A Cold Night For Carolling, Part Four
Dripping wet and chilled to the bone, Face and Murdock ran the
last half mile back to the house. They'd left the river's side
at a leisurely pace, but as the temperature dropped and the wind
picked up, their desire to reach the house increased along with
their speed. They came in the same way they'd left, bursting
through the front door with Murdock in the lead. Still running,
they rounded the hallway into the comforting warmth of the
kitchen. At the center island BA stood eating a sandwich. He
looked them over, shaking his head. "You both crazy." He pointed
to a short stack of bath towels on one of the counters. "Dry off
before you get muh kitchen all wet." The towels were slightly
warm, removed from the dryer in the not too distant past. Murdock
stripped off his dripping shirt and wrapped himself in the
towel's warmth, BA covertly appraising his bruise as he did
so. Face, too, removed his wet shirt and stood in the kitchen,
toweling his blond hair. "I made sandwiches," BA informed them.
"Got the coffee on and hot tea. Want any?"
"Yeah, sounds good." Murdock grabbed a sandwich from a plate
piled with them and took a bite. "It's what, about noon?"
"Where's Hannibal? Isn't he eating too?"
"Where is he?" asked Face, looking up quickly. "Out looking for
"Don't think so," the big man replied. "He took the car."
"Did he say anything about where he was going?," Face queried.
"No, just said he be back befo' mornin'. Looked as pissed off as
I ever seen him."
Murdock shrugged, "Do you want me go up and see if I can spot the
"Fool, you ain't got a plane."
"Why would I need a plane with my superpowers?" BA and Face
exchanged glances. "It'd be no trouble."
Face tried to think of a plausible excuse, but BA solved the
problem for him. "Don't want to leave the house with just one
of you here and I gotta do a few things. Stores close early
Murdock nodded abruptly, the way he'd seen his favorite superhero
nod a thousand times before. "I'll stay here while you're gone,"
he said, pulling the bath towel around his shoulders like a cape.
"Don't worry about a thing."
BA shook his head, then directed his attention to Face. "Got any
Murdock patrolled the house for a while after BA'd left in his
van, but nothing was happening and this soon grew boring. He
returned to the kitchen hoping to find Face, but he wasn't there.
Murdock finished off the last sandwich, wondering where he'd
gone. He heard the dryer door slam and had his answer.
"Wha cha doin', Facey?"
"Just the laundry. Thought I should pick up a bit while the guys
"Need any help?"
"Nah. I've got it under control."
"Okay." He stood watching Face as he sorted through the dirty
clothes, putting the darkest colors in the washer. He shifted
from foot to foot. "Do you think BA'd mind if I took Billy for a
walk around the house while he's out?"
"Has it stopped raining?"
"I think so."
"Then sure, why not?"
Murdock smiled, happy again. "See ya later!" Calling for Billy,
he headed up the stairs.
Face sat in the house's media room, in front of a bank of
television monitors, some how tied together so that the six
screens always showed the same station. He sat idly flipping
channels, unable to find anything that could hold his interest
for more than a few seconds. He looked around the room but no
longer registered his surroundings. The low couches, the subdued
lighting, the rack of electronic equipment with its knobs and
switches, the cables and the pair of television cameras to which
they were attached (non-functional, as Murdock discovered when
he'd tried to record BA's commentary on a football game) may as
well have been invisible. Face was back in Southeast Asia.
HM had been his best friend from almost the moment they met.
There, in the heat and rain, he'd spent almost all his free time
with him, laughing, talking, drinking beer, going on supply runs
just for the sheer joy of watching Murdock do what he loved best
-- fly. He'd loved Murdock's company, his sense of fun and
adventure, feeling the inexplicable combination of soaring
freedom and groundedness that being near him evoked.
Face smiled to himself, wondering how long he'd been in love.
Had it been from the start? Or had his feelings grown so
gradually over the intervening years that he had never noticed
them change? Face didn't know and decided it didn't matter.
BA watched Murdock as he made the long drive from the road the
house. Murdock appeared to be playing catch with himself,
tossing a bright red ball from one end of the yard to the other.
He'd throw the ball, walk over to where it landed in the grass,
pick it up and toss it back. When he'd shut off the motor, he
could hear Murdock admonishing Billy that he was supposed to
bring him the ball, not make him walk over and get it. BA
rolled his eyes.
