merryghoul: mike and fi 2 (mike and fi 2)
[personal profile] merryghoul
Title: Detective and the Ghosts | AO3
Author: [personal profile] merryghoul
Artist: [livejournal.com profile] marchosias_inc
Fandom: Burn Notice
Relationship(s)/Characters: Michael Westen/Fiona Glenanne/Sam Axe/Jesse Porter, Charlie Westen, Thomas O'Neill, OFC
Word Count: 10,959
Rating: Teen
Content Notes/Warnings: No warnings apply. Contains canon-typical violence. Set post-series.
Summary: With Michael, Fiona, and Charlie presumed dead, Sam and Jesse visit the three in Ireland. A highway robber and the jailbreak of an old foe of the team changes their lives forever.

The fanmix for this story is here. Thanks again!



In the field, spies have few friends. Most of the time spies meet up with an acquaintance, exchange information or bullets, and move on. But the few friends a spy has, a spy cherishes them with his life. That's why I hated to leave a couple of my friends behind in Miami. It's a bit of a long story. I think it's better if I start near the end of it.

I chose a CIA mission and then a terrorist organization over my friends. I did the CIA mission to keep my friends out of jail, and, I'll admit, myself. But then I felt the CIA betrayed me. They forced my friends into the mission and even hired a nemesis of mine as one of their operatives. So I thought about leading the terrorist organization the CIA told me to stop. My friends tried to stop me. Nothing worked until my girlfriend, Fiona, risked her life to stop me from taking over the organization. I saved her life to get her away from the organization, but in a sense, she saved my life.

I traced James, the leader of the terrorist organization, to his headquarters in the Miami Chronicle building for the CIA and my friends. James threatened my mom's life if I stopped his organization. But if my mom didn't do anything, all my friends and my nephew Charlie would've died. So my mom blew herself up. James didn't have any leverage over me; this allowed Fi and me to stop James and some of his men. I managed to shoot James. Then he told me that he had a dead man's switch rigged to blow his headquarters up.

It's a shame James didn't get to see me shoot out a window so Fi and I could jump into Biscayne Bay before the explosion killed us.

I used the kill switch explosion to my advantage. I decided to go on the run with Fi and Charlie. Charlie's mom turned to addictive substances to handle the death of my brother, Nate. My mom raised him until she died. I knew what my mom went through when she decided to adopt Charlie. I didn't want Charlie in foster care. If I chose to stay in Miami, the State of Florida would make me wait a while before I became Charlie's guardian. I missed too much of Charlie's life because of that CIA mission. Faking his death made it easier for the two of us to catch up on lost time.

While Charlie, Fi, and I fled Miami, the rest of my team—Jesse, a counterintelligence agent I burned a few years ago by accident, and my friend, Sam—stayed in Miami to distract the CIA and plan Fi's and my funeral. I promised to send Sam a sign for Jesse and him to visit us. So I sent a postcard to him with an idiot code we developed while I was a spy and he was a Navy SEAL.

An idiot code is like other codes created to communicate between two parties. What makes an idiot code hard to crack is that the words in an idiot code can look like you're having a conversation with an old friend of yours. It won't arouse suspicion between parties that might be monitoring you like the CIA or one of the people sorting your mail at a Miami post office.

About a month later, someone knocked on our cottage door. I opened the door. It was Sam. Jesse stood behind him. "Hey, Mikey," Sam said.

Jesse waved. "Mike."

"I got a present for you." Sam pointed towards his supermini car he drove to get to the cottage. "You might not want to show Charlie this. He's too young for this gift."

Fiona walked to the door with Charlie in her arms. She shook her head. "I'm not surprised you didn't bother to say hi, Sam."

Sam chuckled. "Hey, Fi."

Charlie grinned. "Uncle Sam! Uncle Jesse!"

Sam and Jesse said hello to Charlie.

"You said you had a present for us, Sam, but Charlie can't see it." Fi raised her eyebrows. "What's this surprise you have for us?"

Sam put his hand on Jesse's shoulder. "You know, you haven't spent a lot time with Charlie in a while."

"Seriously, Sam? We end up driving around half of Ireland and you're gonna stick me with Charlie so you and Mike and Fi can run off together."

"But you've already seen the present." Sam frowned; the frown was insincere.

"All right. Fi, let me pick up Charlie."

Fi handed Charlie over to Jesse. Jesse walked with Charlie over to our couch. "Hey, little man," he said. "What have you been doing since I've seen you?"

"Painting explosions."

He raised his eyebrows. "Painting explosions, huh. Aunt Fi, right?"

Charlie nodded. "Yeah. Aunt Fi."

"Can't wait until she teaches you how to read."

Sam led Fi and me to his supermini. "I can't believe I forgot how you love to rob people."

Fi cleared her throat.

"Hey, it's not my fault we knew you as a bank robber and gunrunner first."

Sam, Fi, I and met over a decade ago. The CIA sent me to Ireland to take down a gunrunner of interest and assigned me an asset to get the job done. But then my asset managed to get killed by the gunrunner. I needed another asset for the mission; the CIA wouldn't let me finish the job alone. I spent some time in Dublin's criminal underground looking for gunrunners with ties to the gunrunner I was looking for. Fi's name came up often, so I decided to make her my next asset. I thought I'd be able to take down this target with Fi's help, get out of Ireland, and return to my fiancé at the time, Samantha. Instead, I fell in love with Fi and, after my mission was over, broke it off with Samantha. Even though I didn't think I'd ever see Fi again, it felt wrong to keep dating Samantha when my heart belonged to another woman.

I couldn't send a message to Sam about my cover or my relationship with Fi. Sam stopped us while Fi and my cover ID, "Michael McBride," were escaping from an aborted Libyan arms deal. It took Fi a while to forgive me, but by the time she forgave me, my handler at the time, Tom Card, took me out of Ireland. Card thought "Michael McBride's" cover was blown. And judging from what Fi told me about Card's behavior when he visited her in prison, he wasn't fond of my romance with Fi, either. (Fi in prison is another story. I don't think about it.)

It took Fi even longer to forgive Sam. I needed a team to help me investigate who burned me and why I was burned. They were the only two people in Miami I knew of that could help me. Had I not stopped them, I'm sure the two of them would've ended up in the hospital. We did grow a bond, but it took time and a series of jobs together.

But back to Sam. "Anyway, I just rented this baby and the robber's pointing at it with a shotgun just before we got here. It didn't take Jesse and me long to grab the robber and put her in the trunk."

"Her?"

"Yeah, Mikey, the robber was a girl. Trust me, Jesse and I were shocked."

