Summary: Cassandra surprises Ted at his gym for her bought-and-paid-for date. Pounding ensues.
Location: Grant’s Gym, Gotham
Grant's Gym sits squarely in the urban wasteland of Gotham's worse neighborhoods. It was a deliberate decision on the part of the owner, who is currently inside. Dressed in a tank top and shorts, with a towel around his neck, Ted Grant sits on a bench in his empty gym drinking from a bottle of water. A nearby punching bag is still swinging from the latest round of one-two from the former professional boxer.
Outside, a motorcycle comes to a dead halt, the motor cutting off. Inside, walks a slender young woman, one who only a night prior would've looked exceptionally striking in a jade dress, with her hair coifed just so. Now, she looks decidedly - well, ... both attractive, and dangerous. Sleek black pants, and a form-fitting sleeveless top.
Her hair is now 'plain', falling just above brows, and just below her shoulders. She greets a silent greeting, with a simple nod of her head.
Ted raises an eyebrow as someone enters the gym. He hasn't had too many comers yet. Still settling into the area and all. But his mouth quirks into a grin as he spots the familiar young lady. "Hey!" Despite his exuberant greeting as he stands, he falls into a distinctly neutral stance. He obviously recognizes the danger inherent in the girl, and his body language almost unconciously matches it. To one skilled in reading body language, he is still somewhat uncertain of her motives and thus wary and ready for any tricks, but is confident of victory if it comes to that.
"Fight," instructs Cassandra. Poor Ted. And, here he thought he might get dinner, conversation - and, mayhaps even 'lucky', with a fine social woman. Nimbly, the young nymph of a girl-woman slips into the boxing ring. And, while the ring itself and the ropes are somewhat 'new', this doesn't bother her in the slightest.
Ted just shakes his head, chuckling. 'Well,' he thinks to himself. 'So much for a dinner and drinks.' He's not too disappointed, though. Despite his occasional hedonism and tomcatting, he still lives for a good fight "Alright, doll," he says aloud. "You got it." He sets his water bottle down on the bench and pulls the towel off his neck. Climbing into the ring, he grins. "You put down a lot of dough for this fight, so I'll try to make it good for ya."
"Yes," agrees Cassandra, giving a rather confidentally edged, smug, sort of smile. She moves to the other side of the ring, then, takes up a rather simplistic defensive fighting stance. Due to her size, technique, and training, her center of gravity is extremely low. She makes a 'bring it' motion, to you, still smiling.
Ted's grin doesn't fade, but his body language does become all business. He steps forward, falling into a classic offensive boxing stance. From his movements, he's obviously highly skilled and focussed, and his physical fitness is at peak human. He does not move or look like a man in his twilight years at all. His hands are wrapped in boxing tape, and he doesn't use gloves. He throws a short series of quick jabs at the girl, mostly testing her skills and defenses for the moment.
With fluid agility, Cassandra reads into the quick jab, knowing precisely where Ted is going to strike at the exact same time he does - or, maybe just a millisecond later. When his punch arrives, she isn't there. Instead, she's delivering nerve-strike to his open-side, in attempt to distract, and disable him with cold proficency.
She's good, Ted notes idly as his fists touch only open air. She's really good, he thinks a second later as she goes for the nerve strike. He barely has time to twist his torso clockwise, just a fraction, but it's enough to turn a potentially disabling strike into a merely punishing one. But Ted is good at taking punishment, so all she gets for her trouble is a pained grunt before he pulls his outstreched arm back, attampting to catch her with his elbow.
Luckily for Ted, Cassandra isn't in her Batgirl uniform, seeking to -really- take him out. The cards, then, might be different. She, too, can appreciate Ted's prowess, though on a different level. But, little does Ted know, yet, of the 'edge' she has on him - or anyone, for that matter. The elbow is telegraphed to her trained eye far too soon to hit, and she uses that knowledge to entrap it, twist her body and use his own momentum against him - or at least, try to, to send him sprawling onto his back.
Ted is bigger and stronger, a fully grown man physically in his prime and at the peak of human fitnesss compared to a teenage girl in her prime and peak, but all that means right now is that he has more mass, and thus more momentum to be used against him. He goes down. But cats always land on their feet (just not literally), so he temporarily forgoes finesse for the brute strength method, straining his arm against her leverage in an attempt to overpower her grip. It may or may not work, but he isn't taking chances. As highly trained as both combatants are, their whole bodies are weapons, and Ted brings his other arm across in straight up haymaker, while he contracts his torso enough to swiftly brink his right knee towards her in attempt to make contact with something vulnerable.
