Frankie (The Man) Santana lay back in his bed as a hundred of plans and schemes ran through his head. It had been three months since his boss forced the A-Team to accept him as a working member. It had not been an easy road but they had grudgingly begun to believe he was as much of a prisoner as they were.
So it was a good time to strike.
“Good but not a perfect.” Santana sighed to himself. Ideally he would have preferred another month or so to cement his position but Stockwell wouldn’t have it.
“Stockwell,” Santana grimaced. If it wasn’t for the large amount of money he was being offered, he’d have left a long time ago. But it was a lot of money and he had been carefully researched and coached to appeal to the team so he didn’t expected the job to be too difficult.
He thought back to his first briefing with the general.
“Hmm,” Stockwell mused as he reviewed the new man’s resume. “You have a background in pyrotechnics which will be useful for the team. You have a history of working in films which will appeal to Colonel Smith. We’ve set you up with a backstory of a sick father which will appeal to the protective nature of the team and you have a flair for playing the role of the clumsy oaf which will not make you look like a threat. I think you’ll do nicely, Mr. Santana.”
“What exactly is the mission, sir?” Santana asked.
The dark haired agent struggled not to look down from the general’s cold eyes. He was nervous about working with a man as ruthless as Stockwell but he knew how lucrative the job could be.
“As you’ve been briefed, I am interested in bring the A-Team, or most of the team, into my employ. Soon they’re going to be captured, tried and scheduled for execution for the crimes they allegedly committed in Vietnam. Before the execution, you will make contact with one, HM Murdock. The two of you will rescue the team and bring them to me. Things in the world are heating up and they will be instrumental in handling these issues. At least, they will be when I take care of one small obstacle. You will work with the team until you remove that obstacle”
“What is that obstacle, sir?”
“Lieutenant Templeton Peck. I want you to drive him away from the rest of the team.”
Santana was confused. It didn’t make sense; certainly the simple answer was to not rescue the lieutenant from the execution.
“You’re wondering why I would go to all of the trouble of bringing him into my employ just to have you drive him away.”
Santana nodded mutely. He wasn’t surprised, he had heard of the general’s near telepathic ability.
“I assume you are familiar with the history of the team?” Stockwell asked looking pointedly at his newest employee. “They have been together for a long time and are, unfortunately, extremely loyal to each other. They would not understand that it is in their best interest to be separated. Overtly removing Peck would make them more difficult to work with than necessary.”
“So you want me to arrange an accident?” Santana had no objection to the order; he had done similar acts to similar loose ends in the past.
“No.” Stockwell said stressing the word. “If it was so simple, I would do it myself. They’re clever men. If something was to happen to the lieutenant which could be traced to me, it would be…unpleasant. But if Peck was encouraged to leave on his own, the team would let him go and would not be suspicious when he disappears. Understand?”
Santana nodded his head.
“Good. I will give you a few months familiarize yourself with the team and their inner workings. You will report these to me. You will identify Lieutenant Peck’s weaknesses and use those against him to the point that he no longer feels needed or wanted by the team. Once he leaves, we will discuss your compensation.”
He had never asked the general why he wanted Peck gone. It really wasn’t any of his business. The important thing was that he would be well paid for doing it.
After working and living with the team for several months, the reason became obvious. While all of the team hated the general with a passion, Peck was the one most vocal in his objections and the one most likely to challenge him.
The challenges were often subtle; an eye roll, or a sarcastic comment but they were constant. Plus Peck continually complained to the others about the terms of their confinements and his desire to be free. One day they’d start listening so the lieutenant had to go.
Santana did not anticipate any real problems. Despite his confident air, Peck, or Face as he had been told to call him, had a lot of self-esteem issues. Any one of them would be enough to drive the man away.
Every member had their weakness but they managed to stand strong. As a team they were an impregnable wall which shored up their individual weaknesses from an attack by an outsider.
But from someone on the inside; someone they considered a friend.
Santa smiled to himself. This was going to be a piece of cake.
“Try the easiest path first,” Santana told himself. It had always been his motto and had served him well over the years.
A person would have to be blind, dumb and stupid not to be able to tell there was something going on between Smith and Peck. They were lovers; though fuck buddies was probably a better definition.
It was easy enough to figure out the relationship; though young, Peck had been a skilled whore when he showed up in Smith’s military unit. He seduced his colonel into a sexual relationship for protection and whatever he could get out of the older man.
Peck was handsome so it was not a surprise that Smith fell under his spell. If it hadn’t been for the false charges brought against them, Peck would have already moved on to another patsy or Smith would have seen him for the con he was.
But there had been a trial and convictions followed by years on the run; Peck still needed Smith for protection and Smith liked having something good looking close at hand.
“Time to show him that there’s something sweeter at the local candy store,” Santana mused. He smiled as he admired himself in the mirror.
“Today is the day,” Santana thought as he took an extra bounce on the diving board. He knew he was hot and he wanted to give a certain silver haired fox a good eyeful.
Things had been going well. He had cozied up to Smith to the point the colonel allowed him to call him Johnnie; a little pet name shared between just the two of them.
He loved the way, Peck grinded his teeth every time he used it. Peck knew his days were numbered. Soon the ex-lieutenant was going to realize how little he was needed or wanted around here.
Stockwell helped out by sending the man on a few errands. The official reason was that Peck mouthed one too many times but the real reason was they didn’t want him distracting Smith.
Santana slowly climbed out of the pool. He knew the sun was reflecting off the water droplets which dribbled down his chest. It made his massive muscles look even better and more delectable.