Sam opened the trunk. A woman with tan skin and brown eyes thrashed her wavy black hair against the trunk's carpet. Jesse and Sam duct taped the robber's wrists and ankles together. They also covered her mouth with duct tape. I'm assuming Sam took apart and emptied the robber's shotgun, a Model 870, and her pistol, a P226. Sam pulled out the shells and bullets from his pocket and winked.

"Should I take the tape off of her mouth?"

Fi and I shrugged.

Sam took the tape off of the robber's mouth. The robber looked at us in shock. She turned to Fi and stammered in her Irish accent. "You're Fiona Glenanne!"

I looked at the robber with a blank face. I was terrified. A woman who knows what your girlfriend looks like is a problem if your girlfriend and you are supposed to be dead. "Sam, I think we need to bring your new lady robber friend inside the cottage," I said.

After Sam, Fi and I took the duct tape off of the robber, we dragged her into our cottage. We startled Jesse, who was sitting on the couch, and Charlie, who was running around our living room.

"Hey, Mike, what's going on?" He was stunned.

"Fi has a friend I never knew about," I said to Jesse. "Can you grab Charlie for me? I don't want this woman to touch him."

"I wouldn't touch your chisler with a barge pole." She struggled to get out of Sam's, Fi's and my grasp.

Jesse picked up Charlie and sat with him in a chair near the couch. Jesse had a hard time trying to keep Charlie from wiggling around.

Fi shook her head at the robber. "How in the hell do you know my name?"

"The man I'm looking for has a history with you."

Fi's jaw dropped. "Who?"

"Thomas O'Neill."

Sam, Fi, and I let go of the robber who wasn't a robber.

The not-a-robber's snarl turned into a smile. "Don't worry. I know you stopped him from bombing the Whalen School in Belfast. You're a bloody hero in my book."

Fi froze for a second. She blinked. "You're welcome."

"Wait. What happened to your accent? You didn't leave Ireland until your mid-30s."

"I wanted to blend in with the locals in Miami. And now I think it's safer for me to pretend like I'm not from Ireland."

"Fair enough. The Special Detective Unit was alerted when MI6 found you locked up at Allarod Federal Penitentiary. That's somewhere outside of Miami, correct?"

"Did you want me to come back to Ireland with that bastard Arthur Meyers?"

"You mean the MI6 agent? We couldn't care less about what MI6 does. And why would I want you dead?" She took a breath. "Six months ago, SDU updated your records after we heard about your death. That's why I was so stunned to see you alive. And with Michael Westen, Jaysus. I'm guessing you love him if you two are out here hiding out in the middle of nowhere."

"I do." Fi smiled at me.

"I shouldn't tell you this, but I'm Detective Garda Elizabeth Halloran of the SDU. I'm a plainclothes garda. I know you exist but you're not supposed to know about me."

"That's why you know so much about me." Fi nodded. "I'm impressed."

"I should've known," I said. "SDU carries Model 870s and P226s."

"Exactly. And SDU knows a lot about you too. But we'd be here all evening if you wanted me to recall what I know about you."

"We should…ouch!"

Charlie wiggled out of Jesse's grasp to sit on my lap. I put on a smile for Detective Halloran even though Charlie hurt me. "Detective Halloran, this is Charlie, my nephew."

"Are you black?" Charlie asked Detective Halloran. "You look like Uncle Jesse."

Detective Halloran nodded. "I am. I don't know about your Uncle Jesse, but me da's from Ethiopia. He immigrated to Ireland, met me ma, and, well, they had me."

"And your Uncle Jesse is from Atlanta," Jesse said. "He's also in a little bit of pain right now, but he's going to forget that."

"Detective Halloran," I said, "what do you know about Thomas O'Neill? The last time we saw him, he was on a boat escaping from Miami."

"You're right; he and the men who were with him were arrested by the Coast Guard. He was tried for the murder of a Tom Strickler as well as countless bombings and attempted bombings in the States and Ireland."

I didn’t tell Detective Halloran my team, before Jesse joined us, set O'Neill up to be arrested by the Coast Guard. O'Neill got away with his bombings for years. Fi and her brother, Sean, who still thinks Fi died in Miami, helped make a replica of O'Neill's bomb so he could be caught with it in some way. Not only that, I killed Strickler when I learned he allowed O'Neill to come to Miami to take Fi. Someone had to take the blame for Strickler's murder. Why not O'Neill?

"O'Neill was sentenced for life because he killed Strickler. He also received 20 years for terrorist acts. But O'Neill escaped from Portlaoise Prison a few days ago. An accomplice of his managed to get into the Irish Prison Service as a guard. The accomplice snuck some guard clothes in to O'Neill. O'Neill found some time to wear the guard outfit, and he walked out without anyone noticing who he was. The Gardaí caught the accomplice that helped O'Neill, but we haven't been able to find O'Neill himself."

"Gardaí?" Charlie asked.

"They're Irish police," I told him. "They protect the Irish people."

"So why'd you try and hijack my supermini?" Sam said.

"The road where I found your supermini is believed to be a road O'Neill's traveling on. I was stopping unfamiliar cars to see if I can find O'Neill or any of his associates. I'm guessing you and your mucker aren't allies of O'Neill's."

Sam shook his head. "Oh, no. That bastard lost me one of my cars."

Fi cleared her throat.

"And he almost took one of my friends to be auctioned off on the black market. If I saw him again, I'd slug him in the face."

Jesse looked at all of us, eyes wide. "I don't know the guy."

"Detective Halloran," I said, "it looks like you have this O'Neill situation under control. Sam, you drive as close as you can to where Detective Halloran held you up."

Fiona stood up. "Michael, may I have a word with you outside?" She walked outside the cottage.

I walked over to Jesse and handed Charlie back to him.

Jesse sighed. "Again, Mike?"

"He likes you, Jess."

"Okay." He groaned.

"Do you like me, Uncle Jesse?"

"Oh, no, buddy, that wasn't for you!"

Fiona shut the door for me when we were both outside. "If O'Neill finds us, he's going to expose us to anyone who thinks we're dead. The CIA, my enemies, your enemies, Jesse's enemies, whatever enemies Sam still has—and you know there might be a few guys after him for various reasons—"

"Detective Halloran has it all under control. Sam and Jesse picking her up earlier was a mistake."

"You know this is a job. Why don't you want to do it?"

"What about Charlie?"

"We'll take turns keeping an eye on him. And Detective Halloran is just as capable as all of us. She can help out with the job. We can spend some time with Sam and Jesse later. Right now we need to make sure we're able to spend time with Sam and Jesse later."

I decided to stop being stubborn. "You're right, Fi."

