A/N: Thank you to everyone for your reviews, PM's and for the favourite story and author adds. I really do appreciate every one of you who takes the time to read my stories. I wish I could reply to all of you personally but RL has a habit of getting in the way.

Thank you also to everyone for your well wishes when I injured my hand. It's still a little sore but the good news is that I have full movement in all of my fingers, so I didn't do too much damage thankfully.

Thank you to my wonderful friends, the amazing Purdy's Pal, DaisyDay and JediSkysinger for keeping me smiling with daily emails. Also huge thanks to JediSkysinger for finding the time to beta for me even though she has been battling a cold.

Lastly thank you to all of the twitter girls for your constant support and to LeeLee and Noelle, I love you both so much.

5

Michael stared at his brother as if he'd grown a second head. He was absolutely stunned by what he had just witnessed and even more worried than usual, but his brother's nonchalant smile just infuriated him. Tearing his eyes away, he turned back towards Madeline and watched her carefully, hoping to see any kind of sign as to what had just happened that had caused her tough exterior to crack.

"Nate…what do you mean this is the future?" he asked distractedly as he kept his gaze focused on their mother. "It can't be like this."

"It is what it is, Mike," Nate shrugged as he turned and joined in with his brother's vigil of their mother. "I guess mom isn't as close to Fiona as we thought."

"No, they're close," Michael insisted. "This can't be right…it's—"

"This is what it's going to be like if you let mom slip away from you," Nate told him knowingly when sudden realisation appeared on Michael's face. "Fiona can see you slipping…hell, even I can and I'm dead, bro!"

"Nate, don't—"

"Don't what? Look Mike, you've gotta face facts…I'm dead…and nothing you can do is gonna change that."

Michael closed his eyes as his brother's words caused the wound that hadn't healed to reopen once more. Grief and guilt still ate away at him and, even though he knew he had to face it, he was afraid to face that raw emotion that would undoubtedly bring him to his knees.

"I wish I could change it," Michael told him brokenly as he slowly opened his eyes. "If I could trade places—"

"Now, don't you go and be talking like that, Mike," Nate scolded softly. "If it had been you, then Fiona would be alone…you wouldn't want that would ya?"

"No, but—"

"No but's, bro," Nate told him firmly, his lips merging into a smile. "You've got a woman who was willing to give up her life for you. I've never had that, bro. That's special."

Fiona's face emerged in Michael's mind and he fought hard to keep her there for as long as he could, but the vision of her faded, just like it had so many times before and he was left feeling utterly alone.

"I want things back how they used to be, before Anson, before you died…before mom hated me…" Michael's voice trailed away and he swallowed back the lump in his throat before he focused on his mother once more. How could he have let things become so strained between them?

"Mom doesn't hate you Mike. Like I told you before, she just needs time."

"You still sound like Fi," Michael chuckled humorously before the smile slipped from his lips once more. "I can take mom not talking to me, but I don't want her and Fiona to do whatever…that…was before."

"Mom always did like Fiona," Nate sighed wistfully. "It woulda been nice if she'd tried to like Ruth, but she didn't make things easy."

Michael sighed heavily when he watched his mother stub the cigarette out into her ashtray before she pulled a kitchen chair out and flopped into it. He knew she was angry with him for what happened to Nate. Maybe she hated him a little too, and that he could cope with…at least he thought he could.

"You know mom…" he sighed. "She probably thought no one was good enough for you."

"Oh, come on!"

"No, I mean it," Michael insisted as he turned towards his brother, a smile lifting his lips. "You were always the favourite."

"The fav—"

"You know I'm right!"

Nate's mouth widened in bewilderment as he folded his arms across his chest and stared at the man standing beside him.

"How can you think that?" he groused. "Mom was always looking out for a post card from you, but every day she was disappointed. But me…"

"Nate—"

"No, you listen to me for once, Mike," Nate interrupted, his eyes flashing wildly as he spoke. "All I heard for years was, 'why can't you be more like your brother?'…'If only your bother was here, he'd fix it…' Do you know how many times I tried to tell her you weren't going to call?"

"I had a good reason, Nate…I couldn't—"

"Yeah, yeah, you couldn't risk putting mom in danger…blah, blah, blah…" Nate shook his head as he spoke, bewilderment mixed with resignation seeping through his words. "You keep telling me the same thing, bro, but you ain't telling me the one thing that matters."

"Okay," Michael sighed, throwing his arms in the air. "Why don't you just go ahead and tell me what I did wrong this time?"

