CHAPTER TWELVE

Hannibal was watching Corvino. So far, things had gone the way he had expected them to. Which meant badly.

Hannibal had walked into the room after BA, followed by Frankie. He looked over at three men standing on the far side of the room. Assuming the middle guy was Corvino, he'd stepped forward to introduce himself.

"Mr. Corvino? Ed Beas. Nice to meet ya."

Corvino had not offered his hand in return. Instead he turned cold eyes on Frankie, then turned to Hannibal.

"I'm sorry. Your assistant referred to you as Mr. Beas, but also as 'Johnnie'. Are you a brother, perhaps?"

Shit.

"No, no, Johnnie is just a nickname. One my assistant uses, though he knows how much I dislike it." Hannibal turned and glared at Frankie, who was looking suitably embarrassed.

"I see. This sort of familiarity is common in the States?"

"Well, I get a little too lax with my people. Something thatís definitely going to change..."

Hannibal wasnít sure Corvino was buying all this bullshit. In fact, he was sure he wasnít. The two guys on either side of him had slowly, ever so casually moved to opposite sides of the room. Hannibal heard the door behind him open slowly and then close. He imagined at least one or two more men were now in the room.

"So, Senor Corvino, shall we get down to business? Iím sure youíre just as busy as I am and Iíd like to get this over with."

"I, too, ĎJohnnieí, would like to finish this. But one question first."

Hannibal knew he wasnít going to like the question. "Sure."

"Who exactly are you working for?"

Shit.


*****

Sam was getting nervous. He didnít want Randy in the hospital too long. One or two days, hopefully no longer than that. Every day he was in here the chances of the doctor seeing that addition to the orders grew. He didnít want to have to explain those pills.

He was concerned about Randy, too. Not just physically. Something was still bothering him. He was so transparent. And he was tense. Randy was never tense. A bit high-strung on occasion, but never tense. Sam had thought maybe it was a residual of the missed dose, but as the day wore on it just seemed to get worse.

"Okay, Randy." The nurses and techs had finally gone, leaving them alone for the first time in hours. "Want to tell me whatís the matter?"

Randy looked away from Sam, studying the sky outside the window. He really didnít know if he could tell Sam or not. Sam might think he was nuts or something. But if he didnít tell him, they wouldnít do it, and he had to.

"I want to leave, Sam. I want to go away from here."

"Well, I can understand that, Randy. I wouldnít want to stay where Iíd gotten beat up, either. We can go somewhere else. Maybe somewhere right on the coast. Be beach bums for a while." Yeah, Sam could live that life with no problem.

"No, thatís not what I meant. I meant, far away." He looked at Sam, and Sam could see confusion in his eyes, despite the determination in the voice. "Whatís west of here, Sam?"

"West of Florida? Practically the whole country, Randy. When you say far away, do you mean like, another state? Texas? Or Colorado?"

"No. Farther than that." Where the ocean is. Yeah. Thatís where it was, whatever it was. "I want to go to the ocean, Sam. All the way west, to the ocean."

This was something different for Randy. He hadn't wanted to move to Florida; now he wanted to move clear across the country to the coast?

"What made you decide that, Randy?"

Ohhh, boy. Randy didn't want to tell Sam that he didn't know why, exactly. He just knew he had to go there. Maybe it had something to do with that dream. He could tell Sam about that.


*****

Frankie wasn't really clear on what all had happened after the scuzzbag asked Hannibal who they were working for. He knew guns came up, practically in his face, and he knew they didn't belong to the team. He knew Hannibal reached for a cigar, which didn't make Corvino real happy. And he knew the door came banging open with more guns pointing at everyone and everything. And then all hell broke loose.

He did remember, clearly, BA shoving him to the floor. And bullets flying overhead. And plaster. Weird. He remembered plaster - not chunks flying, but floating in little dust particles all over. And then it was all over. The quiet like this huge thick blanket covering him. He looked around him, trying to figure out who won.

