2007-07-20: Nobody Does It Better


Identity_icon.gif Max_icon.gif

Summary: Bruises, blood, and beautiful aftermath.

Date It Happened: July 20th, 2007

Log Title Nobody Does It Better

Black & Bruised is an oddity to the point of being unique. Situated in the heart of Brooklyn, it's a kickboxing gym where anybody can come in at anytime. Day or night, the doors are always open, and no memberships are required. Though kickboxing is the dominant style, all comers are welcome. Frequented by young toughs and old veterans alike, nearly anyone can find a match in the single old-fashioned ring that dominates the establishment. The ropes are thick, weathered, splintery strands of hemp rather than sleek vinyl, and the canvas mat is covered with decades of half-heartedly scrubbed bloodstains. It's presently occupied by two heavyset men who seem determined to club at each other without any sense of style or grace.

Heavy bags, speed bags, and agility trainers line one wall of the rectangular structure, and the other is cluttered with free and set weights of all descriptions. Despite the lateness of the hour, much of the equipment is in use, mostly by braggadocious young almost-fighters.

Presently, Max is slamming on one of the heavy bags. Rather than allow someone else to hold it, he catches the bag with several sharp blows in quick succession, then reaches out to halt its swing before repeating the process again. He's stripped to the waist, proudly showing off his bruises and battle scars for all the world to see. He's wearing lightweight black workout shoes and a pair of soft, matching track pants that probably cost as much as a compact car. Even when he goes suit-less, he's got to be stylish.

The door to the establishment opens, and in walks a young hispanic man with a shaved head. There's the sound of a throat being cleared, and the young man halts his progress, turns, and holds the door open for the next visitor. He probably only does it so he can watch her walk by in grey form fitting yoga pants an a pale yellow, body following tank top. She carries a small duffle bag over one shoulder, and only walks just slightly inside before she drops it to the floor, follows, and changes out of her street shoes. This place isn't all that cleanly, but it's just good gym form.

Half way through tying the first shoe, she scans the room, taking stock of the players of the evening. A smirk is levied at the guidos in the ring. No challenge there, but it could lead to an amusing capstone to the night. It isn't long before she notices the bare torso of Max. His back is to her, but the bruise pattern is sort of familiar. She watches while she finished with her shoes, shamelessly staring.

Max hits the bag with a final, chain-rattling right hook, then stoops to scoop up a water bottle and a fresh towel from inside his own bag. He pops open the water and takes several sparing sips, towels off his face and rakes his lengthening hair up into sweaty spikes. When he turns, he leaves the bag where it is. People know better than to touch the things of a large, scowling, heavily-bruised man. Most people, anyway.

Identity is the first thing he sees when he turns. He wets his lips with the tip of his tongue as he moves closer to the door. "How long do you think it'd take you to flatline one of those fat bastards?" he queries quietly, chucking a thumb in the direction of the ring.

"How long does it take to walk to the ring?" Identity replies without missing a beat. She doesn't even have to look to know the men in question are ham handing each other all over the place. She pulls the laces on her other shoe tight, and begins a brief routine of stretches. That meditation she mentioned must have something to do with yoga, because her flexibility has increased. "I'm not so interested in them with you sweat, topless, and warmed up for a fight."

A slow, lazy grin spreads across Max's face. "You'll stretch like that to fight, but not to fuck? At least you've got your priorities in order." He is indeed sweaty, topless, and warmed up. He inhales deeply through his nose, and lifts his eyes to the ceiling, taking a moment to savor the sensory input and his own adrenaline. Nothing excites him more than a good fight, and nobody fights like Id.

In the ring, one of the hamhands lands a lucky uppercut and sends his opponent to the mat. Looks like some real estate just opened up.

"Every arena has its foreplay," Id replies, the smirk obvious in her voice. She rises as she hears the sound of a body hitting the mat. Her hands land on her hips and she eyes the figures in the ring, wondering how the hell that just happened. "He who bleeds first springs for dinner." She turns to head for the ring, smacking Max right on the ass as she passes.

Unafraid to use his intimidating size and musculature to his advantage, Max pushes and glares a path through the other patrons seeking entry to the ring. Though Identity is more than capable of pushing through on her own, he's clear enough with his shoving and scowling that the crowd eventually backs off and lets them approach the ring unapposed. Never particularly acrobatic, Max hauls himself up on the ring's apron with a grunt, then steps over the top rope. Once he's inside he holds the top and middle ropes apart to make room for Id's entrance. What a gentleman.

