He blinked at his friend then turned slightly to look at the looming figure of BA on his other side, right by him… no longer separated by that strange grey window… He had more time… not much, but a reprieve that he had better make the most of.
B.A. let out the breath he had been holding since the last bout. He fingered the golden cross he had hanging around his neck. He wanted to pray, but he was not sure for what. He wanted his friend to live more than anything else, but to see him in so much agony, he was beginning to honestly believe it would be kinder and gentler to just let him go. He felt his eyes water and quickly turned his head away. He would never let anyone see him cry. He’d learned that early on in the ‘hood. He could feel his heart breaking inside his big, cavernous chest. “It’s not right. It’s not fair. Damnit its not supposed to be like this.” He silently cursed. He stalked out of the room and went outside for a breath of fresh air.
He was always amazed at the beautiful smell of the air here. It carried none of the smells of L.A. It brought a feeling of peace over him. He thought back to the first time they had come here. He had been in a lot of pain then. He hadn’t believed anyone could endure so much pain. He’d never wanted to know that someone could endure more. He felt a familiar sting of guilt. He had been done right nasty then, especially to Face. He had meant to apologize but had never found the time or the words. He cursed himself that he had never found either one to say alot of things he really should have said. He had never told Face how proud he was to know him, to have him as a friend. How much he admired the way Face had taken so much and not gotten bitter about it. How he always could find a grin no matter what.
He envied the easy way Hannibal and Murdock had with Face. They had a way of communicating that required very few words at times. Like now, Hannibal and Murdock were able to show how much they cared by doing the little things. He longed to be able to take either one of their places, but he could not. It was not his place now, it never had been. He had known Face was Hannibal’s favorite before Hannibal did. Even back before all hell really broke lose, he had seen the chinks in Hannibal’s armor.
He remembered the way Hannibal had been when he had been forced to loan Face out to another Unit that had just lost its Lt and was going out on an important mission. He had yelled and cursed about how it was against protocol. He was even thinking of ways to “redirect” the assignment when Face got wind of it. He had not wanted Hannibal to get into any trouble so he had slipped a little something into his C.O.’s dinner. Face had tried to act brave in front of B.A. and Murdock as he prepared to leave, but he was shaking like a leaf. By the time Hannibal awoke the next morning the other unit was long gone.
B.A. had never seen Hannibal so pissed off. He tore up and done the camp looking for any sign of them. He was ranting about all of the charges he was going to write Face up for when he got back. The fact that the kid was following orders was not enough as far as Hannibal was concerned. They were not his orders. The unit was supposed to be back in a week, so Hannibal had filled his time grousing about all the extra work he was going to find for Face upon his return. One of Hannibals favorite curses was he was going to make the young man clean every latrine on base for a year. Hannibal was really though making life miserable for the young man whose place Face had been forced to take.
Hannibal had ridden the poor idiot unmercifully. Than as one week stretched into two, B.A. really noticed the chinks. Hannibal would stalk back and forth from the communications hut to his tent every hour on the hour for news. He would stalk down fully intending to hear something, ordering Face mentally to report in something. The radio would remain silent on that front and he would stalk back with a slightly distracted air. He and Murdock had also developed a habit of standing outside at night, looking out into the jungle, and having a smoke. B.A. had never joined them. They did not conciously intend to, but they gave off a definate signal that this was closed ranks.
“Rank. Rank. Rank. Hannibal you’re de Colonel. You’re supposed to have the plans, but right now you’re worse off than Murdock, only you don’t know it. Face is going to die unless somebody does something.” B.A. said softly to the wind. Right now, they were running out of somebodies. Face was obviously in no condition to do much to aid his own cause. It would be sick to even ask him if he had a plan. It was taken all that he had inside of him just to keep living.
Murdock was out of the question, as far as B.A. was concerned. First, it would take Decker and a whole damn batallion to get the Captain to leave his friends side. Even with a batallion he doubted it could be achieved with anything short of killing him. Second, he was in worse shape than usual. He was acting sane. Deadly sane. B.A. was afraid that if they did find Kyle, Murdock would probably kill him or get both of them killed. Thirdly, B.A. wanted to live. Murdock may have a brilliant mind but both he and Face had one very grave flaw. Neither one of them had the slightest dang fear of death. In fact, he often felt that they would both secretly welcome her should she come around. B.A. would not say he was afraid of death, rather he had a healthy respect for it and would prefer to put off any formal introduction to the Grim Reaper for as long as possible. Following someone who has no fear, usually got one into some serious trouble.
