Without a doubt there will be a plethora of tags and one shots following the recent episode 'Shockwave' and I must join in...my muse commanded me ;) Spoiler alert for those who have not seen the epi!
These are the scenes which are missing...seen from the POV of the various characters of the show. Tissue alert
Update: thanks for the lovely reviews...I so appreciate your kindness...and I just went through the story and corrected some of the typos I missed on editing. :)
Grief can't be shared. Every one carries it alone, his own burden, his own way
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
His fingers pressed down, seeking the faint pulse but finding nothing but the softness of muscles releasing and the final breath escaping from his brother's chest as death claimed him.
Blood rushed through Michael's ears, deafening him. His voice broke as he pleaded again and again, calling out his brother's name. The elation of moments ago had been wiped away so completely and utterly.
A tear ran down the bloodied cheek of Nate and grief froze Michael Westen.
The mood was sombre in the jet. The CIA agents returning to Miami knew to give Michael Westen a wide berth, keeping their voices low as Agent Pearce had instructed. Although they had achieved the objective namely to apprehend Anston , the price had been high and there would be no celebration.
What was left unsaid though weighed down heavily on the agent. She had seen less break men. Her gaze strayed over to the motionless Michael, sitting in the last row staring out of the window. Since taking his seat in Atlantic City he had not moved, nor spoken and had refused any drink or food offered. He scared her with his stoic composure so she sat down across from him. Although he didn't acknowledge her she began to talk to him about the shock of loosing someone close and the difficulty grasping how someone can be here one moment and gone the next. When his dark eyes raked over her she fell silent. The message was clear. Michael wanted to be alone but there was the glimpse of anguish before the accomplished spy schooled his features that gave her hope that not all was lost. With a soft sigh Agent Pearce stood up and turned away right into the path of Jesse Porter. The ex counterintelligence agent gave her hand a gentle squeeze as he let her pass before sitting down again to continue his watch over Michael.
Jesse had taken the lead on handling Michael to the great relief of Agent Pearce. Michael Westen was too complex a man for her to fully understand. The little she now knew about him had led her to trust him and admire him professionally but to see him now so closed down alarmed her.
Sliding back into her seat at the front of the jet she closed her eyes as the memories of the afternoon flooded her thoughts.
When the shot rang out and both Nate Westen and Anson Fullerton hit the ground she had watched Michael's desperate charge towards his brother. While she and her team members drew their weapons scanning the surrounds and trying to identify where the shot came from, Michael's repeated despondent cries made her drop the gun and walk towards the brothers. Her team would secure the area and call for medical help although it was clear as she drew nearer that all that would be needed was the coroner's van.
Michael was pleading with his brother, gently shaking him, then tenderly brushing his fingers against Nate's cheek as realization sank in that his little brother was gone.
Agent Pearce cleared her voice but was lost for words. Michael rocked back, his gaze fixed on the still features of his brother while his hands were holding on tightly. A movement on her right made Agent Pearce look across into the somber eyes of Jesse and she bit down hard on her bottom lip. It took all her strength not to give into the sorrow that was surrounding her.
Jesse nodded briefly with the wisp of a reassuring smile tugging at his mouth as he stepped past Agent Pearce and squatted down next to Michael. There was no need for words for now, just the need for friendship.
Jesse watched as Michael carefully wiped the blood off his brother's face with a handkerchief. Several times he refolded the white linen cloth to expose a clean part and then continue his task.
The ambulance had finally arrived with sirenes blasting but Jesse had waved the medics away from Nate and Michael.
Around them Agent Pearce was dealing with the fall out of running an OP in a tourist heavy environment. Yellow tape cordoned off the area forcing nosey spectators to remain some distance away while Atlantic City cops, crime scene investigators and local FBI agents swarmed the area. Heated arguments filled the air about jurisdiction as local authorities were fighting the release of the bodies to Agent Pearce.
Jesse was glad he didn't have to deal with the political pissing contests between agencies anymore.
Finally content with his efforts Michael looked up at Jesse.
" He's coming home with me." The clipped and controlled words emanating from Michael's mouth belied the intensity of emotion below the surface.
"I believe Agent Pearce is making the arrangements..." replied Jesse. His statement was followed a few minutes later by a thumbs up from Agent Pearce. Nate and Anston were returning to Miami.
Agent Pearce was definitely not a woman to be triffled with Jesse thought with relief.
Together the men continued their vigil in silence until an hour later the coroner's wagon arrived with the body bags.
