Love The Way You Lie
(a.k.a. Four Times Face Wished He Could Kiss Hannibal Smith, the Time He Finally Could and Another Time When Someone Else Had Other Ideas)
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: Spare my blood pressure. I'd like some tea and biscuits please when you come over to visit.

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. Again, while I don't write anything completely explicit….uhm…. this time, the last couple of shortfics are definitely NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Run now or forever hold your peace.


Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

- Rihanna & Eminem, "Love the Way You Lie"

5.

The first time Face realized he was falling for his commanding officer, he ran off to the nearest bar he could find so he could have a drink.

What was that saying about tequila? One tequila, two tequila, three tequila...floor! Floor was good. Floor was very good.

The floor was being elusive right now.

Oh. It was about the fourth (or was it the sixth?) straight shot of tequila, when Face realized that he was still stone cold sober and that the whole "falling for his commanding officer" idea was still staring at him in the face, wearing Hannibal's amused shark-grin. It had also mutated into a few more terrifying concepts.

This wasn't just lust. No. This was love and Face had fallen hard and fast and god damn Hannibal for making him feel this. It wasn't right that the man had inspired him to make something more of himself in Ranger school, so he came out first in his class and with his ratings, was now being seriously considered for Special Forces. It wasn't right that he knew he'd follow the man to the ends of the earth, without question.

So it felt good, damn good, to walk up to that leggy blonde who he'd noticed coming in with her hulk of a Marine boyfriend. She'd been shooting him interested glances for the better part of an hour, trying out the shy routine when her boyfriend wasn't looking and had gotten far too engrossed in the billiards game instead of her. Felt great to turn on the charm, give her a smile, knowing her boyfriend would notice and this would soon get ugly, very fast.

He didn't care. If he got knocked about the head a few times, maybe he'd forget about the whole "fall in love like an idiot for C.O." deal. Maybe his common sense, which had apparently packed its bags and had run for the hills, would decide to move back in.

Damn - if these were Marines, they were probably at the bottom of the barrel, weren't they? It wasn't much of a fight. And then Face turned, to see a silver-haired hallucination standing at the door. Said hallucination took a deep drag on his cigar and regarded him with sardonic amusement.

"Feel better now, kid?" The hallucination asked, one corner of his mouth quirking in a wry, half-grin.

Face wanted to kiss that spot. Maybe he'd get decked for it and God knew Hannibal had a formidable right cross but it was a hallucination anyway. It would be fine. Face took a step forward.

Fell.

Oh. Hello, Floor.

Strong arms picked him up, warm breath ruffled his ear. "The things I do for you, Templeton," came that familiar growl.

The world tilted sideways again at the sound of his real name, said in that lilting voice but Face held on to that one safe constant. And, with resignation and more than a touch of wry humor, accepted his fate.


4.

It had been an unreasonably hot day.

It was only the fact that the beach was just an hour's drive away from the base and the fact that they currently were not in a desert in the Middle East that had cheered Face up completely. In fact, Hannibal had somehow wrangled leave for all of them and they were on their way to said beach. B.A. was making some last minute checks to his beloved "baby" and Murdock was busy loading some beach toys into the back of the van.

Face considered it a minor miracle that he'd managed to convince Murdock that food and drinks were just as important to take along as Shamu the huge inflatable killer whale.

Damn but it was hot - Face was planning to stay as long in the water as he possibly could, never mind Hannibal teasing him for being half fish. He'd already shucked his light cotton shirt off, earning a few interested and appreciative glances and comments from the nurses and some of his female colleagues in uniform.

"You developin' a shirt allergy, Faceman?" B.A. asked him wryly.

Face grinned. "When you got it, you got it, B.A."

And then, there was a sudden upsurge of purely delighted feminine whistles, whoops and cat-calls.

Face turned and his mouth went dry at the sight of John "Hannibal" Smith in a wifebeater. Somehow, seeing his Colonel out of uniform and currently dressed down for the heat did things to his head and his libido that he really, really shouldn't be entertaining right now. He should look away. He should spin right round and go right under a nice, cold shower.

