He was known by many names.
The Merciless Giant.
The Scarred Reaper.
Seven feet tall. Three hundred eighty seven pounds of muscle and scars. Skin as dark as ash. He was as grim and gargantuan as all his nicknames implied. And in everything he did, he did so with the motto of 'by any means necessary'.
That was his preference, that was how Avery Lewis operated, be it in the crime-ridden streets, or in the confines of training. Woe to the unfortunate individuals who stand in his way.
Just like that poor lad a moment ago.
Avery merely snarled at his hapless opponent crumpled on the ground next to his feet. Not wishing to take any further abuse, the lad scampered on his belly and, picking himself back up, limped away from the mat. The burly giant then averted his steely gaze towards the rest of the men around him.
All of them equally beaten and bruised.
"Not even for a snack," Avery muttered to himself.
Having had enough sparring for the day, Avery lumbered to the locker room, unwrapping the white strips of cloth around his large fists. When not even a shadow remained of the beast, everyone in the training room let out a sigh of relief.
Everyone except one.
From the beginning, she stood in the background, blending in with the rest of the observers, watching the man keenly as he systematically disposed his opponents one at a time.
"What do you think of our new recruit?" an agent leaned over and whispered into her ear.
The woman had not removed her eyes from the locker room door since the titan left the mat. "He is quite the catch," she said with a noticeable English accent. "A little rough on the edges, perhaps, but otherwise very impressive."
"You could see why MI6 dumped him on Delta Red."
"Indeed." The faintest of smiles tugged ever so gently on the woman's smooth lips. "When can I speak to the lad?"
The agent glanced into her deep blue eyes, betraying the faintest trace of mischief to a seemingly innocent question. He knew precisely what the woman really wanted, and there was no way he could refuse such a request.
"When do you wish to speak to him?"
Five hours later, Avery began pounding away at the hapless punching bag.
Left, left, right, left, left, left, left, right, right, left, right, left, right
Over and over, the pattern repeated itself.
Left, left, right, left, left, left, left, right, right, left, right, left, right
The hundred pound bag shook and rattled from even the titan's lightest punches yet still held on to its chains as though holding for dear life. Yet Avery increased his tempo, battering the bag with increasing intensity. The chains groaned under the stress as the welts on what was supposed to be a durable bag grew heavier.
Left, left, right, left, left, left, left, right, right, left, right, left, right
His fists tensed. His punches a blur. And then
One uppercut later, another punching bag bit the dust.
"You know, I was going to use that."
Avery's expression remained hard and stoic.
"Well? Are you just going to stand there and mope?"
Mildly surprised at the audacity, the giant slowly turned his head to his left to see whom that voice belonged. His brow furrowed with a further hint of surprise at what he saw. From the sound of the voice alone, he knew it belonged to a woman. However, given the brusque tone, he was expecting someone a little more, as best as he could put it, domineering in appearance.
Blue eyes. Long blonde hair. Skin as white as snow. Slender and diminutive. Save for the single scar on her cheek, features looked absolutely unblemished. A woman in her thirties, he surmised, and a rather attractive one at that, especially the way that sleeveless crop top hugged her body. From the triangular emblem stitched on the left bosom of her shirt to the green cargos, she wore the uniform of a Delta Red agent, yet looked more like someone belonging to a cover of a magazine. She wasn't even half his size, and yet, folding her arms across her ample chest, she carried herself as one who was larger than life.
"What do you want?" he growled.
"What I wanted was to use that bag," she replied, not the least bit intimidated by his towering presence. "However," she gestured to the destroyed lump of sack, "I can't exactly use that over there, now can I?"
"Get a new one."
"We ran out," she snapped.
"Too bad," he grunted, and turned away.
Avery stopped in his tracks and let out a quiet snort of annoyance. The scar on his lip became more pronounced. "What?"
"Since you were the one who broke the bag, you owe me," she said.
The giant clenched his scarred fists tightly, visibly holding back his temper.
"Owe you?" he asked. "How so?"
"Do I have to spell it out for you?" she chided, gesturing towards the mat.
The giant was incredulous. How dare she ask such a thing. Does she even know what she just got herself into?
As though reading his mind, the woman added, "I insist."
Avery turned his head and looked into the woman's eyes. The woman returned his gaze with one of her own. In that moment, the giant realized, no matter what he thought, there was no way he could refuse.
