A/N: This is season 3, so if you haven't watched it, you should now :) and as always Read, Review & Enjoy!
Tony walked over to the conference table feeling that the day has come. He doesn't know exactly what is going to happen but he had a strong feeling that something was going to happen that would change everyone's lives.
"Alright hold on." Michelle noticed her husband coming to her, "Sunny Macer from Health Services in on the line." He was about to take it when she stopped him, a thought coming to mind.
"Oh, by the way, have you heard from Hertzog?" He looked at her with calming eyes,
"No, not yet." Michelle gave a look of anxiousness, Tony had to chuckle, "Relax Michelle you are going to get the job."
"I better. You're not going to Langley without me." She teased. He smiled at her flirtatious grin before turning his attention to Sunny.
"Tony, Larry Hertzog from Langley on line two." Tony and Michelle exchanged a look and Michelle felt her heart rate increase. Tony picked up the phone, though he remained calm he knew they had been both impatiently waiting for a response.
"Yeah, Larry. Yeah, we are. Uh huh-" Michelle was annoyed Tony wasn't giving her any indication of where the conversation is going. He looked at her then away, he knew she would be disappointed, the look in her eyes broke him. "uh huh- yeah I will. Thanks." He ignored her gaze.
"Was that about me?" She looked at him expectantly,
"Yeah, he doesn't have a job for you right now. There's no new funding until after the election." Her eyes cast downward, 'no job' she thought. The position was a stretch but she wouldn't deny it hurt,
"Oh, I see." Tony watched her facial expression, she was trying to keep together, but he could read her so well. He decided to tread carefully,
"Also Larry told me he needs an answer from me by the end of the day. They are in a hurry to fill the post." He could see the wheels turning in his wife's head. Michelle didn't want to show how disappointed she was, he deserved this more than anyone but she didn't know what she would do not working with him. She looked at him and then she didn't think of herself anymore, he deserved to be happy,
"We both know you can't pass this up it's a major career move. Call him and tell him it's a yes." He loved her. This was one of the reasons he loved her. She would always place everyone before herself. But he knew that's not what she wanted,
"And you'll come along as the wife, without a job?" He eyed her carefully. She knew how it sounded, maybe they could start a family? She could start a new hobby, or find another job. She looked at him, she knew he was reading right through her,
"I'll go anywhere with you." She was being honest, he knew it, she decided to add, "As long as I don't have to cook." Tony chuckled, he thought back to all the times she tried to cook, she wasn't horrible. But she had her talents elsewhere,
"Sweetheart if you promise not to cook I will take you with me anywhere." This earned him a smile, a smile that he loved more than anything. Then he was serious again. A new job would be nice, but the thought of working without her was something he wasn't ready for. They worked well together, they were a unit. "But if they don't have a job for you I am not interested." She loved him. This was one of the reasons she loved him. He always placed her happiness above anything else.
"We will talk about it later." She touched her hand to his and gave him a smile. He knew they had talked about this briefly but now that she didn't have an offer, they would have discussed it. But he would pick her above any offer he was given. He watched her walk away with a slight gleam in his eyes.
"Hey, Kim, you all caught up?" Michelle asked as she washed her hands. Kim did the same next to her,
"Pretty much. I just have to refresh the data on my dad's panel."
"Great." Michelle began to dry her hands and was about to leave when the blonde spoke hesitantly.
"Can I ask you a question about you and Tony?" Michelle eyed her closely, this was new.
"Me and Tony what?" She asked watching as Kim began to dry her hands,
"I don't know. I was just wondering, is it a problem working with your husband in the same office?" Michelle looked taken back. She thought easily,
"No. No, it's not a problem." She looked down at the wedding ring, thinking back to the day that he had proposed, "Why do you ask?"
"It's not a big deal." Kim began to walk out but Michelle stopped her.
"No, it's okay. We have a minute."
"Well I've um, been dating Chase and I don't think my dad's too happy about it."
"I see. Well um- Look I am sure your dad is just trying to protect you, but ultimately it's just between you and Chase." Michelle could relate to the feeling of having everyone try and dictate who to date and love. She had enough of that at the beginning of her relationship with Tony. But after knowing him, loving him and marrying him she would not have it any other way.
"Yeah, I know."
"Let me know when you finish those panels." She touched Kim's shoulder before leaving her.
"Sure." Michelle walked out, thinking about what Kim had asked her. Was it a problem? No, never. Well besides the times they went into the field and there was a sense of helplessness that the other would not return. But she couldn't imagine working with anyone else. Just then Tony came up to her immediately giving her something to do. As she looked at him, she knew in her heart, no it was never a problem.
Michelle felt something wasn't right. She was always nervous when Tony went out in the field. She had given him the information before he left, meeting him in the changing room. He had assured her that he would be fine before giving her kiss a quick peck then heading out to the awaiting chopper. That's why when she heard commotion on the main floor she went to check it out,
"What's going on?"
"There's been gunshots at the mall." Tony. He was at the mall. She looked at Kim feeling the same fear that she had. Her father was also there.
"Two minutes ago. I can't get in touch with my dad or Tony." She could hear Kim's voice tremble just a tad. Both normally calm women never felt so unnerved before.
"Micah said someone's down." Both women looked to Adam, who held the answer to their worries.
"Who?" Michelle asked.
"It's either Tony or Jack. He's not sure. He's about to find out." Michelle looked at Kim who shared a look with her. Neither knew what to say to the other, but they secretly hoped their loved one wasn't the one down. "Uh huh yeah. Hold on." Adam looked at Michelle, " It's Jack" Michelle could hear Kim let out a sigh in relief. "He wants to talk to you." Michelle said nothing but immediately took the call.
"Jack what's going on, where's Tony?"
"He's been shot." Michelle couldn't believe her ears, it couldn't be her husband. No, he always came back unharmed. He was good at what he does, it couldn't be him.
"He's was hit the neck, he's still alive. They are getting him to the hospital now." 'He was hit in the neck, that is bad' she thought. No, he couldn't die. She didn't know what to do or think, he had to be okay.
"Michelle I know how difficult this must be for you right now. But you need to make a decision."
"With Tony down you're in command. If you wanna be by his side at the hospital you're gonna have to hand C.T.U. over to someone else. No one will fault you for whatever you chose to do but if you chose to stay we need your working at full capacity." Michelle did. She knew she had to make a choice. She just didn't know which one it would be.
"Michelle I am sorry." She set down the phone and stared off into the distance. Tony, was shot. He was on the way to the hospital. Kim noticed the sudden change in her usually collected boss and gently came up to her,
"Is Tony alright?" Michelle registered what the blonde has said but she didn't know if she could keep it together to respond.
"They don't know yet he was shot in the neck." There were the tears. She bit her lip hoping to keep them in but it was no use. Thoughts and images of Tony alone and injured weakened her, she vaguely was aware of Kim placing a comforting hand on her.
"Michelle we're starting to overload the network. When the virus threat came in we had to start stealing cycles from the main CPU." Kim rolled her eyes, leave it to Chloe to not pick up on the mood.
"Chloe now is not the time." She hoped Chloe would understand but the analyst just shot her a look of disbelief.
"What are you talking about? Are you out of your mind?
"Just deal with it okay?" Kim was getting annoyed, did she not see her boss was crying right in front of her.
"Michelle?" Kim watched as Michelle seemed to suck in her emotions and responded as if there was nothing going on.
"Off-load the archived files and send them to Division. That should free up the network."
"Fine that's all I needed to know." Chloe shot Kim a look before heading off. Michelle didn't want to deal with anything right now. What was she doing? She should be with her husband.
"I need to get to the hospital." She quickly moved through the main floor to her desk but was stopped by Adam.
"Michelle they need you in the conference area. The second call from Hector Salazar's people just came in. " She barely could comprehend what was happening around her. She began to get tunnel vision.
"I am in no position to do this right now." She replied weakly,
"Who else is there? You're the ranking agent on site." This seemed to snap her back into business mode. She couldn't leave. She couldn't be selfish, not now. Not when there were millions of lives at stake. Tony was alive and on the way to the hospital. He was safe for now. She collected herself than went to Kim,
"Kim, find out what hospital they took Tony to. The second anyone knows anything you have them patched through to me." Kim nodded.
"Okay." Michelle breathed deeply before heading off to the meeting. Tony would want her to finish the job. She listened to the recording, with one thought on mind, Tony.
Michelle was staring at the monitor. She had things she should get done but none of it seemed that important. She was sitting in Tony's desk, she needed to. Even though his office was pretty simple, there were still things that reminded her of him. For one, his Cubs mug and the other was his scent, she could tell his cologne was still present from when he had been there not long ago. Then there was the photo of them on his desk, it was a simple one of the two of them in black and white. They had taken it not long ago, Tony loved it so much that he had three copies made. One for work, home and his wallet. He was at her side and arm around her, placing a kiss to her cheek. While she was smiling at the camera with a her happiness reaching her eyes. Michelle looked back to the monitor, then the phone rang.
"I am looking for Tony Almeida's wife." She was on her feet instantly,
"Yes this is Michelle."
"Michelle this is Doctor Linzer from Good Samaritan Hospital."
"How-how is he?" Suddenly the temperature had increased, she felt it harder to breathe.
"I'm afraid the wound to your husband's neck is going to require some vascular repair. We are just about to go into surgery." She couldn't tell if that was good or bad,
"Well, can-can I talk to him?" She wanted to tell him everything, just incase. She wanted to hear his voice, at least once more.
"No, we've medicated him. In fact, that's why I am calling you, we need your verbal consent to operate."
"Yes, yes, of course, do whatever you have to do." Michelle hoped that he would understand how sincere she was. They could do whatever, she just needed him back. She needed him alive.
"Are you sure you are going to be okay?" She had to know.
"Well we can't say anything with one hundred percent certainty until we get in there but he's gonna be in good hands." Michelle trusted this man, he had the most precious thing to her. Yet she trusted him.
"Please let me know the second you finish."
"I'll find you in the waiting room when were out of surgery." She closed her eyes, it was times like this that she hated her job. A job that required her to miss her husband getting out of surgery.