Anything but think about how goddamn sexy Hannibal looked in a black wifebeater and khaki.

"Nice guns, Colonel!"

Face was only thankful he wasn't the one who said that out loud. Then, he wanted to murder the saucy brunette gunnery sergeant who called that out. Partly because she had pretty much plucked that thought out of his head and shouted it for all the world to hear.

Surprisingly caught off guard by that comment, Hannibal ducked his head self-consciously and a small, almost shy, smile tugged at his lips. It was such an odd, almost uncharacteristic reaction but so ridiculously damn endearing that it took every ounce of Face's self-control not to stalk over there and kiss the man senseless, staking his claim for all the world to see.

But Hannibal wasn't his to claim, would never be his to claim and Face would do better to remind himself of that repeatedly. Commanding officer. Mentor. Best friend. Those were nice, comfortable places for Hannibal to be and no reason to hope for anything more than that. He shouldn't hope for anything more than that.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, turned to look at Murdock, who was still cuddling his Shamu toy.

"Face, you don't look so good in green, muchacho," the pilot told him solemnly.

He sighed. He was that obvious, huh? All right then. Maybe he couldn't stake a claim on his Colonel but he could sure as hell pay him back for looking so damn delicious in that wifebeater.

Time for Plan B.

Camping on the beach was always a good idea. A bonfire where they could toast marshmallows and hotdogs was even better.

Of course, Hannibal was not pleased to see his shirts used as kindling when he came back from his swim. Murdock was having a fine old time whooping and dancing around the bonfire.

"Is this a rain dance, Captain?" Hannibal asked, sounding calm enough but they could all hear the brogue.

"We had to make a worthy sacrifice for the angry gods, Colonel!" Murdock told him, blue-green eyes wide and earnest. "Appease The Envious Green-Eyed One or suffer His Terrible Wrath!"

"Don't worry, I got plenty extra shirts along, boss," Face told Hannibal, putting on an appropriately commiserating and completely innocent expression. "You can borrow mine and I'll get you new undershirts. Pure 100% Egyptian cotton, nice, soft and cool, you'll love it."

And Face would make sure all those shirts had sleeves, naturally.


3.

Hannibal Smith had never been much for ceremony.

None of them were, really. But every now and then, they'd haul out their dress uniforms for certain events. Like the awards ceremony they were going to be attending today.

The Powers That Be could give out medals, call them heroes, get their names out in the media. Face could smile winningly at the cameras, look properly modest if he had to, say all the right words, stick to the approved script. All that glamour and glitz was just bullshit.

It didn't change what happened. There were still three of their buddies that didn't make it out of that terrorist hellhole alive. Three men they weren't able to save. Three men who wouldn't be able to go back to their families.

So, no, Face didn't feel like a hero today.

He knocked on the door of Hannibal's quarters, waited for the gruff invitation to come in and stepped inside. Hannibal's personal living space wasn't fancy but it was oddly homelike to Face. There was that familiar, oversized couch he'd ended up sleeping on so many times that it had become as comfortable to him as his own bed.

Piles of books.

The lingering scent of cigar smoke in the air.

Face caught his reflection in the window, wearing his dress uniform and his beret. Sometimes he still thought he didn't belong in these clothes.

And then, Hannibal stepped out of his bedroom. The man always looked like he was born to wear the uniform but Face was already getting used to his commanding officer rendering him lightheaded at the worst possible moments. This was just another one of them.

"Ah, damn!" Hannibal cursed, as he fumbled with one of the ribbons. The fumbling and clumsiness were completely uncharacteristic - those big hands, which were always sure and strong and had pulled Face out of trouble time and again, were shaking.

Face licked his lips and took a step forward. "Here, boss, let me."

Hannibal sighed and stood perfectly still as Face fixed the ribbon in its proper place. Medals, badges... Purple Heart, Silver Star, Soldiers' Medal, Distinguished Service... even the Medal of Honor... there were some stories behind those awards that Face still didn't know, even after all the digging he could do and what he'd gotten Hannibal to tell him. Not that Face didn't win any medals and honors himself but he was always dead sure Hannibal deserved each and every one of the things.

