This is my 3rd story on this site. I know I said that this is a Christmas story because it will probably be finished by the time Christmas rolls around, but writing it is going a lot faster than previously expected. It will be finished a lot sooner. I hope you like it. I do not own the A-Team or make money from this story. All rights belong to Stephen J. Cannell.
Chapter One: The Trip to Massachusetts
It was early in the morning. Face was sleeping in his bed when his father charged into the room. "Wake up, Kid!" yelled an ecstatic Hannibal as he shook Face to wake him up.
"What the hell do you want? It's three in the morning!" whispered a groggy, irritated Face.
"How would you like you to meet your Aunt Izzy?"
"You know, my sister!"
"I'm pretty sure she can wait an hour or two so I can get some sleep!" Face muttered.
"Nope, you have to get up. The plane leaves in an hour," said Hannibal cheerfully.
"I believe you failed to discuss this with me beforehand," mumbled Face, still buried in the covers as he pulled a pillow over his head.
"I wanted to surprise you and take you somewhere special since this is our first Christmas since I've adopted you. I already packed your bags," said Hannibal happily.
"Thanks for being so considerate," Face uttered sarcastically.
"Come on. Get up, Tem," said Hannibal, trying not to laugh as he successfully pulled the pillow away despite Face's death grip on it.
"Are B.A. and Murdock coming?" asked Face as he sat up in bed.
"No, B.A.'s going to see his mom and Murdock wanted this trip to be for us. He will fly us though. You might want to hurry up. I'm going to put the things in the car."
After Hannibal left, Face slowly rolled out of bed. "I think Dad just likes to watch me suffer," he said to himself as he got ready. They rode in the 'Vette to the place Murdock had the plane. The plane ride would last five hours. They both decided to sleep through the flight as Hannibal pulled up the armrest so he could hold Tem to make sure he was okay while they slept. Face relished the hold as they drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
"Alright, everyone, fasten your seatbelts and keep all extremities in the aircraft as we come in for landing," Murdock announced through the loudspeaker. "Tha-tha-that's all folks!" he imitated as he successfully landed the plane in front of Aunt Izzy's house.
"Thanks, Murdock. Nice flying," Hannibal praised as he walked out of the plane with Face behind him.
"Yeah, thanks for the loop-de-loops," Face said sarcastically as he stumbled out of the plane, still dizzy from Murdock's flying tricks.
"No problem, muchachos!" Murdock yelled over the motors as the plane began to take off. The duo could see Murdock's plane doing many tricks as he flew back home.
"Do you think she'll like me?" Face nervously asked.
"Trust me, she'll love you. You're everything she wished I was," Hannibal mumbled the last part so Face had to strain to hear it.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, for starters, you quit smoking. By the way, don't tell her I still am or she'll have a fit. Secondly, you weren't a hippie in high school. Then, there's the fact that you wear suits everywhere you go."
"Wait, slow down! You were a hippie!" Face laughed, mentally picturing the foreign idea.
"Will you stop laughing! It was a phase," Hannibal muttered embarrassedly.
"Suuuuure," Face teased, still dying from laughter.
Hannibal lightly swatted Face's shoulder at the remark.
"Fine," Face whined as he followed his father to the house. He noticed it was a very small town. He mentally noted the sights around him. There was a frozen lake that a parent was teaching her daughter to ice skate on. There was a tabby cat on his aunt's porch. The houses were mostly medium sized. There were about 20 houses in all and a small grocery store. Then he saw a stand where people could rent ice skates beside the lake. Overall the town looked nice and comforting. It all worked together to make him less nervous.
"Here we are, Tem. This is actually where I grew up," said Hannibal as he gestured toward the home. He saw Face was looking at the cat. "This is Mr. Biggs, he's very friendly. Don't ask why that's his name. I can't remember," he said as he stroked the cat's fur, motioning for Face to come beside him.
"Hi, Mr. Biggs," Face spoke softly as he petted the small cat. He was an orange short hair with long whiskers. The tip of his tail was white. "How old is he?"
"It's hard to tell. He once belonged to another owner before he came to us. I'd say he's fifteen or sixteen."
"He's an active cat though. He's lived here for around 6 years. I met him last time I visited."
"Hi, John," said Izzy from behind him.
He turned around and hugged her saying, "It's so good to see you, it's been too long."
"You too, John. And who's this?" she asked sweetly.
