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[personal profile] everysecondtuesday posting in [community profile] tuesdayfic
Title: A Year of Wednesdays [Also at AO3]
Rating: Mature. (As of now, I am switching to AO3 ratings.)
Pairings/Characters: B.A./Murdock, Face, Hannibal.
Spoilers: This is movie 'verse, but has missions in the vein of the original show. Besides the movie/tv show premise, also has minor references to some events in the movie.
Warnings: Not permanent character death, gunshot wounds, explosions, mental distress, the lake that just won't die (highlight to read).
Word Count: 5399
Summary: Murdock has super powers! Or he is stuck in a time loop. Maybe both!
Notes: [personal profile] the_wanlorn gave me the prompt "time loop" when I was asking for B.A./Murdock story ideas, and then she was awesome enough to audience the whole thing a few paragraphs at a time. She is the best. ♥



The first day, Murdock didn't notice anything off. It was a new day, a nice day, and through a series of events that were actively ridiculous even for the A-Team, even for him, he ended up pressed up against the van, B.A.'s hands on his hips and teeth digging hard and perfect into his neck. They push-pull-stumbled into B.A.'s apartment, and Murdock said things like, "Yes," and, "Please," and, "I saw this in a movie once."

Afterward, B.A. dropped soft kisses against Murdock's mouth and said, "Tomorrow, we're going to talk about this."

"Pinky promise?" Murdock asked sleepily.

B.A. smiled like he couldn't help himself, and he linked their little fingers together. "Cross my heart."

Murdock fell asleep curled up into B.A.'s warmth, but he woke up alone.



"You're late," B.A. said, his voice irritable, but B.A. always sounded like that on the cell phone, like his iPhone was out to destroy his life. Murdock had tried to explain several times that it wasn't a conspiracy in that B.A. wasn't Apple's only target, but it didn't seem to help.

"Are we having breakfast together?" Murdock asked, still looking for the note he was sure B.A. had to have left behind to explain his absence.

"The Petrowski mission?" B.A. said. "Tell me you didn't forget."

"I haven't forgotten anything," Murdock said, offended. He suspected B.A. was projecting his own forgetfulness here, because there was no note, unless maybe it was invisible or pixies had stolen it or—

"Murdock?" came Hannibal's voice, having either taken the phone or taken over B.A.'s vocal cords. "Meet us on the docks in fifteen, okay?"

This, Murdock thought grumpily, was the worst morning after ever. If B.A. hadn't wanted to talk about it, he could have just told Murdock instead of making false promises and hiding behind the boss. On the way out, Murdock rearranged the coffee table and two arm chairs. It wasn't anywhere near as satisfying as usual.



Face had acquired a perfect replica of the helicopter that had suffered a fiery death the day before, right down to the tiny dent in the left door. Murdock was impressed.

"Everything okay?" Hannibal asked, because he was good at picking up on every undercurrent of the team dynamic.

"Other than B.A.'s total immaturity and desire to die alone?" Murdock asked. "Fine."

"What—?" B.A. shook his head. "Never mind. Now ain't the time."

Face clapped Murdock on the back and said, "I'll see you in an hour." He flashed a grin, and Murdock wasn't so much experiencing deja vu as the sense that Face had run out of original things to say and had decided to plagiarize from his past self.

"What's the plan, boss-man?" Murdock asked, wondering what sort of clean-up would be involved in fixing yesterday's disaster.

Hannibal paused. "We went over this last night."

Murdock got this sinking, horrible feeling. "Last night?"

"Yes." Hannibal frowned. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"You didn't hit your head or something when you went skipping off, did you?" B.A. asked, eyeing Murdock carefully.

Murdock swallowed hard. "Are you—this is all a joke, right? It's not funny."

Murdock was crazy, but he wasn't that kind of crazy, and just because B.A. had decided to burn all his bridges didn't mean the team should've decided to bring some torches, too.

Hannibal hefted his radio, still watching Murdock with that concerned expression, and he depressed the button, said, "Face, I'm going to need you to hold."

Murdock felt like he couldn't get enough air, and he backed up toward the helicopter.

"No, seriously, did you hit your head?" B.A. asked, and now he looked kind of concerned, too.

