The Ace in the PackPairing:
Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith/Lieutenant Templeton 'Faceman' PeckRating:
R for one slightly naughty bit?Disclaimer:
They do not belong to me. If only...Summary:
Face just continually surprises Hannibal.AN:
Again, written to fill a prompt from the A-Team kink meme. The prompt was: "Set pre-movie, Hannibal is playing cards with his officer buddies when one of them adds something unexpected to the pot. Hannibal assumes it was done in jest until he receives the transfer papers assigning a young, fresh-faced Ranger to his command.
Cue a 'what the hell am I supposed to do with a green kid' Hannibal, and a 'wise beyond his years' Face, repeatedly demonstrating his value. Slash or gen welcome :)"
I think it veered off course slightly, but that I couldn't help!
Hannibal’s been trouncing them at the card table all evening, racking up the dollar bills with his cigar clenched between his teeth and a grin firmly in place on his face.
“Okay, okay.” Major Dobson says, scouring his pockets for more gambling money. “One last hand and that’s it.”
“All or nothing you mean?” Hannibal asks.
“Exactly. Why not. It’s you who has everything to lose.”
Hannibal laughs. “Deal.” He reaches for the deck of cards and begins to shuffle them. “So what are you gambling then?”
Dobson has had no luck in finding any more money but he’s thought of something a lot more interesting. “My new recruit. Lieutenant Peck.”
Hannibal laughs again. “I don’t want a new recruit.”
“You’ll want this one. I swear, that boy could find ice in hell.”
“Requisitions officer then?”
The time it’s Dobson who laughs. “You’d think, but no. Baby Ranger, killer shot but he gets more stuff for the team than my last three reqs. officers together.”
“Well, I’m game if you are.” Hannibal shrugs, assuming this was a joke and all for show. The money he’s won, if he wins this hand, would be going straight into the team’s kitty for their Christmas night out, so it’s only a bonus for his men if he won.
The cards are shuffled, then dealt out and internally, Hannibal grins. It looks like it’s going to be a fabulous Christmas party this year.
Dobson reveals his cards first, and he had a good hand, a winning hand under any other circumstances, but on this occasion it just isn’t good enough.
Everyone groans as Smith reveals his cards; Dobson swears loudly.
“If I didn’t know you Hannibal, I’d swear you’d rigged this game.” He pushes the pile of money towards Hannibal and downs the last of his drink.
“Good game Dobs. Maybe next time you’ll win some of your money back.” Hannibal stands, collecting his winnings and saluting the other officers before heading back to his team and their house, thinking nothing more of the gambled Lieutenant Peck.
It comes as quite the surprise, therefore, when on Monday morning his office door is knocked upon sharply and a young Lieutenant enters, a folder clutched tightly in one hand.
“Major Smith, sir.” He’s snapped to attention and Hannibal automatically salutes him back.
“What can I do for you, kid?” He asks, grateful for the break in filling out mission reports. Maybe Russ had a new job for the boys; about time as they’re getting a little restless.
A look of confusion flashes across the Lieutenant’s face momentarily before he recovers himself. “Reporting for duty, sir. Lieutenant Peck. Major Dobson said you’d be expecting me, sir.”
“Major Dobson told me I was being transferred to this unit sir. Told me it had all been arranged on Friday night?”
“Jesus!” Hannibal runs an agitated hand through his hair. He stands, gesturing for the kid to sit down in one of the chairs in front of his desk. “Have a seat kid. I’ve just got to give Dobson a call.”
He leaves the office to do so; looked like Dobson hadn’t told Peck he was transferred in a card game, and Hannibal didn’t feel like he should be the one to break the news to him. He pulls out his mobile and finds the correct number.
“Morning Smith. What can I do for you?”
“I appear to have your Lieutenant sitting in my office, telling me he’s been transferred here.”
“He’s actually being transferred?”
“Of course, those were the terms of the gamble.”
“I didn’t think you’d actually go through with it!”
“You saying I’m not a man of my word, Hannibal?” Dobson asks, laughing.
“You know I’m not. I’m just wondering why you actually decided to gamble away one of the finest requisitions officers you’ve ever seen, unless you were lying to me about that particular skill.”
“Not a lie, Hannibal. He’s the best scammer I’ve ever seen.”
“So why gamble him then?”
Dobson sighs and Hannibal groans.
“He’s a bright kid, wicked skills and good on the field...”
“But?” Hannibal asks with a sinking feeling.
“He’s going to be a great soldier, a brilliant soldier, one of the best soldiers. But I’m not the person to make him that man.”
“And you think I’ll be able to?”
“You’ve got the team for it. The kid wasn’t going to get the training he needed if he was stuck here. He’s born for the field.”
“I never thought you’d actually trade a soldier. I thought it was a joke!”
“I was going to ask you about it anyway, but then that opportunity appeared and I was on a losing streak anyway. Couldn’t resist.”
“Fucker.” Hannibal laughs.
“Same to you Major Smith. Now be good for the boy.”
Dobson hangs up and Hannibal takes a breath, marshalling his thoughts before returning to his office.
Lt. Peck is still sitting there, papers clutched in one hand and an unreadable expression on his face. He stands when Hannibal enters.
“Lieutenant Peck. “ Hannibal holds out his hand in greeting. “Welcome to my team.”
If Hannibal’s team thought it strange that their CO came home with a new Ranger that Monday afternoon they didn’t show it – something that Hannibal is eternally grateful for. In fact, they were immediately taken with the kid, with Jimmy grabbing his bag and leading him away to give him a tour of the house, showing him how to work the petulant shower properly, and cheerfully instructing Hound to start clearing out the box-room for Peck to sleep in.
Banks, his XO, pulls Hannibal over to one side briefly before he goes to help Hound with the box-room.
“What’s the deal here, boss?”
Hannibal shrugs ruefully at the other man. “What I thought was a joke turned out to be an actual transfer request. So we’ve got ourselves a new baby Ranger to train.”
Banks laughs. “I’ll ask around, see what information I can find out on the kid.”
Hannibal nods his thanks, clapping his XO on the shoulder before heading up the stairs with an armful of bin bags.
“There’s no bed in here, though.” Hound points out as he and Hannibal stuff all their old junk that had accumulated here into boxes and bin bags.
“Ah.” Hannibal pauses and looks around, as if expecting a bed to magically appear.
“What’s wrong?” Jimmy’s head popped around the door.
“There’s no bed in here.” Hound explains again.
“Well it looks like you might have to sleep on the couch for the first few days, until we get something set up.” Jimmy turns to Peck, apologetically.
“Sorry, kid.” Hannibal adds.
“Don’t worry about it boss. Just give me ten minutes.”
Everyone looked confused but Hannibal waves to the kid to carry on with whatever plans he has and he disappears out the door with a grin on his face. Six minutes later, he’s back, still grinning. “Sorted.”
