Disclaimer: Burn Notice and its characters don't belong to me unfortunately. If they did I'd hand them over to all the fanfiction writers, now wouldn't that be fun!
Feedback: Love it but no flames please, I'm fragile!
AN: This idea came from that Fiona season 4 line to Madeline: 'Oh he's done far worse'
Thanks you so much for all of your reviews, favourite story adds and personal messages. It is very humbling and very much appreciated. For people enquiring about my CSI/GSR stories, you can expect an update on 'When all is said and done' very soon.
Huge thanks to the fantastic Purdy's Pal and DaisyDay for their input and ideas, and to my fabulous niece Kelly who reads through all of my re-writes.
I may continue this story to another chapter if anyone wants it.
WARNING: This story contains the sensitive subject matter of miscarriage. There's nothing graphic but if you're not comfortable in reading then please press the back button and go to another story.
Dedicated to Kelly, she knows why
When The Bough Breaks
Fiona looked up from her place on the bed when the door to the loft opened and Sam's voice called out.
"You decent?" he asked dramatically as he came into the loft with the palm of his hand over his eyes.
"Why wouldn't I be decent?" she asked indignantly, moving off of her stomach to crawl to the edge of the bed and sit down.
Sam opened his fingers and peeked through them just to be sure before coming further into the loft. "Well, the last time I just walked in here—"
"Oh get over it Sam, I was covered."
"Barely," Sam scowled at her. "Were you really trying to give ol' Sammy a heart attack, because I'm telling you sister, if you kill me I'll come back and haunt ya!"
"Oh…there's a lot of people just queuing up to haunt me…you'll have to get in line," she grinned. Pulling herself forward she reached down and picked up her shoes to slip them on. "What can I do for you?"
"Oh I don't want nothin'" he told her, "well I wouldn't say that exactly, I have a new lady friend who is just waiting for some good old Sammy loving—"
"STOP," Fiona held her hand up and squeezed her eyes closed. "Too many details!"
"So what you really came here for was to check on me?" Fiona's voice dripped with sarcasm as her lips turned up into a wide smile. "That is so sweet. I'm touched!"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," taking his cell phone out of his pocket and waved it in her direction. "I have a Message from Maddie…Answer your damn phone!"
Fiona sighed and walked around to her side of the bed and lifted her phone and looked down at the lifeless screen, "I turned it off."
"Well turn it on, I've had her whittering in my ear about how she hasn't seen you in days." Placing his phone back in his pocket he turned and walked towards the door and stopped to look at her expectantly. "So I am here to take you over there now."
"What? I can't go now!" she told him, throwing her arms in the air in exasperation.
"Well, I've got news for you missy, she ain't budging and Sammy has a date, so can we just hurry this up?"
Fiona sighed heavily and reluctantly followed him out of the door. "You owe me," she growled.
"Hey, she's your mother in law, sister…" A wide grin spread across his face as he witnessed the murderous scowl of Fiona Glenanne. Holding his hands up in mock surrender he started down the stairs. "Take it up with Mikey when he gets back. According to Jesse it could be real soon."
"Wait, you spoke to Jesse?" She stopped walking down the stairs and grabbed onto the hand rail. Her heart fluttered with the prospect of having him home again.
"See that's what happens when you don't have your phone switched on, you miss important calls." He looked back at her and a small part of him actually felt a little bit sorry for her, but it soon passed. "Come on Fi, the sooner you get this over with the sooner you can get back here…"
Fiona took another long sip from her fourth bottle of beer and felt the pain inside her fading with the swirling motion of her brain. She lifted the bottle and tried to focus on the label as the voice of Madeline speaking on the phone drifted into the background.
It had been two weeks since Michael had been taken from them after their gun fight with Vaughn, and all there had been was silence. Fiona did everything she could to keep herself from worrying about him, and sometimes in the odd few seconds when she was distracted, she actually succeeded. But when everything came flooding back in a wave full of memories, she missed him a little more each time.
She hadn't spent many night's at Michaels's mothers like this since his departure. And truth be told she was trying to avoid a situation like this. Being here without him seemed wrong. Lifting the bottle to her lips again, her mind wandered back to just over an hour ago when Sam had essentially abandoned her here. She hadn't had any time to prepare before the door flew open and she was pulled into a strong embrace.
"You shouldn't be spending all this time alone Fiona," the older woman had told her as she held onto her so tightly. "We're a family, and families stick together."
