Hayley - Cheeseburger in Paradise[Toggle Names]
Description: Hayley Bretherton has a chance encounter with the greatest of her childhood heroes...Lightning Spangles! Or at least the woman who was once Lighting Spangles. Hayley's enthusiasm rekindles an old flame in Jezebel, but just who might get burned? Or perhaps...grilled? Trigger warning: scene contains high quality burgers. Those with heart conditions should use caution.
Jezebel liked Darwin.
Not the scientist. She taught a lot about evolution through specials, and she was tired of pretending to be friends with a lonely loser who obsessed over species of birds. No, no, it was the Capital of Northern Territory, in Australia. It wasn't much of a city. But it was a trade port, that was close to Thailand, and a solid alternative to Perth. The cowgirl was dressed in her black leather pants, and mesh vest, and her black hat, and her black skull kerchief, which was not over her mouth, but around her neck. It was a bit sinister, being the Nightmare Spangles look. But there was a reason she was looking so dark.
She was moving girls.
It was a cargo service, over by the port. It was a Shadaloo boat. They would be loaded up, with some food, some water, and then they would be unloaded. She wouldn't be around it. She just had to supervise, and comfort people. She would be taking a cruise liner across to Thailand, on a swinging singles cruise. She wasn't very swinging, but she was single, and maybe, just maybe, she would be lucky. The kind of swinging singles who go to Thailand might be the pearl in the rough she wanted, she craved, she needed. So as the last of the crates are loaded on the vessel, she could only imagine in her richest fantasies.
What if her prince charming would find her there?
Hayley has been traveling about her home country for some time. While there are a few shining stars of martial arts in Australia, however, Hayley has found herself seeking greater challenges. Even so, she can't leave the country without giving it a fair shot--which has what has brought her into Darwin. She's--technically--on her way to way to Thailand instead.
But for now, she's been sidetracked by suspicious activity and an alleged sighting of a famed martial artist. For the moment, she's unaware of the goings on with the boat. At least, for the moment. Instead, she has another priority.
"Oy! Hey!" calls a young girl with black spiky hair. Today she is dressed in a red t-shirt that says "Fight Hunter" in yellow print. Her pants are blue jogging pants that are not too different from those of a karate gi. She has on sneakers and black MMA gloves. On her back is a hiking bag.
"Aren't you /the/ Lightning Spangles?" she says, once she's a little closer. "What are you doing out here?" A pause. "Err, what I mean to say is, g'day. I'm Hayley Bretherton! I heard you someone saw you out here while I was passing through, but I thought for sure they were mistaken." Another pause.
"You are Jezebel Faiblesse, right? The High-Kicking Cowgirl?" Hayley emphasizes this last part by kicking over her head a time or two.
When Jezebel first registers Hayley, it was cold and cautious.
Turning around to look at her, the cowgirl transfixes a single, mechanical eye on her, a narrow blue led light focusing. The other eye was nervous, as she glances up and down. "Oh, um, hello?" She says, glancing around nervously. Was she going to have to... do something. As the name is given, she furrows her brow. "Bretherton... Bretherton Bretherton Bretherton..." Jezebel mutters, as if the word means anything. "Do I know you from somewhere?" Jezebel tilts her head, looking just a bit nervous. She wasn't quite connecting what was happening... and then it clicks. Lightning Spangles. She called her Lightning Spangles. She called her a High Kicking Cowgirl. It suddenly clicks.
Hayley would see Jezebel's mechanical eye suddenly light up so bright, and her smile go so wide.
"I'm not legally Lightning Spangles anymore, but, but, oh god, Oh beautiful god of America, It's happened!" Jezebel lets out a squee, as she claps her wrists together, her fists into balls. "I always dreamed that one of my real fans, not one of my creepy, dirty, filthy fans, would find me here! And a girl! A real girl! Oh my god, I am going to- Oh god, you even kick like me! Oh my god! G'Day! GOOD DAYS! HA HA HA!" Jezebel starts crying real tears, losing her composure. Eventually, she snaps out of it, wiping away the tears on one cheek, and the blood from the corner of her lips from smiles.
"This is so beautiful, Hayley."
She comes down to a squat, beating the side of her head as she rambles. "Oh god, what do you want, my beloved, beloved Hayley!? I can give you anything! You want autographs? Pictures? You want my blood?" Jezebel babbles as she holds the side of her head. "I can give you clothing! You can have souvenirs! You can-" And a thought pops into her head. Coyly, she stands up, wrapping her arms around her back, turning side to side teasingly.
"Are you- are you going on the swinging singles cruise too?"
Hayley runs a hand through her hair, putting a hand on her her hip and looking away slightly when Jezebel goes over the name. "Yeah...Bretherton, like Art B--" But before she can finish, Jezebel goes into overdrive. Hayley bites her own lip, sucking on her teeth at the older woman's display of excitement. She watches it for a moment uncomfortably, perhaps unsure of how to respond.
"Oh, of course!" Hayley says. "Your show was m'favorite when I was growing up!" she offers, giving gesturing with an open palm. "I watched episodes between studying and filming. I'd practice my taekwondo that way too," Hayley says with a wary, overly emphasized chuckle.
"Well, err, I hadn't really heard o'/that/," Hayley says as she wipes her nose with her forearm. She claps her hands together, as though she's psyching herself up to ask.
"I'm actually a martial artist in training--well, I'm already a martial artist, but I'm developing m'own style. Part a' this is sparring with martial arts legends--like y'self!"
Something just sunders across the entire continent of Australia.
It's like a hammer crashing down on the very nature and element of humanity. A fierce and powerful hammer, dropped down with the force and energy of a hundred suns exploding in cascading fury. It is a cosmic scream rattling throughout the very essence of reality, not a scream of pain, of suffering, of fear. It is a scream of passion, of hot love and wild passion, pulsating through the entire galaxy as a spasm. It was the force to destroy timelines, to reset reality itself.
Because that is the force of what Jebezel feels for Hayley right now.
Jezebel starts undressing. She starts ripping off her clothes, her kerchief, laughing and giggling in a daze. She actually stops with her pants half off, her shirt rolled up, her hat on the ground. She looks at Hayley, blushing. "I need- I need a moment. I can't let you fight me like this, Hayley." She gestures off towards an unloaded crate. You need to fight Lightning Spangles. You need to fight the real woman. I need to give you that. You need the real Lightning Spangles." Her eyes cast across the entire harbour. "This entire place needs to be just like Lightning Spangles. This has to be more real than what reality could ever bring." Jezebel saunters towards the crate, just out of sight. She didn't know where there was a Lightning Spangles outfit. She didn't know where it was, anywhere. But she had to believe, and pretend, and it would be real. She would help Hayley embrace her inner spangles.
She would be her inner spangles.
Hayley has no idea what sort of cataclysmic force she may have unleashed. What she does know is that Jezebel is stripping in front of her. When it starts happening, Hayley's face turns a bright red. Graciously, Jezebel stops herself which gives Hayley a moment to recoup.
"Of--a'course!" Hayley says, turning around firmly to put her back to Jez. She's still blushing, of course, but at least now she isn't watching her childhood hero undress. "I can come back later if y'ud like? When yer all dressed the part and whatnot?"
Hayley rolls on her heels. "Oh I'm getting excited. I didn't think it was actually you, y'know? I figured some yobbo had too much t'drink..."
She had to be perfect for her coming out.
She had not been Lightning Spangles for so long. It was like a warm skin she could wrap around herself. A familiar cloak, a true lover. Men would leave her, women would lie to her. But Lightning Spangles? Lightning Spangles was more personal than anything else. But as she strips down, she worries. Where was she? Where was it? How could she? She needed something, she needed her costume. But where would she find one? All she had was the girls.
