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Guilt wracked his mind as he paced back and forth in his living room. Nikita had come to him in desperation. His imagination forced him to think of what she must have done in Section. Somehow she had found out that she was slowly being canceled, purposely being thrown in to the line of fire.

She must have gotten scared and went to Birkoff to beg for help. She wouldn't run away, but that didn't mean she wanted to die. From there, they must have tricked Fererria in to somehow getting down to level two and opening his off limits file to find out where he lived. She had gone through so much to track him down and get to him. She indeed had been desperate - to get to the one person she thought would get her through, for he wouldn't betray her. That he would be her one hope and savior in her greatest time of trial. And then she came to the door, saw a woman answer. Her first instinct had been that Section must have made a mistake. She doubted Section, an organization that survived on it's true facts, before she'd doubt him. Doubted that he'd be living with a woman in secret.

The look on her face when she realized that he was married would be one that he'd never be able to erase from his memory. It was the look of ultimate betrayal, confusion beyond comprehension. And to make it worse, he had to smile and laugh and act as if everything was just fine. All while he watched her world crumble behind her blue eyes.

She was dying from Section, and now her belief in anything and everything was dying as well.

And now, after he had put his own life on the line to threaten Madeline with an ultimatum to call off the suicide mission, and after making sure Nikita was once again alive and safe, he could focus on her emotional walls. He had done wrong. He knew this from the beginning. But he hadn't stopped. Hell, he couldn't stop. It was true that he had to romance most new female operatives when they came in to Section, but with Nikita, he didn't have to be ordered. She had been different, and he had fallen in love with her originality and difference that had never faded through the hard years. And of course, it was because of her difference, her belief in humanity, that she had continued to get in to trouble with Operations many times, causing him to have to protect and rescue her time and time again. Sometimes he swore that she was the bane of his existence, but in the end he knew that she was really his everything.

How strange, how his life worked. For he had more than one. He had his Section life, and then he had his mission life with his wife and son. And then he had another - his real life. His life, when he really felt alive, with Nikita. He had nearly gone insane when she had defied him after he had pleaded her to run. He had done everything, tried his every skill to control her and to change her mind through the whole ordeal. But never had he been able to persuade her to do anything once he mind was set. And because she refused, he knew she was a dead woman walking. And this nearly killed him in turn.

Operations had given him mandatory downtime to keep him from her. He should have fought it. But he hadn't. He couldn't. One day they had refused for him to come in, and the doors no longer opened for him. He could only rely on Birkoff and Walter.

But never had he suspected those two would fail her security enough to drive her to him. Was their connection that strong? Did she really value him that much? Depend on him and only him in her time of need? Feel more secure with him than anyone?

Part of his heart warmed from the thought, the other froze over. If that was what she felt, it certainly wasn't any longer. Never again would she feel secure in his gaze, trusting his touch. How easy it was to flare her temper and cause her grudges - she'd never get over this. She'd hate him always, for sure.

Should he try to make it up to her? Or would getting her on his good side again only hurt her worse? Now knowing that she wanted something that she couldn't have. Knowing that there was now a higher being that commanded their love to cease.

It was a first for him, being completely helpless and not knowing how to fix his situation. Being on the field for over nine years, being a level five operative and a Valentine Op still couldn't help him on this one. And not many in the world could understand his predicament.

Running his hand through his newly cut hair that he had yet to get used to, he tried to come up with something, anything he could build upon, when his cell phone rang.

"Are you alone?" It was Madeline's voice on the line.


"Good. I need you to do something immediately."

"And that is?"

"Get Elena to invite Nikita to live with you for a few days while she's in town."

Michael froze in mid stride, his green eyes widening. However this would come out, he was willing to bet it wasn't going to help win back Nikita's good graces.

"Will do." He choked out, guilt flooding him anew.