by brooklinegirl (witchbaby)
Response to one of the Missing Scene Challenges over at the A-Slash. From The Spy Who Mugged Me. Murdock is playing at being a secret agent. His relationship with Face has been disintegrating, and when the beautiful Dominique throws herself at him, he finds it to be an opportunity to move on.
With thanks to SnowFlake for the wonderful beta-ing. This story wouldnít be here without her!
Weíve done this. Over and over, when it wasnít fun even the first time through. Weíve gone round and round. Iím dizzy and tired and done with it.
We fall back into old routines; fall back and hate ourselves in the morning. Or at least, I do. I think he does, too; he must, because heís always gone by the time the morning gets here.
Itís all about want versus need, guilt versus desire, and everyone gets hurt, so thatís fair, right? We both end up alone in the end. But weíve done it too much. I wake up alone this last time and my heart aches before I even turn over and I know heís gone. I guess it makes me glad, because Iím done. Iím just so done.
I turn over on the empty bed and stretch out down the middle, taking up as much of that empty space as I can. I watch the ceiling for a while, and just let my brain try to figure a few things out. I feel used, though I know I was using him right back. If weíre both too stupid to acknowledge that, it may well be that we are meant to be together, if only for all the wrong reasons.
The ceilingís still there, looking right back at me, but I donít see any answers on it. Just blank, which is how Iím feeling inside. When I manage to get him alone, heís like a scared bird, anxious to be free. His voice tightens, his shoulders are stiff, and he looks everywhere but at me. We fight this tension between us in different ways. He wonít look, but I try to pin him down with my eyes. He breaks usually Ė almost always Ė lets me see through the mask, but doesnít let it fall.
Itís too hard, here. Before all this, before Stockwell, before being chained up like this, we were doing okay. It was hard Ė it was always hard Ė but it was a fight we could win. Now itís different. We canít be what we were. Itís like we crossed that line somewhere along the way, and never even noticed that we couldnít go back till it was way, way too late. And he leaves me alone; I lose him real good, and I canít follow even though I try.
He drifts back to me every once in a while. Iíll catch him looking at me too long and I know itíll be his voice I hear on the phone in the coming nights. He calls me and doesnít ask, but acquiesces when I offer. And soon enough heís here, back in my life, back with me, and things are almost, almost like they were. But theyíre not and never will be and I know I canít have him.
And thinking now, do I want him if he doesnít want me? The answer is yes, but I just turn over in bed and donít allow that. Time to refocus and if he doesnít want me, then maybe it should be me who walks away this time.
He hates this, I know. I know because I know him too well. But Iím trying to forget that. Trying to forget a lot of things. Guess Iím trying to remember what it was like before him Ė what I was like before him. I can do this Ė be who I once was. Just need to remember. Find new Ė old? Ė routines to fall into. Gotta decide for sure and not look back; that morning last week would be the last morning like that for me.
All this week, itís been pretty easy Ė easy because Iíve been playing a role. Logan Ross, secret agent man. Iím used to balancing a whole damn bunch of personalities Ė all part of going back to what I used to be. All those voices in my head. Theyíve been quiet for a while, but once I give them free reign, they all come back real easy. I remember how to balance Ė well, how to juggle, really.
I tell myself Iím not his, Iím just me. Or, okay, fine, Iím this other guy. Suave, debonair, with good looks, and well, hair. It makes Face crazy. But turnabout is fair play. He tries to get me alone, but I move along too fast to even notice. So much to do: concentrate on tripping up Jourdan, keeping him busy so the team can figure out what heís got planned. Iím just the diversion, and itís fun and easy. Gotta keep moving, finish up the plan, get the girl, get the info, save the day, just like Mighty Mouse. I get lost in this, get lost in me, which is good, because I can lose that connection. Loosen myself from him and move along real good, real nice, and no one gets hurt.
Least of all me.
Why does this have to be so hard? Iím just me, I was always me, he never asked me to change, never expected me to change. But I did change. Lost myself in him, and it hurts so much. Iím concentrating so hard on being someone else right now, so I donít have to figure out how to be me again. Get lost in it, but what happens when the case ends? I canít even bring myself to think about afterwards.
It all seems so vague, somehow. I mean, Iím focused here and things are going really well, very much according to plan, and that hardly ever happens. But itís like Iím really not me. Somebody else, someone to whom things come easily, and I think I like it. I like Face being the one trying to chase me down. He comes to me after the poker game, supposed to be debriefing me, but keeps looking at me with those eyes. Heís got that open look on his face, where I can see almost everything thatís going on. But I donít let myself look.
I still play at being Logan Ross and itís making him crazy, though heís trying not to show it. He keeps trying to find me in here, behind this front, but I donít let him. Iím cracking, though, I know. When he comes to find me, heads back to my room with meÖwhen weíre alone and when he looks like that, looks that vulnerable, Iím not very good at pretending. I donít want this to happen. Iíve made my decision and I want to hold to it. I donít want to get him aloneÖlet that door close behind us and see what happens. Sometimes we just feed off of that confusion and desire, and itís sad and desperate, but itís something real. Or at least it feels real. Iím okay when Iím not with him Ė when Iím not really me. Now, though, I feel like my resolve is breaking.
Then Dominique appears. Itís pure instinct that makes me react, get Face out of there before heís seen. I almost want to stop her when she pulls the door closed, leaving him outside and me in here with her. But thatís not what Logan Ross would do. I need this. Need to let it go. It would be so easy to try to get rid of her, but then it would be just me and Face. If I can do this, it would be an end. Or the beginning of an end. And thatís what I need.
