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02 May 2011 @ 07:36 pm
Fic: Breaking Things On Broken Strings, Part II, Face/Murdock, R for now  
title: Breaking Things On Broken Strings, Part II
pairing: Face/Murdock
fandom: The A-Team '10
rating: R for now
warnings: Language, mental disorders, violence.
word count: ~3320
summary:
“This, map of Sweden. This, map of Karlstad. These, directions to Sweden. These, directions to Karlstad. This, address and number of cab service, and address of, eh, Mur-dock. Is a big city. You will need cab.”

Jose Gregge was a tall, lean man with a shaved head, a hooked nose, and brown eyes that looked almost black. When Templeton first sat opposite him in the bar from the night before, he was uncertain and slightly hostile, but Face was more than willing to help Templeton out, and soon Gregge appeared more comfortable, more friendly, ready to offer his services to a dying man.

Stage one, complete.

***

Gregge’s basement was cool and bright, and full of the sound of whirring technology. Templeton actually felt slightly out of his depth surrounded by screens of figures and different coloured wires on every surface. Gregge sat at the largest monitor, and murmured softly to himself as he slid his mouse around, clicked buttons and typed in one of the few languages Templeton could not understand. A few screens of text, and then a world map appeared on one monitor, and a search form on another.

“Number,” Gregge said shortly, and Templeton recited it from memory, feeling childishly proud as he did.

Gregge entered the number quickly, and asked Templeton for descriptions of the cell phone model Murdock himself owned. Templeton reeled off as much information as he could remember, Face butting in to help occasionally. Finally, the form was completed to Gregge’s full capability, and the search, it appeared, was on.

Gregge turned in his swivel chair and looked thoughtfully at Templeton.

“Thank you so much,” Templeton said with his first genuine smile in weeks. “How can I pay you for this?”

Gregge’s gaze slid over Templeton’s body and then back to his face. A slow smile pulled at one corner of his mouth. Templeton returned it forcefully, shut his eyes, and let Face take over, feeling his grin grow more confident and prepared.

***

Gregge was really quite polite about the whole thing, a lot more polite than other people Face had dealt with in this way over the years. He even let him brush his teeth afterwards, and returned to the basement while Templeton swirled mouth wash around with his tongue. He watched himself in the mirror and thought, for one terrifying second, that he actually saw the glint fade from his eyes as Face shrunk back into his mind. He tore his eyes away from the reflection and spat the mouthwash into the sink, washing it away.

“Holy shit,” he muttered, gripping the edge of the sink as his stomach churned. “You’re crazy.”

Somewhere, distantly, he heard Face laughing.

***

Finding Murdock took a lot less time than Templeton had envisioned. In fact, the process was done by the time he returned to the basement.

“That was a lot quicker than I expected,” he said as he stood beside Gregge and watched him shorten the range, getting closer to his exact location. “Your technology is amazing.”

“Not really,” Gregge replied nonchalantly. “Your friend just a lot closer than first thought.”

“How- how close?” Templeton asked. At least he wouldn’t have to go travelling across oceans, to Australia or something, Murdock was probably only a few countries away, a few days by train probably, as long as he didn’t stop too much…

“Sweden.”

Or, he was just next door.

Templeton choked on air and Gregge looked at him, brow furrowed.

“Okay Peck?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Templeton replied, waving his hand dismissively and watching the zoom on the map draw closer to Murdock’s hideaway. “Just a little taken aback, I expected… I didn’t think he’d be so close.”

Gregge shrugged, and clicked a few more icons. A printer on the other side of the room started whirring, and five sheets slowly slid out. He collected them, and gave them to Templeton one at a time.

“This, map of Sweden. This, map of Karlstad. These, directions to Sweden. These, directions to Karlstad. This, address and number of cab service, and address of, eh, Mur-dock. Is a big city. You will need cab.”

“Thank you,” Templeton said as he folded them. “Thank you so much.”

“Eh, no problem Mr Peck. I hope you find friend. He very lucky man.”

It didn’t occur to Templeton until back in his hotel room that Gregge lived alone, in such a big house, with photos of a beautiful young woman all over his bedroom. A couple of the screens, now he thought about it, had details of research into treatment of cancer on them. He stared at the phone on the cabinet, and then shook his head. Templeton didn’t know him. Gregge didn’t need his condolences.