“Who could say no to this?” he thought.
Santana stood straight as he shook the excess moisture from his long black hair; ensuring the colonel could see all the facets of his strong profile.
He snuck a peek at the colonel wanting to see the man enjoying the show but instead saw the silver head buried in a large book.
Santana sighed as he fought to keep a pout off his face. It didn’t do much for his ego to know Smith preferred reading some dumb ancient military facts instead of looking at him. But they had just finished a long and stressful job so it wasn’t too surprising that, when given a time to rest, the colonel took the opportunity to indulge himself in his favorite pastime.
But it showed he still had some work to do if he was going to replace Face. He needed to continue working his way into the older man’s affections. So he walked to where Smith was sitting and grabbed the chair next to him.
“Good book?” Santana asked determined to show himself interested in all things Hannibal Smith.
‘Yes it is,” Hannibal answered lazily, “and if you get one drop of water on it, I’ll have you running laps around the estate until your legs fall off.”
“Okay,” Santana said silently to himself trying not to take it personally. He knew how the colonel felt about books. The closest he had ever seen the man off shooting someone in cold blood was a rogue freedom fighter who burned down a library.
Still not ready to give up the opportunity, Santana searched his memory so he could continue the conversation now that his body was far enough away not to possibly pollute the book.
“So, Pershing? He was a general, right?”
“Was he a good general?”
“He had a spotless record until he shot one of his own men for interrupting him while he was trying to read.”
“Okay,” Santana thought. “I guess I can work on my tan instead. At least, he’s not ordering me away.”
He didn’t know how long he lay in the sun but Smith had never uttered another word to him. He had fallen into a light nap when he heard a familiar and unwelcomed sound.
“Is that just typical,” a golden voice groused. “I get sent off to do menial labors and what are my so-called friends doing? Supporting me? Helping me to the work? No, they’re at the pool sitting in the sun.”
Santana opened his eyes and saw Peck holding a full box of metal stuff glaring at them.
“Your own fault, kid,” Hannibal said without opening his eyes. “Remember, I warned you that Stockwell would figure out who threw the stink bomb in his office.”
“As I recall you didn’t say anything until after I threw it. I also seem to remember you falling on your ass laughing when he and Carla went running out of the room.”
“All true,” Hannibal admitted, “but you forgot to get rid of the evidence got caught with the skunk juice in your pocket. It shows you still got a few things left to learn.”
“Well maybe when I’m as old as dirt, I’ll know as much as you.”
“It’s not what you know; it’s what you do with it, kid. Now run along, I think Stockwell has a few more chores lined up for you.”
Face unsuccessfully tried to give Hannibal the finger while balancing the box in his other hand. He cursed as the box slipped free and all of the items scattered on the ground.
Without thinking, Santana got up to help only to stop when he saw Hannibal raised hand. He noticed neither BA nor Murdock moved to help Peck, once they saw their colonel’s signal.
“Perfect,” Santana thought as he settled back into his chair. He was in and the lieutenant was out. They were letting him on their little joke against Peck; humiliating him by forcing him to pick up things while they watched and laughed at his predicament.
Expect no one was laughing. While Peck continued to grumble, Murdock went back to screaming Marco Polo to a disinterested BA and Hannibal…Hannibal sat up in his chair, slid his sunglasses down the bridge of his noses and was staring at the young lieutenant who was bent over picking up stuff.
“I’m surprised his ass isn’t catching on fire,” Santana mumble feeling the heat from the colonel’s stare.
He watched with a mixture of jealousy and disgust as Hannibal licked his lips as Peck’s tight pants stretched against his buttocks.
It was such an obvious ploy. He was sure Hannibal would see right through it.
“Thanks for nothing,” Face complained after gathering all of the fallen items. He seemed unaware that, somehow, a few buttons on his shirt had opened exposing his tanned chest. “I’ll join you if I ever get these chores finished.”
“Here, let me help you, kid.” Hannibal said as he shot out of his chair. He walked over and grabbed the box out of Peck’s hands.
“My hero,” Face answered as he gave the colonel one of his dazzling smiles.
Santana could feel his stomach turn as lunch began to make its way back up his throat.
“Hey BA,” Hannibal shouted as he and Face walked toward the house. “Are the bugs still disconnected in the store room?”
“It’s clean,” BA answered.
“We won’t be seeing them for a while,” Murdock observed with laugh.
“Yeah,” Santana agreed as he fished Hannibal’s book out of the puddle it had dropped in.
“It looks like books aren’t his only favorite pastime,” Santana thought. “Back to the drawing board.”
Be Baracus’ Friend
As Operation Seduce Hannibal still needed some tweaking, Santana decided to start on Plan B to build camaraderie with the other team members. He figured once they were good buddies, he could subtly plant seeds of doubt about the lieutenant’s usefulness and suggestions that he was taking advantages of Smith. But rather than split his efforts, he decided to focus all of his attention on one man than use that false friendship to pull the other one in.
He considered starting with Murdock who seemed the friendlier of the two but the man’s craziness made him unpredictable and harder to read. Better to start with someone who had all his marbles and was stable. He decided to start with BA who was as stable as a rock even if it was a rock with a perpetually angry face.
Of course everyone knew it was a false front. He had seen the way the big man played with children and animals; deep inside BA was nothing but a teddy bear with a marshmallow heart.
Santana put on his best smile and marched into the garage where BA was working on the van.
Watching the man work, Santana considered BA’s relationship with the team’s old beat up vehicle. It could best be described as a little odd. Despite the fact that Stockwell had the best mechanic’s in the world on staff, the ex-corporal insisted on doing all the motor work himself. Baracus knew that vehicle like the back of his hand.
