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My Manic and I

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“You'd better quit it.” BA doesn't even look up from the engine he's bent over. If you have to glare at someone to show them you mean it then you need to work on your Don't Fuck With Me voice.

Another missile hits his shoulder. Or you need to stop expecting fools to know a warning when they hear one.

He turns around to shoot a look at Murdock. The damn fool is sitting about ten feet away on BA's work bench, right next to his tools, and by far the most useless thing there. He's eating some kind of candy and turning the candy wrappers into tiny wax paper planes which he then launches at BA.

His aim is pretty impressive. A broken arm would probably fix that.

BA doesn’t consider himself a particularly patient man, but he’s pretty sure Murdock would be able to provoke a saint into throttling him after five minutes spent in his company. The fool's got the whole damn base to choose from and he always seems to attach himself to BA like a particularly irritating tick. Lately, it seems like he's always there when BA turns around. Him and his annoying grin and his completely groundless assumption that BA would want him around.

BA doesn't hate him anymore. Not really. That doesn't mean he's forgiven Murdock for destroying his van and stitching a lightning bolt into his arm and almost killing him, it just means BA's sick of hearing the fool apologise for it. BA can accept that at least two out of the three were accidents, which, honestly, is more than he can say for Hannibal shooting him in the arm in his own damn van. It was a pretty shitty day in a lot of respects.

Besides, it looks like Murdock's here to stay. BA’d thought for sure that the fool would last maybe a week before they'd be shipping him back to the psyche ward with a big “Return to Sender” stamped on his ass, but clearly BA's luck is for shit and he's pretty much resigned to having Murdock around by now.

It doesn't mean he likes the fool though and it definitely doesn't mean he wants him underfoot the whole damn time. He's just always there. And always smiling. BA's always known that anyone who smiles all the time has to have something really wrong with them and Murdock is just walking, talking, annoying proof of this. He seems oblivious to the fact of BA really not wanting him around and just laughs when BA tells him outright to get gone.

Laughs and then gives BA this certain type of grin. Like the two of them are in on some joke. Like he's having a conversation with BA that BA isn't aware of. It makes BA's skin itch. Makes him want to hit something.

Makes him want to hit Murdock, to be precise. The fool has clearly realised that BA can tune out his mindless chatter for the most part and has responded with an escalation in annoyance. Hence the paper planes.

Murdock beams when BA turns around. It’s no surprise that the man doesn’t know imminent death when he sees it, he does everything like he has a death wish: flies, cooks, walks across the street. How he’s lasted this long BA has no idea.

“Do you want me to bust your fool head open?” BA asks seriously.

Murdock waves that off, like he does all of BA's very real threats of physical violence. Man doesn't have the sense God gave a turkey and those fool birds are dumb enough to stare up at a rainstorm with their mouths open until they drown. There’s a lesson there. “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

BA blinks. “Why?”

“When I was real little,” Murdock continues, as if he didn't hear the dismissal in BA's voice. “I remember I wanted to be a vet. I thought it meant you could have as many dogs as you wanted and you'd just get to play with animals all day. I thought that sounded like the best thing ever. And then the vet came and shot Patch, our eldest horse, and I wasn't so set on the idea anymore. You ever want to be a vet?”

BA just shakes his head. “What are you talking about?”

“I'm talking about what you wanted to be when you grew up,” Murdock says, like this is a perfectly normal conversation for two guys to have in the middle of a hot afternoon on an Army base. BA is just glad that the garage is always deserted this time of day and there is no one around to hear. “I just thought that you and I should get to know each other a little better, Bosco.”

“Don't call me Bosco. And, fool, I already know you more than I want to. Knowing you at all's bad enough. Shut up and let me work.”

Murdock just grins that stupid happy grin of his. If BA didn't know better he'd think that Murdock maybe has some kind of learning disability, like his cousin's kid, that makes him unable to read social cues. That's not it though: the man is just a fool.

“How about a fireman? You'd get to drive a big red truck with a siren and slide down a pole whenever you wanted. That's got to have sounded pretty cool when you were a kid, huh? And they get cool uniforms and get to help people and get cats down from trees. Did you want to be a fireman?”

“Look.” BA makes no effort to hide his irritation. “I haven't thrown your fool ass out of here because I've been trying to pretend that you don't exist. You keep bothering me and reminding me that you do exist then you got to leave. Go bug Face for a while.”

