Hey everybody, this is just a little something that came to me out of the blue about a year ago. It's not in a concrete place in the Burn Notice timeline, other than pre Nate's death, so Michael and Madeleine are still speaking.

"Does my son scare you?"

Fiona almost spat out her drink, "Pardon!?"

Madeline set down her own beer and repeated the question, "Michael, does he ever scare you?"

Fiona took a deep breath and glanced around the restaurant before replying, warily. "How do you mean?"

Maddie sighed, "I don't know, he's just so… he can be… intense. Violent." The last word was muttered to the table top.

Ah, now Fiona had a feeling for where this conversation was going. She reached out and covered the older woman's hands on the table and tried to reassure her, "Not with me. Never, not unless it's for a job. And then, don't tell him I told you this, but I think it hurts him more than me," she added with a smile. "Things may have gotten a little more… complicated, over the years, but he's the same Michael I fell in love with. And that man has never once raised a hand against me in anger."

Madeline freed her hands and took another sip of beer before replying slowly, "I believe you, but how do you stand it?"

Fiona swallowed and glanced around the room once more, Michael should be joining them any minute now. Not seeing him, she decided to be honest. "It's hard sometimes, but I do. I'm a big girl. I can take it. I just remind myself, that, at the end of the day, Michael is still Michael and I'm still me. We may do some things that we don't agree with, but at heart, we-well, Michael at least-is a good person. He does what he has to do."

Maddie snorted, "Don't sell yourself short, Fiona. Especially in relation to my son"

The younger woman simply smiled sadly and downed the rest of her beer in response.

"Down a bottle already, jeeze Fi, couldn't even wait for me?" Michael joked, coming up behind her.

Fiona started almost imperceptibly before recovering and pasting on a smile. "Oh you know, just an appetizer, your mother's had one too," she drawled.

Sitting down beside his girlfriend, Michael glanced at his mother. She was watching Fiona with a strange, almost sad look on her face. Madeleine noticed him noticing and quickly looked away.

Michael frowned. "So what have you ladies been talking about?" he asked, looking expectantly at Fiona.

When she didn't reply, his mother jumped in, "Oh, the usual, girl stuff."

Michael raised an eyebrow, "Girl stuff?" Since when did Fi and his mom talk about 'girl stuff?'

"Don't worry about it, Michael. It's not important," Fiona snapped.

Surprised, Michael looked at his mother questioningly. What wasn't important, he wondered.

"Don't look at me like that, Michael. She's a smart lady, I'd listen to her if I were you," Madeline replied.

A small smile tugged at the corners of Fiona's lips and she grabbed Michael's hand under the table, "Yes, I am. I wouldn't be here if I weren't." She squeezed his hand, "Let's eat."

Michael was still lost, but he squeezed back as his mother chuckled, "Atta girl."