CH 5

They did not reach the warehouse until dusk. Michelle knew that she probably should be tired but all of the adrenaline flowing through her veins was preventing her from feeling even the tiniest twinge of drowsiness. Nadia was the first to speak. "Hey Michelle, isn't this right by the park we used to play at?"

Looking around, Michelle was shocked to realize she was right. "Yeah. Weird, I never noticed these here before."

The warehouse was dark from the outside, but Murdock led Michelle as Face led Nadia to the entrance. When they got inside, they were surprised to find that it was extremely well lit. Inside, the only two people there were a big black man and a man about Michelle's mother's age with gray hair. Michelle swallowed. This was actually happening. Without looking at them, the one who could only be Hannibal Smith yelled across the room, "Face, it's about time! You are starting to take forever!" Face's, well, face turned red as he huffed, "Hannibal, we have visitors!" Turning to the girls, he said, "That one is Hannibal, obviously, and the other one is B.A. Baracus." The girls nodded as they continued to approach the other two men.

Michelle stepped ahead to introduce herself and Nadia. "How do you do? My name is Michelle, and this is Nadia." She extended her hand and smiled. Hannibal smiled back and shook her hand. "Nice to meet you Michelle. How can the team help you?"

"Well Mr. Smith..." began Michelle, but he waved her off. "Please, call me Hannibal," he said as he took out a cigar from his pocket. Michelle sighed and started again. "Alright, Hannibal. Did you ever know Elodie Bijou?" His whole body tensed slightly. "What about her?" he stated in a somewhat offhand manner. "Well I'm her daughter..." Hannibal stopped attempting to light the cigar and looked at Michelle closely for the first time, "Yeah and?" he responded coldly. This made Michelle falter. "Well, um..." "Go on" coaxed Murdock behind her. "Well if you did, you're my dad. And you made my mom swear off men." Her words seem to hang in the air as Hannibal gaped at her. He dropped the cigar in his hand and if it was a glass he would have broken it.

Suddenly Michelle became conscious of the eyes on her. She turned and noticed the rest of the team staring at her and Nadia looking supportive. Face spoke first. "Wow Shelly, I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't that." B.A. Looked confused for a moment. "Hold up. I thought her name-" "It is," Michelle interjected, "Face just likes being an ass."

At this, B.A. started to giggle. "I like this girl! You know, his name-" "B.A., watch it," Face warned. Michelle's curiosity was now piqued, but before she could say anything, Hannibal cleared his throat. Michelle spun around, unsure of what his reaction was going to be. "Listen kid," he started, "how can I be sure that you're telling the truth. I mean, not for nothing, but there is this guy Lynch out there that would give anything to find out where I am. How do we know that you aren't working for him." Michelle's eyes opened in surprise. She hadn't thought about how the A-Team was a bunch of wanted fugitives. Sure, she'd seen some news specials on them, but they seemed harmless. Having Hannibal worried that she was on the other side was almost ironic. It cemented her belief that these weren't a bad bunch of men. But how to prove to them that she and Nadia weren't a bad bunch of girls?

"Ask me anything," challenged Michelle. This would work in two ways; she could prove she was clean and she could find out what Hannibal remembered of her mother.

Hannibal's eye's narrowed, "Fine," he said. This kick-started a nearly half hour long Q-and-A session. Michelle was impressed. The questions were interesting and ranged from "What is Elodie Bijou's middle name?" to "What does Elodie Bijou do every May 4th?"

As Hannibal's eyes grew less suspicious of her, Michelle joked, "I'm sure lucky my mother was a creature of habit!" Hannibal laughed, but there was a touch of sadness in his eyes and Michelle was shocked to see how vulnerable he looked. "You sure do remember a lot about my mom," she said slowly. Michelle was shocked to see a light tinge of red appear in Hannibal's cheeks. "Five years is a long time. I'm not completely heartless." With that, Hannibal coughed and the vulnerability was gone in an instant. "So what was your purpose in coming here?" he asked changing the subject.

Michelle was a little surprised, but figured that she had to humor him with an answer. "I just need to know you existed," Michelle replied. Hannibal merely snorted. Insulted, Michelle stormed out of the warehouse. As she reached the air outside, she felt a hand on her shoulder. Expecting Nadia, she was surprised to see Hannibal standing before her, with a sort of apologetic look on his face.

"Listen kid," he started, "I know this is gonna sound harsh, but you need to hear it. Your mom was a great lady, but not my type. What was actually supposed to be a one night stand turned out to be five years. She had a nice place and it was great to get away from the guys." Here he paused because Michelle appeared to be looking right through him. "You okay?" he asked. "Just continue," she replied coldly. Hannibal nodded. "I am truly sorry, and seeing you makes the guilt worse. I was just a kid myself, and-"

"A kid?" Here Michelle stopped him. "You were older than I am now. And I honestly don't give a damn if meeting me makes you feel guilty." She paused to breathe before continuing. "Look Hannibal, I'm not looking for a dad. I just needed to know where I came from."

Hannibal grinned. "We're more alike than you know."

"Not that similar," said Michelle flatly.

"If I had ever know Ellie was pregnant I would have-"

"It's fine," Michelle interrupted quickly, in a higher pitched voice than normal. "If I ever have a problem, I know who to call."

Hannibal simply nodded, knowing it was the best he could hope for. Feeling sufficiently calmed down, she walked back into the warehouse. Face and Nadia were talking, Nadia's arms folded across her chest but smiling. B.A. and Murdock seemed to be arguing over something. Nobody acknowledged her presence until she said, "Nadia, you ready to go?" Nadia jumped and then turned to Face. "Are we?" "Uh, yeah," Face replied slowly. "Come on Murdock, I need to drop you off anyway." "Coming Faceman!" Murdock said eagerly.

Michelle smiled. Murdock was making her do that more and more lately. As the four of them walked over to the corvette, Face pulled her from her thoughts by calling, "You wouldn't mind hopping in the backseat again, would you Shelly?"

Cringing slightly, yet continuing to smile, she responded, "Not at all Face."