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Subject: This Is Love

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Date Posted: Saturday, January 13, 08:52:53am
In reply to: JenniferS 's message, "Happy Anniversary LFN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" on Saturday, January 13, 08:49:42am

This is Love – by Hannah
(Borrowed from the song by Amanda Marshall)*

Walter looked up at the perch and for once he felt like smiling. Less than a month after Adam and he had departed, Michael had contacted him and demanded to be brought back in.

Although Walter desperately missed Birkoff, his Sugar had been running things with a fair and even hand. He was worried about her though. She had dark circles under her eyes lately and she appeared to be losing weight. Missions had been running like clockwork, but he knew if this continued, she’d burn herself out. She refused to pick a second saying that there was no one she could trust who was qualified.

Muttering to himself, the old man puttered around his station, organizing tools, parts and cleaning surfaces in preparation for the next mission.

“If Michael were here, he’d soon take charge and make her see reason.” He thought mutinously. ‘I love that girl dearly, but damn she’s stubborn at times!’ Then the call had come that gave him hope that for once, his Sugar’s life was on an upward course.

“Are you sure?” Walter had asked anxiously when he’d answered the text message the former level five op had sent. “Sugar wanted you and Adam to be happy.. to live.”

“That’s not possible Walter.” Michael had said in clipped tones. “There is no happiness for me without her. Besides, I learned one thing from Operations.”

“What’s that?” a puzzled Walter had asked.

“Adam will always be a target out here.” Michael had said, referring to the world outside their subterranean existence. “Look what happened to Stephen. I don’t want Adam to be touched by Section, but at least if he’s inside with Nikita and me, he will be better protected.”

So, Walter had met Michael one afternoon and brought both Adam and him in. Michael had taken the precaution of sedating his son, so that the child wouldn’t realize where he was.

The two men had come in through a back maze of passages that only they knew; not many left knew the place the way they did.

“Is Kita using Operations’ old quarters?” Michael had quietly inquired of the old man.

“Yeah.” Walter admitted, marveling how well the quiet man knew his adopted daughter. ‘Why am I surprised?’ he asked himself. Their relationship had been forged in fire and hardship. Walter had no doubt that if it had endured thus far, that nothing would damage it. The fact that this battle scarred man would willingly come back to this hell for the woman he loved showed that more clearly than anything could.

“Do you want me to take him there?” Walter asked.

“No, I’ll take him. Are her quarters still accessible through that back corridor?” Michael asked.

“Yeah.” Walter confirmed. “There’s another bedroom there too. Ops always kept it ready for visiting bigwigs from Oversight… or Center. I’ve had Jasmine sneak in there and set everything up for you.”

“I appreciate that Walter.” Michael replied, “Does she suspect anything?”

“I don’t think so, but you know Sugar. She keeps things to herself sometimes.” Walter admitted.

Michael nodded as he followed the old man through the unused passage.

Jasmine met the two men at the apartment door with a conspiratorial grin. Walter had become like a father to her as well since she’d come back to Section One.

Michael, however, had her deepest admiration and respect. Both he and Nikita had imprinted on the young girl during her training as the first older couple who had ever gone out of their way to treat her decently. Her parents had abandoned her as a baby and the fact that this man would turn his back on a life outside of this world for her new superior awed her. She just wished she could find someone like him, and then maybe day to day life would have more meaning.

“Hi Michael. I’m glad you’re back.” She whispered so she wouldn’t disturb the sleeping child in Michael’s arms. “Bring him in here. I’ve got his room all ready and we’ll get him settled.”

“Thank you.” Michael replied softly after they’d gently deposited the dark haired tot and covered him carefully.

Walter watched with a paternal grin.

“If you or Nikita want me to watch him, just say the word.” Jasmine said softly as she left for her quarters.

“Thank you.” Michael said once more as the young Asian beauty left the apartment to stride purposely down the hallway. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Turning once more, he took in Walter’s benevolent, but wearily grinning face.

“There’s coffee in the kitchen.” Walter said, finally speaking up; as he indicated the small kitchen in Nikita’s quarters. “I also had wardrobe break into your old locker and get your things too. They’re in the master bedroom and there’s everything you’ll need in the bathroom too.”

“Thank you Walter.” Michael said. “You’re a good friend.”

“No Michael.” Walter said firmly, “thank you. Sugar’s missed you a lot. I’ve been worried about her.”

Michael looked at him sharply. “What haven’t you told me?”

