A Broken Van Is A Broken Heart
B.A. was bent over his van, the hood up. His big, ringed hands tinkering skillfully with the machinery inside. The team had just finished another mission and were now spending a few days in a house that Face had scammed. B.A. had just shined and polished his van and was now giving the engine a well deserved tune up. The mission had taken its toll on the van with the crazy turns and ramp jumps it had made. B.A. didn't mind the work though. In fact, he actually quite enjoyed working on his favorite black and red GMC.
B.A. was humming softly to himself when Murdock came strolling up to him.
"Whatcha doin, Big Guy?" he asked.
"Workin on my van, fool. Why don't you go and bother Face or Hannibal?" B.A. said harshly. He was not in the mood for the lanky pilot's crazy jibber jabber at the moment. He just wanted to spend one nice, quiet afternoon working on his van. Was that too much to ask for?
"Well can I help? I'm great with machines!" drawled Murdock. "Why just ask the toaster! I fixed him yesterday!"
"Toasters can't talk crazy fool! And didn't the toaster catch on fire when Face used it this morning?" B.A. asked suspiciously recalling the chaotic events from that morning.
"So anyway, can I help with your van?" asked Murdock avoiding B.A.'s question altogether.
B.A. looked over to see Murdock giving him his best puppy dog eyes. The mechanic knew that if he told Murdock no, it wasn't going to end easily.
"Fine. You can go get me my tool box from the house." The pilot's eyes instantly lit up as a big smile consumed his face.
"You got it, Big Guy!" Murdock said as he took off running for the house.
"Crazy fool," B.A. murmured with a slight smile. He turned back to the van and began once again messing with the engine as he waited for the insane man to return.
A few minutes later, B.A. heard someone running toward him.
"I got the tool box, B.A!" Murdock shouted as he ran over to the Big Guy.
B.A. looked up just in time to see Murdock trip over his own feet and fall to the pavement below. The tool box went flying out of his hands and with a horrifying crack! smashed into the windshield of his beloved van. A huge web of cracks were now in place of the recently polished and shining windshield. B.A. saw red.
"N-now I know it looks bad, but I-I'm sure with a bit of elbow grease…" Murdock was stammering out as he scrambled to his feet. He had never seen B.A. so mad.
"YOU STUPID CRAZY FOOL! LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO MY VAN! DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I WORKED ON THAT?" Murdock backed up a bit as B.A. advanced. "YOU JUST HAD TO COME OUT AND HELP! YOU'RE ALWAYS GETTIN' IN THE WAY OF THINGS! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST STAY IN THE VA WHERE YOU WONT BOTHER ANYONE!"
"I'm- I'm real sorry, B.A., it was an accident." Murdock said in a small, hurt voice. "I'm sure that I can fix it if you just give me a little time-" The pilot was going to say more but B.A. had heard enough. In a blind rage, he swung at Murdock, hard. The punch caught Murdock off guard and landed squarely under his left eye. The younger man fell to the ground with one hand on his eye looking up at B.A., shocked. It was then that B.A. realized exactly what he had done.
Murdock's eyes filled with tears as he stared hurtfully up at B.A. The bigger man had always threatened Murdock, from the first day he had met him. The whole team knew that the threats wouldn't ever amount to anything though. B.A. would never dream of hurting his team mates, his family. They all knew that he had a soft spot for the skinny pilot, too. The way he would put a blanket over Murdock when the pilot had fallen asleep on the couch while watching cartoons, or back in 'Nam when other soldiers on base would make fun of the Captain for being different and B.A. would go and put them in their place with a good punch to the mouth. B.A. had always seen Murdock as a little brother who he needed to protect. But B.A. hitting Murdock? It was unheard of. So as Murdock got off the ground and ran back toward the house, B.A. suddenly was overcome with guilt.
"Man, what did I just do?" he asked himself softly as he made his way back up to the house. "I just hit Murdock! I hurt him!" As B.A. thought this, he opened the door and walked inside.
