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The Protege

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Chapter VII

How I got to remember her

 

For some strange yet familiar reason, waking up had now an entirely different meaning. The sun rising over the horizon marked a new beginning, and when it regularly pointed out the beginning of a monotonous day of exercising, eating, testing on her body, performing missions, more testing, eating again and sleeping, this time brought with it the promise of hope. Even the air she breathed was different, lighter, more aromatic, and sweet. Just like her, always reminding her of her.

Even a week later when she showed her quite the shocking printed photographs, Fareeha still considered the idea of digging a little deeper, of seeking more information that would bring her closer to her, of knowing her completely and remembering every moment she had with the doctor. It was then that she knew that every time her head thought about her, it wasn’t dreams at all, but memories, precious recollections that her subconscious refused to let go despite the abusive treatment that was given to it.

That was becoming her mind, a cloudy sky that gradually began to clear. And as Angela had said before, the side effects of the lack of serum in her bloodstream began to slow down, leaving if something insomnia and fatigue, quite noticeable during her morning training. Today was a special day however, today Fareeha had to show to all those members of a Vishkar team what she was worth. End of the month meant showing the results of thirty days of therapy.

Standing in front of a white room, like any other wall inside Vishkar, her half-naked body was full of electrodes, counting thirty in all. Legs, arms, chest, back, face, each one stuck to her skin. In front of her lay five people: Satya, Mirembe, two more scientists and Angela, matching her role as doctor and scientist with those she accompanied. The blonde was a bit old school, taking a notebook and pen in her hand to scribble whatever data she discovered, distinguishing herself from the rest of the tablets. That might not be a lot to anyone, but that showed Fareeha how different she was from the rest.

“Step forward.” Satya ordered her, and glancing rapidly at her assigned doctor, earning a silent nod in the process. Fareeha stepped forward, her arms behind her back like a good soldier, like the army taught her. Like her mother did. “Mirembe.”

“Yes.” The older woman replied, taking a metric tape and measuring her body, starting from her arms, then her legs and ending up with her entire body. “Step into the treadmill.” Without hesitation, Fareeha obeyed once again, something impressive for everyone but not for Angela, as she would previously refuse to even step forward. But not this time, not now that her mind was finally clearing and there was a general sense of comfort despite being surrounded by unscrupulous people. She needed to support Angela and show everyone her worth. “She lost muscle mass.”

“That’s unacceptable.” Satya simply stated. “We expected improvement from you, Dr. Ziegler.”

“I see improvement.” The blonde challenged. “Tell me. Regularly, how long would it normally take for her to obey? That is if she were to obey without further ado.” No one said nothing, Angela smiling and closing the gap between the treadmill and her, scribbling and writing in her notebook. “Her improvement is from the inside out, always like that. Her mind has progressed considerably and remains more stable. You can’t deny the success of my work.”

“Very well, I won’t deny your discoveries. What I will have to remind you is the motive of our work.”

“You want soldiers, that I know. But tell me, how good would be a stronger and faster soldier than others if it’s unstable? If it snaps at any moment and instead hurts her own teammates? None. There goes your multimillion dollar research. We discussed this already, Vaswani, is my way, and it is working. I apologize but you won’t touch my protégé without my consent, because I’m proud of her improvement.” Fareeha didn’t know if that was directed at her, but it definitely made her heart beat faster, sending electrical signals to the device where the electrodes were connected simultaneously. And just for her, Angela smiled warmly, reflecting the love that she had only with her gaze. “Encouragement.”

“Pardon?” Satya furrowed her brow.

“Encouragement and endorsement, key elements which both have a positive effect, and is reflected as such. For now, we keep with my method until she’s a hundred percent stable. First mind, then body. You may stop.” This time she referred to Fareeha, and the girl immediately stopped, standing off the treadmill and returning to a relaxed position. A few drops of sweat trickled down her neck and down her forehead. “For now, retreat and do your usual activities. Meet me at my office at the stipulated time.”

With a slight bow and a military salute, Fareeha looked at her one last time before disappearing through the door. It was then when she closed that she could breathe calmly, leaving aside the nervousness that, in spite of not showing in front of Satya or the other doctors, ate her on the inside, because deep down she didn’t want to disappoint herself or Angela. It was amusing yet encouraging.

