Nothing Compares to You

Disclaimer: I own nothing of LFN

It was still before sunrise when Nikita's cell phone began to ring by her ear.

Groaning, she tried to ignore it. But then, she hadn't heard Michael's voice since late last afternoon, and even if it was to just call her in, it would be nice to hear him.

"Hello?" Her voice, husky from her deep sleep sounded.

"Josephine."

Nikita looked off guard at the cell phone in her hands. "Madeline?"

"Come in." was her even reply before her side of the line clicked off.

Nikita groaned as she closed her cell, throwing it back on the side table and begging her body to come alive. She doubted that she would have been successful after a night with very minimum sleep, yet her curiosity lead her out of bed. Why was Madeline calling? What did she want with her now? Now, that she had destroyed Nikita's whole life?

Quickly sliding on the first pair of pants she found, she hurried through changing and put her hair back before grabbing her shoes and putting them on as she hurried down the hallway.

The Paris sky was still beautiful as it started to lighten in shades. Stars were still out, but they weren't very appealing to her now. Stars meant night. And her body told her that night was solely for sleeping today.

Yet she dragged on. Once in Section, she hurried over to Birkoff. "Tell me there's an urgent mission." She begged with her eyes.

He looked at her wistfully. "No such luck. Madeline's waiting for you in her office."

She was about to walk away when she gained the courage to ask another question.

"Is Michael here yet?" She questioned in a lowered voice.

"He was called in an hour ago. Something Operations wanted to discuss with him."

"What could be so important?" She groaned, leaning on his desk.

"I don't know. But if I had to guess, I'd say it has something to do with what has been going on the last few days with you and Michael."

She rolled her eyes. Of course, what else was new? What could Madeline and Operations possibly have else to do than to try and ruin the one thing good Nikita had going?

Deciding to get it over with, she begrudgingly dragged her legs to the older woman's office.

"Come in." Madeline said, her tone now more gentle then when on the cell.

"What is this for?" Nikita was tired. All she wanted was to hear whatever she had to and be on her way.

"I'm sure you know by now that Michael has been returned to his full section status."

Nikita nodded. "Yes."

"He came and said it was finally over between the two of you. I know how difficult this transaction must have been, but you did it on behalf of the Section's, as well as yours and Michael's safety. And therefore, I thank you."

Nikita just stared at the woman before her. Fury welled in her chest, making her want to get it out, yet she forced it down.

"This is what you called me in for at this ungodly time of day?" No politeness here. Madeline no longer deserved it.

"Yes. That, and I thought I'd let you know that you and Michael will both be watched closely for a while to make sure there is nothing going on. We want the Section's integrity to remain in tact."

A look of pure disgust came over Nikita before she could hide it. What more could they do to ensure that they controlled every second of each operatives' lives?

"I understand." She finally got out.

"Good, that will be all."

Nikita was dismissed. Her legs forced her to leave quickly, before she could say anything that might lead her to immediate cancellation.

Yet now Madeline had ruined her sleep time, and she knew she couldn't go home. At the same time, she knew staying here would be near impossible - Michael was always everywhere, looking on to all the missions.

Not sure of where to go or who to talk to, she heading over to munitions to see Walter.

"Hey Sugar." Came the familiar greeting. She grinned, picking up one of the idle guns laying about.

"Heard about what happened. How you dealing?" Walter asked as he watched her.

She shrugged, this not being her favorite topic of late.

"I'm fine." She replied with a shrug. She looked over to see what Birkoff was doing, when she saw someone standing in her view. Someone who had stopped in the middle of the hallway, in mid stride, to stare at her, lost in what he was doing.

"Michael." She whispered so soft, she wondered if it as out loud.

His eyes weren't filled with the usual blankness. It was a disguise to hide the fact that he was frozen as his thoughts stopped upon his body and focused on something very different.

"Michael!" A new operative called out, hurrying towards him. "Michael, I was hoping you could help me with something quick."

Michael's gaze was forced to break. "Of course." He replied softly, as if lost. Nikita watched him leave with a look of remorse upon her face.

"Sugar?" Walter asked in a curious voice, missing what had just happened.

She slammed down the gun and bolted out, heading quickly to the elevators that would lead her home.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

"Is there a mission this time?" Nikita asked Birkoff after he called her in.

"Mission just left. You weren't scheduled on it. Michael was though."

"So let me guess...Madeline?"

Birkoff offered her a look of genuine pity. "Afraid so."

"Birkoff, is Nikita here yet?" Madeline's voice came through his speaker.

"Speak of the devil..literally..." Nikita muttered, then leaned over to the intercom.

"Just arrived. On my way." She replied, then patted Birkoff's shoulder and walked purposely as slow as she could to the office.

"I noticed that your performance has been slipping of late." Were the first words of greeting as Nikita entered. Madeline hadn't even turned around from her typing before saying so.

Nikita bit the inside of her lip. Whenever a conversation with anyone, let alone Madeline, started out with those words, it never was a good thing.

Not knowing how to reply to this, she came in the room further, taking a seat nearby.

