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A new day dawns

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A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:50 pm

BANG.

BANG.

BANG.

BANG.

The gunshots rang out clear in the expansive room in the basement of Leopold Douglas Thomas Ricard Eames IV's grand mansion. But there was a very distinct grimace on her lovely red lips, her dark eyes narrowing as she stared out at the target at the far side of the room from behind her safety goggles. Her long hair was tied back for once in a lazy bun, the strands of her long bangs coming to hang back in front of her one eye as she removed the headphones and goggles. With the press of a button, the target came whizzing back to her, allowing her to see just how she had performed. All in a perfect little cluster, and still she was grimacing. Although Karen could shoot as good as a marksman, she hated guns. They were too quick, too loud, and.. ugh. They just weren't elegant at all.

Placing the gun back down, she began to pack up everything which took all of several minutes, closing the door to the shooting range with a soft click. Enough of that training. She merely wanted to see how her proficiency had fared given how long it had been since she fired a firearm. So with a faint smirk, Karen moved onto her usual room, drawing her Twin Lotus' from the sheath at her hip. She was wearing her normal flowing red dress, her long legs exposed a little to reveal that today she had indeed decided to strap the holsters for her Silent Peckings. Twirling them about inbetween her fingers, she immediately leaped into action. She seemed like a blur of white and red as she danced through the air, slashing in rapid succession at some invisible foe upon the hardwood floor. It was then that she cast one of her kukri machete's out at the air, the leather chord appearing to shoot out of her white jackets sleeve, sending the knife out to cut through the distant targets at the far edges of the square fighting ring. With a flick of her wrist, her blade came whizzing back to her, a gratifying slap signaling its return to her hand. She stopped as if on a dime, her pose perfect as was her technique. The targets clattered to the floor, and it was then that she slowly straightened up. Sheathing her knives, she nodded once in satisfaction at her work, a blossom of inner peace filling her. Blades were such superior weapons, and hardly anyone appreciated them anymore. It was all about guns, heavy artillery, and explosives. What beauty was in those?

Her heels clicked against the floor as she started to walk away when suddenly targets shot up behind her, their rubber bullets ready to fire. She whipped around in the blink of an eye and threw her kunai, narrowing her eyes as they embedded themselves into their targets. They powered down and drooped, causing a small chuckle to rise in her throat. Excellent. Most excellent. She had to be sure she remained in peak condition given the very important person she was charged with protecting. Leon... It had been several years since she was first assigned to him, and she still felt as if it was the best thing that had ever happened to her.

With graceful fingers she tugged at the tie that held her hair up, allowing the ebony locks to cascade down her back as it so often did. Initially she had held some misgivings about being assigned as an assistant to this foreign man she had barely heard anything about, but now? She couldn't help but smirk slightly as she walked over to those targets to retrieve her kunai. He was the constant crash of waves, he was the rock that held the mountain up, he... He was the only thing to have remained the same in her life ever since she was born. She wouldn't trade this post for the world.

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:06 pm

The clinks of blades against paper targets and the sounds of razor-sharp kukri knives slicing through invisible enemies' flesh was one not unfamiliar to one Leopold Eames IV. The Cretan sighed to himself, the one eye not obscured by a simple black leather patch flicking from the book sitting cradled in two gloved, metal hands towards to door towards a dojo and training room. The pair took turns, usually, unless they were sparring; they'd agreed that being in there with the other often made them lose concentration.

Despite Karen's nature as his protector, Eames trusted no-one, truly, but himself to really defend him. The strongest leaders have enforcers - but even then, they need to have some contingency of their own. Eames ensured that he kept himself in the best shape possible, and at the very least strived to be on par with his bodyguard. Given that he had the best combat automail he could find patented and developed - lightweight, flexible, durable, and strong - before installing it, he had something of an unfair advantage, but one was never truly that much better than the other.

Karen tended to adhere to a far stricter training regime than he did. Eames calmed himself, taking a deep, long breath between pink lips, and exhaled a moment later as his eyes flicked back down to the nineteenth-century Xingese text. Reading from right to left was the one thing - even if he had every character and the various ways and dynamics of its use committed to memory - that still irked and irritated him on a day-to-day basis. No matter how many times you reinvent yourself, there are some habits you just can't kick.

