The cheers and jeers of the crowd echo loudly in the emptiness that is the old abandoned school gym, the thump of bass and music in the background help to minimize the shouts ability to be understood. People stand around in a circle set at center court, or what used to be, where an empty space roughly twenty feet across has been cleared out for a pair of half naked men wearing scant gloves and shorts face off against one another. The hop about on the thin blue pad that was laid down over the broken hardwood of the courts flooring, hands up and glistening bodies tense.
One of them, the larger one with the shaved head and lots of ink, darts in quicker then one would expect and hammers a series of blows towards the small man’s midsection, his body twisting with each blow. The blond kid, for his part, moves with the punches, grimacing slightly before dipping low and trying to move inside the other man’s guard, his feet spread wide as he double dukes one way then the other before darting beneath a hook to shoulder check the larger man, shoving him back a couple of steps.
The underground fights aren’t new, it’s the sort of thing that’s been going on since man invented the wager, and here the blood sport has reputedly begun to sink back to it’s roots, the brawls of days long past when men dying in the ring wasn’t unheard of. It’s not gladiatorial combat or anything… but it’s not far from it. Rules are few and far between, and reports say that injuries that maim are the norm, not the exception. <<The champ is looking tired folks!>> comes a voice pumped over a quad set of floating drone speakers that hover over the crowd, <<You know what they say about chopping down a tree! You start and end at the trunk!>>
Most of those here were born as, likely, the last generation of homo sapiens. Here, in the US, inordinate lengths and great expense has gone into safeguarding those precious, irriplaceable lives. As a result, it’s a bit like living encased in batting, and sometimes you want to feel something. Anything. That need for an outlet has contributed to the popularity of events like this, but isn’t the reason a certain blonde lurks about.
Demons don’t fight for quite the same reasons as this, but the violence is… familiar. Anastasia isn’t part of the close ring of the crowd, but back a bit, where some stands have been set up to give a slightly better vantage. You just can’t smell the blood and the sweat.
In the myriad collection of styles and outfits present, Anastasia’s mostly-leather outfit doesn’t stand out much. What’s most notable about her is the lack of crowd pressing against her. She has elbow room and more as she leans against the pipe railing, hands falling down from her wrists, relaxed and still. Also unlike the others, she doesn’t scream or cheer. She just watches with a calm, cold gaze.
The bald man reverses his stumble into a high kick, still faster then he ought to be, which the blond man catches on the side of his arm, the impact still enough to make him stumble this time, wobbling slightly. The bigger man darts in with a quick series of blows, carefully aimed at the blond guys ribs and belly, the smack of gloves on bare flesh audible in the room. <<Or maybe he’s just getting warmed up!>> the announcer shouts into the mic, <<He sends shots like rain drops! Pretty Boy doesn’t look so good.>>
The blond seems to snarl a little and he goes back in with a quick series of jabs and a cross aimed for the bald man’s face, who bobs and weaves to miss the worst of the blows. Then he stumbles straight into an elbow. It’s hard to say what happened, he juked left when he should have gone right, whatever the case, it rocks the bald who seems to move back on his heels, <<The champ is stung! The champ is stung!>> the crowd senseing blood surges forward, cries growing louder.
They shouldn’t have bothered. As the blond moves in for the kill, it becomes clear that it was a feignt. At the last moment the bald man twists to the side, letting the blond’s momentum carry him by. A blow to the back of the blond’s head sends him sprawling to the mats, motionless save for a couple of twitches.
Anastasia pushes up from the railing, straightening her spine. She’s not exceptionally tall, even with the heavy soles of the knee-high boots she wears. She starts to walk along the staging that rings the, well ‘ring’, moving towards the edge that the fight has spilled over towards. Those around her are still in a screaming frenzy and don’t even seem to notice how they move out of the way for her.
A snout pushes through the feet and ankles at the edge of the ring, an odd cross between a cat and a lizard, save for the long horns that sweep backwards. Slit-pupiled eyes blinkblinks down at the blonde, snuffling towards his hair.
