Heroes Are Made of This
by Agaetis Byrjun
Word Count: 28,268
Summary: Five times Murdock rushed to save a member of the time and the one time they all rushed to save him.
Disclaimer: It's not mine, any of it!
A/N: Done for the A-Team kink!meme.
- One: Of Band-Aids, Q-Tips and Lotion -
A hero is a man who does what he can.
- Romain Rolland
Murdock stared at the clock fixed to the wall as he bit the inside of his cheek in growing anticipation.
The mission was supposed to have ended hours ago and though he understood they had to go through debriefing and probably had their own things to do, they always made a point to come check in with him.
He huffed and turned his head to look out the window; there was absolutely no visibility so the view was pretty shitty. It was in the middle of typhoon season and the rain had been relentless for the past two days.
His team had gone active the day the storm system moved in and Murdock really hadn't liked the idea of some random pilot bringing his team to the drop zone in near hurricane force winds, but for all his protesting and what Face had been inclined to call a hissy fit, he didn't have much say.
Face had promised it would be nothing more than a fling; that the other pilot didn't mean anything and he'd always be their number one aviator but he couldn't help but cross his arms and make Face promise to bring him back a souvenir.
He was grounded with a capital 'G' and all because of a tiny little whole in his liver. The shot had been clean, through and through, entering his back and exiting his abdomen and he hadn't even known it happened at first – 'at first' being the key phrase because once he had realized it, saw that unusual growing red spot on the front of his T-shirt and then B.A.'s expression when he fell forward, it felt like, well, it felt like he got shot in the back.
Now he was at the tail end of his two-week enforced bed rest and he was beginning to get ground sick and a little stir crazy. He wasn't sure he could handle anymore re-runs of Moraeshigae, Damo or Hur Jun – there was only so much South Korean soap opera television a man could take – and no matter how many times he asked for red Jello they always, without fail, brought green.
Then there was the uncomfortably strict drug protocol. Military hospitals were strict, they had to be, but it was one of the things he hated most about being hospitalized. They picked his medical records apart, taking in his vast list of current and previous medications and then created a protocol they found most appropriate. Sometimes they'd get it right, other times they wouldn't – this stay was a good example of the latter and though it wasn't his worst experience he had had, he looked forward to regaining some semblance of control.
There was also the fact that his nurse seemed to have it out for Billy; he swore he saw her kick him once and that, in his book, was simply unforgivable.
He sighed and reached for the small stack of comics Face had left on his bedside table, trying to ignore the sinking feeling that was worsening with each passing minute.
There was a loud boom of lightening and the ground shook, only adding to Murdock's fears, and the lights flickered for a moment before turning off. The lack of power didn't last long, however, as the generators kicked in with a hum.
He turned the page, not really taking anything in as his mind continued to drift in more negative directions.
The wind speeds, if Murdock had to judge by the hell outside his window, were probably around 80 miles-per-hour and with those hurricane force rainbands and eyewalls the risk of losing lift and having a blade break off was extremely high …
Which meant it was also highly unlikely that any choppers were getting off the ground …
Murdock stopped himself, not wanting to allow himself to spiral into a hopeless and vicious circle of negative thinking because they were fine – B.A. was probably sleeping off whatever drug they had used on him to get on the transport, Hannibal was just debriefing and writing up his report and Face, well, maybe he caught sight of some long-legged someone.
Yeah, that was it; he just needed to sit back, relax and enjoy his comic books and evil green Jello -
"Captain Murdock?" He glanced at the clock and fought the urge to make a cross with his fingers, hiss and then promptly retreat into the sheets.
"I took them already – at three …" The nurse blinked and shook her head as she moved hurriedly to the side of his bed, pushing a wheelchair in front of her.
Murdock subconsciously shied away. No matter how many times Hannibal assured him it would never happen, he didn't trust hospital staff to not commit him or wheel him away and lock him in a room where he'd spend the rest of his days watching the walls melt.
"No, it's not that, we are moving all the first floor patients to the second floor."
"Why?" He furrowed his brow, still suspicious.
"We're starting to get some flooding – " He didn't listen to the rest, only caught snippets – something about the danger of electrocution, something minor like that – and looked back out the window. Where the hell was his team?
"Umm, ma'am," He squinted at her nametag, "Lieutenant Roberts, have ya seen Colonel Smith or Lieutenant Peck … Corporal Baracus, maybe? They were on wait for extraction today –"
She shook her head, distracted by the sounds in the hall.
"Sorry, Captain, the last extraction was yesterday afternoon," She said as if the fact that several teams were potentially caught in the middle of a typhoon was no big deal, "communications are down and well, all the birds are grounded, because of the storm."
"Yesterday –" He swallowed as the nurse pulled the chair's footrests out, his head suddenly feeling very fuzzy.
So, if he was following their short exchange correctly, communications were down (which meant his team had no way of making contact with base), extraction pilots were grounded (meaning his team was also grounded or rather stranded) and the typhoon had escalated to base-flooding status (and his team was out there in that storm).
Already, his mind was formulating all sorts of plans of actions and all of them were admittedly stupid.