"Dr. Linser I will try my best to be there but you may have to reach me through this number."
"Okay will find you."
"Thank you, doctor." She hung up. She went back to his desk and felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. He had to be okay.
Things were happening enough for Michelle to stay busy but that didn't mean she didn't think of her husband time and time again. She wondered how he was doing, she had called earlier and they told her that they knew of his allergy to penicillin and didn't give her much more than that, much to her dismay. She decided to check in again,
"Yeah,this is Tony Almeida's wife Michelle. How's he doing?"
"I'll check one moment please." There was a slight pause, Michelle hoped everything was still in the clear, "Mrs. Almeida?"
"He's still in surgery. You'll be contacted as soon as he rolled into recovery." There was not much information given and it made Michelle slightly annoyed. Then an idea came to mind.
"Oh, wh-what room is he in?"
"Um- operating room four."
"You're welcome." She didn't know if she should do it but she had to. She contacted the right person and soon the video feed of Tony's surgery was on her desktop. Michelle looked and hesitated, she knew she would not like what she saw. But nonetheless she opened it, and what was displayed was more than she bargained for. There was her husband, under anesthesia, and there was blood. She could see the operation and she didn't know if that was good for or not. But she had to see him, she had to know that he was alive. She quickly closed the feed knowing that was it was too much for her. She had to contain herself as her breathing quickened.
"Michelle Doctor Linzer on line three." Michelle's ears perked up. Her heart began to race,
"Alright call me back with confirmation." She switched over the call,
"Well your husband is out of surgery." That was it?
"How is he?" She asked nervously, she couldn't tell by the tone in the doctors voice.
"Well there was no nerve damage. The injury was entirely vascular." It didn't make sense to her,
"And that's what we were hoping for right?" Please, let it be, please.
"Yes he should recover fully."
"Oh thank god." She sighed in relief, he was going to be okay.
"Now he's going into post-op now so he should be awake in the next hour or so." She had to leave. She had to see him, it would be a stretch but she had to.
"I'll be there. Thank you. Thank you doctor." She collected herself, she didn't want to sound to hysterical but she was so ecstatic with the news.
"Thanks." Michelle got up and found herself bumping into Chappelle. He took in her appearance questionably.
"Uh that was the hospital. Tony is going to be okay." There was an awkward pause before Chappelle did something that surprised both of them. He pulled her in for a hug,
"That's good news." It was short but either way, he had never shown much emotion towards anyone. Michelle thought she might faint,
"Thank you Ryan."
Gael had been the mole. She still couldn't believe it. It was added to the list of things she hated about this job. You think you know someone, you trust them and then they turn out to be on the side your fighting against. Michelle came into the interrogation room, and watched as Gael sat in there. Soon all respect for him was gone. Michelle glanced at Chappelle, it was a bad time to ask but she had to. Chappelle wasn't too thrilled about her leaving, and she knew he had a right to be. But she was persistent.
"Fine if you think your dispensable." He shot at her. She sighed,
"I just want to be with my husband." She admitted. Chappelle looked at her, he had never heard her talk like that. For some reason he knew she would need this, so he nodded. He was given a thank you from her than she was out. Chappelle looked at Gael and knew they had no time to waste.
Michelle had to hold herself back from running in the hospital. She had to keep reminding herself that he was okay, and that the surgery had gone well. She came up to the front desk and tapped her fingers impatiently as the nurse finished her call,
"What can I help you with?"
"I am Michelle Almeida, Tony Almeida's wife. I was told he was out of surgery."
"One moment please." The nurse flipped through the papers on her desk and sniffed, Michelle could feel her patience wearing thin, "Ah, here he is. Agent Anthony Almeida from C.T.U., yes he is in room forty-five."
"Thank you." Michelle didn't even care to hear what the nurses comments were for she quickly went to find the room. She walked down the hallway, room forty, forty-one, forty-two. The closer she got the more she prepared herself for what she might see. Would he be pale, would there be tons of wires, would he be awake? Room forty-four, she quickly moved to the next room and peered in only to see the doctor pulling the privacy curtain to the side, and there was her husband. She opened the door, just as his eyes opened. Instantly their eyes met and Michelle felt her emotions get the best of her. She was at his side in seconds but kept a gentle touch on him, afraid that he might break.
"Hey." He greeted weakly with a smile. She leaned into him and placed a kiss to his lips. She rested her forehead against hers. Finally feeling a sense of contentment of his beating heart near hers. She felt his hand gently hold her arm close, and she never wanted more than anything but to feel his touch more and more.
"Hey how you doing?" She couldn't stop touching him. He was there, alive.
"You scared the hell out of me." She smiled, he chuckled. She gently played with his curls and smiled at him lovingly.
"I know. I'm sorry." They held one another's gaze, allowing the other person reassurance that they were both alive and okay.
"How's he doing doctor?" Michelle asked briefly, not wanting to remove her gaze from her husband.
"Couldn't have hoped for a better result. He should be on his feet in a few days." She was so relieved, she felt as if she could burst.
"When can he come home?"
"Probably tomorrow, I just want to keep an eye on him make sure he stays stable." Tony looked toward the doctor, he wanted to talk to Michelle, he needed to know what has happened.
"Listen uh doctor can you give us a couple minutes please?" Michelle glanced at his neck, seeing for the first time the bandage that covered it. She wanted to reach out and touch it, that bandage is covering the reason that she could have lost her husband.
"Of course." The doctor excused himself and Tony sat up getting more comfortable.
"Thanks." He waited for the door to close than he looked at Michelle. "Michelle."
"Did the President let Salazar out of prison?" This surprised Michelle. She didn't think he would ask about work so soon, she knew that he would be curious though.
"Uh no Jack broke him out we think he did it so the President wouldn't have to make a hard choice."
"Did he get away?"
"Yeah." Michelle knew that it was a simple answer. Tony wasn't surprised.
"I have to talk to Gael right away." Tony tried to get up but Michelle stopped him by placing a hand on his chest,
"Wa- Gael." She looked at him in confusion, she didn't know how she was going to tell him.
"What something happen to him?"
"Tony Gael has been working for the Salazars." His ears perked up at this,
"How do you know that?"
"He's been using tech 1 to monitor Salazar's escape and when we found out he tried to run."
"Where's he now?" Michelle was confused with all the questions about Gael.
"He's still at C.T.U., Chappelle and Johnson are questioning him." Tony knew he had to get to C.T.U. He began to get out of bed, "No wait Honey where are you going?" Michelle tried to hold him but he was persistent.
"You have to get me over there right now." He continued, throwing the covers off him. Michelle's eyes went wide with worry and anger. He needed to stay and rest,
"No you're not going anywhere." She wasn't going to let him go.
"Get the car!" He ordered.
"Doctor, Doctor!" She called out, the doctor came in immediately and placed his hands to stop Tony. Michelle looked on confused, worried and helpless, Tony had never acted like this.
"Mr. Almeida what are you doing?" Tony was becoming more and more angry. He needed to get back to C.T.U. He didn't want to have to deal with all this legality.
"Look I have to get out of here, you can release me to C.T.U. medical if you want." The doctor shook his head rapidly, much to Tony's dismay.
"I can't do that." Tony tried again but the doctors hands went to stop him again. Tony was really annoyed. He looked to Michelle pleading,
"Alright, look look. If you are worried about liability my wife will sign me out. Look Michelle if I ever need you to trust me, it's now."
Michelle had signed his release papers much to the voice inside of her head saying it was a bad idea. She had brought Tony a change of clothes that they kept in their car. And as she helped him change she knew she was going to have to keep a close eye on him. Tony insisted that he was fine, and that he didn't need a wheelchair to the car. But he relented when he saw Michelle's worried look. He got in the car and leaned his head against the window. Michelle glanced at him periodically, but no words were said. Until,
"The doctor gave us pain medication. He said to use it when you feel you need to but don't overdo it." Michelle informed, Tony nodded but didn't say anything. He was dreading getting back to C.T.U. for he knew Michelle would look at him differently. Michelle, he looked over at her and he could see the worry lines presented on her face. He knew he had been short with her, and he knew she was just trying to do what was best for him. He sighed she would know his reasoning soon enough. But until then he decided to maintain peace with her, so he reached out and took a hand that was on the steering wheel. He wrapped his fingers through hers, she glanced at him briefly and smiled. He gave one in return, bringing her hand to his lips to place a gentle kiss on it. She blushed in return and it made Tony's heart warm. Even after years of marriage he could still make her blush and he found it adorable.
"I love you sweetheart." He spoke against her hand, she squeezed it in return before replying,
"I love you so much." They both enjoyed one another's company, both happy that they were able to still be together. But the closer they got to C.T.U. the quieter she noticed he got. As they walked into C.T.U. she stayed close to him, in case he were to feel dizzy, a side effect the doctor said was common. They could feel all eyes on him as they made their way through the main floor. Tony found Adam right away and went straight to him,
"Adam where's Chappelle." Adam looked at him as if he was a ghost but responded,
"He's with Gael." Tony had to hide his annoyance,
"Interrogation 820." Tony turned slightly to Michelle and motioned for her to follow him,
"Let's go." Adam looked at Tony and Michelle's retreating forms then looked to Kim,
"What the hell is going on?"
"I don't know." She was just as confused, something was definitely up. Tony picked up his pace the closer they got to interrogation knowing that Gael was in need of help,
"Get the door." He ordered the guard. "Johnson that's enough." He watched as Johnson pulled away looking at both of his bosses in confusion.
"Almeida what are you doing?" Chappelle looked at him incredulously,
"Ryan get him out of the room."
"Trust me Ryan get him out of the room." Ryan nodded, Johnson and left. "You too Ryan." Chappelle looked livid.
"I gotta talk to Gael by myself alright? Just trust me on this one." Chappelle looked to Michelle,
"Michelle what's going on?" She shook her head, she had no idea, Tony had never acted like this before.
"Look I don't care what's going on between you two. I am not going anywhere I am staying right here." All three of them had a stare off, until a little noise went off on Gael's PDA.
"He's in." Gael stated.
