Disclaimer: I do not own The A-Team. All characters- aside from any OCs -belong to Stephen J. Cannell, Frank Lupo, Universal Studios, and all others who took part in creating the series. I am making no profit from this story.
Author's Note: So, here is my story for Christmas. Written mostly as a sort of stress relief. I apologize for not updating my story lately, but now that things are slowing down a bit in my life, I hope to get some writing done.
As always, I hope you enjoy the story and I wish you an early Merry Christmas!
December 24, 1969...
Face stared at the small campfire, visibly bored and even annoyed. Around him, seemingly unfazed by the silence that fell over the normally chaotic base, Murdock sang Christmas carols while he decorated the barracks that he and the others shared in their small corner. Hannibal whistled the same songs that Murdock sung, while B.A. continued to re-read a recent letter from his mother.
Another thing that bothered Face a bit about the holidays. He had no one at home to send him a letter. Hannibal had a few relatives that put together a nice letter and package, Murdock had his grandparents, and B.A. had his mother. Face knew that it was wrong to be jealous, but it was hard for him not to be.
He scowled at Murdock's singing and picked up a stick and began to poke at the flames that danced and crackled. How could someone be so happy when they were stuck in the middle of a war, for crying out loud!
"Something bothering you, Lieutenant?" Face looked up to see Hannibal staring at him with narrowed blue eyes that glinted ominously in the firelight. Sometimes Face wondered just what was going on behind those icy pools, but he shook the thought away and stared back at Hannibal, raising an eyebrow innocently as if he hadn't been moping around all day. He should have known that sooner or later, someone would notice. Hannibal, obviously unfazed by the fact that Face feigned ignorance, stated the obvious, "You've been acting depressed, distracted, and downright hostile for the past two weeks. What is bothering you?"
By now, Murdock and B.A. had paused to acknowledge the situation. Face froze and his eyes flitted from one person to the other. B.A. seemed curious, but angered by the disturbance, Hannibal now wore an unreadable expression, and Murdock's eyes were locked with Face's. What was that? Concern, curiosity, pity? Whatever it was that filled Murdock's puppy-dog brown eyes, Face didn't like it. Gritting his teeth, he murmured finally, "You guys..."
"What?" Murdock was now mixed with what appeared to be concern and confusion.
"What are you talkin' 'bout, Face?" B.A. frowned.
Straightening up, Face raised his voice a bit after clearing his throat, "You asked what was bothering me, and I told you. You guys are."
"We're bothering you?" Hannibal shook his head in disbelief, "How?"
"You act like everything is just fine, B.A. practically rubs it in everyone's face about how his mother actually cares about him, and Murdock dances around singing like a freakin' chickadee or something when we're stuck in this hell-hole in the middle of a war! So, it isn't exactly you, per se,but rather the things you are doing!"
Murdock's eyes now held a simple feeling of hurt. It seemed he was about to try to answer Face, but if it was originally anything to comfort him, it came out instead as, "Umm...I happen to like chickadees..."
"You shouldn't be this upset when it's Christmas eve..." Hannibal pointed out. He didn't seem angry. No, he seemed to understand. "You could use some time alone to cool off. Why don't you go and get a drink or something? Or, if you're hungry there's some stuff left over from dinner in the mess hall."
It was a clear order, not a suggestion. 'Go away and cool off, come back when you aren't going to act like the Grinch' might as well have been what Hannibal had told him instead. Regardless of how it was phrased, Face got the message. "Yes sir..." he mumbled, got up, and headed towards the mess hall for a late night snack.
When he arrived at the mess, he found it as he had expected to find it. Empty. The only light that illuminated the room came from the small windows along the top of the wall where moonlight was allowed (just barely) to fill the room and add a peaceful, soft glow.
With a content sigh, Face realized that he finally felt more comfortable and at ease than he had in a while. Maybe things weren't so bad after all. Then he remembered his teammates. They new he was just angry, right? Upset that he had no family to call his own?
Face tried to forget about the worries that seemed to circle through his mind as he grabbed a tray and began to pick out a few leftovers from dinner. It was nothing much, just a few scraps, a couple of Christmas cookies, and some warm tea since they were out of coffee for the night. Face shrugged to himself. Tea was probably better for his nerves anyways.
As he sat down at a table, he was unaware that someone else was there until he heard a voice from the far corner behind him. "What are you doing here this late?" Face turned around and saw a man sitting at one of the tables. Apparently, the light from the moon had shifted and allowed Face to see whoever it was. "I asked you a question, soldier." he stood up and tensed up as if he was expecting a fight. While almost unrecognizable in the lighting, there was no mistaking the deep, somewhat croaky voice with a very faint drawl. A bruise circled the man's right eye, and his knuckles were a bit bruised and cut, likely from the fight a couple of days ago that Hannibal had started in the club.
