The Millennium Epic Through Adversary, Love Blooms Unhindered

TITLE: Inner Torment 3, Resolution

AUTHOR: Hannurdock


WARNINGS: Slash - MM, Mental Pain, Torture, Angst

STORY TYPE: Third Person

CATEGORY: Drama, Action, Angst

LENGTH: Series 'The Millennium Epic' Story No. 10

DISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.

Part 1: The Year 2008

Face watched Hannibal walk away from his offer with tears in his eyes. He hadn’t wanted it to end this way, but Hannibal’s independence struck his heart. He simply did not need them anymore.

Face walked back to Murdock sitting alone and slightly frowning in the black corvette and tried to smile. "Man got what he wanted, Murdock. Can’t blame him for turning his back."

"What do you mean?" Murdock asked, trying to make sense of the situation.

"He got his revenge on me for splitting the team." Face sighed and turned to kiss Murdock on the lips. Murdock accepted the kiss, but saw the look in Face’s eye. He felt guilty suddenly, and it dawned on him how much Face had needed Hannibal’s acceptance.

"Hey, look at those puffs" Screamed a youth suddenly, pointing to Face and Murdock. Face ignored the youths and pulled the car into reverse, backing out of the mall’s carpark.

"Hey gays. You ignoring me?" The youth said, threateningly, looking at Face and Murdock.

"No, I just think you are jerks who should be buried with your backward attitudes in a ditch somewhere" Face defended, stopping the cars as the youth’s surrounded them.

"I don’t like this, Faceyman" Murdock commented as the youth’s closed in, carrying an assortment of weapons.

Hannibal walked away and didn’t turn back once. He felt the longing return, the need of being with the team return, but he wouldn’t accept that now. He was over that episode in his past now, he was through with all of it.

It was only when he heard the cries of Face and Murdock that he turned in sudden fear. Hannibal began to run back to the black corvette, as he saw the youth’s surround and attack Murdock and Face with nunchaku’s, knives and truncheons. Drawing an uzi from his belt, he fired a single shot which diverted the youth’s attention.

"What’s going on here?" Hannibal asked the youth’s. They turned and the leader approached Hannibal.

"These men kissing in the car park, man" The leader said, watching Hannibal’s reaction. The leader was surprised to watch Hannibal’s cold reaction to his comment.

"You touch them again and I shoot you in the leg" Hannibal decided, aiming the gun at the leader’s leg.

"Hey, we want no trouble" The leader said, stepping away from Hannibal, and calling his gang together. Hannibal continued to aim the gun at the youth’s until they had run off.

"You OK?" Hannibal asked Face and Murdock.

Murdock nodded, although he did sport a black eye, and Face looked slightly stunned.

"Face, you OK?" Hannibal asked, putting away his weapon and bending over to examine Face. Face nodded slowly.

"Look, if you guys are ever in trouble - here’s my card. Give me a call" Hannibal gave his card over to Murdock who nodded appreciatively. Face just watched Hannibal leave vaguely.

"Come on Facey, time to go home." Face drove the car, and Murdock watched him worriedly. For the five years he had been with Face, he had never seen such a frightening look on his lovers face.

Part 2: Thoughts of Death

Face watched Murdock soundly asleep beside him, and got out of bed and looked at the clock. It read 2.30 in the morning.

He went downstairs and reached for the phone, tears streaming from his eyes as he dialed Hannibal’s number. The answer machine on the receiving end implied Hannibal wasn’t home.

"Hannibal ...." Face began. "I’m sorry for everything. I was the one who broke the team up, I’m so sorry. I still need you, I’ve always needed you. So has Murdock ..." Face tried to continue, but his emotions were too overpowering and he felt helpless suddenly to do anything else but continue.

"Face .... that you?" Hannibal’s small voice cut through the silence suddenly. Face jumped at the familiarity and put the phone down at once.

Shaking violently, Face walked back upstairs, but instead of rejoining Murdock he walked into the bathroom and locked the door. Opening the medicine cabinet he took out all bottles of paracetamols and began consuming them.

Murdock awoke to hear the phone ringing. Cursing he tried to bury his head under the pillow. Then he realised Face was gone from his side.

Cursing some more, Murdock walked downstairs and answered the phone gruffly.

"Murdock its me, Hannibal ...... Face is in trouble, you know where he is?" Hannibal said, secretly hoping Face had returned to Murdock after his goodbye.