B.A. crossed Hannibal off the list. Hannibal was too dangerous right now. He needed to be with Face now. If he did go after Kyle it would surely be a case of murder. Hannibal would get the antidote, but than he would have killed Kyle. B.A. secretly feared Hannibal at times, especially when something had happened to Face. Hannibal had such a black rage inside of him. B.A. was convinced that one day Hannibal would just let the Jazz totally take control and that in that state he could kill and not bat an eye or regret it later. He had seen Hannibal kill before. It had been in the camps as they were escaping. Face had been so weak, Hannibal had had to carry him. B.A. had offered to but had been given a look that said the offer was not excepted. Hannibal had caught sight of one of the guards who had seemed to take a particular delight in torturing Face.
Hannibal had handed B.A. Face with the strangest look. He told B.A. to take Face and Murdock and head for the jungle and wait there. B.A. was carrying his unconcious friend and marshalling Murdock, who was babbling to himself again, to safety when he heard the guard scream. He turned around to look and had stood mesmerized in horror. The guard was on his knees with his hands behind his back. Hannibal was looking at him impassively, as if made of stone, with the guards gun pointed at the mans head. B.A. did not want to see what would happen next. He turned around and ordered Murdock to run like hell with him to the jungle. He was almost there when he heard a single gunshot and then an eerie silence. Hannibal caught up with them a few moments later. He didn’t say a word. He just took Face back and silently led them on, his face looking like it was carved in Granite.
That was a side of Hannibal that B.A. hoped never to see again. He knew Hannibal would shortly force himself to face Kyle. He could not let that happen. He had to save Hannibal from himself, for all their sakes. He also felt he had to leave and do it if for no other reason than to save his own sanity. If he had to stay here and watch his friends agony any longer, he would go as nutty as Murdock.
B.A. walked over first to disable Maggie’s car to insure that Hannibal could not follow him. He made a mental note that he would make it up to Maggie for this later. “Hang in there. Just a little longer. Everythings going to be OK.” he silently whispered to his friend. Even out here, he could sense Face’s pain. He entered his trusty black van, rubbed his chains for luck, and pulled out of the drive. He planned to just drive, retracing the route he had driven to Bad Rock. He did not have any idea where to find Kyle, but he knew that Kyle, fully expecting Hannibal, would find him.
He reached under the seat and felt the handle of his trusty black Louisville slugger. It was always his great equalizer in the ‘hood and even though he had long since renounced his thug days, he still kept it around. “Just for old times sake.” he would tell Hannibal , who would cock an eyebrow at him. B.A. grinned to himself as he felt the wood underneath his fingers. Maybe it was time to give Kyle a taste of “old times sake”.
He picked up the cell phone and placed a call to just the people he could trust to help in a time like this, no questions asked. He was feeling much better when he hung up the phone. The phone began to ring with a slightly beligerant air.
B.A. figured it was probably Hannibal. He would have discovered his disappearence by now. B.A. pulled the phone out of the dash. “Sorry Colonel, but this time de Seargent gives the orders.”
Part Eleven by Ivanova
Face was awake. The pain was gone but he knew it wouldn’t last but a few moments and then it would return with a vengence. His thoughts tumbled over each other. He wanted to tell the guys what they meant to him but at the same time he knew that his goodbyes would hurt them and he didn’t want that. But they were his family and he wanted them to know…he thought of the other’s he thought of as family…”Father?”
“Shh…It’s ok Face. I’m here.” Hannibal had settled himself against the pillows with Face in his arms. He gently brushed the hot forehead and grimaced. Face’s temperature had been see-sawing for the last two hours. He would feel incredibly warm one minute and just moments later his skin was cool to the touch.
“Hannibal?” Face found the hand on his head very soothing and almost drifted to sleep. He knew time was short and he struggled to make Hannibal understand before the pain returned.
Murdock jerked awake. Hannibal had ordered him to rest but he couldn’t bring himself to leave the room and so Hannibal had told him to lay on the other side of Face. He glanced up and saw that the other two had not moved. Hannibal because he just couldn’t leave and Face because he was too exhasted. Even when the pain rolled over him in steady waves, he barely moved. Hannibal gave him a slight nod which he knew meant that Face was awake.
Blue eyes peeked out of half opened lids, lips moved but no sound came out.
Murdock rolled off the bed and fetched a glass of water. He leaned over to hold the glass to his friends lips as Hannibal gently supported him from behind.
