A/N: Pretty much everything that could go wrong, has or is about to. Sam's POV as he's thinking through the next move. Want to start at the beginning? Head here.
Loyalty, honor, duty. Those are the three pillars of Sam's life, and until a week ago, they had served him well.
At least, as long as he's had something, someone to be loyal to, a cause to honor, and actions to shape duty.
For a long time Uncle Sam and the promise of America was what held is loyalty, defined his honor, and gave him duty. And he knows that sounds quaint. And look, he knows that the US isn't all puppies, rainbows, and sunshine. His first tour of duty was the Hanoi evacuation, and if there was ever a time when the US screwed the pooch, that was it. And while he didn't like that job, hated seeing broken families and desperate people begging to be rescued, it didn't shake his faith in the ideal of America. He knows that's something the younger generation doesn't seem to get. He can see it in Jesse, the ideal of America isn't something in him. He joined up to make the world a better place.
He and Mike joined up to make the world more like America. Well, he joined up for that. And he knows Mike believed that once upon a time. Once upon a time, Truth, Justice, and The American Way mattered, it meant something, something good, and noble, and worth dying and fighting for. Worth bleeding for. And Sam fought for it, bled for it, and found satisfaction in it.
But the world changed, and suddenly patriotism meant something different, and by 2005 there were no clear cut lines, and something that should have gotten him medals for improving goodwill and protecting the innocent almost got him dishonorably discharged, and did get him tossed out of the Navy.
He knows that by 2006 he had a reputation as a washed-up, old drunk, but what else is there fit to do when your world turns upside down, the one thing you were good at was taken away from you, and the people you loved, the country you bled for, and the cause that mattered as much to you as your own life, suddenly decides you're on the wrong side and tosses you away?
And then Mike was there, and Fi, and suddenly there was a new cause to honor, they could go and be modern day Robbin Hoods, or the A-Team, or Superman, well, Batman really. And actually doing it gave him new duties. And new people to be loyal to. Sure he didn't exactly love Fi when she showed up, but she's grown on him, and over the course of the last six years she's done more for him than anyone who isn't Mike. And Mike, the two of them have so much history together. It was easy to fall back into following Mike. It's easy to be loyal to Mike, because no matter what, Mike always had his back. Jesse, God, they screwed him six ways to Sunday, lied to his face, and he's still with them. Jesse is worth being loyal to.
But mostly, when it comes down to it, even if there was no Fi or Jesse, and for most of their history there wasn't, it's all about Mike.
Sam knows Mike in a way Fi and Jesse don't. Well, in a way they didn't. He thinks they're getting the idea now. Mike is... was... is—is damn it, he's just tired—worth following. But there's darkness in there. Mike slid into being a vigilante a whole lot easier than Sam did, because Mike never really got the whole law and order thing to begin with. The difference between being a spy and being a soldier. And Mike's always had that edge, he thinks it's part of what he shares with Fi, that doesn't care about law, doesn't care about trials, or the idea of justice, not unless it comes at the end of the gun, and he's the one pulling the trigger.
And that's always scared him about Mike. He met Mike while Mike was working with Larry, and even then he could see that recklessness, that... Sam doesn't have a good word for it; he just knows that it makes him deeply uncomfortable, because, while Mike is on your side, he's the best ally to have, but if he's not, then he's also not playing by the rules that Sam has burned into his heart, tattooed onto his skin, and melded into his soul.
Mike's the smartest guy in the room, and it doesn't bother Sam to admit that. The problem is, when the smartest guy is broken, when he's making bad decisions, everyone pays.
And until two days ago, until he held Elsa's face in his hands, watched her cry, and kissed her goodbye, he was willing to pay for Mike's bad decisions. Mike's the leader. Loyalty means he follows. He's chosen Mike, much like Fi has, for better or worse, but for the first time he's realized his loyalty has been split, and that somehow Elsa's crept in. Somehow, over the last year, she's gone from his sugar mama to something he cherishes, something worthy of being loyal to. Somehow she's crept into his heart and claimed part of his loyalty, part of his duty, and treating her properly has become a matter of honor.
A man with no loyalty isn't a man, and a man with two loyalties is useless, undependable. So he's here, sucking down a drink, because first and foremost there's Mike, but for the first time since they've met, including all the times he's almost died for him, he's wishing Mike wasn't his first loyalty.
Sam knows that if they can get out of this, if somehow this can be fixed, though he doubts that, intensely, that Mike will cease to be his first loyalty. If this ends, and if there's any shot that she'll have him, he's going back to Elsa and choosing her. But right now, that's a future he can't even dare hope for, let alone plan on. What's going to happen, if they're lucky, is spending the rest of his days in some tiny out of the way place that doesn't co-operate with US extradition laws. If they aren't lucky, Riley will catch them, and he'll fry because Mike murdered Card, and because no matter how much loyalty hurts, he's with Mike 'til the end of this, and this time the end likely will be the end.
God, he needs another drink, or six.
A/N: For those of you unfamiliar with some of the nifty kinks of US criminal law, usually for a murder to be a capital crime, you've got to be in the right state (and Florida is one of them) and you have to actually pull the trigger. But... if you are involved with something that results in a dead lawman (and I'm assuming the CIA counts for this) they'll fry you weather you pulled the trigger or not. They'll fry you for driving the get away car if the guy you're driving killed a cop, whether or not you knew about it. Now, does this often happen? No. Taking capital murder off the list of charges is usually used to get guys A, B, and C to testify against guy D who actually did pull the trigger. But it's still on the books.
So, best case scenario, Mike's looking at the death penalty, and Jesse and Sam are as well if they don't roll on Mike. Fi, since she isn't a US citizen, will likely be handed over to the Brits as a terrorist from her IRA days and get to enjoy their tender mercies. But at least in this version they actually do get trials and have a chance to explain to a jury what the hell happened. Who knows... with the number of people who owe them favors a tampered jury, very good lawyers, or yet another level of conspiracy could get them out of this.
But that's the best case scenario.
If the CIA or whomever decides they want this whole problem to go away, they can claim the four of them are terrorists (And there's more than enough shady stuff on all four of them to make that stick. Associating with a member of the IRA is probably enough to do it.), and under the NDAA (voted in by Congress last year, and signed by Obama) accused terrorists, even US citizens captured in the US, no longer have a right to due process or a trial. Basically, if you're an accused terrorist, all of your Constitutional rights and protections get tossed out. Accused terrorists get dropped in a hole and vanish, never to be seen or heard from again.
Anyway, if the next eppy or two goes the way I think they will, these facts will probably become relevant.
Should have one more update on Thursday. Have fun and enjoy!