“She’s been working too hard and she’s lost weight. I don’t think she’s been sleeping a lot either.” Walter admitted softly. “She’s missed you Michael.”

Michael shut his eyes and sighed deeply. When he opened them Walter was looking at him sympathetically. “I should never have left.”

“She loved you enough to let you go.” Walter stated quietly. “She also believed you and Adam needed to be free and she was determined to honor her father’s wishes.”

“He had no right.” Michael said grimly and Walter was stunned to see the heated flash of emotions in the once cold green eyes before him. “He never acted like a father should and then he made demands on her. It wasn’t right.”

“No,” Walter agreed. “It wasn’t. The man didn’t love her… not like you do.”

“You love her too.” Michael stated calmly. “You’re more of a father to her than he ever was. Thank you for being there for her.”

“I was proud to do anything I could to help both of you Michael.” Walter answered truthfully.

“You care about me too, don’t you? Why?” Michael replied. “Her I understand… but me? Why would you do that?”

“She loves you.” Walter replied, grinning ruefully. “You sure weren’t lovable to anyone but her. Somehow, no matter how mad she got at you, she always found something there.”

Michael nodded, but uttered one word. “Explain.”

“Oh Hell Michael, I’m not too sure how to put it into words, you know?” the old man stuttered. “She loved me first. I know that sounds corny, but you’re not the only one in here who hadn’t been loved in a long time, you know.”

Michael just stared at the old man in surprise.

“She was the only one who was there for me when Belinda died, you know? Birkoff didn’t know what to say… or how to comfort me, but she did.” Walter admitted with a sigh. “She’s the daughter I never had. The two of you are my family.”

“I’m sorry.” Michael said sincerely. “You and Belinda deserved better.”

Walter waived his comment away, even though he appreciated the sentiment. “I also know that you two kids need to be together. Why her father couldn’t see that, I have no idea. He was certainly never there for her like you were, the selfish bastard. If Operations had gotten his way, she would have been dead a long time ago.”

Michael nodded vaguely and Walter realized that the younger man was tired.

“See ya later, amigo.” The grizzled weapons master said softly with a grin and a gentle pat on Michael’s shoulder.

Michael nodded again and wearily saw Walter to the door. Then he headed for the bathroom and showered and changed into some casual clothes that he’d brought in inside a knapsack that he’d carried over his shoulder.

After his shower, Michael wandered out to the kitchen and poured a cup of the hot strong brew that was sitting there. He settled down on the couch and waited.

Nikita sighed as she finished up her last task for the day. All she wanted now was a hot bath and a good long sleep. She’d been up for almost twenty four hours now and she was exhausted. Walter was right. She needed a second, but she had been honest. No one here was qualified, nor did she trust anyone other than the old man.

‘Michael… oh Michael’ she lamented inwardly. ‘Things would be different if you were here my love. You’re the only one I can trust.’

As she cleared her desk for the day, she absently began to softly sing a song by Amanda Marshall that she’d just purchased recently. She had always had an exceptional memory and the cd had become an instant favourite . It reminded her of Michael, and even though it brought tears to her eyes because she knew she’d never see him again, it also oddly comforted her.

When this trouble passes over
You and I will walk away
Knowing that our love survived
Another test of faith
You and I can walk on water
The river rises, we rise above
It may not look that way right now
But trust me, baby...this is love

Tests… always tests. Section, or rather Madeleine had been ruthless with them. Nikita sighed, as her regrets weighed heavily on her mind. Why was it that only now she knew that she had always trusted him on some level? Michael hadn’t shown his love in ways the outside world would understand, but it had been flawlessly tailored for theirs. And because she returned that love, and an old man she barely knew, she was trapped in this Hell and he had been the one to walk away.

‘Oh Michael… I love you! I hope you’re happy wherever you are!’ she thought miserably.

With another heart-felt sigh, and desperately needing the distraction, Nikita allowed her tired mind to continue through the lyrics.

I look at this mountain
So many heartaches wide
And I can't help but wonder
Where's the other side
I've got to be honest
I've got my doubts
These tears are asking me
What's this got to do with love?
Baby, I'll tell you something
To help us through this long, dark night

This song, she realized ironically, was a perfect description of their relationship. While she and Michael hadn’t exactly walked on water, together they had ‘rose above’ and performed at a level that no other operatives had before or since. They had done it for each other….weathering many ‘mountains’ and heartaches; always wondering what was on the other side. Doubts had been plentiful too; as had tears. It was only now that she knew she’d never see her love again, that she admitted to herself that she had caused more than a few of the mountains they’d overcome by her childish insistence that there was black and white in their world. It was only now that she was in charge of Section that she could honestly admit that Madeleine had been right about things really being ‘shades of grey.’

