Summary: After a heated conversation, Michael ends up with what he wants – a family. Except it is not with Nikita. Birkoff holds Nikita's secret, but is not sure what to do with it.

Chapter 1

Michael hated the fact that Nikita made the choice for him. Well, he strongly knew she had done it for him. So here he was, fulfilling his role as a father to his son, Max. The day was bright and warm with a brush of gentle breeze now and then. He sat with Cassandra on the bench, watching over Max who was busying himself in the sand pit and occasionally chatting with his building buddy, a kid near his age. Cassandra and Michael don't much at all, unless of course, the topic was about Max's welfare. The two got along as parents. That was as far as Michael would let it go. He didn't find the motivation to go beyond that, and was even more content with staying as they were. They weren't involved, so they were in no way complicated. His eyes were trained on Max, but his mind was elsewhere. Nikita. Michael wondered what she would be doing at this very moment.

It has already been three years since he last saw her. The last of her he saw was her back as she sturdily walked away. He can clearly recall the way the wind had blown pass her, giving him an eerie feeling like it would be the last he ever saw of her. Her dark brown hair and black trench coat swayed ever so swiftly, amplifying a mystic effect. Damn. If he had been strong enough to make a decision, maybe he wouldn't be having regrets. His longing for Nikita is still as strong as the day she left.

They had just concluded their most recent mission - save and secure Cassandra and Max. They were slowly making their way towards Birkoff's closest transport station.

The tread was quiet with the exception of screaming children and chirping birds. Though no words were exchanged between them, but the silence wasn't awkward either. Nikita drowned into her thoughts while Michael was drunk with feelings of fatherhood. He had always loved being a father, back when his daughter was alive. Now, after spending only a short period of time with Max, his paternal feelings tumbled back like an earthquake, knocking him senseless and making him second guess his plans. He couldn't begin to explain how much he wanted his own family, just like he once had. It seemed like the fight against Division will never end. Its power was so deeply rooted in international relations, economy, and politics, that it was impossible to completely extract it. Even with Division gone, the world would continue to coexist with corruption, abuse, poverty, and the list just doesn't end. This made their fight that much more insignificant and meaningless. They were wasting their lives fighting a loss cause, when instead, they should be building their lives and enjoying each other. They could get married and maybe have children, eventually. Till death do we part, Michael thought amusingly.

"Michael, you'd be a great father," Nikita said, breaking the silence between them. Michael was immediately brought back to the present, surprised at what she just said. It was as if Nikita had somehow tapped into his mind.

"What are you trying to say?" Perhaps she was seeing this under the same light as he was.

"I'm saying you should be a father." They stopped walking, making the moment more critical, bordering a grim edge.

"Isn't that what you always wanted?"

"Yes, but I can't imagine it happen without you," Michael reply quite taken back at the direction of this conversation.

"It has already happened."

Nikita bore an expression that betrayed no weaknesses, no emotion. It was as if this was strictly business regarding Michael and his wants. There was no room for her feelings and she wasn't asking for any. She never has.

Michael, after a pregnant silence, scrutinized her face, wondering what she was trying to convey, "Nikita, we know why I'm not with Max."

"We agreed that it was too dangerous." She crossed her arms, maintaining her stern posture.

"So why on earth are you bringing this back up again? Are you trying to cause me more frustration? Walking away every time I see him is painful enough. I don't want to leave him, never did," Michael was becoming very angry.

"I know. You make it very clear every time."

Her words stabbed him, making him feel guilty for putting her in such a position. She was always there to protect Max and Cassandra, but never once did he thank her. For God's sake the woman was protecting his child, a child that didn't belong to her and whom will forget her soon enough. At the same time he was angry. It really was time to drop their crusade and start a family, despite the fact that she wasn't ready for motherhood. God he was fucking selfish and despicable for even the slightest thought of blaming her for not wanting the same thing. But it was true – he was frustrated.

He tried changing the tone of the conversation by introducing another angle. "Nikita, maybe this whole fight against Division just isn't worth it. We are a miniscule team taking on a military of assassins. We are underfunded and severely outnumbered. We might not even live to see another day."

"Are you saying this because you want a family of your own?" she asked with a frown, as if discovering a side of Michael she hadn't seen before.

"I… I don't know. Maybe. Maybe so. Even if I am, is it so wrong? Is it wrong to have a family? I've been in this business far too long. I want something different outside of violence, brutality, and torture. I don't want more blood on my hands."

"Michael, I thought we'd agreed to fini…" Nikita tried to say, but Michael interrupted her.

"Forget what we agreed once upon a time! Things are different. When can we start valuing our lives? When can we have our own time?"

"This is the precise point I wanted to make. Thank you for being so understanding so quickly."

Her reply surprised him, 'What do you mean?"

"I wanted to tell you to stay with Max. With Cassandra," she said as she looked towards the cement ground. To distract herself from her panging heart, she tried observing the fine detailed linings of the pavement.

"What…What?!" Michael was in disbelief.

"You're a slow today, Michael," Nikita said with sarcasm to lighten the mood, but to no avail. Michael was staring at her as if she had just returned from an alternate universe, where there was no distinction between ideality and reality. "I am insisting that you stay with your son."

Michael laughed and brushed his brow, "Nikita, as we said before..."

"Forget what we said before! You being with me, fighting Division, there will ALWAYS be danger haunting us," she argued, raising her voice. She was trying to give him her blessings and the man was too stupid to accept. "You'll never get what you want at this rate. The more you're in this with me, the more danger you're going to accrue."

"We're in this together," Michael said taking a step towards her. He wanted to hold onto her in reassurance that he would not leave her side. He wasn't' going to abandon her like he had once before.

