Disclaimer: Unfortunately I still don't own Burn Notice or these characters.
This is a post AU Long way Back story.
So many times she thought about what she had left behind in Ireland and no matter how much she tried to justify her actions the guilt dominated much of her time because she should have fought, she should have tried harder, but in the end she was fighting the battle all alone…
A/N: This story started in my head many, many months ago but I kept pushing it back because I didn't know if I could make it work. So long story short, I wrote a rough piece and sent it to Purdy's Pal and DaisyDay ready to delete it and got back these words from Purdy's pal- 'DON'T YOU DARE!'
So you all have her and DaisyDay to thank for this not being trashed!
As always huge thanks to purdy's Pal, DaisyDay, Jedi Skysinger and haunted-Eternity for listening to my ideas and for being such wonderful friends.
As always thank you so much to everyone who reviewed my last story. I really do appreciate all of your comments.
"It's tha only way, Fiona. Yer brought a child into tha world outta wedlock an tha farder is nowhere ta be found. How'd ya think ya can hide a child from O'Neill when yer have ta run…yer not thinkin' wit ya head girl…"
"Ma I'll not be leavin' without me babby," Fiona cried, shaking her head fiercely as she held the infant in her arms. "Yer not takin' har."
"Listen ta yerself girl. Yer can't take a babby outta Ireland wid ya…she'll be safer wid yer brother. Patrick will take care a har."
"Where's tha fader?" her mother's voice boomed. "Show me tha fader and yer can keep tha child wit ya."
"I don't know," Fiona shook her head and let the tears slip easily down her cheeks. "He left."
"He left ya wid a babby in yer belly…he ain't comin' back fer yer now."
"He didn't know—"
"Ten he shouldn'ta been in yer bed commitin' sin. It's done Fiona…Pat's comin' fer tha babby an yer can get outta Ireland befer O'Neill knows yer gone."
"I'm not givin' me babby away, mammy…I can't leave without har."
"Ya have ta girl…ya know it's tha right thin' ta do."
Fiona looked down her daughter's sleeping face and shook her head as the helplessness sank into her heart. Her baby had her father's eyes and jet black hair and she was the only part of him that she could hold on to. How could she leave her daughter behind to save herself? She couldn't do it...
"He got ya inta this mess in tha first place," Colleen Glenanne told her firmly, her voice losing some of its fire. "If it were'na fer him you'd ha never met Thomas O'Neill."
"Michael didn't know I stopped ta bombs till after I done it, ma…ya can't blame—"
"I blame him fer getting ya pregnant," Colleen snapped angrily. "Both a ya should a thought about what yer were doin'…instead a bringin' an innocent inta tha world…"
"I can't leave har mammy…I'll hide…I'll take har away…I'll—"
"How a ya goin' ta support har? Have ya thought about tha'?" Colleen asked, imploring her daughter to see sense. "Ya have ta leave har behind…"
"How can I leave har behind?" Fiona's voice broke as she sobbed. "She's ma child."
"Fiona, she will always be ya babby…no one wants ta take har away but ya can't take har on tha run…ya can't."
The door opened and Fiona's older brother came into the house holding a manila envelope in his hands.
"Armand stuck ta his word sis…tha' job ya did fer im got ya yer ticket outta Ireland." When Fiona didn't answer Patrick glanced towards his mother worriedly before he placed the envelope containing Fiona's new identity onto the kitchen table. He regarded his sister with guilty eyes as he reached out to take the child from her.
"No," she told him firmly as she clutched the infant tighter to her breast. "I want ta hold har. I'll bring har."
"Marie's waitin' fer ya back at tha house…got tha room all nice fer har."
Wordlessly, Fiona stood up and turned her back on her mother as she held her daughter tightly to her chest. Picking up the envelope with one of her hands she walked out of the house without a backwards glance, knowing she would never forgive the woman who called her name as she walked out of the door.
Fiona listened to the man breathing deeply beside her and stared up at the white lace drapes around her bed. Sleep seemed to elude her these days, especially after her near return to Ireland had been nipped in the bud before she had even had a chance to finish packing.
