We Can Be Heroes
An A-Team Movie Verse & Club Denial Fan Fiction

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.

Characters appearing from The Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings are of course the creations of the one and only J.R.R. Tolkien. The characterization of a Certain Somebody around here as "Morrie" has been borrowed with permission and a lot of love and affection, from the story "Blue Notes" written by Murasaki99. With Murasaki99's kind generosity, "Morrie" came to play in my universe and first appeared in my Club Denial stories. Blue Notes can be found on Murasaki99's Live Journal and stands as a classic and enjoyable WIP.

This is also an answer to a prompt on the LJ comm a_team_kink.

DISCLAIMER TO SAVE MY SOUL FROM GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET: Yes, I know I'm doomed. There has got to be a way for me to turn off my slash radar when I watch these kinds of movies. Or maybe movie!Hannibal and movie!Face have got to stop flirting with each other on screen. :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 for it.


I, I can remember
Standing, by the wall
And the guns, shot above our heads
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day…

- "Heroes," by David Bowie & Brian Eno

PROLOGUE: Or Why Iluvatar Has a Wacky Sense of Humor

The first time the man who now called himself Morris Bauman ("Morrie" to his friends) had set eyes on James Holland McTyeire Murdock, he was dead sure that Iluvatar was playing another one of His little jokes on him.

The One had a seriously whacked-out sense of humor. Only the Creator Himself could draw, with such exquisite skill, the crooked lines that would allow the one who was once Morgoth Bauglir, the Great Enemy, to save the world. Still, Morrie couldn't complain much. He ended up with his music, his beloved Steinway and the company of Feanor Curufinwe and there was Club Denial, which was a multiverse unto itself, with infinite chances for fun and mischief.

When Morrie met James, he was just a tiny, messy-haired toddler, looking at him with those big blue-green eyes. His lovely young mother was one of Morrie's neighbors, who lived in one of the apartments upstairs and worked as an elementary schoolteacher. Thanks to Mrs. Hailey, the local gossip – so very typical that every community, no matter what, had one of those – Morrie had learned that the young woman had been recently widowed. Her husband was a combat pilot, killed in the line of duty.

Those were just the details. What mattered was that he had recognized who James was right off.

It wasn't as if he could forget, right? Morrie had been having run-ins with James' family for thousands of years.

Feanor Curufinwe – "Fred" to the rest of the world – had confirmed it with his startled "Ai! Elrond's twins!"

While Elrond Half-Elven had left Middle-Earth all those ages ago, his sons had been allowed to delay their choice for a while and had stayed for as long as they possibly could. And it would be those rapscallions, wouldn't it? While it was true that Morrie hadn't met Elrond Half-Elven's sons while he was still running the Big Bad and Nasty Business (as Spike so eloquently put it), he had heard enough of them from Feanor and then got acquainted with them later to understand Feanor's reaction. The twins had decided that the Club was a nice place to visit and eventually became among its Regulars. Feanor had always said that the real crazies didn't come from his side of the family, oaths-that-should-never-have-been-sworn notwithstanding.

Manwe's balls, those two were absolutely nuts!

Despite the fact that there were thousands of years in between, the ancient bloodline that came from the very first union of Elves and Men, with that strain of the Ainur, was still true in little James Murdock. Besides the obvious "good" qualities, there was that propensity for mischief and adventure, that hint of wildness and ferocity in his soul and that need to be free. All these things bespoke of Elrond's sons, the twins Elladan and Elrohir. James was a bright kid and he was a frequent visitor to the Club, taking in all its wonders and oddities – which would have driven a lesser mortal quite mad – with easy, sunny acceptance.

So Morrie, Feanor and whenever the twins came to visit – Eru help them all – kept an eye on the child. Not that any of them were expecting world-shattering things to come from James H.M. Murdock. There was no prophecy to fulfill, no Great Quest to undertake and as of the moment, Everyone Qualified was engaged in their own never-ending battles agains various and sundry Bad Guys. But that wasn't the point, really.

They watched over the boy and his mother because they were family. Even if it was a gap of generations over thousands of years.

