This story takes place after Family Reunion and continues with the ideas presented in "Making It Official" and "Scars and Nightmares". Face has just found out that AJ Bancroft was his father. He's gone to hold Ellen. As he leaves the van he still had not decided if he is going to tell Ellen that he is her half-brother.
This is written for entertainment purposes only and in no way is written for profit. The characters are borrowed and are not owned by me in any way.
"Family Reunion Revisited"
Over come by his emotions, Face turned away from Murdock and walked towards Ellen. He wasn't sure what to think or how he should feel. Here before him was his half-sister, a connection to a family he had never known but always wanted. How do you comfort someone when you yourself don't know how you feel? His emotions were running so close to the surface and he hated it. As he approached Ellen he made his decision, he wasn't going to tell her. She had just seen her father for the first time in 20 years and lost him in less than 24 hours. She had been through enough. He didn't think he had the right to put her through more than she had already been through. He and Murdock would take her to the airport and let her try to put her life back together again.
Ellen stood by the grave site. She couldn't believe he was gone. How could he have come back just to turn her life upside down once again? Face had been very kind. She felt a connection to him and was comforted by him when he put his arm around her. "I don't know how I feel about all of this." She turned to look at Face. "I want to thank you for pushing me to talk to him when I did. He answered a lot of the questions I have had for years. It doesn't change anything but at least I know. You were right, I have a memory now of my father. But I have to tell you…Face…it doesn't change how I feel. He left my mom and I and no matter what excuse he gave he couldn't change that fact. A real man wouldn't cut and run out on his family. Thanks for all of your help. I just want to put AJ Bancroft and his past behind me. After all these years my life won't be overshadowed by my criminal father. Maybe now I can get on with my life and…oh…I don't know…cleanse myself of the stigma I had growing up. Goodbye father, thanks for upsetting my life one more time." Bitterly she turned to Face, "I'm ready to leave, if you can take me to the airport now I would appreciate it."
"Sure Ellen, we'll get you there. I'm sorry about your father. I wish there was something I could do for you."
"There isn't. It's not like you can change my past. You have no idea what it was like to grow up with a criminal for a father. Every time he would get in trouble it would hit the news." She paused before she continued. Face could see tears in her eyes. "Kids can be really cruel. I never really knew him but he made my life miserable just by his existence."
As they turned to go back to the van Face knew this was it, he was saying goodbye to his sister and she didn't even know it. She had been through enough. Growing up knowing her father was a criminal had been tough on her. She didn't need to know the apple hadn't fallen far from the tree…her brother was a wanted criminal just like her father. He thought back to his conversation with AJ. AJ had said anyone would be proud to have him as a son but Face knew he was wrong. Ellen was living proof of what a person went through having a family member who was a well known criminal. Face knew he was wanted… but not for who he was or for being someone's son. He was wanted for being a criminal. No one could be proud to have him as a son. How could anyone be proud to have him as a brother?
The anger and feelings of betrayal grew as he approached the van. Murdock sat in the driver's seat. Face couldn't fathom sitting next to a man who had been his friend for so many years and yet in one short day had managed to destroy all of his trust in him. Murdock knew how important family was to him but threw out the only chance he would ever have to get some of his own questions answered because of a request from someone he had just met.
He couldn't be civil to Murdock. He needed space. He placed Ellen in the front seat and seated himself in his normal seat in the back. He needed to get through the next two hours. Ellen deserved to go off and find the peace she never had before in her life. He wouldn't say anything to her now. Maybe when he got his pardon, if he ever got his pardon, he would look her up and tell her the truth.
Murdock hoped he and Face were back on track. They agreed not to argue about this any further. It wasn't the first time they had had an argument. The difference between then and now was unquestionable. He had hurt his friend deep down to the core of his existence. He screwed up and there was no way to fix it. As Face and Ellen approached the van he could see, almost feel, the anger radiating from his friend. Only someone who really knew and understood Face would pick up on it. The calm exterior hid the wounds of years of abuse and neglect. When Face had first joined the team he had the same look, a look of hatred and mistrust. He had been hurt numerous times before he went to war and had suffered more abuse during the war. Yes, Murdock had seen this look before but never directed at him.
Even during the war, it was apparent you did not want the wrath of Face to fall upon you. Face was a powerful and efficient soldier. If you were to get in his way or try to harm him he could kill without thought. The remorse would come, but well after it was over. The only exception was if he were trying to protect a member of the team. He would rather have been hurt himself than to see any of them suffer. Early on they had shown an allegiance to him, he took his pledge seriously. He would protect the team at all cost.
Murdock waited in the driver's seat and prepared himself for whatever was to come. But nothing happened. Face sat quietly in the back. Ellen sat quietly next to him in the front seat on the way to the airport. He didn't know if Face had told Ellen about AJ. Knowing it wasn't exactly something he could bring up in casual conversation he knew he would have to wait to find out from Face. The silence hung in the air, the proverbial elephant was in the room but neither man acknowledged it
When they arrived at the airport Ellen wanted nothing more than to run away from these men and back to her life as fast as she was capable. She knew it wasn't fair. It wasn't like they had done this to her. But like her conversation with her father, it didn't change how she felt.
She hugged Face goodbye and then hugged Murdock. "Thank you and good luck to you." That was it…she turned and walked away without saying anything further. Face watched her until he could no longer see her in the crowd. She never looked back.
Face sat in the passenger seat but he was miles away. The gorge was widening between he and Murdock. He knew he needed to say something. He didn't want Hannibal or anyone to know about AJ.
His voice was devoid of emotion. "Murdock, this stays here. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to hear about it. And most of all, I don't want anyone else to know. You brought Stockwell into this; you better fix it so he doesn't talk to me or anyone about this. Do I make myself clear? If I want anyone else to know it will be my decision."
Face never looked at Murdock. He continued to stare out the window. Hearing Face speak sent a chill up his spine. The depth of what he had done had finally hit Murdock. He had lost his friend. "Okay, if that's the way you want it. I'll talk to Stockwell as soon as we get back to the cabin."
"That's the way I want it. That's the way it should have been from the beginning." Face never said another word on the way back to meet up with Hannibal and BA. He didn't know how he felt about AJ but he knew he didn't want to hurt Hannibal. Fears of his childhood came back. The fear of being rejected was high on the list. Would Hannibal still want him if he knew he came from a long line of criminals. He could bury the past couple of days just as he had buried his childhood. He could bury it all except his feelings of betrayal.
Hannibal had been trying to figure out what was going on with Face and Murdock. So far Face had not wanted to talk. He knew Face would tell him eventually but he had a the feeling this was something he shouldn't hold off on. His decision made he went in search of BA. He found him working on a TV set in the garage.
"BA, do you know what's going on between Face and Murdock?" Hannibal watched BA to see his reaction.
"Naw man. Somethin's up but that crazy fool ain't said nothing. Must be big 'cause I never seen them like this 'fore." BA hated to see his friends hurt and he hated to see them argue. He thought there was enough turmoil in the world, why did they have to live with any more than they already had in their lives. He wished he could help his friends but he didn't know what the problem was, something had happened but neither of his friends were talking about it.
"We're going to stay here for a couple more days. We can do a little fishing and try to relax. We'll do Thanksgiving this weekend after we return to Langley." And just maybe Face will open up and tell me what's going on.
"Sounds good man. I'll take the fool to town when they get back to get some more food."
"Sounds like a plan. Maybe Face will tell me what's going on." Hannibal stepped out on to the porch and lit his cigar. It was a plan, he thought a good plan. They extra time would allow everyone to relax then they would go home to Langley and celebrate Thanksgiving.
As soon as the van approached BA was out the door. "Move over fool. We're goin' to town for more food. Hannibal says were staying here for a few days. Let's get goin'."
Murdock didn't say anything he just complied. BA could sense something else had happened. The tension was higher now than when they had left to take Ellen to the airport. This has to stop.
Face went into the cabin and headed straight to his bed. He wanted to sleep. He wanted to escape. He couldn't face Hannibal.
How can you be this upset about a man that walked out on you and your mother? He was nothing to me. He had 30 years to come back for me and didn't. How could I be this upset about a man who never gave a shit about me? How can I do this to Hannibal? I can't do this to him. He's the only one that has ever stood by me.
He crawled into bed and pulled the cover up. He was grateful Hannibal hadn't been inside when he had come in. He didn't know what he was going to say. How do you tell your dad you're upset about the father you never knew? He thought he had worked through all of this years ago. But then Murdock's admission had caused his world to crash down around him.
As his anger increased his head began to hurt. He hoped he could relax and sleep through the stress. He did not want to get a migraine. He thought about getting up and taking something for the headache but couldn't find the energy. He just wanted to sleep.
Hannibal had seen Face enter the cabin. He knew something was wrong by Face's gait. He had walked with a slightly unsteady gait. Hannibal knocked and opened the door to the bedroom. Face was in bed but still awake. "Face, son is everything alright?"
The response he got in return was not what he expected. He could see Face's shoulder start to tremble and then he could hear the soft whimpers as Face began to cry. Hannibal reached up and ran his hand through Face's hair, Face stiffened at the touch. He couldn't help it even after all these years. When he became emotional or overtly tired his old instincts kicked in. Hannibal couldn't miss the reaction but knew Face would respond to his voice. He wanted to help, he just didn't know how. He was frustrated with his inability to help. "Face, talk to me. Tell me what's wrong."
Face relaxed somewhat as Hannibal spoke. He didn't listen to the words as much as he listened to the love the words carried. He couldn't talk about it, not now, maybe never. He didn't want to hurt Hannibal or make him think he didn't care. He couldn't deal with this right now. He needed sleep and to get rid of his headache. "I'm fine. Just got a headache and need some sleep. I'll be fine. I promise."
"Where are your pills? Let's get ahead of this before you get a full blown migraine." Hannibal listened to the tone of voice and saw the expression on his son's face. He'd known something was wrong. Stress always brought on the headaches. But what was the cause? How could he help? He knew he would have to wait for Face to decide he wanted to talk. For now he would do what he could to ease Face's pain.
"In my bag, in the front pocket. Thanks Hannibal."
Quickly Hannibal grabbed the pills and a glass of water. If Face was willing to take the medication without argument Hannibal knew he was hurting. He helped Face sit up to take the pills. Face then laid back down with Hannibal sitting at his side. He closed his eyes and wished he could block out all of his troubles so easily. He didn't want to face Hannibal. It had been years since he and Hannibal had declared each other to be family. Looking back Hannibal had always been a father figure to him and the others when they were in Nam. He looked out for all of them and was old enough to be their father's. During war it was comforting to have someone there that actually cared if you were going to come home.
It had taken both he and Hannibal time to finally voice what they had always felt. It took more time for Face to learn what it was to be a son. He had built his walls high and strong to keep from getting hurt. He was so use to pushing people away and not trusting them that it seemed an extra effort to learn to trust. But now in the matter of a couple of days he felt he had destroyed all he had worked for with Hannibal. His mixed feelings about his discovery of AJ Bancroft being his father made him feel as if he was betraying Hannibal. It was a vicious cycle the more upset he became about the situation with AJ and Murdock, the more he felt betrayed and the more he felt as if he was betraying Hannibal.
Sitting next to his son Hannibal knew from Face's reaction he couldn't push or Face would shut down and close him out. He sighed as he thought back over the years. Face had been the son he always wanted but could never have personally. He felt he had been granted a gift when Face had agreed to be his son all those years ago. Since then they had grown closer. Face had shared more about his past and in general shared more about how he felt on a variety of subjects. He was never fooled by Face's stories. He knew there was much more to what had happened and had been done to him as a child than he would ever admit. He also knew that Face still had serious trust issues, any infraction could cause major set backs.
Even after all these years Face most often kept his emotions close and closed everyone else out. He couldn't share how he felt if he thought it would hurt someone else on the team. He still didn't want to give anyone the opportunity to hurt him. Years of abuse at the hands of people who said they loved him left deep scars both physically and emotionally. His time in the army and in the POW camp had only added to those scars. Some ran deep and even after all this time they had yet to heal fully.
He pushed the hair out of his son's face and started to get up to leave. He had barely moved when Face grabbed his hand. "Could you… would… don't go just yet…please." He hated how weak his voice sounded. He felt horrible and didn't want Hannibal to know. His head was pounding to the rhythm of his heart beat. Every noise, flash of light caused the pain to increase. He knew where this was headed. The nausea would not be far behind. He needed to relax and pray for sleep and just maybe he could avoid the nausea and vomiting that often accompanied his migraines.
"Sure kid. Go ahead and close your eyes. I won't go anywhere. I'll be here when you get up. Try to relax. Do you want a cool towel?"
"No. Just need… just…" He couldn't admit it. All he wanted was for Hannibal to sit there with him. He needed his dad. He shook his head and squeezed Hannibal's hand a little more. The irony was not lost on him that he needed his dad and reached out for Hannibal. Yet it was his biological father and best friend that had brought on the stress causing this migraine.
"Okay. I'll just sit here. Try to sleep. I'll be here." Hannibal smiled to himself. The kid needed him and it made him feel good. He would do anything for his son. The transformation from solider to kid always amazed him. If he was injured badly or seriously ill he would hide it from everyone, he would maintain his soldier persona until what he perceived as a threat had passed. At times…like this…he would reach out for comfort.
Face rolled onto his side turning away from Hannibal but still holding onto his hand. Hannibal rubbed his back hoping to ease the tension. Slowly he felt the tension ease, Face's respirations evened out and then he was asleep. He didn't know how long Face would sleep but he would be there when he woke up. He would be there to hold his hand or to listen. Whatever Face needed, he would be there for him.
BA and Murdock returned from town to find the cabin quiet. They didn't know Face wasn't feeling well and trying to sleep. Murdock had been quiet for most of the trip. Normally BA would have been ecstatic to have a silent Murdock but he knew whatever was going on between Murdock and Face was the cause of this silence.
"What's da matter with you fool? You been mopin' around for days. You and Face ain't actin' right."
"Nothing. I can't talk about it. I'm…I'm going for a walk." Murdock was flustered. He didn't want to lie and yet he had hadn't he. Now he deserved whatever happened.
"Crazy man if somethin' wrong with Faceman and you hidin' it you better stop and tell Hannibal. You know betta'. Hannibal don't want nothin' happenin' to Face. You think about that while you walkin'. You don't want Hannibal getting' mad. Now, I'm fixin' dinner. IYou go walkin' you betta be back on time 'cause if I have to come lookin' for you…"
Murdock didn't reply as he left. He didn't want to lie to his friends but knew he couldn't tell the truth. He couldn't give Face any more reasons to question his loyalty. He went to the van and called Stockwell. Murdock asked for all records to be destroyed. Stockwell agreed but Murdock knew there would be a price to pay for his cooperation. He was willing to do what ever needed to be done. He needed to set things right for Face.
