Welcome to the future ... kinda.
This story was born out of a timeline I created as to what happened to the A-Team after their pardons came through (which I imagine happened almost immediately after season 5). This is sort of a test run to see if you like where I went - and I sincerly hope you do - before I start writing the other stories that take place before and after this one.
This story is dedicated to my sister's kids (Wyatt-13, Genevieve-12, Danika-10, and Garrett-7) who pulled me back into the world of the A-Team after I showed them a couple of clips of Murdock. (Who could have guessed that would lead to re-watching the entire series?)
A big thanks to my beta, dlldarkwolf, for putting aside her own work to help get this published.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own A-Team, and even if I tried, I couldn't afford their fee.
Templeton Peck stretched his legs out from the park bench, his arm lazily draped across the back as his eyes scanned the playground in front of him. Book sales had been up recently, which allowed him to be the only parent present to have a child in Armani. The outfit probably cost more than the slide his little girl was climbing up. At least she was using the ladder, unlike the red-head in torn jeans and a grass stained t-shirt going up the slide. The way some parents like their kids act – wait, he knew those pigtails.
"Hi, Lieutenant," Hannibal greeted, dropping onto the bench next to him.
"Hi," he replied. "Do you think you can tell Gracie to wait until Fiona is back on the ground before practicing her mountain climbing?"
"Face, seven-year-olds are made of rubber. She'll be fine."
"Yours might be made of rubber," Templeton shot back. "Fiona's a little more-"
"I was going to say refined."
His former commander just laughed, as they looked over to see the girls slide down together. He really shouldn't have been so worried. Grace Smith may be the world's smallest daredevil, but she would never do anything to hurt her best friend. The two were opposites in almost every way, right down to their dark and light hair color, but there were closer than sisters when it came down to it. Kinda reminded Templeton of BA and Murdock – without the threats of violence. Speaking of which …
"Have you heard from Murdock?"
"Yeah," Hannibal answered, pulling an envelope out of his coat pocket. "He sent us an anniversary card."
Templeton took the card and gave the scrawled writing a sad smile. While he appreciated his friend's desire for a normal life, away from the publicity of being part of the famous A-Team, he missed him. It had been years since he had seen Murdock, with only the occasional postcard as proof that he was out there somewhere living his dream. Still, he couldn't fault the guy. Their pardons had opened a floodgate of attention, one he and Hannibal were still riding all these years later, and even BA's attempts at a low profile hadn't spared him some unwanted attention now and then. Maybe cutting himself off was the only way to be normal – though he could hardly imagine Murdock being normal.
"Can you believe it's been ten years since we became free men?" Hannibal commented.
"I can believe it," Templeton muttered. "I'm working on issue #16. You know my publisher wants two a year? How much time does he think I have?"
"You write comics, not the Lord of the Rings."
"They're graphic novels, and it's not as easy as it looks. It's a lot of work to be a successful author. Do you know what it is like to be under constant deadlines? To have your work scrutinized by an army of editors? To be hounded by fans every time you leave the house?"
"Face, I'm an actor."
"Yeah, well, then you should know."
"Speaking of which," Hannibal murmured, pulling out his wallet. "Murdock sent another message with the card."
Templeton took the polaroid and briefly noted the words on the bottom. "Life is good" had become his friend's motto; a sort of promise that he was still safe, happy, and healthy. The picture supported this – or at least the happy part. A familiar grin graced the face of a man shaped glob of mud, giving away his identity, and the smile was mirrored in the mud-covered girl standing on a rock beside him. A second mud-child was sitting at the base of the rock, but seemed to have turned his head at the last second before the flash, causing his expression to be slightly obscured. Nevertheless, it could only be Murdock and his twins. At least he had contacted them the night he became a father. BA had driven half the night to get them to Vegas, but the trip had been worth it to get the chance to see Murdock and hold his newly born son.
"Doesn't look like the kids inherited his height," Templeton commented, handing the photo back.
"They're still young," Hannibal said with a shrug, putting the picture back in his wallet. "Your boy isn't exactly a giant."
"I'll have you know that Marcus is in the 86th percentile for his age."
"That's still average. Want some gum?"
Templeton accepted a piece of Nicorette and looked back to the playground, scanning for the purple and white sundress his daughter had insisted on that morning. He had warned her that white didn't hold up well in the park – Gracie's attire proved that – but it was no use. When she looked at him with those pleading eyes, pointing out that he had given it to her as a present and it was her 'favorite in the world,' how could he say no? BA said once that fatherhood had made him soft, and when it came to his little princess, that was all too true.
