Notes: Gah, I'm sorry for the outrageous delay. I wrote the whole story six years ago, and I've been so occupied that sometimes I don't always remember to post chapters for an already-completed story on another website.
Baby Face was going about making himself a tuna and mayonnaise sandwich as he listened to Rocco tell him about what had been happening during his absence. According to him, everything had been relatively calm since then. Tony's gang had not been heard from and none of them knew if Tony was actually alive. It was possible that he had died later on from the wounds he had sustained during the gang war.
"What will you do if he's still alive, Boss?" Rocco asked then.
Baby Face grunted as he slapped the roof of the sandwich onto the bottom half. "We'll just let him stay alive, for now," he replied, reaching for the red wine he had found in the ice box. "It'd be more profitable to worry about the next heist instead of trying to knock him off."
Ruby was secretly relieved to hear him say this, but she watched in concern as he poured the wine. "Gee, Baby Face, are you sure you should drink that tonight?" she asked, hesitant. "I mean, when you got hurt like you did, maybe you should wait. It might make your headache worse."
"Cool it, baby," was the retort. "I'll be fine." With that, Baby Face raised the goblet to his lips, gulped down half of the contents . . .
. . . And promptly began choking. Ruby and Rocco stared at him in bemusement as he leaped from the table and ran out of the room, presumably to look for the nearest bathroom so that he could spit the liquor into the sink.
"I thought he always handled wine really well," Rocco said with a blink.
"He does," Ruby sighed, sinking into a nearby chair. That was another clue that the Baby Face with her was not actually Baby Face. Now she was very disheartened. This one must be Micky. She had wanted to believe so desperately that her Baby Face had returned, and for a while she had been certain that he had, but the idiosyncracies she had been observing were stacking up against him. And if Micky was with her, the real Baby Face most likely was dead, just as she had feared.
Rocco was still bewildered. "Maybe he's not feeling well after that accident he had," he suggested.
"Maybe," Ruby said softly.
She continued to think it over. Somehow she had to get him alone and think of a way to get him to slip up and admit his identity as Micky Dolenz—if that was truly who he was. Just asking him would not do any good, of course. If it was Baby Face, he would only become furious, and if it was Micky, he would insist that he was Baby Face.
And if she found out that it was Micky, what would she do then? She still was not sure.
Linda sighed softly to herself and slumped back into the couch. She was tired of everything—being part of the mob, hiding from the police, planning new capers. . . . She could not count the number of times in the past two months that she had just wished she was dead. She did not believe in committing suicide, but even if she did it was doubtful that she would have the courage to go through with it. Instead she wandered through life on automatic pilot now, just doing what she had to do in order to stay alive and to keep others alive as well.
"When is it all going to end?" she murmured, tossing aside the morning newspaper she had been looking through.
"It's not going to," came a flat voice from behind her.
Linda turned around. Tony was coming out of one of the bedrooms, buttoning the cuff of his shirtsleeve. He looked at her with the usual cold gaze, but there was something else in his eyes—something that indicated that he was very familiar with what he was talking about. She had to wonder about that, but it was not likely that he would ever speak of his past, and especially not to her. He was a very aloof person.
Now he pointed his forefinger at her as he continued to speak. "You got yourself into this mess," he stated, "and it's just going to get worse and worse. It always starts out small, but before you know it you're in too deep and there's not any way to change it." He looked bitter and unsympathetic as he said the last part, and Linda watched him with narrowed and curious eyes, even as she felt the sting of his words.
"I guess you would know, wouldn't you," she said at last in a quiet voice. "I never did know what happened to you back in Detroit, but Baby Face always acted like he did. And you've always seemed so vindictive and malicious, just like him. . . ."
"Don't compare me to him," Tony snapped, his brown eyes flashing with fury. Linda had struck a nerve, and they both knew it. Tony tried not to think too much about the past, and the events that had led up to him quitting the police department and joining forces with Baby Face. But the fact remained that he did think about it—very often—and there was still something intangible that connected him with his former associate, even though he hated to acknowledge it. Baby Face was the only person besides Tony himself who knew and understood the full truth. . . .
Linda got up and walked over to him, her eyes steady. She was not afraid of him, although with the intense self-hatred she had been feeling she doubted that she would fear anyone again. But aside from that, Tony never had been someone she had been apprehensive towards. He was not likely to hurt her, as somehow she had the feeling that he was still honorable enough that he would not harm a woman.
"After you were shot, you drifted in and out of consciousness for hours," she informed him, studying him carefully for a reaction. "Sometimes you talked about someone named Alice. . . ." She paused, their eyes meeting in an intense gaze for several moments before either of them spoke again. "She must have been important to you."
Tony looked at her for another endless moment before turning away. He did not volunteer a reply, but the pained look in his eyes had been enough of one. He had loved once.
