Losing His GripPairing:
Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith/Lieutenant Templeton “Faceman” PeckRating:
R for swearingDisclaimer:
They do not belong to me. If only...Summary:
Hannibal promised to rescue them from prison. Face believed him. But six months is a long time to wait. Has Hannibal forgotten about him?AN:
Written for another prompt on the A-Team kink meme. “When they get sentenced to prison, Hannibal promises his team he’ll fix it. And, considering, 6 months of separation is not that long. Or is it?”“I’ll come for you.”
Those had been the last words Hannibal had spoken to him, right before the guards had arrived to take him away. Murdock had already been bundled into his straightjacket and whisked away to somewhere that Face hoped wasn’t Mexico. Bosco had been causing so much noise that he’d been taken next, even if that had meant changing the pre-prepared plans arranged by the MPs. Hannibal had had only a few scant seconds with Face, to promise the boy that he wouldn’t leave him behind before they were jostled apart, and Face was left with only the memory of the weight of Hannibal’s hand on his shoulder, his fingers squeezing tight.
His first few days in prison; well they hadn’t exactly been a walk in the park but he’d endured worse. He’d settled on a plan of attack well before the court found them guilty; he knew exactly how to play everyone that he encountered. Some were in awe of him, of the stories of Colonel Hannibal Smith and his legendary A-Team. Others hated him on sight because of their own failings or whatever petty reasons, but Face could deal with them. If he couldn’t bring them around with charm or bribes or alliances, there were other ways to make sure they wouldn’t be a problem. A small proportion had only listened to half the rumours; they saw him only as outsiders considered him. A pretty boy with no talent who fucked his way into trouble and couldn’t talk his way out of again; he was just a toy, a distraction that Hannibal kept around for nights when he was lonely. It wasn’t the first time Face had been called Hannibal’s bitch. It was just the first time that Hannibal hadn’t been there to calm him down or bail his ass out of jail. That first fight in the yard had earned him a week in solitary but it was worth it, Face figured. Because he could handle a week in solitary to ensure that Hannibal’s honour wasn’t besmirched. Besides, the way Hannibal’s mind worked, he might not even be in solitary for a week. Face settled into his little cell and welcomed the silence. Hannibal would be there soon.
When he was released back into the main compound, Face still wasn’t worried. Sure, he expected miracles from the man, but breaking out of one of the top military prisons in the world was never going to be a walk in the park. Face could handle staying here for a little longer; it just meant that Hannibal was probably taking extra precautions. There was no one else with him to bounce ideas off, no one to help refine his often ridiculous plans and subtly alter them so there was a more than 75% chance they’d all come out unscathed. Hannibal would be checking and rechecking his thoughts, looking for the little loopholes that Face usually pointed out. Or perhaps he was having to wait to get supplies. Dammit! Face slammed his hand against the wall to his cell in frustration. No one else could arrange supplies like he could. How was Hannibal supposed to work with such inferior tools? It would never work if Hannibal didn’t have everything exactly as he specified.
He sat down heavily on his bunk, and threaded his hands in his hair as he tried to think like Hannibal. Maybe he could help? Maybe Hannibal was waiting for his help? No, the boss wouldn’t sit around waiting for Face to figure it out. He’d know that Face was counting on him. He tried shaking his head to clear his thoughts and think properly. Could he at least try to help? Could he send something, anything that might be useful to him? How would Hannibal think of escaping? He somehow couldn’t see even the guards at Leavenworth (because where else would they send Hannibal Smith?) falling for the chisel-in-a-cake trick. Hannibal would be trickier, make sure that nothing could be traced back to his boys so that on the off chance that he was foiled, no extra punishment would come down on them. He was so fucking moral like that.
He wracked his brains for over an hour, but he’d never been able to think like the boss and therefore he was no closer to actually figuring out what to send to him. There was literally no end to the possibilities of what Hannibal might need to get him out of jail. So he scrapped that plan and started working on how to make all their time in prison more comfortable, trusting in Hannibal to get him out of this place and back into his arms. That course of action was so much easier. That was something Face felt like he was born to do.
A month later and Face had transformed his life in prison. He could only hope that his efforts were being felt by the others. Sure, the deals to ensure that Murdock had regular deliveries of candy and a working television that connected to the Cartoon Network, that Bosco was kept in supply of the newest tools for mechanics and plenty of machines to work on, that Hannibal was almost drowning in his beloved books, those deals were made. But the frustrating thing about prison was that Face couldn’t double check that the other end of the bargain was being held up. However that in no way meant that he was going to stop. He had a good thing going on here; there was his own support network within the prisoners who protected him against any who saw fit to cause trouble with the lifestyle he led. He was on good terms with the senior guard on his floor, having worked out that he had served with the man’s son over in the Middle East. Plus he still had numerous contacts outside who owed him big time. Face knew the value in building up debts and favours owed. It was his insurance policy, something that he’d learnt on the streets. So for his whole life, he had been building this network of people who owed him favours, from tiny little things to much bigger ones. Of course he cashed in a couple of those favours for himself; installed a tanning booth or two in the officers room which he could use, got the cute girl who’d been so nice to him on his first day transferred to his floor’s rota, persuaded the warden to let him knock a wall down between two cells to give him a bigger room. But the majority of his work went on ensuring that Hannibal stayed connected with the outside world, that Murdock stayed sane and that Bosco stayed out of solitary.
