AN/ Well, here it is guys. The final chapter. Again thanks to the awesome reviewers of this fic (you know who you are) and I hope you enjoy this.
"You dare touch one hair..." Hannibal started, his expression for the first time morphing into something other than the un-agitated and collected front he usually exuded. It was rare for the colonel ever to lose it, ever to deviate from the level-headed leader that he was, but there were few and memorable times when Face had witnessed him mad. Usually when his team had been hurt, either by their own stupidity (he definitely hadn't been happy when he'd had to save Face's life in Mexico, because Face just hadn't wanted to stick to the plan; You almost got me killed, you almost got him killed!) or by others.
One of the outstanding examples of this stood out in Face's recollection, the loud banging of a judge's gavel and cries for order chorused by Hannibal's outraged shouts: "This is a disgrace! An absolute disgrace! , as the three of them struggled in the arms of the oncoming guards; Murdock trying to pull away, demanding that they get their goddamn hands off him, BA joining in with his loud angered baritone, while Face had shouted at Sosa in the courtroom, You happy? You happy Charisa!. The expression on Hannibal's face had stood out most of all in that sea of noise and struggling; a disbelief that they'd been accused of their crime coupled with a guilt that stoked his anger. They'd been due to head out of Iraq, have some leave, but they'd done that one last mission for Morrison, one last job, one last plan. And that was what had screwed his men over, what had signed their imprisonment sentences in cold hard ink. That moment- when the system he'd served for so long burned him and his unit- and the point of the realisation of Morrison's betrayal (You're a liar. And a traitor!) had been the few times Faceman Peck had ever seen Hannibal almost lose it. It was not a comfortable sight.
But there was an open threat now in Hannibal's voice, undisguised from any listeners, and the words he didn't say were just as loud in his voice and expression as if they had been spoken. You dare, his eyes said, and I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. It was restrained and held back by control sculpted over years of practice, but the tone still send a shiver up Face's spine. The dark gaze in Hannibal's eyes, the potential for violence that he saw there, scared him more that the idea of what Moraneu might do to him.
Moraneu just chuckled, the process an amusement for him.
"Spare me the theatrics, Colonel. I'm well aware that you wont talk, but what if he will?" He turned to look at Face, "Where are the plans being taken, Lieutenant?"
"Like he said" Face responded, giving another smile in the guards direction, as if daring him to do his worst "Sightseeing. It was going to be Rome this time of year, but you know, once you've seen one old and religious building, you've seen them all. Tour guide recommended the middle of a Nigerian despot's fortress. Said the weather was nice this time of year" Face swore he saw Hannibal smirk out of the corner of his vision, but it could have been his imagination.
Moraneu smirked, looking at Face with unreadable intent for a few seconds, before nodding to himself . However, instead of lashing out at Face as he had expected from the comments he had made (because being this long in the business, he'd learned that bad guys really didn't like back chat. Spoiled the scared-shitless effect they were usually going for) , he turned back to Hannibal. Before Face had any time to speak, the guard's hand had lashed out, striking Hannibal hard across the face; a loud solid sound that made the conman cringe. He glanced around at Face, repeating his words in a painfully clear voice.
"Where are the plans being taken, Lieutenant?"
"You get the hell away from him,"Face growled back, a sudden fear growing in his chest. This hadn't been covered in his plan. "you get the hell..." Moraneu struck Hannibal again, only this time harder, the colonel grunting quietly in pain as the sound of flesh against flesh echoed in the small room. And then again, the intro to a predicted rhythm of aggression. Face knew Hannibal could take it, knew it had happened before, in Mexico and in a dozen other places since then because being in danger of being hurt just went with the job package, but Face had never had to watch it happen, and it hurt him. He kept up his loud litany of threats, begging inside his head for Murdock to hurry the hell up as he watched the hand clench into a fist and come down again, causing blood to begin to trickle out of Hannibal's nose, following the same path as the blood that had come before. The next fist caught Hannibal in the gut, winding him as the colonel grunted again, coughing as he tried to take in breath. Moraneu didn't say anything, just focused on Face. Like he was waiting for something; a come-back, begging , pleading or giving in and telling him what he wanted to know.