I opened the door and walked back into the living room. Fi followed me. "Back in Miami," I said to Detective Halloran, "I fixed problems the law couldn't fix. Everyone you see around me, except for Charlie? They make up my team. They help me fix problems. It's been a while since we've all tried to fix someone's problem, but your problem also happens to be our problem. We'll help you find O'Neill. We usually charge, but since this problem affects every one of us, the job's on us."

Detective Halloran nodded.

"Time to bring O'Neill out of hiding. I know just the person I can use to try and bait him." I looked at Jesse.

Jesse stared at me. "Again, Mike?"

"You're the only one out of all of us he doesn't know. Charlie's too young and Detective Halloran has a cover to maintain."

"Alright. It's better than having Charlie wiggle in my lap."

"I love you, Uncle Jesse."

"Yeah, love you too, kid."

"Detective Halloran," Fi said, "what's your dress size?"

"Size 4."

Fi nodded. "Works for me. I'll take you up to my room so you can pick out something while we're doing errands."

"Sam," I said, "can you make sure Charlie doesn't get in trouble while we're out?"

"Will do, Mikey."

"Please don't tell him about the time you ended up getting stationed in Columbia."

"What happened?" Charlie asked.

Sam let out a nervous laugh. "You really don't want to know right now, Charlie."


Fi, Jesse, Detective Halloran, and I first visited "Claire Finley's" locker. "Claire Finley's" locker was in an indoor storage facility in the northern part of Dublin, within the city limits. It was close to the airport and the docks, the places where other people would buy guns off of her.

"Promise me you're not going to arrest me for running guns," Fi said to Detective Halloran.

"This is for retaliation. If we get caught with the guns, I can always say they're mine. I have a legal right to carry them. You'll be fine."

Fi pointed at Jesse. "Pay attention. This is where you're taking O'Neill later."

Fi cracked open the locker, rolling into the crack she made. Laser light flickered from the crack after a few seconds.

When it's not possible to attempt to disable a security camera in an enclosed environment, one of the best ways to disable the camera's recording activity is to use laser light. A laser that can change colors at any moment is ideal. A setup with red, green and blue lights is also as good as a color-changing laser. But when you can't obtain a laser that changes color at will, a laser that streams green light is your best bet. The green light by itself isn't going to filter out all the light that's being reflected onto a security camera, but it will filter out most light. If you can afford to get guns, you can afford a gun sight with a green laser attached to it and a tripod. Place the laser on the tripod, turn the laser on, and as long as you avoid looking directly into the laser, you have a decent cloaking device for all your illegal activity.

Fi opened the locker after she had turned the laser on. "The green light is on. Let's go." She pointed at Jesse and looked at him with a stern face. "Don't forget to turn it on, or you're going to be paying for a lot of guns."

Jesse raised his eyebrows. "I don't have that type of money."

"Exactly."

Fi showed Jesse around the locker while Detective Halloran and I followed. After Fi was done giving Jesse a tour, she stopped by one of the shelves and picked up a couple of gun boxes.

"Guess what I have for you in my box?" Fi grinned.

Most people would define flirting with gestures such as smiling, eye contact, and various forms of touch. Fi considers various usages of weaponry, along with the occasional death threat, flirting. When I was recruiting Fi for my Ireland mission, she pulled a snub nosed revolver on me before I asked her to dance. During one of my first jobs with Sam and Fi, she suggested pulling something of Sam's up with a crowbar. I assure you it had nothing to do with a car. In her gun locker, Fi flirted with Jesse by showing him one of his favorite guns.

"SIG-Sauer P226 Elite Stainless, right? Nine millimeter with a beavertail and wood grip?"

"You're good, Fi."

She nodded and leaned in closer to him. "I always strive to be." She closed the box. "Don't open it until we get home." Her eyes grew wide.

"What's in the other box?"

"It's for Sam. His favorite."

"A Beretta 92FS."

"He's going to love it. We should be going. Wait, where are we going, Elizabeth?"

"Prendergast's on Fleet Street."


Detective Halloran sent Jesse to Prendergast's, a pub O'Neill was said to frequent. Because of her cover, Detective Halloran was forbidden to enter Prendergast's. So Detective Halloran, Fi, and I watched the outside of Prendergast's from another pub on Fleet Street, The Charioteer & Hart.

We saw Jesse go in to Prendergast's. Moments later, he came out with O'Neill. He was as bald, muscular, and slimy as ever. He was still fond of his black sweatshirts. I got chills seeing him for the first time in years.

"This might be a while," Detective Halloran said as we found a booth close to one of the pub's windows. "Assuming your mucker's driving us to your home when you're done, can I get you a round of Harp Lager? Drinks are on me. I would never charge the woman that saved my life anything."

I nodded. "Sounds great. Fi?"

"I haven't had a free beer since I put one on Sam's tab at Carlito's."

Detective Halloran went to the bar and ordered our drinks. I waited until Detective Halloran was far away from us to talk to Fi. "Do you think Jess is going to be okay in Prendergast's?"

"Michael, I wouldn't worry too much. He's been beat up before on these types of jobs. He's a wuss, but he can take the pain. At least on the job. Off the job is a different story. I've stocked up on gauze and hydrogen peroxide just for him."

"I'd feel bad if I told him to come all the way over here just to see him get killed by a man who doesn't want to stay in prison."

"He knows what he's doing. He'll be okay."

I waited after a pause to ask Fi my next question: "Do you think Sam and Jesse are going to stay?"

Fi blinked at me. "What do you mean?"

"I only told Sam to come visit in my postcard. I don't know how they feel about being around…"

"Charlie? You're not sure whether they want to be around him all the time?"

"Yeah."

"Oh. Michael, you should ask them. You know they were doing jobs in Miami. Jesse might be working his private security jobs. Sam might be with Elsa. And if he's not with Elsa, he might be looking for another sugar mama. Because the truth is…" She sighed. "I miss them too. And I want them to stay." She pointed at me. "But don't tell Sam that. You can tell Jesse; I don't care. But you can't tell Sam."

"Because you're going to tell him when you give him his Beretta."

"No. I don't want to tell him."

"If you can call me out for being stubborn, I can call you out for being stubborn. Right now, you're being stubborn, Fi."

Fi pouted and looked down. "I'll talk to him when I give him his Beretta, Michael."

"And I'll talk to Jesse."

Fi stared and pointed at me again. I nodded and smiled.

Detective Halloran came back with the lagers. We never told her about our talk about Sam and Jesse.

"Detective Halloran, you said the Gardaí has a detective in Prendergast's?" I asked.

She passed me my lager. "We do. The detective hasn't been able to approach O'Neill yet."

"The regulars must know the detective is a garda. It wouldn't surprise me if someone tipped off O'Neill when the detective's there. And O'Neill either slips out the back or doesn't show up at all. Jesse shouldn't have any problems contacting O'Neill unlike your detective in Prendergast's."