Murdock hums as if he's considering that and BA turns back to his engine.

And then: “How about an astronaut? You'd get to see the universe and meet aliens and eat freeze dried ice cream. I wanted to be an astronaut for a while after I stopped wanting to be a vet. I just liked the idea of looking down and seeing the world all spread out underneath me, you know? Wanted to know what that'd be like.”

BA squeezes the bridge of his nose and counts to ten. “Why are you still here? Why are you still talking?”

“We're getting to know each other.”

“No. You're jabbering on about shit that I don't care about,” BA informs him. “And I'm ignoring you and you're making it real hard to do that. And that's making it real easy for me to want to hurt you. I don't care what you wanted to be when you was a kid – you a fool now and that's it.”

There's silence behind him but BA knows enough to not get his hopes up. When the silence lasts longer than thirty seconds he turns around suspiciously.

Murdock is swinging his legs back and forth and looking at BA thoughtfully. It's cooler in the garage than it is outside, but even Murdock has had to sacrifice some of his layers as a concession to the heat. He's got on shorts and a stupid tee shirt with some kind of cartoon cat on it that BA thinks was probably designed for an obese child to wear rather than a grown man. Even his clothes are annoying.

There's something in Murdock's expression that BA hasn't seen before. He doesn't look annoyed: probably doesn't even know how to get annoyed. He takes up so much of the available annoyance in the world that it makes sense that he'd be immune to it from other people. He looks a bit impatient though, maybe. Maybe a little like he knows something that BA doesn't and is waiting for him to catch up.

Murdock pulls his legs up and crosses them beneath him, licks his lips, seeming to consider something. “What would you like to talk about?”

“I don't,” BA tells him. “I want you to go away and let me get my work done.”

“I could help,” Murdock offers, brightening.

“Fool, you so much as think about touching this car and I'll break every bone in your hand.”

“But I-”


Murdock gives a long-suffering sigh. Like he's not the one pestering BA while BA tries to get his work done. Like he's not the most annoying man in the universe.

BA goes back to his engine, feeling the space between his shoulder blades itch through his tee shirt but refusing to turn around. There's silence. Beautiful, blessed silence for a good two minutes, which is probably the longest he's seen Murdock be silent when he wasn't actually asleep. BA knows his luck isn't good enough for it to last though.

“You're not making this easy,” Murdock says after a while.

BA doesn't ask what “this” is, doesn't care about whatever the fool thinks he's trying to do. “That mean you're going to give up and go away? Please tell me that's what it means.”

He can almost hear the put-upon expression Murdock makes at that. “That's okay, Bosco. I know you don't mean that.”

“Don't call me Bosco.”

Murdock sighs again, exaggeratedly loud and full of impatience. After a while he starts whistling and BA gives serious thought to beating him to death with his largest wrench.

Then another paper airplane hits him, on the back of the head this time, and BA's across the room and right in Murdock's face before he even knows he's moving.

Murdock just sits there and leans his head back to look up at BA. His body is completely relaxed, his expression almost lazy, with a half smile playing around his mouth, and obviously blissfully unaware of how short and painful the remainder of his life is going to be. He's looking at BA expectantly and it makes BA clench his fists against the urge to scratch.

“Why you riding me, man?” BA growls.

Murdock's smile spreads, his teeth biting into his bottom lip, and it occurs to BA, not for the first time, that this man is crazy. Maybe even crazy enough to try commit suicide using BA instead of a noose or a gun. Who the Hell can tell with crazy people.

“I'm just sitting here,” Murdock says, trying for innocent, but there's that look in his eyes that BA doesn't trust. “Just sitting here with my good friend Bosco. Just getting to know each other.”

“I ain't your friend. And don't call me Bosco.”

Murdock shifts on the bench, dropping his legs down so that BA is suddenly standing between his spread knees, and leaning back on his hands. He still looks relaxed but there’s a tension there too, something coiled and ready to react, something in his eyes that’s almost predatory. There’s a mocking little smile playing around his lips and something about that makes BA angry and makes his skin feel tight and too hot.

“My good... friend... Bosco,” Murdock repeats as if the words have some particular meaning to them. His voice is suddenly smooth and low, his accent almost musical. It makes BA want to hit something.

“There's something really wrong with you,” BA says.

Murdock grins, a tight line of teeth. “Sticks and stones, big guy.”

