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Subject: Chapter 229 - Part 2 (end of chapter 229)

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Date Posted: Monday, March 20, 07:01:08am
In reply to: Katherine Gilbert 's message, "Dreams in the Dark (chapters 221--?)" on Monday, February 13, 07:24:07am

It was all of this which forced him to speak, needing to help his beloved through. He only wished he knew where to begin--every attempt a bad one; he chose one at random, so very sad that any would hurt her. "Jones won't let me live, if we run, or I refuse." He felt her close her eyes against his neck, pressing her forehead there--needing his warmth. "We have to see this through."

It was an obvious truth, one Nikita knew too well--as little as she wanted to face it. But the torment of the news, its suddenness--despite all of the build-ups--made it impossible to accept; her voice was small, slightly shaky. "How?" There was no method she could see which could possibly get her through.

She felt his kiss on the top of her head, knew this was at least as difficult for him--but she had no strength to sympathize with his terrible situation yet. The shock had gotten to her, breaking down whatever defenses she might once have had. There was no way she could calmly accept it now.

She left any discussion of his part in this hideous torture for later, then--too much pain welling in her soul. They had already survived so much--that they were still alive and together a miracle which even this latest deal didn't quite explain. They had worked past their own perversities, as well, all the terrors and doubts which might so easily have pulled them apart for good. And they had a child on the way, would have been able to become just another, loving couple; her eyes closed tightly. It was simply too cruel that it had all come to this.

He understood, couldn't deny the pain--but they had to move on. Still, even in his need to comfort, he wouldn't lie to her, loving her far too much for that. "I don't know what's going to happen to me, 'Kita. I don't know what this war will bring." The thought that he had, for awhile, almost wanted to join the army, had felt the need to fight, seemed a very distant and inexplicable memory--making the irony of their lives all the more stark. "But, one way or another, I *will* come back to you." The fact that he might not be alive, when it happened, went unsaid.

She understood, however, knew that, even if the cruelest happened--whatever vagaries the afterlife might hold--he would be with her. Her eyes closed tightly, her arms surrounding him to ask for his strength. But the presence of his soul alone just wasn't enough for her anymore.

He knew this, couldn't deny either of their torment, but had no way of promising anything else just yet. If he did, it would haunt him, every day, in whatever sort of battle he might face, clouded even further with the weight of his promise to her; he just couldn't do it, for so many reasons. But the most pressing one was a simple, fatalistic notion he couldn't rid himself of. If he promised to come back to her, whole and unchanged, it would be the most important idea in his mind, would distract him over and over, during whatever was to come. And the terrible irony of life would surely destroy him then.

He didn't make such promises, therefore, and she didn't ask for them--understanding too well the multiple pains and ironies of her own past. There was only one real promise she could ask for, one she needed. "You'll do your best to protect yourself, won't you, Michael?" It took her a second, but she managed to pull away from his warmth--needing to see his eyes. "You'll do your best to stay alive."

It was this truth which moved him, had for so long now--the whole situation with Hillinger half-motivated by it; any desire to sacrifice himself was *long* in the past. His gaze was steady, strong, his hand on her cheek. "If there's anything I can do to survive, I will." His head shook slowly. "I'm not going to leave you without a fight."

The words hung in the air between them, were a sort of bond--but there was a darker side, too, one both of them fully understood. Adrian--and Jamie--had saved him from having to pull the trigger with Hillinger, his ability to kill still, fortunately, untested. But a war would see no such divine escape. And, after it, the same questions they had once feared to face would return; both their hearts ached, their gazes terrified but adoring. Even if he managed to keep his promise, neither of them knew what sort of man might return.

It was this question they wouldn't have an answer to for quite sometime--for months or years, at least. That was assuming he was able to keep his promise, was able to make it through. And none of that said anything about the very real, if terrifying, possibilities they would face, if Hitler's Germany were allowed to win.

They couldn't bear to think about this now, such global nightmares impossible to comprehend. They could only focus on a world which consisted of the two of them. That was more than enough to think about for now.

She worked on this, then, saw his intentions, was comforted by them--as much as the entire situation haunted her, still. She took a deep, and slightly shaky, breath, trying to brace herself for it--wanting him back, in whatever shape he might be by that time. "Please," she whispered, begging him to keep his promise--whatever it might bring; neither of them cared how selfish it might be, both determined to be together. "Our . . ." There was a brief pause, as she caught herself. "Life together means too much."

He nodded, his eyes sad--agreeing completely, even as he saw exactly where her real thoughts had gone. She had wanted to remind him of their child, was desperate to share with him in all of the joys--as well as the stultifying terrors and banal minutia--of being a parent. But he loved her for the omission, knowing her fears. She hadn't wanted to blackmail him, or to torment him with guilt over leaving; his gaze was loving, as he pulled her close once more. Despite all her need to have him back, she had never been the sort of woman who wanted to control him with his paternity.

He would have loved her for this, if it weren't such a given in her nature, if he hadn't already adored her far more than he could ever hope to express for a million other lovely attributes--both obvious and indefinable. But such a trick was confined to the very weak, was a subtle sort of abuse, the passive kind women's place in the world reduced them to, the kind men always accused them of at such a time--no matter how innocent, or victimized, the woman herself might be in the matter. Nikita wasn't that sort, was far too strong. And Michael's strength and intelligence meant that he would never be weak enough himself to pretend that she was.

He loved her for her words, then, for all she was--made what promises he could. "If there's any way at all, I'll come back to you and our child." He felt her smile against his cheek, pulled her back to look into her eyes--his gaze suddenly intent. "But you have to promise me to take care of yourself in return." That she would take care of their child was a given he didn't feel any need to express.

She saw this, loved him for it, her hand now on his cheek. Besides, as much as both of them wanted their child--wanted him to be strong and healthy, to feel well-loved and purposeful in life--there would always be a selfishness to their relationship. More than anything, they wanted each other, and each other's happiness. Her fingers stroked tenderly down his face. Nothing else they could vow would ever mean as much as that.

"I promise," she whispered, meaning it--accepting, as much as she could, what had to be, understanding a little of his immediate capitulation earlier this evening. Partly, it was a sense of fatalism, the awareness that there was nothing they could do to change her father's mind. Mostly, it was the facts of their lives as one--the kind no other person could ever hope to invade. They were in love, were more devoted--through more kinds of perils--than most other people could ever imagine. That was enough, for now. Whatever was to come, they could face it, would have to. The two of them alone would always find their way.

She leaned in, their lips meeting in a confirmation of all of these truths--their love, as always, profound. And, in a greater sense, there was nothing to worry about. Not even the insanity of the entire world could ever hope to pull them apart for good.

[End of Part 229]

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Subject Author Date
welcome back KatherineelderMonday, March 20, 11:47:25am
chapter 229skTuesday, March 21, 07:10:48pm

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