Neo League 326 - #330: Alma vs Shermie

Description: Alma is... well, flustered by Shermie. But he still manages to stay professional in this battle! (Draw Match)

It's a good day for a fight.
Of course, generally, from Alma's perspective, this is a nearly meaningless statement. Every day is a beautiful day when you're Alma Towazu; every day is a good day to express oneself and come to understand another through hearty and joyful conflict. Yes indeed! For as we have all come to know through our journeys with the young psychic prettyboy and would-be champion of virtue, Alma sees conflict such as this as only another form of cooperation, an opportunity for two souls to grow.
But this day in particular is good for Alma, because he has just returned from Hong Kong and has thrown himself immediately into participating in the Neo League while he still has the opportunity. It's spring break at Southtown University and Giorgio has given him corresponding time-off, so the as-ever hard-working bishounen went to visit Fei Long after losing in the World Warrior tournament. The visit, for a variety of reasons, raised his spirits in a way few recent interactions have; and now, Alma is prepared once again to set out into the world of competitive fight sports.
And being the sort of person he is, he is ignoring the gathering crowd and circle of cameras entirely as he awaits the arrival of his opponent, or at least is seeming to. His preternatural awareness makes his recognition of the rising emotion inevitable, the tension and expectation palpable and thus a tool to be grasped for the enhancement of his own fighting spirit. But not yet, not yet. He admires the train station instead, the product of political ideals and intense labor, of dreams and hope that, whether admirable or naive in truth, are now for the most part lost forever. The young fighter-model muses quietly on this, gazing inscrutibly, smiling slightly in his typical mild-mannered way, and ponders this and other profound topics. Such as:
~ I hear my opponent is very beautiful.. ~
Well, as long as she dresses sensibly, there shouldn't be a problem. As long as he can think of her as a fighter -- transcend the body and address the soul directly -- this should be as good a match as ever.
He's looking forward to it.

Sensible dress. Shermie can get behind that. In fact, she's quite sure that she's sensibly preparing for a fight with the boy by dressing to the nines. Preparing in the small hotel room she'd booked takes a few hours - a long, hot shower to start things off, water cascading down her body as she soaped and soaked her hair, to get it perfect. A leisurely towel-drying, taking the time to work the water out and to allow her hair to regain it's proper sheen and shine, for her bangs to properly poof out just in front of her eyes. To dressing which involves...

Well, we'll just leave it at 'She dressed herself in her good outfit, all pink leather jacket and miniskirt, purple blouse with it's heart-shaped cutout. When she's prepared, there's a few dabs of perfume to her wrists and throat, and she's on her way. The walk is uneventful, but as she enters the subway, her mouth turns to a sly smile. Such a handsome boy, in a beautiful place - and she'll be there too. It may be too much beauty for any one place to stand! She makes her way to the small blocked off area with grace, and hopefully Alma's first notice of her will be Shermie's fingers sliding along his shoulder, and her voice, low and in his ear.

"So, it's going to be you and me? Will you give me a good show?" She grins mischeveously, then spins around in front of him, taking her time and quite possibly staring at him as she does so - it's hard to /tell/ if she's leering or not - after all, her eyes are hidden, but her attention certainly seems very, very focused. Her fingers lock behind her back, and she stretches them upwards, forcing her spine into a forward arch that probably does amazing things for Alma's view.

"Whenever you're ready to play..."

COMBATSYS: Shermie has started a fight here.

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Shermie          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Alma has joined the fight here.

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Shermie          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Alma

Alma is speechless.
Though gazing up at the surrounding artwork, his opponent's aura stood out amongst all the others. He might have turned to look at her, but he was still.. experiencing the environment. In Alma's awareness, the beautiful architecture melds with the emotions surrounding him, melding with his own self until the two become almost indistinguishable-- it is a sensation of wholeness with the surrounding world that he relishes, that he looks forward to before every fight. Shermie's arrival was the addition of a key variable; his maintained silence and stillness at her approach from behind is part of his continued effort to comprehend this strange science of aura, the shifting powers at work. He is already in awe at the majesty of all this, and when one understands this, one may begin to understand /why/ he appears so mild in spite of the firey righteous passion that burns within him-- he is humbled by what he senses, by how little he is able to truly comprehend it. The point is: Alma is already awestruck.
Seeing Shermie in all her glory does not help.
'Will you give me a good show?'
Alma, who has up to this point looked very mature and adult, manages to offer in return what is best summed up as :o. His lips part as he tries to form words, but with his mind already split between the transcendant experience of the surrounding aura and the very immediate experience of an attractive woman, he can't seem to find any. The young model pales slightly as he realizes his chance to salvage his own dignity is fading fast, and then almost immediately begins to turn red as, well--
~ Eyes, look at her eyes! ~
It's a good reflex for a decent man, but, well.
~ Damn it! ~
If only she didn't have such an attractive aura too, am I right?
"A good show is always one of my foremost concerns, miss," he finally manages, when he is sure that his voice will not crack. To his credit, his voice is steady, and his eyes are aimed at, well, where her eyes /should/ be. In fact, everything seems in order, which is more than one could say for the average eighteen year old boy. Only the faintest of color around his cheeks defies his composure. "I will endeavor to do my best to entertain you."
~ Oh, and she's wearing a skirt too... wh... what kind of skirt /is/ that... ~
"Please.. um.. do your best..."
Deep breaths, Alma. And ignore /her/ breathing. Oh, for goodness sake, try to be professional! He closes his eyes for a moment and, soon, he steadies himself, opening his eyes again and shifting his stance slightly. He doesn't know a thing about this woman, and she certainly has the advantage on him in more way that one, but...
He smiles slightly, and inclines his head.
This will be interesting.

COMBATSYS: Alma gathers his will.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Shermie          0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0             Alma

She's having fun at his expense - Shermie's amusement at his slight coloring, having been 'noticed' often enough that she can spot a blusher a mile and a half away. As Alma prepares himself, she's already starting to move, a slow sway from side to side, one that could be tempting to the eyes of those that watch the battle, and hopefully her opponent as well. After all, that's part of the fight, isn't it? Distraction, misdirection - having a person focus in one location - while the other side prepares for a strike! "You make me sound old, really! Do I look that old and dried out to you? It's 'Shermie', alright?" she says simply, and then starts towards Alma, in a nice, slow motion.

If he was thrown off by her preening and slightly posing for him - how much more can he be distracted? As he steadies and changes his stance, she reaches out for him - a nice, seductive little stretch of fingertips, as if she was trying to bury those manicured nails into the strands of his blonde hair. She's starting to say something, but it may just have to wait...

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Shermie's Spiral.

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Shermie          0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0             Alma

If Alma had only known what was coming, he probably would have just taken the hit like a man.
Then again, maybe not. For when Shermie reaches out with that hypnotic grace, Alma reacts in an instant and catches her hand out of the air. He looks up at her through red-tinged blonde bangs -- unlike hers, his eyes remain visible -- and his gaze is clear-eyed and intent, his expression calm, even serene. It is as though the previous moment of total imbalance has been completely set aside with that one deep breath; with shocking resolve for such a young man, he has already set aside any hesitation.
"Shermie, then," he murmurs.
There's only one way to salvage his dignity now.
"I apologize for my excessive formality, but--"
And that's to show her he can't be taken lightly.
The blaze of white and purple light is unprecedented, a sudden flash that is distractingly reflected in the sparkling depths of his hazel eyes, as with his other hand he strikes out at her midsection with fingertips suffused in flame.
"--I would otherwise feel awful about fighting a woman."

