Once in a while, Face scams a place just for the two of them. And Murdock knows how it’ll end, but he just can’t help himself. He cherishes every second of this. Soaks it up like a crazy little sponge.
It begins when he’s still at the V.A. and Face isn’t even there yet. But his little notes are. “Look, it’s your Valentine again,” the mail supervisor mocks when he hands Murdock the little letter with cut-out hearts glued onto it.
Murdock likes to press the envelope to his chest, and kiss it, when nobody’s looking. He knows it’s just make-believe, ridiculously over-the-top make-believe at that. But whatever. The V.A. isn’t a nice place to be. Surely nicer than being on the lam 24/7. But it’s lonely. No fellow thunderbirds. No sweetheart. What’s a soft bed if you have to sleep in it alone every night? Sucks if you see monsters on the wall with no one to wake up so you can be scared together.
Even when Face is there to spring Murdock for a mission with the unit, their time together is usually in the haste of an escape. Or a crazy scheme to fool the warden or something. Quick, quick. Face did not like when Murdock stole kisses in the elevator. And blowjobs were no fun when you had to figure on someone busting in the room at all times.
Everything is different on their special little trips.
‘At 2100 hours – sit tight, Juliet,’ Murdock reads in the note. There are hearts drabbled all over the place, but in a cool way. You could tell it was Face. If not, then the fragrance of his expensive perfume on the rose petals would instantly give it away.
“Do you know who it is?”
“I have an inkling. But, Phil, if I was sure, then it wouldn’t be a secret admirer, would it? It’s part of the thrill,” Murdock retorts with a grin and turns around on his heels. Most of the others think he sends these letters to himself.
A fun idea. But it’s even more fun when you know it’s Face.
Murdock wonders if he’ll spring him through the window this time. Why else would he write ‘Juliet’? It’s a hint. It would be perfect. A balcony scene, but on the first floor. What man art thou that thus bescreen’d in night so stumblest on my counsel?
By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am: My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself, because it is an enemy to thee !
Face does come through the window. But it’s a little less ‘Romeo’ and a bit more ‘Rambo II’. After their inaudible greeting through the glass (Murdock already wondered at the unsophisticated approach), he points Murdock to step aside and throws a rock.
With a bang, the window shatters into a hundred pieces. The moonlight glitters auspiciously in the shards, splattered across the Looney Toons bedspread. Sharp. But Murdock just laughs and takes Face’s hand to climb out.
“Hey, Juliet,” Face tries to serenade, but it’s lost in-between their laughs.
Murdock revels in the cool night air hitting his face as they run off. Hand in hand, flying over the green from the guards they can already hear from behind. They’re so fast Murdock has to hold onto his cap. The cut on his foot doesn’t even hurt.
It’s easy to reach the car in time when you’re full of adrenaline. Love is the best drug of all, Murdock finds. He feels like a million, no, a trezillion dollars – it’s as though all the promise from the past week exploded in the night sky like fireworks.
It’s like this every time. The Fourth of July in his belly, every night they do this. Still each time is special. Murdock knows he should grow tired of those flying sparks, but he doesn’t.
They jump right through the Vette’s opened top – not Face’s Vette, that would’ve hit too close to home – but this one’s nice, too. The color’s a deep red. It fits.
It’s all “Petal to the metal, Facio!” and whooping and parking in an underground garage and hiding behind pillars. And giggling, and holding hands.
Sometimes Murdock wonders if Face would ever come pick him up in his own Corvette. All those other cars smell so different. He tries not to think about it though, it’s among all those things he doesn’t wanna think about.
But watching all those small movements Face makes when he unlocks the door, and the familiar but still spectacular line of his jaw, and the lines on his skin which show that he does age after all, and his beautiful blue shirt that always looks best on him because it fits the sky colors of his eyes so well…
Murdock can’t help but think. He can’t stop his mind from racing. Much less his heart.
But… No, stick to the deal. The goddamned deal… Anything else would be unfair to dear Face.
