A/N: A quick, rambling oneshot to help me tiptoe into this fandom, which I've recently become obsessed with. Based off of the scene from the movie's extended edition, where Face tries to kill Morrison after learning he had betrayed them.


Morrison is shaking his head, closing his eyes; disapproving, disgustingly condescending. "Then what are you dragging this out for, Hannibal, just kill me."

The colonel doesn't even get a chance to reply; because as soon as that window of opportunity opens, someone else flings themselves at it. A gun is drawn, legs stepping forward in the dirt stiffly – an unfamiliar cracking and rolling in his voice as cold metal is shoved against Morrison's head. "Now that sounds like a fantastic idea!" There's a chill in his veins, paralyzing him in that position, a model assassin in his somehow-still-clean suit, grip firm. Hesitation non-existent in this moment…

And now there's a ringing in his ears. Its loud, and constant, like a thousand crickets chucked into a small box, screaming their little bug vocal cords out. Its loud enough, in fact, that despite the raised voice of Murdock and the cold, firm one of BA, their insistent protests barely register. His responses are automatically – flat, rimmed with a fury and a pain that blossoms in his chest and chokes the air right out of his lungs; he doesn't see red. He sees gray. Because what needs to be done is as clear to Face as a simple, black and white photograph. A mug shot, in fact; of the man tied to the chair in front of him – this is the traitor, and he is the executor.

"Let me do this, boss." His gaze doesn't drift to Hannibal's once; in fact, it only briefly flickers to Murdock's wide-eyed stare, and BA's threatening glare, before it flashes back to the silver-haired head of their prisoner, and the barrel of the pistol that Face is currently holding to his head. "Let me do this."

He'll do it, too. He'll do it without hesitancy, and he'll do it with such indifference that it almost terrifies him. His voice sounds like its underwater, as does Murdock's louder shouts as he stumbles forward one or two steps towards him; making his grip on the gun tighten.

"You can't, Facey – look, I want to kill him too but he is our only way out of here!"

BA's voice backs him up, a low, alto rumble, tense; agitated. "I won't be killin' no one, Face."

Blue eyes, covered with ice, never leave Morrison's head, even as he attempts to steady his hand, hold the gun still and firm in place – like a proper soldier. "You won't be, Bosco – I will." Because he needs to be the one to do this. Not them. Not Hannibal, who has yet to give his el tee permission to carry through. He's impatient, and he shifts where he stands, tensing as he hears BA's flat response of, "I won't be no accessory to it, either." Face clenches his teeth, as he feels his anger turn on his comrades, though he tries to reign it in. "If you don't want to look, look away!"

He jams his gun deeper into the back of that long-haired head; it would leave a mark. Not that that mattered, because that entire area of skull was about to be removed by his bullet anyhow. And that's when everything starts to escalate – BA and Murdock's protests all end up swirling into one big scream in his head, dissipating in the strength of that ring still in his head. Face can no longer make out their individual words, but he doesn't have to; his own answers come out sharp, and quick, and automatic.

"He's the one, that put us here! He did this! Let me do this, boss, he deserves it… look away! If you don't want to look, look away! LOOK AWAY!"

Everything is so damn loud, that when Hannibal finally starts talking, Face doesn't even here him. And talk he does, the colonel stepping forward stiffly but firmly as soon as he catches sight of BA, all wound up like a big spring of pure muscle, step forward to either shout right into their youngest member's ear or maybe even throw a punch. "Enough!" And he repeats this order even when it becomes clear that even the commanding tone of their superior officer isn't breaking through the loud, chaotic fight that screeches static into the air.

Murdock is the first one to fall silent, stepping back so fast he nearly stumbles and falls over; BA next, the big guy clenching his jaw and moving to catch Murdock and hold onto him. And then it's just him and Face, the younger man's blue eyes snapping to meet his own once he's only a foot or so away from him; he doesn't lower his gun, doesn't drop his gaze either, and Hannibal knows that the storm he sees in that gaze is reflecting in his own. "Outside, all of you!" he barks, voice raised still because Face isn't dropping his own.

