The St. Nick Fix
*Author's Note: This story was inspired by seeing Incident at Crystal Lake two days after watching the Santa Clause 2. I saw Hannibal with that grey-white beard at the gas station, pointed and stated (not unlike Neil from the first Santa Clause): "Santa." I know it's early for a Christmas story but if I don't start it now, I won't get it done before Christmas. Hope you enjoy!
*Legal Yadaa: The A-Team is the property of Stephen J. Cannell. No ownership of the characters is implied, this is strictly for fun.
Hannibal Smith was used to this kind of wardrobe for a role. Hot, stuffy and added girth. His stints as the Aquamaniac had made him immune to the kind of costumes that sent other actors crying for their mothers. This was a role he could get used to.
Hannibal loved making the audience, especially the kids, smile. He also loved to show off his pearly whites for the camera. This Santa gig was the best of both worlds. But the best part (in Hannibal's mind)-the best part-was that Decker would never dream of looking for him at the busiest mall in L.A. on the busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve.
Hannibal chuckled and let out a hearty "Ho! Ho! Ho!" as he set down the little boy who had just asked for an MP3 player. MP3's. He chuckled again and stole a glance at the tall, lanky elf that was escorting another child up to him. Santa's mental elf. Murdock caught Hannibal looking at him and gave the Colonel a wink.
"Now don't be shy," he was saying to the little girl as he helped her onto Santa's lap. "I personally guarantee on my honor as an elf . . . he does not bite."
The little girl gave a weak smile and stared at the platform's red carpet. The instant she seated herself Hannibal sensed that she was more than just shy.
Something was wrong.
"Well now, what's your name?" Hannibal looked at the girk, trying to figure out what was wrong. The girl looked like a miniature Judy Garland from her role in the Wizard of Oz. Some of her red hair was tied back in a powder blue bow that perfectly matched her dress. All she was missing was Toto and the ruby slippers. She continued to stare at the carpet when she answered.
"Hannah?" Hannibal could barely hear what she said. Hannah nodded. "That's a pretty name. How old are you, Hannah?"
Hannibal looked up from the girl to the adult standing behind Murdock. One look at the face on the battle-axe of a woman told Hannibal she was not Hannah's mother. Her gaze never left the child. Parents were attentive and excited, sometimes more so than their children. Nothing like this woman. She had the same look on her face as the guards in the stockade had. Hannibal remembered those few days vividly. "Why the long face?" As if he didn't know.
"Christmas is a time for joy, Hannah. It's a magic time." Hannah raised her head at the word magic. Hannibal smiled. The stage lights used to illuminate the platform glinted off the half-glasses that were part of his costume. Hannah inhaled sharply as she caught the twinkle in Santa's bright blue eyes. He looked just like all the stories said he would. This Santa was different from the other store Santas she'd seen in her short years.
Seeing hope light in the girl's eyes, Hannibal continued.
"Let's see what Santa can do to make your Christmas a happy one. Tell me, what do you want for Christmas?"
The photographer cleared his throat. Hannibal gave him a cursory glance. So he was going over his allotted time per child, so what?
"I want the A-Team."
Hannibal had been prepared for any answer but that. The woman who brought Hannah to the mall, started toward Santa. Murdock nodded at Hannibal, grabbed the woman's arm before she could protest and escorted her to the other side of the platform to wait for the picture.
Santa turned Hannah to face the camera.
"The A-Team. That's a tall order. What do you want them for?"
"To take me away from the people who took me from my daddy."
"That's a very good reason. Can you tell me where they can find you? Smile!"
The flash from the camera blinded them both for a moment. Hannibal saw Hannah shake her head no as he set her down.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! You be a good girl and Santa will see about getting you what you asked for," he called after Hannah as she was dragged away by the severe-looking woman.
Santa stood up and looked at his watch. He looked alarmed.
"Sorry kids! Santa has just been informed of an emergency at the North Pole," He gestured to his watch as he side-stepped off the platform. Murdock played his part perfectly, gasping and looking at the watch. "We'll be back as soon as we can!"
With that, he and Murdock dashed away from the platform before a riot started. Hannibal hated to disappoint the rest of the children like that, especially on Christmas Eve. No doubt he would be fired for this. Then he remembered that it was his last day on the job anyway.
"What creeps kidnap a little kid around Christmas?" Murdock asked. Hannibal knew it was rhetorical, he answered anyway.
"The kind that get coal in their stockings if I have anything to say about it! We'll have Face and B.A. P.A.'d when we get to the van. That woman wasn't taking anymore chances with Hannah here at the mall. They'll probably head straight back to where they're keeping her."
"Right on, Colonel."
"Be careful with those presents, B.A.! I want them to be in one piece when the kids at the orphanage open them tonight," Face said, trying to organize the packages B.A. was tossing from the shopping carts into the back of the black van.
"I'd be more careful if you were out here helping me, sucka! I got them off the shelves. I put them in the carts. I pushed all of these carts out here. For what? You said you was gonna load them in the van."
"Whose idea was it to get Hannibal to do his Santa act at the orphanage? Mine. Whose idea was it to buy all these gifts? Mine, too. Who was the one picking out each gift? That was me as well. Hmmm. I think I'm doing more than my fair share by helping you fit them all in the van here."
B.A. responded with a growl and a shake of his head. He turned back to the wrapped and tagged presents stacked in the carts to hide his smile. Faceman couldn't help himself, he tried to con everybody.
"Yeah?" B.A. tossed another box at Face when he had composed himself. "You do this every year. You should be thankin' Hannibal for agreein' to help you pull this off, Faceman! Not only that, you used his employee discount to buy all these presents!"
"B.A.," Face rolled his eyes at the big man. "Where does it say that I can't give presents I didn't pay full price for? Besides, you know that they jack the prices up on Christmas Eve. It's highway robbery!"
They were still arguing on thie vein when Santa and his elf burst out of the mall.
"Face! B.A.! We're on assignment! Now!"
"Now?" Face groaned. "How did we managed to get an assignment? And on Christmas Eve of all days."
"From a little girl named Hannah," replied Hannibal, peeling off his fake beard and mustache.
"She looks just like Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, only she's six," Murdock added as he helped Hannibal put of the Santa Suit. Always being on the run had taught the four men the importance of wearing their street clothes under any disguise.
"I almost hate to ask-B.A.! Watch it! Some of these are fragile!" Face hugged as many presents as he could reach close to him, in an attempt to keep them from tumbling onto Murdock, as B.A. circled the enormous parking lot. "What did a six-year-old girl do to hire the A-Team?"
"Simple," said Hannibal around the cigar he'd put in his mouth. "She asked Santa for them."
This response elicited another groan from the harried Face.
"Hey Hannibal! I think I see her!" B.A. pointed to a white Lincoln two rows away from the van.
"A miniature Judy Garland . . ." Face murmured in wonder as his gaze followed the direction pointed out by B.A.'s bejewelled finger.
"That's her. Make sure we don't lose that Lincoln, Sgt. Santa wants to personally deliver this package to the slimeballs responsible for kidnapping her."
"Kidnap?" B.A. and Face said simultaneously. B.A. turned on Hannibal.
"Why didn't you say so? What kinda creep kidnaps a kid at Christmas?!"
"Y'know, that's just what I said, B.A.-" Murdock began.
"Shut up, fool!"
end of Chapter One.