A sequel of sorts to Staring Down the Barrel. Season 6 spoilers. This takes place between episodes 6x01 and 6x02.
Burn Notice: I don't own it, I just like to play with it.
Grace Like Rain
Sometimes you do things, things so out of character and evil, that afterwards you look back and wonder what was going through your head at the time. You feel such shame for what you've done, certain that there was no excuse for losing control, because everyone knows you and expects you to be on top of things all the time. You let them down. You let yourself down. When you start going down that road, two things will happen: your best friend won't leave you alone, and your mother will try to fix things. Only, there's nothing that words or a bandage can repair. Not until I get Fiona out of jail and clear her name can everything be right again.
The door squeaked when she pushed it open and Madeline Westen entered her son's loft without permission. That never stopped anyone before, and it certainly wouldn't keep her from checking up on him. After Fiona's arrest and her son nearly killing Sam, she was worried. Deeply worried. She tried calling him, but he didn't pick up. So she got into the car, and despite how rattled she was by the intruder in her home, Maddie went to see him, to try to work this out together. On the drive there, she wondered to herself if she was partly to blame for all this, because she never showed Michael the kind of support he needed. She was always too busy dabbing at her own physical and emotional wounds to deal with his. And now he'd gone over the line.
"Michael?" She approached the bed and saw him lying face down. She checked. He was breathing, and she breathed a sigh of relief. She heard a noise and turned. Sam came down the stairs and crossed the room, and she was happy that her son wasn't alone.
"Maddie, what are you doing here?" Sam spoke softly. He stopped in front of her and noted the tears welling up in her eyes, and he opened his arms to take her in and hold her. "He's okay. Are you?"
She didn't answer at first. Sam felt the tension in her shoulders and back, and he knew. He just let her cry into his shirt, knowing it would look like a mess later, but he didn't care because he'd already wrinkled himself by sleeping on the couch in his clothes. No one had the time to consider the trauma she'd been through. Sam was sure that Jesse did what he could after the fact, but she needed her family. Too bad Michael was incapacitated by his own crisis, and Nate, who knew where he was in the middle of this. As a surrogate son, Sam was her last resort.
"I'm sorry, Sam," she cried as she pulled away and patted the wet spot she created on his chest. Streaks of mascara marred the material.
"It's okay. They've got a great laundry crew at the hotel. Now, have you had any breakfast yet?"
"No. I can't eat, I'm too..." Tears built up again, but she stubbornly blinked them away. A huge sigh came out of her. "I had to come see Michael, to know he was okay."
"He'll be alright, in time. And so will you, Maddie." He put a hand behind her back and led her to a stool, and he wordlessly urged her to sit. She did, and he moved behind the bar, opened the fridge, and took out some eggs and vegetables. "I'll make us a little something I like to call a Sammy scrammy."
A small laugh came out of her. "What's that?"
"Like a cross between a Denver omelet and scrambled eggs. It'll be good for ya, and I'll force some down Mike too when he wakes up." Sam worked as quietly as he could. "Did you get any rest at all?"
"Some. I spent more time tossing than really sleeping."
"Yeah, I know what that's like. I couldn't sleep so I came by to check on Mike. Good thing I was here." He told her what happened, how Michael broke down in his arms. "Afterwards, he went right out and he's still asleep. Me, I didn't get as much rest as I would have liked, but it was enough so I can function. Mike needs every wink he can get considering how his day went."
"I know what you mean." Maddie pulled out a cigarette, hesitated putting the flame to the end, and remembered how Michael hated her smoking in the loft. "I'll be out on the balcony."
"Okay." His phone rang, and Sam picked up on the second ring. Maddie hesitated, waiting to see if it was good or bad news. "Yeah." He listened for a moment. "He's still asleep, Pearce, and I'd like to keep him that way for a little while. It was a rough day yesterday, and a rough night. So if you've got something for him, unless armageddon will rain down on us if he doesn't do it, he's not gonna be your trained monkey and come at your bidding." He paused. "Sorry, but that's just the way it is... and I don't care if you burn him for it. The man needs a break! Just give him one day, and you'll have that much more intel on where Anson is, while Mike recharges his batteries. Okay?"
As Madeline listened, her esteem for Sam went up several notches. She knew that this man loved her son as if he were his brother, and his gruff speech proved it again. After all, how many people would be so protective after the subject of such love pulled a gun on them less than twenty four hours ago? She wanted to hug him, but she settled for coming around and stirring the eggs and vegetables that Sam dumped into the frying pan just before Pearce called.