Truthfully, all of them thought that James would grow up, grow older, "forget" all the Decidedly Fantastical Things That Went On at Club Denial and live a fairly ordinary life. Well, given his ancestry – it wouldn't be that ordinary. One way or the other, a lot of that bloodline inevitably ended up somewhere where they would be helping people. But it would be a simple mortal life, untouched by any of the magic and the mysteries that Morrie, Fred and the Club Regulars dealt with on a regular basis. And that was how things were meant to be.

When James H.M. Murdock turned eight years old, his mother was killed.

There were a great many ugly things that went on in the world – hell, Morrie was intimately acquainted with most of them. But even one of the Valar could not adequately explain why a little boy would have to live with the memory of holding on to his mother's battered body. The two of them had been crossing the street on their way to school when a drunk driver barreled through. Anna Murdock had just enough time to get her child out of the way.

She bled to death in the arms of her young son.

And there were some things that even the Valar who was originally the Great Rebel, could not interfere with.

The boy hadn't cried, not once during the funeral or while his mother was buried, only staring blankly ahead, blue-green eyes dull and focused inward.

It was Morrie who'd found young James in his room after his mother's funeral. He was idly playing with his G.I. Joes, apparently engrossed in a story of his own making, having the Joes off on an adventure in that unknown territory that was Under the Bed.

"So how are the Joes going to find Cobra Commander's new super-secret base and destroy his Particle Blaster?" Morrie asked the boy quietly, not wanting to give the Joes' position away to the bad guys.

"I don't know," answered the child. He held up one of the G.I. Joe toys, all too obviously the main hero of the series and quite well-loved, given that the original yellow color that had made him have blonde hair had already faded almost to white. "He hasn't come up with the Plan yet."

"I'm sure he'll figure it out," Morrie agreed solemnly. "Maybe he'll be able to think things through a little better if you guys come out from under the bed for a bit."

James shook his head. "Can't."

"Why's that?"

"Mama'll see me. Can't let her do that. I promised, her, you see?"

Morrie gulped. Oh, he wasn't so good at this. He wasn't supposed to be any good at this. But he was going to ask the question anyway. "How can your Mama see you? And what did you promise?"

James lay down and shifted just a little bit under the bed, so he could stretch out his arm and point in the general direction of the window. "Mama's star is out there. She'll see me. And I promised her that I'll be brave and….it's awful hard to be brave right now." Blue-green eyes blinked rapidly, the little face wanting to crumple in tears but maintaining its courageous façade.

Morrie sighed and leaned against the bed, looking up at the window. Somehow he knew which star James meant. It still shone bright up in the night sky, as it would now and forever more.

Earendil was a mariner
that tarried in Avernien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in;
her sails he wove of silver fair,
of silver were her lanterns made,
her prow was fashioned like a swan,
and light upon her banners laid.

"That's pretty," the child whispered.

"That's the real story of your Mama's star, you know?" Morrie told him, trying not to think how terribly ironic it was that he, of all people, would be telling this story to this child of Earendil's blood. "Bearing the Silmaril wrested from Morgoth's crown, he sails the skies in his mighty ship Vingilot, the Flammifer of Westernesse."

The words came easily to him as he told the story from its beginning – he'd lived through parts of it after all. He told the story as it was and if James thought his rendition of Morgoth Bauglir was suitably terrifying, he took it as a compliment. Slowly, he was able to coax the child out of his hiding place so they could watch the stars together.

And if, at long last, he could see the tears running down the child's face, Morrie said nothing about it.

"I'll fly up there one day, you'll see," James declared fervently. He was not sniffling and he just had something in his eye, so Morrie lent him a hankie so he could wipe away the wetness on his cheeks.

"Yeah, you will," Morrie confirmed. He was dead sure of it.

The boy didn't fall asleep until Morrie finally ended the story, at least until as far as up to the part where Earendil was set to sail across the starry skies each night, only to be met by his beloved Elwing when morning came.

"You really should have been the one telling the stories here," Morrie told the other member of his audience, who had been standing at the door the entire time. "Especially that story."

Feanor smirked. "Now, Melkor, who am I to interrupt a storyteller in the midst of his tale? Especially when he's been telling it so well."