Detective Halloran continued to nod. "I hope you're right, Michael." She took a sip of her lager. "So, Fiona—"

"Call me Fi. Everyone who knows me calls me Fi."

"Can you tell me something you don't think is in your dossiers?"

"How many dossiers do I have? I know I have an orange notice with Interpol, and the CIA has a file on me."

"CIA, Interpol, MI6 and SDU files."

"I don't have any more?"

"You're actually disappointed you don't have any more dossiers?"

Fi shrugged. "I thought I was more famous among the law enforcement crowd. Anyway, Michael, Sam, Jesse, and I work as a team. But what Michael won't tell you is he's my sidekick. Actually, they're all my sidekicks."

I looked at Fi.

"You know it's true, Michael."

"You're trying to impress Detective Halloran."

"You're not trying to impress her hard enough."

While Fiona was bragging about our life in Miami, Jesse walked towards The Charioteer & Hart. I looked outside the window to make sure no one was watching him or following him. If O'Neill was setting up shop in Prendergast's, the lack of people stalking Jesse was a reassuring sign.

Jesse walked in and pointed towards the bathrooms in The Charioteer & Hart with his head. After a few seconds, we followed Jesse into the women's bathroom. Jesse locked the door behind him. "Mike, I found O'Neill."

I nodded.

"The guy fell for the cover. I showed him Fi's gun locker. He thinks I'm legit. But he's wondering why I have a supermini."

"Good."

"But there's bad news. Before I met up with O'Neill, he was talking about a bomb with some of his guys. Said he was going to take the bomb to Pearlessa Café in Belfast. Something about how he was going to put his name on the map again."

"That's not good. We'll need to regroup back at the cottage. You're still picking us all up in the parking deck?"

Jesse nodded. "Yeah."

"You're the designated driver."

"Figured I would be."

Jesse headed to the bar for a glass of water. Meanwhile, the rest of us left the Charioteer & Hart and met in the Fleet Street parking deck. I went to one part of the deck while Fi and Detective Halloran went to other parts. Jesse picked us all up.


Detachment is a useful tool to have when you're a spy. When you're deep in your cover, not thinking about your past, your friends, even your real name at times, it's easy to get close to and gain intel from the enemy. Once you get attached to something—or a few things—it's hard to detach yourself from the thoughts you've created around the things you're attached to. You can try to distract yourself from your thoughts, but attachment won't let you settle with your thoughts for long.

Detective Halloran went back to her beat. Otherwise, the person she reported to in the SDU would be suspicious. But I did give her a burner phone, in case we needed to contact her about O'Neill.

Fi told me Charlie liked to play with a toy basketball set when he lived with my mom. We bought him a set from a toy store for the cottage. I decided to play basketball with him while all of us waited for Jesse to get back to the cottage.

I didn't play basketball as a kid. When my father wasn't using Nate and I for one of his schemes or beating the shit out of me, we were getting into mischief—the type that involved a lot of chemical compounds and explosions. Any time I play basketball with anyone, even if it's a child who's almost four years old, it's going to look terrible. And if my mind is occupied with other things, I'm going to play worse than usual. So while I thought of what I was going to do next when Jesse came back from his meeting with O'Neill, Charlie was running circles around me, attempting some field goals. His attempts at field goals didn't always go in, but his efforts were commendable.

When Charlie was tired of running around me, he ran up to the basket and did his best impersonations of dunks. "Look, Uncle Mike, I can dunk!" He pulled me closer to the basket so I could watch him "dunk" the ball.

Fi tapped my shoulder. "Michael, maybe I should play with Charlie for a while. You look lost."

I nodded. "Thanks, Fi."

While Fi played with Charlie, I sat with Sam on our couch.

"Did the kid wear you out, Mikey?"

"No, Sam. I was thinking about Jesse."

"Listen, buddy, Jesse's going to be okay. He's dealt with worse. Like his ex somewhere in the West Indies."

I gave Sam a blank look.

"And you thought my love life was bad. But it really is bad, at least right now. Things have been going downhill with Elsa and me since your 'death.'"

I turned to Sam. Problems with Sam's relationship with Elsa? This I had to hear about. Their relationship seemed to survive all of us running from and later working with me for the CIA.

"She couldn't bear to see my face on all of Miami's news channels when Strong had the police looking for us." Andrew Strong was my handler during that failed terrorist organization bust that lead to my "death." "She doesn't want to be seen with me in public. Not even outside her condo."

"That seems harsh."

"And she's having problems with her son again. She blames me for part of it. Says that one time I made them sit down and have El Ojo del Diablo made things worse between us."

"El Ojo del Diablo?" Fi told me later that the name translated to "The Eye of the Devil," but when Sam said it, I thought he meant "The Oval of Diablo."

"The stuff I got while chasing around Noriega back in '89. One-hundred proof, Mike. It'll make your chest smooth, like you just waxed it."

"I'll try not to look for that stuff, but thanks for the recommendation."

"I'm glad I got your postcard in time. Elsa was about to kick me out."

"Where were you going to go?"

"I was going to crash at Jesse's until I got my feet back on the ground again. But then I talked to Fi."

"Did she give you the Beretta?"

"Yeah. And she asked me to stay."

"It's not Miami, buy you could stay here for a while. I hope you don't mind being around Charlie."

Sam poked my side with his elbow. "Kids like me, Mikey. What, do I go around neighborhoods with blood all over my face, running around with a chainsaw? But I already bought return tickets for Jesse and me before we left. Before the whole O'Neill business, I was planning to stay for a week and go back."

"Even after Elsa kicked you out?"

"Even after Elsa kicked me out. But I can always find someone else. All I have to do is turn on the old Sammy charm and I'll be staying at someone else's place in a week."

"What if that doesn't work? You might be stuck living with Jesse longer than you think."

There was a knock on the cottage door.

"We can continue this later," I said.

I walked to the door and checked it. It was Jesse, so I let him in.

"Bad news, Mike," Jesse said. "O'Neill wants something I don't have."

"I'm sure Fi can find a way to get a gun—"

"He doesn't want a gun. He wants an Audi. An A6."

"That's a PSNI car."

"PSNI?"

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland. O'Neill's planning to make his bomb look like it came from the police."

Fi sighed. "I wish there was a way to stop O'Neill from getting that car."

"I know, Fi. But if we don't give O'Neill the car, he might kill Jesse. You up for taking me to an Audi dealership tonight, Fi?" I smiled.

"We're taking the Range Rover. I'm driving. You're taking the car."

"Deal." I turned to Jesse. "Go back to O'Neill and tell him you'll have the car tomorrow."