She goes to one of the crates. Not with people. But with something else, she hoped. Tearing it open with her bare hands, she stares in, wearing only her underwear. And she sees it. The costumes. When the girls would go to Thailand, they would need costumes. OF course. "I don't drink anymore!" She lies, as she rummages. Athena, no, why would she want to dress like that. A red kimono? Undesirable? A red witch's costume? She would burn it later.
And with a smile, she finds it.
Jezebel emerges from behind, wearing a Lightning Spangles outfit. Oh, sure, it was a little short in some places, a little too much support with too little padding with the vest, the jeans were more tights than jeans, and the chaps were a little revealing. And the tassels, don't forget the tassels. But the rhinestones were true, and the hat was just right. Emerging out was the true Lightning Spangles. It felt breezy. But a smile was burned on her lips, as she strides out, stomping out.
"BOOOOOOOOOY HOWDY Y'ALL! I'm Lightning Spangles, the All-American Hero!"
She gives a wink to Hayley.
"Can I get a yee-haw?"
Hayley has crossed her arms pensively by this point. She knew some celebrities could be eccentric, but maybe times haven't been kind to Jezebel since the cancellation. There did seem to be the issue with the eye, and well--Hayley is too distracted by the rummaging and the sound of a crate being cracked open. It takes a concentrated effort not to turn and look. Hayley resorts to stretching to limber up and get herself ready to go. She drops down into a low squat, extending on leg to the side and reaching to touch her toes before switching to the other leg.
And then it comes.
"Yee..." Hayley turns to face Jezebel. No, Lighting Spangles. She sees the costume and puts on her best smile. It's very practiced because sometimes you have to smile for the camera even when someone has just kicked you in the liver. "...haw!" Hayley finishes after a moment's pause. She claps her hands together.
"I see you found the costume! You really didn't have to go to all the...trouble," Hayley eyes it again, "but thank you! I really am a big fan."
"It's no trouble at all, because I am really Lightning Spangles!"
There was no Jezebel. Only Lightning Spangles. Every bounce lacked support, every spin was coming with such speed, that the whole outfit could fall right off. "The Sheriff of High Tail Town! The Rooting-est! Tooting-est! And High Kicking-est young lady to dare the west!" She then unleashes a roundhouse through the air. And then it becomes obvious that the cut of the tights do not go all the way up her legs, as she kicks high.
The absolute territory is short.
So is the cut of the underwear.
Turning around, it then becomes also obvious that the chaps are not complete, though fortunate the coverage of the underwear is more in the back than the front. Lightning Spangles pure, plastic smile is burned on her face, as her mechanical eye lasers in on Hayley. "But this isn't about me! This is about your personal journey, in joining Lightning Spangles as her brand new deputy in the brand new Lightning Spangles world! And before you can be a deputy, we gotta train you!" She crooks her fingers, in a grabbing motion.
"The Show-Up Hoe-Down Lightning Spangles Way!"
Hayley laughs nervously, running a hand through her hair. "I dunno, I feel like you went to all this trouble just f'me." There's a high kick that reveals a lot. Hayley nervously tries not to stare. When Jezebel turns around? Well, Hayley has to glance away entirely for a moment.
(Come on,) Hayley tells herself. (She probably just has some merchandise to peddle. Yeah, the costume is some novelty costume. That makes the most sense.)
Hayley shuffles on her feet. "Really? Me? I mean, you haven't seen me fight yet!" She offers. "I'm flattered for sure, but maybe we need spar first before making that kinna offer!" Hayley plants her feet wide, setting one foot in front of the other and raising her fists up defensively.
"But if that means you're ready to train, I'm ready when you are!" The thrill of a fight with a former belt holder. A taekwondo expert--maybe not on the level of Kim Kapwan of course, but still--that gets Hayley psyched enough to ignore the costume.
At least momentarily.
You can only ignore it for so long.
"Of course! Now, since I assume you already stretched, I mean, I always stretch." Jezebel smiles widely, stretching her back a bit too much, as it shows how the outfit is a bit too small. Tapping the tip of her nose, she leans forward a bit too far. "And I can always watch you! I used to train all my Show... up.... hoedown... friends...." Jezebel freezes, eyes wide, jaw locked in a grin. "All my Showup... Hoedown... Friends..."
It was a summer camp. The summer camp, the LIghtning Spangles Showup Hoedown Camper week. It was a special week where you got to go on a real cowboy campout with Lightning Spangles herself. It was a blend of contest winners, rich kids, and diehard fans. And then there was Kimberly. Kimberly was nine years old. She likes cats, she enjoyed playing spelling games.
Kimberly also had spastic hemiplegia.
There is almost a clicking sound as Jezebel unlocks. "That's right! So first things first! I want to see just where you are at with your training!" Jezebel falls into her Tae Kwon Do stance, smile burning at her lips, eyes wide, her mechanical light locked on. She touches the side of her eyeball, and winces. "Whoops! Wrong eyeball!" And she touches the mechanical one, as some upbeat training music plays. She swings her hips with the music, as it plays with a kind of mix of cowboy twang and 80s aerobics.
"Okay, come at me Kimberly!"
COMBATSYS: Jezebel has started a fight here.
Hayley by this point is already stretching. She hooks her forearm behind her elbow and works one shoulder, then the other. Transitioning into a tree pose from yoga, Hayley seems intent on ignoring it for just a little while longer. Hayley locks eyes with Jezebel. She bites her lip slightly.
But then, she's back in her fighting stance. Feet placed with one left slightly in front of the other and her fists up to guard, Hayley bobs back and forth.
"All roight. Just remember I'm not /just/ a Tae Kwon Do fighter, Miss Spangles!" she says, knocking her fists together then powering forward in a low leap. The leap ends just short of Jezebel when Hayley plants her foot and pivots on the sole, swinging at the hip and spending the last of the forward momentum in a low right cross.
"Hayley!" the Aussie corrects, graciously unaware of the internal workings of the mind of Jezebel.
COMBATSYS: Hayley has joined the fight here.
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Jezebel 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Hayley
COMBATSYS: Jezebel blocks Hayley's Medium Punch.
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Jezebel 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Hayley
Jezebel's mind was trapped somewhere else.
As she forces the images of Kimberly out of her head, she just keeps her smile burning. "It's okay Hayley! Just show me what you can do!" She doesn't even register that her words weren't right. She just pretends. As Hayley jumps in, unleashing a low right cross, Lightning Spangles catches it with the clutch of both hands. And there, the momentum... is carried by Jezebel who stumbles backwards. Her back collides with a crate, over selling the impact. Slammed hard, she gasps, nearly falling into a collapse.
"Great work Hayley!"
The woman's madness seems to almost fade as she gives the feedback. "The jump in was a little slow; you need to be cautious about over extending yourself!" She explains, as she eases off the crate. It looks like the crate even shattered, as several... ferrets escape out of the crate, quickly rushing towards the local ecosystem? Jezebel hardly notices, as she gives a thumbs up to her opponent. "Cause I can do something like -this!-" She chirps as she rushes in, ducking in low as she thrusts her leg in roughly, attempting to plow a great big boot right through the center of Hayley with the force of a mule. There was a reckless presence around Lightning Spangles right now.
As much as her smile continues to burned.
COMBATSYS: Hayley instinctively blocks Jezebel's Thrust Kick.
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Jezebel 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Hayley
Hayley watches Jezebel with a careful eye. Eccentricities and general oddness aside, Jezebel /does/ have a reputation. Years of working on Fight Hunter made Hayley acutely aware of some of the talent out there. Celebrity talent, people like Jezebel, like Fei Long, seemed like obvious choices for episodes. An actor who can also fight seems like a natural choice for a TV show about the mastery of various martial arts styles.
"But she's Lightning Spangles, the High Kicking Cowgirl!" an adolescent Hayley protests, fists raised up in defiance.
