We Can Be Heroes
An A-Team Movie Verse & Club Denial Fan Fiction
by Darth Stitch
DISCLAIMER: See first chapter. Standard disclaimers apply.
DEDICATION: Yep, sparrowsverse – this last bit's for you.
Interlude: "In Dreams"
He sees the crest of a great wave, slowly, inexorably rising, coming up over the seas.
Templeton knows he must get up to the Meneltarma before it is too late. The wave, green and cold, tipped with foam, higher than the mountains of his beloved home, is slowly claiming the land in its wake, unstoppable, terrifying.
The peak of the Holy Mountain, the highest in Numenor, is his only chance.
The earth shudders and shakes beneath his feet. He stumbles but he knows he can't stop. He does not want to die, not here, cold and alone, swallowed by the dark. Despite the tremors and the destruction that he is seeing, it is oddly silent – he knows he should hear the screams of the people dying all around him.
There is no time to wonder at that – no time to think. He has to run, as fast as he can, before the sea claims him.
He reaches the mountain and begins the torturous climb up to the very top.
In the back of his mind he believes that this is only fitting. It is his punishment, for the sins he's committed, for the blood he's spilled. He's never been worth anything, nothing more than a pretty face and a charming smile and a knack for lies and deceit that can get him anything and everything he wants. He feels the truth of that, a cold spot that begins in his chest, in his heart, spreading out to the rest of his body, freezing him so that he can't move, can't breathe, can't do anything.
He is nothing.
The great wave has claimed nearly all of the land now and it is still not satisfied. The waters are rising, faster and faster, all around the mountain, all that is left of Numenor now. There is no hope, the Meneltarma will be no refuge – it too shall go down into the deep, into the dark.
The sea claims him.
"Sleep well, Templeton. I've got you."
Strong arms are around him and Templeton is no longer on the mountain but on the decks of a great ship, watching as Numenor falls into oblivion. He leans back into that embrace, feeling a kiss brush his temple and a gentle voice, touched with that brogue he loves so much, whispering comforting words into his ear.
"I've got you, Templeton. I won't let you go. It's all right."
Their world has been lost – destroyed by the mad ambitions of their fool of a king. But he and his beloved are sailing into a new world now, to carve out a new beginning. He should have remembered that – he would always follow his other half, even if they would be led to the very ends of the earth. Templeton knows that unlike their king, his beloved would die first before he would lead them astray.
Templeton turned his head, lips beginning to shape his beloved's name…
Part IV: We Could Steal Time, Just For One Day…
The pieces are all in place. The game is set.
Vance Bennings and Tony Bright are within the ruins of Poienari Castle, waiting for their customers. The Jewel is safe in the sturdy metal briefcase handcuffed to Bright's wrist. Their other team members are somewhere else – Burkie's got them covered with his sniper rifle and Meeker's close enough to come in if things get ugly.
Vance has convinced Bright of this – no fucking scams, not today. The Jewel goes and they walk away with their money, free and clear, no matter what. He's got the rest of the team backing him up on this – Burkie's as antsy as he is and he's tired of constantly looking over his shoulder. Meeker just wants to get things over with as well.
Bright, as expected, gives them a hard time, but they all convince him to agree in the end. It's just another piece of shiny rock. While it's true that it is rare and beautiful, in the end, it's not going to be worth shit if they all ended up getting killed over it. So here they stand, dressed warmly against the cold mountain winds, waiting for their buyers.
The view here is spectacular – they can see the roads from the ruins of the castle's highest tower. Small wonder that Vlad Dracula had wanted to build his citadel here, where he can easily see his enemies coming. Vance appreciates the history of the real Prince Dracula, who was a far more brutal, terrifying bastard than the vampire persona created for him by Bram Stoker. The castle was literally built from the blood, sweat and tears of the nobles who were Dracula's enemies – all of whom preferred hard labor to an excruciating death by impalement. Vlad had his mighty fortress and had gotten rid of his political nuisances all in one fell swoop.
Vance appreciates the Prince's eminent practicality. Like him, it was time for all of them to see that practical side of things.