“What’s sorted?” Hound asks.
“The bed. It’s on its way.”
“Not a chance!” Jimmy laughs. “When Banks’ bed broke, it took them almost two weeks to send a replacement.”
But Peck is insistent. “It’ll be here in half an hour.” He says, even as the other two laugh and ruffle his hair. Hannibal merely watches his newest officer.
Sure enough, half an hour later, when the team are all in the kitchen, debating whether to have a welcome barbeque or a welcome Chinese for Peck that evening, the doorbell rings.
Three mouths drop open in disbelief as Peck instructs the delivery boys to his room.
“Holy shit, no way!” Jimmy cries, following them upstairs. He turns to Hannibal. “We are keeping this kid.” He declares, Banks and Hound agreeing vocally.
Peck beams and Hannibal laughs. “Welcome to the team, kid.”
The next morning, Hannibal’s up at his usual “obscene” hour, according to the boys. He heads down to the kitchen and makes straight for the fridge before he realises someone else is in the room.
“Morning, boss.” Peck’s sitting there at the table, lacing up his running shoes.
“Morning, kid. What’s going on?”
“Heading for a run.” He stands, shoes tied, and stretches up his arms, reaching for the ceiling.
“Yeah?” Hannibal’s impressed. His boys are good, they’re on the top of their game, but none of them are up at this hour for a run.
“Yeah. Wanna join?”
Hannibal pauses only for a second. He usually leaves his run until after he’s finished his morning paperwork but Peck was offering a chance to forgo the dull reports and get out into the fresh air. Hannibal certainly isn’t going to refuse. This will also give him the opportunity to size up his newest Ranger.
Peck would be running the assault course with the rest of the boys that afternoon, as part of their scheduled drills but Hannibal’s used to taking a look at his soldiers before they became part of his team. He prides himself on knowing their strengths and weaknesses and helping them grow as soldiers. He doesn’t like being at a loss with Peck.
He sets the pace when they leave the house, looping round the road to the back where he has a tough five mile route that he likes. Peck lets him lead, keeping a half step behind him. It’s not his fastest pace, but it’s no walk in the park either; it’s engineered to see how Peck copes. The kid’s a good runner, he’s got an lengthy stride that covers up the ground almost as easily as Hannibal’s long legs. They don’t talk as they run, both content to just enjoy the early morning quiet, but he can see that Peck’s not out of breath or unable to speak.
As he guides them back round to the house, he’s pleased and pleasantly surprised. Sure, everyone is forced to run when they’re going through Basic and Ranger training, but a lot of soldiers taper off when they get into a unit or team, preferring the activity of lifting weights or other gym work to build their muscle. Hannibal approves of gym work to a point, after all, every soldier’s gotta have some strength to them, but he doesn’t approve of neglecting the running aspect. He nods at Peck when they reach the back door and begin toeing off their shoes.
“Nice work, kid.”
Peck grins back at him. “I could go faster, sir.”
Hannibal laughs. “So could I.”
Hannibal leads the way into the house, and flicks the switch on the kettle. He needs his coffee. Peck is rifling through the cupboards, looking for something to eat.
“We usually do breakfast as a team, around 8.” Hannibal tells him and so he moves away from the cupboards and grabs a banana instead.
“This’ll keep me going till then. Do you have a rota?”
Peck nods, taking a bite of the fruit.
Hannibal shrugs. “Not really. I cook on Sundays, mainly because the others are usually feeling the effects of a Saturday night filled with beer, but usually it’s whoever is up first makes a start.”
The kid nods again, storing away the information. “I’ll cook this morning then.” He decides, flinging the banana skin in the direction of the bin and going over to rummage in the fridge.
Hannibal gives him a look but ultimately leaves him to it, taking his coffee and trudging down the hall to his office. His run set him back a bit, but there’s still a good couple of hours before the others will be up to blitz through some paper work.
He may hate it, but when he’s focused on the different reports, he can lose track of time. Same happens when he’s in the middle of planning out a mission; often one of the boys will have to knock and remind him to come eat, or go to sleep or even use the bathroom. Jimmy knocks on the door as he bounds down the stairs at half past seven, but Hannibal is expecting that as Jimmy does it every morning just to tell Hannibal that he’s up, so Hannibal ignores that. It’s not until Banks knocks and sticks his head round the door that Hannibal emerges from his office and heads down to the kitchen for breakfast.
He’d wondered what the kid’s cooking skills would be like; some of the new ones know next to nothing, some know a few basics and a rare few have a repertoire of dishes. Hannibal doesn’t care what they can or can’t do as long as they can make him a decent cup of coffee.
The minute he steps into the kitchen, he can tell that he’s struck gold with Peck. The table is positively groaning under all the food that has been prepared; there’s a dish of crispy bacon, another of scrambled eggs and a plate of pancakes. A pile of toast lies on another plate and Hannibal watches as the others dig in, shovelling food into their mouths. If he isn’t careful, there’s going to be nothing left by the time he sits down.
Peck smiles when he sees Hannibal standing in the kitchen doorway, taking in the scene. He pushes off from the counter where he was leaning and heads over to his boss, holding out a steaming mug in one hand.
“Thought you could do with a fresh cup, sir.”
Hannibal takes a deep breath and the beautiful, awakening scent of coffee floods his senses. The kid can definitely make a cup of coffee.
“Okay, sir?” The kid looks almost nervous, awaiting his commander’s approval.
Hannibal grins at him. “Perfect, kid. Thanks.”
The beam that Peck sends his way only helps the coffee in warming him up.
Everything the kid does seems to impress Hannibal. He hadn’t expected him to be able to run, or score a new bed, or cook, but the kid had done it and then some. So he wonders why he’s surprised when he clocks Peck’s time on the obstacle course. He’s beaten everyone and he looks like he could go through it all again, easily. Jimmy, quick as a whippet, clocks in a full five
seconds behind him and his astonished eyes turn to Hannibal.
“Did you see him?” He asks, gesturing at Peck and only panting a little as Hannibal prides himself on the fitness of his team.
“I did Jimmy.”
“The way he scaled Climber’s Wall, I thought he was a fucking mountain goat.”
Peck bleats at them and Jimmy collapses in laughter.
Banks and Hound clock their usual times. Hound’s so big he’s never going to be the fastest around the course but what he lacks in speed he makes up for in sheer power. He veers over to the other two, shaking his head and asking why Peck is still bleating like a sheep.
“I’m a goat, man!” He protests loudly while Jimmy rolls around on the ground in laughter at his indignant face.
Banks heads for Hannibal, raised eyebrows.
“Thought you said he was a Baby Ranger, boss!”
Hannibal shakes his head. “That’s the impression I got of him. The kid knows his stuff.”
“Haven’t even gotten to the range yet.” Banks remarks as he takes a drink of water.