COMBATSYS: Shermie blocks Alma's Self Expression.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Shermie          0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0             Alma

Hair grabbing denied! So sad! This might make Shermie a little more upset than she lets on - it looks like he conditions and shampoos his hair daily, so it would have been amazingly nice to wrap her fingers up in his hair and.. um - throw him around by it? Maybe not! Maybe there were other nefarious ideas at play here! Forces that had evil plans for the younger model! After all, he /is/ pretty...

Still, she adjusts well enough, his hand that holds her leading arm not yet shaken off as he suddenly attacks with that tinge of surprise that Psycho Power brings. She's used to the burning of chi, the subtle burn of excitement that Iori, Yashiro and Chris's attacks all bring - but this is different, an assault on that private, secret place inside her - that place that she doesn't let anyone in to, lest they break down her defenses, and make her feel things she hadn...

She's talking about her soul, sheesh!

Shermie's free hand moves and twists, intercepting Alma's fingers awkwardly, lacing hands into a clasped embrace. She holds there for a moment as that 'fire' washes along her stomach, the odd little tingle making her focus her attention more on him, a studious scrutiny underneath those heavy bangs of hers. As she twists her arms to try and dip him to the floor, she whispers in curious interest. "What /are/ you?" This could be totally a romantic dip, if she were planning on stopping before Alma's noggin hits the concrete of the station's floor.

COMBATSYS: Shermie successfully hits Alma with Medium Throw.

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Shermie          0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1             Alma

Alma grunts as his head cracks against the ground, unable to retain his footing as Shermie reverses his grasp on her hand, but he tucks and kicks out even as he hits the floor, aiming to impact against her stomach and push her away. "I am Alma Towazu," he replies as he rolls back and into a crouch from his prone position, as though she had asked 'who' instead of 'what'. "I am... a student, a model, a fighter..."
Flames ignite again, this time around his feet, and his eyes flash as he leaps from his crouching position and springs into a fierce roundhouse kick, sparkling soulfire sheathing the powerful strike.
"...but my only tool, my only weapon..."
The strike, whether or not it succeeds, is followed by a second as he twists in midair, and this kick aims to strike her under the chin; if he can manage it, the strength behind it, fuelled by physical and spiritual force, will lift her into the air, and leave her open for the several other flaming kicks to come.
" my soul."
How else can he explain it?
Well, all sorts of ways, and he'd love to, but--
He's a little pressed for time.

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Shermie with Rising Fury.
- Power hit! -

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Shermie          0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Didn't Alma read the manual? Girls get kicks! Guys have to do that stupid punching thing! But instead, Shermie's caught flat-footed (in heels, no less!) and battered with kick after kick. She's tossed left, right, and backwards, coming to an abrupt halt as the arched wall of the subway station decides to be helpful and be very solid and in the way. Luckily, the skirt and the jacket she wears are both made of tough material, and there's nothing more than scrapes on her legs, and a couple of soon-to-be bruises. As she stands up, she realizes in her mind that she doesn't /want/ to fight, she just wants to let go, to give up - after all, that flame isn't ...

Wait a minute. She /never/ thinks that way - and after being bounced around by that teen's power, she wants to just toss it all away? Oh, no - not her. Noo, not at all. That just fires her up, angering her a bit more. "You're trying to get under my skin - I can tell. And you can try /all/ you like, but it's not going to work...!" Some people might think this is a leadup to an attack - and she feints for one, her leg starting up. But it's slammed down right next to Alma's foot, and she leans in, and just /MASHES/ her lips right against his. If she can be wonkily mind-messed with by just an attack, let's see how this almost-blushing man handles being given the full-on Shermie treatment!

Plus, she needs to catch her breath. That /hurt/!

COMBATSYS: Shermie gains composure.

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Shermie          0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Iori heads to Asia.