"Who? Who's in?" Chappelle asked,
"Jack?" Tony answered, he could feel the effects of the pain medication kicking in.
"What?" Chappelle was beyond confused,
"Gael and I have been working with Jack. We've been trying to get him back undercover with the Salazars that signal means he's back in." Michelle looked at him, he never told her this.
"I don't understand." Chappelle didn't know what the hell was going on but he didn't like being kept in the dark.
"Look I'll explain everything right now we got to call the president." Tony ordered.
Michelle had been listening to the operation information given by her husband and she couldn't believe it. They had been planning it for a month. A month. And she didn't know a thing. She couldn't tell that he had been hiding something from her for a month. The meeting was dismissed, she could hear everyone whispering about him and it made her uncomfortable. She couldn't talk to him, she was hurt. But as she tried to sneak her way past him he stopped her,
"Michelle. We need an extended network using protocol four alright." She nodded, "Thanks hon." She looked at him, she could tell he needed to be back in that hospital. But she also knew it was better not to argue with him, not now at least.
He looked like hell. She had been watching him from afar and she could tell it was all catching up to him.
"You should be in the hospital." She watched as he looked at her and tried to recover,
"I am fine, what you got?" Michelle wasn't surprised he brushed it off, she decided she had said enough, she came over to him with the files,
" Briefing package on Las Nieves. Alternate landing sites that Chase might use instead of the airstrip."
"Thanks." He felt his wife's eyes on him, "What is it?" She shrugged,
"Just worried about you that's all." She was lying. He could read right through her,
"Uh huh- what is it?" He asked gently, not believing her for a second.
"It's not the time." She needed to get out from under his gaze,
"Michelle." He gently tugged her closer to him, "What is it?"
"This whole thing you've been planning with Jack." Michelle stated. Tony sighed and hung his head, expecting the conversation would come soon enough.
"Look I am sorry I couldn't tell you. Jack planned it and he wanted absolute secrecy and I agreed." Michelle knew that, didn't mean she liked it anymore.
"You don't have to explain." Tony understand where she was coming from, if he had found out she was hiding something from him for that long it would put him on the edge to.
"No I want to explain, listen to me." He looked her right in the eyes, pleading with her to believe him, "I trust you with my life. But this job is what it is." Michelle didn't care for the response, the job it what it is. She seemed to remember them making sure that the job would not come in between them, had he forgotten that. Michelle walked away, not knowing quite what to say. Tony watched and he knew he chose a poor way to explain it to her. She was about to leave without saying anything but decided against it,
"Jack said he came up with the plan a month ago is that how long you've known?" Tony cringed inwardly,
"Something like that yeah." Michelle took it in, a whole month. Her husband had been lying to her, keeping her in the dark. What kind of wife was she that couldn't catch it?
"I just- I had no idea you were hiding something from me. But that's my problem." She smiled weakly, she could see Tony was about to say something but she walked away. She didn't want to hear anymore of it. What's done is done. Tony watched as his wife walked away and he knew that had messed up big time. And he cursed Jack and himself.
"I'll check the flight paths just in case." Michelle said quietly, Tony took a swig of his water and looked at her,
"Just in case what I just checked it." Michelle leaned in close to him, she had to approach it cautiously or else he would get defensive,
"There have been other mistakes Tony." He couldn't believe what he was hearing, especially from her,
"Mistakes, that you think I made?" She watched as he took it the wrong way, she tried to
"Sweetheart you should still be in the hospital you're not a hundred percent. You should step down." Step down? Tony never thought he would hear this from her, did she not trust that he could do his job?
"I'm fine." He didn't want to hear anymore of it.
"And after what you've been through today, I don't see-" She tried again but Tony had had enough.
"I just said I am fine. End of discussion please." Michelle was shocked by his tone, he hardly ever spoke to her like that. She didn't take to heart, but it still shocked her. She watched as he spoke to Adam then left without giving her a glance. She knew she had to bring Chappelle into this.
It had been Kim. She had trusted Kim enough, when it was really her who had made the mistakes. She should have trusted her husband but she was worried. The doctor had told them no stress and stay off his feet, everything that he was doing. Michelle came in once he was done with Chappelle and quietly closed the door,
"I owe you an apology." She began,
"You don't. Look if you thought I wasn't fit to do my job then you had a duty to report it. But you should know I'd never risk the effectiveness of this unit just to prove how tough I am." She knew that. She believed him. She knew her personal feelings were clouding her judgment of him, but she also was trying to balance both work and being a wife.
"I know that I just felt-" She tried to defend, but he snapped,
"I know how you felt, you made that perfectly clear." She didn't know what to say in return. She looked at him, with hurt in her eyes. This was the second time he had used the tone of voice with her. Only this time she did take it to heart. She was happy the phone rang,
"Yeah." He quickly answered.
"Excuse me sir we need Michelle downstairs."
"Yeah sure." He shot her a look, and Michelle knew the discussion was over. The apology was not accepted. She left feeling worse than before.
They walked in unison, nothing had been spoken about the last few hours but the tension was building between them,
"Are your people ready?" Tony asked, Michelle nodded in response.
"Yeah they are waiting."
"What about Chloe?"
"Yeah she's there too."
"Alright this is our one chance to get the virus so they are all aware of what's at stake." Michelle fought to roll her eyes, did he not have enough confidence in her?
"They're aware." She assured, he ignored her.
"I'm just saying it's all gonna come down in the next hour."
"I know Tony. You don't have to keep reminding me." She said stopping him, her annoyance surfacing,
"Yeah I do look too many things can go wrong here. We don't need another mistake." Ouch. Michelle knew what he meant. There was an uncomfortable silence between them. That look, that look in her eyes made Tony regret what he said. He thought of how to recover but he couldn't,"So um have we had any communication from Jack in the last few minutes?" She shook her head disappointed that he had yet again talked to her like that with no explanation.
"No he's still with Nina and the Salazars." He nodded then left her wondering what the hell was going on between the two of them. They had fought, debated and even gone to point of ignoring one another. But never had they spoken to one another like this. Usually one of them admitted they were wrong and would make up. But this was different and it scared Michelle.
He had been an ass. He had been so short with her and she didn't deserve that. Yet he didn't know how to apologize. He could blame the pain medication, or the way things have turned out but in reality he knew it was no one else's fault but him. He watched as she typed with a frustrated look on her face,
"What's the matter?" She sighed,
"They changed the access code to division again didn't they?"
"Yeah here there." He leaned over and typed them, Michelle looked at him, she looked at the bandage on his neck, how had everything gone so sour recently?
"Thanks." She began typing again. Tony watched her, knowing that this was the time to apologize. To let her know that she had done the right thing, by testing him. That he had no excuse for talking to her the way he did. But the words couldn't come out, but just as he was about to, Chloe called out,
"Ok were on!" The conversation would have to wait.
The meeting was going smoothly, Tony had stolen glances at Michelle who was listening closely to what Chappelle had to say,
"We have some background but there's nothing that places him definitely in L.A. today" Adam informed,
"That's it?" Chappelle wasn't happy, "What about Interpol? What do they have on Alvers?"
"Our data tracking a little behind so we weren't able to access that report." Adam looked briefly at Michelle. He knew she was the reason but he didn't want to say it,
"Why are we behind?" Adam was about to defend her when Tony cut in,
"We didn't update the European contact logs while I was down." Tony shot Michelle a look as her eyes went big with realization,
"Michelle you were the ranking agent." All eyes looked at her, she gulped,
"I didn't think Europe was a priority."
"Obviously it was." Tony fired, Michelle looked at him, if looks could kill Tony would have been a goner,
"There was a lot going on at the time." How dare he? She had taken his attitude and comments toward her but this set her off, he was her husband, he wasn't supposed to call her out like that. She was livid,
"Alright let's get back to work and lets try to ease up on the mistakes for the rest of the night. As there are millions of lives depending on us." Chappelle dismissed everyone, Michelle nodded gathering her things, Tony sighed he knew once again he had been wrong. He watched as Michelle got close and he called out to her,
"Michelle-" She ignored him. She had heard him, she knew he would try and make it up. But she didn't care, she decided to ignore him and give him a piece of his own medicine. Tony watched her go, he had pushed her further away and cursed himself for it. This day was not his day.
Nina. That bitch was back. As if there wasn't enough going on between them, throw in an ex into the mix and Michelle felt she had the worst luck. She didn't know why she was going to take part in the interrogation but she also knew she didn't want to just sit back and have someone else do it. So she sucked in her pride and came into the viewing room. She looked at Nina, and all of her anger towards Tony halted. Now all she felt was jealousy, mixed with protectiveness. She knew Tony and Nina were over, beyond anything. But she didn't want Tony going in there, she knew how badly Nina had hurt him. She couldn't imagine what he was thinking,
"So Tony's doing this?" The tech guy asked,
"Yeah." She answered nonchalantly.
"Isn't that going to be weird for you?"
"What do you mean?" To any normal person it would be weird. Not very many people can say they helped their significant other interrogate their ex.
"Didn't he and Nina go out?" Michelle grimaced, but she didn't want this guy to know that it did in fact make her uncomfortable. But she wanted to be there, for Tony, just in case.
"Yeah." And with that Tony came in keeping a close proximity to Michelle,
"Yeah." Tony looked at Nina, and he felt anger and a little defensive. He had mixed feelings with Michelle being present. He didn't trust anyone else but he also didn't know what Nina might say, and he was protective in the sense that he didn't want Michelle to hear anything that might be uncomfortable for her. He sighed,
"I want you to do a high res on her eyes, she's tired we might be able to pick up a tell."
"Okay." Tony leaned in about to say something personal but then noticed the company, he glared at the tech guy who got the message and made himself busy. He leaned in and whispered to Michelle,
"So we alright?" This was the most he had shown of a truce, Michelle wasn't too happy.
"Yeah we're fine." She answered curtly,
"Alright let's do this." Tony knew that was all he was going to get from Michelle. And he knew it's what he deserved. He went into the room, with his guard up, Nina smiled,
"Tony, I didn't think I would see you today."
"You know what we want we need to find Michael Amador before he unloads the virus."
