Reno. Rude. A sparring match, and a quiet evening. That's friendship.
Reno studied the man before him, taking in his size and build. His opponent was bigger and stronger than him, and much more resistant. He could probably lift him and throw him against the wall with insultingly little effort. The redhead smiled smugly. It didn't matter. He knew well how to take him. He took a few paces to the side, circling him, eyes narrowing as he judged with calculating vigilance his first move. His shoes were quiet against the concrete pavement, but in the silence his steps reached his ears like heartbeats.
He could feel his adrenaline starting to rush, the elating calmness before a fight. He let it build up inside him, tensing his muscles. The smirk on his lips widened, then suddenly disappeared. Then he struck.
Quick as a lightning, he closed the distance between them. He feinted to the left, then rapidly sidestepped and let fly with a kick to the right.
Rude was ready for him. He parried, and Reno felt his shin connect harmlessly with Rude's forearm. His opponent immediately replied with a left jab, but Reno had already regained his balance and effortlessly dodged it, jumping back a few feet. His lips curved in a small smirk. They were just testing each other, he knew it.
He came at him again, this time on the left. Again, Rude parried, deflecting the redhead's kick with the palm of his hand, and swung back. This time, Reno wasn't quick enough and the punch glanced off his cheekbone, sending small jolts of pain from the impact. But the redhead wasn't going to let that hinder him. He drew back, taking advantage of the opening, and sent a kick to Rude's midsection. His foot connected with a satisfying thud, and his partner stumbled sideways, grunting.
But Rude recovered all too quickly, and he dealt Reno a staggering blow with his open hand. The Turk reeled backwards, biting back curses at the small explosions in his stomach. He growled, and charged again.
Feint. Dodge. Kick. Parry. Kick. Reno almost smiled to himself as he felt the exhilarating flow of battle around him and inside him, every movement. He moved like lightning; lighting was what he aspired to. Flashy, intense, electrifying, and devilishly quick. There one moment and gone the next. Rude was calm, and powerful. The soft, booming rumble after the flashing lightning.
Reno blocked Rude's left hook, the force of the blow sending lancing pain down his forearm. He ignored it. He feinted right, drawing a punch and dodging. The bigger man stumbled forwards, and Reno stepped sideways and let loose with a flying kick to Rude's shoulders. He landed nimbly on his feet, and launched himself forward, sending a flurry of blows against his partner. His breath came in fits now, and he felt his blood thumbing in his ears, but he didn't draw back.
They had been partners for six years now. Partners; they were more than that. Partners, accomplices, friends. They knew each other, inside out; each could tell with a glance what the other was thinking.
Rude stepped back, beads of sweat rolling down his face. He threw a punch at his partner; Reno parried and replied with a kick, and Rude went down.
Partners. Inseparable. Two sides of the same coin.
Reno started forwards, to deal the finishing blow, but Rude wasn't so easily defeated. Reno felt his opponent's foot squarely in his stomach, and he was thrown forward, landing hard on the floor.
He made to get up, but before he could make a move he felt Rude's sinewy body on his back, twisting his arm behind him and pushing his face against the cold concrete floor. He tried to struggle against his opponent's grip, but it was like struggling against iron bounds.
"Uhm, call it a draw?" he tried.
The only reply was a derisive snort somewhere above him. He fruitlessly tried wriggle some more.
"Oh, all right, all right, you win," he conceded. "Now let me go."
There was a pause, then he felt his partner loosen his grip. Free to move again, he turned to lie on his back; Rude dropped down on the floor and lay down beside him, panting. Finally, all was quiet.
Reno closed his eyes and enjoyed the silence for a moment, drawing deep breaths, regaining his composure from their sparring match. Beside him, he could feel Rude do the same. He smiled softly, to himself. Then he glanced sideways at his partner, and the smile turned into a smirk.
"Ok, so you won this round. I'm still five points ahead of you."
"Four," Rude's deep voice replied beside him.
"No way." The redhead stuck his tongue out at the ceiling. "That last time did not count. You only won 'cause my PHS rang and distracted me."
"A win is a win. We're counting it."
Reno rolled sideways to poke his friend in the ribs. "Oh, you're no fun."
The bald man did not reply, and Reno turned back to stare at the rafters above him, still smirking. He felt uneasily comfortable, simply lying there on the floor, with Rude by his side.
"Yo, partner?" he called out, finally.
A conspiring grin. "Do you hear that? That's the sound of the bar down the street calling our names."
Rude gave an amused snort. "I hear it, partner."
He waited a second, then raised himself to his feet. He brushed the dirt from his impeccable suit, adjusting his tie and his shades; then he held a hand out to his friend.
"You lost. Drinks are on you."
The wiry Turk stared with suspicion at the extended hand before him; then an impish grin graced his lips as he took it and let the bigger man pull him to his feet.
"But of course."
He leaned a bit on his friend before regaining his balance, then the two Turks turned around and headed towards the exit, both sporting brand new bruises.
And, as Rude held the door open to let him pass, Reno flashed a smile at him, and he was almost sure he saw his friend smile back.