***

“But why is Murdock so close by?” Templeton wondered aloud as he stared at the map of Sweden later that night. He had forgotten about Face, and wasn’t expecting a reply, so the answering voice startled him. “I thought Hannibal said we were to split up, spread across the globe?”

‘Maybe Murdock’s coming to you, too,’ he suggested. Templeton let himself smile at the thought. ‘Or,’ Face continued carelessly, ‘the old man’s just getting tired, forgot he stationed you right next door to him.’

“You don’t give a damn about my feelings, do you?” Templeton asked wearily.

‘Why should I?’ Face retorted. ‘When have your ‘feelings’ ever made you happy?’

Templeton didn’t answer that; he didn’t want to admit that he couldn’t.

***

Howdy there, you’ve reached Captain… Mr Murdock, leave a message and I’ll call you back.

Beep.

Murdock, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on, but I’m going to find out.


***

“Nothing from Temp, Boss,” Murdock said that night. Hannibal watched him closely for a second, then nodded once.

“Don’t worry about it, Murdock,” he said casually. “He’s just got to come to terms with things. He’ll call.” He paused as he lit his cigar, and then spoke again through the cloud of smoke. “We’ve seen proof of that.”

Murdock ran his finger over the phone in his pocket, and nodded. Something told him that this message was not for the Boss’ ears. He listened again when he was alone, and pressed his knuckles against his eyes to force the tears back, before deleting it. Templeton was angry, and an angry Templeton could not be a good thing, for anyone.

***

The train was packed and dirty. Templeton was pressed close against an overweight man who was asleep and snoring loudly in a moleskin coat that had something that looked - and smelt - like not-quite-dry blood around the collar and cuffs. One of these cuffs was resting on Templeton’s newspaper on the small table in front of them. The liquid - Templeton leaned down to smell it. Blood, definitely - was slowly spreading onto the paper. Templeton had dealt with blood before, but something about this (it may have been the proximity, the fact that the man was a stranger and he didn’t know the origins of the blood) made Templeton’s stomach churn and his throat heave. He looked quickly out the window.

It was late in the night now. The moon was huge and round, the perfect full moon, and the fields the train was passing were lit by a silver glow. The man next to him grunted in his sleep. The hand slid off the table and landed in Templeton’s tap. He looked down at it, noticing blood on the fingers and palms too. He carefully lifted it up by the man’s sleeve and placed it back on the bloody newspaper. He didn’t really want to read anymore of it anyway. The man grunted again, and his head rolled over, facing away from Templeton.

Templeton watched him carefully for a second, before sliding his hand into the pocket of the coat that he’d seen the man put his cell-phone in earlier. He slipped it out, and dialled quickly.

***

Howdy there, you’ve reached Captain… Mr Murdock, leave a message and I’ll call you back.

Beep.

Hey Murdock, Templeton here. I haven’t heard from you in a while. It’s bothering me, you know how much I love you. Call me back, I miss you.


***

Templeton was shaking from the force of keeping his voice sounding steady, natural, sane.

‘You may not be me,’ Face said softly, sounding almost proud, ‘but you’re still a con-man.’

Templeton smirked as he deleted the record of the call and returned the phone to its rightful place. He turned back to the window.

“Yeah, Face,” he murmured lowly. “Some things you just pick up.”

***

Templeton wasn’t sure what time he finally fell asleep, but when he woke up in the late afternoon of the next day to find the Karlstad sign looming closer on the tracks he was glad to have slept. He wouldn’t have liked to spend the entirety of the long, cramped, smelly journey fully conscious. Normally, Templeton slept lightly, alert in his dreams to reality around him, but recently sleep had been elusive, and the past 14, 15, 16 hours had been well-spent catching up. He checked himself for signs of contact, looked at his bag to make sure the carefully placed hair was still positioned correctly, and then, satisfied, he tuned into the conversations around him.

The overweight man was talking to an other passenger in Nynorsk. He sifted through the useless information stored in his brain - women with no names, uncalled telephone numbers - and began to translate their speech.

“…praktisk talt i koma,” he was saying, and he jerked his thumb over his shoulder to Templeton. Practically in a coma. Templeton frowned, and then noticed the small knife concealed inside the sleeve of the awful moleskin coat. The tip of the blade had pierced the fabric. It was stained red.

