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He stared at her silent, so calm form sitting in the comfort of the sofa. She seemed so poised...why had he never noticed how great she could be at masking her emotions?

If he looked close enough, he'd see that glimmer in her eyes were those emotions were hidden until they could be released. But he didn't want to look close. Because he knew exactly what he'd find there.

The look of pure anguish. Desperate pain. Overwhelming confusion. Undeniable anger.

The root of it all...was him. She was going through her silent hell, only because of him.

Yes, she was a vert good actress. Her emotions were carefully masked. But he knew better. He saw past her serene facade. He knew he was slowly destroying her. And it ripped him up inside.
His chest felt tight as he breathed faster, shallower. He hated what he had done. He was succumbed to endless grief. Had he ever felt like more of a monster than now?

It was one thing to murder terrorists who roam the planet, looking for anyone they can kill.
It was another to hurt a woman who was innocent. Who had gone through so much hell already. Who had turned to him. Who thought she had only him.

She was so full of life. So hopeful. Her desire for life and everyone in it was inspiring and awing, when placed in such a cruel place. She was beautiful and innocent and already so pained.

He had just made it worse. So much worse. And all the thoughts that he imagined were going through her head tortured his heart.

"Here's the tea." The soft, sweet voice of Elena broke in to his thoughts, placing warm cup in his hands, then in their guest's.
Nikita managed a brief smile and a gruff thank you, before retreating as far as she could in to her thoughts. Each moment was more unbearable. Michael felt like he was suffocating and was sure Nikita felt likewise.

The face she had made when she realized how betrayed she had been was something that Michael would never forget. He'd never forgive himself for that. Not for harming her in such a personal, private way. She couldn't even react to her pain. She couldn't scream at him or throw well aimed punches. Instead, she could only sit there and wait it out.

She had so much on her mind. Her very life was at stake. Her life inside and out of Section was shattering around her. Her heart was crumbling inside, that much he could see visibly.

He went to take a sip of tea for his dry mouth when he realized it was already gone. He must have chugged it down while he was absorbed in his thoughts.

Glancing at Nikita, it seemed like she was trying to down her drink just as fast. She needed to get out of here before she couldn't hold up her masked emotions. Before she broke down.

He had made every secret he had available to her. As much as he could. This one was his biggest. This one he had kept to himself. And this was his downfall. In her eyes, and in his. Where she was concerned and where his conscience was.

He glanced over at his wife. His wife. God, he was shocked Nikita was still holding up. He was so disgusted with himself, he didn't know how she could take it.

Section had entwined he and Elena. A woman so innocent and sweet, yet not a woman he could ever attach his full range of hidden emotions to. Of course he loved her, but not in the way he should love a wife. It wasn't a love that would make him wither away and die if she was ever gone.

Just the thought of Nikita hurting from him was enough to make him do just that.

There were few times when he hated Section more than at this moment. The death of his first baby boy. The death of the baby's mother, Simone. And now this.

What was worse? That he had been secretly married all this time and Section wouldn't allow him to tell Nikita, or that he had deceived and manipulated her feelings anyway? When he knew what the result would be?

He knew what was worse. It continued to burrow holes in to his heart.

He had never meant to hurt her. Never. He had done only what he had to. He omitted some of the truth, enforced by Section, while not being able to help falling in love. But neither of these thoughts made him feel any better in the slightest.

Nikita stood up, causing Michael's gaze to instantly shoot in her direction. "Well, it's been nice, but I really should be going. I have a place I'm looking to buy and the appointment is soon. I just wanted to stop by and say hello." She excused herself.

Elena cooed a response about how Michael's cousin must come back soon. A flash in Nikita's eyes said that she'd rather walk through the fires of hell for the rest of eternity that sit here a moment more.

She wrapped her coat around her, then tried her best to not run from the room and let Elena walk her out.

Alone in the room, Michael had time to well in his misery. Nothing was going to repair what he had done. His relationship with Nikita, one of the two only things that kept him going each day, was no longer dying - it was pronounced dead.

The top level five Section operative had never failed so completely.