There’s something here that BA isn’t getting. Murdock is watching him with his lazy expression and his hooded eyes, clearly waiting for something from BA, making BA feel like an actor who’s forgotten his lines. He feels like he can almost see the shape of what's going on here, almost get a hold of it, and the situation's all the more maddening for it.

Enough of this bullshit.

BA grunts and turns to go but Murdock immediately brings his knees tight together, gripping BA’s hips and trapping him within the cradle of his body.

BA hears himself make a startled noise at that. Something fires through him, a restless heat that catches at his blood and crackles beneath his skin. It feels a lot like anger but it isn’t the same at all. That's a mistake he's been making for a while now.

How the Hell did he miss this?

Murdock sees it on his face and grins at him. Same sharp crazy little grin as always but now BA sees the hunger behind it and can only shake his head in wonder. “You crazy fool.”

“You call me that a lot,” Murdock tells him.

He reaches out and grabs BA's right hand, rubs his pale thumb over the knuckles. His grip is tight and his skin fever hot. “I think it's kinda interesting that you named me after your right hand, you know? You got me tattooed right here, man. Right here. You ever stroke yourself off and look down at this tattoo and think about me?”

Well he would now. Damn fool.

The whole room is too hot and Murdock’s skin hotter, his thighs burning against BA’s hips through his pants. Branding him. Making this real. Murdock’s eyes are sly and his thighs squeeze and release and squeeze again.

“You crazy fool,” BA can’t seem to say anything else.

Murdock's grin widens. “Yeah. I like it when you call me that, Bosco. I like that.”

BA disentangles his hand from Murdock’s but only so he can grip the fool behind both knees and pull him sharply to the end of the bench, pull his crotch tight against BA’s and make him wrap his legs tight around BA’s waist.

Murdock grabs at BA's shoulders and laughs breathlessly. “That's it. Yeah, that's the stuff.”

“Shut up,” BA tells him and then kisses him because telling the fool has never done any good.

It’s kind of a weird kiss, but then Murdock is a weird dude. He tastes sweet from the candies and seems to be physically incapable of shutting up even now, half-formed words slipping out of him and vibrating against BA’s lips. Nonsense sounds that BA doesn’t pay attention to, not while he has Murdock’s fingers digging into his shoulders and has Murdock’s thighs clenched tight around him, squirming to try and get some friction, and BA grabs his ass and pulls him in tighter and yes… right there.

The moan Murdock makes around BA’s tongue seems to agree with him. And then he’s pulling at BA’s shirt, wrestling it up and off and running his hands across BA’s chest feverishly like he wants to touch everything all at once.

“Oh, man,” Murdock laughs. “Oh, man, Bosco. You are something else. You're so hot, man. Like... like super hot. Totally En fuego, man.”

“Don’t call me, Bosco,” BA grunts, pulling at Murdock’s tee shirt. Murdock tries to help but ends up getting in the way until BA has to snap at him to stay still and he rips the shirt a little getting it off of him. Serves him right for wearing such a dumbass shirt in the first place.

He's seen Murdock before. In the showers obviously, but you don't look in the showers. You have to be careful where you put your eyes, don’t know who might be watching. Besides, Murdock in the showers scrubbing at his hair and singing in his obnoxiously loud voice is a million miles away from Murdock shirtless and writhing up against him on this bench.

Thinking about the showers, about being careful, makes BA remember where they are. The garage is deserted, always is at this time of day, but there's no point tempting fate.

However, when he tries to pull back Murdock growls and clamps his thighs tight around BA. “Please remain seated until the Captain has switched off the fasten seatbelts sign. Don't make me call the Air Marshal.”

“I'm just going to lock the door, fool,” BA tells him

Murdock narrows his eyes and considers that for a good five seconds before reluctantly releasing him. While BA locks the door and turns the radio up higher Murdock gets rid of the rest of his clothes, including his socks and boots which he throws across the room into a patch of oil like the fool he is.

BA strips off and is back between Murdock’s thighs in record time. Murdock beams at him, somehow managing to look totally goofy and totally sexy at the same time, and BA has to capture that stupid face between his hands and kiss him again just for that.

Murdock mumbles something encouraging when BA slides one hand round to the back of Murdock’s head, pushing his fingers through that thick hair and clenching his fist just tight enough to make Murdock convulse and moan low in his throat. BA drags his other hand down Murdock’s spine, scraping with his blunt nails and cupping his ass. Not bad for a white boy: Army fatigues don’t do him justice.

