Snowfall

by brooklinegirl (witchbaby)

PG

1/2001




Coming to terms with being in love.




The snow was falling down hard outside. The wind whipped it so it flew by almost sideways, big, thick flakes coating the city. Weird. East coast weather was so odd, so fierce, so real. Not like California, where, like everything, the weather came in subversively, and you never knew why you were feeling so out of sorts, so fucked up, till you found out the Santa Anas were blowing again.

Face stood looking out the window at the oddity of east coast weather. So much snow, even the natives were getting anxious over it. His shoulders hurt, his stomach was tight from the tension. Right now, all he wanted was numbness.

There was a small sound from the bed behind him, and he turned around swiftly, worry a palpable part of him. He was at the bed in an instant, crouching down to look into Murdockís face. Murdock looked distinctly unhealthy. His skin had a grayish cast to it, and he lay very still, an odd state for Murdock. He was usually so wound up, so in motion. To see him so quiet only accentuated the fact that something was wrong. Face took his hand and held it tight. Murdock didnít move.

It was supposed to be so easy. It just went down early. Hannibal was on his way to join them, would be here tomorrow, but the con had just gone down early, that was all. Still, it was Faceís fault. He was the one who had set it up. The one with the plan, this time. It was Faceís fault.

More so for the fact that he had sent Murdock in, relying on him to be able to uphold the con. Murdock did good, real good, but not good enough. The guys they were trying to con had some information, some spook of theirs was onto them. Knew all about the Team. So that when Face sent Murdock in, Murdock was immediately made, and taken, and beaten. Beaten badly. The guys had wanted information on where the rest of the Team was. But Murdock was good at keeping his mouth shut when he had to. Face had gone in earlier than they had planned it, for some reason even he wasnít sure about. Knew something had gone wrong, bad wrong. Somehow, he didnít quite remember how, kicked the shit out of those guys. Gotten the cops in, without getting caught. Gotten Murdock out, without getting caught. Didnít quite know how. Didnít really care.

They had been going to kill Murdock. If Face hadnít gotten there in timeĖ. It had been close, just too damn close.

Hannibal was coming tomorrow. With BA. Theyíd be able to wrap things up, easy. Face had the evidence against the company those goons worked for, just needed Hannibal and BA for the threats. Easy. But for now there was Murdock. Couldnít take him to a doctor. He didnít have his connections, out here on the east coast, and it was too, too risky. So it was just the two of them, alone, in the high up hotel room. And Face wasnít sure what to do.

Murdock had been awake for a while when heíd first brought him up. Not making much sense, that was for sure, but awake at least. Raving, maybe, a little. Not quite focusing. Not quite there. But still, it was less scary than this too-quiet unconsciousness. Face had tried to keep him awake for as long as he could. Hadnít been able to for very long.

Scary.

Murdock shifted, his hand moved, tightened slightly on Faceís for just a second. Face froze, then his hand went to Murdockís brow. "Murdock." No movement, no sound. "Murdock, please." His voice strained, desperate.

Murdockís head turned slowly, towards Face, and his eyes inched open. Glassy. Full of pain. His fever had broken an hour or so ago (and Faceís heart had started beating again, it seemed). But he wasnít all there. "Face. Thirsty." Face brought a glass of water to his lips. Murdock sipped, then fell back, weak. Face put his hand alongside Murdockís cheek. His hand was trembling. That was weird. Murdock seemed to pull himself together a little bit, shifted in the bed. Looked at Face. Saw Face. Face pulled back, imagining the stubble that must coat his cheeks, how tired he must look. How tired he felt.

Murdock half-smiled. Managed to bring his hand up, pressed it against Faceís own face. "Facey." Shifted a little, winced. "Think I have a concussion." Got quiet for a second, evaluating. "I hurt. A lot."

Face let out the breath he had been holding. "I know. They hurt you. I was waitingĖ" A pause, for him to catch his breath, to catch his heart. A sigh. "For you. Waiting for you to wake up." A shudder passed through him. "You scared me."

"Didnít mean to, Facey." Murdock lay there, coming back to himself. Smiling at the worry Face rarely allowed himself to show.

