2297: Crash Tactics

Posted: February 23, 2014 by Kelly in stories, the world

Irina had been searching for Gershan, but she finds him together with Valentina, entangled in a furious fight. The two of them are a blur of motion on the mats, outlined by the silver sunlight from outside.

It is obvious that they’ve been fighting for a while by the time Irina enters the gym. Both of them are sweating and out of breath. They are not talking; apparently the time for taunting and barbs has passed a while a go. But they are shining, the both of them. They are both sporting brilliant smiles, as if what they’re doing is the best thing in the world, something they can share with one another.

It’s a flurry of punches, kicks and blocks; and while most of the attacks are feints and many of them do not even connect, the times that the blows do connect, Irina nearly flinches. Neither of them is holding back. They are fighting because that’s what they are; poetry in motion, dancing. Testing defenses, jumping, swirling around one another.

They look beautiful together. Irina crosses her arms and leans against the wall. Whatever she wanted to ask of Gershan is for now completely irrelevant, this comes first. She’s not going to disturb them, not while they are so completely in their own world. She will be the last person in the world to break this apart.

She hardly ever has the chance to see Gershan truly display his skill. He’s been her muscle and her bodyguard for /years/, but she’s hardly ever really seen him fight. His opponents were never that skilled. They were never two-fold League champions like Valentina is. To see this is a rare treat and Irina allows herself a moment to indulge in the sight of it.

Irina still remembers so very clearly the first time Gershan and Valentina had met, six months ago in this very gym. Irina had been showing him the facilities and Valentina had been hanging out in the gym hall. She had climbed onto some rack and had been hanging off it, upside down, legs hooked around the railing. Her face was red, but she was smiling. “Hi Irina,” she had called from the other side of the hall. “Hi person with Irina!”

Despite herself, Irina had smiled at he younger girl. “Hello Valentina,” she’d said. “I have someone I’d like you to meet.”

“Sure.”

Later, Irina had no idea how Valentina did it. It was half skill, half completely ignoring gravity. Without using her hands, she pushed herself off the railing with her feet, turned around mid-air, and landed gracefully on the mats as if it was nothing. Valentina casually walked over at them and stuck out her hand to greet Gershan. “Hi,” she said. “Valentina Marin, nice to meet you.”

And when Irina looked at Gershan, she could see the interest in his eyes. He had noticed the way Valentina moved – just like Irina had, the first time they met – and he had recognised her for what she was. Before they’d spoken, Gershan had taken complete measure of the girl. “Pjotr Gershan, and likewise. You can just call me Gershan if you like,” he said with his easy smile. “Irina’s giving me a tour of the Compound and promised me you had a great gym here. ”

She had smiled back at him – somewhat wary despite being completely friendly. “She’s right, this is a great gym. The place has just been redecorated. I gave Stender some improvement suggestions.”

Irina remembers so clearly how Gershan’s hazel eyes had flitted across the room, taking in the top-of-the-line gym equipment before they landed back on the strawberry haired girl. Assessing the threat, despite his pleasant smile. “It looks great. Do you work out here a lot?”

It was just a short exchange, but even without words there was conveyed so much. It was interesting to see their conversation. It was so pleasant and they seemed to be connecting easily, but underneath all of that were two predators taking measure of the other animal in their territory. Even on that day, when they talked about fighting techniques and athletics, Irina could see the seeds being sown for what would be a match one day.

It hasn’t taken them very long to get to this point. Six months, maybe? Irina wonders which one of the two has actively sought the other out for a match. The fight ebbs and flows from playful testing to serious blows. They are not holding back; she can see a couple of huge bruises beginning to appear on Valentina’s upper right arm and Gershan’s nose seems to be swollen (is it broken again?), but they are still smiling while Gershan manages to swipe Valentina to the floor. Valentina easily rolls out of his reach and within the second the both of them are back on their feet, already circling one another again.

Step, strike, kick-kick-kick, around and around they go, testing each other, smiling at each other. And then they nod at one another, and the moment of smiling and playfulness is gone. The unspoken truce they had for a couple of seconds vanishes instantly, as if it never existed in the first place and they’re trying to /kill/ each other again. It looks like it, at least. Irina hardly has the time to get really worried, because before she knows it, it ends.

It’s just a fraction of an instant – it goes so fast that she can hardly follow their movements.

The next moment Gershan’s foot connects with Valentina’s side with a sickening crunch. Irina hears bones break and thinks /oh dear, those were her ribs/ but Valentina retaliates; or maybe she’s already hitting him the moment his foot touches her flesh – but the next moment Gershan stumbles backwards, wheezing and grabbing towards his throat. The place where she got him.

/Shit./

“Are you okay?” Irina calls out as she runs towards the two.

Valentina has staggered backwards the other way, cradling her ribs. She nods tersely and indicates with her head that Irina should check with Gershan, who is struggling for breath. His face is red and his hazel eyes are bright with the onset of panic.

/He really fucking isn’t. Shit./ Irina connects to her alarm service and thank God, they pick up immediately. They have her coordinates already, all she has to do is demand access to a regen device and give a sketch of the situation at hand. Nobody makes a fuss. They simply come over immediately, just because Irina Weisz is asking. Sometimes it’s good to be richer than God. “It’s okay, they’ll be here soon,” she promises Gershan, while he coughs and splutters up blood, unable to breathe right. Her heart flutters in her chest – suddenly everything has become serious.

A minute later the paramedics arrive with a portable regen device. They triage the two combatants and Gershan gets to use the regen device first, because he can’t breathe. Valentina, however, complains of heavy chest pains and coughs up blood as well, which indicates a possible collapsed lung. She goes into the regen device right after Gershan. Golden light washes all of her injuries away, even the array of bruises over her body. Even her broken ribs.

Gershan doesn’t watch Valentina’s procedure. He just lies on the mat next to her feet, his arm draped over his eyes, breathing deeply and gratefully. He’s pulled the elastic band from his hair, allowing his blond hair to spill freely over the green mats.

“Are you okay?” Irina asks him again, watching while Valentina is healed of her injuries and shooting a message to Stender. He will probably want to know.

At least she gets an affirmative answer this time. “Yeah,” Gershan says. “Just breathing.”

/Something that was impossible a moment ago. You let her through your defenses and she nearly killed you for it. You broke her ribs and collapsed her lung. The both of you, you were trying to kill one another and you call it exhilarating./ “So was it worth it?”

Gershan removes his arm from his face and looks up at her with that brilliant, winning smile she knows so well from him. “Yeah. She’s amazing.”

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Valentina suddenly says while the paramedics help her off the regen platform. Her strawberry coloured hair is plastered to her face and she looks exhausted, but healthy enough as she sits down on the floor. “I had fun.”

Irina chuckles dryly. “You two nearly killed one another.”

Gershan laughs. “Exactly.”

She shakes her head. “You’re both insane.”

“Exactly,” Valentina now says, and the both of them laugh – until Stender comes stalking in, demanding to know what the hell happened here.

“They needed to get something off their chest, apparently,” Irina tells her boss, lending a hand to her lover to help him up. “So do you feel better now?”

“Fuck yes,” Gershan says wholeheartedly while he stands up. His hazel eyes are sparkling as if the choking thing never happened. He smiles at Valentina who smiles back at him. It is like the two of them share a secret that the rest of the world will never understand.

“Then please don’t ever do that again, okay?”

She wonders if they mean it when they make their promise. She wonders if she wants them to keep it.

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