Disclaimer: I do not own the A-Team, but I wish I did. I'd so make another movie/TV show.
Summery: Takes place just after Face escapes from a group of men who tried to use the team to carry out a terrorist plot. Hannibal's POV.
Warnings: Hints of non-con and abuse. Mentions of past abuse. Nothing graphic at all. Also, may be melodramatic/sappy (sorry). Not Betaed. (My Beta is over worked this week and this was a short story so I tried to edit it myself... let me know if there are any glaring mistakes and I'll fix them.)
Murdock is clinging to him as if his life depended on it. Maybe it does just a little because since the whole thing started, since being separated from his best friend, his manic had gone from childish to dark and twisted. Now it was back to childish as he clings to Face, rambling on about nonsense and reassuring himself that the younger man was still there. Face is letting him; he's not even trying to stop him or pull away despite his obvious pain, he's returning the hug.
The thought doesn't escape me that maybe he needs this too.
B.A. stands near by, a smirk on his face, allowing Murdock his time but enjoying the confirmation that Face is alive. He too had been worried, his big brother instincts in direct conflict with his reality. Now he stands back and watches, as is his way, ever protective.
I take in the scene, outwardly calm. I look as cool and collected as ever, puffing on my cigar, leaning against the hotel wall. Inside, however, my heart is hammering and I feel my body shaking with relief.
Face is back.
Face is safe.
It had been a hellish few days. Being taken prisoner by a group of thugs who had aspirations of terrorism. Being forced into a mission that would add treason to our long list of charges. Face kept as a hostage by a man who looked at the Kid like he was piece of meat to ensure our compliance. That leer on the bastard's face when he touched my boy… ran his fingers through my boy's hair…. I had offered myself in the Kid's place. All but begged him to take me, knowing that Face was capable enough of leading this team. Fully trusting my boys to complete this mission, but not trusting this bastard not to hurt them. Not to betray us. Not to touch Face….
He just laughed. I was forced to stay on my knees, arms cuffed behind my back, gun pressed to my head, and eyes front as they dragged my boy away. I watched him struggle to free himself, listened to Murdock and B.A. shout his name and various threats, all while I remained too shocked to think. I watched as my boy was taken from me again, and this time was worse than when he was taken to prison. At least I knew he was relatively safe there. This time… this time was going to give me nightmares for awhile.
Two days we had been separated. Face being kept at that bastard's complex in New Mexico with us ordered to go assassinate some political figurehead. I don't even remember the politician's name. I just know he was a big shot for the DOD and border security and we were all set to kill him and destroy any chance of ever getting our names cleared. Three of us being forced to plan and execute an assignation, a hard enough task on it's own, but with out our sniper and conman... impossible has never been a word I like but I had used it a lot in the last forty eight hours.
Then, we got Face's call.
The Kid had gotten free. I don't know how and at some point I'm going to have to ask, but right now I'm just marveling at the feat. He got free, and he called Sosa and briefed her, she had her people swoop in and save the day while we were able to sneak away. Now here we are, in an out of the way motel that Face conned for us. The politician still lived. The bad guys were in custody. Sosa got another notch on her belt and a note in the file for us… another tally to show we're the good guys. (She's been keeping a secret score for us these last couple years, as ammunition for our pardons.) All of it, thanks to Face.
Words fail to describe the relief that I felt when we walked into this tiny two bed dingy room and there was Face, sitting on the bed. He looked like hell, clearly exhausted and he'd been beaten. He was dressed in new clothes, fresh off the rack clothes, something that spoke volumes to me. His movements were stiff and he sat hunched over, indicating bruised ribs at the very least. But when I walked in and saw him smile, he was the most beautiful thing in the world. I had to stop and stare at him, drink him in so to speak.
I still am
B.A. notices me though; he catches my eye and reads my expression. Gives me a quick nod before stepping over to Murdock and gently pulling him back. "That's enough sucka, let Faceman breathe."
"But… but…" Murdock floundered, suddenly slipping back down the rabbit hole, now that he wasn't touching Face.
"It's alright buddy. I'm still here. B.A. probably needs your help picking up food. You know you're the export," Face reassured, his voice rough and gravely. It sounded like his throat hurt, and that made me frown. But the smile he flashed Murdock as B.A. agreed with him did wonders to elevate the Captain's concerns.
"We're gonna have a big feast!" Murdock exclaimed dancing around. B.A. just rolled his eyes but he didn't move away from Face. His intense gaze was studying him for a long hard moment.
"You okay? You need anything?" He asked.
Face shook his head and tried to hide a yawn by speaking, "I'm good. Thanks."
B.A. nodded. He accepted what his 'younger brother' told him, but he didn't believe him. He looked over at me for reassurance and I gave him a nod. I had every intention of taking care of the Kid. Satisfied, B.A. turned back to Face and ruffled his still drying hair. Face playful batted his hand away and laughed. B.A. smirked and then grabbed Murdock's arm and dragged him out of the room mumbling something about crazy fools.
