Disclaimer: I do not own The A-Team, nor will I ever own it. I am writing this for fun, and I'm not making any profit off of this story. All characters — appearing or mentioned — belong to Stephen J. Cannell, Frank Lupo, and all others who took part in the creation of the show. The only thing I own is the idea and any OCs that happen to be featured in the story.
Author's Note: I published the first few chapters of the original story back in October, I think, but I didn't like how it turned out so I deleted it. A few days ago I thought I'd try re-writing it and see how it goes. Chapters will definitely be longer, and this time I have more of an idea of what I'm doing.
Basically it tells the story of how an OC of mine — Leigh — met the team. Some of you might be familiar with her, others not so much?
Well, anyways. Hope everyone enjoys! :)
A young woman, at least in her early twenties, was making her way to a military building resting towards the center of the base. The cold rain was pouring down and hitting the asphalt and the top of cars, making a steady, rhythmic sound that many people would consider soothing. The woman — while she did find the rain soothing — was not too pleased about being out in it.
Not that she had much choice in the matter. No, she didn't have any choice. Even if she had wanted to voice her opinion, she knew better than to argue with the man who had called her out here in this weather in the first place. Years of experience had taught her that when her father wanted you to do something, you did it without questioning and without a single complaint.
"Curse that man…" she growled under her breath, shivering as she pulled on her raincoat, adjusting it so that it worked better.
Once she reached the door, she wasted no time pulling the door open and stepping inside, pulling off her gloves and her raincoat and hanging it on the mostly empty coatrack. By the looks of it, not many people were still here at this hour. If she had her way, she wouldn't have been their either. Lastly, she removed her hat and scarf and hung them up, proceeding to the front desk.
Two men were at the desk. One soldier actually was assigned to working at the desk, almost like a secretary, but, different. The other was only looking over some sort of report with a thoughtful look on his face. Both only acknowledged her after she had cleared her throat. After they flinched in surprise, she put on a wide grin and greeted them both with a friendly, "Hello!"
The dark skinned man who had been looking over the chart got over the scare quickly and smiled politely, "Well, well. Look who's here. Been a while since I last saw you around here, Leigh. How have you been?"
Leigh's grin faded to a normal, less intimidating smile as she replied, "It's good to see you again, Crane. I've been doing good, I suppose. Settling into my new job, so I've had a lot of things to do over the last few days," she tapped her foot a bit impatiently, wishing she could hurry up and get whatever meeting her father had planned over with. "So…er…what about you? How have you been?"
Crane gestured to the report he had been reading, "Extremely busy with work," he sighed. "Last week, we came close to catching those three fugitives. You know, The A-Team, right? Well, we were this close —" he held his thumb and index finger close together for a comparison, "— and they got away from us just before we could stop 'em. Wrecked a bunch of our cars, made your dad real mad…"
"Uh, speaking of my dad," Leigh cut in before he could continue. "He called me and asked me to come down here and see him. I really should be going now," she handed her ID card to the man at the front desk. "It really was nice talking to you, Crane," Leigh collected her card and headed towards the hall where her father's office was. "Umm…have a good rest of your night!"
A small wave from Crane was the last thing she saw before she began to make her way down the hall. Usually, she enjoyed speaking with her father's friends, especially the ones like Crane that she had known since she was about fifteen. But she was too occupied on worrying about what her father would be lecturing her about that night, so conversation was not one of her top priorities.
The hallway was well lit, but many of the offices along it were not. The entire building seemed as if it was sleeping or something, and the odd emptiness was actually comforting in a way. The only person in the hall aside from Leigh, was the janitor of the building, but he didn't even stop and look up from what he was doing to greet her in any way.
Leigh was starting to fell happier about the time that her father had chosen for their meeting. Usually there would be a bunch of old, grumpy colonels that would stare at you like you had no business being there, or there would be annoying, young lieutenants that would stare at you like a dog would stare at a piece of meat. Leigh managed to sort those kinds of guys out pretty quickly, though. She could stand the grumpy colonels staring her down because they hated her, but she would not tolerate guys that only thought with things other than their brains.
Tonight, thankfully, was not like that. She didn't have to sort anybody out, or deal with colonels who wanted her to leave and go back to 'civilian land' as Leigh had taken to calling it, at least in front of her father or whenever she was annoyed by something the Army had done.
Not that she didn't respect the military and those that had served, but she didn't exactly like the Army or a lot of those in it. When she was three it took her father away to Vietnam, and she didn't see him again until she was ten, and even then it kept him busy for the rest of the time between that. After a while he started to run his house like a military installation, and that was when Leigh had started to grow increasingly distant from her father.
