The staccato thumps of meat against the padded leather of the training bag echoed through the empty cargo hold of the ship. Krynn stood clad only in glistening sweat from the waist up as he danced on the durasteel plate floor in his black boots. A wobbling drip of sweat hung on his nose tip as he slammed a fist wrapped in cloth against the bag again as the diva watched from across the room reclined luxuriously across the tops of some crates doubling as a lounge.
Krynn snarled at the bag as he lost himself in the rhythm of his blows and the dull ache burning his body. He was driven to be ready for the upcoming mission. He pushed himself focusing the pain back into the bag. He ground his teeth making the ache fuel his anger, and using that to drive the engine of his body faster and harder.
He dodged back and reared a fist thrusting if forward with a primal sound akin to a roar in anything but a man. The blow slamming the bag and making it fly improbably far against the chains holding it up. Making them jerk and rattle as it fell back to its swaying plumb. The Chiss took a relaxed posture as he smoothed his hand over his knuckles and stretched his body out.
The sudden stillness was somewhat disappointing. Sitting upright, Aidenne hugged her knees against her chest as she continued to watch the Chiss warrior. The play of the muscles beneath his skin, the raw power in his movement… it was more than just an enjoyable show. While his task was to learn more about this part of the galaxy and the people on the ship, she felt it was her task to learn more about him. And short of watching him in action, this was the best way.
“I’m surprised you didn’t break anything,” she told him with a throaty little chuckle.
“Nothing left to break.” He looked over at her holding up the back of his left hand. “I had broken the small bones in my hands so many times as a youth my parents and the military just started replacing them with artificial bone splints. If you like, I could show you the scans in my room.”
“I was talking about the bag, actually.” With a slow, luxurious stretch, she rose from her spot and crossed to his side. “May I see your hand though?”
He held it out for her to inspect. It had many scars, most were faded with time and extensive bacta treatments.
Her delicate fingers traced over his skin, skimming past the scars to feel the bones beneath. “I hadn’t noticed these before.” It went without saying that she was generally distracted by other parts of his skin. She stepped away from him to touch the bag as if she could still feel the memory of the blows. “You’re good with your hands. But I want to see you armed.”
He looked at her quizzically. “I did not bring such equipment.”
A feline little smirk tugged at her perfect lips. “I could fix that you know.”
“As you wish.” He smiled softly mirroring hers. “I shall find something to use as practice.”
Shaking her head, she reached up to touch his lips. “I could make you promise not to cut me.”
“As you wish.” He replied looking into her eyes.
Aidenne hated to leave the room, to break the spell woven by sweat and strength in this empty space. But her blades, like all her tools, were safely tucked away in their place. They were certainly not something she had planned on using for this job. However, since they had a little bit of time left to them. “What would you do if I told you not to move?”
He raised an eyebrow and responded, “Then I would remain still until relieved.”
“Mmm… I thought so.” Golden eyes sparkling with an undefined sort of hunger, she quickly took a step back from him. “In that case, just relax and wait here until I come back. Please.”
His posture melted as he nodded the affirmative, “Yes diva.” He began to lightly dance and shadow box as he watched her closely in case she amended the order at the last minute.
The tiny diva didn’t look back as she left him in the cargo hold. He wasn’t going anywhere, but that didn’t mean she wanted to waste time. Heels barely touching the floor, she ran lightly through the conveniently empty ship, her brilliant hair streaming like a banner behind her. Unlike the poisons, Aidenne kept her blades in a case under her bed. Most were simply tools, a means to a physical and satisfying end. Only two were special. She wouldn’t be sharing those.
Her nose wrinkled lightly as she considered carrying the case back down to where Krynn was waiting for her. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to have him come along. But since he wasn’t going to get bored and come looking for her, she was going to have to deal with the effort. Moving much slower this time, she made her way back to the cargo hold and smiled to find her Chiss exactly where she’d left him.
She dropped the case to the floor and flashed him a wicked grin. “Let’s see if I have something big enough for you.”
Krynn stared at the case on the floor. He was certain that there would be adequate tools in the case. Even the ones sized for her would probably be at least functional. He reached down and unclasped the lid and slowly opened the case peering inside.
“These are mine though.” Reaching inside, she wrapped her fingers around the grip of a vibro-blade. It was more than her favorite; it was personal. After a moment she reached in again and selected a second, slightly longer blade as well.
He watched her with the blades. She seemed to be quite familiar with them as he was with his. He wondered if she would attack him unarmed. She wasn’t planning to kill him that was for sure. How much force would he meet her with? He shouldn’t use lethal force, but that made everything more difficult.
