The Sound of Her Wings
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.
This was in answer to a prompt on a_team_kink. "Hannibal is worried and talks with Face about future, saying he's not as young as his lover and will pass away one day, maybe sooner than they expect it. Make it angst, sad."
WARNING: Slash. Angst. Character Death (Major).
"I walk by her side, and the darkness lifts from my soul. I walk with her, and I hear the gentle beating of mighty wings..".
- Dream of the Endless (From The Sandman Graphic Novel Series by Neil Gaiman)
They've only had that talk just once and as Face remembered it, it's not even a conversation.
Hannibal isn't one to get overly sentimental but that particular night, maybe he was just a little bit buzzed from that last drink and it had loosened his tongue. As soon as he mentioned the first sentence, "Face, I'm not as young - " Face stopped him.
First with the reassurance that it didn't matter, followed by a kiss that had quickly turned hot and smoldering and led to other interesting things that led to him proudly admiring the mark that he'd left on Hannibal's neck the next day. Hannibal just sighed in pretended exasperation at Murdock's teasing and B.A.'s groaning over the whole TMI issue. But when Face really looked at him, his Colonel's eyes were warm with love and laughter and the acknowledgment of Face's claim on him.
Hannibal doesn't really have a lot of ground to stand on that - not when he's as equally possessive and protective.
The years passed and Face didn't really notice the changes. They're military - the training and the habits can't really be left behind, despite their roles as soldiers of fortune. All of them, more or less, have kept themselves in as top a physical condition as possible. Had their lives been different, Hannibal would probably be leading men into battle even well beyond what other people would consider retirement age - Face knows of men who've retired past that and could still beat younger men into the ground. Hannibal was much like that, thank God.
Perhaps Hannibal's hair began to turn more white than silver and perhaps there were more laugh lines around his eyes, but to Face, he was still the most beautiful man he'd ever seen. Hannibal had teased him mercilessly when it was Face's turn to spot silver in his own hair and had predictably worked himself into a fine sulk over it.
The fact that he knew Hannibal had ways to coax him out of that sulkiness and that he highly approved of those ways had nothing to do with his fine display of temper. He would deny that to his very grave.
But they could only outwit Time for so long and it was as if Face had just turned around to see that his lover and other half was now terribly frail, that old age had finally withered away that remarkable physical strength. But it had done nothing to that fine-tuned mind and those beautiful blue eyes were as bright and as defiant as ever.
They had cheated Death so many times together, felt the brush of Her cloak, heard the sound of Her wings beating close by.
But She would not be denied, not forever.
"So tired, Templeton," Hannibal whispered to him, a hand gently brushing his cheek. Face knew that he too now had his share of laugh and age-lines but in Hannibal's eyes, he'll always see that young and brash lieutenant that he'd been. He ought to know - he couldn't see Hannibal as anything other than his commander who had still been twice as strong and faster than men half his age.
And Face felt his eyes sting with tears but even then, he held them back, needing to be strong. Because he knew that only Hannibal, with that indomitable will of his, was defying his body and all common sense, to stay with him. Because once upon a time, John Smith had promised Templeton Arthur Peck that he would never leave him behind.
Everyone that Face had ever cared about, everyone he'd ever loved - they'd always left him, always walked out on him. It wasn't until he'd found his Colonel that someone had stayed. And Hannibal had faithfully kept that promise, in all those years that they had together, through the missions and the adventures and the fight to clear their names and the vindication they had all sought, so dearly won.
So many years and it seemed it wasn't enough. Could never be enough.
Face would always remember that day, that last terrible day, when John "Hannibal" Smith refused to go gentle into that good night.
It was up to him to let his beloved go.
So one last tender brush of that fine silver hair, one last kiss and Face spoke the words that would set him free. Words that Hannibal had spoken to him once before.
"It's okay, John. Sleep well. I've got you."
Hannibal's lips moved - no voice left but Face could hear the words of love loud and clear. He could also hear that one last promise, one last plan made, just as his love took that one last breath, closed his eyes for that final sleep.
And then, only then, did Templeton Arthur Peck weep.
I've got you.
No matter how random things may seem, there's always a plan.
Face knew how fond his Colonel was of saying those words, so he wasn't surprised when he found himself dreaming
(or perhaps it was not truly a dream)
of John "Hannibal" Smith a few months after his passing. Hannibal was exactly as he remembered him or perhaps there was an agelessness there now and a new brightness to those blue eyes.
It didn't matter - he was still the most beautiful man Face had ever seen.
The invitation was there, a little shy, a little hesitant - it reminded Face of the first time they had made love - one of the very rare times he would see that from his normally confident Colonel.
He reached out but Hannibal told him sternly. "Only if you're willing, Templeton. Only if you want to."
Face shook his head and smiled. "You have to ask me that? When my answer couldn't be anything other than yes?"
"Smart-ass kid," Hannibal growled playfully and drew him in for a kiss.
And off the two of them went, together.
- end -
Author's Notes: This is not part of the Sgt. Pepper Series. I have something slightly different planned for all four of our boys but yeah, elements of the series are here.
Yes, that was definitely a Neil Gaiman reference right there.
Also, I think I'll just wash my face… because I didn't just cry myself stupid writing this and go to bed now. (sniffles)
Murdock Muse: (also sniffling) Kleenex?
Me: Um. Hell yeah. Thank you.