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Just a Little Unwell

By Clarity Scifiroots

Disclaimers apply. (“Unwell” is a song by Matchbox 20, I used a selection of lyrics for this story)

Fandom: The A-Team            Pairing: Murdock/Face

Summary: The first couple of years after coming back from the war, focusing on Murdock’s end of things.

Thirteenth day of June!fickneazles, unwell

& drabbles100 claim for “middles (2)” since this is set between the war and the start of the series

Edited March 20, 2009

 

 

----

 

|| All day staring at the ceiling Making friends with shadows on my wall ||

 

He couldn’t remember when the dog had found him, although he knew for a fact that the dog had found him and not the other way around. He had the sense that his furry companion had wandered over to him at the airport when he’d first arrived back in the States. Yeah, that seemed about right. He’d been staring absently at the sea of blank faces, framed on either side by military personnel with a nurse somewhere nearby settling final transportation arrangements or something. The dog must have escaped from someone because he wore a leash and collar. The tags read “Billy” but no other information—no address or phone number to contact. Before he crouched down to pick up the leash, he made sure the date on the veterinary tags were fairly recent; he wanted to be sure his new companion would be safe from disease, especially considering the place he was going.

 

“We’re gonna be stuck with sick people,” he confided in the dog with a slight grimace. “Not sure why, but the good ol’ US of A can get some wacky notions in its head.” He patted the dog’s head and scratched his ears. “Think you’ll be brave ‘nuff to come with?” he asked. The dog woofed quietly. “Well okay, don’t say I didn’t warn ya. So Billy, my name’s H.M. Murdock.” He leaned closer and whispered, “Howlin’ Mad, y’know.” The dog licked his face happily, undeterred by his warnings.

 

|| I’m talking to myself in public ||

 

Wouldja look at that!” Murdock collapsed onto his bed lengthwise, crunching the newspaper he held. He scooted over to give Billy room to come up. He pointed at the central article on the page and traced his finger under the words as he read. The story continued inside the paper and he turned the pages.

 

“Hey!” he exclaimed excitedly. “Billy, look! It’s them!” With a wild grin, Murdock threw his arm around his dog and nudged him closer to the paper to take a look. “That’s my Colonel, Hannibal Smith. An’ that’s B.A., ‘bad attitude.’ An’ this here’s Faceman.” His grin gentled into a fond smile. “See, the article’s ‘bout their last job. Somebody set ‘em up an’ they were arrested. But they’re too smart and sneaky, they got away.” He rubbed his thumb underneath his teammates’ pictures.

 

“Wish I was with you guys,” he murmured softly.

 

Billy licked his cheek and woofed; he very rarely barked.

 

Murdock chuckled. “Yeah, I got you buddy. I’m not gonna forget ya.”

 

|| I’ve been talking in my sleep Pretty soon they’ll come to get me Yeah, they’re taking me away ||

 

Billy stood by the door growling quietly; Murdock woke with a start and sat straight up in bed. “What is it, boy?” he whispered, immediately on alert.

 

Strange... it was past o-one-hundred, if he could still count on his internal clock, and there were voices in the hall. The hospital’s staff took turns doing rounds during the night and did so alone, almost silently except for the squeak of their bright white shoes. He got out of bed and crept closer to the door to hear better. It sounded like three people arguing—although he couldn’t quite make out what about. The voices drew nearer, growing less frustrated and more curious. Now he could hear indication of one of the rickety wheelchairs the nurses had to use with some of the other patients.

 

Murdock hurried back to the bed and hissed at Billy to get away from the door. Just in time, he pulled the blankets up and closed his eyes. On cue, as the light from the hall poured into his room he turned over and covered his face with his arms. “Turn off the sun!” he grumbled. He tried to cast a surreptitious look at the people in his door.

 

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Murdock.” He identified the speaker as Olivia, one of the nighttime nurses on duty. She’d been real sweet since he’d gotten here and even kept him supplied with newspapers that had any little mention of the now infamous A-team.

 

He pushed himself up slowly, as if still drowsy. “Olivia? Whatcha doin’ in here?” He gave her a sly grin. “Gonna keep me warm?”

 

“Mr. Murdock!”

 

“Olivia, we’ll take it from here.” Murdock blinked and shifted his gaze to the two backlit men he couldn’t quite make out. That voice had been familiar, so it had to be another staff member. “Okay, Murdock, up and at ‘em! The Doc needs to see you right away.”

