The A-Team belongs to me. And if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Atlantis you might be interested in. Call me ;)
Seriously though folks, I don't own the A-Team and all songs mentioned in this chapter and future chapters are copyright their respective artists.
This is my first attempt at writing an A-Team fanfic, so I hope you enjoy it :) To all those who may be reading my other stories, don't worry; I haven't abandoned them. I just want to take a short break is all.
"Autumn and Friday the winds blew..."
"July, September, I knew-oo you..."
"Now as I sit on that sa-a-and hill..."
"I sing a song to the sea."
"August, October, mid-April, November, May. Beckoning hands made you fly-y-y; I cry, it's curtains today."
"Shut up, fools, before I come back there an' you really start cryin'!"
It's doubtful whether Robin Gibb would have approved of this editorial to his song, but it had the desired effect; the two singers were silenced. For about three seconds.
"You don't like the Bee Gees, big guy?"
"Okay." Murdock pondered this for a moment, then said, "So…what d'you wanna hear?"
"Only sound I wanna hear's the sound of silence, fool!"
"Hello darkness, my old friend..."
It was BA's own fault, really, Hannibal mused as he sucked on his cigar. BA had refused to put the radio on, so Murdock had started belting out a tune and Face, after a lot of prodding and cajoling from the captain and eventually an order from an amused Hannibal, had joined in. After hearing their joint rendition of Hey Jude (during which the final na-na-na-naas went on for three full minutes) BA had banned the rendition of any Beatles song in his van from now until the day they died…which, he'd added, might be sooner than some fools thought.
That had been when the pair started on the Bee Gees, after a brief performance of Seasons in the Sun that had ended after the first verse when neither of them could agree on the lyrics. Now the two were taking it in turns to sing each line and harmonising on the chorus. They weren't bad either, Hannibal thought, smirking at BA's expression.
"You were the one who refused to switch the radio on," he pointed out.
"That's 'cause this crazy fool claims he's allergic to radio waves! Says they make his nose turn green!"
"Really, BA—" Murdock was using his Sane Voice now, which usually only happened just before he came out with something really outlandish— "now whoever heard of a man's nose being turned green by radio waves?" He paused for a fraction of a second, just long enough for the other three to see it coming, then added, "It's radio stations. Y'know, some of 'em play subliminal messages, and the wax melts and dribbles out and then the ear mice get in and nibble away at the eardrums. Drives a man craaazy."
"Shut up, fool! You already crazy!"
"Now, BA," Face added in eminently reasonable tones, "be fair. The kinda music you listen to, Murdock's concern about wax dribbling out of ears – while pretty disgusting – isn't too far-fetched."
BA scowled around at him, but Face had learned his lesson very early on about sitting within arm's reach of the sergeant and so simply returned his glare with an innocent expression that didn't fool anyone for a minute. Next to him, Murdock informed the van that his mother was a tailor and had sewed his new blue jeans, and his father was a gambling man down in New Orleans.
Hannibal didn't blame them for being jubilant. They'd just finished a particularly difficult job, collected the two hundred thousand dollars and there had been no sign of Decker throughout. The colonel was a little disappointed about that – whatever his failings, Decker was fun to play with – but he was also wise enough to keep this disappointment to himself. The rest of the A-Team didn't seem to share his love of Decker dodging and Hannibal wasn't about to spoil the mood.
"Now the only thing a gambler needs is a suitcase and a trunk—" Murdock broke off his one-man concert and looked at Face. "Hey Faceman, how come you don't have a trunk?"
Face, who had a playful side when it suited him, grinned. "Well, there was one I kinda liked, but it was still attached to the elephant at the time."
Which, of course, started Murdock off on a different track.
"Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus—"
"Hannibal, say somethin'! These fools is drivin' me crazy!"
"Sure, BA." Chewing on his cigar, Hannibal looked round at Face and Murdock. "Either of you guys know Massachusetts?"
An oncoming car hit its brakes and hooted furiously at them as BA swerved across the flow of traffic into a truck stop, complete with a dirty looking diner and neon sign that was still flickering despite it being ten thirty am. Either not noticing – or more likely blatantly ignoring – the fact that he was now blocking three cars in and one of them had just started its engine, the sergeant twisted around to fix Hannibal with a glare that promised death sometime in the next millisecond or two.
"That's it! Hannibal, I ain't goin' nowhere with that racket!"
