White Bird

by Beth C

Summary: No real plot, just a short fic dealing with the death of Stephanie Knight, Michael's wife. Some anguish. I sometimes wallow in misery I think to keep these thoughts on my brain...

Rating: G for Grief. No bad words.

Disclaimer: The song "White Bird" was used in the Knight Rider series, the actual song is my a group called 'Its A Beautiful Day'. On the show it was Michael's and Stevie's (Stephanie) song. Lyrics are copyright to them. Knight Rider is copyright to Glen A. Larson. Don't sue guys.. I only borrowed them. I'll put them back when I'm done.. I promise...

Feedback: Certainly... Trekie386@aol.com. No flames, please.

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He knelt down in front of the grave, resting one knee on the green sod that no longer looked as freshly placed as the last time he had been here. He read the inscription on the headstone. Stephanie Mason Knight. White Bird must fly, fly free Stevie. It then listed the birth and death dates. He laid the two dozen red and white roses at the base of the headstone before wiping away one tear that happened to break free.

His wife. His beautiful wife. They had been married for barely a few minutes before she had been brutally murdered. She had stepped in front of a bullet that had been meant for him. He had held her in his arms while she had died, her beautiful face forever frozen in an expression of love and pain.

"Stevie," he whispered. "I miss you." He bowed his head and said a silent prayer. Finished, he stood and wiped away more tears. It had been one year exactly now since she had died.

He had gone after his wife's killer, a man known as the Falcon, also known as Kurt Rolands. The man had been a double agent, an explosives expert that had his life hidden under disguises. He had mistakenly thought that Michael had gotten a glimpse of his face and had tried multiple times to kill Michael. He only succeeded in killing Stevie, and infuriating Michael.

Now he was wasting away in prison, with multiple life sentences on his record. The Falcon would never see freedom again, every little bit of his former posh life had been stripped from him. He was living the life of the dead. No chance for parole, no chance ever to be released. Michael had stood in the courtroom the day Kurt was sentenced. He had felt no triumph, but instead a weak satisfaction that Stevie's killer had been brought to justice.

Once that was over, his anger had turned to grief. He found no solace in his day to day activities. Without Stevie, life didn't seem to be worth living. He had loved her since he had been Michael Long. She had been taken from him then, he had started his new life, knowing it would be without her. Yet fate had intervened and brought them together in a case.

They had been reunited. However, fate also had a way of taking what you loved and dropping hurdles in the path. Michael and Stevie had climbed those hurdles again and again, until finally they decided to get married. The wedding had been perfect, the kiss had sealed the union.

Then...

Then she had been taken yet again from him. This time for good. Devon had ordered him to take a few months off, to get away from the Foundation, and he had. But sitting around wallowing in his grief hadn't helped much.

He saw her everywhere he went, in every woman with long blonde hair. His heart ached and he would start crying at the strangest times. Kitt had been there, trying to help as much as possible. He had used distractions, and tried to bring Michael out of his depression. It had worked to some degree, and Michael soon returned to work at the Foundation.

He had lost his usual zest for life. He still did his job, but now his heart wasn't in it. Times that used to be filled with jokes and humor were now filled with empty silence. Kitt could sense the gap coming between them but he didn't know how to cross it, how to restore what had been lost.

Today, Michael had taken the day off. He glanced once more at the headstone then turned back to where Kitt was waiting. Michael opened the door silently and slid into the seat. It was time to go. There was nothing more to be accomplished here.

"Michael, are you alright?" Kitt asked hesitantly.

"I'll be fine, buddy." He reached down and started the car. He drove down the path to the exit of the cemetery. "I'll be just fine."

He pulled out into traffic without saying another word, the tears still trickling down his face. He absentmindedly wiped at them with the back of one hand. He drove silently for a few miles until the traffic thinned out and he could keep a steady pace without having to think about really driving.

Of all the things he ever had to deal with in his lifetime, watching the woman he loved most of all die in his arms on his wedding day had to be the hardest to live with. There were days when he found it hard to get up, days when he found it hard to eat and days when he found it hard to live.

Today was one of those days.

It would have been his first anniversary as a married man. Instead it marked the first anniversary of a widower.

"Michael, I know this is hard for you." Kitt broke into Michael's reverie. "But I've put together a little something for you, to mark this day. I hope you can accept it in the spirit with which it was meant."

Michael wiped another tear away. "Kitt, you don't have to do anything for this day."

"Michael," Kitt said softly. "I wanted too." The number two video monitor came on and the song, their song, 'White Bird' began to play.

White Bird in a golden cage
on a winter's day in the rain
White Bird in a golden cage, alone

The leaves blow cross the long black road
to the darkened sky in its rage
but the White Bird just sits in her cage alone

On the monitor was video footage of Michael and Stevie. From his first 're-meeting' of her to some still shots of her inside Kitt, laughing. Black and white shots, color shots.