Several details finally began to filter through, a jumble of memories and observances: those sunglasses B.A. was wearing had been lost in the lake when they'd had to jump out of the helicopter; the laces of Hannibal's sneakers had been scorched at the edges, the plastic at the ends melted; Face's shirt had gotten blood and ash on it such that they couldn't have just been washed out overnight.

"Really. Not. Funny." Murdock's voice came out kind of weak, and he supported his weight against the helicopter.

"Murdock—"

"I have super powers," Murdock blurted out. He wondered distantly if he would use them for good, or if he would succumb to the allure of sexy, sexy evil.

"Face, get back here," Hannibal said into the radio. "We're going to have to postpone."



"'You just need sleep,'" Murdock said, mocking and bitter, as he watched the news report an explosion at the bridge and the ongoing fire at the docks. "I finally get super powers and I can't even use them."

Murdock grabbed a gun and decided he was done with sitting on the sidelines. Two hours was too long already, and he'd had plenty of time to put together his costume, complete with cowl. If no one listened this time, he could always fall from grace and take the route of the super villain.



At the end of the second day, Murdock lounged with intent against the side of the van, trying to project YES PLEASE with every iota of his being. "So there's not, uh, anything you want to tell me?"

B.A. looked at him, shook his head, and said, "For the last time, that cape is ridiculous."

"It's a cowl, and it's awesome."

"Whatever," B.A. said. "I'm going to bed."

"Can I come?" Murdock asked hopefully.

B.A. made a highly complicated expression Murdock, even with his new super powers, couldn't quite parse. "No."

Murdock couldn't decide which he hated more—his stupid, inaccurate prescience, or the cowl that apparently made the difference between being invited in and being left to stand forlorn at the side of the road.

Super powers, Murdock decided, were highly overrated.



Murdock woke up alone. The cowl was gone, good riddance, but—the cowl was gone. Murdock was really hoping for pixies this time, or for it have gone on to fight crime without him.

His phone said it was the seventh, but technology could be wrong. Technology could be including him in its quest to ruin everything. "Bosco," Murdock said desperately into the speaker. "Tell me it's not Wednesday."

"Where are you? You should've been here ten minutes ago."

"I was afraid you'd say that."



This time, Murdock didn't bring up his new super powers—reversing time was so much worse than prescience, because he had no control over it—and instead he told the team he would be a couple hours late and refused to explain. He didn't have time to make a super hero outfit, but maybe that was for the best.

Defusing the bombs at the warehouse was a fairly straightforward matter, because there were only two guards and Murdock was a super hero. Murdock actually started to feel some hope about this iteration of today.

This lasted until he found out the team had gone ahead without him and, without his awesome flying skills, a sort of super power unto themselves, lost the package, crashed the van into the lake, and let Crane and half of his goons get away. This last wasn't much worse than the first day, but B.A. was not happy about the van.

Murdock wondered, edging toward the door and away from that imminent murder writ clear on B.A.'s face, if time travel would be enough to save him.



The fourth morning, Murdock was already tired of Wednesday and done with this super hero gig. He decided he would go on the mission, but no one, no one, was allowed to mention the date.

"You're—"

"Late, I know," Murdock said unhappily. "I was picking up duct tape."

Everyone apparently decided this wasn't outside the range of his usual behavior, and Face flashed a smile. "I'll—"

"See you in an hour."

Murdock clambered into the helicopter and ignored everyone, including Hannibal's, "Everything okay?" There were only so many times he could answer that question, and Hannibal's hyper focus on his team was usually great, but today Murdock just wanted to fly the chopper, provide an escape route, and figure out what sequence of events could lead to curling up in bed with B.A. again, or at least how to avoid ending the day with B.A. mad at him.



Crashing the van into the lake while it was on fire was not the solution.



The fifth day, Murdock got shot.

Time travel, Murdock thought angrily, was bullshit.

B.A. didn’t even wait until he’d finished Murdock’s tourniquet before he went on and on about how trying a flying leap on a guy with a gun (never mind that said guy was about to blow up the warehouse) was Murdock’s worst idea yet.

"For the last time, I knew it would be fine."

"Because of your new magic powers," B.A. said, and it wasn't as mocking as Murdock expected, but it was still really, really angry and unexpectedly bitter.