“I know.” Hannibal is exceptionally intrigued about what Peck can do on the range. Dobson hadn’t mentioned his other skills and he’d surpassed all of Hannibal’s expectations, so god knows what the kid can do with his strongest asset. “We’ll find out tomorrow.”
He needs to stop being surprised by this kid. In fact, he’s gone past surprised and just into laughter as he watches the kid nail every single target on the range. Dobson definitely had not been exaggerating about the boy’s skill with a rifle. Hannibal can see the talent practically pouring off the kid. When he’s focused and in the zone, there’s nothing else but him, his rifle and his target. He doesn’t even hear the guys placing bets on his aim, nor does he listen to the other soldiers at the range calling out more and more ridiculous challenges and targets for him to hit. He does what Hannibal asks of him, perfectly, and then he stands up. He doesn’t grin, or beam like he’s done after their other exercises, but Hannibal can tell he’s pleased with himself. There’s a quiet confidence there that, again, he hadn’t expected. Hound is going round, collecting money off the soldiers’ who’ve lost money betting against the kid, and Jimmy is speaking with Banks, gesturing wildly as he re-enacts one of Peck’s hits.
But the kid only has eyes for Hannibal. He’s waiting for Hannibal’s assessment, calmly and quietly. Hannibal sets down his binoculars and holds out his fist.
The kid bumps it with his own knuckles and a little smile creeps over his face.
“Nice work.” Hannibal tells him, and then nods him away from the line, letting Jimmy take his place.
The kid settles down on the grass beside where Hannibal is standing and calling out their targets. Out of the corner of his eye, while Jimmy readies himself at the line, Hannibal watches Peck start pulling his gun apart, checking the mechanism and pulling out a cloth to start cleaning the barrel, handling the gun with obvious care and affection. Yep, this kid is full of surprises.
It’s been a few weeks since Peck joined them, and Hannibal couldn’t be happier with the state that his team are in. The kid needs a little work on his sparring, but that’s nothing that a few weeks training with the others won’t bring up to scratch, and he was a lot further on than he should have been. Hound’s got him lifting weights with him in the gym every Tuesday and Thursday, to build a bit more muscle on him, and Jimmy’s been teaching him about mechanics. Banks, who had taken on their role of requisitions officer, has happily surrendered the role to Peck. Hannibal noticed the effect immediately, as did the rest of the boys, when little items started appearing around the house; a video game Hound and Jimmy had been explaining over dinner, a new microwave when Banks had accidentally pulled the door off their last one, better towels in the bathroom and there are certainly more cigars in his desk drawer than he’s used to. All in all, Hannibal’s amazed at how quickly the kid has slotted into their lives.
But the kid needs a moniker. Banks is the one who suggests it first. Hannibal has been thinking of it, but he’d wondered if perhaps it was not a little too soon.
“Can’t keep calling him Peck.” Banks reasons. “Doesn’t suit the kid.”
“No.” Hannibal agrees, looking over at the kid thoughtfully. “After dinner.” He decides and Banks spreads the word to Jimmy and Hound as Hannibal leads the way down to the track for some laps before they finish for the day.
The kid’s out in front, loping along happily beside Jimmy and the pair of them are deep in a conversation about some television show that Hannibal has never heard of. Banks and Hound are definitely more silent runners, concentrating on the ground that they cover. Hannibal uses his running time to think. He finds comfort in running round the track; there’s the steady thud of his feet on the ground, the same little markers littered around the outside, and it’s usually pretty quiet at this time in the afternoon. It’s that lazy hour between finishing your afternoon’s duties before the evening properly starts. It’s that time where people phone home, write letters or take a nap. Definitely one of the more peaceful times on base. Of course, having Peck and Jimmy chattering away breaks the silence somewhat, but it’s the kind of background noise that Hannibal finds comforting. It’s good to hear his boys joking, laughing and bonding together. He’s amazed the kid has fitted in so quickly. Not that his team are inclusive to themselves; Jimmy will strike up a conversation with anything, and Hound usually follows him around, mainly to keep him out of trouble. Banks is one of the more popular officers in the mess; he doesn’t say huge amounts but he’s always got a good story to tell. They’ve been together a couple of years now, all four of them and Hannibal had thought it would be harder to have someone new in the team; a change in dynamic is always difficult to predict. But the kid’s slotted in perfectly, and it might only be a couple of weeks but Hannibal can tell it’s not just a honeymoon period.
So, the kid needs a moniker. Jimmy sounds like he doesn’t have one, but his real name is actually David. His sergeant in Basic had told him he looked like Jiminy Cricket because he was the runt of his group, and the name’s evolved from there. Jiminy was too much of a mouthful, but Jimmy fits perfectly, and it captures his boyish personality. Nothing gets Jimmy down.
Hound got his name because once he gets something in his head, he doesn’t let it go. He’s the protector of the others when they head out without Hannibal. His size means people think twice before any trouble starts, which is crazy because Hound’s the nicest guy in the world. Hannibal often thinks privately that he wouldn’t say boo to a goose and he sometimes wonders if the army is really the right place for the big guy. That’s why Hannibal put him in his team; he can fight like the devil in the heat of battle, and does everything you ask of him, but he needs someone around afterwards to help him process what’s just happened, and sort it all out in his head.
Banks came from the fact that there is no one more dependable than Hannibal’s XO. Once he’s assured of the security of Hannibal’s plan, no matter how crazy or death-defying it may seem, Banks will back you up till he’s hoarse. He never wavers from the plan, and never slips in his duties as XO; the other boys adore him and look up to him as a sort of big-brother figure which amuses Hannibal no end.
And now they’ve got Peck to name. As he runs, Hannibal ponders the options. The kid’s young, his file says he’s twenty which really is a ridiculous age to already have completed his Ranger training, but Hannibal’s not buying that. If the kid is a day over eighteen he’ll eat his shoes, but he’s not going to quibble with it. The kid obviously knows his stuff, and he’s not about to lose a damn fine soldier over a falsified birthday, especially when, at eighteen, he’s legal to be in the army. Besides, to join at such a young age means he must have had his reasons. The fact that his parentage is covered by the word ‘orphan’ gives Hannibal a fairly good guess about those reasons.
So he’s young, but Hannibal can’t see a moniker about his youth fitting him. He’s wise beyond his years, and obviously extremely competent; it would be a dishonour to play on the fact he’s still a baby Ranger. Maybe something to do with his skills? Or his looks? It’s something that Hannibal’s been trying not to think about, but he can’t deny to anyone that the boy is gorgeous. No one can stay pale in the scorching weather of the summer, but they often end up with t-shirt tan lines, or sock lines or something. Somehow, the kid’s avoided this so he’s just an even tanned colour. His hair is no exception, highlights streaking through the caramel hair.
