*raises hands in surrender and waves a white flag*

Please don't kill me.

Okay, so this last chapter is way, way, WAAAAY, supercalifragilisticexpialid ocious-kind-of-overdue. I sincerely, from the deep recesses of my heart, apologize to everyone.

I already had ¼ of this story written when suddenly, poof! My inspiration fluttered away. It's been gone for the last 1 year and 2 months. I've only slowly gotten it back late last month, so I decided to put it all into writing before it disappeared again. Luckily, I've already written bits and pieces of the chapter beforehand so it did help in speeding the writing process a bit.

Still, I'm sorry for having everyone wait so long.

So, before I bid a teary goodbye and click the 'Complete' button to this story, I give you all the last chapter.

Drama ahead, okay? And I hope you enjoy reading!

Chapter 5: Falling Apart

"There is no us. There never was." – 1x17

"Are you sure you're up to this mission?"

"Do I have a choice?"

"Not really. But perhaps I could recommend to Percy to give you another day or two off."

"I can handle it."

"But you seem a little off-color."

"Yeah, I heard being sick does that to a person."

The sound of a pen scratching over paper hung over the room rather hauntingly. After what seemed like an eternity, it stopped. There was a soft thud as a notebook was placed on the glass table in front of them. "So how is Michael?"

Nikita's hand tightened indiscernibly around her teacup. Her breathing threatened to hitch but she managed to catch it just in time before it made itself known. She distracted herself by taking a sip of tea – Earl Grey, by the aroma and taste of it.

"I thought this was my debriefing?" Nikita reminded the questioner, after she managed to force the tea down her throat.

Amanda gave a brief smile. Her eyes flashed as she noted the agent's subtle deflection and slight discomfort in the topic. Though she had to give credit that Nikita hid it very well, but she knew the agent inside-out. Well, she is one of her most successful and prized pet projects. And she'll do anything to keep her under her control.

"Yes, but since we are finished with that," Amanda crossed her fingers daintily on top of her lap and leaned back casually on the white leather sofa, "let's move on to other matters. We haven't had much opportunity to talk recently, apart from debriefings."

"Well," Nikita managed to give a tight smile, "Percy just gives me missions left and right."

"That maybe the case. Anyhow, you have long since proven yourself, Nikita. You should be proud. Not every agent has shown incredible talent and gained favor in everyone, most especially Percy," Amanda reached for her own teacup and took a sip from it. Cradling the ceramic cup back in her hands, her gaze flicked over to the agent's face, almost as if trying to catch any errant reaction. With a small smile forming on her red lips, she said, "That is, of course, including Michael. But I think you already know that."

A lump formed in Nikita's throat. Her heart gave a tight squeeze. She didn't want to talk about him right now.

Because he was… well, a touchy subject at the moment.

And she could bet that Amanda would just love to hear the reason behind that. But why should she give what the woman wants? Then again, the only thing that'll make her shut up was to play along with this game of poker of emotions. So Nikita just blinked and flatly told the older woman, "I'd assume that you debriefed Michael so you'd know better on how he's feeling. I'm sure he's fine."

Nikita repressed the urge to breathe a small sigh of relief that her voice didn't crack when she said his name.

"Funny," Amanda commented thoughtfully, a ploy to trap the agent with her words, "he seemed pretty torn up about something."

Nikita's face remained stoic. A veneer that protected the chaos of emotions she was currently feeling at that statement. Anger. Pain. Hurt. Sadness. Confusion. Ambivalence.

"If he is," Nikita said, trying her best to steady her voice. The grip she placed on her teacup tightened. She shook her head lightly, "he didn't say anything to me."

"Really?" Amanda questioned before taking a sip again. Her eyes lighted up with skepticism and a hint of excitement, knowing that she just might have uncovered something interesting. "Strange. Because I distinctly remember hearing some raised voices in Logistics earlier. And if my hearing hasn't failed me yet, they undoubtedly sounded like you two. Do you know anything about that?"

Nikita felt like her heart dropped to her stomach at that moment. Her breath seemed to freeze in her lungs. She wasn't sure if she paled right then and there or not. But since Amanda's expression somehow remained the same, she silently thanked that she had much control of her body than she would've thought.