When she had moved out, they kept in touch, but he only called her whenever he wanted her to either help him out with something or whenever he felt like they could 'catch up' over lunch or something. Considering that it was nearly nine o' clock, which is far too late for lunch (or even dinner), which meant that he definitely needed her help with something.
She reached the office where her father worked and lightly knocked on the door, which was open just a crack. The response she got was a very loud order for her to enter the room, and so she did.
The office was lit by only a lamp on a desk in the center of the room. Several papers and files had been strewn across said desk, and the only other visible item besides the lamp and a cup of half-drunk coffee, was a little nameplate set up in a very precise manner on the desk that said 'Colonel Roderick Decker' in white lettering.
Leigh paused when she reached the desk and lifted the nameplate up, tracing a finger across the letters. A hand grabbed her wrist and removed the nameplate from her hand, placing it back on the desk where it had previously been. Leigh looked up and saw her father, looking extremely exhausted and quite a few years older than he actually was. He met her eyes and told her sternly, "Do not touch a single item on this desk. Understand?"
"Yessir, Colonel, sir..." Leigh replied sarcastically, walking around the office a few times, examining the room for any noticeable changes since her last visit. There were none, unsurprisingly. Her father liked to make sure things stayed exactly the same as always. Nothing was out of place, nothing had been rearranged or removed. It was all the same. Looked as if it had been dusted and wiped down recently as well. The only thing different was that his desk was a mess. She stopped her pacing and frowned down at him, "Just what are you working on, anyways?"
"I'm going over old reports on the A-Team, seeing if there's some way we can outsmart them. There's got to be some way that we can use their…spontaneousness against them," he told her, furrowing his brow as he stared at the paper. Leigh opened her mouth to make a snide comment, but he lifted a finger for silence, "Don't start with me, Leigh, I'm not in the mood tonight."
She put up her hands and tried to make an innocent expression, "I wasn't going to say a thing."
Her father scoffed and rolled his eyes in response, "I highly doubt that."
"Well," Leigh leaned against the desk, "you can believe what you want. Now…what I want to know is, er...why did you call me down here in the middle of the night?"
Without a word he slapped the file he was reading closed, got up from his chair, crossed the room to the filing cabinet and slid open one of the drawers. First drawer he opened, he put the original file back in its place. The second one he opened took him longer to move on. He seemed to be looking for something in particular.
When he finally did find the file he was looking for, he went back over to his desk and proceeded to tidy it up. He went on like this, stacking papers, opening drawers, moving pens and whatnot. Only when his desk had been cleaned and everything had been put back in order did he open the file and start talking to Leigh.
"Does this man look familiar to you?" he pulled a picture out of the file and passed it to Leigh.
She examined the photos closely. It was that of a very angry looking man with a mohawk, wearing feathered earrings and what had to have been several pounds of gold. Leigh's eyes narrowed and then she nodded slowly, returning the photo to her dad, "Yeah, he does. This is — at least, I think it is — the new guy who's started helping me out with coaching the swim team I work with. Well, he started working there a week ago, but..."
"Oh?" her father raised an eyebrow. His expression was, for the most part, blank, but his eyes were sparkling with something that Leigh wasn't quite able to make out. He resumed speaking to distract her from the smirk that was tugging at the corner of his lips, "That's Sergeant B.A. Baracus. He's a member of the A-Team."
"The…A-Team?" Leigh echoed very slowly. A realization suddenly dawned on her, "Wait, hold on…you're…you're about to ask me to do something that I'm not going to like, right? Are you…you…" she took his silence as confirmation. "Are you serious!? You want me to — to use a co-worker to draw them out?"
"Well, we'll think of something more creative than that, but that's the basic idea, yes," he said, leaning back. "Just find some way to pretend you need to hire The A-Team. Tell some lie to Baracus that gets his attention. He heads out to the others and BAM —" he slammed his fist onto the desk suddenly, making Leigh flinch, "— we grab 'em. Just like that. Fugitives go to prison, you get paid a…well, we'll just say it's a rather generous reward for aiding in the capture of the A-Team."
"So, let me get this straight," Leigh said, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I betray the trust of a co-worker — a co-worker who has been a tremendous help to me lately, just so you know — and I lie to him about being in so much trouble that I need to get help from the A-Team and then…you guys slap handcuffs onto him and his friends and lock them in prison for the rest of their foreseeable future, pay me a lot of money to continue on with my life, and I just forget that I sent a bunch of potentially innocent men to prison, correct?"
"Leigh," he sighed, "we've been over this before. There's too much evidence that points to them being the ones who killed their commanding officer, not to mention the fact that they robbed a bank…you know, you probably shouldn't spend so much time listening to your brother's foolish conspiracy theories."
"But what if they're actually true?" Leigh asked. "These guys have been on the run since I was eleven years old. Don't you think you could just cut them some slack? A lot of people, a lot more than just me and Aaron, think that they're innocent. Why don't you?"