"This is my son, Tem," said Hannibal.
"I've heard so much about you, baby," she said as she hugged Face. She had dark blonde hair with blue eyes and was wearing light red glasses. Her voice was very smooth.
"Hi," murmured Face shyly. He wasn't used to motherly love.
"Hi, sweetie. John's told me so much about you. But shyness didn't appear on the list."
"Ummm," he nervously said.
"I'm just joking, honey," she cooed as she lead Face and Hannibal inside with Mr. Biggs following.
Chapter Two: Izzy's Home
Face noticed his aunt's home was beautiful. The living room was very comfortable. It consisted of a large gray couch and two chairs all with accenting pillows. There was a large fireplace that perfectly added to the paint on the walls. The carpet was red and had many detailed designs. He saw a picture on one of the stands. It looked like his father, only a lot younger. Next to him was what looked like a very young Aunt Izzy. It was obvious though that she was the older sibling. His father looked like he was eight in the photograph, while Aunt Izzy looked to be fifteen. Behind them was a man in an Army uniform, he was a lieutenant. It seemed that the most likely answer was that he was their father. Hannibal resembled him very well.
"Please, sit down," insisted Izzy. Hannibal and Face sat on the couch while Izzy sat on one of the chairs.
"How have you been, Isabella?" said Hannibal, trying to make small talk, hoping it would make Face less nervous. He knew it was a big step for him to meet his family, especially since it had only been four months since he'd adopted Face. He placed his arm around his shoulder to somewhat calm his nerves. He noticed that Face relaxed into the hold and his breathing evened out.
"I've been good, John."
Mr. Biggs suddenly hopped onto Face's lap, "Hi, kitty," he said, surprised.
"I think he likes you," complimented Izzy.
"I think so, too," replied Face.
"I think Mr. Biggs agrees," chuckled Hannibal.
Face petted the cat as the light conversation continued.
"So, how is your ice skate rental business doing?" asked Hannibal.
"It's been doing really good. Parents are eager to teach their children this year. The sales are greatly increasing. Have you ever ice skated, Tem?"
"I've never had a chance to."
"Don't worry, Kid. I'll teach you tomorrow."
"I … I don't think that'd be a good idea. I tried roller skating once and I was terrible."
"Well, John's one of the best skaters I know. I'm sure he'll be able to teach you."
"Okay, I guess I'll try, then," surrendered Face, not thinking it would be the best idea.
"I guess you guys should get settled. John, you take the guest room. Tem you can take your father's old bedroom. By the way, you'll probably want to check out his closet."
"Please don't tell me you kept my old clothes," groaned Hannibal, his face turning a shade of red from embarrassment.
"Of course I did," confirmed Izzy.
Face checked out the closet. What he found was scandalous, at least to him. There was baggy jeans, leather vests, tie-dye shirts, many fringed vests and jackets, and bellbottoms. The horror! He went to the bed stand and found a pair of John Lennon glasses along with a necklace with the peace sign on it and a headband sitting next to it.
Hannibal walked in as Face was gazing into the closet with absolute terror written on his face. "Will you calm down, it wasn't that bad."
"Ohhhh, yes, it was," Face ranted, still in shock. "One question. Why the bellbottoms?"
"It was a crazy decade."
"I require a better answer than that."
Hannibal huffed, "I was a teenager who was high on weed. Will that suffice?" he confessed sarcastically.
"That'll do it."
"And what exactly do you mean by that?"
"Weed makes you do crazy things."
"Like you didn't go through a high school phase."
"It still doesn't excuse you from the John Lennon glasses or the headband."
"You found those, too?" Hannibal winced.
"Including the necklace."
"As I said, it was a crazy decade," said Hannibal as he turned and walked out to unpack his items.
"Did he find them?" whispered Aunt Izzy as she pulled him aside.
"John Lennon glasses and all," he sighed embarrassedly, still in regret for not throwing them out last time he visited.
"I for one thought your phase was very amusing, little brother," she teased.
After Hannibal turned around to enter the guest room, he did the peace sign behind his back. Izzy laughed at this and then left to make dinner.
Chapter Three: Ice Skating
The next day arrived. There was now five days until Christmas. Hannibal and Face made it outside to practice skating.
"I'm not so sure about this, Dad," fretted Face as he shakily stood on the ice, trying to take a step, only to fall flat on his face. "Owww," he moaned as his voice was muffled by the cold ice.
