September 1973

There was no doubt about it - B.A. was feeling guilty about feeling good. He was feeling good because the team had a mission and, even though the distance was considerable, they were going to drive the distance instead of fly.

Why they weren't flying was also why B.A. was feeling guilty. During their last job, B.A. had thrown one of their opponents to get him away from the trigger of a bomb. Unfortunately, Murdock was retreating from being double-teamed and unknowingly backed right into the path of the man B.A. had thrown. While the A-Team eventually came out on top, by the time they had, Murdock's right foot was badly swollen and the Captain couldn't put any weight on it.

As feared, there was a broken bone in his foot - nothing that wouldn't heal, but it wouldn't heal in time for him to accompany them on their newest mission. The usual option of dropping him back at the VA was out due to Decker having the area around it under tight guard.

While the other three were debating other possibilities, Murdock reached into one of the pockets of his faithful old bomber jacket. His hand came back out with a small piece of white pasteboard. Reaching over to the telephone that was fortunately near the chair he was sitting in, Murdock put in a call to a New York number written on the card. He'd been given after the incident with Hurricane Hannah about a year ago, but never used before. It was picked up after only two rings. The accented voice of the U.N.C.L.E. agent was a welcome sound.

"Hello?"

"Illya? Hi - this is Murdock. Could . . . I mean, can . . . uhm . . .?"

Illya gently broke in.

"Do you or your team need assistance, Listovka?"

The nickname brought a smile to Murdock's face and settled his mind down.

"Oh, the team's fine, but we've got a job and I can't go with them. I've got a broke foot and I'd only slow them down."

"My apartment is far from fancy, but you would be more than welcome to share it until the others return, my friend. Are you in town?"

The relief in Murdock's voice could be heard over the line as he answered.

"Not at the moment, but the guys could detour through pretty easily without going too far out of their way."

"Good. Then speak to the team and call me again. I will arrange to meet you. Oh and I should warn you - I have cats."

"I like cats. Besides, with this bum foot of mine, one thing I don't have a problem providing is a lap."

"I will be awaiting your call."

"Okay. And Illya? Spacibo."

"Pozhaluysta, Murdock. Go. Talk to your team."

As the call disconnected, Illya looked around his sparsely furnished apartment. Drawing a deep breath, he decided that desperate times called for desperate measures and dialed a number.

"Hello, April? You remember what you said about my new apartment? You were right. Would you assist me in furnishing it?"

From the squeal on the other end of the line, Illya assumed April was willing. Sighing as he considered the types of shops April frequented, he mentally said good-bye to a decent portion of his savings. Perhaps now would be a good time to ask Napoleon for the payback of some of his past loans?


For his part, Murdock eased himself out of the chair and made use of his crutches to head into the room where the guys were still discussing him like he couldn't hear them.

"Fellows, you can stop now. All you got to do is swing by New York City and drop me off. Illya's offered me a place to stay while you guys are gone."

All three looked uncomfortable, but it was Face that came over to him.

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure. He knows about my bum foot and he's okay with that. I just need to give him a call back with details for when I can get there. Illya said he'd meet me."

After another moment of silence, Murdock's normally upbeat tone turned uncharacteristically sullen.

"It's not like you guys weren't figuring out where to dump me off. What's wrong with me picking where I want to go for once?"

If the three had looked uneasy before, it was nothing compared to how uncomfortable they looked now. Seeing that, Murdock sighed.

"Guys - I know I can't go with you. I know I can't stay on my own since I'm still limping around. I know Decker is on the warpath. But, Decker doesn't know Illya and I sincerely doubt he has an in with U.N.C.L.E. that would give him access to anything on those folks. Come on, Face - don't tell me that you don't trust Illya. The man didn't know you - didn't know us - and he still tried to protect you."

Face shook his head.

"He didn't try to protect me. He did protect me and took some nasty damage doing it. It's not you talking about Illya that has me like this. It's that you think we dump you off."

Moving over to his bestest best friend, Murdock grabbed the back of Face's neck and pulled him until their foreheads met.

"You know I love you like a brother, Faceman, but let's be honest. You guys do dump me off a lot. I don't complain about it much because, hell - I know how I am. Sometimes I have problems keeping up with me and it can be exhausting. But these folks know me too. April Showers and Higgins - they've known me for years. If I can't heal up surrounded by my family, at least let me heal up surrounded by my friends."

Both Hannibal and B.A. moved closer at that, Hannibal draping an arm over Murdock's shoulder after the pilot straightened back up.

"Family, Murdock?"

Murdock's expression shifted to one that verged on the melodramatic as he did his best impersonation of Richard Burton.

"We few - we happy few - we band of brothers."

"Shakespeare, Captain?"

Murdock shrugged and gave a grin more like his usual self.

"What can I say, Colonel? The man had a way with words."

For a moment, all three were in contact with Murdock - hands briefly resting on his shoulders and back. Then Hannibal looked to B.A.

"How long will it take us to get to New York?"


Author notes :

(1) The A-Team first met with the U.N.C.L.E. folks in my story 'One Thing Leads to Another'.

(2) The Shakespeare quote is from 'Henry V', Act IV, Scene iii