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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Chaos fic: Deal with the Devil (1/1)

June 6th, 2013 (07:29 am)
pessimistic
Tags: ,

feeling: pessimistic

Title: Deal with the Devil

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: Written for and beta’ed by lena7142. Because she’s sort of just awesome like that.

Summary: Michael’s team is gone.



-o-

His team disappears on a Saturday. They're in Guatemala, following up a lead on a drug cartel. Michael goes out to meet the asset, telling the others to lie low. "It's safer that way," he says.

The meeting goes without a hitch. Michael thinks maybe this case will be one of the easy ones.

But when he gets back to the motel room, the door is broken in. The furniture has been destroyed, the computers shattered to smithereens. One of the windows is broken, and there's blood smeared against one of the walls, another few streaks on the carpet. In the bathroom, the mirror has been shattered, and a puddle of blood is just starting to cool by the toilet.

His team is gone.

-o-

Michael spends the next 24 hours doing what Michael does. He assesses; he learns; he organizes. He finds all the disparate pieces and puts together the puzzle as best he can. He gets surveillance footage; he checks with eyewitnesses. He talks to contacts about activity in the area, and finds out who took his team.

And then, he plans.

-o-

Michael has always been good at making something out of nothing. He knows how to make a mission work with little more than hope and a prayer and a whole hell of a lot of skill. This is why Michael's the leader of the ODS. This is why, despite Higgins' moaning, he can never quite bring himself to fire Michael.

This time, though, Michael has less than nothing. The funny thing is, his cover's still intact. They're posing as potential suppliers, which is why it's all gone wrong. The cartel wants what Michael has to offer, but instead of coming to a mutually agreeable decision, they want to blackmail Michael into doing business with them.

In terms of business, it'd be a bad deal, but for a mission -- it's a disaster. Because sure, Michael can pull the plug on this and have all the intel to make the analysts at the CIA swoon, but he'll lose his team. They'll be shot, execution-style, and their corpses will be left on the side of a road for anyone to find.

That's not acceptable.

Michael just doesn't know how to stop it.

-o-

Michael spends the next day negotiating proof of life. When they send him three pinkie toes, Michael almost goes apoplectic with rage, the anger blinding him until he wants to charge in firing and just kill them all.

That's not Michael's style, though. And as the rage simmers to merciless hatred, he knows how to stop it.

It might cost him everything, but he knows.

-o-

It's Thursday when Michael lays out his plan. The lays out his information, pinning papers into the motel room wall until he can see it all clearly. He's gone over it, again and again.

There's just one thing to do.

It's the thing that he's been trained against since the start. The thing he's been told never to do. The thing that goes against all his instincts and ideas of self-preservation.

Essentially, Michael needs to make a deal with the devil. He needs to sell his soul.

Not that Michael's sentimental about the existentialism of it all. That's not the soul he's talking about. He has to sell himself. His cover.

He has to admit he's CIA and negotiate for his team's release.

And destroy his career in the process.

-o-

On Friday, Michael goes in. He's unarmed. He has no cash. He has nothing but the truth.

He demands to see his team, and they're brought out and shoved on their knees. Casey has been tied up multiple times, the bonds thick and tight. Rick looks wide-eyed and scared, but still resolved, even with the blood flaking down the side of his face. Billy is weary, favoring one side where his shirt is ruined with crusted blood.

"Okay," Michael says. "So I'm here to make a deal."

"What do you have that I would want?" the leader asks.

"CIA intelligence," Michael says, holding up a file. "You're looking at all the information the CIA has on your operation."

The man stares.

Michael shrugs. "You should take a look. It's pretty compelling stuff. We were about a week from shutting you down for good."

The man looks stricken for a moment, but reaches over and takes the packet even as his henchmen keep their guns trained. The man looks through the file before looking back up at Michael incredulously. "You are confessing to be a spy and expect to live?"

"I'm confessing to be a spy because I know I'll live," Michael says. "You kill me, all the information we've gained the last two weeks will be automatically transferred back to the CIA. Those are just copies."

"And if I let you live?" the man asks.

"Then you'll have someone at the CIA in your back pocket your entire career," Michael promises.

The man shakes his head. "If I let you go, you will turn on me."

"You have my information in there," Michael says. "You can take it public if I screw you over."

"It could be false," the man says.

"The photo doesn't lie. The photo is all you need."

The man considers this. "You will give me immunity for your team?"

"I can promise you the information in that file will go nowhere if you give me my team," Michael says.

The man considers this. Michael looks at his teammates. Billy looks uncertain; Casey is suspicious. Rick is downright horrified.

Michael swallows and looks away again. He has to see this through. "It's a good deal," he says. "Once in a lifetime."

The man's eyes narrow. For a moment, he looks like he's going to agree. But then he smiles and lifts his gun. "Lifetimes can be very short, I'm afraid," he says. "Killing you now is so much easier."

Michael works his jaw. "You're making a mistake."

He smirks. "You already have."

Michael braces for the gunfire.

-o-

It comes from the outside. Michael has time to duck before it gets bad, and he crawls over to his team as the confusion breaks out in earnest. He knocks out their guard, disarming him before pulling them down behind a series of crates.

"What did you do?" Rick hisses at him over the melee.

"I made a deal with the devil," Michael says.

"Well, I will say this is one version of hell," Billy mutters as they hunker down lower.

"That's US military gunfire," Casey says, frowning. He looks at Michael. "You didn't."

Michael shrugs.