"I knew I shouldn't've told you."

"Well next time loop," B.A. said, "don't try to jump on a damn bullet. How're your powers going to work if you're dead?" He pulled the tourniquet tighter than necessary, but didn't move away.

"Bosco—" Murdock tried, but B.A. had apparently decided enough was enough and he was done listening.

Getting shot, apparently, was enough convince B.A. to kiss him again.

. . . Maybe time travel wasn't all bad.



No, Murdock thought when he woke up alone again the next morning. Still bullshit.



"Duct tape," Murdock said quickly, waving it at Hannibal before anyone could ask. "Also, I think I should get a rocket launcher."



"This," Murdock yelled at Hannibal as the helicopter plunged toward the lake, "is why I wanted a rocket launcher!"



On the seventh day, Murdock rested.

"What do you mean, you're not coming?" B.A. demanded.

"Hannibal can fly the chopper if he likes getting blown out of the sky so damn much," Murdock said.



On the eighth day, Murdock made a rocket launcher. By the time he was finished, the warehouse had already blown up.

Murdock stared at the rocket launcher, then the TV, then decided he was going to use it anyway.

When Face found him, he asked, "Did you seriously cut out on the mission to shoot rockets at the lake?"

"It had it coming," Murdock said defensively.



Murdock tried a variation of strategies. He tried duct taping the guards and dropping C4 on the boat and letting the warehouse explode. He tried letting the guards go and crashing into the boat and making B.A. leave the van. He tried negotiations, a homemade flamethrower, and pretending to be psychic. He tried convincing B.A. to take a vacation with him in Rio.

He kept waking up alone, Wednesday morning.



Sometimes he tried telling them.

"If I had a day of no consequences," Face said, "I would do whatever I wanted."

"I like consequences. Otherwise, what’s the point?” Murdock glared, but Face just smiled apologetically and held his hands up.

Mostly, Face humored him, and Hannibal asked if he had anything he wanted to add to the plan ("Rocket launcher."), and B.A. acted like this was no more and no less than what he expected of Murdock. B.A. said things like, "Stop talking nonsense," and, "We're in a firefight! What's wrong with you?" and, "Save your strength. You're not allowed to die," the second time Murdock took a bullet and tried telling B.A. that it was okay, that it hurt, but it wasn't like it was permanent.

Maybe thirty days in, Murdock said, "Garfield was wrong. Wednesday is the worst day in the world."

"It'll be even worse if you pull a stunt like that with my van again."

"You're welcome," Murdock said, because it wasn't like it caught on fire this time.

B.A. didn't seem to appreciate this reasoning.



On the fortieth day, he and B.A. finally cornered Crane on a pier. Murdock had knocked a hole in the side of the boat early that morning this time around, and Crane had nowhere to run. For a moment, it seemed like it might be the best run Murdock had managed so far.

Murdock hadn't anticipated Crane's ankle holster.



"No," Murdock told the ceiling. "No, no, no, no, no. Noooooo. I refuse."

He curled up under the covers and stayed there. He ignored his cell phone, which went off every fifteen minutes, then every five, then just rang continuously, no significant pause between calls. Eventually, it stopped.

Twenty minutes after that, the door burst open and B.A. tumbled through, looking first frantic, then angry. "Why didn't you answer your damn phone?"

"I am dreaming," Murdock told B.A., like if he could convince B.A. that would make it true. "Any second now I'll wake up and find out I was in a coma the whole time."

"I—we—were worried," B.A. said accusingly like Murdock hadn't spoken at all.

"Go away." He pulled the covers over his head. "Murdock can't come out to play today."

Murdock expected B.A. to yell at him some more, or maybe drag him out of the bed by his ankles, or tell him the team would do this one without him. He didn't expect B.A.'s weight to settle on the bed beside him, or the gentle hand on his shoulder.

"Are you okay?" B.A. asked.

In all forty days, B.A. hadn't asked that before.

Murdock sniffled and regretted never making those sheets from tissue paper he'd intended. He meant to lie, but his voice wavered and betrayed him. "No."

B.A. tugged the sheets away from Murdock's face. "C'mere."

Murdock stared, because this had to be a trick.