Santana remembered one time they were starting out on a new mission which stopped cold the minute BA put the keys into the ignition. The man’s face turned sick with worry then red with anger. He shut off the vehicle and started screaming that someone had touched his baby and someone was going to pay for it.
The mission started two hours late while BA tracked down the scared spitless Able who finally admitted to changing the oil…and planting a couple of bugs the night before. It looked like the Able was going to have his head ripped off until Smith stepped in and calmed BA down by promising Stockwell would give them a week vacation in Chicago when the mission was completed.
The general had been furious but finally agreed so they all got a week off and the Able was never seen again.
With that memory in mind, Santana entered the garage carefully so he wasn’t standing too close to the van.
“Whatcha doin’, buddy?” he asked. If he pretend they were friends, it would eventually become true.
BA grunted in response without looking up from his work.
“Fixing the engine?” Santana took a small step closer to the opened hood so he could see what the other man was working on.
BA grunted again but this time it had a slight growl mixed in. Santana took a quick step back.
BA buried his head deep inside the engine block until only the top of his mohawk could be seen.
“Need a wrench?”
Santana grabbed the metal tool so quickly that it hit against a screwdriver causing the tool to fall to the floor. The sound of the ding echoed ominously throughout the garage.
Santana shivered as a cold chill swept across the room. It felt as though someone walked over his grave after they had buried him alive.
Despite the fact it was June, he could see his breath frost as it left his lungs. Baracus’ shoulders began to heave as his breathing became louder and more threatening.
Santana couldn’t pull his eyes away as an unholy red fire burned within the engine block throwing odd shadows which danced macabrely across the walls.
As BA’s head slowly began to rise, Santana’s hand tightened on the wrench. He was filled with the knowledge that he had done something wrong, something horribly wrong, and was now he was going to be punished for it.
Part of him wanted to throw the wrench at the creature which had once been human but another part warned that harming the tool would only ensure an ultimate destruction which would be even more hideous than he imagined.
They would never find him or any part of him. Not Stockwell, not Hannibal, not anyone. Years from now, people would talk around the campfire in hushed tones about the misshapened ghost who haunted the grounds.
He carefully, oh so carefully, laid the tool at the exact place that he had taken it.
But it hadn’t been enough. The head continued to rise as the top of the incredibly large and strong man’s forehead came into view. A deep feral growl arose from the monster who Santana knew was going to kill him and eat his body raw.
Santana slowly stepped backwards too afraid to pull his eyes away. He took a sharp intake of breath as his back hit against the door. Reaching behind him, he grabbed the doorknob and turned it quickly.
Thankfully it opened and he fell back into the yard just as BA’s face came fully into view.
“Fucking hell!” Santana squeaked out as he slammed the door shut and looked for a large rock to roll in front of it. He’s got fangs! Fucking fangs! And smoke. He’s got smoke coming out of his ears. He was going…he was going…”
Santana took a deep breath. All of what he saw or thought he saw was impossible. A trick of light, combined with too little sleep and something else. He needed to look again. He needed to see it; to see he had been wrong about what he thought he saw. He needed to open the door, look back in and reassure himself none of it had been real.
His hand reached for the knob.
His hand barely started its task when he heard the growl. It was loud; coming for everywhere and nowhere.
He let his hand drop to his side.
Maybe he’d try Murdock first.
Be Murdock’s Buddy
Santana drew in a calming breath as he walked to the back of the main house. He saw Murdock sanding at the edge of the pond throwing rocks, trying to get them to skip along the smooth surface of the water.
“He’s looking normal today. Maybe this won’t be too hard,” he hoped.
“What’s with the heavy breathing, S-Man?” Murdock asked as he threw another stone nearly hitting a swimming duck.
“Nothing,” Santana answered pointedly not looking back at the garage.
“Nothing to do with BA?”
“Huh?” Santana was shocked; how had the man known.
“The sky is clear but a moment ago, a bolt of lightning struck the ground. That means either the Gates of Hell have opened up or someone touched one of BA’s tools.”
“I, I, I,” Santana stuttered. “I might have touched one but that was no reason for him to go off like that. I thought…I thought.” Knowing the long term relation between the two men, Santana hesitated to say what he thought.
“You thought he was going to reach into your throat, pull your heart out and crush it before your eyes.”
“Yeah,” Santana admitted sheepishly.
“Been there, seen that. Last time was a couple of weeks ago when Billy might have mistook his hammer for a chew toy.”
“BA doesn’t like Billy?” Santana secretly smiled to himself. This was a way to get in good with the ex-captain.
“Never has,” Murdock said sadly as he chucked another rock. “The cats must have gotten ahold of him.”
“I understand. Billy is important to you.”
“Bo-Bo was important to me.”
“An imaginary pet I had when I was a…” Santana stopped as he saw the pilot drop the stone in his hand as his body stiffened.
“What does Bo-Bo have to do with Billy?” Murdock demanded.
“Uhh, they’re both imaginary pets.”
Santana had never realized how fast Murdock could move when motivated. All of a sudden the man was standing right next to him with a twitch in his eyes that told him the man was still crazy.
“Billy,” Murdock said talking like every letter was a sentence onto itself “is invisible, not imaginary. Those are two totally different things.”
“Yeah buddy,” Santana said nervously looking around for an Able to rescue him. “I didn’t mean…”
“If Billy were imaginary than who do you think it was burying BA’s tools? Who is tearing up Face’s socks? Who led us through that jungle last month? Who is always howling at the moon? Who brings a smile to everyone’s face, huh? Who? Who? Who?”
