Old Wounds

Summary:
June 16th, 2014: Catwoman hears of a disturbance in East End and follows the trail only to reopen old wounds with a Dragon.

Chinatown, Gotham

In a reformed warehouse that now serves as a dojo.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


The night is heavy in Gotham with the dark clouds hanging low over the city grey and pregnant with the threat of a coming thunderstorm. The city is gifted only with the lights of street lamps and the small silvered light from high above as just a hint of the moon peeks through.
It's terribly late and the city is perhaps not asleep but it is assuredly dozing. It's the time of night when most of the city's citizens are safely away in their beds save for those stuck on the night shift and those who hunt.
Around the city some rumors have surfaced. Some noises of gang conflicts around Chinatown being brought to abrupt conclusions by a tall man with dark hair. Descriptions range from a flaming demon of a fellow to an elusive shadow. The descriptions are enough that they might be enough to inspire a former student to find her old teacher. And if he's going to be in the city he'll be at that old dojo where he trained her.
From afar that building is little of remark. It used to be a warehouse but it was gutted with the interior replaced to treat it like a large loft apartment, save that most of it was formed into a hardwood floored dojo with training equipment scattered across the area in a logical manner. She may have checked on it now and again, but tonight is different. Inside there is a light on and in the middle of that dojo's floor sits a kneeling figure deep in meditation.

Word travels the streets of Gotham quickly, especially amongst the 'thugs' when their activities are being drawn to a halt by someone new - especially when some of it reached a little too close to East End. Normally the murmurings are of Catwoman, but when she hears of another getting too close, one that triggers a distant reminder, she is on the prowl.

Word of mouth is easy to obtain when you are holding them by their face, silver tipped claws pushing and dimpling flesh gently just at the corners of lips and eyes. Person to person, and finally rooftop to rooftop, Catwoman moves with an ease even those who perform parkour would wonder upon. Slipping in in a silence uncanny, she moves like a shadow amongst the rafters, lowly crouched like a feline she slinks across the reformed warehouse's ceiling, boots finding perfect purchase and fingers curling around the old metal. Her torso lowers, that second skin leather suit making not a sound at the position and shift of musculature beneath, goggled gaze fixed upon the man as her clawed grip tightens on the metal rafter, feet kicking off to ease them up-over her head, her spine arching and bending in that twisting push off that brings her to flip off the rafter and fall to the dojo floor behind him in a crouch.

If he knew she was there or not she did not know, but what she -did- know was to expect nothing less from the man whose back she stared at and reflected back at him in those lenses.

And as she lands behind him with barely any sound, the tall man before her doesn't even look up as he tells her simply in that level tone of his that brooks no argument, "Shoes."
He turns slightly to his side and those greyish blue eyes narrow as they fall upon her. His gaze shifts into a faint wry smile. Recognition dawns, perhaps having memorized her form or her stance, and he slowly gains his feet with only the strength of his thighs almost seeming as if he were levitating from that seiza.
Looking at her levelly he cocks an eyebrow at her and what she's wearing. As for him he's bare of foot wearing just jeans and a white t-shirt, yet there is an almost formal air to him as he says, "Ms. Kyle."

Questions answered. It has been years, circumstances have changed as well as… 'hobbies', but some things do not, and one would be his voice, his movements, his eyes…

Catwoman eases back in her crouch, just enough to flick gloved fingers over the buckles and straps of her boots, making the leather material loosen its hold, falling away and kicked aside when she comes to a stand before him.

"Richard." Catwoman states with a small quirk to her lips, hands now rising to lift the goggles from her face and leave them perched atop her head just before the spike of ears, the wisps of dark hair falling across her forehead in a sweep just above her piercing blue gaze.

There, is where her changes were had, the true ones that do not change on a whim or for disguise. Too much behind them once the wall of goggles is removed to allow a view to one who once /knew/ her in some fashion.

Keeping her gaze upon him Selina bows in that respectful fashion.

Those grey eyes hold hers and she will see no trepidation nor challenge. All she will see is that calm peaceful manner that gauged her progress in the past and that she perhaps may have found so terribly infuriating when she was unable to get a rise out of him. But there is something… something in her eyes.
A tilt of his head is given, a faint crinkling of the brow. If she has been maintaining her training, if she still had that faint ability to sense his 'chi' she would feel the roiling utter primal power of the Dragon before her as he gauges her, her past, and where she is now.
"Why have you come, Tigress?" He steps forward and walks to where her boots ended. He casually picks them up and walks with them towards the entrance to the dojo, placing them beside his own white sneakers. Over his shoulder he smiles, "Have you come to offer challenge? Or merely to attempt to give your old teacher a heart attack?"