"I know. Not your fault. Not your fault." Face reached over for the cool cloth in the bowl of water at the bedside, gently pressed it to the harsh bruise standing stark against Murdockís jaw. Murdock winced. "Sorry, baby, I know."

Faceís hand was still shaking. Dammit, why couldnít he stop shaking? Theyíd been through this before, theyíd all been through this. Given what they did for a living, the real surprise should have been that it didnít happen more often. But things had changed. Things were different, and it seemed that there was so much more to lose, now. Still shaking. Numbness would be nice.

Murdock had closed his eyes against the pain, opened them again at Faceís shivering. "Iím okay, baby." His words slurred only a little. "What happened? Where are we?"

"Weíre back at the hotel. TheyĖ" A breath. "They hurt you. I got you. I brought you back. Hannibal and BA will be here tomorrow." He looked again at Murdockís bruised face. Dark circles sank Murdockís eyes into his head. He looked like hell. "Iím sorry."

"Donít be sorry." A quick smile, eyes cloudy but true. "Not your damn fault." He paused for breath, closed his eyes (god, his ribs hurt), opened them again to meet Faceís own, unshuttered. His voice was feathery. "You donít believe me. Not your fault."

"I know." Faceís voice soft, unsure. Broken. Again.

"You donít." Another pause, with a smile in the voice and the face. "Dummy." He lay back, trying to garner the strength to open his eyes again. Held his breath as the slightest of movements sent a sharp pain through his abdomen. ~Everything~ hurt. Dizzy. Spiraling. Stop. He needed to focus. Stay awake. Heard music in the background. Music? "What are you playing there, sweetie?"

"I donít know." Face was supporting his head in his hands, staring down at Murdock. "Tape from your bag. Marked, umĖ" He picked up the case from his nightstand. "Boys Donít Cry." He allowed himself a small smile, but it was all trembly. "Needed something to bring you back. I didnít know what to do." Music had seemed the right thing to do. Murdock was always trying to get Face to listen to this stuff.

Murdock lay there, listening, a smile on his face. He and his Facey were so alike in some ways, worlds apart in others. That was okay. They were okay. Different was good. He was always trying to get Face to appreciate his taste. Sometimes it even worked.

Now Face smiled at him. Tired. Wrinkles seemed worn right into his face, really. But there was love there. "What are you looking so happy about? You had me worried to death." That last part was said into his hands, ostensibly rubbing his eyes. But Murdock could always see when Face was hiding.

He shifted onto his side a bit, trying to ease the pain. His left side definitely hurt more. Bruised ribs? He winced at the pain the shift caused. Yep, at least bruised, hopefully not broken. Face looked down at him, worried, when he hissed at the pain. But Murdock patted his hand, tried to relax him. "Didnít mean to worry you, Facey." His voice was slightly breathless from the pain. "But you did right with this music. Anything was going to bring me back, it was this. Made this tape when I was all lost in you." He paused, moon dark eyes almost eating into Faceís soul. Meaning to. "Before you knew."

His voice seemed steadier, now, though his eyes were wandering a bit. Face pressed his hand to Murdockís forehead, checking again for fever. He was still cool. Face sat and looked at him, worry still strong in him, but feeling better for being able to talk to Murdock, instead of sitting in the stillness of his unconsciousness.

"Darkness in the morning

shadows on the land

certain individuals arenít sticking to the plan."

It wasnít all that long ago. Theyíd wasted a lot of time, dancing around the subject, neither one giving in. Love at first sight. Ridiculous. That didnít happen. Wasnít real. Only for fairy tales. And theyíd been there right in front of each other the whole time, so how could they have been lost?

"And Iím searching for a heart

Searching everyone

They say love conquers all

You canít start it like a car

You canít stop it with a gun."

Murdock had tried to ignore it. Not easy, with every touch from Face making him tremble. And every casual touch from Face seeming very deliberate. Setting him on fire. Tried to ignore it, and couldnít. It took a long time for him to look at it for what it was. Even longer to realize that there wasnít much he could do to change it. It felt like true love, and even the smallest child will tell you thereís no use fighting that.

"They tell you love requires a little standing in line

And Iíve been waiting for my lover for a long long time

Iíve been pacing the floor

Iíve been watching the door

And meanwhile Iíll keep searching for a heart."

So he knew first. His heart had known first, actually, and it just took his brain a little longer to catch up. When it did, it just seemed so simple. Well, not simple, no. But very, very real. Simple only in that there were no two ways around it. He was in love.

But there was his Face, who couldnít see what was right there in front of him. Going through woman after woman, letting them down as gentle as he could, always letting them know that it wasnít them, it was him. Something he was looking for, something that he couldnít find. No matter how hard he looked.

"Iíve been searching high and low for you

Trying to track you down

Certain individuals

Have finally come around."

Till he looked at Murdock. It hadnít been easy, it hadnít been quick. It was so much, such a change, such a chance. But Murdock had seen him look, finally. Look at him in a certain way, for the very first time. Like heíd been blind. And finally had someone explain to him how eyelids worked. Heíd opened his eyes. Murdock had seen what heíd needed to see in that one look. So he could afford to be patient. Let Face find his own way. He sat back. And Face took his damn time with it. Six months before he suited action to look.

But Face was no fool. Who was he to turn away from a heart that matched his own?

"And Iím searching for a heart

Searching everyone

They say love conquers all

You canít start it like a car

You canít stop it with a gun."

Murdock watched Face through his hazy brown eyes as the song wove its way around them. Focusing took too much energy, but that was okay. Face looked even more like an angel all hazy like this. He wondered about that. Would an angel like Facey have ever fallen from grace? Nah, not if Hannibal had been his commander. Hell, with Hannibal in charge, theyíd have gone through the front door of Hell itself, cleaned it out, and set it up as an alternate home base for the cherubim and seraphim.

Murdock laughed at that image, and started coughing, which lit up pain in every portion of his body. The ribs were the worst though. Face, eyes still so very worried, held him through the coughing fit, pressed a glass of water to his lips with a slightly trembling hand. Murdock swallowed, and calmed, and Face laid him gently back on the pillows, with a pseudo-ferocious look. "What could possibly be funny enough to go through that for?"

Murdock was more light-headed than before the coughing fit, and found reality flitting in and out of shadows. Still, he smiled at Face (palpable worry coming in waves from the other man), and said, "Not funny. Just thinking of how long I waited for you."

Face blanched slightly. His shoulders hunched. "I didnít know theyíd made us. It shouldnít have happened. I got you hurt."

Murdock shook his head, trying to clear the haze that threatened to overwhelm him. "No, thatís not it." Hard to explain what seemed so clear to him. "Waiting for ~you~. I meanĖwaiting for your heart. To come get mine. Then weíre together. See?" This wasnít making any sense at all. His tongue didnít seem to want to cooperate with his thoughts. And now Face was giving him with that worried look again.

"Wait. Just listen to my man Warren here." Faceís eyes widened and he felt Murdockís head again for fever. "No." Murdockís eyes crinkled in a weak grin. "The music. Just listen."

"And Iím searching for a heart

Searching everyone

They say love conquers all

You canít start it like a car

You canít stop it with a gun."

Murdock shook his head slightly on the pillow. His eyelids felt so heavy. "You donít listen to love songs nearly enough, Facey. You can learn a lot from them." His eyes slid shut for a moment, then opened again slowly. "I know you. You took a chance. These things happen." His eyes fell closed, and he left them that way this time. So tired. His words were slurring again. "Like falling in love. Some things, thereís just no stopping."

Face watched him as his breathing evened out. Shadows under his eyes. So dark. Face sat, the snow swirling outside the window, and watched Murdock breathing. Some things, thereís just no stopping. Scary. Love conquers all. He wasnít sure he liked being conquered. It meant he couldnít put an end to it, even if Murdock was taken from him. But if the songs were right, then love was worth an endless amount of heartache. And he didnít have a choice, anyway.

You canít start it like a car.

You canít stop it with a gun.

He sat with his head in his hands, the winterís storm raging outside their window. Just sat and listened to love songs.

Trying to deal with a conquered heart.

~end~


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