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09 May 2011 @ 07:07 pm
Fic: Breaking Things On Broken Strings, Part III, Face/Murdock, R for now  
title: Breaking Things On Broken Strings, Part III
pairing: Face/Murdock
fandom: The A-Team '10
rating: R for now
warnings: Language, mental disorders, violence.

word count: ~2870
summary:
Face’s voice darkened on the last four words, filled with an icy venom that had Murdock drawing his legs up to his chest and throwing his phone hard across the room, breathing raggedly as it smashed to pieces. There was a long, heavy silence, and then the smashing began.

‘You killed him,’ Templeton gasped as the cab took him - them? - ever closer to Murdock’s location. ‘You didn’t have to kill him.’

Oh Temp, shut up,
Face thought wearily. I’m sick of your voice. Stop talking.

‘Murdered him,’ Templeton continued, ignoring him. ‘They’re going to find his body and your handprints will be all over him.’

Mine?
Face sneered. Yours, Templeton.

If Templeton had been in control of his body, he would’ve vomited. He didn’t speak again, but Face had to listen to him whimpering in the background all the way to his destination.

***

Murdock hadn’t heard from Templeton in over a day. He was less concerned than he would be usually, as the last message had sounded promising, and Hannibal apparently agreed, becoming visibly more good-natured, which brought some of the edge off Bosco’s recent mood. Murdock felt calmer than he had for a while. He’d begun to sleep again.

“Things are looking up,” Hannibal had said earlier, just before leaving for the day to run the weekly errands; buy food, check for available work (that wouldn’t involve a con or the potential need for a conman) and bribe a longer stay in the house. He would be back for midnight, he’d said, don’t worry.

So Murdock wasn’t worrying. Hannibal’s plan was working out; Bosco had been right. The boss knew what he was doing. And Murdock believed every word he was saying.

He was startled out of his reverie when his cell began ringing. Turning it carefully onto loudspeaker, he let it ring out and waited.

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

Beep.

Hey Murdock, it’s Temp again.


Murdock smiled to himself.

The happiness was short-lived.

Well, no, it isn’t, really. Templeton’s a bit… engaged right now, shall we say? This is Faceman.

Murdock felt the colour drain from his face.

No doubt you’d much rather hear from Templeton about the whole situation, but I’m… He sighed. I’m just not ready to give this freedom up just yet.

With shaking hands, Murdock picked up the cellphone and lifted it up, peered at the screen, half expecting to see Templeton’s face sneering back at him. He pressed the green button, and held it to his ear.

“Face?” he breathed, fear tainting his breath

The voice on the other end of the phone laughed. Oh hello, Murdock. You sound scared. There was a pause. That’s new, isn’t it Temp? He’s scared of us. Well wait ‘til you hear the next bit buddy.

Murdock paused, held his breath, waited.

I’m right outside. And if you don’t let me in, I’ll kick this goddamn door down.

Murdock’s breath hitched, and he slumped back against the wall, hand over his mouth, staring down at the phone.

That’s right, buddy. Thought I wouldn’t find you? Templeton’s been worried, so worried, about you not answering his calls. But me, I’m a conman, and I conned my way around Bergen finding out where you were. And then it turns out you’re just next door, and Templeton hops straight on a train and gets here in less than 24 hours. But this begs a bigger question, Murdock. Why the hell did the bossman position you so close?

Okay. So that meant Face didn’t know Murdock was here with the rest of the team, that was good.

So what would he do when he found out?

And on top of all that,
Face continued, sounding grossly, maniacally gleeful, we killed someone!

Murdock wanted to cry.

Cut his throat and left him bleeding in the snow. And I’m currently covered in blood, Murdock, so I suggest you let me in, right the fuck now.

Face’s voice darkened on the last four words, filled with an icy venom that had Murdock drawing his legs up to his chest and throwing his phone hard across the room, breathing raggedly as it smashed to pieces. There was a long, heavy silence, and then the smashing began.