"I don't, you know," Hannibal's voice, this time thick with the brogue, broke into Face's thoughts.

"Don't what, boss?" Face blinked.

"Feel like I deserve these things," Hannibal told him softly, gesturing at the medals. "I just promised you boys that I'd bring you all home. That's all I'm doing. Looking out for all of you."

Somehow, Face wasn't surprised at Hannibal doing his version of the Jedi Mind trick. It was just like him. "You do, boss. You really do all of that." And more, he added silently. They were standing so close to each other, so close that Face could just lean over and kiss him. He could bless the fact that there were just a couple or so inches difference in their heights that it was easy enough to do.

Because he wanted to do that and more, kiss away the self-doubt and the guilt and the grief in his Colonel's bright blue eyes, offer the same comfort Hannibal had so often given him. Hannibal shouldn't be feeling this way - Face was the one who felt like the fraud.

"We did bring all of them home, Templeton," Hannibal whispered. "Didn't we?"

It was true, they were able to rescue all of the brother Rangers who'd been held prisoner in that terrorist camp. It was just that help had been too late for the three who had been badly wounded to begin with. But they were able to bring all of them home, through heavy fire and every possible FUBAR situation that had been thrown at them. Face could rationalize it as anyone could - there was literally nothing to be done for those three that were lost to them. Other than to bring them home to their families.

But he still felt like he failed those three. Murdock grieved for them, Face knew and B.A. was grumpier than usual because of what happened, medal or no medal.

And he now realized Hannibal felt the exact same way.

"Yeah, Hannibal," Face forced out through a tight throat. "We did."

And they stood like that for just a moment more as Face made one more miniscule adjustment to yet another badge that wasn't really out of place. He couldn't kiss his Colonel, shouldn't kiss him at all. This was all he could do instead.

It would have to be enough.


2.

There hadn't been time to really think about it.

Face could only react, running for Hannibal just as he saw his Colonel being right in the line of fire for that son of a bitch with the RPG. He'd just had breath enough to yell Hannibal's name and as he'd knocked the man down and the rest of the world exploded all around them, he'd known they were going to die.

There wasn't time for any last words. It happened that fast, Face's momentum and weight slamming Hannibal to the ground, the deafening explosion and then, nothingness.

And then, Face woke up.

For a very bad moment, he wondered why he couldn't draw enough breath to scream. And then he realized he was lying down on a hospital bed, bandaged all over and hooked to an IV. He could still move, which was a good thing and he was alive, but he wasn't quite sure if that was a good thing.

He had no idea what happened to Hannibal, no idea if his Colonel had survived and he knew that if the docs walked in and told him his CO was gone, he'd lose it. He had to find Hannibal. Had to find him. He was out there, somewhere, hurt, maybe even dying and Face would be damned before he'd leave his Colonel behind like that.

So it was easy to pull the needles out from the IV and all the other stuff they decided to attach or hook into him, easy enough to struggle to his feet. The world swayed dangerously around him for a few moments, but Face managed to regain his balance. Whatever drugs they had pumped into him to keep away the pain had to be some pretty good shit.

He took one step forward.

Fell.

Strong arms caught him on his way to the ground, a familiar voice with that distinctive burr growled out his name.

"Face!"

Face could have kissed Hannibal right then and there. Solid, comforting, reassuringly grumpy and most importantly, he was alive.

"Jesus, Templeton, what the hell are you trying to do?"

Face knew he had to answer that question, but he was too busy rubbing his cheek against the softness of Hannibal's undershirt, breathing in his familiar scent. His Colonel was alive and miraculously unhurt. For once in his life, Face had done something completely, utterly right.

"Templeton?"

That Hannibal was worried enough to keep calling Face by his real name meant that he had to answer, right? And then the words tumbled out and no, his voice didn't sound that small and scared.

"Thought we were going to die," Face whispered. "Thought I lost you, John."

