This is an old story that I began in 2006 right after season 3 ended; that's why the plot does not follow season 4 at all. I'm returning to this story now and writing it as an alternate universe fic. I'll start near the end of the series finale, and will contradict the "epilogue" scenes somewhat. (But the tag scenes are often not part of the continuity anyway). Also, when Buster jumps off the Queen Mary, there's a small fishing boat close by, so a rescue isn't so unlikely. I will correct some people's ages that don't make sense, like George Michael's. He just had a birthday, and Michael even said in The Ocean Walker that George Michael was 16. This story takes place during the summer of 2006, because I didn't think that the final episodes of season 3 were meant to take place in February, during the Olympics.
Note: This chapter and several others have been recently altered to change the layout of the yacht, which I got wrong before. According to a visible logo, the C-Word is a Prima 45 yacht; I can't find any information about this model online, but it looks about the same size as the Lucille yacht, which is a Navigator 5500. The manufacturer's website has floorplans and specifications for the Navigator 5500, showing that it has many cabins with full amenities. Therefore Michael should not have objected to living there except for his seasickness, and the police thinking him a fugitive.
Michael and his son were somewhat confused when they noticed the Queen Mary steaming past their yacht, and heard the police ordering Lucille to pull aside and "step away from the historic ship."
Hearing his mother's name, Michael realized that the S.E.C. were after her now, so they too must have found out lately that she was the real mastermind behind all the crooked company schemes and financial fraud.
As the guys watched the ship go by, Michael commented, "I think Gangee's trying to make a break for it."
George Michael reached for a control lever and said, "Well, I guess we should go back. Family sticks together, huh?"
"Yeah," Michael didn't sound eager for that reunion, and he took George Michael's hand off the lever. "On the other hand, we do have a full tank of gas, a house in Cabo, and 500 grand in cashier's checks. What say we give them no choice but to keep themselves all together for a while?"
He did not wait for George Michael to reply, simply moving him aside on the seat and taking the controls of the yacht.
George Michael frowned and asked, "Wait, what do you mean a house in Cabo? And what-?"
Michael did not hear him, nor answer, because the yacht was rocked by big waves from the Queen Mary again. He swerved away and began steering through the crowd of police boats.
George Michael decided not to distract his father just now, though he remained puzzled by what Michael had said. He did understand in general his father's sudden impulse to abandon the family; Michael had made the threat many times, and had even driven away repeatedly, only to turn around again.
Meanwhile, below the main deck of the yacht, George Sr. was hiding inside the Aztec Tomb with Gob's puppet on his hand. They were in a cramped bedroom, so the box was shoved up against the wall near the portholes. Given all the violent waves rocking the yacht, George tentatively opened the Tomb and sat up to peek through the windows with Franklin.
"Is it safe to come out yet?" George asked. He'd been hiding there since before George Michael's fight with GOB.
Franklin answered, "No, lay low! There's fuzz everywhere!"
"But they're after Lucille." He felt a twinge of concern for his wife, whom he had taken the blame for all along.
Franklin didn't care. "So what? You wanted to leave that old bitch anyway. Let her rot in jail this time!"
"That's my wife!" George Sr. protested, but he did see Franklin's point about jail. "But where are we going now? I thought Michael was going to dock the yacht and take George Michael with him."
"They probably want to get away from the cops first."
"Yeah, but they better hurry up and go home. I wanna leave for Cabo soon." He wouldn't have worried so much, if he knew Michael's intended destination.
Suddenly, another sizeable wave rocked the boat, making George Sr. hit his head on the cabin wall; he got knocked out, falling back inside the Aztec Tomb with Franklin.
The police boats didn't stop the C-Word from leaving the harbor, nor did they notice Buster, facing down the very seal that bit off his hand. It even still had the yellow bow-tie. Buster hurriedly tried to remember his army training to help him fight the animal off, but he still felt frightened. "No! Get away! Ugh!"
Luckily, though, Buster's flailing and screaming attracted the attention of a man in a nearby boat. He turned around and rowed closer, yelling to Buster, "Hey, hey! Calm down! That's a seal, not a shark!"
"I know that!" Buster replied. "It bit off my hand! And-and I lost my glasses."
The fisherman noticed Buster's hook then and worried that his wild flailing would cause him to injure himself or puncture his water wings and life vest. So the guy forced the seal away with his paddle and then pulled Buster up into his boat. "You all right?"
"Yeah." Buster caught his breath and shivered. "Thank you so much! That was close!" He nervously watched the seal bark menacingly from the water before it disappeared again. "Wow, I can't believe it's still alive, after losing its left flipper."