It took a lot of work, but Face preferred that. Gave him less time to think about how Hannibal hadn’t made contact with him yet. He’d given him the opportunity; numerous times over in fact, but there had been no word from him. Murdock had sent word, in his own little ways; notes from Face’s German aunt that talked about the weather in Berlin. Bosco had written him a note, brief and to the point as was Bosco’s way, but infused with that fierce protectiveness that marked him apart from his peers. Hannibal hadn’t sent anything. That thought made his stomach burn, and his insides feel like they were twisting together in a maze of knots. So he forced it away, threw himself into his affairs with Kelly, plastered on his grin and his charm to enchant the men at mealtimes, chatted like he was old friends with Bob, and the warden when he got the chance, and worked on focusing all his attention away from the one aspect of his life that he felt he couldn’t control.
Two months in and Face found it increasingly hard to sleep at night. He was wracked with guilt, nerves, anguish and terror. Hannibal would have been in touch, Hannibal would have contacted him by now. He had to have a plan. It had been two months and Face didn’t think he could handle living this lie for a day longer. On the outside, he didn’t think anyone noticed. But inside, he felt like he was cracking up. Did he miss something? Had Hannibal tried to send him a message but he’d failed to recognise what it was? It was eating him alive. Something wasn’t wrong. Hannibal didn’t take this long, Hannibal didn’t leave him hanging like this. Hannibal wouldn’t. The terror, the unmitigated and completely unjustified terror that Hannibal had somehow died ate at him through the long dark nights. He’d long ago perfected the art of surviving on four hours of sleep a day, and that was under stressful conditions. His luxury apartment as the guards had started calling it, and his fairly relaxed lifestyle meant he could survive on less. This helped for the nights when he lay awake for hours, trying to stop the tears leaking from his eyes at the thought of Hannibal, alone and dead. Even when he did manage to sleep, the thought infected his dreams and held him captive to the horrors unfolding in his subconscious. It was torture.
By the third month, Face had given up. It wasn’t something that had been consciously building, although his worry over Hannibal increased exponentially as every day without contact passed. But when he woke up on the three month anniversary of the day he arrived in prison, Face knew that Hannibal wasn’t coming. He didn’t know why but he knew that he wasn’t coming to get him. Not this time. And hadn’t Hannibal always warned him about that? That one time Face would get himself into some kind of trouble and Hannibal wouldn’t be there to make it along to save his ass. He hadn’t believed the boss; that was crazy talk! Hannibal always arrived in time, Hannibal always saved him no matter how angry he was at him, or how pissed off. It was just a fact of life to Face.
But, as usual, Boss was right. Hannibal wasn’t coming to get him. That morning, as he listened to the regular routines of guards rousing prisoners for their breakfast, he contemplated giving up. Just lying there, staring at the ceiling of his cell seemed like a much better option than having to get up and continue on in a life where Hannibal wasn’t coming for him. But Murdock’s latest letter, written in crazy German, caught his eye as he turned over to begin this new life. Hannibal might not be coming for him, but he needed to be there for Murdock and Bosco. He couldn’t give up on them. So he carried on. The same facade, the same fake smile, fake charm, fake personality, all fake. Inside, he was numb. Hannibal wasn’t coming for him. This was his life now and Face could have cried at how empty it now felt. Never in his life had he felt this alone.
By the time six months in prison had passed, he was used to it. So used to it, in fact, that he had almost started believing the lies he was telling himself. Yep, Lieutenant Templeton “Face” Peck, served under Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, in for ten years, living the life of luxury in his ridiculously kitted out cell, friends with all the guards, sleeping with several of them, helping his buddies scattered in prisons over the country and the world. Nothing else. He laughed off questions about escaping, replying easily that why would he want to escape when he had it so good? A life as a fugitive didn’t sound nearly as much fun as topping up his tan once a week and sleeping on a really good double bed. Yes, Face was really starting to believe in the life he now led. Which was, of course, when Hannibal decided to break him out of jail.
It had to have been Hannibal. Face logically knew this. Who else would kidnap him in a fucking tanning booth? But that didn’t stop the two minutes and four seconds of heart wrenching terror he felt when he realised he’d been locked inside. Yelling wouldn’t help matters at all, but it didn’t stop him. He screamed and shouted, pounded on the doors and scrabbled desperately at the door to escape, until he finally managed to control his breathing and calm himself down. Then he’d waited.
It had taken Hannibal an hour and a half to reach his destination and in that time, he hadn’t said a word to Face. Hadn’t made a motion to assure his boy that it was him and Face felt the despair grow in his stomach. Why didn’t he care?
So when the van or truck or whatever the fuck was carrying the booth stopped, and once Face had endured the indignity of being jostled around as the booth was set on the ground, Face had perfected his mask. Hannibal didn’t care, obviously, so Face would be indifferent, cool, calm, the way Hannibal deserved his Lieutenant to act in fucked up situations, and something that Face had never truly managed to achieve before.
The worst part was, Hannibal didn’t even seem to notice. They bantered back and forth for a bit, Face struggling with having Hannibal so close to him and not reaching out to touch him, and Hannibal seemed to start up a conversation as if they had seen each other only the other day. It was stressing Face out. How the fuck was he supposed to deal with this?