Morrie snorted. "You get to tell him the family histories next time."

The Elf smiled and went to sit on the bed. James was fast asleep, head pillowed on Morrie's thigh. They'd be putting him on his own bed soon.

"There will be other nights and other stories to tell," Feanor said softly. "We're not letting him go anywhere, are we?"

It was not a question. It was more a statement of fact.

"We'll figure it out but yeah, he's staying," Morrie confirmed gruffly. No sense in letting the Elf think he'd gone that soft – he'd never hear the end of it. But they would fight like hell to keep the kid with them.

He was family after all.


Interlude:

Legends had to start somewhere.

Naturally, the story of a Special Forces commando team gone rogue made the headlines for a couple of weeks. Speculation ran high on exactly why the group had done so – thievery, the murder of a well-respected and honored general, framed for a crime they did not commit and the possible involvement of the CIA. Outside of a Tom Clancy novel starring Jack Ryan, since when was the CIA portrayed as the good guys? Others pointed out how dangerous these four particular men could be – being former Army Rangers, their additional Special Forces training enabling them to survive in impossible situations and to be capable of nearly anything.

Somebody had dropped the ball somewhere on these guys and heads had rolled.

But then, the whispers and the rumors started trickling in, passed on through emails, blogs, tweets, networking sites – even through good old fashioned word-of-mouth.

The descriptions of the four men were always the same – a slightly older good-looking man with silver hair, a blonde handsome smooth-talker, a slightly odd fellow with a red cap who could switch accents at the drop of a hat but seemed to have the touch of a Southern drawl the rest of the time and a burly black man with a mohawk.

And soon enough, even if "A-Team" had been used to describe Special Forces units for a good long while, that particular moniker had stuck to these four men. "The A-Team" sightings soon began to come up from all over and almost always the stories would say that these so-called dangerous federal fugitives inevitably ended up helping people.

There was the story of that truck driver who'd been hijacked and was consequently helped out by his four hitchhikers. There was the tale about the owner of a diner being terrorized by local thugs and had received assistance from her four customers. There was that family camping out and it was thanks to the efforts of four men who'd also been camping in the area that their little girl was found and brought back home to them. There was that farmer being bullied into selling his land but was able to keep the farm going with the help of his four new farmhands, who incidentally managed to scare off the greedy landgrabber trying to muscle his way in.

And for the stories that said otherwise – soon enough, they would be proven false, one way or the other.

Somewhere out there, a certain lady Captain, upon learning of those stories and safely away from the general clusterfuck that had exploded in the wake of The A-Team's escape, laughed and wished a certain Lieutenant well.


Part I: Club Denial: On Idiots Trying to End the World

Sometimes, Morrie wondered if he shouldn't just come out and publish the Official Handbook for Evil Overlords.

Hell, he was the original Dark Lord – if there was anyone who could be an authority on the subject (certain Other Fallen Powers Not Counted As They Served a Whole Other Purpose Entirely), it would be him.

Now it was true that there were Rules about this sort of thing floating about somewhere – it was just, as a certain pirate captain had put it, guidelines and not exactly the bloody Ten Commandments, savvy? Still, no matter how ridiculous it was, because there was always going to be some snot-nosed Hero/Heroine who was going to get in the way with their assorted Sidekicks, nearly every Evil Overlord-wannabe planned to take over the world. This Goal was something Morrie could understand – he'd Been There, Done That, spun the cotton to make the lousy T-shirt and hell, even grew the damn cotton plant.

Of course, none of these bozos had the right to do so – it was his world, damn it and he made it and Eru help him, he should have had a say on what happened to it before his brothers and sisters decided to put other creatures in it like Elves, Men and animals.

(Okay – maybe he should calm down before he ended up doing something on the order of the Cosmically Stupid.)

Still, he understood the desire for World Domination even if he was going to do everything in his power – if he was called upon to do so – to put a major monkey wrench in their Nefarious Plans.

Morrie wasn't asked to do that fairly often. Most of the time, every Evil Overlord-wannabe had their corresponding Heroes/Heroines to deliver the Righteous Ass-Kicking that they so richly deserved.

