The Proverbial Quiet One (stackcats) wrote in thewordsmithery,
The Proverbial Quiet One
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thewordsmithery

A-Team fic; What If (Part Two)

Title: What If? - part 2
Fandom: The A Team 2010
Characters/pairings: The whole team, OCs, eventual Hannibal/Face
Summary: Face takes charge of a plan for the second time; Hannibal fucks it up like a boss.
Wordcount:13,508 (full)

Part one




6.

Face sits with Mikey and Sam in the kitchen. He’s supposed to be explaining to them what’s going on, but he finds himself frozen by a sudden pang of pure, potent jealousy, and he can’t move for a moment, sitting there under the soft lighting, a glass of wine half-way to his lips, faced with this spectacle of heart-wrenching normality. Sam sits with his hand on Mikey’s forearm, casual as anything, the two of them in t-shirts and sweat-pants (Mikey’s are far too short, they must have been bought by Sam), surrounded by the trappings of their boring, safe, civilian life. The Picasso prints on the walls, the dishcloth from a holiday in Scotland, the humorous fridge magnets, the novelty shot-glasses, the basket of washing dragged in and then abandoned once the team arrived with their involuntary guest. The finger-painting by some kid they know. The eight elephant ornaments on the windowsill, none of them cheap looking, a small, personal collection. The dozing tabby cat on top of the microwave oven. The two of them completely relaxed in each other’s company, secure here in their own little kingdom.

“You okay, Face?” Sam asks. Face shakes himself, nods. He could do with something to eat, actually, but the wine will do for now. He takes a sip.

“Richmond is blackmailing Dean,” he explains. “There was an incident... he walked in on Dean in his office with some girl, and a day later the girl turned up dead. Turned out she was a moderately famous singer. It was all over the news, but Dean never came forward and said he knew her. He was too scared. He had nothing to do with her death, but Richmond could have gone to the police and brought a world of trouble down on Dean’s head. Instead, he wanted money. Dean gave it to him, but recently he’s been pressuring for more, getting greedy, getting careless, so he set you up, Mike, to push the cash into those fake accounts. Dean had no idea you were involved. It really is Richmond’s blood you want.”

Mikey thanks him. Actually thanks him for this fuck-up of a mission. He’s already gone into detail about the adventure at the bar, and the further adventures of Dean’s apartment and the ride home. Hannibal told him to leave nothing out, and Face obeyed, but Mikey’s still shaking his hand and telling him how helpful they’ve been. Face asks if they know a good dentist. Then they sit in an amiable silence for a while.

“Listen,” says Sam, topping up Face’s glass, “you’ve got to go and talk to him.”

“Him who?”

The couple exchange a glance, and Face knows exactly who they mean. He shakes his head. “I don’t know, guys, I just don’t know what to say. I need to sleep first. ”

“You can’t sleep first,” says Sam. “The longer you leave it, the more difficult it’ll get. Look. Either say thanks for the daring rescue and the kiss and everything but I’m not interested, or-”

“Or you are interested, and then you don’t have to say anything,” Mikey concludes.

Face stares into his wine glass. He’s allowing the barriers in his head to fall away now. And there’s the question, in the midst of a thousand other little questions. What does he want? What does Hannibal want? He’s well aware that Hannibal is the territorial sort, so perhaps he was acting impulsively, maybe not wanting Dean to touch Face isn’t the same as wanting Face himself, and what if Face goes to him and opens up and finds it was nothing more than a kiss? But what if he does want Face? What if-

“You’re over-thinking it,” Sam insists. “You’ve known Hannibal, what? Ten years?”

“More than that.”

“Right, so how difficult can the answer be?”

“What answer?”

Mikey says, “Do you love him?”

Face bites his tongue. What kind of stupid question is that? Of course he loves Hannibal. He’d die for the man. He would - and has - killed for him. His commander’s voice is the only thing in the universe that’s real to him some days, when he’s seen too much in too short a space of time, when the world is flat and grey, when he starts wondering if actually Murdock with his delusions, his hallucinations, his paranoia, is the only sane person within a thousand miles. Sosa’s only explanation before she left him was that she had no interest in coming second to Hannibal, which he’d laughed off as ridiculous at the time, but she was right as ever. Yes, Face loves him desperately. That isn’t the important question, and Hannibal isn’t the one he needs to ask.

