Fi's explosion knocked Mike, Jesse, and a man named Donovan off their feet. Mike stood up a minute later, head ringing, staring at the smoldering wreck of half a dozen trucks.
The only good thing about it was he was expecting something like that, so it took him less time to get his wits about him than it took Donovan.
"He's found us! Finley's found us! We have to run!" He got the stunned man moving again and glared in the direction he thought Fi would be.
Hours later, back at their house, they gathered with Sam and Jesse.
"I think Donovan's convinced that it's time to talk to the Feds. After that explosion, witness protection's sounding awfully good to him. Speaking of which," Michael shifted his glance from Sam to Fi, "I said enough to scare him, not blow half of the trucks in the lot off the planet."
"I saw his face, he was scared." Fi smirked, satisfied at a job well done.
"Of course he was scared, and half dead, too! This plan doesn't work if you kill the guy we have to get talking."
"There was no danger of that."
"No danger?" Mike takes off his shirt, and turns his back to them, showing off the bruises and scrapes from where he landed against the pavement. He points at Jesse who is holding an ice pack to the back of his head. "Donovan had a bloody nose, ruptured ear drums, and a broken ankle."
"Exactly." Fi still looks smugly satisfied. "There was a car between you and the main force of the explosion, so you didn't take much of it. Jesse was shielded by it, too. Donovan was in the clear, so he got a full dose. You needed to sell the idea that the dreaded Chuck Finley wanted you both dead, and some real blood and pain does that very well."
"Explosions do that, period! You don't have to actually roast the guy."
"Guys, we can argue about this later. Right now, Donovan's ready to talk to my Fed, so I think it's safe to say the job is done, and we can put one in the win column," Sam said.
"Fine," Fi replied. "So tell us what was so important we ended up doing a job less than ten hours after getting home from our honeymoon?"
"Okay, you remember Agent Wood?"
"Yeah, we did that job for him to get the information on Nate," Mike says.
"Well, he had an accountant for the Teamster's Union who noticed some suspicious activity on one of the pension funds. That's Donovan. Anyway, he's getting ready to do some whistle blowing when he starts getting the be-a-good-boy, shut-the-hell-up, and we'll-make-it-worth-your-while treatment.
"So, he's thinking life just got pretty sweet. Nice new car, promotion, all the goodies are heading in his direction if he keeps his mouth shut.
"So, Wood called me to see if there was a way to go about convincing Donovan that he had to talk, so we came up with the idea of making him think that the big bosses thought he had already talked. We killed the bank account, wired the car to go boom, stuff like that. Which got him so scared he wanted to run. We just needed one more push to convince him he needed to run right into the arms of Wood."
"So that's what we were doing?"
"Yeah. And it looks like it worked, too. He called Wood right after you dropped him off, and supposedly they're talking now."
Much later that night, Fi went for a midnight snack. Normally she's not a big snacker, but lately whenever she's awake she feels like eating, and the small person who seems to enjoy punching her in the bladder means she's not sleeping for more than three hours at a time.
She's not sure if Michael didn't go to sleep in the first place, or woke up at some point and started messing with the computer. Either way, he's sitting at the breakfast bar, computer in front of him, looking tense.
"I think it's time we need to keep you away from gunfire and explosions," he says as she opens the door to the fridge.
"I'm serious. No more firing range, no more demolitions, no more C4 until after the baby is born." He turns the computer screen to her. "Look." He plays slow motion footage of the shockwaves of explosions. "I mean, they don't have a ton of information on the effects of explosions on pregnant women or their babies, but the MythBusters crew—"
"What's a MythBuster?"
"A TV show. I googled effects of explosions on a fetus and didn't get much. But a lot of clicking around got me to a TV show where they blow stuff up all the time, shoot things every episode, and one of the hosts got pregnant, and they stopped putting her anywhere near anything that went boom."
"This is the male equivalent of nesting, isn't it?"
"I think that's when I start adding the defensive fortifications to wherever we're living. This is just... protectiveness. Think about it, we all know what can happen if you get too close to an explosion, so let's not risk the baby. Donovan was a good hundred meters away from the center of that explosion and you still blew his eardrums out. Imagine what could happen to the baby if you got too close to an explosion."
"Okay, no explosions, but no guns? Really? I'll be bored."
"Bored and safe."
"This is more of your you-hang-back-and-let-me-do-the-dangerous-stuff, isn't it?"
"Fi, you're carrying our child."
"I'm still perfectly capable of shooting a gun and triggering an explosive."
"I'm not saying you aren't. I'm saying I'm going to go completely insane if something happens to you, and worrying about it isn't helping either."
"What about you? You think I don't worry about you off doing dangerous stuff, especially without me?"
That stops Michael. In truth the answer is no, he doesn't think she worries about him, not when it's about him having to deal with dangerous people, not for the kind of jobs they're doing now. Selling his soul, walking the dark path, and losing what's left of his humanity, sure, he knows she worries about that. Getting into a fight he can't handle? The idea that she might worry about that is both surprising and touching.
"How about we both take the next six months off? We can offer tactical support for Jesse and Sam, but stay out of any sort of active, get-shot-at, infiltrating sort of role."
"You think we can really do that? Sam'll show up with a job, we'll tell him what to do, something will go wrong, and next thing you know you'll be itching to get in costume and go save the day."
He shrugs. "True. But we can try."