Nikita looked around the smokey, dimly lit bar. She hadn't been here before...but it seemed so...so familiar.

Yet it seemed like everywhere was familiar. She had been so many places with the Section. If she hadn't been to that particular place, she's been to one like it at some time.

And every time she was reminded of the missions she's been on, a deep hurt pained her heart, making her breathing shallow.

She told herself that it didn't matter anymore. Nothing about Section mattered. She had escaped, but this time she'd never go back. Not for anything.

She made her way through the seats and dancing, heading towards the bartender in front when, right in the middle of the dance floor, she stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes growing wide in her shock. For there, on a barstool acting ever so casual, was Michael. Not only Michael, but what must be another recruit, his arm around her as they laughed together.

She noted the matching wedding rings, one that used to be worn on her own finger.

"What are the chances. Really..." She muttered, not sure what to do. Her legs were leadened. She had accomplished so much in her life, had survived the worst of odds, yet she couldn't seem to make it through this. ...Make it through seeing Michael again.

Unwillingly, her mind whirled back to the day she left. Michael had known. She hadn't been kind enough to let him in on her plans, but he knew her too well and had guessed correctly.

"Kita..." He whispered, his hand gently against her cheek. "Don't do this. It's too risky. You know they'll find you...and they wont forgive you this time. There is no Jurgen here to protect you..."

At the mention of Jurgen, she looked up at him sharply, a hint of pain flashing in her eyes before she hid it again.

He continued as if he didn't see it. "...and they don't believe me when it comes to you. They can't trust me."

"I wont get caught. Not this time."

"You're so sure?" His voice was heart breaking. His eyes, for the first time, held no blank stare. Instead, he pleaded with them. Pleaded to keep her there. "Do you remember who you work for?"

She shook her head. " I don't work for the Section anymore. Michael, don't you understand? I can't do this anymore. Anything is better than this."

"Anything?" He challenged.

But she just nodded and walked away. Yes, anything...

But her mind had been focused on cancellation, not losing the one person she knew how to talk to...how to be with.

She had moved on. Not from him, but moved in all that she could in every other way. Yet this whole time...she always pictured Michael mourning for her. Still in love with her. And now...she saw that he had moved on too.

And that hurt was most unexpected.

She had wanted freedom again so badly, another chance to be 'normal' that she had given him up without a thought. She gave him up when she had lo-

A joyous laugh stopped Nikita's thoughts. Laughter...from the woman in Michael's arms. With an arched eyebrow, she noticed Michael was laughing too. She thought back. Had he ever laughed with her? Not that she remembered.

A hand went over her stomach as jealousy overwhelmed her. She told herself that it was an act - after all, how many times had she and Michael acted as a married couple before? He and his partner were probably just that - yet it didn't ease the jealousy any less.

And then a dreadful thought occurred to her. What would of happened if she stayed in Section? It wouldn't have been much of a life, but it would have been a life with Michael. Operations never would have allowed it openly, but a love on the outside...they could have made it work. The look in Michael's eyes when she left told her he was willing to try if only she would be.

It could have worked...if only, if only.

She sighed, turning to leave as Michael put a hand to his ear and replied to whoever was on the receiving end tonight. He and his partner both got up, guns under their jackets as they hurried to their destined place. As she walked out, she saw Birkoff near the exit, a laptop before him as his fingers flew over the keys. He was too busy to notice her, but just in case, she put her hat over the side of her face and hurried out.

No matter how much her heart begged her to speak with them once again, she knew she'd never be able to leave alive if she did.

As she walked to her car, she wondered if Operations and Madeline hadn't been right all along. She no longer belonged to this world among innocents. She had seen too much to go back. There was no life to go back to anymore. Not a real life. But then again, what kind of life was there left for her either way? She had made her decision...now all she had to do was live with it.

X..K.S..X