When quick tempers reach their peak, is pain the only way left to communicate?
A New Twist
Chapter the Second
Theresa laughed at the look of concentration on Archie's face, effectively breaking it. The screen flashed an obnoxious 'Game Over', and Archie turned to glare at his giggling companion.
"Ya know, that's the third time you've done that. Just what the hell is so damn funny?" he huffed. Her laughing was quickly losing him quarters. Theresa shook her head.
"I'm sorry Archie. But you're concentrating so hard that your tongue pokes out of the corner of your mouth!" Theresa laughed even harder, the image forever burned into her mind. Archie scowled at her. Grabbing her shaking shoulders, he spun her around and gave a little push.
"Go play your own games Theresa. You're too distracting to be around," he grumbled. She glanced back at him and gave him a wink.
"I am, aren't I?" she joked, hand on her hip. Archie rolled his eyes at her. "I'll leave you alone for the time being. I'm gonna go try the Jurassic Park one."
He nodded and watched her bounce off to the other side of the arcade. The arcade in the mall was his usual hangout when skipping class, so he had decided to introduce Theresa to all the glory it held. It would have been fine if she wasn't so damn distracting. Always laughing when he was trying to win. Geez. Women. Ares was right when he called them annoying distractions that only served to ruin good warriors...well maybe not completely right. But damn close.
After all, Archie thought bitterly, look how I'm acting over Atlanta. I should forget about her, move on. Greener pastures and all that. But do I? No, of course not. I let it get to me, festering under my skin, rotting me to the very core. Making me so angry that I snap like a wounded animal at everyone around me, and then get even angrier when they snap back. Like Theresa.
He admitted, Theresa annoyed the hell out of him most of the time, and they didn't get along very well. But when push came to shove, she gave as good as she got, and then some. He had to respect that fact, and the fact that she could probably kick his ass in a fair fight. A fair fight mind. A street fight though...hmmm....now there was an intriguing thought.
One that was sadly interrupted by sudden shouting and a loud crash. Archie quickly made his way across the arcade; he recognized one of those shouting voices, and it definitely belonged to Theresa. He pushed through the frightened crowd that had formed a sort of barrier around the brawlers, and immediately jumped into the fray. Theresa was outnumbered five giant dirt bags to one little her. Archie grinned viciously as he slammed a fist across one unsuspecting thug's face. Definitely not a fair fight. But just what he needed to take his aggression out on.
The guy he hit went flying into another one standing in front of Theresa, both crashing to the ground in a tangled heap. Theresa spared Archie a quick glance, and was rewarded with an all too cocky grin. She rolled her eyes as she smashed her foot into someone's face. Typical arrogant Archie, she thought, always thinking he's gonna come out on top. And not just on top, but so far on top that nobody else is worth mentioning. Honestly, someday he's gonna get himself hurt, or worse killed. Not that he would care, so long as he went out with a bang. And he calls me the drama queen. Pfft. Warriors and their heroic ends.
"Theresa!" Archie's shout of warning interrupted her thoughts as she snapped back into focus just in time to be caught with a powerful backhand across her jaw. Using the momentum to her advantage, she spun her body around completely, catching her assaulter with a roundhouse to the temple, knocking him to the ground. Still stunned from the impact, she fell to one knee. Glancing up through hazy eyes, she noticed the last of the five charging at her. She quickly dropped into the splits and landed a vicious punch right in the family jewels. He went down with an undignified squeal of pain. Archie winced, making a mental note to not fight Theresa unless it was a fair fight. She fought too dirty for his tastes.
Theresa sat on the floor catching her breath as people around her clapped and shouted, some outraged at the display, others impressed. A hand invaded her vision and she looked up at Archie. He frowned down at her and hauled her to her feet, propelling her to the back door.
"We better get outta here before the cops show up. Not to mention we've got practice with Ares," he mumbled the last part as they got into Theresa's car. He glanced at her, noting that her jaw was starting to swell and bruise. Her bottom lip had split in the corner, a thin trail of blood running to her chin. "You okay to drive? That looked like a pretty hard hit."
"I've had worse," she grinned, adrenaline still pumping through her veins. She floored the gas, not wanting to be late for Ares. "Though I'm definitely gonna need some ice and more Advil."
"The hell got you so distracted anyways? He should never have landed that hit in the first place," Archie snorted, annoyance returning to him now that he was reassured of her condition. Theresa flushed and scowled.
