They didn't celebrate anniversaries.
After all, Hallmark hardly made a card for "Congratulations on surviving ten years in a black ops unit that often kills its own!" And somehow a cake commemorating the first handgun Michael had handed her and told her to off a fellow patron of the upscale restaurant they were sitting in lacked a certain something.
They didn't celebrate anniversaries. Even so, Michael wasn't surprised as he pulled into his driveway, and the black car slid around the corner, smoked glass windows gleaming in the late afternoon sunshine.
She sat in the diver's seat, her long dark blonde hair pulled back in a French twist, strands escaping to brush the collar of her camel coloured wool coat. He slid in on the passenger side as she removed her sunglasses and tucked them into her breast pocket in one graceful motion.
"I just wanted to see how you were," she said without preamble.
"You know how I am," Michael countered, drawing a small smile from her.
"Surveillance reports and satellite photos don't tell me how you are. Just what you're doing." She shrugged. "How is Adam?"
"He likes his school. He likes his friends."
"But he misses his mother," Nikita said softly.
Michael said nothing.
"I shouldn't be here," Nikita said with a sigh, looking past him to the tree-lined street, limned in gold by the setting sun. It was difficult for Michael to reconcile the woman sitting across from him with the pale, frightened street kid he first met and offered the choice of a life dealing out death, or row 8, plot 30.
That girl, he had decided long ago, may never really have existed outside his own mind.
It didn't mean he didn't miss her any less.
"It's been five years," he said, staring straight ahead. Beyond the car, he could see traffic in the distance, and children playing in their front gardens, bundled in hats and scarves against the chill. His son was waiting for him inside. Adam was ten yeas old now--a star of his school soccer team, and addicted to video games. He was a normal fifth grader in almost every respect, with homework, and friends, and a single-parent lifestyle little different from his schoolmates. He hated broccoli, and shirked housework, and loved his skateboard.
Every time Michael looked into his son's face, he saw Elena's eyes. There was very little of him in his son. He thanked God for that every day.
Nikita's gloved hand inched towards his. He let her place it atop his. Felt the warmth of her fingers through the leather. Familiar. Almost comforting.
"Nothing has changed between us, has it?" she asked, her voice husky as if she'd smoked too many cigarettes. Her blue eyes beneath her bangs were just as he remembered.
A ghost of a smile crossed his face. "No."
She withdrew her hand.
Michael opened the door of the car, and stepped out. He didn't look behind him, as the black sedan pulled back out into the street. He didn't look behind him to see it disappear around the corner.
Nothing had changed.