by brooklinegirl (witchbaby)
From the 3rd Missing Scene Challenges over at the A-Slash. In this episode, Face is being roughed up by the guys in the bar when he fails to produce Cowboy George. Behind the men, Murdock pulls a gun and makes them let Face go. Murdock is deadly serious in this scene, not his usual playful, wacky self. Write a scene that explains why he is so serious and what happens after he pulls Face out of the bar.
At least that WAS the challenge. But I seem to have problems writing short scenes lately, and have instead woven a tale of complex proportions. Hope y’all forgive me.
A month had never seemed longer. Four weeks—actually, now, more than four weeks, without seeing Face. There’d been two phone calls—two sweet, sweet phone calls—that almost made it worse. If there had been no contact at all, he could have braced himself for it, forced himself to get used to the isolation from Face. But those two phone calls, only two in the space of a month, had been enough to send him spinning, diving for the phone, each time it rang.
It was hardly ever Face.
Sometimes this was a pain in the ass. Sometimes he thought back to how easy his life had been—relatively speaking—when it was just him, living at the VA, coming to the Team’s aid, but still coming home, home to the VA, and being happy about it. He couldn’t, wouldn’t, trade Face, not for anything at all, not really. But sometimes—
When he was just himself, it was easy. So easy. No worries. Room, board, all taken care of, for the simple fee of pretending to take pills and keeping his imagination limber by weaving tales for his shrink. Never telling them the real thing, the real worries. Making things up. That was easy, and kind of fun. He especially liked it when they assigned the new guys to his case. He had his suspicions that they did it as a kind of hazing, seeing if the greenies could handle Murdock’s flights of fancy. What type of diagnosis they would come up with, and what method of treatment. More so that the more experienced docs could laugh at the newbies than anything else. Murdock was a case no one could ever quite pigeonhole.
Richter had come close to figuring Murdock out. He’d been someone Murdock thought he might actually be able to trust. But Richter was gone, long gone, and it was just Murdock, alone with his games again at the VA. Not to say that Murdock didn’t need help. He did.
It just wasn’t to be found in the VA.
The only ones who could help him—really, truly help him—had to have been there with him. Had to have lived it with him. Had to have seen the things he’d seen, done the things he’d done. How could he—why *would* he—trust someone who hadn’t?
The guys on the Team weren't licensed psychologists (though he was pretty sure that Face had a card in his wallet attesting that he was one, among other things). But they had been there. They listened to him, even to his raving psychosis. But more important, they HEARD him, heard him when it was important. And just having them there, knowing that they’d been there—it was enough to lend some steadiness to his life.
It was enough. Or—it had been enough. Till Face. Now that he had had a taste of Face, the steadiness garnered from the Team wasn’t enough. He needed more. He needed Face.
And he knew—had known, going into this—that things happened. The damned military, always on their tail—yeah, it had happened before, that the guys couldn’t make contact with him, and it was happening now, and it would happen again. He knew that.
He knew that.
So why was he pacing around his room in the VA psych ward like a madman—okay, that was redundant—but anyway. Why wasn’t he just dealing with it? He’d dealt with it in the past, for much longer lengths of time—hell, for over a year, there, at the beginning, just after the guys had been arrested for robbing the bank of Hanoi. Granted, he hadn’t been entirely ~there~, then. He’d been lost in himself more than he’d ever been, before or since, for quite some time. There were reasons—a LOT of reasons—why he’d been locked up in the first place. So maybe that wasn’t the best example of him “dealing” with separation from his teammates.
But still. There’d been longer times than a month since then.
He sighed, flopped down on his bed. Reached back, folded the pillow in half under his head. Tried to lie still, for once. Let his body relax, even when his mind wouldn’t. It was the middle of a bright sunny Westwood day. He could hear the sounds of patients out on the VA grounds, hear the orderlies walking by outside in the hall. He could go outside, if he wanted to. They’d let him. Could go out and sit in the sun. Could relax.
As if he could even remember how to do that. Anyway, he wouldn’t hear the phone ring if he went outside. And the Team might need him, any day now. Face might need him.
