Fi's known Michael for 13 years now, and until this night, she'd never seen him really drunk.
Tipsy, sure. Fake drunk, more times than she could count. Goofy and mellow, yep.
Needing to be carried up the steps to the loft, Sam on one side, her on the other, no.
Whiskey and tea might be her family's traditional cure for heart-ache, but apparently the Axe clan works on the theory of scotch and more scotch.
And Sam, with his near alcoholic level of tolerance and 230 plus pound body-weight, isn't precisely sober right now, either.
Though he didn't end up puking in the men's room. At least Michael had the good sense to realize he'd had way too much and get rid of it before it did any serious damage. The absolute last thing they need is Michael in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.
They get Mike into bed, and Sam calls Elsa. He's in no condition to drive and it's awfully late. He lets her know he's crashing here, and heads up to the sofa in the loft.
Fi goes to the sink and finds two pitchers. She fills both of them with water and takes one and a glass, putting it where Sam can get at it easily, and does the same for Michael.
She gets Aspirin next, and hands a glass of water and the Aspirin to Michael.
"I'll be okay." His eyes are bloodshot, and he looks like hell. But that was true before he started drinking.
"I'm glad to hear it. Drink up anyway. Lots of water will help with whatever you didn't get out of you."
He shrugs and swallows the pills and drinks down the glass. She refills it and gestures for him to drink more.
He sits, back against the headboard, head lolled back, looking utterly defeated.
She sits next to him and holds his hand.
"Talk to me?" He's drunk enough; he might actually do it.
"My mom blames me."
Fi nods. She's not going to sugarcoat it or try to dismiss it. "Yep." Madeline spent quite a while talking to her about it, and she most certainly does blame Michael, and Fi, Sam, Jesse, the entire CIA, the universe in
general, and herself in particular. In fact, the only person who didn't get a share of the blame was Nate.
"She's angry. And right now the one person she can't bear to be angry at is Nate, so everyone else is getting a share of it."
He limply squeezes her hand.
"It's probably going to get worse. Your mom's never struck me as the sit-there-and-take-it-passively-type. She's going to start hitting anyone nearby, and that probably means you."
"Yeah. Lovely. When Claire died, once she started talking again, my mum said some really terrible things. People kept telling me, 'She doesn't mean it. It's just the anger.' They were half right, it was the anger. But she meant it, too. And whatever terrible things your mom says to you, she'll mean them. Eventually, she'll wish she didn't say them. But right now, she means it."
"What did she say to you?"
"That it was my fault. That if I had trusted you to fix it, I wouldn't have been in prison. That I'd have been there to back you up, not Nate. That the bullet should have ripped through me. Or that if I had done what you told me to do, let you die with Larry, that Nate would have been safe."
"Me, too. She'll regret saying it one of these days." She nudges the hand holding the glass and he drinks more.
"What did your mom say to you after Claire died?"
"Pretty much the same thing your mom did. That it was my fault. That she wished I had died in her place. That if I had just not had that fight, Claire wouldn't have stormed out and gotten shot. That Claire was her golden, perfect little girl and I destroyed her."
Michael winces and wraps an arm around her. He met Katherine Glenanne three times, and he can imagine her, all fire-y temper and shrill voice ripping a teenaged Fi into shreds.
But he also knew, that by the time he met her, close to fifteen years after Claire died, that she regained her humor, and her fire shone in sparkling eyes challenging him to treat her daughter properly, and joking with him, and the rest of the Glenannes, over pints after Sunday dinner.
"She apologized, years later. When I brought her the first obituary. She told me I was a good daughter, and that she was sorry she had ever said that. And she meant that, too. Eventually, your mom will apologize too, and when she does, she'll mean it. But right now, she wants everyone in the world to hurt as much as she does, and she's going to do everything she can to make sure that happens."
"So what do I do?"
"Be the punching bag. Know that this is about her feeling like she's got some control over what's going on. And most importantly, hunt down and kill the man who killed Nate."
"I can do that."
She kisses him. "And I'll be there to help."