After several minutes and a much-deserved shower, Fareeha found herself in the almost empty dining room, proud of her results as she was serving herself a lighter breakfast than usual prior sitting on an empty table. Finally the fatigue seemed to reach her, and the yawns didn’t take long to make presence. The attempt of scrambled eggs and toast weren’t appealing to her at all, and her head started to bob when her eyes half-lidded, opting to ditch the breakfast break for a minute. Propping her elbow on the table and her head on her hand, Fareeha yawned once again, and when her eyes closed she soon fell into a deep sleep.


Despite being the youngest of the group, despite being the one to whom the others had repulsion and were beginning to fear her, Fareeha was standing with an ever serious gaze next to her siblings, all lined up in front of the ruins of the necropolis on a dark night, the crescent moon scarcely painting some faces blue while the torches lit her forehead, her eyes without the brightness that she had when she was younger. And now, at fifteen, she was the most outstanding of all her relatives.

Amber burned in her eyes as the bonfire in front of them, the heat of the fire mixed with the cold of the night gale should be enough to drive her into a fit of goosebumps and shivering sensations, but not today, or any other day. Just so young into her teenage years, and she was already behaving even more as an adult that to those older, more in power, more deserving than her.

If there was something that she didn’t show and that she lost a few years ago when she began to participate in such missions, it was her ability to feel, compassion and remorse, that she learned with her first bullet in that market. So when those three gagged Hakim agents in front of her –almost at her feet– looked back at her, her eyes didn’t reflect any emotion, not a sign of mercy, only perhaps a hint of a treat. Because what was more, they were her prey, and they would be dead in a few minutes.

"You just had one mission, all twelve of you…” Her uncle spoke firmly, an older man with white hair who dressed in a robe, just like her mother and seven others who were part of the council. “And it’s clear as day that there is only one person completely devoted and committed to its work.”

“With all due respect, uncle…” Another sibling, like the rest of her cousins standing in line, was older than Fareeha for five years and more. “We stuck to the plan and when we got to the point there-”

“You have no excuse here. Fareeha-” She looked at him and said nothing, expecting his questioning and command. “Tell me what happened and why it’s you who brought Hakim’s men alive, bound and gagged.”

“I was excluded from participating in the plan they developed, but I am part of the mission as any of them, for which I followed my own plan to complete the mission.”

“And you succeeded.” A nod. “How is it possible that the only person –a teenager, a woman, a half-blooded Amari- succeeded in record time alone and without any of your help?!” Inside, Fareeha was proud of herself, but on the outside she had to remain as a statue and to not give to her urges, only in front of her mother alone.

“Now, prove that you are an Amari. Prove that you have no mercy towards those who dares to threaten the-”

Fareeha didn’t let him finish. Taking the gun from her holster, she aimed at one of the men below her, and taking a step back, she fired at his head.

‘Twenty-seven…’

She started counting in her head, the number of her list of assassinations increasing with each bullet.

‘…Twenty-eight...’

‘…Twenty-nine.’

Three dead men on the floor, and she returned to her initial position. Glock on her holster, arms behind her back, chin up, eyes looking forward, unfazed.

“Now, how can a younger half-breed be better than you?!” Her uncle yelled again, Fareeha’s eyes fixed on a blank spot. She could see her mother next to him, pain reflected in her eyes despite not showing so. “You are all beyond pathetic. Only you, Fareeha, are the only one who is trying to be worthy to carry the surname Amari with pride. Keep proving that you are valuable, Fareeha Amari, heartless Anubis and daughter of Bastet. Now, finish this one as well.”

From behind a wall, another member Fareeha recognized as member of the council dragged another person, a cloth bag was on its head. Fareeha didn’t know if it was one of Hakim's grunts, a member of her family or a simple civilian, but she knew what she had to do. At this time there was no room for questioning, but to do her duty, and the duty was clear. Taking the glock from her holster once again, she aimed coldly at the head of this person, male or female, and positioned her finger on the trigger, hooking her digit more, and more, waiting for the successful sound of a shot.


