Semi-Friendly Persuasion is also episode 22 from season 2 of The A-Team.

18:00 - There was a soft thud as a man's clenched fist landed on the wooden dinner table in front of him. He looked up from his meal, and vaguely wondered why no one else at the table seemed to have even noticed. He was rarely angry, or at least rarely showed it. He was certainly almost never violent, no matter how hard he was raging. Something had been bugging him all day, that much they had noticed. She had been bugging him all day, actually she had been bugging him for the past five weeks, ever since she had said all those things about him then run out on him. His mind was made up now, he couldn't do this any more.

18:30 - "I'm so sorry", he said. He was sorry, very sorry. He wanted to get this over as quickly and painlessly as possible. He had always wanted that, and so had she, he knew that. But he was confused, he didn't know what to believe any more. "Can we please meet in person?" She would agree to the RZ, he knew she would. It wouldn't be pleasant, but she would be there. She wasn't that unreliable, after all.

His terms, she said, for she didn't even want to do it. The LZ was a no-brainer, he'd make it the bridge. The bridge was a default LZ already for reasons of its own, but it held sentimental value to him too. The time? Well, he could try and set it up that night with a different LZ, the idea flashed through his mind fleetingly. No, it would be better to wait until the morrow. "10:00", of course she would be busy, but he wanted to see her reaction. Besides, ten o'clock was significant to them, or at least to him still. Quarter to? You've got buckley's, he wasn't putting himself in that fifteen minute box. Sure, he meant nothing to her any more, but he was going to make this worthwhile, for it was quite possibly the last time he would ever see her. Before her first class for the day? No, that was just mean. High noon, then she could go straight home.

He was perfectly used to delicate situations like this, and he couldn't overlook the seriousness of what he was setting up. Somehow though, he was smiling, almost laughing even. Suddenly he was "Uncle Tio", he made it all seem like a game. "Lighten up," he used to say to people, "after all, we only get to live life once."

18:50 - The RZ was set, a low whistle escaped his lips. Oh yeah, he had promised to teach her to whistle, that would probably never happen now. His heart was lighter, his spirits lifted, and his general bearing happier as he finished his dinner. The man's soundtrack for the rest of the evening changed from The Winner Takes It All to Listen To Your Heart. He would sleep well tonight, he would sleep and not attempt to figure anything out, but instead prepare his mind better by letting it go blank.

06:00 - The familiar sound of his alarm woke the man, he sat up and stretched. She probably wouldn't be awake for another three quarters of an hour yet. He smiled, the first time he had smiled thinking about her in far too long.

08:00 - He packed food supplies, intending to be out most of the day. "She wouldn't eat that," he looked disapprovingly at an assortment of fruit in a basket, saying the words to his refrigerator more so than to anyone else. Still he picked out a selection for himself, adding his completed work to a collection of items already on his bed. She was weird like that sometimes, just like how he wouldn't eat egg, they were an odd couple.

08:15 - Clothes were important, he slipped into plain dark pants and shirt, but decided he would change shirts later anyway so he didn't have to stand out so much until it was time. Picking up a three metre coil of static rope, he checked the knots briefly to ensure it was ready for instant use, but wouldn't fall undone prematurely. He passed one end of the coil through a carabiner, then snapped it on to his belt. There was a tearing of velcro as he withdrew a slim, black, metal object from its holster. The plasticky click of a tactical clicky followed a second later, flooding the room with a slightly blueish radiance. The light was switched off again and returned to its holster before the holster slid onto his belt.

08:45 - "Delta Juliet Mike Five Three. Roger that, Eleven Charlie, thank you and good morning *ksht*" the man acknowledged another local operator telling him the frequency they shared was now free.

08:54 - He paused in his stride, eyes fixed on four fluorescent green digits, waiting for them to tick over. "This is Delta Juliet Mike Five Three to all units, we are clear on channel One Three Unicorn as at oh-eight fifty-five, over *ksht*" A clunk from the mic clipped to his shoulder followed the end of the transmission. His bag was always ready, and he snapped it on his waist with a metallic clack from the fastener.

09:00 - "Bye," he called back into the house, "If I stop calling, the kraken didn't get me, my contact did." The door squeaked shut behind him. He began drumming his fingers on his thighs as he walked, quietly singing Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

11:00 - He entered a familiar room, the stale odour of too many sweaty bodies in one place with a broken air conditioner reached him, and it was almost comforting. Dropping into an office chair whose back was somewhere around still, probably, he nodded to the other occupants of the room. Removing from his bag a pair of rigging gloves, he slipped them into his side pocket, replacing a palmtop computer in the bag instead, the previous contents of the pocket. His shirt came off, revealing skin now pale and showing no signs of the sun it had for years bathed in. A moment later, he was in a camo skivvy. His face was solemn and emotionless as he began to attend to it. Suddenly an almost-smile flashed across his face as he remembered the time he had ended up looking like a raccoon after applying camo face paint.