Alma is fulfilled, completed by his attack. Sure it sounds silly to say that your sword is your soul or whatever, and despite how serious the young man is he's aware of this -- indeed, is much more self-conscious than many might expect -- but he really believes it. That's what redeems him. He is completely, utterly sincere, and says these things because he wants people to understand, says them in the only ways in which he thinks they'll be able to understand. He wants to share. He wants to grow. That's why he's here. This kind of spiritual fulfillment, this meaningfulness that resonates so deeply with the truth he intuits, is what he lives for.
It doesn't get any better than the thrill of the fight.
...I take that back.
He doesn't blush. You have to give him that much. He doesn't blush. He manages to show that he's not a little kid. He's at least come that far since when he began. But, well. His eyes unfocus. He doesn't even seem to hear the gasps and laughter of the audience. He seems to be in a very different world. A world of light, fluffy feelings. And-- other feelings.
His tongue feels thick and clumsy, but some primal Alma instinct, the need to be gracious, compels him to say /something/ that will make this situation right.
"I don't want to get under your skin," he manages, hearing his own words as though from far away. "I /like/ your skin."
There, brilliant. Now, while she's awed at your eloquence, quick. Get your lungs working again. They seem to have stopped of their own accord.
Useless things.

COMBATSYS: Alma gains composure.

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Shermie          0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1             Alma

Silly Alma! The words that would have made it right were 'I give!', said in a boyish voice-breaking squeak. Sadly, Shermie is left unfufilled, though the compliment is taken in the spirit it is given, whatever spirit that may be - either 'honesty' or 'abuhwhajusthappenedthere'. Shermie's fingers pat at his shoulder, and then she eases back as he tries to breath, ducking her head to the side of his ear. "You know, they're going to be wondering now - are we together? Is this more than just a fight..?" As she mentions this, flashbulbs pop - only a few, though - most went off when the kiss /actually/ happened. This is probably going to bode poorly in the tabloids.

So it's up to Shermie to make it all better - and how, pray tell, does she do this? Easily. From where she stands, just in front of Alma, she slides around, attempting to get behind him. Her hands drop down to his abdomen, linking there.. And then, with a heave of effort, she simply tries to suplex him up and over. Alma - meet train station floor, again!

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Shermie's Clutch.

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Shermie          0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Aaghh, her hands, they're /touching/ him...
Wait. Get a grip on yourself, Alma. Before she does!
If this weren't a fight, Alma would be done for. A kiss like that, from a woman with a body and an aura like this, under normal circumstances? He would be putty in her hands. That should be evident from how stunned he is; stunned enough for his opponent to slip around behind him, pressing herself against his back in preparation for the grapple. But as has been said: he is sincere. He does care about the spirit of the fight. It's all he cares about. Everything else, the exchange of strikes, the exchange of words, hopefully an exchange of numbers-- it's all about making the conflict meaningful.
Being kissed like this is awesome, but...
"Rrgh!"'s not meaningful.
The instant before Shermie is able to clasp her hands together, Alma bursts free. There's a moment where it's not clear he'll be able to, but he's a big guy and he moves /just/ quick enough to slip away. He grabs her arms at the biceps and turns as he does so, and with a sharp intake of breath he summons his flames around his hands and, releasing her arms now, strikes out quickly. If the sudden proximity of his soulfire is able to make her flinch, then his attack may succeed; he has no time for a powerful strike, but this one actually leaves his hands, a rolling gout of sparkling white fire that will explode against her chest and hopefully push her away. The farther away the better.
"For goodness sake," Alma mumbles to himself, gazing reproachfully up at his opponent through long blond eyelashes.

COMBATSYS: Shermie dodges Alma's Sacred Wave.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Shermie          0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Some people just don't want to be thrown! It's a shame, really - it'd be a wonderful thing for Shermie to be able to hoist him up and flip him over, to feel his prudish little noggin bump on the concrete once or twice more. She's doing a poor job of keeping him distracted long enough to get moves in on him other than the obvious physical ones, and - well, it's starting to push her into a bad mood. The blast of psychic power that rolls off his hands is stepped around, a quick, intricate dance step that moves her out of harms way, but keeps her close to Alma.

Probably far too close for his liking.