"I already told Jack everything I know." She responded whimsically,
"Yeah well I want you tell me." This seemed to peak her interest,
"First Jack now you hmm what does that remind me of?" Michelle watched Tony, trying to gauge his reaction. He seemed to take the hit and kept his face neutral.
"You told Jack that Amador might try and contact a Marcus Alvers. So where do we look for Alvers?" Nina looked Tony up and down then something caught her eye, something that she liked,
"That's a nice ring." Tony immediately felt his shield strengthen, this was a topic he was always protective of, and Nina of all people did not need to have the upper hand, "Who's the lucky girl?" Michelle gulped, Tony's thought's immediately went to Michelle, "Hope you did a background check though you don't want to make the same mistake twice." That stung the couple. Michelle was pleased to see that it didn't affect Tony and if it had, he certainly did not show it.
"You're going back to prison there's a good chance that you'll be executed as a traitor now you know if you cooperate you may be able to save your own life but you're stalling which means you know something and you still think there's a play you can make only knows not the right time." Nina smirked,
"Very incisive I hope your wife appreciates that about you." Michelle breathed deeply, the interrogation continued and much to the couples delight, Michelle was not brought up again.
Things had been anything but civil between the two of them, they maintained professional but they were not as in sync as they had been. That's why Tony was surprised to see his wife walking toward him, changed and carrying a briefcase with field agents surrounding her.
"What the hell is this?" He asked, she stopped knowing he wasn't going to like what she had to say, she motioned for the agents to go on, not wanting to have them witness their debate.
"Ryan assigned me to head the team that is going to the hotel." Chappelle, Tony cursed him mentally, he was not surprised he kept him in the dark about the decision. Chappelle came up to them,
"Ryan this is not-" Tony began but Chappelle cut him off knowing full well how Tony was going to react but he wasn't going to put up with any of it,
"I don't want to hear about it. As the head of C.T.U. you have an obligation to stay at the center of information. Michelle's has more hours of disaster control simulation than anyone else on staff than anyone else on staff. Not to mention her practical experience with the DC anthrax outbreak." Tony knew he was right, didn't mean he agreed with it. He glanced at Michelle who looked back at him with a certain look in her eyes, "Michelle will lead the team Gael will second. You will be in constant communication, pass on any guidance you can based off intel that comes in." Chappelle left the two, neither able to say anything. Michelle waited to see if Tony would say anything but when he didn't she knew she had to go,
"They are waiting for me."
"Michelle." She turned around and faced him, Tony looked toward Chappelle then back at her, "Look I don't care what Ryan says I can get someone from Division to take your place." He wanted her to say yes, he couldn't think about sending her out. Not to a hotel that could be infected. It was too risky, and she was his wife.
"No he's right. I should be the one to go." She assured. Tony looked at her, he knew her mind was already made up, there was no reason to argue with her.
"Alright then you let me the second you get your people are set alright?" He saw her nod and she walked away. And as he watched her walk away he knew he should have said something else. Should have apologized, kissed her, wished her luck, but because he was still in a sour mood he just watched her go, the hurt in her eyes still fresh on his mind.
This conversation was not going as planned. She wanted nothing more than to just smack Tony over the head, he wasn't be objective and it irritated her.
"Michelle you wait alright that's an order." He snapped. Michelle took the blow without firing back, she was starting to get used to it. She didn't know what it was but he was off all day today. They weren't the same. It bothered Michelle and she hoped he felt the same. But considering how he had been speaking to her lately she didn't think so.
"Fine. Anything else?" She was hoping that he would at least wish her luck. Provide some comfort as she was about to go into a hotel that could have a lethal virus. But instead,
"No." She shut her phone, frustrated. Gael looked over at her,
"What's wrong?" Michelle shook her head, she didn't know if she wanted to get into all of it. There was just too much. Emotionally she was drained, she wanted to stay focused. And talking about Tony would cause tunnel vision for her.
"Just stuff between Tony and me." She replied cryptically.
"Sorry." Gael could see that she didn't want to talk about but he knew it was adding a lot of stress onto her. He had heard gossip about Tony calling her out at a meeting and the way she had approached Chappelle about mistakes he had possibly been making. The workplace was always hell when their bosses were off, and today was no exception.
"Things haven't been right since he got back from the hospital." Gael almost didn't hear her. Michelle knew she needed to let it out. She knew it was good for her. She thought back to everything he had said to her and she felt disgusted. Gael looked at her and knew she needed to know Tony did still care for her, that the way he had been treating her, wasn't a way to say his feelings for her had changed.
"The last couple of months Tony and I have been working pretty closely together planning this operation." He stated slowly, letting her soak in every word, he thought back to all the times Jack and Tony argued. About Michelle. About how Tony desperately needed to tell his wife. That she could handle it, that she would be a good asset. And that he loved her and hated hiding stuff from her. "It's been eating away at him that he wasn't able to talk to you about it." Michelle looked at Gael, she thought about what he said. She knew Tony wasn't doing all this in spite of her, she just wanted them to be able to talk about it all so she just sighed,
"I just want this day to end." Gael couldn't agree more.
"The vials Alvarez planted he said there are eleven more." Michelle knew that this was not going to go well. As she took a deep breath she could hear the wheels beginning to turn in her husband's brain.
"Alvarez told you this?"
"I just left him."
"You just left him? Michelle he could have been exposed to the virus how did he get outside of the hotel?" Michelle wasn't stupid to make a move like that. Something was off, he could feel it, and the longer the silence was the more nervous he got. "Michelle?" She didn't know to respond, she couldn't sugarcoat it, so she decided to just be upright.
"He didn't leave the hotel, he's still in the basement." This made his heart race. He didn't want to think about it. It couldn't be true. She was not in the hotel. She was not exposed to the virus. It wasn't true.
"Are you inside?!" He wanted her to say no, hell to even laugh and say got you. But he had a gut feeling that he would not be hearing the response he wanted.b
"Yeah." She simply responded. He felt as if his whole world had gone crashing down like a giant Jenga set. His heart skipped a beat, the perspiration on his forehead increased and he felt the need to punch someone, something.
"What the hell are you doing in there?" She better have a good reason. Though he knew whatever reason she gave him he would not be satisfied with.
"I wasn't trying to be a hero Tony it was the only decision I could make." Leave it to Michelle. To do the good thing, even when it meant killing herself in return. Tony didn't know whether to be proud of her or to be beyond livid. He knew he had to stay focused,
"Alright how far away are you from the ventilation room?" Michelle looked at the door, she wasn't far at all. But she knew she couldn't tell him that or else he just might combust.
"I'm not sure." She lied weakly. Tony took it, and he thought quickly, 'she might have some time'.
"Okay look health services is bringing protective gear. I want you to put it on when they get there, Now if we can get out outside of the hotel than we can isolate you until you get tested" He didn't give a damn if he was being overprotective. If he was playing favorites, she was his wife. She would always take priority. He needed to know she would be protected. She had to be, or else he would lose his mind.
"Tony. Tony I can't leave." She knew what he was doing and as much as she loved him, it wasn't what she needed right now. She needed him to be strong for her, to be realistic. She couldn't place herself over everyone else's lives.
"Are you listening to me? I am ordering you to get out." Tony couldn't believe what he was hearing. Didn't she know that this thing could kill her. That their time together would be over. That he wouldn't be able to ever hold her again. It was too much for him.
"And that's an order I can't obey. As there is only seven other agents including Gael and a hotel full of people that need to be contained and controlled. Communication, testing procedures they all need to be coordinated and I am the ranking officer." She was right. He knew she was right. She was always right, and always somehow ended up handling these things very well. And it made him uncomfortable, he didn't like that she was being so objective when her life could end soon. He had to get through to her, he tried a more gentle approach,
"If I've been exposed there nothing anyone can do." Exposed. There she said it. She knew he didn't want to say it so she saved him the trouble. The moment she said it, she had to convince herself that she had done the right thing, and she knew she had. But then the thought of her other agents, their lives, and the lives of all the people overcame her. And she began to feel the pressure. "Alvers said there were eleven more vials. He said he doesn't know where they are, I believe him." She waited for Tony to respond, for him to say something protective, for him to order her to do get out again, to yell at her, anything but all she got from him was silence. She checked her phone making sure the line was still connected before gently speaking, "Tony?"
"Yeah." He didn't know what to say, the woman that he loved more than anything in the world, could be dying. And what was worse, was that he was nowhere near her, and that there was nothing that he could do. For once in his life, he could not protect her. And that weakened him.
"I have to go. Call me when you have a working protocol." He hung up. He couldn't take it anymore. He rubbed the side of his face, he could feel the wedding band on his finger and he felt the tears fighting to come out. Michelle…..
He looked like hell. He felt like hell. The moment that Michelle had told him that she was in the hotel he slowly felt his world being ripped apart bit by bit. If he had known that this would have happened he would have had her stay home. Had threatened Chappelle to not even think of sending his wife in there. He would have treated her differently. But no, now she was in there, with a lethal virus. And Tony was battling internally,
"Look I had to put Chloe on it, Michelle's inside the Chandler Plaza Hotel." He informed weakly. Jack and Chase looked at one another but sharing a mutual understanding and sympathy for their friend.
"I am sorry Tony. Look we think the virus has been altered." Jack updated. Tony's ears perked up,
"Altered how?" He asked hopefully,
" It was combined with another chemical it's on it's way to N.H.S. to be tested now." She could live. That was the only possible solution right? She could be back here within the hour unharmed. Everything could be okay.
"So you saying she might have a chance?" He asked, he hoped that would be the case.
"Maybe, I hope so." Jack couldn't imagine how Tony was feeling. How Tony was still working. He had known Tony for a long time, and he knew from the moment that Michelle and him became public about their relationship that Tony could put his heart before anything else. And considering how he had acted with Michelle in perilous situations before, he was doing really well.
"How long till you can move in?" Tony asked.
"About a half an hour." Nicole Duncan confirmed.
"Alright look we found out that the virus was altered combined with another compound."
"Yeah well until that compounds analyzed we have no idea what we are dealing with."
"What's the mortality rate of those exposed to the virus?"