Face drains his glass, nods to the boys, and wanders off to find the rest of his team. Murdock is sitting with Dean in the living room, going through the process of clandestine relocation with him, and BA is reading the paper. They both look half-asleep. Face asks them where Hannibal is.

“I think he went to get some sleep,” says Murdock. He doesn’t take his eyes off the laptop screen, where he’s looking at flights.

“Right.” Face leans against the mantelpiece. BA peers at him over the newspaper.

“You should get some rest too,” he says.

“Yeah,” says Face. “I will.”

“What is it, Faceman?” Murdock asks. Dean’s looking at him curiously, but Murdock doesn’t meet his gaze. Murdock saw, back at Dean’s place. He’s probably almost as mixed up as Face is.

Face runs a hand through his hair. “Look,” he says. “Before I... I just need to know, guys. Would it be weird? If, just hypothetically, me and the boss-”

“Yeah,” says BA. “It’d be weird.”

“Oh.”

“But that doesn’t mean bad,” says Murdock, and Face realises they’ve already had this conversation without him. Without either of them. “We’re not just friends, Face, we’re more’n that, all of us. We’re a team, right? We’ve got your back.”

“But if things went wrong-”

“How,” says BA, “could you and Hannibal possible get any more fucked up than you are right now? You whine like a kicked puppy when he goes ten minutes without scratching you behind the ear, and he looses his nut when you touch someone else. Just screw already and get it done, and if it goes bad, well. Who the fuck goes into a relationship asking what happens if it ends? What kind of crazy is that?”

Murdock makes a face, and finally looks up from his laptop. “I wouldn’t’ve put it exactly like that, but yeah, what the big guy said. You realise Hannibal never reacts like that when you’re with a girl, Face?”

“So?”

A shrug. “I dunno. Might mean something, though. Everything means something if you poke it around enough.”

“Er, thanks for that, HM.”

Face does take himself upstairs, then. He needs to think, but that isn’t going to happen tonight. The job isn’t over yet. They’ve dealt with the documents Richmond was holding against Mikey, and they’ve established Dean isn’t a threat. They’ve even managed to help Dean, in a roundabout way, but even if Mikey quits, even if he tells Richmond to leave him alone, and his manager actually does so, Richmond is still getting away with hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t sit right with Face.

The house has three guest rooms, one of which is an office with a sofa-bed. That’s where Murdock has been sleeping. The next room is Hannibal’s, a single bed and an old wardrobe, nothing fancy but clean and private. Face knocks and lets himself in.

Hannibal is on his side on the bed, reading, but he sits up when Face enters. He’s looking old, more tired than the rest of them. Probably paying the debt adrenaline always presents. Face shuts the door behind him, and leans against it.

“Managed not to break this one, then,” he says.

“Very funny, Face.”

“I mean really, boss. Smashing down a door just to get to me? That’s horribly romantic. Also pretty stupid. How’s your shoulder?”

“Sore. Thanks for asking.” He folds over the corner of the page he’s on, sets the book down, and looks earnestly up at Face. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I can’t look Dean in the eye, not after seeing him all over you, but I can apologise to you. For screwing up your plan. I really should have just stayed in the van.”

Face smiles. “Really? If we stuck to my plan, we would never have asked Dean out-right what was going on. And we wouldn’t know about the girl. We’d have hit a dead end, and you would probably have had to buy the damn company. So this is probably better. Even if you did beat up an innocent man-”

“All right, all right.”

“And this is still my gig, right?”

“Yes, Face.”

“So I’m still kind of the boss?”

“Kind of. In a very narrow and specific sense.”

“In which case, you do have to apologise to Dean.” Face grins. “That’s an order.”

Hannibal nods. “Fine. In the morning. Now go and get some sleep, kid, you look like a wreck.”

Face is a wreck, so he does what he’s told. The room he’s sharing with BA is fairly large, the primary guest room, and it has a wonderfully soft bed. He peels off his pants and socks, drops several hundred dollars’ worth of jacket and shirt in a pile on the chair, and folds gently in on himself until he’s lying on top of the sheets, knees curled up, hugging a pillow, and snoring gently. That’s how BA finds him when he comes up half an hour later.


Epilogue.