'The flames of Sanjin's heart-' Shling. Fwip. A low growl escaped the man's mouth as he stared towards the plain pinewood door, and looked to the ceiling, the odd cloud of powder puffing outwards from various small crags and cracks in the plaster - the paper-clad wooden targets were chained to the ceiling, so when either one of them assaulted them relentlessly with shot or sword, it was needless to say that the foundations of the house didn't really take too kindly to it.

Eames sighed, and let that golden iris fall upon the page once more. 'The flames of Sanjin's heart were unquenchable, and even with the advice of Bao in the front of his mind-' Shling. Fwip. Whoosh. Crack. Thud. Kunai. Another growl. Eames flexed mechanical fingers beneath a synthetic lycra-like 'skin' that he'd installed over the automail - gloves, to keep the nature of his limbs hidden until the last moment - and sighed, slamming the book shut and watching another cloud of dust fly out to combat the freshest burst of powder that had just appeared, courtesy of Karen.

Raising to his feet, the billionaire stretched, thrusting his chest forwards and his arms out to the side. He let every muscle that he could control flex and contort beneath his control; contractions, trying to desperately surge energy through them, letting his mind control the body and not the other way around. Everything was in his head; it was just thoughts and feelings, nothing else.

The man, frame slender and muscled, let the noise lapse and die down. At least she'd stopped firing the gun - that was enough. It was time for the pair to swap over, anyway - a glance at the clock read quarter-past-twelve. Sooner or later, they'd have to grab lunch. As Eames smiled and his stomach grumbled, the prospect seemed better and better with each instant.

Light dancing along the edge of Durandal as the blade sat magnetically clipped to the space between his shoulders, Eames placed one foot in front of the other in a slow, methodical, and calculated walk. Everything, for him, was dynamics, measurements, calculations, assumptions, lengths, heights, weights... mathematics, statistics... engineering. It was the way he'd been brought up. Cold efficiency and hard steel were the two things he valued above all else in this life. It was why he used a sword - with guns, so many moving parts meant so much could jam and go wrong. With a blade, it's a simple shape. It functions optimally whatever the weather; whether it's wet, rusted, over-used, under-used, weighted badly... the only fault can be on the user.

He let his hand fall upon the simple bronze door-handle, and sighed, pushing it open with just enough force that it didn't smash the door against the brickwork with the full brunt of Eames' strength, but that it still swung open to create an impression and a presence enough, even with someone who sometimes knew him better than he himself did. Karen was both parallel and the same as he was, in a way... she knew his most binary of movements, and she oft quiet, stoic, defensive, and highly passionate about her job - but whenever things got a little too chaotic, whenever Eames got a little too engrossed in the past, or, even, the future... she was always there to drag him back down to Earth, time and time again. And though it went unsaid, most of the time, he thanked her for it - so damn much.

Laying a hand on Durandal's hilt, and grinning towards her, he let his mouth slip open. Her form, her stance - perfect. Deadly and beautiful, white coat and ebony locks working together, a perfect image. The Lotus Twins, her machetes he'd come to know and respect so well for how quickly they could cleave through a target - they were soldiers just as much as they were executives - held ready and active in her hands. She could tear a man apart in an instant.

The blade swung forwards with an impressive whoosh, seemingly carving a line in the air itself. There was enough space between the pair for him to do it with enough grandiose that she could respect it, put not too much that he looked like a pompous twat. The blade was light, lengthy, and weighted perfectly to his hands - one or two, he could still wield it efficiently and effectively. Many corpses, if hadn't had their vocal abilities liberated from them by Durandal itself, would have testified to Eames' skill with the blade - such a simple structure. And his favourite.

Their eyes locked for a moment. Ferocity, yet playfulness and calm in each. The eye of the hurricane, each of them. Parallels. True and complete trust - it was why she owned over thirty percent of his business. And if things went well on his side, it would be more. Though, if things went badly on his side, it would be a lot more.

"Good training?" Brief, simple, nothing more, nothing less. Bare essentials. He shot a quick look to the twins, a cocky smirk atop his face, just hoping she'd savour the stance as an invitation - a chance to put the bastard in his place.

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:16 am

Karen whipped around as the door opened, her kunai in one hand with one of her Twin Lotus' in the other. She knew full well who was opening it, but her muscles were still in instinct mode, not logic. Her black eyes focused upon the handsome figure that had so carefully opened the door without shattering it (thank the ancestors), a smirk beginning to rise on her lips. She straightened up slowly, sliding the kunai back into the holsters at her upper thighs with a soft shick, her long bangs hiding her one eye from view. Had she over-stepped her time boundary? No, she was always very careful about that. After all, she kept his timetable and made sure he got to places on time. Her eyes only briefly followed the descent of his own blade as he strolled at such an easy pace into the room with her, standing tall and to attention as she had been trained to from such a young age.