B.A. pulled Murdock into a hug. "You tell anyone about this," he said gruffly, "you're dead. You got that?"

"Got it."

B.A., Murdock decided, was the best.



The first time B.A. was shot, Murdock lost it for a little while. "You're not allowed to die, either," Murdock kept repeating, suddenly convinced that all it would take to get to Thursday was for someone on the team to die. He was suddenly, surprisingly okay with the idea it might be Wednesday forever.

"It's a scratch," B.A. said.

"It's a gunshot wound."

Murdock wondered if it was feasible to tie B.A. up each day and lock him safely in his bedroom. B.A. changed the clip of his gun and fired at one of Crane's bodyguards over the crate, and Murdock realized no, he'd probably get himself shot.



On the sixtieth day, Murdock was knocked out and woke up just in time to see the warehouse go up. This time around, his whole team was inside.



Murdock kissed B.A. seventeen times, ignoring his protests, then hugged Hannibal and Face.

"Excited about the mission?" Face asked.

"We can't go," Murdock said insistently, crossing back to B.A. to plant a final kiss on his mouth this time.

No one listened, not even when he tried explaining about how they would all die.



Murdock acquired a gas mask; a suave hat, shiny goggles, and a trench coat; and knock-out gas. The beauty of this plan was that if it didn't work, it wasn't like they would remember it or see it coming the next time.

"Maybe tomorrow," Murdock muttered to himself, accidentally hitting Face's head against the side of the helicopter door, "trick them into the chopper before using the gas."

When he got B.A. in place, Murdock patted his cheek and said, "Don't worry, Bosco, where we are going, we won't need roads."



The helicopter crashed into the lake again.



Face smiled in that not-really-reassuring way he had and said, "Things'll look better in the morning." It wasn't anything he hadn't said forty times before, wasn't any more or less patronizing than a hundred other ways he'd tried to sympathize with the bad days and utterly failed.

Murdock punched him right in the jaw.

"What the fuck?" Face said.

"What did you do?" B.A. demanded.

"Me? I'm the one with a broken jaw."

"Your jaw's not broken," Murdock said with a great deal of dignity. “At least, not permanently. It’ll be better in the morning.”

B.A., at least, knew when to leave well enough alone and didn't follow him when he walked away.



When he tried to take them in the van, the bridge blew.

“Okay,” Murdock said, glaring at the gaping chasm where his hope used to be. “Okay, I get it.”

Murdock wondered idly if he could blow up the whole town.



"B.A.," Murdock said the ninetieth day, because it wasn't like B.A. was going to remember this anyway. "Sometimes—" He fell silent.

"Yeah?" B.A. finished stitching Murdock's arm and got out one of the Ninja Turtle bandages. Murdock didn't really need it, but he was secretly pleased anyway.

"Can I, uh, can I have a hug?"

B.A. stared at him with a weird expression.

"Never mind," Murdock said hurriedly.

"Murdock—"

"It's not—I don't need—"

"Shut up," B.A. said. His arms were warm, and he still looked incredibly awkward, but he pulled Murdock in close and just held him a while.

Murdock felt like he'd discovered a new super power.



The hundredth day, B.A. finally kissed him again. For a brief moment, Murdock went on instinct, opening his mouth and gripping B.A.'s shoulders tight like he never wanted to let go.

Then it hit him that this—this right here—was transitory, that in the morning he would wake alone. Murdock pushed away, said, "No, no, no," feeling like each word was a razor in his throat. "I can't."

B.A. had gone stiff all over, and he took a step back, said, "I thought—" He shook his head. "I get it."

"You really don't," Murdock said.

B.A.'s jaw twitched, and he said, "Maybe I don't. But I'm not—I'm not gonna push you into something you don't want."

"It's not—"

"I'm not that guy," B.A. said. He turned around.

"Bosco—" Murdock didn't know what to say. If he explained, B.A. might think he was mocking him, and even if he wouldn't remember, Murdock couldn't—Murdock couldn't cope with that right now.

"It's okay," B.A. said.

It really wasn't. But Murdock didn't stop him when he walked away.



Murdock decided the lake's time had come. A rocket launcher hadn't been enough, but all those explosives in the warehouse? Yes, a plan was quickly coming into place.



