Title: Faithfully Yours

Author: MichelleBA

Summary: The lives of Tony Almeida and Michelle Dessler, together and apart, through the good and bad.

Disclaimer: I do not own Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler or any of the other mentioned "24" characters or things. (Lyrics by Gary Allan)

~ Chapter 127 ~

"Tony. No."

He dropped his arms and put his hands on his hips shaking his head and scratching his face with a lopsided smile "Do you really think you are in any condition to fight me?" he said indicating to her ankle.

"I could take you with my arms tied behind my back" she rolled her eyes, succeed in keeping her face straight.

"Ok ok. Now I'm gonna pretend like that didn't hurt and carry you inside now"

She huffed as he lifted her out of the car, secretly thinking it was sweet, letting go and finally smiling into his chest as they neared the house.

She couldn't help but kiss the little chest hair peeking out from his t-shirt. He beamed down at her as shifted her weight to one arm and unlocked and opened the front door.

(A few hours later)

The doorbell rang and Tony untangled himself from her then reluctantly pulled himself off the couch, running his fingers through his hair wondering who it could be.

"Hey" Bill smiled "Sorry to bother you guys, but Michelle just needs to sign these forms to be released from her last week of work"

"Ok" Tony squinted at the papers "Come on in"

Bill followed Tony inside, their home was gorgeous and he was still amazed that Michelle had settled for a little apartment after living here. He was also surprised that they had just left it sitting here empty and she had never brought him here… as the walked through the foyer and he saw the big pictures of them in different places with huge smiles on their face, he realized exactly why.

They walked into the living room and he spotted her passed out on the couch with her arms stretched in one direction, like she had been holding something…or more likely someone. He had never seen her so relaxed. She was awake, running, directing… but now she was laying here completely defenseless and peaceful. This was a sight to see.

Tony walked over and rubbed her arm.

"No, you know what? Don't wake her, she barely ever sleeps" Bill said quickly.

Tony had his back to Bill, a mischievous smile crept across his lips "Yea well that's her own fault, she has no problem falling asleep" he nudged her again "She's also the deepest sleeper ever, but I know how to get her up" he shook her shoulder gently.

After a moment Michelle was still fast asleep. "Maybe you don't," Bill chuckled.

"I do" Tony insisted "I know plenty of ways to wake her up, just none of them seem appropriate right now" he said running his fingers through her hair "Baby wake up" he said softly.

She began to roll over then stopped when she realized he wasn't lying next to her, she opened her eyes

"Bill needs you to sign a couple forms"

She blinked a few times and sat up "Oh, ok"

"Sorry to wake you, just trying to save you a trip to the office"

She blinked a few times "Yea it's okay… just drowsy from all the medication" she tried a smile but she really wasn't feeling well "How's the investigation?" she asked taking the forms.

"No leads"

She looked up "What do you mean?"

"They haven't been able to find anything"

A look Bill didn't recognize flashed across Michelle's face, Tony knew it was a flash of fear "That's absurd there is surveillance everywhere and I guarantee they weren't being as cautious as they should because they thought the whole thing was going down in flames"

"Don't worry, we haven't given up yet"

"Yet?" she echoed and shook her head. How could he be so cavalier? "Forget it"

Tony gave Bill a small smile "The meds make her cranky"

"They do not" she muttered trying to get up.

He stood and helped her up. Once she was up she pulled her hands away to prove she could walk by herself and he still smiled as he watched her struggle "So stubborn" he muttered.

"I'll give you stubborn" she called back.

Bill stood "Thanks for stopping by Bill" Tony smiled handing him the papers

"You think she's mad at me?" he asked when she was out of earshot.

"Nah" Tony assured him "I think she's frustrated that there's a situation and for once… it's not her job and she's got an injury preventing her from doing anything about it"

He nodded "You're right"

They heard the sound of a plate shattering onto the floor "Ouch… that's my queue, thanks again Bill"

He nodded and disappeared.

She was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall, staring at the plate.

"Sweetheart what's the matter?"

"Just another thing I can't do you"

"Baby you've never been able to cook" he smiled sitting next to her "What's really going on?"

She was silent for a second then she looked into his eyes "Has it hit you yet? We almost died. There are people out there who want us dead… badly enough that they are following us around plating bombs" she looked down "And I'm completely useless"

"I know you're frustrated baby, but try to relax… I'm not gonna let anything happen to you"

"Tony, I've never felt so vulnerable and disconnected, up until yesterday I had full access to top-secret information, weapons, teams and today I'm just a sitting duck with one good leg"

He kissed her head "I will keep you safe, we have a world class alarm system which we designed and we can have our own" he stopped and smiled. He stood and stretched his hands out to her. She looked up unsurely and gave him her hands.