So, it half-worked. Cassandra is overpowered, by Ted's sheer muscle mass and his own understanding of how to counter the move she's applying. Cassandra may be one of the best fighters in the world, due to her unique talent and ability, but she's certainly not undauntable, or indefeatable.
She sees the knee coming, but in her current position, she is too close and committed to fully evade. But, she knows where the knee will strike. How much force is put into it.
She lets the knee sink into her stomach and absorbs the pain in measures she was trained to not allow herself to become distracted. As she falls back, she scissor-kicks, moving for another precisely-sought nerve-strike, this time in Ted's leg, which would severely handicap him in the rest of this sparring match.
Ted lets out a breathless chuckle as he manages to break the girl's hold, and even score one off her. It's been a long time since he's had to fight with someone as skilled as her. Well, okay, he sparred with Dinah just the other day, but still, he didn't expect Cassandra to display this level of hand-to-hand mastery. He's no sooner standing up than she's going all Jackie Chan on him. He claps his hands and brings them up, slamming them down just as she connects. Her nerve strike hits right on this time, and Ted can't help the drawn-out groan as the sharp pain hits him and his leg goes numb. But he's been injured a lot worse than that, so he doesn't lose focus, forcing himself to go through with his counter.
Twisting, Cassandra nimbly springs back up into a standing position - she doesn't brag. Doesn't talk, taunt, quip, or ask if Ted is alright. Ruthless, or cold and efficient, or, merely just one who takes sparring - fighting, that seriously, she's moving for a few quick jabs herself, now, these each aimed for a series of strikes to the ribs, rather than the built-up muscle mass of the abdomen in effort to deplete his body of oxygen - even knock the air out of them, if she's able.
At least she's getting her money's worth out of the fight. Or, rather, Bruce's money.
Ted Grant is partially disabled and in pain, one leg more or less useless, facing a highly-trained fighter with all kinds of unknown tricks in her grab bag. And that's exactly how he likes it. She's maybe faster, possibly more skilled, and definitely younger. She's deadly, almost a perfect fighter. Almost.
He knows how to defeat her, though. Whether he can pull it off is still in question, but he's managed to land a blow and that revealed her weakness. And Ted has been fighting supervillains for over half a century.
He takes the blows to his ribs. They'll heal. He no longer towers over her, still on one knee and playing up his handicap. He waits until she's commited to a blow, and then makes his move. He reaches up with lightning swiftness to grab her wrist, while his other fist rockets forward in a power punch at her face.
Ted's gambit half-works, and it's his experience, and years of fighting so many various opponents that sees him through. Her wrist is cleanly grabbed, but her own ability to read allows her to adapt, almost instantly, to her foes techniques and attacks, even if it's a move she's not seen, before.
She knows she can't overpower Ted - he's a pretty darn big guy. But, there's ways to take big guys down, too. First, she actually grips his arm with her other hand, even as she nimbly arches back, and to the side, to let the punch just graze her instead of full-on impact.
Her body twists, and she uses her small frame as a pendulum, hooking her legs around the arm on the same side of the body as Ted's 'bad' leg, and she twists her weight to extend the pull of weight against the bad leg further, while at the same time clamping upon the arm, and attempting to pressure lock it. Rather than taking Ted out completely, it'd seem she's going for a submission hold since this is her second effort at it.
"Dammit girl," Ted grunts out as she starts getting fancy. "The hell are they feedin' you?" Cassandra's maneuver works as planned, and he hits the mat face-down, his arm locked and in her control. One good arm, one good leg, barely able to tag her..Ted knows when he's beat. If they were in costume, he'd keep going, because Wildcat never stays down, but this is just a friendly spar. He slaps his hand down twice on the mat, signalling his acceptance of his defeat. "Alright, girl. You win this one." Despite the punishment he's taken, his breathless voice is warm with exhilaration at such a good fight.
And, with those words, Cassandra simply unravels from Ted, climbing up to her feet. And she -smiles- at him, wide, like a pleased child at christmas. She nods, approvingly, "Good," she says, in her short, but concise speech. And, even offers him a hand up. "Yes?" She can tell just how much he enjoyed that, through his body language. And that, too, seems to please her.
