TITLE: The A-Team's New Year Celebrations, 2001
WARNINGS: Suggestions of Attempted Suicide
STORY TYPE: Third Person
LENGTH: Series 'The Millennium Epic' Story No. 5DISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Murdock danced around with the long piece of tinsel, looking rather like a moving sculpture as the tinsel wound around his legs and body. Face looked on and sighed, rolling his eyes dramatically and switching channels with one finger on the remote control.
"Aint right we haven't gone away this year" BA grumbled.
"This year is the real Millennium. I agree with Hannibal. We should spend it in the USA" Face murmered, half contentrating on TV trash, half concentrating on Murdock.
"Where is the man anyway?" BA asked.
Face sighed. Why did he always know the answers? "I don't know, BA. Probably getting some cheap wine in. You know how he feels about Christmas and the New Year".
Murdock stepped up his performance, dancing wildly around the hastily constructed christmas tree, moving his body to the music eminating from the television set.
"Murdock! Stop it b'fore I knock you into next week!" BA warned, his voice however betrayed a gentle undertone that only the team could recognise.
"Hey honey's, I'm home".
Face turned and watched Hannibal emerge, a mixture of snow and rain covering his small coat. "See, cheap wine, what did I tell you, BA?!".
"This isn't cheap, Face. Its just economical to buy in bulk" Hannibal corrected, dumping the two crates of wine by the television, temporarily blocking Face's view of the television set.
"As he said, its cheap" Murdock teased, covering Hannibal with a line of tinsel which the Colonel hastily brushed off.
"Easy Murdock" Hannibal grinned, sitting on a chair and lighting a cigar "You wanna ruin my rep? I always bring the *best* wine!".
Murdock smiled knowingly and moved over to the couch where BA was scowling. "Hey big guy? Wanna new year kiss?".
BA grimaced and held his fist at bay "You wanna have the nose bleed of the century?" he warned.
Murdock grinned, and nudged BA in the ribs "Its okay, BA. I'll pass on that".
BA smirked at the other members of the team, and sat back. The couch was remarkably comfortable, showing Face's excellent taste of comfort and design. He watched the television, deliberately ignoring Murdock's incessant babbling.
"Shhhh" Face said, raising a hand for silence "Its New Year countdown!".
The team members, including the over jubilant Murdock, fell silent. The countdown was intoxicating, and they all felt the customary head rush that only New Year could bring. As the big clock displayed the Year 2001 in huge lettering, Murdock let loose a wild cry.
"Year 2001!!!!!!!!!! Gimme a kiss BA!!".
BA scoffed, but let Murdock kiss his cheek and watched intently as Murdock passed between Hannibal and Face, showering them with hugs and kisses. Face was trying to push Murdock away, and becoming agitated with the physical attention he was getting. Hannibal just shrugged and laughed happily.
Suddenly a loud yell distracted Face, Hannibal and BA. Murdock was writhing around on the floor in agony holding his left ankle.
"What have you done" Face grumbled, getting up unsteadily and walking over to Murdock, trying to see his left foot. Murdock howled in pain and held his foot away from Face.
"What's happened, Lieutenant?" Hannibal asked quickly, rising from his chair and walking over to the injured man. It was fortunate for Murdock that Hannibal hadn't touched a drop of alcohol yet, and was sober enough to understand something had happened to the captain which needed immediate medical attention.
"He's hurt his foot, Colonel" Face answered, trying to disentangle the pilot, who now had tears streaming down his face.
Hannibal gently pushed Murdock's hands away and examined the injured ankle with surprising gentleness. The ankle was swollen, and the toes were almost black in colour. The agony even the slightest touch caused the pilot made Hannibal wince.
"BA, get the van ready. We'll have to take him to the hospital". Hannibal said.
The hospital was full of mothers and relatives, watching the team enter with interest.
Murdock was propped between the burly figure of BA and the slight frame of Face. As a couple of nurses wheeled a gurney towards the four men, Hannibal walked over to the desk and explained the incident to a doctor. Murdock was taken away, still pale and shaken from the pain.
"Why all these people here, man?" BA asked Face distantly, watching the torn and frightened expressions of the people around them.
"Its New Year, BA. Lots of people expect too much from it and try to commit suicide. Horrific but true" Face murmered distantly, watching Hannibal chatting with a receptionist.
"Sounds like you got some experience there" BA said gently, turning to face the Lieutenant.
To his surprise, Face's eyes were bright with tears. Face looked so young suddenly, all the years serving in the military washed away to reveal the frightened boy he had once been.
"You wanna talk?" BA asked, his voice full of emotion.
"I was there once" Face said softly. "I tried it. I thought I had no-one, but I really hurt some people I really cared about. Its hard to make amends for something like that".
BA sighed. He hadn't expected this outburst from Face, but there was one lesson he had become familiar with. When Face needed to talk, he needed someone to listen. His heart would open and all the bad things would come out in the open. Kinda like wiping the slate clean in a way. It was Face's way of starting afresh.
"You wanna go on?" BA pressed gently, watching Hannibal put a hand on the receptionist's arm.
"It was the worst moment of my life. I knew I'd made a terrible mistake. It was strange. At the moment I was sure I was going to die was the moment of my life I most wanted to live".
Face stopped suddenly. BA sucked in his breath and waited. Whenever Face grew silent in any conversation it meant he was feeling very strong emotion.
"I have felt that since that moment. The strong desire to live. I know now that I couldn't try that again, I just couldn't. Guess that makes me a coward, huh?" Face turned to BA with bright eyes.
BA sighed. "Don't make you a coward, Faceman. The hardest thing to do is to live. The easy way out, to commit suicide, is a cowardly thing to do".
"You really believe that?" Face asked, his voice no more than a whisper.
BA nodded, and then elbowed Face quickly. Hannibal was returning to them.
"Got her number! Your on a cold streak Lieutenant" Hannibal said proudly, failing to notice the unusual brightness in his Lieutenant's eyes.
"Good for you" Face said softly, his eyes flashing towards BA.
BA nodded, their conversation was between them forever.
Suddenly the sounds of a strangled cat reached the three men's ears. Murdock was being wheeled out to them in a wheelchair, singing a Springsteen number.
"Got torn ligaments" Murdock confirmed, reaching for BA in a dramatic gesture.
"Come on, foo'. Lets get back to the van!" BA said, walking behind the wheelchair and pushing Murdock forward with uncharacteristic gentleness.
Face shook his head with a slight smile, walking behind BA and Murdock. Suddenly, Hannibal caught his arm and stopped him.
"You know, Face. I've been there too" Hannibal said softly.
Face gasped in astonishment "How did you know?".
"Call it a leaders intuition. The way you and BA were huddled together in the corner while I was chatting up the receptionist, the brightness in your eyes, the sad expression. I knew what you were thinking, and I guessed what you and BA were talking about".
"Very perceptive, Hannibal".
Face sighed. "Would you like me to explain?".
Hannibal shook his head. "Not really. Your not ready to disclose everything. And besides, its the New Year. Forget it for now and then one quiet snowy evening when the fire is roaring and we're both sitting comfortably on the sofa - tell me then".
Face nodded gratefully and made a move to follow BA and Murdock.
Face turned and looked at his CO. "What, Hannibal?".
"Happy New Year, kid. Time to put the past behind you".
Face smiled and nodded, then walked after BA and Murdock, his mind replaying Hannibal's last few words. They were the most important words he'd ever heard, and he vowed at that moment to make it his New Year's resolution.
It was time to put the past behind him.