A/N: And here it is as promised:)

Chapter 7; A Beating of Fists, A Flashing of Steel

They walked back down the stone hallway, the sound of their boots muffled by the roar of the crowd just beyond the door. They neared the end to find Kara standing before the closed door, "Well boys, I'll catch you on the flip side."

KaraMalcolm

The blast of light and sound that hit her from the other side was staggering, the Panasonic Dolby digital high-def surround sound of the mob in all its glory. It seemed all too played out, too perfect. The stark smell of sweat and alcohol, vomit and blood mixed in with the industrial tang of steel floating down from the high cold ceiling. The clatter and clamor of the crowd in its bright sea of colors, grinding and gyrating, screaming and cussing as they fought and laughed, still calling out bets and reliving the last soiree. They were a living breathing entity, an electrical current, a live wire dancing dangerously on the edge of water... and she was their conductor. The lead actor playing out her part to a tee. It was the archaic violence that fueled them, the pounding of flesh and the painting of blood, brutal unleashed mortality at its finest.

Straightening her back and squaring her jaw she walked towards the jeering crowd, swallowing the pain that racked her body with each step. Fast, she told her herself over and over again, forget about Louie and his rules and his terms, this wasn't about pleasing the crowd anymore.

Walking to her bench she rested her hands against the steel beams, not allowing herself a moment to sit. Looking down over the revealed arena, she thanked that Danny had been correct in his assumption. Gone was the water, leaving the arena coated with wet sand, bloody beautiful, she breathed, her aching muscles would not have tolerated the further burn.

Directly across from her stood her opponent, hands behind his back, stance straight. He was average height, a muscled jarhead with a serious calculated look. She'd seen that look on that of her father a few times over the year, the look of a trained soldier. He was ex-military for sure. For a moment her heart went out to him, she knew it was a hard life to leave behind, training your whole life to be a well-oiled part in an American machine, order and structured sense. She understood the burden. If things had been different, if she was out for a night on the town she had no doubt that she would talked to him, batted her eyelashes and flirted easily. She shook the thought from her head because things weren't different.

It seemed all but the arena's Primus was present and accounted for. Nothing left to do but wait. "C'mon Louie," she whispered, eyes searching the curtained boxes, "What are you waiting for?"

After another gruesome final minutes the speakers crackled with a coming announcement as the host stepped out from amiss the crowd. A quieted excitement fell over the warehouse as the crowd almost seemed to be holding its breath.

"Ladies and gentlemen!" he drawled out as if announcing a televised sports event, "In my one corner we have the return of 'The Lovely K'..." he paused a moment as the crowd let loose its deafening noise once more.

He gave it a couple minutes before he put his hands up and motioned for the crowd to settle down, "And in the opposing corner we've got ourselves a first timer. I give you 'Beach Head.'

Kara couldn't help but smile a little as the crowd erupted around them, yeah, they would have gotten along wonderfully.

"Now how about we make these things a little more interesting huh," the announcer leered, fueling the current, "What do you say?"

The crowd roared louder then it had all night frantically calling for the hat.

"No," Kara paled, any hint of the previous smile dropping from her face, "No, no. Please no."

Beach Head gave her a quick look almost as if he'd heard her before he then returned his attention to the host, head cocked slightly to the side in apparent confusion.

A large gladiator helmet could bee seen weaving its way through the throng of excited bodies, a scantily glad girl in a white barely there toga stepped out in front of the arena. A smile plastered to her face, bronze skin aglow beneath her poof of vibrant peroxide hair. She was just too skinny, Kara thought but that of course didn't stop the catcalling and reaching hands from the men around her.

The host wrapped an arm around her, pulling her in close, winking at the crowd, "Why thanks doll."

He took no time stuffing his hand in the dark helmet and riffling through the wound up pieces of worn brown leather. He pulled out a single piece of cloth and held it up before the crowd before focusing his attention on her, "Well then, ladies first," he called out before he opened up the tie.

"Ooh, poor luck doll..." he signaled to one of the men nearest her.

"Fuck."

The man returned and handed her a pair of small black leather fingerless gloves, slightly padded. She was screwed of course but she supposed it would serve to protect the knuckles of the hands from splitting. Yeah, thats good Kay, stay positive.

She pulled on the gloves as the announcer busied himself opening the next slip.

