Working Out

December 28, 2016:

Kory and Nathaniel visit Steve Rogers while he is in the gym

New York

An old gym


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Most would think it foolish to come to a regular place and work out. However, for Steve Rogers, a man who considers himself a common man given a chance to be a superhero, it seems only natural. So, he goes to a place that has changed in names and owners over the years, but remains the same: a simple gym. In order to find the balance of safety and accessibility, Rogers goes to this place at set times and SHIELD agents do the work of covering the place and making sure that the people going in are people that are vetted, ensuring that there isn't a super villain or someone who has some moral beef with Captain America. Unaware that SHIELD is protecting him from shocks to his moral sensibilities as well as physical threats, he continues to train.

Currently, the blond haired warrior is clad in a simple white tee-shirt and grey sweat pants, working a solid rhythm on a punching bag that seems reinforced to withstand his heightened strength. While there are agents of SHIELD outside of the boxing ring he finds hismelf in, within the large room, he is currently alone.


Having the super soldier serum means that he is in prefect health and near endless stamina, but it doesn't make him the best fighter. For that, he needs to always hone his skills, ensuring that his most dangerous martial combinations are muscle memory and a knee jerk reflex to danger. This requires near endless repetition, which as those that are cleared to see the Captain will see, he is more than will to do. The sweat pours down his face, but he doesn't look away, not even for a moment as his cloth bound fists continue their assault that pounds against the bag like a downpour of a rain.

Nathaniel would agree following a predictable routine when one has many enemies is foolish. But he assumes the famous Captain America has a plan and is only pretending to be foolish. It also allowed him to find him, although that was due to his contacts with SHIELD that unofficially told him about this place.

He is wearing a suit, so hardly the right gym gear. But what does he know about 21st Century gyms, anyway? And besides, no one else seems to be around except some SHIELD agents trying not to look like SHIELD agents which he greets politely. “There he is,” he notes to his tall and redheaded companion.

Starfire stopped hiding just a bit ago. No inducer to revert the skin and har of the woman as it is no longer condusive to business, nor the reality the world needs now.

So, when she walks into the gym she is easily recognized, if not by the tawny skin, but by the pupiless emerald eyes, framed by the fall of flame huen hair that cascades down her back, captured and looped up into a ponytail, then wrapped thrice and messy-bunned to just tease burning orange-yellow against the small of exposed spine.

Sneakers are upon feet, legs exposed to that of upper thighs where training shorts cling to physique. Abdomen bare sans the matching t-span sports bra of purple against her skin, though it bears a sheen unlike that of normalcy.

"Really?" But despite the disbelief in words the way her brows furrow, one slightly lifting shows the assessment in what he is doing, and how much lies behind it.

"Then, let's say hello." And forward she strides.

The odd charm of Captain America is that it is often hard to see where his natural naivety stops and where his natural tactical genius comes in. Pair that with the fact that he currently is working rather closely to SHIELD, masters of misdirection and opportunistic efforts, and makes it hard to think coming in here is somehow akin to walking into the lion's den, more so with the security detail. Once the verifications are complete, the two are allowed in, Cap being signaled that he has guests worth his time by a couple of raps on the hard steel doors leading in.

"It's fine!"

With the verbal blessing of the super soldier, the doors are opened. However, if this is some sort of clever trap or ruse, Rogers doesn't offer anything to suggest it once the two enter the boxing area. Instead, he merely stops his efforts as he looks toward Nathaniel and Starfire. His black thin soled gym shoes quietly make their way across the floor as he moves toward the two. His head tilts to the side as he wipes some sweat from his brow. "Ah, what can I do for you both today? I take it you aren't here to pump some iron." A glance is given from the suit to the attire of Starfire. "Of course if you are, more than enough to share," he offers with a grin as he gives a sweeping wave of the area.

“Well, I doubt there is anything here that the lady could use for training,” comments Nathaniel with a faint smile. “I am Nathaniel Richards,” he offers Steve his hand to shake. “Iron Guard, of the new Avengers. She is Koriand’r, known also as Starfire. I am quite happy to meet you at last, Captain. I did try early this year, but then lost track of you after the… troubles with Baron Zemo.”