"Because it's not my job to decide who's guilty and who isn't, all right, Leigh?" he almost yelled. "My job is to send them to the court for the judge to decide," their was a brief silence that fell over them. "Listen, Leigh. Just once, could you actually listen? Okay, you're the only one — recently, at least — thats been in close contact with a member of the A-Team. Or, rather, you're the only one we can track down right now…God only knows the amount of women we could ask about Peck, though. I'd bet just about half the women in Los Angeles have been near to him recently, but that's not the point…"
Leigh stifled a laugh, trying to remember the seriousness of this topic, "Okay, look, dad. I get what you're trying to say, but…really…my conscious won't allow it. There are still those of us who've heard of this A-Team and believe in their innocence, even if you don't. I've never met them, but those stories about them written by that Amy Allen are pretty convincing to me that they aren't the bad guys in this situation."
"Believe what you will," he waved a hand dismissively. "Just consider what I told you. It's the least you could do."
"Fine, fine," Leigh grumbled, tapping her foot impatiently. "May I leave now?"
"Do whatever you please, it isn't as if I could stop you even if I wanted to," and he returned to his paperwork, not even bothering to so much as glance up as Leigh left the office and shut the door (very loudly) behind her. Decker stared at the picture of his family on his desk, and the words of his wife happened to slip out of his own mouth, "She'll come around eventually. Just give her time."
Time was one thing that Decker could not spare, though.
"I told you before the last meet! I wanted that foolish child and her pretend swim team wiped out before we had to go up against them!" Eli Acker slammed his fist on his desk, making two of his employees flinch as they received without complaint the berating that they likely didn't deserve. "Mr. Brooks is furious that we lost, and I blame you two morons!"
"Sir, we've done all we could without killing someone," the taller of the two spoke up. His face was pale and he looked as if he was sweating. His eyes were wide with fear. "It's not our fault! Why couldn't you — well, y'know — just accept that she's a good coach? That she knows how to train good swimmers..."
Acker scoffed, "Because a woman's place is not training athletes, at least not as far as I'm concerned," he sat down, pressing his fingers to his forehead. "Unfortunately for me, you're right. She's our only major competition, and she has been for the past year and a half now. If we don't make it to the invitationals at the end of the month, Mr. Brooks is going to have my head."
"Well, I d-don't think that there's much else we can do to stop them," again it was the taller one who spoke.
"Listen here, String-Bean…" Acker snarled, standing back up and leaning forward on his desk. "I don't care what you do to get the girl out of the way, and I don't care how you do it. You're smart, aren't you? Figure it out! Prove you actually have a brain somewhere in that skinny head of yours!" He sat down once again, glaring at them, "Now, get outta here and do your job. I want it done tonight, understand? And take Shorty here with you."
He'd never bothered remembering his employees names. Instead he just gave them the first nicknames that popped into his head. These two were new, and String-Bean and Shorty might as well just be their actual names. They fit them pretty well, if Acker was being completely honest, but he didn't want to boast too much. The only one who didn't have a nickname was his assistant, as he had requested to be called by his last name, which Acker was open to doing if he couldn't think of a proper nickname for someone.
As soon as String-Bean and Shorty left, wasting no time in doing so, Acker called for his assistant, "Bennet! Would you get in here please?"
The door to his office swung open and Bennet stepped in, clutching his clipboard in his arms as expected, his pencil place behind his ear, "Yes sir, Mr. Acker? Please tell me you don't want the times from the last meet…I-I haven't got them down yet and —"
"Relax, Bennet," Acker said calmly. Bennet was the only employee that Acker was even a teensy bit fond of. He did what he was told with no complaint or question and usually did whatever he was supposed to on time. Acker considered himself to be Bennet's mentor, and Bennet seemed very happy with his job and with being Acker's 'apprentice'. But Acker had things to do and had no time for Bennet's stuttering that he did whenever he messed up. "I need you to get Mr. Brooks on the phone. Tell him that I said that the girl'll be taken care of tonight."
"Yes, sir," Bennet said with a nod. "Will — er — w-will that be all, sir?"
"Hmm, I think it should be. For now, at least..." Acker told him. "Oh, but make time sometime at the end of the week to pay a visit to…what will be the remains of Ms. Decker's building."
The color drained from Bennet's face, but he nodded once more, "Yes sir. I'll get on that straight away."
Acker leaned back in his chair as his office door was shut behind Bennet and he reached for the open book that he had forgotten upon String-Bean and Shorty's visit, returning to his reading. A smirk formed on his lips when he thought about all his problems that would now be solved. It was finally time for some relaxing. Once that Decker girl was out of the way, Mr. Brooks would hopefully get off his case and leave him alone.