"No." She narrowed her eyes slightly, feigning confusion. No matter what, Nikita knew she had to maintain eye contact. Show that Amanda wasn't getting to her, that she was unaffected (even if she was beginning to). Looking away would mean she was guilty. "Don't know about that."

"Hmm," Amanda pursed her lips in disbelief, but, thankfully, she took the agent's word with a bat of an eyelash, "Maybe I was just mistaken."

"Maybe." Nikita said softly. She edged closer off her seat, set the teacup on the table, and stood up slowly, "Now, as much as I enjoyed this, I do have to go, Amanda. My flight is in three hours and I still have to pack some things."

"Oh, of course." Amanda smiled calmly. "We'll continue this chat some other time then."

"Right." Her feet carried her to the door almost instinctively.

"And, Nikita?"

Nikita stopped a few paces from the door. She clenched her hand briefly in annoyance. So near. She really wanted to get out of there now. Turning around, a hard smile was on her lips. "Yes?"

"Remember, I'm just a phone call away." Amanda gazed at her, almost in a proud-mother kind of way, "You can always talk to me. I will always be here for you."

Her chest suddenly tightened so much it was getting hard to breath.

She gave a small nod and fled out of there before a sob formed in her throat.

I will always be here for you, it rang in her ears.

That's what he told her too.

And look where that got them.

Nikita shook her head at the memory. No more thinking of that. She's done enough thinking and wallowing for the past four days.

Time to start anew.

New place, new name, new people.

She was a different person.

A cover, yes. But new.

Retrieving her key from her back pocket, Nikita strolled leisurely to the elevator that would take her to her new apartment on the 5th floor.

Stepping inside the elevator and pressing the button, Nikita closed her eyes. Inhaling deeply, the smell of freshly baked bread, oranges and cinnamon from the brown bag of groceries on her arm filled her senses and brought her to a relatively happier and calmer place. The most tranquil she had ever been these past days. She couldn't take anymore of this inner turmoil. She definitely had to get a grip. Move on.

Her cover needed it. She needed to.

Opening her eyes slowly, she was met by distorted images of her. Reflections from the inside of the glossy silver-grey elevator. Almost instantly, the familiarity of the scene made her eyes prickle and her throat thicken. She blinked a few times. Why did everything have to remind her of Division?

Remind her of him?

Especially when things ended badly the way they did last time.

Walking down the hallways of Division, Nikita had her head bent down, lost in thought. She couldn't believe this. How could he do this to her? Give her this assignment?

Never in her whole life had she ever felt this betrayed. Or confused.

After everything they've been through in their last mission and Fiji, would Michael really take the coward's way out and just send her away on a deep undercover mission in Chicago rather than confront her? Deal with the complications?

But no matter what the reason may be, it didn't offer any solace to the ache in Nikita's chest. It was like something inside her broke, splintering her within. As if she wasn't shattered enough.

Distracted, she wasn't able to prepare when someone grabbed her from behind. One arm around her waist, locking her arms to her sides, and the other, over her mouth, preventing her from yelping in shock. A second of surprise was all it took for her captor to drag her to an empty and dark room. When her trained senses of self-preservation finally took over, she struggled. Kicking, squirming, bucking, anything and just everything but the arms around her were strong, securing her in place.

"Stop it," a rough voice whispered harshly in her ear.

She paused.

That voice.

And then Nikita remembered that she was still inside Division so she was safe. No one was after her life.

At least, not yet.

It was only then that she calmed down. But her traitorous heart didn't show any signs of slowing down. If anything, it sped up even more. A second passed and then she realized what was happening and then she stiffened.

What the hell?

But it was also at that moment that Michael released her to turn on the lights.

"What was that about?" Nikita demanded, spinning on her heel to face him.

"We have to talk." He told her, crossing his arms against his chest.

Pulling on the hem and straightening her black blazer, she gritted her teeth. She could already feel her anger seeping under her skin at the mere sight of him. It was taking all of her willpower not to lash out right then. Breathing deeply, she glared at him. "We have nothing to talk about."

"Then at least, hear me out, Nikita."

