Laughter echoed through the van. The team had succeeded again. They had stopped the bad guys again. They were running high on the Jazz again. Hannibal grinned that special grin of his as he lit up another cigar. Murdock had made some joke that had Face laughing and everyone was feeling pretty good. Almost everyone. Amy sat between Murdock and Face, as usual and she just couldn't share in their laughter.
Lately, a sort of discontent had taken hold of her. She couldn't explain why or when it had started. All she knew was that the Jazz didn't grab her like it used to. Every success, every time they helped right another wrong, she felt more and more disconnected from it all. Had she lost the Jazz? Had she become so used to it all that it held no meaning for her anymore? The last few months, she'd tried burying the feelings pushing them out of her mind but she couldn't. She was restless. She was unhappy. What was worse, she was trapped.
Until Jakarta. Her boss had offered her an overseas assignment in Jakarta. She hadn't accepted yet but she wanted it. The more time passed, the more she knew she wanted to go. It was time for a new adventure. It was time to move on. She knew she could let go of the Jazz. She didn't know if she could let go of Murdock.
She hadn't said anything to the guys and they, in turn, hadn't noticed anything was bothering her. Amy didn't want that fact to hurt, but it did. It was one thing for Hannibal, Face, or BA not to notice. When Hannibal was on the Jazz, nothing else got to him. Face was far too wrapped up in himself and BA just wasn't one to notice things like this. But, Murdock hadn't noticed anything was wrong with her either. Her Murdock. The one man who was supposed to know her. The man who told her he loved her. Amy felt like she was slipping away from reality and Murdock wasn't catching her. He didn't even see that she was falling at all. Was it just the thrill of the job that she was losing or was it the man she loved too? She did still love him. She was certain of that. But, she was beginning to doubt that she could continue on like this. For the first time since she joined the team, Amy was beginning to doubt forever. What felt worse was that she was beginning to doubt Murdock.
Amy jumped out of her thoughts and back to the interior of the van. They were stopped and the four men all had their eyes fixed on her.
"I said, we're at your building," Hannibal told her. He was now looking her over carefully.
"Oh, uh, thanks Hannibal. I'll call you guys later," Amy forced a smile as she prepared to make a quick exit from the van.
Murdock immediately moved to follow her. She turned and looked at him. "What are you doing?"
Murdock looked confused and a bit hurt as he froze in his spot, half out of the van. "I thought that I'd go with you," he hesitantly replied.
"I think I'd rather be alone tonight, actually."
Murdock just stared at her. The others all exchanged glances but Murdock and Amy kept their eyes on each other. She felt herself turning red. Murdock almost always spent a few days with her after a mission. It had become an unspoken arrangement and one that she looked forward to.
"What's wrong, Amy," Murdock asked.
'Oh, so now you notice.' Amy thought, bitterly. "Nothing. I'm tired."
Murdock looked far from convinced and he didn't make a move to get back in his seat and BA didn't make a move to start the van.
Sensing, they were at a standoff, Amy rolled her eyes.
"All right, fine. Come in. I guess we should talk anyway."
Murdock frowned and turned to Face. Face shrugged and placed a hand on his shoulder, in an attempt to reassure him. Murdock nodded and then joined Amy on the sidewalk. The van dove away.
Murdock grabbed Amy's hand, "what's going on Chiquita?"
Seeing the confusion and concern in his large, dark eyes, Amy squeezed his hand back and led him to the door. "Inside," was all she said.
Once Amy had shut the door behind them, she took a deep breath before she faced the questions she knew that Murdock now had. Questions she wasn't sure she was ready to answer.
Before she could turn around, she felt Murdock's hand slip around her waist and his voice was suddenly in her ear.
"Tell me, Amy. Whatever it is, you can tell me. I don't want you to be upset. I love you," he whispered.
His desperate, soft tone broke Amy's heart. Her eyes flooded with tears. She turned in his arms. Murdock sighed and gently wiped away her tears with his thumbs.
"Tell me," he pleaded.
"Lately," she began. "I've been feeling like I don't-."
She stopped. She knew it would hurt him. How could she hurt him?
She started over. "I've been offered a special assignment," she settled on.
Murdock's face broke into a wide smile, "that's great baby. I mean, that's fantastic. I always told you that you were gonna be a real star reporter. Didn't I always tell you that? What are those tears for?" Amy didn't respond or smile back.