The voice was the barest whisper but Murdock recognized his name. He gave his friend a smile as he squeezed his hand. Face’s lips were still moving and Murdock leaned closer to catch the words. He glanced up at Hannibal with a slight frown.
“What is it Murdock? What did he say?”
“I…I don’t know. I think…ah…I think he’s speaking Latin…?”
Just then their attention was drawn to the opening door. Maggie saw the confused looks on both Hannibal and Murdock’s faces. “What is it? Is he awake?”
Hannibal nodded as Maggie took Murdock’s place at her patient’s side. “He keeps saying something but we can’t figure it out.”
Maggie frowned at that and leaned over to brush a strand of hair away from Face’s eyes, “what is it sweetie? What are you saying?” Maggie’s hands moved almost on their own as she checked Face over.
Face’s lips had continued to move though only a few words had sound. Maggie’s hands suddenly stopped in their motion and she whispered Face’s words to herself. sudden realization struck and she leaned over and said something that neither Hannibal nor Murdock could understand.
Hannibal felt Face stiffen in his arms as he struggled to respond to Maggie’s words. “What did you say? What’s wrong?”
Maggie glanced up at Hannibal, tears in her eyes, “He’s asking for a priest.”
Maggie answered the knock on the door and gestured the man into her living room. “Thank you for coming. I know it was rather hasty.”
Father Maghill turned his hat in his hands, “Don’t be silly, my child. I wouldn’t have thought of staying away.”
“Please, sit down,” Maggie smiled at the old priest, “I’m sure you must be tired, it is quite a drive.”
“Thank you, but I think I would like to see Templeton now.”
Maggie nodded and led him down to the hall.
Hannibal glanced up as he saw the door open. He spared a grim nod for the priest and gently shook Face’s shoulder. “Hey kid, you have a visitor.”
Face didn’t respond to Hannibal’s word as his body shook with tiny convultions. His lips moved in a silent litany.
Father Maghill looked down at the man he had help raise. He was shocked at how fragil the man looked. He looked very thin and pale. Dark rings, like bruises, shadowed his eyes and his hair was damp with sweat. Templeton had always been very prim in appearance and it was hard to believe that this was his little Templeton.
“He asked for you.” Hannibal now sat in a chair beside the bed, “We didn’t know what he was saying at first. He was speaking Latin.”
“Latin?” Father Maghill sat in the empty chair beside Hannibal, “He never liked Latin. It was such a pain to get him to study…”
Murdock, who had been sitting on the other side of Face, perked up. “I didn’t know Faceyman could speak Latin.”
Father Maghill smiled, he had always liked Murdock. Templeton spoke of him often and the priest knew that he worried about him sometimes. What would happen to Murdock if Templeton…He cast a worried glance at Murdock and could see that this illness had taken a toll on him as well, “We’ll have to share stories later. I would love to hear what Templeton has been up to lately.”
Murdock’s smile at the idea of stories of Faceman’s childhood quickly faded as his friend let out a small whimper.
Maggie, still standing in the open doorway, held a hand out to them, “Come on guys, I’m sure the Father would like some time alone with Face.” She could see the protest coming, “You guys have to get something to eat and some rest too. No arguements, doctor’s orders.”
Father Maghill walked into the small living room looking very pale.
Hannibal jumped to his feet immediately, “What? Is he…”
The priest shook his head, “No, he’s still with us. He’s awake now, but before you go I need to ask you something…”
“Templeton was lucid for a brief time and asked me a rather difficult thing…It also has something to do with an…order?…you gave him…”
Hannibal frowned, he didn’y know what the old priest was talking about, he just wanted to get back to Face. The time waiting in the living room had been a living hell. It seemed to drag into eternity but had actually been less than an hour. Murdock too had withdrawn into that hell, he now sat in the corner, rocking with his arms around his knees and his face buried in the crook of an elbow. Hannibal knew that if they lost Face, they would loose Murdock too.
“He asked me to perform his last rights,” Father Maghill saw Hannibal’s head snap around, Murdock too seemed shocked, “He said to ask you? I’m not sure why…”
Hannibal couldn’t find the words to tell the priest. He turned and quickly made his way to Face’s room.