"Just let me do this!"

"Face!"

"He did this! To you, to us! Are you seriously going to keep him alive?!"

"Outside, I will take care of this!"

"I don't want you to take care of it, I want to…!"

Hannibal's hand snaps out and clamps down on the pistol, and the shaking hand holding it; gripping tight, he forces it down, and then rips it into his own position. He grinds his teeth, and hardens his voice; uses that tone, the one he hadn't had to use with Face since before the kid had ever gained his lieutenant bar. "Stand down, soldier!"

He doesn't have to say it's a direct order; no need when you bark like Hannibal just did. The reaction is what he expects; silence, all arguments dropped – but there's an accusing bitterness being thrown in his face now, a defiance that Hannibal had almost forgotten existed. The urge to remind the younger man that he's just as ready to blow the bastard's brain out, that he knows what's running through that wild head, emerges, but he knows better than to lower his voice; or give Morrison the satisfaction of hearing a conversation that would be held later. In private. Once all this was over. "Outside, now!" Another direct order.

Murdock jumps behind him, taking a step to move but his gaze is locked onto Face. Face, who hesitates a moment longer, only a second; just to hammer through his point that this – keeping their former general, former friend – living and breathing was bullshit. But that moment passes in a heartbeat and then he's turning around and leading BA and Murdock out of the building, sending a stool and toolbox crashing into the wall as he exits.

For a few minutes, left in the shocking silence left behind after all that shouting, Hannibal grips Face's gun and resists the nasty, biting urge to take the younger man's place: executioner. But it only lasts a moment before he shoves the pistol into his belt. And tries very hard not to think of mission after mission he'd taken with this man, putting his life in Morrison's hands. Tried not to think of the day he'd been summoned into the general's tent to take on a reckless, loud-mouthed cadet who wore the uniform of a soldier but still held the face of a child, a last resort before the talented pain in the ass was discharged. And most certainly tried not to think of the night that this man had sat amongst him and his boys, gracing them with his presence, right between him and that reckless, loud-mouthed cadet who had not only become his el tee, but his XO as well.

He means what he says when, after a word or two with the bastard, Hannibal marches out of the building himself, every muscle in his body coiled and tense, ready to spring. Death was too easy for what he was going to prepare for that man.


"How, how could you have done that?" Murdock's voice is tense and even almost slightly-betrayed, yet still holding the utter confusion of a child who'd just been hurt by his best friend. "He can clear our names, Face, he, he can… how could you try an' kill him? He could end this all!"

Face doesn't even look at him in response; his hands are shoved into the pockets of his trousers, and his now-dirty shoes are taking him over to the outside corner of the old building, gaze dead-set on examining the lake. The man's utter shunning of his words seems to strike Murdock almost as deeply as finding out Morrison's part in their incarceration – or at least, it builds upon that hurt. "Facey?"

"Leave 'im be, Murdock." BA had parked himself out on the dock, and was staring down at his hands, clenched tightly together with his elbows on his knees; focusing on the worn wood boards below.

Murdock clamps his mouth shut reluctantly, despite bouncing on his heels; he doesn't want to be silent now. Already, when he's not talking, he's thinking far, far too much. His thoughts run deeper and longer than they had in a very long time, sane and aching; and if his own head is doing so much damn, painful thinking, he doesn't want to imagine what's filling the head of his best friend. He shuts up, obeying BA in a rare occurrence, but keeps his gaze on Face.

And Face keeps his gaze on the water, attempting to execute – instead of Morrison – all those nasty voices that suddenly emerge from the back of his conscience, resurrected after years of being silent. The ones that point out how he'd known Morrison longer than he'd even known Hannibal. And how Hannibal and Morrison knew each other even further back. He attempts to grind down the way the voices try to scandalize Hannibal's order for them all to leave so he could deal with Morrison alone; how they repeatedly remind him that there was no gunshot, that they are talking in there.

He hears footsteps stomp outside, along with a sudden shout from Morrison, the prisoner spitting out the harsh reminder that their careers were finished, their reputations ruined… that they were essentially fighting for nothing. It makes his head pound, brings back the ringing in his ears. Oh, how he wished he could just silence it, by silencing the source of it all.

