Title: May 13th
Status: Final draft
Warnings: Non graphic references to rape and torture.
Feedback levels: UP TO LEVEL 1
Author's notes: Written for the Anniversary challenge on A Slash. F/M pairing (OS). Murdock finds a small object that he gave to Face when they were in Vietnam. It brings up memories that are tough for both men to deal with.
Many, many thanks to Elizabeth for beta reading this on short notice. My muse decided to cooperate at the last minute for the last part of this story.
I'd originally hoped to offer something more fluffy and less angsty but I'd already started this piece when the challenge came out and this was where my muse took the story.
"You kept it."
Face turned around at Murdock's soft words. It took him a moment to focus on the small object that the other man held in his hand. When it finally registered what it was he was holding, Face's eyes widened and he felt a small knot form in his stomach.
I, um...well..." he stumbled slightly on his words before quickly attempting to brush it aside. "You know how much stuff we've all collected over the years." He waved a hand in the air before he snorted. "For a group on the run from the Military we've got more junk squirreled away than your average 2.4 family." He turned back to the boxes he had been looking through, blowing air from his lips in frustration. "I mean how are we supposed to find that itty bitty piece of paper that Hannibal decides he can't do without? I could have just gone out and scammed him a new one, but oh no, he can't work the 'character without the proper tools of the trade'."
He mimicked Hannibal's tone on the last statement, garnering a small smile from Murdock, but it didn't distract him from the object he held in his hand. Something he hadn't seen in almost fifteen years. Something he hadn't thought about in almost as long.
"Face," he said quietly, interrupting the low muttering that was still coming from the other man.
Face quieted immediately, gaze still leveled on the box file in front of him.
"Face?" Murdock said again, more of a questioning tone in his voice this time.
"Of course I kept it," Face replied softly, before turning blue eyes to meet Murdock's inquisitive gaze. "You gave it to me." He turned back and took a breath. "I..."
Whatever he was going to say though was cut off by BA bustling in through the doorway behind them in a wave of energy and jangling gold.
"Hannibal sent me to find out if you found it yet," the big man demanded.
Face started. "I...no, I haven't," he stuttered, hands banging the box closed. "I told him I wouldn't, but he doesn't listen." He paused, eyes closing momentarily before turning and shooting BA his best grin. "Right, time to go do what I said I would have to from the start." He rolled his eyes and pushed past BA heading out to presumably update said Colonel on the new plan.
Murdock closed his own eyes briefly in disappointment. He turned the object over in his hand a couple of times before pausing and then slipping it into his jacket pocket.
Three days later and the team were back home.
Well, BA and Hannibal were back at their homes. Murdock had followed Face to his newly scammed place rather than the VA. It was smaller and more cozy than his usual locale. Face never seemed to stay anywhere for long, no more than a couple of weeks at the most, but generally that was due to the transient nature of the scams and the fact that the real owners were never away for that long.
When he'd asked Face if he could come back him rather than be taken to the hospital, the other man hadn't looked particularly surprised.
"Take you back in the morning then?" had been his only reply.
Murdock had nodded and then proceeded to go on about the sea view that Face had. It might have been a smaller place but it was on the ocean front as was normal for Face and the others had merely nodded. The two of them spent a deal of time together in between missions so it wasn't uncommon a request.
Once they were there, Face had left Murdock to head straight to the living room whilst he headed back out to restock his fridge and cupboard, glad of the excuse to take a bit of time away from the pilot and regroup before the discussion he knew Murdock would want to have. He didn't know whether to be excited or scared, but whichever it fell to, all he knew was that right now he was anxious. It had been so long since he'd thought about that small object or the memories behind it and it had taken him by surprise. He'd kept it in a variety of places over the years. Sometimes with him, sometimes hidden in whatever he was using as a safe box at that time. Wherever it had been though, he'd always known it was safe, even if he hadn't thought about in a while.
Murdock had sat in front of the TV for about an hour and a half before he switched it off, fingers tapping against the remote. He took a breath and glanced towards the door. It wouldn't have taken Face this long just to get some supplies in, even with Face's sometimes laidback approach to shopping.
He known Face would be nervous. Would know the reason Murdock had asked to stay over that night. Was probably taking as much time as he could in order to delay returning back to speak to him. Murdock was nervous himself. He had no idea what to say or what Face would say. It had been almost fifteen years since he'd seen that small present he'd got Face, back when they'd both been barely out of their teens. A small object that hadn't looked much but which at the time had meant the world. If he closed his eyes he could still smell the scent, still feel the warmth of green army fatigues under his fingers. He swallowed, Adams apple bobbing as he let mind go back in time to somewhere he hadn't let himself go in years.
The first time he'd seen Face had been the morning after the team had been on night time mission. He'd been drafted over to join Colonel Smith for a series of raids that had been commissioned, spring of 1970. Colonel Smith had requested him personally, something that had made him insanely happy. He'd flown Smith and his team a few times before, but this time he'd been requested to join the team on a permanent basis. Normally pilots rotated round as they were available. To be requested to work with a team on a regular basis was unusual, but what a Colonel of Smith's reputation wanted, he usually got.
