass of whiskey for himself.
" No beer? " Murdock asked as he gratefully took his tea and put it on the rail.
" No I think tea is better for you you seem pretty wired after all.
" Yea good point don't need me to decide to take on BA , If anyone was gonna hit me out of anger It's a good thing it was the Colonel , He always pulls his punch at the end. Or else I would have a broken jaw. Imagine having to explain that, Decker would never leave, probably want to finger print my face" . Murdock said bitterly
" Come on you don't think all that stuff back there right. I mean you have to know that's not how we see you ."Face asked
" I didn't but Decker is running a game on my head man, He keeps saying those things and I think its starting to get to me. Then when you guys dropped off the radar for so long ..oh I don't know Maybe I need a med adjustment.'Murdock wasn't making eye contact but Face could read the look he wasn't supposed to see.
" Look Murdock , its hard for you ,we know that, we are moving targets but that's just it , Moving targets are hard to hit. And we do have an outlet for the stress, Hannibal's acting , BA has the center and I have " Murdock quickly interrupted with "GIRLS"
Face sighed and said " I was going to say an active social life. Yea ok I will give you that one. But you don't have an escape or at least not something you enjoy, you have your life at the VA and all that entails. All these years we have been kidding ourselves thinking we were your outlet with the stress of being cooped up. But after.... the last time"Murdock spun on his heal and looked at the blond man and said . "Come on Face Say it , I got shot , its OK to say, I got shot and probably would have died had the A -Team luck not held a little longer. I have dealt with it , , Can you all say the same?
"Murdock I have nightmares about it, I see you fly through the air and crash down with a hole, I see the Blood , Its nothing I haven't seen before so why is this time different."Face went to speak again when he heard Hannibal say
"Cause it was my fault"Hannibal stepped out on to the deck with BA following close behind, Maggie stayed in the kitchen to finish making supper. She didn't want to intrude
"What ..No Hannibal its not , there is only one person to blame and he is sitting in a jail. BA said from the door.
No its my fault too I was stupid and reckless, I had bought into our hype. I should have been more careful, but most of all I should have told you thank you and I'm Sorry. Sorry for even pulling you into all of our mess. I still even looking at you now see your face that day, the pain and the fear that we never admit . I didn't deal then cause we had a job to do. Another amazing A-Team rescue . And we did .But a part of me is still trapped in that cave. And Murdock yes I was avoiding you and for that I am also sorry. Hannibal crossed the deck and placed his hands on His friend's shoulders, Can you forgive me for being a jackass."
" Hannibal I don't have anything to forgive you for...well except for this bruise on my cheek " Murdock smiled and quickly grew somber again I did what anyone of you would have done for me had the tables been turned. Its what you do for your unit.
"Things are gonna change guys ,No more hair brained plans, no more gloating from now on we need ..I need to be more careful. We still have some things to get out but I think dinner is ready and I don't know about you three I could really use a good meal. So table this discussion till after supper?
Yea let's eat they all said in unison.
After a tense supper Face and BA with some help from Maggie cleared and cleaned the kitchen. Face usually did anything he could to avoid kitchen duty but he wasn't ready to talk with Hannibal and Murdock . He was still mulling over all that had been said in the past few hours. Did they really treat Murdock as a tool ? He always felt they were all equals ." I don't understand any of this " He muttered out loud.
" NO" came a gruff voice to his right
In his thoughts he had forgotten BA was next to him washing the rest of the plates.
" What ever ya thinkin man" BA slammed down the pot in the water, " Whatever you think is going on " . BA stormed away from the sink.
"What do we do then BA, not deal with what ever head game Decker is playing on Murdock , ignore that Hannibal feel like he let us down? Go back to the jobs and running around like we are some superheros ?Cause that's whats going on " Face threw the towel on the counter and crossed his arms and stared down the big man.
" Don't you two start with each other" Maggie stood between them
" He didn't let us down , He never did. I Am gonna take care of DECKER , Give the fool back his space.
