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The A-Team: The Dilemma (original/written in 2000)

Author: Georgina Ann Price AKA Hannurdock

Rating: PG

Standard Disclaimer: I make no profit from writing these stories, I do them for fun and enjoyment. Characters owned by Stephen J Cannell.

Summary: Murdock hurt / comfort. Based on the episode Waiting for Insane Wayne.

Murdock felt agitated while on watch. It wasn't the fact that they had been too late to arrive and help the kid, Bobby Sherman before his father had been killed, nor was it the sad look on Hannibals face as he had seen the medal on the man's grave, and had sighed deeeply when he had made the connection.

Bobby had been left to rest peacefully in his fathers trailor, but as soon as Murdock had left him, Bobby had switched on the television and started to think too. Regis Philbin was hosting the show 'Who Wants To Win A Thousand Bucks' with his typical bitchy style. Bobby laughed at Regis, and then watched the team disappear to stand guard in the woods. He had faith that these men were really the A-Team, and felt gratitude they were willing to help him against Kencade. Murdock looked slightly upset before leaving the trailor, although Bobby dismissed this by assuming it was just a wearing day.

Murdock looked at Face who smiled at him from where he had sat, M16 slung over his shoulder, for a five minute break. Face was so carefree, almost wild. It seemed as if the aging years had yet to leave a mark on the handsome man, and with all the horrors Face had seen, he had never lost that twinkling smile.

Face looked puzzled and slightly worried, and then walked over to where Murdock was standing.

"What's wrong? You have face a mile long. Tell me, what's up?" Face's voice had that tender yearning, that desire to be a huge part of his friends life. In Vietnam, Murdock had never questioned once Face's constant demands for answers, and now he found himself questioning all the times they had really talked.

"Why do you want to know?" Murdock asked eventually, his eyes betraying his true emotions. Face knew Murdock far too well to be put off by his abrupt and seemingly uncaring manner.

"It isn't that difficult to talk to me, is it Murdock? You've always found a way to talk to me before. Is it the ink blot tests? Is that big guy, Milligan, from the VA giving you more hassle than your letting on?" Face gestured for Murdock to be seated beside him, and Murdock sat a little heavily for such a graceful body.

Murdock decided to keep quiet about the big insane guy back at the VA. He decided it was best not to tell the others about the numerous times the guy had hit him over the last few months. However, his side was beginning to throb from where the man had laid into his ribs. Murdock groaned.

Face looked anxiously at Murdock. "Are you in pain, Murdock? What's with your side?"

Murdock saw Face make a move to assist him, and shook his head, indicating for Face to stay away.

"Just gotta get past the tests, and then I'll be transferred away from that guy" Murdock muttered, hating the fact he was running from this man and not standing up for himself, as he had stood up for many other people over the years. But then again, when he had stood up for the rights of others, BA, Hannibal and Face had always been there to back him up. It worked only with the four of them, not Murdock battling on his own.

"What happens if you fail the tests?" Face suggested, looking carefully at Murdock's reaction. His sudden fear confirmed Face's own instincts had been right, even though after a moment he returned to the sullen, unhappy person Face had never seen before.

"What's wrong with your side, Murdock?" Face asked again.

"Nothin'" Murdock confirmed, trying to smile, which under the circumstances were very difficult. Face had a way of seeing right through him, and right now - he hated that.

"Murdock, if you don't let me take a look, I'll wrestle you down and get to see anyway." Face smiled, slapping Murdock's leg. Murdock turned away.

"Oh, come on, Murdock? What's wrong? I've never seen you like this before." Face began to worry, Murdock felt ashamed, he was sure. He was blocking Face's attempt's to help him.

Murdock turned towards Face, saw the understanding on the handsome features and felt unsure suddenly. "We'd better get on with the watch, Face. Hannibal will kill us if we let some of Kencade's men through, or Wayne himself."

Face grabbed hold of Murdock's collar, and pulled him down beside him. "I warned you" Face said laughing as he ripped open Murdock's shirt to examine his body.

"Oh my God!" Face swore, as he glimpsed the bruise along Murdock's side, it was swollen and angry.