A thunderous sound similar to that of a firing bullet woke her up, making her to jump out of fright. Her heart began to beat rapidly, almost feeling it pound in her ears when she saw the source of the noise. A tray with food was placed harshly on the table and Hana was the owner of such a lunch. With a reprimand look, the younger girl accused Fareeha by pointing a finger at her face. Fareeha didn’t know how much time passed, but it must have been something because Hana had already finished her checkup, and that could only mean a minimum of two hours. Minimum.

“I can’t believe you've fallen asleep in the cafeteria... Again! It's the fourth time already, Reeha. Why do they keep giving you that stupid thing if they see that you're all weak, sleepy and you're dying?”

“Hana, I’m not dying. And for the… I don’t know how many times I’ve said it but the doctor is giving me nothing. It’s a rehab.”

“And for the ‘don’t-know-how-many-times’, I don’t believe you.” She crossed her arms, making a childish pout. Fareeha could only raise an eyebrow for such attitude.

“Are you done?”

“No.”

“Well-” Fareeha got up with a grunt, stretching her numb back due to sleeping in an awkward position. “I gotta go. I have one last check-up with Dr. Ziegler and judging from your annoying presence, I’m already late.”

“Will you let me eat alone here? And since when do you care so much about going to those check-ups? Did the doctor wash your brain?!”

Hana had to yell at her, for Fareeha was starting to walk away towards the door. However, she stopped mid-track, weighting the heaviness of Hana’s words. Fareeha had a reputation within Vishkar, she was a symbol of inspiration and motivation, several teammates reminding her of that. But now, accepting any order from the doctor, from Angela, from her caretaker, it was a critical blow to the pillar of her influence. And knowing the myriad of opportunities she had of recovering her memory and remember who this magnificent woman was, it was worth it.

“I'm going. I will take a nap in my own bed once I finish my evaluation.”

“Fareeha!”

“What?” She turned around, but a pair of thin arms surrounded her legs, making her stumble and almost making her fall. “H-Hana!” Puppy eyes stared back, the smaller girl with a pout similar to that of a kid begging for a treat.

“Yuna, Zarya and we are all worried about you. Even Tariq. We want to know what happens to you and you refuse to tell us!” Fareeha had to roll her eyes and shake her head.

“When will you understand that I am fine? The fact that my insomnia is heavier than ever doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. You need understand that, and it’s my decision to continue with her therapy, not hers. It's my words coming out of my mouth, Hana. Mine.” Hana let go, and stood up carefully, looking at Fareeha with apprehension.

“If that’s what you really think… Then you'll have to catch up on one of these days.”

“I promise.” Hana extended her hand, her pinkie being the only finger she was showing.

“Pinky swear.”

“You’re not ten-”

“Pinky promise me, you fucking stubborn mule!” Fareeha had to laugh at that, despite Hana being small and with an innocent vibe overall, the girl was the opposite. The taller woman extended her own finger and latched it with Hana’s cute and pale one.

“Pinky swear, Hana.”

“Yes! Thank you! Then I'll let you be and I'll eat my breakfast.”

Fareeha just rolled her eyes when Hana went back to her seat, almost jumping with happiness. Despite being nineteen, her mentality was that of a girl of ten, but when she was on the battlefield she was a completely different person. A beast, and Yuna wasn’t so far behind her. Going through the corridors and riding the elevator to the first floor of the Vishkar building, her legs guided her to a familiar door, white like all of them, but on which a small sign with the doctor's name stood out.

A knock, then another, and she hear the sweetest voice calling her in. Fareeha opened the door, only to find the doctor, Angela, watering a few plants in the office window. She smiled to herself when she saw the blonde so self-absorbed, removing some dry leaves in the process while humming a tuneless song. Fareeha closed the door and approached her, close enough to observe the plants more carefully but giving Angela the space to continue her work.

“This country might be very hot, but that doesn’t mean there cannot be life in my window.” She had a soft, fond smile while touching the leaves of one of the potted plants. It peaked Fareeha’s curiosity.

“Do you like gardening?”

“It’s more of a hobby than an activity to which I dedicate my time completely. But yes, I love gardening, it is an essential part of life after all. The plants, the flowers, not to mention that they are beautiful and very useful.” Angela turned around, leaving the glass of water on her desk. “I’m sorry, I must be boring you with all of this.” Fareeha shook her head, returning the smile.

