Alex froze at the entrance.
His father had Michael’s hand slammed onto the table. He was holding him up by the wrist. Just like…just like before. Except for this time Michael wasn’t a defiant teenager. Alex looked at the side of his face that wasn’t obstructed by this father’s fatigues. Michael’s face was covered in blood. He had a cut on his forehead that looked like it needed immediate attention. His lip was spilt, and he most definitely looked like he had just taken 10 rounds of Jesse Manes’ signature beatings. What concerned Alex the most was that he wasn’t moving. He wasn’t trying to wrench himself away from his father. He hung, pinned by his wrist, completely out of it. He looked like he was losing consciousness.
Alex was shook out of his stupor when he heard metal scraping across metal. His father dragged a piece of rebar from one end of the table right to where he was currently holding Michael’s wrist. Jesse took better hold of the piece of metal, all his anger making his body a rigid violent force Alex was so familiar with. He raised his hand to strike.
“STOP!” Alex screamed with all the force he could muster. He raised his gun towards his father.
His father slowly turned around. Wrath bleed off him in waves. He let go of Michael’s wrist and Michael dropped to the ground in a heap. He wasn’t moving.
“This is what it comes down to? You're going to pick this animal over your own father? Your own blood.” Jesse spat.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with choice,” Alex said. He further secured his gun towards his target. His father.
“I let you walk away, even after all the evil you did. I let you choose to leave this all behind, to leave Roswell. But you had to come back…you had to see this end.” Alex finished. Alex made no move to lower the gun.
Jesse’s body quivered. Every bone in his body was frothing with rage.
“They are not people Alex. They are invaders. They don’t have feelings. They just murder and destroy-“
Alex cut his father off.
“The only murderer I see here is you. Now. Step. Away.” Alex commanded and further repositioned his gun.
“You were always weak, Alex. You never had it in you to protect our legacy.” Jesse sneered at his son. He had mastered looking disappointed yet apathetic.
They both felt the bunker shake and the lights began to flicker. Alex knew Max and Isobel we’re looking for them. He imagined Liz and Kyle were with them too. But this wasn’t their fight. This was always his original war.
His father shifted back towards Michael. Jesse twisted back to look at his body on the ground like a hunter looks at fresh game.
“Move another muscle and I’ll shoot” Alex breathed out through gritted teeth.
“You won’t.” His father shook his head. Alex cataloged Jesse’s own injuries. He had his own bleeding wound. A bruise on his left cheek that looked like the mark of a mean left hook. He looked his father up and down. He saw all of him.
His father shook his head at him again.
“You always were a disappointment.” Jesse sneered. He held his son’s gaze as he moved two steps backward. He spun the piece of metal in his hand and turned towards Michael.
Alex fired two shots to his father’s chest before he took another breath.
Jesse Manes fell to the ground. The shaking above the bunker was getting louder, more erratic. Alex stepped towards his father slowly. His steps were measured even if his breathing was not.
Two shots to the heart.
His father was dead.
He looked down at him with a sense of finality. He lifted his head, closed his eyes, took a breath, and then finally was left with a single thought. Michael.
He moved as fast as his prosthetic allowed. He rolled Michael’s body over, cradling his head. He sat down and laid Michael’s head on his leg to support him. The bunker was shaking continuously now. Dust raining down on the two of them.
Alex shook Michael slightly. He wasn’t stirring. Every emotion Alex had felt in the last ten minutes, hell, the last ten years slowly came to the surface. He was angry. He was sad. He just wanted to talk to the one person who made him feel still.
“Guerin? Wake up. C’mon now.” He pleaded with the still form in his lap. He checked for his pulse. It was there, faint, but there. They still weren’t sure exactly how alien biology worked. Michael’s brother was dead and resurrected near months ago. Still, looking at this limp, bloodied version of Michael did Alex no good.
“Guerin get up, please. Ma-Max and Isobel are coming for you ok?” He felt himself welling up. He wasn’t panicking, he was a soldier. He didn’t panic. He simply felt like all the pain of the last decade hit him at once. The pain of missed chances. The pain of all the horrible things he had seen. The pain of looking away.
“Michael” A shudder rolled through his body and cut him off. He breathed in and continued.
“Michael, please look at me please.”
He heard Liz calling his name. He saw her there all of a sudden. Kyle gently pushed her aside, making room as Max jumped down nearly four steps at once. Max and Isobel raced over to them. Alex looked up to see Liz and Kyle holding back. Both of them looked at Alex’s father’s body. Kyle and Alex shared a look. Alex nodded at Kyle. Kyle nodded back. One shared look really said it all.
When Alex finally looked back to Michael his head had rolled slightly to the side. Max and Isobel’s hands were both pressed on Michael's chest glowing red.
Alex kissed Michael head and ran his hand through Michael’s curls. He was whispering little prays to him, for him, he didn’t really know where.
Max and Isobel were in pain. They were pushing. As much as their powers had advanced, they were still draining themselves for their brother. Alex turned back towards the shattered screens at the end of the bunker. The single screen left intact simply read “Project Shepherd”.
He looked down at Michael’s bruised body. Then at Max and Isobel, so desperately trying to bring their brother back from the edge.
This was his family’s legacy.