" Michael, it's time..." stated Jesse firmly as he noticed the coroner approach them. Michael looked up at Jesse. His face was a mask of composure and only someone close to Michael would have been able to spy the telltale signs of his distress.
Jesse reached over and cupped Michael's hand which was still intertwined with his brother.
"Let's go and find a bathroom to clean you up..."
"No, I'm staying with him" interupted Michael as he pulled away from Jesse's touch. He released his brother's hand and stood up, making way for the coroner and his assistant.
Jesse sighed softly and stepped up next to Michael watching the assistants unfold the black body bag and laying it out next to Nate. As they opened the bag the rasping sound of the zipper made Michael flinch.
Minutes passed while the coroner surveyed the body and dictated the prelimenary findings into his electronic voice recorder while his assistant took photos of the body.
Finally the coroner stepped away and turned to Jesse and Michael.
"I'm sorry. It's never easy to loose a collegue in the line of duty." He shook his head gently before turning around and walking over to Anston's body.
Michael blinked hard at the retreating coroner. Jesse dropped his gaze to Michael's blood stained hands which were so firmly clenched that the knuckles were turning white.
"Heh, man..." Jesse addressed the coroner's assitant " Do you mind if we take care of this?"
Surprised the coroner's assistant looked at the two men. Although an unusual request there seemed to be no reason to deny the men their wish.
"Sure...I'll be waiting at the van."
Jesse nodded with gratitude before turning to Michael.
"Okay lets do this together" He walked over to Nate's feet and placed a hand under each leg, waiting for Michael to slip his arms under Nate's back and shoulders.
Michael leaned over his brother as he slipped his arm under Nate's shoulders and pulled him up, Nate's head lolled forward and against Michael's chest causing him to stop and draw in a sharp breath. Seconds passed as Jesse waited for Michael to move. He couldn't see Michael's face but the tension radiating from his shoulders spoke volumes.
"Michael...?" troubled Jesse called out.
"I'm okay" replied Michael with a flat voice as he finally lifted his brother up and placed him in the bag, gently tugging up the sides. Jesse grabbed the zipper and started to slide it up. Just as he reached Nate's chest, Michael's hand stopped him and Jesse let go. Gently Michael held onto the metal tag.
"Don't be afraid, Nate" whispered Michael as he closed the bag.
Sam Axe watched with trepidation as the private jet taxied towards the hangar. Jesse had managed to sway Agent Pearce to let Sam meet the jet. He stood apart from the gathering agents out of the Miami Bureau. On the far right waited the coroner's van which had pulled up a few minutes ago painfully reminding him of why he was here.
He had been sitting together with Elsa celebrating being alive with a beer when the phone call had come. The smile on his face froze under the hesitant explanations from Jesse and he felt tears burning behind his closed lids as Jesse expressed his concerns for Michael.
During his many years as a SEAL he encountered death and shut away, buried deep down were the memories of close comrades fallen in the line of duty. Neither was Michael blind to the risks of his profession and both men had known that their luck would eventually run out one day. Hell he even thought that day had come for him today, but he had always expected it would be him, Michael, Jesse or maybe even Fiona with her chaotic impulses.
But for Michael to loose Nate on one of his operations, a civilian who should have never been involved in his brother's cloak and dagger schemes in the first place, would threatened to destroy his friend. And imagening what it would do to Maddie just made him plain sick.
The door of the jet swung open and stairs appeared. Agent Pearce was the first to descend, walking briskly towards her boss followed by the remainder of her team members.
Sam waited a moment then gradually made his way over towards the jet. There was no sign of Jesse or Michael. Uncertain what to do his gaze caught Agent Pearce eyes.
She turned to her boss exchanging a few words before crossing the hangar to talk with Sam.
"Mr. Axe thank you for coming." The sorrow in her voice made Sam forget the sharp words he had saved for the woman who had barred him from the OP.
"Please call me Sam. How is he?"
"In Westen mode- shutting everybody out." Pearce shook her head "You know, he had words with his brother earlier, before he kicked him off the OP..."
"Crap" Sam rolled his eyes. Sibling relationships were complex at the best of times, never mind having an older brother who was a CIA operative. Which little brother wouldn't look up to that and try to seek his older brother's approval. Now it had gotten him killed which was more than enough for the mother of all guilt trips.
Sam took a deep breath and squared his shoulders.
"Will the CIA hold up their end of the bargain and get Glenanne out of custody because she is the only one who has a chance to keep him sane?"
Agent Pearce nodded. "I have been advised that the paperwork is nearly complete. Michael can pick her up in the next few hours."
"Good...I'll better see what's keeping them"
As Sam briskly walked towards the jet's door Jesse and Michael finally made an appearance. Sam grimaced as he saw Michael stiffly climb down the stairs. Jesse hovered close behind him with a frown deeply etched on his forehead.
"Mike, Jesse..." Sam called out drawing attention to himself as he skidded to a halt.
Michael turned to his old friend and his features softened.
"Sam..." his breath hitched a fraction before he continued "I messed up Sam, got my little brother killed..."
Sam steeled himself against the wave of pain in Michael's voice.
"Listen Mike, our job's dangerous and Nate knew this but he loved and admired you. He would have followed you into hell. It was your call to include him in the OP and you will learn to live with that decision but you could have never known that a sniper would go for Anson and your brother would be caught in the crosshairs...his death is not your fault!"
Michael's eyes narrowed during Sam's little speech. He opened his mouth but no words came. What could he say? Darkness wrapped around him, clawing at every fibre of his soul. He knew what he had done and no one could convince him otherwise.
He turned away from Sam and headed towards the tail end of the jet where the coroner's men were busy off loading the two body bags.
Silently Sam and Jesse lined up behind Michael and watched as the coroner's assistants completed the transfer to the van.
"Sam I need you to drive me home to Maddie. Jesse, will you go with Nate...?" Without waiting for an answer Michael spun around and headed towards Sam's car.
"Oh, boy" sighed Sam as he looked at Jesse.
When Michael entered the kitchen and told her, she felt all sanity drain from her. She lashed out and fought his arms as they circled around her, crying out for the son she had lost. Shaking and heaving against the rigid body of her remaining son she rode the waves of despair , fearing to be lost forever in mounting grief.
They stood together for more than half an hour until Maddie was spent. She stopped fighting against Michael's arms and as she rested against him she could feel the rapid thumping of Michael's heart coupled with the shudders running through him.
She sudddenly pulled away from him and stiffly Michael released her from his grip. Unable to look his mother in the eye he twisted away and stared out of the window.
"Where is he?" she asked quietly patting down her pockets for her pack of cigarettes.
"At the morgue. Jesse is with him"
Michael scooped the pack up from the kitchen counter and handed it to her.
"I want to go and see him, Michael" The firmness in her voice brooked no refusal. She placed a cigarette between her lips, her lighter flashed and she took a deep drag. A few seconds passed in silence.
"I'll have Sam take you..." replied Michael but Maddie interupted him stubbing the half finished cigarette out in the sink.
"No, I want you to take me. We leave now. Just give me five minutes to get ready"
She fled to the bathroom leaving Michael behind. Maddie felt strange as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Who was the woman starring back at her?
Her cupped hands caught the cool water as it ran out of the tap and she splashed her face. The redness of her eyes and the puffiness would take a while to subside. She had noticed Michael pale as she demanded that he take her to the morgue. It felt good to to see his uptight facade crack. Was she trying to punish Michael by asking him to accompany her?
She grasped the edge of the wash basin, steadying her ragged breaths as memories of Nate crowded her thoughts. Both boys had visited her before leaving for Atlantic city and Nate as always had bent down and breathed a soft kiss good bye against her cheek while Michael watched from the door. Nate had made her laugh but she couldn't remember what he had said to her. The anger started to bubble up inside Maddie, feeding on her pain and grief. Never would she hold him again,see him flash his infectious smile or bear his wise cracks and sorry excuses. Rage against Michael consumed her. Today she would let it but tomorrow she would remember her love for Michael, find the strength to bear and overcome the unspeakable...but not today.
When Michael pulled Fiona back into his arms, burrying himself in her neck she knew that something was very wrong. Confused and anxious she glanced up at Jesse and Sam who had remained at the car. They smiled at her but their smiles never reached the eyes. It was then fear gripped her heart and the clouds blocked out the sun.
"Michael, you are scaring me and trust me this ole Irish broad does not scare easily!" her voice was filled with trepidation.
"Not here, Fi" Michael whispered before he straightened up. "It's so good to have you back, my love" He grabbed her hand and began to lead her to the car.
An unprovoked declaration of love was the final straw and Fiona stumbled, panic surging through her. She pulled her hand away from Michael and turned to face him.
"Michael...?" her eyes grew big as they pleaded with him.