He'd flown in that lunchtime and been told the team were out. He'd reported in, settled into the bunks and spent the next few hours getting reacquainted with the camp. He'd only been there a couple of times before and not for more than a day or so at a time. He'd spent a couple of hours at the office's club, a rather incongruously named tent near the centre of the camp before hitting his bunk in order to catch up on sorely missed sleep. He'd heard the helicopters coming back in just before six the next morning. He was tuned to the sound of rotor blades and knew exactly what machines, engines and estimated load capacity they were just from sound. He cocked his head; Hueys from the sound of it, slicks. And the ground crew obviously looked after their machines by the sound of those engines. Good to know, he thought.
He pushed up quickly and pulled on his boots before heading out to the LZ. He knew that Smith was due back that morning and that this was quite likely to be his team coming back in. If it wasn't he'd be able to have a good look at LZ in operation. Get to know the mechanics, run his hands over the birds he'd be flying.
As he strolled up to the perimeter he saw the blades were still rotating, though the engine was already powering down, dust and debris being blown across the open space. The ground crew were already milling around the bird, talking to the pilot.
His eyes were drawn to a group of soldiers walking away from the Huey towards the small shack at the side and his eyes tracked their progress. His gaze was narrowed against the burn of the morning sun and the grit still being thrown up by the Huey but he could see four figures. Smith he recognized immediately, followed by the unmistakable imposing figure of BA Baracus, Smith's Sergeant and ordnance officer. The two other men he didn't know. The one at the back was tall, had the walk of someone confident and experienced. In between he and BA was a smaller figure, no less confident in the way he moved but definitely younger. This last figure reached up to pull his helmet off and Murdock saw a messy lump of dirty blond hair and a dust streaked face that was most certainly young. Younger than he was himself he'd guess. Certainly young to be in such a Special Forces team such as this.
And tired. Murdock recognised that look of utter exhaustion that was masked only by the need to keep going as long as you could until you were somewhere you knew you could just drop. And drop this kid would, as soon as he was somewhere he could land safely. A feeling Murdock was all too familiar with. They'd have to go through a debrief from whatever raid they'd been on, hopefully short, before they'd hit the showers and be able to rest. Even Smith looked wiped. He wouldn't be making any introductions right now.
Murdock turned and headed over to the small hanger area and smiled widely when he saw a familiar mop of red hair.
"Murdock! Is that you?"
Murdock grinned and slapped the other man on the back. "Casey, you old dog," he said, "how the hell did you get assigned out here?"
Casey, an old friend from training camp, returned the welcoming gesture and proceeded to update Murdock on everything that had happened since they last met. Leaning on a slightly shorter shoulder, Murdock listened intently and lost himself in a morning of friendship and nostalgia.
It was nearly lunchtime before he found himself back in the OC, grabbing a soda and the nicest looking of the lunch selections. He'd found a table near the side wall where he could watch the rest of the crowd but stay out of the immediate eye line of those coming in. He was a mixer by nature but anywhere new he preferred to get a lay of the land and those in it before launching himself into any social networking. Watching the door with one eye, he'd seen when Smith had entered, and grabbing a tissue had started to wipe his mouth and fingers in preparation of a reintroduction. The older man's gaze swept around the OC before coming to land on Murdock. A smile crept over the weathered face and Murdock found himself echoing it.
"Captain! Lieutenant Wilkins told me you'd made it." Murdock rose from his seat as Smith strode over and stretched out his hand for a firm, dry handshake. "Glad to see you here."
"Glad to be here, Colonel," Murdock replied. "Thank you for requesting me, Sir."
Smith grinned. "You might not be thanking me in few weeks time, Captain, but you're welcome." He turned and gestured behind him. "You remember BA?"
Murdock nodded before throwing a welcoming nod towards the stern looking black man. "BA," he said.
A grunt was all he got before the other man headed off towards the food table. Smith grinned. "Poor BA missed both breakfast and dinner last night, so he's a bit grumpy."
"Understandable," Murdock nodded.
Smith glanced behind him at the two other figures still stood there. "Captain Ray Brenner and Lieutenant Peck, let me introduce you to our new pilot, Captain H.M. Murdock."
The taller of the two men leaned forward with a big grin, hand stretched out. "Captain, it's an absolute pleasure to meet you. Your reputation precedes you."
Murdock grinned toothily, returning the firm handshake. " All good I hope?"
Ray smirked. "Let's just say that Hannibal only requests the best for his team."
Murdock found himself wanting to blush but thought that he'd probably just about gotten away with it. He smiled and nodded his head once in acknowledgement before turning his gaze to the slightly shorter man standing between them. The young man he'd seen with them earlier.
His face had been scrubbed clean and he'd obviously showered; his hair, although sticking up a bit wildly had obviously been washed. Startlingly blue eyes met his and he found himself momentarily stunned. He blinked and jerkily held out his hand, hoping his brief pause hadn't been noticeable.
"Hi," he said, hearing and mentally wincing at the slightly croaky rasp to his voice.
"Hi," the kid replied, reaching out to grasp Murdock's hand, a smile twitching his lips. "You can call me Face," he added.
"Short for 'Faceman'," Smith explained. "Lieutenant Peck is our supply officer," he said with not a small amount of pride in his voice. "And an extremely good one he is too."
"Is he?" Murdock asked softly, suddenly aware that their hands were still grasped together.
"I am," Face grinned, eventually pulling his hand back, but doing it slowly. "Anything you ever need just let me know."
Murdock found he couldn't look away, even though he knew he should. There was a twinkle in the other man's eyes that he couldn't drag his gaze from and he couldn't shake the feeling that something else had just gone between them than just a polite offer of extra supplies. He nodded and moved his attention back to Smith.