"She's also a professional actress," Art Bretherton answers. Hayley's father at the time is a stout, well-built man with red hair, well-trimmed beard, and mutton chops. He continues to go over paperwork despite being dressed in a blue karate gi. He does not immediately look up at Hayley. "Actresses want big money, and we talked about budgets. Remember your math lesson last week?"
Hayley puts on the exaggerated pout of a A-list child actress. "But you wanted to do a taekwondo episode, right?" The girl suddenly snaps onto one leg, executing a series of spinning taekwondo kicks. Her father lifts his head, raising an eyebrow as he watches.
"Did you learn that from her show?"
"We'll see. I'll make some calls.
Hayley never did get to meet Lightning Spangles and the taekwondo episode happened in a small Busan dojang when both the Kapwan School and some fellow named Baek in San Francisco refused Fight Hunter's offers. Now though? Now Hayley is meeting Lightning Spangles. She is not entirely sure how to take it.
She is, however, perfectly certain in her ability to take Jezebel's forward thrust kick. The Aussie's hands go up, her left forearm connecting with the bottom of Jez's leg and pushing up while she moves the right to fence it in. The impact is still enough to nearly bowl the girl over, her feet briefly lifting onto her heels even with the sideblock. But then, Hayley is trying pull on Jez's leg and tug her forward, Hayley's own leg lifted up to hook over Jez's and take them both down when the Aussie tries to wrap around the other woman's leg like...well, a koala climbing a tree.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel endures Hayley's Koala Clutch!
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Jezebel 0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0 Hayley
A good defense.
Jezebel was burning inside, as she watches Hayley meet in careful tandem. Catching the kick, it's staggering power. But only joy comes from Jezebel as she adjusts her footwork. "Good job! You can do it!" She states, encourging her opponent. Dropping her feet down, she recenters her stance, as Hayley comes surging in. The girl goes for her legs, as she looks down, eyes wide. And she could see it, see it all over again.
"Come On Hayley!"
"Come on Kimberly!"
Lightning Spangles cries out, as the young girl struggles to throw a kick. She stretched, she exercised, she worked hard. But the motor skills, the fine motor skills, just weren't connecting. The motions were stilted, twisted. And the kick doesn't even reach Jezebel arms. The other kids were watching, and waiting. They were bored. But Lightning Spangles wasn't. She wanted her to succeed. "You just have to push yourself a little harder, Kimberly! Lightning Spangles believes in you!" The next kick comes, and Kimberly overextends, collapsing on the ground. She sobs, and Lighting Spangles hovers over her. "You can do it! Don't worry! I believe in you, I can help you-"
"I just can't do it Lightning Spangles!"
And it's not the harbour.
It's a trailer, at the site of the New Lightning Spangles Adventures, as Jezebel, as Lightning Spangles, lays in her trailer. She wasn't really Lightning Spangles, not now. Lightning Spangles was always dressed. She wasn't just wearing the spangled vest, with rhinestones and red white and blue, garbed in a pair of panties underneath. Lightning Spangles doesn't clutch an empty bottle of Southern Comfort. This was just Jezebel, as she layed in a stupor, as her agent recollects the latest.
"So This Art guy, he wants you on his show as a Lightning Spangles thing." Jezebel grunts a response, her eyes half open. The agent just slaps her across the face, the woman recoiling in pain as she shrieks. "For Christ sakes, Jezebel, can't you start a god damn morning sober? You're a fucking embarrassment. How the fuck do you think you are gonna keep doing Lightning Spangles if you aren't sober?" Jezebel sniffles, as sobs, holding her face. "I don't- I don't do those kind of movies anymore, I don't-"
"It's for his daughter, Hayley."
And Jezebel holds Hayley in her arms, as she holds her legs.
"Art... Art..." She babbles, as she smiles through the pain, the constriction. It was a bizarre hug, where Hayley was in control. Jezebel wasn't going down, as her joints snap and pop, so tense. She was hurting herself, just to keep the hold. "You're so close to me." She begins, eyes watering.
And she pivots.
"Gotta be careful on the clutch!" She cries out, Whipping Hayley around, she would attempt to throw her in the air. If successful? She would immediately intercept her with a staggering kick to the chest, to knock her into a nearby mass of crates. "You're doing good Hayley!" She would cry out.
And she would believe in it.
COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Jezebel's Hang 'Em High.
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Jezebel 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 Hayley
Hayley smiles with clenched teeth. It's that strained sort of smile that is not forced because she's not happy. No, it's forced because of the strain of managing it midfight. Hayley remains unaware of Jezebel's eternal struggles. Maybe she knew this story once. Perhaps she has never has.
"Dunno why you like that show so much," Art Bretherton says to his daughter while he flips through photographs. "You know there aren't any new episodes, right, honey?"
"Yeah..." Hayley says, kicking her feet idly. She steps back, resuming a taekwondo stance. She snaps to attention, firing off a couple of quick, one-legged snap kicks. The last one overextends and she falls forward with a thump. Her father shakes his head and chuckles.
"It's not a bad style, but it takes a lot of balance. Leaves you open a lot too." There's a long pause.
"Why don't you practice your mum's style more? Don't you like kung fu?"
Hayley stays quiet as she hoists herself back onto her feet.
And she finds herself in a hold of sorts. It's unnatural. Unpracticed. It's not taekwondo, or judo, or even prowrestling. Jezebel says something. Hayley is not entirely if she heard correctly.
But then she's thrown, whipped around by Jezebel, the cowgirl's heavy heel chasing her through the air. Hayley snaps around into a bajiquan style shoulder block, planting her heel just enough to brace for impact. Even so the kick bowls her over, knocking Hayley on her butt. She rolls from the impact into a somersault, landing upright in a brief skid. She ends the skid abruptly by digging in her toes. She speaks up without skipping a beat, but it's being heavy breaths.
"Y'kick really hard," she complements, "just like I figured," Hayley pants. "But--did you know m'old man?" Hayley asks, shifting her stance slightly. The Aussie pivots as she rides out the rest of the momentum, green-tinted chi swirling around her as she moves into a spin.
And then she hooks her arm out, putting the rest of her momentum into the spin as she pivots on her hip as well. The swirling green chi snaps out like a boomerang, whipping away from Hayley's aura and spinning through the air toward Jezebel.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel blocks Hayley's Emu Shoot.
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Jezebel 0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 Hayley
The walls of reality were breaking.
"You can do it, Kimberly." Lightning Spangles pleads, as she pulls the girl up on her feet. The girl breaks down, sobbing. Lightning Spangles can't let this happen. She can't let them down. She can't let anybody down.
Jezebel was cleaned up now. She was more sober. Not fully sober. But sober enough. But it was late at night, with the trailer brightly lit. The place was cleaned, the bottles hidden. It had to be illusion, it had to look right. Another opportunity, another chance at expanding her fanbase. Another chance to touch a young lady, to inspire her, to help her. She couldn't let her down. She couldn't let anybody down. She was staring at her laptop, smiling, sitting at the table.
"Howdy, Art! I'm Lightning Spangles!"
"Your... father?" Jezebel idles, her mind swimming, her thoughts drowning, the world spinning. It was like a dream, in the worst sense of the word. As she regains her footing, her eyes were dazed, dreaming, lost, wandering. One mechanical eye was astray. Her mind was astray. Everything was held by the loosest fabric of what is. Was this what it felt like to be Lightning Spangles again? She hardly heard Hayley now, like voices in the ocean.
She snaps out of it, as the chi blast is unleashed.
Moving a little too slowly, Jezebel catches the chi with both hands. While her offense was her legs, her defense were her arms. But the force was something else, to be sure. The blast knocks her backwards slamming into a crate... in fact, the crate. She smashes through, sending the costumes and herself into splinters. Rats come scurrying out, occupants of the same crate. Laughing aloud, she struggles to come back into a rise.