Selina was going to get those! After she greeted him proper that is. But he is a step ahead, as usual and her head only turns to follow him as he puts them in their correct place.

Her eyes used to hold a brokenness he took and helped mold into a state of repair through a different focus. Now there are walls, scars, a wildness, and a duality/fracture - the latter standing before him, what he knew and what she has come into.

"There is talk of you on the streets, a man who comes in roaring like a dragon and leaves a broken and burnt pile in his wake, and he came a little close to /home/. I came to be sure, and if you were not /you/, I came to give you both." Selina finalizes that with a smile, one that breaks like a dawn across her face and yet foreshadows other areas, if that fallen end of her whip was indeed a tail, it would have flicked with the challenge and mischief.

"Seeing as you are you… Perhaps a rehashing of 'old times' is in order."

There's a tilt of his head as he walks back across the room. "Are you certain?" Dragon's smile is wry and gentle as he casually offers her his own rejoinder. "It has been years, I've slowed and grown fragile. Perhaps we had best forestall lest I shatter that lovely illusion you have of me as some master or other."
Though as he says this she can see that almost preternatural grace in his movements, the way everything is precise and fluid with no exaggeration of motion. Then there are those eyes, hard and silvered as ever before. It was never his visage that made one think of the Dragon, it was the inner being of the man before her. That subtle promise of utter primal abandon that speaks of the dragon held in check.
"Are you comfortable practicing in…" He gestures to her costume, cocking an eye slightly incredulously as if that could not be comfortable at all. He then offers her, "There are appropriate gis should you wish to change. A match between us will be long and difficult. It is perhaps best you make yourself as comfortable as possible for when you lose." At that he smiles.

His words clue her in, instinct to never underestimate, no matter if they crawled, walked, ran, or seemed feeble. His words did not cover what Selina saw. Lies. He is not slower, nor more fragile - quite the contrary.

The assessing gaze is the only thing to move with him, nothing else. Her pose and musculature is statuesque until he comments on her attire, causing her hip to cock to the side, her gloved hand falling upon the thrust forth curve of hip, tapping fingertips like raindrops over leather.

"This is simply me now, Dragon." Selina says with that dulcet purr to her tenor, eyes falling half-closed as if she is pleased with herself. But beneath the veil of those half-masted noir lashes there's a spark rekindling, a flame coming to dance into illumination.

"Now, now, I never knew you as one for lies and fables. We haven't said The End yet." With those words she is turning to face him fully, falling with ease slowly into the pose of Hei hu quan.

"I see," Dragon meets her gaze easily enough, "So you seek to teach me now. That is good." Richards bare feet make hardly a sound upon the hard wood floor. His footsteps are light, even, as he walks to retake his place before her where he knelt only moments ago. "I always seek to learn."
And as the last of those words float across the air between them she will feel the entirety of his focus weigh heavily upon her. In these moments when two artists match against each other time seems to slow to a standstill and sensations grow all the more important and powerful.
He watches her and becomes aware of the first faint patters of rain upon the skylight so far above. He can feel the grain of the wood under his foot as he slowly settles into a version of a Cat stance she might not be familiar with despite her chose name. His weight is shifted to his back foot, the other whispers a faint half-circle over the ground as it comes to the fore the toe pointed and the only point barely in contact with the ground. His hands come up and close to taut fists. He becomes aware of her stance, the supple curve of her musculature hidden beneath that leather, the reach she will have with arms and legs.
But what is more his nostrils flare faintly and he takes in that faint scent from her. Something akin to leather, steel, sweat, and… blood?

Every movement, every small detail that moves Richard is what Selina is taking in. Deliberation and trained poise down to how every bit of solid muscle and sineew fall into place, have a home and a purpose, much like his 'chi'.

"I have /learned/ quite a bit since we last matched, as I am sure that is not limited to just myself." Cocky, yes. Selina is pretty cocky, very confident, but never one to be known to be caught off guard because she does not underestimate her opponents.