He sighed, exasperated at himself. He turned on his side, pulled his flannel shirt closer around him. It was always cold, here in the VA, even when it was warm outside. Must be some nefarious scheme by the doctors to keep the patients in some kind of hibernation-like calm. Like the paranoid man said: just because you THINK there’s an assassin behind every tree doesn’t mean that there ISN’T.
Why were the phone calls so important? What was it? God, they were special. They really were. Face would call when it was safe, when he could talk BA into setting up a secure line, untraceable. They’d be able to talk freely. Murdock would pick up the phone, and hear Face’s unique voice, husky over the line, saying, “Are you alone? What are you wearing?” That teasing tone, just as eager to hear Murdock’s voice as Murdock was to hear his.
It was nice. So nice. To be wanted as much as he wanted Face. He could hear it, in his voice, would cuddle up with the phone tucked beneath his ear, and carry on the conversation in hushed tones, occasionally relaxing enough for his smooth baritone laugh to ring out, causing even the nurses in the hall to smile from its unabashed, pure happiness.
The calls were good, so good. So easy. Easy cadence, easy talk. They’d trade sweet words, loving words, words of want, of need, back and forth. It was as though they were one, once again. No problems, no worries, except for the shared problem of being apart, and wanting oh, so badly to be together. Like during that last call, two weeks gone now.
“Billy misses you, Facey.” Murdock said, quiet, into the phone, a smile in his voice. He heard Face’s laugh, sweet, loving, travel to him.
“He does, does he?” A pause. “What about you? Do you miss me?”
Murdock couldn’t speak for a moment, so thick was the longing in his throat.
Face continued. “Do you miss me like I miss you? God, Murdock. I miss your laugh so much. It’s so quiet, too quiet, without you.” Then, softer. “I miss your arms the most. Your hugs. Holding me as we fall asleep. We don’t get to do that near enough. Soon, baby, next time I get you out, you know what we’ll do?”
“No, what?” Murdock’s voice was pitched low, his tone full of longing, his heart full of love. There was the tinge of joy hovering below the surface, that joyous planning of if only, the planning of when.
Face’s voice was throaty, and Murdock could almost see him, leaning back on the couch, cradling the phone next to his ear, eyes full of love, heart full of plans.
“I’ll find a place, real nice, for just you and me. There’ll be a fire, and a soft, soft bed. Silk sheets. Some nice music—and just you and me. We can just kiss and talk and—god, baby, I want to kiss you so very much. I keep thinking about your lips against mine.” Face sighed.
Murdock felt a long shiver run over his body, and it had nothing to do with the air-conditioned chill. He pressed the phone closer to his ear, let himself get lost in Face’s plans.
“Then we’ll—do other stuff.” Face’s tone was teasing, now. “I can think of so much—so very much that I want to do to you.” Now serious. “Next time I get you out, we’ll have time. Just you and me. Time.”
That’s all they wanted, all they ever needed. Time. Thinking about it, that was what hurt so much. The calls were so good, everything else seemed to pale in comparison. He was always thinking about what it was that he didn’t have, instead of just dealing with what he did have, here at the VA. . Murdock sighed and flipped over onto his stomach
Waiting for the phone to ring.
That voice, the cadence, the loving words he had longed for. If Face didn’t shut the fuck up, right now, he was going to beat the ever-loving hell out of him. He really, really was.
Murdock leaned back and pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes, trying to rub out the headache that was threatening to explode out of his head.
The van rumbled down the road under them, and Face rambled on in his Hollywood-speak, taken up with the road, taken up with himself, never once even looking, really looking, at Murdock. Only sparing him an occasional glance, never even really seeing him. Looking over, trying to meet Face’s eyes, Murdock expected to see dollar signs instead of eyeballs, like in those old Scrooge McDuck comics.
He’d never even gotten another call from Face. The conman had just shown up one afternoon, with some half-assed con to spring him from the VA, a con that Murdock pretty much had to carry himself. No warning, no real plan. Murdock had attributed it to the factor of surprise, expecting to be whisked off to a love nest.