Father Maghill saw the conflict in the Colonel’s eyes. He could see how much it hurt the man to see Templeton in so much pain and the gratefulness that the young man was still alive. Knowing he could do nothing for the man he turned his attention to the younger man still huddled in the corner…
Part Twelve by Terri Spencer
[“He asked me to perform his last rights,” Father Maghill saw Hannibal’s head snap around, Murdock too seemed shocked, “He said to ask you? I’m not sure why…”
Hannibal couldn’t find the words to tell the priest. He turned and quickly made his way to Face’s room.
Father Maghill saw the conflict in the Colonel’s eyes. He could see how much it hurt the man to see Templeton in so much pain and the gratefulness that the young man was still alive. Knowing he could do nothing for the man he turned his attention to the younger man still huddled in the corner…]
Father Maghill sat down beside the rocking pilot, aching to bring comfort to the young man. After all, he was a priest, he was supposed to give comfort to those in need. And despite his own grief of losing Templeton, he had to put the emotional well-being of HM Murdock before his own needs. “The first time I saw Templeton, he was five years old. He was shabbily dressed, and shivering with cold because it was raining outside.” He smiled at the memory of the little boy who gave his life meaning. “I’ll never forget it.”
Murdock looked at the old priest, seeing for the first time the pain in the old mans eyes. At that moment, Murdock wanted to kick himself. He felt that he was being very selfish. Even though Face was like a little brother to Murdock, the old priest had raised Face from a little boy. Father Maghill had sat up with Face when he was sick, held him when he had a nightmare, and tried to give Face as much love and attention as he could. “I met him in the middle of a jungle. I had gone to get supplies, and got the usual army run around. Hurry up and wait.” Murdock laughed softly at the memory. “Then I met him. I basically complained, since I was already overdue back at the unit. He said that he would have my supplies in ten minutes. I didn’t believe him. How could he get my stuff in ten minutes? I had already been there for three hours. He said come back in that time, and he would have my supply. Well,what could I do? I came back ten minutes later and sure enough, my chopper was all ready to go. I found out later that it only took him two minutes to get my stuff. He even threw in a box of Hannibals favorite cigars when he saw what I had. ‘Why get that stuff instead of good cigars Captain?’ he asked me. I didn’t have an answer for him. He then said ‘you want anything, sir, let me know. I’ll get it for you.'” Murdock openly grinned at the priest. “I got back and told Hannibal. He decided then that he wanted Face in the unit. He had someone at Battalion who owed him a favor. And Battalion was looking for a way to get rid of Face. Almost sent him to the brig for some lame reason.”
The old man smiled at Murdock, and put an arm around his shoulders. Murdock leaned his head on the elderly priests shoulder, and after a few seconds felt his hair being stroked. “Tell me.” He asked. He didn’t know what he wanted the priest to tell him. Did he want to be told that Face was going to be all right? That this was just a horrible dream that he would wake up from soon? What was it that he wanted the elderly priest to say?
After a few minutes, the old man started to speak, all the while gently stroking Murdocks hair. “When I first met Templeton, it was on a dark, cold, and rainy night. I heard a soft tapping at the door, and opened it up to find a small child, with the largest clear blue eyes that I had ever seen, standing on my doorstep. He was dressed in rags, and his bare arms were blue from the cold, and bruised. He just looked at me. Didn’t say a word.” The old man drew in a shaky breath. “I brought him in right away. Wrapped him in blankets, gave him some hot cocoa. Just held him for awhile to get him warm. He sat as straight as a rod, wouldn’t lean against me. Didn’t cry, not a sound passed his lips. I got the nuns to watch over the other children while I took him to the doctor. It was there that I found out why he sat so straight. He had been abused, in the worst way.” Murdock looked up into the priests eyes. He knew what the old man had meant. Murdock also noticed that the old man was crying. Hoping to comfort the older man, Murdock hugged him hard. After a few minutes of companionable silence, the old man continued. “I took him back to the orphanage. What else could I do with the child? He became my little angel from that moment on. You see, Murdock, I was going through a case of doubt at that time. I didn’t see at that time that I was doing any good. I was even considering leaving the priesthood. Who would care if I did or not? I had preyed for a long time for guidance, and my prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears. I had lost my faith. In mankind, in myself, and in God. Then, a little angel was sent to me, it seemed. And that little angel was my little Templeton.”
The old man shook with silent sobs. “He didn’t speak for a long time. He had been too traumatized by what had happened to him. After a year, the Child Welfare People were going to take him and put him in a mental hospital. No progress was being made, it seemed. It seemed easier for the state to just put him away and forget about him. It seemed that people have wanted to do that to him his whole life, doesn’t it? I tried to fight them, but they were adamant about what they saw was their duty, not to mention their right. Then sadly, like now, children had no rights. They were just about to take him away when he said his first word. It was ‘mama’. They decided than that it would be better if he stayed at the orphanage instead.”
