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Debriefing

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Nate Ford downed the last of his whiskey, then set the glass down neatly, next in line beside the other three he'd had so far tonight. Next to him, Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith mirrored his action.

 

The late - or maybe early, depending on your perspective - hour meant the bar they'd found held only a handful of patrons, including the two of them. A shared growl at the bartender when she started to remove the empty glasses had ensured the neat rows of glass would not be disturbed, and resulted in a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue being plunked on the bar between them. Surprised that a bar in a nowhere town in a country better left unnamed had such expensive Scotch, Nate still took advantage of it and kept their glasses full.

 

When the line of glasses had reached six apiece, Hannibal finally spoke. "That could've gone worse."

 

Nate snorted. "It could've gone a lot better, too."

 

After another moment, Hannibal asked, "They separate Murdock and Parker yet?"

 

Nate shook his head. "They're soaking in warm water. Where'd they get the superglue, anyway?"

 

"With them? Who knows."

 

"Fair point." Nate took another swallow, let it burn down his throat. "Seen Eliot or B.A.?"

 

"Sparring in the hotel gym."

 

Nate blinked. "Still? How long has it been?"

 

Hannibal glanced at his wristwatch. "Four hours, twenty-seven minutes."

 

"They're gonna be useless for a week."

 

"Two."

 

Nate considered what he knew of Eliot Spencer and B. A. Baracus, and admitted that two weeks was the better estimate. He drained his seventh shot - or should that be dram? - and added the empty glass to the row before him.

 

He was just pouring the eighth - filling Hannibal's first, of course, as he was the unofficial host for this event - when Hardison burst into the bar.

 

"We gotta stop 'em. And sooner than later, if y'all know what I mean."

 

Nate blinked at the other man, his gaze only slightly bleary from the alcohol he'd drunk. "Stop who?"

 

"Face and Sophie."

 

Nate glanced at Hannibal, who looked as confused as he felt, before focusing once more on Hardison. "I thought they were getting along fairly well, considering."

 

Hardison rolled his eyes. "Fairly well, the man says. You mean too well. Which is why I'm seeing these all over."

 

Hardison tossed a couple of placards onto the bar before him and Hannibal. Nate picked up the closest one, blinked twice before the words came into red-on-white focus.

 

VOTE PECK * DEVEREAUX

 

"The hell?" Nate muttered and glanced toward the other placard. Hannibal held it up so he could read it.

 

VOTE DEVEREAUX * PECK

 

"You gotta stop 'em before they get their names on the ballot," Hardison said. "Or, worse, manage to call a special election."

 

"They haven't already?" Hannibal asked.

 

"Still arguing over who gets top billing."

 

Nate finished the last of his drink, heaved himself to his feet. "Better stop them now, before it gets physical."

 

"I suppose." Hannibal grumbled, but slid off his stool. "Where are they?"

 

"This way." Hardison started for the door. Hannibal moved to follow him, but Nate caught his arm.

 

"What?" Hannibal sounded more annoyed than curious - a man on a mission, interrupted.

 

"We are never doing this again," Nate declared.

 

Hannibal responded immediately. "Agreed."

 

When they got to the door, Hannibal's hand landed on Nate's shoulder. Nate glanced back.

 

"We're doing this again," Hannibal observed. "Sometime, somewhere."

 

Nate let out a long sigh. "Agreed."

 

They followed Hardison from the bar.