As she settles into her stance again, she's watching him with a growing intensity, a bubbling over of that latent fire that burns in her soul. It's not a fast thing, no - but the longer the battle goes on, the more she feels it gnawing at her insides, telling her to finish this, to work harder, faster. "... We could have been something, you know.." she muses, then fixes a wry smile on her face. She leaps towards Alma, spinning in at him - her braids fly outwards as she spins once, twice... and the third time, her left leg lashes out in a wide arc, fully intent on smacking Alma in the side or shoulder. She /could/ kick him in the head, but he might complain about the sight, sheesh!

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Axle Spin Kick from Shermie with Divine Intervention EX.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Shermie          0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1             Alma

Hmmn, she moves fast, in more ways than one. Alma is disconcerted both by her smooth evasion and rapid approach, but fortunately, his fighting rhyhtm is flowing and fine tuned, his movements practiced and planned. Even as he unleashes that quick blast he is drawing his hand back again, positioning his left hand forward defensively as he brings his still-glowing right hand into chamber. She lashes out with a kick, and desperate both to overcome her before she hits him and to make sure he doesn't have to see any more leg than is required, he closes in suddenly. He takes the first kick on his left arm, grunting with the effort of halting her momentum, but it works out-- he is able to lash out at her midsection again, and this time, the resulting lance of light projects out and literally spears her through, more than enough to unbalance her physically and mentally so that she can no longer continue her attack, and hopefully sending her stumbling too.
"Is it already too late for us?" he murmurs smoothly. "Don't be so hasty... I'd rather get to know you first."
Well, er, he's certainly got a handle on himself again.

Stumbling indeed! Shermie wasn't ready to be affected again by that odd power that Alma has - her face contorting in pain as she feels it lance through her stomach and spine, the sparks it brings making her twist and groan from the impact. She falls back, catching herself on one foot, and stumbling back a few feet more before she manages to get to her feet again. She puts her hands on her knees, gasping for breath, and trying to fight off the lethargy.

'Let go, give up.. It's okay. You don't have to fight so hard, Shermie..' She knows the voice in her head that whispers this to her - comforting and amused at the same time, trying to urge her to let the fight go, that it doesn't really matter and that she can just let this one slip - but she won't. She stood up to Yagami, though he tried to kill her. This is another fight, and she's promised Yashiro she'll give her all in every battle she ever has, until they find what drives them on. She turns her head to refocus herself on Alma. "Over dinner? Loser pays..?" She'll grin, and then take a deep breath - she knows she's losing already - but she /did/ win some money quite recently. And after this, she may very well need something to restore her spirits!

"C'mon - I promise I won't bite this time."


COMBATSYS: Shermie focuses on her next action.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Shermie          0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1             Alma

See, Alma, that's what you get for trying to be clever and upping the ante. You might currently have the upper hand in this match, but you're no match for her in the flirting arena. When it's the /other/ person who's blushing, sure, things are fine, being a bishounen is easy. But no. You have to go for the older women. Well, I'm not going to help you. You have to think of something to say on your own.
Fortunately, Alma is a devout follower of the elementary school credo: 'When you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all'; and as such, having been once again cut off from his charm supply, he just swallows to moisten his suddenly-dry throat and slides back into his fighting stance, using the pretext of chivalrously centering himself while she does the same to buy himself the precious moments he needs to think of something to say.
Enough, Alma! Burn through all obstacles! Show your indomitable spirit!
"I'd love to, but--"
He lunges, and throws himself towards her before suddenly dipping down and, grunting with the effort, eyes shining with purpose and that mysterious energy of his, he punches the ground. Somehow, the floor is undamaged...
"--I would feel bad about taking your money!"
...for all the force has been transformed into the coming attack, an explosion of mighty flame, white and pink and purple swirling in a geyser of light emanating from the ground and angled toward his lovely opponent.
Yes-- yes! /This/ is what it's all about!
Though, uh.. kisses are indeed pleasant.

COMBATSYS: Shermie blocks Alma's Full Confession.