2 hours passed before Face began to wake up. He hated the feeling of waking from a drug induced sleep. His head was foggy and he had to concentrate to remember what had happened. It all came back to him in a rush. He felt hands on his and braced himself. The headache was still there and so was the nausea.
Hannibal felt the tension come back immediately upon Face wakening. He kept still as he repeated the age old mantra, "Easy son. It's just me. You're safe. Just relax for a moment. It's me, Hannibal."
Face let out a slow breath. The tension eased as soon as he heard his dad's voice. It was a voice filled with love and concern. Before opening his eyes he made a decision. What ever he did, he was not going to disappoint this man. Once he relaxed as much as he could he opened his eyes and looked into the face of the man who had always stood by him. The feelings of guilt washed over him again. Hannibal saw the look but didn't know where it was coming from, he thought Face might feel guilty about him sitting there while Face had slept.
How could I even care about AJ Bancroft when Hannibal has given me so much? He's been my best friend, my dad and the mentor I always needed. If only I could have had him as a father when I was little. God…how my life would have been different. He's always been there to protect me; well, whenever it was possible. I know he would do anything to keep me safe. But Bancroft…Bancroft couldn't even hang around when things got a little tight for him. He cut and ran. He didn't love me or my mother. Murdock told me about the photo. He knew where I was and what was happening to me and he left me there. He abandoned me every chance he got. He didn't give a shit about me or what I went through. He never loved me.
Hannibal…Hannibal knows…he knows almost everything and he's still here. He was with me in the camps and knows what happened there and he's still with me. He and BA tried to protect me and when they couldn't they stood by and helped me to get better.
The more he thought about his problems the more nauseated he became. He tried to slow his breathing again. It didn't work. He sat up quickly which brought on more nausea and dizziness. He tried to make his way to the bathroom but didn't make it. He fell to his knees and began to shiver and vomit. Weak from everything he had been through, Face started to fall to the floor. Hannibal's quick reactions kept that from happening.
Easing Face back Hannibal picked Face up off the floor and brought him back to the bed. Face's head lulled to the side he did not have the strength to hold his head up. The nausea was still present. The headache had increased. He felt horrible.
Hannibal grabbed the trashcan and set it next to the bed. He ran a cool cloth over his son's face and hoped to ease his pain. After a few tense moments when he thought Face was going to start vomiting again, Hannibal reached for the medic bag. He took Face's vitals. The blood pressure and pulse rates were high but considering what Face had just been through he wasn't surprised. It was only a minute or two when Face started to become more oriented.
"You with me now kid."
"Yes. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you stay here the whole time. I'm sorry about getting sick. I…I just didn't…Thanks for staying." Hannibal handed him a cup of water. When it became apparent Face wouldn't be able to hold the cup, Hannibal assisted him. "Just a little bit to rinse your mouth out at first." Face did as instructed and spit into the trashcan. "Thanks."
"No problem. I want you to be straight with me. Are you feeling any better?" Hannibal thought Face's statement had given credence to his previous suspicion of the guilty expression Face had had when he awoke.
"Yes," Face knew he shouldn't lie to Hannibal. "No, not really, it's still there but… it's a little better I guess. It'll pass. I didn't mean to worry you."
"BA's been out there cooking for the past hour. Do you think you're up to some dinner?"
"I should eat. I didn't really eat much for lunch. I just don't think I can right now"
"Do you want to talk about it? I'm here for you, you know."
Face shook his head. He didn't want to talk about it. He didn't want to admit how he felt. He couldn't get pass feeling like he had been rejected again. What he did know was the man who could explain to him why he was left alone as a child was gone forever. Now there was no chance for him to get the answers he so desperately wanted. The same questions he had been asking himself since he was 5 years old. What had he done to make his father and mother leave him? What did he do to make them hate him? Was he an awful child? Was he damaged even then as the sister's had told him he was? He didn't want to lose Hannibal. He wished he knew what he could do different so Hannibal wouldn't leave. He set his mind to making sure he didn't disappoint Hannibal or BA. He needed to do the right thing. He couldn't fail them again.
"Okay. I won't press but I want you to know I love you and nothing is going to change that fact. Face…son I'm very proud of you. When you are ready to talk, I'll be here." Hannibal could tell by Face's reactions that he was feeling depressed, off-balanced and many of his old insecurities were coming back fast.
"Thanks. I…" He shook his head, which only made his headache worse. He took a deep breathe before he continued. "I'll be alright. I just need to get rid of this headache. I'm sorry if I worried you."
"What do you say we stay here for a couple of days and then head back to Langley to celebrate a late Thanksgiving?" If Hannibal hadn't been watching he would never have caught the expression as it crossed Face's face when he mentioned Langley. It was a combination of hate, anger and fear. "Better yet, I'll tell you what…we'll go back celebrate Thanksgiving and then you and I will take off for a few days. I'll tell Stockwell we need a break. We were supposed to have the week off, I think we deserve a little time. What do you think?"
"Sounds great to me. Where do you want to go?"
"Your choice, we can go to Denver to get a little skiing in. Or we could go to New York and catch the Christmas Show. Where ever you want. It's up to you." Hannibal tried to sound cheerful. He really just wanted to get Face alone and away from the stress he was under. Time and distance was all he could offer, he hoped it would be enough.
"How about Florida? Maybe Destin? It shouldn't be real crowded. We could do a little deep sea fishing or just hang out at the beach. I'd like to go somewhere warm."
"Sounds great to me. I'll start making arrangements now. You get cleaned up and I'll meet you at the dinner table."
"I'll be out in 10." Face smiled but it wasn't a genuine smile. Hannibal sighed as he left the room. Something was going on, the more time went on the more concered he became for Face.
Hannibal went into the kitchen and told BA the plans he and Face had made. BA was hoping for some time to go visit his mother, he was glad to hear he would get the opportunity. Murdock said he would probably have to work and wanted to spend time with his girl. It seemed like it was all coming together. He called Stockwell and informed him of the change of plans. Stockwell didn't know the relationship between he and Face, he didn't need to know. Face and Hannibal were certain Stockwell would use it against them and the team if he knew. What he did know was that Hannibal would do anything for his family, for his team. Stockwell hung up the phone and decided he would not allow Hannibal Smith to dictate anything to him. He would find a mission and they would do it. He knew Face and Murdock would do whatever he asked. For now he would wait and plan. He wouldn't give Smith and his team a heads up. No… he sat smiling…he would make Peck squirm.
The following couple of days at the cabin were fairly easy going. Face avoided Murdock like the plaque. For his part, Murdock had kept himself out of the way. He didn't want to add to his friend's discomfort. He didn't know how to set things straight and hoped time would resolve their problems. Hannibal and BA remained silent on the subject. They knew it was no use trying to talk to either of the men until they were ready to talk. Pushing Murdock could set him back years. He seemed to be retreating to his old habits as well. Hannibal questioned if maybe he needed to give the good doctor a call and arrange a session for Murdock.
Face was quiet. He kept to himself and avoided any conversation dealing with AJ Bancroft or Murdock. He was constantly tired but couldn't sleep. His nights were interrupted by nightmares and frequent trips to the bathroom to vomit. Visions of his childhood invaded his sleep. He remembered calling out for a father that never came for him. He remembered crying for a mother that abandoned him. All of his life people had left him behind. It wasn't until Nam and joining Hannibal's team did he find people who would stand by him.
But Murdock destroyed the feeling of security he had always found in the team. The more Face thought, the stronger the sense of betrayal became. The list of offenses committed by Murdock were strong. He knowingly withheld information about Face's father. He went to Stockwell, a man Face despised and told him about AJ. Then to top off his offenses he acted as if he had done nothing wrong. Face could not understand how Murdock could do this to him. A deathbed request is a hard thing to bare, he understood that part. But when you have known someone for over 15 years… didn't that out weigh the request of someone you had only known for a few hours. Murdock knew how Face felt about his past and how much he wanted answers. He had been Face's first friend in Nam and had helped him to settle into the team. But everything was different now…Murdock was no different than anyone else he had ever made the mistake of trusting. Face began to question if he really should trust anyone. Would BA turn him away? What about Hannibal…he'd never been closer to anyone in his life. What would he do if Hannibal would leave him?
The trip back to Langley was excruciating for Face. He constantly worried about Stockwell. It was almost too much for him to handle. He felt like his nerves were fried. He was hyper sensitive to everything. He spent more time alone and avoided as much conversation and team time as he could get away with without getting in trouble from Hannibal. He knew he needed to tell Hannibal what was going on but he wanted to tell him in his own time.
His head ached, as did his stomach. He couldn't sleep. He couldn't eat. The few times he had managed to eat something he had ended up in the bathroom throwing up. He was on edge and becoming more so with each passing hour and nothing he could do would stop the bitter cycle.
Their plans had all been made and he was looking forward to getting away. They only had one day before they would be off on their own. But it was one day too many. Face was asleep when Stockwell came to the house. He had an assignment for them. Hannibal wasn't happy. He knew the health of his team was on the line. He didn't want to give away too much information and cause additional problems for the team. He wanted those pardons for he and his team.
"Colonel Smith before you make any rash statements I think you should gather your team together to hear this assignment. Get your men Colonel. Then we will discuss it."
"Murdock is suppose to be here in about 30 minutes. You can wait here or come back, up to you." Hannibal shrugged his shoulders and walked away. His feelings towards Stalkwell ranked right up there with a root canal. He hated what they were having to do to prove their innocents.
"I'll wait here, Colonel Smith." He sat on the couch, the Ables positioned throughout the room.
Hannibal didn't want to wake Face. He was happy to see Face finally sleep for a couple of hours. Even if it was a result of pure exhaustion. He knocked before entering the room and made his way over to the bed. Unfortunately Face turned onto his side just as Hannibal reached for his hands. With only one hand secured Face quickly rolled and grabbed at Hannibal's throat.
As Face's grip tightened on Hannibal's throat, Hannibal started to see flashes of light. He grabbed at Face's hand only to realize his mistake as Face's other hand was now free. Hannibal felt the strike to his ribs but fought to get Face to wake up.
Coughing Hannibal continued to talk to Face. "Lieutenant…(cough)…stand…down. (cough) Stand…down. (cough)" Darkness started to envelope him.
Face felt the hand grab him. He fought out of instinct. He grabbed his attacker and sought to disable him.
It was only a moment until something seemed wrong. He thought he heard Hannibal's voice. He startled awake as the command sunk in. When he awoke he found his hand around Hannibal's throat as he was falling to the ground unconscious.
"Oh my God! What have I done." He lowered Hannibal to the floor and checked for a pulse. It was present. He looked at the redness caused by his grip on Hannibal's throat and became overwhelmed with regret. Hannibal began to cough. Face was becoming more distraught as Hannibal continued to struggle to breath.
"BA! BA! I NEED HELP HERE!" The unadulterated panic was clearly heard.
BA ran into the room not knowing what to expect. He knew whatever it was, it was bad. Face didn't panic easily. What he found sent a shiver down his spine. Face was sitting on the floor next to Hannibal who continued to struggle to breath and cough. "WHAT HAPPENED?"
"I'm sorry…I'm sorry. Oh God, Hannibal…" Face sat rocking back and forth, his arms wrapped around himself.
BA turned to the door and slammed it shut. He didn't want the Ables or Stockwell to be a witness to what was going on. He still wasn't sure but he thought he had an idea of what had happened.
Hannibal continued to cough but was coming around and starting to breath more easily. His eyes were open and he attempted to focus on Face. He reached out for his son. Face froze when he felt the hand on his arm. At first he was afraid to look at Hannibal for fear of what he would find there. When the grip tightened on his arm he broke out of his self-induced trance and looked down. But he did not find the hatred and fear he had expected.
Hannibal's eyes only showed the concern and love he felt for his son. He knew Face had been on edge and not feeling well. That was a dangerous combination. He knew he should have been more careful. But now his only concern was for Face. He needed to reassure Face that he was alright.
His voice was rough and it hurt to talk but he forced himself. "Face…(cough)…son…it's go…going to…to be…alright."
BA got up and grabbed a glass of water out of the bathroom. He was glad Face always kept a glass in his bathroom. He gave Hannibal the water to drink. Hannibal smiled but said nothing.
Face couldn't bring himself to get any closer. Hannibal could see the tears forming. Face didn't cry in front of the others. "BA…go…we'll…be…alright."
BA wasn't sure what to think of this turn of events. He shook his head and wondered what had happened. Face hadn't said a word. Face had only sat rocking with Hannibal's hand still on his arm. BA grunted and nodded to Hannibal. Hannibal was the Colonel. What he said went without question. BA wasn't happy about this but he would not go against Hannibal. "I'll be right outside da door. You have any problems you call out. I'll hear ya."
Hannibal mouthed a silent thank you. He then turned his attention back to Face. "Face, can you help me sit up?" Hannibal figured he could have done it on his own but he needed to break the silence and the rocking. He had only seen Face like this once before in Viet Nam. His concern grew as Face continued to rock. "Face, I need your help."
Without saying a word Face reached over and ever so gently helped Hannibal into a sitting position. As soon as Hannibal was sitting he tried to pull away but Hannibal held onto him. "Face, look at me. I'm ok. It's going to be alright. I'm sorry…"
It was almost a whisper but Hannibal heard the response. "Don't…"
"Face, I know better. I know you've been sick and tired. I should have waited or had BA in here. I'm ok. Come here." He patted the floor next to him. Face made no move to sit next to Hannibal. "Lieutenant I said come here." His voice was weak but the command it held wasn't. Face edged over but nothing further. Hannibal knew Stockwell was in the other room. He needed to get up and get this over with, Face was in no condition to put up a fight with Stockwell but Hannibal was feeling stronger by the second. "Face, we need to get up and meet with Stockwell. We can talk about all of this afterwards. Can you give me a hand up?"
Face shook his head. At first Hannibal thought he was refusing to help him up but then he realized that wasn't it at all. Face finally looked up but as soon as their eyes met he looked back down. The tears started to flow as he spoke. "How can you still want me around? I almost killed you! I don't understand…I…You…God, help me. I don't know why you keep me around. I could have killed you." His voice trailed off as he spoke.
"Face, you are my son. I will never abandon you. I love you not for who you think I want you to be but for who you are. I am proud to have you as a son and a member of this team."
"But…" Face was going to say but he wasn't really his son. His own mother and father hadn't wanted him. His sister didn't even know about him and he was certain she wouldn't want him either. His best friend had betrayed him. He didn't understand how the man he had almost killed moments ago could sit there and say he was proud of him. He didn't understand how this man had stood by him when he considered himself to be damaged.
"Face, help me up. Let's meet with Stockwell and get this over with. Then we can talk and try to figure this all out." He held out his hand to Face. Face stood and helped Hannibal up but Hannibal didn't let go once he was on his feet. He would never tell Face but he needed to hold on to him for a minute to get his balance. He pulled Face into an embrace. As he held Face he could feel the shivering caused by the adrenaline rush Face had just gone through. "It's going to be alright. We'll get through this. Just let me help."
Face relaxed into the embrace. He knew this is what a father was suppose to do for a son. He felt some of the tension drop. He didn't say anything but nodded his head. He did not want to meet with Stockwell. He only wished he could tell Hannibal why. He was tired and wanted to go back to sleep.
BA stood outside the door. He couldn't hear what was being said, he knew it was none of his business. He stood watch to make certain Stockwell and the Ables were unable to get in or close enough to hear what was happening.
"Sergeant what is going on in there? What happened?" Stockwell wanted to know and wasn't happy about not being told what was going on. "I asked you a question Sergeant. I expect an answer."
BA turned to Stockwell and growled his reply. When the Ables made a move towards the door BA spoke up, "Back off or you're gonna get hurt." He stood taller and had his fist clinched. Each of the Ables were well aware of the training the A Team had and of BA's reputation. None of them wanted to mess with any member of the team. To the displeasure of Stockwell they backed away.
"They'll be out when their out. Now move to the other room. You're not needed here."
Stockwell moved to the other room and sat on the couch to await the team members. His furry was growing as the minutes ticked by. 10 minutes had passed since the call for help from Templeton Peck. There was no movement and no further sound coming from the room.
Murdock entered the house and came to an abrupt halt. He surveyed the area and noted BA standing in the hall. Without a word to Stockwell he moved over to BA to see what was going on.
"Don't ask. Just go sit out there. We'll be out when their ready. Keep your mouth shut. Stockwell's up to something."
Murdock wasn't sure what was happening but knew with everything else that had been going on he needed to heed BA's demands. He walked into the kitchen and made himself something to drink and stayed there. He didn't want to deal with Stockwell. He knew his marker was going to be pulled, he just wasn't sure if this was it.
Shortly after Murdock's arrival Hannibal and Face came out of the room. Hannibal made his way to his own room. He wanted to change into a higher necked shirt. He wanted to make certain the redness on his neck wasn't noticeable. "Face, do me a favor and make me something to drink. I'll be out in a minute and then we can get this show on the road."
Face nodded but didn't trust himself to speak. He was still raw with emotion. While Hannibal took care of himself, Face made his way to the kitchen. As soon as he entered the kitchen Murdock went to find a place to sit. No words were exchanged between the two.
By the time Face had a drink made, Hannibal was making his way down the hall. Face looked up to see that Hannibal had no noticeable marks at this point.
Hannibal sat in his favorite leather chair. Face brought his drink and handed him a cigar. He knew Hannibal would not smoke it but it was all pretense at this point. Hannibal cleared his throat before addressing Stockwell. "We're all here. What is it that you want?"
"First, I want to know what was going on back there. Why was Lt. Peck calling out for you Sergeant?"
Hannibal did not allow BA to answer. He didn't want to make Face feel any worse about what had happened. "That is something personal…" It was obvious Stockwell was not going to be satisfied with this answer. "…if you must know I was coughing. I woke Lt. Peck but started coughing and couldn't speak. He thought I was choking and called for BA to assist. Now, we are leaving on our break starting tomorrow, what is it that you want?"
"I have an assignment for you. Do not protest. This is not up for negotiation. It is owed from your last little adventure and your delayed return. You will be heading to Nashville where you will meet up with an agent and bring papers back to me at once. Afterwards, you may take your little hiatus."
Looking at his team he knew they needed the break. The incident with Face had only proven how much in need they were of a break. He looked to BA who nodded his response. Murdock had no response, he knew it was coming and was secretly glad he would have the team to back him up. Face was tense. He did not want to do another mission. He hated Stockwell. He needed to get away before he hurt someone. He felt like crap and didn't care about anything else.
Hannibal continued to study Face as a range of emotions crossed his face. Only he would be able to see it. None of the others had ever truly learned to read him. The more he watched Face the deeper his concern.
Face continued to dwell on everything he hated about working for Stockwell. He then turned his thoughts to Murdock. He looked over at Murdock sitting on the chair opposite him. The feelings of betrayal returned. He blamed Murdock for his current predicament. He had made a deal with the devil and now they would all have to pay for it.
"You will need to meet my agent at the sports fitness club, the address is in the packet. She will have an envelope for you that is sealed. You need to make contact without blowing her cover. She is the girlfriend to a local crime boss and has gotten information to tie him into a murder of a local police officer. It is important we bring this man down. Here is all the information you will need. You leave at 7 am tomorrow. I expect you back here by 10 pm the day after."
"Fine Stockwell. We'll do it but afterwards we are taking a month off. No assignments. No missions of any sort. We need the time. And this is not negotiable. Is that understood?"
"Whatever you say." He smile that insincere smile of his. Face hated that smile.
Once Stockwell left Hannibal turned to settle things with Face. But Face didn't want to talk about it. He got up and walked back to his room as soon as Stockwell was out of site.
"Colonel, what happened?" Murdock had no idea of what had gone on. Hannibal looked to BA to back him up once again.
"Murdock, Face has been sick and tired since before Thanksgiving. He just had a bad morning. I'm going to go talk to him. I would appreciate it if you two would keep it down out here. Get packed for the mission. BA, I want you and Murdock to read through the packet and see what he has set up for ground transportation and accommodations. Murdock, you are in charge of dinner. Make it something light and non-spicy."
Hannibal knocked on the door and waited to hear Face respond. Then he entered to find Face sitting on the bed leaning back against the headboard with his legs drawn up. Face wouldn't look up and didn't say anything.
He made his way over to the bed and then sat facing his son. He wanted to be able to see his face. "Son, talk to me." When he got no response he moved closer. "Come here." Face moved closer and embraced his father.
"It's going to be alright. I just wish you would let me help you. Whatever it is it's eating you up inside."
"Hannibal, I just can't talk about it just yet. I… I don't know how you can stand to be around me. I'm not worth it. Please let this drop for now. I… I'm sorry about…" Face pulled away. The earlier incident was plaguing him. He was left exhausted.
"Son, it's going to be alright. Why don't you try to get some rest while I go over the mission." Face nodded his assent. "I'll be back to wake you for dinner."
Face slept fitfully for the remained of the day. He woke and attempted to eat dinner but wasn't able to eat much. Hannibal and BA worked out the plan for Nashville. He had a bad feeling about this but didn't see any other choice at this moment.
The plan was simple and direct. Face would go in and make contact with the agent. She would turn over the envelope and they would be on the way. But Stockwell hadn't told them about the armed guards watching her every move. He hadn't told them about the 'boyfriend's' penchant for killing people on site for making a pass at his girl. Had they known the plan would have been different.
But they didn't know. They spent the first day reckoning the area. They wanted to know the possible escape routes and other comings and goings. They didn't have the time to recon the way they would have preferred. They had to rely on Stockwell's briefing. They were tied to tight time constraints.
Melody entered the gym at 10 am each morning. She was a beautiful girl, 5 foot 9 in., blonde hair and hazel eyes. Murdock whistled when he saw her. She had a set routine. She would run for an hour and then do the circuit machines for another hour.
Face would enter the facility at 9:30 am and start his tour of the facility. He would pose as a perspective client for the gym and try out the facility. When he accidentally ran into Melody he would get close to her and make a "pass" at her by acting like he recognized her.
Everything was going according to plan. BA had the back door covered. Hannibal watched through the side plate glass window. Murdock would cover the front door and window. Face had entered the gym and started on his routine. Precisely at 10 am Melody entered the facility. Face noted the armed guards but they didn't seem too overly protective. Melody walked about with the guards staying by the exits. Face thought this would still work out for him. He wanted this job over with as soon as possible.
"Melody…Melody is that you?" He approached her as soon as he had the opportunity. Remembering the password he continued on, "It's me Bob Lang. From Stockton. By gosh I have seen you in ages."
"Bob, I can't talk to you right now. Why don't you give me a call?" She had not been able to cancel the meet. The guards were on heightened security since an attempt had been made on Peter's life the night before. "I really can't talk to you right now. Please call me sometime next week."
"But…" Face never had the opportunity to finish his statement.
Hannibal had been watching as Face did his best to get in and out as quick as possible. But before Face could see it coming the body guards were upon him. At first Hannibal thought they were merely going to show Face to the door. Something changed their mind. Everything turned from bad to worse in a matter of a minute. Face was grabbed by both guards and then unceremoniously thrown through the picture window.
Hannibal watched in horror as Face tried to get his arms up to protect his face. He managed to save his face but nothing else. Blood and glass were everywhere. Face landed on the sidewalk and smacked his head on the concrete. He was out cold when BA and Murdock arrived at his side. They knew they had to get him out of there fast. Face needed to go and he needed to go now.
BA pulled up the rental car. Hannibal picked Face up and moved him into the back seat. They didn't have any medical supplies. They hadn't been as prepared as they normally would have had if they had planned the mission. But they hadn't planned this mission, Stockwell's men were responsible for that. Grabbing what ever he could find he tried to stop the bleeding. He kept away from the large pieces of glass that were penetrating Face's forearms. It seemed like there was blood everywhere. Time was critical and they all knew it.
"Get us to the closest hospital." He turned his attention back to his son. "Come on Face open your eyes for me. You can do it. Don't you dare die on me. I need you."
Face had started to stir. His voice was shaky but able to be heard. "Don't worry. I'm okay."
"Sure you are kid…sure you are. Keep still. We're going to get you to the hospital. You hang in there…"
Face couldn't keep his eyes open. He was tired. He wanted to sleep. Just as he was about to close them he saw Murdock. His eyes opened in fear. "Keep away. Don't come near me." He was struggling. He tried to pull away. Turning to Hannibal he continued. The pleading in his eyes was indisputable. "Please…keep him away. Hannibal…please." His strength subsided as his head lulled against Hannibal's chest. "C…cold. Hann…niballl…ccc…cold…" Hannibal wrapped his arms around Face.
"Easy Face. I'm right here. I won't let anyone hurt you. I've got you. Easy…slow your breathing…" Face's breathing eased. Hannibal continued to hold him. "BA hurry." Later he would have to figure out what Face was talking about, for now he needed to get him to a hospital.
BA didn't say anything on the way to the hospital. He had only one thought get Face to the hospital safely. Murdock was muttering to himself. BA ignored him. Whatever had been going on was still affecting the way Face behaved. He didn't like it and decided he was going to get to the bottom of it one way or the other.
Within minutes he arrived at the ER. Hannibal was covered in blood. Face was unconscious but still breathing. BA opened the door and helped Hannibal get out. A haggard, bloody Hannibal entered the ER carrying his son draped across his arms. "I need help here. I need a doctor NOW!" Hannibal was in full Colonel mood. He was going to get things done and get them done quickly.
"Here bring him into treatment room 2. Susie…page Dr. Sung… call a level one trauma. Move it." Margaret was not one to stand around and wait. She had a lot of Hannibal's personality.
"He made a pass at a pretty girl and was thrown through a plate glass window by her body guards. He fell about 15 feet to the sidewalk and cracked his head on the cement. He was unconscious initially for a minute or two but came around. He was alert and oriented but then… He started rambling and eventually became unresponsive. I think he was going into shock."
"Okay. Any medical history, allergies or medications he is taking."
"Yes, here is a list of his medications. He is allergic to penicillin. He suffers from migraines and hypoglycemia. He's been sick recently and has been losing weight, not sleeping and not really eating much."
"When was the last time he was seen by a physician?"
"About a month ago. He had been shot in a robbery attempt 7 months ago." Hannibal shook his head. Obviously this should have been something he should have mentioned during the history class. "He was shot in the abdomen. He was released about a month ago. He was fine at first but then…I don't know."
"Alright, I need you to step out and fill out his paperwork. Are you a friend or a relative?"
"I'm his father. His name is Tim. Timothy Smith."
"Ok. Fill out the paperwork and then wait in the lobby. We'll come get you as soon as we can."
"NO!" Hannibal shook his head. This wasn't going to happen. He had promised Face. "I'm staying. I'll keep out of the way but I will not leave his side. He's been through a lot in his short life. I refuse to leave him alone. Just do whatever you have to do to keep him alive."
"Sir, I'm sure you care and want to be here but…" She never had the chance to finish. "I don't think you understand I will not be leaving. Now, I suggest you ignore me and start working on saving my son's life."
Hannibal never took his eyes off Face. Margaret decided this was not a fight worth fighting at the moment. She could wait for the doctor. Until then she needed to get Tim fixed up. Stabilizing Tim was going to be difficult. He had lost a lot of blood. Her years of experience as a nurse in the army served her well as an emergency room nurse.
"Susie, draw blood and get it ready. Full Chem panel. We are going to need a type and cross match. Fred, let's get him out of these clothes. We need to be able to see what we are dealing with. Dr. Sung should be here any moment so let's get moving. Mary, I need a set of vitals taken and then we need an IV set up."
It looked like a choreographed scene out of a movie. Each person went about their job and the head nurse had everything under control. When Dr. Sung arrived she gave a report and continued on with her job.
"Susie call up and get an OR room ready. Also get x-ray here. We need x-rays of his arms, thorax and head. Start one Lactated Ringer and one normal saline IV. Open them up and let's get his pressure up. Set up a piggy back of amoxicillin. Nix that, he's allergic to penicillin. Start him on a broad spectrum antibiotic. We need to fight off the infection before it gets too bad. As soon as we have him typed and cross matched order up 3 units for here and have 3 more sent to the OR. Let's move people, his vitals are weakening every moment." Dr. Sung turned to look at the nurse's report. It was the first he had seen of Hannibal standing in the room. He noted the man and whispered to the nurse. "This is the father? Why is he still here and has he been hurt?"
"He refused to leave. He said he would stay out of the way and so far he has done just that. I don't think he is hurt but I will keep an eye on him."
"Well, keep him out of the way and keep an eye on him. Once we have the x-rays we will have to get that glass out. Hopefully when his pressure starts to come up we can get him to wake up."
