TITLE: Lost Without A Cause
WARNINGS: A little violence
STORY TYPE: Third Person
LENGTH: One-offDISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Hannibal paced the floor for the ninth time, wearing the same patch of carpet down even further. He looked outside the window, and saw Face wave to him, eagerly jumping out of his corvette and racing into the house.
Hannibal turned to BA "Brace yourself".
BA nodded, sighing nervously. "Don't make no sense. We finally gettin' a pardon - and I'm as nervous as hell".
Hannibal nodded sympathetically "Its the same as if people are jailed for twenty years. You get used to the life, the routine, the thrills .... its hard to break it after so long".
Face barged through the front door. "It's done! We're free men, guys. Guys?!!??".
All Face saw was two very glum faces staring back at him. He spread his arms, not understanding why they were not as excited as he was.
"That's .... real nice Face. Real nice" Hannibal sighed, sitting down heavily in his seat, and drawing a cigar from his jacket pocket.
Face looked downcast "What's up? Thought you guys would be thrilled. It means a new start, y'know. We can even have a family life, get married, have kids......".
"Never was one to settle down" Hannibal sniffed, inhaling deeply, feeling the customary headrush from the first cigar of the day.
"Me neither. We been running twenty years, Face. I got itchy feet already" BA huffed, looking out of the window.
"Guys!! What the hell is this? Twenty years we waited, prayed, hoped in our wildest dreams for a pardon. Now its here your acting as if its the worst thing in the world!" Face said, his voice raised in anger.
"I can see where your coming from, but it aint US, it ain't the team, Face. What the hell are we supposed to do now?" Hannibal asked.
"How the heck should I know?? Get a job!! Live a normal life! I, for one, am pleased to be free"
"I am too, Face. We've waited so long for this, but ......".
"But, what!! We're free men, we can do what we want!" Face exploded, his anger uncontrollable in his disbelief at the turn of events.
"But, this is gonna take some getting used to" Hannibal said softly.
Face was exasperated. Grabbing his jacket he stormed out the door, slamming it hard behind him.
"What's Face's problem?" BA asked.
"He wants the BWW" Hannibal said, turning to BA.
"BWW?" BA asked.
"Big wide world. He wants to be a normal guy, go to work from 9-6.30, get home pat the dog, kiss the wife, read the daily newspaper and then play with the kids" Hannibal sighed. "I can't see why he wants that after all we've been through together, but he does".
"Face has never really been one of us, man. Not inside. He's always been one of 'em" BA said sulkily, getting up and walking over to the door "I'm goin' for my first ride as a free man, you comin'?".
"No BA, maybe later. I need some time to think" Hannibal said.
BA failed to detect the note of worry in the Colonel's voice, and left.
"H. MMMMMMMMM. Murdock here, who is this?".
"Hey, Murdock. Its me Hannibal" Hannibal said down the receiver of the phone. It had been almost an hour since BA left for his drive, and Hannibal was already restless.
"Congrats, muchacho!! Heard the great news, been splashed all over the papers! Are the guys there, I wanna say howdy".
"The guys stormed out" Hannibal sighed.
"Huh? Why would they do that?" Murdock asked.
"Guess freedom can cause just as much problems as bein' on the run. I had a fight with Face".
"Ah! He loves you, Hannibal. He'll be back". Murdock said, sniffing into the phone.
Hannibal winced at the sound as it was quite loud "You catchin' a cold, Murdock?".
"Yep, a gift from work". Murdock said, twiddling the phone wire in his fingers, distractedly.
"Nice. What's work like, Murdock?".
"Boring, dull. One day finishes surprisingly like the rest. Like a never ending yawner for the rest of your life. Moved on to bein' a manager, but its still boring".
"Gee, thanks Murdock. I think I'll get a pilots licence, and then we can go into partnership together. Run lessons together, how about that?" Hannibal asked eagerly.
Murdock detected the emotion in Hannibal's voice "You okay? You sound .... so alone".
"Just don't know what I'm gonna do" Hannibal said, wiping his clammy brow and seeing the van pull up outside. BA was back.
"Do what you do best" Murdock said cryptically.
"Which is?" Hannibal asked dejectedly, thinking of fifteen particular years doing something he considered himself good at.
"Run a company, start a business. You a leader, Hannibal. You don't want to be working on the shop floor, y'know?".
"I was thinking of re-joining the military, take BA with me. I'm sure I could rise to my previous rank quickly, and there would be opportunity for promotion". Hannibal said, thinking of his skills and combat training.
"Sure thing, muchacho. Whatever you want to do".
"I gotta go, got some stuff to sort out" Hannibal said, hearing the van door slam and BA return.
"Sure thing, Hannibal. Let me know how it goes" Murdock said.
