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He Grows on You (Like Rabies)

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"Shit, shit." B.A. hobbled to the van door with Murdock supporting his right side and came to the horrific realization that he was going to have to let someone else drive.

"I can—" Face started, and B.A. wondered if it was possible to kill someone with your mind.

"Leave it all to me," Murdock said, jangling the keys in his hand, and B.A. really, really hoped that he didn't drive anything like he flew.

Murdock helped B.A. into the front passenger's seat and even leaned across him to buckle his seatbelt. "The fox didn't bite my hands," B.A. said, but, as ever, the effect of his glare seemed to slide right off Murdock.

"I'll just, uh, take the jeep back with Hannibal," Face said.

"You do that," B.A. said, and at least it was nice to know it was effective on someone.

Murdock clambered into the driver's seat and said, "Don't worry, Bosco, I'll treat her gently."

"I'm not worried." Murdock turned the ignition. "Don't forget the parking brake!"

Murdock flashed a smile, disengaged the brake, and pulled out entirely too fast.

"I said I was sorry!"

"You are sorry," B.A. said. "A sorry excuse for a human being."

"Aw, c'mon, don't be like that. Look what I brought you!"

B.A. didn't think there would be anything that could make up for Murdock's driving like a bat out of hell leading to B.A. breaking open all his stitches, but he didn't really have any option but to humor him—he was stuck in bed for the foreseeable future.

"A violin and fruit flies! I saw this on a movie once—"

"Don't let those out he—"

"I, uh, I brought you something," Murdock said hesitantly.

"Does it involve insects?"


"Herbal recipes you came up with yourself?"

"I think the one with the cayenne really did help—"


"It's not an herbal recipe!"

B.A. waited, but he wasn't feeling very hopeful about where this might lead. He just hoped it wouldn't involve a fourth trip to the doctor.

"I thought we could play a board game." Murdock produced a copy of Survival.

". . . Fine."

The first card was about what to do when faced with a wild fox. It was also markedly different from most of the rest and obviously handmade with an index card and bright purple magic marker. There was an illustration of the fox, complete with dripping fangs and an arrow pointing at the saliva accompanied by the helpful label RABIES.

The options were:
A) Run screaming like a sensible person.
B) Shoot it like a total bad-ass.
C) Attack it with your feet and subsequently contract RABIES.

B.A. glared. "If you hadn't wasted all our bullets—"

"There was still the option to run screaming!"

Murdock, B.A. decided, had a definite death wish.

"I've brought you soup," Murdock said, smiling like B.A. hadn't thrown him out the night before and told him to return precisely never.

"What kind of soup?" B.A. asked, because this was Murdock, and so long as he wasn't cooking for Face—Murdock was still trying to sell Face on the art of the properly spiced antifreeze—his food was usually delicious and not too much of a danger to one's health.

"Steak noodle." Murdock whipped a plastic container out from behind his back and presented it with a flourish.


"You need to keep your energy up."

Later, B.A. interpreted this too late as a warning that this was because only a couple hours later, he would be driven to make another attempt on Murdock's life. At least he had a decent meal before Murdock had tried to show him a sock puppet "reenactment" of the fox incident, complete with closing the puppet mouth gently over B.A.'s knee and saying, "Omnomnom, Bosco tastes delicious."

Murdock was the worst friend ever.

B.A. woke up to a thousand folded paper foxes facing him with beady red eyes carefully colored in and half of them labeled "RABIES CARRIER." Murdock was nowhere to be seen. B.A. desperately needed to change his locks, but Murdock would probably just steal his keys or try climbing in the window again.

"I can drive you to the clinic," Murdock helpfully offered.

"Over my dead body."

"It's okay, Bosco, they cleared you for rabies. You're not going to die."

"I'm not the one who should be worried for his life here," B.A. said.

"Don't worry, I got another car," Murdock said. "The van can stay here."

"Another car?" B.A. had crutches, but Murdock supported him on the walk outside anyway. ". . . Is that Face's new car?"

"He loaned it to me," Murdock said breezily.

B.A. translated this to mean, I shamelessly stole it and am unconcerned by my future death at Face's hands.

"I'm not going to protect you from him," B.A. said.

"Sure you're not," Murdock agreed, but B.A. had the unsettling feeling he lied.

"Bosco," Murdock said suddenly on the way out of the clinic. "You know—you know that I—" His words stumbled awkwardly to a halt.

B.A. put a hand on the back of Murdock's neck and said, "I wouldn't have left you to get eaten by wild foxes."

"Of course you wouldn't," Murdock said happily. "Just like I wouldn't leave you to convalesce alone and concentrate on the pain of your wounds."

"Are you really trying to claim," B.A. asked disbelievingly, "that you've been even more annoying than your already very annoying usual self because you thought it would help me?"

"It's not annoying, it's love," Murdock said. "The same love you showed me when you risked rabies in driving off the wildlife."

B.A. was glad they were already at the clinic, because Murdock was going to need it.

"Bosco. Bosco. Let's be reasonable here," Murdock said, hands up as he backed away. "You wouldn't have gone to all that trouble saving me only to kill me now."

"Maybe," B.A. said, "I just really hate foxes."

As much threat as B.A. tried to put into that, he really hadn't intended Murdock to go tumbling off the sidewalk, catch his foot in the gutter, and fall so hard he wrenched his ankle. That didn't mean, though, that he didn't take a delighted glee in his own turn at providing Murdock "help" as he healed.