Then, as soon as Face was on the verge of trying to break the hell out of there himself, continuing his own internal argument in the process- he has the handcuffs sorted, there are only two guards, he can take them- But what about the gun pressed into the small of his back?- Sod the gun, he can handle it- He's no use to Hannibal shot- Hannibal wont need any use for anything if Moraneu keeps on the way he's going -he heard the signal he had been waiting for; another beep of Moraneu's comm-link that cut off halfway, as though the call had been abandoned. Moraneu paused, waiting for a split second to see if the call would pick up again, before shrugging, readying his fist to hit Hannibal again.
"Stop!" Face shouted loudly, hoping his voice sounded desperate enough. It wasn't hard to get the right tone to his voice and he struggled slightly in the grip of the guard holding him to add a bit of effect "Stop, ok, I'll tell you, just get your hands off him ,ok?"
Moraneu frowned suspiciously ,as though he was expecting the whole process to take a lot longer, and to Face, it seemed as though he was put out by the fact he had not been able to hurt Hannibal more. He obviously liked the challenge Hannibal's non-cooperation presented him. Nonetheless he turned away from Hannibal to look at Face, unclenching his fists and dropping them to his side. Instead, reaching down the side of his belt, he brought out a knife from the leather sheath that Face had not seen, the blade cold and gleaming in the harsh light. Suddenly, the gun at Face's back didn't look so threatening, not compared to the weapon Moraneu held now in his hands.
"Stay quiet, Face" Hannibal's voice was out of breathe but strong, centring his gaze up at Face with warning in his eyes, diluted by a small flash of worry he didn't quite manage to hide from his lieutenant. Face locked eyes with Hannibal, hoping he was portraying a look of reassurance, trying to tell him silently that he had this one covered. There's a plan in everything kid, he thought wryly to himself, quoting the Colonel as he watched Moraneu walk over, every step seeming to taunt him with its closeness. Moraneu didn't need to hurry, he had all the time in the world for this to happen, for him to convince Face or Hannibal to talk. And he knew his prisoners knew that too, knew that he could keep them here for as long as it took; an idea that made Face shudder in the cold circulated air of the cell.
"Hush now, Colonel" Moraneu said quietly as he stopped in front of Face, "Your boy's talking now". He held the knife up so Face could see it clearly , watching his reflection shimmer in the silver, seeing a familiar tussled young man looking back at him. Face, by his own admission, was quite vain about his appearance, BA once commenting that his toiletry requirements of various creams and lotions mirrored the cosmetics aisle of a superstore. None of them complained much about it however, especially when Face's walking 'miracle potions' (Murdock's labelling of the items) helped him look good for many a scam. Templeton Peck had been nicknamed 'Faceman' for a reason, his good looks and natural charm helping him seduce and con his way into getting most of what the team wanted. And if a little bit of time spent on a skincare regime was all it took, the other members were happy to put up with it, just as they put up with the other quirks each of them possess; Hannibal's thick smoky cigars, Murdock's singing and BA's hang-up about his GMC (he still didn't trust the pilot near it after the 'accident' in Mexico). Just now however, Face hoped he'd live to see his own reflection again. From the disquieted expression on Hannibal's face, and the grinning one on Moraneu's, at the moment his chances weren't looking too good. But it was up to him now; the first signal had been given, and the ball was in Face's court, whether Moraneu was aware of it or not.
The guard in question moved closer, and Face took in a shocked breath that he couldn't contain as the cool flat edge of the knife touched the side of his face, running down his cheeks in a dangerous caress "I hope you wont lie to me, Lieutenant" Moraneu intoned, moving the knife down slowly, his voice dark and threatening "We wouldn't want that pretty namesake of yours damaged would we?" The knife moved over Face's neck, gentle, deadly, the pressure not hard enough to break the skin, but enough that Face could feel every second that it was in contact against him, trying not to freak out slightly as it crossed where he knew the carotid artery was housed. He forced himself to stay still, to not react, not to give Moraneu the satisfaction, not even when knife came to rest over near his shoulder blades , straying there as though paused in the deadly game the guard was playing. He attempted to replicate Hannibal's composure. "I want a sensible answer from you, or believe me soldier..." Face grunted quietly as the knife was pushed down suddenly, digging into his skin- It's ok, it's not bad, keep quiet, don't let him win, if Hannibal can manage then so can you- cutting through cloth and causing blood to well up as Moraneu pushed the knife down dangerously slowly, slicing the skin. Face bit his lip to stifle a groan of pain as the knife dug in deeper, drawing fresh blood. "...you will regret it"
The knife relocated away from him, and Face felt that he could breathe again. His mind focusing again from the blind panic that it had housed moments before, he let out a small laugh, giving his best Faceman grin to Moraneu. Because it was all about the style.
