Author's Note: This was inspired by the commentary on the episode "Lesser Evil." Warning, beyond this lie spoilers for season two. I hope you enjoy.

Being a covert operative is mostly about dealing in information, and doing the things that no government agency wants have on the books. It isn't about killing. If you have to kill someone on every op you run, you're not doing your job right. But on the rare occasion when a cold-blooded killing is involved, it is best to do it as quickly and cleanly as possible. Bombs and sniper rifles are your best bets. You can make the kill from a distance, and be on your merry way. But sometimes things don't go according to plan. Sometimes things are too close, too personal, and too damn messy.

We should have been more careful. Checking marinas around Miami is something that I would do, so I should have known that Carla would have done the same. But hindsight is 20/20, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it now. Victor is slumped against the wall, his teeth gritted in pain. His breathing is shallow and labored, not a good sign. Blood is spreading in an ever-widening stain across the front of that awful shirt. I know that if he doesn't get to a hospital soon, he's going to die. And amazingly, he's still talking.

"Take the file. Tell them that you found me, I turned on Carla. You lured her here, had your team take her out and then killed me."

His words hit me like a ton of bricks. It's the last possible thing I was expecting him to say. Everyone that he has ever loved was taken from him. He's lived for revenge for so long, and now he's throwing in the towel? It doesn't seem right. Carla's dead. This is the part where he's supposed to ride off into the sunset, satisfied with his revenge.

Except that in the real world, things don't work like that. More often than not, the best you can do is take the bad guy down with you.

"Killed you?"

"It's over. The only question is whether you're a traitor who helped me, or the ace operative who shot me." I know that he's right, and I hate it. There aren't a whole lot of options for an operative in my position, and if I want to come out of this alive, I know which role I have to play. It just isn't fair. It's stupid to talk about fair, because any operative knows that all's fair in love and espionage, but Carla took so much from him…She shouldn't get his life, too.

But in a way, she did get his life. He's dying now, yeah, but he's been dead for a long time. She took his life when she took his family. Well, she sure as hell isn't going to get mine.

"Help me out. I'm dead one way or the other. They get me alive, and they're going to take me apart. You know it has to be like this."

Even now, as he gives himself a death sentence, he's still fighting. There's an intensity in his voice, in his expression, and I know I can't fight him on this. He's pushing his wants onto me, giving me no choice but to comply. I wish that I could, but we're both far too experienced to believe that there's any other option left for him. It would be merciful to end it now.

Merciful. Mercy is an almost laughable concept right now. I'm about to kill the man that tried to kill me four times (counting that time with the chair), and I'm feeling guilty about it. It's because he's trying to make it easier on me. I'm about to kill a man who has lost too much in his life already, and he is trying to soothe my conscience. He is trying to make this easier for me. I can feel his hand shaking as he pulls the gun towards him. He has positioned it right over his heart. I know that when I pull the trigger, he's going to be dead before he even hears the sound of the gun firing.

"It was good playing with you, sport…Now, you get out. Get out while you can."

I can't look at my hands while I pull the trigger, so instead, I look into his face. There's that loud, familiar sound, and the he's still. His eyes are wide, but empty. That fire that was fueling the both of us is gone, and only a void remains. I can't stand it, seeing that nothingness in his eyes…not when I know what used to be there. It hurts so much I have to look away for a moment.

There are too many thoughts to process all at once. The tactical, analytical part of my brain is telling me that now is not the time to stop and grieve for this man. That part of my brain is telling me to grab the file, walk out the door, and do what has to be done. But I can't just leave him there like that. He deserves more than that.

I take a deep breath, trying to push my emotions to the back of my mind, and close his eyes. It's what I would want someone to do for me, I think, so it's the least I can do for my brother in arms. He is that, my brother in arms. I know that I should hate the man who tried to kill me, but I can't. I look at him, and I see too much of myself. If I lost everyone—Mom, Nate, Sam…Fi—I can see myself being just like him. All it would take is four dead bodies.

Carla is dead, but Management doesn't seem the type to give up so easily. I never thought I had that much to lose until now. I told Mom that I never called because I didn't want a dangerous life for her, and that was the truth. But the real truth of the matter is, just being Michael Westen's mother is a danger. As long as Management wants me, as long as I don't give in, every day of her life is going to in danger. The same for Nate.

And Sam…For the most part, he could take care of himself. But Sam is a military man. He wasn't trained for espionage, and that's exactly what these people are the best at. I'm sure they've tailed him, and probably know all his favorite hangouts. It would be nothing to distract a waitress and slip something into his drink.

And Fi…My beautiful Fi, who thrives on chaos. The problem with chaos is that it makes it all too easy for someone to slip in, plant a bomb, and slip back out. No one would care that an ex-IRA bomb maker and gun runner was blown up. They've seen her in the Saab. It would be all too easy to set up a gun sale and shoot her down at the meeting. Not that Fi would be unprepared, but even the most prepared person is in over their heads with these guys.

Every minute that I'm alive and fighting Management, the people I love are in danger. When I signed up for this, I knew there would be risks, but I had never thought of it like this. I had never realized that just by being alive, I was endangering everyone I hold dear. Victor is a reminder for me of all the things that could go wrong.

I look at him again and wonder if it's worth it. I love my job, and the sense of being part of something bigger than myself. But right now, it feels like that something is a catastrophe. I'm the explosive on a bomb that's just waiting to destroy my world, and they've got the detonator. Maybe it would just be easier to just push the button myself. Without the explosive, the bomb can't function, it can't destroy the bigger target.

There are tears in my eyes, and I bow under the weight of them. The gun is still in my hand, right there. It is amazing that something so sleek and so small has the capacity to do so much destruction. But it can also stop the destruction. One bullet could end this whole thing.

The gunmetal isn't cool against my forehead. It's hot, actually. Too hot. I've handled guns for the past twenty years of my life, but one has never felt as heavy as it does now. I pull it away from my face, trying to focus.

I glance at Victor's body. He looks peaceful now, and I hope that he is. He died trying to end this, to keep this organization from ruining someone else's life like they did his. I can't betray his sacrifice by taking the easy way out. The right way isn't always the easy way…hell, this might not even be the right way, but it's my way. There's too much in this world worth fighting for, worth living for, to just throw it all away.

Clenching my jaw, I stand and grab the file that's going to make me a hero in Management's eyes. I grab my sunglasses, put them on, and step outside, ready to fight for all that's dear to me. This could backfire, and I could bring everything crashing down. Maybe I'm a time bomb that going to tear my world apart, but I could also blow Management away. There's a chance that things could work, and that's a thing worth fighting for.

Author's Note: So, the moment when Michael puts the gun to his head after shooting Victor made me wonder what the hell was going on in his head, and this was just my idea of things. Let me know what you think. Feeback=Max's yogurt. Blueberry's my favorite. =)