“Not at all, it’s interesting.”

“Then allow me to continue. By the way, how are you feeling?” Being honest with her turned to be one of the easiest things inside that place. A safe zone. So she was honest.

“I have a constant headache for not having enough sleep. I fell asleep in the cafeteria for a while and woke up with migraine. I feel fatigued in general.”

“Hm…” Angela hummed, returning to her plants. “Have you had nausea, vomit or any other symptoms besides your insomnia and migraine?”

“No.

“That's very good, we are making progress with your rehabilitation. I promised you that the side effects wouldn’t last for more than three days, but I didn’t count on how powerful the serum that was injected was. A thousand apologies, it was my mistake as a doctor to promise you without having further proofs.”

“You have absolutely no reason to apologize. You have been the only person kind enough to not lie to me… Or at least to not tell me lies even when you are hiding something more.” Angela giggled, covering her mouth as she plucked another dry leaf.

“Information is power, and for the moment, you cannot stand a blow of such magnitude. Graduality, constancy and patience, we need those first, just like these plants.”

Angela plucked a few small green leaves from one of the plants, taking a couple of them between the fingers of both hands and crushing them with her fingertips, creating an aromatic paste. Peppermint, Fareeha could smell it easily now that the doctor forced the leaf oils. The blonde took a couple of steps forward in her direction, and placed two fingers on each of Fareeha’s temple, massaging the skin in smooth, circular movements.

“Medicinal plants above all are my greatest interest, it’s amazing how nature is so wise as to create such perfection. Peppermint oil increases blood flow and provides a cooling sensation that helps ease the pain.” She kept talking, but Fareeha was in another plane of existence, closing her eyes and letting her be taken to a distant place of blankness filled by new sensations. The smell was soothing, the touch incredible, and her voice magnificent as she kept talking. “How does it feel? Isn’t it better like this?”

“Your touch is enough…” Angela chuckled, and even though Fareeha had her eyes closed, she knew that the doctor had blushed, something very common as of lately, and it was positively adorable.

“Oh, is it? Then I wonder if the right touch might help you heal better and faster…”

Fareeha felt the fingers move away from her temples, this time a pair of hands taking her cheeks and bringing her a few inches down, down, until soft lips settled over hers. It was amazing how such a delicate kiss could create such emotions, such an electrifying sensation, a thousand volts running through her body in a frenzy. The sensations only intensified when the doctor opened her mouth a little, deepening the kiss and giving Fareeha permission to explore inside.

Without thinking twice, Fareeha slid her tongue down the doctor's pink lower lip, earning a breathy gasp in response. Angela did the same taking her bottom lip in her teeth, sucking slightly the flesh and inserted her tongue too. Whatever type of game this was, Fareeha was enjoying it more than expected. Best of all, it was the fact that she remembered that feeling. Ecstatic, addictive. Fareeha wanted more; her body demanded more of the sweet honey that her mouth released.

The hands that were perched on her cheeks moved back and up, higher, hooking in her hair and caressing the scalp between dark threads. Paired with the touch on her lips, the sensation was beyond magnificent. Fareeha could remember that, could make up her mind and the idea on why she hated previous relationships, on why no man could ever please her like this very woman in front of her, and how everything made sense now. And yet, this swirl of memories was rushing in with every kiss.

“Hmm… Just like that…” Angela managed to say, humming when they parted and smiling all the while, only to be pulled back.

“No, no. Don’t go.” A giggle escaped from her rosy lips as she was kissed again, Fareeha following suit realizing how childish her pled was.

“That’s… Improvement. Does it help?”

“Very…”

“Let’s just stop before I-” She cleared her throat, a blush spreading on her cheeks. “Before I cannot.” Fareeha smiled victorious on the inside, but decided to agree with the doctor this time. She could barely control the burning sensation in her pelvis, she could lose control just as well, and that wasn’t permitted. At least not inside there.

“Very well, Dr. Ziegler.” A sigh, and a reprimand look from the blonde.

“Fareeha… Call me Angela inside here, we talked about this.”

“It’s still…”

“Hm?”

“Nothing… Angela.” That made her smile.

“There we go.”