Instead, he’d been trapped in the van (how the hell had Face gotten BA to lend him the van?) for hours, taken off to lord knew where, dealing with Face being all wrapped up in his latest venture, which was nothing more than another con, as far as Murdock was concerned. So what if they taught classes in this one? It still was based in double-talk and double-dealing.
As Face often said, Murdock was too honest for his own good. He could con, sure, was good in a con, so long as he felt like playing. But that was more for his own amusement, instead of the good of the con. That was something he and Face differed on. Con for profit, or con for fun? Face had fun doing it, but it was with profit in mind. Murdock just did it to see how well he could encompass any given character.
He was usually pretty good at it, probably because he came to believe himself to actually be whomever he was playing at, for a while at least. But he didn’t feel like playing at this. Not right now. Didn’t feel like playing the Hollywood game Face was so caught up in. He wanted Face to be caught up in him, just now, not with revenue and inking the deal and playing the odds. But Face was lost in a world of proceeds and returns and Murdock couldn’t seem to bring him back.
Face was still chattering away. Murdock studied the bright colored stars inside his closed lids for a while, then brought his hands down to bury his whole face in them. Face didn’t notice. “Grrr. Arg.” Murdock said quietly to himself. Face said, “—and in any one of these deals, all you gotta do is look at the figures right, throw a little spin on ‘em, and BAM! You got him.” He stopped, finally, and glanced over at Murdock. “You say something?”
Murdock dropped his hands to his lap and gave Face a big, false smile. An obviously false smile. Something Face would usually have no trouble catching on to. “Nope, Face, just FASCINATED by this in-depth lesson on legal conning,” he said brightly.
“I know! It’s just great, isn’t it? So, if you can just look at percentages, all you need to do is—” and he was off and running once more. Murdock gritted his teeth. He was done. He was just so done with this. Okay, quiet now. Just walk through this venture with Face and then you can bring him down to earth damn quick. Not worth even trying to talk to him when he was in this state. Murdock decided to just look at it like one of his own flights of insane fancy and let it run its course. The timing could have been a whole damn lot better—he cast a sideways glance at Face in his cute little pseudo-cowboy get-up. But whatever. He pulled his cap down over his eyes and settled in to try to sleep away the headache. He put up with the screaming loonies at the VA. He could put up with this. For now.
But of course Face’s scam—excuse me, “business venture”—didn’t go just as planned. And Face still wasn’t seeing the whole picture. Getting back to the Floor ‘Em, Murdock let Face and Boy George go in to try to explain the situation, while he wandered about outside, trying to lose the betrayed feeling that threatened to send him over the edge. He knew this was one of Face’s traits, this ability to get lost in a scam. And he could usually deal with it. Hell, he usually helped him, let himself get caught up in it too, had saved Face’s ass within the con any number of times. But this was different.
He groaned and continued kicking a stone around the yard. He was thinking in circles. This wasn’t fair. So long, so very long without his Face’s arms around him, and he’d never even gotten a hello kiss, not really, not a satisfying one, not enough to make up for a month of missed kisses. What did all this mean? Did the phone calls not mean the same thing to Face as they did to Murdock? They seemed to, during them. But maybe not. Maybe Face would hang up and not think of him again for days. Not hold the calls, the sweet words, in his heart. Not use them as an anchor in reality, something to hold on to till they could see each other again.
How could they mean that, if this scam was more important to Face than the sweet, lovey, alone time that he had promised?
The slightest of sounds reached Murdock’s ears out in the courtyard. A tiny change in a tone of voice, and Face still in mid-whine, and he realized that there was something, some—danger, and Face was as wholly unaware of it as he was of Murdock’s unhappiness.
He walked in quiet-like. Not that they were paying any attention to him at all. Face, about to have that pretty face roughed up by the big bad guys. Can’t have that. He’d known from the start that Face was getting himself into something too big for him to handle.
Walking in and seeing those men with their hands on Face seemed to ignite a fire in his stomach. He let his anger out for once. Didn’t even feel like playing with these rednecks. His voice held his barely restrained rage, and he hardly recognized it himself. Not the subtlest thing in the world. Didn’t exactly play into the image of their cowboy con. But fuck the cowboy con. He simply wasn’t in the mood. Just got them to let Face go. Followed Face out of the bar, pushed him and Boy George into the van. Got in the driver’s side and drove off.
