"Divided We Fall"
"Divided We Fall"
By Rosanne Emily Esbrook-Iho (Ross7)
Author's note: This "A-Team" fanfic was first written, in script form, back in January of 1984. Since script format is not accepted here, 'Scenes' are being re-labeled as 'Chapters'. ;) New chapters will be posted as they are transcribed from 'present tense script format' to 'past tense story format'. I hope you all have as much fun reading this, as I had writing it. ;)
Disclaimer: The A-Team characters don't belong to me. They have borrowed strictly for fun and not for fortune.
Bright sunlight filtered through a flimsy curtain in the window of a small, ground floor apartment in east LA. It danced about the tiny abode and cast its warming rays upon the cheek of a silver-gray-haired gentleman, lying, motionless, on a sofa bed in the living room. The man's heavily blanketed body jerked, as someone began banging loudly—and incessantly—upon his door. His blue eyes snapped open, and then shut, in painful protest to the sudden onslaught of the sun's brilliant glare. The disturbed gentleman let out an irritated groan and rubbed a hand over his grimacing, unshaven face. "Knock off the knocking already!" he pleaded.
But, it continued and he was forced to rise.
The disrupted sleeper sat there on the edge of his sofa bed for a few moments, trying to shake the cobwebs from his hot, dizzy head and massage the painful throbbing from above his squinting left eye. He didn't succeed at doing either. So, he gave up and drew a deep, resigned breath into a big, sleepy yawn. The yawner's blue eyes snapped open and then shut again, as he doubled up in a fit of violent—and apparently painful—coughing. The man snatched a small medicine bottle from the lamp stand beside his sofa bed and quickly downed several long swallows of its red, syrupy contents.
The coughing gradually subsided.
The loud knocking did not, however.
So, the apartment's occupant pulled a blanket about his shivering shoulders, got stiffly—and unsteadily—to his bare feet and then went grumbling and stumbling over to confront the annoying 'knocker'. He leaned against a doorpost for support, cleared his throat and irritatededly inquired, "Who is it?"
"It's me!" a familiar voice came back. "Amy! Hannibal, are you all right?"
Hannibal's still-squinting eyes widened in surprise. "Amy?" He slid the chain off, opened the deadbolt, twisted the lock and pulled the heavy portal open, to glare accusingly at the girl. "I thought we had this 'understanding' that we never ever meet at each other's—"
"—Don't worry. I made sure I wasn't followed," Amy assured her upset host and slipped quickly inside, before Hannibal had the chance to close the door on her. "Besides," she continued, as the portal was slammed shut, "I didn't want to have to come here. But, I couldn't reach you on the phone. And, I just had to reach you. You see, Murdock called me last night and made me promise to check up on you for him." The girl gave the gentleman's usually impeccably groomed—now haggard and drawn looking—self a quick, concerned once over. "And now, I'm kind a' glad he did…" she hesitated. Their eyes met. She didn't like the way his looked. "Sheesh, Hannibal, you look absolutely awful!"
"Nice try," Hannibal told her, with a sarcastic smile. "But, you're not going to flatter your way out of this." His eyes narrowed and his frown returned. "You're a member of the team. You know the rules!"
'The rules.' Amy sighed aloud and groaned mentally. When it came to his precious rules, Hannibal never bent. No excuse was ever quite good enough to justify breaking the rules. And, deep down, the girl knew he was right. After all, strict adherence to these rules of his is what had kept him, and the rest of his team, from going to prison all these years. Still, her excuse came awfully close. 'The best defense is a good offense,' she reminded herself, and quickly assumed her best offensive stance. "Former member," she corrected. "And, rules are made to be broken. Promises aren't! At least, mine aren't. I don't make them, or take them, lightly. And, I don't use flattery either. When I tell someone they look awful, I mean they look awful!"
Hannibal's throbbing head felt hotter and dizzier than ever. He was in no mood for a major confrontation concerning the rules. He decided to let discretion be the better part of valor and just let the whole thing slide…for now. "Yeah? Well, I'd probably look a lot less awful by now, if certain people would stop disturbing me, so I could get some rest."
The room started spinning on him.
Amy reached out to steady the swaying, blanketed figure standing before her.
But, he brushed her hands away.
'Better sit down before you fall down,' Hannibal told himself, as the room began rotating more rapidly.
He beat a hasty retreat in the direction of the nearest seat. "You see, Murdock called me last night, too," he continued, and plopped down on the edge of his sofa bed. The room kept right on spinning however, and he had to close his eyes to keep from getting sick. "Every half—" he winced and lowered his voice, "—hour!"
A look of dawning understanding and then disapproval came over Amy and she stomped over to glare accusingly down at him. "You took your phone off the hook, didn't you!"
He cracked an eye open, saw her frowning down at him, this time, and quickly closed it again. "Isn't that what one does, when one doesn't wish to be disturbed?" Suddenly, both eyes snapped back open, and he stared up at her in confusion. "Don't you have a plane to catch?"