Fi drove me three blocks from an Audi dealership outside of Dublin. She looked at me before looking down to our Range Rover's floorboards for a moment. She was frowning. "You stay safe, Michael. Or I'm going to the afterlife myself to kick your ass."

I smiled. "You stay safe, Fi."

Fi drove back to the cottage. I headed to the Audi dealership.

Stealing a car from a dealership is a lot simpler than it looks. It doesn't have to be done in a way that resembles the flashy Hollywood heist films.

The best way to disable a security camera is not attempting to disable the security camera at all. Security cameras these days are waterproof, bulletproof, and not worth the time to figure out a way to shut it down. Instead, you can obscure your face with an infrared mask. To make one, cover a ski mask with infrared lights. Once you need it, turn it on before you approach security cameras. The camera will still be able to record your movements, but your face will be obscured as long as your infrared mask is working.

When stealing a car off of a dealership lot, the first thing a thief would want to do is hop in the car and drive off. This would be fine if you were stealing a car made before the advent of navigation devices. The dealership can still track your car with GPS. Once the dealership finds your car, then it's a matter of moments until the dealership calls the police on you. Before driving off in the car of your dreams, you have to open the trunk and disable the navigation device by pulling the wires off of it. In my case, I opened the trunk with lock picks first. I had no intention of breaking any windows in the Audi for Jesse's delivery. Otherwise, I would've opened the truck with the lever inside the car before replacing the broken window with a new one.

Despite various security measures like car alarms, cameras and GPS, cars are still stolen from dealerships. Dealers tend not to do a thorough check of their cars after they're driven for a test drive. Most new cars refuse to lock a car with the keys in the ignition. But a car can't sense when its keys are on the car's floor. As long as you don't set the car alarms off with your lock picks, you can get a brand new luxury car for free.


The next day, I showed Jesse the Audi I stole for him. "Is this the right car he's looking for?"

Jesse walked around the car. "Yeah, that's the one. What do you think he's gonna do with it?"

"O'Neill has a special type of bomb. Did you talk to Fi about it?"

"Yeah. She said he makes it with rat poison so the victims bleed out more."

"The bomb that was supposed to go to that school in Northern Ireland was placed in a stolen car. That was the bomb Fi stole and defused from O'Neill."

"So you think O'Neill's going to put his bomb in the car?"

"He's driving close to Pearlessa Café and leaving the bomb in front of the restaurant. It's a common IRA technique."

"What are you gonna do, Mike?"

"I need to figure out the road O'Neill's taking so I can get Detective Halloran on it. She can stop O'Neill and then she can call for backup."

"And then O'Neill goes back to jail. Sounds great."

"You know, if you want to, you can stay with us for a while. Fi and I've missed you. Actually, Fi really misses you."

"Yeah, Mike, I got that from the first aid kit she set aside for me. Ireland's not so bad. I could stay here. But I feel like I'm the only other black person on this island. "

"Jesse, you won't be the only black person in Ireland. I wouldn't worry too much." I handed Jesse the keys to the Audi. "Good luck, Jesse. Stay safe."

I looked at Jesse and gave him a nod. He nodded back.

I watched Jesse drive away in the Audi before I walked back into the cottage. Once I was back inside, I saw Fi playing with Charlie while Sam watched the two of them on the couch.

"You ready to pick up Detective Halloran, Sam?"

"Can't wait, buddy."

"We're taking the Range Rover. I need you to call Detective Halloran on her burner and ask where she is right now. Once we pick her up, we're going to set her up right in front of O'Neill and his bomb."

Fi picked up Charlie and walked to me. "You should take me, Michael."

I shook my head. "No, Fi, it's too dangerous."

"If anyone knows how this…bastard operates, it's me." She whispered "bastard."

"He tried to kidnap you."

"I know that. I was there."

"If he sees you, the first thing he's going to do is attempt to grab you or kill you."

"I'm willing to take that chance."

"No. You wait until Jesse calls you. Then you pick him up from wherever O'Neill drops him off at. For now, you stay here with Charlie. As long as you're here with him, the two of you are safe."

"Fine. But if you get in trouble—"

"I'll try and get myself out."

Sam and I left the cabin. But I had a feeling that somehow, some way, Fi would be joining us soon.


I picked up Detective Halloran on a road far away from the cabin. She brought her Model 870 with her. I hid the Range Rover behind some trees, but close to the road.

"I'm waiting on Jesse," I told Detective Halloran. "Once he calls me with O'Neill's location, we'll get you to him. We'll hang around until you can get backup."

"Thank you, Michael. You don't know how much this means to me."

"I'd do the same for any of my friends."

When you're waiting for a signal, it's best not to have anything distracting playing in your vehicle. That means no music and no talk radio. Detective Halloran, Sam, and I sat in the Range Rover in silence.

Sam broke the silence. "We never got to do anything together in Ireland before you got burned. I mean, except for when we met Fi and she walked away from us."

"It was a mission, not a vacation. You know I couldn't break my cover."

"You know, I've forgotten how gorgeous Ireland is. Rolling hills, serene beaches, pubs that stock up on decent beer. It's a shame you spent it running around Ireland making bombs and stealing guns with Fi."

"You're saying that because you're jealous, Sam."

"I'm not jealous of what you had with Fi back when you were Mister Michael McBride. We had some good times too. Like when we played mahjong in a shack in Vietnam. Or that one time you set up this drug lord so my Navy SEAL buddies and I could snag him."

"But it wasn't making bombs in Ireland."

"It's a good thing we found each other after you were burned. Otherwise I would be upset with what you have with Fi."

"I don't want to arse in," Detective Halloran said, interrupting us, "but I've noticed all of your muckers have a thing going on. Or am I assuming too much?"

"No, you're right. It's a long story, but they kept me from going off the deep end."

"It was pretty bad, sister. You should've been there."

My phone rang; I checked the number. It was Jesse, so I pressed the talk button on the phone to talk to him. "Jesse, where is he headed?"

"He's traveling down Woodsmoor Way. Looks like he's traveling besides the M1 until he gets to Northern Ireland. I think there's an intersection at Woodsmoor and Balclutha Green. Gotta go, Mike. I guess I'm going on this Belfast trip with him."

"No, you're not. We'll meet him there."


Setting Detective Halloran up for O'Neill's arrest seemed simple enough. I was able to get to the intersection at Woodsmoor Way and Balclutha Green before the Audi I stole reached it. I dropped Detective Halloran at the intersection and allowed her to load her Model 870. And before I drove the Range Rover behind another set of trees further down the road, I wished Detective Halloran good luck.

After I parked the Range Rover, Sam and I hid in some brush. We watched Detective Halloran at the intersection through binoculars.