"I've discussed this with Operations, and we agreed that perhaps the strain of everything happening lately is affecting you. Therefore, we're going to give you a two week break as a reward for all you went through and respecting your orders. Go out and have a little fun. The time is yours. But use your off time wisely.

Recover from whatever is plaguing you, and come back ready for work." Though her voice remained calm and smooth, the ending of her sentence sounded as a fatal warning.

Nodding, Nikita stood back up. "Is that all?"

"You may go."

Relieved, Nikita tried her best not to run out of the frightening office. Before going home though, she swung in to munitions. "Hey Walter?" She called, not seeing him.

"Yeah?" Came his reply from the back.

"What does it mean when Operations and Madeline willingly give you a two week break? I've never known them to give anything from the goodness of their hearts."

She said in deep concern, walking lazily to the table and fingered some of the objects there.

When she didn't hear a reply, she looked over towards where his voice had come from before. But instead of seeing his face, she saw someone entirely different...

Michael. No, not just Michael. Michael, with a worried look swimming in his wide green eyes.

A sharp ache shot through her heart. How do you react to seeing the man that you love so dearly, but has been ripped away from you? She hadn't talked to him since that night he had come to her door, vowing that their relationship wasn't over. Yet they kept their distance - so much distance in fact, that it seemed like it really was over.

He walked over to her in even, yet rushed strides. "Who gave you that order?

"Madeline." She said softly, not meeting his eyes.

"Did she say why?"

"For my good work and obeying so well." She said with an attempt at a laugh that camp out more like a sob. "You know, about sabotaging our relationship?"

He nodded. "Then it could mean nothing. Or it means they want something with me that they don't want you interfering with."

"You say that so calmly...like it could possibly be a good thing!"

He lifted her chin to meet her eyes. "I'll handle it."

Usually those words only infuriated her - as if he was always so sure that he could handle everything, even without her, but now...there was comfort in his voice. He really would take care of it.

Sighing, she nodded, sticking out her chin for a confident air, then turned and walked away. Madeline had said to go have a little fun. Well...why not? She certainly worked hard enough over the years to deserve it.

XxXxXxXxX

Nikita walked in to her apartment, slipping her purse off her shoulder and plopping on to the counter. Grabbing a pen, she crossed another day off of her calender. Nine days without having to worry about Section. Nine days without a thing to do. She thought back to when she had known Adrian - had it ever occurred to her that she was quite hobby-less before Adrian had brought it up?

Even now, her hobbies were limited, though not completely by choice. It was kind of hard trying to take cooking and pottery classes while being aware that the cell phone would be ringing for Josephine at any moment? Arranging flowers was useless - they'd all die before she'd get home again. Owning a pet was out of the question. She never had quite a knack for drawings, or the attention span for musical instruments. What else was there?

Nikita fell lazily on to the sofa, a soft smile slowly spreading upon her lips as she remembered what her biggest, and yes only, hobby used to be - thinking of Michael. Thinking about how she could crack through his hard exterior to be with a side that most would never believe he had. Or thinking about how wonderful it was to drink wine with him, to see his beautiful smile and listen to his flowing words that were tinted with his french accent.

But Madeline and Operations had seen that her only hobby crushed. And in turn, her heart crushed as well.

There was absolutely nothing to fill her days off with anymore. She went out at nights, just to leave where ever she was after only a few minutes and head home. Nothing was the same. Life had been drained out of her. There was a time, she remembered, that going out alone for coffee or to fancy restaurants was just fine, and suited her well. After all, as long as she wasn't doing something involving Section, she could be anywhere by herself and not mind.How had so much changed without her even noticing? Her life when she was new to section had slipped away from her - she felt now as if she had really grown up and matured. Well, that's what Section will do to you. But they had help. As always, they had help.

Michael.

Just one name. But it meant so much to her. He meant so much. But just as Section had used him to woo her in to their many traps, they had stripped him away from her again. And left her drained. Drained of the very life that used to keep her going day after day. How could she live life when there was nothing to live for? Why kill yourself to slave in Section if you value and live for nothing?

Getting up, Nikita walked over to her laptop. Writing always seemed to help, even if she had to delete her entry right after she was finished. Yet, as her fingers hoovered over the keyboard, she could find no words to type. It was too late - she had cried all of the pent up words down her cheeks. Now all that was left was an empty, dull, slow bleeding void in her heart that continued to throb, a reminder constantly of all the things she had lost and sacrificed just to stay alive.

Shaking her head, drowning in self pity, she finally found words to type.

Michael...Nothing compares to you.

Not bothering to delete this entry, she pushed back her chair and poured herself the last bit of red wine that had been left over from one of Michael's late night dinners, then headed up to her bed to fill the rest of her day with sleep. Sleep was good...it let her dream of how things used to be, fantasies of how they could. They couldn't hurt her anymore - she learned that hoping was useless.

The sweet wine took over. With her head heavy, she laid down and fell asleep, Michael's face returning to her. And whether she realized it or not, her heart would start to lighten, floating on a cloud of hope that made all the dreams sweeter. Even if that cloud would later only bring rain upon her, it kept her going, as it always had, when times got rough.

XxENDxX