There was a bang in the hall and he flinched.
"Nurse Roberts, we need you out here!" The nurse huffed, abandoning the wheelchair for the time being, giving him a quick glance as she hurried out of the room.
"I'll be right back, Captain. Stay put." As soon as she left the room he pushed himself up and swung his feet over the side of the bed, waiting for the dizziness to pass before getting to his feet.
He closed his eyes trying to fight through the general haze of the Murdockian drug-cocktail to access that oh-so-important part of his brain that provided him his eidetic memory – the part of his mind that supplied him all those foreign languages, endless supply of movie quotes, useless facts and mental maps.
Hannibal always made a point to go over the plan with every member of the team, even when one of them was down for the count.
The day before their mission Hannibal had gathered them around his bedside, placing the maps on his bed tray and using the various assortment of medical miscellanea around them to act as their analogs: Hannibal had been represented by a band-aide, Face a packaged Q-tip and B.A. a small bottle of lotion. When Murdock had complained about the lack of representation Hannibal snorted and looked around the room before grabbing a roll of bandaging tape, placing it on the corner of the map.
B.A. had promptly moved it, far away from the map and with a surprisingly well-balanced mixture of caring and insult told him he'd keep his crazy ass far away, safe and sound in the hospital.
Murdock had listened to the run through as he looked over the map of the region around Camp Casey and the country's northern border – they were working a counter intelligence opp. outside of the Gojang-ri outpost, a mere mile from the North Korean border.
The outpost was located on a small plateau overlooking the Han River, one that connected the two conflicting countries. The OP was 25 miles north of his current location – a lazy flight in normal non-apocalyptic circumstances.
If anyone was going to be able to fly in that it was him; he'd just have to ask the helicopter very, very nicely to not wimp out on him and decide to loose lift or blade integrity Usually, when he used his nice voice, they listened and that's all he really had at this time; that and mad skill.
And when Murdock thought about it, and he often did, it was his job. He was the pilot – he got them out of binds, engaged in aerial combat and did whatever he needed to get his team to safety or to aid whatever plan Hannibal came up with.
But it wasn't only his responsibility as the team's designated escape plan that had him risking life, limb and copter time and time again; it was something much more important to him than any rank or job title could provide …
It was settled, then, typhoon or not he was going to get his team back to safety.
He stood, wincing at the pull at his wrist before promptly pulling the IV out, and grabbing his hat and jacket – he was never going to get the blood out no matter what Face said about the magic of hydrogen peroxide – and stepped into his boots.
He took a deep breath, trying to disregard the pull of his stitches and his generally wobbly legs and peered out into the hallway. Nurse Roberts was busy at the nurse's station, her back turned – it was now or never.
Without further hesitation he moved down the hall, moving around doctors and stretchers.
'Act like you're supposed to be doing what you're doing and no one will question it.'
Face was always eager to share the tricks of his unusual trade and his words echoed in his head as he hastily passed, grateful for the fact that he was wearing a t-shirt and scrub bottoms and not the traditional gown – that would have been awkward and extremely drafty.
He wasn't surprised, really, when he made it to the door – this had worked before, all those years ago in Mexico – or probably would have had he not been stopped by a certain Lieutenant - though he had had a significantly better disguise then. He couldn't even call this a disguise; really, this was Murdock escaping a hospital dressed as Murdock escaping a hospital – lousy costume work.
With a final glance back at the small hospital wing, he silently made his way out the door and almost immediately ate pavement – he had been right before, concerning the wind and it had nearly knocked him on his ass.
This rescue effort was off to a really questionable start.
He steeled himself against the gale and gripped the brim of his hat, pulling it down low in a feeble attempt to keep the rain out of his eyes and hurried across the base. Trucks and uniformed men rushed past him, running to sandbag the weaker sections of the surrounding wall – no one so much as glanced at him in the chaos.
He hobbled over to the hangar, his stitches pulling painfully with each step and scanned the tarmac, scouting out his options.
They had pulled the light-load choppers inside and were currently towing anything with a propeller into the hangar.
He frowned but swallowed his concern – those wouldn't do anyway, they wouldn't be able to maneuver the way he needed in the wind.
Three fighter-jets were lined up, their cabins sealed and their parking blocks wedged tightly under their wheels – anything that couldn't hover was out – his team wouldn't benefit much from an air show and a few flyovers.
He rounded the hanger, hoping the aircraft he had seen there two weeks ago was still on base and was rewarded by the sight of a V-22 Osprey. The tilt rotor mechanism would give him better lift in the unreliable wind currents and greater maneuverability and best yet, its blades were as strong as they came and would be less likely to snap in the wind.
With a final look around he made a mad dash for the Osprey, holding his side and hoping to attract the least attention possible, which seemed rather impossible as he caught a few confused and startled looks.
"Ca-Captain Murdock?" He recognized the voice but couldn't put a name to it so he just played deaf as he unlocked the door and pulled himself painfully inside, "Captain, all birds are grounded, sir!"
Oh good, he could go with the playing dumb act here; always a wise choice. He gestured at his ears as he pulled the helmet over his head, acting as though he couldn't hear the rapidly approaching man.