Amy ignored him and started tracing the phone cord. She followed the slender black snake from its wall jack…across the carpeting…along the foot of the bed…and right up to a pile of sofa cushions in the center of the room. She dug the whining instrument out and returned it to the lamp stand. Next, she nestled the handset back into its cradle. The phone's immediate ringing startled her.
Hannibal groaned and fell back onto his bed, to bury his head beneath his pillow.
The phone continued to ring.
Amy continued to frown. "Aren't you going to answer it?"
"No!" came back Hannibal's muffled reply. "But, if you want to talk to 'Old Mother Murdock', be my guest." He raised the pillow a tad. "And, see if you can get him to promise to stop disturbing me, while you're at it…quietly," he added and allowed the pillow to drop.
The flustered female exhaled an exasperated gasp and quickly answered the call. "Hello?…Yeah…Yes, he's here. But I'm not sure he's all here…Well, right now, he's buried under a mountain of blankets, trying to suffocate himself with his pillow."
Hannibal lifted the pillow and squinted skeptically up at the 'informer'.
Amy glared gloomily back at him. "Huh?…Uh, no. But he was a little while ago. And, he's got some kind of cough syrup by his bed…I'll say! Like death warmed over!"
Hannibal's already squinting eyes began narrowing even further, into annoyed slits.
The woman covered the mouthpiece with her hand. "He wants to know if you have a fever, chills and a bad headache."
Hannibal propped himself up on his elbows. "What I have is a bad cold. And, if the two of you don't let me get some rest, I'm gonna have it forever!" The room began to rotate again. He dropped back down onto the bed and then lay there shivering and squinting and rubbing his throbbing temples.
Amy felt sweat trickling down her own temples and realized it had to be close to ninety degrees in the stuffy, solar-heated apartment. And yet, Hannibal's blanket-bundled body seemed to be shaking. Her frown deepened. "Uh, affirmative on the fever, chills and headache," she reported into the uncovered mouthpiece. The little lady lowered the phone. "He says to take a deep breath."
"Tell him I said to take a flying leap!"
"Do you have any idea how worried he is about you? He hasn't slept in over two days!"
"I don't think either of you realize that—thanks to him—neither have I!"
There was an awkward silence.
"Look, Amy…" Hannibal began again, in a sudden change of tone and tactics, "I appreciate your concern—and his. But I honestly don't understand why the two of you are so worried. I'm not worried. However, if it will make the two of you feel any better, if I don't feel any better by tomorrow, I promise I'll see a doctor. Okay?" He turned his head to witness the woman's reaction to his proposal.
Amy hadn't covered the mouthpiece, this time. So, Murdock heard everything that was said. Hannibal's absent friend gave the girl an earful.
"No good, Hannibal!" Amy parroted. "You have to see a doctor today! So he can get you started on antibiotics right away!"
Hannibal raised his head and used the opportunity to shake it, in reply. But the room kept right on revolving. "The only known cure for the common cold is to just let it run its course."
"You may have had just a common cold at first," Amy continued to quote their missing team member. "But that was before you spent the night lying in that cold, damp alley…and before you had that little wrestling match with those two Sumos in Clemsen's pool…and before—"
"—All right! All right!" Hannibal surrendered. "I'll see a doctor today…if I can get an appointment," he added, under his breath.
"You have an appointment," Amy informed him. "To see a Dr. Spengotti…at the Free Clinic…over on Yantze Street…at 3:50."
Hannibal stiffened and sat bolt upright this time. "If he thinks I'm going into a VD clinic for my cold, he really is crazy!"
The little lady listened again and then stood there, looking highly amused. "Penicillin is penicillin. And, while those little spores may be cute as the dickens, they ain't all that bright. For a certainty, they would never be able to distinguish the subtle differences in the venereal and pneumonal strains of bacterium. Why, heck! Those poor dumb critters can't even pronounce big words like that—"
"—All right! All right!" Hannibal hoisted the white flag of surrender again. His already slumped shoulders slumped even more. "The Free Clinic on Yantze at 3:50."
Amy's smile turned into an outright grin. "Right!…I'll keep you posted…Right…Bye, Murdock." She replaced the phone and picked a pile of clothes up off the carpeted floor. "He says to shake a leg. It's gonna take yah twenty minutes to shower and shave, ten minutes to get dressed and another fifteen minutes to fight through traffic. And, if you ain't there on time, Dr. Spengotti's gonna give your appointment to someone else," she finished her final message relay and dropped the clothing in his lap.
"Yeah," Hannibal grumbled beneath his breath. "To someone with VD."
"What?" Amy inquired. "I didn't quite catch that…"
"I said, you must remind me to send the two of you a card," he replied—er, lied, his voice oozing with sarcasm. "Next Mothers' Day!" His gaze shifted from the garments in his lap to the still-grinning girl. "Mommy? Will you please fetch me my blue sweater and my gray vest jacket?"
Amy's grin disappeared, and so did she…in the direction of the closet.