"Oh, I wouldn't know about that," he said cheerfully, the grin unnerving the guard for a moment "You never know if I might do something completely..." he paused "...completely howlin' mad"
It was about then that all hell broke loose.
All in all, Face considered, the secondary distraction Murdock had provided had worked quite well. Yet upon giving the final signal, even Face had not been prepared for the airborne ranger leaping out of the air vent shaft, the grill covering any possible exit for prisoners having been opened above the heads of the room's occupants, a hollering Indian war cry upon his lips as he did so; a sudden bellowing sound that added to the shock of the man suddenly flying out of the ventilation system.
Everyone had immediately glanced up to focus on the abrupt noise and moving figure, and it was a point of pride to Face- although it was more of a coincidence than anything he had specifically planned- that the positioning between where Murdock had jumped out and where Moraneu had been standing couldn't have been better. The guard had made a peculiar strangled noise as Murdock had landed hard onto his back, wrapping his arms around his neck and legs around his torso, clinging to him like a child who'd been granted a piggyback from an exhausted parent. Admittedly, it had been a shame that Moraneu hadn't just dropped with the impact, his legs buckling from the extra weight, but fate couldn't play them every hand right. To his credit Murdock held on with the tenacity of a rodeo rider as the guard had bucked and struggled; transitioning from being in complete control of his two prisoners- or so he had believed- to shouting and cursing at the American who was currently riding on his back, his knees digging around his hips and forearms choking and restricting his throat.
Face wasted no time in reacting at the sudden intrusion in the split second that every happened in, and he snapped apart the handcuffs with relative ease, the pieces of useless metal clinking to the floor, whirling clockwise with his fists raised to knock the gun out of the other guards hand ; the panicked man in the motion of aiming it at the madman clinging to his superiors' back. The gun clattered to the floor, the sound resounding but lost in the commotion . Then Face was been forced to duck as the guard attempted a punch at his namesake.
Murdock, from what Face could gather , was doing well to keep his grip, and upon sighting the bemused looking Colonel watching the proceedings, unable to participate being tied to a chair, had raised his red cap from his head in a gleeful salute at seeing his CO, giving a 'Yee-Haw!' in his best southern drawl.
Face had forgotten about the knife in Moraneu's hand until he detected Murdock's hiss of pain, the blade piercing a cut through his arm as the guard made a desperate attempt at freeing his neck from the choke hold the pilot had upon it. Murdock didn't let go however, swearing in a language Face couldn't hear clearly and tightening his grip. Face dealt quickly with his guard (really, was it too much to ask for people to learn to fight properly these days?),striking him into unconsciousness with a carefully placed left hook to the temple after feinting to the right to get the man's guard down. Once that was done, he felt no sorrow in quickly tearing the knife out of Moraneu's grasp and delivering a solid punch at his stomach; thinking about Hannibal and the ache in his shoulder and how this all could have gone so badly but hadn't.
With the sudden knock to the balance he had so far maintained despite the lunatic giving him a piggyback ride, Moraneu wavered and crashed down hard, Murdock unfortunately bearing the brunt of his fall. A blow to his temple from the fallen gun that Face had picked up had finished the job, knocking Moraneu unconscious. No killing when it wasn't necessary, but God, had Face been tempted.
