Title: A Feeling beyond Friendship(Murdock/Face)

Murdock glanced over at Face who was reading a morning newspaper. Face looked up and smiled briefly before turning his attention once more to the printed words before him.

Murdock checked his watch and stood up, unable to sit still a moment longer. He walked over to the window and stared at the traffic below.

"Murdock, you alright?" Face asked, without looking up from the newspaper.

"No," Murdock said softly, gazing at the cars passing; a loneliness welling up inside him, eating him up, making him feel totally alone and helpless.

"What's up then?" Face asked, folding the paper neatly and putting it delicately onto the table. Face rose and walked over to Murdock, a feeling of foreboding clouding his carefree mind.

Murdock sighed and didn't turn to face the man approaching him. He felt an arm on his shoulder, and then he did turn, feeling terrible because of his new emotions. "I don't know."

Face smiled knowingly. "Don't give me that cop-out line, Murdock. I know you too well. What's wrong, you look dreadful."

Murdock self-consciously reached up, and touched his face. "Why do I look dreadful?"

"You're pale, shaky, sticky with sweat. What's wrong?" Face asked again, even more gently. "Are you sick?"

Murdock looked upward, praying to the heavens that he could tell Face what he meant to him, beyond the staged friendship he'd endured for years. He was sweating because he was seriously considering telling the Lieutenant his exact feelings, however this sudden sickness overwhelmed him every time he considered the idea.

Face noticed Murdock's agonising expression, and placed an arm on his shoulder. Murdock shuddered under the touch and his knees weakened feeling himself fall; dragging Face down with him.

Face was absolutely terrified. Murdock was rigid and in shock. He reached over to the phone and dialled the hospital as Murdock closed his eyes and lay there resigned to the fact he wouldn't be telling Face today why he had collapsed under his touch.

Why did he feel this much for Face anyway?

Life was difficult enough without such overwhelming emotions clouding his judgement and making him become jelly under a seemingly friendly gesture.


An hour later, BA and Hannibal arrived at the hospital. They sat patiently in the waiting room, unaware that Face was being consulted by a doctor regarding Murdock's condition.

"There has to be something wrong with him!" Face demanded angrily. "The guy collapsed onto the floor!"

"He is perfectly healthy. His pulse was a little high on arrival, but it calmed down considerably as soon as you two were parted." The doctor explained.

"Well, what could it be?" Face wondered aloud.

"I have a theory, but it is outlandish." The doctor grinned.

"Go on..." Face encouraged eagerly.

"My wife is a veterinarian. She deals with a LOT of sick animals. There was once a time when a dog was brought into her practice. The dog was sick and mopey, hadn't eaten for days and was close to collapse."

"What has this got to do with Murdock?" Face said, his anger building.

The doctor continued, unperturbed. "The REASON why the dog was suffering turned out to be that he was simply ... in love."

Face looked up surprised. "In love?"

The doctor nodded, and Face began to realise the absurdity of calling the ambulance. Murdock was in love. And he of all people had failed to notice it. But with whom?

Face thanked the doctor profusely, and walked along the corridor. He saw BA and Hannibal rise at his approach and walk towards him.

"What's wrong with Murdock?" Hannibal asked concerned.

"Is the foo' alright?" BA asked worriedly.

Face held up a hand for silence. "He's okay. Looks like he'd been hit by the love bug."

BA and Hannibal turned to look at each other, the understanding dawning on their faces.

"You'd better go in and see him, while I work things out on the financial side," Face explained quietly. Hannibal nodded, and himself and BA entered Murdock's room.

Murdock looked up in surprise at BA and Hannibal and smiled at them both. "Hey, guys!"

Hannibal smiled back "Hello, Romeo. How are you feeling?"

"Better. Why you calling me Romeo?" Murdock asked nervously.

"Looks like your smitten with someone so bad, its making you physically ill," Hannibal explained, sitting beside the Captain. "Want to tell us who it is, so we can get Face to give you some urgent pointers?"

Murdock blushed and Hannibal became uneasy. BA looked at both men, and became impatient "Name her, ya crazy foo'"

Murdock was confused. He glanced from Hannibal to BA, seeing the expectant faces, wondering what to do. At that moment, Face came through the door, and Murdock pointed to him. "Its him!" he cried out.

Face stopped dead in his tracks "What's going on?"