Hannibal was sitting in a chair in the living room reading that morning's paper. As B.A. approached, he looked up.
"Sergeant, would you care to explain why Murdock just came running in here and shut himself up in his room?" asked Hannibal, taking his cigar out of his mouth.
B.A. sat down on the couch across from Hannibal. He was really in for it now.
"I-I," B.A. didn't even want to think about what he did, let alone own up to it to Hannibal. B.A. sighed. "I hit him."
The three words were small but they really packed a punch (no pun intended). The Colonel's eyes got wide for a moment before he leaned back in his chair and took a puff of his cigar. "B.A., you know that I don't like fights between team members, but physically hurting another member of the team? You probably hurt him emotionally too!" Hannibal took another long drag of his cigar. "You know, Murdock really looks up to you. He thinks of you as a protector, even a big brother. You're in for a long talk with him, B.A. I'd give him some time to calm down though before you do." Hannibal said as B.A. looked toward Murdock's closed door.
B.A. sighed, still disappointed in himself. "Ya, ok. I guess you're right. I'll wait till morning to talk to the crazy man." B.A. looked to the clock to see that it was already past 10:00. "Well, I'm goin' to bed, Hannibal. Night."
"Night B.A." Hannibal called as he turned to Face who had just walked in the door back from his date and began to tell Hannibal all about the beautiful blonde he was currently dating.
B.A. climbed into bed. He hadn't realized how exhausted he was. As he closed his eyes, B.A.'s last thoughts before falling into unconsciousness were that he wished this whole day was just a bad dream.
B.A. awoke the next morning from a dreamless sleep. As he sat up, the events from yesterday hit him and guilt and regret set in. The big man walked out if his room and looked around the small living room. He seemed to be the first one up. Maybe it would be best if I talked to Murdock now thought B.A. The pilot had always gotten up early and usually just stayed in his room until someone else got up.
B.A. slowly made his way to Murdock's room. He raised his hand and knocked three times on the door. When there was no reply, B.A. tried again.
"Murdock? You in there, fool?" There was still no reply. Tentatively, B.A. turned the knob and opened the door. He scrunched his eyebrows together in confusion as he poked his head into the room. The empty room. "Murdock?" B.A. tried again before he noticed a piece of paper lying on the bed. B.A. picked up the paper and began to read. The more he read, the worse he felt.
Hannibal, Face, or B.A.-
I've gone back to the VA. I didn't want to bother you guys anymore that I already have. If you still want me for another mission, you'll know where I am. Oh, and I promise I'll fix the van. I'm sorry B.A.
B.A. read the note over several times, his feeling of guilt increasing. He should have known that all of those things he said to the pilot he would take to heart. Murdock practically had no self esteem as it was and now B.A. had to go and tell him he wasn't wanted! B.A. was regretting this more and more.
There was a faint knock at the door as Hannibal appeared.
"Where's the Captain?" he asked. Seeing the look of sadness in the bigger man's eyes, a knot immediately formed in his stomach.
"He-he went back to the VA. I've got to go get him." B.A. said, making up his mind on the spot.
"Ok well you might want to talk to Face about getting a scam to get him out first." said Hannibal. He wasn't going to try and stop B.A. Like the other men on the team, he was horribly stubborn.
Half an hour later, B.A. was parking the corvette in the VA parking lot. It took a lot of convincing, but Face finally let him use it due to the fact that you couldn't see out of the van windshield.
As B.A. walked up to the counter, he mentally went over the scam Face had came up with for him.
"May I help you?" asked a brown haired nurse.
" Yes I'm from the tri-county testing institute and I'm here to pick up a Mr. Murdock. He will be a participant in some of our new mind cleansing outdoor tests." said B.A., mentally cringing as he screwed up the ending a bit. The nurse gave him an odd look, but thankfully let it go.
"Alright, well you're going to have to wait a little bit. Mr. Murdock has been showing signs of depression lately and is scheduled for an ECT appointment. Why he should be com-" the nurse was cut off as none other than Murdock was wheeled down the hall talking frantically with the nurse pushing his wheelchair.
"But I feel fine now! I'm as happy as a clam! Happy as a lark! Do I seem depressed to-" Murdock stopped his rant as he spotted B.A. He gave the older man a fearful look as he was pushed further down the hall.
"Can I go with Mr. Murdock to his uh, ECT treatment?" asked B.A. hopefully. He still had no clue what a ECT treatment was though.
"Well I suppose, but-" that was all B.A. heard as he sped down the hall after Murdock. When he caught up with him, the pilot shot him a shocked and hopeful look. It was then that B.A. got a good look at the left side of his face, and he didn't like what he saw. There was a huge purple and black bruise under Murdock's eye that looked really painful. B.A. still couldn't believe that he did that to the skinny man.
As they entered the testing room, Murdock began to attempt to get out of the chair.
"As much fun as this is boys, I'd rather not at the moment so if you all would excuse me," Murdock made a mad dash for the door. Before he could get there though, a rather large male nurse grabbed him from behind and threw him on the testing table with more force than was necessary. B.A. was rooted to the spot. As they strapped his friend down to the table, he couldn't wrap his head around how… generally awful it was here.
"Since the patient has showed signs of resistance, he will not be sedated." said a nurse as she took notes. Murdock didn't seem to like the sound of that.
"No! No, please! I'll be good! I'll take my pills! Just don't make me do it!" yelled Murdock as he pulled against the restraints. It took all of B.A.'s will power not to knock out everyone in the room, get Murdock, and run.
"We will start at a low setting," said the nurse who B.A. was starting to hate.
"Please, please no!" shouted Murdock in a last feeble attempt to get away. The nurse reached out and pressed a button. Murdock immediately began to twitch as his face screwed up in pain. His breathing was labored.
"Up one setting," the head nurse told the one at the controls. Murdock's twitches became more sporadic. He let out a slight whimper of pain. B.A. cringed as the nurse turned it up again. The thin man continued to twitch and whimper on the table.
"He is not reacting as I hoped he would." commented the head nurse, who B.A. was ready to strangle. "Turn it to the highest setting." B.A.'s eyes grew wide as he saw the nurse reach out and turn a notch.
Murdock let out a strangled scream as his body convulsed on the table. It was almost more than B.A. could bear. After what felt like hours, the head nurse instructed the other nurse to shut it down. Even after it was turned off, Murdock continued to twitch. The large nurse who had thrown Murdock on the table now roughly took him off and unceremoniously threw him into the wheelchair.
"I was told to release him to you." said the head nurse turning to face B.A.
"Ya, thanks," B.A. spat out as he took the wheelchair containing the twitching pilot and quickly made his way out of the room and down the hall. B.A. now understood why Murdock had been so afraid to go through with the so called "treatment".
Murdock looked wearily up at B.A. There were tear marks running down his face and his eyes still looked wet. He was also still twitching. The man looked just plain miserable.
"B.A.? W-what are y-you doing here? I th-thought you guys d-didn't want me a-any more." Murdock asked, stuttering every time he twitched.
As B.A. came up to the passenger door, he stopped and knelt down to look the younger man in the eye.
"You will never be unwanted, you crazy fool. We're a family man, and that means that we ain't never going to turn our backs on each other."
"Family? You-you consider me to be part of your family?" Murdock asked incredulously. B.A. was a bit shocked.
"Of course I do, crazy man! You're like a little brother to me! Don't you consider us to be part of your family?"
"Well I had always thought of you guys as my family cause I don't have a real family, but I never thought that you would consider me, a "stupid crazy fool", to be part of your family." said Murdock, putting air quotes around "stupid crazy fool". B.A. reached out to put a hand on the thin man's shoulder. As he did, Murdock flinched away slightly, a look of fear in his eyes as if he were expecting B.A. to hit him again.
