Word Count: 1,400
Warnings: Angst, Off Screen Major Character Death
Pairings: Miles Matheson/Sebastian "Bass" Monroe
Disclaimer: I own my story. The characters in the story belong to themselves.
Summary: What if things had gone a little differently in the tunnels? Would Miles return to Monroe if there was nothing holding him back?
A different look at Kashmir.
Author's Note: Highlight to get a spoiler on Off Screen Major Character Death MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH: CHARLIE & NORA.
It seemed like hours before he was sure they were all asleep, which he supposed made sense after everything. As quietly as he could, Miles snuck around the group and clung to the shadows as he worked his way through Philadelphia. It was easier than he thought, moving through the familiar territory. Unlike the tunnels, this was familiar, unchanged for his purposes. The sound of footsteps had him hiding behind a building, holding his breath until the sound faded away. Now, with Independence Hall in sight, things would get tricky. He wasn't lying when he'd said the buildings were impossible to infiltrate. Of all the things Monroe would have changed during his…absence, he doubted it was the security measures. If anything, he'd've had them increased, which made his job harder.
He incapacitated six guards before he even reached the green. There had been a close call, and he really didn't need any of them shouting out and bringing the rest of the militia down on him. It would just complicate things. Not that this was the most well thought out of plans, but it was what he had. He took out another dozen guards as he moved through Independence Hall, pleased he wasn't forced to kill any of them. He moved past the entrance to Monroe's suite of rooms, down the hall to the War Room. It was a dumb name, made it sound like something it wasn't, not really. They planned more than just war in there, but Monroe said every great leader had one, so why couldn't he.
That's where he went, the door unlocked, the room empty. It looked different, shadows obscuring his view, but it would be dawn soon enough and Monroe would find him. He trailed his hand over the backs of the chairs, remembering the countless hours sitting at it, looking over the trade routes, reported rebel bases, alliance agreements, tax reforms…everything necessary to run the Republic. All at this table, with a small group of advisors, most of whom would now shoot him on sight, and he wasn't entirely sure he'd work hard to stop them.
Either he was still hallucinating, or Monroe hadn't changed anything since he'd been gone. The room looked exactly the same, the colonial sensibility, the throwback to simpler times - it soothed Monroe, or so he said. Miles walked over to the desk, remembering the times Monroe had fallen asleep on top of the paperwork, the imprint of whatever happened to be on the desk on his forehead. Sometimes he'd been able to wake him up enough to move him to the bedroom, other times he just pulled his own chair up by Monroe's and fell asleep next to him.
He heard the door open, turned his head slowly, not sure if he was more or less afraid of it being Monroe than someone else. Not sure of what would happen when he saw his best friend again. It was Monroe, standing there in the doorway, and Miles forgot to breathe. He watched Monroe's eyes widen briefly before settling into a happily stunned expression that Miles wanted to mimic, but he couldn't breathe, let alone move. Then Monroe was moving towards him and the world slowed to a stop. Miles watched a smile break out across Monroe's face, the one that lit up his eyes, the one that couldn’t be a lie…he was happy to see Miles. The thought rocked him for a minute, but then Monroe had his arms around him, and Miles couldn’t do anything but return the embrace, hands clenching the material of Monroe's uniform. Monroe pulled back with one last friendly shoulder squeeze, the fond smile still on his lips.
"Is this a dream?" Maybe he was still hallucinating.
Monroe smirked. "I was going to ask you the same thing. You know for days I would walk in here in the morning and half expect to see you bent over the desk. And now, here you are."
Monroe walked over to the side table and poured them both a drink. Miles blinked his eyes, trying to chase the memory of his hallucination away, but this was real. Monroe was standing in front of him, holding out a tumbler of whiskey.
"What are you doing here, Miles?"
"I - I'm tired, Bass. So tired."
Monroe nodded slowly, the smile in his eyes fading to concern. Miles wanted to cling to him, to fall to his knees and beg to come home. Could he? Would it be that simple? He had no pride left, not anymore, not with Monroe. His hallucination had been wrong because he wasn't afraid of Monroe taking him back, of falling into line…not anymore. Now, face to face with his best friend, he was afraid he'd be sent away, afraid he'd never be taken back, afraid he'd never be able to come home. He didn't deserve it, didn't deserve a second chance, not after everything, not after so much time, but that didn't keep him from the hope that Monroe would forgive him.
Miles blinked back to the present, Monroe's hand was warm on his cheek, when had he moved closer?
"Why'd you leave, Miles?"
It was difficult to think straight, and with Monroe's thumb gently stroking his cheek, Miles didn't think he'd be able to do anything other than stare stupidly at the man in front of him. The man he'd betrayed, the man he'd created and then shattered. The one person in the world who truly deserved better, the one man who held more power over Miles than either of them realized, the man who should by all rights send him away, or kill him…that person was offering comfort, and it was killing him.
"There was so much…so much blood. You went - I went - it went too far," Miles wanted to look away as the words tumbled out of his mouth.
"You came back, walked right through the front door," Monroe smiled a bit. "You came home."
Miles licked his lips, his mouth dry. "I had to. In the tunnels, there was a moment…and you, you - you are my home. I wanted it more than anything. And, she's dead now, so there's no reason to rescue Danny, not anymore."
"Charlie, my niece - Danny's sister. Ben's girl. Made me promise to help her get Danny, but no reason to do that now."
"He's fine, you know. Danny. I gave him a room, anything he wants."
"Good, that's good."
Miles wasn't really sure what he was agreeing to, but he was sure it was fine. Charlie had died down there, in the tunnels, the tunnels he claimed to know. One false move, Nora hearing the mine click a moment too late. He could still see the explosion, feel the heat of it on his skin. They were both gone, Charlie and Nora. More collateral damage attributed to Miles Matheson, retired Commanding General.
"Did you find what you were looking for? When you left the militia?"
"No. No, I didn't."
It had been easier, in some ways, talking to a hallucination. Easier to say what he really meant, the things he really felt. Maybe it was because he was talking to himself, convincing himself of what he already knew. Now that he was here, with Monroe, it was different, harder. The one time in his life he needed to say something, say everything, he couldn't. Could he tell Monroe how lonely he'd been? How hard it had been to live without him, knowing he'd done the unforgivable? How was he supposed to apologize for trying to kill his best friend? The one man who'd always been there for him, stayed with him when the world went dark, followed him into the mouth of hell…how was he supposed to find the words?
He couldn't. It was that simple. Knowing that didn't make him feel any better though. He took a long swallow of the whiskey, feeling the way it burned going down…Monroe always had the good stuff, better than the piss he used to sell in Chicago.
"What are you doing here, Miles?"
Miles looked into Monroe's eyes, searching for an accusation, for condemnation, but finding nothing but an open, earnest curiosity. He licked his lips nervously, tears threatening to spill over as his eyes held Monroe's gaze.
"Bass, I want to be home," Miles paused, afraid his voice would break. "I just want to come home."
Monroe's eyes were soft, filled with unshed tears even as he smiled. Then he was hugging him again, arms wrapped around him like a blanket. Miles fell against him, knowing Monroe was the only think holding him upright.
"You are home, brother."
Miles nodded against Monroe's shoulder, unwilling to let go ever again.
- Current Mood: annoyed