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"They're here, Michael. Tell Nikita I want her to debrief before heading home." Madeline said.
Michael nodded, then headed down to the corridor leading to the van access. But what he saw was unexpected. Nikita had just come in, her head hanging low, shoulders slumped, stride slow.
"Madeline wants you to debrief before going home." He said softly, trying to find out what was wrong with her.
Nikita looked up, her eyes filled with pain as she nodded in acknowledgment before heading to her next destination.
"Nikita?" He called, but she didn't stop.
A hand went to his shoulder from behind. "She had a rough mission." It was Walter's voice. Michael turned. "Was she unsuccessful? But I heard that-"
"The target was taken out. But he wasn't the only one she hit. He dodged, her bullet fatally hitting an innocent."
Michael closed his eyes, knowing how Nikita must be torturing herself over such. In appreciation, he nodded his thanks and walked to his office to close down. When he finally reached Madeline's office again, Nikita had gone. Yet before he was able to slip away from the office again, Madeline called him back.
"Michael...perhaps you should check on Nikita tonight. She seems quite..."
Michael knocked on the door and waited until she opened it.
There were traces of dried tears upon Nikita's cheeks.
"May I come in?"
She walked away, keeping the door open as an invitation. He hadn't seen her so down in quite some time. She wasn't even going to play twenty questions with him before letting him in.
He watched her slump in to her sofa, tea in her hands as she looked out of her opened French doors.
"They tell me you're not dealing so well." he said softly.
She shook her head. "Nothing ever changes with you, does it? You can't just stop in on your own. The Section always has to send you first." Even this was spoken in void emotion. She said it as if from habit or just to say something, not that she was really upset.
She put her tea down and stood up. "Look Michael, if you're here to make me feel all better because Section is worried that it may affect my work, you can leave now. I'm fine."
"You don't seem fine." He insisted, stepping closer to her.
"Perhaps it might be because I'm not a machine like you and Operations and all of them are. Perhaps I can't kill just anyone in cold blood and shrug it off like it's nothing." Her voice had turned spiteful now, her passion coming back.
He nodded, staring at her.
"I killed an innocent, Michael. The target moved...she was laughing at some joke her husband had told her just before his world turned upside down. They had children! They saw their mother fall out of her chair, and I just kept going. I hit the target and ran. That family is scarred forever...because of me..." Involuntary tears burned her eyes as she sank back down in her seat. "And don't tell me that it doesn't matter and everything will be fine. Don't lie to me. For once try to feel some kind of human emotion with me."
He was about to sit next to her when he thought better of it and sat in a seat across from her sulked form.
"Everything is so messed up...backwards...I don't know...I feel like I'm falling apart. I know I said it before...but I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this, Michael. I don't know how to keep it up. Killing people...anyone...it's not in me. I do it to stay alive...but the value of my life goes down lower every day."
It was these words that made Michael walk over and sit next to her, taking her hand in his. He'd have to actually talk her through this. Not one of his strong points, but he managed.
"You had a bad day, Nikita. These things...they happen. As unpleasant as they are...it's one of the things we have to deal with. Sometimes we screw up...the Section tangles us in their lies...but we have to keep going. Ki-ta...you have to find some sort of happiness outside of Section to keep you from getting like this. Your life is valuable. Remember that. It's not just of value to the Section because you're a good operative. It's for you...and for others...You have strength in you. You just have to find it. Yes, what you did today was terrible for that family. But you did it to get that terrorist that would have killed hundreds of those types of families if left to live. The Section isn't entirely evil."
Nikita had buried her face in her knees that were crushed against her chest by her arms as she struggled for control in front of him. When she finally looked up, her tears that had flooded her cheeks from his words had stopped.
Encouraged by this, Michael decided to add one last thing. "If you care to believe it...Section is the good guys. We do the good work. We're here solely to save this world of innocents."
She smiled. "Don't push it."
Michael grinned as he nodded and stood up. "Can I report to Madeline that you're alright?"
Nikita nodded. "As long as you don't call me Josephine for at least a few hours."
"I'll work on that." He replied, then turned and left her apartment to let Nikita finish her grieving before her next assignment.