“I hate you Hannibal Smith,” Face muttered to himself as another bullet whizzed by his head.
He couldn’t see any of the men chasing him but he knew they weren’t far behind. He needed a good place to hide but with his hands cuffed behind his back, his choices were limited. He dove into a clump of bushes and tried to meld into the foliage. As he listened to the approaching footsteps, he thought back to the beginning of the day and everything he hated about his lover and the so-called fool-proof plan that went to hell in a hand basket from the moment he woke up.
“Up and at ‘em, lieutenant!” Hannibal shouted at the slumbering figure on the bed.
Face cautiously poked his head out from his mounds of blankets and looked at the inky blackness which told him that the sun had not yet rose in the sky. He burrowed himself back into the covers and prayed the colonel would find someone else to torture this early in the morning.
No such luck. Despite his death grip on the blankets, he felt them effortless pulled away from him and his bare flesh assailed by the frigid air in the barely heated room.
He hated the sadistic pleasure Hannibal took in forcing him out of bed at ungodly hours.
“Come on, lieutenant, we have a client to meet this morning.”
“At nine!” Face complained as he tried to retrieve the blanket which Hannibal held out just past his reach. “That’s five hours from now!”
“And with as long as you spend in the bathroom,” Hannibal said as he turned to walk out of the room,” “we’ll just make it.”
Face stuck his tongue out at the retreating figure.
“Unless you’re planning on doing something a lot more interesting with that tongue,” Hannibal said without turning around, “I suggest you put it back in your mouth.”
He hated the way Hannibal knew what he was going to do before he did it, Face thought as he pulled his tongue back into his mouth. He got up and headed toward the bathroom.
He looked at the clock as he finished rushing through early morning body and hair care and was pleased to see it was only a little after five thirty. He had been forced to cut a few corners but it’d be worth it, if it cut back Hannibal’s carping.
He hated the way Hannibal bitched about how long he spent in the bathroom. It wasn’t his fault that the man’s idea personal hygiene was a sponge bath out of the sink and shaving with a rusty hunting knife.
He scowled at the smiles that greeted him as he walked into the dining room. He watched as BA and Murdock silently handed over a pair of tens to Hannibal who stuck them in his pocket with a superior grin.
He hated when Hannibal made him the butt of a private joke that no one bothered to explain to him. He decided that he’s show all of them by not talking to them. He poured himself a cup of coffee and snagged a coupler of pieces of toast before he sat down at the table.
“Here you go,” Murdock said as he plopped a weighty plate in front of the colonel and another one in front of BA before he turned back to the frying pan.
Face winced at the food laden platters. He estimated the butter soaked omelet contained, at least, four eggs and was stuffed with onions, peppers, cheese, and topped with yesterday’s chili. He actually heard his smaller capillaries slamming shut at the thought of such a cholesterol heavy meal.
He hated Hannibal’s definition of a healthy breakfast.
“Looking a little tired this morning, Face,” Hannibal observed with the same grin on his lips. “Too many late nights.”
Face gave him a dirty look, he knew that the only reason Hannibal was giving him a hard time was because he hadn’t returned until long after the man had gone to sleep. It hadn’t have been his fault that his contacts wanted to party late into the night. He would have much rather come home and enjoyed a little one-on-one time under the sheets but he needed these meetings so he’d have access to all of the supplies that the team expected him to make magically appear on demand.
Hannibal knew that but still insisted on harassing him just because he was a little frustrated. He hated that and he hated what was coming next.
“Maybe what you need is a little more training,” Hannibal said speculatively. “A few runs through the obstacle course will get you back into shape.”
“Obstacle course,” Face silently mouthed. That was Hannibal’s answer to everything from one of them losing a fist fight with three goons to too thin multigrain french toast to blue balls; forcing his team to run laps and crawl under barb wire.
“You got a problem with that, lieutenant?” Hannibal asked.
Face smiled at him and gave him the look which told him exactly what he thought of the extra training plan and Hannibal’s linage.
The bastard only laughed. He hated that.
The day continued its downward spiral. They met with the client who told them a tale about how a man named Andrew Keyser and his hirelings used force to make the local businesses sell him their goods at a reduced rate which would soon bankrupt everyone in the neighborhood.
Face hated the warning bells that sounded like the chimes of “Big Ben’ that echoed in his head. He tried to warn the colonel, to remind him that less than eighteen months ago they had broken up a similar criminal mob that was being run by a man named William Keyser. But already high on ‘the jazz’ Hannibal pooh-poohed his fears pointing out that had been in another state and that Keyser was hardly an uncommon name.
He hated when Hannibal wouldn’t listen to him and he hated the plan, send Face through the front door to wheedle a meeting with the boss to figure out where they could find the evidence that would be needed when they turned the gang over to the police.
Hannibal promised it would be a piece of cake, just like it was when they went against William Keyser. Face hated the way the colonel forgot the way that plan ended with a two hundred and fifty pound goon pointing a gun at his head.
Just like the two hundred and seventy pound goon pointed a gun at his head this time.
He hated when that happened.
Of course Andrew Keyser was William’s brother and, of course, he was more than familiar with the team which sent his brother up the river. Cuffed, slapped around and thrown in a cell; Andrew Keyser made it clear he intended to leave the team a message when he left Face’s bullet riddled body in the street.
He didn’t hate the way the bad guys constantly underestimated him. They considered him a pretty faced conman who was no threat to a heavily muscled thug. Andrew Keyser’s second in command learned his mistake when he entered the cell alone to ‘question’ Smith’s lieutenant and found himself withering on the floor holding his balls which had been kicked up to his throat.
Face searched as best he could but was unable to find the keys to the cuffs. Luckily, the minion had failed to secure to door so he was able to make his escape. His feeling of triumph lasted approximately sixty seconds before he heard the shouts of the guards and he was running for his life.
He knew his hiding place was barely adequate but it was the best he had been able to throw together. He knew as soon as they found him, they would extract their revenge then kill him. He hated that his last words and thoughts to Hannibal had been less than kind. He hoped when they recovered his body that the colonel knew how much he loved him and that he had gone out fighting.
“Peek-a-boo, I see you,” Andrew Keyser said nastily as he pulled the branches aside.
With nothing to lose, Face gave a loud shout and threw himself at the crime boss. He heard the explosion of the weapon and felt the burn as the bullet pierced his body. He idly wondered about the explosion echo as he collapsed to the ground and the darkness began to encroach on his vision.
The next thing he was aware of was the pain. The pain in his shoulder, matched by a nearly crippling pain as his fingers were crushed in a viselike object. He opened his eyes, prepared complain only to see the blue, tear rimmed eyes of his lover staring back at him.
“Looks like you were right, kid,” Hannibal apologized as he brought Face’s hand to his lips and kissed them lightly. “I should have listened to you. We got them all. They’re not going to be hurting anyone else for a long time.”
“Love you,” Face croaked out as he managed to lift one finger to caress the older man’s check.
“Love you too.”
“Stay with me?”
“You know I will. For as long as you’ll have me.”
Face smiled as he surrendered himself back to the darkness. Now that he was where he belonged, he knew everything was going to be alright. He might hate the colonel’s plans but he loved the way they ended.