|Riley Harlow (punchout) wrote in paxletalelogs,
@ 2010-07-08 11:48:00
|fenrir, fūjin, hermod, isis, morrigan, nephthys
Who: Riley in the ring; Chris, Devin, Merc, Sheila, and Simon in the audience
What: A narrative of Riley’s fight
Where: Boxing ring
When: July 8, 7 PM
Warnings: Violence, because this is a boxing match
Notes: Feel free to tag with your character’s reaction, if you want. Also if you want your character to have gone and I didn’t list them, just tag them in this post.
Her favorite part of a fight – barring the aftermath of a win – was the lead-up. The air was always alive with electricity that she could feel pulsing from the ring even as she stood in the locker room. Melinda had already lashed the gloves to her hands, leaving Riley to pace the room while swinging her arms rhythmically. Sweep back, hold, sweep forward, punch. This was her routine. It didn’t require any thought, happening independently of her brain. It was a good vacation spot away from the way her heart pounded and her skin crinkled into goosebumps. Bravado was all well and good, but right before a match, Riley felt the same nerves and fear as a child getting ready to perform in her school play.
“Riley.” Melinda’s voice sliced through the heat in the air, stopping Riley dead. The boxer froze, looking over at her with big green eyes. “Let’s go.” The older woman inclined her head, holding the door wide open. After a few hops in place, Riley wordlessly followed her out into the hall.
She could hear the crowd roaring as she walked behind Melinda in the hall that, at all other times, was deafening in its silence. But now she could hear the chants, the songs, the catcalls. She could hear the life throbbing in the crowd, the excitement of the fans that was as tangible and real as the sweat beading on her forehead. As they approached the door that would lead them into the stadium and ultimately to the ring, Melinda paused her.
“Wait,” she said, stepping in front of her and looking her over. Though Melinda was an exceedingly practical woman, she never skimped on appearances when they mattered most. True to her hair, Riley’s signature color was a vivid red. Her shorts, knee-length and held up high around her waist by a thick, black band, were the same fire engine hue as her hair. Though her opponent would be shirtless, she retained a woman’s decency with a black sleeveless sport top that ended just above the bottom of her ribcage. Her athletic shoes were soft and sturdy on her feet, and the weight of her red and black gloves shot a sharp tension through the muscles in her arms. After smoothing out her hair – tied back in a bun – and re-tying her shoes, Melinda stood with a nod. “We’re ready. Let’s go.”
The door opened, and a wave of noise and energy came rolling in, filling the small hallway until it nearly burst. Cameras flashed and fans screamed as Riley stalked along the narrow walkway connecting the back hall to the boxing ring. Holding up one fist after the other, she shouted in unison with them, grabbing “glove-fives” with a few people as she passed and bouncing on her toes to get her blood pumping. On the other end of the stadium, Harry “Bee-Sting” Bernard was doing the same, teasing a swell in the crowd that followed both boxers to the ring.
Settling in her corner, Riley leaned against her thighs, looking across the ring at her opponent as he did the same. Her gaze flashed to the row of Pax residents in the front, bringing a grin to her face. She had an audience for real, now. Better make this one count. As the boxers waited, the referee introduced himself and the two ringside judges. It was your standard twelve-round match, scored on the 10-point-must-system. It gave a points system to boxing, allowing both judges and the referee to each award the maximum points to the fighter they believed dominated the round, subtracting points for knockdowns and penalties. It was an efficient system, albeit one that required a lot of math when you were standing at the end of a twelve-round match. Riley never paid attention to scores as she boxed. If she did, she’d end up tense and taut over a single point, and that never went well. She’d rely on Melinda’s state of irritation as a gauge for how she was doing.
Before long, the referee was gesturing for both boxers to come forward. The crowd roared as Harry and Riley met in the center of the ring, gloves brushing as the referee stood between them. “I want a good, clean fight,” he said, glancing between them both. Riley bounced on the balls of her feet, raising her right glove to her lips. Green eyes locked on Harry, she pressed a kiss to her glove, shaking it twice before sliding into a ready position. There were a few taut seconds of near silence in the ring as the referee held them both steady, waiting before waving a hand between them. “Round one!” he barked, backing up.
The bell rang, and the two boxers sprang into action. Riley was an early bird, throwing the first punch straight for his nose. The speed and timing caught him off guard, sending Harry back two paces. She doggedly pursued him, opening the fight with a barrage. Right, left, left, right, over and over again. The announcers buzzed in the background, but she couldn’t hear them. She never did.
After three minutes, the referee peeled them apart, sending each boxer to their corner. Judging by the light in Melinda’s eyes, Round 1 had been a success. While Harry collapsed in his corner, Riley bounced on the balls of her toes. She was sweating profusely already, though she barely noticed the cloth Melinda wiped over her face to keep the sweat from her eyes. The volume knob on the world had been turned down to one, just barely enough for her to realize that things were happening. As her heart thudded in her chest, she focused squarely on a square inch of air before her nose. Eleven rounds to go.
