All You Need Is Love
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: You know, it's very comfy over here. Feel free to come over for coffee. :P

WARNING: This story is part of a fan fiction series with slash elements. As in, two men being sweet on each other. So if this is not your cuppa tea, time to clicky-click on the back button and run liek whoa. Also a warning for bad language – swearwords in 2 different languages. Heh.

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

- John Lennon (Lennon/McCartney), "The Beatles"

Three little words.

Hannibal remembered when Face came up to him and finally admitted the reason he'd been running around the base with this goofy smile on his face, looking as if he could walk on air. The kid was in love – really in love or so he claimed – with the attractive Lieutenant Charissa Sosa. Hannibal had pretty much watched the endless SNAFUs that was Face's love life with fond exasperation but he did have reason to believe that his lieutenant was really serious this time around.

In all the time that he'd heard and witnessed Face's romantic escapades, he'd always heard about the ladies' physical attributes or character traits that Face found particularly attractive. He'd never once heard the so-called "L" word used in the way it had been meant to. Not that Hannibal himself had any real ground to stand on with that – he'd long accepted that the life they led made serious commitments difficult, if not downright impossible. And even now, in his heart of hearts, Hannibal knew he would find it difficult to settle down. Not yet. Not now. Maybe not ever.

But he was happy for the younger man - he'd known Face's life had been difficult before he ended up in the Army. Orphaned, shuttled from one foster home to another, never really belonging to anyone – Face shrugged that off and chose to survive, instead of spiraling down into the deep end. Lieutenant Sosa was a lovely young woman, smart, sharp as a tack and very focused on her career. So he nodded, gently teased Face about the whole thing and wished him well.

And then, things went south, as it inevitably did when it came to Face and women and for once, it wasn't funny. For once, Face couldn't shrug things off with a rueful grin and move on to the next lady. He looked lost – haunted.

Naturally, it would end in a bar and more than a few drinks. Hannibal braced himself for a long evening of his lieutenant crying over his shoulder – he'd done that before for more than a few friends and had his own moments back in the day.

Face never said a word about his lost lady love. Just drank and told stories of other romantic escapades that didn't end so well, but were a lot less painful to think about. He laughed at himself and Hannibal laughed with him but he could see that the laughter wasn't quite reaching his lieutenant's eyes. And then, Face hauled himself off the table and wandered across the room, his eye caught by a pretty face and long legs. As usual.

Hannibal mentally counted ten seconds before the inevitable bar fight broke out. This was not going to end well but he figured Face needed the outlet.

Hannibal was up to nine when he heard the glass breaking.

As bar fights went, it wasn't half bad – Hannibal let Face have his fun and just made sure the other fellow pulling out a switchblade was out for the count. And the one with delusions of being the next kung fu star. Not to mention the one with the bar stool. But when the Son of Kong came into the fray (next time, Hannibal had to make sure he hauled in B.A. and Murdock for these kinds of situations), the Colonel decided it was time to hustle his Lieutenant out of there.

Face was still giggling as they stumbled out of the bar and had slung an arm around his commanding officer companionably. "That was fun! Can we do that again?"

"Not until you're older, kid," Hannibal said with a grunt, trying to keep his balance which wasn't easy when one had to support a lieutenant who was thinking that the proper way to walk was sideways. Thankfully, he had the height advantage, which made things somewhat easier. He'd sling Face on his shoulder in a fireman's carry if he had to but he just didn't want to take the risk of the other man throwing up on him.

"Awwww…." Face pouted. He leaned his head against Hannibal's shoulder. "Hey, Hannibal?"


"I love you, man."

Hannibal tried not to smile. Maudlin didn't even begin to describe this. Blackmail material was a better phrase but he took pity on his poor lieutenant, who probably wouldn't remember this come morning, if he were lucky.

"I love you too but you might want to try walking upright, Templeton," Hannibal returned, the words oddly easy to say and chalking it up to being just a little buzzed from the alcohol although he was very far from being drunk himself. He hoped that calling Face by his real name might help reach that currently fuzzed-over brain.

"'Kay. Just don't want to step on the Purple People Eaters, y'know?"

It was official – they were all spending way too much time around Murdock.

