More than feeling the bullets hit, more than the pain, more than knowing his guts were coming out (though B.A. couldn't bring himself to look), it was Hannibal's eyes that told him he was done.
They'd known each other for ten years now, and B.A. could read his colonel's expressions even when he wanted to lock his emotions away. The pain, rage, grief and regret lined Hannibal's face in patterns more easily read than a parts breakdown.
So B.A. wasn't surprised when Hannibal pulled the Glock 26 he kept tucked away for emergencies. He tried to nod, tried to say that it was okay, he understood, better you than the bastards chasing us, and hey, thanks for keeping me alive all these years, but it came out in a gurgle of blood. Closing his eyes, he hoped that some of it showed in his expression.
The last thing he felt was the muzzle of the gun against his forehead, warm from resting against Hannibal's body, and Hannibal's hand holding his.
Then he woke up.
He must have got the short straw; he could feel hard flooring under his back and smell gun oil, dirty carpet, old blood and... Chinese food? Definitely time to bully Murdock into cleaning the van.
A dream, he realised, sitting up and running a hand over his face.Fuck.
Resting his elbows on his knees, B.A. tried to sort out what had happened and what his brain had cooked up in his sleep. They'd had a job, the usual, rounding up some yokels who were in with the local sheriff, should have taken thirty six hours. He remembered getting there, and Hannibal sending Face and Murdock off to snowball the mayor's office, or was that part of the dream, too? He couldn't find a line between that and getting bushwhacked, and then blood and pain and Hannibal's eyes. Maybe he'd dreamed up the whole damn job. It had felt so real.
"Gotta lay off the curry before bed," he decided, though he couldn't remember the last time Murdock had cooked for them. The fool had been in one of his moods lately.
The front seat creaked, and Hannibal twisted around to face the back of the van. "You're back," he said, and there was something wrong with is tone, like he meant something else, but B.A. wasn't with it enough to figure out what.
"Where the hell are we?"
Hannibal slid onto the floor so he could kneel in front of B.A. "Still in Williamstown."
So that much hadn't been a dream. He rubbed his forehead again, remembering the press of the gun. "Where are the guys?"
"I sent them to do recon. Those ignorant little shits aren't going to know what hit them." He sounded angrier than he should have been for just a job, angry as if one of them had got hurt.
B.A. looked up, met his eyes square on, and said, "You shot me. I thought it was a dream but..." but he hadn't been sleeping, and the van shouldn't smell like blood.
"Yeah." Hannibal's eyes flicked down for a moment, but then he looked up again. B.A. could see regret there, but not as strong as before. "I've died from a gut wound before, figured you'd rather go quick."
Sifting through the details as best as his fuzzy thinking would allow, B.A. came up with, "You're not dead, and neither am I, because this can't be what being a ghost feels like, and we ain't in hell either. So I'm going to give you ten minutes to explain, and if it still don't make sense, I'm checking myself into that place where we found Murdock." He folded his arms and put on his best scowl. It wouldn't do the least to intimidate Hannibal, but it might convince him not to dance around things.
It did. Hannibal only took about four and a half minutes to explain everything. B.A. strongly considered checking them both into a V.A. psych ward, but, in the end, the evidence seemed too clear.
"So this Immortals thing you've drafted us into, what are the rules?" he asked, thinking back to that day in Mexico, and how much shit his CO had put up with all of them since. He'd always thought it was because the three of them were hot shit. Now...
"Same as we've always played by: don't get killed."
There was more to it than that, and they both knew it, but B.A. would work it out. He'd played these damn games his whole life; this was just another, and he still had his team at his back. Forever, now, it seemed.