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by Haven.

Face stood naked under the harsh fluorescent light, looking at his reflection in the mirror. He'd been standing there a long time, lost in thought.

He was home, well, at what passed for home, for the past month and a half, long enough for the bruises to fade and the cuts to heal. The previous mission had come to a successful conclusion (Didn't they all?), but he'd paid dearly for his role. He'd been taken prisoner and worked over by someone who absolutely relished inflicting pain.

He supposed he should feel grateful the guy didn't mark up his face like he had the rest of his body, but it was cold comfort. He was getting old and some time ago, without his awareness, injuries had become cumulative. Scars from Vietnam were overlaid with scars from other places, some state-side, some not. And the scars weren't all physical. He felt like crying.

He started when he heard a light tapping on the bathroom door. "Face, you in there?"

"Yeah, Murdock, I'm here." Even to himself he sounded dejected.

Oh, this doesn't sound good, Murdock thought. "Something bothering you, Face?"

"Everything's bothering me."

Really not good. "Can I come in?"

"Yeah, why not," Face sighed, backing away from the door.

Murdock stepped inside and closed the door. Not for privacy, but to keep some of the warmth in.

"What's bothering you, Facey?" he asked gently.

Face sighed. "Everything."

Murdock leaned back on the closed door, waiting, silent.

"What do you see when you look at me?"

Murdock's lips quirked into a smile. "The man I love."

"No, really."

"That is what I see. What do you see?"

"Damaged goods."

Inside, where Face couldn't see it, Murdock winced. This was so very not good.

"I don't know how you can stand me, HM," Face continued. "I lie, I cheat, I steal, and as if that weren't bad enough, now I've got all these scars." He went back to staring at his reflection in the mirror.

"We all do what we need to do to survive. You've never lied to me and I don't think you've ever lied to Hannibal or BA. Maybe withheld information once in a while, but not lied. You haven't cheated or stolen from any of us either, have you?"

"No," Face replied in a tiny voice.

Murdock shifted his weight, came off the door. He moved until he was standing behind him, looking over Face's shoulder into their reflection on the mirror.

"I don't know what's going to happen when summer comes," Face said.

Murdock looked quizzically at Face's image in the mirror.

"The new scars... there's so many. And in the summer, they'll stand out against my skin. I'll hate that."

"They'll fade with time."


Murdock looked at the pale golden skin reflected in the mirror. The bruising was gone; that was something. But Face's skin was covered with small white scars, places he'd been cut or that had been beaten until the skin broke open. All over his body, really, everywhere but his face and his hands. Hurt just to think about it, beautiful Face carrying permanent reminders of what had been done to him.

"I think you're beautiful." He was speaking so quietly he wasn't sure Face could hear him. He put his arms around Face, holding him, waiting for him to resist or pull away.

Face merely shook his head. "How can you think that?"

"I just do." There was more, but Murdock wasn't sure his words would come out right. Face had seen so much pain in his life, done so much suffering -- and yet he'd never given up on humanity, never stopped caring. He might be manipulative, okay, he was manipulative as far as non-team members were concerned, but he never took more than anyone could afford to give. Face wasn't a saint, but he wasn't evil either. Had more good in him than bad. A lot more good.

Murdock looked down on Face's shoulder, saw a point where three thin white lines came together in a small asterisk.

"You're covered with stars, Face. That's what the scars are, little points of light where the good shines through." He held Face closer, felt the younger man relax against him. Placed a kiss on the soft hair covering the nape of his neck. "Love you, baby."

Face wrapped his arms over Murdock's, intertwined their fingers. "Love you too."

- fin -

Title:  Aftereffects
Author/Pseudonym:  Haven.
Fandom:  The A-Team
Pairing:  Face/Murdock
Rating:  G m/m
Warnings:  Reference to previous torture/abuse
Disclaimer:  I don't know who owns The A-Team, but it clearly isn't me
Special Thanks to:  Cath and Karo who beta'd this
Comments:  Comments are welcome
Archive:  Upon request
Email for Feedback:
Series/Sequel:  No

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Written: March 12, 2002
Haven's Slash Archive

I can be reached at haven@cruelhaven.org