 

Billy growled suspiciously. Murdock hushed him. Canting his head to the side he asked, “What ‘bout?”

 

The orderly looked over his shoulder at the man holding the wheelchair. “Hell if I know. Come on, shouldn’t take too long.”

 

Murdock stood and took his time finding and putting on his nearly threadbare bathrobe. Lifting his chin arrogantly he prompted, “My chariot?”

 

The man with the wheelchair came forward and Murdock thought he recognized the smirk on the man’s lips—but that was all he could see. “Your chariot, good sir,” the man responded in kind, voice obviously forced lower than normal. Why the disguise?

 

Hiding his unease, Murdock sat down slowly. “Billy’s gonna come too,” he informed the stranger. He whistled sharply and Billy bound over to him. Deciding the dog was a little big to sit with him in the old ‘chair, Murdock satisfied himself by directing Billy to follow along.

 

“When will you be back, Doctor?” the orderly asked, a hint of steel in his voice.

 

The stranger pushed the wheelchair ahead calmly. “I’ll call to let you know. A few hours, just a few hours,” he said flippantly. Murdock frowned to himself and reached out to pet Billy’s head. As soon as they were alone for a few seconds he was going to corner this guy and figure out what was up.

 

His chance came in the elevator. The “doctor” had no sooner pushed the button than Murdock was on his feet and wrapping his arms tightly around the man’s torso and neck.

 

“Okay, buddy,” he said warningly. “Who are you and what’re you up to?”

 

A strained chuckle emerged from his captive. “Hey, Murdock let up a bit, ‘kay?”

 

Sure that his ears were playing tricks on him, Murdock loosened his grip enough to spin the man around. He gaped in surprise when the voice matched the face—as in Face.

 

Delighted, Murdock flung his arms around his friend. “Facey! Aw, man. Usin’ that genius brain of yours an’ pretty face to get me out.”

 

Face returned the embrace briefly. “Yeah, yeah. Now sit back down so we don’t get any more unnecessary attention. Seems I’m a little rusty in the hospital department. Or this place is extra careful...”

 

Murdock grinned up at his friend once he settled into the wheelchair again. “You like the challenge, Faceman.”

 

Smirking, Face agreed, “That I do.”

 

|| But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell I know right now you can’t tell ||

 

“Hey, hey! Don’t squash Billy!” Murdock exclaimed, lunging at Face’s arm before he could fully shut the van door. Billy scooted through the small space nervously and leaned heavily against Murdock’s knees. “Whew. That was close, Facey,” he said reproachfully. He looked down at his dog, his only real companion for... how long had it been? Four, five months, maybe. He patted the dog’s head.

 

Ain’t no dog, fool,” BA growled from the driver’s seat. He glared at Murdock via the rearview mirror as he pulled out of the hospital’s driveway.

 

“Don’t be so mean, BA. Just ‘cuz he doesn’t like ya doesn’t mean he’s not a good dog.” Murdock leaned over to whisper to Billy, “See? I told ya ‘BA’ stood for ‘bad attitude’.” The dog snorted in agreement.

 

“What kind of dog, Murdock?” Hannibal asked. He sat in the passenger seat that had been modified to rotate. He sat facing the two middle seats with an unlit cigar in his mouth.

 

“Not quite sure, Colonel. Prob’ly a mix, y’know.” He smiled happily. “Ain’t he cute, though?” He didn’t let the smile falter even when he saw Hannibal shooting Face A Look.

 

“Yeah, real sweet, Murdock,” Face said uncertainly.

 

Murdock shook his head and rubbed Billy a little harder. Fine, they could ignore his new pet, then. Maybe they had some new friends he could ignore in return.

 

“Where we goin’?” he asked, hoping he didn’t sound as sullen as he felt.

 

Hannibal lit his cigar and puffed quietly for a while. BA grumbled noisily and rolled down his window.

 

“Thought we’d check in,” Hannibal said after a while, his gaze settled somewhere in the middle distance over Murdock’s shoulder. “We wanted to see how you were doing, considering how long it’s been.”

 

“We’d have gotten in sooner when we first found you, but we had to stake out the place,” Face assured.

 

Whatcha been doin’, then?” Murdock asked, finally letting go of Billy and leaning back into his seat.