Hannibal couldn't help but laugh at this. "Don't worry, Kid," he reassured as he helped him up. The air was very cold so they spoke with clouds of water vapor floating out of their mouths. Hannibal then lightly pushed his son out into the ice.
He skidded as his feet involuntarily spread far apart, trying to gain his balance. He once again fell, but this time backwards. The sight was both pitiful and hilarious.
Hannibal skated over to him once again to help him up, "Come on, Kid," he said optimistically as he pulled him up. "The problem is you're panicking and trying too hard to gain your balance. You're doing it right now, Tem," he said as he glanced down to Face as he was constantly moving his feet to stay upright in his father's arms.
"Okay," he replied as he stopped moving his feet and found that he could gain balance by just standing there.
"Now you've got it!" Hannibal knew by now he couldn't just push Face on the ice and expect him to skate. So, instead, he held Face close and began to slowly skate backwards, helping his son to skate forwards. Hannibal noticed that Face's legs were shaking so he moved one of his hands down to steady them.
Face instinctively wrapped his arms around his father to steady himself.
"You're okay, Kid. I've got you," he promised softly into his son's ear.
"Hmm," he mumbled into Hannibal's jacket. They kept this position as Face was doing increasingly better.
Hannibal ran a hand through his son's hair and whispered, "You're doing great, Son." That's when he heard an audible crack which would precede the ice breaking from beneath them. They both fell through and swam to the surface.
"We don't have much time! It's nearly impossible to swim with these heavy skates on!" shouted Hannibal, the coldness of the water taking their breath away.
"We have to get out or we'll get frostbite!" panicked Face.
Hannibal knew his son was the weaker swimmer of the two. Especially under these conditions. If they didn't get out soon he'd certainly drown! And he couldn't hold his son and stay above the water at the same time. They tried to reach for the ice but it kept breaking as they tried to grasp it. Hannibal was now panicking. He couldn't lose his son now!
People had heard the ice break and were coming out of their houses to help. Izzy was the first since she was working at the ice skates stand. One person brought a long rope which they tied to a tree and used to pull Hannibal out despite his pleading for them to rescue his son first.
They then focused on saving Face. But after he was able to grasp the rope he sank farther down into the lake. He had passed out due to the cold. Luckily, they were able to pull him out before he breathed in any water. Hannibal kneeled next to his son's unconscious form and pulled him into his arms. Even though Face was unconscious, he was shivering violently. Hannibal quickly carried him inside Izzy's house and took off his clothes to replace them with dry ones while Izzy ignited the fireplace. He then brought Face near the fireplace while Izzy wrapped numerous blankets around both of them.
Hannibal began to rock Face in his strong arms with his son's head against his heart. Izzy sat next to Hannibal as she lightly stroked her nephew's wet hair. Face remained unconscious as they did this, but his shivering slowly began to decrease. This was a small comfort for the siblings as they continued to comfort him.
Soon, Face started to show signs that he was waking up. Hannibal noticed this when Face's arms that were wrapped over his shoulders held on slightly tighter. "Dad?" he whispered.
"Yes, darling, I'm right here," Hannibal cried as he held his son tighter against him and continued to rock him while laying his head against his son's. "It's okay, Templeton."
"S-so c-c-cold," he whimpered.
Hannibal and Izzy both wrapped Face tighter in the blankets.
"John, you fell through the lake, too. Maybe we should move Tem to the couch so you can stay with him and he can warm up."
"N-n-no. Pl-please don't let g-go."
"It's alright, Son. I'll never leave you," he said as he lovingly kissed his son's forehead.
They kept the same position together as Face fell into a peaceful sleep with his father's arms rocking him near the glow of the fire. Izzy saw that she was sleepy as well and brought out three pillows for them to sleep on. Hannibal held Face close as he slowly lowered him onto one of the pillows with his head in his hand. They all fell asleep together, warmed by the numerous blankets and the fire with Hannibal's arms around his son. Izzy fell asleep with her hand on her nephew's shoulder.
Chapter Four: The Cold
Face woke up feeling nothing but horrible. His throat hurt, he could only breathe through his mouth due to his nose being all stuffed up, his eyes were watery, and he had a headache. He softly moaned as he woke up.
Hannibal noticed this and asked, "Are you alright, Kid?"
"I'm fine," he lied.
"I don't think so," Hannibal put his hand on his forehead to check his temperature. "You're burning up!"