A small wave is offered in Nathaniel's protests, and then the final being a small wave with a similar faltering smile. Is Starfire… Blushing?

A moment and she rights. She is her planets 'Cap, he is this one's, at least to New York and she is acknowledging of the single honor provided finally, righting and after tucking a long strand of loosed red behind her ear she extends a hand for a firm shake, spine going straight and the tall Tamaranean left before.

"If it is a challenge the Captain of America offers me, I will accept - but only on friendly terms."

Nathaniel gets a small look and a smile that lingers at one corner of deep purple lips. "I doubt a place like this is limited. Am I right?" A look back to Cap and Starfire's smile is one of that innocent brilliance as well as exhuberance.

As Cap is introduced to the two, a brow quirks at the talk of Zemo and attempts to be tracked down. He doesn't really remark on it, clearly deciding the past is exactly that, the past. The hand is taken when offered and Rogers gives a firm handshake. "Good to meet you, Mr. Richards." Despite the age difference, it appears that Steve is being all but respectful. "And a pleasure to meet you as well, Miss Kori-" There is a brief pause as Cap enunciates the next part carefully to ensure he says appropriately "-and'r?" He waits for any sign of approval that he got the name right before going on.

Once he retracts his hand from the second handshake, the First Avenger glances about with a causal shrug. "I'm Steve Rogers, but I sense you guys already knew that." He gives a nervous laugh, clearly somehow not used to being known by almost everyone in America. "I train myself here mostly," he says causally, looking mostly toward Richards as he speaks. "I hear most people have a lot fancier places than this, but I like to keep it simple. Runs a bit cheaper than all the flashy lasers and robots too. Not that I suppose having flashy lasers and robots for training isn't nice every once in awhile." Steve gives a grin in the short break that follows before he replies toward the challenge.

"Not sure exactly how much of a challenge I can offer, but if that's something you can here to do, more than willing to," the hero replies, his tone oddly confident despite the humility his words contain.

Nathaniel gives Kory an amused look. “Princess, you are stronger than the average Asgardian. Yes, we probably need flashy lasers and robots to challenge you. And I wonder if Stark will want to pay for those. Otherwise you could spar with Captain Marvel, and that would be about even.” He has it easier, as he can and does spar with Roy often. And some day he will dare ask Natasha for martial arts training. Maybe!

He looks back at Steve. “But no, we have no high-tech training area yet. The Avengers have been active a few months and we only obtained an UN charter and the official baking a few weeks ago. In most regards we are still building and rebuilding.”

"Yep!" And whether Cap was spot on or way left fiels, Kori was not going to pick at it, nor linger on things Steve seemed to move along from, already casting reflective emerald eyes over the gym, moving towards the punching bag, shoving it with a finger… Nothing, and then slapping it with a hand to emit a cloud of dust from wrap-laden hands. Smiling as the chain and bar bearing the weight shudders.

"You can offer your very own challenge in one hand, and another in the other." A tilt of her head as Nathaniel guages her battle prowess and she props herself against the bag with a fold of arms across chest.

"It is not about the levels or technological advancement. It is about the willingness to push or refrain and stand… For something very real." The final words tapering off as she looks back at the two men.

"If I simply took it to my own combat tactics, I am sure he can teach me a thing or two with the removal of the alien aspect. Just as you can teach me to advance technologically."

"Fair enough, well, I really hope the Avengers do well," the blond begins with chuckle. "It's hard to run a successful superhero team, but the benefits far outweigh the time and effort you put into it. I can imagine it might be hard to work with the UN considering SHIELD has told me they've had issues with corruption." One might wonder about the pot calling the kettle black, but that is likely a tale for another time. "But it's important to work with the government whenever possible. Many hands make for light work, after all. As I often tell people, if there is something I can do to help, just let me know and I'll do my best," Cap concludes with his good natured optimism.

As Starfire seems more than willing to challenge him despite the dialogue, Rogers just nods. "If you really want to go at it, we can," he replies simply, merely moving toward the boxing ring in the center of the room and climbing into it in case she accepts. It seems despite the strength difference, Cap is willing to go into the ring, but well, it's rare from Cap to back down from a challenge unless given good reason.