"You think it's so simple, don't ya, Mike?" Nate growled. "Let me show you something."

Michael stared after Nate with barely contained confusion and he just couldn't understand why his brother was so upset. Surely this thing with his not calling their mother while he was away had been dealt with already.

Following blindly he stepped beside his brother's still form, expecting to see the family room he was used to seeing. But instead the image that greeted him was one from the past, before all of this mess.

Watching on silently he wondered why Nate had chosen to show him this particular time, but it soon became apparent when he heard soft voices coming from the room and he realised that he was witnessing another snippet from the past…one where he had almost lost Fiona because of his own stupidity.

"Madeline, I know you mean well—"

"No, sweetheart," Madeline smiled as she reached out to lay her hand over the young woman sitting opposite her. "I know you think he doesn't love you, but I know he does."

Fiona sighed heavily and shifted in her seat before she forced a smile onto her lips. "Madeline—"

"No, honey, you need to listen to me, and listen up good." Scooting forward, she cradled Fiona's hand in both of hers as she spoke. "When Michael was away, I waited every day for a post card, a phone call, anything to let me know he was okay, but nothing ever came…"

Michael watched on in total bewilderment when his mother's words brought a wave of guilt to wash over him. He hadn't realised that she would miss him, not after the way they had parted…but now he was slowly beginning to understand why she was so upset with him now. Before he could turn towards his brother and tell him he'd seen enough, Fiona's voice startled him with her words of reassurance.

"He was trying to protect you," Fiona insisted, her words of protection causing Michael to question what he had done to deserve her.

"I know that, but what I'm trying to tell you is I learned how to deal with not hearing from him every day. I thought it was better if I didn't know where he was…but then I had a call from you…"

"Me?"

"Yeah," Madeline chuckled, releasing Fiona's hand to reach for her pack of cigarettes. Pulling one out she lifted it to her lips and allowed it to dangle there while she reached down for her lighter. "You were my one connection to him, did you know that?"

Michael's eyes grew wider when he saw Fiona's flood with tears, but to her credit she blinked them away and composed herself before his mother had lit her cigarette.

"I…didn't know that, no," Fiona all but whispered as she tried to control her wayward emotions. "You know he left me, too?"

"I know," Madeline nodded as she blew a plume of smoke into the air. "But he loved you when he left."

Fiona instantly bristled and sat back further in her chair but she didn't allow her feelings to show.

"I thought he loved me, Madeline," she shrugged, trying to create an air of nonchalance as she averted her eyes. "I learned a long time ago that loving Michael comes with a price attached."

"I wish I could disagree with you," Madeline sighed with a sad smile as she stubbed her half smoked cigarette into her ashtray.

"But you know I'm right?" Fiona asked softly, her eyes lifting towards the woman sitting opposite her.

"I do," reaching forward Madeline patted Fiona's hand and stood up to walk across to one of the many book shelves and pulled out a large photo album. Tucking it under her arm she reached out for Fiona's hand and tugged her up to pull her with her towards the couch, sitting them both down onto it.

Michael moved with them, confusions marring his thoughts as he turned back to seek out his brother's face.

"When did this happen?" he asked, his voice breaking slightly when he turned back to watch his girlfriend and his mother laughing over some of the old photographs in the album.

"Do you remember when you left for the…" Nate's voice broke off for a few seconds as he mentally made calculations inside his head. "Was it the third…or…"

"Nate—"

"Oh, wait, it was the fifth…yeah I know that cuz I remember mom calling me to—"

"NATE!"

"Hey, I'm not the one who keeps leavin' bro," Nate grinned. "But you know…maybe you have learned from all of this…who knows…"

"What does that mean, Nate?" Michael asked in exasperation. "What does any of this mean?"

"It means you've seen enough to fix things," Nate grinned. "It's time for you to wake up."

"Nate…what about mom and Fi? How do I stop that? How do I—"

"Wake up, Michael…" Nate grinned as he stepped away. "Wake up now…"

"NATE!"

"Michael, you're dreaming…wake up," Fiona shook her boyfriend's shoulder and tried to rouse him from whatever nightmare he was having, but when she heard his brother's name on his lips, she laid down beside him and held on to his shaking body.

Michael's eyes snapped open and, for a moment he laid there, trying to find his bearings and to return his breathing to normal. It took him all of two seconds to register that there was a warm body beside him in a comfortable bed that he would have known anywhere.

