Hey everyone!

If you're reading this, this means you watch Nikita... Isn't it just the best?

To give a little background, I was on a hiatus for such the longest time 'coz I seem to have just lost my mojo. And then this amazing kickass show just gave me my inspiration back! Have I mentioned that I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOVE (1000x) Nikita? It's my new obsession! And I don't think I've ever been this addicted to a TV show ever! It just has everything you'd ever want in a show! And such an AMAZING cast! And the leads – Nikita and Michael/Maggie and Shane? (Mikita-shipper obviously) Aren't they just ADORABABLE? They are just too epic for words. I could just go on and on and on…

Okay, I'm ranting. Sorry.

ABOUT THE STORY: SO! As mentioned above, I'm new to Nikita FF. And I decided to write some glimpses of Mikita's past back when Nikita was still a recruit in Division and Michael's her mentor. This story is based on episode 1x09, where Mikita were having that little banter on who was going to get the sniper rifle. And then Nikita said, "It's just that I remember someone who broke Division's long distance shoot record in her first year of eligibility. Who was that?"

Remember that? Of course you do. ^_^

This is just a one-shot, okay? I actually have a couple more fanfics (all about Mikita's past) that is currently under progress and HOPEFULLY I could post them soon. But not before July 2 and 3. I have some major, life-altering exams to take those days so I'll have to concentrate on that (wish me luck!). I actually shouldn't be writing and posting any fanfics right now but I couldn't help it. Hahaha!

Okay, shutting up now. Enjoy reading!


Distance

"Good morning."

Nikita turned around, abruptly stopping her sparring with one of the recruits. An unconscious smile graced her lips. Even if he was gone for 22 days because of a mission (she'd deny that she was counting the days), she'd know that voice from anywhere. She'd grown accustomed to that sexy, gravelly voice so well that she was even hearing it in her dreams. But no one knew that.

The other recruits were already gathering around the mat where she was standing. She walked towards him, making sure that she got to the front line for the announcement. A smirk grew on her face when she saw that he had a small bruise forming along the right side of his jaw. So, he got hit while on the mission, huh? Slow reflexes, old man.

"For your Tactics lesson, you will be practicing with sniper rifles," his eyes swept the room, at the recruits. But his gaze stayed on a certain smirking recruit for a second longer. He continued, "Which means that you will be using one of the off-site locations. You have 20 minutes to prepare your things."

As the other recruits shuffled towards their lockers, Nikita stayed behind. She walked towards Michael as he was giving instructions to the internal security. She knew that he knew she was standing behind him by the way he was taking his time to turn around after he spoke to the guard and look at her.

"Yes, Nikita?" he asked when he finally did turn around. His face as stoic as ever.

"So how was Switzerland?" Not letting his seriousness get to her, she smiled cheerily at him.

His eyebrow shot up, "I'm not even going to ask how you knew I was in Switzerland."

"I have my ways," she still told him.

An amused expression formed in his face as he stood straighter and crossed his arms, "I'm sure you do. Now go and pack up your things. You still have around 15 minutes before we leave."

"We?" She raised an eyebrow at him, "You're coming too?"

"Why? Is that a problem?"

"Not necessarily," she said. She shifted her weight to one leg and mirrored his stance, "At least now I could look forward to kicking your ass in the field."

Michael stared at his favorite protégé, a smile threatening to break out, "I've only been gone twenty-two days, I didn't know you turned cocky since then."

She took a step closer to him, smirking, "Always."

"Nikita," he said, his expression softening, "you still have a long way before you can beat me at distance shooting."

She took another step, bringing her within mere inches from him. It was dangerous, she knew. Considering that they always had some sort of unspoken spark going between them. They both knew it was there but neither had the courage to cross that line. Because if they did, everything would be so messed up that it would probably mean instant cancellation for her, if not both of them. So all they had was some flirty banter and innuendos. It was all they could go on.