Fiona sighed as Madeline's one sided telephone conversation about Nate and Ruth's impending new arrival drifted into the background, and she soon found her mind wandering to a time so long ago when Michael McBride had left her life in turmoil, and with a secret that she had never told anyone
She hadn't had much time to mourn for her loss back then, and over time she had managed to banish it from her memory. But sometimes when her mind become less guarded she remembered all the things that she could have had and how her life could have been so much different. She sighed wistfully as her mind drifted, unaware of the words spilling from her lips…
"I was pregnant once," her voice was soft and full of sadness as the alcohol she'd consumed loosened her tongue. She closed her eyes to try and stop the room from spinning, but the warm hand on her arm brought her back to her senses and she snapped them open again.
"What did you say?" Madeline asked with a mixture of shock and concern.
"Huh?" Fiona was confused. "I didn't say anything…I…"
Lifting the phone to her ear again, Madeline kept one eye of Fiona before bidding a hasty goodbye and disconnected the call.
"Fiona?" Madeline asked questioningly as she came to sit beside her. "You were pregnant?"
Fiona swallowed hard and placed her bottle of beer onto the table in front of her. "Oh…I didn't mean…It was a long time ago."
"What happened, honey?" Madeline asked softly as she reached out to wrap her fingers around Fiona's hand.
Fiona's eyes dropped to their joined hands and all she wanted to do was make the last few minutes just disappear. "I don't like to talk about it."
"Well you should talk about it," the older woman told her as she withdrew her hand to put a cigarette to her lips and light it. Taking a long drag, she blew the smoke out into the room and looked at Fiona with an expectant gaze.
Fiona's eyes locked with Madeline's in a desperate plea for her to drop the subject but she knew there was no hope of that now. With a heavy sigh, she got to her feet and moved over to the window, staring out into the starry sky. She felt as if she was in a dream, detached from her body.
"He never knew," she finally spoke; her voice so soft that Madeleine had to strain to hear her. "He left and…I never thought I would see him again. "
Silence encompassed the room before Madeline slowly stood to move over to the window, her eyes scanning the younger woman's flushed face.
"Are you okay honey?"
"Me?" Fiona looked up at her with haunted eyes. "I'm fine…I think I'm going to head back to the loft..."
"Stay," Madeline told her. "You can't say something like this and leave."
"I can't," Fiona shook her head slowly before closing her eyes. "I lost it anyway, so what does it matter now..."
"It matters Fi," Madeline told her as she reached out to touch her shoulder, surprised that the she didn't turn away. She regarded her for a few silent moments, worry etched over her face as she asked the question that was burning on her lips. "Michael never knew he was going to be a father?"
Fiona's eyes flashed with the painful memories as she turned to face Madeline's watery gaze, and not for the first time she wished she had never opened her mouth. Shaking her head she sighed desolately.
"No one knew."
"Oh sweetheart," Madeline reached out to touch her hand again and was more than relieved when she took it to wrap her slim fingers around hers. "Come and sit down."
Fiona's legs felt like lead as she allowed the older woman to guide her towards the couch and gently ease her down.
"I'll make us some tea," Madeline told her, stepping away. "And then we can sit and talk, or just sit, whatever you want."
"Can we just sit," Fiona asked her softly as she fiddled with the hem of her shirt. She thought she'd dealt with this loss a long time ago, but now as she sat here, not knowing what to do, it reared up again to bring a lump to her throat.
"We can do whatever you want to do, honey," Madeline told her as she reached down to squeeze her hand before moving towards the kitchen.
"Can we just forget I said anything?" Fiona asked her with a hopefully sad smile. Part of her wanted to bury the memory back into the far reaches of her mind and never speak of it again. But there was that part of her that still ached for the child she had lost.
"Is that what you really want?"
Madeline's voice caused her to catch her breath and she jumped slightly when the older woman came to sit beside her again.
Fiona lifted her eyes to Madeline's face but avoided her gaze. "I shouldn't have said anything."
"But you did, honey. You can't take something back just because it's painful."
"I lost a child too," Madeline told her as she reached out again to place her hand over hers. " I know how it feels Fiona, I really do."
"Yes honey…I know how much it hurts. I went through so many stages of being so angry that I wanted to scream at every pregnant woman I saw. I hated Frank even though it wasn't his fault. Even though he wasn't there when it happened." Moving closer, Madeline reached across to put her arm around Fiona's small form. "But it doesn't do any good to keep it bottled up inside."
Fiona leant into her shoulder and waited quietly while Madeline lit another cigarette and took a long drag before puffing smoke into the air.
"I was just over four months pregnant," Madeline started as she focused on the glowing cigarette between her fingers. "I got it into my head that I wanted to paint the nursery. Frank had promised to paint it the weekend before, but like always he had other things to do and I just got tired of waiting for him." Madeline leaned her head against Fiona's and closed her eyes against the memories of that fateful day. Reaching forward she stubbed the cigarette out into the ashtray before she spoke again.
