TITLE: No Surprises
WARNINGS: Suggested Slash
STORY TYPE: Third Person
LENGTH: Series 'The Millennium Epic' Story No. 3DISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Face wandered through the large shopping malls lost in thought. Browsing always gave him an opportunity to think deeply.
It had been two weeks since the teams last assignment, and no other jobs had caught their eyes since. Face wondered if the team were ever pardoned would they be able to shake away their militant lives? No. Of course not. It would always come back to them, with all the powerful crime figures they had put away.
Another thought was irritating Face. His birthday was today, and none of the team had even rang his mobile to wish him a happy birthday. Even Ellen hadn't rang, and he suddenly felt very alone.
When he was younger and truly an orphan without a half-sister, and had only a priest for comfort, he had disliked birthdays to a certain degree. Face didn't really feel part of a family at any of the orphanages he had been in. He had always been a star in those lonely places, excelling his studies and at football, but had never truly felt happy.
As was the case now he was older. Face felt uneasy with the lush apartments and extravagant parties he indulged in, feeling no more than a stranger in a crowd of unfamiliar faces.
Of course he never let his feelings show, even to the Team. He was always tough and strong, becoming a soldier had at least given him self-control over his emotions.
The feeling of loneliness washed over him. He felt weak and vulnerable, and the shopping weighed heavily in his hands. For a moment he could feel his tears building, but fought them away.
His birthday. No-one had remembered.
The stores in the mall, packed closely together became suddenly ominous and uninviting, and the people became suddenly cruel in their happy laughter, talking to one another in happiness, a part of society, not a stranger conning his way in whenever he could.
Face had had enough. He moved quickly to the exit, feeling more emotional than he had ever felt before, his eyes red. He fought a battle within to master his feelings, but he wasn't winning this time. He felt so alone.
"Hey Face!" Came a voice behind him. Face turned, relieved by a distraction of his thoughts. Murdock was walking up to him, a huge loopy smile, which acted as a balm on Face's emotions.
"Hi Murdock, what you doin' here?" Face said. Murdock looked slightly confused for a moment, deciding on what to say.
"You know, needed a few essentials. Shampoo, conditioner, car wax ...."
"Car wax?" Face mused. "Murdock, you don't own a car!!"
"Does wonders for the complexion though" Murdock stated. "Wanna try it?"
Face shook his head. "No thanks Murdock. Think I'll just keep that wax for my car"
Murdock sensed Face's unhappiness. "Face, you OK?"
Face shook his head. "No Murdock, no-one's remembered today is ..."
"Too busy to be standin' around chatting. Gotta go, bye Face." Murdock cut in, and was gone within a moment, darting into a nearby shop.
Face sighed heavily. Even his best friend didn't want to speak to him today. In fact, he had acted as if he didn't realise it was Face's birthday. Face sighed and left the mall with a heavy heart.
Murdock watched him leave from within the store front, and then dialed a number on his mobile phone.
"Hannibal, its Murdock. Yeah, he's on the way. Operation Get 'im is has started."
Hannibal sighed. "Just play it cool Murdock. We don't want him to know about the surprise till he gets to the house, OK?"
"No problem, leader guy. He's on the way and I acted as cool as ice." Murdock finished the call, and then started his real shopping.
Face parked the vett by his huge apartment, and sighed as he got out. He walked up to the apartment slowly, and was confronted by BA, who looked as if he had come straight from the gym, panting heavily from some form of exertion.
"Hi BA, hows it going?" Face asked.
BA looked panicked for a moment. "Face, I need to show you something."
"Can't it wait BA? I've had a rough day today, I just want to get inside my apartment and chill"
BA shook his head. "No Face, it can't wait. Its important sucker. You'd better come with me, else I'll knock you out and carry you there myself"
Face wearily shook his head, and followed BA back outside to the A-Team van which was parked a little way off.
Hannibal, up in Face's apartment, looked down on the two men approaching the van. His gaze averted when he saw Murdock stealthily moving without catching Face's attention towards the apartment. He had lots of shopping bags with him.
BA and Face walked up to the van, and then BA stopped and looked over at Face.
"Well, what did you want to show me?" Face asked. BA opened the side of the van.
"See this sucker? Door's been scratched. We need to get it fixed. Its gonna cost some, can we cover it?"
"You're asking me about team funds today?" Face felt like screaming. "Go ahead, fix the door. I'll get the cash. Anything else, or can I go now?"
BA glanced upward in the direction of the apartment.
"There's somethin' else. The licence plate. We need a new one!"
Face shook his head in disbelief. "Why? We already have one, we don't need another one!"
"Hey" BA growled, becoming serious. "The MP's are gettin' closer man. It aint a bad thing to take another precaution"
"BA, our van sticks out like a sore thumb anyway" Face said. "Maybe you should think instead about spray painting the whole thing light green"
BA stood protectively in front of his van. "try somethin' like that and your dead, Face!"
Up in the apartment, Hannibal was watching the scene below with interest, as Murdock burst through the door.
Hannibal rushed over and took the parcels away from Murdock. They were already gift-wrapped and Hannibal put them with the expanding pile of presents on the couch.
"BA's covering for us for a while. Can't do it for long though, how's the preps going?"
Ellen Bancroft came out of the kitchen, and looked at the walls decorated with party balloons, and birthday signs with approval.
"Well, the cake is ready, food is prepared. All done." Ellen pointed to a large table, overloaded with small lush goodies. Three bottles of champagne were visible, with glasses ready to be poured.
