Disclaimer: Burn Notice still doesn't belong to me unfortunately.

A/N: I needed to write something, anything to release the angst from watching 6x06 Shock Wave. I am not ashamed to say that I cried… Nate died a hero.

Thank you to Purdy's Pal and JediSkysinger for reading through this. Thank you to DaisyDay for keeping the laughter in our lives.

Thanks also to LeeLee who was there to console me after the episode. This is for you

Michael's eyes fell onto the vision before him and without even thinking his feet started moving, their eyes linked and unblinking. They had both waited so long for this moment and even though this reunion for Michael was everything, it was marred by the ache in his heart.

The Calm before the Storm

Standing outside his mother's front door Michael swallowed the lump in his throat, but no matter how many times he tried to blink the tears from his eyes they still kept coming. He just didn't know how he was going to tell her.

Today should have been one of joy but instead it would forever be tinged with loss; the day Nate Westen died.

Nate Westen, his brother…his annoying little brother who had lost his life by giving Michael his back. In a few hours Fiona, the only person who could help him now, would be walking free and back into his arms, but…


Taking a breath he looked up into the cloudless sky just hoping he could find the strength he needed to get through this. Telling his mother was going to break both of them in two, he knew this would shatter her. He also knew that any blame she threw his way would always weigh heavily over his heart because he blamed himself too.

Stepping forward he slowly opened the door and moved inside, trying to mentally prepare himself for what he had to do. Nate was gone…how was he going to tell her?

She turned to him when he walked inside, her smile slowly slipping from her face when she saw the pain in his eyes. Reaching forward she laid her hand on his shoulder, not knowing that the next words out of his mouth would splinter her into a million pieces.

"Mom," he started slowly, his voice thick with emotion. "Nate's gone."

He could see the confusion in her eyes and he tried desperately to grab hold of her before he delivered the more clearer message. "He's dead mom, Nate's gone."

He knew the denial was coming even before she lashed out at him, thumping his chest before she slapped him hard. Shaking her head she spoke Nate's name over and over until Michael surged forward to grab hold of her shoulders to keep her from falling.

For as long as he lived he didn't think he would ever forget the feral cry of the woman before him, when she screamed and wailed both at the same time. Her arms hung limply at her side and he tried to keep her upright but he too was losing the battle to fight off his tears.

Numbness and pain intermingled to encompass him as he held on to her tighter, not knowing the words to make any of this better. He didn't know how to react or how to comfort her, only Fiona…only she would know. She could heal them, both of them just by being there.

Time passed so slowly that he didn't know if it had been hours or minutes they had been there. His mother's sobs had dried into hiccups and the wails into mumbles. She was shaking and he knew he had to tighten his hold but he was finding it so hard to keep himself together. He knew if he loosened his arms she would fall and he wished he had someone here to help him get through this.

He whispered her name over and over until his throat was hoarse. His chest hurt from the punches she'd pounded against him but none of that mattered, not anymore. His brother was gone and he'd taken Michael's angry words with him. He could never take them back, he couldn't say he was sorry…and he was sorry, so desperately sorry.

After what seemed like an eternity his mother stilled and for a moment he thought she had tired herself out. Glancing down into her face he was shocked to see the cold empty eyes that looked back at him.

Whispering her name he blinked heavily when she didn't respond and it wasn't until a few seconds later that he realised that the shock had finally set in.

"Mom," he whispered again, this time manoeuvring her backwards to sit her down into one of the chairs. Kneeling onto the floor before her he reached for her hands and held on tight, squeezing her fingers to try and warm her hands.

When the door opened he didn't look up, his eyes fixed onto the woman staring straight ahead.

"Maddie…" Sam's voice echoed into the silence and he too couldn't hold the tremble that shook his words. Stepping further into the kitchen he looked behind him and motioned for the woman with him to come inside but she pushed him aside when she moved towards Michael's mother.

"Oh sweetheart," Elsa breathed when she reached down to take the hand that Michael had just released. "Madeline, I'm so so sorry…"

Michael moved back numbly and stood to his feet and for the life of him he didn't know what to do with his hands. He'd always had a plan, something else to aim for but right now he couldn't seem to function.

"Listen Mike, we need to go and pick up Fi."

The mention of her name brought Michael out of his haze and he turned his eyes onto his friend. His heart lurched when he thought of how close he was to having her back in his arms but when he cast a worrying gaze onto his mother he couldn't seem to move.

"Go," Elsa told him gently when she patted Madeline's hand. "Go, I'll stay here with her."

"Thanks baby," Sam told her affectionately when he moved towards the door and looked back towards his friend.

"Elsa I…" Michael started, but his voice seemed to stick in his throat.

"It's fine Michael," Elsa told him sympathetically as she returned her eyes to the comatose woman before her. "Bring that girl of yours home."