11:30 - "Mike Five Three to Golf Mike, I'm ten-twenty the LZ *ksht*" he informed his backup. Still unnoticed by the small crowd of tourists currently photographing birds there. Without warning, he leapt onto the bottom of the bridge, swinging himself over a support into a seated position at the very back of the structure. "Golf Mike, we have four plus two spectators, area is clean, over *ksht*"

11:45 - The crowd had now dispersed, leaving the only people in view the occasional jogger passing underneath. A car pulled up overhead. "Golf Mike, we've got some blue and white, stand by, this could be trouble *ksht*" He breathed again as the vehicle moved on. "All clear *ksht*"

11:50 - "Status as at eleven-fifty: no spectators, no trouble, no contact, over *ksht*"

12:00 - "I have a visual on the contact, she's dead on time, stand by, Mike Five Three, out *ksht*" He watched as she descended the stairs, waiting until she was within a few feet of him. Silently, he dropped onto the bitumen. The girl continued to approach him slowly. He extended his hand just like the first time they had met, but this time she didn't move.

"What did you want to say to me?" her manner was short, expectedly short.

His eyes tried to bore into hers, but this time they didn't. This time there was nothing, he might as well have been staring at a brick wall. "I'm sorry, I'm confused..." he broke off. This was the first time he'd actually been able to see her since then, only now was he able to fully believe what had happened.

"Look, I'm sorry for breaking your heart." Sorry? But she claimed to have no feelings. Actually she hadn't broken his heart, not until now. Now he knew she really was as unfeeling as she made out.

"I don't want you back, not like just friends. I want back the best friend I had before we fell in love." Would she understand this? Clearly not.

"Why can't you just leave me alone?" Because I am not like you, I don't just walk out on people. He didn't say the words aloud, that would be bad timing.

"I want to know why you really left." This had been causing him heartache because she kept telling him conflicting things.

"Because I needed a break from you, okay?" her response was snapped back.

"Are you still mad at me about that stood up dinner? About when you thought...?"

"No, of course not!" she looked disbelieving, as if asking "How could you think that?"

"Then what are you mad at me about?" his voice was tender, maybe concerned.

"You keep telling me I'm angry when I'm not. You disapprove of the music I listen to, you don't read books, you have weird hair, what do you think?" He wasn't sure about the hair bit, but he didn't have the same musical taste as many of his other friends and they didn't care. Sure, he was generally more conservative than she was, he didn't drink and she did. So what? He opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by an icy glare, "And I'm especially upset with you for coming to my house, you didn't know I wasn't going to be there." Slowly he drew a deep breath.

"Wait, what? I intentionally made sure you weren't going to be there. Besides, the rest of your family don't hate me, and they still make me welcome." He was getting wound up now, but he remained calm, knowing it was only a matter of minutes, maybe seconds, before she turned her back on him and disappeared.

"How could you know I wasn't going to be there? Unless you followed me and stalked me." Oh... Suddenly it was as if a brick dropped inside his head. How could he explain to her how he knew? It wasn't stalking, it was being observant. This was a man who considered people important enough to take notice of them. Didn't this girl realise she was talking to someone who could tell which bra she was wearing through all those layers of clothing with a single glance?

"So, you're still upset with me for the differences that make us special, and that's why you left?"

"No, that's not why I left, I can't be in a relationship with anyone, and right now I am okay, and I wish to stay that way." Why did she always claim everything wsa okay when it clearly wasn't?

"You're saying that not being boyfriend/girlfriend is the same as not being friends at all?

"Yes. In my head, they are the same thing," she was almost at breaking point now. When rubber bands break, they tend to flick you in the eye, he didn't want to break her.

"Last we spoke, you were calling me names and trying to get me out of your life. Why didn't you just tell me then why you really needed a break?" his voice was almost apologetic. The fact that she would actually ever return was doubtful. He wanted to wrap his arms around her, to even just touch her. He couldn't remember when he had last felt her arms around him. "You didn't even let me say goodbye to you properly..." In his head, Agentha's voice was cracking. She wouldn't be having dinner with him on his birthday now, their lips would never brush at that distant point in time when they might have been married, that he could bear. But never again would he be able to embrace her with happy tears in his eyes when they met, nor would he ever again feel her arms around him.

"Goodbye!" there was a definite British accent in her now sarcastic voice as she formed her hand for a shake. But her hand was not extended, it was almost in her armpit.

He shook his head. He didn't want her to love him again, he just wanted her to stop being spiteful. "You should have told me earlier what you really wanted, and I would have happily let you go."

"I kept telling you, and you wouldn't listen." What she had kept telling him was all the things she didn't like about him. How could he think anything but that she hated him? They had both promised to always be honest with each other, yet she didn't seem to care any more. She'd told him in no uncertain terms she didn't give a damn how much she hurt him.

Her face was expressionless, empty and hollow like her heart he thought. "Look, I'm sorry you didn't realise, but I just need some time."

He smiled and nodded. "Go, be happy," he whispered. His hand reached for hers, but hers merely locked half around his for a moment. As he slapped her on the back, he blinked back tears she would never see, not that she would have cared if she had known anyway. The whole time, neither party had yet uttered the words 'I love you'. She slipped off into the crowd they were now standing amongst. He could have gone after her, but he didn't. Instead, he glided silently back to from whence he had come. "Delta Juliet Mike Five Three to Golf Mike? Contact broken at twelve-thirty. Mission completed *ksht*"

Et quod vides perisse, perditum ducas.

This is the first node to be written on my N810 :-)

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