"Well I'm insisting that you stay here," she said as she took a step back. She didn't need his pity. She didn't need his comfort, "Be honest with yourself Michael. This is going to hang over you your entire life. You're not simply going to wake up one morning and stop wanting this, wanting something I can never give you."

"But you can give it to me. All you have to do is choose to have it, to give up the fight," he reasoned with glimpse of hope in his eyes.

"I hope you know what you're asking of me. I can't just stop."

The frustration was returning with rage.

"You CAN STOP!" he yelled as he grabbed onto her arms. He shook her wanting to find something more agreeable and familiar in her. He wanted to find the string that kept them together on the same path through thick and thin.

"I can't," Nikita whispered, her voice quivering.

"Then do you know what you're asking of me?" he asked, holding onto the sides of her face, forcing her to look him eye-to-eye. He could see that she held back tears that were instantly building up, but at this moment, he was too angry to care.

"Do. You. Know. What. You. Are. Asking. Of. Me." He repeated each word singularly, making her know that she too was being selfish. Venom shadowed each syllable.

Finally her tears fell, and so did her eyes. She couldn't face him. But he shook her once again, recapturing her eyes. She said nothing, not wanting to feel the emotional consequences of her choices. Feeling pain was her business, but forcing pain on another was something too difficult to come to terms with.

"Let me tell you. Are you not asking me to die with you, for you, to possibly be subdued to torture if it ever came to be?" Her breathing labored, but she gave no reply, all of which annoyed him even more. "Answer me, dammit!"

"Ugh," she breathed heavily, no longer able to endure the tension. She allowed the tears to fall freely. As she pushed his firm hands away, she took a few steps back. With a look so despicable, that Michael could taste bitterness on his own tongue, she spoke, "Yes, I am… No, I was. I am not asking the same of you anymore. As a matter of fact, I'm no longer asking you for anything."

Michael stared at her. With a heavy inhale, Nikita continued, "If freedom was what you wanted, you have it now. If family and a child is what you desire, you have it still. All you have to do is stay, like what I am insisting right now."

Michael expected her to not be able to walk away from her campaign against Division, but the anticipation could not ward off his disappointment. He wanted to stay by her just as he had promised her once upon a time. But after experiencing so much, his beliefs had slowly started to change. They had unknowingly drifted far away from the same dreams they shared. He had to admit, his anger was also a driving factor of his choice, but he could care less right now. He could not calm the flame, maybe because he desperately wanted a family. So it gave him reason and the rationality he could not deny. Didn't want to deny.

"If you say that one more time, I don't think I can deny you," he said meekly.

"I insist you stay," she restated without hesitation. She used the cuffs of her coat to swiftly wipe away her tears, trying to rid them as fast as they had come. The sins of crying weren't a luxury for people like her. Her expression returned to its stern state. I never cried, it said.

Michael looked at her in disbelief. So this was it – the end of Michael and Nikita. He really hoped that she would refuse to let him go, that she spoke her words in a fit of anger like he half had. He was torn, but a decision was made for him. He didn't feel like refuting it; he was too weak to. His insides were not at battle any longer.

"Nikita…" he started, but nothing followed. He just didn't know how to make the situation better, how to comfort her. He didn't know how to fix them.

"Michael, it really is going to be ok," she said with the slightest etch of smile. She was sincerely wishing him the best of luck, "I do have one more thing to ask of you."

"Anything." He looked at her with a sorrow face, unable to show anything merrier.

"Be happy, because if you aren't, then all goes to hell."

With that said, she started walking away.

That was the scene that still haunts him. He was a coward to have decided something for himself. He had allowed that to be an excuse for his cowardice. But reflecting on the past three years, he hadn't actually been happy. Yes, a family was what he wanted, but the more important factor was that he had it with her. He could clearly see that now, but it seemed all too late.

Michael did actually assume that they would keep in touch. But ever since that regrettable day, everything changed including all of Nikita's and Birkoff's numbers. There was no way he could contact them. He would know because he tried, many times. He wanted to beg her to take him back, but that way just didn't exist.

"What is on your mind?" Cassandra asked.

He was astonished, because in all their years co-habiting together, Cassandra never once asked anything too personal, not that he would be willing to tell. So he said nothing, being the cold bastard he was once infamously known for.

"You miss her, I know," she continued. His silence confirmed her suspicions.

"It really is ok to. If I'd known that this life would drain you of your spirits, I would have asked you to be with her. You're dying here and you don't know it."

Michael felt the tears threatening to overflow the rims of his eyes. He wanted what he once had – to be with Nikita. He missed her smile that filled his world with joy, the love she could not give more, and her presence he had the world's luck to be embraced within. He thought of the wonderful times they had together. They were amidst a war, but they had each other. That was the point, he now realized: they had each other. And now, he was broken.

No longer able to resist, he hands covered his faced and he leaned on his knees. He let the tears fall, flooding the creases of his fingers. He would give anything to be with Nikita again. Three painfully long years. He always wondered how she might have changed. He had taken for granted what he was blessed with.

Cassandra put her arms around him, offering the only comfort she could give.

"Michael, I truly am sorry."

"She has no idea how sorry I am," Michael mumbled.

Together the two spent the remaining hours of daylight in silence. Casssadra stared off, wondering what will happen to Max if Nikita did decide to reappear. And Michael, with his mind set of the image of Nikita's back, dreams of the day she will look at him again.

Daring to be selfish again, he wishes that Nikita weren't as invincible as she is portrayed. He hopes that sometime down the road, she still needs him just as much.

Unbeknownst to him, he really needs to be careful for what he wishes for.