Angela took her hand and guided her to the examination bed, Fareeha immediately catching the message. As usual every week, her body had to be examined and evaluated, and all that must be in her underwear. Her shirt and pants were left on a chair, her shoes on the floor, and she leaped over the bed, sitting quietly and waiting for Angela to do the usual procedure. For anyone it would be the most uncomfortable step, but now for Fareeha, feeling the fine hands of Angela on her bare skin was a blessing.

Angela took her notebook and pen and began to make notes, carefully observing the marked body of Fareeha. Scars, musculature, wounds, bruises, internal and external damage, sensitivity and reflex. She was quick, and she was good at her job. It was quite curious to see her concentrated, absolutely nothing like when they were alone now, much less in her dreams. And talking about dreams.

“I dreamed of you again… Or at least I think it was important.” Her blue eyes parted for a moment from the paper, instead looking at Fareeha’s brown orbs for a brief moment.

“Oh? Did you?” A hummed agree. Since Fareeha began to trust Angela more, she ended up asking her if it was really just a dream or if her mind was really playing dirty tricks with her memory. Angela was more than pleased to answer every question and prayer of the girl, except to limit herself to five specific questions in order to avoid an overload of information in her brain. Fareeha agreed without hesitation. “Tell me about it.”

“I used to work in a nightclub, it was one of the first jobs I had in the city. But this time I wasn’t working, I was a guest, but you were there also.”

“Oh my…” Angela laughed shyly and shamefully, but there was definitely amusement in her giggle. “We did. That day I was very sad because it had been years since I last went out to have fun, and you offered to take me there. I had a great time for the first time in forever. We had.” She concluded, moving to the other side of the bed to examine Fareeha’s left side. Now Fareeha wondered why she was sad, what or who was capable of making such a pure soul suffer with sadness. She should know more.

“Can I begin with my questions?”

“Sure thing.”

“That didn’t count as one.”

“Of course it did.” Fareeha pouted without realizing it, making the blonde giggle once again. “Don’t cheat.”

“Fine… How are you?” Angela howled, bending due to the sincerity of the question. Nothing as precious as that was able to make it irresistible to Fareeha, a smirk showing on her face.

“My! Aren’t we smooth?”

“I try.”

“Well, I am good now. It could be better if the weather was colder and I could go out during the day, not hide from the sun like a bat. But I'm fine, more than alright. Next question?” Next would escalate from extremely simple to slightly intrusive.

“I had some dreams of an apartment on a seventh and eighth floor maybe. It is your place?” Again, that laugh.

“It is my current home. It was the place I chose after I decided to change and become a more independent and trusting person. I deserved it, we deserved it.”

“We? What do you mean with we?”

“You moved in with me.” She left it there, no more information than Fareeha could process, maybe the next was too much for her to assimilate correctly. She trusted Angela blindly, and preferred to ask her later.

“Okay… Next question…” It took Fareeha time to think smart about her only remaining question. She wanted to know more about Angela, and she had to ask her question with care. “Why was it not possible for you to go out for years to have fun? Did you work a lot? You seem like a workaholic.”

“That I am, I love my job and it distracts me from a lot of things, but…” She stopped, looking at a blank spot on the bed. Whatever it was, it was tormenting her inside, and it was a battle between telling the truth or not, Fareeha could see it clearly. “…But it had nothing to do with it. I didn’t go out because I wasn’t allowed to do so. My husband never allowed me to do so... Well, ex-husband.”

“Oh… Oh.”

So she used to be married. A widow? A divorcee? A stream of memories, names, voices and images began to run through Fareeha's mind. That hurt, so much information wanting to be incorporated into her disturbed mind. One of those memories became more present than all; her friends and her walking to the bar. Reinhardt acknowledging a Swiss woman. Angela at a table in a corner. A wound. A lot of blood. Repentance and pain reflecting in blue eyes. The blonde lying on the floor of the back room. Emily. The three of them rushing out of the place. Fareeha holding her in a bridal carry all the while to her apartment.

She recognizes everything. Every sound, every image, every smell, everything. Fareeha pressed her head with both hands, the sound muted as a storm of memories kept rushing towards her. But what stood out the most, was the fear at that moment, in that memory. Afraid of having disappointed her, afraid of not arriving on time, afraid of losing her. And in reality, looking back at Angela and her worried eyes, she jumped out of bed and took the blonde in her arms, reversing the positions and seating her in the bed instead.