Id's version of intimidation is usually less subtle than Max's, which makes it good that he's taking care of staking claim. She slides between the ropes as Max holds them apart. "Thanks." The spectators might notice no one's bothered with pads. Chances are good there's a few more blood stains incoming. Id moves slightly to one side of the ring, and turns to face Max. With a little smirk she asks, "Rules?"

"What are those?" Max counters, smirking. "Though shots to the groin aren't in either of our best interests. I have plans for you after this." He arches his back and stretches, producing his usual snap-crackle-pop. "And if you managed to sneak a knife into that trim little outfit, you've earned the right to use it." He winks, then spreads his feet slightly and makes a brief 'come hither' gesture with one finger. She's faster and they both know it, so he's not about to chase her.

"Knives are cheating in a gym," Identity snorts, as if that suggestion is ridiculous. But everyone here knows she'd have a knife if it would fit. She winks and approaches, light on her feet. She subtly drops her weight to her left hip, which would indicate some sort of irritatingly fierce kick is forthcoming. Which would be the reason the contact that results is so solid—that shift was a feint, and her right fist makes sweet sweet love to his jaw. Except it's more like, to use Batman TV sound effects: THOCK. Sure, her hand might be numb for a few seconds, but who cares?

The blow smarts, mostly because it lands on the already injured side of Max's jaw. He licks his lips and grins. "Nobody does it better," he murmurs. Then he launches two punches of his own. Both go wide, one shooting just to one side of Id's midsection, the other grazing her cheek without making meaningful contact. On the upside, he's closed to close range. This is where he and his muscles do their best work.

Identity has four vices—Max, cigarettes, hard liquor, and violence. Half of them are being catered to just now, and that makes for one exhilarating combination. She levies a somewhat lesser punch to his mid section, somehow missing his already bruised up places. His impression of a wall of muscle is pretty good, and most of the shock is absorbed by his abs.

The crowd that Max previously glared off is starting to reform. It's quickly becoming apparent to onlookers that what's going on inside the ring is no ordinary scrap. Despite their huge difference in size, they're clearly well matched. Predictably, the majority of the cheering is for Identity.

Max tenses his stomach muscles, accepting Id's punch stoically before launching an elbow of his own. She's just too fast, though. It breezes by the tip of her nose, again coming in a day late and a dollar short.

Angry men like to see hot chicks beat the shit out of muscular men. It's a crowd pleaser. "That'll hurt if it ever connects," Id breathes, dancing back a couple of steps as she dodges the swing of his hand, which is propelled by an arm with enough musculature backing it up to make a deep tissue impression. She circles a little, and throws a loose punch. It might be a fake out, or maybe she just barely taps his shoulder. Probing his defenses, or just leery of stepping into a punch, Id's game is a little more circumspect than usual.

The probing shot to Max's shoulder is accepted like all the others. He does quirk an eyebrow curiously, as the blow lacks Id's usual fire. Then he makes a small, thoughtful 'hmmm' and lashes out in response, this time with a quick, flicking double-jab that she easily deflects. He leans back a bit and smiles. "We could do this all night, you know." From the sparkle in his eye and the quivering of the scar across his mouth, he doesn't seem bothered by the prospect.

"Well, I hope it's not all night. I was hoping for dinner and an orgasm. Do try a little hard, hm? For me?" Identity grins in response, and decides to take a little chance, stepping in closer to him to throw a purposely wide punch and follow it with a hard knee to his gut. The trouble with large opponents is the superior strength. The trouble with Max is his ridiculous pain tolerance.

When are people going to learn that Max has abs of solid titanium? The ripped six pack isn't just for show. He ducks around the wide hook punch, then tenses again, riding with the knee in his gut. And again, the backfisted strike he throws falls just short. The two titans are millimeters from taking each other apart, but in this case, a millimeter may as well be a mile. He grunts, mildly frustrated. "If you weren't so damnably fast, I could've knocked you out and carried you home like a caveman by now."

Identity isn't an unreasonable opponent. She stays away from eye gouges and groin shots in sparring, unless she's been royally pissed off by her opponent. The subsequent sucking up of more trauma by Max's body provides a slightly frustrating back drop to the evening. She isn't pissed yet. "Not until you bleed for me." She wants dinner, damn it! It's the principle of the thing! Actually, carry out containers waiting on the counter for after is fine. "There's no food in my apartment." The small talk is followed by a pop to his jaw—this time a left hook.