"None of your business," she snapped in embarrassment, not wanting to tell him that he was the one distracting her. She was a fighter for gods' sake, she shouldn't have been distracted. Archie was right, as much as it pained her to mentally admit that fact.
"Please don't tell me it was Jay," Archie said in disgust. Theresa glared at him as she pulled into the school parking.
"I said it was none of your business, and I meant it. Okay?" she shot back, angry at herself and now at Archie once more. He scoffed as they entered the school. Probably was thinking about Jay, he thought sullenly. Stupid. Thinking about some guy who ignores her in the middle of a fight. The hell is wrong with her? She could have been seriously hurt, and then I would have gotten in deep shit. I will as is, considering all the different colours her face is currently turning. Added to the fact that we were supposed to be in class when it happened. The hell is her problem?
"The hell is your problem?" he voiced his last thought angrily as they entered the janitor's closet, door slamming behind them. Theresa gave him an incredulous look.
"Excuse me? What's my problem? What's your problem, acting like you have a stick shoved up your ass?" she retorted quickly, stomping away from him. He glared at the back of her head and quickly caught up to the small girl.
"My problem is you getting into a fight and then losing your mind in the middle of it! I mean, it was a good thing I was there, otherwise those guys would have mopped the floor with you, the way you were daydreaming," he snarled, slamming the gym doors open, startling the rest of their team. "And now I'm gonna get blamed for your stupidity."
"My stupidity?! I'm sorry, but it was your idea in the first place!" Theresa shrieked angrily, hands fisted at her sides as she glared at Archie, currently walking away from her. She stomped after him, ignoring the looks of bewildered concern on her team-mates faces. "Not to mention I'm a big girl Archie, not some fucking damsel in distress. I would have been fine without you!!"
"Oh yeah, you look just fine!" he spat, whirling around to face her. He trembled with anger as it coursed red hot through his veins, glaring furiously down at the little spitfire in front of him. He noticed Atlanta coming towards them out of the corner of his eye, an ice pack in her hands. She was ignored as the pack was pressed gently to Theresa's jaw, a small muttered thanks coming from the injured redhead.
"Well I am fine! It's your fault I got hurt in the first place!" she yelled up at him, noticing Jay now walking over to them. Fury bubbled up inside of her.
"The fuck? My fault? Oh hell no, you did not just say that! If I hadn't jumped in you'd probably be in the back of an ambulance somewhere," he snarled down at her, their bodies inches from each other.
"HA! That's exactly why it's your fault! For jumping in to my fight and distracting me from what I was doing! Why can't you just mind your own goddamn business?!" she spat, sensing that this argument was about to take a new turn in direction as Jay reached them, Atlanta still hovering behind her.
"Well maybe I could if your weren't such a fucking DRAMA QUEEN!!" Archie yelled, hands gripping her shoulders tightly. Theresa took no notice of it though, nor that the ice pack had slipped to the floor. She balled a fist tightly in his shirt, pulling him down to her eye level.
"Funny, coming from a good for nothing, nosy GLORY HOG like you!!" she cried, his eyes reflecting the same surge of hatred that she was feeling. He shoved her away roughly and spun to leave.
"Fuck you, you ungrateful little bitch!" he shouted, stomping into the courtyard.
"I hate you!" she screamed after him, inexplicable tears pricking at her eyes and threatening to fall.
"Theresa? What happened?" came Jay's quiet voice. Her head snapped over to him, and he nearly recoiled at the look of pure fury in her eyes.
"Boys!! Why are you all so fucking stupid?!" she cried, tearing away from Atlanta to run out the second set of doors, heading to Persephone's solarium.
"...O-kaaay....What just happened?" Neil was the first to break the tremulous silence that had fallen over the remaining five. Jay let out a shaky sigh and shook his head.
"Nothing good, that's for sure," he said, eyes darting between the doors and the courtyard. Atlanta put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed comfortingly.
"I'll go find Theresa, see what happened," she said, slipping quietly away from the group to search for one of her incensed best friends.
"I'll go find Archie. Knowing him, he'll need to blow off a lot of steam," Herry frowned, walking to the courtyard. Jay nodded and turned to the remaining two.