This is another house, somewhere in the middle of nowhere and deep into the mountains. It’s a log cabin, which means that, although it’s high summer and there’s no snow to be had, Murdock has decided they’re on a skiing holiday, and has abandoned the un-packing effort in order to get out his fondue set and his winter clothes. Face is currently trying to talk him through why it’s a bad idea to go outside in a ski jacket and snow boots right now. Hannibal isn’t actually certain what could happen if the Captain overheats. Maybe he’ll go sane. That would be awful.

BA is storing their gear - all their guns and ammunition and body armour - in the big wooden chest by the back door. Hannibal is, as usual, trying to separate Face’s crap from BA’s crap from Murdock’s crap from his own crap. They all have too many clothes, books, gadgets, bits of nothing picked up from random towns or given to them by friends. They should really throw a lot of this away. No one actually needs an elephant-shaped fridge magnet, but Face appropriated it to remind him of Mikey and Sam. Hannibal isn’t likely to ever forget Mikey and Sam, especially not now they’ve stolen from them. It’s ridiculous, really, how easily stealing comes to them now. How casually he asks Face to scam them a place to live, how it doesn’t even register on his moral compass to steal from hospitals to ensure they have emergency supplies, how he can overlook a member of his team committing any number of petty crimes in the name of whatever the fuck it is they’re trying to do that particular week. Amazing, too, how being a wanted criminal means you have to commit even more crimes just to get by.

“You can’t go snowboarding either,” Face is saying. “There isn’t any snow, HM! For the last time.”

“Can we do fondue, though? Please, Facey? We can do it with that fancy cheese you like.”

“Don’t touch my cheese.”

Hannibal has found a colourful thong in BA’s kitbag. “This yours, big guy?”

“Hell no. Put that in Face’s bag.”

“What about this?” It’s a pink teddy bear. BA pulls a face.

“That’s Mr Cuddles!” Murdock shouts out. “You remember Kimmy in the town before last? She won him for me from the claw machine.”

“You don’t need it, surely?”

“Same way you don’t need five million books, boss?” Murdock snatches Mr Cuddles from him, and retreats back to Face, who is shoving Murdock’s winter gear back into his bag.

He doesn’t, of course, need five million books. Nor does he need the twenty-six he counts out of his bag. None of them need any of this crap at all, except that they need to have something that’s each their own. Until someone realises that dropping the escape charges against them is a whole lot easier, cheaper, and less embarrassing than trying to catch them, they’ve got nothing solid, nothing constant except each other, the van, and whatever they can carry with them. Still, it’s been four months since LA, and they’ve already picked up a ridiculous amount of junk.

“Why do we even have a fondue set?” Hannibal asks.

“In case we want fondue.”

Hannibal rolls his eyes and gives up. He finds his cigars in BA’s bag too, for some inexplicable reason, and heads outside for a smoke. It’s quite beautiful up here. There’s a stream behind the house, almost broad enough to count as a river, he reckons, but that’s something to ask Face about. The kid remembers every fact he ever picked up. He spent the ride up here, once he and Murdock were utterly bored with I-Spy and Twenty Questions, pointing out different types of tree, regaling them with fascinating facts about each one, until BA threatened to stop the van and kick him out. Face has hardly stopped talking since they left Mikey and Sam yesterday morning; he’s been going almost constantly, stopping only to sleep for a couple of hours last night, and even volunteered for a double night-driving shift. Hannibal allowed it, even though it’s against protocol. Driving while tired is dangerous enough without driving while tired through mountainous countryside, but Face seemed to need to drive as much as he needed to talk. Hannibal is pretty certain this is all his fault.

But team politics aside, he feels relaxed out here. The air is wonderfully fresh, and he can see deer down near the trees on the far side of the water. He doesn’t have the first clue what the law says about hunting deer out here, but it’s something to think about. Catching their own meat means they don’t have to spend money on it, and money is a pain in the ass to deal with. Nothing good ever comes from a situation involving money, but really, what situation doesn’t these days?

Hannibal leans on the back porch. How long can they afford to stay out here? Maybe a month at most? And then it’s off again, heading East, if only because there’s more East from here than there is West. How long until they run out of fresh ground? A while, certainly, but how long? That’s tonight’s job then, mapping out potential routes, taking into account where their pursuers expect them to go, and-

The door opens behind him, closes again with a firm click. He knows it’s Face just from the sounds, and like that his mind falters and stalls. Stupid. It’s never been this bad before, he’s never actually allowed the kid to distract him, to throw off a train of thought. He keeps his eyes fixed on the deer, down by the water, puffs out a cloud of smoke. Face leans next to him, right in his personal space, and just waits there for a long while, saying nothing. Hannibal gestures with his cigar.