(The Author would like to note that despite his current status on the Good vs. Evil Roster, Morgoth Bauglir still has a tendency to backslide every now and then and conveniently forget the roles the other Valar played when they all gave their contribution to the Great Song that forged the world into being. The Author would like to caution the Gentle Readers not to point this out to "Morrie" for the sake of their continued existence.)

But what Morrie absolutely could not stand was the Evil Overlord who wanted to bring about The Apocalypse.

Yeah – everyone was familiar with that. The kind of Nasty Big Bad that wanted to destroy the world completely, bring about the Final War Between Good and Evil, Ragnarok – all that bad shit. These guys didn't even care about World Domination or covering the world in darkness or recreating it into their own twisted vision. They just wanted oblivion.

Morrie didn't have a problem with the oblivion part – some people were just whacked enough to want that and hell, if they wanted to end their lives, well, whatever floated their boat, right? What he did have a problem with was their insane need to drag everyone else who was actually minding their own damn business and getting on with their lives, thank you very much into their demented self-destructive fantasies.

With that kind of Nasty Big Bad, Morrie would be the first in line to deliver Righteous Ass-Kicking. And he'd do it with a Song on his lips.

Tonight, the Club was closed and most of the Regulars had gone home. The Little Blue Fuzzy Creature that helped Morrie run things had thoughtfully left some pastries out for snacks, had a few bottles of various liquors out and what suspiciously looked like miruvor. She also managed to brew a pot of good coffee for anyone who wanted it.

Morrie rather suspected that the Little Blue Fuzzy Creature had been hanging around the Hobbits for way too long. Hobbits were rather particular about their comforts, not that he wanted to complain about things. The atmosphere would be warm and pleasant, even if this impromptu Council would be discussing dark and terrible things.

The thin, pale, shivering young man who was telling most of the story tonight was Oliver Wilmington – Ollie to his friends. Ollie was one of those cheerfully geeky kids, who'd grown up with Morrie and Fred's adoptive nephew James. He would have been at home with his laptop and his papers, in the relative safety of dusty libraries. But Ollie, however, had a yen for adventure.

He just didn't expect that he'd be in over his head before he knew it.

A wealthy, eccentric English gentleman who was known to them as Albert Pallando had offered to fund the research Ollie and his team of fellow geeks were doing into the Atlantis legends. Ollie had actually discovered certain ancient texts what Morrie had realized had to be records of the lost kingdom of Numenor.

Feanor had once observed that the memory of Numenor would never really fade from the minds and hearts of men – that beautiful, ancient kingdom ruled by those kings born from the united bloodline of Elves, Men and the Ainur. It would endure, even as tangled myths and garbled legends capturing what poor memory that they could of its greatness and the terrible hubris that led to its destruction.

Of course, since Ollie and his team were just the researchers, Mr. Pallando had assembled a team of undersea treasure hunters to aid them in their explorations. And while they were off on the Irish Sea, they somehow managed to find a large, exquisite jewel in its depths. It seemed to shine with an inner, radiant light. Very briefly, it had lit up the entire area around the ship like a small sun before it faded to a brilliance that would be bearable to the human eye.

Feanor had visibly started when he heard this – Morrie already had his own suspicions on exactly what that jewel actually was.

Unfortunately, instead of delivering the jewel to their benefactor, the treasure hunters opted to keep it for themselves and sell it to the highest bidder. Ollie had been foolish enough to trust the leader of these treasure hunters, who had assured him that they would get the jewel to Mr. Pallando, as promised. But it looked like the treasure hunters had definitely disappeared with their prize.

Obviously, Mr. Pallando was not pleased.

And one by one, Ollie's team began to die, until he was the only one left alive.

To anyone else, reading between the lines of this story was fairly obvious. Mr. Pallando was proving to be a man one should not betray and that he'd sent his own people after Ollie and his group, being as they were the last link to those treasure hunters. The solution seemed to be simple – protect Ollie, find the jewel and bring it back to this rather unscrupulous but obviously powerful man.

