Author's Note: Greetings, everyone. This particular story (as I'm sure you've already read) goes along with my previous Elektra fics 'The Return' and 'Love Me When I'm Gone.' Basically, I don't have the time right now to start on the long, emotionally charged sequel that I've planned so I'm writing this instead. This is my first attempt at something that's almost all humor (Although there are bits of angst mixed in that serve as setup for the next installment.) so please keep your tomato throwing to a minimum. I'm not going to bother with my usual spiel about reviews because I'm sure you all know how much every author wants them. Finally, an extra special thanks to Ratdogwo who gave me the idea for this one and did an extremely good job of nagging me until I posted.
Disclaimer: Shockingly I do not own these characters and am not making any profit from this. I'm really not worth suing, so please resist the urge to do so.
"You're leaving yourself open on the left side."
She throws me a look of irritation, but manages not to roll her eyes. "Thanks, I didn't hear you the first five hundred times."
"Stop doing it and I'll stop saying it." I follow the script, if only to keep a sense of consistency. We've been having this same bit of dialogue every two minutes for the last twenty and I'm long past broken record stage.
We continue circling one another. I'm waiting for her to make a move; she's attempting to do the same with me. I'm guessing five seconds max.
She charges me, her form surprisingly good. Except on the left side.
I've kept this going over an hour longer than usual. I know she's tired, I just don't care. She thinks that if she ignores me long enough I'll forget about the flaw in her fighting style or pretend it isn't there. She's trying to prove a point.
So am I.
She comes at me with a series of punches. I block them, catching her left fist in my right hand. She winces as I apply pressure.
She brings up her free hand, uses it to twist my wrist until I release her.
"I said I was sorry."
"You did. I heard you the first five hundred times."
"You're making fun of me," she charges.
I decide not to dignify that with a response. Not that she actually needs me to confirm her suspicions. She'll know if I lie anyway, so there's really no point.
"He started it."
"That's what you said last time."
"It was true then, too."
"If you'd heard what he said, we wouldn't be arguing about this."
"We're not arguing. You shouldn't have hit him, end of story." I want to leave it there. Her behavior was inexcusable, she needs to understand that. "What did he say?'
"Can't tell you that."
"Or what, you'll have to kill me?"
"Nah, that's freakishly cliché."
"You're treading on thin ice here."
"If I told you, you'd get freakishly pissed off and beat him up yourself. Then there would be cops involved and we'd all be freakishly screwed. "
I blink several times, wondering if she's adopted some sort of word of the day system. "You can't just beat up on anyone you want, Abby, it doesn't work that way."
"There's a pot and kettle joke in there somewhere."
"But you're not going to make it?"
"Nope, too freakishly easy."
I can't take it anymore. "Is there a reason you've used the word 'freakishly' four times in ten seconds?"
She raises her eyebrows, smirking mischievously. "Did you skip your OCD meds today?"
"How about we keep going for another four or five hours? Better yet why don't we do some meditation?"
"It's a fair question. What do you have against the word 'freakishly'?
This is my fault. I let her goad me into this and now I'm paying for it. "Nothing," I reply, with a calmness that is completely false.
"It's an awesome word."
"Yes, it's a fabulous word. Stop stalling."
"We're not leaving until you learn how to keep your guard up."
"Or we could leave now and move all the furniture."
I'm not going to ask. I'm not going to ask. There's absolutely no way I'm going to ask. "Why would we want to move the furniture?"
"To confuse Matt when he gets home."
"Get back into position. Watch your left side."
"I kicked that pervert's ass three weeks ago."
"And?" I prod, perfectly aware of how long it's been since Abby's latest act of academic misconduct.
"And…you're still hitting me with these zillion hour training sessions."
I sigh, not meeting her eyes. Yes, she did something stupid, and yes she deserved to be punished. And yes, if I wanted to be fair I would've gone back to our normal training routine sometime last week. I'm not being fair.
Abby went easy on the 'pervert dickhead asshole," as she so eloquently described him in her explanation of what happened. I get the feeling that his ego sustained more damage than his jaw, but that's not the point.
I told her once that it wouldn't take long for her to be better then I was. I didn't lie, I knew it was true. Despite that, I still managed to underestimate how soon 'soon' would be.
She's young yet. She doesn't realize what she's capable of. I doubt any of us really do. All I know for sure is that we dodged a bullet after Mark was killed. Had she decided not to listen to me, things could've gotten very out of control very quickly.
She broke a man's rib.
It was an accident.