Without boots bare feet feel far more vibrations, down to the sweeping motion of his final placement to assure solidarity in his spread stance. Like a pillar.

He taught her the stance she began with but when she moves forward it's in a burst of speed that has her stapping one way and in a spring her feet leave the ground, a silent spring to bring that attack into play, carrying her high enough that on her descent has her gloved hands seeking to find purchase on his broad shoulders and draw him back, attempting to bring him off his feet, if not at least off balance.

There is suddenly movement, and then the sound of those faint rain droplets are joined by the faint sounds that come from them. The patter of her bare feet as she gains speed upon the wooden floor, the intake of breath and exhalation of exertion. It is a thing matched by him as she makes that leap.
It is a thing of beauty as she launches upwards, grasping at his shoulders with her gloves and she can feel the powerful physique of his under that taut white t-shirt. His eyes track her even as his stance shifts. She's able to grasp, pull, twist… and /throw/. She is successful it seems for a bare moment, perhaps just long enough for her to have a hint of satisfaction. But then he plants a hand upon the ground, continuing that graceful flow of movement, accepting the gift of momentum from her then turning in a semi-circle to make use of it in his own way.
He executes that one-armed carthweel smoothly, coming back up and then sliding forwards to slice at her ankles with a blurringly fast sweep at her ankles. Already he moves to close the distance whether he is successful or not.

Ready to preen herself in a victory? No. Even as her throw is executed and his weight is taken and discarded she is following through as if expecting him to get up.

And he does.

As Richard seeks to close the gap she is already doing so, his sweep at her ankles has her sliding back, a motion that would take place even if he did hit - her body falling horizontally, but when she impacts her hand slap the floors surface in an attempt to pin his ankle between and then grip. If successful, she is taking him with her in a rolling twist of her body upon the hardwood. One to dodge another strike from him or take him with her to grounds level.

They move together so cleanly and her style is so acrobatic. A passerby would be quick to think that their movements were choreographed and so precise. But there is danger in those movements, the potential for grievous injury. Yet they are both masters and the control they have is an impressive thing.
As she catches his ankle and then twists smoothly to the side he follows lest she wrench the limb sharply. His bare hand slaps upon the wooden floor, propelling him with her and letting his other leg scissor back as they twist and then forward to viciously strike at her jaw or at the least clear her of that grip.

Every movement like a violent tango, one that can easily end in someone or something being broken, but even with that threat in mind they fall into synch as if it is L'Amour.

The scissored snap of his leg meets her jaw, and to lessen the impact she releases his leg instinctively, her head snapping back, those goggles flying from their perch to slide across the wooden floor, but not far behind them her body is still following through guided by the backwards arch. Again her spine bows and hands react, slapping the floor to take away impact of her spine, also springing her into a flip that lands the cat back on her feet in a crouch upon all fours.

The back of her hand has a moment to sweep at the corner of her lip where blood wells and a smile births, fueling the next move that has hr other hand suddenly unraveling her whip from around her waist in a silence piercing *CRACK*.

Not at him but -up-, the end of that whip coils around a rafter and with a lunge forward her body rises and is jerked upward, over him with a furthered height, coming down just over him, seeking to coil her legs around his neck and drag him back down with her into a hand springing flip that would either be a graceful landing or yet another throw.

As she reels back from that strike she can see those calm greyish blue eyes as he holds her gaze. He gains his feet in a smooth flowing motion that has him spin around once and bring himself to a standing posture with one hand casually open and beside his right thigh. It is a stance that is there as if to say, 'Are you ready? For I am.' But then she is moving again and she has all of his attention.
That short sharp crack signals a heightening in tensions, an intensity that she has seen between them before. In those long days and nights of training she often retired bruised and bloodied. And, to be fair, there were nights when her strikes landed home as well. She has left her mark on him, perhaps a scar across his hip where an open claw-strike tore at the flesh. Yet it is their way.
No hesitation is seen in his gaze as he moves to answer her. One forearm is held before him, then the other hand closes into a fist. His leg sweeps around… and then she is up and into the rafters almost. For an instant… a bare instant the darkness of her uniform causes her to fade with the shadows above. He loses her save for the gleam of perhaps a silver buckle.
And then she is on him.
There is the abrupt tensing of those thighs around his neck, the sudden clenching as she releases the whip and then brings her weight backwards. He must move with her and she knows this, lest she hyper-extend his neck. That powerful form of his moves smoothly, turning and landing upon a shoulder as she brings him down upon the floor.
Already he plants a barefoot upon the ground, seeking leverage as a hand thrusts inwards between her tensed thighs to try and gain some purchase. She can hold for the choke if she dares, perhaps it will be a point… or perhaps she will be all the more vulnerable.