But Ollie spoke of Shadows…Wraiths… that came in the night, implacable in their demands that the jewel be found and returned. He described his friends going to sleep one night, only to find them mysteriously dead in the morning, their faces almost twisted beyond recognition with horror.

"You should have seen them," Ollie said, his voice trembling. "They were so black….so cold…like I was being dragged right into the grave and I'd never be warm or see the sunlight again…. No, you don't want to see them, you really don't, I wouldn't wish it another soul…"

Feanor stood and poured him a cup of miruvor. "Drink this – it will help ease your nerves."

Ollie did and immediately, color returned to his ash-white cheeks. "It feels… warm. And good."

The Elf smiled at him.

"So basically, Uncle Morrie, that's Ollie's story," Former Army Ranger Captain James H.M. Murdock concluded, glancing at the shivering, nervous wreck that was his old childhood playmate. "He sort of ran into us, screaming about Shadows and babbling about horror-movie stuff. Figured that was more up your alley."

"Both of you are crazy fools," grumbled one of James' companions – introduced to Morrie as Bosco "B.A." Baracus. Although Sgt. Baracus was actually the shortest member of the team, he was solidly built, seemingly made out of the very bones of the earth, like the Dwarves of long ago. "Ain't no such thing as ghosts and creepy shit."

"Look," said James' second companion, the distractingly handsome young fellow so aptly nicknamed "Faceman." Lieutenant Templeton Peck might be fair of face and form, but one had to note that he was just a shade over six feet tall and that the well-built body that was shown off by the simple but carefully chosen casual clothes would tell the astute observer that those muscles weren't earned by long hours in the gym. "I get the basics – Ollie here's got bad taste in friends and he's been left in the lurch. I'm sure this Mr. Pallando guy's going to send somebody after Ollie and I'm sure those somebodies will be very ordinary and very human and we're likely going to have a bastard of a time getting rid of them…. If this is a safe place for Ollie, I'm all for it."

James sighed, removing his cap and running a hand through his unruly hair. "For the nth time, boys, you gotta trust me on this – you don't wanna mess with all this hoodoo and crap! This ain't no joking matter."

"Easy there, Captain," soothed the silver-haired man who was presented as James' commanding officer, Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith.

Morrie had done a double take when he'd first set eyes on the man.

"Colonel," James said earnestly. "I'm serious about this – this ain't me trippin' out on you guys. I'm not steering you wrong – this is some really fucked up bad shit right here and my Uncle Morrie and Uncle Fred can help us."

"You don't understand!" Ollie burst out. "They're all real! The Shadows were already chasing me when I ran into James. But…" And at this, he looked at James and Colonel Smith with wondering eyes. "You two frightened them away. They were afraid of James and the Colonel… I know he ordered them to go."

Morrie sighed and poured himself the strongest whiskey he had. Yep, Ollie had spotted exactly what Morrie had seen the first time he had set eyes on John "Hannibal" Smith. He recognized the expression in those steely blue eyes, determined and completely unafraid.

He'd seen that same look in a certain Man's eyes, once upon a time and long ago, that foolish, courageous soul who'd gone on an impossible, suicidal quest so that he could honorably win the hand of the woman he loved, the most beautiful woman who had ever lived.

Somewhere Up There, Eru Himself had to be laughing.

B.A. and Face looked at their Colonel with varying expressions of disbelief. Feanor only raised his eyes heavenwards, murmuring, "Ai! Beren and Luthien…"

Colonel Smith returned the looks of his men steadily. "I did see…well, something."

"You've got to be kidding," Face told him.

"Like I said, the Colonel's got the Force with him," James said with evident satisfaction.

"Will you stop it with the whole Jedi thing?" B.A. said gruffly.

It was very significant that with their leader's sudden, reluctant admission of the impossible, the two skeptics in the team were slowly but inevitably being made to see the truth of the matter.

"I did see Shadows, all around the kid here," Colonel Smith admitted reluctantly. "I just knew I could get them away from him. So…well… I did."

Morrie pounced on that. "Did this sort of thing before, eh?"

