Lara beat the punching bag as hard as she could. It was over six months since she was almost raped and beat to death when she was walking home from work. After the incident she started to take self defense courses at nearby gym. She was getting better shape and learning to defense herself, but her mind was completely different matter.
Many nights she woke up to her own screaming and couldn't sleep afterwards. She was tired all the time which caused her to lose her job, yet again. Luckily, she had some savings, so she had time to herself before she had to look for another job.
Gary, her boyfriend, grew tired of her after she was always too tired to see him. Not to mention that sex was completely out of question because of her trauma. She couldn't even think about having sex before she gets over her fears. Two months of celibacy was way too much for a guy, who wanted to have sex at least four times a week. And to him, sex was all about him, not her. The break up was nasty. He claimed that all their problems, mostly in bed, was because of her. Afterwards Lara realized she had wasted two years of her life with a complete narcissist.
Physical pain was welcome since it dulled the emotional pain. She beat the bag so hard that her fists were starting to bleed.
"Perhaps that's enough for today, don't you think honey?", she heard Mary, her personal trainer, say with strict voice. She punched for few more times and collapsed to her knees. Breathing heavily, she sat on the floor for few seconds before raising her gaze to Mary.
"You really should go and talk with someone. Someone who really knows how to deal with your situation. You can't just beat your feelings to the punching bag".
"I know, I know. It's just hard for me to talk to some stranger about it. It feels too personal...", Lara sighed and laid to her back. She stretched her muscles and took few beep breaths before rising to her feet.
"Well you talked about it to me didn't you? And I’m no professional", Mary said with gentle voice. She rubbed gently Lara’s shoulders and pushed her towards the showers. "And besides, you are getting so good at this that you don't need me anymore." She pointed at her body, "I mean... Look at yourself! You look fantastic! You've lost at least ten pounds and gained some nice muscles around your body."
Lara laughed nervously and looked herself through a mirror. "I know that.. and I'm actually very proud of what I have achieved, but… Getting back my previous courage just takes time." She looked away from mirror and continued to walk towards the showers.
They went to change their clothes and started to leave the gym. It was already late and was getting dark outside. Subconsciously Lara searched her pockets to get her pocket knife to her hands before stepping outside.
"Sure you don't need a ride home?", she heard Mary ask while they was walking towards Mary's car.
"No, I'm fine, thanks. I have to learn to live again and it's only a short distance" she answered and started to walk towards home. Mary sat to her car and drove away. When the car disappeared behind a building Lara started to walk home fast. She was constantly looking around while walking and winced every time she heard any strange noise. Finally she saw her home and felt instant relief. She pulled her keys from her pocket and opened the door. Inside she leaned against the front door and felt relief. It was getting easier to be alone outside, and every time she walked successfully home from the gym she felt that she got a bit from her previous courage back.
Few weeks later...
"Rocket, are you really sure that you can land on Terra without anyone noticing?", Peter asked Rocket suspiciously.
"You know Terrans have thousands of satellites and stuff, so it won't be as easy as it may have been decades back. And we are speaking of USA where they have probably even more advanced technology"
Rocket continued to pilot the ship without even looking at Peter. "You are constantly underestimating my skills Peter. I'm designed to do this kind of shit, and Terrans aren't that developed yet."
"And remember that even Yondu managed to get there unnoticed to snatch you", he added grinning wickedly. Peter laughed
Yondu stopped picking his teeth with his knife, "Hey rat, watch that little mouth of yours. I was snatching stuff long before either of ya were even born, and with great success!"
They were few hours distance from earth. They had a job to find an escaped prisoner who had crashed to Terra few weeks back. The payment was high enough for them to risk getting caught by Terrans, even if it meant for them to try to bomb their ship down. Luckily, the prisoner's current location was quite quiet place, so the risk of Terrans to discover them was small.
Rocket stood up from captain's chair and walked to nearby control panel. "Okay guys, listen up!" He pressed few buttons and shut most of the lights from the ship. "Even Terrans aren't as evolved as us, they do have a lot of equipment that can see us if we aren't careful" He walked back to the chair and started to approach Terra's atmosphere.