"You know, Hannibal, ten years ago, when we got our pardons, I never thought we would end up here."
"Yeah," the Colonel smiled. "It kinda helps take the sting out of the alimony."
His tone may have been casual, but Templeton could still hear the hint of bitterness – not that he blamed him. Coleen had married Hannibal just under a year after their pardons had come through. She said that she was attracted to his recklessness, spontaneity, and overall sense of danger. Then she had a baby and divorced him because he was too reckless, spontaneous, and dangerous. The only way she had managed to change him was to get him to quit smoking before Gracie was born. It hadn't been easy for him, but Face did what he could to support him through it. He even quit alongside him, especially since Fiona was on the way. Still, Hannibal deserved better than someone who would label him a threat to his own child simply for taking her on a motorcycle.
"Speaking of kids, I don't see Marcus out there," Hannibal commented.
"He's not," Templeton muttered, allowing some of his own frustrations with ex-wives to creep into his voice. "He's starting Kindergarten next month, so Christine took him to Milan to get a new wardrobe."
"I know!" he scoffed. "Fiona's furious; the furthest Esme and I ever went to get her clothes was Manhattan."
It had been a bitter fight, ending only when Marcus stepped in and offered to buy his sister a present while he was in Italy. Five-years-old and he already had a silver tongue. Templeton was still trying to decide whether he should be proud or worried when he noticed the Colonel was staring at him.
"I get Gracie clothes at Costco."
"Ah, Hannibal," he chided, "you are a successful actor. You can afford better than- they sell clothes at Costco?"
"Yeah, right past the appliances."
"Why would you buy clothes at Costco?"
"Have you met my child? She wants to be a stuntman! Trust me, a three-dollar shirt will get ripped just as easily as a thirty dollar one. Best to save money and buy in bulk."
While he had a point, Templeton couldn't imagine putting his daughter in something that came from a store where you could buy three dozen rolls of toilet paper in a single package. He sent up a silent prayer of thanks that Fiona was more careful with her clothes, but no sooner had he finished that a shrill wail caught his attention. He got to his feet just in time to see his little girl running toward him, a splash of mud covered one side of her designer dress from her black curls to her knees.
"Daddy!" she cried, pointing the way she came. "That boy pushed me in a mud puddle!"
"Which boy?" he asked, pulling out his handkerchief to wipe away what he could.
"The one under Gracie!"
"Did you say under?"
"I got her," Hannibal assured him, stepping around them.
Templeton looked where he was headed to see Gracie sitting on a boy, at least a year or two older than she was. If he was to hazard a guess, he would speculate the boy also had an inch or two on both girls, but since when did the size of a bully matter to a Smith?
"How do you like mud puddles, Jerk?!"
Like father, like daughter.
"Gracie, honey, you made your point," Hannibal said, scooping up the girl and allowing the bully to scamper away.
"He made Fiona cry!" she protested, trying to wiggle free from his grasp.
"I know, but he won't do it again."
He better not, Templeton thought to himself as he dried his daughter's tears. Fiona wasn't what he would call fragile, but she was still sensitive – especially about her appearance. With her mother being a movie star and her step-mother a model, the girl had certain standards to live up to, even as a child. That was the one thing he hated about fame: it was hardest on the young.
"You okay, kid?" Hannibal asked, Gracie still squirming under his arm.
"Yes, sir," she sniffled, "but I would be even better if I could get a new dress."
She turned her sorrowful eyes on Templeton and he could feel himself melting. Normally he would fight a little harder – so as not to spoil her – but in this case … a quick stop the mall wouldn't hurt. Maybe he could even get Hannibal to spring for one nice outfit Gracie – Lord knew the kid needed it. Yeah, a nice quiet shopping trip was just what the thing to turn their day around.
Hannibal stepped into the bank, checking the perimeter out of habit. It may have been a decade since his last official mission, but that didn't mean he could afford to go soft. After all, reporters and fans could be just as dangerous as thugs and drug lords. Maybe Murdock had the right idea getting away from it all, even if the cost was pretty high.
"Gracie!" Fiona scolded, pulling the girl away from one of the tables. "You have to respect the money."
Hannibal gave his own friend a look.
"Respect the money?"
