Michael felt the urge to do something destructive. He hadn't felt this since his first day in Section. Walking around corners and down twisted corridors, new and old operatives shrank away, seeming to melt into the wall, at the anger he was spewing about. They seemed to fear for their lives, which was good. At least that is what Michael thought. The more they stayed out of his way, the better off they would be.
He couldn't go see Nikita out of control like this. And he couldn't go home. Making his decision, he turned into Weapons. Quietly, Walter handed over a gun. Michael went to target practice.
Walking along the halls of Section Madeline realized something was wrong. About twenty operatives stood in a circle around the shooting range that lay towards the far side of Section One. Curious, she went to investigate.
Madeline fit herself between two men who were twice her size. Cringing when they realized who was beside them, the men left. Now she had a clear view of what was happening. It was Michael.
"How long has he been like this?" Madeline quietly asked a raven haired girl beside her. Not appearing to be intimidated, she responded quickly.
"About ten minutes. He just keeps shooting." Nodding Madeline turned to the safety glass once more.
"What is your name?" Madeline asked the girl, keeping her eyes on Michael.
"Alright Savannah, get out of here and take any friends you have with you." Madeline ordered. Savannah nodded and exited quickly with five people in tow.
"Listen up. I want all of you to leave but you." She pointed to a tall man in front of her. The operatives disappeared within seconds.
"You. I want you to get me a bulletproof vest. Come back here, deliver it and then I want you to inform MedLab someone may be on the way. Understood?" The man nodded and was back in less than five minutes. Quickly, Madeline shrugged out of her over coat and placed the vest over her silk blouse.
"Ma'am? May I ask what you are planning on doing?"
Madeline looked up towards the doors of the shooting range. Looked at Michael firing shot after shot into a destroyed target. Saw his expression, one of hate and loathing.
"I'm going to help him." She stated simply, and headed for the doors.
Madeline reached out and slowly pushed the doors open. Breathing deeply, she stepped into the dusky room. Michael stood in the same position as before and fired shot after shot, only stopping to reload when the bullets were gone. Madeline stood back for a moment, not wanting to startle him.
"Michael?" She asked in a low, soothing tone. He didn't give any sign that she had even spoke as he continued to shoot. Madeline approached him slowly, trying not to make sudden movements. She stopped fifteen feet in front of him.
"Michael. . .can you hear me?" Madeline asked, concerned. If she didn't know better she would have sworn she was talking to a wall. Suddenly, the deafening shooting stopped. Michael didn't lower his gun, he stood there in a defensive stature.
"I can hear you just fine Madeline." He replied in a very un-Michael like tone. His voice was pitched high, stress racking every word. He was at a breaking point Madeline realized.
"Why don't we go to my office?" She suggested casually, never wavering even when he spun his body around, pointing the gun at her. She knew that he was an excellent shot and was not taking her chances.
"No." Michael said, finger tightening on the trigger. Madeline grew uncertain. She didn't doubt he was perfectly capable of killing her.
"Are you going to shoot me Michael?" Madeline asked, keeping the subtle fear that was ebbing at her out of her voice. Michael shrugged and focused on her again.
"Michael. . ." Madeline started, not moving an inch.
"SHUT UP!" He shouted angrily, the hand that held the gun trembled. Madeline was taken aback and did just that.
Michael stared at the auburn haired woman before him. He had two choices. Shoot her or let her live. Curiously, he didn't want to shoot her. That man. The gray haired man upstairs. Michael wanted him dead. But he didn't trust the auburn haired woman before him. Didn't want to turn his back on her. She might do anything, always be on guard. An image of a golden beauty floated before him. Nikita. He wanted to see her.
"Nikita. . ." Michael started, sobs closing his throat as everything came back to him. He was living in a haze, thoughts clouded and facts twisted beyond comprehension. The second ticked by as Michael stood there, gun trained on Madeline, eyes closed-remembering. So much pain in his life. It didn't seem fair.
Michael's eyes flew open in a moment of clarity. He could end the pain. He held that power. Turning the gun on himself, Michael pressed the muzzle to him temple and squeezed his eyes shut.