Murdock punctuated every question with a poke in Santana’s chest.
The small part of common sense which still lived in the younger man’s brain screamed for him not to answer the question so he fell on his reliable standby of standing very still while opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water.
“Billy! That’s who!” Murdock huffed as he pivoted away. “Come on, boy. We don’t have to stand around here and be insulted.”
Santana didn’t know what to say so he watched as the pilot marched back into the house pausing only a moment to hold the door until something only he could see went inside.
“Crazy,” Santana mumbled as he shook his head sadly. After they got rid of Peck, he really needed to ask Stockwell if they needed the pilot.
He started to the house when his nose wrinkled in disgust.
“Ewww,” he thought. “What’s that smell?”
As he took as deeper sniff he realized the stench was coming from him.
“What the hell did I step in?” he wondered. “And how did my leg get wet?”
Try Being BA’s Friend Again
“Bad idea,” Santana thought as his skinny fingers worked ineffectively to loosen the massive fingers attached to the hand holding him up by the collar of his shirt so his toes dangled off of the ground.
“What did you say to crazy!” BA demanded as he shook the man.
“Nothing!” Santana shouted as he felt his windpipe being cut off.
“He was looking fine this morning then you went and talked to him and he’s looking sad. What’d you say to him fool? And don’t tell me nothin’!”
“I just said Billy was imaginary,” Santana blurted out too scared to think of a lie.
If he thought the truth would help him, Santana was greatly disappointed as BA continued to pin him against the wall with one hand while the other one cocked back to make a punch.
‘I ought to knock you out!” BA threatened. “I ought to hit you so hard that your great granddaddy can feel it. Why’d you go tell crazy something like that?”
“Because it’s true!”
“True? True! What do you know about true?”
Santana took some comfort that instead of hitting him, the ex-corporal contented himself with bouncing his head off of the wall.
“Listen, fool,” BA said as his voice dropped to a low dangerous growl. “Nobody gets to tell him what’s real or not unless they’ve seen everything’ that he’s seen. Got it?”
Santana quickly shook his head yes. At that moment, he would have agreed to anything.
“Good.” BA unceremoniously dropped him to the ground then walked way.
Santana felt a flare of courage as he watched BA’s back.
“What about you?” he said loudly. “You’re always telling him that Billy isn’t real.”
Santana felt his mouth go dry as BA turned and stormed back toward him.
“I didn’t mean it,” Santana said as he held his hands up in surrender.
“I’ve seen what he’s seen,” BA said as he drove a steel-like finger into Santana’s chest causing him to fall backward to the ground. “You haven’t. That’s why I get to say it.”
Santana went up to his room and sulked about his latest plan which ended badly. If he wanted to succeed in his mission, he needed to have people on his side and right now AB and Murdock were mad at him. As much as he hated to do it, he needed to apologize.
He decided to wait until he could get the pilot alone and offer an apology with as much sincerity as he could muster. Murdock would tell BA and, after a couple of weeks, they would forgive him enough so he could try again to undermine Peck.
In the evening, he went downstairs staying in the corners; ignoring the dark stares BA was throwing at him.
It looked like a typical night. BA was tinkering with something mechanical, Peck was reading a book while Smith and Murdock were playing a game of chess.
“Oh!” Murdock exclaimed as he looked up at the clock. “I forgot to walk Billy!”
“Don’t worry,” Face said without looking up from his book. “I walked him earlier. Isn’t that right, boy?”
Santana watched as one of Peck’s hands dropped and began to scratch the top of a dog’s head that wasn’t there.
“Thanks buddy,” Murdock said as he beamed in happiness.
“Don’t be encouraging him,” BA growled as he raised his head and glared at Face. “There ain’t no dog there.”
BA went back to his work but not before Santana saw the little smile of approval on his lips.
“Bastard,” Santana thought nastily. He hated the way the con man always made him look bad. It was time to bring his plans up a notch.
Make Hannibal Jealous
Santana sat in silence as he valiantly tried to staunch the blood which dribbled from his nose. On the other side of the desk, Stockwell perused the recent report of the antics of the team. Santana knew Stockwell respected men who could look him in the eye but given the circumstances of the recent misunderstanding, he couldn’t bring himself to raise his head.
“To run an organization this size, one has to be a good judge of character,” Stockwell said.
Unsure if the man was making a statement or musing out loud, Santana remained silent wishing he had thought twice about this particular plan.
“I pride myself,” Stockwell continued, “on selecting staff who know how to handle every foreseeable situation with a cool head. The higher up the echelon, the surer I am of that person.”
Santana heard the silence indicating that he was supposed to respond. He shook his head to show he understood causing small speckles of blood to fly from his nose and splatter on the general’s desk.
“Take Carla,” Stockwell said as he frowned at the violation of his desk. “She has been with me for nearly fifteen years. I would never expect her to become overly emotional in any situation. So perhaps you can tell me what you did which caused her to, and I quote, knock that horrible pervert on his ass.”
“Damn,” Santana thought as he cringed in his seat. He knew that Stockwell already knew everything that happened. Every embarrassing moment was undoubtedly recorded in minute detail. But the bastard wanted him to say it out loud, wanted his humiliation to be as all-encompassing as possible. The man wanted to see him squirm.
“Fuck him,” Santana thought as his spine began to straighten. He had a legitimate reason for what he did and no one was going to force him to…
“I’m waiting, Mr. Santana.” The disapproval was heavy in Stockwell’s voice.