"Do you see my child playing Tarzana with the pens?" Face shot back.
Hannibal just shook his head. So his daughter was more rambunctious than most, at least she was sticking close – and she wasn't literally swinging on the pen chain, it wouldn't have supported her weight. Still, he did have a point that they were in a bank – a big one at that – and it would be better if Gracie reigned it in for the ten minutes it would take Face to transfer some funds from one of his many savings accounts to his primary spending one. It seemed Hannibal wasn't the only one with old habits.
"Daddy," Gracie called quietly – likely to avoid another lecture from the princess of high class etiquette, "did you bring your gun in here?"
"No honey, people don't bring guns into banks unless they are looking for trouble."
"Like that man that just came in?"
Face looked at her in surprise and Hannibal made a mental note to put the guy through a couple of refresher courses. Just because they were civilians now didn't mean they should slack off. Heck, his kid saw the gunman come in before his Lieutenant! Granted, she didn't seem to notice the other two with him, but she was still learning.
"Gracie," he said, making a show of fixing her jacket to avoid suspicion, "Daddy's got a job to do, so can you take Fiona over to that far table?"
"Ah, Hannibal," Face groaned. "You know, they pay the security guard to handle things like this."
"Yeah, but if we let him do it, it would be three against one."
"And two against three is much better odds."
The statement was dripping with sarcasm, but Hannibal just smiled. With his plan, the odds were in their favor. Besides, it would be fun to get back in the saddle, just one more time.
Face sighed, but moved into position, close enough to the second gunman to take action but not so close as to be noticed. At least he wasn't completely out of practice. Hannibal took the third gunman on the far right, keeping the first one between him and his Lieutenant. Now it was just a matter of timing.
"On the ground!" the lead gunman shouted, pulling a sawed-off from under his coat.
Dramatic and clumsy; no wonder Gracie spotted him so easily. A job like this need finesse and stealth – like the way he and Face disarmed his helpers and turned their guns against the ring-leader. The would-be robber paled at the turn of events and Hannibal's grin widened. Even Face seemed to be enjoying himself.
"Why don't you take your own advice, drop your weapon, and get on the ground," the Colonel suggested, his tone a blend of firm and smug. "Nice and easy now."
"Oh," Face called to the security guard, "you may want to call 911."
"Wha- huh?" the man stammered.
Clearly, he was new on the job, as he couldn't seem to decide who he should be pointing his gun at. Face tried to explain that they were on his side, but that just made him more confused. Lucky for them, there was a senior guard who was just getting back from lunch. He took one look at the situation and took charge. Soon the three gunmen were cuffed and waiting for the police.
"Why do you do this to me, Hannibal?" Face complained, handing over the robber's .45 to the senior guard. "We're retired. Does that mean anything to you?"
Hannibal turned over his confiscated weapon and shrugged. What was the point of having a skill set if he wasn't going to use it? Besides, there were a lot of people around. Who knew how many would have been hurt if that shotgun had gone off?
So much for respecting the money. The two girls raced across the lobby, Gracie practically jumped into Hannibal's arms and Fiona wrapped her arms around Face's waist. Any sign of annoyance melted off the Lieutenant's face at the sight of those smiles.
"Daddy," Fiona said, eyes shining, "you're a superhero, just like in your stories!"
"When you took their guns I just wanted to cheer!" Gracie added.
Hannibal laughed and gave his daughter a kiss on the cheek. While he wasn't thrilled that his baby was so close to an attempted robbery – an armed one at that – he couldn't help feeling a sense of pride. Gracie always would be his biggest fan, but it was nice to see it once and a while.
The arrival of the police and press created a bit of a circus. While the days had long passed that such a thing would have them running to the hills, Hannibal had never felt truly comfortable surrounded by uniforms and cameras … well, cameras weren't a problem, but the cops still gave him an uneasy feeling.
"So, you two just took their guns away?" the officer questioned.
"That's about it," Hannibal confirmed. "The guards took over after that."
"Risky move, you might have hurt yourselves."
"You mean, like, break a hip?" Face asked, his voice light.
The tone was for the benefit of the children who were too young to pick up on the man's meaning, but there was a slight edge to it that was not lost of the officer. While Hannibal was used to the 'old man' jokes and comments – white hair and preschool were not a common mix – Face was more stubborn about things like that. Granted, he had been teasing the Lieutenant about reaching his golden years since he hit thirty, but that was all in good fun. It was another thing entirely when the comments came from a stranger.