Murdock shook with tears. Not just for the grief of losing the man who was like a brother to him, but for the pain that he had endured all those years. Face never had talked about his past much, even in Vietnam. When he was asked to at one point, he had answered that he couldn’t do that. When pressed to do so, he just said that he had been orphaned while very young, and he didn’t remember much about his life before he was five. That night, he had awoken screaming. Murdock, who had suffered from nightmares a lot himself, had held him all night long in his arms, trying to calm the younger man.
The tears ran freely down the priests cheeks. He looked up, and saw Maggie Sullivan standing nearby, tears running down her face. The priest held out his other arm to her. She sat down, and huddled with the other two people on the floor. After a moment, the priest continued. “When Templeton was a teenager, I got transferred to another orphanage. I few years went by. When I came back, I didn’t recognize my little Templeton. Not only had he grown up a few inches, but he had a big chip on his shoulder. He never said anything, but I could tell that he was angry at me. He thought that I should have fought to stay. He felt that I had abandoned him, and at a time that he needed someone. He had had so many people abandon him that he didn’t understand why I had left him. I tried to talk to him, but the boy wouldn’t listen. I found out that things were even rougher on him while I was gone. The man who took my place didn’t know how to deal with him. And since he craved attention, he fell in with the wrong crowd. Almost spent time at Jeuvie Hall.
Things were rather chilly between us until he went to college a few years later. Then he wrote to me, telling me that he had fallen in love. He came home after his freshman year, and then went back in the fall to complete his education. He wrote another letter, telling me that he was going to purpose to the lady who had stolen his heart after his sophomore year.” The priest drew in another shaky breath. “The next time I saw Templeton, he was in uniform, telling me that he had joined up and was going to Vietnam. When I asked what had happened with his lady, he told me that he didn’t want to talk about it. ‘Just another one, Father’ was all he said. I didn’t understand till later, when he wrote a letter while in some jungle in Vietnam, that he meant that just another person had abandoned him, and took his heart with them.”
The old man looked down into Murdocks eyes. Blue eyes met his brown one. “May God forgive me, son. And I hope that you can too at some point. But I envied you, Hannibal, and B.A. You all have his adoration and his love now, the love and adoration that I had when he was a little boy. I got angry many times at Hannibal for taking my little Templeton on dangerous missions in Nam and since then. I…I…” Overcome with his emotions, Father Maghill embraced Murdock tightly, and sobbed hard against the pilots neck. “Please, forgive me.”
Murdock held the man tightly, trying to give comfort. He noticed that Maggie held onto the older man too, also trying to give comfort. They both understood what they were seeing.
It wasn’t just a priest who was sobbing in their arms.
It was a man.
A man who was losing his child.
“Father,” Murdock said, “There is nothing to forgive.”
While the others were talking downstairs, Hannibal made his way into Faces bedroom. He had seen many terrible things in his life. He had seen burned out villages in both Korea and Vietnam, he had seen friends get blown to bits, and he had seen mothers sobbing over the lifeless bodies of their children. But Hannibal Smith had never seen anything as bad as what he was seeing now. The young man who was like a son to him, was dying. And he couldn’t do a damned thing about it.
Templeton Peck was paler then the sheet that covered him to his chest. Deep, dark, circles were under his eyes, and his breathing was labored and forced. He whimpered now, because he was too weak to scream from the pain that he was in. Hannibal reached down and picked up the lieutenants hand. The eyes opened.
“Hann-i-bal?” The soft voice asked, then whimpered as another gut-wrenching pain shot through his body.
Hannibal sat down on the bed, squeezing the hand. He had never realized how small and delicate Faces hand was before. They were the hands of an artist, or a concert pianist. They didn’t seem to be big enough to be the hands of someone who could kill with just hitting a pressure point. And now that small, delicate, hand was clenched in his large one, cold and clammy. “The one and only, Face.” With his other hand, Hannibal brushed the fair hair away from Faces forehead, and waited for Face to speak his peace.
“I can’t continue to follow your order, sir.” Face said weakly. After a moment, he continued. “I respectfully ask to be released from that order, sir.” There, he had said it. He didn’t’ want to hurt Hannibal, but he didn’t know how long he could continue to fight. And he did want to get last rites before he died, and be absolved of the sins that he had committed. And the only way that he could do that is if Hannibal released him from his order. So Face kept it as military as he could. He knew that otherwise, Hannibal would break down.