The silver-haired man had the grace to look absolutely sheepish about the whole thing. "You could say that." He rolled his eyes at a wide-eyed James, Face and B.A. "Long story, tell you later, maybe once you've got a few drinks into me."

"I'm holding you to that, Boss," Face answered.

"Yeah, yeah…"

Ollie nodded excitedly. "I saw you and James! You were both filled with this kind of light… and you… you were crowned, sir."

"Crowned with silver and a star set on his brow," Morrie murmured. Yeah, it was just too perfect.

"Exactly that," Ollie confirmed.

"Okay, I'm getting lost here," Face admitted. "Somebody bring us up to speed?"

"I can," Morrie drawled. "But I'll need two things from all of you – you give me a listen, no matter how crazy it sounds and you don't interrupt until I'm done. Sounds fair enough?"

Feanor snorted. "Mortals!"

"Now don't you start," Morrie admonished him. "Unless you want to do the storytelling here – it's your family history I'm retelling!"

"No, no, you're much better at this than I am," Feanor had the audacity to smirk at him. "Also, your point of view is unparallelled."

"Guys – flirt later, story first, please?" Face broke in, even as James burst into laughter. "I've a feeling this is going to be a doozy."

Morrie took another drink – really, he needed this, before he began. He looked at James fondly. "Some of this stuff – you already know. Told you this before when you were a kid – all about your Mother's star, remember?"

"Yeah, Uncle Morrie," James' eyes were suspiciously bright. "Every word you were tellin' was the absolute truth, right?"

"Yep. And now, you fellows need to know more."

Morrie had already suspected exactly what was it that Ollie and his team had found. The Jewel filled with Light, found in the depths of the sea. The way that the treasure hunters were immediately filled with the burning need to possess the jewel, to profit from it themselves – the inevitable betrayal and the bloodshed that stemmed from this. It was an age old pattern that had been repeated throughout this particular precious stone's history. The connection with Numenor. The Shadows and how Ollie's friends had died, the victims of a malicious, implacable will. The stench of darkest magics around the whole series of events and Morrie had a very bad feeling about the real nature of this Mr. Pallando.

It had to be one of the Silmarils.

Morrie gave them the basics. There wasn't time to delve into each and every back story but he gave them enough to start with. That long ago, the Three Silmarils were jewels crafted by Feanor Curufinwe. That he had, in their making, somehow managed to contain the light of the Two Trees, the first sources of Light in the World that Came to Be. That they had been stolen (and how Feanor had winced at the memories) and that a terrible Oath was sworn that they would be returned. That endless battles and blood had been shed for their sake, in keeping that accursed Oath. And that the first to successfully retrieve one of the Silmarils were Beren Erchamion, a mortal Man and Luthien Tinuviel, fairest of all the Elves to ever walk Middle-earth. It was the jewel that Beren and Luthien had recovered that was set to to shine in the skies, borne by Earendil the Mariner on his ship. The second Silmaril was cast into the very bowels of the earth.

And the last into the Seas.

And there were the three jewels meant to be, until the time would come for the Dagor Dagorath and for the world to be remade.

"Okay, this is a good story, some real good shit right here," BA said. "Call Peter Jackson – he can get about three more movies made over this. All I'm sayin' is why we can't just find this jewel and just give it back to this Pallando guy."

"Uh… Bosco, do you really want to give something like that to this kind of asshole?" James pointed out. "Even if you don't want to believe in the magic stuff, he is bad juju, buddy."

Feanor had been letting Morrie do all the talking this entire time but now he couldn't let this slide. "Have you not been listening? He has no claim on the jewel – if anything, I would be its rightful owner –"

"Easy, Firesoul," Morrie cautioned him.

Feanor whirled on him, eyes blazing but stilled when Morrie reached out for his hand, fingers closing gently on his wrist. "Do you really want to invoke your Oath, at this time, in this place?"

The Elf held his gaze for a few more moments and then sighed, and shook his head. "You were serious about helping me, weren't you?"

"You just have to ask."

"I will not, Melkor, you know that."

It was an old, long-standing agreement between them. Frankly, Morrie was glad Feanor still had some sense about this but he had a lot to make up to the Elf later.

