Chapter 27 - Epilogue

"You know, the kid did good. Front page on the Flores story." Face looked up from behind the newspaper he was reading. "Can you believe Flores is trying to claim that he was framed?" Face shook his head. "There's no way he's going to win this, fancy lawyer or not."

"Another bad guy taken to the cleaners, by the notorious A-Team," Murdock said in his newsreader tone. Face grinned. Hannibal smiled, too.

All four members of the team sat in the van, driving through the streets of LA. They were on their way to meet Amy for lunch.

"And she's got a side story on the A-Team. 'Does LA Have Its Very Own Superheroes?'" Face smiled as he read the article. "You know, Hannibal, this might even get the army's attention." Hannibal frowned. Face shook his head. "I mean, they might take note that we aren't the bad guys. Maybe someone will look into our case," Face continued, glancing from the paper to Hannibal. "Her articles are well written, without implicating herself in anyway. The story's told like she's interviewed our clients, keeping them anonymous, too."

"Is that so?" Hannibal said, raising an eyebrow. He still hadn't been sure about the idea of printing the story. "BA, this is it." Hannibal pointed to a diner with parking outside.

BA pulled the van over as Hannibal directed, parking it outside the diner.

"Yeah, she kept Murdock out of it, too."

"What?" Murdock said crossly, frowning at Face. "You mean I didn't get a mention?"

"Murdock, she can't mention your name, but she's subtly described a mystery man though."

"Now I don't mind being called that." Murdock grinned and continued in a different voice, "'Mystery Man', that's who I am." Murdock tried to grab the paper, but Face pulled it out of his reach.

"Okay, it hasn't got anything about you in there," Face confessed. Hannibal chuckled as Murdock's face became a picture of gloom, as he folded his arms in front of him, like a small child in a tantrum.

"I told her to keep you out of it, Murdock. It's for your own good," Hannibal said firmly, straightening his expression. "And you know why she can't mention you, or even give a hint that there is a fourth member of the team," he said, turning his seat around towards Murdock and Face, leaning forward, putting a hand on Murdock's shoulder in reassurance.

"I know, I know." Murdock nodded, but still looked upset.

"I like this, 'resisting the bright smile of the handsome blonde', huh?" Face stopped mid-flow.

Murdock snapped out of his mood, catching Face unexpectedly, and swiftly took the paper from him. Face tried to grapple for the paper but failed. Murdock then continued reading the article, smiling smugly.

"Lieutenant Templeton Peck," Murdock grinned as he continued to read, "the team's perfect con artist, guaranteed to delivers the goods. With his dashing good looks and charming smile, he's apparently so good, you won't even realise you've been conned."

"Can you believe she called me a con artist?" Face said crossly, interrupting Murdock.

"In a good way, Faceman." Murdock tried to reassure him but Face unhappily propped his chin on the palm of his hand.

Hannibal chuckled.

"And their leader, Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith," Murdock continued ignoring Face's complaints. "When he starts planning, he takes turns on two wheels."

"Hey, give me that." Hannibal went to grab the newspaper and Murdock, without resistance, passed it to him. He wanted to read what she'd said about him for himself.

Hannibal smiled as he read the article and then looked at his team.

"What she say about BA?" Murdock asked enthusiastically. Hannibal handed the paper back to him. BA scowled, but started to smile as Murdock read.

"Sergeant Bosco Baracus, nicknamed BA for his bad attitude. But while his temperature gauge may run hot, his heart always remains warm – hey! Give me that back!"

BA had snatched the paper from Murdock's hands and screwed it up, growling, throwing it on the floor. Face smirked at Murdock's flabbergasted expression. Hannibal chuckled again.

Trying to hide his smile of satisfaction at winding Murdock up, BA swung round on his seat, so that they were all facing one another in the van.

"Okay team, we need to take a vote."

"Vote, Hannibal?" Face asked.

"Whether Amy comes on more missions with us. She's been bugging me about it for a while," Hannibal continued. "Wants to be more than an information gofer. Those are her words, by the way, not mine. She wants to be part of the team."

