Hannibal slowly put down the phone. He had a very uneasy feeling and he wasn’t in any hurry to confirm his fears.
BA didn’t like the look on Hannibal’s face, “What’s up Hannibal?”
“I’m not sure. Come on.”
“Where we going?”
Hannibal opened the door to the van. Pausing before getting in he looked directly at BA, “The VA.”
BA steered the van into a parking space outside the VA, “Hannibal, why we here? What’s that crazy fool gone done now?”
“Actually, it’s what he hasn’t done, BA. That was Dr. Richter on the phone earlier. He said that Murdock won’t talk and they can’t get him to eat or anything. Said we should come down right away…”
BA nodded his head thoughtfully, “Maybe we should call Faceman. He could get crazyman to talk.”
“That’s what’s bothering me, BA. Wasn’t Face supposed to pick Murdock up today?”
Hannibal and BA looked around and watched Dr. Richter make his way toward them.
“I’m so glad you’re here!” Dr. Richtor shook Hannibal’s hand while gesturing them down the hall with his other hand.
“What’s up Doc? Where’s Murdock?”
The doctor looked up from the medical chart he was holding as they neared Murdock’s room. “He’s in his room. He’s calm for now, we had to sedate him. He wouldn’t let anyone near him. The police had one hell of a time tryin to get him back here…”
“Police?” Hannibal felt his stomach tighten.
“Yeah. Aparently they found him on the boardwalk. What he was doing there is anybody’s guess.”
BA glanced at Hannibal, worry evident in his eyes. Faceman was supposed to pick the fool up today. Faceman loved the beach. Now Murdock wasn’t talking and Face wasn’t around. He had a very bad feeling about this…
Hannibal could tell that BA had come to the same conclusions that he had and they were both eager for some answers now. He nodded at BA before opening the door to Murdock’s room.
“Hey little brother…”
Murdock continued to rock back and forth, his arms wrapped tightly around his knees. His eyes fixed on something only he could see. BA put a comforting hand on his shoulder and glanced up at Hannibal.
“What caused this Doc?”
Dr. Richter sighed, “I just don’t know. He turned up missing earlier today…I can see from your expression that was expected. Did you..?”
“No. Face had something planned. He and Murdock…So how did he get back here? You said something about the police?”
“Ah, yes. He was found sitting on the boardwalk. When one of the officers searched his wallet they found my number and gave me a call.” The doctor waved toward Murdock, “When they brought him in he was bordering on hysteria. He refused to let anyone touch him. It took three orderlies to give a mild sedative. He’s been like his ever since.”
Hannibal ran a thumb across his forehead and wished he had a cigar, “Is he dangerous? I mean to himself?”
“No, I don’t think so. He apprears to be in shock. What caused it is anyone’s guess. All we can do now, is make him as comfortable as possible and wait for it to wear off.”
Hannibal nodded and with a look in BA’s direction turned back t the doctor, “Ok, Doc. Can we take him with us? He’s better off with his family and we can’t stay here.”
“I was hoping you would say that,” the doctor grinned.
BA gently urged Murdock to stand and then began to guide him out of the room. “Come on little brother, let’s get out o’ here.”
Hannibal closed the door and made his way into the living room where BA was settling Murdock on the couch. When he saw Murdock curl up and close his eyes, he motioned BA to join him in the kitchen.
“What do ya think happened, hannibal?”
Hannibal rolled his cigar between his fingers, “I don’t know BA. I think only Murdock’s going to be able to tell us that.”
BA nodded, “Do you think Face is ok?”
Hannibal tore his gaze away from the living room door for a moment before replying in a low voice, “Do you really think Face would just leave him on the beach in this condition if he were ok?”
BA took a deep breath and followed Hannibal back to where they had left Murdock, “Where is he man?”
Hannibal made a quick glance around the living room but there was no sign of the lanky pilot. “Ok, he can’t have gone far. He’s probably still in the house. You take down here and I’ll take the upstairs.”
Hanibal could here BA searching the house downstairs as he made his way to the first bedroom…
The house itself was one of the A-Team’s well kept secrets. Face had aquired the four bedroom house under an assumed name three years earlier and they had so far kept everyone, including Decker, from discovering their LA home. He gently called Murdock’s name as he made his way to the third bedroom…
BA trudged up the stairs and saw Hannibal standing in the doorway. He was about to announce that he hadn’t found the pilot when Hannibal held up his hand and motioned him into silence. Walking up behind him he peered over his shoulder and saw Murdock curled up on Face’s bed fast asleep.
