Originally written as a birthday gift on LJ.
Face's point of view
I watch in amusement as my father cheerfully talks with my friends at my birthday party. He looks good, as usual, maybe a little tired after our last difficult mission but he would never admit it. I know he doesn't like to party nor to celebrate so I was more than surprised when I found out he had organized a birthday party for me, the first one since I've discovered my origins.
To say I didn't have a happy childhood is an obvious thing. I don't exactly talk much about it, it's a part of my past I tend to keep closed in a box in my mind and I don't open that box too often: being abandoned by your own mother in a crib in front of an orphanage isn't exactly a good start. I spent my whole life in all sorts of institutions only to end up in the Army under the fabulous Colonel John Smith.
I don't really know why I decided to join the Army. I tried to have a normal life, like all the other guys at school: you know, going out with friends, partying, having a girlfriend, get married and so on. I tried, really I did; I never had any problem in dating girls but as soon as the relationship became too "personal" I felt in some way "suffocated" and inadequate; I loved every one of them but I couldn't risk becoming too involved in the relationship because I was afraid to lose everything in case things would go bad. I had to keep people at a distance, I had to keep in place the façade I built all those years ago. I couldn't let anyone see my real self.
In some way, I have always been two different people: there is Face, the arrogant, self confident, brilliant and handsome young man; he is the strong one, he is never afraid of anything and he is able to do marvelous things. On a mission, he is calm and determined, a good sniper. Among other people he is relaxed and self confident. The second one is Templeton, the young boy who never knew his parents; he has a difficult character, he doesn't like to be among people, he doesn't like to be noticed. He's always afraid of not keeping up with the situation, afraid of hurting and to be hurt, afraid of trusting other people.
When Hannibal accepted me in his unit – as no one else would do, because of my reputation – he dealt with Face at the beginning, with his annoying and insubordinate behaviour and his stubbornness. Face gave the Colonel a hard time; but then the older man did something nobody had never attempted before, he trusted me and accepted me for what I was, not simply trying to break me but learning how to get to me.
The first time he saw Templeton it was a cold night in December, two days before Christmas; I received a letter from the director of the orphanage where I grew up: the man informed me that Father David had died the week before because of pneumonia. I didn't know he was ill and I was shocked by the news. Father David was like a father to me, the only person who could really get to me and the only one I trusted with my life. I had planned to come back to him for New Year's Eve. Not even Face could take the strain of such a painful loss and I ended up walking alone in the base, trying desperately to hold back tears in front of the other soldiers and officers, until I found a quiet corner and settled down.
Hannibal found me that way and I confessed everything to him; I cried a lot, for Father David, for my mother who abandoned me. I didn't mean to be such a wimp but I couldn't stop; once the box was open, I couldn't hold back the pain and the suffering of those years. Hannibal held me while I sobbed in his arms, wetting his shirt, rocking me as you would do with a child, until I was a little calmer and recovered my dignity. I showed him the only thing my mother left me: an old photo of her I always carry with me in my pocket, the only thing I received from her. He said he was sorry for my loss and comforted me.
After that episode, it seemed he was treating me differently from the other guys and I couldn't understand why. I thought seeing me in distress that night changed his opinion about me, maybe he was trying to help me but I couldn't stand his pity nor his compassion. Murdock noticed that too and maybe someone else did because, after a while, Hannibal was back to his usual self, assigning me impossible tasks which I never failed, except for a few times when I got hurt. Those times he was always by my side, offering comfort and protection and God knows I did need them, especially when I was shot in the shoulder and I was afraid to die in the Iraqi desert.
Under his guidance, I became the man I am now. Face is the dominant personality, obviously, but Templeton is not in the background anymore: he is an active part of me and I feel more relaxed with myself.
I don't know exactly when Hannibal found out about me, I guess he recognized his girlfriend in the photo I showed him that night. However, he didn't say anything until I pissed him off one night before a mission and he burst out with a "God damn it! Will you listen to me, I am your father!". It had been two months since I was shot in the shoulder and technically I was still recovering. Bosco and Murdock fell silent at the declaration and quickly left the tent, while I stayed, trying to figure out the whole situation.
We both were at a loss for words but eventually I found the courage to ask him if he really meant what he just said. He nodded, blushing, saying he was sorry and I wasn't supposed to get to know that way. "Was I ever supposed to know about you, eventually?" I asked him. I was mad at him. We had a bad discussion and I just wanted to go away, far from him and from everyone, but I thought better: maybe he was afraid to tell me because of my reaction and he was actually right, I didn't take it well at first. So I stayed, I listened to him and accepted his sincere apologies; I didn't mean to cry but when he engulfed me in his arms and held me close, kissing me on my forehead, I melted and sobbed quietly, because I was not alone anymore.
Since that day, we have been together on the job and in private. We actually do a lot of things together, as father and son. Sometimes I wake up in the night and I catch him watching me sleep and I feel a strange feeling growing inside me, love. I wish I could have known him earlier but I am happy to have him in my life.
And the birthday party, I would never expected one from him. I am just damn glad to be with him every day.
My Father, John Smith!