He wanted nothing more than to launch himself at Hannibal, let those arms wrap around him and give him just a little peace for a moment, let him still his exhausted brain and soothe his frazzled nerves. But Hannibal hadn’t gotten in touch. He hadn’t even warned him about his escape plans. So when Hannibal actually looked to reach out to him, pull him in for a hug or an embrace or whatever, Face couldn’t handle it. He doesn’t just want to be Hannibal’s lover; he wants to be the man Hannibal trusts. Right now, he can’t handle being one without the other, and all the evidence points to the fact that Hannibal doesn’t trust him. Why else would he have left him in the dark for so long?
He turned, abruptly, trying desperately to pretend he hadn’t seen Hannibal’s movements and looked back up the road.
“We should move. Someone’s bound to be looking for us.”
“Face, kid.” Hannibal stepped closer, trying to close the distance between them, the crease of a frown starting to appear on his forehead.
“Later.” Face shrugged him away, climbing back in the van and trying not to shake from the fact that he just turned away from Hannibal. He slammed the door shut and Hannibal took the hint, heading around the car for the driver’s seat.
Hannibal opened his mouth to speak again as he started the car but Face beat him to it.
“We have to get Bosco.”
He needed someone else with them; he needed a buffer for these moments now. Hannibal only stared at him for a good few minutes, agonisingly long minutes for Face as he tried to make sure that his body didn’t betray him, before nodding and pulling the car back onto the road. They only had a limited time period to get to Bosco; he’d get to the bottom of Face’s problem after that.
Hannibal’s plans went to shit. After Bosco there was the desperate scramble to get to Europe before Murdock was moved. Then all hell broke loose with Lynch and Sosa and fucking Pike and whilst on the surface, Face seemed perfectly normal, underneath large cracks were starting to appear. Hannibal tried, he fucking tried his best to get the kid to talk, to open up, but he wasn’t saying anything other than bringing Hannibal’s mind back around to the plan. There were supplies to be gathered, tactics to work out, fucking Kevlar helmets for Murdock to be made.
And after all that, they found themselves back in a fucking police van, being carted off to prison once more. When they’d first grabbed Murdock from where Bosco was trying to stitch a dragon onto his arm, Face had panicked. He’d almost completely lost it right there; was about to go as batshit as Bosco when someone threatened those he cared about. Hannibal had tried to calm the situation as he always did, taking charge and calming his men. He missed the wild, determined look in Face’s eyes as his hands were cuffed tightly behind his back.
This time, Face was adamant. He wasn’t going back to prison. Come hell or high water, he wasn’t going back there, and he wasn’t going to rely solely on Hannibal. Sure, the other man had gotten him out but that had taken six months and he hadn’t even fucking bothered to contact him. No, Face was going to ensure their safety all by himself. That’s why he caught Charisa’s eye, that’s why he kissed her in front of everyone and that was why he had a shit-eating grin on his face as he was shoved into the police van with the others.
Hannibal tried damn hard to hide it; he was nearly as good at acting as Face was. But he slipped up. Behind that carefully placed smirk, there was pain in those eyes. Face hadn’t told him everything. Face hadn’t let him in on the plan. Face had done it without him.
Temp didn’t feel the elated satisfaction that he thought he might have. Instead his success hung like a heavy weight on his heart as he smiled at Murdock and Bosco as they cheered. So he pushed the guilt he felt away, beamed proudly at Hannibal and tried not to crack when he saw the hurt in Hannibal’s eyes.
See Boss, he thought, furiously trying to hide any emotion from his eyes, people don’t like being left in the dark.
By the time they escaped the van, knocking out the drivers for a little while to give them a chance to cover some ground without detection, even Murdock and Bosco had picked up the tension crackling between Hannibal and Face. Bosco scowled at the pair of them, but he didn’t say anything. He never thought it was his place to interfere in the lives of others so he stayed silent, but showed his displeasure. Murdock hopped nervously on one foot beside Hannibal as Face scanned the skyline, working out their direction, estimating how far they’d come and flicking through the back up options he had made to find the preferred choice.
“Boss,” Murdock started. Face could hear the nerves in his voice.
“Leave it for the moment, Captain.” Hannibal fell back on his one constant, shutting down the communication that he didn’t want to deal with right now.
“Yes, sir.” Murdock saluted him quickly and retreated to Bosco’s side. The pair of them watched Hannibal watch Face.
Satisfied that he had a rough idea of their location, Face glanced back at them. “I’ve got a car about three miles away. Back up plan.”
No one commented on the way that Hannibal flinched at those words.
“Limited supplies but it’ll do until I can find us a house.”
“We’ve been through worse.” Murdock piped up, smiling to try and break the atmosphere surrounding them.
Face shrugged. “Sure.”
“Anything we can do, Face?” Bosco asked, as he collected their handcuffs and stuffed them into one of the pockets on his trousers.
Face glanced at Hannibal once more. “”No, I got it. I’ll lead. Come on.”
Murdock hurried after him, already starting to chat quietly to him as they headed off into the undergrowth. Bosco paused, waiting for Hannibal to move before he set off after the others.
“I’ll be tail-end Charlie, BA.” Hannibal finally managed to pull himself together. “Let’s go. Looks like Face has got us covered with this one.”
The four of them covered the distance quickly and quietly and soon Face was unlocking the nondescript saloon car, opening the boot and handing out a rucksack to everyone. Murdock had already claimed his seat in the back, behind the driver’s wheel and was investigating his rucksack for the supplies Face had gotten them.
“There’s a place in Utah, out in the country but not completely deserted to draw attention that should be safe. We should head there; get away from LA and California for a bit.”
“Face-” Hannibal started to speak but Face ploughed on through him.
