Disclaimer: I do not own nor did I create any of the A-team characters (main or support) nor do I own nor did I create any of the episodes. That credit is due to Stephen J. Cannell and his associates.
Spoiler Alert: None the piece/plot is all my creation.
Author's Notes/Summary: Being trapped in a remote cabin brings her, and maybe his, feelings into the light. This story could be a companion piece to my earlier story- Honesty In the Night- since it builds on ideas established there but this one can certainly stand alone.
A Cabin in the Woods: by LAGC
Two people raced awkwardly into the small hunting shack. The sodden pair were grateful for the shelter the rickety structure gave them against the torrential rain. A glance around the place revealed a table with two chairs, a beaten down futon mat on pallets, a hand pump sink, and a questionable wood stove. Not the Ritz, but it would keep them dry.
They each peeled off their drenched jackets and hung them over the chairs to drip dry. He went directly to the stove and found a rusted out hole in the smoke stack. Deciding that the stove wasn't a viable option, he said
"Let's hope the temp doesn't drop too low tonight," then added, "at least it appears dry in here. That's an improvement."
She had been sorting through the knapsacks they had with them and had laid out their food supply on the table: four energy bars, two full canteens, and two apples. That wasn't bad especially if they were able to get off this mountain tomorrow. More importantly there was a change of clothes in each sack that had remained dry. Granted grey sweatpants and matching hoodies weren't high fashion, but they'd be a hell of a lot more comfortable and warmer than the soaked jeans they were currently sporting.
"Ta-Da!" she displayed their treasures with a flourish of her hand as Face approached the table. He flashed his infamous smile at her but it didn't quite reach his eyes. She noticed immediately.
"Face,come here. You're in pain. Where are you hurt?"
He began a reflexive denial of any injury. She simply shook her head and said, "Tell me. I've seen the flashes of pain in your eyes."
He was surprised she had noticed that, since he had thought he'd hidden his pain well. He replied, "I hurt my left side. I think I cut myself on some jagged rocks when I jumped onto the ledge, when we got separated from the Team."
"When you came to rescue me, you mean." She glanced down at her feet. "You wouldn't have gotten separated if you didn't have to come back to get me. Now you're hurt. I'm sorry."
"Hey, no problem, Sweetie. A team never leaves someone behind. It wasn't your fault the rocks shifted and pinned your foot. By the way is your ankle ok?"
"Yeah, yeah. Luckily it's fine, just a little scraped up. But hey! Don't think you're gonna distract me. What's up with your side?" she said as she ran her hands gently down his rib cage. He involuntarily inhaled when her touch caused his side to burn. She quickly pulled back her hand, "Face?"
"Yeah I know. It's cut and needs attention. My shirt is a bit bloodied"
"Let's deal with it then. Take off your shirt so I can get to the injury," she said.
She retrieved the first aid kit and was again grateful that Hannibal had insisted on fully stocked knapsacks even though they were just on training maneuvers. When she turned back to Face, she saw that he hadn't removed his shirt.
"Come on, Face. You need to be patched up and it will be easier, quicker, and more effective if I do it versus you twisting and struggling to reach it yourself. I've taken several first-aid courses. I know how to handle this." She smiled reassuringly at her reluctant patient.
Face met her determined gaze with one that revealed a mix of uncertainty and wariness. After a few seconds of internal debate, he pulled his left arm out of the sleeve and pushed the henley up to his shoulder. He didn't take it completely off. She silently chuckled at the surprising shyness of the Lieutenant. But didn't linger on the thought since his wound was demanding attention.
Face had a nasty gash that started just below his last rib and trailed down to about an inch from his belly button. The cut was deepest near the rib. To her, it looked as if Face had impaled himself on a sharp root or rock. She pumped some well water onto a cloth from the kit and washed out the pebbles and dirt embedded in the wound. Face winced several times but remained very still. Once she had cleaned it to the best of her ability she set to disinfecting it with the supplied hydrogen peroxide. When that stopped fizzing she dried up the injured area.
"I think that you might need stitches. But I don't think we'll be able to get you to a doctor in time for that. I'll use some band-aids to close the deepest cut part as best I can. I'm worried that this will leave a scar." she told him as she worked.
Ruefully he said, "Don't worry about it. What's one more damn scar gonna matter."
She didn't quite understand this until after she applied the antibacterial cream and began to adhere a gauze bandage. She felt Face tense as she pushed his shirt up higher on his back to apply the medical tape. That's when she discovered the vicious scar running down from his shoulder blade to his lower spine. Even though she tried, she couldn't prevent her gasp.
She looked up and saw a haunted look clouding his blue eyes.
"That's not the only one," he quietly admitted while taking his henley completely off. Her eyes took in several, too many, other scars marginally less horrifying than the shoulder one.
"Yes". Face was a bit surprised to see anger not pity flash through her eyes.
"Miserable Bastards! ... "
"Easy sweetie, it was a long time ago. Don't work yourself up". Face tried to sooth her with a smile. Their eyes met and locked.
"This is why you were so reluctant to remove your shirt."
"You shouldn't have to see this"
She reached up and admiringly touched his stubbly cheek.
"You're something special, Face? You're the one hurt, and yet you're trying to protect and comfort me."
Face blushed and tried to play off her compliment. "So Nurse, is my treatment complete?"
She dropped her hand and gaze as she replied yes then suggested that they change into the dry sweatsuits. They crossed to opposite corners to do just that. When Face went to the futon, she helped him lower himself down so he wouldn't dislodge the bandage. She took a swallow of water then passed the canteen and an apple to the Lieutenant. Grabbing an apple for herself she joined him on the mat.
"I figure we're better off eating these tonight and saving the energy bars for our hike out of here tomorrow," she said.
"You're really getting the hang of this. I'm glad you came with us. Murdock said so too"
This reassured and excited her. The guys wanted to include her on this training session. But then she felt guilty because if she hadn't been here Face probably wouldn't have gotten wounded.
As if reading her thought he said. "Sweetie, my side isn't your fault. None of us could have predicted the flash flood that came through camp. The weather report had only predicted light drizzle not downpours. We all had to scramble when the water came through base and caused the erosion. I just landed wrong because my leg isn't at full strength. It's still recovering from when I broke it back in February. Actually you did just fine. You kept your head and remembered to grab your pack. That's why we're well supplied right now. Everything will work itself out."
"Just gotta stay lose and make our opportunities. Right?" she replied smiling.
This time Face's smile made it all the way to his eyes, "See you're learning just fine"
While they ate their apples, darkness had crept into the cabin. The stormy day gave way to a dreary night. Earlier, she had found a lantern with some oil still in it and lit it. The light gave the rickety shack a homey atmosphere.. She inspected Face's bandage and was relieved to see no new bleeding. She tenderly ran her fingers over the tape to make sure it was still secure.
Face brushed her hand as he lowered his sweatshirt and once again they locked gazes. Face cleared his throat,"We'd better rest now, since we are definitely camping here for the night. Hopefully the rain will stop by daybreak and we can figure out what to do then. Going to take a little while to hike out of here, especially with my injury and the damage the storm has done to the trails," She nodded.
The cabin was becoming chilly. Luckily, while searching out the lantern, she had also discovered one quilt.
"Looks like we will need to share," she said. Face attempted to be gallant and told her to keep it to herself. She refused arguing that a wounded man should not risk getting cold. He acquiesced bashfully. They laid down on the mat, back to back, and shared the quilt. She fell asleep quickly. Face, ever the soldier, stayed awake. He was listening to all the night sounds, particularly to her steady peaceful breathing.