"And you can call me Hannibal," Smith grinned around the cigar that had made an appearance in his mouth. "When you're not calling me Colonel or Sir, that is."
"Noted, Sir," Murdock replied with a grin.
"Right, we're off to get some lunch in. Room at the table?"
Murdock nodded quickly. "Of course. I'll grab some extra chairs over."
Murdock stepped round to grab a couple of the nearby empty chairs to place round the table he'd taken. He threw a glance over his shoulder before he could stop himself. Face was trailing behind the others listening to something Ray was saying, but as Murdock looked he turned and looked back also, meeting Murdock's eyes and for a moment that couldn't have lasted more than a second but which felt like ten, they stared at each other.
Face looked away first and Murdock, still grasping a chair, stumbled slightly as it knocked against the table leg. He cleared his throat and busied himself gathering the rest of the necessary seating. Only two more chairs as the table already had bench seating on the one side, which was more than ample. He hoped his expression was not giving anything away because his mind was going a hundred miles an hour. Something, he wasn't sure what, but something had happened there. When their eyes had locked for the first time and when their hands had shook. He knew he hadn't been the only one to feel it. Looking into those clear blue eyes, he had seen it register with the other man too. The second glance. It might have only been a fluke, it didn't necessarily mean anything, of course. Two people can accidentally look around at the same time. It could happen.
But in his heart, which was currently going the same speed as his brain, he knew it was more.
He just wasn't sure what to make of it.
Murdock opened his eyes, listening for any sounds in the quiet house. Face wasn't back yet. Or he'd snuck in. Nobody moved quieter than Face when he wanted to, with the exception of Hannibal maybe. If he didn't want to be heard coming back into the house then he wouldn't be.
He closed his eyes again, drifting back. It hadn't taken him long to become a close knit member of the team, finding his place and nestling there as if he'd been with them from the start. He got on well with Hannibal and Ray and he reaffirmed his antagonistic yet affectionate relationship with BA. Face though, that had been a whole other matter. Within hours the two of them had become as close as if they'd know each their whole lives. Any down time they both had was spent together and it had become known around base camp that if you were looking for one then you generally found the other.
And it hadn't taken them long to get to the point where they knew that something more was happening between them than just team mates or buddies. Two days later, after Murdock had flown them for the first time, they had found themselves in the supply tent, replenishing supplies for the next run the following day. One minute they'd been reading off a list of requests and the next they'd been plastered together, pressed tightly against the wooden shelving, mouths devouring each other.
Oh, he could still feel the warmth of Face's mouth under his. His heat, his smell, the feel of his hair under his fingers. He ran a fingertip over his lips, breathing out a tiny sigh. He hadn't thought about that kiss in years but he could remember it as if it were just yesterday. Murdock couldn't remember if it were he or Face who'd initiated it, but my god, it had been one hell of a kiss. Hot, wet and deep, lips and tongues dueling and coiling together as they strove to get closer to one another.
He ran a hand over his face and pushed himself up into a sitting position.
There was a reason he hadn't thought about that present, that kiss - or any of the others that had come after - in the years since. So much had happened and so much had changed it had been simpler to just not think about all that had been and all that had been lost.
They'd been lovers right up until the moment they'd been caught by Charlie almost 18 months later. He wasn't sure whether Hannibal or BA had known, but they'd been with each other in every possible way for a blissful year and a half. In the prison camp though, everything had changed. Bliss had turned to terror and for three months Murdock had thought that actual hell had come to earth. The only saving grace was that he and Face had been put in the same compound. BA and Hannibal had been segregated to another section and they didn't see them again until they were liberated by the army over fourteen weeks later. They'd all suffered. All of them had come out of that place a little different than how they had gone in, but Face; maybe due to his age, his looks, his colouring, or all of the above, had been targeted by the guards just a little bit more. He'd lost count of how many times Face had been taken away and then brought back to him hours later, covered in blood and bruises and other bodily fluids. He'd never let Face see him cry but in those hours when he was away he'd allowed it flow out, knowing that he had to be strong for when Face was eventually brought back to him. To soothe him, to calm him, to clean him up as best he could and then hold him.
Face had never minded Murdock holding him. For weeks, months and even years afterwards, Face had had an embargo on the space around him. Anyone breaking that no fly zone or god forbid actually touching him risked at best a flinch and at worst a broken bone. But somehow Murdock had never made it onto that list despite their previous sexual relationship and in contrast Face almost seemed to crave his touch when they were in the camp. Afterwards, even when he withdrew from everyone else, Murdock always seemed to be able to get through to him, to calm him, to comfort him and to bring him back from whichever nightmare had him in its grip. He'd been honored by that trust, but at the same time he'd also mourned the loss of their previous relationship which was never reignited.
Less than four months after their release they were sent on the bank raid which landed them in prison and Murdock didn't see Face or the others until nearly a year later, after they'd made their escape and eventually wound up in L.A.
By that time Murdock had himself wound up in the VA and for a year or so after that nothing had made much sense in his world.
Over the years since they'd never spoken of that time before. That wonderful year and a half where although they'd found themselves in a place and a time that was the equivalent of a living nightmare, they'd found something else. Something to be joyful of and what Murdock at the time had thought was the other half of his soul. But after the camp and then after the raid, it was like that year and a half hadn't ever existed. They'd both spent so much time waiting for one or the other to recuperate from their injuries, Face from his experiences in the camp, he from the breakdown that had landed him in the nuthouse. By the time either one had come out the other side so much time had passed that they'd moved on to another phase of their life. Still with each other in their lives, but somehow separate at the same time.