The burly man adjusted the wrappings on his hands and tightened the bandana on his shaved head. Before Avery could call out to the blonde, she had already reached the mat before him. As he made his way towards the mat, that was when the giant took a better look at whom he was dealing with.
Slender and pretty, that she most certainly was. What he hadn't noticed before was the muscle tone within that tiny frame of hers. She was clearly athletic, possibly beyond that of an Olympian, from the small, yet tough biceps in her arms, to the rigid tone of abs in her stomach. The woman began her stretches to loosen up her muscles, and Avery took further notice of how chiseled her back looked under the form-fitting top.
"Are you ready?" she announced, spreading her legs apart, holding her right arm low while stretching out her left arm, falling to a fighting stance.
The giant observed her stance. Perfect form, he thought. Couldn't see any traces of weakness. Though Avery looked composed on the outside, the scarred man couldn't help but feel a small tinge of anxiety.
Certainly, he had sparred with men twice her size. He had fought and survived in numerous hostile places. This woman, barely even a toothpick to a specimen like himself, would be a cinch compared to everything else he had been through. Yet something told him to tread carefully.
Avery stretched and spun his right arm, then raised his fists on front of his face and stood in a fighting stance of his own.
"Whenever you are," he answered.
Immediately, the woman lunged and snapped her left leg out.
Avery, stunned by the woman's quickness, managed to raise his arm to block the kick. The giant staggered back from the impact, equally stunned at the amount of strength that tiny kick held. Before the titan could counter, the woman was already pressing her attack, quickly delivering a combination of lefts and rights. Again, Avery managed to block her attacks, and again he was stunned by the speed and strength those punches had. He planted his feet more firmly, and he felt more adjusted to her speed, though it didn't stop the fact he was still on the defensive.
That was a first for him.
"Good reflexes," the woman commended.
Tired of having her attacks repeatedly blocked, the woman changed her tactics. She continued her barrage of punches and kicks, and as expected, the giant managed to defend himself admirably. Suddenly, the blonde broke off her attack and performed a short backflip, momentarily giving Avery a break from the woman's flurry. Then, floating to the air, she curled herself into a ball and spun in an arc, her trajectory towards the giant's head. Expecting yet another punch or kick, Avery raised his arms to block. Instead, he felt a pair of legs wrap around his head, and, with immense strength far greater than any man or woman her size should muster, flipped the man forward and planted his head to the mat in a frankensteiner.
Completing the attack, the woman performed a cartwheel away from her opponent and fell back to her fighting stance.
Avery, having the wind knocked out of him, remained lying on the ground, his mind still trying to register what happened.
"Hope you didn't hit your head too hard."
The giant managed to stagger back to his feet. Shaking the cobwebs in his head, the man raised his arms to his face, clenching his fists ever so tightly.
"Not at all," he replied, then beckoned the woman to attack.
The woman smiled mischievously and lunged.
Before the woman could deliver her first punch, the giant threw a quick jab with his left. With her timing interrupted, she quickly planted her feet and raised her arm to block his hand. Avery followed up his jab with a series of lefts and rights, momentarily putting the woman on the defensive.
"Not bad for an oaf," she muttered under her breath, and, timing his punches, weaved around his arms and landed a kick to the man's shin.
Avery staggered slightly in his balance, feeling the sting travel along his massive leg, and angrily took a clumsy swipe with his right hand. Seizing the opening, the blonde swerved deftly to the side and, using the man's momentum, knocked the giant face first to the mat.
"Did that one hurt?"
The giant slowly ambled to his feet, shaking off the haze in his head.
"Not even close," he lied.
The blonde gave him a smirk and stepped back into her fighting stance.
Avery glared at the woman angrily, and, in a loud bellow, made a mad dash towards her.
The giant fell back to the ground.
Over and over, Avery tried to go on the offensive, and each time he was countered and forced back on the defensive. Finally, after being knocked to the ground for what had to be the tenth time, the titan scrambled back to his feet and hopped away from the blonde.
Avery circled his opponent, sizing her up. Clearly, the woman was much faster than him, and while the giant himself was no slouch, especially given his impressive frame, there was no way he could beat her at her game. And though he was definitely the stronger of the two, this woman still possessed enough power in her tiny body to bring down someone of his stature. If she continues to have her way with him, the next move might put him on the mat for the very last time.
Avery was not going to let her have her way with him.
Good, the woman thought to herself. You're finally taking this seriously.
