Fandom: The A-Team
Characters/pairings: Hannibal, BA, Face and Murdock, Gen
Summary: Written for a_team_kink prompt: "I just need more protective and fatherly Hannibal towards his boys. Really I just want some gen fluffiness."
After a mind-screw of a mission, Hannibal helps his boys unwind.
Rating: PG for language
Word count: 2353
Author's note: if anyone can come up with a title, they win a free drabble.
They are, without bragging, without exaggerating, some of the finest soldiers in the world, even though they are not technically soldiers at all any more. Hannibal has seen Face hike through rocky desert for nearly 48 hours with half a bottle of water and nothing to eat, no ammo, no compass, nothing but his own bloody-minded will to survive and a full deck of smart-ass comments to keep them going until something resembling civilisation loomed on the horizon. He's watched the boy run screaming at enemies, knife in hand, heedless of the bullets streaming past him, in defence of his team, his buddies. And yes, he's seen Face take out moving targets a hundred yards away with one extremely well-timed shot - no luck involved, and nothing but the kid's own skill to thank for the success of the mission.
BA is, if anything, even tougher. Hannibal's mind throws up one of their final missions together in Iraq, when all four of them would've died, no doubt about it, if it wasn't for BA's genius and the machine gun he rigged up from old parts. He's seen BA fight armed men with his bare fists, outnumbered and already exhausted, and come out grinning and screaming defiance, the last of his attackers pissing themselves as they ran. He's not a crack-shot like Face, but he doesn't need to be because anyone getting up close to him in a firefight is essentially committing suicide. And he's fast as hell for a big guy, too.
Murdock is another story altogether. He doesn't have BA's strength, or Face's precision and endurance. What he's got is reflexes. Reflexes and balls. Mexico was a damn fine example of that, and Hannibal is now so used to his air travel being upside-down or round in erratic circles while pursued by fighters or missiles that serene journeys in passenger jets now make him nauseous. Murdock has that glint in his eye, that spark in his mind, that others mistake for insanity, and Hannibal appreciates for what it truly is - genius. And unlike most geniuses, whose brilliance goes unnoticed, Murdock has the guts to follow through with his batshit ideas. And he is always, always right where he's needed; if the team had a trophy for member who has saved their collective lives the most times, Murdock would be the holder for life.
He's curled up now, Murdock, on the big, squishy, man-eating sofa of their current hide-out, eyes fixed on the plasma screen - thanks for that, Face - fingers mashing away at the controller in his hands. Hannibal lights a cigar and slumps down next to him, peering at the screen. There are bright colours and strange sounds. It doesn't make an awful lot of sense to him.
"What're you doing, buddy?"
Murdock grins. "I'm a Mage."
Hannibal huffs cigar smoke into the air. "Huh." The little figure Murdock is controlling wears long, flowing robes and a big hat. "So you are."
"We're hunting for the lost ruby that's actually a dragon's heart, and I'm leading my party through the orc-infested pits to save the princess, who knows where the heart used to be."
Hannibal nods. He never got the attraction of these fantasy games, but there is quite clearly a lot of depth to this one. Murdock's avatar seems to be hurling fireballs at some knobbly creatures with unfortunate green complexions. This is how the pilot unwinds, how he escapes from the shit life seems intent on throwing their way, and that is something Hannibal can understand.
Murdock glances round at Hannibal, hopefully. "There's multiplayer on this," he says, trying to sound casual.
"Really?" Hannibal holds his gaze for a moment, before grinning a slow grin. "Got another controller there?"
"Yes!" Murdock practically shouts. He gives the other controller to Hannibal, who spends a few minutes examining it before Murdock informs him he has to create a character.
Hannibal types in 'HANNIBAL' when the game prompts for a name, and gives his avatar short grey hair, a lightly muscled build, and a gun. There is no option for a cigar accessory.
"You can't use a gun on this level, though," says Murdock, and gives Hannibal's character a sword. "You're a Knight, okay?"
Hannibal is very, very bad at the game. He still aches from that morning's fist-fight, and he's tired, and he finds himself glazing over when the screen cuts to dialogue, which it does frequently. But Murdock has transformed from sleepy and detached to enthusiastic and bouncy, and while he explains the game mechanics to Hannibal, he is remarkably lucid. It's moments like this that Hannibal can really appreciate the pilot's imagination, his creativity and his intelligence. They're on display, and they're on display because he's decided to show them, not because he's been asked to get them all out of another tricky situation.
Hannibal finds that Murdock snuggles close to him as the afternoon draws into evening. Eventually they put the game off, and Hannibal leaves Murdock dozing on the sofa, comfortable and content.
BA has dismantled a Prius on the front drive. He has entirely dismantled it, Hannibal notes with a low whistle. The seats have been discarded and lie in a tragic tableau on the lawn; the engine is an unrecognisable pile of loose parts; the doors and chassis are also in bits, carved with, presumably, a blowtorch, and heaped carefully together near the house. The driveway is littered with wiring and odd bits of pipe and computer chips and unrecognisable metallic bits. Whoever the car belongs to - presumably the same person the house belongs to - is going to be extremely pissed when they find out about this.
"You planning to put that together again, Bosco?"
BA looks up at him. His eyes are deep and unreadable. "I didn't exactly take it apart in a way it can be put back together."
Hannibal crouches beside the ruined car, and looks over it, meeting BA gaze for gaze. He knows when his boys are unhappy, and he knows how to help them. For Murdock, the trick is distraction. For BA, it's not a trick at all. All he needs is to get whatever's eating him off his chest.
"Talk to me, big guy."