Forty-five minutes later, numerous bags of groceries had been
unloaded into the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards. Murdock,
BA, and Face lounged around the center island, waiting for their
pizza to come out of the oven. "Hard to believe tomorrow's
Christmas," observed Face.
BA nodded. "California Christmases sure are different than the
ones I had as a kid."
"Chicago in the winter -- you ever been there then?," BA asked,
looking from one man to the other.
Murdock shook his head, "Can't say I have." How 'bout you Face?"
"No, not that I can recall. What's it like?"
"Cold! It ain't called the Windy City for nothin'. And the
snow," he shook his head, remembering. "Sometimes it'd take days
to get the roads cleared. School'd be canceled and us kids would
play outside as long as our mothers would let us, makin' forts
and havin' snowball fights. Even tried to build an igloo once,
but it didn't turn out." BA paused, wistful. "Seems we always
had snow for Christmas. Even if we hadn't had snow yet, come
Christmas morning there'd be 'least an inch on de ground."
Murdock turned, looking out one of the kitchen's tall windows.
The world outside was completely black. He heard hard cold rain
beating against the glass.
BA continued, "It was real pretty at night. People'd have
Christmas trees in front of their windows, and some'd put lights
outside too. Every street was different. When I was real little,
mama would take me carolling with her. City was a lot different
then, not like it is now, nobody knowing nobody and not caring
what go down in de street."
The oven chimed.
Dinner consumed and the kitchen restored to order, the men
ventured down to their ersatz news-room. Face pressed the switch
and the bank of monitors came to life. The news was on, but it
was fluff, reporters talking about Santa's progress in the night
sky and whether or not the rain would delay his arrival. Face
flipped channels, looking for a game or an old movie that would
catch their fancy, but nothing did. He made two passes just to
be sure before flipping the switch back to off. "Either of you
want to play cards?"
"Anything you'd like to do instead?" As soon as the words left
his mouth, Face realized he'd said exactly the wrong thing. He
tried not to look at Murdock, but it was like trying not to think
about pink elephants. He was unable to prevent himself and when
they locked eyes he saw a sultry fire burning deep within their
depths. Face felt his temperature rise and he blinked, hoping
the loss of eye contact would allow him to regain control. He
turned toward BA in what he fervently hoped appeared a natural
movement, and uttered the first thing that popped into his head.
"You sure you don't want to play cards?"
BA looked at him with his usual passive indifference. "Not
"Want a drink?" Face winced inwardly. What stupid thing was he
going to say next? He tried to recover by adding "I'm going to
go get a beer. HM, do you want one too?"
"Sure Facey," Murdock replied, smiling at him.
Face willed his knees not to wobble as he stood up. BA watched
him, impassive as ever. "A glass a' Milk'd be nice."
"On my way," said Face, propelling himself toward the stairs. He
imagined he felt BA's eyes boring into his back as he walked away,
but in reality those bright intelligent eyes were regarding Murdock.
Face was more or less under his own control when he returned with
the drinks. Handing a bottle to HM, he settled into his spot on
the couch, and took a swig from the clear bottle. "Any guesses
when Hannibal will get home?"
BA glanced at him, then shook his head. "I'm staying up until he
"Any idea what's been eating him?"
Murdock shrugged, then winced. "Shoulder's starting to hurt."
He took drank a little more of his beer, then yawned, noticing
for the first time how tired he felt. He yawned again and set his
bottle down. "I'm going to turn in. G'night Face, G'night BA."
"Night, Murdock," they responded.
BA finished his glass of milk, then stood and stretched. "Ahm
goin' upstairs. Might not hear Hannibal come in down here."
Face nodded, drinking down the last of his beer. "I'll come
up with you." Face picked up Murdock's half full bottle and
followed the big man up the stairs and into the kitchen. Face
poured the rest of Murdock's beer down the drain and disposed
of the empty bottles; BA put his glass in one of the twin
The two men sat in silence on opposite sides of the living
room. After a time, Face yawned.
"Go on ta bed," BA said in his low rumble. "You don't need ta
Face nodded, examining the simple statement and wondering if he
had become paranoid. BA regarded him with the same steadfast
expression he always did. "G'night BA."
Face thought about slipping into Murdock's room, but upon
reflection concluded he'd already used up his daily ration of
luck. He continued down the hall to his own room and bed.