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Shermie          0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Alma

So that means he's buying, right? Or is he blowing her off? Is he refusing the enjoyable time of spending an evening with Shermie, of listening to her talk about shopping and fighting and about how noone really understands good hair care except for her and maybe Benimaru!?

He totally blew her off!

Fuming, Shermie settles into an intent stance and starts to close on Alma. The geyser of power is amazingly intense, and she's certain it's going to pulverize her, the odd energy sapping her will every time it touches her. But not this time - no, this time she's ready for it. She leaps into and through the attack, her arms crossed over her chest and her head tucked down as she dashes into the eye of the hurricaine, letting the energy wash around her, ripping at her clothes and skin - but not touching the empty hole of her heart. Not this time, oh no!

As she closes, she slides downwards, landing in front of Alma in a kneeling posture. The possibility of entendre is there, but Shermie is no longer interested in it - no, she's perfectly intent to grab at Alma's hips and try to throw him backwards. If she can, she'll hop forwards, straddling his waist and bring a double-fisted strike on his face. It's a lot of effort - but it may all be worth it, in the end. "FINE!"

(If she was wrong and he didn't just blow her off there, she'll apologize later.)

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Shermie's Combo Throw.

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Shermie          0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Alma

Truly it is said, hell hath no greater fury!
Alma wasn't intending to blow her off, and it's a good thing too, as he should discover if they do in fact have a chance to chat. Shopping? Fighting? Hair care? Awesome! Finally, a woman who can appreciate his interests. But the young man, psychic though he may be, has no knowledge of this potential bright future at the moment. All he is certain of is that his opponent is throwing herself at him with a determination unmatched by her previous attacks, and it is all he can do to stumble back and out of the way.
Having no desire to lose ground by fully retreating from her reach, and already in mid-stagger, it is no trouble at all for Alma to simply turn what could be ungraceful into something graceful by tucking back and rolling away, escaping Shermie's grasp. As he smoothly rolls into a crouch he takes that momentum and twists, and, hopefully as she is attempting to rise, he sweeps out with a leg and attempts to scythe her legs out from under her again with a quick kick.
"S..So it's on me, of course!" he blurts breathlessly, eyes slightly widened with amazement at the ferocity of her attack.

COMBATSYS: Shermie interrupts Light Kick from Alma with Lightning Leg Lariat.

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Shermie          0/-------/------=|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Fury, indeed! She still completes the strike to the ground, even as he eels away, her fingers coming back up with concrete rubble dusting them, imprints left by the ferocity of the strike. She's not quite as bad about these things as Iori is - but she's able to go off on a moment's notice, too - and in this case, she's right on that edge. She starts to her feet, to go after Alma, to knock him down and make him pay for running away from the hit...

And then she's given the opportunity she needs. A foot flying towards her, fast and sure. She lets it catch her in the thigh, then clamps her hand down around it. She starts to dig her fingers in - and then he speaks. She misunderstood! All a pleasant misunderstanding, and there shall be dinner afterwards after all!

She hasn't let go of his leg yet, though. And afterwards, she grins flashing a hand forwards to catch him by the shoulder. "Then we should finish this ... now!" And as she does, she /hurls/ Alma against the subway train, launching herself at him afterwards. She leaps into the air, focusing - and blue lightning crackles into existance around her left knee. Said knee is then /slammed/ into his chest - to knock him backwards again, the Orochi-tainted girl buzzing at the sensation of power, the thrill of feeling that lightning in her nerves /always/ sensual..


