April 30 --- The Gift

Holiday: Hairstylist Appreciation Day

"See you later, guys."

Amy shook her head as Face hurried out the door, and Hannibal smiled quizzically at her.

"Problem, Miss Allen?"

"I still can't get around Face's ego. I mean, we haven't been back an hour, and he's rushing off to the barber. Excuse me - hairdresser. Even I don't get that picky."

"Well, looks are important when you're into 'requisitions', Amy. It's part of the gig."

"Face takes that part of it a little too seriously, if you ask me. But I know - his looks are your meal ticket."

"Exactly, Amy." Hannibal smiled amiably, but he quickly made an excuse to leave the room.

He wasn't angry at Amy. She hadn't been around long enough to know Face - hell, any of them - that well yet. But he sincerely hoped she wouldn't get too sarcastic with Face, or he'd play her to the hilt. And Face could get a little nasty when he did that.

Granted, it was kinda fun when that happened. Hannibal smiled for a moment, before remembering that Amy, too, had her job to do for the team. Teasing was one thing; outright conflict wasn't good for anybody. He'd keep an eye on things, make sure neither of them went too far.

He could nip things in the bud, of course, tell Amy to leave him alone. But Face was a big boy; he could deal with it, and a lot easier than Amy probably would. After all, the rest of the team gave him plenty of shit. And Hannibal wasn't one to lay down the law unless it was absolutely necessary.

Admittedly, Face did take extraordinary care with his looks. It wasn't just vanity, as Amy assumed, although Face certainly wasn't blind to his qualities. But he was more aware of the doors that opened, and opened more quickly, when the view was good. It hadn't always been that way. Back in Nam, Face had honed his skills the hard way.

In Nam, nobody with any sense wore long hair. Yeah, there were some, people that didn't want to be there, didn't want the US there. Some CO's put up with it, some didn't. Hannibal didn't. But it was more of a practical matter than anything. Nothing worse on morale than to be days in the jungle with dirty, greasy, long hair getting in the way, holding in the heat, drawing mosquitoes...no, better to have it buzzed and not worry about it.

Which made it harder for Face to perform his little miracles. He was still good-looking, but he didn't have the immediate effect on people he did now. He had to talk faster, charm quicker, and strike harder bargains back then.

Hannibal chuckled softly. After they'd cut loose from Bragg, and Face started looking more like a civilian, it was like someone had handed him the whole candy store. Hannibal could still remember the near-awe in Face's voice when he'd tell the colonel how easily he'd been able to get this or that for the team.

It was a gift, and Face never took it for granted.

Neither did Hannibal.