One of the Ables was standing by the window, gun pointed down toward the floor, carefully checking for movement. Frankie's eyes caught his for only a moment, before the surveillance moved on. Frankie couldn't see the other Able at first, but then found him laying on the floor opposite his partner, carefully holding his arm, the sleeve turning slowly turning dark and shiny. BA was nearby, blood running freely from a wound on his forearm; Frankie couldn't tell how bad it was. BA, too, was carefully checking the people on the floor.

Murdock and Hannibal stood together, Hannibal holding Corvino in a tight grip, the bad guy's arm twisted behind his back. Murdock was tying a bandana around Hannibal's head, stopping yet another blood flow. The colonel seemed steady on his feet, so his wound couldn't be that bad. Murdock appeared unscathed.

Frankie's last look was at Corvino's men, scattered about the room. Two were groaning, three weren't making any sound at all. There seemed to be blood everywhere. The room stank with it.

Frankie finally sat up completely. Taking one last glance around the room, and with Hannibal, Murdock, BA and the standing Able watching him, he threw up.


*****

"I had this dream. And there were people in it, Sam, people that were my friends, only I didn't know who they were. I just know they were my friends. And all the time I was walking..." he blushed a little at the thought of that day,"...I just kept thinking I had to keep going west. Toward the sunset. Do you think maybe it's because my friends are out there, Sam?"

"Randy, it was a dream. You don't know anyone out there." This was not good. If Randy was having a dream like that, maybe his memory was starting to push forward. "Maybe it was just because you weren't feeling good, and I wasn't there."

Randy sat silently for a few minutes. Sam knew he was thinking about that. It took Randy a long time, sometimes, to digest ideas, but once he'd thought them through, he had them solid.

"No, I don't think that's it, Sam. I think it's because I belong to those people, the people in my dream. I mean, everybody belongs to someone, don't they? Friends, or family. But I don't belong to anyone, not here. So somewhere, I must belong to someone."

"Don't I count, Randy? I'm your friend."

"Oh, Sam, I'm sorry. Yes, you're my friend. And I'm your friend. So we belong to each other. But this is different." Randy frowned. He couldn't figure out how to say it right. "You and I belong to each other because we don't belong to anyone else. But we should. We should have like, parents, y'know? Everyone has parents. I don't remember mine. But I know I had to have them. You have parents, right, Sam?"

"Sure. At least, I did." This was getting too deep for Sam. He didn't want to go into this, but he knew Randy would keep pushing anyway. "I don't know who they were, either." That's why we were both chosen for this thing. Because they thought we didn't have anyone. Not anyone who would care that much, anyway.

"Don't you want to know, Sam? I do. I didn't, for a long time. When I woke up in the VA, up in Minneapolis, I didn't know who I was or anything. But it didn't bother me, 'cause I had you. But now I want to know. Everybody's somebody, Sam, except us. I want to be a somebody again. I want to belong somewhere. And there's this thing, up in my head, that keeps telling me I have to go west, to the ocean, and then I'll be a real person again, a somebody. And I'll find the people I belong to." Randy looked out of the window again. "If you don't want to go with me, that's okay. But I have to go."

"You know I'll go with you, Randy. I just don't want you to be disappointed. I mean, what if we get all the way out there, and we don't find anyone? Then what?"

"We'll find them. And I'll bet we'll find who you belong to, too, Sam. I think that's why we're together. Why we became friends. So we could help each other be somebody's again." Randy looked suddenly at Sam, and had an expression so serious it startled the other man. "Do you believe in God, Sam?"

Where had that come from? Man, if Randy only knew what that question dredged up in Sam's mind. Never mind. Just answer him.

"Yeah, I guess I do, Randy. I mean, I was brought up that way."

"I never thought about Him much before, but I think God wants us to do this, Sam. I think that's why I had the dream. Yeah, I'm sure of it. God gave me that dream so I would know who I belonged to, and how to find them." Tired out from all the talking, Randy closed his eyes, and smiled. "I think I like God..."

Sam sat still for a few minutes, watching Randy drift into sleep. It was strange how Randy put things. A somebody. A somebody who belonged to another somebody. Sam thought about that one long and hard. And wondered if he belonged to his someone's any more...