The blonde hopped forward and snapped her leg out. Avery parried the kick and hopped to the side, letting the woman jump past him. The woman feigned a high punch, then went low for another to the gut. The giant blocked the attack and, once more, hopped away from the woman, attempting to slow the tempo of the match to his favor. The giant also decided to test his opponent out, throwing a few cautious jabs at the blonde. As expected, the woman avoided them all with a mere weave of her head. Avery added a quick right hand for good measure, again testing his opponent
and suddenly, like a small drill, the woman spun towards the giant and connected both feet with the man's midsection.
Avery stumbled back from the hit, thankful that he managed to move his body enough to avoid taking the full brunt of the attack. It still hurt, however.
The blonde skid along the mat, then quickly spun towards her opponent for another assault.
In an instant burst of speed, the mammoth quickly lowered his body and met the assault with an earth shattering shoulder tackle. He felt his shoulder make contact as the woman flew back from the impact and landed on her back hard.
"That was smart," Avery heard the woman groan to herself.
The giant quickly lunged forward, and, with his arm raised, slammed his fist towards his downed opponent. The woman rolled to avoid the massive fist and scrambled back to her feet, though the impact momentarily caused her to lose balance.
A few minutes had passed, with both fighters exchanging a flurry of punches and kicks. Avery made certain to keep the woman away with his reach, while the woman herself used her smaller frame and speed to avoid taking any more hits from the titan.
"Tired?" she asked.
"Not at all," Avery grunted. He then followed his words with a slow punch with his right.
Spotting a lapse in the man's movement, the woman parried the fist, the attack redirected and glancing against her forearm. With the titan open, she stepped forward inside the giant's reach, and countered with a punch of her own
only for her fist to be caught within his awaiting grasp.
"That can't be good," she thought.
With the blonde now in a vulnerable position, Avery pulled her close and kneed her in the gut. She felt the wind knocked out of her, though it didn't end there. The giant, still holding her up by the arm, battered the woman with continuous right hands to the torso and head. Finally, in a feat that can only be described as unnatural, he grabbed the woman by the head, yanked her off her feet, and leapt high into the air. Reaching the apex of his jump, Avery flipped backwards in midair and made his descent towards the ground. The combination of his size and gravity took hold as he planted the woman headfirst on the mat, the impact causing the rest of the training room to quake.
The woman laid on the mat crumpled and unmoving. The giant removed his hand from her head, surveying the damage. Her head lulled to the side the moment he released his grip. Her face was filled with some small bruises from the pummeling he gave, though he was amazed that those were the only wounds he could find. She was as durable as she was tough. In the end, however, she was on the ground unconscious, he was still standing.
It was over.
The giant let out a quiet sigh.
"Hope you didn't hit your head too hard," he echoed the woman's earlier words.
With those words, the woman's eyes suddenly fluttered open, shocking Avery back to his senses.
"Not at all," she repeated Avery's earlier response with a sadistic smile.
Crunching her body with legs curled, she planted her hands to the ground and lifted herself vertically to the air while simultaneously snapping her leg up into a kick.
"Cannon Spike!" she announced.
Avery was too shocked to notice the kick connect squarely to his jaw. He hardly even noticed that his body went flying to the air. And he most certainly didn't notice the ground smacking him when he landed.
"Now tell me, did that one hurt?" she asked.
" Avery groaned, lumbering back to his feet. "Didn't feel a thing
Avery wobbled on his feet in an attempt to maintain his balance.
Given how hard I hit you, you probably weren't lying
"Well, as much as I want to continue our little dance," she said, "I have other duties to attend to."
After her words, the blonde spun on her feet like a dancer, then crouched low on the ground with arms criss crossed and hands on the mat.
"This might seem a bit excessive," she continued. "However, it has been a while since I used this move, and I do need the practice lest I forget how to use it. Forgive me."
Not that the words meant anything (for he wasn't even lucid enough to even notice) as he took the brunt of a spinning drill kick in the midsection, similar to the one she used earlier, yet much more potent with the addition of multiple kicks with each rotation.
The pain didn't end there, as the woman performed a short cartwheel, taking care to kick her opponent as she did so. With hands planted on the ground, she pushed herself up and, snapping her leg out, immediately followed up the barrage with a vertical kick to the chest, throwing enough force into the move to lift the titan off his feet and into the air.