Stupid brain. That’s the deal: one night in fairy tale land and then boom. Boom-bu-boo-boom. Nothing more. No consequences whatsoever. By the time they leave the scammed location, they’re two quarters of the A-Team again, manly men, true muchachos if you’ve ever seen some.
For a true couple experience you have to pretend that all nights are like these. Except you can’t, because Face tends to go all-out and romcom and shit. No one orders a four-story wedding cake on an ordinary Tuesday night. Right? Murdock knows it’s easier for Face that way. Suspension of disbelieve, something, something.
Murdock knows, because he’s tried. But it’s overkill. This whole affair has been on the brink of knocking him flat out for some time now. He likes it better this way, somehow. He enjoys getting swept away in the mad currents, despite experience teaching him ‘the higher the high, the lower the low’.
Murdock knows how tonight will end, too, but he can’t fucking help it. He likes the butterflies. And their bittersweet stings in his chest, turning into stones as soon as Face stops looking at him. Stops holding his hand.
Butterflies killed by their own poison. Butterflies like mayflies.
The saddest thing is, Face doesn’t handle them half as good as Murdock. But he wants to keep this going the way it’s going. So they keep going.
The turning of the key makes Murdock snap back into the present. “Voilà,” Face beams when they enter. The place smells nice. Looks modern. Could use a few more plants, maybe. Antique pink and Doric columns, cool, cool, cool, even though Murdock prefers Ionic. Maybe Face likes Ionic columns better, or maybe he doesn’t care all that much for the classic architectural order of columns, because then he surely would’ve favored the representative and lavish character of Corinthian columns over the simple vibe of the Dorics, ‘cause it’s Templeton and not simpleton.
All these thoughts keep coming to Murdock and prevent him from being in the moment, where he wants to be right now. With Face.
The penthouse fades around its temporary owner. Like that thing in movies, where the camera focuses in a way that gives Murdock headaches. Now it gives him heartaches.
That is his… friend, right over there. Romeo for one night only. Adventure Coupon Boyfriend.
Face notices. Because of course he does. He softens as he steps closer. No ‘are you okay’s or ‘is everything all right’s, they’ve talked about that, and they don’t ask these questions out loud.
They both keep asking them anyway, because they’re clumsy like that. Just not verbally. Questions without words. They’re not in words anyway, they’re in Face’s damned blue eyes. Murdock wants to crash into them like he would crash into the sky, in a loop, in a spin, with a whoop and his heart wide open.
He just wants to grab Temp and hold him close and never let go.
And Temp reaches out like he’s made of glass.
Murdock wants this to stop. The cut in his foot does sting. He sighs and wistfully says, “Face… I’m so hard already.”
It sounds less funny than in his head, but it does the trick. Kinda. Something in that blue eyes changes.
“Aha… That right?”
Face pulls him into one of those kisses, where nothing else matters anymore. Where his safe arms are the whole wide world and you don’t care about anything else anymore. They’re his best kisses. Slow and wet and like little explosions all over your chest. Murdock imagines it must look truly like a grand romcom scene – only they wouldn’t show what’s happening now, since Face let his hands wander down, down, down.
Hold me closer, Murdock wants to say. Quiet. Pleading.
Instead he moans into their kisses. “I need to be inside ya,” he whines. “All the way inside…”
He feels Face smile against his skin, and his hands touching his cheeks so tenderly. Face’s hands are always so kind, despite Murdock’s clumsiness. These hands are not made to fistfight and hold guns and torture ‘Nammers for information ‘cause the Colonel said so.
They’re for loving. Face is full of love.
“Oh, yeah?” he asks, his voice just like sugar. He guides Murdock’s hands to his ass to grab a hand-full, oh, fuck… Murdock presses their crotches together, their cocks rubbing deliciously through all that fabric. Just like their stubbly cheeks.
“You gotta warm me up first.”