Both of them had been groomed and polished since birth for the roles they both now possessed. He was the wealthy, extremely so, company owner with eloquent manners, an intelligence as sharp as a spear, and an inventive streak that would have made Edison or Leonardo da Vinci jealous. He designed weapons, upgraded his automail, maintained the various lines of trade between his company and others, trained as much as she did, and even impressed the elite that came to chat with him. To use a Cretan phrase, he was bloody brilliant.

But what of her compared to him? She... She had been a trained assassin. Thats what she considered it now. The nicer phrasing would be that she was trained to be a covert soldier, but... That was just words. Fancy, unnecessary words that sugar-coated the simple fact that she was an assassin. After all, so many could be distracted by a pretty face with a pretty body. They wouldn't even notice the poisoned hairpin until it was too late. So how in the world did she fit next to a man of such grandeur? She didn't. Or at least thats what she believed. She would never be on the same plane of existence as Leon, and that was a fact she had accepted within the first week she had spent under his employ. And yet they weren't just an employer and employee. They were... friends. Could she say that? Did she have a right to say that? She knew he would instill that right even if her own brain had some problems accepting it as fact.

So the two of them stared the other down, her second Twin Lotus coming into view. Oh she did love this game that they played with each other. Her fingers gripped the wooden handles in shifting tighteness, her eyes watching her employer carefully. "Good training?" Taking a couple of steps around as if in a wide circle, she paused and let her one foot step back in preparation for a fight, her two blades poised at the ready. "Of course. Would you care to begin sir?" She answered in her soft, demure voice, her eyes never leaving him since she knew well the dangers of not paying attention for even a split second. He was as skilled as she was with a blade. Woe to those who had tried to fight them, or even dared to think such thoughts.

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:11 pm

"Of course. Would you care to begin sir?" Eames inclined his head, and let his slender metallic fingers clench tightly around the hilt of Durandal, smiling that cocky smile of his. She was playing the defender, here. She'd mirror, block, twist, and contort, adapt and understand his fighting style; he needed to be fast, he needed to be wild, and unpredictable.

"With pleasure, Karen," The words' resounding throughout the room barely faded before he dove in at her. He'd ease into the fight, or so he told himself; work things up from the base, allow them to set a pace - and then he'd strain her, and she'd strain him. Their sparring, their practice - it had to be reciprocal, otherwise they'd lost on every front. That was the rule.

And, of course, the competition added an element of ego into it. Sometimes, he won. Others, Karen won. She'd taught him a vast majority of what he knew, and it was his nature to take his base knowledge and mold it into something vastly different. A Western-influenced blade discipline using Xingese crafts. It was so simple, yet when the two cultures and combat styles clashed together, the offspring was so deliciously complex, and ideal in every light Eames could see it through.

He wasted no time with powerful swings that she could counter with swift jabs, and he didn't have to. Durandal was hefty, but he wielded it as their monarch would a switchblade; a simple horizontal slash, then he swung the blade around, and pulled it over his head, coming down with an overhead cleaving movement. Jumping forwards, to make things just that little extra bit personal, his lungs burning with material excitement, joy, and satisfcation, as if someone had lit a blaze inside his throat, he brought the blade up moments before it touched the ground, and pushed it into a jabbing movement, aimed directly at her midsection.

They were simple moves, and chained together fluidly and with the arms of a skilled bladesman; but he was just setting the bar, really. This was the way it always worked. He fought, she defended, then the roles flipped. With every turn, the ante was bumped up that little extra bit, things got closer, more personal, the combat became wild and unpredictable, taking on a mind and soul of its own. Entwined in that bloody dance of theirs, Eames could already feel a thin, bright film of sweat, that the light would dance across, forming across his brow. To some, sipping champagne and eating thousand-dollar caviar was luxury. To him? This was it, plain and simple. The ability to fight, to exercise any routine or movement you wanted to, to be able to practice any discipline with one who respected you. That was a luxury that shouldn't be dismissed - not then, and definitely not ever.