The last month had passed her by to leave her in a daze. Thoughts of home dredged up old memories and the deep ache of loss seemed to loom over her all the time lately. Since O'Neill, Fiona had felt the pain of never being able to return home pierce through her.
There had always been a thought in the back of her mind that she could one day return to Ireland and reclaim the part of her that was taken but now that the possibility was gone, she just couldn't help the feelings of complete and utter desolation that seemed to be permanently dominating her moods. She had stopped trying to make sense of Michael's obsession with his job and instead had become accepting rather than challenging him at every step. Maybe somewhere inside she knew she was in a fight that she just couldn't win, no matter how hard she tried.
So much had changed between them in that short time but even now, she still felt as if she was constantly trying to prove to him that she belonged in his life. She knew he would always want his job first and that she slipped further down his list of priorities. So many times she thought about what she had left behind in Ireland and no matter how much she tried to justify her actions the guilt dominated much of her time because she should have fought, she should have tried harder but in the end she was fighting the battle all alone..
Regret weighed her down and she'd known all along that was why she could never settle. There was always something else to keep her mind from wandering and if there wasn't she did everything she could to prevent the inevitable pull of sleep. Sleep meant dreams, and dreams meant remembering…and even after all these years her memories were still fresh and too painful.
Two days ago they had finally managed to spend some time alone together, something that was becoming rarer as the time went on. Fiona had learned to accept the fact that the man she loved dropped her in seconds when someone claiming to be able to help him get, 'back in' came along. She'd heard it all before, every excuse and every empty promise, but now she didn't argue any more.
She knew he was concerned when she took a step back and maybe part of him was a little afraid she was still planning to leave, but she was trying so hard to be understanding. He had given up a lot when he'd come back for her after O'Neill's attempts to take her back to Ireland had failed. But he had to understand that she had given up a lot too.
Part of her ached for home and not just for the family she had left behind. Closing her eyes she tried to force the images of the green fields of home away. Despite everything that kept her ties with Ireland alive, she couldn't go back and she had given up every chance of seeing her daughter again. Being with the man beside her had cost her dearly, and not just because she couldn't ever go home.
Shifting onto her side she watched him while he slept. She had made so many sacrifices, and there were things she had never told him. She found herself wondering what his reaction would have been if he'd known. He may have left her that night back in Ireland but he had left part of himself within her. Ten months later she was forced to flee her home land in total heartbreak that ripped her in two, all because she had to leave to protect the tiny life that she and Michael had created.
Fiona had told Sam once that everyone had skeletons in their closets and she knew how true that statement had been. She knew she had done things she regretted, terrible things that she'd used to try and numb the ache that was constantly inside her. Nothing worked to ease that deep seated longing and if she was in a different state of mind she would have realised that when she was forced to leave she wasn't thinking for herself. She was young, afraid and angry all at once, so when her mother made the decision for her, telling her it was the only way, she had bowed under her dominating pressure.
She had never been strong enough to stand up to the force that was her mother. After Claire died she had become almost impossible to live with and everything Fiona tried to do always seemed to be wrong. So when she came home to face her mother with the news that would change her life forever, she'd known she would be facing the wrath of her fiercely Irish temper.
That was five years ago and she had never forgiven her mother for what she'd forced her to do. Even though Fiona's brother raised her daughter with his own children, he sent her regular photographs and made sure her daughter knew who she was. The life she led was no good for a child but she couldn't help wondering what life would have been like if she'd had her daughter with her when she'd found Michael again.
A bang on the door brought her out of her memories and she sat up in the bed to grab her SIG from under the pillow. Her movements woke Michael, his eyes opening slowly as he reached for her to pull her back down beside him. She shook off his hand when the banging sounded again causing him to sit bolt upright before he climbed out of the bed.
"Are you expecting anyone?" he asked her as he quickly pulled on his jeans and t shirt before he reached for the gun beneath his pillow.
"What do you think Michael?" she snapped anxiously, still too raw from her memories. "The only visitor I have is you and you're already here!"