"Wanna bet on that?"

He searched her face, silently pleading that she would stop being a tease. Standing this close to her, feeling her breath against his cheek, and not being able to kiss her or at least caress her cheek, was maddening. He always wanted to do something to stop her from being his downfall. All those years he perfected that indifferent mask and demeanor just came tumbling down the moment she first walked into Division.

He was attracted to her, there was no question about that. But she was a recruit. He was her mentor. Division had rules against relationships. The feelings you get mess you up and get you killed. But after such a long time, he developed a close bond with someone so he didn't want to see her get cancelled. Not that she was making it any easier for him.

He set his jaw before he answered, "Sure. Just prepare yourself for some extra hours on the mat when you lose."

She placed her hands on her hips, a grin plastered on her face, "Deal. I'll let you know my terms when I win."

"I highly doubt that," he scoffed at her.

"I love a challenge," she said softly before turning on her heel and walked out of the training grounds.

It was only when he was sure that there was no one left in the area that he allowed himself to break his mask and smile. The only times, he realized, that he gets to smile was after an encounter with Nikita.

This was bad.


"What does that red flag over there in the distance mean?"

"Where?"

"There." Nikita directed toward a point far off in the deserted plane where a lone scarlet cloth stood proudly next to a piece of target paper. It was so far that it only looked like a small red dot through human eyes so one had to use a pair of binoculars to get a clear view of it.

"Oh," the recruit stationed next to her, shrugged, "I don't know. Haven't seen that before."

Nikita rolled her eyes. She mumbled under her breath, "Why do I even bother?"

She got up from her station and approached one of the guards standing nearby. She asked about the red flag and the guard looked her over and scoffed.

"That's the point where Division's farthest distance shoot record was made." The guard told her, "No one's beaten it in 8 years so don't get any funny ideas. Now go back to your station and practice."

But Nikita wasn't listening to his last statement. She muttered to herself, "8 years, huh?" A small smile was starting to form on her lips. This would be a great way to prove to Michael that she could beat anyone's ass. She could do it. She's Nikita, the rising star, for crying out , she asked the guard, "What's the distance?"

"2,430 meters."

Nikita felt her heart sag. 2,430 meters? Roughly 7,970 feet? Her best shot barely passed the 2000th meter mark. How was she going to beat that? "Whoa. That is far."

The guard smirked at the recruit's disheartened expression. "Told you," he said, "now get back before I report you."

"One last thing," Nikita glanced at the red dot that was looking like it was taunting her. Like it was inviting her to shoot it. It was irritatingly mocking her. She turned back, "Who made the shot?"

"Michael did."

Nikita's mouth almost dropped. She walked back to her station in a daze. Michael made the record shot? She couldn't believe it. She knew he was good – she shouldn't be shocked though. He was one of Division's top agents and her mentor, for God's sake – but she didn't know he was that good.

But, now that Nikita thought about it, even though she may have gradually beaten him in their sparring matches, there has never been a time he ever lost to her in their virtual shootout practices. Now she knew why. He was a better marksman than he ever let on.

This revelation inspired Nikita. It brought her hopes up again. If Michael can do it, she thought, I can do it too. There has to be a way that she can do this.

There just had to be.


"Sir," one of the guards approached Michael, "Nikita's not practicing."

Michael straightened from where he was helping a new recruit align the scope on his rifle. He looked past the line of other recruits and sure enough, at the end of row, there was Nikita just sitting there and staring into the distance. Michael couldn't help roll his eyes. He knew she was up to something. She was waiting… For him, maybe?

But no, he wouldn't indulge her. She'll just have to wait till it's her turn.

"Let her be," Michael told the guard as he walked to the next recruit who was missing his target by miles. He had to focus on other recruits and not just her. As much as he would've wanted it to be just the two of them, he still had a job to do.