“I asked Carly about the underwear she had on,” Santana admitted as he collapsed back onto himself.
“And then I asked her if I could have it.”
“And then she punched me in the nose and called for the Ables to take me out.”
“Not quite,” Stockwell said as he looked back at the report. “This says that the Ables came in on their own volition as they were afraid she would hurt you.”
“I didn’t want to hit a woman,” Santana mumbled. It was a lie. In his lifetime he had struck several women whenever he felt the job called for it. But he hadn’t expected the general’s secretary to be so mad or so strong.
“Might I inquire why you felt a need to ask my secretary for her underpants?”
“I wanted to use it to make Hannibal jealous.”
“I was unaware that the two of you were a couple. My observations have been that he is still quite enamored with his lieutenant.”
“And he is very jealous. Any time we’re out, he’s always giving the stink eye to anyone who comes near Peck. I’ve been dropping a few observations about how popular he is with the ladies.”
Stockwell nodded thoughtfully. He had noted a recent tension between the two men.
“And how do my secretary’ underpants fit it into your plan?”
“Now that I have Hannibal half convinced that Peck is cheating on him, I want to plant some physical proof. Once I get them fighting, it won’t take much to fan the flames.”
“And the rest of the team?”
“They’ll stand by Hannibal; especially when they see proof that Peck is cheating on him.”
“Very well,” Stockwell said with the slightest nod of approval. “Carry on.”
He put down the nonsense report and picked up the one which carried information about a new insurgent group starting up in the Far East. It was several seconds before he realized he was not alone.
“Doesn’t he know when he’s been dismissed,” Stockwell thought. He put down his papers and glared at the man.
“Is there something else, Mr. Santana?”
“I would suggest that you find another source for your supply of ladies underpants and I would strongly suggest you stay out of Carla’s way for the next few days.”
Santana sighed as he got up and walked out of the room. HIs idea was sound but getting the tools was proving to be difficult. The few times that he had approached some ladies at the bar had resulted in fast strategic withdrawals when the ladies’ boyfriend, brothers, bouncers and other people chased him out. The female Ables were armed so they were out. Carla had been his last chance. Or his next to last chance…
Santana pulled the dainty panties out of the shopping bag and held them up. They were almost perfect. There was no way they could be taken for anything other than ladies’ underwear.
The question was where was the best place to put them; in Peck’s corvette, in his jacket pocket, his bedroom or the bed he shared with Hannibal. So many choices.
As soon as Hannibal found them, he would start accusing the lieutenant of cheating on him. Peck would deny it and accuse the colonel of not trusting him. A little nurturing and the right word in the right place and soon they wouldn’t be talking. Once there was a crack in the relationship, he would keep at it until it was a full break then he would step in and Peck would be on the way out.
The only problem was that they looked too new. They needed to be dirtied up and look like something that a cheater would keep as a souvenir after a night of pleasure.
Remembering the fist to his nose, reminded him there was only one person who could make the panties look used.
“Dang, I should have got a bigger size,” he thought as he struggled to get them over his hips. He wondered how long he’d have to wear them to make them unpresentable enough to use. He had gotten them half way on his butt when he heard the knock on the door.
“Hey Frankie,” Murdock said from the other side of the door, “Hannibal wants you downstairs.”
“Damn,” Santana muttered as he looked over at the clock. He had completely forgotten about the weekly meeting. “I’ll be right down.”
“Hannibal wants you down there now,” shouted BA knocking a lot harder than the pilot. “Don’t make me come in there and get you.”
“No!” Santana shouted. “Just give me a minute to get dressed.”
Panicked, he struggled even harder to pull the too small undergarments up. Not noticing where his feet were at, they got tangled in his pants and he fell with a crash to the floor.
“Hey!” Ba shouted with a more concerned voice. “Are you okay? We’re coming in!”
“No!” screamed Santana as the door swung open.
“Are you ok….oh.” Murdock said as he came in and saw the young man lying face down on the floor naked except for is underwear.
“Hey! A little privacy, please,” Santana said turning back to glare at the two opened mouth team members.
“Yeah man,” BA mumbled. “We’re cool. Take as long as you want. We’ll tell Hannibal you’re busy.”
Murdock continued to stand gaped mouth as his brain tried to process what his eyes were seeing.
“Come on,” BA said. He snagged his friend’s arms and pulled him out.
Santana let his head fall back on the floor as his face burned with embarrassment.
“Wow,” Murdock said as he and BA walked toward the steps. “They’re putting ‘Hello Kitty’ on everything.”
“You’re a bad ass. You’re a man’s man,” Santana told himself as he psyched himself up to enter the room. He was going in with a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude. “Let them know that you aren’t the type of guy anyone wants to mess with.”
He slammed open the door and strutted in. He glared at each of the team individually and silently dared any one to say anything.
“Yeah, I didn’t think so,” he thought smugly as he sat in the only open chair.
“Nice of you to join us, Mr. Santana,” Hannibal said.
“I was busy,” Santana answered cockily only to wilt as the colonel’s eyes turned hard.
“It won’t happen again,” he mumbled.
Luckily the meeting was quick and without incident; no one said anything, no one looked at him funny. Maybe Murdock and BA hadn’t said anything.
“Okay, that’s it,” Hannibal said.
Santana shot to his feet. The sooner he got to his room and to bed, the sooner this day would be over. His foot stepped out of the room when he heard it.
He turned around and looked back at the team. None of them were saying anything but he could see the smiles tugging at their lips.
