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New World Therapy and Health Services

Shortly before the grand opening of Satyr Stadium

Late afternoon




Gena was cleaning the coffee pot in the break area, he could hear it layered between the cacophonies of pounding feet on the treadmills.  A fresh brew was coming, it was the only scent he really truly loved.  Eyes were carefully watching Chris on the wooden dummy as he waited for the new pot to finish, the guy was fast, but was already moving to the next hit before committing to the first.


“Being fast isn’t the goal,” he said quietly, catching the man’s fist with unnatural speed before it hit the target, deflecting the weak punch to the side.


Chris stumbled back slightly.


“I… I don’t want to break the dummy.”


Kai shook his head, “you won’t.  I barely pushed you and you lost your footing.”


“Yah, but you’re…” he let it trail, lowering his voice,  “…like me.  Stronger.”


The expressive brows quirked at him as he crossed his arms, “it’s built for us, to withstand our punches.  Do it again.”


Chris was one of the first Weres the cat had ever been able to tolerate for longer periods of time.  The veteran was building quite a school of students in his new facility.  Classes were starting to give way to individual training sessions.  He actually liked it better.  The solitary Were seemed to be becoming more welcoming… perhaps he was just building up the resilience to control the cat.  It may have helped that Chris was also of the feline variety, but he wasn’t a strong Were and was definitely nowhere near dominant despite his appearance.  The guy was big, had a few inches on the Brit and was built like a linebacker.  If the world were normal, in a bareknuckle it would be obvious who would win.  It wasn’t normal, Kai had a mix of complications, and Chris had been a bus driver that dabbled in botany.  Not that a bus driver that was also a competitive gardener couldn’t kick ass, it was just Chris hadn't, still couldn’t and most likely never would.


The big guy did it again.  He was fast, still noncommittal.  Chris simply didn’t want to hit things.


A long breath was drawn, tapping his thumbs on his biceps, “you’re not ready for a competitive fight.”


“I know,” he took a towel and wiped it over his features.  “I withdrew this morning.”


Kai’s features were quizzical, inside… he was elated. Third victory in as many weeks.  He’d taken it upon himself to personally seek out all the opponents signing up for that shitstorm of an entertainment venue and convince them to back out.  His arguments were valid.  They would become targets for being what they were, most likely get the crap kicked out of them, and not win anything.


“Are you sure?”


Chris nodded, soft spoken, “you’re right, the money is tempting but… I still don’t want people to know what I am.”  He glanced around the room.  “Nobody here knows about you, and you could kick my ass.”


“It’s not about ass-kicking Chris, really.”


There was a twinge of something, empathy?  The conversation continued quietly.


“It’s about not making us look like complete rabid brutes.  We’re targets for a variety of reasons, we don’t need to show the world how vicious we can be.  Mages… Outworlders… they have the good fortune of still being seen as human. We don’t.  People see us as animals. I don’t want to hide, but fighting in a ring in front of thousands of people is not the way to let people know who we are.  Proud of you for realizing it wasn't something for you.”


He took Chris’ place at the dummy, snapping through a series of motions.  The reinforced machine strained against his pulled punches.


“Before you move, feel all your forward momentum exit through your fist before committing to your next move.  Again.”


He stepped back and Chris ran through the complex series of moves again.




Kai’s always calm exterior hid the churning thoughts, resisting the urge to smile to himself as he crossed his arms and watched his student... another cancel.  Another victory.

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