"It must be from the fire," he lied again.
"Tell me what's wrong, Kid."
"As I said, I'm okay."
"I've always known when you were conning me. Why wouldn't this be one of those times?"
"I'm fine," he continued.
"I thought we've established that you can tell me anything."
"Dad, I'm fine."
"Lieutenant! Tell me what's wrong right now. That's an order."
"Yes, sir," he mumbled, "I'm sick."
"Thank you for telling me. Why would you try to hide this from me?"
"Whenever I was sick at the orphanage, the nuns would lock us in a room all alone to keep us from getting the other children sick. I don't want you to leave me," he murmured the last part as he looked down, expecting to see disappointment.
"Oh, Kid," Hannibal wrapped his son in a hug and tilted his chin up, "do you remember what I told you last night?"
"You said you'd never leave me," he only saw love in his father's eyes instead of disappointment.
"Exactly. No matter what, I'll never leave you, son. I love you more than anything."
"Hey!" Hannibal barked. "That's Dad to you," he chuckled, his bright eyes shining.
Face wrapped his arms around his father.
"I love you very much, Tem," he whispered into his ear.
"I love you, too."
"Look, I'm going to go the pharmacy to get you some medicine. Izzy will be with you. I'll be right back, I promise," he said as he carried his son to the couch, wrapped him in blankets, and kissed him on the head.
"You know I can walk, right?" Face joked.
"I know, Tem," he said as he walked out. As Hannibal was walking out, he found Izzy outside. "Izzy, I have something to ask you."
"Do you know why the ice broke yesterday?"
A tear slid down her cheek, "I'm so sorry, John. I never meant for this to hurt you or Tem."
"What do you mean?" he asked as he went to comfort her.
"These two men have threatened me for weeks about selling the stand and the lake. They apparently think there's some value in the place. I don't know why. I think they did something to the lake to make the ice break and stop sales to force me to sell it."
"Why didn't you tell me? The team could've come to help you. Now there's only me. Murdock is stuck at the VA and Tem is too sick to break him out. And B.A. is spending the week with his mother."
"What do you mean Tem is sick?"
"He caught a cold. I was going to get the medicine now."
"I'm so sorry, John. This is all my fault. I love Tem. I never meant for this to happen."
"It's not your fault, I don't blame you and Tem certainly doesn't."
"Thank you, John."
"Don't worry, I'll take care of these sleazeballs."
"But don't you need your men?"
"You and Tem can be on the lookout from the house. I can make it work."
"But what if you get hurt? Tem needs you right now!"
"I'll be careful. Do you know exactly why they want this property?"
"They never said exactly. They just say there's money in the place, which is impossible because it's just an ordinary lake and stand."
"They must know something we don't. I'll go do a stakeout tomorrow as long as Tem doesn't get any worse."
"Just be careful."
"I will. Can you please look after Tem for me while I'm gone?" he said as he walked to the pharmacy. He got some medicine to relieve the pain and keep the fever down and came back home.
When he walked through the door, Face asked from the couch, "Dad, can I ask you something?"
"You ... um, you called me darling last night. Why did you?"
Hannibal walked next to him and ran his hand through his silver hair. Contemplating his answer, he kneeled down next to him and said, "Ever since I met you, I've always wanted to give you all of the things you missed out on. I always wanted to be the father figure you looked up to. Now that I have adopted you, I want you to know about all of the things fathers do for their sons. I just want you to know I love you," he answered earnestly. Hannibal hugged his son and said, "I love you, darling, always."
Chapter Five: The Steakout
"Dad, are you sure you want to do this alone? I can come with you," protested Face from the couch as Hannibal was getting his recorder ready.
"Tem, you're sick. I will not put your health at risk," replied Hannibal sternly.
"John, he has a point. What if you get hurt and don't have backup?" reasoned Izzy.
"That's why I have this," he showed Izzy and Face the wire, "If I need backup, only as a last resort, I will just call you from the wire and you will hear it on your walkie-talkie.
"I still don't think this is safe. What if Tem waited outside the warehouse?" advised Izzy.
"He'll freeze out there! This is Massachusetts, not California. Definitely, no," said Hannibal.
"I don't think it's a bad idea," contradicted Face.
"You still have a cold, Tem. My answer is final, Lieutenant," said Hannibal.
"Yes, Colonel," said Face sadly, worried about what could happen to his father.