He sees their buyers making the long climb up the stairs that had been built much later, for the tourists wanting to visit. Fifteen hundred steps is a hell of a long climb and the two men coming up don't look like the usual flaky Dracula-freaks checking out the so-called "haunted ruins." They're also dressed warmly against the cold, both wearing almost identical long coats.
As they get closer, Vance gets a better look at them. The first one is apparently the real buyer – young handsome guy dressed casually but expensively, carrying himself like he owned the ground he walked on and everybody else in his path. Vance knows the type – arrogant, spoiled assholes that had nothing better to do but just spend their money on the next new toy.
Vance would bet his last dollar that the second man was former military, probably this guy's bodyguard, just slightly taller than his companion, sharp blue eyes seeming to watch everything. This man is the one to look out for – one doesn't get to be an old soldier by being an idiot and this one might have left his military career behind but he certainly didn't look like he'd left his skills rusting.
Their breath is coming out in white puffs in the cold air but they look quite relaxed by the time they reach the tower. Apparently, Pretty Rich Boy keeps himself quite fit in what probably was his expensive state-of-the-art gym. They exchange pleasantries and their false names.
After that, they get down to business.
"We want to see what you have first," Pretty Rich Boy says casually. "I'm sure you understand. It's a no-return, no-exchange kinda deal, yeah?"
"Of course," Bright answers smoothly. Quickly, he cradles the case in one arm as he flips it open. The jewel is nestled securely in the black velvet that cushions it. The Light within seems to shimmer like it was alive and for a moment, all of them are stunned silent by its radiance.
And also in that same moment, Vance feels an echo of that possessiveness that Bright feels, that need to take the Jewel away from all other eyes, to cradle it in his hands, glorying in its Light and the sense that the Jewel was his and his alone.
He shakes his head to clear it. It's like he lost his head for the last few minutes because Bright's suddenly drawn a gun on Pretty Rich Boy and demanding that he make the money transfer to their account now, before he blows his fucking head off.
Oh fucking hell. The shit's just hit the fan. Tony Bright's eyes are fever-bright and utterly mad, as he repeats his demands for the money. Vance taps his comm to give Burkie his orders. It's all gone to hell in a handbasket within the space of a few minutes. He just knows their Captain's gone batshit insane and things were going to get real ugly real fast but he has to get them out of this somehow because he was the only one left who could do it.
Split seconds to make a decision and Vance doesn't know if he's about to tell Burkie to shoot Tony Bright or their buyer but the decision is taken away when he hears Donald Burke scream like a lost, damned soul.
And then, things take a sudden tilt into sheer insanity.
The minute Hannibal laid eyes on Tony Bright, he already knew that things were not going to turn out well. Vance Bennings still seemed capable of reason – his Captain was most certainly not. They had all been taken off guard when Bright had shown them the Silmaril – he thought he already had a good idea of what to expect when Feanor had told them that this stone contained part of the Light that had shone upon the world before Sun and Moon were set in the sky.
He really should have known better.
And now, he could truly understand why Elves and Men and Gods were so willing to wage war for the sake of the Silmarils. Soldier that he was, Hannibal only found himself saddened at the wasted lives and the spilled blood. He too could understand why this particular Silmaril had to be returned from whence it came.
Face didn't miss a beat when he found Bright's gun pratically shoved almost right between his eyes. His lieutenant was already doing some fast talking, trying to distract Bright from Hannibal drawing his own gun.
Bright swung in Hannibal's direction. "Don't even think about it! I've got you both covered and I can shoot you dead faster than you can draw that gun – "
But Face had already drawn Sting from his coat and he was not going to hesitate. Hannibal knew his lieutenant was good with a knife and he'd always known Face was fast but Face underestimated how sharp an Elven-forged blade could be and his strike managed to neatly sever Bright's gun hand from the wrist.
Bright screamed and went down on his knees. He'd managed to snap the briefcase containing the Silmaril shut before he'd drawn the gun on Face, and it was now dangling from the handcuff securing it to his remaining hand.
Sting was glowing.