Bastion slowly opens one eyes, glancing around a bit before blinking and staring into the face of the …. cat lizard pig ram? Calizigam? He finds himself in the interesting situation where he can A) jump up and back away from the poor creature science has clearly done something horrible to and thereby give away his lack of injury, or B) risk having his face eaten off by a calizigam while still feigning the after effects of a knock out.
He sits up slowly, groaning a bit and reaching up to press a hand to the back ofh is head as if it were in pain. “Hey there creepy little buddy.” he says quietly at the creature.
The crowd hasn’t noticed the… Calizigam. They’re too caught up in the rush of the champion’s win and it’s jostled back and forth as the crowd surges, clearly trying not to get stepped on but riding that tide as it gets close enough that Bastion can smell the toejams. The creature is leaning in, maw stretching wide to showcase a whole lotta sharp teeth when Bastion decides he’d rather *not* be the little thing’s dinner and sits up.
Can cat-things scowl? It sure as hell looks like a scowl. If it makes any noise, Bastion certainly can’t hear it over the yelling. He //can// see it huff it’s displeasure and staaaare at Bastion, as though this might make him lie back down and make for easier nomming.
Anastasia makes her way down the steps into the crowd, and now her presence isn’t enough on its own to make people move. Her eyes narrow with annoyance as she needs to push her way through the crowd, moving towards the opening Bastion is still in from behind the small demon.
Bastion quirks a brow at the toothy creature and his hand drops away from the back of his head, his gaze on it, “You wouldn’t like the outcome.” he says flatly as he rocks forward onto his knees in a warriors sit, “Shouldn’t you be in a lab somewhere, scaring the shit out of visiting scientists?” he asks the creature curiously. He ignores the people around him, he feels no sense of claustriphobia.
Despite her small size, Anastasia doesn’t have much of a problem making her way through the crowd. While she might need to jab a few people with her elbows, once she has their attention even with the flush of mob mentality they decide not to ignore her.
The creature is still looking at Bastion with all manner of grumpy when suddenly he’s framed by a pair of thick-soled boots. Heavy silver buckles line the outside of Anastasia’s calves and go all the way up to her knees. Unlike the crowd, Anastasia doesn’t look to the cheering winner, she looks down at the creature between her feet.
The hissing annoyance of the critter slowly ebbs, and slowly it looks up. It’s eyes widen to see Anastasia above it and then it goes into panic mode, leaping towards Bastion. Which is the general direction of ‘away’ from Anastasia.
Bastion blinks as boots suddenly land on either side of the creature and he slowly follows them up and up until he’s staring at Ana, “Well hello to you too. I think you let your pet out of the lab.” he points out, “Did you name him Spot? He looks like a Spot to m-” and then it’s leaping at him. Bastion has been fighting for some time today, in fact, his blood is still well up… … …so he does what comes natural. He lashes out with a straight jab aimed for the creature’s face.
Anastasia’s attention to Bastion is pretty perephial. It might be a new sensation for the heir apparent to daddy’s fortune. That cool blue gaze rises from ‘Spot’ to meet his and then flicks away, back down to the critter.
Well, Spot was hoping to put Bastion and then the crowd firmly between itself and the Limbo princess but in his eagerness he clearly leapt a little too high and Bastion strikes it down and sets it tumbleskidding into the feet of the crowd. On the heels of his attack, he suddenly has the blonde very close as she steps in front of him and puts herself firmly In His Way with a glare that pours ice down the spine of most men. She leans in closer, her presence and body language trying to get him to give ground before her as she bites out the words in slightly Russian accented English. “You do not get to touch him.”
Bastion watches the creature tumble away and shakes his head, “Told you you wouldn’t like it.” he says amicably enough, figureing the entire thing was done now. He was wrong. He slowly quirks a brow as the woman steps into his personal space and gets all… growly. “Objectively,” he points out, a tiny smile quirking the corner of his mouth, “you’re clearly incorrect. I /just/ touched him. Were you not paying attention?” he grins widely. Other people fear, this guy doesn’t seem to have a lick of it wafting off of him. Clearly he’s an idiot.
