On the ladder out of the abyss

The A-team: A mission goes horribly wrong, when a visit to college drags Murdock down to the darker sides of his insanity. Will the team be able to get him back up, or will they just further the damage? (Intended for the movie-verse, so if read with the TV-show in mind it would probably seem more OOC)

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1. 1: Murdock's pov

 

It was quite simple, actually. All he had to do was get inside the school, find Face, buy the right cookies, circle a few times, and then follow Face when he was done with his shift. Murdock wasn't entirely sure what Hannibal hoped to archive by this, or what exactly it had to do with the case they were working on. What he did know was that someone had been selling drugs to the youngsters at this business college, and for some reason this had called for the a-team's assistance. Murdock rarely bothered to get into the details of a plan. It wasn't that it didn't interest him, or that he wasn't bright enough to follow Hannibal's admittedly shrewd logic. He simply enjoyed the excitement of not knowing entirely what was about to happen. He didn't exactly expect to find his new near-death experience at a Christmas market in a college, but if anything, it might prove to be fun. As it turned out, he was wrong. One of the first things he noticed was how he stood out. His shaggy hair, Hawaiian shirt and striped baggy pants didn't do much to camouflage him amidst the smartly dressed youngsters and their rich parents. Now, to Murdock, standing out wasn't really a new thing. As a young child he had looked different because his mother and later grandparents didn't think he needed fancy clothing. Murdock wholeheartedly agreed with that, though that hadn't changed the opinion of his peers. In kindergarten it never truly mattered. He was still the bad-ass who'd do anything no matter how crazy it seemed, (though at other times he would completely shut himself in, not really caring to interact with the other children.) The caretakers had been worried somewhat over this, naturally, but it wasn't 'till much later it turned out that this was all just part of his personal brand of crazy. School had been a slightly different story, Murdock mused as he walked through the corridors of the college. He was intently staring at the ground.  As he walked he sometimes looked up, idly wondering if the passing people could all see it in him. The bizarre face of insanity lurking behind his eyes. As his eyes quickly traveled from face to face, he could almost feel them cringe. Their eyes were speaking to him, at first there were no voices, but soon he could hear them, loudly over the general rustle of the market. *Ha-ha! It's Howling Mad Murdock* *Did you hear? I heard he set fire to his own house?* *Murdock killed Billy! Murdock killed his mama..* He didn't, really. He didn't kill either of them. He never meant for the fire to grow.. *Aw come one, he ain't some kinda psycho.. The guy's just fucking retarded!* All children's voices, except the last, which sounded remarkably like Stan from his high school class upon hearing he'd finally been diagnosed.  *So, Murdock.. How do ya think it's going? Hearing voices in the middle of a mission.. Someone forgot their medicine, much?* Murdock immediately stopped dead in his tracks when he realized the last voice belonged to Face. Face. That was it. He was here to find Face. He forced his breathing down to a minimum, and looked at his feet so as not to see the people's faces.  He was growing more paranoid every second of not looking at them. He could hear them snickering, but he wasn't entirely sure if that was just his mind playing tricks with him. The creatures that surrounded him seemed to grow more and more intimidating, to the point where he was unsure if he'd ever dare look up to search for Face, let alone move from the spot. Murdock desperately fought to find his usual persona. The one he'd developed throughout the years. The one that knew no shame, the one that even embraced the crazy, worked with it, played on it. The one in control of it. As he did so, he slowly started walking again. He heard a comment about his pants and heard someone laugh. He looked up to see faces all around him, and he really couldn't tell if they were looking at him with disgust or pity, but he knew it was better than venom, and he accepted status quo.

 

Murdock pulled himself together in a violent mental gesture. He had a mission. He had a reason to be here. He wasn't floating in limbo. He wasn't the local crazy guy crashing the children's party. Heck, he might even be the father of one of the kids here. (Perhaps not quite, but who expected rationality?) Why would he be scared of a bunch of kids? He was a customer here, all they cared about was his money. The well-known feeling of someone temporarily taking over his mind was for once rather pleasant, and for a moment the scared child retreated to the lower depths of his psyche. Murdock started walking again, perhaps a little too quickly, but with a clear purpose in mind. He just needed to find the Faceman.. He walked past stalls of different kinds, all offering some merchandized version of the Christmas spirit. Purposeful-Murdock didn't care much, though a childish part of him wanted to stop and examine the things further. He smelled pancakes, but it only served to make him want to throw up. A clear sign the paranoia had only temporarily left him. To his relief, he soon found what he was looking for. Face was on the other side of the stall. On Murdock's side – the customer's side – was a young pretty woman. At least this was what Murdock deduced from Face's flirty tones and the slender legs and high heels he could see with his gaze still fixed downwards. When he was sure it was indeed Face, and not imaginary Face (Imaginary Face didn't quite have real Face's flirting talent), he finally looked up. He intently watched Face's face, waiting for him to tear his gaze away from the woman and react to him being there. A part of him knew that Face was doing a con. That he was playing a role, and they weren't necessarily supposed to know each other -right now Murdock, for the life of him, wouldn't have been able to tell you what Hannibal had said about this. Usually he wouldn't care. Now, for some reason, it meant the world to him. Face had to acknowledge him. He needed to acknowledge him being there, him being his friend, confirming that he wasn't alone amidst these people. Desperation was starting to tear at his defenses, as the scared child emerged from somewhere within, and he didn't really realize he was grinning nervously before both Face and the woman's eyes were on him. Their eyes only make him more nervous, and his laughter picks up it's pace, and it really has a life all of it's own, and Murdock is most sorry, and he really would like to stop, but the world is fucking crazy anyway – Though hey, who is he to judge?

Face was staring at him, eyes hard, accusing. He was ruining the con, blowing their cover like a damn fool. But the purpose had long since slipped his mind, and all he knew was how all faces were turned towards him. The voices were picking up again where they had left, but in his effort to choke the panicked giggling, he didn't have time to focus on them. Sorry.. Faceman..” He heard himself say, and Face was staring harder, and Murdock knew he'd really done it now. But Face wasn't really looking at him anymore. And he seemed to be farther away. Had he moved? Why would he have done that? Face was turned towards the girl, and he was snickering. Snickering. Yeah, I dunno why he'd call me that either..” Face said in answer to something the woman must've said. Though Murdock didn't recall her saying anything, just like he had no idea why he was suddenly backed further away from them. He wasn't grinning like a damn crazy fool anymore though, as BA so eloquently would've put it. He knew he had to get a grip. Now. This was just ridiculous. He'd been doing so great, he hadn't screwed anything up for a long while.. That setting his feet in a school environment was all it took to crack reality for real – That was just pathetic. Murdock was admittedly disturbed to find that he'd been talking while thinking, and even more disturbed to find that he was nowhere near Face anymore. People were looking at him with something just between pity and disgust, but he couldn't quite hear them for the louder voices that were filling his mind. They might send for the police, he thought, and knew that he desperately needed to get away from there. So he ran, his legs taking him to the perhaps most common hiding place in any school in any country all over the world.

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