Somehow, Hannibal managed to get them safely back to the base. Face kept shooing "Billy" away when they got home – apparently he could 'see' Murdock's infamous dog – it was one those things that Hannibal didn't question anymore, for the sake of his own sanity. Face kept telling Billy not to bother the Purple People Eaters.

When they got to Face's bedroom, Hannibal was able to help him out of his coat and got him to take off his shoes. Face would have to worry about the rest in the morning. He was already sprawled on his bed and didn't look like he would be getting up any time soon, the way he kept yawning.

Hannibal shook his head and turned to go but then Face said softly, "You're leaving me, right?"

He sounded so forlorn as if Hannibal was going away and never coming back.

What the hell. The things I do for you, Templeton. Hannibal sighed, knowing perfectly well that Face wasn't firing on all cylinders as of the moment. "I'll stay with you until you fall asleep." He couldn't resist this next line. "Need me to tuck you in and kiss you goodnight?"

Face flipped him off and Hannibal laughed silently, promising himself that he'd get payback on this later. But he did pull the TV chair over next to the bed – Face liked things comfy and had somehow managed to get his hands on what amounted to be the Rolls-Royce of TV chairs. At least Hannibal had been comfortable.

That night became one of those things that they had just kept between themselves. It was an unspoken agreement and Hannibal had faithfully followed it, even though it wasn't as if B.A. or Murdock wouldn't understand. Not that Face went around moaning and groaning about it for too long, moving on to his next conquest easily. Face did occasionally bring up the subject of Charissa Sosa a few times when all four of them went out drinking together, if only in the context of reminiscing over the proverbial "ones that got away."

Hannibal was secretly relieved that the lost, haunted look he'd seen on Face when he had just broken up with the lady was gone. It was just one of those old wounds that had finally scabbed and healed.

And during those drinking sessions, Face hadn't been that maudlin and didn't go telling everybody and their dog that he loved them. He could only imagine the ribbing Face would've gotten from Murdock and B.A. over that. Well, Murdock was more than likely to play along and probably make things even more sappy, which would have horrified the hell out of B.A….

Come to think of it, Hannibal was the only one who'd gotten the infamous three little words out of Face, in a context that couldn't be taken as a complete joke. Go figure.

Last night, there had been a wild party at the Resort, celebrating the safe return of the hostages. The Filipinos definitely loved their food and Murdock had a ball in the kitchen experimenting with local delicacies – although nearly all of the American soldiers would refuse anything with bagoong in it. Eventually, after even the most videoke-crazy soldier couldn't muster enough energy to even sing "My Way" – they were warned about the odd power of that particular Frank Sinatra song to incite riots in bars – things degenerated into some serious drinking.

One of the Filipino soldiers had just received a "Dear John" letter from his girl back in Manila and things had just gone downhill from there. Worse yet – the poor guy was being thrown over for another suitor. For the moment, rank and protocol had been thrown out the window as the guys gathered to commiserate over this all too common sob story.

"Women should come with an instruction manual," said Corporal Raul Salvador – that night's unlucky soul – miserably.

"Amen to that, brother," Murdock agreed. "I think somebody oughta invent one."

"Yeah. Every time you get to meet one, you just read the manual and you should be good to go."

Hannibal shook his head, laughing quietly. Yep. It was getting to be one of those conversations – when everything seemed to make perfect sense at the bottom of the bottle. At least, until the hangover next day.

"I'll do it," Murdock declared. "I'll invent that manual! Today, it will be one step forward… for all mankind."

"Shut up, fool," B.A. told him. He turned to the young corporal, who looked about ready to keel over. "Look you just forget her, brother – she been playin' you all this time. She ain't worth it."

"Putangina naman eh," Corporal Salvador mumbled. "We had three years. Three years together and it didn't mean shit…"

"Pare, there's only one answer to your dilemma," Major Amante told him sensibly, handing him another drink. "Bottoms up."

"S'fucked up, sir," the Corporal said, doing as ordered and taking a long swallow of Ginebra San Miguel. "S'all fucked up."

"Been where you are, buddy," said Face, who was also pretty much tilting sideways at this point. Well, at least this time Hannibal would have some help carrying him back to the barracks.

