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A Cold Night For Carolling, Part Two
by Haven.

BA and Face expected Murdock to be hyper and talkative on the way to the safe house, wanting news on everyone and on the new mission. But as soon as he'd been divested of the straitjacket, Murdock sank into the contours of the back seat. Finding a comfortable position, and stifling a yawn, he closed his eyes and was asleep before they reached the main road.

The men drove in silence. BA keeping a watchful eye on the cars around and behind them, the concerned expression on his face having nothing to do with traffic. Face, who was driving, glanced into the back seat and momentarily locked eyes with BA. The big man shook his head. The meaning was clear -- their friend was not himself.


When the car passed between the brick pillars of a long driveway, the change from blacktop to gravel disturbed Murdock's rest. Still sleepy but awake once more, he lifted his head and looked around. "Where are we?"

"In the middle of nowhere," responded Face. "But wait until you see the house." As he spoke, a white structure with a shingled roof came into view. It appeared to be a simple farm house standing alone at the top of a hill.

Hearing gravel crunch, Hannibal looked out the window and saw a familiar car approaching. He strode to the front door and waited for it to finish making the way up the long drive. When Face put the car into park, Murdock was the first to open a door. He jumped out and his long legs carried him up the front steps to the door, which Hannibal opened at his approach. Murdock stopped abruptly and saluted, shouting "HM Murdock reporting for duty, Sir."

"At ease, Captain," Hannibal replied, casually returning the salute, cigar in hand. "Come in." He waited beside the door as Face and BA entered behind Murdock. "Any trouble?" he softly asked the two men as they passed by.

They shook their heads in response, but the frowns on their faces told a different story. BA added in a low rumble "No problems at the hospital and nobody followed."

Distracted by Face and BA's entrance, Murdock's military bearing slipped. It fell apart completely as his surroundings began to register on his troubled mind. He was inside one of the rooms he remembered seeing on Range Rider. The fireplace was right. The furniture was right. The stuff on the walls was right. He shook his head as if to clear his vision, but the room stayed precisely in focus. Excited, Murdock moved to the nearest chair, touching the wood and the wool blanket tossed over its back. It certainly felt real. Next, he ran to the fireplace where a gun belt and a pair of holstered guns hung from a peg. Murdock removed them, examining them carefully. They weren't loaded, but they were well oiled and appeared to be in good working order. Returning them to their holsters and the peg, he looked around, amazed. He noticed Hannibal, Face, and BA watching him. "How...?" "Where...?"

Hannibal opened his mouth as if to speak, but Face jumped in. "Like I said in the car, you're in the middle of nowhere. But the guy who owns this place was big in television during the 50s and 60s. Played bit parts and then moved on to production. The whole house is like this, only each room is different. Check out the bathroom over there," he said, pointing to a hallway and a visible door.

Murdock did as he was told, and was immediately transported into something from either Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea or Jules Verne's Nautilus, none of the men were sure which. Whatever it was, it was fabulous. There was a port hole, cool mechanical stuff including an old fashioned deep sea diver's helmet, and a small treasure chest.

"Wow," said Murdock.

BA grumbled "Kitchen's not too bad," as he pushed past Murdock and entered the gleaming room. It looked like a cross between a household and commercial kitchen -- granite countertops, a large center island, two sinks, two ovens, and a plethora of storage space. Murdock was certain he'd seen this kitchen, or one very much like it, on some cooking show as he'd flipped between channels on his television back at the hospital. BA, ever practical, asked "You hungry, Crazyman?"

Murdock nodded, realizing that this was the first time food had sounded good in days, perhaps weeks.

BA grunted, "Then stay out of muh way." He motioned to Face with a tilt of his head, "Show him the upstairs while I rustle somethin' up."

Hannibal stood thoughtfully as he watched Face and Murdock disappear down a short hallway. Murdock heard him ask BA for details of their drive as he mounted the steps, but he was too enchanted with the house to listen for the reply.

Upstairs, Face stood back as Murdock ran from one room to the next, looking in each in wonder, then running back to the first and starting over.

The first room Murdock decided to explore in depth was the bedroom of a private eye from the 1950s. There was a window overlooking a neon sign that overlooked a trompe l'oeil street scene with vintage cars and mean city streets. The furnishings were sparse -- a bed, a battered desk, an end table, table lamp -- but the room was compellingly evocative of the life of a down-in-the-heels private dick. Murdock picked up the fedora lying on the desk and tried it on for size. It was a little large for his head, but Murdock tilted it to a to a rakish angle and slipped into his Phillip Marlow persona, Mack Murdock.