Sure enough, the Audi met Detective Halloran. She started to rob the car, pointing the Model 870 at O'Neill. O'Neill got out of the car. Even though he was wearing a PSNI officer's uniform, his sliminess still shone through. He raised his hands to Detective Halloran. "I see that I'm being robbed."

"Yeah. And your car's coming home with me to a nice chop shop."

"Well, miss, I've got a few surprises of my own."

O'Neill tapped on the glass of the Audi. One of the back seat doors opened up. The person that opened up the door slid out of the car. The man, dressed up as a PSNI officer, walked to Detective Halloran and pointed a Glock to her head.

"Shit."

"'Shit' is right, Mikey."

O'Neill opened the Audi's trunk with his key.

"And there's a guy getting out of the trunk," Sam continued.

There was another man, this time dressed up as a PSNI officer in riot gear, getting out of the Audi's trunk with a G3 in hand. These men must have entered the Audi after Jesse passed O'Neill the car.

"Sam, I was wrong about O'Neill's plans. He didn't put his trademark bomb in the trunk. He's planning a tiger kidnapping."

"Yeah, and Detective Halloran's the hostage."

A tiger kidnapping is when criminals kidnap a person to commit a crime for them. The person who's kidnapped usually has ties to money or other expensive things. Detective Halloran's tiger kidnapping was unusual. I don't think she was rich enough to give O'Neill and his men money or valuables, but I figure O'Neill thought kidnapping someone affiliated to the Gardaí would help him out in the long run. O'Neill forces Detective Halloran to plant a bomb in a Northern Ireland restaurant, making the Gardaí look bad and forcing Detective Halloran out of her job. Meanwhile, O'Neill and his men sneak away and make more car bombs and plan tiger kidnappings. I bet he thought his plan didn't have any flaws in it. Obviously, he was wrong.

Detective Halloran wasn't a fool. She knew she couldn't attempt to run away from a battle rifle and expect to survive.

The man with the Glock went into the back seat of the Audi. Detective Halloran, with the G3 pointed at her head, went in next, followed by the man in riot gear. O'Neill climbed in the car and drove off, north towards Belfast.

"So, what are you going to do, Mikey?"

"I've got no choice. I've got to call Fi."

"And have her kidnapped by that crazy Irish bastard? No way."

"I need her to crash the supermini into the Audi."

"Mike, you can't!"

"It's the only way I can stop O'Neill."

"I'm thinking this is your way of getting Jesse and me to stay with you and Fi."

"I didn't finish, Sam. While we're at it, we may as well make it look like you and Jesse died stopping O'Neill."

"So you're going to blow the supermini up so it looks like O'Neill killed Jesse and me."

I shrugged.

"The guy's serving time for murder already. A murder you committed, but still, it's murder."

"O'Neill has a bomb in the Audi. It's somewhere in the car. That's why he kidnapped Detective Halloran—so he can blame the bombing on her. If I find and defuse the bomb now, no one gets hurt later. But if there isn't a bomb, you'll have to pay for the car getting in a wreck."

Sam glared at me.

"What's the difference between Jesse and you staying with us now and when we were trying to flee Miami?"

"We didn't flee Miami and we got jobs there while you were drinking yourself to death in the Dominican Republic?"

"I know I made a mistake working for the CIA to keep you out of jail. But the four of us together is the way it should've been a long time ago. It's the worst time to ask you this, but Sam, I don't want you and Jesse going back to Miami. I want you to stay."

Sam continued to glare at me before giving me a nod. "You're right, buddy. Mike, the supermini is yours and Fi's. We've gotta move. We need to catch up to O'Neill."

Sam and I climbed back into the Range Rover. While I drove, catching up to O'Neill, Sam called Fi. "Hey, Fi."

"How's it going, Sam?" Fi's voice was shaky. I assume she was on the road while Jesse held her phone up to her ear.

"Not good. We thought O'Neill was planning a car bombing in Belfast, but instead he's planning a tiger kidnapping with Detective Halloran. We need you to catch up to O'Neill and crash his car."

"Sounds fine to me."

"Wait a minute, Fi," Jesse said. "What about Charlie?"

"I've got a plan, Jesse. You're going to worry yourself bald…no, wait…"

"Hi, Uncle Sam," Charlie said.

"Hey, kid."

"What about the supermini?"

"We're going to have to lose it, Jesse. There might be a bomb in O'Neill's car."

"We're blowing up a rental?"

"And living in Ireland now. Mike wants us to fake our death too."

"Seriously?"

"It's to dispose of the bomb. Mike thinks it's something small, something that's not like O'Neill's signature bomb. You in?"

There was dead air over the phone.

"Mikey wanted us to live like this a year or so ago. He regrets it now."

"My greed is the reason why we were separated until recently," I added. "I know it sounds like the worst time to make things right, but at least I'm making an effort now."

Another pause. Then: "I'm going to miss my job, but I'm in."

"Where are you at, Sam?" Fi asked.

"Mike set Detective Halloran up on Woodsmoor Way and Balclutha Green. We're heading northeast on Woodsmoor right now."

"I'll be there in a minute. Let me drop off Jesse and Charlie."


I caught up to the Range Rover without O'Neill realizing we were behind him.

True to her word, Fi appeared on Woodsmoor Way, the supermini charging towards the Audi.

Sam looked through binoculars as I drove. "Do you see Jesse and Charlie?" I asked?

"Still looking for them—whoops, found them. They're hiding in some brush Fi's already driven past. And Jesse's holding on to the kid for dear life."

I pulled the Range Rover over and watched Fi take on O'Neill. Fi sped the supermini up before opening the driver's side door and jumping out of the supermini, rolling onto the grass. O'Neill saw Fi speeding up to him, but it was too late. He swerved but the supermini still hit the Audi. There was no one beside O'Neill in the front seat; that area suffered the most damage in the crash. Although a crash is never a good thing, I'm glad no one was hurt in the crash.

O'Neill stepped out of the car. He walked towards Fi. "Fiona Glenanne, is that you? I thought you drowned."

Fi stared at O'Neill. "I'm right in front of you. Do I look like a drowning victim back from the dead?"

"You should've died. I'll do the honors."

Fi tried to get away, but O'Neill caught her. He put the Glock to her head.

I don't like it when anyone threatens my friends, and I'm not nice to anyone who threatens Fi in particular. With no one to cover her, I decided to take action.

I ran for the Audi. O'Neill's minions and Detective Halloran were still in the car. They happened to be a bit slower in getting out of the car. I got to the car before the guy with the riot gear got out of the car. I punched him in his jaw. It was enough for me to take his G3. I pointed the G3 at the man with the Glock. The man pointed his gun at me. I could sense he was scared. "I've got the bigger gun," I told him. "Put yours down or all of us are going to get blown up."

