MAR 23
As Good as a Mile
Holiday: Near Miss Day

"I tol you not to do it. Didn't I?"

"Yes, BA, you told me."

"Did you listen? No, you didn't, didja?"

"No, BA, I didn't. But it worked, didn't it?"

"Yeah, it worked. 'Cept for the truck crashin, that gal gettin away, Face gettin a concussion, and Murdock..."

"Murdock's just being Murdock."

"Only more so. Not to mention I nearly got shot and you took a slug through the leg."

"I just got a flesh wound, BA, and that bullet missed you."

"Barely. And we had too many barely's lately, Hannibal. Way too many."

BA stalked off, leaving Hannibal to keep watch over Face, who was still seeing three of everything. Murdock sat in the overstuffed chair by the fireplace; he'd stopped counting the cracks in the walls and was now naming them instead. Hannibal sighed.

BA was right. The plan had worked even less well than usual today. Face had taken one hell of a wallop to the head, and then Hannibal had taken that bullet almost immediately after pulling him back behind the crates. That left Murdock to hold the fort until BA came roaring up in the van several minutes later. Face kept trying to stand up and Hannibal had bled pretty hard and fast those first couple minutes and Murdock had really had his hands full. Then loading the others into the van and seeing that bullet explode into the door frame just above BA's head...yeah, Murdock had reason to be even 'more so'.

Hannibal checked Face again, reassured that he now only saw two Hannibals. Murdock had stopped his naming to listen to them, and then got up and followed BA into the other room. Hannibal could hear the two trading insults. He shifted in his chair, trying to ease the stiffness in his leg.

Yeah, BA was right. There had been too many close calls in the last few weeks. Too many jobs, for one thing. The guys weren't getting thoroughly rested up from one before Hannibal had them going on another. And he hadn't exactly been discriminating about the jobs he took, either. Like this last one. Not one he should've walked away from, exactly, but he should've taken more time getting ready for it.

And he shouldn't be using the team as a release for his own frustrations. He hadn't had a nibble from his agent in weeks and it was hard to sit around, waiting for something to happen. So he'd started moving on more and more jobs for the team. Actually sought out a couple of them. Ignored Face's complaints and BA's glares. Focused on Murdock's enthusiasm instead. Although that had seemed rather forced on the last two or three jobs.

Well, okay, so they'd had some near misses. They were still misses. The team was still okay, still together, still alive. A miss is as good as a mile, right?

He looked over at Face, who'd dozed off. Listened again to the mumbled voices in the other room. Lightly rubbed the bandage under his pant leg.

Maybe not...

FINI