"In its unaltered form approximately ninety percent." Tony shuddered. Ninety percent, ninety percent of those people in the hospital would die. And his wife could be one of them, the news was not one that he wanted to hear.
"Look if someone was exposed for just a short time would leaving the hotel make a difference, I know I am not making any sense here-" He sounded desperate. To anyone else he knew he would, but he was. He had to have some silver lining. Some good news that could come out since Michelle went in. He hated not being with her. He knew it would make nothing better but at least he could be with her and talk to her. Hold her, and apologize for all his doings. But all he had now were phone calls, and none of them had been reassuring, Nicole had to give him something,
"Once you're exposed your exposed. The length of exposure has no real bearing on survivability." She didn't. He felt even worse. Michelle's chances were slim to none.
"Alright look you said 10 percent would survive now if the virus was altered is there a chance the percentage would go up?" Please. Please. He pleaded internally.
"It's possible Tony. We will do everything we can for her." Nicole assured. She knew how hard this must be for him, but she didn't want to sugarcoat anything. There would be no benefit. Tony heard her end click and he sighed. Michelle could die within hours and he had treated her so badly. If she did die, he would never forgive himself.
"Hey." He answered,
"The situations worse than we thought." Fear spiked,
"What are you talking about?"
"Gael started hemorrhaging from the nose and mouse less than an hour after exposure." This was not what he needed to hear.
"So the incubation period is no longer fourteen hours." Michelle couldn't believe it either. The look of panic and pure terror that came across Gaels face will be one she didn't want to think about. But it was reality, he was going to die. And it was real.
"According to Alvers the compound he added to the virus acts as an accelerant."
"Is Gael the only one showing symptoms?" He asked fearing that she would say she was too.
"As far as I know." He sighed, she was fine for now.
"Where is he?"
"I isolated him in a room in the basement." Tony nodded, then he asked,
"Were you exposed to any of his blood?" Michelle knew Tony was still taking in the fact that she was in there. And she was too but she had to stay focused, or else she would go crazy,
"No." She answered, but then added, "But we tested the air throughout the hotel. The virus is everywhere and I've been breathing it." Tony didn't like how she said it. He cringed,
"Look reinforcements are on their way. Everyone knows we need a hard perimeter as soon as possible."
"I'll get back to you." Tony didn't want her to hang up just yet. He couldn't. What if there was not a next time? He gulped,
"Michelle-" She didn't want to hear it. The moment that they would start talking about it Michelle would lose track and she had to remain calm. She knew she would break if she heard Tony fall apart. She needed to be strong if not for herself but for both of them.
"We can't do this now. We need to focus on making sure no one gets out of here." She stated objectively. Tony normally would have been proud and impressed by her ability to stay on track, but he also wished that she would give in. That she would just listen to what he had to say. But he knew she was right, now wasn't the time. Yet.
"Yeah. Okay." Was all he could respond with, masking the sadness that clung to his voice.
She was still in there. That was the constant thought in the back of his mind. She was still in there. The notion of it all made him uneasy, he had to hear her voice, he dialed.
"Hey, it's me. The perimeter is set." He informed.
"Good. Things are under control right now but a panic's still possible as more people start showing symptoms." At least it was good news so far, he thought.
"Yeah, we have to be ready for that especially since the incubation period of the virus is so much shorter than we thought." He noted, then she came to mind," How are you doing?"
"I'm fine so far. I just-" She gulped. She had people watching her she couldn't reveal anything now.
"What?" He had to stay calm. Her nose didn't start bleeding, please, her nose didn't start bleeding.
"Things got crazy. I had to shoot a man. He was trying to get out of the hotel. He's dead." Michelle watched as the agents took away the covered body. The wife's words replayed over and over in her head, 'you were supposed to protect him'. Michelle hated taking a life. She's only done it enough to count on one hand, but it still bothered her nonetheless. Tony knew how it bothered her and he felt for her,
"Michelle you did what you had to do, the only thing you could do. You need to stay focused alright?"
"I know I am." She felt a new sense of confidence after hearing her husband's words. He was right, there would be time to mourn later.
Tony was getting pissed. No one was treating this case as if it was important. They were just taking their time while people were dying. No one seemed to care. And it was making Tony livid.
"Look I got a hotel full of people dying out there, one of them is my wife so don't tell me there is nothing you can do." And all he received was the same bullshit response. He hung up, not giving them any more of his time and attention. It was then that he realized he was not alone. There stood Kim at the entrance of his office, "N.H.S."
"What did they say?" She asked coming in closer, she too feared the worst for Michelle.
"Anyone infected, it's 100% mortality rate." Kim thought of Michelle. The woman that had quickly become a close friend. And almost a mother-like figure and it made her upset. She looked at Tony and she could see how everything was affecting him. She had never seen him so unraveled. He seemed to have aged twenty years in the past few hours. "You know today when Michelle told Chappelle that I should stand down because of my wound, I barely even spoke to her." She could hear the regret in his voice and it broke her heart. She knew Tony never treated Michelle badly. She never saw anyone more in love and devoted to one another than Tony and Michelle. Everything had been screwed up today and she didn't know quite how to comfort him,
"Look Tony I tell I know what you are going through because I don't but if you ever need I'm here-" Was all she could offer until Chappelle came in an cut her off.
"Kim can you excuse us?"
"Of course. Here's the file." She placed the file on his desk and walked out, thinking about what would happen if that had been Chase in the hotel. What would she have done? And then she thought of the conversation she had with Michelle earlier on in the day. Was it a problem working in the same office as her husband? She wondered what Michelle would say now?"
"Thanks" Tony called out before looking at Chappelle.
"Have you cleared those shared files with Division yet?"
"No I didn't get to it yet. I had to take care of something." He didn't want to get into it.
"Yeah I know what you were doing Tony you were calling about Michelle." Tony's anger increased. Chappelle wrote it off like it was nothing. Tony couldn't believe Chappelle,
"She's my wife Ryan." He stated. Did Chappelle forget?
"I understand that. But were short handed as it is. We can't afford-" He didn't want to hear it.
"Look I know how to go my job alright." Tony argued.
Yes but you're not doing it. You have to move on." The only reason Chappelle was still alive was because Tony did not need to go down for murder. How dare he.
"Move on? What are you acting like she's already dead?"
"Yes I am and so should you." Tony looked at him befuddled. Angry, confused. This was his wife they were talking about. One of their people. "We are at war Tony. I need your full attention. If you can't give it to me go home or maintain a vigil at the hotel but if you stay I need you to focus, and best way to do that is to assume the worst and make it about getting revenge." Revenge, Tony liked the sound of that. "Now what's it going to be are you staying or not?" Tony's first thought was to leave and go and be with her. But then he thought about Michelle. Really thought about her and he knew that was not what she would have wanted him to do. She would have wanted him to stay there. He needed to stay there. For her. For him. For them. If he had left he would not be able to comfort her and protect her like should. He would not be able to keep his mind off her. He needed to stay focused, and get that bastards that did this not only to her but to all those people that would not be able to be with their families.
"What do you need me to do?" He asked, a new sense of energy filling him.
"Tony it's me." He stopped in his tracks. Something was wrong, "Gael's dead." He sighed, he couldn't believe it. "He was suffering so badly, no one should have to go through what he did. Tony there are children upstairs who are going to die in agony in front of their parents eyes." He wanted desperately to reach out to her. He wanted to hold her, he knew she would never fully get over this experience.
"Michelle unfortunately there's nothing we can do for them right now."
"Actually there is. Field Ops has a supplies of capsules."
"Those capsules are for field agents that are captured." Tony reminded, he hoped she wasn't thinking what he was thought she was thinking.
"Yeah. I-I know what they're for. They're for committing suicide to prevent torture and that's exactly what they'd be used for here. We can make them available for anyone who's symptomatic. It would be their choice." She knew it was a stretch, but she couldn't get the image out her head of Gael.
"You know I'm not authorized to do that." Tony replied weakly,
"I am not interested in what's authorized."
"Michelle you are talking about mass suicide. Facilitated by an agency of the government." She rolled her eyes, did he not see that these people needed it?
"I'm talking about common decency. If you could have seen Gael-" She caught herself. She had to keep her emotions at bay, "I'm calling because-if it was me-if I'm infected, I know what I'd want." She waited to hear his response before adding, "We don't have much time. Gael was the first to die because he was the first exposed but others won't be far behind."
"I'll see what I can do." He said finally. The thought of Michelle becoming infected, going through the pain. He couldn't-she was right, they had to offer it to them.
"Thank you." She replied.
"Nearly a third of the people in this hotel are symptomatic and it's getting worse. They should have the choice to end their own lives." He could hear the desperation and frustration in her voice. He wished he was there with her, to shield her away from the horrors that he knew would haunt her for the rest of her life.
"The capsules should be there soon." He informed weakly. He could tell her energy was running low, and it worried him.
"Tony." Michelle spoke. She watched as one by one people went behind the curtains. To their death, that she had to tell him. That she couldn't leave things the way they were. She loved him too much for that.
"I realize we both been talking around this but if my test comes back positive."She could hear his breathing hitch.
"Michelle don't go there-" He said through tears. She had a chance, she could still be alright. They could still be together.
"Sweetheart we both know my chances of survival are low." Michelle knew he had been ignoring it. She also had heard that he had been fighting N.H.S. since she had gone in. She loved how dedicated and devoted he was, but they needed to talk about if there is no tomorrow for her. She had come to accept it.
"You still have a chance. And while there is still a chance I don't want to talk about this okay?" The emotions were getting the best of him. She was his life. She was his reason for living. The thought of losing her was unbearable. She had to be okay.
"Okay. Okay. No matter what I just want you to know that the last three years have been the best years of my life." Her voice shook. She thought of all the memories they shared together. All the times that they laughed, kissed, hugged, cried. She couldn't imagine it being with anyone else. He truly was her best friend. Tony broke, there was so much he wanted to say. They were best years for him too. That he was an ass to her today, that he should have told her. That he should have made a move on her the moment he touched her hand, for they would have more time. He wanted to say so much but all he could say was,
"I should be there with you." He hated this job. It made him feel like a horrible husband. What kind of job would keep him away from his dying wife? Only this job. If she made it out alright, he was taking the job at Langley. He didn't care if there was a job or not for her, he was not going to risk putting her in the field ever again.
