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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2. Face's pov

 

Face had been talking to a customer (admittedly, he'd been flirting), when Murdock finally showed up. He ignored him for two main reasons, one being that he was in the middle of a flirt with a lovely woman, the other that the plan wouldn't work out if it was too obvious that the two of them were working together. As he spoke to the woman, he waited for Murdock to remember his purpose, and get on with it. He could feel his eyes on him, but refused to acknowledge his presence as he kept up appearances with the lady customer. But when Murdock actually started laughing, it was kind of hard not to look at him. Face caught his breath as he took in the sight of his best friend. He looked utterly distressed and out of place. He was giggling, yes, but not of happiness so much as in panic. His eyes were a little too bright for comfort. Face inwardly panicked slightly, more worried for his friend than for the plan. That being said he was a professional, and he knew that if he fell out of character at this moment it might not only ruin Hannibal's plan: It could endanger them both. He needed to keep a cool head, but it was admittedly difficult with his friend slowly falling apart in front of him. He honestly had no idea what would have triggered such a reaction, and it was more than a little unsettling to him. “Excuse me, sir.. Is there anything I can help you with?” Face asked politely, though he hoped his eyes conveyed the more relevant message: *Fuck - you okay, man?* Murdock didn't react in the slightest, his mania just seemed to increase, though he was giggling less and hyperventilating more – Face wasn't entirely sure if that was a good thing. Face was still staring at him, unable to look away from those panicked, pleading eyes.  “Sorry..Faceman..” Murdock's voice was slightly choked, and Face grew cold. If he was far enough gone to give away his 'name', things didn't look too good. He still kept up appearances though, looking both surprised and amused as he looked back to the woman. She looked at him as well, a look of..was that amusement too?..on her face. Suddenly she didn't seem all that attractive anymore. “Wow, this guy is far gone..” she said, apparently unable to grasp the gravity of the situation. This was Murdock. Not just some.. random crazy person. Though Face was pretty sure he wouldn't be quite that unaffected even if he hadn't known the person in question.  He'd seen enough of life to realize that this world offered plenty of valid reasons to go mad.  Murdock's hands were in his hair, tugging at it, his eyes wild with panic. He was backing away, rambling nonsensically (or perhaps in Swahili or some other godforsaken language?). Face could feel his own panic as well, as conflicting forces pulled him towards either his distressed friend or his duties on the case. The latter won, as he knew it should. Face forcefully found the flirting, vain Lynch he'd entered as. And his attention went to the woman again. She was grinning, and Face really wanted to slap her, but instead he grinned back, even when she asked him what was up with him calling him Faceman. “Yeah, I dunno why he'd call me that either..” Face answered, acutely aware of her reaction. He wasn't entirely sure who had a connection to the dealer, or even who it was. That was what they were here to find out. There was a moment of recognition in Murdock, then he was gone again, rambling on. He sounded awfully lot like a child, and Face could only watch as he slowly walked away, seemingly unaware of his surroundings. Once he was out of sight Face directed his attention to the woman and continued his quest for intel while at the same time wondering what to do about Murdock and Hannibal's plan.  It took him a while to get rid of the woman, and once she'd gone he charmed someone to take his place for at short while. A moment later he was in the hallway, alone. Picking up his phone he dialed Hannibal's number. (The one number he never had to search for) “Hannibal? This is Face. We have a problem..”

 

“Hannibal? This is Face. We got a problem.” There was silence on the line for a moment, then Hannibals slightly husky voice could be heard. “Face? What's going on?” “Uhm.. I wish I could tell you.. It's Murdock.” “Yes?” Hannibal sounded slightly impatient. Face hated this. Knowing his boss, he was gonna beat himself up for not having anticipated this. He still continued though. “Yeah, well, he seemed a bit out of himself and left before we had a chance to..” Footsteps were heard, and Face immediately shut up. “Before what? And how out of himself..? Talk to me, kid!” Face wasn't one to believe in authority per say, but if someone earned his respect they did have it. All members of the team had the lieutenant's respect for one reason or the other – But Hannibal was the one he truly looked to for guidance. He rarely questioned his orders, at least not in the long run. So it was with some willpower he didn't answer immediately. A man was escorting a woman down the hallway, past him. “Ha, yeah, I heard about that! Did she really..?” Hannibal seemed to get it now, and for a moment they chatted mindlessly. As they chatted, Face searched for a more obviously deserted area. He continued down the hallway. When he was sure he was alone he continued in a suddenly serious tone: “Before we could check their reactions, well, before he even made a move, to be truthful..” “ So no intel?” “Uhm.. That's not all.” There was only silence on the line, but Face understood the question without even seeing his commander's eyes. “Yeah.. No Murdock either..” “What? You lost Murdock?” Face could hear BA exclaiming something in the background, though it was unclear what. “Well, it's not like I did anything wrong!” Face said, defensively. “He ran off, and I couldn't have gone after him without blowing our cover!” There was a small sound, as if Hannibal had been about to say something but stopped himself. Then Face heard him sigh. “Look, no one's blaming you, kid. Just tell me.. How was he out of himself, and when did you last see him?” Face pulled himself together almost immediately. Setting aside emotional distress was one of his more well-developed skills. “Well, he was just generally beside himself, ya know.. Mania, panic.. Look, I'm not a doctor! And I don't know, maybe fifteen minutes ago.” “And you didn't think to tell me that we had a man missing before now?!” “I was trying hard not to ruin the job that you assigned me, colonel!.” He was growing annoyed again. He had prioritized as he had expected Hannibal to want of him. As they spoke, Face's legs took him further down the hallway towards a remote toilet. He immediately headed towards it, rationalizing that it was likely to be deserted so he could discuss in peace.  “Face, this is the last time I say this: No one blames you for anything. The case is dismissed for now, we'll find another way. Just find Murdock..” Face had reached the door to the toilet, when he heard BA in the background, closer this time. “Well, while y'all figure out your guilt-complexes, I'll make myself useful 'n call that crazy fool..” Face grabbed for the door, and was about to answer when he heard the Doctor Who theme song ringing from the toilet. It didn't go on for long, before it was cut off. “Hey, he hung up on me!” Face slowly entered the dark toilet. The sensors caught his movement, and the lights turned on. The door to one of the stalls was locked. Face sighed. “Never mind. I found him.” Then he hung up.

 

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