Thank you so much for reading! As always, the characters are not mine, all rights go to Stephen J Cannell.
Chapter One: Bancroft Escapes
"So, did you tell Face?" asked Murdock.
"I think it's best that he never knows. I mean, it's not like I could be the father he wants me to be," replied Bancroft.
"That's it! I trust you to tell him in your last dying hours and when you find out you're going to live, you just decide to escape from his life again! I'm telling Face. I should've from the moment I saw the picture of him fall in the restaurant."
"No, you can't! I'm his father, I should decide if he should know!"
"Face already has a father which I'm sure you know. His name is Hannibal Smith. He cares much more about Face than you do, apparently. I've made my decision. Have a nice life, Mr. Bancroft," Murdock snapped bitterly. He stormed away to tell Face.
"He's my what?" shouted Face in disbelief.
"I'm sorry, I should've told you sooner," said Murdock ashamedly.
"It's not your fault, Murdock, you couldn't have known he would back out on his promise," consoled Face. "But why didn't he tell me?" Face sadly asked.
"He said he couldn't be the father you wanted him to be."
'My own father doesn't even want me,' Face thought to himself. "Murdock, I'm going to go somewhere to take this in. I just need to be alone for a while."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, Murdock, and thanks for telling me."
"Take all the time you need, buddy."
Face walked to the van and climbed into his usual seat. Only then would he surrender to the tears threatening to fall. He had been in the van for about thirty minutes when Hannibal slid open the door and came in.
"Hey, Kid, I've been looking for you everywhere. Is everything alright?" Hannibal then saw the tears that were sliding down his son's cheeks, "What's wrong, Tem?" He came over to Face's side and wiped away the tears.
"You … you know Bancroft?"
"Yeah." 'What does he have to do with it?' Hannibal thought.
"Murdock just told me that …. he's my … father."
Hannibal's jaw dropped at the statement, "What? How? Is he sure?" he stammered.
"Murdock had Stockwell look into it. It all ch-checks out."
"How did Murdock find out?"
"Bancroft somehow had a picture of me from high school and dropped it in front of Murdock. He asked about it and Bancroft made him promise not to tell me because he wanted to before he died." Face stopped to look down, "But then I guess after he found out he was going to live he just decided to forget it ever ha-ha-happened," more tears started to brim in his eyes and he choked up on his words.
"Shhhh, you're okay," comforted Hannibal as he wrapped his son in his arms and began to rock him back and forth.
"W-why didn't he want me?" Face sobbed into the familiar jacket.
"He doesn't deserve you, Kid," Hannibal confirmed. He started to rub circles on his son's back.
"He was sitting right next to me a day ago, but never thought to tell me."
Hannibal was beyond infuriated at this man for breaking his son's heart, and he was going to make sure Bancroft knew it, too. He hadn't wanted to kill anyone since Cerone shot Face. But he wouldn't kill him. 'I'm going to make sure he lives for a long time carrying the guilt,' Hannibal thought.
Face was so tired from today. First, he learns he's Bancroft's son, and then Bancroft just decides to leave him again. His head was spinning from all the emotions he was feeling. Sadness, anger, worthlessness, and most of all guilt for feeling this way even though he already had the perfect dad. He laid his head on his father's shoulder and allowed himself to fall asleep listening to Hannibal softly singing You Are My Sunshine. He could then somewhat feel himself being lifted up into the strong arms of his father and being carried to his bed.
He awoke in the morning, feeling the sun shine on his face as he did so.
"Good morning, Kid," Hannibal acknowledged as he saw Face was awake. He was sitting on a rocking chair perpendicular to the bed.
'Had he really been here all night?' Face thought. "You didn't have to stay. I'm okay, really."
"What if I wanted to," Hannibal lovingly said as he walked up and planted a kiss on his son's forehead.
"I'm sorry about last night," Face apologized.
"I shouldn't be this worked up about Bancroft when I have you here with me. I guess you're probably mad at me."
"What do you mean?" Hannibal sat next to him on the bed, "It's perfectly normal for you to feel this way. And you're not at fault for doing so. And of course, I'm not mad at you, Tem."
