With A Little Help From My Friends
by Darth Stitch

DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Belongs to 2 TV gods by name of Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell and is now a movie directed by Joe Carnahan. Will put the toys back when I'm done.

DISCLAIMER TO SAVE MY SOUL FROM GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET: At this point, I don't think I can blame Sushi anymore. I'm so screwed, aren't I? (headdesks) OMG…. at this rate, is this becoming a series?

Again, put tongue firmly in cheek and leave canon at the door.


What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends.

Paul McCartney & John Lennon, "The Beatles"

The team was never going to let Hannibal live this down.

Actually, Face would be riding him about this for months, if he was that lucky. Knowing that smart-ass kid, Hannibal would probably get ribbed about this for years. Face was the trouble magnet in the team, not him. Hannibal had lost count of the number of times he had to haul his Lieutenant out of trouble, trouble that he usually got himself into, jumping into it with both feet, eyes wide open and with that manic, devil-may-care grin.

And sometimes, the very worst of Hannibal's nightmares included that one time and God knew one time was all it took, when he would just not make it, be just a few seconds too late, to save his Lieutenant's life. Hannibal just knew he would never be able to live with himself if that day ever came.

He was pretty much the same for B.A. or Murdock – they were his men and he'd lay down his life for any of them. Oddly enough, he wasn't as worried over B.A. or Murdock, mainly because they seemed to be a lot better at staying out of trouble than Face ever was. And everyone else in the world thought Murdock was the crazy one.

He smiled sheepishly to himself. Though Hannibal would never admit it, yeah, he had trouble-magnet tendencies too when he was younger. He too just got lucky that he kept running into the right persons who would watch his back long enough for him to grow out of it (or so he thought, but every now and then, he would backslide). Plus, he just did a better job keeping that part of his past under wraps.

Sometimes, however, things like this just had a way of coming back and biting you in the ass.

Mentally, the Colonel assessed his situation, although his head was still fuzzy from whatever painkillers they had given him. He was in a soft bed, he wasn't restrained and he was somewhat comfortable although there was a certain tightness around his chest that only expert bandaging could produce and he could feel oxygen being filtered through his nose. That was a good sign – it meant they didn't have to give him an oxygen mask or take heroic measures to get him breathing.

He'd gotten shot. It wasn't the first time, of course, but he'd usually been lucky so far. The memories came back easily.

They'd just completed a mission – they'd successfully extracted the family of one of the dictator's known political enemies. Intel had reported that there was already an order out to have them all killed and a rescue was in order. They would be granted asylum Stateside and had already been whisked away by yet another Alpha Response Unit waiting in the wings. So all they needed to do was get home.

But Hannibal had sensed something was wrong and had yelled a warning to Face, knocking him down. And then he could vaguely remember Face shouting and B.A. swearing and the chop chop chop of Murdock in his Black Hawk taking them away and that his chest hurt and that there was blood welling up in his mouth…

Blackout.

Was Face safe? Hannibal figured the kid had to be, just as he'd known the shot was coming. He never could explain exactly how he knew things like that sometimes – he'd learned not to question this because it had saved his life and the lives of the men who served with him more than once. Murdock swore blind that it had to be The Force but Hannibal was no Jedi Master, even if their somewhat eccentric captain fervently believed he was a certain one in particular from the Star Wars prequels.

Right now, though, he didn't need that sixth sense to know that he was no longer alone.

"I'm not going to be getting any sleep here if you keep hovering, Face," he rasped, finally opening his eyes and finding his Lieutenant there, as expected.

"Good morning! How's your day?"

Face was being his smart-ass self, at least that was what he sounded like and he was smiling like he always was. But Hannibal watched his Lieutenant's eyes and he could tell that the smile wasn't there. He thought he recognized that look – hell, he'd probably seen that same expression in his own mirror a few times over the years.

Sick. Terrified. Guilty as all hell.

Yeah, he knew all that. It was the life they chose to lead – loss and grief and death were all part of it. But they were needed and no one else could do the things that they could do. That wasn't pride talking – Hannibal knew the truth and he never believed in running from it.

And Face was sitting there alive and well. Hannibal could live being out of the action for a couple of weeks. It was worth it.

