CHAPTER TEN

Hannibal stared silently out the window, lush bushes framing the view of the oceanfront. They were back in LA, in a nice but not fancy hotel. They had been given a stake by Stockwell, surprisingly; not a lot, but enough to start out with. There was a meeting set up with an attorney the following week, to see what could be done about any money they might have coming from the military. It had come down to mundane things like that - money to support themselves. Hannibal wished now he'd paid more attention to the financial end of things, not just left it to Face. He had no idea where their money was hidden. And God only knew if Face would ever come back. A thought Hannibal had kept to himself.

Turning back to the room, he watched his team. BA, appearing just as angry now as if he were still under Stockwell's thumb, was engrossed in a football game on TV. He was still trying to decide if he wanted to stay with the Team or go back to Chicago. It was a harder choice to make than it would appear on the surface. He wanted to be close to his mother, and he had wanted to work with kids for as long as he could remember. But there was still the matter of Face. He couldn't walk out on the Team until he was found. He didn't believe that story of the girlfriend for one minute. Never had. Face just wouldn't do that. So now they were going to look for him. The problem with that was they didn't have a lot of money right now. They would have to find some paying clients, get the money coming in, before they could look very far. And more delay meant it would be even harder to track him down. The frustration was almost physical.

Murdock was reading through the papers. Not just one - every major paper sold in LA. Every morning he was the first out the door, going to several newsstands to make sure he got every edition. Then he would spend hours checking the personal ads. He knew Face would have something in there soon. Now that the pardons were public knowledge, he would get in touch. He would find them, or let them know where to find him. Murdock had placed his own ads as well, even though Hannibal thought it was unnecessary. They didn't have to work underground any more. But Murdock wasn't taking any chances. He was also contacting all their old clients, and Face's old girlfriends. As many as he could find, anyway. He'd tried to file a missing persons report with the police and had just gotten laughed at. 'Fuck them, anyway.'

Frankie wasn't there. He'd headed back to LA with them, and almost immediately split. He'd never felt like a real member of the team, especially since the pardons. That had placed a whole new focus on finding Face, and Frankie knew he wouldn't really be expected to stay on with them. But he had kept in touch, waiting to hear about Face. They were all waiting.

"God, Face, just come home..."


*****

He was so tired of airplanes. He felt like he'd been living in them or airports for the last month. Always moving, never stopping for more than a day anywhere. Kill a man, see the world. He grimaced as he lugged his carryall up to the desk. This was it, anyway. The last leg. Tomorrow he'd be back in LA. After that, he had his own plans.

He handed over his passport. This was always dicey. He still didn't trust Stockwell and the passport came from him. It had worked so far, but he hadn't gone into the US yet. He knew it was the general's way of keeping track of him. That was okay. Let him. Once he hit LA, he'd disappear. Rest up. Plan. Stockwell wouldn't know what hit him.

"There you go, Mr. Booth. Have a pleasant trip," purred the ticket clerk.

He nodded and moved on. 'Mr. Booth'. Actually 'Mr. Oswald Booth'. Stockwell had a sick sense of humor.

Not for long...