Madeline was thoroughly enjoying herself tonight. The wine helped to relax her to the point that she was even considering inviting Alan back to her place for the evening.

"Did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight?" he gently caressed her hands softly running his fingertips around her cuticles over and between each finger while he smiled and admired her smooth flawless skin.

"As a matter of fact, I think it's been about 15 minutes since you last did." she smiled actually showing off her pearly whites. "But don't stop." she returned the caresses. The music in the background only served to intensify the sensuality of the moment.

"I'd really love to tell you more if you'd let me." he decided to press the issue tonight.

"Are you hinting at something Alan?" she decided to toy with him just a bit.

"Celia, you are a beautiful sensuous woman, I'd be crazy not to want to make love to you right here and now." he squeezed her hands between his own. "Let me make love to you Celia." he whispered. The electricity in the air made Madeline's insides shiver like a schoolgirl with a crush on the Football captain. "Shall I tell you what I want to do to you?" he smiled slightly and blew a gentle caress of air over the already over stimulated skin on her hands. "Shall I tell you how I intend to make you come over and over and over so that you will never want me to leave?"

She blushed. Paul never talked to her in such a way. Instead he had treated her like a whore her only purpose to bring sexual fulfillment and release to him. He never cared about her own need for release and had often dismissed her before she had achieved her own orgasm. "Can I get that in writing?" she played along a little more, unsure of herself. She didn't want to disappoint him as a lover yet she longed for the touch of a man who actually might care if she were contented herself. Alan wasn't playing. He fully intended to gain access to her bed tonight and was not taking no for an answer. Each minute brought her closer to relenting and Alan began to feel the wall of resolve breaking down around her.

"Tonight is all about pleasing you Celia, you don't have to do anything but let yourself be loved." he somehow knew that she needed to hear this. "Let me love you?" he saw a tear building in her eyes. "What is it Celia? You have been with a man before haven't you?" he admonished himself for not considering that maybe she was a holdout from the days when saving yourself for the right person was the norm.

"I have," she shrugged and Alan noticed the sadness that enveloped her.

"But?" he continued manipulating her fingers.

"I've never actually..." she was slightly embarrassed now.

"What? You've never had an orgasm?" he felt sorry for her.

"Yes, I have but only brought on by myself." she couldn't quite smile as she realized that all her adult life she had been treated like a common whore.

"Let me show you what it can be like to have that taken care of for you" he stared into her eyes. "I promise you it can be the most beautiful thing in the world.

Ten minutes later they left the restaurant arm in arm. Alan had finally gotten her to agree and Madeline felt something like butterflies in her stomach. She only hoped that this was not a mistake. That Alan wouldn't find her to be an inadequate lover and would want nothing to do with her afterwards. She guessed that she would have to take the risk in exchange for finding out what it was like to be really loved. She wondered if Michael and Nikita had found that love before she had adjusted her and wondered what Michael might be like as a lover. She had often thought about it whenever she caught the brief glances between the two operatives and now wondered why they came to mind. She had wanted to be the one to 'break' Michael in when she had brought him to Section but Operations had put an end to any of those ideas when he had made her his personal whore. The thoughts of that made her snuggle closer to Alan's side and he was more than happy to wrap his arm tighter around her.



Nikita spent the better part of the next few days nursing Michael's wounds. He was becoming an increasingly difficult patient and refused most pain medications and would become absolutely irate whenever someone mentioned sedation. Nikita took it all in stride. She left only long enough to check on various missions that Operations needed her strategic know how on and to see if there had been any changes in the mission to find Madeline. She couldn't understand Operations procrastination about retrieving her and this had resulted in several heated arguments.

"You have an entire team of skilled operatives in place for what?" she had overheard his communications with Davenport.

"We are monitoring the situation and deciding when the appropriate time to take action is," he tried to calm her.

"The appropriate time?" she screamed as she paced uncharacteristically "None of this would have happened if we had grabbed her on sight what is the problem?" she threw her hands into the air in desperation.

"Nikita, need I remind you that it was you and Michael who went behind our backs to continue the relationship I specifically forbid?" he certainly didn't feel like arguing.

"Would you please tell me what the hell is so wrong with operatives having relationships?" she put her hands on her hips and continued her path up and back the length of the Observation deck.

"It effects their work." he knew he sounded like Madeline at that point but it just slipped out.

"Minimally at best and apparently you agreed that Michael and I worked best together during our missions."

He stopped and watched the sway of her hips as she passed him once again. "Yes, I did Nikita and I explained that Madeline took matters into her own hands. Do we really need to rehash this?" he was exasperated by this entire conversation.