Jesus. He didn't just call his Colonel by his real name, did he? Goddamn drugs, making him go all boneless in his C.O.'s arms, making him want to do nothing but just stay there. Might as well tell the man he loved him while he was at it. The younger man buried his face in Hannibal's shirt, not daring to look up because he just knew he was going to kiss him and he would not be able to stop himself, even if Hannibal was going to hate him for it later.

He felt the rumble of Hannibal's soft, gentle laughter and stiffened. He would have pulled away at this point, not wanting to be laughed at but Hannibal was holding him too tight. "It's all right, Tem." The shortening of his name and the easy affection that he could hear told him that Hannibal wasn't laughing at him at all. "I'm not going anywhere and you're not losing me. Okay?"

From anyone else, it might have been an empty, useless promise. They were soldiers. Every mission they took on, every time they went into combat... hell, he was in a fucking hospital right now, doped up to hell, having just barely escaped Death yet again. But it was Hannibal speaking and damn if Face didn't believe every word. Because Hannibal would and could find a way to keep that promise.

"Tem?" Gentle hands managed to pry Face away from his comfortable hiding place, made him look up into his worried commander's blue eyes.

"Okay," Face managed to say and he meant it too.

For a brief, terrifying, breathless moment, Face thought Hannibal was going to lean over and kiss him instead but his commander only smiled and then helped him get up from what had been a very comfortable position on the ground.

"Come on, kid, let's get you back into bed where you belong."

Belong? Face couldn't imagine belonging anywhere than being in Hannibal's arms and using him as a pillow and before he could stop himself, he found himself protesting that. Loudly.

"But this is already good, boss. And you make a good pillow! Honest!" It was the drugs. It had to be.

Hannibal burst out laughing again. "What the hell did they give you, kid? Remind me to keep it far away from Murdock!"

Face regretted the fact that Hannibal had called him "kid" again instead of "Tem." He had rather liked it. "I dunno. Some pretty good shit. And I don't like being here. I want to go home."

He didn't imagine Hannibal's breath catching at that, did he? Hannibal had already gotten him settled back down on the bed, pulled the blankets over him and Face had reached out at just the right moment to snag his Colonel's wrist.

"Home, Tem?"

"Want to be back in the tent with you guys."

Blue eyes softened and Face just couldn't stop himself from purring in contentment as Hannibal gently pried away Face's grip from his wrist so he could stroke the younger man's hair. "I know, Tem. I'll get you away from the docs soon and you can rest there. How's that sound?"

"Sounds like a plan, boss." The gentle touches were making him sleepier. His eyes were getting heavy but Face didn't want to go back to sleep just yet. Just in case he had been dreaming this all along.

"I'll be here when you wake up, Tem. Go back to sleep. That's an order."

And that, more than anything, convinced Face that it was really all right. Like a good soldier, he followed orders and finally closed his eyes. And perhaps, just perhaps, he didn't imagine the whispered words in that familiar, well-beloved burr as sleep finally took him.

"I'm not going to lose you either."


1.

John "Hannibal" Smith hadn't planned to question his sexuality or to switch the playing field at this late stage in his life.

But it wasn't as if he was really thinking of things in that respect. He was still the same man, he was still seeing the same reflection in his shaving mirror every morning. He just happened to fall in love with his second in command, sometime protege and best friend. That said best friend happened to share the same gender was completely irrelevant.

It wasn't as if he'd deliberately set out to be "sweet on Face" as B.A. (God help them all) so eloquently put it. First time he set eyes on the kid, cocky little smart-ass that he was, Hannibal had felt that need to take care of him. Hell, somebody had to - the kid was damn good enough to come out of any combat mission with flying colors but was enough of a trouble magnet to not see old age. And the notion of Templeton Arthur Peck rotting away in a grave before he'd even had a chance to live was something Hannibal Smith could not permit. Not while he could draw breath.

So maybe his heart had decided to play its own clever tricks on his brain. Because unless he'd woken up in some kind of alternate universe, there was still DADT to think of. Whoever said that the human heart could be damn fucking stupid when it came to love hadn't met Hannibal Smith.

