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They were free to do as they pleased, within reason of course. It allowed them to get jobs, go back to school, and just live. No one could be happier than the group and no one could've been as miserable as Natalie Abruzzi. She had finally gotten the chance to be away from those she helped but their company had been replaced with paparazzi that camped outside her home.

Just the simple fact that her name was mentioned caused commotion in the media. With her promoting something, anything at all had her earning a sizable amount of cash. It was a shameful act but face it, this wasn't the worst thing she had done in her life. The money was nice, but it came with even better security and that was the only thing she had really cared to have.

Natalie had done what she could by not thinking about the nightmares of running, hiding, and nearly dying before getting to this point. She checked her cameras making sure everything was clear and it wasn't, "It never is." When she zoomed in on the figure she realized it wasn't a reporter. No, this was different. Michael Scofield was at her front gate. She wasn't ready to face him nor did she want to but he wasn't budging, at least not yet.

He stood with his hands in his pockets looking at the large estate. When he heard footsteps, he focused on Natalie walking right towards him. A smile crept onto his face as she approached the gate. "I heard you were living here so I decided to drop in and see for myself. You're certainly doing well on your own." Michael looked at the huge building behind her.

"Cut the small talk Michael," Natalie said as she punched in the code to open the gate. "Knowing you, this was probably something you looked up yourself." She wasn't happy to see him. Something was wrong or he needed something from her. One of the two. "What do you want?"

"To talk," he simply stated. "Have dinner with me. I already have the reservations, everything's taken care of. All you have to do is simply bring yourself. That's all I'm asking." It was bad enough she had cut him off completely, all he wanted was a few minutes with her alone. "Can't we be two normal people for once having dinner together?"

The very idea of that made her uneasy. "You and I both know that there's no normality when it comes to two people like us." It hadn't been the first time he had called asking for the very same thing. She refused to talk to him then but now he was showing up her house. This wasn't going to end until he finally got what he wanted. She sighed miserably. "What time?"

"How about now?" Michael offered and then gestured to the car parked not far from them." Reluctantly she opened her gate and followed him towards his car. As Michael started the car, he continued to talk. "Natalie, just trust me. I'm not out to get you, it's me remember?" Once the car had started, he turned his head to look at her. "Once upon a time ago I promised you a dinner when things had died down. I think it's time I live up to my word, don't you think?

XXX


The place was extremely nice, pricey too. Natalie first noticed when they had sat down but he assured her that everything was covered. He didn't want her worrying about anything tonight. Natalie still didn't buy his gentleman act. "Exactly what are you up to Michael? Everything you do has some sort of reason behind it. Anyone that knows you can see that."

"I haven't seen you since Victor died." Michael admitted. "You can't just disappear on me." He set his menu down and held her hand across the table. "I know you blame me for his death. You're not the only one that misses him Natalie. We all do, but I didn't tell anyone that I was meeting with you. I just wanted to be able to talk to you about this one on one."

She moved her hand away from his. "So you can bring up the one thing I don't want to talk about?" Natalie shook her head. "You were the one that led the police to where we were. They were following you and you were looking for us. It's because of you he was shot and killed. He would still be here if it wasn't for you." Up until this point, she had let the anger stay deep within her but being with Michael again; she felt the need to lash at out someone.

Even he was hurt by the accusations. "I am sorry for everything, for even dragging you and your brother into this mess to begin with. If there was anything I could do to bring him back, I would do it in a heartbeat but that's exactly why I am here now. I won't let the same thing happen to you." It was quiet when the waiter came by with their food. Once he was gone, Michael poked around his plate. "If I could, I would've taken that bullet."

Looking back at him, she was a bit surprised but at the same time that even hurt to hear. "That wouldn't have made things any better." As long as she knew he was alive and well, then she was fine. The thought of losing him over her brother was an awful one to picture. "Do you really think I would be okay with that? I wouldn't want either of you to take a bullet for me."

"I don't know if you're just trying to prove that no one would care or you just don't want anyone but it's not true. We all care about you, we worry. I worry, every second of the day." His eyes were completely set on hers. "If I never made it clear before, let me set the record straight now. Natalie, I love you. I always have and I always will. The question is: do you feel the same?"

"Yes," she didn't hesitate. "I don't want to picture you in the same position my brother was in, ever. I worry too. Why do you think I walked away? I didn't want anyone else to end up dead because of me but I don't want to lose you Michael."