It twisted his brain, which from all accounts really didn't need any more twisting. At least that's what BA would say.
And he was probably right.
But seeing that little key ring had taken him back, transported him back physically, mentally and emotionally to a time when things *had* been different. He had been different, Face had been different and their relationship had been different. So many years spent ignoring, forgetting, putting it out of mind had done exactly that. So much so that now, faced with the memories as they were, it was an avalanche of emotions.
Guilt, anger, regret; to name but a few.
He'd never really gotten over Face. He knew that. He suspected Face knew that. Probably even Hannibal and BA if they'd known, which they probably did. Not much escaped the Colonel, he thought with a small smile.
Oh, he'd had a few female love interests over the years. Well, okay, about three, but even then they'd never really been anything serious. Never broke down his walls the way Face had. Always had and always did, even now.
And it hurt. Now he was admitting it. It hurt every time he saw Face with one of his women. Drooling over, smiling at, pawing over.
God, it was coming out now, he thought, hands gripping his knees tightly.
Of course, he knew why Face did that. Knew why he threw himself at so many girls, chased after them, fawned over them and invited them into his bed, his arms, his touch. They were safe. They were controllable. And that had been the one thing that Face would never look to lose again. Control. With women he was the one in charge. He was the strong one, the one making all the decisions. He decided what happened and when and how. Oh, he'd never be rough or forceful; on the contrary, he knew Face was a gentle and giving lover with women as he had been with Murdock, just in a different way. Nothing about sex would ever be anything less than completely tender.
He let out a breath, bent his head over and squeezed his eyes shut.
God, it had been incredible. Of course, neither of them had been that experienced in the first place or had much to compare it to, particularly given the fact that neither of them had ever been with a man before, but lord above it had been good. More than good; incredible, amazing, mind blowing. Every time he thought it couldn't get any better - first time was always the fluke wasn't that how it always went? But no, it did. It felt like the earth was moving, the sky was shifting and the world was realigning. Every. Damn. Time.
They'd had to pick their moments of course. A base camp in the middle of the Vietnam jungle was not conducive to carrying on an elicit gay love affair and they'd had to be so, so careful. They knew they probably weren't the only men to find comfort in the arms of another man. Fuck buddies was a phrase that they'd heard more than once. But you never talked about it if you were and you never spoke about it if you knew someone else was. So they'd never talked or behaved in a way that anyone would find suspicious. Never took unnecessary risks when trying to find some alone time. Which of course meant that time with each other was sometimes torturously long apart. Couldn't just go up to each other and hold hands or kiss or rub the other's shoulders when you knew the other were hurting. Had to bite your tongue and swallow the words of endearment that wanted to flow out of your mouth.
Yeah, he knew they weren't fuck buddies.
He let out a humorless laugh.
They were buddies and they'd been fucking, but it was so far from what that phrase denoted that it wasn't even on the same planet.
He'd only ever said the word once. Or those three little words to be more exact. Face had never said it but Murdock knew he'd felt it. Had seen it in his eyes, read it in their blue depths. He'd uttered the words once to Face and that had been when he'd given Face that daft little key ring. Christmas Day 1971. He'd found it in one of the Christmas crackers they'd been given as a treat. They'd pulled a bunch of them at lunch that day and when it had popped out of his cracker and bounced into his lap, he'd known then what he would do with it. Grabbing a bit of discarded cracker he'd used that to wrap it up and grabbed a bit of cello tape from Hannibal's tiny office to secure it. Hannibal had looked at him a bit strangely but hadn't said a word.
When he'd found Face later that night lying on his bunk, he'd sat down next to him and held it out. He still remembered the look of puzzlement, surprise and then pure joy that had spread across his face. Even when he'd opened it and discovered the rather cheap plastic key ring that lay inside he'd still looked amazed. Bit his lip, looked up at Murdock and whispered 'thank you' in a voice filled with such raw honesty and love that Murdock had felt his breath catch in his throat. He'd looked in Face's eyes and knowing they were the only ones there, had held his gaze and whispered softly the three words that even now his mouth wordlessly formed.
'I love you.'
Face stared through the window. His forehead pressed against the glass for a moment, eyes closing. He'd been there for a few moments, just watching. He knew what Murdock was thinking about. It was going through his own head as well; had been for the last three days. He'd seen the faraway look in Murdock's eyes and knew where he'd gone in his head. It had been hard not to do the same.
Looking at Murdock now, he couldn't quite remember out why he shouldn't.
Murdock's head swiveled when he heard the back door open. He looked up to see Face standing in the shadow cast from the side light.
Murdock smiled. "Hey." He pushed himself up, intending to go to the kitchen. "Do you want something to drink? You've been gone a while."
"Um, yeah," Face cleared his throat. "That would be good." He moved towards the kitchen doorway, following Murdock's path inside. "I didn't mean to take so long." He held up a small grocery bag in supplication. "I got some supplies."
"Hey, don't worry. I made good use of your tv."
Face glanced over at the blank tv screen. "On or off?" his eyebrows twitched slightly.
Murdock smiled. "Both."