"Er...Colonel Decker?" Face squinted. As soon as the Colonel realized it was Face, he relaxed and sat back down.
"Oh, it's you..." he grumbled under his breath. Decker had recently earned a promotion from Lieutenant Colonel, but Hannibal hadn't liked the way he had earned that promotion, which caused the fight. Face hadn't really cared. Sure, he hadn't liked it either, however Face wasn't going to risk punishment just to speak his mind. Face looked at Decker with curiosity. He seemed as equally miserable as Face did.
"Are you doing alright, sir?" Face tried to be friendly. His words didn't seem forced or curious, so maybe Decker wouldn't suspect that, in all honestly, Face didn't really care about his well-being. Or...did he? Face shook his head, reassuring himself that while he didn't like the Colonel that much, he wouldn't want the guy to be upset.
Decker only briefly glanced up from the letter he was reading, "What does it matter to you, Lieutenant?"
"Well...you just seem..." he trailed off in search of a word. Lonely, miserable, sad, "...Depressed." Or, that works too.
"Depressed?" Decker looked up and raised an eyebrow.
"Well, I mean, you just look...homesick?"
Decker nodded, "Hmm...I see." and resumed reading the letter before lowering the letter to examine what appeared to be a photograph, but Face couldn't tell what it was a photo of. So he asked.
"You ask a lot of questions Peck." Decker frowned, but then gestured for Face to come over. Getting up, Face slowly walked across to Decker's table and sat down next to him, looking at a photo of what appeared to be Decker's wife and kids by a fireplace, with a Christmas tree just barely visible, and through the windows Face could see a blanket of white.
"Nice looking family," Face commented. Decker smiled proudly and Face then added, "Thankfully, though, they appear to have gotten their looks from their mother." Decker, surprisingly enough, laughed. Face, now pleased that he had someone to talk to, pressed on. "So, how old are they? Your kids, I mean."
"Jason is the oldest, he's 14, Matthew is 13, Aaron is 10, and Leigh actually turned 8 just a few days ago." Decker looked at the picture, with warmth in his eyes. But, there was also sadness. "Leigh was only three when I left. She's grown a lot since then, in fact, they all have."
"Is that what's got you so upset? You miss your family?"
"Of course I do, don't you?"
Face frowned and shook his head, "I don't really...have a family. That's why I'm here, actually. I...kind of yelled at Hanni-, I mean, Col. Smith and he sent me away to cool off." an awkward silence fell over them. Face looked at the photo once more and nodded towards it, "They probably miss you, too. I wouldn't know what that's like, having someone at home miss me. You should consider yourself lucky."
"I know, and I do consider myself lucky." Decker stated, "But, it's hard being away from your family. They're one of the few people you can count on. Somebody cares about you like that, whether you're actually related to them or not."
"Well, I should go," Face sighed, standing up. He felt happy now, knowing he wasn't the only one having a hard time, even if he didn't have a family. "You have a nice looking family, I'm sure they love you. Merry Christmas, sir."
"Hey, Peck, wait a second," Decker stood up, holding a homemade Christmas card in his hand. "My daughter made a couple of these for a school project. She made one for me, but wanted me to give this other one to someone else that needs it. Would you like it?"
Face thought for a moment before he nodded, "Sure. If you get a chance to write back to them, tell your daughter I said thanks."
"Merry Christmas, Peck."
Upon his return to the campfire, nobody spoke to him. Murdock and Hannibal continued with Christmas carols, with Hannibal eyeing Face cautiously every now and then, while B.A. appeared to be writing down a few Bible verses in his reply to his mother.
Settling down in his own spot by the fire, he pulled out the card Decker had given him and read it to himself...
Thank you for your service to this country. I hope you have a safe, blessed Christmas.
Face smiled to himself. It was a simple note, but after all, it was the thought that counted.
"Hey, Face, what's that?" Murdock inquired, "I thought you didn't get any mail?"
"I didn't. I had a conversation with Colonel Decker in the mess hall, and he gave me this Christmas card from his daughter." Face explained with a shrug. "I'm sorry about earlier, by the way."
"It's fine, Face." Hannibal said.
"All forgotten." B.A. said without looking up.
"Merry Christmas, guys." Face smiled at his friends, whom he realized were as close to a family as he'd ever had.
"Merry Christmas, Face." his three friends said in unison.
Looking at the sky, he could of sworn he saw something fly overhead and he also thought he saw a few snowflakes fall. Shaking his head, Face joined in on the Christmas carols.