As if hearing that thought, Murdock bites BA’s lip hard enough to sting and then pulls back. He’s grinning like he’s got a secret again and holds eye contact as he licks his palm in one flat stroke, a flash of pink tongue, and then his hand is wrapped around BA’s cock and stroking hard.

BA grunts and widens his stance. Murdock’s hand is strong and callused and feels pretty fucking perfect and Murdock’s smirking like he’s only too aware of that fact. BA thinks about wiping that look off his face but then Murdock does something really fucking interesting with his wrist on the downstroke and BA forgets to care about anything else and can only pant against Murdock's mouth when Murdock surges forward to kiss him again.

He hears a rustling of plastic and then Murdock has gotten a condom from somewhere and is pulling away from the kiss just far enough and just long enough to use his teeth to tear open the wrapper and then he’s rolling it down onto BA before BA can really grasp what’s happening. Who in the Hell knew the fool had moves like that? Fucking Ninja, man.

Murdock is grinning against his mouth, all teeth, and he bites BA again before pulling away and then lying back on the bench, legs still tight around BA’s waist and his back arched against the hardwood surface, head tipped back like a sacrifice. Laying himself totally open for BA.

BA’s mouth feels completely dry and it’s too damn hot in here to draw a proper breath and he can do nothing but stare at the fool because really. Who knew this was what lay beneath those layers and manic twitches?

Murdock’s laughing quietly to himself but it catches in his throat when BA wraps a hand around his cock and doesn’t stroke but squeezes and releases his way up towards the head and then again, teasing him with sensation but without the friction he bucks into BA’s hand for. BA rubs his thumb in circles beneath the leaking head, enjoying the way it makes Murdock shudder and groan, his legs tightening around BA. He’s so responsive, so open, and it makes BA want so much.

Murdock untangles one of his legs from BA's waist, rubs his foot against BA's chest and over his shoulder, bending himself practically in half, trying to use his leg to pull BA in. He comes pretty close to kicking BA in the face, but it's still kind of impressive. “Come on. Come on, man. Come on in, the water's fine.”

“Wait.” BA tries to think straight. “Wait, fool, I need something. Oil or...”

“Nah, man. Green light, we're good to go. Already taken care of.”

For a second BA doesn't understand and then he thinks he does. “You mean...”

He lifts Murdock's leg a little higher and feels his way behind his balls and then inside. Inside is hot and slick and his fingers sink in easily and Murdock groans deep in his chest at that, heel kicking against the back of BA's shoulder.

“You did this?” BA asks, pushing his fingers in deeper and then out again, teasing around the edge to make Murdock jerk and hiss. “When did you...?”

They've both been in this garage for a couple of hours now and the thought of all that time Murdock sitting there like this, ready for him like this. The idea of him preparing himself in a bathroom somewhere, opening himself up on his fingers for BA’s cock. It’s just about the hottest thing BA's ever seen.

Murdock laughs breathlessly, lifting his head to grin down his body at BA. “A lady never tells. Didn't wanna wait. Don't wanna wait now, so if you could be so kind as to get with the program here, Bosco...”

BA twists his fingers one last time and then pulls them out. “Pretty sure of yourself, huh?”

Murdock laughs again, a purely joyful sound that makes BA want to laugh his own self. “Oh yeah. Nothing escapes the eagle eye of Murdock Holmes. Been throwing myself at you forever, big guy. Knew one of these days you'd wake up and catch me.”

All the time the damn fool was driving him nuts, that had been his idea of a seduction? Crazy fool. They got here in the end though.

He slicks his cock up a bit with the excess oil on his fingers and then noses his way in. It's scaldingly hot inside and slick and tight enough that BA pulls up short when Murdock makes a pained grunt.

“No no, man,” Murdock pants, pulling with his legs. “Keep going. It's good, it's good, it's so good. I can take it. Come on, keep going. All the way in, man, come on.”

“Oh, God, you're going to talk all the way through this aren't you?” BA groans and pushes all the way inside with one smooth deep thrust, clapping his hand over Murdock's mouth as he gives a hoarse shout at that.

Murdock licks his palm and he's grinning when BA snatches his hand away. “And after too. I like to cuddle.”

“No, no way. Fuck that.” BA shakes his head. “We ain't doing this if it means cuddling. I changed my mind.”

