Title: Like War
Word Count: 400
Rating: PG for memories of war violence
Author's Notes: I own nothing -- I am a textual poacher. From a plotbunny given me by San Antonio Rose, based on a comment on the Little Green Footballs blog. Written for the Fanfic100 challenge community on LiveJournal.


The hotel room is furnished Western-style, is really no different than a hotel room in Los Angeles or anywhere else in the world; but none of them can relax in it, and not just because of the oppressive heat. Though Murdock stretches out on the couch and Hannibal sprawls on the bed, though BA slouches against a wall and Face puts on a show of casually gazing out the window, they are not at rest.

Hannibal can tell that all three of his men are back there right now. He can tell from their eyes and their silence and the way they move, and most of all he can tell because he is back there, too, seeing shattered 'copters and tongues of fire, bodies crushed and mangled in the long grass, old nightmares playing in broad daylight with his eyes wide open.

After too long of staring at the ceiling fan and listening to long-ago gunfire, Hannibal rolls off of the bed and moves to stand with Face at the window. His lieutenant barely glances at him before his eyes move back to the crowds of people in the market outside, and Hannibal knows that whatever Face sees, it isn't the illusion of bustling-modern-Hanoi.

The faintest movement, behind him and to the right, and Hannibal's head snaps around in a too-frantic motion – but it's only BA, his gaze following Face's. A moment later Murdock joins them, hands buried in his jacket pockets, hair wild as if the downwash of rotors had stirred it. Murdock comes back long enough to nod, very slightly and sadly, at Hannibal – and then he, too, looks out.

Hannibal reaches for a cigar, but something stops him; he lets his hand drop to his side, instinctively trying to rest it on the butt of the low-slung rifle he isn't carrying. With a sigh, he gazes out the window and drops back into the private day-mare that all of them are sharing, knowing by a strange instinct that if they were to see one another's thoughts they would be four subtly-different versions of the same terrors, the same deaths.

They stand like that for a long, long time before Face stirs and draws a deep breath, coming back from their shared past enough to half-turn towards the others. His eyes never leave the street as he speaks for all of them.

"It smells like war."

The End