Summary: Problems from the past surface to entangle the A-team and the "Lady Crazy" crew.
Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own the A-team. Remy and Cass are mine, though, as are Forsythe and cronies (but do I really want to claim them?). Thanks again to i'mpeckable, whose help in editing, posting and keeping things plausible, made this story possible.
SHADOWS OF CLOUDY STORMS
After he left the lieutenant, BA headed directly to the motor pool. There was enough time to get some of the backlog taken care of. After several hours of working with one of the other mechanics on a vehicle, he managed to check his own area for anything that needed urgent attention. The box sitting in the middle of his workbench was clearly marked "118th AHC." What it was doing there was anyone's guess. BA considered getting a jeep from the motor pool, to return the box to the other unit, but decided it would be faster to walk the damn thing over himself. It was nearly quitting time, anyway, and his bench would be clean until tomorrow. Growling his intention to a nearby private, he hoisted the box on his shoulder and headed for the 118th's maintenance shop. By the time he had handed the box over to one of their mechanics, the sun was beginning to set. The motor pool should be closed up by the time he'd get back, and he decided to just head for his bunk instead. He cut between the rows of administration buildings, hoping for a shortcut. There was a disturbance as he neared the alley, and he hesitated on hearing a pronounced drawl. An accent that deep was unusual on this base and he thought of that door gunner from the other day. As he continued to listen, he recognized Sgt. Forsythe's voice and remembered the earlier conflict that hadn't been resolved. He quietly moved to observe the situation before deciding whether to intervene. Forsythe and two of his cronies stood partway down the alley, obviously detaining another person. BA recognized them, average as soldiers, but trouble in the barracks. Having grown up on the streets of Chicago, BA was familiar with the fine art of intimidation and this was not a friendly discussion. As Forsythe shifted, BA recognized the soldier, backed against the wall, as the door gunner from the "Lady Crazy" crew. Forsythe was talking as BA moved close enough to discern the conversation. "Thought you could just transfer out of there and I wouldn't find you." The sergeant emphasized this by a hard shove against the door gunner's shoulder. "You owe me, boy." "Transfer had nothing to do with you," the door gunner retorted. His eyes flashed with the sergeant's push, "Told you before, I ain't having no more to do with your dirty dealings." "You'll do as you're told," the sergeant shoved him again, "I can make things difficult for you." He signaled his buddies, who took a step closer. "Maybe you need a reminder." BA growled in disgust as he watched. The door gunner was of average height and build. Forsythe was somewhat bigger, but the two accompanying soldiers were large and muscular. The specialist carried no weapon except for the knife at his belt. Unless he was an unarmed combat specialist, Remy wouldn't have much of a chance. The three moved simultaneously, working as a team. Forsythe threw a punch at Remy's head. The door gunner ducked, arm raised to block the blow, and Forsythe stepped aside. One of the men grabbed Remy's blocking arm, distracting him, while the other threw a two-fisted blow directly into Remy's side. The door gunner buckled, staggering against the wall. The two flanking soldiers hauled him upright and pinned his arms. Forsythe moved back in. "Consider this a friendly warning," he sneered, grasping Remy by the jaw and slamming his head back into the wall with an audible crack. "Something that's long overdue." The door gunner's eyes rolled up in his head. Seeing that, BA stepped into the alley. He didn't like bullies of any kind and the idea of letting someone fight their own battles didn't apply here. Forsythe watched from the corner of his eye as BA approached. "Walk away, Baracus," he said harshly, maintaining his grip on the door gunner, "this doesn't concern you." BA didn't hesitate as he walked directly up to the other sergeant. "I'm making it my business, sucker," he stated evenly, staring down the man. "Let him go!" "Don't cross me, nigger," Forsythe replied, irritated by BA's interference. "I told you to walk away. Don't involve yourself in things you can't possibly understand." His fingers visibly tightened on the door gunner's face. "This is white man's business." Remy fought to retain consciousness as the two men holding him watched the interplay between BA and Forsythe. "Or what?" he managed, "You'll call out the Klan? Be just like you, slinking through the shadows, hiding behind a hood." His eyes flicked to the hands pinning him, voice dripping with sarcasm, "Didn't know you were this desperate." Forsythe turned contemptuously back to the door gunner, let go of Remy's jaw, and viciously backhanded him across the face. He smiled scornfully as the door gunner's head dropped and hung unmoving. BA caught the sergeant's wrist on the follow through, jerking him around. He grabbed Forsythe by