He hadn't been asleep long when a loud thump and muffled yell
brought him to instant wakefulness. He pulled on his pants
and went to investigate. BA had also heard the sounds was
already at the door to Murdock's room, his hand upon the knob.
BA knocked twice on general principles, then swung the door
open. From the light of the hall the men could see Murdock
on the floor, untangling himself from a confusion of bedding.
"You okay?," BA asked him.
"Yeah, sure," Murdock replied slightly embarrassed. "I fell
out of bed."
Bright eyes regarded him. "Makes four nights in a row."
Murdock nodded as Face stepped into the room. "Nightmares, huh?
Anything we can do?"
"You can help me remake the bed."
"Sure," Face replied stepping forward.
BA watched for a moment as Face pulled on Murdock's blanket freeing
it as Murdock continued to untangle himself from the sheets. He must
have been extremely restless to have gotten them into their current
state. Face bundled up the blanket, setting it aside. It'd be the
last thing to go back on the bed.
Apropos of nothing, BA announced, "Hannibal's not back yet.
I be downstairs if you need me."
"Thanks BA. See you in the morning."
Face found a corner of the sheet and helped release his friend, who
when finally uncovered, was revealed to be naked except for a pair
of briefs that left very little to Face's imagination. Still
groggy, Murdock did not notice Face's eyeballs roaming over
his body, nor was he aware that those blue eyes were sending back
signals that made Face's hands itch for the same privilege.
"Thanks, Face. I was startn' to feel like lead character in
'The Mummy's Tomb.'" He stood and, fluffing the sheet so it would
float over the bed as he walked to its other side. Face woke up
from his trance and moved to the appropriate spot, helping Murdock
spread out and smooth the sheets, replace the pillows, restore
The bed made, Murdock down on its side. "Want to stay up with me
for a while? If I go back to sleep too soon, the damn dream
picks up right where it left off."
Face sat down next to his friend. He wanted to explore that
tempting warm body, but somehow that seemed wrong. He put his
arm around Murdock's shoulders in what he hoped was a comforting
gesture. "Want to tell me about it?"
Murdock smiled sadly, "Nuthin' to tell, really. It's always the
same stuff, just packaged differently." He waited for Face to
say something, but Face remained silent. He didn't much feel like
talking about the nightmares. What was there to say about
dropping men into dangerous territory, knowing that when the
slicks returned, some wouldn't be alive and others would be
horribly damaged. The sounds, the smells, the terror, the
helplessness. Seeing friends die terrible deaths. It was amazing
he was ever able to sleep, all things considered. He sighed.
Face pulled him closer.
Later, neither man was able to recall exactly how they'd ended up
in bed. They'd sat together as the house cooled off in
the night air, growing cold and tired. One or the other had
slid between the sheets, holding open the covers until the other
joined him. Murdock remembered being held, how Templeton felt snuggled
behind him, the two of them laying on their sides, spooned together.
Warm hands rubbing his back, his flanks as he drifted into
Face's primary impression was one of surprise. Surprise at how
natural it felt to be in the same bed, at how well they fit
together, how happy he felt curled around Murdock. He was equally
surprised to note that although he was aroused, he didn't
feel like he had to do anything about it. He snuggled closer,
kissed Murdock's shoulder and breathed in the scent of his bare
skin. He simply laid there, enjoying the sensations coursing
through his body, enjoying Murdock, enjoying that intoxicating
scent until his eyes closed and consciousness departed.
Somewhere in the house a clock chimed two, and BA was
roused from his light slumber. Although he was warm enough
with the wool blanket draped over his body, the chair was
becoming uncomfortable. He'd been waiting a long time.
He tensed the muscles in his back and shoulder, twisting
and turning them, trying to get them to relax. It wasn't
working; he needed to get up and stretch.
He made silent rounds through the house. There was no
reason to think there would be trouble, but experience
had taught him there was great value in remaining vigilant.
Upstairs, he surveyed the various bedrooms, each and
every door open to the corridor. He looked in Murdock's
room, and saw him sound asleep, Face's arm draped
across his chest. He smiled and silently withdrew,
noiselessly closing the door.
- tbc -
Title: A Cold Night for Carolling, Part Four
Fandom: The A-Team
Rating: nc17 m/m Adults Only.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Written: January 12, 2002
Haven's Slash Archive
I can be reached at email@example.com