"You said you are the jewel's rightful owner?" Trust the Colonel to pick up on that one.

"Jesus," Face breathed. He'd been paying attention to the story and he didn't miss that exchange between Morrie and Feanor. Nor was he missing on what his commander had just picked up. "It's real, this stuff you're telling us. It's all real."

Hmm. Definitely more than fluff in that pretty blonde head.

James rolled his eyes. "It's like what I've been sayin' all along. Just 'cause I like bein' on the crazy side don't mean I don't see sense!"

Ollie, who had quietly been sipping his miruvor the entire time, was now staring at Feanor. "You are shining too. Brighter than James or the Colonel here. And… you're different…"

"Because he's not human," the Colonel said quietly. "I noticed that when we came in. I was just waiting for you two to tell us the backstory – you know it so well because you two have lived it, haven't you?"

"Not human?" B.A. burst out.

"Cast aside your doubts now," Feanor told them, tucking a stray lock of hair to reveal a delicately pointed, elfin ear. "Believe us when we tell you that these are not merely stories – they are history – the shared history of Elves and Men. I crafted those jewels all those ages ago…"

"And I was the one who first stole them," Morrie bared his teeth in a feral grin.

And for a few brief moments, Feanor Curufinwe and Morgoth Bauglir, once ancient enemies but now firm allies, allowed the humans with them to glimpse what they truly were.

Yeah. Finally, all of them believed – no room for doubt left.

"Yeah, Uncle Fred and Uncle Morrie can be a bit overwhelmin' when they do the light show," said James with an irreverent grin, breaking the silence that had followed those few moments of shock and wonder.

"So where do we come into this?" the Colonel asked.

Morrie sighed. "Somebody's got to get that jewel back and cast it back into the Seas where it belongs. I can guarantee you that this Pallando guy's the one who's been sending the invisible nasties after you. He'll come up with more and probably worse, eventually."

"There are all sorts of mischief that this one can get up to with the Silmaril in his hands," Feanor said, shaking his head. "There is a power there that should not be unleashed upon the world, especially if he somehow manages to find out how to shatter the jewel. And that name he's taken troubles me greatly."

It troubled Morrie as well. A Wizard was a generally useful person to have around on the Good Side, whether or not they happened to be one of the Istari or a human gifted with Power. But a Wizard lost to the darkness, that could just be completely, utterly mad… that was a huge problem. Especially if this one happened to be the exact type of oblivion-seeking, world-destroying Evil Overlord-wannabe that Morrie hated the most.

At least that bloody idiot Sauron just limited his vision to World Domination.

For once, James dropped the light-hearted, zany act that he'd learned to put on to deal with all the insanity that life threw at him and regarded Morrie seriously. "And you and Uncle Fred are just too close to this thing to take care of it yourselves, aren't you?"

"Considering what we're supposed to do if we get our hands on the Silmaril, well, yeah," Morrie admitted to his nephew. "Not planning to switch back to the Bad Side any time soon – not that your Uncle Fred will let me get away with it!"

"Hah!" The Elf snorted.

This was true. With Morrie's current standing on the Roster of Good & Evil, he wasn't quite sure how that was going to work out but he actually didn't want to take a chance on this. Frankly, he didn't feel like inadvertently bringing on the Final War – he was quite happy with his jazz music and his Club, thank you kindly.

James sighed. "Oh, hell." And then, he recovered his high spirits with his usual swiftness. "I'm in! Off to Mount Doom and Mordor and Deadly Peril! Hannibal?"

His commanding officer leaned back and lit up his cigar, lost in obvious thought. Morrie figured he'd love being introduced to the Hobbits' leaf.

"Special Forces training doesn't cover impossible Quests and magical jewels," Face complained. "Hannibal! You can't seriously be thinking about saying yes to this!"

"You're Airborne Rangers, aren't you?" Morrie could not resist this one. "This kind of thing is completely in your league!"

"Close enough to be Rangers of the North," Fenaor put in just as dryly. "Although, two of them are of the Dunedain… so it does suit them."

"Men of the West?" Ollie said, managing to translate that ancient word.

"Okay, I'm getting lost here again," Face complained.

