Invincibility Chapter 3 – Finale

Author's Note: I really want to thank all those who have stuck by the story and who have left reviews. It is truly with your feedback that motivated me to finally write this final chapter. I am truly grateful for having you guys! Enjoy the finale, and I hope it lives up to your expectations. After reading this chapter, feel free to leave any thoughts on how you think the story would have ended or any opinions you have.

- Rachel

Chapter 3

"Hello?" the mellow voice replied on the other end.

Shit. Birkoff couldn't decide if he regrets make the call. He hadn't even thought about what to say.

"Hello?" the voice repeated again sounding suspicious but longing at the same time.

Birkoff clutched tightly onto his cellphone, frozen from internal debate. What if Mikey no longer cared?

Michael spoke again, bringing Birkoff back to the present, "Niki…Nikita?"

Instantly Birkoff felt relief. Michael did want to speak to her. His heart becomes heavy knowing Michael never will, and may never even know so.

"Hey Mikey," Birkoff said slowly, "Sorry to disappointment, but its just me."

Michael's chuckle filled the air, instantly easing the tension. Somehow they were no longer strangers. Their friendship had somehow travelled back to the time when they were brothers, when their disputes were easily forgotten, when they were a family. Birkoff hadn't forgotten that it is just them now. The others have perished. She was gone.

"Birkoff, I've never been happier to hear your voice. I've missed you. I have missed you both," Michael's voice cracks in distraught.

"Brother, I'm here," Birkoff said sincerely hoping to bring any comfort. With enthusiasm to lighten the mood he added, "Tell me everything that has been going on! Max must have grown so much!"

Michael laughed again, "Max is doing well in school. He's part of the soccer team and all the kids love him! Cassandra has been trying to get him to do extracurricular work, but Max has too much energy. Enough about me though, what have you guys been up to?"

"Mikey, I'm serious when I say I am so elated for you," Birkoff paused not knowing what to say and what lies to tell.

Michael sensed his avoidance and asked, "Birkoff, is everything alright? Is it possible if I speak to Nikita?"

At the mention of her name, Birkoff felt as if he was submerged in pool of regret. He shouldn't have left her to die alone - forlorn. She has been lonely for most of her life. He imagines himself drowning in her blood that was exchanged for his life. He thinks of his incompetence, his uselessness. Nikita did not even get a proper burial – her body became nonexistent in a matter of seconds. Boom! Then nothing.

"Sorry Mikey, she left me a long time ago," his voice sounding debilitated.

"Do you know where she went? Can you please tell me why she left?" Michael probed sounding unsure of what to think.

Birkoff felt annoyed. It was true that he was not prepared to answer Michael's questions. But it was also true that Michael did not deserve to ask them. Why wasn't he there for her? Why did he not chase her so long ago? Why did he have to let her leave? Why did she have to love him?

"Michael! For God's sake she made a choice and she left," Birkoff yelled no longer able to contain his anger.

Michael was taken aback, surprised at why Birkoff suddenly reacted, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to demand answers like this. I thought she would be the one to call me and that her voice was what I was going to hear. It's just that I really miss her. I really miss her."

Upon hearing Michael's quivering voice he immediately understood the level of regret and the profound love Michael still holds for Nikita. This was the magical thing between them two – they never had to say much, but anyone could feel the level of love they had for each other. Birkoff was certain that Nikita loved Michael as much as she did before everything happened. She did not know that she had taken Michael's heart and soul with her to the grave. This was something Michael would never share with another.

"I know Mikey, I know. I miss her too."

"Can you at least tell me if she is doing well?"

"She said she was going to someplace peaceful. I'm certain she went to a paradise where she can leave all of this behind. She will shed no more tears and no more blood, and she will never again have to pick up another gun. She no longer has to be bothered about us boys, and she won't have to worry about hurting the innocent. Even as we speak, she is probably sitting by the edge of an ocean reminiscing about the time we all shared and indulging in thoughts of her love for you."

Birkoff could hear Michael's grief. He was crying, but Birkoff could not if they were tears of happiness or tears of despair. So he added, "We should feel happy for her. This is her measure of peace."