Jesus! Hannibal knew what that meant and he wasn't surprised to see Anduril glowing as well, as he drew it partway from its scabbard. It was supposed to be midday but now it looked like the sun had been hidden by a thick, dark blanket of clouds. Hannibal felt the fine hairs on the back of his neck rising as he could again feel the presence of the evil that had been stalking them ever since they had arrived in Romania. It was done with hiding – Hannibal could visibly see the Shadows drawing near, taking shape…
Taking material form…
There was another scream – Hannibal was only thankful that he could not recognize that voice. He'd sent Murdock after the other group's sniper. Next to Face, it was the pilot who was actually one of their team's best marksmen. But Hannibal was quite sure that it wasn't Murdock who'd taken down that sniper.
Hannibal took aim at Vance Bennings who had been evidently trying to contact their team's sniper before they had all heard him being effectively taken out of play. The man had also been dazed for a few precious seconds by the Silmaril's light and had been slow to react. But his eyes are wide and terrified seeing the Shadow-Wraiths gathering around them.
"What the fuck – what the hell is this…"
"If you want to live, you let us have the jewel and work with us on this," Hannibal said, keeping his voice calm and cool, keeping the gun trained on Bennings. "It's the jewel they want, that's all."
Bennings looked at him and then at his downed Captain, who was trying to open the briefcase again, even with his maimed stump of a hand.
"Don't be a fool, son," Hannibal pleaded with him. He was banking on this one's common sense coming into play – he had the distinct feeling that Bennings had not been willing to pull this scam at all.
"Fuck this," Bennings whispered. He ran over to Bright, who screamed incoherently as he still had enough sense to realize what his companion was about to do. The other man still had enough strength to try and use the heavy briefcase as a weapon but Bennings was having none of it.
Hannibal ran over to help him. "Face! Draw your sword!"
It felt strange to give that order but guns weren't going to work against those things and they had already tried to get to Face just the night before.
Bennings was still struggling with Bright. Suddenly, he was thrown off by the other man, who was displaying surprising strength after all the blood he's lost. Bennings hit the old stone walls hard and slumped unconscious on the ground – he was only lucky that those walls were there to keep him from going over the mountain. But he did succeed in getting the briefcase open – the Silmaril tumbled out on the ground, rolling in Hannibal's direction.
Hannibal did not hesitate – he dove to the ground to pick the jewel up. The Silmaril fit comfortably in his hand and was small enough to slide into the inner pocket of the coat he was wearing.
Tony Bright screamed again – first at the loss of his treasure and finally as one of the Shadow-Wraiths seems to merge right into him. It was a sickening sight – blood and flesh slowly melting away, sucked right in by that creature, as if by doing so it helped the thing take on a more solid form.
His gun was going to be useless – Hannibal stashed it away and drew his own sword. His old sword masters had taught him that there was no room for hesitation – not in a fight like this, not when his opponents were faster than a normal human could be. Anduril sang as he brought it against the Wraith, the blade slicing cleanly down through the thing's shoulder and neatly severing it almost in half. Whatever enchantment had been woven into the blade was surprisingly effective – the Wraith gave one cry and shuddered into dust.
Face was doing just as well – Hannibal made a note to himself to find out just who taught the kid so that he could track them down and personally thank them. If the situation hadn't been so dire, Face was beautiful to watch as the Wraiths tried to surround him – moving fast and sure like he'd been fighting with a sword and dagger all his life – each strike calculated to take down the enemy, no move wasted.
More and more Wraiths seemed to be coming out of the woodwork – this place was certainly not any kind of hallowed ground, Hannibal knew. Too much blood had been spilled here, too much evil done, too much death – it was practically fertile ground for the goddamnned things.
Hannibal heard gunfire and B.A. giving a war cry as he'd opened fire on another cluster of Shadow-Wraiths.
"Holy Jeebus, Bosco!" he heard Murdock cry out in wonder and delight. Murdock wasn't kidding – those were like no bullets Hannibal had ever seen. It was as if B.A. was attacking the things with fiery points of light and it was surprisingly effective at taking them down.
Hannibal knew a few old buddies who'd be mighty interested in that.