She wasn't trying to hurt him. It was Bullseye she really wanted. He was the one she wanted to hurt, but he wasn't around right that second, so she settled on the next best thing.
I know the feeling. I know what it can turn into.
I won't let it get nearly that far.
It almost destroyed me.
That's not going to happen with her.
"Okay, you're dead. Can we please be done now?"
Abby's words to me are the second thing to register. The first is that I'm on the ground, her foot hovering a few inches over my throat.
I disappeared for a moment, lost myself in thought.
Not the best thing to do in this particular setting.
I haven't seen Abby look this smug since The Cereal Incident.
She's already forgotten about every sparring session preceding this one and, by extension, forgotten the fact that this is the first and only time she's managed to beat me.
First, but not last.
'Soon' is fast approaching.
She's proud of herself. Frankly, so am I.
Even knowing that I'm never, ever going to live this down.
"Fine, you win ."
She grins in satisfaction. "I guess the day's finally here huh? Student overtakes mentor."
"You won one match, that's hardly overtaking me."
I'm trapped somewhere between amusement and exasperation. "You did a good job."
"Thank you," she replies, still with that self-satisfied grin.
I move to get up, surprised when the bottom of her shoe presses lightly against my neck. She's kidding, right? She has to be kidding.
"I actually wanted to ask you something."
"You can't do that while I'm standing up?"
"I could, but you'd probably say no."
"You haven't really thought this out have you?" The amusement and exasperation have now been joined by a strong sense of pity. She has no idea what she's gotten herself into.
"Actually I did. Did you really think I couldn't put my hand up to block on the left? I think I'm insulted."
Stupid, stupid, stupid. I underestimated her. Again. Really need to stop doing that.
"Anyway," she continues, "Remember how you grounded me for an eternity-and-a half?"
"I don't remember setting that specific timeframe, no."
"Well whatever it was then. I pretty much tuned you out five minutes into the five hour lecture."
"You do realize I'm going to remember all this."
"Yeah, but you'll get over it, you always do."
If Abby only knew how ironic that statement was… "Are you going somewhere with this, or should I plan to sleep on the floor tonight?"
"I need you to suspend the grounding. Just for one night." My surprise must be visible because she quickly adds, "You'll get over it faster if I don't push my luck."
Doesn't push her luck? What exactly does she think she's doing right now? "Why do you want the grounding suspended?"
"Is that a serious question?"
"Why now?" I elaborate.
"I have to be somewhere tomorrow night."
Ah, now it makes sense. "Who's the date with?"
"Can't tell you that."
"You're holding me captive to go out with this guy, I don't think a name is too much to ask."
"You promise not to do another background check?"
I can't believe she's still sore about that. "I was being cautious."
"Yeah, I know. It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you."
"I wasn't the one who actually did the background check."
"So? Matt wouldn't have done it if you hadn't made him."
"I didn't make him do anything."
"Whatever. Two parking tickets don't make someone a hired assassin."
"You broke up with him after two weeks."
"That's because I had to tell him you were bipolar and it freaked him out."
"You did what?"
"Never mind. So can I go or not?"
"Not if you don't give me a name." She rolls her eyes as if I'm asking her to climb Mount Everest while on crutches." John Daniels," she finally mutters.
"John Daniels," I repeat, sure I must have misheard her.
"Yeah, and before you start, he wasn't the perv from the principal's office. That was his cousin Sean."
"You beat up his cousin and now he wants to go out with you?"
"He hates his cousin. Probably would've beaten him up himself except that it'd cause problems at family reunions and holidays and stuff."
"John and Sean?"
"So the parents aren't very creative when it comes to names. That doesn't mean the whole family are sleeper agents for The Hand." She pauses for a second then, "I think Sean might be though. Can I-"
"No. I spend too much time in your school's office as it is."
Abby waves dismissively, foot still hovering over my windpipe. "That's just because the principal has a thing for you."
"Your principal is a woman," I remind her. She gives me a look I've come to recognize as her 'Well duh,' expression. Then I realize what she's implying. Following that, I realize that this conversation needs to end as soon as humanly possible.
I grab her ankle yanking her to the ground while simultaneously bringing myself up. She stares dazedly at the ceiling then turns her gaze on me.
"You couldn't have done that five minutes ago? She asks as I help her back to her feet.
"I could have, yes."
"Oh, well I guess I'll be in my bedroom then, "
"I guess you will."
"Do you mind if I run up to the roof for a second though? I'd like to have one last look at the outside world since I'm probably never going to see it again."
And this is where the fun starts. "Really, does that mean you plan on cancelling tomorrow night?"
