A little late, but I've been toying with this idea for a while and decided this was a good a time as any to run with it.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Spoilers: Bitter Pill

When you're burned you have nothing…

He had said those words a thousand times, and until today he had believed them. His career in the CIA had been his whole life, and when he lost that, nothing seemed to matter except getting it back. For seven years he had worked toward that single goal: to have it and to keep it. He believed he wanted nothing more than he wanted that, but he had been wrong. He had so much that he was just too blind to see. He had family. He had friends. He had Fiona.

Fiona was the only woman he had ever truly loved. The only woman he would ever truly love. He had, however, convinced himself that it was better if he walked away. That fact that he had convinced himself of that at all seemed crazy in hindsight, but hindsight always seemed to be 20/20. For months he had lived alone, and he believed that he had done the right thing. He believed that he could live without her. He was a fool.

He knew that now. Being back in Miami had given new life to the voice in his head that had been telling him so all along, but still he had managed to ignore it…until today. When he heard that Fiona was dead, he felt as if the whole world had suddenly stopped spinning, as if the air had been sucked from his lungs, as if someone had plunged a red-hot poker into his heart.

He did not know exactly what he was thinking when he rushed into that burning building, except that Fiona was in there. He reaction had been one of emotion, not of thought. He supposed that it was like when she had run though a hail of bullets to join him in the little gazebo by the hotel three years before. They were meant to live together, and they were meant to die together or they were bound to die together. Michael was not quiet sure.

All he knew was that if Fiona died, he did not want to continue living. He ran into that building both to save her and to save himself because he knew now what he should have known all along: Fiona was everything to him. It was thoughts of her that kept him sane, and her voice in his head that had stopped him from becoming a monster.

He could have gone the same was as Larry. It would not have been a stretch to imagine that. He was young and seeking something, but he did not know what. There was a time when he believed he wanted what Larry had to offer, but then he had been sent on a mission to Europe. It was there he learned that what he sought was not Larry's ruthless violence, but Fiona's more tempered style of revenge influenced by her compassion.

Fiona had as much right to be angry as anyone and more than most. Michael knew how much hatred Fiona still harbored for the people responsible for the death of her baby sister, which had occurred over a decade ago. Still she had always been careful to make sure no one was hurt, but those who deserved it. That mentality had saved him.

It seemed strange to him now that after all they had been through together, all they had lost, that he had not fought harder to keep from walking away from Fiona. Of course now that he thought about it, he had, in the grand scheme of things not lost all that much. He had lost his job of course, but that had gained him back his friends and family. Maybe that was not such a bad trade.

Fiona on the other hand, she had given up so much to be with him. She had lost her family because, with the exception of her brother, they would never forgive her for helping an American. He was unsure whether they knew or not, but he did know that Fiona had dropped out of touch with them for one reason or another. She had also given up any chance of her returning to her homeland because if she stepped foot there she was dead. She had given it all up for him…and he had walked away.

Now he sat alone in yet another nondescript car, observing yet another nondescript house, and he found himself questioning everything. His last seven years had been spent doing this: spying on one set of bad guys for another, Carla, Management, Strickler, Gilroy, Simon, Vaughn, Anson, and all the rest. Now it was James, and while the man seemed to have conviction, Michael knew by now that they all did.

The name and missions had changed over the years, but the roles of the players never really had. He had always believe that this was for a purpose, that all of his hard work, and that of his friends, all the times they had faced down death and the law, he had always believed that would mean something in end. That when he came in from the cold it would all be worth it. He was wrong.

He was wrong about this as he had been wrong about so many things because he realized now that even if he did succeed, if this assignment ended with him finally able to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, it would mean nothing if he did not have Fiona to share that with.

If he lost her, everything he had worked so hard for would be meaningless because he knew what he really wanted now. He knew what the only thing he really wanted was. He just had to hope that when this whole mess ended it would not be too late because if he lost Fiona, whether she died or whether she finally just gave up on him, then those words he had spoken a thousand times would finally be true.

He would have nothing.

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