And then, there wasn't time to wonder anymore as another cluster of Shadow-Wraiths made for him, effectively cutting him off from reaching his lieutenant. Hannibal swore and got moving – the few days that they had in Club Denial were enough to shake the rust off his old skills. Some of the Wraiths did have weapons of their own and Hannibal had paid enough attention to Morrie and Feanor to know that getting nicked by one of those things was not an option.
Somehow they had to make it out of there – probably need to make it to hallowed ground if they possibly could. Hannibal had no intention of following the footsteps of his fool of a commanding officer long ago – he was bringing his boys home and alive no matter what.
He heard Murdock crying out the words to the ancient hymn to Elbereth. This time, it wasn't just a vision – the pilot seemed to blaze with an inner light and power that Hannibal had only seen in a very few people as he fought. Hannibal did remember when he was first taught that hymn, long before he'd met any of his boys. Somehow, he'd understood the words in that beautiful, alien tongue, like a half-forgotten memory finally restored to him.
And the words were reminiscent of the prayers of his childhood and wasn't it all the same in the end?
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our deaths…
le nallon sí di'-nguruthos!
to thee I cry now beneath the shadow of death!
Murdock had the right idea. And Hannibal had one more thing to try. He drew the Silmaril out of his coat pocket and raised it high, crying out:
A tíro nin, Fanuilos!
O look towards me, Everwhite!
Perhaps it was the speaking of the ancient names of the beautiful Queen of the Valar, named the Star-kindler. The Silmaril in Hannibal's hand responded to that and blazed bright like a tiny sun, burning away the Wraiths in its radiance. Hannibal had to close his eyes against the sight – not because of the brightness but because the beauty of the Silmaril was too much to bear.
But when Hannibal opened his eyes, it was to see Face, held at dagger's point by a strange old man.
"Well played, son of the Sea-kings," the stranger said mockingly.
The old man was quite tall and apparently, deceptively strong for somebody his age, one arm locked securely around Face's neck and shoulders, the other hand closed around a short sword, its blade the disconcerting color of old blood. That blade was held threateningly against Face's throat – all it would take was one swift move and Hannibal could just see Face go down with his throat sliced wide open.
Albert Pallando – Hannibal finally recognized him. So the old wizard had finally decided to show up for this little party.
"You have something that rightfully belongs to me," said Pallando. "I suggest you return it as I am sure you hold your lieutenant's life quite dearly."
"Funny," Hannibal answered. "Story I heard was quite different – Feanor Curufinwe made the Silmarils long ago and you don't look like any Elf I've ever seen."
"Toss the goddamnned thing into the river, Hannibal!" Face yelled, before being cut off by the wizard hissing some word in a tongue Hannibal didn't even want to name. Whatever he did seemed to briefly cut off Face's air intake, the younger man turning ash white.
"Stop!" Hannibal cried out. He had to stall for time, had to make his move when it was just right. The Silmaril was in his hands and there were a lot of things that he could do with that jewel – he knew how to pull them off too. While he wasn't a wizard, not by a long shot, there were ways to take guys like Pallando down.
But Pallando had Face and every one of those options would end up in Face getting killed or worse and Hannibal knew all too well there were some things that were worse than death.
And Pallando knew it all too well. Hannibal could see Face visibly slump in the wizard's grasp as the ability to breathe was restored to him. The wizard pressed the flat of the blade just against Face's jawline.
"I don't even have to kill him, you know," Pallando said conversationally. "One nick, just enough to break his pretty skin and draw his blood and he'll be mine."
"Do that and I swear that there won't be any place you can hide from me," Hannibal snarled. "I will find you. And I will kill you."
The wizard laughed.
And the world began to shift.
Hannibal knew he had to stop Pallando, somehow, before he dragged all of them into that Place In Between where he could possibly call more of the Dead to him. He met Face's eyes and it was he could do not to react to the complete and total trust that he could see there. That and the fact that Face had somehow managed to hold on to Sting, having slipped it up in the sleeve of his coat.
"You've got nothing but cheap tricks, Pallando," Hannibal growled, holding the Silmaril aloft, mentally preparing himself. It responded to him easily, holding off the wizard's attempt to change the battlefield.
