The Horse and the Wolf
by G. Richmond
Status: Final Draft
Warnings: No warning
Feedback levels: Up to level 1
Feedback requests: None
Author's notes: Response to the fairy and folk tale challenge.
I wanted to go with a story with a wolf in for Murdock (HOWLING mad.) and since I didn't have much time I went for a short fable.
And I've never written a story for a challenge before, so it was definitely fun :D
The original fable can be found here: http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/50fabl21.htm
Murdock watched attentively as Face got up from the table and excused himself. The shortness in his voice and the stiffness in his shoulders made it obvious that he was agitated, but neither B.A nor Hannibal mentioned it, or even tried to stop him going.
They were in the midst of a new mission, and Murdock had been collected earlier in the day. From what he could gather their plan was to break into a high-security apartment, reclaim the kidnapped daughter of their client, and escape by commandeering the private helicopter that would be waiting on the roof. A four-seater helicopter. Which meant that not all of them could go, and Hannibal had decided that Face was the least useful of the four.
Which made sense, all things considered. Murdock had to go; he was the pilot. And Hannibal as well, he was the leader. And in a toss-up between B.A and Face, B.A was far more useful if there was going to be fighting involved. And in Hannibal's plans, fighting was just par for the course. Not that anyone had felt like explaining this reasoning to Face.
It was never easy to hear that you had to sit part of a mission out, and Face had been as disappointed and annoyed as anyone could be expected to. But at least he hadn't made a big fuss, and instead just left with an expression that said he wanted to hit someone, but valued his good-looks too much to try anything with B.A around. He did slam the door on his way out, though, and Hannibal `tch'ed in annoyance.
"Hate to do that. But the chopper's only got four spaces." He muttered around his cigar.
"I told you, he can have my place." B.A said gruffly, "Cos I ain't flying. Not with this crazy foo'. Not ever." He gestured sharply at Murdock, who raised his hand with a `who me?' expression.
"Well." He said in a breathy voice and a feminine British accent, "I'm certainly not going to sit here and listen to that kind of talk from this..." He stood, turning up his nose from B.A`s narrowed eyes, "this ruffian." He flicked an imaginary scarf over his shoulder and walked briskly, shoulder-first from the room, leaving Hannibal to deal to B.A and his irritated expression.
Murdock found Face upstairs in one of the bedrooms. They were currently staying in a pleasant, 3-bedroom house that the client had provided for them as a temporary HQ. It was far more cosy than they were used to, and they were all enjoying it.
The pilot had formulated his plan on the walk up the stairs to the second story. He approached the first step with no thoughts other than to check on his friend, and bound up the last steps with a fully-formed plan-of-attack. He'd always liked Face, in more than a just-friends way, and figured now was an excellent time to try and make some headway. Face was a through-and-through ladies man, he made that obvious, but Murdock was persistent, and he had crazy on his side (which, if it all went horribly wrong, would be a perfectly viable scapegoat.)
He knew Face had to be hurting a bit from not being included in the mission, and Murdock intended to exploit this. Just a little push and Murdock planned on being the good friend with the shoulder to cry on. And maybe a comforting hug. And then maybe-
"Faceman!" Murdock went into the room without invitation and stepped up onto the bed, walking across the bouncy surface to sit cross-legged next to where Face was sitting on the opposite side. The con-man slanted an annoyed look at him as the mattress bounced energetically, jostling him up and down.
"Go away, Murdock." Face sighed harshly, frowning as he looked out the window, "Shouldn't you be downstairs making plans for tomorrow?" He added bitterly.
The pilot shrugged, "Ah, you heard it. Not really much of a plan, we go be good guys." He paused for effect, looking off into an imaginary distance, "We rescue the damsel in distress and escape in a blaze of glory." He ran his hand through the air as though picturing the proverbial sunset they would be flying off into. Face made an annoyed noise. "So I've got lots of time. What's eating at you?"