I smiled as they left, enjoying the normalcy and the release of the tension after two days of worry. I didn't move for a long moment after the door closed, neither did Face. I couldn't speak for him, but I was too afraid that if I moved, I'd wake up from some dream and he wouldn't be there. When the van started outside, however, Face broke the stillness.
"Hey Boss," he said softly, eyes watching me. He'd been watching me since we got here. Right now though, without the other two here, his blue eyes were opened wide and he looked so much younger than he was.
"Hey yourself, Kid," I said softly, finally walking over to him. I moved slowly, though I had to force myself. Years of experience told me that right now my boy was skittish. I didn't know what was done to him, but I could tell he was still running off the adrenaline it had created.
I stopped in front of him, taking a closer look. He had just showered. I can smell shampoo and soap, but it's not his brand. It was whatever he could find, so he smells vaguely like pine instead of his normal ocean scents. His clothes were also whatever he could find and not the usual style for him, a button up flannel shirt with a collar and jeans that were made for ranch hands and not him. The boots he had set off into a corner were also more inclined for work than style and that was not Face. He liked "practical pretty things", as he called it.
The fact that he felt the need to shower and change clothes before we arrived, before he could get his duffle spoke volumes to me. It told me more than he would ever willingly tell me about what happened to him. And what it told me made my blood boil.
I reached my hand out slowly to him, carefully, so he didn't startle. He didn't flinch away when I ran my fingers along his jaw and up towards his hair. I was tracing the bruise I found there, an ugly purple thing that was only beginning to heal. It was one hell of a shiner. He didn't have it when I last saw him. Nor did he have the cut on his eyebrow, or the split lip, or the bruises that lined his jaw….
My anger must have shown on my face because he leaned into my hand and said, "It's okay, John. I'm okay."
I nodded my head, both believing him and not. He was okay, but what had been done to him was not. I dropped my hand to the buttons of his shirt and pauses. "May I?" I asked him, not wanting to hurt him. I needed to see how bad he was injured; I needed to know. But I wasn't going to force him to let me examine him.
He sighed, sounding both tired and amused, but I could feel him stiffen. I knew he was uncomfortable… scared. Not of me, I knew that, but of me finding out. He nods though, and shuts his eyes. And if I didn't already hate the bastards who did this that alone would make me want to murder them all.
Carefully, I begin to undo the buttons and fold back the shirt. I didn't have to wait long before I began finding more bruises. There was a handprint on his neck. I could see where the fingers had pressed into his skin hard enough to bruise. Right then and there I had to switch from lover to Colonel because if I didn't, I would have to go hunt down the bastard and strangle him.
"How's your breathing?" I asked as I gently probed the bruise.
"Fine. Hurts to swallow but I can without problems," he answered, knowing what I would ask next. If he had been having trouble swallowing, he'd have to go to the hospital to make sure his airway wasn't compromised by the tissue swelling. As it was, the bruises were just ugly and not dangerous.
I continued, pulling the shirt away from his body. The action made him shiver, but he didn't complain. He never did about the big things. His chest was marred in numerous bruises, some uglier than others but none of them life threatening or really harmful. The nastiest of them covered his right rib cage in large dark purple blotches and swelling, but they appeared to be just bruises. He hissed when I probed but I didn't feel any cracked ribs. That was a good thing.
The bruises on his back were fewer and oddly shaped. They looked more like bite marks and hickeys than fists, and again, I felt the anger surface. It almost boiled over when I noticed the same handprint bruises on his wrists and biceps.
He was held down.
They had to hold him down and probably with more than one man.
He was beaten as a punishment for resisting.
"It's alright John. I'm okay," he said softly, turning to face me. He took my hands and placed them on his shoulders, letting his own rest on top. "I fine," he said.
"Bull shit," I whispered as I stared into his eyes. I could almost see the scared little boy in there that had suffered all this before, but he already had the mask in place. He was already blocking it out.
There was a slight hesitation, a small spark of shame before he spoke next that I did see though. "I'll… umm… need some blood work… but I'm okay," he said, his words measured carefully. It's the closest he'll ever tell me to what they did without me demanding answers. Eventually I might have to, but for now I'm willing to accept it.
But I don't like.
I will never like it.
I'm angry right now. I can feel it racing through me… burning up my blood. I'm so damn angry at those bastards who hurt him, at the unfairness of everything, at the Army, but most of all at the unfairness of a life that conditioned my boy. A life so full of abuse and monsters that this is okay; that those animals could do this to him and he's able to just move on because it's nothing that hasn't happened before. Nobody should have to be accustomed to rape, least of all my boy.
"John. It's over, and we're still here. You didn't lose me," he said softly. He was reassuring me, comforting me after being beaten and abused. He was comforting me. That should have made me angry too. It didn't.