Except for one of them; the one that looked absolutely angelic, the one that he knew had said it. He was going to challenge the blonde when a giggle slipped out of BA’s lips soon they were all laughing.
Pulling what was left of his dignity, Santana turned and walked out of the room as the sounds of amusement echoed throughout the halls.
“Laugh while you can, Peck” he thought, but you are going to pay for this.”
Prove Who’s the Better Man
“Why is it always Murdock?” Frankie whined. He knew how annoying his voice could be. It was a weapon; he often used it for his own benefit.
Murdock stopped his air-kung-fu fighting and turned insulted eyes on him.
“What’s wrong with fighting me?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Frankie backpedaled as the other looked at him curiously. Whatever else happened he needed to make sure he didn’t alienate anyone but Peck. “It’s just that I want to be a better fighter and I can’t do that if I’m always fighting the same guy.”
“I’ll have you know, I can be as many guys as I want to be,” Murdock protested.
Santana ignored the pilot as he saw the thoughtful look in Smith’s eyes. He knew he had scored a point. While the team always complained about training, it was important for their survival to be the best. And as the team didn’t know his true background, they thought he needed it more than them. So Hannibal would want him to expand his supposedly lacking skills.
But they didn’t have any idea just how good he was. He always had to downplay his skills so they wouldn’t figure out the truth about him.
But it changed today. He was sick of the good looking conman constantly one-upping him. He was sick of being treated like a buffoon. Today he was going to show them what he was capable of.
The plan was foolproof. Smith had been pairing him with Murdock for hand-to-hand combat while he would spar with either Baracus or Peck.
Santana grimaced at the thought. It made him sick the way Hannibal babied Peck; taking it easy on him just because they were lovers.
But as soon as he talked Hannibal into letting him take on the lieutenant in some mano-a-mano combat, the colonel would see his precious Faceman beaten and bettered.
Santana could see it play out in his mind. A little more wheedling and Hannibal would let him switch partners. He would continue to play the meek novice who didn’t know how to throw a decent punch. Peck would make the first move, not expecting much of a fight. He would follow up with a sharp fist to that perfect chin which would lay Peck out cold.
Then he would act all shocked and apologetic about hurting a team member. He would laugh it off as one lucky shot. Peck would get back up, nursing a black eye. He was such a pussy that he would probably want to back down. A few well-placed subtle taunts and Peck would be obligated to try to take him down.
And every time Peck got up, he’d find himself taken down again and again by the team’s joke. Soon the others would see Peck was the weakest link and wondering if he was worth keeping.
Santana smiled as Hannibal shook his head in agreement.
“Okay,” BA said as he stood and took off his shirt.
Santana gulped as he gazed upon the massive chest on the human behemoth.
“Hell! Even his muscles have muscles,” Frankie thought.
“Hold on,” he said taking a step back. “How about me and Face? I’ll start with someone easier and work my way up to you? ”
Baracus looked a little disappointed as he put his shirt back on.
Probably thinking about that screwdriver,” Santana thought.
“You heard the man, Hannibal,” Face said looking more pleased than he had in a long time. “He wants to fight me.”
For a moment, Hannibal looked like he was going to object but merely shrugged his shoulders and motioned for them to continue.
Santana kept a slightly worried look while inside his brain was doing a victory lap. The pretty boy thought this was going to be an easy task but he was cruising for a bruising.
“Remember,” Hannibal said to the both of them but keeping his eyes on Peck, “no rough stuff. I don’t want any broken bones.”
“Don’t worry, Johnnie,” Santana with a self-depreciating tone. “I won’t hurt him too bad.”
He laughed as if he had made a joke and the team laughed with him. He couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces when he had their perfect lieutenant squealing like a bitch.
“Okay,” Hannibal said, “Face, you play the guard. Frankie will try to take you down as quickly and quietly as possible.
Face nodded and went to the corner of the building. He stood at attention with his back to the group looking like a statue
“Frankie,” Hannibal started.
“Any advice?” Santana asked playing the newbie anxious for any advice from an older mentor; only he and Stockwell knew that he didn’t need any. “Any rules?”
“You can try anything you want,” Hannibal answered as if whatever he tried wouldn’t make any difference. “But I don’t want you to be discouraged if you can’t take him down. We’re doing this so we can see your style and smooth out any rough spots.”
Santana fought hard to keep the over-eager goofball expression on his face when he nodded his head. As long as they kept underestimating him, the sweeter his victory would be.
He was as silent as the fog as he soundlessly moved closer and closer to the conman. He pulled out a small knife that he had hidden in his pocket.
After all, Smith told him that he could try anything he wanted. Defeat plus a small cut across the face would put Peck on notice as to who the better man really was.
Standing directly behind Peck, he raised his arm up to put the man in a head lock and…promptly found himself on his back looking into Peck’s cold eyes as the conman held the knife to his throat.
“Face, put the knife down,” Hannibal ordered.
“Hey, where’d you get the knife?” Murdock asked.
“Frankie had it,” Face explained as the cold eyes were replaced by a friendly smile and he slipped the weapon in his pocket.
Frankie started to splutter out an explanation but none of the team seemed to feel it was worth comment.
“Okay,” Hannibal said as he walked over and helped Santana to his feet. “Did anybody see what he did wrong?”
“Nah,” BA said. “It happened too fast.”
Murdock nodded in agreement.
“Yeah,” Hannibal said. “Try it again but a little slower this time.”
Santana got to his feet, trying hard not to throw the conman any dark looks. So the man was a little better than he expected this time, this time he’d be ready.
