The Barclay residence was a small, single level house on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
"B.A., make another turn around the block," ordered Hannibal as the van drew closer to the building. He still couldn't shake the feeling they were being watched.
Behind him, Face rolled his eyes. I could be making out with a showgirl now, he thought, glancing down at his watch, or a waitress, or a cute blond at a craps table. Of course, that was dependent on Hannibal deciding it was safe to stay in the city for a night or two. Thankfully, the news broadcasts with their pictures had diminished lately, taking a backseat to some celebrity's drama the farther west they moved.
"You know there is such a thing as being too cautious, Hannibal," he said aloud, finally venting his annoyance, "We've made, what, three turns around the block? Let get this kid home already."
"Face," admonished Hannibal, scanning a small, four-door sedan parked on the edge of the street as they passed, "How many times have I told you? Patience is everything. You can't go into a situation like this half-cocked."
"Whose going half-cocked?" Face responded, "If we keep going around the block like this, we'll be the ones who start looking suspicious."
"Relax, Faceman," interjected Murdock, patting his friend on the shoulder, "It could be worse."
"Really," replied Face, looking over at the pilot with a bemused expression, "How?"
"Man, don't encourage him," said B.A., watching the pair out of the rear-view mirror. He recognized the grin slowly making its way across the crazy man's face.
"Well," Murdock continued, not willing to disappoint, "You could be in a hotel room with no memory of how you got there. And B.A. could be missing a tooth."
"What?" exclaimed B.A., "Why would I be a missing a tooth, fool?"
"Cause Face bet you you couldn't hit yourself hard enough to knock it out," Murdock replied brightly. B.A.'s eyes narrowed in the reflection of the mirror.
"And what makes you think I wouldn't just knock out all of your teeth, fool?" He growled, already half-afraid of the answer.
"Naw, cause I'd be on the roof," Murdock replied, glad to see the big guy was being so receptive to one of his rants, "Nothing but sky, sun, and imagining the beautiful woman I'm about to marry."
Before B.A. could mutter something about the mental state of anyone willing to tie themselves in matrimony with the pilot, however, Hannibal interrupted him, "Alright, men, let's get this over with."
Instantly, the mood in the van changed. B.A. steered the vehicle across to street coming to a stop on the curb in front of Lindsey's house. Considering the area and time of day, Hannibal had decided they were to go in lightly armed. Pistols and any weapon which could be easily concealed were quickly checked as he, Face, and Murdock climbed out of the van.
"Wha's going on?" Lindsey asked sleepily, jolting awake at the sound of the door opening.
"It's time to go home, Miss Barclay," said Hannibal, helping the girl out of the back. Lindsey blinked in the afternoon sun and then her eyes grew wide as her eyes fell on her home. Was this real? she wondered to herself. Her gazed wandered up towards Hannibal, then over to Face, and finally to Murdock as he came around the van. The pilot smiled warmly down at her.
"If you'll come with me," Hannibal ordered, taking her hand briskly. The A-team leader prided himself on being able to plan for almost any and all situations. Children, however, had never been his strong suit. Life as a career military man had long ago diminished his ability to interact naturally with anyone under the age of sixteen.
Lindsey looked up at the tall man nervously. She judged him to be at least twice as tall as her dad. He hadn't spoken much on the trip, but when he did she'd listened. There was something intimidating about him. At the same time, though, she had the sense he wasn't a bad person.
As the four made their way towards the house, Lindsey glanced back at the van. The driver, the others called him B.A., was watching them from the front seat with a pair of binoculars. The eye gear seemed slightly ridiculous to the ten year old. Her front yard was big, but it wasn't that big. Turning around, she tried to hold back the urge to run to the quickly approaching door. For one, she didn't think she could run fast enough to drag Hannibal from his steady pace. Second, there was no chance she'd be able to wiggle free of his iron grip.
At the same time Lindsey's excitement was growing so was Hannibal's tension. He would have expected some sign of life from the house by now. The door opening, a flutter in the curtains, anything to show Captain Barclay was there waiting for his daughter. Coming to a stop at the door, he gave a quick nod to Face. The lieutenant backed up slipping away around to the other side of the house. Murdock tensed behind him.
Reaching up, he gave the door a quick rap and called out, "Captain Barclay, it's Hannibal Smith."
Lindsey felt something like a pit sink to the bottom of her stomach. She recognized the tone in Hannibal's voice. It was one she had head her dad use only once and it wasn't for anything good. Without asked for permission, Lindsey reached over and knocked loudly.
"Dad?" she called out, realizing it was strange that he hadn't come to the door yet, "Daddy, it's Lindsey."
Hannibal and Murdock exchanged a look above her head. Squatting down, Murdock gently tapped her on the shoulder.
"Hey, Lindsey," he asked when she looked at him with a bewildered expression on her face, "Did your dad ever tell you about any super secret hiding places he had for a spare key?"