Murdock awkwardly manoeuvred himself out from underneath the dead weight , scrabbling to his feet, Face holding out a hand to help him up. That done, he gave a usual sunny "Thanking you, Facey!", as though the two hadn't just been engaged in an intense but dangerous game of buckeroo and fisticuffs, with the added elements of guns and knives. He wobbled on his feet momentarily, before going to collect the knife from its position on the floor, stealing the leather sheath from the unconscious Moraneu and pocketing it. After witnessing another example of Murdock's hoarding tendencies (although admittedly, it was a nice knife- well balanced and sharp- and it would be just a waste returning it to the scum that had been its owner), Face caught the bundle of keys that Murdock had also 'borrowed' from the guards person and had thrown in his direction, and made his way over to the door, fumbling through the various shaped pieces of mental to find the correct one, locking it to prevent any soldiers from getting in (although they were probably used to such a racket emanating from the interrogation room).
"When I said 'distraction' Murdock," Face smirked at the pilot as he twisted the key round, "I wasn't really expecting a one man cavalry. That was... bat-shit insane"
"S'why I did it" Murdock returned his comment with a contented grin as he moved quickly over to the centre of the room, using the knife in his hand to hack at the tight rope binding the colonel to the seat. "Anyway, it worked didn't it?"
"I think you did admirably Capitan" Hannibal spoke with a faint smile as his bonds were efficiently cut, standing up after the last of them was broken. He stretched his arms as his muscles got used to the sudden freedom, rubbing the indents around his wrists where the rope had bitten him with harsh red rings, before his posture straightened. Tall and with his usual considered expression on his face, he seemed again like the old Hannibal.
"An' ain't it just a pleasure to see you Colonel" Murdock spoke aloud what the two of them were both thinking.
Face could give an odd lopsided smile at Hannibal , trying not to beam like an idiot with relief. The Colonel was finally safe in his mind. He ran a critical eye over the man, checking that no damage was life threatening but it seemed not. Hannibal appeared the same as he always did; unruffled, with his prematurely white hair just a little bit out of place, looking like he really wanted a smoke.
"Good plan, Face," Hannibal nodded his appreciation to his the second in command, and Face's smile threatened to widen. "That arm of yours, okay?" he enquired to Murdock, the pilot glancing down at the line of red almost as though he'd forgotten about it till then.
"It's A-OK, Colonel" Murdock didn't seem in pain so Face supposed the wound was mostly shallow. The pilot's expression turned worried for a minute "Just... don't let BA near it, ok? He's been hankerin' for an excuse to stitch me up with a pretty thread picture like ma' lightening bolt. And he ain't getting' near this with any needles"
Hannibal laughed, "I'll make sure to tell him. Now," he said, looking at Face "You have been paying attention after all. I'm surprised " His tone was playful, not serious about his shock of the well thought out element of Face's tactical knowledge. "I gather you placed fake cuffs on the guard then?"
Face nodded " Murdock came in first to plant them on specific guards. Then it was just the case of making sure I got caught by the right ones"
"I'm assuming that that call wasn't from Obesandjo, then" Hannibal's expression was of someone quickly piecing the jigsaw of his circumstances together. "And that you and BA," he turned to Murdock "weren't engaged in some two-man warfare against half the militia round here"
"'Wouldn't a' minded," replied Murdock ruefully "But Facey said it was 'unnecessarily risky'" He used air quotations with his last two words.
"BA hacked into the comm-lines, made it so only messages from Obesandjo's frequency would get through to to the Moraneu's comm. All other frequency's were blocked as a result, so no-one could get in touch with Obesandjo's comm " Face explained, rolling his eyes at the pilot standing next to him "Then Murdock took care of our Nigerian friend and pretended to be him."
"Should go into business" Murdock interjected "Make a fortune impersonating despots"
"And how is Obesandjo now?" Hannibal questioned the pilot.
"All tied up nice 'n tight in his office," Murdock looked proud of his non-lethal handiwork "Special scout knots so he ain't gonna be getting outta them any time soon" He glanced at Face "He might be getting outta them now though. Some guards came knocking when the Big Boss Man wouldn't answer their calls, so I had to get into the system earlier than expected. Still called this guy, " he nudged a toe in Moraneu's direction "from the right frequency," he held up an ear-comm from out of his pocket "so it's not too much of a bother"
" BA helped us find some of the plans for the air conditioning system," Face detailed to Hannibal, before tuning back into Murdock "Are they on their way?"