"No." She stated, defiantly. Her voice almost broke but she managed to control it. She didn't know if how much longer she could continue on though, before breaking down. So, to save herself from doing that in front of the one person she did not want to see right now, she turned sharply and made a beeline for the door.

But just as she took a step away, Michael grabbed her by the arm, turned her back around, and shoved her to the concrete wall. Before Nikita could make sense of what was happening, he trapped her with his body, his strong arms flanking her shoulders. He leaned close to her, giving her no chance to look at anything else but him. The rough handling, their proximity, the way his breath was ghosting her cheek… it was disconcerting.

Nikita swallowed.

In a low, sharp tone, he demanded, "Listen to me."

But a faint, almost quiet desperation had also escaped into his voice.

And it didn't go by unnoticed.

For one fleeting moment, Nikita almost gave in. Because Michael needed her to. Her heartstrings pulled at that knowledge. And also because his piercing green gaze was almost too much. It almost broke through her wall of anger and hurt.

But she somehow found the strength to stop herself. No, she wasn't going to fall for it this time.

"I already know what you're going to say." She hissed. The steely look in her eyes would have scared anyone, but it didn't seem to affect him. She also crossed her arms tightly against her chest, digging her nails into her skin to control her flaring temper. Careful to enunciate every word, she snarled, "You already made your point, Michael. You made sure that I got it: There is no 'us'. There never was."

Nikita wasn't sure if it was hurt that briefly flashed through Michael's emerald green eyes. It happened too fast.

But then again, what did she know? She could've been wrong. She had been wrong about a lot of things lately. Especially when it came to them – no, her and Michael.

"No, you don't." His lips mashed into a hard line. Nikita saw his eyes glint before he shook his head and told her, "You don't understand, Nikita."

"Then, tell me!" Nikita exclaimed fiercely. She was trying so hard to keep her voice steady as she could already feel a tickle at the back of her throat and her eyes were beginning to sting at the formation of tears. She knew that she was beginning to give in to her emotions. But she couldn't have that. She had to be angry. Because anger was what she could deal with. Anger was familiar. Anger was her way of coping. Her tone turned accusatory when she continued, "Because it sure as hell looks that way to me, Michael. Tell me, you're not sending me deep undercover in Chicago just so you don't have to see my face around here and deal with what happened. Tell me that's not true."

Michael closed his eyes for a second. "It's not that simple."

"Because you make it complicated." She told him through gritted teeth.

He let out an exasperated sigh before roughly looking away from her. He remained silent, but she could feel the frustration and tension that rolled off of him in waves.

Glaring at the side of Michael's face, Nikita raised a hand to rub her arm, the spot where he had grabbed her earlier. It surprisingly throbbed a bit. But it could never come close to what she felt inside.

He had hurt her, betrayed her trust – in him, and in both of them. The totality of it all made her heart ache so much.

And yet, here she still stood. Trapped in between Michael's arms. Fighting a one-sided battle for something that will most likely destroy them both. She never seems to learn her lesson though – she still keeps on coming back. And she couldn't stop. Like an addict that she was before. Only this time, she could never find it in herself to do so, to find a cure. Not with him. Not with Michael. She didn't know how he could have this hold on her, have this control over her emotions, her thoughts…

Her heart.

She almost hated him for it.

But she hated herself more for it too.

She was supposed to be stronger than this. She never needed anyone in her life.

So how did she become so vulnerable when it came to him?

How did it ever come to this?

In a strained voice, Nikita asked, "Why are you doing this to me, Michael?"

He didn't answer.

Nikita closed her eyes briefly and then hung her head low. She couldn't look at him. This was the closest they have been since their time in Fiji. The memory of it was still raw and sensitive like a new wound. They were so physically near each other that all they had to do was reach out if they wanted.

But they didn't.

She had managed to staunch the tears up to now, but it was getting so hard to prevent them from spilling. She couldn't help but think: is this how their relationship will end? Before everything else, she and Michael were great friends, the best even. He was her confidant, and she was his. They always had each other's backs no matter what. And she couldn't bear to lose that. But things have become so complicated now and it just added to the jumble of emotions she already felt.

She couldn't do this anymore.