White Bird must fly; she will die

The White Bird dreams of the aspen tree
with its dying leaves turning gold
but the White Bird just sits in her cage growing old

Michael pulled the car over, enraptured. More video followed, sometimes intercut with her lovely voice. "Michael, I love you."

White Bird must fly or she will die
White Bird must fly or she will die

More shots of him and Stevie on the beach running with the wind. Him and Stevie kissing in the moonlight. So many images, and lots that he had not know had been taken.

The sunsets come; the sunsets go
the clouds roll by and the earth turns old
And the young bird's eyes do always glow
And she must fly

The video wound down to the wedding with Stevie coming down the aisle dressed in white, Devon at her side. The final shot was at the end of the ceremony with him sealing his love for her with the traditional kiss. The shot held as the song faded out. Then the monitor faded too.

Michael gaped at the screen, speechless. In the five short minutes of the song, Kitt had packed his whole relationship with Stevie, including many shots he had thought were private moments. Now he was glad they had been captured. He wiped away another stray tear. "Kitt, I don't know what to say." He closed his eyes and the image of her danced beneath his lids. More tears escaped. "It was beautiful. Thank you."

"You're welcome, Michael."

Now Michael began to cry fully, the first real healing tears since her death. All his pain he had been holding back for the past year came out in shaking sobs. He had cried many times already, but this time something had broken through his tough outer shell and had touched his aching heart.

Kitt rolled up and tinted the windows to give Michael the privacy he required. No onlookers needed to see the display of a man who was deeply anguished by the loss of his wife. He spoke soothingly as possible, to let Michael know there was still a presence here, that he was willing to help. "It's going to be alright, Michael. I'm here for you."

Michael had brought both hands up and was sobbing into his open palms. "Stevie, oh Stevie. How I miss you, Stevie." His body would shake from the force of the sobs. "I couldn't save you, Stevie. Forgive me, love."

After a while the sobs began to die down, lessened to a slight shake and easy tears. Michael began to breathe evenly again, as much as was possible though a stuffed nose. He reached over as Kitt opened the glove box, and took out a handkerchief. He wiped his eyes and blew his nose.

Kitt waited patiently while Michael composed himself, taking deep calming breaths, finding his inner control and seeming to steady himself.

"How do you feel?" Kitt finally asked.

"Better. Better than I've felt in a long while." He took another slow breath. "I think that has been coming for a long time. I've been holding it inside, trying not to let her death hurt so much."

"But it did hurt."

Michael nodded. "It still hurts. She had just begun to live. Her death was senseless." His body trembled slightly at the memory. "Now that I've released that pain, I can start to live again." He licked his lips and tried to explain further. "I can live the life she would have wanted for me."

"I think I understand. Stevie would not want you to be sad and grieving."

"Exactly. But it's been so hard to start living without her."

Kitt put up a still shot of Stevie on the monitor. This time Michael didn't start to cry and a small smile formed on his lips.

"She's not gone as long as you remember her."

"I could never forget her, Kitt. Never." He reached over and pressed the sequence to lighten the windows. "Ready to go, pal?"

"I'm always ready, Michael." A pause as Michael started the car. "Where are we going?"

"Anyplace and everyplace. Nowhere and everywhere." He laughed lightly at Kitt's silence over the mental puzzle. It felt good to laugh again, even a small one. "We are going to celebrate being alive." Michael pulled back out on the road. "How do you feel about skydiving?"

"Michael! You wouldn't!" Kitt replied, clearly shocked.

The first hint of a playful glint appeared in Michael's eye. "Want to challenge me?"

"No." Kitt stated in all seriousness.

Michael laughed now, a full laugh. It did feel like a weight had been lifted off his chest. He laughed again, liking the sound of his own voice. "How about the beach then?"

"Now that sounds more realistic."

"Then the beach it is." Michael pulled the wheel hard to the right and the car spun a 180 degree turn. He then drove off in the reverse direction from his previous heading. "Kitt?"

"Yes, Michael?"

"Thank you. For being there." He smiled at the picture of Stephanie still on the monitor. "For the video too. It's a gift I'll treasure."

"I'm always here for you, Michael. As long as you need me, I'll be here. And you're welcome. I'm glad you liked it."

Michael smiled again. Yes, it felt good to be alive. He would live this day for Stevie. Life would return to normal soon enough. Now he might have the courage to face each day. He knew he was a long way from being able to think of her without tears, but he knew now that he would have Kitt's help on the roughest days.

Driving along the road towards the beach, he looked up at the sky. 'I love you, Stevie.'

He could almost here her soft voice. 'I love you too, Michael.'

White Bird must fly or she will die
White Bird must fly or she will die

Fly free, Stevie, fly free...

-end