"Fi?" he asked dubiously, praying that he hadn't just woken up in another time, but when she shifted beside him and lifted herself up onto one elbow, he finally dared to look up at her.

"Hey," she whispered softly, a smile forming over her lips. "Are you okay?"

Without warning, Michael lunged towards her, pulling her body down so that he could crush her to him. He held on tight, his words mixed in with sobs as he clung to her desperately, never wanting to let her go.

"Fi…" he moaned her name. "Fi…"

"I'm here, it's okay," she managed, even though her voice was muffled against his chest. "I'm here…"

"Don't let go…please…"

"I won't," she whispered as she kissed her way over his chest and up towards his ear. "I promise, I'll never let you go…shh…it's okay…"

Michael swallowed hard against the burning in his throat as he tried to regain his composure and release her so that he could see her face, but he couldn't seem to let her go. Squeezing her tighter against him, he clamped his eyes closed and tried to bring his breathing back to normal. He clung to her desperately, shaking his head and whispering her name in some kind of mantra.

"Shh," she whispered, so close that he could feel her warm breath on his face. "Michael, open your eyes."

He shook his head against her. "You're not really here…if I open my eyes, then this has to end…and…I—"

His voice was cut off mid-sentence when she pulled him tighter into her chest, forcing the breath out of his body. Opening his eyes, he tried to focus, but the feel of her arms around him was intoxicating and he didn't want her to ever let him go.

"It's going to be okay," she whispered against his ear. "I'm not going anywhere this time."

Her words caused Michael's arms to slowly move. His hands slid up Fiona's back until he was pulling her body even closer to his. There was so much he needed to say to her…so many things he needed to apologize for, but when he looked up at her to see complete trust in her eyes, everything he wanted to say just melted away.

"I'm here. I'll always be here," she told him, her whispered promise accompanying the strength of her embrace.

Her words coursed through him, spurring him to slowly pull away so that he could gaze up into her beautiful eyes. "Fiona…"

"No," she whispered as she focused on his lips. "You don't need to say anything…I know…"

Michael closed his eyes briefly when her breath fanned his face. So many times while she was incarcerated he had dreamt of this, of holding her, kissing her, making love to her. Opening his eyes again, he pulled himself upright and slowly dipped his head, meeting her half way as their lips touched gently, lingering together for a few seconds before they pulled away to gaze into each other's eyes.

Neither of them had been prepared for the overwhelming desire that shot through them both the second their lips touched. Fiona could feel the slight tremble in her body as she smiled at him. The way he was looking at her, his eyes lingering over her face with such intensity, caused her face to flush before she moved to claim his lips again in at kiss that left them both gasping for breath.

"Fiona…" he panted breathlessly when he tore his lips from hers. Her kisses were addictive and he had to hold his forehead against hers just to stop himself from tumbling recklessly into her. Her name flowed from his lips in an endless whisper until his words were replaced with a trail of soft kisses that burned a path over her face. He continued to kiss his way along the column of her throat and then back up again until he came to hover over her lips again. "You're really here…"

"I'm really here," she told him softly, her voice breaking when she saw his eyes welling with tears. She had never felt so utterly adored before in her life. "Michael…"

Hearing his name on her lips sent shock waves throughout his body and he suddenly pulled her against him once more, connecting their lips in a scorching kiss that sealed them both in an unspoken act of devotion. Fiona's hands found their way into his hair, her fingers threading through his dark strands, holding him against her in a desperate clasp. She was lost in him and, when his tongue ran along her lower lip begging for entry, everything around them melted away. One scorching kiss led into another until they broke apart, panting heavily.

"I…wow…" she managed breathlessly as she fought to focus on his face. His eyes seemed to be devouring her and she could feel the rosy blush heating her cheeks. "I…Michael…what's brought this on…why are—"

His lips were on hers again before she could speak, kissing her with one long kiss that left her body melting into his. When he slowly pulled away, he smiled down into her desire filled eyes. "You're right, I can't do this without you," he whispered against her lips, "I need you..."

At first she pulled back and just stared at him in confusion, until she saw the absolute commitment in his eyes. She had never heard him like this before. He had laid himself bare before her, vulnerable and completely open to her touch, and she realised in this one precious moment that she had never loved him more than she did right now.

"I'm here," she whispered softly as she skimmed her fingers over his face, feeling the course prickly growth of his unshaven skin beneath her hand. Moving closer, once more she pressed their lips together again, relishing in the slight shiver that emanated from his body.