Certainly, it’s not something that Anastasia’s run into much on Earth. Humans have a very refined survival instinct and she’s found fear to be the best way to deal with them and not send someone into a tizzy over hurting them. It’s… a bit annoying, really. Though she can’t help but appreciate the literalness of his response just a bit.
She leans in towards him, which considering he can feel the slide of leather against his skin already doesn’t take much movement at all, and… sniffs? at him? There’s some puzzlement, beneath the annoyance, and she lifts one hand to trace something against his chest. Or the air in front of his chest. He can feel the heat of her more than any actual touch, and black flame licks up from the track of her finger, leaving a glowing sigil in its wake. She speaks a word and it moves, hitting him like a wall despite not really moving any distance to speak of. It’s not as bad as being hit by a car, but would certainly send most people skidding a good ten feet.
Bastion tilts his head to the side a bit and eyes her curiously, “You’re an odd duck, aren’t you?” he asks flatly, “Honestly, in this age, who isn’t anymore? But you! You’re a special kind of weird. Makes you-” his voice trails off as her little black flamey sigil slams into his chest and gets straight up eaten. Just. Nom! Gone. He looks down at his chest, then back up at her, not having moved so much as an inch, and his grin is harder around the edges now. “interesting.” he finishes eyes boring into her. He doesn’t smell afraid at all, if anything he smells… hungry.
Anastasia’s eyes narrows to slits as the sigil fades out of existance and Bastion is still there. She doesn’t look worried, or scared that he’s untouched, more… annoyed.
“Allow me to be explicitly clear, then. You do not get to touch him //again// without permission.” Her tone is calm, even if her gaze is cold enough to burn.
Bastion rises from his kneeling possition without any seeming effort and grins at her impishly, “Well that depends entirely on him, now doesn’t it?” he asks in a tone that suggests he’s enjoying himself immensly, “So.” he says after a long moment, “Chances I get your number after punching your pet freak show in the snout?” he raises a gloved hand and wobbles it, “I’m feeling…. 70/30 in favor.”
Anastasia’s brow creases a moment, a flicker of confusion at the question of her ‘number’. While she //has// a phone, she doesn’t use it much and really, all of her contacts get put in for her. They’re contacted by name and so Anastasia has a bit of disassociation with the origin of the phrase.
It’s only a moment, and then her expression smooths away into something Bastion is probably all too used to around business types. “Pity you can’t recognize when you’re being attacked, and when you’re just in the way.” She doesn’t really step back from him, but does turn away a bit, trying to spot the imp in the crowd. Bad luck for it that Bastion punched it. Good luck in that it got it away from Anastasia.
Bastion shrugs slightly, “Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.” he says as he watches her turn to look for the animal, “That way.” he says, pointing in a direction and tilting his head slightly as if curious.
Anastasia turns back to look at Bastion as he offers up directions and there’s that subtle ripple of emotion again. It still looks like annoyance. Like she’s one of those people that should be warned that if she keeps doing that, her face will stick that way. Finally she blows out a long exhale through her nose, which //definitely// speaks to annoyance. “You’re not moving.”
Bastion grins widely at that, “I mean, the music here kinda sucks but if the pretty lady wants to dance who am I to deny her?” he quips lightly, “Or was that some sort of plea for assistance? Maybe an escort?” now he’s just having fun ribbing her a bit.
Anastasia gives Bastion a mildly baffled look, which annoys her. She doesn’t like being confused but, honestly, she’s gotten used to it. “How can you hear music over this rabble?” Presumably, she’s talking about the crowd which hasn’t found the little drama between the Looser and Random Blonde Chick to be near so interesting as another match. “Move.”
Bastion continues to smile, “You’re not big on specifics, are you?” he asks pointedly, “Move is not an extremely clear request. Management 101, always be clear in your desires, otherwise the other party will simply define your wishes on their own. For instance, I could decided you really /do/ wanna dance, and suggest something…” he listens to the air for a moment and makes a face, “more mosh pit-y then tango-y. Sadly.”