A few minutes later, he lay on his back contemplating how Peck had lied; it certainly didn’t feel like the counter move had been any slower. It certainly hadn’t hurt any less.
After the third time he ended on his back and one time on his face, he decided to try a different tack.
‘It’s not fair,” Frankie complained using his true whining voice. “Of course, he beat me. He’s ready for me. He knows I’m sneaking up on him.”
“You always have to expect the guards to be on alert,” Hannibal explained.
“Well, let him try sneaking up on me when I know he’s coming.” Frankie heard what sounded like BA snickering behind him.
“Okay,” Hannibal said with a sigh. “Take him down, kid.”
Santana turned to give Peck his most intimidating stare but stopped. He was gone.
“What the fuck?” he thought. Peck had been there just a second ago. He hadn’t heard anything. It was like the conman had disappeared into thin air.
“Frankie,” Hannibal said as he gave Santana’s shoulder a shake. He ignored the flinch from the startled man. “Take your position.”
Santana stood in front of the shed that he was supposed to be guarding; every nerve was taut as he listened for the conman. Long minutes passed; each one making him a little more anxious.
When he heard the crack of a twig breaking and a pebble skitter across the ground, he sprang into action. He pivoted in the direction of the sound; crouched and ready to attack.
All of which was useless as there was nothing there. He remained tense as he scanned the horizon but there was really nothing there; no animal, no insects, no Peck, no nothing.
Cursing himself for looking like a spooked beginner to the rest of the team, he turned back to give the guys his loveable goofball grin. His eyes barely had time to focus on the blonde hair in front of him before he was flying through the air and landing on his back with an oomph.
“Where the hell did he come from?” Frankie wondered as he looked at the stars and small birdies which circled above his head.
“Okay,” Hannibal said, “try it again but a little slower so we can see what’s happening.”
Three more attempts later.
“Johnnie,” Frankie whined, “it’s not fair. Face has a lot more experience than me. Make it more fair.”
With an exasperated look, Hannibal began to explain how ridiculous the man sounded when he felt a soft touch on his arm.
“It’s okay, Hannibal,” Face said. “This time I’ll wear some head phone.”
“Alright,” Hannibal said as he rolled his eyes up to the heavens. We are trying to get the drop on drug lord who’s known to shoot anyone who falls down on the job when you come across one of the guards listening to some music.”
“Got it, Johnnie,” Franke answered as he got into position.”
Three attempts later.
“Okay,” Hannibal said. “The guard’s right arm is in a sling. Kid, don’t use your right arm.”
Two times later.
“Okay,” Hannibal said slowly, “the team arrived and helped you…”
“From the butt whopping you were getting,” whispered Murdock to BA who flashed one of his rare smiles.
“subdue the guard,” Hannibal continued. “We have his hands and ankles cuffed. We gagged him and put a bag over his head. We’ll put him in the car for you. Your job is to drive him to the shed, secure him and come back here to help take out the rest of the gang.”
“Which shed?” Santana asked.
“The one with the red door, about five minutes from here. Got it?”
“Got it.” Frankie stood to the side as the others picked up the bound man and put him in the back seat of the car. Maye this wasn’t the victory he had been hoping for but it was still a victory.
He got in the car and gave them a jaunty wave as he drove away.
“Hannibal,” BA said as he looked up from resting under a shady tree. “It’s been about thirty minutes. Shouldn’t we go look for them?”
“Who?” Hannibal asked waking up from his nap.
“Frankie and Face. They’ve been gone a long time. Shouldn’t we be looking for them?”
“If you’re worried, you have my full permission to go out and find them. Hannibal closed his eyes and got comfortable again.”
BA shrugged and laid his head back onto the soft grass.
“Hey guy,” Murdock said as he ran up to the tree with a twig that he had been throwing to Billy. “Face is back.”
Neither Hannibal nor BA showed any surprise at the pilot’s failure to mention Santana. They lazily got up and walked over to the car.
“It’s eleven so I stopped by the house and made some sandwiches,” Face explained as he got out of the car and threw the each of the team a brown lunch bag. I also got us some drinks and, yes BA, I remembered to get some milk.”
“Thanks man.” BA grabbed the pint of milk and swallowed half the jar in one gulp.
“Where’s Frankie?” Murdock asked between bites of the sandwich.
Inside the dark trunk of the vehicle, Frankie Santana tried to curse through the gag and the bag over his head as he struggled to break free of the cuffs.
He was so going to make Peck pay for this.
Hey Frankie,” Murdock said as he ran into the living room. He had planned to ask the young man if he had seen BA but stopped when he saw the two large black eyes on the man.
“Wow!” Murdock exclaimed as he viewed all of the damage. “What happened to you? Were you bugging Carla again?
“He ran into a door,” Face quietly explained without looking up at the book he was reading.
“A door did all that damage?” Murdock asked skeptically.
“He ran into it a couple of times.”
Santana mumbled his agreement as he huddled in the couch. He couldn’t believe the way the lieutenant attacked him.
It had just been a small pass. There hadn’t been any reason to overreact. Maybe he had come on a little strong and maybe he had, sort of said, that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Still was that any reason to nearly knock his head off.
And the threats! He didn’t think it was physically possible to do half the things Peck said he’d do if another pass was thrown but the look in the lieutenant’s eyes suggested it was not only possible but probable.
But Peck didn’t seem anxious to tell the others what had happened so he might be able to use this to his advantage.
Despite the pain to his jaw, his lips managed a smile. This time his plan would work.
Make Hannibal Jealous: Part Two
“What the hell is happening in here?” BA shouted as he rushed into the room.