BA grunts. Anyone else, and that'd be the end of it, but Hannibal doesn't know how to back down, wouldn't even occur to him to consider it, not in battle, and not when it comes to his boys and their well-being.
"That fucker Carter." BA picks up a small, delicate-looking microchip and places it on the path. Then he hefts a hammer and smacks it down on the chip so that the thing splinters and dies.
Hannibal nods. Mr Carter, the sweat-shop emperor they brought down over the course of the last week, had employed child labour, and employed it in an area where unemployment and self-esteem were so low that nobody complained until someone was injured in a bizarre pseudo-Victorian factory accident. The mother contacted the A Team, and they took Regis to the cleaners, without very much fuss. But the sight of those kids who should have been at school working in a sweatshop in the US-fucking-A, as Face had put it, stayed with BA even after the thank-yous and the hugs and the promises to go and get an education and into care.
"We all felt for those kids, Bosco."
"Ain't just that, boss." BA looks up at him again. "Those kids and their parents could starve. They've lost a source of income. Welfare isn't enough, you know? Not when you've got three kids and you've inherited debts and your stuff keeps breaking down. I feel bad, walking away from them. We can't make their lives worth living."
Hannibal lays a hand on BA's arm. "No," he says, "we can't always do that. But we help where we can, don't we?"
"Yeah. It just ain't enough. I don't know much politics, boss, but why'd we get sent to fix Iraq when there's shit like this happening in our own back yard?"
Hannibal stares at him for a long moment. There isn't an answer that that, so he doesn't try and make one up.
"So why the car?"
BA grins. It's an evil grin, but there's pure delight in it. "Wanted to break something. Wanted to take something away from someone who's got too much and doesn't appreciate it. You know, two birds one stone."
Hannibal grins back. "Next door neighbours don't look their back door. Want to use the last of the explosives on their plasma screen?"
It's a beautiful explosion; Hannibal explains to the police that he was messing around with the gas pipes and had a little bit of an accident. They look at the bits of car on the driveway, and they look at Hannibal's smile, and they go away. Tomorrow they will be back with more cars and probably some dogs and guns as well. It was time to move on anyway.
Face watches the plasma screen's glorious death from the bedroom window, and then the police arrive and Hannibal talks to them, all the while smoking his cigar cheerfully and smiling that dangerous little smile of his. BA comes inside after that, and retires to his and Murdock's room with a book. He seems a lot calmer.
Face doesn't feel calm at all. There's a nervous energy burning inside him, nameless and feral, that leaves him stalking up and down the hall, skulking in corners, switching on TV sets only to turn them off again in frustration when nothing succeeds in fixing his attention. He's gone through his options over and over again; he could go for a run, but he doesn't want to leave the team behind; he could go out and get laid, but again, it doesn't feel right - he belongs here right now, amongst his brothers while they sort out their anxieties and get their heads back together after that social mind-fuck of a mission. But being near BA and Murdock doesn't solve Face's own problem, doesn't help him unwind.
When he looks out of the window on the other side of the room, hoping for a change of scenery, he finds himself looking down on Hannibal, who is bouncing a soccer ball against the wall of the house.
Hannibal's grin is genuine and relaxed now, but Face can tell that he's tired and aching beneath it all. He nudges the ball into the air with his knee, keeping it up as Face darts in to tackle him. Hannibal switches the ball to the other knee and kicks it away, sending Face stumbling and almost sprawling to the ground. Face rights himself instantly, and launches himself after Hannibal, who has, apparently, been practising. He keeps Face at bay for a good ten minutes before he slips up and Face kicks the ball out from under him, sprinting away with his prize to gloat from the other end of the yard.
Hannibal does a theatrical hands-on-knees thing as he catches his breath. It’s all a show; it takes much more than a few minutes playing ball to wind the old man, but Face finds himself lulled by the ruse, even though he knows better, and Hannibal has the ball off him again in moments.
They go back and forth like this for a while, as the sky darkens from afternoon to evening, and Face feels himself begining to unwind. The tension leaks out of his limbs and spine, the laughter as they play relaxes him. The world finally clicks back into true focus for him when Hannibal gets in a vicious tackle and dumps Face on the turf. Face rolls onto his back, laughing and holding a hand to his bruised ribs. Hannibal nudges him playfully with a foot; Face latches onto it, and they’re both down, Hannibal attempting to pin Face and free himself, Face simply intent on preventing him. Hannibal almost gets both Face’s arms pinned to the ground, but he’s forgotten the kid’s legs - a playful, but still forceful, kick rolls him over and then an opportunistic Face has him on his front, cheering and laughing as he sits on his back and holds the older man’s wrists in an inescapable grip.
Hannibal sits in the dark and listens to the silence. BA carried Murdock up to bed, and turned in himself. Face is out for the count, face-down on the bed across the room, his gentle breathing the only disturbance in the fabric of calm.
They are, without exaggeration, some of the finest soldiers in the world, but they are still, beneath that, human and vulnerable. Oh, so vulnerable, to the right weapons. Hannibal knows how to help each of them, what to do when Murdock needs escapism, and BA needs to make the score a little more even, and when Face needs to blow off steam (and no, they will never, ever say it, but Hannibal knows that one of the things Face most needs is a father figure, and god help him, Hannibal wants that figure to be him).
But the only thing that will ever really keep them going is the solidarity of the team, and that is what Hannibal works to preserve. Their faith in him, their trust in each other; the world can throw MPs and police and angry neighbours and crime lords and drug dealers and other assorted motherfuckers at them, and the team will always win so long as Hannibal ensures they have those two things.