So when she leans in to me, I kiss her. She responds so quick, and there are no ties to bind me to her. . .itís simple enough to do this. I donít get lost in it. . .wonít let myself do that again. I just let it happen. Let myself focus on this, on her, on how straightforward this is. Block Face out, let the thought of him fade as his voice fades out of my ears, and itís just me in here. I give myself over to this and tell myself that itís enough.
Not so easy in the morning light.
Iím struggling here. Trying to put it right, to find that beginning of an end that I found last night, let it wash over me and make it all okay. Make it right. My head aches with trying to figure this out.
Iím so lost in my thoughts that when Face grabs hold of me and yanks me into the empty ballroom at the hotel, Iím too startled to resist. Hannibal would not be happy with my lack of reaction. The room is cavernous and dim, chairs and tables in the quiet dark. Face slams me up against the wall next to the door. I could stop him but I donít. Lord, Iím lost in him. This isnít gonna end, is it?
He holds me there against the wall, glares at me like he hates the sight of me. Great. This just canít get any worse. Iím not gonna say anything. I have nothing to explain to him, nothing to defend. I donít owe him anything. Heíll get over getting a little wet outside. Heís been through worse.
I start to tell him that. ďFace, listen.Ē
ďShut up,Ē he hisses through clenched teeth. ďJust shut up. What the hell do you think youíre doing? Trying to be me again? You canít be me.Ē
I shove him back away from me. ďBack off, Face. Youíre not that great. Iím not trying to be anything.Ē
He sneers. ďYouíre trying to be something youíre not. That much is obvious.Ē
Iím tired. Iím so, so tired. His expression makes him look twisted. I go to shove by him, to get away from this. He throws me back harder this time, my head hits the wall, and I see stars. His voice sounds very far away.
ďWhy are you doing this?Ē His voice is laced with fury.
The blow has made my head ache even more. I just donít have the energy to face this anger. ďI give up.Ē I slide down the wall to sit on the floor. I have absolutely no energy; even keeping him in focus is a trial. ďWhat do you want from me, Face?Ē
Heís standing there glaring down at me, and for a second I think he might actually kick me. But he reigns himself in, wheels away, kicks the wall next to me instead. Now he wonít look at me. I lean my head back against the wall, gaze up at him. Tired. So fucking tired.
ďYou want me to tell you why? I donít know why, because I donít even know what precisely it is that Iím doing thatís pissing you off so much. Is it that I got the girl this time? Well, it was all in the line of duty, Face. Didnít mean a whole hell of a lot.Ē
His voice is laden with sarcasm. ďOh, you could do better, huh?Ē
Iím trying to summon up the energy to respond. ďIíve done better, Face.Ē It comes out sad.
Abruptly, he turns and slides down to the floor next to me. Heís not looking at me, not touching me. ďWhatíd you do with her?Ē
ďWhat do you think, Face?Ē I canít help it. I want answers as much as he does. ďWhy do you care?Ē
He doesnít answer. Heís got his arms propped on his legs. Heís tired, too. Heís staring at the floor and still very much not looking at me. Itís quiet in here and in this dimness, he looks as lost as I feel. No. I wonít do it. Not my job to bring him back. Not anymore.
I tilt my head back and rest it against the wall. I have to tilt it to one side to avoid the swiftly growing bump from where Face slammed me against the wall. Goddamn it. I close my eyes.
His voice is small. ďYou went with her. You had sex with her.Ē Pause. ďYou had sex with her and you locked me out.Ē Heís looking at me now Ė I can feel his eyes on me Ė but I donít look at him. I canít.
His voice continues, small but echoing in the darkness. ďHow could you do that?Ē
Itís an honest question. All the anger has drained out of him. Now heís just looking for answers. I open my eyes and look off across the wide ballroom. Empty tables, empty seats, all residing in darkness. Weíre all alone here, the world of the hotel buzzing around us, all in the far-off distance.
I tilt my head, ignoring the ache. Look at him, barely, out of the corner of my eye. ďEasy enough, Face.Ē I just watch him, sitting there not looking at me again. ďIt was easy enough.Ē
He sags a bit, and closes his eyes. Iíve got no answers for him, and heís got nothing he can give to me. Lately, when weíre together weíre more alone than weíve ever been.
I gave him every chance in the world. I gave him everything. No secrets. Nothing held back. He got it all and for a while, I guess he loved me back. I guess maybe he still loves me. But this is too hard. I tried and tried and finally I got tired of circles, tired of spinning. Iím exhausted and I know, I just know, that there ainít no way to win here.
He hasnít moved, and he looks small, somehow, sitting there. I want, so bad, to touch him. Hold him. Put my hand on his shoulder. Anything. Anything at all. But thatís what I need to get away from. That desire to stick around, to get a chance at any tossed crumbs. I donít want crumbs. Iím an all or nothing kind of guy. And I guess Iíve got nothing. So there you go.
With a heavy sigh I push myself to my feet. Look down at Face for a second, and look away quick as he raises his eyes to mine. Crumbs are the same as nothing. Sometimes worse. I need to remember that. I walk away and donít let myself look back. Not this time. My footsteps donít sound slow and heavy the way I think they should. Theyíre normal, the clicking of dress shoes across the empty dance floor as I walk out alone, no thought of where to go from here.
witchbaby's A-Team stories