"You?" The Corporal stared at the movie-star handsome American soldier in disbelief. For a minute there, he completely slipped into his native tongue, an all-too-common practice among most Filipinos, who seemed to play around with English and their local dialects at will. "Sa ganda mong lalaki na yan?" (A good-looking man like you?)

"Awww, Facey's a veteran of many a war on the battlefields of looooove," Murdock announced. "You listen to him, muchacho – this guy's our expert."

The other soldiers laughed and a lot of them huddled close, eager to hear the words of wisdom from an expert.

"That thing with your girlfriend and getting dumped for someone else?" Face said in his best lecturing tones, pouring himself another glass. "That's not fucked up. Shit happens. You deal. What's really fucked up…."

And then he paused as he threw back that drink and waved that glass with a dramatic flourish, threatening to spill what little was left. "Okay. Where was I?"

"You were about to tell us what's really fucked up," the Filipino corporal prompted, all ears.

"What's fucked up?" Face said, his eyes taking on that odd, lost, haunted look that Hannibal hadn't seen in years since his break-up with Charissa Sosa. "What's fucked up is loving someone and knowing that person will never love you back. At least the way you want that person to love you back. Know what I mean?"

Murdock choked and to Hannibal's surprise went spectacularly pale. "Uh… Templeton… you might want to stop before you really hurt yourself here, muchacho."

"Aw, hell, no," B.A. groaned. "Not Charissa again!"

Face snorted. "I'm not talking about Charissa, Bosco. I'm talking about –"

"Templeton Peck!" Murdock shouted for the first time in an unmistakable voice of command. Everyone stared at him, especially B.A.

Face blinked his eyes blearily in confusion. "Hannibal?"

Hannibal had been meaning to step in, sensing that Face was about to make some sort of terrible mistake but he wasn't quite sure what that was. Murdock had just beat him to it. "Templeton, maybe you should call it a night. Come on, kid."

To his relief, Face's shoulders slumped and he nodded. " 'Kay." And then, to the rest of the group. "I was talking about unrequited love. You remember that. Unrequited love's a bitch, guys."

"Jesus," Murdock breathed, burying his face in his hands.

"Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot," B.A. muttered, pouring himself another drink, staring into its depths like it held all the answers to the universe's questions.

Hannibal, however still had his priorities straight. Oddly enough, Murdock's uncharacteristic outburst had rendered him almost stone cold sober. The pilot wouldn't meet anyone's eyes, also staring down into his glass like it was the most fascinating thing he'd seen. Clearly, something was going on here and Hannibal was missing something vitally important.

The Colonel managed to help his lieutenant weave his way across the sandy beach to their barracks. Face was strangely quiet – this time around, he wasn't seeing any Purple People Eaters. Or Billy, Murdock's "dog."

"Hey," Hannibal began, just a little bit awkwardly but knowing he had to ask the question anyway, for Face's sake. He was beginning to worry and this just set off all his alarms in a way that he couldn't explain to himself. Never mind – Face was the important thing in this mission. "You okay, kid?"

"I'm cool, Colonel," Face said softly, looking out at the moonlit sea. "You're cool. We're all cool. It's all good."

"Templeton," Hannibal said, deciding to use his real name and not wanting Face to hide behind rank and protocol this time. "You know you can talk to me about this, right? This isn't just because I'm your commanding officer –"

"I know, Hannibal, I know," Face interrupted him, with this odd sad little smile. "No bullshit between us – you made me get that first thing, way back when. I'm good, really."

Hannibal shook his head. There was an odd sort of acceptance in that tone or perhaps it was resignation? Hannibal wasn't sure. He decided to let it go. Face looked somewhat more stable now so Hannibal let him go to his room without any further help.

Hannibal only dozed lightly during the rest of that night and he soon found himself sitting out on the beach, watching the sunrise. The soft murmur of the waves was oddly soothing – moments like these were rare and Hannibal was wise enough to enjoy these times whenever he could.

"Good morning, Murdock," Hannibal greeted their eccentric pilot, who had come up silently behind him.

"'Mornin', Colonel. Real pretty out here, ain't it? Billy really likes it here too, don't ya, boy?"

It said something about Murdock that Hannibal could almost hear the imaginary dog's excited yapping.

Hannibal decided to cut right to the chase. "You know what's going on with Face, don't you, Murdock?"