The second round was a scramble of gloves and bodies, with Harry fighting desperately to take back the ground he had lost during Round 1. Riley took a number of torso shots, covering her face and ears to protect them whenever he went on the offensive. Harry, too, began to invest more in blocking, resulting in the two of them landing a number of punches harmlessly on the arm and glove. The bell rang again, and Riley found herself torn away at the end of Round 2.
As usual, Riley barely could keep her hand on time as she fought. The rounds all started to blend with very little to differentiate them. After all, her heart was beating the same, and she was fighting just the same. She spent her minute-long breaks bouncing in place, focused on the sound of her heartbeat and the tension in her body as Melinda squirted water in her mouth and tended to the small cuts on her body. By the end of Round 8, both she and Harry bore a number of cuts, though none of them were terribly problematic. Harry’s left eye was starting to swell, though, and though he had gained an advantage after the second round, it was starting to wear thin.
Round 9 started with an uppercut that snapped Harry’s head backwards. He stumbled, weight swaying awkwardly from side to side as he fought to maintain balance. Merciless, Riley followed him, following the blow with a punch to the gut and a follow-up on the cheekbone. His knees buckled as he threw his arms out to steady himself, and he collapsed to the mat. The referee approached, prompting Riley to move immediately to the other end of the ring. She bounced in place, gaze locked on Harry as the referee examined him. The other boxer slowly climbed to his feet, shaking his head and nodding at the referee’s questions. He was back in the game.
Despite Harry’s knockdown, he fought just as savagely as Riley had, and by the end of the round they were both significantly wearier than they had been before. The end was coming into sight, and the taste of Gatorade filling her mouth did little to pull her out of the extreme tunnel vision she had fallen into. All she could think about was Harry. All she could focus on was him, getting him in her sights and beating him down with her fists.
They both went into Round 10 battered and hungry. They circled each other at first, just watching the other’s movements. Riley was the first to approach, fists flying for his abdomen. The sound of her gloves hitting his flesh was the only thing she could hear, the only music available to her. But that sound stopped as he folded a mighty arm around hers, holding them at the elbows and ceasing her fire. His forehead came to rest against his glove as he held her fast, creating a pause in the fight. The referee approached, waving his arms wildly, and forced them apart.
Shaking her head and cracking her neck, Riley held up her gloves, eyes narrowing on Harry. He was nearing the end, he knew it. The cinch bought him time, but it wouldn’t deter her. When the referee waved them on again, she charged, once again beating him down over and over. The blows he landed on her torso and face barely registered in her mind. She knew she was in pain, but she couldn’t feel the way she was supposed to. She just felt the ragged saw in her chest as she struggled to breathe, the tightness in her skin as she leaked sweat from every pore.
The bell rang, banishing them both back to their corners. Two rounds left. Melinda tended to the cuts on Riley’s jaw and upper chest, taping together a cut over her clavicle as a quick fix. She could tell that Melinda was saying something to her – her lips were moving – but the sound was lost amidst the rush of blood in her ears. So she nodded as she always did, pretending she understood, and stepped back out into the ring with Harry before her.
Round 11 saw them nearing the end, but Riley refused to slip. They met explosively in the middle, each throwing out a dizzying array of punches. She felt his gloves on her shoulders, her chest, and her stomach. In turn, she returned the blows doggedly, throwing every ounce of muscle she possessed behind every one. He was starting to wear down despite his sudden burst of energy, and as the clock began to count down, Riley struck him upside the head with a devastating right hook.
The effect was immediate. He went limp and dropped, thudding against the mat heavily enough to shake her knees. She ran backwards, retreating to a neutral corner while the referee counted him out. The medic standing by approached the ring, watching as Harry slowly opened his eyes and struggled to right himself. But as the referee reached a count of ten, Harry was still attempting to peel himself from the mat.
Knockout. The match was over.
Fans flung themselves from their seats to wave their arms and scream victory, though Riley didn’t hear their cries. She didn’t know what the referee said as he hoisted her left hand high, turning her three hundred sixty degrees to face every single person in the audience. Though she couldn’t quite hear it, she loosed a scream of victory, throwing her other fist into the air and bouncing madly. She was covered in small cuts, sweat was getting in her eyes and ears, and her muscles slowly started to feel like sand. But she had done it. Victory was hers.
Managers and medics swarmed the ring, surrounding their boxers. Harry was rolled onto his back and carefully lifted, half a dozen hands helping to move him safely out of the ring. Riley was covered in hugs and high fives, handshakes loosely made with her clumsy gloves while she finally began to feel the exhaustion and pain of her fight. But this was normal. As long as she had boxed, this was how it went. The fight was a blur that barely felt like anything, and then after she collapsed. Melinda knew this.
The trainer stood behind her, allowing Riley to lean back against her as the fans cheered and judges applauded. Heaving a dry breath, she looked down at the front row, eyes locking individually with every one of her neighbors. Her face split into a grin as she pumped a fist through the air just for them, a little “thank you” before Melinda helped her out of the ring and walked with her along the path studded with high fives and shoulder pats.