“F-Fareeha…?!”

She opened her lab coat, and without thinking twice unbuttoned the lower buttons of her blouse, revealing soft pale skin and a notorious mark on her abdomen. A scar. The source of all that blood spilled in the bar. Fareeha ran a finger over it, feeling the slightly highlighted skin of the scar. It hurt to see her, Fareeha felt that she failed to protect her. Leaning forward slowly, her lips touched the soft scar, kissing the healed wound with only so much care and love, she knew she did that before. What was frightening was that she used to kiss her wounds and bruises more times that she would ever like.

“I’m sorry I failed you… I shouldn’t have left you alone that weekend, or any other day in that house...”

“You remember…?”

“He’s a piece of shit…”

Suddenly, Fareeha felt a pair of arms hugging her tightly, it was chilling, as if the most precious thing to the arms of the doctor was to escape with a simple sigh. Angela hid her face in the crook of Fareeha's neck, inhaling shakily, exhaling in the same manner only followed by tears and a sob. No matter how insignificant or important that memory was, it definitely created an impressive impact on the doctor, and Fareeha wanted to share the moment, holding her gentler, and letting herself be brought with her to a place somewhere only they know.


Two more weeks, and her body began to demand more. More food, more exercise, more rest. More of her. Her mannerisms, her dedication, her selflessness, it was fascinating. How could such a woman be so perfect in every way and despite everything show interest in her? In a captive woman, mad to a certain extent, even an assassin? It was a mystery, and it was driving Fareeha to do better overall, to achieve more, to be perfect and try to match her position to hers. Of being worthy of her sympathy.

Her legs ached, her arms, her whole body in general when before something as simple as doing push-ups didn’t tense her body in the least. Angela explained days before that the experimental serum was composed mostly of hormones and steroids of various types, limiting the pain to a low point of resistance and creating an effect similar to that of an addiction. Not anymore. Now, without the serum, the resistance slowed down to what she used to have maybe five years ago, which, while it was a lot, wasn’t compared to that of Vishkar's own treatment.

Fareeha was doing crunches for who knows how much time, and her body screamed her to stop. In the end, she ignored it, and collapsed on the ground. She was red and flushed, sweaty, tired and her limbs were a trembling mess. Her breathing stirred and she closed her eyes heavily, hoping that the result was good enough for Vishkar, who Satya with all her entourage of doctors and scientists -Angela included- were watching her doing her work out. Hana, Zarya, and all those who were protected from some of them were in the gym, monitoring their progress. Satya made a face of dissatisfaction.

“Three hundred and forty-eight.” A scientist with a tally counter in hand said, looking at Satya for a response.

“Unacceptable.” Satya stated, and Fareeha wanted to sink right there. “Dr. Ziegler, your asset-”

“She’s my protégé, not an asset.” Angela corrected, and the girl felt her heart beat for a brief eternity. Even in front of Vaswani she was willing to defend her humanity.

“Your protégé is not even reaching half of what is required. Even that of Mirembe was able to reach the goal. Clearly she needs our treatment as your methods are not working.”

“I beg to differ. She is as mentally stable as a healthy patient of mine, something the other protégés can’t achieve yet. If the mind is stable, the body follows suit, and thus we have a balanced human being. That is what I want to achieve. Remember what I have told you over and over again? That word precisely: balance. Balance between the body and mind.” It irked curiosity in Fareeha the way Angela spoke her words with so much determination, there was fire in her eyes and an outstanding personality enough to overpower hers.

“You have spent a month of your stay in not showing results.”

“And what is this?” She pointed at Fareeha.

“Clearly, a tired and exhausted woman who could not resist the exercise that was indicated.”

Angela scoffed, and it was adorable. But Satya was right; Fareeha was far from being the person she used to be a month ago. That made her feel useless and in general, a failure at the eyes of the doctor. It was embarrassing, but Angela always made her feel more than that, she encouraged her and reminded her that all those thoughts were more than incorrect. Fareeha was fine, she would be fine. It was then that the blonde took several steps forward to reach Fareeha's side, extended a thin hand towards her and Fareeha took her more than happily as she helped her stand up.