"I got up on a stool, trying to get paint onto the top of the ceiling but I lost my balance and fell. I remember laying there and praying that I wouldn't feel any pain, but I knew as soon as I tried to move that I was going to lose her."
"Her?" Fiona asked in a whisper as she lifted her head to look up at the older woman. "You had a girl?"
"Yes," Madeline's voice caught in her throat as she remembered the commotion of her tiny child swaddled in sheets being whisked away. "They told me she was beautiful…"
Shaking her head, Madeline tried to erase the memory and sighed into Fiona's hair. "Like you, I pushed her memory to the back of my mind and tried not to think of her…but it was so hard honey…having Michael and Nate later made it hurt a little less, but I still feel the loss, even now."
Fiona's heart ached for the woman who held her so tightly. In that one moment she wished she could have unburdened her secret to Michael and her family so long ago, instead of carrying it all alone. After a long moment she swallowed heavily.
"I was so angry at him," Fiona closed her eyes as she spoke, shaking her head to try and erase the memories. "It didn't even occur to me that I could be pregnant, I was so numb when he left…for the first time in my life I was totally lost."
When her voice trailed off, Madeline resisted the urge to reach for another cigarette, instead choosing to tighten her arm around Fiona's shoulder. "What did you do?"
"What could I do?" Fiona's voice rose in anger as she opened her eyes and pulled away from Madeline's embrace. "I was in love with a man who in all accounts didn't exist. What was I supposed to tell my child when it asked about its father? Call him an invisible man?"
Pulling her hand away from Madeline, she stood to her feet and turned away from her while she tried to calm her breathing.
"There was a part of me that hated him...really, really hated him…He broke my heart and left me behind thinking that everything we had shared was a lie..." Taking a deep breath she swallowed her anger and turned around, her eyes meeting Madeline's concerned gaze. "I found out I was pregnant two weeks after he left…and well…I reacted badly…" her voice trailed off as she remembered the many burned out buildings that she had blown up and ruined.
Madeline watched her silently. She could feel the anguish rolling off of Fiona in waves, a feeling she knew so well. She was about to open her mouth to speak when Fiona started talking again.
"I…I was on my way to a meeting with some new clients when…it happened…" Her eyes glazed over as she remembered that day that held so many painful memories. "It was dark and I remember falling to my knees because the pain was so unbearable. All I kept thinking was that if only I'd wanted it more I wouldn't have lost it. If I hadn't have been so angry…" Her eyes lifted to Madeline's, tears welling inside them. "Do you think I'm a bad person?"
"What?" Madeline gasped and lurched off the couch to reach for her hands. "No honey, never."
"I thought about giving it away…just for a split second…that's all…but it knew…" Fiona could feel her resolve slipping as a single tear escaped to carve a wet track down her cheek. "…It knew…"
"Oh no, sweetheart," Madeline's eyes watered as she pulled Fiona's trembling form into her arms. "It wasn't your fault. You can't blame yourself for something that you couldn't control."
"But, I lost it…" Fiona's voice cracked as she spoke. "I lost Michael…"
"But you found him again," Madeline pulled away to place one of her hands on Fiona's wet cheek. "You found each other."
"You need to tell him, Fi…he'll be more understanding than you think," Madeline told her with a soft smile as she pulled her hand away to stand back and look at the younger woman affectionately. "He would have wanted that baby, honey. Do you know how I know that?"
Fiona shook her head slowly as she swiped at the wetness on her cheeks.
"Because you were its mother," Madeline told her with a knowing smile.
Her words caused Fiona's tears to well again but she tried to blink them away. She knew she should have told Michael a long time ago, but they were never at that point in their relationship where she could know for definite that he was the man she would be with forever. But things had evolved between them over the last year and even though they had never voiced their feeling aloud, she knew that he was the only man she had ever loved so deeply.
"I should have told him but I…" sniffing back the emotion in her eyes, she slowly nodded her head. "…when the time is right, I'll tell him."
"Good…" Madeline swiped at her own eyes and stood back to offer her a bright smile. "We're going to be okay honey, both of us…We're strong women who have to stick together. Lord knows we need it with that son of mine…" Patting Fiona's cheek, she couldn't help but feel so much love for the woman stood before her, even more so now. "Now how about I make us that tea?"
"Madeline," Fiona's voice stopped her in her tracks and she turned to meet her glistening eyes. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, sweetheart," she told her as she turned away to walk back towards the kitchen.
Taking a cleansing breath, Fiona turned to follow her; thankful that the bond they had always shared was so much deeper now.
"I'll help you."