At least school was school in a place like this. Sure, with some extra added on oddities, but high school was about the same anywhere you went. At least, that was what Rory was trying to tell herself while she ran the track outside. She'd been at it for an hour by then and she was still doing fine. It was one of the things she hated about her abilities. She never felt that tightness in her chest that came from a lack of air. That was the reason she'd started running when she was younger. Made it hard to think.
When she finally stopped and sat on the nearby bleachers, Rory stopped to take a look around herself. There were enough people around here, but the sheer vastness of this place kept it from feeling crowded. It wasn't lonely, either, she determined, but Rory had always liked being around people more than with them.
When she noticed someone she'd seen before, Rory stood up and made way over to him, trying to remember his name. Christ, she knew she'd heard it. At the community center. The center of all this insanity.
"Hey," she said once she was close enough not to have to yell. "I met you at the community center."
School was fine. Just fine, not horrible and not great. Alexis had never been one to excel in academics and honestly he didn't really care all that much. He did well enough to pass and that had always been more than enough for his parents. Of course that had been before they pulled him out of school suddenly and shipped him off to Manta Carlos.
They had told him it was to make him tougher and he would be able to go home just as soon as he proved he wasn't weak. Lately though he had been feeling like he was never going to be allowed to go home again. He'd tried getting into fights and all it had achieved was making him appear weaker. It didn't help that the had decided to stop and help a few people with their problems and secretly he had been a little happy that some of the dragons were actually trying to be nice to him despite his family's racist teachings against dragons. Although one of them had fairly bluntly told him he probably was never intended to go home. That had hurt a lot even though he had been thinking it himself.
His coping mechanism for all these thoughts swirling in his head was to simply push them out. To exercise hard enough that he had no thoughts other than on his heavy breathing and the straining of his muscles. To that end he had ramped up his exercise and was flying, running or swimming every day. That day he had been filled with frustration and anger and after school he had gone to change into running clothes and flown over to the track to run laps in human form.
Alexis didn't know how many laps he had run or how long he had been at it but he didn't care- all that mattered was he had left his thoughts behind. Finally he reached the point where he needed to stop to at least take a break.
As he walked over to grab his towel and water bottle he noticed someone coming towards him from a ways down the bleachers. He didn't really think much of it until she started talking and it seemed like she was focused on him.
Why is she coming over here? I don't even really know her.
He very nearly just changed form and flew off to go somewhere he wouldn't be bothered but decided he wasn't going to run away like that.
Alexis recognized her as one of the newer people who had started showing up at the community center recently. Sure enough she said as much when she got closer. He was pretty sure he remembered her name but didn't want to look like an idiot if he was wrong so he didn't use it. "Hey," he said between breaths as he worked to recover from his run, "I remember. You're one of those new people who just showed up."
Could you just let me enjoy not having to think about stuff for a bit before adding more crap to my pile?
Instead of saying that however he just used the towel to wipe his face and push some of his hair out of the way. "What's up?" It was a stupid question. She was probably just trying to be friendly. He didn't have a great track record on the island with friends. Most of them had come as a result of fighting and might or might not have really been all that friendly.
What's up was a totally standard question. It was normal, but Rory didn't do well with normal anymore. How had she ever gotten by on normal? It was a mystery. Eight short months and she was a changed person. And here. In a changed place.
Lorelai looked over her shoulder at the track. This was where a person said something back. Shit. Why couldn't she remember his name? Fuck!
"Honestly?" she laughed, going for the blunt route (always better when that one worked out). "I'm trying to socialize with someone so my friends don't get on me about not moving forward and get worried about my mental state.
"I remembered you from the community center. You were that Dragon. We talked a bit about powers? Anyway. Rory, if you forgot it. I don't suppose you'd be up for... shit do you guys call it training or sparring here? Is that even allowed?"
She paused if only to catch her breath. "Anyway, tracks no good for getting my mind off shit. I don't get tired. You seemed strong enough, I figured it'd be nice to hit something again. Something that could take it."
The girl just... looked away? Damn, it wasn't like he had asked a hard question. A simple 'nothing much' would have been enough. It wasn't like he really cared all that much what she was up to. She was worse than him at making lame small-talk.
Of course then she jumped right in to being blunt. Which was actually something Alexis appreciated. If he had been letting himself smile he would have done it then. At least until she called him a dragon. It was something his parents had drilled into him all his life and by reflex he was suddenly a little pissed off. "Name's Alexis and i'm a Wyvern,"he practically snarled with a completely unnecessary angry edge to his voice.
Alexis was tempted to quip that he didn't care if she seemed mentally unstable or whatever but the truth was he had been told he needed to make more friends and be better at socializing too. By those stupid nosy dragons of course, but still they weren't completely wrong. "Of course we do sparring or training or whatever here. How else would we stay ready to fight?" Of course most of his friends had come from fighting more or less like that too. "Think we're supposed to do it in powers classes or whatever but that's lame. Mostly I just go out where cameras aren't gonna catch it. Usual rule is no serious damage or the cops will start asking questions."
The part about her not getting tired was a little bit or a concern. Especially since he had just been running for a while. It actually sounded like she was looking for a tough punching bag rather than a sparring match. But he couldn't let himself back down from a challenge and he did really want to get into some sort of fight anyway. "Getting our minds off of shit huh? I'm down for that. I don't know what your abilities are like but i'm pretty tough like this. Unless you want my Wyvern form but that's a whole different thing." Despite himself Alexis was grinning. Having caught his breath his body seemed fairly relaxed though his eyes seemed to almost gleam with anticipation. He tended to be happiest in times like these when he had something interesting to hold his attention.
