Nikita sat across from him, hands wrapped around yet another glass of the wine that Michael had brought with. Soft gentle Sarah McLachlan music playing in the background. Michael sipped his wine and Nikita imagined his lips pressed warmly against her own. "What are you thinking Kita?" he smiled. She loved when he let his guard down and knew that when he was genuinely happy, the smile showed the pearly white teeth she loved so much. "Only that you are the most amazing man I have ever known" she saw him smile and blush. "Have there been others?" he gently asked. He often considered, after realizing that just about everything that he'd learned about Nikita through Section was actually just fabricated that he didn't really know that much about her. "No" she whispered but something in the sadness of that one word answer made him want to know more.

"Was I your first?" he thought about it as he remembered the night on the tugboat after finally finding out that she'd made it out alive from the Abeyance mission that Operations had sent her on, had that been her first time? He thought about it, about the time they'd been forced to act as a couple, Madeline telling Nikita that she pretty much HAD to make love to Michael" he watched her closely but his mind wandered to the past. He remembered asking her is she were sure and thinking back, he now hoped that if he had been her first, she'd know that he did everything in his power to be gentle and control himself, especially if that were only her second time with him.

She smiled before taking a sip of her wine, gently putting the glass down on the table then rising to come to him. She motioned him to move out on his chair then planted herself on his lap. "No, you weren't the first" she looked sad but kept eye contact "but you were definitely the best," she smiled before planting her lips firmly against his. She felt his lips curl into a smile. "Really?" he sounded amazed. "Hmmm, yes," she kissed him, answered then kissed him again. He pulled back and studied her face. "You were loving and gentle," she tried to kiss him again then saw a quick flash of sadness creep across is face.

"What's wrong Michael?" he tried to look away but she brought her hands to his face and imprisoned it between them. "Don't," she looked at him as their eyes me.t "Don't shut me out Michael now what's wrong?" there were tears building that threatened to overflow and she though she saw his lip quiver. "Michael?"

He realized that she wouldn't let it go so he decided once and for all to lay it on the line and be completely honest with her. "You can say that even after I hurt you?" She looked surprised. "Even after I used you for Section?" she smiled but never looked away.

"Even then," she hugged him to her and laid her head on his shoulder. "You had no choice Michael, none of us did." he pulled back. "Will you be honest with me though?" he nodded as the tears slowly came. "When did you know that you loved or liked me?" it had been a question that she'd wondered for a long time.

"The night I took you to dinner you were so excited to just be there dressed so beautifully" he smiled as he thought back to what she'd been wearing. "I hated to have to use you like I did even worse, I hated the test that had been set up for you," he watched her features in the event that the mood changed but he saw nothing but understanding written there. "But you passed with flying colors" he wanted to laugh but knew that it had been the hardest thing she'd ever done. "But Operations still wanted me canceled?" he was stunned every time she mentioned that to him. He thought he'd successfully covered up any hint of it but she'd been on to them from the start. "Yes," there wasn't any use in denying it. "But you refused?" he nodded "Why?" he looked at her while gathering his thoughts. "Because I knew there was something special about you" he reached up and gently played with her long tresses. She smiled as he brought her face nearer to him then gently kissed first her neck, under her chin, the left cheek then stopped.

Nikita pulled him tighter to her. "Don't stop now!" she shrieked and felt him laughing underneath her. He proceeded to kiss her jawbone, gently nibbling on first one ear then the other. kissed the tip of her nose and then each eye. She thought he was trying to drive her mad as each kiss met its target but not her lips where she really wanted to feel his mouth. She finally had enough of his teasing and proceeded to draw his face to hers but just as her lips met his to kiss him, he quickly darted out a tongue and wound up licking her face instead. Both of them cracked up as she drew back in surprise.

"That was NOT what I had in mind" she laughed.



The sun was shining in the noonday sky as Madeline, feeling comfortable enough had decided to take up a surveillance mission of her own. Careful to avoid any detection, she drew closer to the compound. There weren't any signs of life even as she drew the binoculars to her eyes and surveyed her surroundings. She spotted Jurgen's convertible but there seemed to be no other vehicles or people around. She wondered if now would be a good time for a surprise visit but thought better of it. She sat on the hill taking notes, drawing diagrams that she later planned on comparing with the notes Belinda had supposedly been taking. She didn't know why but something deep within her hesitated at completely trusting her. Perhaps it was her years at Section or something else but she'd learned a long time ago not to completely let you guard down with someone you screwed over in the past.

Birkoff bounced the main surveillance beam off the nearest satellite and entered the schematics into the computer that he was hovering over. The reading came back almost instantaneously. "Where's Michael?" he looked around to find two operatives nearing his station. "What's up?" Davenport was close behind. "I need Michael now!" his voice told them that something serious was coming down. Davenport pulled out his cellphone, dialed the number and waited. "Jacques, we have a situation!" and closed the unit.