Hannibal realized how worried his son was and gave him a hug and whispered, "I'll be alright. This isn't my first solo mission," and kissed his head. He then went to hug his sister and went out the door to go to the secret hideout of brothers Michael and James Carter.
Hannibal went to the window of the warehouse. He couldn't see anything but he could hear the muffled voice of two people talking. "Alright, Face, I'm going in. Make sure to try to hear everything they say," they had agreed to go by their code names during missions.
"I'm ready, Hannibal," he said through the talkie, still in Aunt Izzy's home.
Hannibal quietly opened the window and swiftly entered the warehouse, hiding behind a file cabinet. The two voices were more audible this time and Hannibal inferred they were that of Michael and James Carter.
"You've really done it this time, James! The ice broke when the Green Beret and his son were skating and not Izzy Smith. Do you know what he could do to us? He's a respected Colonel from what I've heard."
"How was I supposed to know they were going to visit, Michael!"
"Are you getting this, Face?" Hannibal whispered.
"Every word," Face replied.
"Now how are we going to get the money?" asked James.
At that moment they both noticed the room was getting colder. Michael saw that the window was open and asked, "Did you open the window?"
"No. Did you?"
They both crept slowly over to where the window was with guns drawn. Hannibal knew if he talked to Face he would get caught. He also knew that when they got to the window they would see him and he might not get the chance to alert Face. His heart was pounding out of his chest as he made the split-second decision, "Face, I need backup," he whispered frantically.
"I'm on it!" Face rushed out of the house with his rifle and a few grenades along with his coat.
Izzy yelled as he ran out, "be safe, Tem!"
"You! Behind the file cabinet! Come out with your hands up!" shouted James.
Hannibal inched carefully out from behind the cabinet. He couldn't get himself killed when Face needed him. "Let's be sensible, guys," he said.
"You're the colonel!" exclaimed Michael.
"Damned right I am. And that was my son you almost killed!" snarled Hannibal deeply in anger.
James searched him and found a gun, his wire, and recorder and took it.
Face made it up to the warehouse and looked through the window that they had left open to deal with Hannibal. He saw that there were two guns pointed at his father and it was James and Michael Carter who were holding them. He saw them tell Hannibal to get on his knees and put his hands behind his head. He now had a loophole to make a shot. He decided to go for in between the Carters so he wouldn't kill them but only scare them. BANG! It turned out that they weren't experienced gunmen and they dropped the guns in fear of getting shot. "Put your hands up!" Face shouted as he climbed through the window with his gun fixed on the two men.
"Nice, Face," complimented Hannibal as he grabbed a cigar from his son's pocket that he would always reserve for him. He searched for a lighter but Face handed him one. "Thanks, Kid. Now we're going to teach you sleazeballs a lesson," he said as he grabbed his gun that James had taken. They shot up their leir and threw the grenades everywhere they could.
After they were done, they tied up the men and called the authorities. "Nice work, Kid," said Hannibal proudly.
Face just sneezed in reply.
"I think it's time we get you back to Izzy's," said Hannibal as he wrapped his arm around his son's shoulder and walked back together. "I love it when a plan comes together," he said while puffing his cigar.
Chapter Six: Ice Skating … Again
All in all, it had been a short mission and they would never know why the Carters saw so much value in the small business. Face soon got better and the ice froze again. After a few minutes of pleading with his father, he finally gave in to teach him how to ice skate, even though he had just gotten over his cold. This time, though, Izzy would join them.
Hannibal decided to go with the way he tried to teach him last time before the ice broke, "Come on, Tem! You've got it," he encouraged as Face was wobbling in his arms.
"I … I don't think so," worried Face.
"I've got you, Kid," reassured Hannibal as he held on tighter. "Remember what I told you, don't panic."
"Yeah," Face said unsurely.
Izzy skated over, "Don't worry, honey. John won't let go of you."
"She's right, Tem," confirmed Hannibal. Face suddenly slipped, but Hannibal still held on to him. He ran a hand through his son's hair saying, "I promise," and smiled. Izzy helped guide his shaky legs across the ice with Hannibal holding onto him until Face could almost skate on his own.
"I think I'm ready now," Face said confidently.
"Alright, sweetheart," said Aunt Izzy.
Hannibal slowly let go and skated back a few feet, "Just try to skate to me, Kid." Face first took a few careful steps and then began to skate. It wasn't perfect, but Hannibal and Izzy remembered doing worse on their first times. Face then fell onto the ice.