Face exclaimed, "I love you, Dad," as he wrapped his arms around his father.
"I love you, too, Tem," Hannibal returned the hug.
All of a sudden the door flew open and Murdock came in shouting, "Bancroft's gone!"
"Damn! He must've booked a flight and left while we were asleep. Where's Ellen? She might know where he is," asked Hannibal.
"She's gone, too."
"She must've driven him to the airport," Face sighed, "I guess he's gone."
"I'm going to tell Stockwell we need some time off so we can find Bancroft. I have some things I want to tell him personally," Hannibal mused.
"I'll make the call," Murdock volunteered.
"Thanks, Murdock. Maybe Stockwell knows where Bancroft would go."
"I'll ask him, Colonel."
Murdock walked to the nearest pay phone and put in the numbers to Stockwell's private office.
"Who is this?" asked the General.
"It's Murdock. Bancroft escaped last night. We need to know where he might've gone. We're also going to need some time off after we find him to get some things settled as a team."
"Have you gotten the evidence that will bring down the crooked politicians in Washington?"
"That's the other reason why we need to find him."
"What's the first one?"
"The Colonel needs to confront Bancroft after what he did to Face."
"Yes, I am aware of the Colonel and Lieutenant's special connection to each other. But don't let it be a distraction to the mission at hand. He owns a cabin in San Francisco. You'll be given sufficient time off after you've received the evidence."
"Thank you, Stockwell."
"Don't thank me yet. Get those papers before I change my mind."
"Yes, sir," said Murdock as he placed the phone back in its cradle and headed back to where his team was staying.
Chapter Two: The Confrontation
Murdock walked back into the cabin reporting, "Bancroft owns a cabin in San Francisco. Stockwell said he might've gone there."
"We'll head out as soon as we're done packin', fool," said B.A. Face had filled him in on what happened and he was in a hurry to say a few choice words to the man who hurt his little brother.
"Don't worry, B.A., we'll get there soon enough," assured Hannibal.
"We better sucka, the fool's gonna pay!"
Stockwell ordered a plane to take the A-Team to San Francisco and had a man give them the exact location of the cabin.
While on the plane, Hannibal came up and sat down next to Face, "How are you doing, Kid?"
"I just don't know anymore."
"I know it hurts right now, but it will eventually get better. Everything's going to be okay," Hannibal comforted as he put a supportive arm around his son's shoulder.
"Thanks, Dad," Face murmured as he leaned into the embrace.
"Tem, I want you to know that I would never leave you."
"I know. Thank you for always being here."
"You're welcome, Kiddo," Hannibal said as he ruffled Face's hair.
"Do you always have to mess up my hair?" Face whined dramatically.
"Yep," Hannibal teased as he pulled Face closer and gave him a small kiss on the head.
"Just trust me, Tem, things will get better," Hannibal confirmed as he gave the shoulder a small squeeze and got up to check in on Murdock.
"How're we doing, Captain?" asked Hannibal as he entered the cockpit.
"Pretty good, there's just some clouds in the distance. They shouldn't interrupt our landing though. Right, Billy?"
Hannibal saw dog bone and chew toy sitting on the co-pilot seat and smiled, 'At least he's talking to Billy,' Hannibal thought. "I'm sorry that Bancroft lied to you, too. I know it hurts you to see Face like this as much as it does for me."
"I really thought he would tell Face. I mean, he sounded like he really wanted to have some kind of relationship with him in the few days he had left."
"I know you did."
"Any time, Murdock."
The plane arrived in San Francisco at approximately 4 a.m. right outside the cabin.
Bancroft walked outside. He wasn't using his wheelchair anymore. He did have a cane though. "What the hell?" he shouted.
Hannibal was the first one out of the plane. He made a beeline directly to where Bancroft was standing. "I think you know why I'm here," he sneered as he backed Bancroft into the wall, "But in case you forgot I'm gonna tell you. You walked out on my son for the second time in his life without looking back!"
"What is this?" Ellen yelled as she ran outside. "What do you mean he walked out on your son?"
"She doesn't know?" asked Murdock as he went to Hannibal's side. "You haven't told your daughter that Face is your son?" he said in disbelief and anger.