"You are." She replied weakly. She knew he had regrets. She could hear it in his voice. She loved him for it. Even in all this he was trying to remain strong for the both of them. Even through everything he still loved her.
"No it's not the same." He replied quickly. And it wasn't. He should be there. That's what any normal husband would do. Michelle sighed,
"The best thing you can do for me right now is to make sure those capsules get here." He will. He vowed he would, even if it was the last thing she would ever ask of him. He would for her. Just as he had always done things, they were always for her.
"I'll do my best." She smiled at hearing it,
"I know you will." She hung up. She couldn't hear the pain in his voice anymore. She still had a hotel full of people that needed all the comfort they could. She hung up. She made eye contact with a mother and her daughter. The daughter looked back, fear and confusion in her eyes. Michelle was a strong woman but this was making it even harder for her to fall to her knees. Tony took the conversation to heart, rethinking everything she had told him. "The last three years have been the best years of my life" he would remember that forever.
"Tony I need to speak to you." Came Jack's voice. Tony turned around, subtly wiping away the tears that had fallen and collected himself. Jack tried to read his friends facial expression, he knew exactly what it was, "Michelle?"
"Yeah." Tony answered clearing his throat.
"Did she get her tests results back yet?" Jack asked fearing the worst. As much as everything had been keeping him busy, she was always in the back of his mind.
"No, they won't have them back for another hour." Both men shared a mutual fear for Michelle. They didn't want to lose her.
He hadn't heard anything. He glanced briefly at his watch, he should have heard from her by now. He dialed her number walking toward a private location,
"Hey it's me. Did you get the test results?" He asked gently but impatiently, he had to know.
"No I won't know if I am infected for another hour."
"What's taking so long?" Another hour? It was bad enough that she was in there, but now they kept holding off on letting them know. He was getting irritated,
"They couldn't interpret the results here. They had to send it back to the lab."
"How are you feeling?"
"I'm uh-I think I am okay." She did a mental checklist. Everything was fine with her physically. Emotionally, she was drained. She was ready to leave the hotel, but she didn't want it to be in a body bag, she wanted it to be with her husband. Tony was not quite convinced,
"No nosebleeds, nothing on your skin?" He feared that she would say yes, so he was relieved when she answered with
"No." She paused,"Look N.H.S. has everything under control here. I want to keep busy. How can I help?" She asked, she had to keep her mind off of seeing body bag after body bag. It was beginning to smell like death. She could feel it everywhere and it was making her sick. She never wanted so badly to breathe in fresh air. But she had to get back to work.
He wanted the day to end like no other, he couldn't imagine there being a light at the end of the tunnel but he knew there was one. He just had to make sure Michelle made it out alright and then all would be good. Michelle. The more he thought about his wife the more he wished he had never treated her the way he did. The look on her face during all the times that he dismissed her and snapped at her will haunt him for the rest of his life. And he didn't know what it was but he couldn't get past the anger in him for him to let up on her. So he just pushed her away, and that was one thing that he would regret for the rest of his life. He was going to get a call that she did not make it he didn't know what he would do or what he would feel, all he knew was that the moment that he would hear she would not make it, he knew there would be no reason to stay alive. No reason at all. He knew the time would come when she would die, he just didn't think it would be now, but if it was now he was ready. It didn't matter to him.
"Honey it's me." The tone in her voice stopped him in his tracks,
"What's going on?' She looked at her results again making sure she read them right, then took a deep shaky breath,
"I'm okay, I'm not infected." She couldn't believe she could say it. She was beyond ecstatic. She was going to make it out alive, and she was going to see her husband soon.
"Are you sure?" Tony felt as if he was given the news of a lifetime. Michelle Dessler, blood test negative, swab test negative.
"Yeah they did a swab and a blood test and I am going to be fine. I am going to be fine." Tony looked around as he felt tears of relief beginning to fall.
"Oh my god, oh my god sweetheart that's fantastic." He was crying, he didn't care. His wife was alive and was going to be back in his arms soon, he had to lean against something, "Look I want you to get out of there alright, away from anyone that's infected." He wish he was there to drag her out of there. To kiss her and never let her go. He almost lost her in there and he didn't want her there any longer.
"No, no sweetheart, they said that those of us who didn't come down the infection, that we have an immunity to the virus." An immunity, he thought, she was immune. Ninety percent mortality rate and his beautiful wife was in that rare ten percent.
"Well where are they taking you?" He wanted to make sure she was safe, he needed to see her. He couldn't wait another minute.
"Downtown to N.H.S. They want to keep us under watch for eighteen hours but they said it's just a formality." Eighteen hours. Eighteen more hours they both thought. They were going to be apart for eighteen more hours. Tony knew he wasn't going to be able to work, she would be on his mind even more and he would constantly countdown the seconds until he was able to see her.
"Alright look I'll get there as soon as I can alright." He didn't care what anyone would say. He was going to see her. He didn't care if it was through a glass window. He just need to see her in person to make sure she was alright and that he was there before the eighteen hours were up. She didn't deserve to be without him for another second.
"No stay where you are they need you at C.T.U." She could hear Sunny telling someone that she was clear to go, it was becoming more and more real to her, "I can work from downtown." Tony loved her. He loved that even after all this she would still be willing to help.
"Honey you don't have to work. We can handle it from here." Michelle knew he was right, that she wasn't needed much more, but she couldn't just wait those eighteen hours without doing something. The thoughts of Gael, her agents, and the people that died were going to haunt her.
"I want to help Tony." Tony knew there was no sense in talking her out of it. God, he loved her.
"Okay." He gulped, "Michelle." He had almost lost her, it was coming to him. She was alive, but she almost wasn't. His worst fears almost came true. He had never felt more desperate for her.
"I can't- I can't believe I almost lost you." He cried out, he didn't care if he sounded weak. He didn't care if someone heard, he loved his wife more than anything. He would die for her, kill for, anything. And they were blessed to have more years together. She was more precious to him than anything now. Michelle desperately wanted to reach out and hold him, she had never heard him talk like this. Normally he was always the calm and collected one, this showed her how much it had affected him too.
"I almost lost you too." She had to keep it together, "But we are still here."
"Yeah." He smiled, they were still together. They were still alive, and still able to have a future together.
"I have to go, I'll call you from N.H.S.."
"Hey- I love you." He said through a mixture of tears and smiles. Michelle never loved her husband more than in this very moment.
"I love you so much." And she hung up. She collected herself, and then heard a crumpling piece of paper. She looked over to see an agent sigh, his results not as uplifting. Michelle didn't know what to say, but her heart hurt more when she noticed a wedding band on his finger.
To say Tony was anxious to get the day over with was an understatement. They were almost there he could just feel it. They had Saunders, and once they did, they would be able to find the other vials and he could go and see Michelle. That thought alone was encouragement enough to work extra hard, that was until he cellphone rang, 'maybe it was Michelle calling from N.H.S.' he thought. Then Saunders voice came over the line,
"Open a websocket to IP257211165 and you'll find out. That's IP257211165, just trust me do it." Tony didn't know what Saunders was making him do but he decided to go along with it, maybe get in contact with Adam to track the call, "by the way Tony I would like to offer you a congratulations on your wife's eluding infection of the virus." His wife? That made his blood run cold, what did Saunders have to do with Michelle? Tony felt the perspiration increase on his forehead,
"How do you know about my wife?"
"Get on that site." He typed the last few digits and then the screen displayed his worst nightmare and a flashback of the Goetzl case. This time it was different, Michelle was bound and gagged and being held against a man. The sheer terror in her eyes struck him to the core. He felt anger increased ten folds, that man, no these men were touching his wife. Tony felt as if he could kill every single one of them with his bare hands.
"I don't know exactly what they are doing to her Tony but I did instruct them to leave her barely functional so we can return her to you."
"I'll kill you son of a bitch, I'll rip your damn throat out you hear me." Tony threatened, he never felt more desire to kill someone in his entire life.
"I'm low on time so I'm sorry if I brush past that remark because in fifteen seconds Michelle will be dead if you don't do what I say. There are five agents watching the northeast exit of this building. Four on the ground, a sniper on the rooftop next door. I'm assuming they are operating as a single unit, I want you to give them a code nine and send them to the front entrance now." Tony had his eyes glued to the screen, horrified that if he were to look away for even a second she would be gone.
"Jack Bauer is running the operation I don't have the authority to do that."
"No authority? Really? Kevin is Michelle still conscious."
"Yes." Michelle didn't know what was happening but she was terrified. She had her share of encounters with terrorists but these men seemed different. As she was being held by one she never felt more sick in her life.
"Take an eye out." Then a knife came to her face, she lost all sense of composure. She gasped not ready to feel the pain,
"No wait stop!" Tony couldn't let it happen. This was his wife. The woman he took a vow to protect. As he watched the knife halt at her eye he had to think of something quick.
"Kevin hold on a sec." He saw the fear in her eyes, and after almost losing her today, he had made his decision.
"It's going to take me some time."
"You have thirty seconds."
Jane was here. Saunders had escaped and all Tony wanted was his wife. He feared what they were doing to her right now and he would have wild if they had touched her in any way. He looked in at the interrogation room and felt sympathy for the girl. She was young, and barely knew what was going on. When she informed him that Jack had scared her, he didn't blame her. His cell phone rang,
"Has Jane arrived?" Just upon hearing Saunders voice caused Tony to instinctively growl.
"Yeah." He answered pulling away from Jane so she couldn't hear.
"Where is she?"
"Put her on."
"No. You have my wife I want to talk to her first." Tony needed to talk to her. He needed to make sure she was unharmed. He didn't know what he would do if she was.
"You don't give me orders."
"You're wrong I have your daughter which means I'm in charge. Now if you so much as touch my wife I will slit Janes throat." He was playing fire with fire. He had hoped that Saunders wouldn't test him either but when it came to Michelle, Tony would do anything. No one was innocent.
