2010-01-14: It's What We Call Foreplay



Date: January 14, 2010


Shot to the head and your prosthesic's to blame. Darlin', you give love a bad name.

"It's What We Call Foreplay"

AP Building - Gym

Like most non-essential government facilities, the AP fitness room is sparsely furnished. One wall is taken up entirely by machines, a second is dedicated to medicine balls, jump ropes, and other small gear, and a third wall is dominated by racks of free weights. The center of the room is empty, leaving room for impromptu activities.

Max has taken up at the incline bench, where he's banging out sets in an attempt to clear his mind. He's given up his formal attire in favor of loose, soft, black workout pants, a close-fitting undershirt that matches, and spotless white speakers. Oddly, he has retained his gloves. This pair is black and made of a stretchy, elastic material that covers his arms up to the bicep. A mostly empty water bottle on the floor next to his bench is a testament to how long he's been here.

It's the heavy bag that Cody's after. Since her psych eval earlier today, she's been a little aggressive. Not that she'd actually lift a finger against the smug little woman from that division, but just thinking about it brings a little bit of a smile to her lips. Dressed in a pair of black jersey shorts and a wife beater that is cut just high enough to expose some of the bandages across her midsection, the woman saunters into the room, tying her long blonde hair into a bun at the nape of her neck.

She doesn't immediately notice the man on the bench since she's entirely too focused on her pursuit of punching something large and hard. So with her back turned to him, she begins wrapping her knuckles with some white strips of fabric. It's a fairly methodical task and requires little to no concentration, so when she hears a male grunt from the area of the free weights, she turns her head to see who she is sharing her quiet time with.

Well hello Mister Swan is the first thought in her head, then she smirks a little and turns her head back toward the punching bag. Uncertain as to whether he's noticed her arrival, she remains quiet until she finishes wrapping. Then in long, very confident strides, she makes her way behind the bench and places her hands on her hips as she peers down at him. "Need a spotter?"

Smiling crookedly around his scarred mouth, Max pauses briefly with the bar touching his chest. "Sure," he says breathlessly. "Thank you."

His chest and shoulders tense as he works the bar through several more repetitions. He has his eyes closed by the third. By the fifth, each rep comes with a deep, almost feral grunt. He hits seven before he runs out of steam and pushes the weight back for his fellow agent to grab.

The woman lifts it rather easily from his hands, the strain in her biceps the only signal that it might be a little too heavy for her to deal with alone. Guiding the barbel back to its cradle, she gives him a little smile, showing a set of pearly whites. Her lip is split at one corner and from their proximity is it likely that he can see the green tinge of fading bruises around her eye and the scratches of healing incisions all over her neck and face.

"You look a lot better today, good to see." She comments idly. For her part? She doesn't. In fact, she's probably due to actually wear a bit of makeup to hide all of her little battle scars. "You must have gotten some sleep or something. Either that or had some of my special brew in the break room." A crooked smile is given to the man as she looks down on him. If he was a mind reader… Aw crap… The thought kind of gives her an uneasy feeling and her mind runs to her tried and true method of getting those kind of people out of her head.

"Thank you." Max hauls himself off of the bench, holds his gloved arms out at his sides, and gives a slow, dramatic spin, showing himself off to good effect. A light sheen of perspiration at his brow is the only sign of his exertion. Then, with calm, familiar thoroughness, he looks Cody over from head to toe. "You've been busy," he says, putting it mildly. "Nice to see that it isn't keeping you down."

He gives his shoulders a brief, experimental roll and then nods, apparently satisfied. He bends at the waist to pick up his water bottle, stretching awkwardly around legs that appear to pain him. When he straightens, he does it slowly, his eyes lingering on Cody's bandaged abdomen. "Nothing serious, I hope?"

Smiling, Cody eyes him as he gives her the once and then twice over. "I'm not dead, so it can't be that serious. Just a little work over from an ice maiden that needs a lesson or two." She doesn't actually say which who, the damage came from two different women that are both as cold as ice. Her hands curl a couple of times into fists and then flex out again, testing the bandages around her hands.

"So, are you into boxing or just weights?" His legs? Well through the material they look just fine to her, but who knows about the interior workings. She strides back to the side of the room where the bag is hanging and begins to pound on it. The muscles on her back tensing visibly as she gives it a little more than the ol' one two.

Max follows, albeit a bit more slowly and with a visible limp. He positions himself behind the bag, gripping it with one arm to halt any movement. "I've been known to box a bit," he admits modestly. "I'm not exactly light on my feet, but I make do."

Unabashed, he keeps a critical eye on Cody, mentally critiquing her form. As he analyzes her, he adjusts his weight to sway with the impact of her blows rather than holding stiffly against it. "And you?" he queries. "You seem to do well enough."