Hannibal’s noticed he can be quiet and reserved sometimes, usually during their morning runs, but he’s quick with a smile that takes over his face, and lights up his blue eyes until they’re sparkling. He’s obviously in good shape, and that can’t be hidden by the standard issue, regulation clothes he wears around the base. Banks has already been teasing him about the amount of female attention he’s been getting, which makes the kid flush a little in the most adorable way. Hannibal is sure that the kid maximises his looks to the best of his ability when using his skills for requisition, and he can’t blame him in the slightest. He ponders his options for a little longer as he runs; the kid needs the perfect name.
That evening, they send Peck out for the pizza, and they all convene in the living room the moment the front door shuts.
“Suggestions?” Hannibal asks, stretching out in his favoured leather chair. He’s settled on a name he likes, but he wants to hear if the boys have come up with anything better.
“I dunno sir.” Jimmy says, frowning slightly. “He’s a hard one to pin down to just one name, you know?”
Hannibal nods in agreement. “That he is, Jimmy.”
“Something to do with his sniper skills? The kid is the best shot I’ve seen in a long time.” Banks says, leaning forward, elbows on his knees.
“I reckon the boss has something in mind.” Hound says, eyeing Hannibal with a grin on his face.
“Wanted to hear if you boys had any suggestions first.” Hannibal explains.
Hound laughs. “You’ve always got the best suggestions, boss.”
Jimmy agrees, edging closer to hear Hannibal’s suggestion.
“Okay, okay. But be honest with what you think.”
“When are we not, boss?” Banks says, laughing.
“True, true. Right: Face.”
“Face.” They all repeat it after him, rolling it around in their heads to get the feel of it.
“Perfect, boss.” Banks speaks first.
“You think?” Hannibal asks.
“Sure thing. Temp could have been a model!” Jimmy says, grinning.
“Yeah,” Hound says, nodding his head, “besides, a lot of people take him at face value, with his pretty-boy looks. They don’t expect him to be any good at anything. Won us a lot of money at the range.”
Hannibal laughs. “He’s definitely not one that anyone should underestimate. So, we’re agreed?”
“As long as the kid likes it.” Banks says and they all nod.
“Right, now that’s done,” Jimmy says, hopping up and disappearing into the kitchen. He reappears moments later with beers for all of them. “Time for a beer!”
Soon, Peck’s returning with the pizza and a couple of bags of chips, dropping them onto the living room table and settling down on the floor beside Hannibal’s chair. Jimmy heads into the kitchen for a beer for him and a pile of napkins for them to eat off. No one feels like doing the dishes on a Saturday morning.
The kid is just about to take a huge bite of cheesy, pepperoni goodness when Hannibal coughs, lightly. Immediately the kid’s attention is on him, the slice of pizza dropped onto his napkin.
“Face.” Hannibal says.
He looks momentarily confused, glancing over at the other three before he understands. “My moniker?” He asks, a hint of excitement creeping into his tone.
“You like it, it’s yours.” Hannibal takes a drink of his beer, watching the kid process.
“Face.” He smiles. “Face. I like it.”
“Yeah boss!” The kid says, enthusiastically. He’s practically bouncing on the floor and the others all whoop and cheer and toast him with their bottles of beer, settling back into the task of eating and drinking, whilst arguing over what music should be playing out of the television set. Hannibal takes the distraction to lean down a little closer to Face.
“You sure, kid?”
Face beams up at him. “Yes, sir. Feels good, feels like I’m part of the team now.”
“You definitely are kid, definitely are. We’re not letting you go.”
Face’s smile takes over his face, and there’s an extra sparkle in his eyes that he’s trying to push away.
Hannibal places a solid hand on his shoulder, keeping his gaze fixated on him. “We’re not letting you go kid.” And Face nods, a little shakily, swallowing hard as he gets himself under control.
“Thank you, sir.”
He gives the kid’s shoulder one more squeeze before pulling back, toasting the kid with his own bottle of beer and grabbing a slice of pizza.
The others pretend to ignore the kid until he’s fully pulled himself back together, and then he’s immediately pulled into a discussion over who is better, Meat Loaf or Bon Jovi.
Face has been with the team six months now, and he’s so engrained in with them that Hannibal sometimes forgets that there was a time before he knew Templeton Peck. Every morning (for the most part) Face is up and ready to run with him, even if they don’t talk. His hand-to-hand sparring work has come on leaps and bounds, so that the only person he can’t beat on a regular basis is Hannibal himself. Hound has him steadily building up his weight training, and the kid’s filled out; he’s got hard muscle developing on his chest, and in his arms. The team as a whole have completed missions together; and Face has been as dependable as Banks, as well as offering suggestions when the shit hits the fan and they have to deviate from the original plan. His youth means that he’s still seen as the baby of the group, purely in that everyone else has protective instincts over the kid. His lack of family has never been something that’s been openly discussed, but everyone knows the kid doesn’t really have somewhere to go on holidays or special occasions so they take on that role, not in a pitying manner but only because they all want the kid to be happy. He’s become their younger brother, and he takes the brunt of their teasing, but he can give it back as well as he takes it. There are so many different facets to his personality that Hannibal now fully understands just why he is the perfect conman, yet he prefers when Face is just himself, relaxed and happy, hanging out with the team in their house, or tent or wherever they are stationed.
He pulls aces out of his sleeve, still. Like the time they were down in South America and he’d just started speaking fluent Spanish, adapting his vocabulary to the different regional deviations that were needed. He throws in a smattering of grammatically correct French and German for good measure on the plane ride home which makes Hannibal laugh, and the kid beam with pride.
Hannibal meets up with Dobson in the mess one night when they’re both on the same base, and he asks how Peck’s getting on. He’s in the middle of a speech to Dobson about filling in commanding officers on the complete virtues of their new recruits when Dobson stops him, smiling.
“I told you that you’d be good for the kid.”
“You could have told me just how good he was. None of that was on his files; only the negative shit.”
“You wouldn’t have believed me, even if I’d told you the full extent of the kid’s skills. You barely believed me when I said what a shot he was.”
Hannibal muttered something in reply which only made Dobson laugh.
“It’d been too long since you’d taken on a baby Ranger. I thought this one might ease you back into the swing of it; you wouldn’t have too much training up of him to do.”
“Did Russ put you up to that?” He asks, joking.
“Course he did.” And he laughs again as Hannibal almost chokes on his drink. “He said you’d need it, but we had to ease you into it.”
“Fuckers, the lot of you.” He growls.
At that moment, Face finds him, and he holds out his hand automatically for the kid to bump fists with. When Face sees who he’s talking to, he snaps off a salute, a smile in place for his old commander.
“Major Dobson, sir.”
“Lieutenant Peck.” Dobson acknowledges him with a toast of his glass. “I hear you’ve been impressing Hannibal and his boys.”
The kid flushes, still quite unused to being praised in this blatant way. “I’ve been doing my best, sir.” He replies, which makes the two Majors laugh.