“Come on. Show them how mentally stable you are.” What exactly did she meant with that? Nonetheless, Fareeha obeyed, and dusted her training pants. What definitely surprised her was the fact that Angela was stripping from her lab coat, leaving it on top of a bench press, followed by her pumps. Only when she stood up in front of her and braced herself in a defense position, Fareeha understood. That had nothing to do with mental stability, but it was definitely making her curious. “Stance.” She obeyed. Right leg behind, fists in front of her face. “Jab.” She did that, Angela successfully blocking it. “Double jab.” And it went on and on for perhaps ten more minutes, the orders increasing both in intensity and difficulty.

“What are you trying to achieve, Dr. Ziegler?” Satya asked after a while, wondering on why the doctor was doing such atrocity.

“This.” Angela put her arms back and stood firmly, lifting her chin slightly and looking at her decisively, Fareeha returning to a rest stance, arms at both sides of her body. “You are worthless. You are nothing. You are just an experiment, and nobody cares for you inside and outside this place. Once you return to the outside, you’ll be nothing and no one. You don’t have any friends here, and your family doesn’t care for you. You are nothing, but a shallow body.”

It hurt, and when in regular circumstances –and even more now warmed up with the one on one training- it would make her angry and blind with madness, just like Hana at this very moment being held by two guards as she yelled at the doctor and called her as much insults as she could muster, this time it wasn’t like that. Fareeha didn’t felt anything beyond discomfort. No anger, no pain, just a general sensation of surrealism. Nonetheless, she stayed in the same position, waiting for a command, looking into her eyes.

“Satya, can you come here?” The woman rolled her eyes and obeyed, walking quietly to Angela’s side. “My protégé, hit her.” She was positively crazy. Fareeha could never do that without having serious consequences. She didn’t know what her plan was exactly, but she had to trust her, even when it was beyond strange. Taking position and fixing her stance, Fareeha took a momentum, and launched herself for Satya’s face. “Stop.” It was quick, her fist stopping in matter of milliseconds. Her body responded to a simple command even when she knew she could hit Satya –the woman who called that and many more insults, the woman who experimented with her body- without having any problems. “There you go.”

“Are you positively insane, Dr. Ziegler?!”

Fareeha wasn’t far from thinking the same, since anyone in that room that didn’t belong to Vishkar was more than ready to punch Satya if given the opportunity. And this time, it was handed in a gold tray. However, she responded swiftly to the command, and thus, stopped when given the instruction. Fareeha was sure even Zarya and Hana would think the same, even Tariq, who was standing still in a surprising position looking at her. Eventually, it was Angela who spoke again.

“I am not. I trust her. That’s where you start, with trust in your patient rather than offering words and notions of displeasing subjects, just like you.”

“Point proven, Dr. Ziegler. Now get her out of here.” Angela smirked amusedly, Fareeha doing the same on the inside.

“At ease.” The blonde said, and so Fareeha obeyed once more, hand at either side of her body. Impressive, impassive, an obeying soldier. She only lacked the strength she used to have, something she would eventually gain again. “You can leave now, I’ve proven my point. We’ll start with the serum treatment in a week.”

With a nod, Fareeha acknowledged her decision, even when it irked inside with an uncomfortable feeling swirling and twisting. She needed to talk to her about boundaries once again, but the Egyptian knew she said that only because it was needed. Satya needed to know, so did Vishkar. And thus, she left the gym. Deciding to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the night, she headed to her quarters, a shower sounded amazing, and it was the perfect way to end her routine.

The water cascaded pleasantly on her naked body, salty due to the sweat. The hot liquid relaxed her muscles and helped with the knots on her back and shoulders, but something else was entirely needed. Angela massaging her stress away was fantastic in that matter, it was an angelic touch on her devilish skin. Perhaps later she could properly ask her and not suggest it as she always did. It still made her sheepish the fact that she needed her touch to relieve her strained body, but hot water over her body helped. Wearing a set of short shorts and a lose shirt, she slipped into bed and drifted to sleep faster than she expected.


