Disclaimer: The A-Team and all characters belong to Stephen J Cannell and Universal Studios.
Lyrics quoted are from Bad Bad Dreams by the Bee Gees.
Hannibal had been sitting by the French doors for a while, looking out into the dark. The glass showed him two pictures; the silhouetted outline of the trees outside, and the reflection of the room, with himself against it, laid half-transparent over the top. He'd lost track of exactly how long he'd been there, but he thought that'd he'd probably gotten out of bed somewhere around one, when he stopped being able to stand Murdock's pacing in the next room. Like a spring winding itself tighter and tighter. The floorboards had given a distinctive squeak every time he'd turned at the end of a circuit.
He didn't think that BA could even hear anything, as far away as his room was. Nice four-bedroomed place, Face had scammed this time. But he'd be willing to put a few bucks on the chances that, behind the stubbornly closed door, their mechanic would be lying silently on his back, staring up into the blackness at nothing. Nothing to see there except memories, fluttering and colliding like torn-up moths.
If one of them had a bad night when they were under the same roof, everyone usually did. That was just how it worked. They all fed off of each other; picked up on what was going on in the next man's head and added their own to it. Good when it was the jazz. Other times, it was a vicious circle that needed breaking, fast.
He knew that Face wasn't asleep. Couldn't be. He'd be listening, the way you didn't when you didn't know what it was you were listening for. Just waiting. He gave some kind of thanks for that, when Murdock's door opened. They were his team, but there would always be things that he couldn't be to them; places he couldn't reach, needs he couldn't fulfill. The four of them orbited a common group point, but there were other orbits within that system that he didn't always fully understand, but understood enough to know they were necessary to the functioning of the unit. Necessary to the functioning of his men. You took what you'd been given and worked with it.
They'd always worked. Always come out the other side.
Murdock wore briefs and the t-shirt he slept in, thin from washing and the cartoon that had once been on the front faded to the point of indefinability. They made eye contact, each acknowledging the other's presence, but choosing not to fill the distance between them with words. There were times for words. There were times when there was nothing to say, because it had been said already, a long time ago. Murdock's eyes asked for a permission that wasn't permission, exactly, but acceptance.
Their gazes held, briefly. Then Hannibal lifted his cigar and turned in his seat again, back to his reflection. Never rejecting. Just giving Murdock space. Giving it to Face, too. Letting them know that they could do what they needed to do. Then regroup. That was his only ironclad rule. They'd regroup because they had to; because they couldn't afford to be even one man down for long. So fix it, and fix it now.
In the mirror world, Murdock watched him for another minute or so before turning equally as silently and making his way up the hall. He opened the first door without knocking. A few murmured words came from the room, and a small lamp went on. Murdock stepped inside, and the soft strip of light grew narrower behind him until the door finally clicked shut.
Hannibal exhaled smoke. Listened to the night passing. Beside his bed, Face watched Murdock strip.
"You having a bad time? In your head?"
"Lot going on up there tonight. Some of it's real and some ain't, and some ain't got back to me with an answer yet."
"I'm real," Face said. He lifted the blanket - honeycomb, warm but light, no pressure at all - and slid Murdock in beside him, pillowing him on his body, stroking him with his skin. Slowly, Murdock Brailled him, throat to chest to legs, breathing catching and becoming erratic every time he brushed a familiar scar. Face let him do it, then reached for his hand and brought it back to his own lips, tracing them with Murdock's fingertips. "Long time ago. All gone. Don't have to think about it."
Murdock placed a hand on either side of his face, cradling his skull with long fingers. "All gone, Face? Really and truly? Or you got it all locked up tight in here too? Waiting to bust on out?"
"It was real, once. It isn't now. It just makes you think it is. It's tricky like that. Real scam artist."
Murdock squeezed his eyes shut. He gave a short gasp of something like laughter, and then his body shivered. "You ain't scamming me, are you, Faceguy? You wouldn't do that to ol' Howlin' Mad."
Face turned his head, just enough that he could rub his cheek against Murdock's palm. "This is all that's real, right now. You. Me. Hannibal and BA. All that matters."
"Be real for me," Murdock said. He pressed into the crook of Face's legs, and Face stroked his back, gently, feeling the corded muscles so like his own, recognizing the shift in mood; the sudden focusing and intensifying of contact.
"You need to come?" he asked, and when Murdock nodded, still shivering, he opened his legs, letting the pilot settle his weight between them and taking him against his belly. Feeling him grow there as he trailed his hands from shoulders to ass, over and over, using the rhythm to distract and soothe, until Murdock shivered in a different way, slick cock leaking against smooth skin. Face reached up to cup his jaw, anchoring him with his eyes, keeping them safe in the pool of light from the lamp. Pushing the shadows far enough away that they couldn't do any harm.
"Stay with me, Murdock. Don't get lost."
Murdock gasped, and thrust, and Face caressed him, talking soft into his ear. A short while afterwards, he climaxed, and Face stroked his hair, shuddering a little, half-hard himself.
They held each other silently for some time. When Murdock spoke into Face's shoulder, his lips were so close that Face could feel his voice reverberate inside him.
"Kept thinking I could hear you. Didn't know who you were talking to, 'cause you sounded crazy mad and scared. Then I started figuring out that everything you were saying was what I was thinking, and it hadn't been you at all. It was all me, and when it's me, I don't ever know how to stop it coming or if it's gonna stop."
"This is me here, Murdock. You believe me when I tell you that? All that other stuff tonight was just a bad dream."
Murdock moved his head. His hair brushed, feathery, over Face's skin. "You believe you when you tell me that?"
A knock sounded at the door, just a couple of quick taps. "Yeah, Colonel," Face answered, quietly.
"Got to be moving tomorrow, fellas. Get some sleep, now." It was an order, but not one without gentleness.
Murdock crooned softly. "I've got a notion to live in an ocean of bad bad dreams," he sang into Face's ear. "No consolation to mixed conversation in bad bad dreams... you know we're all alike..."
Face plumped the pillow, and settled Murdock against his chest. Breathed. Felt Murdock breathe in counterpoint, completing their circle. As long as they didn't break that, their hold on the world wouldn't break, either. As long as they could listen to the sound of their heartbeats, telling them that they were all still alive.