the front of his shirt, forcing him away from the door gunner. The sound of a slow-moving jeep interrupted the impasse. "MP's," stated one of the men holding Remy. Forsythe scowled and said, "Let's go." He had intended to be gone before the patrol made its round. BA's interference made it closer than he liked. He pushed away from BA, who let him go, as the other two dropped their hold on the semiconscious door gunner. They walked away without a backward glance, turning into the cross street. BA stepped forward and caught Remy as he slowly slid down the wall. He dragged him behind some refuse and crouched down as the spotlight from the jeep flashed overhead. He waited for the jeep to move on, before considering the man laying at his feet. Remy's eyes were wide, staring uncertainly up at BA. Panic flashed in the door gunner's eyes as he saw BA look down. Remy abruptly scrambled to get up and away from BA, before collapsing back with a groan. "Take it easy," BA said, laying a restraining hand on the door gunner's shoulder. The door gunner's breath came in short gasps and his muscles tensed as his head spun. Closing his eyes, he fought to control his churning stomach. Several minutes passed before he slowly relaxed and lay still. "Sit me up," he demanded, not opening his eyes. BA studied Remy's ashen face in the meager light of the alley. The marks from Forsythe's fingers still showed and a bruise was already forming along his right cheekbone. "You should see a doctor," he suggested. "No," the door gunner reiterated, "just sit me up." He forced his eyes opened and stared pleadingly up at BA. "I'll be all right." Against his better judgment, BA lifted him to a sitting position. The door gunner closed his eyes and bit his lip as he was being moved. He remained as BA placed him; leaning against the wall with his arms at his side, palms to the ground and legs extended in front of him. After sitting motionless for a few minutes, his eyes opened and he looked curiously up at BA. "Why'd you interfere?" he asked as he studied the sergeant. "Why didn't you walk away, like he told you to?" "What he want wit' you?" BA asked in return. Remy continued to study him silently, before responding. "He has some side business for me to handle," the door gunner replied. His eyes closed as he relaxed back against the wall. "What kind of business?" BA questioned. He hadn't liked Forsythe before and what he had just witnessed made him more determined to put him out of commission. "Stay out of it," the door gunner replied, opening his eyes and lifting his head. He pulled his feet up and balanced his arms across his knees. "Help me up," he requested. As BA stared incredulously at him, he added, "Please." His mouth quirked in a half smile of embarrassed amusement before he continued, "I don't want to sit here all night." BA stared at the door gunner as he considered. The man had a point there. Staying in the alley was just asking for trouble. He examined Remy carefully, noting he had regained some of his usual color, before reaching out a hand to pull him to his feet. The door gunner came up easily, managing to stand on his own. Remy scanned the alley, checking for anything out of place before turning toward the enlisted barracks for the air crews. He tentatively traced the bruise on the side of his face as he walked and grimaced. Already noticeable, he was going to have to find a good explanation. Seeing the sergeant observing him, Remy sighed and put his hand down. "One hell of a shiner too, huh?" He watched BA's brief perfunctory nod. "Damn," he swore softly. "You gonna report this?" BA asked, puzzled at the door gunner's reaction. Remy looked down and shook his head, "Wouldn't do any good. Their word against mine." He shrugged and his voice hardened as he looked back up, "I was careless, letting them catch me like that. Won't happen again." BA frowned as they walked in silence. He didn't think staying out of Forsythe's way was going to work for long. The sergeant seemed too confident. Remy fought to organize his thoughts. His head ached intensely and he knew his side was probably bruised as well. All he wanted was to lie down and be left alone. He didn't intend to be seen like this, especially by his chopper crew. Forsythe had never played fair and Remy refused to involve them. He glanced at the sergeant walking alongside and said, "You never answered my question." It was BA's turn to shrug, not knowing how to explain. "Somethin' that needed doin'," he muttered. As they reached the barracks, Remy stopped and turned to BA. "I didn't thank you," he said, having schooled his features into a mask of formal politeness. "I'll be all right now." "You should see a doctor," BA repeated. "That looks bad." He couldn't understand Remy's reluctance. As he contemplated taking the door gunner to the hospital without his cooperation, the barracks's door opened and the crew chief walked out. Remy's eyes widened in trepidation. "I said 'No'," he said brusquely to BA. He quickly turned and entered the building with a casual, "Hey, Cass," as he passed the crew chief. Cass stopped when he reached BA and looked after the door gunner. "Did he just avoid me?" he questioned, turning back