Feb 10, 2003
Summary:Tawnia learns what it really means to be on the A-Team.
Tawnia Baker sighed in frustration. She hated to be left out of the action. Once more, she was left behind to "guard the van" while the guys got to do all the fun stuff. Hadn't she proved herself to them, yet? Hadn't she been a real help to them? If Amy could go on missions, why couldn't she?
All her life, Tawnia had dreamed of being the kind of woman people look up to - a powerful, commanding woman. As a child, the young Tanya, as she had been called then, used to imagine herself as Wonder Woman who had managed to defeat Nazis without breaking a nail. Then, as she grew up, Tanya discovered that nature had not given her the physique to appear as anything other than small and cute. Men instinctively wanted to protect her rather than be protected by her.
Even so, she kept trying. She went to the gym regularly. She changed her name to what she considered to be a more aggressive variation: Tawnia. Finally, she had had her break by discovering Amy Allen's secret association with the A-Team. At last, she could become what she had always imagined herself to be. And yet, all they would let her do was give them information and drive the van. Even then, BA wouldn't let her drive the van for long before taking over the wheel.
Admittedly, there had been a few times when she had genuinely questioned if this was what she wanted. When Murdock was shot, she had been scared and very worried for him, especially when the others had been so worried, too. However, it had all worked out, as it always did. Murdock was fine even though he still had another two weeks to go before he was back in action.
Tawnia had hoped that with Murdock out of action, the guys would have at least given her the opportunity to take a more active role. She was just dying to learn how to fire a rifle. Tawnia knew that Face had taught Amy how to fire a rifle and some self-defense maneuvers. Why wouldn't he teach her?
She kicked the front wheel of the van to relieve her anger and then leaned up against it.
The staccato sound of bullets alerted her to the imminent arrival of the A-Team. As usual, they came flying over ground, spraying bullets behind them at unidentifiable pursuers. Tawnia immediately climbed into the driver's seat and started up the van. Using a trick BA had taught her, she revved up the engine and put her other foot on the brakes in preparation for a speedy exit.
Abruptly, Face stumbled and fell. Gasping, Tawnia raised her hand to her mouth and accidentally put the van into gear while releasing the brakes. The van shot forward, out of the reach of the team. Panicking, Tawnia grabbed the wheel and slammed on the brakes and the gas, and stalled the van. Bullets pinged against the side of the van. Screaming in terror, Tawnia, desperately tried to start the van again.
The door beside her was wrenched open. A powerful shove sent her flying into the passenger seat. Tawnia scrambled around and prepared to attack the new driver. Abruptly, she realized it was BA. Quivering in relief, she opened her mouth to apologize, but closed it as the van shot backwards throwing her into the dashboard. She wasn't there for long as the van came to a flying halt.
The side door of the van was wrenched open. Hannibal appeared briefly before bending out of sight. As he straightened, he heaved Face into the van.
Half in and half out of the van, hanging onto to a handle placed into the roof of the van, Hannibal shouted, "Go, BA, go, go!"
Once again, the van shot forward, but this time it didn't stop.
Three hours later in a seedy motel room, Tawnia forced herself to watch as Hannibal cleaned the bullet wound in Face's upper thigh. According to the colonel, it wasn't serious and the copious amount of bleeding had lessened the chance for infection. Tawnia's relief turned to horror when Face matter-of-factly pulled his belt off his trousers, put it between his teeth, and then nodded to the colonel who then proceeded to sew the lieutenant's wound shut.
After Hannibal had bandaged the wound, the two of them began joking about the mission. Tawnia stared at them in disbelief. When BA added his own unexpectedly comical observation, Tawnia got up and left the room. Outside, she leaned against the wall beside the motel room door and stared at the night sky.
She was utterly confused and, in some deep primal way, terrified. This was not at all like what she had expected. She had expected the anger and the lecture she had received in the first half hour in the van. She had not expected the casual acceptance of Face's wound.
She remembered how upset everyone had been the previous month when Murdock was shot in the shoulder. At that time, they had all behaved in a way that made sense to her.
But this...this cavalier attitude confused her. She knew how much they all cared for each other. And yet, BA and Hannibal were already teasing Face for whining about a "mere flesh wound" as if the deep furrow was nothing. To Tawnia, it was not nothing. It was a serious wound. In her view, they should be rushing him to the hospital, just as they had for Murdock. After all, if nothing else, Face must be low on blood - it certainly seemed like he had shed an enormous amount on the floor of the van. She couldn't figure it out.
Then it hit her. They weren't concerned because they had seen this kind of thing before. In fact, they had seen it many times before. Now that she thought about it, Hannibal seemed to handle that needle with a great deal of skill - the kind of skill that comes with practise. Tawnia was smart enough to know that people soon become blase about anything if it happens often enough.
Tawnia's hands went ice-cold. Good God, what had she gotten herself into? This wasn't a game. This wasn't a romantic Robin Hood story. This was real. The bullets were real. People got hurt. The Team may seem to have an invisible shield against bullets, but it wasn't real. Look at Murdock with his still stiff shoulder. Look at Face with the angry red line on his already swollen and purpling leg.
Like a revelation, Tawnia could feel the secret aspirations of a lifetime disappear, leaving her cold and empty. She knew that she could still be of help to them, but now she did not want to be one of them. They had had many years of war and battle to harden them. And now, Tawnia was absolutely certain that she never wanted to experience the kind of pain and hardship required to be like them.
With sudden crystal clarity, Tawnia realized that she would never be part of the team. And that was okay with her.