It wasn't until she placed her hands on Michael's chest to push him away that she heard his reply.

"I can't handle any more big surprises from you, Nikita." He admitted. She looked up to face him. But he was staring at the spot just above her left shoulder, distant yet deep in thought. His voice was gruff as he explained, "That time, during your withdrawal, I realized that the way we live, everything you've worked for can unravel in mere seconds... And I can't stand by and watch that happen to you."

He still cared for her despite what he did or what she might think. That's what he wanted her to know.

And no matter how hardened her heart may be right now, Nikita couldn't stop herself from feeling slightly, maybe just a tiny bit better. Michael was being honest, she could tell. And with all that was going on, that's probably the only thing she wanted from him right now.

But it still didn't change the fact of what he had done.

"I recommended this mission for you because…" He continued. When his gaze flickered towards her, the expression in his green eyes had softened a little. "Because I was just trying to protect you."

Anyone else should have considered themselves lucky then (probably be grateful even), knowing that someone like Michael was looking out for their well-being despite the dangerous and self-serving nature of the world that they live in. But funny how anger and hurt can make a person react differently. Both emotions can become an efficient blindfold, especially for a person like Nikita, and not give her the desired effect Michael would have wanted her to realize.

"I don't need protecting!" She snapped, defensively.

"Yes, you do."

In some other time or day, Michael's over-protectiveness might have endeared Nikita. But that moment was neither. Right now, it just irritated her to no end. She declared, "I can take care of myself."

He scoffed.

"Is that before or after out last mission?" He admonished. His eyes narrowed at her, scrutinizing her. "Because it didn't seem like that to me."

Nikita didn't have an answer to that. To her perpetual annoyance. But the memories of what transpired in Fiji flashed through her mind's eye again. Michael had her there. And she knew that he knew it. So instead, she just gritted her teeth and stared at him, defiance and hostility glinting dangerously in her brown eyes.

They stared at each other for a few seconds.

"You don't see it, do you, Nikita?" Michael razed on.

She absolutely hated the patronizing tone he was using on her. She growled, "See what?"

"Consequences. If anyone found out what happened to you, you could easily be cancelled." His expression turned hard as he continued to stare directly at her. "That is why this – all of this – is for you. What I did, I did out of –"

If Nikita wasn't looking at Michael at that moment, she never would've seen the alarmed look he gave, realizing what he had said. Nor the color that had drained from his face as he caught what he was about to say. He had always been one to be articulate with what he says. This was the first time she had ever seen him slip.

Her hands, which were still on his chest, curled slightly. She narrowed her eyes at him, daring him to continue. For one fleeting moment, Nikita quelled all the feelings she felt and became… hopeful. Anticipatory.

But Michael abruptly looked away from her and cleared his throat. Acting as if nothing happened, he told her, more slowly this time, "Not wanting to see you get hurt."

As fast as the hopefulness came, it disappeared just as quick. How foolish had she been.

He was never going to say it. Not now. Not ever. She should have known that. She knew how he acted. She knew who he was. Michael was never selfish enough to stand up for what he wanted. Even if all his actions said otherwise, he'd never do anything to betray his precious Division. It would have to leave him first before he did. He was loyal like that.

And it just angered Nikita all the more.

"That was not your choice to make." She firmly rebuked as he took a step away from her, releasing her from the confines of his arms. He was letting her go, shutting her out once again. She still couldn't believe it. Believe him. After everything… Her hands fell to her sides, clenched into fists. It took all of her strength not to hit him.

But Michael just stared at her. His gaze dark but empty of any other emotion. That stoic, indifferent mask she had seen him use at other people, was now being shown to her. He shook his head and said, "There weren't that many to choose from. I was only thinking of you."

"No!" Nikita shook her head, her long hair whipping. Her brown eyes were sharp and glistening. "You made the decision for me!"

Michael didn't offer a reply to that. He just gave her one last glance before turning away from her and headed for the door.

But Nikita managed to catch the sad, almost agonizing expression that had flitted briefly through his green eyes. No matter what Michael says, this was hurting him too. So she couldn't understand why he was doing this when he was clearly suffering as well. Whatever danger that was looming over them, they could face it. They could do it. Together. Why couldn't he see that?

