Tairyu - Boxer's Dance

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Description: With Mint's duties in wrangling rookie fighters finished, a vacation is in order. And this means seeing a certain man over in Southtown -- and date activities that only two enthusiastic fighters can engage in.

For once, Minal Panesh is happy to get -away- from home.

Home generally means comfort, and spending time with family. But home is also right up the street from Metro City, and the past few months in Metro City have been a big, gigantic ball of stress for the young corporal. Tasked with training prospects for the New Fighting Generation project, Mint had managed to steer Team Metal to both a points victory -and- the champion's dais, though the victories had taken a heavy cost. Keeping the cogs of the machine spinning smoothly was a largely thankless task -- one assisted by the CEO of the Ultratech Corporation, but ultimately left in her own mechanical hands.

It's... well, nice to get away.
And it's even nicer over a rum and coke in the middle of Southtown. After sending a quick text to let her club-owner beau she's arrived, the corporal has placed all her comm channels on do-not-disturb. And she has officially begun her long vacation from having -anything- to do with self-destructive teenagers.

Mint sips at her rum and coke. The "Mars" club isn't her best choice for a place to relax -- but it's definitely the safest. And with good vibes coursing through her veins, she's happy to enjoy the eye candy of well-muscled gentlemen as they walk by.

Under normal circumstances, Corporal Panesh would have likely been harangued right from the start to be paired up with one of the hosts employed by the club. And with things like an entrance fee, for that matter. Apparently the employees were given other directives when it came to her.

So she is mostly left alone. Mostly. Only enough that she isn't deprived of the eye candy and all.

The ambient music that blows through the speakers isn't high enough in volume to stop an attentive enough ear to pick up on footsteps approaching her, perhaps. A club like this is built around the ability of the patrons to have conversation, afterall.

"Good evening, stranger," a familiar voice rumbles it's way past all the other noise, leading up to a mug of warmed-up sake clinking down onto the counter in front of her. And even more importantly, a similiarly familiar black jacket and red shirt collar shifting up to leaning besides her.

"You come here often?"

It's... a lame line. But maybe Tairyu Katashi will be excused in this particular instance?

Mint wouldn't have had trouble paying -- if she were planning on making this a surprise visit. But it seems that the staff have no trouble recognizing the pint-sized pugilist, even if she is a bit more dolled-up than usual: a white button-up blouse, ash grey slacks, sensible flats, and prosthetics that closely approximate her natural skin tone. And her hair is actually brushed and lightly curled, to better frame her face. The corporal's appearance still reads as 'tomboy', but with a bit more elegance than usual.

She seems to be enjoying the music and the company, bobbing her head lightly to the music. And of course, she's not surprised in the least when a familiar man in a familiar jacket strides up beside her.

Radiating warmth, she smirks back at the opening line. The girl from northern New Jersey can't help but take the bait -- though, she does keep her voice low so that only he can hear.

"Ehh.... Usually upstairs, but I'm open to new possibilities if your staff don't mind."

Mint winks back, wrapping an arm about Tairyu's waist.

"It's been a while though, damn. Missed you, Katashi." She squeezes his side affectionately. "Been keepin' busy?"

Truth be told, the club owner who made himself at home besides this particular patron must have realized how awful that line must have been. He was probably expecting her to take it in stride, too, but... perhaps he didn't expect *that* kind of response exactly. It's just enough to briefly throw the usual image of stoicity off completely, and bring the taller man tipping his head to face her fully with a few rapid blinks.

"...Well, didn't think you were into *that* kind of thing," he murmurs, in teasing jest -- albeit Mint might be the only one who is able to pick up on it, in all fairness. Only person he really needs to pick up on it, anyway.

Her arm reaching to coil about him is mirrored in his own moving over and around her shoulders, before pivoting to guide his hand to the top of her head, brushing calloused fingers over her hair, with a warm smile that he affords very few others to see.

Which probably results in more than a few conspirational whispers around the staff in the club, considering where they are at the moment, even if their relationship wasn't exactly a secret to them in the first place.

"Too long," he agrees, and promptly leans himself down enough to actually plant a soothing kiss to the top of her head. "Missed you too, Minal."

Clearly he is not at all afraid of people working for him seeing him like this either.

"I have been... well. As busy as someone in my line of work usually is." Which is something he is perhaps understandably not *as* eager to talk about openly. "I was following the coverage for that whole thing. Or, well, the parts with your team, anyway. Seemed like... well. Like you had your work cut out for you."

Katashi likely understands that Minal's mouth, quite often, writes checks she has no intention of cashing. And that's -probably- how he'd read the redness across her cheeks, the bared teeth, and the shy, downward cast of her eyes in the wake of his reply.

Of course, she's quick to turn back up with an appreciative smile at the tender attentions given to her hair. The sass she'd dole out for other people practically evaporates as she meets his smile with one of her own -- partly because, here in the midst of an exclusive club, she hardly has to worry about subordinates sneaking up on her. And she's certainly not concerned about the payrolled staff finding out -- else she would have picked somewhere else.

Exhaustion shows in a smile desperate for relief, as she nods in reply. "Yyyyyeah, that's a nice way of puttin' it. All I gotta say is, Ultratech bailed us out -big- time." Mint flashes her teeth in a broader grin.

A lock of hair tumbles loose, drifting in front of her eyes. For a moment it looks like she's fighting the urge to bat it away, but she manages to leave it be for the moment.

"The kids got good, Katashi. At first I was goin' easy on 'em... showin' 'em the ropes an' all that. But they got -better-. And it took damn near all I had just to keep pace there at the end."

She smiles, warmly, as she reminisces. Did the team wear her out? Of course. But the warm glow on her face shows she felt it was worth it.

"I wish I'd had enough time to make it to your fights though. You were -amazing-!"

Katashi likely not only understands, but it was probably his intention, too, to partly call her out on it. The man might not seem like he's the type to go teasing someone like that, but Minal's just earned that kind of special place.

"Ultratech, huh..." The name of the corporation makes him wrinkle his nose. "Don't really know what to make of their lot, but..." There's a hint of distrust there. "...Glad it worked out."

Whatever thoughts he might have on Ultratech, he is - for the most part - choosing to keep it to himself. The important part, anyway, is that it turned out okay, and...

"Sounds like it was satisfying work then, huh? Looking after a couple young ones?" It's just a *little* teasing, again, and it even comes with a light pat of his hand down at her shoulder.