The jangling of the dog tags under her wife beater with each collision of her fist to the bag combine with the grunt of frustration that he's keeping it from swinging. "Good, I was hoping for something that fights back." Cody remarks quite monotonously, only after her skin bares its own sheen of perspiration does she let up on the heavy bag. Backing off slightly, she shakes her hands out and gives him a little smile. "Bare knuckle or gloves? I go either way." Oh boy does she ever.

With the invitation, she moves into the bare center of the floor and takes a stance, rolling the shoulder that is positioned furthest from him. Her fist rises a fraction of an inch as she comes back to neutral and then she waves him forward with two of her fingers. "Come on Swan, let's see what you've got. Put your lab rat up against my hunter."

"With pleasure," Max replies. "Though I'm afraid that I must insist on gloves."

From the gleam in his eye and the edge to his grin, it's clear that safety isn't uppermost in his thoughts. Still, he limps over to a shelf loaded with protective gear and selects two pairs of gloves. Not boxing mitts, but compact, fingerless gloves suitable for grappling or mixed martial arts. One set is tossed over to Cody. "Those should fit nicely," he says as he pulls his own set on over his existing set of gloves. "I hope you don't mind, but I prefer to keep spars a bit more informal. No rules to clutter things up."

He flexes his fingers and settles into a loose, steady stance, his hands held high to protect his face. Rather than speak further, he lifts an eyebrow curiously and makes a minute beckoning motion with his head.

Straightening up, Cody catches the gloves with one hand and proceeds to pull the pair on. Once they're adjusted, she narrows her eyes at him and gives him an upward nod indicating that she's ready. Then she takes two steps toward him, meeting him halfway.

Only one of her fists is raised to protect her face, the other is held just a little lower. It's not a normal stance for such an endeavor but at his signal it is pulled even lower and her foot comes out, jabbing him in the knee.

Dirty pool? Oh yes, she's ready to pull practically anything and crippling him at the beginning of a fight that's no holds barred is exactly the tactic she'll be using.

It's a trick that Max has seen before. He doesn't take or give ground, instead choosing to hold his place stoically. His lips twitch upward into a scant smile as he turns his knee in, taking the kick on the meat of his outer thigh. While Cody is inside his range, he reaches out to grab her arm with his left hand and launches a short, vicious body blow with his right.

The blonde's body twists to the side as the blow is delivered right in the boot print on her left side. A little 'Oof' emits from her lips and she curls them up into a little smile. "Careful hot stuff, I might think this is foreplay." Then she tries to wrestle her hand free from his grip, failing miserably, she gives him another swift kick to the knee and whirls her body around so that her back is to him.

"This isn't foreplay?" Max quips dryly. Again, Cody kicks for his knee, and for a second time he takes the hit on the meat of his thigh. When she spins around to present her back, he pulls her against his chest and releases her arm in favor of a sleeper hold. Showing a bit of restraint, he doesn't apply pressure. "Bad place to be," he observes conversationally, almost speaking directly into Cody's ear. "You should be more careful."

The woman freezes against him, not moving a muscle as he speaks to her. Oddly enough, she closes her eyes and seems to relax in his grip, a small smile coming to her features. "You mean I shouldn't turn my back on a snake?" She murmurs wickedly. It is then that the man might feel a tickle around his side and something creeping under his shirt at the back.

Max is disciplined. He is both a man of science and a man of action. He has stolen fortunes and killed many men.

None of these experiences render a person immune to the creepy-crawlies. At least he doesn't scream.

With a disgusted grunt, Max releases Cody, pushes her away, and claws a hand up the back of his shirt. "Ick. Oh, ick. There's… There's something under my…" Spinning around, he pulls his shirt up and asks, "Do you see it? Whatever it it, get it."

When he shoves her away, the snaking feeling of something sliding out of his shirt can be felt and Cody smirks. "Oh ew! There it is!" and the woman delivers a quick kidney punch to his left flank. "I think I got it." Her hair has fallen out of its bun and damn it's long, almost reaching past her buttocks. With one swift movement, she grips it and twists it back into his original bun. Nothing like a bit of exercise to get the blood flowing.

Then with no concern as to whether the thing actually got him or not, she leans back to allow her eyes to graze over his musculature. "Again?" Her eyebrow twitches upward and she resumes her stance. "That is, if you're not too creeped out by whatever that thing was."

An 'oof' slips from between Max's lips as he takes the punch. Frowning skeptically, he composes himself and glances at Cody. He studies her for a few seconds with narrowed eyes. Then, abruptly, he nods.

This time he doesn't wait for Cody to take the offensive. He takes one stride toward her on his long legs and throws a hard, fast hook with his lead hand.


