All Face wanted was to leave it behind. He desperately wanted his old life to be a memory. It hadn't been washed out in the first years of his enlistment so now his hopes banked on being killed in action.
Ann had had enough. One would have thought it was her husband's bisexuality that did in the marriage, but nothing could have been further from the source of this particular matrimonial downfall. No, Hannibal had been his thoroughly loyal and gentlemanly self throughout their eight years, six of them married. They had a child together two years before and for anyone on the outside looking in, it was a stable and loving relationship. It was in fact loving on both their parts, but the stability escaped them. Ann simply wasn't suited to the role of the martyr-like military wife fretting over the return of her soldier husband. She could no longer live with the stress of worry that was completely, utterly out of her control. Hannibal couldn’t give it up. Ann claimed it wasn’t that he couldn’t, rather it was because he wouldn’t.
BA had taken the brunt of the blast wave while shielding Face from the worst of it. Hannibal was beyond grateful he had protected his man, but then again he watched as Face blamed himself for the condition the Sergeant was now in. He hadn't left BA's bedside since he was released from his own post mission exam. Hannibal set a hand on the young man’s shoulder. Without moving his eyes away from the unconscious man in the Army hospital bed, Face acknowledged the contact by tilting his head to rest his ear on the back of Hannibal's fingers, carefully, slowly brushing it along the bone and tendons there. "I came here to die ..... not be responsible for the death of one of the bravest men I know."
“I just spoke with his doctor. He’s stable. He won’t be up skipping rope anytime soon, but the doc is confident he’s out of the woods.”
"Babe? That you?"
"Beau. I thought you would have been asleep hours ago."
"Couldn't do much more than doze in a half-empty bed."
"Well, I think I can help you with that."
College graduate. He was a real college graduate. And with those two words Face could be transformed from an enlisted soldier to an officer. He, along with Lewis, Schreiber and Demming, would soon be off to the new assignments for which they had been accepted. Having made a pact, they had all signed up for and been accepted into the training program required to join the elite special forces known as the 75th Ranger Regiment. Who could have guessed Face would be the only one to complete the training.
"Corporal? What can I do for you BA?"
"Hannibal, I need to talk to you 'bout something."
"Sure. Have a seat."
He really didn't want to take a seat. Didn't want this conversation to last too long, still he took a chair. Even though it was meant as an offer, BA always felt the need to please his CO. "This thing you have going on with Face."
"Not blind, Boss. I can see it's more than a Colonel tight with his Lieutenant."
Hannibal remained silent. Waiting to see where this went.
"It's ... Well, it goes against what I was taught to believe."
"I was taught it's wrong. It's a sin."
There didn't seem to be a follow up. Hannibal pressed, "And?"
"And I don't know."
Hannibal had let him carry on long enough to allow himself the time to form a complete thought of his own. He had the gist of it, but wasn’t quite sure in what direction BA wanted to go. "Have we been too public? Do we need to take pains around you?"
BA was taken aback by the forthrightness, kinda hoping he was wrong about the two men. Maybe wishing Hannibal would deny their involvement.
He wasn't sure if Hannibal was angry. Didn't seem to be. He opened his mouth to continue, but didn’t really know what to say. His thoughts leading up to talking with Hannibal hadn’t covered this being so open. "I don't know, man. I just know it's there and I needed to tell you this. I want to understand, but it goes against...I don't know, man."
"BA. Are you looking for a way out of the team?"
"No! Nothing like that."
"Then what? You've told me how you were raised. You've told me your beliefs. What would you like to hear from me?"
BA only shook his head, eyes cast to the floor.
“Face and I have been together for a long time.”
“I care deeply for him.”
“Yeah. I figured that out early.”
Hannibal couldn’t help but smile. He liked BA. Though the man could lose his temper in spectacular fashion, he had been doing an admirable job of reeling it in. Face had told him about coming across the big guy sitting on the floor listening to guided meditation on his tablet.
The Colonel decided it was best to hit this head on. "For me, Face is what I had been waiting for. He's my intellectual equal. He has a sense of humor that for me never gets old. He knows what I need before I do and I have an insatiable desire to make him happy, make him feel secure. I'd like to list everything, but I also don't want to make you more uncomfortable than you already are. Let's just say he completes me. I love him. For his part? Guess you'll have to ask him."
"I can see you love him. I can see he loves you too. But Hannibal, it's not something I would ever condone outside of your situation. It bothers me, a lot.”
“Does it make you angry?”
“Not really. But for me...” he trailed off.
"Is the problem you’re bothered by not being bothered? Are you unsteady because you aren’t angry?”
“I don’t know, man. It’s not something I would ever .... do.”
Hannibal steepled his fingers and took a moment. With index fingers still together, he turned his hands in a point toward the Corporal before he continued, “BA, think on that a little while. But please, don't try to put yourself in our shoes. Think of it as something different than what you've otherwise been exposed to. That is, in such a direct way. Think it over for a few days. Then I want us to talk about it again. Sound good?"
“Yeah. That sounds good.” BA wasn’t placating. He actually felt a little better having broached the subject.
“If that’s all, you’re dismissed.”
BA was almost to the door when Hannibal spoke again, “BA, this is between you and me. Face won’t know about this talk unless you give me the okay.”
Did she really just throw him shade? It’s not like he really wanted to score with the woman, but it was part of the job after all, wooing the ladies. But not this one. She acted like Face was nothing but an obstacle in her path. Something to navigate around, circumvent.
Murdock couldn’t help but stare. Face took a double take when he felt the pilot’s eyes on him. "What are you looking at?"
"You. I've been watching you, and I'm worried."
Face knew better than to ask. And yet, "How so?"
"Well, it's a bit disturbing to see the team's Love Doctor hit the ground and cry 'Medic'!"
“Do you think I’m losing my touch?” Face asked as he examined himself in the bathroom mirror.
Hannibal wrapped his arms around the man’s waist from behind. Setting his chin on Temp’s shoulder he addressed him in the mirror, “I hadn’t thought so, but come to bed and we’ll test exactly how effective your touches can be.”
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