He just shook his head avoiding her enquiring gaze and continued to walk to the car. Fiona watched him take a seat in the back of the car shortly followed by Jesse who slid onto the front passenger seat.
Fiona's mind raced. What ever it was-Michael, Sam and Jesse were okay, that left Maddie-her heart painfully missed a beat- or Nate...and it was bad. She clamped down hard on the fear that welled up inside of her. She would wait as Michael had asked and prayed she would be strong enough to endure.
Sam walked up to Fiona who had not moved an inch although her facial play revealed much to him.
"Come on or the warden will think you don't want to leave" He held out his hand winking at her with his usual womanising air. She grabed his hand and felt a gentle squeeze as Sam pulled her against his shoulder. He ghosted a kiss against her temple.
"It's gonna be rough for a while but we'll all be okay in the end."
Twenty minutes later Michael held Fi in his arms as she cried hot tears for Nate, for Maddie, for Nate's little son Charlie and most of all for the love of her life whose heart had become frozen.
Fiona had finally fallen asleep, exhausted from the day's events. Michael curled his arm around her slight shoulders pulling her closer to him. He marveled how her body fit perfectly against his knowing he would never tire of it.
Michael sighed. The last hours had been difficult.
Maddie had summoned them to the funeral home to help with the arrangements. Michael remained at a distance from his mother,physically and emotionally. The anger radiating from her was palpable to anyone in the room.
His hand rubbed over his tired eyes but sleep continued to evade him.
The sight of his brother bleeding out in front of him was burnt into his memory forever. He had never felt more helpless then when he felt Nate's pulse grow weaker. He babbled about it being fine when he knew deep down that it wasn't true.
There he was, the great Michael Westen with all his extensive training, spy extraordinaire, watching his brother die in front of him.
A shudder went through his body and instinctively Fi responded, nuzzling closer. Michael held his breath worried that he had woken her but a few seconds went by and her breathing deepened again so he relaxed.
It was his fault...Nate had no business being on the OP, an insight he gained when he sent his brother home after the Pizza debacle. It all seemed so petty. He spoke harshly and now couldn't take it back. The truth was he didn't mind cleaning up after his brother. It had always been his job as the bigger brother. It was a game he and Nate had played. No one else could fool Michael, no one was allowed to...taking his rental car and selling it to gamble the money away or picking his pocket under the guise of brotherly affection and making off with his wallet. A smile tugged at Michael's lips.
Truth be told he had missed his brother's antics while he was an operative so when he returned, burnt and short of friends he cherished the unquestioning prescence of his brother. Those feelings seduced him to let Nate enter his world even when his spy instincts told him not to mix work with family. Now it had come back and bitten him in the proverbial.
It didn't take a great spy to see how Maddie felt about Nate being involved with Michael's team. On one hand there was the joy at seeing her boys working together but she also realized that Michael's dealings could have deadly consequences. This weighed heavily on her heart. Michael had seen the worried glances from time to time but thought it better to ignore them.
'Coward' he childed himself.
Gently he pulled the sheet aside and slipped out of the bed. The moonlight was streaming through the kitchen window bathing the room in a soft milky white. Michael filled a glass with water and took a sip only to pour out the remaining contents and leave the used glass in the sink. It took all his stength to keep breathing steadily when ever fibre of his body was tearing at him. Restless he opened the fridge and stared at its meager offerings. Jesse had dropped off a tub of Michael's favorite joghurt which now sat on the centre shelf. His friend had driven over an hour to fetch it...anything to entice Michael to eat something but to no avail. He couldn't tell Jesse and Sam that he feared he would choke on the food.
He stopped pacing the room aware that Fiona had started to rouse. She needed her sleep. The dark shadows under her eyes and her weight loss had spoken volumes of the difficult times she had experienced in jail.
Quietly he moved to the door, released the locks and slipped through. Outside the cool night air caressed his feverish skin and he closed his eyes for moment lost in the sensation. Big mistake because as soon as he closed his eyes he saw Nate's face, eyes wide with shock and his face filled with pain.
"I'm scared..." Nate's voice echoed in his mind. "I'm scared, scared..."
Then and there, sitting alone in the moonlight Michael Weston finally felt himself shatter. His chest began to heave, drawing in deep breaths as his grief burst free; the dull, intense ache rising up and filling his eyes with tears. He stifled the sobs with his fist but the grief poured out none the less, running in rivulets down his face.
"I'm scared too, Nate"
Thanks for reading!