"No, why, what’s happened?" Murdock asked.

His conversation was interrupted by a soft thud in the bathroom. Fearing the worst, Murdock explained to Hannibal the address where they were living and hung up, racing upstairs to the bathroom. The door was locked.

"Face, let me in!" Murdock screamed, as he pounded on the door.

Murdock threw himself at the door, a sudden sick feeling of finality overpowering any other thoughts of indecision as he rammed his whole body weight against the door. As the door gave way, and Murdock pushed inside he saw Face lying face down on the floor. He saw the empty bottles of paracetamol spread over the floor and screamed loudly, dropping beside Face and feeling for a pulse.

Hannibal, after putting the phone down on Murdock, had immediately phoned the Hospital, fearing the worst. Then he had phoned BA.

"Man, this is too early." BA complained, as he rubbed his eyes. "What’s wrong, MPs causing trouble? Are they onto us?"

"No its not the MPs, BA. Something has happened to Face, I need the van, how long before you can pick me up?"

BA thought for a second. "Two minutes, I’ll be there"

Murdock searched for a pulse, and cried in horror as he realised there was none. "Stay with me, Face" He gasped between sobs. He began artificial resuscitation, wishing Hannibal was there to help. 

The van drew up outside Face’s and Murdock’s house, and Hannibal got out, followed closely by BA. Hannibal vaguely registered the sirens and ambulance lights approaching in the distance and ran upstairs to the bathroom where he discovered Murdock trying desperately to resuscitate Face.

Hannibal gently pushed Murdock aside, and continued resuscitation with BA. As Face choked for air, Murdock cheered.

Paramedics swarmed the house, and Face was roughly taken from the team. Murdock followed the paramedics, and got into the back of the ambulance as it drove to the hospital. BA and Hannibal followed in the van.

3: The Decision

Murdock looked at Face, so very pale. His stomach had been pumped and he looked weak and ill.

Holding his hand tightly, Murdock kissed Face on the forehead, and looked at Hannibal. The ward was enclosed, the machines bleeping continually and Hannibal sighed with remorse. BA sat in the corner, head in his hands.

Face weakly opened his eyes. "Hey guys"

Hannibal smiled with relief, and Murdock squeezed his hand. BA looked up in surprise.

"Why did you do it, kid?" Hannibal asked, his voice hushed.

Face felt his heart explode with grief at Hannibal’s tenderness, and he looked away, refusing to let Hannibal see the tears.

"I made a mistake" Face said, his voice breaking with shame.

Hannibal took Face’s other hand, and held it to his heart. "You mean more than the world to me, Face. You, Murdock and BA - we made something very special back then. We were a team, and its so hard to find a team that can work together the way we did. No matter what happened, poverty, capture, imprisonment, torture, we always had each other"

Face grasped Hannibal’s hand tighter, feeling his emotions surge. "I made a mistake, Colonel. I underestimated the value of the team. I felt Murdock and myself could do it by ourselves, but there was always something missing. Something vital. Eventually I felt as if I couldn’t take it any more"

Hannibal nodded, relieved Face was confiding with him. "No fraternizing in the team. That’s why you OD’d?"

Face nodded. "I can’t stand life on my own, without a reason anymore"

BA stood up angrily. "Man! Your making out as if everything is so bad for you, well look at us! You tore the team apart! It was your idea to leave and take Murdock with you to live a normal life. What do you think that did to Hannibal .... or me!!"

Face sighed. "I made a mistake" he said simply. "I’m sorry"

BA turned away, too choked with emotion to say more, and sat down again in the corner, head in his hands.

Hannibal shook his head and smiled. "Well kid, you have to make the decision now"

Face smiled back. "I want the team back together"

Murdock looked up and grinned, visions of choppers clouding his other morbid thoughts. BA shook his head, and still remained where he was, head in hands. Hannibal stood rooted where he was, his mind trying to take in what Face was telling him.

"Since we’ve been apart all I’ve thought about is the team. I broke the team up, and I was wrong. I’ve made us all sitting ducks for a long time now, that was wrong. I let my emotion overpower my judgment, that was wrong. I love Murdock, but even that is wrong. Not when we’re on the run can I ever give him myself, because I’m always watching my back, and waiting for the MPs to turn up"

Hannibal nodded, as he accepted this and turned to BA. "Well Sergeant? What do you think?"

