1. He’d learned how not to dream while on a mission. Then he learned how not to dream at all. Now, though, with increasing frequency, he spends his nights running down half-familiar corridors, looking for stairs he can never quite find, listening for voices he can never quite hear, diving after bullets he can never quite catch. His dreams are drenched in blood, and none of it’s ever his.
2. For a spy, it’s vital to be able to blend in with your surroundings. Otherwise, you’re liable to wind up in hot water—sometimes literally. Over the course of his career, Michael ate everything from beetles larger than his thumb to peppers hot enough to actually burn his skin to (and this happened only once, which was a shame) the finest cheese cake known to man. (He’d been almost disappointed when that mission ended, because his part in it was to lounge around in the lap of luxury and act as a decoy. Not something he’d want to spend his life doing, but those four days had been like heaven—until his partner turned out to be a double-agent. After that, he stopped trusting anyone except Sam. And, eventually, Fiona.)
He eats mostly yogurt now because of the smoothness of its taste and texture, the predictability of it. And occasionally he gets the kind with fruit on the bottom. He’s particularly fond of the strawberry-kiwi kind.
3. The toughest part of being a free-lancer is paying the bills. Gone are the days when he could sign a dozen requisition forms and let someone else deal with it. Not that it had always been that easy—some of the people in billing had been downright stroppy (a word he picked up from Sam and Sam picked up from who-knows-where).
Now that Michael’s clients mostly can’t afford to be his clients, he’s had to get a bit more creative in order to pay for the yogurt and duct tape and Sam’s lunches. He’s fixed cars for pretty much everyone his mom knows, done the odd window replacement and paint job, played bartender and bouncer for the club in front of his place. All that, plus the money he’d stuck in an account under his mother’s name before he’d been burned, is enough to keep a roof over his head, his refrigerator only mostly empty, and to buy pre-paid cell phones as needed.
One definite plus: no taxes. Couldn’t pay them even if he wanted, given that on paper he doesn’t really exist any more.
4. The bouncers at the club nod to him when he walks past, and the girl on graveyard shift at the local grocer’s makes a game out of guessing what kind of yogurt he’ll get. He’s not invisible anymore, and it makes him feel unsafe. But no one here is after him, except for the criminals he’s foiled---not that any of them realize he did anything, and there’s nothing to tie Michael Weston to any of his aliases, so he tells himself he’s not worried, and that works about as well as you’d expect.
5. Even when he'd found himself looking down the barrel of someone else's gun, Michael hadn't been afraid. Pissed off, on occasion, but not afraid. Now, though, there are times when terror seizes him so hard that he can scarcely breathe---for his family, for Fi, even for Sam. He knows, deep down somewhere, that even if he gets Carla off his back, solves the riddle of his burn notice, even if he gets himself reinstated, he can't ever be a real spy again. He's got too much to lose this time around and nothing to gain but the emptiness he spent years pretending wasn't there, and which is only just now beginning to be filled.