A/N: This was given to me by SilverChrysanth. Hope to have the second chapter out by this weekend (if not sooner), but no promises.
FLASHBACKS are in ILATICS
Warning! Warning! - This is pretty dark. Not M rated (I think), but still very dark. Hey, it's Section 31. No fluffy bunnies and kittens here.
Rule 1: Don't tell anyone about your genetic enhancements. Your backstory and parents are just that: a backup, not an excuse.
It was, by far, the easier of the two rules the Sections had given Julian.
Crafted from a young age – barely even into his formative years – Section 31 had made very sure that Julian Bashir (lies, all lies, he didn't even know if he had a real name) was loyal to only them. Through punishments (he still had issues with meat, especially raw) and rewards (there was a reason he clung to Kukalaka with such fierceness, even if it did get him good natured ribbing), they'd molded him into their perfect little soldier, spy. The teenaged years were something of a nightmare for both sides – hormones and a 'no questions' policy never mixed well.
Thin arms folded themselves across a bruised chest. "No."
"This really is unnecessary, 36D," his assigned agent said, her pale lips pressing together into a tight line. "Complete the task."
Her finger tapped against her controller, as she nodded to the obstacle course.
The gangly body shook – whether with fear or anger, it didn't matter. "No!"
The woman sighed as she pressed her controller. Really, she thought as he writhed on the floor, the boy was bringing this pain upon himself.
Somehow, they'd both survived those awkward years, and Julian was all the stronger for it.
He knew his duty now.
His path lay clear before him.
To save lives, to bring order to the universes, Section 31 must have operatives and assets in every Starfleet base – both planetary or orbiting. Thus, Julian was posted to DS9. His orders: Integrate yourself into the crew and habitants, make yourself indispensable.
"Your assignment," the Head told him, handing over a pad.
The young man reached across the table, took it, and scanned the one page document. His eyes widened just a little. "DS9?"
"It's the most beneficial. You'll be near the frontier; medicine and good doctors will be scarce."
36D – no, Julian, he was Julian Bashir now, he mustn't forget that – smiled. "I'll have a chance to really help people."
The Head frowned. "Make sure you remember your first duty is to us."
Julian winced. "Of course, sir. I'll be careful."
"Good." The Head leaned back in his chair, folding his hands into a prayer-like position. "You're one of the best, Julian. The brightest. We made sure of it. Don't let that go to waste."
At first, well, it'd be hard.
Never before had Julian gotten the chance to connect with others. Not really. In the academy, his goal was clear. High grades, high records, but never high enough to cause questions, only admiration. Social interactions didn't play into that. Oh, he'd tried a few times, but never got far.
The Vulcan raised an eyebrow as the ball rocketed off the back wall. "Well played."
Julian grinned. "Thanks. Almost didn't make it. You're good."
The Vulcan dipped his head in acknowledgement. A cheer went up through the crowds. Not only had a human beat a Vulcan – something nearly unheard of – but it'd been a medical student. No security in training, no muscled man, a medical student had won the match. Won.
Julian blushed as praise rained down on him.
"You have to come out and celebrate with us now, Julian!" his roommate, George, a boy from Mars, shouted.
Caught up in the moment – heart swelling with pride, joy bursting from his very pores – Julian almost agreed.
But then he caught sight of his 'father', standing in the left doorway.
"I can't. Sorry." He gave a smile. "Studies."
"Studies!" George growled. "Hang the studies! Let's party! You're top of the class anyway."
"Can't." Julian shrugged off the pushing hand.
He'd been ostracized from his academy peers after one too many blunders. They called him snobby, distant, and then dropped him.
Section 31 hadn't been pleased about that.
Firm lessons had been implemented, to teach him his mistakes.
Julian couldn't understand though. He'd done what they asked. Kept to his studies, made himself known to the Board, gotten good grades – never too good though. Why then had he been punished for his lack of friends? Shouldn't having more time to study be a good thing? Why else did they monitor him all the time, if not to make sure he was doing his work?
It baffled him.
But he learned quickly.
Friends equaled less pain.
He needed to make contacts here on DS9.
The Section made that very clear.
His computer whirred to life.
Julian froze in the act of eating lunch.
"I hear you're having trouble making friends," Oversight said, his tone smooth, dangerous.
Julian left his soup on the couch and sat in front of the screen. "Yes, sir. I…they seem to take my advances negatively."