B.A. pulled his hand back and looked straight into big brown eyes. "Murdock, I will never hit you again. I'm so sorry for what I did, man." B.A. reached out and touched Murdock's bruise causing Murdock to wince. "I didn't mean a word I said either. Although you drive me crazy at times, I like having you around. Like I said before, you're my family, my brother. That means I love you, crazy fool." finished B.A. He was now quiet, waiting for Murdock's response. Suddenly, Murdock leaned forward and enveloped the bigger man in a hug.
"I love you too, Big Guy," Murdock said into B.A.'s neck. After the shock of Murdock's hug attack wore off, B.A. put his arms around the thin man and hugged him back.
They sat there for a moment before B.A. said "Come on crazy fool, let's go home." And with that, B.A. helped the younger man out of the wheelchair and into the car. B.A. looked at the empty wheelchair for a moment, not sure what to do with it. He really didn't want to take it back into that horrible building, so he lifted his leg and gave the thing a forceful kick, sending it speeding off and crashing into the side of a car in a parking spot with a sign that read "Reserved for Head Nurse". Murdock laughed and B.A. smiled at the large dent in the side of the car.
B.A. climbed into the corvette and went to start the engine. Before he could do so however, Murdock reached out and stopped him.
"About what you saw in there, the," Murdock swallowed hard. "the ECT. It- it doesn't happen very often and when it does, I'm usually put under. This time was just…" Murdock's voice trailed off.
"Well are you alright now, fool?" B.A. asked giving Murdock a concerned look.
"Ya, the twitching usually wears off in an hour or two and the headache goes away after a good night's sleep."
"Ok. We'll get you some Tylenol or something when we get home." said B.A. as he started the engine. The ride back to the house was silent for the most part. The only sound was Murdock's occasional humming along with songs on the radio. It was dark by the time they pulled into the driveway and both men were dead tired. As the two men slowly walked back up to the house, Murdock suddenly swayed and fell to his knees. B.A. rushed over.
"Murdock man, are you alright?" he asked, his voice think with worry.
"Ya, ya I'm fine. Another lovely side effect of the ECT is dizziness." Murdock said rising shakily to his feet. B.A. took one of the pilot's thin arms and draped it around his big shoulders.
"Come on man, were almost home." said B.A.
B.A. and Murdock entered the house to find that Hannibal and Face had already gone to bed, which was not surprising considering it was already midnight.
B.A. lead the lanky man to his room and gently lowered him onto the bed. He then left the room to get a Tylenol and a glass of water. When B.A. returned to the room, he found Murdock changing into his pajama shirt. As Murdock lifted the shirt from that day over his head, B.A. could easily see the pilot's ribs.
Man's too thin. B.A. thought to himself as he set the water and pill down on the bedside table. It's not right when you can count his ribs. Probably being underfed at that God awful VA. B.A. looked back up to the pilot to see something he hadn't noticed before. On the lower right side of his back, Murdock had a giant, ugly purple bruise.
"Hey man, where'd you got that bruise on your back from?" asked B.A. Murdock froze.
"Nowhere, Big Guy. No need to worry." The pilot said a bit too quickly.
"You had better tell me or I'll give you a matching one on your left side!" B.A. said. He was worried that Murdock was being bullied again. Of course if he was, B.A. would just have to deal with the punks…
"No, B.A. I don't think you'd like the answer too much," said Murdock wearily. B.A. couldn't take it anymore. He lunged forward, grabbed the pilot's arm, and spun him around to face the him.
"You had better tell me now, fool!" Murdock took a deep breath.
"I got it when I fell down after you- after you hit me." said Murdock with almost no emotion in his voice. B.A. was speechless. He had given Murdock not one, but two bruises? What kind of friend was he?
"Oh man. Murdock I'm so sorry. I-I really didn't mean to hurt you. I just- I was so mad and I needed someone to take my anger out on, and oh man I'm such a horrible friend." B.A. said in a rush.
