A/N: Mike and Fi and Burn Notice fiction-y goodness. Head here if you want to start at the beginning.
Also, this is probably my favorite Burn Notice screen cap ever!
Spies, sociopaths, and actors all have one thing in common. They live on lies. This can have an unfortunate side effect; it can be very hard to find the real man under the lies.
Spies, in particular, tend to come in two kinds. The man who is so solidly himself that he can slip into and out of anyone else, without it ever touching him. Sam's that kind of man. He's always Chuck because Chuck, for all of his different covers and flavors, is just a series of different facets of Sam. Lives Sam never got to live. Mike likes to think he's this kind of man, too. Though he's afraid he's part of the second group.
The second group is like a room full of mirrors. They reflect whatever gets near, over and over and over, distorting and changing as the light bounces around, but they have no image of their own. Take away the person in the room, the inspiration and all that is left is emptiness. Those men can't stop the game, because if they stop, if they ever find themselves without a role to play, there's nothing else to keep them going.
"Figure out who you are..."
Michael can hear Father Guier's voice in his mind as he lies in bed next to Fiona. How hard can that be?
He's Michael Westen, super-spy extraordinaire. The guy who was so good at his job he got burned so that they could use him as a weapon. He's the guy who fixes the problem, no matter how bad the problem is or how impossible it looks to fix.
He thinks about that for a minute and comes up with a question. Is that who he is or what he does? And on a more basic level is there a difference?
He is Madeline's son, Nate's brother, Sam and Jesse's friend, and, he quirks a smile at this, Fi's man. Better. More of who he is and not what he does. Sort of. It's how he relates to people. Who is he when he's by himself?
He looks at Fi. She booted Sam and Jesse out at 1:00, saying that they were never going to find what they needed to in those numbers unless they all got some sleep. And she was right. When you can't focus on the paper because you're eyes are too tired, it's time to get some sleep.
Who would he be without Fi?
Find a version of yourself you want to be, not who she wants you to be. But if she wasn't part of the equation, who would he want to be?
If she hadn't been there after he was burned, he would have been... somewhere between rage and revenge, drifting without any better purpose.
He would have been Simon.
He shudders at that, one of the fears that have haunted him for years now, and curls around her.
He is Fi's man, Sam and Jesse's friend, Nate's brother, and Madeline's son. And for as much as being a better man for himself may be the goal, he's dead sure that if they hadn't been there, if it had just been him, he would have had no desire to be a better man. He'd be somewhere between Simon and Larry.
And now Simon is in Gitmo, and Larry's in an Albanian prison, and he was better at the game than either of them, so the idea of who he could have been without the people in his live is something he doesn't want to think about.