A.N.: I'll be honest, this story mostly came from the mental images of Face realizing a kid might be useful for picking up ladies and Murdock enjoying Saturday morning cartoons. It was kind of win-win situation in my mind. Also, sorry if this prologue is a little ooc, I promise it will get better with longer chapters. Anyway, enjoy.
Disclaimer: I am but a poor part time student. Please do not sue me.
"That's all I've got, sir."
The ex-colonel stared at the vanilla envelope on the table and back at the man giving it to him. Captain Michael Barclay of the 2nd Ranger Battalion looked like a man not to be messed with. Even with the lower half of his body paralyzed by an ill-timed explosion, he still carried the air of a soldier prepared for battle. It was a quality Hannibal could admire. Reaching over, he took the envelope and pulled out the two straps of cash in it.
"You can keep the money," he said, tossing the brick-shaped collection of bills back onto the table. Captain Barclay stared at the money for a moment. Unconsciously, his grip began to tighten on the rims of his wheel chair. Something flashed darkly in his eyes as he glared up at the colonel.
"I don't want your pity, sir," he said, his tone dangerously calm, "I want you to find my daughter."
If the reaction surprised Hannibal, he didn't show. Calmly exhaling cigar smoke, he met the younger man's eyes.
"It's not pity, son," he replied after a minute, "Depending on the state we find your daughter in, you'll need the money more then we do."
This time, the colonel did feel a stab of pity as a flash of pain washed over the captain's face. Normally, Hannibal hated giving anyone, particularly clients, the odds of a mission's success. Given the captain's rank and experiences, however, he felt he owed him at least that much.
"Now, I need you to go over what you know one last time. Remember, details are everything."
Barclay nodded. Stiffening at attention, he began recounting everything he had put together about his daughter's disappearance.
"I received a call exactly one week ago," he started, his tone detached, "From Lindsey's ballet teacher. Lindsey had missed her weekly lesson and her teacher wanted to see if everything was alright. She knows about our situation..."
Hannibal frowned. As he understood it, the captain's wife had left him not long after his return from Iraq. Oddly enough, the woman had given Barclay full custody of their ten year old daughter, Lindsey, before severing all contact with the pair.
"...A classmate's mother always gives her a rides to ballet after school. Her friend had said Lindsey hadn't even made it in to class that day. A man had called that morning, claiming to be me, and told the school Lindsey was home sick. I called the police. The most they ended up doing was putting out an Amber Alert and bugging my phone. After a day I called in some favors from a couple buddies of mine. One of them put me in contact with Sandra...Lindsey's mother. Another traced the call made to the school to a cell phone number belonging to a Kevin Whitman. I put the phone's last known GPS coordinates in the envelope..."
Hannibal glanced at the envelope in his hand. Reaching in, he pulled out a small, worn out photo instead of the GPS information. The girl in the picture was about eight when it was taken. She stared up at the camera, giving it a cheerful if slightly toothless grin. Lindsey Barclay had her father's blond hair and grey-blue eyes. The matched well with herb bright blue tights and matching tutu.
"...When the police searched the location, all they found was an abandoned Civic Honda."
"That was when you received the ransom note?"
"Sandra received a similar one at her hotel room. The kidnappers threatened to kill Lindsey if we continued our search through official channels. They didn't specify a ransom, but it was implied. Two days ago we received a call. My buddy who traced the original call did the same for this one. Arial views of the area the call originated from showed old warehouse with clear activity present over the past five days."
"And your certain their keeping your daughter there?" Hannibal asked.
"I'm not certain of anything, sir," Barclay replied, "They said they would call again in three day. The way I see it, this the only chance I-you've got to get to her."
"Only one more question, then," said Hannibal, understanding some of the logic behind the captain's decisions despite his slightly illogical conclusion, "Why us?"
"Your team has a reputation, sir," Barclay replied, "You're the best. Lindsey is all I've left. I trust fellow Rangers to bring her home safe."
"We'll do everything we can for her, son," he promised.
Barclay swallowed, now unable to speak. He closed his eyes trying to get a hold of himself. Giving the man a little privacy, Hannibal carefully tucked the picture back in the envelope and the envelope into his coat pocket. The time he had allotted himself to speak with Captain Barclay was drawing to a close.
"If the kidnappers call again, you can contact me or a member of my team here," he said, handing Barclay a card with the number of a prepaid cell phone. Barclay took it, tucking the card into his pocket without looking at it.
"Thank you, sir," he said. Stiffening one more time, he saluted the colonel. Hannibal returned the gesture before backing into the room's shadows.
Once out of the building, he headed towards the rental parked a couple yards away. Getting in, he hit the top number on his speed dial and started the car.
"Face," he said, "It's Hannibal. The mission's a go."
A.N. part 2: And done. Again, sorry if it's a little ooc or a little cliche. I promise there will be several bumps in the road for our boys. Hope you enjoyed it so far, however.