“The UN bureaucracy is… fascinating,” comments Nathaniel. Yes, he is not bored yet from navigating the Byzantine complexity, frequent incompetence and inter-departmental conflicts. He is weird; but it feels like a tactical game for him. “Fortunately, besides the charter we do not really need much more unless we want to interfere with national conflicts, which are not what the Avengers are designed to do. As for something to do to help…” he glances Kory. “Let see how you two do in the ring first, since you all seem too happy to give it a go.”

Starfire had watched, and watched, and seen, with an envy that could paint her green - but instead rested behind those eyes. Ages of combat and tactics wrapped up and resting in one single being, where hers was one and only of an extinct planet and endangered people. Cap's humility is acknowledged, but there is no fool in a true warrior's eyes.

"We need a true emblem, a banner of America's Avengers." A pause and shoes are kicked off to reveal bare feet in wraps, white against near…

"Red," And the hands extend, the white of talcum powder suddenly becoming that of simple Aces.

"White." As they twine and become very real.

"And Blue." The armored purple shorts and T'd sports bra fade to a more natural hue of midnight.

Stepping between the ring's barriers with a bend and bow she rises and smiles, hands coming up to splay fingers then curl them lightly inward to fists, but not quite. "Don't hold back. I know better." No, no test for Stever Rodgers, the Captain of America. Koriand'r, the Starfire is proving a point.

They are warriors for their people, and she knows better, as does Nathaniel, SHIELD, and the people.

A brow slightly furs at the subtext of this being some sort of test. After all, few people say 'Is Captain America good enough?' However, if he gets troubled by how much faith is placed on him, Rogers understands the hypocrisy of getting upset when people do the opposite and expect to prove why he's earned the trust of so many. For now not talking of politics, he instead focuses on the help, merely giving a simple: "So be it."

As Kory speaks of what might be the true reasons for being here, he watches her closely. An uneducated mind with regards to combat may think that he is checking her out in a way not at all wholesome. But that's not the case. Instead, he sees the armor change, seeing where she distributes her weight, and how her density is affecting the ring when she walks.

"I'm not the sure I'm the man you want."

Those words are spoken with a calm grace before Cap moves in for the attack. Oddly enough, the combinations offered before are not the ones he gives now, only variants that begins with the same blows before they end with something different: a couple of swift jabs attempt to strike the face before a savage knee aims itself toward the midsection followed by a powerful blow seeking Starfire's gut before giving a rather painful head butt. It seems the talk of unique woman being as tough if not stronger than Thor's people is enough to cause him to go with Kory's request of 'all out' but it seems as if she is being overpowered, he will swiftly ease off the attacks, not wishing to go 'overboard' in any stretch of the imagination.

Somehow, though, Cap feels like going too strong won't be the issue here.

Nathaniel arches an eyebrow when Kory states their… well, it was the general idea, yes. Nathaniel does not know why Steve left the team he had formed, or what really happened during the battles with Zemo and his allies. Only that it seems the Captain is again working for SHIELD, or with SHIELD. He wanted to know before making any offer.

Starfire, though, she is much more direct than him.

Maybe for the better. He is often too devious. It might be Captain America would respond better to the alien princess honest directness. Which is probably why he asked her to come with him. So the young man from the future steps back and lets the two warriors do their sparring.

Kori does not think this 'Steve' is (not) good enough. Just the name and thinking Iron (Lad) is not, due to his nomenclature. Nathaniel is, and this Cap is, no matter the trials and differences of worlds and lives. She has lived it all, and still bears the burden in flashes akin to a broken screenplay. Some things the mind refuses to make accord with.

Kori knows better. Bottom line. As his eyes rove over her posture and stature, she does him the same as she had Nathaniel, Roy, Dick…. As equals for an equal purpose but with different names in different worlds.
… Worlds and Worlds Apart.