Even the stoic yakuza boss, however, has to briefly cast a look aside when she ends up singing his praises, a light cough in his throat coming out before he makes a point of concealing his face behind his sake cup.

"I'm not sure what you mean," he mutters, taking a quick sip of the warmed liqour in between. "I've just been lucky."

Mint is used to teasing and being teased; she has pretty thick skin when it comes to most topics. Like Ultratech, for instance: there's certainly been -bad- experiences there, for some, but she's come to see them as a necessary evil in some regards.

"Eh, I trust 'em to do things when it's in their benefit. I mean, that's kinda how -most- people are, right?" She grins cheerily, knowing that her own employer -- the US military -- tends to grease Ultratech's palms enough to stay in their good graces.

She leans into the pat, warmth flooding her face. It's been... far too long since she's spent any length of time with the bar owner. As tempting as it might be to lose herself in those eyes -- and she -does- find herself lost for a moment or two -- she does like to get some sources of stress out of the way first.

"Pfft, no," she insists with a confident grin. "-I'm- the lucky one here." She gives him a light shove, grinning. "You worked hard to get as good as you are and I'm glad the whole world can see it."

She reaches up to brush fingers against the back of her beau's neck. Her touch is soft, owing to the number of improvements she continues to make on her prosthetic technology. It wouldn't do to give a heavy-handed reassurance, after all.

"Teachin' those kids just reminded me of our last lil' sparring match, y'know? Fighting, but not... Going all-out. Just trying to work on better ways to express your style through combat."

She leans back, regarding Katashi with a smile. "It was neat seein' what they did with our lessons, and how they grew from 'em."

"Yeah, well..." Mumbles Katashi, lowering his head subtly in an effort to hide his typical stoic expression breaking slightly. It really seems way harder to maintain his cool with her than it is with... basically anyone else. It's a good thing, though. She makes him smile.

"You work hard too, don't you?" He suggests to her, reaching his hand up to hers over his neck, lightly squeezing at her wrist affectionally. "Not with just that. With improving your fighting ability, too. And--" His hand shifts subtly, to brush his fingers over hers, making a point of feeling out her prosthetic fingers. "These too. You've improved these every time I see you too, haven't you?"

His head turns after saying all that, to guide his bright green eyes to meeting her gaze. Giving her that little brief danger of getting lost in his eyes all over again. "Did I ever mention I think you're a genius?"

His hand does drop away after that, but he keeps himself facing her still.

"Reminded of ours specifically?" He asks with a subtle sideward tilt of his head, along with a faint hint of a brow arch. "...I can see it, though. You were testing out using your gauntlets for flight back then. A new way to express yourself, as it were?" Slowly leaning towards the counter, he props one elbow up there so he can, in turn, lean his cheek against his fist while he watches his beau. "How did it feel being on the other side of that? Besides 'neat', I mean."

Special relationships like these are all about smiles, aren't they? Mint loves being able to work a grin out of the stoic Yakuza. She may not know what he's going through with his business -- and it's likely better that she -not- know -- but she's glad that he's earmarked a slice of his day to spend with her.

"I do," she acknowledges. "But I'm not the one chalking up my success to 'luck,'" she teases with a grin. "You're fighting some of the best people in the world and ending up on top. That ain't luck, that's your hard work payin' off."

She rubs her fingers against his enclosing grasp, pleased at the compliments. Each revision of her hands builds on the previous generation -- this set feels a bit more firm, more durable than the last, without giving up the more subtle textural advancements and motion tweaks that make the hands feel more human than machine.

"Mm... Maybe you did, but feel free to go on," she jokes, kneading lightly at Katashi's neck. "It's been a little bit, I need to recharge my compliment batteries."

As for the discoveries of Team Metal, she gives a cheery nod. "It was fun seeing... I wanna say, it was like, the 'joy' of discovery in their eyes as they thought about their tactics in a new way. I couldn't throw spells back at Iris, I couldn't throw ninjutsu at Kenzo, and I can't spin around a pole like Djamila, but that was fun in its own way. The weirdest thing was, I was figuring out how to pierce -through- their styles, but had to remind myself to just -think- about it rather than straight-up -acting- on it. So I could suggest ways that enemies might exploit their weaknesses without being a Grumpy Gus and takin' the wind out of their sails."

She grins -- though it's a bit of a self-deprecating one, as she adds, "Sparring's just, y'know, different. If you're in a tournament fight it's easy to go all out, right? But when you want someone to get -better-, it's more like a dance, both of you collaborating on a bigger, better performance."

Mint grins. "Long story short: wanna fight? Doesn't have to be now, I mean, just... Y'know."

"Ended up with those batteries dried up during all that time you spent there, did ya?" This apparently brings a bit of mischeif to Katashi's smile, as he turns to facing her even further, with a hand reaching over to gently cup the underside of her chin with three fingers. "Can't have my beautiful genius not feeling like a beautiful genius, can we? That just wont do."

If any of the staff overhear the two of them, Tairyu is *absolutely* going to be relentlessly teased about all of this by them later, just for the record.

He does give a slightly curious look at the particular choice of wording she gives when she recounts some of her experiences, though. "I'm not sure one 'throws ninjutsu', but..." He does actually understand what she means. He just likes messing with her, too.

But when she finally asks that question, his eyes lid subtly. He considers it for all of three seconds before glancing back over his shoulder, towards the central area of the club floor. "Well, it wouldn't be the first time someone used the dance floor for a fight..." Turning back to her, then, he leans over closer, smiling with just a *hint* of something wicked as he offers to her in a lower tone, "I can do now or later. Depends on if you want to do it with everyone watching, or..."

Mint finds her chin lifted up, if ever so slightly, by the taller Yakuza. She smiles for him, as pretty as a picture, glad to be the prize of his collection. And, of course, it wouldn't be Mint if she didn't have some smartaleck comment to offer.

"Aww. Ain't you just the *best* charging station ever?"

Teasing aside, the compliments -do- give her a bit of a charge.

"Though, you're a bit tougher to cram into a carry-on."

And, well, not only doesn't she have trouble speaking with her chin cupped, she's in no great rush to extricate herself from the position, leaning into his hand ever so slightly.

"Throw it, stuff it, meh! Don't look at me, I just hired folks to pinch hit for me. Anyway, it looks like it did the job, until they hit the Team Thunder wall." She laughs softly.