“Copy that,” Murdock drawls, wet mouth finding Face’s neck. The hunger makes them stumble to the bed – that’s one gigantic bed if he’s ever seen one – and burns away all the other stupid thoughts.
That’s the thing, right? ‘No thoughts’. They allowed themselves to have feelings about this, to tend to them like you would to a beautiful flower, one that’s supposed to never wither.
Only thoughts were forbidden, and words. Maybe they should forbid feelings instead, Murdock muses.
Then again, feelings are the whole reason they’re doing this, right? To pretend they’re a real thing, just for one night?
Murdock remembers that one time Face wanted to carry him bridal style into the hotel room he had scammed for the occasion and failing spectacularly. He giggles against Face’s chest as he takes off that beautiful blue shirt for him.
“Murdock, careful – that’s Gucci, all right?”
“Gucci, Gucci-goo,” Murdock sings and tickles Face’s chest hair. It’s so pretty. Even his nipples are designer. They’re such a pretty color.
Murdock presses one down like a button. “Doctor Peck to ward three, please. There’s a madman on the loose, oh boy, this guy’s cuckoo pants, you better come here quickly, doc, or I’ll go airmail–”
It’s always the same lame joke, but Face still laughs every time. And then he ruffles Murdock’s hair and moans when Murdock lazily licks his abs, and guides him down with a fist in his hair that’s somehow still gentle.
He’s so full of love. And Murdock intends to drink it all up.
He wants to have sex quickly. Only partially because he’s so goddamned hard. Murdock always wants to get to the main course fast. He remembers a time when he liked to take things nice and slow. But necessity makes room for changes; so much has happened since ’71, and more importantly – sex is the only time they’re allowed to say it.
So, Murdock would rather start sooner than later.
Face may complain when he’s rough with the clothes, but the truth is that Face likes sex with him precisely because it’s so unbounded. No need to hold back. No ‘what if they come back early’ or ‘what if someone hears’. More ‘roll over’s and ‘come fuck me’s.
Face is someone who needs to let everything go in order to have hot, fulfilling sex. Others may think he’s one for a quickie in the closet, but Murdock can see right through that. Face needs to be pampered. Fed with fresh strawberries, caressed all over his body, and kissed on his forehead when they’re doing missionary. He needs a story that his head can blend easily with what’s happening. He needs flowers and grand escapes and love letters. Like in the movies. Never like reality.
Murdock constantly oscillates between despising Face’s damned fear and loving the fact that he himself is the center piece in a fantasy world thought up by the amazing Templeton Peck. There’s a madness to it. It tugs at his strings of possessiveness.
“I’m gon’ take real care of ya now – yes. Breathe, breathe for me. That’s it, dearie-baby. I got ya.”
“I got you, babe… prr-prr, prr-prr, I got you, babe…”
Face’s reaction to Cher is a laugh turned moan halfway as Murdock starts rocking them to the song. Face makes the most beautiful sounds when he’s getting fucked. He’s so pliant and still so strong beneath Murdock’s body, and he smells so nice, and he always does exactly what Murdock wants in the exact moments he wants it. Like a radio in his head that’s finetuned to all of Murdock’s crazy frequencies.
Murdock wants to sing, but instead he moans at the hot tightness around him. He buries his face in the crook of Face’s neck, picking up speed. Relishes the feeling of his sweaty back against his chest. Pumping, pumping – his hips are going haywire, but his arm is steady around Face. His hand fits the place on his arm so well. His body fits Murdock’s so well…
Mouth slack with adoration, Murdock showers his shoulder with a gazillion lazy kisses, especially over that scar that Face is so insecure about, licks it, then rubs his cheek against his lovingly. Now’s the time, he’s overflowing. He can say it.
“I love you,” he whispers, over and over. Not a statement but a prayer, or a wish upon a star. “I love you, Temp, I love you so much… I love you… I love you…”
He screams beneath him. Fists grabbing the sheets like a lifeline. There are rose petals on the bed, Murdock notices. But his vision dislimns, and he screws his eyes shut.