"B.A., you're not a horrible friend. In fact, I don't think I could ask for a better friend! All those times when you stuck up for me, when you took care of me when I was sick or wounded, it makes me proud to call you my brother." said Murdock, his eyes shining.
"Well, someone's got to take care of you, crazy fool. Now take this pill so you can go to sleep. I think that's what we both need right now." Murdock quickly swallowed the pill and took a drink of the water. B.A. then stood up to leave.
"Wait, B.A.," Murdock started, but then he looked unsure of himself and closed his mouth.
"Come on, crazy man. What is it?"
"Well, um, I-I was wondering if you could, um, maybe, if you want…"Murdock paused and looked up at B.A. "would maybe sleep in here tonight?" he rushed out.
B.A. sighed. The younger man looked so desperate, how could he say no? "Well, move over," said B.A. The bigger man climbed into bed next to Murdock. For some men, this might be a bit weird, but all four men on the team were so close that personal boundaries had been disposed of long ago. Murdock had always been the most touchy feely of the group too, never hesitating to give another member a hug when they needed one, or using someone's knees as a pillow.
Murdock nestled in closer to the big man. "Thanks, B.A." he said before falling asleep. B.A. smiled and wrapped a protective arm around the pilot before he too fell asleep.
B.A. awoke suddenly. It was still dark out and he didn't know what had woken him up. After listening for a second, he closed his eyes again. Then he heard it. A quiet whimper coming from the man next to him. It sounded like he was crying.
"Murdock? What's wrong, man?" as B.A. waited for a reply, he realized that the Captain was actually asleep.
"I'm sorry! I wont do it again, please! No I'm sorry!" muttered Murdock, obviously in the clutches of a nightmare. They had all had nightmares, virtually all soldiers do. Hannibal, Face and B.A. had gotten over them for the most part, but they sill haunted Murdock frequently.
"Murdock, it's ok. It's just a dream." said B.A. gently, trying not to further frighten the pilot.
"Stop, please! I-I'm sorry!" Murdock choked out. B.A. couldn't take listening to Murdock sound so scared any more. He took the thin man by the shoulders and shook him saying "Wake up, man!"
Finally, Murdock's eyes flew open. When his eyes landed on B.A., he yelped and pulled away, causing him to topple off the bed and onto the floor.
"You alright, fool?" asked B.A. as he leapt off the bed to the man sprawled out on the floor. Murdock saw B.A. and quickly curled into a tight ball with his arms held protectively in front of his face.
"I'm sorry, B.A.! Please don't hurt me!" he cried out, still half in his dream.
B.A. was stunned. He held his arms up in a non-threatening way and slowly scooted back. "I ain't gonna hurt you man. You're just dreaming. Come on, Murdock. Wake up!" B.A. was desperate now. He felt so bad about being the cause of one of Murdock's nightmares. As if the man didn't have enough demons in his sleep with out B.A.'s help.
Murdock was still for a moment before shaking his head and blinking a few times. He looked up at B.A. and then down at his hands.
"Sorry B.A. I didn't mean to wake you. I just…" the pilot trailed off. He was still curled into a ball and trembling uncontrollably. "You ah, you can go back to your room if you want." Murdock said, his voice shaking.
B.A. hated seeing the crazy man like this. He was usually so happy and optimistic, but now he was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. "Man, I ain't leavin' you like this." he said, scooting closer. B.A. reached out and put an arm around the younger man's shoulders and pulled him closer. He was still shaking and that made the bigger man tighten his grip slightly. "Murdock, you're not… you're not scared of me, are you?" asked B.A. tentatively.
Murdock paused for a moment. Then, without looking up he said "No,". Somehow, B.A. wasn't sure if he believed him. Murdock peeked up at B.A. through the wisps of light brown hair that hung in his face. "Ok, maybe a little."
B.A. sighed. He was disappointed. Not with Murdock, but with himself. One of his best friends, his little brother, was scared of him. "We've been friends for over ten years now, man. You know I ain't gonna hurt you. Why are you afraid?"
