Sam took the first watch in the abandoned building the team took refuge in for the moment. He always liked the first watch. Everyone else was getting ready for bed, so it was a little noisy and he knew he wouldn't fall asleep right away. Eventually the sounds of people getting comfortable in their makeshift bedrooms gave way to silence that was peppered with snoring. Sam had no idea what time it was when Michael came out.
"Hey, I thought you and Fi were sleeping?"
Michael leaned against a window pane, being careful to stay out of sight of anyone who might be outside. He spoke in such a detached voice that Sam began to worry. "We had some time together but she couldn't stay awake and I didn't want to keep her up. She's been through so much lately, she needs the rest."
"You need rest too Mikey. Some of the things you guys went through were different, but you are just as exhausted as her. You should try to sleep." Sam advised Michael.
Michael shook his head. He looked at the ground and kicked a piece of debris that was in front of him. "I can't sleep. I can't shut anything down in my head."
Sam stood next to Michael, leaning on the same old rotting window pane Michael was leaning against. "We'll get back to Miami and we'll get Card. Everything will be ok. You'll see."
Again, Michael shook his head. He didn't believe Sam. "We have nothing here in Panama. I don't know how we are getting home. Once we get home, how are we going to get to Card without every agency and cop in area coming after us? I don't see a way out of this Sam."
"Hang on now, we've been in worse situations than this before where it looked like we weren't getting out alive, but we always did. You know that just because we don't have a plan at three in the morning, doesn't mean one of us won't have a plan at six in the morning." Sam said in a raised voice, pointing a finger at Michael. He hoped his point was making its way into MIchael's brain.
Michael let out a long, drawn out sigh. He leaned his head against the windowpane and shut his eyes. Sam studied his features carefully. He didn't realize how tired Michael looked, the darkness under his eyes and how thin his face looked. It wasn't just the current twist of events that had exhausted his friend. Sam knew something else was eating him. He knew Michael long enough to know that he wouldn't rest properly until his mind was empty. Sometimes getting him to talk was an easy task, while other times it was worse than pulling teeth.
Sam and Michael stood against the window frame for nearly an hour without saying anything. Jesse woke up and joined the men. "Sam, I'm good for the next shift. Is Mike ok?"
Keeping his eyes closed, Michael answered, "I'm fine Jesse. Can't sleep so I came out here."
Jesse looked at Sam, who just shook his head. "Mikey, lets walk." Sam said as he took Michael's arm. "Jesse, we'll walk around the perimeter and then we'll come inside." Sam shouted over his shoulder.
As they walked along the outside of their temporary home, nothing was said. Michael walked in front of Sam, with his hands in his pockets and his head hung low. Sam was half paying attention to the surroundings and the other half to Michael's body language. By the time they walked all the way around the building, Sam figured he was either beating himself up over something or felt guilty. It was more than just their current situation though, but Sam didn't know how to get the words out of Michael.
Back inside the building, Sam and Michael sat against the wall, just out of sight of Jesse. Reaching over Sam covered Michael's hand with his own and squeezed. "Whatever is bothering you, you don't have to tell me, but I just want you to know I'm here if you need someone to listen."
"You need to tell someone. Its drawing your attention away from our problems. If you don't want to tell me, tell Fi, Jesse, or find a tree to talk to but you have to tell someone. Something is bothering you and you can't focus until its off your chest."
Sam got up and started to walk away. He turned around when he heard Michael talking. "Sam, I can't tell anyone what's wrong because then you will all see me as not being strong. I am not weak and this is my mess that I have to fix. Whatever she said hurt as much or even more than she wanted and I have to just push it out of my head. I'll deal with it later. I'll be fine by the time the sun rises."
"That's a bunch of bull Mikey and you know it. We all know you are strong and...wait...you said 'whatever she said hurt'...who is 'she'?"
Michael was quiet. He turned his head so Sam couldn't see his face. Sam repeated the question, but louder this time. "Who is 'she' and what did she say to you?"
Michael stood up and began to walk away. Sam stormed after Michael, grabbing his arm and turning him around. "What do you want me to say Sam?"
Sam wouldn't let go of Michael's arm. He gripped it tighter, so Michael wouldn't run off. "I want you to tell me the truth Mike. Who said something? Fiona? Your mom?"
Michael freed his arm from Sam's grip. He pushed Sam backwards with all his might. Sam stumbled but didn't fall. Michael yelled at him "Leave Fiona out of this. This has nothing to do with her."