"Okay, BA, okay. Calm down." Hannibal glanced at Face. "Face, go get us some breakfast. And take Murdock with you."
Face groaned. "Hannibal..."
"I know, I know." The colonel held up a hand, while Murdock hopped out of his seat and started to play-wrestle Billy in the background. "But he could do with the fresh air, BA could do with a break from Murdock, I could do with a break from BA and we all could do with something to eat."
Face knew he'd lost – although the A-Team didn't bother much about formalities or pulling rank, Hannibal's orders were never to be questioned without a much better reason than I don't wanna – but he couldn't help appealing to his leader's better judgment.
"Hannibal, c'mon. You know what happens when I take Murdock on a scam. You remember that job we took on, with the crooked race syndicate? You remember when you sent me to scam a horse from a nearby farm, and told me to take Murdock with me? You remember what Murdock did to that scam?"
Murdock sat up indignantly. "Hey! Now I had no idea that chicken was gonna do that!"
"I had to pay for a new horse trailer." Face spoke slowly and clearly, as though he thought it would make a difference. "And repair the stable door! And then, to top it all off, Decker showed up and since he'd blocked the only way out and I was unarmed, I had to get outta there on horseback!"
Hannibal, who had been grinning broadly through this recital, shook his head. "Boy, I sure wish I could've seen his face when you rode past him and off into the sunset, Face."
Face gave him a look that spoke of unimaginable suffering nobly borne in the cause of friendship. It was a look Hannibal had seen many times, usually when he ordered his lieutenant to take point or refused to lend him some money.
In this case, Face had a more genuine reason for the expression; it had been a fast, very bumpy escape. The horse he'd picked hadn't been fast enough to outrun the MPs' cars (and if he ever found a horse that was, Face thought, he could retire that same year) but it had had one valuable advantage: namely that it could jump fences while galloping. The downside to this, of course, was that Face's rear end had suffered terribly from being bounced up and down on (so had the horse's, for that matter) and it had been several days before the lieutenant had been able to sit down in comfort.
"Hannibal..." he began.
"Anyway, I'm not sending you to scam anything." Hannibal flicked ash into the ashtray, ignoring BA's disapproving growl, and grinned at Face. "We just made two hundred grand, Face; I think we can afford breakfast."
Face dropped his head into his hands with a theatrical groan, then lifted it again to look at Murdock, who was now rubbing Billy's belly.
"Alright, fine. C'mon Murdock, let's go. Leave Billy behind; they don't allow dogs in these places."
It wasn't that he disliked Murdock, he thought as he trudged towards the greasy looking diner. In fact, he was closer to Murdock than the other two, being willing to humour and play along with the pilot's fantasies. He and Murdock had formed a close friendship in 'Nam, a rare thing for Face who, although he liked people in general, shied away from becoming too attached to them. Despite Murdock's craziness - or maybe because of it - Face thought there was something solid about the pilot. Even if BA and Hannibal bailed on him, Murdock would still be there.
But that didn't change the fact that he was a liability when it came to Face a) pulling off a smooth scam and b) sweet talking any beautiful, lonely looking women who might want to meet him.
The diner was reasonably full when the two of them entered. Heads turned. Newcomers to a truck stop automatically attract attention, particularly when one is as good-looking as Face and the other currently snapping his fingers to a tune nobody else can hear.
The decor inside was fairly typical, with grubby tables and a dirty looking counter displaying various desserts behind a glass case covered in the obligatory smeary fingerprints. The girl behind the counter looked no older than eighteen, and Face thought she might be quite pretty if she'd wash her hair.
"Okay." The lieutenant moved closer to Murdock; the stench of greasy food and the odd unwashed body was making him feel queasy, and he couldn't help wishing they'd picked a more upmarket diner for breakfast. "We play it cool. Alright? Just...don't attract attention, okay?"
Murdock nodded, face perfectly serious. "Play it cool. Sure, Faceman. I can do that."
Turning, he strode on up to the counter, placed both hands on it and proclaimed in a loud and clear voice, "Fear me, you lords and lady preachers!"
"Oh my god..."
"I descend upon your earth from the skies! I command your very souls you unbelievers! Bring before me what is mine: four cheeseburgers, four Cokes – three regular, one diet – and—" Murdock paused for dramatic emphasis while Face tried very hard to look like he wasn't with him— "a sausage for Billy please. To go." Dropping into a flawless impression of Elvis, he added, "Thank you. Thank you very much."
