A/N: Thanks to Ann for this story - this one was inspired by one of her ideas for a oneshot. Thanks alot! ;)

Disclaimer: I do not own lfn

A Long Road Ahead

I watch her struggle. Make little whimpers of pain as her muscles achingly stretch and tear. She's tired. She's hurting. She hates me for putting her through all this.

But I have no choice. I take no pleasure in her pain. I do not look forward to punishing her when she rebels against me.

When will she understand, she must obey to live? Is she simply missing the part of her that values life?

I know what it's like, to welcome death. To stare it in the eye with arms wide open, beckoning it to come closer. I know how it feels. And what you must go through in order to reach that point.

But Nikita, she's full of life. She's vibrant. She's a ball of energy. Sweet and caring, with a rainbow of beautiful emotions running rampant through her veins.

I'd hate to think of what happened to her before she was brought in to Section, that she'd so quickly lose that life of hers.

She finds her fun in my stress. I know I won't be able to shield her from Operations forever. But I wish I could.

She needs time. Time to grow up. Time to realize all she has to offer, in and out of Section. Time to realize that I don't want to let her go.

There's rumors, I've heard them over the past year. That I'm romantically attached to this strange ball of rebellion that is my material.

They're not true. I'll never become romantically attached to anyone ever again.

But I do fear her death. And I do hate having to reprimand her. She's so innocent and childlike, with her eager eyes and her quick smile.

I have to wonder how she ever caught Section's attention. She's the last person on earth that would fit in here. Out of all the criminals, murderers and thieves that dwell in this world, why did Section pick her? It didn't seem to make sense. Even if her pleas of innocence were wrong, I can't imagine her having rage in her. To be able to kill in cold blood, no matter what the occasion. She seems like someone who'd just as soon give her life so a bad guy could live rather than to take a knife to him. Let alone to a police officer.

I'm a man of facts. I don't rely on faith or intuition. They've both failed me plenty of times before. Facts always come through for me.

But these facts don't add up.

"Ugh!" Nikita shouts in her frustration after falling flat on her back. She's wrestling a punching bag that hangs from the ceiling. Somehow, the punching bag easily won.

Section thinks this is a cold killer? Please. She wasn't even close.

Clumsy and innocent and vulnerable. That's what makes her up. No frozen cold veins. No hardened heart. No fury that rips at her soul. I can't see any of me in her.

She shouldn't be here. Section made a mistake. But if I speak up about it, Operations will give the slightest of a shrug, and then reply with death orders.

I don't want that. So I have no choice. I must mold her in to Section material. It's a shame. A pity. To force a pure heart like Nikita to become such a person that an operative must be. But it's that or a quick shot to the head. No life, or a life of death. It's my decision to train her. But it's hers to obey long enough to avoid cancellation.

Nikita launches at the punching bag. She slips, falls on her face.

With a sigh, I realize that I have a very long road ahead of me.