Greetings! This is a piece which follows my other story 'Out of the Frying Pan.' Even if you haven't read my first story, this one should be easy enough to follow (I hope). Please R&R. I'm using more POV's this time and I'm a little nervous about it. Thanks and enjoy! Disclaimer: I still do not own any of the characters, but I still wish I did.
Chapter One: The Language of the Left Shoe
It was a lazy Saturday, and, for once, Hannibal didn't have any missions lined up. The team hadn't had much downtime in the past few weeks, so BA was taking full advantage of the lull in activity.
The van had already received new sparkplugs and an oil change, but maybe, BA thought, the tires needed to be rotated as well. Wheeling a large jack over to the van, BA set his mind on the task at hand. He had been enjoying the quiet of his workshop, until the fool peeked into the room.
"Hey BA, whatcha doin?"
The groan escaped before he could stop it. No, the best way to deal with the crazy man was to ignore him. He'd get bored and go away, maybe. BA placed the jack under the van and started cranking.
"Workin' on the van, huh? Need any help?"
It was hard not to snap back with an answer. How come everything seemed so much harder to accomplish with the pilot around? BA felt his throat vibrate slightly as he let out a low growl, but he stayed focused on his work.
"I guess you don't, do you?"
Why did the man always have so many questions? BA clenched his jaw. The van slowly started to rise as the jack extended.
"Maybe I'll just sit out here with you for a bit and watch you work. Ok, BA?"
He could feel his shoulders tightening up. Murdock wasn't going to go away easily and yelling at the man would only fuel his craziness. BA drew in a deep breath and decided to continue ignoring the fool. There was still a chance that…
…maybe the man would…
His nerves fully frayed, BA spun around and glared at Murdock. "What you doing? Stop making that noise!"
Eyes wide, the Captain stood frozen in midstride with his left leg hovering above the ground. Wisps of light brown hair feathered out from under his dark ball cap. He swayed a little as he tried to keep his balance on one foot. His grey tee-shirt simply had the word 'Relax' printed on it, which only furthered BA's annoyance.
"I-it's my shoe, big guy. The left one keeps talking." Murdock lowered his foot to the ground.
"See!" Murdock smiled. "I just got them! Isn't this great BA? The language of the left shoe is very hard to understand, but I think I'm learning! Do you want me to teach ya?"
"NO! I want you to be quiet, or better yet, go away. Gonna drive me crazy with your stupid shoe." BA felt a twinge of guilt as he watched the smile slide off Murdock's face.
"Oh, ok." The reply had been so quiet, BA almost hadn't heard it.
He turned back to the van. He couldn't apologize; He wouldn't be able to shut Murdock up if he did that. All he wanted was some time to himself. Why did the Captain have to ruin that? Cranking the jack again, he let his mind wander back to the process of rotating the tires. The tension in his shoulders eased a little.
Getting up to get another jack, BA glanced across the room. On the floor with his legs crossed, Murdock sat poking at the red sneaker on his left foot.
Looking up, a wide grin spread across the Captain's face. "I think Lefty speaks French too!"
BA grumbled but didn't have the heart to yell at Murdock again. As long as the fool was quiet, it would be ok if he stayed. Murdock turned his attention back to the shoe and BA watched with mild fascination.
The expression on Murdock's face reminded BA of a child engrossed in a Saturday morning cartoon. It was an innocent, carefree kind of relaxation that had engulfed the pilot. His big brown eyes sparkled and his goofy grin grew a little wider.
BA strolled around to the far side of the van before he smiled to himself. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't stay mad at the crazy fool.
Hannibal hung up the phone as Face strolled into the room. He hoped his Lieutenant had discovered better news.
"What's the word, Face?"
Face opened his mouth to speak, but then he suddenly spun away and nervously smoothed back his hair.
"Oh." Hannibal shrugged. "Is it that bad?"
"Well." Face turned around, his features still pinched slightly with concern. "You were right. Someone was digging into Murdock's files. I don't know how, but they got quite a lot of information without being detected. And…." He paused, his gaze meeting Hannibal's. "…I found out that there had been a group of people at the VA asking about him. They were asking a lot of questions, and not just about the A-Team. These guys wanted to know everything about Murdock."
Hannibal sighed as he pulled a cigar out of his jacket pocket; he stared down at it, but couldn't bring himself to light it.
"It's just like with our clients," he said, putting the cigar away. "I've managed to track down about twenty of our old clients so far on the phone, and they all have the same story. Some men came around and started asking questions. Most of the time, there didn't seem to be much harm in answering them. No one thought much of it. If I hadn't gotten that call from Amy, I wouldn't have even known they were out there. These guys found out a lot of info on all of us."
Hannibal shook his head. "No, bounty hunters would be pressing harder. Whoever is doing this is taking their time. They're gathering information and doing it quietly. I don't like this one bit."
"I guess we should tell Murdock and BA now." Face sounded hesitant.
It wasn't a lot to go on yet, so Hannibal could understand his Lieutenant's reluctance. This unknown threat had been eating away at the pair of them for the last week, and inflicting that same predicament on his other men didn't sound all that appeasing. Still, he couldn't leave them in the dark; it would be too dangerous.
"Yeah," Hannibal said at last. "They're out in the workshop. I sent Murdock out there a while ago to check on BA."
Face smiled. "I'm sure he'll thank you for that later."
"Sure he will! Oh, and Face," Hannibal paused to make sure the conman was paying close attention, "until we get this worked out, Murdock stays with us, and no one leaves the safe house alone, ok?"
Worry creasing his brow, Face nodded.
Sarah Chiang glared up at the guard. Her desk was littered with papers, all of which she had already memorized. Still, she hated to be disturbed.
"Report!" She frowned at the sharpness of her voice. Showing emotions was a sign of weakness. She would have to be more careful in the future.
The young man hadn't recoiled at her tone. He stood straight, eyes focused on her. He had been trained well; she approved.
"Captain Murdock has not yet been returned to the VA," he said.
She closed her eyes and concentrated on keeping her face serene. "You can go."
There was a brief shuffle of sound as he exited. She waited until she heard the door click closed before she opened her eyes. Reaching out, she set her hands on the papers in front of her. Most of it was useless information, but she had found a few interesting tidbits as well.
Her eyes strayed from the papers to her own hands. The delicate fingers tapered so beautifully, but not all of them. She frowned as she raised her left hand. The middle and ring fingers were no more than tiny stumps of flesh, shot off at the knuckle. It was his fault. But she would get her revenge. She would make him suffer, break him down and then, after all that, she would do exactly as she had said nearly a year ago. She would kill Murdock.