Color Me Purple

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

"Hey! Cool! M and Ms!" Murdock spied the cut glass bowl full of pastel Easter candies on the table as he strolled into the flat's kitchen. Drawing a chair back he sat down and immediately turned the bowl over onto the lacy white table cloth.

"Now don't go eating too many of those or you'll make yourself sick, buddy." Face couldn't help but warn the pilot. The last time Hannibal had the team practice survival skills in the forest, Murdock ate all of the candy bars in the first afternoon. He not only got a very sick stomach from the experience but the team had to eat hardtack and raisins for the rest of the week.

"I wasn' gonna hog 'em all t' myself, Faceman. I was gonna share." The Captain already had his hands in among the candies, placing them in separate piles according to color. "Wanna help me sort 'em?"

"No. And it really isn't very sanitary for you to be touching each M and M before someone else eats them."

Intent upon his task, Murdock responded only with a lopsided grin and a "My hands're clean."

His friend shook his head at the childlike activity occupying his friend's attention and walked to the window.

"I wonder what's taking B. A. and Hannibal so long," Face mused as he drew the curtain back and stared down at the street far below.

"Takes time t' screen a client, 'specially when Decker's been sniffin' 'round so much." Murdock's voice was a little muffled.

"Are you eating those?" Face smiled without turning around. He knew the answer.

"Jus' evenin' out the piles. Gotta do that so everyone gets their fair share, all even Steven. 'Sides, if one group's bigger 'n 'nother, they'll start fightin' 'mong themselves for control o' the candy bowl."

"Ah yes. Candy diplomacy." Face's smile grew wider. If only wars between nations could be won by eating candy instead of sacrificing men.

"Hey, Face? Ya wanna even out the pile o' purple ones for me?" There was a slight edge to Murdock's voice as he asked.

"Sure. But why?" As he ambled over to the kitchen table, he noticed the light purple candies were furthest away from the pilot and he was purposefully keeping his eyes off them.

"I don' trust food that's purple. Purple ones remin' me too much o' the purple wobblies."

Face winced at that statement but Murdock didn't see the reaction. When Murdock was with the team, his nightmares could be contained by careful, gentle words as well as careful, gentle touch. The time spent caring for him after brutal interrogations in the POW camp gave each of the other three men the practice they needed to do that.

Back in the VA hospital, too many patients had mental states that could be ignited by the screams of one patient over his night terrors. The key was to get the patient under control quickly. That often involved sedatives like haloperidol that created what Murdock called "the purple wobblies."

It was a hallucinatory nightmare all by itself that the pilot hated as much as he did the flashbacks and bad dreams. It meant he didn't have the ability to control his mind and that was unsettling.

"So I'm guessing the grape juice and grape jelly in the fridge is out, too?" Face took a seat between Murdock and the neglected purple candies.

A pair of hurt brown eyes met his. Murdock's hand paused over the sky blue M and Ms. "It ain' funny." He didn't want to admit to any of the others how many times after one of their missions he woke in the VA with residual visions of torture and death surrounding him. They may begin leaving him behind more often if they knew.

Face noticed the cloud of pain and mistrust settle into his friend's features. Like he was watching a wounded animal haltingly limp away from a brush with a car on the freeway, he saw Murdock begin to retreat within himself.

"How many?" he asked, attempting to change the subject.

He was thankful when he saw the hurt expression melt away to one of puzzlement. "Huh?"

"How many should there be in the pile?" With both of his hands, he swept the purple candies closer to himself, hiding them behind the folded arms he placed in front of him on the table.

"Twelve."

Face nodded and quickly counted the candies, popping three into his mouth. "There. Now they're all even." He paused and shot a curious look at Murdock. "But who gets which pile? There are five colors here."

"Oh, that's pretty easy. I get the blue ones."

"Because?"

"Silly! Because they remin' me o' the sky, o' course. 'N' I figure green should go t' Hann'bal." Murdock's enthusiasm was engaging and Face smiled at him, encouraging an explanation.

"Why?"

"'Cause green's the color o' good luck 'n' we both know sometimes luck's the only thing that holds Hann'bal's plans t'gether."

"True. So who gets the pink? Not one of us, I assume."

A blush crept into Murdock's cheeks as he looked down at the table and then up into Face's eyes. "We-e-ell." He cleared his throat. "I thought if ya didn' min', I'd put 'em in a red box 'n' hide my gift for Dani in 'mong 'em. Surprise 'er on Easter."

"What did you get her? Not a T-shirt, I hope."

Murdock's tone turned indignant. "She happened t' like the T-shirt I got 'er for Valentine's Day. Told 'er what I thought 'bout 'er."

"'You've stolen my heart, you little thief, you?'"

"She said she loved it." The pilot's eyes turned dreamy. "'N' she thought the rest o' the night wasn' bad either."

Face gently coughed. "So what did you get her this time?"

"A real pretty li'l silver airplane for 'er charm bracelet."

"You know for sure she has a charm bracelet?"

Murdock fixed his friend with a withering look. "'Course I do. Got it for 'er for Christmas."

"Of course." Face cleared his throat again and looked at the yellow pile of M and Ms. "Uh, Murdock, you weren't thinking of giving B. A. the yellow ones, were you? I mean, if you start telling everybody why they get certain colors, I don't want to be the one to keep him from killing you."

The Captain frowned his confusion. As he understood what Face was saying, his eyes widened and he vehemently shook his head. "Oh, no, no, Face. Yellow don' always mean bein' a coward. Yellow can mean energy, joy, happiness . . . and friendship. That's why you'd get the yellow ones."

"And that leaves B. A. with the purple ones?"

"Purple can stan' for courage, ya know. 'N' I don' know anyone who's so brave as the Big Guy."

"True." They sat in silence for a moment.

"Or we could put all o' them 'cept the pink ones back in the bowl 'n' help ourselves."

"That sounds like a better idea. Less misunderstanding that way," Face replied as he ate every one of the purple M and Ms and helped Murdock scoop the green, yellow and blue ones into the candy dish.