And then she sees it.
It was supposed to be just a Wombat. A mere Wombat, the most humble of Australia's natives. And yet, it had, in the mess, gotten into the costume crate. It had burrowed in at the wrong time, chewing on a costume of Rainbow Mika. And then, when Lightning Spangles smashed in, it panicked, backing up into the first thing it could find. Jezebel holds up the Wombat, as it is dressed in a red wig with two blue bows in it, setting up pigtails, and a short-cut blue and white striped dress, normally too small for something bigger, that fit it just perfectly. And Jezebel suddenly could see the light.
Jezebel sits on the bed, surrounded by the wrappers. Her stomach churned, as she wiped away the mayonnaise, the mustard, the grease, the slime. "I can't do it Roger. I can't eat another-" The director hurls the burger at her, as it smacks her in her naked chest. He glares from behind the camera man, a disgusting sneer on his lips.
"Wendy Wombat." Lightning Spangles says, smiling so much, the light filling her regular eye. She turns to Hayley, hardly noticing her outfit, already slipping. She holds the Wombat in the air. "HOwdy y'all! I guess you haven't met my new friend, Wendy Wombat! She's a smug, smart young Wombat, who's always being teasing on Twitter! Making fun of the Burger Kings and the Arbies!" She swings around the terrified Wombat, before lowering down, her body erupting in red, white, and blue energy. "That's right, Wendy Wombat! What Hayley needs is some high quality food from Wendy's!" She babbles, as she launches in the air, spiralling through. "What she needs!" She exclaims, clinging the sexiest Wombat tight to her chest, as she unleashes a trio of three aerial roundhouses, each accented with a burst of red, white, and blue chi.
"To promote the new Baconator, Hayley!"
"STRAIGHT FROM WENDY'S!"
COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Jezebel's Where Eagles Dare EX.
CSYS: This exciting moment brought to you by The Baconator!!
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Jezebel 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1 Hayley
Hayley tries to maintain her focus. Her fingers slip through the lingering wind-like chi of her attack before she clenches her fist. She steps back, dropping onto her the soles of her feet again. She bounces, hopping in place to put her left forward, then her right. On the surface it's mindless exercise. Underneath that surface, Hayley runs uses it to stay focused.
"We've got another school picked out," Art tells his daughter. "It's a dojang north of Atlanta. There's a lot of filming there lately, so we can hire a crew for cheap." He pauses, then looks away. "Sorry kiddo. No Lightning Spangles this time. Maybe sometime."
Hayley inhales deeply. "That's fine."
"Good," Art says, trying to not to linger on it. "Did you watch those karate kenpo videos after you finished your homework?"
"Well try to. We're heading out to film next week. You've got a good eye for this kind of stuff, sweetheart. You know that. I want your input." Art made his way over to Hayley, ruffling her hair. "You're my little genius, aren't you? You gotta tell daddy what's special for next episode."
"Okay." Hayley shuffled her feet.
There is a wombat. Hayley easily recognizes the noble wombat. Her months in the Outback had her observing all sorts of wildlife. For a long time, she thought the wombat had nothing to teach her. Then, she had an eiphany. The thought is fleeting. Stranger things are afoot.
"Are you...alright, Lighting Spangles?" Hayley asks, "You seem c--" There's flashes of red, white, and blue chi. Hayley grits her teeth. Well-trained instinct takes over. She powers forward into the first one with back fist, meeting the powerful impact with forward momentum of her own. She springs up from the charge, staggered a bit, to take the second with with a snap knee block. It hits her harder, compounding on the first blow and driving Hayley further backward. By the last one she has to desperately cross-guard, taking the impact with both forearms. The last hit sends her sailing backward, crashing into a steel drum and caving it in with the impact. She hits it at a strange angle, bouncing over the drum and tumbling along the dock.
"I'm not out yet," the Aussie calls, refusing to stay down. She gets up, wipes her face and nose with her forearm, and steels herself again. "Lemme show you my secret technique! Juujizaryu's wombat form!"
And so Hayley powers forward, breaking into a sprint. She charges headlong at Jez, closing the gap with a bounding leap. From it, Hayley leans forward, ready to deliver what seems to be a northern kung fu shoulder tackle--
--until it isn't. Hayley snaps at the hip, powering toward Jez with her rear-end instead, the shorter woman trying to smash into Jez with a mighty hip-check.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel fails to interrupt Wombat Tackle from Hayley with Medium Throw.
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Jezebel 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1 Hayley
"Stop- don't cry Kimberly!"
Lightning Spangles smiles nervously, as she tries and calm Kimberly down. But the girl couldn't, she wouldn't calm down. "I can't ever be a martial artist like you! I can't ever be a real deputy! I'll just be hanging around because you pity me! Because you have to!" Lightning Spangles suddenly is gone, as Jezebel... as Jezebel starts to cry. One of the kids on the sidelines sees it. He sees Lightning Spangles, or what is supposed to be the real Lightning Spangles, starting to tear up. And he asks the question.
"Are you all right, Lightning Spangles?"
Jezebel lands on both feet, as the world continues to spin. Everything kept spinning, it wouldn't stop spinning. But a question was asked. "Are you all right Lightning spangles." Lightning Spangles is always okay! Lightning Spangles is always all right! "Lightning Spangles never breaks! Never gives up! HEROES NEVER DIE HAYLEY!" She screams, thrusting her wombat in the air. "You just got to believe, you just go to..." And she watches as Hayley takes in the air... turning...
Another burger is thrown at Jezebel, as a laughter breaks out amongst the crew. "Yeah, you just -eat- them, that's right. You're a little porker now, aren't you? Watch out, Jezz, you don't want it all to go to your ass!" Jezebel sobs a bit, stopping her eating. The laughter rises, as the director spikes a burger, hitting Jezebel in the face.
"EAT THE BACONATOR"
"SAVE ME WENDY WOMBAT!" She screams, as she tries and brings her own bottom around. It- she had to bring her bottom around. She -had- to. It was required. Her own bottom collides with Hayley's... and the impact reveals it. Lightning Spangles own bottom was limp, and bony, unable to match the full force of a master wombat trainee. Wendy Wombat, baring it's teeth in feral horror, was clearly -smug- at Jezebel's own performance. Jezebel could already see the tweets. 'Looks like Lightning Spangles wasted her 'bottom dollar :3' Or even 'Lightning Spangles's moneymaker looks like it is on welfare ;3'. Lightning Spangles could feel herself rebounding away, spiralling through the air as she rips through a crate, shattering it. Several meerkats from Zack Island, highly nationalistic and invasive, immediately flee from the crate, quickly establishing themselves into the environment. And Jezebel, dazed, still clings Wendy Wombat to her chest, the poor animal screaming. She hugs Wendy Wombat. "Incredible, Hayley!" She says aloud, a spirit burning inside her. "You're the best fan any Lightning Spangles could ask for!"
"What do you mean you change your mind?" Jezebel screams into the laptop, tears filling in her eyes. "I'm Lightning Spangles, the greatest actress and fighter in the world! My rate is fine! My personality is fine! Those meltdowns are just fake news! They aren't real!" Jezebel gives great heaving sobs, as she shakes the laptop, staring down into the camera with her makeup running.
"I can't just abandon Hayley! She wants me!"
She holds on to Wendy tighter.
"You want me, Hayley."
Hayley's movement stops, mostly. Jez carries all the force of that impact when the two of them collide. The Aussie smiles, self-satisfied with the success of her technique. It's a smile that sort of confidence that only comes from hard work. Successful hard work.
