Characters: Murdock, Face, B.A., and Hannibal
Rating: T
Warnings/Spoilers: some scenes of torture
Author's Note: I own nothing of the A-Team and am writing this for fun. The story was written for an A-Team Big Bang Challenge.
Summary: Christmas is here again, and no one is more excited to spread the cheer than Murdock! But when acts of cruelty traps Murdock within his nightmares, it's going to take the entire A-Team to pull their friend through the storm and defeat the one who put him there in the first place.

X. Christmas Eve
Though the real Christmas decorating didn't begin until the following morning, Murdock, Face, B.A., and Hannibal set to putting up whatever Face had in the apartment. The green and red garland that Face had dropped on the floor was first expertly wrapped around B.A., but before Murdock could get a third lap in, B.A. gave chase, bringing a quick end to that game. The garland was then taken to the kitchen where it was used to line the bottom part of the cupboards. The rest of the decorations, decorative pine cones included, were put to use throughout the living room and dining room area.

For many hours the four enjoyed putting up the first signs of Christmas in the room. They sang the many carols that came on television, not caring that it was now beyond two o'clock in the morning. Murdock was back, and joyful was the family that gathered around him, helping to lift his spirits higher and higher. They weren't about to let go of the brother they just saved.

Eventually the team tired and one by one they fell asleep. Murdock stretched out on the floor, using Face's shoulder as a pillow while B.A. took over the recliner. Hannibal had already staked his claim on the couch and soon the four were fast asleep while the movie, "A Muppet's Christmas" played quietly on the television.

The next morning, Murdock was the first to awaken and he eagerly pounced on his sleeping comrades, drawing them out of their slumber. None of them minded, however, as this was something they all sorely missed. Even B.A., who hated being awoken by Murdock's singing, couldn't help but smile to himself. Normality had returned!

After a quick breakfast, the team divided in two. Face and B.A. were to acquire the tree while Hannibal and Murdock went to the store to pick out the needed food. They planned to meet back at the apartment at precisely eleven o'clock, and with the synchronization of watches, the team was off.

The store was difficult to navigate, as the last minute shoppers were grabbing up whatever they could. It was nothing short of a miracle that Hannibal was able to find the perfect turkey that they would need. Though Murdock had suggested putting in a last-minute order with the deli department, Hannibal insisted that they'd have enough time to actually bake the turkey. Finding the rest of the stuff they needed wasn't difficult at all. But then there was the wait in line, which stretched out over the course of a half hour.

"Face could have gotten us to the front," said Murdock absently as he stared wistfully ahead.

"True, he could have," replied Hannibal thoughtfully. "But who else could get us a tree on Christmas Eve?"

Murdock looked at Hannibal and grinned. This was true too!

Once they got through the check stand, it didn't take them very long to get back to the apartment. To help put them in the mood, Murdock carried over his singing, which instigated a brief impromptu Christmas caroling when four enthusiastic elderly folk came into the elevator, needing to head up to the same floor. Every floor they landed at, the new passengers were greeted with, "We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!"

Even Hannibal joined in with the singing, despite his hands being full of groceries.

When they got inside the room, they quickly set to putting things away and preparing the oven. Murdock had just launched into full chorus, "Hallelujah…" when Face entered through the door, looking quite pleased with himself.

Rubbing his hands together excitedly, Face declared, "I found us the perfect tree! You should have seen the lot! I swear, yesterday the pickings were slim but today, there was just this one… and I had to get it for us! You'll love it Murdock!"

"Where is it?" Murdock inquired excitedly. "Downstairs?"

"Oh, B.A. has it."

Everyone looked to the door as B.A. stepped into the room, dragging behind him a beautiful seven foot Douglas Fir. Murdock's jaw dropped in sheer awe of the heavenly tree.

"It's more than beautiful! It's simply fantastic!" Murdock threw his arms around B.A. and hugged him.

B.A. squirmed in his grasp. "Hey man, get off me and help me get this thing up!"

"Sure thing buddy ol' pal!"

After the tree was put up, everyone got to work with decorating the tree and the rest of the house. In addition to the tree, Face had managed to pick himself up several extra branches that the Christmas tree lots had discarded. They were able to use these to place on the fireplace, along doorframes, and over the tv.

Shortly after noon, the team knew that they needed more help. Face looked at Hannibal and stated, "Do you think it's too late to invite the kids over for Christmas dinner?"

"Nonsense!" Hannibal replied with a smile. "If anyone can convince the people in charge to let them come over here for Christmas, it's you, Face. That's why Murdock and I got so much food. We knew it wasn't going to be just us."

"Ah, it's great to know that I am needed still." Face looked over at B.A. and said with a smile, "That means you're coming too."

"And me!" Murdock exclaimed. "Please oh please let me come! I haven't seen them in ages!"

B.A. sighed and looked away. Though he had seemed a bit unwilling to let Murdock come along, he held a smile on his lips. "All right, I guess you can come."

"Thank you!" Murdock shouted, immediately diving towards the couch to grab his jacket and reindeer antlers.

B.A. grabbed him by the shirt collar, "But if you start any more of that singing, I'll throw you on the hood so you really can be Rudolph!"

"Read ya loud and clear, buddy!" Murdock laughed before racing out the door.

B.A. shook his head. "I bet that crazy fool could run down the stairs and still beat us to the van with all that sugar he's on!"

Face patted his shoulder as he went towards the door, "He's on the Christmas jazz!"

"Murdock! Murdock!" exclaimed the kids when they saw Murdock coming down the hallway.