"Ares isn't going to be too happy," he sighed. Neil and Odie gave half-hearted, 'what are you gonna do' shrugs, and went to sit on the bleachers. Jay followed, rubbing the back of his head wearily. Great, he thought, just what we need right now. Two of our best fighters fighting each other like cats and dogs. That's just the type of weakness Cronus would love to expose, the bastard. If only those two could get along, work together. They've done it before, why is it so hard for them now? They looked ready to seriously hurt each other, the fury in their eyes...and I've never heard Theresa use that kind of language before. Just what is going on? And how the hell did Theresa get hurt in the first place?
Half of him wanted to find Archie and demand to know why Theresa was hurt, if they'd been in a fight. And if so, why hadn't they called the rest of the team? Sure, Archie could be stubborn and obstinate, but he would usually call for backup when trouble showed up. For him to not...and to let Theresa get hurt...like she had last time. Jay's fists clenched as he thought back to that day.
Cronus had shown up as per usual, some crazy monster attacking them while he stood there laughing manically. And as per usual they fought the monster, calling out threats to Cronus. Except Odie had gotten a little too close to Cronus, and the god decided to take a swipe at him with a scythe. A well placed kick landed Odie in a pile of sharp rocks, ribs cracking at the impact. Theresa saw Cronus raise the scythe as Odie struggled to get up and had thrown herself in front of Odie. The blade had easily cut through the thin material of her shirt, then through her skin, and the taut muscles along her back.
He could still hear her scream of pain in his dreams sometimes, picture the blood flowing freely down her back, staining her hair a darker red, dripping sickeningly to the ground. She had kicked the god back viciously, dragging Odie out of the rocks and back to the group. Picking up her abandoned nun chucks, she had continued to fight, much to Jay's dismay. A slash here and a taser burn there, and the beast was defeated, Cronus slinking back through his damn portal. He remembered how she had swayed on her feet, face white as chalk as blood continued to pour freely out of her body. Drip, drip, drip came the sickening sound. He had caught her as she fell and, picking her up, ran to the truck, fear singing in his veins as her bloodied hair stuck to his arm.
Jay shook his head, rousing himself from his memories. He couldn't let himself be distracted by thoughts of her. Because if I was....and she was hurt again because of it....or killed....how could I ever live? So long as she's alive and well....even if it means pushing her away...I have to, no matter how much it hurts. He stood quickly as Atlanta slinked back into the room, a look of dismay on her face. She quickly crossed over to them, shaking her head.
"Sorry Jay, she's too mad right now. I think it's best if Persephone handles her right now. Pots were breaking right, left and centre when I went in there, things flying all over the place. Gods, I'm surprised she didn't maim Archie with her mind while they were in here," Atlanta sighed, plopping down on the bench next to Neil. He raised an eyebrow.
"She can do that?" he shuddered.
"If she's mad enough," Atlanta shrugged, bracing herself as a thundering crash shook the building. "See?"
Neil looked shaken, his eye twitching ungracefully as he lay on the floor in a heap. Jay and Odie exchanged incredulous glances, before looking at Atlanta.
"That came from Theresa? Since when can she do...whatever it was she just did...with her mind?" Jay demanded of her. Atlanta squirmed and gave a small shrug.
"I dunno...awhile? Look, Jay, I know you're thinking of some plan for Cronus' demise, but it won't work. When she gets this mad...which isn't very often...her powers get way out of control. She doesn't have enough focus to use them properly. So forget about it," she frowned at her leader. He sighed and sat next to her. Well there goes the idea of keeping her tucked safely in the back lines of combat. They all looked up and groaned as Ares entered the gym, raising an eyebrow as the floor shook again from another crash. He snorted with annoyance and turned to the teens.
"That witch of yours lose her temper?" he scoffed, shaking his head. Women.
"She's not a witch," Atlanta spat, worried about both Theresa and Archie. Ares shrugged.
"May as well be with all that Persephone is teaching her. And where are Archie and Herry?" he demanded, turning to Jay. He sighed.
"In the courtyard most likely. Theresa and Archie got into a bit of trouble and came back fighting like animals. I think they're both blowing off a bit of steam right now," he explained. Ares grumbled in annoyance and stormed over to the courtyard. Jay was right, Herry and Archie were both there, Archie using Herry as a punching bag, Herry barely noticing as he tried to get the boy to talk.