But as Hannibal stalks past and goes to stand at the edge of the dock, stone silent, the voices point out that killing Morrison is obviously not going to happen, and Face clenches his fists in his pockets. Fighting them off a few seconds more before finally speaking up in a tone that he forces to be smooth and collected, so as not to be offensive; but it still sounds strange and unfamiliar to his own ears.

"Could you ever do that to us, boss?"

Hannibal isn't expecting the blunt question – though he should've, and he scolds himself for feeling a burst of defensive, hurt anger in the end – and he turns to look at Face with a grim expression. Unlike to Face himself, the tone is strange but it's not unfamiliar. It was the undertone for every defiant, challenging, rebellious comment he had to deal with when he'd first become the young man's CO. Every sarcastic comeback, every glare, every protest, held that doubt that often came out in the form of a dare for him to walk away, like the other was used to. It had disappeared the day Hannibal had announced that BA and Murdock would be permanently joining their current two-man team, which was the last time it had ever dared to make its appearance.

But here it was, showing its ugly face again, and Hannibal waited in answering even as he turned so that he could once more mentally tell Morrison that he could go fuck himself all the way Mexico, and go die there. Like they almost had, repeatedly, for him and his orders.

It only takes exactly one second, or even less, but Face seems to think he needs to elaborate his question, because he adds in a more bitter tone, "What Morrison did."

"No." He doesn't dare to hesitate this time, and his own tone could be chiseled from stone; Hannibal makes sure its firm and without a trace of anything other than brutal honesty. His gaze doesn't move from his lieutenant. "Of course not. I'd rather face a firing squad than betray his boys." And his gaze sweeps over from Face to Murdock, and to BA. His boys. His soldiers. His men. His comrades. His.

Face's tone or expression doesn't change, though, and Hannibal mentally flips Morrison the finger as well. Two of them, actually. "But you didn't see it coming."

He opens his mouth to respond but BA's suddenly growling tone is turned to Face before he can. "What the hell, man? You accusin' Hannibal of…"

"No." The colonel cuts the man off before he can continue, or Face can reply; he knows the meaning behind the words that the others don't see. Not their fault, either, Hannibal can count the number of times they'd probably seen their youngest member without his little conman masks firmly in place on one hand. "No, I didn't see it coming, but we can't let this tear us apart. Not now." He looks at all of them, pleased that at least Murdock seems to have relaxed at his reassurances, that pure, unconditional trust sparking once more into wide eyes. "Not when we need each other the most."

He sees Face's lips part, sees he's about to once more dig deeper and deeper searching for a reason for his doubts to be valid, and Hannibal readies himself to hammer in his point once and for all, to all of them; but the sudden sound of a whirring, screaming engine cuts him off. Starting at a distance, growing impossibly louder at the speed the drone was at…

He shouts, "MOVE!" despite not having to – because BA is already flinging himself off the dock and into the water, Murdock is jumping and trying to figure out where to run, and Face is running at Murdock cursing. And then Hannibal is running after Face, and then the three of them are throwing themselves out of the way of the building and doing a mad jump for the water just as a hailstorm of bullets brings the wrath of hell down upon their location; the sound of the explosions deafening. When Face hits the water, he feels the pinpricks of sparks burn right through his shirt and singe his back; feels a much bigger, burning object – a piece of flaming wood, no doubt – hit him square in the back of the shoulders and nearly knock the breath out of him just as he's complete submerged in gray, murky water.

Pain spreads down his spine and stuns him enough that he does move for a few minutes, even as he feels the current shift and tug him all around – not from the lake but the thrashing of his comrades. That roaring sound from the drone begins to die off at it flies away and a few seconds later, he's choking for breath and scrambling to the surface, hacking up some water as he quickly drags in several breaths. He whips his head around to knock the streaming droplets from his face as he blinks, and stares at the scene in front of him.