Dobson makes his excuses and leaves the pair of them to it, not before promising Hannibal that they’ll play cards soon and laughing at the look on his face. Face turns to him, holding out a fresh whisky for him.
Hannibal looks down at his own glass and finds it empty; he didn’t even realise but obviously Face did.
Face smiles at him. “How is Major Dobson, sir?”
“He’s good. Him and his boys have been stationed out in Germany for a while, says they’re all glad to be back on home soil.”
Face nods. “So, at your next card game, are you going to win yourself another baby Ranger?”
For once, Hannibal doesn’t choke on his drink as his glass is only halfway to his mouth. He stares at the kid.
Face shrugs. “Of course I did sir. Well, I mean I knew I was getting transferred, Dobson had explained it all to me and asked me to speed up the process. He wanted me to know that it was nothing to do with me, rather that he wasn’t the best commander for me. Said that you’d be much more appropriate for my skills.”
“That fucker!” Hannibal exclaims, which makes Face laugh.
“Hannibal, boss.” He says, ducking as the glass of whisky comes swooping past his head as Hannibal spins round to find Dobson. “Come on, I’m not stupid. Paperwork wouldn’t have processed that fast if he’d only decided on the transfer on Saturday morning. Plus, from the look of surprise on your face when I announced who I was, I knew that this must have been sprung on you.”
Hannibal’s recovered now, given up on hunting Dobson down for the moment and more focused on his young Lieutenant. “You don’t seem particularly upset about the fact.”
“Why should I be?” Face asks, grinning at him. “I got to transfer onto your team, the legendary Hannibal Smith! I was fucking over the moon when Dobson spoke to me. And he’d already told me that it was nothing to do with my behaviour, so I didn’t mind the unusual method. I thought it would have been right up your street boss.”
Hannibal shakes his head at the young man, cuffing him lightly on the back of the head, which only makes the kid grin harder.
“You’re full of surprises, Lieutenant Peck. Full of surprises.”
“I aim to please, sir.”
“For that, you’re making breakfast in the morning.” He swallows down his drink on one go. “Come on, back to the house then. We better make sure Banks hasn’t killed Jimmy and Hound.”
As they leave the mess and step into the cool air, Hannibal's hands automatically start searching for a cigar. Face is there, quick as a flash, handing over the cigar and lighter and Hannibal laughs.
"Can you read my mind, kid?" He asks, rolling the cigar and lighting it.
"Nah, boss. Not a chance, if I did I might have a clue where all your crazy plans come from."
"Only crazy if they don't work. And when have my plans not worked?"
"You got me boss, they always work."
Nine months have gone by since Face joined the team and Christmas is fast approaching, which means, since they're actually in the country for a change, they decide to make it epic. (Hannibal's winnings from his accumulated card games over the year make a significant contribution to the alcohol content.) It's one of the last days before large proportions of the base head home for their two weeks leave, which means that there are plenty of people willing to head over to the team house and help them celebrate in style. The downstairs of the house is packed, but the boys have done well. All the furniture in the living room has been pushed to one end and barricaded off with a row of chairs so there's a space for dancing to the disco that Jimmy has declared he shall DJ. Face has managed to scam some party lights which flash coloured patterns in the dark room, and in the kitchen there are several large tubs filled with ice and beers; the fridge is stocked, and the kitchen table has been laid out with snacks and glasses. Hannibal has been stuck in meetings all day and so arrives after the 6pm start time. The party's in full swing when he gets back but it doesn't matter; as soon as he's deposited his jacket in his room (making sure to lock his door behind him; the boys can get rowdy after a few beers) and headed back down the stairs, Face is waiting for him with a grin and a beer in hand. He tells Hannibal where he's hidden a bottle of whisky for him away from prying eyes, and Hannibal slings an arm around Face's shoulders, steering him back towards the kitchen, promising him a promotion for his good deeds in the New Year which just makes Face laugh.
He sends Face back into the melee in the living room where his presence is being called for, and snags the last chair at the kitchen table, beside Banks. There's a poker game going on but Hannibal doesn't feel like playing; he's content to just sit and drink his beer, watching the boys and their comrades letting loose before they head home.
Hannibal's staying in the house over the holidays with Face, who doesn't have anywhere to go. Hannibal's long ago signed his life over to the army so he's used to spending the holidays on base but it'll be nice to have some company in the house. It used to get too quiet when the three boys left.
It's nearing midnight and Hannibal's still at the kitchen table, but he's changed his beer for his hidden bottle of whisky, thanks to Face. He's sitting with Jimmy, who has taken a break from DJ-ing, and they're discussing Christmas presents. Jimmy's got one day when he gets back to buy all his Christmas presents and he's only now just beginning to think about it. Hannibal knows he'll most likely forget the conversation in the morning, and all his hard work will go to waste, but it's too much fun thinking up presents for Aunt Doris that will shock the entire family. Their conversation is interrupted when Face flings himself over the back of Jimmy's chair, catching their attention.
"Come on guys, everyone's dancing!" He tugs at Jimmy's arm and the other boy is up in an instant and Face shoves him in the direction of the living room.
"Come on, boss." Face beckons to him but Hannibal shakes his head.
"I don't dance kid."
"Oh boss, come on. Seriously, everyone's in there! You gotta!"
"If everyone is in there, then you won't miss me."
"Yeah we will, boss. Come on!"
"Kid, I promise you. I can't dance, and I'm not going in there to embarrass myself."
"I'll teach you!" Face lunges for his arm, hauling him out his chair before Hannibal realises what is going on.
As much as he tries to resist, the kid is determined and Face hauls him into the other room, pulling him into the thick of the crowd. Hannibal gives in, laughing, and let's himself be manoeuvred by the kid. The music is loud, so there's not much talking going on, but there's plenty of laughter, shrieks and cheers. Face takes hold of his hips firmly and pushes himself closer so he can speak into Hannibal's ear.
"Just follow the rhythm of the music, boss."
"I don't have any rhythm, kid." Hannibal leans into the kid to reply.
"Follow me then." The kid's hands start moving him, almost pushing and pulling him as they move to the beat and it makes Hannibal laugh, that he's standing here, in the middle of a crowded living room in what essentially is a house party, being taught how to dance to music he has no intention of listening to again by his eternally surprising Lieutenant.
"Boss, you're not even trying!" Face complains, pouting just enough to watch Hannibal smile.
"I tried to tell you kid, I can't dance."
"Please, just for me?"
He can't resist him, even though he knows it's a mistake, so he does try. He pulls Face into some sort of wild dance, that has everyone around them breaking into hysterical laughter, people making a sort of circle around them to watch. Hannibal tolerates it for a few minutes before he waves his hand in surrender, making for the edge of the circle, and the safety of the wall. They let him go, cheering out his name in amazement, and Face follows him, the circle closing up behind them as the next person entertains the crowd with their moves. From the laughter, he thinks it might be Hound and Jimmy re-enacting the end sequence from Dirty Dancing that has become their party trick.
