Characters: Hannibal, Face, and Murdock
Rating: K+
Warnings/Spoilers: none
Author's Note: This story was inspired by my first Advent prompt: Present. Spoilers for the show are non-existent. I also own nothing of the show.
Summary: Christmas may have to come a little early when Murdock falls ill and is in need of some cheering up.

"How's he doing?" Hannibal asked as he approached the room.

"Not too good, I'm afraid," replied Face quietly. "I'm no doctor, but I am certain that Murdock's health would improve if he simply tried to fight it."

"What do you mean?" Hannibal cocked his head to the side and furrowed his brow in concern. "Are you saying that Murdock isn't trying to get better?"

"He just seems, I don't know, discouraged." Face rubbed the back of his neck and looked towards the door. He could see Murdock resting on the bed. Leaning closer to Hannibal, Face continued, "I think he's still upset about the mission."

"Why would he be upset over that?"

"He blames himself for what happened with Rancor, how he got you pretty good and nearly killed you there."

Hannibal shook his head and said, "If it wasn't for Murdock, we wouldn't have gotten Rancor in the end. The mission had its bumps, but we still accomplished it. I don't blame Murdock for what happened to me. Sometimes plans have to be modified and that's exactly what we did. It all worked out in the end; nobody's fault on anything."

"Try telling him that." Face sighed and looked back at Murdock. "He just won't listen!"

"I need to have another little talk with him then," replied Hannibal with a sudden grin brightening his expression. Face stared inquisitively at him but before he could ask a further question, Hannibal had already gone back to the living room. Not thirty seconds later, Hannibal returned and went into the bedroom.

"Murdock," he called out gently. When he saw that Murdock had fallen asleep, Hannibal smiled and sat on the bed next to him. "What's this I hear about you blaming yourself for what happened to me? Rancor was a tough customer, even B.A. knows that! No one on the team is angry at you; not B.A., not Face, and I am certainly not blaming you."

Hannibal placed his hand gently against Murdock's brow and felt how warm he was to the touch. The quiet pain resting on Murdock's lips only furthered the Colonel's grief over Murdock's state. Being as gentle as he could, Hannibal wiped the sweat that had been gathering along Murdock's forehead and whispered to him, "It wasn't your fault, Murdock. You helped us catch Rancor. Your role was absolutely vital; stop blaming yourself. I'm okay, you know I am."

Murdock groaned weakly and tried to open his eyes. "Colonel?" he whimpered.

"It's going to be all right, Murdock," said Hannibal with a confident smile. He couldn't hide his joy at seeing Murdock awakening just for him. "No one is mad at you and you are going to get better. After all, it has become a bit dull without your voice to brighten the day."

To this, Murdock just smiled gratefully.

Seeing Murdock's reaction brought great comfort to Hannibal and it encouraged him further. "Now, if you need any further encouragement," Hannibal reached down by the bed, "I have something for you."

It was a red, plastic bi-plane made to look like the Red Baron's Albatross that he flew during the first world war. Murdock's eyes lit up at once upon seeing it and he lifted his hand towards it. Hannibal grinned happily as he watched Murdock take his fingers along the wings.

"I know it's only the beginning of December, but an early Christmas present would do you a world of good, wouldn't it?"

"I reckon it would, Colonel," Murdock replied as he spun the prop.

"Good!" Hannibal set the plane on Murdock's chest and gently guided his hand to rest on top of the plane.

"You're not mad at me, Colonel?" Murdock inquired, looking even more grateful than before. "Even though you got hurt because of me?"

Hannibal smiled and put his hand over Murdock's. "You're forgiven; that's all there is to it."