Dancing in the Dark

November 25, 2015:

Natasha requests to spar with Snake-Eyes to see if she is ready to master blind-fighting. Snake-Eyes learns some information about her in the midst of the spar while Rain and Captain watch.

Triskelion Training Room

A training room in the Triskelion.


NPCs: Captain



Mood Music: Shadow Ninja - Brandon Fiechter

Fade In…

Besides being known as the silent master, Snake-Eyes is one of the premier blind fighters to have been brought into SHIELD. Fury may have mentioned the fact that he's training capable in several arts to a few agents that are always wanting to increase their skills, which would have set up for Natasha to meet with Snake-Eyes.

Currently, the ninja in black is sitting in the lotus position in a completely blank room. He has yet to adapt the room to what he has set, since he doesn't want to give her a chance to get used to the room's layout before it is plunged into darkness.

It is not quite yet time for the Blind Master's garden terrace. First, she has to get past the Silent Master.

Rain likes garden terraces. But she's likely here to check in on people and keep an eye out. Also, the silent people are an eternal source of amusement and consternation. Captain skulks in first. Cats love places other people can't or won't go into. It's how they roll, since 2999BC, baby. Rain also brings a bit of water and such, probably keen on making sure they're okay amidst their spar. "Good luck," She offers quietly.

Blind-fighting is both easier and harder in an empty room. It depends upon your perspective. No extraneous noises to distract, but also no background behind which a wrong note could be heard. Empty, except for Rain and Snake-Eyes.

"You going to be all right?" she murmurs to Rain. It's about to get dark and violent in here. Natasha runs a thumb across the grip of the weapon she's brought. It's a waster, a wooden sword. It's a piece of art in its own right, carved from the inner core of a tree's branch into a single slightly-curved length, strong and smooth and only a little flexible. She herself is in the simple dark uniform she usually wears for this sort of thing.

Stepping aside, Natasha pauses, weight balanced on both feet. She performs her bow toward Snake-Eyes, simple and unadorned. Ready.

There'a a glance towards Captain. Snake-Eyes watches the feline with a level of his visor at the familiar. One word of help to Natasha, and he's not only going to be hogtied and gagged, he'll probably wake up in the adoption section of the city pound. Rising to his feet, the ninja moves quietly across the floor, a bow offered in return to Natasha's show of respect. Taking a red sash, he ties it around his waist. The objective - Nastasha has to successfully remove the sash from him. And then he offers her a red sash of her own. This one to be wrapped around her eyes.

As he looks to Rain, he gestures quietly to a sitting area where she and Captain can sit and observe the goings on. His usual assortment of weapons are already set up over there. He's planning on going into his unarmed. She's allowed a weapon; he's not going to deny her that. He waits for her to put on the sash around her eyes.

Rain nods to Natasha. "We'll be okay. We're just keeping an eye out and making sure no one wanders in." And making sure anyone hurt gets patched up shortly after. Captain is there for petting and easing of bummed out feelings. Rain nods to the Snake. She lowers her head repectfully. Captain eyes Snake. "I can FEEL how you're looking at me. I'm observing." And Captain just sort of slinks off grumpily. "Don't be jealous of my awesome darkvision." If Captain had thumbs, he'd z-snap.

"Easy, Captain. We won't interfere." Rain and Captain will sit in the designated area. Captain assumes CATLOAF FORMATION.

It's the funny thing about Natasha. She is better than just about everyone at just about everything. She's not exactly a generalist, either: she's very good at infiltration, security, subtlety, and fighting. In breadth within those fields, she's nearly unparalleled. But she's also not a grandmaster, not in most disciplines, particularly not the ones she doesn't use every day. For her, skills degrade a lot slower; still, she needs to hone them. There's perhaps a handful of people in any one discipline who could best her. A handful and a half for blind-fighting. One of them is here.

She observes the sash around Snake's waist. Nods once. Takes her own, wraps it around her eyes, ties it in a careful knot at the back of her head. Ties it in a bow, too, perhaps just for the mental image — because no one will be able to see it — of the giant red bow.

At last she's just there, wooden sword in both hands, eyes closed behind the sash, standing in a very proper stance. Ritualistic, almost. The lady's ready.