"And here we all were thinkin' you were a wizard worthy of the name you been takin'," came a familiar drawl. Murdock had just stepped up next to him, Glamdring in hand. Hannibal had a very odd sense of Someone Else hitching a ride with their pilot and he found the Presence reassuring. "But you're just nothing but a kid with a whole bag of magic tricks you just want to try out, ain't you?"
For the first time, the wizard faltered, grip loosening just slightly on Face. "I am Pallando the Blue! I am of the Order of the Istari!"
"You been a long time out here then," Murdock said casually. "Been out so long that maybe your skills have gone to seed. You'd think you'd gone on and done the whole World Domination bit by now, if you're so strong."
And Hannibal understood what Murdock was talking about. Feanor had feared that they were facing not just a human gifted with Power but a Maiar, a near-angelic being. But even Sauron had been taken down by Men once, a long time ago. And it was a Hobbit, of all things, that had dealt him the final blow.
"Sauron at least had the sense to make some rings for himself," Hannibal added, getting into the game, blessing Murdock for his glib tongue. "Instead of going after somebody else's jewelry!"
He just had to stall a little bit more, get a little more time. The jewel was pulsing in his hand and Hannibal could feel the power gathering around him and Murdock.
Pallando spoke another word in that foul language and Hannibal could feel the attempt at the jewel in his hand. It seemed to shrug off the attack, blazing briefly bright in answer. Murdock was right – Pallando had a lot of tricks but he was, in the end, just a Shadow without true substance.
Just a few more seconds. That was all they needed.
"It is not yet time to shatter the jewel, Pallando – though you have no right to that name," said Murdock or was it Murdock? Hannibal wasn't so sure, but he thought he'd recognized the voice that suddenly spoke.
Feanor and Morrie did promise to lend any aid they possibly could.
"It is my name! Mine! And the Jewel is mine!" Pallando screamed, waving the short sword far too dangerously close to Face, so close that if Face just breathed, he'd get cut by that thing.
"If Pallando is your name and you are of the Order," Hannibal returned quietly, "then where is your staff?" Murdock was not the only one paying attention to all the stories Morrie and Feanor had been telling – Hannibal had been listening quite closely as well. And he'd spent some time in Club Denial's library before they left.
And all of a sudden and perhaps this was the Silmaril's work, Hannibal could see Albert Pallando clearly. A family long steeped in the occult and magical works, claiming for themselves a name steeped in legends so old that the truth in them had already been lost in the endless distortions wrought by the long ages. There was genuine power there, it was true, but it was lost in Albert Pallando's delusions and lies.
The Silmaril held the Light that had shone upon the world before Sun or Moon was set in the sky. The Light would never tolerate lies – it would banish its shadows, leaving only the truth.
"Give me the Jewel!" Pallando snarled. This time, he struck out again, a blast of power aimed straight for Hannibal himself.
Several things happened all at once, all at the same time.
Hannibal cried out to Elbereth and the Silmaril blazed to protect him.
Face took advantage of that brief moment of inattention to slide down and strike out with Sting. The wizard was too fast – Face succeeded only in grazing his belly but not before taking a hit across the chest with the wizard's short sword. Face was fast enough not to make the wound mortal but the wizard had drawn blood from him.
And B.A., who had been carefully sneaking up on Pallando the entire time, finally brought the axe Dramborleg on the wizard's head.
Murdock had followed up with Glamdring soon after and what was left of Pallando fell to the ground.
A dark mist emerged from the wizard's fallen body, making Murdock and B.A. fall back. It dove for Face, enveloping him completely for a few terrible seconds.
Jesus! "Face!" Hannibal dove for his lieutenant, Silmaril blazing in his hand.
A cold, clean wind suddenly blew, blowing the mist away.
"You guys just kept disappearing from my sights," B.A. said, sweating profusely despite the cold, eyes wild. "I just had to keep going and trust all y'all were still there."
"S'okay, buddy," Murdock told him. "You were there right when we needed you."