Mint's eyes half-lid back at Tairyu as he considers. She isn't sure if he's spicing up what she said in his head or not. She -suspects- he is. Which might be why it strikes her a bit odd when he starts smiling in that -particular- way. She lifts an eyebrow.

"We're still talking about fightin', right?"

Sticking out her tongue, she raps her heel against the briefcase beside her on the floor.

"I trust you to be a gentleman about it, either way! But yeah -- Righty and Lefty are good to go whenever you are. No pressure, though!"

Being called out does make the smile recede-- or no, rather, it changes to something more natural for Tairyu. Enough to suggest he was mostly putting on an act. Mostly. He still can't help but leave at least a little bit of further teasing there at the end.

"What else could we be talking about?"

He absolutely knows the answer to that question.

His eyes do flick down towards the briefcase by her feet while he brings his cup back up over to his lips, murmuring "Well, you know how hard it is for either of us to say 'no' to a good tussle, yeah?" before downing the remains of the sake into his maw in one go.

Pushing away from the counter after that, with his cup left behind atop the surface of it there, he turns to face Minal again with one hand reached out to her, palm-up. "Shall we?" He offers, with a subtle nudge of his head towards the space left cleared between the currently-empty stage and the lavish seatings of the club proper.

"Oh, he wants to be coy about it now..." Mint smirks back at her beau as she brushes fingers through her hair, parting it away from her eyes.

She downs the rest of her drink -- thankfully, she didn't have quite as much left.

"Yeah, leave it to us adrenaline junkies, right?"

Grinning, she hops free from the barstool at Katashi's suggestion. One hand reaches for his -- while the other gingerly lifts the thirty-five-pound case. "Lead the way, maestro...!"

She smiles back at the gentlemen staffers, as sunny a disposition as she can manage. The case swings back and forth; it clearly -has- mass, but it doesn't seem to trouble the corporal too much. Once Tairyu slows to a halt, though, Mint lifts the case to a nearby table, and pops the latches open on the case.

Inside is, as would be expected, a pair of heavy metal gauntlets. Smaller than her usual set, at first glance -- though, as Mint places her hands in the center of the gauntlets, the devices unfurl outwards, swallowing up her prosthetic hands and most of her forearms in a rapid series of whirrs and clicks.

A moment later, she spreads her arms wide -- now encased in a mix of carbon fiber and metal alloys. In lieu of large, side-mounted turbines, each gauntlet bears four smaller turbines with directional nozzles for fine-tuned control. The fists are just as large, and just as heavy -- but the gauntlet's armor has been reduced considerably.

"Try not to embarrass your girl -too- much, Katashi. I might be gettin' a bit rusty!"

The two moving through the club does draw attention from the other patrons. And the staff, for that matter. Only a few passing glances at first, perhaps, but once Minal has set the case onto a table with a predictably hefty *thud*, attentions steadily begin to lock on to the two.

"Do you *want* me to hold back for you, truly?" He asks then, with an upward arch of one dark brow. There is a note of challenge in that question.

All the looks they are getting aren't passing his notice, though. While he slowly backs himself away from Minal, to the other end of the circular width of the dance area, he raises one hand up, calling out, "Pardon the impromptu event, everyone! Just consider this background entertainment."

After gaining what appears to be an adequate spacing between the two, his hand falls down again. The club owner's posture changes only subtly, but it's as though a coil has been charged with electricity, just from the slight turn of feet along the floor aimed to brace his balance, and from fingers snapping into fists.

"Give me everything you got."

COMBATSYS: Mint has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Mint             0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Tairyu has joined the fight here.

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Mint             0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Tairyu

Mint flexes her artificial fingers, testing to make sure all the sensors and telemetry are working properly. Her eyebrows flutter slowly as she inputs the commands to pivot the micro-nozzles. All things that worked well in testing, but like any good engineer, she's testing the devices beforehand as some things may have come unsettled during transit.

Satisfied with her self-checks, she looks up to Tairyu with a hesitant grin. "Well, a hospital trip isn't on my agenda for this visit; can we just leave it at that?"

Bobbing lightly from one foot to the other as she steps into the dance area, she thinks on that for a moment, and adds: "Aside from that, I'm a big girl, Katashi. We fought as equals the first time we met, didn't we?"

She clenches her metal hands into fists. Her stance is light, airy -- as if the metal hands weighed nothing at all, and she were just squaring off in a parking lot. Her enthusiasm is contagious -- a bright smile that shows she's ready to rise to that challenge.

She gives only the -slightest- nod to the audience. It's... definitely a value-add for the customers who were hoping to see some action here.

And then she turns her eyes to Tairyu, with the bravest, most defiant look she can muster as she loosens the collar of her blouse. It's a sign that she knows it's not -exactly- the best gear to have a fight in. But she'd hate to feel underdressed in a place like this!

Katashi will get one wink of warning.

And then she's off, with a roar of micro-turbine thrust that propels her forward into a rapid left jab for his abdomen. She'd seek to follow that up with a narrow right hook, bearing down hard with her metal fists!


COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Tairyu with Hook Punch.

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Mint             0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Tairyu

"I would never do that to you," Tairyu offers, while he adjusts his stance a bit more, lowering one fist down to nearly waist-level. It would be kind of a bummer to put your girlfriend into the hospital as part of a friendly bout, wouldn't it?

But that being said, one corner of his mouth does slightly tug upwards over her addition right after that. "...Yeah. I wouldn't insult you, either."

That smile does actually remain even when she is launching herself like a humanoid jet fighter at her. Even when he leans himself into motion, weaving his body to his right to slip past the jab from her left first, and then back to retreat away from the following ho-



The smile slips away for a second, and the normally-composed Yakuza's eyes widen from surprise in that brief instant the steel knuckles of a heavy gauntlet dig into his side. The force of the blow actually disrupts his balance enough he's left stumbling to the side, and needing to stomp one foot down to stop himself from completely falling over.

"...Okay," he breathes out after steadying himself, and just like that his smile is coming at least partially back. "You got faster." He's happy for that realization. Sure, it stung like hell, but there's a certain joy to having a fight that isn't one-sided to people like him.

So what's better than your beau managing to get a good lick in?