Nikita smiled ironically at that thought as she paused in the corridor. The song brought her love so strongly to her mind that it was as if she could hear his voice whispering the chorus in her ear. She supposed she deserved this torture after doubting his devotion for so long. However, that didn’t stop the irony from hurting her deeply. Swallowing once more, tears ran down her face as she shut her eyes and remembered the next lyrics of the song.

Love isn't easy
I'm torn; I confess
When a heart is uncertain
It's bound to second guess

And she was torn. Her love was gone and although she wanted his happiness, she was miserable knowing that if he found it, it wouldn’t be with her.

Suddenly a slight noise broke her reverie. Instantly she shed her maudlin emotions and became the operative that Michael had molded. Drawing her gun, Nikita listened intently; finally realizing that the song she’d been agonizing over was floating softly through the air and coming from her quarters.

‘What’s going on?’ she wondered in alarm as she stealthily crept down the corridor and deftly swiped her entrance card on the face of the security lock. ‘Are my quarters compromised?’

Stealthily, she crept down the corridor deftly swiping her entrance card on the security lock and boldly advancing into her quarters.

The door opened to dimmed lighting and Nikita’s eyes had a little difficulty adjusting. Suddenly she heard a slight noise, and she tensed, expecting gunfire and fully expecting to have to drop and roll.

“Kita… it’s me.” A soft voice said.

“Michael?” she responded in stunned disbelief. “Why are you here?”

“I missed you.” Michael said quietly as he set his now empty coffee cup down and rose from the couch, approaching her.

“Where’s Adam?” Nikita asked in a daze as she lowered her gun and put the safety back on.

“Asleep in the other bedroom.” Michael replied.

“But how? Why?” Nikita asked in confusion.

“I came back for you.” Michael lovingly said as he looked into her confused, ice blue eyes. Cautiously, he raised his hand to gently stroke her tear-stained, velvet cheek; returning the words that had always meant so much to him.

‘Walter’s right,’ Michael thought as his concerned green eyes surveyed the woman he adored. ‘She’s burnt out. She’s lost weight and she’s got almost black bruises under her eyes.’

“How did you get in here?” Nikita stammered as she stared in disbelief at the vision in front of her. “You can’t stay Michael… Oversight will kill you!”

“Walter helped me come in.” Michael admitted. “And you can handle Oversight.”

“I wanted you to be free.” Nikita said as fresh tears filled her eyes.

“I want to be with you.” Michael said firmly as he held those watery pools captive. “Nothing else matters.”

“Adam.” Nikita said tersely. “You can’t mean to expose him to Section!”

“He’s safer in here with us.” Michael objected. “Section is a tool, Nikita. With Wolfe gone and you in charge, it won’t be the same place. We’ll teach Adam that the world needs Section and he’ll come to understand what evil is… and that good men and women need to constantly try to stop it.”

“Are you sure?” Nikita asked tersely.

Michael nodded and pulled her to him, sighing as he felt her melt into him in agreement.

“I’m sure of only one other thing.” Michael whispered in her ear.

“What?” Nikita asked curiously as she leaned back in his arms to study his handsome face.

“Of how much I love you.” he admitted with a sigh.

“Oh Michael! I love you too.” Nikita whispered as she began peppering his face with soft kisses.

“I meant what I said after you were gelmanized Kita… I can’t live without you.” Michael whispered, groaning softly in response to her ministrations. “Please don’t ask me to.”

In the background, the cd droned on….

This love won't forsake us
So dry your tears I promise you
I'm here for you baby
There's nothing I want more

“But you were free Michael.” Nikita responded.

“Kita… remember what you told me when I found you after those six months? Living without you isn’t freedom my love. It’s far more of a hell than Section could ever be. Now don’t ask me to leave you again, unless you don’t want me here.” Michael said seriously.

“I want you here, Michael… oh God how I want you.” Nikita moaned and then she kissed him.

Michael moaned in response and surrendered completely.

Our day is coming
And we'll reach that peaceful shore
One more mountain
Hey...so what
Trust me baby...this is love.


*No infringement is meant by borrowing the lyrics of this song for this story. It is meant to enhance the story and the author will in no way profit by it.

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A Limerick Love StoryDianeSaturday, January 13, 08:54:05am

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