"Well, for one, you're about three times my size, and you do make me threats of bodily harm nearly every day."
"Well man maybe if you ate every once in a while, I wouldn't be three times your size. You're so dang skinny, you're like a telephone pole!" as B.A. said this he gave Murdock's stomach a light poke causing the corners of the younger man's mouth to twitch upwards. "And you know that I don't really mean those threats. I just say them to get you to shut up."
"Ya I know, it's just, well, as you might have noticed, I don't get along well with, how shall I put this, narrow minded people. I've been picked on and beat up more than times than I can count." B.A. growled slightly at the memories from 'Nam of finding Murdock being beat up by a group of bullies and then having to beat up the bullies and half carry half drag the bruised and bleeding pilot back to their tent. "And well B.A., you're the one guy who I could always count on to get me out of those fights and beat up the bad guys. I mean Hannibal and Face could get them to leave, but when you beat them up they never came back. When you… hit me, I guess I just felt like well, you were the one who would help me out when I was hurt, not the one causing the pain." Murdock said, his voice getting quieter as he finished his speech.
When Murdock was done talking, B.A. had to swallow hard to get past the lump in his throat. "Man, I am so sorry. I mean if someone who I looked up to like that had done that to me, I'd probably be pretty scared of them too."
"You scared? Why that's the craziest thing I've ever heard!"
"And I live in a mental hospital…"
"So I've heard some pretty crazy stuff! Like the time-"
"H.M.!" B.A. really needed to get through to Murdock and when he started on one of these rants, sometimes it took hours before he stopped talking. At the sound of his initials, Murdock was instantly silent. People didn't usually call him H.M. and B.A. almost never did.
"Look man, I ain't never gonna hurt you again. You might have noticed by now that I'm a bit… protective over you. Ever since that one mission in 'Nam. You remember that? It was one of our first missions as a team. We were running back to the jeep and you got shot in the leg?"
"Ya and then the bad guys caught up with me and started doing a nice little tap dance all over me. They were nice guys."
"Ya and do you remember the last thing I had told you before you got shot?" Murdock frowned for a moment in concentration and then shook his head. "I had told you that I wished Hannibal hadn't put a crazy fool like you on the team. And then when I saw you getting beat up, I had the feeling that that was my little brother getting hurt and I couldn't let what I had said be my last words to you. After that, I just felt very… protective over you."
"Ya well thanks to you, I got out of there without dying. I guess after that I felt safer with you around. And I, I still do." said Murdock looking up to B.A. with a smile.
"Alright then, crazy fool. I'm tired. Let's get back to bed." B.A. said, standing up and stretching his stiff body. Murdock went to put his hand on his knee to push himself up, but as soon as he put weight on it, he let out a quiet "ouch!" and fell back down.
"What is it?" asked B.A. wondering if he had given the pilot yet another bruise. Murdock lifted his pajama pants leg to reveal a bloody cut on his knee.
"Nothing too bad, just a small cut from when I took that flying leap out of the bed. Must have hit my knee on the table there. I'll just go and clean it up." said Murdock, using the side of the bed to pull himself to his feet.
"I'll come too. Knowing you you'd put tooth paste on it instead of antiseptic."
"But tooth paste makes it smell minty fresh!" said Murdock with a goofy grin. The Captain turned and limped into the bathroom with B.A. rolling his eyes behind him.
"Alright, sit." B.A. ordered as he pointed to the closed toilet. Murdock limped over to the toilet and sat down, pulling up his pant leg as he did so. B.A. went to the medicine cabinet and pulled out cotton balls, antiseptic, and a band aid.
"Oh! Get the band aids with the little helicopters on them! Facey got them special for me!" B.A. sighed and put back the regular band aid. Murdock had a bit of a reputation of being accident prone, so he had his own box of band aids and leave it to Face to get customized ones just for Murdock. B.A. knelt down in front of Murdock and poured the antiseptic onto a cotton ball.
