Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength. - Theodore Roosevelt
"Me? Why me?"
That was when Hannibal knew with certainty that he'd been right to keep Face with him, close so he could keep an eye on things, let the others deal directly with the principals involved. Just to make sure. Oh, he'd put on a show, not letting his doubts be obvious. He could con as good as Face when he needed to. And he started feeling better and better as the job progressed. Until...
"Me? Why me?"
It wasn't what he'd said. It was how he'd said it. Not the typical complaint or protest before he'd go ahead and do his job. No.
This was almost panicky.
Still, he'd done what he needed to. Surprised everyone, the way he'd flown that car. Afterwards, Hannibal thought he'd been wrong, that Face just had to get past that last roadblock in his head and everything would go back to normal. He should have known better. With each new job, the small hesitations followed by sudden aggression. The exhaustion when it was all over.
He didn't know if the others noticed. It was his responsibility to see it, to do something about it. But he didn't. He thought he was just letting go of that invisible leash. Now he realized he'd been pushing him. Too busy dickering with Stockwell about how many more missions they'd have to do to see it.
They'd spent the last week trailing a terrorist group from Ottawa to Rock Island, Illinois, always just one step behind them. Luck or skill, they didn't know. Hannibal just knew each near miss ate at them all. A half-dozen little weasels with visions of grandeur and a truckload of explosives. The team had caught up with them at a small warehouse, just as they were readying to ram the gates of the Rock Island Arsenal. And that's when things went to hell.
Face shot two of them before they pulled their weapons. Thank God he hadn't killed them. If Murdock hadn't jerked Face's gun down, who knows what might have happened. BA had to pull him out of the warehouse.
He'd finally had it shoved down his throat. Face wasn't ready. Hadn't been, no matter what the damn doctor said. His body had healed up, but not his mind. Damn it! Scared to death every time they went out on a job. But he still went, hiding it as best he could. Still did his job. Still had their backs.
And Hannibal had ignored all the signs...
Hannibal sighed as he hung up the phone. Stockwell, in that condescending tone, had agreed with his assessment. They would have three days with BA's mother before heading back to Langley - and their pardons. No more missions while the paperwork went through. And then they'd head back to LA. Hannibal was planning to contact Richter. The doc would find someone for Face; if they were lucky, he'd do it himself. And Hannibal would have to talk to Frankie.
They'd need a fourth man.