His weight turns back forward over that same foot he'd stomped down to halt his stumble, and his right hand draws far back, fingers stretched out apart and slightly curled, while--

The air shimmers. A mist-like azure glow forming out, only to construct itself into an illusion of an eastern dragon, coiling around Tairyu's arm--

But wait. The Yakuza actually turns his head just enough to lock one eye onto the manifestation of Chi. As if silently admonishing it. And in turn, as if responding like a cowed pet to a lecture, it begins to fade again. Indeed, even if they promised each other to not be holding back, this is still not a fight where *everything* goes. There will be no burning anything tonight.

So for now, a faint azure glow along Tairyu's hand will do, instead of a furious manifestation of dragon's flames.

That being said, though? The club owner does still launch himself right back towards Minal, posture lowered down nearly low enough for his head to reach the floor in the half a second it takes for him to come up to her and spring up again -- and sweep the palm coated in Azure chi in a powerful thrusting motion for her midsection.

COMBATSYS: Mint interrupts Rising Claw from Tairyu with Attack of Opportunity EX.

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Mint             0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Tairyu

Mint smiles with the comfort of Tairyu's reassurances. She's grateful to take part in a battle within the framework of reasonably mature decisionmaking -- a welcome change from the chaos forged by fighters who don't know their own respective strengths.

She's... honestly, even happier that her initial two-hit volley found its mark. She feels that Katashi is stronger, faster, and just all-out *better* than her, so it's a considerable boost to her morale knowing that she can, in fact, go 'all out' without as much concern for his welfare. Though -- in keeping with that, she hops back after her tag, waggling her eyebrows as she raises both fists in a tried-and-true boxer's defense.

"Have I?" The engineer grins. Thrust-wise, the gauntlets have less overall horsepower. But it seems their improved weight distribution has led to greater gains in agility... "I changed a lot of stuff. Been aching for a good field test!"

Mint's grin dims, ever so slightly, as she sees the azure flames rush out. She's... had some talks about chi with others in the NFG -- particularly Rei Hazuki, who she had -hoped- would be up for teaching. (And it turned out that he would -- for a rival team! The nerve!) Now, armed with a more complete understanding of chi, she's come to realize... maybe it's not -that- scary...

As it happens, Mint is setting her jaw at around the same time Tairyu side-eyes the azure flames. She considers their damage potential -- and ranks the threat of letting Katashi dictate the pace of battle with his superior skills to be a much higher risk.

He -wants- it to be difficult to react to. And that's why she has to blunt that spear with her own armor. As Tairyu closes in, Mint hops backward with a quick burst of thrust from upraised gauntlets. The motion places her a meter backwards from where she was -- time enough to plant her left gauntlet into harm's way. The palm slams into reinforced armor plating, tongues of blue flame spilling over its surface as the heat threatens to cook the stump of an arm within. Tairyu's superior strength is considerable, for even her braced arm is bashed to the side from the impact.

That was part of the calculus, though -- to let her arm twist her around on a nimble pivot, allowing her to gain a momentary advantage.

Which is to say, she uses Tairyu's strike to spin her upper torso around, allowing her to piston a jet-boosted uppercut up into his jaw. The thrust from her turbines is enough to send both Mint and Tairyu hurtling upwards a meter or so -- though with his current rate of travel, that also means both of them will fly -backwards- about as far!

"And -you- sure don't hit any -lighter-, ow..." laments Mint as she lands back on her feet, a fair distance away. She shakes her left hand out, flexing her fingers as she tries to keep them from going numb with the bone-quivering blow!

Tairyu is pleased, first of all, that Mint manages to take his attack head-on, and brace herself so -- even if the force behind his arm might be sending her spinning around initially.

And then right after, Tairyu is once again surprised when she turns that spin right back into him again in the fiercest possible way. The slam of a steel-clad fist into the underside of his jaw stings an electricity-like jolt through his whole body before he is even fully blown into the air.

The sight of the Sun Dragon's attack getting turned around right back on him, and the two combatants flying into the air in the whiplash of it all does earn a fair amount of cheers from the audience, at least. Tairyu might be quite literally in his home field here, but for those who have seen what he is capable of, seeing someone land a hit like that onto him is a thrill of it's own.

Tairyu's landing is not quite as graceful as Mint's, landing down to the floor on his side and all -- but he does manage to turn it immediately into a roll that guides him over to his knee with a grunt.

"Yeah, well..." His voice rumbles out while he rubs his hand along the underside of his jaw. "You're not exactly swinging pillows at me either."

He does not mean that as a complaint.

The Yakuza isn't content to stay there and wait for Mint to press back into her own attack, though. Even from down on one knee, he's quick to spring up again, and carry himself with rapid footwork across the space created between them by her fierce uppercut. It starts to carry him right past her too, however -- but through that passing, he pivots abruptly along one foot before he is fully past her. A dance-like spin that guides the heel of his foot to whipping for her thigh, only to be pulled back again just as fast with the completion of the turn and the continuation of his passage along her perimeter.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu successfully hits Mint with Southern Wind.

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Mint             1/------=/=======|=======\==-----\1           Tairyu

Mint likes making use of her compact size as best she can. Those big weights at the end of her arms can be both a benefit and a hindrance -- and with the smaller, more maneuverable thrust nozzles, she's done a lot of work towards minimizing the hindering aspects.

Not exactly swinging pillows? Mint clasps her left hand into a fist once more as a smug grin flits across her face.

"I mean, that comes later, right?"

The momentary grin fades as the Sun Dragon hurtles towards her. At the end of the day, he's still got considerable advantage over her. In addition, she's not a mind reader -- she sees him coming. She expects him to blow past her. And she hops backwards. But when his foot slams into her thigh, that simple hop becomes another spin, causing her to roll over like an upset dreidel, her right shoulder and gauntlet hitting the floor in an awkward motion, wedging in place as the force of the motion wrenches at her shoulder joint.

A quick burst of throttle from her gauntlets is enough to keep that from hurting more; a second burst has her flipping back to her feet. A lesser fighter might be discouraged -- but Minal Panesh is only invigorated by the exchange, a bright smile forming on her face.

Sweat beads up on her brow as she considers her options. It -was- a nice dance move -- and that might be another item on her vacation's to-do list.

But it might have to take a back seat for the moment -- as she realizes just how much pain she's in. Not even adrenaline has been able to keep up with the pace.

%And yet -- she's grinning, as she braces both elbows by her waist.

"But we ain't done here yet, honey. Hope you're ready for this!"

The turbines unload. Eight trails of orange flame blast out the back -- an effect that vanishes before the flame can torch any of the precious club, of course! But an effect that causes Mint to thunder forward all the same.

Tairyu might expect that the pugilist will cancel her motion into a punch. But that's when she brings her bionic knee forward -- aiming to contact it right into her beau's abdomen!

If she connects with that knee strike, only then would she dial back on the throttle and grab hold of Katashi's arm with her left hand. Her right hand will slam piston-like punches into his chest -- one, two, three, four rapid punches, each punctuated by the scrapes of metal joints. But the coup de grace would come after her grip releases -- one final, full-extension punch backed by all four of her right gauntlet's boosters. A powerful punch to slam him backwards, with the aim of sending him flying backwards into the nearest unoccupied table!

... Yes, unoccupied. She may be going a -bit- ham for this fight -- but she knows darn well what Tairyu's capable of handling!

COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Tairyu with SNAFU.

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Mint             0/-------/-------|=======\======-\1           Tairyu

Tairyu did, in fact, expect Mint to bring a punch into him. He could have sworn he saw the beginnings of movement amidst her missile-like propulsion that would have lead to a punch from her right. Maybe he did actually see it and it was just a masterful feint. But either way, the end result is that he's leaning to the side to try and weave past what he had predicted to be a punch.

Only to find a knee right in his middle. A jolt of pain stabbing into the firm abdominals beneath the button-up shirt, enough to make him fold over with a groan.

He does have the sense to make out his arm getting grabbed amidst it all, though. He even tries to reach right back at her with his right, but is quickly discovered by the pummeling that does finally ensue from her right gauntlet. Each blow seeming to make him skid back an inch or so along the floor.

A>nd then finally, blown back just when he thought he'd gottne a bit of reprieve from the assault. It's quite fortunate that it was a quiet enough evening for there to be at least one empty table there, because otherwise the impact of Katashi's back hitting against the edge of the table, even with his arms braced against it, would have definitely caused drinks to spill had there been some.

"...Guh." Even for all that pain that he tries to soothe with a brief rub of his hand over his middle, there is a faint smile on Katashi's lips. Even if his one of his eyes has instinctively lid down slightly in an involuntary reaction. "Knew you had it in you, love."

One of his hands shoves back against the table behind him to leverage himself into a charge back for her, with his right hand already curled to a fist all over again.

"We're not done yet though!"

There's no particular secret to all of it this time. He's merely bringing himself back to her for the sake of keeping up pressure -- and swinging his fist in slightly from above into a downward arc aimed for the (off-duty) Corporal's right shoulder.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu successfully hits Mint with Medium Punch.
Glancing Blow

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Mint             0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

There was a time in Mint's fighting career where she didn't give one whit as to where her strikes would land. But -- being in "charge" of a group of youths -- inasmuch as doling out suggestions to elder teens can -ever- truly work -- has led her to think a little more about the consequences. That is to say: she'll need to fix anything she breaks. So she's definitely more measured in her strike now, compared with before.

She's rewarded with a series of solid blows, and kind words from her tougher-than-steel boyfriend, which keeps an exuberant smile on her face. She winks back for that moment of respite, either not thinking about the audience looking on from their respective tables, or -- more likely -- not being overly concerned.

"Yeah, your little fireball can throw out some heat when she needs to..."

She isn't deluded into thinking she's -won- the fight though -- for as soon as Katashi lurches into motion, she's bringing her gauntlets high for a boxer's defense. A split-second after that, she realizes the angle of the strike and swings her shoulders sideways -- which gets her monstrous -fists- out of the way, but unfortunately leaves her shoulder as prey for the predating punch! It grazes her shoulder, but even that lessened blow forces her to stumble sideways, face contorting into a grimace.

"Nngh... " she grunts, bouncing back to her proper height with some fancy footwork. "I should hope not... I'm just gettin' fired up!"

Raising her guard again, she lowers both shoulders, strafing sideways. With her previous gauntlets, it was tougher for her to adopt traditional boxing stances; these smaller models make it a -bit- easier. She sways right, then left... and then with a sudden uptick in the note of her turbine fans, she plunges forward into a brutal, direct straight to center mass. "Whew..." she exhales, an afterthought.

But then her turbine fans roar -again- a split-second after impact, twisting her around into a different angle completely in a way that'd be difficult or impossible without thrust vectoring! From this approach, she's suddenly lancing forward with a solid one-two strike to Tairyu's core -- followed by a leap into the air that has her right fist falling in a way not entirely unlike the punch Tairyu just threw! Again, three bursts of breath -- leaving her motions to ask the question: is this the way you did it?

COMBATSYS: Mint blitzes into action and acts again!

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Mint             0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

COMBATSYS: Tairyu blocks Mint's Heavy Punch.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Mint             0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Tairyu

COMBATSYS: Tairyu blocks Mint's Knuckle Dragger.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Mint             0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Tairyu

She's not the only one getting fired up. As stoic and composed Tairyu tries to make himself, there are small clues that show his own excitement with a good fight. The smiles do come easier when he is in a bout with her specifically, but beyond that? His Chi betrays him. By now it's aglow in faint, ethereal, flame-like mist along most of his upper body. Even the ghostly, azure-scaled dragon is peeking over his shoulders at her, even with his own efforts at suppressing it.

The manifestation of his fighting spirit.

It might very well be the same thing that helps him cross his arms before him to intercept even such a fierce, jet-powered punch with only a mild grunt and a slught skid back along the floor to show for it.

She's keeps surprising him with her speed, though. Just when he was about to bring his arms back to prepare for a counter-offensive, he's forced to turn that motion back to bracing his arms up in front of him in the typical boxer's blocking posture in order to soak up the first two blows. Her leaping at him for a strike from above requires a bit of finagling. One of his arms does draw back, but the other rises up to hold his forearm up ahead of him.

Her fist collides into that forearm, then, and Tairyu has to bend his legs to keep himself from being bowled over by the weight of it. A grunt of exertion follows, and the initial lean back and down turns to a push forward in an effort to shove her back. Just to clear some space

But then, right after that, the flow of azure Chi seems to intensify around his legs. The same motion that saw him pushing back up from having them bent and braced tightly to the floor sees him suddenly kicked up into a high leap into the air.

In the air, his body, slightly leaned to the side, flips along the axis that guides his right foot pointed directly ceiling-wards for a moment, with a brilliant, blazing trail of energy like blue-hot flames.

And it comes down. Gravity and Tairyu's own momentum guiding him down to delivering a furious, overhead flipping kick down for his girl like a meteor falling from the sky.

Or a dragon swooping down, as it were.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu successfully hits Mint with Dragon's Descent ES.
* Attack Of Opportunity! *

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Mint             1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>------\1           Tairyu

As was mentioned, Mint is not throwing pillows around. Each of her metal fists acts as a twenty pound battering ram, backed with her own not-inconsiderable strength and the force of her jet turbines. To onlookers, it might seem surreal that Tairyu can soak through damage like that by only scuffing his feet along the floor, with only the final blow of the percussive impact forcing a bend in his legs.

But to Minal, it's not unimaginable or far-fetched; it's the man she's fallen into love with, a man who can part the earth and sea to make the impossible a reality. A man always willing to sacrifice his time to make the world a measurably better place. Perhaps there are those who would paint him as a criminal -- but they don't know him like she does.

Azure chi rises from drooped shoulders, like angelic wings from the Yakuza's back. The tide swells -- and Katashi soars into the air. Mint doesn't look up -- she can feel the heat on her back, blistering through the thin fabric of her blouse, drawing a light sheen of sweat across her brow. She acts without the need for thought, gripping her fists tight, and commanding a quick burst of throttle from her turbines. But for every bit of speed that Panesh's turbines can muster, Tairyu's abundant energy stores yield twice the amount, driving him down like a guillotine onto her shoulder.

She crumples under the weight, her arms pulled out ahead of her as she's flattened against the floor. "Nnrgh!" she grunts as she's smooshed into the floor, knocking the wind out of her lungs. Pain knits across her forehead, contorting her face.

Power is cut to the turbines by safety algorithms before any further damage can be wrought. Indeed -- if they were still active, that might make it difficult for the adrenaline- and sweat-soaked Marine to slam her metal palm against the ground, prying herself off the ground. Once her torso is lifted up, she uses her hands and knees to press upwards, springing back to her feet with a sharp exhale.

Against anyone else, she might be mad.
But with Katashi -- it's all the more fun.
She grins cheerily. It's clear the battle's tolled harder upon her than him, at this point. Her face is reddened from the sudden shift in orientation. But she -refuses- to give up the fight, even now!

"Almost... -almost!-" she shouts back with an excited grin!

Her turbines flare up yet again, eight streams of orange flame spewing past her elbows. The right flares a bit brighter though, as she aims to slam an open-handed palm punch into Tairyu's abdomen, aiming not to injure, but to -shove- him into the air. The thrust balance reverses -- and if she has her way, both engines will help her carry Tairyu into the air. And from there, she will deliver six rapid-fire punches, before finishing off the sequence with a spinning backfist that would belt him right back into the floor!

COMBATSYS: Tairyu counters Charlie Foxtrot from Mint with Dragon's Clutch EX.

[                           \\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Mint             1/-----==/=======|=======\===----\1           Tairyu

In fairness for Minal's own talents, it's not as if though Katashi isn't feeling the strain of the fight, too. For all the preternatural strength and durability the Yakuza seems to have... well. Let's be honest here, her punches, especially powered by her gauntlets, hurt like hell. His ribs are going to be hurting for sure the next morning after all the pummeling he's taken from her, and even his arms are going to be left colored by bruising from having soaked up the few blows there that he did, just for the sake of maintaining a defense. It's the price he has to pay for a fight like this.

And with her, he is perfectly happy to do so.

With the aerial guillotine kick brought down upon Mint with enough force to crash her down onto the floor, Tairyu is left with his leg stretched out his body low to the floor for all of half a second before is rolling back and away, and springing up to his feet a couple meters away from her again.

He meets her grin with his own. He's not even trying to maintain a composed expression anymore.

She is simply too fun. And he will be damned if he won't take everything out of this visit from her that he can.

"Come on!" He shouts right back, voice equal measures challenging and encouraging.

The instant the turbines in her gauntlets fire up, he's lowering slightly in his stance. Eyes locking on to her while one arm rises up again. Preparing to face her head-on again.

Mostly head-on, anyway. At the last second in her charge for her, he suddenly takes one quick step to the left. And his own right hand shoves an open palm into her gauntlet to grab on. Which was... really, a bit of a gamble for more than just the usual reason, seeing as the flame-spewing nozzles were *just* below where he managed that hold.

Either way, at that momentum it's just a light application of force that he needs to redirect her striking palm just past him. His other hand goes for her shoulder, and for a second or so, he's skidding across the dancefloor with her.

That is, up until he suddenly leans in to wrap his left arm further over her back, and shove his right knee up into her abdomen. Raising his foot off the floor wouldn't probably be an issue under normal circumstances, but if the safety algorithms in her gauntlets don't halt her momentum by then, just the propulsion of her body alone is likely enough to push him to falling down onto the floor even with that counterhit finding it's mark.

And get her pulled down onto the floor right with him for that matter, with his continued hold.

Mint had a vague idea of what she'd expected when the two would start fighting. But she wasn't expecting to find Tairyu's flesh-and-blood palm taking her plastic-and-metal in stride. Her eyes widen in the split-second that it all goes down, accompanied by darkening cheeks that signal just how awkward it might seem for her beau to be pulling her close for what could just as easily be the start of a formal dance?!

Thankfully, or perhaps not so much, the introduction of a knee to her abdomen shoves her emotional awkwardness aside for the honest-to-goodness pain she'd come to expect from such an exchange. Any sense of her flustered expression is evacuated in lieu of a pained gasp for breath as the wind is knocked out of her lungs -- her turbines only let up a little bit as Tairyu's able to pull her down to the floor, forcing her to hit the stage on her shoulder as the thrust pulls the couple apart like the rolling tide.

"Whuuugh!" exclaims Mint as the thrust rips her free from Tairyu, sending her into a dizzying spiral across the floor that has several of the club's customers standing up in alarm! Is she okay? She looks to be -- for her tumble stops with her rising to one knee. She pants for breath, sweat drenching a forehead knit together in pain.

For the moment, the answer seems to be: yes! Mint barks out a small laugh, grinning all the while. "I shoulda known you'd find a way to do that..."

