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Coming Storms

And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries- Fifty Four

Fingers and GW

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mity
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and loving I disdain I am a rock, I am an island (Lyrics borrowed from Simon and Garfunkel) ————– Chao looked up from his desk and saw his visitor. “Ah, Hunt. Hello there. Tucked the young lady into bed? She looked delicious in those silk pyjamas.” Stockwell looked at Chao and coldly commented, “I’m not here to exchange pleasantries. I have been ordered to check on Peck. ” Chao raised his eyebrows and opened his hands, “Be my guest. He’s resting at the moment. He was most surprised to see me. Even after all of these years, he is still just as much fun. Guard, escort the general to see our guest.” @@@@ Face lay curled up, his body and head aching from the beating he’d just received, ‘the appetizer before the main course’ as his captor had called it. Face knew from the attention given to his legs by the cane that it was primarily to stop him running or fighting too much when the time came. The ache from the welts on his legs flooded the rest of his body, drowning out the pain from most of the other bruises; ‘most but not all’ he thought as he shifted the arm that was cradling his chin. ‘Trust Decker to step in when he’s not wanted.’ Noises of footsteps and jangling keys drew him out of his thoughts. ‘Time for the entrยปe.’ Face remained where he was, listening to the muffled conversation behind the locked door. ‘Funny, doesn’t sound like Chao.’ He shifted slightly to see who it was that was visiting him, his heart beating a little quicker as he wondered whether it was Hannibal or Murdock pulling off a crazy scam, his eyes shutting to hide his disappointment as Stockwell strode through the door. “So, no comments, Lieutenant? No witty remarks?” Face muttered as best as he could through a swollen mouth, “Go to hell, Stockwell.” “That’s better. Now, what’s the next question?” Face sighed. He really wasn’t in the mood. “How did I get here?” “Well, unfortunately, your friend who rescued you from whatever trouble you were in walked in on a board meeting unexpectedly.” “Oh.” Face wasn’t really interested. He just wanted to go to sleep. He tensed as he heard Stockwell kneel down. “Relax. I’m just checking you over.” Face felt the practised hands check his injuries. He moaned as the hands went up to his head. “I said, stay still.” Stockwell ranged his hands through the blond hair of the lieutenant. For the first time, he was struck by the silky smoothness of it. He had never felt hair so smooth apart from… he shook his head to clear it of the painful thoughts. He stopped for a few seconds and then went on with his inspection. He found one bruise on the side of his head but no lump. Stockwell’s fingers found a barely perceptible scar. He smiled sadly as it brought back memories of a mad dash to the emergency room with a screaming three and a half year old who had fallen out of his bed. **** “How is he?” He took his eyes off the road for a second to sweep them over the woman and child sitting next to him. The woman’s blue eyes came up to meet his questioning gaze. “It’s still bleeding. I can’t get it to stop. At least, he’s not screaming like he was. He looks like he’s gone to sleep.” Hunt breathed in sharply. His eyes swept over the boy cradled in his mother’s arms. Blonde hair was marked with red blood that seeped out over the temporary bandage applied to the break in the skin. Thoughts of treating head injuries while out on exercise and on those secret missions he did with increasing regularity came into his mind. “Wake him now and keep him awake. Make sure he stays awake until we get to the emergency room.” “But Hunt, how?” “Pinch him, anything. Why is this camp so big?” Hunt bit his lip as the small boy reacted to his mother’s pinch with a high pitched squeal, followed by the sound of frightened sobs. “Head hurts, momma.” “I know it does, I know it does. We’re going to see a nice doctor about it, and he’s going to make it better, ok?” “Okay. How soon is it to Christmas?” “Not very long, not long at all.” @@@@ Stockwell sighed with relief as the doctor and nurse came out of the cubicle at last. He went up to the doctor and asked, “How is he, doctor?” “He’s fine, Captain. We just had to give him a couple of stitches. He was such a brave boy, did his mom and pa proud.” The nurse pushed past the pair of them back into the cubicle. The doctor smiled. “I think he’s going to be a lady killer when he grows up. He’s already getting practice.” Hunt smiled, “Just like his pa!” The doctor smiled and walked away down the corridor. Hunt popped his head around the side of the cubicle and saw the nurse bending down in front of the gurney, where a wide-eyed, alert, and very charming three year old sat on his mother’s knee. Hunt saw that the little boy was holding his hand out for the lollipop that the nurse had produced and laughed as he kissed the nurse on the cheek as he grabbed it. The nurse turned away, looking very flushed. Hunt strolled in, “Are we ready to go home?” The blond held out his hands and said, “Unky carry Jesse?” **** At length, he said, “You’ll be fine.” “Fine for what?” Face didn’t like the tone. “To control the brat we have elsewhere, before she injures anyone else. Sheesh… the sedative Donavetti gave her must have worn off or something. She’s like a wild cat.” “If it was Donavetti that gave it, are you sure it’s not one of Kyle’s leftovers? And is the ‘she’ Jane Napier?” “Yep, we need her alive, but the way she is treating her guards, one of them might just snap. I’ll be back soon. I need to make some arrangements for your transportation.” “Gee, thanks.” Face shut his eyes and didn’t know whether to be relieved or frightened. He relaxed as he heard Stockwell stand up and move away from him. Stockwell cursed himself, ‘must be unfit from the months in prison, that was why he was sweating.’ He stood back, intending to call the guard to open the door. His eyes remained focused on the familiar blond hair, how he hated seeing anyone with that color hair. ‘Calm down Hunt, it’s only because it is tonight of all nights.’ Hunt sighed as he felt the familiar feelings of panic and dread appear, ‘Not now! I don’t need this now!’ Before he could help it he was taken back to the past and his confused memories of that time. **** He grabbed a limp and cooling hand and shaking the body and screamed, “Oh Lord, Jesse! Where is he? Please tell me where Jesse is?” He jumped back when the body fell over and slumped limply in his embrace. The wound to the back of the skull, red, grey mixing with gold, made him cry out in agony, “No please ‘Lonna, you can’t leave us, no.” @@@@ “I am sorry, Hunt, I am so sorry. What a tragedy.” Hunt moved to go across to the morgue. His superior caught his arm and shook his head. “I wouldn’t. There is not much that is recognisable, I’m afraid. The fire was just too intense.” @@@@ The small honor guard saluted him and the two coffins as they filed past them. Hunt saluted back. His parents and the few other relatives present weeping beside him. He wasn’t conscious of their presence, just of the aching absence of his brother in law. **** He knew the flashback only lasted a minute at the most… it always did. He shook himself as he saw the lieutenant moaning and stirring again. Stockwell sighed. The damn guy was getting him to play nursemaid, just like he’d gotten the rest of the team looking after him, including the great and tough Hannibal Smith. “Lieutenant, are you all right?” Face moaned. ‘Why was Stockwell still here? Was he going to sit in on the next session with Chao?’ He forced his eyes open and looked directly into the man’s eyes. “General? I… I was having a nightmare. Oh, sorry… this is reality.” Face closed his eyes again. @@@@ Stockwell was rocked back on his feet as for the first time he ‘saw’ the blue eyes. ‘Shit, shit, shit, it can’t be. NO!’ Stockwell stood up and whirled around. He held his face in his hands and took some deep breaths. His plan of action suddenly clear in front of him, he turned back to the lieutenant and sat down and whispered, “Lieutenant, we’ll be transporting you soon to where the young captain is. From there, I will arrange for you to be rescued by the Team. You just have to take care of the captain until that is worked out. Understand?” Stockwell held his breath until Face nodded. Stockwell said nothing more and walked up to the door and banged on the door and demanded to be let out. @@@@ While he was walking up to Chao’s office, Stockwell glanced at his watch and realised that everything had only taken five minutes. He breathed deeply – five minutes, and his whole life had changed. He allowed himself a small smile as he thought of two others that would soon have their life changed. He cautioned himself, ‘Calm down, Hunt. It is only a fantasy. It can’t be true.’ No, he decided it couldn’t be true. He’d investigated the team too closely for him never to have spotted it before. No, it wasn’t true.’ Still, the call and remembrance of those blue eyes haunted him. Stockwell cut his interview short with the gloating Asian; he wanted to be away from this place, he wanted to be somewhere where he could think and plan. His mind concentrated on the logistical details of getting Bancroft / Peck … whatever his real name might be, out of Chao’s clutches and across to the location of the captain. Stockwell parked at the side of a deserted road and wondered about his next move… or two or three. However much he tried, his brain kept returning to the vision of the blue eyes as they opened and focused on him. He tried to think about his promise to Peck. Yes, he was more comfortable calling him Peck, not Bancroft. He should have smelled a rat when the papers had turned up so quickly and completely, once someone knew where to look. No wonder Bancroft had swallowed the tale that they had presented. Stockwell grew cold when he realised the dates also matched, ten days after that night, just a short ten days later, and Peck turns up in the orphanage. A horrible cold feeling began to grow up Stockwell’s spine. If it wasn’t Jesse’s body in that small coffin… He opened up the car and barely made it out to the edge of the scrub before he was sick. He suddenly realised that everything that night had been so carefully choreographed. He muttered, “Concentrate, Hunt, concentrate!” It seemed even more imperative to get Peck out of there. He wondered how to do it and suddenly thought of the furious Italian… yes, he had co-operated with the chair but only very reluctantly and with a cold efficiency. He knew that that Donavetti was close to the breaking point with the Association. Hell… at this moment in time, so was he. Stockwell saw the way out very clearly. He picked up his car phone. It was time to switch sides yet again. ————– I am a rock, I am an island
Don’t talk of love
but I’ve heard the word before
It’s sleeping in my memory
I won’t disturb the slumber of the feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried
I am a rock, I am an island

And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.