It was enough to make O'Neill freeze up. But he kept the Glock on Fi's head.

I kept the G3 on the man with the Glock as that man and Detective Halloran got out of the car. Sam, who had followed me to the Audi, dragged the man who had the G3 out of the Audi and onto some grass near the road. He pointed his Beretta at the man and put his foot on his chest. "Hey, buddy, I know you're waking up, but I have a tendency to shoot guys that go after my friends."

"Fi needs backup," I said to Detective Halloran.

"On it." She ran in the direction of O'Neill, who was trying to back Fi and himself away from the scene.

"You're going to take out your bomb for me," I told the man with the Glock. "And you're not going to do anything stupid."

The man with a Glock put his Glock in his holster. He pulled out a small purse from the glove box.

"Throw the bomb in the supermini."

The man did as I told him.

"Does the bomb have a detonator?"

"It's in the glove box," the man told me.

"Give it to me."

The man gave me the detonator.

"Now throw your gun in the supermini."

I waited for the man to throw his Glock in the supermini. Once he was done, I said "You're going to walk over to the side of the road while I blow up the supermini." I shrugged. "And hopefully the Audi, but who knows what will happen?"

Before I blew up the supermini, I made sure the rest of my team wasn't in the bomb's path. Jesse and Charlie were still struggling with each other, but they were well out of the way. Sam and the man in riot gear were down the road from Jesse and Charlie, but they were also out of harm's way. O'Neill was getting close to where Jesse and Charlie were hiding out, still dragging Fi with him. But the two of them, along with Detective Halloran, were away from the cars. Meanwhile, the man who had a Glock and I had marched far away from the road, but far enough to see where my team was.

When I knew everyone on my team was away from the two cars, I blew the supermini up. When it was safe for me to move again, I dragged the man that used to have a Glock to O'Neill, Detective Halloran, and Fi.

The supermini explosion was enough to make O'Neill stop in his tracks. It was also enough for Detective Halloran to catch up to O'Neill. She cocked her rifle. He turned to face her, only to be horrified by the sight of his man in riot gear being held up by Sam and his Audi going up in flames.

"What the hell did you just do to my car?" O'Neill said to Detective Halloran.

"I've got muckers that hate you. Let Fiona go or I'll shoot you in the head."

O'Neill released Fi from her grip. She walked over to Detective Halloran.

Fi cocked her Walther and pointed it at O'Neill turned. "Did you really think I'd come out of nowhere and crash a supermini into a luxury car by myself? Was I really gone that long from Ireland?" Fi shook her head.

O'Neill's other man and I reached O'Neill. I pointed the G3 to O'Neill's head. "Heard the weather in Portlaoise is nice today."


Other spies may scoff at me, but I always like to have a roll of duct tape on me at all times. Ripped bag with no sewing kit on hand? Cover the hole with duct tape. Need to make an improvised device of some sort? Bind it together with duct tape. Need a so-called "radical" Irish republican and a couple of his goons bound for a few minutes while you wait for law enforcement? Tie them up with duct tape.

I pulled out a few rolls of duct tape from the Range Rover and handed them to Sam and Jesse. While Fi and Detective Halloran played with Charlie near the road, the three of us tied up O'Neill and his men by their wrists and ankles. We also covered their mouths with duct tape. It makes an efficient gag.

I brought Detective Halloran to see our handiwork. "What do you think?"

She nodded. "Impressive. Anything else I need to know before I call the SDU?"

"Tell them O'Neill and his men ran into a supermini rented by Sam Axe. He rented it from the airport, so there should be some documents in his name for the supermini rental. Jesse Porter was also in the car. Both men were killed when O'Neill threw a bomb intended for a restaurant in Belfast in their car. Their remains were incinerated upon its explosion, which is why you can't find their bodies."

O'Neill had heard me. He was trying to wiggle towards where I was.
"Stop moving, O'Neill." I turned back towards Detective Halloran and whispered in her ear. "Don't forget that Fi, Charlie, and I are dead. Use it against him."

"Yeah. Got it."

I went to Fi and Charlie. "Time for us to get back in the Range Rover, Fi."

All of us walked to the Range Rover, where Sam and Jesse were waiting for us outside it.

"Aunt Fi's okay, Uncle Mike."

I nodded. "I know she is. She can take care of herself."

"You made the car explode. Like Aunt Fi's paintings."

I laughed. "I did."

"Are we going home now?"

"Not yet. I have to make sure Detective Halloran's okay before we go back. You go hop in the Range Rover."

"Okay."

Sam put Charlie in his car seat.

I stopped Fi before she could get in the driver's seat. "Fi, I know Charlie asked already, but are you okay?"

"I'm okay, Michael." She smiled. "O'Neill couldn't put me on the black market. He couldn't drown me. He couldn't shoot me in the head. For such a radical man, he's got no balls."

I stroked her cheek.

"Glad you're okay, Fi," Sam said. "We should get in the Range Rover before Charlie tries to wiggle out."

The rest of my team climbed in the Range Rover. I stayed outside and watched Detective Halloran through binoculars.

Detective Halloran pointed her Model 870 at O'Neill until a Range Rover, belonging to the Garda Emergency Response Unit, pulled up where she was. Detective Halloran talked to one of the ERU officers as the others surrounded O'Neill and his men. The ERU took off the duct tape and put O'Neill and his men in handcuffs. I could hear O'Neill saying "She's lying. Sam Axe is alive" after his duct tape gag was removed. Even as he tried to claim Jesse, Fi and I were alive, he couldn't prove it to the ERU. It was his word against Detective Halloran's. There was no way O'Neill could sound sane against a woman who had studied his every movement after he escaped Portlaoise.

A prison van arrived at the crash scene. Uniformed Garda stepped out of the prison van and thrust O'Neill and his men in it. O'Neill still insisted all of us were still alive, even though the charred car and Fi's and my CIA files said otherwise.


A few days after the Garda recaptured O'Neill, Detective Halloran met my team and me at a playground in Phoenix Park. Fi held and rocked Charlie so he wouldn't run away from us.

This was the first time we had seen Detective Halloran in professional-looking clothes. She wore a grey dress jacket and pants along with a blue blouse and black high heels. Detective Halloran, out of her cover, was a sharp dresser.

Detective Halloran brought us a folded up copy of the Irish Times. The headline to the article she folded the paper to read "Two American tourists killed in explosion." "Bomb was intended for Belfast target," the subheader said. According to the article, the American tourists, not mentioned by name in the paper, were dead, killed by a Republican sympathizer who was apprehended by Gardaí. The rest of the details of the case were obscured because SDU and ERU garda were involved. When you have undercover agents and power like the Gardaí has in Ireland, you can force the nation's newspapers to pretend as if you never existed.