He hasn't really but it's gratifying how quickly Murdock tightens his legs around him, trapping him inside his body. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing some turbulence. Please remain seated until the aircraft has landed.”

“Crazy fool,” BA mutters. “You know I hate flying, why are you talking like that?”

Murdock grins wide. “Associative therapy, big guy. Just giving you some happy thoughts to associate with flying. Now when you’re about to get on a plane you’ll think about this instead of the whole crashing/dying thing. Side effects may include blurred vision and an overwhelming desire to do the No Pants Dance with the pilot, but that’s okay, right?”

“Oh God.” BA rolls his eyes. “Shut up shut up shut up.”

He grabs Murdock’s hips and pulls him closer, thrusting hard as if that’ll make the fool shut up where all else has failed, bending his knees and angling upwards and it’s been a while since BA did this but it’s not really something you forget. The way Murdock yelps and kicks the back of BA’s shoulder at the change in angle seems to agree with him.

“Just there, oh, just there,” Murdock moans, voice high, hands scrabbling and knocking BA’s tools on the floor.

“Watch my tools, man,” BA grunts.

Murdock just laughs at that, a slightly hysterical giggle, and the vibrations go through his body and straight to BA’s cock where they’re joined. It feels fucking incredible. BA’s never fucked someone while they were laughing before and it’s not something he would ever have thought could be sexy but it really is. Kind of like Murdock himself.

More of BA’s tools end up on the floor and BA can’t really find it in himself to care as Murdock bucks and curses beneath him, rubbing his legs against BA’s shoulders as if he wants to wring every kind of friction and sensation from this that he can. He makes a delicious broken sound when BA starts fisting his cock in time to his thrusts.

“Yeah, man,” Murdock is saying mindlessly, voice rising and falling and punctuating every snap of BA’s hips. “Just like that, oh! Oh, yeah, right there. Right there. Come on, Bosco, man, give it to me. Yeah, like that.”

The 3/8 drive ratchet goes flying and BA laughs helplessly. “Shit. You’re kind of slutty aren’t you, man?”

Murdock cranes his neck to look down the length of his body at BA. He’s grinning, but there’s an edge to it that wasn’t there before. “You betcha! Come to Fort Stewart: ride the Murdock. You’ve got a quarter on you, right?”

There’s an undercurrent there that BA doesn’t get and he falters, uncertain. He hadn’t meant anything by it, it had just slipped out. Something innocuous to say during sex. Something that was meant to be a compliment. “I didn’t mean-“

“Yeah, yeah,” Murdock’s pulling his legs down now, pushing at BA’s shoulders. “Up! Come on, up! This bench is really fucking hard and this position’s killing my back, man.”

BA pulls back slightly and Murdock grips him tight. “No no. I said up, not out. Stay in. Stay in and... sit in that chair.”

BA looks at where he’s pointing. The chair’s not all that close and Murdock’s not a big guy but he’s still a guy and surprisingly heavy. If BA tries to do as Murdock says there’s a very good chance that something’s going to get broken. Most probably something of BA’s that he really doesn’t want to get broken.

“Fool, I cannot stay in and get us both over to that chair. There's no way.”

Murdock sighs as if BA's totally irrelevant objections are ruining his plan. “Fine! I want you back in me within five seconds though, okay? I'm counting.”

He actually does count, the crazy fool, and by four BA is sat on the chair and Murdock’s sinking over him, hot and tight and breath stuttering against BA’s neck. The chair creaks threateningly beneath them and BA shifts his weight, feeling man-made fibres sticking to his ass.

He hopes the chair’s going to hold. He’s blaming the fool if it doesn’t.

Above him, Murdock’s body is drawn tense, his fingers digging into BA’s shoulders and he hisses when BA strokes a careful palm down the length of his spine. Murdock pulls back eventually and his eyes are sharp when he looks at BA. BA just lets him look and after a few seconds something softens in Murdock’s face and he laughs quietly to himself before leaning in again to nudge his mouth against BA’s.

BA licks at Murdock’s teeth and concentrates on holding himself still until he feels Murdock start to relax and move on him. Tiny teasing hitches of his hips that BA can’t help but rock up into, deepening his thrusts when Murdock just laughs against his mouth and takes whatever he has to give.

