You should be in the box.

Markus climbed into the ring with a grin on his face, his confidence in himself unbearably arrogant. Jamie was glad that he was allowed to punch the guy in the ring. Neither of them waited for the other to begin and Adam watched, shouting instructions to Markus, guiding the man. However, in the ring, Markus thought he was in the box, laying into Jamie ferociously and not really heeding Adam's advice.

Jamie tried to restrain himself, keeping to a training regime, but the mixture of his rising temper and Markus' onslaught made it hard to keep to the training program. However, Jamie did have an advantage; his opponent was heavy set with thick muscles that glistened a little with fresh sweat as he kicked out, aiming for Jamie's groin. Jamie's physique was lean and he had agility on his side.

"Stop cheating!" Adam yelled as Jamie skipped back, neatly avoiding the blow. He darted forward and punched Markus square in the chest, winding the big man before he could lift his arms to block the attack. "You too, Jay!"

Wrestling him to the floor, Jamie held Markus down, ignoring the man's protesting kicks and attempts to throw him off. Adam counted slowly to three and announced Jamie had won. Markus scowled as Jamie stood up, panting a little. Picking himself up, Markus growled "I let you win," and got up. Jamie laughed, but said nothing as Adam cut in.

"That won't be good enough in the box. If that had been a real match, he'd have been able to rip your throat out in less time than it took me to count to three." He scolded, helping Jamie out of the ring and then shaking his head as Markus insisted on doing it himself.

"Pfft, he should be in the box then. He'd be a champion by now. Way past me, Lilly and all the rest!" Markus replied with a bark of laughter. Suddenly, Jamie found himself in the mood to get back in the ring and put a few more bruises on the burly man.

"You know that's not gonna happen. I have a gym to run, I'm not about to start tearing people's heads off in the box for other people's entertainment." Jamie replied, grabbing his towel to mop his forehead with.

"Heh, what? Afraid you may be beat? You already beat me; Lilly could be a possible challenge seeing as how fast she can be..." Markus mused. Jamie turned to his friend, instead of giving into the urge to beat the man to a bloodied pulp.

"C'mon, Adam, you're a better trainer than that. I'm amazed he's still alive. If I can beat him, anyone can. I'm gonna go take a shower." He smiled and glanced at Markus sideways.

"What, what did I say?" Markus asked before Adam could reply.

"You said I could be good in the box. You lot must be pretty crap. I'm not that good at kickboxing." Jamie shrugged and walked off to the showers. Markus laughed.

"Hey!" He stopped, realising that he had just been insulted. Adam rolled his eyes.

"C'mon. Clearly, we need to get your close combat skills up to scratch." He said, trying to distract the bulky man. He lifted the punching mitts again and gestured for Markus to move to the back of the room where there was more space again.

"Oh I forgot. Lilly left right?" He laughed punching the mitt's in turn. Grunting, Adam nodded and moved the pads for him to kick.

"Roundhouse," he said firmly. He was here to train the guy, not gossip with him. Of course, Markus didn't seem to get that.

"I was actually looking forward to smearing that kid's blood on the walls, after getting my just reward of course." He smiled seductively, stopping punching as he fell into a day-dream. Adam grimaced. That's disgusting.

"Stop fantasising and practice." Adam snapped, the revulsion clear in his voice. Markus grinned and roundhouse kicked the pads perfectly, forcing Adam back.

 

Jamie watched Adam descend the stairs from his office. He pushed his wet hair back out of his eyes, damp from the shower. Markus left the gym ten minutes later, his hair also wet from a shower. Rising, Jamie picked up his keys and called to Adam. As his friend turned, Jamie threw the keys over.

"Shut the place up for me, will you? I'm going home," he said, walking over to Adam.

"Finally. Markus knocked some sense into you then?" Adam laughed. "I'll see you tomorrow, though I guess?" Jamie nodded.

"Yeah. See ya," he left the gym and instead of turning left up the straight to his house, he turned right and soon enough, found himself at the Bloodbox. He looked up at the entrance and frowned. What was it about this place? How did the box have such a crippling control over the city? His feet guided him in, and he followed people into the spectator's area and took a seat at the edge.

The people around him were animated, babbling on about the fight that was about to take place. Nero against someone who had recently made it to his rank. It was apparently going to be a good show. Someone nearby was talking about the odds and complaining about how Garson had been put out of business recently. Jamie looked up at this. Garson had lasted surprisingly long. Even the people like Jamie that weren't a part of the sport knew about Zelos' monopoly over the gambling that went on in the city.

He turned back to the view out of the one way window as the combatants were let into the box. He had no idea why he had come here. Part of him believed he was looking for Lilly. Part of him was looking for what everyone else saw in the sick game.

The End

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