BA shook his head. "Its been too long, sucker. We’re not the same people we were then. We aint trained like we once were. We’ve lost it"

Hannibal walked over to the window and looked out. He watched as a gang of youths assaulted a lone man and left him bleeding and dazed on the sidewalk. Hannibal sighed.

"I think the only thing we lost is the reason we stuck together in the first place. Our physical training can be resumed, and we can return to the level of fitness we were before. But, its our reason that’s gone"

"What you talkin’ about man?" BA asked.

"We fought for something much bigger than ourselves, a cause. We fought for the lives of people that couldn’t fight for themselves. We fought tyranny, injustice and opposed criminals. We stood for the innocent, the oppressed. Towards the end, we’d almost stopped takin’ jobs. It was what kept us going" Hannibal stopped. He watched the man shakily get to his feet and look around himself in dismay. His wallet had been taken.

Hannibal and man looked at each other briefly, the sadness in the man’s eyes reflected in the jazz in Hannibal’s eyes. Hannibal’s eyes followed the injured man as he was taken into the hospital.

"We fought to preserve something very special. What our nation is all about. Freedom, of speech, of life. We have preserved people’s rights, and somewhere along the line, we lost track of that."

BA sighed, and rose, his decision made. He looked admiringly at the Colonel "Count me in"

Murdock smiled. "Me too. As long as I can fly choppers"

Face smiled. "Me three"

Hannibal held out his hand. Face held it securely in his own, Murdock put his hand over Face’s hand, and BA put his hand on top of Face’s.

Hannibal’s eyes sparkled. "Now for our first mission, to get ourselves back into the swing of things, there’s a kid I know who’s been mugged. Lets go see if we can help ...."

4: Development Project 164: Hell into Heaven

Hannibal and Murdock left BA nursing Face, Hannibal spotted the young man who had been attacked having his ribs checked by a doctor as they walked through the ward on the east side of the ground floor.

The young man started when he saw Hannibal approach, recognising the man from the window instantly. Hannibal extended his hand with a smile.

"Hello son, name’s Hannibal Smith. Couldn’t help but notice you got mugged outside"

The young man gratefully shook Hannibal’s hand. "Your telling me your one of the A-Team!!?!!"

Hannibal nodded, proudly.

"I thought the entire team had broken up" The man asked, slightly confused.

Hannibal shrugged. "Misunderstanding. What happened to you outside?"

The man sighed, from Hannibal’s experience he noted the man was slightly ashamed and very afraid. Something more than a simple mugging, Hannibal felt the old jazz flowing through his veins, felt the familiar battle cries pierce his mind once more. He was free from the jungle in which he had been lost for so long.

"I live in Washwood Avenue, two blocks from this hospital. Its a rough neighborhood, the gangs have completely taken over"

Hannibal nodded. "I know the area well. Its one of those miss-it-if-you-can places, rundown, drug capital of the city"

The man nodded. "I’m a manager of a project that was to turn the Ave around, make it more respectable and build a few new buildings over the ones that should have been condemned ages ago. It was called Development Project 164: Hell into Heaven" The young man smiled in irony.

"Its a good cause" Hannibal noted, memories of Washwood Avenue flooding his thoughts. Even with the team with him he didn’t feel at ease walking through such a criminally infested place.

"Well, the criminals didn’t like the idea. They’ve made life hell for the development team over the last few months. Muggings, beatings, death threats. Its all come at once. A lot of the workers have left, some employees haven’t even called" The man stopped, his emotions getting the better of him for a moment.

"What’s your name, son?" Hannibal asked gently, placing a hand on the young man’s shoulder.

"Larry Jones, sir" Larry replied.

Hannibal looked over at Murdock who nodded his agreement. "Well, looks like you’ve just hired the A-Team ........"

Larry looked up, and for the first time, he smiled.

Face checked out the hospital with a reprimand from the doctor. Then he walked along the corridor, relieved to be free of hospital food, even though the nurses had been cute. He smiled when he saw Murdock standing near the lift waiting for him.

Kissing Murock briefly on the lips, Face pressed the button and waited for the lift to come. He felt Murdock’s arms around him, and felt more secure than he had ever done in his life. And he scolded himself for trying to end it all.

The van pulled into the garage, and BA got out. The side door slid open and Murdock emerged, driving an imaginary car, making ‘brummmm’ noises, and almost colliding with BA.