Her body aches. She's... definitely going to need to lie down for some rest after this battle, to give time for her aching muscles to recover. And yet... the adrenaline rush of battle, the heady thrum of endorphins racing through her system... the overriding -thrill- of facing Katashi Tairyu once again...

Mint isn't quite ready to throw in the towel yet. Just like a weightlifter, who wants to push themselves just that -little- bit further to lock in some real progress before the end of the set.

"Bear with me just a -little- bit longer..." she barks out. One eye winces shut from the pain, while the other winks at Tairyu.

She leaps to her feet, as Tairyu is likely rising to his own. And she breaks into a dash to close the gap.

Turbines light off. And the pint-sized pugilist rockets forward once more. No trickery, no games -- just a burst of hellacious speed as she aims to pin all her weight into: Just. One. More. Punch.


COMBATSYS: Mint has reached second wind!

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Mint             0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1           Tairyu

COMBATSYS: Tairyu blocks Mint's MOAB.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Mint             0/-------/-----==|=======\====---\1           Tairyu

After the seperation, the rolling landing across the floor comes a bit more gracefully for Tairyu, at least. At least enough control to bring his weight smoothly sliding over two or so meters instead of flopping down face-first.

And indeed, he is rising up just as she is leaping up. He's pleased to see her getting up, too.

Pleased to get a bit longer in this dance.

"Wouldn't have it any other way, love."

He manages to bring himself fully up to both feet just when she's launched for him again. Fast enough, at that, to actually make Tairyu's eyes widen from surprise. Fast enough he barely manages to turn his body and bring his left arm up in the way of the punch and shield himself.

The mistake of trying to *completely* soak up the punch like that hits him the very instant her knuckles first start pressing at the skin beneath his jacket's sleeve. Even with the dragonic chi pulsing into his arm, he can tell the force would probably break bones in most people. In that same instant, he has to cross his other arm behind that one, but even then he's brought to skidding across the floor and towards the empty stage behind him at a worrying rate.

Two whole seconds the two travel across the dance floor like that, before Tairyu decides to force his weight to the side and tumble over the floor with a groan, before the continuing pressure can actually damage him too much.

"Guh!" The Yakuza groans while he directs his body to getting up to one knee again, with a shake given to his numbed-to-hell arm. "'Fireball' is putting it too lightly now..."

He's not content to stay and wait this time, though. He's practically kicking himself back up from the floor so he can come chasing after Minal all over again, with one fist braced up and slightly behind himself--

Only to suddenly draw the weight of his upper body back instead, and let his right foot sweep along the floor, just slightly raised, with a pivot over his left food. Guided to try and knock one of Mint's feet out from underneath her once she's fully stood on the floor again, too.

COMBATSYS: Tairyu successfully hits Mint with Sweeping Strike.

[                             \  < >  /////////////                 ]
Mint             0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

There's a certain point in most relationships where one partner will do everything they can to spare the other from pain. It's probably safe to say Mint and Tairyu are well beyond that point, from all the pain they're happily inflicting upon one another.

Thankfully, a common refrain for Marines is: no pain, no gain. And at its core, that's what this is all about -- pushing herself to be better and stronger. Which is why she doesn't let up, even as her charging punch plows into Tairyu's guard -- and even as he exits from the strike with as much grace as possible. The changing pitch from the turbines signals their shift in direction as she moves to plant her treads upon the dance floor. There's no time for her to rest, though -- as Tairyu is quick to sweep her legs right out from under her.

"WHoof?!" she exclaims as her hips proceed her upper body on the way to the floor. The very slightest of pulses from her right turbines is juuuust enough to angle her shoulders upwards, preventing her head from clonking against the floor. After a half-second of thrust, the pressure is enough to blast her into a log roll, allowing her to flatten her metal hands against the floor and launch herself back to her feet.

Of course , when she's there, she... looks more than a little woozy, listing sharply from one side to the other as she squares her feet up.

Her blouse is wrinkled like crazy, its collar now unbuttoned. Damp with sweat, it's not hard to see the hints of black lace underneath. She will likely sleep -very- well, when she allows herself to.

But that's not... now.
She clenches her fists once again.
And if Tairyu's sensitive to such things...
He might just feel the room getting a little colder.

"Ha! You look like you could still go a few more rounds...!" She scrubs her knuckles against her nose, grinning.

Small clouds of condensed water vapor begin to form around her. It's not something she's even actively noticing, or drawing into being -- but it's substantial enough to cause frost to form on the floorboards by her feet.

"Can't say much for myself though...!" Her fists draw up, and her shoulders lower. The boxer swoops in low, swinging her shoulders from side to side as she advances. And when she gets close, she lunges forward with a bread-and-butter cross punch. The knuckles of her hand are practically iced over as she swings them at Katashi's sternum!

COMBATSYS: Mint has reached third wind!

[                           \\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Mint             0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

COMBATSYS: Tairyu fails to counter Cross Punch from Mint with Dragon's Tail EX.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Mint             0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

Under different circumstances, Minal's boyfriend might be a *bit* allured by the unintended sights created by the disarray of her wardrobe. But right now, Katashi is in the zone. In this exact moment, nothing is more alluring to him than the fighting spirit of the woman before him.

But something else *does* make him arch his back. He is not particularly sensitive to other people's energies despite the dragon in him, but he is perceptive in other ways. A bit of attention meant to keep track of her footwork lets him notice the hints of solidified water by her feet.

He doesn't have the time to think too much about it right now, though, much less ask Mint herself about it. He's pretty sure she'd probably never let him hear the end of it if he tried interrupting the fight over it. And more importantly, she's *still* squaring up to him even after everything. With such intensity, too.

How could he not let her keep going?

One of his fists is upraised, the other reached down low and slightly forward while he watches her. A quick calculation is made in his head. Trajectories of the small fireball herself tracked and estimated, his own range of movement gauged. And then, he shifts, a subtly movement towards the same side she is throwing the cross from.

It's a maneuver he has honed well. A weave to the side leading into a push from his foot into his opponent's to throw them off balance with the same motion that guides him spinning around, all the way to giving a "gentle" encouragement to go down.

THere's just one problem with this.

Minal's foot is not where Katashi thought it was. He can feel the side of his shoe just subtly brushing against hers, but it's hardly enough. The realization hits him just too late, and his body panics to compensate--


But by then her steel fist has already made it's way to his center mass. It might be a bread-and-butter move, sure, but with her particular fists, the shock stings and resonates all through his ribs. It not only makes him stumble back and to the side, but with his own maneuver left incomplete, he ends up all but tripping over himself and falling onto his side off to the left.