Rory didn't jump when Alexis suddenly snarled, though she tensed and subconsciously reached over her shoulder. Right. She didn't have the backpack. Hell.
She huffed out a sort of half laugh and shook her head. "Well, I didn't even have Dragons in my dimension, not real ones, so don't expect me to know the difference between a Dragon and a Wyvern."
He wasn't as snappy as some people she knew. He was manageably snappy, even. Mostly blunt (which she appreciated right back) and a little smarmy. "Sounds like good a rule as any to me."
And he was up for it. Damn good thing because Rory didn't want to wander around looking for someone else to spar with. "I think I'll take the human form for now, but if things go well I'm willing to see how solidly a Wyvern can kick my ass."
Alexis eyed Rory as she reached for... nothing. He guessed maybe that was where she normally kept a weapon or something like that. It was a familiar reaction, though he would have been reaching for his waistband himself. Back before his parents had taken away his knives anyway. Not that he needed a weapon. He was fine without them.
Rory still seemed up for sparring and that was great. Whether she could beat him or not it would still probably make them forget about their shit for a while. "Well there is a difference even if the Drakenhardts keep trying to say there isn't," he said with a mostly firm conviction though he had trouble hiding a slight waver in his voice that indicated some doubt, "My parents taught me that much."
Alexis stretched a little bit and drank some of his water. "Alright let's just do this. If we walk that way for a bit no one should bother us. I'll stay in human form for now but i'm not going to pull my punches except to keep from hurting you too badly." It was a little bit arrogant for him to assume he would need to hold back and that she wouldn't just lay him out but honestly even if he knew she would win he probably would have said something similar.
He started leading the way from the bleachers towards the nearest edge of the woods. Like he said, they just needed to go far enough that they wouldn't be easily caught. Technically they both were agreeing to the sparring but being interrupted would be annoying as hell.
Rory shrugged. "Oh, don't worry about that." She told him in reference to pulling his punches. Rory figured, even if she couldn't keep up, she knew her regeneration was still intact from her old world.
"Maybe you can teach me the difference between a Wyvern and a Dragon sometime." Not right then, when each of them didn't have the mind for it, but maybe after when they'd cooled down and the endorphins had kicked in. No better drug than adrenaline.
Lorelei began the second they were far enough to be left alone. She'd given Alexis a little space. It was weird working without her team, but she'd done that at the start of her technical career so it wasn't like she couldn't do it here, too.
He didn't have to worry about pulling his punches? Maybe this was going to be even more satisfying than he though. A smarter person might have inferred that meant she was going to be fairly dangerous in a fight herself, but Alexis wasn't worried about it. Wouldn't be the first time he had to deal with injuries from a sparring match.
Alexis wasn't sure there really was going to be a time when he wanted to actually sit down to have a long discussion on the differences between wyverns and dragon with anybody, let alone this chick who he barely knew. However if their sparring went well maybe they could talk a little. "Maybe. We'll see." That was all he said until they reached a good spot for their sparring.
He tossed his water bottle and towel into pile out of the way and stretched his arms and legs a little bit as the girl began. Alexis wasn't an expert fighter or trained martial artist. He was used to brawls and dirty fights with the other members of his clan. Being on the smaller side he was used to having to be a little more crafty and tricky but for the most part he was planning to start off just trying to hit the girl real hard with some punches. Getting more creative could come later after he saw what she could do. While Alexis was used to being part of a team in wyvern form, most of his fights in human form had been one on one or him against a couple of his clan mates.
Alexis could have tried to make her come to him for the fight but as soon as she gave him some space and was ready he lunged at her as fast as he could, aiming a punch with his right hand for her stomach. "We'll see how tough you are!" he yelled as he rushed her. She had said not to pull his punches but he didn't want to kill her so he did anyway. It was still more than enough to knock a strong human off their feet but from someone who could punch through brick walls without an issue that was holding himself back a fair amount.
He wasn't aware how quick her reflexes were and chances were he was about to find out.
Rory was out of the way at the last second that Alexis was coming at her. Using his own momentum against him, she reached forward to throw him, hopefully off his feet.
Oh, he was going to be fun to fight. Rory wasn't positive she could win. Even back home she wasn't nearly the strongest person around, but that didn't mean she couldn't try her damndest to give him an entertaining spar.
She danced out of reach, going on the defensive after noting he was an offensive fighter to the extreme. He didn't have formal training, but she did. We The People had taught the whole group how to deal with a few situations.
Sure, they'd never gotten to complete their training, but it was enough to get a good grasp on how she should be behaving in a fight and Rory had always been good at feeling people. Not reading them, exactly. Not with her eyes, but with her empathy. People got a certain energy around them.
Damn, she was really fast. Alexis had far too much momentum to stop by the time he reached Rory and he had no choice but to let himself be thrown off his feet. Fortunately he was able to sort of turn it into a bit of a tumbling roll as he hit the ground and he came back up to his feet with a couple grass stains on his clothes and dirt on his face.
Rather then being hurt though he was grinning. The fight was just getting started and he was having fun. She was going to stand there and let him come at her again? Then fine. He'd come at her again but this time he'd try something else. Again he rushed at Rory but this time instead of simply going for a punch, at the last moment he threw himself down into a makeshift slide tackle aiming to kick her feet out from under her.
This wasn't exactly a normal fighting move but back home Alexis had enjoyed playing soccer with the other wyverns in their clan when it wasn't winter. He was just adapting it into a strange fight move trying to catch Rory off guard. At this point his entire focus was on their fight. Not on their surroundings or on any other thoughts. For the time being there was only the two of them, the feeling of his heart beating and muscles tensing and releasing, and the scent of grass, sweat and dirt.