If you'd asked me back then, hell if you'd asked me three years ago, I would have told you that I never wanted to go back to Miami. I'd spent years upon years putting myself into a position where it was like Florida didn't even exist and that all the memories there were just figments of yet another cover identity. Sure, it's hard to erase the scars of the past, but I tried my damnedest to make sure that that's all they were. So imagine my surprise when I'm sitting in a holding cell in some "document processing center" in some country with the best tangerines, reading through a lengthy intelligence report, and all I can think about is how to get back to Miami. It was distracting, to say the least, and almost frightening. I'd spent my entire career officially being nowhere, with no past and no ties, and now all I could think about was getting back to Fiona, to my mother, to Sam and my clients and my life. And I had no illusions or fantasies that that was going to happen any time soon.

I'd dealt with Victor and Carla and saw how they operated under Management's thumb, so I had no reason to believe that Vaughn would be any different. I figured that after we got back from Hart's untimely death, he'd have another little mission for me to risk my life for. He'd asked me how it felt to be out of Miami, and my instinct was that I was overjoyed. But the truth was, I wasn't. I was pretty sure that the feeling in the pit of my stomach was what homesickness felt like – I'd heard about it often enough from the men in my unit during my first tour of duty.

So as I walked away from Vaughn towards the car that was going to take me back to my mother, I once again couldn't catalogue all the emotions that were roiling through me. Relief, anticipation, confusion, hope; they were all there and vying for attention. Most of all, I wanted to get back to the semblance of normal that I had cultivated since being burned. I had spent over a month thinking it was never going to happen, had spent so much time tense and on edge, looking for any opportunity to go home. To be doing just that without having to shoot my way out and beat a tactical retreat with the hounds of Hell nipping at my heels? To say it was a little unsettling was a major understatement.

Life used to be so simple. I did what I had to because it was what needed to be done – there were no ulterior motives, no reason to look back at what I was doing and how it affected the people around me. If I broke the law, it was as a means to an end. If I worked with someone who wasn't an upstanding citizen, then so be it. That was all. Now? Now I had no idea what to think and how to react to all of this. I had people that I could trust, people that I wanted to be around. People that I needed to tell me that what I was doing was the right thing for the right reasons. I needed the reassurance that I hadn't expected to be given since before Nate was born and the most difficult thing I had to do was color in between the lines. I knew exactly where I needed to go to get that – and it was a city that I never would have expected to hold my salvation.

When I finally made it home, I didn't know what to expect and I knew going in that I wouldn't have any way of predicting that. I had every conversation I'd ever had with Fiona trying to make me see that there was life outside of being a spy running through my head as I headed to find her. I just wanted to know that it had all been worth it.

And then she pretty much kicked me in the shins, stomped on my stomach, and tossed me in a car wondering if I'd stepped into the Twilight Zone sometime between spending ten hours in a cargo bay and getting into the Charger for the first time in over a month. Here I was needing some time with her – time to just be "Michael and Fiona" without the outside world pushing down on us – and she was focused solely on the job at hand. It threw me so completely for a loop that I couldn't get a handle on it. I knew somewhere deep inside of me that I was being petty, but I just wanted five minutes to get my feet under me before getting back to business as usual.

Then she smacked me in the face and back to reality. Her closed fist bruising my chin mattered far more than her words. The feel of her lips against mine as she finally welcomed me home grounded me, and I couldn't help how desperately I grabbed onto her, hugging her so tightly against me that it was almost as if I was trying to physically become a part of her. Trying to make it so that no one could tell where I ended and she began. It was only a second, but it was long enough to let out all of the stress and fear left over from being locked up with no understanding of why.

She was here, I was here, and despite thinking that I'd never get to see her again, I was in her arms and felt safe. Finally. This was a woman who was my past, my present, and – I was finally beginning to understand – my future. Without her, it just wasn't worth it. None of it. Not the job, not my reputation, not the safety that getting out from under this burn notice would provide for my family. Strickler had shown me that I wouldn't put getting back in over having her, but it had taken leaving Miami behind again to prove it to me completely.

All the lives I could save, all the good I could do for my country, it no longer meant anything to me if it meant that I couldn't have her with me, holding me together and keeping the pieces of my psyche from falling by the wayside. With her to come limping back to, with her to patch me back up and keep me human, there was no way I'd ever turn into Simon. I wanted to be with her, be part of her, more than I wanted to be the person I had been made to be. Suddenly, being "Fiona's Michael" was far more important than anyone else I had ever pretended to be. This version of me, if I could pull it off – it would be the real me, and she'd never again have to guess who I really was.

Utopia would be managing to figure out this whole mess that started with Simon's escape while having Fiona happily by my side, guns blazing, C4 in her possession. Guess we'll just have to work on that.

The entirety of the season premiere was a lot more emotionally driven on Michael's part than I expected, but the thing that really hit me was the look on his eyes when he almost collapses into Fiona outside the loft. It took a couple of times watching it before I picked up on it, but that look is where this little fic came from. Can't wait to see what the rest of the season brings with it.