No one's even paying attention to Hannibal, leaning up against the wall getting his breath back, or Face, standing in front of him, smiling at his boss.
"Can't dance, my ass, boss!" Face says.
"Only for you kid, and never again. I swear. When Rusty finds out about this I'll never hear the end of it."
Face laughs, and shifts closer as the crowd moves behind him, cheering on Jimmy and Hound.
"Thanks." He says it softly, so softly that Hannibal almost doesn't hear him, but he sees that look in Face's eyes which means he's truly grateful that Hannibal has indulged him. He opens his mouth to reply when the crowd moves again, jostling Face hard and sending him flying into Hannibal, arms automatically reaching up around the boss' neck. Their mouths connect in some parody of a kiss, but Hannibal's not laughing. Because Face is kissing him, truly and properly kissing him, and he's responding, clutching at the kid's waist and hauling him closer. It's insane, it's stupidly irresponsible and someone could turn round in a moment and ruin both their careers, but for those few seconds he doesn't care.
When he's had that brief taste of Face, he does the logical, responsible thing and gently pushes the kid away. He doesn't go easy, but when he gathers himself he recognises the position they're in and his hands move to a more acceptable position. He steps back, just a tiny step, but it means there's now air between them and they look as if they're just standing close to have a conversation in the crowded room.
The boy's panting, and Hannibal feels like he's just run a marathon himself. He should analyse what's happening here, and figure out the best course of action, but he doesn't. His mind temporarily leaves him and he pushes away from the wall, snagging Face's wrist for a second as he passes to make the kid follow him, and then they're both slipping around the edges of the room, fumbling their way in the darkness of the room until they reach the hall-door and escape through it, everyone else apparently entirely oblivious. Except Banks, who sees what's happened. He'll be the one to look out for the Major and the kid, make their excuses when they inevitably don't appear to say goodbye to their guests, and he'll be the one collecting the money from Jimmy and Hound, who thought they'd dance around each other for a good few weeks yet. He watches the door close and then goes to stand guard over it. Their guests can leave by the back door, it's where they all came in anyway so it's no hassle. The party will be winding down soon anyway; he knows at least five guys who have early flights in the morning and base parties don't usually last much longer than around one.
Once they're out in the hall, Face expects them to stop, for Hannibal to turn him around and explain all the reasons why they can't do this, but Hannibal's not stopping. He's heading for the stairs, one hand still touching Face lightly on the wrist so that he'll follow. And he does. He'd follow Hannibal to the ends of the earth if he was asked to. Up the stairs, Hannibal heads for his own room, unlocking the door and ushering Face in before him. That's all the encouragement that Face needs. As soon as Hannibal's inside the room and the door has clicked closed, Face is on him in a heartbeat, plastering himself to the boss and kissing him.
Hannibal finds himself with an armful of young Lieutenant, pushing up against him, needy and warm and kissing him so wonderfully that Hannibal can feel his brain leaking out his ears. He wraps his arms back around Face, hauling the boy even closer.
"Hannibal." The kid moans his name when they pull back for air, and Hannibal groans in response. He doesn't expect the kid to be so needy; he'd thought the kid would be suave and cool in his seduction, but he's just a pile of wanton boy and Hannibal cannot refuse him.
"Face." He's somehow managed to push the boy up against his bedroom wall and they're both panting. "Kid, I-"
"Don't." Face pleads with him, wrapping one arm around his neck and pushing his other hand into Hannibal's hair.
"Don't what?" He asks, pressing his nose into his boy's skin and breathing deeply.
"Don't push me away. Please boss."
"Jesus, kid, why do you think I'd do that?" He loops his fingers into Face's belt and keeps him flush against his body. "I'm not going to push you away."
Some of the tension in Face's shoulders slips away, and he renews his attack on Hannibal's mouth. It's like he's trying to climb up Hannibal's body, one leg inching up Hannibal's thigh, a needy whine ripping from his throat.
"Kid." Hannibal's a little more firm now, getting a scant inch of space between them. Face stops, looking up at Hannibal with a hint of confusion in his eyes.
"What's wrong?" He asks, his fingers curling in the short hair at the nape of Hannibal's neck, his thigh sliding down so his foot is back on the ground. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No, kid, no, nothing wrong." Hannibal assures him, stroking his hand through Face's hair.
"You're amazing. It's just, I've never done this before," his hands cup the kid's face, "and I want it to be perfect for you."
Face grins, leaning back in to Hannibal and kissing him. "Boss, just being here with you is making this perfect."
Hannibal almost flushes, and he kisses the kid back, just once. "Yes, but I still... I just... what do you want me to do?"
Face groans at that, falling forward onto Hannibal's chest. "Jesus, boss, don't say shit like that or I will come in my pants."
Hannibal smirks, feeling more confident at Face's obvious enjoyment of him. He leans down to speak right in the kid's ear, dropping his voice a notch or two, just to really make it count. "So let me help you come."
Face whimpers, loudly, before pushing them back from the wall, spinning round in Hannibal's grasp, plastering his back to his chest, and then he takes Hannibal's hand, sliding it down his chest. His head drops back onto the boss' shoulder when Hannibal takes the hint and drags his hand down Face's stomach, tugging up the boy's shirt and rubbing circles around his belly button.
"Like this?" He growls into Face's ear and the kid whines, arching up under his touch and reaching behind himself to wrap his hands around Hannibal's neck.
"Please!" He pleads, but he lets Hannibal go at his own pace, tracing little patterns over the soft skin of Face's stomach before skirting lower and fiddling with the button on the kid's jeans.
Face keens loudly and Hannibal takes pity on him, flicking open the button and pulling down the zipper enough so he can reach inside and grasp the kid's erection, hot and hard in his boxers, tugging firmly and making the boy almost fly into the air.
"Hannibal!" He's tense all over, hands gripping awkwardly at Hannibal's shoulders and his teeth worrying at his bottom lip. "I.. oh shit boss... I'm not gonna...fuck! oh shit, not gonna last long..."
Hannibal pulls his head round with his free hand, kissing him hard as his hand moves fast and furious in the kid's pants before pulling back and growling in Face's ear, "Come for me, Face. Shit, I want to see you come."
He pulls Face back into him, pressing his crotch against the boy's ass and groaning loudly, the sound reverberating through Face.
"Hannibal!" Face's breathing is hitching, his hair is sticking to his forehead and every line in his body is tensing up, snapping straight and he's on that knife edge, just waiting for that little something that will tip him over into oblivion; Hannibal can practically taste it on him.
He presses a kiss just below Face's ear, on the soft skin that makes Face shudder with pleasure. "I love you kid." He whispers.