There was a sharp, indrawn breath. Hannibal didn't like doing this but he didn't have any choice as of the moment.

"I asked you a direct question, Captain."

A tired sigh. "Yes, sir. I do know, sir."

Hannibal closed his eyes for a moment. "Relax, Murdock – I'm not going to ask you to betray any confidences Face may have given you." He motioned Murdock to join him on the sand. "I'd rather hear whatever it is from Face himself, if he's willing to say something and if he's ready to do that."

He didn't ask why Face had chosen Murdock to confide in. Sometimes, there were just things that one couldn't say to one person that one could say to another. Hannibal had to admit a certain curiousity to whatever that could be but that was as far as it went, the well-being of his lieutenant being his main concern.

Murdock sat down, very obviously relieved. "That's a lot of 'if's' there, sir."

"I'm willing to wait. He'll take his time," Hannibal smiled wryly. "And if he doesn't, well, what do you think we should do about it?"

"He's got us, Hannibal," Murdock said, surprising him with the fierce conviction and the odd but reassuring sense of protectiveness behind those words. "As long as he has all of us, and I mean, all of us, he'll be fine. You just trust me on that, Colonel."

Hannibal nodded. All of us. Of course. "Sounds like a plan, Dread Pirate Captain."

Murdock beamed. "Arrr! Avast me hearties! Yo ho ho, Billy-boy and a bottle of rum!" Off the Dread Pirate Captain went, running down the beach, imaginary dog bounding behind him. Yeah, Hannibal could also see those floppy ears and tail wagging every which way.

Soon enough, he was alone again, with only the sea for company. Unbidden, Hannibal's mind kept going back to two things that Face had said.

Unrequited love's a bitch.

I love you.

Three little words – so very hard to say if one really meant them and a joke when carelessly spoken. And when the sentiment wasn't returned or worse, if the feeling on the other person's side was different, it hurt like a son of a bitch. Yeah, he could see where Face was coming from with that.

I'm not talking about Charissa. I'm talking about –

It wasn't the lady lieutenant. Hannibal knew the truth when he heard it and Face wasn't pining, at least not completely, over love lost. The pieces of the puzzle were there in his head – he could almost put them together, though he wasn't quite sure he could grasp them all yet.

(He wasn't quite sure if he really wanted to understand yet.)

Not a love that was lost, he was sure. It was love that could never be returned, love that could never be.

Hannibal watched the sea and wondered.

- end -

Author's Notes:

And thus, our favorite Colonel is now feeling the first drops of rain from The Cloud of Doom. (cackles evilly)

Murdock Muse: I dunno 'bout the rest of ya but after Facey here about just gave me a heart attack, I think I'm gonna lie down now.

Face Muse: (clueless and doesn't really remember ) What? Heart attack? What's going on here?

B.A. Muse: Lalalalalalala – I'm not seeing this. I'm SO not seeing this!

I'm probably digging myself even deeper with this but I figure that AFTER the complete UMMFU that would be dealt to the Team in the movie, it would make absolute sense that they're not just going to limit their soldier-of-fortune operation in the U.S. This isn't the TV series anymore with a limited budget – this is the movie-verse. The idea of them running around all over the world helping people sounds like fun. And Jeebus help me, the idea of making Manila one of their home bases is beginning to sound mighty tempting… (facepalms)

"My Way" – Yep. If you wanna incite a bar fight in my country, someone just has to sing "And now, the end is neaaaar…"

Tagalog Words & Phrases

Actually, most of us Pinoys don't really speak straight Tagalog. Most of us speak Taglish – a combination of English and Tagalog, thrown together every which way.

Bagoong – a very pungent sauce, made by mixing fish and brine. I'm sure it's yucky to the rest of the world but to Pinoys, it's heaven. :P

Putangina naman eh – There isn't really an equivalent for "naman eh" other than to emphasize the statement. The other word is a very bad swearword derived from the Spanish. "Son-of-a-bitch" or "son-of-a-whoring-bitch" is the closest English equivalent to that.

Pare – derived from "compadre" – normally this is the word used for a very good friend, normally your best friend, the guy you'd pick to be your kid's godparent. Used in this context, "pare" just means buddy or the way you guys would say "dude" Like: "What's up, dude?"