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4400 fic: Absolutes 1/1 K+

Title: Absolutes
Author: Purpleyin

Rating: K+
Spoilers: All of Season 2
Summary: Tag for the episode Mommy's Bosses. A lot of things have changed in the last week and Nina has her work cut out for her.

A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman.
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Nina straightens her plaque and tries to smooth her blazer with one hand as she settles back into her office. The commotion caused by Ryland's arrest is finally abating, everyone outside getting on with their work. But the events still trouble her.

As appealing as his position could be, her “promotion” had never exactly thrilled her. Without progress, she was sure she'd end up serving the rest of her career stuck at NTAC. It wasn't an entirely bad appointment, but it was tough, a lot of pressure with few benefits apart from the authority.

She asks herself, would she have done the same – risk over four thousand people’s lives going against sparse advice from “the future”? The notion sounds absurd, but reality is different, not as clearcut as she'd like it to be. She's really not sure whether she would have gone along with the plan, had she known, which is probably why she wasn't told.

The choice was ultimately Dennis Ryland's, and he chose wrongly, it would seem, according to the law, though it's yet to be decided conclusively who's to blame. The trials should make for interesting news; it certainly won't stay off the public radar – nothing 4400 related seems to. No doubt she'll have to give witness, but there was nothing she could have done differently, given she was originally out in the cold. Then she was lying in a hospital bed for most of the time during the crucial period, plus out ranked by him when she returned.

What bothers her privately is she can't say either way how she would have reacted had she been in his position, not with hindsight on her side. She might not have done it, but then again, she might have. She'll never know, and it may well always bother her. But that was his crisis. She has no doubt she'll end up with her own one of these days, but her conscience is clear today - the drink she swills around is just because she needs something to dull her senses after everything that has happened. It's the one nice thing Dennis left behind for her, something to help her deal with the headaches he's going to cause her in the times to come.

This ordeal is far from over for him, and, really, it's all just starting for her. A week ago, her job was to get answers. Only occasionally were there any serious problems, but now... it's all about life and death, who dishes it out and for what reasons. She might have been undecided if she'd had the same choice as Dennis, and she has been indifferent in regard to the 4400 - doing her job without putting herself out there, not contesting when the FBI wanted Navarro on loan - but now she wants those answers, too. The answers Baldwin has sought since the beginning and she hadn't been willing to take any risks for. The only way she can get those answers is if the 4400 are alive and well, and not fearful of NTAC, as they've given them reason to be recently. Someone has to protect them, and at the very least, she's going to make sure she minimizes the hurt caused to them. She'll leave the stunts to those she knows can pull them off – for once she knows she has no reason to regret reinstating Tom Baldwin. He does on his own what she could never order him to do.

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