After

Interlude 2 - Mike

"What the hell?!" Chris growls, charging into the room - somehow managing to force his way through the guards - and marching up to Mike.

"Lay off," Mike warns Chris under his breath, his eyes dark. He knew this would happen the minute he'd had said Ashley's name on that stand - he'd purposely avoided Chris' gaze or it would have wavered his decision.

Now Mike stands tall, not missing Chris' cold stare for a second. He'd already had practice with Matt at the prison earlier, the man demanding that Mike take the charges, that he get what he deserves. It was easy now to see the similarities - they were both just trying to protect women they loved.

"Lay off?!" Chris scoffs incredulously. "Just because you can't get out of what you've done," Chris grits his teeth, "You drag us all down with you?!"

It was Mike's only option. His lawyer had formulated the plan, promising that if the self-defence plea failed, spreading out the blame would give Mike a lesser charge. He'd had to do it; and hopefully neither Chris nor Ashley would hate him too much for it.

Ashley is dangerous with a grudge.

The guard in the room steps forward to apprehend Chris but Mike swiftly raises his hand to stop him. This kid needs to get his anger out.

"It's not like you didn't stop me," Mike mutters low under his breath, just enough that only Chris can hear.

Chris stares at him, his eyes widening as if he can't even believe what he's hearing. He wants to punch Mike, hr can see it in Chris' eyes, in the way his forehead tenses. But one glance to his side reminds him of the guard's presence and leaves him simmering instead.

"We were helping you," Chris' jaw clenches, his voice low, energy draining. "We were trying to get you off."

Mike swallows, refraining himself from retorting about the so-called helpfulness of Ashley's damn diary confession. He wants to say it, his jaw tight; but if Chris wasn't going to punch him already, he would have gotten one at that.

Chris slumps his shoulders, shaking his head. It's as if everything he ever trusted has crumbled in a matter of minutes.

Mike feels the tinges of guilt pricking the back of his chest. They used to be a team, surviving that mountain together - now they're battling against each other for their own personal interests.

"Enjoy prison," he scoffs half-heartedly before turning his back to Mike and pushing himself out of the room.

Mike heaves his shoulders, letting out a breath, before muttering, "I already am."


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