Yes, another Jin and Touya story. I find these two very easy to write for. Like? Love? Hate? Too short? Too long?

Life was so simple when they were sparring.

Anything short of mortal wounds was legal. Any dirty tricks or sneaky ideas were not only doable, but encouraged. And these dirty tricks or sneaky ideas, mixed in with inventive uses of both of their powers, were used liberally until both Jin and Touya were flat on their backs and gasping for breath in between laughter.

It was a way to get the sheer adrenaline of a good fight without worrying about their lives. Jin knew Touya could defend himself, so he cut loose. Wildly using every trick in his arsenal, his friend would have to face down a twin Tornado Fist one minute and a full-blown tornado the next. Occasionally he heeded the advice Touya shouted at him about technique and keeping his guard up…but usually not. He was too drunk on his own adrenaline and power to pay attention. Usually, Touya made him pay for it. It was a painful lesson, but it still did almost nothing to bring him down off of Cloud Nine.

Touya always fought more cautiously. He would avoid hand-to-hand combat, being the smaller and lighter of the pair, so he would pick his moment and keep his distance until he was sure the time was right. A sword on each arm, he could dart in under Jin's guard in a blur to draw blood. If weaponry didn't work, he changed the terrain. He made massive spikes of ice pierce the ground, making his friend's meteoric landings a bit more dangerous, or even just turned the land into his own personal tundra, making every area for yards around his weapon. In close quarters Jin had the advantage. He couldn't take much blunt damage, but he was quick and he hit hard. A few well-placed blows and Touya was down and out. Sometimes it took more than a few well-placed blows. Sometimes Touya was the one who got drunk on adrenaline, and Jin would end the battle then and there before one of them really got hurt.

Life was so simple when they were sparring. The only problem they had to face was who could beat the other one first. No rules, but no real danger. They let the rush of energy take them over and let their fists do all the work. Sometimes, when they were both exhausted, it would dissolve into a simple grappling match, with each one trying to get the other into submission. The submissions never held, but by that point they were too tired to care.

Jin and Touya had faced so much in their lives. They'd faced wars, assassinations, jobs and missions of every kind. They'd made friends, watched those friends die, and been betrayed more times than either of them cared to remember. They'd bled and suffered over their centuries of life. But the important thing, the thing that kept them doing it all over again, was the fact that they had bled and suffered together.

And there were always those perfect moments of simplicity to look forward to. When all you had to worry about was winning a simple practice match, life suddenly seemed a little more survivable.

"I've got my breath back…" Touya panted, pushing himself into a sitting position and wiping blood from the side of his mouth. "Up for another round?"

Jin grinned and sat up as well. "You betcha, Touya!"

Touya smirked. "On your mark…"

"Ge' set…"

They leapt.

"Ever realize that we never get to 'go'?" asked Touya, blocking one of Jin's blows on a shield he summoned at the last second.

"Go's f'r wimps!" said Jin emphatically. He brought his legs around and cut his friend's legs out from under him. "Gotta be ready, mate!"

"And I always am, my friend," said Touya, kicking Jin in the stomach to give himself those crucial few seconds to get away. "I always am."