Murdock covered his ears as the sounds grew louder, quicker, cracking wood and every now and then a mad bark of laughter, each burst slightly louder as the door weakened.

Upstairs, the saner part of Murdock urged, get your ass upstairs.

He was halfway up when the door finally gave way.

“Hello Murdock.”

It was like something out of a horror movie, Murdock thought as he turned slowly on the step. Face was leant against the wall, surrounded by shards of the door, his normally perfect appearance spoiled in almost every way. His hair was too long, unkempt, knotted. His leather jacket was worn and stained with oil, his jeans the same and his boots almost falling apart. His smile was wolfish, his eyes dangerous, and probably the worst of it all was the blood.

“Face,” Murdock murmured, horrified. “Are you sure you killed someone? Are you sure you didn’t actually eat them?”

Face let out that same bark of laughter, wiped the back of his hand over the bottom half of his face. Most of the blood was dried by now. He grinned again, and Murdock shuddered.

“Face, are you… What’s happening?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” Face growled, taking two steps forward. Murdock shuffled back immediately. “Templeton’s worried, Murdock,” he continued. “Me, I’m just pissed. Where were you when we needed you, huh? Why the fuck have you been ignoring us?”

“Face,” Murdock said, as soothingly as possible. “C’mon, you’re covered in blood. Come with me, we’ll get you cleaned up, this place has got a really nice shower, and then we can talk comfortably, okay?”

Face looked at him for a long moment, and then sighed, nodded once, and walked slowly up the stairs towards him.

This is new, Murdock thought as he led the way, acting the sane one.

But he was in control now. He had this, he could do this. Get Face showered and calmed down, lie to him, tell him Hannibal ordered no contact and… How to explain them being here? They were getting ready to rendezvous? Tried calling Face, but couldn’t because he tossed his cell? Were going to head into Bergen and find him? That’d work. They were nearly in the bathroom, Murdock had made it, just Face left, a few more steps, he could shut the door and be in control, he had this…

Except for some reason, Murdock forgot to count for Bosco, in his bedroom, hearing the door be smashed to pieces below.

“Murdock, you crazy fool, what the hell are you doing down there?”

“Bosco?”

Murdock froze in horror as Face spoke, voice uncertain and shaky. Ready to blow, Murdock knew, any second now.

“YOU SON OF A BITCH!”

This, Murdock realised as he turned around, was directed at him. Face’s eyes were wild and furious, his body shaking with his voice, muscles tensed, preparing to pounce.

“Bosco,” Murdock said quickly, “Bosco, hold him, quick.”

Face was strong and out of control, but he didn’t have anything on collected, prepared Bosco, who seized his arms and nudged repeatedly at the back of his legs until he dropped to his knees. Murdock was a pilot, insane or not, and he was always prepared.

“Hold him still, I need to…”

“Murdock, hurry the hell up.”

“MURDOCK YOU FUCKER, BOSCO, LET ME GO, FUCK YOU, LET GO OF ME.”

“Honest to God Face,” Murdock said softly as he pushed the needle into the Lieutenant’s taut neck, “I am so sorry.”

***

Whatever Hannibal was expecting when he arrived back at the house, it wasn’t to find Murdock in hysterical tears on the bottom stair and Bosco actually comforting him, surrounded by large pieces of broken wood, and it wasn’t to see all this from the top of the driveway through the hole where the door should’ve been.

“What happened?” he asked, voice made even rougher by concern. “Was there a break-in? Police raid?”

“Nah,” Bosco said lowly, shaking his head. “Nothing like that.”

“Worse,” Murdock croaked, lifting his head. His eyes shone and he choked on a sob. “It’s Face, Bossman.”

Despite the situation, Hannibal flinched, and frowned. “Murdock, his name is Templeton.”

Murdock jumped to his feet, and pointed a finger at his colonel. “THAT AIN’T TEMP,” he shouted, and Hannibal’s natural instinct was to shout back remind the captain of his place. But Murdock’s eyes were wide and desperate, his voice cracking, and Hannibal just couldn’t.