Stupid, Templeton thought, his whole body tensing as the other passenger replied in a low, male voice. Stupid stupid stupid, you should’ve noticed.

“Du er sikker på at han ikke vil vekke?”

Will not wake up? He shut his eyes again and stilled his body.

“Hvis vi kuttet han raskt, vil han ikke ha tid til å åpne øynene før han er død igjen.”

The man shifted, and Templeton felt and heard it as he began opening the secret pocket in his sleeve. He tried to keep his breathing steady, concentrated on translating. Cut… not have time to open his eyes… dead again. He had hoped this journey would be one without threats to his life. Apparently not.

“Hva gjør du?” This was a different voice, female, young, irritated. “Vi ikke gjør dette her. I tyve minutter skal vi komme Karlstad. Vent til jeg sier så.” She dropped her voice, low and dark, muttering to herself. “Gud ovenfor, gi meg styrke. De sendte meg idioter.”

Twenty minutes to Karlstad. They weren’t going to kill him yet. They had orders. Templeton waited a few minutes, alert and waiting for any more movement from the man beside him. When nothing happened, he slowly blinked his eyes open and faked a yawn. The man didn’t look at him.

‘They’re gonna butcher you,’ Face said lowly. Templeton attempted to block him out. ‘Don’t you ignore me now Peck, I’m the Ranger here, and if I’m gonna save your goddamn life then you have to listen to me.’

I’m the one who Hannibal chose, Templeton thought furiously. I’m a Ranger too. I was here first.

‘I’ve been here for years, Temp,’ Face growled. ‘Since you were fifteen years old, you remember? Her name was Maria, remember? Maria Mills. And Jesus she was beautiful. She told you she loved you. She had her whole life ahead of her and you took that away with your smile. And what about her brother?’

Shut up.

‘He was older than you, wasn’t he? What was his name…’

Shut up.

‘Was it Harry? Henry? Hugo? Something beginning with H. C’mon Peck, you must remember. H Mills. He was as beautiful as his sister, wasn’t he? More so, if I remember rightly. You definitely thought so, otherwise you wouldn’t have gone there.’


“Shut up!” It took a moment for Templeton to realise he had spoken aloud, and to register that the man beside him was now looking at him suspiciously. He gave a small half-smile, and shrugged. “Headache,” he said. The man had looked away before he’d finished the second syllable, talking to his companion again.

“Det er noe galt i hans hode.”

Wrong in his head. Great. They thought he was crazy.

‘You are crazy,’ Face pointed out. Templeton ignored him pointedly, and Face didn’t speak again.

***

Karlstad was even colder than Bergen, and Templeton pulled his worn, heavy leather jacket closer around him, swinging his bag over his shoulder and striding quickly away from the train station. The sun was setting, washing the sky red and purple, dotted with white as the snow fell steadily. Templeton wanted to stand still for a moment and watch as the colours darkened, but the heavy, quick footsteps crunching in the snow behind him told him that he didn’t have time.

‘Run, damnit,’ Face snapped at him. ‘Peck, listen to me, run.’

“I can take care of myself,” Templeton muttered aloud and set off at a brisk walk, leading the Norwegians on.

‘What are you doing?’ Face asked in horror. ‘You can’t play games with them. They’re armed, you’re not.’

“I’m a Ranger,” Templeton said knowingly.

‘I’m the damn Ranger!’ Face shouted, then calmed. ‘Peck, you have never been to Sweden before, you have never been in this city before, you don’t know where you’re going. If you get lost, you’ll be an even easier target. Don’t play with these guys.’

“You’re the reckless one,” Templeton pointed out, breaking into a jog. The footsteps were still crunching behind him, but he didn’t look around. He reached the mouth of an alleyway and smirked. “Bingo.”

But he was barely inside the shadows when he felt a sharp, sudden burst of pain in the back of his head that sent him almost physically reeling, his shoulder connecting hard with the closest wall as he slumped. Two figures appeared in the alley, one shrouded in a huge coat. Templeton could smell blood.

“Wha’ th’ fuck?” he slurred as his vision swam.

‘Sorry buddy,’ Face’s voice replied, closer, louder somehow. ‘But if you die, I die, and that is not happening anytime soon.’

