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A Cold Night For Carolling, Part Four
by Haven.

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?"

BA nodded.

"Where's Hannibal? Isn't he eating too?"

"Ain't here."

"Where is he?" asked Face, looking up quickly. "Out looking for us?"

"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 car?"

"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 tonight."

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 money?"


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 are out."

"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 tonight."

"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 does."

"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 dishwashers.

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 stay up."

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 blanket.

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 contented sleep.

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
Author/Pseudonym:  Haven.
Fandom:  The A-Team
Pairing:  Face/Murdock
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:
Series/Sequel:  Yes

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Written: January 12, 2002
Haven's Slash Archive

I can be reached at haven@cruelhaven.org