Michael's eyes stung and he was completely numb as he moved towards his mother to whisper her name. She didn't move or even acknowledge that she's heard him so he took a step back and watched her for a few moments before he felt Sam's hand on his arm.


Nodding silently Michael turned to follow him, giving his mother one last look before he followed his friend out of the door and towards the Charger.


Silence surrounded the three men as they waited outside the Allarod Federal Penitentiary gates, all of them more than a little anxious to be reunited with the woman who was still inside. Sam and Jesse flanked Michael on either side of his shoulders, all of them waiting. Michael's heartbeat thumped inside his chest, his mind whirling with a mixture of sadness and elation.

The loud noise that came from the large heavy gate announced the impending reunion and all three men watched, willing the metal barrier to move faster. It seemed to take forever for the gate to open fully but when it did…

Michael's eyes fell onto the vision before him and without even thinking his feet started moving, their eyes linked and unblinking. They had both waited so long for this moment and even though this reunion for Michael was everything, it was marred by the ache in his heart.

Within seconds she was there, running the last few steps to slip into his arms, holding onto him so tightly. He pulled her closer and closed his eyes; she was the only part of his life that made sense now and he couldn't ever let her go.

Fiona was torn between elation and worry when she felt his arms closing around her. She knew him so well, probably better than he knew himself. The way he was holding her, squeezing so tight wasn't purely because he had missed her.

"You took your time," she teased, relishing the feel of his body. "I was beginning to think you didn't need me anymore…"

Her words caused him to pull away albeit briefly as he gazed down at her, his voice shaking as he spoke. "I need you more than ever."

Fiona looked into his eyes seeing something that sparked the worry in her. He surged forward again, wrapping his arms around her and it was in that instant she knew something was definitely wrong.

"Michael…" her breath grazed his throat as she lifted her eyes to his. "What's wrong?"

He clung to her, holding her like a lifeline because that's what she was. She was his anchor, the only one to keep him grounded and the only one who could disable his defences. Closing his eyes he tried to stem the well of tears but the more he blinked them away the more his eyes filled again. Bowing his head he tugged her tighter and buried his face into her shoulder, taking shelter in her arms.

"Michael," she whispered her own voice trembling as she held him. "What is it?"

Her words caused the tears he'd been fighting to suddenly burst free. He felt more vulnerable than he'd ever felt before and when she slipped a hand into his hair he suddenly felt his walls breaking down. His whole body shook against her as she pulled him closer, holding him tightly as she closed her eyes.

Michael had never let anyone see this side of him before and the sudden irrational fear hit him. How could he face Sam and Jesse? What would they all think of him now? He felt Fiona's fingers threading through his hair, and then her warm breath when she kissed his temple. He didn't want to ever leave her arms but when he finally lifted his head, he focussed only on her.

Fiona's arms loosened around him as she slowly slid her hands up his back and shoulders, before tracing her fingers down his suit clad arms to clasp his hands in hers.


"Not here," he told her shakily. "I…"

"Please," she whispered, squeezing his fingers and drawing his attention back to her. He saw her eyes shine with tears and that was all it took to break him.

"Nate…" he shook his head and drew her back into his arms as if he needed her closeness to find the courage to face this. "Nate's gone…"

Fiona gasped and clamped her eyes shut as she encompassed him in her embrace. She couldn't believe what she was hearing…how? When? Opening her eyes she blinked back her own tears as she moved slightly and lifted her fingers to his face to wipe the wetness from his face.

"Oh Michael…" she breathed, kissing his damp cheek. "I…don't…"

Lifting his head again Michael stepped out of her embrace to take both of her hands in his to kiss her knuckles before he slipped his arm around her. He needed to get her away from this place, he had to get her to his mom…he had to do a lot of things.

When they reached the two men who were just as anxious to greet her, any elation was muted by the news that Michael had just delivered. Sam moved forward and pulled her into a tight embrace, holding her just a little longer than usual before he released her and stepped back to hold onto her shoulders.

"It's good to see ya," he told her with a sad smile.

"You too Sam," she told him with a smile before she was already being pulled away and into another hug. Jesse held her just as tightly, mindful of the attraction he one had to her. Meeting Michael's eyes, he saw the flash of jealousy mixed in with his pain and he knew that this beautiful woman he held so tightly would be the only one to help Michael through the loss.

Stepping away from her, Jesse sighed before he offered her a tight smile. "Welcome back, Fi."

Wordlessly she took a step backwards and slipped her hand into Michael's before she turned to check that he was okay. Nodding silently he squeezed her fingers before he motioned for her to climb into the back of the charger, following her a second later.

Sam and Jesse exchanged a look that spoke volumes when they climbed into the front seats. Neither of them needed to look into the back to know that the reunited couple were huddled together, taking solace from each other.

Turning the key in the ignition, Sam smiled to himself, even though it was tinged with grief…team Westen was back together…

The End