“We’d need to drive through the night, but we can take it in shifts. I’ll start if you guys want to sleep, but BA might be the best option to get a quick getaway and-”
“Face!” Hannibal’s sharp cry stopped him and he turned to the other man.
“You don’t have to do this all, we can help. We could-”
“I got it, sir. No problem.”
“We’re not in the army anymore, kid. You can drop the act.” Hannibal growled, his own temper starting to rise at the lack of fucking emotion the kid was showing.
“Yes, sir.” Face dropped the keys into BA’s hand, hauled open the backdoor and curled himself up behind the front passenger seat, essentially cutting himself off from Hannibal.
BA looked at their boss awkwardly, unsure of what to do. But Hannibal just shook his head heavily and climbed into the front seat without a word. Face didn’t speak for the first few hours of the journey; he tucked his head into his shoulder as much as possible and fell asleep instantly. BA and Murdock talked, primarily to keep Murdock awake as a precaution against concussion, and eventually Hannibal gave in to their subtle nudges and joined in, reliving the action at the docks and getting BA to explain what had happened between Pike and Face.
After six hours driving, Hannibal swapped with BA. Murdock had fallen into a light sleep, occasionally mumbling about Pokemon, and Face, although they all knew he was awake, hadn’t said a word. Hannibal hoped that Face was going to be forced into talking to him as they crossed over the border to Utah. After all they needed directions to his safe house. Face scuppered his idea when they pulled into the next gas station, announcing to the car that he’d drive by simply getting in the front seat whilst Hannibal used the bathroom.
He glowered as he slid into the backseat, beside BA, and declined Murdock’s offer of a gummy worm by addressing Face.
“You’re going to have to speak to me sometime, kid.”
“Not yet.” Face replied, and started the car.
When they finally reached their destination, Hannibal had to admit that his Lieutenant had done a good job. Isolated, but not standing out against the stark, desolate countryside, well placed with several easy exit points and difficult to surround completely. BA offered Face a fist to bump and Murdock was already inside, scouting the place out.
“Good job, kid.” Hannibal said, automatically reaching out to clap him on the shoulder. He was offered a sliver of hope when Face flinched but didn’t immediately pull away from his touch.
“We should be good here for a while at least. Kitchen should be stocked, although we might have to head into town tomorrow to get some of the more perishable items. I don’t know when the food was actually bought; sometime in the last week at least.”
“I’ll put the car in the garage, get it out of sight.” BA said, taking the keys out of Face’s hand and heading towards the garage door.
“You’ve thought of everything, Face.”
He shrugged and Hannibal’s hand fell off his shoulder. “I didn’t want to be unprepared.” He finally turned to look at Hannibal, but the older man couldn’t, for once, read anything in those eyes. The kid was still keeping him out. “I know you want to talk; but not tonight. Please, just not tonight. We’re beat up, tired, fucking fugitives from the army again and I can’t deal with anything else right now.”
“Face, Temp, I just want to know you’re okay. That’s all.” Hannibal desperately hoped Face wouldn’t think he was trying to push him too hard. The very thought of Face disappearing from them, and vanishing entirely, was too much for him to bear.
That’s all? Inside, Face deflated. That was all he wanted to know? Just that he was okay? He’d hoped that the hurt he’d seen in Hannibal’s eyes earlier actually meant that he still cared for Face, but perhaps he was just annoyed that Face had stolen his thunder. Or that Face didn’t seem to need him anymore. Christ, this was getting too muddled, he was finding it harder to try and decipher what Hannibal was trying to say and he was tired, and sore and he wanted a shower so badly that his skin felt like it was crawling from all the dirt on him.
He closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath and then answered Hannibal. “I’m okay.” He offered his boss a small smile, weak and utterly unconvincing before trudging up to the house and disappearing in the front door.
The sinking feeling in Hannibal’s stomach told him that the short conversation hadn’t gone the way he’d intended it. Somehow, he’d just made matters worse.
And after a simple but delicious meal made by Murdock, Face had retired to bed, taking the only single room in the house and closing the door firmly. Hannibal had never felt so alone in his life.
Hannibal was up first the next morning. In truth, he hadn’t slept. Despite the exhaustion weighing down his limbs, sleep had been elusive all night, and his mind had been fixated on that closed door down the hall and the man sleeping in the small single bed there. He’d run through all their interactions, trying to figure out where he had apparently failed the boy so hard but he was finding it hard to pinpoint an exact moment. If he was being honest, something had been a little off since he’d broken Face out of prison. Perhaps he was still pissed about being transported thirteen miles in a tanning booth. But he’d thought the kid would find it funny; would roll his eyes at Hannibal and maybe punch him before finally kissing him.
God he’d missed the kid. He’d worried about all his boys during their time under lock and key, but it was Face he worried about more. He knew that Murdock wouldn’t be sent back to a hospital like the one they’d rescued him from in Mexico; the security was far too lax. There were only a couple of places he could be sent, and Hannibal knew that Murdock knew how to work the system there. He was stronger than he looked and in the brief seconds they’d had together before he had been transported to Germany, Murdock had assured him that he would be fine. Hannibal believed him.
BA had been slightly trickier. His temper was ferocious when roused, and Hannibal knew he wouldn’t stand for jibes against his team or his CO, and that would get him into trouble. But it seemed like BA had found a way to keep his temper under control. Even if it was strange, and didn’t seem to suit his personality, Hannibal was willing to accept BA’s newfound beliefs, because BA had survived prison and that was all that mattered. And Hannibal would make damn sure he wouldn’t go back there again.
