One hour earlier and the scene had been far different. There was no Agent Lynch, a ghost from the past, slamming any gun on the table with vague threats of ominous doom. No Hannibal either, strung up on the wall like a piece of meat. It was just the three of them, "Howling Mad" Murdock, Bosco "Bad Attitude" Baracus, and Templeton "Faceman" Peck; sitting at that table as if ready to play a game of cards. Except the setting was lacking the booze, the laughs, the actual cards, and the ability to move their hands.
Murdock wished that there was at least some chatter; with the slightest of sounds, the man could've constructed an entirely different scenario in his head, a vast game of pretend, to keep the panic at bay. But there was nothing. Even Face's normally defiant and smirking expression was blank and tight in frustration, matching BA's – and the dark-haired man squirmed in the quiet of it all.
Finally, when the tapping of his feet against the cement floor could no longer satisfy that craving for something – anything – other than the quiet, he gave a long, exaggerated sigh, shaking his head. "So where do you think…?"
"Fool, if you're about to ask where Hannibal is, I warned ya I wouldn't hear it no more…"
Oh, that's right. He'd asked that question quite a few times (a dozen to be exact) in the last fifteen minutes, and BA had graciously responded with a threat to tie his lips together should he ask yet another time. Murdock clamped his mouth shut, after hastily apologizing. His feet rapped against the floor even faster.
"C'mon man, he's just worried. We all are."
Good old Face – always defending him. Murdock sent his friend a small smile in thanks, as he rapidly nodded, ignoring the glare the bigger man shot the blonde for interfering after he'd just gotten the pilot to shut up. "Yeah, Bosco, worried is all, I mean. Lynch said he'd gotten his hands on 'im…"
"Don't mean he actually got his hands on him," BA rumbled in response. "Fucker didn't give us no proof of that – and Hannibal's not stupid."
"No. But neither are we, and well." Murdock rapped on the cuff that kept his left hand pinned down, the metal cold upon his touch. It sent shivers up his spine.
He'd never liked restraints; of any kind.
"Look, Murdock, even if Lynch does have him, the boss always has a plan." Face speaking up once again, trying to be reassuring. Always keeping positive in the worst of situations, smiling through pain, laughing through fear… Murdock glanced at the younger man, and tried to see behind the mask that at the moment looked so confident in their boss's capabilities – he was better at it than most people. Though right now, all he caught was the slightest glimpse of uneasiness in the way the man held his shoulders. "Remember, Lynch is nothing anymore; not CIA, not military like Pike was… it's only a matter of time before we beat his ass. Again. This is just us waiting out and running down the time."
Murdock pursed his lips, nodding slowly as BA hummed. The bigger man finally bothered to push past his own irritation and frustrations to add onto Face's words, "Faceman's right. This ain't nothin' to sweat over."
BA glanced at Face as he spoke, and the pilot didn't not notice how the two men shared one of those looks. Murdock certainly wasn't the youngest member of the team, but there were times where he felt like the child. The baby. Toddler. With a father and two brothers constantly treating him as such. Of course, he knew that wasn't what they were doing; these men were one of the only ones who'd ever treated him as an equal in anything… But there were those looks. BA and Face, sharing a quick conversation with just a look, blue eyes clashing with dark in silent agreement over their situation despite their resolute words, and Murdock left to only guess what they were discussing. Probably something grim and ominous that they didn't want triggering any crazy panic.
Even if Hannibal had a plan, they had no idea what that plan could possibly be; a very large disadvantage on their part. In fact, in all aspects, the team seemed to be at the disadvantaged side in this situation – separated from Hannibal, unarmed, heads still pounding, with Lynch having improved his game enough to somehow round them all up for this showdown.
Aka, it looked like they were screwed for the time being.
And damn it! Murdock was a Ranger! They didn't need to give him false promises of hope and bravado, and then tell each other something entirely different when they turned away. In fact, Murdock was just about ready to slam his free hand down onto the table and say so, all ready to make this very important announcement, when a door somewhere in the back shadows swung open, hinges screeching, and putting a halt to his plans. Footsteps, clipping and precise, came towards them, and moments later, a blonde head of hair was baptized with the artificial white light from the bulbs above. The door was directly behind Murdock, and the pilot couldn't see the man approaching; he didn't have to, knew who it was even with Face's eye roll and BA's growl.
"Gotta say, I'm rather disappointed in you fellows," was Lynch's greeting – Vance, Murdock reminded himself, this was no agent anymore, there were no rules. Their captor stepped over until he was standing in front of them all, at the other side of the table, opposite of Murdock. He cast a very patronizing look over each one of them, but the gaze – he felt – lingered on Murdock the longest. "All those impossible missions completed, all those miraculous escapades and legendary feats… I was expecting to come into this room and find you guys long gone. Or at the very least, waiting to pounce on me as I walked through the door."
