He wished it could all be true...

Nikita, wrapped around his body, breathing peacefully. Sleeping like a cat in its favorite spot, almost purring with delight, but never actually waking up.

He loved that she could be so relaxed with him. Despite the doubt in her eyes that was always - always - there when she talked to him, her body seemed to forget all his betrayals now and was clinging to him instinctively.

It was awkward at first. He could tell she was nervous climbing the stairs behind him and then staring at the bed. One old creaking bed with blankets much too thin to promise any real warmth.

So she ventured on, lacerating the pregnant silence between them, finally asking the one thing they had been both thinking about since they stepped inside this house. Almost begging him...

God, how he hated to reject her! To see all of her old fears clouding her face... Eyes getting heavy with all of those tears for the times he had withdrawn before.

No. It's not like that. Not tonight.

She did not see the change that had been building in him for a while now, and he had to find a way to show her. If only words were adequate enough...

Michael lied down beside her and took a deep sigh. They were still not quite looking at each other, both staring up at the ceiling. The shadows of their last spoken words were hanging in the air...

- We could live today like it's our last...

- It very well could be.

They could die tomorrow. It was very much the harsh reality of their every day life. What Michael was beginning to realize was that he could not die - that he could not let her die - without letting her know first...

- 'Kita...

He tentatively took her hand that was lying limply on the covers. She almost jerked it out, partly disbelieving, partly furious, and turned her head to look at him. His serious, earnest look pinned her there for a second, which was all he needed.

- I want so much more with you, - he whispered.

And then he took her hand and placed it on his chest, right across his heart.

The events of the day flew before her eyes, forming an idyllic caleidoscope. Michael cooking dinner, speaking in full sentences, even smiling... Old records creaking with a soft French song... Wood slowly simmering in the fire... Lying there on the couch with her head on his lap, as if it was the most natural thing in the world... And his hand on her shoulder spreading more warmth into her body than a shabby blanket that he so gracefully covered her with...

It must be beautiful here in the summer...

It is beautiful here with you, Michael, any time of the year, for any number of days and nights that fate grants us with. Mission or no mission.

Nikita blinked back tears and gave a sigh of relief. This time it wasn't a game of push-and-pull between them. They were on an entirely new territory... They were home together.

Michael started to slowly caress her fingers with his own, still looking at her intensely, making sure that she got his meaning. Before she had time to make any conscious decision, her body acted of its own accord and curled itself to his side.

Michael's breath snagged because of this abrupt proximity. He knew how quickly he could be aroused by her, still he couldn't quite pass the opportunity to hold her close. After all, he had almost never done this before... Only in extreme pain, when he was about to lose her. That time right before she escaped from Section... And then that other time when he was sure they would cancel her because of Adrian...

But now he was not holding her in his arms as a good-bye. He wanted to tell her how much he had enjoyed today - cooking for her, talking to her, simply being around her. He wanted to tell her that it had been his dream too. Since the first time he saw her really... But he had not let himself dream about it. Not until recently.

He had been such a fool. He tried to distance himself from her wearing the same stone-cold face and piercing her with his usual blank stare. He had been manipulating her much like always, had even let Section turn her into a whore. Totally ungrateful for all of her kindness after he had lost Adam... Totally undeserving her forgiveness for having been married to another woman all this time...

And then she kissed him.

Just a swift tender brush of her lips.

And all of his walls crumbled down. Something blossomed in his heart. Something he had been denying for all these years.

He could be good to her. If only sometimes - but it still mattered.

'That's the kindest thing you've ever done for me'. This one simple sentence sent his mind in a totally different direction it had been going before. Her vulnerable blue eyes were still lighting the road to his salvation...

Since that day he could no longer deny it, could no longer hide behind his Section's mask.

He wanted her. As fiercely as ever. Not just her body, but all of her.

He gently put her chin up a little to look her in the eyes.

She did not need any explanations. Not right now.

He pressed his lips to hers and lingered there, not quite moving, but simply breathing her in. Their bodies seemed to freeze in space and time - with only their hearts rushing for their mutual dream, thoughts entwining into a reality which - for other people - would be downright boring.

He wanted to see her in the morning with her hair dishevelled and her clothes crumpled. He wanted to make hot coffee for her and watch her sip it cautiously, blowing on the surface. He wanted to walk with her in the surrounding woods, hand in hand, and then return home to make love to her in this same old bed.

Ni-ki-ta...

Three syllables binding his heart - not with despair now - but with climbing hope.

He had to leave now. Having spent this wonderful day and this scary - but heart-melting - night with her. He had to leave their small - almost imaginary - home.

But he will take it with him. He will remember. And maybe one day they are going to find it again. Together.