With a slight pant, he let a grin stretch across his face, the battle heating up. Those golden irises of his filled and flooded around narrowing pupils as he twirled Durandal in his hand, letting it briefly swap from the clutch of both to just his predominant right. Ambidextrous due to the automail's being fitted, he still had a preference, as any would; his upper arm was significantly more toned on the right than on the left, too.

He flashed her a look. A beckoning grin. One that told her that he'd made his play, and now it was her to dive in with her retort. This was as commonplace for the pair as conversation would be; exchanging blows as others would insults or words. They weren't shaped by battle. They were defined by it.

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:11 pm

Metal touched metal, the clinks of his automail faint but clear to her since she knew what to listen for. After all, if something seemed to be falling towards any kind of disrepair, she was always right on top of ensuring that it didn't stay that way for long. Usually he was fine at being on top of that though. The cocky smile didn't phase her in the least bit, her body remaining as still as stone as her dark eyes continued to watch him steadily. So just how was her employer going to come at her this time? She knew he was already calculating what would be best given the fact she went defensive first as opposed to offensive. Never attack first if you can help it. Although for the two of them that would hardly be an issue. They practically had this all down to a science (hardly surprising given Leon's interests). "With pleasure, Karen."

Hmmm.... Now that almost seemed as if he'd be playful-- Karen hardly got any time to really ponder that as he moved, her muscles already tensing and relaxing as they needed to to move. It was time to let her training take over, to let the inhibitors melt away to the background. It was time to fight. They never had normal sparring matches that were friendly and rule based. The only rule they had? No serious injuries, and no death. Death was generally bad. That would be her out of a job, and probably the loss of the closest friend she ever had. He would lose an extremely capable assistant, and a dear friend. Or that was what she liked to believe. They certainly didn't have some simple distant employer-employee relationship. They were friends. That was the bottom line. But was that the way it was supposed to be? Ever since she had been sold into that place, it had been drilled into her the contract was what was most important. Completing the mission.

That was not the case now. Her twin blades parried his blows easily, the momentum that went through them flowing downwards from her arm to the movements that followed through. She could block his blows with one blade, but for safety's sake she used both for the time being. There was a talent in deflecting blows without using a lot of energy. If she had to shift her balance with her feet, she did so. To the side, then up, the on a diagonal. Side-step, forward, back, spin and GO! As she spun to aid in the deflection of his stab downward, it was now that she used her own momentum to aid in the propelling of her blade that she sent flying in an arc to slice at his midsection, the blade glinting wickedly in the light. She came to a stop and jerked her arm back slightly, catching the the kukri machete as it came flying back to her. She didn't need his beckoning grin to know it was time to move, though it was a pleasant thing to see. It was her turn.

As soon as it was back in her hand, she darted forward, the dance beginning between them. The introductions were over. Her moves were graceful, and quick as a snack. One blade would attack in one direction, say a slice at his upper torso and the other would go low. But as soon as the moves were done, she'd be onward with a fresh set that would, or wouldn't hit their mark. She had complete confidence in his ability to block, and if he somehow failed, she was able to pull her blows so they wouldn't go through and draw blood. Jabs, swift kicks at his ankles, her movements were just as rapid fire as his hand been. This was how they danced. Not in some ballroom weighed down in frippery that added fifteen pounds to you and some slow music to follow or some such. This. This frenzy of metal, sweat, and danger. Neither of them would have it any other way.

Jumping back, her grip shifted on her two machete so that one went slicing forward through the air, taking that time to throw three of her kunai at him. She had the timing down to a science, a finger melding with the leather chord to move it so her machete would follow a desired path, already moving forward to catch it before giving him another series of blows to contend with. While he did indeed have more strength in his blows, she had more speed. So how was he enjoying this dance with his raven?

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:04 pm

Eames momentarily played on the defensive as he recognised Karen's typical foray into her battling modus operandi. It was entirely momentum-based; she used her own energy to further perpetuate her strikes, and continue accelerating until she was naught but a blur of steel. She was deadly fast, and deadly strong; her blows nicked and cut at Durandal as Eames curved it in and out of place to block her blades.

One of the machetes lanced across his automail, and in reaction, feeling the blow seep through his body and skeleton, he shuffled backwards. It drew a thin, tight line across the paintwork, and Eames growled as Karen began to kick at his legs. It was effective, but it was fighting dirty - something that he'd always noted she'd liked to do. In warfare, to them, nothing was by the book, and nothing wasn't. It was always just what you were able to do by the constraints of your own flesh and blood.