Angry. He was so angry. He knew Face could see it in his face, hear it in his grim tone, his flat words. He hardly recognized that voice himself. And now Face was trying to soothe them both, Murdock from his anger, Boy George from his disgust at the thought of playing at the Floor ‘Em. But his tone was still Mr. Hollywood, like he could con Murdock along with everybody else. Murdock just gritted his teeth all the more and got them to the motel and got out of there fast, before he could say something he’d regret.
When he came back from following the guys from the Floor ‘Em, he quickly and quietly described their set up with the machine guns to Face. Done, he then strode to the bathroom and locked himself in, not wanting to deal with Face just now. Face had listened to him, quiet now, finally. Realizing something was wrong, something more important than a messed-up con. Murdock knew Face hated it when situations got out of control, and that he wasn’t helping with the whole messed-up Cowboy George scam. For once, he didn’t care.
He heard Face knocking quietly, cautiously on the bathroom door. His voice (finally his real voice, his Temp voice, the one he used when the two of them were just the two of them, alone together) came through the door, quietly saying his name. It was his love voice, his soft voice, his real voice, and it was a real worried voice now. Saying words, saying a lot of stuff. Murdock, hands in fists, leaning on the counter, staring into the mirror, into his own eyes, just waited. Allowing himself not to listen, this time, trying it out, since it seemed so easy for Face not to listen. Eventually the voice went away. So what? Didn’t matter. He didn’t want that voice, didn’t need that voice. It didn’t hold him up. It didn’t help him to survive. Nope.
The headache was coming back, had never really gone away, just lingered behind his eyes. He heard Boy George’s voice, calmer now, trying to get some more information out of Face now that Face had dropped the Hollywoodtalk. But he didn’t hear Face responding at all, and he knew, could just about picture, Face out there, sitting, hands clasped in front of him, eyes on the bathroom door, trying, trying hard, to figure out how to fix this.
Murdock let out a frustrated sigh, flung his hat off onto the counter, and set the water to running cold. Rinsed his face over and over. Finally looked up into his own eyes in the mirror again. He needed Face. Needed his voice. Over the phone wires, into his own heart. On the other side of the door, the love tone in his words. Too little, too late. Maybe. Damn, why was he always getting lost in voices?
And then, of course, those insidious Lennon Sisters started singing in his head. And he didn’t have time, didn’t have room, to think about Face, think about that voice, when the girls were occupying so much of his brain space. Helped him to escape, the way these things always did. Insanity was calming. If you were used to it. If you needed it.
So, he got through it. Got through it all: the plans, and the cons, and all of it. It even got fun, after a while, and he liked Boy George, really did, gave him a playmate of sorts. Hell, at least Murdock was mostly insane on the inside, could pass, if he felt like it, for some semblance of normal. Boy George couldn’t even do that, not with his ~interesting~ look, but he didn’t seem to mind. Murdock liked that. Made him more real. Strange, yeah, but real. And he liked even Face being caught off-guard, trying to flirt with him there in the sheriff’s office, like nothing had happened. Liked being able to put Face in his place, without being consumed by anger. That was good, it really was. Easy. Not as easy as being in Face’s arms (what would ever be as easy as that?), but still.
It got him through.
So now here they were. They’d still not had a moment alone. Hannibal had taken the car back, and Face and Murdock were in the van with BA, since Murdock had refused, absolutely refused, to ride with Hannibal in the Cowboy George Vehicle of Death (as he put it), and BA refused to ride all the way back to LA alone in the van with Murdock. Murdock was quiet on the way back, though. Said the Lennon sisters had gone away, but left him with a headache and settled into the back seat with his hat pulled down.
Face had moved from the passenger seat to the seat next to Murdock for a while, on the pretext of napping himself. He had tried to close his eyes, but they kept being drawn back to Murdock. He was worried. He knew he’d messed up, and would fix it if only Murdock would give him a chance. But he couldn’t fix anything if he wasn’t even allowed to see Murdock’s eyes. He couldn’t help it, reached over and with a fast beating heart took hold of Murdock’s hand. Squeezed it. Trying to relay everything. The I’m sorry, the I was so stupid, the please forgive me, give me a chance and I’ll fix everything, I’ll fix it all, I really will.
