TITLE: Inner Torment 4: Más allá de oscuridad en futura la luz
WARNINGS: Slash - MM, Mental & Physical Pain, Torture
STORY TYPE: Third Person
CATEGORY: Drama, Action
LENGTH: Series 'The Millennium Epic' Story No. 10DISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Bosco Baracus fiddled nervously with his coffee cup, and looked at the young reporter indifferently. She was a very pretty brunette, with deep hazel eyes and a genuine smile. She was a few wrinkles at the corner of her eyes, but her face was smooth mostly and full of tenderness.
"Are you alright, Mr Baracus? Would you like a cushion? Some more coffee?" Melinda asked gently.
"No thanks" BA gruffly announced. He cursed himself thinking he was too old even to hold the damned coffee cup. He felt the liquid spill over his hands, momentarily burning his skin. He let out a startled cry and Melinda at once sought a small scrap of cloth and wiped Baracus' hands carefully.
"Is that better?" Melinda asked.
BA nodded "My reflexes aren't what they used to be. Coupled with arthritis, and severe back pain. Apart from those ailments, I guess I'm fine".
Melinda sighed. "Its a hard thing to talk about. The past, I mean. Especially when your friends ...."
"... are dead?" BA finished. It still pained him to think about the death of the team, but they were not immortal. They had lived to good ages, and death had finally claimed them all. BA smiled gently at the reporter. "Los seres valientes siempre el primer a muere".
"Excuse me?" Melinda asked, baffled "I don't speak Spanish, Mr Baracus".
BA sighed "Just an old saying. Its not important".
"Would you tell me the story of you and your friends?" Melinda asked hopefully.
"Most of it is unimportant. Almost all of it was published in Face's novel, Inner Torment. It explains our past in painful detail. But its all true". BA looked at his coffee cup, and watched the dark liquid for a moment. Then he resumed. "I want to set the records straight about the period after Face's book hit the shelves. It was only a few months after the wedding. Face was obsessed with the book, he thought it would be a good way for the team to earn some extra cash once we had been pardoned".
"Sure" Melinda said. Then she looked slightly confused. "But why here? Why Mexico? Your free to live in America. Why did you settle here?".
BA smiled. "A promise to an old friend".
"Oh. Was it an important promise?" Melinda asked softly.
"It was more of an oath" BA explained. "Let me show you something ...."
BA rose from his seat shakily, set the trembling coffee cup aside and walked slowly and carefully out of the small and crumbling house he now called home.
He walked on for what seemed to be an eternity, to the local graveyard, el cementerio. He walked through the small gate and wandered through the many graves until he reached the one he sought.
"Hannibal's grave" Melinda guessed, feeling almost in awe to be standing in front of the most famous man there had ever been.
"That's right, look closely at the inscription" BA said softly. The inscription was in Spanish anf Melinda could not decipher the text.
"What does it mean" Melinda asked breathlessly.
BA closed his eyes. He did not need to read the words to translate them for Melinda. He knew them by heart, and with heartfelt words he explained their meaning. "The brave are always the first to die. Betrayed by their friends and countries, lost in a perpetual struggle of trying times, they try to make a small difference. The small cog in the large wheel, desperately trying to achieve something special, even if it is never recognised. Hannibal was one of those people, a great and glorious leader. May he finally rest in peace amongst the angels of light .... his friend and companion forever, Bosco Baracus".
"That's beautiful" Melinda breathed, in awe of the fantastic inscription.
"He was the first of us to die" BA said, running his hand lightly over the stone. His hand stopped when it reached a single medal of honor on the headstone. "The first of the team".
"I know" Melinda said "All that was in my files".
"You want a story?" BA asked suddenly "Or are you going to keep interrupting me with stupid remarks. I know that is in the files. But its all crucial information. I need you to understand how much we all meant to each other. How much we needed each other. Especially towards the end".
