A/N: Not sure if I mentioned this but wanted to point out I only update this story when I have time. To anyone following, thank you, but I don't always have time to write it and it may be awhile yet before I finish. I hope you're enjoying the journey so far, it's been an interesting project for me so far.


IV

"If I didn't know any better," Bevele says between ragged breaths, "I'd say you're finally getting it."

It's been another tough month of training, but surprisingly enough I'm keeping pace with her attacks this time. Not getting knocked immediately on my ass for the past few weeks I mark as a huge accomplishment.

"My fractured forearm disagrees," well, I'm mostly keeping pace anyway. My arm isn't really fractured, but sure as hell feels that way.

"Keep complaining, I'll break it all the way through," she smirks, only pretending to joke I'm sure.

"Come and get it, Blue!" That's going to earn me some injuries, I know it.

She doesn't give me much time to think on it and hurls two biotic masses, what we call a Throw, from her left and right arms outward, but I can already see them both curving in towards me as she sends a larger biotic mass straight towards me. Most soldiers, biotic or not, might panic at the sight, especially if they knew what those biotic attacks could do to the human body, but I know better. They're deadly attacks, sure, but I already figured out my next move as she sent them out.

I thrust my arms outward and in a similar fashion hurl my own Throws to intercept the outward attacks, carefully measuring the amount of force to apply. Too little force and the attacks keep on coming, too much would do the trick but waste potentially lifesaving energy. Crossing my arms, I erect a big enough barrier in front me to counter the large mass. As the energy explodes against my barrier I see the flares of our attacks colliding in my peripheral, at the same time I hear a battle cry closing in.

It took me awhile to figure that move out, how to use my biotics to augment my speed and mass in a quick enough burst to topple enemies in the distance ahead of me. I'm still getting the hang of it, and mine isn't as good Bevele's and may never be, but it's enough to give her pause. At least, I hope it is.

Anticipating her charge was easy, she loves breaking my barriers down, showing me how weak they are, but this time I let the barrier die down on my own. With my own battle cry I charge straight towards her, colliding head to head with a cringe, but aside from the sharp pain in my forehead it's better than trying to take that charge with only my body's barrier protecting me. I bring up a biotically charged knee to stop hers from gutting me, feeling another sharp pain as her knee explodes against mine.

Soon we're in what I can only describe as a biotic brawl. Her, sending charged fists and legs and knees and elbows at me relentlessly, and me countering and blocking as best I can. It's almost impossible to counter attack under such a flurry, but I see an opening as she winds up a wide biotic hook. I half spin, ducking down to avoid the fist, and place an open palm right against her abs. Before she has time to register the touch I release a good sized wave of energy into her, sending her back forcefully across the room and crashing against the wall. The wall cracked a little, but she looked uninjured, her barrier must have kept her safe but damned if that didn't look like it hurt.

The look on her face was priceless; a mix of anger, surprise and even shame. I wish I could take a holo. Soon her face softened to a satisfied grin.

"It's about damn time Marco! That was a solid win if I ever saw one."

"Heh, after seven months of getting my ass handed to me I was bound to get at least one."

I let my exhausted biotics die down completely, and hang my head, smiling a little. It's not every day you get own over on an asari Commando. Though if this was a real fight it wouldn't be over, a Commando would still strike back at me until one of us was dead or dying.

Looking at the floor I feel my body waver for a minute, my vision gets hazy and I struggle to stand straight. The forgotten pain in my forehead, forearm, and knee are coming back at full force. I feel a warm hand grip my arm and another wrap around my waist. I didn't even notice her walking up to me.

"I think that's enough for today," the blue goddess speaks very close to my ear, "Let's get you to the infirmary."

"Whatever you say, Athena," I blurt out, completely on accident. Hopefully she doesn't get the reference.

"Athena? Ah, human mythology," I can see and almost feel her smirking. "So I'm a warrior goddess now?"

"Sorry," I mutter, "just slipped out."

"I suppose it's fitting, and much better than Blue for a nickname."

"Hey, is anyone else's room spinning a little?"

"You might have a concussion. Again."

I'm not sure when but we reached the infirmary sometime during that conversation. She helps me lay back on one of beds and moves away to fiddle with the scanners, I feel a little colder at the loss of her warmth but shake it off as my concussed head playing games with me.

"Corporal Marco," the asari doctor greets me, reaching past Bevele and turning on the scanner, "I haven't seen you all week, I was starting to think our friend was going easy on you."

"I wouldn't call us friends, Esaev," she says to the doctor, a humorous but warning tone to her voice.

"Oh, come now Bevele, don't tell me you're still sore from me giving the Corporal time off to recover last month."

"He was fine."

"I was fine," I add, still feeling a little disoriented. I did enjoy the little vacation away from Bevele's training, but that just mean I had to catch up later which hurt, a lot.

"See, he agrees. Besides, this isn't about that and you know it."

"His left fist was completely shattered!" Her console beeps and she turns her attention to it, "Scans show heavy bruising along your right ulna and radius, a nice fracture on your left knee cap and some bruising on your skull and luckily nothing completely shattered this time. You also have a minor concussion, all treatable and of course I know, do you think I'm some forgetful Maiden suddenly?"

"Uh oh," I say, closing my eyes, "Asari drama, I think this is where I check out. Hit me with some of that sedative doc."

She pushes a few buttons on the nearby medical console and I feel the drugs enter my veins to knock me out and prep me for the operations. Odd feeling, but I don't have much time to describe it as I'm slipping away and going numb. At least the stinging pains are gone.

"I'll come by and check on you later," Bevele says in a voice much gentler than I ever remember hearing in the seven or so months I've known her.

I can just barely hear Esaev tease something about her going soft. She is being awfully nice lately, well as nice as a hardened Commando gets, and I wonder if she's like this with all her long-term students. Or maybe it's my "human charm" as she put it months ago during a training match, though I'm pretty sure she meant that as an insult.

My voice failing me, I look into her blue eyes and smile in gratitude, and as the world fades away I can scarcely make out her smiling back. Before my mind slipped into a dream I couldn't remember I was thinking, she should smile more often. It's a good look for her.