"Not like that," the cop verbally backpedaled. "I just mean, you two are … well, you're not … what I mean is …"
Hannibal was tempted to make a comment or two about the man's youth, maybe pointing out how finishing high school might help him finish his sentence, but what kind of example would that set for the girls? His daughter was already enough of a character without him giving her ideas.
"It's okay, Officer," Gracie assured him, "lots of people can't talk right when they meet heroes."
"It's called star-struck," Fiona supplied helpfully. "It happens to them all the time."
While the officer was visibly trying to decide how to respond to that, Hannibal shared a smile with Face. They might be getting old, but the next generation had a lot of potential. Now if only the one in between could get its foot out of its mouth.
"Girls, who don't you go see Officer Warren while I talk to your grandpas."
Once again, Hannibal was used to it, but it was still irritating. Of course, it was even more so for his Lieutenant. Face stared at the man in shock, and Hannibal could almost hear the tirade coming. However, it was out of the mouths of babes that the officer was put in his place.
"You're going to go all the way to San Diego?" Gracie gaped.
"My Grandpa's in New York," Fiona added, just as surprised. "Isn't he, Daddy?"
Face just nodded, watching the children's words sink in. The cop excused himself, claiming that he had everything he needed for his report. With the police done with them, it was time to deal with the reporters.
"Show time," Face said with a smile. "Fiona, Honey, stay with the Colonel. Daddy's gotta go to work."
"Wait!" she cried, pulling him down to straighten his tie. "There, now you can go."
"She is your kid," Hannibal muttered as he went by.
Face gave him a look and headed outside. No doubt they would be on the front page come morning. With that being the case, they might want to give BA a heads up. Any time one of them got in the news, it was like their pardons had come through all over again. Last time Face made it on the best-seller list, Frankie got a call for an interview.
An hour later, they were sitting in an ice cream parlor watching Gracie dump chocolate sauce all over the shirt Face insisted on buying her. Hannibal checked his watch and held out a hand to take the ten from his Lieutenant. He told him she wouldn't make it fifteen minutes without getting it dirty.
"I still can't believe that she stained it when she wasn't even wearing it," Face muttered.
"What can I say, my little girl's got talent."
"Hey," BA greeted, joining them at the table. "This gonna take long? I got three carburetors to replace and the kid's punching bag needs to be fixed."
"I can't believe you got all that money from your retirement fund, but still hold down two jobs," Face said, tucking a napkin in Fiona's shirt to protect her new dress.
"Hey man, that money is for the kids."
Hannibal quickly diffused what he knew was a losing argument. Face may not approve of BA working as a mechanic to pay his bills and pouring any money he had left into his neighborhood children's center. At least he bought the garage outright and was one step away from owning the community center. It wasn't like he was working minimum wage. Another year and he really would have two full-time jobs.
"So, what did you call me down here for?"
Sharing a look with Face, Hannibal tried to find the easiest way to break it to him. This wasn't as simple as it might seem. The last time the media came around, the headline nearly read CHILDREN'S CENTER LEADER BREAKS CAMERA OVER REPORTER'S HEAD. Face's lawyers had to work overtime to keep their friend from being sued, while Hannibal's agent tried to help with BA's image … which almost lead to another headline about the same Children's Center Leader and an attempted homicide. Best to ease into it –
"Daddy and Uncle Face stopped a bank robbery today!"
"Uh-huh," Fiona nodded, scooping up her ice cream. "Three bad guys came into the bank, but Daddy and Uncle Hannibal stopped them."
"You should have seen it, Uncle BA," Gracie said excitedly. "The slime-ball was like 'get on the ground' and Daddy was like 'you do it.' It was awesome!"
While BA wasn't exactly thrilled, he wasn't going to kill them in front of the kids. However, he did clearly define – again – what it meant to be retired. While Face agreed that it was an unfortunate turn of events, Hannibal just shrugged and popped a piece of nicotine gum in his mouth. So BA would have to unplug his phone for a few days, at least Face would get some good publicity out of it for his next comic. Hannibal might even be able to use it to get another action roll out of it, or finally convince the studio that he was fit enough to do his own stunts. All in all, not a bad day.
He always did love it when a plan came together.
So, what did you think? Can you see them ending up this way?
I hope you enjoyed my future for the team. Let me know if you did, because I have planty more one-shot (and some multi-chapter fics) where this came from.