And that's all it takes for Face to explode; he's almost crying with relief as Hannibal prolongs his relief, milking the kid for everything he has. When he's finally finished, he slumps down, heading for the floor before Hannibal manages to catch him with one arm. He wipes his hand clean on Face's shirt, smiling at the mumbled and slurred protest from Face as he manoeuvres both of them over to his bed, placing the kid almost reverently down on the sheets. He tugs off the kid's shirt, toes off his shoes and pulls off his jeans, boxers and socks before he removes his own clothes and settles down beside Face on the bed.
Face is already reaching out for him, hands grasping at his arm and hip, pulling him down onto the bed beside him, and then burrowing sleepily into Hannibal's chest.
He cards his hand through the boy's hair, slow and soothing and Face leans up into his touch.
"Boss..." He manages to say, struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Shh, kid, it's okay. Just go to sleep." He resettles the boy's head on his chest.
"But Hannibal." The kid butts his head up against Hannibal's hand until he can peer up at his face. "You didn't... I mean..." He blushes furiously and Hannibal smiles at him.
"I'm sure you'll make it up to me another time, kid."
"But..." He protests again.
"Face." Hannibal places a finger over his mouth. "You're exhausted. Just go to sleep kid."
His eyes are dropping shut, his body exhausted from the alcohol he's drunk that evening and from his orgasm. He's going heavy in Hannibal's arm, one leg slung over his hip and his arm thrown over his Major's stomach, clingy and warm and so comforting that Hannibal felt the lull of sleep creeping up on him, despite the fact he’s still hard. The whisky is coursing through his veins, dulling his need, which helps.
The next morning, his internal alarm clock goes off as usual, jerking him out of sleep at 5am. He makes to move, but there’s a weight pinning down his chest and arm, and he turns to find Face still sleeping, draped across his body, and the memories of last night come flooding back. Temporary insanity; that’s what it should be. He just engaged in sexual activity with a junior officer, and that’s both an abuse of power on his part, and horrendously against army regulations. He should be filled with regret and apprehension over what happens now; whether Face will turn him in, or whether he’ll have to transfer his newest team member to stop things getting ugly. But he doesn’t feel any of that. Instead of pushing the kid away, he hauls him closer, a smile tugging at his mouth when Face mumbles something incoherent into his chest and wraps his arm more securely around his waist. The kid’s a clinger, and the way he’s being gripped means Hannibal would have had a tough time extracting himself from the kid’s hands anyway, so he settles back down, reaching one hand up to card through Face’s hair, soft curls running through his fingers.
The kid wakes at that contact; he is a trained soldier after all. Hannibal can feel him tense beneath his touch for a brief moment before he tilts his head to look at him. Hannibal offers him a wry smile.
Face grins back, sleepily. “Morning boss.” He yawns widely before rolling more fully onto his stomach and dropping his head so his chin’s resting on Hannibal’s chest. Hannibal goes back to the kid’s hair, scratching lightly at the back of his head.
“How’d you sleep?”
“Like a baby.” He leans into Hannibal’s scratching fingers. “You?”
“Pretty good, kid.”
Face offers him a smile again, before hesitantly leaning down and pressing a kiss to the bare skin under his head. He looks up at Hannibal, through his lashes, cautious and unsure but Hannibal just pulls him up by his grip on his head and kisses him, wrapping his arms around that warm body and sinking into the boy’s mouth. Face flails for a second or two, before he’s practically climbing on top of Hannibal, trying to get them closer together. Hannibal rolls them, so that Face is now on his back, and the kid wraps around him like a limpet, Hannibal holding him in place so he can kiss him properly. When he eventually pulls away, letting the kid have some air, Face is grinning up at him with swollen lips.
“So, not writing this off as a drunken mistake then, boss?”
Hannibal frames his face with his hands, thumbs stroking along his cheekbones as he takes in the beauty lying beneath him. “Not on your life kid, not if you don’t.”
Face’s smile morphs into something softer, and he turns his head, pressing his lips to the palm of Hannibal’s hand. “No way.” He assures him, running his hands up the tanned muscle of Hannibal’s arms and tangling their legs together.
“Good.” He leans down, pressing a kiss to the corner of Face’s mouth, his cheek, his nose and his forehead.
Face just about glows under the attention, leaning up for more of it, and Hannibal’s only too happy to oblige. He could spend hours doing this, worshipping Face the way he deserves. The kid likes contact; it’s implicit in the way he’ll always choose to sit next to someone instead of sitting on his own, and the way he lights up when Hannibal claps him on the shoulder, or holds out a fist for him to bump. He craves it, and Hannibal is not going to be the one to refuse him.
Except that he can hear movement from the rest of the house; Jimmy leaves for the airport at 0600, with Hound and Banks leaving soon after. And he knows the others won’t leave without saying goodbye to both him and the kid, so he reluctantly pulls back, giving Face a little more breathing room and rolling over to his own side of the bed.
He pouts a little, grabbing Hannibal’s hand to kiss it one more time, but then he sits up, running a hand through his hair and trying to bring some kind of order to it.
“Guess it’s time to get back to reality, huh?” He asks, looking a little forlorn.
“Kid,” Hannibal shakes his head. “I’m not forgetting about this. We say goodbye to the boys, and we’ve got two weeks to figure this all out. I just want to get it straight in my head before we go around telling the others.”
Face brightens immediately. “Sure, boss!” He scrambles off the bed, retrieving his clothes from where Hannibal had dumped them the night before. He pulls on his jeans, Hannibal pausing from his own trousers to watch for just a moment, before shaking out his t-shirt and throwing a dirty look over at Hannibal.
“Did you really have to use my t-shirt, boss?”
Hannibal laughs. “It was the nearest thing available, or else your ass would have hit the floor.” He buttons up his jeans and crosses over to the kid. “Here, hand it over.” He removes the offending garment, chucking it over to his laundry basket and leaning down to kiss that pout away.
“So I’m to go out without my t-shirt?” Face asks, glancing down at himself.
“Face, you wander around base shirtless half the time anyway. I don’t think anyone is going to bat an eyelid.”
“I’m not worried about that.” Face tells him, heading for the door. “I was just wondering if you’ll be able to stop yourself from jumping me, that’s all.”
He shouts out in indignation as the kid slips out into the hall, leaving him with a dazzling grin. In the quietness that’s left with the kid’s absence, he has to sit down heavily on the bed, his mind still reeling at the fact that he’s been with Face. The kid looks like a movie star and yet he’s chosen to be with him, his CO and his significantly older CO at that. He doesn’t really know what he’s done to deserve the kid, either in his unit or in his bed, but he knows that he’s going to fight tooth and nail to keep the kid in his life. He’s been ensnared, from the moment that Face had scammed that bed for himself and he’s only just realising how deep Face has wormed his way into his life at this moment in time.