"I'll let you know when he's ready! In the meantime, do what you can to find Anson." He hung up, not even waiting for a reply. He spied Maddie watching him and he abruptly turned toward the stove. He took the spatula from her. "It's okay, I've got it."
"That was really wonderful what you just did."
"This? It's just breakfast."
She smiled and caressed his cheek. "You know that's not what I was talking about." With a small shake of her head, she returned to her seat and watched him work. "You bought him some time."
"Yeah, Pearce is probably spitting nails right now, but tough." Sam muttered, "It's about time the agency did a little work to protect one of their own instead of leaving him out in the cold to take care of things himself." He turned and looked at Maddie. "Your run of the mill CIA agent doesn't have bad guys going after his family and friends, so there's not much need for them to do anything. But Mike does, and Anson is a threat not just to him and us, but the agency as well. I only hope that Pearce sees that now."
Sam finished up the eggs, made some toast, and laid everything out on the table while Maddie went to wake her son. She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder and spoke softly, afraid to startle him. "Michael, it's time for you to get up."
"Mmm, don't wanna get up, Ma." He muttered the words in a tone that reminded her of when he was a child and didn't want to go to school because some bully had been harassing him. She recalled that when Michael learned to defend himself he lost his fear of the bully. No one ever bothered him again, and he became the family protector against his father, an even bigger bully. But before that happened, he was such a sweet, vulnerable boy, and as he lay there, he looked that way again.
She sat on the edge, caressed his hair, and said, "Sam made breakfast, honey. Why don't you try a few bites before it gets cold?"
One eye opened and stared at her. "Sam? He's here?"
"Ever since last night." Maddie smiled. "Come on, get up, Michael."
She moved out of the way so he could stand. Red creases marked his chest and stomach where the sheet bunched up underneath him during the night. He'd obviously not been sleeping as soundly as Sam let on. He threw on a t-shirt lying at the foot of the bed and shuffled across the floor to sit at the table.
"Mornin', Mikey!" Sam poured him a cup of coffee then filled his and Madeline's cups before returning the pot to the machine. He tried to maintain a cheerful front, but when he looked at his friend, he found it hard. "Looks like you got some rest. That's good." He sat across from him.
Michael shrugged. "I suppose I did okay. Sam, I..."
"No, I don't wanna talk about it right now. I just want to get a good meal in you, get you cleaned up, and take it easy today. No cases, no pursuing. Pearce is on the job now, and she'll help find Anson." He looked up from his plate and met Michael's eyes. "Look, I know this isn't easy for you, but just try for one day to relax and take your mind off things."
"I can't. Not with Fi in jail!" His voice rose to a shout. "Anson is out there, and I can't let him get away!"
Sam mentally wanted to count to ten but only made it to five before replying softly, "Don't worry about Fi. After breakfast, I'm gonna make some calls and see if I can pull a few strings to let you see her."
Michael's head flew up and he blinked away the tears. That was happening way too frequently. "You'd do that for me?"
"Of course." Sam looked at him like it wasn't up for debate. "Just eat something, get yourself together, and I'll see what I can do. Maddie, can you stay here with him? I want to run back to the hotel and change, and I'll grab a few things so I can stay here for a few days with Mike." He snapped his fingers and he grinned. "Better yet, why don't you both come with me? I'll spring a suite for you guys. Get away from this place for a little while, and maybe it'll help."
"I don't know. Maybe familiar is good right now," Maddie protested.
"If that were the case, you'd be at home."
She was busted, and she knew it. "Well, I have a hole in my ceiling that needs to be fixed, and a floor to clean. But I'm here because Michael needs me."
"You need each other. I just think that spending time somewhere else, someplace safe, will be good for both of you."
Maddie left her half eaten plate and picked up her purse. "I'll meet you over at the hotel later." She turned back and hugged Michael to herself, then kissed the top of his head. "You take care, honey, I'll see you at the hotel."
"Bye, Mom." He waited until she was out of earshot to speak again. "I'm glad she's gone," Michael said with a morose tone. "I love her dearly, but I'm afraid she's too... protective."
