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A Truth Spoken...Sort-Of

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Templeton Peck sat down next to Hannibal.

Hannibal knew the difference in the way he stood, the way he walked, in comparison to the Face. He was similar, they were the same person, and they were Face, but Templeton had a sort-of…vulnerability that he hid far too easily as Face.

“What’s wrong Face?” Hannibal asked.

Templeton stared off into the distance and ran his thumb along his knuckles. Hannibal ran an eye over Templeton and noticed that, even though the young Lieutenant was staring off into the distance, he was looking inward.

Hannibal waited patiently and Templeton’s voice was quiet, soft.

Vulnerable and Hannibal, every time he heard it, was filled with a desire to protect him that overshadowed his desire to keep Phil and Darcy safe.

He figured it came from being around Templeton a majority of the time.

“Hannibal, what if someone close to you had a secret, a secret that could change everything?” Templeton asked and Hannibal stared at him, wondering if he wanted to know, or if it would be best to let Templeton keep his peace.

“I would listen to the entire story and figure out how to react after all was said and done,” Hannibal answered and Templeton nodded a bit.

‘What if…what if someone told you that they weren’t, exactly, 18 when they joined the Army? And what if, they were…a little younger?” Templeton questioned.

“Are they 18 or over now?” Hannibal responded.

“Yes.”

“Then it is beside the point. Why ruin a career over something that was never caught? So long as that person, whomever he is, never did anything that could get others into trouble if the truth was ever discovered, I see no reason for this secret to change how I view the incorrigible brat,” Hannibal responded softly.

Templeton looked up in surprise and Hannibal ruffled his hair. “You’re not that opaque, Face,” he stated and Templeton, Face, grinned cheekily up at him.

Or maybe it was Tem, the man who gleefully awaited letters from Darcy and Phil, and news of Aegis, Darcy’s now four year old Akita.

“We have manuvers this afternoon,” Hannibal stated as he stood.

“Sir, yes, sir,” Face responded as he stood, loyally following after Hannibal.

For Hannibal would come to terms, later, that the young man following him had, willingly, entered the Army, and later was trained to become an Army Ranger, all before turning 18.

Hannibal couldn’t help but see himself when he stared at Templeton.

And he wasn’t entirely sure if that was a good thing or not.