Why had it been so long, she wondered as she walked inside the training area. With everything that happened to her, Tabitha made the decision to relieve some stress and workout, finally. She knew that training was a vital part of being a Justice League member however she never found the time to do so. She knew that she needed to start making the time before the Martian tried to lecture her about it!
She had her hopes set on finding either Diana or Shayera working out; she was in the mood to torture herself! However, she slightly frowned that there were no women in sight. There were a few members on the treadmills towards the back of the area and two taking turns spotting each other on the bench press machines towards her right. To her left was the training boxing ring and a few punching bags, one being occupied by Wildcat.
Known as Ted Grant outside of the Justice League, he was a prized fighter in his prime. After he was framed for the murder of his mentor, he was forced to step down as a fighter and became a vigilante. She had heard good things about him, especially how he trained several Justice League members in boxing and martial arts, including Bruce and Clark.
He felt someone watching him as he sparred with the punching bag and looked over his shoulder. He gave Tabitha a quick look over before returning his attention back to the bag. He didn’t look as old as she had thought he was; there were random yet small streaks of grey interrupting his curly jet black locks.
“So, you’re the new member…” he almost startled her; she thought that he was ignoring her and was about to leave. She smiled at him.
“Not that new; been here for two and a half years, now!” she answered him. He finally stopped attacking the bag, wiping the sweat from his forehead and gave her a thoughtful look.
“You’re the newest member that we have. Let me guess; you want me to train you…”
“Actually… that didn’t cross my mind until now. Not gonna meddle, though; looks like you’re busy…” she started to not like his attitude and wanted to join the others on the treadmills.
“Hold on… you didn’t come over for me to train you?”
“No; just wanted to watch a bit and then workout…”
“Hmm… let me see your fighting stance…” he surprised her. She gave him a look before she shrugged and did what she was asked, “Ah… military, eh?”
“Let’s see what you got, then…” he smiled and approached her. She returned the smile and shrugged.
“Been a minute since I’ve done hand-to-hand. Ever since I became a mutant, I’ve…”
“For God’s sake, woman; don’t use that word!” his tone made her blink at him.
“‘Mutant’; it’s degrading…”
“Oh… well… what else am I supposed to call myself? It’s what I am…”
“No; it’s not. You’re a Metahuman.”
“A meta… human?”
“Someone who was born human but gained superpowers. Doesn’t matter if it was by accident or on purpose.” he explained to her. She nodded.
“A Metahuman, then; gotcha!”
“Before we start; what are your abilities?”
“Lightning, really. Super strength, speed and stamina.”
“Don’t use them…” he told her. She gave him a blank stare.
“You heard me; don’t use them.”
“… None of ‘em?”
“You might can’t help the strength or the stamina. But try not to use your enhanced strength. And definitely nix the lightning and speed!”
“But… it’s all I got…”
“I don’t believe that. Besides; it wouldn’t be fair to me: I don’t have any true Metahuman abilities.”
She found it a true challenge at first not being able to use her abilities. However, with Ted stopping to correct her ever so often, she found that relying on her somewhat natural strength relieved her stress and made her concentrate more. The two were so caught up in their training, they hadn’t noticed that others were watching them.
“She’s not bad…” John commented. The thought made J’onn simply nod. He had seen her fight three times; twice against the simulation program and when she sparred with Diana. All three times had been set up to provoke her enraged state and she had held back against Diana. He was proud to see that although she was learning from Ted, she was giving it as much as she could without using her enhanced abilities.
“She isn’t using any of her abilities, is she?” Diana wondered. Bruce shook his head, a smile playing on his lips as well.
“Maybe a little of her super strength but it’s small. That’s all of her Army training. Not bad at all…” he continued to watch along with the others. Their training session ended when Tabitha forced Ted down to one knee, extending his arm behind his back, painfully stretching his shoulder blade. He let out a low but sharp scowl.
“Nice!” he grunted out. She smiled and let go of his arm, helping him up, “You’re not as rusty as you thought, you know. See how it felt without using any of your super abilities? Most villains will be prepared to deal with that so you have to have the element of surprise! Are you ready for your next lesson?”
“Sorry, Ted; her lesson is over with…” J’onn startled the two, “Someone wants their turn to train with her.” he continued. She looked at the group and slowly smiled.
“Oh, yeah? Who?” she had refrained from sounding cocky; she felt pretty confident after taking Ted down without using much of her abilities. Her sly smile disappeared as she noticed that the Martian removed his cape and approached the two.
“Me.” he answered.
“Wait… what?! Uh, no!”