As Michael transferred to each recruit, he would steal a look to his protégé to see what she was up to. At first, she was just staring into the distance, and then she would look into her scope, a crease forming between her eyebrows, then she'd toy with one empty ammunition shell, and then she'd look at her rifle as if asking some silent question. Michael was getting intrigued by the minute, trying to figure out what she wanted.

"If I remember correctly," Michael said when he was standing behind Nikita, finally her turn with him, "somebody told me earlier that they were going to 'kick my ass in the field'."

"I will," Nikita answered, not bothering to face him, "just you wait."

"Well, we don't have time," Michael said, the corner of his lip lifting, "we have about 30 minutes before we go back to Division. Either you show me what you've got now, or you're gonna be sorry for making a deal with me in the first place."

Nikita suddenly stood up and faced her mentor. A smile was plastered on her lips, "Fine. It's on. But," Nikita raised a finger towards Michael and then pointed to her seat, "you first."

Michael narrowed his eyes at her. He was amused, "Alright. But let me warn you, no backing out."

"Never," Nikita told him. Her eyes looking straight at him.

"So," Michael said as he sat himself on his Nikita's recently vacated seat and arranged the rifle to his preference, "pick a target."

"The target with the red flag."

Michael looked up. A smirk crept to his lips, "You do know that's Division's long distance shoot record mark, do you?"

"Yes," Nikita told him, staring into the distance at the target, "Why, you scared?"

A brief smile graced Michael's lips as he replied with the automatic answer, "Terrified."

"But then I also do know that you were the one who made the mark. So you shouldn't be 'terrified'… Unless it just some lucky shot."

"Ahh," Michael chuckled. "You're underestimating me, Nikita. If you must know, I've repeated this shot for 8 consecutive years."

"Then this wouldn't be a problem now, would it?" she took her gaze off the target and stared at Michael. She then bent down and whispered in his ear, "You hit it and prove to be the better marksman, I lose and you get me. On the mat. After. Hours. Sounds like a sweet deal to me."

Nikita had to bite the insides of her cheek to prevent her from laughing as she saw her mentor swallow hard as he took in the innuendo.

"Fine," Michael told her gruffly. Before settling to look into the scope, he said, "Don't think I'll go easy on you."

"Not banking on it," she said, smiling. Nikita watched as her mentor concentrated on the task at hand. The rays of sun casting Michael's features on high relief. She watched closely on every detail, every change, every action that he did. Every breath he took fell into a slow rhythm. His focus almost palpable in the air. Nikita could've just stood there and watched him all day. His actions weren't much but Nikita was somehow captivated. Like a scene in a movie building up to a climax. You couldn't look away or else you'll miss something important. When Michael's finger moved to the trigger, Nikita's breath hitched, and then he pulled, and then….

It was over.

Nikita blinked. Released from the spell woven on her. She picked up the binoculars and looked at the target. Just minutely above the center of the bull's eye was a definitive hit.

Michael did it. He proved yet again that he was Division's greatest marksman at 2,430 meters.

"Not bad," Nikita said, trying to hide her amazement. "You can actually hit the target."

"Not bad?" Michael asked her, incredulously. He stood up and offered his seat, "Well, let's see you try then. If I'm not mistaken, your best shot was at 2001 meters. You're 429 meters short."

Nikita sat herself while telling him, "That's gonna change." And then she proceeded to adjust the rifle to her body.

Michael allowed himself a small smile. Never in his years in Division has he met someone who was as annoyingly self-assured as Nikita. Sure, she exhibited excellent tradecraft skills for a recruit. He knew it wouldn't be long now before she'd graduate into a full-fledged agent. It was only her distance shooting skills that needed to be worked on. Though she was good at it too, but he saw potential that she could do better. Under his guidance, who knows just how good Nikita will become?

A guard came up to him and told him that it was sunset, that it was time to go. He gave instructions to bring all the recruits and equipment back to the bus. He and Nikita would just finish up and follow after. A little more time was all he needed. And to be honest, he wanted to see just how this will end.