“Ordinarily I’d strip down to match you,” she told him with a wicked smirk. “But I think I’ll keep my clothes today… in case I’m careless enough to let you cut me. At least I’ll have a small layer of protection.” Her golden eyes met his red ones in the cool space of the room. “Unless you don’t think you can restrain yourself.”
He stood there empty handed looking at her delicate body and blades. Krynn didn’t know how well sparring with her would go. If he was really to battle her he knew how to use his strength and body to decisively end the fight, but here that was not an option. He also hoped that he would not bore her. He lowered his eyes into an intense glare and dropped his hands to his sides stretching his fingers.”I will not harm you.”
“You’re stronger than I am.” Her gaze slowly traveled up and down his body but her grip on the blades never wavered. “And I’m sure I haven’t had the level of training that you have.” Her teeth caught her lower lip as she paused slightly. “Before I met Ures, my teaching lacked finesse. I passed the tests because it was that or be killed…” That wicked smile twisted her lips again. “And I had no intention of letting anyone kill me.”
“Kill or be killed.” He said watching her eyes intently.
The little Diva’s heart rate sped up as she met his gaze; she could feel the color rushing to her cheeks. “Kill or be killed,” she repeated softly. “But of course, we’re far more civilized here on the Soul.”
His eyes never left her. The exact moment he left his spot was almost imperceptible with her focus on him. She just suddenly noticed he had already left where he had been and relocked on him. He slowly began to circle her just out of reach of her blades; watching her.
She licked her lips again, feeling the rush that always came with a contest so impossibly beyond her skills. She couldn’t match him in a true fight, but on her terms… “I have to perform tonight.” Her tone was almost regretful as she watched him circle her. “So first blood ends it. For now.”
He nodded and continued to watch her without an ounce of hesitation in his expression.
Aidenne knew he could see it coming, the slight shift in her weight as she rose to the balls of her feet and darted toward him. He was more than simply bigger and stronger. She’d watched him long enough to see the grace in his movements. Being fast wasn’t going to be enough.
He wasn’t in optimum striking position by his own design. He was moving in such a way that her charge would have to either anticipate where he would be or where he was, both of which would be less sound than if he hadn’t been moving. In a sense he had handicapped them both. Her attack posture was high, and she was going to use her speed to try and out maneuver him with a flourish. He had suspected this would be her strongest form.
Using his forward motion rather than fighting his own inertia he rolled forward onto his palms at an angle and swinging inward toward her swinging his legs with his lower body with a twisting of his hips sweeping the side of his boot at the inside of the knee of her leading leg. He continuously watched the speed and force of the attack so that he was sure it wouldn’t injure her, and most likely she would be nimble enough to get out of the way.
His first move didn’t surprise her; it was calculated, testing. Aidenne jumped out of the way, orange hair fluttering around her as she rose to avoid his leg then came to rest back on the ground. But the sunset waves couldn’t hide the small grimace of pain as she landed wrong, her ankle twisting. She collapsed to the floor at his feet, unable, or unwilling, to look up at him.
Krynn looked at the diva as she lay on the floor holding her ankle. This was strange territory for him. Was he supposed to see if she was really hurt, or finish the fight? His training and instincts told him to exploit his prey’s weakness, but what if this was some other kind of test? He relaxed his stance and approached the limp form on the floor. “Do you require a medic?”
The Diva’s lips pursed into a tempting little pout as she looked up at him. Orange hair partially hiding her eyes, she didn’t move yet but simply watched his steps. “You didn’t really want to ask me that question, did you?”
He looked confused. “If you’re injured…”
Her muscles tensed briefly then Aidenne pushed herself up, ducking under his arms to press her blade against his throat. “And what do you usually do when your opponent appears to be injured?”Her lips were inches from his, the weapon still between them.
Krynn watched her and eyed the knife to his throat with a smile. “Are they an opponent, or something else?”
Her golden eyes took on a wicked glint as she pressed her blade in firmly, drawing that small amount of first blood. “Something better.”
He didn’t flinch as he stared back at her. “Something more… challenging.”
Her fingers brushed across the fresh wound, her eyes still locked on his as she held her fingers up between them. “And unexpected…”
“So, did you win?”
A throaty chuckle escaped her lips as she delicately licked the blood off her fingers. “Most definitely.” With another laugh, she closed the space between them, sharing the taste with him.
He kissed her as deeply as he pulled her close and licked the warm blood off her lips. ” And, did I perform to your satisfaction?”
Avoiding the more lascivious answer, Aidenne pulled away from him and turned to pack her weapons away. “Only because I know you wouldn’t hesitate with anyone else.” Looking back over her shoulder at him, she gave him an inviting smile. “Or at least I hope so.”
He curled a dark smile, “I never hesitate when it matters.”