It's an inferno, cracking and sizzling, snapping up at the sky angrily – and somewhere in that carnage is Morrison's corpse. Lynch took everything, even their chance at executing the man who had betrayed them seemingly without a second thought, and Face isn't sure whether he's more furious because of that, or more numb because Morrison is dead now, legitimately this time, and it all suddenly feels very, very real.

Too real, and as he slowly begins to make his way over to where BA is dragging a flailing Murdock onto land, Hannibal looking around making sure he saw three bodies before marching up towards the fire, Face scrambles for every single mask he's ever worn and staples them in place with a weak smile and a, "Right here, buddy," at Murdock when the pilot is suddenly spinning in a circle and calling his name.

Once the smile is there, the rest of the con falls into place just as easily as Hannibal's plans do. He ignores BA's gaze locked onto him, and shakes out his arms, stomps his feet and shoots them a disgusted look as he feels all that water slosh in them, soaking his socks through and through. Naturally, the group drifts over into one nearly-huddled pack, Hannibal's jaw set in the way it gets when he looks ready to go Lynch-hunting; but his eyes don't hesitate in wandering over each man, checking for injuries, the conversation before forgotten. When Murdock asks for a plan, the man seems like he wants to give any answer than the one he does, which is a chiseled, "I don't know."

But Face does – or thinks he does. At the very least, he's starting to think that he thinks he does. And while the masks are up, they only affect the surface, and the young man's mind is still entirely and wholly on the former general who's body burned in the ruins; but this time, it's a good thing.

Because it points something out to him. They are alive, and Morrison wasn't. But to Lynch, they're all dead. Imagine his surprise when he found out the A-Team had evaded death once more; his surprise, because he hadn't yet the confirmation of their death.

Or Morrison's.

He asks for twenty minutes to get the whole plan together in a decent-enough outline, and Hannibal nods; he doesn't buy the half-crooked smile shot in his direction, but he doesn't stop Face from moving off on his own to grab the supplies they'd – thank God – kept at the edge of the water, in a tree that was smoldering but still standing. Let the kid build his walls and flash his smiles and laugh everything off because he always laughs everything off. Because the el tee is too damn good at convincing everyone around him that everything was alright, and ended up forgetting about just how not fine it really was until it all every lie and fib unraveled in a crumbled heap at his feet, leaving him with nothing.

Let him; because at the moment, there are plans to make and missions to be completed, and Hannibal refuses to let Morrison affect their future as well.


Morrison, however, would apparently have his ass in their faces for at least the rest of the week.

Because that invisible pet bird Murdock had started talking to only a few days after being broken out of his prison no longer was known as 'general' Tokimo. And BA paced a hell of a lot more than normal, a shadow flickering across his face as the man walked in circles and quoted Ghandi to himself. And Face didn't tell any wild stories or steal BA's food just to rile him up, or joke around and sing with Murdock, or whine about how he was sore, or tired, or how the large bruise across his upper back hurt like a bitch.

He just sat or stood off to the side, or in a corner, and planned. Made sure they had the supplies they needed, conned them whatever they needed – food, clothing, the trust of Sosa – and followed orders like the perfect little soldier. Like the young man had shoved every ugly sentiment, thought, and emotion he had and put it into a tin, sealing it with a tight cap with a smiley face painted onto it.

But Hannibal let him, simply waiting until a time when they could all catch their breaths. It came the day before they were scheduled to leave for the cargo ship, that night spent in a dingy motel that smelled of feces and old; the best they could afford without running the risk of being noticed by those with searching eyes. He awoke when he felt the draft – sitting up with a wince as sore muscles pulled and protested, urging him to lay back down. He didn't though, instead looking over the room, finding Murdock snoring away face-down on his bed, BA on the floor next to him. The second bed in the room was empty, and the door just slightly ajar. With a grunt, the man pushed himself off of his own mattress on the floor made of old blankets with his jacket for a pillow, and stepped outside into the cool night air, discovering soon enough that the rusted handle wouldn't shut all the way and the slightest breath would nudge it open. Well shit, if that weren't the bluntest of security threats.

"Kinda makes that shack in Zakho seem like a Grade A war room, don't it, boss?"

