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Not How It Happens

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If anyone had asked, Michael would have told them.

This is not how it happens, not by a long shot.

You don’t throw away your career—your whole life— on breaking your brother out of prison only to wind up going back. If you make it back, that is, if Agent Assassin doesn’t kill you along the way. Which shouldn’t happen, except you know it probably will, because he’s already tried to kill you once before.

You don’t drag down everyone who’s ever tried to help you, everyone who believed in you or Lincoln or even both. You don’t grind their trust into the dust of their memories of when you used to be something different, someone better.

You don’t fumble away the buried treasure you’d given up on finding until it resurfaced in a deathbed confession. You don’t choose it over your brother, only to have a psycho spirit it out from under you (especially a psycho who shouldn’t be here, but that’s another, longer story).

You don’t find and lose your father in a matter of hours, burying him on a hillside whose name you don’t even know.

You don’t run through half-a-dozen cars and the safety of as many friends in just a week, squandering everything you touch like water slipping through your fingers in the rain.

The plan was tight, even with those few variables Michael couldn’t bind, and it was never supposed to wind up so out of control. All these fugitives and futures set loose upon the wind weren’t supposed to be part if it, not even in the worst of Michael’s worst-case scenarios.

The plan was for him and Lincoln to be in Panama by now, shedding their names and histories and becoming characters from an invented past.

But they’re here instead, joining forces with a phantom—someone whose work has probably ruined almost everything Michael counted on, and this is the first time they’ve even seen the man’s face.

This is not how it happens, not after planning and sacrifice, not after far too many crimes and unprevented deaths.

It's not the answer to anything except the next ten minutes.

They’re not running to anything now. At the moment, they’re just running away.

 

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