"What do you mean? You know that seal?"
Buster told him the story, and how he recognized the seal. The guy listened to him rather skeptically, wondering if perhaps Buster was lying or babbling nonsense because of his trauma. He rowed the boat to shore, and commented, "Well, that's almost as unbelievable as what's happening right now. All these police boats coming out of nowhere, and the Queen Mary breaking away from the dock..."
"Oh that's my mother Lucille, trying to get away from the S.E.C. I jumped off the ship when it started to move."
The fisherman looked amazed, and decided to hear out Buster's whole story while they rowed to shore.
Later, after the C-Word left Long Beach Harbor and headed southward, George Michael resumed questioning his father.
"Hey, Dad, what did you mean when you said that we have a house in Cabo? What house?"
Michael turned to him and answered, "Oh didn't I mention it to you? Your Pop-Pop told me that he built a house in Cabo, in case of an emergency. (Boy, I wish he'd gone there instead of coming back to hide in our attic!) Anyway, I figure that we can go find the house and stay there for a while. It should be easy to spot, and probably look just like our model home."
"In Cabo? But isn't that in Mexico?"
"Yeah, Cabo San Lucas. Hey, can you look and see if we've got any maps of Baja, so that we can plot our course?"
"You're serious, Dad? You mean we're leaving the country? Just-just like that?"
"Yeah. What's the matter, George Michael? Don't you wanna finally get away from the family, and get over Maeby? I mean, just this week you told me that you wanted to leave town."
"Yeah, but I meant, like, leave the state. You know, move to Arizona like you talked about before. But what are we gonna do in Mexico, Dad? What about your job? What about school? I don't speak Spanish, and I-I don't have my transcripts-"
"Hey, hey, buddy! Calm down, okay? School's out for the summer. Think of this as our summer vacation, the vacation that we should have taken a long time ago from that nuthouse. Don't worry. We can come back in a couple of months, you know, in plenty of time for your senior year."
"Oh. Oh, okay." George Michael looked relieved. "So you don't mean forever. You just mean for a while."
"Yeah, that's what I said." Michael put an arm around him. "I just want you and me to finally relax and recuperate from these past three years. Let them stay and deal with Gangee's arrest. We should just worry about ourselves for once."
"Yeah, I guess so. We could use the break, huh?"
"Exactly. This is our big break. We're gonna finally have some fun and make time for each other. I promise I won't even work in Cabo. We'll just live at Pop-Pop's house and spend these cashier's checks." He patted his coat pocket.
George Michael asked, "Wait, cashier's checks? When did you get cashier's checks, Dad? You were already planning to leave?"
Michael shook his head and handed the checks to George Michael. "No, actually, this is kind of our lucky break, pal. You see, everyone was threatening to cash out their Bluth company stock, so Gangee said that we should bribe them into signing a paper not to sell their stock for ten years. You know how greedy the family is; they'll do anything for cold hard cash."
George Michael looked over the checks and gasped. "This is really $500,000. You really meant 500 grand!"
"Yep," Michael grinned. "And we'll get to keep it all to ourselves now."
"Keep it? But-but isn't this wrong, Dad? We can't spend this money."
"Well, I'm not giving this back to the family! They'd just piss it all away."
"No, but it's the company money. It says right on the check, 'Bluth Company'."
Michael said, "No, no, that's just the remitter information. See, with a cashier's check, the bank is the issuer, because I already paid them the money upfront."
"But you paid them from the company account, right? With the corporate checkbook? I mean, it's half a million dollars!"
Sometimes Michael wished that his son didn't have to act like such a nagging conscience. "Come on, George Michael! I worked at the company for over 15 years, and we made so many sacrifices. Then we had to save the company and keep that crazy family together for the past three years. Don't you think we deserve half a million for all our trouble? It's only quarter of what my company stock's worth."
"But you were the one telling everybody not to cash out their stock! I mean, we don't even need this much money, Dad, and besides, what will happen to the company while we're gone? Whoever takes over as president will have to deal with all legal trouble with Gangee, and then he or she's gonna found out that half a million is missing from the accounts. Somebody will get into trouble, or fired. Maybe they'll even shut down the whole company and put everybody out of work. I don't want the employees to lose their jobs."
Michael whined, "But there's already so much missing money, who would notice $500,000?"
Michael sighed and gave in, reluctantly agreeing that he didn't want to become an embezzler and thief like the rest of his family. "All right, fine. We won't spend these checks. But what are we gonna do with them, huh? If I mail them back, then GOB, Lindsay, and everybody will just cash the checks anyway and spend them."