to the sergeant. BA nodded in silent relief. He watched as Cass came to a decision, turned, and stalked back into the building. Curiosity piqued, BA followed. The crew chief moved quickly down the aisle, scanning for the door gunner. Not finding Remy in the sleeping area, Cass walked to the washroom and slammed the door open against the wall. "Christ, Rem," he swore. The door gunner turned, quickly pulling his shirt down, covering his bruised side. He watched apprehensively as the crew chief crossed the floor, and flinched when Cass reached a hand up to his face. The crew chief gently turned Remy's head for a better look. "Who did this?" he asked, his voice low and furious. He had been aware of the door gunner's instinctive retreat and could feel Remy shaking as he forced himself to stand still. "Cass!" Remy protested. "Been to the hospital?" Cass threw over his shoulder at BA. He dropped his hand, not backing off. "No," BA flatly replied, closing the door as he positioned himself just inside. "No hospital," Remy interrupted. He recoiled at the virulence in the green eyes that turned back to him. Cass stared him down, demanding, "Face, side and what else?" As he watched the door gunner lift his chin stubbornly, BA added, "Back of the head." He ignored Remy's angry glare in his direction. In the electric light of the barracks the facial injuries looked even worse. He could only guess what the rest looked like. What is it with this crew? Remy obstinately backed away as Cass reached out again. "I'm not going," he stated defiantly, his eyes flickering like a trapped animal. "Fine," the crew chief replied shortly. He addressed the sergeant, not taking his eyes off Remy, "BA, go get Murdock." "No! Don't you dare," Remy snapped in consternation, as BA straightened and turned to go. "Either the hospital or the lieutenant. Or you are not getting in that chopper tomorrow," Cass stated with conviction. As the door gunner searched for a way out, the sergeant added, "And if you leave here without giving me an answer, I will see that you are grounded." He lifted his finger in the door gunner's face. "Don't think I won't." Remy glared furiously at the crew chief who stared back in calm determination. Knowing Cass wouldn't back down; Remy sighed and dropped his head, conceding defeat. He was aware of the big black sergeant by the door and knew there wasn't much chance convincing them both. Remy rubbed his forehead with his palm, trying at least to shift the pain, though there wasn't a spot that didn't hurt. Might as well get this over with, he thought, watching the crew chief step aside and fold his arms. The specialist shuffled toward the door, glancing sideways at BA without raising his head. BA reached out and opened the door. He noted the mute appeal in Remy's glance. For what, he didn't know. He hesitated, searching for something to say, when he saw the crew chief's quick, decisive shake of the head. Cass followed Remy from the room, inclining his head in invitation as he passed the sergeant. BA fell in beside the crew chief as they followed the door gunner down the aisle and out of the building. Remy moved with obvious reluctance, not looking up. Once outside the building, he paused and turned to Cass. As he lifted his head, the crew chief admonished, "Ah-ah," and shook his raised finger. The door gunner silently looked from the finger to Cass's unyielding face, shrugged and started unwillingly toward the hospital. Cass and BA moved up on either side of him. As they walked in silence, BA covertly studied the two gunners, curious as to Cass's warning. He could see the crew chief's determined look hadn't changed as he also kept an eye on the specialist. Remy kept his gaze fixed on the ground, his aversion apparent as his steps wavered and slowed on approaching the hospital. He visibly steeled himself, before entering without a word or backwards glance. Cass sighed, closing his eyes briefly as the door shut behind the door gunner. He placed his hands on his hips, transferred his frown to BA and said, "Sorry. Rem doesn't like hospitals. I didn't want to prolong that or he'd find another way out." As BA nodded in acknowledgment, Cass relaxed, searching his pockets for cigarettes as he moved to sit down. Not finding any, he sighed again in frustration. His hopeful look at BA turned into a wry smile realizing he couldn't ask him for one, and he requested, "Tell me what happened." BA sat beside the crew chief as he explained what he had seen. After he had finished, he watched as the crew chief sat, apparently in deep thought. "Why Forsythe want Remy?" he asked. "Other people willin' t' do all sorts of things." "I don't know," replied the crew chief. He smiled in self-deprecation as he continued, "Forsythe wouldn't approach me for anything shady." Cass rose and paced in frustration. "Remy must know something. He told me it was old business. But what does Forsythe have on him?" "Won't he tell you?" BA asked curiously. Cass shook his head. "Remy wouldn't tell a priest in a confessional something he didn't have to," he said as his eyes sparkled with fond amusement. He sobered quickly, adding, "This is going to take a little arm twisting to get him to