He stopped short at the sight; Hannibal on the floor having some sort of fit while Santana stood to the side, useless, with a dumb look on his face.
“Don’t just stand there!” BA ordered. “He’s having a seizure. Go get a medical kit.”
‘He’s not having a seizure,” Santana said as he glared at the man withering on the floor.
“If it ain’t a seizure then what is it?”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” Hannibal laughed as he hit his fist against the hardwood before collapsing back on the floor.
“Is he laughing?”
“Yeah,” Santana admitted as a blush started up his neck and rose to his cheeks.
“What’s he laughing about?”
“Nothing!” Santana snapped sharply. This had to be the most embarrassing event of his live.
“Johnnie, can we talk?” Santana approached the colonel; his eyes cast downward and hesitancy in his voice.
“What’s up, Frankie?” Hannibal asked as he put down the book.
“I got a problem but I don’t know exactly how to talk to anyone about it?
“Just spit it out.”
Santana sat down heavily on the couch, his head bent as if in shame.
“Say someone likes someone else, really likes them, but that someone doesn’t feel the same way about them.”
“I would listen to what Carla is telling you before she breaks your neck.”
“No!” Santana glared at the older man. Were they ever going to forget that?
“Someone approached me and said they want to be…you know, physical. I want to say no but he’s…”
“He?” Hannibal sat straighter and reached out to the younger man. “Is it Stockwell? Is he pressuring you? Cuz we can be packed up and out of here in…”
“No!” Santana shouted. The last thing he needed was the general thinking he had started a mutiny in the team. “Not Stockwell, someone else.”
“One of the Ables?”
“No. A member of the team.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Hannibal said as he sat back in the chair and waved a dismissal of the problem. “Murdock is just going through his ‘Latin Lover’ phase. He’ll get bored with it in a few days and move on to something else.”
“Not Murdock.” Santana stressed the pilot’s name. “Face.”
He whispered the name to let the colonel know how upset he was about the whole thing.
“Face?” Hannibal asked like he had heard it wrong. Lieutenant Templeton Peck said he wanted to get physical with you?”
“He wasn’t talking about more hand-to-hand combat training because I told him not to do that. He’s enjoying it too much.”
“Yes. I mean no. He’s interested in hand-to-hand combat but not the fighting kind. He wants me.”
Santana heard a crack in Hannibal’s voice as he asked the next question.
“And what exactly did he do to make you think he wants you?”
Santana secretly smiled to himself when he heard the crack in the older man’s voice. It had to be killing the older man to think his younger lover had moved on to something better. The next bit would be trickier. He needed to build on the story that Peck was hitting on him but he couldn’t be too specific. He couldn’t claim Peck had been with him when the man was somewhere else; best not to be too specific.
“A man just knows,” Santana said with a heavy tortured sigh. “The way he looks at me, the way he touches me, the way he always wants to be alone with me. It’s obvious. He wants me.”
Santana snuck a glance at the colonel. He’s plan was going perfectly. Hannibal was tensed like he was holding some powerful emotion back. It was time for the killer blow.
‘Maybe it’s my fault,” Santana said as he looked up to the heavens. “Maybe he saw me at the pool and couldn’t help himself. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone look at all I’ve got and couldn’t help himself.”
“Oh god.” Hannibal had to turn his head away. He couldn’t look Santana in the eye.
“Yes!” Santana thought as he watched the heaving shoulder of the man. Hannibal looked like he was getting ready to cry.
“A direct hit to the heart.” Santana waited a few second for Hannibal to compose himself and look back at him.
“Johnnie, what do you think I should do?”
“Just promise me one thing.”
“Yes.” Santana blinked his eyes once; a subtle hint to let the man know that he wasn’t adverse to a pass from the right man.
“Promise me that I can be there when you tell him cuz he’s going to kill you.” Hannibal reached over and slapped Santana on the knee. “On the best of days he can barely stand the sight of you. When you tell him this he’s going to…he’s going to.”
The annoyed look on Frankie’s face made it even funnier. Hannibal couldn’t help himself as laughter kept coming out. Unable to keep his hold on the chair he slipped to the ground and found himself actually rolling floor.
Until that moment, he hadn’t thought the old saying could actually be true but every time he tried to pull himself up, he’d think to what Santana said and he’d be back down, helpless, with laughter.
He was dimly aware that BA had rushed in. He saw the corporal was worried. He wanted to say something but the idea that Face or anyone would choose Frankie Santana over him was just too much
‘Hannibal….Hannibal!” BA spoke loudly as he shook the colonel’s shoulder. “Talk to me or I’m goin’ get a doctor.”
The thought of having to explain why he was laughing was a sobering thought; not quite enough to take the smile off his face but enough so he could talk.
“No…No, BA,” he managed to spit out between giggles. “I’m okay. Frankie just told me a joke.”
“Must have been a hell of a funny joke,” BA observed.
“It was. Believe me, it was. He almost had me believing he was serious.”
Hannibal grabbed BA’s arm and climbed to his feet. Once up, he walked over to Santana and wrapped his arm around the younger man’s shoulder.
“Thanks,” he said. “I really needed a laugh. But seriously I wouldn’t tell that to Face. He might not figure out your joking.”
“No problem, Johnnie,” Santana said through clenched lips “Anything to break the tension around here.”
Santana simmered as he watched the two walk out. Without even being there, Peck had bested him again. They were all blinded by the damn conman’s spell that they couldn’t take him seriously.
This went beyond Stockwell’s order. Now it was a personal vendetta.
“As God is my witness,” Santana mumbled, “I will beat Peck.”