(make sure to read chpt 4 first)
Chapter Five: Support
The guys all looked a each other and wondered what they should do next. What was going on in Murdock's head was anybody's guess. Of course one of them had been the catalyst in this.
Hannibal looked to Amy. She'd done something that set the pilot off and she clearly felt guilty about it. She looked positively crestfallen.
Hannibal didn't blame her too much, she was new and none of them, especially Murdock, came with instruction manuals, she was flying blind.
Amy knew if she wanted to continue to be part of the team she needed to at least try to make things right. Even though it made her nervous, who knew what she would get wrong next, Amy got up from the table to join Murdock in the living room.
Face got up to follow her and Hannibal stopped him "Let her."
"Are you sure Hannibal?"
"Let her try." Hannibal wasn't sure, not as sure as he was trying to project.
He knew that Amy wasn't trying to hurt Murdock and he was pretty sure she couldn't upset him more then she already had. Of course Hannibal was always working on a plan. His mind was running scenarios for how they would pick up the pieces if this went terribly wrong.
Face sat back down and kept quiet so he might hear what was happening in the next room. B.A. backed up his chair slightly so he had a clear view.
Murdock had put his hat and jacket back on and was fidgeting with the zipper as he stood at the door waiting. He didn't really want to go back to the VA yet, but he was embarrassed and he didn't want the team to have to deal with his difficulties, he was sure they had their own to deal with, after this job.
Sure he had gotten lots better in the passed ten years. He didn't have nightmares every night now, he didn't let his memories leave him huddled crying in a corner, and he was getting much better at fighting back his anxiety.
He felt more comfortable now with his jacket back on, less exposed.
He imagined Amy must have witnessed one of his real bad nightmare for her to look at him like she had. He'd seen that look on the faces of kindly nurses. They often smiled with pity in their eyes after he'd had a rough day. Especially the young nurses who didn't know any better. They didn't know that their pity was the last thing any soldier wanted.
'The guys must have had to explain about what happened at the camp after he'd scared her just so she would understand why he was as crazy as he was.' He thought bitterly. He squeezed his eyes shut and fought against the thoughts of the camp floated threw him mind.
"Murdock?" Amy asked. He was standing with his back to her, the painting tiger on his jacket practically a billboard warning her to stay back. She was too stubborn to be deterred now.
"Murdock," She spoke clearly. "I didn't mean to over step my bounds, it was rude of me to stare and I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable." She had the urge to take him by the shoulder and turn him to face her so he could see just how sincere she was, but she quickly thought better of it.
The jacket zipper he'd been fiddling with stop going up and down and he crossed his arms defensively around himself. She waited for him to say something.
When he didn't speak she continued. "I don't mean to bring it up..." She started the sentence nervously not knowing if it was a terrible idea to broach the subject. "but the guys told me some more about what happened when all of you were in that POW camp and I just... I'm sorry for what happened to you Murdock."
She paused and waited, when he spoke the words were soft.
"You've said that before Amy and I appreciate that. it's certainly a nicer sentiment than lots of people give. But being sorry isn't nearly as helpful as you might think." He had a hard time keeping the hurt out of his voice.
"I know it. I just, I want to help, I do, I just don't know how Murdock. I don't want to keep doing the wrong thing. Is there anything I can do?"
Murdock shoved his hands in his jacket pockets, his shoulders slumped timidly and turned around to face her. In his pocket his hand wrapped around the golf ball with the cut out smile and he remembered The Golf Ball Liberation Force.
He'd forgotten that only earlier that day he'd asked her to write a story about the golf balls. The 'tortured' golf balls.
It was possible, he realized with some relief, that the guys had been trying to protect him from himself by explaining things to Amy.
He knew her heart was in the right place. He didn't want to be thought of as broken and he didn't want to scare her, he knew he should probably explain some things too. To help them both.
Murdock pulled the golf ball out of his pocket and looked at it a second before showing it too her.
She looked slightly worried at the reemergence of the golf ball. Like she was worried he might break. He could only hope that she would understand.
"You can help Amy. Will you take care of this little guy for me? I'm afraid it can be a big job. He needs a little more attention then your average baseball or racket ball or even football." Murdock spoke evenly without his usual accents or theatrics.
Her first instinct was to plaster on a smile and nod at his childish ramblings but she fought that and tried hard to listen carefully to what he was saying.
"You see Amy this little golf ball has had some rough times. Now, he knew the life of a golf ball wasn't going to be easy. In fact he worked very hard to be the very best golf ball there was. He flew over the greens and the fairways always striving to come in under par. He did his job and he did it well, he will always be proud of that.
The thing is during his time on the course he met a few too many brutal driving irons and hit a few too many sand traps and they took their toll. It's the price he has to pay, he understands that.
He knows he has more to offer the world, he's not done yet. He works everyday to be brave and strong. It's hard though for the little guy cause some people think that since he's always got those sand traps in the back of his mind and sometimes he does things they think are odd that he's not fit for even a putt putt course.
Know that it's not true putt putt, green, or driving range he still has it in him. He might just have to have a little more help now. He'd like your help Amy, just if you're gonna look after this little fella you need to remember don't pity him for his misfortunes. He needs your understanding and support because he's survived the ordeal and now he just wants to live his life."
Murdock finished his speech and handed her the golf ball.
She took it tenderly and he knew that she knew that he wasn't talking about the golf ball.
A small smile returned to his face and reached his big brown eyes. "So I never heard, how did things go with Lin?"
Amy was still holding the golf ball when she and Murdock walked back into the kitchenette. Face looked from the ball to Murdock back to Amy trying to judge what the damage was. "So Murdock do you still want that ride?"
Murdock ducked his head bashfully.
"Hum no, that is if I can stay here? Can I stay here tonight B.A.?" Murdock asked. He wanted to stay, he hoped they wouldn't feel too burdened because he always felt better when he was around the team.
B.A. looked around the room, he was pretty sure that Amy would head home eventually, that still left the four of them bedding down in the small hotel room. They'd shared worst accommodations. B.A. shook off the more traumatic of the images that thought brought to mind. "Yeah you can stay Crazy Man, but if we're all sleeping here someone is gonna hafta sleep on the floor and it ain't me."
Murdock nodded and yawned.
B.A. knew that the fool would insist on taking the floor tonight, but they would probably give him the bed and make him sleep in it. They all knew that when their pilot was having a rough patch he was slightly less prone to nightmares about the prison camp if he was in a real bed not on the hard floor or the couch that was too short for his long legs.
B.A. would fight for the couch on the grounds that it was his place and Face would fight for the couch because he needed a good nights sleep because he had to go and scam a new place to live in the morning. Hannibal would pull rank and he would get the couch. B.A. knew he would relent and give it to Hannibal and he'd let Hannibal think it was because of rank. Really it would have a little to do with Hannibal being the oldest.
B.A. know he would most likely end up sleeping on the floor next to the bed.
That way if the crazy fool did have a nightmare or the memories got too bad B.A. would be there for him.
That's the way it would go tonight. That's the way it often went after the personal jobs, the ones that sent all of them reeling through a wild ride of memories and raw emotions. This one had been one of the craziest in recent memory. 'Just like if Murdock was the pilot' B.A. thought with a chuckle.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.
I'm really shocked how long the ending got I had to break it in to two chapter just to try and edit it. I hope it all stayed congruent, that's been my biggest fear. It was certainly writing this and watching the show have been a nice distraction from the job hunting I'm doing now which is really no fun. Thanks again.