"You can't blow up the dam!" Face said.

"Watch me!"

B.A. took him in a flying tackle, and Hannibal got the remote.

"Your day will come. Sweet vengeance will be mine," Murdock promised.

So close, but so far.



The next morning, Murdock decided maybe it would be better all around if he started asking for more hugs.

"What?" B.A. said.

"A hug," Murdock repeated. "I want one."

"From me?" B.A. seemed stuck at surprise.

"No, from Face," Murdock said. "Of course from you!"

Face smiled and said, "I don't know, he seems pretty insistent."

"Shut up," B.A. said, but he hugged Murdock anyway.

It was a SUPER POWER.



By the two-hundredth day, Murdock had a system. In the morning, he demanded a hug from B.A. In the afternoon, he consigned his chopper into the lake's cold, heartless depths. In the evening, he tried to figure out how he'd gotten stuck in this loop.

These are some of the things he tried:
• Catching Crane.
• Setting Crane free.
• Dropping a whole hank of beef into the lake in case the chopper wasn't sacrifice enough.
• Punching Face again.
• Deliberately blowing up the warehouse.
• Taking a bullet.
• Shooting Crane.
• Driving the team out of the city. (Somehow, they'd ended up in the lake again.)
• Kissing Face. (Murdock preferred the lake.)
• Taking a bullet for B.A.
• Watching Groundhog's Day sixteen times.
• Searching for a malfunctioning stargate.
• Trying to summon a trickster arch angel with family issues.
• Googling incessantly.

He even tried telling every member of his team, solemn and utterly serious, "I love you."

"Uh, thanks," Face said. "You, too, buddy."

Hannibal clapped him on the back and said, "Glad to hear you're so happy about the helicopter."

"What did you do?" B.A. asked suspiciously. "You better not have messed with my van again."

None of it helped. It was Wednesday, and it was Wednesday, and it was Wednesday.

Murdock was very, very tired of Wednesday.



In the V.A., Murdock had been cut off from everything that mattered. He couldn't fly, he couldn't talk and be taken seriously, and he couldn't even be seen as the ranger he was. His team was the first time he'd belonged since he'd been forcibly drummed out of the service, and even when it happened a second time around, he still had his team. He didn't stop being a ranger, and he didn't stop being a pilot, and even when they didn't always listen, they always made sure he knew he belonged. The bossman gave orders and listened to Murdock's suggestions, and Face did his best to be inclusive even when he was annoying about it and drove Murdock to whip up another antifreeze marinade, and B.A. said all sorts of horrible things to show he cared. They had always been tight-knit, always been the people Murdock could say anything to.

And now every new piece of Murdock's accumulated history was forgotten, reset, like they were standing in place while Murdock was forced to take step after grudging step. Murdock was the one who was moving, but moving on felt almost exactly like being left behind.

"Let's play pretend," Murdock said.

"I ain’t playing one of your stupid games," B.A. said.

"We'll pretend that we're stuck in a time loop," Murdock said softly, playing with the edges of his sleeves, "and I'm the only one who ever remembers anything."

"Not playing," B.A. said. "Besides, that's a terrible game."

"It is," Murdock agreed.

"Like any of us would let you go through that alone."

Murdock swallowed hard, but couldn't say anything.

"Knowing you, left to your own devices, you'd probably do something like wreck my van again."

And Murdock knew—knew—that it was because B.A. had yet to forgive him for pancaking the van, but he couldn't help a desperate giggle from escaping his throat, then another. B.A. stared at him, but it took Murdock a long, long time to stop laughing.



Day two-hundred and sixty-seven, Murdock acknowledged that maybe it was going to be Wednesday forever.

"Bosco," he said in a scratchy voice, "I don't know that I can do this anymore."

"You nearly got your damn fool head blown off," B.A. said, glaring and hovering over him. "You better not be doing this anymore."

Murdock held a shaking hand up to B.A.'s face and said, "I don't—I don't care that it's not—I just want—"

"Murdock," B.A. said carefully, "what—"

Murdock kissed him, pouring everything into it. Two-hundred and sixty-seven days of the worst morning after and the worst day of; two-hundred and sixty-seven days of separation and desperation and wondering if he'd just gone a whole new kind of crazy, if he was reminded of the V.A. because he was back there again, the complete mess he'd pretended to be for Sosa and her team. Two-hundred and sixty-seven days, and he was already crazy, but he really could not take it any more.