"You had some soda in the fridge," Murdock said, grabbing a glass from the cupboard and waggling it with a question mark inferred.
"Thanks," Face said quietly, accepting the glass once Murdock had filled it.
There was a few moments silence before Face pushed off from the counter and grabbing the bag, started putting items on the counter.
"Are you hungry still?" Face asked. "I know it's late but..."
"No," Murdock interrupted, "I could eat." He grinned. "One of the perils of life on the run."
"Eat anywhere, anytime," Face finished for him. "Yeah." He held up an egg. "Omelet?"
Murdock nodded. "Sure."
The next ten minutes passed in relatively comfortable silence. Murdock got cutlery and plates out and then retired back into the living room to wait.
When Face was ready he brought two plates through and Murdock took one with a grateful smile. Although not a chef of exquisite talent, Face, like the rest of them, was well versed in basic cookery, thanks to years in the army and even more years on the run. The omelets were nice and it didn't take Murdock long to finish his.
Putting his plate on the side he leaned back and surreptitiously watched Face who was still finishing his.
"I can see you."
Murdock smiled, letting out a soft breath. "Sorry."
Face glanced over, catching Murdock's eye and returning the smile with one of his own. With one last mouthful he put the plate down on the coffee table and grabbing Murdock's took them both back out into the kitchen.
Murdock took a silent breath. Something was different. He could feel it. Knew Face could by his own demeanor and attitude. They both knew that something had changed since that key ring had been found and it was like they were both circling around something they were both too afraid to actually acknowledge head on.
"Where is it?"
Murdock jumped slightly at Face's soft voice. He didn't turn around though. Just tilted his head acknowledging at the words.
"I know you took it after I left the other day."
Face came round from the kitchen and moved over to the seat a right angle from where Murdock was. He sat down, arms resting loosely between his knees, clasped gently together.
"My pocket." Murdock replied eventually.
"I'd forgotten all about it til I saw it in that box," Murdock said quietly.
"I never did." Murdock looked over but Face was staring at the floor, even as he spoke. "I might not have had it on me all the time but I always knew where it was. Made sure it was safe."
It was a quiet confession but it took him so much by surprise that Murdock suddenly felt a well of emotion rush up inside him. He took a sudden deep breath, feeling his eyes tear up. Blinking rapidly he tried to press them down but as soon as he heard movement he knew Face had noticed.
Face was out of his seat and kneeling in front of him in moments. One hand gently rested on his knee whilst concerned blue eyes looked up at him, trying to meet his own.
Murdock kept his eyes closed as his head started to shake from side to side.
"Murdock." The voice was softer now. The hand had moved up from his knee to the side of his face, stilling the movement and Murdock couldn't help but press against the warmth cupping his cheek.
"I'm sorry," he managed to rasp out. And he was. He hadn't meant to do this. Had meant to be the strong one. Try and coax Face into admitting....something. Though looking back in hindsight now, he wasn't sure what that was. Now he was the one sat here emotions on the surface and spilling out all over the place.
Face had gone into comfort mode. He knew it. Couldn't help it when he could see Murdock struggling. It had sort of become second nature over the years and was sort of built in now, whenever any of the team were hurt or ailing. He liked looking after Murdock though, looking out for him. It wasn't repayment for those months in the camp because he knew it didn't work like that. For one Murdock wouldn't have allowed it and second, he honestly didn't feel the need *to* repay. It was just nice to be able to be the strong one for a change. Made him feel...wanted. Needed.
Of course, he hadn't forgotten what Murdock was upset or emotional about and as his hand still pressed against Murdock's warm cheek he felt the tingle run up his arm. Part of him wanted to pull it back immediately, another wanted to cup that cheek, run his thumb over those lips. Press forward and just loose himself in the scent and feel of the other man.
"No, it's not, Face," Murdock's anguished voice broke his thoughts. A hand came up to grasp his and bring it gently down away from that face. Cradled it between it and its partner. "It's not."
Face gazed down at their hands, still joined. "I don't know what to say, Murdock."
"I know." He did. It broke his heart but he did. "Do you ever think about it?"
Face didn't need to ask what Murdock meant. He knew. He swallowed, absently running his finger along the back of Murdock knuckle. "I dream about it," he eventually said, voice husky.
Murdock closed his eyes. "So do I," he whispered.
"Murdock, are you in here?"
The voice, whispered though it was, dissolved into giggles immediately afterwards which although still soft, travelled a heck of a lot further than even a normal voice would. Especially at night. Murdock rolled his eyes and reached out one hand into the darkness, aiming in what he gauged was the right direction and was satisfied when he grasped warm flesh. Well, warm khaki covered flesh anyhow.
"Face, get your butt in here," he whispered. "And be quiet!"
"Don't you mean 'cute' butt?" Face grinned and even in the darkness, Murdock could see the gleam of white teeth caught in the sliver of light coming in through the gaps in the wooden slats.
"Get your cute butt in here then," he mock growled, causing Face to giggle again. He swayed forward into Murdock's hold causing the other man to bring up his other hand to steady himself, warm fingers sliding around his waist and hip.
"Anyone see you?"
"Nope." The word popped out of Face's mouth and Murdock frowned.
"Have you been drinking?"
"Nooo," Face protested, although the elongated objection rather negated his claim.
Murdock tried to look stern, but it didn't stick. Face couldn't see it anyway in the dark. Probably wouldn't be able to focus on it even if there were more light. He snorted softly and slid his hands further around Face's body pulling him closer.