Murdock shook his head "Not immediately. General was unconscious when I left him, so it'll take a while for them to deal with his shouting first. I'm sure they wont come through the same way I did, so they'll have to working out where I would have been heading. Should give us enough time to get out " Face flicked his eyes impulsively over to the door , checking it was locked, glancing down immediately afterwards in a swift continuing motion to take in the time his watch displayed. Not long now.
"I've got to hand it to you, you did good with this one kid" Hannibal smiled warmly at Face, the sort of smile that went hand-in-hand with pats on the back or manly handshakes. "Except for one small thing." At Face's tilt of the head, a confused frown on his face, he elaborated "How exactly are we going to get out when you've locked the door? Those guards are going to realise that three American's in the period of two days is a bit suspicious, so it wont take long to figure out that Murdock would have been trying to get to here. Not to mention the guards you sent off on a wild goose chase. I don't think they're just going to let us walk out of here."
Face smirked again, and glanced down at his watch, noting as the red second hand met up with the twelve at the top. Point perfect timing, that's what he had told BA. "Don't worry, Hannibal," he supplied confidently, although Hannibal didn't actually look worried (when did he ever?), merely curious; a light in his eyes that wondered with a quiet smile what Face was planning. "There's a reason why BA isn't here right now"
And there it was, finally, the rumbling; a loud thundering roll of sound that started off distantly but with every second gained closeness and an increase in volume. The stone structure around them trembled timidly with the vibrations, and the sound became so loud that the three of them could almost believe that whatever was causing the noise was almost upon them; a low searing complaint of noise that was interjected by pitiful screeches of squeaking, like rusted wheels turning despite a great load.
"Step back!" Face shouted, and the three of them moved out of the way as with a loud 'crash' the wall before them was broken through, in a flurry of plasterboard flakes and cement chippings, the vehicle that had caused the damage barely missing the unconscious bodies of Moraneu and the other guard.
The tank was grinding to a halt, and the break in its momentum in the form of the wall helped the decrease in speed somewhat. After it stopped, there was a shocked lull, before the top was opened with a turn of the hatch , the hinge whining, and a familiar face looked out at the now dust-covered individuals standing staring at the armoured vehicle before them.
"Get in fools!"
"I ain't never wanted to see your ugly face more than now, Bosco!" Murdock crowed playfully, having known that this would be the method of transport, and was the first to move from the back of the room up to the beast of the tank in front of him, clambering up the side foot rungs and practically assaulting the man before him with a hug.
"Get yo' hands off me!" BA pushed the pilot off , Murdock giving a pout as his affection was rejected, and ducked down out of the way of the entrance so that Murdock could jump in; not being big enough for two at once to fit through. His head popped out again quickly, and glared at the two remaining soldiers seriously "Well? You just gonna stand there, an' wait for those guards to wake up?"
"A tank, Face?" Hannibal smirked as he was awakened from his reveries, moving forward to their escape contingency.
"When you got the supplies around you, why not put on a show?" Face grinned back and followed the older man up the rungs. "We needed a way to get past those doors, and it turns out that our Nigerian general has a good taste in armoured vehicles"
Hannibal shook his head as he manoeuvred himself down into the cramped insides of the tank. Once Face had quickly followed after him, shutting and locking the overhead hatch, he smirked again, seeming like the Hannibal Smith that Face had missed , the Hannibal Smith that would always be there for his boys "Knew I could count on the three of you to come up with a plan"
The tank jolted with BA at the controls again, backing up out of the crumbling room, before doing a u-turn that probably broke down at least three walls; the sound outside of them muffled but obvious.
Face glanced at Hannibal, a contented light in his eyes, the feeling that everything was as it should be "And don't you just love it when they come together?"
Hannibal rolled his eyes, and Face laughed, leaning back against the wall of the tank. Hearing Murdock and BA arguing in front to him , the roar of the engine nearly blocking them out, seeing the boss before him; safe, well. Everyone back where they were meant to be. The Leader and the Conman, the Pilot and the Mechanic. A mix-and-match dysfunctional family all together again, as the tank rumbled out of the compound, bullets hitting the back from guards that weren't frozen in place, and bouncing off with no damage.
A strange family, but as Face looked around, a definite family none-the-less.
I'm not too sure about the ending, but c'est la vie. It's done now. Again, I hope you've enjoyed this, and if you want, please drop off a review with some feedback. =]