Pulling on her robe she made her way out of the bedroom and towards the front door where a shadow loomed behind the frosted glass. Since O'Neill's appearance everyone had been on high alert. Michael came out behind her and surged passed to stand beside the doorframe. He could see the tiredness in her eyes and he knew she hadn't been sleeping, but since he'd almost lost her he had tried to be more supportive, but all he seemed to do was make her mad.
She looked over at him now with anger in her eyes. He was trying to be her knight in shining armour but she'd never told him he'd arrived on his white charger five years too late.
"Fiona…" a voice yelled followed by banging again before he called out her name once more.
Fiona recognised her brother's voice instantly and exchanged a worried glance with Michael before she moved towards the door to pull it open, without releasing her gun.
"Fiona," Sean breathed heavily as he stepped through the door. "I've been calling ya and Michael…neither one a ya answered yer damn phones."
"What are you doing here, Sean?" she asked him as she looked across to Michael who stepped out of the shadows. "Michael's here."
Sean nodded a greeting to the other man before turning back to his sister with regret in his eyes. Stepping closer he touched her shoulder and tried to find the right words to say. "There was some trouble back home an people were askin' too many questions. We had ta get har outta Ireland fast."
"What are you talking about Sean?" Fiona asked in confusion as she searched his eyes. "Get who out?"
Before he could answer another voice sounded from behind him to reveal the face of a man she hadn't seen in a very long time. Her eyes widened in surprise and her lips lifted into a large smile when her youngest brother Seamus appeared behind Sean.
"Hey sis," he beamed before casting a suspicious look towards the man who had essentially stolen his sister from his life. The fire in his eyes burned bright as he spoke a name that had caused much hatred throughout the Glenanne family, "McBride."
"Seamus," Michael nodded not really quite knowing what to say. Glancing down at his bare feet Michael was suddenly conscious of the fact that it was blatantly obvious the he had been sharing a bed with their sister. He tried to form some kind of apology but before he could utter a word a little girl with long dark hair pushed passed her uncle to peer around his legs.
Michael's voice died in his throat when he caught sight of the small child dwarfed by Fiona's brother. She was dressed in pink denim dungarees and clutched a rag doll in her arms as she blinked up at the adult's in the room. It wasn't until she looked across at Fiona with recognition sparking in her eyes that he turned to watch his girlfriend transform into someone he had never seen before.
Fiona's eyes grew wide and she looked down at the gun in her hand. She was fast becoming flustered when she couldn't seem to find anywhere to put it. Moving around the room she stepped towards the high shelves that housed her snow globes and placed it on the highest shelf before she turned back around.
"Caitlin?" she all but whispered when her eyes met the child who was looking back up at her with apprehensive eyes.
"Look, I'm sorry sis," Sean started, "but I had ta smuggle har out…Pat said he'd called ya."
Shaking her head Fiona held up her hand to silence him and took a step towards him. Making her movements slow she knelt down until she was the same height as the child and held out her hand, holding back the tears as she smiled. "Do you know who I am?"
Beside her Michael could feel his heart thundering inside his chest. He had never seen Fiona so gentle with anything other than her sparkling new guns, before now. She had always been full of passion and fire, not calm and maternal. So when the child nodded her head he found himself holding his breath.
Lifting his eyes to Sean he was going to ask him what was going on but he was surprised to see that both of Fiona's brothers were watching her interaction with the child so intensely that neither of them even noticed he was still in the room. Fiona's soft voice brought him back to her and he found himself watching her in curiosity as well as wonder when she slowly edged closer to the small girl.
"You were a baby the last time I saw you," she told her softly. "I held you so tight and I don't know who was crying more, you or me," she whispered. "Uncle Patrick sends me photos of you all the time…but you're so much prettier now I can see you."
"I have yer picture too," Caitlin told her almost shyly as she stepped out from behind her uncle's legs. "Ya wan ta see?"