The force of the blow actually lifts her off the ground and Cody lands a few feet away, somewhere between dazed and slipping toward unconsciousness. The ceiling twists and turns in her field of vision and the few shallow breaths that she does manage keep the world from going black. It's sure to leave a new mark on her already marred features. And hot damn did it hurt.

"Still with the living, Agent?" After being knuckled in the kidneys, Max can't help but smile a small, tight-lipped smile. He gives the fingers of his metal hand an approving stretch. Seems like all the kinks are worked out.

Dignified to the last, he leans down to offer Cody a hand. "Up you get."

"What. The. Hell." Cody says, shaking her head to get the stars and birds out of her line of sight. When the hand is offered, she grips it tightly and lifts herself off the ground and to a stand. The bruise on her face is starting to form, quite nasty and very red. "That's some hook you have."

She doesn't let go of his hand when she's finally standing. Rather, she grips it even tighter. "That's not just a fist. I've been hit with a lot of things, and I've never felt anything like that." Her blue eyes flit down to the glove and her lips twitch at one corner. "What've you got under there, Swan?"

"Prosthetic," Max replies briefly, extracting his hand. "My own design. My arm was severed at the elbow the last time I was in the field."

Direct and unapologetic, he strips off his fighting gloves and holds his hands up side by side. Through the thin gloves that still cover them, they are indistinguishable. After a moment, he drops his hands back to his sides.

"Nice…" Cody murmurs, still eying the hand that nearly sent her back to last Sunday. Yanking off her own gloves, she tosses them into a pile on the shelf they came from. One is a direct hit, the other teeters on the edge of the wood for a moment before sliding off and landing with a plop on the ground. Sighing, she walks over to bend over and pick it up, then places it with its mate.

When she turns back toward him, she's licking her lips and narrowing her eyes slightly. One because she's meaning to, the other because the bruise is beginning to actually swell. "So you design drugs and prosthetics, what else do you do?" She says this in an 'If you show me yours, I'll show you mine' type of tone.

"I'm complicated," Max explains, grinning wide enough to show white, even teeth. "I'm an expert in the capture and study of… persons of interest." He steeples his fingers into a thoughtful triangle as he inspects the bruise forming on Cody's face. "I also consider myself a talented interrogater. That's more of a hobby, really. And, of course, I have a few unique qualities."

Cody doesn't flinch under his studious gaze, not in the slightest. In fact, she just sets her jaw defiantly and raises her chin a little in the same gesture. "I could have used you when we were out catching the ice queen," she replies glibly. Slowly, she begins to unravel the bindings around her knuckles, one of which is red with a little bruising from their fight. Apparently, the man isn't as soft as he appeared to be upon their initial meeting. "And maybe when we saw Petrelli the other day. You know him?"

The mention of an ice queen brings a twitch to the muscles around Max's eyes, but he passes the issue over in favor of discussing the Petrelli family. "I know the brothers, yes. I'm the one who brought in Peter Petrelli. Crushed him with a helicopter. Long story." He dismisses his flamboyant statement with a wave of the hand. "They're an interesting bunch."

"Glad I wasn't flying the one you .. wait a second, you crushed him with a helicopter?" Cody moves a little closer to him at that point and gives him a very good once over. He certainly didn't pull the helicopter out of the sky, with his hands. Hand. Hands. "How did you manage that?" Thus far, she hasn't showed him any of hers, but he hasn't really asked.

"Like I said, I'm complicated." Positively dripping with faux innocence, Max crosses his arms over his broad chest and lowers his gaze. It's an impressively practiced mockery of humility. "I like to think of myself as a valuable addition to the team. But it's no fun if I reveal all of my secrets. Have to maintain the mystery, you know."

Oh he's a sly one, but Cody hasn't exactly finished with him yet. Instead she gestures toward the door. "Well since you're intent on keeping a few of your secrets, care to join me in a little chocolate? I might show you some more of mine." She's addicted and she's not afraid to admit it. Besides, he did say he could do interesting things with it. Maybe some of those are things that she'd enjoy watching.

Max inclines his head briefly. "Sounds good. I'm going to hit the locker room and shower. Meet you outside in fifteen." He gives Cody a nod, picks up his water bottle, and extends his hand to shake. "Good fight, Agent."

Giving him a wink, she smiles widely showing him her teeth. "The fight's not over yet, Max." With that, she turns and head in the direction of the locker room as well, stripping her shirt off as she disappears around the corner. She's not bashful or shy, apparently, but that might be due to the fact that even without the shirt, she's pretty well covered in bandages up her entire torso. It's really a wonder how she can move at all.

Chuckling under his breath, Max limps in the opposite direction toward a well-deserved shower and a few high-test painkillers. He isn't moving very gracefully either, but he rarely does. As he steps out of sight, he bites down on the fingertip of one glove and strips it off with his teeth, revealing his "prosthetic."

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