"Alright man, this is gonna sting a bit." warned B.A.
"Don't you fret none about me, Big Guy! I'm impervious to stingsssssssssss." the lanky man hissed as the cotton ball was pressed to the cut.
"Told you." B.A. said under his breath. As B.A. held the now soggy cotton ball to Murdock's knee, he looked at a scar on the pilots leg. It was a round scar that was unmistakably from a bullet. All four members of the team had them. B.A. didn't even want to see Murdock's shoulder though. His shoulder seemed to attract bullets for some reason. It was probably just one big scar by now. As B.A. reached for another cotton ball, he noticed another scar on Murdock's leg, about five inches long on the side of his calf. Now all the men on the team had gotten scars from their stay in the POW camp, but that was seven years ago. This scar looked new.
"Where'd you get this scar, man?" asked B.A. as he traced the scar with his free hand.
"Oh um…that little old thing?" asked Murdock nervously. "It's nothing really."
"Man that thing is at least five inches long. Don't you tell me that it's nothing. Now you better tell me the truth, sucker." B.A. gave him a glare that told Murdock that he wanted the truth and he wanted it now.
"There ah, there was this other patient at the VA, and well he wasn't right in the head. Well none of us in the VA are, but this guy was totally checked out. And we had just gotten this really cool movie and everyone had gone into the movie room to watch it, except him. So I felt bad leaving him there all alone so I went up to him and asked him if he wanted to join us. He didn't really say anything, so I thought that maybe he didn't realize I was there or something, so I reached out and put a hand on his shoulder and it turned out that he had a knife and like I said before, he's not all there. So he just got violent and cut my leg. No big deal." Murdock finished, his eyes never leaving the tiled floor.
B.A. had mixed emotions about this. He felt anger and sympathy towards the man with the knife. Anger because he hurt Murdock, and sympathy because he was… well crazier than Murdock. A lot crazier than Murdock. B.A. had never really given the VA much thought. In his mind, it was just a hospital. He had always known the people there were crazy, but he had never really thought about what crazy meant. He had always pictured a bunch of people like Murdock. Chatty, multi-personalities, innocent stuff. Now B.A. could understand why Murdock wasn't always so eager to go back. There were some really... insane people there.
"Well, you just stay away from him, fool. Alright?" As B.A. said this, he put the helicopter band aid over the cut.
Murdock sighed. "I know. I try to stay away from the mean ones. They kind of…" Murdock trailed off and suddenly looked self conscious.
"Scare you?" B.A. finished. He didn't think any less of the smaller man for being scared. They would scare him too.
"It's not that I'm scared of them, it's that, well, I'm scared of becoming like them. You know, completely insane." Murdock confessed quietly. B.A. took the pilot by the shoulders and looked him straight in the eye.
"Murdock, you ain't gonna end up like them. You're getting better and they're not. Plus, you've got your family with you to keep you on the right path, or at least close to the path." said B.A. as a smile grew on Murdock's face.
"You're right, Big Guy. Now that my knee is all wrapped up pretty like a Christmas present, let's hit the sack." Murdock stood up and followed B.A. out of the room and back to the bed.
"You know B.A., you really don't have to sleep in here again if you don't want to." said Murdock as B.A. made his way to the bed.
"What if you have another nightmare?" asked B.A. before he could stop himself. "I'm too tired to go back to my room anyway." he added quickly.
"Alright. Thanks, Big Guy." The lanky man slid under the covers.
"You're welcome, fool." said B.A. as he turned out the lights.
Murdock laid there until he heard soft snored coming from the bigger man. Then, he slowly got out of the bed, careful not the jostle the bed too much and wake B.A. He silently made his way out of the room and out the door. The moon was full which gave him just enough light to see the van and the tools in the box he was carrying.
