Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team. I'm just playing in their sandbox as any fan would!
A/N:This is my idea of something Murdock might have done during his tours in Vietnam, before the A-Team. I have tried to keep it as close to his canon timeline as possible, and I have tried, through much study (and documentary watching), to keep places and things as historically accurate as possible. Then again, this is fanfiction so if it's not perfect we'll just go with it!
Further Info: Some events based around an OC. General violence, some war related. May contain Amy/Murdock and may contain a little Dark!Murdock.
Amy tapped her pencil absentmindedly against the top of her notepad, staring thoughtfully out the passenger side window of B.A.'s parked van. They were sitting in the heart of LA's abandoned warehouse district, and her view consisted of nothing more than an alley wall on both sides. The red stacks of brick, with its crumbling mortar, had been her only scenery for the last half hour. By now she had read every single piece of graffiti-garbage written there. Some of it she wished she hadn't.
Beside her, Murdock sat quietly behind the wheel, watching the stretch of road visible at the end of the alley in front of them. He played idly with the antenna on the radio he held, pulling it up and pushing it down for no reason. It was a rare occasion when he was quiet, and Amy found she actually enjoyed simply sitting in his company with no conversation. It gave her a chance to appreciate him in a different light.
He was worried about the rest of the team, she could tell –although he hadn't exactly made an effort to hide that fact from her. She knew he hated being benched, but like her, he understood that someone had to stay outside in case the mission went south. Amy could tell by the look on his face that he had been running every negative scenario since they'd parked. Fortunately, his distraction had given her the opportunity to study him unnoticed, and as a reporter, she found moments like these invaluable.
Amy glanced down at her notepad. Unbeknownst to Murdock, she had been taking notes on him to pass the time. For starters, she had tried describing him physically. After all, she did find him attractive, but for some reason every adjective she had thought to use seemed inadequate. Murdock was handsome in his own right. He certainly was not stunning like Face, but he did have a quality about him that would make any girl sit up and look a little longer. His smile—his real smile—was always enough to get her heart going even on a bad day. Still, she doubted she'd ever find the right words to describe him accurately. Murdock was more of a person who needed to be experienced rather than explained.
The latter was true about his personality as well. On her second set of notes, Amy had endeavored to make a character sketch of the man, but had soon given up on that too. Murdock was an enigma with a soul depth rivaling that of the Mariana Trench, and an endless troop of personalities up his sleeve to boot. It was near impossible to nail him in twenty-five words or less. Sometimes, Amy wished he would hand out programs so she wouldn't get lost in his role switching theatrics. But, despite his zaniness, she loved his energy. And despite his crazy antics, Murdock could at times display a certain level of sensitivity that had been lacking in most of the other men she had ever known.
Putting her feet up on the dash, Amy settled in for a longer sit. Her actions caused Murdock to glance over at her, but she was too busy tugging down the fabric of her skort to acknowledge him. However, Amy still managed to catch a glimpse of Murdock's gaze drifting low to her bare legs. She hadn't meant to, but her obvious pull on her scrunched-up hem had drawn his attention straight to her exposed thigh.
After a brief stare, he seemed to realize what he was doing and quickly looked away. Amy hid a smile at this, listening to him shift his position to lean more towards his door. That was another thing she loved about Murdock, his decorum. Even though she knew deep down he possessed as wicked a streak as Face, he, unlike the conman, knew when to flaunt it and when not to. That was part of what made him so attractive –the knowledge he had the potentiality to be wicked but wouldn't.
"Bored yet chica?" Murdock asked suddenly, flashing a quick smile in her direction. He had lost interest in pestering the walkie-talkie, and had turned his mind to breaking the silence between them.
"No. Why? Are you?" Amy asked, noticing the pet name, and returning his smile with an equally as bright one. She knew he was trying to be optimistic for her benefit because, despite his grin, his left hand was busy tapping the wheel in agitation giving him away. He seemed to be subconsciously drumming his fingers, using the motion as an outlet for his wired nerves.
Murdock pulled a face. "Are you kidding me, with this brain?" He joked good-naturedly, wiggling his hat by the brim. "Boredom stopped being part of my vocabulary years ago." He added, his gaze flickering back to the street.
Amy's brow furrowed lightly at his choice of words. Something about the way he said 'years ago' made her think. So much about this man was a mystery, and the more observations she made, the more unanswered questions she had. She had read through his service record when the whole business with Al Massey had started. She knew about his stint with the CIA, his double tour in Vietnam, his commendations, and his impervious flight citations, but still –it was barely scratching the surface. She also knew he had been declared insane only after the war had ended –which begged the biggest question of all: what had happened to him?