Rick is bewildered. "Didn't what?"

"I was never going to make a deal with the cartel," Michael says. "I made a deal with Higgins."

Rick is gaping and Casey looks annoyed. Billy just laughs.

Michael looks up and winces as a fresh assault comes. "You guys might want to get lower," he warns. "Sounds like--"

There's a pop and a hiss and the gas fills the room.

"Tear gas," Michael murmurs, even as it starts to burn in his lungs and darken his vision. As his consciousness ebbs, he can only hope this deal is worth it in the end.

-o-

When Michael wakes up, he's outside. Sitting up proves difficult, but even with his spinning vision, he can see the cartel members being rounded up. To his side, Casey is glowering while he rubs his wrist and there's a pair of medics looking at Billy and Martinez, who still seem to be unconscious.

Grunting, Michael scoots closer to Casey. "They okay?" he asks, nodding to his friends.

"Rick has a concussion, but it's not serious," Casey reports. "Billy's got an infection from the knife wound, but he should be okay."

"And you?" Michael asks.

"Better than you, I'd guess," Casey says. "What did you have to promise Higgins to get him to mount a rescue on this scale?"

Michael sighs. "You don't want to know."

"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know."

"No," Michael says. "You really don't."

Casey is silent for a moment. Then he asks, "Is it worth it?"

Michael looks at Billy, whose chest is rising and falling. He looks at Rick, who is starting to wake up. He looks at Casey, and smiles. "Yeah," he says. "It was worth it."

-o-

When they get back, things seem to go back to normal. Rick is quickly cleared for duty, and no more than a week later, Billy is, too. They get cases; they do their work. Sometimes it’s easy to forget everything that happened in Guatemala.

Higgins doesn’t say much during their debrief, and Michael makes it until the end before he says, “Thank you. For getting my team out.”

Higgins offers Michael a perfunctory smile. “The Agency is nothing without its operatives,” he says. “I try not to leave them exposed when possible.”

“I know,” Michael says. “But just given...everything.”

“You mean your lack of respect? Your penchant for lying to me? Your total disregard for rules and regulations?” Higgins asks with his eyebrows raised.

Michael works his jaw slowly. “That,” he says. “And just everything else.”

Higgins’ smile widens now. “Well, I think that your gratitude can count for something,” he says. “Gratitude can be a part of loyalty, can it not? You should know that when you really need something, the Agency is here to help. And when the Agency needs something...”

Michael grinds his teeth.

“Well,” Higgins says. “I think you know what I mean.”

“Yes, sir,” Michael says, getting out of his chair. “I think I do.”

Michael leaves then, because really, there’s nothing left to say. Michael owes Higgins, and he knows that’s not a debt that he’ll be able to neglect. Michael’s not sure when Higgins will play that card, but when he does, Michael knows he’ll have no choice but to fall in line.

Michael made a deal with the devil, after all. At least it’s the devil he knows.

There are worse things, he reminds himself as he gets back to his office and sees his team, not-so-hard at work.

There are definitely worse things.

Comments

Posted by: serenity_pen (serenity_pen)
Posted at: June 6th, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
Eric

Yet again - brilliant! I just love the way you write these guys. You have them completely pegged. I really like the fact that you seem to be focusing a few more stories on Michael which I find is the most challenging to write about. You do a fantastic job with him and seem to have his nuances down. I really like Michael and Billy and you always do their characters justice.

Again, well written. Thanks for keeping these boys alive! Looking forward to your next one!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 27th, 2013 12:46 pm (UTC)
chaos michael

I like to try to focus on each of the boys from time to time, and Michael definitely deserves his due attention :) So glad you liked it!

Posted by: fara (farad)
Posted at: June 6th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
Vin forward-half

OOHHHH - lovely! I can totally see Michael doing this for his team.

So - when does Higgins call in the debt? We do get that story, yes?

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 27th, 2013 12:47 pm (UTC)
chaos group

LOL, I don't have any ideas for that story yet, but if you have ideas, feel free to share them :)

Thanks!

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: June 6th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
Heroic Michael, what's not to like?

This was a great story!! I love heroic Michael here. You really showcase how despite the hazing and his own trust issues, in the end, it's all for show, that when crunch time happens, he's there for his men and is willing to make sacrifices. His life is a given, but his dignity and in essence owing his "soul" to Higgins is a much larger price for a man like him to pay and he gave that willingly and without hesitation.

Fave Part:

"And you?" Michael asks.

"Better than you, I'd guess," Casey says. "What did you have to promise Higgins to get him to mount a rescue on this scale?"

Michael sighs. "You don't want to know."

"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know."

"No," Michael says. "You really don't."

Casey is silent for a moment. Then he asks, "Is it worth it?"

Michael looks at Billy, whose chest is rising and falling. He looks at Rick, who is starting to wake up. He looks at Casey, and smiles. "Yeah," he says. "It was worth it."

-- LOVE this conversation. It makes sense that Casey asks.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 27th, 2013 12:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Heroic Michael, what's not to like?
chaos group

Heroic Michael is really a great thing. I love playing with the idea that he has such a God complex that he'd do anything for his team.

Thanks :)

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: June 7th, 2013 07:19 am (UTC)
James and Cat


Poor, noble, determined Michael - what a choice to have to make! *G*

THREE PINKIE TOES??????????????


Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 27th, 2013 12:48 pm (UTC)
chaos team meeting

LOL, I thought the pinkie toes was fairly restrained for me :)

Thanks!

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