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Things We Hold Dear

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Nikita feels the hard barrel of his gun pressing into the small of her back. She downs the drink in her hand and rotates the chilled glass in her palm.

"Get up," Michael says, "Walk out. Slowly."

She's so pissed off and riddled with grief and regret that she doesn't care if he does pull the trigger. Not that he will. He had his gun sight on her more times than she can count and he never fucking shoots to kill. Right now, though, she likes to think there's a chance that he might just do it, if she pushes hard enough. She slams the tumbler down on the bar table, hard enough to attract the attention of the other barflies. They see him standing in her personal space and deduce a lover's quarrel. But even the most foolish ones stay in their seats, white knight schemes squashed in their infancy. Something about him makes them uneasy. Better to stay out of this one.

"Why does Percy keep sending you, when he knows you're not going to shoot me?"

She lays bare the twisted games that Percy plays and strips him of the excuses he sells when she lives to be a pain in Percy's ass for another day. She upends the pretenses because she wants him angry, wants him to feel something for the life that was lost under his watch—their watch.

"I might today." His words are perfunctory, the next note to a song, a trigger of a different design.

She dances to his tune because the dirge is too loud for her to think clearly. Twisting around, she reaches for his shoulder, covering the space between them with the width of her coat. Her other hand takes the gun barrel and places it over her heart.

"Do it," she hisses.

Her grip on his gun is loose; he can step back and find another excuse. But, he gazes into her bloodshot eyes; she isn't looking to escape unscathed.

It's the proof he needs.

He steps back and holsters his sidearm as her shoulders crumble with disappointment, sadness, and relief. She looks so small that he almost wants to open his arms and…but he can't. It doesn't matter anyway, she doesn't need him to comfort her. He knows she's vulnerable now, broken and susceptible if he chooses to take advantage, but she's not Nikita like this. He wants her to not need him as much as he wishes she did.

He hands over a piece of paper.

"Alex is at this location. Alive."

Her dark eyes fill with shock and something he can't afford to name.

"I won't shoot you," he admits, exposing the one faulty circuit of Division's prized toy soldier. "But I will shoot her. Keep her out of my sight."

She clutches the edge of his coat as he starts to leave. "Thank you."

He removes her hand and replies brusquely, "Don't do this again. It's not worth it."

She watches his silhouette disappear back out into the night.

"It is." She smiles as she runs her thumb over the handwritten address. "You are."