Murdock lifted his head only slightly, looked at Face through lidded eyes from under his cap. Eyes that said he was still hurt, but he was tired. Too tired to be angry anymore. Too tired for this just now. He gave Face’s hand a gentle squeeze back, then took his hand away and settled back into his seat, eyes closed again.
Face sighed, sat back, ran his hands through his hair. Caught BA looking at the two of them in the rearview mirror. Looking at them, and shaking his head at Face. Face cocked a rueful eyebrow at him. He knew he’d been stupid, and didn’t need BA to tell him that. He slipped up to the front seat again. BA took his eyes off the road for a moment and looked at him again. Glanced back at Murdock in the back seat, and said real quiet, voice canted for Face’s ears only, “Don’t know what you did, Faceman, but I can guess. Man been hurt enough. You supposed to fix each other. Not hurt each other.”
Face froze for a moment at the lecture, but this was BA. He let his mask fall and looked back at Murdock, regret sharp on his features.
BA glanced at him again. “You gotta be careful. You both gotta be careful. What you got—“ He paused for a second, then said gruffly, “it don’t happen too much. You lucky. Don’t push it.” Looked over, waited till Face met his eyes. “You got me?”
Face had already let his gaze be drawn back to Murdock. He nodded slowly.
BA pulled up in front of Face’s current residence. A nice house, not too fancy, not like he usually scammed. This one looked more like a home than a penthouse. BA looked at the house, then back at Face. “Nice scam this time. He’ll like it.”
Face, getting out to open the side door of the van, looked at BA. “I know.”
Face reached in, gently shook Murdock’s shoulder. Murdock shifted slowly in the seat, then turned bleary eyes to the open door of the van, expecting to be at the VA. He took in the house, then looked at Face. Face held his gaze steady. “Please?” Face said softly. Murdock nodded and made his way out of the van, placing a hand on BA’s shoulder and squeezing gently on his way out.
BA smiled, and peeled away.
They walked slowly to the little house, not holding hands, not yet, but still occasionally, companionably, bumping shoulders as they walked. Careful with their touching yet.
They got in, Face actually unlocking the door with keys, not picks. Murdock shed his jacket and curiously peered around. Neat kitchen, cozy bedroom, comfortable living room, the fireplace all set to be lit.
He looked quietly over at Face, who had slipped out of his own jacket and tie and stood there holding the cowboy hat in his hands, watching him.
“You done bein’ Mr. Hollywood-Agent-Man-Cowboy-Billy-Bob?” Murdock’s voice was only gently reproachful.
Face grimaced and tossed the hat over into a corner. “Yep.” He cleared his throat and approached Murdock cautiously. “You done with—the Lennon sisters?”
Murdock cocked his head to one side and seemed to retreat inside, listening carefully. Then he responded. “Seems like it.” His eyes followed Face as he came closer still. He didn’t move as Face placed his hands behind his neck, pulling them together till their foreheads touched, still looking into each other’s eyes.
“I’m sorry.” Face sighed. “So sorry.” He rocked a little, the two of them, back and forth just a bit. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I just—“
Murdock couldn’t deal with any more talk just now. There had been waiting upon waiting, just for this moment, and he was done with it. He shut Face up by pressing his lips to his for just a moment, then pulled back quick and turned his face away, startled once again by the intensity of emotion that came from a single kiss between them.
Face cleared his throat again, ran his fingers through his hair. Murdock felt his eyes on him. He looked at Face. “That fireplace work?” he asked. Damn, it was annoying when his accent came through so thick. Sure sign that he was turned on, big time, and Face knew that. Face grinned and in answer, walked over to start the fire, lightly running his fingers over Murdock’s shoulder and down his back as he passed him. Murdock couldn’t suppress the tremor that ran through him at that simple touch. It had been too, too long.
