Purple Archer Not Die

November 03, 2018:

Hawkeye (Clint Barton) meets White Tiger. Again.

Edge of Mutant Town, New York City

Top floor of an old apartment building.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It hadn't been the most auspicious of meetings nor the best first impressions. During the patrol on the first week after the demons had shown up, when things were the most hectic, Barton had been trying to get a feeling for where the line began and end for what should be considered the demon occupation zone. But as most would know, measuring the extent of an opposing force is an imprecise science at best. And sometimes scouts hit skirmishers and then things go South.
Such was the case when Clint Barton, in the black and purple body suit that makes him known as Hawkeye, was dashing across the rooftops with a gang of humanoid creatures pursuing him. Sure he was whittling them down, and sure he might well have made it to safety. But when they had been about to leap on him the situation was resolved with no input from him.
Coming seemingly out of nowhere, a white garbed being struck them, landing in a whirl of movement and violence that seemed almost balletic in its own way. Clint did his part, but when there was an instant for a breather… and they had a chance to talk… it was clear she didn't think too highly of his technique.
"Meet me." She had said. "There." And she had pointed just before she had departed and he had called after her.
"When?!"
"Two weeks time." It had been said.
And those two weeks passed.
Leading to the SHIELD agent arriving at that building. A building that was three stories tall, that seemed like some sort of apartment building. But when he climbed those steps and entered into that top floor what he saw was a surprise.

The top floor was not compartmentalized like the rest of the floors, into little boxes that people called their homes. Instead, it was a wide-open space with support columns to keep the ceiling in place as there no walls to bear the load. A closer look would show it was actually unfinished. There were areas where the drywall had never been installed, leaving the studs showing. Some spots had insulation, others had none. There were open electrical outlets with no wiring. The floor was hardwood and seemed to be fully intact from one side of the space to the other.
There were no real furnishings. One corner was a make-shift kitchen with a mini fridge/freezer combo and a small camp stove. A large area of the floor furthest from the 'kitchen' was covered with blue mats, the type that would be used for gymnastics or martial arts training. Nothing more. On the far corner, there was a sleeping bag laid out with another lantern nearby.
Along the windowsills were candles, adding their flickering light to the room and helping to chase away the darkness. Though they tended to just make the place seem more unusual than homey.
Kneeling in the middle of those mats was the white clothed figure he had met two weeks ago.

"Well," His voice lifts, somehow out of place for the eerie tranquility of the room. "I've been in worse places." He offers by way of critique even as he steps further inside. Not in that combat suit from before, he's in civvies with jeans and a brown leather jacket. Though over his shoulder he does have a large backpack that she can tell with his body language and the gentleness with which he handles it most likely contains a weapon of some import to him. Just in case.
His hands stuffed into the pockets of that jacket, he continues to give the place a once over, noting the places and what passes for a kitchen, then stops shy of the mats as he offers, "It's not exactly coffee or Netflix, but doesn't seem entirely terrible."
A few more moments of silence and his tone changes slightly as he finally greets her. "So. Hey."

Her hair is covered, the tie that holds the material in place long and flowing partway down her back. Her hands are bare as is her face. Her hands are normal looking but her face has those dark markings around her eyes and black lips. Not lipstick for the observant.
She looks him over carefully as he approaches, watching as he stops shy of stepping on the mats. She rises gracefully to her feet and pads on silent feet toward him. The mats crunch slightly, a faint swish as her feet slide over the surface. She stops at the edge.
His Netflix comment is met with a blank stare. Either it wasn't amusing or she didn't get it. The latter is the truth.
"You fight poorly. Need training." SHIELD would probably disagree but this woman in white has her opinion and isn't shy about voicing it. "Can teach. So you don't die."

Looking at her evenly, they're pretty much eye to eye as he looks at those curiously slit pupils and for perhaps the first time gets a more clear look at her even though the illumination in the room isn't too terribly extravagant. But he can see the seeming… paleness? Of her features, and the lipstick that doesn't have the glimmer of makeup. Yet when she offers those words to him he's distracted from considering her features to instead offering a heh and an exhalation of denial.
"I dunno about that."
A hand lifts to rest on his shoulder as he adds, "I'm able to handle myself…"

As he brings his arm up to his shoulder, there is sudden movement from the woman in white. She doesn't have super speed. She isn't using metahuman abilities. She simply is that fast and that sure of herself that it seems to be instantaneous.
His arm in that position puts his elbow forward a bit. One of her hands goes to the elbow, the other to his wrist, forcing him to keep the arm up where he had it. Then she is stepping to his side and using that arm as her grip as she pulls him off balance while a foot catches him behind his knee.
One moment he was standing with his hand on his shoulder. The next he is sprawling onto the mats yet somehow his bag is left behind and unharmed. In fact, she has it in hand and sets it down very carefully on the floor next to the mats.
She doesn't get into an argument. She doesn't have a fancy speech. That's beyond her really. His response that he didn't know about that? Her answer is a single word. "Know."