"I mean, that is great, isn't it?"
"It's overseas. It's in Jakarta."
The smile dropped as the news sank in. Murdock struggled for the right words to say. "Are you gonna go?"
Trying to stop herself from fully sobbing, she nodded at him. "Yeah, Murdock. I'm going to go. I think that I need to go. I need this."
Murdock shook his head, "I don't understand. What do you mean, you need this? Don't you need me?"
"I love you, Murdock. I'm sure of that. I will probably always love you," Amy said with conviction.
"Probably?" Murdock released Amy and backed away. "And that's not what I asked you anyway."
Amy crossed her arms tightly at the sudden cold. She looked down at the floor. "It's the best answer I can give you."
"Oh, well I know I'll always love you."
The silence between them seemed to stretch on into eternity.
"How long," he finally asked.
"I honestly don't know. Even when the assignment is done, I might not come back here. I just feel lost right now. I need a new direction in my life. It's not about you though. You've been the best thing about these last couple of years. I've never been in love like this. You have to believe me."
"You need a new direction. But, I'm a part of your life, so what you mean is you need a new direction away from me."
Amy laughed in frustration. "Oh, Murdock. If I could take you with me, if I could unselfishly ask you to come with me, I would do it in a heartbeat. Between the two of us, we could take on the world," she smiled wistfully, lost in a dream where that life was a possibility.
"But, I can't ask you that, can I?"
Now it was Murdock's turn to look to the floor.
Amy took that as confirmation, "right. You can't leave them. You won't leave them. And I completely understand that. They're your unit and you gotta stick with your unit. And they need you as much as you need them, trust me. So, I won't ask you to give them up. I won't ask you to give up your whole life to be with me."
Her voice was breaking now and the effort to keep from crying was becoming too much for her. She angrily wiped the freefalling tears away from her traitorous eyes.
"Amy, I do love you with all my heart," his eyes glistened too.
"I know that. I do and I'm more sorry than I can say for all of this, but my life can't be just you."
"What about the guys," he asked, desperate to give her a reason not to leave. "Aren't they your friends? Don't you care about them?"
"Of course I do. I don't know what I'm gonna do without BA's growling, Face's whining, or Hannibal's cigars," she chuckled.
"Then," Murdock started to argue.
"Murdock, don't. I'm so grateful that I had this time. I'm grateful that I had the friendship of the A-Team and I'm grateful that I had you and that you love me. I don't know why I can't just be satisfied with my life now, but I'm not and I've got to go. Oh, I swear I never wanted to hurt you. I've always hated anyone who hurt you and now I'm the one doing it," she broke down then. The sobs wracked her body and she began to sink to the floor.
Murdock caught her and lowered her gently. He pulled her to him and rubbed soothing circles on her back. He squeezed his eyes shut to stop his own tears from falling. There would be time for tears later. He didn't want to hurt Amy anymore.
"It's okay, sweetie. You go. You go find what you need to find and be who you were meant to be. I'll still love you. You know geography ain't gonna change that, no way."
Murdock tried to make his voice confident and firm. If this is what Amy needed to do, then he wouldn't deny her. He would never forgive himself if he were the cause of her giving up the direction she thought she had to take. It would crush him to let her go, but for Amy, he would try.
Amy smiled through her tears and grabbed hold of him as tightly as she could. She wanted to convey everything she was feeling with her touch. She had no more words. She pulled back slightly and this time, she wiped away his tears. Both of them put on a brave face for each other. She leaned in and kissed him. For a time, she could just be lost in his kiss and forget that they were crying. Forget that they were saying goodbye, most likely forever. She would allow both of them to have one last night.
The knocking at Face's door was persistent, not to mention annoying. Why was he always being bothered at the crack of dawn? Was he the only one who slept in? Face was prepared to yell at whoever was at the door as he slipped his robe on.
He opened the door and all of his anger vanished at the sight of his anguished best friend.
"Murdock? What is it? What's wrong?"
"Amy, uh, Amy had to go. I understand, you know, I really do. I love her and she loves me, but she had to go."
"Come in. Come in, it'll be all right," Face said.
Murdock stepped inside the scammed apartment and Face shut the door behind them.
Author's Note: This is my excuse as to why Amy up and disappeared from the show without a trace or warning. I hope I didn't make her come off badly. It was hard to try and keep both of them sympathetic when she's leaving him, the team, and the country. Let me know what you think.