cooperate. With Forsythe applying pressure, he's going to be caught between a rock and a hard place." BA watched as the crew chief resumed his seat. "What you gonna' do?" he asked. Maybe Hannibal could have that new lieutenant dig up some dirt on Forsythe. Cass ran his hand through his hair and sighed. "I don't know. Until we know what's going on, there isn't much we can do, except try to keep him away from Remy," he said as he pulled his feet up on the seat. Wrapping his arms around his legs, he rested his chin on his knees. "An exercise in futility, I know. There's no way we can watch 'round the clock." BA watched the crew chief's gaze turn inward, and smiled on hearing a soft "Damn," reminiscent of the door gunner's earlier curse. He resisted the urge to go find Forsythe and pound him into the ground. As Hannibal would say, they needed a plan or it would make things worse. He lost track of time as they sat waiting. Finally the hospital door opened and the door gunner walked out, carrying something in his hand. Remy stopped, looked at Cass and said, "Doc wants to see you." The crew chief lifted his head and studied him curiously. Convinced by whatever he saw, he nodded and stood. "Stay here," he directed as he entered the building. Remy smiled wryly and muttered, "Yes, mama-san," as he watched Cass walk away. Eyeing BA uneasily; he gingerly settled in the crew chief's vacated seat. "How you feel?" BA asked, watching him closely. "Fine," Remy said shortly. Discomforted by the steady gaze, he dropped his head, staring at the ground as he held an ice pack to his bruised face. "Don't look fine," BA returned, still scrutinizing him carefully. Remy shrugged, "OK. Terrible." He turned his head to look at BA, irritation in his voice, "What do you want me to say?" "Hey, man!" BA snapped, "Don't need that from you." Remy watched BA broodingly, then nodded in acknowledgment. "Sorry," he said. Shifting his position to brace the ice in place, he continued, "You don't have to stay." "Forsythe . . ." BA started. "Won't do anything else tonight," the gunner interrupted. "He wants me cowed, not dead." He closed his eyes and shuddered. "Why?" the sergeant asked, frowning as the door gunner shook his head. "I'll deal with it," Remy replied dismissively. "Not by yourself," BA corrected. Remy's dark eyes again turned to study him. The young door gunner's face was impassive, giving no hint of his thoughts, before turning away with a small shake of his head. Remy shifted the ice to the back of his head as he leaned back and closed his eyes. His body slowly relaxed with the absence of the earlier stress and pain, and he struggled to remain awake. BA watched in exasperation as the door gunner drifted into sleep, not understanding his reluctance to accept help. As he considered his next move, the hospital door opened again and Cass exited. The sergeant looked amused as he walked over and commented, "Funny, Rem." Remy's eyes opened immediately and satisfaction flashed across his face as the crew chief's words registered. As he tentatively rose to his feet, his smug smile over his petty victory faded quickly. He reached out a hand and braced himself against a momentary dizziness, before looking back to the crew chief. Cass regarded him sympathetically, knowing the drugs Remy had been given also had a soporific effect. "C'mon, let's get you in bed," he said, automatically reaching a hand out to steady the door gunner. The door gunner turned toward the barracks as BA moved to his other side. "I'm not a child," Remy protested sullenly, his eyes heavy with fatigue. "No, you're not," Cass agreed, exchanging glances with BA over Remy's head as they walked. "But you need to sleep. Especially if you expect to fly tomorrow." Remy nodded listlessly. Upon reaching the barracks, he stopped and turned to BA. "Good Night," he said, his voice flat and toneless, then hesitated briefly before continuing, "and thanks." He looked at Cass in silent communication, before walking through the door. BA watched the gunner enter and heard his voice answering someone inside. He turned to Cass and asked, "He gonna be all right?" The crew chief nodded, "We'll keep ice on those bruises, tonight. He doesn't like being handled, but he'll have to accept it." Cass spoke confidently, but frowned as he continued, "He can't fly if he can't wear a helmet and he's safer in the chopper with us." Being safe and flying as a door gunner were items BA considered mutually exclusive. Still, it would limit Forsythe's chances of repeating the incident BA interrupted. "He refuse help," BA reported. Aware of the other sergeant's frustration, Cass nodded again. "Murdock is not going to be happy either, seeing that. Either way, he's going to have to have answers." Cass glanced impatiently toward the door. "We fly early tomorrow. I need to make sure he's settled, so I can get some sleep myself." "We gonna deal wit' this tomorrow," BA promised, aware that Remy was in no shape for further questioning. There were things he could put in motion in the morning, without either Cass or Remy's cooperation. "I see you then." He walked away, aware of Cass's disconcerted stare, before the crew chief turned and entered the barracks.