His advances are met with the sudden claps downward of palms, slapping a knee away while his fist meets her face and snaps her head back, and with it her body bows, careening her into a fall that ends in a flip akin to that of one borne in a lack of gravity. A dance that ends in her rising to watch The Captain of America with blood trickling from her left nostril. A smile with a flash…

And Koriand'r is reciprocating…
"Princess! This is not their customary!" Even Nathaniel can hear Kitt'n's protest, but Starfire's headset is laying on the bench with Steve's own gear.
… Word to the wise that listen…
..Not Kori.
She is set to make this her home and join in with those of like minds…

Cap is met with a sudden burst of moves far more acrobatic then direct. When Kori drew near she suddenly slides, aiming to kick high and send him sailing, following with a barrage of punches that would cast him against the rings edge if landed efficiently…

But just like him she dances back with a light sweep of bare feet to make a small enough gap.

Eyes flash and narrow, a hand falling to do a very comical Bruce Lee - Bring It curl of fingers.
.., The blood from nostril hitting the ring's floor.
// "Nathaniel, you're okay with this?!?" // Kitt'n protests, tapping other lines…

The blows are far faster and powerful than even Cap imagined, the foot ramming itself into his arms. However, the blocked blow likely prevents ribs from being cracked, but it still sends him back into the ropes of the ring. The force of the first attack sends the warrior forward, sending Steve right back to get the punches that hammer into him, the back and forth preventing his fighter's stance from digging in enough to prepare himself for the next stage. A powerful blow to the face shows that he will likely have a black eye in a minute or two while another strikes his shoulder hard… But it's a much preferred place to hit than the neck or face area that it seemed to be coming toward.

As the attacks come in, the two SHIELD agents coming in with guns at the ready, but Captain America acts with the combat readiness expected, giving a "It's just a spar!" when he notices them from the corner of his eye. The agents shoulder their weapons, giving a silent apology to the other heroes that might be ready to unleash with their own attacks as they back toward the entrance.

It would seem Nathaniel has his answer seemingly for how SHIELD and Captain America get along, but this is on Cap's turf, so no telling how much their interests are currently aligned.

A few ragged breaths come from the war hero, a bit of red showing under his shoulder close to his neck. It seems a wound from a previous conflict with a demon is making itself known. But he doesn't really acknowledge it, instead, he continues forward, just trying to give a powerful jump kick. He doesn't go for the face, perhaps surprised he drew blood. Instead, this powerful attack goes right for the collarbone section, trying to drive Kori back and getting his distance. He doesn't press the attack more than that for now, clearly finding himself outmatched. He doesn't yield though, raising up his guard with the intention of giving it everything he has. Just as he often does.

Nathaniel watches in silence, barely blinking when K’tten’s protests come in through the neural interface. He replies silently, directly to the spaceship comsystem. // “I was not asked. But I think they are both happy with it. Calm down, K’tten, I doubt he can hit hard enough to really hurt her. Not without his shield, at least.” //

Then he looks back at the ring. “I think… you should stop before someone ends up with broken bones,” he suggests with all seriousness.

"You bleed not for me…." A statement from Kori before those blows come to match, the resounding slaps of flesh on flesh, ending with a residual echo as she slaps the mat upon his descendant sweep…

Not for pity, or for the scent, but for the sheer will. Without it this would not have come to occurence.

Starfire takes one step back, but holds her ground, and in a blur of motion her own personal will to live and let live does her in..

Steve's motions…even sans the Shield, crack against the radius and ulna of the Tamaranean…all the while words ring true in her mind.
This is home.

A burst forward and she is seeking to not defendm or retaliate, but capture 'Steve Rogers' and place that of her profile along the foreign wound and draw in a deep breath….

"Not a fair match. He bears other wounds of war." And with that alone the black and blue of landed blows emerge upon her form, but go un-acknowledged.

Nathaniel's words have those emerald eyes flashing his way while she shudders to keep her grip while the bruise blossoms along her collar, drawing fingertips over tawny skin exposed.

"I will not fight a battle that surfaces wounds I did not inflict." A brief exhale as she rises and wipes her nose with the back of her hand. "My apologies in misguided fairness."

But the look of necessity goes to Nathaniel and the SHIELD guards.

"Heal him!" Despite the light falter and grip to the rings' upper-rung her words hold no bars.

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