“Temp, I… I…”
The scream is heartbreaking. But it’s okay when it’s during sex, Murdock repeats in his mind. It’s okay when it’s sex. “Temp, I love you. Let me take care of ya, please… Temp…!”
He tenses so wonderfully around his dick, oh, God, this feels like Heaven. But Murdock wants this to last. He gasps and tries one, two, three slow thrusts instead – pulling out slow and going back in fast.
Pushes him into the bed hard. Breathing hard. “I love you,” he whispers with a smile. It’s amazing how easily it falls from his lips every time. How relentless. “I love you…!” He wants him to understand this. More than anything in the world.
Temp sobs. He cries.
Murdock can’t cry. He needs to be the anchor of this fantasy world. He wants to stay buried inside of him forever.
They collapse into one sweaty, weak mess on the bed when they come. Murdock pumps Face’s cock to help him ride his orgasm to its end. The cum is hot on his fingers, and Face’s moans are sweet in his ears. Murdock gives his ass some last lazy thrusts, kissing his neck as he does.
A single sob tears from Face’s mouth.
Murdock would’ve caressed his hair, but his hand is sticky with cum. Just as white and salty as anyone else’s.
Remember the rules. No ‘are you okay’s and no ‘is everything all right’s.
Instead, once Face falls onto his shaking arms, Murdock pulls out of him wordlessly and gets rid of the condom. He wipes his hand on the already ruined bedsheet. His other arm stays steady around Face, even when they’re already dozing off. And Face’s warm hand is on his.
Their breaths calm down after some time. Face still breathes through his nose hard, but at least he’s out of tears now. That’s good.
Impalpably, he shifts in front of Murdock. His heart charges when Face intertwines their fingers.
Murdock lets him, and Face exhales through his nose. He relaxes into Murdock’s arms, finally melting into the touch.
There. It’s a wordless ‘I’ll be fine’. Murdock decides to believe him.
It’s a lot, that discrepancy of feeling so right and so wrong at the same time. You’d think his heart could only take so much, but Murdock cherishes every single sting, every single electron.
“Breakfast on the balcony tomorrow?” Face asks. His voice is already back to normal.
Murdock processes the actual content of the question belatedly, but when he does, his smile grows three sizes. “You have a balcony here?”
“You took an awful good look around, didn’t you?”
“Nah. I was too busy looking at ya, Faceman,” he murmurs and nuzzles Face’s ear. And now Face turns in his arms to look at him. Murdock loves it when his ever-so-meticulously combed hair is all wet and tousled. Tousled from sexy times, that is. Not war. Makes him look even more dreamy.
“Hey, gorge,” Murdock drawls.
Face blinks and snickers and touches Murdock’s leg with his foot beneath the blanket.
“How come a pretty gal like you can’t handle a compliment, hm?” Murdock asks gently and places a quick kiss on Face’s chin. He’s bold like that when he’s high on love and Face’s scent.
“It’s entirely your fault I’m as flustered as I am, thank you very much,” Face says with his baby blues all wide. They’re not even red from crying. “Looking at me like that through those beautiful brown eyes of yours, tse. What am I supposed to do? How’s a man supposed to help himself?”
There it is again, that romcom speak. As if they weren’t two men.
Murdock reaches to the headboard to pick one of the roses there. Face really went all-in with this one. “You’re the one who keeps the Romeo and Juliet references coming,” he says as he turns the flowers in his hand. Careful between their faces. “Like just now with the balcony. Facio, I hope ya learned your lines, ‘cause the audience is unforgivin’ when it comes to the Great Bard.” He can’t say it as energized as he means to. “They’ll drag ya right off the stage, I’m tellin’ ya.”
“Well, I don’t know. Something about a rose?” Face asks mockingly. Murdock laughs. He adores when Face is acting stupid.