"You didn't have to save my life," he said after a moment. "It's not like you're a part of the gang or that you even want to be."
Linda sighed. "You're right, I'm not and I don't. But I didn't want to see even you die." She gave him a searching look. "You must have been a good person at one point," she said then. "What happened to you? What changed you?"
"That's not your business," he retorted.
Before she could ask him any other questions that he did not want to answer, he crossed the room to the couch and picked up the newspaper that Vince had brought in from the city that morning. Scanning it over, he soon found a bit of information that he was not pleased about in the least—but he was not particularly surprised, either. His eyes narrowed.
Linda crossed her arms, observing him. "It's like he just can't be killed," she remarked. He must have discovered the news that Baby Face had been seen in the Los Angeles area the previous night.
She herself had mixed feelings about it. She was not happy at all to know that he was back, but she also did not want to try any more to have him killed. After the horror of the gang war that she had witnessed, she had made a firm vow to herself to never be involved with killing anyone again—even if it was a vicious mobster. Perhaps saving Tony's life had been a way of sealing that promise.
"He's like a cockroach," Tony muttered in agreement.
If Linda had not been feeling so gloomy, she might have laughed.
Mike, Davy, and Peter were at a complete loss as to what to do or what was wrong with Micky. After the doctors had kept him overnight in the hospital for observation, they had declared him able to be discharged. And so he had returned to the Pad with the others, but he was still not at all the same.
He claimed that he did not remember saying that he was not their friend, and that he did not know what had happened to him the past night, and so the others had been forced to believe him. But there was still something distant and vague about him—not to mention the dark look that remained in his eyes even when he tried to say something perfectly casual.
"I just have a really bad feeling about this," Mike sighed after breakfast was over and Micky had gone upstairs to his and Mike's room. "Something doesn't seem right."
"Maybe this isn't really Micky," Peter frowned. "Maybe it's that robot again."
Davy shook his head. "No, it wouldn't be the robot," he replied. "He wasn't sneaky and vicious. Besides, this guy doesn't have his feet on backwards." He leaned forward, resting a hand on his cheek. "Either Micky's just not feeling good at all—which isn't so far-fetched, really—or else. . . ." He sighed.
"Or else we've got Baby Face Morales with us," Mike grimly finished.
Davy and Peter both turned to look at him.
Mike frowned. "Come on, I can't be the only one who's thought of that," he said. "It makes sense, kinda. . . ." But there were also holes in that theory. What would Baby Face Morales have been doing wandering the streets high on hospital drugs? The way the doctor had described it, it had sounded as though the one they thought was Micky had been held captive and purposely kept sedated by the medications. And yet there was still the previously discussed problem of Micky not being missing long enough for the drugs to have been administered as much as the doctor believed they had been.
The three Monkees pondered over all of this again. Then Peter posed another problem.
"I thought Baby Face was seen going into the Purple Pelican," he said in confusion. "Wasn't that only an hour or so before Micky was hit by the car?" He scratched his head. "Baby Face wouldn't have had time to get drugged like that either, if he was the one who got hit instead of Micky." The entire thing was absolutely bewildering.
Davy clanked against the totem pole in frustration. "And there's something else to think about," he spoke up. "If we've got Baby Face here, then where's Micky?" This bothered him extremely and it made him want to simply decide that it was Micky who was with them. But it did not explain the drummer's odd behavior, or his eyes.
"Okay," Mike sighed then, unable to even begin to think of the answer to Davy's query. "Let's just stop and think a minute. Maybe Micky's just really had it rough, getting drugged and hit by a car and crashing on the sidewalk. And maybe he's just not able to really be in a good mood right now, even though he's trying. I mean, I know he can usually seem to find a way to be cheerful in any situation, but even he could end up having enough. He's been through a lot these past months, with Baby Face causing trouble and all." He leaned back. "And I don't see why Baby Face would have Micky's I.D. card."
"Maybe he was pretending to be Micky," Davy suggested. "I don't think it'd be under him, after what happened when you got them confused at the police station."
Peter nodded. "That's very true," he agreed, and then frowned. "But how would he get the card in the first place?"
Mike shrugged. "He could've gone in and had it made up using Micky's name," he replied. "I don't know. But those kinda crooks have all kinds of sneaky ways to get what they want." His eyes widened when the door opened upstairs. "Boy, I hope he hasn't heard us talking," he murmured. If it was Micky, he would probably feel hurt that the others would not realize it. And if it was Baby Face, he must have some scheme in mind and would not be merciful if he knew that the others were on to him.
"Just act casual," Davy hissed as Micky came down the stairs.
"Casual," Peter repeated. He looked up at Micky and smiled. "Hi, Micky! It's good to see you again."
The brunet raised an eyebrow at him. "You just saw me about twenty minutes ago," he pointed out.