But Face. Oh, how he had worried about him. He knew the boy would settle in, probably find himself some luxuries, maybe spark up a few “friendships” with some of hte female guards. It was what hte boy did to survive. He pushed everything unwanted to the back of his mind and concentrated on the mask on his face. If he could convince others that everything was fine, then he had a chance at convincing himself. Hannibal had seen him do it time and again, and that’s why Face was the only one he had offered a verbal promise to before they were separated. Murdock and BA knew that Hannibal wouldn’t just accept his fate in prison, especially when he knew they were innocent and some shit had gone down with Pike, the plates and Russ. But Face, with his lonely childhood and his obsession that at some point everyone in his life that he cared about would leave him because he wasn’t good enough, Face was different.
So Hannibal had held the boy’s arms, and his eyes, and promised him with all his heart that he would come for him.
The fear that had been lurking behind those gorgeous blue eyes that he loved had subsided at that, his love for Hannibal shining through, and Hannibal had hoped it would be enough. When he’d started receiving little gifts, snippets of information or books or even his cigars on occasion, Hannibal had thought the kid was coping. Hannibal had thought the kid trusted him to get him out of there. Had he stopped believing in Hannibal?
That thought made his heart clench and his stomach roll, and it was enough to propel himself out of bed and down to the kitchen. BA’s snores resonated down the hall, a comforting noise that Hannibal had found he’d missed in the lonely confines of his cell. The kitchen was empty, relatively clean considering Murdock had been cooking in it the night before. A search through the cupboards provided him with the bag of much needed coffee, and he set about starting some breakfast. Murdock was the cook, but more often than not, Hannibal was the first up and he’d become quite adapt at cooking for his team.
Once breakfast had been assembled, with food safely stowed in the warming drawer for when the boys finally roused themselves, Hannibal settled at the kitchen table with his own mug of coffee and lost himself in his thoughts once again. He needed a plan on how to deal with Face. The kid was slippery when he didn’t want to talk, and Hannibal couldn’t afford to lose himself to his emotions. Face could retreat behind anger faster than anyone and it would only make it harder to get through to him.
The sound of snoring petered out from the hall, and minutes later BA was stumbling through, rubbing roughly at his Mohawk as Hannibal pushed the carton of milk towards him.
“Thanks, man.” He mumbled, dropping down heavily on to the kitchen. Hannibal rose to fetch him a plate full of food, glad of the distraction from the worrying problem of Face and happy for finally getting some company. It had been a long night.
Murdock announced that he was awake by the singing coming from the bathroom, so Hannibal started fixing him a plate as well, as BA dug into his own. There was no sound quite yet from Face’s little room.
“You spoken to him yet?” BA asked quietly, as Murdock’s voice rose to an almost deafening chorus of Phantom of the Opera.
Hannibal thought about pretending to not have heard BA, but it wasn’t worth it. They had to live together which meant BA and Murdock were just as involved in any tension between Hannibal and Face and it was foolish to pretend that nothing was wrong.
“Not yet. Haven’t heard anything from him this morning.”
BA nodded, topping up his milk glass once again. “Face is good, man, but he underestimated how much milk to get.”
Hannibal nodded to the cupboard. “There’s long life stuff in there.”
BA scrunched up his face. “No way. That stuff ain’t good. Me and Crazy will head into town later to get some stuff. He wants to make Mexican tonight anyway and said he not got any good tortillas.”
Hannibal took the obvious hint. He and Face were to talk it out today, whether they wanted to or not.
“Okay. But be careful. Remember, we’re wanted fugitives.”
BA grinned at him. “Kind of hard to forget, Hannibal.”
Face didn’t appear for breakfast. Eventually, Murdock took a plate and a mug of coffee and went to his door, knocking softly before slipping inside. All Hannibal could see was darkness. The kid hadn’t even opened his curtains yet. There was a slim possibility that he was still asleep, but Hannibal reckoned he was just avoiding him.
Bosco had caught Murdock before he’d delivered Face’s breakfast, and reminded him that they were going into town in an hour. The message was clear. Face had to be out his room to talk to Hannibal, and Murdock nodded, beamed up at BA and skipped off down the hall.
Ten minutes before the allotted time limit expired, Murdock came back into the living room, his hands filled with an empty mug and plate.
“He’s just going for a shower.” He announced before heading through to the kitchen to dump the dishes into the sink. “Hannibal, Face got me a Spiderman t-shirt, can I wear it into town?”
Despite the situation, Hannibal smiled at the hopeful look on Murdock’s face. Face had really excelled himself; the drawers in the house had been stocked with fresh clothes for all of them.
“If you wear a jumper over the top. We’re trying to be low-key Murdock, and Spiderman is never low-key, is he?”
“He is as Peter Parker.” Murdock replied, thinking about this hard.
“But your shirt is of Spiderman and not Peter Parker, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. Okay, I’ll wear a jumper.”
“Just think,” BA said, standing from the couch, “you’ll be like a real life superhero, with your outfit hidden under normal clothes.”
“Oh yeah!” Murdock brightened exponentially, and disappeared back down the hall to the room he was sharing with BA to get changed.
“Thank you, Bosco.”
“No worries man. It’s a tough time. Listen, we’ll stay out for a couple of hours okay? I’ll give you a call when we’re heading back.”