As Captain makes his comments, Snake-Eyes watches impassively, because the cat will eventually move away to be with Rain. A glance is given to the witch and a nod of his head before he returns his attention to the bow-tieing Black Widow. He will not speak of what she chooses to do, besides, he has the inability to speak and a vow of silence to boot.

Once the spy nods her head, the ninja takes a few steps backwards. He makes nary a sound, before he takes the toe of his boot and scrapes it along the ground, turning off his own visor to plunge him into darkness. While Rain and Captain will be able to see everything clearly, but the two combatants are in darkness.

Now that he's made the slightest of noises, it's up to Natasha to hunt him down as he continues to quietly move, stepping to the right, listening for the woman's breaths and movememts.

Captain does like Snake-Eyes well enough. The two are going to sit quietly. Rain can enhance herself, but neither are going to help cheating. Though, it is too dark for even Captain's eyes to glimmer.

Talking cat. Talking cat, good heavens. But this is no time to dwell on Rain's familiar. It's time to dwell on Snake-Eyes.

Natasha presses her lips together as she steps forward. She is… unnervingly silent. She's actually working at it right now in a way people rarely see her do. It's not obvious what she's doing to make herself move like that, but it seems to have something to do with allowing the least amount of surface area of her feet to touch the floor, and she might actually just be walking on her big toes. Ordinarily, that wouldn't be aces for stability, but she seems okay.

Her breathing is… she's not holding her breath, at least not yet, but her breaths are long and slow and deep and as quiet as she can make them. The sound of her heartbeat and the blood pumping through her veins is maddening, but there is that tiny sound. Just that tiny sound. It's enough, though. She's moving to the side, circling Snake-Eyes for a moment before darting swiftly to one side. Straight toward him, her sword raising to sweep across her body.

Snake-Eyes on the other hand, has more than earned the title of Silent Master. His qi has calmed him, his heart has no rise, no breath. Instead, everything seems to be cut of out of very darkness to form the ninja. His head tilts only slightly, picking up on the feline heartbeat, already rapid enough - Rain's on excited heartbeat - and then the one of the Widow.

As she closes the distance, he picks up on her noise, that faint breath, the wide sweep of the sword as it cuts through the air, and it slices into the air. What was there a moment before is no longer present. Ducking aside of the sweep across her body, he twists and pirouettes around the woman, and his hand comes out, two fingers jutting out to attempt to poke Natasha in the left kidney as he comes from behind. And as soon as he strikes, he's already starting to move again.

Cats do breathe and have hearts faster than human ones. The two are as quiet as they can be, at least. A patient, silent audience.

Ah. Yes. Masters. Natasha was never quite in touch with herself enough to channel her qi. She can channel lots of other things, but inner peace and harmony has always been a tricky one. Annoyance is apparently possible, because her lips thin into a narrow dark line when she gets that little poke. She's twisting away from it the second fingertips brush her, but it was enough. He was close. Close enough to have taken her out quickly if he'd really been trying.

But the irritation is smoothed away quickly and something akin to calm takes its place. She turns toward him, sliding away one hand from the sword's hilt. Striking and moving again, but as fast as he is, she is faster than a shake. There is where hew as, and then there is where he must be. If she can have enough time to judge his speed — but so rarely does she really have that. Nevertheless, she extends arm and sword as one limb, whirling out and down to strike the ninja on the hip. If he's where she's extrapolated. If he's where she heard.

And then she's leaping away, flipping backward to alight with a sound she can't prevent, then darting aside in that same eerie silence.

The sash makes the smallest of sounds - a swish in the breeze. It's just enough for Natasha to guess where Snake-Eyes is moving to, however, he's well-prepared. Even as she moves into position, he's dodging the first strike and the second. Knowing that the follow-up will not be defendable, instead the ninja moves with it, his hands rolling in oppsite directions, catching the blade between the carbon plates on his forearms and twisting as he attempts to disarm the Widow from her training blade.

At this close, he can feel the roiling boil of the woman's unfettered qi racing around, confused, angry, unsettled. It will be something he has to address to her later. In stark contrast, his is calmed, quiet. His qi, if it were able, would try to mingle and calm hers. But first, she must find it for herself.