Then a revelation entered Nikita's mind. That was it – Michael didn't trust in them.

The thought made Nikita's broken heart rip even more in her chest. Her lower lip quivered.

She stared at Michael's retreating form.

Nikita knew that by the time that they will leave this room, everything would never be the same again.

Everything will end the way it was now.

Could she let that happen?

Michael was already near the door when the words came. A stroke of panic. One last attempt to save what they had… could have. Nikita's voice echoed around the empty Logistics room. "Did you ever stop to think how I would feel?"

That made him stop.

A tear finally broke through and rolled down Nikita's cheek. Her voice shook as she added, "You have no idea how much you mean to me, Michael. No idea."

She heard him release a pent-up sigh. When he turned around to face her, he almost seemed to have broken down himself. A crack in his mask. His whole body was tense. For a short second when he stared directly into her eyes, she saw how he felt too, his true self. How much of this and her pain and sadness had cut and seared into him.

But then he blinked and everything disappeared. In its place was an expression Nikita had come to hate. Because it wasn't him, it wasn't Michael.

It was that look that almost all seasoned agents possessed. That cold, deadened, inhuman expression. It was Division.

"I'm sorry, Nikita."

That was it.

Three words.

Nikita felt like all the air in her lungs had turned to ice. She had lost. She had bared everything but still, Michael had chosen Division over her. Duty over love.

He had made his choice.

And it didn't include her.

Another tear fell. Another rip in her damaged heart. Another person had left her.

Yet again.

Maybe it was time that she made her choice too.

She had to.

Swallowing the huge lump that had burned in her throat, Nikita went up to Michael. She didn't even know how she managed to get her legs moving. It did take a bit of effort though – aside from everything else, she was still recovering from an accidental relapse after all. Her heart was beating rapidly against her chest. Gazing up at him, she noted how uncertainty seemed to pass through his eyes. Especially when he glanced down at her clenched fists.

Good, Nikita couldn't help but think. He deserves to doubt on whether she'd hit him or not. Because she really did feel like it at the moment.

"Well, I'm sorry too, Michael." She told him. The resent in her voice was easily marked, but she didn't care anymore. Too much has already been said. Too many things have already been done. It wasn't like they could take back anything now. They were way past that. Might as well say their piece and be done with it. "Sorry that you'll always put Division over everything else. Even before your own heart."

Michael blinked, taking in what she said. Something changed in his expression then. A nerve in his jaw twitched as he narrowed his eyes at her.

It was a tense moment. But Nikita didn't back down. Her anger gave her that strength. She just stared back, holding her stance. She had nothing to apologize for. Everything she had just said was true. Michael had to know that. He had already been blinded so much that he still didn't see the truth even if it was staring at him in the face.

"An emotionally-compromised agent is more dangerous than a jammed gun," Michael stated tersely. The expression in his eyes was dark and haunting. He straightened a bit as he continued, "You have to check your feelings or check out."

Nikita's eyes widened slightly in disbelief of what she just heard. Was he really trying to pull that crap over her?

"And how do you exactly want me to check out, Michael?" She shot back at him. Derision dripping from her voice. She still couldn't get over what Michael had just asked her to do. The whole idea seemed so ludicrous that she could almost laugh. "It's not like I could just flip a switch on my feelings and forget what happened."

But he didn't seem to find it amusing at all.

"Yes, you could." He told her, staring into her eyes. There was no humor in the way he said it. He was about to add something else but then decided against it and clamped his mouth shut. He paused, hesitating and unsure on what he was going to say next. He even looked like he didn't want to. But then she saw the resolve in his eyes strengthen and he shook his head lightly. His voice was flat and coolly detached when he said, "Because you've done it before. Think of it as a mission. That I was just someone you slept with."

Nikita's gaze sharpened. She didn't like where this conversation was going. Michael was treading on extremely thin ice.

But he continued, "Standard Raven Protocol, Josephi–"

The sound of the slap echoed around the room.

The tension had finally spilled over, becoming too much.

Everything was silent, save for the hum that perennially lingered behind the walls of Division.

