Title: A Lifetime Oath (Murdock/Face)

All was quiet inside the Majestic Lion nightclub. A few locals crowded the bar, demanding cask lager. Apart from the place's sleek black dog, Molli and the bartender; the customers consisted of no more than five in total. The bartender shook his head and looked at his watch. Business was bad recently, very bad.

Then suddenly, the door opened a crack, and a lanky man with brown eyes waltzed into the pub with a pair of mickey mouse ears on and a ridiculous black cloak puffing out behind him. The locals stared suspiciously at the unexpected sight as the door opened again and lots of men appeared, laughing amongst themselves.

The oldest among them, a man called Hannibal Smith, or Colonel for short, walked up to the bar and ordered a round of drinks for all present. The locals immediately warmed to Hannibal, raising their glasses. Hannibal smiled and nodded towards them.

"What's going on?" One of the locals asked Hannibal. "Who is that guy?"

Hannibal laughed easily. "He's on his stag night. Last night a free guy, guess he wants to go insane tonight."

The men turned to the lunatic in the cloak and mickey mouse ears, nodded to him and raised their glasses in honour of the upcoming ceremony.

Captain HM Murdock nodded back and started to dance, his heart full of joy and happiness. He had always wanted marriage and at this moment his heart was full of nothing else.

BA Baracus, who had been holding coats, dumped them on some of the seats and went over to Hannibal to ask for a milk only.

Hannibal smiled wryly at the big man. "No milk here, BA. Only beer."

BA growled and reluctantly picked up a pint and devoured it in a single draught. Hannibal watched amazed. BA normally didn't drink, and in a moment, Hannibal could see the signs that meant he was a little tipsy.

"Another please?" BA asked, trying not to belch.

Amongst the happy talkers, and well-wishers was a man who was feeling anything but happy. Lieutenant Tempelton Peck sat in the corner, on his own, without a drink. He felt terrible he couldn't join in the fun at his best friends upcoming wedding. But his heart was full of hurt and very heavy.

- Flashback No 1 -

Murdock rushed into the room and hugged his best friend. Face relished the closeness and the proximity of Murdock, trying not to seem too satisfied by the warm embrace.

"What's up?" Face asked.

"I'm getting married!" Murdock said, releasing his best friend and jumping around the room.

"Married!?" Face felt his heart sag. He looked depressed, and felt like his emotions would explode. "Who to?"

"Kelly," Murdock responded, his joyfulness apparent.

"Married?" Face whispered, he felt the tears rising. How could he tell Murdock how he felt, now? He would just confuse the pilot, maybe confuse his feelings for Kelly. Murdock was so happy and Face suddenly felt very alone.

Murdock watched his younger friend, a hint of worry in his eyes. He hadn't expected this response at all. He had expected happiness, from one friend to another, instead he was greeted with sadness.

"What's up, Faceman? Isn't it good news?" Murdock asked sullenly.

Face brightened instantly, performing the act well as he'd done for many years. "Sure, Murdock, sure."

Murdock didn't fall for it. Sighing deeply he indicated for Face to take a seat. Face felt Murdock sit close next to him and he was afraid of looking up at the pilot. Murdock simply saw too much inside him.

"What's wrong, Face? And don't give me 'nothing is wrong' 'cause I know there is brother." Murdock looked at Face.

"I just hope this... doesn't change anything between us," Face said, wishing he didn't have to speak half truths.

"Nothing will change," Murdock said gently. "You are my best friend, Face. I will always love you."

Face felt himself choke, and drew away, moving out of the room and away from a very confused Murdock, sitting alone, wondering what the hell was going on.

- End of Flashback No 1 -

Face looked at the table before him depressed and then looked up to see Murdock dancing like a madman in the mickey mouse ears and cloak. He smiled weakly, trying to remember the day he had been 'forced' to get Murdock an appropriate tuxedo for his wedding.

- Flashback No 2 -

Face was dragged into the wedding store by an overly excited Murdock. The assistant watched with raised eyebrows as Murdock took a wedding dress down and said to his best friend.

"Facey, think this suits me?"

Face laughed "Too frilly for you. You need something like this..." Face walked over to the men's section and pulled out a tuxedo.

The assistant watched all this happening with wide eyes. One of the men was looking through wedding dresses, the other through tuxedos. Had to mean one thing.

"Found anything you like?" The assistant asked Murdock, who was still looking through the wedding dresses.

"What do you think of this?" Murdock joked, his eyes fluttering, pulling out a lilac dress. "I would wear white, but I ain't a virgin."

The man swallowed, not catching on to the sarcasm in Murdock's voice. "How long have you and your fiance been together?" The assistant pointed to Face.

Murdock laughed, the realisation setting in. "I was only kidding. Jeesh, some people complain if you have a little fun. He's here helping me pick a tuxedo for my wedding with a WOMAN called Kelly."

The assistant smiled, relieved. "That's good. We don't have a wedding dress in your size, sir."