Face let out a sigh, resting his head forward onto Murdock's shoulder. "O'Malley was celebrating his birthday. Had drinks brought in especially. Would have been rude not to celebrate with him."
"Don't suppose there'll be any left later," Murdock observed mournfully. He'd been out on a assignment until a few hours ago and hadn't seen Face for two days.
Face lifted his head up to gaze into brown eyes he couldn't see but could imagine with no problem. "We could always go and see," he offered. "I've only just come from there. There was some beer and...."
Murdock cut him off with a impressively well aimed kiss. Face's voice stopped immediately, dissolving into a soft moan. It was a soft kiss at first. Gentle lips reacquainting themselves with the other; brushing, tasting. Face responded in kind, arms riding up to wind themselves around Murdock's neck.
Murdock broke off just long enough to whisper, "Got all I want or need right here..." before delving back in with fervor.
After a few more moments it deepened, Murdock's tongue coming out to swipe along Face's bottom lip where it was immediately captured. Face's mouth opened, immediately welcoming Murdock inside and Murdock quickly took advantage.
Hot, wet....oh, god. Murdock's brain was overloading. He ran his right hand up Face's back until he cupped the back of his head. Supporting him, he tilted it to the side, his other hand coming up to wind through the thick blond hair.
Face groaned, hips pushing forwards to press tightly against Murdock.
Murdock pulled back quickly, keeping his hands locked on either side of Face's head. "Did you see anyone out there? Is there anyone around?"
Face started to shake his head before Murdock had even finished talking. "No," he gasped out, eyes straining to see in the darkness. "No...no one."
Murdock surged forward again, clasping Face to him tightly, jerkily running his hands back down the lean body and sliding his fingers into the back of his waist band.
"Oh, yes," Face whispered against his cheek, lips leaving Murdock's mouth and peppering small kisses and nibbles up his jaw line. He arched his back and Murdock's hands slipped even lower.
Fingers grazed the beginning swell of buttocks, spraying out in a fan shape before pressing in against smooth skin. Face moaned and arched again, head tilting back before leaning in again to press his face into Murdock's neck. "Oh, god, yes." He swallowed, voice husky. "Please." He snuck one hand down in between them to hastily unfasten his belt and trouser buttons.
This time it was Murdock's turn to groan as he felt Face's implicit offer, waiting as Face impatiently pushed the material apart.
This was one thing they had quickly come to learn; that Face adored being penetrated. He'd never experienced it before, never given it much thought past unacknowledged fantasies late at night when the light was switched off. But with Murdock, when they'd come together and started to explore their physical connection as well as their emotional one and started experimenting with their own and each other's bodies he'd quickly come to realize that he loved being played with. And Murdock loved to do the playing. Both had had pretty red faces when they'd first gone there, but it hadn't taken long to move past that and immerse themselves in what they'd discovered.
Pushing his pants and underwear out of the way, Face pressed against Murdock eagerly, groaning in encouragement when he felt Murdock's fingers slip lower over his buttocks and down in between. Spreading his legs he grasped at Murdock's shoulders, the, fingers tangling in the material of Murdock's shirt and pulling it downwards.
As Murdock's fingers stroked over the small ring of muscle, Face pressed his nose into the crease of Murdock's neck, breath coming in short pants. Murdock's other hand wound its way around the small of his back, pressing against the smooth skin.
As the first finger tip slide just barely inside, Face whimpered, breath coming hotly against Murdock's collar. Murdock's eyes were closed as he breathed in Face's scent, soaked in his feel and buried his nose in the thick blond hair.
Murdock quickly moved his hand up to cup the back of his head again as his other hand left Face's rear and dug in his pocket for the small tube of vaseline he'd secreted there earlier. Fumbling, he managed to get a dollop on his finger and without losing too much got it back round to where he had been.
"Murdock," Face whispered against his skin, as the fingers massaged the slippery jelly around and around the tight muscle until he'd got a fingertip back inside. "Oh....." his breath stuttered slightly, catching in his throat.
"Is that good?" Murdock whispered into his ear. "Is that okay?"
Face let out a breath. "So good," he confirmed. "I love your fingers. So long."
Murdock could feel Face's smile against his neck and grinned in the dark. "Is that a hint?" he teased.
Face laughed breathily, until Murdock pushed his middle finger in deeper and his laugh turned to a groan.
Murdock twisted his head and took Face's mouth again in an open, wet kiss, pushing his tongue inside and tasting, playing with its mate until they were dueling together, urgently.
His finger kept playing until there was less resistance, sliding in and out until it slid from tip to base in one easy motion. Face was whining almost constantly now, hiding the noise back in the crease of Murdock's neck, his legs spread and back arched. They'd never moved beyond one finger before but Murdock moved his index finger and rubbed it in the vaseline that covered the delicate skin there and slowly and carefully pushed it in alongside his middle finger.
Face froze. So did Murdock. He turned his nose to press against his temple but before he could make more than an 'is that okay' noise, Face had relaxed and pressed his open mouth against Murdock's neck and wordless 'please' against the skin.
Slowly, carefully, both fingers were slid inside and after a short while both were moving easily in and out of the tight channel.
Murdock moved his other hand that was braced around Face's back, down and between them, searching for the hardness he could feel pressing urgently against his hip.