"Glad to hear it," Hayley says with a soft sigh from the hint of relief that spills through. "Good to know Lightning Spangles has kept her fighting spirit." There's a genuine happiness to it. This meeting hasn't gone entirely as she hoped, but that's the childhood hero she remembers. That's the--
"Excuse me?" Hayley says with a laugh. It's not a hateful or spiteful laugh. It's that awkward laugh of someone who isn't sure they heard correctly.
Hayley sits in a hotel room as she handwrites a letter.
"Sorry my dad said no on the show, Lightning Spangles. I was really hoping to meet you. He may think you're overrated, but I know you only get emotional because you're so invested in your job. I get that way too sometimes when we're filming!"
Hayley chews on her pen, trying to think of what to say next.
"Hope that I can meet you someday anyway. Maybe one day I'll have my own show. If so, you'll definitely be my first guest. Your biggest fan, Hayley Bretherton."
"Well of course," Hayley soldiers on, stepping around to face Jez. "I came out here just to find yah. Knew I couldn't pass up the chance to meet you. Wouldn't have come out here--" She watches meerkats scurry away. "--otherwise."
"You uh, y'want a hand up? You're definitely tough, but y'hit that crate pretty hard there. Didn't mean to bump yah right through it. Might be packing more power than I realized back there." Hayley smacks her bottom. Graciously she's facing Jez. "But really, we can take a breather then continue if you want. Friendly spar after all!" She looks ready to offer Jezebel a hand. "Besides, I may need it with the way you kick. Hah!" Hayley rubs her shoulder with a wince.
COMBATSYS: Hayley takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Jezebel 1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1 Hayley
Jezebel stares at the hand extended, pupils pinpricks. Jezebel was impossible to read. Wild animals? They could be predictable, because their motives were natural? But Jezebel was a storm, her everything was collapsing around her, and she was drowning. She was ready to lash out, reach out and drag whoever and whatever down with her. But there is a smile. She holds on to Wendy Wombat, that actually tries to bite Jezebel now. To eat her. To eat her like a high quality bacon burger hamburger sandwich. **********************
"I'll do anything." Jezebel says to Kimberly, biting her lip, tears running down her cheeks. "I'll do anything to help you, Kimberly. Anybody can be my Showup Hoedown Deputy! Nobody is just... let in because it's easy." Kimberly stops her sobbing, looking up at Jezebel. Jezebel continues, eyes wide, smiling. "I'll never give up on you Kimberly. I'll never give up on anybody. And I'll do anything to help you."
"I'll do anything."
"I'll do anything."
Jezebel says, as she stares into the laptop desperately. She bites her lips, tears running down her cheeks. "Come on, nobody has to know." She says softly, as she moves closer to the laptop. Jezebel starts to unbutton her top. "I'd... I'd do anything for this... Think of the children..." She repeats, giving a desperate, toying wink.
"I'll do anything."
And Jezebel explodes upwards.
Burning with red, white, and blue energy, Jezebel erupts straight back at Hayley. Should she catch her? She would spiral like a football, carrying her through the air, swirling. She would plow Hayley through the crates, across the harbour, freeing all the animals in the shipping, before coming to a rest with a dramatic explosion of chi. And if she didn't catch Hayley? Well, she would carry herself through, holding on to her Wendy Wombat... that was talking to her.
"Good Job, Lightning Spangles!" Wendy Wombat says, with an eyeroll. "Now you'll have -another- fan disappointed in you! At least you aren't running low on them, right?"
COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Jezebel's Pale Rider.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////// ]
Jezebel 0/-------/------=|=======\==-----\1 Hayley
Hayley remains a bit tense. Idealistic and bullheaded as she is, Hayley's had her share of fair share of dangerous experiences. She knows how to read animals. She had to learn or die trying. That was the secret of her training to get back into shape. This fight or die mentality reforged her into what she could have been. Someone strong enough to impress her father and draw him out of hiding, wherever he may be.
"That woman is bad influence," says Xiu, a beautiful but severe Chinese woman. She brushes back the bangs framing her face as she speaks to her husband, Art.
"She is the worst of acting lifestyle. Decadent, addicted," a pause, "desperate. Bad influence."
"But honey," Art protests, "Hayley really wants to meet her. We're trying to work something out. She's really into taekwondo lately, and..."
Xiu sighs a long-suffering sigh. "I will talk with her and straighten this out.
A young Hayley spins forward into a well-practiced heel kick. Her mother sidesteps, then steps forward to slam the back of her fist into Hayley's extended leg. Hayley struggles to readjust and regain her footing as Xiu steps forward, plants her foot against the knee of Hayley's remaining leg, and pushes her leg out from under her. Hayley falls heavily onto the floor.
"See? Taekwondo is not all it cracked up to be. Why are you such a fan of that Spangles woman?"
"Well, she never gives up, and she looks out for her friends, and.." Hayley stutters, trying to get back on her feet.
"And your mother does not?" Xiu hunkers down in a squatting position, running a hand through her daughter's hair. "I love you, Hayley. You know that."
"I know, but you're always so busy. Can't you stay with me and daddy a little more?"
Xiu looks at Hayley with sadness in her eyes. She pulls her daughter close.
Hayley turtles up in another crossblock as Jez collides with her. The force of the spiraling, All-American kick carries her through the crates and across the harbor. At the end of the end of their transit, Hayley lands on her back and is briefly ridden like a skateboard before Jez runs out of forward momentum. With a groan, Hayley suddenly pushes back against Jez with both arms, pushing up to try and get her foot up enough to lock her arms around it. If she does, her foot sweeps up next, Hayley trying to wrap her leg around Jez's and push her backwards into a takedown.
"Yeah," Hayley coughs, "that's the spirit!"
COMBATSYS: Jezebel blocks Hayley's Medium Throw.
CSYS: This exciting moment brought to you by Wendy's Frosty Dairy Dessert!!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Jezebel 0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1 Hayley
"Ha ha ha, Wendy Wombat, you're so smug!" Lightning Spangles says, as she rolls her eyes at her animal friend. Wendy Wombat just sends out the newest, hottest tweet. So hot, in fact, that Lightning Spangles struts over, and whips out a Wendy's cup. "I think you need to cool off with a nice Wendy's Frosty Dairy Treat! Only 99 cents in Australian pennies!" Wendy Wombat makes a cat smile, as she takes the cup, and starts sipping it. Lightning Spangles herself would enjoy a cup.
But she had her new deputy to break in!
Hayley Bretherton, smiling along with her big sister Lightning Spangles, was already coming in. With her Waltzing Matilda on her shoulders, the 'bongo' lass (That means good girl in Australian) was moving into the clinch, to take her down. "Well stuff me with hamburgers, and blow me up! That's a heck of a takedown you're doing, Hayley! But you gotta work on your timing!"
"Ha ha ha, Wendy Wombat, you're so smug!" Jezebel says, as she rolls her eyes as she rides Hayley down. Wendy Wombat just screams a wombat scream, breaking down into grunting. As she finally comes to a stop, she tries to fix her legs, tries and gets her footing, holding on to her wombat, "I think you need to cool off with a nice Wendy's Frosty Dairy Treat! Only 99 cents in Australian pennies!" As Hayley goes for the takedown, Jezebel cries aloud."Well stuff me with hamburgers, and blow me up! That's a heck of a takedown you're doing, Hayley! But you gotta work on your timing!" Jezebel adjusts her footwork. "There has to be a right time for everything, Hayley?"
"Just a right time for everything!"
Kimberly stares over Jezebel's shoulder, as she exposes herself to the webcamera. "What are you doing, Lightning Spangles?" She asks, staring at the woman who promised to never give up on her. Jezebel screams, covering herself up. Wendy Wombat laughs out loud, sitting at the table. "Looks like you've exposed more than your lack of dignity, Lightning Spangles!"
There is a round of laughter as applause, as Jezebel just shrugs at the camera, sheepishly.