Murdock clapped the assistant on the back, and walked over to Face. "Did you hear that. Poor guy thinks we're engaged."

Face didn't turn around for a while and Murdock began to feel nervous. "Face? What's up?"

Face turned and Murdock was amazed to see tears clouding the younger man's eyes. Without saying a word, Face thrust a tuxedo into Murdock's hands and walked out of the shop. Murdock was speechless and then he looked down at the tuxedo. It was perfect, exactly what he wanted. Face knew him far too well.

Puzzled, Murdock continued browsing, only to finish with Face's choice. Concerned, he wondered why Face was behaving so oddly recently.

- End of Flashback 2 -

Face felt a presence which startled him out of his reverie. He looked up to see Murdock standing concerned over him. As Murdock sat beside him, Face sighed.

"Now, tell me what's wrong" Murdock said gently.

Face wondered whether he should go for broke and confess everything. If he didn't, he would lose any chance with Murdock. And he had to know for certain that Murdock didn't have the same feelings for him, before his heart exploded with the tension.

"I love you, Murdock." Face said softly.

Murdock sat stunned for an instant and then clapped Face on the back. "I told you this won't change anything between us matey. You know how much I love you; your're my best friend in the whole world. Now, have a drink." Murdock put a pint of beer into Face's hand and watched the young man devour it almost immediately. Murdock shrugged and gave Face another pint, his worry not entirely disappearing.

An hour later, an unconscious Face was dragged into a hotel room. Hannibal, BA and Murdock looked down at the sleeping man worriedly.

"Why did he drink himself unconscious?" Hannibal wondered aloud.

Murdock tried to make sense of it all, but it just seemed to him that Face was afraid he was going to lose his friendship. "He's scared he's going to lose me, Colonel."

"Lose you, Captain?" Hannibal asked confused.

"Lose me as his best muchacho," Murdock explained.

Hannibal nodded. "Its understandable - you two have always been so... close."

BA clapped Hannibal and Murdock on the back. "Come on, we gotta keep movin' from pub to pub. I'll make sure Face is ready tomorrow."

Murdock, Hannibal and BA left the room, Murdock shooting one more confused look at sleeping Face before he shut the door.

The night went well, and finally at one in the morning, Murdock lay in the hotel room, looking into space. He was too excited to sleep, yet something was horribly wrong with Face. Something he needed to put his finger on.

Leaving his bed, he wandered down the corridor to Face's room, and let himself in. Face was still sound asleep, and Murdock sat by his side, rubbing his forehead gently.

"Facey, what's going on? Why so glum?" Murdock whispered softly.

Face opened his eyes and stared at Murdock weakly. "I am losing you Murdock."

Murdock shook his head. "Never Face. Never."

"It's true. I've been a coward all these years about my feelings. And now its caught up with me. Goodbye, Murdock." Face turned away and Murdock could see the sobs escaping. He felt helplessly confused. Rising, he left the room and wandered back to his own temporary bed, trying to put the pieces together.


The big day.

Murdock stood back admiring his reflection in the mirror. The tuxedo fit perfectly. He looked at Face who was busying himself with the buttons.

"Hey muchacho. Want to give me a good luck kiss?" Murdock joked.

Face looked bemused. Murdock was aware of his feelings and was taunting him? Shit! Deciding to get his own back, he cupped Murdock's hand in his fingers and kissed him fully on the lips before tremblingly taking his fingers away and leaving the room to do something else.

Murdock stood amazed, rooted to the spot. Had Face actually kissed him? What the hell was going on?

BA arrived at the door. "Come on crazy foo', we got to get to the church."

Murdock numbly nodded and moved out with BA, getting into the hired limousine, another of Face's little touches and drove off to the church in silence.

"You okay crazy man? Your not getting second thoughts?" BA asked worriedly.

Murdock shook his head, dispelling his confused thoughts. "Definitely not, I love Kelly so much."

BA grinned and slapped Murdock affectionately on the back. "Good, 'cause we're here."

Murdock looked at the guests seated in the pews, all looking at him take his place at the foot of the alter. He looked around searchingly, and saw an empty seat. His heart sank. Hannibal was best man, standing behind him - as Face was not around. He wondered why Face was feeling so down, and then felt the paper in his pocket. He took it out, and found it was an envelope in Face's handwriting. Opening it shakily, he read the letter inside, the words etched in Face's beautiful handwriting.

"Dear Murdock. I'm sorry for the cowardice, the reluctance to tell you my feelings. I was unsure how you would react and this has made me terribly alone for many years. However, now that I know you couldn't ever possibly love me the way I love you, I just wanted you to know finally that I am IN love WITH you. I have been for a long, long time. The first time I saw you, my heart belonged to you. I have never felt so strongly for anyone in my life. I don't wish to cause you confusion, or hurt you in any way. Marry Kelly, and be happy. I won't be attending the wedding, I can't, I'm so sorry. I'm leaving town for a while, taking an extended vacation. Love you, Face. PS, you'll love the reception."