I sigh, releasing my tension and anger and just allowing myself to be tired. I bend down and rest my forehead on the top of his head and breathe deep. I don't like the smell of pine on my boy. I must have mumbled something to that effect because Face laughed.
"Sorry boss, I'll remember that," he joked and I stood up straight.
I pulled him up with me as I did, hugging him to my chest. He let me, and settled against me, turning his face into my neck. "I was worried about you, Temp," I admit softly to him, as his warmth eased more of my anger. He was safe now. He was in my arms.
"I was worried about you too, John. I'm sorry I didn't get away soo-" he started to say but I quickly shushed him and kissed his forehead.
"You did good. You got away as soon as you could and you got to us in time. You did good," I tell him and I hope he believes me. Hell, I hope he knows that I'd kill a million innocent men if it meant he was safe.
He nods; I feel the movement. "I'm not worth murder, John." His voice is soft and I barely hear them. I'm not sure if I was supposed to, but I do, and I understand them. He's worried about me, about my soul. As much as he denies it, he really is a Catholic boy.
But I'm an atheist.
"Yes, you are," I tell him, adamant. I can be stubborn too. I hear him sigh, his signal of letting it go for the moment, and the familiarity makes me smile.
I shift, being careful not to jar him, and tilt his head up so that I could look at his face. He was smiling up at me, a rare honest smile. He was tired, but he was alive. He was here with me. I leaned in closer and brushed my lips against his, again I was asking for permission. He never even flinched, he pressed his lips against mine and allowed me to deepen the kiss.
It wasn't an earth shattering kiss, or hot and heavy in a rush to release the buildup of tension. It wasn't even teasing. It was a calming and soothing action, a gentle reminder of our bond, and a reassuring statement that we were both here. We were both going to recover from this.
It was about an hour or so latter. Temp was stretched out on the bed, head in my lap, asleep. He had showered again to "get the pine scent off" and changed into his own pair of sweats before stretching out on the bed next to me. I sat, back against the headboard, with one arm around him reading.
I set my book down when I heard the van pull in and Murdock and B.A.'s voices. B.A. was first through the door and I singled for him to be quite. He in turn turned to Murdock and mumbled, "Shut up fool, Faceman's sleeping."
Murdock stuck his tongue out but fell quiet. He turned to look at his friend and that's when the childlike gleam left his eyes and was replaced by something darker. A quick look to B.A. told me that he saw it too and I had to swallow back a curse.
Face hadn't been able to put a shirt back on after his shower. Raising his arms pulled on the bruises too much. He had tried, hissed in pain, given up, and settled down next to me. He fell asleep almost instantly and so I didn't even bother to try and help. Now, however, the other two were getting a full view of what had been done to him.
"They hurt him?" Murdock said something off in his voice.
"I'm gonna hurt them…" B.A. growled.
I was about to say something to reassure them both when the Kid beat me to it. "'S'kay," he slurred sleepily, "I'm s'kay. Nothing broken. Right Boss?"
"Right. Nothing broken. Go back to sleep," I said as I felt two pairs of doubtful eyes look at me. I ignored them for a moment, watching to make sure that Face was settling back down. When I was reasonably sure that he had fallen back asleep, I addressed the other two. "He's tired. They beat him. But nothing too bad as far as I can tell."
"There's a hand print around his neck, Colonel," Murdock growled, that odd sound to his voice thickening. He was starting to swing again.
"I know. He was uncooperative while they held him. He's okay though. No trouble breathing."
"What about his ribs?" B.A. asked.
"As far as I can tell, not broken. I'm making him get an X-ray tomorrow. What he needs right now is sleep and food, can you help with that?" I directed my question to Murdock who seemed to snap back from the edge as soon as I mentioned food.
"I got burgers! And fries! Oh! And milkshake fixings! That alright Colonel?" He asked excitedly.
"Sounds perfect Captain," I said with a smile and a nod.
He jumped excitedly for a moment then made his way to the kitchen. B.A. didn't follow him. He was still inspecting Face.
"He was uncooperative?" He asked me, demanding to know the meaning of the words.
I felt Face start to stir under my hand and gently kneaded the spot at the base of his neck that always helped him relax. It didn't take long for him to settle.
"He needs some blood work… maybe a doctor to take a look. He won't tell me exactly what happened," I answer, knowing B.A. would understand.
"If I ever get my hands on that fucking waste of air…." B.A. mumbled.
"You'll have to get in line Corporal," I tell him. He nods, shakes his head, and then heads over to help Murdock. I knew he wasn't going to let this go, none of us were. We were all going to be looking after Face a little more closely for a long time to come.
I watch them as they cook, once again glad for the normalcy. I had my boy pressed against me, a book within my reach, and my other two boys bickering back and forth with the smell of food in the room. Face may not be okay, and I may still be angry at so many things, but at least we were on our way to recovering.