by Jennifer Doak (Javelin)-Nighthawk Commando

                        Divided We Fall
 By Javelin

         Face was looking at himself in the mirror and combing his hair
 when Hannibal walked through the doorway.  Hannibal grimaced - the kid
 needed to know, needed to be warned.  With all the pressure that the team
 had been under lately, thanks to that slime, Stockwell, everyoneís nerves
 had been getting closer and closer to the snapping point.  This really
 concerned Hannibal.
         "Hey, Hannibal," Face said, lightheartedly.  Heíd been a lot
 happier this week than he had been since they arrived at this horrible
 situation.  He decided it was the prospect of promised vacation time in
 the near future.
         "Uh, Kid," Hannibal, started, "I hate to tell you this, but just
 steer clear of B.A. for a while.  Heís pretty hot about that basketball
 game yesterday."
         Face looked at Hannibal briefly in the mirror before turning to
 look him in the face.  "What this time?!?" he asked, exasperatedly.
 "What?  Because I played on Carlaís and Murdockís team?  Well, if thatís
 the case . . .well, it was you, B.A., and Frankie against Carla and
 Murdock . . .I watched for a while before I decided to play."  Hannibal
 listened intently to the Lieutenant as he released some of the pent-up
 emotions that had been simmering ever since this whole thing started.  "I
 really donít think that Carlaís so bad, and Iím not just talking about
 her looks."  He smiled a lecherous grin before becoming serious again.
 "I mean, I think sheís not always happy about what Stockwell has us do,
 but she canít tell him . . . my point is I just came to play - with the
 basketball or with Carla - I didnít care.  I watched, she never got the
 ball, and when she did B.A. was right there to take it away.  I just
 thought Iíd even things up a bit.  Nobody complained when I started to
 play.  And we didnít even win.  I donít even know why heís mad at me,
 Murdock was playing, too.  All I did . . ."
         "Face, you donít have to be defensive - I understand," Hannibal
 said in a calming voice and he put one gloveless hand on his
 subordinateís shoulder, in a fatherly gesture.  "I just didnít want you
 two getting into it, especially with you not knowing how really angry he
 is," Hannibal explained.
         "Iím sorry, Hannibal.  Itís just that heís taking things all
 wrong," the lieutenant hung his head for a moment then looked away from
 his commanding officer.  He moved over and plopped on the couch.  "I
 donít want him to be mad at me, weíre friends, arenít we?"  Face was
 talking to himself now.  "What am I saying?  He just hates my guts, pure
 and simple.  Yeah, so I put bromalthymal blue in his chocolate milk - and
 yeah, maybe it was a bit extreme for throwing mud on my favorite suit,
 and okay, maybe he didnít know I was coming, but that was two months
 ago."  He stopped talking to himself and sighed.
         "He doesnít Ďhate your guts,í Face," Hannibal said, Ďat least I
 hope not,í he thought as he walked over to the chair across from where
 his XO was sitting.  He could see the hurt in the younger manís eyes.
 Hannibal knew that Face would never hurt B.A. intentionally.  "Everyoneís
 a bit on edge," he finished.  "I think that he has been worrying about
 his mother, too," Hannibal added.
         Face was quiet a few minutes.  "Why didnít he just try to kill me
 yesterday, when I got into the game?" he asked, puzzled.  Usually the big
 man was very quick to communicate things he didnít like, this was
 uncharted territory for Face.
         "I asked him after we got here to keep the problems between us
 quiet so Stockwell wouldnít be aware of any problems.  I knew this would
 be stressful.  I suppose I was wrong, weíve always worked things out
 better when they were out in the open . . ."
         "and Murdock and I were dogging his fists."  Face interrupted.
 "At least then, heíd let it out and we could move on.  I donít like this
 at all, Hannibal."
         "Me either, Face.  And none of you are seeing from my
 perspective.  How do you think I feel with this team, this family,
 struggling with ourselves and with each other?" Hannibal replied.
         Face groaned and put his head in his hands.  He took a deep
 breath and soon he looked back up at his companion, "Maybe I should offer
 to *talk* it out with him, oh boy, I hope I can find my running shoes . .
         "Iím not so sure thatís wise, heís been building up for a long
 time, and itís not just you," Hannibal explained, then grinned.  "But you
 certainly have a sudden flair for upsetting the apple cart, as it were."
 "But," Face sighed resignedly, "at least that way, maybe we, as a team,
 can heal a bit.  With wounds like these, Hannibal, these missions get
 more and more dangerous," he said.
 "I agree.  Iíll do what I can.  Until then, just try to stay out of his
 way," Hannibal said, and stood to leave.
         "Uhh, Hannibal, I gotta say something here," Face started looking
 at his CO and friend, "This is not like you.  What ever happened to
 Ďgoing through the front doorí and standing up to your problems?  I donít
 understand.  Where are all those things?  Hmmm?" ĎAnd the jazz, too,í
 Face thought to himself.
         Hannibal returned his cigar to his mouth momentarily, puffing in
 contemplation on how to answer the question.  It was one that haunted him
 as well, and now he could see that it was not just himself asking these
 questions.  ĎDamn you, Stockwell,í he thought to himself.  Although he
 knew that he couldnít lay the whole thing to the General, but he
 suspected that Murphy and his laws were the only other thing to blame.
 He wasnít much in the blaming business, but things werenít so simple
 anymore. "Sometimes, the best strategy is a retreat," he turned on his
 heel and left the lieutenant sitting alone in the room.
         Soon Face stood and ventured to the window.  He peered out at the
 immaculately kept lawn of the Virginia mansion that had become their
 latest prison.  "What wouldnít I give to make this whole thing go away,
 to make B.A. know how sorry I am, to make us all free from this . . ." he
 spoke aloud to himself, then his voice drifted off as did his vision.  He
 no longer saw the yard, but life and times that only existed in his hopes
 and dreams.  He heard a rattle of chains behind him, and whirled to find
 himself nose to nose with an annoyed B.A. Baracus.
         B.A. merely glared at him.  "Uhh, ummm, B.A., n-now letís not be
 hasty, all right?" Face looked around for an out, but heíd been cornered.
  "Look, ummm, how about we, ummm . . ."
         Before Face could move, B.A. was clutching him in a big bear hug.
  "Uhhhh, did I miss something here?" Face squeaked as the force of the
 hug was severely restricting his breathing, a bewildered expression on
 his features.
         B.A. put him down, "I heard what you said . . ."
         "How much?" Face asked, still in a state of surprise.  B.A. had
 barely had anything to do with him in the last two months.
         "Letís just say, that I was wantiní to hurt ya, BAD!  But then
 when you said you was sorry.  I wasnít mad no more,"  he smiled at the
 smaller man.  "Youíre my friend.  And my teammate.  I donít want to lose
 that.  Not after all we been through."
         They turned and headed toward the other room and B.A. slapped
 Face on the back.  They looked up only to see Hannibal and Murdock
 standing pleased in kitchen doorway.  Murdock smiled warmly and Hannibal
 was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
         "You set this all up didnít you?  ĎRetreatingí . . ." Face blew a
 small bit of air out of his mouth, making a hissing sound.  "I should
 have known better."  B.A. shook his head.
         "It worked though.  And it wasnít through the Ďfront door.í That
 never woulda worked.  Friends?"  Hannibal said.
         Face and B.A. looked at each other grudgingly.  "Yeah," they
 answered in unison.
         "I just love it when a team comes together," Hannibal said.

         _~_~_~_~_~_~   The End  ~_~_~_~_~_~_

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