Jezebel rolls -hard- on the takedown, overselling the impact as she slams down hard. With it, she seizes control of the takedown, ripping it from Hayley as she tumbles hard away. Perking back up, she embraces the Wombat to her chest, her eyes trembling, her mouth laughing breathlessly. "You got to remember, Hayley, to eat healthy! Nothing is healthier than Baconators from Wendy's! Frosties from Wendy's! Chicken Caeser Wraps! Wendy's food is the healthiest, just ask Wendy Wombat here!" She lifts up the wombat, who has seemed to start to accept it's fate as the newest Lightning Spangles character. "You have to, Hayley! You have to, if you want to... want to be... a loving, wonderful... mother..."
And she pauses.
"I want you to come at me, Hayley Bretherton! I don't care what Art told you about me, what he -lied- about. I need you to come at me, with all your wonderful Wendy goodness. I want you to come with your hamburgers, your frosties, your fries and shake! Your bottom, your ncredible bottom of youth, you're entire youth! Come at me with everything Hayley! Then we can start the new Lightning Spangles again! Come! Bring everything you have with you!" She was sick to her stomach. She was falling. She was falling.
Jezebel falls into a giant cup of Frosty, as Baconators fall around her. "EAT. EAT. EAT." Comes the chants from Kimberly and Wendy Wombat. There was a pain, a stabbing pain running through her as she sinks into the mess of creamy dairy dessert around her. Already, she feels herself pushing hard, the contractions worsening. The walls were so high. She breathes hard, as it pushes out. She lets out a scream, as it finally breeches-
"And don't forget the Son of Baconator either, Hayley!"
COMBATSYS: Jezebel burns with the AMERICAN SPIRIT!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Jezebel 0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1 Hayley
COMBATSYS: Jezebel issues a challenge!!
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Jezebel 0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1 Hayley
Hayley breathes heavily. Jezebel's last kick took her down hard. Her voice is slightly too loud. Perhaps her ears are ringing. Maybe she's dazed still. It takes her a moment to regain her bearings, the Aussie working to stay focused. Deep breaths. Focus.
Hayley looks at her letter. Her father, asleep across the room, snores loudly. She looks long and hard at that letter, folding it up neatly and putting in an envelope.
**********************In the Outback, Hayley slips into a fighting stance, grabbing at the air in a "come here" gesture. The kangaroo in front of her looks confused. It surges forward, snapping up into a double kick that could crush someone's ribcage. Hayley assumes a cross block, the impact hitting her like a Volkswagen. She slides back through the dust and dirt. She digs in though, taking labored breaths. She focuses on that pain, using it as an engine. It becomes fuel for the fire as she breaks into a spin, chi whipping around her like a tornado.
Hayley rolls onto her feet, sticking a finger in her ear. "What?" Hayley says, "I eat plenty! I figured you could tell!" She shrugs it off. Is Lightning Spangles on drugs? Was her mother right? N-no, there's no time to think about that now. Focus on the fight. Hayley snaps into position with a mighty kiai. With a great backflip she kicks into the air, turning end over end. Her foot plants on a lampost, which leans with a creak as Hayley kicks off of it.
Hayley stomps heavily on a training dummy, landing from a jump. She kicks off it, landing again. She ankles give out and she falls over with a grunt.
Hayley gets up and tries again, launching off to land on the dummy, but this time she lands on her knees the second time. She goes for a third jump back into a double-stomp, but she falls over once again.
"That's not it...something's missing. Gotta try another landing..."
"Here I come!!"
Hayley flies through the air like a missile as she executes a powerful flying kick. Provided she collides with Jezebel, she steps up, kicking off the taller woman and soaring into the air. She comes back down with a heavy stomp, then kicks off again, rising into the air and then coming back down with a knee drop. She vaults up once more with her lands, going for a third drop. This time Hayley turns a backflip, transitioning into a seated slam that aims to break Jezebel's guard with Hayley's vast understanding of martial technique.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel fails to interrupt Swooping Season from Hayley with High Noon.
? Strange Hit! ?
>> Decisive Hit!! <<
CSYS: This exciting moment brought to you by Wendy's Son of Baconator!!
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Jezebel 1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0 Hayley
Lightning Spangles was ready. As Hayley comes in, she deftly and easily catches Hayley with the explosion of energy, lifting her straight up with a flying kick. The blow carries her up and over, right into the water tower. The old water tower bursts apart, as the pair collapses into the mud. "Well Boy Howdy Lightning Spangles" Hayley says with her Australian accent. "You sure boffo'd me up real good!" Lightning Spangles brushes off the mud on Hayley, and pats her on the shoulder. "You did great Hayley! You really are a talented fighter!" And then, the Hoedown Dillo, holding his fiddle, pipes right on up.
"But what about the water tower, Lightning Spangles!"
Lightning Spangles looks at the aftermath, and just slaps her forehead. "Why, gosh darn it Hoedown Dillo, if you don't mind my language, but you are right!" Already, Kenny Kangaroo, Browny Brown Snake, and Crocs O' Gator all were around the mess, shaking their head. "Why, without our water tower, how can we drink water, Lightning Spangles." Lightning Spangles sticks out her boot, smiling at her animal friends. "Well now everyone, don't you pick on Hayley for her little mistake! I think if we all work together, we can rebuild the water tower!"Wendy Wombat snickers as she gives a cat smile. "Oh, you'll never get it down. Not without everyone trying the new Double Baconators!" Wendy Wombat has a tray filled with the hamburgers. Everyone laughs, and takes a hamburger, and start eating them, as their bottoms fill out. "Wow! They sure are something wendy! Looks like will have the strength we need to rebuild the water tower!"
"Isn't that right, Kimberly?"
Kimberly is lifted on Lightning Spangles' shoulder, holding a great big Double Baconator. "It sure is, Lightning Spangles! God bless us, everyone!" And everyone pumps a fist in the air, cheering.
Lightning Spangles jump kick is intercepted by the full force of the slam. The full weight and speed of Hayley's assets come crushing in, smashing Jezebel into the ground, splintering a nearby crate. Jezebel... Jezebel was smiling, not even registering that she was hit. That is, until she pumps a fist in the air. And it dawns on her. Still pinned down, still trapped. And unconsciously, she just sputters out the first thing on her mind.
"Why- why is it so big?" Jezebel sputters, meekly.
Hayley practices power kicks in the wilderness. Attached to her legs by ankle cuffs are two great iron balls, not unlike what a prisoner would wear. She swings in a mighty tree with a left punch, then a right. She transitions to a right kick, then a left. This continues for some time,. despite the intense resistance put on her legs. The Aussie breathes heavily, eventually hunkering over, hands on her knees as she pants heavily, sweat pouring from her brow.
Hayley boxes a kangaroo that is inexplicably wearing boxing gloves. It throws forward a series of punches as Hayley guards. She weathers the assault until her forearms can't take any more, then she shifts stance, raising her legs to block with her knees. A particularly fierce punch breaks her guard, hitting with such force ti knocks her over onto her back. She shouts exhausted at the Australian sky.
Hayley shimmies up that same tree from before, weights still attached to her legs. She suddenly slips, her toes failing to get a grip on the bark of the tree. She hits the ground hard and gasps in pain before falling back onto her back again.
As she lays there looking at the world upside down, Hayley sees a wombat fleeing a dingo. The wombat dives into a burrow, it's rear end sticking out of its hidey-hole. The dingo snaps at the wombat, trying to find purchase on its hind end. The dingo draws back in shock, having hurt its jaw on the wombat's cartiliage-padded backside.
"Crikey! I've got it!" Hayley shouts with such enthusiasm that the dingo scurries off into the desert.