Sam rushed to Michael and pushed him back. He knew that sometimes Michael just needed to have a knockdown drag-out fight with him. This was one of those times. Sam decided he needed to push michael over the edge. "Do not walk away from me boy!"
Sam braced himself. He knew using ' boy' at the end of a sentence was a sure way to get Michael to react. Michael came running towards Sam, hitting him repeatedly with his fists. Sam did his best to block Michael's blows, which landed mainly on his torso. Occasionally Sam would throw a punch just to create space between them and give Sam a second to get a clean breath without being punched. "Come on Mike! That's all you got?" taunted Sam.
"You want more?" Michael screamed as he lowered himself and ran into Sam with all of his might.
Sam fell backwards, with Michael landing on top of him. Michael landed several punches before Sam pushed him off, making Michael land next to him. Sam climbed on top of Michael and pinned his shoulders to the ground so he could not swing at Sam. "This is over Mike."
Michael tried to knock Sam off of him, but failed. Instead he laid his head on the ground, closed his eyes and said "If its over, then take Jesse and Fi and get the hell out of here. Protect them because I'm just going to get you all killed in the end, just like I got Nate killed."
Sam let go of Michael and sat down next to him. "Sometimes I don't know where you get these thoughts. You did not get Nate killed. It wasn't your fault. Jesse told me what happened. He told me that you clearly told Nate to watch Anson and not approach him. Nate didn't listen and now Nate is dead. You couldn't have protected him more than you already had so stop blaming yourself. It's not your fault."
Michael didn't believe Sam. "It's my fault Fi went to jail, Nate died, we ended up in Panama and it's my fault Card tried to kill all of us. Most importantly, it's my fault my mother hates me. It won't be long before you all hate me."
"When are you going to realize that we don't hate you. You burned Jesse but he's still here fighting alongside you. You and I have been friends since we met in Poland and you know we've faced worse than this before. Don't forget about that Fiona, because she went to jail to save you. She was willing to stay there for the rest of her life if it meant you were free from Anson. So don't tell me we all hate you because we are all still here with you. If Maddie hates you, that's her business." Sam was trying his hardest to make Michael understand that he wasn't as bad of a person as Maddie made him think.
Rubbing his face, Michael shot back at Sam "You didn't her face when I was there. You didn't see me try to reach out for her, to get some kind of reassurance or comfort and she just pulled away from me like I was a monster."
Pulling Michael to his feet, Sam spoke softly to Michael. "You aren't a monster, Brother."
Sam knew Michael needed someone else now. "Did you tell Fiona you went to see Maddie?"
Michael frowned and shook his head. "There wasn't enough time and I just wanted to focus on getting to Panama."
"Well, I know there's an Irish lady in your bed who I'm sure misses you and can make things better if you tell her what's going on." Sam hinted, with a smile in his eyes.
"I'm going to bed. You ok? I didn't..." Michael started to say before Sam cut him off.
"I might be old, but I'm a lot stronger than you think. Get some rest." Sam said, as Michael walked away towards the room he shared with Fiona.
Climbing into bed, Michael tried not to wake Fiona, but he saw her eyes open. "Where were you? I woke up before but you weren't here." she said in a sleepy whisper as she pressed herself against Michael's body. Her legs snaked their way between his and she nuzzled her head under his chin. Fiona placed her free arm between them, resting her hand against his heart. She liked to place her hand there as she always told him it made her feel more connected to him. Michael slid an arm under Fiona and pulled her as close to him as he could. As he held her tight, Fiona let out several soft contented purrs. Fiona mumbled something that Michael couldn't understand, which was followed by several gentle kisses to his upper chest and throat.
Fiona reached up to touch Michael's face, but quickly pulled her hand back and pushed herself away from him when she felt wetness on his face. "Michael, what's wrong?"
Michael tried to quickly wipe his eyes, but tears were falling faster and faster. He tried to speak but he couldn't. Fiona slid upwards and pulled Michael against her chest, holding him tight. He held her so tight she had trouble breathing. As he tried to muffle his cries with her chest, She gently rocked him and kissed his head. Over and over again Fiona whispered "It's ok, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere." Her voice always showed her Irish lilt when she whispered softly during these moments of comfort and love.
