This Is This & That Is That
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: The handbasket party is still ongoing, especially since I'm now addicted to a_team_kink. Oi vei. So, because I'm also a sucker for cuddles, this was a response to that prompt – Hannibal/Face. Cuddling.

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.


But we've not got so far as names.
Before a Cat will condescend

To treat you as a trusted friend,

Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply

Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste -
He's sure to have his personal taste.

(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,

And when he's finished, licks his paws
So's not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat's entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.

So this is this, and that is that:
And there's how you AD-DRESS A CAT.

"The Ad-dressing of Cats"
From Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot

Templeton Arthur Peck was a lot like a cat.

Hannibal was fairly familiar with the quirks and habits of cats. Cats seemed to like him and Hannibal remembered being adopted by the parish cats while he was growing up with Father Ryan. The kitties would regard him steadily at first, mostly because he had the same knack with dogs as well and most self-respecting felines would be wary of a human with the poor taste to hang around canines. Then, having made the decision that he was worthy of their attention, they would start twining themselves around his legs, purring all the while and demanding attention. They would also meow at him, clearly expecting that he would understand the many infinite nuances of the feline language.

Lord help him, most of the time, he actually did understand that.

Cats were devious, clever creatures, Hannibal knew. They were, each and every one of them, quite aware of their own attractiveness and weren't afraid to use it in order to wheedle their way in and out of trouble and to get whatever they wanted. He'd seen them use that big-eyed, innocent, pleading look many a time to coax an extra treat from Sister Esther or get onto a willing lap to get petted.

There was a lot to learn from cats and Hannibal knew every one of their tricks.

He'd watched Face employ similar tactics in numerous scams and cons over the years. The trick to a really good scam was to make the other person feel that they'd still gotten the best of the bargain or at least had so much fun during the whole exchange that they really couldn't find it in themselves to demand payback. Face was particularly good at the latter – mainly because he did like people and never forgot someone who did him a favor. There always had to be an element of truth in a role that a person had to play or one could never pull it off.

Hannibal would like to say that he could see through each and every one of the kid's tricks, having employed variations of those over the year. One can't con an old con artist and he knows he's done his share of successful scams and cons. Still, he knows there were times when he did let Face have his way, knowing perfectly well that the kid was trying to pull a fast one on him. Sometimes, he even let this fly without any payback in mind.

Once upon a time, Hannibal told himself that he let Face get away with the occasional scam or prank mainly because it kept his life interesting. The fact that he was rather fond of seeing Face truly, genuinely happy about something had absolutely nothing to do with those occasional decisions (read: lapses of better judgment).

Cats were also notoriously independent. One can't chain or collar a cat or expect it to roll over, fetch or play tricks. A cat's obedience and respect are earned and are not given lightly.

Hannibal had known that aspect of Face's personality, first time he'd met the kid, who was still in Ranger school. One of the instructors was an old buddy of his, who knew Hannibal would see the same kind of potential in Templeton Peck. They'd seen the kid's scores, how he was taking in everything that training was throwing at him with that patented smile and a wink. Officer and Special Forces training were clearly meant for this kid – if the rest of the brass could get past the scams and pranks.

"He's damn good, Hannibal," said that old buddy, rolling his eyes heavenwards. "Reminds me of you, only he's just a lot prettier."

That old buddy wasn't alone in his assessment. Face would never know just how many people went to bat for him on that – Hannibal among them, of course. He could never stand for such potential to go to waste like that.

Hannibal would never regret that decision.

He also couldn't forget the look on his future lieutenant's face when he learned the news. Priceless couldn't even begin to describe it. And giving Face that chance just allowed the younger man to absolutely come into his own. That wasn't just pride talking – Face's service records could speak eloquently on that score. Hannibal first took the kid in on his teams and eventually they became partners, working together on the smaller, more covert missions. Face did get distracted every so often by anything wearing a skirt but still, Hannibal began to realize that he didn't want anyone else at his back other than his lieutenant. Partnerships like what the two of them had, especially in their line of work, were a godsend. One didn't question it and certainly, one didn't mess with it.

Then, B.A. and Murdock came along and the four of them together just clicked. Maybe it was a cliché but Hannibal didn't give a damn – he and his boys made for a formidable team and even with what would happen to them later, Hannibal could still look back with pride on all the successful missions that they had managed to do. This time, Face didn't just function as his partner – Face was now his second-in-command and the kid came through beautifully. Whether it was finding the supplies the team needed and half the time, these weren't regular standard Army-issue gear or simply taking over from Hannibal if needed, Face was able to get the job done.

Murdock's Bear Family analogy was hilarious and appropriate, casting Face in the role of "Momma Bear" but Hannibal would always secretly think about how cats would hunt and bring back their little "gifts" of dead mice and sparrows for their chosen humans and how it was the lionesses who would hunt for the pride.

Face would kill him for the "Momma Cat" analogy though.

"Truth time, Hannibal," B.A. had finally told him a lot, lot later. "You been sweet on Face for years. You just didn't know it at the time but you always been sweet on him just like he always been sweet on you. "

This, coming from B.A., of all people. Hannibal couldn't even blame Murdock for this. Had they always been that obvious?

On second thought, best not to follow that line of thought too closely.

