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[personal profile] catch22girl
After watching 6-7 AM I got inspired to write a ficlet about Michelle and Tony post season three (including TV guide spoilers).

That one spoiler has done more for my muse than any in a long time.

Title: Unforgivable
Author: catch22girl
Spoilers: Season 4
Summary: What kind of man did she marry?
Disclaimer: Characters not mine, they belong to FOX and Real Time Productions.

Someone Michelle thought she'd never see again stood a few feet away. She thought Tony was in prison for the rest of her life, she thought she could forget about him and move on, ignore her dreams and throw herself into her work.

Instead he was standing there, too real, glaring at her, his eyes cold and his arms folded over his chest.

Part of her wanted to turn and run back to Division. Back to the people who never knew her before, who didn't know her as Tony's wife but only as an employee of CTU-LA and then as one of their co-workers.

She forced herself to move forward, resisted the urge to make sure her hair wasn't falling out of its bun, and tried to feel every inch a suit.

Remembering finding that security video of Jack and Tony discussing the murder of an innocent man. She hadn't known he was dead, had been in the hotel and then in another dangerous situation. At some point she asked Brad if Ryan was coming back and heard that he had been killed in the line of duty. She hadn't wanted to know more details. She had only been searching for video of her husband - had been missing him terribly, needing to see him and hear his voice, even if he was just talking about protocols and logs.

And then she had felt sick. He couldn't know that she knew. But the man she married would have never allowed it to happen. She erased the video, tears brimming in her eyes as she clicked yes when asked "are you sure you want to delete this file?" Evidence that no one knew existed, evidence of a covered up crime. It wasn't her secret to share. She found phone logs and erased those too.

But that night while sleeping she saw Ryan Chappelle in the Chandler Plaza Hotel. He sat at a desk and typed as blood streamed out his nose and stained the keys. "You should stop," she heard herself say.

Tony came up behind her and gently led her out of the room with, "He'll be fine, go work on something else." But Jack slipped in as she left, his face impassive and eyes like steel.

Then, she heard a gunshot and tried to get back inside the room but the door was locked and she pulled at the door and hit her hand against the metal screaming, "What have you done Tony?"

She woke up breathing hard, blinking at the light of the television set and reaching for one of the pills the psychologist gave her for possible post-traumatic stress.

The next day she read about Palmer dropping out of the race and the world hadn't become any clearer. Tony let an innocent man die. She thought, having seen so much death, feeling ill at the thought of ever taking another life. Although she couldn't think how he could have stopped it, his matter of fact business-like response made her wonder exactly who she had married.

Later that afteroon she sat with a pen in one hand and a pad in the other. My husband would never let an innocent die. She wrote and then crossed it out because that wasn't true. My husband would never betray his country. That wasn't true anymore either. Her beating heart reminded her of his crime. My husband would sacrifice himself to save others. She wanted to believe that was true, but he couldn't sacrifice her, and that meant he put his own feelings above the lives of millions. She kept writing and scratching items off the list and her hand trembled as she realized that although she loved him she never really knew him.

His act of treason wasn't what bothered her, it wasn't what made her want to open the nearest window and scream until her voice gave out. No, it was just a symptom of a larger problem, sides of him she'd never suspected, she had been so wrapped up in the man she'd created. In the man he'd wanted her to see.

She pushed back her hair and stared at the piece of paper until it blurred in front of her.

Ryan had been relieved for her when Tony came out of surgery. His awkward hug the only sign of affection she ever saw from him, but it let her know that a human being lurked behind his rule book stare.

I should have been paying attention, she thought, remembering those nights when she thought Tony was working late or she was on and he wasn't. Ryan was happy that Tony was okay but if he'd known then, about the sting operation, that their misjudgment of the situation would wind up getting him killed, maybe things would have been different.

If I only knew, she went on in her mind, imagining that she could have discovered the secret threads that the rest of them ignored. Could have convinced them that Amador was lying, that they couldn't trust him but oh God they had trusted Amador and hundreds died at the Chandler Plaza and it could have even been worse.

But she couldn't blame Gael, not after she watched him die, not after working with him and seeing how he risked his life to save people in the hotel. She was having a hard time blaming Jack because he had been a heroin addict, a known killer, and she had no right to expect anything from him as she wasn't a field agent or connected to his life. But Tony, he was her husband, he had a duty to the country and to her and he failed on both accounts in a short period of time.

She loved him. Her love for him blinded her during the day and night. It made her forgive him. Until she saw the video. And with everything else that happened, she wasn't sure who she married. She twisted the ring on her finger and took a breath.

If she wasn't sure who she married, how could she stay married to him? It was a question she couldn't answer. One that plagued her for days until she called the lawyer and drew up the papers.

And now he was here, a few inches away, and old feelings threatened to rush in and choke her. All the justifications in her mind were hard to remember as she tried not to look at his lips, at his familiar hands, at the small mark on his neck.

The office looked different but if she closed her eyes they could be back to the day they met, back to the first time they kissed or back to the last.

"Michelle," he said, a bitter edge to his voice.

"Tony," she answered, trying to be emotionless. Get through this day and you never have to see him again. She told herself and began walking towards the conference room. She closed her eyes briefly as the thought that maybe she was wrong slipped into her mind.
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December 2011

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