"Watch where you’re going, crazy fool!" BA said, trying to keep his fist from striking out at Murdock. BA muttered to himself. "I said, no more flying, now we got this crazy fool pilot back on the team again"

Hannibal was seated beside Larry and rose when he saw Face emerge from the van. "How’s it going, kid?" Hannibal asked considerately.

"Not bad. Feel kinda sore, but the doctors said I didn’t need to be in there any longer" Face winced slightly with the pain, and Hannibal gestured for Face to take the seat next to Larry. Hannibal lit his cigar.

"This kid’s got quite a story" Hannibal said. The team settled, and waited for Larry to speak.

Part 5: "The Butcher"

"It all began in 1985, when the mob tried to move in on the area. The mayor was pretty pissed off, and ordered a plan to renevate the area to be drawn up immediately. The plan took five years to make, but it was first class. We planned to start renevating the area in 1991".

"Nothing like a Grade A plan" Hannibal said, sucking on his cigar.

"Exactly. We wanted it to be perfect, and spent many man hours working on the right strategy. Anyway, in 1991 the demolition squad arrived to do their business. A couple of gangs teamed up in the Ave, and practically kicked the demolition squad out".

"Were the police involved?" Face asked, clutching Murdock's hand tightly.

"Yeah, for the first few years, until an officer disappeared while questioning gang members. We think they were bribed to stay out of the gang's business".

"How many people have disappeared over the years, and were never seen again?" Murdock asked.

"Eleven. Including officer Mike Rooney. He was the first, followed by Trevor MacDonald. He was the guy that helped draw up the plan in the first place".

"Have they been consistant?" Hannibal asked. "The disappearances?".

Larry shook his head. "No. Most of the disappearances have happened in the last couple of months. All we know is there is someone 'new' in town".

"New? Is he leading them?" Hannibal asked.

"Yes. All we know is his nickname, The Butcher. That's it".

"Who went missing recently?" BA asked.

"Yesterday my planning co-ordinator, Karen Stevens went missing" Larry said bitterly.

Hannibal stood up, he had heard enough. "Very well Larry, we'll be in contact soon".

Larry nodded, and the team walked out of the garage.

"Where we gonna start, Hannibal?" BA asked.

"We need someone on the inside, a pawn. Someone who can give us information" Hannibal turned to Face.

"Why me?" Face whined unhappily.

"Cause you've done it before" Hannibal laughed, putting an arm on Face's shoulder.

Face flinched "That was a long time ago!! And, if I remember right, we ended up kicking over a rock and finding a viper. Tommy T".

Hannibal nodded sympathetically "Its true, but Face .... no one else has done this. Its gotta be you".

Face nodded and sighed heavily. It was going to be a long day.

Face stumbled into the Ave wearing tight leather trousers, a leather jacket and a false moustache. He felt totally ridiculous as he went about trashing a Ford Puma, one of Hannibal's little touches. The car had been left deliberately.

"I'm too old to be doing this" Face grumbled as he jumped up and down on the car. He drew a spray can from his belt, and began on the inside of the car.

As some rough arms drug him out of the car, Face retailiated. "What's going on, man? Just having a little fun".

The youth's who had grabbed him laughed. "Sounds like our kinda guy. What gang you in, kid?".

"No gang" Face replied tersely. Under his breath he muttered "A team....".

"Well you got one now. Gotta run you past Butch first. If he agrees to have you in, your one of the gang".

"Perfect" Face muttered unthusiastically, as he was led to a run down building in the heart of the Ave.

Face was practically dragged into Butch's office. Butch was sitting with his back turned towards the window, a small smile playing on his lips.

"Leave us" Butch said. The youth's looked surprised, but nonetheless followed their leader's orders.

The voice made Face start. There was something very familiar about the person sitting with his back to him. He closed his eyes momentarily and tried to think.

The man slowly turned around, the familiarity becoming painfully clear as the smile turned into an merciless grin.

"Kyle ...." Face said in amazement.

Part 6: Daniel "The Butcher" Kyle

"Not exactly" Kyle said, moving around the desk to face his adversary. "I am his twin brother, Daniel. Still of the criminal family however. I've waited so long to have you here, you the most. My brothers murderer".

"Your brother was an asshole" Face said without thinking.

Kyle punched Face hard in the ribs, and Face doubled over in pain.

"You should have finished yourself off when you had the chance" Kyle spat.

Face had a few moments to reflect that this Kyle was more brutal than the first, a carbon copy of Dougie Kyle with more viciousness and anger.

"How do you know about that?" Face gasped, the air returning to his lungs.

"I've been watching. You guys getting together was the best thing that could have happened. It led you right to me, no questions asked. I knew having Larry robbed in front of the hospital would spur Hannibal into action".

Face sighed. "You sound like you know Larry".

"He's one of my men, we go back a long way" Kyle spat on Face, as he tried to struggle to his feet.

Kyle walked to a cabinet, and drew out a needle. "Need to put you to sleep Face, for now anyway".

The last thing Face saw before light turned to darkness, was a vision of himself emerging from another room. He gasped, and fell unconscious.

"Face is taking too long to phone in" BA said gruffly.

Just then, 'Face' emerged from a corner, startling the team. "Hi guys, I had to get out of there".

"Why what's up, kid?" Hannibal asked. Something about 'Face' didn't seem right, his mannerisms were a little different. Hannibal put it down to stress.

"You won't believe who the leader is" 'Face' said, smiling at Murdock in a way which made Murdock cringe.

"Who?" Hannibal asked. It was unlike Face to play guessing games when the situation was serious.

"Kyle" 'Face' said.

"Are you sure?" Hannibal gasped, looking at 'Face' in the eyes.

"Yes, 100%. He cornered me in his office, but I managed to get away" 'Face' said.

"Oh god! I'm sorry, kid. I would never have sent you in there if I'd known that" Hannibal said. "What the hell is he doin' in the Ave? Its not his style at all".

'Face' shrugged. Hannibal arched his eyebrows. Since when did Face shrug like that? Something was very wrong here. He had known Face for decades, and suddenly he felt as if he didn't know him at all. The realisation dawned on him with anger. This wasn't Face.

"We'd better make a move to the van" Hannibal said, glancing over at Murdock and BA.

Murdock's eyes were glowing like embers, he looked like he would explode at any second. The look in his eye convinced Hannibal that this 'Face' wasn't Face at all. A spy sent to infiltrate them, no doubt. So what had happened to Face then?

BA grabbed 'Face's' wrists as they neared the van, shoving him inside roughly. Hannibal and Murdock got in, while BA closed the door and kept watch.

"Who are you?" Hannibal asked 'Face'.

"Kyle knew you'd find out. He asked me to give you a message" 'Face' drew out a grenade and pulled the pin.

Face sat, gagged and bound in a very uncomfortable chair. He saw a man enter the room he was in with a vicious look in his eye.

"Hi, I am Doctor Meritt, one of Doctor Peterson's assistants. He didn't get to finish what he started, so I am here to finish it for him" Meritt came forward and surveyed the surroundings disgustedly "Not my usual working environment, but never mind".

Face clenched his teeth, determined not to cry out, as Peterson grabbed a knife and began to cut his arm.

Hannibal tried grabbing the grenade, but 'Face'held on tighter. He opened the side door, and threw 'Face' out, gesturing for BA to get inside and drive. BA didn't get far before the grenade exploded, and the van was thrust forward into a wall. The occupants lay dazed as a slight fire erupted, a stream of petrol headed for the blaze. 

Face groaned as Meritt made a deep incision, keeping his eyes locked on Kyle the whole time.

"Didn't you realise the people you killed had family, friends? We have been waiting so long for this moment, Face" Kyle said, approving the doctor's actions.

As the blade cut deep, and ran down the centre of his body, Face spied the rack in the corner. He knew what they were going to do to him. His skin would just tear completely becuase of the knife wound, and he would split apart.

Hannibal groggily forced Murdock out of the van, and then pulled BA out as well. He laid them gently on the floor and decided to return for the weapons. At that moment, the van exploded.

"Great! BA's going to kill me for this one" Hannibal said, as he wondered what they should do. The team had no weapons now.

Larry emerged from around the corner, and laughed at Hannibal.

"What's so funny, kid?" Hannibal growled, looking at the bent cigar and then back at Larry.

"You. Your funny. One lot of ageing comedians" Larry said. "Kyle said it would be easy to capture you, didn't realise just how easy it was going to be".

"Not you too? Is everyone around here part of the Kyle Club?".

"I am Colonel's Jack's younger brother. Remember him?" Larry asked bitterly.