"Hold on." Saunders couldn't tell if he was bluffing but he didn't want to chance it. He came into the room and received an uninviting glare to him. He ripped off the duct tape pressed against her mouth."Sorry for discomfort hopefully its temporary. " He then looked toward one of his men. "Uncuff her." He watched as the man did as he was told, "I'm going to let you speak to your husband tell him you're okay and that you are treated well. Nothing more you understand?" He handed her the cell. Michelle didn't know what was going on. She knew Tony must be a part of it, and C.T.U. in some way. To say she was scared was a stretch, but to say she was terrified was spot on. But she wasn't going to let them see it, she was about to speak when a gun was pointed in her direction,
"Tony it's me."
"Michelle." He was relieved. She was alive,
"They wont let me say much."
"Are you alright?" He hoped that she wouldn't lie. All she had to do was say that he had hurt her or touched her and he would go to the ends of the earth to find her.
"Im fine im being treated well." Overall she was fine. She wasn't hurt physically. She didn't know what exactly what Saunders wanted from Tony but she couldn't let him do it, "Don't let them do this Tony please-" She begged but the phone was pulled away from her before she could finish.
"None of that."
"Michelle-" Tony asked fearing that something had gone wrong. He heard her plead but he didn't think he could stop if Saunders had her.
Tony knew with Jack knowing it was the end of it. He was going to lose Michelle, Jack was going to take over and Saunders would know. He would lose his wife, but he also wasn't going down without a fight.
"Saunders has Michelle."
"He wants to make a trade Michelle for his daughter."
"I know, I can't let that happen." He can't let that happen? What the hell, wasn't he supposed to be on his side, since when did Jack care about the rules, Tony thought angrily.
"Look I almost lost her once today Jack I am not losing her again."
"Tony listen to me. I know exactly how you're feeling I've been there."
"And you handled it just like me you kept everyone out of it."
"Tony this is different millions of lives are at stake."
"Oh rules apply to other people but not to right Jack?" Tony wasn't having it, couldn't he see it was his wife? His wife, Jack's friend.
"Tony just calm down. Okay, come on." Jack had to get through to him, but he could see the look in his friends eyes, it was like when Goetzl had her. He wasn't going to give in easily.
"You help me make this trade, I'll turn myself in go to prison whatever gotta happen." He would do anything, he couldn't lose her. She was his life, if he failed to protect her than he would have no reason to live.
"I can't do it we need Jane to lure her father in."
"Even if it means Michelle has to die?" Tony's voice croaked, Michelle and death should not be in the same sentence.
"Michelle doesn't have to die. We can string Saunders along. I need you to start working with me Chase has already got a strike team-" C.T.U., no, Tony's rage increased, fear striking him to the core.
"No no no no, Saunders sees I brought C.T.U. into this he kills Michelle!"
"He's not going to know were there." Tony knew there was no other option but he feared that so many things could go wrong. "Tony where are you meeting him?" She could die, they could hurt her. She could die right in front of his eyes. And what Jack and C.T.U. lose? Nothing, they would still be able to find Saunders but with his wife's life? He wouldn't allow it. "Tony you don't have a choice right now. You gotta work with me on this. Where's the meeting?" He knew he was right, Tony began thinking of Michelle, then the day. How did everything come to this? "Come on where are you meeting him?" Jack tried a more gentle approach. He could see Tony was fighting himself, but the agent in him would come out.
"He wants me to be at a public payphone at the corner of Taylor and Vine in five minutes. He'll give me further instructions from there." There he either just saved his wife's life or he just set her up to be killed.
"Thank you you're doing the right thing." Jack tried to reassure him but he knew Tony would not have it until Michelle was back. The pressure was on.
He hung up. What the hell. He just signed off on his wife's death note. Who gave him the right? Tony felt as if he had made the wrong decision. He snapped,
"No matter how well you know this guy you're not him." Jack didn't say anything. He just took the hit. Blow after blow. "This isn't a game Jack were talking about my wife." Tony emphasized. Did it not matter to him that Michelle could die?
"Michelle's got a better chance of survival if we control the ground where the exchange is supposed to take place." Jack stated, hoping that Tony would understand him. He knew where Tony was coming from. He knew Tony was only thinking about saving Michelle. He got that. No one faulted him for thinking that way, but he knew Saunders, he knew what his next move would be.
"But protecting her is not your priority is it?" Tony's voice cracked. Michelle was never a priority. Even when it came to the Goetzl case, or when she went out in field. If he had not been there for any of those times. Who knows what would happen to her. "If she were to get killed, that would be an acceptable loss wouldn't it?" Tony watched as Jack didn't respond and looked away. Tony was baffled, his suspicions confirmed. Even his best friend didn't value his wife. "My god Jack didn't you learn from what happened to Teri?" Jack's eyes flared. He shoved Tony with all the anger.
"Shut up Tony shut up!"Tony could take it. It didn't phase him, he was glad to see for once Jack had feelings. Regardless Tony wasn't going to let Jack use his wife as some sort of pawn. She was not a playing card. "Tony!" Jack yelled, Tony spun around,
"Just because you sacrificed your wife for this job doesn't mean I am going to sacrifice mine!" And then the phone rang. And Tony stopped in his tracks.
"Dad I got Michelle on the line."
"Is she with Saunders?" Tony's ears perked up. Saunders? Michelle.
"No she said she got away from him."
"Patch her through."
"Hold on, Michelle go ahead."
"I got away from Saunders but he is still after me." Tony's heart quickened. She had gotten away, she was okay. They could get to her in less than a few minutes. She would be safe.
"Michelle it's me where are you?" He could hear her panting, she was running.
"Uh Wilsher a block east of Olive." She had to be rescued now. Tony turned to Chase,
"Chase send your strike team in now."
"Chase don't." Jack intervened, earning him a glare from Tony.
"What are you talking about?" Tony asked fearfully,
"Michelle I want you to listen to me very carefully. I want you to let Saunders catch you again." Jack stated. He was ready for any outburst Tony was going to give him,
"What are you crazy?" Tony's eyes went wild, his blood pressure went through the roof. He wanted her to give herself up,
"We have to let the exchange go down. It's' the only way we're going to catch him." Jack informed as if he was stating the obvious,
"You want me to give myself up?" Michelle was puzzled. She didn't think she would have to go back. She didn't want to go back, she wanted to be done with all of it. She wanted Tony.
"Yes, the exchange site is secure. I'll send our people in as soon as we know he's there." Jack stated but he could feel Tony quickly losing it behind him. Tony could tell the Michelle didn't want to, and he didn't either. That was a death trap.
"Chase redirect your people. Chase that's an order" Tony yelled,
"Chase don't-" Jack cut him off, Tony turned to Jack,
"Jack stay out of this." Jack had about enough. He shoved Tony to the ground and aimed his gun at him,
"You are not in command here. Get him out of here now, now!" He yelled, he would never shoot Tony both of them knew that, but it was the only way Tony would get back in control. Tony was pulled away from Jack, he needed to be there for Michelle, he couldn't let Jack send her back.
"Jack, that's my wife Jack you son of a bitch, that's my wife! JACK!" He cursed, he fought against the men holding him back. He had to calm down, collect himself, but with Michelle's life on the line it was no use. He was a caged animal that had gotten out, ready to destroy anything in its path.
"We need this exchange to go through everything depends on it do you understand me?" Michelle could hear Tony. Her heart ached. She didn't know what was going on. She needed to get to Tony. She wanted it to be all over. She kept running, "Michelle if he doesn't have you to trade he's not gonna go through with this meeting." She noticed a gate, and on the other side there were people. Walking around doing the usual day to day activities. Unbeknownst to them that their lives were at risk "Look we're not going to get another chance at this do you understand Michelle?" She looked all of them, women, children, men, elderly. They were all innocent. She couldn't let them die. She knew she could have easily hoped the gate and made her way back to C.T.U., but the more she looked at them the more she knew, she couldn't let Saunders get away. Her life didn't matter as much as everyone else. So she caught her breath and responded,
"We will do everything we can to make sure you get out of this okay but we need to move now." She hung up and threw her phone and keys in the nearby bushes. She knew she was on her own, and she was ready to face Saunders. She ran.
Everything was going smoothly and that's what worried Tony. It had to go perfectly, no one could mess up or else he would lose the one thing that was important to him. If he lost her then he didn't care what happened to him. They could take him out back and shoot him for all he cared. He needed her alive.
"Look Jack promise me you wont make a move on Saunders until Michelle is safe."
"We will move as soon as we have a visual on Saunders that's the way it's got to go." Tony sighed, that's not what he wanted to hear,
"I know. I'm just asking you-just to do what you can." Tony pleaded, Jack knew that he was not asking as a man whose wife was on the line, but as a friend. A friend that needed him more than ever,
"You know I will." Jack looked around hoping no one would read too much into the conversation over the comm. "Tony they are coming are you ready?" Tony saw the vans and he felt his heart race. This was it. He clenched his gun, he was ready to get his wife back. Michelle was in one of the vans, she remained stoic. She didn't want to show any emotions, she was handed a phone as she looked in front of her, seeing Tony in the distance,
"My preference is to return you to your husband unharmed, but I will kill you if anything goes wrong." She understood.
Tony watched as the vans come in closer, then came to a stop. One of the doors opened and Michelle was pushed out with one of Saunders men putting a gun to her neck Tony had to stop himself from running to her, so he continued to keep his eyes on her until his cell rang, He couldn't remove his gaze from hers, he hadn't seen her in so long,
"When I see my daughter you get your wife." He hung up. Tony slowly went to Jane and opened the door for her. He kept his eyes on Michelle,
"Alright. Jane I need you to get out of the car. " She followed him, he kept an hand on her arm, "Everything going to be okay." He assured her, he looked to Michelle and felt his heart yearn for her. "I want you to walk over to your fathers men.'
"Wheres my father?" She asked her voice shaking. She was scared, and normally he would feel some sympathy for her but the longer Michelle was being held at gunpoint in front of his eyes the less he cared. He needed her to head to Saunders without hesitation.