Finally, to top off an already impressive combination of kicks, the woman landed into a handstand, and, with a quick push of her arms, lifted herself in midair, shooting past the hapless Avery in his ascent. Once she was right above the giant, she quickly grabbed the man by the side of his head and spun him around. Afterwards, she wrapped her legs around his head, dropped her body back, and, rolling in midair, drove the man to the ground in what had to be the most dizzying, powerful frankensteiner ever performed. Avery landed on the ground hard on his back with the woman mounted on top of him, arms criss crossed around his neck.
"Still got it!" the woman cried out, flipping herself off the man and clumsily landing on her rump. The woman winced, partially from the aches suffered, partially out of embarrassment.
"Hahahahaha!" she laughed. "Whoo! I haven't had such a workout in years! I need to do this more often."
One moment of elation later, the blonde brushed herself up and crawled over to the downed giant.
"So you're still awake after all that," she mused, kneeling beside him.
Avery merely lulled his head. All he could register was a bunch of buzzing noises and the room spinning.
"That was fun," she chirped. "Wanna do it again some time?"
He never got the chance to answer the question. The dizziness too much to handle, he immediately drifted out of consciousness.
"I guess I'll find out
With the adrenaline worn out, the pain finally caught up to the woman as she collapsed on the mat.
"Daddy, I dun wanna pink dressh
"Mmm, but daddy " The blonde's eyes fluttered open. The first sight to greet her, as best as she could describe it, was a wild wilder beast on steroids. "Ah!" she shrieked.
With Avery knelt low, the blonde accidentally bumped her head against his nose from shock.
"Ack!" Avery cried out, clutching his nose and rolling on the mat.
"You are so not my daddy!" the woman hollered, clutching her forehead in pain.
The giant continued rolling and kicking on the mat, shouting inaudibly with his hands still over his face. The woman, having finally regained her bearings, found the sight both sad and amusing.
"Stop being such a baby," she said, yanking the man up to a sitting position.
"Son of a ugh!!!" The giant swiped blindly with his arms. For the next few minutes, Avery remained still, slowly recovering his senses. Finally, the ringing in his ears stopped, if only briefly, and the fog disappeared just enough for him to see clearly.
"I suppose that last move was a little over the top," the blonde chastised herself. "You alright there?"
"I was asking you the same question," he muttered sheepishly, then groaned. "What hit me?"
"I did," the blonde answered smartly.
Avery scoffed at the little pixie woman. "I meant the move you pulled on me at the end of our match."
"Gyro Drive Smasher," she answered matter of fact. "Usually a move I save as a last resort."
The giant merely stared at the blonde upon hearing the name. "Cute
" he mumbled under his breath.
"I would like to see you come up with a better name."
"Maybe I will
after the room stops spinning
Both laid on the mat, staring at the ceiling in silence.
"All things considering, that was pretty good back there," the woman broke the silence. "An ordinary man would probably be hospitalized by what I just did."
Avery chuckled at the comment.
"Is that supposed to be a compliment?"
"It is," she nodded. "Still, I was a little worried. I do tend to get a little carried away at times and I forget to hold back." The blonde bit her lower lip. "Sorry about that."
"Forget about it," the giant scoffed. "Besides
it's nice to know that not everyone in this uniform is a wimp."
"Is that supposed to be a compliment?" the woman snickered, repeating his question.
"I suppose it is."
The two laughed quietly together, wincing at the throbbing pain in their heads.
"Wait, what time is it?"
" the blonde strained to look at the clock.
"Damn ack!" Avery clutched his head as pain shot into his head.
"Easy there, big fella," the woman said, pinning the man down with her arm. "There's no need to rush."
"I was supposed to ugh have some sort of meeting with the higher ups or something
" the giant groaned under his breath. "Something about some big shot wanting to talk to me
"Really?" she asked, her tone lowering when she spoke. "And pray tell do you know who that 'big shot' is?"
"I don't know," he replied, struggling to remember. "Heard the name, 'Whit'
"Yes, that was the name
" Avery's voice slowly trailed off as he took a closer look at the woman's face. "Hold on
"Yes?" she looked at the giant with the most innocent look she could muster.
"Cammy White?" he repeated the name.
The woman's grin grew wider, which only served to frighten the man.
you!?" he stammered as he pointed a finger at her.
Another moment of awkward silence passed. The man gaped at the blonde, his finger still extended.
Deciding that the man had been tormented long enough, Cammy held the man's outstretched finger and shook it in an awkward handshake.
"Pleased to meet you, rookie," she winked. "Welcome to Delta Red."