Title: Lies & Happy Endings
Pairing: Michael/Alex; Michael/Alex/Sara
Timeline/Spoilers: Set after 4.06 'Blow Out'
Disclaimer: Not mine. We all know that.
A/N: One scene, two different colours.
Buffy: Does it ever get easy?
Giles: You mean life?
Buffy: Yeah, does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: Lie to me.
Giles: Yes. It's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and... everybody lives happily ever after.
He finds Alex outside, staring out over the water. He doesn't react to Michael's approach, barely even seems to register his presence. Michael stands at his side in silence for a while, watching the choppy, unsettled movement of the ocean. Despite the chill to the breeze, the air feels leaden, hard to breathe.
Finally, Alex shifts slightly. 'I know I said I didn't care. About why you did it, I mean. Why you came for me. But... ' he trails off.
'But you do.'
He doesn't respond, but Michael can sense the tension in his body. It feels almost like the stagnant air is vibrating around him, a static charge humming along his skin like the fences at Sona. He wonders what would happen if he were to touch Alex when he's like this. If it would be as lethal.
He folds his arms to tuck away the temptation. 'Do you want me to tell you, Alex? Do you want the truth?'
Alex considers this for a long time. His gaze stays on the water. 'No,' he says eventually, so softly that Michael can barely hear him.
'It was for the good of the mission,' Michael says. 'We work well as a team, we've been successful, and you're a part of that. I'm smart, but I don't have your experience. We need your input, your perspective, if we're going to pull this off. It was a strategic move, pure and simple. A calculated risk. It wasn't personal, it was just about recovering an asset. The fact that it was you I'd -- we'd lost, meant nothing. It didn't influence my decision at all. I--' He takes a deep breath. 'I could go on without you, if that's what it took.'
Alex nods, almost smiles. 'I said I didn't want honesty, Michael.'
'Yeah, Alex. I heard what you said.'
Alex turns his head sharply and gives Michael a fast, raking look before swinging away again. There's a long pause. Michael stares hard at Alex's profile, but he won't meet his eyes again. Alex thrusts his hands in his pockets but the gesture looks anything but casual. His shoulders are raised and stiff, almost hunched.
'Now it's my turn,' Michael says. 'I get to ask a question.'
'Yeah? What's that?'
'Do you think we can win?'
Alex addresses the ground at his feet. 'Do you want an honest answer to that question, Michael? Do you want the truth?'
Michael watches the birds wheel overhead, stark white against the threatening clouds. 'No,' he says.
Alex takes a small step backwards, removing a hand from his jeans pocket and raising it to rub the back of his neck. 'Do I think we can win? You mean, do I think we can bring down the Company?' He gives a short, brittle laugh. 'Yeah, Michael. Sure I do. Because this is America, land of truth and justice. We're the good guys now, and that means we get to triumph over evil. So yes, everything goes according to plan and we go back to our lives as heroes. We all get a happy ending.'
Alex nods. 'Sure. Can't you see it? Sucre and his girl settle in a nice suburb somewhere in California with a white picket fence and a dog and a houseful of fat babies. Sara goes back to being a doctor--no, she retrains as a psychologist and specialises in helping survivors of violence. Lincoln--' Alex breaks off, and stills. He brings his arms around his body, hugging himself. 'Lincoln's reunited with his son, and he gets to be the father he always wanted to be. He watches LJ become a man--' he stops again and is silent for a few seconds. Michael can hear his breathing. 'He watches LJ grow up,' he continues. 'Watches him get a job, get married, have kids of his own. He watches him have a life.'
'Alex,' Michael begins, but stops when Alex raises a hand and shakes his head. 'Right,' he says instead. 'Yeah. That sounds good.'
Alex nods, scuffing the heel of his hand across his cheek in a gesture he seems barely aware of. 'Yeah,' he says.
They stand in silence again for a while. The distance between them has narrowed somehow, although Michael's not sure exactly when that happened. 'And what about us, Alex?' he asks softly.
'Yeah. You and me. Do we get a happy ending too?'
Again that brittle laugh. 'Of course we do. You marry Sara.'
Michael shuffles his feet. 'Right. And I suppose you go back to Pam.'
'Yeah, and I go back to Pam.' Alex's eyes look hollow in the fading light. 'And everybody lives happily ever after. That's how it ends.'
Michael raises a hand then leaves it there, hovering, unsure. He imagines he can feel the heat generated by Alex's skin, even through the clothing and the few inches of space that separates them.
'Yes, Michael?' When Michael says nothing further, Alex turns and faces him directly for the first time. He smiles, and there's something so broken, so lost, about it that it seems to make the air in Michael's chest solidify He can't move, can barely breathe, for the unexpected pain of it.
Alex's gaze flicks briefly over Michael's shoulder, and he turns to see Sara leave the warehouse and start towards them. She waves.
'Sara,' Michael starts. 'Sara, she said... if I... she said she'd understand if... she said...'
Alex cuts him off, shaking his head. 'Go,' he says. 'Make your own happy ending.'
Michael's throat has constricted, choking off his words, but Alex answers his question anyway. 'There's only one thing that I want,' he says. 'To stay alive long enough to watch Wyatt not be. That's it. That's all I need.' He gestures again towards Sara. 'Go on. Go. It'll be fine, Michael. It's all going to work out. You'll see.'
Michael turns and starts walking towards Sara, then stops and looks back. He can only manage a whisper, but Alex has already turned around again and it doesn't look like he's listening anyway.