"We don't know. Listen we have to do this Jane. I'm sorry." She didn't move. "Look Jane you got to trust me on this please go." He gently pushed her forward, "Go on." The moment she took the first steps forward, Michelle was shoved roughly forward. And soon both women were walking toward one another. The tension could be felt everywhere, they exchanged a glance as they passed one another by. Michelle looked at the girl, she was so young. She then looked toward Tony and she felt her legs giving out. He was so close. He held out a hand for her, his ring displaying for everyone to see. The closer Michelle got to him, the more worried he became that something was going to happen.
"Jack send in your men now." He muttered conspicuously,
"We do not have a visual on Saunders, I repeat we do not have a visual on Saunders." Jack informed over the comm. Tony had to hold back a frustrated groan. Jane could get to his men and they could shoot Michelle, it was too risky. Jane looked back at Tony, she was afraid. She didn't know who the men were, she didn't feel safe. Tony shot her a look hoping to let her know it was okay to keep going before looking at Michelle. Michelle was so close. She could wanted nothing more than to be back with her husband, she smiled at seeing him so close.
"I can't." Jane then turned and ran back. Tony could hear one of the men yelling and he aimed at Michelle.
"Jane no! Turn around!" Tony ordered.
"Jane it's okay come here!" Saunders called out, showing himself.
"Teams A and B move we got a visual on Saunders. Move now!" Jack ordered. Then all hell broke loose. A shot rang out and Tony immediately placed Michelle behind him and began firing, shielding her from any danger. He shot. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six, it hit the man that had touched his wife. Tony suddenly felt better knowing that man was dead.
As soon as the commotion began to cease, and shots were gone Tony immediately turned to Michelle. She looked at him, in shock and desperation. He couldn't believe it. His wife was right there. Right in front of him, for his eyes to see. He placed his hands on her face and cradled it then gave her a once over, checking to make sure Saunders had not physically hurt her.
"You okay?' He asked with a slight smile of relief,
"Yeah." She breathed, still in shock of everything. Tony placed a kiss to her forehead before pulling her into an embrace. Then she pulled away, she smiled and began to cry, she couldn't believe that he was there. He looked back at her, tears mirroring hers, he couldn't believe it either. She placed a hand behind his head and pulled him in for a kiss. He gave her lips a quick peck then her neck and then she wrapped her arms around his neck. He wrapped her in his arms instantly holding her close. Neither of them wanting to let go. He placed another kiss to her temple and she increased her hold on him, running her fingers through his hair. He held her back just as tight. Both breathed heavily, feeling as if their souls were back in place. They both felt the effects of the day catching up with them. Tony held Michelle as she cried. He could hold her forever, he would hold her forever. She was alive, and she was in his arms. He ran his fingers through her curls holding her close to him and he looked around, making sure there was no one else that could take her away from him. She gripped his shirt, not wanting him to move too far away. She needed him. And he gave her what he wanted. He placed another kiss to her, giving all the love he could to her. He glanced around once more before feeling her rewrap her arms around his neck. They were both happy that it was over. Eventually Michelle pulled away, but only for Tony to help her up. He kept an arm wrapped around her waist. Kissing her head every so often, then he turned to her,
"Baby you need to get checked by a medic." He said gently, cradling her head in his hands glancing her body over once more with his eyes. He couldn't get enough of looking at her.
"I'm fine. I am just glad you are okay. I love you so much." She responded through dried tears. He felt his heart break,
"I love you sweetheart." He gave her an intense kiss, then pulled away, "Now please go get checked." She nodded. He was about to follow her when an agent came up to him,
"Sir, I have to get your statement." She looked back at him, fear in her eyes, she wasn't ready to be apart from him yet, he could sense her hesitation.
"I'll be alright. Go on." He watched as she nodded and went to an agent on standby. He didn't take his eyes off her as the agent asked him questions.
She wasn't authorized. She was second in command and she wasn't allowed to see someone in holding. She wasn't allowed to see her husband. She marched up the stairs, it had to be a mistake,
"I just tried to see Tony. Security said you're denying me access?"
"He's a prisoner Michelle." Hammond stated firmly.
"I'm his wife he did what he did to save my life." Michelle defended, why was this happening?
"I'm aware of that. And because of that he's being charged with treason." Michelle's expression fell into utter disbelief.
"Treason? Brad look I know Tony broke protocol by breaking Jane Saunders out C.T.U. but he would never have given her up-" Michelle felt all the energy and patience exit her, she couldn't be separated from him, not now, she knew he wasn't in the wrong.
"Michelle-" Hammond began but Michelle continued,
"And because of him we were able to catch Saunders!"
"We had Saunders two hours ago. And Tony let him escape!" Michelle had no idea, she didn't know what to say, "No one told you? We had Saunders trapped in a building downtown. We were ready to drop the net and Tony pulled units of position so Saunders could get away." He had did that for her? He is going down for treason because of her? She couldn't fathom the idea.
"Brad it was an impossible choice." Michelle defended, Hammond shook his head,
"No it wasn't. Tony has a sworn duty to protect the people of this country. Putting your life first is treasonous and he's going to prison for it." Michelle was at a loss. She didn't know Tony had done that. She couldn't believe it. She was going to lose her husband, she had to fight for him,
"I want you to put yourself in his place Michelle. If you would've made the same call you should resign right now." Michelle looked at him, she thought about what he said. Would she have done the same thing?
He had no regrets. None. Michelle was alive, no lives were lost. He would do it again in a heartbeat if he had to. But as he felt the temperature in the room increase he was getting more and more uncomfortable,
"Tony did you put Michelle's life ahead of public safety or national security?" He thought of the question. He thought of the penalties, he thought of what he would be losing. His gun, his badge, his job. His career was down the tube. He then thought of Michelle. He thought of the way she looked on the monitor, the fear in her eyes. And nothing mattered, he had no regrets,
"Yes I did." He stated. There was no pain, no doubt, only sorrow. That came with the reality that he would never be able to see Michelle. And that was the only regret he did have.
Michelle was determined to get Tony out on the floor. It was their best option, no one else could run tactical like could. No one else could get results like him. As she opened the door for Hammond to walk out she met Tony's brown eyes and they both lost their ability to speak. He looked like a lost puppy, she had to refrain herself from running into his arms and holding him. She closed the door but not before holding on to his gaze till the last possible second.
"Brad Rabens is gone. He got through the perimeter at the M.T.A. station."
"How the hell did that happen?"
"Doesn't matter how it happened it happened. We identified the vehicle he carjacked as a light blue Malibu. We set up a roadblock and up linked traffic cams and satellite sweeps but I need Tony to coordinate the data flow with tactical." Hammond sighed, she had expected that. "There's no downside here Brad. You know he's not a flight risk and he'd be a major asset to the operation." He glanced at Tony then back at Michelle,
"I can be brought up on charged if I let Tony out." Michelle was getting annoyed,
"We can't lose Rabens." She decided she would try another approach, one she knew would work. "So unless you want to take full responsibility and run tactical yourself?" He looked at her, she knew how to play her cards right, he'd give her that. "You're wasting time Brad." He groaned then went to open the door.
"We need you on the floor." Tony glanced at the window knowing Michelle had to be behind all of it. He didn't know how she did it but she did.
Tony walked to I.T., knowing very well that this might be the last time he would be able to see Michelle for a while. The guard gave Tony a look of sympathy as Hammond so gracefully granted Tony permission to say goodbye to his wife. One minute. Hammond had emphasized to the guard. That was all. He came into the room seeing Michelle's back to him. She turned and they made eye contact.
"Can you give us a minute please?" The agreed and left leaving Michelle and Tony alone for the first time in hours. Neither knew quite what to say.
"What's going on?" Michelle asked, she was trying to remain calm. She feared the worst,
"I'm back in custody. Hammond's taking me down to federal." She shook her head, still confused by how he was being treated.
"No, no they can't do this. Not after everything you accomplished today." Tony looked at Michelle with nothing but love. Only she could look at him and still see the best in him. Right now, everyone else saw a traitor, she saw him as the man she loved. The man that had given up everything for her. This made his heart swell.
"Michelle, I put your well being above the country's nothing anybody can say will ever change that fact." He had claimed to the officials that was what he did but it didn't really hit him until he was in front of her and told her himself. Michelle shook her head again, everything felt uneven, the world was slowly falling apart around her.
"But they can't they can't put you in prison." She defended.
"Yes they can and they will for a long time believe me." This bulldozed any chance of keeping her walls up. She couldn't hear it,
"Tony don't talk like this-" She tried hiding her emotions but they were catching up to her,
"Michelle-" He had to have her stop, he couldn't see her like this.
"I can't-" She felt the air leaving her body more than she could bring in.
"Michelle-" His heart was breaking seeing his wife like this. Damn everyone, screw everyone that was making his wife like this.
"I won't give up on you." She promised. And they both knew she meant it, she was always dedicated to him. She was going to do everything she could to make sure he got out of this. He didn't deserve any of it.
"Please Michelle don't do this-" He had enough.
"I can't-" And he cut her off by pulling her into him and laid a kiss on her. He kissed her hard, making up for all the times he had been an ass to her. For all the times that he knew he was in the wrong but was too egotistical to say otherwise. For all the times that she had called him while she was at the hotel and he feared it would be the last time she would call him. For giving her a hard time after she was by his side at the hospital. For giving all the love he could to her. He loved her, she was his life. And he needed her to know that he had no regrets, because he knew if he was given another chance he would do it again. He pulled away gently only to hold her head in hands, the look in her eyes made him wish he could take her home. Look after her, be there for her, be a husband to her,
"Baby you're alive." He felt a knot form in his throat but he had to remain strong, "And nobody got hurt because of what I did. And that's more than I hoped for." It was true. All that mattered to him was that she was alive, but the agent in him was glad that everyone was alive. "I can live with that." He could. "Even in prison." Her face crumbled. Her husband, was trying to stay strong for her but she couldn't do it.
"Tony it's time." The guard gently pulled Tony away from her. They kept eye contact until he was out of sight. And at that Michelle began to break down, everything fell on her, she was no longer an agent anymore. She was no longer Agent Michelle Dessler. She was just Michelle Almeida, who was going to go home alone and without her husband.