"But can't you rip them up or stop payment or something?"
Michael said, "All right, fine. I guess I can try to get the bank refund the money back to the Bluth company account. But we'll have to do it secretly. We're not getting involved again, okay?"
"Okay." George Michael felt a little better now about leaving.
Michael reconsidered their assets. "Well I guess we're gonna need some other money in Cabo, then. Hmm, maybe we should stop at a bank here first and withdraw the money out of my account first. My personal account," he emphasized.
"Sure, and maybe we should stop at the house too, and pack some stuff for Cabo."
"Do you really want to go back to the model home? We might run into somebody there and get sucked in again."
"Come on, Dad. They wouldn't stop us." He pointed to Michael's tuxedo. "Don't you need a change of clothes, at least? And don't we need our passports, or anything? You said that we should get a map of Baja, and do you even know how to sail that far?"
Michael shrugged, thinking that he could figure it out, despite not having Buster's cartography lessons. As for clothes, well, they could buy that in Mexico surely, or borrow whatever GOB had left behind... But Michael frowned, not liking the idea of wearing GOB's clothes, especially if they included his stripper pants. So Michael said slowly, "Well, I guess if we're already making a stop at a bank... and since Newport's on the way to Mexico..."
"Yeah, it wouldn't take long to run to the house and pack something."
"Right, and I guess the whole family is gonna be tied up until the police manage to pull over the Queen Mary, so we could risk it. Okay, here's the plan: we'll dock at Newport Beach, take care of business, and drop by the model home for a few minutes. But that's it. No hanging out, no answering phones, and no listening to messages. We've gotta escape them once and for all."
George Michael nodded, but asked, "Once and for all? But we're still coming back, right? In two months?"
"What? Oh, yeah. I just-I just meant that, once and for all, we've gotta teach them a lesson, and leave them on their own for longer than a day. Let them spend the whole summer wondering where we are and if we're ever gonna come back. Then they might actually grow up and learn how to fend for themselves."
"I-I guess so." George Michael felt uncertain, though, about leaving Maeby in that suspense for so long. Should he leave a note for her? But would that mess up the whole teaching them a lesson? More importantly, would Maeby even care about his absence, or miss him?
Michael continued speculating about the future, "And you know, maybe when we come back, they won't even need us anymore. That would be a huge relief, wouldn't it?" Michael remembered feeling hurt and disappointed when the family seemed not to need him right after George Sr.'s first escape from prison, but that false success soon fell apart. Michael now felt that he didn't need his family's neediness anymore, and he longed for freedom.
George Michael on the other hand, longed for Maeby. Intellectually, he knew that his father was right; blood-related or not, they were still family. But emotionally, none of his love had faded yet.
Noticing his son's silence, Michael asked, "Are you okay, buddy?"
He sighed and frowned. "Yeah, it's just—just hard leaving right now."
Michael said, "I know that you might miss some of them, and it's gonna feel lonely for a while, but trust me, we're better off this way. You don't wanna keep dealing with all of them now, do you? Especially since you're mad at GOB right now."
George Michael shook his head. "No, no . I-I don't think I could hang out with GOB anymore, and trust him."
"I know, buddy. I understand." GOB had thoughtlessly betrayed Michael several times over the years. "Listen, after we get back from Cabo, if you still don't feel comfortable being around GOB or Maeby, then we don't have to stick around. We could just pack up anything that we left behind, say goodbye, and move to Arizona, like you wanted. I'd take the job with Sitwell Housing, and you could enroll in a new school. We could start all over and finally live a normal, sane life, you know?"
"Yeah, yeah I guess so." George Michael loved Maeby too much to think that he'd be over her in only a couple of months time. It would be painful to be near her, especially if she had moved on already with someone else, or with her big movie exec career. She would outgrow him too, he feared.
"Sure." Michael smiled at the thought of their vacation leading to permanent freedom. "It'll be just you and me, Bluth boys again."
"Atta boy." He squeezed George Michael's shoulder paternally, as he imagined their future together. Then he let go of the yacht's controls and asked, "Hey, buddy, you know the way back to Newport Beach, right? Can you take over steering the yacht for a while? I want to check for any supplies onboard."
Michael got up and undid his tie, tossing it and his tuxedo jacket aside on the couch, to celebrate being free of the Bluth Company. He looked quickly through the nearby kitchen (or "galley" in nautical terms) to assess how much food and water they had. Not surprisingly, the fridge was mainly stocked with liquor.