 

Hannibal grinned. “Getting ready, Captain.”

 

“For what?”

 

Hannibal’s on the jazz, ag’in,” BA explained, exasperated. “He’s got a fool idea ‘bout gettin’ into showbiz so’s to get makeup and props for some crazy plan.”

 

“I don’t know, BA,” Face said, “I think this has some potential.” He turned a smile to Murdock. “Since we’re already fugies, why not make something of it, right?”

 

Hannibal broke in, pale blue eyes dancing in excitement. “Got a problem that no one else can solve?” he said in a good imitation of a radio announcer’s voice. “Then if you can pay, and you can find them, you can hire The A-Team.”

 

 “Gee, Colonel, hired guns?” Murdock asked, not sure yet what he thought of the idea.

 

Hannibal waved away that idea. “No, no, not really. I mean, I suppose we could, but that’s not the intention. We’re not going to kill anyone or even really hurt ‘em. We’re going to take on the toughest cases that the police won’t touch and help out the folks that really need it.”

 

Slowly, Murdock grinned. “Robin Hood an’ his merry men!”

 

Ain’t doinnothin’ with tights!” BA threatened.

 

“Shucks. I thought you’d look great in ‘em too,” Murdock prodded. BA turned his head for a direct glare. Murdock merely flashed his pearly-whites and waved.

 

“A little idealistic, perhaps,” Face mused, as if BA had never spoken.

 

“But not bad,” Hannibal decided. He nodded at Murdock. “Robin Hood it is. Say, how about we treat you to some good cooking. What’ve they been feeding you?”

 

|| But stay a while and maybe then you’ll see A different side of me ||

 

Face had come to pick him up again. He thought it might be something like the tenth time in two months. Didn’t the staff ever get suspicious? Then again, the employee turn-over rate seemed exceptionally high, so probably they didn’t recognize him.

 

Murdock gave his friend a hard look before turning back onto his side facing away from the door. They hadn’t given him any warning, which he was starting to get used to, and he just wasn’t up to getting out today—mission or not.

 

“Hey, Murdock,” Face called, closing the door partway behind him before coming closer to the bed. “C’mon, get up. We’ve gotta be on the road within a half hour or Hannibal’s going to be unbearable.”

 

“Don’t wanna,” Murdock complained and waved a hand in Face’s direction. “Go ‘way, I’m gonna stay.”

 

“Why on earth would you do that?”

 

Sleepin’,” he snapped.

 

Face was quiet for a long while. “Murdock, what’s wrong?” Murdock rolled his eyes at the quiet, hesitant tone, but refused to answer. “Ah... Murdock?” Face’s weight settled on the bed and his hot hand burned through two layers of shirts to Murdock’s shoulder. He shuddered involuntarily.

 

“Stop it,” he mumbled, turning his face into his pillow.

 

“Look, let’s just get out of here and I’ll call Hannibal. It’s not that big of thing anyway, he and BA can take care of it. You and me, we can go up the coast a bit, stay at this place I know—right on the beach. How about it, buddy?”

 

The thought of the ocean was tempting enough for the proposal to get through the haze of gloom tightly embracing him. Grudgingly, he turned his head towards his friend and asked, “Billy can come?”

 

Face gave him a warm smile. “Yeah. But can he stay in the back? I don’t want to worry about him getting in the way of driving.”

 

“Okay,” Murdock conceded, realizing that would be a problem. He got to his feet with a helpful hand from Face. He looked around for Billy and was confused when he didn’t see him. “Hey... did you see Billy when you came in?”

 

“Can’t say I did... Um, could he have gone outside?” Face offered.

 

“Maybe,” Murdock said, deflating. He knew that even without Billy he’d go see the ocean, but he didn’t think the dog had ever run through the water before. “Let’s look before we go.” Face nodded in agreement.

 

|| I’m not crazy I’m just a little impaired I know right now you don’t care ||

 

“Damn...” The soft curse startled Murdock from his silent thoughts. He stood and cautiously moved to the window, realizing that it was partway open. He leaned down and looked out to see Face balanced precariously on the short ledge of the outside windowsill.

 

Murdock tapped on the glass and waved half-heartedly when he had Face’s attention. Studying the window, he figured out a way to squeeze his hands between the bars and open it further.

 

“Thanks,” Face said when he could lean part of his body in a little more and grip onto the sturdy bars. “Sorry I didn’t come in all the way, I sorta need to be ready to go in case... well...”

