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A Friendly Little Spar
There were all kinds of gyms in Moscow - the frufru kind where all the guys and gals wore spandex to show off their bulging muscles and preach their yoga and Mediterranean diets, the ones that all the rich folks flocked to because of the high prices and private classes. Nox didn't really care but if he was going to get his body back in to whatever shape it had been pre-plane crash he had to do it his way, and there was no spandex or private classes in his way. It was about the fight.

His search for the girl was non-existent, he had no clue where she was, who she was or even how to go about finding her. That nagged at him too, like it wasn't his job to do that, that he'd relied on someone else to do the grunt work while he did whatever it was he did. The incoming paychecks were weird, he did nothing, had no idea what he was supposed to do, but yet they kept on coming in. He wasn't dead so maybe he hailed from some rich pansy family. He doubted it. He didn't feel like some rich pansy.

So it was to the gym Nox went. Gracie's Gym, it was a host of MMA fighters. The place looked like crap on the outside, but inside, it was what you expected to see. A corner for free weights, mirrors along one wall, posters of varying ages. Punching bags and the main attraction two rings. It was filled with men and a few scattered women. Nox appreciated the view. But the view was soon blocked by a large man with a smile. Nox grinned back.

"Looking for a good place to just retest my skills."
Nox glanced around. "Before you go asking. I don't know what I know or what I've trained in. I just know I have, I feel it."

The other man didn't ask but the question was written all over his face. So Nox obliged. "Plane crash - amnesia. Barely know my own name. Go figure. So I'd like to just see how it goes, see if this feeling is right."

He nodded towards the wall. "Rates on the wall. Changing in the back. I'm sure someone will gladly let you test your skills on them.

Nox nodded. Paid the bill, daily rate, he might piss someone off and he didn't want a commitment anyway.

Nox watched two guys spar in the ring. It felt familiar, but for now he'd just watch and gauge and maybe take winner, if there was a winner. You never could tell in a joint like this.

Edited by Nox, Sep 23 2014, 12:11 PM.
"God, what am I doing?"
After the incident with Yegor, Pyotr had felt a courage build up in him that he hadn't felt before. For the first time that he could remember, he had faced someone he was scared of and told them to leave him alone. He was getting tired of being pushed around and wanted to learn some self-defense. A search pulled up Gracie's gym.

Pyotr arrived and wasn't impressed by the exterior. The interior though, was a different story. There was a ring set up and people were sparring in it. There were weights in one corner. It was quite impressive and intimidating. Pyotr wasn't a big guy - quite the opposite - and he immediately felt out of place. Pyotr swallowed and approached the counter.

The man behind the counter brought his eyes up and frowned at Pyotr. "This probably isn't your kind of gym...people get hit here."

Pyotr met the man's eyes - it was easier than he had expected. "I'm used to getting hit. I want to learn how to hit back."

A brief smile brushed up on the man's face. "Rates are there - you could get hurt though. We're not responsible if you do."

Pyotr paid the man and walked in. He was already dressed in exercise clothing so didn't have to change. The man said he would see about finding him a trainer, but wasn't sure if they had one available. It was a busy day. He stood, just watching the fight and waited. Maybe he could learn something from watching.

Edited by Pyotr Grigory, Sep 23 2014, 12:08 PM.
Bas walked into Gracie's with his gym bag in hand. He'd been going there more maybe a couple years. At least since he'd moved up in the Mordivinov family. Street-fighting was all well and good, but being able to kick ass on a professional level was even better. Course, not like he really needed. Not with his abilities. But he didn't want everyone to know about those. If Ayden was right- which she probably was- then there were others who could do what he could. In which case, it was good not to broadcast it. Best to let people underestimate him. Then, when they think they've got you? Bam! The look on their faces always made him laugh. Almost as funny as when Boris died.

Gracie's was his kinda place. None of that pansy-ass meat-market stuff. Oh he liked seeing a lady in her short shorts or yoga-pants, no question. He occasionally went with a couple of buddies to one those places. Didn't get a whole lot of working out done, but it was always fun. Nah, here is where men and some butch looking chicks came who wanted to kick some serious ass. Hell, the Gracies were MMA legends. Rich and shit. Yet they ran a gym that said exactly what they thought about all the fancy new equipment and techniques and what not. Nope, you want to learn how to fight well, you go old school. Cave man. Fit Bas perfectly.

Charlie was by the counter lookin over at something. Bas smiled at him. "What's up, bitch!"
A smile split Charlie's face and they bro-hugged.

"Bitch? I seem to remember you on the ground tappin out last time."
They both laughed. Charlie was a good guy. Yeah, he liked to dress up as a woman when he went out, but whatever. Wasn't a big deal. And shit but it was funny when a drunk guy realized she was a he and got all mad and shit. Always tried to fight after that But Charlie took care of business, that was for sure. He about died laughing when that happened. Was worth it, goin out with him, completely aside from just having fun. Charlie was a good wingman too.