"You did fine, B.A.," Hannibal said, sparing a moment for their sergeant, even as he knelt and turned Face over. That wound, at any other time, given by any ordinary weapon, wouldn't even need stitches. But Face was completely white, his skin cold and those bright blue eyes were dull and lifeless.
"Jesus, kid, don't do this to me," Hannibal breathed. Not Face. Not like this!
Face gasped and then started shaking, eyes wide and unseeing. No, Hannibal didn't want to think about what he could be seeing.
He pressed the Silmaril into his lieutenant's hand. The thing wasn't meant for healing but it was Light and perhaps it would help keep Face with them, just a little bit longer.
"I won't lose you," Hannibal growled. "You hold on for me, do you hear, lieutenant? You hold on for me, soldier, that's an order!"
He could, vaguely, hear Murdock giving B.A. orders. Something about his pack and making a fire and for once, B.A. wasn't saying things like "crazy fool!" in response.
Then, he felt Murdock's hand on his shoulder. The pilot's blue-green eyes were suspiciously bright. "Now I know what Uncle Feanor was nattering on about making sure I kept the athelas with me all the time."
Hannibal stared at him blankly. They had to get Face out of there, right now. He wasn't sure how they would manage to get him down 1500 steps and to the waiting van, but they would manage, somehow. He opened his mouth to give the orders but Murdock beat him to it.
"Hannibal. The hands of the King are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known."
Interlude: "A Light in Dark Places… "
Interlude: "A Light in Dark Places… "
The great wave had claimed nearly all of the land now.
Templeton stood alone upon what was formerly the highest peak of his homeland. It too was slowly sinking beneath the waters, sinking deep into the darkness.
He could swim but he couldn't hold out indefinitely. It was just so easy to let go, to give into the darkness and the cold. He let the waters close over his head, sinking down….
I won't let you go!
You hold on for me, lieutenant!
Templeton knew that voice.
You hold on for me, soldier, that's an order!
Orders? He wasn't always good at following orders but he did follow when it came from that particular person. He always did, didn't he?
If he could only remember his name.
Templeton found himself in this Place that was really No Place at All. It sounded so silly, so crazy, to call it that. But that was what it was, a place that was nothing but shadows and mists. Empty of everything. Completely silent.
Don't do this to me, kid.
Kid? Yeah, that was what he was, just a kid, someone to be taken care of, a soldier under his command.
Come on, Face, come on back to us, kid.
It should be enough, shouldn't it? He could follow that voice back, come out of this No Place – there was something waiting for him out there. He just couldn't remember what that was, why was it so important, why it meant anything at all.
It did mean something, didn't it?
Templeton. Come back to me. Please.
There was something raw and aching in that voice now; the lilt more pronounced than ever. Templeton thought he recognized that emotion but he was afraid to give it a name.
And then, he saw the Other, hand outstretched, blue eyes bright with that nameless feeling that threatened to take away the comforting shadows and cold that was wrapped around him now, wanting him to simply lie down and give in.
Please, Templeton. For me?
"I'm afraid," Templeton whispered.
"You don't feel the same way I do – you never will. I don't blame you, you know. It's just how things are sometimes." The truth was pulled out from him unwillingly – he hated it that he couldn't seem to hide all of a sudden, that the shadows lied – they couldn't give him any refuge, not anymore.
What makes you so sure that I don't feel the same way?
"You've always been like this – you'd run into hell for any of us and we'd do the same for you," Templeton answered.
A soft chuckle, warm with amusement and that emotion Templeton didn't want to give a name to, was his reply.
Templeton Arthur Peck, I would follow any of you boys into hell and bring you back but you're the only one…
And then he drew Templeton close and suddenly, it became clear to him, because in this place, in this moment, there was absolutely no room for anything but the truth.
You're the only one I'd do this to.
And he was being kissed. Kissed suitably breathless and when Templeton found his beloved - yes, that was the word and he could use it freely now – gazing at him, blue eyes alight with the same exact feeling, he could finally speak his name.
Part V: And We Kissed, As Though Nothing Could Fall
Templeton Peck woke up in a nice, comfy bed and just thought of one thing.
That was one hell of a dream.
And then, he realized that there was a familiar silver head resting on the side of his bed and that particular person had taken posession of his hand.