Madeline watched, horrified as Michael turned the gun on himself. Reacting immediately, she flew at him, knocking the gun out of his hands. Startled, Michael snapped around, throwing Madeline against the wall.
Michael sat on the cold floor, knowing how close he had come to pulling the trigger. It was enough to make him sick. Drawing his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around them, Michael shook with both tears and shock.
Madeline sat up, shaking her head to clear it. There was a deafening silence in the gray room and she jumped up, looking for Michael. When she was certain that he was alright, she took her time walking over.
Kicking the gun out of reach, Madeline knelt by Michael's huddled form.
"I'm sorry." Came the muffled announcement. Madeline's heart twisted in her chest and she lay a hand on his shoulder.
"It's alright." She soothed, drawing him into a motherly embrace. She decided that no one had to know about this. It would earn him cancellation and Madeline didn't want that. Sitting on the floor, arms wrapped around Michael, Madeline prepared her lies.
"What happened down there?" Operations asked, devoting all of his attention on the woman before him. She sported a slight bruise on her cheekbone, barely noticeable except to Operations. Madeline took a seat across from him for the first time in many years.
"I talked to Michael. He said that he will accept my help and we will work harder on appropriate ways for him to display his emotions."
"And this?" Operations asked, gesturing towards her cheek. Madeline raised a hand, lightly touching the observed bruise.
"I tripped." She told him, gracefully rising from her chair and exiting the room. Operations watched her leave with open skepticism on his face.
"You tripped." He stated to the empty room.
Michael cautiously entered Nikita's room. That morning she had been taken off of her painkillers and was now surviving on her own. Marie had been optimistic, truthful in her beliefs that Nikita would wake up soon. Taking a seat by Nikita's bedside, Michael waited.
Michael kicked angrily at a discarded Pepsi can.
"I should be with Nikita." He stated to aloud to himself, glancing around the deserted park. Madeline had kicked him out of MedLab, and Section for that matter, for three hours. She declared that he needed "rest". Normally he would have put up a fight but Madeline had slept at Section and only had a change of clothes there, so none of her usual immaculate makeup was applied. Hence, the bruise was more visible, just enough to make him feel a measure of guilt and obey her wishes.
"Very good tactic." He announced aloud, once again. He could never tell which of the things she did and stated contained hints of verisimilitude and what did not. He wondered if he faced cancellation. After all, he had attacked Operations.
"But I would have heard by now. . ." Michael continued to talk to himself
as he worked his way through the large hedges that served as a maze. This
was his favorite place to come when he needed to think. The peacefulness
of the place never ceased to amaze Michael, blooming lilacs and roses threaded
their way through the dark green leaves that surrounded him. In the moonlight
the place was especially beautiful. In the middle of the maze, which he
was standing upon now, there was a reflecting pool that showed the full
moon in it's depths. Michael sat on a cherry oak bench and rested his chin
upon his hand. Lifting the hand that was resting in his lap, Michael glanced
at his watch. He had two hours.
"Nikita, you have got to wake up. Think of everything you are missing." Madeline let out a short laugh. That was a joke. What WAS she missing? For a brief moment, Madeline envied Nikita. How she wished she could slip into a deep sleep and never come back. Rid herself of the evils she had performed, horrors she had seen. Forget the monster she was so close to becoming. Nikita was the only thing that kept her from crossing that line between devil and human. There was one other person but Madeline refused to think about him. It was to dangerous.
Madeline reached out and smoothed Nikita's sunshine colored hair away from her face. Lately she had been thinking. Perhaps thinking too much. Wondering why they did the things they did at Section, why it was their place to enforce these rules. She kept these thoughts to herself, of course, but the effects were seen, she was afraid, by Operations. Decisions that would have been made without a second thought were now being carefully considered. It was so unlike her. So unlike what she had become.
"Dear Lord I am becoming Nikita." Madeline thought, a small smile touching her perfectly formed mouth. Nikita moaned softly, tilting her head to the right. It was so anticipated by Madeline that she jerked her hand away from Nikita's head. Recovering quickly, Madeline reached for her cell phone.
Go to Part IV