“Out. Of. My. Way.” Anastasia says, a growl underlying her words before muttering to herself in Russian. The blonde doesn’t enjoy most of the social conventions commonly observed on Earth. But, over the past few years, she’s at least learned them and been persuaded to //try// to follow them. Still, admitting to a lack of knowledge is tantamount to weakness, and so doing so in any manner doesn’t come easily to her. “I am unfamiliar with the words you are using.” Since, y’know, ‘tango-y’ isn’t //quite// a word. And ‘tangy’ made no sense there.
Bastion nods his head, “We should fix that.” he then steps to the side and waves a hand as if he were clearing a path for her, which in fact he is not as there is still a crowd pressing about here and there, “I could teach you all about the dances appropriate to the various kinds of music out there. Also, how to socialize on the fly without being creepy and drawing in the air with black fire. Both of those are skills you could profit from mastering…. the latter more then the former me thinks.”
The easy aquiescence to her (let’s face it) demand surprises her, just a bit. She was already planning for the ensuing headache that would come from removing Bastion from her path because she just couldn’t make herself step away instead. Too close to backing down, given the earlier interactions. And he’d already proved difficult to remove easily.
The not-quite-offer gets him a long Look. “Could you now.” Her tone turns somewhat wry. “But why would I //want// to?”
Bastion’s grin remains plastered to his face as she answers, “Because dancing is fun.” he says flatly, “It’s like sex you get to do in public without being arrested.” he intentionly misunderstands her remark.
Anastasia gives a huff through her nostrils of what is likely annoyance, her tone a bit clipped as she snaps back. “Yes, dancing is fun. I mean the socializing.”
Limbo critters know better than to try to work up the blonde. Earth folks don’t usually do it because a) it’s rude and b) she’s scary. She’s on new ground dealing with Bastion and it’s clear she’s not a fan.
Bastion smirks, “Oh. See previous coment about clarity in your speech, makes it easy for someone to misunderstand your intent. You know, for giggles.” the smirk breaks into a lopsided grin, “Your lab accident is escaping, shouldn’t you be chasing it down, or am I just /that/ facinating that you can’t tear yourself away? I understand if that’s the case, it happens a lot. Something about the dimples. Everyone loves the dimples.” he puts them on display for her.
“And no one is screaming, so I don’t have to worry about someone being upset at an annoying little imp.” Anastasia says, and then pauses to correct herself. “No one is screaming over //it//.” There’s still lots of screaming going on over the current match.
The blonde sorceress shakes her head at Bastion, her words dry. “You lack a sense of self preservation, don’t you?”
Bastion shakes his head, “I do not. I lack a fear of death.” he corrects her, “They are not one in the same. I preserve myself exceptionally well, you should see shower, big enough you could have a small party in there if you liked, and I have on occasion.” shrug, “I’m a big believer in Epicurius’ perspective on death, and therefore it does not scare me. Without the fear, I am free.” he spreads his arms wide as if daring the world to take it’s best shot, “Also, who would want to hurt me?” he asks, “Have you not seen the dimples? I mean come on.” he points to each of them in turn.
“Anyone that listens to you speak.” Anastasia opines in that dry, mocking sort of tone in answer to who would want to hurt him. The blonde finally just shakes her head and turns away from Bastion, starting to push through the crowd to get to the edges. Her imp has likely left the area, and she should go find it. Eventually.
Bastion smirks as she turns to go, “You say that now,” he says at her back, “but you’ll be thinking of me later. Speaking of, you should research ‘tango’!” the last sort of shouted in her direction as she starts to lose herself in the crowd. He chuckles lightly to himself and turns to start heading for his gear and the rumpled bag left stuffed up against the DJ’s table. He’ll be damned. This night turned out more fun then he ever thought it would… he’s been meeting all sorts of interesting people as of late.