TITLE: Just Not Right
STORY TYPE: Third Person
CATEGORY: Hurt & Comfort
LENGTH: One-off, dedicated to Magick who suffered from glandulor fevor.DISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Face wandered out of the doctors feeling more depressed than when he had first gone. He walked miserably down the road, turned a corner and bumped into Murdock.
"Hey muchacho. How'd the doctors go?" Murdock asked chirpily, taking Face'c coat, and opening the passenger door to the corvette so Face could get in.
Face slumped into the seat. He was in no mood for Murdock's happy pointless banter "Not good. What do you think? You keep asking me that over and over again, I'm not feeling better".
Murdock looked hurt, and moved around to the drivers side, got in and started the car in silence. When the roar of the engine dissipated into the hubbub of city sound, Murdock turned to look at Face more closely.
Face was pale, withdrawn. He seemed terribly alone, and curled up inside himself. It was all Murdock could do not to put his arms around the younger man, comfort him.
"You know, the verterans admin say I'll be out for christmas" Murdock said happily, trying to start a conversation with the depressed man.
"Hmmm?" Face looked over at Murdock. He hadn't heard a word.
"The VA, they say I'll be out for christmas" Murdock repeated, turning to look back at the road.
"That's nice" Face said coldly. "I'm chilly".
Murdock turned up the warmth on the heater, and sat back. Face was disinterested, far away, lost. Murdock tried not to worry, but the panic had set in.
"Wanna talk, Facey" Murdock ventured.
"Would you shut up???!! I've had enough of your incessant jabbering. No wonder BA feels like ripping your head off every time you talk to him". Face's voice was raised, uncontrolled.
Murdock's eyes were wide with fear. He had never seen this side of his friend before, and his eyes were bright. Face saw himself reflected in the tearful eyes, and turned away in shame.
Face sighed deeply. He hadn't meant to hurt or offend Murdock in any way. But his words just didn't come out right. He was in pain, tired, moody, afraid. If only he could talk in the way he wanted to talk, let Murdock know how much he was suffering. He had been suffering for months. It had started as a cold, not unbearable - but very uncomfortable. Before long he had developed a nasty sore throat.
"What the doc say, Face? Did he know what it is?" Murdock asked timidly.
"Nothing much. Took a few blood tests, all the usual crap. Gave me a prescription....". Face stopped, unsure of how to carry on this conversation.
"Really? Prescription for what?" Murdock asked curiously. He couldn't bear to turn and face his friend, the anger and pain there pained him to breaking point.
"Anti-depressants" Face said quietly.
Murdock felt like he'd been kicked in the stomach. He turned to look at Face sharply, and then continued driving. "Nothin' to do with me or the team, is it?".
Face turned to Murdock, all anger washed out with these heartfelt words. "No Murdock. Not you. Not the team. Its me. I'm sick. Nothing for you to worry about, okay?".
Murdock nodded. "You get the results tomorrow?"
Face nodded. "Yes. He's a good doctor. He's worried, doesn't know what's up. He know how to get things done real quick".
Murdock beamed proudly. "He is a doctor to the stars, Face. Don't know how you scam these things, but you do them with style".
Face glared at Murdock, and then breathed harshly as he looked away.
"Did I say something to upset you?" Murdock asked.
"No. Just get me home" Face snapped.
As Murdock parked near Face's scammed apartment, Face hastily walked out and towards the building.
"Hey muchacho. You want me to stay tonight?" Murdock asked hopefully.
Face stopped and turned, all the anger disolved with Murdock's gentleness and sincerity. "If you want Murdock. Please don't mention the cons again, I don't do it becuase I enjoy it. I do it becuase I have to".
Murdock nodded, swallowing hard. "Anything you say".
Face slumped suddenly, and Murdock rushed forward to secure him.
"What's up?" Murdock asked worriedly.
"Just tired. Dead tired. Need to sleep" Face moaned, allowing Murdock to escort him into the house and into bed.
The next morning, Face groaned as he tried to pull himself out of bed. Each little effort seemed to tire him out, and eventually he decided to remain in bed, where it was warm and safe. His plan did not work out, becuase Murdock walked sprightly into the room, and drew the curtains. The invading sunlight made Face wince.
"Murdock! Its only 10.30" Face mumbled, turning his head into the pillow.
"10.30 too late!" Murdock beamed, throwing back Face's duvet.
Face tiredly pulled the duvet back over himself, and turned away from Murdock abruptly. "I need a couple more hours".
Murdock looked worriedly at his friend. He walked around the other side of the bed and noted that Face was wrapped up like a mummy in the sheet, only his nose, eyes and wispy blonde hair was visible.
"Okay Facey, but remember - you got the doc's at 4.30". Murdock reminded.
Face nodded slowly, and then fell promptly asleep. He was oblivious of Murdock drawing the curtains again, protecting him from the sunlight. He was oblivious of the soft rustling of Murdock's clothes as he quickly tidied up the room. He was oblivious to the timid hand that touched his own, before the bedroom door closed and Face was left alone to sleep.
"Three o'clock buddy. Time to get up" Murdock shook Face's arm gently.
Face opened his eyes, trying to focus on Murdock "Already?"
"Uh huh. You've slept all day long. Time to go find out what's wrong" Murdock said softly.
Face moaned, and stiffly moved out of bed. He wandered over to the bathroom. Once he had locked the door, Face slumped into a corner, trying to think. Why was his thoughts not clear? Why couldn't he concentrate.
Murdock paced uncomfortably by the bathroom door, waiting for Face to emerge. When he did, Murdock helped clothe him, and then both men walked out of the house. Face got into the passenger seat again, and Murdock drove.
The doctor, affectionately referred to as Scars to the Stars, watched as Face and Murdock both entered the room and took seats.
"Welcome back Mr Peck. Your results came through. It seems you have glandular fever, it co-incides with your mood swings, your tiredness, irritability, aches and sore throats".
Murdock sighed in relief. "So what now, doc?".
"Rest, plenty of rest. And medication" The doctor explained.
Murdock nodded and then turned to Face "Guess I get to play doctor for a while longer".
Face groaned "Gee, I can't wait!"
A couple of weeks later, Murdock was relieved to see the change in Face. The medication had worked, along with the rest. He had brightened up considerably.
BA and Hannibal were amazed at the difference, and were talking about missions for the thriving Lieutenant.
"Hey Murdock" Face called, as Murdock prepared lunch.
Murdock walked into the livingroom "Yeah?"
"What is this CRAP? You call this TV viewing?" Face yelled, fiddling with the remote control, and adjusting the channels irritably.
Murdock stepped back, his eyes wide as he tried to think of a suitable response. Then he saw the crafty Faceman smile, and threw a wet potato skin at Peck.
"Hey! Careful with the goods. You don't want this free meal and board ticket smelling of raw vegatables" Face laughed, throwing the skin back at Murdock. The skin landed on his head, and Murdock blinked twice in amazement.
Face rolled out of his chair in laughter, doubled up as he tried to regain some composure. But the image of Murdock standing, blinking in amazement, with a potato skin on his head was to amusing to bear.
Murdock took the skin off, looked at it in surprise and then started to laugh as well. Chuckling, he wandered back into the kitchen to prepare the meal, leaving Face to get himself under control.
"Next time, Face" Murdock promised under his breath, whilst trying to stop giggling. "I'll get you back for this one with the water sprinklers"