He didn’t like seeing his friend like this. He also knew that he was the wrong one to be taking care of him. It was at times like this that the roles each member of the team played showed most. Normally Face took care of Murdock when he got into one of his crazy moods. Face was the one who kept everything light, he was also the second in command which meant that he took care of Hannibal if need be. When Face himself was sick, Hannibal worried after him. BA took care of anything they needed, like supplies, but he almost never had to play ‘nurse’. It was never spoken but everyone knew their roles.
This time was different. This time Face wasn’t here to take care of Murdock and Hannibal was too busy worrying about Face to do much. That left BA…
“Hey Lil’ Brother, you have ta’ eat something,” BA held out a plate with a grilled cheese sandwich.
Murdock picked up one of the halfs and gingerly took a small bite. He sat on the bed with his back against the wall and his knees drawn up against his chest, looking out the window. The door creaked open and he quickly twisted around.
BA saw him tense at the sound of the door. He also saw the disappointment in his face when he realized it was Hannibal who had entered the room. He then went back to staring through the window, the sandwich forgotten in his hand.
BA gently took the sandwich away, “It’s ok, Lil’ Brother.” He put the discarded plate and sandwich on the bedside table. “Lie back down and get some rest. Come on…” BA tucked the blankets around Murdock as he lay back on the bed still looking out of the window.
Hannibal paced around the living room, “I think we’ve waited long enough. If he could get back on his own he would have been here by now.”
BA nodded his head in agreement, “What do ya’ think we should do?”
“If Murdock could tell us what…”
“I don’t think Murdock’s gonna tell us anything for a while Hannibal.” BA glanced toward the stairs, “He’s jumpy too, like he’s waiting for Faceman to walk in.”
Hannibal sighed and rolled a cigar between his fingers, “Ok, here’s what we’re gonna do…You go get the van started and I’ll bring Murdock down. We’ll head over to the boardwalk and see if we can either find Face or someone who remembers seeing him.”
Hannibal watched as BA went out the front door. He looked at the cigar and with a grimace he headed up the stairs.
The black van pulled quietly into the parking space beside the little white corvette. Two men got out and looked around.
“Doesn’t look like anyone searched it or nothin’.”
Hannibal reached under the car. When he straitened up again he was holding a set of spare keys, “let’s see what we can see.”
He reached over to unlock the passenger door so BA could get in, “I think you’re right. Whatever happened, it didn’t happen here. You stay here with Murdock, I’m going to walk into some of the shops across the road and see if anyone saw anything.”
BA nodded and watched Hannibal cross the street. Walking to the other side of the van, he found the sliding door open. //Oh, no. Murdock…// He peaked his head into the van, but as he expected, the crazyman was gone.
He turned trying to spot the familiar worn leather jacket but there were too many tourists in his way. //Hannibal ain’t gonna like this. Better find the crazyman ‘fore he gets back…// He set off toward the pier hoping to catch a glimpse of his missing friend.
Across the street, Hannibal left the bikini shop and spotted BA walking away from the van. He waited for a car to pass and then made his way in the direction he had seen BA go.
//Where is that crazy fool! Hannibal’s gonna be mad.//
“Hey BA?! What’s up? I thought I told you to stay in the van with Murdock.”
“Crazy fool gone an’ left. Musta’ been when we was in the car.”
Hannibal’s face turned a shade redder and BA saw him clench his teeth, “OK, let’s stick together. We’ll start here and work our way down the boardwalk. If we don’t find him by time we get to the pier, we’ll split up and go from there.”
An hour and a half later, they had covered the area between the car and the pier as well as all the tourist shops in between. It was now late evening, the sun was setting and most of the sunbathers had gone as well as the tourists. They started to make their way back to the car…
“I see him,” Hannibal motioned BA to keep up with him as he quickened his pace, “Come on, before he decides to wander off again.”
Murdock sat on the sea-wall about 50 feet in the opposite direction of the pier from Face’s car. Hannibal and BA sat down on either side of him.
“Murdock?” Hannibal’s eyes flicked over to meet BA’s, “How are you feeling Captain?”
Murdock didn’t give any sign that he he had even heard Hannibal. He sat motionless with his hands in his lap, staring out at the ocean. When BA lightly grasped his elbow he tried to twist away and bumped into Hannibal.
“Come on, Lil’ Brother, let’s get back to the house.”
“NO!” Murdock was actively trying to escape the bigger man’s grasp now. “He said to wait here! Right here!”
Trying to help BA get Murdock under control, Hannibal realized that this was the first time that Murdock had spoken since he had been picked up by the police. “Who said, Murdock? Face? Did Face tell you to wait here?”
“Here…be right back…wait here…” Murdock mumbled as he began to rock back and forth.
Hannibal sighed, “It’s ok Murdock.” He motioned BA to help him get Murdock up now.
“…sorry…should have…right back…sorry…”
“It’s ok now, Murdock. He understands…” Hannibal and BA slowly guided the overwrought man back to the van.