B.A. awoke the next morning and was happy to see from the sunlight shining in through the window that there had been no more nightmares that night. Turning his head, B.A. realized that Murdock wasn't in the bed next to him. B.A. wasn't too concerned though. The man had always been an early riser. B.A. looked to the clock to see that it was 6:30 a.m. Still a bit too early for Hannibal and Face to get up if there was no mission. B.A.'s stomach growled, reminding him that he hadn't had dinner the day before. He slowly got out of bed and made his way to the kitchen.
When B.A. arrived in the kitchen, Murdock was sitting at the table poking his spoon into an untouched bowl of cereal. The man looked dead tired. B.A. figured that it was probably from the little incident last night, but under closer inspection, the thin man was also covered in grim and had oil drops on his face and clothes. What the heck had Murdock been doing?
"Morning, Murdock." B.A. said as he poured himself his own bowl of cereal. Murdock nearly jumped out of his chair when he heard B.A.'s voice. The man must have been really tired if he didn't even notice me come in. B.A. thought to himself.
"Oh, I didn't see you there, Big Guy. Morning!" B.A. sat down across from Murdock at the table when he noticed Murdock's hands. They were sloppily covered with ten or fifteen of the helicopter band aids. He had obviously done it in a rush because there was still some dried blood on his hands.
"Man, what did you do to your hands?"
"Oh, ya'll know me," Murdock stifled a yawn. "Always fallin' over somethin'." B.A. studied the pilot for a moment. His southern accent always came out stronger when he had gone without sleep for at least a whole night. They hadn't really been up that late last night. Had Murdock had another nightmare? Before B.A. could ask any questions though, Murdock's drooping eyes suddenly popped open.
"There's a surprise for you outside. Why don't you go take a look see." Murdock rushed out, giving B.A. a tired, yet just as effective, puppy dog look. There was no saying no to the puppy dog eyes.
"Ya, fine fool. I'll go take a look. But if this is another one of your ticks…" B.A. didn't have the heart to finish the treat after the talk that they had had last night. "You coming, crazy man?" The bigger man asked after noticing that Murdock wasn't getting up.
"Naw, don't want this bowl of cereal to get lonely. You go on." drawled Murdock with a tired smile. B.A. shrugged and walked down the hallway and out the door. There was an arrow drawn with side walk chalk on the front walk pointing to the driveway. When B.A. looked to the driveway he gasped. Parked in the driveway was the van. The windshield of the van had been completely fixed and the whole thing shone like it was brand new.
"That's why the fool was so tired. He spent all night doing this." B.A. said to himself as he walked toward his prized van. Right before he got to the van though, he stopped to look at a circle that had been drawn with chalk, a few words in Murdock's big handwriting written above it. Careful, broken glass. It wasn't my fault, the glass wanted to die. There were a few small shards left in the circle, but it looked like most of it had been picked up. "So that's what he did to his hands." B.A. thought with a bit of concern. The big man circled his GMC, just admiring the way it shone for a few minutes. Then he went and checked to make sure the windshield had been put in properly, which it had. He had to hand it to Murdock, the man did a great job.
B.A. walked back up to the house. When he entered the kitchen, he found that he couldn't hide his big smile.
"Wow, man. You did a g-" Murdock had his head resting on top of his folded arms with his hat covering his eyes. His half eaten cereal forgotten and pushed to the side. Murdock was fast asleep. B.A. walked over and poked the pilot to see if he would wake up. Satisfied that he was deep into unconsciousness, B.A. slowly scooted out the chair and gently scooped Murdock up. His position on the table didn't look that comfortable and the man really did deserve a good nights sleep. As B.A. carried Murdock off to his room, he realized that the man's thin frame was spot on with his weight. The younger man was practically nothing to carry. "Should have made you eat all of that cereal." B.A. said quietly.
B.A. entered to room and gently put Murdock down on the bed. As B.A.'s eyes glanced over Murdock's poorly bandaged hands, he made a mental note to make him re-bandage them later. The bigger man pulled the covers up over Murdock and tucked him in. Satisfied with his work, he turned to leave. Right before he closed the door though, he took one last look at the sleeping pilot.
"Thanks, little brother."