catch22girl: (hesitate by midgewood58)
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So, yeah, based on those new spoilers. Speculation and character study.



New Michelle Ficlet based on spoilers. I needed to at least try to explain this to myself. Completely
Unbeta'd - but thanks to Midge for the title suggestion.

Title: Over
Author: catch22girl
Spoilers: Season 4
Summary: Her palms were damp and her eyes were dry
Disclaimer: Characters not mine. Belong to FOX and Real Time Productions.

Michelle had read stories and seen movies about loyal women. Their husbands were captured, jailed or missing and they never moved on. The women in the stories were selfless and caring. They did not care what society thought of them, what their parents would possibly say, or how having a husband in jail would affect their careers.

Your career, she thought, looking at the piece of paper on the table. Her palms were damp and her eyes were dry.

At first she had romanticized it in her mind. Her husband was being persecuted for loving her too much, she was the heroine locked in a tower, he the wrongly accused. But the reality of the trial tore apart her illusions.

No one asked if she wanted him to make the sacrifice, if she could have lived with all the dead bodies her life would have bought. The extent of his treason made her nauseated. The man she married would have never betrayed his country. One of the first things she fell in love with, even before they dated, was Tony's deep sense of right and wrong. Their values were parallel in that way - he followed orders, understood the chain of command but would step outside if things went wrong. This, however, she could not forgive and was horrified to find herself staring at him and thinking 'how could I love you now?'

The new head of CTU, Erin Driscoll, called her in for a meeting soon after her assignment. She'd been quick to get to the point, which was that the wife of a known traitor was a liability CTU could not afford to carry.

Michelle had hated herself for her answer, gone over it in her mind, and come to the conclusion that she was more ambitious than she'd ever suspected. "What about an ex-wife?" she'd asked.

"That might be a different story," Erin had answered. Michelle had nodded and ignored the queasy feeling in her stomach.

She left and went into the bathroom, curling her hands around the edge of the counter and leaning forward. 'You are a horrible person,' she thought. But it was hard to feel guilty about betraying her husband when she'd never felt so empty inside.

"Get a divorce, it'll make things easier," her mom had said. This was the same advice she gave her daughter after Michelle had found those messages in Kevin's e-mail box and called her mom long-distance as Michelle was sitting in a DC apartment and mourning a life that would never happen now.

Come back to California, her mom had said. Get a divorce and come back. Michelle had left her job at DARPA and run back home.

'Coward and deserter,' she looked in the mirror and tucked a strand of errant hair away from her face. 'He used to do that,' a voice whispered in her mind.

"Not anymore," she answered out loud. Michelle was good at locking off parts of her life, forgetting they existed until the world forced her to remember.

The pen was heavy in her hand and she barely looked at the scrawled signature above hers.

"It's the best decision you could make," the lawyer said.

"It is," Michelle said, pushing away from the table. She looked down. Three more years of her life washed away, nullified, useless.

When she made her vows on that winter day a year and a number of months earlier she'd never suspected that forever could be such a short period of time.
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December 2011

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