"That's why I think getting you two out of your usual element will be a good thing," Sam said. He picked up the dirty dishes and took them to the sink. "You owe it to yourself to rest. There's nothing you can do about either Anson or Fi until we have more intel on him and clearance to see her." He stepped up behind Michael and placed his hands on his friend's shoulders. They tensed up immediately. "See?" He squeezed them until Michael relented. "You're way too tense. Go, get yourself ready, and pack for overnight. Just give it one day. I guarantee you'll love this hotel, it's one of the best in South Beach, if not the best! The massages alone are... well, you would know if you bothered to use the gift certificate I gave you awhile back."
Michael stood and headed for the bathroom. "Yeah, yeah, it's around here somewhere." He disappeared inside, closed the door, and a few seconds later, Sam heard water running.
"Good. One step at a time." He returned to the sink and finished cleaning up breakfast. By the time he was done, the shower was still running. I'll give him a few more minutes, then check on him. Sam picked up his phone and dialed a number he hadn't called in a long time. He wasn't even sure it was still valid. Not until he heard the voice on the other end. "Hi, Alan, it's Sam. Sam Axe."
"This must be big, Sam. You haven't called in years, not even a Christmas card. I'm hurt."
Sam ignored the light tone in his old friend's voice. "Sorry, man. This is serious business. I need a favor."
"What is it?" A sense of urgency weighed down his words.
"I have a friend, Michael Westen, and his girlfriend Fiona Glenanne is being held in an FBI facility here in Miami..."
"Oh yes, the Irish national who blew up the British consulate and killed the two guards."
Sam let out a breath. He could tell that Alan would probably put the brakes on his request, but he was willing to try anyway. "Mike needs to see Fiona. She's his life, Al. It's like... like Melissa."
Alan let out a breath that sounded over the phone. "Oh, Sam, don't. Please don't throw that at me."
"You would have done anything for her. If she'd been held in a high security jail, you would have done everything you could to see her, wouldn't you? Hell, you'd do everything you could to get her out of there, especially if she'd been falsely accused!"
"What are you talking about?"
"Fi's been framed by Anson Fullerton. He's a..."
"I know about Anson."
Now it was Sam's turn to react. "You do?"
"She mentioned him in her interview with Agent Bly. We borrowed him from the CSS, since he was so familiar with Westen and Ms. Glenanne. She claimed that Anson set her up."
"He did!" Sam's mind raced, wondering how much his old friend knew, and wondering if he could get some information from him without compromising his position in the bureau.
"The bureau is working with several other agencies attempting to get to the bottom of this. We'll figure out the signatures on the bombs, and if they don't match Ms. Glenanne's, she'll probably be free to go."
"Probably. What does that mean?"
"We need more evidence to either try her or set her free." He sighed. "I'm sorry, Sam. I shouldn't even be telling you all this, but we go way back, and I trust you. If you truly believe that she's innocent, I'll do what I can for her."
"Thanks, Al. That really means a lot to me, even after all this time."
"We're friends, Sammy. And you've saved my butt a couple of times. I owe you!" Sam could hear him shift in his leather chair. "So, back to the original reason you called. You want me to get permission for Michael Westen to visit Ms. Glenanne in jail. Seriously?"
"You know I wouldn't ask for something like this if I wasn't, Al."
Alan sighed, the breath sounding like a buzz over the line. "I'll see what I can do. But you can bet the second I start poking into this, somebody's gonna stick their head up and start sniffing around. My bet would be Tom Card."
That was a name Sam hadn't heard in a long, long time, and he was pretty happy about it until now. "Just do your best to keep him out of it. I never liked that guy, and yeah, he was like Mike's mentor and all, but I just don't trust him. The last thing Mike needs is that drill sergeant reject on his back."
"I can't make any guarantees, Sam. I'll do my best. Is this the number where I can reach you?"
"Yeah, or you can call and leave a message at the South Beach Riviera Hotel. I'm staying there for awhile. But only use that number as a last resort." He gave Alan the number and his extension. "I'll be in touch."
"I bet you will. After this, you owe me. Basketball tickets, in Miami, next season." Alan chuckled.
"You got it, buddy." Sam heard feet moving across the wood floor. The water was no longer running in the bathroom. He turned and saw that Michael was dressed. "You look better, Mike."
"Thanks." He tossed a small suitcase onto the bed and packed without a word. Meanwhile, Sam hoped the idea of a day spent doing nothing would be a cure for Michael's mental health issues. For the rest they needed a good plan, and until one came about, they were best off to lay low.