 

“Lynch,” Murdock supplied, walking away to drag a stool over to the window. He sat down and propped his chin on his hands and stared at his friend. He tried very hard not to think of the other time bars had separated them.

 

“We’ve thrown him off the trail for a little bit, I think, but we’ll have to take off—disappear a while longer before settling in again.” His countenance expressed sincere apology. “Wish you could come with.”

           

Murdock turned his head away in annoyance. “No you don’t. Crazy man an’ his fantasy dog would slow you all down an’ you can’t have the outbursts!”

 

“Murdock,” Face protested, shifting position so that he could reach a hand through the bars, although he still couldn’t manage to touch Murdock. He sighed. “We really hate leaving you. I really hate it, but for now... For now it’s best you stay here, keep safe. You don’t want Lynch after you, too. You can’t let it be known that you know where we are.”

 

“I don’t!” Murdock argued. “Ain’t been out of here for longer than a month an’ any time before that, not like I spend any time at those apartments you scam!”

 

Face winced. “Please... Murdock, I’m really sorry. I swear when things cool down a bit, I’ll come straight here and get you out. No missions, and if they don’t like it, no BA and no Hannibal, okay? Like when we went to the beach, we’ll get out of here for a while, just the two of us.”

 

A sharp pain spasmed in his chest. Murdock looked down, fully expecting to see blood coming from a bullet hole or a knife sticking out his breastbone. Nothing. He swallowed painfully and squeezed his eyes shut. “Sure,” he whispered quietly. “Just the two of us...” He knew Face could hear the bitterness. That wasn’t fair, he shouldn’t be doing this to Face. After all he knew better than anyone else how badly he needed to be at the VA, locked away from a world that wouldn’t accept him and the world he couldn’t believe in.

 

He stood and went to the bed and slipped under the blankets, shoes still on along with the cap and jacket that had lately accompanied him everywhere. He ignored Face’s voice at his window and eventually zoned out, grey tingeing the corners of his vision as another life—one he could barely remember living—replayed before his eyes.

 

|| But soon enough you’re gonna think of me And how I used to be. ||

 

“Son of a bitch,” Face muttered, shaking his head at the smoking mess of his former vehicle—he’d only had it for a year since Hannibal had decided to sacrifice his old car in order to throw Lynch off their tracks.

 

“Guess you’ll be hitching a ride back with us,” Hannibal said with a grin. “Not heading back until tomorrow afternoon, gentlemen,” he informed the team. “See you at 1300.” With that, he turned on his heel and headed back towards their latest client’s expectant arms.

 

BA grumbled good naturedly, said something about making sure the van had survived okay, and walked off. Murdock canted his head to the side and pursed his lips as he looked Face over. “Guess it’s just you and me, muchacho,” he said casually, waiting for his friend’s reaction.

 

Face shrugged without looking at him. “Yeah, sure.”

 

“Aw, c’mon, Facey. Was just a car. Couldda been your... your leg!” Could have been Billy, too, if Murdock hadn’t kept a hold of his leash. Face raised an eyebrow at him skeptically. “Let’s go find what kinda bar they got ‘round here. I’ll buy ya a drink,” Murdock encouraged, swinging an arm around Face’s shoulders, turning him away from the car wreckage.

 

“I’d prefer a good, vintage wine...” Face mourned with a sigh, letting Murdock lead him away. “But I guess anything alcoholic since we’re stuck out here is fine.”

 

Murdock patted his shoulder. “There’s the spirit! An’ we’ve always got our room at the hotel...” he suggested innocently.

 

Face slid his gaze to the side and grinned crookedly. “Not a bad idea, Murdock.”

 

Murdock smiled, satisfied. “Never doubt it!”

 

Face’s arm wrapped around Murdock’s waist. “Still need that drink?”

 

Leaning in to nip an ear, Murdock responded, “Was only thinkin’ what you might want, darlin’.”

 

“Let’s skip the beer.”

 

“Lead on!” Murdock offered gallantly. Face snorted and tugged him along.

 

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
bjofnz
Jan. 30th, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
THANK YOU
I love your Murdock, keep writing.
enmuse
Jan. 30th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
Re: THANK YOU
It's been a while since I've heard feedback for any of my A-Team fics, great to have a comment! Thanks. =D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )