Description: I'll give you ten seconds. Enough time for a last prayer to your god.
Ever heard of The Spilt Bean?
It must have been, oh, a good ten years ago. Sugiwara Yuuta decided he had had enough of the competitive world of pastries and decadent sweetness, and returned home to Japan. Something of a household name at the peak of his career in the 1970s, the world renowned patissier eventually faded into obscurity, wishing to spend the sunset of his life humbly and quietly.
To this end, he opened a corner cafe in Southtown, right in the thick of middle-class suburbia. There Sugiwara continues to practice his craft at his leisure, frittering away the days covered in flour, not seated on a panel of judges for the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie. Taiyo High is a walk of minutes in the single digits, and so its students are in frequent attendance, both as customers and employees.
The old man likes it, and is quite appreciated in turn.
Even Rock regards him as something of a great uncle or grandfather, but he equally respects Sugiwara as an employer...
After all, the American teen could've been fired on multiple occasions, but instead was recognised for his service and rewarded with the position of keyholder. That baffles Rock, yet to each their own.
While Sugiwara perfected the details of chocolate profiteroles and beignets, Rock cleaned and sorted stock in preparation for next week's overnight inventory. He's not quite done, but each shift sees his work divided by room. Today, dry storage was a mess up until fifteen minutes ago. Given permission to clock out early, the young man left for the break room.
He changes from his dusty uniform into a spare set of street clothes. Combing slender fingers through his hair to dislodge any dirt, the Angel of Taiyo High gathers his things. Rock picks up a cup and lid on the way to the staff exit, filling that with cold milk tea provided for employees. To those who see him leaving, he bids them a good evening.
On the right of the building is a door, and Rock emerges, wheeling out his Honda motorcycle. One hand pulls it against his hip, so he can lift it down the single step and into the alley proper. Did you know that if you can't physically carry your bike in Japan, you're not allowed to own it? The Howard scion pulls a sip on the straw, drawing the compostable cup's chilled contents up to his mouth.
Seems that he'll be walking his bike however long it takes to finish his drink, but first Rock ensures his helmet is fastened to the leather seat. Wouldn't want it to bounce away. Another sip. Yeah, milk tea is great. He's living his best life right now.
Geese had just finished his usual myriad of business meetings on a weekday such as today.
Some legalistic from his more legitimate businesses, and others? Well....others when he needed to get his point across to the less respectable businesses within his operations. No doubt there are a few more dead men today. But imagine his surprise when he's given word that his son still works at that same corner store cafe...
Rather than get stronger like he was supposed to. Ah, children. Greatest gifts of life, while also the greatest frustration imagineable. A small sigh touches his face, before the CEO of Howard Connections puts on his shades and his overcoat as he walks out of the office. "Hold my calls." He commands the secretary, who is far too terrified of him to tell him no.
Even as Rock Howard (irregardless of what he calls himself now) is about to take his official leave of work, Geese is soon found in view as he approaches. "I give you your chance to get stronger, and for some reason, you never quite seem to get the hint -- or the opportunity, I try so very hard to imprint on you -boy-." The tone of voice, the way he talks, the way he walks. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who has dared approach the Angel of Taiyo High.
Nothing ruins a nice day faster than the last goddamn person he wants to see, someone he never even EXPECTED to see. The hour is golden, light reflecting off his fair hair as that head turns in disbelief. Everything, from his bones to the blood coursing through his veins, screams in unison, rejecting Geese Howard. Rock levels the man with a scarlet-eyed glare, and those handsome features begin to contort. Marie would surely weep for her son's hateful, bitter expression.
"You get lost looking for some illegal business contact?" he practically spits, hurling his anger down like a gauntlet of challenge. Rock drops the kick of his motorcycle and positions it as an obstacle, a deterrent. It blocks the mouth of the alley quite well, to hopefully keep his coworkers at bay.
Slowly, a memory is recalled of their meeting during the King of Fighters tournament...
The bastard threw him, his own son, from the top of Geese Tower. What kind of piece of shit does that?
A swelling, the growing pulse of his aura as it feeds on his fury...
While this confrontation would shake most to their very core, the younger Howard has the audacity to drink some more of his milk tea, figuring that it will surely go to waste soon enough. The blonde teen snaps after, "Cut the crap. Why are you even here?" Who will be threatened? Rock? Sugiwara? The students and teachers of Taiyo High? Through sheer force of will, his stills fingers that itch to tighten and soundly crush the compostable cup.
Drawing breath, not that it will calm him, the ward of the Legendary Wild Wolf doesn't wait for a response, "Talking like you've provided anything for me. You're an /asshole/. The only good you've ever done was throw me out." And Rock's grateful for that, infinitely so. It beats being treated like an insect...
Or ignored entirely.
Rock knows he's weak. That maybe he can't protect anyone. He's seen a nightmare, presented in endless ways, where he gleefully strangles the life from Terry, for the eldritch horror said it was the only way Geese would accept him...
It's possible that Rock can't fight anymore...
But regardless if such a thing were true, that wouldn't make him back down.
Nothing livens up a day for Geese than the shit-for-brains kid he happens to be facing off against. The perfect hour had shined upon Geese, his golden hair reflecting the light nicely as his blue eyes almost seem to glow in the shadows that are cast between the two. No doubt his limosine is parked a short distance away, driver just waiting patiently for a scene that may be about to be replayed. Every time Geese looked into Rock's eyes, he saw Marie, his beautiful deceased wife. Geese ignores these features....his boy would be strong, lest he be seen as another weakness for Geese's enemies.
So he had to build him strong.
Now...Geese seems to smile almost bitterly when he recalls throwing Rock from the top of Geese Tower. He knew Rock would survive of course, the Howard bloodline is mighty and damn hard to kill, so he seems to shrug. "Can't blame me, can you? Southtown is a host to a great many dangers and these days, one wonders how you can keep track of them all." Geese notices the aura coming from Rock, and his eyes seem to subtly narrow, but there's a smile that comes across his face.
"You don't call. You don't write. You certainly don't text....how else is a father supposed to communicate with his boy?" Geese then releases some of his own aura, one of pain and sufering and...malice. "I wonder who I -could- threaten? Your friends, your bike, Sugiwara, that damned Terry...No, I think I'll just test your strength for the hell of it." Geese says with a wide smile. "Provided you life, didn't I? Training, gave you strength...and what did you do? Well, you spat in the hand that fed you and you ran like a coward to weaker pastures." Geese chuckles, before he cracks his neck.
"Tell me...how can a weakling ever protect his friends?" Geese starts to approach Rock, coat still hanging off of his shoulders.
Just when Rock had thought he was at his limit...
That there would be no way to push him further...
He is proven wrong.
So very, very wrong.
It's like Rock stands at the edge of a precipice, with nowhere to go. He is cornered. Alone. Furious. Hackles raised, the young wolf snarls in defiance at his aggressor, the father he hates with every fibre of his being! "I'm not..."
"YOUR FUCKING /BOY/!!!"
Perfect rows of white gnash together hard, and each individual tooth aches from the pressure of the clench that follows. Rock growls, "You want to TEST ME?"
Slowly, his voice ascends to greater volumes, "/RIGHT NOW/?!" It attracts the attention of many passersby. ... Wait, passersby? Fuck. Fuck! This is ludicrous, the realisation hits him with all of the force of a speeding train. Before Rock blindly charges at the man in a towering rage, he remembers how little Geese Howard cares for the average innocent bystander.
Might even be that his real goal is to see Rock get fired.
To watch him fail.
To take something else, in the way the bastard destroyed his childhood...
And killed his mother.
Marie Heinlein's son is definitely of her, so similar are their faces, the burning crimson of their eyes. He has inherited the woman's values, weaknesses, and a sensitive heart. Anything Geese may have loved is present in Rock, if he even experienced some so base as love to begin with.
Or perhaps the asshole despised her.
Rock's cursed blood laments with a howl, searing him from the inside.
The ward of the Legendary Wild Wolf lurches an angry step opposite of his dear old dad's advance, the entirety of his weight settling upon that leading foot. Does he plan to flee? Doubtful. "I'm not going to give you the fucking satisfaction, not here." There is an unwillingness to lose the things that are important to him, especially that which prevents Rock from being totally reliant on Terry's goodwill and charity. "A block down the road is an empty lot."
For someone smaller and weaker, confronted by the overwhelming malice that Geese exudes, the Howard scion has got balls of steel. No brains, but definitely balls. The soft tenor brooks no argument, no willingness to accommodate a street fight on any terms but his own. Guess who he learned that from? Rock's shoulders roll in a haunch when he stalks away in the direction he indicated...
Leaving his back wide open for attack.
There would be no surprise if it happened, because just who does the Angel of Taiyo High think he's speaking to? He's got nothing to bargain, to force a compromise...
Only that the most noteworthy crime lord in all of Southtown may get an answer to his final question.
Will Geese choose the one-sided beatdown reminiscent to Rock's training as a child, honour, or what lies between?
Rock's anger, his rage....it's almost as if it -feeds- Geese as he watches Rock become more like -himself- each and every moment longer this conversation seems to roll itself onwards. He actually seems to laugh a litlte bit even as Rock seems to turn -extremely- hostile towards Geese, who stands his ground despite the anger being thrown his way.
"Temper, temper, temper." Geese comments on Rock. "Just proves that you're mine after all -- At least I taught you something you remembered well." That anger is a weapon to be used to annihilate your foes. "But oh yes, test you I shall -- and it is a test you had better pass." Geese informs of Rock, though his attention slightly turns his attention to the passerby, before he looked back on Rock.
Marie was the embodiment of everything Geese had ever loved...and if Rock mentions it? oof.
Geese chuckles. "Then give me the satisfaction elsewhere, boy. Lead the way, and we'll see if you have what it takes." Geese acclimates to his son's wishes all the same, following slightly behind him. Geese was many things, but a man without honor? Never. Even if Geese could strike Rock hard and fast that Rock doesn't remember this meeting, even if he could take his chance....Geese learned from a young age that honor is another source of strength, but rather internal rather than external.
So he follows....and he waits.
As tempting as it is to glance back over his shoulder, to confirm participation or rejection, doing so suggests to the man trailing in his wake that Rock gives any amount of shit about this. Geese would see his son invested, caring, and weak. No, there will be no such satisfaction. Still presenting his back for the cheapest of cheap shots, scarlet eyes focus on the way forward. The teen's feet slam against the sidewalk with all the grace of an elephant.
There's angry sips of the milk tea to accompany his stomping, because how dare his temper be of this garbage of a human being?! If he doesn't finish his drink, the Howard scion imagines it will be thrown at Geese's face, at least at some point. The shock as the lid pops, liquid spilling forth, all the way down the front of that ugly and likely quite expensive coat... Rock wouldn't survive the repercussions of his actions, but what a way to die.
IF he wanted to die.
Soon enough, the lot is in sight, the procession of parent and child drawing close. It's across the street at the next intersection, so when Rock is inevitably forced to stop to obey something as mundane as pedestrian guidelines, he also happens to have his phone in hand. Thumb tapping out a quick message asking a co-worker to bring his bike inside, he'll be back for it later... Provided the blonde American isn't hospitalised, like the last time.
An opportunity to speak, to berate him for his adherence to the rules or what have you, is ever-present, but the window where Rock will pay attention remains brief. He is not at the crosswalk long before the lights change and they can continue. Once the host to multiple small buildings, like old apartments that had fallen into disrepair, there remains little in the space but small debris. Any large slabs from previous structures have been cleared. This will serve as their 'arena'. The two have arrived.
"I'm not doing this to prove anything to you, you goddamn prick. Shut the hell up." Rock snaps, dashing calloused fingers back through messy locks of gold, leaving them further disheveled. He drops the empty cup somewhere with his cellphone to collect later, then pivots sharply enough that the pebbles beneath him can only protest by being ground to dust. Arms raised and legs spaced apart, it's a stance Geese will recognise. One that has taken Terry's Hakkyokuseiken style and married it to his bastard father's Kobojutsu. His hands are kept loose and open for grabs and throws.
Breathe. The wolf pup's shoulders rise and fall as he draws air into his lungs, feels them fill, then exhales audibly. Rock tests a bounce from one sneakered foot to the next. There was a time when this was so familiar, so natural...
He finds he's unsteady...
His movements are awkward, muscle memory. Like the Angel of Taiyo High is a bird with a broken wing. One that has been snapped over and over again, by the insurmountable wall of a person that stands before him, to some crazy bitch posing as a nurse. Even the weird creature, who called itself... Rock doesn't even remember. All he knows are the night terrors it left behind.
For desiring strength, for wanting to protect others and help...
Rock Howard learned just how far he has to go in this world, and let it crush him.
So he hasn't fought since the King of Fighters tournament, and he's unprepared, out of practice... But the ward of the legendary Terry Bogard won't stand idly by. Not anymore. Rock can't. A refusal could cost him those who are important to him. Geese already named two. How many more does he know?
All that awaits is pain, but pain is what it will take to set him straight, guide him back to the path where he had been led astray. To the point where he had convinced himself that he could do nothing...
And maybe he can't, but that doesn't mean Rock shouldn't try!
Pale cerulean energy begins to coalesce around him. It is channeled through his legs, his torso, infusing every cell of his body and charging it like a battery. Rock digs into the dirt, bracing for impact. His jaw sets, crimson eyes bright like ruby gems in their sockets.
COMBATSYS: Rock has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Geese has joined the fight here. You cannot escape wrong death.
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Rock 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Geese
COMBATSYS: Rock gathers his will.
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Rock 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Geese
As muchas Geese loves his expensive suits....holy god would Rock meet an untimely end were he to ruin Geese's finest attire. After all,he dressed up for his son, whether it was to inspire fear, an intimidation tactic, or just to show his son that he's -still- the top dog around here. Though with the spot in sight, Geese eventually comes to a small stop as he watches Rock do the same.
The Blood Arena.
A battle between relatives, those of the same blood flowing through their veins. The irony made Geese smile as he felt the exact same hatred for his own father. Was this the cycle that they were doomed to forever repeat? Wolves clashing against each other until the end of time?
Geese watches Rock's movements with a critical eye. They were the exact same that he had taught Rock years ago but...they were rigid. Awkward. Off-balanced. Geese almost looks incredibly disappointed in Rock, before he takes a deep breath. "You dare stain the form I taught you with Bogard's weakness?!" Geese tells Rock, angry and probably a little hurt by it.
"Will that mongrel dog come and save you now? Disgrace!" Geese then thrusts his palm forward, openand flat as a blade of slicing wind comes barrelling right for Rock! He doesn't play at all.
COMBATSYS: Rock instinctively blocks Geese's Reppuken.
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Rock 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Geese
Thrumming in time to the wild beat of his heart, his aura is a living, writhing thing. An impressive display that tells the tale of years spent training, and each ineffaceable, lasting scar left behind. Rock may have learned much from the abuse he suffered at the hands of Geese...
But it made him resentful, rebellious...
It's held him back.
Terry was like a balm, his encouragement, kindness, and compassion everything the boy needed. Not only did he provide an environment for Rock to grow, both as a fighter and a human being, literally no path forward exists that is free from his influence.
His father taught him to use his fist, but from the Legendary Wild Wolf, he understands WHEN to use it.
Slander will not be tolerated. Nobody insults Terry Bogard on his watch. Pupils narrow, cast to the depths of vermilion pools. Lips peeled and teeth bared, Rock snarls like a feral beast, "Jealous? You think you got a leg to stand on?"
"Or did you conveniently forget that he KICKED YOUR ASS!!" The blonde prodigy's tenor carries a note of derision, disdain that he makes no effort to conceal.
Hope Howard the elder enjoys his slice of humble pie.
Rock stands amidst the emanation of every kind of blue, the air and debris whipped into a crackling frenzy. "I don't need anyone to save me." Not unless he starts throwing milk tea, but that idea is permanently rejected. "By this point, you've failed to kill me once already. What do I have to fear from some dick who fucks up throwing a kid off a tower?!"
Short answer? A lot.
There's a long answer, too, but Rock isn't able to argue the point of just what exactly he can live through. On the business end of a rip-roaring crescent, it's far more pressing. Crimson orbs widen to their limits..!
He is driven by instinct, by something thought lost, as energy envelopes his outstretched limbs. Rock doesn't hesitate to arrange them in a block, protecting what he can, to the very best of his ability, even when the force of mass in motion pushes him back. Muscles flex and protest. Gritting his teeth, his lean frame trembles, but then both guard and blade break. Cerulean and amethyst combine to shine bright and fade away. Splintered remnants of chi rain down on the scion's skin and attractive face like tiny little razors...
Decorated with more small cuts than he'd prefer, the worst smarts sharply just below Rock's right eye.
That pisses him off.
The disappointing heir of Geese Howard EXPLODES, body bent in a full-on reckless charge. Golden strands of his hair catch the light. Hauling back to discover that his arm is too numb for a haymaker, only at the last second is it reined in. What Rock attempts to slam directly into Geese's sternum is literally the hardest point of his body he can use: His elbow. Hand braces hand, to make it especially unpleasant.
Of course, all of this puts him directly in front of the most noteworthy crime boss in all of Southtown. No one wants to be there. Ever. It's bad.
COMBATSYS: Rock successfully hits Geese with Elbow Spike.
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Rock 0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Geese
Geese grins like a mad devil when he watches the sharp wind of his Reppuken slice up Rock, but the young man continues to stand up strong! THe rip-roaring crescent just tears through the empty space between the two Howards until it reaches Rock's impressive physique, though it struck him hard, he seems to have managed to stay standing.
"I have more of a leg to stand on than you could ever imagine. Terry Bogard did defeat me. Once...and only once." Geese mentions to Rock before his attention shifts to the sky. "and every time I hear the fool's name, I wish his destruction." he mentions then, before his attention shifts back to Rock. "Hnnh. Nto to save you, no. But I remember you begging me to save your mother because you were too -weak-."
Geese knows eactly how to get a rise out of Rock, and if he keeps talking like that, he just might. Yet, when Rock seems to explode right out of the gate and strike at Geese with his elbow, the pointed blade of the elbow stas Geese right in the sternum! The force of hte blow seems to move him back a single inch. A. Single. Inch.
Geese's eyes narrow at the boy as he straightens up. "It has been sometime since you've fought, Rock. It appears I must be the one to re-educate you!" His immediate reply to Rock is a powerful palm strike that he seems to step into, aimed straight for Rock's diaphragm to try and knock the wind out of him.
COMBATSYS: Rock attempts to counter Fudou Ken from Geese with Joudan Crack Counter EX.
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Rock 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 Geese
He wasn't weak...
He was a seven-year-old boy!
Just a child, struggling alone to provide care and comfort to his dying mother!
As Marie's condition deteriorated, inevitable though it was, what other choice did he have but to beg for aid? She suffered so much, in her final moments. Unable to speak through the pain, she left her son with no last words or will... Just the moment that brands him, defines him, seared into both memory and his soul. Rock's rebellion against Geese began that day. It continues as his elbow meets the mark, bony point to unyielding mass. Crimson eyes downcast, he's shaking.
Everything that terrifies him, for no matter how he tries to emulate Terry and escape these bonds, his very blood is cursed.
It demands that Rock rise as a living embodiment of Wrath.
Raw and unbridled, the fury would make him a tyrant. The true heir. A spitting image of his father. He fights his nature, his natural state of being, as it builds in strength, in intensity, in volume, cresting in a wave.
Control remains his, for now.
Heat warms his cheeks with red, his attractive face flushing as the adrenaline rushes. Rock kicks away to be at an arm's length, a glare that he nails to Geese enough to figuratively crucify him. Lesser, more easily intimidated men would be paralyzed. "Don't you dare..." Words eke past the barrier of slightly parted lips, exhaled in a hiss through teeth, "You do this every time..." But it works. It's effective. Like nothing else, callous disregard of the teen digs deep, opening all of the wounds that never truly healed. They rip ever wider. "Leave her out of this, you PIECE OF SHIT!" A howl of challenge, the young wolf's hackles are raised.
Geese does not delay his answer.
Gloating never sits well with the wayward son, but in some small ways, the bastard's arrogance is infectious. Rock sneers imperiously, "Go re-educate yourself /first/, jackass!!" The lean frame of the blonde prodigy coils to spring.
When the palm strike extends, no doubt would it be felt through the entirety of Rock's body, almost as if his spine had burst free of its confines, or just about...
But it needs to hit him.
Fingers violently grab for wrist or arm; it doesn't matter which, only that the limb holds strong. Leaping while using that point of balance, Rock ungracefully turns over in a forward flip. His lack of practice will not lessen the impact, because the entirety of the Howard scion's weight comes down with him. Should he have his way, Rock is going to bury the heel of his foot into the joining point of neck and shoulder. It certainly won't be enough fell the likes of a crime lord like Geese Howard, but the ward and pupil of the Legendary Wild Wolf has toppled him once before. He'll chip apart this mountain by inches, if that's the best he can do!
COMBATSYS: Geese fails to reverse Joudan Crack Counter EX from Rock with Gedan Atemi Nage.
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Rock 0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0 Geese
Geese must admit...this runt has spirit.
Even as Geese fights against his son, there's that part of him that remembers the moment that Rock fell to his knees before him, begging him to save his mother's life, or at the very least, ease her pain...and he ignored his request. He remembers the pain of losing his wife well, and that pain, hatred, rage made him far stronger. If Rock was Wrath, then Geese was most certainly the Sin of Pride.
Yet he seems almost...approving when Rock seems to howl out his challenge. Yet, he finds surprise. Palm strike extended, Geese is suddenly lifted up and over! He manages to land on the ground, but rolls up to a knee, even as a foot finds the spot perfectly in-between the neck and shoulder, but Geese rises to his feet anyway. "You cannot even begin to challenge me -boy-."
He gestures with his hand though, despite the foot -still- being crooked between neck and shoulder. "Give me your best shot, boy, and prove to me your worth."
Spirit is about the only thing Geese has left to break, if he even can.
Rock certainly invites the man to try.
Try and still the heart that beats like a personal affront, or curb his contumacious behaviour.
Destroy his hope, all that motivates the teen to continue pushing forward. He /will/ recover the drive to improve, at this rate...
Provided Rock doesn't lose himself entirely in the process.
Heel awkwardly digging at the trapezius muscle region, one moment goes by where the young prodigy floats, suspended. A bloody drop weeps from the cut just below his eye, leaving a scarlet track that chases the faded trail of tears Rock had shed as a boy...
Damn all the good that did. He grimaces, feeling the strain in his leg as gravity patiently reminds him of its active presence. Applying additional pressure to the man's shoulder to shove off, Rock spirals away into a sloppy three-point stance. Fingers send back tangled locks of blonde hair, the shade more comparable to Marie than Geese. This is beginning to tire him out so soon already.
No doubt that blue-eyed stare of amusement regards the son's sorry state with the same contempt he might hold for a common insect...
"You need your hearing checked? I said I've got nothing to prove to you!!" Repeating himself thoroughly rankles him, each harsh exhalation impacting the dirt and sending up dust, "But I'm not gonna sit back and let you take SOMETHING ELSE from me!!" The fair head snaps up, Rock's brilliant crimson eyes set and focused on the road ahead.
His right foot takes the first step, sprinting only to generate enough momentum that once Rock is in flight, he's carried far enough to reach his target. The Angel of Taiyo High glows amethyst, and a crude pinion full of primary and secondary flights erupts from his back, presenting the source of the nickname. Chi streams long behind him like a banner. Just as the Legendary Wild Wolf instructed, his star pupil cocks his fist, joints popping to lock it in place, parallel to his shoulder.
Positioned and ready to descend, Rock hurtles through the air at Geese, the birthright that curses him and causes his blood to boil surging to infuse the strike. "ORYAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" He yells, emboldened by the cry.
History repeats itself, in that the rebellious child is once again trying to punch dear old dad in the face, but will the elder Howard react as he had before? Time will tell.
COMBATSYS: Rock successfully hits Geese with Rage Run Dunk.
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Rock 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Geese
Geese says nothing for a moment.
Rock has an incredible spirit, one that seems to be made of iron or some similarly tough material. But Geese has broken it before, and so help him, he might just do it again. Though Geese seems to almost do nothing to stop Rock from gripping him in the way that he does, or even the spiral away. But what seems most shocking?
Geese seems to just -take the hit-.
Rock's fist reels back, and it comes barrelling straight for Geese's face, and he completely takes it. His face reels back from the impact, but otherwise? It seems to hurt him a bit. Blood trickles down from his lip, but Geese actually seems....to be smiling? "Not bad." Geese replies, before Rock senses Geese's aura -explode-, and in immediate retaliation, his hand seems to be glowing with intense mystical energy, the chi forming something of a blade on the edge of his hand as he takes a step forward and brings it down in a slashing motion, aiming for Rock's own area between the shoulder and the neck.
His intention is to hurt, maybe not kill, but most certainly hurt. But that's the price of facing Geese. There -will- be pain.
COMBATSYS: Rock endures Geese's Hishou Nichirin Zan!
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Rock 1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1 Geese
This is... odd. Terrifying. In no known universe would the bane of his existence take ANY shit, so what does Geese have planned? A cold sweat breaks out across his forehead, but Rock already committed, and he's unable to change course.
His face-seeking fist-missile socks the man, knuckles unyielding as they collide with cheek and bone...
But the elder Howard is just as immovable. Sure, that blonde head reels back, there's blood, and yet...
Rock's stomach hits his feet. He threw the entirety of his weight behind that punch... Despair threatens to overwhelm the teenage scion over the futility of his actions, of wasted effort.
There's nowhere to go but straight down, and he lands heavily, painfully. It's like the kid's ankles were pulverised by many small and sharp needles. For the moment, they remain numb. Rock must soldier on. Shaking back his sleeves and resuming his bastardized stance of the two styles he has combined, he's just about able to push away. His body doesn't much move like it used to, even if the muscle memory remains.
The slash finds that junction, the explosive blade of chi channelled through him at a diagonal angle. Excess energy bursts from his back and side, his shirt billowing like it was swept up by a sudden breeze. Stubborn ass that he is, Rock tries to weather it, with everything he is, absolutely determined to present himself as something akin to his name. Under such pressure, it might as well be the weight of the world.
And driven to a kneel.
This must have been what was in store for him.
It tears an unwilling cry from his lips, one of frustration, of deep suffering. When Rock hits the dirt, he hits the dirt HARD. The impact shreds the knees of his dress slacks, which will need to be replaced and cost a whopping 5,000 yen. "Oh, fuck /you/!" He snarls, the teen's voice cracking.
Scarlet orbs have yet another baleful glare for Geese, the scumbag that he will never acknowledge as his father. The scene is reminiscent of his childhood, one so familiar that Rock wants to puke just from thinking about it.
He'll have the revenge he has sought since he was a boy.
Until then, all he has to offer is the very best he can do right now.
Both hands plant on the ground and he tucks his legs in to swing through. Rock springs off, twisting up into a corkscrew kick that would be impossible were it not for the blast of chi beneath him, propelling him skywards. "RISING TACKLE!" His arms extend at either side, because by right hook or right foot, there's no reason to care HOW he might leave his mark, only that he does.
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Rock's Rising Tackle.
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Rock 1/----===/=======|=======\=====--\1 Geese
Does an adult acknowledge a helpless child?
Geese looks -down- on Rock as he takes that -beating- that Geese had just given him. Even as the elder Howard had recently gotten socked across the face, somehow, he made Rock seriously pay for his actions. Regardless, the chi-infused strike managed to bring Rock straight down to his knees and made him -hurt-.
How -dare- he bastardize the styles that Geese had made famous worldwide (might not be completely true), but Geese's rage knew no bounds. Though he held a calm face, his eyes, blue as the lightning that streaks across night skies, bears the rage of dying stars behind them.
"You are -nothing-. Your strength is pitiful. Your stance is weak. Your tolerance for pain? -Cowardly-." Geese calls out Rock once again, though when Rock tries to attack him with the Rising Tackle, Geese looks...
Instead, a lift of the shin and a lift of his hand block the fist and foot with some ease, as if he telegraphed the move itself. "Bogard shed his weakness to you, did he?" Geese's eyes narrow. "Then allow me to teach you -strength-!" In response to Rock's rebellion, Geese attempts to grab him by the neck and a firm grip on the abdomen, and use those as leverage to try and throw Rock in a high-angle slam!...then attempt to do so again. And again. And a fourth time. If any of these are successful, Rock could be in pain!
COMBATSYS: Rock dodges Geese's Brutal Throw Chain.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Rock 1/----===/=======|=======\=====--\1 Geese
For the first and possibly last time, they are in accord, unknowingly. Rock isn't particularly impressed, much like how the man finds himself discontent with his child, all riled up and apoplectic with rage. Borrowed from the Legendary Wild Wolf's arsenal of moves, the rising corkscrew fails to leave so much as a dent in the obstacle that has stood in his way for his entire life. As the teen turns over mid-air to obey the laws of the universe, he is filled with disappointment.
Disappointed that he cannot do more.
The descent is no less maladroit than before; it's like Rock has totally forgotten how to cushion his weight without hurting himself in the process. He overcompensates and nearly pitches onto his face, forced to lurch a step forward as a preventative. Hunched, broad shoulders rounded in, the Angel of Taiyo High doesn't look so ethereal. No, he more closely resembles a feral little beast, backed into a corner and trapped.
This is when the ward should be the most dangerous, but his chest heaves, every breath an incredible effort, occasionally hitching in his throat. Rock's slender frame trembles against his will, and a solid black bruise peeks out from under the collar of his shirt. His arm has dropped by at least an inch. Shit, he's going to burn himself out, at this rate...
Geese prattled on during the landing and after, figuratively burying him with words that had long since lost their power. The blazing crimson orbs lift defiantly, or one does, at least. Hidden behind the sweat-soaked fringe that rustles limply is the other. "Listen to this bastard..." It's not as if he's talking to the source of everything awful in his world, but Rock is loud enough to be overheard. Struggling to stand up straight, the American teenager exhales a scornful laugh, "Criticising the son he disowned."
Kinda sounds like going out to yell at the trash for being garbage, right?
"Seriously, you gotta be kidding me."
When the arm extends, Rock knows from personal experience that the moment the elder Howard catches him, there is nothing left but agony. He would be hefted up and choke-slammed. Repeatedly. If his spirit cannot be broken, his body very well can.
That's why he pushes back, tauntingly, MADDENINGLY out of reach, the grasping fingers passing by in front of him. Rock begins to coil, muscles tensing as he waits for the exact moment when Geese realises it's a miss, and is overextended. Will there be such a mistake? The wolf pup may also jump the gun on assumption. Clapping hand to fist to bash down between the shoulder blades of the Southtown Syndicate tyrant, he simultaneously drives up that skinned knee to plant it directly in his father's centre of mass. "Here's an idea," the young prodigy shouts, "Leave me THE FUCK ALONE! I don't want your lessons!!"
COMBATSYS: Geese attempts to counter Medium Kick from Rock with Joudan Atemi Nage.
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Rock 1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1 Geese
"Your rage is a weakness!" Geese howls at Rock as the young man tries to attack him. But it's in that moment that he -sees- something.
He sees the moment he first held Rock in his hands, the little boy he promised his mother would become strong and proud. But now here he is, beating the strength into Rock. He says nothing though of that swift flashback, but instead, he does not allow his own weakness to show to his flesh and blood. For Rock to become strong, mighty, and unbreakable.
He will not have his progress interrupted by growing a heart now.
Geese states though as Rock continues to rebel against his father. His expression is of complete disregard for his own blood. So when he reaches for Rock, only for his son to be out of reach, he watches as his son's knee approaching his center, catching it and pushing it aside, only for his free hand to charge at Rock, aiming to strike his throat.
COMBATSYS: Rock attempts to counter Joudan Atemi Nage from Geese with Gedan Crack Counter EX.
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Rock 1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1 Geese
That man has a heart? Who knew! If Rock were to be directly asked, with absolute certainty he would reply that Geese Howard felt nothing for his mother, or him. Why else was Marie allowed to die?
Why did the bastard abuse his own damn child?
And then, to throw the kid out...
Everything Rock is, down to the very atom, shrieks of a complex combination of inadequacy and inferiority, but only when in the presence of his father. That he can't even be considered a liability, should anything happen...
The boy doesn't have any real worth.
He's never been worth anything.
Eldritch horror though it was, the Maw of Taishokan showed him what it would take to earn his place, only if Rock wished for it. Unprovoked, unbidden, and entirely unwelcome, images return with horrifying clarity, like responding to a subtle cue. The false memory of a pulse slipping away at his fingertips visibly distresses him, but it won't distract him...
It can't. His boiling blood demands that Rock remain grounded and angry, as he actively fights to control himself.
Which is why, when Geese denounces his rage as a weakness, the words bounce around the confines of his skull, utterly incomprehensible.
Wasn't fury their bond? Or is it because he's a tempest, as much a threat to his own as he is to others? "Shut up!" There's something here Rock isn't hearing, the space between the lines he's unable to see. Trying to consider it nearly blinds him, soon confronted by a far more pressing matter...
Attempting to capitalise on an opportunity that may never have existed, the American teen's knee is shoved aside. A graceless stumble follows, throwing off the axe-handed strike from above. Rock's teeth grit, scarlet gaze snapping to its limit, catching sudden movement from the corner of his eye. Geese hones in on his throat!
But catches a forearm.
The smack of impact rends the air. Wasted energy reaches the young wolf's face, the cool but brief breeze disturbing loose threads of gold. The intention there was way too obvious, dad. Enough that Rock can afford a moment of arrogance, "Tch, look who's talking..." Clicking his tongue, shoulders roll, the Howard scion wincing at the protest on his right side. "Nothing wrong with it, /if it works/."
Really, HOW this is working is beyond him.
His arm twists around so that it may lock on, long before the offending limb can safely retreat. If successful, the vice-like grip uses a vicious yank to drag in the taller blonde, hoping to unbalance him. Rock lets go only to sneer up close, repeating the same front flip from before to mock Geese. The ward and pupil of the Legendary Wild Wolf extends his leg at the apex of his jump, dropping his heel hard. Head, collarbone, face, it doesn't matter -- the target is chosen at random and out of convenience.
COMBATSYS: Geese attempts to counter Gedan Crack Counter EX from Rock with Chuudan Atemi Nage.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Rock 1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1 Geese
Perhaps it just won't happen.