After that, Michael decided to investigate downstairs. He found the steps to the lower deck of the yacht, and he walked down them, feeling curious and excited.
On the old family yacht, Mom and Dad seldom let the kids below the main deck. Bluth outings on the Lucille were usually for fishing trips, traumatizing lessons, or country club competitions. Sometimes Mom and Lindsay would go downstairs to change into a swimsuit, but Dad said the main cabin was good enough for the boys, if they closed the curtains and blinds. When Michael got seasick, he was told to vomit over the side of the yacht, or lie down on the couch inside, if he had to be a sissy.
George didn't want the kids to run around below deck and see the incriminating evidence that he kept stored in coolers there, due to Barry Zuckerkorn's advice that no laws applied at sea. Or else, the kids might stumble upon evidence of George cheating with various mistresses, then rat him out to Lucille, like Lindsay cleared her throat and pointed when George was with the au pair in the pantry. Due to his father's precautions, Michael grew up thinking that downstairs on a yacht was forbidden to him.
That was no longer the case now, and hopefully Michael would get to fully enjoy this yacht with his son. Maybe as they navigated to Mexico, Michael could teach him what he remembered about maritime law. That would be way more fun than fishing, and then they could have a great summer in Cabo together.
At the bottom of the stairs, Michael came to a cramped stateroom with a twin-size bed and tons of Gob's magic props, including the Aztec Tomb. Well, he and George Michael could take turns sleeping in this bed as they each helmed the yacht in shifts. Thankfully, there was a small bathroom with toilet nearby (also known as a "head"), so he and George Michael wouldn't be inconvenienced before they got to Cabo.
Michael tried to move aside the Aztec Tomb, so he could reach the wall cabinets behind it; he wanted to search for Gob's clothes, pack them, and get rid of them quickly once they docked in Newport Beach. But the Tomb was rather heavy for some reason, and behind a magic trunk, Michael soon found a suitcase of Egg's stuff. It had the name of her father's church on it.
He looked disgusted by the reminder, and wondered if GOB had actually slept with that underage girl yet, or if she had held firm against secular temptation. But surely moving in with him was pretty damn close to living in sin, wasn't it? Why did GOB have to continually test the limits of the statutory rape laws? Being a pimp, and seducing college girls on Spring Break wasn't enough for him?
Shaking his head, Michael closed the suitcase and placed it on the magic trunk. He regretted not figuring out the identity of GOB's girlfriend before, when he found him on the yacht earlier, but GOB had only spoken vaguely about how he really needed the yacht, because his girlfriend was going to move in soon.
"Your girlfriend is going to live with you on a boat named the C-Word?"
"Yeah, I told her that it stands for the Christ-word, or the Cross-word, or something like that."
"I think she'll have plenty of cross words for you when she figures it out." He turned and left.
In hindsight, Michael really ought to have picked up on the clues, especially given GOB's speech about third place beauty contestants, but Michael had not paid attention, being too wrapped up in his work, and his own girlfriend Rita. Also, he had wanted to believe in his heart that GOB would never hurt family like that, and that he'd grown close enough to his nephew to feel some kind of loyalty. After all, they had bonded over magic during Spring Break. But no, GOB really did sink that low.
Michael sighed and sat down on the bed. GOB always found new ways to disappoint him. Why was he even surprised anymore? GOB only really came through for Michael when they taught their father a lesson for the Boyfights, but clearly that didn't stop GOB from being selfish and horny, or wanting to sell off his company stock to Sitwell.
Well, Michael wouldn't have to deal with his needy, greedy brother anymore. He would be free at last. No more fighting over the presidency, no more CDs dedicated to him, and no more incestuous sexual harrassment. (In fact, when everyone kept appearing in his bed this past week, Michael became paranoid that he might soon wake up with GOB too, so for a couple nights, he decided to work late and sleep on the couch at the office. It allowed George Michael to sleep in the master bedroom, to get away from Maeby, but Michael did not tell him yet about Lindsay being adopted.)
Hopefully, George Michael would get over his cousin soon, if not in Cabo, then in Arizona. Finally, Michael was doing the right thing for his son; they would have a great summer vacation, and leave the whole burdensome family behind. Yes, Phoenix was the perfect place for them to start fresh. They would be like phoenixes, too, rising from the ashes of their old life, and coming out stronger and better for the change.
Michael was still congratulating himself for this metaphor, when he opened up the Aztec Tomb and found a surprise inside.
"Franklin? Dad!" Damn! He jinxed it.