Vance whistled slowly, in a "tut-tut" way, and shook his head. "Like I said: disappointing."
Of course, Face was the first one to respond to that, a crooked smirk stepping across his face; both soldiers knew what it meant, and BA was halfway through shaking his head "no" when the youngest team member began his quips and retorts. "You know what's really disappointing? The fact that it took a whole year for this shindig to get set up. I almost feared you'd forgotten about us." A snort. "Good to see you still deliver, even if at the same low, laughable level you always worked at."
"Oh, don't try that whole 'I'm-right-where-I-want-to-be' crap, Peck." Vance's face curled from a smirk to a sneer so fast, it was like watching metal melt, or cheese curdle. His cold gaze once more roamed over each of them, and Murdock finally decided: yes, Vance Burress, with no limits and no more legal agendas, was far more intimidating than Lynch ever was. Not in the scary sort of way, but in the dreadful. Like ever shimmer in those eyes was promises to ruin them, maybe not in a fight, but in all those sneaky government ways that he knew he could use without any risk to his position anymore.
So while Murdock distanced himself mentally from the situation, and tried finding a name for their captor in his head that wasn't 'Vance' or 'Lynch', the man himself continued, "This is my game now. You're in my home field, we're playing by my rules… mine. Everything right now is mine. The advantage, your lives, your thoughts…"
"So is this what this is then? The cliché old ha ha, I'm the villain and I got you guys and now I'm going to show you just how mighty I am scene from every movie ever, before we stomp your ass?" was Face's scoffing response, a hollow laugh and smirk accompanying the words. "Are you serious right now? Is this some sort of lame DC Nation comic-remake, like Batman or, or…"
Murdock spoke up almost unintentionally, mind almost immediately grasping onto the word Batman and thus, switching his focus onto it. "Hey now, I liked the old series. It was fun."
"It was shit, Murdock, c'mon man. Even you had to agree it was…"
"Nothing beats the classics, Face!" Voice raising, filling up with a sudden passion and determination that seemed more fitting for a coach to use to get his team to the super bowl. His right hand jerked, as if to slam against the table as he'd been tempting to do before - and it did, but much of its force and power was hindered by the chain that's cuffed to the brace on his other arm. "I mean, take all of 'em old shows for example, every single one of them was the highlight of television back in the day! They were a prime specimen of…"
BA closed his eyes in a manner that very much said "I can't believe what I'm witnessing", while Lynch watched with a face that was growing less-and-less amused as time passed. He finally spoke up once more when Murdock began his insights on the secret government messages he was convinced were hidden in the original I Love Lucy series, by hitting his own closed fist onto the table. "Enough!" Blue eyes narrowed, impatience written in every stretched line of the man's face. This was the only time that the hint of a smirk slid across BA's face; though it was quickly hidden as Vance shoved himself back into a straightened position, running a hand down his face.
"I do not know how you have managed to evade law enforcement for so long… but at least it's pretty obvious why you just couldn't manage to evade me."
"Really," was Face's scoffing reply. "Because last I check, we beat your ass last time…"
There was no warning when the fist suddenly collided with the young man's face, sending spit and blood flying as Face's head violently was whipped to the side. There was a loud threat suddenly erupting from BA, a startled jump from Murdock. Face, once recovered, was immediately back shooting quips as pain throbbed through his jaw, and that was how the hour went by, until two men in black suits dragged an unconscious Hannibal Smith into the room, and everyone fell dead silent. Everyone but Vance, at least, who simply laughed and grinned.
And its dead silent once more, now that there's a gun on the table, and Hannibal is awake, and everything seems a hell of a lot colder.
Its broken by Hannibal, of course, his voice low; commanding, and threatening. A colonel's tone. "Don't make this any worse, Lynch," is the rumbling warning.
"Worse? Why, this isn't going bad for me at all, Smith. In fact, everything is going exactly as I'd hoped." As if on cue, those men in the black suits step on over, coming from the shadows as if they were a part of them themselves, arms full of files. Folders and notebooks, stuffed full, are placed down on the table before Hannibal; Vance leaves the gun where it lays and more or less skips over. Snatching up a folder and skimming through it. "Exactly as I'd hoped," he repeats.
Murdock watches the man ponder over a few pages in the folder for a long while, as his lips purse, and his fidgeting returns. Notes the way that Hannibal's eyes remain locked on Lynch and narrowed, not flickering over to them once. Notes how BA is glaring at the man as well, and how Face is still staring at that gun. Notes as well how, after a few more minutes, Lynch flips the file over and holds it up for Hannibal to read – and sees how the man's expression instantly changes. In the blink of an eye.
And Murdock can't help but wonder if that scene from an hour ago? So different? Had been the last calm time together the A-Team would ever have.