Michael, followed closely by Nikita came faster than Birkoff had anticipated. "What's going on Birkoff?" her voice sounded husky. "I was checking the compound and anything within a 300 kilometer radius," he turned the screen for them to see what he'd been watching. "And?" Michael wasn't clear on what he was supposed to see. "We have one female occupant of that car," he pointed to what appeared to be a black grain of something on the screen. "That's a car?"

Nikita moved closer. "Birkoff, bring it into focus if you can," he stood, arms crossed waiting patiently.

"Sure" he was proud whenever he was able to fulfill a command for Michael. "There, almost... almost... and there!" the last point came out in a triumphant shout. "Oh my God, It's..." everyone leaned in closer.

"Madeline" came Operations voice from somewhere behind them. "It is her isn't it Birkoff?" he was leaning heavily against the doorframe. Michael lifted a walkie-talkie to his mouth. "No one is to leave the building," he waited. "We are being watched from just outside the compound," he continued. "No one is to come in or out!" he motioned for Birkoff to secure all exits. He turned to look at Operations with an almost questioning look "If we move now, she'll spook and we lose any chance of getting her" he stated the obvious to the apparently still weak Operations. "What's our window?"

Michael was shaking his head. "There's always another day!" he wasn't risking their chances on a mad dash and grab mission. "Mr. Birkoff, what are your calculations for a successful attainment?" but Birkoff knew better than to defy Michael "98% failure rate" he threw out high numbers.

"You're telling me we only have a 2% success rate of attaining our goal if we move now?" Birkoff shook his head. Michael gave him a thank you by simply squeezing his shoulder. Walter had seen the exchange and the look of resentment that crossed Operations face. Once again Michael had shot down his wishes.

Michael and Nikita headed to what was not being used as their office. Sitting down across from him she studied his facial features. "Michael, what were our chances of grabbing her?" Michael sat down slowly, hands splayed on the desktop. "Less than 2% like Birkoff said" he didn't blink "I wasn't willing to take that chance" he pulled out geographical maps and marked the area where Madeline had been. "Not this time" he looked up at her. She didn't know what to think other than the fact that lately she felt like a piece on a chessboard. Michael trying to outmaneuver Operations and vice versa...



Michael was growing increasingly impatient with the situation at hand. Lately it seemed that nothing that he had planned was going right Nikita knew that unless something was done soon, the opportunity to obtain Madeline might just slip through their fingers. Operations seem to be getting no better and Michael was afraid he would become a liability.

Madeline was simply waiting for the right opportunity to strike. She often wondered just how much she would be able to trust her operatives. While they knew that she was responsible for saving their lives even when the order to cancel them had been issued, she was also aware that many of them knew that she was partially responsible for the order being given in the first place. She had not decide what part in this, Alan would play in all of this. While she often enjoyed his company, she did not feel that she could fully rely on him, after all, he had been the one hand chosen by Section to keep tabs on her. She often wondered lately if it might not be her destiny to remain alone.

Davenport decided to call a training mission for that afternoon. Knowing that Madeline had watched them, orders had given that no one was to leave the building. Nikita was not all too happy about the upcoming training session, she felt with the possibility of what could amount to an upcoming war, the last thing anyone needed, was more tension. She suggested that they play some sort of game since they were all stuck inside. Everyone looked at her total amazement. "You've got to be insane!" Davenport circled around her "this is not a game, Nikita." he continued to circle around her with his hands on his hips, growing increasingly irate.

Nikita stared at him. She wanted to scream at him to tell him she was more than aware that while this was not a game, Section had willingly played games with all of them in the past. She wanted him to understand that everyone was walking on edge and she had only hoped to relieve the tension that had the building over the course of the mission. Davenport still apparently did not get it and came toward her as if to make contact. Nikita sidestepped his advance and using his momentum, reached out grabbed a tight hold of his arm brought it behind him and using her legs to sweep his own out from under him, dropped into the floor. Davenport had been taken by surprise. Unable to catch his breath which had been knocked out of him, and dealing with the weight of Nikita who was now sitting on his back he could do little more than simply lie there and see what her next move was going to be. "which will it be Davenport, Monopoly, Scrabble or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

He started to chuckle. "All right Nikita, you win. We can play you damn game if you want to."

They spent the evening playing a variety of board games which seemed to do just as she had hoped. Even Michael decided to join in a game of Monopoly and prove to be quite the little businessman. Davenport was the first to go bankrupt followed closely by two of the other operatives. It was finally a game that came down to simple role of the dice. Unfortunately, Nikita first landed on Park Place and once again on Boardwalk. Michael could not contain his enthusiasm. It was good to see everyone relaxed.