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ALWAYS THE GOOD GUY

Title: Always The Good Guy
Characters: Bill/Michelle/Tony
Rating: PG
Summary: Pre Day 4. Bill and Michelle try to form a relationship
Disclaimer: 24 was the Property of Fox. Still is I guess.
A/N: Written for the 24n’more "Tag: You're it" Challenge. This is the first of three Bill-Centric Tag challenges. Thanks to leigh57 for the beta. Also, that site down right now so I'm just posting it here.

He had been the good guy.

That was the consensus of Bill’s friends, co-workers, his remaining family. At the end of a bitter divorce, after his wife had left.

Even when he learned of his wife’s affair with a field agent Bill had tried to be the good guy. He had tried to work things out.

“I love you Bill, “ Amy had declared, “But I need more adventure, more…more I don’t know. I just need more.”

More excitement. More danger. More emotion. More drama.

“More than I can give you,” Bill realized.

“I’m sorry.” It was a hollow apology.

••••

That had been several years ago.

Unlike some CTU Directors, Bill didn’t concern himself with the relationships that developed amongst the agents at CTU Seattle. When people worked long hours together that was inevitable. Bill accepted that his staff were both grownups and sexual beings. Bill reasoned that if he treated his staff like adults they would behave accordingly.

He was usually right.

The director has no business in the bedrooms of his agents.

Then he met Michelle. He was drawn her composure. Her seriousness. Her maturity.

Those were the qualities people saw in him.

Maybe if I find someone like myself it can last, Bill allowed himself to hope.

He also liked Michelle’s looks. Amy was tall, statuesque, with straight blonde hair she obsessively blew out. Michelle was petite and curly – haired.

Bill knew Michelle was still married. Technically.

Bill used his own non-regulation of co-worker dating to his advantage. It started with coffee, then lunch, then dinner. After dinner, Michelle agreed to go home with him.

The sex was….okay.

••••

Bill knew something had changed when Michelle came to his office, seeming even more serious than usual.

“Michelle, what is it?”

She sat down. An adorable smiled came to her face. A smile with apprehension behind it.

“Tony is being released.”

“How? I thought he was given ten years.”

“I’m not sure. The rumor is that Secretary Heller’s new advisor convinced him to intervene. Grant Tony early parole.”

“Jack Bauer,” Bill realized. He had met Jack before. The man certainly left an impression. Bill had trouble envisioning Jack Bauer as a Washington liaison or a senior advisor to anyone, let alone Secretary Heller. No matter. Perhaps people really could change.

“Jack and Tony worked together at CTU LA for years. Jack always did have our backs,” Michelle continued.

“This is wonderful news about Tony, Michelle,” Bill said automatically.

Michelle gently placed her hand on Bill’s shoulder. “We have to discuss what this means for us.”

“No. We don’t. You still love Tony. You want to go to him. I understand that.”

“I do like you, Bill. It’s just…”

“It’s okay,” Bill interrupted. He knew how the speech ended.

••••

Tony was promptly flown to Seattle. The terms of his freedom demanded that he could only be released to a senior federal agent.

Bill volunteered to do the honors. Bill and Michelle drove to the airport, and Michelle very formally thanked Bill for his help.

“I’m willing to keep…our relationship to myself.” Bill promised.

“Thank you.”

“Will you be staying in Seattle?” Bill asked.

“I…I don’t know. I think we should go back to LA. Try to pick up where we left off. I’ve applied for a transfer to Division.”


••••

They parked the car and walked to Arrivals. Bill spotted Tony standing with two stern-looking uniformed police offers.

Bill had met Tony before during a trip to LA. Now he looked smaller, older. Diminished.

A year in prison would do that.

For a moment he hoped Michelle would re-think her decision.

Michelle ran to her husband. Michelle’s embrace was enthusiastic. Tony’s return embrace was tentative and careful.

Bill did notice one detail: Michelle was outwardly elated but he noticed a hesitancy, a doubt. It was in the tightness of her shoulders, a point of body language that only Bill would notice.

She’s afraid. She’s doing what she thinks is the right thing, but she’s afraid, Bill observed.

Michelle and Tony looked deep into each other, ignoring Bill, the officers, the other passengers, everyone.

After a moment, one of the officers brought a clipboard and some paperwork over to Bill. Bill signed the release papers while never taking his eyes off of Tony and Michelle.

Bill wasn’t jealous. Bill didn’t do jealous.

“I’ll let you find your own way home,” Bill said.

Michelle nodded, not diverting her gaze from Tony.

Bill left the airport and drove back to CTU alone.

THE END.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
adrenalin211
Oct. 27th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Bill/Michelle (or even Michelle/Tony, really) isn't my thing, but I thought this was a really good depiction of how it came to be between them. And you got everything right about the different relationship dynamics involved. Bill's acceptance of Michelle's loyalties, his lack of jealousy but desire for her to be safe, Tony's tentative embrace, Michelle being a bit scared that what she feels is right might not be as right as her heart tells her. Very cool.

Thanks for posting.
marinw
Oct. 27th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
This is why it's good for me to get out of my comfort zone. Bill/Michelle/Tony is SO not my thing, so I procrastinated forever on this prompt. I have to say I surprised myself with what I came up with.

Thanks for reading.

leigh57
Oct. 28th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
I love your picture!

The whole Bill/Michelle thing always freaked me out a little, probably on several levels. But I like the backstory you've created because it makes absolute sense. Everybody stays in character, especially Bill, who just waugh. He always IS the good guy, isn't he? Up until his very last canon moment. *sniffs* This was a tough prompt. Nice job!
marinw
Oct. 28th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
Well, I thought Bill was a little OOC at the start of Day 7, when he seemed very cavalier about "sacrificing" Jack. Whatever. The idea that he was married before he got together with Karen is total wank, he just seems like a guy with a lot of life experience.

I know we hold Bill up on a pedestal. But we do know that Bill did have some sort of relationship with a married woman. As far as I could glean, Michelle was in Seattle while Tony was in prison.

Oh Michelle. If I had a choice between Tony and Bill, there would be absolutely no contest.

Thanks for betaing. I have two more prompts, but the 24nmore site is all kablooe.
(Deleted comment)
marinw
Nov. 2nd, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
(Deleted comment)
marinw
Nov. 4th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I've had trouble with posting to 24_fanfic so I'm keeping this in my journal for now.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )