Warnings: None for this chapter.
Characters: Lucas Taylor, Michael Taylor (OC), Nathaniel Taylor, Skye Tate, Alicia Washington, Mira, Boylan, the Shannon family
Summary: This is an AU story about Lucas having a twin brother. Instead of rebelling like Lucas, Michael – his brother – remains loyal to their father. This fic explores their relationship and what would have happened in the series had Michael existed.
The Command Centre seemed a lot smaller than it used to be. Perhaps it was because Michael was older, and so used to being within these confined walls, or perhaps it was because the current situation was making it feel like those same walls were closing in on him now, trying to suffocate him. He tapped his foot rhythmically on the floor as he sat on the stool, the same chair he had sat at many times before, trying to remember the beat of some forgotten tune he had once been obsessed with back in the future.
"I know you're not the spy, Michael," Jim announced as he sat opposite the former Corporal. "But I need to ask you a few questions just to clarify some things. I need to ask what you were doing last Thursday between 9 and 11am. Where were you?"
Michael cleared his throat. "Playing chess with Skye at her house." Just like he had rehearsed. "She won; she's a much better player than me. I guess my father taught her better." He forced a smile. As much as he hated lying, he didn't feel guilty about lying to Jim Shannon. He only hoped that all the practice he had gotten over the previous months had made him skilled enough to fool the local law enforcement.
Jim nodded. "Story fits with Skye's. One more thing; you checked into the infirmary twice that day. Mind if I ask why?"
Michael sucked in a breath. Not that it was any of Jim's business, but he would have to tell him anyway. "That day I had a check-up. To see how I was doing after my accident. I went back later because I get these headaches and I needed something for the pain."
"A headache?" Jim said incredulously, as if this wasn't a satisfying enough reason to seek medical help.
Michael balled his fist up, telling himself that getting into another fight with Jim Shannon was not a good idea. "More like a migraine, actually. I get them real bad after the accident. You can ask your wife, she was there."
"Right. And you didn't see anything out of the ordinary while you were there?"
"Alright, that's all I needed," Jim said, standing up. "Thanks, you're free to go."
"Great." Michael followed him to the door.
"I hear the Commander's sending you on your mission today."
"Don't suppose you can fill me in on what exactly it is you're doing?"
"You mean he hasn't told you?" Michael enquired. This was a first, though he did feel some level of satisfaction about Jim not being kept in the loop for a change.
"He told me," Jim said. "I'm just a little fuzzy on the details."
"Well." His lips formed a smug smile. "Maybe you can debrief me when I get back, Sheriff."
He left Jim, ignoring his angry gaze, and carried on towards the housing units. He walked past his own house and over to Lieutenant Washington's, making sure to glance around him. He couldn't be seen.
He knocked softly on the door and was greeted by Alicia, who was dressed in only a tank top and shorts, her hair down messily over her shoulders. He smiled mischievously at her. "Lieutenant."
"Corporal," she replied, tugging him into the house before he was seen. "What are you doing here? I thought the Commander gave you a job."
He stood close to her, still smiling, and his hands found their way to her hips. "I came to see how you were. And to say goodbye."
"Goodbye," she said, moving his hands up before they slid any lower.
"This could be dangerous," he teased. "I might not come back."
"Don't say things like that. The Commander wouldn't send you out there if he thought you couldn't handle it."
"Yeah, I mean it's only convincing our biggest enemy that I'm on her side," he said sarcastically, but his gaze was playful.
"You did it before," she argued. "She must like you, to let you just waltz into her camp like that."
"I'm not waltzing," he said, looking baffled. "Besides, if she knows I'm looking for her, she'll find me."
Alicia sighed. "You sure you're ready for this?" She brushed his cheek with her thumb, the sensation filling him with warmth.
"I can't let my father down again," he said.
She smiled with understanding, and then he leant towards her to touch his lips with hers. She yanked her head back. "Don't. I'm sick. Might be contagious."
He paused only a second and then kissed her anyway. "I'll be back soon." He pressed his mouth to hers, pushing her back gently against the wall, holding her face, her hands on his chest. Eventually, he had to come up for air and he placed her hair behind her ear. She smiled warmly at him and, placing one last kiss on the corner of her mouth, he opened the front door and left.
When he arrived back at the Command Centre, his father was already there, Jim Shannon just in the process of leaving. He gave Michael a nod which he returned. Taylor didn't look happy. He stood by the window, arms crossed, barriers up. "Sit down, Michael."
Michael sat back down in that horrid wooden chair, feeling the tension start to choke him.
"We need to talk about Lieutenant Washington," Taylor said.
"What about her?" Michael managed to get out, but his pulse was already starting to race.
"Jim tells me he saw you go to her house after your interview."
Michael swallowed. "So?"
The Commander was losing patience now. He took a step towards the desk, frowning, the creases in his skin deepening. "Don't," was all he said.
Michael gave in, his eyes searching his father's for some mercy. "You know how I feel about her."
"How long?" barked Taylor.
"Since after my accident," he answered hoarsely.
His father nodded, as if he had known it all along. Maybe he had.
"We were going to tell you."
A look as cold as steel returned him. "When?"
"After we caught the spy."
This didn't seem to satisfy his father, who shook his head, a grimace across his face.
"You want to keep us apart," Michael said.
"I want you to tell me the truth," his father corrected. "I thought we had an understanding."
"I love her, that's the truth. We're not just screwing around, if that's what you think. I told you how I feel."
Commander Taylor started to pace the room. "I need you both focused. Especially now. Especially on this mission. We can't afford any negligence. The 11th pilgrimage is due soon and that spy is still out there."
"I am focused," Michael argued.
"You're not! You're young, you're impulsive, you let your feelings get the better of your judgement."
Michael slouched back in the chair, tiring of this, feeling one of his headaches start to burn through his brain. "It's none of your business anyway," he snapped.
"Don't talk to me like that, boy."
Suddenly, he was sixteen years old again, getting lectured by his father, and though he had respected him back then, it was gradually turning into resentment.
"You don't know what it's like. The woman you loved died a long time ago. For you it's all over, you're just a lonely old man who can never fill that void no matter how big you get, or how many orders you throw around, it's never enough!"
The rage in his father's eyes was growing. "I'm trying to do what's best for this colony, what's best for you!" he shouted. "But it's clear that I can't trust you…I may not be able to control your personal life but I can control your status as Corporal. I'm cancelling this mission."
Michael stood up. "You can't do that!"
"Siddown!" his father yelled.
"You can't punish me for refusing to be another you!" he cried. "A shallow, power-hungry old man who has nothing but this colony to take to his grave!"
"SIT DOWN!" bellowed the Commander, causing a few concerned looks from outside.
Michael's head felt like cracking open. His eyes saw red, his temperature rising; he couldn't breathe. He felt an incredible rage take over and he kicked that horrid wooden chair, smashing it into the wall.
And then silence. He tried to catch his breath, his chest rising and falling quickly. He saw his father watching him, bewildered, even concerned. Michael realised what he had done, what he had said, and it made him sick. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean –"
"I don't know what…"
"Maybe you should see Doctor Shannon," his father proposed.
"No." Michael remembered why he was here, why he needed to do this. "I want to go on this mission. I want to be back on the team. Please. I can do this."
His father hesitated for a long time, holding Michael's insistent gaze. "Fine. We'll discuss everything else when you get back."
Michael stood stiffly, still recovering from the outburst, as his father reminded him of the objectives.
"You'll go in unarmed. Regain their trust. Act natural. Find the spy. Find Lucas."
"I know what to do," said Michael.
"Good. And before you go, is there anything else you need to tell me?"
His mind raced: Yes. I know who the spy is, I destroyed the evidence, I lied. I'm a liar and I need to stop.
"No," he said. "Nothing."
He doubted Lucas would be there. There had been no sign of him all the other times Michael had been with the Sixers. But seeing Mira again did mean he could question her about her connection with his brother, and he could also check on Skye's mother.
He was already deep into the jungle when he heard a noise. It was close. It sounded like a rustling, like someone was following him. Michael's hand instinctively slid down to his boot, where he had hidden his sonic knife, the same one Wash had given him during training. He was ready for an attack when Skye fell through some bushes, battling away some leaves.
"Skye? What are you doing? You're not supposed to be here."
"Better question is, what are you doing?" she interrogated, staring at him inquisitively. When Michael didn't answer, she answered for him: "You're going to their camp, aren't you," she said.
"It doesn't concern you, Skye, just go home."
He walked away from her but she only followed.
"Michael, this is a bad idea. We should go back."
"What are you talking about?"
He studied her, the pool of blue in her eyes was growing with concern. He tilted his head slightly.
"Is this about the blood sample? Look, I fixed it," he touched her shoulder, smiling to reassure her. "You're safe. Shannon believed our story."
"He did?" She seemed a bit more at ease then.
"Yes, now go. Before they realise you're missing. "
She hesitated. "But what about you? I thought you were done with the Sixers."
"I am," he said. "But I'm not done with Lucas."
Her blue eyes widened. "What?"
"He's working with them, Skye. I need to check it out. I need to prove myself to my father."
"Wait a minute!" She grabbed his arm before he could walk away again. "How can you be sure? And what if he is? What are you going to do?"
He furrowed his brows, looking at her, wondering why she was so panicked. "You would tell me if you saw Lucas. Right, Squirt?"
She bit her lip. She was practically shivering despite the warm temperature. Something was definitely wrong.
"What is it?"
She was wringing her hands together nervously, still biting her lip. "Would you do something bad to protect someone you loved?" she asked meekly, her gaze fearful.
He paused in thought. Of course he would. He had, on numerous occasions, lied and betrayed those who trusted him in order to help loved ones. "Yes," he replied. "I suppose I would."
"No," she practically whispered. "I mean really bad." She looked like she was holding back tears. Then he realised this was serious.
"Skye…what is it?"
She took in a deep breath. "I've done something…and I'm afraid it's too late to fix it."
Michael tore through the bushes. Despite his protests, Skye was still following him. She had revealed everything. He'd be lying if he claimed he wasn't angry with Skye. In fact, he was furious. But even more prominent was his fury and anxiety over what Lucas was planning.
Skye had insisted that she had tried to stall him for as long as possible, but Lucas had been impatient with her, and in the end she was forced to comply with his demands. She was terrified about her mother, and really, Michael couldn't blame her for that.
It took only a short while for them to arrive. Michael could feel a pain in his gut as they were shown up to the canopy where Mira was waiting for them, but he didn't let it show.
"Didn't think we'd see you again," she said.
"You know why I'm here," he growled, surprising even Mira.
"He's in the tent." She pointed. "But I don't think you need me to tell you that you've made a huge mistake coming here."
Michael ignored her, heading straight for the tent at the edge of the canopy. Skye tugged on him. "Michael, wait. Think about this. What are you going to do?"
He slowed down a little. For years he had thought about a reunion with Lucas. It had been five years. Five whole years where he had not seen or heard from his twin brother. They had once been inseparable, now it was as if he had imagined Lucas, as if the bond they shared had never existed. And now, as he was storming towards a potential reunion, he found himself clueless as to what to do.
"I'll go in first," she said. "Let me talk to him."
"No," he argued. That was out of the question, especially considering how Lucas had been treating her these past few weeks.
"I wasn't asking your permission." She smiled briefly at him and then disappeared inside the tent.
Michael wanted to go after her, to stop her, but he felt almost paralysed. So much had built up to this. He had thought about it often, imagined how happy he would be to see Lucas again. But all he felt now was tired and angry, staring at the edge of the tent, too afraid to find out what was on the other side.
Some of the Sixers were staring at him, probably mocking him. They had known all along and Michael had come and gone, still pining over the loss of his brother like a fool. This was it. He had to see for himself. He pulled back the cover of the tent and made his way inside. His gaze was instantly drawn to two figures. One was Skye. The other was embracing her, holding his scruffy head against hers with his gloved hands.
He heard the low voice murmur: "Thank you, Bucket. I did it. I solved it. And it's all because of you." There was a sense of urgency in the man' voice, a familiar desperation, and Michael couldn't help but fear who this person really was.
The weary figure stood back, seeing him, releasing the girl from his grasp. His fears were confirmed as he found himself staring at his own brother.