A flood of memories came over Hannibal as he remembered the lunatic Colonel who had trained his men with live prey.

"You shot him, he didn't have a chance" Larry kicked Hannibal in the jaw, sent him sprawling into BA's unconscious figure.

"He almost killed one of my team!!" Hannibal defended.

Larry signalled for some of Kyle's gang to come forward. They tied the team up, and dragged them to the Ave's heart - the run down building Face was being held hostage in.

"Dougie Kyle, we meet again" Hannibal said, looking over at Face, bound and strapped to a rack, with a severe knife wound travelling down the centre of his body.

"I'm his brother, Daniel" Kyle said gruffly, signalling for the team to be tied up further.

"We have the Brothers Club here. I take it you are Peterson's brother?" Hannibal asked of Meritt.

"I was his assistant" Meritt said vaguely.

"Are you okay over there?" Murdock asked Face. He was still a little groggy, but the sight of Face bleeding on a rack had bought him back to full consciousness immediately.

"No" Face said, tears streaming down his face.

"Shall we begin, doctor?" Kyle asked.

Meritt grinned, and walked over to the rack.

Part 7: Pain without End

Meritt looked mercilessly at Face, and then smiled at Kyle. He ran his fingers along the rack's lever, and moved it a notch. Face arched back in pain, his skin tightening and pulling, his body sagging with weariness and shaking. His face paled.

"Your so brave, Kyle" Hannibal said sarcastically.

Kyle shot him an angry look, eyes full of hate "Don't tempt me to kill you now, Smith".

"Hah! You couldn't take me on in a fair fight. Chances are I'd kill you before you had a chance to make a move on me" Hannibal taunted.

Murdock struggled uselessly against his bonds. He looked at Hannibal, wondering what his leader was thinking.

Meritt moved the rack's lever another notch, and Face's expression softened. He had passed out. Murdock wondered how much more of this the Lieutenant's body could take, he longed to free his lover, but was totally helpless.

Kyle walked over to Hannibal, and slapped him. Hannibal's face was flung to the side, but he regained his composure immediately, looking at Kyle directly in the eye. "You wanna know what your brother said before he died?".

Kyle had a murderous look on his face "Smith, tread carefully. You are straining my patience".

"I can tell you. But only if you win in a fair fight against me. One on one. No weapons" Hannibal looked into the younger man's eyes.

Kyle smiled viciously, and allowed Larry to cut Smith's bonds.

It was the moment Hannibal had been waiting for. As Larry cut him free, he grabbed the knife from the young man's hand, and threw it at Meritt. The knife embedded itself in Meritt's forehead. He blinked once and fell to the floor, lifeless.

Kyle gasped as he ran for his gun but Hannibal intercepted him, and both men engaged in hand to hand combat, Hannibal being the superior in skill but Kyle having youth on his side. The battle was quite even.

BA struggled to help his CO, and pulled at his binds. His muscles contorted at the effort, his teeth clenched, and the metal began to give.

Hannibal kicked Kyle in the face, viciously. Kyle fell back, arms flailing into Face. The pain of the other man's weight pressed against his wounds jerked Face awake, and he cried out in horror.

Hannibal threw Kyle away from Face towards the wall, sheltering the other members of the team as he continued his fight.

BA felt the metal give, the bonds brake. He reached for the key, and undid Murdock's binds, and together they ran to Face.

Seeing the team was now free, Hannibal fought without restriction, circling his opponent and laying into him with cutting blows.

BA undid Face's bonds as Murdock assessed the damage done. Face was lucky, the injuries for the most part were superficial. Face opened his eyes weakly, and tried to speak. Murdock laid a finger over his lips, a silent gesture. Face fell silent and closed his eyes as Murdock lifted him into his arms.

Hannibal felt Kyle's hands on his head, and felt dizzy as Kyle tried to crush his head.

Hannibal grabbed for the phone wire, wound it around Kyle's neck and began to tighten the cord. It was a race between the two, who would pass out first would lose.

Murdock felt Face's body weight pressed against his, and he cried out in anguish. How many more enemies would seek to destroy them? How much more could they really take? His eyes clouded with tears as he considered his future, and the vision was extremely bleak.