"Hey, hey," B.A. said. "Sh, it's okay."

He met Murdock's grasping hands with a light grip, met Murdock's mouth with soft kisses. Where Murdock had been trying for hard and fast and now, now, now, because any moment this would be gone, B.A. was slow and smooth and devastatingly gentle.

"It's okay," B.A. said again.

Murdock didn't know how to explain to B.A. that he was telling lies.



The morning of day two-hundred and sixty-eight, Murdock kissed B.A. again.

"Stop playing," B.A. said. "It's not funny."

Murdock felt his smile twist as he said, "Actually, it kind of is."



"Even if you don't remember it," Murdock promised from day two-hundred and seventy-five on, "I mean it. I mean every second of today."

B.A. made a frustrated sound and pulled Murdock back down. "This doesn't mean I'm forgiving you for getting my van set on fire."

"When I'm done, I swear," Murdock said, choking a little as B.A.'s hand skidded over his stomach, lower, "you won't remember being mad at me."

"Want to bet?" B.A. said.

Murdock really didn't.



The three hundredth day, Murdock threw a party. He slipped an invitation under the door of the hotel Crane was staying at and invited some people he met on the street. He said, "It'll have everything! Danger, romance, a possible gun fight, and, of course, fireworks!"

For some reason most of the people were no-shows.

"Murdock," Hannibal said in that tone that indicated he was dangerously annoyed, "you're supposed to tell me if you change the plan."

"I told you yesterday," Murdock said, which was, at once, the truth and an utter falsehood.

"What's that remote?" Face asked.

"Fireworks!" Murdock said.

"Those don't look like no fire—"

The dam was very, very pretty when it blew.

For once, B.A. wouldn't invite him in, but no couple, Murdock supposed, spent every night together.



Murdock knew it wasn't fair. He'd learned the landscape of B.A.'s body, how sensitively B.A. felt every light touch of his ears or the backs of the knees; how he didn't really care about his nipples, but really liked Murdock to use his teeth; how B.A.'s breath caught the first time Murdock whispered, "I love you," and every first time thereafter. He knew that B.A. actually enjoyed cuddling and that he snored if he slept on his left side the few times Murdock tried to stay up.

"Yeah," B.A. murmured one night before they fell asleep, "when this is all over—" and for an instant Murdock couldn't breathe, until he remembered they were still fugitives on the run, "—I'd like to adopt a couple kids."

Murdock tried telling him things, but it wasn't the same. It was almost better to keep it to himself, so it would be a revealed truth instead of an old story if—when—when—please when—B.A. could actually remember.

It wasn't fair, but neither was waking alone.



"One day," Murdock said, "you're gonna give me a rocket launcher."

Hannibal blinked. "I didn't know you felt so strongly about it."

"One day," Murdock said, waving his duct tape. He turned to B.A. "Gimme my hug."

"What?" B.A. said.

"You didn't give it to Face, did you? Because it's mine."

B.A. looked from Murdock to Face, who shrugged and pocketed his radio, back to Murdock again.

"If you gave it to Face, I demand a new one."

B.A.'s expression was bewildered, but he gave Murdock a hug anyway. It lasted thirteen seconds today, and Murdock judged that needy and demanding worked better than coaxing, were less likely to end in B.A. wanting to know if Murdock had done something to his van, which led to Murdock inevitably looking guilty ever since that Wednesday he'd tried driving the van, the package, and Crane into the lake for his monthly attempt at appeasing its helicopter hunger.

"I was thinking Italian tonight," Murdock said.

"You're cooking?" Face asked.

"For B.A.," Murdock said. "Tonight is very special."

"You're going to do something to my van," B.A. accused.

"No," Murdock said. "No. Of course not. Why would you even think that?"

. . . Judging by B.A.'s expression, that was too much. Murdock decided he'd try only one no tomorrow.

"Hannibal, you better keep him away from my van," B.A. said.

"Relax. Murdock will be providing air support the whole time."

"Right up until the lake strikes again," Murdock agreed.

