CHAPTER SIXTY SEVEN

Murdock stepped quietly into the kitchen. Maggie was working on BA, who sat stoically enduring the disinfectant. Hannibal was watching his cup of coffee get cold. All three looked up as Murdock came in.

"He's still sleeping. Seems okay." Hannibal nodded, went back to watching his cup. They were all subdued, drained, numb. When it had seemed that Face was faltering, Hannibal had demanded he tell them what he was seeing, so they could 'fight it' together. It had shaken them all. Not flashbacks at all. Living horrors was more like it. No wonder he'd brought the other guy in. No one could understand where they had come from. Why they were so vivid and real to Face. There was still a lot for them to talk out. Right now, they all wanted to just forget about had happened. Just for a little while. They'd had a major victory today but it felt like they'd lost a war.

There was still the problem with Molly and her husband. Hannibal needed to call her later that day. They would have to go over and talk to them, get the details. Tomorrow. No one was going anywhere today. Besides, they had a lot of work to get done before bearding Carla again. She was being much more devious this time. She hadn't learned her lesson yet, but she was getting smarter about how she attacked.

They'd just have to be a little smarter.


*****

"Anything?"

"Made contact that one time. Nothing since. Baracus showed up late last night. Some strange activity at the farm this morning."

"What do you mean, strange?"

"Captain Murdock left rather quickly early in the morning, returned approximately 40 minutes later with Dr. Sullivan. Security alarms ran for several minutes. She's still there. Possibly Peck?"

"Probably. I'd like to know what that's all about. Check with the field, see if they got anything."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Oh, and give our little friend another call. I want some activity there. No, on second thought, no call. Pay a visit. A little social call. Nothing major - just something to get the ball rolling again. Try using a little imagination. Have some fun with it."

"Yes, ma'am."


*****

He'd been lying awake for quite some time now. He wasn't quite sure what to do about this. He'd rolled over, shoved his hand under the pillow, and there it was. He recognized it just by the feel. Didn't know where it came from, how it got there. Didn't want to know. Didn't want it there. He'd pulled his hand back out, rolled over on his back, stared at the ceiling. Now he could feel it through the pillow. His head was resting on it.

He could tell one of the guys. They'd take it away. But then, they might start wondering, too. That could go a couple different directions. On the one hand, they might figure 'he' had put it there and that would be it. On the other hand, they might start wondering about Face. That was a whole other story. He wanted back on the team. Fully. But guns...he didn't know. That's what they'd be thinking, too. If he asked one of them to take it away, they'd know he still couldn't deal with it. No missions. If he didn't tell them, and one of them found it, they'd wonder if they could trust him. Crazy man with a gun hidden under his pillow. Not exactly reassuring. Not exactly the kind of person you'd take on a dangerous job.

He sighed, deeply. Nothing's ever simple.


*****

Molly called before Hannibal had a chance to call her. Someone had been at their house. Their dog - no, not hurt. Shaved. A clown-like ruffled collar put on him. No, the neighbors hadn't seen anything. Joe was at work, she'd made a 15, maybe 20 minute run to the store. Came back and found the dog.

Hannibal was seething. Carla had people close to Molly. Too close. Probably too close to the farm, too. Which meant they knew about Maggie's trip here this morning. Did they know about Face? Had they been close enough to see what went on? Damn. If they had, it opened up the vulnerability. It also meant they wouldn't be able to leave Face alone here, even with Maggie. He could be a target. Hell, maybe he was the target. They'd have to renew their perimeter checks. It would be easier now that BA was back. He'd have to do something about Maggie, too. He'd give Hank a call, anonymously. Make a threat against Maggie. That way Carla didn't have to come into the equation and Maggie would have some protection. Frequent pass-by's by the local sheriff would give Carla second thoughts on that quarter. Better let Maggie know what was going on or she'd cause problems. Didn't want her telling Hank to forget it.

Okay, he'd make the call to Hank and talk to Maggie. He'd have BA load enough weapons for caution's sake and have Murdock get Face up and moving. He could sleep in the van while they talked to Molly. Stop. Rethink that. It took Carla's people 15 minutes to subdue and shave a dog. Face would come in with them. Hopefully it wouldn't spook Molly too much. Or Face. Hopefully Joe wouldn't be there. Didn't need that complication either. Damn.