Kyle felt the darkness descend and his grip loosend on Hannibal's head. Hannibal saw his opponent paling, his lips turning blue and tightened the cord. Kyle gasped, his eyes bulged. He gave Hannibal one last look of hatred before he slipped into oblivion, his breathing ceased and he lay at Hannibal's side, curled up.

Hannibal staggered over to Face, Murdock and BA. "You guys okay?".

BA nodded. "That weirdo Larry got away though. He must have made a run for it".

Hannibal nodded "Figures".

Murdock looked pleadingly at Hannibal "Can we get Face to hospital now? I think a doctor should check these wounds, just to be certain".

BA smiled "We'll be there in five, count on it".

Part 8: Will it ever end?

Hannibal walked through the hospital, equipped with a bunch of flowers, sighing. He walked into Face's room, and embraced him warmly.

Murdock took Hannibal's gift of flowers, arranging them into the vase by Face's bedside "Thanks Colonel, Face appreciates them".

Face nodded "I can speak for myself, Murdock".

Murdock looked a little hurt for a moment, then excused himself to take a fresh air break.

Hannibal sat by Face's bed and looked into his eyes "Has BA been around today?".

"He left barely ten minutes before you came, Colonel" Face smiled.

Hannibal walked over to the window. Murdock was talking with someone. Recognising the figure, Hannibal ran out of the room, and down the corridor. He leapt outside and ran to Murdock.

"What do you want?" Murdock asked.

"I need your help" Larry pleaded "The remnants of Kyle's gang think I'm Kyle's and Meritt's killer. Please, I need you".

Hannibal looked on in amazement. "You know kid. I only got two words for you. Fuck off".

Larry watched the two men turn their backs on him desperately. As soon as they wandered into the hospital once more, Larry drew out a small pistol, and blew his own brains out of his head.

"Who was that?" Face asked worriedly.

"Larry" Hannibal explained, sitting beside Face once more. Murdock busied himself with arranging the flowers in the vase.

"What did he want?" Face asked, a note of worry creeping into his voice.

"To hire us. I can't believe the nerve of that guy" Murdock said.

Face laughed "I suppose you told him to fuck off?".

Hannibal grinned. "You know me well, kid".

The loud gunshot startled the three men. Hannibal and Murdock walked to the window. They saw Larry lying on the ground, covered in blood.

"What happened?" Face asked.

"Larry. He's dead" Hannibal answered with a touch of guilt.

Part 9: Great minds

BA tinkered with the engine of the van, thinking about the events of the last week. He was angry at Face still, but after all Face had been through, he didn't have the heart to take out his frustration on him.

He heard Hannibal approached him, and sighed.

"Sargeant? How's the engine coming?" Hannibal asked.

"She don't purr as well as the van, but she'll get us from A to B until we get a replacement for my van" BA glared at Hannibal.

"I'm sorry about the van, BA. I know how much you loved that" Hannibal said, feeling a little guilty.

"Don't worry, man. Just a lot of memories. You remember how we came by the van? Its first mission was to rescue Murdock" BA said, with a little sigh.

Hannibal grinned "Yeah, it rescued him from Braithes. I loved the van too".

BA sighed and looked at Hannibal "Things are not the same any more, between the team. All of us are different people now".

Hannibal smiled "Everyone changes, BA. No matter what happens to us, we change. But one thing is certain, we'll always be part of a team".

BA smiled briefly and then got back to work on the engine. "How's Face?" he asked with concern.

Hannibal grinned, the affection was touching "He'll be okay. Murdock is nursing him like he's a baby at the moment. It'll be good to get him home with us".

BA nodded "Great minds think alike".

Hannibal laughed "I'll leave you to the engine". He got up and walked away.

BA finished up, and walked inside the house they were renting presently. He wandered upstairs to his room and fingered the envelope he had never opened until now. He unsealed the envelope and finally read what was inside.

'Dear Mrs Baracus, I have the pleasure to inform you that your son Bosco has had his results back from the tests. His IQ scored off the chart, and we would like to talk with yourself about the prospect of him having private tutorials. I would like your response as soon as possible with regard to this amazing news. Yours sincerely, Prof. H J Stevens.'

BA looked at the document, and sighed. If he hadn't intercepted this document before it reached his mother's hands, his life would have been entirely different. But he couldn't let it go to his mother, he had a feeling that it would cause his life to shift in a way he didn't want. As it was, he went to an average school instead, and became a mechanic in the Army. The best mechanic they had ever seen.