"Do you think she is truly happy?" Michael uttered in between snuffles.

"She has to be," Birkoff replied. He closed his eyes to concentrate on convincing himself as well, "Mikey, take care of yourself. She wants you to live happily. That's why she left in the first place."

"Thank you Birkoff for informing me, for calling me when you didn't have to. You take care of yourself too. Please tell me you don't drink Redbull like water anymore."

Birkoff laughed at his comment before ending the call. He tore apart the cheap plastic of his phone, successfully breaking it into halves. He then dug a small hole in the sand and buried the broken phone in it. But more than that, Birkoff was burying the past. He was laying to rest what had happened, what is gone, and what will never be.

"I'm sorry Nikita. There are things you just can't forget. I hope I have done well for you."

Birkoff stood at the beach that lay sprawled before the old safe house they ocean lived in. The memories made here will never be forgotten. He looked at the evening sunset and inhaled the fresh air one last time.

That same night after their phone conversation, Michael took two sleeping pills in order to put himself to sleep. His mind had been restless. A great part of him was tempted to leave and search for Nikita. But then what? Would things be too far gone to mend? He could not ask her to accept him again, not after all he has done that wronged her.

He saw her frequently in his dreams. It was always back to that day when she left him standing. He came to realize that that was the start of their divergent paths. He had learned the hard way that anger entails regrets that are not mendable. He never sees her face in his dreams. It is always that horrid scene of her back facing him as she walks away. The wind sways her hair, like a graceful angel being freed from him. Every time he sees her ghost, his heart wretches and pounds so profusely that it feels like a heart attack. His arm reaches for her but he is always too late. He says, "don't go, I'm sorry", but she never hears him. Just as her shadow disappears, he wakes up tearing. And so the nightmare repeats.

Today something is different. Today, as he extends his arm towards her, she turns around slightly, but enough for him to see half her face. He remembers every single feature of her face. She always had something far beyond aesthetic beauty. The warmth of her spirit and heart illuminated her entire being – almost like she was divinity itself, someone untouchable, someone unattainable, someone invincible. He feels joyous because she finally acknowledges him. As the wind blows her hair, she smiles.

"Nikita!" he yells following her, "Come back. Come back to me."

Without ceasing her movement, she reaches out for him and secures his hand. Her smile becomes wider though her eyes become sad. Her lips move to speak, but no words come out.

"I can't hear you. Talk to me," he says desperately, "Tell me where you are."

Everything only lasted a few seconds before her figure starts to disappear. Rather than walking away, her being disperses like shattering glass. Before Michael realizes, this dream transforms in a nightmare.

"NIKITA!" he cries.

Cassandra rushed into his bedroom and ferociously shook him, "Michael! Are you okay? What's wrong?"

He immediately sat upright, "Where's Nikita? Where did she go?"

"She isn't here. She hasn't been here in a long time."

He recollected his thoughts. Cassandra had to be lying to him. When Nikita held his hand it felt too real to be just a dream. It felt as if she was actually here.

"No, she held my hand…" he mumbled to himself. But he knew Cassandra was right. He could not have been outside in one moment and tucked in bed the next.

He grabbed his head in attempt to will away all the confusion. Maybe his head was just filled with ideas after his conversation with Birkoff. But his intuition was telling him something different. The dream must mean more.

Cassandra poured Michael a glass of water, "Drink this and get some rest."

He remained silent, not hearing a word she said. With that she left the room and shut the door.

Michael sat in the dark, dazed. He wanted to rush out the door in search of her, but he couldn't' forget his conversation with Birkoff. He had wanted Michael to leave Nikita at peace, but was that in fact what she had wished for? Maybe everything was alright.

There are things you do that you will never forget. Her smile haunts him like it is the light to his sins. Though they are the ghosts of your past, they may also be the light for the future. He wants to be the reason of her smile. He remembered the hero she was, the invincible shield they believed her to be. But underneath the armor, she needed someone. And perhaps she still does.

What should he do?

The End

Note: I must express again how appreciative I am for going through this particular Nikita journey with me!