For a while now Amy had come to the conclusion that Murdock was, in fact, the sanest member of the team. But she knew, while his off-kilter behavior made him the class-clown, it was also a front for something much deeper. She doubted there was anyone in the world who had gone through a war, and not been changed by it somehow. After all, boys were supposed to become men, but whatever had changed Murdock had also left him with a defense mechanism. He wasn't hiding from reality; he was hiding from the past.
Early on, Amy had come to learn that discussing Vietnam with the men was strictly taboo. Except for the odd humorous anecdote now and again, or the inside reference to a workable strategy, which usually began with 'hey guys remember that time we did this'; none of them ever spoke candidly about their time in the war. She could respect that, but as a writer it made it hard to understand her characters without a back story.
Even now, sitting beside Murdock, Amy's mind was swimming with a thousand and one questions she wished to ask him. Biting her lip in thought, she tried to gauge just how much of a line she'd be crossing if she did broach the subject. If anything, it would pass the time while they waited for the team.
Would he open up more since we're alone? Amy wondered. Her curiosity overruled her judgment, and taking a deep breath, she decided to wing it. Settling on one question in particular that had been nagging at her since they'd met, she reached over and patted his arm to get his attention.
"Murdock, can I ask you something?"
Murdock looked over at her and shrugged nonchalantly, "Yeah, sure," he responded, noting her thoughtful expression with interest. "You can ask me anything anytime, you know that. Just don't be too surprised by my answers." His tone darkened as he finished, adding to the ambiguity of what sort of answers he might actually give.
Amy smiled. Out of all the members of the team, he had always been the most honest with her. Encouraged, she flipped her notepad closed and slipped her pencil into the ring binding. If she was going to ask him something personal, she was going to make sure he knew it would stay between them.
Murdock's brow lifted. Intrigued, he watched her toss the pad up on the dash and out of reach. "Uh-oh, it's one of those kinda questions." He said. "Should I be worried, here?"
Lowering her espadrilles to the van floor, Amy sat up straighter and turned to face him. "Look," she held up a hand in emphasize, "I swear, once I ask, you have the full freedom to not answer. If you don't want too, I'll completely understand."
"Okay…" Murdock half grinned. He seemed uncertain where the conversation was going. "Ask away." He said, giving her his final permission.
Reaching out again, Amy tugged on his jacket sleeve. "Where did you get your jacket?" She asked.
The question was simple enough, but immediately she regretted it.
Murdock's face fell before she had even finished. All warmth faded from his brown eyes, instantaneously replaced by a shadowy cloud. Amy had never seen him so serious before. In all the months they'd been traveling together, not once had she seen such a look on his face. It was the darkest, saddest, look she had ever seen on the pilot. For a moment, Amy actually felt frightened of what she might have accidentally triggered inside him.
"Murdock?" She tentatively touched his hand, hoping he was alright. "Murdock, I'm sorry—"
"Naw, don't be Chiquita." He interrupted her, snapping out of his daze. Offering up a wan smile as reassurance he tried to cover over his initial reaction, realizing he was scaring her. "Why, why do you ask?" He adjusted his position to give her his full attention.
Amy shook her head, not wanting to press further, "Forget about it, it was silly—"
"No, no it wasn't. I said you could ask me anything, didn't I?"
"Yes," She admitted, but it didn't make her feel any better. Unfortunately she could tell Murdock wasn't going to let her drop the issue. "Well, I noticed it said Da Nang on the back," she started, trying to be more delicate. "And I don't remember having read in your file that you were stationed there, so I was just curious."
Murdock nodded kindly, acting as if it was the most sensible question in the world. "True, I wasn't stationed there, officially, but you forget –Nang was home to one of the busiest air bases in Nam at the time, so in my line of duty it was almost impossible not to end up there at some point." He smiled again, trying to show she hadn't upset him.
"I get the feeling that's not where you got the jacket though, right?" Amy said, not wishing to pry but wanting to know.
"Yeah, you're right." Murdock replied, fidgeting with the volume control on the walkie-talkie. He paused as if considering something, and then glanced back up at her. "Would you really like to know?" He asked slowly. "I mean, really, really?"
Amy was taken aback by the expression on his face. She was beginning to get the feeling he wanted to tell her.
"Yes, I would." She said softly, giving him a warm smile for support.
"Okay," Murdock agreed. Leaning back against the door behind him, he thought about where to begin.
TBC, thanks for reading!