DISCLAIMER: Nope. Nope and nope.
WORDCOUNT: 816
SUMMARY: I think this happened in the very first episode. I know, almost every LFN writer and their cousin have written this story. Sue me.
FEEDBACK: I'd be surprised if you even remember this show. g
THANK YOU: To Sharon. Sometimes I really don't know what I'd do without you, dear. A lot more typos, that's for sure. And thank you so much for the advice! HUGS


NO CHOICE

by Leni


Nikita opened the apartment's door with a slam and enthusiastically ran inside. She halted at the side of the small bed in a corner and looked for her mother's arm with her hand and then fished it out of the covers. "Mom? Mom! I know what I'll be!" Her mother didn't answer but in that moment Nikita didn't care. She was excited as she recounted the scene she'd just witnessed on the street.

A man had fallen onto the pavement out of nowhere. It was like he fell in slow motion but not really, he just dropped down and lay there. For minutes he hadn't responded to the people's cries or to the attempts to help him. "He stopped breathing!" A guy, still kneeling at the unconscious man's side, yelled. "Where's a doctor?"

The question had gotten louder and louder as it passed from mouth to mouth. Suddenly a woman had broken from out of the crowd. "I'm a doctor. Let me pass!" she shouted as she pushed the curious onlookers away. Nikita, little child that she was, had managed to thread between the adults' bodies and watch everything. The woman had knelt on the ground, put her hands on the man's chest and moments later he was gasping for breath. She'd saved a man's life, and in that moment Nikita understood she wanted to do the same one day.

The crowd had applauded and then dissolved as the ambulance finally arrived. But Nikita had stayed nearby, watching in awe at the doctor until she also got into the ambulance.

Now she grinned as her grip on her mother's arm loosened. "I want to be a doctor!" she finally said, so proud at her choice.

This time a snore answered her.

Her hand was shaking as she lowered her weapon, but Nikita didn't notice. Her eyes fell on the man stretched on the floor, the small pool of blood spreading from under the body. She'd actually done it. She'd unholstered her gun, aimed it and fired. Her mark had seemed to fall in slow motion but not really and when he hit the ground, reality had hit her.

She'd killed a man. She'd taken a man's life, and in that moment she understood that she'd do it again, and again, and even if she said it was on behalf of Section, the blood would still stain i her /i hands.

She couldn't claim that her training had taken over. She'd done it deliberately; knowing where it would lead from the first instant her fingers touched the cold metal. That unnamed man had been threatening Michael. Michael may have deceived and manipulated her, and she was angrier at him than she'd known herself capable of. But he had also been her mentor for two years and, for better or worse, he'd taught her what was necessary to survive in Section - if she finally decided to make the effort and stay.

Now the decision had been taken from her hands. Ironically, by Michael himself. He had talked, glared and implied several threats if she refused to keep up with the program and kill during their missions. Well, apparently all he'd needed all that time was a moment of inattention from his part. Seeing him in danger, knowing she could save him, had pushed her to pull the trigger. In those seconds, there had been no balance between a stranger's life and a mentor's, but between her principles and Michael's life. In the end, her principles had lost as soundly as that bullet had reached the man's brains.

Had there been another choice?

The answer came as simply as her decision had: No.

But there should be regret, Nikita thought idly. That man deserved at least a thought of regret. Whatever Section claimed, the people they fought against were still human. But no regret visited her, and instead there was only a sense of relief. Bitter relief, sure, but part of Nikita was glad her aim had been true and that Michael stood unharmed.

Michael.

She shifted her eyes to him, and found an inscrutable expression in his features. Not an unusual circumstance, but she realised she'd been expecting something else from him. Surprise, thankfulness or pride, or maybe even some disappointment that her allegations of innocence were apparently proved wrong. But his face revealed nothing as he approached her and ordered her back to the van.

As she ran outside, Nikita understood that she'd been projecting earlier. Those emotions weren't Michael's to work through, but they had nested in her own heart. Pride and disappointment mixed together, that was what this work entailed. So this was what her life would be like for years to come. For the umpteenth time, Nikita wondered why it was worth living it. Only one tremulous, single word answered: Hope. It had broken her out of prison once. Maybe it'd do it again.

Maybe.


The End
24/11/05


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