Disclaimer: I own nothing…not even the laptop this was written on…how sad…
A/N: Something I wrote while not paying attention to my Stats professor. Just a snippet soon after they escaped (the first time) where Face learns that he needs to speak up for himself.
"Hey, BA, pull over at that burger joint, we'll stop and get something to eat before we pull an all-nighter to get to Nevada."
"Sure thing, Hannibal."
BA turned into the parking lot, but before he even got to put the van in park Face spoke up. "Can't we sit down at a restaurant and eat?" BA continued parking despite his protest.
"Murdock, run in and get four burgers, one with milk, and the rest with…what do you want Face?"
"I'm not hungry."
"Two seconds ago you wanted to go eat at a nice restaurant, and now you're not hungry."
Face met the steely blue eyes that were boring straight into his. "I'm not hungry."
"Murdock, get the pouting lieutenant a burger with a bottle of water…and I'll take a water as well, get yourself whatever you want to drink."
"Okay, Muchachos." And before Face even got the chance to open his mouth again, the pilot had jumped out his side of the van and was bouncing off towards the front door, singing loudly all the way.
"Crazy, fool," muttered BA, trying not to grin as Murdock attracted the attention of all the other people in his vicinity.
"I'm not hungry, Hannibal, BA can have my burger."
"You are going to eat, Lieutenant, you know the rule about eating before a mission…ah! Stop. You are eating, and that's an order." And with that Hannibal turned around, leaving the lieutenant with an open mouth, which he clamped shut, and stared mutinously at his feet. Face stayed that way until Murdock came prancing back in, tossing a sack in each member's lap. BA shook up his carton of milk, downing it, before backing the van up and fishing for his burger in the bag. He drove back onto the highway, steering wheel in one hand, burger in the other, humming to himself and looking for hazards.
Hannibal had pitched his cigar for the burger, and was looking at the road signs to figure out how far they were from the exit they needed to take. Murdock, meanwhile, was using his burger bun as a mouth and pickles and toothpicks as eyes to make Benny the Burger.
"Hey, Facey, say hi to Benny."
"Hi, Benny." Face looked up and smiled at Murdock.
"Hi, Face," came the high-pitched voice of the burger. BA groaned from the driver's seat. "Big-Ugly-Mudsucker is jealous he doesn't have me as a burger!"
"Hannibal, shut that fool up!"
"Let him go, BA."
"I'm making BA jealous of my juicy goodness. How's Bernitta?" Murdock added in a whisper, "She's in your bag, Face."
"I'm not sure, Benny, why don't you ask her yourself." Face handed Murdock the bag, and Murdock pulled out a similar looking burger…with a lettuce bow on its head.
"Oh…oh Benny…I just want to be eaten!"
"Well, Bernitta, you have to tell him how you feel." Murdock turned the bow-adorned burger towards Face.
"Oh…please, stop teasing Face, and just bite me! Bite me!"
"Sorry, Bernitta, but I'm not hungry."
"But…if you wait…I'll be cold!"
"Then ask BA to bite you." Hannibal turned in his seat to watch the conversation. "But, I'm not eating Bernitta the Burger. I won't."
"Are you disobeying a direct order, Lieutenant?" Face's features went blank, no emotion, no expression, nothing. "I ordered you to eat that burger, Lieutenant Peck! You WILL stop throwing your temper tantrum, and you WILL eat that burger."
"No, sir," said Face quietly.
Hannibal was caught off guard. Face didn't disobey direct orders. He never did. And if Face started disobeying orders, it would get him killed later. They needed to put a stop to this now. "What did you say, Lieutenant?" Hannibal's voice was low and steely, his glare could melt ice. BA kept glancing back and forth, and Murdock had dropped the burger and was stroking the air, talking to Billy.
"No, sir, I will not eat that burger. I will not eat any burger. Not tonight."
"Lieutenant. You WILL eat that burger, or you will get out of this van and go home. And when we get home, YOU will go through some serious retraining about who is in command here."
"Colonel, I know who is in command, sir. But you can't command my heart to stop beating, and you can't command my soul. I will not eat that burger."
"The burger has nothing to do with your heart or soul, unless you think it's giving you heart disease! BA, pull over now. GET OUT, Lieutenant. Today is Friday. We should be back by Tuesday, make sure you keep it clear, because the ropes course is waiting for you."