And it is that troubled qi, that stands out like a beacon, that makes Natasha so detectable to him. It's not just sound - he can feel the qi - the souls of those around him. Captain's old soul - Rain's soul, so full of new magic that causes her so much confusion and joy at the same time. And Natasha. The Widow that has been through so much. He can feel it coming from her - even as he tries to remove her sword and then she's flipping backwards.

The Silent Master gives a nod of approval as he moves in the opposite direction, still in silence - until he suddenly cuts across the floor, quickly moving before he qi leaps, twisting in mid-air over the running Natasha, and offers a gentle 'poke' to the top of her head.

The two are a good audience. Rain will pet Captain, curious and alert.

He does remove the sword. It's gone in an instant, but Natasha doesn't miss it. The instant she's back on the ground, the instant she feels him tap the top of her head, she's leaping like a cat. Reaching up to catch his wrist, she's jumping at the same moment, leaping and twisting her body and seeming to gain purchase on the very air itself.

If she can get the smallest touch in. The briefest grip of his wrist, even if he twists it away. If she can get that, then she'll have him, she's certain. She knows how the body works, how it bends and twists and shifts, and she knows how to take the best advantage of it. The best way to fight at a disadvantage? Remove the disadvantage.

She's keeping her sash on, though, even as her foot seeks his ankle, her leg seeks his knee, her fingers seek the pressure points in his shoulders. If he's there. If he's there.

She may be certain, but she's not sure. Catching Snake-Eyes is like catching a tiger by the tail. While she is trained in a great number of martial arts, so is he. She goes for the shoulders, his palms go out. She has upped the ante, now Snake-Eyes is going on the offensive. While she is able to drive the ninja to his knees, he moves.

Sharp blows are aimed towards hip seams, meant to bend the woman over. Then his fist comes upwards, the palm open. She's feel his chi - balled up in a blast that is aimed at the solar plexus if she bends to him.

And while on his knee, he moves to sweep her legs to complete the blowback in order to roll around, the sash flickering in the windless room as he does so.

Catching snakes in general are tough. But Rain and Captain are learning a lot, watching and curious.

The offensive is, to be fair, where Natasha's most comfortable. Less so, having a bolt of chi flung at her. The sharp blows swish through almost thin air, grazing her but not bending her forward as expected. Specifically because she's already bent the opposite way. It also means that she only barely avoids the chi blast by virtue of being bent backward so far that her feet and shoulders are on the ground but her bottom is tucked high. She looks like a lower-case N — or a yoga teacher's poster.

Said yoga teacher probably wouldn't be able to snap back upright so quickly, nor to launch herself forward. Knees drive forward to Snake's hips, the blade of one hand slices toward his throat, and the other hand grasps for the end of his sash, fingers curved into claws.

And much like his namesake, Snake-Eyes takes to the ground after the strike. She comes at him, launching forward. He bends over very far backwards, head nearly touching the floor as she swipes at air where the head once was. It's like a very close and personal dance as the two are entangled in each other. As her hand goes for the waist, she will feel her fingers brush against the tattered edge of the sash before the ninja rolls, planting his hands into her midsection to lift and toss her away from him.

She ends up with a handful of threads, but not the full sash itself as Snake-Eyes flips in the opposite direction, rolling to bounce back to his feet, already spinning around to meet offensive with offensive.

But he does give her two quick claps of his hands to show his appreciation at her effort - but did he move in the same direction as the clap - or in the opposite.

Rain and her cat? Still totally an audience. Their eyes widen. He just hadouken'd. The fight is on.

Double bluff. Triple bluff. Just how far does the snake think he should take it? She was close, so close. And she might get close again, or she might fail entirely. She could be conservative, but faint hearts never won shiny new scarves.

It's not the clap she listens for. It's the whisper of the sash and the pressure of feet on a hard floor, the shifting of muscles. She herself is tensed, poised, ready to leap, and she does — in the direction where she thinks she hears movement. If he's really trying to fool her, he's going to bluff his bluff. She thinks so, anyway. But even this will tell her something.

Double blinds and triple blinds are dangerous things. As he rolled backwards, he picked up the sword he disarmed from her earlier. He waits, and holds perfectly still after the claps. As she comes rushing in, he continues to hold. Until that last possible second. As she grabs for him, Snake-Eyes turns, setting himself. Her hands find his hips, that sash in her fingers, ready to be pulled.