If Selina did not know her opponent she just might have held that choke and instead sought to interrupt the freeing thrust of his hand with a tightening of thighs, but instead once his arm seeks to make room for his neck she attempts to release into a roll back and away. If she manages to free from him she will only be a few feet away, one hand bracing her balance on the floor, feet splayed behind her holding her laterally over the wooden surface in a pose much like a feline about to pounce, but her other hand is out… Fingers curled and the silver of claws can be seen.

He smelled blood before, now it's seen, old stains of past visceral combat lodged in the hooked metal where no prisoners are kept while the odor of new blood comes from what slowly streams down her chin, much like the rain a single patter upon the wood as it falls…

Much the /panther/ she has become.

There is no hesitation in him. She gives up the initiative as she retreats and he is there to seize it. There is the flash of steel and his mind registers the escalation, the curiosity if she will play with her toys and play for real. In that instant before he rejoins the attack she will see the intensity in his eyes… and the smile there as well. She has learned, she has improved, she has blossomed.
There is no time for reflection, there is only this moment between them here and now. There is only the sudden smack of flesh striking flesh, the impact when bone attempts to break bone. He is on her in a flurry of strikes, each faster than the last. Yet she is able to keep up with him. A blurring elbow twisting for a backfist to blur at the side of her head and then followed up with a short sharp sidekick seeking to keep her at a distance.
Yet should those fail or succeed she can sense they are but a preamble for his drawing close, feinting one way, then turning the other as he tries to /slam/ his shoulder into her, to grasp, turn, twist, and take her down upon the floor with a smooth jiujitsu throw. His fist already draws back should he succeed, readying the killing stroke.

The momentum now picks up. The dance reaching the intense point where the tango ends in a flurry of limbs, that red 'silk' seeking its place to emphasise each step with its spill around them and across the floor at their feet.

The Dragon's approach has her flipping back, a post in the place used to carry her back at him in a spring off of it. Their collision is much like a trainwreck. It does not stop at one car, at one swing. Where one is met and possibly blocked or absorned another comes from Selina, reciprocating to catch a fist in her own clawed grip and wrench it, burrowing those hooks in… until the other comes, impacting leather coveted musculature eminating a hollow sound that rapes air from her lips, her breathing at once faltering but captured…

/Keep breathing/

Counter, strike, his kick having her turn, a twisting motion in her jump that has her spinning in the air like a leap from a figure skater, her hand reaching up to grip the dangling hilt of her whip and release it from the rafters…

His shoulder meets, and that whip cracks upward.

Falling back beneath him one hand rises, attempting to splay clawed hands fingers across his broad chest, and if that whips guaging coil has rung true he will feel the sting and coil of its end wrapping around his neck, her other had still holding the hilt and tugging back /slowly/ not enough to hang him but enough to tug, to hint… To stare in his eyes with her own and meet his Dragon…

There's a spatter of gore upon his arm as those blades draw small furrows in his arm. Yet those eyes seem to not register it at all, so intent and upon hers that pain is but a ghost that wails absently its forlorn song as he passes.
The rain patters louder now, still soft upon the high skylight far away. But it serves as a perfect counterpoint to their movements, they efforts, and now their grunts and sharp intakes of breath. His kick slices through the air and she is able to make that smooth jump, to catch, to grasp. There's a blur of movement as her talons slice across his chest and tear that t-shirt with a ragged clawing across his flesh. Tatters are what are left of that shirt, crimson-stained tatters and small wounds trickle the nectar of life down his flesh.
But the distractions, the movement, they pay off when she feels her get that length of the whip around his throat, to suddenly arrest his movement and draw him close.
For an instant she can see in his eyes the blaze of intensity, the utter primal abandon that is there in the Dragon's gaze. She threatens him with death, with a breathless agony. And he smiles.
And then his hands find the length of the whip above her own, grasp, support his weight and suddenly he is upside down and his foot lashes out at the side of her head to make her break her grip… and allow him to twist smoothly to the side to unwind the length of it from his neck as he retakes his stance in front of her.
He stands there, pulling the ragged remnants of his shirt free with one sharp gesture to the side. She can see the powerful contours of his athlete's body, the shift and flow of musculature made shiny at points by the faint flow of blood.
He retakes his stance, one hand sliding forwards with fingers curled save for the index finger. The other hand draws back and low to his side closed in a fist. He gives her a nod. She may continue.