Some part of him actually wanted her to lose, distance shooting was his territory. Always have been, always will. Because if Nikita did win this round, she'd never let it rest. His ego has taken quite a blow from her already after she's been getting better in their sparring matches. He wanted some edge over her. Something to hold on that he could gloat over her. Then again, a part of him also wanted her to succeed. Her accomplishments were his too because he trained her. And, honestly, who wouldn't be proud of a student like Nikita?

Turning back to his protégé, Michael easily picked out the things Nikita did wrong. He watched her as beads of sweat were forming around her hairline as she was concentrating really hard. Her index finger was intermittently moving in and out of the trigger, unsure of what to do. She shifted in her seat and positioned the rifle ever more wrongly than before.

Michael couldn't help but smirk. Nikita couldn't honestly think that she could beat him with what she was doing, could she? With the rate she was going, she'd be lucky to hit any place in the target at best.

When Nikita fired her shot, Michael wasn't the least surprised when a hole appeared way outside of the target zone.

"So?" Nikita asked, smiling at him. Though her eyes already showed that she knew the answer to that question. Her voice also betrayed her with that disappointed tone.

"Far from it," Michael sighed. He looked at her and said, "Tell you what; I'll give you another shot."

"But the others–"

"They can wait," he told her. Feeling her downcast made Michael want to cheer her up. He didn't want any of his recruits, more so his protégé, to go back to Division harboring disappointment, even though she needed a dose of one to bring her ego down a notch. But he didn't have the heart enough to do that to her, to Nikita. He'd help her, but he was going to make her suffer for it.

"Come on," Michael told her. Taking one of the bullets on the table and handing it to her, "load it up."

Nikita silently took the ammunition and loaded it into the chamber, locking it in place. As she set her sights on the scope again, Michael placed a hand on her shoulder.

"I'll let you in a little secret of my success," he said. Nikita scoffed and rolled her eyes at that.

"First things first," he told her. Squeezing her shoulder a bit, he felt Nikita slightly stiffen. He smirked; this was his chance to get back at her. Two can play her innuendo game, "your posture is all wrong."

"Distance shooting is like having sex," he told her, enjoying the surprised look on her face when he said the last part. He grazed his hands over her spine before settling on the small of her back. He pushed gently, straightening Nikita's back, "different angles, different results. You have to find the perfect position to get it right."

Michael then took hold of the butt of the rifle and placed it on the curve above Nikita's underarm. Standing behind her, he took her right hand and placed it just outside the trigger. He then proceeded with the other hand, guiding her to the body of the rifle and placing it exactly before the metal frame molded into the barrel.

This caused Nikita to lean forward. It would have been fine for her if it weren't for Michael's chest pressing against her back. They were so close that she could feel the steady beat of his heart. Not to mention that his face was just a few inches to her left, and she couldn't face in that direction without touching his cheek.

She swallowed slowly.

This was hard.

Usually, the game was always in her favor. Tempting Michael, who just seemed to be the willing victim who never fought back. But now he's turning the tables on her, and what she didn't realize till now was that Michael was actually capable of playing dirty.

She did not expect this.

But she loved it.

When Michael was contented with her arms' posture, he placed both his hands on either side of her head and made her rest her right cheek on the stock of the rifle.

"There," he said, straightening up, "Perfect. Don't move."

"Now, you have to set your sights on what you want," Michael pulled up a chair from the next station and sat next to his protégé. He said in a low voice, near her ear, "What is it that you want, Nikita?"

She looked at him through the corner of her eye, "To whoop you in the ass."

He let out a small chuckle that sent shivers down Nikita's spine. God, he was putting her through hell.

"In your dreams."

This time, it was Nikita who grinned, "Oh, believe me, I do."

He let that comment slide. He wasn't going to let his pupil win this time. Not when he had the upper hand. As much as he's going to teach her right now, she couldn't do the task at hand on her first try. He said to her, his breath caressing her cheek, "Focus on the target."