"Kids!" Murdock dropped to a knee and opened his arms, immediately receiving all five children at once. He hugged them all tightly. "Oh I missed you all!"

"We missed you too!" exclaimed Susan. "We were missing our Night Avenger!"

Little Bo nodded. "Yeah, we missed you!"

"Where were you?" inquired Billy curiously.

Kanika had wrapped her arms around Murdock's neck and was holding onto him tightly, her little eyes shining with happiness. Murdock couldn't be any happier to be surrounded by the kids that he had helped save, but remembering the storm he just battled caused him to frown a little. It was a terrible ordeal, and the pain was real… but at the moment, it wasn't hurting so much. In fact, now that he was surrounded by his family, the darkness couldn't begin to grab at him again.

"Fighting the darkness," replied Murdock solemnly. He smiled at them, "But don't you worry, your fearless leader is back, and he's come to take you all to a real Christmas dinner complete with presents in the morning!"

The children cheered loudly.

"Murdock," said Kanika suddenly. "You and B.A. need to see someone! She flew all this way to see you!"

B.A., who had just come over to the children, looked at her curiously, "Who? Who came all this way to see us?"

"B.A.!" exclaimed a voice from behind.

Everyone turned around and B.A.'s jaw dropped. "Momma?" he asked in disbelief. He hurried over to her and hugged her tightly. "Momma! But how did you… how could you have found… where did…"

"Hush now!" exclaimed B.A.'s mother with a joyful grin. "Is that how you greet your momma, with lots of questions?"

"Sorry, momma, I was just excited, that's all."

"It's all right, and I can safely say, it was all the Lord's doing."

Kanika came up beside Mrs. Baracus and said, "You remember those thank you letters you wanted us to write? Well, as I was going through the names, I saw your mother's name and I knew I had to contact her about you. I wanted to thank her for raising you to be so loving towards us!"

B.A. blushed and looked away. "Aww, thanks baby girl! I'm stunned, speechless in fact!"

"Well then!" said Mrs. Baracus, clasping her hands together. "What's this I hear about a Christmas party? Shall we stand here talking until it's dark or shall we get going to this wonderful party?"

In no time everyone was in the van and despite B.A.'s earlier threat, Murdock couldn't help but launch into song, which was only naturally joined by the children, Face, and B.A.'s mother. "Sing a new song, open up your heart. Let the world know, let the music start. Come on sing out, joy to the world!"

With the kids to lend a helping hand in the decorating, it took only a very short time to finish the apartment. Once it was done, it looked like it had always been decorated as such! The table was set with a beautiful maroon table cloth with fine silverware at each place. Even the kids had their own table decorated with a garland reindeer that Murdock had found at the very bottom of the decoration box.

While they waited for the dinner to be done, Murdock entertained the children by playing various board games with the kids along with coloring pictures from a Christmas-themed book he had found at the grocery store. Soon the entire apartment was smelling delicious with the turkey, the bread rolls, the stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

"Dinner!" cried Mrs. Baracus and immediately the kitchen was besieged by hungry children and adults.

Once everyone had their food, Mrs. Baracus took hold of B.A.'s hand and then Hannibal's. "Let us hold hands and thank the Lord for all that He has done for us."

B.A. took Face's hand, who then took Murdock's hand. Murdock grinned at his brother before taking Hannibal's hand. They all then bowed their heads and fell into a reverend silence as Mrs. Baracus lead them in prayer.

"Thank You, Lord, for this bountiful feast that You have graced us with. You know how difficult our lives have been of late, the trials that we all have faced, but through it all You have remained faithful. You hadn't given up on us, even though we might have given up on You or even on ourselves. Thank You, Lord, for being here, for guiding us, and for giving us your comfort through each other. You gave us Your only Son, so that we might join Your family in Heaven, and for that, we thank You! Praise you, our Lord! Thank You for keeping us together and for remembering that no matter what darkness may fall upon us, we always have you, living out through the love and mercy of our family. Praise You, Lord and in Jesus's name we pray, Amen!"

A chorus of, "Amen's!" followed and everyone dug into the food, all except Murdock, who immediately began singing, "I've got joy- joy- joy- joy! I've got it! I've got it! I've got joy-joy-joy-joy!"

"Murdock!" everyone yelled at once, then broke into a fit of laughter.

As the laughter subsided, Murdock looked at Face and said quietly, "You know, Faceman. When I was in that state, that awful place, I could hear what you told me. And I know you blamed yourself, for what happened to me, but, it wasn't your fault."

Face looked at him, slightly stunned. Then his expression relaxed into a truly relieved smile. He squeezed Murdock's shoulder. "Thank you, Murdock. That does mean a lot to me. I did mean what I said too, about you being a brother to me. Albeit, a sometimes annoying one… but one I can't live without."

Murdock grinned at him, then left Face alone to eat his food. Across from him, Murdock could see B.A. trying to decide whether he wanted the peas to invade the gravy spillage or not. Murdock said, "B.A., thank you."

"For what?"

"For being strong when we were weak," replied Murdock simply. He then looked at Hannibal and felt tears choking his throat a little. "And Hannibal, Colonel… thank you, thank you so much, for being the father to us. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."

Hannibal bowed his head and wiped his eyes. All eyes were on him for they hadn't seen him like this before. Hannibal took up his glass and lifted it. He smiled at each of them as he said, "I want to offer a toast to my team, my friends…" he looked at Murdock, "to my sons… but most of all, to my family."

"To family!" chorused everyone.

"And a very, Merry Christmas!"

~ The End ~