Hannibal began to skate to him until he said, "Don't worry, I've got this." He then skated to the two of them without faltering.
"Good job, Son," Hannibal congratulated, "I'm proud of you, Kid." He then wrapped his arms around his son and kissed him on the cheek. Face smiled and his father said, "There's that smile I love!" like he would every time he kissed his cheek.
They continued to skate for a couple more hours and then decided to go back inside since it was getting colder as night was approaching.
Soon, they were all cuddled up with a blanket next to each other with Face in the middle, his head leaning against Hannibal's shoulder and arms wrapped around his chest. Hannibal smiled softly at this and put his arm around his son's shoulder and pulled him closer. Izzy had soft Sinatra music playing in the background. As she placed a kiss on her nephew's head she was reminded of how much he was like John when he was younger. Adopted or not, nevertheless, she instantly loved Tem from the moment she met him. When John had called her to schedule a visit, he told her all about Tem, the adoption, and a little about his past. The poor baby, being left by his mother on the doorstep of a church at five was something she could never imagine a mother doing.
Mr. Biggs suddenly hopped onto Face's lap. "I think you've made a new friend, Tem," said Izzy.
"I think so, too," he replied as he stroked the old cat's thin fur.
"He's going to be devastated when we leave," Hannibal added.
"I'll be sure to spend plenty of time with him before we go," said Face. There were only three days until Christmas, and they would leave two days after the special holiday.
"I think Mr. Biggs is going to make sure of that," Hannibal chuckled. Face soon fell asleep in his father's arms. "Don't worry, sis, I'll take him to bed. He's had a long day."
Hannibal slowly picked up the sleeping cat and laid him, still asleep, on the couch. He then picked up his son and carried him to his bedroom and laid him down on the mattress, pulling the covers over his sleeping form. "I love you, Kid, never forget that," he said as he slowly walked out.
Chapter Seven: Guitars and Cigars
"Izzy, I need some help."
"What is it, John?" Izzy asked.
"I have no idea what to get Tem for Christmas," Hannibal admitted.
"And you waited this long?"
"I thought I could figure it out myself."
"You've always never wanted to ask for help."
"Could you please help me? Christmas is tomorrow!" Hannibal pleaded
"You could get him a tie? He's always wearing those suits," she offered
"I've already thought about that, it just doesn't seem right."
"What about your old guitar?"
"Have you really forgotten the guitar you had? I'm sure Tem would love for you to teach him how to play. It's in the closet."
"That's a good idea. Let's find it!" Once they opened the closet door, they realized that the closet was cluttered with items collected over the years and it would be very hard to retrieve the guitar. "We might as well get started," Hannibal sighed as he marveled at all the work they would have to do to get Face's present.
Meanwhile, Face was working on getting his father's present. He'd already gotten Aunt Izzy's present. It was a really stylish pair of boots he'd seen her looking at while he was helping her to find Hannibal's present. But, finding his father's Cubans would be a little trickier in a small town like this. Luckily, he had a plan. "Hello. I'm looking for a Mr. Tim Pines," said Face as he entered the smoke shop with a confident flair. Tim Pines was the owner of the shop. Face had gotten an 'anonymous tip' that he had a large supply of Cuban cigars that he kept to himself in his office. Now all he had to do was make a deal.
"Good morning, Mr. Peck," greeted Tim Pines. Face always used his former last name for running scams. Although this wasn't exactly like his normal scams.
"Good morning," replied Face.
"I heard you have an offer for me."
"If you help me to deliver something, I'll give you my finest box of Cubans," Pines smirked.
"And what would I have to deliver, exactly?" Face inquired.
"I have a friend of mine who needs this brought to him," answered Pines as he handed him a small box. "Would you be so kind as to not open it."
"Who is this friend of yours?"
"He lives at 609 on Graham Street."
"I'll deliver it."
"Good. I'll give you the box when you return."
Face walked out of the smoke shop and down the street. He knew there was something off about this task he was supposed to complete. Why would Pines give him a box of Cubans just for delivering a package? He surely didn't seem like the generous type. He made sure he was out of sight and opened the box. What he saw didn't surprise him, little baggies of some kind of drug in them. He whistled and dipped a finger in one of the bags to taste it. His suspicions were correct, crystal meth. He took the bags out and emptied them into the nearby trash can and replaced them with a small note saying to stop taking the drugs and clean up his act. He then delivered the box as promised, but with the new contents inside of it.
