Title: Seeing Red
Fandom: The A-Team
Characters: John 'Hannibal' Smith and HM Murdock
Prompt: 011. 'Red'
Word Count: 400
Rating: PG
Summary: He washes his hands over and over; but all he can see is red.
Author's Notes: Set at D.C. General hospital, immediately after the fifth-season episode "Without Reservations" (aka 'The One Where Face Gets Shot'). They don't belong to me; I am a Textual Poacher.


Hannibal sees red.

It's everywhere; it spatters the mirror and the white porcelain sink and the cheap Formica countertop in this miniscule hospital bathroom. It's spread across the front of his shirt, an irregular blotch like the inkblots Murdock can't read. It's worked down deep into the pores of his hands, and he scrubs at it repetitively. The faucet hisses like a mindless thing, like a wounded animal. He can't seem to wash it out.

He's seen it before, any number of times, on the battlefields of two countries, in the private skirmishes of a dozen more. He's never been afraid of it. It's always been just another color, just part of the game. So why, now, does he stand here trying so desperately to scrub it, erase it, make it go away?

They wouldn't let him follow them through the swinging doors into the room of blinding lights and shrieking monitors and faceless forms in white. The orderly flung out one arm, barred the door, blocked his path. And Hannibal saw red; in a blazing flash of helplessness and anger he knocked the orderly down with one blow. It was only then, with the man senseless on the floor at his feet, that he realized he was covered in it, stained with it, marked with it. Face's blood.

He turned and stalked away, wordlessly, fists clenched; and the other orderlies and the nurses and the onlooking family members just watched him go. He heard but didn't hear BA calling after him; saw but didn't see Stockwell and company enter the scene just as he was leaving. All he saw was red.

He doesn't know how much time has passed when the door cracks open. He looks up sharply from the water and the soap and the blood.

He sees red.

Murdock slips into the tiny room, red vest where his jacket ought to be. He says nothing; he just reaches past Hannibal's arm and shuts the faucet off. Without the water hissing, the room is suddenly, deathly still.

Hannibal nearly flinches when Murdock touches his shoulder. The younger man blinks gravely and offers him one of the cheap paper towels from the battered dispenser.

Hannibal says quietly "Face?"

"Made it through surgery." Murdock replies. "Now . . . we'll see."

Hannibal nods, discards the paper towel, sighs. "We'll see."

And he wonders, distantly, if he'll see something besides red.