Hannibal turned at the voice and found his el tee lying on his back in the truck bed of their second vehicles – riding all in one was out of the question, after all. With the faintest of smirks at the quip, he walked over and slowly hoisted himself up to sit at where Face's ankles were crossed, nodding once as he looked up. The stars were out, and Face's gaze was locked onto them. "Not sure I'd go that far – but have to admit it was a step up," he admitted with a snort.

There was a thin smirk tugging and pulling on the other's face as he chuckled to himself. "Oh come on; least we had a lock on that door."

"Wouldn't call a zip tie a lock, kid."

"It got the job done," was the light response. "An', an' least the ashes covered up all the damn droppings that covered the place."

A quiet smile rested upon the colonel's lips as he leaned back against the side of the truck bed and let his head fall back to look up at the sky – unconsciously searching for anything like drones or other threats as he located the Big Dipper. "Can't argue with that."

Face gave a calm hum of triumph upon hearing that response, sighing jovially. "Man, that was…"

"A long time ago." Long before the day that he and the younger man had ever gone into Mexico to located Tuko and do surveillance on him.

"A hell of a mission," Face corrected. "Honestly didn't think we'd get outta that one, boss, but -" A laugh. "- hey. Turned out better than we coulda thought, right? Didn't even get punished for breaking Carson's orders…"

"That's because Carson was a maniac."

"Got rewarded, in fact – and I'm not talking about the medical stand down afterwards. I mean, I don't even think Morrison was expecting it when they came at us with about twenty letters of personal thanks and congratulations. The look on his face… the look on your face. We didn't get court-martialed and you still got hammered that night."

Somewhere along the young man's rambling – most likely a soon as the word 'Morrison' drifted into the air – Hannibal stopped smiling, and stopped looking up; a wary gaze resting instead on the lieutenant, that didn't even glance in his direction. Face's own smile had faded away to a forceful smirk, tight and hardened as he counted the number of stars between the Big Dipper and the Little one.

"That was a good night."

Hannibal didn't want to share the sentiment; didn't want to remember, and he rubbed his forward with callous fingers as he pursed his lips. "Kid…"

"You know I think the only time I ever saw him that surprised was when you made me your XO? I think you could've told him you were marryin' me and he would've had the same level of pure… shock on his face."

Hannibal pinched the bridge of his nose, and shook his head. "Face -"

"You know before I ever met you, he was the one that'd give me all those 'you're better than this' and 'you got so much potential' lectures. Not as gruff as you, but I dunno… hard to tell whose are harder to sit through. The first time, I actually…"

"Tem."

The name hung in the air alone and vacant, because it shut the other up as if it were a bullet shot at his chest. Hannibal had fully turned to face the other, who had frozen in his position, still looking straight up; but he could tell restless fingers were fidgeting beneath his head, most likely attempting to clench into a fist. With a heavy exhale, Hannibal looked down to see his own tapping away at his knees – not restless, just searching for a cigar. He hadn't gotten his hands or lips on one since before Morrison's assassination. He waited a few minutes, before the silence got a bit concerning. "Tem."

"We neeever saw it coming," Face hummed, more to himself than in a response to the colonel's voice, as he shook his head slightly. "He taught you everything you knew, and then he just…"

"Look at me, Tem," the man cut him off, voice firm; and when he didn't get a response at first, he put some bit into it. "Sit up and look at me. That's an order, Lieutenant."

He got a muffled curse shot at him for that, but obediently, Face sat up and stared blankly at the other; and just as he'd suspected, every mask was down, all smiles gone. And Hannibal stared back, taking it all in for a few minutes, before he straightened. "Look at me, and you tell me if you think that I could ever do what Morrison did, to any of you boys."

The only response he got was the slight twitch of the kid's lips, and a hardening of his eyes; he didn't look for that evidence, because there was always the slightest, the tiniest, and the constant risk that it was actually there.

So Hannibal decided to be more specific. "You look at me, Lieutenant, and you tell me, do you think I helped Morrison fake his death, and let Pike get away with those plates?"