Slowly but surely, their laughter fades, and he looks at Face through the leaves and blossom of the rose. Eyes locked through the safety of reds and greens in the moonlight.
This is where you’d say ‘I love you’, Murdock feels. He wants to say it. Instead, he just keeps gazing into blue eyes staring right back at him, warm. Deep. Like the sky.
Maybe, Murdock thinks, he’ll look my way when all the flowers are gone. Looks this way at me. Like a lover, for real. Just maybe. He wishes for that every time. Maybe he’ll pick him up in his Corvette, the white one, and call him ‘darling’. Maybe, someday, when he’s ready to leave the fairy tale land for something real.
Stop – brain, stop.
“C’mon,” Murdock says and swings himself up. “Let’s exchange zis dirty bugger,” he snarls in his finest German accent. “We must have anozer one wiz starch in it. Are your sheets properly starched, Herr Face-Mann?”
“Why would I starch bedsheets?”
“So zat zey’re nice and komfortabel and don’t slip off your bed, Herr Face-Mann!”
“Oh, you mean like this?” Face asks. Murdock has noticed the spark in his blue eyes but is unable to react quickly enough – Face tries to push him off the bed. But he’s too weak, so all he does is knock Murdock onto the sheet sideways. Murdock’s laughing gives him trouble breathing when Face jumps onto him, straddling his hips with a wicked smirk.
“No!” Murdock calls, much too loud for this time of day. “Houston, we been hit – we’re bein’ assaulted, it’s an ambush – I repeat –” He doesn’t get to repeat though, because Face tickles him too damn hard.
The laughter washes through his sex-ridden body like an ocean wave. It’s nice.
And Face seems to like it, too. “I just love your laughing voice,” he grins. Oh, he loves it!
Murdock reaches for him to drag him down in a wild kiss. Face kisses him back.
It’s amazing how much time exchanging bedsheets can take up when you’re trying to use up as much moments of lovey-dovey-ness as possible. Touch hands and steal glances. But somewhen, their eyes grow heavy with tiredness. And they’re back in the bed, under a soft and fluffy blanket. The beds are always so comfy, in all the apartments and hotel rooms and log cabins that Face scams. Murdock knows it’s because he can’t sleep otherwise.
Murdock on the other hand can sleep anywhere. Especially if it’s beside Face. On the concrete ground, in the jungles of ‘Nam. In-between white sheets and red rose petals.
He’s already half-asleep, halfway gone from fantasy land, when Face’s voice slithers back into the dark room. It’s low but clear, as if he wasn’t tired after all: “They have an aquarium here, at the hotel. We should go see that tomorrow.”
“Grab a milkshake and go see the starfish.”
There’s a question in that suggestion. A thousand questions, in fact. It’s a rule violation for sure. Breach, breach, Murdock’s tired brain screams.
But the image, in co-conspiracy with the sincerity in that voice, overwhelms him. The two of them, hand-in-hand, with Murdock holding a giant milkshake as they watch starfish and sunfish and moonfish and whatever cosmic curiosities that marvelous sounding aquarium would have to offer. Let that peaceful sea world welcome them on their date.
It sounds too good to be true. Literally.
He smiles. Eyelids shaking from the pressure of tears building up – by the time the sun rises, Temp will have changed his mind. Right now it’s non compos mentis. He’s high on love drugs suppressing his issues.
The cut in Murdock’s foot burns. “With two straws,” he mumbles to the ceiling.
“Yeah.” Face’s voice is like a honey veil, wrapping around his bleeding heart. Face’s arms follow. They embrace him so softly, so warmly. Legs sliding against his. So full of love. Tending to the poisonous butterflies inside the two of them.
Templeton Peck may be the only man to willingly cultivate his own heartbreak, is the last coherent thought Murdock has before falling asleep. Someone has to have their heart broken at the same time as him. Like the person you ask to be scared of bedmonsters together with you.
Murdock is happy to volunteer. Not that he has a choice. But he’d do anything for Temp. Anything in the world.