However, as was inevitable with any momentum-based process, one of two things would eventually come to happen. Exhaustion would hit, and, thrumming with energy, Eames would turn around, unleash stronger, and more precise blows, and break through her blocks with ease, or she would accelerate fast enough that not even the most skilled in all the world - namely Mrs. Lo herself - would be able to keep control of the whirlwind of the two blades. She would trip up, or slip up, or lose grip; the blade would fly at him, and she would open up a window for attack, where he'd knock her down the ladder, all the way to the bottom. He was a snake lying in wait. She was a howling, shrieking wolf, scratching, clawing, snapping, biting...

Either way, as her combat style was built upon the physical principles of momentum, his own was based solely upon another thing. Precision. He knew where and when to strike, and just enough force to apply. Never too greedy with a swing, and never too sparing. Enough to break a block, but never enough to draw blood. That was always the way Eames worked, personally. Strength at a balance.

For them? Rage never factored into it. It was sparring. It was practise. Letting that rage siphon out was just... second-nature, now. Anger was abhorrent; eternal calm was the standard. Outside the dojo, Eames could flip shit as much as he liked - after all, it was his manor. But inside the arena, they were still in their perpetual movement, like a pool of water in their whirling of steel. Fluid, capable, impressionable, but always calm.

The three kunai. He saw the movement coming before they flew through the air, and curved out of the way, sweeping Durandal upwards to bat away two of them that weren't headed wide. But, as he knew all too well, the knives were simply a distraction; his one golden eye settled then upon a leather-chord strung viciously-sharp machete aiming to slash a crimson line across his side. However, the blade, luckily enough for Eames, was already in place enough for a counter-measure. Inches, no, centimetres before it drew close to his coat, blade met blade for yet another time, and the blow glanced downwards.

He'd broken the string of momentum; the machete, still attached, didn't bounce back, but with Eames' intervention, headed straight for the floor. Karen would waste valuable time retrieving it, and now was the time to strike. With a simple overhead blow, Eames darted back in, releasing a low snarl as he did so. It was nothing more than a battle-cry, a release of energy so tentatively stored and absorbed as she'd struck at him relentlessly over those last few moments.

He carved, slashed, and hacked away at what she would undoubtedly ensure to be air when the time came. Another three blows linked together, almost weaving a zig-zag pattern in front of Karen's torso with the deadly tapered point of the greatblade. His movements weren't getting noticeably faster, but he too was using his own momentum to perpetuate further swings.

Drawing Durandal back once more, Eames leapt forwards to be but inches from his bodyguard, having pulled the tip of the blade across the ground and up into the air, over his head, opening small furrows across the ground as a testament to the blade's impeccable condition. With an uncanny smile, he pulled himself into a jump, ready to have the blade slam down upon her. No longer were they playing; this dance had all-too-quickly, as it always did, reached its climax.

But who was to be this session's victor was always undetermined. The odds were at as an even a spread as they could be; one to one, fifty-fifty. Only time would tell; and only the mindset of each as the other assailed them would give any clues whatsoever.

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:57 am

Oh dear, she had knicked his automail. His growl rang in her ears despite the focus upon the battle, realizing full well she was probably going to hear an earful once they were finished. For now though, all she could really feel was the thrill of this battle dance. This was the only dance she knew, this was what had been drilled into her head ever since she joined that place ages ago with no real explanation as to why. Abandoned. It angered her that she remained so constrained by that inherent fear of being alone again, and it came out in her attacks. They were more vicious, sudden, and unforgiving. Yes, this was the only dance she knew, but she did it well. Extremely well. And no one could take that from her. The animal retreated back within her core, her blows getting pulled just a bit more so as to lessen the risk of actually hitting him. This was Leon. She had hardly ever called him Mr. Eames ever since she came here, he was just Leon to her. Together they made this dance a thing of beauty as opposed to darkness. They were the yin and yang to the other, and together they created serenity.

CLANG

The sound echoed in the sparring hall as her blade went shooting into the ground, the leather chord falling still. Shit. He had found it. She had two options, retrieve it, or prepare for the strike. In the form of a compromise, she darted forward as if to retrieve it, but instead drew out a single kunai to act as a temporary replacement for her beautiful twin lotus. They met with a resounding clang as blade met blade, her remaining machete coming up with the kunai to block his blow. She used the force as she pushed away the blow to propel herself back, leaving more space between them as he began his onslaught. The kunai was quickly knocked away as she blocked his Z attack, leaving her with just her machete as the blade drew dangerously close to her. It even knicked her dress, leaving a tear that exposed a line her pale belly beneath. Fair enough. She left her left hand free, moving backwards closer and closer to her other machete. If she could just get to it and get it free....