"I would love to see," Fiona told her softly, trying desperately hard not to succumb to the emotion in her voice. Looking down at the rag doll in the child's arms she was transported to a night five years ago when she had held that little doll in her hands. She could remember crying into it as she held onto it so tight when she stood over the tiny baby in a crib.
"I promise ya she'll be looked after Fiona."
Fiona looked up at her sister in law with haunted eyes before turning to gaze down into the crib again. Reaching inside she laid her hand over her tiny baby and felt herself break. Her hands shifted to a little rag doll that she'd brought for her daughter before she was born and plucked it out of the crib to hold it against her face. Caitlin's scent lingered over the doll and she was torn between taking it with her as a reminder of what she was losing, or to leave it behind so the baby had a remembrance of her. One tear carved a wet track down her face only to be followed by another, and then another until she was sobbing uncontrollably as she clung to the rag doll like a life line.
Marie stepped closer and tried to comfort her but Fiona shook her hand away. Shaking her head she wiped her face with the back of her hand and placed the doll back into the crib before laying her hand on her daughter's back one last time.
Gasping in a breath, Fiona's voice caught on a sob as she turned to rush out of the room before grabbing her bag along the way. Her brother's Patrick and Sean tried to stop her before she got to the front door but she barged passed them, sobbing uncontrollably as she did.
Patrick ran out after her and caught hold of her arm before she could flee, pulling her around to face him.
"I promise I will take care a har, Fi…I'll send ya picture's so I will…mammy thought—"
"Don't ya be mentionin' har name ta me," she growled. "Ya all conspired ta take ma babby."
"Fiona…" Patrick reached out for her and tried to pull her into his arms but she turned around and punched him, shattering his nose.
"I HATE THA WHOLE STINKIN' LOT A YA," she screamed when he tried to reach for her again despite his nose streaming with blood.
"We'll make sure…she knows who har mammy is Fi," he called to her as she turned away from him again. "I'll send ya pictures…Fiona…"
"She's gone Pat," Sean told him when he came to stand beside his brother. "Made a mess too by tha looks a ya."
"Ya…"Patrick sighed sadly when he tried to find his sister in the darkness but she was already gone. "We better go back inside."
Tucking the doll under her arm, Caitlin came towards her and pulled a heart shaped locket out from beneath her shirt to clutch it in her hand. She looked up at Fiona and beamed a smile that caused the man beside her mother to gasp in a breath.
Michael regarded the child and put his gun into the back of his jeans when he realised he was looking down at a younger version of Fiona. Her hair was jet black and fell in silken strands just below her shoulder. The child couldn't be no more than five years old, but he couldn't even fathom the possibilities right now.
His mind counted backwards as he mentally tried to do the math in his head from that last night in Ireland before he'd left without a word. Questions began to form in his head, but when the little girl pulled the necklace open with a triumphant squeal he lost all power of speech.
"Look," Caitlin smiled as she stepped closer to Fiona and leant on her shoulder so she could show her the photo inside the locket. "It's you."
"I can see," Fiona told her with a watery smile as she brushed her fingers over her dark hair. "And you still have the doll I gave to you when you were a tiny baby…just before I had to leave…"
"Uncle Pat said ya had ta go," Caitlin told her as she looked up at her mother with curious eyes. "Do ya not have ta go now?"
"No," Fiona told her, choking on her words as she reached out to pull the child into her arms. Her eyes snapped closed as she held on tight before kissing the little girls hair as she gently rocked them from side to side. "I never wanted to leave you, baby…"
Michael watched the scene before him unfold and he was finding it increasingly difficult to tear his eyes away. Glancing up at the two men who both seemed to relax when Fiona held the little girl, he finally found his voice and coughed to gain their attention. "Sean…what's going on?"
"When word got out tha' you were American, we had ta get har outta Ireland," Sean told him, expecting him to understand. "Pat started ta worry when people began askin' questions about tha babby."
Michael shook his head and was about to ask him to explain what he meant when he heard something that caused his words to dry up in his throat. The little girl that was holding so tightly to Fiona slowly pulled away to put two little hands on either side of her face.