There was a very pleasant scent in the air and Face couldn't really describe it, except that it just felt like everything that was fresh and new and sweet. With the barest hint of expensive Cuban cigars, which was another scent that he associated with Everything that was Good and Wonderful and had something to do with a certain Colonel who should have been in bed, instead of being camped out here. The scent seemed to be coming from the basin of still steaming water that had been set on the bedside table.
"Hey," he said softly, his free hand gently stroking the fine silver hair, unable to help himself.
Bright blue eyes met his, as Hannibal woke up at his touch, almost immediately. "Hey yourself."
Oh, Jesus. Face just felt his heart skip a beat at the sight of that familiar grin. Also because there was no mistaking the expression on his Colonel's face now.
"I think," Face said carefully. "I might still be dreaming but if I am, I'd better not wake up. Because this is a very good place right now and whatever's in that basin is some pretty good shit right there."
"What's in the basin helped me save your life and no, you're not dreaming," Hannibal answered. "At least not right now you're not. The rest was quite real, trust me."
Hannibal's brow went up. "Oh? That's all you've got to say?"
Face's cheeks were burning but he saw that spark of sheer mischief dancing in his Colonel's eyes and realized what he was up to.
"Well," he drawled. "We could pick up from where we left off from my dream, because that was a damn good place to start."
"You might want to get a little more specific there, Templeton." Oh, Hannibal was evil. A completely evil bastard and Face loved him for it.
"Kissing the charming Prince awake from his enchanted slumber was a pretty good way to flip the fairy tale over but this Prince wants more of the kissing. Because that was a very good thing. Especially coming from his true love and all that."
Goddamn, he got Hannibal Smith to blush. Again!
But Face did get what he wanted. He got to bury his hands in the older man's hair as he was kissed, quite thoroughly and then treated to tender, gentle pecks on his closed eyelids and his nose and then, a bit later, little, teasing nips down his throat. And just when he thought it would be a good idea to pull his Colonel down and make things a little more interesting, Hannibal drew back, seeing that he was suitably kissed breathless yet again.
"And that's all you'll get for the moment, at least until you're better," Hannibal laughed at him.
"Damn it, Hannibal," Face pouted up at him.
"I love you too, Templeton."
"That's not fair!" Face protested.
"I know," was the smug reply and Face got another brief, infuriatingly teasing kiss to take away the pouting.
And then, whispered against his mouth was a far more serious, "Never scare me like that again, Templeton Arthur Peck. You hear?"
"I love you too, John," Face murmured back, utterly contented now. At least for the moment.
"Is it safe to come in yet?" Murdock sung out a few minutes later. He waltzed in bearing a tray that had a bowl of probably delicious homemade chicken noodle soup in it and some bread. He frowned as he took in the distinctly neat appearance of the two men – well, perhaps Face's lips might look a little bit swollen but he would need a mirror to be sure about that.
"Is that Grandma's chicken noodle soup?" Face said, feeling greedy and unable to help it. Suddenly he was hungry.
"Yeah, Momma Bear and I'm disappointed in you!" Murdock scolded. "I would think that you and Poppa Bear would be making out like a pair of lovesick teenagers at this point!"
"Murdock!" Both Hannibal and Face growled together.
"Now what you going on about, you crazy fool?" B.A. said, also coming into the room.
"Well, lookit Poppa Bear! Not a hair out of place! You'd think that now they've both been finally hit upside the head by Clue by Fours, we'd see some evidence of shenanigans going 'round!"
Hannibal had already set the bowl of water down on the floor and had gotten the tray of food from Murdock. Half of it was to hide the blush that Face knew was also on his own face and the other half was to get him his food, which Face would be eternally grateful for. Also, Face felt quite capable of feeding himself and he let the Baby Bears squabble amongst themselves while planning vengeance.
"Now why would you be looking for shenanigans here, Captain?" Hannibal asked quite casually.
"Yeah, Murdock – no shenanigans or snugglebunnying going on around here, no sir," Face said innocently, having already taken a few mouthfuls of chicken noodle soup. Damn, but it was good.