It was inevitable that the two of them were actually comfortable crossing into each other's personal space. Hannibal didn't really think twice about it. It came with the job and was the natural result of working so closely with one person for so long. It wasn't until much later that Hannibal had realized how comfortable they'd gotten with each other and out of all the men Hannibal had worked with, it was Face that he'd let down far more of his guard than he normally would.

Hannibal remembered the first time Face had ever gotten hurt on a mission. God, the trouble the kid could get into and ninety percent of the time, it was because of a pretty face. Hannibal wasn't taking the whole chivalry motivation as an excuse. Hannibal had begun to get silver hair while he was in his twenties but he was prepared to swear up and down that Face was the direct result of most of the silvery (not gray, thank you very much) strands on his head. Half of that was during the times he pulled the kid out of trouble and the other half was spent watching over him while he recovered from various injuries.

That first time, after Face was released from the hospital, both of them somehow ended up in Hannibal's quarters and he read quietly on the couch while Face slept on that couch next to him, pillow practically in Hannibal's lap. They didn't talk about it – there wasn't even a discussion for later. It was just one of those things between them and it became sort of a ritual over the years. Almost by instinct, as soon as he'd get released by the docs, Face would seek Hannibal out and he'd just let his lieutenant stay the night with him.

Sometimes, Face would murmur in his sleep, obviously beginning to be caught in the throes of a nightmare and Hannibal knew how that worked. He'd touch the kid on the shoulder or stroke his hair and Face would rest easy after that.

He didn't care if he woke up with a crick in his neck because he'd ended up sleeping, sitting up, on that couch. He'd just grin ruefully to himself, work out the aches and consider it one of the best nights' sleep he'd ever had. That was mainly because it had kept him from having his own nightmares.

Damn. B.A. and Murdock had figured Hannibal out even before he himself did.

"Thinking way too loud, John."

The use of his given name and the teasing way it was said abruptly jolted Hannibal to reality. Not that he'd wandered off too far in his thoughts, given that he currently had a lapful of very, very contented lieutenant on him. Hannibal was the taller man but there was only a couple of inches' difference between him and Face. He could only think again of cats and their propensity for managing to fit in very tight spaces, especially if cuddling was involved.

"This is a very big couch, Templeton," Hannibal pointed out. The four of them could actually sprawl comfortably on this thing but there was no sign of Murdock or B.A. right now. Murdock had determinedly dragged B.A. off with very loud and pointed comments about "Poppa Bear and Momma Bear needin' some alone time." B.A. was only too happy to follow the "crazy fool's" lead when that subject was brought up.

"I noticed," said Face with a distinctly cat-in-cream grin. There were promises in that expression, things that made the heat creep distinctly over the back of Hannibal's neck and drawing his attention to the very interesting mark on Face's throat. There were other marks on his lieutenant's body that were currently covered by the T-shirt he was wearing and no, he didn't believe a word of what Face was saying when he was complaining about how quickly Hannibal learned…

"I'm reading," Hannibal also felt compelled to tell him and yes, he was having entirely far too much fun with this.

"Hannibal," said Face in mock-exasperation. "I know exactly how fast you read and you've been staring at that same page for the past 20 minutes." This last was accompanied by a teasing nip on the underside of his jaw, which elicited an involuntary growl from him, making Face chuckle smugly, as he nuzzled at Hannibal's throat.

Face had left his own marks there too.

The most important thing that Hannibal learned about cats was that one didn't own a cat. It was the other way around. He knew perfectly well what his irrepressible lieutenant wanted and heaven help him, he was quite powerless to resist the urge to growl again as he finally managed to capture those wayward lips with his own.

And later, he was also quite unable to prevent himself from lifting the hem of Face's shirt up so that he could lick and nibble his way along those earlier lovebites he'd left behind and create new ones, making his lover mewl and whimper and do other very interesting noises. Perhaps the best part was how Face would purr blissfully as bare skin slid on bare skin, clothes already strewn every which way.

"So this is this and that is that," he whispered softly, nuzzling at that particularly sensitive spot just below Face's ear. "And there's how you ad-dress a cat."

Yes, indeed, that was that.

- end -


AUTHOR'S NOTES:

(blushes and hides behind fuzzy ears) Yeh. If I have to admit to having a kink for anything, I'll have to say it's for fluff. Sigh.

There is something remarkably kitteh-like about Face and while I couldn't find a Beatles song to fit that, T.S. Eliot saved the day. :P

Face Muse is taking great exception to the "prettier than you" line. (rolls eyes at Face Muse) Don't mind him, he's completely ass over teakettle and quite happy about it now. Not that Hannibal Muse is any better at this.

Murdock Muse: They're both hopeless!

B.A. Muse: Like I said, they been sweet on each other for YEARS.

Murdock Muse: Took 'em long enough to get there! Speakin' of which, what's this deal about this chap named Wikus?

B.A. Muse: DON'T SAY THAT NAME YOU CRAZY FOOL! (tries to clamp a hand over Murdock's mouth but the other man skitters easily away)

Murdock Muse: (blinks) Wikus?

Me: (sees the potential for another CRAZED Crossover Bunneh) AIEEEEEEE! (shriek is earsplitting)

B.A. Muse: Just say He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. (still trying to clear out his ears) If only to save mah eardrums…

Murdock Muse: (dazed) Wikus….?

(More shrieking ensues)

Why yes, I think I better sit down and finally watch the entire District 9 movie nao…