Perhaps Rock will never, -ever- understand Geese, or how the Elder Howard views his child. Fury was never quite their bond, merely the storm that resided in Rock that Geese attempted to beat into submission. Rock never understood, and perhaps never will. All the same, Geese is not one to show his weakness, through words or combat.
But Rock was a good fighter, even if he's extremely out of practice. The forearm that Geese catches with his hand -- instead of his son's throat -- is not remiss, but rather, cold blue eyes lock onto Rock's own. "That's the problem with you -boy-, it never did." Geese is fully aware that anger does -not- make you stronger. It only makes you dumber.
So when that heel is coming down straight for Geese? He sidesteps out of the way of it, instead intending to grab Rock's shirt, leg behind his, and try and throw him end over end and slam him hard into the ground. Geese was not an idiot. He knew full well that Rock had just as much counter-ingenuity as he did.
It seems Rock might prove Geese right, depending on his actions!
COMBATSYS: Rock reverses Chuudan Atemi Nage from Geese with Raging Storm+.
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Rock 0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Geese
Imagine if there existed a hellish parody of reality wherein these two could reach an understanding.
A gentle world, a peaceful world...
They could create such a place together, and then maybe dear old dad won't need to beat his son into submission. Geese would address the root cause of Rock's rage, acknowledge that he was the catalyst, and apologise.
Yeah, the more I think about this, the more unlikely it sounds.
Rock agrees. Fully and completely.
He /wants/ to hate the Southtown Syndicate bossman, because that's the very thing preventing the Howard scion from becoming like him...
But I digress, I'll get back to the action.
That his efforts are denounced does little to deter the bullheaded ward of the Legendary Wild Wolf. Rock recalls the struggles of formative years, comparing them to the present. The dreams that seemed unattainable, only to be realised as he aged. He's made the man bleed, even toppled him. Call the kid predictable, but know that his experimental probability is constantly improving. One day...
One day, Rock will be the one standing at the end.
Just, probably not today.
Heel crashing down on nothing, his target has shifted off to the side. Try as he might to follow in pursuit, his entire leg tingles and stings from the impact. It was an amateurish decision to overcommit, costing Rock precious seconds he could use to mount some sort of defence. He's forced to ease out of the crouch first, except his father deigns to lend him an unhelpful hand!
Seizing hold of his shirt, the attractive blonde finds himself at Geese's mercy. He's turned ass over kettle, out of ideas right up until the moment he plummets, powerslammed onto his back. A harsh exhalation escapes as the breath is forced from his lungs. Rock's head raps the dirt and bounces, leaving behind a red smear. Stars are born and die in his vision, and he's gasping for air, but he thankfully hasn't forgotten his resolve.
He anchors the bastard to his chest, locking fingers around wrist or arm, whichever is easier. This pushes knuckles into muscle and the bone of his sternum, but Rock knows that sacrifice demands pain. Those crimson eyes, briefly unfocused, find the face looming somewhere above him, likely grinning. In response, the Angel's glare is serious and steadfast.
Violent is Rock's aura, his slender frame lit by his curse, his birthright. It moves, writhing and pulsing, wreathing his limbs. The ground trembles beneath him, a seismic explosion forestalled only by the lack of command. "Raging..." He begins to glow, acting as a chi conduit, recycling natural energies in tandem with the beat of his heart. Streaking schisms tear through the vacant lot, carving deep grooves that rip themselves wider. A blindingly bright, churning mass of cerulean and amethyst boils in each of the rents...
At the epicentre of a rapidly expanding web, holding his aggressor captive, Rock's free arm is brought down with authority.
Suddenly, he lies in a 'crater'.
Blue-purple scythes made of chi erupt, a raw and destructive maelstrom imbued with every emotion he's thrown at Geese Howard: His grief and sorrow, his disgust, all of the anger and desire for vengeance... The whirlwind energy reaches for the very heavens, dazzling in its radiance.
Rock lets go, so that the elder Howard may be carried away by the blast...
And rests, in the aftermath, flickering as the last vestiges of his horrible power fade, waging a war within himself. His blood boils...
Would such a world ever exist?
One where Geese and Rock buried their long-standing blood feud and actually co-existed as father and son? If they did, they could change the entire world for better or for worse. But that doesn't seem to be the case here. Here? This is father against son. A test of strength, another -lesson- for Rock to learn. Geese is aware that he is hated, far beyond the point of reason for Rock.
But that's okay. Geese hated his own father the exact same way. Will the cycle ever end?
It certainly won't end today.
The feel of his hands finding Rock's body is an unpleasant feeling, as every single strike against Rock leaves Geese not with the usual satisfaction of gaining an edge over his foe, those slow steps towards victory, but rather....he feels almost pain. Just as he always did. But is that not what a loving father does? Put himself through agony to ensure that his child(ren) is more than fit to take on the world -and win-?
Geese manages to slam Rock hard into the ground, and seems to be scoffing, as if to walk away. But then his wrist is grabbed, and Geese pauses in his step. "Child...you do not know when you are overwhelmed!" His eyes shift then to Rock, though he suddenly turns -very- serious. This might be very bad. He sees the chi flare in Rock, the energy breaking the ground beneath their feet as Geese seems to try and move to stop this action.
He dares to use his own move against him. The strike catches Geese off-guard in his rage as all of this occurs in barely a second. The maelstrom of energy strikes Geese hard, blowing him away into a nearby bulding wall, bricks, dust, earth, and mortar falling all around between the newly-found distance between Geese and Rock.
and for a moment, all was quiet.
Until Rock can hear it.
Energy FLARES from Geese, his suit's top being nearly annihilated by the combination of the previous blow and Geese's own application of power, focusing into his hands until they are so focused that the dim light becomes like brilliant energy sources in the clenched fists of his rage. He stands tall, muscles fully flexed.