Hannibal inspected the decorations. "The music is ready to go on. Its all ready. OK guys lets make this place a little darker, close the curtains Murdock, bring up the party poppers Ellen. Frankie, get the camera."
Hannibal, Frankie, Murdock and Ellen blended into the darkened rooms like trained Ninja disappearing into the night.
Face had been listening to a dozen van problems by this time. He had finally had enough.
"BA, I'm heading back inside. I'll deal with this tomorrow" Face sighed, turning and walking back to the apartment.
BA was about to say something, when he glanced up and noticed the curtains drawn. He followed Face back to the house, and up the stairs.
In the apartment everyone held their breaths. This was the moment of truth.
Face put the key in the door of his apartment. "Door's open? Shit, I hope no-one has broken in." Face said to BA as he walked into his apartment.
Suddenly, there was a simultaneous explosion of party poppers and a camera came to life. "SURPRISE!!!"
Face looked around himself, in disbelief as the lights flickered on, and looked around himself at the decorations, his friends and sister, and a huge sign with said "Happy Birthday Face"
His vision clouded slowly as Frankie hit the switch for music, and Hannibal poured him a glass of champagne.
Face was shaking violently. He had never been surprised like this in the past. BA came up to him and gave him an almighty hug.
Hannibal handed him the glass of champagne. Murdock smiled, grabbed the camera off Frankie and continued taking shots of Face, like a fashion photographer.
"I ....I don't know what to say ...." Face stammered, as he quickly devoured the glass of champagne in shock.
"I do" Hannibal said, hinting at the others.
"Happy Birthday!!" They all said in unison.
Face had tears in his eyes, and for the first time he felt unable to control them.
Hannibal presented a card to him, and he opened it, his fingers shaking. On the card was four little aliens, with one in the centre with a birthday hat on.
"Murdock chose the card" Hannibal explained.
Inside he read the messages from his friends. Hannibal had wrote: "When you have a team as close as we are, birthdays are the most important time of the year. I hope you have the best one yet."
Murdock had wrote: "You've always been there to listen, Face. Your friendship is the most important part of my life."
BA had wrote: "I'll be waiting on my van being fixed, Happy Birthday Face"
Ellen had wrote: "My big brother - one year older and one year wiser. I love you." Finally,
Frankie had wrote: "For the short time I've known you, your a great guy and an even greater friend. Have the best one ever".
The redness of his eyes betrayed his emotions to his friends, as they busied themselves on handing him presents.
Ellen bought out the cake, and they all sang 'Happy Birthday' as Face prepared to blow out the candles and make a wish. Then he cut the cake.
Face opened Murdock's gifts; a family album full of photos of the team and Ellen. Plus there was some car wax (for Face's skin). Face choked a small thank you, as he looked at the photographs - each one a shadow of a beautiful memory he had shared with the Team.
Hannibal's gift was a bright and gleaming Uzi, with a message - Face, you have saved my life many times before, one day this will save yours, Hannibal - engraved on the handle.
BA's gift was a blown up and framed picture of all of the Team. "To my little brother - Happy Birthday, BA - was written underneath.
Ellen had bought him two teddy bears, one large and one small - the small teddy cradled in the larger bears arms. A small card said - Thanks for looking out for me, big brother"
Frankie had bought him a personalised nameplate for his vett. (FACE ATEAM)
Face really couldn't take much more. His emotions were threatening to consume him. This was his family and his friends. He embraced Murdock, Hannibal, BA, and Frankie. Then he kissed his sister on the cheek.
"I once thought I would never be part of any family" Face said, choked with tears. "You are my family. That means more to me than anything in the world. Thank you."
Hannibal gave the younger man a huge embrace. " Lieutenant, we all care for you more than we can say"
Face was led over to the table, and soon all of them were eating, and drinking champagne - or milk. (in BA's case) The soft mellow music was drowned by the sounds of laughter.
As the evening drew closer, the team began to play some board games, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.
Finally at 2.00 a.m. when Monopoly had just come to a close, amidst shouts of "Cheat" because Face had been the banker and won the game, it was time for bed.
Hannibal started to clear away some of the spilt food, party popper trails and dirty dishes. Murdock took Face up to bed, totally drunk and happy.
Murdock put Face into bed and watched him sleeping for a moment. Face looked so peaceful, so happy with the wide smile and the sigh every two or three minutes.
Murdock turned to leave.
"Murdock..." Face mumbled. Murdock turned around to see Face had sat up and was watching him. "Thanks for the surprise"
Murdock came back to sit by his side. "No problems, Faceman. Why don't you get some sleep, eh? You look really tired now."
Face nodded and put his head on the pillow again. He closed his eyes. He felt Murdock's fingers run through his hair and sighed contentedly.
As he felt Murdock's lips brush his own, he responded softly, Face's lips opening and his tongue seeking Murdock's tongue. They kissed for a moment and then Murdock pulled back.
"What are we doin' Face?" he asked quietly.
Face looked up at Murdock and shook his head. "I don't know. We got lots of time to work it out though, right?"
Murdock looked at Face, the first expression of lust consumed his thoughts. "Your right Face, time to sleep now."
Face agreed, and closed his eyes again, feeling Murdock's fingers caress his hair and face gently. He had plenty of time to discover what hidden feelings Murdock had, and maybe discover some of his own for the handsome Captain.
Till then, Face would dream of his family. And the endless possible opportunities Murdock and himself might have for a relationship.