Peter looked concerned for a moment as he tried to think of a suitable reply, but then he shrugged and continued to smile. "Well, it's still good to see you again, anyway," he said. "I mean, after all the terrible things that have been happening. . . ." Part of him hoped that this actually was not Micky, since he was acting so strangely. But the other part of him worried about Micky's current location if this was not him at all. He could not make sense out of any of what was taking place, and Mike and Davy were not faring much better.
Micky continued to walk down the stairs, apparently not even considering sliding down the banister the way he usually did. When he reached the bottom, he went over and laid on the backless couch, throwing an arm over his eyes. "Yeah, sure," he mumbled.
"Are you sure you're feeling alright, Micky?" Mike asked now. "You sure took a bad knock on the head."
"And you're pretty bruised up from the car hitting you," Davy added.
"I'm fine," Micky answered. There was a slight edge to his voice.
Peter did not take the hint. "Well, I sure hope you're okay," he said. "We were really worried when we got the call from the hospital that you'd been hurt, and that you'd been on drugs. I mean, we know you don't even take drugs, so we couldn't figure out what had happened. . . ."
Micky sat up abruptly, clapping his hand over Peter's mouth. "Shut up already! I said I'm fine!" he snapped, the gravel beginning to slip back into his voice. He glared in annoyance at Peter, who stared back at him in shock.
Mike shook his head and looked to Davy. "Something's . . . something's wrong here," he stated in typical Mike fashion. "I . . . I don't think this is Micky. Uh uh." He frowned as Peter slowly backed away and Micky slowly relaxed again.
Davy watched the scene with intensity. He was also becoming quite convinced that this was not their friend, but this realization was giving rise not only to the question of where Micky actually was, but how they would find him and how they would prove that this one was not him. When he turned to look back at Mike, however, he blinked in surprise. Their leader looked like he had an idea.
"Hold on, guys," Mike announced then, speaking in a calm and rational way. Peter and Micky turned to look at him too. "I know it's been rough for all of us, so why don't we cool off by practicing for our gig tomorrow night?" He reached for his guitar. "Didn't you say you'd been working on that song that you were having trouble with, Micky?" He pointedly turned to look at the drummer, whose eyes widened briefly in surprise.
"Uh, yeah, sure," Micky said then, his voice still sounding gravelly. "Yeah, I was. But I'm kinda tired. Why don't you practice Davy's song first?" He glanced at Peter as he said this, prompting the blond Monkee to blink in confusion.
"Micky, I'm Peter," he reminded the other. "Don't you remember?"
A momentary look of frustration passed through Micky's eyes. "Yeah, of course," he answered then, frowning at Peter. "Why would I forget?"
"Well, I mean, you looked at me when you were talking about Davy," Peter answered helplessly, "so I just wondered. . . ."
Mike interrupted them by loudly tuning his guitar. The last thing they needed was for Micky and Peter to start arguing. If this was Baby Face, and Mike was increasingly certain it was, then Peter could get hurt if the mobster got angry enough. "Okay, Davy, let's go," he said. "Are you feeling up to playing the drums on this song, Micky?" He looked back to the other brunet and could almost hear him curse in his mind.
"Nah, I don't think so," Micky answered, crossing his arms. "Just go on without me. I don't want to hold you up."
Davy watched this with interest. Micky was not the type to admit that he was not feeling up to par. Normally Micky would want to get back to work even if he knew that he would probably strain something by doing so. Davy bit his lip, reaching for his maracas.
"Hey," Peter spoke up suddenly, "I wonder if Baby Face was seen today." The other Monkees were not sure if he was deliberately saying this to get a reaction from Micky or if he had just randomly picked something to talk about, but they all turned to look at him with questions in their eyes.
"Why would he have been?" Micky grunted, viciously staring the other Monkee down.
Peter gave a helpless shrug. "Well, he was seen yesterday going into the Purple Pelican," he replied. "I guess we didn't tell you about it."
Micky leaped up, heading for the door. "Darn tootin' you didn't tell me," he snapped. Then he stopped, seeming to think things over. When he spoke again, it was in a voice more fitting to their friend. "Hey, guys, I remembered something I have to do. I'll be back later!" With that he was running outside with every intent of getting away in the Monkeemobile. As he went, his thoughts raced.
So Baby Face had been seen at the Purple Pelican? But that was impossible. He had not been back there. What did that mean? Could those fools' friend have been the one who had been seen there? The brunet's lip curled in anger. Had he not already learned his lesson from tangling with the Mob before? Apparently he had not. And that meant that the real Baby Face Morales had to teach it to him again.
The other Monkees watched him leap into the driver's seat and back out of the driveway. "There's no question about it," Mike declared. "That's not Micky."
"So what are we waiting for?" Davy exclaimed. "Let's go after him! Maybe he'll lead us to the real one!"
"We still have our unicycles," Peter put in.
Mike nodded. "Alright, then. Come, my faithful cohorts. Away!"