"Lucas?" he whispered, disbelief clouding his face.
Oh God, Lucas. What a mess he had become. And as a twisted smile began to form between the whiskers on his brother's face, Michael did something he had never expected himself to do in all the times he had imagined this reunion.
He hit Lucas right in the jaw.
Skye let out a gasp as she dodged out of the way. Lucas held his face, groaning, but soon he was standing up straight again, chuckling, wiping the blood from his lip. "Nice to see you again too," he sneered, his teeth showing a menacing grin.
Michael looked like he was about to strike again when Skye grabbed his wrist. "No! Michael, stop."
He did as she said, allowing himself to take in a few breaths to compose himself. Now Michael had the chance to get a better look at his brother. How those years alone in the wilderness had deteriorated him. His clothes were old and worn like rags as they hung off his olive skin. Michael observed his stubbled face, the tired eyes, the shabby hair. And then his gaze caught the long scar protruding from behind his ear and along the back of his neck. He almost winced, the sight of it making his own scars sting.
What he saw was a shadow of someone he once knew, and what was once like staring into a mirror was now like looking at a complete stranger. A stranger who had lied and tormented and threatened his family. He couldn't let him get away with that.
"Five years, Lucas," he said, his gaze steady and unwavering.
Lucas seemed unperturbed. He glanced at Skye before settling his eyes smugly on Michael. "Did you miss me?"
"Of course I did. We both did." He saw Lucas scoff. "It's true. We went looking for you."
"Liar," Lucas said hatefully.
"It's true, Lucas," said Skye.
"Quiet, Bucket," Lucas replied, but his voice was surprisingly gentle.
"You have no idea what you've put us through," continued Michael angrily, his muscles tensing, his heart beating wildly. It all felt like one of his dreams.
Lucas scowled at him. "What I've put you through?" There was a heavy sense of disbelief weighing in his speech. "I literally carry the scars of the past five years on my own body," he hissed. "I had to hunt, fight to survive. And while I suffered through those cold, endless nights alone – exhausted, starving – you and the Commander were living your perfect life, the two of you together, the way it should have been. Do you think I give a second thought to what you have been through?"
Michael was nearly stunned to silence. Did Lucas assume he never thought about that stuff? That he never feared for his brother's welfare during his exile? "I never wanted this, Lucas."
"It's what he wanted!" he snapped.
"Dad never wanted it either."
Lucas twinged at the mention of their father, disgusted.
"Lucas, you gave him no choice. The things you did –"
"—Are nothing compared to what is going to happen now," he sneered. "And thanks to my dearest Bucket it's all possible."
He drew Skye nearer and Michael stepped towards her protectively.
"It's okay, Michael," Skye said, forcing a reassuring smile. It was not convincing.
"Skye told me all about you two," said Lucas thoughtfully. "About how close you two are." At that part he sounded rather hostile. "Like brother and sister. I guess that makes us one big happy family," he added chillingly. He placed an arm around her, drawing her nearer so that he could feel her warmth.
"Lucas," Michael said finally. "What are you planning?"
"That would be telling," his brother teased.
But Michael persisted. "The calculations…it's for the portal, right? You want to make the portal open to 2149?"
"Don't try to talk me out of it," Lucas barked. "This one's already tried," he said, nodding at Skye wrapped inside his arm. "I find it fascinating how she knew so much about me. You've been talking about me, haven't you, brother?"
Michael didn't answer. He saw Skye's nervous look, but she didn't seem afraid.
"Lucas, I can help you. You know there's no way you can get away with this. Not with dad in charge. He'll find a way to stop you."
"He's not a God!" Lucas yelled, releasing Skye, bearing his teeth furiously. They watched as he composed himself, his chest rising and falling as he tried to contain his anger. "He's got you all under his thumb, idolising him like some kind of indestructible hero. Well, he's not. He's a coward." He paused, then he grabbed his jacket and slid it on. "It's all going to end soon. He and his precious Kingdom are going to come crashing down and at the end of it all, he's going to be the one suffering, begging me for mercy."