30 minutes had passed and still Face was not awake. Hannibal hadn't left his side. He let the doctors and nurses do their jobs but as soon as they would leave the room Hannibal would be right there. Dr. Sung had started Face on blood and had taken some of the glass out already. Only a couple of pieces would require surgery. Dr. Sung proceed to stitch up Face's wounds.
"Mr. Smith, your son should recover fully. We will be taking him to surgery to remove the two larger pieces that are in his upper right bicep. With proper rehabilitation he should retain full use of the arm. We are going to have to watch him carefully for the next few days. Our biggest concerns are the head injury and the risk of infection. From what I have seen so far he appears under weight and his electrolytes are off kilter. We need to get this straightened out. We will be moving to the OR in a few minutes. You may wait in the OR waiting room. Afterwards he will be in recovery. You will not be permitted to see him until he is settled in a room."
"Dr. Sung, while I appreciate everything you have done for Tim, you do not fully understand something. I will not follow him into the OR but I will be with him in recovery. Without going into too much detail, I need to be there when he starts to wake up."
"Sir I understand you want to be with your son but what you ask will not be permitted."
"Again, you don't understand. I will be there when he starts to wake up. What I will need your staff to do is nothing more than standby and keep out of my way when he starts to wake up. He was in the military. He was trained to kill when he thought he was being attacked." Hannibal split his gaze from Face to the doctor. "He could hurt someone without a thought. I don't want to see that happen. He has a lot going on right now and he doesn't need to add to his stress."
"I need to get going. Dr. Reno will be doing the surgery. He is the best around. I will follow-up once he is settled into an ICU room. Has he been sick? I know you said he was recently released from being shot. But has he been sick?"
"I don't really know what's going on with him. The past few weeks he hasn't been eating or sleeping very well. He's been having nightmares and losing weight. He's been suffering migraines almost daily. I don't know what is going on but I know he has been stressed out about something. We were just preparing to take a month off when this happened. Now… Thank you Dr. Sung. I appreciate everything you have done."
Dr. Sung understood the subject was dropped. He gave Hannibal directions to the waiting room and then moved on. As soon as Hannibal exited the room BA was asking him questions. The three of them moved to the waiting room after Hannibal gave them an update on Face.
Tick…Tick…Tick… They say time flies when you are having fun. But it hangs on like an eternity when you are waiting for a loved one to get well.
Tick…Tick…Tick… Murdock sat in the corner of the room. He didn't participate in the conversations. He didn't say anything. BA kept an eye on him but he himself was concerned about Face. He didn't have time to deal with Murdock's problems.
Tick…Tick…Tick… Hannibal hated waiting. He continued to look at the clock. 5 minutes turned into 25 minutes which intern turned into 3 hours. He paced. He sat. He paced some more. He prayed for the life of his son and prayed he would get the opportunity to see him happy and healthy once again.
Tick…Tick…Tick… It was 4 hours and still no word. Hannibal's patience was at an end. He wanted to know what was happening.
"Mr. Smith! Mr. Smith! We need you in the recovery room immediately."
Hannibal was on his feet the moment the nurse had entered the room. As the door behind her had opened he could hear a commotion. He knew what was happening. He moved pass the nurse and made his way quickly to Face's room.
What he found upset him further. Face was fighting with all his might but multiple nurses and techs were holding him down. In his weakened condition he could not fight much longer. Just as Hannibal entered the room Face made a last ditched effort and grabbed a tech. Before he had the opportunity to do anything Hannibal put a stop to everything.
"LIEUTENANT STAND DOWN! Stand down soldier immediately!" Hannibal saw Face freeze. "All of you get out of here and let him be. Move it!"
The nurses and techs quickly moved out of the way. They weren't use to family members ordering them around. But there was no disputing who was in charge in this situation. As the last nurse filed out she told Hannibal the doctor had been paged. They would need to re-check his wounds to make sure he had not injured himself further.
"That's fine. I also want you to put a page into Dr. Sung. I want to see him immediately. Now leave. I will take care of my son." She left the room and paged the doctors. She then stayed just outside of the room to listen to what was being said. She didn't understand everything but she could tell the patient was alert.
"Name and rank!"
"Peck, Templeton, Lieutenant." Face's eyes were glazed over from the pain medication he was taking. He was happy to see his son was awake. His color was better. Face groaned as he tried to adjust his position. "Hannibal, what happened?"
"You were thrown through the plate glass window. You hit your head on the sidewalk. What do you remember?"
"Yes…I'm sorry…she…she didn't want to talk…to me. Then…they came up behind me. I tried to tell them it was ok… that I knew her but… The one guy he grabbed me… and spun me around. I…I got dizzy. I couldn't see straight. I don't know… if I passed out but…I don't 'member going through a window… I'm sorry. I…"
"Shhh…it's ok. You're going to be fine. How are you feeling?" Hannibal placed his hand on the side of Face's face. He wanted Face to know he was there and to help him to focus.
Face started to say he was fine but knew he couldn't get away with that while lying flat on his back. He did a quick mental check. "My head hurts…stomach… and arms. Hannibal…I don't feel to good."
Hannibal barely had enough time to get Face raised up so he could throw up in a bucket. He had little in his stomach but continued to dry heave. This was not typically how he responded to anesthesia but with being sick to begin with, Hannibal wasn't surprised. "Easy son. It's going to be alright. Try to relax. Take some slow breathes."
Hannibal continued to sit by Face's side and awaited the doctors to arrive. Dr. Reno arrived first. Seeing the distress his patient was in he immediately requested another set of vitals. "Has he ever had a reaction to anesthetic before this?"
"Not like this but as I told Dr. Sung, he's been off his game for the past couple of weeks. He hasn't been eating well, losing weight and not really sleeping more than an hour or two at a time. I know he's lost weight but don't know how much. Doc…he's exhausted. We were suppose to start a month long vacation when we returned from our trip here." Hannibal looked down at Face who failed to respond to any of his statements. Hannibal knew he was right when Face wouldn't even try to dissuade him.
"I noticed he seemed under weight. Between the head injury and his weight we kept him lightly sedated." When Hannibal's head popped up Dr. Reno realized Hannibal didn't understand what he was saying. "Please understand that with head injuries we have to be very careful. Since he had not regained consciousness from the point of injury until arrival we had to use precautions. That and his low weight gave us cause to only lightly sedate him. You see too heavy of sedation would most likely kill him by suppressing his respiratory system. His vitals were monitored closely and he was kept comfortable. He did NOT suffer. We didn't want to see that happen. Too much pain would prevent him from healing properly. We will not allow him to suffer needlessly."
"Thank you doctor. There are a few things I need to go over with you. I had spoken to Dr. Sung but apparently he did not pass along my instructions to your people." Dr. Reno shook his head he did not understand where this was going or what had happened. "My son served in Viet Nam. He has suffered from horrible nightmares all these years and they get worse when he is sick." Hannibal looked down at Face who had fallen asleep. "I explain this to you for a couple of reasons. First, I will be at his side for the duration of his stay here. He will not be left alone. If I have to step out then one of my friends will sit with him. This is as much for his protection as it is for you and your staff which brings me to my second reason and instruction. No one here is to touch him while he is sleeping. If he perceives a threat to himself he will act on instinct and I guarantee someone will be hurt. This is the other reason why he will not be left alone. I am able to stop him most of the time by just talking to him. Your staff has already had one encounter with him due to Dr. Sung's ineptness. They should be thankful he was still heavily medicated. I do not wish to have Dr. Sung treat my son any further. If you are not able to take care of him then I would like you to get him someone else who can. Do you have any questions?"
Dr. Reno was shocked to hear these things about his patient. He knew there had been a disturbance but did not know the extent. Dr. Sung was a capable doctor but did not always heed the request of the families. "By all means you may stay with your son. I will make the staff aware. They will check with you before they do any procedures. I am sorry Dr. Sung did not pass along that information. It would have been helpful to know this in advance. I would like to check him over to make sure he was not injured during the…altercation with the orderlies."
"Thank you for your understanding. I appreciate it." Hannibal was beside himself. He was use to people listening to his orders but never before had a doctor so quickly bent to his orders.
"Sir. I served in Nam from 70 to 72. I understand what it did to a lot of the boys that served over there. Normally I do not do the follow-ups after surgery. I will make an exception this time. Let's get him back on his feet and feeling better."
Hannibal nodded his head. He now understood why this doctor was so much more cooperative than others had been. He reached over and grabbed both of Face's hands as he spoke. "Face. I need you to wake up. The doctor needs to check you over." Hannibal watched as Face relaxed and opened his eyes. "You with me son."
"Dr. Reno needs to talk to you. Pay attention and tell him the truth. Don't want you covering up anything. Do I make myself clear."
"Sss… Yessss…sssiiiirrrr." Hannibal noted the slurred speech. He didn't let go of Face's wrist. He didn't think Face was really awake. He needed to make sure.
"Face…wake up. Focus… Do you know where you are?"
"Sssoorrryyy….'m sorry… 'annibal…Dad…I don't feel so good."
Hannibal reached over and placed his hand on Face's forehead. He was hot. "Son…I need you to wake up and talk to us. Are you in pain?"
Face nodded his head. He felt bad and wanted it to stop. "Head…arms ache."
"How's your stomach?"
"Hurts some. Not like before. Can I sleep now?" Face was struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Not yet. Dr. Reno needs to look you over. Are you awake now?"
"Yes sir. Sorry about before…you…didn't understand what was happening. Couldn't figure it out."
"It's okay. Everyone is fine. Now let the Doc do his job." Face nodded his agreement.
Dr. Reno check Face over. He wasn't surprised to see some of the stitches needed to be replaced. The bleeding wasn't excessive. He took a set of vitals and noted the readings in the chart. The fever was just over 100 degrees. He wanted to try to avoid it going higher. He increased the antibiotic, cleaned and re-sutured the wounds.
Hannibal sat by the bedside as Face slept. He briefly went out to the waiting room to tell BA and Murdock what was going on. They devised a schedule for having BA relieve him so he could eat and get cleaned up. Hannibal still did not know what the problem was between Murdock and Face but he knew from Face's reaction in the car he couldn't leave Murdock in the room with Face.
Hours passed before BA entered the hospital room. "Hannibal. You need to make a call. Get somethin' to eat. I'll sit with lil' bro til you get back."
"Thanks BA. I better call Stockwell and find out what the hell went wrong. I'll be back in 30 minutes. If you need me I'll be in the waiting room." He looked down at Face. "He's been doing pretty good. No one should need to be in here before I return." He stood for another minute without moving. "He's been through so much. Hell, we all have." Feeling a little remorse Hannibal turned and walked out of the room.
The conversation with Stockwell was short. He reported the injury to Face and what hospital they were in. Stockwell had heard from his agent and was given an update. She was upset about what had happened but also passed along her concerns for Face's safety.
Stockwell informed Hannibal that the guards had seen the team pick Face up and leave. They knew he was hurt badly and were looking for him. Peter wanted to know who he was and where she knew him from. She had to sell him out in a manner of speaking. She told them she did not know who "that man" was or what he wanted. She had told him to give her a call because she knew he wouldn't be able to call her. They were now looking for Face and the remainder of the team.
When the guards reported back to Peter Parcella, he began to wonder if these weren't the men who had made an attempt on his life. He was now looking for the team to eliminate them. A contract had been put on their heads.
Hannibal took this in stride. No one knew who they were. Face had used a false name and was listed under a different name at the hospital. The car was rented under yet another alias. Hannibal could imagine how they would be able to track them down but he had a plan to insure their safety.
Hannibal briefed Murdock on what was happening. "Murdock, get the car and return it to the rental agency. Make sure you aren't followed. Get back here as quick as you can. We are going to need to set up guard on Face's room. I don't want anything else to happen to that boy. Keep your eyes open. We don't know how good of a look that got of us, so we need to be careful."
"Colonel, I'll head out now. You going to brief the big guy?"
"Yes get moving. We need to get things rolling. I am going to talk to the doctor about how long he thinks Face will need to be in here. I'm still waiting for Dr. Sung."
Hannibal briefed BA and then sat with Face. He was just sitting down when Dr. Sung entered the room.
"Doctor, I have asked for you to be removed from all future care of my son. What you did was not only unprofessional but put Dr. Reno's staff at great risk. Dr. Reno will be taking care of my son from here on out. I suggest in the future you listen to family members and give them a little credit for knowing their loved ones. Now get out of this room and do not return. Have I made myself clear?"
"Sir, you made unreasonable demands. You would have been disrupting the staff if you had been allowed to sit with your son in the recovery room. You may have been able to bully Dr. Reno but you will not threaten…."
Hannibal had had enough. His voice was low and filled with anger. As soon as he began to speak Dr. Sung realized he had made a mistake and took a couple steps backwards. "I do not threaten people. Nor do I 'bully' them. What I told you had not been an idle request but one of necessity. I have explained the situation to Dr. Reno and he has agreed with me. Because you refused to listen or to ask questions as to why I was make these request, you put the life of one of your orderlies in danger." Dr. Sung gasped, he hadn't heard about the incident in the recovery room. "Fortunately one of the nurses came to get me before things got too out of hand."
"I'll leave now. I'm sorry about the trouble. I hope your son does well."
After his confrontation with the doctors and Stockwell he was left feeling tired and wrung out. He sat heavily in the hard plastic chair next to Face. "I wish you were awake. It's times like these that I begin to realize how much I rely on you. You and I have run this team for so long…it wouldn't be the same without you. I need you to fight, to get stronger. My life wouldn't be the same without you. I know something has been bothering you, what ever it is we can work through it."
About an hour later Face began to wake again. "That's it kid. Wake up and talk to me." Face turned to focus on the voice of his dad. Slowly he awoke.
"Can I have some water?"
"Not just yet. But I have some ice chips. They want to check you over before you start drinking anything." Hannibal scooped a few ice chips up for Face and pressed the nurses call button.
It was only a matter of moments before a nurse entered the room. "He's awake and wants something to drink."
"We'll need to get a set of vitals. I'll put a call into Dr. Reno." She moved over to the phone to page Dr. Reno. She turned to look at Face when she asked, "Is it alright if I take your vitals." He nodded his assent. Quickly she went about her job. She took his temperature and noted everything on the chart. Dr. Reno walked in as she was finishing.
Dr. Reno directed himself to Face and Hannibal. "How long has he been up and how oriented is he?"
Face decided to answer for himself. "About 15 minutes and very oriented." Hannibal smiled down at Face and nodded to the doctor.
"Sorry about that. How are you feeling?"
"Better. My arms don't hurt as bad. My headache is still there but much duller."
"And how's your stomach?"