Closing his eyes, Face groaned. He never objected to being the centre of attention, but this was the wrong sort of attention. Pretty girls were supposed to look at him with admiration and a little bit of hope, not giggle about him to their friends.
"What? You said play it cool, Faceman, and that's what I'm doin'. Playin' it co-o-ol." Murdock's 'co-o-ol' ranged from B flat to D sharp.
Oh well. Least he didn't bring Billy with him.
Another time, Face would have amused himself flirting with any attractive girls in the vicinity while he waited for the food to arrive. This time, his heart wasn't in it. He did return a couple of looks with a smile, purely out of habit, then took the food and paid for it.
"Here!" He stuffed the bag against Murdock's chest and left, the pilot ambling alongside.
Hannibal grinned around as Face opened the door. "How'd it go?"
"Gee, I don't know, Hannibal, why don't you ask Freddie Mercury over there?" Face clambered inside and settled himself in his seat.
"Ah. That good, huh?"
Face glared at him. "Let's just get outta here. BA!"
The van stayed where it was as BA twisted round to glare at Face. "I ain't goin' nowhere unless you stop singing!"
"What? Yeah, fine, I promise never to sing again. Now can we please move it?"
BA floored the accelerator and the van screeched away, smoke rising off the tires. In the back, Murdock rooted around in the food for a few minutes before extracting a sausage and dangling it two feet above the floor.
"C'mon Billy! C'mon boy! Sit up. Si-i-it up. You gonna sit up?" Pause. "Billy, if you don't sit up, I'm gonna eat this here sausage myself!" Pause. "Yeah, thatsa good boy." Murdock dropped the sausage, which thunked onto the floor.
"Shut up, fool! Ain't no dog back there! And get that food offa my floor!"
Seeing Murdock looked like he was about to a) protest or b) resume singing, BA turned on the radio just as Brenda Lee came on the air.
All alone am I ever since your goodbye
All alone with just a beat of my heart
People all around, but I don't--
"Uh...Faceman?" Murdock frowned at the lieutenant, who had suddenly frozen. "You okay?"
"Turn that off, Hannibal." Face's voice was hoarse, almost inaudible.
"What?" Hannibal glanced round, surprised. Face didn't usually object to the radio.
What he saw didn't reassure him. Face's skin was so white even his lips had a bluish tinge, and there was a tense, strained look on the lieutenant's face that Hannibal had never seen before.
"TURN IT OFF!" Dropping his food, Face made a dive for the radio, inadvertently knocking BA's arm and causing the van to swerve across the road, narrowly missing an oncoming car.
"Okay, okay! Take it easy!" Hannibal clicked the dial as BA attempted to regain control of the van. "It's off. See? It's off."
Face let out a breath that he hadn't realised he'd been holding, then slumped back in his seat, running his hands over his face.
"Are you okay?" Hannibal felt stupid asking even as the question left his lips - Face was most definitely not okay, he was as far from okay as the colonel had ever seen him - but he didn't know how else to broach the topic.
"What?" Face glanced up. "Sure. Sure I'm okay, Hannibal. Why wouldn't I be?" He forced a shrug, then a grin. "I just...don't like that song, that's all."
"It didn't look like you didn't like that song, kid; it looked like you were terrified outta your wits."
The lieutenant managed a laugh. "What? C'mon Hannibal, that's crazy! I mean, why would I be scared of a song?"
And if it had been anybody else, he probably could have pulled it off. But Hannibal was a little too shrewd, and he knew Face too well to be fooled by him.
"I mean it! I'm fine! Where's my burger?"
"You dropped it on the floor when you tried to assassinate the radio," Hannibal answered, "and then trod on it."
"What? Oh." Face glanced down at the smashed mess of relish, ketchup, burger and bap that had been ground into the floor by his boot. "Right." He settled back, glancing to his right. It was done purely for show, since the back seats didn't have a window to look out of, but Hannibal got the message well enough. Pushing Face for answers now would just make the lieutenant clam up tighter.
Murdock broke his burger in half and gave one piece to Face, going so far as to push it into the other man's hand when Face didn't immediately respond.
The rest of the journey passed in silence.
Okay, more will be along soon :) Hope you liked this chapter and if you read, please review!