She's good. She's very good. Repeatedly pounding on Max's injured jaw is a sound strategy. It's starting to get very sore. Grimacing, he shakes off the sting. "If you want me to bleed for you, all you have to do is ask. Nicely." He winks, then ducks his head and puts far more force than is strictly nessesscary into an uppercut. As much as he gets off on Identity-aquired bruises, losing is not a concept he's comfortable with. Again, she's just barely out of reach.

This is why Identity usually carries knives. Some guys you just have to wail on forever to get them to bleed. Blood makes a lot of people panic. Knives are faster than punches. "You fuck up my pearlies, and you're paying for my dental work." The abs are solid, and the jaw thing is hard on her hands. Thusly, Id switches to a more kickboxerly approach and introduces her left foot to Max's left side. Ribs, meet foot.

That kick lands, and well. Id's good at targeting Max's pre-existing injuries. He lets out a muffled grunt and falls to one knee. Undeterred, he uses his lowered position to launch his body forward and tackle Id, removing the distance barrier and bringing things close-up and personal. Clinched with her, he takes a deep whiff from the crook of her neck and grins. "I like your new smell."

She's fast, but he has a long reach, and nobody's that fast who doesn't have bigger secrets than Identity. The rush and tackle is successful, taking her down to the mat with Max. She laughs and replies, "Not in front of the civilians," before kicking off from the floor to try to flip him. The trouble is, he's heavier and her leverage isn't so great from this position.

He's large, and heavy, and strong, but she's well-trained. She doesn't flip him, but she does catch him in the side again, this time with a knee. It's a hard hit. Repeatedly blows to old injuries are starting to take their toll. A groan creeps from between Max's clenched teeth, but he clings to her tenaciously. Now that they're up close and friendly-like, it's time for one of her personal favorite. The headbutt.

The sound of their heads butting is loud in the gym, and sounds about as painful as it is. It is not one of Id's favorites, an sort of pisses her off. Max has a hard head. He's rewarded by a box to the ears after her brain is finished with the jiggling in her skull. "Fuck."

"Ahhhhhgggghh…" His equilibrium disrupted by the pressure on his eardrums, Max staggers backwards and pushes away from Identity. When he comes to his feet he does so raggedly, clinging to the ropes and ramming his bicep full of splintery hemp strands in the process. He's down, but not out. Head still swimming, he spreads his legs slightly to stabilize himself and focuses his eyes on Id as best as he's able. He doesn't press the attack, instead using the brief reprieve to try and collect himself.

Identity squints and mutters, "Goddamn it. Now I have to drink." The crack to the head gives her a little bit of a headache. She gets to her feet as well, though not quite as steadily as usual. She doesn't use the ropes, and waits for her forehead to stop throbbing before she advances on Max. This means he has ample time to prepare himself for the attack that comes next. Left jab, right knee to left side.

Max can see the jab coming. It's headed right for his face. Unfortunately, his dodge leads him directly into Id's knee. For the third time in one sitting, she slams him in his injured ribs. A ragged gasp of air is driven from his lungs. His disorientation is worsening. Operating on instinct, he leans back against the ropes and uses them to throw his heavy body forward at Id's smaller one. Face to face with her, they're seperated only by the forearm he presses against her throat.

Id goes back under the pressure of his attack, the arm to her throat momentarily choking her. Luckily she has plenty of time between his press the hitting the mat to twist her body, so that she lands hard, but she doesn't end up all the way under him, but sideways, almost free of his body, with an arm half hooked on the perpendicular set of ropes. Her left arm goes a little numb from the way it hit the floor, tingling for a moment. That slows her rising.

Max rolls away from the potential groundfight. Though that's where he'd be at his best, his primal instinct are screaming GET AWAY CAN'T THINK BODY ALL WOBBLY. Tenaciously clinging to consciousness, he comes to his hands and knees, head hanging raggedly. When he raises it his eyes are unfocused, but determined. A slow smile creeps across his face. He drags himself to his feet unsteadily. Though they're intact, it feels like his eardrums are shattered. Up and down, left and right. These have become relative terms. All the same, he's unwilling to give up. When he speaks his voice is disjointed and confused, coming from somewhere between his lungs and his stomach instead of his throat. "I'm addicted to you."