Twist, shift, crunch, thud and suddenly his point of view has shifted to him being on the floor with those old musty mats right in his face with his arm held back and partially behind him. His free hand slaps hard upon the fabric mat, pressing down on it as he scowls, more annoyed than anything else even as he says over his shoulder. "You know…"
When she releases his arm he starts to push over onto his side and rising up onto one knee. "I've been through this sort of thing, with like… some of the best fighters in the world. I have the chops…" Even as he says that, however, his fist shoots out with a quick snap forwards as he twists his shoulders and hips rising into it and trying to pop her a good solid one. Though, to be fair, she can read in his movement he's not putting the full force of impact behind the punch. Probably a bit of a mistake.

As that fist shoots forward, she shifts to the side and it wizzes past. She reaches out and slaps his ribs on that side where he had been slightly open. It wasn't something that most would be able to take advantage of but she can pinpoint that opening. She could've used claws. She could've punched. Instead, it's a slap with the flat of her hand that is quite light. More a 'hello, I'm here' than any attempt to harm.
She flows to the side, giving him more of an opportunity to get his bearings and find his stance as she tilts her head to the side slightly. "Best? Says who? Good yes. But could do much better. Can do much better. Show the 'best' some tricks after."
She waits, in a three quarters position watching him with hands held down loosely at her sides. "Holding back. Don't."

"Some of us have," He eyes the monochromatic woman and tells her with a hint of agitation touching his voice. "Other talents." He's had this discussion before, usually with Black Widow after she's been able to dash past some of his shots and gotten him to say uncle one way or another. But it holds as much water here as it does there, that is to say little to none.
But she can tell he's no rank amateur, he's got the training as he slips into stance to the side and stepping around her as his hands raise, open as if ready to grab or slap any attempt to strike of hers. What he might lack, that she may have found in her own training, is inspiration.
A few quick jabs are sent her way to keep her at that distance and honest as he continues that circling movement, giving him time to ask her, "So you have a name? Something more polite than I'm thinking right now?"

Once he takes his position, the woman in white continues to follow his movements by shifting her stance little by little. Each blow is either dodged or blocked, pushed away a bit in a way that is meant to throw him slightly off balance but nothing more. She's just waiting really. Not pressing, no attacks.
"The bow." She had seen him in action on the rooftops and a moment ago, had held that bag which likely had a bow hidden inside it. He had the arms for it and the calluses upon his fingers from the string.
The question makes her blink as she considers, her eyes showing her curiosity. "Why not polite? Helping." She shakes her head negatively. Humans really are so strange. "White Tiger."

"That's it?" Clint hunkers down behind his fists as he starts to get into the rhythm of movement she's setting. Throwing a few shots and then leaning back just far enough out of the way of anything she throws his way unless she puts some intensity behind it over the casual back and forth they almost have going here. "White Tiger?" His nose crinkles slightly at that answer and then he comes back, "Alright, I'm Purple Archer."
He tests her then, stepping in and bringing an uppercut into play as he tries to catch her when she sidesteps the jab. But he's still holding back since there are only a handful of folks that go full speed with him, or even want to. Ever since that last time with the poor recruits and the crying and all the paperwork.
Then he adds as he tries to rock back out of the way of her reprisal. "Or Clint. Or Barton. Or whatever."

Either she has no sense of humor or she didn't think it was funny. Truthfully? She has no idea that it wasn't sincere. "Purple Archer," she repeats with an almost smile that is a little shy oddly enough. It's not an expression she is used to using. But it seems to be something the humans use often and there are occasions when she feels the urge to do so, even if she doesn't quite get it yet.
She steps out of the way of the jab as he fires that uppercut. She spins around and back to avoid it as her leg comes up and is chambered. As she completes the spin on one foot, she fires it toward his midriff but he is already getting out of range so manages to avoid the strike by a mere inch. There is a gust of air that brushes against the front of his shirt from the motion of her foot past. Then she is back on her feet and waiting for him. "Holding back, Purple Archer." Her voice deepens, a hint of a growl coming into it. "Don't. Can't hurt me." Big words from the strange woman.