"Ya sound funny mammy?" she giggled as she leaned forward to kiss her mother soundly before putting her arms around her neck.
Fiona laughed and cried at the same time as she wrapped her arms around her again before pulling her back again to look at her. Running her hand over the little girl's soft hair she sniffed back the tears as she smiled.
"You think mommy talks funny?" she asked.
Caitlin nodded her head and leaned against her mother so they were cheek to cheek as she stared over at a dark haired man who was looking at her strangely.
"Who's tha'?" she whispered shyly when he started to move slowly towards them.
Fiona closed her eyes briefly before she opened them again and took a breath. How could she tell her daughter that the man who was looking at her with so much suspicion was actually her father? She had taken his rejection so many times and survived it but she wasn't about to subject her daughter to the same thing.
"That's Michael," she told her softly as she slowly pulled away to hold onto her hands. "He's a friend of mine."
"Like Jamie?" Caitlin asked with a bright smile. "He's ma frien' too."
Michael swallowed heavily and slowly took a step closer towards them, not sure if his suspicions were right. When the little girl looked up at him with eyes that were like looking in a mirror, he couldn't help the gasp that escaped his lips. This child…Fiona's child…she was…his?
"Now waita minute," Sean started as he caught the look on Michael's face. "Yer didn't know?"
"Sean," Fiona snapped. "Not now…" Standing to her feet she held her hand out to her daughter and smiled down at her. "Are you hungry?"
Caitlin nodded her head and cast her eyes towards Michael before leaning into her mother's leg. Tugging on her robe to gain her attention, she was rewarded when Fiona dropped her gaze down to hers and smiled.
"Why don't you go out to the car with Uncle Seamus so he can bring in the rest of your things," she told her softly. "Then we'll find some space to put your clothes, okay?"
"Am I stayin' now?" Caitlin asked her with wide, worried eyes.
Fiona felt her eyes fill with tears as she nodded slowly, dread suddenly filtering into her heart. She didn't know if she could survive another rejection. "That's only if you want to…I'll understand if you want to stay with Uncle Sean."
"Uncle Pat said I coul' stay wit ya mammy," Caitlin told her. "Can I?"
Fiona was on her knees before her daughter in seconds and lifted her fingers to her little face. "I've missed you so much Caitlin," she whispered brokenly. "If you stay with me now I don't think I can ever let you go again…is that going to be okay?"
Caitlin nodded as she glanced over towards Michael again and looked up at him. Leaning into her mother again she offered him a shy smile and hid her face away when he smiled back at her.
"Come on squirt," Seamus stepped forward and reached down to swing Caitlin into his arms. "Me, Uncle Sean an ya are gonna go find a shop an get ya some breakfast."
"Can mammy come too?" she squealed against him when tickled her side.
Fiona felt the sudden urge to steal her daughter from her brother's arms, still feeling the raw emotions of the night she left raging within her. Stepping closer she gasped in a breath, this felt a lot like it did five years ago.
"We'll bring har back," Sean told her reassuringly as he squeezed her shoulder. "I promise ya, Fiona."
Fiona's heart thundered inside her chest and all she wanted was for her daughter to be back in her arms. Pushing passed Sean she reached for Caitlin and plucked her away from her brother to hold the little girl against her in a desperate embrace before she slowly relinquished her hold and released her into her brother's care. The little girl took hold of her uncle's hand and turned to wave at her mother before hopping out of the door, giggling while she went.
Sean turned to look at Fiona's haunted eyes and was about to reassure her again but she turned on him, her fists already clenched.
"I swear Sean, if you take her away from me again I WILL kill you. I'll kill all of you…"
"I mean it Sean. Bring her back to me."
Sean regarded her for a moment before he nodded his head and turned towards the door. Looking back over his shoulder he glanced at Michael who was still looking shell shocked before addressing his sister. "Ya need ta tell him tha truth."
Fiona gasped in a breath when he turned away from her again and disappeared out of the door to leave the two of them alone. Swallowing the lump in her throat she kept her back to him before she found the courage to speak the words she knew he needed to know.