Murdock pulled his shirt back on and pushed Face away. "Leave me alone Face, I can handle it"

"Handle it? This guy looks like he's ripping you apart! Whatever happened to working as a team?" Face pulled Murdock close to look into his eyes.

"Something wrong with Murdock, Lieutenant" Hannibal's authoritive voice made Face turn instantly, and he moved away from Murdock with a faint blush of anger tinting his perfect face.

"He's being beaten by that lunatic at the VA" Face said, Murdock turned angrily from his team mates, and folded his arms, staring away and refusing to look at them. He could feel their eyes burning into him, yet he refused to turn still. His face was flushed with shame.

Then he felt Hannibal's arm on his shoulder, and the Colonel turned Murdock so they were facing each other. "Is that right, Captain?"

The cool and calm authority of Hannibal's voice and manner calmed Murdock, and he stayed where he was. He looked at Hannibal, directly into his eyes trying to hide what Hannibal had already discovered.

"Where are you injured, Murdock?" Hannibal asked. Murdock felt the command overpower his objections, and he opened his shirt to reveal the bruising. Hannibal gasped.

"I can understand the rush to learn the ink blots now." Hannibal ran his gloved hand along Murdock's bruised side, noting the damage and the swollen flesh. He looked up, Murdock was grimacing and Hannibal wondered how he'd made it this far without them finding out.

Face was beside himself with rage. Hannibal silenced Face with a single gesture, and then signalled Murdock to close his shirt.

"You know, Captain. I was so sure that the team could rely on each other." Hannibal said sadly, his feeling of betrayal at Murdock's secrecy lacing his voice with a dangerous edge. This feeling wasn't the jazz, it was a darker side to Hannibal that he rarely revealed.

"We do rely on each other" Murdock objected, trying to appease this side of Hannibal, which he slightly feared.

"Then why didn't you tell us straight off. We could have had it sorted it by now. Hell, Face could have scammed his way into the VA and got the guy transferred, that way you needn't have even left your room." Hannibal's voice was raised, but only slightly. He felt more sorrow than anger.

Face nodded, but Murdock scoffed. "Yeah right. Nurses all recognise him now."

"Then I would have done it" Hannibal said. Murdock didn't doubt this for a moment, and he looked at his commanding officer with admiration.

Murdock suddenly came to the realisation that he did need the team in this. He'd known it all along, but never admitted it to himself, because of pride. Murdock shook his head and looked at Hannibal. The look of empathy tore his heart. "I'm sorry, Hannibal. I guess, I did need you all in this one. Just couldn't say it"

Hannibal lit a cigar, and accepted this explanation with a small nod of the head. "Just don't do it again. Don't want to find you at the bottom of a lake because you can't tell us when things get tough. Its what we're all here for, don't forget it."

Face was still angry. "So this guy at the VA gets away with this? I say when we get back we give him a taste of his own medicine!"

Hannibal watched Murdock's startled reaction closely, and shook his head. "No, wouldn't be the best idea, Face. Best to let Murdock handle it."

Murdock's face dropped visibly at the suggestion, but he nodded his head bravely and walked off to continue with his watch.

Face looked at Hannibal in a way that suggested his fist would make contact with his jaw shortly. Hannibal put an arm around Face's shoulders, noting the look of distress in Face's eyes.

"Come on, Kid. Lets go check on Bobby." Hannibal started to walk off, and Face pointed disbelievingly in the direction where Murdock had walked off.

"Oh come on" Hannibal said, a slight smile forming on his face. "Think I would really let him handle this himself? When we get back, I want you to transfer that guy before Murdock has a chance to realise what's happened. I'm not having him moving from his room becuase of that slease ball. Besides, he sucks at ink blot cards".

Face smiled at Hannibal "Just knew you had to have a plan, Colonel".

Hannibal shrugged. "But Murdock is gonna learn a lesson from this one ... for the moment, anyway."

Face smiled wickedly, and walked away wtih Hannibal, leaving Murdock wondering how he was going to handle Milligan by himself, feeling extremely alone and wishing he had told the guys before he almost had a matching set of broken ribs.


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