"Yes, we do" she turned, flipped her long blond mane and faced him. "I need to know that I can be restored, I need to know that Madeline will NEVER be able to do this to anyone again. I need to know that the relationship between Michael and me won't be interfered with again. Can you give me your word on this?" she locked ocean blue eyes to his gray cold ones.

"At this time Nikita, no I can't." he stared but quickly realized that he would lose this contest.

"After everything we've been through you still won't admit that there was nothing about our relationship that prohibited us from doing the best job?" she was defiant now and they both knew it.

"I'll admit that the slight decrease in numbers wasn't cause for concern." he smiled but there was something behind it.

"Then why?" she moved as he moved never losing her place directly in front of him.

"On several occasions, Michael broke profile to rescue you shall we say?" she nodded knowing that denying it would have made her as much a liar as the man standing in front of her. "How long do you think before it cost the other operatives their lives?" She broke eye contact.

"But the missions success has always been the bottom line with you Operations. Not the amount of casualties we racked up and from what I seem to remember, the casualty list on our missions were minimal when Michael led the missions," she tilted her head waiting for even a shred of honesty from him.

"Yes, Nikita, your missions were for the most part successful, but how long before other operatives follow your lead and do whatever they want?" She knew he had a point but still the ability to have a normal relationship was weighing on her mind.

"You say not to make close friends or ties outside of Section and I understand that. How can you have a relationship with someone you constantly have to lie to? But, doesn't it make more sense to keep operatives happy by allowing them to at least interact with people who know how we live... if you can even call it living?"

He also knew that she made sense but it went against everything he had been taught by Adrian, although later on he had found out that George and Adrian had indeed carried on a relationship for many years. Not unlike him and Madeline. "Nikita, the bottom line is we save lives. We serve the greater good and I personally don't give a damn how happy the operatives are doing their jobs. If they fail they die, if they don't work out they die..." he was interrupted by the telephone ringing inside his jacket. "Operations" he answered then listened. Nikita saw the lines of displeasure quickly creasing his forehead. "I'll monitor the situation personally. NO! I don't want interference from anyone is that clear?" he snapped the phone shut and returned his attention to Nikita. "I'll continue this conversation at a later date." and with that he excused himself and left the deck.

Nikita felt uncomfortable knowing that there would probably still be resistance to any relationship between herself and Michael when all of this was concluded.

She returned to Medlab and Michael who was himself involved in a heated argument with both a nurse and doctor trying to inject him with something. "Just lay back and relax it won't take a minute," the doctor wrestled with his arm and Nikita silently approached.

"Just a moment doctor and I'll grab the restraints." the nurse turned to walk away and ran directly into Nikita

"The only restraints you'll be getting will be the ones I put around your wrists in the White room." she pushed the much shorter woman backwards toward the bed. The doctor turned angrily to confront the woman interfering with his staff. His head turned just in time to see the steel gun being leveled at his head. "What seems to be the problem doctor?" she didn't recognize him from the entire time she had been in Medlab and he suddenly looked like a deer caught in headlights.

"Um, I'm here to sedate, um... the ah, the um... Michael" he caught the name on the chart he was carrying.

"You came to sedate someone you don't even know?" she hadn't missed it.

"I'm um.... ah fillffillilng in for one of the doctors today that's why you don't recognize me." he knew that had been a mistake on his part.

"Did I say I didn't recognize you?" she answered coldly.

"Listen here!" the nurse commanded then shrunk back as the gun was pointed at her head.

"Both of you over there." she motioned to a corner as she summoned Security. "Take them both to the white room, bind them and gag them but I don't want any communication between the two," she instructed the four guards that had quickly responded. "I'll be there in a few moments." she motioned them away holstered her weapon and returned to Michael. Gently she caressed his face. "They didn't give you anything did they?" she felt so protective of him and wondered if this was how it had been when it was she lying on the bed.

"No, they tried I think they dropped the needle over there." he pointed to where the syringe lay discarded and full under the wheel of the table. She picked it up, opened the cap and sniffed.

"I'll be right back" she turned and took the syringe out of Medlab and to munitions where Walter was assembling the newest shipment of weapons. "Walter, can you run an analyses of this and tell me what it is?" she handed him the syringe.

Walter opened it, smelled it himself and she was not the least bit happy with the look on his face. "Honey, this is strychnine where did you get it?" he quickly recapped the syringe and placed it in a safe container.

"I'll tell you later Walter, thanks," and with that she turned and headed, not toward Medlab as Walter had expected her to, but across communications to the direction of the white room...

**Warning** Next Part is rated NC-17**