That said, he staggers unsteadily across the ring and throws a low, hard punch aimed at her abdomen. Yes, yes. They're fighting to first blood. But her face is too damn small a target just now, thank you very much.

Maybe Id should kick him in the head, knock him out, and hire one of the brutes in here to carry him back to her apartment. Hmm. She's about to voice something to that effect when Max decides he's not finished playing yet. The punch lands solidly, hard enough for her to double over. It doesn't make her bleed, but it is going to take a moment to recover from that one. Though as she goes down, she does something some might consider cheating. Her fingernails dig into his arm, scraping furrows in the flesh. That is going to buuuurn. And leave a few marks. Probably draw blood

It does. Three of four fingers dig heavy, bloody furrows across Max's forearm. Though he's still only semi-conscious, he lets out a gasp. It hurts so good. The punch to Id's stomach was the last card he had to play. He collapses next to her, bleeding freely from the scratches. His voice is still hollow and oddly spaced. "I. Fuck. You win. You bitch." Mindless of the gathered crowd, he wraps his unbloodied arm around her and pulls her against his chest. "I hate that I love it when you win."

Identity is rewarded with skin under her fingernails. Yum. She's still having trouble breathing as he pulls her over to him, an since he's conceded defeat, she doesn't feel one bit hesitant to sprawl on the mat. Whatever. She'll sucker punch anybody who makes a comment. "Kicking your ass is good for me. You should want good things for me." She sucks in a full, deep breath, and snickers. "Your rage pays off in the end."

Now that he's in close contact with Id, it's easier to operate by touch than sight. He closes his eyes and runs his fingers through her hair. His own breath is coming rough and ragged from the repeated hits to his injured side, but he's savoring the sensation. Drops of blood leak from the gouges on his arm and splatter to the mat. Looks like they got to make a few more stains, after all. He tips her chin back so he can meet her dark eyes with his own unfocused blue ones. "I do," he admits. "And I haven't had a beating like that since you left town. Nobody does it better, baby." For Max, this statement borders on lovey-dovey.

Id squints at him a little, then moves to rise, sliding a leg over his torso to straddle bruised ribs. She puts a little pressure on his ribs and says, "Somebody has to keep you…" Honest isn't the right word. In line? Yeah right. "… In pain." Works. "You think you can see straight to get to a cab?" She finally glances over to the spectators, whilst picking Max's flesh out from under her nails. "You. Red shirt. Call a cab."

Id's straddling elicits another wince from Max, but he still grips her thighs and pulls her closer. "You're…" His heavy brows furrow and press together. Whatever sentiment he was about to express dies on his lips. "I can't see much of anything, but I'll clear up in a few minutes. Won't let you hit me with that one so easily next time, either."

Id glances down to Max as he starts to say something. When he doesn't finish, she doesn't ask. Instead she leans in to kiss him—just a brief brush of lips, and slides off to offer him a hand up from the mat. "We'll both adapt. That's what makes it so much fun."

Max takes Id's hand and drags himself upright, his heavy body sagging against her lighter form. He lets out a low chuckle that slowly builds to a full-throated laugh as he allows her to lead him from the ring. He brushes a kiss of his own against the upper curve of her ear. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were starting to like me."

"You're man candy, I'm not ashamed to admit it." Identity just said 'man candy'. Yes, she did. Out loud, an in public. "Even if you hissy and pout now and then, a man who passes the six month mark without taking out a restraining order is hard to come by."

Max's second kiss is pressed against Id's cheek. It's gentle. Tender, even. "Don't think I didn't consider it," he murmurs as they limp toward the door. Like biblical waters, the assembled crowd parts en masse to make room for their passage as she supports him and he limps toward the door. "But nobody else was willing to bruise me and fuck me in the same night."

It's Identity's turn to chuckle. "You didn't consider it. You're not the kind of man to hide behind a piece of paper. Self righteous anger, sure. Never paper." She supports him to the door, scooping up her duffle along the way. The whole 'call a cab' thing was more for show than needing a cab called. It's New York. One does not call, one hails. They're everywhere. "I still have your credit card number—I'll just order something and have them leave it." She quirks a crooked smile at that and steps out into the NY night. "… I've been thinking of having a jacuzzi installed." It's great that she mentioned his credit card and a jacuzzi in the same breath, isn't it?