"No, sir." The reply came after only a beat or two of being asked, and Hannibal nodded once.

"And, Lieutenant, you tell me, do you think I'm wired now? Bugged, in some way? Do you think I'm reporting back to Lynch our every move, just waitin' for him to get the drop on us and drag you boys back to your cells?"

The slightest, slightest, of flinches came at the last word, something Hannibal noted but stored away for later. From what he'd seen of the cell belonging to Templeton Peck, it was more like a mini vacation home than a prison room – six months after Face had arrived there. Six months after he'd begun using every mask he possibly had and every con skill he possessed. None of the team discussed their time in prison and now wasn't the time to start those conversations.

But they'd come, eventually.

"No, sir, I don't." Face's voice was still flat, but the ice was wearing down from the edges, sounding more tired than rigid at this point.

"Lieutenant, do you think I am waiting for the chance to send Captain Murdock to a place full of loons, with the promise of an hour of shock therapy every day."

"No sir."

"Do you think I am looking for an opportunity to a third legal disgrace to Corporal Barraccus's name?"

"No, sir."

"Lieutenant, do you remember the night that Captain Murdock and Corporal Barraccus were officially assigned to my team?"

"Of course."

"What did I say to you that night?"

"You told me to stop throwing myself at anything that wore a skirt, as if I were a fish looking for water, sir."

He earned a look for that one, but also brought an amused smirk, killing off some of the genuine tension that always felt – at least to Face – out of place amongst their time. They didn't do heart-to-hearts. They threw themselves into battle and they patched each other up physically in the aftermath; the emotional and mental stuff was left for each to lock up in their beds, alone and silently. And Hannibal usually felt the same way.

Not tonight though, apparently, because the man didn't take the chance Face gave him to start joking around and stop the seriousness. Instead, he added, "True. I also distinctly remember reminding you, Lieutenant, to keep in mind that if I ever had the intention of resigning you from your position as my XO, in any way, that Mexico, and Zokhar, and Baghdad, and Fallujah, and Ur, and countless other missions would have ended it for us."

Silence. Hannibal is beginning to loathe silent Face; it's too unnatural, too deep, too concerning. The other's gaze isn't even on him now, and so the man ducks down, hardened with resolution, to force him to look back up. Face does.

"Tem, do you think that I am planning to do what Morrison did." A statement, but not an order, and not a question. The 'colonel' tone is gone, and Face notices; also notices how when he asks this time, there's no nicknames or titles. Just to get the point across that this question counts for everything beyond status's and legalities and the technical details.

It takes a bit, but this time, the question doesn't go unanswered. Eventually, Face straightens, jaw clenched, and he answered in a ragged breath, "No, John." No. Not John. Never John.

And then the head is ducked down, fists clenching into his jeans as his shoulders go rigid. "I was gonna kill 'im, I wanted to so bad…"

Hannibal's hand, callous, firm, clamps down on one of those tight shoulders. "I know, kid. I get it."

"He was the one thing we had to clear our name, your's and BA's and Murdock's and…"

"And you didn't pull the trigger," was the grunted response. "Because you boys, this team, has something Morrison desperately lacked in: honor."

It didn't feel very honorable – with their names plastered all over the army's files, wanted for a list of crimes a mile long. The Ranger tattoo seemed to burn on Face's arm, itching and biting; worthless, now. But he still nodded, he still straightened, still squared his shoulders – including the one still being gripped by the older man – and still grasped for an expression to put on his face. One that said thank you, or one that could make a joke; one that could crack a smirk or a smile – anything but the numb, empty, lost one he could tell was wide open on his face at the moment.

"Lieutenant?"

Face blinked once, and snapped his focus out of the dark recesses of his mind where he'd been trying to look for a dressing lie, and once more tuned into Hannibal. The, "Yes, sir?" left his lips automatically once he noted they were back to titles.

Except the look Hannibal still wore was the 'John' look, not the 'colonel', and it puzzled him slightly.

"Are you still satisfied in your contract, assigning you as my XO for a rather… indefinite, period of time?"