“No? You have no choice in the matter…”
“That ain’t fair and you know it…” she tried.
“How is it not fair? We’re both Justice League members…”
“One, you’re a Martian. Two… you’re Martian Manhunter!”
“You are wasting precious time. Trust in your instincts…” was the last thing she heard from him before he had charged after her. She was caught off guard and couldn’t respond quickly enough; before she knew it, he had tackled her hard to the ground. She struggled under his weight as he pinned her wrists to the mat.
“See; this is what I’m talking about! What you tryna prove?!”
“That you’re as strong as anyone else in the room… including myself…” he plainly looked at her, “Why aren’t you fighting back?”
“Seriously?!” she grunted.
“Stop panicking. Calm down and use your instincts…” he instructed. He was right, she finally thought. While Ted had no abilities, the Martian did… and he was fair game for her to use her abilities. Another thing that she realized; he was highly intelligent: she had to stop worrying about out powering him… and start trying to outsmart him.
She gave him a small smile as she stopped struggling against his strength, quickly charged up and immediately let her lightning loose; the force behind her attack made the Martian let go and fall backwards a couple of feet. He gave her a surprised yet satisfied look.
“Using our powers, are we?”
“I gotta even the odds, right?” she quickly got up.
“She’s right; she has to use her abilities against him. Without them, she’s no match to J’onn…” Bruce thought aloud.
“What if he doesn’t use his…?” Wally looked at him. Bruce smirked.
“Even if he held back at 50%... he would be ten times stronger than her… and that’s a far understatement!”
“I was hoping that we would refrain from using our abilities…” the Martian took to the air. She slightly smirked at him.
“Just using my instincts…” she couldn’t afford to think about her next action; she immediately did a Lightning Cloud towards him. She knew that thinking about what she needed to do would put her at a high disadvantage. When she felt him block her lightning strike, her body nearly bouncing off of him, she quickly formulated a plan. It was more for her benefit than anything; she wanted to see how long she would be able to perform her signature move in the air at a more constant rate.
She had surprised herself at the timing and quickness of her attacks; when she saw that he would block one hit, she delivered another one almost instantly. From where the others were looking on in almost complete shock, there was a constant show of sparks surrounding the Martian, who could only block her attacks. She wasn’t a complete blur as if she was Wally however even he had to admit that she was incredibly quick.
While he was impressed at her quickness, he was more overwhelmed by the fact that her hits, even blocked, were stinging him. He wondered if she was putting all of her energy and strength into the punches and tried to go through her mind. The Martian had to admit that it was cheating; he would also probably get a glimpse into her strategy. However, he was surprised when the only thing she was thinking of was one word: faster. Other than that, her mind was completely blank; he couldn’t have been any prouder. He kept his smile to himself as he thought of a way to stop her attacks; they really were starting to hurt him a bit.
“Is that all you gonna do is block?” she taunted between her lightning quick hits. He should’ve been used to her urge to taunt however it slightly saddened him that she showed her overconfidence even towards him; her cockiness knew no limits. It was something that he wanted her to seriously work on; taunting the wrong person could end up deadly.
He knew that it was risky; he immediately found out as he reached out and grabbed her wrist, a surge of electricity traveling up his arm when he did so. However, he knew that he had to do something to stop the all-out assault… as well as teach her a lesson about her cockiness. With ease, his other hand grabbed her ankle and he flung her across the room as hard as he could… forgetting to take into account that although she was a Metahuman, she was still human and he was more powerful than her. He flinched along with the others as she crashed into the wall, wishing that the material was more common rather than reinforced; going completely through it would had been less painful for her. Instead, the impact created a large dent and her body fell to the floor with a flesh-crawling thud.
“Whoa! Way too much vigor, green guy!” Wally widened his eyes at the Martian. When she didn’t move from her spot, the group rushed over to her. J’onn silently sighed for relief as she finally started to move slowly.
“Oh… my fucking… GOD; did you forget that I was human?!” even her voice inside his head sounded battered. He didn’t care who was there; he made sure that he was the one to attempt to help her up.
“I’m sorry; I’m so sorry! I… I actually did for a moment. I didn’t mean to hurt you; are you alright…”
“NO!” she hissed and winced as the Martian placed his hands on her side, “You tried to put me through a fucking wall!” he sadly noticed that it took a lot for her to speak, let alone breathe, “… Think you… broke a few ribs…” when she had to take breaths between her words and winced, he knew that her assumption was correct, “Like… fifteen of ‘em…”
“Wait… Tabitha… that’s all women have!” Bruce couldn’t help but to smirk; only she would find some way to make the situation humorous! He tried to help J’onn however retracted his hand when she winced yet again and let out an agonizing moan.