"Don't mistake can't for won't, kid." She might not catch the significance of that name applied to her, the seizing of some hint of dominance placing her as a youngster, or the social stigma connected to it. But she might be able to tell simply from his tone of voice as he moves in. He'll expose his jawline slightly by lowering his fists and letting her perhaps take a swing that he imagines might not be the best choice and put her off balance. And then he's twisting his hips smoothly to the side, body whirling around and his leg snapping up and around, the first time he's kicking at her trying to slam the heel of his foot into her hip.
"As far as I'm concerned," He's hopping backwards again, trying to retain his balance and ducking back and away from what he figures will be her counterstrokes, "This is just a lil friendly practice, and besides…" His lip twists slightly, "I'm allergic to cats."

She sees the opening and is about to take it when she realizes it was a little too perfect. She doesn't take the bait. She leans in though, bringing her arm up as though she is going to. When he moves, bringing up his leg, she brings down her arms. One grabs for his ankle, the other swats his calf as it is pushed away from her as she dances back a step. She doesn't try to hold as he hops back to his safe distance again, preparing to follow-up with her own strikes to stop this silly game of his.
Friendly practice? She is going to show him it isn't. Then he tells her he is allergic to cats.
He might as well have punched her in the gut. Her eyes go wide, mouth dropping open slightly. The look of horror on her face is real. The idea of someone being allergic to a cat?
For that instant, she is not in the fight as she tries to understand how that can even be possible!

It's an instant of an opening and if one thing he's learned in his times training with Natasha, it's to take advantage of those moments when his running at the mouth actually scores a point or two. Always in that instant when the eyes widen or the anger is evident and suddenly there's his hip /slamming/ into hers as a thick arm snakes over her shoulder and /pulls/ her across his side and tries to _slam_ her down onto the mats. Now this move there's no need to hold off as the mats are going to cushion most of it. Yet the /wham/ of the impact is heavy throughout that makeshift training hall.
And suddenly she's the one who has taken the first fall between them, with his leg against her side and his forearm against her throat as he leans forwards but not putting pressure on. Just holding there as he smiles openly and happily. "Or is that dogs? I can't remember." His eyebrows lift, waggling a bit as he can't help but rub it in.
The Jerk.

As he gets that hold, she already knows she is going down. She takes the fall as one with training, letting the mats absorb the worst of it and holding the air in her lungs so it doesn't whoosh out.
Once she is on the ground, her eyes narrow and something slightly shifts there. The verticle pupils tighten further, enhancing that cat-like look when they had been closer to human originally. She twists her body, knowing he might bring that arm down but willing to take it. Her lower body lefts as one leg comes up, knee to chest and then she puts the leg across his throat despite the fact she's folded like a pretzel. Then she pushes. Hard. Her arm closest to his leg comes up and goes for a nerve strike on his thigh at the same moment. He may be able to avoid one or the other but not likely both at once.

Whether it's some of his words getting to her or simply her strength of form, whatever it is she's able to bring that leg up and then /pushes/ him off of her hard, sending him sprawling and into the air and then falling backwards and… why does my leg have no feeling. It's all a rough tumble that has him drawing up and then twisting as he hits the ground, numbed leg caught under him as he tries to catch himself with one hand and push himself upright.
"Now what was that?" He asks as he sits up. Maybe he legitimately wants to know, or maybe he knows that when these damned kick ass chop socky people start to get the upper hand if you ask them questions they usually get caught into explaining and contemplating their belly button which in turn often gives you a chance to get your own back.
Though with her, it might not exactly work.

"Effective."
Tiger rolls up to her feet and stands, making sure she is out of reach of a strike or kick from him as she does so. She stands there, staring down at him. No more explanation. No telling him what it was specifically.
She gives him the time needed for that numbing to fade. Unlike Natasha or his usual sparring partners, she doesn't offer a hand to help him up though. He'll have to do that on his own.
If he hoped to get an opening from it, he failed. If he wanted to really know what the strike was, another tactic will be necessary to gain the information.

As he balances on one leg his left eye scrunches up from the tingling pins and needles of his other leg starting to regain some sense of feeling. But he holds up his hands as if trying to stay her from further aggression, which he is. "Alright, alright. Let's say I accept your premise that maybe, I perhaps could /possibly/ use some extra training to become just a smidge bit better than I am already."
The mats crunch faintly as he steps forwards, now rubbing at his thigh as he fully gains his feet and stops a decent distance from her in case she decides to press the matter further. "If I agree to… whatever it is you're saying or offering, what all does this entail?" He crosses his thickly muscled arms over his chest as he looks at her and then lifts his chin. "I mean, my time isn't exactly my own." He waves his other hand around gesturing to his surroundings. "This is my night off after all." Which isn't exactly true.
He doesn't actually have any nights off.