When he came back to the shop, Pines gave him the Cubans as promised. "I hope you didn't open the box."
"Good," Pines replied. As Face walked out of the smoke shop, he winked at Pines as the police cars showed up at the shop with their sirens blaring.
Soon, he was back at Izzy's house. When he saw his father and Izzy digging through the hall closet, he asked, "What're you looking for?"
"Nothing!" They blurted out simultaneously.
"Okay..." he was too tired to investigate further so he went to his room to wrap Hannibal's present.
Once Hannibal and Izzy knew Face was out of earshot, they pulled the old guitar out of the closet. "That was close," Hannibal released the breath he was holding.
"At least he doesn't know," Izzy reassured.
"The Tem I know would've questioned us further," Hannibal said skeptically.
"He was out for a while. He's probably just tired," Izzy reasoned.
"Yeah, that's probably it. But I have one question."
"How are we going to wrap a guitar?"
Izzy laughed, "We can just put a bow on it."
"Would you rather spend all night attempting to wrap this guitar?"
"Good point, sis."
"That's what I'm here for."
Chapter Eight: The Note
Hannibal was sitting at the desk in his room clutching a pen. He was wracking his brain for something to write on the note he would leave for Face near the guitar. He knew in his heart what he wanted to say, he just couldn't form it into words. So far he only had 'Dear, Tem' and 'I'. The trash can next to his desk already had ten papers in it he had attempted to write the note on ... and failed. It was nearing dawn. He had been up since three a.m. He'd always worked best early in the morning. 'Oh, Tem, there are so many things I want to tell you,' he thought as he crumpled and threw another piece of paper into the nearly overflowing trash can. Then a familiar song popped into his head, 'You Are My Sunshine'. "That's it!" he realized.
"That's what?" asked Izzy as she sleepily walked into the room.
"I'm sorry I woke you. I'm just trying to write a note on the guitar for Tem."
"What do you have so far?" asked Izzy.
Hannibal showed her the blank piece of paper.
"Oh," she said. "Well have fun writing, I'm going back to sleep,"
Hannibal directed his attention back to the blank sheet of paper and began writing. "Dear, Tem," he said aloud, "I love you more than words can describe. But I'm gonna try to put them in this note. Ever since I met you I knew you were very special. Although I never thought I would ever get the chance to be your father until a few months ago. But these four months have been the best of my life. I know you're worried that I might leave you, but I promise you I never will. I love you too much to ever do that, Templeton. I hope this letter will convince you that. Son, you are my only sunshine. Love, Dad." He then taped the piece of paper to one of the guitar strings and crawled into the bed to get some sleep before morning.
Chapter Nine: Christmas Day
Morning soon came and Hannibal silently walked into his son's bedroom. He kneeled beside the bed. Hannibal thought it was funny how his son would always curl himself into the tiniest ball while sleeping. Face was facing away from his father as Hannibal started to softly rub his arm, telling him to wake up. Face started to mumble something as he lightly brushed the hand away. Hannibal chuckled at this, "Come on, Kid, it's time to wake up."
"What time is it?" Face mumbled into the pillow.
"Nine in the morning."
"Come back at twelve," he grumbled.
Hannibal bent down and brushed his lips against his son's forehead. "Do you remember what day it is?"
"Ummm… Oh, yeah!"
At that moment Hannibal realized he left the door open and Mr. Biggs hopped onto the bed.
"Hi, Mr. Biggs!" Face greeted as he sat up in bed and petted the cat. In response, Mr. Biggs rubbed against him.
"I'll let you two have fun," Hannibal said as he walked out. As he walked down the hall he thought, 'I never thought Tem would be a cat person. Hmmmm… maybe I should've gotten him a kitten for Christmas. Maybe next year.'
Face soon came down to the living room in his usual suit with his hair perfectly groomed. Mr. Biggs was standing right beside his leg and rubbing against him. When he sat on the couch next to his father, the cat leaped onto his lap.
"Merry Christmas, Tem," Hannibal welcomed.
"Merry Christmas," he replied.
"I'll be right back."
"Where are you going?"
"You'll see." Hannibal walked out of his room with the guitar held behind his back. He then revealed it to Face. There was a big, red bow tied on the top.