Face didn't immediately look like he was going to answer, and he shifted restlessly before finally spitting out, "I don't get it." His voice was short and clipped, "You hear B.A, he's not going anywhere near that chopper, and Hannibal cant go risking knocking him out in the middle of an escape." His long fingers were curled in agitation. Murdock hid a pleased grin behind a wide-eyed sympathetic expression. This was perfect, Face couldn't have lined him up better if he'd been trying.
"Well...you know." Murdock said leadingly, looking away with an expression that would have been too dramatic on anyone else. Face immediately caught on to the tone and frowned at the other man.
"Know what?" He asked tersely, watching suspiciously as Murdock did a perfect impression of an uncomfortable shift.
"Well...Hannibal's been talking, y'know." Murdock started, glancing quickly at Face to see if he was looking, then away again, "Says you've been off your game recently." He drew his long legs up to his chest as he looked back to Face, expression sympathetic again, "He's worried, y'see, `bout putting you on a case. He don't want you getting hurt." He stared at the other male's face, trying to gauge his reaction to his fabrication. Face's expression was carefully schooled, thoughtful with a hint of annoyance, as though he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
After a moment his expression crumbled to a troubled look and he bowed his head, "Maybe he's right." He said quietly, and Murdock's heart jumped in elation. He loved it when a plan came together. He lowered his legs to edge towards the other man.
"Y'think so?" He asked, not pushing his luck to actually touch Face yet.
"Yeah." Face nodded, "Maybe I'm just tired, but my eyes have been aching an awful lot lately." His voice had dropped to a truly pathetic tone, and Murdock would have been suspicious if Face hadn't chosen that exact moment to look up. Blue eyes looked directly into Murdock's as he leaned in earnestly, "Does it look like there's something wrong with them?" He asked, voice tinged with desperation.
Murdock was frozen in like a deer in the headlights, too stunned by the proximity of the other man to get out any coherent words.
"I- uh..." He just about managed, staring with wide eyes that weren't put-on. He was so close, barely more than three inches, all he had to do was move forward just a little. Just a short distance, he could even pass it off as an accident, an `oops, I slipped' scenario. A kiss was a kiss, after all, no matter the circumstances.
But Murdock's body couldn't even manage that. That was a big flaw in his plan. In his plan he'd counted on having full motor functions. He'd not counted on the paralysing effect of Face's proximity, however, and he cursed himself for not thinking of a countermeasure ahead of time. A full-out assault would have been a better approach, he should have just jumped Face the second he'd stepped into the room. Of course that would have come with it's own problems, but it would have been far more fun than sitting like a statue and staring at what he was unable to reach.
"Murdock?" Face seemed confused by the pilot's silence, and moments later his distressed faade dropped for a smirk. Murdock practically pouted as he wallowed in disappointment when he realised he'd been tricked.
"Don't try to con a con-man with your smarts, Murdock." Face scolded with amusement, fondly patting Murdock's cheek, "Stick to what you know."
"I know crazy." Murdock offered, looking hopeful, and Face laughed.
"And it's never failed you before." Face agreed, and Murdock was pleased to see Face back in higher spirits. The con-man gave him a thoughtful look, blue eyes scanning the pilot's face before he leaned in, amused to find him still frozen.
As soon as their lips touched Murdock was freed from his rigor and pushed into the kiss keenly. He could feel Face's chest jump in a silent laugh at his enthusiasm, but neither were put off. The con-man slipped a hand around to the back of Murdock's neck to hold him still as tilted his head, trying to gain access to the pilot's mouth insistently. Murdock had no problem submitting, opening his mouth and making a small pleased noise as Face took the opening. It felt like only moments until Face pulled back, when really it had been far longer, the con-man thoroughly claiming the other man's mouth before pulling away, looking smug. Murdock looked indignant and made a complaining noise at being given no chance to reciprocate, not placated when Face patted his cheek again.
"You're about as transparent as glass." He laughed.
"Sexy glass?" Murdock asked hopefully, and in all seriousness, and Face gave him an odd look before laughing again.
"Sure. Sexy glass." he agreed.
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