I groaned. Everything hurt. I was exhausted.

Not to mention I was pinned to the ground by a very triumphant-looking Lucifer.

"Tired already, commander? I was just getting started."

"This isn't fair." I muttered, "Couldn't you have taken it easier on me?"

"I did." he laughed, "Want to take another shot at it?"

I let my head fall back to the pavement, defeated. 

"I don't know if I could survive another round."

Lucifer stood, cocking his head to the side playfully.

"I'll even give you a head start this time. Come on. Show me some of that suicidal stubbornness humans have." 

I got up slowly, gingerly, and wondered if I could even survive a walk back upstairs.

"Can't you just accept my surrender?"

"If you expect to be able to protect yourself against any other threats, I would say no. For your own good."

Right. As though he wasn't enjoying beating me up. He hadn't even broken a sweat and I felt like I'd broken everything.

I dusted off the black combat suit I was wearing, trying to bat my hair out of my face.

Hand-to-hand training, he said. Easy as pie, he said.

"Commander, I'm waiting."

I sighed and walked over, throwing a feeble punch at his shoulder. 

"What was that?" he asked, "Did I feel a fly tickling me? With a bit more effort, please!"

I made a sulky face.

"Can't you just teach me to shoot a gun? That would be a lot faster than pulverizing me to the point of a slow, painful death."

"A gun?" Lucifer asked incredulously, "A gun is only going to last you as long as the bullets do, or until someone takes it from you because you didn't bother learning how to throw a punch."

"I did! I've thrown at least a million of them, but when I'm punching a living fortress you can't expect them to have any effect."

He looked pensive.

"True enough. You can rest. Once I can actually feel one of your hits."

Oh brother.

I tried to get him in the stomach but he caught my hand. Same with the next hit. And the next.

And then he dodged.

I felt annoyance bubbling up inside of me.

Another dodge. A redirection of my punch so that I hit air instead of flesh.

Punch after punch missed or was taken with military resistance.

I was going to be stuck there forever. 

The End

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