Once Murdock reappeared, pulling up his jumper so Hannibal would admire his new t-shirt (damn, but the kid was good), the pair of them left in a chattering bundle, with Bosco almost manhandling Murdock down to the car. Once the front door had closed, and the noise of the engine faded to nothing, Hannibal was left with the sound of running water from the bathroom. He collapsed back down onto the sofa and tried to distract himself with a book, but it was no use. He was attuned to that shower, and when the water stopped Hannibal threw down the book and stared out the window, waiting for Face.
He tracked the kid’s movements by ear only, the noise of the bathroom door opening, then his room door which was left open a crack so Hannibal could make out the sounds of Face dressing. There was an interminably long pause, which made Hannibal feel sick, before finally, finally, there was the sound of soft footsteps in the hall. They bypassed the living room, hesitating at the door for the briefest of moments, before heading to the kitchen.
Face wouldn’t want to have this kind of conversation without a diversion and sure enough he appeared minutes later with another large mug of coffee, trying to hide behind it as he slunk into the room, taking the chair furthest from the sofa and curling up into it.
Hannibal had expected him to have his battle face on, his best clothes and his hair immaculate but he’d been wrong. The kid was wrapped up in a sweater that would have been too big for BA, he was wearing loose sweatpants and his feet were bare. His hair had obviously been rubbed mostly dry with a towel and hadn’t been tamed, sitting mussed and slightly wild on top of his head. Despite the fact that he had apparently been asleep for over fourteen hours, he looked tired and worn, and almost defeated. Hannibal’s heart just about broke at the sight of him.
“Hi boss.” He spoke softly before disappearing behind his mug again, taking a long drink.
At least the kid wasn’t hiding behind army formalities anymore.
“Hey kid. Sleep okay?”
Face shrugged a little and Hannibal nodded in agreement. Seems like they’d both had sleepless nights. He wondered if Face’s had been as lonely as his had been.
“How are you doing?”
Face seemed to shrink further into those baggy clothes and Hannibal’s heart sank. He had no idea what to do.
“Face.” He started, leaning forward on the sofa and resting his elbows on his knees, fixing his eyes on his Lieutenant. “You’ve got to help me here.”
Face looked a little startled.
“I’ve no idea what’s going on in your head. And I’m terrified.”
Face just watched him with huge panicked eyes.
“Kid, I’m terrified of doing the wrong thing, or saying the wrong thing. I know how you hate to be pushed to talk about things; you clam up and hide and won’t speak about it for days, if at all. And I’m fucking terrified of that happening. Yet, whatever I’m saying doesn’t seem to be enough for you. Help me find the balance here, please.”
It was like Face couldn’t speak; his breath seemed to be caught in his throat and he still wasn’t attempting to say anything, still just sitting there transfixed under Hannibal’s gaze.
Hannibal ploughed on, regardless. He needed to let Face know what was going through his mind, even if it wasn’t what the kid wanted to hear. He just needed it to be said.
“And I’m so scared that the reason you’re avoiding me, ignoring me, cutting me out of your plans, is that you don’t love me anymore. You want to know my worst fear in prison? Escaping and finding that you’d moved on. Because, Face, you’re amazing. You could have anyone in the world and perhaps that extended absence from me was the push you needed to realise it.”
Hannibal didn’t think he’d ever felt as vulnerable as he felt at that moment. He’d never discussed any of this with Face before, and Face had never questioned his possessive nature. In fact, the boy had loved it. He wanted that, needed that side of Hannibal that was fiercely jealous of anyone that touched him in a way that Hannibal wasn’t comfortable with. Hannibal had hated it when the kid pushed the boundaries, but the way that Face practically melted under his touch when he’d firmly reassert who Face belonged to always pushed away those worries until the next time. Prison, and those lonely six months, had given him too much time to dwell.
Hannibal buried his head in his hands, closing his eyes, as he tried not to think about how devastating it would be if Face were to end their relationship.
“No.” Face almost choked on the word before hurling it across the room at Hannibal.
Hannibal didn’t look up; he wasn’t sure he was ready to know what that word meant for the kid. There was the sound of soft shuffling, and then a hesitant body sat down beside him. Hannibal turned his head cautiously, to find Face fidgeting nervously beside him, trepidation written all over his features, as he tried to summon up the courage to reach out to Hannibal.
“No.” He repeated, fingers itching to touch the Boss, but something stopping him. “I could never leave you.”
The relief hit Hannibal like a solid brick wall, and it felt like all the air in his body left him in one huge rush. He sat up, collapsing back against the sofa, and pushed past any reservations he might have over the kid bolting, hauling the twitching body into his arms. Face froze for a second before he sagged, turning to burrow his head into Hannibal’s chest, fingers clutching at the bottom of Hannibal’s t-shirt.
“Jesus Christ, Face,” Hannibal could barely speak, “thank god.” He wrapped an arm around Face’s waist, holding on to him tightly and brought his other hand up to that messy hair, running his fingers through it soothingly and scratching lightly at the boy’s scalp. Face just tried to burrow even further into Hannibal’s chest and Hannibal could tell by the way his shoulders are still twitching that he’s trying so very hard not to cry.