"Did you get me a cigar?" Hannibal returned.

Face shook his head and snapped a quick salute. "Sorry, Colonel, sir! Doctor's orders. Can't have 'em just yet."

"Keep that up, Lieutenant and you'll be on KP duty for a week."

They were bantering, like they always did, as if things were back to normal but Hannibal knew things weren't. At least, not quite yet. He was pretty used to reading the younger man by now and knew he wasn't completely all right.

And then:

"Told you that the Force is with him!" Murdock crowed, appearing in Hannibal's line of sight and adopting a completely dead-on British accent this time.

Face rolled his eyes. "Great, that's all the Boss needs – feed his ego even more."

"Hey, Hannibal – you definitely lookin' better," B.A. offered, thankfully deciding to be the voice of sweet sane reason today. "Don't you pay attention to either of these fools – you just rest up a little more."

"Doubt the Force you should not," Murdock abruptly switched his mental channels over to Yoda this time.

B.A. brandished a fist. "Force this, Yoda."

"Hey! Keep it down or the nurse is gonna come in and kick us all out!" Frankly, Hannibal was too tired to play referee this time around and quietly blessed Face for taking on the role.

"Awww…. Facey, I know she's awful sweet on you," Murdock wheedled, dropping the Yoda voice. "You just bat them big pretty blue eyes of yours…"

"And then some," B.A. snickered.

Face, naturally, had to preen. "When you've got it, you've got it, boys."

"Oh, fine, feed his ego next," Hannibal mock-growled at them, joining in the fun. "I'm not going to be responsible for yet another SNAFU in the sordid love life of one Templeton Peck."

"Hey!" Face protested. "That gag with your friend the general's daughter was way back and I still don't like it that you had to announce to the entire ship that I was gay."

Murdock choked.

Hannibal raised a brow. "Stopped you from getting molested, didn't it?"

"Yeah, I just got pounded by her gorilla of a fiance," Face said sourly.

B.A. was laughing. "Sorry, brother – you just got a way with the boys too, I guess."

"Fuck you, Bosco," Face said good-naturedly.

Murdock was still choking. Actually, Hannibal was prepared to swear that their good captain was strangling on his own laughter.

"What the hell's the matter with this fool?" B.A. said, pounding the pilot on the back.

"Use the Force, Murdock! Use the Force!" Face chanted.

"I'm givin' it all she's got, Captain!" Murdock managed, abruptly switching fandoms. Not that Hannibal himself was that much of a geek, never mind his secret stash of comic books – ahem, graphic novels, in his foot locker.

Face stared at him in mock-horror. "Heretic!"

"Wot? Fellow can't be a Trekker and a Warsie at the same time?" Murdock demanded.

"Blasphemer!" Face pointed an accusing finger at him. "For the love of Kirk and Spock I shall smite thee!"

B.A. slanted a look at Hannibal. "Anyone asks, I don't know neither of these fools."

Murdock was very, very clever – Hannibal had to hand it to him. Face had been playing one of his usual roles this entire time, trying to hide behind his usual masks. But Murdock wasn't having that. Hannibal wasn't going to stand for it either.

Oh well. He had to do it, right?

"Trust in the Living Force, my young apprentice," Hannibal deadpanned in his best impression of that Irish actor. "All will be well."

"Aw, hell, no," B.A. groaned even as Murdock cheered.

It was worth it to see Face's eyes go wide and finally get him to laugh for real. That was a good start. The Colonel met Murdock's eyes and the latter tipped him a mischievous wink.

Hannibal really loved it when a plan came together.

- end -


AUTHOR'S NOTES:

a. Raise your hands, people and tell me if Somebody around here is REAL Oblivious. Yeah? Thought so. Sigh. :P

b. It's official. This is going to be a series. Oh sweet jeebus have mercy on my soul…..

c. You guys have absolutely no idea how hard I laughed when I read the comic book "Shotgun Wedding." For those who've never read it, that's what Face is talking about when he refers to the whole thing with the general's daughter. A couple of lines in here were definitely inspired by that comic.

d. Hannibal a sekrit fanboy geek? Shhhh... don't ask, don't tell... :P