Hannibal stared at him, partly amused and partly horrified. "Snugglebunnying, Lieutenant Peck?"
Face shrugged. "What? It's a good word, Colonel, sir! I like it!"
Hannibal made a show of considering it. "Yeah. I'll agree to that. No snugglebunnies around here. Don't see a single one."
Murdock stared at them both, eyes wide. "You two are messing with me, aren't you? Bosco, Hannibal and Face are messing with me!"
B.A. sighed and simply gave his report. "By the way, Hannibal – Vance Bennings and Howard Meeker have gone back to Curtea de Arges. They had enough of the whole supernatural crazy shit. Ain't gonna give us trouble, I expect."
That was all that was left of the other group? Face shook his head. He'd seen what happened to Tony Bright and he didn't want to imagine what had happened to the other guy on the treasure hunter team.
Murdock was still protesting. "They're trying to drive me sane, Bosco! SANE!"
"From where I standin' that a good thing, fool!"
"AUGH! I'm tellin' my Uncle Nunkies on y'all!"
"Honestly, Face, snugglebunnies?" Hannibal whispered as Murdock ranted about hopeless eejits and how stupid love could be and begged B.A. to build him Clue by Fours.
"I found your secret stash of Opus the Penguin comics." Face whispered back.
They laughed softly together.
EPILOGUE: Just For One Day…
The Silmaril wasn't like Sauron's One Ring. It had no will or malice of its own, to compel its bearer to its bidding, twisting and warping the body and soul of the one that carried it beyond all recognition.
The Silmaril bore Light and Light simply cast away all darkness and shadows, leaving only what could live and grow in its radiance.
Truth was one of those things.
Truth could be completely unforgiving. It could strip a man's soul to its barest core, exposing greed and lust and pride and unbridled ambition, everything that was base and unworthy.
Truth could also be completely liberating. It could expose love and loyalty and trust, everything that should be said and expressed.
The Silmaril was like a two-edged sword and it could cut anyone in either of those ways.
There was no place in the world that could truly be safe for the Jewel, other than the deep waters of the earth. It would be found again, as the others would be – to be reunited with its siblings – the one set in the sky as a star and the one cast into the bowels of the earth.
But it would not be this day.
A lone helicopter flew out to the Black Sea. Just another random aircraft, perhaps bearing scientists on their way to their research stations or perhaps even military. It didn't matter. No one marked the small, radiant jewel that was dropped from the chopper.
No one saw the jewel fall and be reclaimed by the waters, to lie waiting, until the very Last Day. And who could say when that could be? Or what the Major Players might decide to do, in the very end?
The chopper flew back inland, its quest over, its mission accomplished.
- end -
OH. MY. GAWD. The EPIC Plot Bunny That Went And Took Over My Brain Is Finished! WOO-HOO! (does happy dance)
Hannibal & Face – Ahem. You guys happy nao?
Murdock Muse: Finally, he gets it!
Face Muse: Gets what? (is casually resting his chin on Hannibal's shoulder, arms around the older man's chest)
Murdock Muse: The love, you daft eejit! The love thing!
Hannibal Muse: (innocently) What love thing? We're just friends, that's all.
B.A. Muse: (starts laughing) Payback's a bitch, innit?
Murdock Muse: AUGH!
Uncle Nunkies – Uh. Yeah. This one's for you, Sushi & Wildrook. :P **
Face's Dream – I thought it made sense for Face to have the dream of the "great wave" and the destruction of Numenor. But I was thinking of Tar-Miriel, Numenor's last queen and Faramir, who was called back to the living world by Aragorn, which ultimately gave me the idea for the ending.
Opus the Penguin – Yes, we know Hannibal liked comic books – I didn't realize my Hannibal Muse had pillaged my stack of Berke Breathed comics though. And then it was Face's turn to do the pillaging…
The Research – Again, thanks to Google and some wonderful Travel Blogs, I was able to figure out the logistics of getting to Dracula's real castle and have a good idea of what it would be like up there.
Now, I still have more bunniez to let loose around here. And probably more crossovers. Eventually. Oh sweet jeebus….