He pulled her up into his arms "I think I have an idea that will make you feel so much better"

(Later)

"Ok so now the cake" Gina sighed "What's your favorite flavor cake?"

"I don't really have one" Corey said.

"Oh come on Core" Gina rolled her eyes.

"Well what's yours?"

She smiled guiltily "I don't have one"

"Hypocrite" he muttered and they both laughed.

"Why isn't this fun?" Gina groaned "Isn't planning our wedding supposed to be exciting?"

"Because Tony and Michelle are making us decide all this stuff on our own"

"Yea and we don't really care about what color napkins people will eat with"

"Or what entrée choices they should have"

"Or music they should hear"

Gina frowned "You know it sounds like we have to worry way too much about all those people coming"

"I don't even really care who comes, honestly" Corey said "As long as you're there" he smiled.

"I'll try to work it in to my schedule, I might be busy" she smiled.

"At least we know Tony and Michelle will be there, no work emergencies anymore"

"Yea for the first time they can relax" she nodded.

"They should throw a party" Corey concluded.

"They should get married!" Gina jumped up.

"You think they'll agree?"

"They won't get a chance to disagree, we'll throw them a surprise wedding! We will build it the way they want it and pretend like it's ours until…. BAM! This is gonna be great!"

"I know, I know and I want to do it, but are you sure they're ready?"

She stopped "Let's go find out"

"Wait what?" he asked confused.

"Let's go hang out with them and kinda… feel them out… see where they are"

"Secret research mission" he smiled

"Let's go"

(20 minutes later)

"We can totally do this Tony!" Michelle smiled widely "It everything we know how to do and we can use it to our advantage"

"I'm so glad you're on board" he laughed and opened his arms as he sat in his desk chair.

She leaned forward in her desk chair to reach for him "Are you kidding!?" she chirped as he took her hand and pulled her chair to his and pulled her into his lap "It's exactly what I've always wanted!" she ran her fingers through her hair "Our own company" she said "Protecting people, spending all my days with you, working with you without having to answer to anyone, no bosses to regulate our work relationship, no dangerous field missions, no unwanted business trips"

He smiled mischievously "That's right, we can go on trips together, we can vacation whenever we want, I can even do this at work" he pulled her closer into his lap.

"I can do this at work" she leaned down and kissed him

"Wanna see what I can do?" he smiled against her mouth.

(Meanwhile)

"Hello?" Gina called

"Tony?" Corey called.

"Stop" Gina grabbed his arm "Listen"

Corey smiled at the sounds coming from upstairs "Oh I have a feeling they are getting along quite well"

"She should be resting" Gina sighed disapprovingly.

"I have a feeling she's not using her ankle right now" Corey smirked.

"Whatever" she rolled her eyes "Let them have their fun, we have a wedding to plan"

(Later)

Tony opened his eyes to Michelle wrapped in his arms but staring at the ceiling

"What's on your mind baby?" he asked softly.

"Do you really think we can do this?" she asked "Our own company"

"I know we can" he assured her "I think that together, the two of us can do anything" he smiled and she read his mind.

"You know this is so surreal being here like this with you" she looked over at him and scooted her head toward his so their noses were touching "Thinking, dreaming, planning of our future" she smiled at how the words sounded.

"Forever sounds awfully short with you" he snuggled closer to her "I wanna do so many things with you"

"We will do them all" she smiled, then her smile sunk "Well as soon as this blows over"

"I'm not sure it's that simple considering they don't even have any leads"

"Throughout my career I saw children put in danger by their parents for no good reason… I don't want to have children when people who want us dead could be following us at any time"

"Look, we never know what tomorrow will bring and you know that I will die to make sure any children we have stay safe, but how about this" he brushed a curl out of her face "how about we meet with Chloe and set up an escape plan… like what Jack is doing… except we will have it all planned, we can have a random little house in the middle of nowhere ready under our fake names and a plan of escape if we ever feel something is up… ok? We will be able to disappear immediately if we ever think something's wrong"

She nodded "I like that idea"

"Because we need to be able to live our life, so many things have held us back… CTU, terrorists, fear, prison, heartbreak, separation… in the past we have let these things get in the way, but now… can't you see? None of it is worth it. All that matters is this"

Lately I've been on the road more than I've been home
All this leavin' her alone is killin' me
And holdin' her right now has got me thinkin' more and more
This is right where I need to be

Where when I hear her I can see her
I can smell her sweet perfume
I can feel her skin against me when I sleep
Where I won't miss her I can kiss her
Anytime that I want to
Yeah that's right where I need to be
Yeah that's right where I need to be

"You're right" she agreed softly.

"We deserve some happiness" he said stroking her face.

She nodded and smiled thinking back to his earlier statement "Because forever with you… is too short"