But likewise, she will feel the point of her own blade settled into the center of her breastbone. If it were real, with one thrust, he would have run her through, impaling her upon the weapon. He gives her forehead a light tap of his own in a sign of respect. She is very close to mastering the technique.

So many blinds and bluffs. The two watch intently

Matched? No. Snake-Eyes is better at her than this. But Natasha is smiling when she shoves the sash out of her eyes. The other hand is still tangled in Snake-Eyes's, gripping the fabric even as the sword is pressed against her chest.

"Hai." She rises slowly, detaching herself from the whole affair, easing herself to her feet. Far from looking disappointed in defeat, Natasha's eyes gleam in apparent pleasure. When they do both rise to their feet, she will bow to Snake-Eyes again. Possibly a bit more deeply than before.

"Our good luck," she says, "that you're on our side."

Turning the 'sword' around to hand to her by the hilt, Snake-Eyes settles his hand over Natasha's heart. Not in a perverse way, his visor studies her eyes and face. After a moment, he pulls his hand back and gives just the smallest shake of his head. She is not balanced. He can feel it. And he just offered his services to try to help her find her balance, should she wish to seek it.

Natasha tilts her head. She's used to all kinds of non-verbal communication. She gets the point. Opening her mouth, Natasha makes to speak… and then closes her mouth. Nods once. Takes the wooden sword, backs away, and offers over her shoulder: "Six. Can you do six?" She watches to see his nod or shake of the head.

Rain is quiet. She and the cat listen. "Everyone's okay?" She asks. At least, now that the fight seems over.

Snake-Eyes considers and then offers a nod of his head. Six is fine by him. As she offers her shoulder, he places his hand on her shoulder to get back to his feet as he hands her the sash from around his waist. She's earned it. Clasping her on the shoulder, he releases her just as quick. They will meet against soon.

"I'm good," Natasha replies, nodding to Rain. "Could use a water, though; thanks." She snags some if it's available, stepping aside and gesturing as if to offer some to Snake-Eyes. The man never goes by anything other than his codename. It's eerie. It's the sort of defense Natasha likes to break down — the formal, serious type.

"Some of those moves I've only ever been told about," she admits. "You're quite a dance partner."

"There's water," Rain nods. She brought some refridgerated bottles in and offers one over. Captain streeeeeeeeetches. Claws, toes, tail down to the nose. "That's good. And Ah. Have fun at six." A faint smile. She seems thoughtful. To be fair, Rain is a codename, and she goes by it, too.

There's a lot about Snake-Eyes that's not in his official file. It was the agreement that he made with Fury. Which means that in the end, only Fury knows. And then he just had to go get rid of it all and leave a blank slate. A riddle wrapped in an enigma, or something. As he takes a bottle of water, he only opens a slot on his mask to drink, hiding his identity yet still.

Glancing between the two women, he bows his head to them both in deference. He's willing to help Natasha with her training, he may not be as seasoned as her, but he's focused razor sharp.

"Something on the 'fun' spectrum, at least. Fun for a given value of fun." Natasha raises the bottle to her lips and gives it a sharp squeeze, emptying half its contents into her mouth and down her throat. She caps it then, swallowing and nodding to both. "See you then," she says to Snake with a nod. To Rain, she offers a slight smile and a tiny salute. "Hope you enjoyed it. If you ever want a go, you only have to ask."

"I see." Rain seems happy as the two drink. "I uh. Appreciate the offer. Maaaaaaaybe sometime. We already got floor wiped by Mr. Snake." Rain rubs the back of her head. "And I got hogtied." Captain adds. "Please tell me you aren't into cat bondage." He's teasing Snake, apparently. The two nod. "Thanks. We'll uh. Remember it." She is clearly not the most fighty of people.

Pausing as he walks by Rain, he places a hand on her shoulder and gives it a squeeze. Snake-Eyes already knows that she is far braver than she gives herself credit for, but it is still on her to decide how she feels about things. He has already agreed to help her find her own balance with her magic, after all. And with that, he steps quietly back into the hallway, making nary a noise.

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