Max is disoriented, but he's not out of it enough that this slips under his radar. "What?" he asks eloquently. "Damnit, if I find out you're getting furnishings installed on my dime, we'll have a reckoning that no piece of paper will fix." He glowers down at his lover/sparring partner, but still can't help but smirk. "You're just pissed because I have more money than you do."

"I work hard. I'm good at my job." Id snorts and gives Max a little shove toward a cab as it pulls to the curb after her hail. "If you want to fight over your bills, we can do that. You never should have told me how you happened upon that money." She flashes him a pearly grin. "Get in the cab and stop whining."

THUD! Max lands ass-first in the cab, still shirtless, bruised, bloody, and disoriented. "I have money," he informs the cabbie helpfully. Then he scoots over to make room for Id. "Jesus. Did we get married without my noticing it? 'Swan, do this. Maxxy, pay for that.'" He laughs, though, and stretches his arm out so Id can get close during the ride back.

Id hops into the cab once Max has moved over to make room. She pulls the door closed, and gives the address of her building. "I would remember if we did. There are presents involved, not to mention a honeymoon on the nude beaches of Spain. Your credit wouldn't recover from that for months. Don't tempt me." She'll do it. Id slides across the seat to body up against Max inside the cab. This serves two purposes—1) groping is easier, and 2) the closer together they stay, the less of the cab they have to touch, thusly reducing the chance of stepping in something foul.

Thankfully, the ride is brief. All the same, Max keeps Id cuddled partway into his lap. He's not keep on contacting the cab either, but she's a lady. Sort of. Hopefully the cabbie doesn't mind two bloody, beaten people snuggling in the back of his ride. When they arrive, Max tosses the man a fistful of bills that far exceeds the fare. Bleeding. Have girl. Don't care.

Cabbies have had much more interesting things happen in the back of their cabs. This one, if he cared at all, ceases to the moment the extra cash hits his hands. He gleefully drives off while Identity helps Max to the building, and inside. "You're fine for the stairs, right?" Hopefully, because she lets go and starts to make her way up without him. She flips open her cell and places an order. Sadly, for Max, she rattles of the credit card number without checking notes. Hey, it took her forever to learn that fucker. She's dyslexic. ".. just leave it by the door." Click.

Stairs. Goddamn stairs. Laboriously, Max hauls his body up flight after flight of stairs. He's lagging substantially behind Identity, pausing frequently both to catch his breath and to allow the pain in his flank to subside. Still a flight below her, he calls out a ragged, "Slow… the hell… down." From the sound and speed of his irregular clomping on the stairs he's trying to keep up, but it just isn't working.

"It's only the second floor, sugar. You obviously need some better meds." Id turns to face him, stopping to wait for Max to catch up. She leans against the railing, legs crossed at the ankles, and glances at her wrist as if looking at a watch, timing his slow progress toward her. "You can do it, champ. Just a few more steps."

"Bitch," Max growls at her affectionately. When he reaches the landing he loops an arm around her shoulders. He has most of his equilibrium back, but he's still a sore sonofabitch. "Take me inside. Give me the perfect ending to a perfect date. But you get to be on top this time."

"Work, work, work." Id slides an arm around Max's waist and drags him off the landing and into the second floor corridor, down to #222. Jacuzzi should arrive in two weeks, give or take. She opens the door, shoves it open, shoves Max unexpectedly against the door frame, and bodies him to the wall. She's wearing sneakers, so tiptoes are necessary to execute the kiss. One hand presses his shoulder against the frame, the other rests against the base of his neck to hold him there. They'll make it to the bed eventually. Probably. Mostly.

That hurts, but Max likes it. He groans again, grinning at the same time. When Id kisses him he responds eagerly, even looping both hands under her thighs and pulling her up to straddle him against the wall. He bites down hard on her lower lip and crushes her against his injured torso. He's thorough, too. His strong fingers locate the spot where he landed a punch to Id's side and probes none too gently.

A hard knuckle to the ribs follows Max's fingers probing the forming bruise on her side. Her other hand snakes to the back of his neck, and she pulls him in away from the door, turning. A kick to the door sends it closed, hard. The shoes are the first thing to go once inside. The kiss is broken roughly, leaving her lip scraped and sore, probably to swell slightly. After a moment she pulls away from him entirely, twisting out of his grasp. She turns from him, using her speed an lack of limp to her advantage. Her top peels off and is tossed in the direction of the coffee table. She turns and faces him, backing toward the bedroom. The crook of a finger is implicit. Her hands are too busy with clothing clasps.

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