Well, at least /she's/ happy.
Alma's experience, however, is less pleasurable. Slammed forcibly against the side of the train wall, leaving a sizable dent, he only begins to slump to the ground before the thunderous knee strike crushes him against the subway car again. Groaning softly, the tall youth can only fall to his knees and double-over, hands clutched over his stomach as Shermie stands before him and glories in the sensation of victory. Or.. whatever it is she's feeling right now. Alma is probably better off not knowing.
Finish this now, eh? He can't exactly stand yet, but he knows he can still fight; he's not entirely thinking clearly either, but that driving impulse to give his all compels him to endure somehow. So when a riveted piece of the subway car outside wall clatters to the ground by his side, he automatically picks it up and hurls it at her back, if nothing else to get her attention.
"I'm just," he manages, teeth grit against the pain that still sizzles through his veins, "getting started!"
At least he can show off his stamina.

COMBATSYS: Shermie dodges Alma's Thrown Object.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Shermie          0/-------/------=|=======\==-----\1             Alma

Endure, Alma! Faito! Faito!

At least, that's what the blood inside Shermie says - after all, the longer he stays vertical, the more violence she gets to see, the more she gets to push her limits, and the more she gets to enjoy the closeness of thise wonderfully attentive and intereting man. She's more than amused as he hucks the piece of train at him, a simple sway of her body (most enticingly, we might add!) makes it miss her, just skimming enough to brush her leather jacket open a bit more. "You're good - I like that.. Do you think they're getting enough shots of your good side, though?" she asks, with a grin!

As soon as she says that, she starts to close again on Alma - she's trying to catch him while he's still trapped between her and the train. After all, he's been entirely too good at avoiding contact during this battle, and she /loves/ to get up close and personal. She goes for his shoulders, another throw - but this one isn't a normal hands to shoulders, oh no. She drops to her hands in front of him, and tries to lock her ankles just behind his neck. If she can, well - he's going to need a chiropracter tomorrow!

COMBATSYS: Alma endures Shermie's Medium Throw.

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Shermie          0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1             Alma

It's a shame that he missed, but Alma wouldn't expect anything less out of his opponent. Fortunately, though, he doesn't have time to be distracted by the way she moves, because all his efforts are focused on getting to his feet; his face doesn't show it, but as he grips the damaged outside wall of the subway car for balance, slowly inching into a standing position, it becomes quite clear that Shermie's lightning attack was quite devastating. The youth's composure is tremendous, but he cannot disguise the slight shakiness of his limbs, an unsteadiness that prevents him from taking any direct action to prevent her assault.
He can't even defend himself, it seems. His hands, hidden behind his back as they press against the side of the tran for support, do not move to block; his feet do not shift in preparation for an evasion. Shermie gracefully twists into her move and Alma, soon finding ankles wrapped about his neck, can do nothing but twist into the attack, getting thrown to the ground with a resounding thud. Even some of the cameramen wince. Is that all the poor boy can take? If he can't even lift his hands--
He rolls as he hits the ground, ignoring the pain of his unbroken fall, and as she recovers from her own assault, he is rising onto one knee and lunging.
--he lifts his hands, and they are aflame.
He stabs out with a hand obscured entirely by the vibrancy of the soulfire that shrouds it, a searing glow of white-hot intensity.
If he can only make full contact, then...

COMBATSYS: Shermie blocks Alma's Absolution.

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Shermie          0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0             Alma

Well.. it's not full contact.
But the point of flame fountains up from his outstretched hand and toward her stomach, and evolves into a fearsome wall of energy that envelops his opponent, so focused on striking her spirit directly that it is practically invisible, just a rushing ripple through the air that, in its own way, is more frightening than his usual ostentatious assaults.
But Alma can tell he hasn't hit fully.
And that's no good.

That /touch/.

That touch that could fell men far fiercer, far stronger than she. That touch that could move mountains, shatter bones, and stunt the will of the mightiest warrior. She feels it build around her, and for a second, just for a second, she quails inside. But she doesn't move to block his hand - she knows, she can /tell/ that this attack isn't about physical pain. No, it's about something deeper, something further inside. And she is determined not to let it affect her. So instead of going to his hand, her fingers close against the cutout at her blouse, a symbolic gesture of the effort she puts into protecting her heart and soul from what he does to her. She feels the fire and the burn, but it's not enough to crush her spirit. Not enough to weigh her down with it's sensations. And she gives him a soft, sad smile, eyes glad for their hiding place.