His hands slid over her back, his fingers massaging wherever they touched but before Fiona could push his body back down onto the bed, he stopped her and slowly looked around the empty loft.

"Michael what are you doing?" she asked, trying not to smile at the way he was looking around the room. "There's only the two of us here."

"I'm just making sure," he told her seriously as he pushed himself up further, leaning on his elbow.

Shaking her head incredulously, Fiona reached up for him, wrapping her hands around the back of his head to pull him back down to her. His eyes were still searching even when she claimed his mouth again, so she increased the pressure, enticing him to deepen the kiss. His eyes eventually closed when she consumed him as she invaded his senses, pushing away all of the clouds that had marred his thoughts since Nate had been taken from him.

Love burst through him, the heated wave cascading throughout his body to burn wherever it touched. Thoughts of grief melted away with her love and he could almost see Nate's relieved smile out of the corner of his eye, but he wasn't going to berate his brother this time. He had everything he needed right here and he wasn't ever going to let her go again.

When the need for breath forced them apart, Michael groaned out her name and settled above her to bury his head into the crook of her neck. Every kind of emotion he had ever felt in his life was coursing through him right now, the sheer intensity causing his body to tremble against her. He wanted her; he needed her… so why was he feeling so utterly drained?

Fiona closed her eyes and brought both of her hands up to cradle his head against her, holding onto him tightly. She knew what he was going through because she had gone through the exact same thing when Claire had died.

Spreading her fingers wide, she threaded them through his hair and placed soft kisses over his temple while she whispered words of reassurance and love. He hadn't known back in Ireland that he alone had been the one to heal her heart. He had taken the blackness of her grief and turned it into love, and in turn he had saved her from losing herself into that chasm of darkness. It was him…all of it…

"I love you," she whispered, punctuating those words against his skin as she kissed him. "Always love you…forever…"

Her words found their way inside him and he suddenly found the strength he had been lacking only moments ago. Lifting his head, he found her eyes and once more wondered what he had done to deserve her. His eyes filled with unwanted tears, but she reached up and kissed them away before they could fall.

"Nate took me to Ireland," he choked out and tried to regain his wayward emotions, but he couldn't seem to stop his body from shaking. "You were dead and I—"

"I'm right here," she whispered softly as she cradled his face between her hands. "Look at me…I'm here."

"But you…"

"Shhh…"she chided, her lips silencing him before he could speak again. Tugging him even closer she manoeuvred them further backwards and turned them until his body was pressed firmly into the pillows. The love in his eyes brought a flood of adoration to flow through her heart…he was everything and sometimes the intensity of those feelings scared her. Taking a breath, she lifted her fingers to his cheek and caressed the rough skin as she thought of the words that would convey to him just how much she loved him.

Michael gazed up at her in complete awe. Devotion shone from his eyes as he covered her hand with his fingers. She deserved so much more than this life he had drawn her into and he knew after the events he'd just witnessed, regardless whether they were in a dream or not, he would give her everything she wanted.

"What are you thinking?" she asked in a whisper, unable to hide the blush that lingered over her cheeks beneath his scrutiny.

For a moment he was lost in her, unable to find the right words to say to express to her just how much he needed her in his life. How could he tell her that his brother had come to him in a dream and showed him what would happen if he didn't make a change? He would sound like he'd lost his mind and he wasn't sure whether he hadn't. His brother was dead, he wasn't coming back and yet his presence was everywhere.

Fiona watched the ever changing emotions swamping her boyfriend's eyes and she knew that any words now could never take the place of the sheer power of the love they felt for each other. Nodding slightly, she smiled down at him before she lowered her body closer and laid her head in between his neck and shoulder.

Michael pulled her closer, his fingers tracing lazy patterns over her back as he closed his eyes. He cherished these moments between them and thanked whoever was listening for bringing her into his life. Every day she gave him something new, a new hope, a new feeling, and a new reason to keep fighting. He didn't know if there would come a day that he could possibly live without her. He smiled when she turned her head to kiss their joined hands, her lips grazing his knuckles before she let out a contented sigh.

"I saw Claire after she died," she whispered in the darkness and instantly she heard him gasp in a breath, but all she did was clutch his hand tighter. "She died angry at me…and I…I never got to tell her I was sorry."

Michael heard the waver in her voice and held onto her as she took a breath, instinctively knowing that there was more she needed to tell him. He listened in the darkness, waiting for her to tell him that everything would be okay because it worked out for her, but to his surprise she didn't.