Face got the fire going, walked over to the stereo, turned on some music, softly. Then looked again at Murdock, came over and stood before him. His expression was intent, a smile hovering behind the seriousness. “You hungry? I could make us some—“ He trailed off as Murdock slowly shook his head back and forth.
Face ran his tongue over his lips, moved a little bit closer. “Hmm. You tired, still?”
Murdock shook his head even more firmly. Moved a step closer to Face. Face allowed his eyes to stay open and clear. Looked—really looked—at Murdock.
“What do you want to—“
Murdock pulled Face to him, cutting him off, wrapping him in a hungry embrace. Let the rest of the gnawing resentment melt away. Kissed Face, long and deep, delving into him with his tongue, exploring him. When he finally pulled away, it was slowly, and he gently nibbled Face’s bottom lip as he did so. They were both struggling for breath as they broke apart. Murdock found himself already achingly hard. It had been much too long. Face gazed at him, his eyes bright with passion and relief.
That look, that unsheltered look, was always Murdock’s undoing. It wasn’t lost on Murdock, how very much it took for Face to drop all the masks. In the firelight, Face was beautiful beyond words, beyond breath. His eyes glowed free, and in them, Murdock could see the ache matching the one in his own soul. How do you stay angry, when this is what you want, what you covet, more than anything else? How do you say no, refuse that piece missing from your soul?
“Are we done with games, here, Face?” He whispered it in Face’s ear, then proceeded to bury kisses in his neck, tasting him.
Face’s response came as almost a moan. “Yesss.” He gasped aloud as Murdock sucked on the crook where neck met shoulder. “No more games.” Another gasp. “God, Murdock.” And his hands reached to pull Murdock closer, ever closer.
Pushing Face down onto the couch, Murdock settled on top of him, recaptured his lips and kissed him hungrily. His fingers worked between them, swiftly unbuttoning Face’s shirt, concerned only with getting to the warm skin beneath. Face moved beneath him, hips pressing up, and Murdock felt that Face was just as hard as he was. Murdock managed to undo the last button and was stroking Face’s skin, working his hands around to Face’s back, pulling him up against him.
They sank further into each other on the couch, clothes being shed, skin pressing against skin. Warmth leaching from one to the other and back. Bluesy music around them. Deep, hard, wet kisses. Over and over. Never ending, till the need to breathe tore them from one another.
Murdock drew back, pulling desperately needed air into lungs that didn’t seem to be able to hold enough oxygen. Face, below him, half-clothed body glowing in the firelight, eyes huge, also gasping. Looking up into Murdock’s face, into his very soul. Not afraid to look, not afraid to see. Everything Murdock saw in that face, in those eyes, was real. Everything was true. Everything was Face.
Why did true love and a broken heart feel so very much the same?
Face reached up and gently drew Murdock’s head down, pulled him into another kiss, the same kiss, the never-ending kiss, their love, such love, true love, translated through it. Murdock lost himself in it, in Face pressed warm, hard (so hard) against him, bodies fitting easily into the embrace, so easy, they could be one. Wanting to be one. Needing to be one.
They shed the rest of their clothes, pulling away momentarily, only to become closer still as Murdock’s fingers explored Face ever more intimately. Teased him, worked him up to a fever pitch. Still pressed so close, breathing each other’s breath. Murdock watched Face’s features, till he opened his eyes wide, and begged for more. Murdock, aching with need, waiting only for this supplication. Found the angle and thrust and they were together, they were one, close, so close. Face had his head thrown back, left his throat open, exposed, and moaned as Murdock’s lips captured the flesh of his throat, heat lightening flashing through his body as he sucked, as Face writhed below him, hardness pressing up against him.
Face grasped onto Murdock’s hands, and Murdock onto his, as though they would spin away into the darkness without this anchor. Holding tight, found in each other, the easy give and take, Face wanting Murdock deeper, ever deeper. Pulling him closer. Making them one. Primal, wanting sounds coming from both of them. Hands grasping harder, thrusts more deliberate, more frantic, extreme, and Face found himself falling over into it, over the edge, back arching up hard, an aching scream escaping his throat.