Hayley sits on her hands and knees, an old episode of Fight Hunter playing on the TV. She furiously does leg raises, those ridiculous iron balls still attached to her legs. An empty jar of vegemite rolls across the floor to rest against an assortment of empty wrappers, boxes, and bags.
Hayley tilts her head, leaning forward slightly. She keeps leaning to get the right angle to actually see Jezebel.
"Why's what so big?" she asks, pushing up and swinging her leg around to step off Jezebel. The Aussie steps back firmly, planting her feet evenly apart. She draws up her fists at her sides, assuming a tense karate stance and taking a deep breath. A small breeze starts to whip around her, ever so slightly. "You ready to finish our match, Lightning Spangles?" she says firmly. "I know you never give up until the job's done!" Hayley's eyes practically gleam with excitement, her teeth clenched.
COMBATSYS: Hayley gathers her will.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Jezebel 1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0 Hayley
"It's so big!"
Jezebel stares around her, as she stands there, dressed as Lightning Spangles. It was just like before, with the baconators, and with the frosties. But everything was so wrong now. As her friends eat their burgers, they begin to expand. Not entirely. But their bottoms, filling out larger and larger. Bigger and bigger. Until her animal friends, especially Wendy Wombat, and Hayley, and Kimberly, were all just that. Small vestages of things, attached to massive, encompassing bottoms. Jezebel looks down at her burger, and it's so small.
And her bottom is so -small-.
The animal friends, Kimberly, and even Hayley all just start to -laugh-. Not kind, friendly laughter. But cruel, heartless laughter at her, all pointing their tiny hands from the tops of their bottoms at her own. Mocking. Laughing. Teasing. Jezebel feels the tears in her eyes, as she looks around at the bottoms closing in. And then a voice slithers in her ear, as she stares down at her sandwich.
"It's nothing, it's nothing." She babbles, as she stands up, dusting off her bottom. And she doesn't stop dusting it, using Wendy Wombat. She wants to keep dusting it, over and over, until it grows. Why was a grown woman like her so inferior to someone like Hayley? She stares at Wendy Wombat. It chirps. And Jezebel stares at Hayley with a consuming envy. It wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair.
Jezebel had to do something about it.
"Hahah!" She laughs aloud, as she rushes at Hayley. "Aahahha!" She continues to laugh, her pupils, mechanical and biological, were pinpricks. "Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha"
"Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA"
"HA!" She screams, as she throws her heel into the air, and with staggering force, simply -crushes- it down at Hayley, to smash through everything. TO make -her- fall on her bottom. To squish it and crush it and smash it.
Until it was no more.
COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Jezebel's Heel Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////// ]
Jezebel 1/------=/=======|=======\-------\1 Hayley
"Are you sure?" Hayley asks again, still carrying that same genuine, even innocent concern from before. She maintains as Jez dusts herself off. Hayley purses her lips, perhaps knowing the disappointment of having an opponent get the better of you.
The concern turns to alarm when Jezebel starts laughing. It's not a harmless sort of laugh. Or even the hurting sort of laugh. Hayley knows the latter far too well.
A young Hayley is dressed in a kung fu uniform. She clashes with a brunette around her age. The two of them collide, fist meeting cross block, and the same again. The exchange is furious and rapid as the two girls trade blows and blocks, the face of showing grim determination.
Hayley backsteps, draws up her leg, then steps in for a forward kick. The other girl catches it against her chest and then twists, brutally and viciously. Hayley shrieks and goes down, after which the other girl steps over her and unleashes a trio of rabbit punches while Hayley tries desperately to block. She fails, taking a punch to the head, then the chest. For a moment, Hayley sees her reflection curled up and trying to turtled. Rage and frustration punch into the searing pain, spurring Hayley to act. She kicks up, catching the girl in her exposed stomach with enough force to buckle her over.
There's the sound of a whistle. A young man--probably a teenager--steps in between them.
"Anisa had you good there, Hayley," the young man laughs. The other girl, Anisa, quickly joins in, putting a hand affectionately on the boy's shoulder.
"I bet that one won't make the final cut," Anisa jokes, looking down at Hayley.
"Oh, I don't know," Hayley laughs. She laughs to cover up the embarassment, looking over at her father. He makes brief eye-contact before turning his attention back to an older Chinese gentleman.
A fire kindles in Hayley's eyes as she throws up her arms to guard. The technique is practiced and precise. Her forearm collides with the monumental force of Jez's downward kick, but Hayley reinforces her block by bracing her blocking hand with the other arm. Her bones creak as she bends her knees, but she only has to hold it for a moment. With a mighty push, Hayley redirects the heel drop to the side to avoid getting outright flattened.
And then instinct takes over.
Hayley grinds her heel into the dust, shifting her footing. Chi whips around her suddenly as her power surges, swinging on her foot to get a full-rotation as her aura whips up like a weak dust devil. As she spins around Hayley is drawing back, his fist clenched tightly. She brings the spinning haymaker around at Jez, chi surging around her fist.
But if she hits, she doesn't stop. Hayley rides the force of her punch, whipping around for a second rotation. This time it's a knee, still driven by her gathered power and the strength of the rotation. In the process she drives to drive her opponent back, widening the gap with each blow.
A third spin follows, but something's off. Hayley kicks her leg out as her back is turned, shifting her hips as she spins back to face Jez. She lifts her leg clear up over her head, imitating Jez with a heel drop of her own. In fact, one might say it's pretty clear where she learned it.
COMBATSYS: Jezebel blocks Hayley's Wild Devil EX.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ////////////// ]
Jezebel 1/--=====/=======|-------\-------\0 Hayley
The chaos swirls around. As she transfixes her heel to crush that blessed young lady with the perfect body that Jezebel wanted now. Why didn't Jezebel have such an incredible bottom? Why didn't she have it. She held on to Wendy Wombat, as Wendy Wombat whispers in her ear. She just didn't train hard enough. She didn't have her special training. She needed her special training.
And Hayley was lashing back.
As the chi whirls around, Jezebel is actually forces backwards. As Hayley spins, unleashing the full force of the whirling, Jezebel panics, lifting up Wendy Wombat. Wendy takes the first blow. The second. Even the third, which sends the Wombat flying. Jezebel is exposed, as the final heel kick lifts up. And it's a mirror, a beautiful mirror. Jezebel hated her reflection, when it was her. This wasn't her. She barely crosses her arms, the guard snapping as Jezebel is sent hurtling to the ground. Jezebel tries to smile. She tries to remember.
There is nothing.
There shouldn't be nothing.
Tears build up in Lightning Spangles eyes as she swallows her shame and hate. A smile boils out of her lips, teeth tight, and she speaks aloud, rising to a stand. . "Hayley, you are inspiring me." She says with the most hollow joy. "You are making feel ways I've never felt before. You are making me feel that.... that there needs to be Lighting Spangles in the world again. That I need to be Lightning Spangles again. I just... I just..." She draws back her stripper-booted foot, and then, with the fullest force she could muster, unleashing the mother of all punts to send Hayley into the air....
COMBATSYS: Jezebel successfully hits Hayley with A Few Dollars More.
[ \\\\\\\ < > // ]
Jezebel 0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1 Hayley
And Jezebel punts Hayley straight into the sky.
She looks around at the remains of the harbour. She looks, and she wants it. "I just... I just want to be... real... I just want to be loved... I just want to be Lightning Spangles... I just want this all... I want this all to be..."
And it transforms.
Lightning Spangles looks down at Hayley, at Wendy Wombat, at her animal friends, balanced carefully on her great big bottom. She wiggles side to side, with such an engorged bottom. Soon, she sees all her old fans come back. She sees all those internet perverts, abandoning their Mikas, their Mais, their Hayleys, and come back to her. She sees all the children, the good boys and girls, eating their Wendy's Baconators. She sees the older fans, growing up, and growing up to have big bottoms just like their hero Lightning Spangles. Honoka looks up at Jezebel, her heart broken by her lack of bottom, and Lightning Spangles, smiles down on her. They all join hands, and sing the song of Lightning Spangles, praising her beautiful beautiful bottom. "This is it. This is the reality. I just have to believe."
