Woo, really short one. FYI: Johnny is gay in this story (not bi or 'turned' by the Boss), so I'm going to genderbend Aisha at some point.
It was turning out to be quite the canonisation session. There had been the usual crowd of wannabe gangstas and local thugs, most of whom were now limping away or bleeding quietly against the church wall.
Then there was this guy. Johnny lifted his chin as he came under the scrutiny of a pair of large blue-green eyes. The owner was some white boy he'd never seen before in his early twenties, tall and very easy to look at, with the kind of tapering body that hinted at a manual job or a lot of time spent in the gym.
There was hardly a mark on him. The newbie had fought hard and dirty, leaving Billy and Leo unconscious, and breaking Danny's leg with a savage kick to the side of his knee. He was now eyeing Johnny up like prime rib.
Johnny was just picturing how good he'd look with a black eye and trickle of blood from the corner of his pretty mouth when he spoke.
'How about it, fella? Will you dance?' he said.
And Johnny was hooked. He'd always had a weakness for accents, and this guy was a Brit. He tilted his head towards Julius, the leader of the Saints, without breaking his gaze.
'I can't jump in unless you hit me first, bitch. The boss don't like it when I smear new recruits across the asphalt without a warning,' he snarled.
Amusement flashed in the other guy's eyes.
'I'll consider myself thoroughly warned, then.'
'You do know who I am, right?' Johnny said.
The newbie lifted one shoulder. 'You're the only one here who looks like you'll give me a challenge. That's enough.'
'Cocky sonofabitch, ain't ya?' Johnny said with a sneer. 'C'mon then, I could do with a laugh.' He heard Troy clear his throat behind him and turned. 'Oh, fuck off, Troy. He's askin' for it-'
Johnny doubled over as the air was driven out of his lungs. So, the dirty piece of shit hits a guy when he's not looking, does he?
The newbie gave him a wide-eyed look of puppy innocence. 'I thought you were ready-'
He ducked as Johnny swung a backhand at head height, but wasn't quick enough to dodge the follow-up cross that caught him in the kidney. Johnny let his body fight on instinct and reflex, a hundred counter-moves learned through a thousand street brawls at his fingertips as he dealt blow after punishing blow to the jumped-up little fucker.
His opponent stood up well under the onslaught. A punch that should have knocked him out flat merely drove him to one knee. Laughing eyes sparkled up at Johnny as he stepped back, and the newbie spat out a mouthful of blood.
'That all you got, big boy?' he said with a grin.
Wait, am I getting flirted with in the middle of a beat-down?
Johnny had no time to wonder as the other guy threw himself at his chest and both of them slammed to the ground. The newbie fought like a fucking rat, all sneaky elbows and knees coupled with heavy-handed punches that had Johnny seeing stars more than once.
They grappled and rolled, grunting like a pair of bull elephants as a crowd gathered around them. Johnny grabbed a fistful of the guy's black t-shirt and smashed him in the face with a vicious head-butt that left them both groaning. He wiped the blood from his eyes that was starting to obscure his vision as he felt several pairs of hands on his arms, pulling him up.
Troy was attempting to call time on the bout, but Johnny wasn't finished yet. With a shrug of his shoulders he broke free and kicked the newbie in the stomach. The guy's eyes rolled back and he curled into a tight ball of pain. Johnny drew his foot back again but stopped as the other guy held out a swollen hand. The freaky fuck was laughing.
'I give in, I give in. Help me up.' His voice was cracked and punctuated by his ragged breath, but it was impossible to resist. Johnny blinked and wiped his face again as he dragged the newbie to his feet.
Troy was watching them carefully. 'Jesus Christ,' he said. 'I thought you two were gonna kill each other. You've earned your colours today, kid,' he told the new Saint, who had thrown an arm companionably around Johnny's shoulders. The smell of the guy's sweat, cologne, and blood was doing horrible things to Johnny's head.
'Yeah, shit. I've never seen anyone give Johnny a kickin' like that,' Dex piped up as he approached.
'Fuck you, Dex,' Johnny said as he pushed the newbie away. 'The little bitch hit me when I wasn't lookin'.'
'And you kicked me whilst I was helpless on the ground, Johnny,' the newbie said, almost purring his name. 'I'd say we're even.'
Johnny rolled his tongue around his mouth. A crown had come loose, and he was definitely getting flirted with. 'Whatever. You got a name?'
'Elijah, but it's only my mother who calls me that,' he said. 'To everyone else I'm Eli.'
'Well, Eli, it's good to have you in the crew,' Dex said.
Eli's gaze hadn't left Johnny's face. It was the kind of look that made you feel like the only person in the room or, in this case, churchyard. Johnny was used to being stared at; with his size and reputation it was part of everyday life, but this strange British guy was practically raking his eyes over him, and Johnny was not used to that. He liked 'em feisty, but this guy with his disarmingly open expression and almost constant smirk was doing something to him that he wouldn't have thought possible.
Johnny was nervous.
He looked away under the pretence of searching for his shades, which he found broken next to a gravestone. Julius was talking to Eli when he straightened up, wincing at the pressure in his head. His body was now complaining from about twenty different places as the adrenaline wore off. Troy nodded to Julius and led Eli away into the church to get cleaned up. Johnny's heart jumped when the new guy looked back and gave him a wink from one puffed eye, and he groaned internally.
He had it bad.