"Okay, yeah! I'll pick you up some milk on my way back!" He quickly closed the door and began the start up procedure, pushing the craft forward and tilting the rotors completely horizontal to the ground – a moment later he was off the ground leaving behind a rather irate and confused group of flight mechanics.
He cleared the base within a matter of seconds, pushing the Osprey forward and through the storm as quickly as possible – it was slow speeds that made navigating high winds so difficult and he wasn't about to make that rookie mistake.
Rain pelted the windshield and the radio was abnormally silent. Visibility was absolute shit, 10 feet at the most. He would have to fly solely by radar, at least until he arrived at the OP – that's when the real challenge would begin.
He pushed forward and was surprised and a little forlorn to realize how much the small amount of activity had exhausted him; his hands shook and hell, Hannibal was going to kill him because the little wet spot gathering on the front of his shirt meant ripped stitches.
He figured they'd forgive him his moment of stupidity, however, because he was fairly confident they would rather him swoop in unannounced in an Osprey than die in a landslide at some shit outpost.
The Osprey lurched as it was tossed about in the winds, it's frame groaning, the constant change putting pressure on the craft. Despite this, Murdock expertly maintained his heading, keeping an attentive eye on the radar. The Han River had appeared on the right hand corner of the screen, which meant he was approximately five-minutes south east of his team's position.
He descended slightly, getting close enough to make out the tree line. The trees swayed in the blustery weather, some cracking and folding as he flew over. His knee bounced slightly as his mind distracted him with a horrid slew of what-ifs as it took in the watery scene below.
He shook his head and left those thoughts for later, deciding to replace the uncomfortable silence that had been left behind in his head with humming which steadily grew into singing, as it often did, and before he knew it he had a rather impressive version of 'Ride of the Valkyries' going.
Murdock checked the navigation screen; he was in the vicinity, he should be able to see the outpost any second now - he flipped on the bottom spotlights and peered out the window.
Rain skirted through the shafts light, making everything look even hazier than before, but at least his team would be able to see him. He did a loop, searching for the plateau OP, fighting gusts of wind that came up as updrafts from the valley below.
For a frightening moment he thought that perhaps he had gotten it wrong, that his brain had implanted a completely false memory in desperation but then there was a faint dot of light, shimmering in the distance.
Dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit – his mind translated; S-O-S.
Murdock pushed the Osprey forward towards the blinking light, eyes searching frantically to catch sight of just one of his team members so he could figure out how to bring the bird in; the currents were terribly violent at ground level and the last thing he wanted to do was crush or decapitate his team.
He moved the spotlight towards the signal light and released the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. Hannibal was waving his arms in the universal 'here-i-am' manner and was standing in front of the collapsed frame of the small outpost, a tree laying across it's roof, half inside the OP.
He couldn't find Face or B.A. and warm panic flourished in his gut.
Hannibal was using hand signals, informing him there were three people –which Murdock found odd -, one injured – Murdock's stomach sank – and then moved on to direct him into the best extraction position.
Murdock squinted at him, wondering why he wasn't just trusting him to bring the Osprey in when he realized they definitely weren't expecting him. He was the roll of tape, banished to the far corners of the hospital bed; he had no business here. He was so getting chewed out for this, but at least he'd get to see the surprise on their faces and that was always entertaining …
He fought to keep the Osprey balanced as a particularly strong current pushed it back and steadily moved forward; he tightened his grip as the chopper continued to buck and slowly moved into position.
When he was confident the Osprey wasn't going to go into some sudden death spasm, throwing him into the ground or back into his team, he opened the back door; immediately the cabin pressure changed, his ears popping and the cold rain quickly covered the floor of the back cargo as the wind swirled around the interior.
He looked back, hands tight on the controls, and waited, staring out into the dark. He managed to tilt the rear back nearly touching the ground as he hovered and it was no small feat. He could feel the winds fighting to bring him down, could hear the groan of metal near the propellers.
A moment later Hannibal and Face appeared, a semi unconscious B.A. dangling between them – they looked up at him and save for the knowing grin on Hannibal's features, B.A.'s hazy look of disbelief and Face's muttering of 'you've got to be shitting me', they were surprisingly accepting – and overwhelmingly relieved - of his cameo to their mission.
Though he was sure they highly disapproved of the fact that he had not only broken out of the hospital but had also stolen a V22 Osprey from the tarmac – something Hannibal would have to somehow talk their way out of (they would end up chalking it up to a drug cocktail gone south in the direction of kleptomania) – the way Face hugged him and the manner in which B.A. did not kill him and how Hannibal put an arm around his shoulders as they walked back to the hospital from the tarmac, it was all proof that he had done everything so very right.
Sometimes kleptomania was the answer.
And sure, Hannibal and the doctors had decided to increase his bed rest another week – he had pulled nearly 60% of his stitches and had ruined another great T-shirt– and his new roommate threatened death each time a drawing of a dinosaur or something lewd showed up on his cast, and Face had lectured him like a mother hen about not going out in the rain without a rain jacket and a hole in your gut, but in the end it had all been spectacularly worth it.