There’s no bell down here. There’s no ropes, either, unless you count the crowd of sweaty beings, mostly male. It’s a pretty even mix of humans and trolls, and none of them look that pretty under the couple of bare dirty light bulbs that light this basement.
There’s only one motherfucker you’re aware of, though.
Dave Strider tears off his tank top like it shat on his precious fucking turntables, and it just barely misses smacking some troll in the face. It’s lucky for Dave that it hits a random human instead, because most of these star monkeys will tolerate a lot more than your average troll. Especially the kind that bets on bullshit “underground” matches.
“Let’s go, motherfucker,” Dave starts, because he can never shut his fucking mouth for one goddamn second. He’s already squaring up, and although you know that he’s got the most experience with swordplay, his stance looks pretty competent. Maybe even a little menacing, once he puts his dukes up. “I got two sweet ladies for you to meet, and they’re called Right Hook and Left Hook, although sometimes they prefer to be called Stacy and Madonna—”
The problem is that you don’t believe in fucking stances and forms, you believe in beating the living hell out of a motherfucker until they’ve got a goddamn hole in their cheek. And you at least succeed in shutting him up when your foot connects with his gut.
Dave stumbles back with the force of your kick and when he looks up, even through his shades you know he let you have that one. He fucking likes it. It’s not a new idea to you but every time he reminds you it makes you bare your teeth. For a non-troll he sure knows how to act like one, sometimes, and the thought makes you smile, dopey like old times, as you bring your joined fists hammering down at the top of his spine.
He ducks under and rolls away though, and there goes his goddamn mouth again. A fucking runaway train. “What’s the matter, Makara, can’t get it up for a couple of choice babes?” He rolls back to his feet and kisses each fist. “I understand if you’re a little shy, bro. Lemme help you with that.” You might be an unpredictable mess of brute force but Dave Strider is trained for agility, and it shows when he does, in fact, introduce Stacy to your solar plexus, and Madonna to the side of your face. Or maybe it was the other way around, sometimes you just can’t be fuckin’ assed to listen to this kid’s dumbass diatribes. The second blow knocks you to the floor and you sweep out a leg that he fucking jumps.
Nah. You like it both ways, when he lets you pound the shit out of him, and when he doesn’t pull any fucking punches, but sometimes that competence is just fucking irritating, and in less than a second you have him by the ankle and bring him crashing down to the unfinished basement floor.
Dave skids as he lands and you can see how much he’s trying to protect his stupid fucking shades; the cost is that his cheek gets scraped full of dirt and whatever other nasty shit is all over this floor. He’s trying to kick free from your iron grip and you flex your hand in return. The wince you get out of him is real.
For a few seconds you just hold him like that, tuning out all these assholes screaming for his blood or your blood or any blood at all, come on grubfucker I’ve got money riding on you, and i’ve got a kid to feed, Strider, kick his ass, on and on with that shit.
The thing these malignant motherfuckers don’t understand is that you’re having a moment with your kismesis, here. And they’re fucking pissing on it. More than that, their shouts are worming into your head and distracting you and that’s half a fucking pair of Chucks that’s kicking you in the chest as the other half twists out of your fingers. The floor hits the back of your head hard and reverberates through your horns when those smack into the concrete, too, and you’d be lying if you said you weren’t disoriented as fuck.
You can hear the crowd jeering again, more bullshit about betting, you don’t wanna fucking hear about this lazy motherfucker’s kid no fuckin’ more! You’re still for a moment, and then you hear Dave’s voice, too.
“Is that all you got, Makara? That weak little show?” he shouts, pounding his fists on his chest. The arrogant piece of shit starts doing a victory lap of all fucking things around the inner edge of the crowd. “I felt like I was having a cuddlefight with my fuckin’ grandma! All bakin’ me cookies, all lettin’ me watch cartoons all day long because a child should have relaxation and fun in his life. Next thing I know you’re gonna come at me with some gentle-ass cheek-pinching!” He’s doing a good job of hiding his limp, mostly, but it’s making his banter suck.
“Nah, motherfucker, I got more in me than you can even fuckin’ dream of in that mushy piece of shit you call a thinkpan,” you say as you rise, wiping your mouth against the back of your arm reflexively. When it comes away purple, you finally fucking realize it’s the knuckleduster on Madonna—or Stacy, or whatever, fuck Strider and his stupid babbling—that’s making his punches hurt harder than usual. It’s hard for you to notice little details sometimes.
“Fuckin’ bring it, then!” He pounds his chest again.
And because you are that fucking tired of hearing about this human needing Strider to win so he could buy formula or someshit, you grab this dude by the leg and pull him right the fuck off his feet. Spectators are backing up like their lives depend on it, and right now you kind of feel like they really fuckin’ do. The dude you grabbed smacks his head on the floor and you don’t give a shit, because it makes it easier when you swing him around by the ankle and at Dave.
You can see his unpigmented sparse-ass eyebrows shoot up in the split second before your human weapon connects and really, there was a valiant attempt at escape but it didn’t really work out. Dave goes crashing into members of the crowd behind him, and your weapon goes sailing through the air to do the same in the opposite direction. Your grin isn’t so dopey now. Dave’s winded, and the rush from that is motherfucking amazing even as he gets up. You feint to one side and now the whole crowd is wary of you, shying away like a herd of dumbass woolbeasts.
You’re busy enjoying this and that’s when Dave comes at you, running through his limp to fucking leap on you. At first it’s not enough to knock you back and for a moment there he’s just hanging off your upper body like a belligerent toddler, but then whichever fist’s got the duster on it smashes into your temple and dazes you. It dawns on you that he’s got dusters on both fists when he hits you with the opposite one, and you finally topple back with Dave straddling your waist.
He knows. You know he knows that once he’s got you down here you fucking let him rain punches down, although he keeps avoiding your actual facial features. He likes those, it seems. There’s purple blood dripping down both temples and from a particularly fun gash on your cheek, and you don’t like that you haven’t properly drawn blood. Your arm shoots up past his and draw your claws across his cheek, sharper than his weak-ass nails by fucking miles and his bright red blood beads up, falls on your face. Your grin comes back full force.
A lot of the trolls in the crowd are sort of recognizing this for what it is and they’re kind of backing out, making disgusted noises and talking some shit about never coming to this shit hole again, if that’s what the betting is going to be all about. The human part of the group mostly doesn’t get it, and those who do still don’t care, because they still don’t really get it.
You fucking tap out. You made him do it last week, but you know it frustrates him more when you just casually give up like that, when you both have plenty of fight left in you, and you can see it right now in the short little twist of his mouth. A bunch of agitated people throw their hands up and groan, while the rest are either looking pleased or unsettled.
Dave heads upstairs to the house proper, and you follow him into the bathroom. When he plops down on the toilet lid and sighs, it comes out like more of a groan. You can see where the bruises are going to bloom later tonight, but more pressingly you know you saw his limp grow more pronounced once he hit the top of the stairs. You kneel at his feet and he kicks his good foot in aggravation; the rubber toe does connect, but it’s a mild annoyance at best, and you push the foot over your shoulder while you concentrate on unlacing the sneaker off his bad foot. He’s too tired to resist much more.
“Pisses me off when you do this shit,” he growls from above, hissing a little as you ease the shoe off. “Act like you care.”
“Motherfucker’s gotta care whether his kismesis is alive or not, otherwise ain’t no kismesis to be had,” you reply, pulling off the sock too, and you smirk when the kiss you plant on the swollen bare ankle makes him wince.
“But you just get all tender and shit,” Dave complains, and there’s more pain hisses as he slides the the knuckle dusters off his fingers. The kickback from each punch has left little blisters that want to be cuts on his knuckles, and you piss him off more by catching one hand and kissing the offending wounds. He swats you in the face for that one, but you don’t really care.
“Can’t think of a better way to keep you hatin’ my fuckin’ ass,” you chuckle, and then you’re getting up to fish an Ace bandage out of the cabinet under the sink. (You know the host keeps this shit around for fighters to use.) When you rise Dave’s hobbled his way over from the toilet lid to stand behind you, and now you’re the annoyed one. “Sit your motherfuckin’ ass down,” you say, sneering, but he ignores you and stands on one leg to clean your cuts with a wet paper towel. He has to lean on you to keep his balance, and you let him, hands on his hips to steady him further.
Dave turns away for a second to toss the first paper towel in the trash, with you still holding him by the hips, and when he turns back you kiss him, surprise, tender like you know frustrates him the most. There’s a little unhappy noise at first and then he’s fighting back with his mouth, grabbing you by both the hair and one horn as he gets deeper. He knows that shit gets on your nerves, and you growl into the kiss. His response is to ruin the kiss with a smirk, and to grind his hips against yours just enough to tease when you’re in a place that isn’t exactly designed to let you follow through on it.
“You gonna be here next week?” you ask, running your fingers across Dave’s soft tight curls.
“I’m not a sheep,” he reiterates as always, smacking your hand away, and you just stroke his hair anyway because he’s fucking nestling his head under your chin like he likes it. “I mean, yeah. Duh, of course I’ll be here to pound the shit out of you again.”
“You fuckin’ wish,” you snort. “Yo, come the fuck back to my place tonight.”
“I got shit to do. No.”
“You ain’t got shit to do. Don’t be that way. Come back to my place, you dumb motherfucker, let me take care of your sorry ass.”
“I hate you so goddamn much.” He’s not leaving the comfort of your chest.
“Yeah, motherfucker,” you say with a sly grin, “I hate the shit outta you too.”