And that’s it: it’s on. BA driving up into Murdock and Murdock bucking and sinking down over him, biting at his mouth and humming something that sounds worryingly like the Meow Mix jingle and BA curses at Murdock because he just knows that he’s going to have that shit stuck in his head for the rest of the week.

Murdock laughs at that, clear and bright and utterly fucking infuriating like everything else about the man.

Clear and bright and breaking open in the middle, shattering into little yeses and oh Gods when BA wraps his hand around Murdock’s cock and jerks him roughly.

BA tries to set the same rhythm with his hand as he has with his hips, but it’s impossible with Murdock squirming and twisting on top of him so BA focuses on angling his hips just right and is rewarded by Murdock’s voice going high and desperate as he chokes out something that might be another language or might just be syllable and sound carving the air as he races headlong towards the brink.

And all BA has to do is bite hard at Murdock’s lip and Murdock’s coming, spilling into BA’s hand so that the pull is slick and furious and wrenching desperate broken sounds from Murdock until he’s laughing again, laughing as he comes, which makes BA laugh too, feeling dazed at watching Murdock come so beautifully apart between his hands.

BA’s still hard inside Murdock and he waits as Murdock comes down, comes back to himself, before giving another gloriously slow thrust upwards. But Murdock grunts at that, face twisting, and he lifts himself off BA.

“Hey!” BA can't help himself from saying. Because, seriously, you don’t just leave a guy hanging.

Murdock grins at him shakily. “Sorry, big guy. I get all hypersensitive right after I come, you know? Can’t stand to have anything up inside me. We live and learn though, right? All part of life’s rich tapestry. Next time, you just need to make sure to come first or at the same time as me if you want to be coming in my ass.”

BA’s mind stutters to a halt at the words next time and only restarts again when Murdock pulls the condom off of him and gets down on his knees between BA’s thighs and oh thank you, Jesus.

Just the sight of Murdock’s mouth swallowing him down is enough to make BA start coming and Murdock doesn’t waste time with teasing, just takes him all the way in and sucks hard so that BA comes with a shout that he muffles with his fist. When he blinks his eyes open again Murdock is still between his thighs and he’s got that goofy grin on his face again.

Murdock’s mouth is wet and swollen and he laughs when BA pulls him back up into his lap to be kissed. He tastes like latex and like BA but still with that lingering sweetness beneath it all.

Murdock hums against BA’s mouth and then pulls back, looking pretty pleased with himself. “Okay, let me guess: you wanted to be a race car driver when you grew up.”

“What?” BA blinks at the non-sequitur for a moment before realising what he’s talking about. “Oh, for… What is wrong with you, man? Why do you even care about that anyway?”

“We’re getting to know one another, Bosco,” Murdock says, eyes wide and earnest. There’s a spot of BA’s come on his chin that BA can’t help staring at. “I mean, I did try to be a gentleman and do all this in the right order, but you wouldn’t let me. Although I guess I did cook for you, so I suppose that’s something.”

“You… Fool, you cook for everyone,” BA feels he has to point out.

“Well, yeah.” Murdock looks at him like he’s slow. “But I made yours especially nice. And I brought you candy.”

“The candy you’ve been eating all afternoon? How the Hell is that bringing me candy?”

“I made you airplanes out of the wrappers!” He sounds aggrieved, like that’s meant to mean something. And perhaps in Murdock’s world it does.

BA is starting to get a headache. “Look, can you just… can you just shut up for a minute? Just shut up and, I don’t know, enjoy the afterglow or something before I get to remembering that I don’t like you and dump your heavy ass on the floor.”

Murdock makes a disgruntled noise but settles in against BA’s chest anyway. He’s quiet for a moment and then makes a sound like he’s just realised something.

“What?” BA says, too tired to deal with what’ll happen if he pretends to ignore the fool. Easier just to ask.

“You wanted to be a soldier, didn’t you?” Murdock says slowly. “When you grew up. That’s what you wanted to be, isn’t it?”

A silence falls over the space between them. And it’s kind of how it was before with Murdock sat on that bench looking up at BA like it’s BA’s move, like he’s waiting for something. The difference this time is that BA knows what it is he’s waiting for.

BA closes his eyes and listens to the two of them breathe for a while.

“A Ranger,” he says eventually. “I wanted to be a Ranger. Like my daddy.”

Murdock pats BA on the shoulder. “There now, that wasn’t so hard was it?”

And just for that, BA isn’t going to tell him to wipe his chin off before they leave.