"You won't," he leaned across the table and kissed her softly. His lips turned up at the corners into a smile. "You'll never lose me."

XXX


The two were back at Natalie's place. Both were slightly drunk but laughing, a good sign to say the least. Michael finally held her in his arms, "I love you," he told her again, just to see her smile and light up the room. She turned around to face him now, kissing him more passionately than before while an eager Michael helped by letting the zipper from her dress come undone.

Natalie lifted his shirt over his head as the two headed for the bedroom. Clothes were littered all around the bed where Natalie's legs were already spread for him as he began to push himself into her. She soaked up the pleasure he ignited in her. Sliding in and out of her, he could hear her moaning softly beneath him.

Urging him to go faster, her voice was breathy but urgent. He lifted her legs higher and she wrapped them tighter around him as he slammed against her, sending shock waves through her body. She shoved her own hips upward to meet his every thrust. Her breathing became erratic and she gripped at him harder, feeling the sensation collecting in her soon sending her into a blissful shock.

Michael could feel her walls clamp and unclamp furiously and her body tingled all over. His head buried itself into her neck. She could hear him groaning and breathing as he only went faster. With one final, violent meeting of their hips he shot into her with a muffled groan, his face buried in her hair and neck. He collapsed on top of her and her legs stayed around him. Both were dazed with what had just happened. Dazed and exhausted. Soon he eased himself out of her placing soft kisses on her warm cheeks and eyelids.

As tired as she was, she felt Michael lean over her to place the blanket from her bed over the both of them. When he fell back on the bed beside her, he smoothed down her hair. His hand rested on her cheek for a moment as he looked into her glossy eyes. Natalie couldn't help but look at him with awe. He was so...enigmatic. Everything about him, the way he carried himself, helped everyone including her, in the most amazing way.

His arms wrapped themselves protectively around her as she leaned into him. If she could keep herself awake, she would've but Michael already heard her soft slumber and he too fell asleep in the arms of the one that he loved.

XXX


When morning soon awakened Michael, he realized that Natalie's form had been replaced with a pillow. He wiped his eyes and slipped into his clothes before walking out of the room. The smell of breakfast wafted in the air. He smiled when he saw Natalie cooking for the both of them. "Breakfast?" Michael kissed her neck from behind her. "It smells great."

"It's almost done too," she told him and then motioned to the table where the rest of the food sat, still very hot. "You woke up just in time." Natalie pulled two plates out of her cupboard, along with silverware, and set them on the table. Taking the eggs off the stove, she was able to put them in a serving dish and had it set on the table before they could both sit down. "Let's eat," she started to make her plate until she realized Michael was staring at her, she froze. "What? Is there something wrong?"

"No, I just like watching you be happy." Michael admitted. He wasn't used to having her act without some sort of devastating matter consuming their time together. "Do you know how long I've waited just to see you like this?" Even she got a chuckle out of that. When he took her hand this time, he rubbed the top of it with his thumb. "Natalie there's something I've been meaning to tell you ever since I showed up yesterday."

He didn't need to say anything else. Her eyes went wide when she felt what was in his hand. As soon as she looked at it, he held it up to show her. "Michael...are you proposing to me?"

Getting up from the table, he kneeled down by her chair. "Of course I am. There's no one else in this world that I'd rather be with, to have for a lifetime. Will you marry me?"

Shocked and hurt by her own thoughts, she shook her head, not to say no but for her own good. "You don't want to marry me Michael. I'm a mess, and you don't need to hear that from me." He didn't understand and she could see it in his eyes. "Do you really think I was able to stay sane through everything? I hallucinate; I see things that shouldn't be there. Every day I think I'm going to completely lose it."

"You're not crazy," Michael said firmly. "You're far from it. We've all made our mistakes. No one could go through what we have and come out completely unscathed. There's obviously a reason behind as to why you haven't lost your mind."

That was true; something had to have held her together all along. As often as she tried to do things on her own, Natalie knew she would fall and needed someone to be able to catch her. "You," she came to the conclusion. "Who else?" He had always put her first before himself. "I..." she smiled and then nodded. "Yes, I will marry you." She was choosing Michael for a better life, a chance at redemption, an opportunity to be loved and live a normal life.