"So what's been going on?"
He looked around. It wasn't too busy. "Vito's not been around, right? Like to pound that guy about now."
At Charlie's mocking look, he laughed. "Sorry man, you're too big. Be weird all cuddling and shit afterwards."

"Alright. That's it. I'm gonna have to beat you for that."
They both laughed.

"Alright alright!"
He put his hands up defensively. "Let me change. Let's do...Brazilian. Yeah. Need to work on my jumps anyway."
After he changed, he came back out and warmed up.

Charlie got Stan to watch the door and they both got into the ring. Soon, the noise of the tv's and the grunts and slaps of the others there faded into the background. All that he heard was the sound of his own breath, his own heartbeat, as he and Charlie go to it. He didn't do too bad. Charlie was the master, of course. But after a few minutes, he let him know what to work on, what he was screwing up in, and then they'd get back at it.

Couple of times he took a kick to the face or a shot to the stomach. And yeah, it hurt. But it was exciting all the same. And he landed a few good ones. Maybe 30 minutes went by and he had to take a break. Breathing heavily, he said, "Damn man! What are you trying to do to my face? This is the money-maker!"

Charlie laughed and through a water at him, while toweling his face off. "A wonder you ain't starved to death, chump,"
he said before turning around and taking off his gloves.

Bas laughed at that and then looked around. There were a couple guys standing around watching them. One of them was a skinny kid and seemed kinda nervous. He had mark written all over him, if he had shown up in his old neighborhood. The other guy was also skinny but there was a hardness to him- his face anyway. He might have held his own. Well, maybe. Bas fought dirty. And he had his little secret. Either way, they weren't here for him anyway.

He nodded his head to Charlie when he turned back. "Can I help you?"

Edited by Sebastian, Sep 23 2014, 12:47 PM.
Nox watched, he didn't recall anything they did, but one was clearly the teacher, the other far less superior, not a chump by any standards, but still not quite up to par with his master. Nox still sure he had a specific style and he really didn't want a lesson, just a fight.

The other man who stood watching was scrawny, he reminded him of a little weasel. It made him chuckle. He could just seen some punk trying to relive his childhood - pop goes the weasel.

The spar finished and their joking still commenced sounded like a good bunch of guys, probably don't want to piss any of them off or the whole gaggle of them would jump you in a back alley or something. Weasel dude's gonna have to be careful. Nox knew he'd have to watch his mouth. He was prone to getting himself into dangerous situation with no way out. He may not remember much, but the other night in the bar, yeah that was still fresh in his memory.

The trainer dude asked him what he could do for him. Nox grinned. "Looking for a fight. As I told the guy at the door. I need to remember what I forgot."
He looked the trainer up and down with grin. "I might be able to take you, but, I'd rather not risk anymore broken bones. A full body cast has been plenty for me for the rest of my life."

Nox turned to the guy covered in tattoos. He'd never pegged himself for one, but there was this memory that kept hitting home every time he passed a tattoo shop, like it was something he wanted to do once upon a time. He looked up at him in the ring "Fancy a spar with a potential newb?"
He didn't think he was new to the game, but with no memories you could never be too sure.

Edited by Nox, Sep 23 2014, 01:10 PM.
The guy who had won the fight - did he win - asked how he could help him. Pyotr hadn't really noticed the guy next to him, his eyes had been glued on the fight. Pyotr felt way out of his league and was beginning to think this was a bad idea, but when he saw the guy with the tattoos, he was reminded of Stanislav - it was the shaved head that did it. Unlike with Stanislav though, Pyotr didn't check the guy out.

The man next to him seemed excited to start sparring, asking the guy with tattoos if he wanted to fight. Pyotr was content to watch - or nervous to actually try it - or both - probably both. He had no idea what he was doing, but he wanted to learn. Would these guys even teach him? Tattoo guy looked like a guy who would beat him up just for the hell of it.

Pyotr turned to the guy who had spoken. "I think I'm just gonna keep watching for awhile."

He would let the other guys fight it out. He had a feeling though that eventually they wouldn't just let him watch, but he wasn't in a hurry to try it.
Sebastian looked the guy up and down. They were about the same height. Similar builds though Sebastian was bigger over all. It looked like it'd been a while since the guy had hit the gym. Course none of that really matter in the end, anyway. At the end of the day, what mattered was how bad you wanted it. At least, when it counted, like on the street. This was just a friendly match, though.

"Yeah, that'll work. Now that I beat Charlie into the ground, I'm all warmed up."
Charlie rolled he eyes and he laughed. The new guy got into the ring. "So what's your style? I've got Brazilian jiu-jitsu and some jeet kune do. Street. Whatever. Tap out rules, ok?"

He danced around getting his legs warmed up and watched the other guy.
At least it seemed to be all between friends. But you didn't have to be great friends with a guy to rib him, though it did help if your mouth got too big. Nox's gut reaction was to mouth of. What about 'I need to remember what I forgot' don't you understand? But he kept it to himself with a obvious clamping of his mouth shut. Last thing he needed right now was a beat down.