A short cruel laugh sounded through the speakers as he motioned to another of the men on the opposite side.

"Well everyone, lets just say things have just gotten quite brutally interesting."

A gleam of silver shone through a large wrapped black parcel as it was shoved into Beach Head's open hands. The crowd seemed to hold its collective breath as he slowly peeled away the dark cloth. The silence didn't last long as they screamed and hollered in approval.

His head snapped up, wide brown eyes connecting with hers as the cloth fell from his hands and pooled around his feet.

She was royally fucked beyond belief.

"Contestants to the ring," a grating voice called out.

She hoisted herself over the beams, allowing her body to drop into arena. Sand crunching beneath her feet as she straightened out her body. Eyes still locked with Jarhead. She'd barely felt the fall into the pit. Her body had grown numb, pain was no longer an option. She had always welcomed the dull ache of pain, had used it to keep her going throughout the long years. It had been an indication of life. A constant reminder of feeling, a breathing trophy of her humanity, the mark of a survivor. It had all disappeared within an instant, was she even alive?

Captain America was given a push forward from the crowd, breaking the connection between them. His knee lifted up and thrust back into the man behind him, his think boot covered sole connecting with a flat stretch of shin. The man dropped to the floor instantly paralyzed with pain, the crack reverberating through the warehouse. A quick glance back sent the crowd reeling, scuttling backwards in hopes of getting farther away.

Kara stared at him transfixed, unclear of what to make of what she had just witnessed. His reverse kick had been calculated and filled with power and seemingly rage though none shone through onto his face. The only indication of his fury was the hard set to his jaw as he stared at the piece of steel in his hands. Was he upset with the mismatched odds? It baffled her. Anyone else would have relished in the favorable win at terms.

He seemed to come to some decision as he swung the blade in his hands, slicing through the air with a piercing whistle before tucking it in close and bounding over the railing. He fell down into a crouched position the doubled-edged blade extend from his arm. With a wink she could almost swear she had imaged he flung the sword through the air, it dug itself into the sand about ten feet from where they stood much to the shock of the entire auditorium.

Her mouth dropped open before lifting into a small smile, "You really are a Joe aren't ya?"

His cold facade dropped as he blinked in surprise.

She laughed at his expression, "Don't worry Wayne I can bet ya that I'm pretty much the only one in here we picked it up."

"Well, well," he nodded approvingly, his voice hoarse but strangely smooth. He lifted an eyebrow, "What say we dance Lady Jaye?"

"Lets."

They advanced towards one another, feet crossing over the other, circling, looking for an in, a break in defense. Fists lifted and curled in front of her face she shifted her weight on to her back foot, tensed down and lashed out with a roundhouse kick. He caught in his raised hand and pushed her away. Using the momentum she spun around, tucking her leg in tight before springing out her fist and lashing with her leg swiftly one after the other. He was only able to block one and her leg connected with his side.

Still grasping her arm he pulled her in and tucked his elbow under the crook of her neck, flipping her over and backwards in one swoop. They came at each other again and again, defense and offense, block and attack. They seemed to dance across the sand, perfectly synchronized, eyes alight as they sparred.

He smiled as he got the upper hand, knocking her onto her back, "Yo Joe!" she yelled as she bucked in attempt to free herself.

She huffed and he smirked, "Suck it up, marine."

"But you're hurting me," she pouted.

He loosened his grip slightly and it was just enough for her to bring her leg up and hook it around him, sending him tumbling backwards. She laughed as their. positions became reversed. "Awh, don't tell me you're going soft on me Small Soldier."

The fighting was real enough but much too amicable for the Arenas prospects as the crowd grew bored and rowdy, a few beginning to drift away from the pit.

Kara knew something was wrong when the ground began to vibrate beneath her feet.

A/N: References:

Beach Head, also known as Wayne Sneeden is a character from the cartoon/movie/comics G.I. Joe. The operatives are usually called 'Joes'

Kara obviously catches on to the name and they play on it etc,. the phrase "Yo Joe!" and Beach Heads use of Lady Jaye, another character from the series.

Lastly if you couldn't tell they have both previously had Marine training, [Kara from growing up with her father] and are very closely matched.

- if theres any other questions are things that seem unclear feel free to leave me a message or review and ill get back to you:)

The more reviews the faster i'll update. xo