"At first," he continued on, sitting up straight while watching his protégé's reaction intently, "you have to take things slow. Rush it up and you both wouldn't perform to your expectations. Slow down. Get the feel of your partner. The better you do, the greater results you will get. It is only then you can speed things up a little."

Nikita was trying her best to concentrate. The double entendre words were getting to her. And the smoky voice that Michael had wasn't helping either. She was getting feverish, her breathing hiked up, her heart was racing, she was sweating beads…

Damn Michael and his retribution.

Noticing his student's changing breathing pattern, Michael stood up from his seat to stand behind her again. He placed a hand on her shoulders and said, "When I said to slow down, I meant your breathing. Relax," he moved his left hand and pressed his fingers on the pulse point on her neck, "don't lift your shoulders when you breathe. It destroys the momentum."

"You're destroying my momentum," Nikita mumbled.

Michael's lips curved upward as he folded his arms across his chest, releasing his hold on the recruit. He turned his attention to the red dot in the distance, "There are many factors you need to include before you pull that trigger. Concentration, projectile motion and windage, for instance, as well as pulling the trigger at the same time as you exhale, are the most important things you have to consider. Factor those in and–"

Bang!

Michael was jolted out of his explanation and he stared down at his protégé to see if something had gone wrong. Then he saw that Nikita had pulled the trigger without any warning. He asked her, anger coloring his voice, "What the hell did you just do?"

"I fired."

"That's not what I meant." He snapped.

"You were talking too long," Nikita, still looking into the scope, grinned, "Check it out."

Michael, still bristling with anger, looked down at the back of the head of his stubborn protégé. He wanted to smack it for some reason. Or maybe even just a noogie would do. Maybe knock some sense into her hard skull. He was so annoyed that he didn't know what to do.

Taking a cleansing breath, he picked up the binoculars and brought it up to his eyes. Surprised, he had to admit, he didn't expect the result. She wasn't able to hit the center but she was close. She was actually near his shot. Though few inches higher. But for a recruit, it was a great accomplishment.

"Huh." He dismissed, trying to keep his unfazed demeanor.

"'Huh'?" Nikita looked up to Michael, her eyes wide, "That's all you have to say? 'Huh'?"

Michael took his gaze away from the target and looked at his student. He shrugged lightly, "What else do I have to say? You're way off the mark."

"It's just my second shot!" Nikita stood up abruptly, knocking the stool sideways and the table to shake. "You can't seriously think I'd hit it spot on immediately!"

No, I didn't, he wanted to admit. But where was the fun in that? He had to push her so that she can reach her full potential. So instead, he just shrugged nonchalantly and said, "I taught you the fundamentals, you're my student. Do the math. I expect nothing but best results."

Nikita rolled her eyes as she turned around. "Unbelievable," she muttered under her breath as she picked up her things and placed them haphazardly inside her bag. Her frustration was getting the better of her. She continued to mumble, "I bet you didn't even get that close on your first try."

Michael crossed his arms while looking at Nikita. A smile flitted through his lips as he learned another thing from his student: she was a sore loser. This was a fun lesson. Even he learned something new. He heard her grumble but he couldn't catch it, so he asked, "What was that?"

"I said 'I bet you didn't even get that close on your first try!'" Nikita snapped at him, turning around. But she turned at the same time as Michael took a step towards her to help her with the bag. Their nearness prevented any other movement but caused them to collide into each other. She raised her hands instinctively to protect herself as she crashed into Michael's taut chest as his hands automatically went to her shoulders to balance her.

A heartbeat.

An awkward position.

The moment Nikita lifted her widened eyes to meet Michael's, they both knew it was the worst move they could ever make. Their faces were now just mere inches apart. The air around them suddenly turned so tense that it was hard to even just breathe. They both swallowed hard. If anyone of them had the nerve to capture the other's lips, now would have been the best time.