He ran a hand over his face, sighing. He looked at Bosco, who was attempting to sit Murdock back down. The pilot was shaking. “The plan didn’t go as well as hoped then?”

“Hannibal,” Bosco said, almost consolingly, gesturing towards the broken door, “Face kicked a hole in the plan.”

***

“Face was just a character,” Hannibal explained, rolling his glass in his hands, looking into his scotch like it had all the answers. “He was a persona that Temp used as a mask. He shielded his real self behind this smooth-talking, confident, arrogant conman whenever it suited himself, or someone else. He used Face to get women, money, drugs, booze, to pull cons, to help with missions. Face was never real.” He took a long swig of the scotch. “But he was always there. Well, since I knew him. I met Temp when he was only 20. He couldn’t even legally drink, but he was drinking when I met him.” Hannibal laughed lowly. “Conned an older woman into buying him that drink. Bedded her that night. But he introduced himself to me as Templeton Peck. Said he wanted to be a Ranger. Then he laughed shyly and said that some people called him Faceman.”

“Some people?” Bosco interrupted. “Did he ever explain that?”

Hannibal shook his head. “No. And I never asked.” He sighed, drained his drink. “I should’ve asked him. I’ve had years of opportunities to. Anyway, as we got talking, he became more confident, more comfortable, until he smirked that smirk and told me I could stop calling him Temp, start calling him Face. I worked it out then, how he used this Face character. Told him it would be useful. Gave him my number, heard from him two days later, and he signed up to the Army. He made a Ranger in practically no time. But everyone who met him, everyone who saw him, called him Face. Including me. after a while.”

“When did Face become an problem?” Bosco asked. Murdock was silent, except for the occasional sniff or hitching breath, threatening another wave of tears. But Murdock held them back.

“Not for years,” Hannibal said. “And I mean years. Not until after Lynch.”

“After we went back on the run?” Bosco asked.

“The second time we became fugitives,” Hannibal confirmed, “something was different. The Face persona had changed, seemed to be more of a presence. We started seeing Temp less and less. You, Murdock, you must’ve been able to tell when Temp was hiding and when he was being himself. You must’ve noticed.” Murdock nodded, distractedly, wiped the back of his hand over his eye. “You did, because you told me. I’d started to see it too. Whenever Templeton was being himself, he looked tired, withdrawn. He was being Face more and more, and Face was becoming less and less like Temp. It’s hard to explain, but you both noticed it.”

Bosco nodded. “What’s wrong with Temp then? Is he-” he glanced at Murdock “-crazy?”

Hannibal shrugged. “It looks like it’s some kind of identity problem. It seems that the more Templeton let himself be Face, the more natural that persona became, until Face - who we can assume at this point is some sort of separate identity - came to be the constant, the dominant.”

There was a pause, everyone thinking, until Murdock spoke, in a hoarse, cool voice. “And your plan was to let him stew in that? Leave him alone to discover by himself that he has a mental condition and come to terms with that without his team, his best friends, his family?”

Hannibal slowly placed his glass on the table. “Murdock, please understand that I had no idea what I was dealing with…”

“Then you should’ve told me!” Murdock answered furiously, his head snapping up to look Hannibal in the eyes with the fiercest gaze the colonel had seen for a while. “You should’ve told the lunatic the plan, should’ve let him have his say, the one who somehow knows more about this than you do. But no, Hannibal Smith can’t tell us everything, has to keep up the suspense, keep us in the dark, and look how much fucking good it did!”

Hannibal swallowed and looked to Bosco for help. The corporal held his gaze for a few moments, then looked away. And Hannibal knew two things: one, he’d made a mistake and two, he wasn’t forgiven for it.

“Murdock, I-” he began, but was cut off. Not by Murdock, as he expected, but by a crash from upstairs. He and Bosco looked to the ceiling, as though they could see what was happening, but Murdock was already on his feet.