"Yeah, you're good. Damn good." Ted takes the offerd hand and climbs laboriously to his feet. His leg is starting to tingle, signalling a return to functionality, but it's not an instant process. He bestows a grin at the girl and limps over to his corner, grabbing his towel and wiping some sweat off his brow. "I figured you for a fighter. You got the eyes. Didn't expect to be on that level, though."
A nod from Cassandra. She pauses, considering Ted for a long moment, before asking, "Teach?" And, she's not talking about herself, tutoring Ted. She wants to learn, from him instead. Clearly, she believes there's a few things she can learn, from the old coot. Some of his tactics were - well, rough and not all that pretty, but they were quick, clean, and well practiced.
The more moves you know, right? And, like GI Joe always said - Knowing is half the battle ...
She adds, perhaps belatedly, gesturing to herself, "Cassandra."
"Want to learn from old Ted, huh?" Ted considers the girl, tilting his head. He chuckles. "You ain't the first. It's always good to see a kid who realizes that you can still learn from us oldsters, even if you win the first round. Alright, you're on." He limps toward her and offers a hand. "Nice ta meet ya, Cassandra. I'm Ted Grant. And since you're probably gonna find out sooner or later, you might know me as Wildcat."
There's a squint, there, from Cassandra, as 'Wildcat' reveals a secondary name. However, she does not give away her own codename; at least, not without prior approval from Babs or Bruce. Such could be determental to her freedoms. "Okay," she says, agreeably. She smiles, again, clearly pleased.
"When?" Short, concise words are definately her favorite. The easiest for her, certainly. Still, at least for now, one might only assume she doesn't speak English all that well.
Ted nods, not suspecting that his new student has a vigilante codename of her own. He just likes to be honest with the kids he personally trains, and has a suspicion that she's gonna be one of the best. "I can do ya couple times a week." Poor choice of words, Ted. "I do a lot of flyin' between here and New York, but I'm gonna be around a lot to get this place kickin'. Mornings are probably best, but I got a flexible schedule."
Luckily for Ted, Cassandra doesn't get the potential meaning behind the words that were poorly formed. "Yes," she agrees to him, concisely. Clearly, she understands what he's saying. She considers the old man a long moment, pointing to his leg. She asks, "Okay?"
At least mildly concerned that she might've hurt him, too much. She was trying to not go too rough on him, since he wasn't really a target.
"Heh," Ted chuckles. There's a bit of approval in his expression. He considers it a good sign she can show concern for an injury like that. "Don't worry about me, girly. Feeling's starting to return. It'll be sore for about an hour, but good as new in two. Takes more than that to put ol' Ted Grant down for good." He grins and grabs his water bottle. "Should I ask where you learned to fight like that?"
Cassandra nods. She holds up two fingers, very thinly apart. "Tiny ... strike," she observes, clearly moving slowly over the words she tries to formulate. Still, there's an almost impish grin over her lips. As to the other question of where she learned?
"No," she answers. No, Ted. You really shouldn't ask. Bad can of worms, there.
Ted just shrugs, laughing quietly at her joke, or what he presumes to be a joke. Hard to read context with so few words. Either way, he's duly amused. He shrugs at her reply. "Then I won't ask," he says simply. It's her business. "I'll get working on a training regimen for ya. I'm mostly a boxer, undefeated in the ring." Their spar doesn't count, since they were using very non-boxing styles. "But I know more than a few other styles. Warn ya now, I fight dirty and I teach you to fight dirty. Honorable combat ain't much about your methods as it is your motives."
Cassandra currently has one motive - penance. And, purpose. "No kill," she says, with intensity - as much as she fought with. There's that look, in her eyes again. She absolutely means it. It's as much a statement, as a warning. Try to teach her to kill, and she -will- hurt you, Wildcat.
"Who mentioned killing?" Ted looks confused. "Hell no. I ain't gonna teach ya to kill. Just told ya, girl, I'm Wildcat. I was on the damn JSA, and I still got my button. No, when I say fight dirty, I mean tricks to disable and disarm that ain't exactly considered fair." He narrows his eyes as he looks at the deadly little girl. "You jumped to that conclusion awful quick," he says quietly. "I ain't gonna ask, 'cause it's your business. But I ain't in the business of killin' or training killers, so you can rest easy on that."