The two of them... Alone... On the rooftop of an abandoned building... At sunset... No cameras... No bugs... No one to interrupt them... No one to judge…

There couldn't be a more perfect setting from their standpoint.

For a mere lingering second, Michael let his gaze travel down to Nikita's lips before looking back to her brown doe-eyes. Was this a risk he was willing to take?

When Michael's eyes raked over her face, Nikita saw something she had never seen before in her mentor: softness. A gentleness that she now realized was reserved to those who were lucky enough to see it. But this vulnerability she saw was mixed with so many emotions to cover it up. Confusion. Loneliness. Sadness. Pain…

But it was at that moment Nikita realized that she would never be able to look at Michael the same way ever again. Not without love... As unbelievably sappy that sounded to her.

They'd both been out in the cold too long. Both without someone to hold on to or to go home to. Without someone to care for them. Both alone in a world of uncertainty and doubt.

They needed each other.

As their faces inched closer, breaths mixed, hearts raced, Nikita's lips parted in anticipation of the assault that would shake and blur the lines Division had been so keen to protect. An emotion that finally was to be recognized. A physical actualization of what has always been there.

Another heartbeat.

But it never came.

Just as they were so near that their noses were almost touching, Michael stopped and whispered, "I did." Smirking, he took a step back and released his hold on Nikita, "I'm just great that way."

Nikita blinked. It took a second for her to realize what just happened and what Michael was talking about. And then it all clicked in place. She smiled. Such a tease, she thought. She didn't know why she even kept her hopes up. It will always just be this. A lot of teasing, flirting, innuendos… but nothing more.

Not now, at least.

If this is how Michael was going to play it, she was up for a game of cat-and-mouse of emotions. Time and fate will be the judges on how this will all end. Awkwardness had no place in this relationship. Only patience and perseverance.

And for the time being, Nikita had to be a sport. She scoffed at Michael's comment and replied, with a matching eye roll, "Right."

They stared at each other for a second before conscientiously proceeding to tidy up and clean the station in comfortable silence. Both lost in their own thoughts. When they were finished, Michael picked up the gun bag and nodded at Nikita to go down the stairs first.

After a few steps, Michael broke the silence by saying, his voice light, "Well, I guess this round goes to me. Again."

Nikita almost laughed. The atmosphere around them was relaxed now. Jokingly, even. Not affected of the seriousness of what could have happened a few minutes ago. "You're a cheat."

"You're just saying that 'cause you lost."

"It wasn't a fair fight!"

"Now, Nikita, you were the one who challenged me. And you lost. Accept it."

Nikita looked over her shoulder at him, she simpered, "I will beat you one of these days, Michael."

"That's great." Michael grinned. This is what he loved about Nikita. She was never let down easily. She had the backbone to stand on her own despite whatever he (and others) did. This is why he enjoyed spending time with her more than others. He felt more alive, like he could find something out of life again. Even if she might be the end of him, he was okay with that. As long as it was her.

He continued on, "But for now, you didn't. And as part of our agreement, I expect you on the mat after dinner."

"What, no break?" Nikita said flippantly.

"For two weeks."

"What?" Nikita stopped in her tracks and turned around to face him. Shock was plastered all over her face, "Do you want to kill me?"

Michael continued to walk as if he didn't hear her. When he was in the same step was she was, he paused and told her, "Now that would be a waste. But…" He leaned towards her and said softly, "I'll work you so hard, you'd be lucky to be able to stand in the morning."

Nikita stared at her mentor. And then she let out a chuckle. Her tone challenging as she said, "Let's just see about that. I've learned some moves while you were gone and I intend to put them to good use. I am going to nail your slow, sadistic ass on the mat."

Michael straightened up, an amused expression on his face, "Is that a challenge?"

"Of course."


So how was it?

Reviews are love! Always welcomed and appreciated!

- Dani