Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me and I make no profit from this work.

Notes: This story was written in response to a prompt on the LJ kinkmeme for unrequited Hannibal/Face. Please note that this is set pre-movie.

"Don't let it happen again, Lieutenant Peck." With that last gruff reminder, Hannibal Smith turned on his heel and strode out of the tent, not bothering to wait for the subdued "yes, sir" that followed him out.

Face stood there a moment longer, back straight and expression impassive, though twitches in throat and jaw as well as the whiteness of his knuckles would have given the lie to his apparent calm – had anyone been around to notice.

If anyone cared to notice… "Damn," he whispered, head and shoulders dropping down from their "Attention" pose. "Shit," he continued as he leaned forward onto the camp table in an attitude no one would call "At Ease." "Fuck." There was no force behind any of the words – and none of the feeling he wished he could put into them.

I was only doing what he trained me to do. Face tried to summon defensive anger. It had been his usual response to reprimands from commanding officers. "Sanctimonious assho—"

He couldn't finish the epithet. While he had freely (and sometimes perhaps even accurately) applied it to past COs, he just could not use it for Colonel Smith – a man he respected and the one person whose good opinion he valued… The man who had just scolded him like a naughty schoolboy and left with brisk, formal words.

"Damn, damn, damn…" Anger failing, frustration and self-disgust heated his words. Where did I go wrong? He'd only wanted to impress Hannibal – to make the man proud of him and to have him return even a fraction of the… respect Face had for him. He'd hoped a single-handed act of audacious courage would win him warm praise from his colonel. Instead, his act of stupidity had nearly cost him his life and had only earned him Hannibal's anger and disappointment.

"God damn it!" he swore at himself passionately, slamming his fists down on the table and clenching his eyes shut against the heat and moisture that were trying to fill them. "Be a man, Peck," he repeated words that had been said to him so often in his life. "Be a man!" He slammed his fists down again, only to have the landing of his right hand softened unexpectedly. He cracked a bleary eye to see what he'd hit. Two pieces of worn, weathered tan leather were half-crushed under his clenched fist.

Hannibal's gloves… Face fully opened both his eyes and slowly loosed the tension in his hands. Unconsciously, the fingers of his right began to move back and forth over the supple fabric, stroking it softly and taking in its texture: rough where it was scarred or marked with dust and smooth everywhere else. Just like him… Or, like he had imagined the older man to be from the glimpses he'd had… from the stares he hadn't been able to stop.

Hannibal. Trembling slightly, he brought the gloves up to his face and breathed in deeply. Gunpowder, dust, sweat, leather… all underlain by a heady musk that was distinctly Hannibal. "Hannibal," Face breathed, addressing his absent CO with a familiarity that he rarely dared – never earned – when they stood together.

"Templeton," the older man responded in his mind, whispering the name that the colonel had never uttered in reality. Face brushed the fingers of the gloves across his cheek in pale imitation of a caress. "I almost lost you today." He shivered as he imagined Hannibal's voice, that improbable mix of gravel and honey, murmuring softly against his ear. He dragged the gloves down his cheek, then lower, halfway around the column of his throat to rest in its hollow as heat began to pool deep in his abdomen. Not fully aware of what he was doing, he lowered the gloves, then slowly slipped them onto his own trembling hands.

They're too big, he observed distantly with a vague sense of unworthiness and an even more distant pang of shame. "I'm sorry, sir… Hannibal," he whispered, raising the back of his left hand to his mouth and softly kissing the dusty leather of the glove.

"Don't you ever do that to me again," his fantasy Hannibal half-echoed the real man's words from minutes ago. The fantasy's voice was husked with emotion that Face had never heard in reality. Face's right hand pressed against his own chest before sliding down in a long, trembling stroke to his belly. "Never again, kid." The nickname was affectionate, barely resembling the disappointed epithet that the real Colonel Smith used to remind his newest lieutenant just what he thought of him mental and emotional maturity.

"I won't let you down again. Hannibal." Face slid his left thumb over his lips before taking it into his mouth. He tasted and felt the same heady scent and texture on his tongue, rough, smooth, and intoxicating. With a muffled groan, he began to suck softly on the leather, even as his right hand moved haltingly under the waistband of his pants and underwear.

"Temp…" The heat of Face's own lust filled the voice of his illusion. With another muffled groan, he gripped the already nearly throbbing shaft of his erection. "Do you know just how much I want you?" Deeper in the fantasy now, it was Hannibal's hand that stroked him, rubbing worn leather all along his heated length and then caressing the tip with a strong finger. Face could almost feel the other man's warm solidity at his back. "How much I need you?"

Nowhere near as much as I want and need you, he answered himself honestly enough. "Hannibal," he moaned around the thumb in his mouth. "Hannibal," again as the hand on his erection stroked harder, faster.

"I love you." The words, whether voiced by his fantasy of Hannibal or by Face himself, vibrated in the young lieutenant's mind. Then, he bit down on the thumb in his mouth to stifle his cry as he came, hard and shaking, in his own hand. "Hannibal," he whispered again softly as he pulled his thumb out of his mouth and lowered his left hand to hold his weight. He leaned against the table, shaking and panting in the aftermath, keeping his gloved right hand around his softening shaft – to hold onto the fantasy just a moment longer.

Sense returned with his breath, though, and he pulled his hand from his damp underwear with a sigh of self-disgust. His sense of unworthiness and shame was anything but distant as he regarded the too-large gloves on his hands – the one soiled by saliva and the other by his ejaculate. "You're a reckless fool, Templeton Peck," he repeated some of the words his colonel had used in reprimanding him earlier. An unworthy, reckless, hopeless fool… He pulled the gloves off roughly, but stopped in the act of throwing them into a dark corner of the tent.

I can't leave them to be found like this. He clutched them in his right hand, guilt joining the shame that coursed through him. With another sigh, he shoved them deep into a pocket. They're only his second best pair, he excused himself weakly while he exited the tent. I'll keep them for now, he decided as he made his way to the showers, hand still stroking the soiled leather in spite of himself.

He'd keep them in the hope that, someday, he might at least be worthy of Hannibal Smith's second best.