“I don’t need to go to the doctor.”

“You’re going to the damn doctor,” my handler snarls. “I’m not filling out another fucking incident report where I get censured because you didn’t get checked out thoroughly and your weird body fries itself.”

“I don’t fry. I’m not a fucking machine,” I growl. “I’m a normal woman.”

“Nothing normal about you,” he says, his face twisted with disgust. The first time he met me, his eyes lit up with lechery. He was excited to be put in charge of me, to be given the keys to my cuffs, the pass code to the iron door which leads to my cell. He thought he could take advantage of the softness of my curves and the innocence of my eyes. He was very swiftly proved wrong. 

 

I do not look frightening, not at first. I have what I've been told are sweet eyes. They're naturally wide and pale blue. There’s something about the combination of blue eyes and curling blonde hair which makes people trust girls more. I don’t know why. I have a feeling the reason is unpleasant. Right now, my curling blonde hair is going wild in a riotous mass around my head, obscuring my gaze. That too, is impractical. 

I was made to be appealing to men. It was part of the design. Every gene in my body was selected by the doctors who made me. I am science’s greatest pride and joy and their darkest secret all wrapped up in one fucked up little package. I am short. My body curves with a feminine flair, hips and breasts rounded in a way I’ve always found impractical for the purpose for which I was made, but I know the impracticalities are deliberate. I’m not a brute force soldier. I’m designed to go behind enemy lines, to surprise the target and dispatch them while they’re still ogling my ass, which seems to attract men like a magnet. It has for a long time, much longer than it should have. My handler is no exception. He wanted me, until I made sure he wouldn’t want me anymore. He loathes me now, as much as I loathe him. But I’m still stuck under his inept authority, dragged from the training course with an injury which is barely an injury. He’s done worse to me out of temper than I did to myself by ‘accident’.

He’s going to file a report saying that I was clumsy, even though it’s pretty much impossible for me to be clumsy and everybody who sees it will know better. Nobody will care. I’m not a person. I’m property. My handler isn’t worried that I’ve been hurt. He’s worried that he’s broken a very expensive piece of equipment and that he’s going to be in trouble. 

“I’m not hurt. I don’t need to see the doctor. I need to go back to my cell.”

“You’ll do that when you’re signed off. Goddammit. Stop kicking me.”

“If I was kicking you, you’d be screaming in pain. I’m nudging you to let me go.”

“Quit nudging, or I’ll make sure you’re good and broken.”

“You wouldn’t dare. She’d skin you alive. You know she would.”

I don't even have to invoke her name to make him afraid. Doesn't matter how much muscle he has, or how mean he is, everybody inside these concrete walls quakes at the prospect of a run-in with the woman who runs this place. 

“I’d make it look like an accident,” he says, dragging me into the elevator. 

“If you were smart enough to do that, you would have already.”

 

I hate my handler. 

I hate my life. 

I especially hate doctors. Doctors made me. Birthed me. Hurt me. Experimented on me in ways big and small. Things I didn’t notice and things that made me scream all day and all night long. Every time they try to make me see a doctor now, I fight tooth and nail. I’m usually heavily sedated, but I guess Tyko doesn’t have any on hand today. 

“I told you, I’ll kill the doctor if you make me see him again.” I hate the doctor they have here. He touches me places he shouldn’t. He’s always making excuses for me to be put through tests I don’t need. I almost killed him the last time Tyko made me come here. I will definitely kill him this time. I’m in that kind of mood. 

“It’s a new doctor,” Tyko says.

“What happened to the old doctor?”

“Someone killed him.”

I’d laugh, but I’m in a headlock and can barely breathe. Being injured isn’t a reason to handle me with any more human care than any other time. Guns are handled more carefully, and they have less tendency to go off than I do. 

“Be quiet and let the doctor do his job,” Tyko says, dragging me out of the elevator. “And don’t say anything stupid. Don’t say anything. Don’t attack him.”

“I won’t, unless he tries to stick me with a needle.”

“I’ll turn you into a fucking pin cushion if you lift a finger to him, you feral little beast.” Tyko grabs the back of my neck hard, triggering the partial shut down reflex which makes my lower legs curl up and also makes me screech with impotent fury. 

“Let me go before I fucking kill you!” I snarl as he bundles me through the double doors which lead to the medical bay. I’m immediately assaulted by the smell of bleach faintly covering the stench of body fluids. I have a better sense of smell than most. I have a better everything than most. 

“Alright. Easy now.”