Once he gained his composure, he tried to move away from Fiona. She only loosened her grasp on him slightly so she could see his face. Seeing the dirt and scrapes on his face, Fiona exclaimed "Oh Michael" and without questioning him, she placed tiny kisses on his face where he was hurt.
Fiona positioned herself so she could rest her forehead against his. As he looked into her eyes, he questioned "How can you love me?"
Sighing, Fiona threaded her fingers through Michael's hair. She whispered "How could I not love you? I love you because you love me."
Michael asked another question of Fiona. His voice barely a whisper "After everything I've done to you, why do you stay? I'm not deserving of your love."
Fiona's heart broke for Michael. Explaining in a slow, soft voice she said "Michael, my heart is yours unconditionally. I love you no matter what. Even if you were to do something that absolutely broke my heart, I am still going to love you. Even when Card made you leave me in Ireland, I wanted to kill you because I hurt so bad but I still loved you with all my heart.'
Michael's eyes widened. "How did you know? Why didn't you tell me you knew?"
Fiona sat up, looked at Michael and said "It doesn't matter." He sat up as well, so he was facing Fiona. "You have gone through so much lately and I didn't want to lay anymore guilt upon you, so I didn't say anything. It doesn't matter. What matters is that we are here together."
Fiona looked around the large room where they had locked themselves inside, focusing her eyes on the heavy wooden door shielding them in their most intimate and vulnerable moments, and said "I have admit that when Card told me you didn't want to leave, I felt terrible. If I had known that, I wouldn't have pushed you away so much, I wouldn't have dated Campbell and I wouldn't have tried to go back to Ireland." As she looked at Michael and tried to blink away the tears that came to her eyes. "I hurt you so much when I came to Miami and I'm sorry."
Michael, seeing the tears in Fiona's eyes, reached out slowly to take her hand. He expected her to pull away from him, but instead she let him take hold of her hand and pulled his hand up to her lips and gave it a kiss. Fiona noticed that his jaw was tightly clenched and he was frowning. He looked at the window, which was beginning to hint that daylight would be upon them.
When Michael looked back at Fiona, she lost her breath for a moment. He looked absolutely tortured. He spoke but his voice was deeper and his words were stilted. "You didn't pull away from me when I took your hand. You let me take your hand and you held on to me." Michael's breaths were turning into gasps. Fiona enclosed Michael in his arms and pulled him back down onto the bed with her, this time wrapping her legs around him. His fingers played with a lock of hair that laid across her neck. Michael's demeanor reminded Fiona of a little boy seeking solace. When he spoke, his voice trembled "Fi, she wouldn't even look at me. She wouldn't even let me touch her. I reached out for her and she pulled away."
Fiona's temper flared. Her voice began to get louder. "She was wrong to do that. I swear if I ever get back to Miami, the first place I am going is to her house and tell her a thing or two about taking care of you because she should know that your heart is broken because of this just as much as hers and no matter how angry she is you shouldn't be denied..."
She would have continued but Michael placed a hand on the back of her head, entangling her hair with his fingers, and drew her into a deep slow kiss. Michael ended the kiss but followed it by a succession of smaller soft kisses on Fiona's lips. In between kisses, he said "I know its been a hard year and it's probably just going to get worse, but don't leave me. No matter what I say or do, don't leave. I've come so close to losing you before that I'm scared that the next time will be forever. Promise me you won't leave. Whatever happens remember that I've always have and always will love you." Fiona kissed Michael in return, whispering soft words of love and promises to never leave him.
As the sun poured in through the windows of their current home, Michael slept soundly in Fiona's arms. During her waking moments, her nails gently dragged across his back, eliciting soft sighs from Michael. Fiona had no idea what time it was, but she figured it had to be at least past eight in the morning. Giving Michael a gentle hug, she closed her eyes again.
Outside of the room, Sam noticed Jesse getting ready to end his watch and preparing to knock and Michael's door, Sam, who was looking at some maps, ran up to Jesse and grabbed his arm. "Let them rest. We'll give them a few hours alone. Mikey needs it. You get rest and I'll stand watch."
"What about getting out of Panama?" Jesse questioned.
Sam shook his head and said "We need to wait until Mikey comes out and helps us with a plan. Until then we defend where we are. Get some rest and I'll wake you when something happens."
Jesse walked off to his room, leaving Sam alone. Sam whispered to himself as he began to scan the outside for invaders. "Mikey, I hope you come out soon because I have absolutely no plan."