He climbed into the ring, he felt every muscle as he did. Maybe this wasn't the greatest of ideas. He had no idea how to answer his question though. "I have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about."
The last sounded familiar, something to do with Bruce Lee, some kung fu tv dude who died way long time ago. Not anything he was interested in, but his dad, he'd have known it. Nox shook his head at the memory, it was foggy at best. Best kept at bay.

Weasel dude wanted to watch. Nox laughed at his prior imagery, still couldn't get the jingle out of his head. He hummed it with out realizing it as he started to stretch and watch his opponent. "Tap out is fine. Provided I remember the rules."
He laughed at himself. Seriously no memories sucked, he couldn't remember all the things he'd needed to remember, and all the stupid shit that flooded his head for no reason what so ever that wasn't important at all.
Edited by Nox, Sep 23 2014, 02:56 PM.
Bas laughed and shook his head. "Alright then, man. Your funeral."
He was moving around back and forth, threatening and giving space. The guy was laughing too, seeminly mostly at himself. Bas would go easy on him at first. Let him find his legs.

Speaking of legs, he immediately spun to the ground, sweeping his legs at the knee. He felt the solid connection and could imagine the look on his face. He laughed at the image, though it was just a moment and he was back in fighting stance. Before the guy could do much more than get up, he rushed at him, both hands out in grappling stance reaching for his shoulders and neck. With a semi-firm grip he rolled on to his back, pulling the guy forward and down, and flipping him over in one move. It wasn't a painful move, really, but together with the sweep the guy definitely should be disoriented. He jumped back up and went back into his stance, darting forward and back, probing for a shot, for weakness.

[[modded with permission]]

Edited by Sebastian, Sep 23 2014, 03:11 PM.
Nox laughed, but the humor left quickly as the man took him at his word, a leg sweep and a flip later Nox was sure this was a bad idea. But he wasn't going to back down. Nox embraced the power and he closed his eyes. It was just a moment, but he felt better, the power invigorated him, it became everything. He let it hang, he didn't weave the power just let it fuel him.

His body ached with new found fervor, but everything was so much clearer. It was like time slowed each detail was vivid, the tiny movement of hair on the man's head from the air current, the pulse in his veins, every moment clear as day. Crisp, bright and clear.

Nox focused on his opponent. He circled him with his new found eyes. Nox threw a few jabs at him, nothing connecting, not really trying to. Nox was searching for holes, but he couldn't let him control the fight. Nox didn't think his body could handle the beat down, and the raw power raging through him was certain to tell him each and every ache and pain and bruise that would form. The price for clarity!

Nox was so focused on watching for holes, he wasn't paying attention to form. He jabbed with is left and his opponent slammed a foot into his ribs that sent Nox flailing backwards into the ropes. He smiled. Lesson learned. The girl came to mind again. A glimpse of a memory of her laughing. It was musical, he missed it. A punch to the face brought Nox out of the memory. Second lesson.

Nox had to remain focused, the power coursed through him, the current ebbing and wanting to be used. He resisted the urge, it was so tempting.

Nox hoped there would be no third lesson to learn. He paid attention, he moved, he watched, he kept his form. Whatever form that was. His opponent had form, had style. Nox mimicked it.

Edited by Nox, Sep 23 2014, 03:29 PM.
In the middle of circling, Bas felt something enter the room. The man somehow seemed darker, larger. Not literally, but it was as if the man was breathing down his neck.

Bas got angry. This had changed. This wasn't just friendly sparring. He felt threat in the air. And instinct took over. There was no thought. He was on the street again. A merging of his jiu jitsu and much more primitive fighting took over.

The man seemed faster and his reactions were fast. But Bas was on automatic and quicker than thought twice he hit the guy, first a kick to the ribs and then a punch to the face. The man looked wary and it seemed like it hurt.

It was hard to reconcile the look of the man with the feeling in the air. Bas rushed into the center of his body. Just as the man's knees came up like he was going to kick him, he dropped and twisted, his legs coming up tangling with the man's legs and pulling him down. He had no time to react other then uselessly putting his hands up to lessen the fall. Even as he fell, Bas had twisted around and had the man's head in the crook of his knee, squeezing. That feeling of threat was till in the air and he had trouble thinking.

He felt Charlie's arm go around his neck. "It's over man! It's just a game."
After a moment, the words pierced the fog and he let go, let himself be pulled back. Even just laying there, moving around as he tried to rise, the room felt dark. Was it spirits? Something like that? Bas prayed and the the Holy Mother granted him her power. The feeling didn't diminish, but now he felt less helpless. The power coursed through him, bringing everything into focus- smell of the sweat and the leather and the mat, the blood from the man's nose, the sounds of the screens in the background, the heavy breathing of Charlie and the other two guys. He looked around, trying to figure out what it was that was bothering him.

He looked the man and he looked back at him. He had been ready to lose it. There was some sort of recognition there though, in the man's eyes. Charlie's words shook him. "Dude, chill. Just a friendly match."
Bas tried, but he couldn't shake that feeling.

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