Time can stand still at moments. The poised stature of her beneath him, his fist drawn back and fingers positioned in a strike that could end her. All the while, her whip is up and draped over a rafter above them like a lazed snake, but drawn taut by her grip and the leverage point of its coil around his neck.

He looked into the abyss clad Cat, and smiled. Selina looked at the jagged maw of the dragon, and remained impassive. Like she could never prod him to her wants years ago, he now could not spurn a care for her life or death at this moment.

The raindrops herald a harder strike against the roof, a thunderous sound of baited breaths and white noise, only to be broken by his movement from the executioner's noose due to unbound hands, springing him up and away, his kick only dodged by the recoil. *CRACK*, like lightning he did not have to free himself, that leather noose was undone and instead it drew her up, off the floor and back into the rafters from whence she came.

From there she watches down upon him, lounged in a felinesque sprawl over the beam, sweeping the blood from her cheek that came from it being split during a harshly landed punch, a dark bruise already along her jaw from the one prior. Every bit of him is taken in, appraised and weighed like a fine artifact, a totem from Japan itself.

"I know when to stop and remember, Richard.." Selina states as one leg slips down and dangles from the rafter. Despite that throbbing ache he put on her, still looking rather pleased with herself.

Straightening up slowly, Dragon lifts his gaze upwards to her. And as quickly as that they're match is over for now, or perhaps at the least put on hold. He is not unmarked from the match, far from it. But does he feel negatively about such, no. Each is a mark earned and honored that she has granted him with the gift of conflict.
Calmly, quietly, his voice lifts to offer words to her. "What is it you would remember, Tigress?" Those eyes are still so serene, somewhat distant. But there is a warmth there for her, an affection for who she is, what she endured. As for what she has become… he will fully see in time. And in truth… his is not the place to judge.
Slowly he lifts one hand, offering it to her in peace and asking silently for her to come down and join him back upon the ground.

The extension of her hand gets a tilt of Selina's head, her eyes following his outstretched appendage down to each and every mark she left upon every rippling contour. The dangling leg draws upward, leaving her knelt upon that rail, almost as if she would stretch, arching and pawing only to ignore his request…

A blur of that shadow and she is standing in front of him, one eye giving a small -jump- as somewhere unseen felt that impact and it had only begun, tomorrow would reign hell on her. And she'd love it.

"To not let the animal win sometimes. To know the difference between necessity and needless." Those deep blue eyes rested on him, a small smile returning with the narrowing of her eyes. "It'd be sad to lose -the- Dragon." She taunts with those words, not leaving it hard to tell.

At her words his smile remains, his features calm and measured. She drops before him and he holds her gaze. A hand lifts and she'll feel the faint touch of warm flesh, no longer seeking to strike or lash, but instead offering her that faint and silent greeting.
There's a small squeeze of her shoulder, then he leans closer to touch his lips to the curve of her cheek. It's a small chaste greeting, given to this particular student who has left her mark on him in more ways than one. Just a momentary brush of lips across warm skin. Then he draws back and those eyes meet hers again. "It is good to see you, Selina."
Again the smile touches his eyes and then he steps back as if granting her freedom to leave, to stay, to rush about the world with his blessing. He then tells her, "I will be here. Come to me when you wish. You are always welcome."

The light show of affection from him has her eyes narrowing, the small smile taking away from any show of surprise at it. Her response is one that has him feeling the pressure of her hand against his chest and sliding upward through the glistening sheen of their duel be it blood or sweat.

Drumming fingers there he could feel the light patter of digit tips beneath leather but also that light tic of those claws. Looking up at him her smirk is back to that light of mischief before she slowly slips away, starting that distance between them. "Next time you come to East End make sure it is only to say hello."

So many meanings in those words. East End was hers alone, and yet she was also extending an invitation, watching him over her shoulder as she recoils her whip around her waist and hips with a trained ease, the hilt resting over her hip. "Until again, Dragon." Stepping into her boots but not bending to buckle them she slips out of the door and out into the rain.


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