After a few seconds, Nikita released the breath she had involuntarily held. The exertion had taken a toll on her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Her action seemed to surprise her more than it did to the receiver. She had never slapped anyone before. She was more of the fist-type. An open-handed slap had always seemed too degrading. But after what Michael said, it was like she had no other choice. Her hand just had a mind of its own.

But God, did he deserve it.

Visible, unshed tears made Nikita's brown eyes gleam. She glared at Michael, who had settled his gaze on the floor. He made no move to touch his reddened cheek, or even bother to acknowledge it. But she knew it hurt, considering her hand was still throbbing from inflicting it.

"That's low, Michael," she uttered acidly in a low tone, barely masking her hurt. "Even for you."

Nikita turned sharply and went for the door. She had to get out of there fast. Her head and her chest were hurting so much. More tears were already making her vision blurry and she didn't want Michael to see that. There was an empty recruit's room just a few doors down the hall that Nikita could enter and gather her self up. Hopefully no one would be walking in that direction at that moment because she didn't want some nosy guard to rat her out to Amanda just before she was going to have a debriefing with her.

Honestly, Nikita didn't know what to feel anymore. She was either too angry or too hurt. Both emotions clawing at her insides, tearing her apart, racing to overcome her.

But when she got to the door, she found herself unable to go through it. Her legs wouldn't move. Not without her verbalizing what she needed Michael to know.

She took in a deep breath and exhaled it slowly.

"I can't believe I loved you," she said in quiet voice, barely above a whisper. But she was sure Michael could hear her. Tracing a finger along the metal doorknob, Nikita kept her back to him. She didn't dare to turn around because she was still fighting to contain her emotions. Her lower lip was getting sore from her chewing on it. She wiped another tear that escaped her lashes. Struggling to keep her voice steady, she told him, "I don't know how long this mission's really gonna last but… I hope that with the time I'm gone, you'll realize that that night was the best mistake you could ever make. I just wish that when you do, it won't be too late."

And then with a sigh, she left.

Not forgetting to slam the door as she did so.

Nikita blinked.

She repressed the sting that appeared behind her eyes whenever her thoughts drifted to that memory. Shifting the bag of groceries on her arm, she let out a shaky breath. It's already been four days and she hasn't really made any real progress with moving on. She tried to. But she just couldn't. Especially when she looked into the mirror and she could still see evidence that that fateful night really did happen. A constant reminder practically imprinted on her skin in the form of kiss marks – some already starting to fade, some not so much yet.

She did try scrubbing them out though, out of anger during her second night in her new apartment. The feeling of being lonely and having been thrust into a new city finally getting the best of her. A stupid decision that was though. Not only did the marks stubbornly remain, but it also appeared to have been emphasized even more. And with her skin having been rubbed so raw, it gave her a reddened look that resembled an allergic reaction.

But Nikita wholly accepted the physical sting nevertheless. It was a welcomed diversion from the emotional pain she had been harboring within, saving her from self-destructing even more.

Well, that, and the fact that she decided to give her poor punching bag a break. She didn't think the unfortunate object could hold off being the receiving end of her blunt rage for more than 2 straight days anymore.

By the end of the third day, with most of her energy spent, the mental anguish and other emotions had sneaked its way in. And she was too exhausted and too weak to try and keep it at bay. It forced its way into haunting her thoughts, even in her sleep. It tormented her with what she had done, who she had lost…


It still broke her heart whenever she thought about him. But then she'd get angry at herself for being this needy and dysfunctional. Over a guy, no less. That wasn't like her. She wasn't some lovestruck teenager. He didn't want her. He made that clear. That was it. But guilt would still wash over her, blaming that she had brought this upon herself. That she knew the dangers of a recruit falling in love with an agent (much more being Percy's second-in-command), and she still decided to risk it. It was just too bad that her risk didn't reap any reward. Indignation would then fill her, rationalizing that this was not entirely her fault. Michael was too, just as much as she was. And then her anger would flare again, only this time directed towards him. His morals. His over-protectiveness. His total lack of a selfish streak in his body. His appeal to her…

And then she would be back at hating herself again.