He was drawing back which meant he would leap. She had to act now. Rolling to the side, she ended up right next to her machete, gripping the handle and tugging for all she was worth. He was airborne, there was resistance, she had to get it free! It seemed as if time slowed as he descended upon her with his blade raised high, a soft shick echoing in time and space as she brought both blades up to block. Sparks flew as she crouched there, one knee on the floor, her two blades forming an X to block the blow with all its force behind it. Her muscles trembled with the effort, but she pushed it to the side in the hopes of causing him to bury his sword in the ground, rolling to the side again. Karen quickly stood and stepped forward, one blade at his throat and the other at his abdomen. She was panting, the air just a bit cold against the cut he had made in her dress. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she stood there for a moment or two, letting this moment just sink in and calm itself. "You owe me a new dress sir." She spoke softly, a faint smirk upon her red lips.

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Re: A new day dawns

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:28 pm

"You owe me a new dress sir." Eames chuckled, setting Durandal down, carefully moving his body in a way not to glance himself on his cohort's blades, and smiled up at Karen; slowly, ever so slowly, he brought his hands together in the most magnificent of slow claps, letting a prowling chuckle escape from his mouth like a tiger still coming into full swing.

Before long, it boomed and resonated throughout even the upper halls of the Xingese mansion, and Eames smiled as he backed away from Karen's blades, now with no fear of them whatsoever. That was magnificent. A number of people he knew would feel degraded, beaten, defeated, and vulnerable, but Eames and Karen were far too close for that nonsense; plus, she'd obliged him! All that mattered was the tingling of sweat on his skin, the thin film of salty perspiration that was symptomatic of a good sparring session, and nothing else.

The reason that it was just as sweet in defeat as it would have been in victory was a plain one; they had both learnt, and Karen had pre-empted what Eames was trying to do, and spun it against him. In his attempts to use her momentum against her, he had gotten irritated, and angry; then, she had turned that back against him. It was a beautiful triple-cross, a working of emotions against their forms and proprietors. It was everything Eames thought necessary for such a beautiful dance as they had experienced.

"That I do," He sighed, the laughter calming beneath his now-sore jaws as he shook his head, having not allowed himself to be as exuberant as that in a very long time. To others, this would've looked odd; a viciously powerful company executive looking so very pleased at the prospect of defeat... but despite what all else thought, when it came to Karen? He was humble. He didn't care. Both parties had learnt something, even if it was the most minimal of details about the other combatant, or of their own physicality and their own limits.

Eames grasped the blade and his coat from the ring of the arena, and clipped the former back into place whilst slipping the latter on, and smiling, still. A golden iris flashed beneath the light of the basement arena, and he turned in full form to Karen now. His face calmed, strained, and took on a slightly more stern demeanour momentarily as he spoke. "Don't forget. We've a business trip in Central on Monday,"

None of the others just understood how pleasurable these experiences, these little clashes were. No matter how they were separated in class, occupation, knowledge... on the battlefield, Eames and Karen were one and the same, equal in every way, shape, and form. Just as fallen soldiers were joined, arms linked, in dance macabre as they fell to shot, shell, and sword; they were inextricably linked and interconnected in ways that neither could yet fathom.

He calmed himself and allowed his form to fade, the soreness and tension in his muscles to dissipate, and looked up to the ceiling with a single uncovered eye, and unleashed a roaring sigh, a bellowing exhalation, a grand breath, simply for the purpose of allowing himself relief. It was the same as a cup of coffee after a banquet, or a cigarette after a one-night stand; a sigh after a battle just summarised it, the two ideals juxtaposed completely. A flurry of ferocity combined with such a simple act of relief.

So he stood there, garbed and ready, wreathed in that cloak of his, his foot now tapping against the floor impatiently as he folded his arms and looked across to her, smirking. "Well? Don't I have to buy you a new dress?" Maybe she was his equal in many more ways that one - and maybe they were destined to do things, great in a number of scales of the word. But for now, they were still bound by the contract of employee and employer - and bound by the friendship that the pair had so beautifully established.

[END THREAD]

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