He shakes his head, gathering himself. He has to be able to at least try and act normal in front of the others. Obviously, they’ll find out, but Hannibal is looking forward to at least a couple of weeks with Face to sort this all out in his head first. He stands, and finishes getting dressed. Once the boys have been sent off to the airport, and once he’s gotten confirmation that they’ve all at least checked in and passed through security, he’s got to head into the office. There are a large pile of reports and papers that need to be filed and sent off to the main office before the secretaries finish up for the holidays and he knows that if he fails in this, it won’t just be Russ who’s annoyed; those women in the office can get nasty if everything’s not done to their schedule. He’s got Face as his secret weapon, just in case he doesn’t have time to finish them all, as the kid’s got them all wrapped around his little finger, and falling over themselves to help the young lieutenant, but he’d prefer to get everything sorted and enjoy some free time over the festive period. And, whilst the kid is good, he doesn’t have quite the same impact on General Morrison as he does on the ladies.
Fully dressed, he heads out into the hall. There’s some kind of powwow going on at Banks’ door, between all four of them, and he has to stop himself staring at Face’s naked chest and back. He raises his eyebrow at the lot of them, but they all give him identical innocent looks and he decides that he can’t be bothered getting to the bottom of whatever it is they’ve been getting up to so he just heads down to the kitchen to start making the coffee and some breakfast.
The day passes quickly; all three of his boys made it to the airport, despite Jimmy forgetting his passport again, and he managed to file his last report just before five o’clock. He skips the Mess on the way home; after all the Mess doesn’t have Face. The kid’s got a drink waiting for him when he gets in, and Hannibal teases him of his housewife tendencies. This gets him the finger in reply, but they fall into their usual routine, Hannibal leaning against the counter and listening to Face recount his stories of helping the Delta boys with their packing as he makes some dinner.
They eat in comfortable silence in the living room, the television turned to the usual sports channel that’s running through scores and stats, evaluating performance for the season so far, and it seems perfectly normal for Hannibal to reach out and run his hand through the kid’s hair as he finishes his dinner. So he does. Face looks at him, a huge smile breaking out over his features, and he leans back into Hannibal’s touch. The television is forgotten about as Face turns towards him, drawn in by his hand, until they’re scant inches apart and all Hannibal can see is bright blue eyes and golden hair. The kid fits so easily under his shoulder, moulding to his body like he was made to be there.
“So,” Face smiles up at him, “Banks won the bet.”
“Mm?” Hannibal has to drag his eyes away from the kid’s hair to focus on what he’s been saying. “What bet?”
“You know, the bet he’s been having with Jimmy and Hound since September.” He reaches for Hannibal’s hand, linking their fingers together.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He tells him, breathing in the scent of the hair beneath him.
“Hannibal.” Face laughs, pulling back a little to assess his boss. “You serious?”
“Deadly, kid. I have no idea what you’re talking about. What bet?”
Face arches up, pressing his mouth to Hannibal’s, winding one arm around his neck. Hannibal’s not complaining in the slightest, and he moves into the kiss, reaching down to grasp the kid’s hip, and leaning over him so they eventually fall down onto the sofa, Face on his back and Hannibal resting on his elbows over him.
“You’re very distracting, you know?” Face tells him, hooking his leg over the back of Hannibal’s knee and dragging the boss down to lie on top of him.
“Same goes to you, kid.” He cradles Face’s head in between his hands, marvelling at the sight he’s looking at.
Face tweaks his ear, softly, beaming up at him.
“So, what was this bet all about then?”
That makes Face laugh, lighting up his whole face. “I can’t believe you didn’t twig.”
“Kid.” He growls warningly, and Face relents.
“About us, boss.”
Hannibal frowns. “What about us?”
Face rolls his eyes. “About when we’d get together.”
“They were betting on us?” Hannibal asks, surprised.
“Of course they were! Banks won; he guessed before the holidays. Jimmy thought it would take us two weeks alone together to get our heads out our asses, and Hound was thinking some time in January, when we ship out.”
“They were betting on us?” Hannibal asks again and Face can’t help the snort of laughter that he lets out.
“Hannibal, you have many, many qualities, but your subtlety over the past few weeks has been nonexistent.” He pauses for a moment before grinning. “Not that I minded in the slightest.”
“So, if you knew I was flirting with you, why didn’t you do something about it beforehand?” Hannibal asks him, putting the growing idea for good-natured revenge on his boys to the back of his mind.
Face squirms a little beneath him, looking a little awkward. “Didn’t know if you were serious or not.”
Hannibal is reminded of the needy way that Face clung to him last night, that vulnerable streak in this young boy which only gets seen once in a while.
“You think I’d joke about something like this?”
“No.” Face tells him, now looking him in the eye. “No, I knew you wouldn’t, but...” He shrugs as much as he can when he’s lying on his back. “Doesn’t stop me thinking about it, you know?”
Insecurities. Everyone has them but this kid has more than Hannibal would have guessed possible. From the snippets of stories from his childhood that he’s told the boys, he can understand the reasoning behind them, but now he’s beginning to understand the full extent of them. Another thing he hadn’t expected about this kid.
“Face.” He speaks softly, lowering his head to press their foreheads together, trying to impress into him how important he thinks this relationship is. “I’d never leave you.”
“Yeah?” He looks torn between hope and fear, like he’s trying to convince himself that this time, the promise won’t be broken.
“I won’t, kid.” He kisses him softly. “I won’t. Believe me.”
“Okay.” The word is whispered and shaky, and Face looks like he can’t quite believe what he’s just said. At that moment, Hannibal makes a vow to himself to never break this promise. He can’t; he doesn’t want to think about what that would do to this amazing, surprising and brilliant boy.
“Good.” He’s got two weeks to hammer that idea more firmly into the kid’s head, when they’ve got the time and place to be together and god dam, he’s going to use that time to the best of his advantage. But now, it’s better to steer Face back into more comfortable territory, before the kid thinks he’s shown himself too much and retreats. And really, the plans Hannibal has for that evening do not have them both being more than a foot away from each other.
“You know what?” Hannibal asks, settling himself more firmly on top of Face, fingers drifting up and down the side of the boy’s head.
Face senses the change in mood, and smiles at him, spreading his legs a little so that Hannibal can settle more comfortably between them and his hands gripping Hannibal’s hips lightly. “What?”
“I’ve never been more pleased to have won a card game as I did that night against Dobson.”
Face laughs, warming Hannibal’s heart with his happiness. “Yeah, boss?”
“And I’ve never been so happy to have been irresponsibly gambled by two Army Majors who should have known better.” He retorts, a genuine smile still lighting up his face.
Yeah, Hannibal thinks to himself as he resorts to evil methods of tickling the submission out of the boy, give him time and he’ll prove to Face how much the boy means to him. Even if he is eternally surprising.