"Sure, bye Murdock" Hannibal said softly, putting the receiver back on the hook, and watching BA turn the TV on to watch a match.
"I'm goin' out for a breather, BA" Hannibal said.
BA eyed his commander warily "You okay, Hannibal? I mean really?".
Hannibal forced a smile "I will be".
Hannibal walked past Murdock's apartment. It had begun to rain heavily, and he watched the curtains open slightly and Murdock's face appear, staring at him for a second. When he comprehended his CO was standing outside in the pouring rain, drenched to the bone, Murdock hurried outside, carrying a towel with him.
"What you doin' out here? Your soaked to your skin" Murdock asked worriedly, forcing Hannibal towards the shelter of his apartment.
For a moment Hannibal stopped and wouldn't move, his eyes glassy, his expression unreadable. Then he started walking again, and within a few more seconds both men were inside the apartment. Murdock looked at the dripping man and shook his head.
"You'll catch your death doin' things like that. Ever heard of pneumonia?" Murdock said, shaking his head.
Hannibal didn't move as Murdock dried him off a little and moved him into the front room. Murdock quickly built a fire in the hearth and sat Hannibal by the warmth of the flames.
"Wanna tell me why you were looking at my apartment? I do have a doorbell, and a knocker too.You freaked me out for a second until I realised it was you. What do you want?" Murdock's voice was nervous and low as he tried to probe Hannibal. No response.
"Hannibal? Please talk to me" Murdock pleaded.
"Talk to you about what, Murdock. My life is over now, I can't live like most people do. I'm a soldier, a good one. But I can't go back to the Army after what they did to me, to the team. I just can't. Our pardon means we've been scammed for the last twenty years by 'em, I can't go back now".
Murdock sighed. He tried a little humour. "Hey, if the worst comes to the worst, I'm a good teacher. Could teach you to fly in no time".
Hannibal smiled sadly. "Wasn't meant to be. Me being a pilot, the team getting a pardon. Just wasn't meant to be".
He rose from the fire and took off into the night, Murdock watched him leave with sadness filling his heart. "Neither was me bein' in the VA for years. That wasn't meant to be either, but you gotta live with what your given" Murdock muttered under his breath before shutting the door.
Hannibal awoke the next morning, aching. He got out of bed slowly, and walked over to the mirror, shrinking back at the reflection. Huge blue bags under his eyes, and hair like spikes on his head. He sighed and went to work, making the image change to the Hannibal he knew.
BA was still asleep. Hannibal was an early bird, so he took the van and did his morning shop. The first shopping trip he had ever taken as Face had normally assumed the responsibility. Hannibal walked around the store, looking at the frozen items in disgust. This was too ..... normal.
He reached out for some cereal and the whole rack fell, cereal boxes spewed across the small isle where some women were shopping. A shop assistant glared at Hannibal. Feeling as small as a mouse, Hannibal continued the shop, payed, and left feeling humiliated.
He passed a park, and decided to sit down on the bench for a while, so he pulled into a parking space, paid the meter, and walked into the wide expanse of park that he could lose himself within, if only for a little while.
Then he heard the screams. A young thug was attacking an older woman, yanking her purse away and running away from her towards Hannibal. Hannibal acted on instinct, pumping a right cross into the young man's jaw. The man fell, dazed. Hannibal returned the purse to the lady who thanked him.
Feeling somewhat refreshed after his encounter, Hannibal walked back towards the van. The plan of the century had come into his mind, and even if not original, it was the only plan he could accept. Whistling, Hannibal started the van and drove back quickly to tell BA his plan.
Carla walked into the small room. She observed Stockwell for a moment, busy with his computer monitor, and signalled for the men to enter the room.
Hannibal and BA wandered inside, slightly disturbed by the familiarity, the homely feel of the place. They took their seats and waited.
Stockwell smiled to himself. He knew exactly who was waiting for him to turn around. Finally he did turn "Welcome back, gentlemen".
"This is just for the time being .... until we find a job" Hannibal said.
Stockwell shook Hannibal's hand. "Now Colonel. The package has changed becuase you are now free men. As an agent you will receive accomodation, vehicles and an attractive salary". He understood the real reason the men had returned. They simply had seen and done too much to live in the real world. They simply could never be normal people. "Carla will have the employment papers drawn up".
"Need a supply officer on your pay role?" came a voice from the door.
Hannibal and BA turned in relief "Face!".
Face walked into the room, reveling in the attention he was getting. He sat by Hannibal's side. "The real world sucks. Just thought you should know that".
Hannibal nodded, grinning, and then nodded to BA. All three men rose and together they walked out of the room, intent on finding the nearest bar to catch up on Face's recent misadventures.
Stockwell grinned. He had always known they would return. Pardon or no pardon. They would always be 'his' men. He had plenty more missions for his valuable team.