This drabble is set during S3E7, when Nicola returns from Number 10 to DoSaC after Malcolm is fired.

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When she had first gone into politics, Nicola would never have imagined that she would end up being the sort of person to try and damage anybody else's career. She had never pictured herself as one of those coldblooded career politicians who put personal gain above loyalty. But that was exactly what she had done. Technically, all Nicola had done was refuse to tell a lie – this was what she had told herself ever since she had walked, ran away from Malcolm, ever since that seed of guilt had been planted – however, in her gut Nicola knew that no amount of logical thinking could change what she had done.

Today she had betrayed Malcolm.

It was almost impossible to reconcile the unstoppable force she had first encountered upon her promotion to the cabinet with the desperate, raging man who had for all intents and purposes looked like a caged animal; a caged animal, with the vultures circling ever closer. In the finely upholstered government car, currently speeding across Westminster bridge, it was almost impossible to think of anything else.

At first Nicola had thought that Malcolm was indestructible.

He wasn't.

She had destroyed him. She had locked the door and thrown away the key. Ruthless.

In a strange way, Nicola knew that when he had been at the height of his influence, Malcolm would have encouraged her to abandon those who had fallen behind. Malcolm had praised other ministers for doing the same thing. Knowing this only made Nicola feel worse; she didn't want to be like him. She didn't want to be unscrupulous.

Malcolm would, most likely, never have the opportunity to confirm her evaluation of his character, and yet the guilt did not abate. Nicola closed her eyes, feeling more tired than she had ever been before. It was not that she missed being told that she looked like a hung over Sarah Fegusson, but if it would make the gnawing belief that she had chosen wrongly disappear, then Nicola would gladly endure it.

The guilt grew.

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