A new voice cuts into the chaos. I want to fucking kill Tyko. He did that on purpose, thinking it would hurt me. Usually the reflex is painless, a way for agents with the right encoded wristbands to interface with my body and render me safe for handling, but when I’m injured, using it is risky. He knows that, and he doesn’t care.

The new doctor has come out of his examination room to investigate the sound of my screaming. The old doctor never used to care what kind of noises were coming out of the wounded. The waiting room used to sound like an abattoir sometimes with injured agents flopping around broken limbed after the butcher missions this place sent them on. 

I can’t really see the doctor. I only have an impression of someone tall, strong, and mature. I see a flash of beard with a touch of gray, just a hint of it. Then Tyko’s hand gets in my way and I try to bite it. He moves his fingers too quickly, but I’m not done fighting, though I can sense that Tyko wants to be done. It’s embarrassing to have me wrestling free even in this injured state. 

“Stop. It,” Tyko growls in my ear. “This is shameful.”

More shameful for him than for me. I don’t care about shame. You have to have dignity to have shame, and I’ve never been allowed a scrap of dignity. I keep wriggling until Tyko gives up and slams me up against the wall, a hard jolt running down my spine. What an asshole.

“Easy!" The doctor comes over with long strides and does his best to put himself between Tyko and me. 

“Don’t!” Tyko growls. “She’ll hurt you. She’ll try to kill you. Get a sedative, doctor. Quickly. I can't keep holding her.”

“Maybe you both take a deep breath and take a second,” the doctor says. “There’s no need to rush anything.”

“She’s vicious!”

“Well, maybe she’s got a reason to be,” the doctor says. There’s a note of judgement in his tone I’m not used to hearing in this place. 

I hate doctors, but this one isn’t rushing for the drugs they usually use to control me, and I respect him somewhat for that. He's also trying to de-escalate the situation, which is rare. Usually men just try to dominate me. I’ve had more than one doctor bluster his way into broken balls by trying to come over all alpha. 

Tyko has me by the throat, pressed hard against the wall. His other hand skips between the various limbs of mine which lash out at him, knees making a swift approach to his groin, elbows looking for his jaw. Tyko has a glass jaw. He doesn’t like people to know it, but I’ve knocked him out without even trying more than once. 

“That really is enough," the doctor drawls. He’s not phased by the violence unleashing in his vicinity. He pulls Tyko off me, wrapping his arm around Tyko’s neck and yanking him back. That gives me a chance to get a good shot in to my handler’s crotch, though I unfortunately miss the goods and end up glancing his thigh. 

“Don’t let her go! She’ll run!”

“There’s not really anywhere to run,” the doctor says, pushing Tyko further away from me with a practiced, and not at all medical touch. 

I can get a good look at him now. He’s broad shouldered. Tall. He could have a commanding presence, I think, but he’s trying not to look frightening right now. He looks at me like he’s looking at a cornered animal, which is pretty close to what I am. I will hurt him if he hurts me, but if he keeps his distance, we might get along. 

“Don’t touch me,” I say, my hands outstretched. “There’s nothing wrong with me. This idiot just wants to cover his ass.”

“Well we can’t have that, can we,” the doctor smiles. He has nice eyes. They’re a deep, but somehow light green. It’s a magnetic, mediterranean color. I always look at eyes. You can see so much in eyes. Tyko’s are always narrow and mean. I can’t even remember what color they are. They always seem black to me. 

“There’s nothing wrong with me. I don't like doctors, and I don’t let them touch me.”

“That’s good to know,” the doctor says. 

I let my gaze roam him again. He’s wearing a white coat, and a facility badge which reads: ARES. 

“God of war,” I mumble to myself.

“Hm?”

“Ares was the god of war.”

“Yes. That’s true,” the doctor says. “It's my last name. My first name is Thomas, but most people call me Tom.”

Way to tell me his life story. 

“I know what you’re doing.”

“What is that?”

“You’re trying to make me feel at ease. It’s a trick. Tell me your name, make me think you’re a nice guy, maybe I’ll let you do medical things to me. It’s not going to work. They’ve tried every trick they know on me, and they always hurt me in the end. So I’m telling you now, I’ll hurt you first.”

“Sedate her, doc,” Tyko says. “She’s going to mouth off and hurt you if you don’t.”

“We’ve got time to talk,” Doctor Ares says. “There’s no rush.”

“This won’t work, Doc,” Tyko sighs. 

We’re in a rare agreement now. This won’t work. 

“Is there some reason you don’t think I should speak to her like a person?”