Hannibal now understands he's always loved Face, even if he's never admitted it to himself until now. Perhaps it was just as well. It was bad enough that watching the kid flirt with anything wearing a skirt had driven him up the wall when he didn't know how he'd felt at the time. Watching Face openly flirt with their current mark now... Hannibal snarls a particularly foul curse under his breath and turns his attention back to his whiskey. It is a minor miracle that the glass doesn't break in his hands.

Face flashes him a smile when their mark's not looking. Hannibal's usual poker face must've slipped because Face frowns, an expression that quickly fades once their mark turns her attention back on him.

Damn, damn, damn. Mission first - Hannibal reminds himself sternly. Military discipline doesn't fade, even if they're working as soldiers of fortune now. He knows perfectly well this is just part of the plan - hell, he's the one who gave Face his role in this.

He's still going to be a jealous eejit anyway.

Hannibal thumps his head against the counter top, knowing he is presenting the perfect picture of the depressed drunk and not really having to act to get into the role.

"Y'know, Bossman, the whole jealous thing's not gonna go away if you do that," murmurs a certain pilot-turned-bartender. "All it's gonna getcha is one helluva migraine."

Hannibal glares at him. It's not fair, really it isn't, but he can't help himself. "Since when did you start reading minds, HM?"

Murdock gives him a sunny grin. "Learned from the great Jedi Master himself."

"Fuck the Force," Hannibal snarls under his breath.

"Blasphemer!" Murdock gasps.

The horrified look in Murdock's eyes is just too much to bear. Oh hell. If it's not his better half, it's the "Baby Bear" of the family and God help him, he's not proof against those big blue green eyes.

"Sorry, HM," Hannibal tells him softly. B.A. will probably grumble at him that he's just enabling the "crazy fool" but he's never minded Murdock's trips to the Land of Make-Believe. Sometimes he thinks Murdock's got the right idea all along.

"Y'know, if I might make a suggestion?" Murdock says in a slightly more serious tone although it's belied by the mischievous light dancing in those eyes. "You'll feel tons better if you and Momma Bear get to play a lot later. I'll go distract the big guy and get us Baby Bears outta the way."

Hannibal feels the heat steal over his cheeks. Point to Murdock. "You are getting to be too much of a smart-ass for your own good, Baby Bear."

"I take after my Poppa Bear, naturally," Murdock tells him angelically. And then, before Hannibal could shape a retort to that, he moves on to his next customer, who seems to be inclined to make trouble and had B.A. ambling over in his role as bouncer to take care of business.

While that's going on, Hannibal suddenly feels familiar arms wrap around his torso, a sharp chin tucking itself in that certain space between his neck and shoulder and a kiss pressed briefly against the line of his jaw.

"I seem to have misplaced one grouchy, jealous, dead sexy Irish guy around here," drawls a laughter-filled voice in his ear. "You wouldn't happen to have seen him, have you? Can't miss him. Six-foot-four, eyes of blue, total silver fox."

Against his will, Hannibal finds himself relaxing in that embrace, never mind the interested audience and was that startled delight he was seeing in some of the female patrons of this bar? Oh for the love of...

He hisses as he gets a light nip on his ear and he swears he's going to get Face for this much, much later. "I assume that your 'date' for the night's already left the building?" He knows perfectly well Face would never compromise the mission and break character like this but he has to ask the question anyway.

Face's sigh tickles and it's taking just everything he has not to turn around so he could kiss him senseless. "Got everything we need. And yes, she's not here and if she still is, fuck it, I don't care." Blue eyes met blue, already beginning to darken with lust.

Hannibal knows an invitation when he sees one and he's certainly not going to turn this one down.


0.

Murdock's as good as his word.

He and B.A. are blessedly scarce when Hannibal and Face make it back to the hotel rooms that are serving as their temporary home. All courtesy of the client, of course and Face is, as always, very fond of his comforts. His lieutenant is in a playful mood tonight and that, more than anything, banishes the foulness of Hannibal's mood. The Colonel knows he's got nothing but himself to blame for that and it isn't fair to take it out on Face either.