Lara felt she was finally ready to start jogging. There were beautiful forest paths to run nearby where she lived. She put comfortable clothes on, made sure that her pocket knife was with her and put her Ipod on. She had just filled it with hundreds of her favorite songs. She stood outside and walked to the forest.
It was a beautiful day. She loved days like these when she could just relax and enjoy the beauty of the nature around her. She was wearing only one earpod, so she could hear her surroundings. She ran to nearby lake so she could wash her face and refresh herself.
When she reached the shore she noticed immediately that something was wrong. She shut down the IPod with shaking hands and looked the surrounding forest carefully, but couldn't see anything unusual. But when she looked to the lake, she noticed that the view was abnormal. It seemed like the air was vibrating and the view was distorted.
Half of her wanted to find out what was going on, but the other half screamed for her to leave as fast as she can. While she tried to decide what to do, someone had sneaked behind her. Without a warning she was attacked behind and she started to scream and fight for her life.
The attacker was way larger than her and she realized she had no chance against him. The adrenaline made her fight hard and she could keep his hands out of her for a while. However she was quickly becoming tired and couldn’t hold back as furiously anymore.
Rocket turned his ears back. "Did you guys hear that...? Like someone was screaming." He turned around and started to run towards the noise followed by Yondu, Peter and Drax
When they arrived to the lake they, saw two people battling at the beach. The other was the prisoner they were after and he was strangling a black haired woman who was fighting back with all she got. It was obvious that the prisoner was a lot stronger than the woman so she was losing the fight. Yondu whistled and the yaka arrow flew through air towards the fighting couple.
"Hey! Remember we need him alive... He's no good for us dead!" Peter shouted before Yondu's arrow hit his target.
Whistling few bright sounds and making the arrow hit the man on his shoulder, "You think i'm an idiot? 'fcourse I know not to kill him"
The prisoner roared in pain and collapsed to the ground next to the woman, who was laying still even without the man on her.
They ran closer to them and Drax pinned the prisoner to ground to tie him. He took the man, who was cursing and shouting at them, to his shoulder and carried him to the ship. "Okay Gamora let me in" Drax shouted to air and suddenly the ship appeared next to him. He walked in while the prisoner cursed at him and tried to fight back as hard as he could. Drax just laughed at his efforts and knocked his head to the wall to shut him up. The others watched when Drax dragged the man inside but didn't follow him.
"What should we do with this?" Rocket asked turning to look at the woman laying on the ground.
"She's breathing, so I guess she' ok... Let's just go. She'll wake up and we're gone so she might think this was just bad dream, right?" Peter asked and started to back up slowly.
Yondu stared at the woman laying on the ground. There was something about her that made him feel uncomfortable. She was beautiful, yes, but he had seen beauties before. This was something different. He looked her face and body but saw nothing unusual. The terran was just some unlucky girl who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But then it hit him!
"Hey Rat, didn't ya scan the area when we arrived?" He looked Rocked with raised eyebrow.
Rocket looked at him with annoyed expression. "Of course I did! Why do ask? And for fucks’ sake stop calling me a rat!”
Yondu leaned towards the woman and looked at her carefully. "Didn't ya say that there were no Terrans in the area?"
"Yeah, ran the scans and they showed that nearest Terrans were miles away." He said with confused look.
Yondu pointed at the woman and asked with a sarcastic tone. "Then how's this girl here? Shouldn't your scans have shown her since she's here?" He continued "And if your scans didn't show her, then what is she?"
Rocket and Peter stared at him like he had turned into a Skrull. Then the idea hit them and they all turned to stare at the woman, who was still lying on the ground without moving. The only sign she was alive was her chest moving while she was breathing.
"She's coming with us" Yondu said taking the woman in his arms. She felt so small and fragile and her neck was starting to turn purple from the strangulation. He felt a knot in his stomach when he was looking at her laying against his chest. He carried her to the ship followed by astonished Rocket and Peter.