"I just have to... believe in me."
"I just have to believe in..."
And she unleashes the mother of all snap kicks, unleashing an explosion of red, white, and blue, intercepting Hayley before she hits the ground.
"In The New Lightning Spangles, Again."
Hayley crashes into the wombat. She grimaces, but spins around again with the next hit. She has to keep going. She has to win. This is her chance to impress her rival, to seize victory from the jaws of defeat!
She hits the poor wombat again. She feels back for doing so, but her heel drop connects. It slams heavily against Jezebel's block. She does not fall. Hayley seems worried. Jezebel winds up the kick, ready to punt Hayley into the air.
Hayley, in the kung fu uniform from before. She has an ice pack on her black eye and sits, downtrodden, on a bench off to the side. Men work on putting up camera equipment, but the school is otherwise empty.
Art Bretherton walks up to her and takes a seat. He sits silently for a moment with his hands on his knees. Hayley glances over at him, but he doesn't look back at her. She frowns deeply, looking ahead instead.
"You did fine," Art says suddenly, "She's got three years on you. Been training in her style since she was six. You put up that kind of fight after studying her style for a month."
"But I didn't win," Hayley protests, looking at father. "She kicked my a--"
"She kicked my butt."
"It's not always about winning," Art says, turning to Hayley and placing a hand on her shoulder. "Martial arts is about steady growth. Self-improvement. You fall short, you aim higher next time."
Hayley collides unceremoniously with the side of a barge, hitting it hard enough she puts a dent in the side. She bounces back, flopping onto the dockside.
She does not get up.
COMBATSYS: Hayley takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Hayley can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\ <
Jezebel could have done a lot of things in her fantasy world.
With Wendy Wombat... uncomfortably quiet, there is a lot of things Jezebel could do. She could leave. She could just walk away. What was it about again? To work for Shadaloo, to escort people? To win? To be loved? Just walk away and forget her, Jezebel, and dream. Live your dream that you created, with your beautiful bottom. And yet, as Jezebel recovers from her kick, she stares across to the unceremonious collapse of Hayley.
And stops smiling for a moment.
She runs across the harbour, to reach her. To help her. The fantasies were gone, she- what had she done to her fan. Lightning Spangles stands over Hayley, hand outstretched, to help her back up.
"Sorry, pardner!" She pipes up, actually kind of embarrassed. "I get carried away with fights these days! I rarely- I rarely get- I rarely spar with young up and comers. It's not about winning, but I just can't hold back as much. You really did a number on me! I-" And her mood shifts sharply, as her voices drops into a whisper.
"I hope you will forgive me, Hayley."
COMBATSYS: Jezebel gives y'all a free turn!
[ \\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Jezebel has ended the fight here.
Hayley groans. It's a low, wounded groan. Then she slowly sits up, awkwardly reaching for something to rest against.
"Bloody hell," Hayley says, "did anyone get the license on that bus?" She laughs, weakly, as she rubs her head.
"Of..of course!" Hayley manages to say after a moment. "And it's fine. I should have done better. Thank you for the match, Miss Spangles." Hayley says as she pops her shoulder back into place.
Lightning Spangles sits high upon her throne of seat, her enormous bottom stretching over the horizon. Around her is her friends. Wendy Wombat, Hoedown Dillo, even Hayley. Kimberly, and the cruel director was there, as well as her true fans, her awful fans. Everyone was around her, worshipping her as they did before. But something was different. Something was more real than even reality.
They are all Baconators.
Each one was a Wendy's Baconator, twisted and transformed. Their burg'd maws were flapping, forming the words and language of mankind, to tell her, to explain to her, to fill her. Because they only wanted one thing from their goddess.
"Eat us, Lightning Spangles! Eat us so you can grow so big and strong!"
Lightning Spangles reaches down, grabbing the Hayley Burger first. "Eat me first, Lightning Spangles!" Sings the Hayley Burger, her buns large and unseeded. "My high fat content and nutrients will plump you up by incredible amounts, with your rolls of fat running over into a thick and powerful bottom!" Lightning Spangles hesitates, as she lifts up Hayley. "But Hayley, I forgive you! I forgive you so much!" Hayley laughs aloud, her mayo and mustard dribbling from her burg'd maw. "Oh no, Lightning Spangles, I forgive you! I know if it wasn't for my worthless family, we could have been friends forever, and I could have saved you from those awful outside people who took away Lightning Spangles from you! Now if you eat me, you can Lightning Spangles again! Forever!"
"If you eat all of us!" The Baconators cry out.
"Then you can be Lightning Spangles again! Forever!"
Lightning Spangles, joyful tears in her eyes, distends her jaw, wider and wider, ready to consume all her friends, so she can be reborn.
Reborn into the True Lightning Spangles.
"I forgive you Hayley!" Jezebel suddenly blurts out, smiling. "I mean, thank you for the fight! I just- you've made an old- a young woman feel young again." She touches her own cheek. "So young... I- I think Hayley, I need to offer something to you." She starts to corner Hayley, her presence, her pressure getting... a little too strong, too intimate. Jezebel was smiling so much. "Hayley.... If... If Lightning Spangles was on the air again, as a real show, as a real thing again..." She twirls a strand of her own hair, turning bright red.
"... Would you want to be... more than a real Showup Hoedown Deputy?"
The blurry vision of Lightning Spangles moves around in Hayley's line of sight. Hayley puts a hand to her head, trying to keep the world from spinning. As it all starts to slow down, and then Jezebel is up close to Hayley. Too close, maybe.
"If you do this," Xiu says, staring at Hayley. Her eyes are heavy with concern. "I can't always bail you out. You going to need to figure out some way to travel without always asking me for plane tickets."
"I know, Hayley says, packing a backpack. "I don't plan to. I need this," Hayley says, "It's my chance to figure out what I should be doing."
"You are always welcome to visit," Xiu says, stepping forward to hug Hayley. She turns her around and puts a hand on her daughter's face. "And if you decide to stop and come home, you let me know." Xiu smiles. "Don't let people out there abuse you. Don't get discouraged if you lose sometimes."
"It's not about winning or losing anyway," Hayley says with confidence. "It's about growth."
Hayley smiles weakly, but remains grateful that all of her teeth are still there as far as she knows. She sticks a finger in her ear.
"Um," Hayley says, "sure!" She is not entirely sure if she heard all of that correctly. Her ears are still ringing a little, but Jezebel seems so happy and enthusiastic.
"You are going to be my newest friend, Hayley!" Jezebel says, embracing Hayley. "You can be Wendy Wombat, or, or something else! You can be- You can be Aussie Spangles!" The fever dream that was reality was spinning. Jezebel sweeps her arm, revealing a ghost of a future, several scattered outfits, and a Wombat in a red wig that still wasn't moving. "It will fuel your growth, Hayley!"
Jezebel sneaks a peek at Hayley's bottom.
"You can travel the world! You can meet other people who will love you, because they love Aussie Spangles. You'll improve yourself as a fighter! As a person, just like I did! You'll have your own identity, cast on the big screen! You'll be you, without anybody else telling you what to be, Aussie Spangles! This is your dream, Hayley! This your dream become real!"
"You'll be the Spangles you always wanted!" She actually shakes Hayley a bit, as she comes so close to her face, eyes wide, the mechanical light piercing with the blue led.
"What were you going to next, Hayley? Because now it's canceled! You're coming with me to Thailand, and we're making us a star!"
Log created on 17:01:45 09/06/2017 by Hayley, and last modified on 22:39:17 09/21/2017.