"He's your what?" Ellen gasped in disbelief, looking at her father for answers.
"It seems that you aren't the only one he's walked out on over the years," Hannibal explained.
"And you haven't even thought to tell me this?" Ellen yelled at her father.
"You didn't need to know. This information was between me and Murdock," Bancroft said.
"Is this why we're here? Is it because you couldn't confront your own son? It isn't about the diary, is it? I don't even know you!" Ellen shouted.
"Ellen, don't go!" Bancroft pleaded as she stormed away.
"You still have me to deal with, pal," Hannibal sneered with venom.
Murdock and B.A. joined him, "Us, too," they said.
"Murdock, B.A., let me handle him," said Hannibal as he pulled Bancroft inside the cabin.
Face couldn't bring himself to look at Bancroft. He just stayed inside the plane waiting for Hannibal and the others to come back. Hannibal had asked him if he wanted to stay in. He knew Face might not want to face Bancroft after what he did to him.
"Alright, Bancroft," he started, "do you even know how my son's felt when you left him?"
"I never meant to hurt him. I could never be the father he wants me to be."
"How do you know what he wants you to be? You never even bothered to ask him! I think I know why you left him. You didn't want the responsibility of having a son, so you didn't even try. Tem is heartbroken."
"I know he has you. How could I be the way you are to him?"
"It isn't about topping each other. It's about showing your son you care about him instead of leaving him when he needed you most ... again! You know what the difference between me and you is, Bancroft?" Hannibal asked. He didn't wait for an answer as he continued, "Tem will always refer to you as his biological father, but he'll always call me his dad."
"I think you deserve this," Bancroft held out the picture of his son for Hannibal to take. "We both know he's your son."
"You really want me to have this?"
"He's your son," he said as he slowly limped away.
Hannibal was unable to speak as the old man left.
Hannibal soberly walked out of the house and came to Murdock and B.A., "It's over, guys. We need to find the diary now," he said sadly. He looked at the picture of his son fondly for one last time and then placed it in his pocket.
Chapter Three: Into The Woods
Face walked out of the plane and went directly to Hannibal. "Did you get the diary?"
"No, I completely forgot. I'll go ask him."
"Ellen has it," Bancroft said in a raspy tone as he came out of the cabin.
Hannibal instinctively put a protective arm in front of Face and moved to stand in front of him. "Do you know where in the woods she could've gone?"
"Maybe. If you let me come with you I can help you find her," Bancroft replied.
"No way. You've hurt my son enough already!"
"It's okay, Dad. We need to focus on the mission now."
"Are you sure?"
"Alright, Bancroft, you're coming," Hannibal ordered.
'It hurts to have my son call another man 'dad'. But I deserve it, I haven't been nearly the father Richard deserves. But at least this Hannibal has given my son all the things I couldn't. Who am I kidding! I lost the right to call him my son a long time ago. At least the Colonel loves him. I could tell by the way he ripped me a new one back there,' Bancroft thought. Truth be told he wasn't mad at the Colonel at all for confronting him. It just told him how much he cared about his son. He was truly grateful for that knowledge.
"Let's head out," Hannibal commanded.
The forest was dense with trees everywhere you looked. It was also very humid. The most dreadful fact was that Ellen could've gone practically anywhere.
"Maybe Billy could help us find her, Hannibal. He has an excellent sense of smell!" Murdock chimed in.
"Billy ain't real, crazy fool! He just a made up figment of yo' imagination!" B.A. argued.
"Calm down, boys. I'm sure we'll find her. She couldn't have gone far," Hannibal encouraged as he tried to convince himself that what he said just might be true.
Meanwhile, the men that were after Bancroft were currently watching their every move, slowly planning their attack.
They walked through the woods for an hour before they spotted Ellen sitting on a rock, softly crying.
"Ellen, are you okay?" Face asked as he sat beside her.
She schooled her features as her half-brother sat beside her. "I'm sorry, I should be asking you the same thing."
The others decided to give them some privacy and stepped back into the brush.
"It will take a while, but I'll be okay. I have Hannibal with me."