"I been lost since those two gave us the light show," said a dazed B.A.

"You just don't know how lucky you got with this," Morrie told Ollie. "Run to anyone, anywhere else, and you'd have been toast. But you got to the two men who would have been able to protect you, by the grace that they still carry within them."

"Grace?" The Colonel said, with evident startlement, slanting a glance at James.

James shrugged, his own eyes wide and wondering. "I don't know – this is the first time I've heard about this. I just know that the stories they've been telling me since I was a kid were all for real."

"We didn't think you needed to know," Feanor told him, gently. "You and your Colonel are both from a very, very old bloodline and you both possess certain gifts. They will only wake at need… although in your case, you are already somewhat aware of these things, are you not, John Smith?"

Red spotted Smith's cheeks. "It's not something I like talking about. I just learn to live with it, that's all."

"And as for you, dear nephew, it's just a matter of time," Feanor told James. "Your longing for the sky is like the Sea-longing for us – why so many others of your kind call you mad for it. It has ever been a part of you, as it has been for your forefather, Earendil. You and your Colonel are of the bloodlines that had joined Elves and Men – of which Beren and Luthien were the very first. This bloodline has always ever endured – never shall it fail."

"In any case, this is why this particular Quest is all yours," Morrie said. "No one else can pull it off. Might as well keep it in the family, eh?"

"Which is why I believe it was more than just chance that led young Oliver to you and then to us," Feanor said softly.

"Huh," Morrie snorted. "Tell me about it. It's Somebody Up There's idea of a cosmic practical joke."

"Melkor!"

"What?" Morrie put on his best innocent look, which, of course, fooled no one.

"No matter how random things may appear, there's still a plan, eh?" John Smith said ruefully. He slanted a look at his second in command, clearly expectant. "Face?"

"You shouldn't even have to ask, Hannibal," answered the younger man. "Find a magical jewel, throw it into the sea, kick some ass, possibly prevent the end of the world – have I got it all covered?"

"He's as smart as he is pretty. He's a keeper," Morrie told the Colonel, not knowing why he had to say that but realizing the reason why as the man ran his hand over his face, obviously trying to hide the fact that he was blushing yet again.

B.A. sighed. "Somebody's gotta look after all you crazy fools. What's the plan, Hannibal?"

The Colonel smiled ferally, managing to recover his equilibrium in an admirably short space of time.

"Give me a few minutes."

- tbc -


Author's Notes:

Yep, this is the first WIP of the Sgt. Pepper Series. Didn't realize it was going to be a bit on the side order of EPIC. Oh sweet jeebus…(facepalms)

Club Denial – The Club Denial stories…well, both of them, can actually be found on the Harry Potter (Snarry) Masterlist that I have on my Livejournal. But one of them is definitely listed on my FF dot Net Profile. Hopefully, I've done enough that it isn't really necessary to go and read those stories… but hey, you guys are welcome to give them a look-see if you like. Heh. (looks sheepish)

James Holland McTyeire Murdock – The TV spots give "James" as movieverse!Murdock's first name but the H.M. has always puzzled fans. Given that I've got a yen for history, especially WW II history, I've decided that our favorite Captain was named after the famous WW II General Holland McTyeire "Howlin' Mad" Smith. Also, it makes so much sense that Murdock's going to trace his bloodline back to Elrond's twins. (chortles)

The Little Fuzzy Blue Creature – What Author Self-Insert? (looks innocent)

Hannibal - Does the hint I gave in "Get Back" make sense now? Seriously, think about it. Blue eyes, long shanks (er… I mean long legs), a very accomplished, very clever battlefield commander, a leader men would willingly follow into hell and back, older guy that can still kick serious ass and will for many more years to come…. If there was ever a modern-day descendant of Aragorn Elessar running around, Hannibal has got to be it.

Lord of the Rings Canon – By necessity, there's a lot of tongue-in-cheek stuff here and I do enjoy poking fun at canon every now and then. Especially if Morrie's being a Guest Muse. Oi vei….

Now, here's to figuring out what the hell Hannibal's going to do to get that Silmaril back. (facepalms)