Hannibal and BA couldn't form words for a moment, and BA was seething silently. He was the first to respond to Murdock's shocking revelation in a loud and uncontrolled voice. "You've fallen for Face?"

Murdock cowered as BA became angrier and angrier. Glancing to Hannibal, he saw confusion written all over the Colonel's face. Overcome with shame, he buried his head in the pillow, and withdrew into his own insane world, deep in his mind, where he was safe.

Face stared aghast at Hannibal and BA. BA walked towards him, catching him by the collar and shoving him roughly against the wall. "Did you flirt with him? I'm gonna knock your teeth out Face!"

Face looked despairingly at Hannibal. "I don't even know what's going on here!"

"Let him go, Sergeant. Go wait outside." Hannibal's calming voice startled BA and he immediately let go of Face, ashamed he'd let his anger once again overwhelm his judgement. Without saying another word, he stormed out of the room, slamming shut the door behind him.

"Well, kid. You didn't answer the question," Hannibal said softly.

Face saw the restrained hurt and anger all over Hannibal's expression. "Of course I didn't! I never led him on to believing that anything between us would happen. Christ, Colonel!"

Hannibal accepted this with a wave of the hand, indicating for the shaken Lieutenant to take a seat and shut up for a moment. He had anticipated almost anything... but definitely not this.

"Would you make a go of it, Face?" Hannibal finally asked the question, gently running his hand through the Captain's hair without realising.

Face shook his head. "I don't know. I love Murdock, I really do. More than anyone in my life. But could I have sex with him? I don't think so." Face hung his head.

Hannibal seemed reassured by this and rose to his feet "Then I think you and Murdock need to talk."

Face nodded, and watched Hannibal leave. "Murdock? Come on Murdock, let me see your face". Face gently pulled on Murdock's shoulder in an attempt to turn him away from the pillow, towards him. After a moment, Murdock turned on his own accord. Face saw the redness, the utter humiliation and rejection in his eyes and felt he'd let Murdock down badly.

"Murdock, we need to talk..." Face said without thinking, and then cut himself dead. What worse opening line could he have used to convey something this delicate? "You have a crush on me, right?"

Murdock looked at Face, eyes bright with unspent tears. "I'm in love with you."

Face breathed in sharply, looking away for a moment, collecting his thoughts together. He wasn't getting this across right at all. In his own mind he was as confused as Hannibal and BA.

He looked at Murdock gently, his indecision cast aside. He gently stroked Murdock's burning cheek and looked directly into his eyes. Face felt himself swoon and pulled back shocked. Without thinking, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against Murdock's.

Time stood still. The sounds of the hospital faded into silence as Face felt the sweetness of Murdock's mouth, the tenderness and the burning desire. Face drew back suddenly, as he felt himself harden and blushed, ashamed. What the hell was happening?

"It's okay," Murdock said reassuringly, even though he was still terribly upset.

Face saw the strength in Murdock, and smiled weakly. He leaned forward and embraced the pilot closely, felt his body laid against his own, and sighed deeply. The warmth of the embrace with indescribable, both men refusing to let go, too afraid to let the moment go.

The door opened and Murdock and Face hastily let go, and checked each other with trained eyes for any detail out of the ordinary. Both men appraised each other, and smiled.

"Well, what's the verdict?" Hannibal said, entering the room with BA following beside him.

"Murdock and myself have reached... an understanding." Face explained.

Hannibal grinned and slapped BA on the back. "See, nothing to worry about, BA."

Face smiled at the burly man reassuringly, and BA smiled suddenly. "Nothin' to worry about, BA".

"Good!" BA sighed relieved.

Face got up and went over to fetch Murdock's clothes. "Put these on Murdock. I don't think they'll let you use any more bed-space."

Murdock took the clothes, and looked up into Face's eyes momentarily. Face's back was to his CO and the Sergeant and he winked at Murdock; sealing their secret once and for all.

Murdock couldn't repress a sigh of relief, and proceeded to put his clothes on. Hannibal and BA talked together as they left the hospital, and Face turned to Murdock suddenly.

"We mustn't tell them. They aren't ready yet!" Face hissed softly.

Murdock nodded, accepting the situation; felt Face's hand brush his own and caress his fingers momentarily.

Face and Murdock regrouped with Hannibal and BA, and walked and talked together as if nothing had happened, at least in Hannibal and BA's eyes. It was the beginning of a new and exciting covert relationship for the Captain and Lieutenant.