Every Bit Counts

~ As always, for Lianne

Hal thought about taking a moment to calm down before storming into the lounge where Able Team was -- and dismissed the notion. He was pissed off, and felt perfectly willing to share all of it with the Team.

With Carl Lyons, specifically.

He slammed the door open and strode in two paces, spotting Lyons immediately and fixing him with a glare that carried all his ire in it.

Carl just raised an eyebrow. The three members of Able Team didn't seem particularly upset by their Chief's arrival and obvious displeasure, possibly because the mission they'd just come home from had gone rather well. Nothing blown up that shouldn't have been, no one dead or injured except bad guys. Not a thing out of step, by Stony Man standards.

Except for one thing.

"I don't suppose you know who I just got off the phone with?" Hal demanded.

Carl just looked confused. Gadgets Schwartz, however, laughed. "Major Dempsy?"

"Yes!" Hal glared at Gadgets briefly, before returning his attention to the cause of his displeasure.

Lyons just shrugged nonchalantly. "He was an asshole. Besides, I didn't do anything to him."

"So why the hell is he calling me to complain about you?"

Hal paused as Gadgets' hand shot into the air like a bright, eager student. Hal gave him cursory glare, but otherwise ignored both him and Politician, who seemed to be smothering a cough. Or something.

Turning his attention back to Carl, Hal shouted, "Goddammit, this is not high school and I am not your father! I'm not taking calls from people complaining about you making a pass!"

"I was just jerking his chain. He was being an ass about our liaision, Duncan. Duncan was doing a damn good job and his so-called superior wasn't making it any easier."

"So you decided to make it worse?"

"I waited til the mission was over," Carl said, shrugging again. It was clear that he wasn't about to apologise, or even admit he'd done anything wrong.

"Why the fuck can't you just leave people like that alone? You'd finished the mission, you were on your way out." Hal felt like he wanted to just... He had no idea. Send Carl to finishing school. Sew his mouth shut. Something.

Gadgets' hand was in the air again. "I know! Because people like that deserve it, and Carl has no manners."

Both Carl and Hal gave Gadgets a glare that time. Hal glanced at Pol who was no longer trying to hide his laughter.

"Tell me why I don't just have you chained up between missions?" Hal demanded.

Raising his hand for a third time, Gadgets offered in an innocent tone, "Because Manning doesn't like to share?"

It was possible, Hal thought, that coming in here to yell at Lyons was a mistake. He should have known. It wasn't like it was really serious -- but Jesus God, he had to field phone calls all the time from people complaining about this or another thing they didn't like about the men who'd come in and saved their asses. Normally he just brushed it off, knowing that the complaints were petty, or that the mission itself had gone badly and passing along complaints would just have been rubbing salt in the wound.

But this... He'd listened to Major Dempsy go on about "those sorts" and "personal attacks" and everything in between for fifteen minutes, before he'd finally figured out exactly what Lyons had done. In any other situation Hal would have laughed his ass off at the image of Carl inviting the man to join him for "unnatural sexual activities."

But honestly. There had been no reason for Carl not to just walk away. He'd deliberately wound the man up and left him to vent his anger all over Hal. Therefore, Hal felt perfectly justified in sharing.

Besides, yelling at Carl was great stress relief.

Hal grumbled, and glared a bit, then said, gruffly, "That reminds me. Phoneix Force touched down about twenty minutes ago."

Hal held his expression as Carl gave him a dirty look as he rushed past him and Pol, and out of the lounge. Hal waited a few moments until he was sure Carl was halfway to the debriefing room, before grinning.

Pol laughed again. "You're just mean, Chief."

"Tell me he doesn't bring it on himself," Hal countered.

"Oh, he does," Gadgets agreed. "But what's to stop us from telling him you do it deliberately?"

Hal looked at Gadgets, and said seriously, "I'll make sure Able Team and Phoneix Force are never at the Farm at the same time for two months straight."

"Madre de Dios," Pol said. "He's a moody, sullen bastard as it is! You wouldn't do that to us, would you?"

Hal just smiled. "Not as long as I don't get anymore phone calls from people pissed off because Lyons offers them a lapdance."