Murdock looked down at him, dizzy with want, watched as his steady thrusts drove Face into furious bliss. Never more open, never more real, nothing was, than at this moment of utter release, backed by the trust of true love. He gave in to the desperate need and with a deep-throated howl, released himself, gave himself over, spinning into the blackness, saved by Face’s arms.
Later, exhausted, Murdock with his arms wrapped around Face, wrapped tight, just holding him near. Face let his hands wander, relearning Murdock’s body, just touching, tracing, over his chest, his arms, his back. He tilted his head to plant kisses on Murdock’s neck, his cheek.
So tired, but not willing to let sleep lay claim to this time they had together. They talked, in quiet voices of the night, of easy things, simple things, and their laughter mingled in the darkness.
They fell quiet, after a while, mesmerized by the licking flames in the fireplace. It was glowingly warm in the cozy room, and Face’s body was pressed lazily against his own. Murdock, eyes still drawn to the fire, wandering in his thoughts, tightened his hold around Face’s shoulders and shivered. Face pressed himself closer.
Murdock’s voice was quiet in the darkness. “I wonder if you say things you don’t mean.”
Face raised his eyes, looked at Murdock, who was still looking off into the glow of the flame. He raised his hand to press against Murdock’s cheek, and Murdock dropped his gaze to meet Face’s eyes. The lazy closeness in his look had changed to quiet apprehension, and Murdock hated that it was his words that had engendered that change. He wanted to drop it. Just let it go. Seize the moment, and no worries, and easy, it would be so easy. But
“I’m in there and you’re out here and the only thing I have to hold onto is your voice.” He looked down for just a moment, hoping he was making sense. “If you say the things you do, and don’t mean them, it’s worse than if you never said them at all.” He heard his voice shaking. Dammit.
Face shifted, pushed himself up so he was able to look into Murdock’s eyes. It didn’t always help to steady Murdock. He knew that Face could weave a cunning lie, looking you straight in the eye and never flinching. He was good at that. An excellent trait in a conman. Not the best thing in the world for a lover.
Murdock waited. Face studied his face for a moment before he spoke. “Murdock, sometimes I think that you bring out the worst in me, because I can’t lie to you.” His voice was gentle. “It’s scary, because lying is the thing I do best. It’s easy and I like it. But I find myself speaking my heart to you, every time. That scares me even more.” He traced the back of Murdock’s hand where it rested on the back of the couch. “When I can’t see you, I find myself relying on those calls so much. And they distract me for days after, thinking about you. And—I look for things to help me deal with missing you.”
“So you get caught up in booking country hot shots—“
“Or English glitter-princes—“ Face’s eyes crinkled in a smile.
“And forget about me.”
“As if I could.” Face’s tone was chiding. “I distract myself from you, from myself, from everything.” He paused. “It hardly ever works out the way I plan.”
Murdock couldn’t stop a smile from spreading slowly across his face. “Something you and the colonel have in common.”
“Hey, HIS plans don’t make sense from the very start. Mine make a great deal of sense—if you look at them from the right angle.”
Face grew serious again, pulled Murdock to him. Looked at him. “I mean everything I say to you. And even though it kills me to be apart from you, I don’t know that I’d want to give up those phone calls.”
“Late nights alone with your voice—“ Murdock pressed his lips against Face’s. “Dreaming of when we’re alone together.” He looked around. “Like this.”
“Just like this.” Face’s voice was husky. The kiss this time was deeper. “Give me time. I’ll get better at this relationship thing. We’ve only just learned to be together. Now we have to learn to be apart, too.”
“I’ll give you time. You’re a fast learner. And I’ve got a few things I could teach you.” He reached down to stroke at Face’s stomach, then a little bit lower.
Face sighed deep and leaned into him. “Such as?”
“Let’s see. How to work and, ah, play well with others.”
“With others? I think you’re talking about someone in particular.”
Murdock, leaning in to capture Face’s lips in a kiss, mumbled, “Well, that’s a very narrow interpretation of it.”
Face’s laugh turned into a quiet sigh as Murdock’s gentle stroking became more deliberate.
They sank into each other’s arms in the fire lit room. Not always easy, not always perfect. But still quite something. Maybe even everything.
witchbaby's A-Team stories