"There's so much to you, and so little to me.."

Without saying anything further, without offering Alma any explanation, she tries to put her hands on his cheeks - to touch his soft skin again.. To see if that fire comes from anywhere else than just his fingers and his soul.

COMBATSYS: Shermie successfully hits Alma with Shermie Shoot.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Shermie          0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0             Alma

Er, and once her fingers have a nice grip on his cheek, she spins and drops, dragging him down so his chin makes a lovely sound as it crashes into her shoulder. This is probably pretty painful, and we're hoping that he didn't think he was gonna get kissed again and be able to get some tongue action out of it, cause that kind of clatter might chop it off. Oops.

Kisses are furthest from his mind.
You wouldn't think so, though, would you? Having unleashed the ultimate expression of his will and being, Alma is completely vulnerable, unable to even begin to get a grip on the reality of this fight. Shermie's speed and flowing movements are much more than he could possibly handle at this point, and he practically slumps into her hands as she places her hands upon his cheeks.
He looks up at her.
She speaks.
And his eyes widen.
That smile, that sad little smile. It is so profoundly unexpected -- the kind of reaction that he has always in his secret heart of hearts hoped for and never gotten, certainly never expected to get upon a failure to successfully harness his energies but rarely imagined would ever happen in any case. She understands. Somehow, she understands, how he has earned this power, how it arises from the depths of his self, from the constant friction of his inner struggles. How it truly is an expression of his self, a testament to how much he has thought, how hard he has worked to make his world enduringly meaningful.
And he is moved, for a woman who can perceive such a thing about him, should never demean the depth of her own feeling.
So, don't worry, he hasn't lost his tongue, except perhaps figuratively. And the attack is not unexpected, especially not in comparison to her comment. He knows what's coming, knows he's about to hit the ground, knows he can't break his fall in any way-- this one, he senses, is the clincher.
He must offer up everything, while he still has time.
So in the moments before his chin hits her shoulder and the darkness takes him, Alma thrusts out with his palm toward his opponent's belly and attempts to feed one last pulse of power into her, the last ounce of his manifested self. If she somehow avoids it, it's probably just because her throw will be too quick and he'll hit the ground first; or maybe he just won't be able to get a handle on his power at this point. But whatever happens, however it turns out, he has to give his all. He cannot do any less.
Especially not for her.
~ Thank you. ~
Alma is unconscious as soon as he hits the ground.

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Alma successfully hits Shermie with Sacred Wave EX.

[                           \\\  <
Shermie          1/-------/=======|

And really, some things are touching, aren't they? There's that moment just before you fall asleep at night, when you're tucked in by parents and told that everything will be alright, that things will be fine in the morning... You believe those, don't you? You have to believe them, with all your heart, and nothing can shake that.

The 'armor' of Shermie's disbelief is frail and fragile compared to that - and the final effort that Alma gives penetrates her defenses, and numbs her.. Well, that's not quite true. It /breaks/ a numbness, and sets it aside. And in doing so, it finishes her will to fight this fight. The simple fact that Alma's dropping like a rock may be part of it too - but she knows this, she knows that he's given his all, and in doing so, has pushed her to the point of exhaustion. She won't fall over. No, she's too strong for that, knelt down with Alma unconcious beside her. She looks towards the crowd, and says in a very soft voice.. ".. It's a tie." Her head turns as she affixes all the people with a eyeless stare, challenging them to deny it. After all, even if she's still standing, she couldn't lift a finger to fight again. One hand drops down to Alma's hair, and idly runs through it. And then, she smiles, and props his unconcious body up a bit, to lean against hers. She can wait for him to wake up.

After all, all it is...

is time.

COMBATSYS: Shermie takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Shermie can no longer fight.

Log created by Shermie, and last modified on 06:18:04 03/19/2007.