It was a vicious cycle of emotions. One that Nikita knew had to run its course until it burned itself out so she could function again.

She still had yet to see that day.

If it wasn't for the need of basic necessities, Nikita didn't know when she would have ever left her apartment. But the thought of her ass getting hauled back to Division because she wasn't taking care of herself properly (God forbid that would ever happen because Amanda would surely have a field day) gave her enough strength to step out through the door.

She bought food and toiletries that would be enough to last her for a few days. Walking around to familiarize herself with the place before going back to her apartment, Nikita kept a keen eye on her surroundings. And from what she saw, she came up with two conclusions:

Chicago really was a windy city. Nikita had to remember that the next time she'd try to venture out of her apartment without a scarf.

And it was beautiful.

But one thing that somewhat seemed to bother Nikita was that she couldn't help to notice that the people seemed… friendly. She didn't know if it was just her but she definitely had a lot of civilians smile at her when they'd catch her gaze. And not even in a dangerous, evil, or lustful way she was accustomed to seeing in her world. No. Gracious smiles would settle on the lips of persons she did not even know.

It felt weird. Everything seemed so foreign to Nikita.

But she decided to chalk it up to not having met that much friendly people before. She left it at that.

Nikita could already feel herself starting to like Chicago though.

When the elevator pinged its arrival on Nikita's floor, she stepped out. She glanced at the corridor to her right, to check for anything out of the ordinary, before heading off to her own apartment in the opposite direction. Since this was her first time to leave her place after moving in, she still had yet to meet her 6 neighbors. She did figure out that a few doors down, one of them had a baby though. On Nikita's first night, the high-pitched wailing reached all the way to her apartment before the door shut on it. There was also one who played the violin a little out of tune. And she also heard a man's voice talking one night, much closer to her place, before another door closed on that too.

And yet things didn't seem out of the ordinary. Everything seemed so… mundane.

Nikita paused.

She looked around again. Doors lined on either side of the light yellow hallway. Doors that led to apartments that had people living in them. Families. Civilians. Innocents.

They were all so normal.

And she had to fit in with them? Make a life that will blend in with theirs?

It made her nervous.

She wasn't any of those. She never had a family (except for Division, but that was starting to disappear too). She can never be an innocent civilian because she has seen and done things that people would be terrified to even think about.

She can and will never be normal.

Back in her apartment in New Jersey, Nikita didn't have that issue. She didn't really care that much about what her neighbors thought of her since she spent most of her days in Division. Heck, she rarely saw those people even. But here in Chicago, she had nothing to do, nowhere to go. She had nothing but time.

Her jaw clenched, bitterness slipping into her veins again. All thanks to Michael and his grace.

Nikita drew a long breath as she stared at her apartment door a few feet away from her.

She will do this. She can do this.

She may never be a normal, innocent civilian but she can, for her life's worth, try.

No one in her new life will ever have to know who Nikita really is: the Division agent. The broken woman. The killer.

They will know her as Nikita the airline consultant. The strong, independent woman wanting to start fresh in a new city.

She'll make Michael see.

This was going to be her choice.

Nikita wasn't just going to live that lie.

She will make it her life.

"There is no easy way down." – 1x02

~ The End ~

Omigosh. I just completed my first ever multi-chap story. Haha. I feel such a newbie to this.

Anyway! So for the last time (at least for this story), tell me your thoughts on this chapter! If you want to rant, correct, criticize, complain, then by all means, go ahead. Leave a Review!

Okay, so in this story, it showed that the events that happened in the earlier chapters are what caused Michael into recommending Nikita for deep undercover (where she eventually met Daniel, and you all know the rest). I know it doesn't exactly match that in canon. But I wrote this story before we all got to know that it was their mission in Russia that caused all that. ;)

So here we go… To all those who have been with this since the beginning, to those who sent me PMs to continue, to those who have just read this, to those who have Faved and Alerted this story, I am and will be forever grateful for everyone. To the amazing reviewers, fanfiction writing would never have been so fun and enjoyable without you guys. Thank you.

This fandom is just too amazing for words.

And now I can finally say that this story is Complete with a smile on my face.

Oh, and Happy 2013 everyone!

xx Dani