"Better I guess. Still a little nauseated but not like before." Face turned to look at Hannibal. "How long have I been here?"
"Not long. It's Wednesday morning. We brought you in yesterday afternoon."
"Well, I know your dad here had to keep waking you up but you passed all of your neuro test. Your temp is still up a little. I'm not overly concerned at this point. I'm going to have them run another set of labs. I haven't ruled out infection. Hopefully we have been able to get ahead of it."
"Thanks doc. How soon can I get out of here?"
Dr. Reno smiled as did Hannibal. "A couple of days if everything keeps going the way it is now. I'd like to talk to you about what was going on before this injury. I have gone over the ER notes and some of the findings are not consistent with your injuries. You are underweight. You were dehydrated and hypoglycemic according to your blood work. The other thing we noted was a high white blood cell count. Your body was already trying to fight an infection. So can you tell me what was going on? Have you been under a lot of stress? Insomnia? What?"
Face wanted to look away. He didn't want to talk to the doctor about all of this. He did not want Hannibal to hear about this as a bystander to a conversation. He needed to talk to Hannibal and he realized he needed to do it now. He resolved himself to his fate.
"Dr. Reno. I… I need to talk to my father. Can you give us some time? I really need to talk to him." He turned pleading eyes towards Dr. Reno. Hannibal realized this was probably going to be the time he would find out what was going on.
Dr. Reno had left the room but Face hadn't spoken. He sat trying to gather his thoughts. He hurt, oh God did he hurt. Hannibal was concerned about him. He looked lost and afraid.
"I…I don't know what to say…but…I guess I don't have a choice. This…ah…this…God this is hard." He looked up into the concerned eyes of Hannibal. He couldn't figure out where to start. Do I jump right into 'oh by the way AJ Bancroft was my father'? What about Murdock? What do I tell him about that? "I'm sorry. I've been trying to figure out where to start and haven't been able to figure it out. I know you've been worried. I'm really sorry about that, you shouldn't have to worry about me."
"Face, son, look at me. I have and always will worry about you. You, BA and Murdock are my family, my friends. I'm not going anywhere. Take your time."
Face sat back in the bed. He could feel his stomach churning. The more he thought about it the more nauseated he became. He tried to take some slow deep breaths to settle down.
Just as he was about to start again Murdock came barging into the room. "Hannibal we've got a problem."
Within minutes Murdock had explained about returning the car and being told that someone had already been there looking for them. When he had returned to the hospital he noted the strange looks one of the orderlies had given him in the hall just outside of Face's room. He cornered the man and threatened him.
"Colonel, BA is with the guy now in the laundry room. I think he already made the call to Peter about Face." Murdock never looked at Face. He was concerned but couldn't stand the idea of seeing the anger in Face's eyes.
Hannibal turned to look at Face. He was going to leave and have Murdock sit with Face until he got back but one look at Face and he knew he couldn't do that. "Get whatever information you can out of him. I'll start getting Face ready for transport. You have 5 minutes. Then tie him up and send BA back here to help me with Face. You go get the van and meet us at the delivery dock. We need to move and move fast."
Murdock turned to leave as Face started to sit up. "Hold on son. We need to get these Ivs straightened out. Hang tight for a second while I take a look in the hall. Dr. Reno was suppose to be back here right about now. Maybe we'll get lucky."
"Hannibal use the call button. See if the nurse has seen him on the floor yet. If not maybe she can take care of these for me. Or you can pull them out."
"I don't know if I should pull them out or not. I don't need you to get any sicker. I want to see if he can give us some meds and we'll take the IV with us. We have some spare supplies in the van…Crap…we don't have the van." He took a deep breath and sighed. "We'll need additional supplies. And we are going to need transportation." What was I thinking? I can't send Murdock to get a van that was left at Langley. We need to get Face back there or somewhere else safe and give him the time to heal up.
"Hannibal," Face called out trying to break into Hannibal's thoughts. "Can you get my clothes? I hit the call button. We need to get ready."
Hannibal snapped out of his thoughts at the sound of Face's voice. He walked over to the closet and brought the clothes to the bed just as the nurse walked in.
Mary Ann walked into the room and observed Hannibal getting the clothes together. She looked from him to her patient with a professional restraint she kept her calm as she said, "Just what in the world is going on here? Where do you think you are going?"
Hannibal had no time for this, he was back in command mode. "We need to know if Dr. Reno is on the floor or if you can get a hold of him rather quickly?"
"He's in another room and should be with you shortly." She turned her attention back to Face. "Tim, you really shouldn't be moving around. You just had surgery and still have a slightly elevated temperature. You do not need to break open your stitches. Lay back down. Whatever is going on it is nothing to risk your health over."
Face knew he should play this cool but he didn't have the patience for this right now. "It is because I don't want to risk my health that I need to see Dr. Reno immediately. Now, I suggest you get out of this room and get him in here immediately. If you waste too much time, then he is going to miss me. I am leaving here in a matter of moments. NOW GET DR. RENO!"
Shocked by the anger coming from her patient Mary Ann had unconsciously started backing towards the door. She was just about to exit when BA came rushing in. Stepping back she ran smack dab into him and let out a yelp as she tried to get around him and out of this room. She didn't know what was going on. These men had all been calm and quiet for the most part. Now they appeared to be angry.
"Hannibal it's done. He made the call. He said he was gonna call them back to tell them Murdock was here but didn't get the chance. Don't know how much time we got. Fool is going to look for some kind of transportation since we aint got the van. What else ya need?"
"Thanks BA. Just watch the hall. Dr. Reno should be here shortly. As soon as he can get us supplies we're out of here."
Dr. Reno hurried into the room. He had never seen Mary Ann so agitated. Now having entered the room he understood where she was concerned. "Gentlemen. What seems to be the problem?"
"Doc, we haven't been completely up front with you. My son here had a little run in with a local thug. We were just made aware of the fact that he has a contract out on his head and probably ours too. We need to get him out of here and we need to do it now. We don't have any supplies with us to take care of Tim. If you could get us what we need to get us by for a few days we would appreciate it. I can start Ivs and if you tell me what meds to administer I can do that as well. Learned it in Nam."
Dr. Reno was concerned about the 'contract' Hannibal had mentioned. He had lived in this town long enough and although he had never had any dealings with any of it, he knew of the problems. It was all over the television. "Alright but you know he shouldn't be moved. He's still fight the infection." Holding up his hand to hold off any statements, he continued. "I understand you can't so I will do what I can to help you out. Can you give me about 10 minutes? I'll have Mary Ann change the IV out to a hep lock so you can get him dressed. I'll go right up some instructions and get you some supplies."
"Thanks Doc. We appreciate your help. We need to get him out of the room as quickly as possible. Is there anywhere we can go?"
"Sure, you can use the nurses lounge. It's down the hall near the stairwell."
"Perfect. BA go check it out. Doc thanks again. Let's get moving."
Mary Ann entered the room and without saying anything changed the IV to a hep lock. When she was finished she explained what it was she was doing. "Gentlemen, this is what we consider an IV access point. You need to keep it clean and before you use the port it has to be cleaned with alcohol. Ivs need to be changed every 48 hours. This will get you through so you can get dressed." She stopped for a moment and considered what she wanted to say. "My sister…my sister was killed a couple of years ago. She had been dating a guy named Paul Parcella. She thought she was in love. No one really knows what happened but…she was murdered. We haven't been able to prove who was responsible. Be careful." Before either man could reply she walked out of the room.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Face looked into Hannibal's eyes and realized he was thinking the same thing. "Why don't I get dressed while you call Stockwell. Maybe by the time you're done I'll be ready to move."
Hannibal nodded in agreement as he reached for the phone.
Face was far from capable of being able to dress himself. His arms ached. His head spun when he bent to put on his pants. He finally gave up and laid back in bed. He waited for Hannibal to finish giving report to Stockwell.
"General. We don't know where we will be. We'll get in touch with you as soon as we have a new location and get situated. You just get to your agent and make sure she's safe. Good bye." Hannibal slammed the phone down. He looked over at Face who had jumped when the phone clattered.
Taking a deep breath and trying to hold down the contents of his stomach, he slowly opened his eyes. Hannibal was by his side and looking more concerned than before.
"It seems I have a little problem here Colonel. I can't seem to get my clothes on."
Hannibal smiled and shook his head. "Let's get a robe on you and get you moved. Then we can take the time to get you dressed while we wait. I want to get out of this room asap."
"Hannibal, I'm going to need your help to do even that…I'm sorry…I…" He felt useless. He hurt all over and knew that he was going to slow the team down. If only he had known the guards were going to attack. He didn't plan on that. Too many years out of the military. He had let his guard down and now they were all paying the price.
"That's alright. Let me help you sit up and then we'll go from there."
It took a minute to get the robe on and another before Hannibal walked to the door and looked out for a wheelchair. Face had started to complain but finally acquiesced when he realized he was in no shape to walk even to the end of the hall.
As quickly as he could without injuring Face he moved Face to the wheelchair and started down the hall. BA remained outside the nurse's lounge to keep a watch on what was happening. As soon as Hannibal and Face were safely in the room he went to find Murdock. There would be a delay and he didn't want the pilot to screw things up.
Face remained in the wheelchair. He decided it was better to not have to move any more than necessary. He didn't want Hannibal to know how bad he was hurting and tried to keep himself calm. He concentrated on his breathing and willed his world to stop spinning. He felt like a mummy with all of the bandages and couldn't find a comfortable spot to sit in.
Hannibal knew Face wasn't really up for travel but he needed to be moved so they could protect him. He waited for the doctor and kept an eye on Face. "You doing okay there?"
Hannibal grimaced. If Face was giving one word answers then he was hurting pretty bad. Hannibal knew there was nothing he could do for him at this point. He prayed the doctor would come quickly and give Face something for the pain.
It seemed like hours. It was probably only a few minutes. But to Face he felt like an eternity. The pain wasn't easing. The spinning wasn't stopping. And the headache and nausea were increasing. He tried to concentrate on his breathing. When that didn't seem to work he started to try to distract himself.
"Do you have any idea of where we are going?"
"Not sure yet. We need to get out of this town and out of the way for a while."
"You are going to go after the girl aren't you?" Face couldn't help but think about Melody. He didn't want to see her hurt.
"I notified Stockwell. Once we get you settled I will see if he has her pulled out or not. If he hasn't been able to get her then we will make a decision. Right now we need for all of us to stay alive and get the hell out of here." Hannibal knew he was using the conversation as a way of distracting him.
"I'm sorry Hannibal. I…it's my fault we're in this mess. I should have paid more attention. I didn't perceive a threat. I guess I just had my mind on other things. I'm sorry." Face couldn't stand the idea that he had let Hannibal down again. He had wanted to do everything right. But that hadn't happened. He was concerned that his mistake, his inability to leave his personal problems behind would cause the team to get killed.
"Face, when we get out of here you and I are going to talk. It seems like…" The next part of that statement should have been, the gods are against us having this conversation.
"Okay gentlemen." Dr. Reno didn't realize he had interrupted. He got straight to business. He dropped a large gym bag on the table. "Here is a list of what you need to be looking for, because of the infection and the head injury. You are going to need to keep a close eye on him for the next few days. I have given you a list of the medications, with the amounts and times they should be given. I have also included a list of side affects. You need to keep the Ivs running for the next few days. He still isn't keeping his meals down. We don't want him to get dehydrated. Track his vitals. You should track his intake and output. If you have any problems call me, this is my personal phone number. His stitches need to come out in 7 days. I have included bandages for his dressing changes. Do you have any questions?"
"No doc, sounds like you covered everything."
"Everything but this. Tim…you need some help with dealing with what ever is going on. Talk to your father. He seems like a good guy. I think he'd understand and be able to help you. Besides the obvious reason why you were brought in here, I hate to say it but you would have ended up here within a matter of days anyway. You were severely dehydrated and your blood work was a disaster zone. You are under weight and exhausted. You need to take better care of yourself. Ask for help. It looks like you have a great support group of family and friends. Let them help you. Put a little faith in them."
Hannibal watched as Face blanched at the idea of putting his 'faith in them'. He didn't feel good and said nothing in reply. "Doc, can you give him something for the pain? He wont admit it but I know he's hurting."
"Sure. Tim how bad is the pain?"
"I'm fine. Juuusttt nneed some sleeep."
"We'll let see if I can help you once more before you go?" Dr. Reno left for a moment and then returned. "I am going to give you something for the pain. I would like to give you something to make you sleep. It would probably help you a lot to sleep through your travels."
"Doc, I apppprecccciaate that bbbut I needdd to beee awake."
Hannibal thought about it for a moment before he replied. He wanted what was best for Face. He knew it could be an issue if they ran into problems. "Doc, I have to agree with Face. It could be a problem if we run into trouble. He needs to be functional." He looked at Face again and saw the dark shadows under his eyes. "Could you prescribe something that I could give him once we get to where we are headed? He needs to sleep but we can't have him out just yet."
"I think I understand. The pain medication will dull his senses as is. I give you the rest to give him once you are settled. They are pre-filled syringes, all you have to do is push one in the IV. It will probably knock him down for 6 to 8 hours. Don't be surprised if he is out longer. He's exhausted and may just fall into a natural sleep once he get a little help. I have 4 doses to send with you."
"Doc thanks for all of your help. We need to get going so if you can give him the pain meds we can go. We'll call you if there are any problems."
Once the medication was put into the IV Face could start to relax. As the pain eased he became lethargic. Hannibal knew he needed to get moving quickly. He wanted to have Face pain free and oblivious for as much of the trip as possible. Once Face was out Hannibal and BA moved him to the car Murdock had obtained.
"Ok Hannibal what's the plan? Where we headed man?" BA was all business. He saw what he termed as unfriendlies coming on the floor as they were exiting it. He wanted to get away as quick as they could.
"Head north. I want to get out of here and as far away as we can. We are only about 5 hours away from St. Louis and maybe 7 hours from Chicago. I don't want to get to rural in case we need a hospital." Looking down at Face he knew the hours in the car were going to be painful and detrimental for his son. He didn't want to cause any complications. He used the hook in the back to hang the IV fluids. The doc had told him to infuse it over a couple of hours. He adjusted the flow and made note of what time this bag was hung. "Scratch that start heading towards Langley. We can stop in Knoxville for the night and see how Face is in the morning. If we have to they have a hospital there we can get him treated. Otherwise I think we are about 600 plus miles from home. He can't make that in this car. We'll get to Knoxville and then you two will need to work on getting a van or even an RV. Then we'll head to Langley."
"Sounds like a plan. Knoxville it is. Fool get out the map."
