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Changing Suits - Joker

by G Richmond

Story: Changing Suits

Chapter: 05. Joker

Status: Draft 1

Author: G. Richmond

Warnings: Mild slash, angst, character death

Feedback levels: UP TO LEVEL 1

Feedback requests: None

Author's notes: In this chapter I kept thinking `I'm missing someone. I'm forgetting to write someone's part.' I then I realise I killed Hannibal and I want to cry D:

Also, in this chapter there's the line from the song that inspired this whole series.


The funeral was a sombre affair, and they each got up to say a little something. Face talked of memorable missions, and of Vietnam, whilst BA just glared out from over the podium and growled loudly `To Hannibal!'. Frankie got up, but could barely get out his words, and the sobs in the church became audible as he valiantly tried to continue, but eventually he had to excuse himself, burying his face in his hands as he sat down. Murdock got up last spoke of how Hannibal had been like a father to all of them, there to chastise them when they did wrong, congratulate them when they did well and pick them up when they fell. He gave hope when all hope was lost, and never gave up.

"He was a hero to the very end." Murdock ground out, fighting tears, "I think he'd be honoured to see you all here today." He stepped down then, took his place next to Face in the pews. Somewhere during the funeral their hands hand found each other, and they held tightly. Murdock looked away as he fought tears, loosing more often than not, but Face never looked down, looking forward the whole time even as tears slid down over his cheeks.

Their hands remained joined even as the funeral ended and they all stood to attend the burial. They got looks, they got stares, they even got disapproving frowns and tuts, but neither of them cared. They needed the comfort, someone to lean on. They needed those years of memories, those good memories to get them through this. They needed each other.

Murdock spent the burial with his eyes hidden behind his hand, unable to watch as they lowered the coffin into the ground. Frankie was already crying, but BA had wrapped an arm around his shoulder in a brotherly fashion, and he seemed to take some comfort from it.

At the end, one of Anna's relatives came to invite them to the wake. Anna was too stricken to ask herself, and was sobbing into a handkerchief beside the grave. Frankie shook his head that he couldn't, his fiance and baby had already gone back to the hotel, and he couldn't stay, and BA had to stay with his mother, so he couldn't either. But both Face and Murdock nodded that they would come. They weren't ready to say goodbye to Hannibal quite yet.

Their goodbyes to BA and Frankie were drawn out, especially for Frankie, who bravely fought his tears until he was in the cab. BA gave them both manly hugs, and Mrs Baracus embraced them and kissed their cheeks, telling them in a watery voice that they needed to come visit.

They both lied that they would.

Then they were alone. They had yet to say a single word to each other, and both seemed reluctant to break the silence. Their hands had left each other just after the burial and not rejoined.

"I missed you." Face finally broke the silence. His voice was hoarse and he didn't look at Murdock when he said it.

Murdock looked at him with tired eyes and a hardening expression. He didn't answer for a long moment, but when he did it was accompanied with a turn to walk away, "You could have fooled me."

The wake was at a gentlemen's club that Anna told them all that Hannibal loved to come to. There were more people there that had been unable to attend the funeral, and a buffet set out that only got picked at during the night. No one was really hungry. But there was a free bar also, and that got thoroughly taken advantage of by everyone.

Murdock made no effort to go back to Face after they had arrived, and struggled to put his mental barriers back up. He was mourning for Hannibal, he didn't have the capacity to deal with Face as well.

He talked with Anna during the night, and found out that she and Hannibal had been married just over 6 month, and that he had been meaning to tell them next time the 5 of them met up.

"He couldn't find the words in a letter, and you know how he hated talking on the phone." She explained with a weak smile, and Murdock nodded, barely able to force his own.

He talk to some of the other people he recognized, caught up on how they were doing and fending off questions about his own wellbeing, before eventually excusing himself into a side room. He needed time to think. There were a lot of little drawing rooms in the building, each with an open fire that lit the room with a comfortable flickering light, and a number of people were taking advantage of them. Murdock let himself into one of them and settled himself onto the floor in front of the fire, sipping his drink, a scotch on the rocks, and staring into the flames.

He didn't hear the door open behind him and shut quietly, so he jumped when something clinked next to his ear, recoiling away and looking up.

"I thought you might want another." Face offered quietly, holding out the glass to Murdock. Another scotch on the rocks. Murdock had long ago finished his and the remaining ice had turned to warm water.

Murdock looked between the glass and Face, before finally taking the glass with an expression that said he still didn't want Face there. But the blond didn't pay attention and instead sat down next to him, knees drawing up to his chest.

"I'm not doing this now, Face." Murdock told him, biting out his words. They hadn't talked since the night Face had left him, he wasn't prepared to do it now. It was a horrible time to even suggest it.

"I miss him, Murdock..." Face rasped out, his hand tightening around his glass as he stared into the fire, and all the anger drained out of the pilot, "I hadn't spoken to him in nearly a year...that...that last call we got, remember?" Murdock didn't. Murdock had spoken to Hannibal a few times after he and Face had broken up. "Kept putting it all seems so stupid now." He tried to take a sip from his glass, but nearly choked on a sob before putting his head down against his knees.

They talked for hours after that, about Hannibal, only stopping to fetch a bottle of bourbon so they could refresh their drinks.. They laughed and cried about all the good times, and the bad times, the best missions, and the times they had nearly died. But said nothing of their relationship, avoiding the topic completely.

"I thought you were going to die Face. Scariest damn moment of my whole life." Murdock murmured, remember back to the time Face had been shot, "You were just lying there, pale as a ghost and shivering and they...they wouldn't let us get you help." He shook his head and finished his drink, moving to pour another one.

"I remember that. I remember thinking that if I was going to die, least it wouldn't be alone." Face said quietly. Over the hours they had gravitated towards each other, and now were leaning against each other since they had drunk enough alcohol to be less than sure in their balance.

"I dunno what I'd done if you'd died." Murdock settle the bottle back down and picked up his drink, staring into its amber depths.

"You'd have been alright." Face said surely, without even thinking.

"No I wouldn't." Murdock turned his head to give Face a look, but he faltered when he realised how close they were, and so did Face. In that instant it felt so natural; sitting by the fire shoulder to shoulder, drinking good drink and reminiscing. They had done it countless times at home, and for a moment it felt like they were back there. Back there in the house they shared, the house they lived in together, the life they lived together.

They leaned in, then Murdock stopped, expression suddenly sobering. Hurt flashed across his eyes before he pulled back, then moved away, putting at least two feet between them, leaving Face with a confused expression.


"Sorry." Murdock cut in, voice hard to hide his pain, and he gave Face a small smile that was more bitter than genuine, "For a minute there...I forgot that you don't love me anymore."

Then he got up to leave. Something had happened, and it was like Face was leaving him all over again. And it hurt. It hurt so damn much.

A strong hand caught him by the wrist and stopped him in his tracks. Murdock looked down into blue eyes and fought tears as he waited for Face to say something. Then he did.

"What if I was wrong?"

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