“Yeah… feels about… right, then…” she breathed, “Think I’m officially… scared of… walls, now…” she tried. The Martian finally got her on her feet, helping her walk.
“I… am so sorry, Tabitha. I believe… training is over with…”
“Yeah……. for you…” her smile finally crept on her face. Before he could give her a confused look, she gripped the Martian’s shoulder tighter, placed her right leg behind him and gave him a quick sweep to the ground. She immediately got up, placed her knee in his shoulder and prepared to strike, raising her fist and charging it with lightning. His red eyes, full of bewilderment, widened at how quick the turn of events happened.
“You! You were… feigning…”
“Element of surprise…” Ted couldn’t help but to grin at the sight. Her grin widened as she pinned him down with more force.
“Yep! Now… do I really gotta hit you…?”
“Hmm… that won’t be necessary…” she thought he was waving the proverbial white flag; his body was no longer tense underneath her. However, she was taken by complete surprise as he made himself invisible.
“Oh; you cheater!!” she immediately slammed her fist down. Waves of lightning flowed out however not hitting their intended mark. She scrambled to her feet and looked around; he had indeed became invisible. For a quick moment, she thought back to the fight between herself and Ma’alefa’ak; he had become invisible as well and there wasn’t anything she could do about it.
“Cheater? I wasn’t the one who faked an injury…” his chuckle filled the room. She tried to turn to it, tried to think of some type of strategy. No; she shook her head: if he was willing to become invisible, he would be willing to go through her mind…
A quick sweep of the feet had her face nearly connecting to the matted floor. She braced her fall and quickly threw lightning in any direction that she could; the group who had been worried about her safety only moments prior all ducked, trying not to get hit.
“I don’t think this is safe, anymore…” Wally slowly looked where his friend was now standing.
“Careful…” she couldn’t help that it slightly irritated her that he still chuckled. She narrowed her eyes and continued to look around the room.
“Okay, this time, this really ain’t fair…”
“Says the one with the phantom broken ribs…” he slightly laughed yet again. She grumbled out her frustrations.
“Seriously; you know you can’t be touched when you’re invisible! What am I supposed to do?!”
“Are you sure about that notion…?” he left it at that as he tripped her yet again. She jumped to her feet but thought against attacking; she finally realized that it was pointless. She had no choice but to think of how she would be able to make him visible yet again. She quickly scanned the matted floor; maybe she would get a glimpse of his feet imprints? She shook her head slightly; the Manhunter from Mars was too smart for that: he was definitely airborne. That thought only made her grumble more in her mind; now she not only had to worry about his invisibility but his flight as well. One idea was for her to fill the air with her lightning; however she suddenly remembered that she had done the same with his twin brother and it proved to be in vain: she had filled that apartment twice with voltage and it did nothing. Damn; if only Ashley was here to blood bend him, she thought. Or if Ramil was…
She immediately stopped thinking as a slow, wicked smile appeared on her face. The only thing that she had hoped was that he wouldn’t be too upset with her. She glanced towards the treadmills and did a Lightning Cloud towards them, grabbing two towels from the rack on the wall. She placed them in the middle of the room and stood a foot away from them.
“Um…” John furrowed his brow.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell…” Clark shrugged. The group continued to watch as she let all of the tension leave her body, closing her eyes and relaxing. She had a small theory and hoped that it worked; regardless of if he was invisible, he had to make some type of sound before he attacked: she slowed her breathing and tried to concentrate on that.
She knew that her timing would have to be impeccable for her concept to work; she didn’t think that she would have any room for a slipup. She had really hoped that she would be able to hear him if he tried to sweep at her feet once more; she never imagined that she would actually feel him! It was very minute however as she was deep in concentration, she couldn’t shake the feeling; he was coming towards her from her left. No sooner had she felt the slight waft against her shoulder, her eyes popped open and she did a Lightning Cloud towards the towels. Charging up with all of her might and releasing set the towels ablaze, just as she figured it would; J’onn immediately became visible and backed away from the small flames. A wide grin appeared on her face as she charged up yet again and sent waves of electricity his way, bringing him to his knees. Currents of lightning flowed over her arms as she slowly approached him. He looked at her with a slight weariness in his eyes.
“You are two for two today…” the sound of defeat in his voice.
“You ain’t letting me win again… are you…?” she eyed him. The Martian lightly laughed, glaring slightly at the fire in the middle of the room.
“Trust me… I’m not…” he assured. Clark extinguished the flames as Tabitha helped her boyfriend up.