Disclaimer: Burn Notice doesn't belong to me unfortunately…sigh…

A/N: As always I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you who read my stories and have been so supportive. There are no words that could possibly express how much I appreciate all of you.

Thank you also to my very dear friends Purdy's Pal, DaisyDay and JediSkysinger for filling my days with love and laughter, our daily emails always lift my spirits on these cold, wintery days. Huge thanks also to JediSkysinger for her BETA on this despite being very busy.

Lastly love and thanks to all the girls on twitter, especially Noelle and LeeLee, love you girls…

This is a one shot based on 6x14

Madeline's eyes clamped shut as she pulled Fiona into her arms and held on as tight as she could. She didn't want to think that this could be their last goodbye, she couldn't

This Isn't Goodbye

The look in Madeline's eyes brought the seriousness of their situation to the fore and she had to swallow the burning in her throat to keep herself from breaking. This woman had become so special to her, like a surrogate mother that had helped her to replace the loss of her own family. As she sat there watching the older woman's eyes fill with tears, she found herself reaching forward to embrace her.

Madeline's eyes clamped shut as she pulled Fiona into her arms and held on as tight as she could. She didn't want to think that this could be their last goodbye, she couldn't. She'd already had her life turned upside down with the loss of her youngest son and now it looked like she was going to lose her other son, too.

"Promise me you won't just disappear," she whispered as she swallowed her own tears. "Please don't do that to me."

"I won't," Fiona choked out as she clung on tight. "I promise I won't."

Madeline nodded against her, but still refused to let go. She couldn't seem to release her. Because she knew the moment she did, then it could possibly be the final time she had a chance to hold on to someone.

"I don't want to let you go," she whispered brokenly when she felt the first tear fall down her cheek. "I'm so tired, Fiona…"

"I know." Fiona's voice caught in her throat as she turned her face to kiss Madeline's cheek before she slowly started to pull away only to hold onto the older woman's hands.

Madeline's gaze dropped down to her lap and focused on their tangled fingers before she slowly lifted her head. She could see the pain in Fiona's eyes and it was all she could do not to break down as she struggled to regain her composure. This young woman meant the world to her and it broke her heart to think that she might not know that.

"I've always had this dream," she started, her lips turning up into a humourless smile. "I wanted my two boys to find nice girls and settle down…I wanted them to have the life that I always wanted…"

"Madel—"

"No, honey," she whispered, her voice breaking through Fiona's before she had a chance to finish. "I got my wish when I met you…I knew my son had found a woman he loved and that's all I needed to know."

Fiona smiled, despite the heaviness in her heart, and lifted her gaze to the woman beside her. Her eyes watered as she watched Madeline's features change to sadness once more, causing her to hold her hands tighter. There was no way to tell someone you loved that this could possibly be the last time you saw them and she had no idea how she was going to fulfil the promise she'd made only moments ago, but she had to try.

"I wish we didn't have to do this," she sniffed as Fiona fought back the emptiness inside of her. There was so much she wanted to say to this woman, but she didn't know where to start. She had become her mother, her friend and everything else in between and she didn't want to ever lose her…but to keep her safe she had to do just that.

"It's okay, sweetheart," Madeline told her when she saw the turmoil in her eyes. "You don't have to say anything."

"Did you know he promised to leave?" Fiona asked quietly, the words Michael had spoken to her resounding inside her head.

"Michael?"

"Yeah," Fiona nodded as a faint smile lined her mouth. "He said after Card he'd give it all up…he said he'd leave the CIA and settle down…"

"And you believed that?" Madeline asked softly when Fiona's eyes clouded with tears

The younger woman shrugged her shoulders and tried to smile, but her mouth wouldn't seem to work. Taking a breath to calm the thudding inside her chest, Fiona felt her walls come tumbling down around her when Madeline looked upon her with such understanding in her eyes.

"He does love you, honey," she told her as she squeezed her hand. "You know that, don't you?"

"I do," Fiona nodded with a watery smile. "But…"

"What?" Madeline asked when Fiona's voice trailed away. When she didn't answer, she leaned forward so that she could look into the younger woman's eyes and instantly felt all of the pain seep in around her. Tears spilled from both of them as they came together, both of them clinging to the other like some kind of lifeline.

This was it; this was how their journey together was going to end and to think that they could possibly never see each other again tore them both in two.

"I'll find a way," Fiona whispered against her. "I won't lose you."

"You'll never lose me," Madeline promised as she rocked them both back and forth. "Never."

Fiona nodded against her as she squeezed her eyes shut, pushing the sorrow as far away as she could before she slowly found the courage to pull away. Taking a breath, she disengaged from Michael's mother, who was still holding onto her hands so tightly, and regarded her with unashamed affection.

"Wherever we end up, we'll make sure you know," Fiona promised, nodding her head as if those words would make everything better. "Maybe you could come with us—"

"I can't right now, honey," Madeline whispered, her sorrowful voice breaking through Fiona's words. "When this is all over and Michael's cleared his name, then maybe the three of us…"

"Yes," Fiona nodded, squeezing Madeline's hand again. Tears clouded her vision, but she couldn't seem to blink them away this time. "We'll find a house…a place for all of us…"

"Somewhere warm?" Madeline nodded through her own tears and allowed a lone droplet to roll down her cheek unattended. "With a beach, so we can take long walks…"

Fiona laughed despite the unhappiness that coursed through her as she allowed herself to believe in the fantasy that one day they would all be free of this nightmare they had found themselves in. Untangling one of her hands from Madeline's, she swiped away the beginnings of a tear before it could fall and then she sat up a little straighter and smiled brightly.

"And a mall where we can buy shoes?"

Madeline chuckled and nodded as she lifted a hand to push a strand of hair away from Fiona's cheek. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she sat back and regarded the younger woman adoringly.

"I'm gonna miss you."

"Me too," Fiona nodded, fighting back the sorrow that threatened to spill over once more. Untangling her hands she pulled away and quickly stood up to slide her bag over her shoulder. She had to leave, even though her instincts were screaming at her to take the older woman with her. "I have to go…"

"Okay," Madeline stood up to stand beside her and tried so hard not to break as she reached out to pull her into her arms one last time before she reluctantly released her again.

The two women held onto each other's hands, both of them unwilling to break the contact that they knew would be the last for however long this bid for freedom would take. Their eyes met and held in a silent understanding before they reluctantly pulled apart.

"You look after yourself," Madeline managed to say before the trembling started and she had to fight with her instincts to rush forward and beg Fiona not to leave.

Fiona could see the struggle within the older woman's eyes, but no matter how much it hurt to step away, she knew she had to do it. Sighing heavily, she allowed a sad smile to lift her lips before she turned away and raced back towards her car before she could change her mind. She threw her bag onto the passenger seat and climbed in, starting the car almost immediately before she drove away, not daring to look across at Madeline as she sped past.

Madeline watched the car zoom past her and felt her heart sinking inside her chest. She couldn't just go home, not yet…she just couldn't. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out her wallet and opened it to the photo that she had nestled inside. The smiling face reached out to her and she knew that even beyond the grave her beloved baby boy was doing his best to lift her up. Running her thumb over his image, she nodded with a new resolve in her heart as she slowly closed the wallet and put it back into her bag.

She knew when she went home that Olivia Riley would be there to question her, but already an explanation was forming in her mind. Nate had shown her the way out; she just had to pick up some flowers for him along the way. She would show that bitch of a woman that no one messes with her family.

No one…

End