“Temp,” he breathed, face worried and voice panicked, and Hannibal and Bosco followed him up the stairs.

***

Face was halfway out the door, head ringing, when Murdock appeared at the top of the stairs, looking worried and panicked and hopeful all at once. Face caught his gaze, though, and the hope slipped away.

“Face,” he murmured.

“Don’t talk to me you son of a bitch,” Face snarled, and Murdock visibly flinched away. To top it all off, Face thought dryly as Templeton began pounding on the walls, screams echoing through his skull, the asshole had been crying.

And then, Hannibal appeared. And Face, to put it mildly, went apeshit.

“YOU ASSHOLES! YOU BASTARDS!”

“Face,” Hannibal said, reaching out, “Face, can you let us talk to Templeton, please?”

“Fuck you,” Face spat, kicking out. Hannibal dodged the foot easily. “Let me guess, this was all a goddamned plan, wasn’t it? You asshole. You guys didn’t split up at all. All four corners of the world my ass. You bastards have been together the whole time, listening to Temp and me call him,” he snarled the last word, pointing at Murdock, who’s eyes were filling up again, “every fucking day, Temp confessing his love and me getting pissed and you sat there and listened and said, huh, you know what, we’ll leave him another week or so, leave him alone in another country to sit and stew and talk to himself and go batshit fucking insane because one lunatic isn’t enough for this team, oh no, let’s have another one, and we’ll ignore every one of his calls and not let him know whether we’re even alive when all this time we’ll be in the country right next door, har-de-fucking-har!”

Nobody spoke. Face laughed coldly. “I had to put up with him crying every fucking night about going crazy, and now I’m finally the one in charge and he’s still in there, screaming away.”

“He’s in there?” Murdock said suddenly. “He can hear us? Temp? Temp?”

“Oh leave off Murdock,” Face groaned, shoving Murdock away. Bosco stepped forward, and Face tensed himself. “And you, big guy, back off. You’re all full of shit. You knock me down, you’ve got another one to put up with.” He winked, sneer on his still-bloodstained mouth. “And God only knows how many others.” He leaned against the door-frame. “And another tip. Don’t lock me up again. I’m a fucking conman, I know how to pick a lock, idiots.”

He turned around and stopped just inside of the bedroom. “Besides, you don’t need to lock me up anyway. It’s not like I’m going to want to come out and spend any time with you bastards, is it? Tell you what, boss. I never want to hear you talk about plans ever again. You’re getting too old for this shit, obviously, if you thought leaving a crazy man alone with only his other identity for company was going to make him sane again.” He slammed the door behind him, and Murdock immediately slid down the wall, fist pressed into his mouth, choking on sobs. Hannibal watched him miserably, and Bosco shook his head at his colonel and walked into his own room.

“Murdock,” Hannibal tried.

“Don’t,” Murdock whispered, pulling his fist away. “Don’t, boss, don’t say a word.”

Hannibal paused, nodded once, and headed down the stairs. Murdock returned to chewing his fists to hold back his wails, and stared at Face’s bedroom door, listening to the howls of laughter coming from behind it.
 
 
located:: the study
feeling:: busybusy
screaming:: Letterbomb - green day
 
 
 
florence & calamitysomewhatcliche on May 9th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
;____;

They have to figure this out! Aughghg everybody pissed at Hannibal and poor Murdock and Temp stuck inside screaming and HOLY SHIT I LOVE YOU.
bishopishilde on May 9th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
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COME BACK LATER FOR SOMETHING MORE COHERENT
beccamatryoshkha on May 9th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
I JUST HAVE ALL THESE FEELINGS OKAY OH GOD

WHAT
IS
HAPPENING
I JUST
CAN'T
PHYSICALLY
EVEN

you win everything with this oh god that beating thing in your hand right now? yep well that's my heart, treat it well! uguuuuuuuuuuuu.

your talent. give it to me.

i can't wait for the next part!