"BOY!!" Ares roared, gaining their attention. "Get your ass in here, you've got training. Which you need, by the looks of it."
That said, he turned and left for Persephone's solarium, Archie and Herry quietly entering the gym behind him. Herry took a seat next to Jay, giving a small shake of his head. Archie stood at the end of the bench, arms crossed obstinately, a frown set firmly on his face. They stayed quiet for a minute, waiting for Ares to return, tension thick in the air. The doors burst open, Ares dragging a shrieking, swearing Theresa into the gym by one arm.
"Damn it Ares, let go of me! You stupid fucking men, think you know everything!" she screamed, sparks of blue, lightning like energy flickering across her skin. The group shifted uncomfortably at her appearance, fearing an explosive outcome. Archie snorted derisively. Fucking Drama Queen.
"Archie! Into the centre. NOW!" Ares roared, still dragging Theresa. She growled and swung a fist at the god of war. It was caught easily and Ares threw her into the centre of the room, opposite Archie. "You two have problems? I don't care! You want to take your anger out on someone? Take it out on each other! Kill each other for all I care, just get it over with quickly so we can get back to business!"
Eyebrows were raised all around at this exclamation, a worried frown on many faces. Theresa smirked at the god of war.
"Gladly!" she spat, spinning rapidly, fist heading straight for Archie's face. He caught it, throwing her away as he spun. Planting a hand on the floor, she flipped and, using her feet as a springboard when she landed, flew back to Archie, determined to get a hit in. He caught her hand again, but was caught off guard as she gripped his wrist and yanked down, foot coming straight up to meet his face. He flew back, landing roughly on his back, blood dripping down his chin. He snarled as he got up, hating that smug little smirk she wore. Oh she was gonna pay.
He charged at her, fists swinging and connecting with a painful crack. He swept her feet out from under her, one handed planted on her collar bone to keep her pinned. She growled and kicked him in the temple, shoving him off of her. They scrambled back to their feet, panting with exertion.
"Come on Princess, is that the best you've got?" Archie smirked, hoping to taunt her into making a mistake. "Or are you just being your usual drama queen self and throwing a tantrum? Sorry to say, but Daddy's not here to buy something and make it all better."
"Fuck you Archie," she spat, the air around her crackling dangerously as the blue lightning flickered out from her body, reaching towards his. She clenched her fists, trying to concentrate the power there. "You talk too fucking much."
She growled and charged at him, tendrils of energy leaking out to sear his body. He hissed as one caught him across the cheek. It burned! He jumped away from her, frowning. This was dangerous territory he was entering now, not that his pride would let him stop. He had to finish this fight quickly, without getting too close to her.
"Damn it!" he cursed as she knocked him down, rolling to the side as her fist came swinging down at him. Getting to his feet, he could only stare in astonishment at the brand new crater in the floor, Theresa's fist in the centre of it. She looked up at him, quickly moving to attack once more. Archie shifted to the side as she neared him, his knee flying up and catching her dead in the stomach. Pushing forward, she flew across the floor, landing in a heap across the room. Jay sprang up, ready to demand that they stop immediately, grimacing at the sound of her wheezing coughs as she fought for breath. Archie turned to leave the floor, disgusted look on his face.
"Che. Pathetic," he sneered, assuming the fight was over.
"Who you... calling pathetic...Princess," Theresa panted behind him. He spun in surprise and lost his breath as she got in her final hit. He screamed in pain, falling to the ground in a heap as she kneed him in the groin, her body crumpling with his. Archie lay on his side, whimpering in pain, knees drawn up to his chest. Theresa coughed and panted, holding her stomach, eyes closed in pain.
"You...you fucking...bitch," Archie moaned, tears pricking his eyes. That was a low blow, literally. She opened her eyes to look at him, a look of exhaustion and deep sorrow on her face. The air remained still around her, no more lightning flickering, her body too exhausted to sustain the energy any longer. She slowly dragged herself up, standing on shaking knees.
"I'm sorry," she whimpered, hunched over her bruised stomach. Tears bean to fall from her clouded eyes, and she shakily made her way out of the room, ignoring calls from her companions as she ran. Ran from it all, all the pain, confusion, sadness and anger. Ran as fast as she could, back to the solarium, leaving her wounded companion lying on the floor, the rest standing bewildered at what had just happened. She ran from them. But she couldn't run from her own turbulent mind.