CHAPTER FORTY FOUR

Hannibal caught up with BA after a couple minutes. He hadn't gone that far, up the drive and into the woods a few yards. When Hannibal came up on him, he was smashing a large branch against a rotting log, taking long swings and bringing it down hard and fast. Hannibal stopped at a safe distance from the flying debris, and waited. It wasn't safe to get too close when BA lost it; though it rarely happened, it was never pretty.

Finally, when the branch was nothing but splinters which BA let drop from his fingers, Hannibal stepped forward. BA was breathing hard, sweating, scowling as deep as he ever had. He swung to face the colonel, and it was clear he hadn't completely vented even now.

"That bad, BA?"

BA didn't answer at first, just clenched his fists and looked everywhere but at Hannibal. Muttered something angrily.

"What?"

"I said, he's like some damn animal! At least Murdock was happy bein crazy. Face, he's just...just..."

Hannibal frowned. "I know he was pretty out of it, but I didn't think he was that bad."

"Yeah, well, he's gone round the bend now, Hannibal. I never seen anyone look that bad, and I hope to God I never do again. He could hardly stand up, and his eyes...they was goin all over the place, Hannibal. And then he started talking, crazy stuff. Didn't make no sense at all. First it was somethin about his father; then he started saying somethin about someone comin. Just kept sayin 'one by one', over and over..." BA stopped, shook his head.

Hannibal was getting worried about BA now; he'd never seen the man so spooked. "It'll be okay, BA. It's just the alcohol, working its way out. It's not pretty, but he'll come out of it."

"That ain't it, Hannibal. I've seen that before and this ain't it. He's just plain crazy." BA took a couple deep breaths, trying to force the scene from the bedroom out of his mind. There was more to it. Hannibal knew it, too. BA was thinking about how he had turned his back on Face, angry at what he'd done, wanting to make him pay. And now he had.

"BA, we couldn't have seen this coming."

"You knew he wasn't right. You tried to tell us. But me and Murdock..." BA scowled even deeper. "You can't let Murdock see him, Hannibal. No way. He couldn't handle it. You gotta keep him away from Face until this is all over."

"Murdock's probably seen this before, BA. After all, he lived in a psych ward."

"This is diff'rent, Hannibal. This is Face." BA stared down at the rotting log. "Leastwise, it used to be..."


*****

Randy pulled into the driveway, and sat, staring at the house. It had been a long, long time since he'd set foot here. Not since the old man died. Remembered the look on the doctor's face as he'd talked to Randy, the suspicions, the anxiety. The fear. He had to smile at that. The doctor had every right to feel that way. If it hadn't been for good ol' Dr. Garr, the old man would have been safely tucked away in prison. Instead, he was dead, and Randy had been sitting there, in Dr. Garr's office, staring right at him, listening with great interest to the details of how Max Lindstedt had met his demise.

Randy had walked away from the doctor back then. And over the years, Garr had probably figured he was safe, that Randy had lost interest in him. As if Randy would lose interest in the man who had seen so many bruises and breaks over so many years, and had done nothing about it. As if Randy could lose interest in the man who helped gloss over a sixteen-year-old kid's murder.

Dr. Garr had been farther down on Randy's list, but, out of necessity, he'd been moved up to the number one spot. Dr. Garr would handle the blood tests, would take care of whatever else needed to be taken care of, because he would have no choice. And if he thought that would make things even, well, that was his problem.


*****

Daryl was taking his turn again. He glanced at his watch. Twenty-three hours since Sam had tossed down the last bottle. He sighed.

Sam was sitting in the corner again. Had been since shortly after BA had left. Pinching off something on his arms. Mumbling. Daryl no longer tried to make sense of what he was saying. The only one who understood it was Sam. Now and then, he would look up, as if listening for something, or listening to something. Then he would frown, shake his head, go back to picking at his arms.

Daryl thought about BA. He felt bad about that. About making BA do that. But he hadn't seen any other way. And it had been the right thing to do. For Sam. After BA left, Sam actually let Daryl help him up and onto the bed. He'd only stayed there a few minutes before edging off the bed and back into the corner. But he had allowed Daryl to get close enough to put a light blanket around him, before closing himself off again. At least he still trusted Daryl that much.

So it had shaken BA up. He would cope. Daryl couldn't help but feel that BA - along with Hannibal, Murdock and Frank - bore some responsibility for what had happened. Okay, they'd been in way over their heads; Stockwell shouldn't have sent Sam back to the team so soon. But the team hadn't really tried to work with Sam, either.

Didn't matter now. The guys would have to work out any guilt they felt by themselves. Daryl wasn't about to add them to his list of worries. Randy, now, that was another matter. Randy worried Daryl a great deal. Randy didn't appear to let anyone get close to him, didn't trust anyone, didn't care about anyone. Except Sam. How Sam had broken through and made the connection, Daryl had no idea. But he was going to do his damndest to make sure Randy didn't lose that.