"Well, she handled Flores very well. We wouldn't have been able to get to him without her, Colonel," Murdock said. "It might have its uses having a female member on the team. She's got my vote."

"Yeah, yeah, she did do well. Her stories in the paper will be good for business," Face admitted. "Whether you like it or not, Hannibal," Face added catching Hannibal's frown. "And she'd be useful on some of my scams. She's proven she can think on her feet, too."

Hannibal turned to BA.

"I don't mind. She's tidier than those two," BA grumbled. Face and Murdock showed their disapproval of BA's comments by sticking out their tongues, but he just screwed his face up further at them. "If she joins the team, I'll keep her safe. I made myself a promise, in the warehouse that time."

Hannibal pondered for a moment. "But she is a reporter."

"A good reporter, Hannibal," Face said. Hannibal looked at him, nodding. "We're already in the papers. At least this way, they'd be getting their facts right."

"Yeah, for a change," Murdock quickly added.

"Might actually do us some good, too. Get some of those paying customers we keep on talking about." Face smiled at Hannibal. He grinned back.

"Okay, so we let her on the team, unless I think the mission is too dangerous," Hannibal said. "Agreed?"

The three of them nodded back to Hannibal.

"But on one condition, Lieutenant." Hannibal looked Face straight in the eye as he said his words, a finger raised. There was sternness in his look.

"What?" Face looked confused.

"She's out of bounds." Hannibal's words were firm.

"Hey, hey, that's not fair, Hannibal. Why do you always assume it would be me? Huh? It was Murdock who got a little too cosy with Amy in that closet at Flores' place."

"Faceman, I told you that in the strictest of confidence," Murdock snapped. "Like you told me about the hotel corridor!"

"That was in the line of duty!" Face swept his hand through his hair.

"So putting your tongue down someone's throat makes you invisible now, does it?" Murdock snorted. "And I'm supposed to be the crazy one." Murdock rolled his eyes and continued to mutter under his breath.

"Oh and hiding in the closet, meant you needed to kiss her, did it?" Face snapped.

"Guys, guys!" Hannibal tried to intervene their petty argument. Face and Murdock looked at Hannibal . "I just can't have her on the team, if she's going to distract you, it'll be too dangerous." Pointing his finger at them both as he spoke. "For the both of you," Hannibal reiterated firmly. "You need to be able to concentrate on the job."

Murdock placed his baseball cap back on his head, whilst Face straightened his tie, both nodding in agreement.

"What about you, Hannibal?" BA spoke up. Hannibal glanced at him. BA had been sitting quietly until now. "You came close, too. I saw ya!"

Hannibal frowned at BA, as Murdock and Face looked at him, expectantly. What the hell is he talking about, thought Hannibal, noticing Face and Murdock glaring at him.

"Hannibal!" Face was the first to speak and his words sounded agitated. "And you have the nerve to point the finger at me?"

"I didn't do anything, Face," Hannibal replied. "Unlike you."

"Came close though." BA smiled, a little too smugly for Hannibal's liking, so he shot him a dirty look.

"Okay, BA, spit it out, what are you talking about?"

"That time in your office."

"What time?" Then it dawned on him, when they'd first moved into the warehouse. She'd been talking about him writing a book. Yeah, probably had looked ambiguous. And that's what BA had been mumbling about. Hannibal chuckled. "Nothing happened, she was just handing me back my lighter. Christ, BA, she's young enough to be my daughter-." Catching Murdock dig Face in the ribs out the corner of his eye, Hannibal instantly turned on them. "-And if I hear any of you repeat that, may god have mercy on you."

Face and Murdock nodded, duly noting Hannibal's threat.

"Satisfied, BA?" Hannibal looked at him, eyebrow raised and BA nodded.

Hannibal took a cigar out of his pocket and grinned. "Okay, it looks like the person I also need to talk to about fraternising with members of the team," Hannibal bit off the end of his cigar and put it between his teeth, "is Amy. All agreed?"

END