"She was so beautiful and after she died I kept asking God why he had taken her instead of me."

Swallowing hard, she blinked away the sudden wetness that sprang into her eyes and smiled despite her years of grief. "I had a dream about her not long after she'd died and she told me I'd know my reason soon enough."

"And did you?" He asked, his voice muffled into her hair as he nuzzled his lips against her soft strands.

Fiona snuggled in closer, burrowing her lips against his neck as she nodded. "I met you."

Her words startled him for a moment, but he recovered quickly and manoeuvred them so that he could see her eyes. After lifting himself upwards, he descended on her lips, kissing her with as much passion as he could muster.

Fiona moaned into his mouth when he deepened their kiss before she had time to breathe. His tongue plunged into her mouth, causing her to whimper with the sensations he was enticing throughout her body. Pushing herself closer to him, she buried her fingers into his hair and clamped his mouth tightly to hers.

Michael was lost in her, as she caused every ounce of self-control to flitter away like the breeze. His body still reacted to her in the same way as it had done all those years ago and his mind remembered every inch of her skin with perfect clarity. He needed her now more than he needed to breathe…he needed to show her that she was his life now, despite what his previous actions had shown her. Without breaking the kiss, he took control to flip them over to push her backwards against the soft pillows.

Fiona tore her lips from his to trail kisses over his face and neck. Thoughts of her sister faded into the back of her mind as she kissed him, her lips burning an enticing trail over his flesh to leave him groaning above her.

Feeling her heated kisses on his skin, Michael could feel the intensity in every touch she lavished over his body and he felt himself starting to shake slightly. He met her with his own sensual caresses as he slid his hands around her back to hold her closer to him. His own exploring kisses worshiped her body until he relented against his own passion to kiss his way up to her mouth once more.

Fiona could sense his desperate need for her aching into her own body and she felt herself surrender to his touch. Lifting her head, she caught his lips with her own, kissing him with something bordering on near desperation. Pulling him closer, she groaned into his mouth as he slid his tongue into her depths, causing her whole body to ignite. She kissed him with an intensity neither of them had known before and he willingly sank down into her arms to let her take control of their love making.

Fiona moved suddenly and hooked his legs, rolling them over so that he was lying flat on the mattress and she loomed above him. He smiled up at her adoringly as he allowed his hands to fall back on the bed, willingly surrendering to her in every possible way.

Fiona watched his eyes flutter closed as she slid her hands over his chest, her nails raking sensually over his skin as she positioned herself over him. She closed her eyes and threw her head back as she took him into her body, the burning love uniting them together in a beautiful union of coupling souls.

Her soft groans coaxed him closer and soon the sadness that had encompassed them gently ebbed away, to leave them breathless in the wake of passion that had taken them both over the edge of release, leaving them both physically spent as they sank down into the bed, their arms tightly wrapped around each other. Their bodies slowly disengaged a few moments later and they laid together in the afterglow, soaking up each other's love.

Michael lifted one of his hands to her back, his fingers dancing circling patterns over her silken skin. He wanted to tell her everything that she stirred within him, but no words would ever compare to how she made him feel. Instead, he pulled her closer to him, encircling her sweat sprinkled body within his arms.

They stayed that way for a long time and, after what seemed like forever, Fiona felt his breathing deepen and she moved her head up to watch him. She'd lost count how many times she'd used to do this back in Ireland as they laid in bed together after a long night of passion. There had always been something so innocent about him when he slept and she often felt as if the stresses of their lives just seemed to fall away when he allowed himself to sleep.

Her eyes lingered over his face, searching for that same innocence that she'd seen so many years ago. He was such a beautiful man, both in body and spirit. She could never understand this connection between them, but she knew their bond was far deeper than anything she'd ever felt before with anyone. Yet, she was still uncertain of the future, still afraid of where they were heading. She'd never been certain of her place in his life, not even after he'd asked her to move in. She knew he'd taken a huge step forward, but instead of embracing what was possibly the best thing that had ever happened to her, she still couldn't shake the fear that one day he would eventually leave her like he did before.

Closing her eyes against the sudden moisture in them, she moved her body closer to his and held him, letting the tears fall silently as she listened to his heartbeat beneath her ear. He had already gone through so much already and he didn't need to see how much all of this mess was hurting her too.

"Fi..." his voice murmured softly, causing her to hurriedly sniff back her tears and lift her head to search his face.

"I thought you were asleep."