“See the deer?”

“Yum,” says Face. “Walking steak.”

“Probably bears around here too.”

“Can’t eat bears, boss.”

“I know, kid, I wasn’t planning to try.”

The silence reinstates itself. Face really is too close, the smell of his ridiculous shampoo is sharp in Hannibal’s nostrils, but it doesn’t mask the too-familiar scent of Face. He wonders if he can move away casually, without offending him, but his body doesn’t seem to want to obey that command. He can cut this off now, they can pretend like nothing happened, if he could just say something to the kid, but he can’t make his voice work either. Face is looking at him. He can’t take his eyes off the deer, but he can see out of the corner of his eye, Face leaning there in t-shirt and tight jeans, every inch of him too fucking perfect, so beautiful, so powerful. Hannibal zeroed in on the kid fifteen years ago because he had almost exactly the same test scores as Hannibal had himself at that age. There was also a passing physical resemblance. Too tall, too skinny, but with a lot of potential. And oh, how Face has filled that potential.

“What’re you thinking about, boss?”

What the hell. “You.”

Face tenses. Hannibal can’t be bothered to kick himself. He could pretend, sure, or he can get the drama over with now, and maybe everything will go back to normal in a month or two. All those instincts, those heightened senses he’s spent decades building up, report back to him at once. Face’s breathing has quickened, his hand on the railing has tensed, his eyes wider, his lips parted slightly. Fight or flight, Hannibal thinks. It’d be better if the kid confronted him than ran, but with Face it’s a fifty-fifty toss up.

Face shifts a little. He’s even closer now, almost touching, and that’s too much. Hannibal has to move. It’s like the job at the bar all over again, he can feel the frustration winning out over his self-control, except there’s no one else here. There’s no one else to blame. And he still can’t move away.

“Mikey said I wouldn’t need to say anything,” says Face. “I figured he was wrong, been trying to think of something to say ever since. But this is all I got, so...”

He slides himself into Hannibal’s personal space, between him and the railing. Both hands settle on Hannibal’s hips as Face kisses him. He has to lean down a little to meet Face properly, and Face takes the movement as an invitation to press himself close, sliding his arms around Hannibal’s waist, tongue teasing Hannibal’s lip until he opens up and lets him in. And then it’s tongue chasing tongue, and Hannibal trying to work out where to put his free hand, half expecting Face to change his mind and shove him away any second. But it’s Hannibal who has to surface first, sucking in air, and Face kisses his jaw instead, his throat, his ear.

“Steady, kid,” he murmurs. He wants to touch Face’s hair, thinks better of it. Who knows what product that is? He strokes his face instead, tilts his chin so Face is forced to meet his gaze. Rubs his thumb across Face’s bottom lip, eliciting a soft moan. He’s seen Face on the hunt plenty of times before, and it looks just like this. Eyes wide and intense, pupils blown, his whole body an unrelenting force of nature until he gets what he wants, or a fist in the eye for his efforts. Hannibal needs him to relax. He needs to think for a moment.

“Hey, boss.” Face’s hands are at his belt, pulling it open as he uses the leverage to tug Hannibal in for another kiss. His lips are surprisingly soft, and that’s the only thought Hannibal can assemble while Face is stroking his hip like that.

“What?”

“You know how you like us to think like a boyscout, y’know? Always be prepared?”

“Mm,” says Hannibal. He’s missed the feel of stubble under his lips, hard muscle beneath his hands, that unmistakable pressure against his thigh. It’s been too long, and this is... this is Face. Shit. What if he doesn’t have the stamina he used to? What if he disappoints the kid? What if-

“Well, you remember that supply stop yesterday morning?” Face slides his hands beneath Hannibal’s shirt, and oh god. A thumb across his nipple makes Hannibal shudder, and he pushes Face against the railing, bites softly at his throat.

“I remember,” he growls.

“Right,” says Face. His hand on Hannibal’s hip is moving now. Stroking his thigh, sliding back up. “And you remember how we all used to tease you in the showers? Cause we were jealous kids and still figured that size meant something?”

