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|Making a Choice|
Jinora could only stare at him in disbelief. "You want me to do what?!"
-"I don't like repeating myself. Take it," Iroh said, shaking the gun.
Her hands were trembling tremendously, even more than they were before the shooting started. Her heart was beating what felt like 200 beats a minute. It was hard enough to feel painful in her chest. The only thing faster than that, was her mind. It was racing a mile a minute now, trying to grasp all possible aspects of her situation.
He really wanted her to do it. There was not a trace of morbid irony on Iroh's face, which was what she was kind of hoping for. The thing was, she couldn't figure out why. He didn't just want Zaheer dead, he could have done that himself and just get it over with. He specifically wanted her to do it, but for what? To prove herself loyal to him? She had never done anything to make him think otherwise. Hell, she was one of his most productive assets. The crackhouse on Gaoling alone meant she had a regular address, which was a rarity. A sure way to get paid a big sum every week, that was something most dealers could only dream of. Little risk, big reward, a perfect combination.
Iroh's feverish shaking of the gun finally did convince Jinora to take it. It felt heavy in her hand, heavier than it ever had. She wanted to do nothing more than throw it away and run down to the street, back to her own house. To break down and convince herself this never happened.
But she couldn't.
There were no ways in which this scenario would play out in her favor. She was fucked, no matter what would happen next.
If she didn't kill Zaheer, Iroh would do it anyway. Zaheer was dead, that much was certain. What would also happen is that Iroh wouldn't take her seriously anymore, if he would keep her on at all. He could easily send someone else to take care of the crackhouse, and The Innkeeper would never notice the difference. It would also mean that she would be right back at square one, and that the past few months of doing all kinds of nasty shit that she never thought she would do, all would have been for nothing. A couple of weeks of release, and straight back into the cesspool.
Jinora thought of Kai. She had shot him and couldn't have been happier that he survived. Even if when she didn't know who he really was, she felt so relieved when Bolin told her that he would make it. That was out of the question now. If she shot Zaheer, it would have to be in such a way that he was dead. There would be no faking it, no second chances for either of them. No lucking out and a miracle rescue so that she wouldn't have a body resting on her conscience.
And what would your mom think? Jinora could only imagine the look of disappointment on Pema's face. Her mother had done nothing but support her, motivate her to make the most of her life, even with the limited options she had. Yet here she was, on the verge of making a decision that would stick with her for life, namely whether or not to end his. Then there was the delicate question of her siblings. If she would do it and it got out, would she ever be allowed near her siblings again? Balance of probability says 'no', and for good reason. You wouldn't blame her if she renounces you as her daughter.
But there was also the flip side: could she live with herself if she did do it? If she actually would pull the trigger, how would she be better than him? Oh sure, Jinora supplied the poorest, unluckiest people in the city with the means to self-destruct, but she could at least justify that a little bit with the notion that they did it to themselves, and that she did it in order to save her family. But how would she live with the knowledge that she had killed, no, executed a man? Even if that man was a scumbag, lowest of the low, a criminal since the day he had been born? No one would miss him, in fact, the world would probably be a better place without him. But that didn't mean he deserved to die just like that. He was still a living human being, someone with a soul.
Not that he seemed to care very much. He was almost waiting for her to do it just as much as Iroh was. The way he looked at Jinora, it was almost as if he was taunting her, like she wouldn't have the guts to do it. That wouldn't be very far from the truth, if we're really honest here. With a shaking hand, she raised the gun, pointing it at Zaheer's head.
She looked over to Korra. The mask she was wearing made it difficult for Jinora to gauge her feelings, but the eyes were pretty clear: she was hoping that Jinora wouldn't do it. Korra clearly hated Iroh for forcing her into this corner, but she could do even less about it than Jinora could. If she would speak up, or even worse, shoot Zaheer herself, they would both lose their respect from Iroh and possibly even their positions. Korra might as well have not been there, it would probably make things easier for the both of them.
-"Do it," Iroh said. "I want to get out of here before the heat shows up."
Jinora felt a shudder go through her. This was the point of no return. Whatever choice she would make, she'd have to live with it. She looked Zaheer in the eyes. There was no regret of any kind, nothing at all. He wouldn't plead for her to walk away, to spare his life, and let him go.
"I'm sorry," Jinora whispered. She closed her eyes and pulled the trigger.
Please don't hate me too much.
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