Hannibal squeezed the small hand, and was surprised with the strength in which it was returned. “I rescind that order, Lieutenant. But I can’t…” Hannibal almost lost it. Damn it! He couldn’t break down like this! Not Now! There was so much to say, and little time to say it!
“I’m not asking you to take my life, Hannibal.” Face said softly, then whimpered. He gave a little cry from the pain. Hannibal let go of the hand, and cradled the young man in his arms. Face softly wept against his chest.
Hannibal still couldn’t bring himself to say the words that he had always meant to say to Face. He wanted to tell Face that he was so proud of him, not just as a commander, but as a friend. How much joy that Face had brought to his life, filling a void in his life that he didn’t even know was there. How much he had always admired Face for not becoming bitter about life, and instead brought meaning to others lives. How much he treasured Face as a friend.
How much he loved Face.
Why couldn’t he say the words?
Well, here goes. “Face, I just want to tell you that…that…” Dammit!
A gently shaking hand touch Hannibals cheek. Hannibal grasped it. The fingers were wet. “I know Hannibal. I know. I don’t need to hear the words. Others have spoken the words, and didn’t mean them. Others have spoken the words, and left. Not a word, not a good-bye. You, though, have always backed up the silent words with actions. You didn’t leave. You stayed.” Face sighed against him. It was getting harder to talk, so he had to get this all out in a hurry. “I need you to do something for me…Dad.” He smiled up at Hannibals startled expression. The startled expression gave way to a gentle, loving, fatherly, smile. It was the acknowledgment that they had always felt about the other. “I need you to let B.A. know that I said good-bye, and that I love him. And I need you to look after Murdock for me. But I really need you to look after Father Maghill and the orphans that are there. Take care of them for me.”
Hannibal cradled the small body closer to him. How like Face to be really more concerned about others. Beneath that superficial surface, Face was really a caring gentle soul. But what did Face want for himself?
Face seemed to read his mind. “Dad. I need to ask a favor from you, for me. I know that I’m asking for a lot, but I really want this for myself.”
“What is it, son?”
Face looked up into Hannibals eyes. The pain filled blueish-green eyes seemed to stare down into his very soul. “I…I…once Father Maghill has given me last rites, I want you to hold me in your arms. Until God takes me away in his.”
That broke the barrier. Hannibal Smith cradled the young man even closer in his arms, running his fingers through the soft hair, kissing the hot forehead. After a few moments, he got control of his emotions. And went to get Murdock, Maggie, and Father Maghill.
A little while later, after Face had confessed his sins and been absolved of them, Hannibal, Murdock, and Maggie were also in Faces room. While Father Maghill gave Face Last Rites, Hannibal and Murdock sat on either side of their friends bed, holding his hands. Maggie stood slightly to the side of Hannibal, in silent support of the man that she had come to love.
After the elderly priest was finished, Hannibal picked up Faces limp body, and cradled it in his arms. Murdock somehow got himself wedged between the headboard and Face, so that he could support his best friend from behind if Face leaned back against him. He also wanted Face to be surrounded by people that really loved him.
Father Maghill also sat on the edge of the bed, close to Murdock. He sat looking at the angelic features of his little Templeton. The beautiful face was now gray, giving the impression of impending death. But Father Maghill had been there for most of Templetons life on earth. And he was going to be there when Templetons soul went to the next world.
Maggie sat between Murdock and Hannibal, gently wiping the brow of the dying man. Even though Face was only a few years younger then her, Maggie felt maternal towards him. He so resembled a child at this moment that Maggie wanted to be the one cradling him instead of John. Tears ran freely down her face as she looked at him. It wasn’t right that he was the one who was dying! He was just a baby!
Cradled in his commanders arms, Face was barely aware of his loved ones around him. But he was aware of the pure love that surrounded him and made him feel peaceful. He kept thinking a verse from a John Denver song that he had always liked. “Love is just the way to live and die.” he thought. He thought he saw an angel waiting for him. The angel held out her arms to him. He smiled. He was going home. He lost consciousness.
Feeling the body go limp against him, Hannibal’s first instinct was to be sure if Face was still breathing and had a pulse. Finding both, but knowing that the end was near, he hugged the body tighter to him. And preyed.
“Come on, B.A.”