Title: Keeping the Watch

Warnings: Overwhelming cuteness? Heh. It's G-rated and spoiler-free.

Disclaimer: It isn't mine, but I wish it was!

Notes: This is largely inspired by some moments in the last two episodes, but there's no specific reference. I just figured I'd write Michael some downtime. Enjoy!

Spies spend most of their time distrusting everyone they come into contact with; it's the nature of the job to be suspicious because to do anything else could result in a significant body count that they could be a part of.

At some point, though, they all have to trust somebody. If there's no one who'll keep them safe while their guard's down, then they can never let it down, and they can never be safe. And then they'll break.

"You know, you should really see a doctor," Fiona remarks, just as Michael was getting used to the silence.

He lifts his head and looks at her from the passenger seat of her car. "I'm fine, Fi."

Sure, his definition of 'fine' has always been a creatively broad one- it usually applies if he hasn't been shot- but she doesn't argue about it. This is all part of the routine for them; they finish a job, she tells him he's in bad shape, he denies it, she brings him home.

What makes her invaluable is that, once she's gotten him home, she stays. It matters more to him than her ability to provide tactical support, her helpful variety of contacts, or the way she can placate his mother- though that's a close second. She's the one he trusts to be there after the job, the only one he'll allow to take care of him.

"Did you break anything?" she asks.

He shakes his head, and regrets it immediately when a twinge of pain lances down his spine. Yeah, it's all just bruises, lacerations, and pulled muscles this time; that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

Fiona parks her car in his driveway with a curt, "Don't move." She gets out, goes around to his door, and opens it.

"Fi, I can walk on my own," he protests uselessly as she helps him to his feet. There's nothing wrong with his legs, all though they do seem strangely wobbly when he tries to put his weight on them.

Fiona throws his arm over her shoulders. "Just shut up, Michael."

She gets them up the stairs and into his apartment, and dumps him rather unceremoniously onto his bed. He doesn't complain, though; it's not like he isn't grateful to sink into the soft mattress and put a pillow beneath his aching head.

He hears her moving around, and knows from his own training what she's doing- checking the premises, securing all entrances, and reloading the pistol she's wearing at the small of her back.

There's the sound of water running, footsteps, and he feels the mattress dip when she sits down beside him. He turns- slowly- to regard her, sees the bottle of painkillers and mug of water she's holding, and grimaces.

He doesn't usually medicate himself- better to rely on his own body, needing anything else is a weakness- and, as a result, a few ibuprofen work like something he should need a prescription for. He can tell Fi's going to insist, too, so he wordlessly accepts the water and downs the pills.

She arranges herself on the bed so that she's curled around him, tugging at his shoulders until he shifts his head onto her stomach. She's not a gentle woman, usually, but she's always touching him- caresses, embraces, quick touches. And this.

This is what they give each other, when they can.

They're both so used to using their bodies as a means to an end, coercing information with the right form of physical contact. It's not often either of them experiences a touch that's genuine and not designed to inflict pain.

Michael relaxes in increments, drifting on the feel of Fi's breathing beneath him and the repetitive brush of her fingers along one of his arms. He doesn't realize he's falling asleep until the sound of her voice startles him awake.


He cracks his eyes open, decides it's too much effort, and lets them slide shut again.

Fiona shakes his shoulder. "Michael. I have to tell you something."

"Yeah, Fi?" he mumbles, blindly reaching for her hand to keep her from shaking him anymore. It sets off all the aches in his body when she does that.

She laces her fingers through his and brings them to her lips. "It was a good thing you did today."

And it's good to have that reassurance. Spies almost never get it, on account of the obsession in the business with 'need to know.' Michael allows himself a brief smile to let Fiona know he heard her.

He's already dozing off again, and this time he can feel it. If he needed to, he could wake himself back up, down a few cups of coffee, and get back to work; spies have to be able to push past what their bodies think the limits are if they're going to get anything done. But, right now, he doesn't need to.

A dozen thugs from the Russian mob could break in and it's not going to wake him up. It's also not going to happen.

It's Fiona's watch. He knows she'll keep him safe.