Disclaimer: I do not own The A Team movie or television series or any of the delightful characters found on The A Team.

Bob, Duck, Weave

"Oh great Baracian one. I come to you asking one simple thing: that I might receive instruction under you in boxing." Murdock knelt down in front of B. A. and bowed his head like he was an aspiring student asking a martial arts expert for the privilege of his tutelage.

B. A. glowered at the pilot. "Get up off your knees, crazy fool. I ain't teachin' you nothin'."

Hannibal sat back in the deck chair, his hands behind his head, his unlit cigar in the ashtray in front of him. "Are you sure you want B. A. to spar with you, Captain? It may mean you'll have to take a few punches."

"And from B. A., they're going to hurt, buddy." Face wondered if Murdock was messing with B. A.'s mind, fixating on some idea to better cope with reality or if he was maybe, just maybe, serious about being taught.

Both Hannibal and Face had to wonder about Murdock's mental state when he grasped the brawny sergeant by his knees and hugged his legs. "Oh, please, mighty Baracian one. My long pilgrimage has brought me to you. You're the only one who can turn me into a fighting machine like yourself."

Face was snickering behind his hand. Murdock had to be making this up as he went along. But the Lieutenant knew if his friend didn't stop soon he would be the new heavy bag for B. A.'s daily training.

"Please, please, please?"

Others might have thought the tiny glint of humor in the pilot's eyes was a sure indicator of insanity when accompanied by the adoring grin on his face but Hannibal knew had reasons for this only he and the Colonel knew.

Hannibal smiled at B. A. and cocked his head. "Well, sergeant?"

The muscular bejeweled man glanced down at Murdock, still clutching his knees and gazing up at him. "Fool don't know what he's up to, but okay. I can show him some moves. If it'll get him off me, okay."

"Hannibal!" Face hissed. "B. A.'ll cream him!"

The Colonel picked up his cigar and considered it before lighting it. "A little exercise isn't bad for any of us. There will be some ground rules. No blood. If one of you gets hurt bad enough to bleed, the match is over. Agreed?"

B. A. nodded, still not certain he should be messing with the pilot's request.


Murdock nodded, a pleased smile on his face.

"I hardly think Murdock will be the one to draw first blood, Hannibal." Face was agitated. He paced back and forth on the beach house deck. Considering each of his friends in turn he muttered, "You're all nuts."

"Second rule. You will fight in the sand on the beach. I will mark off the perimeter of your 'ring.' Third. You will wear headgear and practice gloves. Fourth. You will not use any weapon but your fists. Got it?"

Both men nodded. B. A.'s eyes were a combination of confusion and suspicion; Murdock's had a mischievous glint.

"Okay. Face, bring some bottled water for all of us. Let's do this."

B. A. went into the beach house and emerged several minutes later with headgear and gloves. He handed one set to Murdock and donned the other gear himself. Hannibal led the way down the steps to the beach.

"Now remember, guys. This is a friendly sparring match, not a fight to the death."

"I'll remember, Hannibal, if the big guy does." Murdock was already bobbing and weaving around B. A. as they made their way to a section of beach clear of driftwood.

"Don't get him riled up, Murdock." Face grabbed the pilot's arm and drew him aside. "You just remember he's bigger than you and can flatten you with one fist, okay? I don't want to peel my buddy off the sand."

"You got it, Faceguy." Murdock gleefully pulled his arm away with a sweeping gesture and sprinted to catch up with B. A.

"Sure hope the first aid kit has everything we'll need," Face muttered to Hannibal. "You're usually having to rescue Murdock from B. A. Why are you letting them spar?"

"I have my reasons." Hannibal clamped the cigar between his teeth and marked out a large square in the sand with a piece of driftwood.

"You will stay within the bounds of this square. If your sparring partner steps out of the square, you may not pursue him with the intent of continuing the fight. One foot in and one foot out is the same as being out of the square. Got it?"

Murdock sat on a weather-worn log, removing his tennis shoes and socks. He carefully tucked the socks inside one of the shoes and placed them neatly side by side in front of the log. Face took the bomber jacket and baseball cap the pilot asked him to hold.

At Hannibal's instructions, the Captain nodded and hopped over the line into the invisible boxing ring.

B. A. grunted his agreement and warily sized Murdock up. Even now, the fool was beckoning to him with one crooked pointer finger and mocking him with that silly grin on his face.

The big black boxer knew he could win this sparring match. He knew Murdock knew that. Something about this didn't seem right but he had said "yes." He couldn't stop now.

B. A. stepped over the line in the sand and faced Murdock. The lanky pilot put his gloved fists up in a loose defensive posture.

"Come on, Big Guy. Plant one on me . . . or try to," Murdock chided.

B. A. began circling the pilot, looking for an opening. Murdock was quicker and kept the big man in front of him. He scrutinized B. A.'s face and when the area around the sergeant's eyes tightened slightly, Murdock was ready.

B. A.'s right arm shot out in a jab to the pilot's chin. Murdock put the gloves up to his face and ducked his head swiftly to the side. The jab found empty air. At the same time, the Captain countered the jab with one of his own and connected with B. A.'s shoulder.

"Sting like a butterfly, weave like a drunken sailor," he crowed. Face and Hannibal glanced at each other and couldn't help smirking at the misquoted boast.

The big black man growled and moved to the left. The pilot pivoted and kept eye contact, crouching as he did.

"What're you gonna try next, huh? You make a move and I'll try to copy it." Murdock grinned, watching for B. A.'s next facial twitch.

When the left hook came, the pilot was prepared. He ducked under the punch and came up on the outside. He swung with his right and swatted B. A. across the side of the head.

"I didn't do that right, did I?" Murdock frowned, then laughed. "But I gotcha again, Big Guy."

"Hannibal, if Murdock keeps taunting B. A., he's gonna get himself killed," Face warned.

The Colonel smiled and turned his attention back to the sparring match. "I'll call it before that happens."

A half hour passed. B. A. got in two light blows to Murdock's midsection. The pilot ducked most of them and scored several hits to the big man's abdomen and head.

B. A. was sweating with the effort of moving through the sand in his tennis shoes. Murdock, lighter on his feet and more agile, seemed to anticipate every move before the sergeant made it.

The sergeant was tiring when Murdock straddled the line and called for a truce. He took off his gloves and headgear and offered his hand to B. A.

"Thanks, B. A. That was exactly what I needed." The pilot's tone was serious as he looked at the sergeant.

"What you talkin' about, fool?" B. A. shook Murdock's hand, scowling in confusion as he did.

"You know how to handle yourself in a brawl. I respect that. Me? Well . . . " The pilot wandered over to the driftwood log and uncapped two bottles of water. Walking back to the line in the sand, he offered one to B. A., then took a swallow from the bottle in his own hand.

"I figured if I could hold out against you for a half hour or more in a match, I could just about handle any scrap I got into. If you knew ahead of time, you'd pull your punches." Murdock grinned. "And I did pretty good, didn't I?"

"I'd say he did. Wouldn't you, B. A.?" Hannibal uncapped a water bottle as Face and he joined them.

B. A. snorted. "Didn't land too many punches that hurt. But, yeah, you did pretty good."

"Thanks again, B. A."

The muscular mechanic gave Murdock a rare and fleeting smile, then frowned. "By the way, it's 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.' Remember that the next time you get in a scrap and you'll be fine."

AN: Boxing fans will recognize Murdock's misquote and B. A.'s correction as the famous line from one of boxing's finest, Muhammad Ali.