"I picked up the left-leaning paper for you," Detective Halloran said to us. "I figured the Republican-leaning account of Sam and Jesse's death would piss you off too much. I checked all the papers and their websites, by the way. None of them mention you by name."

"Did you contact everyone I know back in the US?" Sam asked. "I have a few lady friends who'll miss now that I'm gone. That and I have a few lady friends who won't miss me now that I'm gone."

"Between us and the Dublin City Coroner, we've contacted everyone that we could contact, Sam. They should be convinced that you're dead."

I looked closer at the Irish Times, to double-check Detective Halloran's work. "What's happening with the O'Neill case?"

"O'Neill went back to Portlaoise after we captured him. Then he stood trial at the criminal court there for breaking out of prison. He pleaded guilty there. He was sentenced to life again. Not a surprise."

"I hope they have a guard on his ass every hour he's awake," Fi said.
"I feel the same way, Fi. Yesterday, he went to the Criminal Courts of Justice here for everything else he did and was planning to do in Belfast. He pled guilty to everything in front of the Special Criminal Court. O'Neill's convinced he mistook the ERU for your team, Michael. You and your team are still dead."

I nodded. "That's great."

"My boss is impressed with the job I did on the O'Neill case. I really have to thank you guys for helping me out and not keeping me bound in that supermini of Sam's. Too bad your official files don't disclose how heroic your team is, Michael."

"It's a shame, isn't it?"

"I've got to be going. I'm not supposed to tell you this, but my boss just put me on a case involving the Real IRA, their allies, and a drug cartel. And it's because of the O'Neill case. I won't ever forget you. But I won't mention you to my boss, either."

"And you're not supposed to know who we are," I said. "We're dead to you."

"You lot are brown bread to me. But if I know of some people who like to catch ghosts, I'll have them call the owner of the Charioteer & Hart. Heard he knows of some historic Dublin ghost walks." Detective Halloran winked.

Detective Halloran walked in the direction of the Garda headquarters. The building is located in Phoenix Park. This was why Detective Halloran wanted to speak to us here; it was convenient for her. And I like to think she was thinking of a place for Charlie to stretch out and run after our meeting.

My team and I haven't seen her since she brought us to Phoenix Park. That's a good thing. You're not supposed to know where she is like you're not supposed to know exactly where my team and I are at this very moment.

Fi let Charlie go. Charlie ran to me, tugging my leg. "Uncle Sam says he's staying. Uncle Jesse, too."

I nodded and smiled. "Yes, they're staying with us. And I think they'll be staying with us for a long time."


The life of a spy is mostly solitary. Sometimes the government will pair you up with someone who shares some of your beliefs…but not all of them. But most of the time you're working alone. When you're alone, it's a tactical advantage. If you're not attached to anything or anyone, nothing can hurt you. Your enemies have nothing against you. It's easier for a spy to do their job alone.

But when you're a spy and you have no idea why you were burned, it's a tactical advantage to build a team. It helps when each member of your team is just as capable as you are and thinks similar to how you think. That doesn't mean you have to think exactly the same way or do the same things together. But if you share a few things in common, it makes working together easier.

When you work in a team for years, there's always the danger of growing attached to one or all of the members of your team. It's more than covering your teammates or doing a bit of triage in the middle of a mission. It's doing anything and everything you can to make sure your teammates aren't captured by your enemies. And if they are captured, you'll do anything to get them out. It's making sure they're not in the line of fire. It's making sure that they all come out alive.

Some teams are only made to last for days, weeks, or months. Sometimes teams last for years. But most teams end up breaking up sooner or later.

That's why my team is made up of my friends. We work well separately, but together, we're a force to be reckoned with.

These days we stay at home. We're playing with Charlie and teaching him skills he'll need. Stuff like coloring in between the lines and reading. Hopefully Charlie won't get into all the things I liked to do when I was growing up. And maybe he won't be interested in anything Fi liked to do when she was growing up, too. Except for painting. I haven't heard of anyone getting hurt from opening a jar of acrylic paint. Yet.

Sometimes someone walks into the Charioteer & Hart. They'll maybe order a pint of beer or have a sandwich. More often than not, this person has a problem. They'll tell a bartender. Then the bartender places an order for more beer from the Stingy Jack Brewery. The twist is there isn't a Stingy Jack Brewery in Ireland. That's an idiot code for my team to show up at the Charioteer & Hart.

At least one of us stays at home and makes sure Charlie doesn't get himself in trouble while the rest of us are out. The rest of us head to the Charioteer & Hart and listen to our new client's problem. I tell them that I'll see what I can do to solve their problem and the members of my team that are there and I leave the Charioteer & Hart.

We plan our attack at home. We strive to find a way to keep Charlie at home, but if it's needed, we take him with us and figure out a way to keep him out of harm's way.

Once we're done planning, we set out our plan to attack. Sometimes there are explosions and C4. Sometimes there are a lot of weapons from "Claire Finley's" gun locker drawn on our mark. Sometimes there are plastic handcuffs involved. Sometimes we end up throwing people in trunks. But most importantly, sometimes our original plans fail and we have to come up with a Plan B on the fly. We don't stop until the job is done, just like how we operated in Miami.

After it's all over and we resolve things with our client, we go back home. At first it was strange, the four of us all coming back to the same home. But we've gotten used to it. If I had not taken that deal with the CIA, we would've been living like this, anyway. Well, except for Charlie. Then the poor guy would've really ended up in foster care, because my mom would be alive and we'd all be somewhere in the West Indies.

When the day is over, we tuck Charlie in bed and wait until he falls asleep. Then we have the evening to ourselves. Sometimes we drink Heisler beer in the kitchen. (Sam tends to not want anything else in Ireland unless we're at the Charioteer & Hart.) Sometimes we talk about various topics sitting together the living room. Sometimes we relate to each other in a more carnal way. We figure the carnal things out when the time comes. But it always feels good to be around the three people I love the most.

All in all, my life's perfect these days. And I wouldn't want to change it for the world.


On the last day we saw Detective Halloran, Fi and I sat on a bench, watching Jesse and Sam play with Charlie.

"We finally got what we wanted, didn't we, Michael?" Fi put her head on my shoulder, and we held hands.

"We all got what we wanted, Fi." I smiled at her; she smiled back.

"What are we waiting for? We should be playing with Charlie."

I nodded.

And that was how we began our lives together: playing with our child in Phoenix Park in the middle of Dublin, surrounded by strangers that'll never know who we are, happy that we found each other at last.

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