Murdock studied the map and routed their trip. "Looks like we'll take I-40 all the way to Knoxville before we turn off. I would guess it is going to take us about 3 hours to get there."
"BA make it as smooth of a ride as you can. I don't want to make matters worse." Hannibal caught BA's nod of understanding. He looked back down at Face. "Just hang in there son. We're going to take care of you."
One hour out of Knoxville Face started to stir out of his drug induced slumber. Hannibal held tight to his wrist as he started to talk to him and try to keep him calm. He didn't want to have him dislodge the IV. He knew how important it was to have the fluids infusing. He also was realistic enough to realize how important it was to keep the IV access to be able to administer the pain medication and antibiotics. Face was starting to feel warm and Hannibal wasn't happy with this turn of event. "It's ok, you are safe. That's it Face. Wake up. I'm right here. It's going to be alright." He continued to whisper into Face's ear until Face opened his eyes and he saw recognition in them.
"Han…ni…bal…" He gasped.
"Easy son. You're safe. Are you in pain?" Hannibal's eyes were filled with concern. His heart ached for the pain his son was suffering once again.
"Hurts…can handle…it." He closed his eyes and tried to relax. "Where are…we going?"
"We are headed to Langley but we are stopping at Knoxville tonight." As soon as Hannibal said Langley he felt Face tighten up under his grip. He thought about all of the things that had been going on lately. Face had started his downhill spiral while on the last mission. Since that time he had become more tense and withdrawn. He and Murdock were never in the same room alone. Heck, they really didn't speak unless absolutely necessary. And then there was his reaction to Langley. Each time it was brought up about going back home to Langley he cringed. Whatever was going on was going to have to stop and stop now before the damage to Face's health was to great. Before he could say anything else to Face he noted Face had already fallen asleep.
Face had slept off an on for the remainder of the trip. When they arrived in Knoxville Murdock found them a hotel. They rented two rooms and got settled in. Face and Hannibal would share a room. BA and Murdock would be in the adjoining room. Once settled Hannibal checked to see how Face was doing. He checked the vital signs and rechecked his temperature. He changed the IV bag and made sure everything was running right. He checked the medication list to make sure they were on time with all of the meds. He had noted the vitals and temp had remained stable throughout the trip. He was glad to see that finally something seemed to be going right.
"Face, son, do you think you could try to eat and drink something?"
"Try…stomach…upset." Face looked into Hannibal's eyes and knew he was worried. He wanted to do whatever he could to lessen that worry. "Soup?"
"Sure. Whatever you want? BA why don't you and Murdock go grab us some dinner. Get me a burger and fries. Face wants soup. Try to get chicken noodle. Bring back some milk as well. We have microwaves and frigs in the rooms so bring back some stuff. Make sure you get some soup and maybe something to make sandwiches. We may stay here through tomorrow. We'll just play it by ear. Don't forget to get us a new vehicle."
"Sure Hannibal. Let's go fool." BA grabbed Murdock by the arm and headed to the door. He had seen how Face tensed up when Murdock entered the room. This had to end and he was going to do what he had to do to help that along.
Face was asleep upon BA's return. Hannibal stepped into the other room but did not lose sight of Face. BA looked angry. He put the bags on the bed and started to unload them. He was caught up in what he was doing and in his anger. He did not realize Hannibal was in the room until he spoke. As soon as he heard Hannibal he spun around looking for what danger was about to come. When he saw it was only Hannibal he relaxed.
"BA, what happened? Where's Murdock?"
"I don't know. He's dropping the other car off somewhere."
"What happened?" Hannibal wasn't going to be dissuaded by BA.
"Crazyman keeps upsetting Face. You seen it. Face all tense up every time that Fool enters the room. I just wanted to get to the bottom of it. Murdock…he wouldn't talk. I wanted to hit him but…Hannibal you got to stop this…Face can't take much more."
"I know BA. I know. But right now I need to concentrate on getting him well. There's a lot more going on here than I think we initially realized. Face will tell me in time. I will not destroy what we have built with him over the years by pushing him when he's down. You and I will have to keep an eye on him. From here on out we will only drive a couple of hours at a time. You and I will have to split shifts to watch him. During the day I will keep an eye on him. At night we will split it up. I need you to keep Murdock occupied during the day. I don't care what you do with him, just keep him away from Face or at the least keep him quiet."
"Alright Hannibal. We'll do it your way."
Face slowly came awake once again. He opened his eyes and tried to decide where he was. A hotel. where's everyone?
Hannibal reentered the room and happily found Face awake. "How do you feel?"
"Better, I guess. Just…tired. Really tired. Can you give me a hand here? I...ah…I need to…"
"Sure, hold on a second. Let's disconnect the IV and cap it off. The nurse showed me how to do it. At least it will make it easier to move about." He moved over and did as he said. Then helped Face to the bathroom and back again. "Why don't you sit up for a bit. I'll get you your soup."
Face nodded his ascent. He knew he needed to eat or he would never get rid of the IV. He also wanted to sit up and talk to Hannibal. It seemed like forever since he was able to talk to him. They last few weeks had seemed like an eternity to him. The depression and sense of betrayal had dug the chasm that now seemed too deep to crawl out of. When not drugged out of his mind he still thought back to the what had happened and to what was still to come.
Hannibal brought back a small bowl of chicken noodle soup and a glass of milk. "Here this shouldn't upset your stomach. Maybe the milk will help it as well."
"Thanks Hannibal. I'll do my best." Face picked up his spoon but because of the bandages he wasn't able to really hold on to it. He tried a couple of times before he finally gave up. "I'm useless… I can't even feed myself. I'm sorry…could…" He couldn't say anything else. He was blaming himself for getting sick and hurt. If I had just had the nerve to talk to Hannibal before I wouldn't have had to go through all of this. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten sick. I know I wouldn't have gotten hurt because I wouldn't have been thinking about everything else. I would have been concentrating on what I was doing. God, I hate this. Please help me.
"Hold on a second." Hannibal knew how important it was to Face to show his independence. He needed to help him but knew it would only upset him more if he had to be fed. He walked over to the bags BA had brought into the room earlier and found a large coffee cup. He poured the soup into the cup and closed the door between the rooms. Face was self-conscious enough, he didn't need to think he had an audience.
Face smiled when Hannibal brought the cup back into the room. "Thanks Hannibal. Thanks for everything."
They ate in silence. Face was able to eat most of the soup and finished the glass of milk. He felt pretty good and was glad to think he might actually keep it down. He didn't want to have the IV any longer than he had to and really wanted to help ease Hannibal's mind.
"How's the stomach?" Hannibal was pleased with how much Face had eaten. He mentally noted he needed to keep track of how much he took in.
"Not bad. Not nauseated thank God. I guess I just have to build up to eating more. Didn't really want to push my luck tonight."
"Do you want to stay up for a while or go back to sleep?"
Face looked down at himself. He still had some dried blood on himself. He wanted to take a long hot shower but knew that wasn't going to happen. He figured the best he could hope for was a shallow hot bath.
"Do you think it would be alright if I took a bath? I just feel…dirty." Face looked down. The guys on the team understood that one of the reasons Face was a 'clean nut' was because of his childhood. He had told Hannibal about how often he wasn't allowed to take a bath or change his clothes. A couple of his foster families thought it funny to humiliate him by sending him to school in such a disgusting way.
Hannibal was sympathetic to the needs of his son and to his feelings of his childhood. "Sure, let me go draw a bath for you and then we will get you set up. We need to change your bandages and clean your wounds, so when you are finished we'll do that and get fresh dressing on them. How's that sound to you?"
Face smirked as he looked up to Hannibal. He was glad he didn't have to say much. He knew Hannibal understood without saying anything else. "That's sounds great. Thanks…Thanks." He felt like he needed to thank Hannibal for so much more than just taking care of him. He had always been there for him and now was no exception. He knew the time had come for him to tell Hannibal about Bancroft. But first he wanted to feel human again.
Hannibal drew the bath and helped Face into the tub. Once he was certain Face was set he left the room to see if Murdock had gotten back. Entering the other room he found BA sitting at the table and Murdock sitting on his bed staring at BA.
"Captain. Is everything alright in here?" Hannibal automatically slipped into Command mode. He didn't want to waste time or energy on nonsense. He wasn't in the mood.
"Yes sir. I dropped the car off in the next town and then caught the bus back here. I didn't see anyone along the way and everything appears clear out front of the hotel." Murdock caught on quickly to Hannibal's mood.
"BA take a look around. Murdock stay here and keep it down. Face is awake and feeling better. He's taking a bath now and then he'll probably want to go to bed. I want him to sleep as much as he can. He doesn't need any additional stress. And Murdock…I don't want you coming in our room. If you need me use the phone or have BA come get me. I don't know what is going on between you and Face and quite frankly I don't care at this moment. What I do know is that it is tearing that man up. So I'm ordering you to stay out of that room. Am I understood!"
"YES SIR!" Murdock had slowly brought himself to his feet as Hannibal had spoken. Now he stood at full attention as he responded.
"If there is nothing further. BA I will let you know if I need you tonight. We'll have to see how he is doing when he gets out of the tub and we get all of his wounds cleaned." BA acknowledged the statement but had no questions. Hannibal turned and went back to his room locking the door between the rooms.
20 minutes later Hannibal was starting to wonder if letting Face take a bath was such a good idea. He was heading to the door when Face finally called out to him. He entered the room and found Face looking more relaxed than he had in months. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all.
"How are you feeling son?"
"Better. I feel human again. But the water is starting to get cool. I guess that means it's time to get out."
"Well let's get these wounds cleaned up and then get you out of there. Is it too cool for you to last another couple of minutes?"
"Honestly? Yes. I guess I should have called for you sooner but it was just so good to sit here and soak."
"Ok…we'll let some water out and add some fresh hot water to make you comfortable." It only took a minute and then Hannibal was cleaning the wounds. Face didn't seem to be in too much discomfort from the cleaning. When they were finished he wrapped Face in a towel and helped him to the bed. Face dressed and then had his wounds redressed. Hannibal re-hooked up the IV and took another set of vitals. Everything seemed stable. His temp was normal and for that Hannibal was thankful.
"Do you need something for the pain?"
"No…I just need to talk to you. I have needed to talk to you for some time now but didn't know how to get started. Can we just talk?" Face looked imploringly into Hannibal's eyes.
Hannibal knew the moment of truth had arrived. "If you aren't in any pain and feel up to it, I am more than willing to listen. But before we get started I want to make myself perfectly clear. I have said it before but I am going to say it again. I am here for you and no matter what you say I will not leave. Do you understand?"
"Yes sir." Face wondered about how he was going to approach the subject. He finally decided to start by asking Hannibal a few questions. "Hannibal you remember telling me about how you grew up? About the great memories you had of you and your dad fishing and doing stuff together."
"Yes, I remember. We have had lots of those discussions through the years." Hannibal wasn't sure where this was going or what it had to do with anything.
"I don't have any memories like that at all. I had the sisters, Father and the foster homes but I never had a family. I dreamed of the parents I never knew and of the parents I never had because I was never adopted. When I met you and the team I was at about my wits end. You became a surrogate father to me right off the bat. Even if you and I were both a little slow on the uptake…God, even when we weren't a family, we were more family than I had ever had before." He paused trying to decide how to go on further and in the end decided the direct method was the best.
But then again maybe beating around the bush a little more wouldn't be all that bad. "Did you know AJ Bancroft had personally requested us for the assignment?"
"Yes, but I wasn't told why." Hannibal started to think maybe the whole Bancroft / Ellen story was what was bothering him after all. Hannibal had been afraid it would strike a little too close to home.
"Well, it seems that AJ had pulled his vanishing act at least once before he had pulled it on Ellen and her mom." Face looked up to see if Hannibal understood. It took a moment but it seemed like it was starting to sink in.
"What…how did you find out?" Hannibal was flabbergasted.
"Murdock. That day at the restaurant, Murdock was helping AJ get to the van. He dropped a picture frame. It was one of those ones that folded in half. Anyway, when Murdock picked it up he saw the two pictures in it. One was of Ellen and the other…Murdock recognized it as a picture of me playing football in high school."
Hannibal was floored. How could this be? "When did you find out?"
Face's expression reflected all of the anger and bitterness he had felt since finding out. "After AJ died. It seems that a death bed request can bypass a long term friendship." He said friendship with as much sarcasm and animosity as he could. "He went to Stockwell and had him confirm it. He did that before telling me as well."
Everything that had happened over the past several weeks was now starting to come clear. Hannibal didn't want to interrupt, so he waited for Face to continue.
"While you and BA were setting things up at the cabin, Murdock decided to spring it on me that AJ was my father." His voice was low and filled with venom. "It wasn't a very pleasant conversation. I knocked him down and questioned what kind of friend he was to withhold that kind of information. He didn't even know for sure if AJ was lying or not. I always thought Murdock was my friend. I trusted him. I don't anymore."
Scooting next to Face Hannibal wrapped his arm around Face's shoulders. He wasn't going anywhere and wanted Face to know it.
"Stockwell confirmed it while we were at the grave site with Ellen." He paused again. He needed to tell Hannibal how he felt but was afraid of hurting the man next to him.
Hannibal sensed his hesitation. "It's ok. Go on when you're ready."
Face sighed. He felt the strength pouring out of Hannibal. He needed that strength to get through the next part. "Hannibal, I thought I had resolved all my issues with my parents a long time ago and them BAM. It all got thrown right back in my face. Here I was talking to the man that was my father and didn't even know it. Here he was once again not acknowledging me. Hannibal…" He hated the sound of desperation in his voice. "He knew where I was all the time. He knew what was happening to me. How could he leave me there to…to…to…" He couldn't continue. Hannibal knew part of the story of his childhood and the trauma he had gone through but not everything.
Hannibal squeezed his shoulders tighter. "Easy son. I don't know how he could have done that if he knew what you were going through. But I have to tell you I wouldn't have allowed it to happen if I had known, if I had been your real father. I…"
Face was quick to turn to Hannibal cutting him off in mid sentence. "NO! Oh God Hannibal please don't think that I… You have been more of a father to me than that man ever was or could have been. You have always stood by me and more importantly you loved, trusted and had faith in me when I didn't even have it in myself. I hated who I was when I went to Nam. The sisters had me convinced that I was unlovable, damaged and worthless. I was the kid literally dumped on the street to fend for myself. I lost all trust in them and didn't trust myself to do the right thing. I always wondered if I was as damaged as they said. How could someone tell that to a little kid. But you…you helped me to see that there were people out there I could trust. There were people that would love me for who I was not for what they could get from me. You gave me worth. He never did that…he turned away from me every chance he could get. How…what did I do that was so bad that I turned my parents away from me because I don't want to turn you away." Tears streamed down his face. He couldn't hold back the emotions any longer. He needed to relieve himself of this burden and figure out where to go from there.