Face was utterly awestruck, "But-but I don't even know how to play," he stammered. "You shouldn't have!"
"I can teach you how to play. This was my old guitar."
Face began to read the note. When he finished, he stood up and wrapped his arms around his father saying, "I love you, too." Soon later he added, " Wait, I need to get your gift," he let go and walked to the tree and grabbed the box under the tree and handed it to his father.
As Hannibal was about to open it, Izzy walked into the room and Face remembered what Hannibal had told him about not letting Izzy know he still smoked. Face immediately reached for his father's arm. He gave his son a confused look for a second and then realized what was in the box.
"Relax, John, did you really think I was unaware of your smoking?" Izzy said.
"Maybe…" he trailed off nervously.
"Just so you know, this will be your last box of cigars. Enjoy them," Izzy threatened.
Hannibal gulped and shot his eyes to his son mouthing, "Help me!"
"Don't put Tem in the middle of this!" she scolded. "Here's your present, sweetheart," she said as she handed him the gift.
There was a thing about the box that was different than all the others under the tree, it had holes in it. As Face looked closer at one of them, he saw a while paw poke out! He then heard a soft 'mew' come from the box. "Is this a kitten?" he asked excitedly.
"Mr. Biggs and another cat had a thing a year ago. I had no idea what to do with the kittens until now. I decided to give you Angel. The others will be transported to a shelter until they find homes."
"Izzy, we don't need a cat. Being on the run is hard enough without lugging a kitten around," Hannibal argued.
"But she's so cute!" Face cooed. The kitten was completely white with bright blue eyes.
"Exactly, John," Izzy said.
"You could've discussed this with me," Hannibal pointed out.
"I knew you'd say no."
"Come on, Dad, how could say no to this face?" he said as he held Angel up for him to see. Face looked at him with the same eyes he just couldn't say no to.
The most convincing look he was given was from Izzy. It was the look that said, "Let the boy have the cat or I swear you will have to deal with my fury!"
So, Hannibal caved in, "Fine, just make sure he's trained."
"It's a she, John," Izzy corrected.
"Thank you, Dad!" Face said as he hugged his father.
Hannibal wasn't exactly happy to have a cat on the team. But it was all worth it if his son was happy.
The rest of the day passed quickly with Face playing with Angel, Hannibal shooting Angel exaggerated dirty looks, and Izzy swatting his shoulder whenever he did.
Night soon came, and it began to snow. Hannibal was never aware that his son had never seen snow before. They had walked outside together to watch the snowflakes fall. They went to the porch and sat on the bench.
"Have you ever seen snow, Kid?"
"There really isn't any snow in California. That's the only state I've lived in."
"I guess I'll have to take you here next year. It usually snows in December."
"I'd like that."
"We'll probably need to take Angel, won't we?" Hannibal mused.
"Fine," Hannibal complained sarcastically. Hannibal then noticed Face was shivering slightly, "Take my jacket, Tem," he insisted as he took off his jacket.
"But won't you get cold?"
"I'm used to this weather."
Face reluctantly took the jacket and put it on. Hannibal reached his arm around his son's shoulder and pulled him closer. "So, when do you want me to start teaching you guitar?" he asked.
"Tomorrow would be nice," Face replied.
"Tomorrow it is."
Face was by now leaning on his father's shoulder since he was getting sleepy.
"Are you tired, Kid?"
"Okay, we can go inside then if you want."
"I'd like that."
They both got up and headed for the door. Hannibal stopped for a moment to grab a handful of snow. "Hey, Tem!"
"Yeah," as he turned around he was met with a patch of snow heading straight for him. When it hit him he had a look of utter surprise on his face. "Really?"
Hannibal looked at him with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"I do believe you're on the jazz," Face declared with an exaggerated annoyed look.
"Yep," he confirmed as he ruffled his son's hair as they headed inside.
"Will you stop that, your hand is cold!"
"Nope," he said as he held onto his son's cheek with his cold hand and kissed his forehead.
"Oh my God, your hand is freezing!" he yelped as he swatted the hand away from his cheek.
"Fine," Hannibal grumbled with a fake hurt look on his face. "Let's go inside, Kid," he chuckled.
They walked back inside Aunt Izzy's house knowing they would always have each other.
Don't worry, I do realize that the A-Team could never keep a cat due to their lifestyle. Let's just pretend they could for this story. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you will continue to read my stories.