Face whimpered against his skin, hot breath coming in short pants. "Oh god, Murdock, please, oh god..." His hands clutched Murdock's shirt, body shaking with the barest tremors.
Murdock braced Face with his arm as his hand grasped Face's hard length, squeezing firmly but gently. His other hand continued to push in and out of that hot channel, fingers sliding easily in the slick gel.
Face was trembling, breathing hard, pushing back against Murdock's fingers and then forwards into his grip. He wasn't going to last much longer he could tell. Murdock could tell. Even though they'd only been together a short time Murdock found he was very in tune with the other man's body, with his whole being actually. The bond that had grown up between them had formed so quick and so strong it still took his breath away.
Murdock tightened his grip and quickened his pace, his fingers pushing deeper still, twisting and caressing. He felt the beginning tremors start deep inside the other man, the tell tale twitches in the muscles of his thighs and hips and as he felt Face let go, he buried his face in the other man's neck latching onto the smooth skin with his tongue and teeth.
He heard the soft sounds coming from Face's throat as the other man started to lose control and doubled the speed of his movements, using his body to brace Face as he started to shake uncontrollably. Feeling wetness covering his one hand he inhaled the other man's scent deeply, kept moving until he felt Face raise one hand and push weakly at the hand holding his cock. Knowing that he was now too sensitive he gently removed the hand, supporting Face as he came down from his high.
"Oh, god," breathed Face. He pushed back from Murdock slightly, rubbing his sweaty temple against Murdock's. Blue eyes stared at him from close to and both men smiled coyly at each other. "That was....."
Murdock grinned. "Good?"
Face chuckled. "More than good," he said softly. He ducked his head. "I love that," he whispered pushing back against the fingers still buried inside him.
Murdock bit his lip and flexed the digits gently, enjoying the soft exhalation as he manipulated the sensitive flesh. His hardness brushed up against Face's thigh and he unconsciously pushed forward.
"Hmmm, you still seem to have a problem," Face said, his voice low and husky.
"I wouldn't call it a problem per se," Murdock replied, lips dusting kisses across Face's forehead. He'd come very close just listening to Face come apart and feeling him both inside and out, but he hadn't quite crested. "A condition?" he offered with a grin.
"A condition I can help with," Face said looking upwards at Murdock from beneath blond lashes. He smiled a smile that was a combination of shyness and slyness and with both hands flat on Murdock's chest he let them trail as he slowly sank downwards. He gasped again as Murdock's fingers were pulled free of his body, hating the empty feeling but pushing his focus onto what he was about to do.
Balancing on his knees, he spared one hand to quickly pull his own trousers up around his hips before reaching both forward to quickly pull down the zip on Murdock's pants. One hand sneaked in and pulled out the hardness hidden within and sparing only a moment to admire the beautifulness that was in front of him, leaned in and took the head in his mouth.
"Oh, god," Murdock groaned, fist flying up to jam in his mouth, head tilting backwards. "Oh, fuck."
Face mouthed the head thoroughly, using his tongue to bathe the smooth flesh. The soft cushion of his lips caressed the head and shaft as he slowly took more in on each bob of his head. Murdock glanced down at the vision below and couldn't hold back the gasp. He was dancing near the edge anyway and the sight of that beautiful blond head nestled in his groin coupled with feeling the warm, moist caress of Face's mouth was quickly sending him nearer to falling over it.
One hand braced against the shelf behind him whilst the other snuck down to gently tangle with the one gripping his hip. He felt Face spread his fingers to twine with his own. Breath starting to hitch he tried to control the thrusting of his hips, not wanting to hurt Face. But he couldn't control the tremors that started in his thighs or disguise the trembling in his hands. He felt Face squeeze his fingers and speed up the movements of his mouth.
"Oh God," Murdock breathed, eyes falling closed, mouth falling open.
He tapped Face's hand when he knew he was about to climax, warning him so he could pull back. Face just squeezed his fingers again in acknowledgement and increased the pressure of his tongue and lips.
Murdock tried to be as quiet as he could, conscious that there was no telling who might be outside but it took all of his concentration not to emit more than a quiet groan as he came, feeling Face swallow around his length. He gasped and tried hard not to double over but he felt Face's other hand come up and brace against his hip giving him support.
When Face disengaged, leaving a small kiss on the tip of his cock, Murdock leaned down and after taking a moment's pause to reboot his brain, reached one hand to pull Face to his feet.
"Oh my God, Face, I can't believe you did that," he panted, hands framing the other man's face. "That was incredible." He peppered soft kisses all over his cheek and temple, quickly landing on his mouth and proceeding to explore the strange yet incredibly erotic taste of himself in Face's mouth.
Face laughed softly, returning Murdock's kiss with passion and enthusiasm. "I loved doing that," he said with a grin. "You're very tasty." He licked his lips in demonstration.
"Well, I can't wait to see how you taste yourself," he said in a low voice, nibbling at Face's bottom lip and sucking it suggestively.
Face whimpered and closed his eyes.
They'd headed back to barracks after that. They'd been the first there due to O'Malley's birthday and after a
sneaky hand hold had separated into their individual bunks before the others arrived back.
"Do you know what day it is today?"
Murdock looked at Face, jolted out of his memory, confusion clearly on his face.
Face's mouth twitched. "Thirteenth of May."
Murdock was still frowning.
Face glanced down at where their hands were still clasped together. "Today's the anniversary of the day we were captured. Back in Da Nang."