Julian played with a wrinkle in his pants, safe in the knowledge Oversight couldn't see him doing the nervous habit.
"Julian, you realize how much responsibility we have entrusted to you, by giving you this assignment, don't you?"
"Of course, sir."
"We expect better, Julian." Oversight rubbed the bridge of his nose. "You were given the materials needed for social interactions, weren't you?"
"Yes, sir, but –"
"Then use them!" Oversight's gaze burned into him. "Failure is not an option here. You make friends, beg if you have to, I don't car, but make yourself useful, for once."
Julian swallowed the lump that threatened to choke him.
"You want to help people, don't you, Julian?" Oversight asked, the soft tone catching Julian off-guard.
"Then do your job." Oversight glanced down at something off screen. "It would be a pity to have to replace you."
Julian fought not to throw up. "Yes, sir."
So, he worked harder, and made friends.
O'Brien – useful for his innate knowledge of engines and machines.
Sisko – knowing one's leader in a close way made getting permission easier.
Kira – the locals were needed to reach other aliens, and the fiery Bajoran was a good way in.
Quark – one never knew when illegal things might be called for.
Garak – the Section wanted any tidbits the former agent might slip about his organization.
And it went well.
For a time.
Until the inevitable happened.
In retrospect, Julian could see it had been unavoidable.
What did the Section think would happen, when they allowed Julian to be used as a subject for the latest EMH?
A deep body scan was inevitably going to be done.
Why had they expected different?
It called for it right on the papers.
But, somehow none of them – Julian included – had seen it coming.
"Doctor," Zimmerman confronted him after a second scan. He spat the title at Julian like a curse.
A quick flick of Julian's eyes to the computers confirmed any suspicions. Glorious colors displayed his genetic enhancements for all to see.
"I'm reporting my findings to Starfleet High Command," Zimmerman said.
For a moment, as the older man turned his back to walk away, Julian toyed with the idea of snapping his neck. Killing the only real witness to his crime, and then erasing the digital evidence. The wild urge left in an instant, leaving only a hollow horror of what he'd just contemplated doing.
I really am a monster, he thought.
The rush to cover up the mistake made warp speed look slow – his father insisted on taking all the blame. High Command accepted it, Sisko agreed to let him still work at the station, and Julian was free to keep his rank and position as CMO.
However, Section 31 didn't like having to lose one of its agents.
Thus, punishment came swiftly too.
Julian forced himself not to flinch as his mother stalked around his kneeling form like some feline predator. "You cost us a valuable agent."
He tried to explain, his throbbing ribs already a testament to her displeasure at losing her partner. "I didn't know. I thought the Section had pre-read the scans. I didn't think –"
She kicked him full in the stomach. "No, you didn't, did you."
He gagged, lungs trying to get air from organs already too bruised. Could he have evaded her blow? Of course. His eyes tracked things better than even a Vulcan's could. But he knew his role here, knew the consequences of not accepting. That didn't mean he didn't wish he could escape this.
"Pity." She circled round him again. "We paid such good latinum for your enhancements."
He hacked a cough, finally getting air.
"Get up," she demanded.
He struggled to his knees. Her hand on his shoulder stopped him there. Nails dug into the nape of his neck.
"Do want them gone?" she asked.
"What?" Fear trickled into his mind through a backdoor.
"Do you want us to remove the enhancements?"
Terror arose. "No!"
"Are you sure? You don't seem to be using them well. Perhaps they hinder you."
"No, please, I…" he couldn't breathe suddenly. He knew what happened to patients that had such operations done. He wasn't a fool to think he would survive what others hadn't. His eyes burned as he turned them up to his mother. "Please, don't."
Her eyes – blue as the iced caps in Andoria – watched him impassively. "And what reassurances do we have that this won't happen again? You've already disobeyed one rule. Why not another?"
"I won't," he swore. "I'll be more careful. I'll be an asset to the Section."
Her grip hardened. "You had better."
She let go, rubbing the neck she'd abused. He did nothing to stop the mockery of comfort. He had no right to demand anything, not after such failure. After a few minutes, she stopped and turned to leave his room. But she paused a few steps away before returning. Hunching down she cupped his swollen cheek with a gentle hand.
"Do try and be better, Julian. For your mother?"
A single tear escaped his eye. "Of course. Anything for you."
Phew! That was a little hard to write at times. Gave me the shivers. Hope it wasn't too intense for ya'll.