Once more, the young man blinked; knowing everything the man had said was just a metaphor, there was no contract. And damn if that didn't sound so fucking cheesy and what the hell was wrong with him that he'd forced Hannibal Smith to stoop down to that level?

Hannibal watched the other and wondered if maybe, his lame attempt of ending this conversation of a decently-positive note, had failed; but then he saw the smile – genuine smile – slowly spread over the other's face, and felt that knot in his back ease up. Maybe that was why he had been able to nail the young man for the sixteen-year-old he'd been when first brought before him, regardless of the bullshit on his papers that read nineteen. Genuine expressions always dragged the kid down from expert marksman, skilled Ranger, and cocky womanizer to the orphan who wouldn't even ask 'how high' if asked to jump, as long as they bothered to notice he existed and ask him. He'd just take a flying leap and hope for the best.

"Cheesy lines don't sound so natural when you say 'em, boss – might wanna leave all that for Murdock."

A snort. "If Murdock's the only one who can swing those then why do you flash them at anything with a skirt and heels?"

"Oooooo, walked right into that one, didn't I."

"Fraid so, kid." Goddamn, what he wouldn't give to ease back and pop a cigar in his mouth, complete a picture-perfect closing sentence to this conversation. He could practically smell one.

In fact, he did; and brow furrowing, the man looked down from where he'd sighed and looked back up at the sky, to see one of the Cuban miracles right beneath his face, a wry, smug smirk planted on the kid's face. "Why so surprised?" he quipped. "You think after Mexico, and Zokhar, and Baghdad, and Fallujah, and Ur, and countless other missions, I'd forget to carry some spares?"

"What took you so long to hand it over then," was the grunted reply, though there was gratitude in his tone as he soon had the cigar lit, and he drank in a deep breath with a content sigh.

Face dropped down once more onto his back and returned to their original positions, looking up at the sky; Hannibal could see the masks already returning, the young man carefully constructing back his facades and his expressions, but didn't say anything. The last thing he'd seen in the raw truth of it all was a smile, and it was more than he usually settled for.

The older man leaned back, settling down with the thin wisps of smoke surrounding him, the familiar scent and sensation comforting and calming. Left Face to his conning of himself and his stargazing for several minutes, wondering how things would be if the kid had actually gotten his nickname due to his good looks – which is something everyone automatically assumed – rather than the dozens of different faces and identities he used to hide from the real world, until the man finally shifted and decided to break the quiet.

Never getting the chance, because suddenly there was a scream that came from the still slightly ajar door, followed by a stream of profanities and growls; all of topped off by a higher, louder voice that hooted and whooped.

"The gremlin's have got ya, Bosco, don't worry! Imma scare them away!"

"Get off me, you crazy-ass…!"

A thump.

"Don't worry, Bosco! They don't like 'em pillowcases, they're allergic to bedbugs!"

Hannibal was straightening and swinging his legs down to the ground when a lean, dirty-blonde figure suddenly beat him to it, springing off of the truck bed with a, "I've got this, boss" and a quick sprint through the door. The colonel deciding to see just how 'well' the other had it and waiting, standing near the truck, and then smirking and shaking his head at the entirely new set of shouts and angry BA protests that emerged from inside.

"That's right, Facey, you hold 'im down with these here pillows and I'll go get the toilet paper! Gremlins hate that stuff, make their ears itchy."

Silver eyes listened with an amused glimmer, before following the trails of cigar smoke up into the sky – a determined, grim smirk setting hard onto the man's features. "You hear that, Russ?" he got out in a low murmur, making it a firm promise in his mind that this would be the last time that name would leave his lips. The last time he thinks about the man's last words to him, demanding and cursing to know just why they were fighting when the Army didn't want them, the world didn't want them.

But Hannibal wasn't fighting for the army, and he wasn't fighting for the world at this point either; Morrison's last words had been shallow, ignorant, and it added satisfaction to his smirk. "You were wrong." He turns back to the motel room, where his boys are – and Face must've put on his charm again because this time, they're all laughing, a sound that had been missing for quite some time.

"That's what I'm fighting for."