Murdock trembled as he stuffed the letter into his pocket. Everything was starting to make sense now. The reaction he had received when he had told Face he was getting married, the emotion inside the wedding shop, and finally his silence at the stag night, his steady drinking which had caused him to pass out. Then in his room, he had told Murdock he was losing him. Murdock cursed himself for being so stupid and not catching on.

The music started to play, and he looked behind himself dizzily. Kelly was coming up the isle, and she was wearing the most beautiful dress he had ever seen. He closed his eyes and only saw Face in his mind. Face in that dress. Face happy and smiling, and finally not alone any more. Murdock felt ashamed, and confused. He loved Kelly, didn't he? Or was this his excuse to get married; to have a normal life?

Kelly came to his side, and he smiled nervously at her. The priest droned the words he had uttered a thousand times before. Murdock vaguely heard Kelly's "I do!" echo through the church, and the priest suddenly turned to him.

Murdock looked at the priest, begging for help. He looked at the crowd, waiting expectantly, and he looked at Kelly. "I... I..."

Kelly smiled encouragingly, squeezing his hand gently. "Say it, Murdock. Then we're off to Hawaii for two weeks."

"I... I..." Murdock turned to Kelly, and mustered all his strength. He had to say it. It was now or never.

"I... do... n't love you Kelly, I'm sorry. I can't do this to you... or me." Murdock ran down the isle, out of the church leaving Kelly standing dumfounded. She turned to Hannibal with tears in her eyes.

Hannibal shrugged. "It figures. He's gone to find Face."

Kelly looked at Hannibal disbelievingly. "Face?!"

Hannibal nodded. "Yep, there has been some serious chemistry between them for years kiddo. Not your fault, so don't worry. Its nothing to do with you. Murdock has discovered who he is really in love with, that's all."

Kelly started to cry, and Hannibal held her gently.

Murdock raced to the limousine.

"Where to?" The driver asked, shocked by Murdock's hair blown out of style and his reddened face.

Murdock thought for an instant. It all counted now, everything he had learned about Face, everything he had come to love over the years. Where would he have gone? "The airport, make it quick."

Face stood with his bag in his hand, waiting for his flight. Damned flight was late as usual. he got himself a coffee and sat supping the liquid, feeling the caffeine re-energise him. He heard his flight number and got up slowly, heading to the plane with his one-way ticket.

Murdock reached the airport and darted out of the limousine. He looked at the many people around him, and finally decided a course of action. He would never guess which plane Face was on in time. He headed to the tannoy booth, and surprised the people inside.

"Can I borrow the mic, please," Murdock begged. "I'm losing someone I love, please!"

The man flabbergasted handed Murdock the mic and switched up the volume.

"Face, its Murdock. Face, please don't get on that plane! Listen to me, please."

Face looked up startled by Murdock's voice. He stayed exactly where he was, just in front of the opening, while the other people boarded the aircraft around him."

"I love you Facey. Don't you dare get on that plane. I know you got a one-way ticket. I didn't marry her. I love you. Please, meet me at the tannoy booth by gate 1."

Face had tears in his eyes, and moved back into the overcrowded area, away from the plane and walked as if in a dream towards the tannoy booth.

Murdock was scanning the area intently and suddenly saw Face, walking slowly towards him.

Dropping everything, Face threw himself into the Captain's arms, embracing him deeply, unable to let go. Murdock pulled away, and cupped Face's head in his hands, looking lovingly into his eyes. "I've been a jerk Face, can you forgive me?"

Face smiled, all his unhappiness cast aside. "I love you Murdock. Of course I can forgive you."

Murdock kissed Face on the lips, his tongue exploring the soft mouth, and sighing in happiness. How could he have almost thrown this away?

Murdock drew back suddenly, and folded his arms mockingly. "So where was the plane headed, Face?"

Face smiled and held out his ticket. Murdock read the destination and started to laugh.

"Hawaii, Face?" Murdock asked, sarcastically.

"Well, I figured if I wanted to win you over I'd have a better chance in Hawaii," Face grinned.

Murdock shook his head in amazement. "I'm touched."

"Hey, I never give up," Face smiled.

The two men embraced. Murdock broke the eager hug, and walked away, his hand covering Face's and leading him back to the limousine.

"Come on Facey, we have a wedding to attend," Murdock said slyly.

"What wedding?" Face asked, confused.

"Ours!" Murdock said firmly.

Face looked shocked. "What, now Murdock?"

Murdock grinned. "Look, we almost made a huge mistake earlier. Now I know how I really feel, I want you forever. And, I want to marry the right girl... aherm... guy."

Face laughed. His loneliness left him, and he slipped inside the limousine next to his best friend and the love of his life. Murdock sat next to him, an arm draped around his shoulders.

"Where to, gentlemen? "The driver asked.

"The church." Murdock replied. "I got a lifetime oath to make to my best buddy here."