He knows how Face is, knows that the flirting is just part of the game and he knows Face has never taken it farther beyond than that, not since they'd settled things between them. To all other eyes but his own, Face's act is dead perfect. But Hannibal is the only one now who sees the real thing, his lieutenant's eyes bright with love and laughter, each teasing touch and look and kiss a promise that Templeton Arthur Peck's got every intention of keeping.

Hannibal's gotten kissed several times tonight, teasing, playful little nips and pecks and he can't help the growl when Face draws back and flees each time he wants to turn it into something a little more serious.

"What are you doing?" Hannibal asks him in fond exasperation, eying his lieutenant carefully and already planning how he could pin six-foot-odd of mischief down so he could kiss him properly.

"Stealing kisses," Face answers him, like it was the most obvious answer in the world.

Hannibal blinks at that but he's willing to play out this game. "Now why do you feel you have to steal them, lieutenant?"

There's this odd, wistful look that steals over the younger man's features. "Making up for lost time, I guess. Been wanting to steal them from the very beginning - I just couldn't." He blinks and swears, red stealing into his cheeks. "Damn. I wasn't supposed to say that!"

"You could've. From the very beginning. I wouldn't have minded at all." The truth startles them both and Hannibal knows ruefully from the heat creeping up over the back of his neck that he's blushing as well but that look on Face, surprise giving way to sheer delight, is completely worth it.

Hannibal does know how to take advantage of such an obvious opening and in short order, he's got his lover pinned down beneath him on their bed, laughing and gasping out. "Not fair! Hannibal!"

"I know," Hannibal tells him sweetly. "Which is why payback is so much fun."

Face pouts up at him. "I should've said 'stealing kisses' was a lot more fun. You did a Jedi mind trick on me! I hate it when you do that!"

The fact that he can and always will be able to coax the truth out of Templeton Peck is a gift in itself and something Hannibal Smith will always hold dear. Not that he himself could hide anything from Face either, not anymore. The realization knocks the breath out from him and to cover himself, he reaches out to playfully muss Face's hair, which is, as always, soft as kitten fur to him.

"Hair! Watch the hair!" Face protests. And then, those sputtering, laughter-filled complaints turn abruptly into a purr as Hannibal latches onto his throat. The younger man moans, a hand coming up to fist in Hannibal's own hair. Hisses as he feels hands lift up the hem of his shirt, to reverently caress bare skin and tease flat nipples. Only to stifle a sharp cry as a hot mouth and a fiendishly talented tongue follow soon after.

"John...!" It's not fair, it really isn't, how much want and need is there when Face speaks his real name. And Hannibal can't help himself because he wants to hear more of that and he's already three steps ahead of his lover, already planning how to draw out each sweet, needy, lust-filled sound out of him.

"Tem," he breathes against his lover's skin, making his careful journey downwards, nipping and marking in that precise way that would make Face arch and mewl in the way he loves so much. Savoring the taste of him when he finally takes him into his mouth. Staking that first claim, a prelude to the other ways he'd claim and love this man tonight.

"Learn'd...too well..." Face gasps out, laughter still tinging his voice, much, much later, limp and boneless on their bed, hands insistently tugging his lover upwards. Hannibal is only too happy to comply.

"Stealing kisses," he explains, as Face cradles his head tenderly, leaning into the caress.

"Steal away, then," Face moans again as Hannibal finally lays claim to his mouth, stealing the kiss he's wanted this entire time.

- end -


AUTHOR'S NOTES:

(is so beet red it isn't funny) Like I told you. I can't write pron?

The wifebeater incident is something I blame entirely on seeing a Certain Somebody adopting an Irish-Russian accent and wearing a wifebeater in K19: The Widowmaker. I have only one word: guns.

Thank you, Wikipedia for the very enlightening article on what are probably the awards and honors won by a certain Colonel.

The rest of this has been written, despite the unfunny status of my blood pressure, with much encouragement from sparrowsverse in chat. I really want to get well soon. I've got more stories to write! XD