'Liar,' he says.
He finds Alex outside, staring out over the water. He turns when he hears Michael approach, and smiles. He looks different; relaxed, at ease. For once, the thrum of nervous energy that normally surrounds him is gone. Michael stands by his side in companionable silence and watches the movement of the ocean. The waves are smooth, rhythmic; generating a sense of calm, a feeling of being somehow cocooned, kept safe.
He knows it's not over, not by a very, very long way--but right now they're on track. And they're all still together. That's an interim victory at least, and he thinks they've earned the right to enjoy it.
'Thanks,' Alex says after a while. 'For, you know, the whole saving my life thing. For a while there I thought...' he doesn't finish.
Michael waves a hand. 'Hey, no problem. What are superheroes for, if not to provide the daring last-minute rescue?'
Alex stares at him, then bursts out laughing. It's a genuine laugh, natural and infectious. Michael realises it's the first time he's ever heard it.
'Is that what you are?' Alex asks, still spluttering. 'A superhero?'
'Of course. You mean you didn't realise?'
I didn't, I'm sorry. But it certainly explains a few things. So, what are your special powers? Besides the ability to make the most unlikely people want to obey your every command, that is?'
'That's a useful sounding power. I didn't actually realise I had it.'
Alex gives him a long, appraising look. 'Didn't you?'
Michael tries to return that frank gaze, but gives up when he feels unexpected heat rising in his cheeks. To cover his sudden awkwardness, he raises his hand to shield his eyes from the last rays of the sun. 'So what would you go for?' he asks, with his best attempt at nonchalance. 'If you could have a superpower, I mean.'
'Mind reading,' Alex says promptly.
Michael smiles. 'I thought you already had that one.'
He laughs again. Michael thinks he could get used to hearing. it. 'I wish,' he says. 'But all right then, I'll pick clairvoyance--being able to see the future.'
They're standing so close now that there's barely an inch between them, although Michael has no sense of either of them having moved. This has happened to him before, this sudden consciousness of Alex, of his physical presence, so close beside him without apparent design or intent. It's as if there's some kind of gravitational pull being exerted, bringing them inexorably together.
'Go on then,' he says, 'practice your powers. How does all this turn out? Do we win?'
'Do we win? Do we take down the Company?' Alex puts his hands to his temples, as if concentrating. 'Okay, let me see... yes, yes, I think we do. We get Scylla, we turn over every rock the Company is hiding under and they all go to jail. And then, when it's all done, Sucre goes to find Maricruz, they get married and settle down somewhere nice to live out the rest of their lives in domestic bliss. Bellick writes a book--well, he puts his name to a book, anyway. It's called 'Guard, Inmate, Secret Agent,' and he's guest of honour on all the talk shows. He buys a sports car and a new house for his mom and never works again. When they make the film, he's played by James Gandolfini.' He grins. 'The role of Michael Scofield goes to Jensen Ackles, who does okay, although the internet fans say he's not pretty enough.'
Michael snorts, but he can't help laughing a little too. 'I'd probably go and see that film,' he admits. 'Dare I ask who plays Special Agent Alexander Mahone?'
'Hmm. Probably Bruce Willis. Because obviously the producers realise who the real star of this story is.'
'Obviously.' Michael's quite impressed that he manages to say this without rolling his eyes.
Alex's gaze flicks over Michael's shoulder, and he turns to see Sara coming towards them. She lifts her hand in a wave, and he returns it, then nods towards her. 'Hey, you should go. Make your own happy ending.'
'What about you?'
'What about me, Michael?' There's a hint of a grin. 'I don't think they allow threesomes in fairy tale endings.'
'I thought you said Bellick writes this film, not Disney. I'm sure he could be persuaded.'
'Yeah, but he'd insist on being able to watch, and nobody wants that to happen.'
'Thank you for that... disturbing mental image, Alex.'
He laughs again, and takes a few steps away as Sara joins them. Lights start to go on in the buildings on the other side of the dock. 'Hey,' she says, 'what are you guys up to?' She half-turns back towards the warehouse. 'It's just that Lincoln wants to go over the plan for tomorrow, and--'
'Angelina Jolie,' Alex says, and Michael has to hide a smile behind his hand.
Sara gives him a confused smile. 'Sorry?'
'It's nothing. We were just talking about films.'
'Yeah,' Michael says. 'There's supposed to be a good one coming out. Bruce Willis, Jensen Ackles and Angelina Jolie.'
'Sounds good. What's it about?'
'They fight crime,' Alex says. 'And have threesomes.'
Sara looks slowly from him to Michael. She raises an eyebrow. 'Threesomes, huh? Is that right?'
Alex shakes his head. 'I'm sorry, Sara. Ignore me. It's just... it's been a long day.'
Sara purses her lips, a speculative expression on her face. 'No,' she says slowly. 'I think it sounds like a great film. I'd be first in line for that.'
Michael blinks. 'You would?'
She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. 'Sure.'
'You don't think it's... unrealistic?'
She moves until she's standing in between them, and links her arm through his. 'It'd be a bit unconventional, sure Some people might not understand it. But hey--carpe diem, right? And you've got to admit--the whole threesome thing? Two guys together? It's hot.'
Michael catches Alex's eye then hastily drops his gaze. Alex stares at Sara instead, while Michael swallows. His throat is suddenly dry. 'I, uh... I've never really thought about it.'
Sara throws back her head and laughs. She leans in towards them both, eyes sparkling.
'Liar,' she says.