"Yes, sir," said Face, grabbing his bag from the back and jumping out the van to the side of the road, slamming the door shut and turning back towards the last town and the nearest phone.
Hannibal made BA wait a minute, fully expecting Face to turn around and apologize, but Face just continued on the five mile walk back to town. "What has gotten into him…" muttered Hannibal as BA pulled away. Both BA and Murdock knew better than to say anything when Hannibal was in one of his moods, but both knew it was a bad idea to go on this job without Face.
BA just kept driving, but Murdock knew that there had to be some reason Face was being so obstinate, and couldn't help but try to puzzle it out. Face had been fine when he picked him up that morning. Murdock replayed the conversation in his head.
"Hey, Facey, nice going. Can I drive?"
"The 'vette…not a chance, Murdock." Murdock sighed and shifted in his seat.
"Okay…you let Hannibal drive it."
"Hannibal just takes it. He doesn't ask."
"Oh…so I shouldn't ask?"
"That wasn't the point, Murdock. I appreciate you asking…but I want to drive right now. I'll make you a deal, when we get back we'll take the day off and you can drive her wherever you want to go."
"I guess that makes up for Billy and I missing the big Friday Fish Fry."
"Sorry about that. Is there one next week?"
"You care if I come?"
"Oh! I'd like that Facey, you me and Billy can play catch!"
"Sounds like a plan."
"I mean…they won't be doing as much special stuff next week, 'cause it isn't the first day of Lent and all, but it would still be fun, and I'd like it if you'd come…"
"I'll be there, Murdock. I promise."
"Did you hear that, Billy! We're gonna play catch with a fish!" Face had laughed good naturedly and pulled into his lot, waiting for BA to come by with the van.
He had been fine this morning…happy even. Especially for Face, he'd been happy. "Maybe Face wanted to go to this week's fish fry, Billy…"
"What fish fry, fool?" asked BA, upset and trying to displace some of his anger by arguing with Murdock.
"The one we were having for the first day of Lent…oh...BA, turn the van around."
"Watchya talkin' about fool?"
"Hannibal, it's the first day of Lent…Face can't eat the burger."
Hannibal sighed. "Turn around BA. Kid needs to learn to speak up for himself." But subconsciously, Hannibal knew that Face was somewhat insecure about such things, and needed prodding to get him to open up, especially about personal matters like that. He knew that he had let his temper get the better of him, and it could be months worth of setbacks with his lieutenant and the progress they had made towards getting him to open up. "Aww, kid, what am I going to do with you?" he whispered as BA took off, 30mph over the speed limit, the other way.
Everyone was quiet until they found the young figure trailing his way back towards the last town, and Hannibal rolled down his window. "Need a ride, kid?"
Face turned, his face was tear streaked and he looked tired and dirty from the dusty road, but a small smile appeared on his face. "Sorry, my commanding officer told me to never take rides with strangers…"
"Well, this commanding officer is sorry, and would like to offer you a ride…to Nevada."
Suddenly Face burst into tears, a sob tearing at his throat, and Hannibal was reminded that he had only just turned 20, he was deadly, he could kill people in his sleep and not realize it, but he was still a kid. Hannibal opened his door and hopped out, enveloping the young man in a hug. "I'm…sorry, I didn't mean to disobey, I just…"
"Shh…I should have asked. I shouldn't just assume, especially with you, Lieutenant. Come on, kid. Let's go."
Hannibal pulled him back so he could see his face. "I know, and I'm sorry too. If you would have just told me it's Lent…"
"I don't want to be a bother…I mean, we'd have to go find somewhere that there isn't all meat on the menu…it would be a set back, and we might be late…"
"Team comes first, and you're part of this team. You come first, your feelings, your safety, come first. Don't ever think you're not wanted, or needed, or important. And don't be afraid to tell me when I'm wrong, even if I'm in…how does BA put it… 'a mood.' We're not in the army now kid, but you're on this team, and this team needs you to trust them. So, next time you've got a problem, will you talk about it to one of us?" Face nodded and Hannibal lifted his glove to wipe away the tear paths. "Get in the van, kid, we'll find you something to eat."
"Thanks, Hannibal. I'm hungry."