As he says those words, his fists start striking forward at seemingly empty space, but each and every shot has enough force to bring the most powerful man alive to his knees. Each and every shot bears the power of a Reppuken, but rather than coming towards Rock, the slicing wind and crackling lightning coalesce into a wall of energy that grows and grows and grows in its power. The strikes he throws at this 'wall' of energy seem nearly endless as he keeps throwing those punches, until he stops, and stands before his wall of power.
He says nothing as he looks into Rock's eyes, pity in his expression...that his son wasn't strong enough to take him down. Or not yet, he may still have a chance. But lets see how he does, and with a single motion, Geese speaks the law of the heavens.
and with two hands, he palm-strikes the massive wall of energy, sending it straight for Rock!!
How will the scion respond?!
COMBATSYS: Geese successfully hits Rock with #Kokuu Reppuu Zan#.
[ < > /////////// ]
Rock 1/-------/=======|-------\-------\0 Geese
Pffhahahaaaa, loving father.
Surely, you must be referring to the Legendary Wild Wolf, Terry Bogard?
Because Geese Howard is not a name synonymous with compassion, consideration, or kindness. He's just a glorified mob boss, for Christ's sake.
Mob bosses are not good people!
It galls the teen more than anything how this piece of garbage, Geese, is his progenitor. That the man's cursed blood runs through Rock's veins is a great shame, to the point where he vehemently, violently denies their relationship.
Rock enjoys some benefit of his birthright, the raw power of which he inherited. Including the knowledge of application imparted to him, they are both part of what's combined to make the kid who he is today. Why he can turn dear old dad's techniques against him, like a twisted taste of his own medicine.
This is the monster Geese helped create, Rock's crimson-eyed stare boring into blue. Overcome with bitter satisfaction, the disowned heir can see it plainly: The very moment the elder Howard understands resistance is futile.
Of course there's no grinning. Must be a special occasion.
Sent flying, but not far enough to say he's migrated like a flock of waterfowl, Geese receives a rough introduction to the crumbling foundation of whatever once existed here. It grants the boy a brief reprieve. To roll to his knees, even stand. Rock climbs out from the crater, gripping his arm at the wrist, when realisation slowly dawns upon him...
He's got nothing. The handsome American's tank is empty. Drained and exhausted, for all the mind wishes to persist, the body simply cannot. Rock frowns.
Under his own power, he wants to walk back to the Spilt Bean, and then home. The blonde prodigy calls it quits...
But things just aren't that easy.
The earth TREMBLES underfoot.
Flexing right out of his top, what the hell! Are you some kind of horrible gorilla, Geese?! Likely expensive as all get out, the remnants of suiting material flutter to the ground. He's speechless, but Rock's not struck dumb -- it doesn't take a blinking neon sign to draw attention to the palpable swell of energy, much closer to him than he'd prefer.
Doubtful that seeking cover or running into the street would end well, Rock turns and faces Geese. His expression holds a grim sort of resignation, comparable to a convicted criminal facing the gallows. An utterance, a herald of the things to come, might only be whispered at first, but the teenage scion hears it trumpeted as his sentence to be carried out.
His first instinct is to erect a guard, even a sloppy one. Rock focuses on protecting his chest and head, but those scarlet eyes, so like Marie's, can be seen between the gaps of criss-crossed limbs, watching. He's pale, and his heartbeat quickens. This is going to hurt.
Building before him, the wall looks insurmountable, so many slashes of wind combining into one solid mass. Muscles tense, his heels dig in. There's something vague in the air, pity wafting off Geese that Rock can sense. He's regarded as a fly to swat. Some sick, lame thing. The young wolf bares his teeth, a guttural growl rumbling deep in his throat.
There's pressure to start. Crushing pressure. Razor-sharp blades make short work of his sleeves, drawing red lines on his skin. The uninjured shoulder takes a good chunk of the impact. Try as he might to present himself as immovable, it's a fact that he's unable to withstand the onslaught, nor is Rock's weight significant enough to keep him rooted.
Swept away with ease, the Angel of Taiyo High soars long across the lot, and nearly beyond it. The only reason he's not smashing into some unfortunate storefront or old lady's kitchen is because he collides with a lamppost, instead. A Rock-shaped dent is left in the mast.
Sliding down, the Howard scion's feet don't want to support him, so he forces them to... His entire back has become a bruise, to the point of affecting each individual vertebrae. A thin line of blood dribbles from the corner of his mouth... Cracked ribs? Maybe one or two, or he could be lucky.
Just to stick it to Geese, he will not fall.
A staggering step forward.
Kept upright by his indomitable spirit, there IS something Rock does hope he proved, almost as an afterthought...
That somehow, just now, he proved he's more than just an eyesore...
Everything fades, returning to black.
COMBATSYS: Rock takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Rock can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Geese has ended the fight here.
Finally, its over.
Until Geese sees it. He sees Rock, refusing to fall after getting struck with the sheer force to immediately demolish any other human being. Perhaps this is strength, the ability to take someone's best shot and keep standing, even if it was extremely foolish to keep doing so. Geese approached Rock ever so slightly, but stopped at a respectable distance.
He would hate to become al oving father, after all. It would undo all of his progress.
But then Rock finally falls, his feet finally give up, and his body is brought low by exhaustion, pain, and anguish. Geese stares at the unconscious body of Rock for a -long- moment, before he snaps his fingers. His assistants, who had briefly left, return quickly and check to see if Rock is even still alive.
They wait for the breath, which arrives much to hte relief of the medical team.
Geese, on the other hand, is refitted with a nice shirt and suit jacket, the blonde mob boss looking down at his boy as he's asked the question of the hour: what should they do with Rock?
He could just throw him in the water and hope he's strong enough not to drown, but no...Geese was rewarding when it suited him. As a result, he gets back in his car....and Rock is soon brought in with im.
The Howard Scion would awaken in his residence, no doubt in physical pain from the bout he had with his father. But his wounds have been treated, but Geese is nowhere to be found.
The battle was over....for now.
Log created on 14:29:48 06/12/2021 by Rock, and last modified on 04:23:37 09/22/2023.