Melinda nodded. "I can understand that. My mother died of cancer last year. When we found out, we did everything together. The best few years of my life. Then she was gone. Like a candle flame stubbed out forever".
BA smiled reassuringly. "If there's one thing I believe more than anything else Melinda, its that the flame does not go out. Not really. It moves on. To use your example; when the flame has gone out, the smoke rises for a while, then disappears into something greater".
Melinda smiled "You are exactly like I thought you would be. You know so much".
BA laughed. "Old age doesn't bring wisdom. It is earnt. Are you ready for the final part to the story?"
Melinda nodded. "Yes, I am".
BA took in a deep breath, his hand still resting on the headstone and let himself drift into his many memories.
He went back years, skimming the most recent events and finally deciding where to begin. The thoughts and memories were as beautiful as they were painful.
Finally he settled against the headstone and began his tale.
Part 1: El genio
BA fiddled with the engine of the van. It was hard to get back into ordinary life after they had been through so much over the years. Finally they were free and safe, and Face and Murdock had begun the long road together, which was marriage.
He whistled softly as he tinkered beneath the hood, examining the engine with a soft sigh. He was disrupted by his mobile, and his less agile hands responded to the call.
"Hey BA, its Hannibal" The familiar voice of his CO resounded on the receiver.
"Hey Hannibal, how is it going?" BA asked, his voice worn and tired.
Hannibal didn't reply immediately. He sensed BA's fatigue and finally broached the question. "Why don't you take a holiday, BA? You been working ever since the marriage".
BA stopped and wiped an oil slicked finger over his brow. "I will Hannibal, when I get this baby working".
"Why on earth did you try and repair it anyway? You've practically done a complete makeover" Hannibal sounded tired as well, but the jazz was still evident in his voice.
"Its got a lot of memories attached to it" BA sighed.
"Why don't you come on over, BA? Just try and relax a while. Take all the pressure of renevating some ticked out old motor and watch some soccer?"
"Naw, just gonna try and get this thing done" BA said, holding a moneky wrench like a trophy, and moving back and forth beside the van, like a panther stalking a prey.
"Stuff the van. Come over" Hannibal ordered.
BA sighed. He hated to disobey his commanding officer's orders, but this was more important to him. Later perhaps. "Not now, Hannibal. Maybe later"
"Okay, just say when" Hannibal replaced the receiver disappointed. He had never seen this side of BA before, the determined gritty man he was seeing now. Maybe his age was making him feel more vulnerable, and he sought to ignore this vulnerability with this endless quest for rennovating his van.
Hannibal paced back and forth, and thought for a moment. He needed something to do, something to take the edge off the stillness and the quiet around him. Deftly typing in a number on his telephone, he heard Murdock's sleepy reply and grinned to himself "Hey, how's it going, Captain?"
"Awww, Hannibal. What a time to ring. I was just sleeping after ...." Murdock's voice trailed off.
Hannibal giggled to himself. Face and Murdock becoming a little cosy with each other? Made him wonder what on earth had made Murdock so tired.
"How you both doin'?" Hannibal asked, smiling to himself.
"We're okay dokay! Hunky dorey!" Murdock chattered, waking up fully and wiping the sleep from the corner of his eyes.
"That's good to hear. You two deserve a little happiness after the shit we've been caught up in" Hannibal explained.
"Hey, we're perfectly fine. Nothing bad as happened, so it must be good! How you doin', Colonel?" Murdock's tone of concern touched Hannibal.
"Okay. Not much going on except BA is tinkering with that battered heap he calls a van, trying to get it to work" Hannibal laughed. "Its good to see him so determined over something, even if it is an inanimate van".
"He aint found Miss Right yet?" Murdock queried.
Hannibal sighed, concern evident in his voice as he replied "No, sometimes I think he isn't interested in women. Just plays with vans and cars all day long. He doesn't seem to need a companion, but I must confess I do worry about him".