Hannibal rolls his eyes. He was long since used to that reaction from younger guys, the defensive attacks that amused him more than irritated him. “I remember.” Not that Face has much to be jealous of, he recalls. And he’s pretty much worked out where this is going, but he lets Face lean up and murmur in his ear anyway, the kid’s wandering hand finally brushing the tight bulge in Hannibal’s pants as he speaks.

“Picked up some XLs for you. Just in case, you know. Not being presumptuous or anything.”

“Of course not.”

Face is tugging at Hannibal’s zip as he leans up for another kiss. Hannibal should swat him away. He should tell him to wait. That’s what he should do. It’s too soon, too... outside. And there’s something else. He can’t bring himself to move away from Face, but he breaks the kiss, and ‘break’, he thinks, is just the right description for the little tumbling sensation of loss he feels when they’re no longer pressed together head-to-toe against the porch railings.

“Face. I fucked up.”

“Yeah,” says Face, slightly breathless. “You did. Are you still beating yourself up over it? For fuck’s sake, Hannibal. How long have I known you? Nearly half my life,” he answers his own question before Hannibal can speak. “And this is the first time you’ve done anything like this. And we still got the job done.”

“Thanks to you.”

“Right. And wasn’t that the whole point of the exercise? The amount of times I’ve fucked up and you’ve pulled us out of the shit... if I can’t do that too, I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be...”

Face looks away as he trails off. Hannibal can’t fathom his expression, but it worries him more than a little.

“What?”

Face frowns. “Richmond got away with it, didn’t he?”

“No. The police will catch him.”

“And if they don’t, Mikey and Sam will end up in witness protection. That’s hardly better than what they started with, is it?”

“They’ll catch him.”

“You can’t be certain, boss.”

Hannibal shrugs easily. “They’ve nearly caught us twice, and we’re brilliant.” He strokes Face’s arm softly. “Do you want to go back inside?”

Face shakes his head, tugs Hannibal close again, but this time he just holds him tight. “What if I ruined their lives? They had it so perfect. They even had a cat, for god’s sake. And I screwed them over - what if -”

“Richmond screwed them over. It’s not your fault that he ran, Face.” Hannibal kisses the top of his head, then pauses, frowns. “Hey. Did you just hijack my moment?”

“Yep,” says Face. “You’re shit at the whole self-doubt thing. Figured I’d help you out there.”

“Oh. Thank you?”

Face smiles, and slides his hand back under Hannibal’s shirt, stroking slow circles against his hard stomach. Hannibal just holds onto him for a long time. There are sounds behind him, BA stomping about, Murdock scurrying, something being dropped or thrown, Hannibal can’t quite tell which and really doesn’t want to know. The TV turns on, he can just hear the distinctive sounds of a cartoon, and that ought to keep Murdock quiet for a while. The sky is darkening, the day’s intense heat draining away, the mountains cast in mauve and shades of grey. The deer move on. Good, Hannibal thinks. He doesn’t want them watching with their big, black eyes. Let them find their own entertainment.

He’s stroking Face’s back, drops one hand to the younger man’s ass. There’s something in his back pocket, something familiar in shape.

“Really, Face,” he murmurs against the kid’s throat, as he slides his fingers into his pocket and pulls out the condom. “I’m impressed, I really am. Never seen you quite so ahead of the game. But didn’t you think of-”

“Other pocket.”

“Ah.” Hannibal pulls out the second, larger squarish packet. “Good boy.”

Face grins and pulls him down for another kiss, one that promises so many devilish things. Kissing is just one of the many things Face is good at, has devoted years of practice to perfecting - and there’s a thought to make Hannibal’s blood run hot. He tugs Face close against him, nips at his lower lip, growls something possessive into his mouth. Face laughs.

“Want me to go back inside so you can break a door down?”

“You cheeky little...”

This is the easy part; skin against skin, hands tugging at hair, the familiar rhythms with the added thrills of an unexplored body, a long-desired lover. The rest - fitting this into their everyday lives without getting smothered by it, without it damaging the team - is going to be a lot more difficult. But really, that’s fine by Hannibal. He’d almost be disappointed if it wasn’t.
Tags: hannibal/face, long fic is long, the a-team, what if?
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