"Here's lookin' at you, Kid," he said to Face.


Even after BA shouted for them to come down to eat, Murdock stayed in character. At one point during their meal he turned to Hannibal and said in his Marlow, "There's one thing I can't figure out."

Hannibal, who knew 'The Big Sleep' better than anyone would have guessed, replied, "What makes me run?"

"Uh uh. Why you want me for this case."

Hannibal, who was not yet ready to announce that there was no case and that none of them would be going to the orphanage this Christmas, simply said "No one else would do. And," he added, standing, "now it's time to clear away the table."

Murdock took off his hat and switched mental gears during clean-up. Now he was a chef, talking up a storm about the proper care and storage of kitchen implements as he dried the newly washed items as Face handed them to him and that he in turned handed to BA to put away.

When everything was restored to its place, Murdock bounded up the stairs and went to explore another of the rooms. This time he picked a bedroom based upon Leave it to Beaver. Twin beds, board games, yo-yo, baseball glove, pennants on the wall. He idly moved pieces around one of the board games, remembering playing this game with another kid in his neighborhood a lifetime ago. He imagined being that kid again, innocent and carefree, sure the future would always be fun and pain free. He began to slide into depression when he heard a familiar bark. He looked between the beds and was delighted to see his dog sitting there. "Billy! How'd you get here?" He leaned over to scratch Billy behind the ears and was rewarded with a wet slurp up one side of his face. Laughing, he rolled onto one of the beds, patting it to tell Billy to jump up next to him. He petted Billy for a while, grew sleepy, and fell into a comfortable and contented sleep.

He was asleep when Hannibal came up to check on him and he stayed that way for several hours. When he awoke, Hannibal in the room, lying on the other bed, propped up against the headboard reading a magazine. "How long have I been out?," he asked.

"Three or four hours." He paused. "How are you?"

"I'm okay," he lied.

"Do you like the house?"

"It's wonderful!" No lie that time.

Hannibal smiled gently. "We've been worried about you. You didn't look good when we got you out of the V.A."

Murdock shrugged. "I've had some things on my mind."

"Anything you care to tell me about?"


"Let me know if you change your mind. Now come on downstairs, we're going to have a meeting before dinner."


The meeting did not go well. Face, as expected, wanted to spend Christmas with Father McGill and the kids. BA, although he'd never admit it, was likewise disappointed he wouldn't see the children's faces as they opened their gifts. Nevertheless, BA and Face agreed with Hannibal that with the problems Decker'd been causing, it was just too risky for them to try to spend Christmas at the orphanage. Risking getting caught was one thing, but endangering the kids was another. Going was simply not an option, not this year.

Silent to this point, Murdock angrily burst out "So why did you come get me then?"

Suddenly angry himself, Hannibal changed tactics. "Because our last mission was a disgrace! We were damn lucky to get out of there alive! And if it weren't for that lucky break at the end (they all knew which one he meant) we wouldn't have. The level of your performance is appalling and we're going to correct it. From this point out, we're in training. Weights, running, pistol range. Got it?," he spit out.

"Yes, Sir!" they shouted in unison.


The next several days were hell. There was a professional weight room down in the basement, and Hannibal pushed all of them, including himself, mercilessly. They ran across the fields, Hannibal timing them and then making them run laps around the house when they weren't quick enough. Being out in the country, they could practice shooting without causing alarm in the neighborhood, and Hannibal had them spend hours on their home-made range using long rifles, pistols, even the six-shooters that had hung on the stone fireplace.

Face whined, BA grumbled, and Murdock retreated into himself, trying one character after another, none sitting right. Hannibal was unapproachable, snapping at the men when they asked to stop for a break and increasingly angry.

They reached the breaking point on the 24th. They were in the weight room, again. Murdock was doing the bench press, trying to force the weights back up when his left arm gave out. Face, who was spotting for him, wasn't quick enough and the weight crashed heavily on Murdock's shoulder. Between Murdock's right arm and Face's desperate grab, no lasting injury was done, but emotions surpassed the boiling point. Murdock yelled in pain and surprise, and Face, nearly in tears, horrified that he'd almost killed his best friend cried out "Oh my god, Murdock. Oh my god," as together they forced the bar back on its stand above Murdock's chest.