Lindsey swallowed, thought for a moment, then shook her head. Murdock frowned, looking up at Hannibal for advice. The situation was deteriorating quickly and neither man liked the direction it was taking.
"Doesn't look like anyone's home," Face's voice sounded behind them as the conman came around the corner.
"This is not good, Bossman," said Murdock, standing up. He noticed that Hannibal had let go of Lindsey's hand and took up the slack by taking her other one. The girl was looking between all three of them and occasionally at the door. It wasn't hard for him to imagine just what she was feeling.
"Face," said Hannibal after a moment's hesitation, "Do you think you can pick that lock in under a minute?"
Face leaned past him, giving the door knob a cursory glance.
"I don't know," he responded, half-sarcastically, "This isn't your standard house lock. But I could probably manage it."
"Good," said Hannibal, looking at his watch, "You've got forty-five seconds. Starting now."
Rolling his eyes, Face pulled out the spare lock picks he always kept in his pocket. He knew something like this was going to happen eventually. It was next to impossible for one Hannibal's plans to go completely smooth. Still thinking about all the places in the city he would rather be then there, he set to work.
"Murdock," continued Hannibal, turning his attention to the pilot and the little girl, "Please take Miss Barclay back to the van an-"
"What?" Lindsey's exclamation drowned out the last of his sentence, "But I thought you said you were taking me home."
Hannibal glanced down at the girl. It was obvious she was scared and confused by what was happening. At the same time, the look in her eyes told him that she would fight, scream, and draw all the unwanted attention necessary to stay near the house.
"That's what we want to do, Miss Barclay," he said calmly, "But we can't do that if it's not safe for you. Do you understand?"
Lindsey looked at him for a moment and nodded.
"Good," said Hannibal, giving her what he hoped it was a reassuring smile, "Then please, go with the captain."
He held a hand out towards Murdock. Lindsey followed his gesture to look at the man who was still holding her hand. Murdock smirked down at her.
"Come on," he said excitedly, "I could always use an extra hand in bugging B.A."
Hannibal and Face exchanged a bemused look as Lindsey's eyes moved from Murdock to the van and back to Murdock again. Looking at the pilot dubiously, she cautiously followed him off the porch. When her back was turned, Face's expression slipped into a frown. He had known something was wrong after Hannibal had gotten back in the van after their first stop. He could also tell from Hannibal's tone with Lindsey and his silence now, that Barclay's apparent absence didn't surprise him.
Returning his attention back to the lock, he promised himself to have a talk with Hannibal when this was over. He understood the Colonel's need to keep some details on a need-to-know basis, but he couldn't keep everything secret. Face knew from experience that the team worked best when everyone was on relatively equal footing. As for the lock, he was surprised to see one so sensitive given the neighborhood they were. Sensitivity, however, meant little against someone with his skills. Forty seconds later, there came an unusually loud, unsettling click.
"Oh shit," he exclaimed, jumping up and away from the door, " Hannibal, run!"
Everything went to hell in seconds. One moment the pair were jumping away from the porch in a dead sprint towards the van. The next, an explosion from behind slammed them to the ground. Face groaned as he felt hands grab him about the shoulders. He could barely make out B.A.'s voice above him over the ringing of his ears. Looking up, he saw the big guy's attention was split between him and Hannibal.
"Face...Face, Can you walk?"
B.A.'s question was muffled but at least intelligible. Waving him off, Face groaned again as he pushed himself up to his elbows. Nothing felt broken. Struggling to his feet, he glanced over at Hannibal. The colonel hadn't been so lucky. Though he was still conscious, the A-team leader was leaning heavily on B.A.. Looking up towards the van, Face could see Murdock standing in front of the van's side door trying to block Lindsey's view of the house.
"Face," Hannibal voice came in clear right next to his ear, making him jump. His neck twinged at the movement. Turning back, he saw Hannibal was looking at him with concern.
"Let's get out of here," Hannibal ordered. He watched as the focus snapped back into his second-in-command's eyes. All around them the neighborhood was erupting into chaos. People were coming out of their homes. Cars alarms close to the blast blared loudly. The heat rolling off the burning house was almost palpable.
As quickly as they could, the three shuffled their way to the van. Murdock joined them as they reached the curb, taking hold of Hannibal's other side. Together, he and B.A. lifted Hannibal into one of the back seats.
"Watch his leg, fool," B.A. growled when the pilot reached down to lift the colonel's leg into the vehicle.
"Easy, B.A." said Hannibal, holding back a grimace as he pulled the leg in himself. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Lindsey sitting on the floor behind him. The front passenger door opened and Face pulled himself into the van. B.A. jumped into the driver seat, giving Murdock just enough time to get in on Hannibal's side before tearing away from the curb and into the sun-dulled streets of Las Vegas.
A.N.: Yeah, I'm gonna go to hell for this chapter *ducks behind B.A."