Murdock's expression cleared - then darkened in memory.
"I try hard to forget but every time the day rolls around...it's there, in my head." Face's voice was soft, his fingers unconsciously stroking the back of Murdock's hand.
Murdock stayed quiet, sensing that Face wasn't finished.
"I've tried all the techniques; tried to repress it, ignore it, exorcise it, but every time that date rolls around I'm a bag of nerves." He laughed without humor, eyes focused in on a spot on the back of Murdock's hand. "I wake up in the morning and it's like some internal body clock just clicks in and I'm there. Before I'm even properly awake I'm there. I can smell it, hear it....feel it." His voice caught on the last words and he swallowed.
Murdock slowly moved his fingers until he was holding Face's hand from underneath.
"I never realized," he said quietly.
Face threw him a quick smile. "I'm a con man. And I'm good."
Murdock nodded. "That you are."
"Sometimes, it's not good...to be that good, though. Right?"
Murdock shook his head. "No it's not," he agreed, internally wishing he's seen some sign, paid more attention. Remembered. He'd not remembered the significance of the date at all. Maybe he had initially, but there'd been a lot of things he'd forgotten in the years afterwards. Sometimes it *was* good to forget; god knows there was stuff he did remember that he wished he didn't, but he'd forgotten this date and in turn had not realized that Face was suffering.
Every year on this date.
Fifteen anniversaries of terror and hell. He closed his eyes in shame.
Face took in a breath and then let it out quietly.
"I was an idiot, wasn't I?" He said suddenly.
Murdock frowned, startled. "What? No. Why?"
Face took another deep breath, breathing starting to quicken. "No, I was." He shook his head before turning and looking up at the ceiling and away to the side. He pursed his lips and closed his eyes, an expression of agony crossing it swiftly before being replaced by one of such utter sadness it took Murdock's breath away. "I...we," he swallowed, one hand coming up to wipe across his eyes. "We had something so...special," he turned to Murdock then and Murdock felt his heart literally break at the utter anguish in the blue eyes staring back at him. "So special and...I just let it go."
Murdock was shaking his head again. "You didn't let it go. *We* didn't let it go, Face, it was taken from us." Murdock reached up one hand to frame it against the side of Face's head. "It was stolen in the most terrible way..." He broke off, unable to contain the emotion in his voice without it breaking. His thumb stroked the top of Face's cheek, his other hand still clutching Face's. "We did nothing wrong. You did nothing wrong. It was just too hard." Despite his best efforts his voice wobbled on the last two words. "You did the best you could. We both did."
"It wasn't enough."
"It was all we had."
"I love you."
It was whispered, but Murdock heard the breathy words and he stilled, eyes examining Face's expression intently. Eventually, Face raised what Murdock could only describe as terrified eyes to his. As Murdock watched, Face swallowed and squeezed his eyes shut. "I know I'm about fifteen years too late," he whispered, throat clicking. "But I do."
Murdock was too stunned to say anything.
"I know I've never said it, but I've thought it, felt it, dreamed it every day, every night since I first met you. Even when...even afterwards...."
"I know," Murdock interrupted. "Me too."
Face gazed at him. "Do you?"
"All these years," Murdock confirmed. He couldn't help the gentle smile that curled his lips. "Does that mean we're both idiots then?" he asked gently.
"Maybe," Face said, pleading eyes searching Murdock's and finding only the truth reflected back at him. "Can we stop being idiots now?" he whispered.
Murdock nodded and slowly, carefully pulled Face towards him, watching for any hesitation from the other man. The first touch of their lips was barely there, just the lightest touch whilst both of them held so very still. The warmth and softness of their lips, breathing in the scent of the other man now so close. For long moments neither of them moved other than to gently rub their lips against each other, simply soaking up the nearness and the touch of the other man, so long denied to each other.
Neither of them could say why or when it changed but suddenly the kiss became deeper, hungrier and within moments it was as though neither of them could get close enough. The kiss turned wet, deep and desperate. First one then the other pushed and then pressed back in turn as they both delved deeper and harder. Moans came from deep within throats, echoed by the moist sound of lips meeting, parting and meeting again. Arms came up to pull, clasp and grab urgently at the other body, trying frantically to meet the burning need suddenly ignited within both of them.
And then as quickly and suddenly as it had started, it ended, both breaking off to wrap arms around each other so tightly it hurt. Face's entire body heaved with silent sobs as buried himself so tightly against Murdock, the other man thought he would disappear through him. Murdock clung back just as forcefully though, felt the harsh judders of emotion echo through his own body as they both gave in to the maelstrom of emotions that was now rocketing through them like a tsunami.
Too long. They'd been apart too long.
Arms securely wrapped around him, Murdock squeezed his eyes shut, simply soaking up the reality of having Face back in his arms where he belonged.
"Oh God, Murdock, I love you, I love you, I love you," Face whispered it over and over against Murdock's neck, as though a mantra he had to say. As though it was all the unsaid 'I love you's' that he had held back over the years spilling out now that he had broken the dam.
Murdock felt the tears well up his eyes and could not prevent them from spilling over. Silently tracking down his cheeks as he pressed his mouth into Face's temple and whispered the same three words back.
Maybe between the two of them they could create a new memory for this day. Maybe next year May 13th would hold a different significance. Nothing could ever erase what they had both been through but maybe they could celebrate a new anniversary, a happier anniversary.
A new start.
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