He pulled her closer, his voice fighting against the tiredness wracking his body. "I love you... you know that…don't you?"

Fiona gasped softly as fresh tears sprang to her eyes. Her heart was thundering inside her chest and she wondered if this was really just a dream. Lifting up on one elbow, she gazed down into his face and kissed his closed eyes.

"I know, Michael," Her breath caught in her throat as the words she'd struggled to say on so many occasions slipped effortlessly from her now. "I love you, too...so much..."

He sighed sleepily beside her and clutched her close to his body. "Good," he murmured as their hands joined again. A few more seconds of silence passed before he spoke again, his voice just a whisper. "I won't leave you ... not again…"

"You can't promise me that," she whispered back as the words caught in her throat. "Just…go to sleep now, okay? We'll talk in the morning."

"I really won't... and…I do love you..."

"I know. You sleep now, okay?" Her voice was soft as she kissed his chest and she doubted she'd be sleeping any time soon. He loved her; he'd actually said it and that should have been enough but...

"Fi?"

Fiona smiled, despite the sadness that coursed through her. Here he was, this wonderful, beautiful man who had always stood by his beliefs and kept silent, but now he wouldn't stop talking.

"Close your eyes," she told him, hoping that he hadn't heard the slight waver in her voice. "I'll be here when you wake up."

Michael's eyes snapped open and he inclined his head to see the top of her head rested on his chest. Nate's words echoed inside his mind and he knew that this beautiful woman deserved so much more that he had given her. She was his life and it was time she heard everything. Shifting slightly, he turned his body so that they were facing each other before he skimmed his fingertips over her wet cheek.

"You're everything," he blurted quickly before he lost his nerve. "I mean…this life; whatever we do from now on…it's nothing if you're not with me."

"Michael—"

He moved closer to place a kiss onto her lips, silencing her before she could speak again. When he drew back, he watched her eyes slowly open to gaze into his with so much adoration that he almost forgot what it was he needed to tell her. He focused on her eyes, noting that even in the darkness they still had the power to steal the breath from his lungs. With gentle fingers, he skimmed her cheek before he moved lower to trace his thumb over her lips.

"When I went to Ireland, I never thought I'd find myself wanting to stay…I never wanted to leave you, Fi," he told her quickly before he lost his nerve. "I want you to know that."

Fiona kissed his thumb and offered him a watery smile as she moved over him to settle her head onto his chest.

"I know," she whispered, her fingers skimming his chest as she spoke. "Card told me."

"Card?" Michael asked with a sigh. "I was ready to kill him that night…part of me wished I had until he helped me get you out of prison."

"Yeah, he told me that, too," she mused. "He'll be there to take you away from me again one day."

Her voice stirred something inside him, reminding him of the journey he had taken with his younger brother while he'd slept. Tugging her tighter against his body, he leaned down to pepper her head with kisses before he pulled her upwards so that he could see her face.

"Never again," he promised solemnly, his voice punctuating his words as he sealed his devotion to her with his lips.

Fiona melted against him and drew back to look up at him curiously when his lips merged upwards into an amused smile.

"What?"

"Nothing," he grinned, feeling his heart becoming lighter by the second. Kissing her one more time, he lay back down against the pillows and took her with him, waiting until she settled against him before he spoke again. "Just promise me one thing…"

Fiona traced her fingertips over his chest and nodded silently as she waited for him to enlighten her but when he coaxed her head upwards so that she was gazing directly up at him, she knew she would promise him anything he asked.

"Don't go to my mom's without me?"

Fiona's eyes swam in confusion, but she nodded anyway. There was no way she was going to be visiting Madeline Westen any time soon, not after the way she was treating Michael.

"Okay…"

"Good…" he grinned happily as he tugged her against him again before he closed his eyes. Skimming his fingertips over her back, he chuckled to himself when he heard Nate's laughter echoing inside his head and he knew that whatever happened now he wouldn't let the future he'd seen come to pass. This was the life he wanted now…with this beautiful woman by his side.

As he slipped over into the cusp of slumber, he thought he heard a soft goodbye, but when he opened his eyes he was only greeted by darkness. When he settled back against the pillows again, his eyes caught sight of the woman lying against him and all thoughts of his brother left his mind when he looked over her sleeping face.

"Thank you, Nate," he whispered into the darkness as he allowed the last vestiges of grief to slip away when he nuzzled his lips into Fiona's hair and closed his eyes.

"No bro...thank you…"

The End

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