Nothing about Murdock is normal. Even at his most normal he acts like he's running a low grade fever. Like something inside of him is running just a little too fast, burning just a little too bright. His skin is hot to the touch and his mind races ahead, scattering words and laughter and nonsense in its wake until it all merges into one. He goes so fast sometimes that he outruns himself and needs help to find his way back.
Medication takes all that away. His lips move soundlessly and his skin is clammy against BA's chest. Intermittent tremors run through his body as if that spark inside of him is trying and failing to come back to life. Medication even makes him smell different. Makes him smell sweet like rotten fruit, like something picked too soon that never ripens just decays.
He smells like slow death but BA curls himself around Murdock, holding him in the cradle of his body as if this will be enough to keep him safe.
Once, BA asked Murdock what being medicated felt like and Murdock went very still against him. He was quiet for so long that BA thought he wasn't going to answer but eventually he pressed his lips to BA's collar bone and said “It's like being buried alive.”
That sounds about right to BA. Doctors throwing handfuls of dirt and chemicals over anything that doesn't fit into their textbooks. Burying anything they don't understand.
This time they took him while the three of them were in the hospital. A mission gone bad, a crash none of them should have walked away from, and when BA opened his eyes it was to Hannibal's hand on his shoulder and his face drawn tight. And BA had known just from that.
Apparently, Murdock had been difficult. Apparently, he'd been delirious and hadn't let anyone take a look at the hole in his shoulder. BA doesn't care about any of that. What he cares about is that by the time they get to Murdock he's already been shot full of something that puts out the light in his eyes and makes his hands shake like an old man. He doesn't recognise BA.
It's not the first time this has happened. Too many doctors believe in shooting first and asking questions later. Afterwards, the two of them will lie skin to skin and pass kisses and secrets between them, carving out a little space in a world that doesn't know what to do with them. And each time BA will swear to Murdock that he won't let it happen again. Won't let them take him again. And Murdock will press his fingers against BA's lips and they will both pretend that this is a promise BA can keep.
BA hates being just another person who lets Murdock down. Even though he knows Murdock doesn't blame him, it still tastes like failure. They take Murdock away from him and then this starts all over again.
Skin helps bring him back. Holding him helps. BA knows this from all his broken promises and he doesn't leave Murdock's side. Every time they go through this it takes days for the drugs to leave his system, and longer than that for the shadows to leave his eyes. It's a long journey back and each time feels longer than the last.
It's been a hard adjustment to make. All BA's life he's been able to look at things and know how to fix them. That's who he is. It's been hard accepting that sometimes things stay broken no matter what you do. Harder still to accept that sometimes the only thing you can do is be patient and let things fix themselves.
BA has learned patience though. His old friends would laugh if they could see him now, but all that old shit seems to get less important for every day that he gets to have Murdock at his side. Murdock with his stupid hat and his gentle eyes and his always making BA wait. That's okay though. BA can wait for him if that's what he needs.
Murdock's fingers twitch ever so slightly. He's cold in BA's arms and his skin smells of death but BA keeps him close. He isn't letting go. He's never letting go. Not when BA has taught himself patience just so that he gets to be the one here waiting every time Murdock digs himself back out of that grave.