Daryl looked up, startled. The mumbling had stopped. But what was that other noise? He looked over at the corner, where Sam had been sitting. Only Sam wasn't sitting there now. He was flat on the floor, his body in spasms.


*****

"The results will be ready in a few more minutes." Dr. Garr nervously adjusted his tie. "I, uh, I don't have the other things your friend mentioned in his note. Not here, anyway. But I can get them, if necessary." He added the last reassurance hurriedly, seeing the look. "It's not a problem."

"Good. I don't like problems."

Dr. Garr swallowed, nervously. When he had opened the door to his office, located deliberately to assure privacy for his patients, he had never expected to see him standing there. He'd heard the man was dead; had hoped it was true. Instead, he now sat comfortably in the doctor's overstuffed chair, feet on the doctor's antique desk, pistol laying casually in his lap. The doctor swallowed again.

"I'll call on the tests now."

Randy watched him fumble with the telephone, dialing nervously. He smiled. He was getting a lot of satisfaction from this. Imagined how good he'd feel later...

Dr. Garr started speaking, keeping his voice low. Randy tapped the desktop loudly with the barrel of the pistol, frowning. The doctor immediately raised his voice so Randy could hear him clearly. That was better.

Garr hung up the receiver, looking over the notes he'd jotted down. His turn to frown. He looked up at Randy, professional demeanor taking over.

"He should be in a hospital, Gerald. This is serious business." Dr. Garr straightened, became stern. After all, he was a doctor. Regardless of what his 'guest' thought.

"Now that's a surprise. Obviously, there's a reason why he isn't. And why he won't be. That's why I came to you, 'Doctor'." Randy stood suddenly, swept around the desk to stand beside Garr, pistol under the man's chin. "Now that we have the tests back, you're going to gather together, from wherever, all the little pills and shots and medical toys needed to get my friend back on his feet. And then you and I are going to go see him."

"Me? Go with you? But I can't..."

"Oh, yes, you can, Doctor. This is your chance to make amends. To save a life, instead of throwing it away." Randy pressed the gun harder against Garr, pushing his head back. "You save my friend, Dr. Garr, and maybe, just maybe, I'll call us even."


*****

The seizure had lasted only a minute or so. Sam now lay on the floor, in a deep sleep. Daryl sat beside him, fingers on his throat, checking his pulse. Still too fast, but within bounds. He sat back, looking over the sleeping man, shook his head. What a mess. He looked around the room, decided. He stood and went in search of Hannibal, taking one last glance at Sam before stepping out.

He found Hannibal on the porch, with Frankie. He quickly, matter-of-factly, explained what had happened and what he wanted to do. Hannibal took it stoically, although Frankie looked pale.

"C'mon, Frankie. Let's get this done before he wakes up."

It took only a few minutes before Randy's bed had fresh linens on it. Hannibal sent Frankie to get BA from his refuge on the dock. They didn't bother Kurt, who had taken a sleeping bag out under the trees beside the cabin and was sound asleep; or Murdock, who had decided to take a short walk around the woods surrounding the cabin. Daryl, in the meantime, had found some clothes in the dresser; he didn't know if they were Sam's or Randy's and didn't care. They were clean.

Less than twenty minutes after the seizure, Sam's clothes were changed and he was peacefully lying on clean sheets. He was still in a deep slumber, hadn't stirred during any of the activities. Daryl had washed his face, but otherwise left him alone. He wished he could've cleaned him up even more, but it was more important to let him sleep. Hannibal had tossed Sam's old clothes in a plastic bag and dumped them unceremoniously in the trash.

Daryl and Hannibal stood in the doorway, watching him. BA had done his part and left again, still not wanting to be around Sam for too long.

"What caused the seizure?"

"The booze. They call them 'rum fits'."

Hannibal nodded, thought for a few minutes. "How long do you suppose he'll sleep?"

"Hopefully, a few hours. That's typical after a seizure. Then again, he's still dealing with the withdrawal, so who knows? Any sleep he gets is welcome."

"Will there be more?"

"Possibly. I'm not all that concerned about them. It's what could come after that worries me. I hope Randy gets back here soon."

Hannibal said nothing. He watched Sam for another moment, then straightened. He marched into the other bedroom, grabbing several garbage bags on the way. He began stripping the bed and stuffing the linens into the bags. Then he started gathering the empty bottles that still littered the floor and furniture. He worked silently, angrily. When the last of the garbage bags were filled and dumped outside, he began tugging at the soiled mattresses, glaring at the rug as he pulled. When he was finished, nothing was left in the room but the furniture.

He sat, exhausted, on the porch, puffing absently on a cigar, waiting for Randy.