He smiled sadly, and took a match from the drawer. Lighting it, he set fire to the document, sealing his secret once and for all.

"I'm sorry, mama" BA's voice cracked as the flames licked up the paper, destroying the evidence to what could have been.

Just then the news came on a battered TV in the corner. BA watched the flickering pictures for a moment, and then turned up the volume in astonishment.

"Some new evidence into the crime once thought committed by the A-Team have been discovered by the Military. For over thirty years the A-Team has been running from the law for something they did not do. Now the Army are making a public apology and rewarding the A-Team with twenty-five thousand for each year of their lives they've been on the run. For all the lives they've changed, for all the good they've done, the Military will have a lot of explaining to do. This is Sally Field, CNN News"

Murdock helped Face into the house, and up to his room. Face was still a little shaky, but he was recovering rapidly.

"You want a drink, Face?" Murdock asked, taking his hand, and kissing Face's fingers.

"No thanks. I'm okay" Face said, lying on the bed, and putting his head on Murdock's lap.

"Face, I don't know how to say this, I've wanted to say this for a long time .... " Murdock began awkwardly.

Face looked up "Really? What do you want to say?".

Murdock dropped to one knee and produced a small box. "From the first day I saw you, my heart leapt. Our first kiss on your birthday mesmorised me. I didn't know love until I felt you in my arms. You have always been there - to listen, to help and to trust me. I love you so much Face, and what happened recently has revealed we haven't got that much time left. We are getting older, quite older. If I don't do it now I never will ....".

Murdock opened the box, a slender ring with a thick diamand shaped in a men's design sparkled at Face. Murdock took Face's hand, and pulled it to his lips. "Will you marry me?".

Face couldn't stop the tears, and he felt so completely satisfied and in love, there was only one word he could think of to say "Yes".

Murdock put the ring on Face's wedding finger and kissed the hand reverently. As he settled beside Face, he listened to Face's heart beat.

The only sound he had ever loved.

Then he heard another sound interrupt Face's heartbeat. It was BA, shouting and screaming over some events on television. Murdock sighed and closed his eyes. Whatever the news, it could wait until they had rested. 

Part 10: Decisions

A year later, Murdock and Face stood side by side. They made their vows and kissed passionately.

Hannibal looked on, grinning gleefully. BA smiled, his hand curled into a fist, envying secretly their joy.

Mark Rustle grinned "Just the way it should have been from the start".

As they made their way to the limousine, Murdock gave a brief wave and bowed dramatically "Hope everyone enjoyed the show" and then hopped in the limo beside Face.

BA shook his head. Trust Murdock to make light of a serious situation.

Face turned to Murdock, and they kissed again, absorbed in the moment.

"Face, I been thinking .... " Murdock said awkwardly.

"Uh oh, last time you said that, we got engaged" Face said tenderly, squeezing Murdock's hand and smiling trustingly.

"I wanna adopt a kid. Y'know? Have someone special for just us, our child" Murdock said happily.

Face looked aback for a moment. He had never envisaged being a father, but the idea was very intreguing. "We're a gay, married couple, Murdock. Who is going to let us adopt a kid?".

Murdock smiled. "Things are different now. Things have changed. I'd love to be a father".

Face grinned "Me too. But only on one condition .... ".

Murdock sighed "What condition?".

"That he's the oldest one there. I want the oldest kid in the orphanage, seems right" Face smiled "Since we are free men, we may as well start a family, its a good idea Murdock".

Murdock kissed Face tenderly "Can I tell you something, Face?".

"What?" Face asked, looking into Murdock's eyes.

"For the first time in my life I feel completely safe" Murdock kissed Face deeply, and drew him into a firm embrace.

Face sighed and hugged Murdock tightly. Their dreams had come true, they were together, forever.

From a distance, a lone figure watched the departing limousine with a twisted smile on his face. The madness contorted his expression, made him seem all the more vile. His life had dimmed in the institution all these years, and he only had one thought, one reason for living. A job that had not been finished.

"You escaped me once, Murdock. But not next time. Next time, you won't have Face to hide behind" He muttered to himself, reliving the moment he had almost won, Murdock had been wounded, and Face had intervened.

The sniper moved away to a waiting vehicle. He played the tape again of the A-Team interview, the only interview they had ever done, and cursed himself for missing his target the first time.

Next time, the mark wouldn't get away .... alive.