"Face it wasn't anything you did. You are a beautiful person inside and out. For all you have gone through you continue to have a great attitude and a love of life like no one else I know. I've told you this before but I think you need to hear it again. I am proud of who you are. I am proud of the man you have become. You have every right to be bitter and hate this world for all it has done to you but you don't. You are a caring, compassionate human being. I wish you were my biological child but I couldn't be more proud of you even if you were."
"I know you say that but…"
"There are no buts. You are not going to get rid of me that easy. Do you understand me?"
Face smiled sheepishly at him. He felt the love, friendship and strength that always filled his soul when he was down. "I guess I needed to hear it again. Thanks…dad."
"Now, did you tell Ellen?" Hannibal was certain he knew the answer to this as well but still needed to ask. Everything needed to come out and now was the time.
"No…I didn't want to disrupt her life any more than it was because of AJ. She was so bitter. She told me that even though AJ had given her some of the answers she was looking for that it didn't make a difference. I just didn't want to add to her pain." He looked Hannibal right in the eye. "I mean…come on, she just lost her father. She thought she was finally going to be rid of having a criminal for a father. How was I suppose to tell her the apple hadn't fallen far from the tree and oh by the way I'm your older brother? She doesn't deserve that at all. Maybe when we get the pardons, maybe I will look her up and tell her the truth."
"Remember the apple fell pretty damn far from the tree. YOU ARE NOT A CRIMINAL. You were framed for a crime you didn't commit. When we get the pardons you will have living proof that you did nothing wrong. Bancroft could never get that if he had lived to be a thousand. He was a crook."
"I know you are right but right now I am still on the wanted list."
Hannibal grinned. "Well…actually…you're not." Face looked up at him like he had two heads. "You were executed. So I guess now it's pretty much a clean slate."
Face grinned despite himself. He could always count on Hannibal to come up with something to make him feel better. He was starting to tire again. He needed to sleep but knew he wanted to finish this conversation. His forehead was pinched from the pain as it had increased with the conversation.
"Ok, that's enough for tonight. We can talk about the rest tomorrow. But you need to get to bed. I'm going to give you the pain killer and your antibiotic. Do you want something to drink?"
"Yeah I think I would like something to drink. I don't mind holding off so we can finish this."
Hannibal was shaking his head before Face could finish. "No, you need to sleep and you need to be out of pain. You've pushed it tonight. I don't want to see this become a set back. I'll take your vitals and then it's lights out."
"Ok. Thanks. I really am sorry about all of this."
"Son, there's no reason to be sorry. We'll talk more later. Everything is going to be alright." With that Hannibal ibal's disappointment was put his plan into action. He would sit up for a while thinking about how all of this had hurt Face and the team. They hadn't discussed Murdock but they had time. Until then Hannibal would continue to keep the two of them separated. At this point the didn't want to talk to Murdock either. This wasn't over by a long shot. The repercussions of Murdock's and AJ's decisions would have long term affects.
Face felt the effects of the pain meds almost immediately. But the talk with Hannibal had eased the ache he had had for weeks far better than any medication could do. As he drifted off he felt at peace with Hannibal. It would still be hard to talk to him about Murdock but now he knew it needed to be done.
As soon as Face had fallen asleep he let himself into the other room. "BA I need you to sit with Face for a while. Murdock and I need to have a chat." Hannibal never looked at BA. He stared straight into the soul of Murdock. He heard the door click and then advanced on Murdock. Murdock for his part could sense the anger flowing from Hannibal. He quickly got to his feet and was back pedaling as Hannibal advanced on him.
"How could you have done that to him? Captain, I don't think I really know who you are any more. I am leaving it up to Face as to you remaining on the team. If he says no…you're gone. Until then you will not leave this room, make any phone calls, and you are to have no further contact with Face. Do you understand?" Hannibal used every ounce of restrain the possessed to not throttle Murdock right there.
"He has never been anything but a friend to you. And this is how you repay him for his kindness." Hannibal shook his head. "We have not finished talking yet. He is too exhausted and was in too much pain to continue. I will leave it up to him. He's the one you hurt the most. When we are finished talking then I will give him his options."
"May I speak?" Murdock was hesitant. He had never been on the receiving end of Hannibal's anger. Hannibal simply nodded. "I really thought I as doing the right thing. Bancroft was going to tell him. But…he died before he got the chance. I didn't mean to hurt Face. I was only trying to do what I thought was right."
"He told me you went to Stockwell. Even if you were trying to help him, you went to Stockwell before coming to me. You know how Face feels about him. Yet, you didn't think twice about it. You should have come to me. Maybe I could have prevented some of what has happened. But even after all these years you still didn't come to your commanding officer. You broke the chain of command and in the process destroyed the work we have done to create this unit, this family."
"I didn't mean to. I was trying to do the right thing. I know now it was wrong but…"
"You obviously didn't think to hard. Your feelings of guilt wouldn't have been there if you truly felt you were doing the right thing. I'm going back to my son. You heed my word. Do not do anything else to hurt him or any of us?" Hannibal's anger was spent. He needed to sleep and to give himself time to filter all that he had been told.
BA returned to a quiet room. He still was unaware of what was happening but figured Hannibal would tell him when he was ready. He went to sleep knowing things would work out…eventually, now that Hannibal was involved. He only wished it would happen soon.
The next afternoon found Face in pain and exhausted. Hannibal made the decision to stay an extra night. Face slept most of the day. He was improving some. He had eaten and drank. Hannibal kept a close eye on him and continued to monitor his vitals. He was thankful everything appeared stable and Face had not started running a fever.
The four of them sat down for dinner. It was quite tense filled but Face managed to eat something more solid. He was able to keep it down and eat more than what was normal for him lately. After dinner Murdock returned to his room as did BA.
"Can we talk some more? I really want to finish this up. I need to move on but I can't without telling you everything."
"Ok we can talk but I want you to lie down while we talk. If you start to get tired or start to hurt then you will rest and we will finish up later. I don't want to see you get yourself in a state like last night. Deal?"
"Deal." Face lowered himself to the bed and made himself comfortable. "Well, I guess I'm ready to talk to you about you and Murdock." Closing his eyes he took a deep breath and slowly let it out. This was going to be the hardest part for him. "Hannibal, I can't stand to be around him right now. What kind of friend would do that to you? He knew how much it meant to me to get answers about them. Here we were with the guy that could answer all my questions and… I talked to him. After he and Ellen had gotten into their argument I went in to talk to him. He said… he said any man would be proud to have me for a son. But here he was not more than 10 feet from him and he wouldn't tell me. He lied to me. He wasn't proud of me…"
"Face, he didn't even know you. I kind of feel sorry for him. He never took the opportunity to get to know you. It's his loss. I'll keep saying it until you believe me, I am very proud of you."
"Murdock, knew what was happening and didn't say anything until it was too late. I trusted him. I've trusted him for years. Now…I can't and wont trust him. If he could betray me like this then…how can I ever trust him again. I'm sorry, please don't…I just can't."
"Son, I understand. No one can make you trust him again. I agree that what he did was wrong. I am leaving it up to you if he is to remain on the team or not. Just tell me what you want."
"I don't want to do that just yet. I think BA should know what's up before any decision is made. It should be a team decision. I don't trust myself to make a logical decision. But Hannibal, I have got to tell you, it was you that I feel I betrayed. You have been a father to me and here I was upset about a man I never knew. Every time I started to get angry at Murdock and Bancroft I started to feel guilty about you. Am I any better than Murdock? I was angry that a guy I never knew wasn't proud of me. I was angry at Murdock for not telling me something that had the potential to change my life. What did I do? I turned away from the one person that has always stood by me. I didn't tell you for fear that I would turn you away from me or that because of who he was you wouldn't want me on the team any longer." Face looked deep into Hannibal's eyes. He didn't find the contempt he expected.
"Again, you can't get rid of me that easy. Face, it's only natural that you would be angry at Bancroft and Murdock. You have had questions that you wanted answered for as long as you could remember. You were denied the one and possibly only chance you had at getting those answers. As for me, you didn't turn away as much as you turned within. You still reached out to me, when you asked me to sit with you and when you allowed me to hold you. You accepted my love and returned it. Nothing has changed. I knew you would tell me what was going on when you felt you had it all worked out in your own head. You've always been like that, I don't take it personally. I would like it if, in the future, you would come talk to me before you make yourself sick. I hate to see you in pain, physical or emotional. Can you try to do that for me?"
"Yes sir. I wish I had talked to you earlier. I feel better for telling you." Face yawned a jaw breaking yawn. He couldn't fight the fatigue any longer.
"Sleep now. We need to get on the road again in the morning. Tell me the truth, how bad are you hurting?" Hannibal was very concerned. He could see the lines of pain and fatigue as they had come on Face through the course of their conversation. He knew how important it was that they finish this as best they could for tonight.
"Not as bad as yesterday. I can handle it. I…(yawn)…just real tired."
"Ok, I'll give you a half dose. Let's get you checked out and then get you settled. I'll call the doc and see if he thinks we can get rid of the IV now. We're about out of supplies now as is."
Hannibal called and gave a detailed listing of Face's vitals and intake. Dr. Reno agreed they could discontinue with the IV in the morning. He was relatively pleased with how Face was eating. He still needed to have someone keep an eye on him for a little while. His final prescription was for lots of rest, fluids and eating properly. He told Hannibal he needed to put on at least 20 pounds to get back to his regular weight.
When his conversation was over he went to talk to BA and Murdock. They were both still awake and amazingly enough Murdock was keeping quiet.
"We're moving out in the morning. As soon as Face wakes up we'll leave."
"Hannibal, Faceman doing alright?" BA was concerned about his little brother.
"We've talked and he seems better. We just need to give him a little time to rebuild his strength. When we get back to Langley we are going to have to make some decisions about the team. I talked to Stockwell. They got their agent out safely but they didn't capture Peter. We need to keep our eyes out for him."
The sun breaking through the window woke Face. He carefully stretched and made his way to get cleaned up. He felt better and stronger. He could hear Hannibal's voice in the next room. By the time Hannibal returned Face was cleaned up and re-dressed.
It was like a weight having been lifted up off of him. Just talking to Hannibal had done that for him. He wished he had done it sooner.
"Well, I guess by the fact that you are up and dressed means you are feeling better?" Hannibal smiled and felt better himself.
"Yes, I feel a lot better today. When do we leave?"
"As soon as you are ready. BA has the RV ready."
"RV? When did we get a RV?"
"I told BA to get a van or a RV to make traveling easier for you. We won't have to find a hotel this way. We can head back to Langley and relax along the way."
"Why don't we just fly and get it over with?"
"Stockwell told me he got his agent back but they didn't drop the net on Peter. We can't go to the airport or train station and I would like to avoid hotels as much as we can. The RV has a water tank and a shower. It sleeps 8 so we are set there as well."
"Did Stockwell think Peter had any idea where we were headed?" Concern grew as he considered his condition and the fact that he was slowing the team up. He didn't want to be the cause of getting someone hurt.
"Neither he nor Melody know for sure. We need to keep a look out but I don't think he will be looking for us to be escaping in a RV."
"Definitely have a good cover. I'm ready to go when you are."
The next two days were uneventful. Face was getting stronger and sleeping more restfully. He no longer needed pain medication and was able to get around more easily on his own.
They were just crossing over the Virginia line when the trouble began. Peter had people looking for the team. They had been spotted leaving the hotel. It took two days to get everything in place. He wanted them dead. By now he had figured out that Melody was an agent. Now he assumed the "men" his guards had seen were agents as well. He had made it to the hospital but had just missed the team.
He had picked up some useful information at the hospital from an orderly. He learned that the 'guy' thrown through the window was injured and hoped that would slow them down. He sent his men out in all directions to search for those "men".
They had been seen at the hotel and after watching them leave it was determined which direction they were headed in. His men laid a trap. He didn't care how many people were hurt he wanted these men gone.
They picked a desolate part of I-81. They were going to run the RV off the road. They wanted to make sure the RV was no where it would be found easily and no help was readily available.
They had been traveling at a slow pace, only driving a couple of hours a day. The weather had begun to turn and the snow was becoming intense. BA hated the way the RV handled on the streets. By the end of two hours of driving through the driving snow they had only gone 60 miles. Today was the third day of snow. Hannibal figured they were only a day or two from Langley at this rate.
It was early mid-afternoon when Peter's men met up with them. It wasn't hard to knock them off the road. The RV had little traction and was easily knocked off the road. BA tried to control the vehicle but as soon as they left the road he had no control at all. The RV clipped a tree and flipped onto it's side. Everything loose was tossed about including Hannibal and Face. BA and Murdock had been seat belted in.
When the RV came to rest at the bottom of the hill side Peter's men took off. Their hope was that if the men weren't dead already, they would be shortly. The RV wasn't visible from the road and no one was around to see what had happened.
Murdock was dazed. He looked around the RV. BA was still strapped into his seat. BA was shaking his head and appeared dazed. "BA are you okay?"
"Don't know man. Seeing double. Go see bout Hannibal and Face, man. I'll be alright." He continued blinking his eyes in the hopes his vision would clear.
He climbed out of his seat and headed to the back. Plates, cups, food and papers were everywhere. Hannibal was starting to stir as Murdock approached.
"Murdock, what's our status?" Hannibal was all business as usual. To him this was a mission. He needed to know what was happening and how they were going to finish their job.
"BA says he's fine. Don't know about Face, haven't found him yet. I just got back here." Murdock was kneeling next to Hannibal doing a quick assessment. He didn't see anything initially and hoped Hannibal had faired as well as he and BA had.
"Murdock, go check on BA again. I'll look for Face." He started to move but the pain shooting up and down his leg stopped him in his tracks. "Murdock, I think I have a problem." He sank back to the floor. Murdock was at his side instantly.
"Hannibal, what's wrong?" He couldn't see any blood but knew something was wrong if the Colonel admitted to having a problem.
"I think my leg's broken." He took some slow deep breathes to ease the pain. "I'm ok for now. Find Face."
"Alright Colonel. Just sit tight I'll be right back." Looking further back towards the kitchen he could see one of Face's bandaged arms.
"Hang on Face. I'm almost there." Murdock felt his trepidation grow as he approached. He wasn't certain what reaction he would get from Face. When he was within a couple of feet Face suddenly sat upright.
"Stay away from me Murdock." Face was breathing rapidly and shallow. He was on the verge of passing out from hyperventilating. "Get away! Where's Hannibal? HANNIBAL! HANNIBAL! Where are you?"
Hannibal started to try to move again. "FACE, I'm alright. But I can't get to you right now." A grunt of pain stopped him before he go any further.
"Face, he's over there." He pointed to Hannibal laying on the floor. "He's got a broken leg. Can you walk?"
Face wasn't sure of the answer. He closed his eyes and did a mental inventory of his injuries. He hurt all over. The pain in his back and arms was excruciating but he didn't want to admit it. He didn't feel he had been injured beyond strained muscles, bruises and cuts. He wanted… no needed to get to Hannibal. "I'm fine. Just go away. I'll get there on my own. Just get away from me."
Murdock backed off and headed back to the front to check on BA. He never made it that far, BA had already gotten himself down from his seat and was kneeling next to Hannibal. "Colonel, he says he's fine. I don't know he won't let me get near him. He's going to try to get over here on his own. I'm going to go look around to see how bad off we are. I'll be back. I'll see what we have to splint that leg of yours."
Murdock could not hide his feelings of being dejected. He knew he had screwed up but being rejected over and over again by his friend was causing him to get stressed. The more Face made it clear he didn't trust Murdock any longer, the more determined Murdock was to change his opinion.
Murdock climbed out of the driver's side window. The RV was sitting on it's side. The passenger side was now the floor upon which Hannibal rested.
Face started to move towards Hannibal. The pain caused him to make each movement slow. He knew his ribs were bruised but didn't want to believe they were fractured. He was afraid this would be a huge set back in his recovery. The pain in his back became more intense. The muscle spasms took his breathe away. It took several minutes to make it the 10 feet to Hannibal but eventually he made it.
Hannibal watched and could tell Face was hurt. He watched as Face struggled to move. If the injury were minor Face would have been able to cover it up and move on. The fact that he was struggling pointed to how injured he truly was from the accident. He wanted Face near him. He wanted to check the old wounds and to determine how bad the injuries were. "BA when Face gets over here I want you to make yourself scarce. He's hurt but he's not going to say anything with you sitting here."
"Right Colonel. I'll go help Murdock get a splint together for you. We're going to have to figure out how to get out of here. I'll scout around a little and see what's about."
"Thanks BA. We aren't going to be able to stay here. I'm not going to be much help getting us out of here. Face didn't need this." BA grunted his agreement as Face approached. He nodded to Face and then headed out to find Murdock.
"Face where are you hurt?" Hannibal was looking over Face but again didn't see any bleeding but he knew something was wrong.
"I'm fine Hannibal. Just a little sore."
"Lieutenant I asked you a question?" Hannibal was hurting himself and didn't want to play games. He needed to know how dire their situation was.
"Sir, I'm sore. But, I'm fine." Face eased himself down next to Hannibal. His concern for Hannibal outweighed his concern for himself. He wouldn't admit to how bad he felt unless pushed. He wasn't as important as Hannibal, at least that's how he felt about it.
"Come here and let me give you a once over." Hannibal's concern grew with each of Face's evasions.
"I'm fine. How bad are you hurt? Murdock said you broke your leg?" He hoped redirecting would work but for some reason Hannibal was not being easily deterred.
Ignoring Face's comments Hannibal zeroed in on what Face wasn't saying. The short shallow breathing accompanied the pained expression on his face. He was struck again by the fact that Face was such a good conman when Hannibal felt he was so easily read. His face reflected each emotion. "Lieutenant I believe I told you to come over here for me to give you a once over. Now get over here."
If it hadn't hurt so much Face would have hung his head. With a sigh of resignation Face moved over closer to Hannibal. He knew he was in trouble the moment he tried to stand again. Even in that brief moment of time he had begun to stiffen up. The adrenalin was decreasing and no longer afforded him the luxury of ignoring his pain. Hannibal was surely to figure it out. Without saying anything he eased himself down to sit next to Hannibal.
Hannibal reached over to check Face's arms. He didn't see any bleeding and was grateful for the stitches having held. Now the question was…where was he hurt?
"Son, give it to me straight. Where are you hurting?"
His brows furrowed. He couldn't lie to Hannibal. "I'm…" With a look of resignation he determined he was not going to do anything but tell the truth. He hurt to bad to try to gloss over it. "My neck…and back. Just sore. I'm sure I just pulled or strained a muscle or something."
"I'll live. But I…I…" The pain was growing. The spasms were worsening. Face knew he wasn't going to be able to hold out much longer. In his mind he knew he was trying to answer Hannibal's question. But he couldn't think past the pain to answer the question.
"Are yo…" Before Hannibal could say anything further, Face grimaced in pain. "Ahh…" It a halting breath he tried to continue. "I…I…"
"BA come quick! Face needs help." Hannibal tried to move to help his son but again couldn't because of his own injuries. He called again and again for BA to come and help until finally he arrived. Face sat straight up not able to move without excruciating pain. Sharp pain shot down his right leg. His knuckle white grip on the table leg did not help his pain.
"BA get him flat. Watch his back, he hurt it but I don't know how bad yet." It seemed lately that if anything could go wrong it would… to Face. Hannibal's concern grew as it became apparent that Face was oblivious to BA assistance. BA too was concerned. His little brother was hurting once again and this time he felt it was his fault for not being able to keep the RV on the road. He had thought the idea of an RV was good. They would be able to travel without having to stop. Face would be able to lay down as needed. Who would have thought they would travel in an RV. But the one thought that plagued him now was he hadn't thought about the road conditions and how they would handle a 'surprise' if needed. The maneuverability of the RV was piss poor and he had known it but had let the other issues surpass his better judgment.
Once Face was lying flat the agony he was in only dissipated slightly. The spasm seemed to be easing but he still couldn't focus on what was going on around him. His breathing was shallow and fast. He was diaphoretic and paling. Hannibal was becoming increasingly more concerned as Face still did not answer him.
"BA see if you can find the med kit." BA fortunately had laid Face down next to Hannibal. Reaching out to his son Hannibal felt there was nothing he could do to help at this time. He reached out and held Face's hand. The grip was sure and strong. Face rode out the spasm and pain. He found comfort in the reassurance Hannibal provided for him.
As the pain eased and the spasm lessened Face slowly came back to reality. His color improved and he was no longer sweating. He was cold and began to shiver. Even that slight movement threatened to being the spasms back. Hannibal waited for Face's eyes to open and the grip to ease. "How are you doing son?"
Taking slow depth breaths in and out Face began to focus on what was happening. He didn't know how he had ended up on the floor but was glad the spasms were releasing. He looked over into the comforting eyes of his father. Everything that had happened over the past month came into focus.
He thought about Hannibal, his father and best friend. Hannibal had always been there for him and here he was once again sitting by his side. He thought about the years spent on the team, the heartache, the pain, and the love. He had always dreamed of having a family but it took the jungles of Vietnam for him to be adopted by this band of men.
It was in Nam where he learned to appreciate life. He had lived with heartache, fear and desolation as a child. He understood the feeling of worthlessness and being unwanted. Leslie had been the final straw in a long line of disappointments. He had gone to Nam to die and instead found these men who taught him how to live, how to love, how to forgive and how to trust.
Trust. As a child he had trusted his parents who then abandoned him. He trusted the priest, nuns and foster families who then destroyed his sense of self-worth. By the time he had met Hannibal he not only had no faith in anyone, he had no faith in himself. Even all these years later he still battled with no feelings. The only person he had ever trusted that had not turned on him had been Fr. Magill.
Years of hard work had taught him to have faith in Hannibal. BA too had always stood by him and protected him when ever possible. Great effort had finally brought him to where he was today. Moments of self-doubt were quickly overcome by the love and understanding he felt from Hannibal and the team. Many would have thought it strange or weird that he had accepted an adoption offer as an adult but his need for family, his need of being wanted and loved out weighed any thing else.
He looked into Hannibal's eyes and as always found only love and acceptance. Hannibal provided him with a beacon to come home to. He tried to relax. He saw the concern growing on Hannibal's face and realized Hannibal had been talking to him.
"I'm sorry Hannibal. I was thinking. I want to…I want you to know…We need to talk…But…I can't…right now… hurts…gettin' better…" Another spasm racked his body. It felt like the muscles wouldn't release. He couldn't move without shooting pain taking his breath away.
"Take it easy son. We'll get you out of here and get you fixed up good as new. Just try to relax." Hannibal looked over as BA got back in the RV. Murdock was right behind him.
BA and Murdock had been searching outside for anything that could help them get their teammates to safety. Murdock had gathered supplies for a splint for Hannibal and was just preparing to re-enter the RV when Hannibal began yelling for BA. He did not go inside because he was afraid of Face's reaction to seeing him. As BA went to help he decided the only thing he could do was to see what he could find to make a stretcher. BA and he were going to have to carry Hannibal out.
BA and Hannibal cared for Face. Face for his part tried to relax and breath through the spasms. BA took vital signs and reported them to Hannibal.
"We give live with those BA. Face, son, how's your back now?"
"Better. I don't know about trying to walk out of here. I'm…I'm afraid I'm not going to be of much use. BA you have to get Hannibal out of here."
"Whoa there lil' brother. I'm not leaving either of you here. We just got to come up with a plan to get us all outa here."
"BA how far to the next town?"
"About 5 miles. Murdock or I can go for help. Get you both outa here and to a hospital."
"That sounds good. Go get Murdock."
With a plan in action Hannibal was starting to feel better. Face remained quiet. He didn't know how he felt about leaving his rescue up to Murdock. Could he trust him to come back?
It had been 4 hours since BA had left to get help. Only an occasional grunt came from Face. Hannibal tried to keep an eye on his son but the pain and spasms in his leg were taking it's toll.
Face had been through enough. He couldn't stand the idea that Murdock had remained behind with them. He wanted to be able to help with Hannibal but every move caused him excruciating pain. His anger seemed only to fuel the spasms. He knew he needed to relax but couldn't.
The cold air settled into the RV. Hannibal and Face were growing sicker by the minute. Because of all of the recent trauma Face had fallen victim to his immunity was low. He was more susceptible to illness. As he and Hannibal grew colder the spasms increased. Murdock searched the RV for blankets or anything he could use to warm his friends.
Hannibal's leg had been crudely splinted but it had decreased the pain. He felt better and the blankets were helping to feel warmer. His concern for Face continued to grow as the spasms increased. Face was almost completely incoherent because of the pain. Hannibal looked on helplessly unable to comfort Face.
Murdock watched his friend writhe in pain. He couldn't get him to relax or get him warmer. Briefly looking to Hannibal he made a decision. Easing up next to Face he laid down in the hopes of his body heat warming him friend. He hoped his long time friendship would also help in calming his friend.
Face felt Murdock moving closer. He stiffened and caused himself more pain. But the nearer Murdock came the better Face felt. The heat emanating from Murdock was enticing. He sought the heat. Murdock eased up nest to Face and put one arm around him. He laid his head next to Face's so he could speak quietly into his ear.
"Easy Face…it's going to be alright. Just relax. BA should be back soon. Try to hold on for just a little longer. Face, we've been friends for a long time…please trust me. I would never intentionally hurt you. You will never know how sorry I am about what has happened to us…to our friendship. I screwed up and there is no way I can fix that…God how I wish I could. Please trust me now. I want to help you."
As he spoke he could feel Face starting to relax. He hoped he could make a difference. He wanted his friend to be alright.
3 more hours passed. Hannibal was developing a fever while Face was starting to relax and finally warm up. Eventually they had all fallen into a restless sleep.
This is what BA and the Fire Department found when they arrived. BA climbed in to the RV much to the consternation of the firefighters. He wanted to see his friends. He prayed everything was alright. He feared something else would happen in his absence. He looked down at his sleeping friends and felt a moment of peace.
The paramedics entered and began assessing their patients. The splint was replaced on Hannibal's leg and he was moved via a backboard out of the RV and into the waiting ambulance. Once he was settled and being treated the remaining firefighters and paramedics were able to concentrate on Face.
Knowing he had a back injury they prepared him to be placed on a backboard. BA helped by keeping Face steady. Face was completely incoherent. He to started developing a low grade fever with a cough. He time he coughed it caused pain to run through his back.
Once he was settled in the ambulance and his treatment was in progress, BA and Murdock were able to sit and relax for a moment. Soon the Fire Deputy was offering them a ride back to town to the hospital. Grateful for the ride they made their way quickly to the truck.
BA notified Stockwell and braced himself for the inevitable fight. But it didn't happen. Stockwell arranged for the bills to be paid for and notified the team that all of Paul men had been captured.
Hannibal and Face had had a couple of long days when they first arrived. Hannibal's leg was set properly and he sported a cast from hip to toes. His fever remained low grade but had broken two days ago.
Face had had a rough time of it. Muscle relaxants and tranquilizers eased his pain but left him like a zombie. Face hated the feeling and bucked it as soon as he could.
Stockwell arranged for the men to be transferred back to Langley. Hannibal and Face were settled into the house. BA and Murdock tried to be helpful and remain out of the way.
It had been 3 long weeks and everyone was crawling the walls. BA and Murdock were out running errands leaving Face and Hannibal at home. Face laid by the pool. He was finally able to move about but not for long. He remained quiet but Hannibal knew it was only a matter of waiting. Face would speak to him but maybe he would need a little prompting. Hannibal looked out the window and saw Face by the pool. He made a couple of ice teas and headed out to talk to his son.
Face noticed Hannibal approaching and tried to sit up. But it wasn't easy and Hannibal ended up helping him.
"Yes sir…yes Hannibal. How are you doing?"
"I'd be great if I thought I could help you. Care to talk about it?"
"I guess it's time…It all started when…" Face explained what had happened and how he felt about everything. He remembered what he had thought about when he was in the RV. When he was finished he felt better. He felt he had come full circle. He learned to trust again. He learned to trust Murdock again. But most of all he remembered that although genetically they weren't a family, Hannibal's wasn't really his father - on a more basic level they were more of a family than most. He had finally been chosen and this family wasn't leaving him for anything.
"Son, I want you to remember one thing. You are never wrong for how you feel. I've told you how proud of you I am. You are an amazing person, I'm proud to have you call me dad. I love you."
Hannibal reached over and gave Face a hug. He was happy to see Face had healed. BA and Murdock could be heard coming back from their errands. Hannibal leaned back in his chair, lit a cigar and smiled. His family was back together. His son was safe and healing. Everything was good in his world.
Face looked over at Hannibal and smiled. He was happier than he had been in months. He looked up to the sky and prayed. "Thank you for bringing my family back together."