He at least has the sense to force himself into a roll to try to work at least *some* distance away from her in case of a potential followup, but...

"Guh...! You were saying...?"

It's his turn to stay on one knee for a second or two. his turn to let one eye flinch shut from the pain while he holds a hand to his chest. His legs *are* still trying to push the rest of his body up as quick as possible, but the fact of the matter is, he has been left *dangerously* close to her while he still hasn't even fully recovered.

Mint still doesn't understand chi or "magic" -- but she's getting closer. Kenzo was able to make use of it to move in ways that humans ought not to be able to. Djamila uses her wind chi to make the impossible real. John Doe's very existence defies the laws of physics. Iris summons weapons to help her fight. None of these are things Mint has shown an affinity for -- nor does she know how to incorporate them into her own style of boxing.

But... cold. Aside from natural occurrences -- the wintry mountains of Japan where she'd first met Tairyu as a pointed example -- she's only felt this cold on a few select occasions. And each time -- it seemed to be in response to pushing herself past her prior limitations.

She's been itching to experience it yet again -- a biting cold to temper the blazing fires of ambition. All part of forging a stronger, truer self. She clenches her fists, pulling them close to her chest as she draws back. She hops nimbly from one foot to the other -- all signs of fatigue consciously shoved to the wayside. Her body is tired -- but her adrenaline is compelling her to keep going, crowding rational thought to the back corners of her consciousness. She breathes in, breathes out -- shallow breaths to keep her topped off, to keep her nimble and flexible.

Those metal fingers clack against one another in anticipation. She can strike. She -could- strike.

But that tiny little voice in the back of the workshop of her consciousness gives a plaintive cry to be heard.

Mint fights it. She's grinning ear to ear, psyched beyond compare. Fists shuffle against one another, her feet following in a tardy mirror of the motion.

She draws in breath.
And closes her eyes, savoring the chilled air.

"You know? I'm good here."

Her fists relax. She lets her massive mechanical hands drop to her sides, as she hops backwards. She paces around the dance floor, prancing on her tiptoes -- but that's all a cooldown routine, it would seem.

"Ahhh! That felt so good! What a -great- workout!" The corporal paces around for a moment, giddy with delight.

When she circles back around to Tairyu, she's still got an ear-to-ear grin on her face as she steps closer. Her gauntlets -- clasped behind her back.

Waves of chilled air waft from her as she brings her cheek close to Tairyu's -- standing, kneeling, or otherwise. Excitement trembles her breath as she near-whispers. Her half-lidded gaze locks with his own.

"There's three things I wanna do right now, and fightin' any more throws cold water on all of 'em."

And with that, she steps back coquettishly, that grin fixed broadly upon her features.

COMBATSYS: Mint takes no action.

[                           \\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Mint             0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Tairyu

COMBATSYS: Mint has left the fight here.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Tairyu           1/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|

He was on the way up. Even then, she could have struck. He knows as much, so he was actually in kind of a hurry to get up, too.

But she goes on to declare a time out, and she this finds Katashi not only halting in his rise, but letting himself drop bacl down to one knee. Drenched in sweat and all. Somewhere along the line another one of his own (already partially-unbuttoned) shirt had come loose, giving just enough leeway around his chest to show hints of flame-colored ink peeking from along his shoulders.

He doesn't say or do anything more than that at first, in favor of watching her.

But when she comes leaning in and whispering those words? He visibly relaxes, like she'd managed to numb most of the built up adrenaline just by her presence alone.

"That right..."

Ome eye still slightly lidded from the exertion, he smiles nonethless. And after she has stepped back, he slowly brings himself up with just the faintest groan of strain.

"I hope one of those things is sitting down. Guh, you were starting to wear me out, you know that?"

That is *not* a complaint.

Making the slow stride over up to Minal, then, her boyfriend reaches out one hand towards her in offer... But were she to take it, he would actually abruptly use that hold to lift her hand high up into the air for all to see. Like a referee signaling which boxer has triumphed in the championship match.

"Show's over! Hope you have a good night, everyone!"

COMBATSYS: Tairyu has ended the fight here.

'Winning' didn't really feel like the right stance to take here. It was a sparring match -- there shouldn't be a winner and a loser. The entire premise of the fight was to work out her anxieties with someone who could actually take the hits she was doling out. And when Tairyu had dropped to a knee, she'd realized the mission had been accomplished.

And as Tairyu rises to his feet, and reaches out to her -- a hand she takes with a broad smile -- she understands that it's ready for a more mutually affirming interchange.

Her aura of cold is... honestly, probably a little refreshing after all that sweating. "Oh, is that right?" Her adrenaline hasn't totally worn off -- though Tairyu might find himself carrying her up, as aside from her heavy gauntlets, she feels about as light as a feather.

Before she can think about it, her fist is being hauled into the air. A giddy laugh spills from her throat -- a sign that the sudden motion managed to surprise even the street rat from North Jersey. Her face reddens -- not that she didn't already -have- the attention of everyone in the club.

"Good night, everyone...!" she chirps out. When you're not sure what to say, parroting works wonders.

But when she draws closer to Katashi, her voice drops back to a conspiratory whisper. And yes -- she might be leaning on him more than she might have wanted to, from her own fatigue. She has a hungry look in her eye, as she straightens her collar.

"Only -starting- to, I hope...?"

The cold *is* refreshing. Either that or Tairyu is plenty heated up enough from the exercise that the lingering chill at her steel hand is barely felt, all things considered.

Her embarrassment from the show he made at the end of it all, though. The smile he shoots back down to her is only *half* apologetic. "Aheh. Sorry, couldn't help myself." It was precisely seeing her reaction that he wanted to get out of it, though.

But with the noise around them starting to die down, he's lowering her hand down so he can bring an arm around her in order to support her lean against his taller form.

"Well..." He whispers back to her, meeting her look with a low tip of his head and his eyes slightly lidded. "I figured the rest of the show is just for us, right...?"

With that, he does lean himself further down to plant his lips quickly on her forehead, before leading her, in his arm, away from the club floor proper.

If he ends up having to carry her halfway through, that's fine too.

Log created on 12:35:58 01/16/2024 by Tairyu, and last modified on 09:38:35 01/28/2024.