*****

BA came in shortly after Face woke up. He felt embarrassed now, ashamed. He shoulda known better. He'd known this man for twenty years. He shoulda known better.

Face, on his part, felt sorry for what he had done to BA. But it was mixed, he had to admit, with just a bit of pride, too. To think that he, even if it wasn't really him, had been able to take on BA and win. He felt a little stirring inside. Oh no. Don't go there. Don't go near there. Remember what you did to your friend, Face. Forget the damn pride.

The two men looked at each for a moment.

"Face..."

"BA..."

Stopped. Smiled at each other. BA nodded.

"S'okay, Face?"

"S'okay, BA."

BA slapped Face's uplifted hand as he walked out. 'Nough said about that.


*****

"I don't like it one bit, John. Not one bit."

"I know you don't. I don't either. But I can't see any way around it. Both you and Face could be at risk if you stayed here alone. Or at your place. I want Hank on his toes while we're gone."

Maggie crossed her arms, shaking her head. "I'm not worried about me, John. I've lived in a small isolated town long enough to know who belongs and who doesn't. And I'm not exactly out in the middle of nowhere. My concern is with Face. I don't want him stressed. He may have gotten through this last incident, but he's still not 100%. Not any where near it. Seeing this woman again - and possibly running into her husband - could be a problem."

"I know that, Maggie. I'm going to make sure there's as little contact as possible between Face and Molly. I don't believe her husband will be there, but if he is, I'll handle it. Believe me, Maggie, I don't want to do things this way, and I wouldn't if I could keep him safe any other way."

Maggie sighed. "I know, John. I just wish he could have a little time. I don't want to see everything he's accomplished now get destroyed."

"Don't worry, Maggie. I'll take care of him. We all will."

Maggie gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and a small smile before heading in to see the object of their concern. She knew there were things they needed to talk about.


*****

"Hello, Face."

He sat up a little straighter on the bed. Maggie. This was going to be hard. He still wasn't prepared for this.

"Maggie. Uh, look, I'm really sorry...no, that's not good enough...I...God, I never meant..."

"Face. Settle down. You don't have to apologize. For anything."

"I knew you hadn't fallen. I wish you had told me...earlier."

"What good would that have done? It wouldn't change what happened and it would only have caused you unnecessary aggravation." She sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, not sure if he would appreciate the close proximity or not. "Look, Face, you've made a major step here. You have a chance to start over, with me, with Hannibal, with the whole team. I don't want you to be dragging a lot of baggage into that with you. Take that fresh start and work it for all you're worth. Okay?"

He sighed. Hannibal was a lucky man, if he'd realize it. "Okay, Doc."

Maggie smiled at him, and breezed out the door. Both felt a little lighter of heart.


*****

They were in the van, rolling down the highway toward Molly's. From the moment they pulled out of the drive, Murdock kept clearing his throat, staring at the back of Hannibal's head. No one had told Face where they were going yet, just that they were meeting with a client. No one had mentioned Carla. No one had told Face a damn thing. But then, he hadn't asked, either. Didn't seem to have any curiosity about the client at all. Studiously uninterested, one might say. But they should warn him. Soon.

"Ahemmm."

Hannibal turned around and glared at him. Murdock nodded his head toward Face, raising his eyebrows. Hannibal continued to glare at him. Murdock shrugged, looked at the ceiling. Hannibal sighed.

"Uh, Face, about this client..."

"Yeah?"

"Well, it's Molly."

"Molly?" Face smiled. "Does she have a last name?"

"Huh? Uh, yeah, Dana. Husband's name is Joe. Joe and Molly Dana."

"Okay...what's their problem?"

Hannibal glanced at BA. He knew Murdock was watching Face. He showed absolutely no recognition at the names.

"They've been getting threatening calls. Someone came to their house today and shaved their dog."

Face frowned. "Doesn't exactly sound like something we'd get involved in, Hannibal."

"Well, we think Carla's behind it."

Dull silence.

"Carla?"

"Yeah. I think she's using Molly and her husband as bait for us."

"Well, who are these people to us, that Carla would think they'd work as bait?" Face's voice held total confusion.

"Molly's the woman you hijacked, Face."

Murdock watched Face as he suddenly developed an obsession with the scenery.

Wonderful.