I'm trying to keep a straight face, but Abby's look of shocked disbelief is making that extremely difficult.
"Are you saying I can go?"
"Isn't that what you wanted?"
"Yeah…but…" She backs away several steps, eyeing me suspiciously.
"Go," I tell her. "You can be grounded again later."
"What's the catch?"
"There isn't one."
"There's always a catch. You don't do things like this just to be nice."
" I could take back the offer if that would make you happy."
"No," she says after long moments of consideration, "but I still don't like where this is going."
She jogs out of the room, throwing me one more distrustful glare before she leaves.
I'm going to enjoy this.
I pretend not to notice when Abby stalks into the room, head hidden under a white bath towel. She stops directly across from me,, the kitchen counter serving as a barrier between us.
"What did I ever do to you?"
"Did I run over your dog in a past life or something?"
"I guess it's a possibility, but I always thought that the whole point of past lives is that we're not supposed to remember them."
"You're trying to be funny. Well that's just FREAKING great!"
"Is there a problem?"
She ignores my attempt to feign ignorance and begins pacing from one end of the counter to the other. "This is just awesome," she continues, voice rising with every word. "You finally decide to get a sense of humor, and it has to be the sick, twisted, evil kind."
"Does this little tantrum of yours mean that there is something wrong?"
"I hate you," she answers, suddenly devoid of emotion. "Just so we're completely clear on that."
"Wow, I guess I'll have to take special care not to drown in my own tears tonight."
That one finally gets to her. Ripping away the towel, she grabs a fistful of long, thick her.
Hair which is now a very alarming shade of orange.
"Is this because I didn't tell you about Matt? Because that was a million years ago and you should really learn to let go of some of that anger."
"It was four months ago," I correct. "And no, it's not. I forgave you for that quite awhile ago. But if you want it to be because of Matt-"
"Well then it's because of Sean. I already told you-"
"Is he the one you assaulted or am I getting them mixed up?"
"Don't even go there Miss I-have-a-better-memory-then-a-FREAKING-elephant!"
"That's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think?"
"You're not the real Elektra," she states decisively. "The Hand took the real Elektra and replaced her with you."
"For someone who complains so much about paranoia," I start only to be interrupted.
"Okay, first I'm going to call Matt, and he's going to come home and torture you until you tell us where the real Elektra is. Then I'm going to find out what kind of poison you put in that shampoo bottle and torture you myself until you tell me how to get it out of my hair."
"Stop being so dramatic, it doesn't look that bad."
"It LOOKS like the guy who drew Garfield the cat spilled paint all over my head!"
"Relax; it'll come out in three or four days." At least that's what the eBay user I purchased the stuff from wrote on the item description. Of course he was also selling a pair of purple stretch pants which he promised would give the wearer superhuman strength.
"Three or four DAYS? I have to call John." She reaches for the phone. I grab it before she can blink.
"You can't force me to go out with someone."
"Unfortunately for you I can."
"What if he's a serial killer?"
"Matt or I can follow you if you want."
"I can't let him see me like this."
"Think of it this way, if he can't look past a temporary problem like this, then he's not worth your time."
"What did I ever do to you?" She repeats. Then she glances over at the kitchen cabinet. "Oh God, you can't be serious. You went out of your way to torment me all over a box of cereal? That's ancient history."
"It was a month ago, I hardly think that qualifies as ancient history."
"I was doing you a favor."
"Humiliating me was your version of a favor?"
"I was being helpful. What happens when we're getting attacked by a bunch of murderous ninjas and they throw a bunch of Lucky Charms at you? Are you going to call a time out so that you can pick them up and color coordinate them?"
"Right, because it's so likely that The Hand's men are going to be carrying around small boxes of breakfast cereal just in case."
She opens her mouth to retort, stopping when she hears the noise.
The door opens and closes.
I'm giving it three seconds.
"MATTT! Your girlfriend is using her guardianship authority to abuse me again!"
It never fails. Abby always goes straight to Matt when I don't do what she wants. During these times, I no longer have a name. My title alternates between 'She,' 'Your girlfriend,' and 'The Evil Clone Version of Your Girlfriend.'
I listen with one ear as Abby relates the night's events, conveniently leaving out the part about what happened in the training room.
And to think I'd been ready to stop the grounding altogether. But since Abby only asked me to suspend it for one night…
Speaking of which, I never did promise her that I wasn't going to do a background check on this John person. Have to speak to Matt about that later.
In fact, Matt was the one who gave Abby the money for the cereal.
Need to work on paying him back for that.
This could be fun.