“She’s basically feral. Weren’t you briefed on this girl?”

“I wasn’t notified of her visit before she arrived in the waiting room, so, no, I was not briefed. Perhaps you could do the honors, agent Tyko.”

Tyko snorts. “She’s a freak.”

“That’s not a medical diagnosis I’ve ever heard of,” Doctor Ares says. 

He’s starting to show signs of working out that I’m not just another agent. This poor bastard. He is going to shit himself when he realizes how much hardware I have tucked away inside me. 

I’m almost tempted to let him examine me so he can see how messed up I am inside. Almost. I’m not afraid of many things, but I am afraid of doctors, genuinely afraid. That white coat he’s wearing makes it hard for me to breathe properly. I try to calm myself down, but it's not easy. I don’t need to be here. I should be back in my cosy little cell. It’s six feet by four feet, and that’s enough for me. I don’t need space. I need walls around me. I need to be alone, away from men who handle me against my will. 

“How about you come on through to my exam room, young lady?”

I snort, thinking he just referred to Tyko as “young lady”. Then it occurs to me that the doctor is still speaking to me. I’m really not used to that. The medical professionals I've encountered in the past consider me more a subject to study than anything else. Usually, once their opening gambit fails, they go back to treating me like a piece of furniture. 

I chance a look up into his face. The doctor smiles at me with those beautifully warm eyes, and for a moment, I am human. I feel a rush of me-ness flowing through my body. Heat and life pulse through me. Usually I feel like a machine, something programmed to do nasty, violent things. In his eyes, I feel like the girl I look like on the outside. 

I’m staring. I’m locked in his gaze and for a brief moment I forget about everything. Something like a smile bubbles up in me. I am the girl who doesn’t smile, but with him, I feel the urge. It doesn’t reach my lips, but I feel it hovering behind them. 

Somehow, I have followed him into the examination room. I have to be basically unconscious, usually, to end up here. There's something different about this man. I can tell that things work for him which would never work for others. I don't think it’s a talent like mine, given by medical science, but it is something innate. He’s one of the charmed people, the ones for whom life is always easy. Right now, it’s rubbing off on me. 

“Can you get up on the table?”

He pats the examination bench. Getting up on a small table should be impossibly easy for me, but this alleged injury makes everything harder.

“Do you want me to help you up?”

I nod my head a little, but I am hesitant. He wants to help me? Nobody helps me. They don’t like to interfere in the process. It messes with the data. From the beginning, it has always been about the data. 

He reaches for me. My muscles twitch with the impulse to rip his throat out. I have endless responses like that, coded into my DNA. Tyko thinks I hurt him on purpose, but the truth is that it takes effort to restrain myself almost all of the time when I am around other people. I have brutal programs running almost incessantly in my minds, hard instincts telling me to slay all who come into contact with me. 

I feel the doctor's hand touch my shoulder, slide down my spine to settle in the small of my back. It is large, like men’s hands almost always are. It is warm. I can feel the heat of his body through the thin spandex leotard they have me wear. They like to see how my body moves. There are little white dots across it so they can track me on camera, watch the way my limbs work. Nothing is secret. No part of me is for myself. 

His other hand scoops around under my thighs, and I feel the brush of his forearm under my legs and then he takes my weight in an easy motion and lifts me up onto the bed. The embrace is brief, but it is an embrace. One of a handful I can count ever having happened in my entire life. Every muscle in my body tenses, expecting pain. Touch always hurts. But his doesn’t. I try not to breathe in too deeply, but I can’t help catching his scent. He smells like man and soap, and just a hint of aftershave. He is in contact with me for maybe three seconds as he lifts me onto the bed, but they’re the best three seconds I’ve had all year.

He is is big, so strong, so utterly capable. Everyone here is. But he is not like the others. I can tell that already. I have good instincts. Some would say that I only have instincts. Most everybody here brings death. This doctor brings life. I can feel it. He has an aura of goodness that I’m not used to.

“Cuff her down before you examine her, doc. She’s dangerous.” Tyko has followed us in. He can’t just let me be. He has to be there, constantly, ruining everything. 

“Everyone here is dangerous,” the doctor winks, leaning in toward me. 

He has one of the most handsome faces I’ve ever seen. Chiseled jawlines aren’t rare around here, but his is on another level. He has thick dark hair, sharp brows that I imagine must angle up when he is displeased, a well shaped mouth that forms the kindest words I’ve heard in my life. He looks like he could play superman, if he wasn’t so busy here, patching me up.