This was new. Strange, fascinating, known and cherished. A bed that wasn’t hers, but it made her feel so at home. Stretching out on the bed, she touched a bundle under the sheets, soft and hard at the same time. She moved, and a blonde mane emerged from the white fabric, aquamarine eyes watching her back. A smile so tender and honest was gifted to her, and Fareeha's heart beat so hard that she felt it was going to leave her ribcage at any moment.

“Hello, stranger.”

In a soft, alluring voice, Fareeha was called. That was Angela, undeniable sexy and evidently naked. Her pale body was still covered by a thin sheet up to her chin, and even now that her mouth was partly covered, she could see her eyes smiling at her. How wonderfully this woman was making her feel inside.

“Come here.”

She begged, making Fareeha shift slightly, their bodies’ mere inches apart.

“Come with me.”

So close, so near. Angela lifted the sheet, revealing her naked figure under it and inviting Fareeha to the warmth under the covers.

“Stay with me.”


Fareeha woke up sooner than she expected. Her surroundings were dark, and her roommates were already asleep. It couldn’t have been more than two hours. The insomnia hit her again and the tiredness didn’t go away, but only increased. The memory of Angela made her relax most of the time, but this time it didn’t happen for some strange reason. Fareeha remained one more hour awake, thinking, and looking at the darkness that was the ceiling of her room while a few words echoed in her head again and again.

‘Come with me.’

Was it a signal? A message? She didn’t have it clear, but it was bothering her more than she wanted to. Growling, she got up ready to go looking for reasons to stay awake until her body decided to tire again. The warehouse and the stars seemed to be a good option, and tying her shoes, she prepared to leave, until a voice stopped her.

“Fareeha?” Obviously it had to be Tariq, sleep still in his voice and in the ruffling of his hair, the only person concerned enough to ask her. “Can’t sleep?”

“No. I’m taking fresh air.”

“It’s two in the morning… Do you want company?” She stopped for a moment, wondering if indeed she needed to vent to someone, except she didn’t have anything to say at all. Company didn’t sound bad, but Tariq wasn’t the most suitable person as of now.

“I’m doing well alone for the moment.”

“Well… Alright. If you need me, you know, I’ll be here.” His sincerity was always appreciated, and Fareeha returned him a soft smile and a nod.

“Thanks.”

And she parted. Out to the halls, walking the white tile with no purpose. Her feet guided her into several more corridors while her mind wandered, trying to collect more memories and remember more events from her past. That worked sometimes, and the cool night air was a great incentive. However, Fareeha didn’t realize when she took the elevator and her body found not to be outside, but further inside the facility.

Looking both ways she could recognize the place. She shouldn’t be there, much less so late at night, and yet there she was, in the quarters of the medical and scientific staff. The door to Mirembe's room was only a few steps away, but Angela's was farther away, and yet it was that door that called her. Again unconsciously she heard her voice, beaconing her and sending signals to approach.

‘Come with me.’

Maybe she should follow them, after all, her dream told her the same thing. She should always follow her. Breathing deeply, she took several steps forward and stayed maybe two minutes waiting outside Angela's door, her body didn’t respond but she knew she should knock. And she did it after doubting so much, she knocked, only to realize it was a huge mistake. What if she was sleeping and she interrupted her? Or perhaps she simply didn’t wanted to be bothered. Less at such late hours of the morning. There was no more room for doubt, as Angela opened the door quickly, rubbing the sleep away from her eyes.

“Fareeha?” Her eyes were slightly red, her hair disheveled and down up to her middle back, and she was wearing only a night gown that seemed so fresh and light. She looked envious perfect.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be here and-” She tried to explain, it was unreasonable. Angela shook her head.

“It’s okay. Can’s sleep, darling?” Fareeha nodded sheepishly. “To be honest, neither could I. I tried and failed miserably, so I ended up working up late once again.”

“That’s unhealthy.”

“Heh, it is…” She smiled at her, flushing slightly due to the words she was thinking of speaking. “Let's work on this together, the two of us. Shall we? Come with me.”

Again those words, and Angela stepped aside, inviting Fareeha into the comfort of her bedroom. There was no room for doubt that moment, and smiling wearily, Fareeha went into her room, and Angela closed the door once more. What Fareeha wasn’t expecting is that this was the beginning of several nights of her looking for Angela at night.