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80s FicPic-alooza Challenge Fic

Title: Alone in the Dark
Author/Artist: LttleDvl
Pairing: Murdock/BA
Rating: G
Prompt: Trapped together in the dark – Shut up, fool!
Word count: 1219
Summary: BA and Murdock wind up stuck together after getting themselves caught...
A/N: Non-slashy, non-kinky. The plot bunnies wanted angst for this one. ;p And kudos for you if you get the title reference. *g*
originally posted to the kink challenge comm, 80s FicPic-alooza.

Hours after their capture, the guerrillas dragging them to a small concrete building, he and Murdock found themselves in a tiny dark cell. It was hot, uncomfortably so, and trickles of sweat ran down BA’s back. The only illumination came from a tiny slip of light that worked its way around the bottom edge of the door. The air hung heavy and damp around them, trapped between windowless concrete walls and a heavy steel door. Nothing stirred the humid air, and BA felt as if he were drowning in it.

They’d been fine at first, each insisting that the others would be here to break them out soon. Both realizing that they were probably to serve as bait to draw Hannibal and Face out. But as the hours ticked slowly by, Murdock started to unravel. Pacing incessantly and muttering to himself, it almost seemed as if he was unaware that anyone was nearby, completely ignoring BA when he tried to shut him up. It was irritating. “Hey fool, you gonna wear a hole in the floor if you don’t knock it off.”

Murdock kept moving, shaking his head. “Can’t. Gotta keep reminding myself how big the room is. Make sure it ain’t shrinking.”

“Shut up, fool, it’s the same as it was before. It ain’t getting no smaller.”

“Well, I know that,” Murdock snapped, glaring at BA, “But it keeps tyrin’ to make itself smaller in my head.”

“You ain’t got nothin’ in your head. ‘Cept empty air.”

“BA,” Murdock stopped mid-pace and glanced at the other man. It was hard for BA to make out his face in the darkness, but there was something unpleasant there. “I need you to stick with me here. I know I’m talkin’ crazy, but I can’t help it. I don’t want to get trapped in the dark again.”

“Again?” BA scowled. “What you mean ‘again’? We ain’t been stuck in the dark before.”

“Not you maybe, but I have.” Murdock wrapped arms about himself, sighing a little. Striding over to a wall, he slid his backside down it until he was sitting hunched on the floor. “I don’t want to go back there,” he muttered quietly.

BA frowned down at him. “What you talkin’ about, sucker?”

“Come on, BA. You know. There. That place we all try to avoid talking about. And remembering.” He plopped his head down onto his knees, “I don’t wanna remember.”

Whatever was going on in Murdock’s head, it didn’t sound particularly good. BA found the wall with his hand and eased himself down along it, sitting close to Murdock, but not near enough to crowd him. “It’ll be alright, man. We’ll get out of here soon.”

Murdock laughed. It wasn’t his normal bubbly laugh; it was cold and empty, utterly without feeling. It sent chills down BA’s spine. “No we won’t. We’ll stay stuck here,” Murdock shook his head, “Wind up in some dark hole...” he trailed off.

“There ain’t no hole, sucker.” He wouldn’t admit it aloud, but BA was beginning to grow a bit concerned. “Quit foolin’ around.”

“Oh yes there is,” Murdock raised his head up and stared off into the darkness. “It’s out there somewhere,” his voice was far off, distant. “Just waitin’. Waiting for me to come back to it.”

It suddenly clicked in BA's mind what must be going on. “This ain’t ‘Nam, Murdock,” he growled. “You ain’t there. That was a long time ago.”

“Not long enough,” he muttered.

“It’s over, man. Try not to think about it.”

Murdock finally focused on BA, fixing him with a blank stare. “That’s a lot harder than it sounds. And I...” closing his eyes briefly and swallowing thickly, “don’t know if I can.”

“Come on, man. Fight it!” BA placed a hand onto his shoulder. “You can do it, I know you can.”

“BA, do you ever,” Murdock paused, “get those memories? I mean, like when they sneak up on you and try to take everything over?”

BA studied him for a long moment, deciding. There wasn’t a reason not to tell him the truth. “What do you think?” he asked gruffly. “You think the rest of us don’t get ‘em? You think we ain’t got stuff we wish would stayed buried too?” He nodded, “We all get ‘em, man. Anyone that’s been there and say they don’t is lyin’.”

“Yah,” Murdock turned away, staring down at the floor. “I guess you’re right.”

BA sighed; he didn’t like to see his friend this way. Though he wouldn’t admit to that either. “So what was it? Tell me, man.” He squeezed Murdock’s shoulder slightly “It might help.”

“I...don’t know if I can talk about it. And like you said, it was a long time ago, anyway.” BA felt a shrug. “Doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Yah it does. You gotta face it, man. Otherwise it’ll keep taking over.” BA drew in a large breath, “Look man, you gotta tell me what you’re dealin’ with so I know how to pull you out if it gets to be too much.” Because I don’t want to lose you to it.

”So what brought it on?”

Murdock sagged slightly under BA’s hand. “The dark. Sort of. Not completely the dark itself. It’s...the whole setup. Dark. Hot. Muggy. Cramped. Trapped alone. Like being stuck in...” he stopped abruptly.

“Stuck in what, Murdock?”

“A hot box.”

Damn. The team knew that Murdock had spent some time in a Viet Cong camp after getting his chopper shot down, but they hadn’t known this.

“How long?”

Murdock shrugged, “Several days. I think. Off and on. Hard to tell, really. It all kinda blurred together after a while,” voice cracking slightly on the end.

“Okay. So it’s hot and stuffy in here. But it’s a whole lot bigger than some tiny box.” BA gave Murdock a reassuring pat, letting him know that he understood. “And you ain’t alone this time.”

“I know. And I’m trying to keep those things in mind. But it’s...awful hard.” Murdock ended on a small gasp, closing his eyes and dropping his head back down. As if he was truly struggling with something.

BA shifted over until he was shoulder to shoulder with the pilot. “You’ll be alright, man. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. Neither are you.” Not even in your memories, he added silently. “That’s a promise, brother.”

“I know. And...I appreciate that.” BA felt him shudder slightly.

BA slung an arm across Murdock’s shoulders. “Just relax. Maybe try to get some sleep. That might help.”

Murdock nodded, focusing intently on the solid presence of the other man nearby, working to keep everything else out. After a while, it became just enough to allow him to drift into an uneasy slumber. Murdock’s head rolled to the side, coming to rest on the bigger man’s shoulder.

BA sighed as Murdock’s breaths slowed and evened out as he fell asleep. Man, what a heck of time for this to hit. Damned flashbacks. Damned war. Stupid damned war. What the hell was the sense in it all anyway? BA tightened his grip slightly on the man slumped against him. It never did end, did it? Even now, it still rears its ugly head. So many men. So many good men that didn’t deserve what had happened to them. Stupid war. Damned stupid war.