"Right," Face said in that tone that meant he didn't want to know. "I'll see you in an hour."

"Don't forget to check Crane for an ankle holster," Murdock reminded him and clambered in the helicopter. He patted the wheel. "It's okay, you'll like the lake. The missiles, not so much, but the lake will douse the flames." He whispered, "And while you're down there, you can strike from within."



Crane had been shot in the kneecap this time around, and the package had been eaten by the lake, but his team was safe, and B.A. remembered their date. "Italian?"

"Fettucini," Murdock said happily.

This was one of those days B.A. had seen the lake's machinations firsthand, so he was staying close, hadn't gotten more than a few feet away from Murdock since he'd hijacked Crane's boat and headed back to shore. B.A. kept touching Murdock, fingers lingering at his wrist, his elbow. "You sure you're okay to cook?"

"Sure as a dolphin at a seal show," Murdock said confidently.

He barely made it through the door when B.A. caught him by his collar, pulled him in close. "Murdock," B.A. said, his voice hoarse, his eyes shiny in the dim light. "Forget the pasta."

Murdock kind of hated nights like these, when B.A. was cracked wide open like a broken treasure chest, all his secrets on display.

B.A. said, "You nearly—" and his hands were shaking as they framed Murdock's face.

"The lake wouldn't kill me," Murdock said reassuringly. "Then it would need to train a new arch-nemesis."

B.A. shook his head, let Murdock go. "No more crashing into lakes," he said.

"I can't promise you that," Murdock said.

"What can you promise me?" B.A.'s voice was too quiet, his words too soft. Murdock couldn't listen right now.

Murdock slipped around B.A., headed for the kitchen. "Delicious Italian. It’ll be like nothing you've ever tasted."

B.A. shook his head. "Fine. But it better be amazing."

Murdock grinned. "Have I ever lied to you?"



After dinner, B.A. touched Murdock's cheek, gentle, gentle, and Murdock knew he'd have to time it better next round, crash earlier or convince Face to trade B.A. places.

"Good night," Murdock said, a perfect gentleman.

"Stay."

Murdock swallowed. "I'll take the couch."

"You don't have to," and it was painful when B.A. was all rare, aching sincerity. Murdock couldn't help himself, kept every instant of it close to his heart, kept it so he could remember on the inevitable days when a change in the plan meant he got shot, or B.A. died, or the warehouse collapsed in on his team. So he had something to cling to when, for once, he hoped he never had to see tomorrow, hoped to fall asleep and wake up to another lonely Wednesday morning.

But on these nights—it hurt too much.

"Yeah," Murdock said around the stone lodged in his throat, "I do."

B.A. retrieved extra blankets and pillows and saw Murdock safely bedded down before heading for bed himself.

"Bosco?" Murdock called after him.

B.A. turned. "Yeah?" His voice was rough.

"Today wasn't a bad day."

B.A. was quiet for a long moment. Finally, he said, "Good night, Murdock."

"'Night," Murdock said.

He closed his eyes. As usual, he didn't dream.



"Murdock, what are you doing in my bed?" came B.A.'s voice, scratchy with sleep.

Murdock didn't think it through, didn't wonder how he got there, just threw himself at B.A. and held on tight, refused to let go.



"I don't know how I got in your bed," Murdock said. "Just like I don't know how I got in the time loop or how I got out of it."

"You can change your mind without making up lies," B.A. said.

"I'm not lying," Murdock insisted. "I can prove it." He traced the shell of B.A.'s outer ear as he said, "You want to adopt two kids."

"I help run a youth center," B.A. said.

"You want a fall wedding." Murdock pulled up B.A.'s knee, sliding his fingers against the crook.

"Good guess." B.A. spread his legs wider, tugged at Murdock until he settled in to rest there. "You ain't got to lie to have this, either."

"I love you," Murdock said. B.A.'s breath hitched, and okay. Okay. Murdock remembered. "It's okay. You don't need to believe me."

"I believe you," B.A. said, low and soft and happy. He curved his arms around Murdock's shoulders and kissed his cheek, his chin, caught finally at his mouth.

Thursday, Murdock decided on the strength of the morning alone, was the best day ever.
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everysecondtuesday's fic

August 2011

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