Disclaimer: Not my characters, just my words
Fairy tales have it easy. The hero is easy to spot, so are the villains. The world gets saved, the love interest gets kissed, the happily ever after has a clear beginning and no end and beaches in Barbados.
Fairy tales have it easy, because they're just narratives constructed by humans, and a narrative can tell any story it wants.
This is the story of Michael and Nikita. Heroes? Perhaps. Saving the world? After a fashion. Kissing? Oh yes. Beach in Barbados?
Remains to be seen.
He promised her she wouldn't lose him, Michael remembers. He almost broke that today.
Nikita is still touching him as if she needs to reassure herself he's still alive, her breath a little ragged. The relief in her is palatable, but he can also almost feel the pain from the moment where she must have thought him dead.
He can't blame her. Dying might be better than living on without her, even if he would chose to live on, to finish what they started in her name.
Nikita lifts her head slightly to look at him, and when he touches her cheek, she kisses him. For a moment, it's almost harshly, as if wanting to punish him, but it softens against his lips and he kisses her gently back.
Her fingers still cling to his shoulders, digging a little into the cloth of his t-shirt. Too much cloth, he decides. Definitely too much cloth.
"Amigos," they hear Birkhoff's voice distantly. "Unless you want your touching reunion interrupted by another missile, I suggest you take it elsewhere."
Reluctantly, he pulls back slightly, leaving his lips lingering inches from her. He can feel her breath brushing across his skin, and it takes all his willpower not just kiss her again, Amanda's drones be damned.
"I think we better find a beach," she whispers.
They find a bed. That will do, Nikita decides. That will very much do.
Michael's hands seem to roam her body, as if wanting to map it when he already knows the terrain pretty well, while she finds herself content to dig her fingers into his back as it arches slightly. His breath is warm against her neck as he tries to find a spot he hasn't kissed already, and she feels wonderfully warm even bereft of clothes.
(Their clothes must be making a trial that leaves the destination more than a little obvious, she imagines, but then, no one would be much surprised by Nikita and Michael ending up in a bed, or why. Certainly not Amanda, who used that knowledge today to almost deadly effect.)
No. She doesn't want to think about losing him, and distracts herself with kissing his chin instead. The slightly unshaven skin is a little rough against her lips, but not without a certain pleasure, certainly when she feels him smile in response.
When he lowers his head to kiss her stomach, it's she who smiles, turning to a soft gasp as he lowers his head even further. His cheeks scratch a little against the insides of her thigh, but most of all she can feel the heat of his mouth against her flesh. The sensation is almost painfully intense, and she digs her fingers into the bedsheets.
"Michael," she murmurs, her voice sounding hoarse, almost as if kissing him has rubbed some of his tongue off on her.
He lifts his head to look at her, hair unkempt and eyes bright and she thinks he is beautiful, all the more for the look on his face as their eyes lock.
He doesn't look away as he lifts himself level with her, resting on his arms slightly above her as she hooks her legs around him loosely.
"Nikita," he says, the unspoken I love you so loud it doesn't matter that her ears don't register it. She knows, oh she knows, and it almost hurts, because she loves him too, and this isn't a fairy tale. Love doesn't solve anything. It just gives you more to lose.
More to win too, she thinks, as Michael moves, thrusting into her in one continuous motion, holding still for a moment as her body adjusts. She clenches her muscles a little to make him groan and then he is kissing her, his tongue dancing against hers and it's frantic and desperate and life, Michael and Nikita alive.
Michael and Nikita alive. Maybe that would be enough to make it a good story.
"I don't want to lose you," Nikita tells him, her voice still a little breathless, their bodies still tangled and their hands still linked. "But I didn't kill Ramon."
"I'm glad," he tells her sincerely, and she looks at him, guilt like a shadow in her bright eyes.
"I don't want to lose you," he says, thinking of Division and another sort of death, killing yourself with every death caused.
"You have me," she says, linking her hands around his neck, not letting go even as he kisses her.
When Michael sleeps, Nikita frees herself gently, and grabs his t-shirt from the debris of clothes. It smells like him (and ash) as she puts it on, and brushes against her skin, almost like he's embracing her still.
The view outside the window isn't beaches and sun, but forest and humidity still. This isn't a (sand) castle, just a convenient hut far enough away not to be on Division's radar. If she closes her eyes, she can pretend they're somewhere else entirely, construct an entirely different story in her head, but she doesn't.
This is what it is. This is her, and the man she loves, and the life they have.
When Michael wakes to find Nikita standing by the window, bathed in the setting sun, he watches her for a minute. She seems almost out of this world, ethereal, as if the sunlight brought her there and she will be gone when it is, a fairy tale creature.
But when he walks over, lifting her up and kissing her, her skin is warm to his touch, and the sunlight illuminates them both.
They do make it to Barbados. Just not a beach.
The moment they land there, Birkhoff sends a message that Shadowbot has gotten an alert that can't wait, and Nikita somehow finds herself not surprised.
She still takes a minute to watch the beach from the road, feeling a soft wind from the ocean caress her skin and bring with it a faint smell. Sea and summer.
"We can stay," Michael says behind her. "Spend the weekend, deal with Division when we get back."
"The beach isn't going anywhere," she says. "But Division tends to move very fast if you turn your back."
"We'll go another time," he promises, and she turns to looks at him. The Barbados sun certainly becomes him, but still, she thinks he was even more beautiful in the smoke of a missile that just failed to kill him.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all, and she sees. Oh, she sees.
"We will," she agrees, taking his hand as he leads her away; the beaches of Barbados still waiting.
Fairy tales have it easy. Narrative set to certain patterns, heroes and villains and romance designed to give a moral of the story. Easy.
Life is less so, but doesn't mean it can't tell you stories. It can. It's alive to do so. They're just more ongoing stories than once upon a time tales, and thus harder to construct as they happen.
So how does this story end? Happily ever after and a beach in Barbados? Depends how you tell it in the end, and this story is just not over yet.
Michael and Nikita are still alive to narrate it, after all.