"BA will find his soul mate" Murdock promised cryptically. "Even if it is a rusty old van from a scrapyard"
Hannibal laughed again. Murdock's incessant humour always uplifted him. He sighed and twiddled with the phone cord in his delicate fingers.
"Have you found Miss Right, Colonel?" Murdock asked.
Hannibal sighed. "No, I'm getting on and the lady of my dreams just aint here. I'm sixty five years old, Murdock. I aint getting any younger".
"Tell me about it" Murdock groaned, rubbing his tender back and acheing muscles.
"Yeah, but at least YOU have a reason for it. All I have is old age" Hannibal smirked.
"Old age? You? Never! Look in a mirror, you'll find the answer there" Murdock laughed down the phone, and heard Hannibal's laughter echoing in time with his.
"Face there now?" Hannibal asked.
"No, just gone to the shops, muchacho" Murdock explained.
"Ah, know how long he's likely to be?" Hannibal asked.
"Dunno. He spends a while cruising in the car, then he gets a roll for breakfast, then he visits the corner shop, grabs a newspaper, gets some chocolate bars, sneaks a conversation with Mr O'Bailey, listens to his walkman and then heads back home".
"You certainly know his routine" Hannibal murmered.
"We are married" Murdock confirmed happily. "Of course I do"
Hannibal laughed merrily. "You both warm my heart with your happiness"
"Glad to hear it muchacho. I gotta go, oh 'Hannibal Leader One', Face will be back soon. I'll ask him to give you a call when he gets in"
"Sure" Hannibal sighed and replaced the receiver. He sat on the edge of his bed thinking hard. He was too old for action now, and he had nothing really to show for it. He was coming to the end of the road and it was bleak and worthless.
He lay on his side and fell asleep listening to the constant whir of an electric fan. His dreams were of failure, and past torments haunting him once more.
Part 2: Una Historia Larga y Dura
He dreamed of horrible things.
All the losses and rejections he had received in his life. He felt a little overwhelmed when he finally awoke, and looked at the time.
He has slept through the day and night. It was early morning.
Stretching, Hannibal moved from the bed to the bathroom. There, he showered and dressed and made his way to BA's apartment. He was still tinkering under the van, making alterations here and there.
BA looked at Hannibal, scowled and returned to his work. "What ya doin' here, man?"
Hannibal sighed. "I feel very much like a fifth wheel these days, nothing much to be done y'know?"
"Yeah, life's hard since the team kinda moved apart" BA smiled at Hannibal, the unexpected gesture warming "But we still got each other, man".
"Sure" Hannibal sat on the ground and watched BA tinker with the van. It always gave him such pleasure to watch the big man work. He hummed a little until he heard the familiar sound of the phone ringing inside the house.
"Get that for me?" BA asked, or rather demanded.
Hannibal immediately rose and walked into BA's apartment and answered the phone.
"Hi Face, how's it going?"
"Not bad, you called Murdock yesterday, right?"
Hannibal paused. "Yeah ...."
Face seemed bright "Well, we want to invite you and BA over for dinner tonight. What do you say?"
Hannibal brightened immediately "I'll go ask him now".
He walked outside and shouted the question to BA. BA barked a yes, and then continued working.
"He said yes" Hannibal confirmed.
"Great!" Hannibal could almost see Face beaming down the phone at him "Be here at 6 tonight. Adios!"
"Adios" Hannibal murmered, wondering when exactly Face had picked up Murdock's typical words and phrases. Sometime within the last few years.
"You want a lift, Hannibal?"
Hannibal turned to see BA watching him, wiping a glob of grease with the back of his hand from his cheek. "No thanks, BA. I'll make my own way there".
"Suit yourself" BA wandered back outside and left Hannibal to his thoughts. He hadn't been invited to dinner for a long while. He was already looking forward to Face and Murdock's company, and could feel the excitement build inside him.
Almost as good as the jazz. Almost. But not quite.
Part 3: De Ratas a la Riqueza