They stay like that for long minutes until Face has calmed down, fingers tracing small soft patterns on Hannibal’s shirt. Hannibal’s perfectly content to let Face have his time. There’s clearly more to be said as he’s still doesn’t understand why Face has been behaving the way he has since breaking him out of prison. But they’ve conquered one mountain right here. Face still loved him. He leant down and pressed a kiss to the mop of hair under his chin. Below him Face let out a huge sigh and his fingers stop their patterns and move to tugging nervously at the material below them. Hannibal shifts on the couch, moving more to the corner so they can sprawl a little more. Face lifts his legs onto the cushions and, when Hannibal does the same, he cautiously tangles them together. Hannibal rubs one foot reassuringly up his calf and kisses his head again.
“I love you kid.”
“I love you too.” He whispered, his voice a little hoarse, and Hannibal held him a little tighter.
“You okay to talk?” He asked carefully, still so scared of pushing the boy too far.
Face paused for a moment before nodding, keeping his head down.
“So what went wrong?” He kept one hand moving slowly up and down Face’s back, to reassure himself that the kid really was here in his arms.
Face was obviously still trying to work things out in his own head so Hannibal mulled the issue over for a little longer.
“Something that happened in prison?”
Face didn’t need to reply to that; the way his body tensed up gave Hannibal his answer.
“You’ve got to talk to me here Face because at the moment, I’m imagining all kinds of shit and it’s not helping me stay calm right now.”
Face huffed out something that could have been a laugh, if he still wasn’t so tense.
“Nothing like that.” He said softly, still speaking into Hannibal’s chest.
Hannibal only felt a little better.
“When we were in there, I wanted to help.” He started, staring down at his fingers at Hannibal’s waist. “I wanted to be there for you, to help you get us out. But then, I realised that was impossible because I’d never be able to figure out what ridiculous escape plan you were going to hatch. And believe me, we’re going to be discussing your methods of that particular escapade and how not-okay it is.”
Hannibal, wisely, kept silent; he just pressed another kiss to Face’s head and tried to reassure him that he was here, alive and well. He should have known Murdock would have shared the true nature of his escape and he had known how much Face would hate it.
Face took another deep breath before continuing. “So I thought I’d help you all the only way I knew how; by scamming you guys things. Got Murdock his cartoons and comics and sweets, Bosco his tools and machines and tried to get you as many books as I could, Boss. Tried to get you any information I’d heard about to help you.”
“You managed it Face, you did. I got all those books, Murdock got his sweets, Bosco his tools. You did get everything we’d need in there.” Hannibal tried to reassure him.
“I know. I know that things were delivered. I knew that Murdock and Bosco got their things because... Boss...” He was getting agitated again. “I knew because they wrote to me.”
Oh shit. Hannibal’s gut clenched hard and he just knew what Face was about to say next.
“They wrote to me Boss, but you never did. The whole six months we were there. You never wrote to me.”
Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit. Of course it was that. How could he have been so stupid to have missed the signs? To have forgotten that small, vitally important detail in the grand scheme of getting his boys out of prison and exacting revenge on those who had put them there. Sometimes, he didn’t feel like the military genius that his team thought him to be. Sometimes, he could be really fucking stupid.
Face had gone silent again, silent and still in his arms, and Hannibal had no idea how he could possibly begin to fix this, but fuck it, he had to at least try.
“I’m sorry.” He was surprised at how choked up his own voice was. “You’ve no idea how much I regret it. If there was one thing I could change in my life, it would be that.”
Face sniffed a little and still wouldn’t look at him. “I get it. You’re sorry. Still doesn’t explain why you didn’t write.”
“I know.” He paused for a second.
“Murdock said you wrote to him a couple of times. Bosco said the same. They fucking asked me what you’d written to me.”
Face was starting to pull away now and Hannibal was desperately trying not to let him go.
“No!” He squirmed his way out of Hannibal’s arms and retreated to the far end of the sofa, hunching back in on himself. “I had to lie, I had to pretend that I just wasn’t going to divulge what you’d written, and they believed that. Why would you write to them and not me? Am I not important to you?”
“Kid, you’re the most important person in the world to me.”
But Face was getting worked up, tugging at the overly long sleeves of his hoodie in frustration, not listening to anything Hannibal was saying and letting the words pour out of him.
“I thought it meant you didn’t care. I thought it meant that you were leaving me, so I just accepted it. You’d said that one day you wouldn’t be there to save my sorry ass, and I thought that time had come. I love you, god I’ll never stop loving you, but when you broke me out, you just acted like nothing had happened! You acted like the past six months of no fucking contact were nothing. You’re meant to know me. You’re meant to call me out on my bullshit, and you’re meant to know what I need. You knew I needed contact. You knew that I would think that I was being abandoned again and you still didn’t even fucking write. You told me that you’d come for me, right before we separated, and I believed you! I believed you like the idiot I am. I still loved you, of course I did. I’ll do that until the day I die, but I wasn’t sure if I could trust you, Hannibal. How was I supposed to trust you when you’d just left me there?” He sounded close to tears again and it was ripping Hannibal apart.
Hannibal himself felt like crying at hearing Face admit that he was losing his trust in him, but he had to push that to one side and focus on Face. Focus on his boy who was so desperately lost and confused all because he was an utter fool.
“I came for you Face, I did. I got you out of there and we’re back together now. You’re here with me, and Murdock and Bosco now. We’d never leave you alone.”
“But why the fuck didn’t you write?” He yelled, jamming himself as far away from Hannibal as he could.
An enveloping silence fell after Face’s loud words, surrounding them both like a huge, oppressive blanket. Although he was within touching distance, Hannibal felt like Face was miles away from him and getting further away all the time.
“What was I supposed to say?” Hannibal answered softly.