Now that he is talking reason, she gives a quick nod. The look of approval is obvious. There are no moves made his direction. She isn't trying to close and continue their sparring match.
"Come here often. Train. In time, go out and hunt together."
For her, it is all hunting. He may think of it as being a hero. Or a vigilante in her case since she doesn't have the blessing of any law enforcement agencies for what she does. No matter what it is called, it involves going after bad people and taking them down, physically.

Arms recrossing over his chest he looks at her with what can only be described as a wary look. His eyes lift to hers, then down to the slim silhouette of her form as if gauging, and then back up to her gaze. He lifts a hand to the back of his neck and grimaces to himself, eyes distancing as he looks past and over her shoulder as if trying to see the future set before him. He doesn't get any revelations, but whatever springs to his thoughts at least makes him think it might be trying in the least.
"We can try that. For a time. Just…" He shifts his weight to the other foot and starts to step away from her, the mats crunching some more and then releasing with a whispered exhalation as he steps off that training area. "I have a million and one things trying to grab my attention. SHIELD stuff going down, and the Avengers." He stops then he looks towards her with furrowed brow.
"And, to be fair. I know like nothing about you." His lips twist, "I mean, don't get me wrong I've had a fair share of one night stands, but I get the vibe you're wanting something more serious than that." Maybe she won't get the vernacular, but really he's talking more to figure things out himself rather than to actually communicate his point.

Blank stare. She has no idea what he is referring to in order to take it the wrong way. She does take the words and run them through her head. Night. Stand. She knows what those are. But what is he referring to. She does want something serious but it involves teaching him how to fight more effectively.
SHIELD. Avengers. She's heard of those. She just isn't really fully aware of them and what they are. She just knew he was a guy running on the rooftops fighting the monsters. That was the important thing. He was one of the good guys.
So she just answers. "Very serious. Need commitment." Just not that kind that he is joking about.

"Alright," He holds up his hands, "We'll make a test run and see how it goes." The blonde haired man looks to her curiously and says, "You have a phone? Email?" Then he stops and says, "Nah, course you don't." A breath is taken then a sigh as he steps towards her and then past, turning his shoulders to slip close for a moment, shoulder brushing hers briefly as he moves to where his bag rests. He'll kneel there before it, easing down into a crouch with his back towards her and undoing the zipper.
From within she'll hear the scrape and crinkle of the bag's contents being gone through and then a pad of paper is produced along with a magic marker. He'll pull off the cap and hold it in his mouth then scribble on the paper. There's a rrrrrrip as he pulls the slip free and he extends it towards her, "Alright that number is where you can reach me if it's an emergency. And I mean it, emergency. Not something like, 'I'm bored let's work out.' I mean, 'help me, my forehead is on fire and so is the building.'"
He meets her narrow slitted eyes and gives a faint wry smile, "Ya get me?"

"Forehead on fire?" She echoes, trying to understand. It sounds very strange to her. Which is the problem. "Don't understand." With this one, he's going to have to deal with her taking things literally until she begins to understand his sort of humor.
After all, the concept of humor is a bit beyond her life experience. It wasn't something that was taught by the High Evolutionary after her change. That was more on combat, to allow for her to hunt down the beast that had been let loose on the world. Not laughter and joy.
She looks at the number. Telephone. She does know what those are though she has really not had any use for them. How she would call, she isn't sure. So it would be an emergency if she ever did try to find a way. "Emergency, yes. Bored, no."

"Emergency yes…" But then he looks at her again and for a moment he gets a wry half-smile that probably doesn't meet the expressions she's used to having aimed her way. "Or heck, if you get /really/ bored. You can call then too. I'm generous." Perhaps it's that reason, or perhaps he's curious what a bored White Tiger would be like.
That having been said he shoulders the bag back into place and walks backwards a few steps as he moves towards the door. A hand lifts and he nods. "Alright, I'll seeya." It's then he turns his back and heads towards the door, figuring that it's unlikely she'll leap to the attack now.

As he heads for the door, she does the same. She heads for the doorway in his wake. There is that soft crunch of the mats then there is silence as she steps off of them.
As he moves to the door, she heads for the candles and begins blowing them out. Now that this interlude is over, it is time for her to go out and do some work.
He will be gone by the time she finishes with the candles. Then she goes out that same door, not bothering to secure it behind her. There isn't anything really valuable inside after all.

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