Disclaimer- I do not own Gunslinger Girl which is the property of Yu Aida. This is purely fan made for enjoyment and no profit of any kind.

Am I a Monster?

The assault and cleanup on Cristiano's compound was finally completed, allowing the social welfare agency section 2 personnel to finally return home to Rome. The operation was a success with one of the upper level Pandina members and his underlings left for dead in the bottom of a nearby river. It was not without cost however. While most of the fratello's were able to make the long trip back by car, Triella and Hillshire were currently being airlifted back to the Social Welfare Agency compound for the former's medical treatment.

"Hillshire, am I a monster?" Triella said quietly in a drug-induced haze as the various pain medications kicked in.

"Triella, you need to rest," Hillshire replied wishing the medications would take effect faster so she could begin to heal her wounds. The cyborgs of social welfare agency were strong, fast and durable but for all their technological enhancements in the end they were still just young girls.

"Hillshire, please am I a monster?" Triella pleaded again straining to sit up.

"No, why do ask?" Hillshire replied over the drone of the engine baffled by Triella's question.

"I never will be normal. I have more power in my hands than is humanly possible, I can work multiple firearms, speak several languages, and worst of all I can kill without a thought. I am nothing but a killing machine. How can I ever possibly hope to be normal," Triella replied remembering her time spent with Mimi Macheaveli, and how clueless she was around the teenage girl. She never really thought of such things like sports, games, or boys until she meet Mimi. She knew the agency would never let her and her sisters go unless they were dead but still she wondered what it would be like to be an ordinary girl. To not have to worry about going on missions and just spend the day with Heneretta, Rico, Claus, Angelica, and Beatrice just wandering around Rome enjoying sights and sounds of the city.

"Triella," Hillshire replied not sure how to answer her.

"I'll never get to play soccer, go shopping, or gossip let alone boys," Triella said thinking about all the things she would never get to do while working for the agency.

"Triella,…" Hillshire said taking every word she said like a knife through the heart.

"See even you think so to," Triella said becoming more agitated.

"Triella you are a strong-willed, intelligent, and capable girl who I am glad to have as my partner. Yes, you have some cyborg augmentation, but you are not nor ever will be a monster. A monster would not have let a man free to visit his daughter. Now please try and get some rest," Hillshire replied easing the pain written on his partners face.

"You knew about that," Triella said shocked that Hillshire had known all along that she released Mario Bossio back in Naples.

"Yes and a monster would not have let him go like you did. You are my partner and do not let anyone tell you otherwise." Hillshire said glad to see the worry leave her face.

"Thank you Hillshire," Triella slurred as the drugs finally took effect and she drifted into a peaceful slumber.

The beautiful sights of the Italian countryside rolling by the window next to him were little comfort to him as Triella's words continued to run through his head. Triella was normally a cheerful girl, all be it a stubborn one at times. While he was sure her words were brought on by the painkillers, it did not make her words any less true.

"Rachelle, did I do the right thing? I do not know what to do anymore," Hillshire thought as he hung his head in his hands. The rest of the flight continued in silence leaving the German no refuge from the thoughts running through his head. He brought Triella from that hell hole in Amsterdam to the Social Welfare Agency to save her, not to condemn her to a life of violence.

After several hours and several surgeries Triella was out of danger and well on the way to recovery, yet Hillshire did not feel any better. The conversation from the helicopter was still fresh in his mind as he waited for his partner to wake up.

"Do not worry, Mr. Hillshire, she will be up and running before you know it," a nurse said coming in to check on the patient.

"Thank you," Hillshire replied as he continued his silent vigil.

"Hillshire," Triella groaned a lone tear coming down her cheek.

"Ah, she's awake I'll get the doctor," the nurse said.

"Triella, what's wrong are you in any pain?" Hillshire asked, concern etched on his face.

"No, I'm not hurt, Hillshire," Triella replied.

"Then what's wrong?" he asked looking at the tears running down her face.

"I think I saw my mother," Triella replied propping herself up.

"Your mother, what did she look like?" Hillshire asked, relieved she did not dream about that dreadful time in Amsterdam.

"She had blond hair and a kind face, she…." Triella explained as the doctors returned.

"How are you feeling Triella? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt," Dr. Bianchi said glad to see one of the older cyborgs doing well.

"I'm fine Dr. Bianchi," Triella replied.

"Yes, yes, I'm sure she is feeling better, but come and look at how quickly the new graft adheres to the cyborg. Don't worry she won't mind, and we can just change her memories later if there is a problem," another doctor said shoving his way into the room and pulling the cover off her. Too shocked to respond Triella shut down, collapsed on the bed too shocked to resist as if reliving some painful memory as the doctor continued to expose her. Hillshire was normally a calm and collected individual but seeing Triella laying there naked made him think of that fateful night in Amsterdam several years ago.

"What are you doing?" Hillshire roared quickly slamming the doctor against the wall of the small room.

"Get your hands off of me," the man replied struggling against the enraged German. While he did not serve in the military like many of his Italian counterparts, he was still a force to be reckoned with as the unlucky doctor found out.

"Just who the hell do you think you are?" Hillshire yelled.

"He is Dr. Donato, a new addition to the team, and apparently failed his classes on doctor-patient relationships" Dr. Bianchi responded surprised at the crass behavior of his fellow doctor.

"Yeah, I replaced the cyborg's leg with a new design. It is much easier to graft them to the cyborg and get them back out in the field faster. We can't have our tools constantly in the shop for repairs," Dr. Donato said much to the ire of the others in the room.

"He apparently doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut either," the nurse muttered as she checked on the still crying girl.

"Dr. Donato, I recommend that you keep your mouth shut, if you wish to continue your work here at the Social Welfare Agency. You may be a gifted doctor but there are others. "Hillshire please show him out and please feel free to adjust his attitude if you wish. God knows he needs it," Dr. Bianchi said as Hillshire threw the sorry excuse of a man out the door.

"Thank you doctor but that will have to wait for another time," Hillshire said returning to check on Triella.

"Yes, I suppose that is for the best, please tell Triella I hope she feels better soon and I do not want to see her back here for a long time," Dr. Bianchi said as he left the room.

"Hillshire, my mom told me I was her hope for the future," Triella said quietly shocking the stoic German. "Would she be proud of the life I have?"

"Yes, I am sure she would be proud of you," Hillshire whispered trying to hold his own emotions in check shocked at Triella's display of emotion. Rachele would be proud of Triella; she was a fighter just like Rachele and was at heart a kind individual. Triella was the big sister to all the other girls helping them adjust to life at the agency. She helped smooth things over before the handlers needed to be involved. Hillshire knew with all his heart Rachele would be proud of the girl she gave her life to save.

"How could she be proud of the killer I have become? What mother would want a trained killer for a daughter?" Triella cried into Hillshire's shoulder.

"Triella, you are a lovely and caring girl. You watch over all the other girls and help them in ways I can only imagine. I know for a fact that your mother would be very proud of you," Hillshire said as the girl finally cried herself to sleep.

"Thank you, Hillshire," Triella muttered as she returned to a peaceful sleep. Cyborg or not Triella was just a girl, and she deserved better than this life of death and destruction. No, she should be out playing with her friends and worrying about boys not terrorists and being a guinea pig for new technology. It was at that moment a new conviction came over Hillshire. He resolved to finish what Rachele started years ago in that dank corner of Amsterdam. He would give Triella the life she deserved away from the Italian Social Welfare Agency. Jean and Lorenzo could rot in hell before she saw Triella like she did today. He wanted Triella to be the strong young woman she was meant to be not the broken shell of a girl that just cried herself to sleep.