Face looked furious at that, his eyes blazing, and Hannibal continued on quickly before he had the chance to interrupt.
“What was I supposed to put on a simple piece of paper that would convey all I was feeling? How was I meant to get all the emotions in my chest down into something that wouldn’t make you mocked in prison; that wouldn’t cause you more trouble than it was worth? Face, kid, believe me. I know I’ve been an idiot. The biggest idiot in the world but believe me when I say, I did it to protect you. Rather, I did it because I thought it would protect you.”
Face hadn’t moved at the other end of the sofa and Hannibal took that as a positive sign and carried on.
“I knew that if I wrote to you, it would have to be casual, simple. Nothing that gave away any information about planned escapes, or that would make you vulnerable. How could I be so casual with you when it was tearing me apart that we were separated? I couldn’t do it. With Murdock, with Bosco, it was easier, I could be more aloof. I couldn’t do that with you. I thought about you constantly in there, and by God, Face, I could have filled hundreds of books with the letters I wrote you in my head. They’re all still there, and they’re begging to be listened to, they’re begging that I try and convey just how much you mean to me as a person, as my partner, as my Lieutenant, as my friend. And yes, I was selfish and worried. I didn’t want to share what I thought of you with anyone else and I knew that anything I wrote to you would be read and analysed a hundred times over.”
He reached over and gently, ever so gently, touched Face’s foot, the nearest part of him, sliding his hand over the arch and up to the ankle, wrapping his fingers around and feeling the warmth there.
“Please, please, you have to believe me. You have to believe that there was a foolish, ridiculous reason behind my madness. I thought I was doing the best for you, even though I can see it was idiotic of me now.”
Face watched him with wary eyes once more and Hannibal reflexively clutched a little tighter on his ankle.
“I know you don’t trust me right now, but please believe me. Just... please.”
Face stared at him a minute longer before looking down at the fingers wrapped around his ankle. He moved his hand slowly, reaching out and prising them free and Hannibal choked back a sob as he made to retreat, taking the hint that Face was so obviously giving him.
“I’ll leave, I’ll go-” He started to say but Face shook his head, reaching out his hand and chasing after Hannibal’s before entwining their fingers together. Hannibal held his breath.
“Okay. I believe you.” He shook his head a little again. “I want to believe you, more than anything in the world. I have to believe you so that there’s still something good here. I will believe you.”
“Thank you.” Hannibal sounded like a broken man, and Face crawled back over to him, straight onto his lap and sliding his arms around Hannibal’s waist. Hannibal reflexively wrapped his arms around Face’s shoulders to keep him there.
“I have to believe you.” Face whispered against his lips before finally, for the first time in over six months, kissing him.
They were lying on the sofa once again when Hannibal’s phone rang. Face had been sleeping, head pillowed on Hannibal’s chest, and the blanket from the back of the couch draped over them both. He woke at the harsh ringing, but Hannibal soothed him back to dozing with long, slow strokes up his back as he spoke with Bosco.
“Everything okay?” Bosco asked, and Hannibal could hear the sound of the car in the background.
“Better.” Hannibal replied.
“You want us to stay out longer?”
“No, no. I’d rather we were all together right now. I’m working on fixing it fully.”
“Okay, Boss. We’ll see you in fifteen.”
Hannibal hung up and put the phone on the floor, leaving his hand free to bury itself back in Face’s hair. The boy murmured drowsily, lifting his head an inch to butt into Hannibal’s hand before he settled back down, clutching tighter at Hannibal’s waist.
“I know it’ll take a while, but I’ll regain your trust, kid.” Hannibal whispered into those messy curls. “I promise you I will, even if it’s the last thing I do. I love you.”
Face made a noise that could have frankly meant anything and Hannibal smiled softly, pressing a kiss to his head as he settled back to listen for the returning car.
The rest of the day passed by quietly. Even the arrival of Bosco and Murdock couldn’t shatter the soft atmosphere that Face and Hannibal had been lying in together. In fact, when the pair of them entered the house softly and they all just sat in the living room together as a team once more, even if Face was only semi-conscious, Hannibal had felt that sense of calm grow. Despite their fucked up situation, despite being fugitives on the run from the army and the police and the CIA, they were back together and the balance was so very nearly restored.
Face left his lonely little single bedroom that night and Hannibal’s bed didn’t feel so big and empty anymore. And despite the fact that he stayed up for hours watching the boy sleep, he was still first in the kitchen the next morning, making breakfast.
Face woke to the sound of bacon frying and the smell of freshly brewing coffee, and his stomach rumbled before he’d even fully opened his eyes. He stretched out in the bed, luxuriating in the space, and finding the residual warmth that Hannibal had left beside him, telling him the Boss hadn’t been up long. He stared up at the ceiling, watching the creeping sunlight expand across the room before finally turning his head.
There beside him, on the pillow, was a letter. Templeton Peck was written neatly on the front in Hannibal’s unmistakeable writing.
His throat tightening a little, Face sat up, reaching for the envelope and opening it. There were three folded pages, all filled in the same neat handwriting, front and back, inside. He unfolded them and began to read.My darling boy,
It’s been a day since you were taken away from me and already it’s unbearable...
In the kitchen, Hannibal carefully stowed the rest of the letters he had spent six hours writing the night before into his bag. There was more to write; there would always be more to write as there weren’t enough words in the world to describe what Templeton meant to him, but it was a start to regaining Face’s trust. It was a start. He turned back to the bacon and continued making breakfast.