Almost without his consent, Templeton’s eyes squeezed shut against the pain, as the Norwegians started to talk lowly. He couldn’t quite understand it. He heard the sound of a zipper sliding open, swallowed, clenched his hands into fists, and then-

“Gentleman,” he said, pushing himself up into a fully upright position and stepping forwards, opening his arms out. His voice was his, most definitely, but… It wasn’t. There was something there, something that wasn’t before, something he’d been missing, and he wasn’t completely sure whether he was even in control of his actions.

‘What the fuck?’ he tried to say again, but found he could only think it. The voice spoke again, and Templeton realised that it was speaking Nynorsk. And speaking it fluently, smoothly, confidently… Oh. Oh fuck.

“I don’t know what all this is about,” Face continued, cocking his hip and watching the younger, leaner man closely. “But I’m sure we can come to some agreement.”

The younger man was tensed, barely, in his shoulders and the back of his legs. His eyes flicked over Face, every inch of him, while the older, overweight man stayed stock still, apparently waiting for something, glancing occasionally at the younger man out of the corner of his eyes.

So Face was right. The younger, slighter man was in charge, was going to lead the attack, fitter than the older man as he was, but Face was even fitter, slightly more bulky in the better sense of the word. He waited for a reply, and when there was none, he spread his hands wider.

“No?” he asked. Nothing. He bent his legs slightly, barely noticeable, tensed his shoulders, and then spoke again, still in Nynorsk. “Bring it.”

‘NO!’ Templeton shouted as the younger man sprang forward, but Face ignored him and braced himself.

He staggered for a second as the Norwegian hit him, but before the smaller man could do anything to hurt him, Face had him by the throat with one hand, and was swinging the other to meet his cheek. He punched him repeatedly, barely a second between each hit, more teeth coming loose and more blood trickling from his mouth with each moment of contact. His grunting was lowering, both in pitch and volume, his eyes drooping shut. Face dropped him to the floor, and kicked his side over and over, harder each time, until the Norwegian was spitting blood in great globules, gasping for air. One more kick and Face heard something crack. Another and the man was heaving, blood bubbling around his lips, staining his white shirt. His barely-open eyes were glassy. Face curved down to punch him once more, his nose joining his ribs in cracking and his mouth in bleeding, and he was unconscious.

Face straightened up, turned to the older man, and weighed his chances.

On one hand, the Norwegian was older, obese. He’d move slower, with less precision. If Face, leaner with more muscle, could bring him down, he’d be finished.

On the other, he was a lot heavier. And he had a knife.

Face paused, cocked his head, thought it over. The Norwegian was hesitating.

Bring him down, go for the legs. Kick, punch, bite, whatever. Get him on the ground. Face could do this.

“Your move,” he offered, and the knife caught the light of the streetlamp as the man lifted it. He braced himself again, but the man didn’t run. Probably for the best, judging by his size. Instead, he took a few slow steps forward, and Face smirked.

“Ah,” he said knowingly, “a practised killer, huh?” He paused to breathe deeply, then took two steps forward and kicked the man as hard as possible in the thigh. He let out a low whine, and crumpled slightly on one side. “Tough shit big guy,” Face growled, the Nynorsk language slipping coolly and sleekly off his tongue, “I’m a goddamn Army Ranger.”

The old man swung for him, and Face reeled back, narrowly avoiding the fist. His expression darkened, and the man noted the cold glint of mania in the Ranger’s eyes before his vision was clouded by a fist. He staggered backwards, and Face hooked a foot around the back of his knees.

“You son of a bitch,” Face spat as he landed heavily on his back with a yelp of pain. The knife clattered to the ground, glinting in the yellow light of the lamp. “Shouldn’t have tried to fight back, bastard.”

The handle was warm in Face’s hand, blade cold when he placed it to the pad of his finger. It cut through layers of skin easily, and he sneered.

“This should get through even your fat throat,” he snarled.

“No,” the man begged in his own language, voice desperate, “please, please, we didn’t know you were Ranger, we target foreigners, we didn’t know…”

Face didn’t speak, just gritted his teeth and cut slowly and deeply into the Norwegian’s jugular, ignoring Templeton screaming for him to stop. He writhed and heaved beneath the Ranger as Face was spattered with even more blood, on his cheek and chin and neck and shirt. A few seconds passed before the man stilled, eyes wide and glassy and terrified. Face stood up, wiped the knife clean, picked up his bag, and left the alleyway.
 
 
located:: the study
feeling:: cheerfulcheerful
screaming:: Kidz - Take That