Murdock's heart beat wildly. He'd nearly been killed. Where the hell was Face's brain? He was supposed to be spotting for him for god's sake! He sat up, letting anger overtake him.

Face, still horrified, was finding it difficult to breathe. "Are you okay?," he asked, adding "Let me see your shoulder," as he reached for the now sitting Murdock's shirt.

"Don't you touch me!" shouted Murdock, as he jumped to his feet, leapt free of the weight bench and bolted from the room. BA, who seeing that Murdock had not been greatly injured by the falling weight, was calmly, or as calmly as possible under the trying circumstances, continuing his squats looked up to see him go. Hannibal, who had been doing curls on the opposite end of the room, did likewise. "You better go after him," Hannibal said, hearing the front door slam shut. Roaring "Now!" when Face didn't move.

Face seemed to be in shock, but his feet registered the command and he took off after his friend. He ran up the stairs two at a time, and was out the front door seconds later. He could see the figure of his friend far ahead, running toward the far pasture. Pouring on the speed, Face did his damnedest to catch up. Had Hannibal been there to watch, he'd have been impressed with the speed Face was capable of, given the right motivation. He was slowly gaining on Murdock, running so hard he thought his heart would burst. He tried shouting "Murdock! Stop! Wait up!" but couldn't get out more than a strangled gasp. Save his breath, run harder.

Murdock continued to run, slowing only when he reached the side of a small river. He could have forded it easily, but he was run out. He sank to the ground, vanishing from sight. Absolutely frantic, Face increased his speed, another 15 yards and he'd be where Murdock had disappeared.

Face burst through the brush growing next to the river, registered Murdock sitting on the bank, and tried to stop. He slid forward, narrowly escaping falling in, and tumbled to the ground.

The two men sat a couple of feet apart, breathing heavily, too winded and too exhausted to talk.

After they caught their breath, Face spoke first. "Are you okay?"


"Then let me take a look."


Impasse reached.

Long mintues later, Face broke the silence a second time. "I thought I'd killed you," Face said, his voice cracking.

"I thought you'd killed me," Murdock replied in much the same tone, but Face wasn't listening.

"I thought I'd killed you. Oh my god, Murdock. I thought I'd killed you." Face's shoulders shook with emotion and Murdock realized his friend was crying.

"Hey," he said. "Hey." Murdock scooted over and put his arm around Face's shoulders, giving him a half-hug. "Muchacho, don't cry. It's okay."

Face, wiping tears from his eyes with the back of a hand, shook his head. "It's not okay." He wiped his eyes again. "I couldn't live if I'd killed you." Sobbing openly now, adding a mumbled "Without you."

Murdock pulled Face closer, pulling the blond toward him until Face's head was lying on Murdock's right shoulder. "Hey," he said again, wincing as he brought his left arm around to enclose Face in a tight hug. "'S okay." Not thinking, he kissed Face's forehead. "Shhhh. It'll be okay."

Face, to Murdock's surprise and consternation, began crying in earnest. Face's question, forced out between sobs, surprised him even more. "Why wouldn't you let me touch you?"

"Back in the house you mean?"

Face nodded.

"Because I hurt, Murdock said slowly, his voice growing quieter with each word, "and I was angry, and." There was a long pause. Then quietest of all, "And I was afraid that if I let you touch what hurt I'd never be able..." his voice trailed off.

The younger man finished the sentence, heartbreak in his voice, "to trust me again."

"No," Murdock said slowly in a thoughtful voice, "never be able to stop..." Face felt Murdock's chest constrict as Murdock continued in the same soft voice, "to stop wanting you to touch me."

- tbc -
A Cold Night for Carolling, Part 3

Title:  A Cold Night for Carolling, Part Two
Author/Pseudonym:  Haven.
Fandom:  The A-Team
Pairing:  Face/Murdock
Rating:  nc17 m/m for Cold Night as whole. This part is probably somewhere between G and PG
Disclaimer:  I don't know who owns The A-Team, but it isn't me
Special Thanks to:  Cath and Karo who beta'd this
Archive:  Upon request
Comments:  Comments are welcome
Email for Feedback: 
Series/Sequel:  Yes

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Written: January 5, 2002
Haven's Slash Archive

I can be reached at haven@cruelhaven.org