AJ was silently listening to their conversation, hoping for a chance to step in and make it somewhat right with both of his children.
"I don't even know what to think anymore. Why is this happening to me?" Ellen asked.
"I don't know, but we'll make it through … somehow."
AJ decided to step in despite Hannibal's warning glare, "I never wanted to hurt you, Ellen. I never wanted to hurt both of you." he sat down in between them and took their hands in his.
Face reluctantly held on, "Then why did you leave without telling me?"
"I was selfish and I know that now. I guess I never knew how to be a father, to both of you."
Little did the team know that they were now surrounded by the group of men wanting to steal the diary. "Put your hands up!" they shouted as they revealed themselves with their automatic weapons pointed at them.
Face, Ellen, and Bancroft instantly obeyed as the two men inched closer.
Hannibal, B.A., and Murdock were on the other side with four men holding their guns up at them. It killed Hannibal to know that he couldn't help his son on the other side of the brush without getting him or Face shot.
"Where is the diary?" one of the men shouted.
Ellen instinctively looked at her father to know what to do. He nodded his approval. He would much rather give up the diary than to have his children killed in front of him. Ellen handed over the book.
"I'm sorry about this, but we'll have to shoot you now to make sure there are no witnesses. No one will ever find you here out in the middle of nowhere. How about you first," the man ordered as he pointed at Face and instructed him to come forward.
Face gulped and looked at his fathers for one last time.
The man rested his finger on the trigger and slowly began to press down until a bang erupted from the gun.
Bancroft pushed his son away from the incoming bullet just in time and in turn, was struck in the chest. Bancroft faltered and fell to the ground, grabbing his son's hand for one last time as he breathed his final breath.
This was the distraction Hannibal needed to get the upper hand in the battle. He swiftly pulled out his pistol and grabbed one of the men, holding it to his head, "Make one move and I shoot!"
They lowered their weapons, knowing John Hannibal Smith was not one to hesitate.
The team quickly disarmed the men and immobilized them. Face, however, stayed with his father, still holding his hand as Ellen wept, holding the other.
Hannibal walked over and placed a reassuring hand on his son's shoulder and squeezed it. He kneeled beside Face and was met with a one-armed hug, the other one holding Bancroft's still hand. He began to softly sob into Hannibal's shoulder, willing the pain to go away. He couldn't believe it, 'Bancroft gave his life to save me! He loved me after all!' he thought as Hannibal ran a hand through his son's hair.
They buried the body and went back to the cabin. Before the burial, Hannibal found something in AJ's pocket. It was another photo. Hannibal turned it around and found the words, Richard Bancroft and 1952, on the back. The picture was of a sleeping baby, he couldn't have been more than a week old. Murdock had told him that Face's original name was Richard. He easily put two and two together. Hannibal had always wanted a baby picture of his son, but he could never find one until now. He smiled and put the picture in his pocket, knowing Face would want to see it.
Chapter Four: One Week Later
Hannibal watched as his son and Ellen talked outside. They had grown fond of each other since the incident. He was glad that they had formed a bond and begun to see each other as family. Before, Hannibal was the only family Face had and he often wondered if he could be enough. He figured now would be the time to tell Face about the picture since he had begun to heal emotionally. The Colonel waited until they said their goodbyes to tell his son. "Hi, Tem."
"Hi, Dad," Face replied.
"I think I have something you'd like to see."
"What is it?"
Hannibal sat on the porch beside him. "I was able to recover this," he revealed as he held out the picture for his son to see.
Face's mouth opened in awe, "Is this … me?"
"How did you find this?"
"I saw it hanging half in and half out Bancroft's pocket when he … um…"
"It's okay. So, what are you going to do with it?"
"I was thinking about putting it in my wallet and showing Murdock and B.A. later, and of course Ellen would want to see it too," he teased.
"Don't you dare!" Face said as Hannibal ran off into the house with Face chasing him from behind.
Sure, maybe Tem wasn't Hannibal's biological son, but that didn't make him any less proud to call him his own.
"Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad." - Wade Boggs
Thank you so much for reading, I hope to post again soon! Please give me your ideas in the comments.