" BA I KNOW , I AGREE But how ...Face lowered his voice before he pushed the line with BA anymore.
"Guys its time to finish this , can you join us in the living room. Face Bring a cigar " Hannibal called from the other room
Face and BA joined Hannibal and Murdock and sat down. Face handed Hannibal his cigar which he just pocketed. Hannibal seemed a little calmer that before not much.
Murdock still looking unsure of where his place in the world was and it tugged the conman's heart. HE had seen that look a lot growing up in the orphanage. Face sat down next to Murdock and placed his hand on his back. Murdock gave him a weak smile but then returned to staring at the floor.
" Ok I will start , Murdock and I spoke a bit privately and we feel that you both should know what was discussed. First off I owe you both an apology also and since tonight seems to be the Apology tour for me here goes. Sometimes I don't think about what can happen and when I do I ignore that little voice that could make me slow down. From a commanders standpoint there is no room for indecision But what works in War doesn't work in the real world. And I wish I could say for sure that I wont get swept up in the moment again. But I can't. But I can say one thing if I do please don't think I feel for a split second that ANY of you are disposable " With that sentence he stared directly at the Captain, who had looked up and locked eyes for just a moment. There have been mistakes made true , can they be rectified Yes we are all still here. Safe and Sound in one piece and willing to air our issues as ugly as they can be. Hannibal looked around the room at his Team, BA was nodding . Face also. Murdock seemed like he was relaxing a bit, his manor a little less guarded.
"Hannibal "Murdock started , I'm sorry , I didn't realize myself how much these past few weeks had spun me up. I would never think those things that I said at least I didn't think so. And its not all the Stuff with Decker. And I lied to you guys , Hannibal I know you called , I know you spoke to Ricter. I know he told you about the nerve damage in my shoulder. I know why you called, but one part of my head kept saying Why didn't you call me to ask, But I know those answers, too risky and there wouldn't be any honesty in my answer. But it is OK , gonna take time . But the one thing I don't know what to do about is Decker. As much I would love to just waylay him …..and it has taken a lot of my strength not to. How can we get him off my back. Murdock sat back and pulled his legs up underneath him.
" I am working on that Murdock I am . The floor is open to suggestions " Hannibal said finally pulling out the cigar and lighting it
" What about Murdock's Psychiatrist "Maggie said " this Ricter , can't he say that Decker's constant presence is setting Murdock's mental stability back? I mean he has to be interfering with the day to day operations with all the extra men around. It's not like it would be a lie because well No offense you do seem less stable than I remember . "
" NO offense taken Doc. I could just snap on him ..it wouldn't be hard might even be a little fun " Murdock said imagining his hands around Deckers throat. Face stared at his friend for the first time seeing how close to an actual break he was .
" Murdock they would lock you away and we wouldn't be able to get to you, and also With that shoulder it would be to easy for Decker and his men to really hurt you." Hannibal said But I do like where Maggie is going with this . And if we could enlist the good doctors help Both of them , Hannibal smiled at His girlfriend who had came and perched on the arm of the chair and placed her arm over his shoulders.
" What can I do? I am just a small town doctor who has no sway with the military ?"
" How about you volunteer the VA and start causing problems for good old ROD"Face said catching on quickly where Smith was headed
" I couldn't , I mean then won't I too be on Deckers radar ?"
" Not Necessarily,you are a military doc who decided to come and make a difference in the lives of her fellow soldiers. No Maggie this could work." Can Badrock spare you for a little while longer?
" I think so , but I am still not sure what I am supposed to do"
" Just be there , I am sure Decker will do the rest...... Hannibal said with a bit of glee
The team and Maggie spent the next day talking , playing cards and laughing. Murdock finally seemed to be back . HE was still nervous about his return to the VA, he didn't trust Decker, and now they were putting Maggie in danger . But he also knew that A United team is unstoppable. But those are thoughts for a different day right now he was gonna play Frisbee with Face and BA , maybe even Billy would join in .
Complete for now.
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