Michael could hardly find his voice, watching as the hate flamed in his brother's eyes. He couldn't believe how much anger he had for their father, the passion and violence in his threats. He could tell he had been planning this for much longer than five years.
"I can't let you do that, Lucas."
Lucas sighed, tired of his brother's protests. He retrieved a gun from his jacket pocket and aimed straight for Michael's head. "I'm afraid you don't have a choice, Michael."
A look of panic took over Skye's face. "Lucas!"
Lucas threw some wire at her. "Tie him up." When she hesitated, he let his impatience show. "Now! Or I'll shoot him."
Skye resisted, shaking her head. "You wouldn't," she said quietly, though she didn't seem sure.
"Tie him up, Bucket, or I'll have to shoot him, and then I'll shoot your sweet mother." She looked appalled, causing him to soften a little. "Over the past few weeks I've grown fond of you, little Bucket, but if you keep disobeying me I will have no choice but to punish you. And I don't want that to happen. Understand?"
There was something about his voice that was gentle yet chilling at the same time. Michael couldn't make sense of how his brother could say such things, could threaten the lives of innocent people, and for what? All to spite their father? What kind of monster had Lucas become? Michael didn't want to find out.
"It's okay, Skye," he said. "Just do it."
His gaze never left Lucas' as Skye tied the wire around his wrists. She tried to be gentle, but it cut deep into his flesh regardless, making him hiss.
"Lucas, please. I'm begging, just like you wanted. Whatever you're planning, do not do it."
Lucas gave him a pitiful look. "It means nothing coming from you. You may not believe me, but it's not you I want to suffer. The only person I want to pay is our father."
"Listen to yourself!" Michael pleaded. "You sound crazy!"
Lucas grabbed him by the shirt and threw him down hard onto the wooden floorboards. "DO NOT CALL ME CRAZY!" he bellowed, making his guests stare at him nervously. His teeth were clenched together again, his green eyes wild and furious. "Be grateful I'm sparing your life, brother. But if you get in the way of my plans…" he stood up, placing the gun back in his jacket before grabbing his other equipment, "I will kill you."
Michael couldn't be sure if he was being serious, but Lucas certainly wanted him to believe so.
"Don't hurt him, Lucas," begged Skye. She stepped in front of Michael, her eyes watching Lucas desperately. "Please."
Lucas stared at her in front of his brother, saw that look in her eye. He was repulsed. "Of course." He nodded bitterly, as if understanding something typical. "You wouldn't be the first girl who's fallen for the golden boy routine," he spat.
Skye was silent a moment, trying to find the right words. "Let Michael go," she urged. "Stay here, with me." Michael stared at her, bemused. He was becoming more and more aware of an established relationship between the two, and he didn't like where it was going.
"Bucket…" his brother whispered hesitantly. He kept calling her that. Bucket. He remembered a story Skye once shared with him about how she used to wear buckets on her head. But until now, he hadn't been aware that anyone apart from her mother called her that.
"I don't want you to hurt anyone," Skye continued as persuasively as she could. "Stay. We can have a bit more time…"
Until now, Michael thought his brother had been tempted by Skye's suggestion. "No," he snapped, his face reddening. "I've left it long enough because of you." He paused a beat, calming himself. "Bucket, come here."
Skye exchanged a quick look with Michael, but she obediently stepped closer to Lucas, who bent his face towards her head and kissed her gently, inhaling the many scents of her hair, her skin. "Like I've warned you, Bucket," he began in a low murmur, his lips hovering by her ear. "You must promise not to go back to Terra Nova or you'll get hurt. Do you understand?"
She nodded, holding her breath. She didn't dare exhale until he had retreated from her, those piercing green eyes staring back at her.
"Good. Maybe I will see you again once all this is over." He smiled his first genuine smile since Michael's arrival. "I hope we will." He glanced over at his brother sitting in the corner, obviously not sure what to make of all this. "It's a shame you won't be there to see me leave, Michael, but you have my word, I'll be back soon."
Michael didn't doubt him, his heart still thumping loudly. But just when he thought the worst was over, he saw Lucas steam towards him, grab his head and slam him against the desk.
He heard Skye's cries and could just make out her blurred figure dashing over to him before he blacked out.